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a married woman who has an intrigue with another man is called savāsan, and it is said that a practice exists, or did exist, for her lover to pay her husband a price for the woman and marry her, though it is held neither respectable nor safe.1 In Ahmadābād, if one Koli runs away with another's wife, leaving his own wife behind him, the caste committee sometimes order the offender's relatives to supply the bereaved husband with a fresh wife. They produce one or more women, and he selects one and is quite content with her.2

The Kolis of Nimār chiefly revere the goddess Bhawāni, and almost every family has a silver image of her. An important shrine of the goddess is situated in Ichhāpur, ten or twelve miles from Burhānpur, and here members of the tribe were accustomed to perform the hook-swinging rite in honour of the goddess. Since this has been forbidden they have an imitation ceremony of swinging a bundle of bamboos covered with cloth in lieu of a human being.

The Kolis both bury and burn the dead, but the former practice is more common. They place the body in the grave with head to the south and face to the north. On the third day after the funeral they perform the ceremony called Kandhe kanchhna or 'rubbing the shoulder.' The four bearers of the corpse come to the house of the deceased and stand as if they were carrying the bier.

His widow smears a little ghi (butter) on each man's shoulder and rubs the place with a small cake which she afterwards gives to him. The men go to a river or tank and throw the cakes into it, afterwards bathing in the water. This ceremony is clearly designed to sever the connection established by the contact of the bier with their shoulders, which they imagine might otherwise render them likely to require the use of a bier themselves. On the eleventh day a Brāhman is called in, who seats eleven friends of the deceased in a

row and applies sandal-paste to their foreheads. All the women whose husbands are alive then have turmeric rubbed on their foreheads, and a caste feast follows.

The Kolis eat flesh, including fowls and pork, and drink

7. Social

rules.

1 Bombay Gazetteer, Hindus of Gujarāt, p. 250.

2 Indian Antiquary, vol. iii. p. 236.

II

KOLTA

537

liquor. They will not eat beef, but have no special reverence for the cow.

They will not remove the carcase of a dead cow or a dead horse. The social status of the tribe is low, but they are not considered as impure, and Gūjars, Kunbis, and even some Rājpūts will take water from them. Children are named on the twelfth day after birth. Their hair is shaved in the month of Māgh following the birth, and on the first day of the next month, Phāgun, a little oil is applied to the child's ear, after which it may be pierced at any time that is convenient.

and traditions.

Kolta, Kolita, Kulta.—An agricultural caste of the 1. Origin Sambalpur District and the adjoining Uriya States. In 1901 the Central Provinces contained 127,000 Koltas out of 132,000 in India, but since the transfer of Sambalpur the headquarters of the caste belong to Bihār and Orissa, and only 36,000 remain in the Central Provinces. In Assam more than two lakhs of persons were enumerated under the caste name of Kalita in 1901, but in spite of the resemblance of the name the Kalitas apparently have no connection with the Uriya country, while the Koltas know nothing of a section of their caste in Assam. The Koltas of Sambalpur say that they immigrated from Baud State, which they regard as their ancestral home, and a member of their caste formerly held the position of Diwan of the State. According to one of their legends their first ancestors were born from the leavings of food of the legendary Rāja Janak of Mithila or Tirhūt, whose daughter Sīta married King Rāma of Ajodhya, the hero of the Rāmāyana. Some Koltas went with Sīta to Ajodhya and were employed as water-bearers in the royal household. When Rāma was banished they accompanied him in his wanderings, and were permitted to settle in the Uriya country at the request of the Raghunathia Brāhmans, who wanted cultivators to till the soil. Another legend is that once upon a time, when Rāma was wandering in the forests of Sambalpur, he met three brothers and asked them to draw water for him. The first

1 This article is largely compiled from an interesting paper submitted by Mr. Parmānand Tiwāri, Extra Assist

ant Commissioner and Assistant Settle.
ment Officer, Sambalpur.

brought water in a clean brass pot, and was called Sudh
(good-mannered). The second made a cup of leaves and
drew water from a well with a rope; he was called Dumāl,
from dori-māl, a coil of rope. The third brought water
only in a hollow gourd, and he was named Kolta, from
ku-rīta, bad-mannered. This story serves to show that the
Koltas, Sudhs and Dumāls acknowledge some connection,
and in the Sambalpur District they will take food together
at festivals. But this degree of intimacy may simply have
arisen from their common calling of agriculture, and may
be noticed among the cultivating castes elsewhere, as the
Kirārs, Gūjars and Rāghuvansis in Hoshangābād. The
most probable theory of the origin of the Koltas is that
they are an offshoot of the great Chasa caste, the principal
cultivating caste of the Uriya country, corresponding to
the Kurmis and Kunbis in Hindustān and the Deccan.
Several of their family names are identical with those of
the Chasas, and there is actually a subcaste of Kolita
Chasas. Mr. Hīra Lāl conjectures that the Koltas may be
those Chasas who took to growing kultha (Dolichos uniflorus),
a favourite pulse in Sambalpur ; just as the Santora Kurmis
are so named from their growing san-hemp, and the Alia
Banias and Kunbis from the āl or Indian madder. This
hypothesis derives some support from the fact that the
Koltas have no subcastes, and the formation of the caste
may therefore be supposed to have occurred at a com-
paratively recent period.
The Koltas have both family names

or gotras and exogamous sections or bargas. The gotras are generally named after animals or other objects, as Dīp (lamp), Bachhās (calf), Hasti (elephant), Bhāradwāj (blue-jay), and so Members of the Bachhās gotra must not yoke a young bullock to the plough for the first time, but must get this done by somebody else. The names of the bargas are generally derived from villages or from offices or titles. In one or two cases they show the admission of members of other castes; thus the Rāwat barga are the descendants of a Rāwat (herdsman) who was in the service of the Rāja of Sambalpur. The Rāja had brought him up from infancy, and, wishing to make him a Kolta, married him to a Kolta

2. Exogamous groups.

on.

II

MARRIAGE

539

girl, despite the protests of the caste. The ancestor of the Hinmiya Bhoi barga had a mistress of the Khond tribe, who left him some property, and is still worshipped in the family. The number of gotras is smaller than that of the bargas, and some gotras, as the Nāg or cobra, the tortoise and the pīpal tree, are common to many bargas. Marriage is forbidden between members of the same barga, and between first cousins on the father's side. To have the same gotra is no bar to marriage.

Girls should be wedded before maturity, as among most 3. Marof the Uriya castes, and if no suitable husband is forth- riage. coming a nominal marriage is sometimes arranged with an old man, and the girl is afterwards disposed of as a widow. The boy's father makes the proposal for the marriage, and if this is accepted the following formal ceremony takes place. He goes to the girl's village, accompanied by some friends, and taking a quantity of gur (raw sugar), and staying at some other house, sends a messenger known as Jalangia to the girl's father, intimating that he has a request to make. The girl's father pretends not to know what it is, and replies that if he has anything to say the elders of the village should be called to hear it. These assemble, and the girl's father informs them that a stranger from another village has come to ask something of him, and as he is ignorant of its purport, he has asked them to do him the favour of being present. The boy's father then opens a parable, saying that he was carried down a river in flood, and saved himself by grasping a tree on the bank. The girl's father replies that the roots of a riverside tree are weak, and he fears that the tree itself would go down in the flood. The boy's father replies that in that case he would be content to perish with the tree. Thereupon the caste priest places a nut and some sacred rice cooked at Jagannāth's temple in the hands of the parties, who stand together facing the company, and the girl's father says he has no objection to giving his daughter in marriage, provided that she may not be abandoned if she should subsequently become disfigured. The nut is broken and distributed to all present in ratification of the agreement. After this, other visits and a formal interchange of presents

1

take place prior to the marriage proper. This is performed with the customary ceremonial of the Uriya castes. The marriage altar is made of earth brought from outside the village by seven married women. Branches of the mahua tree are placed on the altar, and after the conclusion of the ceremony are thrown into a tank. The women also take a jar of water to a tank and, emptying it, fill the jar with the tank water. They go round to seven houses, and at each empty and refill the jar with water from the house. The water finally brought back is used for bathing the bride and bridegroom, and is believed to protect them from all supernatural dangers. An image of the family totem made from powdered rice is anointed with oil and turmeric, and worshipped daily while the marriage is in progress. If the boy or girl is the eldest child, the parents go through a mock marriage ceremony which the child is not allowed to see.

When the couple are brought into the marriageshed, they throw seven handfuls of rice mixed with mung and salt on each other. The priest ties the hands of the couple with thread spun by virgins, and the relatives then pour water over the knot. The bride's brother comes up and unties the knot, and gives the bridegroom a blow on the back. This is meant to show his anger at being deprived of his sister. He is given a piece of cloth and goes away.

Presents are made to the pair, and the women throw rice on them. They are then taken inside the house and set to gamble with cowries. If the bridegroom wins he promises an ornament to the bride. If she wins she promises to serve him. The boy then asks her to sit with him on a bench, and she at first refuses, and agrees when he promises her other presents. Next day the bride's mother singes the cheeks of the bridegroom with betel-leaves heated over a lamp, and throws cowdung and rice over the couple to protect them from evil. The party takes its departure for the bridegroom's village, and on arrival there his sisters hold a cloth over the door of the house and will not let the couple in till they are given a present. The bridegroom then shoots an arrow at an image of a monkey or a deer, made of powdered rice, which

1 Phaseolus mungo.

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