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II. Social rules.
Make a beautiful garden for me to see my king.
The next is a love-song by a woman :
How has your countenance changed, my lord P
The last is a dialogue between Rādha and Krishna. Rādha with her maidens was bathing in the river when Krishna stole all their clothes and climbed up a tree with them. Girdhári is a name of Krishna :
R. You and I cannot be friends, Girdhári ; I am wearing a silk-
Polygamy is permitted but is seldom resorted to, except for the sake of offspring. Neither widow-marriage nor divorce are recognised, and either a girl or married woman is expelled from the caste if detected in a liaison. A man may keep a woman of another caste if he does not eat from her hand nor permit her to eat in the chauk or purified place where he and his family take their meals. The practice of keeping women was formerly common but has now been largely suppressed. Women of all castes were kept except Brähmans and Kāyasths. Illegitimate children were known as Dogle or Surăit and called Kāyasths, ranking as
1 These are the occupations of the Kāyasths.
II REL/G/OAV-SOCIAL CUSTOMS 42 I
an inferior group of the caste. And it is not unlikely that in the past the descendants of such irregular unions have been admitted to the Düsre or lower branch of the different subcastes. During the seventh month of a woman's pregnancy a dinner is given to the caste-fellows and songs are sung. After this occasion the woman must not go outside her own village, nor can she go to draw water from a well or to bathe in a tank. She can only go into the street or to another house in her own village. On the sixth day after a birth a dinner is given to the caste and songs are sung. The women bring small silver coins or rupees and place them in the mother's lap. The occasion of the first appearance of the signs of maturity in a girl is not observed at all if she is in her father's house. But if she has gone to her father-in-law's house, she is dressed in new clothes, her hair after being washed is tied up, and she is seated in the chauk or purified space, while the women come and sing songs. The Kāyasths venerate the ordinary Hindu deities. They worship Chitragupta, their divine ancestor, at weddings and at the Holi and Diwāli festivals. Twice a year they venerate the pen and ink, the implements of their profession, to which they owe their great success. The patwāris in Hoshangābād formerly received small fees, known as diwāt Pitja, from the cultivators for worshipping the ink-bottle on their behalf, presumably owing to the idea that, if neglected, it might make a malicious mistake in the record of their rights. The dead are burnt, and the proper offerings are made on the anniversaries, according to the prescribed Hindu ritual. Kāyasth names usually end in Prasād, Singh, Baksh, Sewak, and Lāla in the Central Provinces. Lāla, which is a term of endearment, is often employed as a synonym for the caste. Dāda or uncle is a respectful term of address for Kāyasths. Two names are usually given to a boy, one for ceremonial and the other for ordinary use. The Kāyasths will take food cooked with water from Brähmans, and that cooked without water (pakki) from Rājputs and Banias. Some Hindustâni Brähmans, as well
12. Birth Customs.
14. Social custonS.
I. General notice.
as Khatris and certain classes of Banias, will take pakki food from Kāyasths. Kāyasths of different subcastes will sometimes also take it from each other. They will give the huqqa with the reed in to members of their own subcaste, and without the reed to any Kāyasth. The caste eat the flesh of goats, sheep, fish, and birds. They were formerly somewhat notorious for drinking freely, but a great reform has been effected in this respect by the community itself through the agency of their caste conference, and many are now total abstainers.
The occupations of the Kāyasths have been treated in discussing the origin of the caste. They set the greatest store by their profession of writing and say that the son of a Kāyasth should be either literate or dead. The following is the definition of a Lekhak or writer, a term said to be used for the Kāyasths in Purānic literature:
“In all courts of justice he who is acquainted with the languages of all countries and conversant with all the Shāstras, who can arrange his letters in writing in even and parallel lines, who is possessed of presence of mind, who knows the art of how and what to speak in order to carry out an object in view, who is well versed in all the Shāstras, who can express much thought in short and pithy sentences, who is apt to understand the mind of one when one begins to speak, who knows the different divisions of countries and of time, who is not a slave to his passions, and who is faithful to the king deserves the name and rank of a Lekhak or writer.””
Kewat, Khewat, Kaibartta.”—A caste of fishermen, boatmen, grain-parchers, and cultivators, chiefly found in the Chhattisgarh Districts of Drüg, Raipur, and Bilāspur. They numbered 170,000 persons in 19 II. The Kewats or Kaibarttas, as they are called in Bengal, are the modern representatives of the Kaivartas, a caste mentioned in Hindu classical literature. Sir H. Risley explains the * Geography and Astronomy. Mr. Mahfuz Ali, tahsildăr, Rajnandgaon, Mr. Jowāhir Singh, Settlement Superintendent, Sambalpur, and Mr.
Aduråm Chaudhri of the Gazetteer * This article is based on papers by Office.
II GEAVERAL MOTICE 423
origin of the name as follows: “Concerning the origin of the name Kaibartta there has been considerable difference of opinion. Some derive it from ka, water, and vartta, livelihood; but Lassen says that the use of ka in this sense is extremely unusual in early Sanskrit, and that the true derivation is Kivarta, a corruption of Kimvarta, meaning a person following a low or degrading occupation. This, he adds, would be in keeping with the pedigree assigned to the caste in Manu, where the Kaivarta, also known as Mārgava or Dāsa, is said to have been begotten by a Nishāda father and an Ayogavi mother, and to subsist by his labour in boats. On the other hand, the Brähma-Vaivarta Purāna gives the Kaibartta a Kshatriya father and a Vaishya mother, a far more distinguished parentage; for the Ayogavi having been born from a Südra father and a Vaishya mother is classed as pratiloma, begotten against the hair, or in the inverse order of the precedence of the castes.” The Kewats are a mixed caste. Mr. Crooke says that they merge on one side into the Mallāhs and on the other into the Binds. In the Central Provinces their two principal subdivisions are the Laria and Uriya, or the residents of the Chhattisgarh and Sambalpur plains respectively. The Larias are further split up into the Larias proper, the Kosbon was, who grow kosa or tasar silk cocoons, and the Binjhwārs and Dhuris (grain-parchers). The Binjhwärs are a Hinduised group of the Baiga tribe, and in Bhandāra they have become a separate Hindu caste, dropping the first letter of the name, and being known as Injhwär. The Binjhwār Kewats are a group of the same nature. The Dhuris are grain-parchers, and there is a separate Dhuri caste; but as grain-parching is also a traditional occupation of the Kewats, the Dhuris may be an offshoot from them. The Kewats are so closely connected with the Dhimars that it is difficult to make any distinction; in Chhattisgarh it is said that the Dhimars will not act as ferrymen, while the Kewats will not grow or sell singāra or water-nut. The Dhimars worship their fishingnets on the Akti day, which the Kewats will not do. Both the Kewats and Dhimars are almost certainly derived from the primitive tribes. The Kewats say that formerly the
1 Tribes and Castes of Bengal, art. Kaibartta.
2. Exogamous divisions and marriage.
Hindus would not take water from them ; but on one occasion during his exile Rāma came to them and asked them to ferry him across a river; before doing so they washed his feet and drank the water, and since that time the Hindus have considered them pure and take water from their hands. This story has no doubt been invented to explain the fact that Brähmans will take water from the non-Aryan Kewats, the custom having in reality been adopted as a convenience on account of their employment as palanquin-bearers and indoor servants. But in Saugor, where they are not employed as servants, and also grow san-hemp, their position is distinctly lower and no high caste will take water from them. The caste have also a number of exogamous groups, generally named after plants or animals, or bearing some nickname given to the reputed founder. Instances of the first class are Tüma, a gourd, Karsāyal, a deer, Bhalwa, a bear, Ghughu, an owl, and so on. Members of such a sept abstain from injuring the animal after which the sept is named or eating its flesh; those of the Tüma sept worship a gourd with offerings of milk and a cocoanut at the Holi festival. Instances of titular names are Garhtod, one who destroyed a fort, Jhagarha quarrelsome, Dehri priest, Kāla black, and so on. One sept is named Rāwat, its founder having probably belonged to the grazier caste. Members of this sept must not visit the temple of Mahādeo at Rājim during the annual fair, but give no explanation of the prohibition. Others are the Ahira, also from the Ahir (herdsman) caste; the Rautele, which is the name of a subdivision of Kols and other tribes; and the Sonwāni or ‘gold water’ sept, which is often found among the primitive tribes. In some localities these three have now developed into separate subcastes, marrying among themselves; and if any of their members become Kabirpanthis, the others refuse to eat and intermarry with them. The marriage of members of the same sept is prohibited, and also the union of first cousins. Girls are generally married under ten years of age, but if a suitable husband cannot be found for a daughter, the parents will make her over to any member of the caste who offers himself on condition that he bears the expenses of the