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war-god, at the village shrine. The animals are examined with jealous eyes by the spectators, to see that they come up to the prescribed standard of excellence. After the sacrifice the meat is divided among the people, who carry it to their homes. These special sacrifices at the shrine recur at intervals; but the great slaughterings are at the feast-giver's own house, where he entertains sometimes the Jast exclusively and sometimes the whole tribe, as already mentioned." Even in the latter case, however, after a big distribution at the giver's house one or two goats are offered to the war-god at his shrine; and while the animals are being killed at the house offerings are made on a sacrificial fire, and as each goat is slain a handful of its blood is taken and thrown on the fire.” The Käfirs would therefore appear to be in the stage when it is still usual to kill domestic animals as a sacrifice to the god, but no longer obligatory. Finally animals are recognised for what they are, all sanctity ceases to attach to them, and they are killed for food in an ordinary manner. Possibly, however, such customs as roasting an ox whole, and the sports of bull-baiting and bullfighting, may be relics of the ancient sacrifice. Formerly the buffaloes sacrificed at the shrine of the goddess Rankini or Kāli in Dalbhüm zamindåri of Chota Nägpur were made to fight. “Two male buffaloes are driven into a small enclosure and on a raised stage adjoining and overlooking it the Rāja and his suite take up their position. After some ceremonies the Rāja and his family priest discharge arrows at the buffaloes, others follow their example, and the tormented and enraged beasts fall to and gore each other whilst arrow after arrow is discharged. When the animals are past doing very much mischief, the people rush in and hack at them with battle-axes till they are dead.”” Muhammadans however cannot eat the flesh of an animal unless its throat is cut and the blood allowed to flow before it dies. At the time of cutting the throat a sacred text or invocation must be repeated. It has been seen that in former times the blood of the animal was offered to the god and scattered on the altar or collected in a pit at its
21. Animal fights.
22. The sacrificial method of killing.
| Sir G. Robertson, Kāfirs of the * Ibidem, p. 460. Hindu Kush, pp. 450, 451. * Dalton, Ethnology of Bengal, p. 176.
foot. It may be suggested that the method of killing which still survives was that formerly practised in offering the sacrifice, and that the necessity of allowing the blood to flow is a relic of the blood offering. When it no longer became necessary to sacrifice every animal at a shrine the sacrificial method of slaughter and the invocation to the god might be retained as removing the impiety of the act. At present it is said that unless an animal's blood flows it is a murda or corpse, and hence not suitable for food. But this idea may have grown up to account for the custom when its original meaning had been forgotten. The Gonds, when sacrificing a fowl, hold it over the sacred post or stone, which represents the god, and let the blood drop upon it. And when sacrificing a pig they first cut its tongue and let the blood fall upon the symbol of the god. In Chhattisgarh, when a Hindu is ill he makes a vow of the affected limb to the god; then on recovering he goes to the temple, and cutting this limb, lets the blood fall on to the symbol of the god as an offering. Similarly the Sikhs are forbidden to eat flesh unless the animal has been killed by fatka or cutting off the head with one stroke, and the same rule is observed by some of the lower Hindu castes. In Hindu sacrifices it is often customary that the head of the animal should be made over to the officiating priest as his share, and so in killing the animal he would naturally cut off its head. The above rule may therefore be of the same character as the rite of halal among the Muhammadans, and here also the sacrificial method of killing an animal may be retained to legalise its slaughter after the sacrifice itself has fallen into desuetude. In Berär some time ago the Mullah or Muhammadan priest was a village servant and the Hindus paid him dues. In return he was accustomed to kill the goats and sheep which they wished to sacrifice at temples, or in their fields to propitiate the deities presiding over them. He also killed animals for the Khatik or mutton-butcher and the latter exposed them for sale. The Mullah was entitled to the heart of the animal killed as his perquisite and a fee of two pice. Some of the Marāthas were unmindful of the ceremony, but in general they professed not to eat flesh unless the sacred verse had been pronounced either by the Mullah or some Muhammadan capable of rendering it halāl 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. Among high-caste Hindus also sacrifices, including the killing of cows, were at one time legal. This is shown by 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 Marā-
refused to eat animals not killed by
* V. A. Smith, Asoka, p. 56.
ii KASAR 369
sanctity of animal life even after it had ceased to be the state religion. Perhaps the Brähmans 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 caste of makers and sellers of brass and copper vessels. In 1911 the Kasārs numbered 20,000 persons in the Central 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 kānsa, a term now applied to bell-metal. The kindred caste of Tameras take their name from tâmba, 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 Nägpur. The Kasārs are a respectable caste, ranking next to the Sunärs among the urban craftsmen.
1 This article is compiled from Mr. Deodatta Nāmdār, Manager, papers by Mr. Rājarām Gangadhar, Court of Wards, Chauri. Tahsildar, Arvi; Mr. Sadāsheo Jairām, * Crooke's Tribes and Castes, art. Sanskrit Professor, Hislop College; and Thathera.
VOL. III 2 B
1. Distribution and origin of the caste.
According to a legend given by Mr. Sadāsheo Jairām they trace their origin from Dharampål, 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 Räjpüts 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 ban, 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 Dharampål, the Rājput founder of their caste, was the ancestor of the Haihaya Rājpüt 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. Hira Lål, 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
2. Internal Structure.
1 Crooke's art. Thathera.