« EelmineJätka »
All the handsome girls are instructed to dance and sing, and are all pros titutes, at least to the Brahmaus. In ordinary sets they are quite common; but, under the company's government, those attached to temples of extraordinary sanctity are reserved entirely for the use of the native of ficers, who are all Brahmans, and who would turn out from the set any girl that profaned herself by communication with persons of low cast, or of no cast at all, such as Christians or Mussulmans. Indeed, almost every one of these girls that is tolerably sightly is taken by some officer of revenue for his own special use, and is seldom permitted to go to the temple, except in his presence. Most of these officers have more than one wife, and the women of the Brahmans are very beautiful; but the insipidity of their conduct, from a total want of education or accomplishment, makes the dancing women be sought after by all natives with great avidity. The Mussulman officers in particular were exceedingly attached to this kind of company, and lavished away on these women a great part of their incomes. The women very much regret their loss; as the Mussulmans paid liberally, and the Brahmans durst not presume to hinder any girl, who chose, from amusing an Asoph, or any of his friends. The Brábmass are not near so lavish of their money, especially where it is secured by the company's government, but trust to their authority for obtaining the favours of the dancers. When a Mussulman called for a set, it procured from twenty to two hundred Fanams (from 12s. 6d. to 61. 4s. 9d.), according to the number and liberality of his friends who were present; for in this country it is customary for
every spectator to give something. They are now seldom called upon to perform in private, except at marriages, where a set does not get more than ten Fanams, or about 6s. 3d. The girls belonging to this cast, who are ugly, or who cannot learn to sing, are married by the musicians. The Nutua, or person who performs on two small cymbals, is the chief of the set, and not only brings up the boys to be musicians, and instructs all the good-looking girls, born in the set, to sing and dance, but will purchase handsome girls of any cast whatever that he can precure. When a dancing girl becomes old, she is turned out from the temple without any provision, and is very destitute, unless she has a bandsome daughter to succeed her; but if she has, the daughters are in general extremely attentive and kind to their aged parents. To my taste, nothing can be more silly and unanimated than the dancing of the women, nor more harsh and barbarous than their music. Some Europeans, however, from long habit, I suppose, have taken a liking to it, and have even been captivated by the women. Most of them that I have had an opportunity of seeing have been very ordinary in their looks, very inelegant in their dress, and very dirty in their persons: a large proportion of them have the itch, and a still larger proportion are more severely diseased.
The Panchalar are a set of artists, who (as their name imports) are of five different trades; goldsmiths, blacksmiths, coppersmiths, carpenters, and masons. By the Brahmans they are reckoned a low kind of Súdras; but this they do not readily acknowledge to be true, and say, that they are of the Vishwa
Karma cast, being descended from the five sons of that person, who lives i.. heaven, and is the chief artist among the Brahiná Lóka, or angels. All the Panchalar in southern India wear a thread like the Brahmaus. In the dispute about precedency, their hereditary chiefs lead the right hand side. On this account Coimbetore has been long divided into separate quarters. In its own quarter, each party may perform its ceremonies in whatever manner it pleases; but it is not allowed to go into the adversary's quarters with any procession. This keeps the peace; and, although the killing of a jackass, is known by report to the natives in this part of the country, it never has been practised. A Panchala may follow any of the five arts that he pleases; but there are many divisions among them, that prevent intermarriage. No man can marry a woman of a different nation; a Telinga Panchala, for instance, could not marry a woman of this country. Again, a man cannot marry any woman of the same family with himself; and, in order to prevent mistakes, marriages are always made with families who are well known to each other. The men are allowed a plurality of wives, and the women continue to be marriageable after the age of puberty. Widows are not allowed to marry again; nor are they permitted to live with another man in the kind of concubinage called Jaty-bidda, of whom none belong to this tribe. Widows, indeed, ought to burn themselves with the dead bodies of their husbands; but, for at least a century, the practice has gone into disuse. When two persons of the cast commit adultery, they are carried before the Guru. The man is fined, and the VOL. XLIX.
woman is flogged; but, after she has been purified by some consecrated food, and water, her husband receives ber back again. If a woman has criminal connection with a man of any other cast, she is excommunicated. Some of these people eat animal food, others do not. They are allowed to drink intoxicating liquors. They never offer sacrifices to any of the destructive spirits, either male or female. The deity peculiar to the cast is Camachuma, or Kama, who is, they say, the same with Parvati, the wife of Siva. The priests in her temples are all Brahmans; but in the southern parts of India no sacrifices are offered to this idol, as is done in Bengal. The images of this goddess in the two countries are very differently shaped. The Panchalas are frequently, instructed to read and write, and there is a book called Vishwa Purácam, which any of them may read. It is written in the vulgar languages. The Gurus of the Panchalas are not Bráhmans, but persons of the cast. They have four Matams, the authority of all which is equal. One Matam, situated beyond the Tunga-bhadra river, is under the government of a Sannyasi, who appoints his successor from among his relations in the male line. The persons of this family who are not called upon to fill this sacred office work at the anvil as usual, and are not too proud to intermarry with ordinary families. The heads of the other three families marry, and their office is hereditary in the male line: one of them named Parsamium, lives at Tinevelly; another, named Vepuru Vencata Achárya, lives at Andeuru; the name of the third, and his place of residence, are unknown to the people of Coimbetore. To their followers these 3 P
Gurus read Mantrams and Charitra, or prayers and legends, in the Telinga language. They also bestow Upadesa, and receive the gifts called Dána and Dharma; for which purpose they once a year travel round, and receive from each person a Fanam at least.
The Panchanga of the village acts as Purohita for the Panchalar, and reads to them Mantrams, in an unknown language, at marriages, births, the building of a new house, and at the monthly and annual celebrations of the ceremonies for their deceased parents. He also receives the charity called Dána.
The Toreas, or Torearu, are a tribe of Karnáta, although many of them have been long settled in this country. They are rather a low cast, and their proper duty is the cultivation of the Betel-leaf. Many of them formerly were armed messengers, employed to collect the revenue; but, having been deprived in a great measure of this resource by the reduction made in that body of troops, or rather rabble, they have become small dealers in grain, and cutters of firewood; both of which are considered as low employments. They have hereditary chiefs called Gotugaras, or Ijyamánas, who with the advice of a council reprimand all troublesome persons, and inflict slight punishments on those who transgress the rules of cast. The Toreas may eat animal food, but are not permitted to drink intoxicating liquors. They are not allowed to marry a second wife, without obtaining the consent of the first; and this is never asked for, if she has any children. The girls continue to be marriageable after the age of puberty, and widows may marry again without disgrace,
The bridegroom generally gives his father-in-law forty Fanams (11. 5.); but this is only to assist in defraying the expence of the ceremony, which is performed at the father's house, and which costs more money. la cases of adultery, the husband does not always turn his wife away, but contents himself with flogging her. A woman loses cast if she cohabits with a strange man. This cast has two deities peculiar to itself; the one a male, the other a female. The male is called Sidday Dévaru, and is usually represented by a stone placed in the Betel-leaf-garden. The eldest man of every house acts as priest for his own family, and offers up bloody sacrifices to this stone, in order to appease the wrath of the god which it represents. Once in three or four years a feast is celebrated in honour of Sidday Dévaru, in order to induce him to bestow prosperity on the cast. This is done by a contribution, and costs fifteen Pagodas (41. 13s. 7d.) On this occasion Sidday Dévaru is represented by a pot, which is placed in a house, and has worship (Puja) performed in its honour; that is to say, flowers, and water dyed yellow with turmeric, are poured over it, and incense is burned before its throne. The female deity is named Urucate, and is represented by a stone placed in a wood. To this, sacrifices and Puja are offered eight days after the great feast of Sidday Dévaru, and the goddess is solicited to bestow prosperity on her votaries. Although these are the peculiar deities of the Toreas, these poor people pray to any image that comes in their way, and use the mark of Siva. They have no Guru. The Panchanga acts as Puróhita, and reads Mantrams at marriages, and when they build a new house.
His fee is a Fanam and a half (114d.) In cases of sickness, the Toreas frequently vow Dáséri one day in the week; that is to say, to live upon what they can procure by begging.
The Pallí are a very numerous cast in all the countries where the Tamul language, their native tongue, is prevalent. They pretend to be Súdras, but are looked upon as rather a low tribe. They have many subdivisions, none of which intermarry with each other; but all can eat in common. Those from whom I have my information are called Arisha Pallí, and act as cultivators of fields, and of gardens watered by machinery, both as farmers and servants, and also as porters. They have hereditary chiefs, called here Ijyamára. On all public ceremonies these receive Betel first; and, with the assistance of an assembly of the people, settle disputes, when the members of their tribes are willing to refer the matter to their decision; but a reference to the officers of government is in general preferred. Some of this tribe are able to read and write accompts. They can lawfully eat animal food, and drink spirituous liquors. They are permitted to marry several women, and pay to the father of each from nine to eleven Pagodas. The father pays one-third of the marriage-expences, and the bridegroom the remainder. Girls continue to be marriageable after the age of puberty; but after that period sell lower than while children. A widow may marry again without disgrace. In cases of adultery within the cast, the husband in general flogs the woman, and takes her back, giving a small fine to his relations; but sometimes he turns her away; in which case
the man who seduced her keeps the woman as his wife, and pacifies his relations by a small fine. All this produces no disgrace, either to the woman or to her children. A woman loses cast by criminal communication with any man except a Palli; a man may without disgrace indulge himself with any woman, except those belonging to the Panchama, or impure casts.
The gods peculiar to the Pallis are a male named Manar Swami, and Pachumma his mother. In the temples of these deities the priests are Pallís. They are represented by stone images, and, as usual in the province of Combetore, have placed in the yard belonging to their temple a great many figures in potter's work, which represent horses, elephants, and Munis, or devils, who are supposed to be the attendants of these gods. When a person is sick, he frequently vows to place some of these images of potter's work at the temple of the spirit who is supposed to be the cause of his disease. None of these are ever presented to the great gods of the Brahmans, but only to the deities peculiar to the casts of the lower tribes. No sacrifices are offered to Mannar, or Pachumma; but they are frequently presented to the attendant Munis, of whom a great many have appropriate names and characters; such as Val, Shem, Car, Vayda, Muttu, &c. They are all males. The Pallis frequently offer sacrifices to Marima, Putalima,and the other Saktis, and pray to Siva, Vishnu, or any thing which they meet, that is called a god.
The Panchanga, or astrologer of the village, acts as Puróbita for the Pallís, and reads Mantrams at their births and marriages, at the annual commemorations of their deceased
parents, and at the building of a new house.
Some of the Pallis are of Siva's side, and others of Vishnu's. The former have a Guru peculiar to themselves, who is called Palli Swámi, and lives at Andëuru. His office is hereditary, and he wears the Linga. He receives the charity of his followers, and gives them consecrated food, and holy water. On such as choose to wear the Linga, he bestows an Upadésa; but very few apply for this, as ever afterwards they must abstain from animal food. The Pallis who wear the mark of Vishnu have for Gurus the Sri Vaishnavam Bráhmans.
Account of the Goalas, or Cow
keepers, of Madhu-giri.
[From the same.]
10th August. In the morning I went three cosses to Madhu-giri. The road led through pretty vallies, surrounded by detached rocky hills. These vallies showed marks of baving once been in a great measure cultivated, and contained the ruinous villages of their former inhabitants. Ever since the devastation committed by Purseram Bhow, aud the subsequent famine, they have been nearly waste; and many of the fields are overgrown with young trees. A few wretched inhabitants remain, and a few fields are cultivated; and it is said, that this year greater progress would have been made toward the recovery of the country, had not the season been remarkably dry and unfavourable.
On my arrival at Madhu-giri, and questioning Trimula Nayaka on the subject, I found, that every town and village in this hilly country had berds of breeding cattle. One of
the herds I had met on the road; but they were so fierce, that, without protection from the keepers, it would have been unsafe to approach them. I determined, therefore, to remain a day at Madhu-giri and examine the particulars.
11th August.-I went with Trimula Náyaka, and examined three herds of breeding cows, one of them chiefly his own property. From him, and from some of the most sensible Goalas, I afterwards took the following account.
In this country the Cadu Goalas, or Goalaru, are those who breed cattle. Their families live in small villages near the skirts of the woods, where they cultivate a little ground, and keep some of their cattle, selling in the towns the produce of the dairy. Their families are very numerous, seven or eight young men in each being common. Two or three of these attend the flocks in the woods, while the remainder cultivate their fields, and supply the towns with fire-wood, and with straw for thatch. Some of them also hire themselves to the farmers as servan's. They are a very dirty people, much worse than even the generality of the people of Karnáta; for they wear no cloathing but a blanket, and generally sleep among the cattle; which, joined to a warm climate, and rare ablutions, with vermin, itch, ring-worms, and other cutaneous disorders, render them very offensive.
In criminal matters relating to cast, the Goalas are under the jurisdiction of a renter, who in the lauguage of Karnáta is called Beny Chavadi, or in the mussulman dialect Musca Chavadi, which signifies the head of the butter-office. He resides at the capital, and pays to government an annual revenue. He