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ancestors, having been imprisoned for resistance to authority, were released on the promise that they would follow a woman's occupation of spinning thread. In the Central Provinces they are sometimes called Renhta Rājpūts or Knights of the Spinning Wheel. The tradition of Rājpūt descent need not of course be taken seriously. The drudgery of spinning thread was naturally imposed on any widow in the household, and hence the saying, “It is always moving, like a widow's spinning-wheel.' 1

The Katias have several subcastes, with names generally 2. Subderived from places in the Central Provinces, as Pathāri castes and from a village in the Chhindwāra District, Mandilwār from groups. Mandla, Gadhewal from Garha, near Jubbulpore, and so on. The Dulbuha group consist of those who were formerly palanquin-bearers (from doli, a litter). They have also more than fifty exogamous septs, with names of the usual lowcaste type, derived from places, animals or plants, or natural objects. Some of the septs are subdivided. Thus the Nāgotia sept, named after the cobra, is split up into the Nāgotia, Dirat? Nāg, Bhārowar : Nāg, Kosam Karia and Hazāri 4 Nāg groups.

It is said that the different groups do not intermarry ; but it is probable that they do, as otherwise there seems to be no object in the subdivision. The Kosam Karias worship a cobra at their weddings, but not the others. The Singhotia sept, from singh, a horn, is divided into the Bakaria (goat) and Ghāgar-bharia (one who fills an earthen vessel) subsepts. The Bakarias offer goats to their gods; and the Ghāgar-bharias on the Aktió festival, just before the breaking of the rains, fill an earthen vessel and worship it, and consider it sacred for that day. Next day it is brought into ordinary use. The Dongaria sept, from dongar, a hill, revere the chheola tree. They choose any tree of this species outside the village, and say that it is placed on a hill, and go and worship it once a year. In this case it would appear that a hill was first venerated as an animate being and the ancestor of the sept. When hills were no longer so regarded, a chheola tree growing on a hill

1 Temple and Fallon's Hindustāni 4 A thousand. Proverbs.

5 The third Baisākh (June). 2 Perhaps a leather strap or belt. 3 A revolution or circuit.

6 Butea frondosa. VOL. III

2 C

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was substituted; and now the tree only is revered, probably a good deal for form's sake, and so far as the hill is concerned, the mere pretence that it is growing on a hill is sufficient.

A man must not take a wife from his own sept nor from that of his mother or grandmother. Girls are commonly married between eight and twelve years of age ; and a customary payment of Rs. 9 is made to the father of the bride, double this amount being given by a widower. married girl seduced by a man of the caste is united to him by the ceremony used for a widow, and a fine is imposed on her parents ; if she goes wrong with an outsider she is expelled from the community. In the marriage ceremony the customary ritual of the northern Districts is followed, and the binding portion of it consists in the bride and bridegroom walking seven times around the bhānwar or sacred pole. While she does this it is essential that the bride should wear a string of black beads round her neck and brass anklets on her feet. After the ceremony the bride's mother and other women dance before the company. Whether the bride be a child or young woman she always returns home after a stay of a few days at her husband's house, and at her subsequent final departure the Gauna or going-away ceremony is performed. If the bridegroom dies after the wedding and before the Gauna, his younger brother or cousin or anybody else may come and take away the bride after performing this ceremony, and she will be considered as fully married to him. She is known as a Gonhyai wife, as distinguished from a Byāhta or one married in the ordinary manner, and a Karta or widow married a second time. But the children of all three inherit equally. A widow may marry again, and take any one she pleases for her second husband. Widowmarriages must not be celebrated in the rainy months of Shrāwan, Bhādon and Kunwār. No music is allowed at them, and the husband must present a fee of a rupee and a cocoanut to the mālguzār (proprietor) of the village and four annas to the kotwār or watchman. A bachelor who is to marry a widow first goes through a formal ceremony with a cotton plant. Divorce is permitted for mutual disagreement.

1 A description of the ceremony is given in the article on Kurmi.




The couple stand before the caste committee and each takes a stick, breaks it in two halves, and throws them apart, saying, “ I have no further connection with my husband (or wife), and I break my marriage with him (or her) as I break this stick.”

The dead may be either buried or burnt, as convenient, 4. Funeral and mourning is always observed for three days. Before the rites. corpse is removed a new earthen pot filled with rice is placed on the bier. The chief mourner raises it, and addressing the deceased informs him that after a certain period he will be united to the sainted dead, and until that day his spirit should abide happily in the pot and not trouble his family. The mouth of the pot is then covered, and after the funeral the mourners take it home with them. When the day appointed for the final ceremony has come, a miniature platform is made from sticks tied together, and garlands and offerings of cakes are hung on to it. A small heap of rice is made on the platform, and just above it a clove is suspended from a thread. Songs are sung, and the principal relative opens the pot in which the spirit of the deceased has been enclosed. The spirit is called upon to join the sacred company of the dead, and the party continue to sing and to adjure it with all their force. The thread from which the clove is suspended begins to swing backwards and forwards over the rice; and a pig and two or three chickens are crushed to death as offerings to the soul of the deceased. Finally the clove touches the rice, and it is believed that the spirit of the dead man has departed to join the sainted dead. The Katias consider that after this he requires nothing more from the living, and so they do not make the annual offerings to the souls of the departed.

The caste sometimes employ a Brāhman for the marriage 5. Social ceremony; but generally his services are limited to fixing an auspicious date, and the functions of a priest are undertaken by members of the family. They invite a Brāhman to give a name to a boy, and call him by this name. They think that if they changed the name they would not be able to get a wife for the child. They will eat any kind of flesh, including pork and fowls, but they are not considered to be impure. They are generally illiterate, and dirty in appearance.

Unmarried girls wear glass bangles on both hands, but married


women wear metal bracelets on the right hand and glass on the left. Girls are twice tattooed : first in childhood, and a second time after marriage. The proper avocations of the Katias were the spinning of cotton thread and the weaving of the finer kinds of cloth ; but most of them have had to abandon their ancestral calling from want of custom, and they are now either village watchmen or cultivators and labourers. A few of them own villages. The Katias think themselves rather knowing ; but this opinion is not shared by their neighbours, who say ironically of them, “A Katia is eight times as wise as an ordinary man, and a Kāyasth thirteen times. Any one who pretends to be wiser than these must be an idiot."

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1. Tribal legend.
2. Tribal subdivisions.
3. Exogamous groups.
4. Betrothal and marriage.
5. Other customs connected with

marriage. 6. Childbirth.

7. Disposal of the dead.
8. Laying spirits.
9. Religion.
10. Magic and witchcraft.
II. Dress.
12. Occupation and social rules.

Kawar, Kanwar, Kaur (honorific title, Sirdār). — A 1. Tribal primitive tribe living in the hills of the Chhattīsgarh Dis- legend. tricts north of the Mahānadi. The hill-country comprised in the northern zamindāri estates of Bilāspur and the adjoining Feudatory States of Jashpur, Udaipur, Sargūja, Chāng Bhakār and Korea is the home of the Kawars, and is sometimes known after them as the Kamrān. Eight of the Bilāspur zamīndārs are of the Kawar tribe. The total numbers of the tribe are nearly 200,000, practically all of whom belong to the Central Provinces. In Bilaspur the name is always pronounced with a nasal as Kanwar. The Kawars trace their origin from the Kauravas of the Mahābhārata, who were defeated by the Pāndavas at the great battle of Hastināpur. They say that only two pregnant women survived and fled to the hills of Central India, where they took refuge in the houses of a Rāwat (grazier) and a Dhobi (washerman) respectively, and the boy and girl children who were born to them became the ancestors of the Kawar tribe. Consequently, the Kawars will take food from the hands of Rāwats, especially those of the Kauria subcaste, who are in all probability descended from Kawars. And when a Kawar

1 This article is based almost entirely on a monograph contributed by Mr. Hira Lāl.

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