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his sister, niece, aunt or foster-sister. The Julāha or Momin women observe no purda, and are said to be almost unique among Muhammadans in this respect. “The Musalmān' weaver or Julåha,” Sir G. Grierson writes, “is the proverbial fool of Hindu stories and proverbs. He swims in the moonlight across fields of flowering linseed, thinking the blue colour to be caused by water. He hears his family priest reading the Korān, and bursts into tears to the gratification of the reader. When pressed to tell what part affected him most, he says it was not that, but that the wagging beard of the old gentleman so much reminded him of a favourite goat of his which had died. When forming one of a company of twelve he tries to count them and finding himself missing wants to perform his own funeral obsequies. He finds the rear peg of a plough and wants to set up farming on the strength of it. He gets into a boat at night and forgets to pull up the anchor. After rowing till dawn he finds himself where he started, and concludes that the only explanation is that his native village could not bear to lose him and has followed him. If there are eight weavers and nine huqqas, they fight for the odd one. Once on a time a crow carried off to the roof of the house some bread which a weaver had given his child. Before giving the child any more he took the precaution of removing the ladder. Like the English fool he always gets unmerited blows. For instance, he once went to see a ram-fight and got butted himself, as the saying
‘He left his loom to see the fun and for no reason got a bruising. Another story (told by Fallon) is that being told by a soothsayer that it was written in his fate that his nose would be cut off with an axe, the weaver was incredulous and taking up an axe, kept flourishing it, saying— Yom Karba ta gor kāthon
Yom Karba ta hath kä/bon
* This passage is taken from Sir G. Grierson's Peasant Life in Bihār, p. 64.
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‘If I do so I cut off my leg, if I do so I cut off my hand, but unless I do so my no , and his nose was off. Another proverb /ulāha jānathi jo katai, “Does a weaver know how to cut barley, refers to a story (in Fallon) that a weaver unable to pay his debt was set to cut barley by his creditor, who thought to repay himself in this way. But instead of reaping, the stupid fellow kept trying to untwist the tangled barley stems. Other proverbs at his expense are: ‘The Julāha went out to cut the grass at sunset, when even the crows were going home.’ ‘The Julāha's brains are in his backside. His wife bears an equally bad character, as in the proverb: ‘A wilful Julāhin will pull her own father's beard.’”
Kachera, Kachära (from kānch, glass).—The functional caste of makers of glass bangles. The Kacheras numbered 28oo persons in the Central Provinces in 1911, of whom 18oo were found in the Jubbulpore District. The caste say that in former times glass bangles were made only by Turk or Muhammadan Kacheras. The present name of Turkäri is probably derived from Turk. But when Gauri Pârvati was to be married to Mahādeo, she refused to wear the bangles made by a Turkäri. So Mahādeo constructed a vedi or furnace, and from this sprang the first Hindu Kachera, who was employed to make bangles for Pârvati. A later variant of the legend, having a sufficiently obvious deduction, is that Mahādeo did not create a man, but caught hold of a Kshatriya who happened to be present and ordered him to make the bangles. His descendants followed the new profession and thus came to be known as Kacheras. It is a possible conclusion from the story that the art of making glass bangles was introduced by the Muhammadans and, as suggested in the article on Lakhera, it may be the case that Hindu women formerly wore ornaments made of lac.
The exogamous sections of the Kacheras show that the caste is of very mixed origin. Several of them are named
1. Origin of the Caste.
* This article is based on a paper Pottery and Glassware, by Mr. Jowers, by Mr. Pancham Lål, naib-tahsildar, and some information collected by Mr. Murwära, with extracts from the Hira Läl. Central Provinces Monograph on
2. Exogamous groups.
after other castes, as Bharia (forest tribe), Gadaria (shepherd), Sunār, Naua (Nai), Thakurel (Thäkur or Rājpüt), Kachhwāha and Chauhān (septs of Rājpüts), and Kuria or Kori (weaver), and indicate that members of these castes took to the profession of bangle-making and became Kacheras. It may be surmised that, in the first instance perhaps, when the objection to using the product of the Muhammadan workman arose, if the theory of the prior use of lac bangles be correct, members of different castes took to supplying bangles for their own community, and from these in the course of time the Kachera caste was developed. Other names of sections worth mentioning are Jharrāha, one who frets or worries; Kharrāha, a choleric person; Dukesha, one who carries a begging-bowl; Thuthel, a maimed man, and Khajha, one suffering from the itch. The exogamous sections are known as baink. The marriage of persons belonging to the same section and of first cousins is forbidden. Girls are generally married at an early age, as there is a scarcity of women in the caste, and they are snapped up as soon as available. As a natural consequence a considerable bride-price is paid, and the desire of the Kachera to make a profit by the marriage of his daughter is ridiculed in the following saying, supposed to be his prayer: “O God, give me a daughter. In exchange for her I shall get a pair of bullocks and a potful of rupees, and I shall be rich for the rest of my life. As her dowry I shall give her a sickle, a hoe and a spinning-machine, and these will suffice for my daughter to earn her livelihood.” The usual sum paid for a girl is Rs. 50. The marriage ceremony is performed by walking round the sacred pole, and after it the couple try their strength against each other, the bride trying to push a stone pestle on to a slab with her foot and the groom pushing it off with his. At the end of the wedding an omen is taken, a silver ornament known as dhāl" which women wear in the ear being fixed on to a wall and milk poured over it. If the ornament is displaced by the stream of milk and falls down, it is considered that the union will be a happy one. The proceeding perhaps symbolises roughly the birth of a child. The marriage of
* Dhāl means a shield, and the ornament is of this shape.
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widows is permitted, and in consequence of the scarcity of women the widow is usually married to her late husband's younger brother, if there be one, even though he may be only a child. Divorce is permitted. Liaisons within the caste are usually overlooked, but a woman going wrong with an outsider is expelled from the community. The Kacheras commonly burn the dead. They employ Brähmans for ceremonial purposes, but their social status is low and no high caste will take water from them. They eat flesh and fish, and some of them drink liquor, while others have given it up. They have a caste committee or panchāyat for the punishment of social offences, which is headed by officials known as Mālik and Diwān. Their favourite deity is Devi, and in her honour they sow the Jawaras or pots of wheat corresponding to the gardens of Adonis during the nine days prior to the Râmnaomi and Dasahra festivals in March and September. Some of them carry their devotion so far as to grow the plants of wheat on their bodies, sitting in one posture for nine days and almost giving up food and drink. At the Diwāli festival they worship the furnace in which glass bangles are made. The traditional occupation of the caste is the manufacture of glass bangles. They import the glass in lumps from northern India and melt it in their furnace, after which the colouring matter is applied and the ring is turned on a slab of stone. Nearly all Hindu married women have glass bangles, which are broken or removed if their husbands die. But the rule is not universal, and some castes do not wear them at all. Märwäri women have bangles of ivory, and Dhangar (shepherd) women of cocoanut - shell. Women of several castes who engage in labour have glass bangles only on the left wrist and metal ones on the right, as the former are too fragile. Low-caste women sometimes wear the flat, black bangles known as khagga on the upper arm. In many castes the glass bangles are also broken after the birth of a child. Bangles of many colours are made, but Hindus usually prefer black or indigo-blue. Among Hindus of good caste a girl may wear green bangles while she is unmarried; at her wedding black bangles are put on her wrists, and thereafter she may have them of black, blue, red or yellow, but not green. Muhammadans usually wear black or dark-green bangles. A Hindu woman has the same number of bangles on each wrist, not less than five and more if she likes. She will never leave her arms entirely without bangles, as she thinks this would cause her to become a widow. Consequently when a new set are purchased one or two of the old ones are kept on each arm. Similarly among castes who wear lac bangles like Banjäras, five should be worn, and these cover the greater part of the space between the wrist and the elbow. The men of the caste usually stay at home and make the bangles, and the women travel about to the different village markets, carrying their wares on little ponies if they can afford them. It is necessary that the seller of bangles should be a woman, as she has to assist her customers to work them on to their wrists, and also display her goods to high-caste women behind the purda in their homes. The Kacheras' bangles are very cheap, from two to fourteen being obtainable for a pice (farthing), according to quality. Many are also broken, and the seller has to bear the loss of all those broken when the purchaser is putting them on, which may amount to 30 per cent. And though an improvement on the old lac bangles, the colours are very dull, and bracelets of better and more transparent glass imported from Austria now find a large sale and tend to oust the indigenous product. The Kachera, therefore, is, as a rule, far from prosperous. The incessant bending over the furnace tends to undermine his constitution and often ruins his eyesight. There is in fact a Hindi saying to the effect that, “When the Kachera has a son the rejoicings are held in the Kundera's (turner's) house. For he will go blind and then he will find nothing else to do but turn the Kundera's lathe.”