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bottle of liquor over the necklace and ring, and the bride's
rock or swing a real baby.
village elders meet on an auspicious day as Monday,
1 The above rite has some resemblance to the test required of the suitors of Penelope in the Odyssey of
bending the bow of Odysseus and
MARRIAGE BY CAPTURE
will be lucky, and take the liquor with them to cement the betrothal ; but if it is bad they think the marriage will be unlucky, and the proposal is dropped. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays are held to be lucky days for marriages, and they are celebrated in the hot-weather months of Baisākh, Jesth and Asār, or April, May and June, or in Pūs (December), and rarely in Māgh (January). A wedding is only held in Kārtik (October) if the bride and bridegroom have already had sexual intercourse, and cannot take place in the rains.
Survivals of the custom of marriage by capture are to be 22. Marfound in many localities. In Bastar the prospective bride- riage by
capture. groom collects a party of his friends and lies in wait for the Weeping
and hiding. girl, and they catch her when she comes out and gets a little distance from her house. The girl cries out, and women of the village come and rescue her and beat the boys with sticks till they have crossed the boundary of the village. The boys neither resist nor retaliate on the women, but simply make off with the girl. When they get home a new cloth is given to her, and the boys have a carouse on rice-beer, and the marriage is considered to be complete. The parents do not interfere, but as a rule the affair is prearranged between the girl and her suitor, and if she really objects to the match they let her go. A similar procedure occurs in Chānda. Other customs which seem to preserve the idea that marriage was once a forcible abduction are those of the bride weeping and hiding, which are found in most Districts. In Bālāghāt the bride and one or two friends go round to the houses of the village and to other villages, all of them crying, and receive presents from their friends. In Wardha the bride is expected to cry continuously for a day and a night before the wedding, to show her unwillingness to leave her family. In Kanker it is said that before marriage the bride is taught to weep in different notes, so that when that part of the ceremony arrives in which weeping is required, she may have the proper note at her command. In Chhindwāra the bridegroom's party go and fetch the bride for the wedding, and on the night before her departure she hides herself in some house in the village. The bridegroom's brother and other men seek all through
the village for her, and when they find her she runs and clings to the post of the house. The bridegroom's brother carries her off by force, and she is taken on a bullock to the bridegroom's house. In Seoni the girl hides in the same manner, and calls out 'Coo, coo,' when they are looking for her. After she is found, the bridegroom's brother carries her round on his back to the houses of his friends in the village, and she weeps at each house. When the bride's party arrive at the bridegroom's village the latter's party meet them and stop them from proceeding further. After waving sticks against each other in a threatening manner they fall on each other's necks and weep. Then two spears are planted to make an arch before the door, and the bridegroom pushes the bride through these from behind, hitting her to make her go through, while she hangs back and feigns reluctance. In Mandla the bride sometimes rides to the wedding on the shoulders of her sister's husband, and it is supposed that she never gets down all
23. Serving The practice of Lamsena, or serving for a wife, is for a wife.
commonly adopted by boys who cannot afford to buy one. The bridegroom serves his prospective father-in-law for an agreed period, usually three to five or even six years, and at its expiry he should be married to the girl without expense. During this time he is not supposed to have access to the girl, but frequently they become intimate, and if this happens the boy may either stay and serve his unexpired term or take his wife away at once ; in the latter case his parents should pay the girl's father Rs. 5 for each year of the bridegroom's unexpired service. The Lamsena custom does not work well as a rule, since the girl's parents can break their contract, and the Lamsena has no means of redress. Sometimes if they are offered a good bride-price they will marry the girl to another suitor when he has served the greater part of his term, and all his work goes for
nothing 24. Widow
The remarriage of widows is freely permitted. As a
rule it is considered suitable that she should marry her riage.
deceased husband's younger brother, but she may not marry his elder brother, and in the south of Bastar and Chānda
the union with the younger brother is also prohibited. In Mandla, if she will not wed the younger brother, on the eleventh day after the husband's death he puts the tarkhi or palm-leaf earrings in her ears, and states that if she marries anybody else he will claim dawa-bunda or compensation. Similarly in Bastar, if an outsider marries the widow, he first goes through a joint ceremony with the younger brother, by which the latter relinquishes his right in favour of the former, The widow must not marry any man whom she could not have taken as her first husband. After her husband's death she resides with her parents, and a price is usually paid to them by any outsider who wishes to
In Bastar there is a fixed sum of Rs. 24, half of which goes to the first husband's family and half to the caste panchāyat. The payment to the panchāyat perhaps comès down from the period when widows were considered the property of the state or the king, and sold by auction for the benefit of the treasury. It is said that the descendants of the Gond Rājas of Chanda still receive a fee of Rs. 1-8 from every Gond widow who is remarried in the territories over which their jurisdiction extended. In Bastar when a widow marries again she has to be transferred from the gods of her first husband's sept to those of her second husband. For this two leaf-cups are filled with water and mahua liquor respectively, and placed with a knife between them. The liquor and water are each poured three times from one cup to the other and back until they are thoroughly mixed, and the mixture is then poured over the heads of the widow and her second husband. This symbolises her transfer to the god of the new sept. In parts of Bastar when a man has been killed by a tiger and his widow marries again, she goes through the ceremony not with her new husband but with a lance, axe or sword, or with a dog. It is thought that the tiger into which her first husband's spirit has entered will try to kill her second husband, but owing to the precaution taken he will either simply carry off the dog or will himself get killed by an axe, sword or lance. In most localities the ceremony of widow-marriage is simple.
Turmeric is rubbed on the bodies of the couple and they may exchange a pair of rings or their clothes. VOL. III
Divorce is freely allowed on various grounds, as for adultery on the wife's part, a quarrelsome disposition, carelessness in the management of household affairs, or if a woman's children continue to die, or she is suspected of being a witch. Divorce is, however, very rare, for in order to get a fresh wife the man would have to pay for another wedding, which few Gonds can afford, and he would also have difficulty in getting a girl to marry him. Therefore he will often overlook even adultery, though a wife's adultery not infrequently leads to murder among the Gonds. In order to divorce his wife the husband sends for a few castemen, takes a piece of straw, spits on it, breaks it in two and throws it away, saying that he has renounced all further connection with his wife. If a woman is suspected of being a witch she often has to leave the village and go to some place where she is not known, and in that case her husband must either divorce her or go with her. There is no regular procedure for a wife divorcing her husband, but she can, if sufficiently young and attractive, take matters into her own hands, and simply leave her husband's house and go and live with some one else. In such a case the man who takes her has to repay to the husband the sum expended by the latter on his marriage, and the panchāyat may even decree that he should pay double the amount. When a divorces his wife he has no liability for her maintenance, and often takes back any ornaments he may have given her. And a man who marries a divorced woman may be expected to pay her husband the expenses of his marriage. Instances are known of a bride disappearing even during the wedding, if she dislikes her partner ; and Mr. Lampard of the Baihir Mission states that one night a Gond wedding party came to his house and asked for the loan of a lantern
to look for the bride who had vanished. 26. Poly
Polygamy is freely allowed, and the few Gonds who can gamy.
afford the expense are fond of taking a number of wives. Wives are very useful for cultivation as they work better than hired servants, and to have several wives is a sign of wealth and dignity. A man who has a number of wives will take them all to the bazār in a body to display his importance. A Gond who had seven wives in Bālāghāt