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tended by the children, while the men and women spin and weave the wool and make blankets. Goats are bred in larger numbers than sheep in the Central Provinces, being more commonly used for food and sacrifices, while they are also valuable for their manure. Any Hindu who thinks an animal sacrifice requisite, and objects to a fowl as unclean, will choose a goat; and the animal after being sacrificed provides a feast for the worshippers, his head being the perquisite of the officiating priest. Muhammadans and most castes of Hindus will eat goat's meat when they can afford it. The milk is not popular and there is very little demand for it locally, but it is often sold to the confectioners, and occasionally made into butter and exported. Sheep's flesh is also eaten, but is not so highly esteemed. In the case of both sheep and goats there is a feeling against consuming the flesh of ewes. Sheep are generally black in colour and only occasionally white. Goats are black, white, speckled or reddish-white. Both animals are much smaller than in Europe. Both sheep and goats are in brisk demand in the cotton tracts for their manure in the hot-weather months, and will be kept continually on the move from field to field for a month at a time. It is usual to hire flocks at the rate of one rupee a hundred head for one night; but sometimes the cultivators combine to buy a large flock, and after penning them on their fields in the hot weather, send them to Nāgpur in the beginning of the rains to be disposed of The Gadaria was formerly the bête noir of the cultivator, on account of the risk incurred by the crops from the depredations of his sheep and goats. This is exemplified in the saying: Ahir, Gadaria, Pasi, Yeh tinon satyanasi, or, ‘The Ahir (herdsman), the Gadaria and the Päsi, these three are the husbandmen's foes. And again : Ahir, Gadaria, Giaffar, Yeh tinon chähen ujar,
or ‘The Ahir, the Gadaria and the Güjar want waste land, that is for grazing their flocks. But since the demand for manure has arisen, the Gadaria has become a popular personage
in the village. The shepherds whistle to their flocks to
Marten. stituted for the Marathi word kambli. * A Naturalist on the Prowl, 3rd
guarding him from his great enemy, the cold, for the thermometer is down to 60° Fahrenheit. By-and-by he has a load to carry, so he folds his kammal into a thick pad and puts it on the top of his head. Anon he feels tired, so he lays down his load, and arranging his kammal as a cushion, sits with comfort on a rugged rock or a stony bank, and has a smoke. Or else he rolls himself in it from head to foot, like a mummy, and enjoys a sound sleep on the roadside. It begins to rain, he folds his kammal into an ingenious cowl and is safe. Many inore are its uses. I cannot number them all. Whatever he may be called upon to carry, be it forest produce, or grain or household goods, or his infant child, he will make a bundle of it with his kammal and poise it on his head, or sling it across his back, and trudge away.”
Wool is a material of some sanctity among the Hindus. It is ceremonially pure, and woollen clothing can be worn by Brihmans while eating or performing sacred functions. In many castes the bridegroom at a wedding has a string of wool with a charm tied round his waist. Religious mendicants wear jatas or wigs of sheep’s wool, and often carry woollen charms. The beads used for counting prayers are often of wool. The reason for wool being thus held sacred may be that it was an older kind of clothing used before cotton was introduced, and thus acquired sanctity by being worn at sacrifices. Perhaps the Aryans wore woollen clothing when they entered India.
Gadba, GadabaJ—A primitive tribe classified as Mundari or Kolarian on linguistic grounds. The word Gadba, Surgeon-Major Mitchell states, signifies a person who carries loads on his shoulders. The tribe call themselves Guthau. They belong to the Vizagapatam District of Madras, and in the Central Provinces are found only in the Bastar State, into which they have immigrated to the number of some 700 persons. They speak a Mundari dialect, called Gadba, after their tribal name, and are one of the two Mundari tribes found so far south as Vizagapatam, the other being
8. Sanctity of wool.
1 This article is compiled from an Report on Bastar (Selections from the excellent monographcontributed by Sur- Records of the Government of India in geon-Major Mitchell of Bastar State, the Foreign Department, N0. 39 of with extracts from Colonel Glasfurd’s 1863).
I. Description and structure of the tribe.
the Savars.1 Their tribal organisation is not very strict, and a Bhatra, a Parja, a Muria, or a member of any superior caste may become a Gadba at an expenditure of two or three rupees. The ceremony consists of shaving the body of the novice, irrespective of sex, clean of hair, after which he or she is given to eat rice cooked in the water of the Ganges. This is followed by a feast to the tribe in which a pig must be killed. The Gadbas have totemistic exogamous septs, usually named after animals, as gutal dog, angwdn bear, dungra tortoise, surangai tiger, gumal snake, and so on. -Members of each sept abstain from killing or injuring the animal or plant after which it is named, but they have no scruple in procuring others to do this. Thus if a snake enters the hut of a person belonging to the Gfimal sept, he will call a neighbour of another sept to kill it. He may not touch its carcase with his bare hand, but if he holds it through a piece of rag no sin is incurred.
Marriage is adult, but the rule existing in Madras that a girl is not permitted to marry until she can weave her own cloth does not obtain in the Central Provinces.2 As a rule the parents of the couple arrange the match, but the wishes of the girl are sometimes consulted and various irregular methods of union are recognised. Thus a man is permitted with the help of his friends to go and carry off a girl and keep her as his wife, more especially if she is a relation on the maternal side more distant than a first cousin. Another form is the Paisa Mundi, by which a married or unmarried woman may enter the house of a man of her caste other than her husband and become his wife; and the Upaliya, when a married woman elopes with a lover. The marriage ceremony is simple. The bridegroom’s party go to the girl’s house, leaving the parents behind, and before they reach it are met and stopped by a bevy of young girls and men in their best clothes from the bride’s village. A girl comes forward and demands a ring, which one of the men of the wedding party places on her finger, and they then proceed to the bride’s house, where the bridegroom’s presents, consisting of victuals, liquor, a cloth,
1 India Census Report (1901), p. 2 illadras Census Report (1891), p. 283. 253.
RELIGIOUS BELIEFS AND FESTIVALS 11
and two rupees, are opened and carefully examined. If any deficiency is found, it must at once be made good. The pair eat a little food together, coloured rice is applied to their foreheads, and on the second day a new grass shed is erected, in which some rice is cooked by an unmarried girl. The bride and bridegroom are shut up in this, and two pots of water are poured over them from the roof, the marriage being then consummated. If the girl is not adult this ceremony is omitted. Widow-marriage is permitted by what is called the tika form, by which a few grains of rice coloured with turmeric are placed on the foreheads of the pair and they are considered as man and wife. There is no regular divorce, but if a married woman misbehaves with a man of the caste, the husband goes to him with a few friends and asks whether the story is true, and if the accusation is admitted demands a pig and liquor for himself and his friends as compensation. If these are given he does not turn his wife out of his house. A liaison of a Gadba woman with a man of a superior caste is also said to involve no penalty, but if her paramour is a low-caste man she is excommunicated for ever. In spite of these lax rules, however, Major Mitchell states that the women are usually very devoted to their husbands. Mr. Thurston 1 notes that among the Bonda Gadabas a young man and a maid retire to the jungle and light a fire. Then the maid, taking a burning stick, places it on the man’s skin. If he cries out he is unworthy of her, and she remains a maid. If he does not, the marriage is at once consummated. The application of the brand is probably light or severe according to the girl’s feelings towards the young man.
The Gadbas worship Burhi Mata or Thakurani Mata, who is the goddess of smallpox and rinderpest. They offer to her flowers and incense when these diseases are prevalent among men or cattle, but if the epidemic does not abate after a time, they abuse the goddess and tell her to do her worst, suspending the offerings. They offer a white cock to the sun and a red one to the moon, and various other deities exercise special functions, Bhandarin being the goddess of agriculture and Dharni of good health, while
1 Ethnogra/1/zz’: Notes in Southern India‘, p. 22.
3. Religious beliefs and festivals.