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Hinduism CASTES


History Of Castes



Principal castes numbers and




92. As in the other Berar Districts the great cultivating caste of the Kunbis preponderates; they number 227,000 or an average of more than one in every three of the population. Next in numerical importance are the Mahars, who number 70,000 or 11 per cent. of the population, and the Malis with 47,000 or 8 per cent. The Malis are an important cultivating caste while the Mahars are chiefly employed as agricultural labourers or on menial posts and as village watchmen; the weaving of coarse cotton cloth is also a speciality of the caste. Other castes strongly represented in the District are Brahmans (19,000), Dhangars (18,000), Wanis (15,000), Wanjaris (13,000), Rajputs (13,000), Telis (13,000) and Mangs (11.500). The Brahmans occupy the highest social position; they hold high Government appointments and are also largely represented among the village accountants. The Dhangars follow their traditional occupation of tending sheep and are also engaged in agriculture. The Wanis are in a small way the chief traders and moneylenders, and in their latter capacity they have obtained a hold over much valuable land. The Wanjaris, whatever their origin may have been, have now settled down to agriculture, and it is probable that the bulk of the Rajputs and Telis are likewise engaged. The Mangs are the well-known menial caste. The Kolis (9000), a caste of somewhat doubtful origin, have also taken to agriculture. The village servant and artisan castes are represented by the Mhalis (7500), Chambhars (8000), Sonars (6000), Sutars (6000), Shimpis (4500), Dhobis (4000), Rangaris (3500), Kumbhars (4000), Lohars (2800), and Dohors (2500). The Baris (6ooo) are the pan cultivators, and the Marathas (6000) follow a variety of occupations. The Banjaras (4000) are the remnants of the old caste of carriers whom the advent of the railway has gradually driven to other pursuits.

Social position of the various castes.

93. The following table was drawn up by Mr. Kitts in 1880 to show the relative social Position, good or inferior of the chief castes [The castes marked with an asterisk are not mentioned in Mr. Kitts' table.]:—

Castes of good social standing.

Castes of inferior social standing.


Sutar, Lohar, Jirayat.*


Hatgar, Koshti, Rangari.

Kayasth and Parbhu.

Beldar, Kumbhar, Panchal.



Vidur, Golak.*

Teli, Dhangar.

Gurao, Jangam.


Gosawi, Bairagi, Jogi, Joshi.


Bhat, Thakur.

Koli, Andh,* Gond.*

Sonar, Kasar.





Pathrats,* Takaris.*



Gaoli, Wanjari, Mali.

Kolhati, Pardhi

Bari, Lodhi.

Burud, Khatik, Waddar,


Chambhar, Dohor.

Mahar, Bedar.

Mang, Bhangi.*


Castes of good social standing.

94. In social position the Brahman stands first. He is,' says Manu, ' by right the chief of this whole creation. He is born above the world, the chief of all creatures.' The Kayasth and Parbhu are regarded, probably by reason of their hereditary occupation, as superior to the Wards or trading castes. Among; the latter the traders from Gujarat take the highest; social rank; and those from Marwar are placed above the Komtis, Lads, and Lingayat Wanis. After the Wanis come the half-castes, Vidur and Golak, who get this position by reason of the Brahman blood in their veins. According to some authorities, the Kunbi ranks next after those already mentioned: according to others, his place is lower. Kunbis, however, in many parts of Berar, have a higher social status than they possess in parts of the adjoining Presidency. Jangams and Udasis rank with Wanis. Guraos, the attendants in the temples of Siva and Maroti, are slightly inferior to them, and below the Guraos come the religious mendicants. Bairagis, the smaller and more fanatical sect, are ranked below Gosawis. After the Bhats and Thakurs, or village bards and genealogists, come the highest artisan castes, those of the Sonar, Kasar and Tambatkar castes, or workers in gold, brass and copper, respectively. Other artisans rank below the Kunbi. The position assigned to the Manbhaos is questionable. The Shimpi, or tailor caste, is also ranked above the Kunbi: it owes its position in some measure to the general intelligence and education diffused among its members. The castes of Weavers and dyers resemble it in this respect. Although the Kunbi is ranked below the castes already mentioned, this position is certainly much lower than would be claimed by, or conceded to, many divisions of the caste. The Gujar, for example, takes rank above other agriculturists; but a Kunbi who claims Rajput descent, and probably also a Kunbi who calls himself a Maratha, would object to yield him this precedence. The precedence among the different divisions of a caste is certainly as intricate a question and as difficult to determine as the social position of the caste as a whole. A ' Maratha ' deshmukh often rejects the name of Kunbi altogether: he would scorn to be classed with the base-born Akaramase, and would probably claim a position immediately succeeding that of the Rajput. The Kunbi of Berar corresponds with the Kapu, or cultivator caste of Telingana, and the Vellalar of the Tamil country. Almost on a par with the Kunbis in social estimation, although generally less prosperous, are the Gaolis. With them are ranked the Wanjaris, a well-to-do and respected caste engaged in agriculture; they claim to be, and locally are, distinct from the Banjara—carrying castes, in rites, customs, dress and features. They are slightly superior to the Malis. Inferior to the latter caste are the Baris and Lodhis. All these castes are of good social position, although the precise place at which the dividing line should be drawn must necessarily be a matter of somewhat arbitrary choice.

Castes of inferior social position.

95. The Sutar, or carpenter, is sometimes considered superior to the worker in brass or copper the Lohar, with whom the Jirayat is on a par, is the lowest of the large artisan castes. The weavers and dyers rank next, Hatgars, or Bangi Dhangars, being however a higher caste than other Dhangars. Then follow the remaining artisan castes, the Beldar, Kumbhar and Panchal. The Beldars are a mixed race; their name means the mattock-workers; their position is therefore questionable, and varies from part to part. Some Beldars are said to be remnants of Pindaris. The Kumbhars, or potters, are a caste of long standing in the land, who have probably sunk lower at each invasion. The worship of the potter's wheel, and the invocation of a potter as a layer of ghosts, indicate a feeling which can scarcely be of recent origin. Salivahan, the legendary founder of the Maratha nation, was, according to some accounts, a Kumbhar. ' His mother,' says a legend quoted by Grant Duff, was ' the virgin daughter of a Brahman, who becoming pregnant by a snake of a sacred kind by a man of the Nagvansi race) was in consequence supposed to be disgraced, and was driven from her father's threshold; but she was received into the house of a potter, by whom she was protected.' The Panchals and Ghisadis are rough ironsmiths; they owe their low social rank to their poverty and vagrant habits. The Pathrats also belong to the same social stratum: they are a poor people: their lowly position shows that stone-dressing is not so honourable an occupation as metal-working or carpentry. The Kalal owes his low rank to his reprehensible calling: a priest may not eat the food of one who sells fermented liquors: drinking is one of the six faults which bring infamy on married women; and even eating what has been brought in the same basket with spirituous liquor is an offence which causes defilement. The Telis, on a par with whom are the Tambolis, are decidedly inferior to the large agricultural castes. The distinction between Tili and Teli, observed in Bengal, is unknown in Berar: although there are divisions, of which the Rathor Teli is the higher, within the caste it self. The Dhangars or tenders of sheep and goats, naturally rank below the Gaolis or cow-herds. The Halbis, who in Berar are a weaving rather than an agricultural caste, are socially on a par with Dhangars. Mhalis, or Hajams, probably owe their low position to their being village servants, obliged not only to shave the com-munity, but also to act occasionally as torch-bearers or as personal attendants. The low position assigned to the Gondhalis, the sect devoted to nocturnal song and vigil in honour of the local goddess Hinglaj Bhawani, marks the contempt inspired by neo-Brahmanism for the older local cult. The Kolis would scarcely take precedence of the Bhois, but that part of their number were reclaimed from a wild life at an earlier period than the rest; they ' have among them several substantial patels, and they have fairly reached the agricultural stage of society here.' The Bhoi, or fishermen caste, ranks below the Koli. 'The Warthi or Dhobi, or village washerman, comes low down on the social scale, probably because of his calling, and possibly also because, like the barber, he is fond of liquor. The castes which remain belong to a much lower level than any of the preceding. They are not so much socially inferior, as be-yond social notice altogether. The Banjaras are, in social estimation, on a par with Bhamtas (thieves): so that if the Wanjaris were originally the same people as the Banjaras, they have certainly achieved a wonderful rise in social rank, amid a population very conservative of social distinctions and differences. Decidedly inferior to the Banjaras, in the esteem of their neighbours, are the Kolhatis and Kaikaris, wandering tribes addicted to crime and immorality; the Chitrakathis, who are vagrant mendicants; the Pardhis, or Baurias of Upper India; and the Takankars, or Bagris. Below these again, or rather of equal inferiority in a different sphere, are various castes of settled habits. The Jingars, who make native saddles, and the Buruds, who work in' bamboo, are socially on a par with the Khatik or Hindu butcher. The professional slaughterer of animals, not-withstanding the number of his customers, and not-withstanding that he never lifts his hand against the sacred kine, is placed near the foot of the social ladder. The Waddars, noted for their thieving propensities and fond of catching and eating vermin, are, in the villages of their own country, relegated to a separate quarter, which in appearance is not less poverty-stricken and squalid than that of the Mahars: in Berar they live in little pals; they rank below Khatiks The leather-working castes are superior to the Mahars; the lowest position of all is assigned to the Mangs and Mang Garoris.

Variety of opinion.

96. The arrangement, which has been indicated, although as accurate as information will allow, must be partly conjectural The distinctive and segregative nature of the caste system, rendering each caste in social matters a world apart, renders at the same time any system of precedence between different castes to some extent un-necessary and impossible. With castes which never mix in social intercourse, their relative social rank, if nearly the same, must remain undetermined. The feeling on such matters may vary from taluk to taluk; probably it also varies from generation to generation. The wealth and rank attained by its prominent members may, even among so conservative a people, raise the social estimate in which a caste is held; the Wanjaris and Kolis are examples in point. The numbers of a caste produce a similar effect: and local opinion is therefore safest in its estimate of the local precedence of the largest castes. A brief description of the castes, whose representatives in the District at the last census numbered more than one hundred, is given below. Unfortunately the actual occupation followed by the members of each caste cannot be given, as the information was not obtained at the last census.


97. The Andhs numbered about 3300 persons in the District at the census of 1901, of whom 2600 persons were returned from Mehkar taluk and some 700 from Chikhli. They are probably an aboriginal tribe, but nothing can be ascertained as to their origin, and they are not found in any other Province. They have now adopted nearly all the practices of Kunbis and are hardly distinguishable from them in dress or personal appearance. In social status they are generally considered to be only a little lower than the Kunbis, and cultivate in the ordinary manner like them. They employ Brahmans as their priests, and profess to be Vaishnavas by religion, wearing sect-marks on their foreheads. In religion, says Mr. Kitts, the Andhs are more Hinduised than other aborigines. They worship Khandoba, Kanhoba, Maroti, Bairam, and the goddess Elamma or Bhawani. Some worship Dawal Malak and others reverence Haji Saiyad Sarwar. But in two matters they appear to show their Dravidian origin. One is that they will eat the flesh of such unclean animals as fowls, pigs, rats, snakes, and even cats; while they abstain only from that of cows, monkeys and a few others. And the other, that they will re-admit into their caste Andh women detected in a criminal intimacy with men of such impure castes as the Mahars and Mangs. Widow-marriage is practised, but a widow is not permitted to marry the younger brother of her deceased husband. Divorce is not allowed by the caste on any ground. At the time of birth of a child the elderly females of the caste act as midwives. The mother remains impure only for seven days after the birth of a child. The caste burys its dead and performs the mourning ceremony on the tenth day, but they observe no shraddh.


98. The Bairagis (400), lit. a person disgusted with the world, are wandering ascetics or beggars.


99. The Banjaras numbered 4000, of whom 2776 were found in the Mehkar taluk. The numbers show a great fall, 9842 having been recorded at the census of 1891, of whom 7561 belonged to the Mehkar taluk. The Banjaras of Berar are the same people as the Lambadis of the Madras Presidency and the Manaris mentioned by Tavernier. They are supposed to be the people mentioned by Arrian in the fourth century B.C. as leading a wandering life, dwelling in tents, and letting out for hire their beasts of burden. Their home seems originally to have been the long tract of country under the northern hills from Gorakhpur to Hardwar. In Berar as in the Punjab the Banjaras are often, if not generally, known as Labhanas. Although the Charan division outnumbers the Labhanas, a Charan if asked his caste will answer Labhana, and, if asked what Labhana, will answer Charan Labhana. There are in all six divisions, four Hindu and two Musalman. The highest in rank of the Hindu Banjaras are the Mathurias, who claim to be Brahmans and wear the sacred thread. The Labhanas or salt-carriers evidently came from further north than other Hindu Banjaras. Their claim to be descended from Gaur Brahmans, when coupled with the details of their serpent worship as described by Tavernier, suggests that they are possibly connected with the Gaur Taga tribe. They are considered socially superior to the Charans. Like the Mathurias their women wear saris, while Charan women wear lahengas. They wear the sacred thread. The Charans are said to be of Rajput origin. The story of their creation by Mahadeo to replace the feeble Bhats is well known. Under their leaders Bhangi and Jhangi Naiks, they came first to this Province with the army of Asaf Khan in the campaign which closed with the annexation by Shah Jahan of Ahmadnagar and Berar. ' The two Banjara leaders had with them 190,000 bullocks, and in order to keep these well up with his force Asaf Khan was induced to issue an order engraved on copper and in gold letters, as follows:—

Ranjan ka pani, Chappar ka ghas,

 Din ka tin khun muaf

 Aur jahan Asaf Jan ke ghore,

 Wahan Bhangi Jhangi ke bail,

 which being freely translated runs: ' If you can find no water elsewhere, you may even take it from ranjans (pots) of my followers; grass you may take from the roof of their huts; and if you commit three murders a day I will even pardon this, provided that where I find my cavalry I can always find Bhangi Jhangi's bullocks.' The Duke of Wellington subsequently in his Indian campaigns regularly employed Banjaras as part of the commissariat staff of his army. On one occasion he said of them: ' The Banjaras I look upon in the light of servants of the public, the price of whose grain I have a right to regulate.' The Charans do not allow infant marriage; they worship Mariai, the cholera goddess, and the famous bandit Mitu Bhukia, to whom in nearly every tanda a hut is set apart surmounted by a white flag. As a class the Charans are more indiscriminately criminal than the other two divisions, who in their crimes confine themselves to cattle-lifting and kid-napping. The original occupation of the Banjaras was to convey for sale articles for trade such as wheat, salt, rice, red ochre, etc., from one place to another on pack bullocks. When there were no railways, trade was monopolised by them. They have now been forced to settle down to ordinary labour and private service, and have of late years lost much of the evil reputation which formerly attended them.


100. The Baris, that is, those who direct water, number 6000, of whom 5089 are found in the Jalgaon taluk. They are a caste whose specialty it is to keep pan-gardens, but they are also engaged in agriculture. They have a legend that at some former time at the Diwali festival the daughter of a Bari affixed a mark of vermilion to the forehead of a Kumbhar's son who presented her with a creeper which she should cultivate and thereby earn her livelihood. In token of their gratitude the Baris still take water from the hands of a Kumbhar. A Bari will never give betel-leaves folded in a bundle to a Kumbhar as he will do to people of other castes. Infant marriage is also allowed. They both bury and cremate their dead. The corpse is laid in the grave on one side with feet to the north, head to the south, and face to the east. They place some food and an earthen pot filled with water for the use of the disembodied soul. A pan-garden can be cultivated successively for five years. In the sixth year they must change its site. The Baris eat fowls and eggs and take the flesh of a goat or sheep. Liquor is drunk both at the time of marriage and funeral rites. They can take food from the hands of a Kunbi, a Phulmali and a Brahman.


101. The Bedars (1100) who are immigrants from the Carnatic have increased from 139 in 1881. They are a labouring caste.


102. The Beldars (2000) are earth-workers who get their name from the use of the bel, or mattock in digging, and are principally found in the plain taluks.


103. The Bhangis (400) are the Hindu scavenger caste and are employed almost exclusively as sweepers.


104. The Bhois (2900) are fishermen. They still cleave to their hereditary caste occupations much more closely than is the case with many castes, and are consequently to be found where rivers or tanks supply them with fishing. They belong to the Dravidian family of aboriginal races. A Bhoi considers it pollution to eat or drink at the house of a Lohar, a Sutar, a Bhat, a Dhobi, or a barber; he will not even carry their palanquin at a marriage. Like the Pardhis the Bhois have forsworn beef but not liquor. like the Dhangars they wear tanwad ear-rings. Their women wear the toe-rings but not the nose-rings of Hindu women: like Gond women they wear brass bangles, which they do not remove, although they discard the black bead necklace during widowhood. Their funeral ceremony resembles that of Gonds. Cremation is rare. After a burial each mourner repairs to the deceased's house to drink: each then fetches his own dinner and dines with the chief mourner. On the third day after the birth of a child the Bhois distribute to other children food made of juari flour and butter-milk. On the fifth day the slab and mortar, used for grinding the household corn, are washed, anointed and worshipped. On the 12th day the child is named and shortly after this its head is shaved.


105. The Borekars (200) are a comparatively new caste as they were not mentioned in the census of 1881. They are practically confined to the Jalgaon taluk, and are mat-makers. At the time of marriage the bride and bridegroom are seated on mats prepared by the elderly persons of the caste.


106. Brahmans (19,000) constitute 3 per cent. of the population. Almost all the Brahmans are Maharashtra Brahmans of the Deshasth, Konkanasth and Karhada subdivisions. The foreign Brahmans are mostly to be found amongst pleaders, munims and traders, whilst Berar Brahmans are chiefly to be met with in Government service, as patwaris and karkuns. The following note on Brahmans made by a former Deputy Commissioner of Akola is worthy of reproduction:—' Brahman women are regarded by them as but a little lower than men. Their presence is required at many religious ceremonies. The husband publicly eats with his wife on the occasion of his marriage. Their funeral ceremonies are the same. In the '' worship of fire '' the wife may perform the ceremony alone should her husband be absent from home for a time, whereas the reverse is not the case. The tuition of girls is not general, certain hymns taught to boys may not be imparted to girls; although others, which it is considered derogatory for a boy to learn, are taught. Brahman widows may be known by their not having a red mark on their forehead; by their saris being white, red or yellow, and composed of either cotton, or silk; by their not wearing a choli, or glass bangles, or a mangal sutra; and by their heads being clean shaven. Although allowed to pray at the temples they are not allowed to take part in any religious ceremony of a festive nature. If their relatives are too poor to maintain them, Brahman widows are frequently employed by their caste people as cooks; and some- times they will secretly wash clothes for certain families, or gain a livelihood by grinding grain. The intellect of a Brahman is incisive rather than powerful; his peculiar characteristic is self-complacency. He considers no position too high or difficult; he knows that no act, however mean and bad, can prevent his re-admission into his own, the foremost caste. He is envious of those in power, even if placed there by himself. To his exclusiveness much of his influence is due: this, however, is gradually giving way to the requirements of the public service. Brahman schoolmasters, patwaris and others are obliged to reside in small villages where, if they are to have any society at all, they must forget their exclusiveness and mingle with Kunbis on a footing approaching equality.' A Brahman, from his conception in his mother's womb to his death, passes through twelve purificatory rites, three of which are most important and are performed by rich and poor alike. They are the investiture with the sacred thread, marriage ceremony, and funeral rites.

Thread ceremony.

107. The thread ceremony called upanayan is performed when the boy is about eight years old. He becomes by this ceremony twice born and is entitled to study the Vedas. The boy is shaved, perhaps the only auspicious occasion on which shaving is allowed: and after a few ordinary ceremonies is invested with the sacred thread, and a piece of cloth is put around his loins. The father acts as acharya or spiritual teacher, and says that he hands over the boy bachelor to the sun, and invokes the aid of the sun to protect the boy. The prajapati, ' Lord of men,' is also called upon to protect the boy. Then the boy is taught the Gayatri mantra. It may be thus rendered, ' We praise the noble strength of the Sun-god. May he propel our intellects.' There is still a prejudice among Brahmans against repeating this sacred verse before a yavana or one who does not believe in the Vedas. Then a mekhala or ' girdle ' is tied round the boy's waist. The girdle is praised as being lucky, dear to gods, and protector of truth, able to augment penance and withstand the demoniac influences. The girdle is called upon to protect the boy. The boy is also given a small palas stick. The boy accepts it, saying, that the stick may keep him, uncontrollable as he is, from going astray. The boy is then advised to observe the following:—

(a) Achaman (sipping) according to rites after each impurity, such as touching an out-caste.

(b) Not to sleep by day.

(c) To go to a teacher and learn the Vedas.

(d) To beg his food morning and evening.

(e) To offer sacred fuel (satnidh) to the fire, morning and evening.

(f) To lead a pure life of celibacy and study of: Vedas for a period of 12 years.

The boy begins his lesson that very day by begging his food from his mother. The rice thus given is now-a-days cooked and served to Brahmans.

Marriage ceremony.

108. Out of the eight forms of ancient Hindu marriage only two survive. The commonest form is known as Brahma (approved), while the other is called Asuri (disapproved). In the latter form the father of the bride receives payment for giving his daughter in marriage. The marriage age is now later than it used to be, boys being married generally between fourteen and twenty, and girls between nine and twelve. The girl's parents privately propose the match, and take from the boy's parents his horoscope to compare it with the girl's. The comparison is made either by the family priest or by some professional astrologer. Occasionally when a marriage is very much desired, the horoscopes are not consulted to avoid the risk of their not agreeing, and the marriage thus settled is called pritvivah or love-match. If the horoscopes agree a for-mal proposal is made by the parents of the girl regarding hunda (dowry), a fixed sum in cash, karni (presentation of clothes, etc., by one party to the other) and travel-ling expenses. The amount proposed depends upon the status of the father of the boy. As much as Rs. 2000 or Rs. 3000 is sometimes Raid by a Brahman of the upper classes. If the parties are on very friendly terms or are closely related, the dowry is sometimes not taken. The marriage ceremony is invariably performed within a few months after the betrothal, but before that several preliminaries are gone through, one of them being the ceremony called shal mundi, in which a shawl is given to the boy by some member of the girl's family. On the day fixed for the marriage a curtain is held between the bride and bridegroom who are clothed in fresh yellow cotton robes and verses are recited for about half an hour. The curtain is then dropped and the parties see each other for the first time. The guests then generally leave the pandal. Two or three hours before the marriage ceremony takes place the ceremony of kanyadan is per-formed. The father and mother of the bride generally give her away to the bridegroom. The father of the bride recites the motives for the marriage, which are three:—

(1) that the father may go to heaven;

(2) that the souls of the manes may be liberated; and

(3) for procreation.

These formulas are repeated thrice, and at each re-petition the bridegroom assents, finally adding the words ' I take the girl for religious merit and procreation.' The father of the bride then describes how he has nourished his daughter, and requests the bridegroom not to fall short of her in religious duty and desire, to which the bridegroom assents. Various gifts are then made to the bridegroom. Then follows the suvarn abhishek. Water from a pot in which gold, grass and leaves have been put is sprinkled by the priests upon the bride and bridegroom. At the same time they chant verses enjoining the parties to love each other, and the wife to obey the husband. After that cotton thread dyed yellow with turmeric is tied round the pair and verses representing the strength and glory of ancient India are recited. Half the threard is taken by the bride and tied round the wrist of the bridegroom and the latter ties the other half round the wrist of the bride. This ceremony is known as kankan bandhan. Then follows the akshada ropana. Wet rice is thrown by the parties on each other's heads and prayers for wordly prosperity and religious merit are offered. A thread- is then tied round the neck of the bride by the groom, saying that it is the gift of her life and wishing her a life of 100 years. The marriage sacrifice (horn) is now made, sacred fuel, ghi, and fried rice being cast in the fire. Fried rice is then put in the palm of the bride's hand by her brother, and the bridegroom, having added a morsel of ghi, seizes her hands and makes her throw the offering in the fire. He then with his right hand seizes her right wrist, and they both walk round the fire. The bride places her foot upon a slab of stone and a hymn is recited exhorting the bride to be as steady as the stone, be the attack of the enemy ever so strong. The stone is placed to the south, and the faces of the couple are turned to the east. This ceremony is repeated thrice. Then follows the saptapadi. Seven small heaps of rice are laid to the north, and a small pot of water is placed to the east. The couple stand at the first heap with their faces to the east. The bride touches the first heap with her right foot, and as they walk round each of the seven heaps mantras are repeated, of which the first runs thus:—' Oh ! put your first foot and love me— we shall get many sons, may they be at the finish.' The priests sprinkle them with water and bless them. This ceremony is the most important of the marriage celebration, and it is believed that when it is completed the. marriage is binding and cannot be revoked.



109. The Buruds (200) are practically confined to the Khamgaon taluk. They are makers of baskets and matting.


110. The Chambhars (8000) are leather workers. The Harale (or Marathe) Chambhars claim the highest rank. In religion they are devoted to Mahadeo, whom they worship on a Sunday in the month of Shrawan. The sadhu, who acts as guru to his flock, makes a visitation once every four or five years. They will eat pork but not beef, and drink liquor. They dye leather, and make shoes, mots and pakhals. They will not use uhtanned leather, nor will they work for Mahars, Mangs, Jingars, Buruds, Kolis or Halalkhors. If one of these buys a pair of shoes, they will ask no indiscreet questions, but they will not mend the pair as they would for a man of higher caste. Their womenkind work the silk pattern which adorns the native shoes.


111. The Dhangars number 18,000 and the Hatgars 1067. In the Malkapur taluk the Dhangars number 6585. The Dhangar caste, to which the Holkar family belongs, are hereditary tenders of sheep and goats, corresponding to the Gadarias elsewhere. They are also weavers of woollen blankets, and a large number have settled down to agriculture. The Hatgars or Bangi Dhangars, that is, shep-herds with spears, were originally a division of Dhangars, but having adopted military service they became a, separate caste. They also have settled down to agriculture.


112. The Dhobis (4000) otherwise known as Warthf and Parit are village balutedars. Besides the grain at harvest time they also receive presents when a child is born to any of their employers. As a rule the Dhobi considers a; monthly wash to be sufficient for an ordinary villager.


113. The Dohors (2500) are principally found in the Chikhli and Mehkar taluks; They are one of the most important divisions among the leather-working castes, and probably immigrated into this District from Khandesh. They worship chiefly Mari Mata and sometimes Bhawani. Their spiritual interests are in the care of Bhats or Thakurs. They will work for all castes except Mangs. They dye leather and make shoes, but not mots and pakhals. The men do not wear dhotis as do the Harales; the Harale women again wear lugras which bind round the waist, whereas the Dohor women wear lahengas, which tie round like a petticoat. The dead are usually buried and mourned for three days. Those who die married, if well-to-do, are burned.


114. The Gaolis (1300) include the Ahirs, Gaolans and Gawaris which are synonymous names. They are a pastoral caste, but have taken to agriculture and other pursuits. They are supposed to be an old Indian or half Indian race, who were driven south and east before the Scythian invaders. Like the Jats and Gujars they retain the Scythian custom whereby the younger brother takes the widow of the elder brother to wife. Before the Christian era they were near the north-west frontier of India: they passed down through Upper to Lower Sindh, and thence to Gujarat; ' when the Kattis arrived in Gujarat in the eighth century they found the greater part of the country in the possession of the Ahirs'; meanwhile part of the tribe had journeyed east. They are spoken of as settled in Khandesh. And an inscription in one of the Nasik Buddhist caves shows that early in the fifth century the country was under an Ahir king: and ' in the Puranic geography the country from the Tapti to Deogarh is called Abhira, or the region of cowherds.' It seems probable that they were connected with the Yadavas, who were in power in the eighth, and again appear as the rulers of Deogiri or Daulatabad in the twelfth and thirteenth century. ' The Ahirs or cowherd kings', says Meadows Taylor, ' ruled over the wild tracts of Gondwana, and parts of Khandesh and Berar, and had possession of fortresses like Asirgarh, Gawilgarh and Narnala, and other mountain positions, where they remained secure and independent, tributary however to the Yadavas of Deogarh, or to the Hindu dynasties of Malwa as long as they existed, and afterwards acting independently,' Berar was in those days a trouble-some border country, and the Ahirs seem to have fallen into a secondary position before the influx of Kunbis.


115. The Ghisadis (300) are practically confined to the Chikhli and Mehkar taluks. They sometimes claim a Rajput origin. They are, inferior blacksmiths and do rough work only. Among them large bride prices varying from Rs, 300 to Rs. 500 are paid in cash to the parents of the girl before the performing of the betrothal ceremony. The marriage is performed after the Maratha ritual, and widow-marriage is also practised, but divorce is not allowed on any ground. An unmarried girl puts a round patch of vermilion on her forehead, but after her matriage this is replaced by lines. The caste generally buries its dead and some ghi (clarified butter) is put in the mouth of a corpse before it is buried. The Ghisadis are worshippers of Khandoba, Ambamai and Mhasoba. They take freely spirituous drink and eat the flesh of a goat, fowl, and deer, but abstain from pork.


116. The Golaks (100) are almost all found in the Chikhli taluk. They are a class of inferior Brahmans; the offspring of a Brahman father and a Brahman widow. Pure  Brahmans neither eat nor marry with them.


117. The Gonda (300) are practically all found in the Jalgaon taluk. They mostly belong to the labouring class.


118. The Gondhalis (800) are a sect of wandering beggars recruited from all castes. They are especially attached to the temples of the goddess Tukai at Tuljapur and the goddess Renukai at Mahur. Hence arise the two great divisions of the caste, the Renurai and the Kadamrai, who do not intermarry. Other divisions are known as Maratha, Kunbi, and Mali Gondhalis: these are the descendants of children of the castes named, offered in fulfilment of vows at the shrine of the goddess. The Gondhalis perform what is known as the Gondhal ceremony at the houses of Brahmans and Sudras. The chief occasions are the worship of Bhawani at the Dasahra, and the worship of Tukai and Renukai on Hanuman's birthday. The ceremony is held at night. The Gondhalis are previously feasted: they eat flesh and drink liquor. The image of the goddess is placed on a stool and a sacred torch is lit. By the side of the idol a pot filled with water is placed, betel-leaves are put around its mouth, and a cocoanut is placed on them. The rest of the stool is covered with offerings of fruits and spices. The Gondhalis now worship the goddess, wave the lighted torch around their bodies and chant monotonous hymns 'in honour of the deity all through the night. At other times of the year the Gondhalis subsist upon alms by reciting ballads called povade. They wear a string of cowries round their necks: this string is put on at the time of marriage, and marks the wearer's right to per-form the gondhal, a right forbidden to the unmarried.


119. The Gosawis (Gosains)(1900) are mostly religious mendicants, but a few are engaged in agriculture, trade and money-lending.


120. The Guraos (1600) are attendants in the temples of Maroti and Siva, and sellers of bel leaves for offerings to the idol. They receive the food offered to the idol. As trumpeters they were formerly employed in the Maratha armies. They are to some extent mendicants but they do not wander.


121. The Jangams (300) are mostly found in the Mehkar taluk. Thev are priests of the Lingayats.


122. The Jats (200) are mostly found in the Mehkar taluk. Most of them are agriculturists but a few are weavers. They claim a Rajput origin.


123. The Jirayats (200) chiefly occur in Malkapur and Jalgaon taluks. They are said to be immigrants from the south. The majority of them are ironsmiths whose speciality is fine work, but Here and there one is found following some other handicraft than that peculiar to the caste. Infant marriage prevails in the caste, and the parents of a girl attaining puberty before marriage are excommunicated temporarily from the caste. Liquor and flesh of sheep or goat are permitted. Persons eating fowls or pork are outcasted, but can be readmitted into the caste after providing a feast. The caste can eat food cooked by a Brahman, Kunbi, Rajput and Phulmali.


124. The Jogis (500) or Yogis (lit., contemplative saints) are Sivite beggars.


125. The Joshis (100) are beggars and astrologers.


126. The Kalals (1700) are mostly agriculturists, only a small number being engaged as liquor distillers and sellers, which is their traditional occupation.


127. The Kasars (2000) take their name from the; bell-metal (kansa) in which they work, and rank high among artisans.

Kayasth and Parbhu.

128. The Kayasths and Parbhus number 200 persons in the District, and are the wellknown writer class. The former trace their descent from Chitragupta, the recorder of Yama, and the latter from King Chandrasen.


129. The Khatiks (500) are Hindu butchers, and by reason of the impurity of their calling rank very low in the social scale.


130. The Kolhatis (600) are most numerous in the Malkapur taluk. They are a wandering tribe of acrobats, and their women are generally prostitutes.


131. The Kolis (9000) are principally found in the Malkapur taluk. Little is known regarding their origin. They are said once to have been soldiers and guardians of the Berar hill passes, and their hereditary occupation is said to be that of fishing. There are a large number of Ahir Kolls in the Malkapur taluk, immigrants from Khandesh. They are said to be frequently employed as watchmen, and to work ferries and grow melons in the beds of rivers. They eat pork but not beef, and they drink liquor.


133. The Koshtis (900) are the well-known weaving castes. Their speciality is white cotton clothes with coloured borders.


133. The Kumbhars (4000) are potters and brick and tile makers. They have no competition from outsiders to contend with in their caste occupation, and there are few instances in which Kumbhars have adopted handicrafts entirely foreign to the caste occupation.


134. The Kunbis number 227,000 or 37 per cent. of the population. A full account of the caste has been given in the Yeotmal Gazetteer, and here a reference will only be made to the Deshmukhs and Pajne Kunbis. The Deshmukh was originally the manager or headman of a circle of villages, and was responsible for apportioning and collecting the land revenue. The office was hereditary and was usually held by members of the Tirole subcaste of Kunbis, though other castes such as Brahmans, Rajputs, Marathas, Mails and Muhammadans also shared the privilege. The Kunbi Deshmukhs have now developed into a sort of aristocratic branch of the caste and many among them-selves when matches can be arranged. They do not allow the marriage of widows nor permit their women to accompany the wedding procession. A Deshmukh sabha has been formed for Berar, one of its aims being to check intermarriage with ordinary Kunbis. Deshmukhs have also lately begun to wear the sacred thread, and in three generations of the family the latest member may be seen wearing it, while the two older members are without it. Some Deshmukhs now repudiate their Kunbi origin and prefer to he called Marathas, thus claiming through that name to belong to the Kshattriya clan. The sect of Kunbis known as the Pajne Kunbis is only found in Berar in the Malkapur taluk of this District, and deserves a separate notice. The Pajne Kunbis are found in about So villages near Khandesh, and number roughly 2000, Another local name for them is Rewas, which is apparently a variant of Levas who form the largest subcaste of Kunbis in Gujarat. They seem to have broken off from the parental stock so long ago (500 years) that they have forgotten all connection with it, and account for their names by somewhat curious folk-etymologies. The word Pajne is traced to Pawakhand which they say formerly formed a part of Gujarat, and Rewa is supposed to be derived from the river Rewa in Gujarat. In Gujarat, however, Leva is said to mean mild as opposed to Kadwa (bitter), another subcaste of Kunbis. The men of the Pajne subcaste wear a head dress like that of Gujarati Wanis and they 'themselves claim to be Wani immigrants from Gujarat afterwards repudiated by their caste fellows owing to their having mingled with the local Kunbis. The Leva Kunbis of Gujarat are really of Gujar origin, and the tecollection of the Pajnes is so far correct that they originally belonged to a different caste, but their claim to be Wanis is merely presumptuous. In religion they worship all Hindu gods, but there is a special sect called Malkari or Bhagvat panthi which confines its worship to Vithoba, Rama and Mahadeo. The gurus of Muktabai at Edalabad, Jnyaneshwar at Alandi, Tukaram at Dehu, Vithoba at Pandharpur, Nivrittinath at Trimbakeshwar, Yeknath at Paithan, and Sopandeo at Sachoie initiate disciples into the sect by bestowing upon them wreaths of beads of tulisu wood, at the same time advising them to observe ekadaski (fasting), to worship daily the tulsi plant in the angans, to offer daily prayers to god, and to attend with-out fail the Ashadhi and Kartiki fairs at Pandharpur with Pandharpur Patakas (flags). In their social customs and ceremonies the Pajne Kunbis follow generally the Tirole Kunbis, slight differences being that Pajne remales on the bridegroom's side attend marriages, and before the marriage ceremony takes place the bride and bride-groom are made to worship a dunghill. Pajne Kunbis cannot marry with other Kunbis., but inter-dining is not prohibited. Widow-remarriage is permitted. The marriageable age is for a girl seven years and for a boy eleven years. After marriage the woman wears in one ear an ear ornament called pachatur, a ring of gold with five corals and five beads of gold; the poorer women wear rings of corals only. The wearing of this ornament is a certain means of identifying a Pajne Kunbi. For some reason unknown the Chambhars of the Balaghat will not repair the shoes of Pajne Kunbis. Pajhe Kunbls are exclusively moneylenders or cultivators. Their education does not go beyond the 4th or 5th Marathi standard, but most of them know how to read and write and keep accounts. They have a reputation for economy; borrowing for marriage ceremonies is strictly prohibited, the expenditure being limited to a sum fixed alike for rich and poor by the community. They are very clannish and assist each other in need. They abstain from the use of alcohol and both socially and mentally they rank above the other Kunbis. Some of them are watandar patels.

An excellent account of the Kunbis as a class given by an anonymous writer [Notes on the Agriculturists of Aurangabad quoted in Mr. Kitts' Berar Cestui Report of 1881, p. 111 foot note.] is deserving of reproduction. ' The Kunbi is a harmless, inoffensive creature, simple in his habits, kindly by disposition, and unambitious by nature. He is honest, and altogether ignorant of the ways of the world. He knows little of the value of money, and when he happens to earn any, he does not know how to keep it. He is satisfied with very little, and is contented with his lot, however humble. His passions are not strong, he is apathetic, and takes things easily, is never elated with success, nor is he readily prostrated by misfortune. He is patient to a fault, and shows great fortitude under severe trials. He is a thorough conservative, and has a sincere hatred of innovations. He cherishes a strong love for his watan (hereditary holding and rights), and whenever any trivial dispute arises in connection with these he will fight it out to the very last. He will often suffer great wrongs with patience and resignation, but his indignation is aroused if the least encroachment be made upon his personal watandari rights, though they may yield him no profit, but happen on the contrary to be a tax upon his purse. If the regulated place be not assigned to his bullocks when they walk in procession at the Pola feast, or if he has been wrongfully preceded by another party in offering libations to the pile of fuel, that is to be fired at the Holi, the Kunbi at once imagines that a cruel wrong has been done him, and his peace of mind is disturbed. He will haunt the courts of the taluk and District officials for redress, and, neglecting his fields, will pursue his object with a perseverance worthy of a better cause. "The Kunbi's domestic life is happy and cheerful; he is an affectionate husband and a loving father. He is a stranger to the vice of drunkenness, and in every respect his habits are strictly temperate. He is kind and hospitable towards the stranger, and the beggar never pleads in vain at his door. In short, the Kunbi, within the scale of his capacities, is endowed with most of the virtues of mankind, and exhibits but few vices. We cannot, however, accord to the Kunbi the merit of energy. Industrious he is, he rises early, and retires late; in the hottest time of the year he works in the field under the burning rays of the sun; at other seasons he has often to work in the rain, drenched to the skin; he is to be seen in the fields on a bitter winter morning,, defying the cold, clad only in his simple coarse kambi (blanket). Thus his life is one of continued toil and exposure. But, while admitting all this, it cannot be denied that he works apathetically and without intelligent energy of any kind. The Kunbi women are very industrious, and are perhaps more energetic than the men. Upon them devolves the performance of all the domestic duties. They have to carry water from the river or well, grind corn, prepare the meals, sweep the house and plaster St with liquid clay or cowdung, clean the cooking vessels, wash the linen, and attend to their children. For a part of the day they are also employed on light field work. Be-sides getting through these multifarious duties, the women of the poorer classes generally manage to find time to gather a headload of either fuel or grass, which they carry to their own or any other adjoining village for sale. From these hardly acquired earnings they purchase salt, oil, and other necessities for household use, and a little opium, a minute quantity of which they invariably administer to their children as a narcotic. Indeed the Kunbi woman takes an honest pride in supplying opium to her children from her personal earnings. If all the women in the family have not enough work on their holdings, some of them go out to labour in the fields of other holders, and their earnings form no mean addition to the income of the Kunbi cultivator. The women work as hard as the men, and fortunate is the cultivator who is blessed with a number of female relatives in his family, for, instead of being a burden, their industry is a steady source of income to him. With a heavy load on her head, an infant wrapped up and slung to her back, the Kunbi woman of the poorer classes will sturdily tramp some six or seven miles to market, sell the produce of her field there, and from the proceeds buy articles for household consumption; she will then trudge back home in time to prepare the evening meal for the family.' Regarding their treatment of children the Deputy Commissioner, Akola, writes: ' For the first day or two after birth a child is given milk; and then it is allowed to take the mother's milk; if this is insumdent a wet-nurse is called in. A low caste woman or a Musalman may thus suckle a Brahman child. Until the child is six months' old, its head and body are oiled every second or third day, and the body is well hand rubbed and bathed. The rubbing is to make the limbs supple, and the oil to render it less susceptible of cold. They are very kind to their children, never harsh or quick-tempered. This may in part be due to constitutional lethargy. They seldom refuse a child anything; but, taking advantage of its innocence, will by dissimulation make it forget it. The time arrives when this course of conduct is useless, and then the child learns to mistrust the word of its parents. This evil effect is intensified by the dissimulation and reticence necessary among members of large families who wish to live together peaceably. Children thus learn not to repeat what they have seen or heard, and hence arises a tendency to dissimulation.'


135. The Lads (700) who claim to be a subdivision of the Wani or Bania caste are most mimerous in the Malkapur taluk. They are immigrants from Gujarat and take their name from Lat, the classic name of the southern portion of Gujarat.


136. The Lohars (2800) or Khatis when balutedars of their villages do the iron work of the agricultural implements and perform the necessary repairs.

Mahar. Customs and ceremonies.

137. The Mahars number 70,000 persons and constitute 11 per cent. of the population. The Old local religion, as might be expected, survives more markedly among Mahar and Mang castes than among those higher in the social scale, although the Brahmans have impressed the mark of their creed upon the more important occasions of life. The auspicious day for a marriage is ascertained from the village Joshi, a Brahman, who receives a fee for his information. And although some peculiar custom may here and there be kept up, as when a Mahar bride-groom drops a ring into a bowl of water, which the bride picks out and wears, or as when a Chambhar bride twice or thrice opens a small box which her future spouse each time smartly shuts again, still the ceremony is conducted, as far as possible, according to the ordinary Hindu rites. Furthermore, as the Joshi will not come to the marriage, it can only take place on the same day as a marriage among some higher caste, so that the Mahars may watch for the priest's signal, and may know the exact moment at which the dividing cloth (antarpat) should be withdrawn, and the garments of the bride and bridegroom knotted, while the bystanders clap their hands and pelt the couple with coloured grain. The identity of time and the proximity of position multiply the opportunities and the temptation to copy the marriage rites of the higher castes. So, too, after a death, the chief mourner mourns for ten days and observes the general rule of abstinence from all sweet or dainty food during the days of mourning. If a Mahar's child has died he will, on the third day, place bread on the grave; if an infant, milk; if an adult, on the tenth day, with five pice in one hand and five pan leaves in the other, he goes into the river, dips five times, and throws them away; he then places five lighted lamps on the tomb, and after these simple ceremonies gets himself shaved as though he were an orthodox Hindu.


138. No outcaste is allowed to approach a temple; to it his touch would bring pollution. Occasionally they worship Khandoba, or Devi in one of her more terrible forms. They worship also Dawal Malik and Rahman Dula. The new moon and the full moon of every month are days held sacred to Vetal, Mahishasur, Satwai and the Asuras, and to male and female ghouls. Marai Mai, Meskai  and Bhairava are worshipped when sickness befalls. The goddess Winai is worshipped on the ninth day of Ashwin (Dasahra). The chief Mahar of the village and his wife, with their garments knotted together, bring some earth from the jungle, and fashioning two images set one on a clay elephant and the other on a clay bullock. The images are placed on a small platform outside the village site, and worshipped; a young he-buffalo is bathed and brought before the images as though for the same object. The patel wounds the buffalo in the nose with a sword, and it is then marched through the village. In the evening it is killed by the head Mahar, buried in the customary spot, and any eyll that might happen during the coming year is thus deprecated, and, it is hoped, averted. The claim to take the leading part in this ceremony is the occasion of many a quarrel and an occasional affray or riot. The only other Hindu festival which the Mahars are careful to observe is the Holi or Shimga. Of the confusion which obtains in the Mahar the ogony the names of six of their gods will afford a striking example. While some Mahars worship Vithoba, the god of Pandharpur, others worship Varuna's twin sons Meghoni and Deghoni, and his four messengers, Gabriel, Azrael, Michael, and Anadin, all six of whom they say hail from Pandharpur! Among others of their deities they enumerate Kali Nik, Waikach, Sari, Gari, Mai Kaus, and Dhondiba; the four Bhairavas, Kal, Bhujang (snake), Samant and Audhut; the heroes Bhima, Arjun, Lachman Bala, Chhatrapati (Sivaji), Narsingh, Munda, Bawan, Raktia, Kaktia, and Kalka; and the demons Aghya and Jaltia Vetal. A certain Choka Mela was a saint of note among Mahars; and certain saintly mendicants, who abstain from flesh and from social intercourse with their castemen, are still named after him. In their worship some are said to officiate naked: others with their clothes wet and clinging. Their offerings consist of a red thread to which is attached a small packet of sandal-powder and red-turmeric with flowers of oleander, swallowwort and chameli: country liquor, yellow-coloured grains of juari and urad, red-lead, frankincense, plantains, limes, pieces of cocoa or betelnut, unripe dates, rice, curds, fried cakes of pulse or wheat, five coloured thread or silk: all these are used as offerings, as also at times a kid, a fowl or an egg.


139. Although their theology is a greater medley, and their religious system grosser than among the higher castes, the Mahars seem in some respects to be less superstitious and less fettered. They repeat mantras if a man is possessed by an evil spirit, or stung by a snake or scorpion, or likely to be in danger from tigers or wild boars: and the threat to write a Mahar's name on a piece of paper and tie it to the scavenger's broom is used in the Morsi taluk of Amraoti District with potent effect by their creditors: but they have not the same reverence for omens. Nor is the younger brother prohibited, though he is not obliged, to marry the elder brother's widow. The touch of a dead dog or pig, or of a dead or living donkey, entails a pollution which can only be removed by shaving their moustaches and giving a caste dinner: but other dead animals are not unclean. A bitch or cat having young in a Mahar's house, or any one throwing a shoe on the roof, is supposed to pollute the place: meat of any kind, except pork, they may eat: and tari as well as mahua liquor may be drunk. They are indeed themselves generally employed as tari drawers: and the impurity of then-touch compared with that of the Kalal is the reason why so many castes drink mahua who will not touch tari.

Somas Mahar and other divions.

140. One division of the Mahars is called Somas or Somavansi, and claims to have taken part with the Pandavas against the Kauravas in the war of the Mahabharat, and subsequently to have settled in the Maharashtra.

After the Somas Mahars the three most important divisions are the Ladwan or Ladsi, the Andhwan and the Bawane or Baonya. The latter sometimes become Manbhaos: they have the same scruple as the Balahi has to grooming a stranger's horse; they will not eat with any other division of Mahars, The total number of sub-divisions is 12½ the half caste being sometimes given as the base-born and sometimes as the religious mendicants. Illegitimate children are more often than others consecrated to divine service, and hence the confusion. The Gopals arc sometimes looked upon as the half caste of Mahars. The Bankar, Goski, Holar and Lotwal castes are also Mahars. Other divisions of the caste are given as Kachore, Kharse, Nimari, Malwi, Kathalya, Dharkia, Peudaria and Ghatole.

Social life and village duties of the Mahars.

141. The men among the Mahars wear a black woollen thread around their necks: their women share the common aversion to shoes with pointed tops.

Adultery is of rather common occurrence, and the illegitimate issue arc admitted into caste, although the woman is not allowed to cook food or to eat in the same dish. As fourth balutedar on the village establishment the Muhar holds a post of great importance to himself and convenience to the village. The knowledge gained in his official position renders him a referee on matters affecting the village boundaries and customs. To the patel, patwari and the 'big men' of the village, be acts often as a personal servant and errand runner: for a. smaller cultivator, he will also at times carry a torch or act as escort. To the latter class, however, the Mahar is. an indirect rather than a direct boon, inasmuch as his-presence saves them from the liability of being called upon to render the patel or the village personal service.

For the services which he thus renders as pandhewar the Mahar receives from the cultivators certain grain-dues.

When the cut juari is lying in the field the Mahars go round and beg for a measure of the ears (bhik paih).But the regular payment is made when the grain has been threshed. The amount of the due and the mode of calculation vary greatly, almost from village to village. The calculation is sometimes made upon the total area of land cultivated (e.g. one seer per acre cultivated), but in other parts land cultivated with edible grain is alone liable to the payment (e.g., 11/2 or 2 seers per acre of edible grain). Another duty performed by the Mahar is the removal of the carcasses of dead animals. The flesh is eaten and the skin retained as wage for the work. The patel and his relatives, however, usually claim to have the skins of their own animals returned: and in some places where half the agriculturists of the village claim kinship with the patel, the Mahars feel and resent the loss. Another custom, which occasionally obtains, gives one quarter of the skin to the Mahar, one quarter to the Chambhar, and a half to the patel. A third duty is the opening of grain-pits, the noxious gas from which produces at times asphyxia. For this the Mahars receive the tainted grain. They also receive the clothes from acorpse that is laid on the pyre, and the pieces of unburnt wood which remain when the body has been consumed.


142. The Malis number 47,000 persons or 8 per cent. of the population. They are found in strength in the taluks of Malkapur (14,074), Jalgaon (10,990) and Khamgaon (9104) but are less numerous in the taluks of Mehkar (8275) and Chikhli (4,476). The word Mali is derived from Sanskrit mala (a garland). The caste cannot be said to be a very old one. Generally speaking it may be said that flowers have scarcely a place in the Veda. Wreaths of flowers are used as decorations, but the separate flowers and their beauty are not yet appreciated. That lesson was first learned later by the Hindu when surrounded by another flora. Similarly among the Homeric Greeks in spite of their extensive gardening, and their different names for different flowers, not a trace of horticulture is yet to be found. The caste is chiefly engaged in raising vegetable and garden crops. The chief subdivisions of the caste are Phulmalr, Jire, Ghase, Kosaria, Baone and Lonare. The Phulmalis who take their name from phul (flower) are considered the highest The Jire are the cumin-seed growers; the Kosarias derive their name from Kosala, the classic name of Chhattisgarh; the Raones are named after Berar, 'the revenue of which was fifty-two (bawan) lakhs as against six lakhs only obtained from the Jhadi or hill country; and the Lonare are the residents of the country round about Lonar lake which is about 12 miles south of Mehkar. The Phulmalis will neither cultivate nor boil turmeric. The reason alleged is that in the turmeric flower is the outline of a small cow tied with a rope, to which in boiling turmeric damage might ensue. The Jire Malis will both grow and boil turmeric for which they are despised, but they will not grow onions. From his dealings in flowers which are used in worship and on all ceremonial occasions the sight of a Mali is considered lucky. In social characteristics the Malts resemble the Kunbis. The Phulmalis take the flesh of a goat, but abstain from liquor and the flesh of fowls; the Ghase Malis have no objection to taking spirituous drink and eating eggs and fowls. The caste performs the marriage ceremony according to the Maratha ritual. Widow-marriage is also practised and divorce allowed. The Malis are the votaries of Devi and Kal Bhairava and also worship all the gods of the Hindu pantheon. They stop their ordinary work on the day of Nag Panchami festival and offer worship to their trade implements on Dasahra.


143. The Manbhaos (500) are a local Vaishnava sect and some of them are religious mendicants. The caste is steadily decreasing.


144. The Mangs (11,500) are a menial caste ranking only above Bhangis There are many customs and legends connected with the Mang caste which prove them to be of very long standing in the country. The first Mang, Maghya, was created by Mahadeo to protect Brahmadeo from the winged horses which troubled him in his work of creating the world. The devotion of the Mangs to Mahadeo is noticeable: it shows the kind of religious conceptions once current in the country, which that name has been made to cover. The Mangs still worship Man Mata, Asura and Vetal or Brahma. Like the Mahars they worship no graven image : the visible representations of their deities are round stones daubed with vermilion. Occasionally they worship Dawal Malik, and Khandoba, but no god belonging strictly to the higher Hindu pantheon. Meghya Mang waxed proud and was humbled by being ordered by Mahadeo to castrate oxen for the Kunbis, an office still performed by the village Mang who receives six or eight annas or four or, eight seers of grain per job. At the Naoratra a Mang woman is still sometimes worshipped, a custom, the origin of which dates according to the legend, from the time of Parasuram,

A Mang is the born enemy of the village Mahar, whose grain dues are three times his own, and who disdains to receive food which the latter has prepared, or to beat the drum in his funeral procession.

The Mangs beg during an eclipse. Rahu, the demon who swallows the moon and thus causes her eclipse, and his companion Ketu were both Mangs, and it is to appease them that grain is given to their caste men.

Status in village.

145. The Mang is a balutedar: formerly he acted as hangman when necessary, and occasionally as watchman: his wife acts as midwife. At marriages he beats the drum and plays the crooked horn. His salutation is ' Farman ' as that of the Mahar is ' Namastu,' He swears by the dog. He uses a slang language, some of the words in which are of Dravidian origin. Those of the caste who deal in the black art worship demons and goblins (bhut, pisach) on every new moon; those who revere Dawal Malik abstain from eating pork. The Mangs are men of strong passions, and generally have a bad name among the more respectable castes and among the police. In robbery they are said to respect the person of a woman, a bangle-seller, a Lingayat Mali, and a Mang.


146. There are nominally 12½ divisions in the caste, but the names given differ in different parts, and are often merely descriptive of their residence or occupation. Thus the Ghatole Mangs are Mangs from the Satmala Ghats: the Madhige division are probably Telugu Madigas: the Uchles are pickpockets, and the Pendari Mangs are highway robbers; Pungiwalas play on the fife, and Daphlewalas on the tom-tom. The different divisions sometimes contract prejudices which tend to perpetuate the distinction. The Berar Mangs and the Buruds (who are reckoned as the half caste in the enumeration) make baskets of bamboo and use a knife known as the bhal, while the Dakhani Mangs will not touch this knife, and work with date-palm leaves.

Customs and religious observances.

147. The ordinary trade of a Mang is to prepare brooms or date-palm matting. On the Akshayatritiya, when offerings to the dead are paid, the Mang supplies a new broom to each of the more important houses in his villages.

Like the Mahars, the Mangs always bury their dead. They do not use a bier, and make no distinction of persons further than that the deceased, if married, is dressed in new clothes and mourned for ten instead of three days. On each of the three days succeeding the death, the mourners hold a feast, on the first two days generally at their own expense, but on the third day always at the expense of the chief mourner, who on the tenth day gets himself shaved and gives a caste dinner. Their marriages take place usually in the month of Asharh, the 15th of which month is sacred to their worship of the deity Mari Mata. Those of the girls who are not married before they reach the age of puberty become Muralis or Joginis, in other words mendicant prostitutes.


148. The Marathas number 6000 or 1 per cent. of the population. It is difficult to avoid confusion in the use of the word Maratha, which signifies both an inhabitant of the area in which the Marathi language is spoken and a member of the caste to which the general name has, in view of their historical importance, been specifically applied. The native name for the Marathi-speaking country is Maharashtra, which has been variously interpreted as ' the great country" or' the country of the Mahars.' Another, and perhaps the most probable, derivation is that it is named from the Rashtrakuta dynasty, which was dominant in the area for some centuries after 750 A.D. The name Rashtrakuta was contracted into Ratth; and with the prefix Maha, ' great,' might evolve into the term Maratha. The Marathas are a caste formed from military service, and it seems probable that they sprang mainly from the 'peasant population of Kunbis, though at what period they were formed into a caste has not yet been determined. The designation of Maratha first became prominent during the period of Sivaji's guerilla warfare against Aurangzeb. Several of the Maratha clans have the names of Rajput tribes, as Chauhan, Ponwar, Jadhao, Solanki and Suryavansi, and in 1836 Mr. Enthoven states that the Rana of Udaipur was satisfied from enquiries conducted by an agent that the Bhonsla and certain other families had a right to be recognised as Rajputs. But the general feeling does not admit this claim. The caste is of a decidedly mixed nature, as is apparent from its internal structure. In Buldana they are commonly spoken of as Maratha Kunbis. Indeed in the Berar census of 1881 they were amalgamated with Kunbis, and have only been recorded separately in the last two generations. They are not mentioned as a separate caste by Sir A. Lyall in the Berar Gazetteer. In Buldana the Marathas will take daughters from the Kunbis in marriage for their sons, though they will not give their daughters in return. But a Kunbi who has got on in the world and become wealthy may, by a sufficient payment, get his sons married into Maratha families and even be adopted as a member of the caste, just as a successful soap boiler in England occasionally becomes a peer and sets himself up with a complete portrait gallery of Norman ancestors. It seems a necessary conclusion that the bulk of the caste are of much the same origin as the Kunbis, though some of the leading families may have had Rajputs among their ancestors. The family of the jadhao Rajas of Sindkhed, from a daughter of which the renowned Sivaji sprang, is the leading Maratha family of Buldana and Berar, and claims to he of the purest Rajput blood. In 1870 Sir A Lyall notes that this family had recently made a show of great reluctance to permit a poor kinsman to espouse the Gaikuar of Baroda's daughter. A notable trait of this and similar families is the fondness with which they cling to their hereditary watans. In Buldana the Marathas are principally engaged in cultivation and money-lending, though many of them have taken up personal service and are also employed in Government service as clerks, peons. and constables. The caste eat the flesh of clean animals and of fowls and wild pig and drink liquor. Their rules about food are liberal like those of the Rajput. a too great stringency being no doubt in both cases incompatible with the exigencies of military service. They observe the parda system with regard to then women, and will go to the well and draw water themselves rather than permit their wives to do so; but the poorer Marathas cannot maintain the system, and they and their wives and children work in the fields. The men often in imitation of the Rajputs have their hair long and wear beards and whiskers. They commonly wear a turban made of many folds of cloth twisted into a narrow rope and large gold rings with pearis in the lower part of the ear. They assume the sacred thread and invest a boy with it when he is seven or eight years old or on his marriage though this is not strictly observed. Some Marathas do not wear the sacred thread at all, saying their forefathers never wore it. In appearance the men are often tall and well-built and of a light wheat-coloured complexion. The principal deity of the Marathas is Khandoba, a warrior incarnation of Mahadeo. He is sup-posed to have been born in a held of millet near Poona, and to have led the people against the Muhammadans in early times. He had a watch dog who warned him of the approach of his enemies, and he is named after the khanda or sword which he always carried. The Marathas are generally kind to dogs, and will not injure them.


149. The Mhalis (7500) are barbers and balutedars. The Mhali shaves the heads, chins, and armpits of his clients and pares their nails. When the first son is born to any of his clients, the barber carries the good news to the relatives. He takes a bamboo stick in his hand, adorns it with cloth, and crowns it with an earthen pot. For this, and in return for the presents of sugar and pan leaves which he then distributes, he expects to receive from each man a rupee, a turban or a shoulder cloth, or at least a few handfuls of grain as a reward. In the case of a marriage among Sudras, it is the village barber who takes out the invitations and who subsequently superintends the bathing of the bridegroom. The barbers also light the lamps and hold the torches during the ceremony, and at its close two of them take the bride and bridegroom in their arms and distribute the sugar sweetmeat (van) which have been provided for the Brahmans.



150. The four chief classes of Muhanimadans (population 48,720) commonly known as Saiyids, Sheikhs, Mughals, and Pathans are found in the District. The Saiyads claim their descent from Fatimah and All, the son and son-in-law of the Prophet. There are two branches of Saiyads, those descended from Hasan and those descended from Husaiu (both sons of Ali). Saiyads mark their high birth among men by placing the title Saiyad or Mir before, and among women the title of Begam after their names. Mughals include two distinct classes, the Persian and the Indian or Chagtai from Chagtai Khan, the son of Changiz Khan. They are, therefore, the descendants of those Musalmans from Central Asia who invaded India under the standards of Timur and Babar. Mughals always place the title Mirza, born of great man, before their names, and add Beg. Pathans are of Afghan origin and their name means highlanders.

Below the four great classes, there is a population which may be described as miscellaneous Muhammadans. These are the converts from Hinduism, or more strictly speaking, the descendants of such converts, together with those who follow certain petty trades in towns. At the census of 1901 the principal classes which returned caste names were Atari, Bhil, Fakir, Gaoli, Bhat, and Pinjari. These classes are perfectly endogamous groups marrying only among themselves.



151. The Panchals (400) are vagrant blacksmiths. They have been in Berar for some generations. They live in small pals or tents, and move from place to place with buffaloes, donkeys, and occasionally ponies to carry their kit.



152. The Pardhis (2600) from the Marathi word for a huntsman are a wandering people ostensibly occupied in snaring game. Malkapur seems to be a favourite taluk with them, as a large proportion of their number was enumerated there both in 1881 and in 1891. There are three well-known divisions of Pardhis, the Shikari, Phans and Langoti Pardhis. The Pardhis of Berar admit that they are Baurias, who originated from Rajputana and are held to be aborigines of that part of India. The Pardhis have the. custom whereby on the death of an elder brother the younger takes his widow to wife. They pay for their wives. At the time of marriage a mock resistance is sometimes made; generally, however., the couple walk round the encampment under a cloth borne on four poles. In front of them walks a married woman carrying five pitchers of water. The couple eat grain from the same dish or throw it on each other's head. The bridegroom gives the bride a dress, a bodice, and a fold of the paper helmet which he himself wears. A Brahman is asked to name an auspicious day for the event, and among the Phans Pardhi division he is also asked to officiate. In religion, besides worshipping their ancestors, they worship goddesses who are now identified with the Hindu goddess Devi, but who are known in the caste by many different names. Sometimes they carry small silver images of these deities; at other times they fashion one of clay.


Omens and ordeals.

153. Like the Sudras they are superstitious and believe in omens. A favourite omen is the simple device of taking some rice or juari in the hand and counting the grains. An even number is lucky: an odd number is unlucky. If dissatisfied with the first a second or a third pinch is taken and the grains counted. A winnowing basket or a mill-stone falling to the right when dropped on the ground is lucky, as is also a flower falling on the right side from the garland with which they crown their goddess. The Phans Pardhis never use the railway; and are forbidden the use of any conveyance whatever. More precautions however attend the women than the men. The women may not wear silver bangles on their feet: they may not among the Langoti Pardhis touch a cast-off lugada, they may not eat flesh or drink liquor: nor mai they in any division of Pardhis prepare the food or mix with the family until three months after a child-birth. Similar religious scruples exist among the Langoti Pardhis against the wearing of a razai or a spotted cloth, or the using of a cot. Their name is derived from their wearing the langoti, because of their fear that a dhoti if worn might become soiled and therefore unlucky. Their ordeals resemble those in vogue two thousand years ago. If a woman is suspected of adultery she has to pick a pice out of boiling oil: or a pipal leaf is placed on her hand and a red hot axe placed on it. If she is burnt or refuses to stand the test she is pronounced guilty. The punishment for adultery consists in cutting a piece off the ear and in exacting a fine. Another test is the water ordeal. The accused dives into water; and as he dives an arrow is shot from a bow. A swift runner fetches and brings back the arrow: if the diver remains under water until the runner has returned he is pronounced innocent. Their chief religious ceremony, at which many gather together, occurs about once every five years. The idol of Devi is taken to a tree two or three miles from a village and placed with its face to the east. In front of it a fireplace of earth is made, on which wheaten cakes and meat are cooked and eaten at night. A young buffalo or a goat is brought to the spot and stabbed in the left side of the neck: the idol is besmeared with the blood which spouts out, and the worshippers then taste it themselves. The animal is then killed. To the north of the idol a small mound is raised. On the third day, by which time the flesh has all been eaten, the skull of the animal is placed on the mound, ghi and country liquor is poured on it, and fire is applied. This burnt offering closes the ceremony.



154. The Pathrats (300) whose name is a contraction of Patharwat or stone dresser, are stone workers.



155. The Rajputs (13,000) show a large decrease from 20,000 since 1891, but this is partly due to a large number of Marathas and Kunbis having returned themselves as Raj-puts at the previous census. They may be divided into two classes, (1) those who were originally of foreign origin (2) those who have assumed the name of Rajputs but who are really of humbler birth. The Rana Rajputs chiefly found in the Malkapur and Jalgaon taluks are believed to be of Maratha origin. Agriculture is the ordinary occupation of the Rajput caste.



156. The Rangaris (3500), the caste of dyers, are mostly found in the Malkapur taluk. They worship Hinglaj Bhawani, Dawal Malik and Khandoba; and beginning at the Gudi Padwa or Hindu New Year's Day they observe a fort-night's holiday, during which all business is suspended, and a subscription is raised in order that a caste dinner may be held. They use as dyes morinda, indigo and safflower but aniline dyes are also in considerable vogue. They are governed in caste matters by a punch or council, and an elective headman or chaudhari. The caste is said to have come originally from Gujarat.



157. The Shimpis (4500) are tailors. They are divided into the Jain, Marathi and Telugu Shimpls. The Jains belong usually to the Setwal caste; the Marathi Shimpls are often Lingayats; and the Telugu division are generally Vaishnavas. The Jain Shimpls claim the hero Niminath as a caste-fellow; the Marathis claim the noted saint Namdeo Sadhu.



158. The Sonars (6ooo), workers in precious metals, are the most important of the artisan castes. Among the Sonars there are several divisions, the most important being the Vaishya, Malvi, and Panchal. The Vaishya and Panchal Sonars invest their children with the sacred thread when they are seven years old, the ceremony sometimes being performed by a Brahman, and sometimes by one of their own castemen. The Vaishya and Panchal Sonars have religious teachers of their own caste and they are said to have claimed and vindicated their right against the Brahmans to perform their own marriage ceremonies. The Sonars discountenance the remarriage of widows. In his business life a Sonar is noted for an acuteness sometimes bordering on dishonesty; there is a proverb which says that he will cheat his own mother.


159. The Sutars (6000) are carpenters. They probably take their name which means literally a maker of string or a ' worker by string ' either from their sometimes joining planks by string or from their skill in planing or measuring. Some Sutars wear the sacred thread; the well-to-do assuming it in childhood, and the poorer from the time of their marriage. The Sutar heads the list of village balutedars. The highest division of the caste are the Kharatis or turners who come from Northern India.


160. The Takaris (900) mend the handmills (chakkis) used for grinding corn, but have also a reputation for crime. They are practically confined to the plain taluks.


161. The Telis (10,000) are oil pressers by origin. Their hereditary trade has suffered from the introduction of cheap bulk oil and also from the oil mills worked by steam power. They have largely taken to agriculture.


162. The Thakurs (1100) are almost identical with the Bhats. They are the hereditary village bards, members of the village community. Many of them have taken to labour and cultivation.


163. The Vidurs (1200) are descendants of Brahman fathers and mothers of lower castes They are almost, if not quite, synonymous with Krishnapakshis. In dress the Vidurs copy the Brahmans. If a Vidur mother have an illegitimate child, and the father be a Brahman, the child remains a Vidur, but if a Vidur woman or man be detected in adultery with one of a lower caste, he or she is outcasted and the offspring, if any, has no claim to their property.


164. The Waddars (500) have decreased considerably. They are immigrants from Southern India and are earth-workers, and are constantly moving about in search of work. Their movements depend upon the demand for labour for roads and other public works.


165. The Wanis or Banias (15,000) are chiefly of foreign origin, being immigrants from Marwar, Gujarat and Rajputana, Most of them are traders, moneylenders, shroffs and grocers, but a large number have also taken to agriculture. Being strangers in the land, Wanis are generally distinguished among Beraris by the name of their country or their sect. Lingayat Wanis affix the term appa to their names, as Kunbis and others affix ji.


166. The Wanjaris number 13,000 persons of whom 8643 are found in the Mehkar taluk and constitute 2 per cent. of the population. They are said to have come into this District from the Nizam's Dominions where they are still found in large numbers. The caste claims to be of Maratha origin and yet they aver that they were originally Paundrakas, a tribe inhabiting the old Paundra country, that is, Bengal and Behar. They allege that they with seven other castes were allies of Parasuram when he ravaged the Haihayas of the Vindhya mountains, and that after this the task of guarding the passes was entrusted to them. From their prowess in keeping down the beasts of prey which infested the gorges and ravines under their charge, they became known as the Vanya-Shatru, subsequently contracted into Wanjari. In course of time their services were rewarded with grants of land similar to the Metkari inams and one division of the caste is now known as the Metkari Wanjaris. Though some Wanjaris connect their name with wanja or trading by pack bullocks yet to confound them with the Banjara carrier castes gives them great offence. They, however, are unable to reconcile their claim of Maratha origin with the Bengali one which they also claim and of which no traces in their manners, customs, or gotras now remain. The men dress like Kunbis, the women never wear the parti-coloured bodices and skirts which Banjara women affect, nor do they patronize the bone bangles with which the latter cover their arms. They are not addicted to crime like the Banjaras". Other subdivisions of the Wanjari castes are Raojin, Bhusarjin, Ladjin and Kanarjin. These subdivisions neither intermarry nor eat with each other. Each subdivision has twelve-and-a-half minor divisions; each minor subdivision has also 50 kuls, and each kul has 4 gotras. Among the 4 gotras of a particular kul no intermarriage can take place as they are considered to be descendants from the same parental stock. Infant marriage prevails in the caste. The betrothal ceremony is performed by presenting the girl with new clothings (phadki and parkor), washing her feet with water, and affixing a patch of kunku to her forehead. A piece of sugarcandy is put in her mouth and packets containing coriander, sugar, kunku and five small pieces of cocoanut are put in her dhoti. The father of the boy then distributes pan-supari to the men assembled, while the father of the girl applies red gandh to the forehead of each man. This ceremony is called Sakarpuda. Women do not accompany the men to the village of the girl. A few days before marriage there takes place the ceremony of Waghinseo or Hobas, apparently a corruption of Wag-Nischaya, or settling the marriage contract by word of mouth. The boy's father visits the girl's village and presents her with ornaments and clothing. In addition to the above the following things are given, gur (unrefined sugar), cocoanuts, khurma, cardimum, godambi, kunku, coriander and sugarcandy. The ceremonies known as Shalmundi and Gondhal also take place before the marriage is performed. In the first the father of the girl visits the village of the boy and presents him with a gold ring, an uparna and a turban. At the second from one to five goats are sacrificed though sweetmeats are sometimes substituted. The Wanjaris follow the Maratha ritual of marriage, in which the bride and the bridegroom stand facing each other with a curtain drawn between them, and the assembled guests throw juari dyed yellow on the contracting couple. The marriage ceremony is performed on the mutha (a sort of country saddle used for the bullock). Widow-marriage is allowed by the caste, but a bachelor is not allowed to marry a widow. The dead are both burnt and buried, the corpse is laid in the grave, flat on the back, with feet to the north and the head to the south. By religion Wanjaris are Sivites or worshippers of Siva; some of them are the followers of the Dawal Malik sect. Drinking is prohibited amongst them. No parda system is observed by them. They are now mainly engaged in agriculture and in nearly every point they resemble the Kunbis. They eat from the hands of Kunbis and Marathas. The Bhusarjin and Kanarjin subdivisions are scarcely found, but the ladjin and Raojin subdivisions are common. Men and women of the Raojin subdivision are allowed to eat flesh, whereas the women of the Ladjin subdivision do not touch it, but the prohibition is not extended to males. The Dhola ceremony is performed when the woman is in the seventh month of pregnancy. On this occasion green lugdas are given to her and new clothes are presented to her husband as well.

Criminal classes.

167. The District is characterised by no class of crime specially, but dacoities, robberies, and house-breaking are not infrequent, and are in many instances the work of criminal gangs and professionals from outside. Kaikaris and Bhils are apt to raid the District from the Khandesh direction and from across the Hyderabad border. The Bhil is not pre-eminently a criminal in the sense that some of the subcastes of the Kaikari are. He goes out into open outlawry on a large scale only as the result of bad years, want, the exactions of moneylenders or some other disturbing cause. When the pinch of agricultural distress is felt, or any other provocation arises, Bhlls readily go out in gangs and take to looting and wide-spread depredations. For the rest his activities are mostly confined to minor crimes against property, an occasional murder, the outcome of jealousy, revenge or a belief in witchcraft. Civilizing influences have of recent years done much to redeem the Bhils from the predatory habits which characterised them in the past. Nevertheless the criminal instinct remains sufficiently strong in the present day to need but little temptation to induce him to revert to the roving life of the freebooter and depredator.

Another class of people who give considerable trouble along the northern border of the District are the Nihals or Nahals. They have always been notorious robbers and Koli, Bhil, Nihal is the common word used in old documents for predatory hillmen. Ever since the great famine of 1899-1900 a number of Nihals—fortunately few—have devoted themselves to petty dacoity and cattle-lifting, They avoid taking any jewellery or other recognisable property when committing a dacoity, and as they invariably take to the hills after a successful raid, it is by no means easy for the police to prove a case against them even when caught. They are also adepts at changing their name and village. They extend their operations to Nimar, Khandesh, Akola and Amraoti, keeping not very far from the hilly parts of these Districts.

A considerable number of Pathans and Afghans also ostensibly lend money in the District but are sometimes mixed up with the local criminals. The Pathan hails from Afghanistan and the North-West Frontier Provinces, and his mother tongue is Pushto. His appearance and dress are sufficiently distinctive to proclaim his caste. His physique is excellent and far superior to that of any class indigenous to the Province. He is broad and well built, medium to tall in stature, strong, muscular, hardy and energetic, with Caucasian features, fair ruddy complexion and haughty bearing. By temperament he is treacherous, impetuous, avaricious, excitable and sometimes even fanatical, fond of good living, very hospitable to his countrymen, of cheerful disposition and not incapable of appreciating a joke. The Pathan as a rule makes for some large town where employment is procurable, and sets up as an itinerant hawker of sundry goods or as a moneylender. Many of them are employed by sahukars to recover debts or collect rent from backward tenants. The Pathan is generally successful in this line owing to his imposing appearance, uncouth manners, reputation for truculence, tyrannical methods and the tenacity with which he persecutes the recalcitrant debtor. Some of the well-to-do Pathans are moneylenders on a small scale who are invariably given to extortion and tyrannical practices in recovering their dues. They exact exorbitant interest and are said never to lose sight of a loan, but will reimburse themselves years after it was given, travelling expensive journeys to recover quite a small amount; in this way they keep up the fear which they instil. Their customers are generally the poorer and lower castes such as Mahars, Mangs, Kolis, Kunbis, Bhils, sweepers, etc., who enjoy no credit with the Marwari or Bania, and who yield to the temptations offered by the Pathan to borrow money without a note-of-hand or any security, and at large railway centres, the subordinate staff. As soon as the time is up the Pathan gives his debtor no peace. He is at his door before day dawns to demand his dues, usually with a big stick which he displays in a threatening manner while making his demand in persuasiva tones. It is no use the unhappy victim endeavouring to put off his persecutor by asking him to call again, or attempting to evade the interview by urging a pressing engagement elsewhere. The Pathan is not to be baffled by subterfuges of this sort. He will establish himself in the doorway of the house and give the occupants an unpleasant time by his importunities to settle up. He is not devoid of a sense of humour, and will meet a request to phir kar ao (call again, literally to turn and come), by turning round in a circle where he is standing saying good humouredly that he has complied with the request, or, if asked to dam pakado, i.e., to have patience (literally to hold his breath), he will shut his mouth and hold his nose for a couple of seconds and urge that he has done what was asked. He can only be got rid of by payment either in full or in part of principal or interest. The Pathan's ostensible profession of hawker or moneylender has the advantage of enabling him to go about from District to District keeping his eyes and ears open, forming connections with local bad characters and marking down suitable places to rob. They generally select isolated houses in towns and cities, and commit the burglary or dacoity in some force. Occasionally a Pathan when employed as a servant with some wealthy, sahukar after ascertaining all he wants to know, takes leave of his employer on the pretext that he wants to return home. He then organises a gang and brings off a successful raid; or perhaps information is communicated to distant friends who, acting thereon, swoop down and loot the servant's master, the informant making a display of loyalty during the attack and remaining in service for some time afterwards to avert suspicion.

Baorias, Minas, Bhamtas, and other professional criminals also work in the District, attracted thither by the prosperity of the residents of the plain taluks. The local criminals are Takankars, Mangs, Mahars and others. The Takankar while rechiselling grinding stones has excellent opportunities to examine the interior economy of houses, the position of boxes, and the Mang's profession of selling brooms and ropes also enables him to spy out the land and acquire valuable knowledge. Those classes generally commit dacoity and house-breaking by night.