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II

SOCIAL CUSTOMS

371

as a

Ajudhiabāsi who are immigrants from Oudh. Another subdivision, the Bharewas, are of a distinctly lower status than the body of the caste, and have non-Aryan customs, such as the eating of pork. They make the heavy brass ornaments which the Gonds and other tribes wear on their legs, and are probably an occupational offshoot from one of these tribes. In Chānda some of the Bharewas serve as grooms and are looked down upon by the others. They have totemistic septs, named after animals and plants, some of which are Gond words; and among them the bride goes to the bridegroom's house to be married, which is a Gond custom. The Bharewas may more properly be considered

eparate caste of lower status. As previously stated, the Marātha and Deshkar subcastes of the Marātha country no longer make vessels, but only keep them for sale. One subcaste, the Otāris, make vessels from moulds, while the remainder cut and hammer into shape the imported sheets of brass. Lastly comes a group comprising those members of the caste who are of doubtful or illegitimate descent, and these are known either as Tākle (* Thrown out’ in Marāthi), Bidur, ‘ Bastard,' or Laondi Bachcha, ' Issue of a kept wife.' In the Marātha country the Kasārs, as already seen, say that they all belong to one gotra, the Ahihaya. They have, however, collections of families distinguished by different surnames, and persons having the same surname are forbidden to marry.

In the northern Districts they have the usual collection of exogamous septs, usually named after villages.

The marriages of first cousins are generally forbidden, 3. Social as well as of members of the same sept. Divorce and the remarriage of widows are permitted. Devi or Bhawāni is the principal deity of the caste, as of so many Hindus. At her festival of Māndo Amāwas or the day of the new moon of Phāgun (February), every Kasār must return to the community of which he is a member and celebrate the feast with them. And in default of this he will be expelled from caste until the next Amāwas of Phāgun comes round. They close their shops and worship the implements of their trade on this day and also on the Pola day. The Kasārs, as already stated, rank next to the Sunārs among the artisan castes, and the Audhia Sunārs, who make ornaments of bell

customs.

tion,

metal, form a connecting link between the two groups. The social status of the Kasārs varies in different localities. In some places Brāhmans take water from them but not in others. Some Kasārs now invest boys with the sacred

thread at their weddings, and thereafter it is regularly worn. 4. Occupa The caste make eating and drinking vessels, ornaments

and ornamental figures from brass, copper and bell-metal. Brass is the metal most in favour for utensils, and it is usually imported in sheets from Bombay, but in places it is manufactured from a mixture of three parts of copper and two of zinc. This is considered the best brass, though it is not so hard as the inferior kinds, in which the proportion of zinc is increased. Ornaments of a grey colour, intended to resemble silver, are made from a mixture of four parts of copper with five of zinc.

Bell-metal is an alloy of copper and tin, and in Chānda is made of four parts of copper to one part tin or tinfoil, the tin being the more expensive metal. Bells of fairly good size and excellent tone are moulded from this amalgam, and plates or saucers in which anything acid in the way of food is to be kept are also made of it, since acids do not corrode this metal as they do brass

But bell-metal vessels are fragile and sometimes break when dropped. They cannot also be heated in the fire to clean them, and therefore cannot be lent to persons outside the family ; while brass vessels may be lent to friends of other castes, and on being received back pollution is removed by heating them in the fire or placing hot ashes in them. Brāhmans make a small fire of grass for this purpose and pass the vessels through the flame. Copper cooking-pots are commonly used by Muhammadans but not by Hindus, as they have to be coated with tin ;. the Hindus consider that tin is an inferior metal whose application to copper degrades the latter. Pots made of brass with a copper rim are called “Ganga Jamni' after the confluence of the dark water of the Jumna with the muddy stream of the Ganges, whose union they are supposed to symbolise. Small figures of the deities or idols are also made of brass, but some Kasārs will not attempt this work, because they are afraid of the displeasure of the god in case the figure should not be well or symmetrically shaped.

and copper.

LIST OF PARAGRAPHS 1. General notice.

5. Caste customs. 2. Girls dedicated to temples. 6. First pregnancy. 3. Music and dancing. 7. Different classes of women. 4. Education of courtesans. 8. Dancing and singing.

Kasbi, Tawāif, Devadāsi.—The caste of dancing-girls 1. General and prostitutes. The name Kasbi is derived from the Arabic notice. kasab, prostitution, and signifies rather a profession than a caste. In India practically all female dancers and singers are prostitutes, the Hindus being still in that stage of the development of intersexual relations when it is considered impossible that a woman should perform before the public and yet retain her modesty. It is not so long that this idea has been abandoned by Western nations, and the fashion of employing women actors is perhaps not more than two or three centuries old in England. The gradual disappearance of the distinctive influence of sex in the public and social conduct of women is presumably a sign of advancing civilisation, and is greatest in the West, the old standards retaining more and more vitality as we proceed Eastward. Among the Anglo-Saxon races women are almost entirely emancipated from any handicap due to their sex, and direct their lives with the same freedom and independence as men. Among the Latin races many people still object to girls walking out alone in towns, and in Italy the number of women to be seen in the streets is so small that it must be considered improper for a young and respectable woman to go about alone. Here also survives the mariage de

1 A part of the information con Mr. Adurām Chaudhri of the Gazetteer tained in this article is furnished by Office.

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