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14. Language.

adjusted at the outlet, the fish are driven into this from
above. During the hot season the fruit of the ghetu is
thrown into the pools, and this stupefies the fish and causes
them to float on the surface of the water, where they are
easily caught.
The Korkus have a language of their own which belongs
to the Kolarian or Munda sub-family. Dr. Grierson says of
it: “The Munda, sometimes called the Kolarian family,
is probably the older branch of the Dravido-Munda languages.
It exhibits the characteristics of an agglutinative language
to an extraordinarily complete degree.” In the Central
Provinces nearly 90 per cent of Korkus were returned as
speaking their own language in 19 II. Mr. Crosthwaite
remarks: “The language is in a state of decay and transition,
and Hindi and Marâthi terms have crept into its vocabulary.
But very few Gondi words have been adopted. A grammar

of the Korku language by Drake has been printed at the

Baptist Mission Press, Calcutta.”



1. General notice. 6. Religion. 2. Physical appearance. 7. Social customs. 3. Subdivisions. 8. Dancing. 4. Marriage customs. 9. Occupation. 5. Funeral rites. Io. Dacoity. II. Folk-tales. Korwa."—A Kolarian tribe of the Chota Nägpur plateau. I. General

In 1911 about 34,000 Korwas were returned in the Central" Provinces, the great bulk of whom belong to the Sargüja and Jashpur States and a few to the Bilāspur District. The Korwas are one of the wildest tribes. Colonel Dalton writes of them : * “Mixed up with the Asuras and not greatly differing from them, except that they are more cultivators of the soil than smelters, we first meet the Korwas, a few stragglers of the tribe which under that name take up the dropped links of the Kolarian chain, and carry it on west, over the Sargüja, Jashpur and Palāmau highlands till it reaches another cognate tribe, the Kürs (Korkus) or Muäsis of Rewah and the Central Provinces, and passes from the Vindhyan to the Satpura range. “In the fertile valleys that skirt and wind among the plateaus other tribes are now found intermixed with the Korwas, but all admit that the latter were first in the field and were at one time masters of the whole; and we have good confirmatory proof of their being the first settlers in the fact that for the propitiation of the local spirits Korwa

* This article is based on Colonel Sarguja, and Mr. Narbad Dhanu Sao, Dalton's account of the tribe and on Assistant Manager, Uprora. notes by Mr. N. T. Kunte, Jailor, * Ethnology of Bengal, p. 221.

Baigas are always selected. There were in existence within the last twenty years, as highland chiefs and holders of manors, four Korwa notables, two in Sargüja and two in Jashpur; all four estates were valuable, as they comprised substantial villages in the fertile plains held by industrious cultivators, and great tracts of hill country on which were scattered the hamlets of their more savage followers. The Sargüja Korwa chiefs were, however, continually at strife with the Sargüja Rāja, and for various acts of rebellion against the Lord Paramount lost manor after manor till to each but one or two villages remained. The two Jashpur thanes conducted themselves right loyally at the crucial period of the Mutiny and they are now prosperous gentlemen in full enjoyment of their estates, the only Korwa families left that keep up any appearance of respectability. One of them is the hereditary Diwān of Jashpur, lord of the mountain tract of Khüria and Maini, and chief of perhaps two-thirds of the whole tribe of Korwas. The other holds an estate called Kakia comprising twenty-two villages. 2. Physi- “The hill Korwas are the most savage-looking of all ''" the Kolarian tribes. They are frightfully wild and uncouth in their appearance, and have good-humouredly accepted the following singular tradition to account for it. They say that the first human beings that settled in Sargüja, being very much troubled by the depredations of wild beasts on their crops, put up scarecrows in their fields, figures made of bamboos dangling in the air, the most hideous caricatures of humanity that they could devise to frighten the animals. When the great spirit saw the scarecrow he hit on an expedient to save his votaries the trouble of reconstructing them. He animated the dangling figures, thus bringing into existence creatures ugly enough to frighten all the birds and beasts in creation, and they were the ancestors of the wild Korwas.” This legend is not peculiar to the Korwas but is also told by the Halbas, Lodhis and other castes, and is a favourite Brähmanical device for accounting for the existence of the autochthonous tribes. “The Korwas,” Dalton continues, “are short of stature and dark brown in complexion, strongly built and active,


with good muscular development, but, as appeared to me, disproportionately short-legged. The average height of twenty Sargüja Korwas that I measured was 5 feet 3 inches and of their women 4 feet 9 inches only. Notwithstanding the scarecrow tradition the Korwas are, as a rule, better-looking than the Gonds and Oraons. The males, I noticed, were more hirsute than the generality of their cognates, many of them cultivating beards or rather not interfering with their spontaneous growth, for in truth in their toilets there is nothing like cultivation. They are as utterly ungroomed as the wildest animals. The neglected back hair grows in matted tails which fall behind like badly-frayed ropes, or is massed in a chignon of gigantic proportions, as preposterous as any that the present tasteless period has produced; sticking out behind sometimes a foot from the back of the head. “The women appear ground down by the hard work imposed on them, stunted in growth, black, ugly, and wretchedly clad, some having only a few dirty rags tied round their persons, and in other respects untidy and unclean.” It is noticeable that the Korwas have a subtribe called Korāku, and like the Korkus of the Satpura range they are called Muási, a term having the meaning of raider or robber. Mr. Crooke thinks that the Korwas and Korkus are probably branches of the same tribe, but Sir G. Grierson dissents from this opinion. He states that the Korwa dialect is most closely related to Asuri and resembles Mundāri and Santāli. The Korwas have the honorific title of Mänjhi, also used by the Santāls. The Korba zamindári in Bilāspur is probably named after the Korwas. The principal subdivisions of the tribe are the Diharia or Kisān Korwas, those who live in villages (dih) and cultivate, and the Pahāria Korwas of the hills, who are also called Benwaria from their practising bewar or shifting cultivation. Two minor groups are the Korāku or young men, from kora, a young man, and the Birjias, who are probably the descendants of mixed marriages between Korwas and the tribe of that name, themselves an offshoot of the Baigas. The tribe is also divided into totemistic exogamous septs.

3. Subdivisions.

4. Marriage CustomS.

Marriage within the sept is forbidden, but this appears to be the only restriction. In Korba the Pahāria Korwas are said to marry their own sisters on occasion. The ordinary bride-price is Rs. 12. In Bilāspur there is reported to be no regular marriage feast, but the people dance together round a big earthen drum, called māndhar, which is played in the centre. This is bound with strips of leather along the sides and leather faces at the ends to be played on by the hands. They dance in a circle taking hands, men and women being placed alternately. Among the Pahāria Korwas of Sargüja, Mr. Kunte states, the consent of the parents is not required, and boys and girls arrange their own weddings. Men who can afford the bride-price have a number of wives, sometimes as many as eight or ten. After she has had a child each wife lives and cooks her food separately, but gives a part of it to her husband. The women bring roots and herbs from the forest and feed their husbands, so that the man with several wives enjoys a larger share of creature comforts. Among these people adultery is said to be very rare, but if a woman is detected in adultery she is at once made over to the partner of her act and becomes his wife. Divorce and the remarriage of widows are permitted, and a widow usually marries her late husband's younger brother, though she is not obliged to do so. A husband divorcing his wife is obliged to feed the caste for five days.

The tribe bury the dead, placing the corpse in the grave with the head to the south. A little rice is buried with the corpse. In Bilāspur the dead are buried in the forest, and the graves of old men are covered with branches of the sal" tree. Then they go to a little distance and make a fire, and pour ghi and incense on it as an offering to the ancestors, and when they hear a noise in the forest they take it to be the voice of the dead man. When a man dies his hut is broken down and they do not live in it again. The bodies of children under five are buried either in the house or under the shade of a banyan tree, probably with the idea that the spirit will come back and be born again. They say that a banyan tree is chosen because it

5. Funeral rites.

* Shorea robusta.

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