The Tribes and Castes of the Central Provinces of India, Volume 3


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For the purposes of marriage the caste is divided into exogamous groups or bargas , the names of which are usually titles or designations of offices. Marriage within the barga is prohibited. When the bride is brought to the altar in the marriage ceremony, she throws a garland of jasmine flowers on the neck of the bridegroom. But it probably has no connection with this and merely denotes the fact that the caste are gardeners by profession, similar ceremonies typifying the caste calling being commonly performed at marriages, especially among the Telugu castes.

She is then immediately divorced and disposed of as a widow. Divorce and the remarriage of widows are permitted. A bachelor marrying a widow must first go through the ceremony with a flower. They eat flesh but do not drink liquor. Many of them hold free grants of land in return for their services at the temples. A few are ordinary cultivators. The Kunbi then besought him to save the crops if he could, and he answered that by his magic he could draw off the hail from the rest of the village and concentrate it in his own field, and he agreed to do this if the cultivators would recompense him for his loss.

They say that their ancestor was so named because he killed his brother, and was proclaimed as an outlaw by beat of drum. The marriage of members of the same group is forbidden and also that of the children of two sisters, so long as the relationship between them is remembered. The caste usually celebrate their weddings after those of the Kunbis, on whom they depend for contributions to their expenses.

Widow-marriage is permitted, but the widow sometimes refuses to marry again, and, becoming a Bhagat or devotee, performs long pilgrimages in male attire. Divorce is permitted, but as women are scarce, is rarely resorted to. When a man is at the point of death he is placed in the sitting posture in which he is to be buried, for fear that after death his limbs may become so stiff that they cannot be made to assume it. The corpse is carried to the grave in a cloth coloured with red ochre.

A gourd containing pulse and rice, a pice coin, and a small quantity of any drug to which the deceased may have been addicted in life are placed in the hands, and the grave is filled in with earth and salt. A lamp is lighted on the place where the death occurred, for one night, and on the third day a cocoanut is broken there, after which mourning ends and the house is cleaned. He received the usual presents at seed-time and harvest, and two pice from each tenant on the Basant-Panchmi festival.

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When entreaties fail, he proceeds to threats, saying that he will kill himself, and throws off his clothes. He would also threaten to sacrifice his son, and instances are known of his actually having done so. One is the familiar principle of atonement, the blood being offered to appease the god as a substitute for the crops which he seems about to destroy.

His intention seems rather to have been to lay the guilt of homicide upon the god by slaying somebody in front of his shrine, in case nothing less would move him from his purpose of destroying the crops. The idea is the same as that with which people committed suicide in order that their ghosts might haunt those who had driven them to the act.

He owed a debt of Rs. So he flew into a rage and exclaimed that the gods would do nothing for him even though he was a Bhumka, and he seized his two children and cut off their heads and laid them before the god. When the storm begins he will pick up some hailstones, smear them with his blood and throw them away, telling them to rain over rivers, hills, forests and barren ground. Or he buries one alive and this is supposed to stay the plague. Or if the rice plants do not come into ear a few of them are plucked and offered, and fresh fertile blades then come up. He also has various incantations which are believed to divert the storm or to cause the hailstones to melt into water.

He buries them in a spot beside his hearth, and it is believed that when a hailstorm threatens the grains move about and give out a humming sound like water boiling. The wives know the incantations, but they must not learn them from their husbands, because in that case the husband would be in the position of a guru or spiritual preceptor to his wife and the conjugal relation could no longer continue. The timki is a single hemispherical drum of earthenware; and the sahnai is a sort of bamboo flute.

Nevertheless they are usually employed as village watchmen in accordance with long-standing custom. They are considered as impure and, though not compelled actually to live apart from the village, have usually a separate quarter and are not permitted to draw water from the village well or to enter Hindu temples.

They will admit outsiders of higher rank into the caste, taking from them one or two feasts. They numbered about persons in the Central Provinces in Gandh means incense. There are signs of the cessation of intermarriage between the two groups, but this has not been brought about as yet, probably owing to the paucity of members in the caste and the difficulty of arranging matches.

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When in this state they are believed to drink the blood flowing from goats sacrificed in the temple. For the purposes of marriage the caste is divided into exogamous groups or bargas , the names of which are usually titles or designations of offices. Marriage within the barga is prohibited. When the bride is brought to the altar in the marriage ceremony, she throws a garland of jasmine flowers on the neck of the bridegroom. But it probably has no connection with this and merely denotes the fact that the caste are gardeners by profession, similar ceremonies typifying the caste calling being commonly performed at marriages, especially among the Telugu castes.

She is then immediately divorced and disposed of as a widow. Divorce and the remarriage of widows are permitted. A bachelor marrying a widow must first go through the ceremony with a flower.


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They eat flesh but do not drink liquor. Many of them hold free grants of land in return for their services at the temples. A few are ordinary cultivators. The Kunbi then besought him to save the crops if he could, and he answered that by his magic he could draw off the hail from the rest of the village and concentrate it in his own field, and he agreed to do this if the cultivators would recompense him for his loss.

They say that their ancestor was so named because he killed his brother, and was proclaimed as an outlaw by beat of drum. The marriage of members of the same group is forbidden and also that of the children of two sisters, so long as the relationship between them is remembered. The caste usually celebrate their weddings after those of the Kunbis, on whom they depend for contributions to their expenses.

Widow-marriage is permitted, but the widow sometimes refuses to marry again, and, becoming a Bhagat or devotee, performs long pilgrimages in male attire. Divorce is permitted, but as women are scarce, is rarely resorted to.

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When a man is at the point of death he is placed in the sitting posture in which he is to be buried, for fear that after death his limbs may become so stiff that they cannot be made to assume it. The corpse is carried to the grave in a cloth coloured with red ochre.

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A gourd containing pulse and rice, a pice coin, and a small quantity of any drug to which the deceased may have been addicted in life are placed in the hands, and the grave is filled in with earth and salt. A lamp is lighted on the place where the death occurred, for one night, and on the third day a cocoanut is broken there, after which mourning ends and the house is cleaned. He received the usual presents at seed-time and harvest, and two pice from each tenant on the Basant-Panchmi festival. When entreaties fail, he proceeds to threats, saying that he will kill himself, and throws off his clothes.

He would also threaten to sacrifice his son, and instances are known of his actually having done so. One is the familiar principle of atonement, the blood being offered to appease the god as a substitute for the crops which he seems about to destroy. His intention seems rather to have been to lay the guilt of homicide upon the god by slaying somebody in front of his shrine, in case nothing less would move him from his purpose of destroying the crops.

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The idea is the same as that with which people committed suicide in order that their ghosts might haunt those who had driven them to the act. More information about this seller Contact this seller.

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