Bra'hmans have thirteen divisions: 33,738 BRAHMANS, including Deshasths, Konkanasths, and Karhadas, who are locally known simply as Brahmans; 328 Gauds; 111 Gujaratis; 260 Abhirs or Ranvatas; 116 Pardeshis; 242 Marvadis 53 Pokarnas; 108 Kanojas;208 Telangs; 931 Golaks; and 1966 Vidurs, or a total strength of 38,049 fouls or 3.69 per cent of the whole Hindu population. They belong to five classes, Maratha, Gujarati, Marvadi, Upper Indian, and south Indian. Maratha Brahmans, by far the largest class, include Deshasths, with their local sub-divisions of Yajurvedis and Maitrayanis, Konkanasths Or Chitpavans, Karhadas, Gauds, Abhirs or Ravnvatas, Vidurs, and Govardhans or Golaks; of Gujarat Brahmans there are Audichs, Khedavals, Shrimalis, and Nagars; of Marvad Brahmans, Shevaks and Adigauds, Parikhs, Dayamas, Sikvals, and Khar Khahdeles; of Upper Indian Brahmans, Sarasvats, Pokarnas, and Kanojas; and of South Indian Brahmans, Telangs and Sagardvipis. Of the settlement in Khandesh of these different Brahman divisions, no histories, or legends have been obtained. It is the general local belief that the Yajurvedis and the Maitrayanis, and probably the Govardhans and the Abhirs,
are old settlers. Most of the Gujarat Brahmans would seem to have come to minister to the Gujarat Vanis of Nandurbar and other towns in west Khandesh, who were settled in the country at least as early as the Moghal conquest (1600). Of the Deshasth, Karhada, Konkanasth, and Devrukha Brahmans some are no doubt much earlier settlers, but the bulk came to Khandesh at the time of, or after, its conquest by the Peshwa (1760). Most of the small begging communities, the Sarasvats, Kanojas, and Pokarnas from the north, and the Telangs from the south would seem to have come since the British conquest (1818).
Of the different classes, the Konkanastha and Deshasths are found in all parts of the district, the Gujaratis and the Upper Indian Pokarnas, Sarasvats, and Kanojas mostly in the north, the Maitrayanis in Bhadgaon and Pachora, the Govardhans or Golaks in Dhulia and
Virdel, and the Abhirs or Ranvatas in Shahada, Nandurbar, and Taloda.
Except that the Konkanasths as a rule are fair and the Golaks dark, there is little difference in the colour and appearance of the various divisions. Gujarat, Upper Indian, and Marvad Brahmans understand, but do not speak, Marathi. The rest speak Marathi, most of them with some Gujarati and local Ahirani peculiarities. A few of the well-to-do live in large trading towns in two-storied houses with walls of burnt brick and mortar and tiled roofs. "With this exception Brahmans generally live in one-storied houses with mud walls and fiat mud roofs. Compared with the newer corners, the Yajurvedis and other old settlers eat very large quantities of pulse, and have only of late taken to using rice. Gujarat and Marvad Brahmans keep their own dress. The women of the Gujarat sub-divisions use the Gujarat short-sleeved open-backed bodice, kanchli, and wear their robe falling from the hips without passing the end between the legs. The rest dress in Maratha fashion.
The beggars are idle and sluggish, but most other Brahmans are
clever, enterprising, and thrifty. As a class they are well-to-do.
Many beggars and priests give their boys some knowledge of the
Shastras; Government servants, pleaders, and landholders teach
their sons both Marathi and English, some of them even giving:
them a college training. The Konkanasths, Deshasths, Karhadas,
and Devrukhas enter Government service and practise as lawyers; the
Golaks are village accountants and clerks; the Gauds, Yajurvedis,
Maitrayanis, and some of the Gujaratis are traders; some of the
Maitrayanis and Yajurvedis are husbandmen; some of all classes,
but especially the Gujaratis, Marvadis, and Golaks, are priests and
astrologers, and some of all classes, but especially the Upper Indian
Brahmans and the Telangs, are beggars.
Some of them Smarts or followers of Shiv, and others Bhagvatas or followers of Vishnu, almost all Brahmans are very careful worshippers of Chandi or Devi, and with many, Khandoba of Jejuri is the tutelary household deity. Most of the permanently settled Maratha Brahman families observe two special religious rites technically known as rolpuja and chakrapuja or ranubaiKajubai puja. The rotpuja worship in honour of Kajubai, originally from Berar, seems to have been borrowed from the Kunbis. It is celebrated on the first Sunday after the Nagpanchami holiday in Shravan (July - August), when all members of the family fast. A pot of water, with a cocoanut on it, is placed on a heap of wheat, and a silver image of the goddess Ranubai is laid before it. Lamps are lighted, and a family dinner is given. Chakrapuja is performed in honour of Ranubai whose image is set on an octagonal heap of rice. A lamp is brought and set near it, and both the image and the lamp are worshipped. Dinner is then served, and great care is taken that the remnants of this dinner are buried in a pit near the house and not given to Shudras. After dinner the heaped rice is shaped like the shalunkha, or stone in which the ling is set, a cocoanut is placed on it as a ling, and worship is offered. The cocoanut is then broken and the kernel distributed. Ranubai is a favourite Khandesh family deity. Her marriage and sacred thread' ceremony, the latter taking place after the marriage, are observed as a seven days festival. On the seventh day a platform of small plantain sticks is made, and a wheat-flour image of Ranubai is placed on them and worshipped.
As a rule the main divisions eat together but do not intermarry, and the sub-divisions both eat together and intermarry. To this rule there are many exceptions. None of the Upper Indian divisions, the Pokarnas, Sarasvats, and Kanojas, eat together, and among Gujaratis, the 'Nagars hold aloof from- the rest. Of the chief Maratha divisions, the Konkanasths, Deshasths, Yajurvedis, and Karhadas eat together but hold aloof from the Gauds and Golaks, and, as a rule, from the Maitrayanis and Devrukhas.
Though, among the more educated, its power is said to be
growing weak, the community has still considerable control over
the individual. Among the different classes of Brahmans the
constitution of the community varies considerably. Among Maratha
Brahmans, all the main divisions who dine together, form, for
purposes of social discipline, one community; while, among Gujarati
and Upper India Brahmans, the community is limited to the
division, and, in some cases, to the sub-division. Breaches of caste
rules, generally in matters of eating, drinking, and marriage, are
made known to the members of the community, and a general
meeting of all' members in the town or neighbourhood is called.
At these meetings the mob of members is generally without any
efficient head, and there is little order and much loud and angry
talk. If the offence is held to be proved, and the community feel
able to enforce discipline, the form of punishment is generally the
eating by the offender, of the five products of the cow, panchagavya, and the payment of a fine to be spent in feasting the community.
The chief available details of Brahman divisions and sub-divisions may be thus summarised. Of MARATHA BRAHMANS, Deshasths, found in small numbers all over the district, some of them old settlers, but most them arrivals since the establishment of the Peshwa's power (1760), are as a class well-to-do, living by priestcraft, trade, and Government service. They are of three sub-divisions, Ashvatayans,
Yajurvedis, and Apastambas, of whom the Ashvatayans and Apastambas intermarry. The Yajurvedis, found in all parts of the district, chiefly as village priests and astrologers, are believed to be among the oldest Brahman settlers in Khandesh. Of their eighty, six petty divisions, only three, the Madhyandins, the Maitrayanis, and the Kannadis, none of whom intermarry, are found in Khandesh. of these the Maitrayanis, settled chiefly in Bhadgaon, Amalner, and Nandurbar, have considerable local interest. Much darker than other Brahmans, and, at least in Amalner, not allowed to dine with Konkanasths and Deshasths, they live by begging and husbandry, and, in Amalner, by trade. They belong to the Charak branch, shakha, of the Yajurveda, and follow the Manavsutra as their religious guide. Konkanasths or Chitpavans, found in small numbers all over the district, some of them old settlers but most of them established since the times of the Peshwa, are as a class well to-do, living by priestcraft, the law, and Government service. Their two sub-divisions, the Bigvedis or Ashvalayans and the Apastambas or Hiranyakeshis, do not intermarry. Karhadas, found in small numbers in most parts of the district, are believed to have mostly come as servants to the Peshwa's government. Chiefly Government servants and moneylenders they are well-to-do. They are members of the Maratha Brahman community, intermarrying, though this was formerly not the case, with Deshasth Brahmans. Devrukhas, in small numbers over most of the district and believed to have come from the south Konkan with the Peshwa, are mostly in Government service or priests. They do not marry either with Deshasths or Konkanasths, and Konkanasths show much hesitation in dining with them.
Govardhans or Golaks, found in large numbers chiefly
in Dhulia and Virdel, are old settlers, living as hereditary village accountants, astrologers, and a few as clerks. They are supposed to be of irregular descent, the progeny of a Brahman woman by a Brahman who is not her husband. They are of two classes,
Randgolak and Kundgolak, the former denoting children of a woman whose husband was living, the latter the children of a woman whose husband was dead at the time of her union with the father of her children. The two sub-divisions dine with each other. Gauds or Shenvis, found in small numbers over the district, are said to be settlers of the Peshwa's time. They live as traders and Government servants. They are separated from other Brahmans by their practice of eating fish and mutton.
Abhir [From materials supplied by Mr. J. Davidson, C. S.] or Ranvats Brahmans, with a total strength of 260 souls, are found in Prakasha, Nandurbar, and Taloda. [The details are; 175 souls in Prakasha; fifty-five souls distributed over slxteen families, fourteen of them in Nandurbar, and one each in the villages of Kalde and Pathrai; and thirty souls in Taloda and Kukarmunda.] According to the local legend these Abhirs were originally fishermen. [This story is given by the Prakasha Ranvatas who own to their being also called Abhirs. The Nandurbar Ranvatas neither call themselves Abhirs nor
acknowledged this story. They say that, distressed by a famine, they came from Surat and its neighbourhood about 150 years ago.] One day as Lakshman was
wandering in search of Brahmans to officiate at the Mahayadnyashraddha, which his brother Ram of Ramayan renown meant to perform on the bank of the Tapti, he came across them, and mistaking them for Brahmans, took them to his brother, who, perceiving Lakshman's mistake, invested them with the sacred thread and created them members of the priestly class. Much like other Brahmans in appearance, they speak what is called Ranvati, a dialect apparently based on Marathi with a superstructure of Hindi and Gujarati. They dress like Marathas, though, among the women, the Gujarat mode of dress has not quite died out. [Though they now do so
when going out, fifteen years ago their women wore their robe like a petticoat not passed between the legs like the
Maratha robe. Even now in Prakasha they do not braid their hair like Maratha women, but bind it in Gujrat style.] Except a
few who are traders, writers, or merchants' clerks, they are mostly
family priests of Gujarati, Shrigaud, and Palival Brahmans,
Gujarati Tambats, and Vaishya Sonis. They have no connexion as
priests with Ahir Sonars and Ahir Lobars, and do not even take
alms from their hands. They belong to the Madhyandini recension
of the Yajurveda, and worship all Hindu gods, some paying a special
reverenoe to Kajubai. [See above, p. 51] Two hours before marriage they dress
the bride in a man's turban and coat, seat her on a horse, and pass
her in procession through the village. Though they are priests of
Gujarat Brahmans, they do not, like them, in times of mourning
allow their women to cry out bitterly and beat their breasts.
They have a council, panch, but disputes are settled by a majority
of votes in a meeting of grown men. They teach their boys a little
writing, and give them such knowledge of Sanskrit religious books
as fits them for their priestly profession.
The VIDURS, held degraded
as the offspring of a Brahman mother and a low caste father, were formerly physicians, but are now moneylenders and dealers in cotton and oilseeds. They do not eat with other Brahmans, and their priests are men of their own caste.
Of GUJARAT BRAHMANS, the chief divisions are Audichs, Shrimalis, Khedavals, and Modhs. They are found chiefly as priests and traders in the north of the district, and most of them are believed to be old settlers having come with, or after, the Gujarat Vanis and Kunbis. The different divisions eat together but do not intermarry.
The MARVAD BRAHMANS, found in small numbers in most parts of the district, are of two main divisions, Shevaks or priests of Shravak or Jain Marvad Vanis, and six other divisions, Adigauds, Parikhs, Dayamas, Sikvals, and Khar Khandeles who are priests to Meshri Vanis, beggars, and labourers. The Upper INDIA BRAHMANS, Pokarnas, Sarasvats, and Kanojas, found chiefly in Nandurbar and Shahada and said to be late settlers, are mostly traders and cultivators, and a few beggars.
The SOOTH INDIA BRAHMANS are Telangs and Sagardvipis, all of them beggars and
said to be late arrivals
also called Sagardvipi Brahmans, flailed Sinhaldvipi as coming from' the island of Ceylon, say that they reached India in the second, treta, cycle, when the great Yadav King Raja Shain was the reigning monarch. They come
from Upper India and speak Hindustani. They eat at the hand of the Khandeshi Brahmans, but the latter, though they take water, will not take food from them. Their women wear neither the Maratha half-sleeved bodice covering both back and bosom nor the Gujarat open-backed kanchli, but a short-sleeved jacket, kudta, entirely covering the upper part of the body and fastened by cotton buttons. After childbirth their women are held impure for twenty-two days. From the first to the sixth day after delivery they employ as midwife a Chambhar woman, and from the seventh to the twelfth a Mhar woman. They burn their dead, but children under three are buried. Returning from the burning ground, all the relatives go to the house of the deceased and place a pot filled with water, gangal,on the spot where the dead body lay. Near this pot is placed the axe with which the wood for burning the dead body was felled. When this is done, every one present takes a nim tree branch, dips it into the not, touches the axe with it, and sprinkles water three times over his feet. On the second day a feast is given to the washerman, dhobhi. The man who has performed the funeral ceremonies eats only once for ten days, and the food must either be cooked by himself or by his mother. On the twelfth day a shraddha is performed, and gifts are given to the special class of Brahmans called Mahabrahmans. On the thirteenth day the relations go to the temple of Ganpati, and the person performing the ceremonies is presented with a turban by his near relations. This turban he at once folds and puts on, and a Brahman anoints his forehead, and the brows of the other mourners. On the same day a general feast is given to all relations and caste people. Widows are not allowed to marry. Their heads are not shaved immediately after their husbands' death, as is the case" with Deshi Brahman widows, but when they go to some holy place like Nasik, Trimbak, Benares, or Prayag. They are not allowed to wear the jacket, kudta, nor bangles, nor to mark their foreheads with a red spot. Widows with sons may wear bangles, if they are given her by relations on the thirteenth day after death.
Writers include 1642 Kshatris, 205 Prabhus, and 153 Kayats.
There is no local writer class. The Prabhus, from Thana and Kolaba in the Konkan,are scattered over the district almost all in Government service.
Kshatris or Thakora, from Upper India, with a total
strength of 1642 men, are found in Chalisgaon and Pachora. They
are of seven sub-divisions, Somavanshi, Raghuvanshi, Chandravanshi
Yadavvanshi, Rajkumar, Tilakchandibayas and katbayas. They
do not drink liquor, but eat fish and the flesh of goats and hares.
They are landholders and writers. They wear the sacred thread
but are invested with it only a little before marriage at the
bride's house. After repeating some sacred verses, mantras,five Brahmans take the thread and put it round the bridegroom's neck
according to a ceremony called durgajanva. Their marriage customs
are rather peculiar. They never marry both their sons and their
daughters into the same sub-division. The rule is that the daughter
should, if possible, marry into a higher sub-division, while a son
may marry into a lower one. Thus the Somavanshis marry their
daughters to the Tilakchandbayas, who are superior to them, but their son's to the girls of Rajkumars, who are inferior to them. The unmarried are buried and the married burnt. When breath fails, the body is placed on a blanket with the feet towards the south, and after death, before it is removed, they dig a little earth below the feet and pour some water over the earth. The body is then carried to be burnt or buried. All who join the funeral bring small nim twigs back to the house of mourning. On reaching the house, a pot filled with water and some fire are placed on the spot where the dead breathed his last. The nim twig is dipped into the pot, and after touching the fire with it, each one present sprinkles the water three times over his feet. Mourning is kept for ten days, and on the thirteenth, a complete suit of clothes its given to a Mahabrahman, one of a class of Brahmans who alone can accept such presents.
KAYATS, from Bareilley and Pratapgad in Upper India, with a total strength of 153 souls, are found inBhusavalandChopda.Theyareprofessionalwritersand clerks, and have adopted several Musalman habits. They drink and eat flesh, but are particular not to take food from men of any other caste. [Among them, men alone serve food never women.] The women cover their whole body with loose clothes, and never show their face. They never appear in public and do not speak even with their own elderly male relations. If they chance to walk along a street, they are careful to arrange their dress so that not the slightest part of their body is left open to public view The men wear the sacred thread, but are invested with it a little before marriage, time without the ceremonies which form part of the regular Brahman investiture. They treat the thread with great freedom, taking it off when they wish to get drunk, and putting it on again when they have bathed and are sober. Girls are married between eight and twelve years old. They burn their dead spending much on fuel and clarified butter. When life is nearly gone, the body is washed by near relations and adorned with rich clothes and ornaments. It is carried on a bier to the river side and laid on the sand; and the deceased's son, or, in his absence, the nearest male relation takes an iron stick, with a little fire at one end, and walks seven times round the body, touching it with the fire on the feet, waist, shoulders, ears, and head. He then sits apart, and the rest of the party burn the body. They mourn for ten days, during which the chief mourner, the person who touched the body with fire, eats food cooked by himself only. On the thirteenth day, a man from every relation's house goes to the chief mourner's, and the heads and moustaches of all, except those who have living fathers, are shaven. A dinner, called panchparje, is then given to the five castes of barbers, washermen, potters, tailors, and village guards. This is followed by a dinner to all near male relations. Widow marriage is not allowed. As among Brahmans the heads of some of their widows are regularly shaved. But with most the hair is only once shaved and again allowed to grow. They never wear glass bangles or make the red brow-mark.
Traders and Shopkeepers include eightclasses: Vanis 29,094, Bhatias 1798, Tambolis 1509, Gandhis 349, Lavanas 30, Halvais 263, Bhadbhunjas 205, and Kalals 897, or a total strength of 34,145 souls or 3.57 per cent of the whole Hindu population. Of Vanis there are four main divisions, Khandesh, Gujarat, Marvad, and Lingayat. Khandesh Vanis have six chief sub-divisions, Ladsakkas, Humbads, Nevas, Kathars, Valanjus or Kunkaris, and Chitodis; Gujarat Vanis have nine sub-divisions, Porvads, Modhs, Lads, Desavals, Jharolas, Vayadas, Nagars, Khadayatas, and Shrimalis; Marvad Vanis have five sub-divisions, Agarvals, Osvals, Meshris, Thakurs, and Khandavals; and Lingayats have four sub-divisions, Panchams, Dixivants, Chilivants, and Melvants.
Vanis are widely distributed, the Khandesh, Lingayat, and Marvad Vanis in almost all parts, and the Gujarat Vanis in Nandurbar, Shirpur, Shahada, and Chopda. Of the history of the different divisions few details have been obtained. Traces in their home language, and some peculiarities in their dress, point to a Gujarat origin for the Ladsakkas and most other Khandesh sub-divisions. At the same time they must have been long settled in Khandesh, as their manners and appearance differ very slightly from other long settled high caste Hindus. The Gujaratis probably came later, as in their homes they keep to their own language. The date of their settlement is not known, but some at least of them came to Khandesh before the Moghal conquest (1600). [The Desai family of Nandurbar has title deeds from Akbar and Aurangzeb.] Lingayats were probably later immigrants, as they shew their Kanarese origin by the use of the word Apa as a term of respect, by singing Kanarese hymns to their gods, and some of them by speaking Kanarese. The bulk of the Marvad Vanis are still later comers. Almost all have settled since the establishment of British rule, and a few have still their homes in Marvad.
Except that the Gujaratis are fairer and the Marvadis larger and more vigorous, Vanis do not differ much from Brahmans in appearance. The Lingayats speak Marathi at home, and some of them know Kanarese. With this exception, even in the Ladsakke and other Khandesh sub-divisions, the home tongue of most Vanis is a corrupt Marathi or Marvadi. Almost all live in well built brick houses with tiled roofs. Millet and wheat, and rice for such as can afford it, are their staple articles of food. All classes of Vanis are vegetarians.
Lingayats and Khandesh Vanis dress in Maratha fashion. Among the Ladsakkas and the Gujaratis, the Maratha mode of dress is daily growing commoner. Among Gujarat Vanis, men are gradually taking to the Marathi round turban and long loose coat, and their women have mostly adopted the long Marathi robe, and the bodice covering the back and upper arms and fastened by a knot below the bosom. As regards ornaments, the men have given up the silver waistband, kandora, and the women, except in Parola and Dharangaon, have taken to wearing Maratha head
ear and nose jewels. Marvad women wear the long full Marvad petticoat and scrimp upper robe, and some of the men have begun to use a head-dress, in shape much like a Maratha Brahman's.
As a class they are thrifty and hardworking, but except the vigorous Marvadis, and a few Gujarat Vanis and Bhatias, they are wanting in enterprise, and have failed to adapt themselves to the new style of business introduced by railways and telegraphs. Of the whole Vani population, it is estimated that about one third are grocers and the rest moneylenders and grain and cloth dealers. Among Khandesh Vanis are Shaivs, Vaishnavs, and Shravaks; Gujarat Vanis, except a few Shravaks, are Vallabhachari Vaishnavs; Marvad Vanis are, in about equal numbers, Shravaks and Vaishnavs; and Lingayats belong to the special form of Shaivism founded by Basava in 1150. None of them allow widow marriage.
Of KHANDESH VANIS, Ladsakkas, said to number about one thousand houses chiefly in the central and southern sub-divisions of Dhulia, Amalner, Virdel, Erandol, Pachora, Jalgaon, Chalisgaon, and Pimpalner, are old settlers in Khandesh, who, from their name, their language, and their customs, would seem to have come from southern Gujarat or Lata Desh. [Lata, or Lar, Desh is believed to be Ptolemy's (150) Larike which includes Broach, Ujain and Nasik(Bertius 'Ptolemy, 203. Compare Lassen, Indische
Alterthumskunde, L 108, III. 170; Beinaud's Memoir Sur l'Inde, 200; D'Ahville's Ane. Geog. II. 546; Yule's Marco Polo, II. 203; Elliot's History, I. 378). Ariake mentioned in the Peri-plus (247) is supposed to be Larike; but the change
is doubtful (McCrindle, 113. In the sixth century (585) the Chalukya, Pulikesi II., is said to have conquered the Latas, Malavs, and Gujars. (Ind. Ant. V. 72, VIII. 244). In the Brihatsamhita of Varahamihira, Lata ia mentioned as conquered along with Malava, Brihatsamhita, Surashtratra, and Sindhu; and in the Bomaka Siddhanta, it is named along with Suashtra and Konkan (Prof. B. G. Bhandarkar, 17th September 1880). Hivan Thsang's (840) Atali has been identified as Lata; but this is doubtful (Reinaud's Memoir, 200). In the ninth century (800) the
Rathod ruler Govind III. passed from the Deccan acrose the Tapti and invaded Lata (Ind. Ant. VI. 63). In the ninth century (851) Suliman, the Arab traveller, aames Laravi as the sea along the shores of south-Gujarat and the north Konkan (Beinaud's Memoir Sur l'Inde, 200; Elliot's History,
I 328). Early in the tenth century (915) Mas'udi extends the name Laravi to the whole Arabian Sea, and notices that the language of the, Konkan coast was called Lari (Prairies d'Or,
I 330, 332, 380; Elliot, I. 24, 378). A few yean later, Ibn Haukal (940) speaks of the Konkan coast as Lattian (Ouseley's Oriental Geography, 12).. At the end of the tenth century (997), Mul Raj is said to have crossed the Narbads from the north and conquered Lata, a land of dingy thick-waisted women (Ras Mala 61,Ind. Ant. IV. 111). In the eleventh century its capitals were Broach and
Randar near Surat. (Al Biruni (1030) in Reinaud's Fragments, 121; and Elliot, L 61,66). In the twelfth century Kumar Pal of Anhilvada is said to have driven the Lar tribe from his kingdom. (Tod's
Western India, 187). And in the thirteenth century, 41M lords of Godhra and Lata are mentioned as owing allegiance to the chief
of Dholka (Ind. Ant VL 16,190). The only known relics of the name Lata are in lad a sub-division of Gujarat Vanis found chiefly in Broach and surat; in Lad shrimalis a Marvad tribe of Vanias (Tod'a Western. India, 187); and in Lad a leading division of khandesh Vanjaris and Koshtis. CoL Tod (Western India, 188; Trans. Roy. As. See. I 209) would trace the name in the Silars, as if Shri Lar or the leading Lara, who ruled in the Konkan during the tenth and eleventh centuries, (see Ind. Ant, IX. 38] Besides in Khandesh, Ladsakkas are found west in Baglan, south-west in Malegaon, and south-east in the Nizam's dominions. They have seven family stocks and 108 surnames, though in ordinary use the word shet, or mister, takes the place of a surname. They can speak Marathi, but their home tongue has a strong Gujarati element. They do not eat animal food or
drink wine. They dress in Maratha fashion, both men and women wearing strong coarse cloth and spending very little on their clothes. Busy and hardworking, in their efforts to make money they spare no pains and deny themselves almost all pleasures. They are very ready to travel and most careful and prudent in their way of doing business. At the same time their underhand and heartless dealings have earned them the name of Devil's children, bhutachipraja. Most of them are town and village shopkeepers and moneylenders, and a few are husbandmen. They teach their boys some reading, writing, and arithmetic, and are on the whole well-to-do. Most of their customs are the same as those of Gujarat Vanis. Betrothal proposals begin one or two years before marriage. For the formal ceremony of asking, magni, on a lucky day, about fifty of the bridegroom's relations and friends meet at the bride's, present her with silk clothes and ornaments, perform some religious ceremonies, and end the day with a feast. Early marriages are the rule, for girls between five and ten, and for boys between fifteen and twenty-five. On the day fixed for the marriage, from fifty to one hundred friends and relations, with their women, children, and servants, are asked. Players, vajantris, musketeers, bandukvalas, and, if means permit, dancing girls, are brought, and fireworks are let off. The marriage ceremony generally takes place at sunset. The bridegroom is dressed in the usual long coat, angarkha, and turban, and the bride in a rich silk cloth, pitambar. The bride-giving kanyadan, ceremony does not differ from that in use among Brahmans. After it is over, Lakshmi is worshipped, the regular ceremonies are performed, and after the sej or rice-pouring ceremony, in which the family deity is entirely covered with rice, the day ends with a feast where leaf plates and cups are supplied by the priest. They burn their dead, shrouding their women in one of their two silk marriage cloths, pitambars. On their funeral rites little is spent. The widow's head is shaved and re-marriage forbidden. In religion they are Vaishnavs. Their family deity is Vyankatesh, whose chief place of worship is Vyankoji's hill near the Tirupati railway station, eighty-four miles north-west of Madras. They also keep in their houses the images of Khanderao and worship other gods. They fast on the elevenths of every Hindu month, the days sacred to Shiv, and generally on all Fridays. Their holy books are translations of such Puranic writings as Haripath, Shivlilamrita, and Rukmini Svayamvar. The community was formerly controlled by five headmen called Shetias. Now their headship is gone, and no respect is shown to their privileges; questions of social discipline are settled by a meeting of from fifty to a hundred castemen.
CHITODIS, apparently from Chitod near Bhopal, found in Nasirabad and Jalgaon, are, even among Vanis, so noted for greed that Chitod-minded, chitodmati, is a common term for a miser. They are all Shravaks. HUMBADS, found in Jamner, Chopda, Parola, Dhulia, Amalner, and Nasirabad, are petty traders and grocers, They do not eat with Chitodis and Ladsakkas, but these latter have an equal objection to eat with them. They are Jains in religion and worship Parasnath. Of the remaining sub-divisions, the NEVAS of Savda, Nasirabad, and Yaval, numbering in all
about 500 souls, the LADS of Savda, numbering about 500 souls,
the KATHARS of Savda, Yaval, and Nasirabad, numbering 400 souls,
and the VALANJU KUNKARI or SHETHE VANIS of Dhulia, Amalner,
Chopda, and Chalisgaon, numbering about 500 souls, are reckoned
among Vaishyas and speak both Gujarati and Marathi. Except a
few moneylenders and husbandmen, all are petty shopkeepers,
dealing chiefly in grocery. Both men and women dress in Gujarat
fashion. In religion all are Shravaks. At their marriages, as is
the custom among some Gujarat Vanis, the bride and bridegroom's
parties cover each other with abuse. Besides these sub-divisions,
among Khandesh Vanis are Palivals, Dhakads, Khaldars, and
Khedas, of whom, except that the first two are Shraraks, no details
have been obtained.
GUJARAT VANIS, with nine sub-divisions,
Porvads, Modhs, Lads, Desavals, Jharolas, Vayadas, Nagars,
Khadayatas, and Shrimalis, each with the two branches of Dasa
and Visa, are found in Shahada, Shirpur, and Chopda, but chiefly
in the town and sub-division of Nandurbar. Some of them
were settled in Nandurbar before the Moghal conquest (1600), and
others are said to have come in the troubled times of the eighteenth
century, because the Pendharis' god had a shrine in Nandurbar, and
they never pillaged the town. They are fairer than other Khandesh
Vanis, and shave the beard and head like Brahmans. Almost
all speak Marathi abroad and Gujarati at home, much mixed
with Marathi words and idioms and marked by a peculiarly Marathi
twang. They live in brick-built two-storied houses, and are clean,
peaceful, and hardworking, less exacting and more popular
than Marvadis, but wanting in vidour and enterprise. As a rule
they never take their food till after midday, and their dinner
parties are always held at night. They are strict vegetarians,
and, among vegetables, do not eat carrots, onions, or garlic. They
are all traders, grocers, moneylenders, grain and cloth dealers,
sellers of clarified butter, oil, and other miscellaneous articles.
Except Porvads and Shrimalis who are Shravaks [The Shravak vanis are said to have first settled at the village of Gandhli six miles north-east of Amalner. See below, " Places of Interest".] in religion, they
are Vaishnavs of the Vallabhacharya sect. They keep up their
marriage connection with Gujarat, and large numbers of them visit
the sacred shrines of Ranchhod in Dakor and Krishna in Dvarka.
A committee formed of some leading caste members settles caste
disputes, and has lost none of its former authority. Though
still well-to-do, they are said to be less prosperous than they were
thirty years ago. The change in the course of Khandesh trade,
from the Tapti valley to the present railway line through the south
of the district, has greatly reduced the importance of Nandurbar as a
trade centre, and their want of enterprise has prevented the Gujarat
Vanis of west Khandesh from sharing in the new trade of the district.
MARVAD VANIS of five chief sub-divisions, Agarval, Meshri, Thakur, Khandeval, and Osval, have come into Khandesh from Marvad, Jepur, Jodhpur, and Udepur by Burhanpur, Sirpur, Dhadi, Bari, Nimad, and Malwa, almost all since the establishment of British
rule. They are distributed all over the district, and there is almost no village that has not a Marvadi's shop. Their features are more strongly marked, and they are sturdier and more active than other Vanis, The men usually wear, a lock of hair curling over each cheek. Some of them wear the beard, but most have lately taken to shave the whole face except the moustache. Among new comers, their home tongue is Marvadi, but most speak a mixed Hindustani and Gujarati. Most of the men can read and write, learning a little at school or at home from their fathers or their clerks. As a rule they are moneylenders, with a bad name for hardness and unfairness in their dealings. [A common phrase illustrates their sharp practices, paishnoghi,naghino
paisho,i.e.ghi of one pice and one nice of ghi, or two charges on everything one buys.] Besides lending money, they deal in grain, pulse, condiments, oil, and butter. Their houses are always clean and well kept, and the walls painted in bright fantastic colours. In villages, the Marvadi's is generally the best built house, and in towns some have handsome three or four-storied dwellings with richly carved and gaily painted fronts. They take much less care of their persons than of their houses. Their women, except on great occasions, are slovenly, and the men are by no means careful to keep the rules about bathing. Their food consists of rice, wheat, pulse, Indian millet, butter, oil, and sugar, a small quantity of which is usually kept for the children. Tea is not an usual drink. In their dress the men seem inclined to change their own small close-fitting head-dress for something in shape and appearance more like the Maratha Brahman turban. They generally wear their coat-cuffs well turned back to show the bright, lining of the sleeves. Most men wear a silver toe-ring. The women's dress is an open-backed bodice, a petticoat, and a robe, odni, drawn upwards from the band of the petticoat, and falling like a veil over the head and face. Above the elbow and on the wrists they wear gold jewels, but their chief ornaments are bone bracelets, In religion they are, in about equal numbers, Vaishnavs and Shravaks. The vaishnavs keep sacred Chaitrashuddh ninth, or Ramnavmi (March-April) and the elevenths of every month, ekadashis, and worship Giri and Shri Balaji the god of gain, in whose name every vaishnav Marvadi opens a separate account, and goes to his fairs at Giri Dealgam and Pandharpur. Shravak or Jain Marvadis worship the naked Parasnath, the twenty-third Jain saint, and fast on the fifth, eighth, and fourteenth days of every new and full moon. Their priests, called jatis, are held in high respect. The different sub-divisions eat with one another but do not intermarry. Except Osvals, all take food prepared by Brahmans. Their marriage ceremonies are performed by Gaud Brahmans. From one to three weeks before a marriage, nightly processions, called bindoris, take place, the bride and bridegroom moving about the village by different streets. [The bindori procession differs from the vardi in' taking place before, instead of, after the marriage.] The dead are burnt except unweaned children who are buried. Except among Osvals, the chief mourner shaves his beard and moustaches. Khandesh Marvadis are not careful to provide for the destitute of
their caste; a Marvadi beggar is by no means an uncommon sight. A few rich men have built temples and opened alms-houses, where grain, flour, and money are given to the destitute, water to travellers, and grass to cattle. Best-houses, dharmshalas, and temples have also been built. Most Khandesh Marvadis have settled in the district, visiting their native country from time to time to see their relations, to look after their estates, to perform religious rites, and to marry. As a class they are well-to-do. AGARWALS, old settlers in Khandesh, claim to be of higher caste than other Marvadis. They affect Brahman customs, have a large turban and white clothes, and their women never wear bone bracelets. This claim of higher caste seems to have no foundation. Other Marvadis deny it and new Agarval Bottlers differ in no way from the usual Marvadi immigrants. They are the chief merchants of Chopda, Jalgaon, Dharangaon, Dhulia, and Raver. Prospering as moneylenders and general merohants, some of them are becoming landholders, but they do not attend much to agriculture. Another class usually called Jat Marvadis, apparently Jats not Vanis by race, with a total strength of 220 souls, are found in Chalisgaon, Bhusaval, and Taloda. They come from Bharatpur in Marvad, and eat flesh and drink liquor. They worship all Hindu gods, but their chief deity is Keva Devi in the village of Kinishia in Jodhpur. Cultivators by profession, they dine but do not marry with Khandesh Marvadis. At their marriage, when the bridegroom goes to the bride's house, he finds, at the door of the marriage booth, a board with a row of seven or sometimes nine wooden sparrows, the middle one being the biggest and highest. Before entering, the bridegroom must aim at the middle sparrow and touch it with the end of his sword. They allow a woman to marry a second husband during the lifetime of the first. On such occasions the caste-people are called, and if the husband agrees to divorce his wife, he is asked to out off the end of his turban and give it to the assembled castemen. Slight breaches of caste rules are forgiven, but eating cow's flesh or dining with low caste people is never condoned.
The LINGAYAT or South India Vanis, found in Dhulia, Amalner, Jalgaon, Jamner, and Bhusaval, and here and there in the west of the district, have a total strength of 500 souls. They have four subdivisions and about fifteen minor branches. The four sub-divisions, Panchams, Dixivants, Chilivants, and Melvants dine together, but the three first do not marry with the Melvants. Except a few who have taken to cultivation, almost all are shopkeepers and traders. They are mild and hardworking, and in money matters as sharp as Marvadis. They speak Marathi as well as Kanarese. They live on millet bread and pulse, and touch neither flesh nor liquor. They all profess the special form of Shaivism founded by Basava in 1150, and never part with a small ling, which both men and women carry in an oblong silver shrine hung round the neck or bound round the right arm near the shoulder, or, among the poor, tied in the turban. They fast on all days sacred to Shiv The shrine of their deified founder, Basaveshvar Nandi, at Kalburga or Gulburga in the Nizam's dominions, is to them as holy as Benares. Some of them have lately
begun to worship Khanderao. All their religious ceremonies are performed by a class of priests called Jangams, who, each with its high priest, form four separate bodies, one for each of the main sub-divisions. The sect-mark, an horizontal streak of white ashes, is worn both by men and women, the women thinking the ashes luckier than saffron. Early marriages are the rule, but there is no objection to a girl remaining unmarried up to womanhood. They bury their dead. Before the body is taken from the house, a caste dinner of buns and khir, a preparation of boiled milk, rice and sugar, is given, and. alms are distributed among the Jangams. The body is then washed, smeared with ashes, dressed in a loincloth, kaupin, seated on a wooden box covered with flower garlands, and with music carried to the burial ground. Though, for two or three days, the relations of the dead are considered impure, no mourning is observed, and no beating of breasts is allowed. From the idea that nothing can defile the true worshipper and wearer of the ling, they do not observe the ordinary Hindu practice about ceremonial impurity. The Chilivants and Melvants are careful to cook in the dark, and very strongly object to be seen by strangers when cooking or eating. Though some of them are rich, as a class they are not very well-to-do.
BHATIAS, found chiefly in Dhulia, Dharangaon, Erandol, and
Jalgaon, trade in cotton and linseed, some of them being agents
for Bombay merchants.
TAMBOLIS, mostly Muhammadans found in Shirsoli, Yaval, Betavad, Dhulia, and Jalgaon, but very rarely in the west of the district, are a poor class dealing in betel leaves. The Hindu Tamboli, locally known as Bari, is both the grower and, in some cases, the retail seller of betel leaves, though generally the retail trade is carried on by Musalman Tambolis.
GANDHIS, found chiefly at Dhulia, Raver, and Parola, are said to have come from Burhanpur. They deal in perfumes and essences,
attars, and travel to the larger local fairs.
LAVANAS, found chiefly in the east of the district, come from Burhanpur, and deal in thread for making turbans and in miscellaneous goods. They fetch the raw thread from Bombay, cut it into suitable lengths, and twist it. As a class they are rather badly off. HALVAIS are sweetmeat-sellers ; the poor among them are labourers. BHADBHUNJAS, found in Dhulia and some large towns, grind, roast or parch grain and prepare it for sale. KALALS are liquor-sellers, and the poorer of them labourers.
Husbandmen include eight classes with a strength of 390,615 souls or 41.13 per cent of the whole Hindu population.
Of these 344,592 were Kunbis; 41,776 Malis; 1580 Hatkars;
1006 Alkaris; 806 Bunkars; 547 Bharadis; 64 Babars; and 244 Lodhis.
KUNBIS, who form the bulk of the Khandesh population,
belong to two main divisions, local and Gujar Kunbis. Gujar Kunbis include eight classes, Revas properly Levas, Dores, Dales, Garis, Kadvas, Analas, Londaris, and Khapras. There are a few families of Dales on the banks of the Tapti in Shahada and Taloda and in Raver towards Burhanpur, The Deshmukhs of Jamner are said to be Gari Gujars, but they claim equality with and
call themselves Reve Gujars. The Kadvas, Analas, and Dales [The Dale Gujars are said to be so called from preparing pulse, dal. Mr. J. Pollen, C. S.] are found only in small numbers. The Londaris, also known as Bad Gujars, are said to have acquired the name Londaris from their being exclusively employed in ginning cotton. The Khapras are a mixed or inferior class.
The most important of Khandesh Gujar cultivators are the Reves and Dores. REVE GUJARS are found in Dhulia, Amalner, Savda, Raver, and Shahada [They are said to be the same as the Reves or Levas of the Charotar between Ahmedabad and Baroda. The following is a list of the Khandesh towns and villages where Reves are found: Ainpur, Changdev, Waghod, Tandalvadi, Kerale, Loni, Dapor, Nochankheda, Shahapur, Patondi, Dasnur, Singur, Nimbol, Pimpri, Mangalvadi, Itner, Anturle, Khedi, Khilde, Balvadi, Kumbharkheda, Jamner, Palaskheda, Pimpalgaon, Erandol, Utran, Parthadi, Duskheda, Mansod, Akulkheda, and Gorgavla. Mr. J. Pollen,
C.S.]; and DORES, a far larger class, in Chopda, Erandol, Nasirabad, and throughout the west. According to their hereditary chroniclers, the Reve Gujars trace their origin from Lahu Raja and his four sons, Amrigant, Jamadigant, Mehedigant, and Suradigant, and say that they came from Ranthambhor in Hindustan. From this place they were driven to Junagad in Kathiawar, and from there to Ahmedabad where they settled for five generations. From Ahmedabad they were driven to Pavagad and Champaner, where they founded a mighty city with thirty-six suburbs. From this stronghold they were dislodged by Chhapi Raja, and spread up the Narbada valley into Nilgad where one Vibharsi Bhilaro or Vibharsi Tadvi ruled. From Nilgad they spread east to Nimar, and peopled thirty-two territorial sub-divisions round Kargund. From Kargund, with a vanguard of 2000 carts, they entered Khandesh, some of them across the hills by Thalner, and others down the Tapti valley by Asirgad. This immigration is said to have happened in the eleventh century, and that it was not much later than this, is shown by the transfer in 1219 of the office of Jamner deshmukh from a Gavli to a Reve Gujar. [Mr. J. Pollen, C.S.] The Reve Gujars have eleven family stocks, gotras, and 360 families, kuls. Of the families only thirty-six are represented in Khandesh. [These are: Ambya, Anjnya, Bhardya, Bhatanya, Bobda, Chachrya, Chaudhrya, Chavrasha, Chhalotra, Gahindar, Kanhav, Kanhya, Kaniya, Kashyap, Katarya, Loharya, Maloya, Mokati, Muchhala, Muchhaldev, Patlya, Pirjaldya, Pipalnerya, Punashya, Ratdya, Samosrya, Sarvaria, Shaha, Shindghavnya Sirsat, Suryavansha, Unhalya, Vaigandya, and Vishnu.] The gotras are Ambik, Atri, Bharadvaj, Gargya, Gautam, Jamdagnya, Kashyap, Kaushik, Kaushalya, Prayag, and Vashishtha. The Reves consider themselves a very superior caste, abstaining from strong drink and flesh, and eating only from the hands of a Brahman or one of their own caste. They worship twenty-three goddesses of whom the chief is the Jvalamukhi or fire-faced. [The other goddesses are: Akhra, Amaj, Bholeshvar, Chavand, Dhiraj, Haleshvar, Hasla, Hinglaj, Jogeshvari, Kokhrai, Kaleshvar, Khemaj, Khodeshvar, Malhar, Nimaj, Ratnai, Revai, Samlai, Subhadra, Salaj, Visyachal, and Valaj.] They observe three great religious ceremonies. The first is held on the eighth of Chaitra (March-April) when seven rows of grain cakes, twenty-five cakes in each row, are laid before their goddess and
the last year's cocoanut is taken away and a new one put in its place. The second rite is on the fifteenth of Shravan (July-August), when grain, pulse, and rice are cooked together and offered to the goddess. The third is held on the fifteenth of Magh (January -February), and in addition to the worship of the goddess, includes a ceremony known as rohan. In this ceremony the younger members of each family, carrying two cocoanuts a-piece, meet at the house of their head. These cocoanuts are duly worshipped at the headman's house, and after dinner are carried to their different houses.
The following are the chief details of the Reve Kunbi marriage ceremonies. Preparations begin on both sides on a day fixed by the village astrologer. The five essential marriage formalities are, in order of time, (1) the anointing with turmeric, halad; (2) boundary worship, simantpujan, commonly called simanti; (3) the joining of hands, hatol, the knot, ganth, and the worship of the sacred fire, chavribhavri; (4) the meeting of the bride with her mother-in-law who comes with gifts, sunmukh; and (5) the basket offering to Brahmans, jhal, with presents of apparel, aher, to village servants. Bach of these ceremonies is followed by a feast, two of them being given by the bride's father. Those, following the third and the fifth ceremonies are grand general feasts. Marriage, as opposed to betrothal, magni, begins by a meeting of kindred and friends at the bride's and at the bridegroom's house in honour of the turmeric rubbing.[The bride is first rubbed, and what remains, ushtihalad is sent for the bridegroom] Five matrons, who have already drawn lines of white powder, rangoli, round the space in front of the wooden stool on which the bridegroom is seated, surround it and are followed by the Brahman who steps in front of the stool and starts what is known as the pot worship, kalashpuja. It begins by the priest placing a copper pot, kalash, full of water, within the space marked off with white powder in front of the stool. In the mouth of this pot he places a piece of cocoanut and five betel leaves in a fan-like shape. Into the water he drops a betelnut and a copper pice, and on the ground in front of the wooden stool, he lays a betelnut as a representation of Ganpati. He then repeats sacred verses, mantras, in praise of Ganpati and prays him to be kindly. Then, at his request, the five matrons coming forward with open dishes full of turmeric, rice, and red powder, rub the bridegroom with turmeric, daub his forehead with red powder, and stick rice on it. The rubbing goes on amidst continuous uproar, the women laughing, the bridegroom struggling, and every one
joining in the fun. After the rubbing is over the Brahman leads the bridegroom to the family goddess, kuldevi, worships her and accepts alms. In the same way a similar turmeric-rubbing ceremony is performed on the bride at her own house. The whole does not cost more than from 3d. to 6d. (2-4 annas). Then, with the bridegroom, the assembled guests and kindred in a
long line of bullock carts, with gaily-clad bell-jangling bullocks, set out for the bride's village accompanied by the family priest and hired musicians. When the
party reaches the village boundary, or more usually the temple of
Maruti, just outside the village, they stop and all get out to perform
the simanti ceremony.
Here they are met by a party from the bride's
house, and trays full of robes and ornaments [The details are: a shawl costing from Rs. 2 to Rs. 10 (poor people who cannot afford to buy a shawl borrow one and return it afterwards); a turban from Rs. 2 to Rs. 10; a waistcloth from Re. 1 to Rs. 5; a ring from annas 4 to Re. 1; an armlet from anna 1 to annas 5; robe, jama, from Rs. 2 to Rs. 4; and alms to Brahmans 4 annas.] are produced. The
bridegroom is then seated on a wooden stool, and the priest arranging
the pot, kalash, and Ganpati, as above, repeats sacred verses, mantras.After this the bride's father advances and puts the robes on the
bridegroom, a ring on his finger, and an anklet round his right foot.
On the empty tray the bridegroom's father places a piece of cloth as
a present for the bride's eldest female relation. Gifts are then made
to the Brahman, and, among Pajna Kunbis, a piece of cocoanut,
covered with golden leaf paper known as begad, is placed in the
bridegroom's right hand. Among Tilola Kunbis, Dore Kunbis,
and others of Rajput descent, the dagger-knife, katyar, is given
instead of the cocoanut. The bridegroom then rises holding the
cocoanut or dagger, and the company, headed by the musicians,
forms a procession. The bridegroom, surrounded by his friends on
foot, usually rides on horseback. In this way they reach the booth, mandav, in front of the bride's house. Here the procession breaks
up, the bridegroom sitting in the shed a little apart, while the
women of the party rush into the house and exchange salutations.
The marriage proper, with the joining of hands, the knot, and the worship of sacred fire, begins at even time. The bridegroom is led to a place decked with plantain and mango leaves, and seated on a stool on a slightly raised square mound, bahule, of sand kept together by a facing of mud or unburnt brick. The bride is brought out and seated on another stool opposite the bridegroom, and, between them, female friends stretch a cloth curtain, antarpat. Then the officiating Brahman from the roof of the house or from a high tree, watches the sunset muttering sacred verses. When the sun has half sunk, he cries in a loud voice 'Be careful', savdhan, and claps his hands, a signal known as the tali. On this the curtain, antarpat, is dropped, and, by the bride's uncle or other near male relation, the bridegroom's hand is clasped over the hands of the bride. The Brahman, then, coming close to the stool, places his hands over the bride's and bridegroom's joined hands, and mutters verses. Then a stone slab, pata or chavri, on which spices are usually rolled, is placed hear the stool. Upon this the priest arranges a handful of rice, a handful of magenta powder kunku, red powder gulal, a fragrant unguent ground with turmeric chiksa, nine betelnuts, nine dates, nine pieces of cocoanut, and a handful of turmeric. Close beside these he arranges the pot, kalash, and sets up the betelnut that represents Ganpati. He then worships Ganpati, and the father of the bride, taking a little water, pours it over the clasped hands of the bride and bridegroom, and thus completes the daughter-giving, kanyadan, ceremony. The bridegroom then lets the bride's hands go, hatvalisutne, and the Brahman promptly knots the bridegroom's
waistcloth, dhotar, or trouser cloth, to the bride's gown, lugde, and lights the sacred fire,
from, piling a few cotton stalks or-some sacred wood, such as Butea frondosa, palas, and throwing on a little clarified butter and sesamum. The pair then rise, and, without untying their robes, walk five times round the fire, from right to left, performing the ceremony called chavribhavri. They are then taken into the house to worship the family gods. On their return they are once more seated on the wooden stools, and a dish, containing rice and other food, is served by two young married women on an iron tray. Out of this the bride and bridegroom eat together, and a grand dinner, costing from 2s. to £5 (Re. 1-Rs. 50), is given to relations and friends. After dinner the grand marriage procession is formed, the bridegroom wearing the tinsel crown, basing, costing from 6d. to 4s. (annas 4-Rs. 2), and generally riding on a horse, or in a cart with the bride. Torches, fireworks, and music, costing from 6d. to £2 (annas 4-Rs. 20), accompany the procession, the women walking on cloth spread on the ground, usually by the village washerman. After this the bridegroom returns to his own house or lodging.
The day after the grand marriage ceremony, the mother of the bridegroom, who has not been present on any former occasion, conies to see the bride. This is called the face inspection, sunmukh, and costs from 2s. to £5 (Re. 1-Rs. 50). She brings with her several bamboo baskets containing sesamum balls, gram pulse balls, betelnuts, cocoa kernels, dates, robes, pieces of cloth, ornaments, chiefly the nosering nath, the marriage necklet with beads of gold strung on it in two or four rows mangalsutra. [Wives always wear this ornament during their husbands' lifetime.] an armlet hade, a necklace galsari, a comb, and a glass bead necklace pot, together with sweetmeats and fruit of various kinds. The bride and bridegroom are seated on stools to receive these presents, and the, baskets are ranged before them. The family priest then worships the pot, kalash, and Ganpati, while the bridegroom's mother, coming forward, decks the bride with clothes and ornaments, and, dipping her finger in molasses or sugar, puts it into the bride's mouth. A dinner is then given, and gifts, aher, of turbans to the male, and robes to the female relations usually follow.
On the last day of the marriage festivities a broad bamboo basket, jhal, is brought' forward. It contains a piece of cloth, nine dates, nine cocoa kernels, nine lumps of turmeric, a handful of rice, and nine wheaten saucer-shaped flour lamps. The bride and bridegroom are tied together as before, and sit on the stools beside the broad basket, jhal. The priest worships as before, and, at a given signal, the pair rising walk round the basket, jhal, five times from, right to left. The basket with its contents is given to the Brahman, and presents, aher, are made to the musicians, Mhars, Kolis, and other village servants. A procession of guests and friends, varat, then forms, and all set out for their homes. Besides these essential ceremonies there is much play and merriment, with various struggles for supremacy between the bride and bridegroom, who pelt
each other with turmeric, bite betelnut leaves out of each other's mouths, and pull a betelnut from each other's hands. The total cost of marriage for the poorest of the Kunbi class varies from £1 to £2 (Rs. 10-Rs. 20); for the middle class from £10 to £20 (Rs. 100-Rs. 200); and for the well-to-do from £50 to £200 (Rs. 500- Rs. 2000). Among Khandesh Kunbis marriage expenses seldom exceed £200 (Rs. 2000). At these ceremonies the gold and silver images of the family goddess are carried to the house where the wedding is held, and when the wedding is over, they are with great pomp carried back to the house of the head of the family. The head of the Reves in Khandesh is the Reve Gujar Patil at Ainpur in River. He belongs to the Chhalotra family of the Vashisht clan, and settles all caste disputes.
DORE GUJARS, who number forty-one families. [The forty-one families, kuls, are: Pavars of Dhargadh, Chohans of Nagelgadh, Simal of Dodgadh, Ghelot of Ahirgadh, Kaba of Dhondgadh, Khavi of Modgadh, Solanki of Rohadgadh, Chauthan of Kampegadh, Mori of Chitodgadh, Nikumbh of Modgadh, Toka of Asirgadh, Gohel of Khedgadh, Chavda of patangadh, Jhala of Patargadh, Dodiye of Jaitpur, Vaghela of Budhelagadh, Huna of Akhilgadh, Survate of Bubbati, Gujaric of Palegadh, Padhikar of Sodhagadh, Nimbol of Jhatangadh, Devare of Taragadh. Bhagesa of Ramgadh, Kagva of Kalpigadh, Wanhol of Dhauhaligadh, Dode of Krishnagadh, Tovar of Delhi, Khapre of Gajyaiwadh, Khichi of Analvadgadh, Jadav of Junagadh, Makvane of Makdaigadh, Barod of Bahmangadh, Dabhi of Kapadvagadh, Harihar of Hormajgadh, Gaud of Ajmir, Javkhedye of Shvetbandha, Sakhele of Ranjea, Bhatele of Jotpur, Suryavanshi of Sarvargadh,
Borsi or Borad of Borigadh, and Kalumba of Rumigadh. Mr. J. Pollen, C. S,] are said originally to have been Dor Rajputs. [Dor Rajputs have disappeared from Rajputana where they were once famous and included in the thirty-six royal races. (Tod's Rajasthan, I. 105). They are still found in small numbers in the North-West Provinces. (Elliot's Raoes, I. 87).] The Deshmukhs of Chopda are one of the chief Dore Gujar families in Khandesh. They claim to belong to the Pavar ['The name Pavar is supposed to be the same as the better known Parmar. Elliot's Bases, I. 20, note. Trans. Roy, As. Soo. I. 207] family of the Kashyaprishi clan and worship the goddess Dormata. From Darbgad (?) they are said to have spread to Abu, thence to Ujain, thence to Ankleshvar in Broach, thence to Mandagad (?), and. thence to Dabhoi fort in Baroda. From Gujarat, apparently about the close of the fifteenth century, soon after the Musalman capture of Pavagad (1484), they retired to Turanmal hill in north-west Khandesh. From Turanmal, six brothers of the family separated and settled, one in Sultanpur, another in Kothli, the third in Dhanur, the fourth in Shirpur, the fifth in Shahada, and the sixth Gomalsing in Mustaphabad, commonly known as Chopda. The fifth in descent from Gomalsing, Trimbakji son of Jevaji, was, by Shah Jehan (1628-1658), appointed Deshmukh of Chopda. The present Deshmukh is fifth in descent from Trimbakji. They eat flesh, drink wine, and take food from the hands of Reve Gujars. They worship a naked swordblade and a goddess, Hemajmata, represented sitting under a sandal, chandan, tree.
KADVE GUJARS, found in Songir, Burhanpur, and Nimar, have the same peculiar custom as Gujarat Kadvas, celebrating marriages only once in twelve years. The shrine of their chief deity, Umiya, is at Oja, about fourteen miles from Visnagar and sixty north of
Ahmedabad. Numerous priests and Kadve representatives attend the shrine about six months before the marriage time to fix the day and hour for the ceremony. On these occasions, so great is the demand for wives, that infants of even one month old are married.
The other main Kunbi division, known simply as Kunbis, has
nine sub-divisions; Pajna, Tilole, Ghatole, Loni, Kumbhare, Marathe, Dakshni, Varadi, Vanjari, and Akarmase. PAJNAS (25,535) are subdivided into four classes: Reva, Thorgavhana, Kandarkar, and Navghari. The first is the main stock, the other three originated in feuds and disputes. All Pajnas eat together, but on account of disputes as to which division is the highest, they do not intermarry. One of the chief Pajna Kunbis is the
Deshmukh of Yaval. He belongs to the Thorgavhanis, who take their name from Thorgavhan in Savda, as the Kandarkars take their's from Kandari on the Tapti in Bhusaval. The Navgharis would seem to be the descendants of nine families or houses who left the main stock and settled in different villages throughout the district. Pajnas are numerous only in Chopda, Nasirabad, and Jamner. Truthful, orderly, and frugal almost to niggardliness, they are the most hardworking, industrious, and simpleminded of the Khandesh agricultural population. Since the great dispute which broke up their caste, they have been remarkable for the apparent absence of jealousies and treacheries which distinguish the Gujar Kunbis. Except among a few rich families the women are allowed to appear in public.
TILOLA Kunbis(76,984), spread all over the district, are most numerous in the Savda
and Jamner sub-divisions. There is a local tradition that, like the
Dore Gujars, the Tilola Kunbis were Rajputs, and formerly had
the honorific sing, attached to their names. They are said to have
come from Upper India and to have belonged to the class of
Dadar Pavars. Much less truthful and orderly, they are not
nearly so careful or hardworking as the Pajnas, with whom they
eat but do not intermarry. The chief Tilola families are those
of the Deshmukhs of Amalner and Varangaon, and of the Patil of Hartala.
GHATOLAS, said to have come from above the Ghats,
that is from the south side of the Ajanta range, are numerous in Bhusaval, Jamner, Pachora, Chalisgaon, and Nasirabad, and a few are found in Chopda, Erandol, and Dhulia. They eat but do not marry with the Tilola Kunbis.
LONIS (121) regarded as an aboriginal tribe, dwell chiefly on the banks of the Girna and in small villaged on the Tapti. They are found also in Malegaon, Jalgaon, Raipur Pachora, Malkapur, and Nandurbar. They are a very poor tribes eating with Tilolas, Pajnas, Gujars, and Vanis, but never marrying except among themselves.
KUMBHARES, by no means a numeroustribe, are found in the village of Bholana in Nasirabad and in parts of Chopda. Like the Lonis they are very poor.
MARATHAS (49,719), said to have originally come from Nasik, Poona, Satara, and Ahmednagar during the reign of the last Peshwa (1796-1817), are of two classes, Khasas and Karchis, who do not intermarry. The Kkasa are pure, the children of parents of the same class. The Karchis
are said to be the descendants of handmaids. Though generally called Marathas,
they have special surnames known to familiar friends
such as Gaikwar, Mohite, Jagta, Sinde, Nimbalkar, and Pavar.
They eat with Tilola, Pajna, and other Kunbis. The Khasas Marathas
observe the zenana custom generally known as Marathi Mola,
which is done by scarcely one Karchi family in a hundred.
DAKSHNIS(14,503), said to be immigrants from the Deccan, are of lower
caste than the Maratha Kunbis, and marry only among themselves.
VARADIS, said to be immigrants from Berar, resemble Tilola Kunbis
in most of their customs and habits.
VANJARIS (1017), said to have been originally carriers, are very numerous in Jamner, Varangaon,
Dharangaon, Parola, Erandol, and Dhulia. At present there is no
noticeable difference between them and ordinary Kunbis. As there
are Vanjari Patils in Jamner. [One of these, Narayan Ukha patil of Raver claims to be a pure Kunbi, stating that his forefathers used to graze cattle and were called Vanjaris as a nickname.] they have probably long been settled
AKARMASAS (1085) are said to be the children of Gujar handmaids. They are by no means numerous, but a few are found
in Nasirabad, Chopda, and Shahada. None of the better class of
Kunbis eat with them.
Ten classes of husbandmen, Babars, Bunkars, Bharadis, Alkaris,
Hatkars, Malis, Lodhis, Jals, and Rajputs, seem not to be regular
Kunbis. BABARS (64), in their habits and customs, resemble ordinary Kunbis. They are found in Amalner.
BUNKARS (806), or weavers, for they seem to have been weavers before they became husbandmen, are said to have come from Gwalior and the country near the Ganges. Resembling Kolis in appearance their customs are like those of Pardeshi or Upper Indian Kunbis. They allow widow marriage, and worship the goddesses Chhalotra, Tuljapuri, and Hinglaj. The Ainpur Bunkars eat at the hands of Kolis,[The Pardeshi Bunkars of Jalgaon say that the Ainpur Bunkars are Pardeshi Kolis.] while the Bunkars of Varangaon, Rasalpur, Bornar, and Jalgaon, are decidedly Pardeshi. The Jalgaon Bunkars say that they came from Upper India, and Pardeshi Brahmans usually attend their marriages. They have no sub-divisions. They still weave rough cloth, khadi, as well as cultivate, and have the peculiar custom of burying the unmarried and burning the married.
BHARADIS (547), found in the Jamner and Nasirabad sub-divisions, though professional dancers and singers, are also beggars and cultivators.
ALKARIS (1006), Pardeshis of the Maha Lodhi caste from Upper India, are called Alkaris from cultivating the al or madder, which yields the famous red dye mhorangi. They are numerous in Savda, Faizpur, and Nasirabad, and are found in smaller numbers throughout the district.
HATKARS (1580), formerly Dhangars or shepherds,[ When asked his caste, a Hatkar always answers Hatkar Dhangar.] have given up their wandering life and taken to agriculture. They say that they came from Gangthari, that is, the banks of the
Godavari. [The Patil of Pohor in Jamner, an influential Dhangar, says that his ancestors time from near Poona.] Numerous in Jamner, Chalisgaon, Nasirabad, and Pachora, where some of them have obtained patil rights, they, are very hardworking and much less quarrelsome than Gujars.
MALIS are of three classes, Phul, Jire, and Kas. The first two eat together
and look on the Kas as a lower tribe. They do not intermarry. Some Phul Malis have received assignments of lands, vatans, the Deshmukh of Erandol being a notable instance.
LODHIS (244), found at Dhulia, Songad, Pachora, Suigad, Nasirabad, Kanderi, and Raipuir,
are not the same as Maha Lodhis, and will not grow madder, al.
They eat at the hands of a Brahman or a caste-fellow only, and
marry among themselves. Among them, at marriages, the bride-groom, at a fixed hour, comes to the marriage booth and strikes it
with a stick or wand. The next day there is a feast and the bride
and bridegroom meet in the booth for the first time. The Brahman
astrologer repeats texts, and the bridegroom, holding the bride's
hands in his, her father drops a gift into them. They worship
Bundela and Bhavani, and observe the Dasra (October-November)
and Ashtami (July-August) holidays. Except in cases of death from cholera or small-pox, they burn their dead.
Jals are found at Razur and Manur in Bhusaval,and in some Chalisgaon and Pachora villages. They are said to have come from Marwar, and to eat only at the hands of Brahmans.
Of Rajput cultivators there are, besides the Dore Gujars who now
rank as Kunbis, four classes, Pardeshis, Khapedas, Marathas, and
Dakhnis. The first two eat and drink with Tilola Kunbis, [The higher Rajputs do not eat with ordinary Kunbis. Maratha and other lower
Rajputs eat with neighbour, though they do not cat with stranger. Tilole and pajna
Kunbis. Mr. J. Pollen, C.S.] but
the Maratha and Dakhni Rajputs are said not to be entitled to
this honour. Otherwise called Rane Rajputs, the Maratha Rajputs
like the Pardeshi Rajputs, do not allow their widows to marry.
Many Maratha Rajput patils hold land-grants, vatans, in east
Khandesh, but, as a rule, they seem to prefer employment as sepoys
to the drudgery of a husbandman's life. They are said to be
quarrelsome and spiteful. The Rane Rajputs have such surnames
as Jadhav and Shisode, and any two of their tribes can intermarry.
They have sixteen houses in Yaval, and they do not eat with Kunbis.
The Rane Rajputs of Dandaiche and Sindkheda hunt and eat
flesh, fowl and fish, and drink wine. Their women never appear
in public and would die rather than work on roads or in fields.
They sew bodices, but neither spin nor weave. Besides these four
classes, Suryavanshi Rajputs are found in Nimar and on the borders
of Savda and Bhusaval. They neither eat with other Rajputs nor
allow widow marriage. The higher families are known by the title
The Marathi dialects of the cultivating classes are four, Gujri,
Dakshni, Khandeshi or Ahirani, and Varadi. Gujri, spoken chiefly
by the Gujars, is remarkable for its large number of Gujarati words
and case endings; Dakshni is spoken by the immigrants from the
Deccan; Khandeshi or Ahirani by the earliest non-aboriginal
settlers; and Varadi, an importation from Berar, has a marked
mixture of Hindi words and endings.
Of Craftsmen there were fifteen divisions: Sonars 16,904
Sutars 11,367, Lohars 4873, Shimpis 14,629, Kasars 3642, Kumbhars
5697, Dhigvans 921,-Lakheras 94, Gaundis 675, Kachhis 10, Patharvats 376, Otaris 804, Lonaris 4517, Beldars 2586, and Kasbis 16, or a total strength of 68,456 souls or 6.56 per cent of the whole population.
SONARS, holding the highest place among Khandesh craftsmen
and believed to have come from Upper India or Malwa, are found throughout the district. They are of two sub-divisions, Ahir Sonars and Vaishya or Jain Sonars. Ahir Sonars, believed to have come originally from Upper India, are fair and goodlooking, careful to be well shaven and always dressed in clean clothes. They are clever and hardworking, but most dangerous to deal with, as the local proverb says, " Bapu, have no dealings with a goldsmith, a tailor, or my lord kulkarni" [The Marathi runs: Sonar,Shimpi,Kulkarniappa,yanchisangatnakoreBappa.] It is generally believed that if an ornament made from seventeen rupees' weight of metal be broken and melted, it will be found to have lost about thirty per cent in weight. Once a year on the thirtieth Shravanvadya (September), every goldsmith gets some gold from his mother and sister, and makes it into an ornament filching some of the gold as a luck-penny to start the new year with. As the saying is: " To a Sonar even his own mother is nothing" [The Marathi is: Sonarvasakhiaisnahihonar.] Besides making and repairing gold and silver ornaments, they set gems and work in precious stones, and the poor prepare copper and brass ornaments for sale to the women of the lower classes. Besides working as jewellers, some are cultivators, others masons, and a few are labourers. Some deal in grain and lend money, and a few who have received some education are employed as Government servants. Those who work as goldsmiths earn according to their skill from ¾d. to 6d. (½ anna-4 annas) for every rupee weight of gold. They eat the flesh of sheep, goats, and fowls, and drink liquor. Proposals for marriages are made while the children are in their infancy. On the occasion of the formal demand, magni, which is generally made four years before marriage, some gold and silver ornaments and silken clothes are given to the bride. [The details are: one petticoat, gaghra; one upper garment, phadki; two robes, sadis; sweetmeats, and some money.] The marrying couple are generally of about the same age, seldom over ten. Their marriage ceremonies include turmeric rubbing and the other usual observances and end with a feast. Of late they have introduced the custom of performing simanti,or as they incorrectly pronounce it shevanti, two hours before the regular marriage begins. [For further details see above, p. 65.] Some years ago the food was served in a large bell-metal dish from which twelve persons ate sitting in a group. Now each guest has his own dish. Marriage expenses, which formerly varied from £5 to £10 (Rs. 50-Rs. 100), have of late nearly doubled. Widow marriage in the gandharva or pat form is allowed. On a lucky day in the dark half of the month, some time after the sum to be paid to the widow's father has been settled. [This sum was formerly about £6 (Rs. 60). It has now risen sevenfold and sometimes eightfold.] the bridegroom, with his relations and
friends, goes to the house of his widow bride. A Brahman or an astrologer, joshi, is called in, and two low stools, pats, are placed near each other covered with cloth. The Brahman or joshi then invokes Ganpati and Varuna, and gives the pair folded betel leaves, panbidi, to hold in their hands. Then the bridegroom, taking a dagger or other weapon in his left hand, sits on one stool and the bride sits on the other to the bridegroom's right. The Brahman recites hymns, mantras, and worships Ganpati and Varuna, and a married woman comes forward and rubs the foreheads of the bride and bridegroom with saffron and rice. The bridegroom then gives clothes to the bride which she forthwith puts on, and in return her father, rubbing his brow with sandal, gives the bridegroom clothes. As it is a custom that the bride's relations and friends should not see their faces for three days, the bride and bridegroom leave for the bridegroom's house almost immediately after the marriage is performed. Two old practices, giving gifts to the village headman and employing Mang musicians, are falling into disuse. After a funeral, Sonars have a peculiar custom of rubbing clarified butter and molasses on the shoulders of the bier-bearers. They worship all Hindu gods, especially Khandoba and the goddess Chandi or Devi, fast on all days sacred to Shiv and Vishnu, and have Brahmans as their priests. Their marriage and funeral ceremonies are those laid down in the Purans. On the thirtieth day of the Hindu month of Shravan (September) they worship the hearth, bageshvari, and throw liquor and the tongue of a goat on the fire. On this day, except making the luck-penny, under penalty of a fine, no work is done. Caste disputes are settled by a council, panch, whose discussions are proverbially long, lasting sometimes a whole day and night until dawn. As the saying is, " When the stars fade the sonars dine ".[The Marathi is: Nighretara,jevresonara.] Though some learn English, most teach their- children only reading and writing and the little arithmetic wanted to keep their accounts. As a class they are well off, some of them rich. VAISHYA or JAIN SONARS, a small community of 500 men, are found in Nandurbar, Prakasha, Shahada, Sindkhed, Amalner, Erandol, and Betavad. They are believed to be old settlers, and neither dine nor many with the Ahir Sonars. They speak both Gujarati and Marathi, and in Nandurbar and Shahada their women wear the robe in Gujarat fashion. They work as goldsmiths and neither eat flesh nor drink liquor. They wear the sacred thread, perform the regular thread ceremony, and are in other respects like Brahmans. Their widows' heads are shaved and they are not allowed to marry. Some are Vaishnavs and others Shaivs. Their priests are Brahmans.
SUTARS, carpenters, are of three divisions, Sutars proper otherwise
called Deshi Sutars, Ahir Sutars, and Panchal Sutars. Sutars proper say that they are Kunbis by descent. They belong to two divisions, Panchaldharmi found at Jalgaon, Dharangaon, and Erandol; and Savala found at Yaval, Nasirabad, and Asoda. Ahir Sutars are distinct and are of the same class as Ahir Lohars and Ahir cultivators. They do not marry with Deshi Sutars. As carpenters and wood
carvers Khandesh Sutars are good workers, easily trained to handle European tools. The Sutars of Chopda and Yaval have a local name for carving and house carpentry ; and those of Taloda are famous for their skill in making carts. Some twenty or thirty of them come in January from Songhad in Gujarat to Navapur and Taloda, and stay till May making carts. A carpenter's daily wage varies from 1s. to 2s. (annas 8-Rs. 1) according to skill. Village carpenters are usually paid in grain for making and mending field tools, and in cash for house carpentry. They eat animal food and have no rule against the use of intoxicating drinks. Like high caste Hindus they wear a coat, waistcoat, waistcloth, and turban, folded either after the Brahman or the Prabhu fashion. They burn their dead. Widows may marry, but if they marry, they are not held in much respect. They have a separate caste organisation with local chiefs or heads called chaudhris. They are a rising class careful to teach their children. Panchal Sutars, so called from their acquaintance with the five arts of working in wood, gold, iron, brass, and stone, are believed to have come from Madras and are said to be settled in large numbers in Poona and Ahmednagar. With a strength of 283 souls, they are found almost throughout the district, especially in Chopda, Jamner, and Pachora. If the first husband agrees to separate from them, their women are allowed to form a second marriage. They neither eat nor marry with Khandesh Sutars.
LOHARS, blacksmiths, found all over the district, and with a
good local name in Dhulia and Bhusaval where they have learned in local fund and railway workshops, are said to be of twelve and a half divisions of which only four and a half, Gujarati, Marathi, Panchal, Ahir, and Ghisadi [The Ghisadis, says Captain Hervey the Assistant General Superintendent of Thagi and Dacoity, sometimes rob in the Konkan, but are not habitual criminals, though 'some are often in the secret of gang robbers, whose spears they make and sharpen. A noteable instance of this occurred in November 1845 at Bagalkot in Kaladgi. Bom. Police Sel. I. 87.] are known in Khandesh. The last, the, half-castes found at Nasirabad near Jalgaon, are a poor class who grind knives, clean sword blades, and make sword sheaths. The Ahir Lohars are a distinct class, the same as the Ahir Sutars and cultivators. The three chief divisions differ little from each other. Strong, dark, and with regular features, they are hardworking, thriftless, and quarrelsome. They make and repair the iron work of ploughs and carts. In former times, at hook-swinging festivals, the Lohar worked the iron hook into the muscles of the devotee's back. They speak Marathi and dress like low caste Hindus. They worship Shiv and Khandoba. Their "hereditary spiritual guide, guru, Panchaldharm who belongs to their own caste, settles all social disputes. He wanders among his people visiting the same localities at long intervals. They are not well-to-do, their earnings sufficing for their daily wants only, 6d. to 1s. (4-8 annas) a day. They neither send their children to school nor take to new pursuits.
SHIMPIS, tailors, found in all large villages, belong to four classes,
Ahirs, Namdevs, Jains, and Pardeshi Brahmans. Ahir Shimpis are found at Jalgaon, Erandol, Amalner, Chalisgaon, Dhulia, Shahada
and Chopda. Namdevs are newcomers from the Deccan, where, in Poona and Ahmednagar, they are settled in large numbers. Both these Shimpi classes talk Khandeshi and Marathi, and use flesh and liquor. They are quiet and well-behaved, but not very skilful. Their women help in the work. Some are Shaivs and others Vaishnavs, and a few have lately joined the Svaminarayan and Kabirpanthi sects. They have a hereditary high priest who lives at Mulher in Baglan. Their marriage expenses vary from £1 to £30 (Rs. 10-Rs.
300). They allow widow marriage. Caste disputes are settled by a council, panch, at a mass meeting, and excommunicated persons, are fined and admitted after purifying themselves. The proceeds of these fines are used for caste purposes. Jain Shimpis, found in Savda, Jalgaon, Dharangaon, and Nasirabad, are a small community who have other members in Borar Like Brahmans, when dining they wear the sacred waistcloth, solu. Pardeshi Brahman Shimpis are newcomers from Upper India. All the four Shimpi classes are well-to-do and save money, their women and children helping them in their work. They send their boys to school, and some are in Government employ as clerks and schoolmasters.
KASARS, coppersmiths, found all over the district, have no
sub-divisions but numerous families, Kuls, such as Dore, Akal, and
Korapkar. They sell brass and copper pots and dishes, and fit
on women's arms glass bracelets prepared by Maniars. Their
marriages resemble Brahman marriages. They burn their dead and
cat at the hands of Brahmans only. They are a well-to-do
community, those of Songir having a specially good local name.
KUMBHARS, potters; found all over the district, are divided into
Marathas, Pardeshis, and Gorekumbhars. They do not intermarry
or eat together. Dark in colour with regular features, they are
hardworking, thrifty, orderly, hospitable, and fairly honest.
They make tiles, bricks, and earthen pots, and also figures of men'
and animals. In some villages the potter is one of the village
establishment furnishing villagers with earthen pots on easy terms,
and waiting on strangers to supply them with water and pots.
Though their appliances are most simple, they are generally very
expert, making many neat and partially ornamented articles. They
worship Maruti, Mahadev, and the goddess Lakshmi. As a class
they are not well-to-do, and none of their children go to school.
DHIGVANS, or saddlers, also called Jingars or Kharadis, though
dealing in leather, are reckoned superior to Chambhars and are not considered one of the impure castes. They are found all over the district Chiefly at Dhulia, Nasirabad, Erandol, and Parola. They are a poor class, of wandering habits, frequenting fairs. They eat at the hands of Kunbis, prepare wedding head-dresses, sew saddle cloths, hind books, and colour bed posts and sticks with wax. LAKHERAS, found in the larger villages, are a poor class, preparing wax bracelets, and colouring glass. GAUNDIS, stone masons, are found in large villages and receive a daily wage of from 9d. to 1s. (6d. (6 -12 annas). They are poor though hardworking KACHHIS, gardeners, make nosegays and flower garlands with much
skill and taste. PATHARVATS, Stone dressers, found in nearly every
part of Khandesh, are divided into Salkars and Pankars. Dark,
rough, and strong, they are generally poor and do not send their
children to school or take to new pursuits.
OTARIS, taking their name from the Marathi verb otne to pour or smelt, make molten
images of Hindu gods. LONARIS are cement-makers and labourers;
and BELDARS are bricklayers and mud wall builders, partly
Musalmans partly Hindus. They are well-to-do keeping male
buffaloes to carry water for building purposes and for making
Manufacturers include seven divisions: Telis 20,289; Salis 6336; Rangaris 5395; Khatris 924; Gadris 611; Patvekars 14; and Koshtis 3721, a total strength of 37,290 souls or 3.67 per cent of the whole population. These seven divisions may be arranged into four classes. Oil manufacturers, Telis; thread and cloth manufacturers, Salis, Khatris, Koshtis, and Patvekars; dyers, Rangaris; and wool weavers, Gadris.
TELIS are said to be of twelve and a half classes, or distinct sub-divisions, of whom four, Marathi, Rathod, Pardeshi, and Gujarati, are found in Khandesh. The first, the most numerous, found all over Khandesh, are said to have come from the south of Nasik. They attach no stigma to widow marriage, and their marriage ceremonies are like those of Kunbis. The Gujarati Teli is found in the west, and the Pardeshi in the east of the district. They are generally strongly made and fair with regular features. They press sesamum, til, seed and cocoanuts, and sometimes hemp, ambadi, seeds, selling the oil cakes. Except the very poor who bury, the Telis burn their dead. They have a headman, not,hereditary, called chaudhri. They are generally in good condition, but do not send their children to school or take to new pursuits.
SALIS, weavers, are said to be of twelve and a half classes of which six are represented in Khandesh; Sakun Sali or Saklun, Sut Sali, Bangad Sali, Tikli Sali, Ahir Sali, and Gujarati Sali. Of these the Gujarati, Sut, and Sakun Salis are found at Jalgaon; Ahir Salis at Faizpur, Bamnod, Parola, [Parola has anothor inferior class of Salis known as Chok Salis.] and most large towns; and Tikli Salis at Savda and Parola. The Sakun Salis are said to have come from Paithan east of Ahmednagar, and the Tikli division is said to take its name from the tiklas or spangles worn by their women as brow ornaments. The Bangad Salis are said to be a low race, and from their practice of keeping concubines are known as Laundivalas. Of the different sub-divisions the Sakun, Sut, and Ahir Salis eat together. Generally fair and well made, they are hardworking, quiet, and independent. They deal in cloth as well as weave it. [Like Salis and Koshtis, Jogis weave gowns, lugdas, and robes, sadis. They also prepare the loom, while the vadars prepare the comb, phoni, made of stiff reed splinters, which the Salis and Koshtis use in separating the thread while weaving.] They eat sheep, goats, and fowls, and drink liquor. They dress like Marathas, and worship Khandoba, Bhavani, and other Hindu gods. Caste disputes are settled at meetings of the adult male members. They are in
middling circumstances and generally send their boys to school.
RANGARIS, said to be of twelve and a half castes, six are well known,
Bhavsar, Nirale, Namosi, Namdev, Gujarati, and Ahir. Of these the
Bhavsars are almost the only Rangaris in Khandesh, and are divided into several classes as Khanore, Bhagvat, and Bharoti. They are
said to have come from Gujarat, and are numerous at Savda, Jalgaon, Faizpur, and Parola. They prepare colours, and print and dye cloth. They have a council, panch, to settle caste disputes, and an elective headman called chandhri. They allow widows to marry, and are on the whole a well-to-do caste, able to read and write and sending their boys to school. GADRIS, wool weavers, found at
Chalisgaon, Patonda, and Songir, are fairly well-to-do.
PATVEKARS, [Patvekars, silk fringe and tassel makers, take their name from patavne to string silk thread on wire.] silk workers, do not form a separate caste. The industry is practised by Kunbis and Musalmans at Jalgaon, and by two families of Pardeshis at Dhulia and Chopda. The Pardeshis who have come from Lucknow, within the last ten or twenty years, are of the Dohunshi caste.
KOSHTIS are said to be of twelve and a half castes,
seven of which, Hadgar, Devang, Khate Devang, Lad, Maratha, Hadpuri, and Nirhai, are found in Khandesh. Besides silk thread for necklaces and jewelry, and horse and palanquin trappings, they make silk cloth and women's robes, sadis, like the Salis. By religion the first two sub-divisions are Lingayats, the third wear the sacred thread, and the remaining four are low classes. Unlike the Lingayat Vanis, the Lingayat Koshtis do not always openly wear the ling; many of them hide it in their turbans' or waist belts or keep it in their houses. A small stone, generally from the Narbada, this ling is presented by their priests to the women as well as to the men with ceremonies much like those at sacred thread investitures. These lings are carefully kept, and on marriage occasions are worshipped side by side. At their marriages, though the Koshtis have the knot and hand-joining, they have not the walking-round, chauribhavri, ceremonies. The officiating priests are both Jangams [These jangams, or lingayat beggars, blow small shell trumpets, shankhs, and are found in the central parts of the district.] and Brahmans. The Brahman prescribes the marriage time, claps his hands at sunset when marriage ceremonies are generally performed, and the Jangam ties the knot and joins the hands of the bride and bridegroom. The pair do not sit on a raised platform as among other castes, but inside a square whose corners are marked by mud balls. They have no ceremonial mourning for the dead, and their women are not considered unclean during their courses. Widows are allowed to marry with all the honours of a regular marriage. When they are not begging their priests Jangams work in silk. The Hadgar sub-division has a wandering priest, who lives at Pandharpur.
Bards and Actors include two classes, Guravs 3004, and Bhats
or Thakurs 4061, a total of 7065 souls, or 0.68 per cent of the whole population. GURAVS, worshippers of Shiv, are found,
one or two in every large village. Settled, according to some accounts, for seven generations, they are said to have three subdivisions, Ahir, Dakshni or Shaiv, and Varade. They hold grants, vatans, in certain villages; attend to and clean the temples of Hanuman, Ram, and Mahadev; and have an hereditary right to the offerings, such as betel leaf and nuts, cocoanuts, and grain, made in Mahadev's temples. It is their business to collect and distribute
AEgle marmelos, bel, leaves to the chief families of the village, receiving presents of grain in return. They also attend Brahman, Kunbi, and Vani weddings, and play the Hute, sanai. They blow the temple conch and horn, some of them with much skill. They are a poor illiterate class with a council, panch, for settling caste disputes. BHATS [There are also some Musalman Bhats.] of three sub-divisions,' Pardeshi, Maratha, and Kunbi, are found in nearly every large village. A fine intelligent' race, well made and good-looking, they have a minute knowledge of the genealogies of their hereditary patrons. They repeat poetry with much spirit and gesture and are ready improvisors. They have settled houses in certain villages. Of late, from the declining state of their profession, many Bhats have taken to labour and trade. Their marriages are like those of Kunbis. They burn their dead, but bury their infants. Old Bhats are looked upon with reverence and appealed to in caste disputes. They have no hereditary headman. As a class they are inclined to send their boys to school. The village Bhats, also known as Thakurs, are settled inhabitants of every village and hold grants, vatans. They are beggars, labourers, and sometimes cultivators
Personal Servants include two classes, barbers, Nhavis,
15,182, and washermen, Dhobhis, 5435, a total of 20,617 souls or
1.99 per cent of the whole population. Of the twelve and a half
NHAVI sub-divisions, four are found in Khandesh,
Dakshnis, and Gujars. The first two, found at Savda and almost all over the district, have such surnames as Ingole and Mankar.
The Tayda Nhavi plays no musical instrument, but holds the torch at weddings, gets half of the fees paid to Brahmans, and on the day on which turmeric is applied, receives ¾d. (½ anna) from the girl's father. The Ahir Nhavi never carries a torch. He plays the flute, sanai, and the drum, samal. As village surgeons they bleed and apply leeches, and their women act as midwives, and at marriages they hold umbrellas over the bride and bridegroom. Their marriage customs are like those of Kunbis. Except the poor and infants who are buried, they burn their dead. As a class Nhavis are fond of talk and gossip.
DHOBHIS, washermen, include five sub-divisions, Bundelas, Marvadis,
Marathas, Pardeshis, and Tailangis, who neither eat with one another nor intermarry. Most of them live in thatched huts, only a few having good dwellings. They eat millet bread, curry, curds, vegetables, fish, and mutton. The village Dhobhi, generally a Maratha and known locally as Parit, washes for Kunbis, Vanis, and Brahmans. Mhars' clothes are generally washed by
Tailangi Dhobhis. Besides by washing, Dhobhis sometimes earn a living by selling grass or by labour. Their favourite gods are Khandoba, Bhairoba, Bhavani, and serpents, and they also worship their ancestors. They either bury or burn their dead and have no headman. Their wives help them in their work. As a class they are poor, none of them rich and most of them in debt. They do not send their children to school.
Shepherds and Herdsmen include two classes, with a
strength of 19,477 souls or 1.89 per cent of the whole Hindu population.
Of these 17,708 were Dhangars and 1769 Gavlis. Under the general term DHANGAR, or shepherd, come three
classes, Dhangars proper, Khilaris, and Thilaris. Dhangars proper
generally earn their living by weaving blankets. They have
seven sub-divisions, Ahir Kuktekar, Shegar, Maratha, Holkar,
Hatkar, Ghogattunya, and Shelotya. Of these the Ahir Dhangars,
found at Nasirabad, Erandol, Chandsar, Jhalod, Chopda, Pachora,
Adavad, Yaval, Savda, Bornar, and Bhadgaon, are said to have
come from Chitod in Upper India. Their women wear the Kunbi
robe, sadi. Some are cultivators while others deal in sheep and
goats. They worship a god named Changyapachya, call Brahmans
to officiate at their marriages, and allow widow marriage. They eat
with Hatkar Dhangars. THILARIS or KHILARIS. [Thilari, from thilar a flock, means strictly Sheep and goat-herds, and Khilari,
from khilar a drove, means strictly neat-horde. In practice the words are used
indifferently.] professional graziers, sell wool, sheep, and goats, and drive a small trade in milk.
They spread all over the district during the fair season, passing
east during the cold weather, making for the Satpudas in the
hot months, and returning to the west, to Dhulia and Pimpalner,
for the rains. Grazing all over the country in the fair weather,
they are often paid by cultivators, for the sake of the manure, to
pen their flocks in their fields. At the same time disputes often
arise for damage done by their flocks to the late, rabi, crops.
GAVLIS, of two chief divisions, Lingayat and Maratha, found here
and there throughout the collectorate, are most numerous in Dhulia
and Chopda. They are the milk and butter sellers of the district,
keeping large herds of buffaloes and cows. Among Lingayat Gavlis
marriages are generally performed by the Jangam, but in his absence
a Brahman can officiate, A mound is raised in the centre of the
wedding shed, mandav, and a carpet is spread over it. Two bamboo
baskets are placed in front of the mound, and the bridal pair stand
each in one of these baskets while the officiating Jangam holds up
the marriage curtain, antarpat, and performs the ceremony. The
pair are then led to and seated on the mound, which has been
previously surrounded with a line of rice or wheat. They worship
Mahadev and allow widow marriage. The caste observances of
Maratha Gavlis are much like those of Kunbis. The Gavlis are, generally speaking, well-to-do, their women fat and buxom.
AHIRS, following the same profession as Gavlis, are said to be of seven
sub-divisions of which five are known in Khandesh, Gvalbansi, Bharvathiya, Dhidamvar, Ghosi, and Gujar. They worship Krishna.
Fishers include two classes, Kolis 39,207, and Bhois or Kahars
9043, a total strength of 48,250 souls or 5.05 per cent of the
whole Hindu population.
Kolis, though found near other rivers, have their head-quarters on the Tapti banks. They are of three classes, Ahir Kolis, Kolis proper, and Nehere Kolis. A dark, strong, well made, and robust race, they eat flesh and drink liquor. They work all the ferries along the Tapti, and during the rains, often risk their lives in recovering timber from the river when in flood. They also, with much skill, grow melons in the beds of rivers, and, as village labourers, are found in nearly every large village in the district. Except some very prosperous village headmen in Chopda, the Kolis are poor and unthrifty, and seem unfit for steady hard work. They worship Khandoba, Bhairoba, and the goddess Bhavani.
KAHARS or BHOIS, found in Jamner, Dharangaon, Erandol, Parola, Amalner, Savda, and Faizpur, are the chief fishermen of the district. They used formerly to carry palanquins and litters, but their present occupation is, besides fishing, grinding grain, growing melons, and carrying grain on their donkeys. They rank lower than Kolis, and eat flesh and fish and drink liquor. They are ignorant but hardworking.
Labourers and Miscellaneous Workers include twenty classes, with a total strength of 51,002 souls or 5.34 per cent of the whole Hindu population. Of these 26,642 were Rajputs; 9982 Pardeshis; 168 Govardhans; 1574 Tirmalis; 20 Shikaris; 6352 Bavchas; 71 Kanjaris; 95 Kamathis; 3 Golhas; 21 Kahats; 262 Pendharis; 5 Jalkaris; 1208 Khatiks; 3028 Baris; 158 Sortis; 616 Khangars; 177 Bhirales; 281 Hardas; 158 Katambaras; and 181 Dangats.
RAJPUTS, locally known as Deccani Pardeshis, though from marrying with Deccan women they are looked down on by the Rajputs of Upper India, have not entirely lost their military spirit and bearing. Of three divisions, Maratha or Rane, Khapedas, and Pardeshi, they are both labourers and cultivators,[For further particulars see p. 70.] and serve as sepoys. Among Maratha Rajputs are many police patils, especially in the Jamner sub-division and along the base of the Satmalas. Pardeshi and Maratha Rajputs will not eat at each other's hands, but if a Pardeshi Brahman prepares the meal, they will eat together. GOVARDHAN is perhaps another name for Gavli.
SHIKARIS are those who make hunting their profession. BAVCHAS, found in the west on the Gujarat frontier, are a labouring and cultivating class. KANJARIS, makers of
hair ropes, are labourers and beggars. KAMATHIS, immigrants from Telang, the modern Karnatak, labour in the fields and as house-builders. GOLHAS and KAHATS are ordinary labourers. PENDHARIS, found chiefly about Dhulia, bring grass and wood for sale, and prepare manure. BARIS are betel leaf sellers. [See above, p. 62.]
Unsettled Tribes were five in number, Bhils 126,791, Vanjaris
36,572, Pardhis 4506, Konkanis 8201, and Kanadas 818, a
strength of 176,888 souls or 18.53 per cent of the whole population.
BHILS, [The word Bhil is believed to come from the Dravidian billa a bow (Wilson's
Aboriginal Tribes, 2). The Hindu legend of their origin is, that of several sons
sprung from Mahadev and a human bride, one, ugly and vicious, killed his father's bull.
For this he was banished to the hills and became the founder of the Bhils. (Malcolm's Central India, I. 518). Ptolemy's (150) Phyllitae, placed south of the Vindhian
range, were probably Bhils (Bertius, 173). No early Hindu use of the word Bhil
has been traced. In the Mahabharat list of tribes they seem to be included under
Pulindas, a general term for wild tribes. (H. H. Wilson's Works, VII. 159'; and,
Vivien de St. Martin, Geog. Greeque. at Latine do I'Inde, 247). Captain Graham
(Bom. Gov. Sel. XXVI. 203) and Sir John Malcolm (Central India, I. 518 note 1) state
that the Bhils are mentioned in the Mahabharat. But the word used in the original
is Nishada, and there seems to be no more reason for identifying the Nishadas with
the Bhils than with many other of the rude hill races. In the Panch Tantra mention
is made of the Phillis or villages of the Bhils (Wilson's Works, IV. 26,142); and in the
Jatimala Bhils are classed with Medhs as one of the seven lowest tribes (Colebrooke's
Essays, II. 164).] with in 1872 an estimated strength of 120,026 souls. [The 1872 census returns show, under the head of Bhils, a total of 115,676 souls.
To these may be added, as generally included among Bhils, Pavras 3938, Gavits
154, Kothils 223, and Nahals 5. If to this the Nasik total of 47,608 souls is added
it gives for the tribes, historically known as Khandesh Bhils, a present strength of
167,634 souls. The returns of these tribes are probably very far from correct.]
are the chief of the large group of tribes that at one time held
most of the country now distributed among the provinces of Mewar, Malwa, Khandesh, and Gujarat. [The earliest people of Mewar were Bhils (Tod's Rajasthan, 1.186); the Bhils are
specially strong in the south of Malwa (Hamilton's Description of Hindustan, I. 729). In
Gujarat, according to local legend, the Bhils held Abu, Dholka, and Champaner. As
late as the close of the eleventh century Asaval, the site of the modern Ahmedabad, was
in Bhil hands, and it was only when forced south by the Musalmans (1000-1400) that
the Rajputs drove the Bhils out of War, Rajpipla, Mandvi, Bansda, and Dharampur.
In many Rajputana, Malwa, and Gujarat states, when a Rajput chief succeeds, his
brow is marked by blood taken from the thumb or the toe of a Bhil. The Rajput's
say that this blood mark is a sign of Bhil allegiance; but it seems to be a relic of
Bhil power. The Bhils are always keen to keep the practice alive. The right of
giving the blood is claimed by certain families, and the belief that the man from
whose veins it flows dies within a year fails to damp their zeal for the usage. The
Rajputs, on the other hand, would gladly let the practice die. This they say is due
to their shrinking from impure Bhil blood. But the true ground of this dislike is
that the ceremony reminds them of the shortness of their rule and of the need of
sanction by their lowest subjects. Trans. Roy. As. Soc. 1. 69.] Ousted by later invaders from
the richest of their old possessions, the Bhils, in considerable strength, still hold the wilder and more outlying parts of these provinces. [The 1872 census returns show 274,256 souls in Gujarat, and 167,634 souls in Khandesh and Nasik. The chief strength of the Bhils is still in south-west Rajputana In Kusalgad the people are almost exclusively Bhils (Rajputana Gazetteer, I. 129); in Banswara the bulk of the people are Bhils (ditto 117), in Mewar there are 200,000 (ditto 76); and in Dungarpur 10,000 Bhils (ditto 281). They are divided into a variety of clans, some based on a reputed common descent, others huddled together by simple contiguity of habitation. They have a slight infusion of Hinduism and
some are settled cultivators.]
Besides in Central India, Rajputana, Gujarat, and Khandesh, Bhils are found northwards in Ajmir and Jesalmir. [Irvine's Ajmir, 17. Jour. Roy. As. Soc. 145 of 1844; Tod's Western India, 31-46; Rajputana Gazetteer, II. 33, 40, 176, 199, 244, 281.] and in Bareilley and Banda in the North-West Provinces. [N. W. P. Gazetteer, 578, 647. No Bhils are shown in the N. W. P. 1872 Census] They do not pass east into the Gond country, those near Asirgad in the
Central Provinces, and in Buldana in Berar, being Khandesh Bhils. [Central Provinces Gazetteer, 384; Berar Gazetteer, 216. In the Narbada division, next to Khandesh and once a part of it, there were (1872) 18,420 Bhils and 4589 Bhilalas. Central Provinces Census, 31.] To the south they are found in considerable numbers (6228) in Ahmednagar. [Bombay Census, 1872. The details are: Kopargaon 2474, Nevasa 1254, Sangamner 844, Parner 494, Akola 293, Shevgaon 270, Nagar 221, Jamkhed 76, and Shrigonda 5.] and there are a few families in Poona as far south as the Kukdi river in Junnar. [The 1872 census total was 192 souls. The Bhil element in the Poona population was much stronger before the time of the Marathi Government. In 1805 at Kopargaon in Ahmednagar, as many as 7000 Bhils were killed by being thrown down wells. Mr. Sinclair, C.S., in Ind. Ant. III 189. The 1872 census returns show one Bhil in Kaladgi. If this is correct he was probably an outsider.] To the south-west the Bhils are stopped by the sturdier race of Nasik and Ahmednagar Kolis, who probably once held the whole of the Central Konkan to the sea. [The 1872 census returns show nine Bhils in Kanara, apparently a mistake (Collector, 17th June 1880), two in Ratnagiri, perhaps wandering beggars, and twenty-five in Salsette, probably immigrant labourers.] To the west and north-west the hilly tracts that in north Konkan and south Gujarat stretch west to the sea, are chiefly peopled by early tribes almost all of them Bhil rather than Koli in character. [Among these may be noted, in west Nasik and north Thana, the Thakurs, Katkaris, Konkanis, and Varlis, and in the south of Surat, Dhondias, Dublas, Chodhras, Naikas, Koknas, Gamins, Mangelas, and Kathodias.] North of the Tapti, especially along the hilly eastern frontier of Gujarat, Bhils and Kolis, though interlaced, are so distributed that the Bhil seems to have been forced west from Malwa,. and the Koli east from Gujarat. Further west Bhils are found scattered over Kathiawar and Cutch, in strength in Thar and Parkar, and in small numbers over almost the whole of Sind. [The Kathiawar details are: Sorath 32, Jhalavad 261, Halar 13, Gohilvad 174, Limbdi 74, and Bhavnagar 521, total 1075. The Cutch total was 1580, and the Thar and Parkar total 10,541. The Sind details were Upper Sind Frontier 41, Shikarpur 1790, Haidarabad 4498, and Kurrachee 778, total 7107. (Compare Sir A. Burnes in Jour. R, G. Soc. IV. 100; Burton's Sind, 320; and the Sind Gazetteer). A special inquiry, made through the kindness of Mr. E. C. K. Ollivant, C.S., Assistant Commissioner, Sind, shows that this return of Bhils is much too high. Except in Thar and
Parkar there are very few Sind Bhils. All of them can be traced to Marwar. Some in Thar are old settlers; the rest have come since the British conquest as camp followers and wanderers.]
How far the modern Bhil has changed from the original Bhil it is hard to say. The fact that many plain Bhils are, and when well fed, many hill Bhils become, equal in size
and appearance to the local low class Hindus; that in Poona they are much superior in stature, appearance, and intelligence to those of the Satpudas; [Ind. Ant. III. 189.] and that at Parkar they are tall, strong-, and healthy, [Burnes in Jour. Roy. Geog. Soc. IV. 100.] seems to show that the stunted, stupid, and savage Bhils of Khandesh, Gujarat, and Rajputana have, either from marriage with older and lower races, or from bad air, exposure, and want of food, suffered greatly both in mind and body.
As early Khandesh records contain no mention of Bhils except as a Satpuda hill tribe, it has been thought [Graham's Bhil Tribes. Sir J. Malcolm (Central India, I. 519) also quotes a
tradition that the Bhils were driven from their original seats in Marwar and Mewar
south to Khandesh.] that they were forced
within Khandesh. limits by the pressure of Rajput and Musalman conquest in Gujarat and Malwa. But the position of the Bhils in Khandesh, scattered in small numbers over almost the whole district, and gathered in strength among the south and west as well as along the northern hills, seems to show that, as is known to have been the case in Gujarat and Rajputana, the Khandesh Bhils were driven from the plains by more powerful invaders and settlers. The close resemblance in appearance, character, language, and customs between the Bhil of the plains and other low class villagers, would seem to show that the bulk of the people have a considerable strain of Bhil blood. [Though isolated from the other people it cannot be proved that the origin of the Bhils in India is distinct from that of the common cultivators. Dr, J. WILSON'S Aboriginal Tribes, 3, 4.] On the other hand, the marked difference between the settled Bhil and the hill Bhil, as well as the marked variety among different tribes of hill Bhils, seem to show that the word Bhil, properly belonging to the people found by the early Arian conquerors and settlers in possession of Rajputana and Khandesh, was afterwards applied to all the lawless forest and hill tribes of those provinces, many of whom did not belong to the Bhil race. [The name Bhil is given to many who do not acknowledge it. Graham's Bhil Tribes. Bishop Caldwell (Muir's Sanskrit Texts, II. 487) is of opinion that the Bhil belongs to the family of races, who, like the Kolas and Santhals, entered India from the north-east.]
The Moghals (1600) found the Bhils hardworking and loyal
subjects, and under the Moghals they seem to have continued quiet
and orderly. [Captain Graham's Bhil Tribes. Bom. Gov. Sel. XXVI. 203. Abul Fazl (Gladwin's
Ain-i-Akbari, II. 54) says: "The husbandmen are dutiful subjects and very laborious
They are of the following tribes, Koony, Bheib, and Gownd."] But during the eighteenth century in the disturbances
that marked the transfer of power from the Moghals to the Marathas,
they asserted their independence, and the Marathas, failing to
bring them to order, treated them as outlaws, gave them neither
encouragement nor protection, and allowed their lowest officers to take
their lives without trial. A Bhil caught in a disturbed part of the
country was without inquiry, flogged and hanged. Torture was freely
used. Exposed to the sun, with his nose slit and his ears stripped
from his head, the Bhil was burnt to death on the heated gun or in the
embraces of the red hot iron chair. From a high cliff near Antur
hundreds were yearly hurled to destruction, and in the towns of
Dharangaon, Chalisgaon, and Kopargaon, large bodies of Bhils,
assembled under a full promise of pardon, were beheaded or blown
from guns; their women mutilated or smothered by smoke; and their
children dashed to death against the stones. [Dr. J. Wilson's Aboriginal Tribes, 4.]
After an unsuccessful attempt to bring them to order by force, the British adopted kindly measures in their dealings with the Bhils. By the personal influence of some of the early officers, Robertson, Ovans, and Outram, many Bhils, as members of a police corps and as husbandmen, settled to a regular orderly life. At the same time, though peace was established, and has since on the whole
prevailed, any slight disturbance has been enough to stir in some of the Bhil tribes the love of plunder and disorder. [Some notice of the chief Bhil risings is given below under."History".] Even where he has given up disorderly habits the Bhil has made little advance in comfort or skill. Ignorance, carelessness, and love of liquor, have, especially in western Khandesh, sunk many of them deep in debt to the astute Gujar Kunbis. The whole machinery of the law courts is worked by the Gujar to keep his debtors in his power, and in spite of the great rise in the value of their labour, the Bhils work on, except that they are fed between seed-time and harvest and are given an occasional turban or robe, little less poor and degraded than they were in former times of trouble and disorder. Even where he has not sunk to be a servant, as a small landholder, the Bhil's carelessness and want of skill prevent his success, and as a labourer, though if he pleases he is a most efficient worker, his idleness and fitfulness stand in the way of his earning any considerable wage.
Though found in small numbers in every part of the district, the bulk of the Bhil population belongs to the western districts. Of a total of 120,026 souls, 63,794 or 58.06 per cent are found in the three western sub-divisions of Taloda, Pimpalner, and Nandurbar. [The details are: Taloda 27,256, Pimpalner 24,686, Nandurbar 17,548, Shahada 11,852, Dhulia 7122, Virdel 7091, Amalner 5003,
Shirpur 4530, Erandol 3560, Pachora 3050, Chopda 2547, Chalisgaon 1858, Nasirabad 1097, Bhusaval 907, Jamner 691, and Savda 628.]
Khandesh Bhils may conveniently be arranged under three groups: plain Bhils, hill and forest tribes, and mixed tribes. The plain Bhils, the largest and most civilised class, found in small numbers in almost all the villages of central and south Khandesh, are known simply as Bhils, in contradistinction to the Tadvis and Nirdhis, the Khotils and Nahals of the eastern Satpudas, and the Pavra Mathvadi and Gavit Bhils of the west. The forest and hill tribes are, in the Satpudas, the Bardas, Dhankas, Dhorepis, Gavits, Khotils, Mathvadis, Mavchis, Nahals, and Varlis, and in the Sahyadris, the Dangchis. The mixed tribes are three, one the Bhilalas, half-Bhil half-Rajput or Kunbi, found in the eastern Satpudas, and two half-Musalman half-Bhil, the Tadvis in the eastern Satpudas and the Nirdhis in the Satmalas in the south. The large class of common or plain Bhils, and most of the wilder hill and forest tribes, are broken into an endless number of small clans, some of them, such as Pavar, Mali, Barda, Sonone, [Barda is said to be a sub-division of the Sonone clan, and the two will not intermarry.] Mori, Gaikwad, Shindi, Jadav, Thakur, and Ahir, arising from a claim to a strain of non-Bhil blood; others, as Vaghia and Ghania, taken from the names of animals; a third set, as Pipalsa, from the names of trees; and a fourth, of miscellaneous origin, from a forefather's name, a favourite settlement, or some private signal. As is the case in Rajput clans, the members of these sub-divisions are not allowed to intermarry.
Bhils differ much in appearance. The typical Khandesh Bhil,
the wild woodsman of the Satpudas, is dark, well-made, active, and Hardy, with high cheek bones, wide nostrils, and in some cases coarse, almost African, features. These are no doubt stunted and degraded by want and ill health, and perhaps by intermarriage with older and lower tribes. Among the southern and western tribes, who probably more nearly represent the original type of Bhil, are many well-built and even some tall handsome men with regular features and wavy hair. The plain Bhils are scarcely to be distinguished from local low class Hindus. [Captain Rose in Bom. Sel. XXVI. 226. Dr. J. Wilson's Aboriginal Tribes, 3; Graham's Bhil Tribes Bom. Gov. Sel. XXVI. 204; and Mr. Sinclair, C. S., in Ind. Ant. IV. 336.]
Except among some of the wilder hill tribes, who perhaps are improperly ranked among Bhils, the Bhils have no trace of a language different from that of the country where they are settled, According to the geographical position, Bhils speak the cognate dialects of Marathi, Gujarati, Rangdi, Mevadi, Narmadi, and Rajputani. They have many peculiar terms, and, with some Prakrit, use many Skythian words. There is no trace of any connexion with the tribes of south India. [Dr. J. Wilson's Aboriginal Tribes, 3. Mr. Sinclair (Ind. Ant. IV. 337) says they have a peculiar vocabulary, but are shy of telling it.] In Khandesh their dialect is a mixture of Hindustani and Marathi with Gujarati endings. It varies considerably in different parts of the district and among different tribes. The language of the plain Bhils differs little except in pronunciation from the Marathi spoken by the other peasantry, while the, Akrani Pavras and western Bhils speak, among themselves,' a dialect of Gujarati unintelligible to the plain Bhil of central and south Khandesh.
Formerly most Bhils lived in hive-like huts, cresting the tops of
isolated hills, hastily put together to be crept into for a few weeks
or months, and then left [Graham's Bhil Tribes, Bom. Gov. Sel. XXVI. 204.] Most of them still live in thatched huts,
jhopdas, leaving them at once if disease breaks out, or if the hamlet is
thought haunted or unlucky. A few have one-storied dwellings, the
walls of unburnt bricks and the roof of mud with a small verandah in
front, and divided inside into two or more rooms. Each household
has as many cups as it has members, one or more earthen, wooden,
or metal platters, a large earthen or metal water jug, and cooking
utensils, and a wood or metal ladle; a stone slab with roller and
handmill, and a large knife for cutting vegetables; a cot or two
with bedding, a blanket, and a quilt made of pieces of clothes;
stitched one upon another; a cow or buffalo, a few fowls, a small
fishing net, and, now and then, a sword or matchlock with a bow
and a good stock of arrows.
The hill Bhil has seldom any clothing but a piece of cloth round
his loins and their women a coarse tattered robe. The peasant Bhil
wears a turban, a coat, and waistcloth, and their women a robe with
or without a bodice. Both men and women wear brass or silver
earrings, and when they can afford them, anklets.
Peasant Bhils drink liquor and eat millet bread, curry, curds, vegetables, fish, and, when they can afford it, goats flesh or mutton. Mountain Bhils are much less particular. They eat carrion, animals that have died a natural death, and probably in out-of-the-way places, the flesh of the cow. [Mr. Sinclair, C. S., in Ind. Ant, III. 189. This is not quite certain. Compare Ind. Ant. IV. 337. Akrani and Taloda Bhils eat onions and vegetables, ground fruits, nachni,kodra, rice, millet, and Indian millet. Mehvas Bhils eat hens, goats, hares, sheep, eggs, buffaloes, and fish, but not the flesh of horses, cows, or bullocks, nor do they kill sparrows or crows. Taloda Mamlatdar, 1876. One animal the Bhils never eat is the monkey. The Central India Bhils (Malcolm, II. 179) eat not only the flesh of buffaloes, but of cows.] They feed on wild roots and fruits, and on all sorts of vermin and garbage. Excessively fond of country spirits, generally' moha, Bassia latifolia, and immoderate in their use, they sometimes, as in Akrani, distil them, and in other places buy them from the liquor-seller or smuggle them. The lowland Bhils give caste dinners at births, betrothals, marriages, and deaths. These dinners, generally cooked by the women, consist of rice, wheat bread, split pease, and grain, a few vegetables, and a dish of sugared milk. The men do not, like the higher castes, take off their upper garments when they dine. The food is served in bell-metal dishes, four or five persons eating from the same dish. Children dine with the men, and women and grown girls after the men have dined. At these feasts they neither eat flesh nor drink liquor, and, except at a death feast, they always end with singing. The monthly food expenses of a Bhil, his wife, and two children, vary from about eight to sixteen shillings. [This includes two shers of millet, Indian millet, or wheat flour, a day, 4d. to 6d.; ½ sher pulse, ¾d.; spices ¾d.; total 7½d. (5 annas).]
Thriftless, fond of spirits, and loathing steady work, the Bhil is simple, faithful, and honest. The women, who in former times went to battle sometimes using slings with great effect, have much influence over the men. Though shy and timid, they are kindly, intelligent, hardworking, and honest. [Malcolm (Central India, II. 181) also gives the Bhil' women a good character for kindliness and hard work.] The Bhils are fond of amusement and excitement, hunting and fishing, playing games of chance, telling stories, singing to the accompaniment of a six-stringed fiddle, chikar, and dancing. In a Bhil dance men and women, keeping time to the music with a double shuffle, bend backwards and forwards, wheeling round the players in an irregular circle. At these dances men, with much gesticulation and whooping, often dress themselves as women, as Gosavis, or as wild animals. Occasionally some of the dancers roll along the ground, join hands, and bound backwards and forwards keeping time to the music with a double shuffle or jigging movement of the feet. The musical instruments are, in the east of the Satpudas, a drain, dhol, and a bagpipe, pavri. The drum, dhol, is made of goat skin stretched over a hollow block of Pterocarpus marsupium, bijarsal, wood. The bagpipe, pavri, is a hollow pumpkin fixed on two hollow bamboos with lute-like holes, three in one and five in the other. To the end of the pipes is fastened a hollow bison or cow horn, and a hole is made in the neck of the pumpkin down
which the Bhil blows, moving his fingers up and down over the lute-holes, and making a sound curiously like the bagpipes. In the west Satpudas they use a kettledrum, tur, beaten with sticks, and a tambourine, daf.
In praying to Mnsalman saints and to Khanderao, the Bhils often make small mud horses, and promise to give one of them to the shrine if their petition is heard. In common with Khandesh Kunbis they have an extreme reverence for the horse and dog. In many of their stories the chief event hangs on the help given by an enchanted horse.
The Bhils have no temples. Over some of their most sacred images they raise open sheds; but, in general, for a place of worship they choose some tree consecrated by a few large stones set on a mud terrace built round its root. They hold Benares sacred, and visit other regular Hindu shrines including Nasik and Jejuri. Their special place of pilgrimage is Hanmant Naik's Vadi, [A few miles south of Sangamner, by a pass called the Hanmant Naik's Vadi, the road climbs a lofty plateau. Near the top, upon the ridge of a natural trapdyke, a stone pillar commemorates the death of Hanmant Naik, a local Bhil chief who made war on the Moghals, or, according to another story, on the Peshwa. Their enemy came fighting about seventy miles from Poona, and the Bhils waited for them to pass. As Hanmant Naik was bending his bow, a trooper shot him in the breast with a matchlock ball. The wound was fatal, but as he fell he loosed his shaft and killed the horseman. After the battle the Bhils brought Hanmant's body, and buried it where the horseman had stood. Here all Bhils love to be buried, and once a year they come and slay cocks and drink deeply. The tomb is covered with little wooden legs and arms offered by worshippers, who hope by Hanmant's favour to cure an ailing limb. Close by are two or three other tombs of the same sort, square plat-forms surmounted by little obelisks, and others more modest. Mr. Sinclair, C.S. in Ind. Ant V. 8.] a few miles south of Sangamner on the Poona road. The less wild Bhils have generally a Brahman who acts as a house priest, and is paid in money or clothes.
Their chief festivals are Holi (March-April), which they always
celebrate with drunken orgies, and Dasra (October), when many
of them go to the chief towns, and, in their outskirts, sacrifice
to Durga, a goddess whom they at all times respect. [The Taloda and Akrani Bhils have three holidays in the year, Vaghdev,Divali, and Holi. The first is celebrated in the rainy season, when the god Vaghdev, who has no form or stone image, is worshipped at the headman's house. In honour of the god the headman offers a hen and distributes liquor. At Divali (October) they worship the village god, and the holiday continues for three days. The headman distributes liquor. Except some who pretend to be inspired by the god they do not dance. A buffalo is Killed, no work is allowed, and all busy themselves with playing on the small drum, dholki.. At Holi time the headman distributes liquor and the merrymaking lasts for five days.] Strong
believers in witchcraft, they have Barvas, [Barvas are supposed to have the hereditary gift of inspiration. Their powers are dormant till roused by music, and for this reason they have a class of musicians connected with them, proficient in numerous songs in praise of the hill deities. When the recitation of these songs has excited them, the Barvas begin to dance with frantic gestures, and, loosening their top knot, toss and whirl their heads with strong convulsions of the whole frame. In this state of phrenzy they utter oracles to which those who consult them. carefully listen. The Barvas are of various castes, Brahmans, Dhobhis, Hajams, and other Hindus, and admit disciples. Besides as oracles they set as physicians, and cure trifling complaints by herbs and other forest remedies. When the disease is beyond the reach of their skill, they attribute it to the evil influence of some witch, dakhin. In such cases, it is their duty to find out the witch, and this they do by performing various ceremonies, sometimes by music and at other times by waving a buneh or peacock's feathers round the patient's head. In some cases an old woman is fixed on as the witch, and by beating, twisting, and other torture, forced to declare her name. They must know her name, her reason for troubling her victim, and the terms on which she will be appeased. The Barvas of the poorer Bhils differ in some respects from the rest. Beyond the clashing of stones they require no music to excite them. Novices are required to perform daily ablutions in warm water for nine days, and to allow their hair to grow as long as possible. They then undergo a probation; and if music does not stimulate them to a state of frenzy, they are rejected as not being favoured by the gods with enough spiritual grace. Trans. Roy. As. Soc. I. 77.] or hereditary sorcerers,
whom they consult on all occasions particularly when planning some plunder raid, and whose advice they almost always follow. Especially among the lower tribes very great attention is paid to omens. If a man lets fall his bread by accident, if a bird screams on the left, if a snake crosses the path and escapes, or if any one meets them and asks where they are going, there will be no sport; on the other hand, a bird screaming on the right, a dead snake, or a stranger passing without speaking, promise a successful day. If bad luck is persistent, the Bhils, saying' natlaga,' often make in the sand or dust of the road, an image of a man or sometimes two images, one of a man the other of a woman, and throwing straw or grass over them set fire to the heap, and beat the images with sticks amidst much abuse and uproar. This they call killing bad luck.
The different classes of Bhils differ widely in customs. Among the wilder mountain Bhils the only observances are at marriage and death, and they are of the simplest. "With the assent of the girl's father marriages are generally arranged off-hand by the Naik's prime minister, pradhan, and the caste committee, panch. The aid of a Brahman or Bhat is not wanted ; a feast with plenty of drink completes the ceremony. The
chief and his minister get half a crown each, and about £1 5s. (Rs. 12 as. 8) are spent on drinking and feasting. At deaths wild Bhils have no special ceremonies. They take the dead body, and bury or burn it as is most convenient. Over their chiefs they raise cairns or rude piles of stones, and at certain times smear the top with oil, red lead, and vermilion.
The more civilised Bhils of the plains have very complete birth, marriage, and death ceremonies, differing little in detail from those practised by the higher
classes of Hindus. At birth a midwife is employed, and besides a bottle of liquor, is paid two shillings if the child is a boy, and one shilling if it is a girl. For four days no one but the midwife touches the mother. On the morning of the fifth day a party of women are called, and both mother and child are bathed in warm water. Just outside of the threshold of the hut, the mother cowdungs the ground and traces turmeric lines. In the middle of the drawing she places a lighted lamp, setting round it five flint stones corresponding to the number of days since the child was born. Round these pebbles she lays pieces of cocoa kernel, and over the whole sprinkles turmeric, millet, red powder, and liquor. The guests drop a few grains of millet over the mother and child, and they come back into the house. After
this the guests are feasted with wheat and rice bread, mutton, and liquor, and the whole night is spent in singing, smoking, and drinking. The lamp is allowed to burn for twenty-four hours. [During these festivities men and women remain separate; the men smoking and
drinking in one place and the women singing and beating a small drum, dhol, and
drinking in another. ]
On the twelfth day a dish of boiled millet and split pulse is
made ready. Some of it is laid on a brass platter in which are also
placed twelve wheaten cakes and lighted lamps, corresponding with
the number of days since the child's birth. In another dish a lamp, arti, is set, [Besides the lamp, there is in the dish red lead, red powder, cocoanut, a mixture
of fire different grains, and wet turmeric powder.] and along with the mother, women go in procession,
singing and beating the drum, towards the nearest running water,
where the mother arranges the twelve lamps. The cakes are placed
in a line between the lamps, and a little of the boiled food is laid
on each cake. The mother worships the water goddess, Jaldevta,
throws a little red lead, red powder, and some grains mixed with
turmeric into the water and on the twelve lamps, and lighting
a fire before the lamps, feeds it with oil. They then go home and
feast on mixed rice and pulse and oil.
Girls are generally married between twelve and sixteen, and
boys between sixteen and twenty. But from their parents' poverty
both boys and girls often remain unmarried till they are over
twenty. When a father can afford to marry his son he looks
about for a suitable match. The girl must not be the boy's first
cousin or belong to the same clan. [As among the Rajputs, two families of the same clan, Shindi, Barda Pavar, and
Rui, cannot intermarry. But marriage is allowed between members of the different
clans. Again there are minor sub-divisions such as Gaikwar, Pipalsa, and Morij
between which, as they are all of the same clan, marriage is not allowed. The questions
whether the members of certain families may intermarry is decided by the cast)
council, panch.] Suggestions of marriage come
from the boy's house and are taken by the boy's relations to the
girl's father. When it is known that a favourable reply will be
given, a formal proposal is made by the boy's father, or his nearest
relation. When the affair is so far settled, the nearest 'relations
both men and women go to the girl's house and there ask that the
girl shall be given in marriage to their boy. If her father agrees,
the girl is brought out and seated among the guests, and the boy's
father or his nearest relation offers her a packet of sweetmeats.
This over, they dine together and the guests before leaving talk over
the betrothal, and a day or two after, with the help of a Brahman
astrologer, the boy's father fixes the betrothal day.
On the betrothal day the astrologer, the boy, his father, and other relations, taking with them a robe, a bodice, and sweetmeats, go to the girl's house. After resting for a short time, the girl's father calls a council, panch, and in their presence agrees to give his daughter in marriage. The boy's father then presents the girl with a robe and bodice. A married woman touches the girl's brow with red powder and gives her some sweetmeats, blessing her and hoping that, like them, her life may be sweet. The whole party then drink
from funds supplied by a present of three shillings from each of the fathers. That evening the girl's father gives the guests a dinner, and next morning the boy and his party go home.
There is no fixed interval between the betrothal and the marriage. It may be a month or. it may be years. When he is in a position to meet the marriage expenses, the boy's father sends word to the girl's father that he is bringing the dowry, ghun [Ghun is a Bhil word corresponding with the Marathi hunda.] or dej. On arrival he and his company are given refreshments, and a council is called. The dowry, from £1 to £2 (Rs. 10 - Rs. 20), is settled, and the amount laid before the council in a metal plate. An unmarried woman of the girl's family touches, with red powder, one of the rupees in the plate, and the brows of the boy and his party. The girl is brought out and seated on the boy's father's lap, and the boy's father, taking a rupee, places it inside the top of the folds of her robe. The council then tell her to go into the house, and take two rupees from the plate, to buy liquor for the evening's entertainment. The rest of the dowry is handed to the girl's father. After a feast the evening ends with music and dancing. Next day the father, with a few friends, goes to the family priest, bhat, and fixes the marriage day.
Next comes the turmeric, haldi, ceremony, when turmeric, mixed with water, is rubbed on the boy's body, and part of it is taken, by a band of relations, to the girl's house, and there rubbed over her. After this, generally for about a fortnight, both the boy and the girl are rubbed morning and evening with turmeric. At both their houses booths [The booth at the boy's house is made of nine posts and that at the girl's of twelve.] are built, and at the girl's house an altar, bahule, is raised.
On the marriage day, an hour or two before the time fixed for, the ceremony, the boy, riding on horseback with a marriage ornament, basing, tied to his turban, starts with a company of relations and friends. On the way he is taken to the temple of Maruti, closely followed by his sister who walks behind him with a water jar, kara, in her hands in which five copper coins have been dropped. Halting at the temple all drink from a jar, ghada, of water, and one of their number the leader, vardhava, is seated on a pony, or on a man's shoulders, and taken to the girl's house. Here he is feasted and his face rubbed with soot, kajal. Going back to his friends he washes his face, and about sunset the party goes to the girl's house. As they draw near, the boy is pelted with onions and fruit, and when he arrives a cocoanut or a piece of bread is waved round him and either dashed on the ground or thrown away. When he dismounts seven women stand before the booth with full water pots, lotas, into each of which the boy drops a copper. After this, one of the women waves a lighted lamp round his face, receiving from him the present of a piece of cloth, cholkhan. The boy then sits facing the east. The Brahman priest sends for the girl, [In some cases the bridegroom himself goes.] and, seating her face to face with the boy, passes a
thread round them both. A coloured cloth is held between them high enough to prevent their seeing each other. The girl, joining her hands together, touches the cloth, and the boy from the other side clasps her ands with both of his. One of each party holds the boy and the girl round the waist, while the priest, standing on a raised platform, repeats marriage verses, and the guests throw grains of rice or millet over the heads of the couple. After a short time the priest claps his hands, the boy and girl throw garlands round each other's necks, the cloth, is pulled aside, guns are fired, music played, and the guests move about congratulating each other. Betelnut and leaves are distributed among the men, and turmeric and red powder among the women. The boy and the girl are seated on the altar; the laps of five married women are filled with wheat, rice, dates, and betelnuts; and round the boy's and girl's right wrists, yellow strings with a piece of turmeric are tied. The boy and girl then feed one another and the guests are feasted. After supper, sitting in small groups in and about the booth, the boy's party on one side and the girl's on the other, they pass their time in singing and drinking.
Next morning the boy and girl bathe, standing on low wooden stools, the women of the party all the time throwing water over them. Then comes the lap-filling, phalbharne, when the girl is given clothes and ornaments, and her lap is filled with wheat, rice, or millet, a piece of cocoa kernel,' dates, almonds, and betelnuts, and the parents and relations exchange presents of clothes and money. Then, with music, the boy's mother and her relations and friends go in procession to the girl's house, walking on clothes spread on the ground. At the house they are rubbed with oil and bathed in warm water, and if the girl's father can afford it, glass bangles are put round the women's wrists. Both boy and girl are then presented with clothes. During this time, till the return procession, the boy and girl amuse themselves, biting pieces of betel leaf or of cocoa kernel out of each other's mouths, or searching for a betelnut, hid in the other's clothes. While the boy is at his house the girl's father gives two dinners to his caste fellows and relations. After two or three days, a party from both families, taking the girl on horseback, go to the boy's house, and on the following day the boy's father gives a dinner. After this the yellow threads are taken off the wrists and necks of both the boy and the girl, and they are bathed to remove all traces of turmeric. In a poor family, the ordinary marriage expenses amount, in the case of the bridegroom, to £2 10s. (Rs. 25), and in the case of the bride, to £1 10s. (Rs.15).
The Bhils allow and practise polygamy and widow marriage. When a man wishes to marry a widow he sends some of his friends to urge his suit with the woman or with her parents and relations. If his proposals are accepted, the suitor takes to the woman's house a robe and bodice, a bead necklace, two liquor jars, and some boiled peas, and sugar. The match is then settled. The man takes with him a few friends and the materials for a feast, and they share the food with a party of the woman's relations. The woman dresses herself in the clothes brought to her, and after the guest
leave, she and her husband pass the night together. Next morning they start from the house before daybreak, and spend the whole of the day in the field, in some lonely place three or four miles from the village, their friends sending them food. These widow marriages are often preceded by an elopement, which, after the payment of a fee to the head of the community, is condoned by the parents and relations. [Trans. Roy. As. Soc. I. 86.]
When a Bhil is on the point of death, his relations distribute money among the poor in his name. When he dies the body is laid on a blanket or on a piece of cloth spread over a blanket. An earthen pot full of cold water is placed near the door of the house, and the body is brought out, held in a sitting position outside the door, and water poured over it. The old clothes are taken off, and tying a new piece of cloth round the loins, the body is laid on the bier and covered with a new white sheet leaving the face bare, and the head covered with a turban. Red powder, gulal, is sprinkled over the face, and some bread and cooked rice are tied together in a piece of cloth and placed on the bier. The body is then tied with a string to the bier, and carried to the burying ground on the shoulders of four near male relations. In front of them go the sons of the deceased, the chief mourner carrying fire in an earthen jar, and one of the others carrying an earthen jug full of water. Halfway to the grave, the bier is lowered, and some of the cooked food is laid near a bush. The bearers change places, and without further halt the body is carried to the burying ground. Here the bier is lowered and. the mourners help in digging a grave, [They either bury their dead, or cover them with piles of stones when graves cannot be prepared. Wilson's Aboriginal Tribes, 4.] long enough for the body, and to prevent it being opened by wild animals, about five or six feet deep. In this the body is laid, the head to the south and the arms stretched along either side. Cooked rice and bread are placed in the mouth, and the body is sprinkled with water. Before leaving the grave, the man who is last arranging the body, tears a small hole in the winding sheet. Then the whole party sit round the grave, so far off that they cannot see the body, and the chief mourner throws a handful of earth on the corpse, and, all joining, cover the corpse with earth. When the body is covered they rise and fill the grave, cutting a small trench round it. In this trench, beginning from the north, they pour water out of an earthen jug, and when the circuit of the grave is complete, drop the jug and break it to pieces. Then the bier is turned upside down and burned, and the funeral party,
going the nearest water, bathe and accompany the chief mourner to his house. In front of his house a fire is lit, and into it some woman's hair is dropped, [This is not usually done Mr. J. Pollen, C.S.] and each of the funeral party taking some nim, Melia azadirachta, leaves, throws them' on the fire, and passing his open palms through the smoke, rubs them over his face. The mourners are now pure, and after taking a draught of liquor, go to their homes. [The above is true of the plain and Satmala Bhils, who invariably bury and never burn their dead. But the Akrani and Dung Bhils, except in cases of smallpox, cholera, and leprosy, burn their dead. They have the curious custom of carrying the deceased's wife on his bier, and after going a little distance, or, as others say, after reaching the burning ground, of setting her down. The wife breaks her necklace, and every one near lays a copper coin in the deceased's mouth. The widow's ornaments, if she has any, and the deceased's clothes are burnt with him, His shoes and water pots are given to his sister's son, but the other furniture is burnt with him. Though he is generally, the son is not always the first to light the funeral pile. These wild Bhils have no fixed days for performing the after-death ceremonies, When they can afford it, the chief mourner buys a hen, and putting it in a basket, takes it to the spot where the Mhar has thrown away the deceased's ashes. The party then bathe, bring the hen back with them, and drink. The widow's hair is cut off, and the hen is cooked by her, The proceedings end by the gift of a turban to the deceased's or his sister's son. Taloda Mamlatdar (1876).]
On the third day, one of the women of the mourning household rubs the right shoulders of the pall-bearers with oil, milk, and cowdung, and washes them with nim twigs steeped in cow's urine. Then the four men bathe and are treated to a dinner. In the house the only sign of mourning is that every morning for five days the women wail for about a quarter of an hour.
On the eleventh day the chief mourner goes to a river, and there has his head, beard, and face shaved, and bathes. Next he makes a dough cow, sprinkles it with red powder, and setting it on a leaf plate, bows to it, and throws it into the water. He then bathes and goes home.
Either on the twelfth or the forty-fifth day, a potter, Kumbhar, is called and a seven-step hemp ladder, chodhvan, is set against the wall of the house that the soul of the dead may climb by it to heaven. The priest sits at the foot of the ladder and chants a verse from the Purans, and the string by which the ladder is fastened to the ground is burnt, and the ladder pulled down and thrown away. The spot where the ladder was tied is then spread with flour, and a small plate with a piece of bread and cooked rice is laid over it. In the plate is set a small water pot, and along-side of the water pot a lighted lamp covered by an empty bamboo basket with a cloth drawn over it. This day a grand dinner is prepared, and before beginning, five mouthfuls are burnt near the basket. The burial rites for a woman are the same as those for a man. When a child dies its father carries the body in his arms and buries it, and on the seventh day a small dinner is given. In some rare cases the Bhils burn instead of burying their dead.
They work as husbandmen and field labourers, sell grass and fuel, help the ordinary Kunbi landholder, and when they can get them, gather wax and honey. Wives help their husbands, and a harvest time, whole families leave their homes, and for three or four weeks work as reapers. For this they are paid in kind, generally earning enough to last them from one to two months. Bhils never leave Khandesh in search of work. They sometimes change their village, but for the most part have lived for long in the same place. Their average monthly wages vary from 8s. to 16s. (Rs. 4-Rs. 8). In spite of their good wages all are very poor and usually in debt.
The Bhils differ much in their religious beliefs and practices.
Some of the wildest tribes worship only the tiger god, vaghdev; most pay special reverence to the mother, mata, and to Mahadev; while others worship the ordinary local Hindu gods chiefly Bhairoba, Khandoba, Kanoba, the goddess Aibhavanimata, and Shitlamata the small-pox goddess, whom they invoke under various names. [Among their minor deities are Kali, Hatipava, Vaghacha Kunver, Halkmata, Khodiyalmata, Devikanail, Behyu Baji, Ghora Raja, Hallam, Chaukondamata, Hauinvanamata, Bhulbaimata, Bhadribaimata, and Ghona.] Almost all worship the spirits of their ancestors and believe in sorcery, witchcraft, and omens. [Of the religion of the Central India Bhils, Sir J. Malcolm says (Central India, II. 181): The essentials are similar, but the forms different from the religion of other Hindus. Their ceremonies are much united to propitiatory offerings and sacrifices to some of the Hindu minor infernal deities, but particularly, to the goddess of small-pox. They also pay great reverence to Mahadev. Of the Bhil practice of walking over fire, Mr. Horst of the Trigonometrical Survey (Report for 1876-77) gives the following account. Not believing that certain Bhil priests could make people walk barefoot over fire, I sent for them. As it was not Holi time they consented to show the feat with great reluctance. They dug a hole about four feet long and eighteen inches deep and half filled it with live coals. The priest then muttered an incantation and fanned the coals till they were bright. He then offered a fowl and waved a naked sword six times over the fire, after which he desired a Bhil sitting, by him to walk over the coals. This the Bhil did, taking six deliberate steps, and thrice repeating the operation. Trickery was suspected, but on his feet being examined, they were not found the least burnt or blistered. A Musalman peon, a native of Oudh, was then asked to walk over the fire, which he did without the least hesitation, as, he said, it was charmed. Though he moved half a foot at a time, the flesh of his
sole was not even singed.] Their gods are stones smeared with red lead and oil. They generally worship, them accompanied by their priests, the Ravals or Bhats. They first offer an animal and then liquor, [Their rule about sacrifices is that Hatipava and Vaghacha Kunver should get
a bullock, and the other deities a he-goat or a fowl, a cock for a god and a hen for a goddess.] and after lighting a fire, cast into it a little of the flesh and wine with some pulse. Repeating a prayer they bow before the gods, and then partake of the flesh and liquor after giving the priest his share.
Among the plain Bhils disputes are generally settled by reference to a council, panch. Each of the wilder mountain tribes has an hereditary chief, naik, some of whom were formerly men of great power, and were served by the Bhils with wonderful faithfulness.
Each chief has an hereditary minister, pradhan or chaudhri, also a Bhil. As is the case with Mhars and Mangs, Bhil
Organisation is by districts not by single villages. The district, pargana, consists of a given area or group of from ten to twenty villages, and, as its headman, the naik receives through his minister all requests for arbitration committees, panchs. All Bhils, obey, or are supposed to obey, the naik of their particular pargana. Difference of clan, which is a social rather than a political distinction, matters but little. A Mori Bhil will pay the same deference to a Gaikwad naik as is paid by a Bhil of the Gaikwad clan. At all feasts and high ceremonies the minister seats and arranges the guests and attends to their wants, and his wife to the wants of the women guests. The chief presides and leads the feast. [In Control India the Bhil chiefs were called Tadvis. The people were devoted to them and implicitly obeyed their commands. (Malcolm, II. 180).]
The following are short sketches of some of the leading tribes, which, though commonly included under the general term Bhil, differ in many respects from the more orderly plain Bhils.
NAHALS, living chiefly on the north side of the Satpudas, bordering on Holkar's Nimar and the towns of Balvadi, Palasner, and
Sindva, and in smaller numbers in Chirmira and Virvada, are the
most savage of the Bhils. Very dark, small, and harsh-featured,
they wear brass earrings, and, as shoes, pieces of nilgai hide
tied with strings. [Their appearance is much against them, their features are even more harsh and
disagreeable than the Bhils, very dark and of a diminutive stature. Mr. Giberne
Rev. Roe. 208 of 1828, 1257.] They live chiefly on roots, fruit, and berries,
shun all intercourse, and lead an utterly savage existence. A few
raise a little grain among the ashes of burnt boughs or barter
forest produce for cloth, but they are seldom seen beyond the
limits of their native forests. Some of them are Musalmans; [Ind. Ant. IV. 339.] but
most have no noticeable religion, neither worshipping Hindu idols
nor following the Musalman creed. They have an hereditary
headman, naik. In 1823 the Nahals were in a disturbed state, and
caused very great trouble. [Mr. Giberne Collector of Khandesh, Rev. Rec. 208 of 1828, 1256.]
KHOTILS, numbering 223 souls, dwell side by side with the Nahals
along the south face of the Satpudas, and are found in large numbers at Dhauli, Vaijapur, and in many of the Chopda and Shirpur villages. The Tadvis and people of Savda call all Bhils Khotils. But Khotils and Nahals are distinct classes, regarded by the pure Bhil as degraded, because they indulge in carrion, and do not hesitate to touch the dead body of the cow. The Khotils barter gums and wax for the produce of the plains. In their habits and customs the Nahals and Khotils are much alike. They are great huntsmen and very fond of liquor, drinking to excess especially at Holi (March-April) time. The day after Holi they set out huntings and sweep the forests running down peafowl and jungle fowl with great glee and wonderful success, and sometimes with the help of their dogs and arrows, bagging even a spotted deer or a blue bull. Many of them worship the tiger god and refuse to join in a tiger hunt. Their religious ceremonies are very simple requiring no Brahman. The child is named by its parents or tribesmen, and as it grows up follows in its parent's footsteps. If a boy, he joins his father in the chase, helps to catch fish and gather leaves, lac, honey, wild berries, and other forest produce, which are bartered with some shopkeeper in the plain for cash or credit. If a girl, she helps her mother in cooking and corn grinding. "When the time for marriage comes, if old enough the lad himself, or if he is too young, his father, arranges with the girl's father for a certain price. The caste committee, panch, and the headman, naik, are asked to witness the agreement, and a day is fixed for the ceremony. The officiating priest, a Bhil by caste, known as Mankar or Chaudhri, is the Naik's minister, pradhan. For his service he gets a turban or some other present, or a money fee of 2s.6d. (Re. 1 as. 4). If the headman is present, he also is
paid half a crown or three shillings. After, in the ordinary way, the bride and bridegroom have been rubbed with turmeric, on the auspicious evening the minister begins the ceremony by asking the bridegroom the name of his bride. He tells her name and ties his waistcloth or trousercloth to her gown, lugda. Then she is asked the bridegroom's name, and after saying it, ties her robe to his. Thus tied together they turn seven times round, and the ceremony is complete. A feast, costing from 10s. to £3 (Rs. 5-Rs. 30), follows, and the bridegroom goes to his father-in-law's hut where he lives from a week to three months or a year, and then takes the bride to his own dwelling. They bury their dead without form or ceremony, piling a few stones to mark the grave. Surnames common among the Nahals are Kalamba, Vadia, Pipria, and Chavania; and among the Khotils, Ghartia, Takria, and Ghania.
The Pavras, Varlis, and Dhankas or Dhankauras, people the
Akrani sub-division and parts of Taloda and Shahada. PAVRAS,
numbering 3938 souls, are said to be Rajputs who were driven by the Udepur chiefs from their homes near the hill fort of Palagad. [This account of the Pavras is mainly compiled from an article by Lieut. Rigby (1849) in Trans. Bom. Geog. Soc. IX. 74-83.] They come from the Mathvad state north of the Narbada and are often called Mathvadis. [Mr. Davidson, C.S.] They are called Pavra Bhils, Pavra Naiks, and Pavra Kolis indifferently, but they are more like Konkan sea Kolis than Bhils. The Pavras are usually short and slightly built. Their features, flatter than those of the ordinary Hindu, show intelligence and good nature. They have low round foreheads, wide nostrils, and thick lips, and wear their hair long and moustaches though they pluck out the beard. The women are stout and buxom, and when young, very' comely, fair, and with expressive features. Their language is irregular, governed by few rules. Full of rolling vowels and diphthongs it is more like Gujarati than Marathi. It is never written, and they are always examined in court by interpreters. [Ind. Ant. III. 250. I went into his house=Moi toino ghorman goloi thoio. It will be observed that though the participle goloi approaches the Marathi gelo, the genitive in na and the substantive verb thoio are more like Gujarati.] Their verb has no infinitive, and only two tenses, past and present. The other tenses are formed by the addition of an irregular verb. Though they have many words in common, the Pavras use b where the Varlis use p, and in words drawn from a foreign source, the Pavras change s into a and sh into ha. [The following are a few of Mr. Rigby's examples:
A snake has bit me.
I am very poor.
Have you taken the medicine?
Amho ek hap juliyo.
Me ghanno nablo
Tu sal khadoka.
Amho huve chavihe.
Me bhari kangal hoi.
Yu ohar khade.
Ai bhari gharab moho.
Tuvo ohor leho.
A Pavra's house is better built and more comfortable than a
Varli's. Instead of letting his cattle live in his house, the Pavra
has usually two thatched huts of interlaced bamboos, one for his
family the other for his cattle. Generally scattered about in small
groups, each forming a small farming establishment, the houses are
enclosed by a courtyard, on one side of which are arranged a number
of circular store houses for grain, and a shed for the earthen water
vessels which are always set on a raised bamboo frame. Underneath this water-pot frame is usually a wooden trough with
water for the goats and fowls. Mango and other trees are planted
round the houses and along the divisions between fields, and are
carefully protected by bamboo trellis work. The Pavras eat only
goats, sheep, and fowls. All smoke tobacco, but they never use
opium, and very seldom hemp. Though they drink a great quantity
of moha liquor at their feasts and marriages, in ordinary life they
are very temperate. The men wear a red and white striped loincloth, langoti, generally made at Roshmal in Akrani and costing from
3d. to 6d. (2 annas- 4 annas), and a shouldercloth. The women
have generally more clothes than the Varlis, but they do not think
it any harm to go naked to the waist. Like the Varlis, they wear
brass rings on their legs, and massive necklaces of brass and
pewter beads, silver armlets, and massive earrings two or three
inches round. The men also usually wear a pair of large silver
earrings, with a square drop heavy enough to draw down the lobes.
No children of either sex, however young, are allowed to go about
without some clothes. Distinguished from the Varlis and the low
land Bhils by their better condition, their agricultural habits, and
their language, the Pavras deny that they are Bhila and consider
the name a reproach.
Though shy of strangers, when their confidence is gained, they are cheerful, frank, and talkative; they are very honest and hardworking, and full trust may be placed on their word. They are very fond of their country and seldom leave it. [A young Pavra peasant, who was bound over to give evidence at Malegaon in a homicide case, went home, and having spoken of his dread of the approaching journey, immediately committed suicide. Lieut. Rigby (1849) in Trans. Bom. Geog Soc. IX. 75.] Affrays, chiefly boundary disputes, now and then occur between the people of different villages, but robbery is almost unknown. They are very hospitable among themselves, their women and children constantly visiting from house to house, and some of their headmen spending their whole store of grain in entertaining guests. Passionately fond of music and dancing, their chief musical instruments are a two-stringed fiddle, runthi, an instrument like the bagpipe without the bag, pavlu, a bamboo fife, pavi, a large drum, mandol, and a small drum, dhol. Their music is neither harsh nor untuneful, and is superior to any heard in the plains. In their dances, about fifty men and women pass in a large circle round the musicians, gradually becoming more excited as the music grows louder and quicker. Some of the men flourish drawn swords, and, at intervals, all raise a loud shout and turn sharply
round facing outwards. The bulk are husbandmen, many of them very skilled. They are much attached to their land and fond of adorning their homesteads with groves of mangoes and charolitrees. Some are carpenters and blacksmiths, but none barbers or shoemakers. Each man is his own barber, and each family makes its own field tools and basketwork. Except for their shoes which they bring from Kukurmunda, and their silver and brass ornaments which are made by Hindu workmen of Roshmal, they have little need of foreign craftsmen. The women never work in the fields. Their only outdoor work is gathering moha flowers and charoli nuts.
Their religion is simple. They have neither priests, temples, nor idols. They worship a supreme creator, bhagvan, and strive to please him with sacrifices and offerings. In the forest near each village is a sacred tree, round which, before harvest, the villagers meet and prostrate themselves before the rising sun, offer corn, and sacrifice goats and fowls. The deity to whom these offerings are made is called Bava Kumba. His wife, Rani Kajhal, has also, not far from her husband's, a sacred tree to which offerings are made. They worship the tiger god, vaghdev, but only to propitiate it and prevent it attacking their cattle, or when it has carried off any of their people. Though they acknowledge no household or village deities and reverence no rivers or fire, they are very superstitious, believing in witchcraft and sorcery. Before the British rule, many an old woman had her nose slit under the suspicion of being a witch, dakhin, the idea being that the loss of the nose destroys all power to work evil. A belief in omens is common. Odd numbers are lucky, but to see a black bird, called pichi, is most ill-omened. At the beginning of any undertaking they cast omens with a bow and arrows. They salute friends by taking the two hands of the person saluted, and saying bhaj,bhaj, that is worship.
No ceremonies take place at birth. The child is named on the fifth or twelfth day, and for seven or eight days its mother is considered unclean. The father, mother, or oldest member of the family call the child whatever they please. They have no names 'derived from gods or religion, and no surnames. Bhutia, Rattria, and Mangtia are some of their male names, and Jutni, Guri, Budol, and Chinki, some of the female names.
The marriage ceremony is never performed till both the bride and bridegroom are of age, [Lieut Rigby (1849) in Trans. Bom. Geog. Soc. IX. 77. At present (1876) the rich marry their sons at ten or twelve.] and the young men are generally allowed to choose for themselves. [Later (1876) accounts would seem to show that relations look out for a wife.] Though she is generally
younger, cases are not rare when the wife is older than the husband. The youth, or his father, gives the bride about 4 10s. (Rs. 45),[Of these £2 were for the bride,
12s. or 14s. for the bridegroom, and the rest for her father. Of late the sum has been increased to £11. (RS. 110), the bride and bridegroom getting the same as before, and the increased balance going to the bride's father.] but if poor and unable to pay the fixed amount, the youth gives his bullocks to the bride's father. If poorer still, he binds himself to serve his future father-in-law for a period of
eight or ten years, becoming what is termed the house son-in-law, ghorjavai, the Gujarati gharjamai. During this period the youth lives with the girl's family and is generally married to her when half the term agreed to is over. Marriages [Later (1876) accounts show that this rule is not always kept.] are held only during Phalgun (March) and Vaishakh (May). The father of the youth first demands the girl of her father; if he agrees, the price demanded is paid, and the dija ceremony is over. The bridegroom's wedding garments consist of a waistcloth, [The waistcloth is tied round the waist after passing one end of it round the shoulder after the fashion of women.] about eight or ten cubits long and costing from 2s. to 10s. (Re. 1 - Rs. 5); a turban from 2s. to 4s. (Re. 1 - Rs. 2); a shoulder cloth, [The shoulder cloth is either placed well folded on the shoulder or worn so as to cover the back.] jotha; a long cloak; and a head-cloth. He wears two silver bracelets, six or eight rings on the right hand, and some rings in the earlobes. The bride's clothes, provided by her father, consist of a robe, lugda, costing from 4s. to 10s. (Rs. 2-Rs. 5), and a bodice, kacholi. She wears tin bracelets. The usual ceremonies begin by the boy's father taking a liquor jar to the girl's house and sprinkling some of its contents on the floor; the eldest man in the village is then asked to perform worship, puja, with the liquor, for which he receives ¾d. (½ anna). Offerings of rice and kodra liquor are then made to their deity Bava Kumbs. The next day the bride and bridegroom are covered with turmeric and the latter, clad in his wedding garments, goes in procession, with music and dancing, to demand the bride of her parents. [Lieut. Rigby in Trans.
Bom. Geog. Soe. IX. 78. Later (1876) accounts differ in several of the details. According to them, on the day before marriage, all the bridegroom's relations go dancing to the bride's village and stop there for the night, perform religious ceremonies next morning, and then, one of them carrying the bride on his waist, they come to the bridegroom's village to perform the marriage ceremonies, which generally take place in the afternoon. First they wordship Khandoba, who is represented by a heap of rice with two pine on it. The couple is then seated on a stool, the ends of their garments are tied together, and they throw rice on each other. When this is done, it is a custom with some families to take the pair on their shoulders and dance.].
She is then brought out and seated near her husband and while women chant marriage songs, [One of their marriage songs runs: Bava
Kumba Rani Kajhal sage viha, Dola doline gida gate viha; Ravat Kumbi sage rod dangro, Rani Kajhal sage viha vadauna; Sarahi chulis penhe dekhne jai viha: that is, ' How beautiful is the marriage of Bava Kumba and Rani Kajhal. It is celebrated with songs and mirthful music. Ravat Kumba appears like a valiant warrior. Rani Kajhal appears beautiful to the beholder. Let us deck ourselves gaily and go to the marriage.' Another runs: Runga devino viha, Saola rango rani haola indro viha; Yu lage haola rani lage bhud, Rani Kajhal lage babi; Rana Kumbha lages bhai, Bohare dugar viha hate dhurna vigvari; Rana janu viha bhud lage chovar udle chohor; that is, 'The goddess of the woods is about to be married. Rana Saola and Rani Haola are about to be united. She is the sister of the wood goddess, she is the sister-in-law of Rani Kajhal, she is the sister of Ravat Kumba. A marriage is being celebrated in the great mountains; anoint the happy couple with turmeric; let the sisters, as at a royal marriage, scatter the sacred powder and wave the fan above them. Trans Bom. Geog. Soc. IX. 78.] the married pair are, with dancing and music, raised on the shoulders of their friends. Then, with no stint of liquor, the bride's parents give a feast to the whole company, and after the feast, all go in procession to the house of the bridegroom and are entertained there for two days. After this the newly
married couple are left together for five days. On the sixth the bride's father takes the girl home and gives an entertainment to the whole village. Two days after, the. bridegroom, with his friends, goes to his father-in-law's house, and presenting him with a liquor jar, demands his bride and escorts her home. When he leaves, the bridegroom gives the headman of the girl's village and of each village through which the procession passes, 1½d. (1 anna). Simple fornication between an unmarried couple is punished by a small fine, and it is not uncommon for a girl to be the mother of one or two children before her marriage. No marriage ceremony is performed in such cases. She is merely given to the father of her children after he has paid 'the regular caste fine. Though the girl is not fined, she, foregoes by such a marriage all the privileges of a regularly married woman.
Widow marriage is allowed; but if the widow has no son, her father-in-law does not, as a rule, give her the clothes provided for her by her deceased husband. Her children, if young, accompany her; but return to their father's house on coming of age, unless, which generally happens, the second husband keeps them with himself. Polygamy is common, and those who can afford it have three or four wives.
Except lepers, persons who have died of cholera and small-pox,
women dying in child-birth, and children under two or three months
who, as a rule, are buried, the Pavras either burn or bury their dead.
So great is their aversion to a leper that, when living, he is kept in a
distant cottage, and when dead, is buried by a Mhar untouched by a
Pavra. In ordinary funerals a party of them carry the corpse. A
rupee, or, if the family be poor, a pice is placed in the deceased's
mouth, a little rice, turmeric, and red powder, gulal, are rubbed on the
forehead, and his sword [This sword and the rupee or pice placed in his mouth go to the Mangs or the musicians.] and bows and arrows are placed in the bier by
his side. With the sound of drums and music the body is carried to
the burying or burning ground. The widow wears good clothes on
the day of her husband's death, cooks rice in an earthen pot, and after
the corpse is carried away, breaks the pot outside the house door, and
follows the burial party dressed in new clothes. On her return, she
puts on her old clothes, and unless she wishes to marry, never again
wears gay clothes or ornaments. All the furniture of the deceased,
dishes, cots, and pots except drinking pots, is buried or burnt
with him. If the dead did not own these articles, they are bought
and laid by his side. His silver ornaments are also sometimes burnt.
But shoes, cows, and money are given to his sister's son, bhacha. 0n the return of the funeral party, some drink, and all bathe. On
the eighth day after death, friends and relations meet at the house
of the deceased and drink a jar of liquor. Though the death is not
considered to have made the family impure, they perform ceremonies
on the twelfth day after death. The ground is smeared with
cowdung, leaf plates are spread, straws are laid to represent the
dead man's forefathers, liquor is sprinkled on the ground, and a
dinner of rice, or mixed rice and pulse, is given to the caste-fellows. On that day they drink, but do not dance. It is not obligatory to perform these ceremonies on the twelfth day; if that day does not suit, they can be performed on any day within the month. Till these ceremonies are over, the nearest relations do not wear turbans. Like other Bhils, Pavras leave a house in which two or three deaths have taken place.
Pavras have three chief holidays, Indraja,Divali, and Shimga or Holi. Indraja, apparently in honour of Indra, is held only when the year is good or when a vow has to be discharged. It is celebrated on any Sunday, Wednesday, or other lucky day between Dasra and Divali. Its chief ceremony consists in planting a kadamb, Nauclea parvifolia, branch in front of a landlord's, jamindar's, house, so as to remain one cubit underground and a man's height above. The branch is rubbed with vermilion and worship begins at midnight. A goat and hen are killed and offered, and dancing is kept up till daybreak. Next morning at about ten they pull up the branch and throw it into some neighbouring river or pond. On returning they drink and dance, and eat the goat and hen offered overnight.
Divdli, sometimes called Nagdivali, is a yearly festival celebrated in the month of Posh (January) on different dates in different villages, so as to last on the whole for nearly a month. Four or five stones are brought from a neighbouring river and placed outside ' the village, but within the limits of the village lands. They are then painted red, and next day at noon worship begins. Liquor is sprinkled on the ground and freely drunk, and goats and hens are killed, Dancing begins at nightfall. Two men, holding two lighted bamboo sticks, go from house to house followed by the villagers. Every housewife comes out with a lighted lamp in her hand, waves it before them, spots their foreheads with lamp oil, and gives them drink. After dancing for a few minutes, the procession passes to another house and there go through the same routine. Next day they feed their bullocks with Indian millet, rice, banti, and paral, and give them drink.
Shimga or Holi takes place, as elsewhere, on the fifteenth of the
bright half of Phalgun (March). Immense crowds meet at Dhedgaon,
the central village and police head-quarters of the Akrani territory
A pit is dug, and a wooden rod thrust into it and lighted about
ten or eleven at night. Every one present brings a piece of bread
some rice, and a cock. Portions of these are thrown into the fire
and the rest is handed round among friends. Then, with the help
of an occasional draught, they dance till dawn.
In each village the oldest man is looked up to as the chief of the community and invested with a sort of patriarchal authority. Simple fornication between an unmarried couple is punished by a small fine and adultery by paying the injured husband his marriage expenses.
VARLIS, [From Lieut, Rigby's article on the Satpuda Mountains. Trans. Bom. Geog, Soc
IX. 74-83.] like Pavras, found only in the mountainous tract that
stretches about thirty miles west of Akrani, differ greatly from them in appearance. They are tall and dark, very slim but well made, with features somewhat negro in type. They wear no headdress, but parting their hair in the middle let it now loosely over their shoulders. Their women usually go naked to the waist. On both legs, from the ankle half way up the calf, they wear tiers of massive brass rings, fitted so tight as to cause the flesh to shrink. These rings are never taken off, and are buried with the wearers. Though many of their words are the same as those used by Pavras, there is much difference both in pronunciation and grammar, their language being more like Gujarati than the Pavras. Living in houses meaner and less
comfortable than the Pavras, they eat all kinds of animals, except dogs, oats, and tigers. They lead a pastoral life, growing little corn and having large herds of cattle, the milking of which is the women's chief occupation. They are very unwilling to part with their
cows, but freely dispose of their bullocks as they seldom use the plough, doing most of their tillage with hand tools. Their birth and death customs are the same as those of the Pavras', and the only difference in their marriage customs is that, among them, marriage takes place during any month of the year. They have no distinction of caste or sect, nor have they any priest, guru. As among the Pavras, the oldest man of each village acts as chief of the community and is invested with a sort of patriarchal authority,
MAVCHI, [The Mavchis are akin to the Sahyadri Kolis, and derive their name, perhaps, from a contraction of Mavalache, men of the sunset, Maval, or sunset being a term applied in several parts of the Deccan to the highlands which form its western horizon, Mr., Sinclair, C.S., in Ind, Ant. III. 187, and IV. 338.] MAUCHI, or GAVIT BHILS, numbering 154, dwell here and
there under the shadow of Turanmal, and along the hills towards
Shahada and Shirpur. Though numerous in Nandurbar and Navapur,
they are chiefly found in the high western Pimpalner plateaus.
Rather tall and fair, they are, perhaps from the unhealthiness of the
country, weaker in body than the Akrani Pavras. They constantly
change their huts and move about. They eat beef. They are a
timid, inoffensive, quiet, and well-behaved people, rather given to
drink, and especially the wilder ones, truthful. They are very
ignorant and superstitious, tracing all disasters to the influence
of witches. Their commonest crime is the murder of old women
supposed to be witches. Far less industrious than the Pavras,
they are greater drunkards and very fond of finery. They seldom
enter Government service. Mainly cultivators some have of late
taken to carting in Pimpalner. They worship Astamba, Gavli,
Vaghdev, and Parmeshvar. A bridegroom has often to serve his
father-in-law for a term of years. Five years is the usual period,
but credit is often given and the girl allowed to live with her
husband before the full term is over. Among the Mavchis, as
among the Nahals and Khotils, the marriage tie is loose, and a
woman may leave her husband and marry another for comparatively trivial reasons. The caste committee, panch, usually awards
compensation, but cases are not rare when the husband does
not think it worth his while to apply to the committee, and comforts
himself with another wife. In such cases infants generally go with
their mother, and grown-up children remain with their father. They
bury their dead, and often lay the deceased's personal property in
the grave with him. Though rude they are an improvable class.
MATHVADIS, also called PANARIS, [Rev. Rec. 208 of 1828, 1261.] are found in the north of
Taloda, in the Satpuda Bhil villages, and in the trans-Narbada state of Mathvad from which they take their name, and from which they are said to have come to the Satpudas before the British conquest of Khandesh. Of ordinary size, they are generally dark with round faces. They allow their hair to grow but shave their beards. Though at home they still speak Mathvadi, a mixture of Gujarati and Rangdi Nemadi, with outsiders they talk in a language which seems to be a mixture of Gujarati, Nemadi, and Urdu. Formerly they dressed in Gujarat fashion, but they have now taken to the Bhil loincloth, langoti, a turban or head-kerchief, rumal, and a piece of linen covering the chest. At marriages they wear silk-bordered waistcloths. Their women wear the robe, sadi. The men's ornaments are small silver earrings and the women's tin rings and silver bracelets. Brass noserings and round silver anklets are used only by the rich. Their food is rice,. millet, nagli, and bhadli; the flesh of sheep, deer, and hens, but never of bullocks or buffaloes. Husbandry is their chief occupation. The few non-cultivators graze cattle and sell grass and fuel, and their women gather charoli, Buchanania latifolia, nuts. Their houses, which they share with their cattle and change once every three years, are generally grass huts with bamboo partitions. The well to-do use brass vessels, but most of them have only earthen pots. They keep cows, buffaloes, sheep, hens, and bullocks for sale. They worship Vaghdev and the river Narbada. They have no priests. Their chief festivals are the thirtieth, amavasya, of Ashadh (July-August), Shimga or Holi (March-April), and Divali (Ootober) when they eat and drink freely and always end with a dance. After the formal demand, magni, the betrothal of a girl takes
place generally at the age of twelve, and she is married about a year later. The bride's father gets £6 (Rs. 60), besides clothes and ornaments for the bride. They have the regular Kunbi marriage ceremonies, tying the knot, and joining hands and walking round chavribhavri. There is no officiating priest. They burn their dead except young children whom they bury. With the deceased, his clothes and ornaments are carried to the burning ground where the Mhar takes them away. The deceased's widow follows her husband's corpse as far as the village limits. As on marriage occasions, caste people are invited and liquor drunk. Though they have special headmen, mahajana, disputes are generally settled by some old men. If the accused is found guilty, the punishment is generally a fine in the form of a compulsory caste entertainment.
BARDAS and DOREPIS, living in the hills to the north-west about
Akrani and Dhedgaon, are despised on account of their skill in
basket-weaving and cultivation. Though they are generally so classed, the Dorepis do not call themselves Bhils. A poor timid race they are very scantily clothed, and, avoiding other people, generally build a nest of huts on a rising ground about two miles from the main village. They hold in point of respectability a position between the Kunbi and the ordinary Bhil. With no attachment to any particular place they move from one village to another, but seldom leave the district. Such skilful cultivators are they that the village headmen, patils, are always anxious to encourage them to settle. [Rev. Rec 208 of 1828, 1259.]
DANGCHIS, or DANG BHILS, living below the Sahyadris, are the most uncivilised of all the wild tribes, stunted in body by their drunken dissolute life, and dulled in mind by hardships and bitter poverty. They are very dirty feeders, eating monkeys, rats, and all small vermin, not to mention cattle killed by tigers or themselves. Even on grand occasions their dress is only a loincloth, langoti, and a wisp of rag round the head. They always carry materials for producing fire, a flint and steel and some silk cotton in a small gourd hung round the waist by a strong thin cord. They have a very high idea of their dignity as Rajas and Rajas kith and kin. The Konkanis and Varlis are not above helping about camp and carrying loads. But the Bhil Rajas never condescend to such work, fit only for their subjects, and when they are not resting or idling, wander about with bows and arrows in search of such small game as peacocks and hares. Thoroughly unwilling to work they do very little cultivation, and live on the share they take of the harvests of their so-called ryots the Konkanis and Varlis. They hold the tiger sacred and worship Vaghdev. [Mr. T. B. Fry, Asst. Conservator of Forests.]
Besides these tribes, which, in spite of their differences, are generally included under the term Bhil, there are three mixed classes, one the Bhilalas, half-Bhils and half-Rajputs or Kunbis, and two, Tadvis and Nirdhis, half-Musalman half-Bhil.
BHILALAS, found at Dhauli, Vaijapur, and Chirmira, and north and east of Khandesh, in Nimar and the Satpuda hills, claim to be Tilole Kunbis. But, as their name shows, they are generally supposed to-be partly of Bhil descent. [In Central India the. Bhilalas are half Rajpute. The chiefs of the Bhils in the Vindhyan mountains are almost all Bhilalas. Malcolm's Central India, II. 155. The Raja of Mandhata, an island in the Narbada about sixty-four miles north of Bhusaval, is a Bhilala chief claiming descent from a Chohan Rajput Bharatsing who is said to have taken the island from a Bhil chief in 1165. The Central Province Bhilalas areall descended from alliances of Rajputs with Bhils and take the name of the Rajput clan to which they trace their origin. Central Province Gazetteer, 258. Mr. J. Pollen, Assistant Collector, Khandesh, believes them to be "the descendants of the once flourishing cultivators of the rich Satpuda valleys who in some way got confounded with Bhils."] They are small, sturdy, and well-featured. In addition to the loincloth, langoti, for wearing which according to their story they were nicknamed Bhilalas, they sometimes wear a waistcloth or trousers, and always carry a long white sheet-worn as an outer rope. Their turbans, triangular in form, are generally worn with a point in front, and
those who can afford it wear plain silver bracelets. They speak Nimar Bat, a mixture of Hindi and Marathi. They are hardworking, but judging from their poverty, unskilled husbandmen. [In the native states on the north-west boundary of Khandesh they are an industrious and peaceable race, and are the principal cultivators. Mr. Horst's Trig Sur. Rep. 1876-77.] In religion they are Hindus, but are not particular about the presence or service of a Brahman. They name their own children and have no particular birth ceremonies. They celebrate then-marriages at sundown, one of the caste being set to watch. As the sun disappears the watchman claps his hands, and the young women of both the bride and bridegroom's families fasten the bridegroom's waistcloth to the bride's gown, lugda. Presents are made and a feast to the panch follows. The wedding costs each family from £2 to £5 (Rs. 20-Rs. 50). They have no headman. [The details are, to the bride's father, turban 4s., shouldercloth 1s., ring 2s., and feast expenses from 30s. to £4 10s. (Rs. 15 - Rs. 45); to the bridegrooms father sown, lugda, 8s., armlet 4s., necklace 10s., clothes £1, and food expenses from 30s. to
£4 10s. Mr. J. Pollen, C. S.]
MUSALMAN BHILS are of two classes, Tadvis and Nirdhis.
Tadvis live chiefly in the villages at the foot of the Satpuda hills from Asirghad to Chopda, [The greater number inhabit the villages at the foot of the Satpuda hills in Savda Adavad, and Raver. Mr. Giberne, Collector, in Rev. Rec. 208 of 1828, 1256.] and Nirdhis along the base of the Satmala range in the Jamner and Pachora sub-divisions. The Tadvis are said to be the descendants of Bhil women[Though they own that they were formerly Hindus, they do not acknowledge that they are, or ever were, Bhils. Rev. Rec. 208 of 1828, 1255.] and Musalman men, and to date from the Emperor Aurangzeb's reign (1658-1707). In appearance they are tall and well made, and when well fed, grow into fine men. Many are fairer and much better featured than pure Bhils. They wear earrings and many dress like ordinary Khandesh cultivators, the better-to-do inclining to the dress of the Musalman sipahi. They wear the sword and matchlook, seldom the bow. Like other Khandesh Musalmans they are lazy and poverty-stricken, and dislike hard work. To the Musalman fault of laziness they add the vices of a quarrelsome and vindictive temper, and a great fondness for liquor. [The late Major Forsyth calls them Musalman Bhils and gives them a very bad character. Ind. Ant. IV. 338.] They make good soldiers and constables, but are poor cultivators, generally living by wood and grass cutting, Their women and girls help by carrying loads of wood and bamboos. Their religious beliefs, as well as their manners and customs, are like those of other Khandesh Musalmans. At the same time, like other Hindu converts, they have a deep regard for certain Hindu deities. Among these the Adavad Tadvis hold in reverence Manabai, a goddess in whose honour a shrine has been raised, in a deep gorge, near the deserted village of Manapur, about five miles from Adgaon in Yaval. The Kazi attends their weddings which cost from £1 10s. to £15 (Rs. 15-Rs. 150). The village moneylender freely advances them funds taking payment in wood or money. All are, in name; subordinate to hereditary chiefs, such as Rahim Khan of Adgaon the head of the Adavad Tadvis, Doula of Borekheda the head
of the Yaval Tadvis, and Salabat Khan the head of the Rarer Tadris. These chiefs, called khansahebs not naiks or chaudhris, receive from Government certain allowances as hereditary hill-keepers, rakhvaldars. They settle social disputes and are appealed to in all matters
or difficulty by the Tadvis of their own sub-division. Though a little more civilised than the Bails, the Tadvis' knowledge of Islam may be judged from the fact that the greater number do not even know the prayer used when an animal is slaughtered. As a class they are miserably poor, and though their former robbing and plundering raids have been stopped, they are still rather given to theft. [Mr. J. Pollen, C.S.]
NIRDHI or NILDE BHILS, the second Musalman-Bhil tribe, dwell along- the base of the Satmalas in the Jamner and Pachora subdivisions. Distance alone prevents their intermarriage with the Tadvis, for their creed and ideas are similar. In former times they were much dreaded. During seasons of revolt the most atrocious acts were invariably the work of the Nirdhis. [Graham's Bhil Tribes, Bom. Gov. Sel. XXVI. 206.]
KONKANIS, though often confounded with them, hold themselves separate from, and superior to, Bhils. Living in the same part of the country as the Gavits, they rank below them, and unlike them, have no special dialect. They say that their ancestors originally came from the Konkan, and this, their name and their appearance, which very closely resembles that of the Konkan Thakurs, bear out. [Ind. Ant. III. 189.] They are more settled than the Thakurs, and unlike them commonly use the plough. They do not often take service or leave their villages, and many of them, like the Gavits, are village headmen, patils. They bury their dead, and in their memory raise square single-stone pillars, sometimes as much as eight feet high. [Ind. Aut. IV, 335.]
There are very few Ramosis in the district, as the Bhisti Kolis, in addition to their own duties as water-bearers, fishers, and ferrymen, take the Ramosis' place between the settled and unsettled tribes.
Particularly numerous in the east and south of the district, the Kolis are a fine manly class, both physically and morally. They generally hold the inferior offices of the village police, such as those of the general watchman, jaglia, gate ward, tarad, sentry of the village police station, talabda, and village havildar, who is the head of the village police under the headman, patil, in whose absence he is responsible for order. Less given to crime than most of the early tribes, they are fair cultivators and often great huntsmen', as skilful in woodcraft as the Bhils, and far cooler and steadier. On account of their- smaller number and less troublesome character they do not attract so much attention as the Bhils. [Ind, Ant IV. 335.]
Kanadas are a peculiar race of drovers who sometimes visit the western forests of Khandesh, though their proper pastures are in the north-west corner of the Deccan. They appear to be descended
from Dravidian immigrants, but have no tradition to that effect and no special language. More civilised and respectable than most wandering herdsmen, they differ little from Maratha husbandmen, and, in parts of Nasik, have taken entirely to agriculture. They have a peculiar breed of black and white cattle, hatkar, which, though not large, are much prized for their strength and spirit. They worship Krishna, the divine herdsman, and take good care of their cattle. [Ind. Ant. IV. 335.]
Gonds, whose head-quarters are in the Central Provinces,
especially at Nagpur, are wandering cowherds found chiefly at Chalisgaon in the south-west of the district and a few at Bhusaval. They are a martial race and made good soldiers under the Musalman Nawabs of Nizam Haidarabad. They speak Marathi, at least out of doors, and do not seem to keep any connection with Gondvana. They eat flesh and drink liquor, and do not take food cooked by any Hindus but Brahmans. In their marriage processions, the bride and bridegroom ride on bullocks instead of on horses. They worship Narayan Mahadev, Dhanbai, Dhanthakur, Dhangopal, and Bhavani. In inquiring into any alleged breach of caste rules they meet together, and if the offence is proved, the guilty party has to shave his beard and moustaches. His tongue is then branded with a red hot gold bar, and upon the branded.part they compel him to lay a basil leaf with a little earth and clarified butter. After going through this ordeal and feasting his fellow tribesmen, he is let back into caste. [Mr. J. Pollen, C. S. For the present (1880} these Gonds seem to have left Chalisgaon. Mr. A. E. Woodburn, C. S.]
VANJARIS, numbering 36,572 souls and found all over the district,
are of ten sub-divisions, Charan or Gavar, Mathure, Labhane or Lamane, Lad, Khudane, Lamghe, Mehurune, Bhushare, Asatkar, and Ravgin. [Vanjari means a forest wanderer from van forest and char to wander; Charan comes from the same root; Gavar a cow-keeper from
gou a cow; Bhushare a grain carrier from bhusa chaff; Labhane or Lamane a. salt carrier from lavan salt; Mathure from Mathura in Upper India whence they come; and Mehurune from the village of Mehurune near Jalgaon.] Of these the Bhushare, Asatkar, and Ravgin are not found in Khandesh. Of the others Charans are found in all the sub-divisions, Mathuras and Labhanas inTaloda and Nandurbar,Lada in Shirpur, Dhulia, and Nandurbar, Khudanas in Amalner, Lamghas in Dhulia, and Mehurunas in Erandol and Jalgaon. Though as a class robust and well built, the several sub-divisions differ in complexion, the Mathuras being generally fair, the Lads, Mehurunaa, and Lamghas somewhat duskier, and the Charans and the Labhanas dark and martial-looking. Lads and Lamghas speak fairly correct Marathi, but Charans, Labhanas, and Mathuras use a rough peculiar dialect full of Hindi, and, in some cases, Gujarati forms., Those who have settled, or are settling, as husbandmen, live in the ordinary mud-walled flat-roofed houses. Of those who are still carriers, some of the chief men have good brick-built houses, while the poor-live outside of villages in grass huts which they
take with them from place to place. [These grass huts are always moved after a death. At first an opening is made in the back of the hut and no one enters it by the ordinary door, as the door is believed to have been polluted by the passage of the spirit of the dead. Afterwards the hut is pulled down and set up at a little distance.] The staple articles of food are wheat and the two millets., Except the Mathuras and Labhanas, all eat flesh and drink liquor. The Lad women dress in Maratha fashion; Charan women wear a tight trouser, lhenga, and a robe, odni or phadki, to cover the upper part of the body. They wear ivory bracelets, and, like the Mathuras, jingling brass anklets, paijans. The Mathure, Labhane, and Charan women wear their robe draped over a peg set on the top of their heads. Among the Mathuras and Labhanas, this peg is made of cloth and is two inches long, while the Charan's is from six to eight inches long and is made of wood. [See below, p. 110.]
Alike in temper, brave, proud, spiteful, and touchy, the Mathure Labhane and Charan Vanjaris differ widely in the matter of cleanliness, the Mathuras being very neat and careful to wash daily, while the Labhanas and Charans do not bathe for months at a time. Though generally peaceful and well behaved, the wandering Vanjaris are under police surveillance. Their carrying trade, noticed by almost all European travellers of the last three centuries, [In 1638, under the name Venefars, they are noticed by Mandelslo as buying wheat and rice offered for sale in the Deccan towns once a week, and carrying thorn to Hindustan in caravans of five or six and sometimes nine or ten thousand animals. With them went their females, especially their wives who knew so well how to wield the bow that the Rajputs dared not attack them, Mandelslo in Harris, 130.] has greatly suffered since the opening of cart roads and railways. They used to carry their wares on pack bullocks, moving, sometimes in bands or armies 100,000 strong, to Surat, Navsari, and Kalyan, on the west, and Nimar, Nagpur, and Jabalpur, to the north and east. From the inland districts they used chiefly to carry wheat, and from the Konkan, salt, dates, dry cocoa kernels, and betelnatus. Though the greater number are now settled as husbandmen, a few find a living by driving carts, spinning coarse hemp, tag, selling grass and fuel, and working as labourers. Except the poorest who sell wood and grass, their women work only at home and in the dairy. They mostly worship Balaji or Khandoba. Their priests are Brahmans. They keep all the ordinary Hindu holidays, but especially GokalAahtami, 8th Shravanvadya (August-September), in honour of Krishna's birthday. Though some sub-divisions eat with each other, intermarriage is, as a rule, forbidden. Lads, Khudanas, and Mehurunas dine together but not with Labhanas and Charans, though these eat out of their hands and can give them water. Lads, Khudanas, and Mehurunas do not eat with Lamghas, and Lamghas have an equal objection to eat with them. Mathuras eat food cooked by members of their own tribe only, and some are believed, like the Purabias, to refuse to eat food cooked even by their own tribesmen. At the same time they eat food cooked by their women, who are privileged to eat with all Vanjari sub-divisions.
Every settlement of Vanjaris has its hereditary headman, naik He is bound to help the rest in time of need, and to be their
representative and arbitrator in caste disputes; to accommodate all guests coming to his encampment, tanda; and to direct the movements of the caravan when travelling. If the old family has no
representative, a fresh man of some rich and good family is chosen naik. On election he is presented with a turban and clothes in token of allegiance. At every council meeting, the naik is president with ten or twelve adult males as members. Witnesses come in regular order and give their evidence one after another. Once they have sat, the panch never rise without coming to a final decision, even if it be at the sacrifice of their regular work.
There can be little doubt that the Vanjaris will, in time, merge in the general mass of cultivators. Already one of them is a village headman in Jamner. They eat, if they do not marry, with Kunbis, and even Charan women are already, in Borne rare instances, beginning to lay aside their picturesque dress and assume the ordinary Kunbi robe. Careful in matters of accounts, of simple habits, and of a saving disposition, they promise to become a wealthy class of cultivators, and when they lose their strange beliefs about witchcraft and death, they will prove a tractable and useful tenantry.
Among wandering Vanjaris, children are often born away from villages, and in the absence of midwives, women attend women and no ceremonies are performed. Afterwards, when the caravan, tanda, meets a Brahman, a council is called. The time of the child's birth is explained to the Brahman and he fixes the name, the father paying him 2s. (Re. 1) and the committee giving him 6d. (4 annas), or some other present. Among settled families, when a child is born, they beat drums, fire guns, and distribute sugar among relations, friends, Bhats, and priests. On the fifth day women worship Sati and are given a few grains and some pulse and flowers.
Among Charans Mathuras and Labhanas who are of Upper Indian origin, girls remain unmarried to twenty and thirty; but among Deccan Vanjaris the marriageable limit is for girls from ten to twelve and for boys from twelve to twenty. On marriage occasions, two days before the ceremony, the boy and girl are rubbed with turmeric. On the marriage day, with music playing, they are seated side by side, on low wooden stools, the girl on the boy's left, and the hems of their garments are tied. The priest repeats verses, and the women' of both houses sing songs and sprinkle handfuls of millet, jvari, on the couple's heads, the ceremony closing with the interchange of clothes. On the morning of the second day the boy and the girl are bathed together, the women standing round them singing songs while the boy and girl splash water over each other. After this the fathers interchange presents of turbans and waistcloths. On the third day there is great feasting, and if the priest is present, he is pelted with onions and shells, kavdis. Another feast closes the ceremony. The boy's father returns to his village taking with him the girl and her sister. They stay for a day or two and are then sent for by their father, with whom the bride lives till she comes of age. Except Mathuras and Labhanas all allow widow marriage.
When a Vanjari dies, a white cloth is spread on a bamboo bier,
and the body is brought from the house and laid on it, and except that the head is left bare, it is covered with a white sheet tied with string in five places from the neck downwards. Bed powder, gulal, is sprinkled over the body, and, on the shoulders of four relations, it is carried; to the bank of the nearest stream and burnt without religious rites. [Among Charaus the body is burnt or buried with the face down.] On the third day, the four pall-bearers are given a dinner of rice and milk, a ceremony is performed, and a feast is held costing about 10s. (Rs. 5). For nine days after death-the nearest relations are considered impure and are not allowed to mix with other people. On the tenth day they bathe and give a caste feast with flesh and liquor., In the first Magh (March) or Vaishakh (May), after the death, a caste feast is usually, but not always, given. Except that kunku instead of guldl is sprinkled on the body, the funeral of a woman is the same as the funeral of a man. When a child dies, the body is wrapped in a clean white cloth, and carried by the father in his arms and buried.
The available details of Vanjari divisions may be thus summed up. Charan Vanjaris, about one-half (18,000) of the whole Vanjari population, and in many ways the most peculiar and interesting of the ten tribes, are found all over the district, especially in parts of Raver, Savda, Jamner, Shirpur, Chopda, and Nasirabad. They claim to be Rajputs and are divided into Povars, Chavbans, Rathods, and Jadhavs, who eat together and intermarry. Those found in Savda and Chopda, along the base of the Satpudas, belong to the Chavhan, Bathod, and Povar clans. The Chavbans have six sub-divisions, Paltya, Korch, Lovna, Banod, Alodh, and Sapavat, all found in Khandesh. The Rathods have eight sub-divisions, of which six, Bukia, Kilut, Muna, Vat, Vartia, and Turi are found in Khandesh. And the Povars have twelve, of which seven, Guramu, Lonsavad, Vishravat, Amgot, Vakiot, Jarabola, and Vinjarvat, are found in Khandesh. These intermarry and eat together, though, as among Rajputs, no marriage in the same clan is allowed, that is a Rathod may marry a Chavhan or a Povar, but may not marry a
Charan Vanjaris may, for convenience, be divided into those who keep to their old trade of carriers, and those who have begun to settle as husbandmen. In appearance they are strong, well made, and good-looking. The men take a special pride in their looks, and generally carry a small comb and looking glass in the folds of their white turbans. They wear the hair long, and are fairer-skinned than the Bhil or the ordinary Kunbi. They have, as a rule, regular and white teeth, full lips, large eyes, fair hair between brown and yellow, straight noses, and a bright wide-awake look. Their women, though some are pretty enough, are by no means cleanly. They never bathe more than once a week, and their oiled and plaited hair is constantly filled with dirt and dust, while the tiers of bracelets and anklets keep them from cleaning their limbs. Their petticoats are seldom washed and look much like a well-worn quilt.
Charan Vanjaris speak what is locally known as Vanjaribat, a mixture of Marathi and Hindi, jealous to a degree, passionate and headstrong, they are a light-hearted race, simple-minded and easily managed. They obey their chief like children. Extremely credulous and superstitious, they believe that all misfortunes, even the slightest, are the work of witches. They are fond of dancing and singing and have many peculiar war dances. They like nothing better than listening to songs and music, and their women, at times, join with the men in a wild whirling dance. As a rule they are not much given to lying and have good memories. They tell a story naturally and well, giving the minutest detail. "Though fond of liquor they seldom drink to excess. Like Kunbis they spend large sums on marriages and other festivals. But especially in Amalner and Erandol, they have, as a rule, a name for being greedy and fond of driving hard bargains.
Except that they wear the long-pointed Hindustani shoe and
a white turban set jauntily a little on one side and generally
fastened with a strip of red cloth wound across it, and that they
are very fond of ornaments, the Naiks wearing bracelets, gold
chains, earrings, armlets, and finger rings, the men's dress does not
differ from that of most lower class Hindus. The women's tight-fitting bodice and long full petticoat, their silver ornaments plaited
into the hair and falling over the cheek, their huge silver anklets
with jangling bells, and the tiers of brass and ivory bracelets
stretching from the wrist almost to the arm-pit, are strange in a
Maratha country. But more strange than their ornaments is the
fashion among married and unwidowed women of drawing their
shoulder robe over the point of a narrow stick about eight inches
long, cup-shaped where it rests on the head and narrow at the point,
standing, like a huge comb, from the knot of hair at the back of the
head. The rank of the woman is said to be shewn by the angle at
which she wears thick stick.
Pack-carrying Charans buy cattle in Malwa and take them to sell in Poona and Satara. They stay there during the rains, and about October, move to Malwa, where they buy cattle and load their bullocks chiefly with wheat. This they carry to the Deccan where they sell it and such cattle as they have for sale. Then they go to the coast and bring back loads of salt. They move with ponies, bullocks, cows, and dogs, the whole procession being called a tanda. They occasionally halt at one or two places when travelling with loaded cattle. In the rainy season they build huts, kudis encamping on some dry spot where there is good grazing. They have great skill in driving cattle, four men managing a hundred bullocks. They say that by their shouts they can make the bullock charge and overrun a tiger or a small body of men. When they halt they surround their camp with a pile of sacks, musket-proof and too high for a horse to jump. Of late, in consequence of the decay of the carrying trade under cart and railway competition, many Charan Vanjaris have taken to husbandry. They make excellent cultivators. They clear brushwood in a wonderfully short time, burn the useless wood as manure, use powerful ploughs, and thoroughly
break the soil. Many are rich and till large tracts of land notably in Raver, Jamner, Chopda, and Shirpur. It is more than probable that daring the rains they always tilled a little whenever their encampment happened to be near waste land. They thus took to husbandry naturally, though they felt it somewhat degrading, having always considered themselves above manual labour. By degrees their chiefs found that tillage paid better than cattle-dealing and grain-carrying, and began to settle as landholders. Some villages in Raver, Savda, and Shirpur, are almost entirely peopled by Charans.
The marrying age depends on the parents' means. In'a rich family the sons are married between twelve and fifteen and the daughters between ten and fifteen. [Age does not matter. Cases are not rare when a wife
is older than her husband.] Among the poor, girls sometimes remain unmarried till thirty and
boy still forty. When a man can afford to pay for his son's marriage, his nearest relations find him a wife. Then betrothal, magni, follows; the boy's father and other relations going on ponies and bullocks to the girl's house. On arrival the girl's father comes to meet them, and embracing the boy's father, leads him into his house and seats him on a blanket or carpet. The only ceremonies are the promise of the father to give his daughter in marriage, and the distribution of molasses, betel, and liquor to the whole encampment, tanda. The betrothal is witnessed by the caste committee. The fathers of the bride and bridegroom share the betrothal expenses, which generally amount to £5 (Rs. 50). In the Chopda and Savda Satpudas the fixed price of a wife is £12 10s. (Rs. 125), and the bridegroom may give more but not less. Betrothal is binding on both parties. The marriage may take place a month after the betrothal, but for want of money, it is often delayed for years. The bride's father is expected to give her enough clothes and ornaments to last her for life. For the marriage, the boy and his father, with relations and friends, start for the girl's village, riding on ponies or walking, for carts are forbidden. On arrival they are given separate lodgings, with, in front of them, a booth covered with mango and nimb boughs. Marriages take place at or near midnight. The ceremony is simple. The presence of a Brahman, usually the astrologer or the hereditary priest of the nearest village, is essential. Two Acacia catechu, khar, posts are fixed in the ground, and at each corner of a square nine earthen pots are piled one on the other. The nine pots probably represent the nine planets, navagraha. Near the posts sit the bride and "bridegroom, who, just before, have been rubbed with turmeric and bathed. Then the Brahman worships Ganpati, joins the hands of the pair, and ties the knot, in the same way as at a Kunbi wedding, except that a rupee, given by the bride's father, is tied to the knot. Then, between the posts, the Brahman lights the sacred fire, and muttering some sacred verses, mantras, leads the pair seven times round the fire from right to left. This ends the nuptial ceremonies, the Brahman being paid 2s. 6d. (Rs. 1¼). A feast to the whole encampment, tanda, with plenty of liquor, follows, and the
bridegroom goes with the bride to her father's house and stays there from two months' to a year.
Widow, marriage is allowed and practised, their rule being that, if they can help it, no woman should leave a family into which she has married. When a woman becomes a widow her husband's younger brother takes her to wife. The caste council meets and the fact is noted, but no ceremonies are necessary. If the younger brother is dead, or refuses to take her, the next nearest male relative is called on to marry her. They acknowledge all Hindu gods and believe in witchcraft. They have no regular priests, but they respect and consult Bhagats, and employ Brahmans to conduct their religious ceremonies. Though, as a class, they have suffered from the decay of their calling as carriers, many of them are prosperous traders. Some of the leaders have been most successful in dealing in cattle, trading in grain, and carrying. The poorer families, when their field work is over, bring wood and bamboos from the hills.
LADS, who probably came up the Tapti from south Gujarat, are
found in large numbers in Nandurbar, Dhulia, and Shirpur. [There is a local tradition that they came to Khandesh from the souther Sahyadris, Baleghat, about
300 year ago partly for trade, partly to escape a famine. But like the Lad and Ladsakka Vanis and Lad Koshtis, their name points to Lat an Lar Desh. See above, p. 57.] Like
Kunbis in appearance, they speak Marathi and dress in Marathi
fashion. Mild in disposition, they are mostly husbandmen and cart
drivers, and a few have, for the last fifteen years, taken to selling dried
fish. Though none do so in Khandesh, many Lads hold patilships
in the Deccan. They worship all Hindu gods, but especially
Khandoba in whose honour a Gondhal dance is often performed in
discharge of a vow or after the completion of a marriage. On the day
after Holi they carry in procession the descendant of a Lad warrior who
fell in battle. The ceremony is called the warrior, vir, procession. They
keep the ordinary Marathi fasts, and respect Brahmans calling them
on marriage occasions. Their religious teachers are Gosavis. They
marry only among themselves and have a rule against the intermarriage
of two families who have the same surname. Their girls must be 'married before they reach womanhood or they are put out of caste.
On the wedding day, two married couples, one for each party, have to
fast the whole day, and at night cook four pounds of rice and three
of split gram with molasses and clarified butter. While cooking,
they cover their faces with a cloth, as the touch of steam from this
dish is thought to bode bad fortune to the couple. When cooked, the
dish is eaten by the men of the party, and anything that remains
must either be eaten by cows or thrown into a river. To allow a
stranger, or the son of a slave, to share, is a great sin bringing a
heavy curse on the family. This is called the worship to Vadhi Daivat
or the god of increase. If VadhiDaivat is not worshipped, the
wedded pair are looked down on by the whole community. Widow
marriage in the Gandharva form is allowed. [See above, p. 72] After death, mourning
goes on for ten days and funeral ceremonies are performed on the
eleventh or thirteenth. The authority of their headman who lives
in the Baleghat range, in the Nizam's dominions to tile south-east of Ahmednagar, is merely nominal,. his power being Chiefly recognised by the payments made to him or his agents by the caste. Social disputes are settled by the majority of votes at a meeting of adult male members.
Labhane and Mathure Vanjaris, found in Taloda and Nandurbar, have come from Upper India. They are generally fair and stout, speak a peculiar dialect, and do not eat animal food. Their hearths are mere heaps of cowdung cakes or other fuel. While at their meals they are very careful to keep fire burning in their hearths, and eat no more if, by any chance, the fire goes out. They eat with no other tribe of Vanjaris. Both Mathuras and Labhanas wear the sacred thread, worship Balaji, and celebrate Krishna's birthday, the GokulAshtami holiday, with great rejoicings and public dinners. Their priests are Brahmans and their religious teachers Vairagis. Their widows are not allowed to marry, but though their bracelets, chudas, are broken, their heads are not shaved. For nearly a year after her husband's death, the Mathure widow before the evening meal, with her dish in front of her, mourns the loss of her husband for about an hour.
Lamghas living in Dhulia, Khudanas in Amalner, and Mehurunas in Erandol and Jalgaon, are like one another in many respects. Like Lads they all marry their widows in Gandharva form. The widow's father formerly took from £4 to £6 (Rs. 40-Rs. 60), but of late he has raised his demand to from £10 to £20 (Rs. 100-Rs. 200). Except at the Gondhal festival in honour of Khandoba, they never eat meat. Their religious guides are GosaVis or Manbhavs. "They all mourn for ten days after a death, and perform funeral ceremonies on the eleventh. Khudanas and Mehurunas dine with one another, but not with Lamghas.
PARDHIS, a low wandering tribe, commonly hunters and snarers,
are found all over Khandesh, especially in the Amalner and Erandol
sub-divisions. They are of two classes, Pardhis proper and Phas
Pardhis. Pardhis proper, known as Gujarati and Marathi Pardhis,
are found in most large villages. Though some are still fond of
hunting and poaching and have not got rid of their turn for thieving,
, many have taken to labour, some fretting stones for grinding grain,
and some, especially in Amalner, proving successful. cultivators.
Others act as village watchmen, jaglias especially in Jamner,
Amalner, and Erandol. The Phas Pardhi, a wandering hunter, is
nearly always ragged and dirty, walking with a sneaking gait. He
wanders all over the district, begs, and eats whatever he can find.
He will eat food cooked by a Pardhi proper, though the latter will
not eat with him. They wander from place to place in bands of one,
and sometimes of five or six families. The man with the nets and
baskets is followed by the women carrying the rope and wood of the
cots and the bamboo framework of the mat-huts, and the children with
earthenware pots and pans or a brass drinking pot Occasionally there
is a bullock, or more often a buffalo, loaded with tattered blankets,
baskets, bamboo sticks, and extra nets and mats. Though they
sometimes fret millstones, their usual calling is to catch pig and
deer by means of a looped rope fastened with running nooses of gut. This they lay along the ground, fastened with pegs, and then drive the animals towards it. Their plan for catching quails and partridges is much the same on a smaller scale. After imitating the call of partridges, they place on the ground a rack-like bamboo rail about four inches high. This rail, or frame has upright pieces of bamboo fastened in it, about four inches apart, like a paling. Between the pales is a running noose of horse hair. In trying to pass between the pales the bird is caught in the noose by the head, neck, or foot. Another plan is to throw the net over a hedge, a tree, or a well, and snare all beneath it.
VADARS, a wandering tribe from the south Deccan, are found
chiefly in Chalisgaon, Erandol, and the central sub-divisions. They are divided into Bhojas, Bhendis, Manus, and Kalls. [According to other accounts, Vadars are of four divisions, Vadars proper including Bhendis, Bhojas, Kalls, and Manus; Gadis or well builders; Jatis or mill makers and Matis or well diggers.] The last three divisions eat together and intermarry. Strong, dark, and with regular features, their home tongue is Telagu, and they live generally in cane huts in the' outskirts of villages. Their dress is like that of low caste Hindus, their women wearing a robe with no bodice, and round their wrists brass or silver bangles. They eat millet, vegetables, fish, fowls, goats, and rats, and drink liquor. Hardworking, thrifty, and hospitable, they sell charcoal and cement, prepare the comb which Koshtis and Salis use to separate the threads in weaving, cut stones, do earth work, drive carts, kill rats, and beg. They worship all Hindu deities. They use Brahmans as priests and consult them as to their children's names. They have certain social ceremonies at betrothal, puberty, and marriage. They choose a headman, obey him in all social matters, and leave him to settle social disputes. None of their children go to school, and none of them have risen to wealth or position.
Leather Workersare of three main divisions, Dohoris,
Chambhars, and Mochis, with a total strength of 13,875 souls. DOHORIS, found in all parts of the district, but chiefly in Dhulia, Parola, Dharangaon, Amalner, Shahada, and Taloda, include four sub-divisions, Maratha, Jatuva, Jangada, and Ahirvar, who neither marry nor eat together. Among them the Maratha Dohoris hold, a specially high place. The Jatuvas, Jangadas, and Ahirvars appear to be foreign immigrants, pardeshis, and there is a tradition that they came from Bundelkhand. The Ahirvars make leather jars for clarified butter, and cobble old shoes. MOCHIS make all kinds of shoes, boots, and other leather articles.
CHAMBHARS have eight sub-divisions, Maratha, Kathi, Marvadi, Purbhai, Dabhuli, Musalman, Mang, and Pardeshi. The Marathas are of two classes, Dakhanis and Haralbhaktas, of whom the latter hold a specially high place. The village Chambhars prepare native shoes and the leather water bag, mot. Though at present the Dohoris and; Chambhars prepare skins as well as sew leather, the Chambhars declare that fifty years ago they used only to sew shoes from skins prepared by Dohoris. ' They chiefly worship Manai and call their
priest Bhat. This Bhat is a Chambhar and eats with them though they do not eat with him. His part in the marriage ceremonies is to beat the drum and repeat holy verses, and he is generally paid 5s. (Rs. 2 as. 8) for his services. Marriage customs among Chambhars and Dohoris are somewhat peculiar. Generally no Brahman attends, but village Brahmans, astrologers, and beggar Brahmans help the Chambhar by fixing the marriage day and telling the hour. Though they deny it, there can be little doubt that the Brahman receives some pay for his services, and in out-of-the-way villages, it is probable that the Brahman would, for a consideration, attend a Chambhar's wedding. The marriage ceremony usually takes place in the morning. The husband of the bridegroom's sister, or his paternal uncle, acts as bestman, and takes a leading part in the ceremonies. When he, as he usually does, has tied the knot, the married pair rise and walk seven times round a post, usually of Boswellia thurifera, salai, wood, set up in the middle of the marriage shed and surrounded with twenty-one earthen pots, matkas. A son's marriage costs about £10 and a daughter's nothing. They bury the unmarried, burn the married, and mourn for three days. Death expenses amount to from £ 1 8s. to £2 (Rs. 14-Rs. 20). Widows marry, but not with the honours of a first wedding. It is a favour conferred on the widow, and her father pays all charges. The caste has a committee, panch, to settle its disputes.
Depressed or Impure Castesnumber, besides the Chambhars,
six classes, with a strength of 79,521 souls or 8.32 per cent of the whole
Hindu population. Of these 68,626 were Mhars, scavengers; 10,067 Mangs, leather dressers, including 275 Bhamtas or Uchlas, thieves; 447 Buruds, basketmakers; 381 Kaikadis; and one Parvari.
MHARS are said to be of the following twelve and a half castes: Soma, Ladhan, Andhon, Tilvan, Kochrya, Baonya, Bunkar, Holar, Balhi, Konkanya from the south, Kharse, Gond from Nagpur, and Gopals. All of these sub-divisions are known in Khandesh, but the Soma is much the largest. Gopals, the half-caste, are Mhar ascetics who are found in the Erandol sub-division. They are said to take their name from serving at a shrine at Domigirhan on the Godavari near Kaygaon Thoke in the Nizam's territory. They wear a necklace of sheep's hair and wander about begging, clashing little cymbals, and invoking blessings. They do not eat bread prepared by Mhars, but they take wheat flour and other alms from Mhars and make their own bread. The commonest Mhar surnames are Ladav and Surya. The first four sub-divisions eat together but do not intermarry. They vary much in appearance, and when not suffering from hereditary or other disease, are well made and muscular. Like the Kunbis they speak a Khandeshi dialect, a kind of shortened Marathi. [Some of their peculiarities are:
Whence have you come?
Whither are you going?
] They have a special form of greeting, instead of 'salam'
' ram,ram,' saying 'johar' [Johar comes from the Sanskrit Yoddharah, victors. It is the usual Shravak or Jain greeting.] to a stranger, and to each other, namastu or ' I bow to you. Though lazy, unthrifty, and fond of pleasure and drink, they are trusty village servants, fairly free from crime, intelligent, quick, and keen observers. The village Mhar sweeps the village street, acts as guide and messenger, and carries off dead cattle. Other Mhars earn their living as labourers or husbandmen, chanting Tukaram's verses, and selling fuel and grass. They make excellent railway gang labourers and have gained almost a monopoly of the unskilled railway labour market.
They live outside of the village, a few in houses of the better class, but most in thatched sheds, jhopdas. The houses-have walls of unburnt brick and mud with only a ground floor, a small front verandah, and the inside divided, according to the size of the family, by one or more partitions. Each family has as many metal cups as there are members; one or more earth, wood, or metal water jugs and cooking pots, and a wooden or metal ladle, a stone curry slab and roller, a handmill, and a large knife for cutting vegetables, and a cot or two with a blanket or patchwork covering. Their food is millet bread, curry, curds, a mixture of garlic onions and chillies, vegetables, fish, and the flesh of goats and dead cattle. Caste dinners are given at births, betrothals, marriages, and deaths, and when a man who has broken one of their social rules is received back into caste. These dinners, generally cooked by their women, consist of rice, wheat-bread, split-pulse, one or two vegetables, and a dish of milk and sugar. The dinner is served on bell-metal plates, belonging either to the host or to his caste-fellows. They dine without taking off their upper garments, and four or five eat from the same plate. Children dine with the men, and women and grown girls when the men have finished. At their caste feasts they use neither flesh nor liquor, and except at funeral feasts, end with music. The men wear a waistband, waistcloth, turban and coat, and the women a robe and bodice. [Near the railway and in large towns, there is no peculiarity in the present dress of the Mhars. In out-of-the-way villages the Mhar is readily known by his long stick, tattered turban, and dirty clothes.] The children of the well-to-do are married before they grow up. But in most cases want of money forces them to put off marriage till the girl is from fourteen to sixteen and the boy from eighteen to twenty Polygamy and widow marriage are allowed and practised. A younger brother may marry his elder brother's widow, but there appear to be no traces of polyandry.
When a marriage is arranged the boy's father asks a Gosavi, Bhat, or Sadhu of his own caste to fix the lucky day and hour. This he generally does after consulting a Brahman. [Brahmans deny that they ever take part in a Mhar wedding. And generally all the help they give is that they allow a Mhar to look on at a Kunbi wedding and tell their own Mhar priest when the Brahman has clapped his hands. In some of the larger towns Brahmans are said sometimes to be employed by Mhars to give them the signal for the lucky moment, But they do this standing at a distance and never mix with the people or take an active part in the ceremony. About Brahman priests the truth seems to be that in the more civilised towns they do attend, these weddings, but in remote villages only the Sadhu or Bhat, himself a Mhar, attends, As regards the ordinary treatment of Mhars by Brahmans, Mr. Pollen writes, ' A Brahman clerk will not lot a Mhar touch his cart, nor will he take a paper or anything from the hands of a Mhar. The Mhar throws or lays the paper down and the clerk picks it up. So, in returning a paper, the Brahman flings it towards the Mhar. but does not hand it back to him.'] Before the marriage a
dinner, called gadagner, is given either to the boy or to the girl and their relations and friends. Then comes the turmeric ceremony, when turmeric is mixed with water and rubbed on the boy's body and some of it is taken to the girl by a party of she boy's relations, who, at the same time, make her a present of clothes and ornaments. Both at the boy's and girl's houses, booths are built, and at the girl's house an altar is raised. On the marriage day, an hour or two before the time fixed, which is always sunset, the boy, riding on horseback with a marriage ornament tied to his turban, goes, with music and a company of friends both men and women, to Maruti's temple. He is followed by his sister carrying a water jar with five copper coins in it. Meanwhile the girl's parents and relations, going with music to the same temple, present the boy with a turban and waistcloth, and bring him in procession to the girl's house. On reaching the house, either a cocoanut or a piece of bread is waved round his head, and thrown away. Then the boy and girl are made to sit in baskets containing rice, betelnuts, pan leaves, and red and yellow powder, with a cloth between them. Meanwhile the Mhar priest, or if one has been bribed to help, the Brahman, standing at a distance, mutters texts and watches the sinking sun. As he watches, the basket is twisted round five times, and as he claps his hand to show that the moment has come, the baskets are turned a sixth time, the cloth is snatched aside, and the bride and bridegroom throw garlands round each other's necks. Betelnut and leaves are handed round among the men, and turmeric and red powder, kunku, among the women. At the sacred fire lighted by the priest in the centre of the booth, the boy and girl offer sesamum seed, rice, and clarified butter, and after walking three or four times round the fire, present the priest with money and metal pots or other gifts. Then the boy and girl are seated on the altar, and the laps of five married women are filled with wheat, rice, five dry dates, and an equal number of betelnuts, and the boy's and girl's right wrists are bound by yellow strings with pieces of turmeric fastened to them. Next they are taken to Maruti's temple, and on return to the girl's house, at the booth door an earthen pot filled with water and floating mango leaves is waved round their faces and each guest drops one copper coin into the water pot, and waving another round the faces of the couple, gives it to the musicians. These coppers are then equally divided among the bridegroom, the priest, and the musicians. Next day the girl's mother takes baskets of sweetmeats and split-pulse to the boy's house, and after washing his mother's feet, presents her with the baskets. Next comes a ceremony called phalbharne, when the girl is given clothes and ornaments, and her lap is filled with wheat or rice grains, a piece of cocoa kernel, dry dates, almonds, and betelnuts, the mother and relations exchanging presents of clothes. The
boy's mother and her relations and friends are then, with music and
clothes spread for them to walk on, taken in procession to the girl's
house. On reaching the house the boy and girl are rubbed with oil
and bathed in warm water, amusing themselves by squirting water
at each other. If the girl's father can afford it, glass bangles are
put round the women's wrists. During this time, till the return
procession, the boy and girl amuse themselves by biting pieces of
betelnut or cocoa kernel from between each other's teeth, by hunting
for a betelnut hid in each other's clothes, and by feeding each other.
While the boy is at his house the girl's father gives two dinners to
guests, caste fellows, and relations. Either on the third or fourth day
after marriage, the bride and bridegroom are seated on a horse, and
with fireworks, music, and a large body of friends, are taken to the
boy's house. Next day the boy's father gives a dinner, the yellow
threads are taken from the wrists and necks of the boy and girl, and
they are again bathed. The ordinary marriage expenses [The details are: clothes Re. 20, two dinners Rs. 24, drink Rs. 60. Mr. J
Pollen, C S.] in a poor
family vary, in the case of a boy, from £2 10s. to £10 (Rs. 25 - Rs. 100),
and in the case of a girl from £1 10s. to £2 (Rs. 15 - Rs. 20). In a
well-to-do family the expense is nearly half as much again.
When a member of the family is at the point of death, the heirs give alms in the name of the dying person, and when life is gone, the body is laid on a blanket or a piece of cloth, washed, and placed either on a bamboo bier or in a sling. The thumbs are tied with a piece of silver wire over the breast, relations pour a little water into the mouth, and the wife or husband drops, with the water, one or more false pearls. [The custom varies in different places. The Mhars of Paldhi say that at the time of removing the dead body of a married man from the house the relations put into his mouth pan leaf with a gold bead of his wife's necklace. At the grave the deceased's brother or son wets the end of his turban and drops a little water on the dead man's lips.] The body is then carried to the burying ground, laid in the grave with the clothes on, and earth thrown over it, first by the chief mourner and afterwards by the rest of the company When the grave is filled, the chief mourner, with an earthen water pot on his shoulder, walks round it three times. Making a small hole in the pot with a stone, the water trickles out, and when the pot is empty, he dashes it on the ground, calls aloud, and returns home. From three to ten days the mourning family is impure. On the third day the grave is levelled, and on the tenth, the chief mourner with a priest, relations, and friends, going to the river's bank, has his head and moustaches shaved, and after bathing, offers rice, dough balls, and cakes to the spirit of the dead. Then, placing some cakes for the crows, he throws those offered to the dead man's spirit into the river, and returning home, feasts his relations and caste fellows, and is presented by them with a new turban. Death expenses vary, in a poor family, from £1 to £1 10s. (Rs. 10 -RS. 15), and among the well-to-do from £2 10s. to £5 (Rs. 25.Rs. 50).
Mhars keep the regular Hindu fasts and feasts. Their favourite deities are Vithoba, Khandoba, Mhasoba, Bhairoba, and Aibhavani,
whose images they keep in their houses and worship. Besides these they worship snakes and the spirits of the dead. They have no special places of pilgrimage, visiting all Hindu shrines, Benaree included. In some cases Mhar Sadhus have been worshipped by other Hindus. Their priests are Gosavis, Sadhus, and Thakurs or Bhats. The Sadhus are Mhars, who have been initiated by other Gosavis or Vairagis, and who have devoted themselves to a religious life, chiefly to the worship of Vithoba. The Thakurs are called Mhar Thakurs, and are probably Bhats who have been degraded by mixing among Mhars. Their form of greeting is different from the Mhars, saying 'ramram' to each other and 'brahma' to strangers. Besides officiating as their priest, the Thakur acts as the Mhars' banker. He eats from a Mhar, but no Mhar will eat with him. To escape from the unpleasantness of their position as an ' impure' class, some Mhars dress like devotees and pass as Gosavis or as Musalman beggars. But as a class they accept their position, live by themselves, and are careful not to touch, or even in out-of-the-way parts not to allow their shadow to fall on a high caste Hindu.
In each group of villages there is a chief Mhar headman, who in Jamner is called padevar and in the south mehetar. The office is, as a rule, hereditary. The most sensible and worthy of the sons is chosen in the room of his father. Failing sons some other member of the family, and failing the family, an outsider is chosen. Caste disputes are settled by the men of the village with, or without, the help of the headman. The offences punished by expulsion are, the failure to give caste dinners, dining and smoking with one of lower caste such as a Mang, and adultery or concubinage. Men have games of chance such as drafts with shells and cards, boys
play marbles with wood or stone bullets, and girls have their dolls, Men practise athletics such as prostrations and club exercises. They have no professional jesters or story tellers. They are fond of music, playing a one-stringed instrument tuntune, a lute vina, a tambourine
daf, and a small drum dhol.
Of late between landholders and village Mhars complaints and feuds have grown very common. Their harvest grain doles, which used to vary from four to forty pounds from every husbandman, have been lessened or withheld, and in some villages Bhangis have been called to do their work. But as a rule these disputes are settled in the Mhar's favour. The railway has done much for the Mhars. They make excellent gangmen, and some of them, gathering capital as petty contractors and moneylenders, show much independence, and manage their business without the help of any high caste clerks. Of late, too, they have begun to send their boys to school. [A Mhar school at Yaval has thirty pupils, and another has been lately opened at Bhusaval.]
MANGS, found in small numbers all over the district, belong to three. classes, the local Maratha Mangs who have settled in the district for generations and do not eat with the other classes; Mang Garudis, wanderers and dealers in buffaloes; and Dakalvar Mangs, beggars.
The Garudis shave and clean buffaloes; they beg and wander about but never spend their money. The Dakalvars are Mang beggars taking alma from their own caste only. The regular district Mangs are generally dark and strongly made, passionate, revengeful, rude, and greatly feared as sorcerers. They speak a Khandesh dialect like Mhars and Kunbis. Sturdy and fit for hard work, though trustworthy village servants and not addicted to crime, they are, as a class, lazy, unthrifty, and fond of pleasure and drink. Some who have recently come from the Satmalas, called the Ghat Mangs, make ropes of coir, twine, and leather, and the Khandesh or Mangs proper, with the help of their wives, make bamboo baskets, tent screens, and ropes. They are also village watchmen, guides and musicians, songsters, scavengers, and hangmen. The proudest moment of a Mang's life is said to be when he hangs a Mhar, the hereditary rivals and enemies of his tribe. They live outside of villages, a few in houses of the better class, but most in thatched huts. Their food is millet bread, curry curds, Vegetables, fish, the flesh of goats, sheep, dead cattle, and except those who keep an image of Khandoba or Devi in their houses, pork. Caste dinners are given at births, betrothals, marriages, and deaths, and when a man who has broken one of their social rules is received back into caste. At their caste feasts they use neither flesh nor liquor, and, except at funeral feasts, end with music. The children of the well-to-do are married before they grow up with the same rites as the Mhars. On the evening of the marriage day, the Mangs generally, at a respectful distance, attend a Kunbi or Marvadi wedding, and at sundown, as soon as the Brahman claps his hands, they tie the knot. The marriage is generally performed by Mang Sadhus each of whom has a group of from twelve to thirty villages to wander over. The Sadhu's presence is not essential. In his absence the headman, mehetar, who must be present at all weddings, and if not he, some member of the marriage party performs the marriage. Polygamy and widow marriage are allowed and practised. They generally bury their dead.
Their favourite deities, all of them red stones, and their fasts and, feasts are the same as those of the Mhars, and like Mhars, their priests, Gosavis, Bhats, and Sadhus, fix their children's names, [The village Brahman names the child if asked by the Mang, and though he denies it, is paid for his trouble.] tell the lucky day and hour for marriage, and perform the ceremony with Puranic verses. Like the Mhars they have headmen called mehetars. The offences punished by expulsion from caste are the failure to give caste dinners, the dining and smoking with a Dakalvar or Garudi Mang, a Vadar, or a Phas Pardhi, adultery, and killing a cow. [This is doubtful though some Mangs assert it. The Jalgaon Mangs certainly eat the flesh of the cow. Mr. J. Pollen, C. S.]
Some few Mangs, who have driven a successful trade in buffaloes, are well-to -do; but the majority are poor and obliged to labour ' constantly for their daily bread. They are much looked down
on, but to some extent comfort' themselves by holding in contempt the Mang Garudis and the Dakalvars.
BURUDS, found in small numbers at Parola and Dhulia, say that
they came from Ahmednagar about two generations ago. According
to their story, Parvati, on reaching womanhood, was presented by
the matrons with the usual lapfilling, otibharan, offering of wheat, cocoanuts, red and yellow powder, betel leaves, and a comb. To make a shovel-shaped winnowing basket to hold these offerings, Shiv called the Buruds into existence, and allowed them to cut down five bamboo trees in Parvati's garden. Instead of five the Buruds cut ten trees, and through the wrath of Shiv, lost their caste. There is nothing peculiar in their appearance or dialect. They live inside the town near Vanis and make bamboo baskets, sup and supdi, little winnowing fans, cages, and cradles. Kunbis smoke with them and they do not eat with Mhars or Mangs. They visit Maheji and other fairs, and their priests, the Lingayat Jangams and Brahmans, attend their weddings. They have no headman. They are hardworking, all the members of the family helping, and but for the money they waste on their weddings, they would have a good chance of rising from their present low position.
KAIKADIS, found at Amalner, Bhadgaon, Chopda, Dhulia, Erandol, Jamner, Nasirabad, Parola, Raver, and Sakli, are of two clans, Jadav and Gaikwar, who eat and marry with each other, as no marriage between two members of the same clan is allowed. They say they know no home but Khandesh, and that they have no tradition of having come from the south. They have houses in some central villages, but. for seven months of the year, from October till April, they wander in search of work. Their settled abodes are often well built houses in the middle of villages, as at Erandol and Sakli; their wandering huts are made of matting set up on bamboo poles, which, as they move from place to place, they carry, with their household goods and dishes, on the backs of asses. Like all wanderers they are a suspected class always under police supervision. They used to make baskets of the branches and leaf fibre of the wild date or dwarf palm tree, shindi, which formerly grew freely throughout Khandesh. The fewness [Except towards Burhanpur in River, where the date trees line the banks of all the streams running into the Tapti, the wild date is nowseldom found. Mr. J. Pollen, C.S.] of date trees now forces them to make these baskets of cotton stalks, and they plait twigs of the same material into wicker work cages which husbandmen smear with cowdung and store grain in. This cotton-stalk wicker plaiting is their only work.
They worship, they say, all Hindu gods, and appear to be a religions race reverencing Muhammadan saints. [In common with many Khandesh Hindus they have a very deep reverence for Davalmalik the famous saint of Mulher in Satana. His devotees keep a stick, juli, in their houses wrapped in a green cloth or bag in some recess in honour of the saint, and it is no unusual thing to keep the saint's juli and the image of Khanderao side by side.] They deny that they eat cow's flesh, but, except the followers of Musalman saints, they admit their fondness for pork and liquor. They
have no fixed age and no fixed time for their marriages. Though
they consult the village Brahman as to their children's names,
he has no voice in marriage matters and does not attend their
weddings. The only wedding ceremonies are the anointing with
turmeric and the knot. The consent of the girl's parents is all that
is necessary, and this is obtained on payment of a lump sum of from
£2 10s. to £10 (Rs. 25-Rs. 100). A feast, with plenty of liquor, is
then given, and the parents of the girl tie her robe to the bridegroom's
waistcloth. This finishes the ceremony. Girls are married before
their tenth year. Though marriage is cheap and easy, it is burdened
by a condition that requires the son-in-law to live with his wife's
family and help to support them, until he has three children. If
separated from his wife by mutual consent, the husband is bound to
make an allowance to his wife's parents. The Kaikadis recognise
no headman and settle disputes by a committee of any four or five'
PARVARI, though, especially by the English, often applied to all
Mhars, is said strictly to belong to the musical Mhar. He uses a double drum called sambal; a small flute or trumpet, made of wood and tipped with brass, called sanai; a long trumpet or flute called sur or surai, with a palm-leaf mouthpiece; a thin drum stick called buk; and a horned or crooked stick called chap. These, with a wooden flute, alguzar, are the chief instruments used by the musical Mhar. Occasionally he blows the horn, singu, but never beats the, tambourine or blows the big trumpet, karna, these being exclusively, Mang instruments.
Devotees, and religious and other beggars of various names
number about 12,000 souls or 1.24 per cent of the whole Hinds
population. Of these 7226 were Gosavis; 1318 Manbhavs; 1054
Ghondlis; 763 Kolhatis; 467 Shilavants; 435 Gopals; 274 Joharis
230 Holars; 158 Pangula 69 Bhands; 39 Naths; 32 Kapdis
Vasudevs; and 10 Kalbelas. Of these GOSAVIS, recruited from all
classes, worship either Vishnu or Shiv. They rub ashes over their
bodies, and wear the hair dishevelled, and sometimes coiled round
the head. They wander about begging and visiting places of
pilgrimage. They wear ochre-coloured clothes and eat at the hands
of all Hindus. At death their bodies are buried. Gosavis seem
inclined to give up begging. At Pachora, a Gosavi is a revenue
peon, and others have taken to labour. Their local headman, a
great saint, mahant, lives at Nagardevla. GONDHLIS, also called
Bharadis, are a set of wandering beggars recruited from all castes
They wear long dirty clothes and wander about chanting songs is
honour of Ambabai, Saptashringi, and other goddesses. They
attend marriage and other ceremonies and dance with lighted lamp
in their hands. MANBHAVS, found throughout the district, by
especially in Chalisgaon, Pachora, Prakasha, and Shahada, are
sect of Krishna worshippers who wear black garments. Of late
many have given up begging and settled to trade and husbandry
Some are labourers, some. coarse cloth weaves, and some carrier
with carts and bullocks. Their dislike of idol worship has made
them very unpopular among Brahmanic Hindus. Brahmans attend
their marriages. They eat with Kunbis but not with Telis or Tambolis. They bury their dead. Their headmen isa wantlering saint, mahant. His office is elective, and when he dies, one of his disciples is generally chosen headman.
KOLHATIS or tumblers, taking their name" from kolhat a term usually applied to the long bamboo pole on which they display their feats, are a very intelligent looking race anxious to rise from their present position. Slight and active, of fair complexion, with dark eyes and short-out black hair, they speak a mixture of Marathi, Gujarati, and Hindustani. Except during the rains when they generally live outside villages, they have no fixed settlements and move from place to place carrying with them their long low mat huts, kadimahals. They live together in small groups of four or
five families, those who can afford it keeping ponies and donkeys, whom they use in travelling from place to place. The men earn a living by tumbling and their women help them in the performance. They also make the small buffalo horn pullies which are used with cart ropes in fastening loads. They worship Khandoba, Hanuman, Vir, and the goddess Mari. They believe in ghosts and spirits. On reaching womanhood every Kolhati girl is called on to choose between marriage and prostitution. If she prefers marriage, she is jealously watched and is usually well behaved. If she choose to be a prostitute and a tumbler, her parents take her before the tribe council, panch, get their leave, and give them a dinner. The children of unmarried kolhati girls, though held degraded, are supported by the caste, and are married to other bastard Kolhatis. Such couples are considered outcastes and eat by themselves. But their children are admitted to the full privileges of the caste. Such of their women as practise prostitution are always under police surveillance, as they are suspected of kidnapping high caste girls to bring up as prostitutes. GOPALS are Mhar priests who sing and dance, and also wrestle. [ See above, p. 115.] HOLARS are Mang beggars from Burhanpur, who dance with a stick ornamented with peacock feathers and hung with bells. PANGULS are a race of Maratha Kunbi beggars, who wander through the streets early in the morning shouting out the names of Hindu gods. They dance and sing and often climb trees, calling out vithoba's name, and shouting for alms to the passers-by. The Panguls of Palaskheda in Jamner are chiefly Marathas, some of them cultivators and some beggars. The latter neither dance nor sing, but beg in the name of Vithoba going about with blankets thrown over their heads. They eat from Marathas and Brahmans, and both burn and bury their dead. Brahmans attend their marriages. They have a council, panch, to settle disputes. NATHS are a class of beggars found at Nasirabad and here and there in the eastern sub-divisions. They are also called Sitapadris and have been for generations in the district. They wear huge glass earrings and live generally by begging, though, when pressed by hunger, they sometimes do a little bed-tape weaving. They worship Mahadev. KAPDIS [Further details of the Kapdis are given in the (Bombay Gazetteer, V. 84.]
are a class of beggars, who, when begging, draw their waistcloths over their heads. Closely allied with them are VASUDEVS, who beg clothed in long robes and with a head-dress of peacock's feathers. KANPHATAS or slit-eared beggars, found in almost all parts of Khandesh, are followers of the great saint Gorakhnath and worship Shiv. They eat with Kunbis, drink liquor, and eat flesh. Girls are married between five and ten, and remarriage is allowed. They bury their dead and observe mourning for seven days. The ceremony of cutting the ear is performed by their priest when the boy is ten years old, and 2s. 6d. (Rs. 1¼) are paid to him. At the close of the ceremony a feast is given to relations and friends. [Further details of the Kanphatas are given in the Bombay Gazetteer, V. 86. ]
According to the 1872 census, Khandesh Musalmans numbered
75,696 souls, or 7.32 per cent of the whole population. [The details are of little value; 1653 Pinjaris or cotton cleaners, 635 Momnas
or weavers, 238 Kasais or butchers, 219 Maniars or bracelet makers, 218 Bohoras or
traders, 201 Bhangis or sweepers, 130 Fakirs or beggars, 18 Nalbands or farriers, 12
Nanakshais, 8 Shedis, and 72,364 Others.] They are found in every sub-division and in almost every village. The bulk are local converts from Hinduism. Such of them as have a strain of foreign blood are probably the descendants of the Arabs who took service under the Faruki dynasty (1370-1599), and afterwards, hired by Moghals, Marathas, and local chiefs, were, along with their country-born or Muvallad sons, so large and formidable a body of men at the time of the British conquest. [Details are given below under " History."] Others of foreign extraction are the Maliks the descendants of the first Muhammadan converts in the north, who followed the armies of Ala-ud-din (1312) and other Ghori kings and chiefs. Besides those who claim Arab descent, some Khandesh Musalmans have a tradition that their forefathers belonged to Khorasan, while others refer vaguely to Hindustan, and many say that they came originally from Ahmednagar. Each Moghal expedition seems to have brought fresh settlers from the north. Of Khandesh Musalmans about one-fourth are supposed to be servants, and the rest traders, craftsmen, husbandmen, labourers,. and beggars. They are poor and proud, and, except the Shia Bohoras and a few who have lately become Wahhabis, are all Sunnis in name, but careless about their religion, almost half Hindu in thought, feeling and customs.
The different classes into which the Musalman population is. divided may be arranged under two groups, one including the four general classes of Syeds, Shaikhs, Moghals, and Pathans, and the other embracing the separate communities which are based on sameness of origin or of employment. Of the four general classes the Moghals are very few. The three other classes are nominally large bodies. But most of the members have no claim to foreign descent, representing local Hindu converts, who, following the Deccan custom, have enrolled themselves in the class to which their patron; or converter, belonged. Thus the Tadvis, converted Bhils, and the Naikvadis, probably Hindus from Mysor, have chosen to adopt the title of Pathans. To this rule the only exceptions are some families
of Syeds of undoubted foreign descent, and in the north-east some Shaikhs the representatives of the Faruki kings.
Of the twenty-two local communities, of which information has been obtained, one are traders, twelve craftsmen, four husbandmen and cattle breeders, four servants, and one actors or musicians.
The one special community of traders is the BOHORAS, [Of the origin of the name several derivations are given.] Shias by religion, and followers of the Mulla Saheb of Surat. Some families of trading Bohoras, immigrants from Gujarat, are found in west Khandesh. But most of them have come from Burhanpur, once the head-quarters of their sect, and are found in the east of the district in Bhusaval, Chopda, Raver, and Jalgaon. Daring the last five years their number has increased considerably. In Jalgaon there are now seven or eight Bohora shopkeepers where there used to be only one. Probably with a certain strain of Arab and Persian blood they are chiefly descendants of Gujarati Vanias. They are easily known from other Musalmans by their small tightly-wound white turbans and little skull caps, and their long flowing white robes and loose trousers widening from the ankle upwards, and fastened round the waist into puckers with a string. Though their ordinary business language is Hindustani, they still speak Gujarati at home. They marry only among themselves. They have no special place of worship. They do not attend the regular Sunni mosques. At each of their settlements there is an office-bearer, Mulla, under the Mukasir of Burhanpur, who conducts their marriage, death, and other ceremonies. They pay a yearly contribution of one-fifth of their incomes to the Mulla Saheb at Surat; they are all traders dealing chiefly in iron and hardware goods. As a class they are prosperous with a steadily growing trade.
The twelve communities of craftsmen are: Attars or perfumers, Bhondekars or potters, Dhuldhoyas or earth washers, Kadias or bricklayers, Gai Kasabs or beef butchers, Khatkis or mutton butchers, Momnas or weavers, Nalbands or farriers, Saikalgars or knife grinders, Shishgars or glass bracelet makers, Sutars or carpenters, and Takaras or millstone grinders.
ATTARS, perfumers, are converted Hindus. They are tall, spare,
and rather fair. Their home language is Hindustani. They dress like ordinary Deccan Musalmans except that they wear smaller turbans. The women also wear the Musalman shirt, kudti, and trousers, izar. They have no great name for honesty, but are tidy, hardworking, and thrifty. They extract perfumes from flowers, and Bell cosmetics, dentifrice, and hair oil.
BHONDEKARS, potters, are a small class of local converts thinly scattered over the district. Their home tongue is Hindustani. Their dress consists of a large Maratha-like turban, a jacket, and a waistcloth. The women wear the Musalman dress. They make earthen pots.
DHULDHOYAS, or JHARAS, are a mixed class. Their home language a Hindustani. Of a medium height and spare habit of body they are of a light brown or saffron complexion. They dress in
the ordinary Deccan-Musalman fashion except that they wear the waistcloth, dhoti, instead of trousers, izar. They wash the sweepings of gold or silver smiths' shops, and gather the particles of gold or silver they find in the dust. Their search generally yields a very
poor return. They are sober, hardworking, thrifty, and cleanly.
GAI KASABS, beef butchers, are local converts calling themselves
Shaikhs. Their language is Hindustani. They are tall, well-made
men with wheat-coloured complexions. Except that the turban is
large and folded somewhat after the Maratha fashion, both men and
women wear the Musalman dress. A. butcher is a bye-word for what
is mean and shabby, but except for the tricks of their trade which they
practice without shame, they are religious, thrifty, and sober. They
sell only beef or buffalo flesh as beef. They have a well-organised community.
KADIAS, bricklayers, are local converts. They speak
Hindustani. They are of middle height, dark, and strongly built. The men and women dress in Musalman fashion. They are quiet, sober, skilful, and thrifty, but owing to the scarcity and uncertainty of work, poor and sometimes in debt. They have a well-organised community.
KHATKIS, mutton butchers, are local converts. Their home language is a low Hindustani. They are well, rather stoutly made, with black or brown complexions. The men wear a large three-cornered turban, with a coat and the Hindu waistcloth instead of trousers, and a handkerchief, which, in-doors, they wind round the head on laying aside their turban. The women dress like Hindus. Their character is much like that of the beef butchers, except that, being believed to
practice many Hindu rites, they are looked down on by other Musalmans who neither ask them to public dinners nor eat with them. They sell mutton, but neither sell nor eat beef. They are sober, thrifty, and untidy, but well-to-do.
MOMNAS, or JULAHAS, are local converts who embraced Islam during the reign of Aurangzeb. They speak Hindustani. They are short spare men with wheat-coloured complexions. They have large turbans of a rather jaunty make, and instead of trousers wear the waistcloth. The women dress like ordinary Musalman women. Simple, timid, and stupid, they are weavers by trade, making turbans,
and small waistcloths.
NALBANDS, farriers, are Hindu converts Their home language is Deccan Hindustani. They are thrifty,
hardworking and sober, but untidy.
SAIKALGARS, or armourers, are a mixed class including both local and foreign Musalmans. Those among them known as Ghasarias, have lately embraced Islam under the preaching of Syed Safdar Ali, the Kazi of Nasirabad. They still live by themselves in the village of Kosamba in Jalgaon, and speak their own dialect. They have not as yet mixed with the Saikalgars, and beyond the profession, have nothing in common. The Saikalgars, both men and women, dress like ordinary Deccan Musalmans. They are hardworking, sober, and thrifty. Formerly they used to make knives and razors, and even swords and daggers. The order against wearing arms and the competition of English hardware goods have ruined their business, and they now earn a poor livelihood by grinding knives and sharpening razors.
SHISHGARS, or MANIARS, are a mixed class. They are tall, spare
and muscular, with wheat-coloured complexions. Both men and
women wear the ordinary Deccan-Musalman dress. They are
sober, steady, thrifty, and well-to-do, and, except in the exercise of
their profession, fairly truthful; They make glass and lac bracelets.
On account of the competition of Jabalpur-manufactured glass the
Khandesh trade has lately suffered, but still yields a fair return.
SUTARS, carpenters, are the descendants of converts made during the
reign of Aurangzeb. They are of middle height and muscular, with
wheat-coloured complexions. Their home language is Hindustani,
and the dress of men and women is like that of ordinary Deccan
Musalmans. They are sober, steady, industrious and thrifty, but
TAKARAS, known as PHANIBANDS or HAKIMS, are a mixed
class. Their home language is Hindustani. Dark in complexion and
of medium height they have regular features. Except that the men
wear turbans with twisted bands, both men and women dress like
Deccan Musalmans. They are fond of amusement, thriftless, and
poor. They make and repair millstones. Most of them have some skill
in surgery, cutting for the stone, and couching for cataract.
TAMBATS, coppersmiths, are immigrants from Marvad. They are well-made
men, with wheat-coloured complexions and regular features. Their
home language is Hindustani. The men dress like common
Musalmans, and so do the women except a few who still cling to the
Marvad petticoat. They are sober, hardworking, thrifty, and very
religious. They make copper pots, and some are constables and
messengers in Government and private service. A few have risen
to high places under Government.
The four communities of husbandmen and cattle breeders are:
Baghbans or gardeners, Bohoras, Maulas or Deshmukhs, and
BAGHBANS, gardeners or fruiterers, are local converts.
They speak both Marathi and Hindustani. They are of middle
stature inclined to stoutness, with wheat-coloured complexions. The
women are lighter coloured than the men, and as a rule are handsome. The men dress in Musalman, the women in Maratha fashion.
Besides working as gardeners they sell fruit and vegetables, buying
them wholesale and retailing them. Though hardworking and
thrifty, they are fond of pleasure and fairly well-to-do. BOHORAS
are found in small numbers in the west of Khandesh. They are
Sunnis by religion.
MAULAS, masters, also known as Deshmukhs,
are the representatives of district revenue officers and village
headmen, accountants, and servants, who, to preserve their office and
pay, or, on the promise of grants of land, embraced Islam, during the
reign of the Emperor Aurangzeb. It often happened that of the
same family one branch became Musalman and the other remained
Hindu. Not having married with Musalmans, except that the men
wear the beard, they remain Hindu in appearance, dress, and character.
MULTANIS, husbandmen and cattle breeders, are the descendants of
camp followers who came with Aurangzeb's army from North India.
Their home tongue is a mixture of Multani and Marathi. They
dress like Hindu Kunbis, the women's robe being something
between that worn by Deccani and Vanjari women. Though quiet
and peaceful, these are not wanting in. courage.
Of the four communities of servants, three, the Maliks, Naikvadis,
and Tadvis, are chiefly employed as constables and messengers, and
one, the Bhangis, as menial servants. MALIKS, kings, are the descendants of converts made probably during the first (1300) Muhammadan invasion. They speak Deccan Hindustani, and have nothing special in their appearance. The men wear turbans with twisted bands, coats, and tight trousers, and the women the regular Musalman shirts kudtas, trousers izars, and scarves odhnis. Honest, thriftless and sober, they find employment in public and private service and as labourers.
NAIKVADIS are believed to be descendants
of the soldiers of Tippu, who, during the disturbances that followed
his overthrow, settled in the north Deccan districts. Originally
Hindus they are said to have been converted and named by Hyder
Naik. Black, with high cheek bones and Maratha-like features,
they are tall and strong. Their home tongue is both Hindustani
and Marathi. They are Government messengers and husbandmen.
The men and some of the women dress like Marathas. They are
hardworking, sober, and thrifty. Some of them have a leaning towards the Wahhabi faith.
TADVIS, SO called from forming a
separate branch, tad, are Bhils said to have been converted by Aurangzeb. In appearance they preserve traces of their origin being swarthy, thick-lipped, and muscular. Among themselves they speak a half-Hindustani half-Bhil dialect, and low Hindustani with others. The men dress like Musalmans, and the women like Gujarat Hindus. They are hardworking but thriftless, and fond of pleasure and drink. They are generally police constables, Government messengers, or labourers, except that they never work for hire in the fields. The women help the men by gathering and selling sticks as firewood.
Under the head of Servants also come the BHANGIS, scavengers,
of two classes, local converts and recent settlers from the north. Both speak Hindustani. The men are swarthy, tall, and spare, and the women inclined to plumpness and generally well-featured. The men have no particular dress, wearing any sort of cloth they may get from their employers, be they Muhammadan or Hindu. The women have a robe, sddi, peculiarly worn, and a petticoat which, when at work, they tuck above their knees. They are honest, quiet, thrifty, and hardworking.
Of Actors and Singers the only class are the MIRS, or nobles,
immigrants from the north. Their home language is Hindustani. The men are black and spare, and the women well featured. As fiddlers or tambourine-players in the service of dancing girls, they bear no very good character. Their women sing and play in Zenanas on marriages and other ceremonies.
PARSIS numbered forty-three souls. Almost all are shopkeepers
and liquor-sellers, most of them from Bombay since the opening of the railway, and some from Surat,
where they are the chief liquor-sellers.
EUROPEANS numbered 552 souls or 0.05 per cent of the whole
population Besides the Government officials and a few Europeans in the Jalgaon cotton mills and cotton press factories, they are chiefly railway servants settled at Bhusaval.
CHRISTIANS, other than Europeans, numbered 804 souls or 0.08
per cent of the whole population. There are a few at Dhulia,
a few at Dharangaon, and the rest at Bhusaval and Jalgaon.
The few at Dhulia are chiefly Portuguese servants and converts
of whom not more than four or five are Protestants. There is a small Roman Catholic chapel at Dhulia with a congregation of about fifty. At Bhusaval, where there is a congregation of some hundreds, a very pretty Roman Catholic chapel has lately been built. Portuguese workmen, servants, and Madrasis, and converts or descendants of converts form the bulk of the congregation. The native Christians are, as a rule, poor and hardpressed for subsistence, and are not among the best-behaved of the Bhusaval population.