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Tekami septs; the Ndgoans or Cobra race includes the Maravi, Potari, Karanga, Nurethi, Dhurwa and others. Other exogamous races are the Sodi (or tiger), Behainsa (buffalo), Netam (dog in Gondi), Chamchidai (bat) and one or two more. In this case the exogamous clans with Hindi names would appear to be a late division, and have perhaps been adopted because the meaning of the old Gondi names had been forgotten, or the septs were too numerous to be remembered.
In Chanda a classification according to the number of gods worshipped is found. There are four main groups worshipping seven, six, five and four gods respectively, and each group contains ten to fifteen septs. A man cannot marry a woman of any sept which worships the same number of gods as himself. Each group has a sacred animal which the members revere, that of the seven-god worshippers being a porcupine, of the six-god worshippers a tiger, of the fivegod worshippers the saras crane, and of the four-god worshippers a tortoise. As a rule the members of the different groups do not know the names of their gods, and in practice it is doubtful whether they restrict themselves to the proper number of gods of their own group. Formerly there were three-, two- and one-god worshippers, but in each of these classes it is said that there were only one or two septs, and they found that they were much inconvenienced by the paucity of their numbers, perhaps for purposes of communal worship and feasting, and hence they got themselves enrolled in the larger groups. In reality it would appear that the classification according to the number of gods worshipped is being forgotten, and the three lowest groups have disappeared. This conjecture is borne out by the fact that in Chhindwara
and other localities only two large classes remain who worship ,
six and seven gods respectively, and marry with each other, the union of a man with a woman worshipping the same number of gods as himself being prohibited. Here, again, the small septs included in the groups appear to serve no purpose for regulating marriages. In Mandla the division according to the number of gods worshipped exists as in Chanda; but many Gonds have forgotten all particulars as to the gods, and say only that those septs which worship
11 TOTEMISM 67
the same number of gods are b/zaiband, or related to each other, and therefore cannot intermarry. In Betfil the division by numbers of gods appears to be wholly in abeyance. Here certain large septs, especially the Uika and Dhurwa, are subdivided into a number of subsepts, within each of which marriage is prohibited.
Many of the septs are named after animals and plants. r3. TotemAmong the commonest septs in all Districts are Markam, 15m’ the mango tree; Tekam, the teak tree; Netam, the dog; Irpachi, the mahua tree; Tumrachi, the tendu tree; Warkara, the wild cat, and so on. Generally the members of a sept do not kill or injure their totem animals, but the rule is not always observed, and in some cases they now have some other object of veneration, possibly because they have forgotten the meaning of the sept name, or the object after which it is named has ceased to be sacred. Thus the Markam sept, though named after the mango, now venerate the tortoise, and this is also the case with the Netam sept in Bastar, though named after the dog. In Bastar a man revering the tortoise, though he will not catch the animal himself, will get one of his friends to catch it, and one revering the goat, if he wishes to kill a goat for a feast, will kill it not at his own house but at a friend’s. The meaning of the important sept names Marabi, Dhurwa and Uika has not been ascertained, and the members of the sept do not know it. In Mandla the Marabi sept are divided into the Eti Marabi and Padi Marabi, named after the goat and pig. The Eti or goat Marabi will not touch a goat nor sacrifice one to Bura Deo. They say that once their ancestors stole a goat and were caught by the owner, when they put a basket over it and prayed Bura Deo to change it into a pig, which he did. Therefore they sacrifice only pigs to Bura Deo, but apparently the Padi Marabi also both sacrifice and eat pigs. The Dhurwa sept are divided into the Tumrachi and Nabalia Dhurwa, named after the tendu tree and the dwarf date-palm. The Nabalia Dhurwas will not cut a dwarf date-palm nor eat its fruit. They worship Bura Deo in this tree instead of in the saj tree, making an iron doll to represent him and covering it with palm-leaves. The Uika sept in Mandla say that they revere no animal or plant, and can eat any animal
14. Connection of totemism with the gods.
or cut down any plant except the så tree, the tree of Bura
1 Boswellia serrata. * Semecarpus anacardian.
II CONNECTION OF TOTEMISM WITH THE GODS 69
Jaglya. One who keeps awake, or the awakener. The first ancestor stayed awake the whole night in the Deo-khulla, or god's threshing-floor. Sariyām. (Sarri, a path.) The first ancestor swept the path to the Deo-khulla. Guddam. Gudda is a place where a hen lays her eggs. The first ancestor's hen laid eggs in the Deo-khulla. Impāchi. The mahua tree. A mahua tree grew in the Deo-khulla or worshipping-place of this sept. Admachi. The dhaura tree." The first ancestor worshipped his gods under a dhaura tree. Members of the sept do not cut this tree nor burn its wood. Sarāti Dhurwa. (Sarāti, a whip.) The first ancestor whipped the priest of the gods. Suibadiwa. (Sui, a porcupine.) The first ancestor's wife had a porcupine which went and ate the crop of an old man's field. He tried to catch it, but it went back to her. He asked the name of her sept, and not being able to find it out called it Suibadiwa. Watka. (A stone.) Members of this sept worship five stones for their gods. Some say that the first ancestors were young boys who forgot where the Deo-khulla was and therefore set up five stones and offered a chicken to them. As they did not offer the usual sacrifice of a goat, members of this sept abstain from eating goats. Tumrecha Utka. (The tendu tree.") It is said that the original ancestor of this sept was walking in the forest with his pregnant wife. She saw some tendu fruit and longed for it and he gave it to her to eat. Perhaps the original idea may have been that she conceived through swallowing a tendu fruit. Members of this sept eat the fruit of the tendu tree, but do not cut the tree nor make any use of its leaves or branches. Tumdan Uika. Tumdan is a kind of pumpkin or gourd. They say that this plant grows in their Deo-khulla. The members drink water out of this gourd in the house, but do not carry it out of the house. Kadfa-chor Uika. (Stealer of the kadfa) Kadfa is the sheaf of grain left standing in the field for the gods when
* Anogeissus latifolia. * Diosypyros tomentosa.
the crop is cut. The first ancestor stole the kadfa and offered it to his gods. Gadhamār Utka. (Donkey-slayer.) Some say that the gods of the sept came to the Deo-khulla riding on donkeys, and others that the first ancestor killed a donkey in the Deo-khulla. Eti-kumra. Eti is a goat. The ancestors of the sept used to sacrifice a Brähman boy to their gods. Once they were caught in the act by the parents of the boy they had stolen, and they prayed to the gods to save them, and the boy was turned into a goat. They do not kill a goat nor eat its flesh, nor sacrifice it to the gods. Ahke. This word means ‘on the other side of a river.’ They say that a man of the Dhurwa sept abducted a girl of the Uika sept from the other side of a river and founded this sept. Tirgåm. The word means fire. They say that their ancestor's hand was burnt in the Deo-khulla while cooking the sacrifice. Tekām. (The teak tree.) The ancestor of the sept had his gods in this tree. Members of the sept will not eat food off teak leaves, but they will use them for thatching, and also cut the tree. Manapa. In Gondi mani is a son and apa a father. They say that their ancestors sacrificed a Brähman father and son to their gods and were saved by their being turned into goats like the Eti-kumra sept. Members of the sept do not kill or eat a goat. Korpachi. The droppings of a hen. The ancestors of the sept offered these to his gods. Mandani. The female organ of generation. The ancestor of the sept slept with his wife in the Deo-khulla. Paiyām. Paiya is a heifer which has not borne a calf, such as is offered to the gods. Other Gonds say that the people of this sept have no gods. They are said not only to marry a girl from any other subsept of the Dhurwas and Uikas, but from their own sept and even their own sisters, though this is probably no longer true. They are held to be the lowest of the Gonds. Except in this instance, as already seen, the subsepts of the Dhurwa and Uika septs do not intermarry with each other.