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Title: Castes and Tribes of Southern India - Vol. 3 of 7
Author: Thurston, Edgar, 1855-1935
Language: English
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                           CASTES AND TRIBES
                                   OF
                             SOUTHERN INDIA

                                   By

                        EDGAR THURSTON, C.I.E.,

   Superintendent, Madras Government Museum; Correspondant Étranger,
    Société d'Anthropologie de Paris; Socio Corrispondante, Societa,
                        Romana di Anthropologia.

                              Assisted by

                          K. Rangachari, M.A.,
                    of the Madras Government Museum.



                             Volume III--K

                        Government Press, Madras

                                 1909.



                  CASTES AND TRIBES OF SOUTHERN INDIA.

                              VOLUME III.


K


Kabbera.--The Kabberas are a caste of Canarese fishermen and
cultivators. "They are," Mr. W. Francis writes, [1] "grouped into
two divisions, the Gaurimakkalu or sons of Gauri (Parvati) and the
Gangimakkalu or sons of Ganga, the goddess of water, and they do not
intermarry, but will dine together. Each has its bedagus (exogamous
septs), and these seem to be different in the two sub-divisions. The
Gaurimakkalu are scarce in Bellary, and belong chiefly to Mysore. They
seem to be higher in the social scale (as such things are measured
among Hindus) than the Gangimakkalu, as they employ Brahmans as
priests instead of men of their own caste, burn their dead instead of
burying them, hold annual ceremonies in memory of them, and prohibit
the remarriage of widows. The Gangimakkalu were apparently engaged
originally in all the pursuits connected with water, such as propelling
boats, catching fish, and so forth, and they are especially numerous
in villages along the banks of the Tungabhadra." Coracles are still
used on various South Indian rivers, e.g., the Cauvery, Bhavani,
and Tungabhadra. Tavernier, on his way to Golgonda, wrote that
"the boats employed in crossing the river are like large baskets,
covered outside with ox-hides, at the bottom of which some faggots
are placed, upon which carpets are spread to put the baggage and
goods upon, for fear they should get wet." Bishop Whitehead has
recently [2] placed on record his experiences of coracles as a means
of conveyance. "We embarked," he writes, "in a boat (at Hampi on the
Tungabhadra) which exactly corresponds to my idea of the coracle of
the ancient Britons. It consists of a very large, round wicker basket,
about eight or nine feet in diameter, covered over with leather,
and propelled by paddles. As a rule, it spins round and round, but
the boatmen can keep it fairly straight, when exhorted to do so,
as they were on this occasion. Some straw had been placed in the
bottom of the coracle, and we were also allowed the luxury of chairs
to sit upon, but it is safer to sit on the straw, as a chair in a
coracle is generally in a state of unstable equilibrium. I remember
once crossing a river in the Trichinopoly district in a coracle, to
take a confirmation at a village on the other side. It was thought
more suitable to the dignity of the occasion that I should sit upon
a chair in the middle of the coracle, and I weakly consented to do
so. All the villagers were assembled to meet us on the opposite bank;
four policemen were drawn up as a guard of honour, and a brass band,
brought from Tanjore, stood ready in the background. As we came to the
shore, the villagers salaamed, the guard of honour saluted, the band
struck up a tune faintly resembling 'See the conquering hero comes,'
the coracle bumped heavily against the shelving bank, my chair tipped
up, and I was deposited, heels up, on my back in the straw!... We were
rowed for about two miles down the stream. The current was very swift,
and there were rapids at frequent intervals. Darkness overtook us,
and it was not altogether a pleasant sensation being whirled swiftly
over the rapids in our frail-looking boat, with ugly rocks jutting out
of the stream on either side. But the boatmen seemed to know the river
perfectly, and were extraordinarily expert in steering the coracle
with their paddles." The arrival in 1847 of the American Missionary,
John Eddy Chandler at Madura, when the Vaigai river was in flood, has
been described as follows. [3] "Coolies swimming the river brought
bread and notes from the brethren and sisters in the city. At last,
after three days of waiting, the new Missionaries safely reached
the mission premises in Madura. Messrs. Rendall and Cherry managed
to cross to them, and they all recrossed into the city by a large
basket boat, eight or ten feet in diameter, with a bamboo pole tied
across the top for them to hold on to. The outside was covered with
leather. Ropes attached to all sides were held by a dozen coolies
as they dragged it across, walking and swimming." In recent years,
a coracle has been kept at the traveller's bungalow at Paikara on
the Nilgiris for the use of anglers in the Paikara river.

"The Kabberas," Mr. Francis continues, "are at present engaged in a
number of callings, and, perhaps in consequence, several occupational
sub-divisions have arisen, the members of which are more often
known by their occupational title than as either Gangimakkalu or
Kabberas. The Barikes, for example, are a class of village servants
who keep the village chavadi (caste meeting house) clean, look
after the wants of officials halting in the village, and do other
similar duties. The Jalakaras are washers of gold-dust; the Madderu
are dyers, who use the root of the maddi (Morinda citrifolia) tree;
and apparently (the point is one which I have not had time to clear
up) the Besthas, who have often been treated as a separate caste,
are really a sub-division of the Gangimakkalu, who were originally
palanquin-bearers, but, now that these vehicles have gone out of
fashion, are employed in divers other ways. The betrothal is formally
evidenced by the partaking of betel-leaf in the girl's house, in the
manner followed by the Kurubas. As among the Madigas, the marriage
is not consummated for three months after its celebration. The caste
follow the Kuruba ceremony of calling back the dead." Consummation is,
as among the Kurubas and Madigas, postponed for three months, as it
is considered unlucky to have three heads of a family in a household
during the first year of marriage. By the delay, the birth of a child
should take place only in the second year, so that, during the first
year, there will be only two heads, husband and wife. In the ceremony
of calling back the dead, referred to by Mr. Francis, a pot of water
is worshipped in the house on the eleventh day after a funeral,
and taken next morning to some lonely place, where it is emptied.

For the following note on the Kabberas of the Bellary district, I
am indebted to Mr. Kothandram Naidu. The caste is sometimes called
Ambiga. Breaches of caste rules and customs are enquired into by a
panchayat presided over by a headman called Kattemaniavaru. If the fine
inflicted on the offender is a heavy one, half goes to the headman,
and half to the caste people, who spend it in drink. In serious cases,
the offender has to be purified by shaving and drinking holy water
(thirtam) given to him by the headman. Both infant and adult marriage
are practiced. Sexual license previous to marriage is tolerated, but,
before that takes place, the contracting couple have to pay a fine
to the headman. At the marriage ceremony, the tali is tied on the
bride's neck by a Brahman. Married women carry painted new pots with
lights, bathe the bride and bridegroom, etc. Widows are remarried
with a ceremonial called Udiki, which is performed at night in a
temple by widows, one of whom ties the tali. No married men or women
may be present, and music is not allowed. Divorce is said to be not
permitted. In religion the Kabberas are Vaishnavites, and worship
various village deities. The dead are buried. Cloths and food are
offered to ancestors during the Dasara festival, excepting those who
have died a violent death. Some unmarried girls are dedicated to the
goddess Hulugamma as Basavis (dedicated prostitutes).

Concerning an agricultural ceremony in the Bellary district, in which
the Kabberas take part, I gather that "on the first full-moon day
in the month of Bhadrapada (September), the agricultural population
celebrate a feast called Jokumara, to appease the rain-god. The Barikas
(women), who are a sub-division of the Kabbera caste belonging to the
Gaurimakkalu section, go round the town or village in which they live,
with a basket on their heads containing margosa (Melia Azadirachta)
leaves, flowers of various kinds, and holy ashes. They beg alms,
especially of the cultivating classes (Kapus), and, in return for
the alms bestowed (usually grain and food), they give some of the
margosa leaves, flowers, and ashes. The Kapus, or cultivators, take
the margosa leaves, flowers, and ashes to their fields, prepare cholum
(Andropogon Sorghum) kanji, mix these with it, and sprinkle this kanji,
or gruel, all round their fields. After this, the Kapu proceeds to
the potter's kiln in the village or town, fetches ashes from it, and
makes a figure of a human being. This figure is placed prominently
in some convenient spot in the field, and is called Jokumara, or
rain-god. It is supposed to have the power of bringing down the rain
in proper time. The figure is sometimes small, and sometimes big." [4]

Kabbili.--Kabbili or Kabliga, recorded as a sub-division of Bestha,
is probably a variant of Kabbera.

Kadacchil (knife-grinder or cutler).--A sub-division of Kollan.

Kadaiyan.--The name, Kadaiyan, meaning last or lowest, occurs as a
sub-division of the Pallans. The Kadaiyans are described [5] as being
lime (shell) gatherers and burners of Ramesvaram and the neighbourhood,
from whose ranks the pearl-divers are in part recruited at the present
day. On the coasts of Madura and Tinnevelly they are mainly Christians,
and are said, like the Paravas, to have been converted through the
work of St. Francis Xavier. [6]

Kadaperi.--A sub-division of Kannadiyan.

Kadavala (pots).--An exogamous sept of Padma Sale.

Kadi (blade of grass).--A gotra of Kurni.

Kadir.--The Kadirs or Kadans inhabit the Anaimalai or elephant
hills, and the great mountain range which extends thence southward
into Travancore. A night journey by rail to Coimbatore, and forty
miles by road at the mercy of a typically obstinate jutka pony,
which landed me in a dense patch of prickly-pear (Opuntia Dillenii),
brought me to the foot of the hills at Sethumadai, where I came under
the kindly hospitality of Mr. H. A. Gass, Conservator of Forests, to
whom I am indebted for much information on forest and tribal matters
gathered during our camp life at Mount Stuart, situated 2,350 feet
above sea-level, in the midst of a dense bamboo jungle, and playfully
named after Sir Mountstuart Grant Duff, who visited the spot during
his quinquennium as Governor of Madras.

At Sethumadai I made the acquaintance of my first Kadir, not dressed,
as I hoped, in a primitive garb of leaves, but wearing a coloured
turban and the cast-off red coat of a British soldier, who had come
down the hill to carry up my camp bath, which acted as an excellent
umbrella, to protect him from the driving monsoon showers. Very
glad was I of his services in helping to convey my clothed, and
consequently helpless self, across the mountain torrents, swollen by
a recent burst of monsoon rain.

The Kadir forest guards, of whom there are several in Government
service, looked, except for their noses, very unjungle-like by
contrast with their fellow-tribesmen, being smartly dressed in
regulation Norfolk jacket, knickerbockers, pattis (leggings), buttons,
and accoutrements.

On arrival at the forest depôt, with its comfortable bungalows and
Kadir settlement, I was told by a native servant that his master was
away, as an "elephant done tumble in a fit." My memory went back to
the occasion many years ago, when, as a medical student, I took part
in the autopsy of an elephant, which died in convulsions at the London
Zoological Gardens. It transpired later in the day that a young and
grown-up cow elephant had tumbled, not in a fit, but into a pit made
with hands for the express purpose of catching elephants. The story
has a philological significance, and illustrates the difficulty which
the Tamulian experiences in dealing with the letter F. An incident
is still cherished at Mount Stuart in connection with a sporting
globe-trotter, who was accredited to the Conservator of Forests for
the purpose of putting him on to "bison" (the gaur, Bos gaurus), and
other big game. On arrival at the depôt, he was informed that his
host had gone to see the "ellipence." Incapable of translating the
pigeon-English of the native butler, and, concluding that a financial
reckoning was being suggested, he ordered the servant to pay the
baggage coolies their elli-pence, and send them away. To a crusted
Anglo-Indian it is clear that ellipence could only mean elephants. Sir
M. E. Grant Duff tells [7] the following story of a man, who was
shooting on the Anaimalais. In his camp was an elephant, who, in the
middle of the night, began to eat the thatch of the hut, in which he
was sleeping. His servant in alarm rushed in and awoke him, saying
"Elephant, Sahib, must, must (mad)." The sleeper, half-waking and
rolling over, replied "Oh, bother the elephant. Tell him he mustn't."

The salient characteristics of the Kadirs may be briefly summed up
as follows: short stature, dark skin, platyrhine. Men and women have
the teeth chipped. Women wear a bamboo comb in the back-hair. Those
whom I met spoke a Tamil patois, running up the scale in talking,
and finishing, like a Suffolker, on a higher note than they commenced
on. But I am told that some of them speak a mixture of debased Tamil
and Malayalam. I am informed by Mr. Vincent that the Kadirs have
a peculiar word Ali, denoting apparently a fellow or thing, which
they apply as a suffix to names, e.g., Karaman Ali, black fellow;
Mudi Ali, hairy fellow; Kutti Ali, man with a knife; Puv Ali, man
with a flower. Among nicknames, the following occur: white mother,
white flower, beauty, tiger, milk, virgin, love, breasts. The Kadirs
are excellent mimics, and give a clever imitation of the mode of
speech of the Muduvans, Malasars, and other hill tribes.

The Kadirs afford a typical example of happiness without
culture. Unspoiled by education, the advancing wave of which has not
yet engulfed them, they still retain many of their simple "manners
and customs." Quite refreshing was it to hear the hearty shrieks of
laughter of the nude curly-haired children, wholly illiterate, and
happy in their ignorance, as they played at funerals, or indulged in
the amusement of making mud pies, and scampered off to their huts
on my appearance. The uncultured Kadir, living a hardy out-door
life, and capable of appreciating to the full the enjoyment of an
"apathetic rest" as perfect bliss, has, I am convinced, in many
ways, the advantage over the poor under-fed student with a small-paid
appointment under Government as the narrow goal to which the laborious
passing of examination tests leads.

Living an isolated existence, confined within the thinly-populated
jungle, where Nature furnishes the means of obtaining all the
necessaries of life, the Kadir possesses little, if any, knowledge of
cultivation, and objects to doing work with a mamuti, the instrument
which serves the gardener in the triple capacity of spade, rake,
and hoe. But armed with a keen-edged bill-hook he is immense. As
Mr. O. H. Bensley says: [8] "The axiom that the less civilised men
are, the more they are able to do every thing for themselves, is well
illustrated by the hill-man, who is full of resource. Give him a simple
bill-hook, and what wonders he will perform. He will build houses out
of etâh, so neat and comfortable as to be positively luxurious. He
will bridge a stream with canes and branches. He will make a raft
out of bamboo, a carving knife out of etâh, a comb out of bamboo, a
fishing-line out of fibre, and fire from dry wood. He will find food
for you where you think you must starve, and show you the branch which,
if cut, will give you drink. He will set traps for beasts and birds,
which are more effective than some of the most elaborate products of
machinery." A European, overtaken by night in the jungle, unable to
light fire by friction or to climb trees to gather fruits, ignorant
of the edible roots and berries, and afraid of wild beasts, would,
in the absence of comforts, be quite as unhappy and ill-at-ease as
a Kadir surrounded by plenty at an official dinner party.

At the forest depôt the Kadir settlement consists of neatly constructed
huts, made of bamboo deftly split with a bill-hook in their long
axis, thatched with leaves of the teak tree (Tectona grandis)
and bamboo (Ochlandra travancorica), and divided off into verandah
and compartments by means of bamboo partitions. But the Kadirs are
essentially nomad in habit, living in small communities, and shifting
from place to place in the jungle, whence they suddenly re-appear as
casually as if they had only returned from a morning stroll instead
of a long camping expedition. When wandering in the jungle, the
Kadirs make a rough lean-to shed covered over with leaves, and keep a
small fire burning through the night, to keep off bears, elephants,
tigers, and leopards. They are, I am told, fond of dogs, which they
keep chiefly as a protection against wild beasts at night. The camp
fire is lighted by means of a flint and the floss of the silk-cotton
tree (Bombax malabaricum), over which powdered charcoal has been
rubbed. Like the Kurumbas, the Kadirs are not, in a general way,
afraid of elephants, but are careful to get out of the way of a cow
with young, or a solitary rover, which may mean mischief. On the day
following my descent from Mount Stuart, an Odde cooly woman was killed
on the ghat road by a solitary tusker. Familiarity with wild beasts,
and comparative immunity from accident, have bred contempt for them,
and the Kadirs will go where the European, fresh to elephant land,
fears to tread, or conjures every creak of a bamboo into the approach
of a charging tusker. As an example of pluck worthy of a place in
Kipling's 'Jungle-book,' I may cite the case of a hill-man and his
wife, who, overtaken by night in the jungle, decided to pass it on
a rock. As they slept, a tiger carried off the woman. Hearing her
shrieks, the sleeping man awoke, and followed in pursuit in the vain
hope of saving his wife. Coming on the beast in possession of the
mangled corpse, he killed it at close quarters with a spear. Yet he
was wholly unconscious that he had performed an act of heroism worthy
of the bronze cross 'for valour.'

The Kadirs carry loads strapped on the back over the shoulders by
means of fibre, instead of on the head in the manner customary among
coolies in the plains; and women on the march may be seen carrying the
cooking utensils on their backs, and often have a child strapped on
the top of their household goods. The dorsal position of the babies,
huddled up in a dirty cloth, with the ends slung over the shoulders
and held in the hands over the chest, at once caught my eye, as it is
contrary to the usual native habit of straddling the infants across
the loins as a saddle.

Mr. Vincent informs me that "when the planters first came to the hills,
the Kadirs were found practically without clothes of any description,
with very few ornaments, and looking very lean and emaciated. All
this, however, changed with the advent of the European, as the Kadirs
then got advances in hard cash, clothes, and grain, to induce them
to work. For a few years they tried to work hard, but were failures,
and now I do not suppose that a dozen men are employed on the estates
on the hills. They would not touch manure owing to caste scruples;
they could not learn to prune; and with a mamoti (spade) they always
promptly proceeded to chop their feet about in their efforts to dig
pits." The Kadirs have never claimed, like the Todas, and do not
possess any land on the hills. But the Government has declared the
absolute right of the hill tribes to collect all the minor forest
produce, and to sell it to the Government through the medium of a
contractor, whose tender has been previously accepted. The contractor
pays for the produce in coin at a fair market rate, and the Kadirs
barter the money so obtained for articles of food with contractors
appointed by Government to supply them with their requirements at
a fixed rate, which will leave a fair, but not exorbitant margin of
profit to the vendor. The principal articles of minor forest produce
of the Anaimalai hills are wax, honey, cardamoms, myrabolams, ginger,
dammer, turmeric, deer horns, elephant tusks, and rattans. And of
these, cardamoms, wax, honey, and rattans are the most important. Honey
and wax are collected at all seasons, and cardamoms from September to
November. The total value of the minor produce collected, in 1897-98,
in the South Coimbatore division (which includes the Anaimalais) was
Rs. 7,886. This sum was exceptionally high owing to a good cardamom
crop. An average year would yield a revenue of Rs. 4,000-5,000, of
which the Kadirs receive approximately 50 per cent. They work for the
Forest Department on a system of short advances for a daily wage of 4
annas. And, at the present day, the interests of the Forest Department
and planters, who have acquired land on the Anaimalais, both anxious
to secure hill men for labour, have come into mild collision.

Some Kadirs are good trackers, and a few are good shikaris. A
zoological friend, who had nicknamed his small child his "little
shikari" (=little sportsman) was quite upset because I, hailing from
India, did not recognise the word with his misplaced accent. One Kadir,
named Viapoori Muppan, is still held in the memory of Europeans, who
made a good living, in days gone by, by shooting tuskers, and had
one arm blown off by the bursting of a gun. He is reputed to have
been a much married man, greatly addicted to strong drinks, and to
have flourished on the proceeds of his tusks. At the present day,
if a Kadir finds tusks, he must declare the find as treasure-trove,
and hand it over to Government, who rewards him at the rate of Rs. 15
to Rs. 25 per maund of 25 lb. according to the quality. Government
makes a good profit on the transaction, as exceptionally good tusks
have been known to sell for Rs. 5 per lb. If the find is not declared,
and discovered, the possessor thereof is punished for theft according
to the Act. By an elastic use of the word cattle, it is, for the
purposes of the Madras Forest Act, made to include such a heterogeneous
zoological collection of animals as elephants, sheep, pigs, goats,
camels, buffaloes, horses--and asses. This classification recalls to
mind the occasion on which the Flying-fox or Fox-bat was included in
an official list of the insectivorous birds of the Presidency; and,
further, a report on the wild animals of a certain district, which
was triumphantly headed with the "wild tattu," the long-suffering,
but pig-headed country pony.

I gather, from an account of the process by one who had considerable
knowledge of the Kadirs, that "they will only remove the hives of
bees during dark nights, and never in the daytime or on moonlight
nights. In removing them from cliffs, they use a chain made of
bamboo or rattan, fixed to a stake or a tree on the top. The man,
going down this fragile ladder, will only do so while his wife, or
son watches above to prevent any foul play. They have a superstition
that they should always return by the way they go down, and decline to
get to the bottom of the cliff, although the distance may be less,
and the work of re-climbing avoided. For hives on trees, they tie
one or more long bamboos to reach up to the branch required, and
then climb up. They then crawl along the branch until the hive is
reached. They devour the bee-bread and the bee-maggots or larvæ,
swallowing the wax as well." In a note on a shooting expedition in
Travancore, [9] Mr. J. D. Rees, describing the collection of honey
by the Kadirs of the southern hills, says that they "descend giddy
precipices at night, torch in hand, to smoke out the bees, and take
away their honey. A stout creeper is suspended over the abyss, and
it is established law of the jungle that no brother shall assist in
holding it. But it is more interesting to see them run a ladder a
hundred feet up the perpendicular stem of a tree, than to watch them
disappearing over a precipice. Axe in hand, the honey-picker makes
a hole in the bark for a little peg, standing on which he inserts a
second peg higher up, ties a long cane from one to the other, and by
night--for the darkness gives confidence--he will ascend the tallest
trees, and bring down honey without any accident." I have been told,
with how much of truth I know not, that, when a Kadir goes down the
face of a rock or precipice in search of honey, he sometimes takes
with him, as a precautionary measure, and guarantee of his safety,
the wife of the man who is holding the ladder above.

Often, when out on the tramp with the late Government Botanist,
Mr. M. A. Lawson, I have heard him lament that it is impossible to
train arboreal monkeys to collect specimens of the fruit and flowers
of lofty forest trees, which are inaccessible to the ordinary man. Far
superior to any trained Simian is the Kadir, who, by means of pegs or
notches, climbs even the tallest masts of trees with an agility which
recalls to memory the celebrated picture in "Punch," representing
Darwin's 'Habit of climbing plants.' For the ascent of comparatively
low trees, notches are made with a bill-hook, alternately right and
left, at intervals of about thirty inches. To this method the Kadir
will not have recourse in wet weather, as the notches are damp and
slippery, and there is the danger of an insecure foot-hold.

An important ethnographic fact, and one which is significant,
is that the detailed description of tree-climbing by the Dyaks of
Borneo, as given by Wallace, [10] might have been written on the
Anaimalai hills, and would apply equally well in every detail to the
Kadir. "They drove in," Wallace writes, "a peg very firmly at about
three feet from the ground, and, bringing one of the long bamboos,
stood it upright close to the tree, and bound it firmly to the two
first pegs by means of a bark cord and small notches near the head
of each peg. One of the Dyaks now stood on the first peg and drove
in a third about level with his face, to which he tied the bamboo in
the same way, and then mounted another step, standing on one foot,
and holding by the bamboo at the peg immediately above him, while he
drove in the next one. In this manner he ascended about twenty feet,
when the upright bamboo became thin; another was handed up by his
companion, and this was joined on by tying both bamboos to three or
four of the pegs. When this was also nearly ended, a third was added,
and shortly after the lowest branch of the tree was reached, along
which the young Dyak scrambled. The ladder was perfectly safe, since,
if any one peg were loose or faulty, the strain would be thrown on
several others above and below it. I now understood the use of the
line of bamboo pegs sticking in trees, which I had often seen."

In their search for produce in the evergreen forests of the higher
ranges, with their heavy rainfall, the Kadirs became unpleasantly
familiar with leeches and blue bottle flies, which flourish in the
moist climate. And it is recorded that a Kadir, who had been gored
and wounded by a bull 'bison,' was placed in a position of safety
while a friend ran to the village to summon help. He was not away
for more than an hour, but, in that short time, flies had deposited
thousands of maggots in the wounds, and, when the man was brought into
camp, they had already begun burrowing into the flesh, and were with
difficulty extracted. On another occasion, the eye-witness of the
previous unappetising incident was out alone in the forest, and shot
a tiger two miles or so from his camp. Thither he went to collect
coolies to carry in the carcase, and was away for about two hours,
during which the flies had, like the child in the story, 'not been
idle,' the skin being a mass of maggots and totally ruined. I have
it on authority that, like the Kotas of the Nilgiris, the Kadirs will
eat the putrid and fly-blown flesh of carcases of wild beasts, which
they come across in their wanderings. To a dietary which includes
succulent roots, which they upturn with a digging stick, bamboo seed,
sheep, fowls, rock-snakes (python), deer, porcupines, rats (field,
not house), wild pigs, monkeys, etc., they do credit by displaying a
hard, well-nourished body. The mealy portion of the seeds of the Cycas
tree, which flourishes on the lower slopes of the Anaimalais, forms a
considerable addition to the ménu. In its raw state the fruit is said
to be poisonous, but it is evidently wholesome when cut into slices,
thoroughly soaked in running water, dried, and ground into flour for
making cakes, or baked in hot ashes. Mr. Vincent writes that, "during
March, April, and May, the Kadirs have a glorious time. They usually
manage to find some wild sago palms, called by them koondtha panai,
of the proper age, which they cut down close to the ground. They are
then cut into lengths of about 1 1/2 feet, and split lengthways. The
sections are then beaten very hard and for a long time with mallets,
and become separated into fibre and powder. The powder is thoroughly
wetted, tied in cloths and well beaten with sticks. Every now and
then, between the beatings, the bag of powder is dipped in water,
and well strained. It is then all put into water, when the powder
sinks, and the water is poured off. The residue is well boiled, with
constant stirring, and, when it is of the consistency of rubber,
and of a reddish brown colour, it is allowed to cool, and then cut
in pieces to be distributed. This food stuff is palatable enough,
but very tough." The Kadir is said to prefer roasting and eating the
flesh of animals with the skin on. For catching rats, jungle-fowl,
etc., he resorts to cunningly devised snares and traps made of
bamboo and fibre, as a substitute for a gun. Porcupines are caught
by setting fire to the scrub jungle round them as they lie asleep,
and thus smoking and burning them to death.

When a Kadir youth's thoughts turn towards matrimony, he is said to
go to the village of his bride-elect, and give her a dowry by working
there for a year. On the wedding day a feast of rice, sheep, fowls,
and other luxuries is given by the parents of the bridegroom, to which
the Kadir community is invited. The bride and bridegroom stand beneath
a pandal (arch) decorated with flowers, which is erected outside
the home of the bridegroom, while men and women dance separately to
the music of drum and fife. The bridegroom's mother or sister ties
the tali (marriage badge) of gold or silver round the bride's neck,
and her father puts a turban on the head of the bridegroom. The
contracting parties link together the little fingers of their right
hands as a token of their union, and walk in procession round the
pandal. Then, sitting on a reed mat of Kadir manufacture, they exchange
betel. The marriage tie can be dissolved for incompatibility of temper,
disobedience on the part of the wife, adultery, etc., without appeal
to any higher authority than a council of elders, who pronounce
judgment on the evidence. As an illustration of the manner in which
such a council of hill-men disposes of cases, Mr. Bensley cites the
case of a man who was made to carry forty basket loads of sand to the
house of the person against whom he had offended. He points out how
absolute is the control exercised by the council. Disobedience would
be followed by excommunication, and this would mean being turned out
into the jungle, to obtain a living in the best way one could.

By one Kadir informant I was assured, as he squatted on the floor
of my bungalow at "question time," that it is essential that a wife
should be a good cook, in accordance with a maxim that the way to the
heart is through the mouth. How many men in civilised western society,
who suffer from marrying a wife wholly incompetent, like the first
Mrs. David Copperfield, to conduct the housekeeping, might well be
envious of the system of marriage as a civil contract to be sealed or
unloosed according to the cookery results! Polygyny is indulged in by
the Kadirs, who agree with Benedick that "the world must be peopled,"
and hold more especially that the numerical strength of their own
tribe must be maintained. The plurality of wives seems to be mainly
with the desire for offspring, and the father-in-law of one of the
forest-guards informed me that he had four wives living. The first
two wives producing no offspring, he married a third, who bore him
a solitary male child. Considering the result to be an insufficient
contribution to the tribe, he married a fourth, who, more prolific
than her colleagues, gave birth to three girls and a boy, with which
he remained content. In the code of polygynous etiquette, the first
wife takes precedence over the others, and each wife has her own
cooking utensils.

Special huts are maintained for women during menstruation and
parturition. Mr. Vincent informs me that, when a girl reaches puberty,
the friends of the family gather together, and a great feast is
prepared. All her friends and relations give her a small present
of money, according to their means. The girl is decorated with the
family jewelry, and made to look as smart as possible. For the first
menstrual period, a special hut, called mutthu salai or ripe house,
is constructed for the girl to live in during the period of pollution;
but at subsequent periods, the ordinary menstruation hut, or unclean
house, is used. All girls are said to change their names when they
reach puberty. For three months after the birth of a child, the woman
is considered unclean. When the infant is a month old, it is named
without any elaborate ceremonial, though the female friends of the
family collect together. Sexual intercourse ceases on the establishment
of pregnancy, and the husband indulges in promiscuity. Widows are not
allowed to re-marry, but may live in a state of concubinage. Women are
said to suckle their children till they are two or three years old,
and a mother has been seen putting a lighted cigarette to the lips of
a year old baby immediately after suckling it. If this is done with
the intention of administering a sedative, it is less baneful than the
pellet of opium administered by ayahs (nurses) to Anglo-Indian babies
rendered fractious by troubles climatic, dental, and other. The Kadir
men are said to consume large quantities of opium, which is sold to
them illicitly. They will not allow the women or children to eat it,
and have a belief that the consumption thereof by women renders them
barren. The women chew tobacco. The men smoke the coarse tobacco as
sold in the bazars, and showed a marked appreciation of Spencer's
Torpedo cheroots, which I distributed among them for the purposes of
bribery and conciliation.

The religion of the Kadirs is a crude polytheism, and vague worship
of stone images or invisible gods. It is, as Mr. Bensley expresses
it, an ejaculatory religion, finding vent in uttering the names of
the gods and demons. The gods, as enumerated and described to me,
were as follows:--

(1) Paikutlatha, a projecting rock overhanging a slab of rock, on
which are two stones set up on end. Two miles east of Mount Stuart.

(2) Athuvisariamma, a stone enclosure, ten to fifteen feet square,
almost level with the ground. It is believed that the walls were
originally ten feet high, and that the mountain has grown up round
it. Within the enclosure there is a representation of the god. Eight
miles north of Mount Stuart.

(3) Vanathavathi. Has no shrine, but is worshipped anywhere as an
invisible god.

(4) Iyappaswami, a stone set up beneath a teak tree, and worshipped
as a protector against various forms of sickness and disease. In the
act of worshipping, a mark is made on the stone with ashes. Two miles
and a half from Mount Stuart, on the ghat road to Sethumadai.

(5) Masanyatha, a female recumbent figure in stone on a masonry wall
in an open plain near the village of Anaimalai, before which trial by
ordeal is carried out. The goddess has a high repute for her power
of detecting thieves or rogues. Chillies are thrown into a fire in
her name, and the guilty person suffers from vomiting and diarrhoea.

According to Mr. L. K. Anantha Krishna Iyer, [11] the Kadirs are
"worshippers of Kali. On the occasion of the offering to Kali, a number
of virgins are asked to bathe as a preliminary to the preparation of
the offering, which consists of rice and some vegetables cooked in
honey, and made into a sweet pudding. The rice for this preparation
is unhusked by these girls. The offering is considered to be sacred,
and is partaken of by all men, women, and children assembled."

When Kadirs fall sick, they worship the gods by saluting them with
their hands to the face, burning camphor, and offering up fruits,
cocoanuts, and betel. Mr. Vincent tells me that they have a horror
of cattle, and will not touch the ordure, or other products of the
cow. Yet they believe that their gods occasionally reside in the body
of a "bison," and have been known to do puja (worship) when a bull
has been shot by a sportsman. It is noted by Mr. Anantha Krishna
Iyer that wild elephants are held in veneration by them, but tame
ones are believed to have lost the divine element.

The Kadirs are said, during the Hindu Vishu festival, to visit the
plains, and, on their way, pray to any image which they chance to
come across. They are believers in witchcraft, and attribute all
diseases to the miraculous workings thereof. They are good exorcists,
and trade in mantravadam or magic. Mr. Logan mentions [12] that "the
family of famous trackers, whose services in the jungles were retained
for H.R.H. the Prince of Wales' (now King Edward) projected sporting
tour in the Anamalai mountains, dropped off most mysteriously, one
by one, shortly afterwards, stricken down by an unseen hand, and all
of them expressing beforehand their conviction that they were under
a certain individual's spell, and were doomed to certain death at
an early date. They were probably poisoned, but how it was managed
remains a mystery, although the family was under the protection of
a European gentleman, who would at once have brought to light any
ostensible foul play."

The Kadir dead are buried in a grave, or, if death occurs in the
depths of the jungles, with a paucity of hands available for digging,
the corpse is placed in a crevice between the rocks, and covered over
with stones. The grave is dug from four to five feet deep. There
is no special burial-ground, but some spot in the jungle, not far
from the scene of death, is selected. A band of music, consisting of
drum and fife, plays weird dirges outside the hut of the deceased,
and whistles are blown when it is carried away therefrom. The old
clothes of the deceased are spread under the corpse, and a new cloth
is put on it. It is tied up in a mat, which completely covers it, and
carried to the burial-ground on a bamboo stretcher. As it leaves the
hut, rice is thrown over it. The funeral ceremony is simple in the
extreme. The corpse is laid in the grave on a mat in the recumbent
posture, with the head towards the east, and with split bamboo and
leaves placed all round it, so that not a particle of earth can touch
it. No stone, or sepulchral monument of any kind, is set up to mark the
spot. The Kadir believes that the dead go to heaven, which is in the
sky, but has no views as to what sort of place it is. The story that
the Kadirs eat their dead originated with Europeans, the origin of it
being that no one had ever seen a dead Kadir, a grave, or sign of a
burial-place. The Kadirs themselves are reticent as to their method
of disposing of the dead, and the story, which was started as a joke,
became more or less believed. Mr. Vincent tells me that a well-to-do
Kadir family will perform the final death ceremonies eight days after
death, but poorer folk have to wait a year or more, till they have
collected sufficient money for the expenses thereof. At cock-crow on
the morning of the ceremonies, rice, called polli chor, is cooked,
and piled up on leaves in the centre of the hut of the deceased. Cooked
rice, called tullagu chor, is then placed in each of the four corners
of the hut, to propitiate the gods, and to serve as food for them
and the spirit of the dead person. At a short distance from the hut,
rice, called kanal chor, is cooked for all Kadirs who have died,
and been buried. The relations and friends of the deceased commence
to cry, and make lamentations, and proclaim his good qualities, most
of which are fictitious. After an hour or so, they adjourn to the
hut of the deceased, where the oldest man present invokes the gods,
and prays to them and to the heaped up food. A pinch from each of
the heaps is thrown into the air as a gift of food to the gods, and
those present fall to, and eat heartily, being careful to partake of
each of the food-stuffs, consisting of rice, meat, and vegetables,
which have been prepared.

On a certain Monday in the months of Adi and Avani, the Kadirs observe
a festival called nombu, during which a feast is held, after they have
bathed and anointed themselves with oil. It was, they say, observed
by their ancestors, but they have no definite tradition as to its
origin or significance. It is noted by Mr. Anantha Krishna Iyer that,
at the Onam festival, presents in the shape of rice, cloths, coats,
turbans, caps, ear-rings, tobacco, opium, salt, oil and cocoanuts
are distributed among the Kadirs by the Forest Department.

According to Mr. Bensley, "the Kadir has an air of calm dignity,
which leads one to suppose that he had some reason for having a
more exalted opinion of himself than that entertained for him by
the outside world. A forest officer of a philanthropic turn had
a very high opinion of the sturdy independence and blunt honesty
of the Kadir, but he once came unexpectedly round a corner, to
find two of them exploring the contents of his port-manteau, from
which they had abstracted a pair of scissors, a comb, and a looking
glass." "The Kadirs," Mr. (now Sir F. A.) Nicholson writes, [13]
"are, as a rule, rather short in stature, and deep-chested, like
most mountaineers; and, like many true mountaineers, they rarely walk
with a straight leg. Hence their thigh muscles are often abnormally
developed at the expense of those of the calf. Hence, too, in part,
their dislike to walking long distances on level ground, though their
objection, mentioned by Colonel Douglas Hamilton, to carrying loads
on the plains, is deeper-rooted than that arising from mere physical
disability. This objection is mainly because they are rather a timid
race, and never feel safe out of the forests. They have also affirmed
that the low-country air is very trying to them." As a matter of fact,
they very rarely go down to the plains, even as far as the village of
Anaimalai, only fifteen miles distant from Mount Stuart. One woman,
whom I saw, had been as far as Palghat by railway from Coimbatore,
and had returned very much up-to-date in the matter of jewelry and
the latest barbarity in imported piece-good body-cloth.

With the chest-girth of the Kadirs, as well as their general muscular
development, I was very much impressed. Their hardiness, Mr. Conner
writes, [14] has given rise to the observation among their neighbours
that the Kadir and Kad Anai (wild elephant) are much the same sort
of animal.

Perhaps the most interesting custom of the Kadirs is that of chipping
all or some of the incisor teeth, both upper and lower, into the form
of a sharp-pointed, but not serrated cone. The operation, which is
performed with a chisel or bill-hook and file by members of the tribe
skilled therein, on boys and girls, has been thus described. The
girl to be operated on lies down, and places her head against a
female friend, who holds her head firmly. A woman takes a sharpened
bill-hook, and chips away the teeth till they are shaded to a point,
the girl operated on writhing and groaning with the pain. After the
operation she appears dazed, and in a very few hours the face begins
to swell. Swelling and pain last for a day or two, accompanied by
severe headache. The Kadirs say that chipped teeth make an ugly man
or woman handsome, and that a person, whose teeth have not been thus
operated on, has teeth and eats like a cow. Whether this practice
is one which the Kadir, and Mala Vedar of Travancore, have hit on
spontaneously in comparatively recent times, or whether it is a relic
of a custom resorted to by their ancestors of long ago, which remains
as a stray survival of a custom once more widely practiced by the
remote inhabitants of Southern India, cannot be definitely asserted,
but I incline to the latter view.

A friendly old woman, with huge discs in the widely dilated lobes of
the ears, and a bamboo five-pronged comb in her back-hair, who acted
as spokesman on the occasion of a visit to a charmingly situated
settlement in a jungle of magnificent bamboos by the side of a
mountain stream, pointed out to me, with conscious pride, that the
huts were largely constructed by the females, while the men worked
for the sircar (Government). The females also carry water from the
streams, collect firewood, dig up edible roots, and carry out the
sundry household duties of a housewife. Both men and women are clever
at plaiting bamboo baskets, necklets, etc. I was told one morning by
a Kadir man, whom I met on the road, as an important item of news,
that the women in his settlement were very busy dressing to come and
see me--an event as important to them as the dressing of a débutante
for presentation at the Court of St. James'. They eventually turned
up without their husbands, and evidently regarded my methods as a huge
joke organised for the amusement of themselves and their children. The
hair was neatly parted, anointed with a liberal application of cocoanut
oil, and decked with wild flowers. Beauty spots and lines had been
painted with coal-tar dyes on the forehead, and turmeric powder freely
sprinkled over the top of the heads of the married women. Some had
even discarded the ragged and dirty cotton cloth of every-day life
in favour of a colour-printed imported sari. One bright, good-looking
young woman, who had already been through the measuring ordeal, acted
as an efficient lady-help in coaching the novices in the assumption
of the correct positions. She very readily grasped the situation,
and was manifestly proud of her temporary elevation to the rank of
standard-bearer to Government.

Dr. K. T. Preuss has drawn my attention to an article in Globus,
1899, entitled 'Die Zauberbilder Schriften der Negrito in Malaka,'
wherein he describes in detail the designs on the bamboo combs worn
by the Negritos of Malacca, and compares them with the strikingly
similar design on the combs worn by the Kadir women. Dr. Preuss
works out in detail the theory that the design is not, as I have
elsewhere called it, a geometrical pattern, but consists of a series of
hieroglyphics. The collection of Kadir combs in the Madras Museum shows
very clearly that the patterns thereon are conventional designs. The
bamboo combs worn by the Semang women are stated [15] to serve as
talismans, to protect them against diseases which are prevalent, or
most dreaded by them. Mr. Vincent informs me that, so far as he knows,
the Kadir combs are not looked on as charms, and the markings thereon
have no mystic significance. A Kadir man should always make a comb,
and present it to his intended wife just before marriage, or at the
conclusion of the marriage ceremony, and the young men vie with each
other as to who can make the nicest comb. Sometimes they represent
strange articles on the combs. Mr. Vincent has, for example, seen a
comb with a very good imitation of the face of a clock scratched on it.

It is sometimes difficult to distinguish adolescent Kadir youths with
curly fringe, chests covered by a cotton cloth, and wearing necklets
made of plaited grass or glass and brass beads, from girls. And I was
myself several times caught in an erroneous diagnosis of sex. Many of
the infants have a charm tied round the neck, which takes the form of a
dried tortoise foot; the tooth of a crocodile mimicking a phallus, and
supposed to ward off attacks from a mythical water elephant which lives
in the mountain streams; or wooden imitations of tiger's claws. One
baby wore a necklet made of the seeds of Coix Lachryma-Jobi (Job's
tears). Males have the lobes of the ears adorned with brass ornaments,
and the nostril pierced, and plugged with wood. The ear-lobes of the
females are widely dilated with palm-leaf rolls or huge wooden discs,
and they wear ear-rings, brass or steel bangles and finger-rings,
and bead necklets.

It is recorded by Mr. Anantha Krishna Iyer that the Kadirs are attached
to the Raja of Cochin "by the strongest ties of personal affection and
regard. Whenever His Highness tours in the forests, they follow him,
carry him from place to place in manjals or palanquins, carry saman
(luggage), and in fact do everything for him. His Highness in return
is much attached to them, feeds them, gives them cloths, ornaments,
combs, and looking-glasses."

The Kadirs will not eat with Malasars, who are beef-eaters, and will
not carry boots made of cow-hide, except under protest.

Average stature 157.7 cm.; cephalic index 72.9; nasal index 89.

Kadle.--Kadle, Kalle, and Kadale meaning Bengal gram (Cicer arietinum)
have been recorded as exogamous septs or gotras of Kurubas and Kurnis.

Kadu.--Kadu or Kattu, meaning wild or jungle, has been recorded as a
division of Golla, Irula, Korava, Kurumba, and Tottiyan. Kadu also
occurs as an exogamous sept or gotra of the Kurnis. Kadu Konkani
is stated, in the Madras Census Report, 1901, to mean the bastard
Konkanis, as opposed to the God or pure Konkanis. Kattu Marathi is
a synonym for the bird-catching Kuruvikarans. In the Malabar Wynaad,
the jungle Kurumbas are known as Kattu Nayakan.

Kadukuttukiravar.--A synonym, meaning one who bores a hole in the ear,
for Koravas who perform the operation of piercing the lobes of the
ears for various castes.

Kaduppattan.--The Kadupattans are said, [16] according to the
traditional account of their origin, to have been Pattar Brahmans
of Kadu gramam, who became degraded owing to their supporting
the introduction of Buddhism. "The members of this caste are,"
Mr. H. A. Stuart writes, [17] "at present mostly palanquin-bearers,
and carriers of salt, oil, etc. The educated among them follow the
profession of teaching, and are called Ezhuttacchan, i.e., master of
learning. Both titles are used in the same family. In the Native State
of Cochin, the Kaduppattan is a salt-worker. In British Malabar he is
not known to have followed that profession for some generations past,
but it may be that, salt manufacture having long ago been stopped in
South Malabar, he has taken to other professions, one of which is the
carriage of salt. In manners and customs Kaduppattans resemble Nayars,
but their inheritance follows the male line." The Kaduppattans are
described [18] by Mr. Logan as "a caste hardly to be distinguished from
the Nayars. They follow a modified makkatayam system of inheritance,
in which the property descends from father to son, but not from
father to daughter. The girls are married before attaining puberty,
and the bridegroom, who is to be the girl's real husband in after
life, arranges the dowry and other matters by means of mediators
(enangan). The tali is tied round the girl's neck by the bridegroom's
sister or a female relative. At the funeral ceremonies of this class,
the barber caste perform priestly functions, giving directions and
preparing oblation rice. A widow without male issue is removed on the
twelfth day after her husband's death from his house to that of her
own parents. And this is done even if she has female issue. But, on
the contrary, if she has borne sons to the deceased, she is not only
entitled to remain at her husband's house, but she continues to have,
in virtue of her sons, a joint right over his property."

Kahar.--In the Madras Census Report, 1901, the Kahars are returned as
a Bengal caste of boatmen and fishermen. In the Mysore Census Report,
it is noted that Kahar means in Hindustani a blacksmith, and that
those censused were immigrants from the Bombay Presidency.

Kaikatti (one who shows the hand).--A division of the Kanakkans
(accountants). The name has its origin in a custom, according to which
a married woman is never allowed to communicate with her mother-in-law
except by signs. [19]

Kaikolan.--The Kaikolans are a large caste of Tamil weavers found
in all the southern districts, who also are found in considerable
numbers in the Telugu country, where they have adopted the Telugu
language. A legend is current that the Nayakkan kings of Madura were
not satisfied with the workmanship of the Kaikolans, and sent for
foreign weavers from the north (Patnulkarans), whose descendants
now far out-number the Tamil weavers. The word Kaikolan is the
Tamil equivalent of the Sanskrit Virabahu, a mythological hero,
from whom both the Kaikolans and a section of the Paraiyans claim
descent. The Kaikolans are also called Sengundar (red dagger) in
connection with the following legend. "The people of the earth,
being harassed by certain demons, applied to Siva for help. Siva
was enraged against the giants, and sent forth six sparks of fire
from his eyes. His wife, Parvati, was frightened, and retired to her
chamber, and, in so doing, dropped nine beads from her anklets. Siva
converted the beads into as many females, to each of whom was born
a hero with full-grown moustaches and a dagger. These nine heroes,
with Subramanya at their head, marched in command of a large force,
and destroyed the demons. The Kaikolans or Sengundar are said to be the
descendants of Virabahu, one of these heroes. After killing the demon,
the warriors were told by Siva that they should become musicians,
and adopt a profession, which would not involve the destruction or
injury of any living creature, and, weaving being such a profession,
they were trained in it." [20] According to another version, Siva told
Parvati that the world would be enveloped in darkness if he should
close his eyes. Impelled by curiosity, Parvati closed her husband's
eyes with her hands. Being terrified by the darkness, Parvati ran to
her chamber, and, on the way thither, nine precious stones fell from
her anklets, and turned into nine fair maidens, with whom Siva became
enamoured and embraced them. Seeing later on that they were pregnant,
Parvati uttered a curse that they should not bring forth children
formed in their wombs. One Padmasura was troubling the people in this
world, and, on their praying to Siva to help them, he told Subramanya
to kill the Asura. Parvati requested Siva not to send Subramanya by
himself, and he suggested the withdrawal of her curse. Accordingly,
the damsels gave birth to nine heroes, who, carrying red daggers,
and headed by Subramanya, went in search of the Asura, and killed
him. The word kaikol is said to refer to the ratnavel or precious
dagger carried by Subramanya. The Kaikolans, on the Sura Samharam day
during the festival of Subramanya, dress themselves up to represent
the nine warriors, and join in the procession.

The name Kaikolan is further derived from kai (hand), and kol
(shuttle). The Kaikolans consider the different parts of the loom
to represent various Devatas and Rishis. The thread is said to have
been originally obtained from the lotus stalk rising from Vishnu's
navel. Several Devas formed the threads, which make the warp; Narada
became the woof; and Vedamuni the treadle. Brahma transformed himself
into the plank (padamaram), and Adisesha into the main rope.

In some places, the following sub-divisions of the caste are
recognised:--Sozhia; Rattu; Siru-tali (small marriage badge); Peru-tali
(big marriage badge); Sirpadam, and Sevaghavritti. The women of the
Siru and Peru-tali divisions wear a small and large tali respectively.

In religion, most of the Kaikolans are Saivites, and some have taken
to wearing the lingam, but a few are Vaishnavites.

The hereditary headman of the caste is called Peridanakaran or
Pattakaran, and is, as a rule, assisted by two subordinates entitled
Sengili or Gramani, and Ural. But, if the settlement is a large one,
the headman may have as many as nine assistants.

According to Mr. H. A. Stuart, [21] "the Kaikolans acknowledge the
authority of a headman, or Mahanattan, who resides at Conjeeveram,
but itinerates among their villages, receiving presents, and settling
caste disputes. Where his decision is not accepted without demur,
he imposes upon the refractory weavers the expense of a curious
ceremony, in which the planting of a bamboo post takes part. From the
top of this pole the Mahanattan pronounces his decision, which must be
acquiesced in on pain of excommunication." From information gathered
at Conjeeveram, I learn that there is attached to the Kaikolans a class
of mendicants called Nattukattada Nayanmar. The name means the Nayanmar
who do not plant, in reference to the fact that, when performing, they
fix their bamboo pole to the gopuram of a temple, instead of planting
it in the ground. They are expected to travel about the country, and,
if a caste dispute requires settlement, a council meeting is convened,
at which they must be present as the representatives of the Mahanadu,
a chief Kaikolan head-quarters at Conjeeveram. If the dispute is a
complicated one, the Nattukattada Nayanmar goes to all the Kaikolan
houses, and makes a red mark with laterite [22] on the cloth in the
loom, saying "Andvaranai," as signifying that it is done by order
of the headman. The Kaikolans may, after this, not go on with their
work until the dispute is settled, for the trial of which a day is
fixed. The Nattukattada Nayanmars set up on a gopuram their pole,
which should have seventy-two internodes, and measure at least as many
feet. The number of internodes corresponds to that of the nadus into
which the Kaikolan community is divided. Kamatchiamma is worshipped,
and the Nattukattada Nayanmars climb up the pole, and perform various
feats. Finally, the principal actor balances a young child in a tray on
a bamboo, and, letting go of the bamboo, catches the falling child. The
origin of the performance is said to have been as follows. The demon
Suran was troubling the Devas and men, and was advised by Karthikeya
(Subramanya) and Virabahu to desist from so doing. He paid no heed,
and a fight ensued. The demon sent his son Vajrabahu to meet the enemy,
and he was slain by Virabahu, who displayed the different parts of
his body in the following manner. The vertebral column was made to
represent a pole, round which the other bones were placed, and the guts
tightly wound round them. The connective tissues were used as ropes to
support the pole. The skull was used as a jaya-mani (conquest bell),
and the skin hoisted as a flag. The trident of Virabahu was fixed to
the top of the pole, and, standing over it, he announced his victory
over the world. The Nattukattada Nayanmars claim to be the descendants
of Virabahu. Their head-quarters are at Conjeeveram. They are regarded
as slightly inferior to the Kaikolans, with whom ordinarily they do
not intermarry. The Kaikolans have to pay them as alms a minimum
fee of four annas per loom annually. Another class of mendicant,
called Ponnambalaththar, which is said to have sprung up recently,
poses as true caste beggars attached to the Kaikolans, from whom,
as they travel about the country, they solicit alms. Some Kaikolans
gave Ontipuli as the name of their caste beggars. The Ontipulis,
however, are Nokkans attached to the Pallis.

The Kaikolan community is, as already indicated, divided into
seventy-two nadus or desams, viz., forty-four mel (western)
and twenty-eight kil (eastern) nadus. Intermarriages take place
between members of seventy-one of these nadus. The great Tamil
poet Ottaikuththar is said to have belonged to the Kaikolan caste
and to have sung the praises of all castes except his own. Being
angry on this account, the Kaikolans urged him to sing in praise of
them. This he consented to do, provided that he received 1,008 human
heads. Seventy-one nadus sent the first-born sons for the sacrifice,
but one nadu (Tirumarudhal) refused to send any. This refusal led
to their isolation from the rest of the community. All the nadus are
subject to the authority of four thisai nadus, and these in turn are
controlled by the mahanadu at Conjeeveram, which is the residence of
the patron deity Kamatchiamman. The thisai nadus are (1) Sivapuram
(Walajabad), east of Conjeeveram, where Kamatchiamman is said to
have placed Nandi as a guard; (2) Thondipuram, where Thondi Vinayakar
was stationed; (3) Virinjipuram to the west, guarded by Subramanya;
(4) Sholingipuram to the south, watched over by Bairava. Each of the
seventy-one nadus is sub-divided into kilai gramams (branch villages),
perur (big) and sithur (little) gramams. In Tamil works relating
to the Sengundar caste, Conjeeveram is said to be the mahanadu,
and those belonging thereto are spoken of as the nineteen hundred,
who are entitled to respect from other Kaikolans. Another name for
Kaikolans of the mahanadu seems to be Andavar; but in practice this
name is confined to the headman of the mahanadu, and members of
his family. They have the privilege of sitting at council meetings
with their backs supported by pillows, and consequently bear the
title Thindusarndan (resting on pillows). At present there are two
sections of Kaikolans at Conjeeveram, one living at Ayyampettai,
and the other at Pillaipalayam. The former claim Ayyampettai as the
mahanadu, and refuse to recognise Pillaipalayam, which is in the heart
of Conjeeveram, as the mahanadu. Disputes arose, and recourse was had
to the Vellore Court in 1904, where it was decided that Ayyampettai
possesses no claim to be called the mahanadu.

Many Kaikolan families have now abandoned their hereditary employment
as weavers in favour of agriculture and trade, and some of the poorer
members of the caste work as cart-drivers and coolies. At Coimbatore
some hereditary weavers have become cart-drivers, and some cart-drivers
have become weavers de necessité in the local jail.

In every Kaikolan family, at least one girl should be set apart for,
and dedicated to temple service. And the rule seems to be that,
so long as this girl or her descendants, born to her or adopted,
continue to live, another girl is not dedicated. But, when the line
becomes extinct, another girl must be dedicated. All the Kaikolans
deny their connection with the Deva-dasi (dancing-girl) caste. But
Kaikolans freely take meals in Dasi houses on ceremonial occasions,
and it would not be difficult to cite cases of genuine Dasis who have
relationship with rich Kaikolans.

Kaikolan girls are made Dasis either by regular dedication to a temple,
or by the headman tying the tali (nattu pottu). The latter method is
at the present day adopted because it is considered a sin to dedicate
a girl to the god after she has reached puberty, and because the
securing of the requisite official certificate for a girl to become
a Dasi involves considerable trouble.

"It is said," Mr. Stuart writes, [23] "that, where the head of a house
dies, leaving only female issue, one of the girls is made a Dasi in
order to allow of her working like a man at the loom, for no woman
not dedicated in this manner may do so."

Of the orthodox form of ceremonial in connection with a girl's
initiation as a Dasi, the following account was given by the Kaikolans
of Coimbatore. The girl is taught music and dancing. The dancing master
or Nattuvan, belongs to the Kaikolan caste, but she may be instructed
in music by Brahman Bhagavathans. At the tali-tying ceremony, which
should take place after the girl has reached puberty, she is decorated
with jewels, and made to stand on a heap of paddy (unhusked rice). A
folded cloth is held before her by two Dasis, who also stand on heaps
of paddy. The girl catches hold of the cloth, and her dancing master,
who is seated behind her, grasping her legs, moves them up and down
in time with the music, which is played. In the course of the day,
relations and friends are entertained, and, in the evening, the girl,
seated astride a pony, is taken to the temple, where a new cloth for
the idol, the tali, and various articles required for doing puja,
have been got ready. The girl is seated facing the idol, and the
officiating Brahman gives sandal and flowers to her, and ties the tali,
which has been lying at the feet of the idol, round her neck. The tali
consists of a golden disc and black beads. Betel and flowers are then
distributed among those present, and the girl is taken home through
the principal streets. She continues to learn music and dancing, and
eventually goes through a form of nuptial ceremony. The relations
are invited for an auspicious day, and the maternal uncle, or his
representative, ties a gold band on the girl's forehead, and, carrying
her, places her on a plank before the assembled guests. A Brahman
priest recites the mantrams, and prepares the sacred fire (homam). The
uncle is presented with new cloths by the girl's mother. For the actual
nuptials a rich Brahman, if possible, and, if not, a Brahman of more
lowly status is invited. A Brahman is called in, as he is next in
importance to, and the representative of the idol. It is said that,
when the man who is to receive her first favours, joins the girl, a
sword must be placed, at least for a few minutes, by her side. When a
Dasi dies, her body is covered with a new cloth removed from the idol,
and flowers are supplied from the temple, to which she belonged. No
puja is performed in the temple till the body is disposed of, as the
idol, being her husband, has to observe pollution.

Writing a century ago (1807) concerning the Kaikolan Dasis,
Buchanan says [24] that "these dancing women, and their musicians,
now form a separate kind of caste; and a certain number of them are
attached to every temple of any consequence. The allowances which the
musicians receive for their public duty is very small, yet, morning and
evening, they are bound to attend at the temple to perform before the
image. They must also receive every person travelling on account of
the Government, meet him at some distance from the town, and conduct
him to his quarters with music and dancing. All the handsome girls
are instructed to dance and sing, and are all prostitutes, at least
to the Brahmans. In ordinary sets they are quite common; but, under
the Company's government, those attached to temples of extraordinary
sanctity are reserved entirely for the use of the native officers,
who are all Brahmans, and who would turn out from the set any girl
that profaned herself by communication with persons of low caste,
or of no caste at all, such as Christians or Mussulmans. Indeed,
almost every one of these girls that is tolerably sightly is taken
by some officer of revenue for his own special use, and is seldom
permitted to go to the temple, except in his presence. Most of these
officers have more than one wife, and the women of the Brahmans are
very beautiful; but the insipidity of their conduct, from a total
want of education or accomplishment, makes the dancing women to be
sought after by all natives with great avidity. The Mussulman officers
in particular were exceedingly attached to this kind of company,
and lavished away on these women a great part of their incomes. The
women very much regret their loss, as the Mussulmans paid liberally,
and the Brahmans durst not presume to hinder any girl who chose,
from amusing an Asoph, or any of his friends. The Brahmans are not
near so lavish of their money, especially where it is secured by the
Company's government, but trust to their authority for obtaining
the favour of the dancers. To my taste, nothing can be more silly
and unanimated than the dancing of the women, nor more harsh and
barbarous than their music. Some Europeans, however, from long habit,
I suppose, have taken a liking to it, and have even been captivated
by the women. Most of them I have had an opportunity of seeing have
been very ordinary in their looks, very inelegant in their dress,
and very dirty in their persons; a large proportion of them have the
itch, and a still larger proportion are most severely diseased."

Though the Kaikolans are considered to belong to the left-hand faction,
Dasis, except those who are specially engaged by the Beri Chettis
and Kammalans, are placed in the right-hand faction. Kaikolan Dasis,
when passing through a Kammalan street, stop dancing, and they will
not salute Kammalans or Beri Chettis.

A peculiar method of selecting a bride, called siru tali kattu (tying
the small tali), is said to be in vogue among some Kaikolans. A
man, who wishes to marry his maternal uncle's or paternal aunt's
daughter, has to tie a tali, or simply a bit of cloth torn from her
clothing, round her neck, and report the fact to his parents and the
headman. If the girl eludes him, he cannot claim her, but, should
he succeed, she belongs to him. In some places, the consent of the
maternal uncle to a marriage is signified by his carrying the bride
in his arms to the marriage pandal (booth). The milk-post is made of
Erythrina indica. After the tali has been tied, the bridegroom lifts
the bride's left leg, and places it on a grinding-stone. Widows are
stated by Mr. Stuart to be "allowed to remarry if they have no issue,
but not otherwise; and, if the prevalent idea that a Kaikola woman
is never barren be true, this must seldom take place."

On the final day of the death ceremonies, a small hut is erected,
and inside it stones, brought by the barber, are set up, and offerings
made to them.

The following proverbs are current about or among the Kaikolans:--


    Narrate stories in villages where there are no Kaikolans.

    Why should a weaver have a monkey?

    This, it has been suggested, [25] implies that a monkey would
    only damage the work.

    On examining the various occupations, weaving will be found to
    be the best.

    A peep outside will cut out eight threads.

    The person who was too lazy to weave went to the stars.

    The Chetti (money-lender) decreases the money, and the weaver
    the thread.

    The titles of the Kaikolans are Mudali and Nayanar.


Among the Kaikolan musicians, I have seen every gradation of colour
and type, from leptorhine men with fair skin and chiselled features,
to men very dark and platyrhine, with nasal index exceeding 90.

The Kaikolans take part in the annual festival at Tirupati in honour of
the goddess Gangamma. "It is," Mr. Stuart writes, [26] "distinguished
from the majority of similar festivals by a custom, which requires
the people to appear in a different disguise (vesham) every morning
and evening. The Matangi vesham of Sunday morning deserves special
mention. The devotee who consents to undergo this ceremony dances in
front of an image or representation of the goddess, and, when he is
worked up to the proper pitch of frenzy, a metal wire is passed through
the middle of his tongue. It is believed that this operation causes no
pain, or even bleeding, and the only remedy adopted is the chewing of a
few margosa (Melia Azadirachta) leaves, and some kunkumam (red powder)
of the goddess. This vesham is undertaken only by a Kaikolan (weaver),
and is performed only in two places--the house of a certain Brahman
and the Mahant's math. The concluding disguise is that known as the
perantalu vesham. Perantalu signifies the deceased married women of
a family who have died before their husbands, or, more particularly,
the most distinguished of such women. This vesham is accordingly
represented by a Kaikolan disguised as a female, who rides round the
town on a horse, and distributes to the respectable inhabitants of
the place the kunkumam, saffron paste, and flowers of the goddess."

For the following account of a ceremony, which took
place at Conjeeveram in August, 1908, I am indebted to the
Rev. J. H. Maclean. "On a small and very lightly built car, about
eight feet high, and running on four little wheels, an image of Kali
was placed. It was then dragged by about thirty men, attached to it by
cords passed through the flesh of their backs. I saw one of the young
men two days later. Two cords had been drawn through his flesh, about
twelve inches apart. The wounds were covered over with white stuff,
said to be vibuthi (sacred ashes). The festival was organised by a
class of weavers calling themselves Sankunram (Sengundar) Mudaliars,
the inhabitants of seven streets in the part of Conjeeveram known as
Pillaipalyam. The total amount spent is said to have been Rs. 500. The
people were far from clear in their account of the meaning of the
ceremony. One said it was a preventive of small-pox, but this view did
not receive general support. Most said it was simply an old custom:
what good it did they could not say. Thirty years had elapsed since
the last festival. One man said that Kali had given no commands on the
subject, and that it was simply a device to make money circulate. The
festival is called Punter (flower car)."

In September, 1908, an official notification was issued in the Fort
St. George Gazette to the following effect. "Whereas it appears
that hook-swinging, dragging of cars by men harnessed to them by
hooks which pierce their sides, and similar acts are performed
during the Mariyamman festival at Samayapuram and other places in
the Trichinopoly division, Trichinopoly district, and whereas such
acts are dangerous to human life, the Governor in Council is pleased,
under section 144, sub-section (5), of the Code of Criminal Procedure,
1898, to direct that the order of the Sub-divisional Magistrate,
dated the 7th August, 1908, prohibiting such acts, shall remain in
force until further orders."

It is noted by Mr. F. R. Hemingway [27] that, at Ratnagiri, in
the Trichinopoly district, the Kaikolans, in performance of a vow,
thrust a spear through the muscles of the abdomen in honour of their
god Sahanayanar.

Kaila (measuring grain in the threshing-floor).--An exogamous sept
of Mala.

Kaimal.--A title of Nayars, derived from kai, hand, signifying power.

Kaipuda.--A sub-division of Holeya.

Kaivarta.--A sub-division of Kevuto.

Kaka (crow).--The legend relating to the Kaka people is narrated in
the article on Koyis. The equivalent Kaki occurs as a sept of Malas,
and Kako as a sept of Kondras.

Kakara or Kakarla (Momordica Charantia).--An exogamous sept of Kamma
and Muka Dora.

Kakirekka-vandlu (crows' feather people).--Mendicants who beg from
Mutrachas, and derive their name from the fact that, when begging,
they tie round their waists strings on which crows', paddy birds'
(heron) feathers, etc., are tied.

Kakka Kuravan.--A division of Kuravas of Travancore.

Kakkalan.--The Kakkalans or Kakkans are a vagrant tribe met with in
north and central Travancore, who are identical with the Kakka Kuravans
of south Travancore. There are among them four endogamous divisions
called Kavitiyan, Manipparayan, Meluttan, and Chattaparayan, of which
the two first are the most important. The Kavitiyans are further
sub-divided into Kollak Kavitiyan residing in central Travancore,
Malayalam Kavitiyan, and Pandi Kavitiyan or immigrants from the
Pandyan country.

The Kakkalans have a legend concerning their origin to the effect
that Siva was once going about begging as a Kapaladharin, and arrived
at a Brahman street, from which the inhabitants drove him away. The
offended god immediately reduced the village to ashes, and the guilty
villagers begged his pardon, but were reduced to the position of the
Kakkalans, and made to earn their livelihood by begging.

The women wear iron and silver bangles, and a palunka mala or
necklace of variously coloured beads. They are tattooed, and tattooing
members of other castes is one of their occupations, which include
the following:--


Katukuttu, or boring the lobes of the ears.

Katuvaippu, or plastic operations on the ear, which Nayar women and
others who wear heavy pendant ear ornaments often require.

Kainokku or palmistry, in which the women are more proficient than
the men.

Kompuvaippu, or placing the twig of a plant on any swelling of the
body, and dissipating it by blowing on it.

Taiyyal, or tailoring.

Pampatam or snake dance, in which the Kakkalans are unrivalled.

Fortune telling.


The chief object of worship by the Kakkalans is the rising sun, to
which boiled rice is offered on Sunday. They have no temples of their
own, but stand at some distance from Hindu temples, and worship the
gods thereof. Though leading a wandering life, they try to be at home
for the Malabar new year, on which occasion they wear new clothes,
and hold a feast. They do not observe the national Onam and Vishu
festivals.

The Kakkalans are conspicuously polygamous, and some have as many as
twelve wives, who are easily supported, as they earn money by their
professional engagements. A first marriage must be celebrated on
Sunday, and the festivities last from Saturday to Monday. Subsequent
marriages may also be celebrated on Thursday. On the night of the
day before the wedding, a brother, or other near relation of the
bridegroom, places the sambandham (alliance) by bringing a fanam
(coin), material for chewing, and cooked rice to the marriage pandal
(booth). Fruit and other things are flung at him by the bride's
people. On the following day the bridegroom arrives at the pandal,
and, after raising the tali (marriage badge) three times towards
heaven, and, invoking a blessing from on high, ties it round the
bride's neck. When a girl reaches puberty, a merry celebration is
kept up for a week. The dead are buried. Inheritance is from father
to son. A childless widow is a coparcener with the brothers of the
deceased, and forfeits this right if she remarries.

Though in the presence of other castes the Kakkalans speak Malayalam,
they have a peculiar language which is used among themselves, and is
not understood by others. [28]

Kakke (Indian laburnum: Cassia fistula).--A gotra of Kurni.

Kala.--Recorded, in the Travancore Census Report, 1901, as a
sub-division of Nayar.

Kalaikuttadi (pole-dancer).--A Tamil synonym of Dommara.

Kalal.--A Hindustani synonym of Gamalla.

Kalamkotti (potter).--An occupational title of Nayar.

Kalasi.--A name given to Vada fishermen by Oriya people.

Kalava (channel or ditch).--An exogamous sept of Padma Sale.

Kalavant.--The Kalavants are dancers and singers, who, like other
dancing-girls, are courtesans. The name occurs not only in South
Canara, but also in the Telugu country.

Kalinga.--A sub-division of Komatis, who "were formerly the inhabitants
of the ancient Kalinga country. They are considered inferior to the
other sub-divisions, on account of their eating flesh. Their titles
are Subaddhi, Patro, and Chaudari." [29] In the Ganjam Manual, they
are described as "traders and shopkeepers, principally prevalent
in the Chicacole division. The name Kling or Kaling is applied,
in the Malay countries, including the Straits Settlements, to the
people of peninsular India, who trade thither, or are settled in
those regions." It is recorded by Dr. N. Annandale that the phrase
Orang Kling Islam (i.e., a Muhammadan from the Madras coast) occurs
in Patani Malay.

Kalingi and Kalinji.--There has been some confusion, in recorded
accounts, between these two classes. In the Ganjam Manual, the
Kalinjis are described as agriculturists in that district, and,
in the Vizagapatam Manual, the Kalingas or Kalingulu are stated to
be cultivators in the Vizagapatam district, and a caste of Paiks or
fighting men in Jeypore. In the Census Report, 1891, the Kalingis are
said to be "most numerous in Ganjam, but there is a considerable number
of them in Vizagapatam also. The word means a native of Kalinga, the
name of the sea-board of the Telugu country; the word Telugu itself is
supposed by Dr. Caldwell to be a corruption of Tri-Kalinga. The three
large sub-divisions of the caste are Buragam, Kintala, and Odiya. In
the Kintala sub-division, a widow may remarry if she has no male issue,
but the remarriage of widows is not allowed in other sub-divisions. The
use of flesh and alcoholic liquor is permitted. Naidu and Chaudari
are their titles." Further, in the Census Report, 1901, the Kalingis
are described as follows: "A caste of temple priests and cultivators,
found mainly in Ganjam and Vizagapatam, whither they are supposed
to have been brought by the Kalinga kings to do service in the Hindu
temples, before the advent of the Brahmans. They speak either Oriya or
Telugu. They have two sub-divisions, the Kintali Kalingas, who live
south of the Langulya river, and the Buragam Kalingis, who reside to
the north of it, and the customs of the two differ a great deal. There
is also a third section, called Pandiri or Bevarani, which is composed
of outcastes from the other two. Except the Kalingis of Mokhalingam in
Vizagapatam, [30] they have headmen called Nayakabalis or Santos. They
also have priests called Kularazus, each of whom sees to the spiritual
needs of a definite group of villages. They are divided into several
exogamous gotras, each comprising a number of families or vamsas,
some of which, such as Arudra, a lady-bird, and Revi-chettu, the Ficus
religiosa tree, are of totemistic origin. Each section is said to
worship its totem. Marriage before puberty is the rule, and the caste
is remarkable for the proportion of its girls under twelve years of
age who are married or widowed. Widow marriage is not recognised by
the Buragam Kalingis, but the Kintalis freely allow it. As usual,
the ceremonies at the wedding of a widow differ from those at the
marriage of a maid. Some turmeric paste is placed on a new cloth,
which is then put over a pot of water, and the ceremony takes place
near this. The binding portion of it is the tying of a saffron-coloured
string to the woman's wrist. The Kalingis pay special reverence to Sri
Radha Krishna and Chaitanya. Some of the caste officiate in temples,
wear the sacred thread, and call themselves Brahmans, but they are
not received on terms of equality by other Brahmans. All Kalingis bury
their dead, but sraddhas (memorial services) are performed only by the
Kintali sub-division. The Buragam Kalingis do not shave their heads in
front. Kalingi women wear heavy bangles of brass, silver bell-metal
and glass, extending from the wrist to the elbow. The titles of the
castes are Naidu, Nayarlu, Chowdari, Bissoyi, Podhano, Jenna, Swayi,
and Naiko."

In the foregoing account, the Oriya-speaking Kalinjis, and
Telugu-speaking Kalingis, are both referred to. The confusion seems
to have arisen from the fact that the Kalinjis are sometimes called
Kalingis by other castes. The Kalingis are essentially Telugus, and
are found mainly on the borderland between the districts of Ganjam and
Vizagapatam. The Kalinjis are, on the other hand, Oriyas, and seem to
be closely allied to the agricultural castes, Doluva, Alia, Bosantiya,
etc., like which they are mainly agriculturists. The Kalinjis can be
easily distinguished from the Kalingis, as the latter wear the sacred
thread. The following story is told in connection with the origin of
the Kalinji caste. A band of robbers was once upon a time staying in a
fort near Bhattu Kunnarade, and molesting the people, who invited the
king of Puri to come and drive the robbers away. Among the warriors
who were recruited for this purpose, was a member of the Khondaito
caste, who, with the permission of the king, succeeded in expelling
the robbers. He was named by the people Bodo-Kalinja, or one having
a stout heart. He and his followers remained in the Ganjam country,
and the Kalinjis are their descendants. The caste is widespread in
the northern part thereof.

There do not seem to be any sub-divisions among the Kalinjis, but
there is a small endogamous group, called Mohiri Kalinji. Mohiri
is a well-known division in Ganjam, and Kalinjis who dwell therein
intermarry with others, and do not form a separate community. It
has been suggested that the Mohiri Kalinjis are Telugu Kalingis,
who have settled in the Oriya country. Like other Oriya castes,
the Kalinjis have gotras, e.g., bano (sun), sukro (star), sanko
(conch-shell), bhago (tiger) and nago (cobra). There is a good
deal of confusion regarding the gotras in their connection with
marriage. The same gotra, e.g., sukro, is exogamous in some places,
and not so in others. Many titles occur among the Kalinjis, e.g.,
Borado, Bissoyi, Bariko, Behara, Dolei, Gaudo, Jenna, Moliko, Naiko,
Patro, Podhano, Pulleyi, Ravuto, Santo, Savu, Swayi, Guru. In some
places, the titles are taken as representing bamsams (or vamsams),
and, as such, are exogamous. Families as a rule refrain from marrying
into families bearing the same title. For example, a Dolei man will
not marry a Dolei girl, especially if their gotras are the same. But
a Dolei may marry a Pullei, even if they have the same gotra.

The headman of the Kalinjis is styled Santo, and he is assisted by a
Patro. There is also a caste messenger, called Bhollobhaya. For the
whole community there are said to be four Santos and four Patros,
residing at Attagada, Chinna Kimedi, Pedda Kimedi, and Mohiri. A man
who is suffering from a wound or sore infested by maggots is said
to be excommunicated, and, when he has recovered, to submit himself
before the caste-council before he is received back into the community.

Girls are generally married before puberty, and, if a real husband
is not forthcoming, a maid goes through a mock marriage ceremony
with her elder sister's husband, or some elder of the community. A
bachelor must be married to the sado (Streblus asper) tree before he
can marry a widow. The remarriage of widows (thuvathuvvi) is freely
allowed. A widow, who has a brother-in-law, may not marry anyone
else, until she has obtained a deed of separation (tsado patro) from
him. The marriage ceremonies conform to the standard Oriya type. In
some places, the little fingers of the contracting couple are linked,
instead of their hands being tied together with thread. On the fourth
day, a Bhondari (barber) places on the marriage dais some beaten rice
and sugar-candy, which the bride and bridegroom sell to relations for
money and grain. The proceeds of the sale are the perquisite of the
Bhondari. On the seventh day, the bridegroom breaks a pot on the dais,
and, as he and the bride go away, the brother of the latter throws
brinjal (Solanum Melongena) fruits at him.

The dead are as a rule cremated. On the day after death, food,
made bitter by the addition of margosa (Melia Azadirachta) leaves,
is offered. A piece of bone is carried away from the burning-ground,
and buried under a pipal (Ficus religiosa) tree. Daily, until the
tenth day, water is poured seven times over the spot where the bone
is buried. On the tenth day, if the deceased was an elder of the
community, the jola-jola handi ceremony is performed with a pot
riddled with holes. (See Bhondari.)

Kalkatta.--An occupation name for stone-masons in South Canara.

Kalkatti.--Kalkatti, denoting, it has been suggested, those who wear
glass beads, is a sub-division of Idaiyan. The Lingayats among Badagas
of the Nilgiri hills are called Kalkatti, because they hang a stone
(the lingam) from their necks in a casket. Some Irulas of the same
hills are also said to go by the name Kalkatti.

Kalla.--Recorded as a sub-division of Shanan, and of Idaiyans in
localities where Kallans are most numerous.

Kalladi.--The title of a Cheruman who performs important duties, and
becomes possessed by the spirit of the deceased, at a Cheruman funeral.

Kalladi Mangan.--A synonym of Mondi.

Kalladi Siddhan.--The name, meaning a beggar who beats himself with
a stone, of a class of Telugu mendicants, who are very clamorous and
persistent in their demands for alms. The name is applied as a term of
contempt for any obstinate and troublesome individual. These beggars
carry with them a gourd, have tortoise and cowry shells tied on their
elbows, and carry an iron rod, with which they beat an iron ring worn
on the hand. They present a very revolting spectacle, as they smear
their bodies with rice done up so as to resemble vomit, and with the
juice of the prickly-pear (Opuntia Dillenii), to make people believe
that it is blood oozing from cuts made with a knife. They are said to
be very fond of eating crows, which they catch with nets. (See Mondi.)

Kallamu (threshing-floor).--An exogamous sept of Panta Reddi.

Kallan.--Of the Kallans of the Madura district in the early part of
the last century, an excellent account was written by Mr. T. Turnbull
(1817), from which the following extract has been taken. "The Cullaries
are said to be in general a brave people, expert in the use of the
lance and in throwing the curved stick called vullaree taddee. This
weapon is invariably in use among the generality of this tribe; it
is about 30 inches in curvature. The word Cullar is used to express
a thief of any caste, sect or country, but it will be necessary to
trace their progress to that characteristic distinction by which
this race is designated both a thief, and an inhabitant of a certain
Naud, which was not altogether exempted from paying tribute to the
sovereign of Madura. This race appears to have become hereditary
occupiers, and appropriated to themselves various Nauds in different
parts of the southern countries; in each of these territories they
have a chief among them, whose orders and directions they all must
obey. They still possess one common character, and in general are such
thieves that the name is very justly applied to them, for they seldom
allow any merchandize to pass through their hands without extorting
something from the owners, if they do not rob them altogether, and in
fact travellers, pilgrims, and Brahmans are attacked and stript of
everything they possess, and they even make no scruple to kill any
caste of people, save only the latter. In case a Brahman happens to
be killed in their attempt to plunder, when the fact is made known to
the chief, severe corporal punishment is inflicted on the criminals
and fines levied, besides exclusion from society for a period of six
months. The Maloor Vellaloor and Serrugoody Nauds are denominated the
Keelnaud, whose inhabitants of the Cullar race are designated by the
appellation of Amblacaurs.

"The women are inflexibly vindictive and furious on the least injury,
even on suspicion, which prompts them to the most violent revenge
without any regard to consequences. A horrible custom exists among
the females of the Colleries when a quarrel or dissension arises
between them. The insulted woman brings her child to the house of the
aggressor, and kills it at her door to avenge herself. Although her
vengeance is attended with the most cruel barbarity, she immediately
thereafter proceeds to a neighbouring village with all her goods,
etc. In this attempt she is opposed by her neighbours, which gives
rise to clamour and outrage. The complaint is then carried to the head
Amblacaur, who lays it before the elders of the village, and solicits
their interference to terminate the quarrel. In the course of this
investigation, if the husband finds that sufficient evidence has been
brought against his wife, that she had given cause for provocation and
aggression, then he proceeds unobserved by the assembly to his house,
and brings one of his children, and, in the presence of witness,
kills his child at the door of the woman who had first killed her
child at his. By this mode of proceeding he considers that he has
saved himself much trouble and expense, which would otherwise have
devolved on him. This circumstance is soon brought to the notice of
the tribunal, who proclaim that the offence committed is sufficiently
avenged. But, should this voluntary retribution of revenge not be
executed by the convicted person, the tribunal is prorogued to a
limited time, fifteen days generally. Before the expiration of that
period, one of the children of that convicted person must be killed. At
the same time he is to bear all expenses for providing food, etc.,
for the assembly during those days.

"A remarkable custom prevails both among the males and females in
these Nauds to have their ears bored and stretched by hanging heavy
rings made of lead so as to expand their ear-laps (lobes) down to
their shoulders. Besides this singular idea of beauty attached by
them to pendant ears, a circumstance still more remarkable is that,
when merchants or travellers pass through these Nauds, they generally
take the precaution to insure a safe transit through these territories
by counting the friendship of some individual of the Naud by payment
of a certain fee, for which he deputes a young girl to conduct
the travellers safe through the limits. This sacred guide conducts
them along with her finger to her ear. On observing this sign, no
Cullary will dare to plunder the persons so conducted. It sometimes
happens, in spite of this precaution, that attempts are made to
attack the traveller. The girl in such cases immediately tears one
of her ear-laps, and returns to spread the report, upon which the
complaint is carried before the chief and elders of the Naud, who
forthwith convene a meeting in consequence at the Mundoopoolee. [31]
If the violators are convicted, vindictive retaliation ensues. The
assembly condemns the offenders to have both their ear-laps torn
in expiation of their crime, and, if otherwise capable, they are
punished by fines or absolved by money. By this means travellers
generally obtain a safe passage through these territories. [Even
at the present day, in quarrels between women of the lower castes,
long ears form a favourite object of attack, and lobe-tearing cases
figure frequently in police records. [32]]

"The Maloor Naud was originally inhabited and cultivated by
Vellaulers. At a certain period some Cullaries belonging to Vella
Naud in the Conjeeveram district proceeded thence on a hunting
excursion with weapons consisting of short hand pikes, cudgels,
bludgeons, and curved sticks for throwing, and dogs. While engaged
in their sport, they observed a peacock resist and attack one of
their hounds. The sportsmen, not a little astonished at the sight,
declared that this appeared to be a fortunate country, and its native
inhabitants and every living creature naturally possessed courage and
bravery. Preferring such a country to their Naud in Conjeeveram, they
were desirous of establishing themselves here as cultivators. To effect
this, they insinuated themselves into the favour of the Vellaulers,
and, engaging as their servants, were permitted to remain in these
parts, whither they in course of time invited their relations and
friends, and to appearance conducted themselves faithfully and
obediently to the entire satisfaction of the Vellaulers, and were
rewarded for their labour. Some time afterwards, the Vellaulers,
exercising an arbitrary sway over the Cullaries, began to inflict
condign punishment for offences and misdemeanours committed in their
service. This stirred up the wrath of the Cullaries, who gradually
acquired the superiority over their masters, and by coercive measures
impelled them to a strict observance of the following rules:--

1st.--That, if a Culler was struck by his master in such a manner as
to deprive him of a tooth, he was to pay a fine of ten cully chuckrums
(money) for the offence.

2nd.--That, if a Culler happened to have one of his ear-laps torn,
the Vellauler was to pay a fine of six chuckrums.

3rd.--That if a Culler had his skull fractured, the Vellauler was to
pay thirty chuckrums, unless he preferred to have his skull fractured
in return.

4th.--That, if a Culler had his arm or leg broke, he was then to be
considered but half a man. In such case the offender was required to
grant the Culler one cullum of nunjah seed land (wet cultivation),
and two koorkums of punjah (dry cultivation), to be held and enjoyed in
perpetuity, exclusive of which the Vellauler was required to give the
Culler a doopettah (cloth) and a cloth for his wife, twenty cullums of
paddy or any other grain, and twenty chuckrums in money for expenses.

5th.--That, if a Culler was killed, the offender was required to pay
either a fine of a hundred chuckrums, or be subject to the vengeance
of the injured party. Until either of these alternatives was agreed
to, and satisfaction afforded, the party injured was at liberty to
plunder the offender's property, never to be restored.

"By this hostile mode of conduct imposed on their masters, together
with their extravagant demands, the Vellaulers were reduced to that
dread of the Cullers as to court their favour, and became submissive
to their will and pleasure, so that in process of time the Cullers
not only reduced them to poverty, but also induced them to abandon
their villages and hereditary possessions, and to emigrate to foreign
countries. Many were even murdered in total disregard of their former
solemn promises of fidelity and attachment. Having thus implacably got
rid of their original masters and expelled them from their Naud, they
became the rulers of it, and denominated it by the singular appellation
of Tun Arrasa Naud, signifying a forest only known to its possessors
[or tanarasu-nad, i.e., the country governed by themselves]. [33]
In short, these Colleries became so formidable at length as to
evince a considerable ambition, and to set the then Government at
defiance. Allagar Swamy they regarded as the God of their immediate
devotion, and, whenever their enterprizes were attended with success,
they never failed to be liberal in the performance of certain religious
ceremonies to Allagar. To this day they invoke the name of Allagar in
all what they do, and they make no objection in contributing whatever
they can when the Stalaters come to their villages to collect money or
grain for the support of the temple, or any extraordinary ceremonies of
the God. The Cullers of this Naud, in the line of the Kurtaukles, once
robbed and drove away a large herd of cows belonging to the Prince,
who, on being informed of the robbery, and that the calves were highly
distressed for want of nourishment, ordered them to be drove out of
and left with the cows, wherever they were found. The Cullers were
so exceedingly pleased with this instance of the Kurtaukle's goodness
and greatness of mind that they immediately collected a thousand cows
(at one cow from every house) in the Naud as a retribution, and drove
them along with the plundered cattle to Madura. Whenever a quarrel
or dispute happens among them, the parties arrest each other in the
name of the respective Amblacaurs, whom they regard as most sacred,
and they will only pay their homage to those persons convened as
arbitrators or punjayems to settle their disputes.

"During the feudal system that prevailed among these Colleries for a
long time, they would on no consideration permit the then Government
to have any control or authority over them. When tribute was demanded,
the Cullers would answer with contempt: 'The heavens supply the earth
with rain, our cattle plough, and we labour to improve and cultivate
the land. While such is the case, we alone ought to enjoy the fruits
thereof. What reason is there that we should be obedient, and pay
tribute to our equal?'

"During the reign of Vizia Ragoonada Saitooputty [34] a party of
Colleries, having proceeded on a plundering excursion into the Ramnad
district, carried off two thousand of the Raja's own bullocks. The
Raja was so exasperated that he caused forts to be erected at five
different places in the Shevagunga and Ramnad districts, and, on
pretext of establishing a good understanding with these Nauttams, he
artfully invited the principal men among them, and, having encouraged
them by repeatedly conferring marks of his favour, caused a great
number to be slain, and a number of their women to be transported
to Ramiserum, where they were branded with the marks of the pagoda,
and made Deva Dassies or dancing girls and slaves of the temple. The
present dancing girls in that celebrated island are said to be the
descendants of these women of the Culler tribe." In the eighteenth
century a certain Captain Rumley was sent with troops to check the
turbulent Colleries. "He became the terror of the Collerie Naud,
and was highly respected and revered by the designation of Rumley
Swamy, under which appellation the Colleries afterwards distinguished
him." It is on record that, during the Trichinopoly war, the horses
of Clive and Stringer Lawrence were stolen by two Kallan brothers.

Tradition says that one of the rooms in Tirumala Nayakkan's palace
at Madura "was Tirumala's sleeping apartment, and that his cot hung
by long chains from hooks in the roof. One night, says a favourite
story, a Kallan made a hole in the roof, swarmed down the chains, and
stole the royal jewels. The king promised a jaghir (grant of land)
to anyone who would bring him the thief, and the Kallan then gave
himself up and claimed the reward. The king gave him the jaghir,
and then promptly had him beheaded." [35]

By Mr. H. A. Stuart [36] the Kallans are said to be "a middle-sized
dark-skinned tribe found chiefly in the districts of Tanjore,
Trichinopoly and Madura, and in the Pudukota territory. The name Kallan
is commonly derived from Tamil kallam, which means theft. Mr. Nelson
[37] expresses some doubts as to the correctness of this derivation,
but Dr. Oppert accepts it, and no other has been suggested. The
original home of the Kallans appears to have been Tondamandalam or the
Pallava country, and the head of the class, the Raja of Pudukota, is
to this day called the Tondaman. There are good grounds for believing
that the Kallans are a branch of the Kurumbas, who, when they found
their regular occupation as soldiers gone, 'took to maraudering,
and made themselves so obnoxious by their thefts and robberies, that
the term kallan, thief, was applied, and stuck to them as a tribal
appellation.' [38] The Rev. W. Taylor, the compiler of the Catalogue
Raisonné of Oriental Manuscripts, also identifies the Kallans with
the Kurumbas, and Mr. Nelson accepts this conclusion. In the census
returns, Kurumban is returned as one of the sub-divisions of the
Kallan caste.'

"The Chola country, or Tanjore," Mr. W. Francis writes, [39] "seems to
have been the original abode of the Kallans before their migration to
the Pandya kingdom after its conquest by the Cholas about the eleventh
century A.D. But in Tanjore they have been greatly influenced by the
numerous Brahmans there, and have taken to shaving their heads and
employing Brahmans as priests. At their weddings also the bridegroom
ties the tali himself, while elsewhere his sister does it. Their
brethren across the border in Madura continue to merely tie their
hair in a knot, and employ their own folk to officiate as their
priests. This advance of one section will doubtless in time enhance
the social estimation of the caste as a whole."

It is further noted, in the Gazetteer of the Tanjore district, that the
ambitions of the Kallans have been assisted "by their own readiness,
especially in the more advanced portions of the district, to imitate
the practices of Brahmans and Vellalans. Great variations thus occur in
their customs in different localities, and a wide gap exists between
the Kallans of this district as a whole and those of Madura."

In the Manual of the Tanjore district, it is stated that "profitable
agriculture, coupled with security of property in land, has converted
the great bulk of the Kallar and Padeiyachi classes into a contented
and industrious population. They are now too fully occupied with
agriculture, and the incidental litigation, to think of their old
lawless pursuits, even if they had an inclination to follow them. The
bulk of the ryotwari proprietors in that richly cultivated part
of the Cauvery delta which constituted the greater part of the old
taluk of Tiruvadi are Kallars, and, as a rule, they are a wealthy and
well-to-do class. The Kallar ryots, who inhabit the villages along
the banks of the Cauvery, in their dress and appearance generally
look quite like Vellalas. Some of the less romantic and inoffensive
characteristics of the Kallars in Madura and Tinnevelly are found
among the recent immigrants from the south, who are distinguished
from the older Kallar colonies by the general term Terkattiyar,
literally southerns, which includes emigrants of other castes from
the south. The Terkattiyars are found chiefly in the parts of the
district which border on Pudukota. Kallars of this group grow their
hair long all over the head exactly like women, and both men and women
enlarge the holes in the lobes of their ears to an extraordinary size
by inserting rolls of palm-leaf into them." The term Terkattiyar is
applied to Kallan, Maravan, Agamudaiyan, and other immigrants into the
Tanjore district. At Mayaveram, for example, it is applied to Kalians,
Agamudaiyans, and Valaiyans. It is noted, in the Census Report,
1891, that Agamudaiyan and Kallan were returned as sub-divisions
of Maravans by a comparatively large number of persons. "Maravan
is also found among the sub-divisions of Kallan, and there can be
little doubt that there is a very close connection between Kallans,
Maravans, and Agamudaiyans." "The origin of the Kallar caste,"
Mr. F. S. Mullaly writes, [40] "as also that of the Maravars and
Ahambadayars, is mythologically traced to Indra and Aghalia, the wife
of Rishi Gautama. The legend is that Indra and Rishi Gautama were,
among others, rival suitors for the hand of Aghalia. Rishi Gautama
was the successful one. This so incensed Indra that he determined to
win Aghalia at all hazards, and, by means of a cleverly devised ruse,
succeeded, and Aghalia bore him three sons, who respectively took the
names Kalla, Marava, and Ahambadya. The three castes have the agnomen
Theva or god, and claim to be descendants of Thevan (Indra)." According
to another version of the legend "once upon a time Rishi Gautama left
his house to go abroad on business. Devendra, taking advantage of his
absence, debauched his wife, and three children were the result. When
the Rishi returned, one of the three hid himself behind a door, and, as
he thus acted like a thief, he was henceforward called Kallan. Another
got up a tree, and was therefore called Maravan from maram, a tree,
whilst the third brazened it out and stood his ground, thus earning
for himself the name of Ahamudeiyan, or the possessor of pride. This
name was corrupted into Ahambadiyan." [41] There is a Tamil proverb
that a Kallan may come to be a Maravan. By respectability he may
develop into an Agamudaiyan, and, by slow and small degrees, become
a Vellala, from which he may rise to be a Mudaliar.

"The Kallans," Mr. H. A. Stuart writes, [42] "will eat flesh,
excepting beef, and have no scruples regarding the use of intoxicating
liquor. They are usually farmers or field-labourers, but many of
them are employed as village or other watchmen, and not a few depend
for their subsistence upon the proceeds of thefts and robberies. In
Trichinopoly town, householders are obliged to keep a member of the
Kallan caste in their service as a protection against the depredations
of these thieves, and any refusal to give in to this custom invariably
results in loss of property. On the other hand, if a theft should,
by any chance, be committed in a house where a Kallan is employed,
the articles stolen will be recovered, and returned to the owner. In
Madura town, I am informed, a tax of four annas per annum is levied
on houses in certain streets by the head of the Kallan caste in return
for protection against theft." In the Census Report, 1901, Mr. Francis
records that "the Kallans, Maravans, and Agamudaiyans are responsible
for a share of the crime of the southern districts, which is out of all
proportion to their strength in them. In 1897, the Inspector-General of
Prisons reported that nearly 42 per cent. of the convicts in the Madura
jail, and 30 per cent, of those in the Palamcottah jail in Tinnevelly,
belonged to one or other of these three castes. In Tinnevelly, in 1894,
131 cattle thefts were committed by men of these three castes against
47 by members of others, which is one theft to 1,497 of the population
of the three bodies against one to 37,830 of the other castes. The
statistics of their criminality in Trichinopoly and Madura were also
bad. The Kallans had until recently a regular system of blackmail,
called kudikaval, under which each village paid certain fees to
be exempt from theft. The consequences of being in arrears with
their payments quickly followed in the shape of cattle thefts and
'accidental' fires in houses. In Madura the villagers recently struck
against this extortion. The agitation was started by a man of the
Idaiyan or shepherd caste, which naturally suffered greatly by the
system, and continued from 1893 to 1896." The origin of the agitation
is said [43] to have been the anger of certain of the Idaiyans with
a Kallan Lothario, who enticed away a woman of their caste, and
afterwards her daughter, and kept both women simultaneously under his
protection. The story of this anti-Kallan agitation is told as follows
in the Police Administration Report, 1896. "Many of the Kallans are the
kavalgars of the villages under the kaval system. Under that system
the kavalgars receive fees, and in some cases rent-free land for
undertaking to protect the property of the villagers against theft,
or to restore an equivalent in value for anything lost. The people
who suffer most at the hands of the Kallars are the shepherds (Konans
or Idaiyans). Their sheep and goats form a convenient subject for the
Kallar's raids. They are taken for kaval fees alleged to be overdue,
and also stolen, again to be restored on the payment of blackmail. The
anti-Kallar movement was started by a man of the shepherd caste, and
rapidly spread. Meetings of villagers were held, at which thousands
attended. They took oath on their ploughs to dispense with the
services of the Kallars; they formed funds to compensate such of
them as lost their cattle, or whose houses were burnt; they arranged
for watchmen among themselves to patrol the villages at night; they
provided horns to be sounded to carry the alarm in cases of theft
from village to village, and prescribed a regular scale of fines to
be paid by those villagers who failed to turn out on the sound of
the alarm. The Kallans in the north in many cases sold their lands,
and left their villages, but in some places they showed fight. For six
months crime is said to have ceased absolutely, and, as one deponent
put it, people even left their buckets at the wells. In one or two
places the Kallans gathered in large bodies in view to overawe the
villagers, and riots followed. In one village there were three murders,
and the Kallar quarter was destroyed by fire, but whether the fire was
the work of Konans or Kallars has never been discovered. In August,
large numbers of villagers attacked the Kallars in two villages in
the Dindigul division, and burnt the Kallar quarters."

"The crimes," Mr. F. S. Mullaly writes, [44] "that Kallars are addicted
to are dacoity in houses or on highways, robbery, house-breaking and
cattle-stealing. They are usually armed with vellari thadis or clubs
(the so-called boomerangs) and occasionally with knives similar to
those worn by the inhabitants of the western coast. Their method of
house-breaking is to make the breach in the wall under the door. A
lad of diminutive size then creeps in, and opens the door for the
elders. Jewels worn by sleepers are seldom touched. The stolen property
is hidden in convenient places, in drains, wells, or straw stacks, and
is sometimes returned to the owner on receipt of blackmail from him
called tuppu-kuli or clue hire. The women seldom join in crimes, but
assist the men in their dealings (for disposal of the stolen property)
with the Chettis." It is noted by the Abbé Dubois that the Kallars
"regard a robber's occupation as discreditable neither to themselves,
nor to their fellow castemen, for the simple reason that they consider
robbery a duty, and a right sanctioned by descent. If one were to
ask of a Kallar to what people he belonged, he would coolly answer,
I am a robber."

It is recorded, in the Gazetteer of the Madura district, that "dacoity
of travellers at night used to be the favourite pastime of the Kallans,
and their favourite haunts the various roads leading out of Madura,
and that from Ammayanayakkanur to Periyakulam. The method adopted
consisted in threatening the driver of the cart, and then turning the
vehicle into the ditch so that it upset. The unfortunate travellers
were then forced by some of the gang to sit at the side of the road,
with their backs to the cart and their faces to the ground, while
their baggage was searched for valuables by the remainder. The gangs
which frequented these roads have now broken up, and the caste has
practically quitted road dacoity for the simpler, more paying, and
less risky business of stealing officials' office-boxes and ryots'
cattle. Cattle-theft is now the most popular calling among them. They
are clever at handling animals, and probably the popularity of the
jallikats (see Maravan) has its origin in the demands of a life,
which always included much cattle-lifting. The stolen animals are
driven great distances (as much as 20 or 30 miles) on the night of the
theft, and are then hidden for the day either in a friend's house,
or among hills and jungles. The next night they are taken still
further, and again hidden. Pursuit is by this time hopeless, as the
owner has no idea even in which direction to search. He, therefore,
proceeds to the nearest go-between (these individuals are well-known
to every one), and offers him a reward if he will bring back the
cattle. This reward is called tuppu-kuli, or payment for clues, and
is very usually as much as half the value of the animals stolen. The
Kallan undertakes to search for the lost bullocks, returns soon,
and states that he has found them, receives his tuppu-kuli, and then
tells the owner of the property that, if he will go to a spot named,
which is usually in some lonely neighbourhood, he will find his cattle
tied up there. This information is always correct. If, on the other
hand, the owner reports the theft to the police, no Kallan will
help him to recover his animals, and these are eventually sold in
other districts or Travancore, or even sent across from Tuticorin to
Ceylon. Consequently, hardly any cattle-thefts are ever reported to the
police. Where the Kallans are most numerous, the fear of incendiarism
induces people to try to afford a tiled or terraced roof, instead
of being content with thatch. The cattle are always tied up in the
houses at night. Fear of the Kallans prevents them from being left
in the fields, and they may be seen coming into the villages every
evening in scores, choking every one with the dust they kick up,
and polluting the village site (instead of manuring the land) for
twelve hours out of every twenty-four. Buffaloes are tied up outside
the houses. Kallans do not care to steal them, as they are of little
value, are very troublesome when a stranger tries to handle them,
and cannot travel fast or far enough to be out of reach of detection
by daybreak. The Kallans' inveterate addiction to dacoity and theft
render the caste to this day a thorn in the flesh of the authorities. A
very large proportion of the thefts committed in the district are
attributable to them. Nor are they ashamed of the fact. One of them
defended his class by urging that every other class stole, the official
by taking bribes, the vakil (law pleader) by fostering animosities,
and so pocketing fees, the merchant by watering the arrack (spirit)
and sanding the sugar, and so on, and that the Kallans differed from
these only in the directness of their methods. Round about Melur,
the people of the caste are taking energetically to wet cultivation,
to the exclusion of cattle-lifting, with the Periyar water, which
has lately been brought there. In some of the villages to the south
of that town, they have drawn up a formal agreement (which has been
solemnly registered, and is most rigorously enforced by the headmen),
forbidding theft, recalling all the women who have emigrated to Ceylon
and elsewhere, and, with an enlightenment which puts other communities
to shame, prohibiting several other unwise practices which are only
too common, such as the removal from the fields of cow-dung for fuel,
and the pollution of drinking-water tanks (ponds) by stepping into
them. Hard things have been said about the Kallans, but points to
their credit are the chastity of their women, the cleanliness they
observe in and around their villages, and their marked sobriety. A
toddy-shop in a Kallan village is seldom a financial success."

From a recent note, [45] I gather the following additional
information concerning tuppu-kuli. "The Kallans are largely
guilty of cattle-thefts. In many cases, they return the cattle on
receiving tuppu-kuli. The official returns do not show many of these
cases. No cattle-owner thinks of reporting the loss of any of his
cattle. Naturally his first instinct is that it might have strayed
away, being live property. The tuppu-kuli system generally helps
the owner to recover his lost cattle. He has only to pay half of
its real value, and, when he recovers his animal, he goes home with
the belief that he has really made a profitable bargain. There is no
matter for complaint, but, on the other hand, he is glad that he got
back his animal for use, often at the most opportune time. Cattle are
indispensable to the agriculturist at all times of the year. Perhaps,
sometimes, when the rains fail, he may not use them. But if, after
a long drought, there is a shower, immediately every agriculturist
runs to his field with his plough and cattle, and tills it. If, at
such a time, his cattle be stolen, he considers as though he were
beaten on his belly, and his means of livelihood gone. No cattle will
be available then for hire. There is nothing that he will not part
with, to get back his cattle. There is then the nefarious system of
tuppu-kuli offering itself, and he freely resorts to it, and succeeds
in getting back his lost cattle sooner or later. On the other hand,
if a complaint is made to the Village Magistrate or Police, recovery
by this channel is impossible. The tuppu-kuli agents have their spies
or informants everywhere, dogging the footsteps of the owner of the
stolen cattle, and of those who are likely to help him in recovering
it. As soon as they know the case is recorded in the Police station,
they determine not to let the animal go back to its owner at any
risk, unless some mutual friend intervenes, and works mightily for
the recovery, in which case the restoration is generally through the
pound. Such a restoration is, primâ facie, cattle-straying, for only
stray cattle are taken to the pound. This, too, is done after a good
deal of hard swearing on both sides not to hand over the offender to
the authorities."

In connection with the 'vellari thadi' referred to above, Dr. Oppert
writes [46] that "boomerangs are used by the Tamil Maravans and Kallans
when hunting deer. The Madras Museum collection contains three (two
ivory, one wooden) from the Tanjore armoury. In the arsenal of the
Pudukkottai Raja a stock of wooden boomerangs is always kept. Their
name in Tamil is valai tadi (bent stick)." Concerning these boomerangs,
the Dewan of Pudukkottai writes to me as follows. "The valari or valai
tadi is a short weapon, generally made of some hard-grained wood. It
is also sometimes made of iron. It is crescent-shaped, one end being
heavier than the other, and the outer edge is sharpened. Men trained in
the use of the weapon hold it by the lighter end, whirl it a few times
over their shoulders to give it impetus, and then hurl it with great
force against the object aimed at. It is said that there were experts
in the art of throwing the valari, who could at one stroke despatch
small game, and even man. No such experts are now forthcoming in the
State, though the instrument is reported to be occasionally used in
hunting hares, jungle fowl, etc. Its days, however, must be counted as
past. Tradition states that the instrument played a considerable part
in the Poligar wars of the last century. But it now reposes peacefully
in the households of the descendants of the rude Kallan and Maravan
warriors, who plied it with such deadly effect in the last century,
preserved as a sacred relic of a chivalric past along with other
old family weapons in their puja room, brought out and scraped and
cleaned on occasions like the Ayudha puja day (when worship is paid
to weapons and implements of industry), and restored to its place of
rest immediately afterwards."

The sub-divisions of the Kallans, which were returned in greatest
numbers at the census, 1891, were Isanganadu (or Visangu-nadu),
Kungiliyan, Menadu, Nattu, Piramalainadu, and Sirukudi. In the Census
Report, 1901, it is recorded that "in Madura the Kallans are divided
into ten main endogamous divisions [47] which are territorial in
origin. These are (1) Mel-nadu, (2) Sirukudi-nadu, (3) Vellur-nadu, (4)
Malla-kottai nadu, (5) Pakaneri, (6) Kandramanikkam or Kunnan-kottai
nadu, (7) Kandadevi, (8) Puramalai-nadu, (9) Tennilai-nadu, and (10)
Palaya-nadu. The headman of the Puramalai-nadu section is said to be
installed by Idaiyans (herdsmen), but what the connection between
the two castes may be is not clear. The termination nadu means a
country. These sections are further divided into exogamous sections
called vaguppus. The Mel-nadu Kallans have three sections called
terus or streets, namely, Vadakku-teru (north street), Kilakku-teru
(east street), and Terku-teru (south street). The Sirukudi Kallans
have vaguppus named after the gods specially worshipped by each,
such as Andi, Mandai, Aiyanar, and Viramangali. Among the Vellur-nadu
Kallans the names of these sections seem merely fanciful. Some of
them are Vengai puli (cruel-handed tiger), Vekkali puli (cruel-legged
tiger), Sami puli (holy tiger), Sem puli (red tiger), Sammatti makkal
(hammer men), Tiruman (holy deer), and Sayumpadai tangi (supporter
of the vanquished army). A section of the Tanjore Kallans names its
sections from sundry high-sounding titles meaning King of the Pallavas,
King of Tanjore, conqueror of the south, mighty ruler, and so on."

Portions of the Madura and Tanjore districts are divided into areas
known as nadus, a name which, as observed by Mr. Nelson, is specially
applicable to Kallan tracts. In each nadu a certain caste, called the
Nattan, is the predominant factor in the settlement of social questions
which arise among the various castes living within the nadu. Round
about Devakotta in the Sivaganga zamindari there are fourteen nadus,
representatives of which meet once a year at Kandadevi, to arrange for
the annual festival at the temple dedicated to Swarnamurthi Swami. The
four nadus Unjanai, Sembonmari, Iravaseri, and Tennilai in the same
zamindari constitute a group, of which the last is considered the
chief nadu, whereat caste questions must come up for settlement. For
marriage purposes these four nadus constitute an endogamous section,
which is sub-divided into septs or karais. Among the Vallambans
these karais are exogamous, and run in the male line. But, among the
Kallans, the karai is recognised only in connection with property. A
certain tract of land is the property of a particular karai, and the
legal owners thereof are members of the same karai. When the land
has to be disposed of, this can only be effected with the consent of
representatives of the karai. The Nattar Kallans of Sivaganga have
exogamous septs called kilai or branches, which, as among the Maravans,
run in the female line, i.e., a child belongs to the mother's, not
the father's, sept. In some castes, and even among Brahmans, though
contrary to strict rule, it is permissible for a man to marry his
sister's daughter. This is not possible among the Kallans who have
kilais such as those referred to, because the maternal uncle of a
girl, the girl, and her mother all belong to the same sept. But the
children of a brother and sister may marry, because they belong to
different kilais, i.e., those of their respective mothers.


                    Subban         =        Pachchai
              (Kurivili kilai).    |   (Arasiya kilai).
              +====================|======================+
              |                                           |
         Karuppan, son                            Ellamma, daughter
        (Arasiya kilai)                           (Arasiya kilai)
              |                                           |
              |                                           |
            Raman                                      Minachi
        (Pesadan kilai)                            (Arasiya kilai)


                 Example of allowable cousin-marriages.


In the above example, the girl Minachi may not marry Karuppan, as both
are members of the same kilai. But she ought, though he be a mere boy,
to marry Raman, who belongs to a different sept.

It is noted [48] that, among the Sivaganga Kallans, "when a member of a
certain kilai dies, a piece of new cloth should be given to the other
male member of the same kilai by the heir of the deceased. The cloth
thus obtained should be given to the sister of the person obtaining
it. If her brother fails to do so, her husband will consider himself
degraded, and consequently will divorce her." Round about Pudukkottai
and Tanjore, the Visangu-nadu Kallans have exogamous septs called
pattaperu, and they adopt the sept name as a title, e.g., Muthu
Udaiyan, Karuppa Tondaman, etc. It is noted, in the Gazetteer of the
Tanjore district, that the sub-divisions of the Kallans are split
into groups, e.g., Onaiyan (wolfish), Singattan (lion-like), etc.

It is a curious fact that the Puramalai-nadu Kallans practice the rite
of circumcision. The origin of this custom is uncertain, but it has
been suggested [49] that it is a survival of a forcible conversion
to Muhammadanism of a section of the Kurumbas who fled northwards
on the downfall of their kingdom. At the time appointed for the
initiatory ceremony, the Kallan youth is carried on the shoulders
of his maternal uncle to a grove or plain outside the village, where
betel is distributed among those who have assembled, and the operation
is performed by a barber-surgeon. En route to the selected site,
and throughout the ceremony, the conch shell (musical instrument)
is blown. The youth is presented with new cloths. It is noted, in the
Gazetteer of the Madura district, that "every Kallan boy has a right
to claim the hand of his paternal aunt's daughter in marriage. This
aunt bears the expenses connected with his circumcision. Similarly,
the maternal uncle pays the costs of the rites which are observed when
a girl attains maturity, for he has a claim on the girl as a bride
for his son. The two ceremonies are performed at one time for large
batches of boys and girls. On an auspicious day, the young people are
all feasted, and dressed in their best, and repair to a river or tank
(pond). The mothers of the girls make lamps of plantain leaves, and
float them on the water, and the boys are operated on by the local
barber." It is stated, in the Census Report, 1901, that the Sirukudi
Kallans use a tali, on which the Muhammadan badge of a crescent and
star is engraved.

In connection with marriage among the Kallans, it is noted by
Mr. S. M. Natesa Sastri [50] that "at the Mattupongal feast, towards
evening, festoons of aloe fibre and cloths containing coins are tied
to the horns of bullocks and cows, and the animals are driven through
the streets with tom-tom and music. In the villages, especially those
inhabited by the Kallans in Madura and Tinnevelly, the maiden chooses
as her husband him who has safely untied and brought to her the cloth
tied to the horn of the fiercest bull. The animals are let loose with
their horns containing valuables, amidst the din of tom-tom and harsh
music, which terrifies and bewilders them. They run madly about,
and are purposely excited by the crowd. A young Kalla will declare
that he will run after such and such a bull--and this is sometimes a
risky pursuit--and recover the valuables tied to its horn. The Kallan
considers it a great disgrace to be injured while chasing the bull."

A poet of the early years of the present era, quoted by
Mr. Kanakasabhai Pillai, [51] describes this custom as practiced
by the shepherd castes in those days. "A large area of ground is
enclosed with palisades and strong fences. Into the enclosure are
brought ferocious bulls with sharpened horns. On a spacious loft,
overlooking the enclosure, stand the shepherd girls, whom they intend
to give away in marriage. The shepherd youths, prepared for the fight,
first pray to their gods, whose images are placed under old banian
or peepul trees, or at watering places. They then deck themselves
with garlands made of the bright red flowers of the kanthal, and
the purple flowers of the kaya. At a signal given by the beating of
drums, the youths leap into the enclosure, and try to seize the bulls,
which, frightened by the noise of the drums, are now ready to charge
anyone who approaches them. Each youth approaches a bull, which he
chooses to capture. But the bulls rush furiously, with tails raised,
heads bent down, and horns levelled at their assailants. Some of the
youths face the bulls boldly, and seize their horns. Some jump aside,
and take hold of their tails. The more wary young men cling to the
animals till they force them to fall on the ground. Many a luckless
youth is now thrown down. Some escape without a scratch, while others
are trampled upon or gored by the bulls. Some, though wounded and
bleeding, again spring on the bulls. A few, who succeed in capturing
the animals, are declared the victors of that day's fight. The elders
then announce that the bull-fight is over. The wounded are carried
out of the enclosure, and attended to immediately, while the victors
and the brides-elect repair to an adjoining grove, and there, forming
into groups, dance joyously before preparing for their marriage."

In an account of marriage among the Kallans, Mr. Nelson writes that
"the most proper alliance in the opinion of a Kallan is one between
a man and the daughter of his father's sister, and, if an individual
have such a cousin, he must marry her, whatever disparity there may
be between their respective ages. A boy of fifteen must marry such
a cousin, even if she be thirty or forty years old, if her father
insists upon his so doing. Failing a cousin of this sort, he must marry
his aunt or his niece, or any near relative. If his father's brother
has a daughter, and insists upon him marrying her he cannot refuse;
and this whatever may be the woman's age. One of the customs of the
western Kallans is specially curious. It constantly happens that a
woman is the wife of ten, eight, six, or two husbands, who are held
to be the fathers jointly and severally of any children that may be
born of her body, and, still more curiously, when the children grow
up they, for some unknown reason, invariably style themselves the
children not of ten, eight or six fathers as the case may be, but of
eight and two, six and two, or four and two fathers. When a wedding
takes place, the sister of the bridegroom goes to the house of the
parents of the bride, and presents them with twenty-one Kali fanams
(coins) and a cloth, and, at the same time, ties some horse-hair round
the bride's neck. She then brings her and her relatives to the house
of the bridegroom, where a feast is prepared.

Sheep are killed, and stores of liquor kept ready, and all partake
of the good cheer provided. After this the bride and bridegroom
are conducted to the house of the latter, and the ceremony of an
exchange between them of vallari thadis or boomerangs is solemnly
performed. Another feast is then given in the bride's house, and
the bride is presented by her parents with one markal of rice and a
hen. She then goes with her husband to his house. During the first
twelve months after marriage, it is customary for the wife's parents
to invite the pair to stay with them a day or two on the occasion of
any feast, and to present them on their departure with a markal of rice
and a cock. At the time of the first Pongal feast after the marriage,
the presents customarily given to the son-in-law are five markals
of rice, five loads of pots and pans, five bunches of plantains,
five cocoanuts, and five lumps of jaggery (crude sugar). A divorce
is easily obtained on either side. A husband dissatisfied with his
wife can send her away if he be willing at the same time to give her
half of his property, and a wife can leave her husband at will upon
forfeiture of forty-two Kali fanams. A widow may marry any man she
fancies, if she can induce him to make her a present of ten fanams."

In connection with the foregoing account, I am informed that, among
the Nattar Kallans, the brother of a married woman must give her
annually at Pongal a present of rice, a goat, and a cloth until
her death. The custom of exchanging boomerangs appears to be fast
becoming a tradition. But, there is a common saying still current "Send
the valari tadi, and bring the bride." As regards the horse-hair,
which is mentioned as being tied round the bride's neck, I gather
that, as a rule, the tali is suspended from a cotton thread, and the
horse-hair necklet may be worn by girls prior to puberty and marriage,
and by widows. This form of necklet is also worn by females of other
castes, such as Maravans, Valaiyans, and Morasa Paraiyans. Puramalai
Kallan women can be distinguished by the triangular ornament, which
is attached to the tali string. It is stated, in the Gazetteer of
the Madura district, that "when a girl has attained maturity, she
puts away the necklace of coloured beads she wore as a child, and
dons the horse-hair necklet, which is characteristic of the Kallan
woman. This she retains till death, even if she becomes a widow. The
richer Kallans substitute for the horse-hair a necklace of many
strands of fine silver wire. In Tirumangalam, the women often hang
round their necks a most curious brass and silver pendant, six or
eight inches long, and elaborately worked."

It is noted in the Census Report, 1891, that as a token of divorce "a
Kallan gives his wife a piece of straw in the presence of his caste
people. In Tamil the expression 'to give a straw' means to divorce,
and 'to take a straw' means to accept divorce."

In their marriage customs, some Kallans have adopted the Puranic
form of rite owing to the influence of Brahman purohits, and, though
adult marriage is the rule, some Brahmanised Kallans have introduced
infant marriage. To this the Puramalai section has a strong objection,
as, from the time of marriage, they have to give annually till the
birth of the first child a present of fowls, rice, a goat, jaggery,
plantains, betel, turmeric, and condiments. By adult marriage the
time during which this present has to be made is shortened, and less
expenditure thereon is incurred. In connection with the marriage
ceremonies as carried out by some Kallans, I gather that the consent
of the maternal uncle of a girl to her marriage is essential. For
the betrothal ceremony, the father and maternal uncle of the future
bridegroom proceed to the girl's house, where a feast is held, and
the date fixed for the wedding written on two rolls of palm leaf
dyed with turmeric or red paper, which are exchanged between the
maternal uncles. On the wedding day, the sister of the bridegroom
goes to the house of the bride, accompanied by women, some of whom
carry flowers, cocoanuts, betel leaves, turmeric, leafy twigs of
Sesbania grandiflora, paddy (unhusked rice), milk, and ghi (clarified
butter). A basket containing a female cloth, and the tali string
wrapped up in a red cloth borrowed from a washerman, is given to a
sister of the bridegroom or to a woman belonging to his sept. On the
way to the bride's house, two of the women blow chank shells (musical
instrument). The bride's people question the bridegroom's party as
to his sept, and they ought to say that he belongs to Indra kulam,
Thalavala nadu, and Ahalya gotra. The bridegroom's sister, taking up
the tali, passes it round to be touched by all present, and ties the
string, which is decorated with flowers, tightly round the bride's
neck amid the blowing of the conch shell. The bride is then conducted
to the home of the bridegroom, whence they return to her house on the
following day. The newly married couple sit on a plank, and coloured
rice-balls or coloured water are waved, while women yell out "killa,
illa, illa; killa, illa, illa." This ceremony is called kulavi idal,
and is sometimes performed by Kallan women during the tali-tying.

The following details relating to the marriage ceremonies are
recorded in the Gazetteer of the Tanjore district. "The arrival
of the bridegroom has been described as being sometimes especially
ceremonious. Mounted on a horse, and attended by his maternal uncle,
he is met by a youth from the bride's house, also mounted, who conducts
the visitors to the marriage booth. Here he is given betel leaves,
areca nuts, and a rupee by the bride's father, and his feet are
washed in milk and water, and adorned with toe-rings by the bride's
mother. The tali is suspended from a necklet of gold or silver instead
of cotton thread, but this is afterwards changed to cotton for fear of
offending the god Karuppan. A lamp is often held by the bridegroom's
sister, or some married woman, while the tali is being tied. This is
left unlighted by the Kallans for fear it should go out, and thus cause
an evil omen. The marriage tie is in some localities very loose. Even
a woman who has borne her husband many children may leave him if she
likes, to seek a second husband, on condition that she pays him her
marriage expenses. In this case (as also when widows are remarried),
the children are left in the late husband's house. The freedom of
the Kallan women in these matters is noticed in the proverb that,
"though there may be no thread in the spinning-rod, there will always
be a (tali) thread on the neck of a Kallan woman," or that "though
other threads fail, the thread of a Kallan woman will never do so."

By some Kallans pollution is, on the occasion of the first menstrual
period, observed for seven or nine days. On the sixteenth day, the
maternal uncle of the girl brings a sheep or goat, and rice. She is
bathed and decorated, and sits on a plank while a vessel of water,
coloured rice, and a measure filled with paddy with a style bearing
a betel leaf struck on it, are waved before her. Her head, knees,
and shoulders are touched with cakes, which are then thrown away. A
woman, conducting the girl round the plank, pours water from a vessel
on to a betel leaf held in her hand, so that it falls on the ground
at the four cardinal points of the compass, which the girl salutes.

A ceremony is generally celebrated in the seventh month of pregnancy,
for which the husband's sister prepares pongal (cooked rice). The
pregnant woman sits on a plank, and the rice is waved before her. She
then stands up, and bends down while her sister-in-law pours milk from
a betel or pipal (Ficus religiosa) leaf on her back. A feast brings the
ceremony to a close. Among the Vellur-nadu Kallans patterns are said
[52] to be drawn on the back of the pregnant woman with rice-flour,
and milk is poured over them. The husband's sister decorates a
grindstone in the same way, invokes a blessing on the woman, and
expresses a hope that she may have a male child as strong as a stone.

When a child is born in a family, the entire family observes
pollution for thirty days, during which entrance into a temple is
forbidden. Among the Nattar Kallans, children are said to be named
at any time after they are a month old. But, among the Puramalai
Kallans, a first-born female child is named on the seventh day,
after the ear-boring ceremony has been performed. "All Kallans,"
Mr. Francis writes, [52] "put on sacred ashes, the usual mark of a
Saivite, on festive occasions, but they are nevertheless generally
Vaishnavites. The dead are usually buried, and it is said that,
at funerals, cheroots are handed round, which those present smoke
while the ceremony proceeds." Some Kallans are said, [53] when a
death occurs in a family, to put a pot filled with dung or water,
a broomstick, and a fire-brand at some place where three roads meet,
or in front of the house, in order to prevent the ghost from returning.

It is recorded, in the Gazetteer of the Madura district, that
"the Kilnad Kallans usually bury their dead. Lamps are periodically
lighted on the tomb, and it is whitewashed annually. The Piramalainad
division usually burn the dead. If a woman dies when with child, the
baby is taken out, and placed alongside her on the pyre. This, it may
be noted, is the rule with most castes in this district, and, in some
communities, the relations afterwards put up a stone burden-rest by
the side of a road, the idea being that the woman died with her burden,
and so her spirit rejoices to see others lightened of theirs. Tradition
says that the caste came originally from the north. The dead are buried
with their faces laid in that direction; and, when puja is done to
Karuppanaswami, the caste god, the worshippers turn to the north."

According to Mr. H. A. Stuart [54] "the Kallans are nominally
Saivites, but in reality the essence of their religious belief is
devil-worship. Their chief deity is Alagarswami, the god of the great
Alagar Kovil twelve miles to the north of the town of Madura. To this
temple they make large offerings, and the Swami, called Kalla Alagar,
has always been regarded as their own peculiar deity." The Kallans
are said by Mr. Mullaly to observe omens, and consult their household
gods before starting on depredations. "Two flowers, the one red and
the other white, are placed before the idol, a symbol of their god
Kalla Alagar. The white flower is the emblem of success. A child of
tender years is told to pluck a petal of one of the two flowers,
and the undertaking rests upon the choice made by the child." In
like manner, when a marriage is contemplated among the Idaiyans, the
parents of the prospective bride and bridegroom go to the temple, and
throw before the idol a red and white flower, each wrapped in a betel
leaf. A small child is then told to pick up one of the leaves. If the
one selected contains the white flower, it is considered auspicious,
and the marriage will take place.

In connection with the Alagar Kovil, I gather [55] that, when oaths
are to be taken, the person who is to swear is asked to worship Kallar
Alagar, and, with a parivattam (cloth worn as a mark of respect in the
presence of the god) on his head, and a garland round his neck, should
stand on the eighteenth step of the eighteen steps of Karuppanaswami,
and say: "I swear before Kallar Alagar and Karuppannaswami that I
have acted rightly, and so on. If the person swears falsely, he dies
on the third day; if truly the other person meets with the same fate."

It was noted by Mr. M. J. Walhouse, [56] that "at the bull games
(jellikattu) at Dindigul, the Kallans can alone officiate as priests,
and consult the presiding deity. On this occasion they hold quite
a Saturnalia of lordship and arrogance over the Brahmans." It is
recorded, in the Gazetteer of the Madura district, that "the keenness
of the more virile sections of the community (especially the Kallans),
in this game, is extraordinary, and, in many villages, cattle are
bred and reared specially for it. The best jallikats are to be seen
in the Kallan country in Tirumangalam, and next come those in Melur
and Madura taluks." (See also Maravan.)

It is recorded, in the Gazetteer of the Madura district, that
Karuppan is "essentially the god of the Kallans, especially of the
Kallans of the Melur side. In those parts, his shrine is usually the
Kallans' chavadi (assembly place). His priests are usually Kallans or
Kusavans. Alagarswami (the beautiful god) is held in special veneration
by the Kallans, and is often popularly called the Kallar Alagar. The
men of this caste have the right to drag his car at the car festival,
and, when he goes (from Alagar Kovil) on his visit to Madura, he is
dressed as a Kallan, exhibits the long ears characteristic of that
caste, and carries the boomerang and club, which were of their old
favourite weapons. It is whispered that Kallan dacoits invoke his
aid when they are setting out on marauding expeditions, and, if they
are successful therein, put part of their ill-gotten gains into the
offertory (undial) box, which is kept at his shrine."

For the following note I am indebted to the Rev. J. Sharrock. "The
chief temple of the Kallans is about ten miles west of Madura, and is
dedicated to Alagarswami, said to be an incarnation of Vishnu, but
also said to be the brother of Minatchi (the fish-eyed or beautiful
daughter of the Pandya king of Madura). Now Minatchi has been married
by the Brahmans to Siva, and so we see Hinduism wedded to Dravidianism,
and the spirit of compromise, the chief method of conversion adopted
by the Brahmans, carried to its utmost limit. At the great annual
festival, the idol of Alagarswami is carried, in the month of Chittra
(April-May), to the temple of Minatchi, and the banks of the river
Vaiga swarm with two to three lakhs [57] of worshippers, a large
proportion of whom are Kallans. At this festival, the Kallans have
the right of dragging with a rope the car of Alagarswami, though
other people may join in later on. As Alagarswami is a vegetarian,
no blood sacrifice is offered to him. This is probably due to the
influence of Brahmanism, for, in their ordinary ceremonies, the
Kallans invariably slaughter sheep as sacrifices to propitiate their
deities. True to their bold and thievish instincts, the Kallans do
not hesitate to steal a god, if they think he will be of use to them
in their predatory excursions, [58] and are not afraid to dig up
the coins or jewels that are generally buried under an idol. Though
they entertain little dread of their own village gods, they are often
afraid of others that they meet far from home, or in the jungles when
they are engaged in one of their stealing expeditions. As regards
their own village gods, there is a sort of understanding that, if
they help them in their thefts, they are to have a fair share of the
spoil, and, on the principle of honesty among thieves, the bargain
is always kept. At the annual festival for the village deities,
each family sacrifices a sheep, and the head of the victim is given
to the pujari (priest), while the body is taken home by the donor,
and partaken of as a communion feast. Two at least of the elements of
totem worship appear here: there is the shedding of the sacrificial
blood of an innocent victim to appease the wrath of the totem god, and
the common feasting together which follows it. The Brahmans sometimes
join in these sacrifices, but of course take no part of the victim,
the whole being the perquisite of the pujari, and there is no common
participation in the meal. When strange deities are met with by the
Kallans on their thieving expeditions, it is usual to make a vow that,
if the adventure turns out well, part of the spoil shall next day
be left at the shrine of the god, or be handed over to the pujari of
that particular deity. They are afraid that, if this precaution be not
taken, the god may make them blind, or cause them to be discovered,
or may go so far as to knock them down, and leave them to bleed to
death. If they have seen the deity, or been particularly frightened or
otherwise specially affected by these unknown gods, instead of leaving
a part of the body, they adopt a more thorough method of satisfying
the same. After a few days they return at midnight to make a special
sacrifice, which of course is conducted by the particular pujari, whose
god is to be appeased. They bring a sheep with rice, curry-stuffs and
liquors, and, after the sacrifice, give a considerable share of these
dainties, together with the animal's head, to the pujari, as well as
a sum of money for making the puja (worship) for them. Some of the
ceremonies are worth recording. First the idol is washed in water,
and a sandal spot is put on the forehead in the case of male deities,
and a kunkuma spot in the case of females. Garlands are placed round
the neck, and the bell is rung, while lamps are lighted all about. Then
the deity's name is repeatedly invoked, accompanied by beating on
the udukku. This is a small drum which tapers to a narrow waist in
the middle, and is held in the left hand of the pujari with one end
close to his left ear, while he taps on it with the fingers of his
right hand. Not only is this primitive music pleasing to the ears of
his barbarous audience, but, what is more important, it conveys the
oracular communications of the god himself. By means of the end of
the drum placed close to his ear, the pujari is enabled to hear what
the god has to say of the predatory excursion which has taken place,
and the pujari (who, like a clever gypsy, has taken care previously to
get as much information of what has happened as possible) retails all
that has occurred during the exploit to his wondering devotees. In
case his information is incomplete, he is easily able to find out,
by a few leading questions and a little cross-examination of these
ignorant people, all that he needs to impress them with the idea that
the god knows all about their transactions, having been present at
their plundering bout. At all such sacrifices, it is a common custom
to pour a little water over the sheep, to see if it will shake itself,
this being invariably a sign of the deity's acceptance of the animal
offered. In some sacrifices, if the sheep does not shake itself, it
is rejected, and another substituted for it; and, in some cases (be it
whispered, when the pujari thinks the sheep too thin and scraggy), he
pours over it only a little water, and so demands another animal. If,
however, the pujari, as the god's representative, is satisfied,
he goes on pouring more and more water till the half-drenched animal
has to shake itself, and so signs its own death-warrant. All who
have ventured forth in the night to take part in the sacrifice then
join together in the communal meal. An illustration of the value of
sacrifices may here be quoted, to show how little value may be attached
to an oath made in the presence of a god. Some pannaikarans (servants)
of a Kallan land-owner one day stole a sheep, for which they were
brought up before the village munsif. When they denied the theft, the
munsif took them to their village god, Karuppan (the black brother),
and made them swear in its presence. They perjured themselves again,
and were let off. Their master quietly questioned them afterwards,
asking them how they dared swear so falsely before their own god, and
to this they replied 'While we were swearing, we were mentally offering
a sacrifice to him of a sheep' (which they subsequently carried out),
to pacify him for the double crime of stealing and perjury."

As a typical example of devil worship, the practice of the Valaiyans
and Kallans of Orattanadu in the Tanjore district is described
by Mr. F. R. Hemingway. [59] "Valaiyan houses have generally an
odiyan (Odina Wodier) tree in the backyard, wherein the devils are
believed to live, and among Kallans every street has a tree for their
accommodation. They are propitiated at least once a year, the more
virulent under the tree itself, and the rest in the house, generally
on a Friday or Monday. Kallans attach importance to Friday in Adi
(July and August), the cattle Pongal day in Tai (January and February),
and Kartigai day in the month Kartigai (November and December). A man,
with his mouth covered with a cloth to indicate silence and purity,
cooks rice in the backyard, and pours it out in front of the tree,
mixed with milk and jaggery (crude sugar). Cocoanuts and toddy are
also placed there. These are offered to the devils, represented in
the form of bricks or mud images placed at the foot of the tree,
and camphor is set alight. A sheep is then brought and slaughtered,
and the devils are supposed to spring one after another from the
tree into one of the bystanders. This man then becomes filled with
the divine afflatus, works himself up into a kind of frenzy, becomes
the mouthpiece of the spirits, pronounces their satisfaction or the
reverse at the offerings, and gives utterance to cryptic phrases,
which are held to foretell good or evil fortune to those in answer
to whom they are made. When all the devils in turn have spoken and
vanished, the man recovers his senses. The devils are worshipped in
the same way in the houses, except that no blood is shed. All alike
are propitiated by animal sacrifices."

The Kallans are stated by Mr. Hemingway to be very fond of
bull-baiting. This is of two kinds. The first resembles the game
played by other castes, except that the Kallans train their animals
for the sport, and have regular meetings, at which all the villagers
congregate. These begin at Pongal, and go on till the end of May. The
sport is called tolu madu (byre bull). The best animals for it are the
Pulikkolam bulls from the Madura district. The other game is called
pachal madu (leaping bull). In this, the animals are tethered to a
long rope, and the object of the competition is to throw the animal,
and keep it down. A bull which is good at the game, and difficult to
throw, fetches a very high price.

It is noted in the Gazetteer of the Tanjore district, that "the
Kallans have village caste panchayats (councils) of the usual kind,
but in some places they are discontinuing these in imitation of the
Vellalans. According to the account given at Orattanadu, the members
of Ambalakaran families sit by hereditary right as Karyastans or
advisers to the headman in each village. One of these households
is considered superior to the others, and one of its members is
the headman (Ambalakaran) proper. The headmen of the panchayats of
villages which adjoin meet to form a further panchayat to decide
on matters common to them generally. In Kallan villages, the Kallan
headman often decides disputes between members of other lower castes,
and inflicts fines on the party at fault."

In the Gazetteer, of the Madura district, it is recorded that
"the organization of the Kilnad Kallans differs from that of their
brethren beyond the hills. Among the former, an hereditary headman,
called the Ambalakaran, rules in almost every village. He receives
small fees at domestic ceremonies, is entitled to the first betel
and nut, and settles caste disputes. Fines inflicted are credited
to the caste fund. The western Kallans are under a more monarchial
rule, an hereditary headman called Tirumala Pinnai Tevan deciding
most caste matters. He is said to get this hereditary name from the
fact that his ancestor was appointed (with three co-adjutors) by
King Tirumala Nayakkan, and given many insignia of office including
a state palanquin. If any one declines to abide by his decision,
excommunication is pronounced by the ceremony of 'placing the thorn,'
which consists in laying a thorny branch across the threshold of the
recalcitrant party's house, to signify that, for his contumacy, his
property will go to ruin and be overrun with jungle. The removal of
the thorn, and the restitution of the sinner to Kallan society can
only be procured by abject apologies to Pinnai Tevan."

The usual title of the Kallans is Ambalakaran (president of an
assembly), but some, like the Maravans and Agamudaiyans, style
themselves Tevan (god) or Servaikkaran (commander). [60]

Kallankanadoru (stone).--A sub-division of Komati, said to be descended
from those who sat on the stone (kallu) mantapa outside the Penukonda
Kanyakamma temple, when the question whether to enter the fire-pits
or not was being discussed by the caste elders.

Kallan Muppan.--In the Madras Census Report, 1901, Kallan Muppan
is returned as "a sub-caste of the Malabar Kammalans, the members of
which are stone-workers." A correspondent writes to me that, "while the
Kammalans are a polluting and polyandrous class, the Kallan Muppans
are allowed to enter the outside enclosure of temples. They do not
remarry their widows, and are strictly monogamous. Their purohits are
Tamil barbers, who officiate at their marriages. The barber shaves
the bridegroom before the wedding ceremony. The purohit has also to
blow the conch-shell all the way from the bridegroom's house to that
of the bride."

The names Kallan and Kalkotti are also those by which the Malabar
stone-masons are known.

Kallangi.--Kallangi and Kallaveli (Kallan's fence) are fanciful names,
returned by Pallis at times of census.

Kallasari (stone-workers).--The occupational name of a sub-division
of Malayalam Kammalans.

Kallatakurup.--A sub-division of Ambalavasis, who sing in Bhagavati
temples. They play on a stringed instrument, called nandurini, with
two strings and a number of wooden stops glued on to the long handle,
and a wooden plectrum.

Kallu (stone).--A sub-division of Ganiga and Odde. Kallukoti
(stone-mason) is a sub-division of Malabar Kammalans, who work
in stone.

Kallukatti.--It is noted, in the Gazetteer of the South Canara
district, that "a grinding stone made of granite is an article
peculiar to South Canara. It is a semicircular, oval-shaped block with
a flat bottom, and a round hole in the middle of the surface. It has
another oval-shaped block, thin and long, with one end so shaped as
to fit into the hole in the larger block. These two together make
what is known as the grinding-stone of the district, which is used
for grinding curry-stuff, rice, wheat, etc. Mill-stones for pounding
grain are also made of granite. Formerly, a class of people called
Kallukattis used to make such articles, but the industry is now taken
up by other castes as well. Mile-stones, slabs for temple door-frames,
idols and other figures for temple purposes are also made of granite."

Kallur.--Recorded, in the Travancore Census Report, 1901, as a name
for the Pulikkappanikkan sub-division of Nayar.

Kalluri (stone village).--An exogamous sept of Medara.

Kal Tacchan (stone-mason).--A sub-division of Kammalan.

Kalti (expunged).--A degraded Paraiyan is known as a Kalti. Amongst
the Paraiyans of Madras, Chingleput and North Arcot, the rule
is that a man who does not abide by the customs of the caste is
formally excommunicated by a caste council. He then joins "those
at Vinnamangalam" near Vellore, i.e., those who have, like himself,
been driven out of the caste.

Kalugunadu (eagle's country).--An exogamous sept of Tamil goldsmiths
in the Madura district.

Kaluthai (possessors of donkeys).--A sub-division of Odde.

Kalyanakulam (marriage people).--A fanciful name returned by some
Mangalas at times of census, as they officiate as musicians at
marriages.

Kamadi (tortoise).--A gotra of Kurni.

Kamakshiamma.--Recorded, in the North Arcot Manual, as a sub-division
of Vaniyan. Kamakshiamma is the chief goddess worshipped at
Conjeeveram. She and Minakshi Amma of Madura are two well-known
goddesses worshipped by Saivites. Both names are synonyms of Parvati,
the wife of Siva.

Kamati (foolish).--A name sometimes applied to carpenters, and also
of a sub-division of Okkiliyans, who are said to have abandoned their
original occupation of cultivating land, and become bricklayers.

Kambalam.--The name Kambalam is applied to a group of nine castes
(Tottiyan, Annappan, Kappiliyan, Chakkiliyan, etc.), because at
their council meetings a blanket (kambli) is spread, on which is
placed a brass vessel (kalasam) filled with water, and decorated with
flowers. (See Tottiyan.)

Kambalattan.--A synonym of Tottiyan.

Kamban.--A title of the Occhans, to which caste the great Tamil epic
poet Kamban is reputed to have belonged.

Kambha.--Kambha or Kambhapu, meaning a pillar or post, has been
recorded as an exogamous sept of Madiga and Komati.

Kamma.--Writing collectively concerning the Kammas, Kapus or Reddis,
Velamas, and Telagas, Mr. W. Francis states [61] that "all four
of these large castes closely resemble one another in appearance
and customs, and seem to have branched off from one and the same
Dravidian stock. Originally soldiers by profession, they are now
mainly agriculturists and traders, and some of them in the north are
zamindars (land-owners). The Razus, who now claim to be Kshatriyas,
were probably descended from Kapus, Kammas, and Velamas. The Kammas
and Kapus of the Madura and Tinnevelly districts seem to have followed
the Vijayanagar army south, and settled in these districts when the
Nayak Governors were established there. Their women are less strict
in their deportment than those of the same castes further north,
the latter of whom are very careful of their reputations, and, in
the case of one section of the Kammas, are actually gosha (kept in
seclusion) like Musalmanis."

Various stories are current, which point to the common ancestry of
the Kammas, Kapus, and Velamas. The word Kamma in Telugu means the
ear-ornament, such as is worn by women. According to one legend
"the Rishis, being troubled by Rakshasas, applied to Vishnu for
protection, and he referred them to Lakshmi. The goddess gave them
a casket containing one of her ear ornaments (kamma), and enjoined
them to worship it for a hundred years. At the expiry of that period,
a band of five hundred armed warriors sprang up from the casket, who,
at the request of the Rishis, attacked and destroyed the giants. After
this they were directed to engage in agriculture, being promised
extensive estates, and the consideration paid to Kshatriyas. They
accordingly became possessed of large territories, such as Amravati
and others in the Kistna, Nellore and other districts, and have always
been most successful agriculturists." [62]

Some Kammas, when questioned by Mr. F. R. Hemingway in the Godavari
district, stated that they were originally Kshatriyas, but were long
ago persecuted by a king of the family of Parikshat, because one of
them called him a bastard. They sought refuge with the Kapus, who took
them in, and they adopted the customs of their protectors. According
to another legend, a valuable ear ornament, belonging to Raja Pratapa
Rudra, fell into the hands of an enemy, whom a section of the Kapus
boldly attacked, and recovered the jewel. This feat earned for
them and their descendants the title Kamma. Some of the Kapus ran
away, and they are reputed to be the ancestors of the Velamas (veli,
away). At the time when the Kammas and Velamas formed a single caste,
they observed the Muhammadan gosha system, whereby the women are kept
in seclusion. This was, however, found to be very inconvenient for
their agricultural pursuits. They accordingly determined to abandon
it, and an agreement was drawn up on a palm-leaf scroll. Those who
signed it are said to have become Kammas, and those who declined to
do so Velamas, or outsiders. One meaning of the word kamma is the
palm-leaf roll, such as is used to produce dilatation of the lobes
of the ears. According to another story, there once lived a king,
Belthi Reddi by name, who had a large number of wives, the favourite
among whom he appointed Rani. The other wives, being jealous, induced
their sons to steal all the jewels of the Rani, but they were caught
in the act by the king, who on the following day asked his wife for
her jewels, which she could not produce. Some of the sons ran away,
and gave origin to the Velamas; others restored the kamma, and became
Kammas. Yet one more story. Pratapa Rudra's wife lost her ear ornament,
and four of the king's captains were sent in search of it. Of these,
one restored the jewel, and his descendants became Kammas; the second
attacked the thieves, and gave origin to the Velamas; the third ran
away, and so his children became the ancestors of the Pakanatis;
and the fourth disappeared.

According to the Census Report, 1891, the main sub-divisions of the
Kammas are Gampa, Illuvellani, Godajati, Kavali, Vaduga, Pedda, and
Bangaru. It would seem that there are two main endogamous sections,
Gampa (basket) Chatu, and Goda (wall) Chatu. Chatu is said to mean a
screen or hiding place. Concerning the origin of these sections, the
following story is told. Two sisters were bathing in a tank (pond),
when a king happened to pass by. To hide themselves, one of the girls
hid behind a basket, and the other behind a wall. The descendants of
the two sisters became the Gampa and Goda Chatu Kammas, who may not
intermarry by reason of their original close relationship. According
to another legend, after a desperate battle, some members of the caste
escaped by hiding behind baskets, others behind a wall. The terms
Illuvellani and Pedda seem to be synonymous with Godachatu. The women
of this section were gosha, and not allowed to appear in public,
and even at the present day they do not go out and work freely
in the fields. The name Illuvellani indicates those who do not go
(vellani) out of the house (illu). The name Pedda (great) refers to
the superiority of the section. Vaduga simply means Telugu, and is
probably a name given by Tamilians to the Kammas who live amongst
them. The name Bangaru is said to refer to the custom of the women of
this sub-division wearing only gold nose ornaments (bangaramu). The
Godajati sub-division is said to be most numerously represented in
North Arcot and Chingleput, the Illuvellani in Kistna, Nellore and
Anantapur. The Kavali sub-division is practically confined to the
Godavari, and the Pedda to the Kistna district. The Vaduga Kammas
are found chiefly in Coimbatore.

In his note on the Kammas of the Godavari district, Mr. Hemingway
writes that "in this district they are divided into Kavitis, Eredis,
Gampas or Gudas, Uggams, and Rachas. These names are, according to
local accounts, derived from curious household customs, generally
from traditional methods of carrying water. Thus, the Kavitis will
not ordinarily carry water except in pots on a kavidi, the Eredis
except on a pack-bullock, the Uggams except in pots held in the hand,
and not on the hip or head, the Rachas except in a pot carried by
two persons. The Gampa women, when they first go to their husbands'
houses, take the customary presents in a basket. It is said that
these practices are generally observed at the present day."

Writing concerning the Iluvedalani (Illuvellani) Kammas, the editor
of the Kurnool Manual (1886) states that "a few families only exist
in the district. The women are kept in strict gosha. They consider
it beneath them to spin thread, or to do other work. A sub-division
of this caste lives in Pullalcheruvu, whose families, also gosha,
work at the spindles, like other women of the country. Another class
of indoor Kammas resides about Owk. They are apparently descendants
of the Kammas, who followed the Naiks from Guntur to Gandikota in the
sixteenth century. They are now reduced, and the females work, like
Kapus, in the field. The Gampas are distinguished from the indoor
Kammas by their women wearing the cloth over the right, instead of
the left shoulder."

As with other Telugu castes, there are, among the Kammas, a number
of exogamous septs or intiperu, of which the following are examples:--


    Anumollu, Dolichos Lablab.
    Tsanda, tax or subscription.
    Jasthi, too much.
    Mallela, jasmine.
    Lanka, island.
    Thota kura, Amarantus gangetícus.
    Komma, horn, or branch of a tree.
    Cheni, dry field.
    Palakala, planks.
    Kasturi, musk.
    Baththala, rice.
    Karnam, accountant.
    Irpina, combs.
    Gali, wind.
    Dhaniala, coriander.


The Kammas also have gotras such as Chittipoola, Kurunollu, Kulakala,
Uppala, Cheruku (sugar-cane), Vallotla, and Yenamalla.

When matters affecting the community have to be decided, a council
of the leading members thereof assembles. But, in some places, there
is a permanent headman, called Mannemantri or Chaudri.

The Kammas will work as coolies in the fields, but will, on no account,
engage themselves as domestic servants. "They are," the Rev. J. Cain
writes, [63] "as a rule a fine well-built class of cultivators, very
proud and exclusive, and have a great aversion to town life. Many
of them never allow their wives to leave their compounds, and it is
said that many never do field work on Sundays, but confine themselves
on that day to their house-work." "If," a correspondent writes from
the Kistna district, "you ask in a village whether so-and-so is a
Brahman, and they say 'No. He is an asami (ordinary man),' he will
be a Kamma or Kapu. If you ask how many pay income-tax in a village,
they may tell you two Baniyas (merchants), and two Samsari-vallu,
i.e., two prosperous Kamma ryots."

The Kammas are stated by Mr. H. A. Stuart [64] to be "most industrious
and intelligent cultivators, who, now that gosha has been generally
abandoned, beat all rivals out of the field--a fact which is recognised
by several proverbs, such as Kamma vani chetulu kattina nilavadu
(though you tie a Kamma's hands, he will not be quiet); Kamma vandlu
cherite kadama jatula vellunu (if Kammas come in, other castes go out);
Kamma variki bhumi bhayapadu tunnadi (the earth fears the Kammas),
and many others to the same effect. In addition to being industrious
and well-to-do they are very proud, an instance of which occurred in
the Kistna district, when the Revenue Settlement Officer offered them
pattas, in which they were simply called Naidu without the honorific
ending garu. They refused on this account to accept them, and finally
the desired alteration was made, as they proved that all of their
caste were considered entitled to the distinction. In North Arcot,
however, they are not so particular, though some refuse to have their
head shaved, because they scruple to bow down before a barber. Besides
Vishnu the Kammas worship Ganga, because they say that long ago they
fled from Northern India, to avoid the anger of a certain Raja,
who had been refused a bride from among them. They were pursued,
but their women, on reaching the Mahanadi, prayed for a passage to
Ganga, who opened a dry path for them through the river. Crossing,
they all hid themselves in a dholl (Cajanus indicus) field, and thus
escaped from their pursuers. For this reason, at their marriages,
they tie a bunch of dholl leaves to the north-eastern post of the
wedding booth, and worship Ganga before tying the tali."

Among the Kammas of the Tamil country, the bridegroom is said to be
sometimes much younger than the bride, and a case is on record of a
wife of twenty-two years of age, who used to carry her boy-husband
on her hip, as a mother carries her child. [65] A parallel is to be
found in Russia, where not very long ago grown-up women were to be
seen carrying about boys of six, to whom they were betrothed. [66]
Widow remarriage is not permitted. Widows of the Goda chatu section
wear white, and those of the Gampa chatu section coloured cloths.

Prior to the betrothal ceremony, female ancestors, Vigneswara, and
the Grama Devata (village deities) are worshipped. A near relation
of the future bridegroom proceeds, with a party, to the home of
the future bride. On their way thither, they look for omens, such
as the crossing of birds in an auspicious direction. Immediately on
the occurrence of a favourable omen, they burn camphor, and break a
cocoanut, which must split in two with clean edges. One half is sent to
the would-be bridegroom, and the other taken to the bride's house. If
the first cocoanut does not split properly, others are broken till the
wished-for result is obtained. When the girl's house is reached, she
demands the sagunam (omen) cocoanut. Her lap is filled with flowers,
cocoanuts, turmeric, plantains, betel leaves and areca nuts, combs,
sandal paste, and coloured powder (kunkumam). The wedding day is
then fixed. Marriage is generally celebrated at the house of the
bridegroom, but, if it is a case of kannikadhanam (presenting the girl
without claiming the bride's price), at the house of the bride. The
bride-price is highest in the Gampa section. On the first day of
the marriage rites, the petta mugada sangyam, or box-lid ceremony
is performed. The new cloths for the bridal couple, five plantains,
nuts, and pieces of turmeric, one or two combs, four rupees, and
the bride-price in money or jewels, are placed in a box, which is
placed near the parents of the contracting couple. The contents of
the box are then laid out on the lid, and examined by the sammandhis
(new relations by marriage). The bride's father gives betel leaves
and areca nuts to the father of the bridegroom, saying "The girl is
yours, and the money mine." The bridegroom's father hands them back,
saying "The girl is mine, and the money yours." This is repeated
three times. The officiating purohit (priest) then announces that
the man's daughter is to be given in marriage to so-and-so, and
the promise is made before the assembled Deva Brahmanas, and in the
presence of light, Agni, and the Devatas. This ceremony is binding,
and, should the bridegroom perchance die before the bottu (marriage
badge) is tied, she becomes, and remains a widow. The milk-post is
next set up, the marriage pots are arranged, and the nalagu ceremony
is performed. This consists of the anointing of the bridal couple with
oil, and smearing the shoulders with turmeric flour, or Acacia Concinna
paste. A barber pares the nails of the bridegroom, and simply touches
those of the bride with a mango leaf dipped in milk. In some places
this rite is omitted by the Gampa section. A small wooden framework,
called dhornam, with cotton threads wound round it, is generally tied
to the marriage pandal (booth) by a Tsakali (washerman) not only
at a marriage among the Kammas, but also among the Balijas, Kapus,
and Velamas. After the return of the bridal couple from bathing,
the bridegroom is decorated, and taken to a specially prepared place
within or outside the house, to perform Vira-gudimokkadam, or worship
of heroes in their temple. At the spot selected a pandal has been
erected, and beneath it three or five bricks, representing the heroes
(viralu), are set up. The bricks are smeared with turmeric paste,
and painted with red dots. In front of the bricks an equal number of
pots are placed, and they are worshipped by breaking a cocoanut, and
burning camphor and incense. The bridegroom then prostrates himself
before the bricks, and, taking up a sword, cuts some lime fruits,
and touches the pots three times. In former days, a goat or sheep
was sacrificed. The hero worship, as performed by the Goda section,
differs from the above rite as practiced by the Gampa section. Instead
of erecting a pandal, the Godas go to a pipal (Ficus religiosa) tree,
near which one or more daggers are placed. A yellow cotton thread is
wound three or five times round the tree, which is worshipped. As a
substitute for animal sacrifice, lime fruits are cut. The hero worship
concluded, the wrist-threads of cotton and wool (kankanam) are tied
on the bride and bridegroom, who is taken to the temple after he has
bathed and dressed himself in new clothes. On his return to the booth,
the purohit lights the sacred fire, and the contracting couple sit
side by side on a plank. They then stand, with a screen spread between
them, and the bridegroom, with his right big toe on that of the bride,
ties the bottu round her neck. They then go three times round the dais,
with the ends of their cloths knotted together. The bottu of the Gampas
is a concave disc of gold, that of the Godas a larger flat disc. On
the following day, the usual nagavali, or sacrifice to the Devas is
offered, and a nagavali bottu (small gold disc) tied. All the relations
make presents to the bridal pair, who indulge in a mock representation
of domestic life. On the third day, pongal (rice) is offered to the
pots, and the wrist-threads are removed. Like the Palli bridegroom,
the Kamma bridegroom performs a mimic ploughing ceremony, but at the
house instead of at a tank (pond). He goes to a basket filled with
earth, carrying the iron bar of a ploughshare, an ox-goad, and rope,
accompanied by the bride carrying in her lap seeds or seedlings. While
he pretends to be ploughing, his sister stops him, and will not let him
continue till he has promised to give his first-born daughter to her
son in marriage. The marriage pots are presented to the sisters of the
bridegroom. During the marriage celebration, meat must not be cooked.

Among the Kammas, consummation does not take place till three months
after the marriage ceremony, as it is considered unlucky to have three
heads of a family in a household during the first year of marriage. By
the delay, the birth of a child should take place only in the second
year, so that, during the first year, there will be only two heads,
husband and wife. In like manner, it is noted by Mr. Francis [67] that,
among the Gangimakkalu and Madigas, the marriage is not consummated
till three months after its celebration.

When a pregnant woman is delivered, twigs of Balanites Roxburghii
are placed round the house.

The dead are usually cremated. As the moment of death approaches,
a cocoanut is broken, and camphor burnt. The thumbs and great
toes of the corpse are tied together. A woman, who is left a widow,
exchanges betel with her dead husband, and the women put rice into his
mouth. The corpse is carried to the burning-ground on a bier, with the
head towards the house. When it approaches a spot called Arichandra's
temple, the bier is placed on the ground, and food is placed at the
four corners. Then a Paraiyan or Mala repeats the formula "I am the
first born (i.e., the representative of the oldest caste). I wore the
sacred thread at the outset. I am Sangu Paraiyan (or Reddi Mala). I
was the patron of Arichandra. Lift the corpse, and turn it round with
its head towards the smasanam (burning-ground), and feet towards the
house." When the corpse has been laid on the pyre, the relations throw
rice over it, and the chief mourner goes three times round the pyre,
carrying on his shoulder a pot of water, in which a barber makes
holes. During the third turn he lights the pyre, and throwing down
the pot, goes off to bathe. On the following day, a stone is placed
on the spot where the deceased breathed his last, and his clothes are
put close to it. The women pour milk over the stone, and offer milk,
cocoanuts, cooked rice, betel, etc., to it. These are taken by the
males to the burning-ground. When Arichandra's temple is reached, they
place there a small quantity of food on a leaf. At the burning-ground,
the fire is extinguished, and the charred bones are collected, and
placed on a plantain leaf. Out of the ashes they make an effigy on
the ground, to which food is offered on four leaves, one of which is
placed on the abdomen of the figure, and the other three are set by
the side of it. The first of these is taken by the Paraiyan, and the
others are given to a barber, washerman, and Panisavan (a mendicant
caste). The final death ceremonies (karmandhiram) are performed on
the sixteenth day. They commence with the punyaham, or purificatory
ceremony, and the giving of presents to Brahmans. Inside the house,
the dead person's clothes are worshipped by the women. The widow is
taken to a tank or well, where her nagavali bottu is removed. This
usually wears out in a very short time, so a new one is worn for the
purpose of the death ceremony. The males proceed to a tank, and make
an effigy on the ground, near which three small stones are set up. On
these libations of water are poured, and cooked rice, vegetables, etc.,
are offered. The chief mourner then goes into the water, carrying the
effigy, which is thrown in, and dives as many times as there have been
days between the funeral and the karmandhiram. The ceremony closes
with the making of presents to the Brahmans and agnates. Towards
evening, the widow sits on a small quantity of rice on the ground,
and her marriage bottu is removed. The Kammas perform a first annual
ceremony, but not a regular sradh afterwards. [68]

As regards their religion, some Kammas are Saivites, others
Vaishnavites. Most of the Saivites are disciples of Aradhya Brahmans,
and the Vaishnavites of Vaishnava Brahmans or Satanis. The Gampas
reverence Draupadi, Mannarsami, Gangamma, Ankamma, and Padavetiamma;
the Godas Poleramma, Veikandla Thalli (the thousand-eyed goddess)
and Padavetiamma.

Kamma (ear ornament).--An exogamous sept of Motati Kapu.

Kammalan (Tamil).--The original form of the name Kammalan appears to
have been Kannalan or Kannalar, both of which occur in Tamil poems,
e.g., Thondamandala Satakam and Er Ezhuvathu, attributed to the
celebrated poet Kamban. Kannalan denotes one who rules the eye, or
one who gives the eye. When an image is made, its consecration takes
place at the temple. Towards the close of the ceremonial, the Kammalan
who made it comes forward, and carves out the eyes of the image. The
name is said also to refer to those who make articles, and open the
eyes of the people, i.e., who make articles pleasing to the eyes.

A very interesting account of the netra mangalya, or ceremony of
painting the eyes of images, as performed by craftsmen in Ceylon, has
been published by Mr. A. K. Coomaraswamy. [69] Therein he writes that
"by far the most important ceremony connected with the building and
decoration of a vihara (temple), or with its renovation, was the actual
netra mangalya or eye ceremonial. The ceremony had to be performed
in the case of any image, whether set up in a vihara or not. Even in
the case of flat paintings it was necessary. D. S. Muhandiram, when
making for me a book of drawings of gods according to the Rupavaliya,
left the eyes to be subsequently inserted on a suitable auspicious
occasion, with some simpler form of the ceremony described.

"Knox has a reference to the subject as follows. 'Some, being
devoutly disposed, will make the image of this god (Buddha) at their
own charge. For the making whereof they must bountifully reward the
Founder. Before the eyes are made, it is not accounted a god, but a
lump of ordinary metal, and thrown about the shop with no more regard
than anything else. But, when the eyes are to be made, the artificer is
to have a good gratification, besides the first agreed upon reward. The
eyes being formed, it is thenceforward a god. And then, being brought
with honour from the workman's shop, it is dedicated by solemnities
and sacrifices, and carried with great state into its shrine or little
house, which is before built and prepared for it.'" The pupils of the
eyes of a series of clay votive offerings, which were specially made
for me, were not painted at the potter's house, but in the verandah
of the traveller's bungalow where I was staying.

The Tamil Kammalans are divided into three endogamous territorial
groups, Pandya, Sozia (or Chola), and Kongan. The Pandyas live
principally in the Madura and Tinnevelly districts, and the Sozias
in the Trichinopoly, Tanjore, Chingleput, North and South Arcot
districts, and Madras. The Kongas are found chiefly in the Salem
and Coimbatore districts. In some places, there are still further
sub-divisions of territorial origin. Thus, the Pandya Tattans are
divided into Karakattar, Vambanattar, Pennaikku-akkarayar (those on
the other side of the Pennaiyar river), Munnuru-vittukarar (those of
the three hundred families), and so forth. They are further divided
into exogamous septs, the names of which are derived from places,
e.g., Perugumani, Musiri, Oryanadu, Thiruchendurai, and Kalagunadu.

The Kammalans are made up of five occupational sections, viz., Tattan
(goldsmith), Kannan (brass-smith), Tac'chan (carpenter), Kal-Tac'chan
(stone-mason), and Kollan or Karuman (blacksmith). The name Panchala,
which is sometimes used by the Tamil as well as the Canarese artisan
classes, has reference to the fivefold occupations. The various
sections intermarry, but the goldsmiths have, especially in towns,
ceased to intermarry with the blacksmiths. The Kammalans, claiming,
as will be seen later on, to be Brahmans, have adopted Brahmanical
gotras, and the five sections have five gotras called Visvagu, Janagha,
Ahima, Janardana, and Ubhendra, after certain Rishis (sages). Each of
these gotras, it is said, has twenty-five subordinate gotras attached
to it. The names of these, however, are not forthcoming, and indeed,
except some individuals who act as priests for the Kammalans, few seem
to have any knowledge of them. In their marriages the Kammalans closely
imitate the Brahmanical ceremonial, and the ceremonies last for three
or five days according to the means of the parties. The parisam, or
bride's money, is paid, as among other non-Brahmanical castes. Widows
are allowed the use of ordinary jewelry and betel, which is not the
case among Brahmans, and they are not compelled to make the usual
fasts, or observe the feasts commonly observed by Brahmans.

The Kammalan caste is highly organised, and its organisation is
one of its most interesting features. Each of the five divisions
has at its head a Nattamaikkaran or headman, and a Karyasthan, or
chief executive officer, under him, who are elected by members of the
particular division. Over them is the Anjivittu Nattamaikkaran (also
known as Ainduvittu Periyathanakkaran or Anjijati Nattamaikkaran),
who is elected by lot by representatives chosen from among the five
sub-divisions. Each of these chooses ten persons to represent it at
the election. These ten again select one of their number, who is the
local Nattamaikkaran, or one who is likely to become so. The five men
thus selected meet on an appointed day, with the castemen, at the
temple of the caste goddess Kamakshi Amman. The names of the five
men are written on five slips of paper, which, together with some
blank slips, are thrown before the shrine of the goddess. A child,
taken at random from the assembled crowd, is made to pick up the
slips, and he whose name first turns up is proclaimed as Anjivittu
Nattamaikkaran, and a big turban is tied on his head by the caste
priest. This is called Uruma Kattaradu, and is symbolic of his having
been appointed the general head of the caste. Lots are then drawn, to
decide which of the remaining four shall be the Anjivittu Karyasthan
of the newly-elected chief. At the conclusion of the ceremony, betel
leaf and areca nut are given first to the new officers, then to the
local officers, and finally to the assembled spectators. With this,
the installation ceremony, which is called pattam-kattaradu, comes
to an end. The money for the expenses thereof is, if necessary,
taken from the funds of the temple, but a special collection is
generally made for the occasion, and is, it is said, responded to with
alacrity. The Anjivittu Nattamaikkaran is theoretically invested with
full powers over the caste, and all members thereof are expected to
obey his orders. He is the final adjudicator of civil and matrimonial
causes. The divisional heads have power to decide such causes, and
they report their decisions to the Anjivittu Nattamaikkaran, who
generally confirms them. If, for any reason, the parties concerned
do not agree to abide by the decision, they are advised to take their
cause to one of the established courts. The Anjivittu Nattamaikkaran
has at times to nominate, and always the right to confirm or not, the
selection of the divisional heads. In conjunction with the Karyasthan
and the local heads, he may appoint Nattamaikkarans and Karyasthans
to particular places, and delegate his powers to them. This is done
in places where the caste is represented in considerable numbers,
as at Sholavandan and Vattalagundu in the Madura district. In this
connection, a quaint custom may be noted. The Pallans, who are known
as "the sons of the caste" in villages of the Madura and Tinnevelly
districts, are called together, and informed that a particular
village is about to be converted into a local Anjivittu Nattanmai,
and that they must possess a Nattamaikkaran and Karyasthan for
themselves. These are nominated in practice by the Pallans, and the
nomination is confirmed by the Anjivittu Nattamaikkaran. From that day,
they have a right to get new ploughs from the Kallans free of charge,
and give them in return a portion of the produce of the land. The local
Nattamaikkarans are practically under the control of the Karyasthan
of the Anjivittu Nattamaikkaran, and, as the phrase goes, they are
"bound down to" the words of this official, who possesses great power
and influence with the community. The local officials may be removed
from office by the Anjivittu Nattamaikkaran or his Karyasthan, but this
is rarely done, and only when, for any valid reason, the sub-divisions
insist on it. The mode of resigning office is for the Nattamaikkaran
or Karyasthan to bring betel leaf and areca nut, lay them before the
Anjivittu Nattamaikkaran, or his Karyasthan, and prostrate himself in
front of him. There is a tendency for the various offices to become
hereditary, provided those succeeding to them are rich and respected
by the community. The Anjivittu Nattamaikkaran is entitled to the first
betel at caste weddings, even outside his own jurisdiction. His powers
are in striking contrast with those of the caste Guru, who resides in
Tinnevelly, and occasionally travels northwards. He purifies, it is
said, those who are charged with drinking intoxicating liquor, eating
flesh, or crossing the sea, if such persons subject themselves to his
jurisdiction. If they do not, he does not even exercise the power of
excommunication, which he nominally possesses. He is not a Sanyasi,
but a Grihastha or householder. He marries his daughters to castemen,
though he refrains from eating in their houses.

The dead are, as a rule, buried in a sitting posture, but, at the
present day, cremation is sometimes resorted to. Death pollution, as
among some other non-Brahmanical castes, lasts for sixteen days. It is
usual for a Pandaram to officiate at the death ceremonies. On the first
day, the corpse is anointed with oil, and given a soap-nut bath. On
the third day, five lingams are made with mud, of which four are
placed in the four corners at the spot where the corpse was buried,
and the fifth is placed in the centre. Food is distributed on the
fifth day to Pandarams and the castemen. Sradh (annual death ceremony)
is not as a rule performed, except in some of the larger towns.

The Kammalans profess the Saiva form of the Brahman religion, and
reverence greatly Pillaiyar, the favourite son of Siva. A few have
come under the Lingayat influence. The caste, however, has its own
special goddess Kamakshi Amma, who is commonly spoken of as Vriththi
Daivam. She is worshipped by all the sub-divisions, and female
children are frequently named after her. She is represented by the
firepot and bellows-fire at which the castemen work, and presides
over them. On all auspicious occasions, the first betel and dakshina
(present of money) are set apart in her name, and sent to the pujari
(priest) of the local temple dedicated to her. Oaths are taken in
her name, and disputes affecting the caste are settled before her
temple. There also elections to caste offices are held. The exact
connection of the goddess Kamakshi with the caste is not known. There
is, however, a vague tradition that she was one of the virgins
who committed suicide by throwing herself into a fire, and was in
consequence deified. Various village goddesses (grama devata) are
also worshipped, and, though the Kammalans profess to be vegetarians,
animal sacrifices are offered to them. Among these deities are the
Saptha Kannimar or seven virgins, Kochade Periyandavan, and Periya
Nayanar. Those who worship the Saptha Kannimar are known by the name
of Madavaguppu, or the division that worships the mothers. Those who
revere the other two deities mentioned are called Nadika Vamsathal,
or those descended from men who, through the seven virgins, attained
eternal bliss. Kochade Periyandavan is said to be a corruption of
Or Jate Periya Pandyan, meaning the great Pandya with the single
lock. He is regarded as Vishnu, and Periya Nayanar is held to be a
manifestation of Siva. The former is said to have been the person who
invited the Tattans (who called themselves Pandya Tattans) to settle
in his kingdom. It is traditionally stated that they emigrated from
the north, and settled in the Madura and Tinnevelly districts. An
annual festival in honour of Kochade Periyandavan is held in these
districts, for the expenses in connection with which a subscription
is raised among the five sub-divisions. The festival lasts over three
days. On the first day, the image of the deified king is anointed
with water, and a mixture of the juices of the mango, jak (Artocarpus
integrifolia), and plantain, called muppala pujai. On the second
day, rice is boiled, and offered to the god, and, on the last day,
a healthy ram is sacrificed to him. This festival is said to be held,
in order to secure the caste as a whole against evils that might
overtake it. Tac'chans (carpenters) usually kill, or cut the ear of
a ram or sheep, whenever they commence the woodwork of a new house,
and smear the blood of the animal on a pillar or wall of the house.

The Kammalans claim to be descended from Visvakarma, the
architect of the gods, and, in some places, claim to be superior
to Brahmans, calling the latter Go-Brahmans, and themselves Visva
Brahmans. Visvakarma is said to have had five sons, named Manu,
Maya, Silpa, Tvashtra, and Daivagna. These five sons were the
originators of the five crafts, which their descendants severally
follow. Accordingly, some engage in smithy work, and are called Manus;
others, in their turn, devote their attention to carpentry. These
are named Mayas. Others again, who work at stone-carving,
are known as Silpis. Those who do metal work are Tvashtras, and
those who are engaged in making jewelry are known as Visvagnas or
Daivagnas. According to one story of the origin of the Kammalans,
they are the descendants of the issue of a Brahman and a Beri Chetti
woman. Hence the proverb that the Kammalans and the Beri Chettis are
one. Another story, recorded in the Mackenzie manuscripts, which is
current all over the Tamil country, is briefly as follows. In the
town of Mandapuri, the Kammalans of the five divisions formerly lived
closely united together. They were employed by all sorts of people,
as there were no other artificers in the country, and charged very
high rates for their wares. They feared and respected no king. This
offended the kings of the country, who combined against them. As the
fort in which the Kammalans concealed themselves, called Kantakkottai,
was entirely constructed of loadstone, all the weapons were drawn away
by it. The king then promised a big reward to anyone who would burn
down the fort, and at length the Deva-dasis (courtesans) of a temple
undertook to do this, and took betel and nut in signification of
their promise. The king built a fort for them opposite Kantakkottai,
and they attracted the Kammalans by their singing, and had children
by them. One of the Deva-dasis at length succeeded in extracting
from a young Kammalan the secret that, if the fort was surrounded
with varaghu straw and set on fire, it would be destroyed. The king
ordered that this should be done, and, in attempting to escape from the
sudden conflagration, some of the Kammalans lost their lives. Others
reached the ships, and escaped by sea, or were captured and put to
death. In consequence of this, artificers ceased to exist in the
country. One pregnant Kammalan woman, however, took refuge in the
house of a Beri Chetti, and escaped decapitation by being passed off
as his daughter. The country was sorely troubled owing to the want
of artificers, and agriculture, manufactures, and weaving suffered a
great deal. One of the kings wanted to know if any Kammalan escaped
the general destruction, and sent round his kingdom a piece of coral
possessing a tortuous aperture running through it, and a piece of
thread. A big reward was promised to anyone who should succeed in
passing the thread through the coral. At last, the boy born of the
Kammalan woman in the Chetti's house undertook to do it. He placed the
coral over the mouth of an ant-hole, and, having steeped the thread
in sugar, laid it down at some distance from the hole. The ants took
the thread, and drew it through the coral. The king, being pleased
with the boy, sent him presents, and gave him more work to do. This
he performed with the assistance of his mother, and satisfied the
king. The king, however, grew suspicious, and, having sent for the
Chetti, enquired concerning the boy's parentage. The Chetti thereon
detailed the story of his birth. The king provided him with the means
for making ploughshares on a large scale, and got him married to the
daughter of a Chetti, and made gifts of land for the maintenance of
the couple. The Chetti woman bore him five sons, who followed the
five branches of work now carried out by the Kammalan caste. The king
gave them the title of Panchayudhattar, or those of the five kinds of
weapons. They now intermarry with each other, and, as children of the
Chetti caste, wear the sacred thread. The members of the caste who
fled by sea are said to have gone to China, or, according to another
version, to Chingaladvipam, or Ceylon, where Kammalans are found at
the present day. In connection with the above story, it may be noted
that, though ordinarily two different castes do not live in the same
house, yet Beri Chettis and Kammalans so live together. There is a
close connection between the Kammalans and Acharapakam Chettis, who
are a section of the Beri Chetti caste. Kammalans and Acharapakam
Chettis interdine; both bury their dead in a sitting posture; and
the tali (marriage badge) used by both is alike in size and make,
and unlike that used by the generality of the Beri Chetti caste. The
Acharapakam Chettis are known as Malighe Chettis, and are considered
to be the descendants of those Beri Chettis who brought up the Kammalan
children, and intermarried with them. Even now, in the city of Madras,
when the Beri Chettis assemble for the transaction of caste business,
the notice summoning the meeting excludes the Malighe Chettis, who
can neither vote nor receive votes at elections, meetings, etc.,
of the Kandasami temple, which every other Beri Chetti has a right to.

It may be noted that the Deva-dasis, whose treachery is said to
have led to the destruction of the Kammalan caste, were Kaikolans by
caste, and that their illegitimate children, like their progenitors,
became weavers. The weavers of South India, according to old Tamil
poems, were formerly included in the Kammiyan or Kammalan caste. [70]
Several inscriptions show that, as late as 1013 A.D., the Kammalans
were treated as an inferior caste, and, in consequence, were confined
to particular parts of villages. [71] A later inscription gives an
order of one of the Chola kings that they should be permitted to blow
conches, and beat drums at their weddings and funerals, wear sandals,
and plaster their houses. [72] "It is not difficult," Mr. H. A. Stuart
writes, [73] "to account for the low position held by the Kammalans,
for it must be remembered that, in those early times, the military
castes in India, as elsewhere, looked down upon all engaged in labour,
whether skilled or otherwise. With the decline of the military power,
however, it was natural that a useful caste like the Kammalans should
generally improve its position, and the reaction from their long
oppression has led them to make the exaggerated claims described
above, which are ridiculed by every other caste, high or low." The
claims here referred to are that they are descended from Visvakarma,
the architect of the gods, and are Brahmans.

From a note by Mr. F. R. Hemingway, I gather that the friendship
between the Muhammadans and Kammalans, who call each other mani
(paternal uncle) "originated in the fact that a holy Muhammadan,
named Ibrahim Nabi, was brought up in the house of a Kammalan, because
his father was afraid that he would be killed by a Hindu king named
Namaduta, who had been advised by his soothsayers that he would thus
avoid a disaster, which was about to befall his kingdom. The Kammalan
gave his daughter to the father of Ibrahim in exchange. Another
story (only told by Kammalans) is to the effect that the Kammalans
were once living in a magnetic castle, called Kanda Kottai, which
could only be destroyed by burning it with varagu straw; and that
the Musalmans captured it by sending Musalman prostitutes into the
town, to wheedle the secret out of the Kammalans. The friendship,
according to the story, sprang up because the Kammalans consorted
with the Musalman women."

The Kammalans belong to the left hand, as opposed to the right
hand faction. The origin of this distinction of castes is lost in
obscurity, but, according to one version, it arose out of a dispute
between the Kammalans and Vellalas. The latter claimed the former as
their Jatipillaigal or caste dependents, while the former claimed
the latter as their own dependents. The fight grew so fierce that
the Chola king of Conjeeveram ranged these two castes and their
followers on opposite sides, and enquired into their claims. The
Kammalans, and those who sided with them, stood on the left of
the king, and the Vellalas and their allies on the right. The king
is said to have decided the case against the Kammalans, who then
dispersed in different directions. According to another legend,
a Kammalan who had two sons, one by a Balija woman, and the other
by his Kammalan wife, was unjustly slain by a king of Conjeeveram,
and was avenged by his two sons, who killed the king and divided his
body. The Kammalan son took his head and used it as a weighing pan,
while the Balija son made a pedler's carpet out of the skin, and
threads out of the sinews for stringing bangles. A quarrel arose,
because each thought the other had got the best of the division,
and all the other castes joined in, and took the side of either the
Kammalan or the Balija. Right and left hand dancing-girls, temples,
and mandapams, are still in existence at Conjeeveram, and elsewhere in
the Tamil country. Thus, at Tanjore, there are the Kammala Tevadiyals,
or dancing-girls. As the Kammalans belong to the left-hand section,
dancing-girls of the right-hand section will not perform before them,
or at their houses. Similarly, musicians of the right-hand section
will not play in Kammalan houses. In olden days, Kammalans were
not allowed to ride in palanquins through the streets of the right
hands. If they did, a riot was the result. Such riots were common
during the eighteenth century. Thus, Fryer refers to one of these
which occurred at Masulipatam, when the contumacy of the Kamsalas
(Telugu artisans) led to their being put down by the other castes
with the aid of the Moors.

The Kammalans call themselves Achari and Paththar, which are
equivalent to the Brahman titles Acharya and Bhatta, and claim a
knowledge of the Vedas. Their own priests officiate at marriages,
funerals, and on other ceremonial occasions. They wear the sacred
thread, which they usually don on the Upakarmam day, though some
observe the regular thread investiture ceremony. Most of them claim
to be vegetarians. Non-Brahmans do not treat them as Brahmans, and do
not salute them with the namaskaram (obeisance). Their women, unlike
those of other castes, throw the end of their body-cloth over the right
shoulder, and are conspicuous by the nose ornament known as the nattu.

In connection with the professional calling of the Kammalans,
Surgeon-Major W. R. Cornish writes as follows. [74] "The artisans, who
are smiths or carpenters, usually bring up their children to the same
pursuits. It might have been supposed that the hereditary influence
in the course of generations would have tended to excellence in the
several pursuits, but it has not been so. Ordinary native work in
metal, stone, and wood, is coarse and rough, and the designs are of the
stereotyped form. The improvement in handicraft work of late years has
been entirely due to European influence. The constructors of railways
have been great educators of artisans. The quality of stone-masonry,
brick-work, carpentry, and smith-work has vastly improved within the
last twenty years, and especially in districts where railway works
have been in progress. The gold and silver smiths of Southern India
are a numerous body. Their chief employment consists in setting and
making native jewellery. Some of their designs are ingenious, but here
again the ordinary work for native customers is often noticeable for a
want of finish, and, with the exception of a few articles made for the
European markets, there is no evidence of progressive improvement in
design or execution. That the native artists are capable of improvement
as a class is evident from their skill and ingenuity in copying designs
set before them, and from the excellent finish of their work under
European supervision; but there must be a demand for highly finished
work before the goldsmiths will have generally improved. The wearers
of jewellery in India look more to the intrinsic value of an article,
than to the excellence of the design or workmanship. So that there
is very little encouragement for artistic display." The collection of
silver jewelry at the Madras Museum, which was made in connection with
the Colonial and Indian Exhibition, London, 1886, bears testimony to
the artistic skill of the silversmiths. Recently, Colonel Townshend,
Superintendent of the Madras Gun Carriage Factory, has expressed his
opinion [75] that "good as the Bombay smiths are, the blacksmiths of
Southern India are the best in Hindustan, and the pick of them run
English smiths very close, not only in skill, but in speed of outturn."

Anyone who has seen the celebrated temples of Southern India, for
example, the Madura and Tanjore temples, and the carving on temple
cars, can form some idea of the skill of South Indian stone-masons and
carpenters. The following note on idols and idol-makers is taken from
a recent article. [76] "The idol-maker's craft, like most of the other
callings in this country, is a hereditary one, and a workman who has
earned some reputation for himself, or has had an ancestor of renown,
is a made man. The Sthapathi, as he is called in Sanskrit, claims
high social rank among the representatives of the artisan castes. Of
course he wears a heavy sacred thread, and affects Brahman ways of
living. He does not touch flesh, and liquor rarely passes down his
throat, as he recognises that a clear eye and steady hand are the
first essentials of success in his calling. There are two sorts of
idols in every temple, mulavigrahas or stone idols which are fixed to
the ground, and utsavavigrahas or metal idols used in processions. In
the worst equipped pagoda there are at least a dozen idols of every
variety. They do duty for generations, for, though they become black
and begrimed with oil and ashes, they are rarely replaced, as age and
dirt but add to their sanctity. But now and then they get desecrated
for some reason, and fresh ones have to be installed in their stead; or
it may be that extensions are made in the temple, and godlings in the
Hindu Pantheon, not accommodated within its precincts till then, have
to be carved and consecrated. It is on such occasions that the hands
of the local Sthapathi are full of work, and his workshop is as busy
as a bee-hive. In the larger temples, such as the one at Madura, the
idols in which are to be counted by the score, there are Sthapathis on
the establishment receiving fixed emoluments. Despite the smallness of
the annual salary, the office of temple Sthapathi is an eagerly coveted
one, for, among other privileges, the fortunate individual enjoys that
of having his workshop located in the temple premises, and thereby
secures an advertisement that is not to be despised. Besides, he is
not debarred from adding to his pecuniary resources by doing outside
work when his hands are idle. Among stone images, the largest demand
is for representations of Ganapati or Vignesvara (the elephant god),
whose popularity extends throughout India. Every hamlet has at least
one little temple devoted to his exclusive worship, and his shrines are
found in the most unlikely places. Travellers who have had occasion to
pass along the sandy roads of the Tanjore district must be familiar
with the idols of the god of the protuberant paunch, which they pass
every half mile or so, reposing under the shade of avenue trees with an
air of self-satisfaction suffusing their elephantine features. Among
other idols called into being for the purpose of wayside installation
in Southern India, may be mentioned those of Viran, the Madura
godling, who requires offerings of liquor, Mariamma, the small-pox
goddess, and the evil spirit Sangili Karappan. Representations are
also carved of nagas or serpents, and installed by the dozen round
the village asvatha tree (Ficus religiosa). Almost every week, the
mail steamer to Rangoon takes a heavy consignment of stone and metal
idols commissioned by the South Indian settlers in Burma for purposes
of domestic and public worship. The usual posture of mulavigrahas
is a standing one, the figure of Vishnu in the Srirangam temple,
which represents the deity as lying down at full length, being an
exception to this rule. The normal height is less than four feet,
some idols, however, being of gigantic proportions. Considering the
very crude material on which he works, and the primitive methods of
stone-carving which he continues to favour, the expert craftsman
achieves quite a surprising degree of smoothness and polish. It
takes him several weeks of unremitting toil to produce a vigraha
that absolutely satisfies his critical eye. I have seen him engaged
for hours at a stretch on the trunk of Vignesvara or the matted tuft
of a Rishi. The casting of utsavavigrahas involves a greater variety
of process than the carving of stone figures. The substance usually
employed is a compound of brass, copper and lead, small quantities of
silver and gold being added, means permitting. The required figure
is first moulded in some plastic substance, such as wax or tallow,
and coated with a thin layer of soft wet clay, in which one or two
openings are left. When the clay is dry, the figure is placed in a
kiln, and the red-hot liquid metal is poured into the hollow created by
the running out of the melted wax. The furnace is then extinguished,
the metal left to cool and solidify, and the clay coating removed. A
crude approximation to the image required is thus obtained, which is
improved upon with file and chisel, till the finished product is a
far more artistic article than the figure that was enclosed within
the clay. It is thus seen that every idol is made in one piece, but
spare hands and feet are supplied, if desired. Whenever necessary, the
Archaka (temple priest) conceals the limbs with cloth and flowers, and,
inserting at the proper places little pieces of wood which are held
in position by numerous bits of string, screws on the spare parts,
so as to fit in with the posture that the idol is to assume during
any particular procession."

An association, called the Visvakarma Kulabhimana Sabha, was
established in the city of Madras by the Kammalans in 1903. The
objects thereof were the advancement of the community as a whole on
intellectual and industrial lines, the provision of practical measures
in guarding the interests, welfare and prospects of the community,
and the improvement of the arts and sciences peculiar to them by
opening industrial schools and workshops, etc.

Of proverbs relating to the artisan classes, the following may
be noted:--


    The goldsmith who has a thousand persons to answer. This in
    reference to the delay in finishing a job, owing to his taking
    more orders than he can accomplish in a given time.

    The goldsmith knows what ornaments are of fine gold, i.e., knows
    who are the rich men of a place.

    It must either be with the goldsmith, or in the pot in which he
    melts gold, i.e., it will be found somewhere in the house. Said
    to one who is in search of something that cannot be found.

    Goldsmiths put inferior gold into the refining-pot.

    If, successful, pour it into a mould; if not, pour it into the
    melting pot. The Rev. H. Jensen explains [77] that the goldsmith
    examines the gold after melting it. If it is free from dross,
    he pours it into the mould; if it is still impure, it goes back
    into the pot.

    The goldsmith will steal a quarter of the gold of even his
    own mother.

    Stolen gold may be either with the goldsmith, or in his fire-pot.

    If the ear of the cow of a Kammalan is cut and examined, some wax
    will be found in it. It is said that the Kammalan is in the habit
    of substituting sealing-wax for gold, and thus cheating people. The
    proverb warns them not to accept even a cow from a Kammalan. Or,
    according to another explanation, a Kammalan made a figure of a
    cow, which was so lifelike that a Brahman purchased it as a live
    animal with his hard-earned money, and, discovering his mistake,
    went mad. Since that time, people were warned to examine an animal
    offered for sale by Kammalans by cutting off its ears. A variant
    of the proverb is that, though you buy a Kammalan's cow only after
    cutting its ears, he will have put red wax in its ears (so that,
    if they are cut into, they will look like red flesh).

    What has a dog to do in a blacksmith's shop? Said of a man who
    attempts to do work he is not fitted for.

    When the blacksmith sees that the iron is soft, he will raise
    himself to the stroke.

    Will the blacksmith be alarmed at the sound of a hammer?

    When a child is born in a blacksmith's family, sugar must be
    dealt out in the street of the dancing-girls. This has reference
    to the legendary relation of the Kammalans and Kaikolans.

    A blacksmith's shop, and the place in which donkeys roll
    themselves, are alike.

    The carpenters and blacksmiths are to be relegated, i.e., to the
    part of the village called the Kammalacheri.

    What if the carpenter's wife has become a widow? This would seem
    to refer to the former practice of widow remarriage.

    The carpenter wants (his wood) too long, and the blacksmith wants
    (his iron) too short, i.e., a carpenter can easily shorten a piece
    of wood, and a blacksmith can easily hammer out a piece of iron.

    When a Kammalan buys cloth, the stuff he buys is so thin that it
    does not hide the hair on his legs.


Kammalan (Malayalam).--"The Kammalans of Malabar," Mr. Francis writes,
[78] "are artisans, like those referred to immediately above, but
they take a lower position than the Kammalans and Kamsalas of the
other coast, or the Panchalas of the Canarese country. They do not
claim to be Brahmans or wear the sacred thread, and they accept the
position of a polluting caste, not being allowed into the temples
or into Brahman houses. The highest sub-division is Asari, the men
of which are carpenters, and wear the thread at certain ceremonies
connected with house-building."

According to Mr. F. Fawcett "the orthodox number of classes of
Kammalans is five. But the artisans do not admit that the workers
in leather belong to the guild, and say that there are only
four classes. According to them, the fifth class was composed of
coppersmiths, who, after the exodus, remained in Izhuva land, and did
not return thence with them to Malabar. [79] Nevertheless, they always
speak of themselves as the Ayen Kudi or five-house Kammalans. The
carpenters say that eighteen families of their community remained
behind in Izhuva land. Some of these returned long afterwards, but they
were not allowed to rejoin the caste. They are known as Puzhi Tachan
or sand carpenters, and Pathinettanmar or the eighteen people. There
are four families of this class now living at or near Parpan gadi. They
are carpenters, but the Asaris treat them as outcastes."

For the following note on Malabar Kammalans I am indebted to
Mr. S. Appadorai Iyer. The five artisan classes, or Ayinkudi Kammalans,
are made up of the following:--


    Asari, carpenters.
    Musari, braziers.
    Tattan, goldsmiths.
    Karuman, blacksmiths.
    Chembotti or Chempotti, coppersmiths.


The name Chembotti is derived from chembu, copper, and kotti, he who
beats. They are, according to Mr. Francis, "coppersmiths in Malabar,
who are distinct from the Malabar Kammalans. They are supposed to be
descendants of men who made copper idols for temples, and so rank
above the Kammalans in social position, and about equally with the
lower sections of the Nayars."

The Kammalans will not condescend to eat food at the hands of Kurups,
Tolkollans, Pulluvans, Mannans, or Tandans. But a Tandan thinks
it equally beneath his dignity to accept food from a Kammalan. The
Kammalans believe themselves to be indigenous in Malabar, and boast
that their system of polyandry is the result of the sojourn of the
exiled Pandavas, with their common wife Panchali, and their mother
Kunthi, in the forest of the Walluvanad division. They say that the
destruction of the Pandavas was attempted in the Arakkuparamba amsam
of this division, and that the Tac'chans (artisans) were given as
a reward by the Kurus the enjoyment of Tacchanattukara amsam. They
state further that the Pandus lived for some time at the village of
Bhimanad, and went to the Attapadi valley, where they deposited their
cooking utensils at the spot where the water falls from a height of
several hundred feet. This portion of the river is called Kuntipuzha,
and the noise of the water, said to be falling on the upset utensils,
is heard at a great distance.

The Kammalans, male and female, dress like Nayars, and their ornaments
are almost similar to those of the Nayars, with this difference, that
the female Tattan wears a single chittu or ring in the right ear only.

In the building of a house, the services of the Asari are required
throughout. He it is who draws the plan of the building. And, when
a door is fixed or beam raised, he receives his perquisite. The
completion of a house is signified as a rule by a kutti-poosa. For
this ceremony, the owner of the house has to supply the workmen with
at least four goats to be sacrificed at the four corners thereof,
a number of fowls to be killed so that the blood may be smeared
on the walls and ceiling, and an ample meal with liquor. The feast
concluded, the workmen receive presents of rings, gold ear-rings,
silk and other cloths, of which the Moothasari or chief carpenter
receives the lion's share. "The village carpenter," Mr. Gopal Panikkar
writes, [80] "has to do everything connected with our architecture,
such as fixing poles or wickets at the exact spot where buildings
are to be erected, and clearing newly erected buildings of all devils
and demons that may be haunting them. This he does by means of pujas
(worship) performed after the completion of the building. But people
have begun to break through the village traditions, and to entrust
architectural work to competent hands, when the village carpenter is
found incompetent for the same."

It is noted by Canter Visscher [81] that "in commencing the building of
a house, the first prop must be put up on the east side. The carpenters
open three or four cocoanuts, spilling the juice as little as possible,
and put some tips of betel leaves into them; and, from the way these
float in the liquid, they foretell whether the house will be lucky
or unlucky, whether it will stand for a long or short period, and
whether another will ever be erected on its site. I have been told
that the heathens say that the destruction of fort Paponetti by our
arms was foretold by the builders from these auguries."

The blacksmith is employed in the manufacture of locks and keys,
and ornamental iron and brasswork for the houses of the rich. The
smithy is near the dwelling hut, and the wife blows the bellows. The
smith makes tyres for wheels, spades, choppers, knives, sickles,
iron spoons, ploughshares, shoes for cattle and horses, etc. These
he takes to the nearest market, and sells there. In some places there
are clever smiths, who make excellent chellams (betel boxes) of brass,
and there is one man at Walluvanad who even makes stylographic pens.

The Musari works in bell-metal, and makes all kinds of household
utensils, and large vessels for cooking purposes. He is an adept
at making such articles with the proper proportions of copper, lead
and brass. In some of the houses of the wealthier classes there are
cooking utensils, which cost nearly a thousand rupees. Excellent
bell-metal articles are made at Cherpalcheri, and Kunhimangalam in
North Malabar is celebrated for its bell-metal lamps. The importation
of enamelled and aluminium vessels, and lamps made in Europe, has
made such inroads into the metal industry of the district that the
brazier and blacksmith find their occupation declining.

The goldsmith makes all kinds of gold ornaments worn by Malaialis. His
lot is better than that of the other artisan classes.

It is noted in the Malabar Marriage Commission's report that "among
carpenters and blacksmiths in the Calicut, Walluvanad and Ponnani
taluks, several brothers have one wife between them, although the son
succeeds the father amongst them." Polyandry of the fraternal type is
said to be most prevalent among the blacksmiths, who lead the most
precarious existence, and have to observe the strictest economy. As
with the Nayars, the tali-kettu kalyanam has to be celebrated. For
this the parents of the child have to find a suitable manavalan or
bridegroom by the consultation of horoscopes. An auspicious day is
fixed, and new cloths are presented to the manavalan. The girl bathes,
and puts on new clothes. She and the manavalan are conducted to a
pandal (booth), where the tali-tying ceremony takes place. This
concluded, the manavalan takes a thread from the new cloth, and
breaks it in two, saying that his union with the girl has ceased. He
then walks away without looking back. When a Kammalan contemplates
matrimony, his parents look out for a suitable bride. They are received
by the girl's parents, and enquiries are made concerning her. The
visit is twice repeated, and, when an arrangement has been arrived
at, the village astrologer is summoned, and the horoscopes of the
contracting parties are consulted. It is sufficient if the horoscope
of one of the sons agrees with that of the girl. The parents of the
sons deposit as earnest money, or achcharapanam, four, eight, twelve,
or twenty-one fanams according to their means, in the presence of
the artisans of the village; and a new cloth (kacha) is presented
to the bride, who thus becomes the wife of all the sons. There
are instances in which the girl, after the achcharam marriage, is
immediately taken to the husband's house. All the brother-husbands,
dressed in new clothes and decorated with ornaments, with a new palmyra
leaf umbrella in the hand, come in procession to the bride's house,
where they are received by her parents and friends, and escorted
to the marriage pandal. The bride and bridegrooms sit in a row,
and the girl's parents give them fruits and sugar. This ceremony is
called mathuram kotukkal. The party then adjourns to the house of the
bridegrooms where a feast is held, in the course of which a ceremony
called pal kotukkal is performed. The priest of the Kammalans takes
some milk in a vessel, and pours it into the mouths of the bride and
bridegrooms, who are seated, the eldest on the right, the others in
order of seniority, and lastly the bride. During the nuptials the
parents of the bride have to present a water-vessel, lamp, eating
dish, cooking vessel, spittoon, and a vessel for drawing water from
the well. The eldest brother cohabits with the bride on the wedding
day, and special days are set apart for each brother. There seems to
be a belief among the Kammalan women that, the more husbands they
have, the greater will be their happiness. If one of the brothers,
on the ground of incompatibility of temper, brings a new wife, she
is privileged to cohabit with the other brothers. In some cases, a
girl will have brothers ranging in age from twenty-five to five, whom
she has to regard as her husband, so that by the time the youngest
reaches puberty she may be well over thirty, and a young man has to
perform the duties of a husband with a woman who is twice his age.

If a woman becomes pregnant before the achchara kalyanam has been
performed, her parents are obliged to satisfy the community that her
condition was caused by a man of their own caste, and he has to marry
the girl. If the paternity cannot be traced, a council is held, and
the woman is turned out of the caste. In the sixth or eighth month
of pregnancy, the woman is taken to her mother's house, where the
first confinement takes place. During her stay there the pulikudi
ceremony is performed. The husbands come, and present their wife with
a new cloth. A branch of a tamarind tree is planted in the yard of
the house, and, in the presence of the relations, the brother of the
pregnant woman gives her conji (rice gruel) mixed with the juices of
the tamarind, Spondias mangifera and Hibiscus, to drink. The customary
feast then takes place. A barber woman (Mannathi) acts as midwife. On
the fourteenth day after childbirth, the Thali-kurup sprinkles water
over the woman, and the Mannathi gives her a newly-washed cloth to
wear. Purification concludes with a bath on the fifteenth day. On the
twenty-eighth day the child-naming ceremony takes place. The infant
is placed in its father's lap, and in front of it are set a measure
of rice and paddy (unhusked rice) on a plantain leaf. A brass lamp is
raised, and a cocoanut broken. The worship of Ganesa takes place, and
the child is named after its grandfather or grandmother. In the sixth
month the choronu or rice-giving ceremony takes place. In the first
year of the life of a boy the ears are pierced, and gold ear-rings
inserted. In the case of a girl, the ear-boring ceremony takes place
in the sixth or seventh year. The right nostril of girls is also bored,
and mukkuthi worn therein.

It is recorded, in the Gazetteer of Malabar, that, "amongst Kammalans,
the betrothal ceremony is similar to that of the Tiyans. If more
than one brother is to be married, to the same girl, her mother asks
how many bridegrooms there are, and replies that there are mats and
planks for so many. Cohabitation sometimes begins from the night of
the betrothal, the eldest brother having the priority, and the rest
in order of seniority on introduction by the bride's brother. If
the girl becomes pregnant, the formal marriage must be celebrated
before the pregnancy has advanced six months. At the formal marriage,
the bridegrooms are received by the bride's mother and brothers; two
planks are placed before a lighted lamp, before which the bridegrooms
and the bride's brothers prostrate themselves. The bride is dressed
in a new cloth, and brought down by the bridegroom's sister and fed
with sweetmeats.

"Next day all the bridegroom's party visit the Tandan of the bride's
desam (village), who has to give them arrack (liquor) and meat,
receiving in his turn a present of two fanams (money). The next day the
bride is again feasted in her house by the bridegrooms, and is given
her dowry consisting of four metal plates, one spittoon, one kindi
(metal vessel), and a bell-metal lamp. The whole party then goes to
the bridegroom's house, where the Tandan proclaims the titles of the
parties and their desam. All the brothers who are to share in the
marriage sit in a row on a mat with the bride on the extreme left,
and all drink cocoanut milk. The presence of all the bridegrooms is
essential at this final ceremony, though for the preceding formalities
it is sufficient if the eldest is present."

The Kammalans burn the corpses of adults, and bury the young. Fifteen
days' pollution is observed, and at the expiration thereof the
Thali-kurup pours water, and purification takes place. On the third
day the bones of the cremated corpse are collected, and placed
in a new earthen pot, which is buried in the grounds of the house
of the deceased. One of the sons performs beli (makes offerings),
and observes diksha (hair-growing) for a year. The bones are then
carried to Tirunavaya in Ponnani, Tiruvilamala in Cochin territory,
Perur in Coimbatore, or Tirunelli in the Wynad, and thrown into the
river. A final beli is performed, and the sradh memorial ceremony is
celebrated. If the deceased was skilled in sorcery, or his death was
due thereto, his ghost is believed to haunt the house, and trouble
the inmates. To appease it, the village washerman (Mannan) is brought
with his drums, and, by means of his songs, forces the devil into one
of the members of the household, who is made to say what murthi or
evil spirit possesses him, and how it should be satisfied. It is then
appeased with the sacrifice of a fowl, and drinking the juice of tender
cocoanuts. A further demand is that it must have a place consigned to
it in the house or grounds, and be worshipped once a year. Accordingly,
seven days later, a small stool representing the deceased is placed
in a corner of one of the rooms, and there worshipped annually with
offerings of cocoanuts, toddy, arrack, and fowls. In the grounds of
some houses small shrines, erected to the memory of the dead, may be
seen. These are opened once a year, and offerings made to them.

The Kammalans worship various minor deities, such as Thikutti,
Parakutti, Kala Bairavan, and others. Some only worship stone images
erected under trees annually. They have barbers of their own, of
whom the Mannan shaves the men, and the Mannathi the women. These
individuals are not admitted into the Mannan caste, which follows
the more honourable profession of washing clothes.

In the Madras Census Report, 1901, the following sub-castes of
Malabar Kammalans are recorded:--Kallan Muppan and Kallukkotti
(stone-workers), Kotton (brass-smith), Pon Chetti (gold merchant),
and Puliasari (masons). In the Cochin Census Report, 1901, it is
stated that "the Kammalans are divided into six sub-castes, viz.,
Marasari (carpenter), Kallasari (mason), Musari (brazier), Kollan
(blacksmith), Tattan (goldsmith), and Tolkollan (leather-worker). Of
these six, the first five interdine, and intermarry. The Tolkollan
is considered a degraded caste, probably on account of his working in
leather, which in its earlier stages is an unholy substance. The other
sub-castes do not allow the Tolkollans even to touch them. Among the
Marasaris are included the Marasaris proper and Tacchans. The Tacchans
are looked upon by other castes in the group as a separate caste, and
are not allowed to touch them. All the sub-castes generally follow
the makkathayam law of inheritance, but there are some vestiges
of marumakkathayam also among them. There is a sub-caste called
Kuruppu, who are their barbers and priests. They officiate as priest
at marriage and funeral ceremonies. When they enter the interior
shrine of temples for work in connection with the image of a god,
or with the temple flagstaff, the Asari and Musari temporarily wear
a sacred thread, which is a rare privilege. Their approach within a
radius of twenty-four feet pollutes Brahmans. On the completion of a
building, the Marasari, Kallasari and Kollan perform certain pujas,
and sacrifice a fowl or sheep to drive out the demons and devils
which are supposed to have haunted the house till then."

For the following note on the Kammalans of Travancore, I am indebted
to Mr. N. Subramania Aiyar. "The titles of the Malayalam Kammalans
are Panikkan and Kanakkan. The word Panikkan means a worker, and
Kanakkan is the title given to a few old and respectable Kammalas in
every village, who superintend the work of others, and receive the
highest remuneration. It is their business to sketch the plan of a
building, and preside at the vastubali rite. Many Tamil Kammalans have
naturalised themselves on the west coast, and speak Malayalam. Between
them and the Malayalam Kammalans neither intermarriage nor interdining
obtains. The latter are divided into five classes, viz., Asari or
Marapanikkan (workers in wood), Kallan or Kallasari (workers in stone),
Musari (braziers and coppersmiths), Tattan (goldsmiths), and Kollan
(workers in iron). To these the Jatinirnaya and Keralaviseshamahatmya
add a sixth class, the Tacchan or Irchchakollan, whose occupation is
to fell trees and saw timber. The Tacchans are also known as Villasans
(bowmen), as they were formerly required to supply bows and arrows
for the Travancore army.

Epigraphic records point to the existence of the five classes of
Kammalans in Malabar at least as early as the beginning of the ninth
century A.D., as a Syrian Christian grant refers to them as Aimvazhi
Kammalas. There is a tradition that they were brought to Kerala by
Parasu Rama, but left in a body for Ceylon on being pressed by one of
the early Perumal satraps of Cranganur to marry into the washerman
caste, after they had by a special arrangement of the marriage shed
trapped to death a large number of that obnoxious community. The King
of Ceylon was requested, as an act of international courtesy, to send
back some of the Kammalans. As, however, they were loth to return to
their former persecutor, they were sent in charge of some Izhavas,
who formed the military caste of the island. The legend is given
in detail by Canter Visscher, who writes as follows. "In the time
of Cheramperoumal, a woman belonging to the caste of the washermen,
whose house adjoined that of an Ajari (the carpenter caste), being
occupied as usual in washing a cloth in water mixed with ashes (which
is here used for soap), and having no one at hand to hold the other
end of it, called to a young daughter of the Ajari, who was alone
in the house, to assist her. The child, not knowing that this was
an infringement of the laws of her caste, did as she was requested,
and then went home. The washerwoman was emboldened by this affair to
enter the Ajari's house a few days afterwards; and, upon the latter
demanding angrily how she dared to cross his threshold, the woman
answered scornfully that he belonged now to the same caste as she did,
since his daughter had helped to hold her cloth. The Ajari, learning
the disgrace that had befallen him, killed the washerwoman. Upon this,
her friends complained to Cheramperoumal, who espoused their cause, and
threatened the carpenters; whereupon the latter combined together to
take refuge in Ceylon, where they were favourably received by the King
of Candy, for whom the Malabars have great veneration. Cheramperoumal
was placed in great embarrassment by their departure, having no one in
his dominions who could build a house or make a spoon, and begged the
King of Candy to send them back, promising to do them no injury. The
Ajaris would not place entire confidence in these promises, but asked
the king to send them with two Chegos (Chogans) and their wives,
to witness Cheramperoumal's conduct towards them, and to protect
them. The king granted their request, with the stipulation that on all
high occasions, such as weddings and deaths and other ceremonies, the
Ajaris should bestow three measures of rice on each of these Chegos
and their descendants as a tribute for their protection; a custom
which still exists. If the Ajari is too poor to afford the outlay,
he is still obliged to present the requisite quantity of rice, which
is then given back to him again; the privilege of the Chegos being
thus maintained.

"The Kammalans are to some extent educated, and a few of them have
a certain knowledge of Sanskrit, in which language several works
on architecture are to be found. Their houses, generally known as
kottil, are only low thatched sheds. They eat fish and flesh, and
drink intoxicating liquors. Their jewelry is like that of the Nayars,
from whom, however, they are distinguished by not wearing the nose
ornaments mukkutti and gnattu. Some in Central Travancore wear silver
mukkuttis. Tattooing, once very common, is going out of fashion.

"In timber work the Asaris excel, but the Tamil Kammalans have
outstripped the Tattans in gold and silver work. The house-building
of the Asari has a quasi-religious aspect. When a temple is built,
there is a preliminary rite known as anujgna, when the temple priest
transfers spiritual force from the image, after which a cow and
calf are taken thrice round the temple, and the Kanakkan is invited
to enter within for the purposes of work. The cow and calf are let
loose in front of the carpenter, who advances, and commences the
work. On the completion of a building, an offering known as vastubali
is made. Vastu is believed to represent the deity who presides over
the house, and the spirits inhabiting the trees which were felled for
the purpose of building it. To appease these supernatural powers,
the figure of a demon is drawn with powders, and the Kanakkan,
after worshipping his tutelary deity Bhadrakali, offers animal
sacrifices to him in non-Brahmanical houses, and vegetable sacrifices
in Brahman shrines and homes. An old and decrepit carpenter enters
within the new building, and all the doors thereof are closed. The
Kanakkan from without asks whether he has inspected everything,
and is prepared to hold himself responsible for any architectural or
structural shortcomings, and he replies in the affirmative. A jubilant
cry is then raised by all the assembled Asaris. Few carpenters are
willing to undertake this dangerous errand, as it is supposed that
the dissatisfied demons are sure to make short work of the man who
accepts the responsibility. The figure is next effaced, and no one
enters the house until the auspicious hour of milk-boiling.

"Vilkuruppu or Vilkollakkuruppu, who used formerly to supply bows and
arrows for the Malabar army, are the recognised priests and barbers of
the Kammalans. They still make and present bows and arrows at the Onam
festival. In some places the Kammalans have trained members of their
own caste to perform the priestly offices. The Malayala Kammalans,
unlike the Tamils, are not a thread-wearing class, but sometimes put
on a thread when they work in temples or at images. They worship Kali,
Matan, and other divinities. Unlike the Tamil Kammalans, they are a
polluting class, but, when they have their working tools with them,
they are less objectionable. In some places, as in South Travancore,
they are generally regarded as higher in rank than the Izhavas,
though this is not universal.

"The tali-kettu ceremony is cancelled by a ceremony called vazhippu,
by which all connection between the tali-tier and the girl is
extinguished. The wedding ornament is exactly the same as that of
the Izhavas, and is known as the minnu (that which shines). The
system of inheritance is makkathayam. It is naturally curious that,
among a makkathayam community, paternal polyandry should have been
the rule till lately. 'The custom,' says Mateer, 'of one woman having
several husbands is sometimes practiced by carpenters, stone-masons,
and individuals of other castes. Several brothers living together
are unable to support a single wife for each, and take one, who
resides with them all. The children are reckoned to belong to each
brother in succession in the order of seniority.' But this, after
all, admits of explanation. If only the marumakkathayam system of
inheritance is taken, as it should be, as a necessary institution
in a society living in troublous times, and among a community whose
male members had duties and risks which would not ordinarily permit
of the family being perpetuated solely through the male line, and not
indicating any paternal uncertainty as some theorists would have it;
and if polyandry, which is much more recent than the marumakkathayam
system of inheritance, is recognised to be the deplorable result
of indigence, individual and national, and not of sexual bestiality,
there is no difficulty in understanding how a makkathayam community can
be polyandrous. Further, the manners of the Kammalars lend a negative
support to the origin just indicated by the marumakkathayam system of
inheritance even among the Nayars. The work of the Kammalars was within
doors and at home, not even in a large factory where power-appliances
may lend an element of risk, for which reason they found it quite
possible to keep up lineage in the paternal line, which the fighting
Nayars could not possibly do. And the fact that the marumakkathayam
system was ordained only for the Kshatriyas, and for the fighting
races, and not for the religious and industrial classes, deserves to
be specially noted in this connection."

Kammara.--The Kammaras are the blacksmith section of the Telugu
Kamsalas, whose services are in great demand by the cultivator, whose
agricultural implements have to be made, and constantly repaired. It is
noted, in the Bellary Gazetteer, that "until recently the manufacture
of the huge shallow iron pans, in which the sugar-cane is boiled,
was a considerable industry at Kamalapuram. The iron was brought
by pack bullocks from Jambunath Konda, the dome-shaped hill at the
Hospet end of the Sandur range, and was smelted and worked by men
of the Kammara caste. Of late years, the cheaper English iron has
completely ousted the country product, the smelting industry is dead,
and the Kammaras confine themselves to making and mending the boilers
with English material. They have a temple of their own, dedicated
to Kali, in the village, where the worship is conducted by one of
themselves." The name Baita Kammara, meaning outside blacksmiths,
is applied to Kamsala blacksmiths, who occupy a lowly position,
and work in the open air or outside a village. [82]

Kammiyan.--A Tamil name for blacksmiths.

Kampa (bush of thorns).--An exogamous sept of Yerukala.

Kampo.--In the Manual of the Ganjam district, the Kampos are described
as Oriya agriculturists. In the Madras Census Report, 1901, the name
is taken as an Oriya form of Kapu. Kampu is the name for Savaras,
who have adopted the customs of the Hindu Kampos.

Kamsala.--The Kamsalas, or, as they are sometimes called, Kamsaras,
are the Telugu equivalent of the Tamil Kammalans. They are found
northward as far as Berhampore in Ganjam. According to tradition,
as narrated in the note on Kammalans, they emigrated to the districts
in which they now live on the disruption of their caste by a certain
king. The Kamsalas of Vizagapatam, where they are numerically strong,
say that, during the reign of a Chola king, their ancestors claimed
equality with Brahmans. This offended the king, and he ordered their
destruction. The Kamsalas fled northward, and some escaped death by
taking shelter with people of the Ozu caste. As an acknowledgment of
their gratitude to their protectors, some of them have Ozu added to
their house-names, e.g., Lakkozu, Kattozu, Patozu, etc.

The Kamsalas have territorial sub-divisions, such as Murikinadu,
Pakinadu, Dravida, etc. Like the Kammalans, they have five
occupational sections, called Kamsali (goldsmiths), Kanchari or
Musari (brass-smiths), Vadrangi (carpenters), and Kasi or Silpi
(stone-masons). In a note on the Kamsalas of the Godavari district,
Mr. F. R. Hemingway writes that "they recognise two main divisions,
called Desayi (indigenous) and Turpusakas (easterns) or immigrants
from Vizagapatam. They sometimes speak of their occupational
sub-divisions as gotras. Thus, Sanathana is the iron, Sanaga, the
wooden, Abhonasa, the brass, Prathanasa, the stone, and Suparnasa,
the gold gotra." Intermarriage takes place between members of the
different sections, but the goldsmiths affect a higher social status
than the blacksmiths, and do not care to interdine or intermarry
with them. They have taken to calling themselves Brahmans, have
adopted Brahmanical gotras, and the Brahmanical form of marriage
rites. They quote a number of well-known verses of the Telugu
poet Vemana, who satirised the Brahmans for their shortcomings,
and refer to the Sanskrit Mulastambam and Silpasastram, which are
treatises on architecture. They trace their descent from Visvakarma,
the architect of the gods. Visvakarma is said to have had five sons,
of whom the first was Kammaracharya. His wife was Surelavathi, the
daughter of Vasishta. The second was Vadlacharyudu. The third was Rudra
or Kamcharacharya of the Abhavansa gotra, whose wife was Jalavathi,
the daughter of Paulasthya Brahma. The fourth was Kasacharyudu of the
Prasnasa gotra. His wife was Gunavati, the daughter of Visvavasa. The
fifth was Agasalacharya or Chandra of the Suvarnasa gotra, whose
wife was Saunati, the daughter of Bhrigumahamuni. Visvakarma had
also five daughters, of whom Sarasvathi was married to Brahma, Sachi
Devi to Indra, Mando Dari to Ravana, and Ahalya to Gautama. Since
they were married to the devatas, their descendants acquired the
title of Acharya. The use of the umbrella, sacred thread, golden
staff, the insignia of Garuda, and the playing of the bheri were
also allowed to them. It is recorded by the Rev. J. Cain [83] that
"the so-called right-hand castes object most strongly to the Kamsalilu
being carried in a palki (palanquin), and three years ago some of them
threatened to get up a little riot on the occasion of a marriage in
the Kamsali caste. They were deprived of this opportunity, for the
palki was a borrowed one, and its owner, more anxious for the safety
of his property than the dignity of the Kamsali caste, recalled
the loan on the third day. A ringleader of the discontented was a
Madras Pariah. The Kamsalilu were formerly forbidden to whitewash
the outside of their houses, but municipal law has proved stronger
in this respect than Brahmanical prejudice." The Kamsalas of Ganjam
and Vizagapatam do not make such a vigorous claim to be Brahmans,
as do those further south. They rear poultry, partake of animal food,
do not prohibit the use of alcoholic liquor, and have no gotras. They
also have sub-divisions among them, which do not wear the sacred
thread, and work outside the village limits. Thus, the Karamalas are a
section of blacksmiths, who do not wear the sacred thread. Similarly,
the Baita Kammaras are another section of blacksmiths, who do not wear
the thread, and, as their name implies, work outside the village. In
Vizagapatam, almost the only castes which will consent to receive
food at the hands of Kamsalas are the humble Malas and Rellis. Even
the Tsakalas and Yatas will not do so. There is a popular saying
that the Kamsalas are of all castes seven visses (viss, a measure of
weight) less.

In 1885, a criminal revision case came before the High Court of Madras,
in which a goldsmith performed abishekam by pouring cocoanut-water
over a lingam. In his judgment, one of the Judges recorded that
"the facts found are that 1st accused, a goldsmith by caste, on the
night of the last Mahasivaratri, entered a Siva temple at Vizagapatam,
and performed abishekam, i.e., poured cocoanut-water over the lingam,
the 2nd and 3rd accused (Brahmans) reciting mantrams (sacred formulæ)
while he did so. Another Brahman who was there expostulated with 1st
accused, telling him that he, a goldsmith, had no right to perform
abishekam himself, upon which 1st accused said that it was he who
made the idol, and he was fit to perform abishekam. An outcry being
raised, some other Brahmans came up, and objected to 1st accused
performing abishekam, and he was turned out, and some ten rupees
spent in ceremonies for the purification of the idol. The 2nd-class
Magistrate convicted the 1st accused under sections 295 and 296,
Indian Penal Code, and the 2nd and 3rd accused of abetment. All these
convictions were reversed on appeal by the District Magistrate. There
was certainly no evidence that any of the accused voluntarily caused
disturbance to an assembly engaged in the performance of religious
worship or religious ceremonies, and therefore a conviction under
section 296 could not be supported. In order to support a conviction
under section 295, it would be necessary for the prosecution to prove
(1) that the accused 'defiled' the lingam, and (2) that he did so,
knowing that a class of persons, viz., the Brahmans, would consider
such defilement as an insult to their religion. It may be noted that
the 1st accused is a person of the same religion as the Brahmans,
and, therefore, if the act be an insult at all, it was an insult to
his own religion. The act of defilement alleged was the performance
of abishekam, or the pouring of cocoanut-water over the lingam. In
itself, the act is regarded as an act of worship and meritorious,
and I understand that the defilement is alleged to consist in the fact
that the 1st accused was not a proper person--not being a Brahman--to
perform such a ceremony, but that he ought to have got some Brahman
to perform it for him." The other Judge (Sir T. Muttusami Aiyar)
recorded that "in many temples in this Presidency, it is not usual
for worshippers generally to touch the idol or pour cocoanut-water
upon it, except through persons who are specially appointed to do so,
and enjoined to observe special rules of cleanliness. If the accused
knew that the temple, in the case before us, is one of those temples,
and if he did the act imputed to him to ridicule openly the established
rule in regard to the purity of the lingam as an object of worship,
it might then be reasonably inferred that he did the act wantonly,
and with the intention of insulting the religious notions of the
general body of worshippers. The Sub-Magistrate refers to no specific
evidence in regard to the accused's knowledge of the usage. I may
also observe that, in certain temples attended by the lower classes,
the slaughtering of sheep is an act of worship. But, if the same act
is done in other temples to which other classes resort as places
of public worship, it is generally regarded as a gross outrage or
defilement." The High Court upheld the decision of the District
Magistrate.

Each occupational sub-division of the Kamsalas has a headman styled
Kulampedda, and occasionally the five headmen assemble for the
settlement of some important question of general interest to the
community.

A Kamsala may, according to the custom called menarikam, claim his
maternal uncle's daughter in marriage. The following account of the
wedding rites is given in the Nellore Manual. "The relations of the
bridegroom first go to the bride's parents or guardians, and ask
their consent to the proposed union. If consent is given, a day is
fixed, on which relations of the bridegroom go to the bride's house,
where all her relations are present with cocoanuts, a cloth for the
bride, betel, turmeric, etc. On the same occasion, the amount of
the dower is settled. The bride bathes, and is adorned with flowers,
turmeric, etc., and puts on the new cloth brought for her, and she
receives the articles which the bridegroom's party have brought. On
the auspicious day appointed for the marriage, the relations of the
bride go to the bridegroom's house, and fetch him in a palanquin. A
Brahman is sent for, who performs the ceremonies near the dais on
which the bride and bridegroom are seated. After the recital of the
mantras (hymns) before the young couple, he sends for their uncles,
and blesses them. The bridegroom then ties a pilgrim's cloth upon him,
places a brass water-pot on his head, holds a torn umbrella in his
hands, and starts out from the pandal (booth), and says he is going
on a pilgrimage to Benares, when the bride's brother runs after him,
and promises that he will give his sister in marriage, swearing thrice
to this effect. The bridegroom, satisfied with this promise, abandons
his pretended journey, takes off his pilgrim cloths, and gives them,
with the umbrella, to the Brahman. The couple seat themselves on the
dais, and the Brahman, having repeated some mantras, gives a sacred
thread to the bridegroom to place over his shoulders. He then blesses
the mangalasutram (marriage badge corresponding to the Tamil tali),
and hands it to the bridegroom, who ties it round the bride's neck,
his sister or other elderly matron seeing that it is properly tied. The
bride's father comes forward, and, placing his daughter's right hand
in the bridegroom's right, pours water on them. The other ceremonies
are exactly similar to those practiced by the Brahmans." Girls are
invariably married before puberty. Widows are not allowed to remarry,
and divorce is not recognised.

The Kamsalas are either Madhvas, Saivites, or Lingayats. All revere the
caste goddess Kamakshi Amma, who is represented by each sub-division
in a special manner. Thus the Kanchara represents her by the stone on
which he beats his metal work, the goldsmith by one of his implements,
and the blacksmith by his bellows. On the eighteenth day of the Dasara
festival, an annual festival is celebrated in honour of the goddess.

The dead are buried in a seated posture, but, in recent years, some
Kamsalas have taken to cremation. The death rites closely follow the
Brahmanical form. Death pollution is observed for twelve days.

In the Vizagapatam district, some artisans are engaged in the
ivory-carving industry. They "manufacture for European clients fancy
articles, such as chess-boards, photograph frames, card-cases, trinket
boxes, and so on, from tortoise-shell, horn, porcupine quills, and
ivory. The industry is in a flourishing state, and has won many medals
at exhibitions. It is stated to have been introduced by Mr. Fane, who
was Collector of the district from 1859 to 1862, and to have then been
developed by the Kamsalis, and men of other castes who eventually took
it up. The foundation of the fancy articles is usually sandal-wood,
which is imported from Bombay. Over this are laid porcupine quills
split in half and placed side by side, or thin slices of 'bison,'
buffalo, or stag horn, tortoise-shell, or ivory. The ivory is sometimes
laid over the horn or shell, and is always either cut into geometrical
patterns with a small key-hole saw, or etched with designs representing
gods and flowers. The etching is done with a small V tool, and then
black wax is melted into the design with a tool like a soldering iron,
any excess being scraped off with a chisel, and the result is polished
with a leaf of Ficus asperrima (the leaves of which are very rough,
and used as a substitute for sand-paper). This gives a black design
(sgraffito) on a white ground. The horn and porcupine quills are
obtained from the Agency, and the tortoise-shell and ivory mainly
from Bombay through the local Marvaris. The designs employed both
in the etching and fret-work are stiff, and suited rather to work
in metal than in ivory; and the chief merit of this Vizagapatam work
perhaps lies in its careful finish--a rare quality in Indian objects
of art. The ivory is rarely carved now, but, in the Calcutta Museum
and elsewhere, may be seen samples of the older Vizagapatam work,
which often contained ivory panels covered with scenes from holy writ,
executed in considerable relief." [84]

The caste title of the Kamsalas is usually Ayya, but, in recent times,
a good many have taken the title Achari.

The two begging castes Panasa and Runja are stated by Mr. Hemingway
to be exclusively devoted to the Kamsalas. "The former," he writes,
"are said to be out-castes from the Komati sub-division of that
name. Formerly in the service of the Nizam, it is said they were
disgraced by him, and driven to accept food of a degrading nature
from a Kamsala. The Kamsalas accordingly took them under their
protection. The Runjas are said to have been specially created by
Siva. Siva had killed a giant named Ravundasura, and the giant's dying
request was that his limbs might be turned into musical instruments,
and a special caste created to play them at the celebration of
Siva's marriage. The Runjas were the caste created. The god ordered
Viswakarma, the ancestor of the Kamsalas, to support them, and the
Kamsalas say that they have inherited the obligation."

It is recorded, in the Kurnool Manual, that "the story goes that
in Golkonda a tribe of Komatis named Bacheluvaru were imprisoned
for non-payment of arrears of revenue. Finding certain men of the
artificer caste, who passed by in the street, spit chewed betel-nut,
they got it into their mouths, and begged the artificers to get them
released. The artificers pitied them, paid the arrears, and procured
their release. It was then that the Kamsalis fixed a vartana or annual
house fee for the maintenance of the Panasa class, on condition that
they should not beg alms from the other castes."

Kamukham (areca-nut: Areca Catechu).--A tree or kothu of
Kondaiyamkottai Maravan.

Kamunchia.--Recorded, in the Madras Census Report, 1901, as a very
small class of Oriya cultivators.

Kanagu (Pongamia glabra).--An exogamous sept of Koravas and Thumati
Gollas. The latter may not use the oil obtained from the seeds of
this tree. The equivalent Kanagala occurs as an exogamous sept of Kapu.

Kanaka.--An exogamous sept of Badagas of the Nilgiris.

Kanakkan.--Kanakkan is a Tamil accountant caste, corresponding to
the Oriya Korono. In an account thereof, in the North Arcot Manual,
Mr. H. A. Stuart writes that they are "found chiefly in the districts
of North Arcot, South Arcot, and Chingleput. The name is derived from
the Tamil word kanakku, which means an account. They were employed
as village accountants by the ancient kings. In the inscriptions
the word Karanam or Kanakkan occurs very often, and their title
is invariably given as Velan, which is possibly a contracted form
of Vellalan. These accountants of the Tamil districts seem to be
quite distinct from those of Ganjam and other Telugu provinces (see
Korono), some of whom claim to be Kshatriyas, or even Brahmans. It
is true that the Karnams themselves claim to be the sons of Brahma,
but others maintain that they are the offspring of a Sudra woman by a
Vaisya. The caste is said to have four divisions, Sir (Sri), Sarattu,
Kaikatti, and Solia. The Sir Karnams are considered of highest rank,
and are generally the most intelligent accountants, though they are
sadly deficient when compared with the Brahmans who perform the duty
of keeping the village accounts above the ghats. The Kai-katti Karnams
(or Karnams who show the hand) derive their name from a peculiar custom
existing among them, by which a daughter-in-law is never allowed to
speak to her mother-in-law except by signs. The reason may perhaps
be surmised. The members of the four divisions cannot intermarry. In
their customs the caste is somewhat peculiar. They wear the thread,
disallow liquor-drinking, flesh-eating, and widow remarriage. Most
of them worship Siva, but there are some who are Vaishnavites, and
a very few are Lingayats." Their title is Pillai. In the records
relating to the Tamil country, Conicopoly, Conicoply, Canacappel,
and other variants appear as a corrupt form of Kanakka Pillai. For
example, in the records of Fort St. George, 1680, it is noted that
"the Governour, accompanyed with the Councell and several persons of
the factory, attended by six files of soldyers, the Company's Peons,
300 of the Washers, the Pedda Naigue, the Cancoply of the Towne and of
the grounds, went the circuit of Madras ground, which was described
by the Cancoply of the grounds." It is recorded by Baldæus (1672)
that Xaverius set everywhere teachers called Canacappels. [85] The
title Conicopillay is still applied to the examiner of accounts by
the Corporation of Madras.

It is laid down in the Village Officers' Manual that "the Karnam,
who is entrusted with the keeping of village accounts, is subordinate
to the Head of the village. He should help and advise the Head of
the village in every way. He is the clerk of the Head of the village
in his capacity of village munsif and magistrate. He has to prepare
reports, accounts, statements, etc., which it is necessary to put in
writing." When sudden or unnatural death takes place within the limits
of a village, the Karnam takes down in writing the evidence of persons
who are examined, and frames a report of the whole proceedings. He
keeps the register of those who are confined, or placed in the stocks
by the Head of the village for offences of a trivial nature, such
as using abusive language, or petty assaults or affrays. It is the
Karnam who keeps the revenue accounts, and registers of the price
of all kinds of grain, strangers passing or re-passing through the
village, births and deaths, and cattle mortality when cattle disease,
e.g., anthrax or rinderpest, exists. Further, it is the duty of the
Karnam to take proper care of Government survey instruments, and,
when revenue survey is being carried out, to satisfy himself that
the village and field boundary marks are properly erected.

In their marriage and death ceremonies, the Kanakkans closely follow
the Tamil Puranic type as observed by Vellalas. The Kaikatti section,
however, has one peculiar custom. After the marriage ceremony, the
girl is kept inside the house, and not allowed to move about freely,
for at least two or three days. She is considered to be under some
kind of pollution. It is said that, in former times, she was confined
in the house for forty days, and, as occupation, had to separate dhal
(peas) and rice, which had been mixed together.

The following proverbs are not complimentary to the Kanakkan, who, as
an influential village official, is not always a popular individual:--

Though babies are sold for a pie each, we do not want a Kanakka baby.

Wherever you meet with a Kanakka child or with a crow's young one,
put out its eyes.

In Travancore, Kanakkan is a name by which Kammalans are addressed,
and a prefix to the name of Todupuzha Vellalas. It further occurs,
on the west coast, as a sub-division of Cheruman or Pulayan.

For the following note on the Kanakkans of the Cochin State, I am
indebted to Mr. L. K. Anantha Krishna Aiyar. [86]

The Kanakkans belong to the slave castes, and are even now attached to
some landlords. In the taluks of Trichur, Mukandapuram, and Cranganur,
where I obtained all my information about them, I learnt that they are
the Atiyars (slaves) of Chittur Manakkal Nambudiripad at Perumanom
near Trichur, and they owe him a kind of allegiance. The Nambudiri
landlord told me that the members of the caste, not only from almost
all parts of the State, but also from the British taluks of Ponnani,
Chowghat, and even from Calicut, come to him with a Thirumulkazhcha,
i.e., a few annas in token of their allegiance. This fact was also
confirmed by a Kanakkanar (headman) at Cranganur, who told me that
he and his castemen were the slaves of the same landlord, though,
in disputes connected with the caste, they abide by the decision of
the local Raja. In the event of illness or calamity in the family of
a Kanakkan, an astrologer (Kaniyan), who is consulted as to the cause
and remedy, sometimes reminds the members thereof of the negligence
in their allegiance to the landlord, and suggests the advisability
of paying respects to him (Nambikuru) with a few annas. On the Puyam
day in Makaram (January-February), these people from various parts
of the State present themselves in a body with a few annas each,
to own their allegiance to him. The following story is mentioned by
him. One of his ancestors chanced to pay his respects to one of the
rulers of the State, when the residence of the Royal Family was in
Cochin. On arriving near the town, the boat capsised in a storm, but
was luckily saved by the bravery of a few rowers of this caste. The
Raja, who witnessed the incident from a window of his palace, admired
their valour, and desired to enlist some Kanakkans into his service.

There are four endogamous sub-divisions among the Kanakkans, viz.,
Patunna, the members of which formerly worked in salt-pans, Vettuva,
Chavala, and Parattu. Each of these is further sub-divided into clans
(kiriyam), which are exogamous.

A young man may marry the daughter of his maternal uncle, but this is
not permissible in some places. Marriage is both infant and adult,
and may be celebrated by Patunna Kanakkans at any time between the
tenth and thirteenth years of a girl, while the Vettuva Kanakkans may
celebrate it only after girls attain puberty. They often choose the
bridegroom beforehand, with the intention of performing the ceremony
after puberty.

When a girl attains maturity, she is kept apart in a part of the
house on the score of pollution, which lasts for seven days. She
bathes on the fourth day. On the morning of the seventh day seven
girls are invited, and they accompany the girl to a tank (pond) or a
river. They all have an oil bath, after which they return home. The
girl, dressed and adorned in her best, is seated on a plank in a
conspicuous part of the hut, or in a pandal (booth) put up for the
time in front of it. A small vessel full of paddy [87] (nerapara),
a cocoanut, and a lighted lamp, are placed in front of her. Her
Enangan begins his musical tunes, and continues for an hour or two,
after which he takes for himself the above things, while his wife,
who has purified the girl by sprinkling cow-dung water, gets a few
annas for her service. It is now, at the lucky moment, that the girl's
mother ties the tali round her neck. The seven girls are fed, and given
an anna each. The relations, and other castemen who are invited, are
treated to a sumptuous dinner. The guests as they depart give a few
annas each to the chief host, to meet the expenses of the ceremony
and the feast. This old custom of mutual help prevails largely among
the Pulayas also. The girl is now privileged to enter the kitchen,
and discharge her domestic duties. The parents of the bridegroom
contribute to the ceremony a small packet of jaggery (crude sugar),
a muri (piece of cloth), some oil and incha (Acacia Intsia), the soft
fibre of which is used as soap. This contribution is called bhendu
nyayam. If the girl is married before puberty, and she attains her
maturity during her stay with her husband, the ceremony is performed
in his hut, and the expenses are met by the parents of the bridegroom,
while those of the bride contribute a share.

When a Vettuva Kanakka girl comes of age, the headman (Vatikaran)
of the caste is informed. He comes, along with his wife, to help
the girl's parents in the performance of the ceremony. Seven girls
are invited. Each of them breaks a cocoanut, and pours the water on
the girl's head. Water is also poured over her. As soon as she is
thus bathed, she is allowed to remain in a room, or in a part of the
hut. Near her are placed a mirror made of metal, a vessel of paddy,
a pot full of water, and a lighted lamp. The young man who has been
chosen as her husband is invited. He has to climb a cocoanut tree to
pluck a tender cocoanut for the girl, and a cluster of flowers. He
then takes a meal in the girl's hut, and departs. The same proceedings
are repeated on the fourth day, and, on the seventh day, he takes
the cluster of flowers, and throws it on water.

As soon as a young man is sufficiently old, his parents look out for
a girl as his wife. When she is chosen, the negotiations leading to
marriage are opened by the father of the bridegroom, who, along with
his brother-in-law and Enangan (relations by marriage), goes to the
house of the bride-elect, where, in the midst of relations and friends
previously assembled, the formal arrangements are made, and a portion
of the bride's money is also paid. The auspicious day for the wedding
is settled, and the number of guests to be invited is fixed. There is
also an entertainment for those that are assembled. A similar one is
also held at the hut of the bridegroom-elect. These people are too
poor to consult the local Kaniyan (astrologer); but, if it is known
that the couple were born on the day of the same constellation, the
match is at once rejected. On the day chosen for the celebration of
the marriage, the bridegroom, neatly dressed, and with a knife and
stylus, sets out from his hut, accompanied by his parents, uncles,
other relatives, and men of his village, to the hut of the bride,
where they are welcomed, and seated on mats in a pandal (booth)
put up for the occasion. The bride, somewhat veiled, is taken to
the pandal and seated along with the bridegroom, and to both of them
a sweet preparation of milk, sugar and plantain fruits is given, to
establish the fact that they have become husband and wife. There is no
tali-tying then. The guests are treated to a sumptuous dinner. As they
take leave of the chief host, each of them pays a few annas to meet the
expenses of the ceremony. The bridegroom, with the bride and those who
have accompanied him, returns to his hut, where some ceremonies are
gone through, and the guests are well fed. The bridegroom and bride
are seated together, and a sweet preparation is given, after which
the parents and the maternal uncle of the former, touching the heads
of both, says "My son, my daughter, my nephew, my niece," meaning
that the bride has become a member of their family. They throw rice
on their heads as a token of their blessings on them. After this,
the couple live together as man and wife. In some places, marriage
is performed by proxy. A young Vettuva Kanakkan cannot marry by
proxy. Neither can the tali-tying ceremony be dispensed with.

If a woman has abandoned herself to a member of a lower caste, she is
put out of caste, and becomes a Christian or Muhammadan. Adultery is
regarded with abhorrence. All minor offences are dealt with by the
headman, whose privileges are embodied in a Thituram (royal order),
according to which he may preside at marriage, funeral, and other
ceremonies, and obtain a small fee as remuneration for his services. He
may use a stick, a stylus, and a knife lined with gold. He may wear
a white coat, turban and ear-rings, and use an umbrella. He may also
construct a shed with six posts for marriage ceremonies. He has to
pay a tax of ten annas to the Sirkar (Government). Chittur Manakkal
Nambudiripad in the taluk of Talapilly, the Cranganur Raja in the taluk
of Cranganur, and His Highness the Maharaja exercise absolute powers
in the settlement of disputes connected with this and other castes.

The Kanakkans believe in magic, sorcery, and witchcraft. Persons
who practice the art are very rare among them. They go to a Panan,
Velan, or Parayan, whenever they require his services. They profess
Hinduism, and worship Siva, Vishnu, Ganapathi, and Subramania,
Mukkan, Chathan, Kandakaranan, and the spirits of their ancestors are
also adored. Vettuva Kanakkans do homage to Kappiri and Virabhadran
also. Chathan cannot be worshipped at Cranganur, as he is opposed to
the local deity. Wooden or brass images of their ancestors are kept
in their huts, to whom regular sacrifices are offered on Karkadagom,
Thulam, and Makaram Sankranthis. In their compounds is often seen
a raised platform beneath a tree, on which are placed a few stones
representing the images of the demons whom they much fear and
respect. Sacrifices are offered to them on leaves.

Patunna Kanakkans invariably bury their dead. The funeral rites are
similar to those observed by other low castes. Death pollution lasts
for fifteen days. On the sixteenth morning, the hut and compound
are swept and cow-dunged. The relatives and castemen are invited,
and bring some rice and curry stuffs for a feast. Along with the
chief mourner (the son of the deceased) and his brothers, they go
to the nearest tank or river to bathe. The Enangan of the family
purifies them by the sprinkling of cow-dung water. They return home,
and those assembled are treated to a grand dinner. The son observes
the diksha (mourning) either for forty-one days, or for a whole year,
after which a grand feast called Masam is celebrated.

The Kanakkans are employed in fishing in the backwaters, cutting
timber and floating it on bamboo rafts down rivers flooded during
the monsoon, boating, pumping out water from rice fields by means
of water-wheels, and all kinds of agricultural labour. They were
at one time solely engaged in the manufacture of salt from the
backwaters. Women are engaged in making coir (cocoanut fibre) and
in agricultural labour. Vettuva Kanakkans are engaged in cocoanut
cultivating, and making lime out of shells. They are very skilful in
climbing cocoanut trees for plucking cocoanuts.

The Kanakkans take food prepared by members of the higher castes, and
by Kammalans, Izhuvas, and Mappillas. They have a strong objection
to eating at the hands of Veluthedans (washermen), Velakkathalavans
(barbers), Panans, Velans, and Kaniyans. Pulayas, Ulladans, and
Nayadis have to stand far away from them. They themselves have to
keep at a distance of 48 feet from high caste Hindus. They pollute
Izhuvas by touch, and Kammalans and Valans at a short distance. They
cannot approach the temples of the higher castes, but take part in
the festivals of temples in rural parts. At Cranganur, they can come
as far as the kozhikallu, which is a stone outside the temple at a
short distance from it, on which fowls are offered by low caste people.

Kanakku.--A prefix to the name of Nayars, e.g., Kanakku Raman Krishnan,
and also adopted as a prefix by the Todupuzha Vellalas of Travancore.

Kancharan.--A Malabar caste, the occupation of which is the manufacture
of brass vessels.

Kanchera.--Kanchera and Kanchari are names of the Telugu section
of metal-workers.

Kanchimandalam Vellala. --A name assumed by Malaiyalis of the Salem
hills, who claim to be Vellalas who emigrated from Conjeeveram
(Kanchipuram).

Kanchu (bell-metal).--An exogamous sept of Kuruba. Kansukejje (bronze
bell) occurs as a sub-division of Toreya.

Kanchugara.--In the Madras and Mysore Census Reports, Kanchugara
is recorded as a sub-division of Panchala, the members of which are
workers in brass, copper, and bell-metal. The Kanchugaras of South
Canara are described by Mr. H. A. Stuart [88] as "a Canarese caste of
brass-workers. They are Hindus of the Vaishnava sect, and pay special
reverence to Venkatramana of Tirupati. Their spiritual guru is the
head of the Ramachandrapuram math. A man cannot marry within his own
gotra or family. They have the ordinary system of inheritance through
males. Girls must be married before puberty, and the dhare form of
marriage (see Bant) is used. The marriage of widows is not permitted,
and divorce is allowed only in the case of women who have proved
unchaste. The dead are either cremated, or buried in a recumbent
posture. Brahmans officiate as their priests. The use of spirituous
liquors, and flesh and fish is permitted. Bell-metal is largely used
for making household utensils, such as lamps, goglets, basins, jugs,
etc. The process of manufacturing these articles is as follows. The
moulds are made of clay, dried and coated with wax to the thickness
of the articles required, and left to dry again, a hole being made in
them so as to allow the wax to flow out when heated. After this has
been done, the molten metal is poured in. The moulds are then broken,
and the articles taken out and polished."

Kandappan.--A sub-division of Occhan.

Kandulu (dal: Cajanus indicus).--An exogamous sept of
Yerukala. Kandikattu (dal soup) occurs as an exogamous sept of Medara.

Kangara.--The word Kangara means servant, and the Kangaras (or
Khongars) were originally village watchmen in the Vizagapatam Agency
tracts, corresponding to the Kavalgars of the Tamil country. They
are described as follows by Lieutenant J. Macdonald Smith, who was
Assistant Agent to the Governor in Jeypore in the sixties of the last
century. "A Khongar, it seems, is nothing but a Kavilgar or village
watchman. That these people, in many parts of India, are little better
than a community of thieves, is pretty well known, and what was the
true nature of the system in Jeypore was very clearly brought to light
in a case which was committed to my Court. It was simply this. Before
we entered the country, the entire police and magisterial authority
of a taluk was lodged in the revenue ameen or renter. Whenever a theft
occurred, and the property was of sufficient importance to warrant the
trouble and expense, the traveller or householder, as the case might
be, resorted at once to the ameen, who (if sufficiently fed by the
complainant) forthwith sent for the Head Khongar of the quarter, and
desired him to recover the goods, whatever they might be. The Khongar
generally knows very well where to lay his hand on the property, and
would come back with such portion of it as the urgency of the ameen's
order seemed to require, while the zeal of that functionary of course
varied in each case, according to the extent of the gratification
the complainant seemed disposed to give. This is the Khongar system
of Jeypore in its length and breadth, as proved at the trial referred
to. Wherever a taluk is taken up by the Police, the system of course
falls down of itself. As for the Khongars, they willingly enlist in
our village constabulary, and are proving themselves both intelligent
and fearless." The Meriah Officers (1845-61) remarked that the former
Rajas of Jeypore, and their subordinate chiefs, retained in their
service great numbers of professional robbers, called Khongars,
whom they employed within the Jeypore country, and in the plains,
on expeditions of rapine and bloodshed.

The Khongars were generally Paidis by caste, and their descendants
are even now the most notorious among the dacoits of the Vizagapatam
district. Their methods are thus described in the Gazetteer of
the Vizagapatam district (1907). "Like the Konda Doras, they have
induced some of the people to employ watchmen of their caste as the
price of immunity from theft. They are connected with the Dombus of
the Rayagada and Gunupur taluks, who are even worse. These people
dacoit houses at night in armed gangs of fifty or more, with their
faces blackened to prevent recognition. Terrifying the villagers into
staying quiet in their huts, they force their way into the house of
some wealthy person (for choice the local Sondi, liquor-seller and
sowcar [89]--usually the only man worth looting in an Agency village,
and a shark who gets little pity from his neighbours when forced to
disgorge), tie up the men, rape the women, and go off with everything
of value. Their favourite method of extracting information regarding
concealed property is to sprinkle the house-owner with boiling oil."

Kangayan.--A division of Idaiyans settled in Travancore.

Kaniala (land-owners).--A sub-division of Vellala.

Kanigiri (a hill in the Nellore district).--An exogamous sept of
Medara.

Kanikar.--The Kanikars, who are commonly known as Kanis, are a jungle
tribe inhabiting the mountains of South Travancore. Till recently they
were in the habit of sending all their women into the seclusion of the
dense jungle on the arrival of a stranger near their settlements. But
this is now seldom done, and some Kanikars have in modern times settled
in the vicinity of towns, and become domesticated. The primitive
short, dark-skinned and platyrhine type, though surviving, has become
changed as the result of contact metamorphosis, and many leptorhine
or mesorhine individuals above middle height are to be met with.


    ==============+=======================+======================
                  |        Stature.       |      Nasal index.
    ==============+=======+=======+=======+=======+=======+======
                  |  AV.  |  MAX. |  MIN. |  AV.  | MAX.  | MIN.
                  |       |       |       |       |       |
    Jungle        | 155.2 | 170.3 | 150.2 |  84.6 | 105   | 72.3
    Domesticated  | 158.7 | 170.4 | 148   |  81.2 |  90.5 | 70.8
    ==============+=======+=======+=======+=======+=======+======


The Kanikars are said to be characterised by a high standard of honour,
and to be straightforward, honest and truthful. They are good trackers
and fond of sport, and in clearing forest paths they have hardly any
equals. Their help and guidance are sought by, and willingly given
to any person who may have to travel through the forests.

The jungle Kanikars have no permanent abode, but shift about from
one part of the forest to another. Their settlements, composed of
lowly huts built of bamboo and reeds, are abandoned when they suffer
from fever, or are harassed by wild beasts, or when the soil ceases
to be productive. The settlements are generally situated, away from
the tracks of elephants, on steep hill slopes, which are terraced
and planted with useful trees. In their system of cultivation the
Kanikars first clear a patch of forest, and then set fire to it. The
ground is sown with hardly any previous tillage. When, after two or
three years, the land diminishes in productiveness, they move onto
another part of the forest, and follow the same rough and ready
method of cultivation. Thus one patch of ground after another is
used for agricultural purposes, until a whole tract of forest is
cleared. But the Kanikars have now to a large extent abandoned this
kind of migratory cultivation, because, according to the forest rules,
forests may not be set fire to or trees felled at the unrestricted
pleasure of individuals. They cultivate various kinds of cereals
and pulses, as well as tapioca (Manihot utilissima), sweet potatoes
(Ipomoea batatas), ganja (Indian hemp), and tobacco. Each settlement
now has a forest block assigned to it for cultivation, with which
other tribes are not allowed to interfere, and wherein the Kanikars
are allowed to fell, clear, and grow their crops. They do not pay
anything in the way of tax to the Government. Once a year they go in
a group to visit the Maharaja at Trivandrum, and he "always receives
them most kindly, accepting the nuzzur they offer in the shape of the
bamboo plantain with large though few fruits, a parcel of Muttucheri
hill rice, bamboo joints containing different varieties of honey,
and virukachattam or a parcel of civet. The customary modes of court
address, and the prescribed court etiquette are alike unknown to them,
and the Maharaja, pleased with their simplicity and unaffected homage,
rewards them with presents of cloth, money, salt, and tobacco, with
which they return satisfied to their jungle home." The Rev. S. Mateer
notes that he had difficulty in persuading the Kanikars to part with
a sucker of the bamboo plantain, as they fancied it must be reserved
for the use of the Maharaja alone.

Some Kanikars are engaged as coolies on planters' estates, or in
felling timber and cutting bamboos for contractors, others in the
manufacture of bows and arrows with blunt or barbed iron heads. Heated
arrows are used by them, for hitting elephants which invade their
sugar-cane or other crop, from the safe protection of a hut built on
a platform of sticks in tall trees of branches or bamboo covered with
leaves of Ochlandra Travancorica or other large leaves. In connection
with these huts, which are called anamadam (elephant huts), it has been
said that "the hills abound with game. 'Bison' (Bos gaurus), bears, and
sambar (Cervus unicolor) are frequently met with, while elephants and
tigers are so numerous that the Kanikars are in some parts compelled
to build their houses high up in trees. These primitive houses are
quickly and easily constructed. The walls are made of bamboo, and
the roof is thatched with jungle leaves. They are generally built
about fifty feet above the ground, and are securely fastened to the
branches of a substantial tree, and a crude ladder of bamboo connects
them with the ground. When all the inmates are safely housed for the
night, the ladder is removed aloft out of the reach of elephants, who,
mischievously inclined, might remove the obstruction, and leave the
Kanikars to regain terra firma the best way they could." Sometimes a
single bamboo, with the shoots on the sides cut short, does duty for
a ladder. It has been said that, when the crops are ripening, the
Kanikar watchmen are always at home in their arboreal houses, with
their bows and arrows, and chanting their wild songs. Sometimes the
blunt end of an arrow is used as a twirling stick in making fire by
friction, for which purpose sticks made of Grewia tilioefolia, etc.,
are also used. In making fire, the Kanikars "procure two pieces of
wood, one of which is soft, and contains a small hole or hollow about
half an inch deep to receive the end of the other, which is a hard
round stick about eighteen inches long, and as thick as an ordinary
ruler. The Kanikar takes this stick between the palms of his hands,
keeping it in a vertical position, with the end of it in the hollow
referred to, and produces a quick rotary and reverse motion, and with
slight pressure causes the friction necessary to produce a quantity
of fluff, which soon ignites."

The Kanikars are employed by the Government to collect honey, wax,
ginger, cardamoms, dammar, and elephant tusks, in return for a small
remuneration known as kutivaram. Other occupations are trapping,
capturing or killing elephants, tigers, and wild pigs, and making
wicker-work articles of bamboo or rattan. The Rev. S. Mateer mentions
having seen a wicker bridge, perhaps a hundred feet long, over which
a pony could pass. A tiger trap is said to be a huge affair made of
strong wooden bars, with a partition at one end for a live goat as
bait. The timbers thereof are supported by a spring, which, on a wild
beast entering, lets fall a crushing weight on it.

The Kanikars wander all over the hills in search of honey, and
a resident in Travancore writes that "I have seen a high rugged
rock, only accessible on one side, the other side being a sheer
precipice of several hundred feet, and in its deep crevices scores
of bees' nests. Some of them have been there for generations, and
the Kanikars perform periodically most daring feats in endeavouring
to secure at least a portion of the honey. On this precipice I have
seen overhanging and fluttering in the breeze a rattan rope, made in
rings and strongly linked together, the whole forming a rope ladder
several hundred feet long, and securely fastened to a tree at the
top of the precipice. Only a short time ago these people made one of
their usual raids on the 'honey rock.' One of the tribe descended the
rope ladder for a considerable distance, with a basket fastened to his
back to receive the honey, and carrying with him torch-wood with which
to smoke the bees out of the nests. Having arrived at his goal two
hundred feet from the top, and over three hundred feet from the ground
below, he ignited the torch, and, after the usual smoking process,
which took some little time to perform, the bees made a hurried exit
from the nests, and the Kanikar began the work of destruction, and
with every movement the man and the ladder swayed to and fro, as if
the whole thing would collapse at any moment. However, all was safe,
and, after securing as much honey as he could conveniently carry, he
began the return journey. Hand and foot he went up ring after ring
until he reached the top in safety, performing the ascent with an
air of nonchalant ease, which would have done credit to any steeple
jack." The honey is brought for sale in hollow bamboo joints.

Sometimes Kanikars come into Trivandrum, bringing with them live
animals for the zoological gardens.

The word Kanikaran means a hereditary proprietor of land. There
is a tradition that there were once two hill kings, Sri Rangan and
Virappan, whose descendants emigrated from the Pandyan territories
beyond Agastyakutam under pressure from a superior force, and never
returned to the low country. The following legend is current among
the Kanikars. "The sea originally covered everything, but God caused
the water to roll back, and leave bare all the hills. Then Parameswara
and Parvati made a man and woman, whose descendants were divided into
fifty-six races, and multiplied exceedingly, so that a sore famine
invaded the land. In those days men were hunters, and lived by snaring
animals and plucking wild fruits off the trees. There was no corn,
for men did not know how to sow rice, and cultivate it. The cry of
the famine-stricken reached Parameswara and Parvati, and they visited
the earth in the form of a pair of hamsam (the bird which carries
Brahma), and alighted on a kanjiram tree. While seated there, the god
and goddess noticed a pair of dragon-flies, which paired together,
and they too, their hearts swelling with love, embraced each other,
and, taking pity on mankind, willed that a field of rice should sprout
on the low-lying land near the sea-shore. The Paraiyans and Pulayans,
who witnessed the rice growing, were the first to taste of the crop,
and became prosperous. This was in Malabar, or the far north of
Travancore. The Maharaja, hearing of the new grain, sent seven green
parrots to go On a journey of discovery, and they returned with seven
ears of rice. These the Maharaja placed in a granary, and gave some
to the Paraiyans to sow, and the grain miraculously increased. But
the Maharaja wanted to know how it was to be cooked. The parrots were
accordingly once more brought into requisition, and they flew away,
and brought back eighteen varieties of cooked rice which a Paraiyan's
wife had prepared. Then the Maharaja, having got some rice prepared
by his cooks, fell to and eat heartily. After eating, he went into the
yard to wash his hands, and, before drying them on a cloth, wrung his
right hand to get the last drops of water off. A valuable gold ring
with three stones fell therefrom, and, burying itself in the dust,
was never recovered. The Maharaja was sore distressed by his loss,
but, Parameswara, as some recompense, caused to grow from the ground
where the ring fell three trees which are very valuable in Travancore,
and which, by the sale of their produce, would make the Maharaja
wealthy and prosperous. The trees were the dammar tree, the resinous
gum of which is useful in religious ceremonies, the sandal-wood tree
so widely used for its perfume, and lastly the bamboo, which is so
useful and necessary to the well-being of the Kanikars."

The sub-divisions among the Kanikars are known as illams or families,
of which five are said to be endogamous, and five exogamous. The
former are called Machchampi or brother-in-law illams, and the latter
Annantampi or brother illams. They are named after mountains (e.g.,
Palamala, Talamala), places (e.g., Vellanat), etc. The Kanikars who
live south of the Kodayar river cannot marry those living north of it,
the river forming a marital boundary.

Among the names of Kanikars are Parapan (broad-faced), Chanthiran
(moon), Marthandan (sun), Muntan (dwarf), Kaliyan (little Kali),
Madan (a deity), Nili (blue) and Karumpi (black). The first name is
sometimes that of the settlement in which they live. For example,
the various Mullans are known as Kuzhumbi Mullan, Anaimalai Mullan,
Chembilakayam Mullan, etc.

The Kanikars live together in small communities under a Muttakani
or headman, who wields considerable influence over them, and enjoys
various perquisites. He presides over tribal council meetings, at
which all social questions are discussed and settled, and fixes the
time for clearing the jungle, sowing the seed, gathering the harvest,
worshipping the gods, etc. Fines which are inflicted are spent in
propitiating the gods.

The language of the Kanikars is a dialect of Malayalam, with a
large admixture of Tamil, which they call Malampashai or language of
the hills.

The system of inheritance among those who live in the hills is
makkathayam (from father to son). But a moiety of the personal
property goes to the nephews. With those who live in the plains, an
equal distribution of their self-acquired property is made between
the sons and nephews. If there are no sons, the nephews inherit the
property, the widow being entitled to maintenance.

The chief object of worship is said to be Sasthan, a forest
god. But the Kanikars also make offerings to a variety of deities,
including Amman, Poothathan, Vetikad Pootham, Vadamala Poothathan,
and Amcala. They have, it has been said, "certain spots, trees or
rocks, where their relations or friends have met with some unusual good
luck or calamity, where they generally offer their prayers. Here they
periodically assemble, and pray that the catastrophe that had befallen
a comrade may not fall on them, or that the blessings which another had
received may be showered on them." Generally in February a festival
called kodai is held, whereat the Kanikars assemble. Goats and fowls
are sacrificed, and the pujari (priest) offers boiled rice and meat to
the sylvan deities in a consecrated place. The festival, to which many
come from the low country, winds up with drinking and dancing. The
Kanikar musical instruments include a reed flute or clarionet, and
men dance to the music, while the women clap their hands in time with
it. The Kanikars worship their gods twice a year, in the months of
Minam and Kanni. On the morning of the celebration, every family takes
rice and plantains to the dwelling of the headman. With the exception
of a small quantity which is set aside, the rice is husked and ground
to flour by boys or men, after bathing and washing their hands and
feet. The rice is taken to a clearing in the fields, whither a Kanikar
who knows how to invoke the deity comes after bathing. He lays out
a row of plantain leaves, and spreads on each leaf a little rice, on
which plantains are laid. These are covered over with a plantain leaf,
on which rice is sprinkled. The officiating Kanikar then burns incense,
carries it round the trophy, and places it in front thereof. All do
obeisance by raising their hands to their foreheads, and pray for a
fruitful harvest. Sometimes the officiating Kanikar becomes inspired
like a Velichapad, and gives expression to oracular utterances. At the
close of the ceremony, a distribution of the rice and plantains takes
place. When the land is to be cleared for cultivation, the headman is
invited to attend, and some rice and cocoanuts are presented to him,
which he offers up, and clears a small portion with his own hand. On
the first appearance of the ears of grain, the Kanikars spend two
nights in drumming, singing, and repeating mantrams at the field,
and put up a tattu or platform on four sticks as a shrine for the
spirits, to whom they offer raw rice, tender cocoanuts, flowers,
etc. At harvest time rice, plantains, sweetmeats, and flowers are
offered to the various hill demons, Purcha Mallan Pey, the cat giant,
Athirakodi Pey, the boundary flag demon, and others.

For the following note on a Kanikar harvest festival I am indebted to
an article by Mr. A. P. Smith. [90] It was performed in propitiation
of the Baradevata, or household gods of a house in the neighbourhood,
the presiding deity being Madan. The ceremony is commonly called the
feeding ceremony, and should be carried out just before the harvesting
of the grain commences. "The officiating Kani is generally an elderly
and influential man, who professes inspiration and knowledge obtained
when asleep. The articles necessary to perform the ceremony are called
Paduka or sacrifice, and Ashtamangalyam. Paduka is for the adult gods
or manes, male or female, called Chava, and Ashtamangalyam is for
the virgins who have died, called Kanyakas. A temporary pavilion or
pandal had been erected in front of the house, and from the canopy
long streamers of tender cocoanut leaves, bunches of plantains,
and tender cocoanuts, with their husk on, were hung. Branches of
areca nuts and flowers adorned the posts and pillars. Small heaps,
consisting of boiled rice, paddy, a tender cocoanut, a sprig of areca
flowers, and betel were placed on plantain leaves in seven definite
spots. The officiating Kanikar, after formally getting the permission
of the assembled spectators, and especially of one who subsequently
appeared on the scene as the chief dancer, began a monotonous chant in
what appeared to be a mixed language. It was understood to be a history
of the beginning of earthly kings, a record of the life and doings of
departed souls, whose protection was prayed for, and a prayer for the
souls of those persons for whose benefit the ceremony of propitiation
was in progress. Now and again the feelings of the narrator or singer
would overcome him, and he would indulge in a shout or in emphatic
gesticulations. This went on for about three or four hours, punctuated
at intervals by the firing of petards or old smooth-bore guns, and the
shrill cries of the women. Before the chanting terminated, a large
heap of the red flowers of Ixora coccinea (thetti pu), about a yard
square at the base, had been raised in the centre of the pandal, and
it was prettily picked out with areca flowers in artistic designs. The
horrible sound of a human voice roaring like a wild beast aroused
every one to a sense of activity. From behind the hut came the man
already mentioned, very primitively clothed, his hair hanging loose,
his eyes staring, and what appeared like foam at his mouth. He would
stand, run short distances, leap, sit, agitate his body, and dance,
keeping step to the rhythmic and muffled beating of the drum. This
he did for ten minutes or so. Suddenly, with a shout, he dived into
the hut specially set apart as the feeding place of the god Madan,
and presently appeared with two long sticks adorned at their ends
with bells, which emitted a jingling sound. The frenzy of motion,
ecstatic, unregulated and ungovernable, was apparently infectious, for
a young man, hitherto a silent spectator of the scene, gave a shout,
and began to dance wildly, throwing up his arms, and stepping out
quite actively. This encouragement stimulated the original performer,
and he caught a man standing near by the neck, thrust the stick with
the bells into his hand, and he thereupon started dancing as well. In
about ten minutes there were some half a dozen wild dancing dervishes,
shouting, gesticulating, revolving, and most certainly in an abnormal
state of excitement. A dying but still glowing heap of fire and
ashes became the centre of attraction, for the chief dancer danced
over the fire, and sent the sparks flying, and scattered the wood,
and evoked the admiration and eulogies of the crowd. Streaming with
perspiration, spotted with ashes, wild, dishevelled and exhausted,
the chief dancing demoniac stepped under the pandal, and finally sat
himself before the heap of red flowers, and tossed the blossoms over
his head in a kind of shower bath. He was assisted in this by the old
Kanikar and other bystanders. A little boy was brought before him,
and he called the lad by a name. This was his christening ceremony,
for the lad assumed the name from that time. The chief dancer then
stood up, and appeared to be still in a possessed state. A fine old
rooster was brought, and its throat cut. It was then handed to the
dancer, who applied his lips to the gaping wound, and drained the
blood, swallowing the fluid audibly. Before relinquishing his hold
of the bird, he swayed and fell on the ground in what seemed to
be a swoon. This indicated that the sacrifice had been acceptable,
that the propitiation was perfected, and that all the wishes of the
persons interested in them would be granted. The crowd then set to
eating and drinking the sacrificial elements, and dispersed."

Both adult and infant marriage are practiced. Those who had married
'infants,' on being questioned, stated that this is the safest course,
as grown-up brides sometimes run away to their parents' house, whereas
younger girls get accustomed to their husbands' home. On a fixed day,
within a month of the marriage ceremony, four Kanikars, accompanied
by a boy carrying betel leaves and areca nuts, go to the home of the
future bride, and present them to the families of the settlement. On
the wedding morning, all assemble at a pandal (booth), and the
bridegroom distributes pan-supari (betel leaf and areca nuts). His
sister then brings forward the bride, and the bridegroom presents
her with a cloth, which she puts on. Bride, bridegroom, and a young
boy, then stand on a mat beneath the pandal, and the bridegroom ties
the minnu (marriage badge) round the neck of the bride if she is an
infant. If she is an adult, he places the minnu in front of her neck,
on which it is tied by his sister. A plantain leaf is then placed
in front of the bridal couple, and curry and rice served thereon by
their mothers. The two women then take hold of the bride's head, and
press it seven times towards her husband's shoulders. This ceremony
concluded, the young boy takes a small quantity of the curry and
rice, and puts it in the mouth of the bridegroom seven times. The
bridegroom's younger brother then gives a morsel to the bride. The
ceremonial terminates with a feast. The dowry includes billhooks,
brass vessels, choppers, grain, and pulses. The headman, according to
Mateer, offers some advice to the husband concerning the management of
his wife. The heads of his discourse are arranged under the following
heads:--teaching by words, pinching, and blows, and casting the woman
away at last, if she is not obedient. In the remarriage of widows,
the bridegroom simply gives the woman a pair of cloths, and, with
the consent of the male members of her family, takes her to his home.

During the seventh month of pregnancy, a woman has to perform a
ceremony called vaguthu pongal. Seven pots are placed on seven hearths,
and, when the rice placed therein has boiled, the woman salutes it,
and all present partake thereof. According to Mateer "the ceremony
practised on the occasion of pregnancy is called vayaru pongal,
when boiled rice is offered to the sun. First they mould an image of
Ganesha, and, setting it in a suitable place, boil the rice. To this
they add for an offering aval or flattened rice, parched rice, cakes,
plantain fruits, young cocoanuts, and tender leaves of the same palm,
with the flowers of the areca palm. The headman then commences dancing,
and repeating mantrams. He waves the offerings to the sun. On first
giving rice to a child, a feast is held, and an offering presented
to the jungle demons."

Concerning the death ceremonies, Mateer writes that "when any one is
taken ill, the headman is at once consulted. He visits the sick person,
and orders two drumming and singing ceremonies to be performed. A
whole night is spent in dancing, singing, drumming, and prayers for
the recovery of the patient. The offerings consist of tapioca, flour
and cocoanuts, and other articles. After some time the headman, with
manifestations of demoniac possession, reveals whether the sufferer
will die or not. If the former, he repeats a mantram (kudumi vettu
mantram, or formula on cutting off the top-knot), and cuts off the sick
man's kudumi. This being a sign of approaching death, the relatives
and others pay their last visits to the sick. After death, a mixture of
ganja (Indian hemp), raw rice, and cocoanut, is put into the mouth of
the corpse by the son and nephews, and it is buried at some distance
from their abode, mantrams being repeated over it. Occasionally the
corpse is cremated. The relatives bathe before returning home, and
cannot take any of the produce of their lands till the death pollution
is removed, fearing that wild beasts will attack them or destroy their
crops. To this end a small shed is built outside their clearing on the
third day. Three measures of rice are boiled, and placed in a cup or on
a plantain leaf inside the shed. Then all bathe, and return home. On
the seventh day all this is repeated, the old shed being pulled down,
and a new one put up. On returning to their dwelling, they sprinkle
cow-dung on their houses and in the yard, which finally removes the
defilement. People in better circumstances make a feast of curry and
rice for all present." The cow-dung is sprinkled with leafy twigs of
the mango or jak tree, or flower stalks of the areca palm. The ashes,
after cremation, are said to be collected in a pot or leaf, and thrown
into the nearest stream or river. An annual ceremony, in commemoration
of ancestors, is held, at which rice is boiled and offered up.

The Kanikars, like the Irulas and Yanadis of the Tamil and Telugu
countries, do not belong to the polluting classes. Pulayans, Kuruvans,
and Vedans are not allowed to approach them.

The dietary of the jungle Kanikars includes wild pigs, deer,
porcupines, hares, monkeys, fowls, sheep and goats, parakeets, doves,
tortoises, fish, crabs, peacocks, tigers (said to taste like black
monkey), owls, squirrels and field rats, in addition to many vegetable
products of the forest. They will not eat beef or the flesh of 'bison.'

Some Kanikars are tattooed on the forehead with a crescent and dot,
or a vertical stripe. The Kanikars say that their ancestors wore
a garment made of jungle fibre, which has been replaced by a cotton
loin-cloth. "Both men and women," Mr. M. Ratnaswami Aiyar writes, "wear
on the neck numerous strings of red beads and rings made of shells,
which hang down to the abdomen in the case of the women. The men wear
ear-rings of brass or silver. The women wear bangles of brass and iron,
and a number of brass rings on the fingers. The men bear suspended from
one of their shoulders a cloth bag containing two or more partitions,
in which they keep their vilangupetti or box containing betel,
tobacco, and chunam. They carry, too, suspended from the shoulder,
a cane basket wherein they place their day's crop of grain or roots,
or any other food obtained by them. They attach to their waist-string
or cloth a billhook and knife, and carry their bows and arrows slung
on their shoulders. Whenever the Kanikars from the different kanis
or settlements have to be gathered together for a common meeting,
or for going together elsewhere on a common purpose, a messenger
amongst them carries from one kani to another the message with a knot
of fibres of creepers, which serves as a symbol of call. The knotted
fibre is passed on from one kani to another till the required assembly
is secured. It is thus that I secured my Kanikars to present them to
their Excellencies Lord and Lady Curzon."

For most of the information contained in this article I am indebted
to Mateer's 'Native Life in Travancore,' an article by Mr. Ratnaswami
Aiyar, [91] and notes by Mr. N. Subrahmani Aiyar.

Kani Kuruppu.--Barbers of the Kaniyans.

Kani Razu.--A name, denoting fortune-telling Razus, sometimes used as
a synonym by Bhatrazus, in whose songs it occurs. The name Kani-vandlu,
or fortune-tellers, occurs as a synonym of Yerukala.

Kaniyan.--Kaniyan, spelt and pronounced Kanisan in Malabar, is a
Malayalam corruption of the Sanskrit Ganika, meaning an astrologer. The
word was originally Kani, in which form it invariably appears in
Malayalam works and Tamil documents. The honorific suffix 'an' has
been added subsequently.

The two titles, generally applied to Kaniyans, are Panikkar and
Asan. The former is said to be a common title in Malabar, but in
Travancore it seems to be restricted to the north. The word Panikkar
comes from pani, or work, viz., that of military training. The fact
that most of the families, who own this title at present, were once
teachers of bodily exercises, is evident not only from the name kalari,
literally a military school, by which their houses are usually known,
but also from the Keralolpatti, which assigns military training as
a duty of the caste. Asan, a corruption of the Sanskrit Acharya, is
a common title among Kaniyans in South Travancore. Special titles,
such as Anantapadmanabham, Sivasankaran, and Sankili, are said to be
possessed by certain families in the south, having been conferred on
them by kings in olden times. Some Kaniyans in the north enjoy the
surname of Nampikuruppu.

Kaniyans are divided into two endogamous sections, viz., Kaniyar and
Tinta (or polluting). The occupations of the latter are umbrella-making
and spirit-exorcising, while the others remain astrologers, pure
and simple. A few families, living at Alengad, are called Vattakan
Kaniyans, and are believed to have come there on the eve of Tipu
Sultan's invasion. The women of the Kaniyans proper do not eat
with them. According to tradition, eight sub-septs are said to have
existed among the Kaniyans, four of which were known as kiriyams,
and four as illams. The names of the former are Annavikkannam,
Karivattam, Kutappilla, and Nanna; of the latter Pampara, Tachchazham,
Netumkanam, and Ayyarkala. These divisions were once endogamous,
but this distinction has now disappeared.

In a note on the Kaniyans of the Cochin State, [92] Mr. L. K. Anantha
Krishna Iyer writes that "there is some difference in the social status
between the Kaniyans of the southern, and the Kalari Panikkans of the
northern parts of the State. The latter profess a kind of superiority
in status, on the ground that the former have no kalaris. It is
also said by the latter that the occupation of the former was once
that of umbrella-making, and that astrology as a profession has been
recently adopted by them. There is at present neither intermarriage,
nor interdining between them. The Kaniyans pollute the Kalari Panikkans
by touch." In connection with the old village organisation in Malabar,
Cochin, and Travancore, Mr. Anantha Krishna Iyer writes further
that "every tara or kara (village) consisted of all castemen below
Brahmans, especially the Nayars of all classes, more or less living
in a community, the Kammalans, Izhuvans, Panans, Mannans, and other
castemen living further apart. For every such village in the northern
part of the State, there was also a Kalari Panikkan, with a kalari
(gymnastic or military school), where the young men of the village,
chiefly the Nayars, were trained in all kinds of athletic feats,
and in arms. The institution of the kalaris has now disappeared,
though the building remains in some places, and the Panikkans are now
mainly astrologers and village schoolmasters. According to their own
statement, Parasurama, the great coloniser of Kerala, established
kalaris throughout the kingdom, and appointed them as the masters
to train Sudra young men in all kinds of feats (one thousand and
eight in number), for the protection of the country against foreign
invaders. The Nayars, who then formed the fighting race, were mostly
trained by the Panikkans. In memory of this, the Kalari Panikkans
of the northern portions of the State, and of South Malabar, profess
even now a preceptorship to the Nayars, and the Nayars show them some
respect, being present at their marriages and other ceremonies. The
Pannikkans say that the Nayars obtained their kalaris from them. There
are still a few among the Panikkans, here and there, fit to teach
young men various feats. The following are the names of some of them:--

(1) Pitichu Kali. Two persons play on their drums (chenda), while
a third person, well dressed in a kacha, and with a turban on his
head, and provided with a sword and shield, performs various feats
in harmony with the drum beating. It is a kind of sword-dance.

(2) Parishathalam Kali. A large pandal (booth) is erected in front
of the house where the performance is to take place, and the boys
below sixteen, who have been previously trained for it, are brought
there. The performance takes place at night. The chenda, maddhalam,
chengala, and elathalam (circular bell-metal plates slightly concave
in the middle) are the instruments used in the performance. After the
performance, the boys, whom the Asan has trained, present themselves
before him, and remunerate him with whatever they can afford. Parties
are organised to give this performance on all auspicious occasions
in rural districts.

(3) Kolati. Around a lighted lamp, a number of persons stand in a
circle, each with a stick a foot in length, and as thick as a thumb,
in each hand. They begin to sing, first in slow time, and gradually in
rapid measure. The time is marked by each one hitting his neighbours'
sticks with his own on both sides. Much dexterity and precision
are required, as also experience in combined action and movements,
lest the amateur should be hit by his neighbours as the measure is
accelerated. The songs are invariably in praise of God or man.

The Kaniyans, according to one tradition, are Brahman astrologers,
who gradually lost their position, as their predictions became less
and less accurate. Concerning their legendary history, Mr. Anantha
Krishna Iyer writes as follows. "Once, says one of these legends,
when the god Subrahmanya, son of Siva, and his friend were learning
astrology, they knew that the sound of a lizard close by foreboded some
evil to the mother of the former. The friend practiced some magical
rite, which averted the evil. His mother, who had been in a state of
unconsciousness, suddenly woke up as if from slumber, and asked the
son 'Kany-ar,' i.e., who it was that she looked at. To which the son
replied that she was looking at a Kaniyan (astrologer). The Kaniyans
still believe that the umbrella, the stick, the holy ashes, and the
purse of cowries, which form the paraphernalia of a Kaniyan nowadays,
were given by Subramanya. The following is another tradition regarding
the origin of the caste. In ancient times, it is said, Panans, Velans,
and Kaniyans were practicing magic, but astrology as a profession
was practiced exclusively by the Brahmans. There lived a famous
astrologer, Thalakkaleth Bhattathiripad, who was the most renowned
of the astrologers of the time. He had a son whose horoscope he cast,
and from it he concluded that his son would live long. Unfortunately
he proved to be mistaken, for his son died. Unable to find out the
error in his calculation and prediction, he took the horoscope to an
equally famous astrologer of the Chola kingdom, who, aware of the
cause of his advent, directed him to adore some deity that might
aid him in the working out of his predictions. Accordingly he came
to the Trichur temple, where, as directed, he spent some days in
devotion to the deity. Thereafter he worked wonders in astrology,
and became so well known in Malabar, Cochin, and Travancore, that he
commanded the respect and admiration of the rulers, who invited him to
cast horoscopes, and make predictions. For so doing he was liberally
rewarded. One day a Brahman, hearing that his guru at Benares was
seriously ill, consulted the Bhattathiripad whether and how he would
be able to see him before his death. The Brahman astrologer directed
him to go to the southern side of the Trichur temple, where he would
see two persons coming towards him, who might gratify his desire to
see his preceptor. These persons were really the servants of Yama
(the god of death). They asked him to touch them, and he at once
found himself at the side of his teacher. The Brahman was asked who
had directed him to them, and, when he told them that it was the
renowned Brahman astrologer, they cursed him, saying that he would
become an outcaste. This fate came as no surprise to the astrologer,
for he had already perceived from an evil conjunction of the planets
that disgrace and danger were impending. To try to avoid the sad
fate which he foresaw, he left his home and friends, and set out on
a boating excursion in a river close by Pazhur. The night was dark,
and it was midnight when he reached the middle of the stream. A
severe storm, accompanied by rain, had come on, and the river was in
flood. He was swept away to an unknown region, and scrambled ashore
in torrents of rain and in darkness, when he saw a light in a house
near where he landed, and he made for it in an exhausted condition. On
reaching it, he lay down in the verandah at the gate of the house,
musing on the untoward events of the night, and on his affectionate
family whom he had left. The hut belonged to the family of a Kaniyan,
[93] who, as it happened, had had a quarrel with his wife that day,
and had left his hut. Anxiously expecting her husband's return,
the wife opened the door about midnight, and, seeing a man lying
in the verandah, mistook him for her husband. The man was so wrapt
in his thoughts of his home that he in turn mistook her for his
wife. When the Brahman woke up from his slumber, he found her to be
a Kaniya woman. On looking at the star in the heavens to calculate
the precise time, he saw that the prediction that he would become an
outcaste had been fulfilled. He accepted the degradation, and lived
the rest of his days with the Kaniya woman. She bore him several
sons, whom in due course he educated in the lore of his profession,
and for whom, by his influence, he obtained an important place in
the Hindu social system as astrologers (Ganikans). It is said that,
according to his instruction, his body, after his death, was placed
in a coffin, and buried in the courtyard of the house. The spot is
still shown, and an elevated platform is constructed, with a thatched
roof over it. A lighted lamp is placed at all times on the platform,
and in front of it astrological calculations and predictions are made,
for it is believed that those who made such calculations there will
have the aid of the spirit of their dead Brahman ancestor, who was
so learned in the science that he could tell of events long past, and
predict even future birth. As an instance of the last, the following
incident may be given. Once the great Brahman ascetic Vilwamangalath
Swamiyar was suffering severely from pains in the stomach, when he
prayed to the divine Krishna for relief. Finding no remedy, he turned
to a Brahman friend, a Yogi, who gave him some holy ashes, which he
took, and which relieved him of the pains. He mentioned the fact to
his beloved god Krishna, who, by the pious adoration of the ascetic,
appeared before him, when he said that he would have three births in
the world instead of one which was destined for him. With an eager
desire to know what they would be, he consulted the Bhattathiripad,
who said that he would be born first as a rat-snake (Zamenis mucosus),
then as an ox, and thirdly as a tulsi plant (Ocimum sanctum), and that
he would be along with him in these births. With great pleasure he
returned home. It is also said that the astrologer himself was born as
an ox, and was in this form afterwards supported by the members of his
family. The incident is said to have taken place at Pazhur, eighteen
miles east of Ernakulam. The members of the family are called Pazhur
Kaniyans, and are well known throughout Malabar, Cochin and Travancore,
for their predictions in astrology, and all classes of people even
now resort to them for aid in predictions. The Kalari Panikkans in
the northern parts of the Cochin State have a different account of
the origin of the caste. Once, they say, a sage and astrologer,
named a Ganikan, was making prediction to a Sudra regarding his
future destiny. As this was done by him when in an uncleanly state,
he was cursed by the Saptharishis (seven sages). The Panikkans who
are reputed to be his descendants are ordained to be teachers and
astrologers of all castes below Brahmans."

According to another legendary account, there were Kaniyans before the
time of Bhattatiri, but their astrological attainments are connected
with him. Talakulattu Bhattatiri was one of the earliest astrologers
of renown, being the author of Muhurtapadavi, and lived in the fourth
century A.D. There is a tradition, believed by the Kaniyans south of
Neyyattenkara, that their ancestor was descended from the union of a
Gandharva woman with Kani, a Brahman saint, who lived in the western
ghats. Their grandson propitiated the god Subrahmanya presiding over
astronomy, and acquired the surname Nalika from his never-ceasing
truthfulness. Some of the southern Kaniyans even at the present day
call themselves Nali. According to another legend, Parameswara and his
wife Parvati were living happily together, when Agni fell desperately
in love with the latter. Eventually, Parameswara caught them together,
and, to save Agni, Parvati suggested that he should hide himself
inside her body. On Agni doing this, Parvati became very indisposed,
and Parameswara, distressed at seeing his wife rolling in agony,
shed tears, one of which fell on the ground, and became turned into
a man, who, being divinely born, detected the cause of Parvati's
indisposition, and, asking for some incense, sprinkled it over a
blazing torch. Agni, seeing his opportunity, escaped in the smoke,
and Parvati had instant relief. For this service, Parameswara blessed
the man, and appointed him and his descendants to cure diseases,
exorcise demons, and foretell events.

The Kaniyans of Malabar have been connected by tradition with the
Valluvans of the Tamil country, who are the priests, doctors, and
astrologers of the Pallans and Paraiyans. According to this tradition,
the modern Kaniyans are traced to the Valluvans brought from the
east by a Perumal who ruled over Kerala in 350 M.E. The latter are
believed to have become Kaniyans proper, while the old Kaniyans of
the west coast descended to the rank of Tinta Kaniyans. The chief of
the Valluvans so brought was a Yogi or ascetic, who, being asked by a
Nambutiri concerning a missing article at Pazhur, replied correctly
that the lost ring had been placed in a hole in the bank of the
Nambutiri's tank (pond), and was consequently invited to settle
there permanently.

The Kaniyans are easily recognised by their punctilious cleanness of
person and clothing, the iron style and knife tucked into the waist,
the palm umbrella with its ribs holding numbers of horoscopes, their
low artistic bow, and their deliberate answers to questions put to
them. Most of them are intelligent, and well versed in Malayalam and
Sanskrit. They are, however, not a flourishing community, being averse
to manual labour, and depending for their living on their hereditary
profession. There are no more conservative people in Travancore,
and none of them have taken kindly to western education. In their
clothing they follow the orthodox Malabar fashion. The dress of the
males seldom hangs loose, being tucked in in token of humility. The
Kaniyan, when wanted in his professional capacity, presents himself
with triple ash marks of Siva on his chest, arms, and forehead. The
woman's ornaments resemble those of the Izhuvans. Fish and flesh
are not forbidden as food, but there are many families, as those
of Pazhur and Onakkuru, which strictly abstain from meat. Marriage
between families which eat and abstain from flesh is not absolutely
forbidden. But a wife must give up eating flesh immediately on entering
the house of her vegetarian husband. The profession of the Kaniyans
is astrology. Marco Polo, writing as early as the thirteenth century
about Travancore, says that it was even then pre-eminently the land
of astrologers. Barbosa, at the beginning of the sixteenth century,
has a detailed reference to the Kaniyans, of whom he writes that "they
learn letters and astronomy, and some of them are great astrologers,
and foretell many future things, and form judgments upon the births
of men. Kings and great persons send to call them, and come out of
their palaces to gardens and pleasure-grounds to see them, and ask
them what they desire to know; and these people form judgment upon
these things in a few days, and return to those that asked of them,
but they may not enter the palaces; nor may they approach the king's
person on account of being low people. And the king is then alone
with him. They are great diviners, and pay great attention to times
and places of good and bad luck, which they cause to be observed by
those kings and great men, and by the merchants also; and they take
care to do their business at the time which these astrologers advise
them, and they do the same in their voyages and marriages. And by
these means these men gain a great deal." Buchanan, three centuries
later, alludes in the same glowing terms to the prosperity of the
Kaniyans. He notes that they are of very low caste, a Nambutiri coming
within twenty-four feet of one being obliged to purify himself by
prayer and ablution. "The Kaniyans," he writes, "possess almanacks,
by which they inform people as to the proper time for performing
ceremonies or sowing their seeds, and the hours which are fortunate or
unfortunate for any undertaking. When persons are sick or in trouble,
the Cunishun, by performing certain ceremonies in a magical square
of 12 places, discovers what spirit is the cause of the evil, and
also how it may be appeased. Some Cunishuns possess mantrams, with
which they pretend to cast out devils." Captain Conner notes twenty
years later that "Kanneans derive the appellation from the science of
divination, which some of their sect profess. The Kannean fixes the
propitious moment for every undertaking, all hysterical affections
being supposed to be the visitation of some troublesome spirit. His
incantations are believed alone able to subdue it."

The Kaniyans are practically the guiding spirits in all the social and
domestic concerns of Travancoreans, and even Muhammadans and Christians
do not fail to profit by their wisdom. From the moment of the birth of
an infant, which is noted by the Kaniyan for the purpose of casting
its horoscope, to the moment of death, the services of the village
astrologer are constantly in requisition. He is invariably consulted
as to the cause of all calamities, and the cautious answers that he
gives satisfy the people. "Putro na putri," which may either mean no
son but a daughter, or no daughter but a son, is jocosely referred
to as the type of a Kaniyan's answer, when questioned about the sex
of a child in utero. "It would be difficult," Mr. Logan writes, [94]
"to describe a single important occasion in everyday life when the
Kanisan is not at hand as a guiding spirit, foretelling lucky days
and hours, casting horoscopes, explaining the cause of calamities,
prescribing remedies for untoward events, and physicians (not physic)
for sick persons. Seed cannot be sown, or trees planted, unless the
Kanisan has been consulted beforehand. He is even asked to consult his
shastras to find lucky days and moments for setting out on a journey,
commencing an enterprise, giving a loan, executing a deed, or shaving
the head. For such important occasions as births, marriages, tonsure,
investiture with the sacred thread, and beginning the A, B, C, the
Kanisan is of course indispensable. His work in short mixes him up
with the gravest as well as the most trivial of the domestic events
of the people, and his influence and position are correspondingly
great. The astrologer's finding, as one will solemnly assert with
all due reverence, is the oracle of God himself, with the justice of
which everyone ought to be satisfied, and the poorer classes follow
his dictates unhesitatingly. There is no prescribed scale of fees for
his services, and in this respect he is like the native physician and
teacher. Those who consult him, however, rarely come empty-handed, and
the gift is proportioned to the means of the party, and the time spent
in serving him. If no fee is given, the Kanisan does not exact it, as
it is one of his professional characteristics, and a matter of personal
etiquette, that the astrologer should be unselfish, and not greedy of
gain. On public occasions, however, and on important domestic events,
a fixed scale of fees is usually adhered to. The astrologer's most busy
time is from January to July, the period of harvest and of marriages,
but in the other six months of the year his is far from being an
idle life. His most lucrative business lies in casting horoscopes,
recording the events of a man's life from birth to death, pointing out
dangerous periods of life, and prescribing rules and ceremonies to be
observed by individuals for the purpose of propitiating the gods and
planets, and so averting the calamities of dangerous times. He also
shows favourable junctures for the commencement of undertakings,
and the grantham or book, written on palmyra leaf, sets forth in
considerable detail the person's disposition and mental qualities, as
affected by the position of the planets in the zodiac at the moment
of birth. All this is a work of labour, and of time. There are few
members of respectable families who are not thus provided, and nobody
grudges the five to twenty-five rupees usually paid for a horoscope
according to the position and reputation of the astrologer. Two
things are essential to the astrologer, namely, a bag of cowry shells
(Cypræa moneta), and an almanac. When any one comes to consult him, he
quietly sits down, facing the sun, on a plank seat or mat, murmuring
some mantrams or sacred verses, opens his bag of cowries, and pours
them on the floor. With his right hand he moves them slowly round
and round, solemnly reciting meanwhile a stanza or two in praise of
his guru or teacher, and of his deity, invoking their help. He then
stops, and explains what he has been doing, at the same time taking
a handful of cowries from the heap, and placing them on one side. In
front is a diagram drawn with chalk on the floor, and consisting of
twelve compartments (rasis) one for each month in the year. Before
commencing operations with the diagram, he selects three or five of
the cowries highest up in the heap, and places them in a line on the
right-hand side. [In an account before me, three cowries and two glass
bottle-stoppers are mentioned as being placed on this side.] These
represent Ganapati (the belly god, the remover of difficulties),
the sun, the planet Jupiter, Sarasvati (the goddess of speech),
and his own guru or preceptor. To all of these the astrologer gives
due obeisance, touching his ears and the ground three times with
both hands. The cowries are next arranged in the compartments of
the diagram, and are moved about from compartment to compartment
by the astrologer, who quotes meanwhile the authority on which he
makes the moves. Finally he explains the result, and ends with again
worshipping the deified cowries, who were witnessing the operation
as spectators." According to another account, [95] the astrologer
"pours his cowries on the ground, and, after rolling them in the palm
of his right hand, while repeating mantrams (consecrated formulæ),
he selects the largest, and places them in a row outside the diagram
at its right hand top corner. They represent the first seven planets,
and he does obeisance to them, touching his forehead and the ground
three times with both hands. The relative position of the nine planets
is then worked out, and illustrated with cowries in the diagram."

At the chal (furrow) ceremony in Malabar, on the eve of the new
agricultural year, "every Hindu house in the district is visited by the
Kanisans of the respective desams, who, for a modest present of rice,
vegetables and oils, makes a forecast of the season's prospects, which
is engrossed on a cadjan (palm leaf). This is called the Vishu phalam,
which is obtained by comparing the nativity with the equinox. Special
mention is made therein as to the probable rainfall from the position
of the planets--highly prized information in a district where there
are no irrigation works or large reservoirs for water." [96]

The science of astrology is studied and practiced by other castes, but
the Kani house of Pazhur is the most celebrated. Numerous stories are
related of the astrological skill of the Pazhur Kaniyans, of which one
relates to the planets Mercury and Venus, who, arriving at the house
of one of the Kaniyans, were asked by him to wait at the gate. He
then jumped into a neighbouring well, to conduct some prayers with a
view to keeping them there permanently. In this task he succeeded,
and even today a prophecy made at that out-house is believed to be
certain of turning out true.

In addition to astrology, the Kaniyans practice sorcery and exorcism,
which are strictly the occupation of the Tinta Kaniyans. The process
by which devils are driven out is known as kolamtullal (a peculiar
dance). A troupe of Kaniyans, on being invited to a house where a
person is suspected of being possessed by a devil, go there wearing
masques representing Gandharva, Yakshi, Bhairava, Raktesvari, and
other demons, and dressed up in tender cocoanut leaves. Accompanied by
music and songs, they rush towards the affected person, who is seated
in the midst of the assembly, and frighten away the evil spirit. For
the cure of disease, which is considered as incurable by ordinary
methods of treatment, a form of exorcism called kalapasamtikkuka, or
the removal of the rope or evil influence, is resorted to. In this,
two Kaniyans take the stage, and play the parts of Siva and Yama,
while a third recites in song the story of the immortal Markandeya.

"The Pannikar's astrology," Mr. F. Fawcett writes, [97] "he will tell
you, is divided into three parts:--

(1) Ganita, which treats of the constellations.

(2) Sankita, which explains the origin of the constellations, comets,
falling stars, and earthquakes.

(3) Hora, by which the fate of man is explained.

"The Panikkar, who follows in the footsteps of his forefathers,
should have a thorough knowledge of astrology and mathematics, and be
learned in the Vedas. He should be sound in mind and body, truthful,
and patient. He should look well after his family, and should worship
regularly the nine planets:--Suryan, the sun; Chandran, moon; Chovva,
Mars; Budhan, Mercury; Vyazham, Guru, or Brihaspati, Jupiter; Sukran,
Venus; Sani, Saturn; Rahu; and Ketu. The two last, though not visible,
are, oddly enough, classed as planets by the Panikkar. They are said
to be two parts of an Asura who was cut in two by Vishnu. The Panikkars
also dabble in magic, and I have in my possession a number of yantrams
presented to me by a Panikkar. They should be written on a thin gold,
silver, or copper plate, and worn on the person. A yantram written
on gold is the most effective. As a rule, the yantram is placed in
a little cylinder-case made of silver, fastened to a string tied
round the waist. Many of these are often worn by the same person. The
yantram is sometimes written on cadjan (palm leaf), or paper. I have
one of this kind in my collection, taken from the neck of a goat. It
is common to see them worn on the arm, around the neck."

The following examples of yantrams are given by Mr. Fawcett:--

Aksharamala.--Fifty-one letters. Used in connection with every other
yantram. Each letter has its own meaning, and does not represent any
word. In itself this yantram is powerless, but it gives life to all
others. It must be written on the same plate as the other yantram.

Sulini.--For protection against sorcery or devils, and to secure the
aid of the goddess.

Maha Sulini.--To prevent all kinds of harm through the devils,
chief of whom is Pulatini, he who eats infants. Women wear it to
avert miscarriage.

Ganapati.--To increase knowledge, and put away fear and shyness.

Sarasvati.--To enable its possessor to please his listeners, and
increase his knowledge.

Santana gopalam.--As a whole it represents Sri Krishna. Used by barren
women, so that they may bear children. It may be traced on a metal
plate and worn in the usual way, or on a slab of butter, which is
eaten. When the latter method is adopted, it is repeated on forty-one
consecutive days, during which the woman, as well as the Panikkar,
may not have sexual connection.

Navva.--Drawn in ashes of cow-dung on a new cloth, and tied round
the waist. It relieves a woman in labour.

Asvarudha (to climb a horse).--A person wearing it is able to
cover long distances easily on horseback, and he can make the most
refractory horse amenable by tying it round its neck. It will also
help to cure cattle.

"The charms," Mr. Fawcett explains, "are entirely inoperative, unless
accompanied in the first place with the mystic rite, which is the
secret of the Panikkar."

Many Kaniyans used formerly to be village schoolmasters, but, with the
abolition of the old methods of teaching, their number is steadily
decreasing. Some of them are clever physicians. Those who have no
pretension to learning live by making palm-leaf umbrellas, which
gives occupation to the women. But the industry is fast declining
before the competition of umbrellas imported from foreign countries.

The Kaniyans worship the sun, the planets, the moon, Ganesa and
Subramanya, Vishnu, Siva, and Baghavati. On each day of the week, the
planet, which is believed to preside over it, is specially worshipped
by an elaborate process, which is compulsorily gone through for at
least three weeks after a Kaniyan has become proficient in astrology,
and able to make calculations for himself.

It is generally believed that the supreme authority in all social
matters affecting the Kaniyan rests in British Malabar with the
Yogi already referred to, in Cochin and North Travancore with the
head of the Pazhur house, and in South Travancore with the eldest
member of a house at Manakkad in Trivandrum, known by the name of
Sankili. Practically, however, the spiritual headmen, called Kannalmas,
are independent. These Kannalmas are much respected, and well paid on
festive occasions by every Kaniyan house. They and other elders sit
in judgment on persons guilty of adultery, commensality with lower
castes, and other offences, and inflict punishments.

The Kaniyans observe both the tali-kettu ceremony before puberty,
and sambandham after that event. Inheritance is through the father,
and the eldest male of a family has the management of the ancestral
estate. Fraternal polyandry is said to have been common in olden
times, and Mr. Logan observes that, "like the Pandava brothers, as
they proudly point out, the Kanisans used formerly to have one wife
in common among several brothers, and this custom is still observed
by some of them." There is no restriction to the marriage of widows.

Concerning polyandry, Mr. Anantha Krishna Iyer states that "among the
Kaniyans, as well as among Panikkans, polyandry largely prevails. If
the young woman is intended to be the wife of several brothers, the
eldest brother goes to the bride's house, and gives her the cloth, and
takes her home the next day along with her parents and relations, who
are all well entertained. The young woman and the brothers are seated
together, and a sweet preparation is given to them, which signifies
that she has become the common wife of all. The Kalari Muppan (Nayar
headman of the village) also declares her to be such. The guests
depart, and the bridegroom (the eldest brother) and the bride are
invited to what they call virunnu-oon (sumptuous meal) in the house
of the latter, where they stay for a few days. The bridegroom then
returns home with the wife. The other brothers, one after another, are
similarly entertained along with the bride at her house. The brothers
cannot afford to live together for a long time, and they go from place
to place, earning their livelihood by astrology. Each brother is at
home only for a few days in each month; hence practically the woman
has only one husband at a time. If several of them happen to be at
home together for a few weeks, each in turn associates with the woman,
in accordance with the directions given by their mother."

The Kaniyans follow high-caste Hindus as regards many of their
ceremonies. They have their name-bestowing, food-giving and tuft-making
ceremonies, and also a superstitious rite called ittaluzhiyuka, or
exorcism in child-birth on the seventh or ninth day after the birth
of a child. A Kaniyan's education begins in his seventh year. In the
sixteenth year a ceremony, corresponding to the upanayana of the higher
castes, is performed. For forty-one days after, the Kannalma initiates
the young Kaniyan into the mysteries of astrology and witchcraft. He
is obliged to worship Subramanya, the tutelary god of the caste,
and abstains from meat and liquor. This may be taken as the close of
his Brahmacharya stage or Samavartana, as marriage cannot take place
before the observance of this ceremony.

On the subject of religion, Mr. Anantha Krishna Iyer writes that
"the Kalari Panikkans and the Kaniyans are generally Saivite
worshippers, but are not disinclined to the worship of Vishnu
also. It is said that their kalaris are forty-two feet long, and
contain the images of forty-two deities. The following are the most
important of them:--Subrahmanya, Sastha, Ganapati, Virabhadran,
Narasimha, Ashtabairavas, Hanuman, and Bhadrakali. Some of their
kalaris, which were seen by me, contained stone and metal images of
these gods. Every night a lamp is lighted in front of them for their
worship. During the Mandalam (forty days) from the first of Vrischikam
to the tenth of Dhanu (14th November to 25th December), the senior
member of the Panikkan's family bathes early in the morning, and
performs his pujas to all the gods, making offerings of boiled rice,
plantains and cocoanuts. On the fortieth day, i.e., the last day of
the Mandalam, a grand puja is performed individually to every one
of the deities in the kalari, and this lasts for twenty-four hours,
from sunrise to sunrise, when offerings of boiled rice, parched rice,
sheep and fowls are also given. This is the grand puja performed once
in the course of the year. Besides this, some of their deities command
their special reverence. For instance, Subrahmanya is adored for the
sake of astrology, Sastha for wealth and offspring. They are also
worshippers of Sakti in any of her following manifestations, namely,
Bala, Thripura, Mathangi, Ambika, Durga, Bhadrakali, the object of
which is to secure accuracy in their astrological predictions. Further,
every member of the caste proficient in astrology daily offers, after
an early bath, his prayers to the seven planets. Among the minor
deities whom they worship, are also Mallan, Mundian, Muni and Ayutha
Vadukan, the first three of which they worship for the prosperity of
their cattle, and the last four for their success in the training of
young men in athletic feats. These deities are represented by stones
placed at the root of some shady tree in their compounds. They also
worship the spirits of their ancestors, on the new-moon nights in
Karkadakam (July-August), Thulam (October-November), and Makaram
(December-January). The Kalari Panikkans celebrate a kind of feast
to the spirits of their female ancestors. This is generally done
a few days before the celebration of a wedding in their houses,
and is probably intended to obtain their blessings for the happy
married life of the bride. This corresponds to the performance of
Sumangalia Prarthana (feast for the spirits of departed virgins and
married women) performed by Brahmans in their families. At times
when small-pox, cholera, and other pestilential diseases prevail in a
village, special pujas are offered to Mariamma (the small-pox demon)
and Bhadrakali, who should be propitiated. On these occasions, their
priest turns Velichapad (oracle), and speaks to the village men as if
by inspiration, telling them when and how the maladies will subside."

Kaniyans were formerly buried, but are now, excepting young children,
cremated in a portion of the grounds of the habitation, or in a spot
adjacent thereto. The ashes are collected on the fourth day, and
deposited under water. In memory of the deceased, an annual offering
of food is made, and an oblation of water offered on every new moon.

The Potuvans or Kani Kuruppus are the barbers of the Kaniyans, and have
the privilege of being in attendance during marriages and funerals. It
is only after they have sprinkled water in the houses of polluted
Kaniyans that they again become pure. In fact, the Potuvans stand in
the same relation to the Kaniyans as the Marans to the Nayars. The
Potuvans are not expected to shave the Tinta Kaniyans.

The Kaniyans are said to keep at a distance of twenty-four feet from
a Brahman or Kshatriya, and half that distance from a Sudra. The
corresponding distances for a Tinta Kaniyan are thirty-six and
eighteen feet. This restriction is not fully observed in Trivandrum,
and south of it. It is noted by Mr. Anantha Krishna Iyer that, on
marriage occasions, a Nayar gives a gift of a few annas and betel
leaves to the astrologer, standing close beside him, and yet there
is no pollution. The Malayalam proverb "On marriage occasions the
Nayars give dakshina (gift), almost touching the hand," refers to
this fact. The Kaniyans cannot enter Brahmanical temples. They will
not receive food from Izhavans, except in a few villages in central
Travancore, but this is a regular practice with the Tinta Kaniyans. It
is believed that the Kaniyans proper have no objection to receiving
sweetmeats from Kammalans.

The Kaniyans have been summed up as a law-abiding people, who not
infrequently add agriculture to their avocations of village doctor,
prophet, or demon-driver, and are popular with Christians and
Muhammadans as well as with Hindus. [98]

The late Mr. Pogson, when Government astronomer, used to say that
his principal native assistant was an astronomer from 10 A.M. to 5
P.M. and an astrologer from 5 P.M. to 10 A.M.

Kannada.--Kannada (Kanarese) has, at recent times of census, been
returned as a linguistic or territorial division of various classes,
e.g., Agasa, Bedar, Devanga, Holeya, Koracha, Kumbara, Samagara,
Rachewar, and Uppiliyan.

Kanna Pulayan.--Described by the Rev. W. J. Richards [99] as Pulayans
of Travancore, who wear rather better and more artistically made
aprons than the Thanda Pulayan women.

Kannaku.--A prefix to the name of Nanchinat Vellalas in Travancore.

Kannan.--A sub-division of Kammalans, the members of which do braziers'
work.

Kannadiyan.--The Kannadiyans have been summed up [100] as "immigrants
from the province of Mysore. Their traditional occupation is
said to have been military service, although they follow, at the
present day, different pursuits in different districts. They are
usually cattle-breeders and cultivators in North and South Arcot and
Chingleput, and traders in the southern districts. Most of them are
Lingayats, but a few are Vaishnavites." "They are," it is stated,
[101] "in the Mysore State known as Gaulis. At their weddings, five
married women are selected, who are required to bathe as each of
the most important of the marriage ceremonies is performed, and are
alone allowed to cook for, or to touch the happy couple. Weddings
last eight days, during which time the bride and bridegroom must
not sit on anything but woollen blankets." Some Kannadiyans in the
Tanjore district are said to be weavers. For the following account
of the Kannadiyans of the Chingleput district I am indebted to
Mr. C. Hayavadana Rao.

About twenty miles from the city of Madras is a big tank (lake)
named after the village of Chembrambakam, which is close by. The
fertile land surrounding this tank is occupied, among others, by a
colony of Lingayats, of whom each household, as a rule, owns several
acres of land. With the cultivation thereof, they have the further
occupation of cattle grazing. They utilize the products of the cow
in various ways, and it supplies them with milk, butter and curds,
in the last two of which they carry on a lucrative trade in the
city of Madras. The curds sold by them are very highly appreciated
by Madras Brahmans, as they have a sour taste caused by keeping them
till fermentation has set in. So great is the demand for their curds
that advances of money are made to them, and regular delivery is thus
secured. Their price is higher than that of the local Madras curds,
and if a Lingayat buys the latter and sells them at the higher rate,
he is decisively stigmatised as being a "local." They will not even
touch sheep and goats, and believe that even the smell of these
animals will make cows and buffaloes barren.

Though the chief settlement of the Lingayats is at Chembrambakam, they
are also to be found in the adjacent villages and in the Conjeeveram
taluk, and, in all, they number, in the Chingleput district, about
four thousand.

The Lingayats have no idea how their forefathers came to the Chingleput
district. Questioned whether they have any relatives in Mysore, many
answered in the affirmative, and one even pointed to one in a high
official position as a close relation. Another said that the Gurukkal
or Jangam (priest) is one and the same man for the Mysore Lingayats and
themselves. A third told me of his grandfather's wanderings in Mysore,
Bellary, and other places of importance to the Lingayats. I have also
heard the story that, on the Chembrambakam Lingayats being divided into
two factions through disputes among the local caste-men, a Lingayat
priest came from Mysore, and brought about their union. These few
facts suffice to show that the Lingayats are emigrants from Mysore,
and not converts from the indigenous populations of the district. But
what as to the date of their immigration? The earliest date which
can, with any show of reason, be ascribed thereto seems to be towards
the end of the seventeenth century, when Chikka Deva Raja ruled over
Mysore. He adopted violent repressive measures against the Lingayats
for quelling a widespread insurrection, which they had fomented
against him throughout the State. His measures of financial reform
deprived the Lingayat priesthood of its local leadership and much
of its pecuniary profit. What followed may best be stated in the
words of Colonel Wilks, [102] the Mysore historian. "Everywhere the
inverted plough, suspended from the tree at the gate of the village,
whose shade forms a place of assembly for its inhabitants, announced
a state of insurrection. Having determined not to till the land, the
husbandmen deserted their villages, and assembled in some places like
fugitives seeking a distant settlement; in others as rebels breathing
revenge. Chikka Deva Raja, however, was too prompt in his measures to
admit of any very formidable combination. Before proceeding to measures
of open violence, he adopted a plan of perfidy and horror, yielding to
nothing which we find recorded in the annals of the most sanguinary
people. An invitation was sent to all the Jangam priests to meet the
Raja at the great temple of Nunjengod, ostensibly to converse with him
on the subject of the refractory conduct of their followers. Treachery
was apprehended, and the number which assembled was estimated at about
four hundred only. A large pit had been previously prepared in a walled
enclosure, connected by a series of squares composed of tent walls with
the canopy of audience, at which they were received one at a time, and,
after making their obeisance, were desired to retire to a place where,
according to custom, they expected to find refreshments prepared at
the expense of the Raja. Expert executioners were in waiting in the
square, and every individual in succession was so skilfully beheaded
and tumbled into the pit as to give no alarm to those who followed,
and the business of the public audience went on without interruption
or suspicion. Circular orders had been sent for the destruction on
the same day of all the Jangam Mutts (places of residence and worship)
in his dominions, and the number reported to have been destroyed was
upwards of seven hundred.... This notable achievement was followed
by the operations of the troops, chiefly cavalry. The orders were
distinct and simple--to charge without parley into the midst of
the mob; to cut down every man wearing an orange-coloured robe (the
peculiar garb of the Jangam priests)."

How far the husbandmen carried out their threat of seeking a distant
settlement it is impossible, at this distance of time, to determine. If
the theory of religious persecution as the cause of their emigration
has not an air of certainty about it, it is at least plausible.

If the beginning of the eighteenth century is the earliest, the end of
that century is the latest date that can be set down for the Lingayat
emigration. That century was perhaps the most troublous one in the
modern history of India. Armies were passing and repassing the ghats,
and I have heard from some old gentlemen that the Chingleput Lingayats,
who are mostly shepherds, accompanied the troops in the humble capacity
of purveyors of milk and butter.

Whatever the causes of their emigration, we find them in the Chingleput
district ordinarily reckoning the Mysore, Salem and Bellary Lingayats
as of their own stock. They freely mix with each other, and I hear
contract marital alliances with one another. They speak the Kannada
(Kanarese) language--the language of Mysore and Bellary. They
call themselves by the name of Kannadiyans or Kannadiyars,
after the language they speak, and the part of the village they
inhabit--Kannadipauliem, or village of the Kannadiyars. In parts of
Madras they are known as Kavadi and Kavadiga (=bearers of head-loads).

Both men and women are possessed of great stamina. Almost every other
day they walk to and fro, in all seasons, more than twenty miles by
road to sell their butter and curds in Madras. While so journeying,
they carry on their heads a curd pot in a rattan basket containing
three or four Madras measures of curds, besides another pot containing
a measure or so of butter. Some of the men are good acrobats and
gymnasts, and I have seen a very old man successively break in two
four cocoanuts, each placed on three or four crystals of common salt,
leaving the crystals almost intact. And I have heard that there are
men who can so break fifty cocoanuts--perhaps an exaggeration for a
considerable number. In general the women may be termed beautiful,
and, in Mysore, the Lingayat women are, by common consent, regarded
as models of feminine beauty.

These Lingayats are divided into two classes, viz., Gauliyars of Damara
village, and Kadaperi or Kannadiyars proper, of Chembrambakam and
other places. The Gauliyars carry their curd pots in rattan baskets;
the Kannadiyars in bamboo baskets. Each class has its own beat in
the city of Madras, and, while the majority of the rattan basket
men traffic mainly in Triplicane, the bamboo basket men carry on
their business in Georgetown and other localities. The two classes
worship the same gods, feed together, but do not intermarry. The
rattan is considered superior to the bamboo section. Both sections
are sub-divided into a large number of exogamous septs or bedagagulu,
of which the meaning, with a few exceptions, e.g., split cane, bear,
and fruit of Eugenia Jambolana, is not clear.

Monogamy appears to be the general rule among them, but polygamy to
the extent of having two wives, the second to counteract the sterility
of the first, is not rare. Marriage before puberty is the rule, which
must not be transgressed. And it is a common thing to see small boys
grazing the cattle, who are married to babies hardly more than a year
old. Marriages are arranged by the parents, or through intermediaries,
with the tacit approval of the community as a whole. The marriage
ceremony generally lasts about nine or ten days, and, to lessen
the expenses for the individual, several families club together and
celebrate their marriages simultaneously. All the preliminaries such
as inviting the wedding guests, etc., are attended to by the agent
of the community, who is called Chaudri. The appointment of agent
is hereditary.

The first day of the marriage ceremony is employed in the erection
of the booth or pandal. On the following day, the bodice-wearing
ceremony is performed. The bride and bridegroom are presented with
new clothes, which they put on amid general merriment. In connection
with this ceremony, the following Mysore story may not be out of
place. When Tipu Sultan once saw a Lingayat woman selling curds in
the street without a body cloth, he ordered the cutting off of her
breasts. Since then the wearing of long garments has come into use
among the whole female population of Mysore.

The third day is the most important, as it is on that day that the
Muhurtham, or tali-tying ceremony, takes place, and an incident of
quite an exceptional character comes off amid general laughter. A
Brahman (generally a Saivite) is formally invited to attend, and
pretends that he is unable to do so. But he is, with mock gravity,
pressed hard to do so, and, after repeated guarantees of good faith,
he finally consents with great reluctance and misgivings. On his
arrival at the marriage booth, the headman of the family in which the
marriage is taking place seizes him roughly by the head, and ties as
tightly as possible five cocoanuts to the kudumi, or lock of hair at
the back of the head, amidst the loud, though not real, protestations
of the victim. All those present, with all seriousness, pacify him,
and he is cheered by the sight of five rupees, which are presented
to him. This gift he readily accepts, together with a pair of new
cloths and pan-supari (betel leaves and areca nuts). Meanwhile the
young folk have been making sport of him by throwing at his new and
old clothes big empty brinjal fruits (Solanum Melongena) filled with
turmeric powder and chunam (lime). He goes for the boys, who dodge
him, and at last the elders beat off the youngsters with the remark
that "after all he is a Brahman, and ought not to be trifled with in
this way." The Brahman then takes leave, and is heard of no more in
connection with the wedding rites. The whole ceremony has a decided
ring of mockery about it, and leads one to the conclusion that it
is celebrated more in derision than in honour of the Brahmans. It
is a notorious fact that the Lingayats will not even accept water
from a Brahman's hands, and do not, like many other castes, require
his services in connection with marriage or funeral ceremonies. The
practice of tying cocoanuts to the hair of the Brahman seems to be
confined to the bamboo section. But an equally curious custom is
observed by the rattan section. The village barber is invited to the
wedding, and the infant bride and bridegroom are seated naked before
him. He is provided with some ghi(clarified butter) in a cocoanut
shell, and has to sprinkle some of it on the head of the couple with a
grass or reed. He is, however, prevented from doing so by a somewhat
cruel contrivance. A big stone (representing the linga) is suspended
from his neck by a rope, and he is kept nodding to and fro by another
rope which is pulled by young lads behind him. Eventually they leave
off, and he sprinkles the ghi, and is dismissed with a few annas,
pan-supari, and the remains of the ghi. By means of the stone the
barber is for the moment turned into a Lingayat.

The officiating priest at the marriage ceremony is a man of
their own sect, and is known as the Gurukkal. They address him as
Ayyanavaru, a title generally reserved for Brahmans in Kannada-speaking
districts. The main items of expenditure at a wedding are the musician,
presents of clothes, and pan-supari, especially the areca nuts. One
man, who was not rich, told me that it cost him, for a marriage,
three maunds of nuts, and that guests come more for them than for
the meals, which he characterised as not fit for dogs.

Widow remarriage is permitted. But it is essential that the contracting
parties should be widower and widow. For such a marriage no pandal is
erected, but all the elders countenance it by their presence. Such
a marriage is known as naduvittu tali, because the tali is tied
in the mid-house. It is usually a simple affair, and finished in a
short time after sunset instead of in the day time. The offspring
of such marriages are considered as legitimate, and can inherit. But
remarried couples are disqualified from performing certain acts, e.g.,
the distribution of pan-supari at weddings, partaking in the harathi
ceremony, etc. The disqualifications attaching to remarried people
are, by a curious analogy, extended to deformed persons, who are,
in some cases, considered to be widowers and widows.

Among the ordinary names of males are Basappa, Linganna, Devanna,
Ellappa, Naganna; and of females Ellamma, Lingi and Nagamma. It is
said that all are entitled to the honorific Saudri; but the title
is specially reserved for the agent of their sect. Among common
nicknames are Chikka and Dodda Thamma (younger and elder brother),
Andi (beggar), Karapi (black woman), Guni (hunch back). In the Mysore
Province the most becoming method of addressing a Lingayat is to call
him Sivane. Their usual titles are Ravut, Appa, Anna, and Saudri.

The child-naming ceremony is a very important one. Five swords with
limes fixed to their edges are set in a line with equi-distant spaces
between them. By each sword are placed two plantain fruits, a cocoanut,
four dried dates, two cocoanut cups, pan-supari, and karamani (Vigna
Catiang) cakes. In front of the swords are also placed rice-balls
mixed with turmeric powder, various kinds of vegetables and fruits,
curds and milk. Opposite each sword five leaves are spread out, and
in front of each leaf a near relation of the family sits. The chief
woman of the house then brings five pots full of water, and gives
to each man a potful for the worship of the jangama linga which he
wears. She also brings consecrated cow-dung ashes. The men pour the
water over the linga, holding it in the left hand, and smear both the
linga and their faces with the ashes. The woman then retires, and the
guests partake of a hearty meal, at the conclusion of which the woman
reappears with five vessels full of water, with which they wash their
hands. The vessels are then broken, and thrown on a dung-heap. After
partaking of pan-supari and chunam (lime), each of the men ties up
some of the food in a towel, takes one of the swords in his hand,
and leaves the house without turning back. The headman of the family
then removes the limes from the swords, and puts them back in their
scabbards. The same evening the child is named. Sometimes this
ceremony, which is costly, is held even after the child is a year old.

When a death takes place, information is sent round to the relations
and castemen by two boys carrying little sticks in their hands. Under
the instructions of a priest, the inmates of the house begin to make
arrangements for the funeral. The corpse is washed, and the priest's
feet are also washed, and the refuse-water on the ground is poured
over the corpse or into its mouth. Among certain sections of Lingayats
it is customary, contrary to the usual Hindu practice, to invite the
friends and relations, who have come for the funeral, to a banquet,
at which the priest is a guest. It is said that the priest, after
partaking of food, vomits a portion of it, which is shared by the
members of the family. These practices do not seem to be followed by
the Chingleput Lingayats. A second bath is given to the corpse, and
then the nine orifices of the body are closed with cotton or cloth. The
corpse is then dressed as in life, and, if it be that of a priest, is
robed in the characteristic orange tawny dress. Before clothing it,
the consecrated cow-dung ashes are smeared over the forehead, arms,
chest, and abdomen. The bier is made like a car, such as is seen in
temple processions on the occasion of car festivals. To each of its
four bamboo posts are attached a plantain tree and a cocoanut, and
it is decorated with bright flowers. In the middle of the bier is a
wooden plank, on which the corpse is set in a sitting position. The
priest touches the dead body three or four times with his right leg,
and the funeral cortège, accompanied by weird village music, proceeds
to the burial-ground. The corpse, after removal from the bier, is
placed in the grave in a sitting posture, facing south, with the linga,
which the man had worn during life, in the mouth. Salt, according
to the means of the family, is thrown into the grave by friends and
relations, and it is considered that a man's life would be wasted if he
did not do this small service for a dead fellow-casteman. They quote
the proverb "Did he go unserviceable even for a handful of mud?" The
grave is filled in, and four lights are placed at the corners. The
priest, standing over the head of the corpse, faces the lamps, with
branches of Leucas aspera and Vitex Negundo at his feet. A cocoanut is
broken and camphor burnt, and the priest says "Lingannah (or whatever
the name of the dead man may be), leaving Nara Loka, you have gone
to Bhu Loka," which is a little incongruous, for Nara Loka and Bhu
Loka are identical. Perhaps the latter is a mistake for Swarga Loka,
the abode of bliss of Brahmanical theology. Possibly, Swarga Loka is
not mentioned, because it signifies the abode of Vishnu. Then the
priest calls out Oogay! Oogay! and the funeral ceremony is at an
end. On their return home the corpse-bearers, priest, and sons of
the deceased, take buttermilk, and apply it with the right hand to
the left side of the back. A Nandi (the sacred bull) is made of mud,
or bricks and mortar, and set up over the grave. Unmarried girls
and boys are buried in a lying position. From enquiries made among
the Lingayats of Chembarambakam, it appears that, when a death has
occurred, pollution is observed by the near relatives; and, even
if they are living at such distant places as Bellary or Bangalore,
pollution must be observed, and dissolved by a bath.

Basava attached no importance to pilgrimages. The Chingleput Lingayats,
however, perform what they call Jatray (i.e., pilgrimage), of which
the principal celebration takes place in Chittra-Vyasi (April-May),
and is called Virabhadra Jatray. The bamboo Lingayats of Chembarambakam
send word, with some raw rice, to the rattan Lingayats of Kadaperi
to come to the festival on a fixed day with the image of their god
Virabhadra. The Gauliyars of Kadaperi and other villages accordingly
proceed to a tank on the confines of the village of Chembrambakam,
and send word that they have responded to the call of their
brethren. The chief men of the village, accompanied by a crowd,
and the village musicians, start for the tank, and bring in the
Kadaperi guests. After a feast all retire for the night, and get up
at 3 A.M. for the celebration of the festival. Swords are unsheathed
from their scabbards, and there is a deafening noise from trumpets
and pipes. The images of Virabhadra are taken in procession to a tank,
and, on the way thither, the idol bearers and others pretend that they
are inspired, and bawl out the various names of the god. Sometimes
they become so frenzied that the people break cocoanuts on their
foreheads, or pierce their neck and wrists with a big needle, such as
is used in stitching gunny bags. Under this treatment the inspired
ones calm down. All along the route cocoanuts are broken, and may
amount to as many as four hundred, which become the perquisite of the
village washerman. When the tank is reached, pan-supari and kadalai
(Cicer arietinum) are distributed among the crowd. On the return
journey, the village washerman has to spread dupatis (cloths) for the
procession to walk over. At about noon a hearty meal is partaken of,
and the ceremony is at an end. After a few days, a return celebration
takes place at Kadaperi. The Virabhadra images of the two sections, it
may be noted, are regarded as brothers. Other ceremonial pilgrimages
are also made to Tirutani, Tiruvallur and Mylapore, and they go to
Tiruvallur on new moon days, bathe in the tank, and make offerings
to Vira Raghava, a Vaishnava deity. They do not observe the feast of
Pongal, which is so widely celebrated throughout Southern India. It
is said that the celebration thereof was stopped, because, on one
occasion, the cattle bolted, and the men who went in pursuit of them
never returned. The Ugadi, or new year feast, is observed by them as
a day of general mourning. They also observe the Kama festival with
great éclat, and one of their national songs relates to the burning
of Kama. When singing it during their journeys with the curd-pots,
they are said to lose themselves, and arrive at their destination
without knowing the distance that they have marched.

In addition to the grand Virabhadra festival, which is celebrated
annually, the Ariservai festival is also observed as a great
occasion. This is no doubt a Tamil rendering of the Sanskrit
Hariservai, which means the service of Hari or worship of Vishnu. It
is strange that Lingayats should have this formal worship of Vishnu,
and it must be a result of their environment, as they are surrounded
on all sides by Vaishnavite temples. More than six months before
the festival a meeting of elders is convened, and it is decided
that an assessment of three pies per basket shall be levied, and
the Saudri is made honorary treasurer of the fund. If a house has
two or more baskets, i.e., persons using baskets in their trade,
it must contribute a corresponding number of three pies. In other
words, the basket, and not the family, is the unit in their communal
finance. An invitation, accompanied by pan-supari, is sent to the
Thadans (Vaishnavite dramatists) near Conjeeveram, asking them
to attend the festival on the last Saturday of Paratasi, the four
Saturdays of which month are consecrated to Vishnu. The Thadans arrive
in due course at Chembrambakam, the centre of the bamboo section of
the Lingayats, and make arrangements for the festival. Invitations
are sent to five persons of the Lingayat community, who fast from
morning till evening. About 8 or 9 P.M., these five guests, who perhaps
represent priests for the occasion, arrive at the pandal (booth), and
leaves are spread out before them, and a meal of rice, dhal (Cajanus
indicus) water, cakes, broken cocoanuts, etc., is served to them. But,
instead of partaking thereof, they sit looking towards a lighted
lamp, and close their eyes in meditation. They then quietly retire
to their homes, where they take the evening meal. After a torchlight
procession with torches fed with ghi (clarified butter) the village
washermen come to the pandal, and collect together the leaves and
food, which have been left there. About 11 P.M. the villagers repair
to the spot where a dramatic performance of Hiranya Kasyapa Natakam,
or the Prahallada Charitram, is held during five alternate nights. The
latter play is based on a favourite story in the Bhagavatha, and it
is strange that it should be got up and witnessed by a community of
Saivites, some of whom (Vira Saivas) are such extremists that they
would not tolerate the sight of a Vaishnavite at a distance.

The Chembrambakam Lingayats appear to join the other villagers in
the performance of the annual puja (worship) to the village deity,
Namamdamma, who is worshipped in order to ward off cholera and cattle
disease. One mode of propitiating her is by sacrificing a goat,
collecting its entrails and placing them in a pot, with its mouth
covered with goat skin, which is taken round the village, and buried
in a corner. The pot is called Bali Setti, and he who comes in front
of it while it is being carried through the streets, is supposed to
be sure to suffer from serious illness, or even die. The sacrifice,
filling of the pot, and its carriage through the streets, are all
performed by low class Occhans and Vettiyans. The Chembrambakam
Lingayats assert that the cholera goddess has given a promise that
she will not attack any of their community, and keeps it faithfully,
and none of them die even during the worst cholera epidemics.

Kanni (rope).--A gotra of Kurni.

Kapata.--A name for rag-wearing Koragas.

Kappala (frog).--An exogamous sept of Madiga, and sub-division
of Yanadis, who are said to be frog-eaters. It is also a gotra of
Janappans, who have a legend that, when some of their family were
fishing, they caught a haul of big frogs instead of fish. Consequently,
members of this gotra will not injure frogs. I have seen frogs hanging
up for sale in the Cochin bazar.

Kappiliyan.--The Kappiliyans, or Karumpuraththals, as they are
sometimes called, are Canarese-speaking farmers, who are found
chiefly in Madura and Tinnevelly. It is noted, in the Manual of the
Madura district, that "a few of the original Poligars were Canarese;
and it is to be presumed that the Kappiliyans immigrated under their
auspices. They are a decent and respectable class of farmers. Their
most common agnomen is Koundan (or Kavandan)."

Some Kappiliyans say that they came south six or seven generations
ago, along with the Urumikkarans, from the banks of the Tungabhadra
river, because the Tottiyans tried to ravish their women. According
to another tradition, similar to that current among the Tottiyans,
"the caste was oppressed by the Musalmans of the north, fled across
the Tungabhadra, and was saved by two pongu (Pongamia glabra) trees
bridging an unfordable stream, which blocked their escape. They
travelled, says the legend, through Mysore to Conjeeveram, thence to
Coimbatore, and thence to the Madura district. The stay at Conjeeveram
is always emphasised, and is supported by the fact that the caste
has shrines dedicated to Kanchi Varadaraja Perumal." [103]

The Kappiliyans are one of the nine Kambalam castes, who are so called
because, at their caste council meetings, a kambli (blanket) is spread,
on which is placed a kalasam (brass vessel) filled with water, and
decorated with flowers. Its mouth is closed by mango leaves and a
cocoanut. According to the Gazetteer of the Madura district, they are
"split into two endogamous sub-divisions, namely the Dharmakattu, so
called because, out of charity, they allow widows to marry one more
husband, and the Munukattu, who permit a woman to have three husbands
in succession." They are also said to recognise, among themselves,
four sub-divisions, Vokkiliyan (cultivator), Muru Balayanoru (three
bangle people), Bottu Kattoru (bottu tying people), Vokkulothoru,
to the last of which the following notes mainly refer.

They have a large number of exogamous septs, which are further divided
into exogamous sub-septs, of which the following are examples:--


          Sept.             Sub-sept.

          Basiriyoru      { Hennu (female) Basiri.
                          { Gandu (male) Basiri.

                          { Loddu.
                          { Palingi Loddu.
                          { Kolingi Loddu.
          Lodduvoru       { Uddudhoru (Phaseolus Mungo, var.
                          {   radiatus).
                          { Huniseyoru (tamarind people).
                          { Mottuguni.
                          { Manaloru, sand people.


One exogamous sept is called Ane (elephant), and as names of sub-septs,
named after animate or inanimate objects, I may mention Hatti (hamlet),
Arane (lizard) and Puli (tiger).

The affairs of the caste are regulated by a headman called Gauda,
assisted by the Saundari. In some places, the assistance of a Pallan
or Maravan called Jadipillai, is sought.

Marriage is, as a rule, adult, and the common emblem of married
life--the tali or bottu--is dispensed with. On the first day of
the marriage ceremonies, the bride and bridegroom are conducted,
towards evening, to the houses of their maternal uncles. There the
nalagu ceremony, or smearing the body with Phaseolus Mungo, sandal
and turmeric paste, is performed, and the uncles place toe-rings on
the feet of the contracting couple. On the following day, the bride's
price is paid, and betel is distributed, in the presence of a Kummara,
Urumikkaran, and washerman, to the villagers in a special order of
precedence. On the third day, the bridegroom goes in procession to
the house of the bride, and their fingers are linked together by
the maternal uncle or uncles. For this reason, the day is called Kai
Kudukahodina, or hand-locking day.

It is noted, in the Gazetteer of the Madura district, that "the binding
portions of the marriage ceremony are the donning by the bride of a
turmeric-coloured cloth sent her by bridegroom, and of black glass
bangles (unmarried girls may only wear bangles made of lac), and
the linking of the couple's little fingers. A man's right to marry
his paternal aunt's daughter is so rigorously insisted upon that,
as among the Tottiyans, ill-assorted matches are common. A woman,
whose husband is too young to fulfil the duties of his position,
is allowed to consort with his near relations, and the children so
begotten are treated as his. [It is said that a woman does not suffer
in reputation, if she cohabits with her brothers-in-law.] Adultery
outside the caste is punished by expulsion, and, to show that the
woman is thenceforward as good as dead, funeral ceremonies are solemnly
performed to some trinket of hers, and this is afterwards burnt."

At the first menstrual period, a girl remains under pollution
for thirteen days, in a corner of the house or outside it in the
village common land (mandai). If she remains within, her maternal
uncle makes a screen, and, if outside, a temporary hut, and, in
return for his services, receives a hearty meal. On the thirteenth
day the girl bathes in a tank (pond), and, as she enters the house,
has to pass over a pestle and a cake. Near the entrance, some food is
placed, which a dog is allowed to eat. While so doing, it receives
a severe beating. The more noise it makes, the better is the omen
for a large family of children. If the poor brute does not howl,
it is supposed that the girl will bear no children. A cotton thread,
dyed with turmeric, is tied round her neck by a married woman, and,
if she herself is married, she puts on glass bangles. The hut is
burnt down and the pots she used are broken to atoms.

The caste deities are said to be Lakkamma and Vira Lakkamma,
but they also worship other deities, such as Chenraya, Thimmappa,
and Siranga Perumal. Certain septs seem to have particular deities,
whom they worship. Thus Thimmaraya is reverenced by the Dasiriyoru,
and Malamma by the Hattiyoru.

The dead are as a rule cremated, but children, those who have died of
cholera, and pregnant women, are buried. In the case of the last, the
child is, before burial, removed from the mother's body. The funeral
ceremonies are carried out very much on the lines of those of the
Tottiyans. Fire is carried to the burning ground by a Chakkiliyan. On
the last day of the death ceremonies (karmandiram) cooked food, fruits
of Solanum xanthocarpum, and leaves of Leucas aspera are placed on a
tray, by the side of which a bit of a culm of Saccharum arundinaceum,
with leaves of Cynodon Dactylon twined round it, is deposited. The
tray is taken to a stream, on the bank of which an effigy is made,
to which the various articles are offered. A small quantity thereof is
placed on arka (Calotropis gigantea) leaves, to be eaten by crows. On
the return journey to the house, three men, the brother-in-law or
father-in-law of the deceased, and two sapindas (agnates) stand in a
row at a certain spot. A cloth is stretched before them as a screen,
over which they place their right hands. These a washerman touches
thrice with Cynodon leaves dipped in milk, cow's urine, and turmeric
water. The washerman then washes the hands with water. All the agnates
place new turbans on their heads, and go back in procession to the
village, accompanied by a Urimikkaran and washerman, who must be
present throughout the ceremony.

For the following note on the Kappiliyans of the Kambam valley, in
the Madura district, I am indebted to Mr. C. Hayavadana Rao. According
to a tradition which is current among them, they migrated from their
original home in search of new grazing ground for their cattle. The
herd, which they brought with them, still lives in its descendants
in the valley, which are small, active animals, well known for their
trotting powers. It is about a hundred and fifty strong, and is called
devaru avu in Canarese, and thambiran madu in Tamil, both meaning
the sacred herd. The cows are never milked, and their calves, when
they grow up, are not used for any purpose, except breeding. When
the cattle die, they are buried deep in the ground, and not handed
over to Chakkiliyans (leather-workers). One of the bulls goes by the
name of pattada avu, or the king bull. It is selected from the herd
by a quaint ceremonial. On an auspicious day, the castemen assemble,
and offer incense, camphor, cocoanuts, plantains, and betel to the
herd. Meanwhile, a bundle of sugar-cane is placed in front thereof,
and the spectators eagerly watch to see which of the bulls will
reach it first. The animal which does so is caught hold of, daubed
with turmeric, and decorated with flowers, and installed as the king
bull. It is styled Nanda Gopala, or Venugopalaswami, after Krishna, the
divine cattle-grazer, and is an object of adoration by the caste. To
meet the expenses of the ceremony, which amount to about two hundred
rupees, a subscription is raised among them. The king bull has a
special attendant, or driver, whose duties are to graze and worship
it. He belongs to the Maragala section of the Endar sub-division of
the caste. When he dies, a successor is appointed in the following
manner. Before the assembled castemen, puja (worship) is offered to
the sacred herd, and a young boy, "upon whom the god comes," points
out a man from among the Maragalas, who becomes the next driver. He
enjoys the inams, and is the custodian of the jewels presented to the
king bull in former days, and of the copper plates, whereon grants made
in its name are engraved. As many as nine of these copper grants were
entrusted to the keeping of a youthful driver, about sixteen years old,
in 1905. Most of them record grants from unknown kings. One Ponnum
Pandyan, a king of Gudalur, is recorded as having made grants of
land, and other presents to the bull. Others record gifts of land
from Ballala Raya and Rama Rayar. Only the names of the years are
recorded. None of the plates contain the saka dates. Before the annual
migration of the herd to the hills during the summer, a ceremony
is carried out, to determine whether the king bull is in favour of
its going. Two plates, one containing milk, and the other sugar,
are placed before the herd. Unless, or until the bull has come up to
them, and gone back, the migration does not take place. The driver,
or some one deputed to represent him, goes with the herd, which is
accompanied by most of the cattle of the neighbouring villages. The
driver is said to carry a pot of fresh-drawn milk within a kavadi
(shrine). On the day on which the return journey to the valley is
commenced, the pot is opened, and the milk is said to be found in a
hardened state. A slice thereof is cut off, and given to each person
who accompanied the herd to the hills. It is believed that the milk
would not remain in good condition, if the sacred herd had been in any
way injuriously affected during its sojourn there. The sacred herd is
recruited by certain calves dedicated as members thereof by people of
other castes in the neighbourhood of the valley. These calves, born
on the 1st of the month Thai (January-February), are dedicated to the
god Nandagopala, and are known as sanni pasuvu. They are branded on
the legs or buttocks, and their ears are slightly torn. They are not
used for ploughing or milking, and cannot be sold. They are added
to the sacred herd, but the male calves are kept distinct from the
male calves thereof. Many miracles are attributed to the successive
king bulls. During the fight between the Tottiyans and Kappiliyans at
Dindigul, a king bull left on the rock the permanent imprint of its
hoof, which is still believed to be visible. At a subsequent quarrel
between the same castes, at Dombacheri, a king bull made the sun turn
back in its course, and the shadow is still pointed under a tamarind
tree beneath which arbitration took place. For the assistance rendered
by the bull on this occasion, the Maragalas will not use the wood of
the tamarind tree, or of the vela tree, to which the bull was tied,
either for fuel or for house-building. The Kappiliyans have recently
(1906) raised Rs. 11,000 by taxing all members of the caste in the
Periyakulam taluk for three years, and have spent this sum in building
roomy masonry quarters at Kambam for the sacred herd. Their chief
grievance at present is that the same grazing fees are levied on their
animals as on mere ordinary cattle, which, they urge, is equivalent
to treating gods as equals of men. In the settlement of caste affairs,
oaths are taken within the enclosure for the sacred herd.

"Local tradition at Kambam (where a large proportion of the people
are Kappiliyans) says that the Anuppans, another Canarese caste, were
in great strength here in olden days, and that quarrels arose between
the two bodies, in the course of which the chief of the Kappiliyans,
Ramachcha Kavundan, was killed. With his dying breath he cursed the
Anuppans, and thenceforth they never prospered, and now not one of
them is left in the town. A fig tree to the east of the village is
shown as marking the place where Ramachcha's body was burned; near
it is the tank, the Ramachchankulam; and under the bank of this is
his math, where his ashes were deposited." [104]

Kapu.--The Kapus or Reddis are the largest caste in the Madras
Presidency, numbering more than two millions, and are the great caste
of cultivators, farmers, and squireens in the Telugu country. In
the Gazetteer of Anantapur they are described as being the great
land-holding body in the Telugu districts, who are held in much respect
as substantial, steady-going yeomen, and next to the Brahmans are the
leaders of Hindu Society. In the Salem Manual it is stated that "the
Reddis are provident. They spend their money on the land, but are not
parsimonious. They are always well dressed, if they can afford it. The
gold ornaments worn by the women or the men are of the finest kind
of gold. Their houses are always neat and well built, and the Reddis
give the idea of good substantial ryots. They live chiefly on ragi
(grain: Eleusine Coracana), and are a fine, powerful race." Of proverbs
relating to the hereditary occupation of the Reddis, the following
may be quoted. "Only a Reddi can cultivate the land, even though he
has to drink for every clod turned over." "Those are Reddis who get
their living by cultivating the earth." "The Reddi who grows arika
(Paspalum strobiculatum) can have but one cloth for man and wife."

"The term Kapu," Mr. H. A. Stuart writes, [105] "means a watchman, and
Reddi means a king. The Kapus or Reddis (Ratti) appear to have been
a powerful Dravidian tribe in the early centuries of the Christian
era, for they have left traces of their presence at various places
in almost every part of India. Though their power has been put down
from time to time by the Chalukyas, the Pallavas, and the Bellalas,
several families of zamindars came into existence after the captivity
of Pratapa Rudra of Warrangal in A.D. 1323 by the Muhammadan emperor
Ghiyas-ud-din Toghluk."

Writing in the Manual of the Salem district concerning the Kongu
kingdom, the Rev. T. Foulkes states that "the Kongu kingdom claims to
have existed from about the commencement of the Christian era, and to
have continued under its own independent kings down to nearly the end
of the ninth century A.D., when it was conquered by the Chola kings of
Tanjore, and annexed to their dominions. The earliest portion of the
Kongu Chronicle (one of the manuscripts of the Mackenzie collection)
gives a series of short notices of the reigns of twenty-eight kings
who ruled the country previous to its conquest by the Cholas. These
kings belonged to two distinct dynasties: the earlier line was of the
solar race, and the later line of the Ganga race. The earlier dynasty
had a succession of seven kings of the Ratti tribe, a tribe very
extensively distributed, which has at various periods left its mark
throughout almost every part of India. This is probably the earliest
reference to them as a ruling power, and it is the most southern
situation in which they ever held dominion. They disappear in these
parts about the end of the second century A.D.; and, in the next
historical references to them, we find them high up in the Northern
Dakkan, amongst the kingdoms conquered by the Chalukyas about the
fourth century A.D. soon after they first crossed the Nerbudda. In
the Kongu Chronicle they are stated to be of the solar race: and the
genealogies of this tribe accordingly trace them up to Kusha, the
second son of Rama, the hero of the great solar epic of the Hindus;
but their claim to this descent is not undisputed. They are, however,
sometimes said to be of the lunar race, and of the Yadava tribe,
though this latter statement is sometimes confined to the later
Rathors." According to the Rev. T. Foulkes, the name Ratti is found
under various forms, e.g., Irattu, Iretti, Radda, Rahtor, Rathaur,
Rashtra-kuta, Ratta, Reddi, etc.

In a note on the Rashtrakutas, Mr. J. F. Fleet writes [106] that "we
find that, from the first appearance of the Chalukyas in this part of
the country, in the fifth century A.D., the Kanarese districts of the
Bombay Presidency were held by them, with short periods of interruption
of their power caused by the invasions of the Pallavas and other
kings, down to about the early part or the middle of the eighth century
A.D. Their sway over this part of the country then ceased entirely for
a time. This was due to an invasion by the Rashtrakuta kings, who,
like their predecessors, came from the north.... It is difficult to
say when there was first a Rashtrakuta kingdom. The earliest notices
that we have of the family are contained in the western Chalukya
inscriptions. Thus, the Miraj plates tell us that Jayasimha I, restored
the fortunes of the Chalukya dynasty by defeating, among others,
one Indra of the Rashtrakuta family, who was the son of Krishna, and
who possessed an army of eight hundred elephants; and there is little
doubt that Appayika-Govinda, who, as we are told in the Aihole Meguti
inscription, came from the north and invaded the Chalukya kingdom
with his troops of elephants, and was repulsed by Pulikesi II, also
belonged to this same dynasty. It is plain, therefore, that in the
fifth and sixth centuries A.D. the Rashtrakuta dynasty was one of
considerable importance in central or in northern India. The later
inscriptions state that the Rashtrakutas were of the Somavamsa or
lunar race, and were descendants of Yadu. Dr. Burnell seems inclined
to look upon the family as of Dravidian origin, as he gives 'Rashtra'
as an instance of the Sanskritising of Dravidian names, and considers
it to be a mythological perversion for 'Ratta,' which is the same
as the Kanarese and Telugu 'Reddi.' Dr. Bühler is unable to record
any opinion as to 'whether the Rashtrakutas were an Aryan Kshatriya,
i.e., Rajput race, which immigrated into the Dekkan from the north
like the Chalukyas, or a Dravidian family which was received into
the Aryan community after the conquest of the Dekkan.' The earliest
inscriptions, at any rate, show them as coming from the north, and,
whatever may be their origin, as the word Rashtrakuta is used in many
inscriptions of other dynasties as the equivalent of Rashtrapati, i.e.,
as an official word meaning 'the headman or governor of a country or
district,' it appears to me that the selection of it as a dynastic
name implies that, prior to attaining independent sovereignty,
the Rashtrakutas were feudal chiefs under some previous dynasty,
of which they have not preserved any record."

It is a common saying among the Kapus that they can easily enumerate
all the varieties of rice, but it is impossible to give the names of
all the sections into which the caste is split up. Some say that there
are only fourteen of these, and use the phrase Panta padnalagu kulalu,
or Panta and fourteen sections.

The following sub-divisions are recorded by Mr. Stuart [107] as being
the most important:--

Ayodhya, or Oudh, where Rama is reputed to have lived. The sub-division
is found in Madura and Tinnevelly. They are very proud of their
supposed connection with Oudh. At the commencement of the marriage
ceremony, the bride's party asks the bridegroom's who they are, and
the answer is that they are Ayodhya Reddis. A similar question is
then asked by the bridegroom's party, and the bride's friends reply
that they are Mithila Reddis.

Balija. The chief Telugu trading caste. Many of the Balijas are
now engaged in cultivation, and this accounts for so many having
returned Kapu as their main caste, for Kapu is a common Telugu word
for a ryot or cultivator. It is not improbable that there was once
a closer connection than now between the Kapus and Balijas.

Bhumanchi (good earth).

Desur. Possibly residents originally of a place called Desur, though
some derive the word from deha, body, and sura, valour, saying that
they were renowned for their courage.

Gandi Kottai. Found in Madura and Tinnevelly. Named after Gandi Kota in
the Ceded districts, whence they are said to have emigrated southward.

Gazula (glass bangle makers). A sub-division of the Balijas. They are
said to have two sections, called Naga (cobra) and Tabelu (tortoise),
and, in some places, to keep their women gosha.

Kammapuri. These seem to be Kammas, who, in some places, pass as
Kapus. Some Kammas, for example, who have settled in the city of
Madras, call themselves Kapu or Reddi.

Morasa. A sub-division of the Vakkaligas. The Verala icche Kapulu,
or Kapus who give the fingers, have a custom which requires that,
when a grandchild is born in a family, the wife of the eldest son of
the grandfather must have the last two joints of the third and fourth
fingers of her right hand amputated at a temple of Bhairava.

Nerati, Nervati, or Neradu. Most numerous in Kurnool, and the Ceded
districts.

Oraganti. Said to have formerly worked in the salt-pans. The name is
possibly a corruption of Warangal, capital of the Pratapa Rudra.

Pakanati. Those who come from the eastern country (prak nadu).

Palle. In some places, the Pallis who have settled in the Telugu
country call themselves Palle Kapulu, and give as their gotra Jambumaha
Rishi, which is the gotra of the Pallis. Though they do not intermarry
with the Kapus, the Palle Kapulu may interdine with them.

Panta (Panta, a crop). The largest sub-division of all.

Pedaganti or Pedakanti. By some said to be named after a place called
Pedagallu. By others the word is said to be derived from peda, turned
aside, and kamma eye, indicating one who turns his eyes away from
the person who speaks to him. Another suggestion is that it means
stiff-necked. The Pedakantis are said to be known by their arrogance.

The following legend is narrated in the Baramahal Records. [108]
"On a time, the Guru or Patriarch came near a village, and put up in a
neighbouring grove until he sent in a Dasari to apprize his sectaries
of his approach. The Dasari called at the house of one of them, and
announced the arrival of the Guru, but the master of the house took no
notice of him, and, to avoid the Guru, he ran away through the back
door of the house, which is called peradu, and by chance came to the
grove, and was obliged to pay his respects to the Guru, who asked if
he had seen his Dasari, and he answered that he had been all day from
home. On which, the Guru sent for the Dasari, and demanded the reason
of his staying away so long, when he saw the master of the house was
not in it. The Dasari replied that the person was at home when he
went there, but that, on seeing him, he fled through the back door,
which the Guru finding true, he surnamed him the Peratiguntavaru or the
runaway through the back door, now corruptly called Perdagantuwaru,
and said that he would never honour him with another visit, and that
he and his descendants should henceforth have no Guru or Patriarch."

Pokanadu (poka, areca palm: Areca Catechu).

Velanati. Kapus from a foreign (veli) country.

Yerlam.

"The last division," Mr. Stuart writes, "are the most peculiar of
all, and are partly of Brahmanical descent. The story goes that a
Brahman girl named Yerlamma, not having been married by her parents
in childhood, as she should have been, was for that reason turned
out of her caste. A Kapu, or some say a Besta man, took compassion on
her, and to him she bore many children, the ancestors of the Yerlam
Kapu caste. In consequence of the harsh treatment of Yerlamma by her
parents and caste people, all her descendants hate Brahmans with a
deadly hatred, and look down upon them, affecting also to be superior
to every other caste. They are most exclusive, refusing to eat with any
caste whatever, or even to take chunam (lime for chewing with betel)
from any but their own people, whereas Brahmans will take lime from
a Sudra, provided a little curd be mixed with it. The Yerlam Kapus
do not employ priests of the Brahman or other religious classes
even for their marriages. At these no homam (sacred fire) ceremony
is performed, and no worship offered to Vigneswara, but they simply
ascertain a fortunate day and hour, and get an old matron (sumangali)
to tie the tali to the bride's neck, after which there is feasting
and merry-making."

The Panta Kapus are said to be divided into two tegas or endogamous
divisions, viz., Perama Reddi or Muduru Kapu (ripe or old Kapu); and
Katama Reddi or Letha Kapu (young or unripe Kapus). A sub-division
called Konda (hill) Kapus is mentioned by the Rev. J. Cain  [109]
as being engaged in cultivation and the timber trade in the eastern
ghats near the Godavari river (see Konda Dora). Akula (betel-leaf
seller) was returned at the census, 1901, as a sub-caste of Kapus.

In the Census Report, 1891, Kapu (indicating cultivator), is given
as a sub-division of Chakkiliyans, Dommaras, Gadabas, Savaras and
Telis. It further occurs as a sub-division of Mangala. Some Maratha
cultivators in the Telugu country are known as Are Kapu. The Konda
Doras are also called Konda Kapus. In the Census Report, 1901, Pandu
is returned as a Tamil synonym, and Kampo as an Oriya form of Kapu.

Reddi is the usual title of the Kapus, and is the title by which the
village munsiff is called in the Telugu country, regardless of the
caste to which he may belong. Reddi also occurs as a sub-division
of cultivating Linga Balijas, Telugu Vadukans or Vadugans in the
Tamil country, Velamas, and Yanadis. It is further given as a name
for Kavarais engaged in agriculture, and as a title of the Kallangi
sub-division of Pallis, and Sadars. The name Sambuni Reddi is adopted
by some Palles engaged as fishermen.

As examples of exogamous septs among the Kapus, the following may
be cited:--


    Avula, cow.
    Alla, grain.
    Bandi, cart.
    Barrelu, buffaloes.
    Dandu, army.
    Gorre, sheep.
    Gudise, hut.
    Guntaka, harrow.
    Kodla, fowl.
    Mekala, goats.
    Kanugala, Pongamia glabra.
    Mungaru, woman's skirt.
    Nagali, plough.
    Tangedu, Cassia auriculata.
    Udumala, Varanus bengalensis.
    Varige, Setaria italica.
    Yeddulu, bulls.
    Yenuga, elephant.


At Conjeeveram, some Panta Reddis have true totemistic septs, of
which the following are examples:--


    Magili (Pandanus fascicularis). Women do not, like women of
    other castes, use the flower-bracts for the purpose of adorning
    themselves. A man has been known to refuse to purchase some bamboo
    mats, because they were tied with the fibre of this tree.

    Ippi (Bassia longifolia). The tree, and its products, must not
    be touched.

    Mancham (cot). They avoid sleeping on cots.

    Arigala (Paspalum scrobiculatum). The grain is not used as food.

    Chintaginjalu (tamarind seeds). The seeds may not be touched,
    or used.

    Puccha (Citrullus vulgaris; water melon). The fruit may not
    be eaten.


The Pichigunta vandlu, a class of mendicants who beg chiefly from
Kapus and Gollas, manufacture pedigrees and gotras for these castes
and the Kammas.

Concerning the origin of the Kapus, the following legend is
current. During the reign of Pratapa Rudra, the wife of one Belthi
Reddi secured by severe penance a brilliant ear ornament (kamma) from
the sun. This was stolen by the King's minister, as the King was very
anxious to secure it for his wife. Belthi Reddi's wife told her sons
to recover it, but her eldest son refused to have anything to do with
the matter, as the King was involved in it. The second son likewise
refused, and used foul language. The third son promised to secure
it, and, hearing this, one of his brothers ran away. Finally the
ornament was recovered by the youngest son. The Panta Kapus are said
to be descended from the eldest son, the Pakanatis from the second,
the Velamas from the son who ran away, and the Kammas from the son
who secured the jewel.

The Kapus are said to have originally dwelt in Ayodhya. During the
reign of Bharata, one Pillala Mari Belthi Reddi and his sons deceived
the King by appropriating all the grain to themselves, and giving him
the straw. The fraud was detected by Rama when he assumed charge of the
kingdom, and, as a punishment, he ordered the Kapus to bring Cucurbita
(pumpkin) fruits for the sradh (death ceremony) of Dasaratha. They
accordingly cultivated the plant, but, before the ceremony took
place, all the plants were uprooted by Hanuman, and no fruits were
forthcoming. In lieu thereof, they promised to offer gold equal in
weight to that of the pumpkin, and brought all of which they were
possessed. This they placed in the scales, but it was not sufficient to
counterbalance a pumpkin against which it was weighed. To make up the
deficiency in weight, the Kapu women removed their bottus (marriage
badges), and placed them in the scales. Since that time women of the
Motati and Pedakanti sections have substituted a cotton string dyed
with turmeric for the bottu. It is worthy of notice that a similar
legend is current among the Vakkaligas (cultivators) of Mysore, who,
instead of giving up the bottu, seem to have abandoned the cultivation
of the Cucurbita plant. The exposure of the fraud led Belthi Reddi
to leave Ayodhya with one of his wives and seventy-seven children,
leaving behind thirteen wives. In the course of their journey, they
had to cross the Silanadi (petrifying river), and, if they passed
through the water, they would have become petrified. So they went
to a place called Dhonakonda, and, after worshipping Ganga, the head
of the idol was cut off, and brought to the river bank. The waters,
like those of the Red Sea in the time of Pharaoh, were divided,
and the Kapus crossed on dry ground. In commemoration of this event,
the Kapus still worship Ganga during their marriage ceremonies. After
crossing the river, the travellers came to the temple of Mallikarjuna,
and helped the Jangams in the duties of looking after it. Some time
afterwards the Jangams left the place for a time, and placed the
temple in charge of the Kapus. On their return, the Kapus refused
to hand over charge to them, and it was decided that whoever should
go to Nagalokam (the abode of snakes), and bring back Naga Malligai
(jasmine from snake-land), should be considered the rightful owner of
the temple. The Jangams, who were skilled in the art of transformation,
leaving their mortal frames, went in search of the flower in the
guise of spirits. Taking advantage of this, the Kapus burnt the
bodies of the Jangams, and, when the spirits returned, there were no
bodies for them to enter. Thereon the god of the temple became angry,
and transformed the Jangams into crows, which attacked the Kapus,
who fled to the country of Oraganti Pratapa Rudra. As this King was
a Sakti worshipper, the crows ceased to harass the Kapus, who settled
down as cultivators. Of the produce of the land, nine-tenths were to
be given to the King, and the Kapus were to keep a tithe. At this time
the wife of Belthi Reddi was pregnant, and she asked her sons what they
would give to the son who was about to be born. They all promised to
give him half their earnings. The child grew into a learned man and
poet, and one day carried water to the field where his brothers were
at work. The vessel containing the water was only a small one, and
there was not enough water for all. But he prayed to Sarasvati, with
whose aid the vessel was always filled up. Towards evening, the grain
collected during the day was heaped together, with a view to setting
apart the share for the King. But a dispute arose among the brothers,
and it was decided that only a tithe should be given to him. The King,
being annoyed with the Kapus for not giving him his proper share,
waited for an opportunity to bring disgrace on Belthi Reddi, and
sought the assistance of a Jangam, who managed to become the servant
of Belthi Reddi's wife. After some time, he picked up her kamma when
it fell off while she was asleep, and handed it over to Pratapa Rudra,
who caused it to be proclaimed that he had secured the ornament as
a preliminary to securing the person of its owner. The eldest son of
Belthi Reddi, however, recovered the kamma in a fight with the King,
during which he carried his youngest brother on his back. From him the
Kammas are descended. The Velamas are descended from the sons who ran
away, and the Kapus from those who would neither fight nor run away.

Pollution at the first menstrual ceremony lasts, I am informed, for
sixteen days. Every day, both morning and evening, a dose of gingelly
(Sesamum) oil is administered to the girl, and, if it produces much
purging, she is treated with buffalo ghi (clarified butter). On
alternate days water is poured over her head, and from the neck
downwards. The cloth which she wears, whether new or old, becomes
the property of the washerwoman. On the first day the meals consist
of milk and dhal (Cajanus indicus), but on subsequent days cakes,
etc., are allowed.

In their marriage ceremonial, the Panta Reddis of the South Arcot and
Salem districts appear to follow the Brahmanical form. In the Telugu
country, however, it is as follows. On the pradhanam or betrothal
day, the party of the bridegroom-elect go in procession under a
canopy (ulladam), attended by musicians, and matrons carrying betel,
cocoanuts, date and plantain fruits, and turmeric on plates. As soon
as they have arrived at the courtyard of the future bride's house, she
seats herself on a plank. A Brahman purohit moulds a little turmeric
paste into a conical mass representing Vigneswara (the elephant god),
and it is worshipped by the girl, in front of whom the trays brought
by the women are placed. She is presented with a new cloth, which
she puts on, and a near female relation gives her three handfuls of
areca nuts, a few betel leaves, and the bride-price and jewels tied up
in a turmeric-dyed cloth. All these things the girl deposits in her
lap. The fathers of the contracting couple then exchange betel, with
the customary formula. "The girl is yours, and the money mine" and "The
money is yours, and the girl mine." Early on the wedding morning the
bridegroom's party, accompanied by a purohit and washerman (Tsakala),
go to fetch the bride from her house. The milk-post is set up, and is
usually made of a branch of Mimusops hexandra or, in the Tamil country,
Odina Wodier. On the conclusion of the marriage rites, the Odina post
is planted in the backyard, and, if it takes root and flourishes,
it is regarded as a happy omen for the newly married couple. A small
party of Kapus, taking with them some food and gingelly (Sesamum) oil,
proceed in procession beneath a canopy to the house of a washerman
(Tsakala), in order to obtain from him a framework made of bamboo or
sticks over which cotton threads are wound (dhornam), and the Ganga
idol, which is kept in his custody. The food is presented to him,
and some rice poured into his cloth. Receiving these things, he says
that he cannot find the dhornam and idol without a torch-light, and
demands gingelly oil. This is given to him, and the Kapus return with
the washerman carrying the dhornam and idol to the marriage house. When
they arrive at the entrance thereto, red coloured food, coloured water
(arathi) and incense are waved before the idol, which is taken into a
room, and placed on a settle of rice. The washerman is then asked to
tie the dhornam to the pandal (marriage booth) or roof of the house,
and he demands some paddy, which is heaped up on the ground. Standing
thereon, he ties the dhornam. The people next proceed to the houses
of the goldsmith and potter, and bring back the bottu (marriage badge)
and thirteen marriage pots, on which threads (kankanam) are tied before
they are removed. A Brahman purohit ties the thread round one pot, and
the Kapus round the rest. The pots are placed in the room along with
the Ganga idol. The bottu is tied round the neck of a married woman
who is closely related to the bridegroom. The contracting couple are
seated with the ends of their clothes tied together. A barber comes
with a cup of water, and a tray containing rice dyed with turmeric
is placed on the floor. A number of men and women then scatter rice
over the heads of the bride and bridegroom, and, after, waving a
silver or copper coin in front of them, throw it into the barber's
cup. The barber then pares the finger and toe nails of the bridegroom,
and touches the toe nails of the bride with his razor. They then go
through the nalagu ceremony, being smeared with oil and Phaseolus
Mungo paste, and bathe. After the bath the bridegroom, dressed in
his wedding finery, proceeds to the temple. As he leaves the house,
a Madiga hands him a pair of shoes, which he puts on. The Madiga is
given food placed in a basket on eleven leaves. At the temple worship
is performed, and a Bhatrazu (bard and panegyrist), who has accompanied
the bridegroom, ties a bashingham (chaplet) on his forehead. From
this moment the Bhatrazu must remain with the bridegroom, as his
personal attendant, painting the sectarian marks on his forehead, and
carrying out other functions. In like manner, a Bhogam woman (dedicated
prostitute) waits on the bride. "The tradition," Mr. Stuart writes,
"is that the Bhatrazus were a northern caste, which was first invited
south by king Pratapa Rudra of the Kshatriya dynasty of Warrangal
(1295-1323 A.D.). After the downfall of that kingdom they seem to
have become court bards and panegyrists under the Reddi and Velama
feudal chiefs." From the temple the bridegroom and his party come
to the marriage pandal, and, after food and other things have been
waved to avert the evil eye, he enters the house. On the threshold his
brother-in-law washes his feet, and sits thereon till he has extracted
some money or a cow as a present. The bridegroom then goes to the
marriage dais, whither the bride is conducted, and stands facing him,
with a screen interposed between them. Vigneswara is worshipped, and
the wrist threads (kankanam) are tied on, the bridegroom placing his
right foot on the left foot of the bride. The bottu is removed from
the neck of the married woman, passed round to be blessed, and tied
by the bridegroom on the bride's neck. The bride is lifted up by her
maternal uncle, and the couple sprinkle each other with rice. The
screen is removed, and they sit side by side with the ends of their
cloths tied together. Rice is thrown over them by those assembled,
and they are made to gaze at the pole star (Arundati). The proceedings
terminate by the pair searching for a finger-ring and pap-bowl in one
of the pots filled with water. On the second day there is feasting,
and the nalagu ceremony is again performed. On the following day,
the bridegroom and his party pretend to take offence at some thing
which is done by the bride's people, who follow them with presents,
and a reconciliation is speedily effected. Towards evening, a ceremony
called nagavali, or sacrifice to the Devatas, is performed. The bridal
pair, with the Bhatrazu and Bhogam woman, occupy the dais. The Brahman
purohit places on a tray a conical mass of turmeric representing
Vigneswara, to whom puja (worship) is done. He then places a brass
vessel (kalasam) filled with water, and with its mouth closed
by a cocoanut, on a settle of rice spread on a tray. The kalasam
is worshipped as representing the Devatas. The Brahman invokes the
blessing of all the Gods and Devatas, saying "Let Siva bless the pair,"
"Let Indra bless the pair," etc. A near relative of the bridegroom
sits by the side of the purohit with plenty of betel leaves and areca
nuts. After each God or Devata has been mentioned, he throws some of
the nuts and leaves into a tray, and, as these are the perquisites
of the purohit, he may repeat the same name three or four times. The
Kapu then makes playful remarks about the greed of the purohit, and,
amid much laughter, refuses to put any more leaves or nuts in the
tray. This ceremonial concluded, the near relations of the bridegroom
stand in front of him, and, with hands crossed, hold over his head two
brass plates, into which a small quantity of milk is poured. Fruit,
betel leaves and areca nuts (pan-supari) are next distributed in a
recognised order of precedence. The first presentation is made to
the house god, the second to the family priest, and the third to the
Brahman purohit. If a Pakanati Kapu is present, he must receive his
share immediately after the Brahman, and before other Kapus, Kammas,
and others. Before it is presented to each person, the leaves and nuts
are touched by the bridegroom, and the hand of the bride is placed
on them by the Bhogam woman. At a Panta Kapu wedding, the Ganga idol,
together with a goat and a kavadi (bamboo pole with baskets of rice,
cakes, betel leaves and areca nuts), is carried in procession to a pond
or temple. The washerman, dressed up as a woman, heads the procession,
and keeps on dancing and singing till the destination is reached. The
idol is placed inside a rude triangular hut made of three sheaves of
straw, and the articles brought in the baskets are spread before it. On
the heap of rice small lumps of flour paste are placed, and these are
made into lights by scooping out cavities, and feeding the wicks with
ghi (clarified butter). One of the ears of the goat is then cut, and
it is brought near the food. This done, the lights are extinguished,
and the assembly returns home without the least noise. The washerman
takes charge of the idol, and goes his way. If the wedding is spread
over five days, the Ganga idol is removed on the fourth day, and
the customary mock-ploughing ceremony performed on the fifth. The
marriage ceremonies close with the removal of the threads from the
wrists of the newly married couple. Among the Panta Reddis of the Tamil
country, the Ganga idol is taken in procession by the washerman two
or three days before the marriage, and he goes to every Reddi house,
and receives a present of money. The idol is then set up in the
verandah, and worshipped daily till the conclusion of the marriage
ceremonies. "Among the Reddis of Tinnevelly," Dr. J. Shortt writes,
"a young woman of sixteen or twenty years of age is frequently married
to a boy of five or six years, or even of a more tender age. After
marriage she, the wife, lives with some other man, a near relative
on the maternal side, frequently an uncle, and sometimes with the
boy-husband's own father. The progeny so begotten are affiliated
on the boy-husband. When he comes of age, he finds his wife an old
woman, and perhaps past child-bearing. So he, in his turn, contracts
a liaison with some other boy's wife, and procreates children." The
custom has doubtless been adopted in imitation of the Maravans,
Kallans, Agamudaiyans, and other castes, among whom the Reddis have
settled. In an account of the Ayodhya Reddis of Tinnevelly, Mr. Stuart
writes that it is stated that "the tali is peculiar, consisting of
a number of cotton threads besmeared with turmeric, without any gold
ornament. They have a proverb that he who went forth to procure a tali
and a cloth never returned." This proverb is based on the following
legend. In days of yore a Reddi chief was about to be married, and he
accordingly sent for a goldsmith, and, desiring him to make a splendid
tali, gave him the price of it in advance. The smith was a drunkard,
and neglected his work. The day for the celebration of the marriage
arrived, but there was no tali. Whereupon the old chief, plucking a
few threads from his garment, twisted them into a cord, and tied it
round the neck of the bride, and this became a custom. [110]

In the Census Report, 1891, Mr. Stuart states that he was informed
that polyandry of the fraternal type exists among the Panta Kapus,
but the statement requires verification. I am unable to discover any
trace of this custom, and it appears that Reddi Yanadis are employed
by Panta Reddis as domestic servants. If a Reddi Yanadi's husband
dies, abandons, or divorces his wife, she may marry his brother. And,
in the case of separation or divorce, the two brothers will live on
friendly terms with each other.

In the Indian Law Reports [111] it is noted that the custom of illatom,
[112] or affiliation of a son-in-law, obtains among the Motati Kapus
in Bellary and Kurnool, and the Pedda Kapus in Nellore. He who has
at the time no son, although he may have more than one daughter, and
whether or not he is hopeless of having male issue, may exercise the
right of taking an illatom son-in-law. For the purposes of succession
this son-in-law stands in the place of a son, and, in competition
with natural-born sons, takes an equal share. [113]

According to the Kurnool Manual (1886), "the Pakanadus of Pattikonda
and Ramallakota taluks allow a widow to take a second husband
from among the caste-men. She can wear no signs of marriage, such
as the tali, glass bangles, and the like, but she as well as her
husband is allowed to associate with the other caste-men on equal
terms. Their progeny inherit their father's property equally with
children born in regular wedlock, but they generally intermarry
with persons similarly circumstanced. Their marriage with the issue
of a regularly married couple is, however, not prohibited. It is
matter for regret that this privilege of remarrying is much abused,
as among the Linga Balijas. Not unfrequently it extends to pregnant
widows also, and so widows live in adultery with a caste-man without
fear of excommunication, encouraged by the hope of getting herself
united to him or some other caste-man in the event of pregnancy. In
many cases, caste-men are hired for the purpose of going through the
forms of marriage simply to relieve such widows from the penalty of
excommunication from caste. The man so hired plays the part of husband
for a few days, and then goes away in accordance with his secret
contract." The abuse of widow marriage here referred to is said to
be uncommon, though it is sometimes practiced among Kapus and other
castes in out-of-the-way villages. It is further noted in the Kurnool
Manual that Pedakanti Kapu women do not wear the tali, or a bodice
(ravika) to cover their breasts. And the tight-fitting bodice is said
[114] to be "far less universal in Anantapur than Bellary, and, among
some castes (e.g., certain sub-divisions of the Kapus and Idigas),
it is not worn after the first confinement."

In the disposal of their dead, the rites among the Kapus of the Telugu
country are very similar to those of the Kammas and Balijas. The Panta
Reddis of the Tamil country, however, follow the ceremonial in vogue
among various Tamil castes. The news of a death in the community is
conveyed by a Paraiyan Toti (sweeper). The dead man's son receives a
measure containing a light from a barber, and goes three times round
the corpse. At the burning-ground the barber, instead of the son,
goes thrice round the corpse, carrying a pot containing water, and
followed by the son, who makes holes therein. The stream of water which
trickles out is sprinkled over the corpse. The barber then breaks the
pot into very small fragments. If the fragments were large, water might
collect in them, and be drunk by birds, which would bring sickness
(pakshidhosham) on children, over whose heads they might pass. On
the day after the funeral, a Panisavan or barber extinguishes the
fire, and collects the ashes together. A washerman brings a basket
containing various articles required for worship, and, after puja has
been performed, a plant of Leucas aspera is placed on the ashes. The
bones are collected in a new pot, and thrown into a river, or consigned
by parcel-post to an agent at Benares, and thrown into the Ganges.

By religion the Kapus are both Vaishnavites and Saivites, and
they worship a variety of deities, such as Thallamma, Nagarapamma,
Putlamma, Ankamma, Muneswara, Poleramma, Desamma. To Muneswara and
Desamma pongal (cooked rice) is offered, and buffaloes are sacrificed
to Poleramma. Even Matangi, the goddess of the Madigas, is worshipped
by some Kapus. At purificatory ceremonies a Madiga Basavi woman,
called Matangi, is sent for, and cleanses the house or its inmates
from pollution by sprinkling and spitting out toddy.

From an interesting note [115] on agricultural ceremonies in the
Bellary district, the following extract is taken. "On the first
full-moon day in the month of Bhadrapada (September), the agricultural
population celebrate a feast called the Jokumara feast, to appease the
rain-god. The Barikas (women), who are a sub-division of the Kabbera
caste belonging to the Gaurimakkalu section, go round the town or
village in which they live, with a basket on their heads containing
margosa (Melia Azadirachta) leaves, flowers of various kinds, and
holy ashes. They beg alms, especially of the cultivating classes
(Kapus), and, in return for the alms bestowed (usually grain and
food), they give some of the margosa leaves, flowers, and ashes. The
Kapus take these to their fields, prepare cholam (millet: Sorghum)
gruel, mix them with it, and sprinkle the kanji or gruel all round
their fields. After this, the Kapu proceeds to the potter's kiln,
fetches ashes from it, and makes a figure of a human being. This
figure is placed prominently in some convenient spot in the field,
and is called Jokumara or rain-god. It is supposed to have the power of
bringing down the rain in proper time. The figure is sometimes small,
and sometimes big. A second kind of Jokumara worship is called muddam,
or outlining of rude representations of human figures with powdered
charcoal. These representations are made in the early morning, before
the bustle of the day commences, on the ground at crossroads and along
thoroughfares. The Barikas who draw these figures are paid a small
remuneration in money or in kind. The figure represents Jokumara, who
will bring down rain when insulted by people treading on him. Another
kind of Jokumara worship also prevails in this district. When rain
fails, the Kapu females model a figure of a naked human being of
small size. They place this figure in an open mock palanquin, and go
from door to door singing indecent songs, and collecting alms. They
continue this procession for three or four days, and then abandon
the figure in a field adjacent to the village. The Malas then take
possession of this abandoned Jokumara, and in their turn go about
singing indecent songs and collecting alms for three or four days,
and then throw it away in some jungle. This form of Jokumara worship
is also believed to bring down plenty of rain. There is another
simple superstition among these Kapu females. When rain fails,
the Kapu females catch hold of a frog, and tie it alive to a new
winnowing fan made of bamboo. On this fan, leaving the frog visible,
they spread a few margosa leaves, and go singing from door to door
'Lady frog must have her bath. Oh! rain-god, give a little water for
her at least.' This means that the drought has reached such a stage
that there is not even a drop of water for the frogs. When the Kapu
woman sings this song, the woman of the house brings a little water
in a vessel, pours it over the frog which is left on the fan outside
the door, and gives some alms. The woman of the house is satisfied
that such an action will soon bring down rain in torrents."

In the Kapu community, women play an important part, except in matters
connected with agriculture. This is accounted for by a story to the
effect that, when they came from Ayodhya, the Kapus brought no women
with them, and sought the assistance of the gods in providing them
with wives. They were told to marry women who were the illegitimate
issue of Pandavas, and the women consented on the understanding
that they were to be given the upper hand, and that menial service,
such as husking paddy (rice), cleaning vessels, and carrying water,
should be done for them. They accordingly employ Gollas and Gamallas,
and, in the Tamil country, Pallis as domestic servants. Malas and
Madigas freely enter Kapu houses for the purpose of husking paddy,
but are not allowed into the kitchen, or room in which the household
gods are worshipped.

In some Kapu houses, bundles of ears of paddy may be seen hung up as
food for sparrows, which are held in esteem. The hopping of sparrows is
said to resemble the gait of a person confined in fetters, and there
is a legend that the Kapus were once in chains, and the sparrows set
them at liberty, and took the bondage on themselves.

It has been noted [116] by Mr. C. K. Subbha Rao, of the Agricultural
Department, that the Reddis and others, who migrated southward from
the Telugu country, "occupy the major portion of the black cotton
soil of the Tamil country. There is a strange affinity between the
Telugu cultivators and black cotton soil; so much so that, if a
census was taken of the owners of such soil in the Tamil districts
of Coimbatore, Trichinopoly, Madura, and Tinnevelly, ninety per cent,
would no doubt prove to be Vadugars (northerners), or the descendants
of Telugu immigrants. So great is the attachment of the Vadugan to
the black cotton soil that the Tamilians mock him by saying that,
when god offered paradise to the Vadugan, the latter hesitated,
and enquired whether there was black cotton soil there."

In a note on the Pongala or Pokanati and Panta Reddis of the
Trichinopoly district, Mr. F. R. Hemingway writes as follows. "Both
speak Telugu, but they differ from each other in their customs,
live in separate parts of the country, and will neither intermarry
nor interdine. The Reddis will not eat on equal terms with any other
Sudra caste, and will accept separate meals only from the vegetarian
section of the Vellalas. They are generally cultivators, but they had
formerly rather a bad reputation for crime, and it is said that some
of them are receivers of stolen property. Like various other castes,
they have beggars, called Bavani Nayakkans, attached to them, who
beg from no other caste, and whose presence is necessary when they
worship their caste goddess. The Chakkiliyans are also attached
to them, and play a prominent part in the marriages of the Panta
sub-division. Formerly, a Chakkiliyan was deputed to ascertain the
status of the other party before the match was arranged, and his dreams
were considered as omens of its desirability. He was also honoured
at the marriage by being given the first betel and nuts. Nowadays he
precedes the bridegroom's party with a basket of fruit, to announce
its coming. A Chakkiliyan is also often deputed to accompany a
woman on a journey. The caste goddess of the Reddis is Yellamma,
whose temple is at Esanai in Perambalur, and she is reverenced by
both Pantas and Pongalas. The latter observe rather gruesome rites,
including the drinking of a kid's blood. The Pantas also worship
Rengayiamman and Polayamman with peculiar ceremonies. The women are
the principal worshippers, and, on one of the nights after Pongal,
they unite to do reverence to these goddesses, a part of the ritual
consisting in exposing their persons. With this may be compared the
Sevvaipillayar rite celebrated in honour of Ganesa by Vellala woman
(see Vellala). Both divisions of Reddis wear the sacred thread
at funerals. Neither of them allow divorcées or widows to marry
again. The women of the two divisions can be easily distinguished
by their appearance. The Panta Reddis wear a characteristic gold
ear-ornament called kammal, a flat nose-ring studded with inferior
rubies, and a golden wire round the neck, on which both the tali and
the pottu are tied. They are of fairer complexion than the Pongala
women. The Panta women are allowed a great deal of freedom, which
is usually ascribed to their dancing-girl origin, and are said to
rule their husbands in a manner rare in other castes. They are often
called devadiya (dancing-girl) Reddis, and it is said that, though
the men of the caste receive hospitality from the Reddis of the
north country, their women are not invited. Their chastity is said
to be frail, and their lapses easily condoned by their husbands. The
Pongalas are equally lax about their wives, but are said to rigorously
expel girls or widows who misconduct themselves, and their seducers
as well. However, the Panta men and women treat each other with a
courtesy that is probably to be found in no other caste, rising and
saluting each other, whatever their respective ages, whenever they
meet. The purification ceremony for a house defiled by the unchastity
of a maid or widow is rather an elaborate affair. Formerly a Kolakkaran
(huntsman), a Tottiyan, a priest of the village goddess, a Chakkiliyan,
and a Bavani Nayakkan had to be present. The Tottiyan is now sometimes
dispensed with. The Kolakkaran and the Bavani Nayakkan burn some
kamacchi grass (Andropogon Schoenanthus), and put the ashes in three
pots of water. The Tottiyan then worships Pillayar (Ganesa) in the
form of some turmeric, and pours the turmeric into the water. The
members of the polluted household then sit in a circle, while the
Chakkiliyan carries a black kid round the circle. He is pursued by
the Bavani Nayakkan, and both together cut off the animal's head,
and bury it. The guilty parties have then to tread on the place
where the head is buried, and the turmeric and ash water is poured
over them. This ceremony rather resembles the one performed by the
Uralis. The Pantas are said to have no caste panchayats (council),
whereas the Pongalas recognise the authority of officers called
Kambalakkarans and Kottukkarans who uphold the discipline."

The following are some of the proverbs relating to the Kapus:--


    The Kapu protects all.

    The Kapu's difficulties are known only to god.

    The Kapu dies from even the want of food.

    The Kapu knows not the distinction between daughter and
    daughter-in-law (i.e., both must work for him).

    The Karnam (village accountant) is the cause of the Kapu's death.

    The Kapu goes not to the fort (i.e., into the presence of the
    Raja). A modern variant is that the Kapu goes not to the court
    (of law).

    While the Kapu was sluggishly ploughing, thieves stole the rope
    collars.

    The year the Kapu came in, the famine came too.

    The Reddis are those who will break open the soil to fill their
    bellies.

    When the unpracticed Reddi got into a palanquin, it swung from
    side to side.

    The Reddi who had never mounted a horse sat with his face to
    the tail.

    The Reddi fed his dog like a horse, and barked himself.


Karadhi.--A name sometimes given to Mari Holeyas.

Karadi (bear).--An exogamous sept of Tottiyan.

Karaikkat.--Karaikkat, Karaikkatar, or Karkatta, meaning those who
waited for rain, or, according to another version, those who saved
or protected the clouds, is an endogamous division of Vellala. Some
Tamil Malayalis, who claim to be Vellalas who emigrated to the hills
from Conjeeveram, have, at times of census, returned themselves as
Karaikkaat Vellalas.

Karaiturai (sea-coast) Vellala.--A name assumed by some Pattanavans.

Karaiyalan (ruler of the coast).--A title of Maravans, also taken by
some Idaiyans.

Karaiyan.--A name for Tamil sea-fishermen, who live on the coast
(karai). The fishing section of the Palles is known as Palle
Kariyalu. See Pattanavan.

Karalan.--In the Census Report, 1891, the Karalans (rulers of clouds)
are returned as a tribe of hunters and cultivators found in the hills
of Salem and South Arcot. In the Report, 1901, Karalan is given as a
synonym for Vellala in Malabar, and also as a name for Malayalis. At
the census, 1901, many of the Malayalis of the Shevaroy hills in the
Salem district returned themselves as Vellalas and Karalans. And the
divisions returned by the Karalans, e.g., Kolli, Pacchai, Periya,
and Perianan, connect them with these Malayalis (q.v.).

Karepaku.--Karepaku or Karuvepilai is a name for Koravas, who
hawk for sale leaves of the curry-leaf plant (Murraya Koenigii).
Karichcha.--Recorded, in the Travancore Census Report, 1901, as a
sub-division of Nayar.

Karimbarabannaya (sugar-cane sept).--An exogamous sept of Kelasi.

Karimpalan.--The Karimpalans are a small hunting and cultivating forest
tribe in Malabar. They are "punam (shifting) cultivators, hewers of
wood, and collectors of wild pepper, and are found in all the foot
hills north of the Camel's Hump. They wear the kudumi (hair knot),
and are said to follow the marumakkatayam system of inheritance in the
female line, but they do not perform the tali kettu ceremony. They
are supposed to have the power of exorcising the demon Karuvilli,
possession by whom takes the form of fever." [117]

Kariya.--A sub-division of Kudubi.

Karkadabannaya (scorpion sept).--An exogamous sept of Bant.

Karkatta.--A synonym of Karaikattu Vellala.

Karna.--A sub-division of Golla, and an exogamous sept of Mala.

Karnabattu.--The Karnabattus, or Karnabhatus, are a Telugu weaving
caste, found chiefly in the Godavari district. The story goes that
there once lived a king, who ruled over a portion of the country now
included in this district, and was worried by a couple of demons,
who carried off some of his subjects for their daily food. The king
prayed Siva for deliverance from them, and the god, being gratified at
his devotion to him, produced nine persons from his ears, and ordered
them to slay the demons. This they did, and their descendants are
the Karnabhatus, or ear soldiers. By religion, the Karnabattus are
either ordinary Saivites or Lingayats. When a girl reaches maturity,
she remains under a pollution for sixteen days. Early marriage is the
rule, and a Brahman officiates at weddings. The dead, as among other
Lingayats, are buried in a sitting posture. The caste is organised in
the same manner as the Sales, and, at each place, there is a headman
called Kulampedda or Jatipedda, corresponding to the Senapatbi of
the Sales. They weave coarse cloths, which are inferior in texture
to those manufactured by Patta Sales and Silevantas.

In a note on the Karnabattus, Mr. F. R. Hemingway writes that
"though a low caste, they forbid the remarriage of widows. But the
remark in the Census Report (1901) that they abstain from meat is
not true of the Karnabattus questioned, who admitted that they would
eat even pork. Their special deity is Somesvara, whom they unite to
worship on the new-moon day of Pushyam (January-February). The god is
represented by a mud idol made for the occasion. The pujari (priest)
throws flowers over it in token of adoration, and sits before it with
his hands outstretched and his mouth closed until one of the flowers
falls into his hands."

The Karnabattus have no regular caste titles, but sometimes the elders
add Ayya or Anna as a suffix to their name.

Karna Sale.--The Karna Sales are a caste of Telugu weavers,
who are called Seniyans in the Tamil country, e.g., at Madura and
Tanjore. They seem to have no tradition as to their origin, but the
name Karna would seem to have its origin in the legend relating
to the Karnabattus. These are, in the community, both Saivites
and Vaishnavites, and all members of the Illabaththini sept are
Vaishnavites. They are said to have only one gotra, Kasi (Benares),
and numerous exogamous septs, of which the following are examples:--


    Vasthrala, cloth.
    Rudrakshala, seeds of Elæocarpus Ganitrus.
    Mandha, village common or herd.
    Kodavili, sickle.
    Thadla, rope.
    Thatichettu, palmyra palm.
    Dhoddi, court-yard.
    Thippa, rubbish-heap.


In some places, the office of headman, who is called Setti,
is hereditary. He is assisted by a Pedda Kapu, and Nela Setti,
of whom the latter is selected monthly, and derives his name from
the Telugu nela (month). In their marriage ceremonial, the Karna
Sales closely follow the Padma Sales, but they have no upanayanam
(sacred thread rite), or Kasiyathre (mock pilgrimage to Benares),
have twelve pots brought for worship, and no pot-searching.

As among other Telugu castes, when a girl reaches puberty, twigs of
Strychnos Nux-vomica are placed in the special hut erected for the
occasion. On the third or fifth day, the girl's relations come to her
house under a cloth canopy (ulladam), carrying rice soaked in jaggery
(crude sugar) water. This rice is called dhadibiyam (wet rice), and is
placed in a heap, and, after the waving of coloured water, distributed,
with pan-supari (betel leaves and areca nuts), among those present.

The dead are carried to the burial-ground in a car, and buried, after
the manner of Lingayats, in a sitting posture. Jangams officiate
at funerals.

The caste deity is Somesvara. Some Karna Sales wear the lingam,
but are not particular about keeping it on their person, leaving
it in the house, and wearing it when at meals, and on important
occasions. Concerning the Lingayat section of the community,
Mr. H. A. Stuart writes, as follows. [118] "The Lingayats resemble
the Linga Balijas in all their customs, in all respects, except that
they recognise sutakam, or pollution, and bathe to remove it. They
freely eat in the houses of all Linga Balijas, but the latter will
not eat with them. They entirely disregard the spiritual authority of
the Brahmans, recognising priests among the Linga Balijas, Jangams,
or Pandarams. In the exercise of their trade, they are distinguished
from the Kaikolans in that they sometimes weave in silk, which the
Kaikolans never do." Like the Padma Sales, the Karna Sales usually
only weave coarse cotton cloths.

Karnam.--See Korono.

Karnam (accountant).--An exogamous sept of Kamma.

Karnataka.--The territorial name of a sub-division of Handichikka
and Uppara. It is also the name of a sub-division of Madhva and
Smarta Brahmans who speak the Kanarese language, as opposed to the
Desastha Brahmans, who are immigrants into Southern India from the
Maratha country.

Karo Panikkar.--A class of temple servants in Malabar. "The Karo
Panikkar is said to be descended from the union of Vettakorumagan
(the God of hunting) and a Kiriyattil Nayar woman. His occupation is
to act as Vellichapad or oracle in temples dedicated to his divine
ancestor." [119]

Karpura Chetti.--A synonym of Uppiliyans, who used to manufacture
camphor (karpura).

Karta.--Karta and Kartavu, meaning agent or doer, is an honorific
title of Nayars and Samantas. It is also the name for the chief mourner
at funerals of Nayars and other castes on the west coast. Kartakkal,
denoting, it is said, governors, has been returned, at times of census
by Balijas claiming to be descendants of the Nayak kings of Madura
and Tanjore.

Karukku-pattayar (those of the sharp sword).--A sub-division of
Shanan. In the Census Report, 1891, the division Karukku-mattai
(petiole of the palmyra leaf with serrated edges) was returned. Some
Shanans are said to have assumed the name of Karukku-mattai Vellalas.

Karumala (black mountain).--An exogamous sept of Kanikar.

Karuman.--A sub-division of Kammalans, who do blacksmith's work.

Karumpuraththal.--A synonym for the caste name adopted by some
Kappiliyans.

Karumpurattan.--It is recorded, in the Madras Census Report, 1901, that
"the term Karumpurattan is said to be a corruption of Karu-aruttar,
which means the Annihilators, and to have been given to the caste
because they are the descendants of a garrison of Chola Vellalas,
who treacherously allowed an enemy to enter the Tanjore fort, and
annihilate the Raja and his family. Winslow, however, says [120] that
Karumpuram is a palmyra tree. [121] and Karumpurattan may thus mean
a palmyra man, that is, a toddy-drawer. In the enumeration schedules,
the name was often written Karumpuran. If this etymology is correct,
this caste must originally have been Shanans or Iluvans. It is said to
have come from the village of Tiruvadamarudur in Tanjore, and settled
in the north-eastern part of Madura. The caste has seven sub-castes,
called after seven nadus or villages in Madura, in which it originally
settled. In its ceremonies, etc., it closely follows the Ilamagams. Its
title is Pillai."

Karutta (dark-coloured).--Recorded, at the Madras census, 1891,
as a sub-division of Idaiyans, who have also returned Karuttakkadu,
meaning black cotton soil or regur.

Karuva Haddi.--A name for the scavenging section of Haddis.

Karuvan.--A corrupt form of Karuman.

Karuvelam.--Recorded in the Travancore Census Report, 1901, as a
sub-division of Nayar.

Kasayi (butcher).--A Muhammadan occupational name.

Kasi (Benares).--A gotra of Medara and Karna Sale.

Kasi.--A name for the stone-mason section of Kamsalas.

Kasturi (musk).--An exogamous sept of Badaga, Kamma, Okkiliyan,
and Vakkaliga. Indian musk is obtained from the musk glands of the
Himalayan musk-deer, Moschus moschiferus.

Kasuba (workmen).--A section of Irulas of the Nilgiris, who have
abandoned jungle life in favour of working on planters' estates
or elsewhere.

Kasukkar.--The name, derived from kas, cash, of a sub-division
of Chetti.

Kasula (copper coins).--An exogamous sept of Padma Sale.

Kasyapa.--A Brahmanical gotra adopted by Bhatrazus, Khatris, and
Tontis. Kasyapa was one of the seven important Rishis, and the priest
of Parasu Rama.

Katakam (crab).--An exogamous sept of Komati.

Katal Arayan.--See Valan.

Katari (dagger: katar).--An exogamous sept of Golla, Mutracha, and
Yerukala. The dagger or poignard, called katar, has "a solid blade
of diamond section, the handle of which consists of two parallel
bars with a cross-piece joining them. The hand grips the crosspiece,
and the bars pass along each side of the wrist." [122]

Katasan.--Recorded [123] as "a small caste of basket-makers and
lime-burners in the Tinnevelly district. It has at least two endogamous
sub-divisions, namely, Pattankatti and Nittarasan. Widows are allowed
to remarry. The dead are buried. The social position of the caste is
above that of the Vettuvans, and they consider themselves polluted if
they eat food prepared by a Shanan. But they are not allowed to enter
Hindu temples, they worship devils, and they have separate washermen
and barbers of their own, all of which are signs of inferiority. Their
title is Pattamkatti, and Kottan is also used."

Kaththavaraya.--A synonym for Vannan, derived from Kaththavaraya,
the deified son of Kali, from whom the Vannans trace their descent.

Kaththe (donkey).--An exogamous sept of Madiga.

Kaththi (knife).--An exogamous sept of Devanga and Madiga.

Kaththiri (scissors).--An exogamous sept of Devanga, and sub-division
of Gadaba.

Kaththiravandlu (scissors people).--Concerning this section of the
criminal classes, Mr. F. S. Mullaly writes to me as follows. "This is
purely a Nellore name for this class of professional pick-pockets. The
appellation seems to have been given to them from the fact that they
frequent fairs and festivals, and busy railway platforms, offering
knives and scissors for sale. And, when an opportunity presents
itself, they are used for cutting strings of beads, ripping open bags,
etc. Several of these light-fingered gentry have been found with small
scissors in their mouths. Most of them wear shoes of a peculiar shape,
and these form a convenient receptacle for the scissors. Bits of broken
glass (to act as knives) are frequently found in their mouths. In
different districts they are known by different appellations, such as
Donga Dasaris in North Arcot and parts of Cuddapah; Golla Woddars,
Donga Woddars, and Muheri Kalas in Cuddapah, Bellary, and Kurnool;
Pachupus in Kistna and Godavari; Alagiris, Ena or Thogamalai Koravas
in the southern districts. Individuals belonging to this class of
thieves have been traced, since the opening of the East Coast Railway,
as far as Midnapore. An important way of identifying them is the fact
that everyone of them, male and female, is branded at the corners
of the eyebrows and between the eyes in childhood, as a safeguard
against convulsions."

For the following additional information I am indebted to an official
of the Police department. "I am not aware of these people using any
particular shoes. They use sandals such as are generally worn by
ryots and the lower classes. These they get by stealing. They pick
them up from houses during the daytime, when they go from house to
house on the pretence of begging, or they steal them at nights along
with other property. These sandals are made in different fashions
in different districts, and so those possessed by Kathiras are
generally of different kinds, being stolen from various parts of the
country. They have no shoes of any peculiar make, nor do they get any
made at all. Kathiras do not generally wear any shoes. They walk and
run faster with bare feet. They wear shoes when walking through the
jungle, and entrust them to one of their comrades when walking through
the open country. They sometimes throw them off when closely pursued,
and run away. In 1899, when we arrested one on the highroad, he had
with him five or six pairs of shoes of different kinds and sizes,
and he did not account satisfactorily for being in possession of so
many. I subsequently learnt that some supernumeraries were hiding in
the jungle close to the place where he was arrested.

"About marks of branding on the face, it is not only Kathiras, but
almost all nomadic tribes who have these marks. As the gangs move on
exposed to changes of weather, the children sometimes get a disease
called sandukatlu or palakurkura. They generally get this disease from
the latter part of the first year up to the fifth year. The symptoms
are similar to those which children sometimes have at the time of
teething. It is when children get this disease that they are branded
on the face between the eyebrows, on the outer corners of the eyes,
and sometimes on the belly. The brand-marks on the face and corners of
the eyes are circular, and those on the belly generally horizontal. The
circular brand-marks are made with a long piece of turmeric, one end
of which is burnt for the purpose, or with an indigo-coloured cloth
rolled like a pencil and burnt at one end. The horizontal marks are
made with a hot needle. Similar brand-marks are made by some caste
Hindus on their children."

To Mr. P. B. Thomas I am indebted for specimens of the chaplet,
made of strips of rolled pith, worn by Kaththira women when begging,
and of the cotton bags, full of false pockets, regularly carried by
both men and women, in which they secrete the little sharp knife and
other articles constituting their usual equipment.

In his "History of Railway thieves," Mr. M. Paupa Rao Naidu, writing
about the pick-pockets or Thetakars, says that "most of them wear shoes
called chadavs, and, if the articles stolen are very small, they put
them at once into their shoes, which form very convenient receptacles
from their peculiar shape; and, therefore, when a pick-pocket with
such a shoe on is suspected of having stolen a jewel, the shoes must
be searched first, then the mouth and the other parts of the body."

Kaththula (sword).--An exogamous sept of Yanadi.

Katige (collyrium).--A gotra of Kurni.

Katikala (collyrium).--An exogamous sept of Devanga.

Katike.--The Katike or Katikilu are butchers in the Telugu country,
concerning whom it is noted, in the Kurnool Manual, that "some are
called Sultani butchers, or Hindus forcibly circumcised by the late
Nabob of Kurnool. They observe both Mussalman and Hindu customs." A
correspondent in the Kurnool district informs me that the butchers
of Kurnool belong to three classes, one selling beef, and the others
mutton. Of these, the first are Muhammadans, and are called Gayi
Khasayi, as they deal in beef. The other two are called respectively
Sultanis and Surasus, i.e., the circumcised and uncircumcised. Both
claim to be the descendants of two brothers, and have the following
tradition concerning their origin. Tipu Sultan is said not to have
relished the idea of taking mutton at the hands of Hindus, as they
would not perform Bismallah at the time of slaughtering the sheep. He
accordingly ordered both the brothers to appear before him. Being the
manager of the family, the elder went, and was forcibly circumcised. On
hearing the news, the younger brother absconded. The descendants of
the former are Muhammadans, and of the latter Hindus. As he was made
a Muhammadan by force, the elder brother and his descendants did not
adopt all the Muhammadan manners and customs. Till recently they did
not even allow their beards to grow. At the present day, they go to
mosques, dress like Muhammadans, shave their heads, and grow beards,
but do not intermarry with the true Muhammadans. The descendants of
the younger brother still call themselves Ari-katikelu, or Maratha
butchers, profess the Hindu religion, and follow Hindu manners
and customs. Though they do not eat with Muhammadans or Sultanis,
their Hindu brethren shun them because of their profession, and
their intimacy with Sultanis. I am informed that, at Nandyal in
the Kurnool district, some Maratha butchers, who observe purely
Hindu customs, are called by Muhammadan names. The Tahsildar of the
Sirvel taluk in the same district states that, prior to the reign
of the father of Ghulam Rasul Khan, the dethroned Nawab of Kurnool,
the butcher's profession was solely in the hands of the Marathas,
some of whom were, as stated in the Manual, forcibly circumcised,
and became a separate butcher caste, called Sultani. There are two
sections among these Sultani butchers, viz., Bakra (mutton) and Gai
Kasai (beef butcher). Similar stories of forcible conversion to the
Muhammadan religion are prevalent in the Bellary district, where the
Kasayis are mostly converted Hindus, who dress in the Hindu style, but
possess Muhammadan names with Hindu terminations, e.g., Hussainappa.

In connection with butchers, I may quote the following extract from a
petition to the Governor of Madras on the subject of a strike among the
Madras butchers in 1907. "We, the residents of Madras, beg respectfully
to bring to your Excellency's notice the inconvenience and hardship
we are suffering owing to the strike of the butchers in the city. The
total failure of the supply of mutton, which is an important item
in the diet of non-Brahmin Hindus, Muhammadans, Indian Christians,
Parsis, Eurasians and Europeans, causes a deprivation not merely of
something to which people have become accustomed, but of an article of
food by which the health of many is sustained, and the want of which
is calculated to impair their health, and expose them to diseases,
against which they have hitherto successfully contended."

Katorauto.--A name for the offspring of maid servants in the harems
of Oriya Zamindars, who are said to claim to be Kshatriyas.

Katta.--Katta or Katte, meaning a bund, dam, or embankment, has been
recorded as an exogamous sept or gotra of Devanga and Kurni.

Kattelu (sticks or faggots).--An exogamous sept of Boya.

Kattira.--A sub-division of Gadaba.

Kattu.--See Kadu.

Kattukudugirajati.--The name, meaning the caste which allows living
together after marriage of an informal kind, recorded [124] as the
caste name of Turuvalars (Vedars) of Salem, derived from a custom
among them, which authorises temporary matrimonial arrangements.

Kattu Kapari (dweller in the forest).--Said to be a name for Irulas
or Villiyans. The equivalent Kattu Kapu is, in like manner, said to
be a name for Jogis.

Kattu Marathi.--A synonym of Kuruvikaran.

Kaudikiaru.--Kaudikiaru or Gaudikiaru is a title of Kurubas.

Kavadi.--In the Madras Census Report, 1901, Kabadi is returned as
the name of a class of Telugu wood-cutters. Kavadi is the name of a
division of Koravas, who carry offerings to Perumalswami at Tirupati
on a pole (kavadi). Kavadi or Kavadiga is further the name given
to Kannadiyan curd-sellers in Madras, who carry the curds in pots
as head-loads.

Kavalgar (watchman).--Recorded, at times of census, as a sub-division
of Ambalakaran, and title of Nattaman, Malaiman, and Sudarman. The
equivalent Kavali is recorded as a sub-division of the Kammas. The
Kavalis, or watchers, in the Telugu country, are said to be
generally Lingayat Boyas. [125] The Telugu Mutrachas are also called
Kavalgar. The village kaval system in the southern districts is
discussed in the note on Maravans.

Kavandan.--At the census, 1901, more than nine thousand people returned
themselves as Kavandan or Kaundan, which is a title of Konga Vellalas,
and many other castes, such as Anappan, Kappiliyan, Palli, Sembadavan,
Urali, and Vettuvan. The name corresponds to the Canarese Gauda
or Gaunda.

Kaundinya (a sage).--A Brahmanical gotra adopted by Razus and
Bhatrazus.

Kavane (sling).--An exogamous sept of Gangadikara Holeyas.

Kavarai.--Kavarai is the name for Balijas (Telugu trading caste),
who have settled in the Tamil country. The name is said to be a
corrupt form of Kauravar or Gauravar, descendants of Kuroo of the
Mahabaratha, or to be the equivalent of Gauravalu, sons of Gauri, the
wife of Siva. Other suggested derivatives are: (a) a corrupt form of
the Sanskrit Kvaryku, badness or reproach, and Arya, i.e., deteriorated
Aryans; (b) Sanskrit Kavara, mixed, or Kavaraha, a braid of hair, i.e.,
a mixed class, as many of the Telugu professional prostitutes belong
to this caste; (c) Kavarai or Gavaras, buyers or dealers in cattle.

The Kavarais call themselves Balijas, and derive the name from
bali, fire, jaha sprung, i.e., men sprung from fire. Like other
Telugu castes, they have exogamous septs, e.g., tupaki (gun), jetti
(wrestler), pagadala (coral), bandi (cart), simaneli, etc.

The Kavarais of Srivilliputtur, in the Tinnevelly district, are
believed to be the descendants of a few families, which emigrated
thither from Manjakuppam (Cuddalore) along with one Dora Krishnamma
Nayudu. About the time of Tirumal Nayak, one Ramaswami Raju, who had
five sons, of whom the youngest was Dora Krishnamma, was reigning
near Manjakuppam. Dora Krishnamma, who was of wandering habits,
having received some money from his mother, went to Trichinopoly,
and, when he was seated in the main bazar, an elephant rushed into
the street. The beast was stopped in its career, and tamed by Dora
Krishnamma, to escort whom to his palace Vijayaranga Chokkappa sent
his retinue and ministers. While they were engaged in conversation,
news arrived that some chiefs in the Tinnevelly district refused to
pay their taxes, and Dora Krishnamma volunteered to go and subdue
them. Near Srivilliputtur he passed a ruined temple dedicated
to Krishna, which he thought of rebuilding if he should succeed
in subduing the chiefs. When he reached Tinnevelly, they, without
raising any objection, paid their dues, and Dora Krishnamma returned
to Srivilliputtur, and settled there.

Their marriage ceremonies are based on the type common to many
Telugu castes, but those who belong to the Simaneli sept, and believe
themselves to be direct descendants of Krishnamma, have two special
forms of ceremonial, viz., Krishnamma perantalu, and the carrying
of pots (gurigelu) on the heads of the bride and bridegroom when
they go to the temple before the Kasiyatra ceremony. The Krishnamma
perantalu is performed on the day prior to the muhurtam (tali-tying),
and consists in the worship of the soul of Krishnamma, a married
woman. A new cloth is purchased and presented to a married woman,
together with money, betel, etc., and she is fed before the rest. It
is practically a form of sradh ceremony, and all the formalities of
the sradh, except the homam (sacred fire) and repeating of mantras
from the Vedas, are gone through. This is very commonly observed by
Brahmans, and a few castes which engage a Brahman priest for their
ceremonies. The main idea is the propitiation of the soul of the dead
married woman. If such a woman dies in a family, every ceremony of an
auspicious nature must be preceded by sumangaliprarthana, or worship
of this married woman (sumangali). Orthodox females think that, if the
ceremony is not performed, she will do them some harm. Another custom,
now dying out, is the tying of a dagger to the waist of the bridegroom.

In the Madura district, the Kavarais are described [126] as being "most
commonly manufacturers and sellers of bangles made of a particular kind
of earth, found only in one or two parts of the district. Those engaged
in this traffic usually call themselves Chettis or merchants. When
otherwise employed as spinners, dyers, painters, and the like, they
take the title of Nayakkan. It is customary with these, as with
other Nayakkans, to wear the sacred thread: but the descendants of
the Nayakkan kings, who are now living at Vellei-kuricchi, do not
conform to this usage, on the ground that they are at present in a
state of impurity and degradation, and consequently ought not to wear
the sacred emblem."

The bulk of the Kavarais in Tanjore are said [127] "to bear the
title Nayak. Some that are engaged in trade, more especially those
who sell glass bangles, are called Settis, and those who originally
settled in agriculture are called Reddis. The title of Nayak, like
Pillai, Mudali, and Setti, is generally sought after. As a rule, men
of the Palli or cooly class, when they enter the Government service,
and shepherds, when they grow rich in trade or otherwise, assume this
title, wear the namam (the trident mark on the forehead emblematic of
the Vaishnava persuasion), and call themselves Kavarais or Vadugars,
though they cannot speak Telugu, much less point to any part of the
Telugu country as the seat of their forefathers."

One of the largest sub-divisions of the Kavarais is Valaiyal, the Tamil
equivalent of Gazula, both words meaning a glass or lac bangle. [128]

Kavuthiyan.--The Kavuthiyans are described as follows in the Gazetteer
of Malabar. "They are barbers who serve the Tiyans and lower castes;
they are also sometimes given the title Kurup. Their females act as
midwives. There seem to be several sections, distinguished by the
affix of the name of the castes which they serve, as for instance
Tacchakavuthiyan or Tacchakurup, and Kanisakavuthiyan, appropriated
to the service of the Asaris and Kanisans respectively; while the
barbers who serve the Izhuvans are known both as Aduttons, Vattis,
or Izhuva Kavuthiyans. But whether all these should be regarded as
offshoots of one main barber caste, or as degraded sections of the
castes which they serve, the Kavuthiyans proper being only barbers to
the Tiyans, it is difficult to determine. The fact that the Naviyan
or Kavuthiyan section of the Veluttedans, as well as the Kavuthiyan
section of the Mukkuvans, are admittedly but degraded sections of
these castes, makes the second the more probable view. It is also
to be noticed that the Kavuthiyans, in the north at least, follow
marumakkattayam (inheritance in the female line), while the Taccha
and Kanisa Kavuthiyans follow the other principle of descent."

Kayalan.--The Kayalans are Tamil-speaking Muhammadans, closely allied
to the Marakkayars and living at Kayalpatnam in Tinnevelly. Many of
them have settled as merchants in Madras, and sell glass beads, cowry
shells, dolls from Tirupati, toys, etc. Some are money-lenders to
the lower classes, and others travel about from village to village
selling, for cash or credit rates, cloths, brass vessels, and
other articles. They are sometimes called Arumasaththukadankarar,
or six months' debt people, as this is the time usually allowed
for payment. At Kayalpatnam, a Kayalan husband is expected to live
in his father-in-law's house, and, in connection with this custom,
the following legend is narrated. The chiefman of the town gave his
daughter in marriage to a man living in an adjacent village. One
evening, she went to fetch water from a tank, and, on her way back,
trod on a cobra. She could not move her foot, lest she should be
bitten, so she stood where she was, with her water-pot on her head,
till she was discovered by her father on the following morning. He
killed the snake with the kitti (tweezers) and knife which he had
with him, and told the girl to go with him to his house. She, however,
refused to do so, and went to her husband's house, from which she was
subsequently taken to that of her father. The kitti is an instrument
of torture, consisting of two sticks tied together at one end,
between which the fingers were placed as in a lemon squeezer. With
this instrument, the fingers were gradually bent backwards towards
the back of the hand, until the sufferer, no longer able to endure
the excruciating pain, yielded to the demands made on him to make
confession of guilt.

Kayasth.--Kayasth or Kayastha is the writer-caste of Bengal. See
Risley, Tribes and Castes of Bengal.

Kayerthannaya (Strychnos Nux-vomica sept).--An exogamous sept of the
Bants and Shivalli Brahmans in South Canara.

Kayila (unripe fruit).--An exogamous sept of Orugunta Kapu.

Keimal (kei, hand, as an emblem of power).--A sub-division of Nayar.

Kela.--A small class of Oriya jugglers and mountebanks, whose women,
like the Dommara females, are often prostitutes. The name is derived
from keli, dancing, or khel to play.

Kelasi.--For the following account of the Kelasi or barber caste
of South Canara, I am indebted to a note on the barbers of Tuluva
by Mr. M. Bapu Rao. [129] The caste name is derived from kelasa,
work. In like manner, the Canarese barbers of Bellary and Dharwar call
themselves Kashta Madovaru, or those who perform the difficult task.

The barbers of South Canara are of different castes or sub-castes
according to the language they speak, or the people for whom they
operate. Thus there are (1) the Tulu Kelsi (Kutchidaye, man of
the hair) or Bhandari; (2) the Konkani Kelsi or Mhallo, who must
have migrated from the north; (3) the Hindustani Kelsi or Hajams;
(4) the Lingayat Kelsi or Hadapavada (man of the wallet); (5) the
Mappilla (Moplah) barber Vasa; (6) the Malayali barber Kavudiyan; and
even Telugu and Tamil barbers imported by the sepoy regiments until
recently stationed at Mangalore. Naturally the Tulus form the bulk of
the class in Tuluva. There is among them a section known as Maddele,
employed by palm-tappers, and hence considered socially inferior to the
Bhandari, who is employed by the higher classes. [The Billava barbers
are called Parel Madiali or Parel Madivala.] If a high caste barber
operates for a man of lower caste, he loses his caste thereby, and
has to pay a fine, or in some other way expiate his offence before
he gains re-admission into his community. Pariahs in these parts
have no separate caste of barbers, but anyone among themselves may
try his skill on any head. Mappilla barbers are employed only by the
Muhammadans. Even in their own community, however, they do not live
in commensality with other Mappillas though gradations of caste are
not recognised by their religion.

The barber is not ambitious enough to claim equality of rank with
the Bant, the potter, the piper, the weaver, or the oilmonger; but he
shows a decided disposition to regard himself as above the level of
the fisherman or the palanquin-bearer. The latter often disclaim any
such inferiority, and refer to the circumstance that they discharge
the functions of carrying the huge umbrella in marriage processions,
and shouldering the gods in religious processions. They argue that
their rivals perform an operation, the defilement of which can only
be wiped off by bathing the head with a solution of sacred earth
taken from besides the roots of the tulsi plant (Ocimum sanctum). In
justice to the barber, however, it must be mentioned that he has
to perform certain priestly duties for most Sudras. His presence is
essential at two of the ceremonies observed by castes professing to
be superior to his. At the name-giving ceremony a Tulu barber has to
tie a thread round the waist of the child, and name it, among Sudras
of a higher caste than himself. [At the present day, the Bhandari
is said to receive his fee for tying the thread, though he does not
actually perform the act.] Again, on the death of a high caste Sudra,
the barber has to carry the fire to the cremation ground, though the
funeral pyre is lighted by the relations of the deceased. He also has
to assist at certain other rites connected with funeral obsequies,
such as purifying the house.

[The collection of fragments of bones from the ashes, heaping up
the ashes, and cleaning the spot where the corpse was burnt, are the
business of the Kelasi. These duties he performs for Morlis, Bants,
Gattis, and Vodaris. The Bhandari or Kelasi is an object of intense
hatred to Konkani women, who call them by abusive names, such as
fellow with a burnt face, miserable wretch, widow-maker, etc.]

The barber in South Canara has invented several stories concerning
the origin of his first progenitor. At a time when the barber had not
yet been created, Siva was a bachelor, spending his time in austere
devotions, and allowing his hair to grow into long matted locks. A time
came when he became bent on matrimony, and he thought that the hirsute
condition of his face would not be appreciated by his bride, the
young daughter of the king of the mountains. It was at this juncture
that the barber was created to make Siva a good-looking bridegroom,
and the Brahman to officiate at the marriage ceremony. According to
another legend, a Gandharva-born woman was on one occasion cast into
the sea by irate Brahma, and doomed to be turned into a rock. Moved
by her piteous entreaties, however, Brahma relented, and ordained that
she should be restored to human form when Parasurama should happen to
set his foot upon the rock. This came to pass when Parasurama thrust
back the waters of the western sea in order to create the western
coast. The re-humanised woman thereupon offered her thanksgivings
in such winning words that the great Brahman hero asked her to beg
any boon she wished. She begged a son, who should in some way remind
generations to come of the great Brahman who had reclaimed her from her
inanimate state. The boon was thereupon granted that she should give
birth to sons, who would not indeed be Brahmans, but who would perform
functions analogous to those performed by Brahmans. The barber thus
discharges certain priestly duties for Sudras, and cleanses the body
even as the Brahman cleanses the soul; and the defilement caused by
the razor can be removed only by the smearing of mud and water, because
the barber's female progenitor was a rock recovered out of water.

The primary occupation of the barber does not always bring
in a sufficient income, while it leaves him a large amount of
leisure. This he spends, if possible, in agricultural labour, in
which he is materially assisted by his female relations. Barbers
residing in towns hold no land to fall back upon, but their average
monthly earnings range from five to seven rupees. Their brethren in
the villages are not so busy plying the razor, so they cultivate land
as tenants. One of the blessings conferred by Parasurama is that the
barber shall never starve.

When a child is born, a male member of the family has to tie a thread
round its waist, and give it a name. The choice of a name often
depends upon the day of the week on which the child was born. If it
is born on a Sunday it is called, if a boy, Aitha (Auditya, sun),
or, if a girl, Aithe; if on a Monday, Some or Somu; if on a Tuesday,
Angara or Angare; if on a Wednesday, Budara or Budare, changed among
Pariahs into Mudara or Mudaru; if on a Thursday, Guruva or Guruvu; if
on a Friday, Tukra (Shukra) or Tukru; if on a Saturday, Taniya (Saniya)
or Taniyaru. Other names which are common are Lakkana (Lakshmana),
Krishna, Subba, and Korapulu (Koraga woman). Those who can afford to
do so often employ a Brahman priest to ascertain whether the child
is born lucky or unlucky; and, in the latter case, the barber is
advised to offer something to the tutelary deity or the nine planets,
or to propitiate the village deity, if it is found that the child is
born under its evil eye. No lullaby should be sung while the child
is being rocked for the first time in a cradle, perhaps because, if
the very first rocking is done with a show of rejoicing, some evil
spirit may be envious of the human joy, and mar the happiness.

The initiation of a boy into the mysteries of his hereditary
profession takes place between the tenth and the fourteenth year. In
very rare cases, nowadays, a boy is sent to school between the sixth
and eighth year. These occasions are marked by offerings of cocoanuts
and plantains to the village deity.

With boys marriage takes place between the sixteenth and twenty-fifth
year, with girls before or after puberty. Matches are made by selection
on the part of the parents. Lads are sometimes allowed to choose
their own brides, but their choice is subject to the approval of the
parents, as it must necessarily be in a joint family. Bridegrooms
have to pay for their brides a dowry varying from twenty to fifty
rupees, and sometimes as much as a hundred rupees. Deformed girls,
however, fetch no price; on the other hand, they have to pay some
pecuniary inducement to the bridegroom. Widows are allowed, and,
when young, encouraged to remarry. The most essential condition of
a valid marriage is that the contracting parties should belong to
different baris or balis (exogamous septs). As examples of the names
of these balis, the following may be cited: Bangaru (gold), Salia
(weaver), Uppa (salt), Kombara (cap made of areca palm leaf), Karimbara
(sugar-cane). Horoscopes are not consulted for the suitability or
future prosperity of a match, but the day and hour, or lagnam of a
marriage are always fixed by a Brahman priest with reference to the
conjunction of stars. The marriage lasts for three days, and takes
place in the house of the bridegroom. This is in accordance with
the primitive conception of marriage as a bringing away by force
or procuring a bride from her parents, rather than with the current
Brahman idea that the bridegroom should be invited, and the girl given
away as a present, and committed to his custody and protection. The
marriage ceremony takes place in a pandal (booth) on a raised or
conspicuous place adorned with various figures or mandala. The pair are
made to sit on a bench, and rice is sprinkled on their heads. A barber
then shaves the chin and forehead of the bridegroom, the hair border
being in the form of a broken pointed arch converging upwards. He also
touches the bride's cheeks with the razor, with the object of removing
what is called monetha kale, the stain on the face. The full import
of this ceremony is not clear, but the barbers look upon the act as
purificatory. If a girl has not come of age at the time of marriage,
it is done on the occasion of the nuptials. If she has, the barber,
in addition to touching the cheeks with the razor, goes to her house,
sprinkles some water over her with a betel leaf, and makes her touch
the pot in which rice is to be cooked in her husband's house. At the
bridegroom's house, before the assembled guests, elders, and headman
of the caste, the man and the girl are linked together in the marriage
bond by having water (dhare) poured on their joined hands. Next, the
right hands of the pair being joined (kaipattavane), the bridegroom
leads the bride to her future home.

Soon after a death occurs, a barber is summoned, who sprinkles water
on the corpse, and touches it with a razor if it be of a male. In every
ceremony performed by him, the barber must have recourse to his razor,
even as the Brahman priest cannot do without his kusa grass. The rich
burn their dead, and the poor bury them. Persons dying of infectious
diseases are always buried. Prior to the removal of the corpse to
the cremation or burial ground, all the clothes on and about it,
with the exception of one cloth to cover it from head to foot, are
removed and distributed to Pariahs, who have prepared the pyre or
dug the grave. Before the mourners return from the cemetery, they
light four lamps in halves of cocoanuts, and leave them burning on
the spot. Coming home, the chief mourner places in the hands of the
Gurukara or headman of the caste a jewel or other valuable article as
a security that he will duly perform all the funeral rites. This is
termed savuotti dipuna. The Gurukara, in the presence of the relations
and friends assembled, returns the same, enjoining its recipient to
be prepared to perform the requisite rites, even with the proceeds
of the sale of the pledged article if necessary. The eleventh day is
the savu or principal mourning day, on which the headman and elders
of the caste, as well as the friends and relations of the deceased
ought to be present. On the spot where the deceased expired, or as
near thereto as possible, an ornamental square scaffolding is erected,
and covered with cloth coloured with turmeric. The ground below the
scaffolding is covered with various figures, and flowers and green
leaves are strewn on it. Each mourner throws on this spot handfuls
of cooked rice, coloured yellow and red, and cries out "Oh! uncle,
I cry murrio," or "Oh! father, I cry murrio," and so on, according
to the relationship in which the deceased stood to the mourner. This
ceremony is called murrio korpuna, or crying alas. In well-to-do
families it is usual to accompany this with devil-dancing. On the
twelfth day, rice is offered to crows, the original belief apparently
being that the spirits of the deceased enter into birds or beasts, so
that food given to these may happen to reach and propitiate them. On
the night of the thirteenth day, the relations of the deceased set
apart a plantain leaf for the spirit of the departed, serve cooked rice
on it, and, joining their hands, pray that the soul may be gathered
unto its ancestors, and rest in peace. The anniversary of the death,
called agel, is celebrated by placing cooked rice on two plantain
leaves placed over sacrificial twigs, and burning incense and waving
lamps before it. This is called soma dipuna.

The family god of the barber is Krishna of Udipi, and the high-priest
to whom he pays homage is the Saniyasi (religious ascetic), who for
the time being worships that god. The same high-priest is also the
final court of appeal from the decisions of the village council of the
barbers in matters relating to caste and religion. The powers which
are ever present to the barber's mind, and which he always dreads and
tries to propitiate, are the village demons, and the departed spirits
of members of his own family. If a child falls ill, he hastens to the
Brahman seer, to learn who is offended, and how the spirit should be
appeased. If his cow does not eat hay, he anxiously enquires to which
demon he should carry a cock. If the rain fails or the crops are poor,
he hies to the nearest deity with cocoanuts, plantains, and the tender
spikes of areca. In case of serious illness, he undertakes a vow
to beg from door to door on certain days, and convey the money thus
accumulated to Tirupati. In his house, he keeps a small closed box
with a slit in the lid, through which he drops a coin at every pinch
of misfortune, and the contents are eventually sent to that holy place.

The affairs of the community are regulated by a council of
elders. In every village, or for every group of houses, there is an
hereditary Gurukara or headman of the barbers, who is assisted by four
Moktesars. If any of these five authorities receives a complaint, he
gives notice to the others, and a meeting is arranged to take place
in some house. When there is a difference of opinion, the opinion of
the majority decides the issue. When a decision cannot be arrived at,
the question is referred to the council of another village. If this
does not settle the point at issue, the final appeal lies to the Swami
of the the Udipi temple. The council inquires into alleged offences
against caste, and punishes them. It declares what marriages are
valid, and what not. It not only preserves discipline within the
community itself, but takes notice of external affairs affecting
the well-being of the community. Thus, if the pipers refuse to make
music at their marriage processions, the council resolves that no
barber shall shave a piper. Disputes concerning civil rights were
once submitted to these councils, but, as their decisions are not
now binding, aggrieved parties seek justice from courts of law.

Punishments consist of compensation for minor offences affecting
individuals, and of fine or excommunication if the offence affects
the whole community. If the accused does not attend the trial, he
may be excommunicated for contempt of authority. If the person seeks
re-admission into the caste, he has to pay a fine, which goes to the
treasury of the temple at Udipi. The presiding Swami at the shrine
accepts the fine, and issues a writ authorising the re-admission of the
penitent offender. The headman collects the fine to be forwarded to the
Swami, and, if he is guilty of any mal-practice, the whole community,
generally called the ten, may take cognisance of the offence. Offences
against marriage relations, shaving low caste people, and such like,
are all visited with fine, which is remitted to the Swami, from whom
purification is obtained. The power of the village councils, however,
has greatly declined in recent years, as the class of cases in which
their decision can be enforced is practically very small.

The Tulu barbers, like many other castes on the western coast, follow
the aliya santana system of inheritance (in the female line). The
tradition in South Canara is that this, and a number of other customs,
were imposed upon certain castes by Bhutala Pandya. The story relates
that Deva Pandya, a merchant of the Pandya kingdom, once had some new
ships built, but before they put to sea, the demon Kundodara demanded
a human sacrifice. The merchant asked his wife to spare one of her
seven sons for the purpose, but she refused to be a party to the
sacrifice, and went away with her sons to her father's house. The
merchant's sister thereupon offered her son. Kundodara, however,
was so very pleased with the appearance of this son that he spared
his life, and made him a king, whose sway extended over Tuluva. This
king was called Bhutala Pandya, and he, being directed by Kundodara,
imposed upon the people the system of nephew inheritance.

The barber is changing with the times. He now seldom uses the old
unfoldable wooden-handled razor forged by the village blacksmith,
but has gone in for what he calls Raja sri (royal fortune; corruption
of Rodgers) razors. He believes that he is polluted by the operation
which it is his lot to perform, and, on his return home from his
morning round, he must bathe and put on washed clothes.

Ken.--Ken (red) and Kenja (red ant) have both been recorded as gotras
of Kurni.

Kenna.--A division of Toda.

Kepumari.--It is noted, in the Gazetteer of South Arcot, that "the
Kepumaris are one of the several foreign communities from other
districts, who help to swell the total of the criminal classes in
South Arcot. Their head-quarters is at Tiruvallur in the Chingleput
district, but there is a settlement of them at Mariyankuppam (not
far from Porto Novo), and another large detachment at Kunisampet in
French territory. They commit much the same class of crime as the
Donga Dasaris, frequenting railway trains and crowded gatherings,
and they avert suspicion by their respectable appearance and pleasant
manners. Their house-language is Telugu. They call themselves Alagiri
Kepumaris. The etymology of the second of these two words is not free
from doubt, but the first of them is said to be derived from Alagar,
the god of the Kallans, whose temple at the foot of the hills about
twelve miles north of Madura town is a well-known place of pilgrimage,
and to whom these people, and other criminal fraternities annually
offer a share of their ill-gotten gains." Information concerning
the criminal methods of these people, under the name Capemari, will
be found in Mr. F. S. Mullaly's 'Notes on Criminal Classes of the
Madras Presidency.'

Kerala.--Defined by Mr. Wigram [130] as "the western coast from
Gokarnam to Cape Comorin, comprising Travancore, Cochin, Malabar,
and part of South Canara."

Kere (tank).--A gotra of Kurni.

Kesari (lion).--A gotra of Kurni.

Kethaki (Pandanus fascicularis).--An exogamous sept of Stanika.

Kethri.--See Khatri.

Kevuto.--It is recorded, in the Madras Census Report, 1891, that "the
Kevutas are the fisherman caste of Ganjam, and they are said to be
the descendants of the Kaibartas, a fishing caste of Bengal. Besides
fishing in rivers, canals and lakes, they ply boats and catamarans,
and some are also traders. Uriya Brahmans and Bairagis are their
priests. From the fifth day after child-birth till the twenty-first,
the Uriya Brahmans read the Bhagavata Purana in the house, and on the
last day they give a name to the child. The married girls and widows
put a veil over their faces whenever they go out of doors."

The Kevutos are low in the social scale, but not a polluting
caste. They apparently recognise the following endogamous
sub-divisions:--Bhettiya, Bilva, Jonka, Khottia, Koibarto or Dasa,
Liyari, Chuditiya, and Thossa. Of these the Thossas are cultivators,
the Liyaris make a preparation of fried rice (liya), and the Chudityas
are engaged in parching grain (chuda, parched rice). By reason of their
change of occupation, the Liyaris and Chudityas have practically become
distinct castes, and some deny that there is any connection between
them and the Kevutos. Telugu people sometimes call the Chuditiyas
Neyyalu, and I am told that there is a street in Parlakimedi almost
wholly inhabited by Kevutos, who say that they are of the Neyyalu
caste.

Of gotras which occur among the Kevutos, nago (cobra), bhago (tiger),
and kochipo (tortoise) are the most common. They also have exogamous
septs or bamsams, among which are gogudiya (bells) and nolini (bamboo
carrier). The titles which occur in the caste are Behara, Sitto,
Torei, Jalli, Bejjo, and Paiko.

The marriage rite is performed at night, and the bride's father
ties a gold bead (konti) on the neck of the bridegroom. The Kevutos
worship especially Dasaraj and Gangadevi. The latter is worshipped
at the Dasara festival, and, in some places, fowls and goats are
sacrificed in her honour. In the neighbourhood of the Chilka lake,
the goats are not sacrificed, but set at liberty, and allowed to
graze on the Kalikadevi hill. There is a belief that animals thus
devoted to Gangadevi do not putrify when they die, but dry up.

In the Vizagapatam Agency tracts, the Kevutos are said to be notorious
for their proficiency in magic and necromancy.

Khadi.--A sub-division of Telli.

Khadiya.--A name, said to be derived from ghatiyal, meaning a person
possessed, and used as a term of reproach for Kudumis of Travancore.

Khajjaya (cake).--An exogamous sept of Vakkaliga.

Kharvi.--The Kharvis are described, in the South Canara Manual, as
"Marathi fishermen, who migrated to this district from the Bombay
Presidency. The name Kharvi is said to be a corrupt form of the
Sanskrit kshar, salt. They are hardworking but thriftless, and much
given to drink, chiefly toddy. They are sea-fishermen and good sailors,
and also work as domestic servants and labourers. They employ Havik
Brahmans to perform their marriage and other ceremonies. The head of
the Sringeri Math is their spiritual teacher."

The Kharvis are Konkani-speaking fishermen and cultivators, found
in the Kundapur taluk of South Canara. Those who are not engaged in
fishing always wear the sacred thread, whereas the fishermen wear
it for seven days from the Sravana Hunnami, or full-moon day of the
month Sravana (August-September), and then remove it. All are Saivites,
and disciples of the Sringeri mutt. Ajai Masti and Nagu Masti are the
deities specially worshipped by them. They follow the makkala santana
law of inheritance (from father to son). Their headmen are called
Saranga or Patel, and these names are used as titles by members of
the families of the headmen. The assistant to the headman is styled
Naik or Naicker.

For the performance of the marriage ceremonial, Shivalli or
Kota Brahmans are engaged. The dhare form of marriage (see Bant)
is observed, but there are a few points of detail, which may be
noted. Five women decorate the bride inside her house just before she
comes to the marriage pandal (booth), and tie on her neck a gold bead
(dhare mani) and black beads. At the pandal she stands in front of
the bridegroom, separated from him by a screen, which is stretched
between them. Garlands of tulsi (Ocimum sanctum) are exchanged,
and the screen is removed. Bashingams (chaplets) are tied on the
foreheads of the bridal pair at the outset of the ceremonial, and
are worn for five days.

The dead are cremated, and, in most cases, the ashes are thrown into a
river. But, among the orthodox, they are taken to Gokarna, and thrown
into the river at that place. On the eleventh day, presents are made
to Brahmans after purification. On the following day, food is offered
on two leaves to the soul of the deceased.

One of the leaves is thrown into water, and the other given to a cow
or bull.

Khasa.--It is noted by the Rev. J. Cain [131] that "members of
this caste are found chiefly in attendance on zamindars and other
rich people, and report says that they are not unfrequently their
illegitimate children." Khasa is synonymous with Adapapa (q.v.).

Khasgi.--Marathas, of whom a few families constitute the aristocracy
in the Sandur State.

Khatri.--The Khatris are described by Mr. Lewis Rice [132] as "silk
weavers, who in manners, customs, and language are akin to Patvegars,
but they do not intermarry with them, although the two castes eat
together. The Katris claim to be Kshatriyas, and quote Renuka Purana
as their authority. The legend is that, during the general massacre of
the Kshatriyas by Parasu Rama, five women, each of whom was big with
child, escaped, and took refuge in a temple dedicated to Kali. When
the children came of age, their marriages were celebrated, and their
mothers prayed to Kali to point out some means of livelihood. In answer
to their supplications, the goddess gave them looms, and taught them
weaving and dyeing. The Katris claim descent from these refugees,
and follow the same trades."

The following note relates to the Khatris of Conjeeveram, where most
of them trade in silk thread, silk sashes, and dye-stuffs. Some deal
in human hair, which is used by native females as a chignon. By reason
of their connection with the silk industry, the Khatris are called
Patnulkaran by other castes. The true Patnulkarans are called Koshta by
the Khatris. The Khatris give Bhuja Raja Kshatriya as their caste name,
and some say that they are the descendants of one Karta Virya Arjuna of
the human race. Their tribal deity is Renukamba, the mother of Parasu
Rama, to whom pongal (boiled rice) is offered, and a goat sacrificed
in the month of Thai (January-February). They have exogamous septs,
such as Sulegar, Powar, Mudugal, Sonappa, Bojagiri, etc., and have
adopted the same Brahmanical gotras as the Bhats or Bhatrazus, e.g.,
Gautama, Kasyapa, Vasishta, and Bharadwaja. Attached to them is a
caste beggar, called Bhat, who comes round at long intervals. He
is said to keep the genealogies of the Khatri families. He ties a
flag to a post of the house at which he intends to claim a meal, and,
after partaking thereof, he receives information concerning the births
and marriages, which have taken place in the family since his last
visit. Girls are married both before and after puberty, and infant
marriage is fashionable at the present day. The remarriage of widows
is permitted, but a divorced woman may not marry again so long as
her husband is alive. A man may not marry the widow of his brother,
or of an agnate. The custom of menarikam, by which a man may marry
his maternal uncle's daughter, is prohibited. Families belonging to
one sept may give their daughters in marriage to men of another sept,
from which, however, they are not allowed to receive girls as wives
for their sons. For example, a man of a Sulegar sept may give his
daughters in marriage to men of the Powar sept, but may not take
Powar girls as wives for his sons. But a certain elasticity in the
rule is allowed, and the prohibition ceases after a certain number
of generations by arrangement with the Bhat. The marriage ceremonies
last over seven days. On the first day, the deity Bharkodev, who
is represented by seven quartz pebbles placed in a row on plantain
leaves, is worshipped with offerings of fruit, etc., and a goat is
sacrificed. The blood which flows from its cut neck is poured into
a vessel containing cooked rice, of which seven balls are made, and
offered to the pebbles. Towards evening some of the rice is thrown to
the four cardinal points of the compass, in order to conciliate evil
spirits. On the second day, the house is thoroughly cleansed with
cow-dung water, and the walls are whitewashed. The eating of meat is
forbidden until the marriage ceremonies are concluded. The third day is
devoted to the erection of the marriage pandal (booth) and milk-post,
and the worship of female ancestors (savasne). Seven married women
are selected, and presented with white ravikes (bodices) dyed with
turmeric. After bathing, they are sumptuously fed. Before the feast,
the bridegroom's and sometimes the bride's mother, goes to a well,
tank (pond) or river, carrying on a tray a new woman's cloth, on which
a silver plate with a female figure embossed on it is placed. Another
silver plate of the same kind, newly made, is brought by a goldsmith,
and the two are worshipped, and then taken to the house, where they
are kept in a box. The bridegroom and his party go in procession
through the streets in which their fellow castemen live. When they
reach the house of the bride, her mother comes out and waves coloured
water to avert the evil eye, washes the bridegroom's eyes with water,
and presents him with betel and a vessel filled with milk. The bride
is then conducted to the bridegroom's house, where she takes her
seat on a decorated plank, and a gold or silver ornament called sari
or kanti is placed on her neck. She is further presented with a new
cloth. A Brahman purohit then writes the names of the contracting
parties, and the date of their marriage, on two pieces of palm leaf
or paper, which he hands over to their fathers. The day closes with
the performance of gondala puja, for which a device (muggu) is made
on the ground with yellow, red, and white powders. A brass vessel
is set in the centre thereof, and four earthen pots are placed at
the corners. Puja (worship) is done, and certain stanzas are recited
amid the beating of a pair of large cymbals. On the fourth day, the
bridal couple bathe, and the bridegroom is invested with the sacred
thread. They then go to the place where the metal plates representing
the ancestors are kept, with a cloth thrown over the head like a hood,
and some milk and cooked rice are placed near the plates. On their
way back they, in order to avert the evil eye, place their right feet
on a pair of small earthen plates tied together, and placed near the
threshold. The bride's mother gives the bridegroom some cakes and milk,
after partaking of which he goes in procession through the streets,
and a further ceremony for averting the evil eye is performed in
front of the bride's house. This over, he goes to the pandal, where
his feet are washed by his father-in-law, who places in his hands
a piece of plantain fruit, over which his mother-in-law pours some
milk. The bride and bridegroom then go into the house, where the latter
ties the tali on the neck of the former. During the tying ceremony,
the couple are separated by a cloth screen, of which the lower end
is lifted up. The screen is removed, and they sit facing each other
with their bashingams (forehead chaplets) in contact, and rice
is thrown over their heads by their relations. The Brahman hands
the contracting couple the wrist-threads (kankanams), which they
tie on. These threads are, among most castes, tied at an earlier
stage in the marriage ceremonies. On the fifth day, seven betel
nuts are placed in a row on a plank within the pandal, round which
the bride and bridegroom go seven times. At the end of each round,
the latter lifts the right foot of the former, and sweeps off one
of the nuts. For every marriage, a fee of Rs. 12-5-0 must be paid to
the headman of the caste, and the money thus accumulated is spent on
matters such as the celebration of festivals, which affect the entire
community. If the fee is not paid, the bride and bridegroom are not
permitted to go round the plank the seventh time. On the sixth day,
the bride receives presents from her family, and there is a procession
at night. On the last day of the ceremonies, the bride is handed over
to her mother-in-law by her mother, who says "I am giving you a melon
and a knife. Deal with them as you please." The bride is taken inside
the house by the mother-in-law and shown some pots containing rice
into which she dips her right hand, saying that they are full. The
mother-in-law then presents her with a gold finger-ring, and the two
eat together as a sign of their new relationship.

The dead are cremated, and, when a married man dies, his corpse
is carried on a palanquin to the burning-ground, followed by the
widow. Near the pyre it is laid on the ground, and the widow places
her jewelry and glass bangles on the chest. The corpse should be
carried by the sons-in-law if possible, and the nomination of the
bearers is indicated by the eldest son of the deceased person making
a mark on their shoulders with ashes. On the third day after death,
the milk ceremony takes place. Three balls of wheat-flour, mixed with
honey and milk, are prepared, and placed respectively on the spot
where the deceased breathed his last, where the bier was laid on the
ground, and at the place where the corpse was burnt, over which milk is
poured. The final death ceremonies (karmandhiram) are observed on the
seventh or tenth day, till which time the eating of flesh is forbidden.

The headman of the Khatris, who is called Gramani, is elected once a
month, and he has an assistant called Vanja, who is appointed annually.

The Khatris are Saivites, and wear the sacred thread, but also worship
various grama devatas (village deities). They speak a dialect of
Marathi. The caste title is Sa, e.g., Dharma Sa.

Kethree is described, in the Vizagapatam Manual, as "the caste of the
Zamindar's family in Jeypore. It is divided into sixteen classes. They
wear the paieta (sacred thread), and the Zamindar used formerly to
sell the privilege of wearing it to any one who could afford to pay him
twelve rupees. Pariahs were excluded from purchasing the privilege."

The Khatri agriculturists of the Jeypore Agency tracts in Vizagapatam
are, Mr. C. Hayavadana Rao informs me, entirely distinct from the
weaving Khatris of the south. They are divided into four septs, viz.,
Surya (Sun), Bhag (tiger), Kochchimo (tortoise), and Nag (cobra). Girls
are married before puberty, and an Oriya Brahman officiates at their
marriages, instead of the customary Desari. They do not, like other
castes in the Agency tracts, give fermented liquor (madho) as part
of the jholla tonka or bride-price, which consists of rice, a goat,
cloths, etc. The marriage ceremonies are performed at the bride's
house. These Khatris put on the sacred thread for the first time
when they are married, and renew it from time to time throughout
life. They are fair skinned, and speak the Oriya language. Their
usual title is Patro.

Khinbudi (bear).--A sept of Rona.

Khodalo.--See Bavuri.

Khodikaro.--A name for Panditos, derived from the stone (khodi),
with which they write figures on the floor, when making astrological
calculations.

Khodura.--The name is derived from khodu, bangle. The Khoduras,
Mr. Francis writes, [133] are "manufacturers of the brass and
bell-metal bangles and rings ordinarily worn by the lower class
Odiyas. Their headman is called Nahako Sahu, and under him there
are deputies called Dhoyi Nahako and Behara. There is a fourth
functionary styled Aghopotina, whose peculiar duty is said to be to
join in the first meal taken by those who have been excommunicated,
and subsequently readmitted into the caste by the caste panchayat
(council). A quaint custom exists, by which honorific titles like
Senapati, Mahapatro, Subuddhi, etc., are sold by the panchayat to
any man of the caste who covets them, and the proceeds sent to Puri
and Pratabpur for the benefit of the temples there. It is said that
the original home of the caste was Orissa, and that it came to Ganjam
with Purushottam Deva, the Maharaja of Puri. In its general customs
it resembles the Badhoyis." I am informed that the name of the fourth
functionary should be Aghopotiria, or first leaf man, i.e., the man
who is served first at a public dinner.

Khoira.--Recorded, in the Madras Census Report, 1901, as a low caste
of Oriya cultivators.

Khoja.--In the Madras Census Report, 1901, eleven Khojas are recorded
as belonging to a Mussalman tribe of traders from Bombay.

For the following note on the Khojas of Southern India, I am indebted
to an article by Dr. J. Shortt. [134] "The true Kojahs, or eunuchs,
are not numerous in Southern India. They are chiefly to be seen in
the houses of wealthy Mussalman nobles, by whom they are placed at
the head of their zenanas or harems. The Kojahs are properly divided
into two classes: (1) Kojahs; (2) Hijras. Sometimes Hindus, Sudras,
and Brahmans subject themselves to the operation (of castration),
of their own accord from a religious impression. Others, finding
themselves naturally impotent, consider it necessary to undergo the
operation, to avoid being born again at a future birth in the same
helpless state. The operation of castration is generally performed
by a class of barbers, sometimes by some of the more intelligent
of the eunuchs themselves, in the following manner. The patient is
made to sit on an upturned new earthen pot, being previously well
drugged with opium or bhang. The entire genitals being seized by the
left hand, an assistant, who has a bamboo lath slit in the centre,
runs it down quite close to the pubis, the slit firmly embracing the
whole of the genitals at the root, when the operator, with a sharp
razor, runs it down along the face of the lath, and removes penis,
testicles and scrotum in one swoop, leaving a large clean open wound
behind, in which boiling gingelly (Sesamum indicum) oil is poured
to staunch the bleeding, and the wound covered over with a soft rag
steeped in warm oil. This is the only dressing applied to the wound,
which is renewed daily, while the patient is confined in a supine
position to his bed, and lightly fed with conjee (rice gruel), milk,
etc. During the operation, the patient is urged to cry out 'Din'
(the faith in Mahomet) three times.

"Of the two classes, the Kojahs are the artificially created eunuchs,
in contradistinction to the Hijras (impotents) or natural eunuchs. Some
years ago there were three Kojahs at the head of the State prison or
Royal Mahal at Vellore, in charge of some of the wives, descendants,
and other female connections of Tippoo Sultan. These men were highly
respected, held charges of considerable trust, and were Muhammadans
by birth. Tales were often repeated that the zenana women (slaves and
adopted girls) were in the habit of stripping them naked, and poking
fun at their helplessness. There were two Kojahs in the employ of the
late Nabob of the Carnatic. They were both Africans. On the death of
the Nabob, the Government allowed one of them a pension of fifteen
rupees a month.

"The second class, Hijras or natural eunuchs as they are termed,
are not so, strictly speaking, but are said to be impotent. While
some are naturally so from birth, others are impressed with a belief
in childhood, and are dressed up in women's clothes, taught to ape
their speech and manners, whilst a few adopt it as a profession
in after-life. They are chiefly Mussalmans. The hair of the head is
put up as in women, well oiled, combed, and thrown back, tied into a
knot, and shelved to the left side, sometimes plaited, ornamented, and
allowed to hang down the back. They wear the cholee or short jacket,
the saree or petticoat, and put on abundance of nose, ear, finger,
and toe rings. They cultivate singing, play the dhol (a drum), and
attitudinise. They go about the bazaars in groups of half a dozen or
more, singing songs with the hope of receiving a trifle. [Such a group
I saw at Sandur, who, on hearing that I wished to photograph them,
made tracks for another place.--E.T.] They are not only persistent,
but impudent beggars, singing filthy, obscene, and abusive songs,
to compel the bazaarmen to give them something. Should they not
succeed, they would create a fire and throw in a lot of chillies, the
suffocating and irritative smoke producing violent coughing, etc.,
so that the bazaarmen are compelled to yield to their importunity,
and give them a trifle to get rid of their annoyance. While such were
the pursuits in the day, at nightfall they resorted to debauchery and
low practices by hiring themselves out to a dissipated set of Moslems,
who are in the habit of resorting to these people for the purpose,
whilst they intoxicate themselves with a preparation termed majoon,
being a confection of opium, and a drink termed boja, a species
of country beer manufactured from ragi (Eleusine Coracana), which
also contains bhang (Indian hemp). In addition to this, they smoke
bhang. The Hijras are met with in most of the towns of Southern India,
more especially where a large proportion of Mussalmans is found."

In Hyderabad, castration used to be performed at about the age of
sixteen. A pit, 3 1/2 feet deep, was dug in the ground, and filled
with ashes. After the operation, the patient had to sit on the ashes,
with crossed legs, for three days. The operation was performed, under
the influence of narcotics, by a Pir--the head of the Khoja community.

I am informed by Mr. G. T. Paddison that, at the annual festival of
the Gadabas of Vizagapatam, thorns are set on a swing outside the
shrine of the goddess. On these the priest or priestess sits without
harm. If the priest is masculine, he has been made neuter. But,
if the village is not fortunate enough to possess a eunuch, a woman
performs the ceremony.

The following notes were recorded by me on the occasion of an interview
with some eunuchs living in the city of Madras:--

Hindu, aged about 30. Generative organs feebly developed. Is a natural
eunuch. Speaks and behaves like a female. Keeps a stall, at which he
sells cakes. Goes out singing and dancing with four other eunuchs,
and earns from ten annas to a rupee in a night. There are, in Madras,
about thirty eunuchs, who go about dancing. Others keep shops, or
are employed as domestic servants.

One well acquainted with the Hindu eunuchs of Madras stated that, when
a boy is born with ill-developed genitalia, his unnatural condition
is a source of anxiety to his parents. As he grows up he feels shy,
and is made fun of by his companions. Such boys run away from home,
and join the eunuchs. They are taught to sing and dance, and carry
on abominable practices. They are employed by dancing-girls, to decoy
paramours to them. For this purpose, they dress up as dancing-girls,
and go about the streets. At times of census, they return themselves
as males engaged in singing and dancing.

Khond.--See Kondh.

Khongar.--See Kangara.

Kichagara.--A small class of Canarese basket-makers and beggars. The
name is said to be derived from kichaku, meaning an imitative sound,
in reference to the incessant noise which the Kichagaras make when
begging.

Kidaran (copper boiler).--A synonym for Malayalam artisans.

Kilakku Teru (east street).--A section of Kallan.

Killavar.--A sub-division of Tottiyan.

Killekyata.--The Killekyatas are a Marathi-speaking people, who amuse
villagers with their marionette shows in the Telugu and Canarese
countries. "They travel round the villages, and give a performance
wherever they can secure sufficient patronage. Contributions take the
form of money, or oil for the foot-lights." [135] "Their profession,"
Mr. S. M. Natesa Sastri writes, [136] "is enacting religious dramas
before the village public (whence their name, meaning buffoon). The
black kambli (blanket) is their screen, and any mandapa or village
chavadi, or open house is their stage. Night is the time for giving
the performance. They carry with them pictures painted in colours on
deer skins, which are well tanned, and made fine like parchment. The
several parts of the picture representing the human or animal body
are attached to each other by thin iron wires, and the parts are
made to move by the assistance of thin bamboo splits, and thus the
several actions and emotions are represented to the public, to the
accompaniment of songs. Their pictures are in most cases very fairly
painted, with variety and choice of colours. The stories chosen for
representation are generally from the Ramayana and the Mahabharata,
which they however call Ravanyakatha and Pandavakatha--the stories
of Ravana and the Pandavas." The dead are buried in a seated posture.

Some of the women are engaged as professional tattooers.

Kimedi.--A local name for Koronos who live at Parlakimedi.

Kindal (basket-maker).--A sub-division of Savara.

Kinkila (the koel or cuckoo).--A gotra of Kurni. The cuckoo, named
Eudynamis honorata, is the bird, whose crescendo cry, ku-il, ku-il,
is trying to the nerves during the hot season.

Kinthali.--A sub-division of the Telugu Kalingis.

Kira (parrot).--A sept of Gadaba. Kira also occurs as a sub-division
of Sondi.

Kiraikkaran.--Kiraikkaran is an occupational name, denoting those who
cultivate kirai (Amarantus). The Kiraikkarans are stated, in the Census
Report, 1901, to be usually Agamudaiyans in Coimbatore. I gathered,
however, that the name is given by Tamil-speaking people to the Kempati
Okkiliyans of Coimbatore, a Canarese people who migrated thither from
Kempati in Mysore. The majority of them cultivate kirai and other
edible vegetables, but some are petty traders or fishermen. Some of
their marriage divisions are named after deities, e.g., Masani and
Viramashti, and one division is called Jogi.

Kirata (hunter).--A name assumed by Bedars, Ekaris, and other classes.

Kirganiga.--Kirganiga or Kiruganiga is the name of a sub-division of
Ganigas, who express oils in wooden mills.

Kiriyam.--A sub-division of Nayar. Also the Malayalam word for house
name or sept.

Kiriyattil.--A sub-division of Nayar.

Kizhakathi.--Recorded, in the Madras Census Report, 1891, as a
sub-division of Paraiyan. The word means easterner, and a Paraiyan
of North or South Arcot would call a Paraiyan of Madras by this name.

Koalaka (arrow).--An exogamous sept of Jatapu.

Kobbiriya.--A sub-division of Domb.

Kochattabannaya.--Kochattabannaya or Kojjarannaya (jak tree, Artocarpus
integrifolia, sept) is an exogamous sept of Bant.

Kochimo (tortoise).--A sept of Oriya Gaudo, Bosantiya, Bottada,
Konda Dora, Mattiya, and Omanaito.

Kochuvalan.--Recorded, in the Travancore Census Report, 1901, as a
name for Ulladans.

Kodaketti (umbrella tying).--A sub-division of Panan.

Kodavili (sickle).--An exogamous sept of Karna Sale.

Kodekal Hata-kararu (cloth-weavers).--A sub-division of Devanga.

Kodi (cock).--An exogamous sept of Kapu. Thorika occurs as a sept of
Jatapus, who are said to revere a species of fowl called thorika kodi,
and Kodi Kandla (fowl's eyes) as a sept of Boya.

Kodikkal.--Kodikkal, Kodikkar, or Kodikkalkaran, meaning betel vine
man, is the occupational name of a sub-division of Vellalas, and
of Labbai Muhammadans who cultivate the betel vine. In the Census
Report, 1901, it is noted that those who gave this as the name of
their caste returned their parent tongue as Tamil, and their title as
Nayakkan, and were therefore clubbed with Pallis. Kodikkal is further
a sub-division of the Shanans, who derive the name from kodi, a flag,
and give flag-bearer as its significance. Other castes, however,
make it to mean a betel garden, in reference to Shanans who were betel
vine growers. Kodikkal Pillaimar is a synonym of the Senaikkudaiyans,
indicating Pillaimars who cultivate the betel vine.

Kodiyal.--A sub-division of Kudubi.

Kodla.--Kodla (fowl) has been recorded as an exogamous sept of Tsakala,
and Kodla bochchu (fowl's feathers) as an exogamous sept of Kapu.

Kodu.--A form of Kondh. Also a sub-division of Konda Razu.

Kohoro.--A form of Kahar.

Koi.--See Koya.

Koibarto.--A sub-division of Kevuto.

Koil Pandala (keeper of the royal treasury).--One of the divisions
of Kshatriyas in Travancore.

Koil Tampuran.--The following note is extracted from the Travancore
Census Report, 1901. The Koil Tampurans form a small community,
made up of the descendants of the immigrant Kshatriya families
from certain parts of Malabar lying to the north of Travancore and
Cochin. They are also known as Koil Pantalas. In early records, the
term Koviladhikarikal appears to have been used. Immemorial tradition
connects the Koil Tampurans with Cheraman Perumal, and goes to say
that their original settlement was Beypore. About 300 M.E. a few
male members were invited to settle in Travancore, and form marital
alliances with the ladies of the Travancore Royal House, known then
as the Venat Svarupam. Houses were built for them at Kilimanur, six
miles from Attingal, where all the female members of the Royal Family
resided. In M.E. 963, eight persons--three males and five females--from
the family of Aliakkotu, oppressed by the invasion of Tipu Sultan,
sought shelter in Travancore. Maharaja Rama Varma received them kindly,
and gave them the palace of the Tekkumkur Raja, who had been subjugated
by Rama Iyen Dalawah. This site in Changanachery is still recognised
as Nirazhikkottaram. In 975 M.E. one of the five ladies removed to
Kirtipuram near Kantiyur (Mavelikara taluk), and thence to a village
called Gramam in the same taluk. Another shifted to Pallam in the
Kottayam taluk, a third to Paliyakkara in Tiruvalla, and a fourth,
having no issue, continued to live at Changanachery with the fifth lady
who was the youngest in the family. Raja Raaja Varma Koil Tampuran,
who married Rani Lakshmi Bai, sovereign of Travancore from 985 to 990
M.E. was the eldest son of the lady that stayed at Changanachery. Their
present house at that place, known as Lakshmipuram Kottaram, was named
after the Koil Tampuran's royal consort. Raja Raja Varma's sister gave
birth to three daughters and two sons. The eldest daughter and sons
removed to Kartikapalli in 1040, and thence, in 1046, to Anantapuram
in Haripad. In 1041, the second daughter and issue removed to Chemprol
in Tiruvalla, while the third continued to live at Changanachery. Thus
there came into existence seven families of Koil Tampurans, namely
those of Kilimanur, Changanachery, Anantapuram, Pallam, Chemprol,
Gramam, and Paliyakkare. Some time after 1040 M.E. (A.D. 1856), three
more families, viz., those of Cherukol, Karamma, and Vatakkematham,
immigrated from North Malabar.

The Koil Tampurans are all regarded as blood relations, and observe
birth and death pollutions like Dayadis among Brahmans. They follow
the matriarchal system of inheritance. Nambutiri Brahmans marry
their ladies. Their religious ceremonies are the same as those of
Nambutiris, whom they resemble in the matter of food and drink. Their
caste government is in the hands of the Nambutiri Vaidikans.

Their ceremonies are the usual Brahmanical Samskaras--Gatakarma,
Namakarana, Annaprasana, etc. Regarding the Namakarana, or naming,
the only noteworthy fact is that the first-born male always goes by
the name of Raja Raja Varma. The Upanayana, or investiture with the
sacred thread, takes place in the sixteenth year of age. On the morning
of the Upanayana, Chaula or the tonsure ceremony is performed. It
is formally done by the Nambutiri priest in the capacity of Guru,
just as the father does to his son among Brahmans, and afterwards
left to be completed by the Maran. The priest invests the boy with
the thread, and, with the sacrificial fire as lord and witness,
initiates him in the Gayatri prayer. The Koil Tampurans are to repeat
this prayer morning, noon and evening, like the Brahmans, but are
to do so only ten times on each occasion. On the fourth day, the boy
listens to a few Vedic hymns recited by the priest. There is not the
prolonged course of severe discipline of the Brahmanical Brahmachari,
which the Nambutiris so religiously observe. The Samavartana, or
pupilage stage, is performed on the fifteenth day. The ceremony of
proceeding to Benares is then gone through. Just as in the case of
the Brahmans, a would-be father-in-law intercedes, and requests the
Snataka (past Brahmachari) to bless his daughter, and settle in life
as a Grihastha. The Nambutiri priest then steps in to remind the boy
of his dharma (duty) as a Kshatriya, and gives him a sword symbolic
of his pre-ordained function in society.

The marriage of a Koil Tampuran does not present many peculiar
features. One item in the programme, called Dikshavirippu, may be
referred to. During all the four days of the marriage, the bride
is confined to a special room, where a white cloth with a carpet
over it is spread on the floor, and a lamp burns day and night. The
ceremonial bridegroom is either an Aryappattar or a Nambutiri, now
generally a Nambutiri. Of course, the marriage is a mere ceremonial,
and the bridegroom at the ceremony is not necessarily the spouse of
actual life. His death deprives her of the right to wear the tali, and
makes her an Amangali (an inauspicious person) for all socio-religious
purposes. At sraddhas (memorial service for the dead), the Tampuratti
with her married husband alive faces the east, and one that has lost
him has to look in the direction of Yamaloka (south).

Mr. Ravi Varma, the celebrated artist, who died recently, was a Koil
Tampuran of Kilimanur, an extensive village assigned to his ancestors
rent-free for the military services they had rendered to the State
in times of trouble. [137]

Kokala (woman's cloth).--An exogamous sept of Golla.

Kokkara.--Recorded, in the Travancore Census Report, as a sub-division
of Nayar.

Kokkundia.--See Kukkundi.

Kola (ear of corn).--An exogamous sept of Medara.

Kolari.--See Kolayan.

Kolalo (arrack-seller).--A name of Sondis.

Kolata Gudiya.--A name for Gudiyas engaged in agriculture.

Kolayan.--It is recorded, in the Madras Census Report, 1901, that
"the caste is found chiefly in the Kasaragod taluk of South Canara,
and in the northern part of Malabar. In South Malabar, it is called
Urali. Its traditional occupation is herding cows, and it claims the
privilege of supplying milk and ghee to certain Hindu temples, but at
present most of its members are masons. It has two endogamous sections,
Ayan or Kol-Ayan, and Mariyan or Eruman" (Eruma, a cow-buffalo). It
is further noted, in the same report under the heading Eruman, that
"the people of the caste were originally buffalo drivers and keepers,
and still follow their traditional occupation in the Kasaragod taluk of
South Canara. In North Malabar, they are masons and bricklayers." The
masonry work of temples is done by Kolayans.

The name Kolayan has been said to be derived from Golla and Ayan,
meaning cowherd. Golla is, however, a Telugu word not used in the
Malayalam country.

Members of the two sections, Kolayan and Eruman (or Eruvan), are
said not to intermarry. Women of both sections may affect sambandham
(alliance) with Nayars. Children born of such unions are regarded
as somewhat inferior to those born of Kolayan parents, and are not
allowed to worship at the temples. The priests of the Kolayans are
called Muthavan or Poduvan, and are usually elected by Rajas.

Kolayan girls go through the mangalam or tali-kettu ceremony
before they reach puberty. On an auspicious day fixed by the Kanisan
(astrologer), the girl sits on a plank in the middle room of the house,
and four lamps are placed near her. Her father throws rice and flowers
over her head, and ties the tali (marriage emblem) on her neck. The
girl, four women, and four girls, are fed in the middle room. On the
following day, a priest (Vathiyan) places rice, paddy (unhusked rice),
tender cocoanut, betel leaves and areca nuts, before the girl. Men
and women of the priest's family wave rice, cocoanuts, etc., in front
of her both in the morning and afternoon. Finally, towards evening,
a Vathiyan woman waves the rice and other articles thrice, calling out
"Kolachi, Kolachi, Kolachi." The girl may then leave the middle room.

At the first menstrual period, a girl is under pollution for
three days. On the first day, a cloth (mattu) is given to her by a
washerwoman, and on the fourth day she receives one from a Malayan
woman.

The dead are usually cremated. Daily, until the twelfth day of the
death ceremonies, food is offered to the spirit of the deceased, on
a dais set up outside the house, by the relatives. On the fifth day,
all the agnates are purified by the Vathiyan sprinkling water over
them. On the twelfth day, the Vathiyan draws the image of a man with
vibuthi (sacred ashes) on the spot where the deceased breathed his
last. Near the figure, cooked rice, vegetables, etc., are placed. The
chief mourner offers these to the dead person, and makes a bundle of
them in his cloth. Going outside the house, he kicks the dais already
referred to with his foot, while the Vathiyan holds one hand, and
his relations the other hand or arm. He then bathes in a tank (pond)
or river, while his hands are held in like manner.

Koli.--In the Madras Census Report, 1901, the Kolis are described
as being "a Bombay caste of fishermen and boatmen in South Canara;
also a low class of Bengal weavers found in Ganjam." The Kolis
who were investigated in Ganjam are an Oriya-speaking class, who
are apparently Telugu people who have settled in the Oriya country
as weavers of coarse cloths, traders, and agriculturists. They have
Oriya titles such as Behara. They worship village deities (Takuranis),
are Saivites, and none of them have been converted to the Paramartho
form of Vishnavism. The caste council, puberty and death ceremonies,
are based on the common Oriya type, but the marriage rites are an
interesting blend of the Oriya and Telugu types of ceremonial. Thus the
usual Telugu marriage post, but made of Streblus asper wood, is set up,
and nine kinds of grain are placed near it. A bottu (marriage badge)
is tied on the neck of the bride by the bridegroom, and the hands of
the contracting couple are united (hasthagonthi) as among the Oriyas.

Koliyan.--The Koliyans are summed up, in the Madras Census Report,
1901, as "a weaver caste, the members of which were originally
Paraiyans, but now do not eat or intermarry with that caste." They
are largely found in the Tanjore and Madura districts, and are divided
into various nadus (territories) and kuppams (settlements). Those at
Pattukottai, for example, belong to Ambu Nadu, and are sub-divided
into five kuppams. Many of the Koliyans are engaged in weaving coarse
white cloths, while some work as field labourers. As some Paraiyans
have Samban (Siva) as their title, so the title of the Koliyans is
Isan (god). At times of marriage, the names of persons must not be
mentioned without this title, e.g., one who is, in everyday life,
called Ponnan is addressed as Isa Ponnan.

An interesting point in connection with the first puberty ceremonial
of a girl is that, on the sixteenth day, when she bathes, a withe of
a creeper (Dalbergia, sp.) made into a loop, is passed round her body
by a barber from head to foot thrice, without touching her. If this
is not done, it is believed that the girl is not free from pollution.

There are two forms of marriage ceremony, called chinna (little) and
periya (big) kalyanam. The former is resorted to by those who cannot
afford the more elaborate ceremonial. The sister of the bridegroom is
sent to the house of the bride on an auspicious day. She there ties
the tali (marriage badge) on the bride's neck, and conducts her to
the house of the bridegroom. Women who are thus married may not take
part in the marriage of their children. More especially, they may not
decorate them with garlands and flowers, unless they have themselves
performed the sadangu rite. In this, which is usually carried out
a day or two before the child's marriage, the husband and wife sit
on planks, and, after being decorated, and the performance of wave
offerings (arathi), the former ties the tali on his wife's neck.

In the periya kalyanam, the bridegroom goes on a horse to the bride's
house, where he is met by her brother, who is also on horseback. They
exchange garlands, and proceed to the marriage pandal (booth). The
bridegroom receives from the bride's father a cocoanut, and the bride
seats herself on a bench. The bridegroom gives her the cocoanut,
and ties the tali on her neck. They then exchange garlands, and
their fingers are linked together. All these items must be performed
as quickly as possible, in accordance with a saying that the tali
should be tied without dismounting from the horse, which one is
riding. Before the tali is tied, the contracting couple go through
the sadangu ceremony, in which a loop of cotton thread is passed over
them from head to foot, without touching them. Then the kankanams, or
wrist threads, are tied on their wrists. The milk-post and marriage
pots are set up within the pandal, and the bride and bridegroom
prostrate themselves before them, and salute their maternal uncles,
parents and relations, and lastly the musicians. The day's proceedings
terminate with a feast, at the conclusion of which hands are washed
within the house. For six days the bride and bridegroom pay visits to
each other alternately, and, on the seventh day, the wrist-threads,
marriage pots, and milk-post are removed. During marriage and other
auspicious ceremonies, coloured water, into which leaves of Bauhinia
variegata are thrown, are waved (arathi).

On ceremonial occasions, and at times of worship, the Koliyans put
on Saivite sect marks. Among other deities, they worship Aiyanar,
Pattavanswami, and Pothiamman.

The dead are burnt, and the body is placed in a seated posture with
fingers and toes tied together. On the way to the burning-ground, a
widow goes round the corpse, and breaks a pot containing water. On the
day after the funeral, the calcined bones are collected, and arranged
so as to represent a human figure, to which food is offered. The
final death ceremonies (karmandhiram) are performed on the sixteenth
day. A mass of cooked rice, vegetables, and meat, is placed within
an enclosure, round which the relations go in tears.

Kollakar.--There are about seven hundred members of this community at
Cochin, to which place the Kollakars, or people of Kollam, are said
to have come from Quilon (Kollam) in Travancore one or two centuries
ago. The majority of the men work as coolies on board steamers, and a
few as fishermen. The women of the poorer classes twist rope and sell
fish, while the others make lace. A few hold appointments under the
Government, and, in 1907, two had passed the Matriculation examination
of the Madras University. They are Roman Catholics, and are said to
have been converted to Christianity by the Portuguese. They marry among
themselves. The Kollakars are also found at Calicut, Cannanore, Mahe,
and Tellicherry, and are mainly occupied in fishing, rope-making, and
making fishing-nets. A few at Tellicherry are employed as carpenters,
tailors, and petty shopkeepers.

Kolla Kurup.--The Kolla Kurups of Malabar are described, in the
Gazetteer of Malabar, as a sub-caste of, or a caste allied to, the
Kammalans. "They combine two professions, which at first sight seem
strangely incongruous, shampooing or massage, and the construction of
the characteristic leather shields of Malabar. But the two arts are
intimately connected with the system of combined physical training,
as we should now call it, and exercise in arms, which formed the
curriculum of the kalari (gymnasium), and the title Kurup is proper
to castes connected with that institution." Among Kolla Kurups,
the following symbolical ceremony is necessary to constitute a
valid divorce. "The husband and the wife's brother stand east
and west respectively of a lighted lamp placed in the yard of the
woman's original home. The husband pulls a thread from his cloth,
and approaches the lamp, and breaks the thread saying 'Here is your
sister's accharam.'"

Kollan.--The blacksmiths are iron-workers among the Malayalam
Kammalans. "These Malabar Kollans," Mr. H. A. Stuart writes, [138]
"are said to practice fraternal polyandry to a greater extent even
than the rest of the Malabar artizan castes. Kollans are divided into
(1) Ti (fire) Kollan, (2) Perum (big) Kollan, (3) Tiperum Kollan, (4)
Irumbu (iron) Kollan. There are also Kadacchil Kollan (knife-grinders)
and Tol Kollan (leather-workers). These are of inferior status,
on account of the nature of their professions."

Kollar.--A section of Tottiyan, the full name of which is
Yerrakollavaru or Yerrakolla Tottiyar. Kollar is a corrupt Tamil form
of Golla, to which caste the Tottiyans trace their descent.

Kolli (fire-brand).--A sub-division of Kadu Kurumba.

Kolli (a hill-range, the Kollimalais).--A sub-division of Malayalis.

Komali (buffoon).--An exogamous sept of Odde.

Komanandi.--A sub-division of Andis, who go about naked, except for
a small loin cloth (komanam).

Komaro.--Oriya blacksmiths. See Badhoyi.

Komati.--The Komatis form the great trading caste of the Madras
Presidency, and are found in almost all the districts thereof. They are
further found in the Mysore State, Bombay Presidency, Berar, Central
Provinces, and as far north-west as Baroda. Their wide distribution
accounts for the great variety which prevails in the minor details
of the religious and social ceremonials.

The name Komati has been derived in many different ways. By some it
is said to be from ko-mati, meaning fox-minded. This has reference to
the cunning of the Komatis in business, and is undoubtedly the outcome
of their unpopularity with their customers. The phrase Komatiguttu
(the secrecy of a Komati) is said to be a common one. Others say
that it is from go-mati, meaning the possessor of cows, one of the
ordained duties of Vaisyas being the protecting of cows. Others,
again, say that it is from go-mati, meaning cow-minded. A modern
redaction of the Kanyaka Purana, the sacred book of the Komatis,
gives this derivation. According to this work, the Komatis did severe
penance, and were consequently invited to live in heaven. Their
continued absence from this world gave rise to serious trouble,
and Vishnu accordingly asked them to return thither for the good
of mankind. They, however, refused to do so. Vishnu then called for
Siva, and asked him to induce them to return. Siva brought a cow, and
directed all the Komatis to get into its right ear. From there they
saw gloriously decorated towns, with magnificent temples, pleasure
gardens, etc., and begged permission to live in them. Siva assented,
and they speedily began to march off to their new abodes. But, almost
immediately, a huge conflagration came in view, and began to overwhelm
them. Terror-stricken, they cried out to Siva to help them in their
trouble. He consented on condition that they would return to the
mortal world. This they accordingly did. Siva gave them the name of
Gomati, because they exhibited as much fear at the conflagration as
a cow would when anything untoward happened. Yet another derivation
of Komati is go-mati, meaning sprung from the cow in accordance with
the above legend, or cow-gored in reference to the story that the
ancestors of the Komatis commingled in a cow-shed, where a pregnant
woman was gored by a cow. The derivation ku-mati, meaning evil-minded,
is grammatically impossible. The Komatis are said to have originally
lived, and still live in large numbers on the banks of the Godavari
river. One of the local names thereof is Gomati or Gomti, and the
Sanskrit Gomati would, in Telugu, become corrupted into Komati.

The Komatis everywhere speak Telugu, and are devoted to their
mother-tongue. There is a common proverb among them, "Telugu theta,
Aravam adhvanam," meaning that Telugu is easy (has an easy flow),
and Tamil is wretched. "Of all Dravidian languages," Mr. Henry Morris
writes, "Telugu is the sweetest and most musical. It is exceedingly
mellifluous, and sounds harmonious even in the mouth of the most
vulgar and illiterate. It has justly been called the Italian of
the East." Komatis are clever at learning languages other than their
own. In the Tamil and Canarese districts, they are conversant with the
languages thereof, and in Bombay they speak Marathi. In the Ganjam
and Vizagapatam Agencies, they speak the Kondh and Savara languages
very fluently.

As a commercial caste, the Komatis have a secret trade language of
their own, which is substantially the same all over the country. It
will be seen from the tables given how complete their numerical tables
are, ranging, as they do, from one pie to a thousand rupees. It will
be observed that the rupee is represented by the word thelupu, which
means white. Some Tamil trading castes in like manner call the rupee
velle (white):--


1. Pie table.

                                              Pies.
                     Nakili batu                 1
                     Ke batu                     2
                     Kevu nakili batu            3
                     Rayam batu                  4
                     Rayam nakili batu           5


2. Anna table.

                                             Annas.
                     Thapi kamanalu              1/4
                     Nakili ana                  1/2
                     Kev ana                     1
                     Kevan nakili ana            1 1/2
                     Rayam analu                 2
                     Uddulam analu               3
                     Uddulam nakili analu        3 1/2
                     Kungidu analu               4
                     Sulalu analu               12


The word sulalu is connected with trisulam, the trident emblem of Siva,
and sometimes used to denote three annas.


3. Rupee table.

                                                Rs.
                     Thapi thelupu               1/4
                     Nakili thelupu              1/2
                     Ke thelupu                  1
                     Rayam thelupu               2
                     Uddulam thelupu             3
                     Uddulam nakili thelupu      3 1/2
                     Panam thelupu               4
                     Mulam thelupu               5
                     Thipam thelupu              6
                     Maram thelupu               7
                     Thamam thelupu              8
                     Navaram thelupu             9
                     Galam thelupu              10
                     Rayam galalu               20
                     Uddulam galalu             30
                     Panam galalu               40
                     Mulam galalu               50
                     Thipanam galalu            60
                     Maram galalu               70
                     Thamam galalu              80
                     Navaram galalu             90
                     Ke savalu                 100
                     Rayam savalu              200
                     Uddulam savalu            300
                     Panam savalu              400
                     Mulam savalu              500
                     Thipanam savalu           600
                     Maram savalu              700
                     Thamam savalu             800
                     Navaram savalu            900
                     Galam savalu            1,000


4. Varaham (pagoda) table.

                     Ke makaram                  1
                     Rayam makaram               2
                     Uddulam makaram             3
                     Panam makaram               4
                     Mulam makaram               5
                     Thipanam makaram            6
                     Maram makaram               7
                     Thamam makaram              8
                     Navaram makaram             9
                     Galam makaram              10


A common saying is that, if you commence at galam, it will be settled
at mulam, or, in plain language, begin at ten varahams, and the
bargain will be closed at five. When one man says to another "Dotu"
or "Dotra," it means strike the bargain. If a Komati is the purchaser,
and another says to him "Dot ko," it means take it.

The Komatis are a highly organised caste. In each place where they
are settled there is a Pedda Setti, who, among the Kalinga Komatis,
is known as Puri Setti or Senapathi. Among the latter, there is
also a headman for several villages, who is styled Kularaju or
Vaisyaraju. Each Pedda Setti is assisted by a Mummadi Setti, who
assembles the castemen for the settlement of important questions,
by fines, excommunication, etc. There is further a caste guru
Bhaskaracharya, whose duties are more religious than social. Komatis
have recourse to the established Courts of Justice only as a last
resort. They are consulted by other castes in the settlement of their
disputes, and it must be said to their credit that their decisions
are usually sound, and bear ample testimony to the confidence which
is placed in them.

The Komatis are, broadly speaking, divided into two great sections,
called Gavara and Kalinga. The former live as far north of Vizianagram,
and are then replaced by the latter. The Gavaras or Gauras are said to
be so called because, by following the caste goddess Kanyakamma into
the fire-pits, they maintained the gauravam or social status of the
caste. According to another version, they are so called because they
revere Gauri (Parvati), the consort of Siva, whose incarnation was the
goddess Kanyakamma. The Kalinga Komatis are those who live in the old
Kalinga or Kling country, which extended roughly from Vizagapatam to
Orissa. They are forbidden to settle beyond Ramatirtham, a place of
pilgrimage close to Vizianagram. The story goes that their ancestors
lived at Padmanabham, the hill close to Bimlipatam, well known from
the battle which took place close to it in 1794, and there sustained
great losses. Hence the place was deserted, and has ever since been
regarded as inauspicious. The Komatis have since that time not resided
at any place from which the hill can be seen. In fact, they make their
first appearance at Chipurupalli, and increase in numbers as we go
north-eastward. The Kalinga Komatis believe themselves to be Gavara
Komatis, who became separated from the main stock owing to their
emigration from their original home. Their meat-eating habit has,
they say, widened the breach which separates the two divisions.

While the Kalinga Komatis form a fairly compact division by themselves,
the Gavaras have become more and more sub-divided. Their sub-divisions
are either territorial, occupational, or religious in character. Thus
there are Penukonda and Veginadu Komatis, of whom the former belong to
the town of Penukonda in the Godavari district, and the latter to the
Vegi or Vengi country, the former name of part of the modern Kistna
district. Again, there are Trinikas or Traivarnikas (third caste
people), who are invariably Vaishnavas, and to which section a good
many of the Komatis in the city of Madras belong. Lingadhari Komatis
are found mostly in the Vizagapatam, Godavari, Guntur and Kistna
districts. They wear the lingam in a gold or silver casket. Besides
these, there are the Siva, Vaishnava, and Madhva Komatis, of which
the last are mostly found in the Bellary district. Of occupational
sub-divisions, the following may be noted:-- Nune (oil); Nethi (ghi,
clarified butter); Dudi (cotton); Uppu (salt); Gone (gunny-bag);
Gantha (torn cloth). Lastly, there are other divisions, of which the
origin dates back to the time of Kanyakamma, the caste goddess. Thus,
there are those who entered the fire-pits with Kanyakamma, and those
who did not. The former are known as Vegina, and the latter as Beri,
which is said to be a corruption of Bedari, meaning those who fled
through fear. All Gavara Komatis are said to be descended from those
who entered the fire-pits. The majority of the Komatis of the Sandur
State, in the Bellary district, belong to the Kallankanadavaru section,
which is said to be descended from those who sat on the stone (kallu)
mantapa outside the Penukonda Kanyakamma temple, when the question
whether to enter the fire-pits or not was being discussed by the
caste elders.

The mutual relations between the various sub-divisions vary
much. Broadly speaking, Gavaras and Kalingas do not intermarry,
and the objection to intermarriage is due to several causes. The
former, according to the caste Purana, gave their lives to their
goddess, while the latter did not. Moreover, the former do not
partake of animal food and spirituous drinks, whereas the latter
do. Lingadharis and ordinary Saivites intermarry, as also do Saivites
and Madhvas. Gavaras and Traivarnikas occasionally intermarry, but such
marriages are looked down upon. The Traivarnikas, like the Kalingas,
eat animal food. The occupational sub-divisions neither intermarry
nor interdine. Socially, the Gavaras are held in the highest esteem,
while the Beris are regarded as the lowest in the social scale.

The sub-divisions are split up into septs, which are of a strictly
exogamous character. That these originated in totemistic belief
seems to be supported by what remains of these beliefs at the
present day. All the sub-divisions contain such septs, which are
very numerous, the names of as many as a hundred and twenty having
been collected. The tendency for a long time past has been to reduce
the number to a hundred and two, to represent the number of families
which followed Kanyakamma to the fire-pits. It would be tedious to
enumerate the names of all these septs, from which the following,
with the corresponding totems, are selected:--


    Munikula                 Agasi (Sesbania grandiflora).
    Amalaka or Usiri         Amalaka or Usiri (Phyllanthus Emblica).
    Anupa or Anupala         Anupala (Dolichos Lablab).
    Tulasi or Tulashishta.   Tulasi (Ocimum sanctum).
    Chinta, Chintya, or
    Varachinta.              Chinta (Tamarindus indica).
    Vakkala                  Vakkalu (Areca Catechu).
    Puchcha                  Puchcha (Citrullus Colocynthis).
    Padma-sista              Padma (red lotus).
    Kamala                   Kamalam (white lotus).
    Aranta                   Arati (Musa sapientum: plantain).
    Thotakula                Thotakura (Amarantus, sp.).
    Uthakula                 Uththareni (Achyranthes aspera).
    Mandu                    Mamadikaya (Mangifera indica).
    Dikshama                 Drakshapandu (grapes).
    Venkola                  Vankaya (Solanum Melongena: brinjal).
    Sauna                    Samanthi (Chrysanthemum indicum).


    Gosila, Sathya Gosila, and Uthama Gosila.             Cow.
    Asthi                                                 Elephant.
    Enupa                                                 Buffalo.
    Ghonta                                                Horse.
    Ananta                                                Cobra.
    Bhramada or Bhramara                                  Bee.


    Arka or Surya                                         Sun.
    Chandra, Chandra Sishta, Suchandra, or Vannavamsam.   Moon.


It may be observed that the totems are variously termed gotram,
vamsam, and kulam. The first of these is in imitation of the Brahman
gotras. Vamsam is the bams of the Agency tracts of Ganjam, Vizagapatam,
and the Godavari districts. The name means bamboo, and denotes a
family, whose branches are as countless as those of a bamboo. Kulam
is used as the equivalent of group or family. The totem objects are
revered in the usual way, and no secret is made of the reverence
shown to them. In regard to plant totems, it is stated that, if the
totem objects are not strictly treated as tabu, delinquents will be
born as insects for seven generations. But an exception is allowed. A
person who wishes to eat the forbidden plant may do so by annually
performing the funeral ceremonies of the totem ancestor at Gaya,
the great Hindu place of pilgrimage where obsequial ceremonies to
ancestors are performed.

In recent times, the Komatis have claimed to be the Vaisyas mentioned
in the Vedic Purusha-sukta. Accordingly, the totems have been arranged
under the different Brahmanical gotras, whose pravaras have been
appropriated. Thus, Munikula and four others are grouped under Madgalya
Rishi gotra, whose pravara is given for all the five. Similarly,
Vakkala kula and another kula come under Vayavya Rishi; Ghonta kula
under Goupaka Rishi; Arati, Arisishta and a few others under Atri
Rishi; Anupa kula under Agasthya Rishi, and so on. It is said that the
totem names are secret names (sanketa namamulu) given by Kanyakamma,
in order that the bearers thereof may be distinguished from those who
did not take up her cause. All sub-divisions of the caste, however,
have these septs in common.

In the northern parts of the Madras Presidency, the sept is further
sub-divided into sections called intiperulu (house names). These are
either named after some distinguished ancestor, or the place where
the family once lived before emigrating to their present abode. These
intiperulu are purely exogamous.

A Komati can claim his maternal uncle's daughter in marriage, in
accordance with the custom of menarikam. The rigidity with which
this right is exercised is testified by the sacred book of the
caste--the Kanyaka Purana. On their descent from heaven, it is said,
the Komatis settled in eighteen towns (ashta dasapuramulu), which
had been built by Visvakarma under the orders of Siva. These towns
are said to be situated in a tract of country sixty-four yojanas in
extent, and bounded on the east by the Gautami (Godavari), on the
south by the sea, on the west by the Gostani, and on the north by the
Ganges. Of these, Penukonda, in the modern Godavari district, was the
capital. In it are the temples of Nagariswaraswami (dedicated to Siva),
and Janardhanaswami (dedicated to Vishnu). Its Pedda Setti was Kusama
Sreshti, and his wife was Kusamamba. He performed Putra Kameshti
sacrifice, and was blessed with a son and daughter. The former was
named Virupaksha, and the latter Vasavambika (Vasavakanya, Kanyakamma,
or Kanyaka Parameswari). The girl was possessed of indescribable
beauty. Vishnu Vardhana, the son of Vijayarka of the lineage of the
moon, who had his capital at Rajamundry, while on a pleasure tour
round his dominions, halted at Penugonda, on learning that it was
ruled by Setti Rajas, who paid no tribute to him. Being informed of
his arrival by their boys, the caste elders, headed by Kusuma Setti,
welcomed him, and took him in procession through the town. Then
the women of the place waved arathi before him. Among them was the
beautiful Vasavambika, with whom the king instantly fell in love. He
proposed to her father that he should give her in marriage to himself,
and in return obtain the gift of half of his kingdom. Kusuma Sreshti
protested, and said that the sastras were against such a union. The
king, through his minister, threatened that he would plunder his town,
take him prisoner, and, with the riches of the place, carry off his
daughter, and marry her. The Setti chief and his compatriots prayed
for time to think over the matter, and retired. The chief then called a
meeting of the castemen, at which it was decided that they should make
a false promise to the king that they would give the girl in marriage
to him, and send him off with a dinner, to return to Penugonda for
the marriage after the lapse of a couple of months. Meanwhile, the
boys of the town assembled, and resolved that the dinner ought not
to be given. They informed their elders of this resolution, and were
commissioned to induce the king to leave the town without it. This
they did, with the ambiguous promise that, if they did not give
the girl in marriage to him, they would kill themselves. On this,
the king went off towards his capital, and Kusuma Setti called a
caste meeting of the eighteen towns, at which various proposals were
made. One proposed that the girl should not be given in marriage,
and that, if the king came to claim her hand, he should be driven
off. Another proposed that they should give the girl to the king,
and save themselves from ruin. Others suggested that it would be best
to marry the king to a substituted girl, to secrete the coveted girl,
or to bribe the ministers to induce the king to abandon his intention
of marrying her. The last of these proposals was adopted, and a few
elders were sent to Rajamundry, to negotiate the affair. They first
argued that, though they promised to give the girl in marriage, the
promise was made through fear of the king's anger, and they could not
give the girl in contravention of the rule of menarikam. The king,
in his fury, ordered that the troops should immediately besiege the
eighteen towns, imprison the inhabitants in dark dungeons, and carry
off the girl in a palanquin. On this, the envoys heavily bribed the
ministers, and begged them not to march the army on their towns. But
the king would not yield, and sent his troops on Penugonda. The envoys
returned home, and narrated their sad tale. A further meeting of the
castemen was called at the instance of Bhaskaracharya, the caste guru,
and it was resolved that all who wished to maintain the caste rule of
menarikam should prepare to kill themselves in burning fire-pits. The
majority fled rather than comply with the resolution. Those,
however, who determined to sacrifice themselves in the fire-pits
were 102 gotras in number, and they assembled in council, and asked
Kusuma Sreshti to induce his daughter (who was only seven years old)
to die with them. To this she consented, and showed herself in her
true form of Paramesvari, the wife of Siva. On this, the Setti chief
returned to his castemen, who asked him to get 103 fire-pits ready in
the western portion of the town before the arrival of the king. These
were accordingly dug, and decorated with festoons and plantain trunks
at the four corners. Then the heads of the 102 gotras assembled,
with their wives, in the courtyard of the temple of Nagaresvaraswami,
where Vasavambika was symbolically married to the god. The headmen
then tied on vira kankanams (heroes' wrist-threads), and marched in
a body, with Vasavambika, to the fire-pits. There they gave counsel
to their children that they should not ask voli (bride-price) for the
marriage of their daughters, or communicate their secrets to females,
or allow karnams (village accountants), rulers, unbelievers, or those
universally abused into their homes. They further counselled them to
give their daughters in marriage to the sons of their paternal aunts,
even though they should be black-skinned, plain, blind of one eye,
senseless, or of vicious habits, and though their horoscopes did not
agree, and the omens were inauspicious. They were warned that, if
they failed in so doing, they would lose their riches, and misfortune
would fall on their families. Moreover, full power was given to the
castemen to excommunicate the delinquents, and put them outside the
town limits. If the transgressors subsequently repented, they were,
after the lapse of six months, to be sent to Kasi (Benares), bathe
in the Ganges, and return to their home. There they were to openly
express their regret for their past conduct, fast the whole day,
feed Brahmans, and present them with three hundred cows, and hear
the Mahabharatha during the night. On the following day, they were
again to fast, present two hundred cows to Brahmans and feast them,
and hear the Ramayana during the night. On the third day, they were
once more to fast, present a hundred cows, and hear the Bhagavatam
during the night. On the fourth day, they were again to feast
Brahmans, and worship Nagaresvaraswami of Penugonda, and thus purge
themselves from the sin of contravening the rule of menarikam. But
they were not bound to follow the rule, if the paternal aunt's son
was totally blind, deaf, insane, stricken with disease, a eunuch,
thief, idiot, leper, dwarf, or immoral, or if an old man or younger
than the girl. The children were further advised to respect, at the
time of their marriage, the families whose heads went as envoys to the
king at Rajamundry, and the boys who made false promises to the king,
and induced him to withdraw to his capital. The heads of the families
then made various gifts to Brahmans, and asked Vasavambika to enter
the pit. In her true form of Paramesvari, she blessed those gotras
which had resolved to follow her, and announced that those who had
fled would be nameless and without caste. She then declared that,
immediately Vishnu Vardhana entered Penugonda, his head would fall
severed from his neck. Finally, she invoked Brahma not to create
thenceforth beautiful girls in the caste in which she was born, and
prayed that in future they should be short of stature, with gaping
mouth, disproportionate legs, broad ears, crooked hands, red hair,
sunken eyes, dilated eye-balls, insane looks, broad noses and wide
nostrils, hairy body, black skin, and protruding teeth. She then jumped
into her pit, and immediately afterwards the heads of the 102 gotras,
with their wives, fell into their respective pits, and were reduced
to ashes. On the morrow, Vishnu Vardhana started on his journey from
Rajamundry to Penugonda. Brahmans portended evil, and a voice from
heaven said that he would lose his life. An evil spirit obstructed him,
and it rained blood. Lightning struck men, and numerous other signs
of impending evil occurred. Arrived at Penugonda, Vishnu Vardhana
was informed that the castemen and Vasavambika had been burnt in the
fire-pits. Stunned by the news, he fell from his elephant, and his
head was severed from his body, and broke into a thousand pieces. His
broken head and body were carried by his followers to Rajamundry,
and cremated by his son Raja Raja Narendra. Then the latter pacified
the citizens of Penugonda, and appointed Virupaksha, the son of Kusuma
Sreshti, Pedda Setti of the towns. The 102 families performed funeral
rites for their dead parents, visited Kasi and Ramesvaram, and built
a temple in honour of Vasavambika at Penugonda, in which they placed
an image in her name, and worshipped it ever afterwards.

Popular versions of the story here related from the Purana are told all
over Southern India, where Komatis live. One of the most singular of
these is narrated by Bishop Whitehead. [139] "The story," he writes,
"goes that, in ancient days, there was a bitter hatred between the
Komatis, who claim to belong to the Vaisya caste, and the Mlechas
or barbarians. When the Komatis were getting worsted in the struggle
for supremacy, they requested Parvati, the wife of Siva, to come and
deliver them. It so happened that about that time Parvati was incarnate
as a girl of the Komati caste, who was exceedingly beautiful. The
Mlechas demanded that she should be given in marriage to one of their
own people, and the refusal of the Komatis led to severe fighting,
in which the Komatis, owing to the presence of the avatar of Siva
among them, were completely victorious, and almost exterminated
their enemies. After their victory, the Komatis entertained doubts
as to the chastity of the girl, and compelled her to purify herself
by passing through fire. This she did, and disappeared in the fire,
resuming her real shape as Parvati, and taking her place beside Siva
in heaven. Her last words were a command to the Komatis to worship her,
if they wished their caste to prosper."

It is impossible to identify with certainty the Vishnu Vardhana of the
Purana. There are as many as eleven individuals of that name known
in Eastern Chalukyan history. The Purana refers to Vishnu Vardhana,
the son of Vijayarka, who had his capital at Rajamundry. His son,
according to the same authority, was Raja Raja Narendra. According
to the Mackenzie manuscripts, the town of Rajamundry was founded by a
king named Vijayaditya Mahendra, who has not been identified. Dr. Fleet
is of opinion that Vishnu Vardhana VI, who ruled between 918 and 925
A.D., was the first to occupy, and re-name it. He, therefore, called
himself Rajamahendra. Amma II, who ruled between 945 and 970 A.D.,
bore the same title. His brother and successor was Danarnaya (970--73
A.D.). Passing over the hiatus of thirty years, when the country was
in the hands of the Cholas, we come to the reign of Saktivarman, the
eldest son of Danarnaya. If we are to believe the Kanyaka Purana, then
we must identify this Saktivarman with its Vijayarka. Saktivarman's
successor, according to inscriptions, was Vimaladitya, who must be
identified with the Vishnu Vardhana of the Purana. Vimaladitya's
son, according to inscriptions, was Raja Raja I, surnamed Vishnu
Vardhana VIII. He has been identified with the Raja Raja Narendra
of current tradition in the Telugu country, to whom Nannayya Bhatta
dedicated his translation of the Mahabharatha. He must also be the
Raja Raja Narendra of the Purana. If that is so, we must set down
the cardinal incidents mentioned in it to the first quarter of the
11th century A.D. The actual spots where the principal events of
the tragedy were enacted are still pointed out at Penugonda. Thus,
the garden in which king Vishnu Vardhana halted is said to be the
site on which the hamlet of Vanampalli (meaning village of gardens)
stands at present. The spot where the huge fire-pit for Kanyakamma
was dug is pointed out as having been in field Nos. 63/3 and 63/4 to
the north of the now non-existent Nagarasamudram tank. The 102 other
pits were, it is said, in the fields round the bund (embankment)
of this tank. The tank is now under cultivation, but faint traces
of the bund are said to be still visible. It is about two furlongs
to the north-west of the temple of Nagaresvaraswami. It is locally
believed that Kanyakamma's fire-pit was, on the morning following her
tragic end, found to contain, among the ashes, a golden likeness of
herself, which was placed by the side of the image of Nagareswara,
to whom she had been married. Long afterwards, the golden image was
removed, and one in stone substituted for it, in accordance, it is
said, with the direction of Kanyakamma, who appeared to one of the
townsmen in a dream.

The temple of Nagaresvaraswami has several inscriptions on slabs,
built into its prakara, and elsewhere. One of these is on the gateway
inside the prakara walls. It opens with a glowing description of
the powers of Nagaresvaraswami in giving blessings and gifts, and
refers to Penugonda as one of the eighteen towns built by Visvakarma,
and presented by Siva to the Komatis as a place of residence. The
object of the inscription appears to be to record the restoration by
one Kothalinga, a Komati whose genealogy is given, of the great town
(Penugonda), which had been burnt to ashes by a Gajapathi king. He is
also stated to have made grants of tanks, wells, and pleasure gardens,
for the benefit of Nagaresvaraswami, for whose daily offerings and the
celebration of festivals he provided by the grants of the villages
of Mummadi, Ninagepudi, Varanasi, Kalkaveru, and Mathampudi, all
included in the town of Penugonda. Various inscriptions show that,
from so early a time as 1488 A.D., if not from still earlier times,
the temple had become popular with the Komatis, and got intertwined
with the statements now found in the Purana. Rai Bahadur V. Venkayya,
Government Epigraphist, writes to say that the Teki plates found in
the Ramachandrapuram taluk of the Godavari district, and published by
Dr. E. Hultzsch, [140] may refer to some Komatis. The edict contained
in it was, according to Dr. Hultzsch, probably issued about 1086 A.D.,
and records the grant of certain honorary privileges on the descendants
of a family of merchants belonging to the Teliki family.

That about the end of the 14th century A.D., the story of Kanyakamma
was popular is obvious from the Telugu version of the Markandeya
Purana, which was composed by the poet Marana, the disciple of Tikkana,
the part author of the Telugu Bharata. In this Purana, the following
episode, which bears a close resemblance to the story narrated in
the Kanyaka Purana, is introduced. A king, named Vrushadha, while on
a hunting expedition, killed a cow, mistaking it for a "bison." He
was cursed by Bhabhravya, the son of a Rishi, who was in charge of
it, and in consequence became a Sudra, by name Anaghakara. He had
seven sons, a descendant of one of whom was Nabhaga, who fell in love
with a Komati girl, and asked her parents to give her in marriage to
him. The Komatis replied much in the same manner as Kusuma Sreshti
and his friends did to the ministers of Vishnu Vardhana in the Kanyaka
Purana. Their answer will be found in canto VII, 223, of the Markandeya
Purana, which contains the earliest authentic literary reference
to the name Komati. In effect they said "Thou art the ruler of the
whole of this universe, Oh! King; we are but poor Komatis living by
service. Say, then, how can we contract such a marriage?" The king
was further dissuaded by his father and the Brahmans. But all to no
purpose. He carried off the girl, and married her in the rakshasa
form (by forcible abduction), and, in consequence, in accordance
with the law of Manu, became a Komati. He then performed penance,
and again became a Kshatriya. It would seem that this episode, which
is not found in the Sanskrit Markandeya Purana, is undoubtedly based
on the incident recorded in the Kanyaka Purana.

There remain only three arguments to adduce in support of the
suggestion that the chief event narrated in the Kanyaka Purana is
worthy of credence. In the marriage ceremonies as performed by the
Komatis, some prominence is given to certain of the incidents alleged
to have taken place in setting at naught the demands of king Vishnu
Vardhana. Such, for instance, is the respect shown to the bala
nagaram boys, which is referred to later on. Secondly, there are
certain castes which beg only from Komatis, in return for services
rendered during this critical period of their history. These are the
Mailaris and Viramushtis. The former still carry round the villages
an image of Kanyakamma, sing her story, and beg alms of devotees. The
Viramushtis are wrestlers, who, by acrobatic performances, delayed,
by previous arrangement, the second advance of Vishnu Vardhana,
before the Komatis committed themselves to the flames. Allied to these
castes are the Bukka Komatis. Originally, it is explained, the Bukkas
belonged to the Komati caste. When Kanyakamma threw herself into the
fire-pit, they, instead of following her example, presented bukka
powder, saffron, and kunkumum prepared by them to her. She directed
that they should live apart from the faithful Komatis, and live by
selling the articles which they offered to her. The Kalinga Komatis
also have a beggar caste attached to them, called Jakkali-vandlu, who
have nothing to do with the Gavara Komati beggar castes. Thirdly,
if we may place any faith in the stories told by other castes,
e.g., the Jains of South Arcot, the Tottiyans, Kappiliyans, and
Beri Chettis, the persecution of their subjects by their kings,
in the manner indicated in the Kanyaka Purana, seems to have been
widely practiced all over the country. And the method adopted by the
Komatis to evade the king, and maintain the menarikam rule, has its
counterpart in the popular ballad known as Lakshmammapata, still sung
all over the Northern Circars, which gives a graphic description of
the murder of his wife by a husband, who would not agree to giving
their daughter away from his own sister's son. Even now, the sentiment
on this subject is so strong that a man who goes against the rule of
menarikam, not only among the Komatis, but among all castes observing
it, is looked down on. It is usually described as bending the twig
from its natural course, and, as the twig would waste away and die in
consequence, so would parties to such marriages not prosper. In 1839,
according to the Asiatic Journal, a case was taken before the Supreme
Court of Madras, in which the plaintiff brought an action against his
uncle for giving his daughter away in marriage, without making him
an offer of her hand. The Judges were anxious that the matter should
be settled out of Court, but the parties disagreed so entirely that
nothing less than a public trial would satisfy them. It has not been
possible to trace the decision of the Court.

The Komatis have for a long time been alleged to be connected with
the Madigas in a variety of ways. "The Komatis," Mr. F. R. Hemingway
writes, "do not as a rule deny the fact of this connection. The
Madigas are, indeed, apparently under the protection of the Komatis,
apply to them for help when in trouble, and obtain loans and other
assistance. Some Komatis explain the connection with the Madigas by a
story that either Vishnu Vardhana, or his successor Rajaraja Narendra
persecuted the Komatis, and that they had to fly for refuge to the
Madigas. The Madigas took them in, and hid them, and they say that
the present favour shown to that caste is only in gratitude for the
kindness shown to themselves in the past. The Komatis themselves do
not admit the title Mid-day Madigas (applied to them by other castes),
but explain it by a story that long ago a Komati killed and ate a
cow-buffalo, which was really no cow-buffalo, but the wife of a great
sage who had transformed her into that shape in order that she might
be safe when he was in contemplation. The saint accordingly cursed the
caste, and said that they should be Mid-day Madigas for ever more." It
is possible that the connection between the Komatis and Madigas was
originally such as that of the Kammalans, Ambattans, and other castes,
with Paraiyans, Vettiyans, and other depressed classes, and that, in
later times, weird stories were invented by fertile brains to explain
them away. One of these undoubtedly is that which makes the Komatis
the descendants of the issue of a plain Brahman and a handsome Madiga
woman. It is said that their children managed a sweetmeat bazar,
which the Brahman kept in a much frequented forest, and, in his
absence, pointed with a stick (kol) to the plates, and thereby told
their prices, without polluting the articles with the touch. Hence
arose the name Kolmutti (those who pointed with the stick), which
became softened down to Komutti. Another story runs to the effect
that the Madiga woman, when she was pregnant with her first child,
was gored by a cow, and gave birth to it in the cow-shed. Hence arises
the name Go-mutti, or cow-gored. In days gone by, it was incumbent
on the Komatis to bear the marriage expenses of the Madiga families
attached to their village, much in the same way that the Chakkiliyan
is treated in the Madura district by the Tottiyan caste in return for
the services he renders when a Tottiyan girl is under pollution on
reaching maturity. In later times, this custom dwindled in some places
[141] to the payment of the expenses of the marriage of two Madigas,
and even this was abandoned in favour of inviting the Madigas to
their weddings. In the city of Madras, it would appear to have been
customary, in the eighteenth century, for the Komatis to get the
mangalyam or sathamanam (marriage badge) blessed by an aged Madiga
before it was tied on the bride's neck. Further, it would appear to
have then been customary to give the sacred fire, used at marriages for
the performance of homam, to a Madiga, and receive it back from him.

These, and similar customs, traces of which still exist in some
places (e.g., North Arcot), show that the Madiga has some claim on
the Komatis. What that claim is is not clear. However, it is reported
that, if the Madiga is not satisfied, he can effectually put a stop
to a marriage by coming to the house at which it is to be celebrated,
chopping away the plantain trunks which decorate the marriage booth,
and carrying them off. Similarly, Kammalans invite Vettiyans (or
Paraiyans) to their marriage, and, if this is not done, there is
the same right to cut down the plantain trunks. It would seem that
the right thus exercised has reference to the right to the soil
on which the booth stands. The cutting away of the plantain shows
that their right to stand there is not recognised. The invitation
to the Madiga or Vettiyan would thus refer to the recognition
by the Komatis and Kammalans to the lordship of the soil held in
bygone days by these now depressed castes. Writing in 1869 and 1879,
respectively, Sir Walter Elliot and Major J. S. F. Mackenzie of the
Mysore Commission refer [142] to the presentation of betel and nuts
by the Komatis to the Madigas, thereby inviting them to be present at
their marriages. Dr. G. Oppert also refers to the same custom. [143]
Having risen in the social scale, the Komatis would naturally wish to
give this invitation covertly. Major Mackenzie says that the Komatis
in Mysore, in order to covertly invite the Madigas to the wedding,
went to the back of their houses at a time when they were not likely to
be seen, and whispered into an iron vessel, such as is commonly used
for measuring grain, an invitation in the following words:--"In the
house of the small ones (i.e., Komatis) a marriage is going to take
place. The members of the big house (i.e., Madigas) are to come." The
Madigas look on such a secret invitation as an insult, and would, if
they saw the inviters, handle them roughly. It is noted, in the Madras
Census Report, 1901, that "now-a-days the presentation (of betel leaf
and nuts) is sometimes veiled by the Komati concerned sending his shoes
to be mended by the Madiga a few days before the wedding, deferring
payment till the wedding day, and then handing the Madiga the leaf
and nut with the amount of his bill." According to another account,
the Komati of set purpose unbinds the toe-ring of his native shoes
(cherupu), and summons the Madiga, whose function it is to make and
repair these articles of attire. The Madiga quietly accepts the job,
and is paid more amply than is perhaps necessary in the shape of
pan-supari, flowers, and money. On the acceptance by the Madiga of
the betel and nuts, the Komati asks "Cherinda, cherinda"? i.e., has
it reached you, and the Madiga replies "Cherindi, cherindi", i.e., it
has reached. Until he replies thus, the mangalyam cannot, it is said,
be tied on the bride's neck. In the Bellary district, betel leaf and
nuts are usually left at night behind the Madiga's house, in token
of the invitation to the wedding. In the Godavari district, according
to Mr. Hemingway, the Komati gives an order for a Madiga for palmyra
leaf baskets before the marriage, and presents him with betel and nut
when he brings the baskets. Still another account says that some of
the Komatis, just before a marriage, leave in the backyard of Madiga
houses a few pice and betel close to the cattle-pen, and that it is
whispered that some Komatis use chuckler's (leather-worker's) tools,
made in silver, for worship. It is also reported that chuckler's work
is pretended to be gone through by some Komatis, after the completion
of the marriage ceremonies, in the backyard of the house at dead
of night, in the presence of caste-people only, and by preference
under a danimma chettu (Punica Granatum: pomegranate). This is known
as kulacharam, kuladharmam, or gotra puja (custom of the caste, or
worship of the gotras). The figure of a cow is made of flour, and
into its stomach they put a mixture of turmeric, lime, and water,
called wokali. This, it has been suggested, is meant to represent
blood. After the cow has been worshipped in due form, it is cut up
with instruments made of flour, and intended to represent those used
by cobblers. To each family is secretly sent that portion of the cow,
which, according to custom, they are entitled to receive. Thus, the
Kommala-varu receive the horns, the Gontula the neck, the Karakapala
the hands and temples, the Thonti the hump, the Danta the teeth, the
Veligollu the white nails, and so on. Major Mackenzie testified to the
performance of this ceremony by the caste in Mysore in 1879, and it
is recorded from different parts of the Madras Presidency. The flour,
which is thus distributed, is known as nepasani mudda or nepasani
unta. The ceremony is still performed in the city of Madras, on the
night of the fifth day if the marriage lasts over seven days, or on
the night of the third day if it lasts over five days. If the wedding
ceremonies are completed in one day, the ceremony is performed even
during the day time. The following details are performed. A brass
vessel (kalasam) and a cocoanut are set up in the house, and the
bride and bridegroom's parties arrange themselves on each side of
it. The vessel is decorated, and the cocoanut is made to represent
the face of a woman, with eyes, nose, mouth, etc., and adorned with
jewelry, flowers, anilin and turmeric powder marks. A young man of the
bridegroom's party worships the feet of all present. The flour cow is
then made, cut up, and distributed. Cocoanuts are broken, and camphor
is set on fire, and waved before the vessel. Mr. Muhammad Ibrahim
states that families are known by the names of the various organs of
the cow in the Godavari district. There is, he says, a story to the
effect that some Komatis killed a cow-buffalo, which went about as
such by day, but became transformed into a beautiful woman under the
miraculous influence of a pious Brahman. As a redemption for their
sin, these Komatis were ordered by the Brahman to take their names
after the various parts of the animal, and as, by killing the animal,
they proved worse than Madigas, they were ordered to show respect to
these people. In the Kumbum taluk of the Kurnool district, a flour
buffalo is substituted for the cow. In the Markapur taluk of the same
district, two elephants are made of mud, and the bride and bridegroom
sit beside them. Presentations of cloths and jewels are then made
to them. The officiating purohit (priest) worships the elephants,
and the bride and bridegroom go round them.

Two further points of connection between the Komatis and Madigas are
referred to by Major Mackenzie. "I find," he writes, "that it is the
custom to obtain the fire for burning Kama, the Indian Cupid, at the
end of the Holi feast from a Madiga's house. The Madigas do not object
to giving the fire, in fact they are paid for it." This appears to be
a purely local custom, and no trace of its existence has been found
in various parts of the Madras Presidency. The other point refers to
the identification of the goddess Matangi of the Madigas with the
Komati goddess Kanyaka Amma. "I cannot," Major Mackenzie writes,
"discover the connection between two such different castes as the
Komatis and Madigas, who belong to different divisions. The Komatis
belong to the 10 pana division, while the Madigas are members of
the 9 pana. [144] One reason has been suggested. The caste goddess
of the Komatis is the virgin Kannika Amma, who destroyed herself
rather than marry a prince, because he was of another caste. She
is usually represented by a vessel full of water, and, before the
marriage ceremonies are commenced, she is brought in state from the
temple, and placed in the seat of honour in the house. The Madigas
claim Kannika as their goddess, worship her under the name of Matangi
and object to the Komatis taking their goddess." The Komatis stoutly
deny that there is any connection between Matangi and Kanyaka Amma,
and it would seem that they are independent goddesses.

Marriage is always infant. A Brahman purohit officiates. Each purohit
has a number of houses attached to his circle, and his sons usually
divide the circle among themselves on partition, like any other
property. Polygamy is permitted, but only if the first wife produces
no offspring. The taking of a second wife is assented to by the first
wife, who, in some cases, believes that, as the result of the second
marriage, she herself will beget children. Two forms of marriage
ceremonial are recognised, one called puranoktha, according to long
established custom, and the other called vedoktha, which follows the
Vedic ritual of Brahmans. In Madras, on the first day of a marriage,
the contracting couple have an oil bath, and the bridegroom goes
through the upanayana (sacred thread investiture) ceremony. He then
pretends to go off to Kasi (Benares), and is met by the bride's party,
who take him to the bride's house, where the mangalyam is tied by the
bridegroom before the homam (sacrificial fire). On the second day,
homam is continued, and a caste dinner is given. On the third day,
the gotra puja is performed. On the fourth day, homam is repeated,
and, on the following day, the pair are seated on a swing, and rocked
to and fro. Presents, called katnam, are made to the bridegroom,
but no voli (bride-price) is paid. In the mofussil, [145] where the
puranoktha form of ceremonial is more common, ancestors are invoked
on the first day. On the second day, the ashtavarga is observed,
and the bride and bridegroom worship eight of the principal gods
of the Hindu Pantheon. On this day, the pandal (marriage booth)
is erected. On the third day, the mangalyam is tied, sometimes by
the officiating Brahman purohit, and sometimes by the bridegroom. On
the fourth day, the Brahmans of the place are honoured, and, on the
following day, in most places, a festival is held in honour of the
goddess Kanyaka Parameswari. The bride and bridegroom's mothers go to
a tank (pond) or river with copper vessels, and bring back water at
the head of a procession. The vessels are placed in a special pandal,
and worshipped with flowers, anilin and turmeric powders. Finally,
cocoanuts are broken before them. On the next day, or on the same
day if the marriage ceremonies conclude thereon, the festival in
honour of the Balanagaram boys, or those who helped the Komatis of
Penugonda in their trouble with Vishnu Vardhana, is held. Five boys
and girls are bathed, decked with jewelry, and taken in procession
to the local temple, whence they are conducted to the bride's house,
where they are fed. On the following day, the ceremony called thotlu
puja is performed. A doll is placed in a cradle connected with two
poles, and rocked to and fro. The bridegroom gives the doll into the
hands of the bride, saying that he has to go on a commercial trip. The
bride hands it back to him, with the remark that she has to attend to
her kitchen work. On the following day, the bridal couple are taken
in procession, and, in the Bellary district, a further day is devoted
to the surgi ceremony. The bride and bridegroom bathe together, go to
the local temple, and return. Then five girls bathe, the five posts of
the marriage pandal are worshipped, and the kankanams (wrist-threads)
are removed from the wrists of the newly-married couple.

Kalinga Komatis, who live in the northern part of Ganjam, and have
forgotten their mother-tongue, have practically adopted the Oriya
customs, as they have to depend mainly on Oriya Brahmans. At their
marriages, however, they use the Telugu bottu or sathamanam.

Widow remarriage is not permitted among any sections of the caste,
which is very strict in the observance of this rule. Except among
the Saivites, a widow is not compelled to have her head shaved,
or give up wearing jewelry, or the use of betel. In the south
of the Madras Presidency, if a little girl becomes a widow, her
mangalyam is not removed, and her head is not shaved till she reaches
maturity. Vaishnava widows always retain their hair.

Concerning a form of marriage between the living and the dead,
performed by members of this caste if a man and woman have been living
together, and the man dies, Mr. Hutchinson writes as follows. [146]
"The sad intelligence of her man's death is communicated to her
neighbours, a guru or priest is summoned, and the ceremony takes
place. According to a writer who once witnessed such a proceeding,
the dead body of the man was placed against the outer wall of the
verandah of the house in a sitting posture, attired like a bridegroom,
and the face and hands besmeared with turmeric. The woman was clothed
like a bride, and adorned with the usual tinsel ornament over the
face, which, as well as the arms, was daubed over with yellow. She
sat opposite the dead body, and spoke to it in light unmeaning words,
and then chewed bits of dry cocoanuts, and squirted them on the face
of the dead man. This continued for hours, and not till near sunset
was the ceremony brought to a close. Then the head of the corpse was
bathed, and covered with a cloth of silk, the face rubbed over with
some red powder, and betel leaves placed in the mouth. Now she might
consider herself married, and the funeral procession started." This
refers to the Vira Saiva or Lingayat Komatis of the Northern Circars.

In the Northern Circars, and part of the Ceded Districts, the
Vedoktha form of marriage now prevails, and its usage is spreading
into the southern districts of Mysore. Further, the Komatis perform
most of their ceremonies in the same form. This, it is contended, is
a latter day development by some of the more conservative members of
the caste, but it is stated by those who follow it that it is allowed
to them by the Hindu sastras (law books), as they are Vaisyas. During
recent years, the latter view has obtained a great impetus through
the writings and influence of several of the more prominent members
of the caste, between whom and their opponents a war of pamphlets
has taken place. It is not possible here to go into details of the
dispute, but the main point seems to be as follows. On the one hand,
it is denied that there are any true Vaisyas in the Kaliyuga (iron
age). And so, though the Komatis are accorded the status of Vaisyas in
recognition of their being traders, yet they cannot follow the Vedic
form of ceremonial, which is the exclusive right of Brahmans; and,
even if they ever followed it, they forfeited it after the break-up
of the caste on the death of Kanyakamma. On the other hand, it is
stated that the Komatis are Dwijas (twice born), and that they are
consequently entitled to follow the Vedic ritual, and that those who
forfeited the Vedic rights are those who did not follow Kanyakamma
to the fire-pits, and do not therefore belong to the 102 gotras. The
dispute is an old standing one, and nearly a century ago was taken
for adjudication as far as the Judicial Committee of the Privy
Council. The question whether the Komatis are entitled to perform
their subah and asubah (auspicious, like marriage, and inauspicious,
like death) ceremonies according to the Vedic form, was raised by the
Brahmans of Masulipatam in 1817, and adjudicated upon. [147] Disputes
had occurred between the Brahmans and Komatis for a long time, and
disturbances constantly took place. The Magistrate of Masulipatam
prohibited the Komatis from performing one of the ceremonies, until
they had established their right to do so in a Civil Court. The
appellants thereon sued the defendants in damages for impediments
made against their attending to the rites prescribed by the Vedas,
and prayed for permission to perform them in conformity with the
Vedas. The defendants denied the right of the Komatis to perform,
and the fact of their ever having performed the ceremonies appointed
by the Vedas. They admitted the intervention of the Magistrate, and
stated that "upwards of two thousand years ago, the Komatis adopted
the customs of the Soodra caste, and some of them became Byri Komatis,
and Bookha caste people, etc. The rest of them, amounting to a hundred
and two gotras, fabricated false gotrams for themselves, and called
themselves Nagaram Komatis. They fabricated a book called Canniaca
Puranam, named the Bashcara Puntulu Varu their priest, conformed to
that book, performed the sign of the upanayana ceremony in a loose
manner, and in the language of the Puranas; at the time of marriage,
made marriage ceremony in seven days contrary to the custom of all
castes whatever, erected prolu posts, made lumps of dough with flour,
and got the same divided among them according to their spurious
gotrams, at midnight fetched the pot of water called arivany, and
observed the ceremonies for ten days on the occurrence of a birth,
and fifteen days on the occurrence of a death. In this manner, the
forefathers of the plaintiffs, the other merchants, and the plaintiffs
themselves, had got all ceremonies conducted for upwards of two
thousand years past." They cited instances, in which the plaintiffs,
or some of them, had failed in previous attempts to sustain the right
now claimed, and objected to the form of the plaint as not sufficiently
setting forth the particulars and nature of the obstruction for which
the plaintiffs claimed compensation. The plaintiffs, in their reply,
did not negative or rebut the specific statements of the defendants,
but insisted generally on their right to the performance of the
ceremonies in question. The point at issue being not clear from the
pleadings, the parties were questioned in open Court as to the precise
object of the action, and the ground on which it was maintained. The
plaintiffs stated that their object was the establishment of their
right to have the whole of the subha and asubha ceremonies performed
in their houses by Brahmans in the language of the Vedas, and that
they claimed this right on the ground of the Sastras. On this,
the Zilla Judge framed a hypothetical statement of facts and law
based on the defendant's answer for the opinion of the Pandit of the
Court, and, upon his opinion, declared the plaintiffs entitled to
have the ceremonies performed for them by Brahmans. Upon appeal, the
Provincial Court for the northern division remitted the suit to the
Zilla Court to take evidence, and, upon such opinions of the Pandits
which the Provincial Court took upon the same statement as the Zilla,
they affirmed the decree, but without costs. The Pandits consulted
by them were those of the Provincial Courts of the northern, centre,
southern and western divisions. They all agreed that "the Brahmans
ought not to perform the ceremonies in the language of the Vadas for
the Vaisyas." Three of them further added that, in their opinion,
the Judges ought to pass a decision, awarding that the Komatis are to
continue to perform religious rites according to the rules laid down
in the book called Puranam (i.e., in the Puranoktha form), as are at
present observed by the corrupt or degenerate Vaisyas or Komatis and
others. On appeal, the Sudder Dewani Adawlut reversed the decisions
of the lower Courts, "having maturely weighed the evidence produced,
and considered the unbiassed and concurring opinions of the four law
officers of the Provincial Courts." On further appeal to the Privy
Council, Lord Brougham, in delivering judgment, observed that "the
plaintiffs, not having, in their opinion, alleged any case of injury
done to them by the defendants upon which they were entitled to go into
evidence, and not having therefore established any case for damages in
their suit against the defendants, no question remained but of a mere
declaration of a right to perform certain religious ceremonies; that,
if the Courts had jurisdiction to proceed to the determination of that
question in this suit (upon which their Lordships guard themselves in
their judgment), the plaintiffs have not produced sufficient evidence
to establish such a right; that, under these circumstances, all the
decrees therefore ought to be reversed, and the plaint dismissed
(the reversal of the Sudder Court amounts in fact to a dismissal of
the plaint); but it is not, as it ought to be, a dismissal without
costs; and that this decision should be without prejudice to the
existence or non-existence of the right claimed by the appellants,
in any other suit, in which such a question may be properly raised."

The Komatis wear the sacred thread, and utter the Gayatri and other
sacred mantras. A number of them, at Adoni in the Bellary district,
refused to be measured by me in the afternoon, as they would not
have time to bathe, and remove the pollution by evening. In Telugu
dictionaries, the Komatis are given the alternative names of Mudava
Kolamuvaru (those of the third caste), Vaisyalu, and Nallanayya
Todabiddalu (those who were begotten from the thighs of Vishnu). As
already stated, there are among the Komatis ordinary Saivites, who daub
themselves with ashes; Lingayats or Vira Saivas, who wear the linga
in a silver casket; Ramanuja Vaishnavites; Chaitanya Vaishnavas, who
are confined to the Kalinga section; and Madhvas, who put on the sect
marks of Madhva Brahmans. The Traivarnikas are a special class among
the Vaishnavas. They imitate the Vaishnava Brahmans more closely than
the rest. They, and their females, tie their cloths like Brahmans,
and the men shave moustaches. Unlike the Saivites and Lingayats,
they eat flesh and fish, and drink spirituous liquors. They will
eat in the houses of Satanis, whereas other Komatis do not eat
in any but Brahman houses. But it may be observed that Velamas,
Balijas, Kammalans, Ambattans, Vannans, and many other castes,
will take neither water nor food from Komatis. This, however, does
not prevent them from purchasing the cakes prepared in ghi or oil,
which the Komatis sell in petty shops.

Writing early in the nineteenth century, Buchanan refers  [148]
to a dispute at Gubbi in the Mysore State between the Komatis and
Banajigas, which arose from the former building a temple to their
goddess Kanyakamma. Purnia, the Prime-minister, divided the town by
a wall, thus separating the two parties. The Komatis claimed that
it had been the custom for all parties to live together, and that
it would be an infringement of the rules of caste for them to be
forced into a separate quarter. The chief of the Komatis entered
the town in procession, on horseback with an umbrella held over his
head. This assumption of rank was regarded by the Banajigas with
the utmost indignation. To such a pitch did the quarrel reach that,
at the time of Buchanan's visit, there was a rumour current as to
the necessity of killing a jack-ass in the street, which would cause
the immediate desolation of the place. "There is," he writes, "not
a Hindu in Karnata, that would remain another night in it, unless by
compulsion. Even the adversaries of the party would think themselves
bound in honour to fly. This singular custom seems to be one of the
resources upon which the natives have fallen to resist arbitrary
oppression, and may be had recourse to whenever the Government
infringes, or is considered to have infringed upon the custom of any
caste. It is of no avail against any other kind of oppression."

A brief reference may be made to the part which the Komatis took, in
bygone days, in the faction fights known as right and left-hand caste
disputes. Some of the South Indian castes, including the Komatis,
belong to the former, and others to the latter. Those belonging to
the left-hand would not let those belonging to the right-hand pass
through their streets with their marriage and other processions. The
right-hand section was equally jealous of the left. The Komatis, who
were among the early settlers in the town of Madras in the seventeenth
century, were involved in faction disputes on two recorded occasions,
once, in 1652 A.D., during the Governorship of Aaron Baker, and
later on during that of William Pitt, [149] in 1707. When a wedding
procession of members of one section passed through the streets of
the other section, Pitt summoned twelve of the heads of each section,
and locked them up in a room together, until the dispute should be
adjusted. An agreement was speedily arrived at, according to which
the right-hand settled on the west side of the town, now known as
Pedda Naikan Pettah, and the left-hand on the east side, in what is
at present called Mutialu Pettah. The Komatis accordingly are now
mainly found in the western part of the city of Madras.

All over the country, the Komatis venerate the deified virgin
Kannika Parameswari, to whom, in most places, they have erected
temples. One of these, at Tadpatri in the Anantapur district, which
was in course of construction in 1904, is of more than ordinary
interest. It was being built at the expense of the local Komatis,
who had raised a subscription among themselves for the purpose. The
design was original, and even arches entered into its construction. The
sculpture, with which it is decorated, is quite excellent in design
and finish. Much of it is copied from the two beautiful temples,
which have existed at the place since the days of the Vijianagar
dynasty. Other notable temples are those at Penukonda, Vizianagram
in Vizagapatam, and Berhampur in Ganjam. Fines collected from erring
castemen in the Godavari, Guntur and Kistna districts, are still sent
to the temple at Penukonda. The Komatis worship various goddesses,
in addition to Kanyaka Parameswari. Those who live in Vizagapatam
"relax their faith in favour of the celebrated Muhammadan saint, who
lies buried by the Durga on the top of the hill which overlooks the
harbour. Every vessel, passing the harbour inwards and outwards,
salutes him by hoisting and lowering its flag three times. He
is considered all potent over the elements in the Bay of Bengal,
and many a silver dhoney (boat) is presented at his shrine by Hindu
ship-owners after a successful voyage. We remember a suit between a
Komati, the owner of a dhoney, and his Muhammadan captain, who was
also the super-cargo, for settlement of accounts. In a storm off
the coast of Arakan, the skipper stated that he had vowed a mudupu
or purse of rupees to the Durga, and had duly presented it on his
return. This sum, among other sets-off, he charged to the owner of
the vessel, the plaintiff, whose sole contention was that the vow had
never been discharged; the propriety of conciliating the old Fakir in
a hurricane he submissively allowed." Even now, the Komatis, though
no longer boat-owners, revere the saint, and make vows to him for
the success of civil suits, and recovery from all sorts of maladies.

The Komatis employ Brahmans for the performance of their ceremonial
rites, and recognise a Brahman as their guru. He is commonly called
Bhaskaracharya, after the individual of that name who lived at
Penukonda prior to the sixteenth century A.D., and translated the
Sanskrit Kanyaka Purana into a Telugu poem. He made certain regulations
for the daily conduct of the Komatis, and made the 102 gotras submit
to them. A copy of an inscription on a copper plate, in the possession
of one Kotta Appaya, the Archaka or priest of the Nagareswaraswami
temple at Penukonda, is given in the Mackenzie manuscripts. It records
a grant (of unknown date) to Bhaskaracharya, the guru of the Vaisyas,
by the 102 gotrams, according to which each family agreed for ever
afterwards to give half a rupee for every marriage, and a quarter
of a rupee for each year. Such doles are common even at the present
day to his successors. These, like the original Bhaskaracharya,
who is considered to be an incarnation of Brahma, are house-holders,
and not Sanyasis (religious ascetics). There are several of them, in
different parts of the country, one for example being at Penukonda,
and another near Hospet, who makes periodical tours in state, with
drums, silver maces, and belted peons, and is received with every
mark of respect. He settles disputes, levies fines, and collects
subscriptions towards the upkeep of his mutt (religious institution),
which is also supported by inam (rent-free) lands.

The Komati dead, except children and Lingayats, are cremated,
Lingayat Komatis, like other Lingayats, bury their dead in a sitting
posture. The death ceremonies among the Gavaras closely resemble
those of Brahmans. The period of death pollution is sixteen days,
during which sweets are taboo.

The Komatis are best known as merchants, grocers, and money-lenders. In
the city of Madras, they are the principal vendors of all sorts of
imported articles. The row of shops in the China bazar, between
Pachaiyappa's College and Popham's Broadway, is almost entirely
maintained by them. Many Komatis are cloth merchants, and Traivarnikas
are almost entirely engaged in the glassware trade. In the Northern
Circars, some earn a living as petty dealers in opium and ganja
(Indian hemp). In the Ganjam, Vizagapatam and Godavari districts they
are found in the hills, acting as middle-men between the hill tribes
and the people of the plains. Most of the Komatis are literate, and
this helps them in their dealings with their constituents. They are
proverbially shrewd, industrious, and thrifty, and are often rich. If
a Komati fails in business, his compatriots will come to his rescue,
and give him a fresh start. Organised charity is well known among
them. Each temple of Kanyaka Parameswari is a centre for charity. In
the city of Madras the Kanyaka Parameswari charities, among other
good objects, promote the development of female education. In 1905,
the Komatis established a Southern India Vysia Association, with the
object of encouraging "the intellectual, moral, religious, social,
industrial and commercial advancement of the Vysia community." Among
the means employed for so doing, are the helping of deserving students
with scholarships for the prosecution of the study of the English and
vernacular languages, and organised relief of poor and distressed
members of the community by founding orphanages, and so forth. The
affairs of the association are managed by an executive committee made
up of prominent members of the caste, including merchants, lawyers,
and contractors.

Many stories and proverbs have reference to the wealth, ready wit,
thrift, and other qualities of the Komatis. [150] Of these, the
following are selected from a large repertoire:--


The Blind Komati and Vishnu.

A blind Komati prayed to Vishnu for the restoration of his eyesight,
and at last the god appeared before him, and asked him what he
wanted. "Oh! God," he replied, "I want to see from above the seventh
storey of my mansion my great-grandsons playing in the streets,
and eating their cakes from golden vessels."

Vishnu was so astonished at the request of the blind man, which
combined riches, issue, and the restoration of his eyesight in one
demand, that he granted all his desires.


The Komati and the Thief.

An old Komati observed a thief at dead of night lurking under a
pomegranate tree, and cried out to his wife to bring him a low
stool. On this he seated himself in front of the thief, and bawled
out for hot water, which his wife brought him. Pretending that he was
suffering from severe tooth-ache, he gargled the water, and spat it
out continuously at the wondering thief. This went on till daybreak,
when he called out his neighbours, who captured the thief, and handed
him over to the police.


The Komati and his Cakes.

A Komati was on his way to the weekly market, with his plate of
cakes to sell there. A couple of thieves met him when he was half
way there, and, after giving him a severe thrashing, walked off
with the cakes. The discomfited Komati, on his way back home with
the empty plate, was met by another Komati going to market with his
cakes. The latter asked how the demand for cakes was at the market,
and the former replied "Why go to the market, when half-way people
come and demand your cakes?" and passed on. The unsuspecting Komati
went on, and, like the other, was the recipient of a sound thrashing
at the hands of the thieves.


The Komati and the Scorpion.

A number of Komatis went one day to a temple. One of them put one of
his fingers into the navel of the image of Vinayakan (the elephant
god) at the gateway, when a scorpion, which was inside it, stung
him. Putting his finger to his nose, the Komati remarked "What a fine
smell! I have never experienced the like." This induced another man to
put his finger in, and he too was stung, and made similar pretence. All
of them were thus stung in succession, and then consoled each other.


The Komati and the Milk Tax.

Once upon a time, a great king levied a tax upon milk, and all his
subjects were sorely tried by it. The Komatis, who kept cows, found
the tax specially inconvenient. They, therefore, bribed the minister,
and mustered in strength before the king, to whom they spoke concerning
the oppressive nature of the tax. The king asked what their profit
from the milk was. "A pie for a pie" said they to a man, and the king,
thinking that persons who profit only a pie ought not to be troubled,
forthwith passed orders for the abolition of the tax.


The Komati and the Pandyan King.

Once upon a time, a Pandyan King had a silver vessel of enormous size
made for the use of the palace, and superstitiously believed that its
first contents should not be of an ordinary kind. So he ordered his
minister to publish abroad that all his subjects were to put into the
vessel a chembu-full of milk from each house. The frugal Komatis,
hearing of this, thought, each to himself, that, as the king had
ordered such a large quantity, and others would bring milk, it would
suffice if they took a chembu-full of water, as a little water poured
into such a large quantity of milk would not change its colour, and it
would not be known that they only contributed water. All the Komatis
accordingly each brought a chembu-full of water, and none of them told
the others of the trick he was about to play. But it so happened that
the Komatis were the first to enter the palace, while they thought
that the people of other castes had come and gone. The vessel was
placed behind a screen, so that no one might cast the evil eye on it,
and the Komatis were let in one by one. This they did in all haste,
and left with great joy at the success of their trick. Thus there was
nothing but water in the vessel. Now it had been arranged that the king
was to be the first person to see the contents of his new vessel, and
he was thunderstruck to find that it contained only water. He ordered
his minister to punish the Komatis severely. But the ready-witted
Komatis came forward, and said "Oh! gracious King, appease thy anger,
and kindly listen to what we have to say. We each brought a chembu-full
of water, to find out how much the precious vessel will hold. Now that
we have taken the measurement, we will forthwith fetch the quantity of
milk required." The king was exceedingly pleased, and sent them away.

A story is told to the effect that, when a Komati was asked to identify
a horse about which a Muhammadan and Hindu were quarrelling, he said
that the fore-part looked like the Muhammadan's, and the hind-part
like the Hindu's. Another story is told of a Komati, who when asked by
a Judge what he knew about a fight between two men, deposed that he
saw them standing in front of each other and speaking in angry tones
when a dust-storm arose. He shut his eyes, and the sound of blows
reached his ears, but he could not say which of the men beat the other.

Of proverbs relating to the Komatis, the following may be noted:--


    A Brahman will learn if he suffers, and a Komati will learn if
    he is ruined.

    If I ask whether you have salt, you say that you have dhol (a
    kind of pulse).

    Like the burning of a Komati's house, which would mean a heavy
    loss.

    When two Komatis whisper on the other side of the lake, you will
    hear them on this side. This has reference to the harsh voice
    of the Komatis. In native theatricals, the Komati is a general
    favourite with the audience, and he is usually represented as
    short of stature, obese, and with a raucous voice.

    The Komati that suits the stake. This has reference to a story in
    which a Komati's stoutness, brought on by want of exercise and
    sedentary habits, is said to have shown that he was the proper
    person to be impaled on a stake. According to the Rev. H. Jensen,
    [151] the proverb refers to an incident that took place in 'the
    city of injustice.' A certain man was to be impaled for a crime,
    but, at the last moment he pointed out that a certain fat merchant
    (Komati) would be better suited for the instrument of punishment,
    and so escaped. The proverb is now used of a person who is forced
    to suffer for the faults of others.


The Komatis are satirically named Dhaniyala jati, or coriander caste,
because, as the coriander seed has to be crushed before it is sown,
so the Komati is supposed to come to terms only by rough treatment.

The Komatis have the title Setti or Chetti, which is said to be
a contracted form of Sreshti, meaning a precious person. In recent
times, some of them have assumed the title Ayya.

Kombara.--The name, meaning a cap made of the spathe of the areca palm
(Areca Catechu) of an exogamous sept of Kelasi. Such caps are worn
by various classes in South Canara, e.g., the Holeyas and Koragas.

Kombu (stick).--An exogamous sept of Kuruba.

Komma.--Komma (a musical horn) or Kommula has been recorded as an
exogamous sept of Kamma and Mala. Kommula is further a professional
title for horn-blowers, mainly Mala, Madiga, and Panisavan, who
perform at festivals and funerals.

Kommi.--A gotra of Gollas, the members of which may not use kommi fuel.

Kompala (houses).--An exogamous sept of Devanga.

Konan.--Konan or Konar is a title of Idaiyans. Some Gollas call
themselves Konanulu.

Konangi (buffoon).--An exogamous sept of Devanga.

Konda (mountain).--An exogamous sept of Devanga and Medara, and a
synonym for Konda Dora.

Konda Dora.--The Konda Doras are a caste of hill cultivators, found
chiefly in Vizagapatam. Concerning them Surgeon-Major W. R. Cornish
writes as follows. [152] "Contrasting strangely with the energetic,
patriarchal, and land-reverencing Parja (Poroja), are the neighbouring
indigenous tribes found along the slopes of the eastern ghauts. They
are known as Konda Doras, Konda Kapus, and Ojas. From what has been
ascertained of their languages, it seems certain that, divested of
the differences which have been engrafted upon them by the fact of
the one being influenced by Uriya and the other by Telugu, they are
substantially of the same origin as the Parja language and the Khond
language. But the people themselves seem to have entirely lost all
those rights to the soil, which are now characteristic of the more
northern tribes. They are completely at the mercy of late immigrants,
so much so that, though they call themselves Konda Doras, they are
called by the Bhaktas, their immediate superiors, Konda Kapus. If
they are found living in a village with no Telugu superior, they are
known as Doras. If, on the other hand, such a man is at the head of
the village affairs, they are to him as adscripti glebæ, and are
denominated Kapus or ryots (cultivators). It is apparent that the
comparatively degraded position that this particular soil-folk holds is
due to the influence of the Telugu colonists; and the reason why they
have been subjected to a greater extent than the cognate tribes further
inland is possibly that the Telugu colonization is of more ancient date
than the Uriya colonization. It may further be surmised that, from the
comparative proximity of the Telugu districts, the occupation of the
crests of these ghats partook rather of the character of a conquest
than that of mere settlings in the land. But, however it came about,
the result is most disastrous. Some parts of Pachipenta, Hill Madugulu,
and Kondakamberu, which have been occupied by Telugu-speaking folk,
are far inferior in agricultural prosperity to the inland parts,
where the Uriyas have assumed the lead in the direction of affairs."

In the Census Report, 1891, Mr. H. A. Stuart writes that "these
people all speak Telugu, and the majority of them have returned that
as their parent-tongue. But a large number returned their caste name
in the parent-tongue column. I have since received a vocabulary,
which is said to be taken from the dialect of the Konda Doras;
and, if this is correct, then the real speech of these people is a
dialect of Khond." One Durgi Patro, the head of a mutta (division
of a Zemindari) informed Mr. G. F. Paddison that Konda Doras and
Khonds are identical. In the Census Report, 1901, Mr. W. Francis
states that the Konda Doras "seem to be a section of the Khonds,
which has largely taken to speaking Telugu, has adopted some of the
Telugu customs, and is in the transitional stage between Animism and
Hinduism. They call themselves Hindus, and worship the Pandavas and a
goddess called Talupulamma. They drink alcohol, and eat pork, mutton,
etc., and will dine with Kapus." At times of census, Pandavakulam
(or Pandava caste) has been returned as a title of the Konda Doras.

For the following note I am indebted to Mr. C. Hayavadana Rao. There
are, among the Konda Doras, two well-defined divisions, called Pedda
(big) and Chinna (little) Kondalu. Of these, the former have remained
in their old semi-independent position, while the latter have come
under Telugu domination. The Chinna Kondalu, who have been living
in contact with the Bhaktha caste, have adopted the Telugu system of
intiperulu, as exogamous septs, whereas the Pedda Kondalu have retained
the totem divisions, which occur among other hill castes, e.g., Naga
(cobra), Bhag (tiger), and Kochchimo (tortoise). Among the Chinna
Kondalu, the custom of menarikam, according to which a man marries his
maternal uncle's daughter, is observed, and may further marry his own
sister's daughter. The Chinna Kondalu women wear glass bangles and
beads, like women of the plains. Men of the Chinna Kondalu section
serve as bearers and Government employees, whereas those of the Pedda
Kondalu section are engaged in cultivation. The former have personal
names corresponding to those of the inhabitants of the plains, e.g.,
Linganna, Gangamma, while the names of the latter are taken from the
day of the week on which they were born, e.g., Bhudra (Wednesday),
Sukra (Friday).

Among the Chinna Kondalu, a girl is married before or after
puberty. When a marriage is decided on, the girl's parents receive a
present (voli) of four rupees and a female cloth. On an auspicious
day fixed by the Chukkamusti (star-gazer), the bride is conducted
to the home of the bridegroom. The contracting couple are bathed in
turmeric-water, put on new cloths presented by their fathers-in-law,
and wrist-threads are tied on their wrists. On the same day, or
the following morning, at a time settled by the Chukkamusti, the
bridegroom, under the direction of a caste elder, ties the sathamanam
(marriage badge) on the bride's neck. On the following day, the
wrist-threads are removed, and the newly married couple bathe.

Among the Pedda, as among the Chinna Kondalu, a girl is married
before or after puberty. When a man contemplates taking a wife, his
parents carry three pots of liquor to the home of the girl whose hand
he seeks. The acceptance of these by her father is a sign that the
match is agreeable to him, and a jholla tonka (bride-price) of five
rupees is paid to him. The future bridegroom's party has to give
three feasts to that of the bride-elect, for each of which a pig is
killed. The girl is conducted to the house of the bridegroom, and, if
she has reached puberty, remains there. Otherwise she returns home,
and joins her husband later on, the occasion being celebrated by a
further feast of pork.

Both sections allow the remarriage of widows. Among the Pedda Kondalu,
a younger brother may marry the widow of his elder brother. By both
sections divorce is permitted. Among the Chinna Kondalus, a man who
marries a divorcée has to pay her first husband twenty-four rupees,
of which half is divided among the neighbouring caste villages in
certain recognised proportions.

The dead are usually burnt by both sections. The Pedda Kondalu kill
a pig on the third day, and hold a feast, at which much liquor is
disposed of. By the Chinna Kondalu the chinna rozu (little day)
ceremony is observed, as it is by other castes dwelling in the plains.

The Chinna Kondalu bear the titles Anna or Ayya when they are
merely cultivators under Bhaktha landlords, and Dora under other
circumstances. The Pedda Kondalu usually have no title.

A riot took place, in 1900, at the village of Korravanivalasa in the
Vizagapatam district, under the following strange circumstances. "A
Konda Dora of this place, named Korra Mallayya, pretended that he
was inspired, and gradually gathered round him a camp of four or
five thousand people from various parts of the agency. At first his
proceedings were harmless enough, but in April he gave out that he
was a re-incarnation of one of the five Pandava brothers; that his
infant son was the god Krishna; that he would drive out the English
and rule the country himself; and that, to effect this, he would arm
his followers with bamboos, which should be turned by magic into guns,
and would change the weapons of the authorities into water. Bamboos
were cut, and rudely fashioned to resemble guns, and armed with
these, the camp was drilled by the Swami (god), as Mallayya had come
to be called. The assembly next sent word that they were going to
loot Pachipenta, and when, on the 1st May, two constables came to
see how matters stood, the fanatics fell upon them, and beat them
to death. The local police endeavoured to recover the bodies, but,
owing to the threatening attitude of the Swami's followers, had to
abandon the attempt. The District Magistrate then went to the place
in person, collected reserve police from Vizagapatam, Parvatipur,
and Jeypore, and at dawn on the 7th May rushed the camp to arrest the
Swami and the other leaders of the movement. The police were resisted
by the mob, and obliged to fire. Eleven of the rioters were killed,
others wounded or arrested, and the rest dispersed. Sixty of them
were tried for rioting, and three, including the Swami, for murdering
the constables. Of the latter, the Swami died in jail, and the other
two were hanged. The Swami's infant son, the god Krishna, also died,
and all trouble ended at once and completely."

Concerning the Konda Kapus or Konda Reddis of the Godavari district,
Mr. F. R. Hemingway writes as follows. [153] "The hill Reddis, or
Konda Reddis, are a caste of jungle men, having some characteristics
in common with the Koyas. They usually talk a rough Telugu, clipping
their words so that it is often difficult to understand them; but it
is said that some of them speak Koya. They are of slighter build than
the Koyas, and their villages are even smaller. They will not eat in
the house of a Koya. They call themselves by various high-sounding
titles, such as Pandava Reddis, Raja Reddis, and Reddis of the solar
race (Suryavamsa), and do not like the plain name of Konda Reddi. They
recognize no endogamous sub-divisions, but have exogamous septs. In
character they resemble the Koyas, but are less simple and stupid,
and in former years were much given to crime. They live by shifting
cultivation. They do not touch beef, but will eat pork. They profess
to be both Saivites and Vaishnavites, and occasionally employ Brahman
priests at their funerals; and yet they worship the Pandavas, the
spirits of the hills (or, as they call them, the sons of Racha),
their ancestors including women who have died before their husbands,
and the deity Muthyalamma and her brother Poturazu, Saralamma, and
Unamalamma. The last three are found in nearly every village. Other
deities are Doddiganga, who is the protector of cattle, and is
worshipped when the herds are driven into the forests to graze, and
Desaganga (or Paraganga), who takes the place of the Maridamma of the
plains, and the Muthyalamma of the Koyas as goddess of cholera and
small-pox. The shrine of Saralamma of Pedakonda, eight miles east of
Rekapalle, is a place of pilgrimage, and so is Bison Hill (Papikonda),
where an important Reddi festival is held every seven or eight years
in honour of the Pandava brothers, and a huge fat pig, fattened for the
occasion, is killed and eaten. The Reddis, like the Koyas, also observe
the harvest festivals. They are very superstitious, believing firmly
in sorcery, and calling in wizards in time of illness. Their villages
are formed into groups like those of the Koyas, and the hereditary
headmen over these are called by different names, such as Dora,
Muttadar, Varnapedda, and Kulapatradu. Headmen of villages are known
as Pettadars. They recognise, though they do not frequently practice,
marriage by capture. If a parent wishes to show his dislike for a
match, he absents himself when the suitor's party calls, and sends a
bundle of cold rice after them when they have departed. Children are
buried. Vaishnavite Reddis burn their adult dead, while the Saivites
bury them. Satanis officiate as priests to the former, and Jangams
to the latter. The pyre is kindled by the eldest male of the family,
and a feast is held on the fifth day after the funeral. The dead are
believed to be born again into their former families."

Kondaikatti.--The name of a sub-division of Vellalas, meaning those
who tie the whole mass of hair of the head (kondai) in a knot on the
top of the head, as opposed to the kudumi or knot at the back of the
partially shaved head.

Kondaita.--A sub-division of Doluva.

Kondaiyamkottai.--A sub-division of Maravan.

Kondalar.--Recorded, in the Madras Census Report, 1901, as a sub-caste
of Vellala. Kondalam means women's hair or a kind of dance, and it
is possible that the name was returned by people of the Deva-dasi
caste, who are rising in the social scale, and becoming absorbed in
the Vellala caste. Kondali, of doubtful meaning, has been returned
by cultivators and agricultural labourers in North Arcot.

Kondh.--In the Administration Report of the Ganjam Agency, 1902-3,
Mr. C. B. Cotterell writes that Kondh is an exact transliteration
from the vernacular, and he knows of no reason, either sentimental
or etymological, for keeping such spelling as Khond.

It is noted, in the Madras Census Report, 1891, that "the Khonds
inhabit the hill tracts of Ganjam and parts of Vizagapatam, and are
found also in Bengal and the Central Provinces. They call themselves
Kui, a name identical with the Koi or Koya of the Godavari agency
and the south of the Jeypore Zemindari. The Telugu people call them
Kotuvandlu. The origin of the name Khond is doubtful, but Macpherson
is, I think, right in deriving it from Telugu Konda, a hill. There is a
tribe in Vizagapatam called Konda Dora or Konda Kapu, and these people
are also frequently called Kotuvandlu. All these names are derivatives
of the root kô or kû, a mountain. The number of sub-divisions returned
is 58. The list includes many names of other castes, a fact which
must be in part ascribed to the impossibility of distinguishing the
true Khonds from persons returned as Kondavandlu, Kondalu, Kotuvandlu,
etc., terms which mean simply highlanders, and are applicable to all
the hill tribes. For example, 12,164 Panos have returned their main
caste as Khond."

In a note on the Kui, Kandhi, or Khond language, Mr. G. A. Grierson
writes as follows. [154] "The Kandhs or Khonds are a Dravidian
tribe in the hills of Orissa and neighbouring districts. The tribe
is commonly known under the name of Khond. The Oriyas call them
Kandhs, and the Telugu people Gonds or Kods. The name which they
use themselves is Ku, and their language should accordingly be
denominated Kui. The word Ku is probably related to Koi, one of the
names by which the Gonds used to denote themselves. The Koi dialect of
Gondi is, however, quite different from Kui. The Khonds live in the
midst of the Oriya territory. Their habitat is the hills separating
the districts of Ganjam and Vizagapatam in the Madras Presidency,
and continuing northwards into the Orissa Tributary States, Bod,
Daspalla, and Nayagarh, and, crossing the Mahanadi, into Angul and the
Khondmals. The Khond area further extends into the Central Provinces,
covering the northern part Kalahandi, and the south of Patna. Kui is
surrounded on all sides by Oriya. Towards the south it extends towards
the confines of the Telugu territory. The language varies locally,
all over this area. The differences are not, however, great, though
a man from one part of the country often experiences difficulty in
understanding the Kui spoken in other parts. There are two principal
dialects, one eastern, spoken in Gumsur and the adjoining parts
of Bengal, and one western, spoken in Chinna Kimedi. In the north,
Kui has come under the influence of the neighbouring Aryan forms of
speech, and a specimen forwarded from the Patna State was written in
Oriya with a slight admixture of Chattisgarhi. The number of Kandhs
returned at the census of 1891 was 627,388. The language returns,
however, give a much smaller figure. The reason is that many Kandhs
have abandoned their native speech."

It has been noted that "the character of the Khonds varies as much as
their language. Where there has been much contact with the plains,
it is not as favourable as elsewhere. As a rule, they may be taken
to be a bold, and fitfully laborious mountain peasantry of simple,
but not undignified manners; upright in their conduct; sincere in
their superstitions; proud of their position as landholders; and
tenacious of their rights. The Linepada Khonds affect manners like
Uriyas, and, among other things, will not eat pork (the flesh of
wild pigs excepted). The Khond villages have quite the appearance of
Uriya villages, the houses are built with mud walls, a thing unknown
with Khonds in other parts of the Maliahs; and there is also much
neat garden cultivation, which is rare elsewhere, probably because
the produce thereof would be appropriated by the Uriyas. In 1902,
the Linepada Muttah (settlement) presented the unusual spectacle of
a Khond ruler as Dolabehara, as well as Moliko, with the Uriya Paiks
really at his beck and call. In some places, the most valuable portions
of the land have passed into the possession of Sondis and low-country
sowcars (money-lenders), who have pandered to the Khonds by advancing
them money, the greater portion of which has been expended in drink,
the repayment being exacted in land. Except in the Goomsur Maliahs,
paddy (rice) cultivation is not extensively carried on by the Khonds;
elsewhere it is chiefly in the hands of the Uriyas. The Khonds take
little trouble in raising their crops. The result is that, except
in the Goomsur Maliahs, where they grow crops to sell in the market
for profit, we find a poverty-stricken race, possessing hardly any
agricultural stock, and no signs of affluence. In Kimedi, however, they
are beginning to follow the example of Goomsur, and doubtless their
material prosperity would much increase if some check could be devised
to save them from the Uriyas and Sondis, who are steadily acquiring
all the wet land, and utilising the Khonds merely as cultivators."

It is noted by Mr. F. Fawcett (1902) [155] that "up to within fifteen
years ago, the Khônds of the Ganjam hills would not engage in any
ordinary labour. They would not, for example, carry even the smallest
article of the district officer's luggage. Elephants were accordingly
provided by Government for carriage of tents and all camp luggage. But
there has come a change, and, within the last ten years or so, the
Khônds have taken to work in the ordinary way. Within the last few
years, for the first time, the Khônds have been emigrating to Assam,
to work in the tea-gardens. Accurate figures are not available, but the
estimate of the best authority gives the number as about 3,000. This
emigration is now stopped by edict. Of course, they do not set out,
and go of their own accord. They are taken. The strange thing is that
they go willingly." It was enacted, in an order of Government, in 1901,
[156] that "in exercise of the power conferred by section 3 of the
Assam Labour and Emigration Act, 1901, and with the previous sanction
of the Governor-General in Council, the Governor in Council is pleased
to prohibit absolutely all persons from recruiting, engaging, inducing,
or assisting any Native of India to emigrate from the tracts known
as the scheduled districts in the district of Ganjam to any labour
district of Assam."

In 1908, the Madras Government approved of certain proposals made by
the Collector of Ganjam for utilising the services of the Kondhs in
the conservancy of the forests in the Pondakhol Agency. The following
is a summary of these proposals. [157] The chief difficulty to be
contended against in Pondakhol is podu cultivation. This cultivation
is not only devastating the hill tops and upper slopes, which should
be kept well covered to preserve water for the upper reaches of the
Rushikulya river, the chief source of irrigation in Ganjam, but is also
the origin of most of the forest fires that rage throughout Pondakhol
in the hot weather. The District Forest Officer, in discussing matters
with the Kondhs, was told by some of the villagers that they would
forego poduing if they had cattle to plough the lands in the plains
and valleys. The supply of buffaloes would form the compensation for
a right relinquished. The next aim should be to give the people work
in the non-cultivation season, which is from the middle of January to
the middle of July. This luckily coincides with the fire season. There
is an abundance of useful work that the Kondhs can be engaged in,
e.g., rendering the demarcation lines permanent, making fire lines,
constructing roads, and building inspection sheds. The question arises
as to how the Khonds should be repaid for their labour. Money is of
little use to them in this out-of-the-way part of the country, and,
if they got it, they would probably go to Surada to get drunk on
it. It would be better to pay them in food-grain and cloths, and for
this purpose departmental shops, and a regular system of accounts,
such as are in force among the Chenchus in Kurnool, would be necessary.

In the course of a lament over the change which has come over the
Kondhs who live in the range of hills near Berhampore, Mr. S. P. Rice
writes as follows. [158] "Here they live in seclusion and in freedom,
but also in the lowest depths of squalor and poverty. Once they
loved gay colours. True Khond dresses, both male and female, are
full of stripes and patterns, in blue, yellow, and red. Where has
gone the love of colour? Instead of the long waistcloth ending in
tails of blue and red, the man binds about him a wretched rag that
can hardly be called a garment. Once the women took a delight in
decking themselves with flowers, and a pride in the silver ornaments
that jangled on their naked breasts. Where are now the grasses that
adorned them, and the innocence that allowed them to go clothed
only to the waist? Gone! withered by the blast of the breath of a
'superior civilization.' Gone are the hairpins of sambur bone--an
inestimable treasure in the eyes of the true hill Khond. Gone are
the floral decorations, and the fantastic head-dresses, which are
the pride of the mountain tribes. In dull, unromantic squalor our
Khond lives, moves, and has his being; arid, ever as he moves, is
heard the clanking upon his wrists of the fetters of his debt. Yet
for all that he is happy." The hairpins referred to above are made
from sambur (deer: Cervus unicolor) bones, and stuck in the hair of
male Kondhs. Porcupine quills are sometimes used by them as hairpins.

The following brief, but interesting summary of the Kondhs of Ganjam
is given by Mr. C. F. MacCartie. [159] "The staple food of the Oriyas
is rice, and of the Khond also during the two or three months that
succeed the harvest. In February, they gather the crop of hill dholl,
which, eked out with dry mohwa (Bassia) fruit, fresh mangoes, and mango
stones ground to a sort of flour, pull them through the hot weather,
with the help of various yams and edible roots that are plentiful in
the jungles. When the south-west monsoon sets in, dry crops, consisting
of millets, hill paddy, and Indian corn, are sown, which ripen from
August on, and thus afford plentiful means of subsistence. The hot
weather is generally called the sukki kalo, or hungry season, as the
people are rather pinched just then. Turmeric is perhaps the most
valuable crop which the Khonds raise, as it is the most laborious,
in consequence of the time it takes to mature--two full years, and
the constant field-work thus entailed, first in sheltering the young
plants from the sun by artificial shade, and afterwards in digging,
boiling, and burnishing the root for market. Tobacco is raised much as
in the low country. It is generally grown in back-yards, as elsewhere,
and a good deal of care is devoted to its cultivation, as the Khonds
are inveterate smokers. Among the products of the jungles may be
included myrabolams (Terminalia fruits), tassar silk, cocoons, and
dammar, all of which are bartered by the finders to trading Panos
in small quantities, generally for salt. [Honey and wax are said to
be collected by the Kondhs and Benias, who are expert climbers of
precipitous rocks and lofty trees. The Kondhs recognise four different
kinds of bees, known by the following Oriya names:--(a) bhaga mohu,
a large-sized bee (Apis dorsata); (b) sattapuri mohu, building its
comb in seven layers (Apis indica); (c) binchina mohu, with a comb
like a fan; (d) nikiti mohu, a very small bee.] [160] Wet paddy is,
of course, grown in the valleys and low-lying bottoms, where water is
available, and much ingenuity is exercised in the formation of bunds
(embankments) to retain the natural supply of moisture. The Khond
has a dead eye for a natural level; it is surprising how speedily
a seemingly impracticable tract of jungle will be converted into
paddy fields by a laborious process of levelling by means of a flat
board attached to a pair of buffaloes. The chief feature of the dry
cultivation is the destructive practice of kumeri. A strip of forest,
primeval, if possible, as being more fertile, is burnt, cultivated,
and then deserted for a term of years, which may vary from three to
thirty, according to the density or otherwise of the population. The
Kutiah Khonds are the chief offenders in respect of kumeri, to which
they confine themselves, as they have no ploughs or agricultural
cattle. In the rare instances when they grow a little rice, the fields
are prepared by manual and pedal labour, as men, women, and children,
assemble in the field, and puddle the mud and water until it assumes
the desired consistency for the reception of the seed.

"The hair is worn long during childhood, but tied into a club when
maturity is reached, and turbans are seldom worn. A narrow cloth is
bound round the loins, with Tartan ends which hang down in front
and behind, and a coarse long-cloth is wrapped round the figure
when the weather is cold. The war dress of the Khonds is elaborate,
and consists of a leather cuirass in front, and a flowing red cloak,
which, with an arrangement of 'bison' horns and peacock's feathers,
is supposed to strike awe into the beholder's mind. Khond women
wear a red or parti-coloured skirt reaching the knee, the neck
and bosom being left bare. Pano females generally wear an upper
cloth. All tattoo their faces. [Tattooing is said to be performed,
concurrently with ear-boring, when girls are about ten years old. The
tattoo marks are said to represent the implement used in tilling the
soil for cultivation, moustache, beard, etc.] Ornaments of beads and
brass bangles are worn, but the usage of diverse muttas (settlements)
varies very much. In some parts of the Goomsur Maliahs, the use of
glass and brass beads is confined to married women, virgins being
restricted to decorations composed of plaited grass. Matrons wear ten
or twelve ear-rings of different patterns, but, in many parts, young
girls substitute pieces of broom, which are worn till the wedding
day, and then discarded for brazen rings. Anklets are indispensable
in the dance on account of the jingling noise they make, and gold or
silver noserings are very commonly worn. [The Kondh of the Ganjam
Maliahs has been described as follows. [161] "He centres his great
love of decoration in his hair. This he tends, combs and oils, with
infinite care, and twists into a large loose knot, which is caught with
curiously shaped pins of sambur bone, gaily coloured combs and bronze
hairpins with curiously ornamented designs, and it is then gracefully
pinned over the left eyebrow. This knot he decorates according to
his fancy with the blue feathers of the jay (Indian roller, Coracias
indica), or the white feathers of the crane and stork, or the feathers
of the more gorgeous peacock. Two feathers generally wave in front,
while many more float behind. This knot, in the simple economy of his
life, also does duty as a pocket or pincushion, for into it he stuffs
his knife, his half-smoked cigarette of home-grown tobacco rolled in
a sal (Shorea robusta) leaf, or even his snuff wrapped in another leaf
pinned together with a thorn. Round his waist he wraps a white cloth,
bordered with a curious design in blue and red, of excellent home
manufacture, and over his shoulder is borne his almost inseparable
companion, the tanghi, of many curious shapes, consisting of an iron
blade with a long wooden handle ornamented with brass wire. In certain
places, he very frequently carries a bow and arrows, the former made
of bent bamboo, the string of a long strip of bark, and the handle
ornamented with stripes of the white quills of the peacock.]

"The Khonds are very keen in the pursuit of game, for which the hot
weather is the appointed time, and, during this period, a sambar or
'bison' has but little chance of escape if once wounded by an arrow,
as they stick to the trail like sleuth hounds, and appear insensible
to distance or fatigue. The arms they carry are the bow, arrows,
and tangi, a species of light battle-axe that inflicts a serious
wound. The women are not addicted to drink, but the males are
universally attached to liquor, especially during the hot weather,
when the sago palm (solopo: Caryota urens) is in full flow. They
often run up sheds in the jungle, near especially good trees, and
drink for days together. A great many deaths occur at this season
by falls from trees when tapping the liquor. Feasts and sacrifices
are occasions for drinking to excess, and the latter especially
are often scenes of wild intoxication, the liquor used being either
mohwa, or a species of strong beer brewed from rice or koeri. Khond
women, when once married, appear to keep pretty straight, but there
is a good deal of quiet immorality among the young men and girls,
especially during the commencement of the hot weather, when parties
are made up for fishing or the collection of mohwa fruit and other
jungle berries. At the same time, a certain sense of shame exists,
as instances are not at all uncommon of double suicide, when a pair
of too ardent lovers are blown upon, and their liaison is discovered.

"The generality of Khond and Pâno houses are constructed of broad sâl
logs hewn out with the axe, and thatched with jungle grass, which is
impervious to white-ants. In bamboo jungles, bamboo is substituted
for sâl. The Khond houses are substantially built but very low, the
pitch of the roof never exceeding 8 feet, and the eaves being only
about 4 feet from the ground, the object being to ensure resistance
to the violent storms that prevail during the monsoons.

"Intermarriage between Khonds, Pânos, and Uriyas is not recognised,
but cases do occur when a Pâno induces a Khond woman to go off
with him. She may live with him as his wife, but no ceremony takes
place. If a Pâno commits adultery with a Khond married woman, he has
to pay a paronjo, or a fine of a buffalo, to the husband who retains
his wife, and in addition a goat, a pig, a basket of paddy, a rupee,
and a cavady (shoulder-pole) load of pots. If the adulterer is a
Khond, he gets off with payment of the buffalo, which is slaughtered
for the entertainment of the village. The husband retains his wife
in this case, as also if he finds her pregnant when first she comes
to him; this is not an uncommon incident. Divorce of the wife on the
husband's part is thus very rare, if it occurs at all, but cases are
not unknown where the wife divorces her husband, and adopts a fresh
alliance. When this takes place, her father has to return the whole
of the gifts known as gontis, which the bridegroom paid for his wife
when the marriage was originally arranged."

In a note on the tribes of the Agency tracts of the Vizagapatam
district, Mr. W. Francis writes as follows. [162] "Of these, by far
the most numerous are the Khonds, who are about 150,000 strong. An
overwhelming majority of this number, however, are not the wild
barbarous Khonds regarding whom there is such a considerable
literature, and who are so prominent in Ganjam, but a series of
communities descended from them, which exhibit infinite degrees of
difference from their more interesting progenitors, according to the
grade of civilisation to which they have attained. The only really
primitive Khonds in Vizagapatam are the Dongria (jungle) Khonds of the
north of Bissamkatak taluk, the Desya Khonds who live just south-west
of them in and around the Nimgiris, and the Kuttiya (hill) Khonds of
the hills in the north-east of the Gunupur taluk. The Kuttiya Khond
men wear ample necklets of white beads and prominent brass earrings,
but otherwise they dress like any other hill people. Their women,
however, have a distinctive garb, putting on a kind of turban on state
occasions, wearing nothing above the waist except masses of white bead
necklaces which almost cover their breasts, and carrying a series of
heavy brass bracelets half way up their forearms. The dhangadi basa
system (separate hut for unmarried girls to sleep in) prevails among
them in its simplest form, and girls have opportunities for the most
intimate acquaintance before they need inform their parents they wish
to marry. Special ceremonies are practiced to prevent the spirits
of the dead (especially of those killed by tigers) from returning to
molest the living. Except totemistic septs, they have apparently no
sub-divisions. [163] The dress of the civilised Khonds of both sexes
is ordinary and uninteresting. These civilised Khonds worship all
degrees of deities, from their own tribal Jakara down to the orthodox
Hindu gods; follow every gradation of marriage and funeral customs
from those of their primitive forefathers to those of the low-country
Telugu; speak dialects which range from good Khond through bastard
patois down to corrupt Telugu; and allow their totemistic septs to
be degraded down to, or divided into, the intiperulu of the plains."

There is a tradition that, in olden days, four Kondhs, named
Kasi, Mendora, Bolti, and Bolo, with eyes the size of brass pots,
teeth like axe-heads, and ears like elephant's ears, brought their
ancestor Mandia Patro from Jorasingi in Boad, and gave him and his
children authority all over the country now comprised in Mahasingi,
and in Kurtilli Barakhumma, Bodogodo, Balliguda, and Pussangia,
on condition of settling their disputes, and aiding them in their
rights. The following legendary account of the origin of the Kondhs
is given by Mr. A. B. Jayaram Moodaliar. Once upon a time, the ground
was all wet, and there were only two females on the earth, named
Karaboodi and Tharthaboodi, each of whom was blessed with a single
male child. The names of the children were Kasarodi and Singarodi. All
these individuals sprang from the interior of the earth, together
with two small plants called nangakoocha and badokoocha, on which
they depended for subsistence. One day, when Karaboodi was cutting
these plants for cooking, she accidentally cut the little finger of
her left hand, and the blood dropped on the ground. Instantly, the
wet soft earth on which it fell became dry and hard. The woman then
cooked the food, and gave some of it to her son, who asked her why it
tasted so much sweeter than usual. She replied that she might have
a dream that night, and, if so, would let him know. Next morning,
the woman told him that, if he would act on her advice, he would
prosper in this world, that he was not to think of her as his mother,
and was to cut away the flesh of her back, dig several holes in the
ground, bury the flesh, and cover the holes with stones. This her
son did, and the rest of the body was cremated. The wet soil dried
up and became hard, and all kinds of animals and trees came into
existence. A partridge scratched the ground with its feet, and ragi
(millet), maize, dhal (pea), and rice sprung forth from it. The
two brothers argued that, as the sacrifice of their mother brought
forth such abundance, they must sacrifice their brothers, sisters,
and others, once a year in future.A god, by name Boora Panoo, came,
with his wife and children, to Tharthaboodi and the two young men,
to whom Boora Panoo's daughters were married. They begat children,
who were divided equally between Boora Panoo the grandfather and
their fathers. Tharthaboodi objected to this division on the grounds
that Boora Panoo's son would stand in the relation of Mamoo to the
children of Kasarodi and Singarodi; that, if the child was a female,
when she got married, she would have to give a rupee to her Mamoo;
and that, if it was a male that Boora Panoo's daughter brought forth,
the boy when he grew up would have to give the head of any animal he
shot to Mamoo (Boora Panoo's son). Then Boora Panoo built a house,
and Kasarodi and Singarodi built two houses. All lived happily for
two years. Then Karaboodi appeared in a dream, and told Kasarodi and
Singarodi that, if they offered another human victim, their lands would
be very fertile, and their cattle could flourish. In the absence of
a suitable being, they sacrificed a monkey. Then Karaboodi appeared
once more, and said that she was not pleased with the substitution of
the monkey, and that a human being must be sacrificed. The two men,
with their eight children, sought for a victim for twelve years. At
the end of that time, they found a poor man, who had a son four
years old, and found him, his wife and child good food, clothing, and
shelter for a year. They then asked permission to sacrifice the son in
return for their kindness, and the father gave his assent. The boy was
fettered and handcuffed to prevent his running away, and taken good
care of. Liquor was prepared from grains, and a bamboo, with a flag
hoisted on it, planted in the ground. Next day, a pig was sacrificed
near this post, and a feast was held. It was proclaimed that the boy
would be tied to a post on the following day, and sacrificed on the
third day. On the night previous to the sacrifice, the Janni (priest)
took a reed, and poked it into the ground in several places. When
it entered to a depth of about eight inches, it was believed that
the god and goddess Tadapanoo and Dasapanoo were there. Round this
spot, seven pieces of wood were arranged lengthways and crossways,
and an egg was placed in the centre of the structure. The Khonds
arrived from the various villages, and indulged in drink. The boy
was teased, and told that he had been sold to them, that his sorrow
would affect his parents only, and that he was to be sacrificed for
the prosperity of the people. He was conducted to the spot where the
god and goddess had been found, tied with ropes, and held fast by the
Khonds. He was made to lie on his stomach on the wooden structure, and
held there. Pieces of flesh were removed from his back, arms and legs,
and portions thereof buried at the Khond's place of worship. Portions
were also set up near a well of drinking water, and placed around
the villages. The remainder of the sacrificed corpse was cremated on
a pyre set alight with fire produced by the friction of two pieces
of wood. On the following day, a buffalo was sacrificed, and a feast
partaken of. Next day, the bamboo post was removed outside the village,
and a fowl and eggs were offered to the deity. The following stanza
is still recited by the Janni at the buffalo sacrifice, which has
been substituted for that of a human victim:--Oh! come, male slave;
come, female slave. What do you say? What do you call out for? You
have been brought, ensnared by the Haddi. You have been called,
ensnared by the Domba. What can I do, even if you are my child? You
are sold for a pot of food.

The ethnological section of the Madras Museum received a few years ago
a very interesting relic in the shape of a human (Meriah) sacrifice
post from Baligudu in Ganjam. This post, which was fast being reduced
to a mere shell by white-ants, is, I believe, the only one now in
existence. It was brought by Colonel Pickance, who was Assistant
Superintendent of Police, and set up in the ground near the gate of
the reserve Police barracks. The veteran members of a party of Kondhs,
who were brought to Madras for the purpose of performing before the
Prince and Princess of Wales in 1906, became wildly excited when they
came across this relic of their former barbarous custom.

"The best known case," Mr. Frazer writes, [164] "of human sacrifices
systematically offered to ensure good crops is supplied by the Khonds
or Kandhs. Our knowledge of them is derived from the accounts written
by British officers, who, forty or fifty years ago, were engaged in
putting them down. The sacrifices were offered to the earth goddess,
Tari Pennu or Bera Pennu, and were believed to ensure good crops,
and immunity from all diseases and accidents. In particular, they
were considered necessary in the cultivation of turmeric, the Khonds
arguing that the turmeric could not have a deep red colour without
the shedding of blood. The victim, a Meriah, was acceptable to the
goddess only if he had been purchased, or had been born a victim,
that is the son of a victim father, or had been devoted as a child
by his father or guardian."

In 1837, Mr. Russell, in a report on the districts entrusted to
his control, wrote as follows. [165] "The ceremonies attending
the barbarous rite, and still more the mode of destroying life,
vary in different parts of the country. In the Maliahs of Goomsur,
the sacrifice is offered annually to Thadha Pennoo (the earth) under
the effigy of a bird intended to represent a peacock, with the view
of propitiating the deity to grant favourable seasons and crops. The
ceremony is performed at the expense of, and in rotation by, certain
mootahs (settlements) composing a community, and connected together
from local circumstances. Besides these periodical sacrifices, others
are made by single mootahs, and even by individuals, to avert any
threatening calamity from sickness, murrain, or other cause. Grown men
are the most esteemed (as victims), because the most costly. Children
are purchased, and reared for years with the family of the person
who ultimately devotes them to a cruel death, when circumstances are
supposed to demand a sacrifice at his hands. They seem to be treated
with kindness, and, if young, are kept under no constraint; but,
when old enough to be sensible of the fate which awaits them, they
are placed in fetters and guarded. Most of those who were rescued
had been sold by their parents or nearest relations, a practice
which, from all we could learn, is very common. Persons of riper
age are kidnapped by wretches who trade in human flesh. The victim
must always be purchased. Criminals, or prisoners captured in war,
are not considered fitting subjects. The price is paid indifferently
in brass utensils, cattle or corn. The Zanee (or priest), who may
be of any caste, officiates at the sacrifice, but he performs the
poojah (offering of flowers, incense, etc.) to the idol through the
medium of the Toomba, who must be a Khond child under seven years of
age. This child is fed and clothed at the public expense, eats with no
other person, and is subjected to no act deemed impure. For a month
prior to the sacrifice, there is much feasting and intoxication,
and dancing round the Meriah, who is adorned with garlands, etc.,
and, on the day before the performance of the barbarous rite, is
stupefied with toddy, and made to sit, or, if necessary, is bound at
the bottom of a post bearing the effigy above described. The assembled
multitude then dance around to music, and addressing the earth, say:
'Oh! God, we offer the sacrifice to you. Give us good crops, seasons,
and health.' After which they address the victim, 'We bought you with
a price, and did not seize you. Now we sacrifice you according to
custom, and no sin rests with us.' On the following day, the victim
being again intoxicated and anointed with oil, each individual present
touches the anointed part, and wipes the oil on his own head. All
then proceed in procession around the village and its boundaries,
preceded by music, bearing the victim and a pole, to the top of which
is attached a tuft of peacock's feathers. On returning to the post,
which is always placed near the village deity called Zakaree Pennoo,
and represented by three stones, near which the brass effigy in
the shape of a peacock is buried, they kill a hog in sacrifice and,
having allowed the blood to flow into a pit prepared for the purpose,
the victim, who, if it has been found possible, has been previously
made senseless from intoxication, is seized and thrown in, and his
face pressed down until he is suffocated in the bloody mire amid the
noise of instruments. The Zanee then cuts a piece of flesh from the
body, and buries it with ceremony near the effigy and village idol,
as an offering to the earth. All the rest afterwards go through the
same form, and carry the bloody prize to their villages, where the
same rites are performed, part being interred near the village idol,
and little bits on the boundaries. The head and face remain untouched,
and the bones, when bare, are buried with them in the pit. After this
horrid ceremony has been completed, a buffalo calf is brought in front
of the post, and, his forefeet having been cut off, is left there till
the following day. Women, dressed in male attire and armed as men, then
drink, dance and sing round the spot, the calf is killed and eaten,
and the Zanee is dismissed with a present of rice and a hog or calf."

In the same year, Mr. Arbuthnot, Collector of Vizagapatam, reported as
follows. "Of the hill tribe Codooloo, there are said to be two distinct
classes, the Cotia Codooloo and Jathapoo Codooloo. The former class
is that which is in the habit of offering human sacrifices to the god
called Jenkery, with a view to secure good crops. This ceremony is
generally performed on the Sunday preceding or following the Pongal
feast. The victim is seldom carried by force, but procured by purchase,
and there is a fixed price for each person, which consists of forty
articles such as a bullock, a male buffalo, a cow, a goat, a piece of
cloth, a silk cloth, a brass pot, a large plate, a bunch of plantains,
etc. The man who is destined for the sacrifice is carried before the
god, and a small quantity of rice coloured with saffron (turmeric)
is put upon his head. The influence of this is said to prevent his
attempting to escape, even though set at liberty. It would appear,
however, that, from the moment of his seizure till he is sacrificed,
he is kept in a continued state of stupefaction or intoxication. He
is allowed to wander about the village, to eat and drink anything
he may take a fancy to, and even to have connection with any of the
women whom he may meet. On the morning set apart for the sacrifice,
he is carried before the idol in a state of intoxication. One of the
villagers acts as priest, who cuts a small hole in the stomach of
the victim, and with the blood that flows from the wound the idol is
smeared. Then the crowds from the neighbouring villages rush forward,
and he is literally cut into pieces. Each person who is so fortunate
as to procure it carries away a morsel of the flesh, and presents it
to the idol of his own village."

Concerning a method of sacrifice, which is illustrated by the post
preserved in the Madras Museum, Colonel Campbell records [166] that
"one of the most common ways of offering the sacrifice in Chinna Kimedi
is to the effigy of an elephant (hatti mundo or elephant's head) rudely
carved in wood, fixed on the top of a stout post, on which it is made
to revolve. After the performance of the usual ceremonies, the intended
victim is fastened to the proboscis of the elephant, and, amidst the
shouts and yells of the excited multitude of Khonds, is rapidly whirled
round, when, at a given signal by the officiating Zanee or priest,
the crowd rush in, seize the Meriah, and with their knives cut the
flesh off the shrieking wretch as long as life remains. He is then cut
down, the skeleton burnt, and the horrid orgies are over. In several
villages I counted as many as fourteen effigies of elephants, which
had been used in former sacrifices. These I caused to be overthrown
by the baggage elephants attached to my camp in the presence of the
assembled Khonds, to show them that these venerated objects had no
power against the living animal, and to remove all vestiges of their
bloody superstition." In another report, Colonel Campbell describes
how the miserable victim is dragged along the fields, surrounded by
a crowd of half intoxicated Khonds, who, shouting and screaming,
rush upon him, and with their knives cut the flesh piecemeal from
the bones, avoiding the head and bowels, till the living skeleton,
dying from loss of blood, is relieved from torture, when its remains
are burnt, and the ashes mixed with the new grain to preserve it from
insects." Yet again, he describes a sacrifice which was peculiar to
the Khonds of Jeypore. "It is," he writes, "always succeeded by the
sacrifice of three human beings, two to the sun to the east and west
of the village, and one in the centre, with the usual barbarities
of the Meriah. A stout wooden post about six feet long is firmly
fixed in the ground, at the foot of it a narrow grave is dug, and to
the top of the post the victim is firmly fastened by the long hair
of his head. Four assistants hold his outstretched arms and legs,
the body being suspended horizontally over the grave, with the face
towards the earth. The officiating Junna or priest, standing on the
right side, repeats the following invocation, at intervals hacking
with his sacrificial knife the back part of the shrieking victim's
neck. 'O! mighty Manicksoro, this is your festal day. To the Khonds
the offering is Meriah, to kings Junna. On account of this sacrifice,
you have given to kings kingdoms, guns and swords. The sacrifice we now
offer you must eat, and we pray that our battle-axes may be converted
into swords, our bows and arrows into gunpowder and balls; and, if we
have any quarrels with other tribes, give us the victory. Preserve us
from the tyranny of kings and their officers.' Then, addressing the
victim:--'That we may enjoy prosperity, we offer you a sacrifice to our
God Manicksoro, who will immediately eat you, so be not grieved at our
slaying you. Your parents were aware, when we purchased you from them
for sixty rupees, that we did so with intent to sacrifice you. There
is, therefore, no sin on our heads, but on your parents. After you are
dead, we shall perform your obsequies.' The victim is then decapitated,
the body thrown into the grave, and the head left suspended from
the post till devoured by wild beasts. The knife remains fastened to
the post till the three sacrifices have been performed, when it is
removed with much ceremony. In an account by Captain Mac Viccar of
the sacrifice as carried out at Eaji Deso, it is stated that on the
day of sacrifice the Meriah is surrounded by the Khonds, who beat
him violently on the head with the heavy metal bangles which they
purchase at the fairs, and wear on these occasions. If this inhuman
smashing does not immediately destroy the victim's life, an end is
put to his sufferings by strangulation, a slit bamboo being used
for the purpose. Strips of flesh are then cut off the back, and each
recipient of the precious treasure carries his portion to the stream
which waters his fields, and there suspends it on a pole. The remains
of the mangled corpse are then buried, and funeral obsequies are
performed seven days subsequently, and repeated one year afterwards."

The Kondhs of Bara Mootah promised to relinquish the rite on condition,
inter alia, that they should be at liberty to sacrifice buffaloes,
monkeys, goats, etc., to their deities with all the solemnities
observed on occasions of human sacrifice; and that they should be at
liberty, upon all occasions, to denounce to their gods the Government,
and some of its servants in particular, as the cause of their having
relinquished the great rite.

The last recorded Meriah sacrifice in the Ganjam Maliahs occurred
in 1852, and there are still Kondhs alive, who were present at
it. Twenty-five descendants of persons who were reserved for sacrifice,
but were rescued by Government officers, returned themselves as
Meriah at the census, 1901. The Kondhs have now substituted a buffalo
for a human being. The animal is hewn to pieces while alive, and the
villagers rush home to their villages, to bury the flesh in the soil,
and so secure prosperous crops. The sacrifice is not unaccompanied
by risk to the performers, as the buffalo, before dying, frequently
kills one or more of its tormenters. This was the case near Baliguda
in 1899, when a buffalo killed the sacrificer. In the previous year,
the desire of a village to intercept the bearer of the flesh for a
neighbouring village led to a fight, in which two men were killed.

It was the practice, a few years ago, at every Dassara festival in
Jeypore, Vizagapatam, to select a specially fine ram, wash it, shave
its head, affix thereto red and white bottu and namam (sect marks)
between the eyes and down the nose, and gird it with a new white cloth
after the manner of a human being. The animal being then fastened in
a sitting posture, certain puja (worship) was performed by a Brahman
priest, and it was decapitated. The substitution of animals for human
victims is indicated by various religious legends. Thus, a hind was
substituted for Iphigenia, and a ram for Isaac.

It was stated by the officers of the Meriah Agency that there was
reason to believe that the Raja of Jeypore, when he was installed on
his father's death in 1860-61, sacrificed a girl thirteen years of
age at the shrine of the goddess Durga in the town of Jeypore. [167]
It is noted, in the Gazetteer of the Vizagapatam district (1907),
that "goats and buffaloes now-a-days take the place of human Meriah
victims, but the belief in the superior efficacy of the latter dies
hard, and every now and again revives. When the Rampa rebellion of
1879-80 spread in this district, several cases of human sacrifice
occurred in the disturbed tracts. In 1880, two persons were convicted
of attempting a Meriah sacrifice near Ambadala in Bissamkatak. In
1883, a man (a beggar and a stranger) was found at daybreak murdered
in one of the temples in Jeypore, in circumstances which pointed
to his having been slain as a Meriah; and, as late as 1886, a formal
enquiry showed that there were ample grounds for the suspicion that the
kidnapping of victims still went on in Bastar." As recently as 1902,
a petition was presented to the District Magistrate of Ganjam, asking
him to sanction the performance of a human sacrifice. The memory of
the abandoned practice is kept green by one of the Kondh songs, for a
translation of which we are indebted to Mr. J. E. Friend-Pereira. [168]


    "At the time of the great Kiabon (Campbell) Sahib's coming,
    the country was in darkness; it was enveloped in mist.

    Having sent paiks to collect the people of the land, they, having
    surrounded them, caught the Meriah sacrificers.

    Having caught the Meriah sacrificers, they brought them, and
    again they went and seized the evil councillors.

    Having seen the chains and shackles, the people were afraid;
    murder and bloodshed were quelled.

    Then the land became beautiful, and a certain Mokodella
    (Macpherson) Sahib came.

    He destroyed the lairs of the tigers and bears in the hills and
    rocks, and taught wisdom to the people.

    After the lapse of a month, he built bungalows and schools;
    and he advised them to learn reading and law.

    They learnt wisdom and reading; they acquired silver and gold. Then
    all the people became wealthy."


Human sacrifice was not practiced in the Kurtilli Muttah of the Ganjam
Maliahs. The reason of this is assigned to the fact that the first
attempt was made with a crooked knife, and the sacrificers made such
a bad business of it that they gave it up. Colonel Campbell gives
another tradition, that, through humanity, one of the Kurtilli Patros
(head of a group of villages) threatened to leave the muttah if the
practice was carried out.

Of a substituted sacrifice, which was carried out in the Ganjam Maliahs
in 1894, [169] the following graphic account has been given. "Suddenly
we came upon a number of Khonds carrying an immensely long bamboo,
about fifty feet in length, surmounted by a gorgeous sort of balloon
made of red and white cloth stretched on a bamboo frame. Attached
to this were dried strips of pig's flesh, and the whole of the
extraordinary structure was surmounted by a huge plume of peacock's
feathers that waved gaily in the breeze. Along with this was carried
another bamboo, not so long, slung all over with iron bells. We found
that the men had been worshipping, and presenting these structures
to a sylvan deity close by, and were now hastening to the small Khond
village of Dhuttiegaum, the scene of the present Meriah sacrifice. Half
a mile brought us to this hamlet, situated amongst a dense grove
of trees, in the midst of which was tied to a curiously fluted and
carved wooden post the sacrificial buffalo, a placid animal, with
its body glistening with the oil of many anointings. The huge bamboo
pole, with its crown of red and white cloth and peacock's feathers,
and incongruous shreds of dried pig's flesh, was now erected in
the centre of the village. The comparative quiet in the village did
not last long, for on a sudden the air was rent with a succession of
shrieks. With the sound of the beating of Maliah drums, and the blowing
of buffalo horns, a party of Khonds came madly dancing and rushing
down a steep hillside from some neighbouring village. They dashed
up to the buffalo, and began frantically dancing with the villagers
already assembled round and round the animal. Each man carried a green
bough of some tree, a sharp knife, and a tanghi. They were all adorned
in holiday attire, their hair combed and knotted on the forehead, and
profusely decorated with waving feathers. All of them were more or less
intoxicated. Various other villagers now began to arrive, thick and
fast, in the same manner, with wavings of green boughs, flourishing
of knives, and hideous yells. Each party was led by the headman or
Moliko of the village. The dancing now became more general, and faster
and more furious, as more and more joined the human 'merry go round,'
circling about the unfortunate buffalo. The women, who had followed
their lords and masters at a discreet distance, stood sedately by in
a group, and took no part whatever in the revels. They were for the
most part fine buxom girls, well groomed and oiled, and stood demurely
watching everything with their sharp black eyes. The hitherto quiet
buffalo, who for nearly two days had been without food and water, now
began to get excited, and, straining at its tether, plunged and butted
at the dancers, catching one man neatly on the nose so that the blood
flowed copiously. However, the Khonds were too excited to care, and
circled round and round the poor maddened brute, singing and blowing
horns into its ears, beating drums, and every now and then offering it
cakes brought with them from their villages, and then laying them on
the top of the post as offerings. As they thus madly careered about,
we had ample time to note their extraordinary costumes. One man had
somehow got hold of an old blue Police overcoat, which he had put
on inside out, and round his waist he had gathered what seemed to
be a number of striped tent carpets, forming a stiff ballet skirt or
kilt. He was one of the most athletic in spinning round the buffalo,
flourishing a kitchen chopper. Another man's costume consisted of
almost nothing at all. He had, however, profusely daubed his body
with white and black spots, and on his head he had centred all his
decorative genius. The head in question was swathed in yards of cloth,
terminating at the back in a perfect cascade of cock's feathers. He
excitedly waved over this erection an ancient and very rusty umbrella,
with many ventilations, with streamers of white cloth attached to the
top. Others had tied on to their heads with bands of cloth the horns
of buffaloes, or brass horns made in imitation of those of the spotted
deer. Their long, black and curly hair hung in masses from beneath
this strange erection, giving them a most startling appearance. The
dancing round the buffalo lasted quite two hours, as they were waiting
for the arrival of the Patro, before concluding the final ceremonies,
and the great man was fashionably late. To incite their jaded energies
to further terpsichorean efforts, from time to time the dancers drank
copious draughts of a kind of beer, used specially on these occasions,
and made from kukuri, a species of grain. At last, the long expected
Patro arrived with the usual uproar of many deafening sounds, both
artificial and natural, and with the waving of green boughs. On this
occasion he walked last, while the whole of his retinue preceded
him dancing, headed by an ancient and withered hag, carrying on
her shoulders a Maliah drum of cow-hide stretched tightly over a
hoop of iron, and vigorously beaten from behind her by a Khond with
stiff thongs of dried leather. The great man himself walked sedately,
followed by his 'charger,' a broken-kneed tat (pony), extraordinarily
caparisoned, and led by a youth of tender years, whose sole garment
consisted of a faded red drummer's coat of antiquated cut. As soon as
the Patro had seated himself comfortably on a log near the dancers, a
change came over the scene. The hitherto shouting and madly revolving
throng stopped their gyrations round the stupefied beast, too much
exhausted and frightened to offer any resistance, and, falling on
its neck and body, began to smother it with caresses and endearments,
and, to a low plaintive air, crooned and wailed over it, the following
dirge, of which I append a rude translation. Tradition says that they
used to sing it, with slight variations, over their human victims
before the sacrifice:--


    Blame us not, O buffalo!
      Thus for sacrificing thee,
    For our fathers have ordained
      This ancient mystery.

    We have bought thee with a price,
      Have paid for thee all thy worth.
    What blame can rest upon us,
      Who save our land from dearth?

    Famine stares us in the face,
      Parched are our fields, and dry,
    Death looks in at ev'ry door,
      For food our young ones cry.

    Thadi Pennoo veils her face,
      Propitiate me, she cries,
    Give to me of flesh and blood,
      A willing sacrifice.

    That where'er its blood is shed,
      On land, or field, or hill,
    There the gen'rous grain may spring,
      So ye may eat your fill.

    Then be glad, O buffalo!
      Willing sacrifice to be,
    Soon in Thadi's meadows green,
      Thou shalt brouse eternally.


After the Khonds had been chanting this sacrificial hymn for some time,
the buffalo was untied from the carved post, and led, with singing,
dancing and shouting, and with the noise of many musical instruments,
to a sacred grove a few hundred yards off, and there tied to a
stake. As soon as it had been firmly tied, the Khonds threw off all
their superfluous clothing to the large crowd of womankind waiting
near, and stood round the animal, each man with his hand uplifted,
and holding a sharp knife ready to strike at a moment's notice,
as soon as the priest or Janni had given the word of command. The
Janni, who did not differ outwardly from the others, now gave the
buffalo a slight tap on the head with a small axe. An indescribable
scene followed. The Khonds in a body fell on the animal, and, in an
amazingly short time, literally tore the living victim to shreds with
their knives, leaving nothing but the head, bones, and stomach. Death
must, mercifully, have been almost instantaneous. Every particle of
flesh and skin had been stripped off during the few minutes they
fought and struggled over the buffalo, eagerly grasping for every
atom of flesh. As soon as a man had secured a piece of flesh, he
rushed away with the gory mass, as fast as he could, to his fields,
to bury it therein according to ancient custom, before the sun had
set. As some of them had to do good distances to effect this, it was
imperative that they should run very fast. A curious scene now took
place, for which we could obtain no explanation. As the men ran,
all the women flung after them clods of earth, some of them taking
very good effect. The sacred grove was cleared of people, save a
few that guarded the remnants left of the buffalo, which were taken,
and burnt with ceremony at the foot of the stake."

I pass on to the subject of infanticide among the Kondhs. It is
stated, in the Manual of the Vizagapatam district, that female
infanticide used to be very common all over the Jeypore country, and
the Rajah is said to have made money out of it in one large taluk
(division). The custom was to consult the Dasari (priest) when a
child was born as to its fate. If it was to be killed, the parents
had to pay the Amin of the taluk a fee for the privilege of killing
it; and the Amin used to pay the Rajah three hundred rupees a year
for renting the privilege of giving the license and pocketing the
fees. The practice of female infanticide was formerly very prevalent
among the Kondhs of Ganjam, and, in 1841, Lieutenant Macpherson was
deputed to carry into effect the measures which had been proposed by
Lord Elphinstone for the suppression of the Meriah sacrifices and
infanticide. The custom was ascribed to various beliefs, viz., (1)
that it was an injunction by god, as one woman made the whole world
suffer; (2) that it conduces to male offspring; (3) that woman, being
a mischief-maker, is better out of the world than in it; (4) that the
difficulty, owing to poverty, in providing marriage portions was an
objection to rearing females. From Macpherson's well known report [170]
the following extracts are taken. "The portion of the Khond country,
in which the practice of female infanticide is known to prevail, is
roughly estimated at 2,400 square miles, its population at 60,000, and
the number of infants destroyed annually at 1,200 to 1,500. The tribes
(who practice infanticide) belong to the division of the Khond people
which does not offer human sacrifices. The usage of infanticide has
existed amongst them from time immemorial. It owes its origin and its
maintenance partly to religious opinions, partly to ideas from which
certain very important features of Khond manners arise. The Khonds
believe that the supreme deity, the sun god, created all things good;
that the earth goddess introduced evil into the world; and that these
two powers have since conflicted. The non-sacrificing tribes make
the supreme deity the great object of their adoration, neglecting the
earth goddess. The sacrificing tribes, on the other hand, believe the
propitiation of the latter power to be the most necessary worship. Now
the tribes which practice female infanticide hold that the sun god,
in contemplating the deplorable effects produced by the creation
of feminine nature, charged men to bring up only as many females
as they could restrain from producing evil to society. This is the
first idea upon which the usage is founded. Again, the Khonds believe
that souls almost invariably return to animate human forms in the
families in which they have been first born and received. But the
reception of the soul of an infant into a family is completed only
on the performance of the ceremony of naming upon the seventh day
after its birth. The death of a female infant, therefore, before that
ceremonial of reception, is believed to exclude its soul from the
circle of family spirits, diminishing by one the chance of future
female births in the family. And, as the first aspiration of every
Khond is to have male children, this belief is a powerful incentive
to infanticide." Macpherson, during his campaign, came across many
villages of about a hundred houses, in which there was not a single
female child. In like manner, in 1855, Captain Frye found many Baro
Bori Khond villages without a single female child in them.

In savage societies, it has been said, sexual unions were generally
effected by the violent capture of the woman. By degrees these captures
have become friendly ones, and have ended in a peaceful exogamy,
retaining the ancient custom only in the ceremonial form. Whereof
an excellent example is afforded by the Kondhs, concerning whom
the author of the Ganjam Manual writes as follows. "The parents
arrange the marriages of their children. The bride is looked upon as
a commercial speculation, and is paid for in gontis. A gonti is one
of anything, such as a buffalo, a pig, or a brass pot; for instance,
a hundred gontis might consist of ten bullocks, ten buffaloes, ten
sacks of corn, ten sets of brass, twenty sheep, ten pigs, and thirty
fowls. The usual price, however, paid by the bridegroom's father for
the bride, is twenty or thirty gontis. A Khond finds his wife from
among the women of any mutah (village) than his own. On the day fixed
for the bride being taken home to her husband's house, the pieces of
broom in her ears are removed, and are replaced by brass rings. The
bride is covered over with a red blanket, and carried astride on
her uncle's back towards the husband's village, accompanied by the
young women of her own village. Music is played, and in the rear are
carried brass playthings, such as horses, etc., for the bridegroom,
and cloths and brass pins as presents for the bridegroom from the
bride's father. On the road, at the village boundary, the procession
is met by the bridegroom and the young men of his village, with their
heads and bodies wrapped up in blankets and cloths. Each is armed
with a bundle of long thin bamboo sticks. The young women of the
bride's village at once attack the bridegroom's party with sticks,
stones, and clods of earth, which the young men ward off with the
bamboo sticks. A running fight is in this manner kept up until the
village is reached, when the stone-throwing invariably ceases, and
the bridegroom's uncle, snatching up the bride, carries her off to her
husband's house. This fighting is by no means child's play, and the men
are sometimes seriously injured. The whole party is then entertained by
the bridegroom as lavishly as his means will permit. On the day after
the bride's arrival, a buffalo and a pig are slaughtered and eaten,
and, upon the bride's attendants returning home on the evening of the
second day, a male and female buffalo, or some less valuable present,
is given to them. On the third day, all the Khonds of the village have
a grand dance or tamasha (festivity), and on the fourth day there is
another grand assembly at the house of the bridegroom. The bride and
bridegroom are then made to sit down on a cot, and the bridegroom's
brother, pointing upwards to the roof of the house, says: "As long
as this girl stays with us, may her children be as men and tigers;
but, if she goes astray, may her children be as snakes and monkeys,
and die and be destroyed!" In his report upon the Kondhs (1842),
Macpherson tells us that "they hold a feast at the bride's house. Far
into the night the principals in the scene are raised by an uncle of
each upon his shoulders, and borne through the dance. The burdens
are suddenly exchanged, and the uncle of the youth disappears with
the bride. The assembly divides itself into two parties. The friends
of the bride endeavour to arrest, those of the bridegroom to cover
her flight, and men, women, and children mingle in mock conflict. I
saw a man bearing away upon his back something enveloped in an ample
covering of scarlet cloth. He was surrounded by twenty or thirty
young fellows, and by them protected from the desperate attacks made
upon him by a party of young women. The man was just married, and
the burden was his blooming bride, whom he was conveying to his own
village. Her youthful friends were, according to custom, seeking to
regain possession of her, and hurled stones and bamboos at the head
of the devoted bridegroom, until he reached the confines of his own
village. Then the tables were turned, and the bride was fairly won;
and off her young friends scampered, screaming and laughing, but not
relaxing their speed till they reached their own village." Among
the Kondhs of Gumsur, the friends and relations of the bride and
bridegroom collect at an appointed spot. The people of the female
convoy call out to the others to come and take the bride, and then
a mock fight with stones and thorny brambles is begun by the female
convoy against the parties composing the other one. In the midst of
the tumult the assaulted party takes possession of the bride, and all
the furniture brought with her, and carry all off together. [171]
According to another account, the bride, as soon as she enters the
bridegroom's house, has two enormous bracelets, or rather handcuffs of
brass, each weighing from twenty to thirty pounds, attached to each
wrist. The unfortunate girl has to sit with her two wrists resting
on her shoulders, so as to support these enormous weights. This is
to prevent her from running away to her old home. On the third day
the bangles are removed, as it is supposed that by then the girl has
become reconciled to her fate. These marriage bangles are made on the
hills, and are curiously carved in fluted and zigzag lines, and kept
as heirlooms in the family, to be used at the next marriage in the
house. According to a still more recent account of marriage among the
Kondhs [172] an old woman suddenly rushes forward, seizes the bride,
flings her on her back, and carries her off. A man comes to the front,
catches the groom, and places him astride on his shoulder. The human
horses neigh and prance about like the live quadruped, and finally
rush away to the outskirts of the village. This is a signal for the
bride's girl friends to chase the couple, and pelt them with clods of
earth, stones, mud, cowdung, and rice. When the mock assault is at an
end, the older people come up, and all accompany the bridal pair to
the groom's village. A correspondent informs me that he once saw a
Kondh bride going to her new home, riding on her uncle's shoulders,
and wrapped in a red blanket. She was followed by a bevy of girls
and relations, and preceded by drums and horns. He was told that the
uncle had to carry her the whole way, and that, if he had to put her
down, a fine of a buffalo was inflicted, the animal being killed and
eaten. It is recorded that a European magistrate once mistook a Kondh
marriage for a riot, but, on enquiry, discovered his mistake.

Reference has been made above to certain brass playthings,
which are carried in the bridal procession. The figures include
peacocks, chamæleons, cobras, crabs, horses, deer, tigers, cocks,
elephants, human beings, musicians, etc. They are cast by the cire
perdue process. The core of the figure is roughly shaped in clay,
according to the usual practice, but, instead of laying on the wax
in an even thickness, thin wax threads are first made, and arranged
over the core so as to form a network, or placed in parallel lines
or diagonally, according as the form of the figure or fancy of the
workman dictates. The head, arms, and feet are modelled in the ordinary
way. The wax threads are made by means of a bamboo tube, into the
end of which a moveable brass plate is fitted. The wax, being made
sufficiently soft by heat, is pressed through the perforation at the
end of the tube, and comes out in the form of long threads, which must
be used by the workmen before they become hard and brittle. The chief
place where these figures are made is Belugunta, near Russellkonda in
Ganjam. It is noted by Mr. J. A. R. Stevenson [173] that the Kondhs
of Gumsur, to represent their deities Jara Pennu, the Linga Devata,
or Petri Devata, keep in their houses brass figures of elephants,
peacocks, dolls, fishes, etc. If affliction happens to any one
belonging to the household, or if the country skin eruption breaks out
on any of them, they put rice into milk, and, mixing turmeric with it,
sprinkle the mixture on the figures, and, killing fowls and sheep,
cause worship to be made by the Jani, and, making baji, eat.

At a marriage among the Kondhs of Baliguda, after the heads of
the bride and bridegroom have been brought together, an arrow is
discharged from a bow by the younger brother of the bridegroom into
the grass roof of the hut. At the betrothal ceremony of some Kondhs,
a buffalo and pig are killed, and some of the viscera eaten. Various
parts are distributed according to an abiding rule, viz., the head
to the bridegroom's maternal uncle, the flesh of the sides to his
sisters, and of the back among other relations and friends. Some
Kondh boys of ten or twelve years of age are said to be married to
girls of fifteen or sixteen. At Shubernagiri, in the Ganjam Maliahs,
are two trysting trees, consisting of a jak (Artocarpus integrifolia)
and mango growing close together. The custom was for a Kondh, who
was unable to pay the marriage fees to the Patro (headman), to meet
his love here by night and plight his troth, and then for the two to
retire into the jungle for three days and nights before returning to
the village. Afterwards, they were considered to be man and wife.

It is noted by Mr. Friend-Pereira [174] that, at the ceremonial for
settling the preliminaries of a Kondh marriage, a knotted string is
put into the hands of the seridahpa gataru (searchers for the bride),
and a similar string is kept by the girl's people. The reckoning of
the date of the betrothal ceremony is kept by undoing a knot in the
string every morning.

Some years ago, a young Kondh was betrothed to the daughter of another
Kondh, and, after a few years, managed to pay up the necessary number
of gifts. He then applied to the girl's father to name the day for
the marriage. Before the wedding took place, however, a Pano went
to the girl's father, and said that she was his daughter (she had
been born before her parents were married), and that he was the man
to whom the gifts should have been paid. The case was referred to a
council meeting, which decided in favour of the Pano.

Of birth ceremonies, the following account is given by Mr. Jayaram
Moodaliar. The woman is attended in her confinement by an elderly
Kondh midwife, who shampooes her abdomen with castor-oil. The umbilical
cord is cut by the mother of the infant. For this purpose, the right
thigh of the baby is flexed towards its abdomen, and a piece of cooled
charcoal placed on its right knee. The cord is placed on the charcoal,
and divided with the sharp edge of an arrow. The placenta is buried
close to the house near a wall. After the cord has been severed,
the mother daubs the region of the infant's navel with her saliva,
over which she smears castor-oil. She then warms her hands at a
fire, and applies them to the infant's body. [It is stated, in the
Ganjam Manual, that the infant is held before a hot fire, and half
roasted.] The warming is repeated several times daily for four or five
days. When the umbilical cord has sloughed off, a spider is burnt to
ashes over a fire, placed in a cocoanut shell, mixed with castor-oil,
and applied by means of a fowl's feather to the navel. The infant's
head is shaved, except over the anterior fontanelle, the hair from
which is removed after about a month. Its body is smeared all over
daily with castor-oil and turmeric paste until it is a month old. The
mother then goes with her baby and husband to her brother's house,
where the infant is presented with a fowl, which is taken home,
and eaten by her husband. The appropriation of the fowl varies
according to the locality. In some places, the infant's father,
and other relations, except the mother, may eat it, and, in others,
both its parents, and relations living in the house, may do so. In
still other places, the father, paternal grandfather and grandmother,
and paternal uncle, may partake of it.

The naming ceremony among the Kondhs of Gumsur is thus described
by Mr. J. A. R. Stevenson. "Six months after birth, on a fixed day,
they make gaduthuva (the ceremony of naming the child). On that day,
killing a dog, and procuring liquor, they make baji. They wash the feet
of the child. The Jani being come, he ties a cord from the haft to the
point of a sickle, and they divine by means of it. Having assembled
the petrilu (literally ancestors, but here denoting household images
or gods), they put rice on the sickle. As the names (of the ancestors
or family?) are repeated in order, each time the rice is put on,
that name is chosen on the mention of which the sickle moves, and is
given to the child. They then drink liquor, and eat baji. They give
rice and flesh to the Jani."

Of death ceremonies, the following account is given in the manual
of the Ganjam district. "Immediately after death, a cloth is wrapped
round the corpse, but no cloths or valuables are removed. A portion of
paddy (unhusked rice), and all the cooking utensils of the deceased
are given to the village Sitra. [The Sitras manufacture the brass
rings and bangles worn by the Kondhs.] The body is then burnt. On the
following day, a little rice is cooked, put on a dish, and laid on the
spot where the corpse was burnt. An incantation is then pronounced,
requesting the spirit of the deceased person to eat the rice and
enjoy itself, and not to change itself into a devil or tiger, and
come bothering the survivors in the village. Three days after death,
the madda ceremony is performed. An effigy of the deceased is prepared
of straw, which is stuck up in front of or on the roof of the house,
and the relations and friends assemble, lament, and eat at the expense
of the people of the deceased's house. Each person brings a present of
some kind or other, and, on his departure on the next day, receives
something of slightly higher value. The death of a man in a village
requires a purification, which is made by the sacrifice of a buffalo
on the seventh day after death. If a man is killed by a tiger, the
purification is made by the sacrifice of a pig, the head of which,
cut off with a tangi (axe) by a Pano, is passed between the legs
of the men in the village, who stand in a line astraddle. It is a
bad omen for him if the head touches any man's legs. If the Patro
attends a funeral, he gets a fee of a goat for firing his gun, to
drive away the dead man's ghost." According to Mr. Jayaram Moodaliar,
if a person is killed by a tiger, the head of the decapitated pig is
placed in a stream, and, as it floats down, it has to pass between
the legs of the villagers. If it touches the legs of any of them,
it forebodes that he will be killed by a tiger.

In a note on the death ceremonies in Gumsur, Mr. J. A. R. Stevenson
writes as follows. "On life ceasing, they tie a sheep to the foot
of the corpse. They carry the clothes, brass eating-dish, brass
drinking-vessel, ornaments, grain in store, and the said sheep to
the burning-ground. Having burned the body, and gone around about
the pile, they leave all those things there, and, beating drums,
return home. The garments the Panos take away. They procure liquor,
and drink it. They then go to their respective houses, and eat. On the
next day, they kill a she-buffalo, and get together a great quantity
of liquor. The whole of the tribe (near and distant relations)
being assembled, they make baji, and eat. They beat drums. If the
deceased were of any consequence, dancers come and dance to the
sound of the drums, to whom some animal is given, which they take,
and go away. Subsequently, on the twelfth day, they carry a hog to
the spot where the body was burned, and, after perambulating the
site of the pyre, return to their home, where they kill a hog in
the place set apart for their household gods, and, procuring liquor,
make baji, the members of the tribe eating together. Should a tiger
carry off any one, they throw out of doors all the (preserved) flesh
belonging to him, and all the people of the village, not excepting
children, quit their homes. The Jani, being come with two rods of
the tummeca tree (Acacia arabica), he plants these in the earth, and
then, bringing one rod of the condatamara tree (Smilax macrophylla),
he places it transversely across the other two. The Jani, performing
some incantation, sprinkles water on them. Beginning with the children,
as these and the people pass through the passage so formed, the Jani
sprinkles water on them all. Afterwards, the whole of them go to
their houses, without looking behind them."

In connection with customs observed in the event of death, Mr. Jayaram
Moodaliar writes that "if a woman's husband dies, she removes the beads
from her neck, the metal finger rings, ankle and wrist ornaments, and
the ornament worn in the lobe of one ear, that worn in the lobe of the
other ear being retained. These are thrown on the chest of the corpse,
before it is cremated. The widow does not remove the ornaments worn in
the helices of the ears, and in the alæ and septum of the nose. When
a Khond dies, his body is cremated. The people in the house of the
deceased are not allowed to cook their food on that or the next day,
but are fed by their relations and friends in the village. On the day
after death, rice and a fowl are cooked separately, put in big leaf
cups, and placed on the spot where the corpse was burnt. The spirit
of the deceased is invited to eat the meal, and asked not to do them
any harm. On the third day, the relations bathe, and smear their heads
with clay. An effigy of the deceased is made, and stuck up on the roof
of the house. The practice of making an image of the deceased obtains
among the Goomsur Khonds, but, in some other places, is considered
inauspicious. On the seventh day, a purificatory ceremony is gone
through, and a buffalo killed, with which, and the indispensable
liquor, the guests are entertained. At a village two miles from
Baliguda, a boy, about sixteen years old, died. His gold ear-rings and
silver bracelets were not removed, but burnt. His cloths were thrown
on the pyre. Ragi and other grains, paddy, etc., were placed near the
funeral pyre, but not in the fire. The food-stuffs, and a buffalo,
were divided among the Haddis, who are the servants of the headman
(Patro) of the muttah. They also took the remains of the jewels,
recovered from the ashes after cremation."

It is recorded by Mr. F. Fawcett [175] that "once after death,
a propitiatory sacrifice is made of animals of the deceased to the
Pidari Pitta (ancestor) for the sake of the deceased's spirit, which,
after this festive introduction to the shades, must take its chance. A
curious ceremony, which I do not remember seeing noted anywhere,
is performed the day after death. Some boiled rice and a small fowl
are taken to the burning place. The fowl is split down the breast,
and placed on the spot; it is afterwards eaten, and the soul is
invoked to enter a new-Aborn child."

The following note on a Kondh funeral dance in the Ganjam Maliahs is
from the pen of an eye-witness. [176] "The dead Patro is, as usual,
a hill Uriya, of ancient lineage, no less than that of the great totem
of nola bompsa or the ancestral wood-pigeon that laid its eggs in the
hollow of a bamboo, from which this family sprang. Various and most
interesting are the totems of the Maliahs. In passing, I may mention
another curious totem, that of the pea-fowl, two eggs of which a
man brought home to his wife, who laid them in an earthen pot, and
from them sprang a man-child, the progenitor of a famous family. But
to return to the Patro. Before sunset, mourned by his two wives,
the younger and favourite one carrying a young child of light bamboo
colour, he had been burnt, without much ceremony, in an open grassy
spot, his ashes scattered to the four winds of heaven, and the spot
marked by wooden posts driven deep into the soil. Not now would be
celebrated the funeral obsequies, but a month hence on the accession
of his eldest son, the future Patro, a fair lad of eighteen years. As
the day for the obsequies drew near, an unusual bustle filled the
air. Potters from the low country arrived, and hundreds upon hundreds
of earthen pots of all sizes and shapes were turned, and piled in
great heaps near the village. Huge buffaloes, unconscious of their
approaching fate, lay tethered near, or wallowing in bovine luxury
in a swamp hard by. Messengers had been sent far and near to all the
Patros, Molikos, and Bissoyis. Even the Kuttiya Khonds were not left
out. The auspicious morning at length dawned, when a distinguished
company began to arrive, each chief with his followers, and in many
cases his wives and little children, all dressed in their best, and
bent on enjoying everything to the utmost. I noticed fine stalwart
men from Udiagiri on the edge of the ghauts, together with Khonds from
more civilised Baliguda, and Khonds from cold and breezy Daringabadi,
cheerful in spite of the numbers of their relatives that had found a
horrid tomb inside a man-eating tiger that since 1886 (together with
another ally lately started) had carried off more than four hundred
of their kith and kin. Distinguished amongst even that wild horde for
savagery were the Khonds from the Kuttiya country, who live on tops of
hills, and whose women are seldom, if ever, seen. These are remarkable
for their enormous quantities of frizzly hair tied in huge chignons
over the right brow, and decorated with feathers of every hue--the
jay, the parrot, the peacock and the white quills of the paddy-bird
predominating. Their short, sturdy limbs are hung in every direction
with necklaces and curious blue beads and cut agates, said to be dug
out of ancient burial places and cromlechs in Central India. Certain
it is that almost no inducement will prevail on a Khond to voluntarily
part with these precious heirlooms. As each fresh detachment arrived,
their first occupation was to go to a neighbouring tank (pond), and,
after a wash and decoration of head and hair with either the orthodox
feathers, or, prettier still, with wreaths of wild flowers, to repair
to the late chief's house, and, presenting themselves at the door,
condole, with much vigour of lungs, with the now less disconsolate
widows on their recent loss. This ceremony over, they tendered
their allegiance to the young son of the dead Patro, permitted
by Government to take his place, and each man received from him an
earthen cooking-pot, and each circle of villages a buffalo. The Khond
is a beef eater, but a curious custom prevails in some parts, that a
married woman must abstain from the flesh of a cow. These preliminary
ceremonies over, the crowd adjourned, with great noise of shouting,
blowing of buffalo horns, and beating of drums, to the open grassy
spot marked by posts, where the late Patro had been burned, and where
a recently killed buffalo, weltering in its gore, now lay. Among
the throng of men, women and children, most of the former more than
slightly elevated by drinking copious draughts of a kind of beer made
from the kuhari grain, were three Khonds carrying long poles surmounted
by huge bunches of peacock feathers that blazed in the sunlight
like emeralds and sapphires. The funeral dance now commenced. The
dance itself is simple in the extreme, for, when the right spot was
reached, old men and young began gyrating round and round in a large
circle, a perfect human merry-go-round. The old grey-beards, plodding
slowly round the ring, and stamping on the soil with their aged feet,
presented a great contrast to the younger and wilder men, who capered
and pranced about, sometimes outside the circle, waving their tanghis
in the air, and every now and then leaping up to the slain buffalo,
and dipping their axes into its blood, and then back again, dancing
more wildly than ever, round and round from west to east, till the
eye ached to behold the perpetual motion of this animated wheel. In
the centre revolved the three men with the huge bunches of peacock
feathers afore-mentioned. When any dropped out of the circle to rest
there were many eager and willing to take their places, and so, with
relays of fresh dancers, this human circle revolved on for three whole
days, only ceasing at nightfall, when by large fires the various tribes
cooked in the earthen pots provided the buffaloes presented by the new
Patro. In olden days, an animal was given to each village, but on this
occasion only to a circle of villages, occasioning thereby certain
grumblings among the wiseacres for the good old days of the past,
when not only buffaloes in plenty, but Meriah human victims as well
were lavishly provided and sacrificed. 'Ichabod,' said they in Khond,
'the glory of the Maliahs hath departed.' On the afternoon of the
third day, the Patros, Molikas, Bissoyis, and others of the great
men began to depart with their retainers for their distant homes in
the jungles, having had a thoroughly good time. The women, who had
been very shy at first, fled at my approach, now, after three days'
familiarity with a white face, began to show symptoms of friendliness,
so that they allowed me to go quite near to them to examine their
pretty necklaces of coloured grasses, silver coins, and curious beads,
and to count the numbers of small sticks (generally about twelve or
fifteen) of broom that were arranged in the shape of a crescent round
the outer edges of the pierced ears of each unmarried village belle,
and to observe at close quarters the strange tattooed patterns in
blue of zigzag and curve that to my eyes disfigured their otherwise
comely faces. As to beauty of figure, I think very few can compare
with a young and well-grown Khond maiden, with her straight back and
handsome proportions. It was, therefore, without much difficulty that
I persuaded some of them to dance before me. Six buxom girls stepped
out, all of them the respectable daughters of well-to-do Khonds,
prepared to dance the famous peacock dance. Round their supple but
massive waists was twisted the strip of national Khond cloth of blue,
red and white, and for bodices what could be more becoming than their
glossy brown skins of nature's millinery, gracefully wreathed with
garlands of coloured grasses and strings of gay beads. The polished
jet black hair, neatly tied in a knot at the back, and decorated with
pretty lacquered and silver combs, or with forest flowers, added yet
more to their picturesque appearance. Each girl now took a long strip
of white cloth, and, winding it round her waist, allowed one end to
trail at the back in the fashion of a Liberty sash. This was supposed
to represent the tail of the peacock. Three of the girls then faced
the three others, and, with their left hands resting on their hips,
and their elbows sticking out (to represent the wings), and the right
arms extended in front with the fingers outstretched to simulate the
neck and beak, began to dance to the ear-piercing shrieks of cracked
trumpet, and to the deep beatings of a Maliah drum marking excellent
time. On and on they danced, advancing and retiring, and now and then
crossing over (not unlike the first figure of the quadrille), while
their tinkling feet, 'like little mice, stole in and out,' the heels
alternately clashing against each other, in exact time to the music,
and the lips gracefully waving from side to side as they advanced or
retired. There was perfect grace of movements combined with extreme
modesty, the large expressive eyes veiled by the long lashes never
once being raised, and the whole demeanour utterly oblivious to the
crowd of enthusiastic admirers that surrounded them on all sides. But
for the wild scene around, the noise and shrieking of instruments,
and the fantastic dresses of the Khonds (many of whom had buffalo
horns tied on to their painted faces, or had decorated their heads
with immense wigs of long black hair), one might easily have supposed
these shrinking damsels to have been the pick of a Mission School
specially selected for propriety to dance the South Indian kummi
before, say, an itinerant Bishop of ascetic tendencies and æsthetic
temperament. When their heaving, panting bodies showed that exhausted
nature claimed them for her own, the man with the trumpet or the drum
would rush up, and blow or beat it almost under their drooping heads,
urging them with shouts and gesticulations to further energy, till at
length the shades of night crept over the hills, and, with one accord,
the dancing and the deafening music ceased, while the six girls stole
quietly back and were soon lost in the crowd."

Of superstitions among the Kondhs, the following are recorded by
Mr. Jayaram Moodaliar:--


    "When a Kondh starts out on a shooting expedition, if he first
    meets an adult female, married or unmarried, he will return home,
    and ask a child to tell the females to keep out of his way. He will
    then make a fresh start, and, if he meets a female, will wave his
    hand to her as a sign that she must keep clear of him. Before a
    party start out for shooting, they warn the females not to come
    in their way. The Kondh believes that, if he sees a female, he
    will not come across animals in the jungle to shoot. If a woman
    is in her menses, her husband, brothers, and sons living under
    the same roof, will not go out shooting for the same reason.

    A Kondh will not leave his village when a jathra (festival) is
    being celebrated, lest the god Pennu should visit his wrath on him.

    They will not cut trees, which yield products suitable for human
    consumption, such as the mango, jak, jambul (Eugenia Jambolana), or
    iluppai (Bassia) from which they distil a spirituous liquor. Even
    though these trees prevent the growth of a crop in the fields,
    they will not cut them down.

    If an owl hoots over the roof of a house, or on a tree close
    thereto, it is considered unlucky, as foreboding a death in the
    family at an early date. If an owl hoots close to a village, but
    outside it, the death of one of the villagers will follow. For
    this reason, the bird is pelted with stones, and driven off.

    They will not kill a crow, as this would be a sin amounting to
    the killing of a friend. According to their legend, soon after the
    creation of the world there was a family consisting of an aged man
    and woman, and four children, who died one after the other in quick
    succession. Their parents were too aged to take the necessary steps
    for their cremation, so they threw the bodies away on the ground,
    at some distance from their home. God appeared to them in their
    dreams one night, and promised that he would create the crow,
    so that it might devour the dead bodies.

    They do not consider it a sin to kill a Brahminy kite (Haliastur
    indus: Garuda pakshi), which is held in veneration throughout
    Southern India. A Kondh will kill it for so slight an offence as
    carrying off his chickens.

    They will not cut the crops with a sickle with a serrated edge,
    such as is used by the Oriyas, but use a straight-edged knife. The
    crops, after they have been cut, are removed to the village, and
    threshed by hand, and not with the help of cattle. While this is
    being done, strangers (Kondh or others) may not look on the crop,
    or speak to them, lest their evil eye should be cast on them. If
    a stranger is seen approaching near the threshing-floor, the
    Kondhs keep him off by signalling to him with their hands, without
    speaking. The serrated sickle is not used, because it produces a
    sound like that of cattle grazing, which would be unpropitious. If
    cattle were used in threshing the crop, it is believed that the
    earth god would feel insulted by the dung and urine of the animals.

    They believe that they can transform themselves into tigers or
    snakes, half the soul leaving the body and becoming changed into
    one of these animals, either to kill an enemy, or satisfy hunger
    by having a good feed on cattle in the jungle. During this period,
    they are believed to feel dull and listless, and disinclined for
    work, and, if a tiger is killed in the forest, they will die
    synchronously. Mr. Fawcett informs me that the Kondhs believe
    that the soul wanders during sleep. On one occasion, a dispute
    arose owing to a man discovering that another Kondh, whose spirit
    used to wander about in the guise of a tiger, ate up his spirit,
    and he became ill.

    When cholera breaks out in a village, all males and females smear
    their bodies from head to foot with pig's fat liquefied by heat,
    and continue to do so until a few days after the disappearance
    of the dread disease. During this time, they do not bathe, lest
    the smell of the fat should be washed away."


The Kondhs are said [177] to prevent the approach of the goddess
of small-pox by barricading the paths with thorns and ditches, and
boiling caldrons of stinking oil. The leopard is looked upon in some
way as a sacred beast by the Kondhs of the northern Maliahs. They
object to a dead leopard being carried through their villages, and
oaths are taken on a leopard's skin.

Referring to elf stones, or stones of the dead in European
countries, to which needles, buttons, milk, eggs, etc., are offered,
Mr. F. Fawcett describes [178] a Kondh ceremony, in which the ground
under a tree was cleared in the form of a square, within which were
circles of saffron (turmeric), charcoal, rice, and some yellow powder,
as well as an egg or a small chicken. A certain Kondh had fever caused
by an evil spirit, and the ceremony was an invitation to it to come
out, and go to another village.

The following account of a cow-shed sacrifice is given by
Mr. Fawcett. [179] "A special liquor is brewed from grain for the
ceremony, on the first day of which there is a general fast, a pig
is bought by general subscription, and dragged to the place where
it is to be sacrificed by a rope 'through its belly.' The pig is
stoned to death, but, ere it dies, each Khond cuts off some of the
hair and a little piece of the ear, which are treasured. The meat
is divided among them, and cooked with rice. The priest goes from
house to house, and performs the ceremony of the cow-shed. The ropes
of the cattle (chiefly buffaloes) which are out grazing are tied to
the central point in the cow-shed, and the other ends are laid on the
ground across the shed. These ropes are the visible objects, to which
sacrifice is made. The head of a chicken is buried near the ends tied
to the post, and near it are ranged leaves, on which are placed rice,
flesh of the pig, and a bit of its ear. A little in front of these is
buried a rotten egg. The chicken, whose head is buried, is boiled,
and eaten by children who have not yet donned a cloth. The Khond
puts the rice, piece of the ear, and the hair of the pig, under the
roof. In the evening the cattle come home, and are tied by the ropes
used in the ceremony. Then the women break their fast--they must eat
then. Drinking and dancing occupy the two following days, during which
no manure is removed from the cow-shed. On the third day, the Khonds
come out with a lump of it in the hand, and throw it in one place,
forming a heap, on which the priest pours liquor and rice."

The following example of a Kondh oath is given by
Mr. J. A. R. Stevenson. "The subject of the circumstance is first
repeated by the swearing party, and a basket containing the following
things is held before him:--


    A blood-sucker (lizard).
    A bit of tiger's skin.
    A peacock's feather.
    Earth from a 'white-ant' hill.
    Rice mixed with fowl's blood.
    A lighted lamp.


He proceeds with his oath, touching each object in the basket at
that part of the oath which refers to that object. 'Oh! father
(god), I swear, and, if I swear falsely, then, Oh! father, may I
become shrivelled and dry like a blood-sucker, and thus die. May I
be killed by a tiger. May I crumble to dust like this white-ant's
hill. May I be blown about like this feather. May I be extinguished
like this lamp.' In saying the last words, he puts a few grains of
rice in his mouth, and blows out the lamp, and the basket with its
contents is made to touch the top of his head."

In 1904, a case illustrating the prevailing belief in witchcraft
occurred in the Vizagapatam hill tracts. The youngest of three
brothers died of fever, and, when the body was cremated, the fire
failed to consume the upper portion. The brothers concluded that
death must have been caused by the witchcraft of a certain Kondh. They
accordingly attacked him, and killed him. After death, the brothers
cut the body in half, and dragged the upper half to their own village,
where they attempted to nail it up on the spot where their deceased
brother's body failed to burn. The accused were arrested on the spot,
with the fragment of the Kondh's corpse. They were sentenced to death,
and the sentence was confirmed by the High Court. [180]

In 1906, a Kondh, suspecting a Pano girl of having stolen some
cloths and a silver ornament from him, went to the dhengada house
in Sollagodo, where the girl slept with other unmarried girls,
and took her to his village, where he confined her in his house. On
the following day, he took her to an Oriya trader, who thrashed her,
in order to make her confess to the theft. Subsequently, some of the
villagers collected to see her undergo the ordeal of boiling water. A
pot nearly full of water was boiled, some cow-dung and sacred rice
added, and a rupee placed in the pot. The girl was ordered to take
out the rupee. This she did three times, but, on the fourth occasion,
the water scalded her hand and forearm. She was then ordered to pay
as a fine her ear-ring, which was worth one rupee. This she did,
as it was the custom for an unsuccessful person to hand over some
property. Her right hand was practically destroyed as the result of the
scalding. An elderly Patro (headman) deposed that the ordinary practice
in trials of this sort is to place two pots of water, one boiling and
the other cold. In the boiling water a rupee and some rice are placed,
and the suspected person has to take out the rupee once, and should
then dip his hand in the cold water. If the hand is then scalded,
the person is considered guilty, and has to pay a fine to the caste.

In trial by immersion in water, the disputants dive into a pool,
and he who can keep under water the longest is considered to be
in the right. On one occasion, some years ago, when two villages
were disputing the right of possession of a certain piece of land,
the Magistrate resorted to a novel method to settle the dispute. He
instituted a tug-of-water between an equal number of representatives
of the contending parties. The side which won took possession of the
disputed property, to the satisfaction of all. [181]

In connection with sacred rice, which has been referred to above,
reference may be made to the custom of Mahaprasad Songatho. "It
is prevalent among the Khonds and other hill tribes of Ganjam and
Orissa, and is found among the Oriyas. Sangatho means union or
friendship. Mahaprasad Songatho is friendship sworn by mahaprasad,
i.e., cooked rice consecrated to god Jagannath of Puri. The remains
of the offering are dried and preserved. All pilgrims visiting Puri
invariably get a quantity of this mahaprasad, and freely distribute
it to those who ask for it. It is regarded as a sacred thing,
endowed with supreme powers of forgiving the sins and wrongs of
men by mere touch. It is not only holy itself, but also sanctifies
everything done in its presence. It is believed that one dare not
commit a foul deed, utter a falsehood, or even entertain an evil
thought, when it is held in the hands. On account of such beliefs,
witnesses in law suits (especially Oriyas) are asked to swear by
it when giving evidence. Mahaprasad Songatho is sworn friendship
between two individuals of the same sex. Instances are on record of
friendship contracted between a wealthy and cultured townsman and a
poor village rustic, or between a Brahmin woman of high family and
a Sudra servant. Songatho is solemnised with some ceremonies. On an
auspicious day fixed for the purpose, the parties to the Songatho,
with their relatives, friends and well-wishers, go to a temple in
procession to the festive music of flutes and drum. There, in that
consecrated place, the would-be friends take a solemn oath, with the
god before them, mahaprasad in their hands, and the assemblage to
witness that they will be lifelong friends, in spite of any changes
that might come over them or their families. The ceremony closing,
there will be dinners, gifts and presents on both sides, and the
day is all mirth and merriment. Thus bound by inseparable ties of
friendship, they live to the end of their lives on terms of extreme
intimacy and affection. They seize every opportunity of meeting,
and living in each other's company. They allow no festival to pass
without an exchange of new cloths, and other valuable presents. No
important ceremony is gone through in any one's house without the
other being invited. Throughout the year, they will send each other
the various fruits and vegetables in their respective seasons. If one
dies, his or her family does not consider the bond as having been
snapped, but continues to look upon the other more or less in the
same manner as did the deceased. The survivor, if in need of help,
is sure to receive assistance and sympathy from the family of the
deceased friend. This is how the institution is maintained by the
less civilised Oriyas of the rural parts. The romance of the Songatho
increases with the barbarity of the tribe. The Khonds, and other hill
tribes, furnish us with an example of Songatho, which retains all
its primitive simplicity. Among them, Songatho is ideal friendship,
and examples of Damon and Pythias are not rare. A Khond has been known
to ruin himself for the sake of his friend. He willingly sacrifices
all that he has, and even his life, to protect the interests of his
friend. The friends have nothing but affection for each other." [182]

It is noted, in the Gazetteer of the Vizagapatam district, that "the
Khonds steal cattle, especially those belonging to Brinjari gangs, in
an open manner, for the sake of their flesh. In 1898, at Veppiguda near
Gudari a party of them attacked four constables who were patrolling
the country to check these thefts, thrashed them, and carried off all
their property and uniforms. Efforts to arrest these men resulted
in the inhabitants of their village fleeing to the hills, and, for
a time, it looked as if there was danger of others joining them, and
of the Khonds going out. In 1882, the Khonds of Kalahandi State rose
against the Uriyas, and murdered some hundreds of them. Luckily the
invitation to join them, conveyed by the circulation of the head,
fingers, hair, etc., of an early victim, was not accepted by the
Khonds of this district." The news of the rising was conveyed to
Mr. H. G. Prendergast, Assistant Superintendent of Police, by a Domb
disguised as a fakir, who carried the report concealed in his languti
(cloth). He was rewarded with a silver bangle. At a meeting held
at the village of Balwarpur, it was decided that the Kultas should
all be killed and swept out of the country. As a sign of this, the
Kondhs carried brooms about. At Asurgarh the police found four headless
corpses, and learnt from the widows all that they had to say about the
atrocities. The murders had been committed in the most brutal way. All
the victims were scalped while still alive, and one had an arm and a
leg cut off before being scalped. As each victim died, his death was
announced by three taps on a drum given slowly, followed by shouting
and dancing. The unfortunate men were dragged out of their houses,
and killed before their women and children. Neither here nor anywhere
else were the women outraged, though they were threatened with death
to make them give up buried treasure. One woman was in this way made
to dig up a thousand rupees. On a tamarind tree near the village of
Billat, affixed to it as a trophy, there was the scalped head of a
Kulta, hacked about in the most horrible way. [183]

The fact is noted by Mr. Jayaram Moodaliar that the Kondh system
of notation is duodecimal. Thirteen is twelve and one, forty three
twelves and four, and so forth.


Kondh Bibliography.

Aborigines of the Eastern Ghâts. Journ. Asiat. Soc. Bengal, XXV,
39-52, 1856.

Caldwell, R. Comparative Grammar of the Dravidian or South Indian
Family of Languages, 2nd edn., appendix, 516-17, 1875.

Campbell, G. Specimens of Languages of India, including those of the
Aboriginal Tribes of Bengal, the Central Provinces and the Eastern
Frontier, 95-107, 1904, Calcutta.

Campbell, Major-General. Personal Narrative of Service amongst the
Wild Tribes of Khondistan, 1864.

Dalton, E. T. Descriptive Ethnology of Bengal, 285-301, 1872.

Duff, Rev. A. The First Series of Government Measures for the Abolition
of Human Sacrifices among the Khonds. Selections from the Calcutta
Review, 194-257, 1845-6.

Fawcett, F. Miscellaneous Notes. Journ., Anthrop. Soc., Bombay,
II, 247-51.

Francis, W. Gazetteer of the Vizagapatam District, Vol. I, 1907.

Friend-Pereira, J. E. Marriage Customs of the Khonds. Journ.,
Asiat. Soc. Bengal, LXXI, part III, 18-28, 1903.

Friend-Pereira, J. E. Totemism among the Khonds. Journ., Asiat. Soc.,
Bengal, LXXIII, Part III, 39-56, 1905.

Frye, Captain. Dialogues and Sentences in the Kondh Language, with
an English translation, 1851, Cuttack.

Frye, Captain. Fables in the Kondh Language, with an English
translation, 1851, Cuttack.

Frye, Captain. Fables in the Kondh Language, with an Oriya translation,
1851, Cuttack.

Frye, Captain. The History of Joseph in the Kui or Kondh Language,
1851, Cuttack.

Frye, Captain. Primer and Progressive Reading Lessons in the Kondh
Language, with an Oriya translation, 1851, Cuttack.

Frye, Lieut. J. P. On the Uriya and Kondh Population of Orissa. Journ.,
Roy. Asiat. Soc. of Great Britain and Ireland, XVII, 1-38, 1860.

Grierson, G. A. Linguistic Survey of India, IV, 457-71, 1906.

History of the Rise and Progress of the Operations for the Suppression
of Human Sacrifice and Female Infanticide in the Hill tracts of
Orissa. Selections from the Records of the Government of India (Home
Department) No. V, 1854, Calcutta.

Hunter, W. W. Orissa II, 67-100, 1872.

Huttmann, G. H. Lieut. Macpherson's Report upon the Khonds of the
Districts of Ganjam and Cuttack. Calcutta Review, VIII, 1-51, 1847.

Huttmann, G. H. Captain Macpherson's Report upon the Khonds of the
Districts of Ganjam and Cuttack. Calcutta Review, X, 273-341, 1848.

Lingum Letchmajee. Introduction to the Grammar of the Kui or Kondh
Language, 2nd edn., 1902, Calcutta.

Macpherson, Captain S. C. An account of the Religious Opinions
and Observances of the Khonds of Goomsur and Boad. Journ.,
Roy. Asiat. Soc. of Great Britain and Ireland, VII, 172-99, 1843.

Macpherson, Captain S. C. An account of the Religion of the Khonds
in Orissa. Journ., Roy. Asiat. Soc. of Great Britain and Ireland,
XIII, 216-74, 1852.

Macpherson, Lieut. Report upon the Khonds of the Districts of Ganjam
and Cuttack, 1863, Madras.

Maltby, T. J. Ganjam District Manual, 65-87, 1882.

Rice, S. P. Occasional Essays on Native South Indian Life, 97-102,
1901.

Risley, H. H. The Tribes and Castes of Bengal, I, 397-413. 1891.

Smith, Major J. McD. Practical Handbook of the Khond Language, 1876,
Cuttack.

Taylor, Rev. W. On the Language, Manners, and Rites of the Khonds
or Khoi Jati of the Goomsur Mountains from documents furnished by
J. A. R. Stevenson. Madras Journ. Lit. and Science, VI, 17-46, 1837.

Taylor, Rev. W. Some Additional Notes on the Hill Inhabitants of the
Goomsur Mountains. Madras Journ., Lit. and Science, VII, 89-104, 1838.

Kondra.--The Kondras or Kondoras are a fishing caste in Ganjam, who
fish in ponds, lakes, rivers, and backwaters, but are never engaged
in sea-fishing. It has been suggested that the name is derived from
konkoda, a crab, as they catch crabs in the Chilka lake, and sell
them. The Kondras rank very low in the social scale, and even the
Haddis refuse to beat drums for them, and will not accept partially
boiled rice, which they have touched. In some places, the members
of the caste call themselves Dasa Divaro, and claim descent from the
boatmen who rowed the boat when King Bharatha went to Chithrakutam,
to inform Rama of the death of Dasaratha. Apparently the caste is
divided into two endogamous sections, viz., Macha Kondras, who follow
the traditional occupation of fishing, and Dandasi Khondras, who have
taken to the duties of village watchmen. As examples of septs or
bamsams, the following may be cited:--kako (crow), bilva (jackal),
gaya (cow), kukkiriya (dogs), ghasia (grass), bholia (wild dog),
sanguna (vulture). A few said that reverence is paid to the animals
after which the bamsam is named before the marriage ceremonies, but
this was denied by others. The headman of the caste is styled Behara,
and he is assisted by the Dolobehara and Bhollobaya. There is also a
caste messenger called Chattia. The Behara receives a fee of a rupee
on occasions of marriage, and one anna for death ceremonies.

Girls are married either before or after puberty. Sometimes a girl
is married in performance of a vow to the sahada (Streblus asper)
tree. The ground round the tree is cleaned, a new cloth is then tied
round the trunk, and a bow and arrow are rested against it. The
Behara officiates as priest, and on behalf of the girl, places
near the tree twelve handfuls or measures of rice and twelve of dal
(peas: Cajanus indicus), and twelve pieces of string on a leaf, as
provisions for the bridegroom. If the girl has not reached maturity,
she must remain seven days near the tree; otherwise she remains four
days. On the last day, the Behara, sitting close to the tree, says:
"We have given you provisions for twelve years. Give us a tsado-patra
(deed of separation)." This is written on a palmyra leaf, and thrown
down near the tree.

The dead are cremated, and the corpses of both men and women are said
to be placed face downwards on the pyre. Among many other castes,
only those of women are placed in this position. The death ceremonies
are similar to those observed by many Oriya castes. A bit of bone is
removed from the burning-ground, and food offered to it daily until
the tenth day, when all the agnates, as well as the brothers-in-law
and sons-in-law of the deceased, are shaved. The sons of the sister of
the dead person are also expected to be shaved if they are fatherless;
but, if their father is alive, they are shaved on the following day.

The Kondras regard Ganga-devi as their caste deity, but worship also
other deities, e.g., Chamunda, Buddhi, and Kalika.

Konga.--Konga or Kongu is a territorial term, meaning inhabitant of
the Kongu country. It has, at recent times of census, been returned as
a division of a large number of classes, mostly Tamil, which include
Ambattan, Kaikolan, Kammalan, Kuravan, Kusavan, Malayan, Odde, Pallan,
Paraiyan, Shanan, Uppara, and Vellala. It is used as a term of abuse
among the Badagas of the Nilgiri hills. Those, for example, who made
mistakes in matching Holmgren's wools, were scornfully called Konga
by the onlookers. Similarly, in parts of the Tamil country, a tall,
lean and stupid individual is called a Kongan.

Konga Vellala.--For the following note on the Konga Vellalas of the
Trichinopoly district, I am indebted to Mr. F. R. Hemingway. They seem
to have little in common with the other Vellalas, except their name,
and appear to hold a lower position in society, for Reddis will not
eat with them, and they will dine with Tottiyans and others of the
lower non-Brahman castes. They live in compact communities, generally
in hamlets. Their dwellings are generally thatched huts, containing
only one room. They are cultivators, but not well off. Their men can
generally be recognized by the number of large gold rings which they
wear in the lobes of the ears, and the pendant (murugu), which hangs
from the upper part of the ears. Their women have a characteristic
tali (marriage badge) of large size, strung on to a number of cotton
threads, which are not, as among other castes, twisted together. They
also seem always to wear an ornament called tayittu, rather like the
common cylindrical talisman, on the left arm.

The Konga Vellalas are split into two endogamous divisions, viz., the
Konga Vellalas proper, and the Tondan or Ilakanban-kuttam (servant
or inferior sub-division). The latter are admittedly the offspring
of illegitimate intercourse with outsiders by girls and widows of
the caste, who have been expelled in consequence of their breach of
caste rules.

The Kongas proper have an elaborate caste organisation. Their country
is divided into twenty-four nadus, each comprising a certain number of
villages, and possessing recognised head-quarters, which are arranged
into four groups under the villages of Palayakottai, Kangayam, Pudur
and Kadayur, all in the Coimbatore district. Each village is under a
Kottukkaran, each nadu under a Nattu-kavundan or Periyatanakkaran, and
each group under a Pattakkaran. The last is treated with considerable
respect. He wears gold toe-rings, is not allowed to see a corpse,
and is always saluted with clasped hands. He is only occasionally
called in to settle caste disputes, small matters being settled by the
Kottukkarans, and matrimonial questions by the Nattukavundan. Both
the Kongas proper, and the Tondans have a large number of exogamous
septs, the names of which generally denote some article, the use
of which is taboo, e.g., kadai (quail), pannai (Celosia argentea,
a pot-herb). The most desirable match for a boy is his maternal
uncle's daughter. To such an extent is the preference for such unions
carried out, that a young boy is often married to a grown-up woman,
and it is admitted that, in such cases, the boy's father takes upon
himself the duties of a husband until his son has reached maturity,
and that the wife is allowed to consort with any one belonging to
the caste whom she may fancy, provided that she continues to live
in her husband's house. With widows, who are not allowed to remarry,
the rules are more strict. A man convicted of undue intimacy with a
widow is expelled from the caste, unless she consents to his leaving
her and going back to the caste, and he provides her with adequate
means to live separately. The form of consent is for the woman to say
that she is only a mud vessel, and has been broken because polluted,
whereas the man is of bell-metal, and cannot be utterly polluted. The
erring man is readmitted to the caste by being taken to the village
common, where he is beaten with an erukkan (arka: Calotropis gigantea)
stick, and by providing a black sheep for a feast to his relatives.

At weddings and funerals, the Konga Vellalas employ priests of their
own caste, called Arumaikkarans and Arumaikkaris. These must be married
people, who have had children. The first stage, so far as a wife is
concerned, is to become an elutingalkari (woman of seven Mondays),
without which she cannot wear a red mark on her forehead, or get any
of her children married. This is effected, after the birth of at least
one child, by observing a ceremonial at her father's house. A pandal
(booth) of green leaves is erected in the house, and a fillet of pungam
(Pongamia glabra) and tamarind twigs is placed round her head. She
is then presented with a new cloth, prepares some food and eats it,
and steps over a mortar. A married couple wait until one of their
children is married, and then undergo the ceremony called arumaimanam
at the hands of ten Arumaikkarans and some Pulavans (bards among
the Kaikolans), who touch the pair with some green grass dipped in
sandal and water, oil, etc. The man then becomes an Arumaikkaran,
and his wife an Arumaikkari. All people of arumai rank are treated
with great respect, and, when one of them dies, a drum is beaten by
a man standing on another man's shoulders, who receives as a present
seven measures of grain measured, and an equal quantity unmeasured.

The betrothal ceremony takes place at the house of the future bride,
in the presence of both the maternal uncles, and consists in tying
fruit and betel leaf in the girl's cloth. On the wedding day, the
bridegroom is shaved, and an Arumaikkari pours water over him. If he
has a sister, the ceremony of betrothing his prospective daughter
to her son, is performed. He then goes on horseback, carrying some
fruit and a pestle, to a stone planted for the occasion, and called
the nattukal, which he worships. The stone is supposed to represent
the Kongu king, and the pestle the villagers, and the whole ceremony
is said to be a relic of a custom of the ancient Kongu people, to
which the caste formerly belonged, which required them to obtain
the sanction of the king for every marriage. On his return from
the nattukal, balls of white and coloured rice are taken round the
bridegroom, to ward off the evil eye. His mother then gives him three
mouthfuls of food, and eats the remainder herself, to indicate that
henceforth she will not provide him with meals. A barber then blesses
him, and he repairs on horseback to the bride's house, where he is
received by one of her party similarly mounted. His ear-rings are
put in the bride's ears, and the pair are carried on the shoulders
of their maternal uncles to the nattukal. On their return thence,
they are touched by an Arumaikkaran with a betel leaf dipped in oil,
milk and water. The tali (marriage badge) is worshipped and blessed,
and the Arumaikkaran ties it on her neck. The barber then pronounces
an elaborate blessing, which runs as follows: "Live as long as the
sun and moon may endure, or Pasupatisvarar (Siva) at Karur. May your
branches spread like the banyan tree, and your roots like grass,
and may you flourish like the bamboo. May ye twain be like the flower
and the thread, which together form the garland and cleave together,
like water and the reed growing in it." If a Pulavan is present, he
adds a further blessing, and the little fingers of the contracting
couple are linked together, anointed with milk, and then separated.

The death ceremonies are not peculiar, except that the torch for
the pyre is carried by a Paraiyan, and not, as among most castes,
by the chief mourner, and that no ceremonies are performed after the
third day. The custom is to collect the bones on that day and throw
them into water. The barber then pours a mixture of milk and ghi
(clarified butter) over a green tree, crying poli, poli.

The caste has its own beggars, called Mudavandi (q.v.).

Kongara (crane).--An exogamous sept of Padma Sale, and Kamma.

Konhoro.--A title of Bolasi.

Konkani.--Defined, in the Madras Census Report, 1901, as a territorial
or linguistic term, meaning a dweller in the Konkan country (Canara),
or a person speaking the Konkani dialect of Marathi. Kadu Konkani
(bastard Konkani) is a name opposed to the God or pure Konkanis. In
South Canara, "the Konkani Brahmans are the trading and shop-keeping
class, and, in the most out-of-the-way spots, the Konkani village
shop is to be found." [184]

The following note on Konkanis is extracted from the Travancore Census
Report, 1901. "The Konkanis include the Brahman, Kshatriya, and Vaisya
castes of the Sarasvata section of the Gauda Brahmans. The Brahmans
of this community differ, however, from the Konkanastha Maharashtra
Brahmans belonging to the Dravida group. The Konkani Sudras who have
settled on this coast are known by a different name, Kudumikkar. The
Konkanis' original habitation is the bank of the Sarasvati, a river
well known in early Sanskrit works, but said to have lost itself
in the sands of the deserts north of Rajputana. According to the
Sahyadrikanda, a branch of these Sarasvatas lived in Tirhut in Bengal,
whence ten families were brought over by Parasurama to Gomantaka, the
modern Goa, Panchakrosi, and Kusasthali. Attracted by the richness and
beauty of the new country, others followed, and the whole population
settled themselves in sixty villages and ninety-six hamlets in and
around Goa, the settlers in the former being called Shashtis (Sanskrit
for sixty), and those in the latter being called Shannavis or Shenavis
(Sanskrit for ninety-six). The history of those Sarasvatas was one of
uninterrupted general and commercial prosperity until about twenty
years after the advent of the Portuguese. When King Emanuel died
and King John succeeded him, the policy of the Goanese Government is
believed to have changed in favour of religious persecution. A large
efflux to the Canarese and Tulu countries was the result. Thence
the Konkanis appear to have migrated to Travancore and Cochin,
and found a safe haven under the rule of their Hindu sovereigns. In
their last homes, the Konkanis extended and developed their commerce,
built temples, and endowed them so magnificently that the religious
institutions of that community, especially at Cochin and Alleppey,
continue to this day almost the richest in all Malabar.

"Canter Visscher writes [185] that 'the Canarese who are permanently
settled in Malabar are the race best known to the Europeans, not
only because the East India Company trade with them and appoint one
of their members to be their merchant, giving him the attendance of
two Dutch soldiers: but also because from the shops of these people
in town we obtain all our necessaries, except animal food. Some sell
rice, others fruits, others various kinds of linen, and some again
are money-changers, so that there is hardly one who is not engaged in
trade.' The occupation of the Konkanis has been commerce ever since the
advent of the Portuguese in India. Some of them make papatams [186]
(popadams) which is a condiment of almost universal consumption in
Malabar. Till recently, the Konkanis in Travancore knew nothing else
than trade. But now, following the example of their kinsmen in Bombay
and South Canara, they are gradually taking to other professions.

"Having settled themselves in the Canarese districts, most of
the Konkanis came under the influence of Madhavacharya, unlike
the Shenavis, who still continue to be Smartas. The worship of
Venkataramana, the presiding deity of the Tirupati shrine, is held in
great importance. Every Konkani temple is called Tirumala Devasmam, as
the divinity that resides on the sacred hill (Tirumala) is represented
in each."

Konsari.--The Konsaris derive their name from konsa, a bell-metal
dish. They are Oriya workers in bell-metal, and manufacture dishes,
cups and plates. Brahmans are employed by them as purohits (priests)
and gurus (preceptors). They eat fish and mutton, but not fowls or
beef, and drink liquor. Marriage is infant. Remarriage of widows and
divorcées is permitted.

Koonapilli vandlu.--Beggars attached to Padma Sales.

Koppala.--A section of Velamas, who tie the hair in a knot (koppu)
on the top of the head, and an exogamous sept of Mutrachas, whose
females do up their hair in a knot when they reach puberty.

Kora (sun).--A sept of Gadaba, Muka Dora, and Rona.

Koracha.--See Korava.

Koraga.--The Koragas are summed up, in the Madras Census Report,
1901, as being a wild tribe of basket-makers and labourers, chiefly
found in Mudbidri, and in Puttur in the Uppinangadi taluk of South
Canara. They are, Mr. M. T. Walhouse writes, [187] "a very quiet
and inoffensive race; small and slight, the men seldom exceeding
five feet six inches; black-skinned, like most Indian aborigines,
thick-lipped, noses broad and flat, and hair rough and bushy. Their
principal occupation is basket-making, and they must labour for their
masters. They live on the outskirts of villages, and may not dwell
in houses of clay or mud, but in huts of leaves, called koppus. Like
many of the wild tribes of India, they are distinguished by unswerving
truthfulness. The word of a Koragar is proverbial."

The Koragas rank below the Holeyas. In some towns, they are employed
by the sanitary department as scavengers. They remove the hide, horns,
and bones of cattle and buffaloes, which die in the villages, and
sell them mainly to Mappilla merchants. They accept food, which is
left over after feasts held by various castes. Some are skilful in the
manufacture of cradles, baskets, cylinders to hold paddy, winnowing and
sowing baskets, scale-pans, boxes, rice-water strainers, ring-stands
for supporting pots, coir (cocoanut fibre) rope, brushes for washing
cattle, etc. They also manufacture various domestic utensils from
soapstone, which they sell at a very cheap rate to shopkeepers in
the bazar.

"Numerous slave-castes," Mr. Walhouse continues, "exist throughout
India, not of course recognised by law--indeed formally emancipated by
an Act of Government in 1843--but still, though improved in condition,
virtually slaves. Their origin and status are thus described. After
the four principal classes, who sprang from Brahma, came six Anuloma
castes, which arose from the intercourse of Brahmans and Kshatriyas
with women of the classes below them respectively. The term Anuloma
denotes straight and regular hair, which in India characterises
the Aryan stock. After these came six Pratiloma castes, originating
in reverse order from Brahman and Kshatriya women by fathers of the
inferior classes. The third among these was the Chandala, the offspring
of Shudra fathers by Brahman women. The Chandalas, or slaves, were
sub-divided into fifteen classes, none of which might intermarry, a
rule still strictly observed. The two last, and lowest of the fifteen
classes, are the Kapata or rag-wearing, and the Soppu or leaf-wearing
Koragas. Such is the account given by Brahman chroniclers; but the
probability is that these lowest slave-castes are the descendants of
that primitive population which the Aryan invaders from the north
found occupying the soil, and, after a struggle of ages, gradually
dispossessed, driving some to the hills and jungles, and reducing
others to the condition of slaves. All these races are regarded by
their Hindu masters with boundless contempt, and held unspeakably
unclean. This feeling seems the result and witness of times when the
despised races were powerful, and to be approached as lords by their
now haughty masters, and was probably intensified by struggles and
uprisings, and the memory of humiliations inflicted on the ultimately
successful conquerors. Evidences for this may be inferred from many
curious rights and privileges, which the despised castes possess
and tenaciously retain. Moreover, the contempt and loathing in which
they are ordinarily held are curiously tinctured with superstitious
fear, for they are believed to possess secret powers of magic and
witchcraft, and influence with the old malignant deities of the soil,
who can direct good or evil fortune. As an instance, if a Brahman
mother's children die off when young, she calls a Koragar woman,
gives her some oil, rice, and copper money, and places the surviving
child in her arms. The out-caste woman, who may not at other times
be touched, gives the child suck, puts on it her iron bracelets,
and, if a boy, names it Koragar, if a girl, Korapulu. She then
returns it to the mother. This is believed to give a new lease of
life. Again, when a man is dangerously ill, or perhaps unfortunate,
he pours oil into an earthen vessel, worships it in the same way
as the family god, looks at his face reflected in the oil, and puts
into it a hair from his head and a nail paring from his toe. The oil
is then presented to the Koragars, and the hostile gods or stars are
believed to be propitiated." According to Mr. Ullal Raghvendra Rao,
[188] old superstitious Hindus never venture to utter the word Koraga
during the night.

It is noted in the Manual of the South Canara district, that "all
traditions unite in attributing the introduction of the Tulu Brahmins
of the present day to Mayur Varma (of the Kadamba dynasty), but they
vary in details connected with the manner in which they obtained a
firm footing in the land. One account says that Habashika, chief of
the Koragas, drove out Mayur Varma, but was in turn expelled by Mayur
Varma's son, or son-in-law, Lokaditya of Gokarnam, who brought Brahmins
from Ahi-kshetra, and settled them in thirty-two villages." Concerning
the power, and eventual degradation of the Koragas, the following
version of the tradition is cited by Mr. Walhouse. "When Lokadiraya,
whose date is fixed by Wilks about 1450 B.C., was king of Bhanvarshe in
North Canara (a place noted by Ptolemy), an invader, by name Habashika,
brought an army from above the ghauts, consisting of all the present
Chandala or slave-castes, overwhelmed that part of the country,
and marched southward to Mangalore, the present capital of South
Canara. The invading host was scourged with small-pox, and greatly
annoyed by ants, so Habashika moved on to Manjeshwar, a place of
ancient repute, twelve miles to the south, subdued the local ruler
Angarawarma, son of Virawarma, and reigned there in conjunction with
his nephew; but after twelve years both died--one legend says through
enchantments devised by Angarawarma; another that a neighbouring ruler
treacherously proposed a marriage between his sister and Habashika,
and, on the bridegroom and his caste-men attending for the nuptials,
a wholesale massacre of them all was effected. Angarawarma, then
returning, drove the invading army into the jungles, where they were
reduced to such extremity that they consented to become slaves, and
were apportioned amongst the Brahmans and original landholders. Some
were, set to watch the crops and cattle, some to cultivate, others
to various drudgeries, which are still allotted to the existing
slave-castes, but the Koragars, who had been raised by Habashika to the
highest posts under his government, were stripped and driven towards
the sea-shore, there to be hanged, but, being ashamed of their naked
condition, they gathered the leaves of the nicki bush (Vitex Negundo),
which grows abundantly in waste places, and made small coverings for
themselves in front. On this the executioners took pity on them and let
them go, but condemned them to be the lowest of the low, and wear no
other covering but leaves. The Koragas are now the lowest of the slave
divisions, and regarded with such intense loathing and hatred that up
to quite recent times one section of them, called Ande or pot Koragars,
continually wore a pot suspended from their necks, into which they were
compelled to spit, being so utterly unclean as to be prohibited from
even spitting on the highway; and to this day their women continue
to show in their leafy aprons a memorial of the abject degradation
to which their whole race was doomed." It is said that in pre-British
days an Ande Koraga had to take out a licence to come into the towns
and villages by day. At night mere approach thereto was forbidden,
as his presence would cause terrible calamity. The Koragas of those
days could cook their food only in broken vessels. The name Vastra,
by which one class of Koragas is called, has reference to their
wearing vastra, or clothes, such as were used to shroud a dead body,
and given to them in the shape of charity, the use of a new cloth
being prohibited. According to another account the three divisions
of the Koragas are (1) Kappada, those who wear clothes, (2) Tippi,
who wear ornaments made of the cocoanut shell, and (3) Vanti, who
wear a peculiar kind of large ear-ring. These three clans may eat
together, but not intermarry. Each clan is divided into exogamous
septs called balis, and it may be noted that some of the Koraga balis,
such as Haledennaya and Kumerdennaya, are also found among the Mari
and Mundala Holeyas.

On the subject of Koraga dress, Mr. Ullal Raghvendra Rao informs
us that "while the males gird a piece of cloth round their loins,
the females cover their waist with leaves of the forest woven
together. Various reasons are assigned for this custom. According to a
tradition, at the time when the Koragars had reigned, now far distant,
one of these 'blacklegged' (this is usually the expression by which
they are referred to during the night) demanded a girl of high birth in
marriage. Being enraged at this, the upper class withheld, after the
overthrow of the Koragas, every kind of dress from Koraga women, who,
to protect themselves from disgrace, have since had recourse to the
leaves of the forest, conceiving in the meantime that god had decreed
this kind of covering." Mr. Walhouse writes [189] further that the
Koragas wear an "apron of twigs and leaves over the buttocks. Once
this was the only covering allowed them, and a mark of their deep
degradation. But now, when no longer compulsory, and of no use, as it
is worn over the clothes, the women still retain it, believing its
disuse would be unlucky." "The Koragas," Mr. H. A. Stuart tells us,
[190] "cover the lower part of their body with a black cloth and the
upper part with a white one, and their head-dress is a cap made of
the areca-nut spathe, like that worn by the Holeyas. Their ornaments
consist of brass ear-rings, an iron bracelet, and beads of bone strung
on a thread and tied around their waist." The waist-belt of a Koraga,
whom I saw at Udipi, was made of owl bones.

"It may," Mr. Walhouse states, [191] "be noted that, according to the
traditional accounts, when the invading hosts under Habashika were
in their turn overthrown and subjected, they accepted slavery under
certain conditions that preserved to them some shadow of right. Whilst
it was declared that they should be for ever in a state of servitude,
and be allowed a meal daily, but never the means of providing for
the next day's meal. Each slave was ascripted to his master under the
following forms, which have come down to our days, and were observed
in the purchase or transfer of slaves within living memory. The slave
having washed, anointed himself with oil, and put on a new cloth, his
future owner took a metal plate, filled it with water, and dropped
in a gold coin, which the slave appropriated after drinking up the
water. The slave then took some earth from his future master's estate,
and threw it on the spot he chose for his hut, which was given over
to him with all the trees thereon. When land was transferred, the
slaves went with it, and might also be sold separately. Occasionally
they were presented to a temple for the service of the deity. This was
done publicly by the master approaching the temple, putting some earth
from before its entrance into the slave's mouth, and declaring that
he abjured his rights, and transferred them to the deity within. Rules
were laid down, with the Hindoo passion for regulating small matters,
not only detailing what work the slaves should do, but what allowances
of food they should receive, and what presents on certain festival
occasions they should obtain from, or make to the master. On marriages
among themselves, they prostrated themselves before the master and
obtained his consent, which was accompanied with a small present of
money and rice. The marriage over, they again came before the master,
who gave them betel nuts, and poured some oil on the bride's head. On
the master's death, his head slave immediately shaved his hair
and moustache. There was also a list of offences for which masters
might punish slaves, amongst which the employment of witchcraft, or
sending out evil spirits against others, expressly figures; and the
punishments with which each offence might be visited are specified,
the worst of which are branding and flogging with switches. There was
no power of life and death, and in cases of withholding the usual
allowance, or of punishments severer than prescribed, slaves might
complain to the authorities."

On the subject of Koraga slavery, Mr. Ullal Raghvendra Rao writes that
"although these slaves are in a degraded condition, yet they by no
means appear to be dejected or unhappy. A male slave gets three hanis
of paddy (unhusked rice) or a hani and a half of rice daily, besides a
small quantity of salt. The female slave gets two hanis of paddy, and,
if they be man and wife, they can easily sell a portion of the rice to
procure other necessaries of life. They are also allowed one cloth each
every year, and, besides, when transferred from one master to another,
they get a cocoanut, a jack tree (Artocarpus integrifolia), and a piece
of land where they can sow ten or twenty seers of rice. The greater
number of slaves belong to the Alia Santanam castes (inheritance in
the female line), and among these people a male slave is sold for
three pagodas (fourteen rupees) and a female slave for five pagoda;
whereas the few slaves who belong to the Makkala Santanam castes
(inheritance in the male line) fetch five pagodas for the man slave,
and three pagodas for the female. This is because the children of the
latter go to the husband's master, while those of the former go to the
mother's master, who has the benefit of the husband's services also. He
has, however, to pay the expenses of their marriage, which amount to
a pagoda and a half; and, in like manner, the master of the Makkala
Santana slave pays two pagodas for his marriage, and gets possession
of the female slave and her children. The master has the power of
hiring out his slave, for whose services he receives annually about
a mura of rice, or forty seers. They are also mortgaged for three or
four pagodas."

For the marriages of the Koragas, Mr. Walhouse informs us that
"Sunday is an auspicious day, though Monday is for the other slave
castes. The bridegroom and bride, after bathing in cold water, sit
on a mat in the former's house, with a handful of rice placed before
them. An old man presides, takes a few grains of rice and sprinkles
on their heads, as do the others present, first the males and then
the females. The bridegroom then presents two silver coins to his
wife, and must afterwards give six feasts to the community." At these
feasts every Koraga is said to vie with his neighbour in eating and
drinking. "Though amongst the other slave castes divorce is allowed by
consent of the community, often simply on grounds of disagreement, and
the women may marry again, with the Koragars marriage is indissoluble,
but a widow is entitled to re-marriage, and a man may have a second,
and even third wife, all living with him."

Concerning the ceremonies observed on the birth of a child, Mr. Ullal
Raghvendra Rao writes that "after a child is born, the mother (as
among Hindoos) is unholy, and cannot be touched or approached. The
inmates take leave of the koppu for five nights, and depend on the
hospitality of their friends, placing the mother under the sole charge
of a nurse or midwife. On the sixth night the master of the koppu
calls his neighbours, who can hardly refuse to oblige him with their
presence. The mother and the child are then given a tepid bath, and
this makes them holy. Members of each house bring with them a seer of
rice, half a seer of cocoanut oil, and a cocoanut. The woman with the
baby is seated on a mat--her neighbour's presents before her in a flat
basket. The oldest man present consults with his comrades as to what
name will best suit the child. A black string is then tied round the
waist of the baby. The rice, which comes in heaps from the neighbours,
is used for dinner on the occasion, and the cocoanuts are split into
two pieces, the lower half being given to the mother of the child,
and the upper half the owner. This is the custom followed when the
baby is a male one; in case of a female child, the owner receives
the upper half, leaving the lower half for the mother. Koragars were
originally worshippers of the sun, and they are still called after the
names of the days of the week--as Aita (a corruption of Aditya, or the
sun); Toma (Soma, or the moon); Angara (Mangala); Gurva (Jupiter);
Tanya (Shani, or Saturn); Tukra (Shukra, or Venus). They have no
separate temples for their God, but a place beneath a kasaracana
tree (Strychnos Nux-vomica) is consecrated for the worship of the
deity which is exclusively their own, and is called Kata. Worship
in honour of this deity is usually performed in the months of May,
July, or October. Two plantain leaves are placed on the spot, with a
heap of boiled rice mixed with turmeric. As is usual in every ceremony
observed by a Koragar, the senior in age takes the lead, and prays to
the deity to accept the offering and be satisfied. But now they have,
by following the example of Bants and Sudras, exchanged their original
object of worship for that of Bhutas (demons)."

On the subject of the religion of the Koragas, Mr. Walhouse states
that "like all the slave castes and lower races, the Koragars
worship Mari Amma, the goddess presiding over small-pox, the
most dreadful form of Parvati, the wife of Siva. She is the most
popular deity in Canara, represented under the most frightful form,
and worshipped with bloody rites. Goats, buffaloes, pigs, fowls,
etc., are slaughtered at a single blow by an Asadi, one of the slave
tribes from above the ghauts. Although the Koragars, in common with
all slaves, are looked upon as excommunicated and unfit to approach
any Brahminical temple or deity, they have adopted the popular Hindoo
festivals of the Gokalastami or Krishna's birthday, and the Chowti. In
the latter, the preliminaries and prayers must be performed by a
virgin." Concerning these festivals, Mr. Ullal Raghvendra Rao gives
the following details. "The Koragars have no fixed feasts exclusively
of their own, but for a long time they have been observing those
of the Hindus. Of these two are important. One is Gokula Ashtami,
or the birthday of Krishna, and the other is the Chowti or Pooliyar
feast. The latter is of greater importance than the former. The
former is a holy day of abstinence and temperance, while the latter
is associated with feasting and merry-making, and looks more like
a gala-day set apart for anything but religious performance. On the
Ashtami some cakes of black gram are made in addition to the usual
dainties. The services of Bacchus are called in aid, and the master
of the koppu invites his relatives and friends. A regular feasting
commences, when the master takes the lead, and enjoys the company
of his guests by seating himself in their midst. They are made to
sit on the floor crosswise with a little space intervening between
every guest, who pays strict regard to all the rules of decency and
rank. To keep up the distinction of sexes, females are seated in an
opposite row. The host calls upon some of his intimates or friends
to serve on the occasion. The first dish is curry, the second rice;
and cakes and dainties come in next. The butler Koragar serves out
to the company the food for the banquet, while the guests eat it
heartily. If one of them lets so much as a grain of rice fall on his
neighbour's plate, the whole company ceases eating. The offender is
at once brought before the guests, and charged with having spoiled
the dinner. He is tried there and then, and sentenced to pay a fine
that will cover the expenses of another banquet. In case of resistance
to the authority of the tribunal, he is excommunicated and abandoned
by his wife, children and relatives. No one dare touch or speak to
him. A plea of poverty of course receives a kind consideration. The
offender is made to pay a small sum as a fine, which is paid for
him by a well-to-do Koragar. To crown the feast, a large quantity
of toddy finds its way into the midst of the company. A small piece
of dry areca leaf sewed together covers the head of a Koragar, and
forms for him his hat. This hat he uses as a cup, which contains a
pretty large quantity of liquid. A sufficient quantity is poured into
their cup, and if, in pouring, a drop finds its way to the ground,
the butler is sure to undergo the same penalty that attaches itself to
any irregularity in the dinner as described above. After the banquet,
some male members of the group join in a dance to the pipe and drum,
while others are stimulated by the intoxicating drink into frisking
and jumping about. To turn to the other festival. The inmates of
the house are required to fast the previous night--one and all of
them--and on the previous day flesh or drink is not allowed. The
next morning before sunrise, a virgin bathes, and smears cowdung
over a part of the house. The place having been consecrated, a new
basket, specially made for the occasion, is placed on that spot. It
contains a handful of beaten rice, two plantains, and two pieces of
sugar-cane. The basket is then said to contain the god of the day, whom
the sugar-cane represents, and the spot is too holy to be approached by
man or woman. A common belief which they hold, that the prayers made
by a virgin are duly responded to on account of her virgin purity,
does not admit of the worship being conducted by any one else. The
girl adorns the basket with flowers of the forest, and prays for the
choicest blessings on the inmates of the house all the year round.

A Koraga woman, when found guilty of adultery, is said to be treated
in the following extraordinary way. If her paramour is of low caste
similar to herself, he has to marry her. But, in order to purify her
for the ceremony, he has to build a hut, and put the woman inside. It
is then set on fire, and the woman escapes as best she can to another
place where the same performance is gone through, and so on until she
has been burnt out seven times. She is then considered once more an
honest woman, and fit to be again married. According to Mr. Walhouse,
"a row of seven small huts is built on a river-bank, set fire to,
and the offender made to run over the burning sticks and ashes as a
penance." A similar form of ordeal has been described as occurring
among the Bakutas of South Canara by Mr. Stuart. "When a man is
excommunicated, he must perform a ceremony called yelu halli sudodu,
which means burning seven villages, in order to re-enter the caste. For
this ceremony, seven small booths are built, and bundles of grass are
piled against them. The excommunicated man has then to pass through
these huts one after the other, and, as he does so, the headman sets
fire to the grass" (cf. Koyi). It is suggested by Mr. R. E. Enthoven
that the idea seems to be "a rapid representation of seven existences,
the outcast regaining his status after seven generations have passed
without further transgression. The parallel suggested is the law of
Manu that seven generations are necessary to efface a lapse from the
law of endogamous marriage."

Of death ceremonies Mr. Walhouse tells us that "on death the bodies
of all the slave castes used to be burnt, except in cases of death
from small-pox. This may have been to obviate the pollution of the
soil by their carcases when their degradation was deepest, but now,
and from long past, burial is universal. The master's permission is
still asked, and, after burial, four balls of cooked rice are placed
on the grave, possibly a trace of the ancient notion of supplying
food to the ghost of the deceased." A handful is said [192] to be
"removed from the grave on the sixteenth day after burial, and buried
in a pit. A stone is erected over it, on which some rice and toddy
are placed as a last offering to the departed soul which is then
asked to join its ancestors."

"It may," Mr. Walhouse writes, "be noted that the Koragars alone of
all the slave or other castes eat the flesh of alligators (crocodiles),
and they share with one or two other divisions of the slaves a curious
scruple or prejudice against carrying any four-legged animal, dead
or alive. This extends to anything with four legs, such as chairs,
tables, cots, etc., which they cannot be prevailed upon to lift
unless one leg be removed. As they work as coolies, this sometimes
produces inconvenience. A somewhat similar scruple obtains among the
Bygas of Central India, whose women are not allowed to sit or lie on
any four-legged bed or stool." Like the Koragas, the Bakudas of South
Canara "will not carry a bedstead unless the legs are first taken off,
and it is said that this objection rests upon a supposed resemblance
between the four-legged cot and the four-legged ox." [193]

Of the language spoken by the Koragars, Mr. Ullal Raghvendra Rao
states that "it is a common belief that the Koragar has a peculiar
dialect generally spoken by him at his koppu. He may be induced to
give an account of his feasts, his gods, his family, but a word about
his dialect will frighten him out of his wits. Generally polite and
well-behaved, he becomes impolite and unmannerly when questioned about
his dialect." "All the Hindoos," Mr. Walhouse writes, "believe that the
Koragars have a language of their own, understood only by themselves,
but it seems doubtful whether this is anything more than an idiom,
or slang." A vocabulary of the Koraga dialect is contained in the
South Canara Manual (1895).

Korama.--See Korava.

Korava.--Members of this nomad tribe, which permeates the length of
the Indian peninsula, through countries where many languages and
dialects are spoken, are likely to be known by different names in
different localities, and this is the case. They are known as Korava
from the extreme south to the north of the North Arcot district,
where they are called Koracha or Korcha, and in the Ceded Districts
they become Yerukala or Yerakala. In Calcutta they have been traced
practising as quack doctors, and assuming Maratha names, or adding
terminations to their own, which suggest that they belong to a caste in
the south higher in the social scale than they really do. Some Koravas
pass for Vellalas, calling themselves Agambadiar Vellalas with the
title Pillai. Others call themselves Palli, Kavarai, Idaiyan, Reddi,
etc. [194] As railways spread over the country, they readily adapted
themselves to travelling by them, and the opportunities afforded for
going quickly far from the scene of a recently committed crime, or
for stealing from sleeping passengers, were soon availed of. In 1899,
the Superintendent of Government Railways reported that "the large
organization of thieves, commonly called Kepmari Koravas (though they
never call themselves so), use the railway to travel far. Some of them
are now settled at Cuttack, where they have set up as native doctors,
whose speciality is curing piles. Some are at Midnapur, and are going
on to Calcutta, and there were some at Puri some time ago. It is said
that a gang of them has gone recently to Tinnevelly, and taken up their
abode near Sermadevi, calling themselves Servaikars. One morning, in
Tinnevelly, while the butler in a missionary's house was attending to
his duties, an individual turned up with a fine fowl for sale. The
butler, finding that he could purchase it for about half the real
price, bought it, and showed it to his wife with no small pride in
his ability in making a bargain. But he was distinctly crestfallen
when his wife pointed out that it was his own bird, which had been
lost on the previous night. The seller was a Korava."

In 1903, a gang of Koravas, travelling in the guise of pujaris,
was arrested at Puri. The Police discovered that a warrant remained
unexecuted against one of them, who had been concerned in a dacoity
case in North Arcot many years previously. The report of the case
states that "cognate with the Kepmaries is a class of Korava pujaris
(as they call themselves in their own village), who, emanating from
one small hamlet in the Tanjore district, are spread more or less
all over India. There are, or were until the other day, and probably
are still some of them in Cuttack, Balasore, Midnapur, Ahmedabad,
Patna, Bombay, Secunderabad, and other places. One of them attained
a high position in Bombay. Their ostensible profession is that of
curing piles and fistulas, but it is noticeable that, sooner or later
after their taking up their abode at any place, the Kepmaries are
to be found somewhere near, and the impression, which is not quite a
certainty but very nearly so, is that they play the convenient rôle of
receivers of property stolen by the Kepmaries." Kepmari is regarded
as a very strong term of abuse, indicating, as it does, a rogue of
the worst character. In the southern districts, the Kasukkar Chettis
and Shanans are said to be very much trusted by the Koravas in the
disposal of property.

It is noted by Mr. H. A. Stuart [195] that the Koravas or Yerukalas
are a vagrant tribe found throughout the Presidency, and in many
parts of India. In the Telugu country they are called Yerukalavandlu
or Korachavandlu, but they always speak of themselves as Kurru,
and there is not the slightest room for the doubt that has been
expressed regarding the identity of the Koravas and Yerukalas. Several
derivations of Yerukala have been proposed by Wilson and others. It
has been suggested, for example, that yeru is connected with erra,
meaning red. In Telugu Yerukalavandlu would mean fortune-tellers, and
Dr. Oppert suggests that this is the origin of the name Yerukala. He
says [196] "it is highly probable that the name and the occupation
of the fortune-telling Kuruvandlu or Kuluvandlu induced the Telugu
people to call this tribe Yerukulavandlu. Dr. Oppert further connects
Kurru with the root ku, a mountain; and, in a Tamil work of the ninth
century, [197] Kurru or Kura (Kuramagal) is given as the name of a hill
tribe." A strong argument in favour of the caste name being connected
with the profession of fortune-telling is afforded by the fact that
women go about the streets, calling out "Yeruko, amma, yeruku," i.e.,
prophecies, mother, prophecies. The Kuravas are, Mr. Francis writes,
[198] "a gipsy tribe found all over the Tamil country, but chiefly in
Kurnool, Salem, Coimbatore and South Arcot. Kuravas have usually been
treated as being the same as the Yerukalas. Both castes are wandering
gipsies, both live by basket-making and fortune-telling, both speak a
corrupt Tamil, and both may have sprung from one original stock. It is
noteworthy in this connection that the Yerukalas are said to call one
another Kurru or Kura. But their names are not used as interchangeable
in the districts where each is found, and there seem to be no real
differences between the two bodies. They do not intermarry, or eat
together. The Kuravas are said to tie a piece of thread soaked in
turmeric water round the bride's neck at weddings, while Yerukalas
use a necklace of black beads. The Yerukalas have a tradition that
those who went to fetch the tali and pipe never returned, and they
consequently use black beads as a substitute for the tali, and a
bell for the pipe. The Kuravas worship Subramanya, the son of Siva,
while the Yerukalas worship Vishnu in the form of Venkateswara and his
wife Lakshmi. It may be noted that, in a very early Sanskrit drama,
the Brahman thief mocks Subramanya as being the patron saint of
thieves. The Kuravas treat the gentler sex in a very casual manner,
mortgaging or selling their wives without compunction, but the
Yerukalas are particular about the reputation of their womankind,
and consider it a serious matter if any of them return home without
an escort after sunset. The statistics of this year accordingly show
Yerukalas separately from Koravas. The reports from the various
districts, however, give such discrepant accounts of both castes,
that the matter is clearly in need of further enquiry." There is no
district in the Madras Presidency or elsewhere, where both Koravas
and Yerukalas live, unless it be the smallest possible corner of the
Coimbatore district bordering on the south-east of Mysore, for the
name Korcha intervenes; and, for a wide strip of country including the
north of the North Arcot district and south of the Cuddapah district,
the Korava is known as a Korcha, and the Census Superintendent,
in common with other authorities, has admitted these names to be
synonymous. It is in the north of the Cuddapah district that the
Yerukalas first appear in co-existence with the Korcha. The Korcha
being admitted on all sides to be the same as the Korava, our doubt
regarding the identity of the Korava with the Yerukala will be disposed
of if we can establish the fact that the Korcha and the Yerukala are
the same. The Rev. J. Cain, writing [199] about the Yerukalas of the
Godavari district, states that "among themselves they call each other
Kuluvaru, but the Telugu people call them Erakavaru or Erakalavaru,
and this name has been derived from the Telugu word eruka, which
means knowledge or acquaintance, as they are great fortune-tellers."

According to Balfour, [200] the Koravas, or a certain section of
them, i.e., the Kunchi Koravas, were known as Yerkal Koravar, and
they called the language they spoke Yerkal. The same authority,
writing of the Yerkalwadu, alludes to them as Kurshiwanloo, and
goes on to say that they style themselves Yerkal, and give the same
appellation to the language in which they hold communication. The
word Yerkal here undoubtedly stands for Yerukala, and Kurshi for
Korcha. It is evident from this, supported by authorities such as
Wilson, Campbell, Brown and Shortt, that the doubt mentioned by the
Census Superintendent in regard to the identity of the Yerukala and
Korava had not arisen when the Cyclopædia of India was published,
and it is the subsequent reports of later investigators that are
responsible for it. The divergencies of practices reported must be
reckoned with, and accounted for. They may be due to local customs
existing in widely separated areas. It is contended that the Koravas
and Yerukalas do not intermarry or eat together. A Korava, who has
made a permanent home in a village in the south, if asked whether he
would marry a Yerukala, would most certainly answer in the negative,
probably having never heard of such a person. A circular letter,
submitted to a number of Police Inspectors in several districts,
produced the same sort of discrepant information complained of by the
Census Superintendent. But one Inspector extracted from his notes the
information that, in 1895, marriages took place between the southern
Koravas of a gang from the Madura district and the Yerukalas of the
Cuddapah district; and, further, that the son of one of a gang of
Yerukalas in the Anantapur district married a Korcha girl from a gang
belonging to the Mysore State. The consensus of opinion also goes
to prove that they will eat together. Yerukalas undoubtedly place a
string of black beads as a tali round the bride's neck on marriage
occasions, and the same is used by the Koravas. Information concerning
the use of a turmeric-dyed string came from only one source, namely,
Hosur in the Salem district, and it was necessary even here for the
string to be furnished with a round bottu, which might be a bead. A
plain turmeric-soaked thread appears to be more the exception than
the rule. Yerukalas are both Vaishnavites and Saivites, and a god
worshipped by any one gang cannot be taken as a representative god
for the whole class. Yerukalas may treat their womankind better
than the southern Koravas, but this is only a matter of degree, as
the morals of both are slack. The Yerukalas, occupying, as they do,
the parched centre of the peninsula, more frequently devastated by
famine than the localities occupied by the Koravas, may have learnt
in a hard school the necessity of taking care of their wives; for,
if they allowed them to pass to another man, and a drought ruined his
crop and killed the cattle, he would find it hard to procure another,
the probability being that the price of wives rises in a common ratio
with other commodities in a time of scarcity.

From the accounts given by them, it appears that the Koravas claim
to have originated in mythological ages. The account varies slightly
according to the locality, but the general outlines agree more or less
with the story related in the Bhagavatham. The purohits, or priests,
are the safest guides, and it was one of them who told the following
story, culled, as he admitted, from the Sastras and the Ramayana. When
the great Venudu, son of Agneswathu, who was directly descended from
Brahma, ruled over the universe, he was unable to procure a son and
heir to the throne, and, when he died, his death was looked on as
an irreparable misfortune. His body was preserved. The seven ruling
planets sat in solemn conclave, and consulted as to what they should
do. Finally they agreed to create a being from the right thigh of
the deceased Venudu, and they accordingly fashioned and gave life to
Nishudu. But their work was not successful, for Nishudu turned out
to be not only deformed in body, but repulsively ugly in face. It was
agreed at another meeting of the planets that he was not a fit person
to be placed on the throne. So they set to work again, and created
a being from the right shoulder of Venudu, and their second effort
was crowned with success. They called the second creation Proothu
Chakravarthi, and, as he gave general satisfaction, he was placed on
the throne. This supersession naturally caused the first-born Nishudu
to be discontented, and he sought a lonely place, in which he communed
with the gods, begging of them the reason why they had created him
if he was not to rule. The gods explained that he could not now be
placed on the throne, as Chakravarthi had already been installed,
but that he should be a ruler over forests. In this capacity Nishudu
begat the Boyas, Chenchus, Yanadis, and Koravas. The Boyas were
his legitimate children, but the others were all illegitimate. It
is because Nishudu watched in solemn silence to know his creator
that some of his offspring called themselves Yerukalas (yeruka,
to know). Another story explains the name Korava. When the princes
Dharmaraja and Duryodana were at variance, the former, to avoid strife,
went into voluntary exile. A woman who loved him set out in search
of him, but, through fear of being identified, disguised herself as
a fortune-teller. In this manner she found him, and their offspring
became known as Koravas, from kuru, fortune-telling.

The appellation Koracha or Korcha appears to be of later date than
Korava, and is said to be derived from the Hindustani kori (sly), korri
nigga (sly look) becoming corrupted into Korcha. Whenever this name was
applied to them, they had evidently learnt their calling thoroughly,
and the whole family, in whatever direction its branches spread,
established a reputation for cunning in snaring animals or birds,
or purloining other peoples' goods, until to-day their names are used
for the purpose of insulting abuse in the course of a quarrel. Thus
a belligerant might call the other a thieving Yerukala, or ask, in
tones other than polite, if he belongs to a gang of Korchas. In the
Tamil country, a man is said to kura-kenju, or cringe like a Korava,
and another allusion to their dishonesty is kurapasangu, to cheat like
a Korava. The proverb "Kuruvan's justice is the ruin of the family"
refers to the endless nature of their quarrels, the decision of which
will often occupy the headmen for weeks together.

In communicating among themselves, the Koravas and Yerukalas speak a
corrupt polyglot, in which the words derived from several languages
bear little resemblance to the original. Their words appear to be
taken chiefly from Tamil, Telugu, and Canarese. A short vocabulary of
the Yerukala language has been published by the Rev. J. Cain. [201]
The Yerukalas call this language Oodra, which seems to stand for
gibberish or thieves' slang, or, as they explain, something very
hard to understand. Oriya or Oodra is the language of the districts
of Ganjam and Orissa. The word Oriya means north, and the fact that
the Yerukalas call their language Oodra would seem to confirm their
belief that they are a northern tribe. The wanderers always know
more than one language colloquially, and are able to make themselves
understood by the people of the country through which they may be
passing. Those who have settled in villages invariably speak the
language of the locality. When talking among themselves, they call a
Brahman Thanniko Koravan, or the bathing Korava. They consider the
Brahmans to be more cunning than themselves, and, as they are fond
of bathing to remove pollution, they have given them this nickname.

A detailed account of the Korava slang and patois has been published
by Mr. F. Fawcett, Deputy Inspector-General of Police, [202] from
whose note thereon the following examples are taken:--


   Constable         Erthalakayadu.       Red-headed man.
   Head constable    Kederarilu.          The man who rides on an
                                          ass.
   Taking bribe      Kalithindrathu.      Eating ragi food.
   Toddy             Uggu perumalu        White water, or good water.
                     ollaithanni.
   Fowls             Rendukal Naidu.      The Naidu of two legs.
   Mussalmans        Arthupottavungo.     Those who have cut
                                          (circumcised).
   Pariah            Utharalu keenjalu.   The man that pipes.
   Butcher's knife   Elamayarathe         That for striking those
                     bottarathu.          that graze leaves.
   Rupees            Palakanna.           Milk eyes.
   Ollakelluka.      White pebbles.


Korava society is purely patriarchal, and, in whatever division or
sept of the caste a Korava may be born, he has to subordinate himself
to the will of his elders or the leaders of his particular gang. The
head of a gang is called the Peru Manusan or Beriya Manasan (big
man). He is selected principally because of his age, intelligence,
and the influence he commands amongst the members of the gang. It
is a post which carries with it no remuneration whatever, but the
holder presides at all consultations, and is given the position of
honour at all social functions.

Concerning the caste government, Mr. Fawcett writes that "the
kulam or caste assembly adjudicates claims, inflicts penalties,
ejects individuals from the caste, or readmits them thereto. Free
drinking of toddy at the expense of one of the parties accompanies
every caste assembly. It is the aggrieved party who gives notice for
assembly of the kulam. The disputants join hands, thereby indicating
to the kulam that their dispute should be decided by them. Each pays
one rupee. The kulam may decide the dispute at once, or adjourn
for further consideration at any time. The next meeting is called
the second joining of hands, when each pays one rupee, as before,
to be spent in toddy. A man who fails to attend when the kulam
has been convened loses his caste absolutely. If there is a third
adjournment, that is a third joining of hands, each side pays Rs. 3
1/2 for toddy, to keep the kulam in good spirits. As this is always
the final adjournment, the decision is sometimes arrived at by means
of an ordeal. An equal quantity of rice is placed in two pots of equal
weight having a quantity of water, and there is an equal quantity of
firewood. The judges satisfy themselves most carefully as to quantity,
weights, and so on. The water is boiled, and the man whose rice boils
first is declared to be the winner of the dispute. The loser is to
recoup the winner all his expenses. It sometimes happens that both
pots boil at the same time; then a coin is to be picked out of a
pot containing boiling oil. There is yet another method of settling
disputes about money. The amount claimed is brought by one party,
and placed beside an idol. The claimant is then asked to take it, and,
should nothing unpleasant happen to him or to his family afterwards,
he is declared to have made out his claim. The kulam has nothing
whatever to do with planning the execution of offences, but is
sometimes called upon to decide about the division of plunder, as,
for instance, when any member of a criminal expedition improperly
secretes something for himself. But they engage vakils (pleaders)
for defending members of the gang who are charged with a criminal
offence, whether they have been concerned in it or not."

There are a great many classes of Koravas, most of them obtaining
their names from the particular occupations they have followed as an
ostensible means of livelihood for many generations. But, whatever
they may call themselves, they all, according to Mr. Mainwaring,
fall within three divisions, viz.:--


    1. Sakai, Sampathi, Sathupadi.
    2. Kavadi or Gujjula.
    3. Devarakonda, Mendrakutti, or Menapadi.


The members of the first two divisions are pure Koravas, the legitimate
descendants of Koravas who have never married outside the caste,
whereas the third division represents and includes the mixed marriages,
and the offspring thereof. The Koravas receive into their ranks members
of castes other than Paraiyans (including Malas and Madigas), Yanadis,
Mangalas, and Tsakalas. The ceremony of introduction into the Korava
community consists in burning the tongue with a piece of gold. The
Koravas have a strong objection to taking food touched by Medaras,
because, in their professional occupation of doing wicker-work, they
use an awl which resembles the tool used by Madigas in shoe-making. The
Koravas are said to be divided into two large families, which they call
Pothu and Penti, meaning male and female. All the families included
in the first division noted above are Pothu, and those in the second
Penti. The families in the third division, being the product of mixed
marriages, and the position of females being a lowly one, they are also
considered to be Penti. The Pothu section is said to have arisen from
men going in search of brides for themselves, and the Pentis from men
going in search of husbands for their daughters. When a Korava, male
or female, wishes to marry, a partner must be sought in a division
other than their own. For example, a Korava of the first division is
bound to marry a female belonging to the second or third division,
who, after marriage, belongs to her husband's division. This may be
a little hard on the women of the first division, because they are
bound to descend in the social scale. However, their daughters can
rise by marrying into the first division. For the purpose of religious
ceremonies, each division has fixed duties. The members of the first
division have the right of decorating the god, and dressing him in
his festival attire. Those of the second division carry the god and
the regalia in procession, and burn incense, and those of the third
drag the temple car, and sing and shout during its progress. For this
reason, it is said, they are sometimes called Bandi (cart).

"The major divisions," Mr. Paupa Rao Naidu writes, "are four in number,
and according to their gradation they are Sathepati, Kavadi, Manapati,
Mendragutti. They are all corrupted Tamil words.


    "1. Sathepati is a corruption of Sathupadi, which means adorning
    a Hindu deity with flowers, jewels and vestments.

    "2. Kavadi, meaning a pole carried on the shoulders with two
    baskets pendant from its ends, in which are contained offerings
    for a deity or temple.

    "3. Manapati is a corruption of Manpadi, which means singing in
    praise of god, when He is worshipped in a temple.

    "4. Mendragutti is a corruption of Menrikutti, which means
    stitching a pair of shoes, and presenting them to the temple--a
    custom still prevalent at Tirupati and other important shrines.

    "Of these four divisions, the first two are, or rather were,
    considered superior to the other two, a Kavadi man being styled
    Pothuvadu (man), and a Sathepati man Penti (female)."


A still further classification of divisions and sub-divisions is given
by Mr. F. S. Mullaly. [203] I am informed by Mr. C. Hayavadana Rao
that, in the Vizagapatam district, the Yerukalas are divided into
Pattapu or Odde, and Thurpu (eastern). Of these, the former, when
they are prosperous, live in tiled houses, while the latter live in
huts. Pattapu women wear brass bangles on both wrists, and Thurpu
women brass bangles on the right wrist, and glass bangles on the
left. The former throw the end of their cloth over the left shoulder,
and the latter over the right.

It is recorded, in the Gazetteer of the Trichinopoly district, that
"the Kuravans are divided into a number of endogamous sections,
of which the Ina Kuravans and the Kavalkaran Kuravans are the most
criminal, especially the latter. The latter are also called the Marasa,
Mondu, and Kadukutti Kuravans. In dress and appearance the Namakkal
Kuravans are said to be superior to those of Karur, and to look like
well-dressed Vellalans or Pallis. They are peculiar in wearing long
ear-rings. They are also said to be much better thieves than the
others, and to dislike having a Karur Kuravan when breaking into a
house, for fear he might wake the household by his clumsiness."

As examples of intiperu, or exogamous septs, the following, which
were given by Uppu Yerukalas, may be cited:--


    Dasari, Vaishnavite mendicant.
    Sukka, star.
    Kampa, bush of thorns.
    Avula, cows.
    Thoka, tail.
    Kanaga (Pongamia glabra).
    Bandi, cart.
    Gajjala, small bell.
    Mogili (Pandanus fascicularis)
    Uyyala, swing.
    Ragala, ragi grain.
    Pula, flowers.
    Katari, dagger.
    Ambojala, lotus.
    Samudrala, sea.
    Venkatagiri, a town.


"A knowledge," Mr. Fawcett writes, "of these house or sept names may
be useful in order to establish a man's identity, as a Koravar, who
is generally untruthful as to his own name, is seldom if ever so as
regards his house or sept name, and his father's name. He considers
it shameful to lie about his parentage, 'to be born to one, and yet to
give out the name of another.' Totemism of some kind evidently exists,
but it is rather odd that it has not always any apparent connection
with the sept or house name. Thus, the totem of persons of the Koneti
sept is horse-gram (kollu in Tamil), which they hold in veneration,
and will not touch, eat, or use in any way. The totem of the Samudrala
sept is the conch shell, which likewise will not be used by those of
the sept in any manner. It may be noted that persons of the Rameswari
sept will not eat tortoises, while those of the Koneti sept are in
some manner obliged to do so on certain occasions."

As regards names for specific occupations among the Koravas,
the Bidar or nomad Koravas originally carried merchandise in the
form of salt, tamarinds, jaggery (crude sugar or molasses), leaves
of the curry leaf plant (Murraya Koenigii) from place to place on
pack-bullocks or donkeys. The leaves were in great demand, and those
who brought them round for sale were called in Tamil Karuvaipillai,
and in Telugu Karepaku, after the commodity which they carried. This
is a common custom in India, and when driving through the bazar,
one may hear, for example, an old woman carrying a bundle of wood
addressed as firewood. "Kavadi" will be screamed at a man carrying
a pole (kavadi) with baskets, etc., suspended from it, who got in
the way of another. The section of Koravas who carried salt inland
from the coast became known as Uppu (salt) Koravas. Another large
class are the Thubba, Dhubbai, or Dhabbai (split bamboo) Koravas, who
restrict their wanderings to the foot of hill ranges, where bamboos are
obtainable. With these they make baskets for the storage of grain, for
carrying manure at the bottom of carts, and various fancy articles. In
the Kurnool district, the Yerukalas will only cut bamboos at the time
of the new moon, as they are then supposed to be free from attacks
by boring weevils, and they do certain puja (worship) to the goddess
Malalamma, who presides over the bamboos. In the Nallamalai forests,
the Yerukalas do not split the bamboo into pieces and remove the
whole, but take off only a very thin strip consisting of the outer
rind. The strips are made up into long bundles, which can be removed by
donkeys. There is extreme danger of fire, because the inner portions
of the bamboos, left all over the forest, are most inflammable. [204]
Instead of splitting the bamboos in the forest, and leaving behind a
lot of combustible material, the Yerukalas now have to purchase whole
bamboos, and take them outside the forest to split them. The members
of a gang of these Yerukalas, who came before me at Nandyal, were
each carrying a long split bamboo wand as an occupational insigne. A
further important section is that of the Kunchu or Kunchil Koravas, who
gather roots in the jungle, and make them into long brushes which are
used by weavers. The Koravas have a monopoly in their manufacture, and
take pride in making good brushes. These Kunchu Koravas are excellent
shikaris (hunters), and snare antelope, partridges, duck, quail, and
other game with great skill. For the purpose of shooting antelopes,
or of getting close enough to the young ones to catch them after a
short run, they use a kind of shield made of dried twigs ragged at the
edges, which looks like an enormous wind-blown bundle of grass. When
they come in sight of a herd of antelopes, they rest one edge of the
shield on the ground, and, sitting on their heels behind it, move it
slowly forward towards the herd until they get sufficiently close to
dash at the young ones, or shoot the grown-up animals. The antelopes
are supposed to mistake the shield for a bush, and to fail to notice
its gradual approach. They capture duck and teal largely at night,
and go to the rice fields below a tank (pond or lake), in which the
crop is young, and the ground consequently not entirely obscured. This
would be a likely feeding-ground, or traces of duck having fed there
on the previous night might be noticed. They peg a creeper from
one bund (mud embankment) to another, parallel to the tank bund,
four inches above the water in the field. From this they suspend a
number of running loops made of sinews drawn from the legs of sheep
or goats or from the hind-legs of hares, the lower ends of the loops
touching the mud under water. If the duck or teal come to feed, they
are sure to be caught, and fall victims to the slip noose. "The Kuntsu
(Kunchu) Korachas," Mr. Francis tells us, [205] "catch small birds
by liming twigs or an arrangement of bits of bamboo with a worm hung
inside it, or by setting horse-hair nooses round the nests. Quails
they capture by freely snaring a piece of ground, and then putting
a quail in a cage in the middle of it, to lure the birds towards the
snare. They also catch them, and partridges too, by driving the bevy
towards a collapsible net. To do this, they cover themselves with a
dark blanket, conceal their heads in a kind of big hat made of hair,
feathers and grass, and stalk the birds from a bullock trained to the
work, very gradually driving them into the net. They also occasionally
capture black-buck (antelope) by sending a tame buck with nooses
on his horns to fight with a wild one. The latter speedily gets his
horns entangled in the nooses, and is easily secured." Sometimes the
Kunchu Korava begs in villages, dragging about with him a monkey,
while the females earn a livelihood by tattooing, which occupation,
known as pricking with green, has gained for them the name of Pacchai
(green) Kutti. The patterns used in tattooing by a Korava woman, whom
I interviewed, were drawn in a note-book, and consisted of fishes,
scorpions, a fortress, five-storeyed house, conventional designs,
etc. The patterns were drawn on the skin, with great dexterity and
skill in freehand drawing, by means of a blunt stick dipped in a
mixture of a lamp-black, lamp-oil, and turmeric contained in a half
cocoanut shell. The pattern is pricked in with a bundle of four
or five needles tied together. The needles and drawing-stick were
kept in a hollow bamboo, and the tattooing mixture in the scooped
out fruits of the bael (Ægle Marmelos) and palmyra palm (Borassus
flabellifer). For tattooing an entire upper extremity, at several
sittings, the Korava woman would be paid from eight to twelve annas,
or receive food-grains in lieu of money. The hot weather is said
to be more favourable for the operation than the cold season, as
the swelling after it is less. To check this, lamp-oil, turmeric,
and leaves of the avarai plant (Dolichos Lablab)  are applied.

Concerning the Pacchaikuttis, or, as they are also called, Gadde
(soothsayers), Mr. Paupa Rao Naidu writes that "the women start with
a basket and a winnowing basket or tray into a village, proclaiming
their ostensible profession of tattooing and soothsaying, which they
do for grain or money. When unfortunate village women, who always lose
children or who often fall ill, see these Gadde women moving about,
they call them into their houses, make them sit, and, pouring some
grain into their baskets, ask them about their past misery and future
lot. These women, who are sufficiently trained to speak in suitable
language, are clever enough to give out some yarns in equivocal terms,
so that the anxious women, who hope for better futurity, understand
them in the light uppermost in their own minds. The Korava women will
be rewarded duly, and doubly too, for they never fail to study the
nature of the house all the time, to see if it offers a fair field
for booty to their men."

At Srungavarapukota in the Vizagapatam district "the local goddess,
Yerakamma, is a deification of a woman who committed sati. Ballads are
sung about her, which say that she was the child of Dasari parents, and
that her birth was foretold by a Yerukala woman (whence her name) who
prophesied that she would have the gift of second sight. She eventually
married, and one day she begged her husband not to go to his field,
as she was sure he would be killed by a tiger if he did. Her husband
went notwithstanding, and was slain as she had foreseen. She committed
sati on the spot where her shrine still stands." [206]

The Ur or village Koravas have given up their nomad life, and settled
in villages of their own, or together with other communities. Many
of them have attended pial schools, and can read and write to some
extent. Some of them are employed in the police and salt departments,
as jail warders, etc. The Ur Korava is fast losing his individuality,
and assimilating, in dress, manners and customs, the ryots among whom
he dwells. In the Salem district there is a village called Koravur,
which is inhabited entirely by Koravas, who say that they were
originally Uppu Koravas, but now cultivate their own lands, or work
as agricultural labourers for the land-owners. They say further that
they pay an occasional visit to Madras for the purpose of replenishing
their stock of coral and beads, which they sell at local shandis
(markets). Some Koravas are said to buy gilded beads at Madura,
and cheat unsuspecting villagers by selling them as gold. Though
the Ur Koravas are becoming civilised, they have not yet lost their
desire for other men's goods, and are reported to be the curse of
the Anantapur, Cuddapah, and Bellary districts, where they commit
robbery, house-breaking, and theft, especially of sheep and cattle. A
particularly bold sheep theft by them a few years ago is worthy of
mention. The village of Singanamalla in the Anantapur district lies a
few miles off the railway. It is bordered on two sides by Government
forest reserves, into which the villagers regularly drove their sheep
and goats to graze, in charge of small boys, in the frequent absences
of the forest watcher, or when the watcher was well disposed towards
them. An arrangement was made between the Koravas and a meat-supplier
at Bangalore to deliver on his behalf a large number of sheep at a
wayside station near Dharmavaram, to receive which trucks had to
be ready, and the transaction was purely cash. One morning, when
more than a hundred sheep had been driven far into the reserve by
their youthful charges, who kept more or less close together for
the sake of company, a number of Koravas turned up, and represented
themselves as forest watchers, captured the small boys, gagged them
and tied them to trees, and drove off all the available sheep. The
boys were not discovered till late at night, and the police did not
get to work till the following morning, by which time the sheep were
safely entrained for Bangalore.

It is noted, in the Madras Police Report, 1905-1906, that "a large
number of members of the notorious Rudrapad Koracha gangs have recently
been released from His Highness the Nizam's prisons, and their return
will add appreciably to the difficulties of the Bellary Police."

A small class of Koravas is named Pamula (snake), as they follow the
calling of snake-charmers. In the Census Report, 1901, Pusalavadu
(seller of glass beads) and Utlavadu (makers of utlams) are given as
sub-castes of Yerukala. An utlam is a hanging receptacle for pots,
etc., made of palmyra fibre. In the same report, Kadukuttukiravar
(those who bore a hole in the ear) and Valli Ammai Kuttam (followers
of the goddess Valli Ammai) are returned as synonyms of Koravas. They
claim that Valli Ammai, the wife of the god Subrahmanya, was a Korava
woman. Old Tamil books refer to the Koravas as fortune-tellers to
kings and queens, and priests to Subrahmanya. Some Koravas have, at
times of census, returned themselves as Kudaikatti (basket-making)
Vanniyans. Balfour refers to Walaja Koravas, and states that they are
musicians. They are probably identical with the Wooyaloo Koravas,
[207] whose duty it is to swing incense, and sing before the god
during a religious celebration. The same writer speaks of Bajantri
or Sonai Kolawaru and Kolla and Soli Korawars, and states that they
inhabit the Southern Maratha country. These names, like Thogamallai
for Koravas who come from the village of that name in the Trichinopoly
district, are probably purely local. Further, the Abbé Dubois states
that "the third species of Kuravers is generally known under the name
of Kalla Bantru, or robbers. The last Muhammadan prince who reigned
over Mysore is said to have employed a regular battalion of these
men in time of war, not for the purpose of fighting, but to infest
the enemy's camp in the night, stealing away the horses and other
necessaries of the officers, and acting as spies. They were awarded
in proportion to the dexterity they displayed in these achievements,
and, in time of peace, they were despatched into the various States
of neighbouring princes, to rob for the benefit of their masters." It
is possible that the Kaikadis of the Central Provinces are identical
with Koravas, who have migrated thither.

A section of Koravas, called Koot (dancing) or Kothee (monkey)
Kaikaries, is referred to by Mr. Paupa Rao Naidu as "obtaining their
living by prostitution. They also kidnap or sell children for this
purpose. Some of the women of this class are thriving well in the
Madras Presidency as experts in dancing. They are kept by rich people,
and are called in the Telugu country Erukala Bogamvaru, in Tamil
Korava Thevidia. They also train monkeys, and show them to the public."

The household god of the Korava, which is as a rule very rudely carved,
may be a representation of either Vishnu or Siva. As already noted,
it is stated in the Census Report, 1901, that the Koravas worship
Subrahmanya, the son of Siva, while the Yerukalas worship Vishnu in the
form of Venkateswara and his wife Lakshmi. They worship, in addition
to these, Kolapuriamma, Perumalaswami, and other appropriate deities,
prior to proceeding on a depredatory expedition. Kolapuriamma is the
goddess of Kolhapur, the chief town of the Native State of that name in
the Bombay Presidency, who is famous in Southern India. Perumalswami,
or Venkateswara, is the god of Tirupati, the great place of pilgrimage
in the North Arcot district. The signs of a recent performance of
worship by Koravas may prove an indication to the Police that they
have been concerned in a dacoity, and act as a clue to detection
thereof. They sacrifice sheep or goats once a year to their particular
god on a Sunday or Tuesday, while those who worship Venkateswara honour
him on a Saturday, and break cocoanuts as an offering. All offerings
presented to the gods are divided among those present, after the
ceremonies have been completed. Venkateswara is said to be sometimes
represented, for the purpose of worship, by a brass vessel (kalasam)
decorated with flowers, and bearing on it the Vaishnavite namam (sect
mark). Its mouth is closed by a cocoanut, beneath which mango or betel
leaves are placed. On the day appointed for the religious service,
everything within the hut is thrown outside, and the floor is purified
with cow-dung, and devices are drawn thereon. The brass vessel is set
up, and offerings of large quantities of food are made to it. Some of
this dedicated food (prasadam) must be given to all the inhabitants of
the settlement. A lump of clay, squeezed into a conical shape, with a
tuft of margosa (Melia Azadirachta) leaves does duty for Poleramma. In
front thereof, three stones are placed. Poleramma may be worshipped
close to, but not within, the hut. To her offerings of boiled rice
(pongal) are made by fasting women. The manner in which the boiling
food bubbles over from the cooking-pot is eagerly watched, and accepted
as an omen for good or evil. In a note on the Coorroo, Balfour states
[208] that "they told me that, when they pray, they construct a small
pyramid of clay, which they term Mariamma, and worship it. The women
had small gold and silver ornaments suspended from cords round their
necks, which they said had been supplied to them by a goldsmith,
from whom they had ordered figures of Mariamma. The form represented
is that of the goddess Kali. They mentioned that they had been told
by their forefathers that, when a good man dies, his spirit enters
the body of some of the better animals, as that of a horse or cow,
and that a bad man's spirit gives life to the form of a dog or jackal,
but they did not seem to believe in it. They believe firmly, however,
in the existence and constant presence of a principle of evil, who,
they say, frequently appears, my informant having himself often seen
it in the dusk of the evening assuming various forms, at times a cat,
anon a goat, and then a dog, taking these shapes that it might approach
to injure him."

The domestic god of the Koravas, in the southern districts, is said to
be Sathavu, for whom a day of worship is set apart once in three or
four years. The Koravas assemble, and, in an open place to the west
of the village, a mud platform is erected, on which small bricks are
spread. In front of the platform are placed a sickle, sticks, and
arrack (liquor). Cocoanuts, plantain fruits, and rice are offered,
and sheep sacrificed. Sandal and turmeric are poured over the bricks,
and camphor is burnt. The proceedings terminate with a feast.

The presiding goddess of the criminal profession of the Koravas is
stated by Mr. M. Paupa Rao Naidu [209] to be Moothevi, the goddess
of sleep, whom they dread and worship more than any other god or
goddess of the Hindu Pantheon. The object of this worship is twofold,
one being to keep themselves vigilant, and the other to throw their
victims off their guard. Moothevi is invoked in their prayers to keep
them sleepless while on their nefarious purpose bent, but withal to
make their victims sufficiently sleepy over their property. This
goddess is worshipped especially by females, who perform strange
orgies periodically, to propitiate her. A secluded spot is preferred
for performing these orgies, at which animal sacrifices are made,
and there is distribution of liquor in honour of the goddess. The
Edayapatti gang worship in addition the deity Ratnasabhapathy at
Ayyamala. When prosecuted for a crime, the Koravan invokes his
favourite deity to let him off with a whipping in the words 'If the
punishment of whipping be inflicted I shall adore the goddess.'

The following account of a peculiar form of human sacrifice by the
Koravas in former days was given to Mr. C. Hayavadana Rao by an old
inhabitant of the village of Asur near Walajabad in the Chingleput
district. A big gang settled at the meeting point of the three villages
of Asur, Melputtur, and Avalur, on an elevated spot commanding the
surrounding country. They had with them their pack-bullocks, each
headman of the gang owning about two hundred head. The cow-dung which
accumulated daily attracted a good many of the villagers, on one of
whom the headmen fixed as their intended victim. They made themselves
intimate with him, plied him with drink and tobacco, and gave him
the monopoly of the cow-dung. Thus a week or ten days passed away,
and the Koravas then fixed a day for the sacrifice. They invited the
victim to visit them at dusk, and witness a great festival in honour
of their caste goddess. At the appointed hour, the man went to the
settlement, and was induced to drink freely. Meanwhile, a pit, large
enough for a man to stand upright in it, had been prepared. At about
midnight, the victim was seized, and forced to stand in the pit, which
was filled in up to his neck. This done, the women and children of the
gang made off with their belongings. As soon as the last of them had
quitted the settlement, the headmen brought a large quantity of fresh
cow-dung, and placed a ball of it on the head of the victim. The ball
served as a support for an earthen lamp, which was lighted. The man
was by this time nearly dead, and the cattle were made to pass over
his head. The headmen then made off, and, by daybreak, the whole gang
had disappeared. The murdered man was found by the villagers, who have,
since that time, scrupulously avoided the Koravas. The victim is said
to have turned into a Munisvara, and for a long time troubled those
who happened to go near the spot at noon or midnight. The Koravas
are said to have performed the sacrifice so as to insure their cattle
against death from disease. The ground, on which they encamped, and on
which they offered the human sacrifice, is stated to have been barren
prior thereto, and, as the result thereof, to have become very fertile.

It is said that Korava women invoke the village goddesses when they
are telling fortunes. They use a winnowing fan and grains of rice in
doing this, and prophesy good or evil, according to the number of
grains found on the fan. [210] They carry a basket, winnow, stick,
and a wicker tray in which cowry shells are imbedded in a mixture of
cow-dung, and turmeric. The basket represents Kolapuriamma and the
cowries Poleramma. When telling fortunes, the Korava woman places on
the basket the winnow, rice, betel leaves and areca nuts, and the
wicker tray. Holding her client's hand over the winnow, and moving
it about, she commences to chant, and name all sorts of deities. From
time to time she touches the hand of the person whose fortune is being
told with the stick. The Korava women are very clever in extracting
information concerning the affairs of a client before they proceed
to tell her fortune.

Brahmans fix the auspicious hour for marriage, and Chettis
are invited to act as priests at the purification ceremony for
re-admission into caste of a man or woman who has cohabited with
a Paraiyan or Muhammadan, or been beaten with a shoe, etc. For the
purpose of re-admission, a panchayat (council) assembles, at which
the headman presides. Enquiries are made into the conduct of the
accused, and a fine of two rupees levied. Of this sum the Chetti
receives eight annas, with some betel and tobacco. The balance is
spent in liquor for those who are assembled. After the Chetti has
received his fee, he smears the foreheads of the guilty person and
the company with sacred ashes. The impure person goes to a stream
or well, and bathes. He then again comes before the council, and is
purified by the Chetti again marking his forehead. The proceedings
wind up with a feast. In former days, at a trial before a council,
the legs of the complainant and accused were tied together. In 1907,
a Koracha was excommunicated for having illicit intercourse with a
widow. The ceremony of excommunication usually consists of shaving
the head and moustache of the guilty person, and making him ride a
donkey, wearing a necklace of bones. In the case under reference, a
donkey could not be procured, so a temporary shed was made of sajja
(Setaria italica) stalks, which were set on fire after the man had
passed through it. He was to be re-admitted into the caste by standing
a feast to all the members of five gangs of Korachas.

It is said [211] that "a curious custom of the Kuravans prohibits them
from committing crime on new-moon or full-moon days. Once started on an
expedition, they are very determined and persistent. There is a case on
record where one of a band of Kuravans out on an expedition was drowned
in crossing the Cauvery. Nothing daunted by the loss or the omen,
they attempted a burglary, and failed. They then tried another house,
where they also failed; and it was not till they had met with these
three mishaps that their determination weakened, and they went home."

The Koravas are extremely superstitious, and take careful notice of
good or bad omens before they start on a criminal expedition. They
hold a feast, at which the assistance of the goddess Kolapuriamma or
Perumal is sought. A young goat, with coloured thread attached to its
horns, and a garland of margosa leaves with a piece of turmeric round
its neck, is taken to an out-of-the-way shrine. Here it is placed
before the deity, and cocoanuts are broken. The god is asked whether
the expedition will be successful. If the body of the animal quivers,
it is regarded as an answer in the affirmative; if it does not, the
expedition will be abandoned. If in addition to quivering, the animal
urinates, no better sign could be hoped for. The Koravas make it a
point of honour to pay for the goat used for this religious purpose. It
was information of this ceremony having been performed which led to the
detection of a torchlight dacoity in the Cuddapah district in 1896. The
expedition was in the first instance successful, for the Koravas
broke into a Komati's house in the middle of a village, and carried
off a quantity of jewels. The Komati's arm was broken, and he and
other inmates of the house were badly burnt by lighted torches thrust
against their faces and bodies. Among other methods of consulting the
omens is to sacrifice a fowl at a shrine, and sit in front thereof
listening for the direction whence the chirping of lizards issues. If
the omens are auspicious, the members of the expedition start off,
armed as a rule with latis (sticks) and axes. If they attack a cart,
they commence by throwing stones at it, to ascertain if the occupant
has fire-arms with him. Houses are generally broken into by means of
a hole made in the wall near the door-latch. In the Ceded Districts,
where the houses are as a rule substantially built of rough stone,
and have flat roofs of salt earth, an opening is frequently effected
through the roof. The Koravas are often extremely cruel in the methods
which they adopt to extort information from inhabitants of houses as
to where their valuables are concealed. In common with other Hindus,
they avoid the shadow of the thandra tree (Terminalia belerica),
in which the spirit of Saneswaradu is believed to reside. In this
connection the following legend is recited. [212] In the city of
Bimanapuram there ruled a king named Bimaraju, who had a beautiful
daughter named Damayanti, with whom the gods, including Nalamaharaju,
fell in love. Damayanti had never seen Nalamaharaju, but loved him on
account of the stories which reached her of the justice with which he
governed his kingdom, and his chastity. To avoid being charged with
partiality in disposing of his daughter's hand, Bimaraju determined to
invite all the gods to his house, and the one to whom Damayanti should
throw a garland of flowers should claim her as his wife. The day fixed
on arrived, and all the gods assembled, except Saneswaradu, who appears
to have been unavoidably detained. The gods were seated in a circle,
and a fly guided Damayanti to Nalamaharaju, on whose neck she threw the
garland. Nalamaharaju at once claimed her as his wife, and started off
with her to his kingdom. On the way they met Saneswaradu, who demanded
an explanation of their being in each other's company. He was told,
and was very angry because the matter had been settled in his absence,
and swore a mighty oath that they should be separated. To this end,
he caused all sorts of difficulties to come in their way. Under his
spell, Nalamaharaju took to gambling, and lost all his property. He was
separated from Damayanti, and lived in poverty for years. The spell of
Saneswaradu could, however, only last for a certain number of years,
and, when the time expired Nalamaharaju set out for Bimanapuram,
to find Damayanti who had returned to her father's house. On the
way, under a thandra tree, he met Saneswaradu, who confessed that he
was the cause of all the troubles that had befallen him, and begged
that he would look leniently on his fault. Nalamaharaju would not
forgive him, but, after cursing him, ordained that he should live
for ever in the thandra tree, so that the area over which he could
do wrong should be limited. It is for this reason that all wandering
tribes avoid pitching a camp within the shadow of this tree. A tree
(Terminalia Catappa) belonging to the same genus as the thandra is
regarded as a lucky one to camp beneath, as it was under one of these
trees that Rama made a bower when he lived with Sita and Lakshmana
after his banishment to the forest of Dandaka.

In connection with omens and superstitions, Mr. Fawcett writes as
follows. "Koravas, being highly superstitious, are constantly on the
look-out for omens, especially before starting out on an excursion
when the objective is dacoity or housebreaking. The household deity,
represented by a brick picked up at random, is worshipped, and a sheep
or fowl is sacrificed. Water is first poured over the animal, and, if
it shakes its body, the omen is good, while, if it stands perfectly
still, there is misfortune ahead. It is unfortunate, when starting,
to see widows, pots of milk, dogs urinating, a man leading a bull,
or a bull bellowing. On the other hand, it is downright lucky when
a bull bellows at the scene of the criminal operation. To see a man
goading a bull is a good omen when starting, and a bad one at the
scene. Sprinkling urine over doors and walls of a house facilitates
breaking into it. The failure of an expedition is generally attributed
to the evil eye, or the evil tongue, whose bad effects are evinced
in many ways. If the excursion has been for housebreaking, the
housebreaking implement is often soldered at its sharp end with
panchalokam (five metals), to counteract the effect of the evil
eye. The evil tongue is a frequent cause of failure. It consists in
talking evil of others, or harping on probable misfortunes. There are
various ways of removing its unhappy effects. A mud figure of a man
is made on the ground, and thorns are placed over the mouth. This is
the man with the evil tongue. Those who have suffered walk round it,
crying out and beating their mouths; the greater the noise, the better
the effect. Cutting the neck of a fowl half through and allowing
it to flutter about, or inserting a red hot splinter in its anus to
madden it with pain, are considered to be effective, while, if a cock
should crow after its neck has been cut, calamities are averted. The
fowl is a sort of adjunct to the Koravar's life. In early childhood,
the first experiments in his career consist in stealing fowls; in
manhood he feasts on them when he is well off, and he uses them,
as we have seen, with abominable cruelty for divination or averting
misfortune. The number seven is considered ominous, and an expedition
never consists of seven men. The word for the number seven in Telugu
resembles the word for weeping, and is considered to be unlucky. A
man who has returned from jail, or who has been newly married, is not
as a rule taken on an expedition. In the case of the former, the rule
may be set aside by bringing a lamb from a neighbouring flock. A man
who forgets to bring his stick, or to equip or arm himself properly,
is always left behind. As in the case of dacoities, seven is an
unlucky number to start out for housebreaking, but, should it be
unavoidable, a fiction is indulged in of making the housebreaking
implement the eighth member of the gang. When there are dogs about a
house, they are soon kept quiet with powdered gajjakai or ganja leaves
mixed with cooked rice, which they eat greedily. Detached parties in
the jungle or elsewhere are able to unite by making sounds like the
howling of jackals or hooting of owls. The direction taken on a road,
or in the forest, is indicated by throwing the leaves of the tangedu
(Cassia auriculata) along the road. At crossroads, the road taken
is indicated by the thick end of a twig of the tangedu placed under
a stone. Rows of stones, one piled over the other, are also used to
point out the route taken when crossing hills. The women resort to
divination, but not accompanied by cruelty, when their husbands are
long enough absent to arouse apprehension of danger. A long piece is
pulled out of a broom, and to one end of it are tied several small
pieces dipped in oil. If the stick floats in water, all is well;
but, should it sink, two of the women start out at once to find the
men. They generally know as a matter of pre-arrangement whereabouts
to find them, and proceed thither, pretending to sell karipak (curry
leaves). The eighteenth day of the Tamil month Avani is the luckiest
day of all for committing crimes. A successful criminal exploit
on this day ensures good luck throughout the year. Sundays, which
are auspicious for weddings, are inauspicious for crimes. Mondays,
Wednesdays and Saturdays are unlucky until noon for starting out
from home. So, too, is the day after new moon. Fridays are unsuitable
for breaking into the houses of Brahmans or Komatis, as they may be
engaged in worshipping Ankalamma, to whom the day is sacred."

Many Koravas examined by Mr. Mainwaring were injured in one way or
another. One man had his left nostril split, and explained that it
was the result of a bite by another Korava in the course of a drunken
brawl at a toddy-shop. Another had lost some of his teeth in a similar
quarrel, and a third was minus the lobe of his right ear.

A characteristic of the Koravas, which is well marked, is their
hairlessness. They have plenty of straight hair on the head, but their
bodies are particularly smooth. Even the pubic hairs are scanty, and
the abdominal hairs are abundant only in a few instances. The Korava
is not, in appearance, the typical criminal of one's imagination, of
the Bill Sykes type. That even the innocent looking individuals are
criminal by nature, the following figures establish. In 1902, there
were 739 Koravas, or Korchas as they are called in the Anantapur
district, on the police registers as members of wandering gangs
or ordinary suspects. Of these, no less than 215, or 29 per cent.,
had at least one conviction recorded against them. In the Nellore
district, in 1903, there were 54 adult males on the register, of whom
no less than 24, or 44 per cent., had convictions against them. In
the Salem district, in the same year, there were 118 adult male
Koravas registered, against 38, or 32.2 per cent. of whom convictions
stood. There are, of course, hundreds who escape active surveillance
by assuming an ostensible means of livelihood, and allowances must be
made for the possibility of numbers escaping conviction for offences
they may have committed. The women are equally criminal with the men,
but are less frequently caught. They have no hesitation in concealing
small articles by passing them into the vagina. The best way of
ascertaining whether this has been done is said to be to make them
jump. In this way, at a certain feast, a gold jewel was recovered
from a woman, and she was convicted. [213] This expedient is,
however, not always effectual. A case came under notice, in 1901,
at the Kolar gold fields, in which a woman had a small packet of
stolen gold amalgam passed to her during the search of the house by
her husband, who was suspected. She begged permission to leave the
house to urinate. The request was granted, and a constable who went
with her on her return reported her conduct as suspicious. A female
searcher was procured, and the parcel found jammed transversely in
the vagina, and required manipulation to dislodge it. Small jewels,
which the Koravas manage to steal, are at once concealed in the
mouth, and even swallowed. When swallowed, the jewel is next day
recovered with the help of a purgative. In this way a half sovereign
was recovered a few years ago. [214] Male Koravas sometimes conceal
stolen articles in the rectum. In the Tanjore district a Korava
Kepmari, who was suspected of having resorted to this dodge, was
examined by a medical officer, and two thin gold chains, each about
14 inches long, were extracted. The females take an important part
in resisting an attempt to arrest the males. I am informed that,
"when a raid is made on an encampment, the males make off, while the
females, stripping themselves, dance in a state of nudity, hoping
thereby to attract the constables to them, while the males get clear
away. Should, however, these manoeuvres fail to attain their object,
the females proceed to lacerate the pudenda, from which blood flows
profusely. They then lie down as if dead. The unfortunate constables,
though proof against amorous advances, must perforce assist them in
their distress. If it comes to searching Korava huts, the females take
a leading part in attacking the intruders, and will not hesitate to
stone them, or break chatties (earthen pots) on their heads."

It is recorded, in the Cuddapah Manual, that "a Yerukala came to a
village, and, under the pretence of begging, ascertained which women
wore jewels, and whether the husbands of any such were employed at
night in the fields. In the night he returned, and, going to the
house he had previously marked, suddenly snatched up the sleeping
woman by the massive kamma (gold ear-ring) she wore, sometimes with
such violence as to lift up the woman, and always in such a way as
to wrench off the lobe of the ear. This trick he repeated in three
different hamlets of the same village on one night, and in one house
on two women. In one case, the woman had been lifted so high that,
when the ear gave way, she fell to the ground, and severely injured
her head." A new form of house robbery is said to have been started by
the Koravas in recent years. They mark down the residence of a woman,
whose jewels are worth stealing, and lurk outside the house before
dawn. Then, when the woman comes out, as is the custom, before the men
are stirring, they snatch her ear-rings and other ornaments, and are
gone before an alarm can be raised. [215] Another favourite method
of securing jewelry is for the Korava to beg for rice, from door to
door, on a dark night, crying "Sandi bichcham, Amma, Sandi bichcham"
(night alms, mother, night alms). Arrived at the house of his victim,
he cries out, and the lady of the house brings out a handful of rice,
and puts it in his pot. As she does so, he makes a grab at her tali
or other neck ornament, and makes off with the spoil.

"Stolen property", Mr. Mullaly writes, [216] "is disposed of, as soon
as they can get a suitable remuneration. The general bargain is Re. I
for a rupee's weight of gold. They do not, however, as a rule, lose
much over their transactions, and invariably convert their surplus
into sovereigns. In searching a Koravar encampment on one occasion,
the writer had the good fortune to discover a number of sovereigns
which, for safe keeping, were stitched in the folds of their pack
saddles. Undisposed of property, which had been buried, is brought
to the encampment at nightfall, and taken back and re-buried before
dawn. The ground round the pegs, to which their asses are tethered,
in heaps of ashes or filth, are favourite places for burying plunder."

The Koravas disguise themselves as Kepmaris, Alagiris or pujaris. The
terms Kepmari, Alagiri, Kathirivandlu, etc., are applied to certain
persons who adopt particular methods in committing crime, all of
which are adopted by the Koravas. The Tamil equivalent of Kepmari is
Talapa Mathi, or one who changes his head-dress. Alagiris are thieves
who worship at the temple of Kalla Alagar near Madura, and vow that
a percentage of their ill-gotten gains will be given as an offering
to his temple. Kathirivandlu (scissors people) are those who operate
with knives or scissors, snipping off chains, cutting the strings of
purses, and ripping open bags or pockets.

The Koravas are not nice as regards the selection of some of their
food. Cats, fowls, fish, pigs, the black-faced monkey known in
Telugu as kondamuchu, jackals, field rats, deer, antelope, goats
and sheep serve as articles of dietary. There is a Tamil proverb
"Give an elephant to a pandit, and a cat to a Kuravan." They will
not eat cattle or buffaloes, and will not take food in company with
Muhammadans, barbers, washermen, carpenters, goldsmiths, blacksmiths,
Paraiyans or Chakkiliyans. The Boyas seem to be the lowest class with
whom they will eat. They drink heavily when funds are available, or
at social gatherings, when free drinks are forthcoming. At council
meetings liquor must be supplied by the disputants, and there is a
proverb, "With dry mouths nothing can be uttered."

Most Koravas possess knives, and a kind of billhook, called koduval,
which is a sort of compromise between a sword and a sickle. The back
of the blade is heavy, and renders it capable of dealing a very severe
blow. With this implement animals are slaughtered, murders committed,
and bamboos split.

For the purpose of committing burglaries, the Koravas are said by
Mr. Mullaly to use an iron instrument pointed at either end, called
gadi kolu or sillu kolu, which is offered, before a gang sets out,
to Perumal, whose aid in the success of the undertaking is invoked.

The Koravas as a class are industrious, and generally doing
something. One may see the men on the march twisting threads into
stout cord. Others will be making fine nets for fishing, or coarse
ones, in which to suspend household pots or utensils; straw pads,
on which the round-bottomed chatties invariably stand; or a design
with red thread and cowry shells, wherewith to decorate the head of
a bull or a money-bag. It is when hawking these articles from door
to door that the Koravas are said to gain information as to property
which may be worth stealing. The following is a free translation
of a song representing Koracha characteristics, in a play by
Mr. D. Krishnamacharlu, a well-known amateur dramatist of Bellary:--


    Hurrah! Our Koracha caste is a very fine caste,
    The best of castes, Hurrah!

    When a temple feast is proceeding,
    We beg, and commit thefts surprising.
    Don't we? Care we for aught?
    Don't we slip off uncaught?

          (Chorus.)

    Cutting trinkets off,
    From the necks of babes in their mothers' arms.
    Who could suspect us? Cannot we hoodwink them all?
    Cannot we get away?

          (Chorus.)

    When those eternal watchmen catch us,
    After endless search take life out of us.
    Do we blurt out? Do we confess?
    Don't we enquire what is our offence?

          (Chorus.)


In the south, the Koravas are frequently employed by villagers as
watchmen (kavalgars) on the principle of setting a thief to keep
other thieves off. They are paid in grain. The villagers are more than
half afraid of them, and, if the remuneration stipulated upon is not
promptly paid to the watchmen, a house-breaking will certainly occur
in the village. If a crime happens to take place in a village where
a Korava has been appointed watchman, he frequently manages to get
back the stolen property if the theft is the work of another Korava,
but only on condition that the police are not called in to investigate
the offence.

The dwellings in which the Koravas live are made with low mud walls and
thatched. The wanderers erect a temporary hut called gudise, with mats
or cocoanut or palmyra palm leaves, not more than 4 feet high. It is
constructed of crossed bamboos tied together, and connected by another
bamboo, which serves as a ridge, over which they fasten the mats.

Marriages are arranged by the elders. The father of a youth who is of
a marriageable age calls together some of the elders of his division,
and proceeds in quest of a suitable bride. If the family visited
consents to the match, the headman is sent for, and a move is made
to the toddy-shop. Here the father of the future bridegroom fills
a small earthen vessel, called in Telugu muntha, and offers it to
the father of the bride-elect, asking him, Do you know why I give
you this toddy? The recipient replies, It is because I have given
you my daughter, and I drink to her health. The vessel is refilled
and offered to the headman, who takes it, and enquires of the father
of the girl why he is to drink. The reply is, Because I have given
my daughter to ----'s son; drink to her health. The questions and
answers are repeated while every one present, according to rank,
has a drink. Those who have so drunk at this betrothal ceremony
are looked upon as witnesses to the contract. After the drinking
ceremony, an adjournment is made to the girl's house, where a feast
is partaken of. At the conclusion thereof, the future bridegroom's
people enquire if the girl has a maternal uncle, to whom the purchase
money should be paid. The purchase money is 101 madas (a mada = two
rupees), and is always the same for both well-to-do and poor. But,
as a matter of fact, the whole of it is never paid. A few instalments
are sometimes handed over, but generally the money is the cause of
endless quarrels. When, however, the families, are on good terms,
and the husband enjoys the hospitality of his wife's maternal uncle,
or vice versâ, it is a common thing for one to say to the other after
a drink, See, brother-in-law, I have paid you two madas to-day,
so deduct this from the voli (purchase money). After the marriage
has been arranged, and the maternal uncle has paid four annas as
an earnest of the transaction, the party disperses until such time
as the principals are in a position to perform the wedding. They
might be infants, or the girl immature, or the intended husband be
away. After the betrothal ceremony, the parents of the girl should on
no account break off the match. If this were done, the party of the
husband-elect would summon those who were present at the drinking
ceremony to a meeting, and he who partook of the second drink (the
headman) would demand from the father of the girl an explanation of
the breach of contract. No explanation is likely to be satisfactory,
and the father is fined three hundred varahas. [217] This sum, like
the purchase money, is seldom paid, but the award of it places the
party from whom it is due in a somewhat inferior position to the
party to whom it is payable. They occupy thenceforth the position of
creditor to debtor. On the occasion of quarrels, no delicate sense
of refinement restrains the former from alluding to the debt, and
the position would be retained through several generations. There is
a Tamil proverb that the quarrels of a Korava and an Idaiyan are not
easily settled. If the contracting parties are ready to fulfil their
engagement, the maternal uncle of the girl is paid five varahas as
the first instalment of the purchase money, and a Brahman purohit
is asked to fix an auspicious time for the marriage ceremony. At
the appointed time, the wedding party assembles at the home of the
bride, and the first day is spent in eating and drinking, the bride
and bridegroom being arrayed in new clothes purchased at the expense
of the bride's father. On the following day, they again feast. The
contracting couple are seated on a kambli (blanket), on which some
grains of rice have been previously sprinkled. The guests form a
circle round them, and, at the auspicious moment, the bridegroom ties
a string of black beads round the bride's neck. When the string has
been tied, the married women present, with hands crossed, throw rice
over the heads of the pair. This rice has been previously prepared,
and consists of five seers of rice with five pieces of turmeric, dried
cocoanut, dried date fruit and jaggery (crude sugar), and five silver
or copper coins. While the rice-throwing is proceeding, a monotonous
song is crooned, of which the following is a free translation:--


    Procure five white bulls.
    Get five white goats.
    Obtain a seer [218] of silver.
    Get a seer of gold.
    Always love your father
    And live happy for ever.
    Look after your mother always,
    Your father and mother-in-law.
    Do not heed what folk say.
    Look after your relations,
    And the God above will keep you happy.
    Five sons and four daughters
    Shall compose your family.


A predominance of sons is always considered desirable, and, with five
sons and four daughters, the mystic number nine is reached.

No widows, women who have remarried, or girls dedicated as prostitutes,
are allowed to join the wedding circle, as they would be of evil omen
to the bride. Widows and remarried women must have lost a husband,
and the prostitute never knows the God to whose service she is
dedicated. On the third day, the rice-throwing ceremony is repeated,
but on this occasion the bride and bridegroom pour some of the rice
over each other's heads before the women officiate. This ends the
marriage ceremony, but, as among some other classes, consummation is
prohibited for at least three months, as a very strong superstition
exists that three heads should not enter a door within one year. The
bride and bridegroom are the first two heads to enter the new home, and
the birth of a child within the year would constitute the third. This
undesirable event is rendered less likely by a postponement of
consummation. After the prescribed time has lapsed, the bride,
with feigned reluctance, is escorted by her female relations to
her husband's hut. On the way obscene pleasantries, which evoke
much merriment, are indulged in. The bride's pretended reluctance
necessitates a certain amount of compulsion, and she is given an
occasional shove. Finally, she is thrust into the door of the hut,
and the attendant women take their departure.

The following details in another form of the marriage rites may be
noted. The bridegroom proceeds on a Saturday to the settlement of
the bride, where a hut has been set up for him close to that of the
bride. Both the huts should face the east. On the following day,
the headman, or an elder, brings a tray containing betel, flowers
and kankanams (wrist-threads). He ties the threads round the wrists
of the bride and bridegroom, and also round a pestle and mortar and
a crowbar. A distribution of rice to all present, including infants,
follows, and pork and mutton are also distributed. Towards evening,
married women go, with music produced by beating on a brass tray, to
a well or tank, with three pots beneath a canopy (ulladam). The pots
are filled with water, and placed near the marriage milk-post. The
bride takes her seat on a plank, and the bridegroom is carried on the
shoulders of his brother-in-law, and conducted to another plank. Three
married women, and some old men, then pour rice over the heads of the
pair, while the following formula is repeated: "Try to secure four
pairs of donkeys, a few pigs and cattle; live well and amicably; feed
your guests well; grow wise and live." The couple are then taken to
the bride's hut, the entrance to which is guarded by several married
women, who will not allow them to enter till the bridegroom has given
out the name of the bride. Within the hut, the pair exchange food three
times, and what remains after they have eaten is finished off by some
married men and women. That night the pair sleep in the bride's hut,
together with the best man and bridesmaid. On the following day,
a feast is held, at which every house must be represented by at
least one married woman. Towards evening, the bridegroom takes the
bride to his hut, and, just before they start, her mother ties up
some rice in her cloth. At the entrance to the hut, a basket, called
Kolapuriamma's basket, is placed. Depositing a winnowing tray thereon,
the bride pours the rice which has been given to her on it. The rice
is then transferred by the bridegroom to the mortar, and he and the
bride pound it with the pestle and crowbar. The tali is then tied by
the bridegroom round the bride's neck.

In connection with marriage, Mr. Fawcett writes as follows. "A
girl's mother's brother's son has the right to have her to wife,
and, if his right is abrogated by giving her to another, he (or his
father?) receives a penalty from the man to whom she is given. The
girl's maternal uncle disposes of the girl. In the Coimbatore district,
however, it is the father who is said to do so; indeed it is said
that the father can even take a girl away from her husband, and give
her to another for a higher bride-price. Prior to marriage proper,
there is the betrothal, accompanied by presentation of betel leaves
and draughts of toddy, when the maternal uncle or father repeats a
regular formula which is answered word for word by the girl's party,
in which he agrees to hand over the girl for such a price, at the
same time requiring that she shall receive no bodily injury or have
her hair cut, and, if she is returned damaged physically, payment
shall be made according to a fixed rate. It should be said that the
betrothal sometimes takes place at a tavern, the favourite haunt of
the Koravas, where the bridegroom's party offers a pail of toddy to
the father of the girl and his party. The emptying of this pail seals
the marriage contract, and involves the father of the girl into payment
of the bride-price as a fine, together with a fine of Rs. 2 for every
male child, and Rs. 4 for every female child that may be born. This
penalty, which is known as ranku, is not, as a rule, pressed at once,
but only after some children have been born. The day of marriage,
generally a Sunday, is fixed by a Brahman, who receives betel nuts,
cocoanuts, one rupee, or even less. He selects an auspicious day and
hour for the event. The hour selected is rather early in the evening,
so that the marriage may be consummated the same night. A few days
before the appointed day, two unmarried lads cut a branch of the naval
tree (Eugenia Jambolana), and throw it into a tank (pond) or river,
where it is left until the wedding day, when the same two lads bring
it back, and plant it in the ground near the dwelling of the bride,
and on either side of it is placed a pot of water (brought from the
tank or river where the branch had been left to soak) carried thither
by two married women under a canopy. The mouth of each pot is closed
by placing on top an earthen vessel on which is a lamp. The bride and
bridegroom sit on donkey saddles spread on the ground, and undergo the
nalugu ceremony, in which their hands and feet are rubbed nine times
with saffron (turmeric) coloured red with chunam (lime). The elders
bless the couple, throwing rice over their heads with crossed hands,
and all the while the women chant monotonously a song such as this:--


    Galianame Baipokame Sobaname,
    Oh, Marriage giver of happiness and prosperity!
    The best oil of Madanapalle is this nalugu;
    The best soap seed of Silakat is for this nalugu;
    Paint yourselves, Oh sisters, with the best of colours;
    Stain your cloth, Oh brother, with the best of dyes;
    Bring, Oh brother, the greenest of snakes;
    Adorn with it our Basavayya's neck;
    Bring, Oh brother, the flowers without leaves;
    Adorn with them the hair of the bride.


Then the bridegroom ties the bride's tali, a string coloured yellow
with saffron (turmeric), or a string of small black beads. Every
married woman must wear a necklet of black beads, and glass bangles
on her wrists; when she becomes a widow, she must remove them. A
feature of the ceremony not to be overlooked is the wedding meal
(pendlikudu). After undergoing the nalugu, the bridegroom marks
with a crowbar the spot where this meal, consisting of rice, milk,
green gram, and jaggery (sugar), is to be cooked in a pot called
bhupalakunda. A trench is dug at the spot, and over it the cooking
is done. When the food is ready, the bride and bridegroom take of it
each three handfuls, and then the boys and girls snatch the pot away
from them. After this, the couple proceed to the bridegroom's hut,
where they find a light burning. The elders sprinkle them with water
coloured yellow with saffron (turmeric) as they enter."

For the following note on marriage among the Yerukalas of the
Vizagapatam district, I am indebted to Mr. Hayavadana Rao. A man
may marry the daughter of his paternal aunt or maternal uncle. The
father of the would-be husband of a girl goes with ten rupees,
called sullaponnu, to her home, and pays the money to one of several
elders who are brought together. Towards evening, the ground in
front of the girl's hut is swept, and a wooden plank and stone
are set side by side. The bridegroom sits on the former, and the
bride on the latter. Two pots of water are placed before them, and
connected together by a thread tied round their necks. The pots are
lifted up, and the water is poured over them. Contrary to the custom
prevailing among many castes, new cloths are not given to them after
this bath. Resuming their seats, the couple sprinkle each other with
rice. An intelligent member of the caste then personates a Brahman
priest, mutters sundry mantrams (prayers), and shows a string (karugu)
with a piece of turmeric tied to it to those assembled. It is touched
by them in token of a blessing, and tied by the bridegroom on the neck
of the bride. A feast, with a liberal supply of liquor, is held, the
expenses of which are met from the ten rupees already referred to. The
younger brother may marry the widow of an elder brother, and vice
versâ. A widow is married in front of her mother's hut. The marriage
string is tied round her neck, but without the ceremonial observed
at the marriage of a maid. If a husband wishes to secure a divorce,
he asks his wife to break a twig in two before a caste council. If a
woman wishes for a divorce, she elopes with a man, who pays a small
fine, called ponnu, to the husband, and asks him to break a twig.

The following story is current among the Koramas, to account for the
tali or bottu being replaced by a string of black beads. Once upon a
time, a bridegroom forgot to bring the tali, and he was told off to
procure the necessary piece of gold from a goldsmith. The parties
waited and waited, but the young man did not return. Since then,
the string of beads has been used as a marriage badge. According to
another story, the tali was prepared, and kept on the bank of a river,
but disappeared when it was going to be picked up. A man was sent to
procure another, but did not come back.

I am informed that the Yerukalas of the Kistna district are divided
into two classes--sheep and goats practically. Of these, the latter
are the bastard offspring of the former. Illegitimate must, in the
first instance, marry illegitimate. The offspring thereof is ipso
facto whitewashed, and becomes legitimate, and must marry a legitimate.

A custom is stated by Dr. Shortt [219] to prevail among the Yerukalas,
by which the first two daughters of a family may be claimed by
the maternal uncle as wives for his sons. "The value of a wife is
fixed at twenty pagodas. The maternal uncle's right to the first two
daughters is valued at eight out of twenty pagodas, and is carried out
thus. If he urges his preferential claim, and marries his own sons
to his nieces, he pays for each only twelve pagodas; and similarly
if he, from not having sons, or any other cause, foregoes his claim,
he receives eight pagodas of the twenty paid to the girl's parents
by anybody else who may marry them." The price of a wife apparently
differs in different localities. For example, it is noted, in the
Census report, 1901, that, among the Kongu sub-division of the Koravas,
a man can marry his sister's daughter, and, when he gives his sister
in marriage, he expects her to produce a bride for him. His sister's
husband accordingly pays Rs. 7-8-0 out of the Rs. 60 of which the
bride price consists, at the wedding itself, and Rs. 2-8-0 more each
year until the woman bears a daughter. Some Koravas seem to be even
more previous than fathers who enter their infant sons for a popular
house at a public school. For their children are said to be espoused
even before they are born. Two men, who wish their children to marry,
say to one another: "If your wife should have a girl and mine a boy
(or vice versâ), they must marry." And, to bind themselves to this,
they exchange tobacco, and the potential bridegroom's father stands
a drink to the future bride's relations. But if, after the children
are grown up, a Brahman should pronounce the omens unpropitious,
the marriage does not take place, and the bride's father pays back
the cost of the liquor consumed at the betrothal. If the marriage
is arranged, a pot of water is placed before the couple, and a grass
(Cynodon Dactylon) put into the water. This is equal to a binding oath
between them. [220] Of this grass it is said in the Atharwana Veda:
"May this grass, which rose from the water of life, which has a
hundred roots and a hundred stems, efface a hundred of my sins, and
prolong my existence on earth for a hundred years." It is noted by
the Rev. J. Cain [221] that "at the birth of a daughter, the father
of an unmarried little boy often brings a rupee, and ties it in the
cloth of the father of the newly born girl. When the girl is grown
up, he can claim her for his son. For twenty-five rupees he can claim
her much earlier."

In North Arcot, the Koravas are said [222] to "mortgage their unmarried
daughters, who become the absolute property of the mortgagee till
the debt is discharged. The same practice exists in Chingleput and
Tanjore. In Madras, the Koravars sell their wives outright when they
want money, for a sum equal to fifty rupees. In Nellore and other
districts, they all purchase their wives, the price varying from
thirty to seventy rupees, but money rarely passes on such occasions,
the consideration being paid in asses or cattle." In a recent case
in the Madras High Court, a Korava stated that he had sold one of
his wives for twenty-one rupees. [223] It is stated by Dr. Pope that
the Koravas do not "scruple to pawn their wives for debt. If the wife
who is in pledge dies a natural death, the debt is discharged. If she
should die from hard usage, the creditor must not only cancel the debt,
but must defray the expenses of a second marriage for his debtor. If
the woman lives till the debt is discharged, and if she has children
by the creditor, the boys remain with him, the girls go back with
her to her husband." The conditions of the country suggest a reason
for the pawning of wives. A wife would be pawned in times of stress,
and redeemed after seasons of plenty. The man who can afford to accept
her in pledge in a time of famine would, in periods of plenty, require
men for agricultural purposes. He, therefore, retains the male issue,
who in time will be useful to him. Some years ago, some Koravas were
convicted of stealing the despatch-box of the Collector of a certain
district from his tent. It came out, in the course of the trial,
that the head of the gang had taken the money contained therein as
his share, and with it acquired a wife. The Collector humorously
claimed that the woman, having been obtained with his money, was,
according to a section of the Criminal Procedure Code, his property.

A woman who marries seven men successively one after the other,
either after the death of her husbands or after divorce, is said
by Mr. Paupa Rao Naidu to be considered to be a respectable lady,
and is called Pedda Boyisani. She takes the lead in marriages and
other religious ceremonies.

It is noted, in the Census Report, 1891, that "if a man is sent to
jail, his wife will form a connection with some other man of the
gang, but on the release of her husband, she will return to him
with any children born to her in the interval. The Korava women are
accustomed to honour their lords and husbands with the dignified title
of cocks." On one occasion, a Korava got into trouble in company with
a friend, and was sentenced to three years imprisonment, while his
friend got two years. The latter, at the termination of his period of
enforced seclusion, proceeded to live with the wife of the former,
settling down in his friend's abode. The former escaped from jail,
and, turning up at his home, claimed his wife. His friend journeyed to
the place where the jail was located, and reported to the authorities
his ability to find the escaped convict, who was recaptured, while
his friend regained possession of his wife, and pocketed twenty-five
rupees for giving the information which led to his rearrest.

The remarriage of widows is permitted. The man who wishes to marry a
widow purchases new cloths for himself and his bride. He invites a
number of friends, and, in their presence, presents his bride with
the cloths. The simple ceremony is known as chirakattu-koradam,
or desiring the cloth-tying ceremony.

As a general rule, the Korava wife is faithful to her husband, but,
in the event of incompatibility, man and wife will announce their
intention of separating to their gang. This is considered equivalent
to a divorce, and the husband can demand back the four annas, which
were paid as earnest money to his wife's maternal uncle. This is said
to be done, whether the separation is due to the fault either of the
husband or the wife. Among other castes, the woman has to return the
money only if she is divorced owing to her own fault. Divorce is said
to be rare, and, even after it has taken place, the divorced parties
may make up their differences, and continue to keep house together. In
cases of abduction, the father of the girl summons a council meeting,
at which the offender is fined. A girl who has been abducted cannot
be married as a spinster, even if she was recovered before sexual
connection had taken place. The man who carried her off should marry
her, and the ceremony of widow marriage is performed. In the event
of his refusing to marry her, he is fined in the same amount as the
parents of a girl who fail to keep the contract to marry her to a
particular person. The fact of a man who abducts a girl having a wife
already would be no bar to his marrying her, as polygamy is freely
permitted. In former days, an adulterer who was unable to pay the
fine imposed was tied to a tree, and shaved by a barber, who used
the urine of the guilty woman in lieu of water.

In connection with birth ceremonies, Mr. Fawcett writes as
follows. "Difficulty in parturition is thought to be due to an
ungratified desire of the woman before she is confined. This is
generally something to eat, but it is sometimes ungratified lust. In
cases of the latter kind, the Koravar midwife induces the woman
to mention her paramour's name, and, as the name is mentioned, the
midwife puts a pinch of earth into the woman's mouth with the idea
of accelerating delivery. The woman is confined in an outlying hut,
where she is tabu to all, with the exception of the midwife, for about
ten days. As soon as the child is born, incense is burnt in front of
this hut, and there is an offering of jaggery (crude sugar) to the
spirits of the departed elders, who are invoked in the following words
in the Korava dialect:--'Ye spirits of our elders! Descend on us, give
us help, and increase our cattle and wealth. Save us from the Sircar
(Government), and shut the mouth of the police. We shall worship you
for ever and ever.' The jaggery is then distributed to all present,
and the new-born infant is cleaned with cow-dung and washed. A Brahman
is sometimes consulted, but it is the maternal uncle upon whom the
responsibility falls of naming the child. This he does on the ninth day
after confinement, when the mother and child are bathed. Having named
the child, he ties a string of thread or cotton round its waist. This
string signifies the entry of the child into the Koravar community,
and it, or its substitute, is worn until the termination of married
life. The name given on this occasion is not usually the name by
which an individual is known by his fellows, as persons are generally
called after some physical trait or characteristic thus:--Nallavadu,
black man; Pottigadu, short man; Nettakaladu, long-legged man;
Kuntadu, lame man; Boggagadu, fat man; Juttuvadu, man with a large
tuft of hair; Gunadu, hunch-backed man; Mugadu, dumb man; and so
on. In a few cases, children are genuinely named after the household
deities. Those so named are called Ramudu, Lachigadu, Venkatigadu,
Gengadu, Chengadu, Subbadu, Ankaligadu, and so on. An old custom
was to brand the children on the shoulders with a piece of red-hot
iron. Marks of such branding are called the cattle mark, for it seems
that children should be branded on the shoulders before undertaking
the 'sacred duty' of tending cattle. They explain the custom by saying
that Krishna, the God of the shepherds, allowed boys of his own caste,
and of no other, to perform the sacred duty, after the boy dedicated
thereto had undergone the branding ceremony. This ceremony is seldom
observed nowadays, as it leads to identification. Birth of a child on
a new-moon night, when the weather is strong, is believed to augur a
notorious thieving future for the infant. Such children are commonly
named Venkatigadu after the God at Tirupati. The birth of a child
having the umbilical cord twisted round its neck portends the death of
the father or maternal uncle. This unpleasant effect is warded off by
the uncle or the father killing a fowl, and wearing its entrails round
his neck, and afterwards burying them along with the umbilical cord."

The practice of the couvade, or custom in accordance with which
the father takes to bed, and is doctored when a baby is born, is
referred to by Alberuni [224] (about A.D. 1030), who says that, when
a child is born, people show particular attention to the man, not
to the woman. There is a Tamil proverb that, if a Korati is brought
to bed, her husband takes the prescribed stimulant. Writing about
the Yerukalas, [225] the Rev. J. Cain tells us that "directly the
woman feels the birth pains, she informs her husband, who immediately
takes some of her clothes, puts them on, places on his forehead the
mark which the women usually place on theirs, retires into a dark room
where there is only a very dim lamp, and lies down on the bed, covering
himself up with a long cloth. When the child is born, it is washed,
and placed on the cot beside the father. Asafoetida, jaggery, and other
articles are then given, not to the mother, but to the father. He is
not allowed to leave his bed, but has everything needful brought to
him." Among the Kuravars, or basket-makers of Malabar, "as soon as
the pains of delivery come upon a pregnant woman, she is taken to an
outlying shed, and left alone to live or die as the event may turn
out. No help is given her for twenty-eight days. Even medicines are
thrown to her from a distance; and the only assistance rendered is
to place a jar of warm water close by her just before the child is
born. Pollution from birth is held as worse than that from death. At
the end of the twenty-eight days, the hut in which she was confined
is burnt down. The father, too, is polluted for fourteen days, and,
at the end of that time, he is purified, not like other castes by
the barber, but by holy water obtained from Brahmans at temples or
elsewhere." To Mr. G. Krishna Rao, Superintendent of Police in the
Shimoga district of Mysore, I am indebted for the following note on
the couvade as practiced among the Koramas. "Mr. Rice, in the Mysore
Gazetteer, says that among the Koravars it is said that, when a woman
is confined, her husband takes medicine for her. At the instance of
the British Resident I made enquiries, and learned that the Kukke
(basket-making) Koramas, living at Gopala village near Shimoga,
had this custom among them. The husband learns from his wife the
probable time of her confinement, and keeps at home awaiting the
delivery. As soon as she is confined, he goes to bed for three days,
and takes medicine consisting of chicken and mutton broth spiced with
ginger, pepper, onions, garlic, etc. He drinks arrack, and eats as
good food as he can afford, while his wife is given boiled rice with
a very small quantity of salt, for fear that a larger quantity may
induce thirst. There is generally a Korama midwife to help the wife,
and the husband does nothing but eat, drink, and sleep. The clothes
of the husband, the wife, and the midwife are given to a washerman
to be washed on the fourth day, and the persons themselves have
a wash. After this purification, the family gives a dinner to the
caste people. One of the men examined by me explained that the man's
life was more valuable than that of the woman, and that the husband,
being a more important factor in the birth than the wife, deserves
to be better looked after." The following legend is current among
the Koramas, to explain the practice of the couvade among them. One
day a donkey, belonging to a Korama camp, pitched outside a village,
wandered into a Brahman's field, and did considerable damage to the
crop. The Brahman was naturally angry, and ordered his coolies to
pull down the hut of the owner of the donkey. The Korama, casting
himself at the feet of the Brahman, for want of a better excuse,
said that he was not aware of what his animal was doing, as at the
time he was taking medicine for his wife, and could not look after
it. According to another version of the story, the Brahman ordered
his servants to remove the hut from his land or beat the Korava,
so that Koravas have since that time taken to bed and shared the
pollution of their wives, to escape being beaten.

In connection with the couvade, Mr. Fawcett writes that "it has
been observed in the bird-catching Koravars, and the custom has
been admitted by others. Directly a woman is brought to bed, she is
given asafoetida rolled in betel leaf. She is then given a stimulant
composed of asafoetida and other drugs. The husband partakes of
a portion of this before it is given to the woman. This custom is
one of those which the Koravar is generally at pains to conceal,
denying its existence absolutely. The proverb 'When the Koravar
woman is confined, the Koravar man takes asafoetida' is, however,
well known. Very soon after a woman is confined, attention is paid
exclusively to her husband, who wraps himself in his wife's cloth,
and lies down in his wife's place beside the new-born infant. He stays
there for at least some minutes, and then makes room for his wife. The
writer of this note was informed by Koravars that any one who refused
to go through this ceremony would undergo the severest penalties,
indeed, he would be turned out of the community. Nothing annoys a
Koravar so much as to mention the word asafoetida in his presence,
for he takes it to be an insulting reference to the couvade. The
worst insult to a Koravar woman lies in the words 'Will you give
asafoetida?' which are understood by her to mean an improper overture."

Some Koravas are said to believe that the pangs of labour are largely
allayed by drinking small doses of a mixture of the dung of a male
donkey and water. A few years ago, when a camp of Koravas was visited
in the Salem district by the Superintendent of Police, two men of
the gang, who had petitioned for the removal of the constables who
were escorting the gang, dragged a woman in the throes of childbirth
by the armpits from the hut. This was done to show that they could
not move their camp, with a woman in such a condition. Nevertheless,
long before daylight on the following day, the camp had been moved,
and they were found at a spot fifteen miles distant. When they were
asked about the woman, a hut slightly apart from the rest was pointed
out, in front of which she was suckling the newly-born infant. She
had done the journey immediately after delivery partly on foot,
and partly on a donkey.

The Korava child's technical education commences early. From infancy,
the Koravas teach their children to answer "I do not know" to questions
put to them. They are taught the different methods of stealing,
and the easiest way of getting into various kinds of houses. One
must be entered through the roof, another by a hole in the wall,
a third by making a hole near the bolt of the door. Before letting
himself down from a roof, the Korava must make sure that he does
not alight on brass vessels or crockery. He generally sprinkles fine
sand in small quantities, so that the noise made thereby may give him
an idea of the situation. The methods to be adopted during the day,
when hawking wares, must be learnt. When a child is caught red-handed,
he will never reveal his identity by giving the name of his parents,
or of the gang to which he belongs. A girl about twelve or thirteen
years old was captured a few years ago in the Mysore State at the
Oregam weekly market, and, on being searched, was found to have a small
knife in her cheek. She declared that she was an orphan with neither
friends nor relations, but was identified by the police. The Koravas
are adepts at assuming aliases. But the system of finger-print records,
which has been introduced in recent years, renders the concealment
of their identity more difficult than it used to be. "Both men and
women," Mr. Paupa Rao writes, "have tattoo marks on their foreheads
and forearms. When they are once convicted, they enlarge or alter in
some way the tattoo marks on their forearms, so that they might differ
from the previous descriptive marks of identification entered by the
police in their search books and other records. During festivals,
they put red stuff (kunkuma) over the tattoo marks on their foreheads."

Their conduct is regulated by certain well-defined rules. They should
not enter a house by the front door, unless this is unavoidable, and,
if they must so enter it, they must not leave by the same way. If
they enter by the back door, they depart by the front door, which
they leave wide open. They should not commit robbery in a house, in
which they have partaken of rice and curds. Curds always require salt,
and eating salt is equivalent to taking the oath of fealty according
to their code of honour. They ease themselves in the house in which
they have committed a theft, in order, it is said, to render the
pursuit of them unsuccessful.

In a note on the initiation of Yerukala girls into the profession
of fortune-telling in Vizagapatam, Mr. Hayavadana Rao writes that it
is carried out on a Sunday succeeding the first puberty ceremony. A
caste feast, with plenty of strong drink, is held, but the girl
herself fasts. The feast over, she is taken to a spot at a little
distance from the settlement called Yerukonda. This is said to be the
name of a place on the trunk road between Vizianagram and Chicacole,
to which girls were taken in former times to be initiated. The girl
is blindfolded with a cloth. Boiled rice and green gram are mixed
with the blood of a black fowl, black pig, and black goat, which are
killed. Of this mixture she must take at least three morsels, and,
if she does not vomit, it is taken as a sign that she will become a
good Yeruka or fortune-teller. Vomiting would indicate that she would
be a false prophetess.

When a wandering Korava dies, he is buried as quickly as possible,
with head to the north, and feet to the south. If possible, a new
cloth is obtained to wrap the corpse in. The grave is covered with the
last hut which the deceased occupied. The Koravas immediately leave
a camp, in which a death has occurred. The nomad Koravas are said
by Dr. Pope to bury their dead at night, no one knows where. Thence
originates the common saying in regard to anything which has vanished,
leaving no trace behind, that it has gone to the dancing-room of the
wandering actors. Another proverb runs to the effect that no one has
seen a dead monkey, or the burning-ground of a Korava.

In Vizagapatam, the Yerukala dead are stated by Mr. Hayavadana Rao
to be burnt in a state of nudity. A tulsi plant (Ocimum sanctum) is
usually planted on the spot where the corpse was burnt. The relations
cannot follow their regular occupation until a caste feast has been
held, and some cooked food thrown on the spot where cremation took
place.

In a note on the death rites of the Koravas of the southern districts,
Mr. F. A. Hamilton writes that, when one of the community dies,
the news of the death is conveyed by a Paraiyan or Chakkiliyan. At
the burning-ground, whither the corpse is accompanied with music, it
is laid on dried cow-dung, which has been spread on the ground. The
son of the deceased goes thrice round the corpse, and breaks a new
water-pot which he has brought with him near the head. He also hands
over a piece of burning sandalwood for lighting the pyre, and goes
straight home without seeing the corpse again. On the third day, the
son and other relations go to the burning-ground, heap up the ashes,
plant either tulsi (Ocimum sanctum), perandai (Vitis quadrangularis),
or kathalai (Agave Americana), and pour milk. On the sixteenth day,
or at some later time, a ceremony called karumathi is performed. The
relatives assemble at the burning-ground, and a stone is set up,
and washed with water, honey, milk, etc. On the following day, all
the relatives take an oil-bath, and new cloths are presented to the
host. Sheep are killed, and a feast, with a liberal supply of liquor,
is held. Till this ceremony is performed, the son remains in mourning.

Concerning death ceremonies, Mr. Fawcett writes as follows. "A Tamil
proverb likens the death of a Koravar to that of a monkey, for no
one ever sees the dead body of either. Just as the monkey is thought
to be immortal, the other monkeys removing the carcass instantly, so
the corpse of the Koravar is made away with and disposed of with all
possible speed. There is very little wailing, and preparations are
made at once. If the deceased was married, the bier on which he is
carried is practically a ladder; if unmarried, it is a single bamboo
with pieces of stick placed transversely. The winding-sheet is always
a piece of new cloth, in one corner of which is tied a half anna-piece
(which is afterwards taken by one of the corpse-bearers). Only two of
these are under pollution, which lasts the whole of the day, during
which they must remain in their huts. Next day, after bathing, they
give the crows food and milk. A line is drawn on the body from head
to foot with milk, the thick end of a piece of grass being used as
a brush; then they bathe. Pollution of the chief mourner lasts for
five days. Half-yearly and annual ceremonies to the deceased are
compulsory. A figure of the deceased is drawn with charcoal on a
piece of new cloth spread on the floor of the hut. On either side
of the figure is placed cooked rice and vegetables served on castor
leaves. After some time, the food is placed on a new winnow, which is
hung suspended from the roof of the hut the whole night. Next morning,
the relations assemble, and partake of the food."

From a note on the Yerukalas of the Nellore district, I gather
that, as a rule, the dead are buried, though respected elders of the
community are cremated. Married individuals are carried to the grave
on a bier, those who die unmarried wrapped in a mat. On the second
day, some cooked food, and a fowl, are placed near the grave, to be
eaten by crows. A pot of water is carried thrice round the grave,
and then thrown down. On the ninth day, food is once more offered for
the crows. The final death ceremonies are generally performed after
two or three months. Cooked food, onions, brinjals (fruits of Solanum
Melongena), Phaseolus pulse, squash gourd (Cucurbita maxima), pork, and
mutton are placed on a number of castor (Ricinus) leaves spread on the
floor, and offered to the soul of the deceased, which is represented by
a human figure drawn on a new cloth. At the conclusion of the worship,
the food is placed on new winnowing trays provided for the purpose,
and given to the relations, who place the winnows on the roof of the
house till the following day, when the food is eaten.

By some Koravas, a ceremony in honour of the departed ancestors is
performed at the time of the November new moon. A well-polished brass
vessel, with red and white marks on it, is placed in the corner of a
room, which has previously been swept, and purified with cow-dung. In
front of the pot is placed a leaf plate, on which cooked rice and
other edibles are set. Incense is burned, and the eldest son of the
house partakes of the food in the hope that he, in due course, will
be honoured by his offspring.

The Koramas of Mysore are said to experience considerable difficulty
in finding men to undertake the work of carrying the corpse to the
grave. Should the dead Korama be a man who has left a young widow, it
is customary for some one to propose to marry her the same day, and,
by so doing, to engage to carry out the principal part of the work
connected with the burial. A shallow grave, barely two feet deep, is
dug, and the corpse laid therein. When the soil has been loosely piled
in, a pot of fire, carried by the chief mourner in a split bamboo,
is broken, and a pot of water placed on the raised mound. Should the
spot be visited during the night by a pack of jackals, and the water
drunk by them to slake their thirst after feasting on the dead Korama,
the omen is accepted as proof that the liberated spirit has fled away
to the realms of the dead, and will never trouble man, woman, child,
or cattle. On the sixth day, the chief mourner must kill a fowl,
and mix its blood with rice. This he places, with some betel leaves
and nuts, near the grave. If it is carried off by crows, everything
is considered to have been settled satisfactorily.

As regards the dress of the Koravas, Mr. Mullaly writes as
follows. "The women wear necklaces of shells and cowries interspersed
with beads of all colours in several rows, hanging low down on
the bosom; brass bangles from the wrist to the elbow; brass, lead,
and silver rings, very roughly made, on all their fingers except the
middle one. The cloth peculiar to Koravar women is a coarse black one;
but they are, as a rule, not particular as to this, and wear stolen
cloths after removing the borders and all marks of identification. They
also wear the chola, which is fastened across the bosom, and not,
like the Lambadis, at the back. The men are dirty, unkempt-looking
objects, wear their hair long, and usually tied in a knot on the top
of the head, and indulge in little finery. A joochi (gochi), or cloth
round the loins, and a bag called vadi sanchi, made of striped cloth,
complete their toilet."

In 1884, Mr. Stevenson, who was then the District Superintendent
of Police, North Arcot, devised a scheme for the regeneration of
the Koravas of that district. He obtained for the tribe a tract of
Government land near Gudiyattam, free of assessment for ten years, and
also a grant of Rs. 200 for sinking wells. Licenses were also issued
to the settlers to cut firewood at specially favourable rates. He also
prevailed upon the Zemindar of Karvetnegar to grant twenty-five cawnies
of land in Tiruttani for ten years for another settlement, as well
as some building materials. Unfortunately the impecunious condition
of the Zemindar precluded the Tiruttani settlement from deriving any
further privileges which were necessary to keep the colony going,
and its existence was, therefore, cut short. The Gudiyattam colony,
on the other hand, exhibited some vitality for two or three years,
but, in 1887, it, too, went the way of the Tiruttani colony." [226]
I gather, from the Police Administration Report, 1906, that a scheme
is being worked out, the object of which is to give a well-known
wandering criminal gang some cultivable land, and so enable the
members of it to settle down to an honest livelihood.

At the census, 1891, Korava was returned as a sub-division of
Paraiyans, and the name is also applied to Jogis employed as
scavengers. [227]

The following note on the Koravas of the west coast is interesting as
showing that Malabar is one of the homes of the now popular game of
Diavolo, which has become epidemic in some European countries. "In
Malabar, there is a class of people called Koravas, who have, from
time immemorial, played this game almost in the same manner as its
Western devotees do at the present time. These people are met with
mostly in the southern parts of Malabar, Cochin and Travancore, and
they speak the Malayalam language with a sing-song accent, which easily
distinguishes them from other people. They are of wandering habits. The
men are clever acrobats and rope-dancers, but those of more settled
habits are engaged in agriculture and other industries. The beautiful
grass mats, known as Palghat mats, are woven by these people. Their
women are fortune-tellers and ballad singers. Their services are
also in demand for boring the ears of girls. The ropedancers perform
many wonderful feats while balancing themselves on the rope, among
them being the playing of diabolo while walking to and fro on a
tight rope. The Korava acrobat spins the wooden spool on a string,
attached to the ends of two bamboo sticks, and throws it up to the
height of a cocoanut tree, and, when it comes down, he receives
it on the string, to be again thrown up. There are experts among
them who can receive the spool on the string without even looking
at it. There is no noteworthy difference in the structure and shape
of the spool used by the Koravas, and those of Europe, except that
the Malabar apparatus is a solid wooden thing a little larger and
heavier than the Western toy. It has not yet emerged from the crude
stage of the village carpenter's skill, and cannot boast of rubber
tyres and other embellishments which adorn the imported article;
but it is heavy enough to cause a nasty injury should it hit the
performer while falling. The Koravas are a very primitive people,
but as acrobats and ropedancers they have continued their profession
for generations past, and there is no doubt that they have been expert
diabolo players for many years." [228] It may be noted that Lieutenant
Cameron, when journeying from Zanzibar to Benguela, was detained near
Lake Tanganyika by a native chief. He relates as follows. "Sometimes
a slave of Djonmah would amuse us by his dexterity. With two sticks
about a foot long connected by a string of a certain length, he spun
a piece of wood cut in the shape of an hour-glass, throwing it before
and behind him, pitching it up into the air like a cricket-ball,
and catching it again, while it continued to spin."



NOTES


[1] Gazetteer of the Bellary district.

[2] Madras Diocesan Magazine, June, 1906.

[3] John S. Chandler, a Madura Missionary, Boston.

[4] Madras Mail, November, 1905.

[5] J. Hornell. Report on the Indian Pearl Fisheries of the Gulf of
Manaar, 1905.

[6] Madras Diocesan Mag., 1906.

[7] Notes from a Diary, 1881-86.

[8] Lecture delivered at Trivandrum, MS.

[9] Nineteenth Century, 1898.

[10] Malay Archipelago.

[11] Monograph. Ethnog: Survey of Cochin, No. 9, 1906.

[12] Malabar Manual.

[13] Manual of the Coimbatore district.

[14] Madras Journ. Lit. Science, I. 1833.

[15] W. W. Skeat and C. O. Blagden. Pagan Races of the Malay Peninsula,
1906.

[16] Gazetteer of the Malabar district.

[17] Madras Census Report, 1891.

[18] Manual of Malabar.

[19] Manual of the North Arcot district.

[20] Madras Census Report, 1891.

[21] Manual of the North Arcot district.

[22] A reddish formation found all over Southern India.

[23] Op. cit.

[24] Journey through Mysore, Canara, and Malabar.

[25] Rev. H. Jensen. Classified Collection of Tamil Proverbs, 1897.

[26] Manual of the North Arcot district.

[27] Gazetteer of the Trichinopoly district.

[28] For this note I am indebted to Mr. N. Subramani Aiyar.

[29] Madras Census Report, 1891.

[30] Mokhalingam is in Ganjam, not Vizagapatam.

[31] Place of meeting, which is a large tamarind tree, under which
councils are held.

[32] Gazetteer of the Madura district.

[33] Gazetteer of the Madura district.

[34] Setupati, or lord of the bridge. The title of the Rajas of Ramnad.

[35] Gazetteer of the Madura district.

[36] Madras Census Report, 1891.

[37] Manual of the Madura district.

[38] G. Oppert. Madras Journ. Lit. Science, 1888-9.

[39] Madras Census Report, 1901.

[40] Notes on Criminal Classes of the Madras Presidency.

[41] Madras Review, 1899.

[42] Madras Census Report, 1891.

[43] Gazetteer of the Madura district.

[44] Op. cit.

[45] Illustrated Criminal Investigation and Law Digest, I, 3, 1908,
Vellore.

[46] Madras Journ. Lit. Science, XXV.

[47] I am informed that only Mel-nadu, Sirukudi, Mella-kottai, and
Puramalai are endogamous.

[48] Madras Census Report, 1891.

[49] Manual of the Madura district.

[50] Hindu Feasts, Fasts, and Ceremonies, 1903.

[51] The Tamils eighteen hundred years ago, 1904.

[52] Madras Census Report, 1901.

[53] Gazetteer of the Tanjore district.

[54] Madras Census Report, 1891.

[55] Madras Mail, 1908.

[56] Ind. Ant., III., 1874.

[57] A lakh = a hundred thousand.

[58] Compare the theft of Laban's teraphim by Rachel. Genesis,
XXXI, 19.

[59] Gazetteer of the Tanjore district.

[60] Madras Census Report, 1891.

[61] Madras Census Report, 1901.

[62] Manual of the North Arcot district.

[63] Ind. Ant., VIII, 1879.

[64] Manual of the North Arcot district.

[65] Madras Census Report, 1891.

[66] Hutchinson. Marriage Customs in many lands, 1897.

[67] Gazetteer of the Bellary district.

[68] Gazetteer of the Anantapur district.

[69] Mediæval Sinhalese Art.

[70] Maduraikanchi, Line 521.

[71] E. Hultzsch. South Indian Inscriptions, II, i, 44, 46, 1891.

[72] Ibid. III, i, 47, 1899.

[73] Madras Census Report, 1891.

[74] Madras Census Report, 1871.

[75] New Asiatic Review, Jan. 1907.

[76] Madras Mail, 1907.

[77] Classified Collection of Tamil Proverbs, 1897, from which some
of the proverbs quoted are taken.

[78] Madras Census Report, 1901.

[79] See the legendary story narrated in the article on Tiyans.

[80] Malabar and its Folk, 1900.

[81] Letters from Malabar.

[82] Madras Census Report, 1901.

[83] Ind. Ant., VIII, 1879.

[84] Gazetteer of the Vizagapatam district.

[85] Yule and Burnell, Hobson-Jobson.

[86] Monograph, Eth. Survey of Cochin, No. 4, 1905.

[87] Unhusked rice.

[88] Manual of the South Canara district.

[89] Money-lender.

[90] Malabar Quarterly Review, 1905.

[91] Indian Review, III, 1902.

[92] Monograph, Ethnog. Survey, Cochin.

[93] According to another version of the legend, it was the hut of
a Tiyan.

[94] Malabar Manual.

[95] Gazetteer of the Malabar district.

[96] C. Karunakara Menon. Madras Mus. Bull., V, 2, 1906.

[97] Madras Mus. Bull., II, 3, 1901.

[98] This account is mainly from an article by Mr. N. Subramani Aiyar.

[99] Ind. Ant., IX, 1880.

[100] Manual of the North Arcot district.

[101] Madras Census Report, 1901.

[102] Historical Sketches, Mysore.

[103] Gazetteer of the Madura district.

[104] Gazetteer of the Madura district.

[105] Madras Census Report, 1891.

[106] Dynasties of the Kanarese Districts of the Bombay Presidency.

[107] Loc. cit., and Manual of the North Arcot district.

[108] Section III, Inhabitants, Madras Government Press, 1907.

[109] Ind. Ant., VIII, 1879.

[110] J. F. Kearns. Kalyana shatanku.

[111] Madras Series, IV, 1882; VI, 1883.

[112] Illatakaru, a bride's father having no son, and adopting his
son-in-law.

[113] See further C. Ramachendrier. Collection of Decisions of High
Courts and the Privy Council applicable to dancing-girls, illatom
affiliation, etc., Madras, 1892.

[114] Gazetteer of the Anantapur district.

[115] Madras Mail, Nov. 1905.

[116] Madras Mail, 1905.

[117] Gazetteer of the Malabar district.

[118] Manual of the North Arcot district.

[119] Gazetteer of the Malabar district.

[120] Tamil and English Dictionary, 1862.

[121] The word, in this sense, is said to occur in a Tamil work
named Pingala Nikandu. Karuku is Tamil for the serrated margin of
the leaf--petiole of the palmyra palm.

[122] Yule and Burnell. Hobson-Jobson.

[123] Madras Census Report, 1901.

[124] Manual of the Salem district.

[125] Madras Census Report, 1901.

[126] Manual of the Madura district.

[127] Manual of the Tanjore district.

[128] Madras Census Report, 1891.

[129] Madras Christ. Coll. Mag., 1894.

[130] Malabar Law and Custom.

[131] Ind. Ant., VIII, 1879.

[132] Mysore and Coorg Gazetteer.

[133] Madras Census Report, 1901.

[134] Journ. Anthrop. Inst., II, 1873.

[135] Gazetteer of the Anantapur district.

[136] Indian Review, VII, 1906.

[137] See Ravi Varma, the Indian Artist. Indian Press, Allahabad.

[138] Madras Census Report, 1891.

[139] Madras Museum Bull., V. 3, 1907.

[140] Epigraphia Indica, VI, 1900-1901.

[141] Rev. J. Cain, Ind. Ant., VIII, 1879.

[142] Trans. Ethnolog. Soc., London, 1869; Ind. Ant., VIII, 1879.

[143] Original Inhabitants of Bharathavarsha.

[144] The panas have reference to the division of South Indian castes
into the right- and left-hand factions.

[145] The mofussil indicates up-country stations and districts,
as contra-distinguished from the "Presidency" (Madras City).

[146] Marriage Customs in Many Lands, 1897.

[147] Moore. Indian Appeal Cases, Vol. III, 359-82.

[148] Journey through Mysore, Canara and Malabar.

[149] See Talboys Wheeler, Madras in the Olden Time, II, 49-89.

[150] See Tales of Komati Wit and Wisdom. C. Hayavadana Rao, Madras,
1907.

[151] Classified Collection of Tamil Proverbs, 1897. See also
C. Hayavadana Rao, op. cit., and Ind. Ant., XX, 78, 1891.

[152] Madras Census Report, 1871.

[153] Gazetteer of the Godavari district.

[154] Linguistic Survey of India, IV, 1906.

[155] Man. March 1902.

[156] G.O., No. 1020, Public, 8th October 1901.

[157] G.O., No. 3005, Revenue, 3rd November 1908.

[158] Occasional Essays on Native South Indian Life, 1901.

[159] Madras Census Report, 1881.

[160] Agricul: Ledger Series, Calcutta. No. 7, 1904.

[161] Madras Mail, 1894.

[162] Gazetteer of the Vizagapatam district.

[163] A very interesting note on Totemism among the Khonds by
Mr. J. E. Friend-Pereira has been published in the Journal of Asiatic
Society of Bengal, LXXIII, 1905.

[164] The Golden Bough, 1900.

[165] Selections from the Records, Government of India, No. V, Human
Sacrifice and Infanticide, 1854.

[166] Personal Narrative of Service among the Wild Tribes of
Khondistan.

[167] Manual of the Vizagapatam district.

[168] Journ. Asiat. Soc., Bengal, 1898.

[169] Madras Mail, 1894.

[170] Selections from the Records of the Government of India (Home
Department), V., 1845.

[171] J. A. R. Stevenson. Madras Journ: Lit. Science, VI, 1837.

[172] J. E. Friend-Pereira. Journ: Asiat: Soc. Bengal, LXXI, 1902.

[173] Madras Journ: Lit. & Science, VI, 1837.

[174] Loc. cit.

[175] Journ. Anthrop. Soc., Bombay, II, 249.

[176] Madras Mail, 1896.

[177] Macpherson. Memorials of Service in India.

[178] Journ., Anth. Soc., Bombay, II, 1890.

[179] Ibid.

[180] Madras Police Report, 1904.

[181] Madras Mail, 1894.

[182] Madras Mail, 1908.

[183] See G.O., Judicial, 14th August 1882, No. 952, Khond Rising.

[184] Manual of the South Canara district.

[185] Letters from Malabar. Translation. Madras, 1862.

[186] Fine cakes made of gram flour and a fine species of alkali,
which gives them an agreeable taste, and serves the purpose of making
them rise and become very crisp when fried.

[187] Journ. Anthrop. Inst., IV., 1875.

[188] Madras Christ. Coll. Mag. III, 1885-6.

[189] Ind. Ant. X, 1881.

[190] Manual of the South Canara district.

[191] Journ. Anthrop. Inst. IV, 1875.

[192] Manual of the South Canara district.

[193] Manual of the South Canara district.

[194] M. Paupa Rao Naidu. History of Railway Thieves.

[195] Madras Census Report, 1891.

[196] Madras Journ. Lit: and Science, 1888-89.

[197] Tirumurukairuppadai.

[198] Madras Census Report, 1901.

[199] Indian Antiquity, IX, 1880.

[200] Cyclopædia of India.

[201] Loc. cit.

[202] Note on Koravas, 1908.

[203] Notes on Criminal Classes of the Madras Presidency.

[204] Forest Inspection Report, 1896.

[205] Gazetteer of the Bellary district.

[206] Gazetteer of the Vizagapatam district.

[207] F. S. Mullaly. Op. cit.

[208] Madras Journ. Lit. Science, XVII, 1853.

[209] History of Railway Thieves. Madras, 1904.

[210] Madras Census Report, 1901.

[211] Gazetteer of the Trichinopoly district.

[212] This story is based on well-known episode of Nalacharitra in
the Aranya Parva of the Mahabharatha.

[213] M. Paupa Rao Naidu. Op. cit.

[214] Ibid.

[215] Police Report, 1902.

[216] Op. cit.

[217] A varaha or pagoda was worth Rs. 3-8-0.

[218] A seer is an Indian measure of weight, varying in different
parts of the country.

[219] Trans. Eth. Sec. N.S., VII.

[220] J. F. Kearns, Kalyana Shatanku, 1868.

[221] Ind. Ant., III., 1874.

[222] Madras Census Report, 1871.

[223] Madras Census Report, 1901.

[224] India. Trübner. Oriental Series.

[225] Ind. Ant., III, 1874.

[226] Madras Mail, 1907.

[227] For this account of the Koravas, I am largely indebted to a
report by Mr. N. E. Q. Mainwaring, Superintendent of Police.

[228] Madras Mail, 1908.





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