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capable of rendering it halál or lawful to be eaten. Hence it would appear that the Hindus, unprovided by their own religion with any sacrificial mode of legalising the slaughter of animals, adopted the ritual of a foreign faith in order to make animal sacrifices acceptable to their own deities. The belief that it is sinful to kill a domestic animal except with
some religious sanction is thus clearly shown in full force. 23. Animal
Among high-caste Hindus also sacrifices, including the sacrifices in Indian
killing of cows, were at one time legal. This is shown by ritual. several legends, and is also a historical fact. One of
Asoka's royal edicts prohibited at the capital the celebration of animal sacrifices and merry-makings involving the use of meat, but in the provinces apparently they continued to be lawful. This indicates that prior to the rise of Buddhism such sacrifices had been customary, and also that when a feast was to be given, involving the consumption of meat, the animal was offered as a sacrifice. It is noteworthy that Asoka's rules do not forbid the slaughter of cows. In ancient times also the most important royal sacrifice was that of the horse. The development of religious belief and practice in connection with the killing of domestic animals has thus proceeded on exactly opposite lines in India as compared with most of the world. Domestic animals have become more instead of less sacred and several of them cannot be killed at all. The reason usually given to account for this is the belief in the transmigration of souls, leading to the conclusion that the bodies of animals might be tenanted by human souls. Probably also Buddhism left powerful traces of its influence on the Hindu view of the
1 Grant-Duff, History of the Marāthas, vol. i. p. 27. Mr. Hīra Lāl notes that owing to the predominance of Muhammadans in Berār the practice of slaughtering all animals by the method of halāl and the regular employment of the Mullah to pronounce the sacred text before slaughter may have grown up for their convenience. And, as in other instances, the Hindus may have simply imitated the Muhammadans in regarding this method of slaughter as necessary.
This however scarcely seems to impair the force of the argument if the Hindus actually
refused to eat animals not killed by
2 Vide article on Mochi.
sanctity of animal life even after it had ceased to be the state religion. Perhaps the Brāhmans desired to make their faith more popular and took advantage of the favourite reverence of all cultivators for the cow to exalt her into one of their most powerful deities, and at the same time to extend the local cult of Krishna, the divine cowherd, thus following exactly the contrary course to that taken by Moses with the golden calf. Generally the growth of political and national feeling has mainly operated to limit the influence of the priesthood, and the spread of education and development of reasoned criticism and discussion have softened the strictness of religious observance and ritual. Both these factors have been almost entirely wanting in Hindu society, and this perhaps explains the continued sanctity attaching to the lives of domestic animals as well as the unabated power of the caste system.
Kasār, Kasera, Kansari, Bharewa. —The professional 1. Districaste of makers and sellers of brass and copper vessels.
In bution and
origin of 1911 the Kasārs numbered 20,000 persons in the Central the caste. Provinces and Berār, and were distributed over all Districts, except in the Jubbulpore division, where they are scarcely found outside Mandla. Their place in the other Districts of this division is taken by the Tameras. In Mandla the Kasārs are represented by the inferior Bharewa group. The name of the caste is derived from känsa, a term now applied to bell-metal. The kindred caste of Tameras take their name from tõmba, copper, but both castes work in this metal indifferently, and in Saugor, Damoh and Jubbulpore no distinction exists between the Kasārs and Tameras, the same caste being known by both names. A similar confusion exists in northern India in the use of the corresponding terms Kasera and Thathera.” In Wardha the Kasārs are no longer artificers, but only dealers, employing Panchāls to make the vessels which they retail in their shops. And the same is the case with the Marātha and Deshkar subcastes in Nāgpur.
The Kasārs are a respectable caste, ranking next to the Sunārs among the urban craftsmen.
1 This article is compiled from Mr. Deodatta Nāmdār, Manager, papers by Mr. Rājarām Gangādhar, Court of Wards, Chauri. Tahsīldār, Arvi ; Mr. Sadāsheo Jairām, 2 Crooke's Tribes and Castes, art. Sanskrit Professor, Hislop College; and Thathera. VOL. III
According to a legend given by Mr. Sadāsheo Jairām they trace their origin from Dharampāl, the son of Sahasra Arjun or Arjun of the Thousand Arms. Arjun was the greatgrandson of Ekshvaku, who was born in the forests of Kalinga, from the union of a mare and a snake. On this account the Kasārs of the Marātha country say that they all belong to the Ahihaya clan (Ahi, a snake; and Haya, a mare). Arjun was killed by Parasurāma during the slaughter of the Kshatriyas and Dharampāl's mother escaped with three other pregnant women. According to another version all the four women were the wives of the king of the Somvansi Rājpūts who stole the sacred cow Kāmdhenu. Their four sons on growing up wished to avenge their father and prayed to the Goddess Kāli for weapons. But unfortunately in their prayer, instead of saying bān, arrow, they said vān, which means pot, and hence brass pots were given to them instead of arrows. They set out to sell the pots, but got involved in a quarrel with a Rāja, who killed three of them, but was defeated by the fourth, to whom he afterwards gave his daughter and half his kingdom; and this hero became the ancestor of the Kasārs. In some localities the Kasārs say that Dharampāl, the Rājpūt founder of their caste, was the ancestor of the Haihaya Rājpūt kings of Ratanpur; and it is noticeable that the Thatheras of the United Provinces state that their original home was a place called Ratanpur, in the Deccan. Both Ratanpur and Mandla, which are very old towns, have important brass and bell-metal industries, their bell-metal wares being especially well known on account of the brilliant polish which is imparted to them. And the story of the Kasārs may well indicate, as suggested by Mr. Hīra Lāl, that Ratanpur was a very early centre of the brass-working industry, from which it has spread to other localities in this part of India.
The caste have a number of subdivisions, mainly of a territorial nature. Among these are the Marātha Kasārs ; the Deshkar, who also belong to the Marātha country ; the Pardeshi or foreigners, the Jhāde or residents of the forest country of the Central Provinces, and the Audhia or
1 Crooke's art. Thathera.
2. Internal structure.