CASTES AND TRIBES OF SOUTHERN INDIA
EDGAR THURSTON, C.I.E.
Superintendent, Madras Government Museum
1. Abhisheka - Azhati
ABHISHEKA.—Abhisheka Pandarams arc those who are made to pass through some ceremonies in connection with Saiva Agama.
Acchu Tali.—A sub-division of Vaniyan. The name refers to the peculiar tali (marriage badge) worn by married women.
Acchuvaru.—Recorded, in the Madras Census Report, 1901, as "Oriya-speaking carriers of grain, etc., on pack bullocks. Treated as a sub-division of Gaudo." The Acchuvarus are not Oriya people, but are attached to the Devanga weavers, and receive their name from the fact that they do acchupani, i.e., thread the long comb-like structures of the hand-loom. They correspond to the Jatipillais of the Kaikolan weavers, who do acchuvelai.
Acchu Vellala.— name assumed by some Pattanavans.
Achan.—Achan, meaning father or lord, was returned, at the Cochin census, 1901, as a title of Nayars. According to Mr. Wiigram* it is used as a title of the following : —
1. Males in the Royal Family of Palghat.
2. The minister of the Calicut Raja, known as Mangat Achan.
3. The minister of the Cochin Raja, known as Paliyat Achan.
4. The minister of the second Raja of Calicut, known as Chenli Achan.
* Malabar Law and Custom,
Acharapakam Chetti.—One of the sub-divisions of the Chettis, generally grouped among the Beri Chettis (g.v.)
Adapadava (man of the wallet).—A name, referring to the dressing-bag which barbers carry, applied to Linqayat barbers in South Canara.
Adapapa.—Returned in the Madras Census Report, 1901, as a sub-caste of Balija. The name is applied to female attendants on the ladies of the families of Zamindars, who, as they are not allowed to marry, lead a life of prostitution. Their sons call themselves Balijas (see Khasa).
Adavi (forest or jungle).—The name of a sub-division of Yanadis, and also of a section of Gollas in Mysore.*
Adaviyar.—Adaviyar or Ataviyar is the name of a class of Tamil-speaking weavers found in the Tanjore and Tinnevelly districts.
Addaku (Bauhinia racemosa).—A sept of Jatapu. The leaves of this tree are largely used as food platters, in Madras, and generally on the east coast.
Addapu Singa.—Mendicants who beg only from Mangalas in the Telugu country.
Adhigari.—Defined by Mr. Wigram* as the head of the amsam or parish in Malabar, corresponding to the Manigar (village munsiff) in east coast districts and Patel in South Canara. The title Adhigari (one in power) is assumed by some Agamudaiyans, and Adhikari occurs as an exogamous sept of the Badagas, and the title of village headman among some Oriya castes. In South Canara, it is a sept of Stanika.
Adi (primitive or original).—The name of a division of Linga Balijas, and of Velamas who have abandoned the practice of keeping their females gosha (in seclusion). It is also applied by the Chenchus to the original members of their tribe, from whom the man-lion Narasimha obtained his bride Chenchita.
Adichchan.- A sub-division of Nayar.
Adikal (slaves or servants).—Included among the Ambalavasis. It is recorded, in the Travancore Census Report, 1901, that "tradition states that Sankaracharya, to test the fidelity of certain Brahmins to the established ordinances of caste, went to a liquor-shop, and drank some stimulants. Not recognising that the obligations, from which adepts like Sankara were free, were none the less binding on the proletariat, the Brahmins that accompanied the sage made this an excuse for their drinking too.
Sankara is said to have then entered a foundry, and swallowed a cup of molten metal, and handed another to the Brahmins, who had apparently made up their minds to do all that may be done by the Acharya. But they begged to differ, apologised to him as Atiyals or humble servants, and accepted social degradation in expiation of their sinful presumption. They arc now the priests in temples dedicated to Bhadrakali, and other goddesses who receive offerings of liquor.
They practise sorcery, and aid in the exorcising of spirits. They have the upanayana-samskara, and wear the sacred thread. The simantam ceremony is not performed. They are to repeat the Gayatri (hymn) ten times, and observe eleven days' death pollution. Their own caste-men act as priests.
The Atiyammamar wear the same jewellery as the Nambutiri women, but they do not screen themselves by a cadjan (palm leaf) umbrella when they qo out in public, nor are they accompanied by a Nayar maid."
Adimittam.—An occupational sub-division of Marans, who clean the court-yards of temples in Travancore.
Adisaivar.—Recorded, in the Madras Census Report, 1901, as "a sub-caste of Vellala. They are singers of Devara hymns in Saiva temples." The name indicates those who have been Saivites from the beginning, as opposed to recent Saivites. Adisaivas are Saivites, who have survived the absorbing influence of the Lingayat sect. Saivites who profess the Lingayat doctrines are known as Virasaivas. Some Pandarams, who belong to the Sozhia sub-division of the Vellalas, regularly recite Tamil verses from Thevaram and Tiruvachagam in Saivite temples. This being their profession, they are also called Oduvar (readers or reciters).
Aditya Varada.—Kurubas, who worship their God on Sunday.
Adiyan.—Adiyan (adi, foot) has been defined* as meaning literally " a slave, but usually applied to the vassals of Tamburans and other powerful patrons. Each Adiyan had to acknowledge his vassalage by paying annually a nuzur (gift of money) to his patron, and was supposed also to be ready to render service whenever needed. This yearly nuzur, which did not generally exceed one or two fanams, was called adima panam" (slave money), adima meaning feudal dependency on a patron.
* Wigram, Malabar Law and Custom.
Adiyodi.—Adiyodi or Atiyoti, meaning slave or vassal, has been returned at times of census as a subdivision of Samantan. It is, Mr. H. A. Stuart writes,* " the caste of the Kadattanad Rajah in North Malabar. The tradition is that, when he was driven out of his territories in and around Calicut by the Zamorin, he took shelter under the Rajah of Chirakkal, who gave him the Kadattanad country to hold as his vassal. Some Atiyotis advance no pretension to be above Nayars in rank."
* Madras Census Report, 1891.
Adutton (a bystander).—A synonym for Kavutiyan, a caste of Malayalam barbers. In like manner, the name Ambattan for Tamil barbers is said to be derived from the Sanskrit amba (near), s'tha (to stand), indicating that they stand near to shave their clients or treat their patients.
Agamudaiyan.—The Agamudaiyans, Mr, W. Francis writes, * are "a cultivating caste found in all the Tamil districts. In Chingleput, North Arcot, Salem, Coimbatore and Trichinopoly, they are much less numerous than they were thirty years ago. The reason probably is that they have risen in the social scale, and have returned themselves as Vellalas. Within the same period, their strength has nearly doubled in Tanjore, perhaps owing to the assumption of the name by other castes like the Maravans and Kalians. In their manners and customs they closely follow the Vellalas. Many of these in the Madura district are the domestic servants of the Marava Zamindars."
* Madras Census Report, 1901.
The Agamudaiyans who have settled in the North Arcot district are described* by Mr. H. A. Stuart as "a class of cultivators differing widely from the Agamudaiyans of the Madura district. The former are closely allied to the Vellalas, while the latter are usually regarded as a more civilised section of the southern Maravans. It may be possible that the Agamudaiyans of North Arcot are the descendants of the first immigrants from the Madura district, who, after long settlement in the north, severed all connexions with their southern brethren."
* Manual of the North Arcot district.
In some districts, Agamudaiyan occurs as a synonym of Vellalas, Pallis and Melakkarans, who consider that Agamudaiyan is a better caste name than their own.
The Agamudaiyans proper are found in the Tanjore, Madura, and Tinnevelly districts. It is noted in the Tanjore Manual that Ahamudaiyar (the equivalent of Agamudaiyan) is “derived from the root aham, which, in Tamil, has many significations. In one of these, it means a house, in another earth, and hence it has two meanings, householder and landholder; the suffix Udeiyar indicating ownership. The word is also used in another form, ahambadiyan, derived from another meaning of the same root, i.e., inside. And, in this derivation, it signifies a particular caste, whose office it was to attend to the business in the interior of the king's palace, or in the pagoda."
" The name," Mr. J. H. Nelson writes, * " is said by the Rev. G. U. Pope, in his edition of the Abbe Dubois' work,** to be derived from aham, a temple, and padi, a step, and to have been given to them in consequence of their serving about the steps of temples. But, independently of the fact that Madura pagodas are not approached by flights of steps, this seems to be a very far-fetched and improbable derivation of the word. I am inclined to doubt whether it be not merely a vulgar corruption of the well-known word Ahamudeiyan, possessor of a house, the title which Tamil Brahmans often use in speaking of a man to his wife, in order to avoid the unpolite term husband. Or, perhaps, the name comes from aham in the sense of earth, and pati, master or possessor."
* Manual of the Madura district.
** Description of the Character, Manners and Customs of the People of India.
Concerning the connection which exists between the Maravans, Kalians, and Agamudaiyans (see Kalian), the following is one version of a legend, which is narrated. The father of Ahalya decided to give her in marriage to one who remained submerged under water for a thousand years. Indra only managed to remain thus for five hundred years, but Gautama succeeded in remaining for the whole of the stipulated period, and became the husband of Ahalya. Indra determined to have intercourse with her, and, assuming the guise of a cock, went at midnight to the abode of Gautama, and crowed. Gautama, thinking that daybreak was arriving, got up, and went to a river to bathe. While he was away, Indra assumed his form, and accomplished his desire. Ahalya is said to have recognised the deception after two children, who became the ancestors of the Maravans and Kalians, were born to her. A third child was born later on, from whom the Agamudaiyans arc descended.
According to another version of the legend, the first-born child is said to have faced Gautama without fear, and Agamudaiyan is accordingly derived from aham or agam, pride, and udaiyan, possessor.
There is a Tamil proverb to the effect that a Kalian may come to be a Maravan.
By respectability he may develop into an Agamudaiyan, and, by slow degrees, become a Vellala, from which he may rise to be a Mudaliar. Of the three castes. Kalian, Maravan and Agamudaiyan, the last are said to have "alone been greatly influenced by contact with Brahmanism. They engage Brahman priests, and perform their birth, marriage, and death ceremonies like the Vellalas." * I am told that the more prosperous Agamudaiyans in the south imitate the Vellalas in their ceremonial observances, and the poorer classes the Maravans.
* Madras Census Report, 1891.
Agamudaiyan has been returned, at times of census, as a sub-division of Maravan and Kalian. In some places, the Agamudaiyans style themselves sons of Sembunattu Maravans. At Ramnad, in the Madura district, they carry the fire-pot to the burning ground at the funeral of a Maravan, and also bring the water for washing the corpse. In the Tanjore district the Agamudaiyans are called Terkittiyar, or southerners, a name which is also applied to Kalians, Maravans, and Valaiyans. The ordinary title of the Agamudaiyans is Servaikkaran, but many of them call themselves, like the Vellalas, Pillai. Other titles, returned at times of census, are Adhigari and Mudaliar.
At the census, 1891, the following were returned as the more important sub-divisions of the Agamudaiyans:—Aivali Nattan, Kottaipattu, Malainadu, Nattumangalam, Rajaboja, Rajakulam, Rajavasal, Kallan, Maravan, Tuluvan (cf. Tuluva Vellala) and Servaikkaran. The name Rajavasal denotes those who are servants of Rajas, and has been transformed into Rajavamsa, meaning those of kingly parentage. Kottaipattu means those of the fort, and the Agamudaiyans believe that the so-called Kottai Vellalas of the Tinnevelly district are really Kottaipattu Agamudaiyans. One sub-division of the Agamudaiyans is called Sani (cow dung). Unlike the Maravans and Kalians, the Agamudaiyans have no exogamous septs, or kilais.
It is recorded, in the Mackenzie Manuscripts, that "among the Maravas, the kings or the rulers of districts, or principal men, are accustomed to perform the ceremony of tying on the tali, or in performing the marriage at once in full, with reference to females of the Agambadiyar tribe. The female children of such marriages can intermarry with the Maravas, but not among the Agambadiyar tribe. On the other hand, the male offspring of such marriages is considered to be of the mother's tribe, and can intermarry with the Agambadiyas, but not in the tribe of the Maravas."
I am told that, under ordinary circumstances, the offspring of a marriage between a Maravan and Agamudaiyan becomes an Agamudaiyan, but that, if the husband is a man of position, the male issues are regarded as Maravans. Adult marriage appears to be the rule among the Agamudaiyans, but sometimes, as among the Maravans, Kalians and other castes, young boys are, in the southern districts, sometimes married to grown-up girls.
The marriage ceremonial, as carried out among the poorer Agamudaiyans, is very simple. The sister of the bridegroom proceeds to the home of the bride on an auspicious day, followed by a few females carrying a woman's cloth, a few jewels, flowers, etc. The bride is seated close to a wall, facing east. She is dressed up in the cloth which has been brought, and seated on a plank. Betel leaves, areca nuts, and flowers are presented to her by the bridegroom's sister, and she puts them in her lap. A turmeric-dyed string or garland is then placed round the bride's neck by the bridegroom's sister, while the conch shell (musical instrument), is blown. On the same day the bride is conducted to the home of the bridegroom, and a feast is held.
The more prosperous Agamudaiyans celebrate their marriages according to the Puranic type, which is the form in vogue amongst most of the Tamil castes, with variations. The astrologer is consulted in order to ascertain whether the pair agree in some at least of the points enumerated below.
For this purpose, the day of birth, zodiacal signs, planets and asterisms under which the pair were born, are taken into consideration : —
1. Varam (day of birth).—Days are calculated, commencing with the first day after the new moon. Counting from the day on which the girl was born, if the young man's birthday happens to be the fourth, seventh, thirteenth, sixteenth, or seventeenth, it is considered good.
2. Ganam(class or tribe).—There are three ganams, called Manusha, Deva, and Rakshasa. Of the twenty-seven asterisms, Aswini, Bharani, etc., some are Manusha, some Deva, and some Rakshasa ganam. Ashtham and Swathi are considered to be of Deva ganam, so individuals born under these asterisms are regarded as belonging to Deva ganam. Those born under the asterisms Bharani, Rogini, Puram, Puradam, Uththaradam, etc., belong to the Manusha ganam. Under Rakshasa ganam arc included Krithika, Ayilyam, Makam, Visakam, and other asterisms. The bridal pair should belong to the same ganam, as far as possible. Manusha and Deva is a tolerable combination, whereas Rakshasa and Deva, or Rakshasa and Manusha, are bad combinations.
3. Sthridirgam (woman's longevity).—The young man's birthday should be beyond the thirteenth day, counting from the birthday of the girl.
4. Yoni (female generative organs).—The asterisms are supposed to belong to several animals. An individual belongs to the animal to which the asterism under which he was born belongs. For example, a man is a horse if his asterism is Aswini, a cow if his asterism is Uththirattadhi, and so on. The animals of husband and wife must be on friendly terms, and not enemies. The elephant and man, horse and cow, dog and monkey, cat and mouse, are enemies. The animals of man and wife should not both be males. Nor should the man be a female, or the wife a male animal.
5. Rasi (zodiacal sign).—Beginning from the girl's zodiacal sign, the young man's should be beyond the sixth.
6. Rasyathipathi (planet in the zodiacal sign). — The ruling planets of the zodiacal signs of the pair should not be enemies.
7. Vasyam.—The zodiacal signs of the pair should be compatible, e.g., Midunam and Kanni, Singam and Makaram, Dhanus and Minam, Thulam and Makaram, etc.
8. Rajju (string).—The twenty-seven asterisms are arranged at various points on four parallel lines drawn across three triangles. These lines are called the leg, thigh, abdomen, and neck rajjus. The vertices of the triangles are the head rajjus. The asterisms of the pair should not be on the same rajju, and it is considered to be specially bad if they are both on the neck.
9. Vriksham(tree),—The asterisms belong to a number of trees, e.g. : — Aswini, Sirychnos Nux-vomica.
Bharani, Phyllanihus Emblica.
Krithikai, Ficus glomerala.
Puram, Butea frondosa.
Hastham, Sesbania grandiflora.
Thiruvonam, Calotropis gigantea.
Uththirattadhi, Melia Azadirachta.
Some of the trees are classed as milky, and others as dry. The young man's tree should be dry, and that of the girl milky, or both milky.
10. Pakshi (birds).—Certain asterisms also belong to birds, and the birds of the pair should be on friendly terms, e.g., peacock and fowl.
11. Jadi (caste).—The zodiacal signs are grouped into castes as follows : —
Brahman, Karkatakam, Minum, and Dhanus.
Kshatriya, Mesham, Vrischikam.
Vaisya, Kumbam, Thulam.
Sudra, Rishabam, Makaram.
Lower castes, Midhunam, Singam, and Kanni.
The young man should be of a higher caste, according to the zodiacal signs, than the girl.
After ascertaining the agreement of the pair, some close relations of the young man proceed to some distance northward, and wait for omens. If the omens are auspicious, they are satisfied. Some, instead of so going, go to a temple, and seek the omens either by placing flowers on the idol, and watching the direction in which they fall, or by picking up a flower from a large number strewn in front of the idol. If the flower picked up, and the one thought of, are of the same colour, it is regarded as a good omen.
The betrothal ceremony is an important event. As soon as the people have assembled, the bridegroom's party place in their midst the pariyam cloth and jewels. Some responsible person inspects them, and, on his pronouncing that they are correct, permission is given to draw up the lagna patrika (letter of invitation, containing the date of marriage, etc.).
Vigneswara (the elephant god Ganesa) is then worshipped, with the lagna patrika in front of him. This is followed by the announcement of the forthcoming marriage by the purohit (priest), and the settlement of the amount of the pariyam (bride's money). For the marriage celebration, a pandal (booth) is erected, and a dais, constructed of clay and laterite earth, is set up inside it.
From the day on which the pandal is erected until the wedding day, the contracting couple have to go through the nalagu ceremony separately or together. This consists in having their bodies smeared with turmeric paste (Phascolus Mungo paste), and gingelly (Sesamum) oil.
On the wedding day, the bridegroom, after a clean shave, proceeds to the house of the bride. The finger and toenails of the bride are cut. The pair offer pongal (boiled rice) to the family deity and their ancestors. A square space is cleared in the centre of the dais for the sacred fire (homam). A many-branched lamp, representing the thousand-eyed Indra, is placed to the east of the square.
The purohit, who is regarded as equivalent to Yama (the god of death), and a pot with a lamp on it representing Agni devata, occupy the south-east corner. Women representing Niruti (a devata) are posted in the southwest corner. The direction of Varuna (the god of water) being west, the bridegroom occupies this position. The best man, who represents Vayu (the god of wind) is placed in the north-west corner. As the position of Kubera (the god of wealth) is the north, a person, with a bag full of money, is seated on that side. A grinding-stone and roller, representing Siva and Sakthi, are placed in the north-east corner, and, at their side, pans containing nine kinds of seedlings, are set. Seven pots are arranged in a row between the grinding-stone and the branched lamp. Some married women bring water from seven streams or seven different places, and pour it into a pot in front of the lamp.
The milk-post (pal kambam) is set up between the lamp and the row of pots. This post is usually made of twigs of (Ficus religiosa, Fiats bengalensis, and Erythrina indica, tied together and representing - Brahma, Vishnu, and Siva. Sometimes, however, twigs of Odina Wodier, and green bamboo sticks, are substituted.
At the close of the marriage ceremonies, the Erythrina or Odina twig is planted, and it is regarded as a good sign if it takes root and grows.
The sacred fire is kindled, and the bridegroom goes through the upanayana (thread investiture) and other ceremonies. He then goes away from the house in procession (paradesa pravesam), and is met by the bride's father, who brings him back to the pandal. The bride's father and mother then wash his feet, and rings are put on his toes (kalkattu, or tying the leg). The purohit gives the bridegroom a thread (kankanam), and, after washing the feet of the bride's father and mother, ties it on his wrist. A thread is also tied on the left wrist of the bride.
The pair being seated in front of the sacred fire, a ceremony called Nandisradham (memorial service to ancestors) is performed, and new clothes are given to the pair. The next item is the tying of the tali (marriage badge). The tali is usually tied on a turmeric-dyed thread, placed on a cocoanut, and taken round to be blessed by all present. Then the purohit gives the tali to the bridegroom, and he ties it on the bride's neck amidst silence, except for the music played by the barber or Melakkaran musicians. While the tali is being tied, the bridegroom's sister stands behind the bride, holding a lamp in her hand. The bridegroom ties one knot, and his sister ties two knots. After the tali-tying, small plates of gold or silver, called pattam, are tied on the foreheads of the pair, and presents of money and cloths arc made to them by their relations and friends. They then go seven times round the pandal, and, at the end of the seventh round, they stand close to the grinding-stone, on which the bridegroom places the bride's left foot.
They take their seats on the dais, and the bridegroom, taking- some parched rice (pori) from the bride's brother, puts it in the sacred fire. Garlands of flowers are given to the bride and bridegroom, who put them on, and exchange them three or five times. They then roll flowers made into a ball. This is followed by the waving of arathi (coloured water), and circumambulation of the pandal by the pair, along with the ashtamangalam or eight auspicious things, viz., the bridesmaid, best man, lamp, vessel filled with water, mirror, ankusam (elephant goad), white chamara (yak's tail fly-flapper), flag and drum.
Generally the pair go three times round the pandal, and, during the first turn, a cocoanut is broken near the grinding-stone, and the bride is told that it is Siva, and the roller Sakthi, the two combined being emblematical of Ardanarisvara, a bisexual representation of Siva and Parvathi.
During the second round, the story of Arundati is repeated to the bride. Arundati was the wife of the Rishi Vasishta, and is looked up to as a model of conjugal fidelity. The morning star is supposed to be Arundati, and the purohit generally points it out to the bridal pair at the close of the ceremonial, which terminates with three homams. The wedding may be concluded in a single day, or last for two or three days.
The dead are either buried or cremated. The corpse is carried to the burning or burial-ground on a bier or palanquin. As the Agamudaiyans are Saivites, Pandarams assist at the funeral ceremonies. On the second or third day after death, the son and others go to the spot where the corpse was buried or burnt, and offer food, etc., to the deceased. A pot of water is left at the spot. Those who are particular about performing the death ceremonies on an elaborate scale offer cooked food to the soul of dead person until the fifteenth day, and carry out the final death ceremonies (karmandhiram) on the sixteenth day. Presents are then given to Brahmans, and, after the death pollution has been removed by sprinkling with holy water (punyaham), a feast is given to the relatives.
The Agamudaiyans worship various minor deities, such as Aiyanar, Pidari, and Karupannaswami.
Agaru.—Agaru, or Avaru, is recorded, in the Madras Census Report, 1901, as a small caste of Telugu cultivators in Vizagapatam and Ganjam, who are also sellers of vegetables and betel leaves. Agaru is said to mean betel in their language, which they call Bhasha, and contains a good deal of Oriya. An extensive colony of Agarus is settled at Nellimerla near Vizianagram. Both males and females engage in the cultivation of the betel vine, and different kinds of greens, which find a ready sale in the Vizianagram market. Marriage is usually after puberty, and an Oriya Brahman officiates. The dead are burnt.
Agarwal.—A few members of this Upper India trading caste, who deal in grain and jewellery, and are also bankers and usurers, have been returned at times of census.
Agasa.—In the South Canara district, there are three distinct classes of washermen, viz., (i) Konkani Christians ; (2) Canarcse-speaking washermen, who seem to be allied to the Agasas of Mysore ; (3) Tulu-speaking washermen. The Tulu-speaking Agasas follow the aliya santana law of inheritance (in the female line). Madivala (madi, a clean cloth) is a synonym for Agasa. The word Agasa is derived from agasi, a turban.
The Agasas of Mysore have been described as follows.* "The Agasa is a member of the village hierarchy, his office being hereditary, and his remuneration being grain fees from the ryots. Besides washing, he occasionally ekes out his substance by carrying on his donkeys grain from place to place. He is also employed in bearing the torch in marriage and other public ceremonies. The principal object of worship is the pot of boiling water (ubbe), in which dirty clothes are steeped. Animals are sacrificed to the god with the view of preventing the clothes being burnt in the ubbe pot.
Under the name of Bhuma Deva, there are temples dedicated to this god in some large towns, the service being conducted by pujaris (priests) of the Agasa caste. The Agasas are Vishnuvaits, and pray to Vishnu, Pattalamma, and the Saktis. Their gurus (religious preceptors) are Satanis. A unique custom is attached to the washerman's office. When a girl-wife attains puberty, it is the duty and privilege of the washerman to carry the news, accompanied by certain presents, to her husband's parents, for which the messenger is duly rewarded."
The Tulu Madivalas of the South Canara district, like other Tulu castes, have exogamous septs or balis. They will wash clothes for all castes above the Billavas. They also supply cloths for decorating the marriage booth and funeral cars, and carry torches. They worship bhuthas (devils), of whom the principal one seems to be Jumadi.
At the time of kolas (bhutha festivals), the Madivalas have the right to cut off the heads of the fowls or goats, which are sacrificed. The animals are held by Pombadas or Paravas, and the Madivala decapitates them. On the seventh day after the birth of a child, the washerwoman ties a thread round its waist. For purificatory ceremonies, the Madivali should give washed clothes to those under pollution.
In their ceremonial observances, the Madivalas closely follow the Bants. In some places, they have a headman called, as among the Bants, Gurikara or Guttinaya. At marriages, the pouring of the dhare water over the united hands of the bride and bridegroom is the duty of the father or maternal uncle of the bride, not of the headman.
Some Maratha washermen call themselves Dandu (army) Agasa.
The insigne of the washermen at Conjeeveram is a pot, such as that in which clothes are boiled.
Agastya (the name of a sage).—An exogamous sept of Kondaiyamkottai Maravans.
Agni (fire).—An exogamous sept of the Kurubas and Gollas, and sub-division of the Pallis or Vanniyans. The equivalent Aggi occurs as an exogamous sept of Boya. The Pallis claim to be Agnikula Kshatriyas, i.e., to belong to the fire race of Kshatriyas.
Agraharekala.—A sub-division of Bhatrazu, meaning those who belong to the agraharam, or Brahman quarter of a village.
Ahir.—A few members of this Upper India caste of cowherds have been returned at times of census.
Ahmedi.—Returned, at times of census, as a general name for Muhammadans.
Aivattukuladavaru (people of fifty families).— A synonym for Bakuda.
Aiya.—Aiya or Ayya, meaning father, is the title of many classes, which include Dasari, Devanga, Golla, Idiga, Jangam, Konda Dora, Komati, Koppala Velama, Linga Balija, Mangala, Muka Dora, Paidi, Satani, Servegara, and Tambala. It is further a title of the Patnulkarans, who claim to be Brahmans, and a sub-division of the Tamil Pallans.
Aiyar occurs very widely as a title among Tamil Brahmans, and is replaced in the Telugu and Canarese countries by Bhatlu, Pantulu, and Sastrulu. It is noted by the Rev. A. Margoschis that "the honorific title Aiyar was formerly used exclusively by Brahmans, but has now come to be used by every native clergyman. The name which precedes the title will enable us to discover whether the man is Christian or Hindu. Thus Yesudian Aiyar means the Aiyar who is the servant of Jesus." The Rev. G. U. Pope, the well-known Tamil scholar, was known as Pope Aiyar.
Aiyanar.—A sub-division of Kalian, named after Aiyanar, the only male deity among the Grama Devata or village deities.
Aiyarakulu.—In the Madras Census Report, 1901, Aiyarakam is summed up as being a caste of Telugu cultivators, who, in their social and religious observances, closely follow the Kapus and Balijas, may intermarry with Telagas, and will accept drinking water from the hands of Gollas. According to Mr. C. Hayavadana Rao, to whom I am indebted for the following note, the Aiyarakulu are a section of Kapus, who rose in the social scale by Royal favour. The name is derived from aiya and rikam, denoting the act of being an aiya or distinguished person. The Aiyarakulu state that their forefathers were soldiers in the Vizianagram army, and rendered great services to the Rajas.
They have a story to the effect that, on one occasion, they proceeded on an expedition against a Golconda force, and gave so much trouble to the Muhammadan commander thereof that, after putting them to the sword, he proceeded to their own country, to destroy their homes. On hearing of this, the women, dressing themselves in male attire, advanced with bayonets and battle-axes against the Muhammadans, and drove them off in great disorder.
The Raja, in return for their gallant conduct, adorned their legs with silver bangles, such as the women still wear at the present day.
The Aiyarakulu are divided into gotras, such as naga (cobra), tabelu (tortoise), etc., which are strictly totemistic, and are further divided into exogamous septs or intiperulu. The custom of menarikam, according to which a man should marry his maternal uncle's daughter, is in force.
Girls are married before puberty, and a Brahman officiates at the wedding rites, during which the bride and bridegroom wear silver sacred threads, which are subsequently converted into rings. Some Aiyarakulu call themselves Razus, and wear the sacred thread, but interdine and intermarry with other members of the community. The remarriage of widows, and divorce are forbidden.
The principal occupation of the Aiyarakulus is cultivating, but, in some parts, many of them are cart-drivers plying between the plains of Vizagapatam and the Agency tracts. The usual title of members of the caste is Patrudu.
Akasam (sky).—An exogamous sept of Devanga.
Akattu Charna.—A sub-division of Nayar.
Akattulavar.—A name, indicating those inside (in seclusion or gosha), by which Nambutiri and Elayad and other females are called.
Akshantala (rice grain).—A gotra of Odde. Akshathayya is the name of a gotra of Gollas, who avoid rice coloured with turmeric and other materials.
Akula (betel leaf: Piper Belle).—An exogamous sept of Kamma and Bonthuk Savara, and a sub-division of Kapu. The presentation of betel leaves and areca nuts, called pan-supari, as a complimentary offering is a wide-spread Indian custom.
Ala.—A sub-division of Golla.
Alagi (pot).—An exogamous sept of Vakkaliga.
Alavan.—The Alavans are summed up, in the Madras Census Report, 1901, as "workers in salt-pans, who are found only in Madura and Tinnevelly. Their titles are Pannaiyan and Muppan. They are not allowed to enter Hindu temples." In the Travancore Census Report, 1901, it is recorded that "the Alavans or Uppalavans (salt Alavans) are so called because they work in alams or salt-pans.
`Three or four centuries ago, seven families of them are said to have been brought over from the Pandyan territory to Travancore, to work in the salt-pans. It is said that there are at Tamarakkulam, Puttalam, and other places in South Travancore, inscriptions recording their immigration, but these have not been deciphered. They speak Tamil. They are flesh-eaters. Drinking is rare among them. Burial was the rule in ancient days, but now the dead are sometimes burned. Tattooing is a general custom. The tutelary deities are Sasta and Bhadrakali. As a class the Alavans are very industrious. There are no better salt labourers in all Southern India."
Albino.—The picture drawn by the Abbe Dubois * of albino Natives is not a pleasant one. "This extreme fairness," he says, " is unnatural, and makes them very repulsive to look at. In fact, these unfortunate beings are objects of horror to every one, and even their parents desert them. They are looked upon as lepers. They are called Kakrelaks as a term of reproach. Kakrelaks are horrible insects, disgustingly dirty, which give forth a loathsome odour, and shun the day and its light.
* Hindu Manners and Customs. Ed. 1897.
The question has been raised as to whether these degenerate individuals can produce children like themselves, and afflicted with nyctalopia. Such a child has never come under my observation ; but I once baptised the child of a female Kakrelak, who owed its birth to a rash European soldier. These unfortunate wretches are denied decent burial after death, and are cast into ditches."
This reference to albinos by the observant Abbe may be amplified by the notes taken on several albino Natives in Madras and Mysore, which show, inter alia, that the lot of the present day albino is not an unhappy one.
Chinna Abboye, æt. 35. Shepherd caste. Rope (insigne of office) round waist for driving cattle, and tying the legs of cows when milking them. Yellowish-white hair where long, as in the kudumi. Bristles on top of shaved head pure white. Greenish-brown iris. Father dark ; mother, like himself, has white hair and pink skin. One brother an albino, married. One child of the usual Native type. Cannot see well in glare of sunlight, but sees better towards sunset. Screws his eyelids into transverse slits. Mother kind to him.
Vembu Achari, æt. 20. Artist. Kudumi (top-knot) yellowish-white. White eyebrows and moustache. Bright pink lips, and pink complexion. Iris light blue with pink radiating striae and pink peripheral zone. Sees best in the evening when the sun is low on the horizon. Screws up his eyelids to act as a diaphragm. Mother, father, brothers and sisters, all of the ordinary Native type. No relations albino, as far as he knows. Engaged to be nuirricd. People like himself are called chevapu (red-coloured), or, in derision, vellakaran (European or white man). Children sometimes make game of him, but people generally are kind to him.
Moonoosawmy, æt. 45. Belongs to the weaver class, and is a well-to-do man. Albino. Had an albino sister, and a brother of the ordinary type. Is the father often children, of whom five are albinos. They are on terms of equality with the other members of their community, and one daughter is likely to be married to the son of a prosperous man.
.................., æt. 22. Fisherman caste. Albino. His maternal uncle had an albino daughter. Has four brothers, of whom two are albinos. Cannot stand the glare of the sun, and is consequently unable to do outdoor work. Moves freely among the members of his community, and could easily secure a wife, if he was in a position to support one.
..................., æt. 36. Rajput. Hardware merchant. His father, of ordinary Native type, had twelve children, five of whom were albino, by an albino wife, whose brother was also albino. Married to a woman of Native type, and had one non-albino child. His sister, of ordinary Native type, has two albino children. Iris light blue. Hair yellowish. Complexion pink. Keeps left eye closed, and looks through a slit between eyelids of right eye. People call him in Canarese kempuava (red man). They are kind to him.
Alia.—The Alias are an Oriya cultivating caste, found mainly in the Gumsur taluk of Ganjam. In the Madras Census Report, 1891, it is suggested that the name is derived from the Sanskrit holo, meaning a plough. The further suggestions have been made that it is derived from alo. meaning crop, or from AH, a killa or taluk of Orissa, whence the Aliyas have migrated. In social position the Alias rank below the Bhondaris and Odiyas, who will not accept water touched by them.
Various titles occur within the caste, e.g., Biswalo, Bonjo, Bariko, Jenna, Kampo, Kondwalo, Lenka, Mahanti, Molla Nahako, Patro, Podhano, Podiyali, Ravuto, Siyo, and Swayi. Like other Oriya castes, the Alias have gotras, and the marriage rules based on titles and gotras are peculiar. A Podhano man may, for example, marry a Podhano girl, if their gotras are different. Further, two people, whose gotras are the same, may marry if they have a different title. Thus, a man, whose gotra is Goru and title Podhano, may marry a girl of a family of which the gotra is Goru, but title other than Podhano.
Infant marriage is the rule, and, if a girl does not secure a husband before she reaches maturity, she goes through a mock marriage ceremony, in which the bridegroom is represented by a brass vessel or an arrow. Like many other Oriya castes, the Aliyas follow the Chaitanya form of Vaishnavism, and also worship various Takuranis (village deities).
Alige (drum).—An exogamous sept of Kuruba.
Aliya Santanam.—Inheritance in the female line. The equivalent, in the Canara country, of the Malayali marumakkathayam.
Allam (ginger).—An exogamous sept of Mala.
Allikulam (lily clan).— Returned, at times of census, as a sub-division of Anappan.
Alvar.—An exogamous sept of Toreya. Alvar is a synonym of Garuda, the winged vehicle of Vishnu. Alvar Dasari occurs as a sub-division of Valluvans, which claims descent from Tiruppan Alvar, one of the Vaishnava saints.
Amaravatiyavaru.—A name, denoting people of Amaravati on the Kistna river, recorded * as a subdivision of Desabhaga Madigas. Amaravati also occurs as a sub-division, or nadu, of Vallamban.
* Mysore Census Report, 1901
Ambalakkaran.—In the Madras Census Report. 1891, Mr. H. A. Stuart writes that "Ambalakkaran (ambalam, an open place*) is the usual designation of a head of a village in the Maravan and Kallan districts, and it is, or was the common agnomen of Kallans. I am not able to state what is the precise connection between the Ambalakkaran and Kallan castes, but, from some accounts which I have obtained, the Ambalakkarans seem to be very closely connected, if not identical with Muttiriyans (Telugu Mutracha), who have been classed as village watchmen ; and this is borne out by the subdivisions returned, for, though no less than 109,263 individuals have given Ambalakkaran as the sub-division also, yet, of the sub-divisions returned, Muttiriyan and Mutracha are the strongest.
* Ambalam is an open space or building;, where affairs connected with justice arc transacted. Ambalakkaran denotes the president of an assembly, or one who proclaims the decision of those assembled in an ambalam.
Marriage is usually deferred until after puberty, and widow re-marriage is permitted, but there does not seem to be the same freedom of divorce at will as is found among Kallans, Maravans, etc. The dead are either burnt or buried. The consumption of flesh and liquor is allowed. Their usual agnomen is said to be Servaikkaran, but the titles Muttiriyan, Ambalakkaran, Malavarayan, Mutarasan, and Vannian are also used. The usual agnomen of Muttiriyans, on the other hand, is said to be Nayakkan (Naik)."
In the Madras Census Report, 1901, the Ambalakkarans are summed up as follows. "A Tamil caste of cultivators and village watchmen. Till recently the term Ambalakkaran was considered to be a title of the Kallans, but further enquiries have shown that it is the name of a distinct caste, found chiefly in the Trichinopoly district. The Ambalakkarans and Muttiriyans of a village in Musiri taluk wrote a joint petition, protesting against their being classified as Kallans, but nevertheless it is said that the Kallans of Madura will not eat in Ambalakkaran's houses.
“There is some connection between 'Ambalakkarans, Muttiriyans, Mutrachas, Uralis, Vedans, Valaiyans, and Vettuvans. It seems likely that all of them are descended from one common parent stock. Ambalakkarans claim to be descended from Kannappa Nayanar, one of the sixty-three Saivite saints, who was a Vedan or hunter by caste. In Tanjore the Valaiyans declare themselves to have a similar origin, and in that district Ambalakkaran and Muttiriyan seem to be synonymous with Valaiyan. [Some Valaiyans have Ambalakkaran as a title.] Moreover, the statistics of the distribution of the Valaiyans show that they are numerous in the districts where Ambalakkarans are few, and vice versa, which looks as though certain sections of them had taken to calling themselves Ambalakkarans.
“The upper section of the Ambalakkarans style themselves Pillai, which is a title properly belonging to Vellalas, but the others are usually called Muppan in Tanjore, and Ambalakkaran, Muttiriyan, and Servaigaran in Trichinopoly. The headman of the caste panchayat (council) is called the Kariyakkaran, and his office is hereditary in particular families. Each headman has a peon called the Kudi-pillai, whose duty it is to summon the panchayat when necessary, and to carry messages. For this he gets an annual fee of four annas from each family of the caste in his village. The caste has certain endogamous sections. Four of them are said to be Muttiriyan or Mutracha, Kavalgar, Vanniyan, and Valaiyan.
“A member of any one of these is usually prohibited by the panchayats from marrying outside it on pain of excommunication. Their customs are a mixture of those peculiar to the higher castes and those followed by the lower ones. Some of them employ Brahmans as purohits (priests), and wear the sacred thread at funerals and sraddhas (memorial services for the dead). Yet they eat mutton, pork, and fowls, drink alcohol, and allow the marriage of widows and divorced women."
Muttiriyan and Kavalgar both mean watchman. Vanniyan is certainly a separate caste, some members of which take Ambalakkaran as a title. The Ambalakkarans are apparently Valaiyans, who have separated themselves from the main stock on account of their prosperity. For the following note, I am indebted to Mr. F. R. Hemingway. The Ambalakkarans or Muttiriyans are more numerous in the Trichinopoly district and Pudukkottai than in any other part of the Presidency. Though they have been treated as separate castes, they appear to be one and the same in this district, generally calling themselves Muttiriyan in the Trichinopoly taluk, and Ambalakkaran elsewhere, and having no objection to either name. They admit they are called Valaiyans, but repudiate any connection with the caste of that name, and explain the appellation by a story that, when Siva's ring was swallowed by a fish in the Ganges, one of their ancestors invented the first net (valai) made in the world. As relics of their former greatness they point to the thousand-pillared mantapam at Srirangam, which is called muttarasan koradu, and a big matam at Palni, both of which, they say, were built by their kings.
To the latter every household of the caste subscribes four annas annually. They say that they were born of the sweat (muttu, a pearl or bead of perspiration) of Parama-siva. The caste is divided into a number of nadus, the names and number of which are variously given. Some of these are Ettarai, Koppu, Adavattur, Tirampalaiyam, Vlmanayakkanpalaiyam in the Trichinopoly taluk, and Amur, Savindippatti, and Karungali in Musiri taluk.
Widow remarriage is allowed in some of these nadus, and not in others. They use the titles Muttiriyan, Ambalakkaran, Servaikaran, and Kavalkaran. They admit their social inferiority to the Vellalans, Kallans, Nattamans, and Reddis, from all of whom they will accept meals, but consider themselves superior to Pallis, Uralis, Uppiliyans, and Valaiyans.
Their usual occupation is cultivation, but they have also taken to petty trade, and some earn a living as masons and kavalgars (watchmen). They wear the sacred thread during their marriages and funerals. They have panchayats for each village and for the nadu, and have also a number of the Patnattu Chettis, who are recognized as elders of the caste, and sit with the head of the nadu to decide cases of adultery, etc.
Ambalavasi.—This is summed up, in the Madras Census Report, 1901, as "a generic name applied to all classes of temple servants in Malabar. There are many sub-divisions of the caste, such as Poduval, Chakkiyar, Nambiyassan, Pidaran, Pisharodi, Variyan, Nambi, Teyyambadi, etc., which are assigned different services in the Hindu temples, such as the preparation of garlands, the sweeping of the floor, the fetching of firewood, the carrying of the idols in procession, singing, dancing, and so on. Like most of the temple servant classes, they are inferior to the lower Brahmans, such as the Mussads, and food will not be taken from the hands of most of them even by Nayars."
In the Travancorc Census Report, 1901, it is noted that “the term Ambalavasi (one who lives in a temple) is a group-name, and is applied to castes, whose occupation is temple service. The Keralamahatmya speaks of them as Kshetravasinah, which means those who live in temples.
They are also known as Antaralas, from their occupying an intermediate position between the Brahmans and the Brahmanical Kshatriyas of Malabar on the one hand, and the Sudras on the other. While according to one view they are fallen Brahmans, others, such as the writer of the Keralolpatti, would put them down as an advance from the Sudras. The castes recognised as included in the generic name of Ambalavasi are:
Brahmani or Daivampati.
“All these castes are not connected with pagodas, nor do the Muttatus, who are mainly engaged in temple service, come under this group, strictly speaking. The rationale of their occupation seems to be that, in accepting duty in temples and consecrating their lives to the service of God, they hope to be absolved from the sins inherited from their fathers. In the case of ascent from lower castes, the object presumably is the acquisition of additional religious merit . . . The delinquent Brahman cannot be retained in the Brahmanic function without lowering the standard of his caste. He had, therefore, to be allotted other functions.
Temple service of various kinds, such as garland-making for the Pushpakan, Variyar and others, and popular recitation of God's works for the Chakkiyar, were found to hold an intermediate place between the internal functions of the Brahmans and the external functions of the other castes, in the same sense in which the temples themselves are the exoteric counterparts of an esoteric faith, and represent a position between the inner and the outer economy of nature.
Hence arose probably an intermediate status with intermediate functions for the Antaralas, the intermediates of Hindu Society. The Kshatriyas, having commensal privileges with the Brahmans, come next to them in the order of social precedence. In the matter of pollution periods, which seem to be in inverse ratio to the position of the caste, the Brahmans observe 10 days, the Kshatriyas 11 days, and the Sudras of Malabar (Nayars) 16 days. The Ambalavasis generally observe pollution for 12 days. In some cases, however, it is as short as 10, and in others as long as 13 and even 14, but never 16 days."
It is further recorded, in the Cochin Census Report, 1901, that "Ambalavasis (literally temple residents) are persons who have the privilege of doing service in temples. Most of the castes have grown out of sexual relations between members of the higher and lower classes, and are therefore Anulomajas and Pratilomajas.* They may be broadly divided into two classes, (i) those that wear the sacred thread, and (2) those that do not wear the same.
* Anulomaja, the product of the connection of a man with a woman of a lower caste; Pratiloma, of the connection of a man with a woman of a higher caste.
Adikal, Chakkiyar, Nambiyaror Pushpakan, and Tiyyattu Nambiyar belong to the threaded class, while Chakkiyar, Nambiyar, Pisharoti, Variyar, Puthuval, and Marar are non-threaded. Though all Ambalavasis have to do service in temples, they have many of them sufficiently distinct functions to perform.
They are all governed by the marumakkathayam law of inheritance (through the female line) ; some castes among them, however, follow the makkathayam system (from father to son). A Nambiyar, Pisharoti, or Variyar marries under special circumstances a woman of his own caste, and brings home his wife into the family, and their issue thus become members of the father's family, with the right of inheriting the family property, and form themselves into a fresh marumakkathayam stock. In the matter of tali-kettu (tali-tying) marriage, and marriage by union in sambandham (alliance), they follow customs similar to those of Nayars.
So far as the employment of Brahman as priests, and the period of birth and death pollution are concerned, there are slight differences. The threaded classes have Gayatri (hymn). The purificatory ceremony after birth or death pollution is performed by Nambudris, but at all funeral ceremonies, such as pinda, sradha, etc., their own caste men officiate as priests.
The Nambudris can take meals cooked by a Brahman in the house of any of the Ambalavasis except Marars. In fact, if the Nambudris have the right of purification, they do not then impose any restrictions in regard to this. All Ambalavasis are strict vegetarians at public feasts. The Ambalavasis sit together at short distances from one another, and take their meals. Their females unite themselves in sambandham with their own caste males, or with Brahmans or Kshatriyas. Brahmans, Kshatriyas, or Nambidis cannot take water from them. Though a great majority of the Ambalavasis still follow their traditional occupations, many of them have entered the public service, and taken to more lucrative pursuits."
The more important sections of the Ambalavasis are dealt with in special articles.
Ambattan.— For the following note I am indebted to Mr. C. Hayavadana Rao. The Ambattans are the Tamil barbers, or barber-surgeons. The word is usually derived from the Sanskrit amba (near) and s'tha (to stand), i.e., he who stands near to shave his clients, or treat his patients. In like manner, the Kavutiyan caste of Malayalam barbers is called Adutton, signifying bystander. The Ambattan corresponds to the Mangala of the Telugu country, the Vilakkatalavan of Malabar, the Kshauraka of the Canarese Brahmans, and the Hajam of Muhammadans.
Not improbably the name refers to the original occupation of medicine-man, to which were added later the professions of village barber and musician. This view seems to receive some support from the current tradition that the Ambattans are the descendants of the offspring of a Vaisya woman by a Brahman, to whom the medical profession was allotted as a means of livelihood.
In this connection, it may be noted that the Ambattan women are the recognised midwives of the Hindu community in the Tamil country. It is impossible to say how far the above tradition is based on the verse of Manu, the ancient law-giver, who says that " from a Brahmana with the daughter of a Vaisya is born a son called an Ambashtha."
In a succeeding verse, he states that as children of a Brahmana by a woman of one of the three lower castes, the Ambashthas are one of the six base-born castes or apasada.
He says further that Brahmans may eat of a barber's food— a permission which, it is hardly necessary to say, they do not avail themselves of. A single exception is, however, noteworthy. At the temple of Jugganath, within the temple precincts, neither the barber, nor the food which he prepares, and is partaken of by the higher castes, including Brahmans, convey pollution.
The pujari, or officiating priest, at this famous temple is a barber, and Brahmans, except those of the extreme orthodox section, partake of his preparations of rice, after they have been offered to the presiding deity. This is, apparently, the only case in which the rule laid down by Manu is followed in practice.
It is not known how far the text of Manu is answerable for the popular Sanskrit saying, which calls the barber a "good Sudra." There is an opinion entertained in certain quarters that originally the barber's touch did not pollute, but that his shaving did.
It is an interesting fact that, though the Ambattans are one of Manu's baseborn castes, whose touch causes pollution which requires the pouring of water over the head to remove it, they are one of the most Brahmanised of the lower castes. Nothing, perhaps, shows this so well as their marriage ceremonies, throughout which a Brahman officiates.
On the first two days, homam or sacred fire, fed with ghi (clarified butter) is kindled. On the third day, the tali (marriage badge) is placed in a circular silver or brass thattu (dish), and touched with the forefinger of the right hand first by the presiding Brahman, followed by other Brahmans, men of superior castes, and the caste-men headed by the Perithanakkaran or head-man. It is then, amid weird music, tied to the bride's neck before the sacred fire. During this ceremony no widows may be present.
The relations of the bride and bridegroom scatter rice on the floor in front of the bridal pair, after the Brahman priest and head-man. This rice, which is called sesham (remainder), is strictly the perquisite of the local washerman. But it is generally purchased by the headman of the family, in which the marriage is taking place, and handed over, not to the washerman, but to the Perithanakkaran.
The Brahman receives as his fee money and a pair of silk-bordered cloths ; and, till the latter arc given to him, he usually refuses to pronounce the necessary mantras (prayers). He also receives the first pin-supari (betel leaves and areca nuts), plantains, and cocoanuts.
Each day he has to get rid of the pollution caused by entering a barber's house by bathing. During the fourth and fifth days, homam is burnt, and shadangu, or merry-making between the bride and bridegroom before the assembled spectators, takes place, during which the bride sings songs, in which she has been coached from infancy. On the fifth day the removal of the kankanam, or threads which have been tied round the wrists of the bride and bridegroom, is performed, after the priest's account has been settled.
Among the Konga Vellalas of the Salem district, it is the Ambattan who officiates at the marriage rites, and ties the tali, after formally proclaiming to those present that he is about to do so. Brahmans are invited to the wedding, and are treated with due respect, and presented with money, rice, and betel. It would appear that, in this case, the Brahman has been ousted, in recent times, from his priestly functions by the Ambattan. The barber, when he ties the tali, mutters something about Brahman and Vedas in a respectful manner.
The story goes that, during the days of the Chera, Chola, and Pandya Kings, a Brahman and an Ambattan were both invited to a marriage feast. But the Brahman, on his arrival, died, and the folk, believing his death to be an evil omen, ruled that, as the Brahman was missing, they would have an Ambattan ; and it has ever since been the custom for the Ambattan to officiate at weddings.
A girl, when she reaches puberty, has to observe pollution for eleven days, during which she bathes daily, and is presented with a new cloth, and adorned by a girl who is said to have "touched" her. This girl has to bathe before she can take her meals, or touch others. Every morning, a dose of pure gingelly (Sesamum indicum) oil, mixed with white of egg, is administered. The dietary must be strictly vegetarian. On the twelfth day, the girl who has been through the ceremonial has a final bath, and enters the house after it has been purified (punyavachanam).
The rule, once a widow always a widow, is as true of Ambattans as of high-class Brahmans. And, if asked whether the remarriage of widows is permitted, they promptly reply that they are not washermen.
The dead arc cremated, with the exception of young children, who are buried. The death ceremonies are conducted by a Brahman priest, who is remunerated for his services with money and a cloth. Gifts of money and cloths are also made to other Brahmans, when the days of pollution are over.
Annual memorial ceremonies (sradh) are performed, as by Brahmans. It is a privilege (they consider it as such) of the Ambattans to cremate the bodies of village paupers other than Brahmans. And, on ordinary occasions of death, they lead the son or person who is entitled to light the funeral pyre, with a brass pot in their hands, round the corpse, and indicate with a burning cinder the place to which the light must be applied.
As a community the Ambattans are divided into Saivites and Vaishnavites. Members of the latter section, who have been branded by their Brahman guru with the chank and chakram, abstain from animal food, and intoxicating drinks.
Intermarriage between the two sections is allowed, and commonly practised. They belong to the right-hand faction, and will not eat with Komatis, who belong to the left. They have, however, no objection to shaving Komatis.
The Ambattans of the Chinglcput district are divided into four sections, each of which is controlled by a Perithanakkaran. One of these resides in Madras, and the other three live respectively at Poonamallce, Chingleput, and Karunguzhi in the Madurantakam taluk of the Chingleput district.
Ambattans are now-a-days found over the whole Tamil area of the Madras Presidency. Originally, free movement into the various parts of the Presidency was far from easy, and every Ambattan, wherever he might migrate to, retained his subjection to the chief or headman of his native village. Thus, perhaps, what was at first a tribal division gradually developed into a territorial one.
Each Perithanakkaran has under him six hundred, or even a thousand Kudithalakkarans, or heads of families. His office being hereditary, he is, if only a minor, treated with respect and dignity. All the preliminaries of marriage are arranged by him. On important occasions, such as settling disputes, he is assisted by a panchayat, or council of elders. In this way are settled quarrels, questions arising out of adultery, or non-payment of fines, which it is his duty to collect.
He is further responsible for the marriage rice-money, which is added to a communal tax of 2½ annas per family, which is imposed annually for charitable purposes. The charities take the form of the maintenance of chattrams, or places where pilgrims are fed free of charge at holy places. Two such institutions are maintained in the Chingleput district, the centre of the Ambattan community, one at Tirupporur, the other at Tirukalikundram.
At these places Brahmans are given free meals, and to other caste Hindus sadabath, or things necessary for meals, are presented. Sometimes the money is spent in building adjuncts to holy shrines. At Srirangam, for example, the Ambattans, in days gone by, built a fine stone mantapam for the local temple.
If the Perithanakkaran cannot satisfactorily dispose of a case with the assistance of the usual panchayat (council), it is referred to the higher authority of the Kavarai or Desai Setti, or even to British Courts as a last resource.
The barber has been summed up by a district official * as "one of the most useful of the village servants. He leads an industrious life, his services being in demand on all occasions of marriages, feasts, and funerals. He often combines in himself the three useful vocations of hair-dresser, surgeon, and musician. In the early hours of the morning, he may be seen going his rounds to his employers' houses in his capacity of shaver and haircutter.
* Madras Mail, 1906.
“Later on, he will be leading the village band of musicians before a wedding procession, or playing at a temple ceremony. Yet again he may be observed paying his professional visits as Vythian or physician, with his knapsack of surgical instruments and cutaneous drugs tucked under his arm.
“By long practice the barber becomes a fairly skilful operator with the knife, which he uses in a rough and ready manner. He lances ulcers and carbuncles, and even essays his hand in affections of the eye, often with the most disastrous results. It is the barber who takes away cricks and sprains, procures leeches for those wishing to be bled, and otherwise relieves the physical ills of his patients.
The barber woman, on the other hand, is the accoucheuse and midwife of the village matrons. It may be said without exaggeration that many of the uterine ailments which furnish patients to the maternity wards of the various hospitals in this country are attributable to the rude treatment of the village midwife."
The Ambattan will cut the nails, and shave not only the head and face, but other parts of the body, whereas the Telugu barber will shave only down to the waist. The depilatory operations on women are performed by female hair-dressers.
Barbers' sons are taught to shave by taking the bottom of an old well-burnt clay cooking-pot, and, with a blunt knife, scraping off the collected carbon. They then commence to operate on pubescent youths. The barber who shaves Europeans must not be a caste barber, but is either a Muhammadan or a non-caste man.
Quite recently, a youthful Ambattan had to undergo ceremonial purification for having unconsciously shaved a Paraiyan. Paraiyans, Malas, and other classes of the lower orders, have their own barbers and washermen.
Razors are, however, sometime lent to them by the Ambattans for a small consideration, and cleansed in water when they are returned. Parasitic skin diseases are said to originate from the application of a razor, which has been used on a number of miscellaneous individuals. And well-to-do Hindus now keep their own razor, which the barber uses when he comes to shave them.
In the southern districts, it is not usual for the Ambattans to go to the houses of their customers, but they have sheds at the backs of their own houses, where they attend to them from daybreak till about mid-day. Occasionally, when sent for, they will wait on Brahmans and high-class non- Brahmans at their houses. Numbers of them, besides, wait for customers near the riverside.
Like the English hair-cutter, the Ambattan is a chatterbox, retails the petty gossip of the station, and is always posted in the latest local news and scandal. The barbers attached to British regiments are migratory, and, it is said, have friends and connections in all military cantonments, with whom they exchange news, and hold social intercourse.
The Ambattan fills the role of negotiator and go-between in the arrangement of marriages, feasts, and funeral. He is, moreover, the village physician and surgeon, and, in the days when blood-letting was still in vogue, the operation of phlebotomy was part of his business.
In modern times, his nose has, like that of the village potter, been put out of joint by civil hospitals and dispensaries. His medicines consist of pills made from indigenous drugs, the nature of which he does not reveal. His surgical instrument is the razor which he uses for shaving, and he does not resort to it until local applications, e.g., in a case of carbuncle, have failed. In return for his multifarious services to the villagers, the Ambattan was given a free grant of land, for which he has even now to pay only a nominal tax. But, in the days when there was no survey or settlement, if the barber neglected his duties, he was threatened with confiscation of his lands. At the present day, however, he can sell, mortgage, or make a gift thereof.
As the Ambattans became divided up into a number of families, their duties in the village were parcelled out among them, so that each barber family became attached to certain families of other castes, and was entitled to certain rights from them. Among other claims, each barber family became entitled to three or four marakkals of paddy (unhusked rice), which is the perquisite of the married members thereof.
It may be noted that, in village communities, lands were granted not only to the barber, but also to village officials such as the blacksmith, carpenter, washerman, astrologer, priest, dancing-girl, etc.
In his capacity of barber, the Ambattan is called Nasivan (unholy man), or, according to the Census Reports, Nasuvan (sprung from the nose), or Navidan. He is also known as Panditan or Pariyari (doctor), and Kudimaghan (son of the ryot).
The last of these names is applied to him especially on occasions of marriage, when to call him Nasivan would be inauspicious. The recognised insigne of his calling is the small looking-glass, which he carries with him, together with the razor, and sometimes tweezers and ear-pick. He must salute his superiors by prostrating himself on his stomach, folding his arms, and standing at a respectful distance. He may not attend at Brahman houses on new or full-moon days, Tuesday, Saturday, and special days such as Ekadasi and Dwadasi. The most proper days are Sunday and Monday.
The quality of the shave varies with the skill of the individual, and there is a Tamil proverb "Go to an old barber and a new washerman." Stories are extant of barbers shaving kings while they were asleep without waking them, and it is said that the last Raja of Tanjore used to be thus entertained with exhibitions of their skill. The old legend of the barber who, in return for shaving a Raja without awakening him, requested that he might be made a Brahman, and how the Court jester Tennali Raman got the Raja to cancel his agreement, has recently been re-told in rhyme.*
• A. P. Smith, Madras Review, 1902.
It is there described how the barber lathered the head “with water alone, for soap he had none." The modern barber, however, uses soap, either a cheap quality purchased in the bazar, or a more expensive brand supplied by his client.
By a curious corruption, Hamilton's bridge, which connects the Triplicane and Mylapore divisions of the city of Madras, has become converted into Ambattan, or barber's bridge. And the barber, as he shaves you, will tell how, in days before the bridge was built, the channel became unfordable during- a north-east monsoon flood. A barber, who lived on the Triplicane side, had to shave an engineer, whose house was on the Mylapore side. With difficulty he swam across, and shaved the sahib while he was asleep without waking him, and, in return, asked that, in the public interests, a bridge should be built over the channel.
Ambattans of Travancore.—For the following note I am indebted to Mr. N. Subramani Aiyer. The barbers of Travancore are called by various designations, those in Central and South Travancore preferring to be known by the name of Kshaurakan or Kshaurakkaran, a corruption of the Sanskrit kshuraka, while Ambattan seems to find general favour in the south.
A curious name given to the caste throughout Travancore is Pranopakari, or one who helps the souls, indicating their priestly functions in the ceremonials of various castes. A contraction of this name found in the early settlement records is Pranu. The members of those families from which kings and noblemen have at any time selected their barbers are called Vilakkittalavan, or more properly Vilakkuttalayan, meaning literally those who shave heads.
In North Travancore many families are in possession of royal edicts conferring upon them the title of Panikkar, and along with it the headmanship of the barber families of the village in which they reside. Others have the title of Vaidyan or doctor, from the secondary occupation of the caste.
Endless endogamous septs occur among the barbers, and, at Trivandrum, there are said to be four varieties called Chala Vazhi, Pandi Vazhi, Attungal Vazhi, and Peruntanni Vazhi. But it is possible to divide all the Kshaurakans of Travancore into three classes, viz., Malayalam-speaking Ambattans, who follow the makkathayam law of inheritance ; (2) Malayalam speaking Ambattans who follow the marumakkathayam law of inheritance ; (3) Tamil-speaking barbers, who have in many localities adopted Malayalam as their mother-tongue, and indicate their recent conversion in this direction by preserving unchanged the dress and ornaments of their women-kind.
In Pattanapuram, for example, there is a class of Malayalam-speaking barbers known as Pulans who immigrated into that taluk from the Tamil country about two hundred years ago and reveal their kinship with the Tamil-speaking barbers in various ways.
In Kottayam and some other North Travancore taluks, a large number of barbers may be described as recent converts of this character. In theory at least, the makkathayam and marumakkathayam Ambattans may be said to form two distinct endogamous groups, of which the former regard themselves as far superior to the latter in social position.
Sometimes the makkathayam Ambattans give their girls in marriage to the marumakkathayam Ambattans, though the converse can never hold good. But, in these cases, the girl is not permitted to re-enter the paternal home, and associate with the people therein.
A local tradition describes the Travancore Kshaurakans as pursuing their present occupation owing to the curse of Surabhi, the divine calf. Whatever their origin, they have faithfully followed their traditional occupation, and, in addition, many study medicine in their youth, and attend to the ailments of the villagers, while the women act as midwives.
When a high-caste Hindu dies, the duty of supplying the fuel for the funeral pyre, and watching the burning ground, devolves on the barber. In their dress and ornaments the Travancore barbers closely resemble the Nayars, but some wear round gold beads and a conch-shaped marriage jewel round the neck, to distinguish their women from those of the Nayars. This, however, does not hold good in South Travancore, where the women have entirely adopted the Nayar type of jewellery.
Tattooing prevails to a greater extent among the barbers than among other classes, but has begun to lose its popularity. The barbers not only worship the ordinary Hindu deities, but also adore such divinities as Murti, Maden, and Yakshi.
The corpses of those who die as the result of accident or contagious disease, are buried, not burnt. A sorcerer is called on to raise the dead from the grave, and, at his instance, a kuryala or small thatched shed is erected, to provide a sanctum for the resurrected spirit. Every year, in the month of Makaram (January-February), the day on which the Utradam star falls is taken as the occasion for making offerings to these spirits.
In every village certain families had bestowed on them by the chieftains of Kerala the right of deciding all questions affecting the caste. All social offences are tried by them, and the decision takes the form of an order to celebrate iananguttu or feast of the equals, at which the first article served on the leaf placed before the assembled guests is not food, but a sum of money.
The tali-kettu and sambandham ceremonies are celebrated, the former before, and the latter after the girl has reached puberty. The preliminary rites of betrothal and kapu-kettu (tying the string round the wrist) over, the bridegroom enters the marriage hall in procession. There are no Vedic rites; nor is there any definite priest for the marriage ceremony. The conch-shell is blown at odd intervals, this being considered indispensable. The festivities last for four days.
A niece and nephew are regarded as the most legitimate spouses of a son and daughter respectively.
After the cremation or burial of a corpse, a rope is held by two of the relations between the dead person's remains and the karta (chief mourner), and cut in two, as if to indicate that all connection between the karta and the deceased has ceased. This is called bandham aruppu, or severing of connection.
Pollution lasts for sixteen days among all sections of the barbers, except the Tamils, who regain their purity after a death in the family on the eleventh day.
Ambiga.—A synonym of Kabbera.
Ambojala (lotus : Nelumbium).—A house-name of Korava.
Amma (mother).—A sub-division of Pallan and Paraiyan. It is also the title of the various goddesses, or mothers, such as Ellamma, Mariamma, etc., which are worshipped as Grama Devatas (village deities) at the temples known as Amman-koil.
Ammukkuvan.—A sub-division of Katalarayan.* (See Valan.)
* Cochin Census Rcporl, 1901.
Anapa (Dolichos Lablab).—A gotra of Komati.
Anasa (ferrule).—A gotra of Kurni.
Anchu (edge or border).—A gotra of Kurni.
Andara (pandal or booth).—A sept of Kuruba.
Ande.—Ande (a pot) as a division of the Kurubas refers to the small bamboo or wooden vessel used when milking goats. It further denotes a division of the Koragas, who used to wear a pot suspended from their necks, into which they were compelled to spit, so as not to defile the highway.
Anderaut.—Recorded, in the Census Report, 1901, as a sub-division of Kurumba. Probably a form of Ande Kuruba. Raut is frequently a title of headmen among Lingayats.
Andi.—In a note on Andis in the Madras Census Report, 1901, Mr. W. Francis writes that "for a Brahman or an ascetic, mendicancy was always considered an honourable profession, to which no sort of shame attached. Manu says ' a Brahman should constantly shun worldly honour, as he would shun poison, and rather constantly seek disrespect as he would seek nectar'; and every Brahman youth was required to spend part of his life as a beggar. The Jains and Buddhists held the same views. The Hindu Chattrams * and Uttupuras, the Jain Pallis, and the Buddhist Viharas owe their origin to this attitude, they being originally intended for the support of the mendicant members of these religions. But persons of other than the priestly and religious classes were expected to work for their living, and were not entitled to relief in these institutions.
* Houses where pilgrims and travellers are entertained, and fed gratuitously.
“Begging among such people—unless, as in the case of the Pandarams and Andis, a religious flavour attaches to it—is still considered disreputable. The percentage of beggars in the Tamil districts to the total population is .97, or more than twice what it is in the Telugu country, while in Malabar it is as low as .09. The Telugus are certainly not richer as a class than the Tamils, and the explanation of these differences is perhaps to be found in the fact that the south is more religiously inclined than the north, and has more temples and their connected charities (religion and charity go hand in hand in India), and so offers more temptation to follow begging as a profession. Andis are Tamil beggars. They are really inferior to Pandarams, but the two terms are in practice often indiscriminately applied to the same class of people.
Pandarams are usually Vellalas by caste, but Andis are recruited from all classes of Sudras, and they consequently have various sub-divisions, which are named after the caste to which the members of each originally belonged, such as the Jangam Andis, meaning: beggars of the Jangam caste, and the Jogi Andis, that is, Andis of the Jogi caste. They also have occupational and other divisions, such as the Kovil Andis, meaning those who do service in temples, and the Mudavandis or the lame beggars.
Andi is in fact almost a generic term. All Andis are not beggars however ; some are bricklayers, others are cultivators, and others are occupied in the temples. They employed Brahman priests at their ceremonies, but all of them eat meat and drink alcohol.
Widows and divorcees may marry again. Among the Tinnevelly Andis, the sister of the bridegroom ties the tali (marriage badge) round the bride's neck, whch is not usual."
In the Madras Census Report, 1891, the Andis are summed up as "beggars who profess the Saiva faith. They may be found in all the Tamil districts, begging from door to door, beating a small gong with a stick. The Andis differ from most other castes, in that a person of any caste may join their community. Some of them officiate as priests in village temples, especially when large sacrifices of goats, buffaloes, and pigs are made. They usually bury the dead. They have returned 105 sub-divisions, of which the most important are the following :—Jangam, Komanandi, Lingadari, Mudavandi, and Uppandi.
Komanam is the small loin cloth, and a Komanandi goes naked, except for this slight concession to decency. Mudam means lame, and the Mudavandis ((q.v.) are allowed to claim any deformed child belonging to the Konga Vellala caste. The etymology of Uppandi is difficult, but it is improbable that it has any connection with uppu, salt.
In the Tanjore Manual, it is noted that "in its ordinary acceptation the word Andi means houseless beggars, and is applied to those who profess the Saiva faith. They go out every morning, begging for alms of uncooked rice, singing ballads or hymns. They play on a small gong called semakkalam with a stick, and often carry a conch shell, which they blow. They are given to drinking."
It is recorded* that “South Indian beggars are divided into two classes, Panjathandi and Paramparaiandi. The former are famine-made beggars, and the latter are beggars from generation to generation. The former, a common saying goes, would rob from the person of a child at a convenient opportunity, while the latter would jump into a well, and pick up a child which had fallen into it by an accident, and make it over to its parents."
* C. Hayavadana Rao. Tales of Komati Wit and Wisdom, 1907.
Andi (a god) occurs as an exogamous section of Sirukudi Kallans.
Andinia.—Recorded by Mr. F. Fawcctt as an inferior sub-division of Dombs, who eat frogs.
Anduran.—A sub-division of Nayar potters, who manufacture earthenware articles for use in temples. The name is derived from Andur, a place which was once a fief under the Zamorin of Calicut.
Ane (elephant).—An exogamous sept of Holeya, Kappiliyan, Kuruba, Kadu Kurumba, Moger, and Gangadikara Vakkaliga. Yenigala or Ycnuga (elephant) is further an exogamous sept of Kapus, who will not touch ivory. Anai-kombu (elephant tusk) occurs as a sub-division of Idaiyan.
Angarakudu (the planet Mars).—A synonym of Manoala.
Anja.—In the Madras Census Report, 1891, Ajna is returned as a sub-division of Pallan. This, however, seems to be a mistake for Anja (father), by which name these Pallans address their fathers.
Anju Nal (five days).—Recorded in the Salem Manual, as a name given to Pallis who perform the death ceremony on the fifth day after death.
Amjuttan (men of the five hundred).—Recorded at times of census, as a sub-division of Panan, and a synonym of Velan. In the Gazetteer of Malabar, it appears as a sub-division of Mannans, who are closely akin to the Velans. The equivalent Anjuttilkar occurs as a synonym for Tenkanchi Vellalas in Travancore.
Anna (brother).—The title of numerous classes, e.g., Dasari, Gavara, Golla, Konda Dora, Koppala Velama, Mangala, Mila, Paidi, and Segidi.
Annam (cooked rice).—An exogamous sept of Gamalla and Togata.
Annavi.—A title of Savalakkarans, who play on the nagasaram (reed instrument) in temples.
Antalavar.—Recorded in the Travancore Census Report, 1 90 1, as a sub-division of Nayar.
Antarala.—A synonym of Ambalavasi, denoting those who occupy an intermediate position between Brahmans and Sudras.
Antarjanam (inside person).—A term applied to Nambutiri Brahman females, who live in seclusion.*
* Wigram, Malabar Law and Custom.
Anuloma.—One of the two classes of Sudras, viz., Anuloma and Veloma. The term Anuloma is applied to those born of a higher-caste male and a lower-caste female, e.g., barbers are said to be the offspring of a Brahman and a Vaisya woman.
Anumala (seeds of Dolichos Lablab).—An exogamous sept of Devanga. The equivalent Annmolla occurs as an exogamous sept of Kamma.
Anuppan. The Anuppans are described, in the Madras Census Report, 1891, as "a small caste of Canarese farmers, found chiefly in the districts of Madura, Tinnevelly, and Coimbatore. Their original home appears to have been Mysore or South Canara, probably the former. Their language is a corrupt form of Canarese. The most important sub-division is Allikulam (lily clan). Some of them are Saivites, and others Vaishnavites.
“Brahmans are employed as priests by the Vaishnavites, but not by the Saivites. Remarriage of widows is practised, but a woman divorced for adultery cannot remarry during the life-time of her husband."
In the Gazetteer of the Madura district, it is stated that "the Anuppans are commonest in the Kambam valley. They have a tradition regarding their migration thither, which closely resembles that current among the Kappiliyans and Tottiyans (q.v.).
Local tradition at Kambam says that the Anuppans were in great strength here in olden days, and that quarrels arose, in the course of which the chief of the Kappiliyans, Ramachcha Kavandan, was killed. With his dying breath he cursed the Anuppans, and thenceforth they never prospered, and now not one of them is left in the town. Their title is Kavandan. They are divided into six territorial groups called Medus, which are named after three villages in this district, and three in Tinnevelly. Over each of these is a headman called the Periyadanakkaran, and the three former are also subject to a Guru who lives at Sirupalai near Madura.
These three are divided again into eighteen kilais or branches, each of which intermarries only with certain of the others. Caste panchayats (councils) are held on a blanket, on which (compare the Tottiyan custom) is placed a pot of water containing margosa (Melia Azadirachta) leaves, to symbolise the sacred nature of the meeting.
Women who go astray with men of other castes are expelled, and various ceremonies, including (it is said) the burying alive of a goat, are enacted to show that they are dead to the community. The right of a man to his paternal aunt's daughter is as vigorously maintained as among the Kappiliyans and Tottiyans, and leads to the same curious state of affairs (i.e., a woman, whose husband is too young to fulfil the duties of his position, is allowed to consort with his near relations, and the children so begotten are treated as his).
No tali (marriage badge) is tied at weddings, and the binding part of the ceremonies is the linking, on seven separate occasions, of the little fingers of the couple. Like the Kappiliyans, the Anuppans have many caste and family deities, a number of whom are women who committed sati." (See Kappiliyan).
Apoto.—Apoto, or Oppoto, is a sub-division of Gaudos, the occupation of which is palanquin-bearing.
Appa (father),—A title of members of various Telugu and Canarese castes, e.g., Idiga, Kannadiyan, Linga Balija, and Tambala.
Arab.—A Muhammadan territorial name, returned at times of census. In the Mysore Census Report, 1901, the Arabs are described as itinerant tradesmen, whose chief business is horse-dealing, though some deal in cloths.
Aradhya.—For the following note I am indebted to Mr. C. Hayavadana Rao. The Aradhyas are a sect of Brahmans found mainly in the four northern districts of the Madras Presidency, and to a smaller extent in the Cuddapah and Kurnool districts. A few arc also found in the Mysore State.
They differ in almost every important respect from other Brahmans.
Basava, the founder of the Lingayat religion, was born in a family of Brahmans, who, with others round about them, were apparently the first converts to his religion. According to Mr. C. P. Brown,* they were " in all probability his personal friends ; he persuaded them to lay aside their name, and call themselves Aradhya or Reverend.'
* Madras Juurn. Lil. and Science, XI, 176, 1840.
“They revere the four Aradhyas, visionary personages of the Lingayat creed, of whom very little is known. At all social and religious functions, birth, marriage, initiation and funerals, four vases of water are solemnly placed in their name, and then invoked to preside over them. Their names are Revanaradhya, Marularadhya, Ekoramaradhya, and Panditaradhya.
“In four ages, it is said, these four successively appeared as precursors of the divine Basava, and were, like Basava, Brahmans. A Purana, known as the Panditaradhya Charitra, is named after the last of these. Versions thereof are found both in Canarese and Telugu. A Sanskrit poem, called Siddhanta Sikhamani, represents Revanaradhya as a human manifestation of one of the ministers of Siva.
As might be expected, the members of this sect are staunch Saivites. They wear both the Brahminical sacred thread, and the linga suspended from another thread. They revere in particular Ganapathi. The lingam which they wear they usually call the prana lingam, or life lingam. The moment a child, male or female, is born, it is invested with the lingam ; otherwise it is not considered to have pranam or life.
“The popular belief is that, if by some accident the lingam is lost, a man must either fast until he recovers it, or not survive so dire a calamity. This is a fixed dogma with them. A man who loses his prana linga stands up to his neck in water, and repeats mantrams (sacred formulse) for days together ; and, on the last day, the lost lingam comes back to him miraculously, if he has been really orthodox in his life. If he does not succeed in recovering it, he must starve and die. The theory is that the lingam is the life of the man who wears it, and, when it is lost beyond recovery, he loses his own life.
Incredible stories of miraculous recoveries of the lingam are told. In one case, it is said to have returned to its owner, making a loud noise in water; and in another it was found in a box under lock and key.
In this connection, the following story is narrated by Colonel Wilks.*' "Poornia, the present minister of Mysore, relates an incident of a Lingayat friend of his, who had unhappily lost his portable God, and came to take a last farewell. The Indians, like more enlightened nations, readily laugh at the absurdities of every sect but their own, and Poornia gave him better counsel.
* Historical Sketches of the South of India.
“It is a part of the ceremonial preceding the sacrifice of the individual that the principal persons of the sect should assemble on the bank of some holy stream, and, placing in a basket the lingam images of the whole assembly, purify them in the sacred waters. The destined victim in conformity to the advice of his friend, suddenly seized the basket, and overturned its contents into the rapid Caveri. Now, my friends, said he, we are on equal terms ; let us prepare to die together. The discussion terminated according to expectation. The whole party took an oath of inviolable secrecy, and each privately provided himself with a new image of the lingam."
Aradhyas, as has been indicated, differ from other Brahmans in general in some of their customs. Before they partake of food, they make an offering of it to the lingam which they are wearing. As they cannot eat without making this offering, they have the entire meal served up at the commencement thereof. They offer the whole to the lingam, and then begin to eat. They do not accept offerings distributed in temples as other Brahmans do, because they have already been offered to the God, and cannot therefore be offered again to the lingam. Unlike other Lingayats, Aradhyas believe in the Vedas, to which they give allegorical interpretations. They are fond of reading Sanskrit, and a few have been well-known Telugu poets. Thus, Palapuri Somanatha, who lived in the fourteenth century A.D., composed the Basava Purana and the Panditaradhya Charitra, and the brothers Piduparthi Somanatha and the Basavakavi, who lived in the sixteenth century, composed other religious works.
Aradhyas marry among themselves, and occasionally take girls in marriage from certain of the Niyogi subdivisions of the Northern Circars. This would seem to show that they were themselves Niyogis, prior to their conversion.
They do not intermarry with Aruvelu Niyogis.
Unlike other Brahmans, they bury their dead in a sitting posture. They observe death pollution for ten days, and perform the ekodishta and other Brahminical ceremonies for their progenitors. They perform annually, not the Brahminical sradha, but the aradhana. In the latter, there is no apasavyam (wearing the sacred thread from right to left), and no use of gingelly seeds and dharba grass. Nor is there homam (raising the sacrificial fire), parvanam (offering of rice-balls), or oblation of water. Widows do not have their heads shaved.
The title of the Aradhyas is always Aradhya.
Arakala.—A small class of cultivators, recorded mainly from the Kurnool district. The name is possibly derived from araka, meaning a plough with bullocks, or from arakadu, a cultivator.
Arampukatti.—The name, denoting those who tie flower-buds or prepare garlands, of a sub-division of Vellalas.
Aranadan, See Ernadan,
Arane (lizard).—An exogamous sub-sept of Kappiliyan.
Arashina (turmeric).—A gotra or exogamous sept of Agasa, Kurni, Kuruba, and Odde. The equivalent Pasupula occurs as an exogamous sept of Devanga. In Southern India, turmeric (Curcuma) is commonly called saffron (Crocus). Turmeric enters largely into Hindu ceremonial. For example, the practice of smearing the face with it is very widespread among females, and, thinking that it will give their husbands increase of years, women freely bathe themselves with turmeric water. The use of water, in which turmeric has been infused, and by which they give the whole body a bright yellow colour, is prescribed to wives as a mark of the conjugal state, and forbidden to widows.*
* Ellis. Kural.
To ward off the evil eye, a vessel containing turmeric water and other things is waved in front of the bridal couple at weddings. Or they are bathed in turmeric water, which they pour over each other. The tali or bottu (gold marriage badge) is attached to a cotton thread dyed with turmeric, and, among some castes, the tying together of the hands of the bride and bridegroom with such a thread is the binding portion of the ceremony.
Arasu or Rajpinde.—"This caste," Mr. Lewis Rice writes (1877)'.—* "are relatives of or connected with the Rajahs of Mysore. During the life-time of the late Maharaja, they were divided into two factions in consequence of the refusal of thirteen families headed by the Dalavayi (the chief of the female branch) to pay respect to an illegitimate son of His Highness. The other eighteen families consented to the Rajah's wishes, and treat the illegitimate branch, called Komarapatta, as equals.
* Mysore and Coorg Gazetteer, 1876-78.
The two divisions intermarry and eat together, and the family quarrel, though serious at the time, is not likely to be permanent. They are employed chiefly under Government and in agriculture, most of the former being engaged in the palace at Mysore. Rajpindes are both Vishnavites and Sivites, and their priests are both Brabmans and Lingayat Waders."
In the Madras Census Report, 1891, Arasu (= Raja or king) is given as a sub-division of the Tamil Pallis and Paraiyans. Urs appears as a contracted form of Arasu in the names of the Mysore royal family, e.g. Kantaraj Urs.
Arathi.—The name, indicating a wave offering to avert the evil eye, of an exogamous sept of Kuruba.
Arati (plantain tree).—An exogamous sept of Chenchu.
Arava.—Arava, signifying Tamil, has been recorded as a sub-division of some Telugu classes, e.g., Golla and Velama. The name, however, refers to Tamil Idaiyans and Vellalas, who have settled in the Telugu country, and are known respectively as Arava Golla and Arava Velama. In some places in the Telugu country, Tamil Paraiyans, employed as servants under Europeans, horsekeepers, etc., are known as Arava Malalu (Malas).
The Irulas of the North Arcot district are, in like manner, sometimes called Arava Yanadis. Arava also occurs as a division of Tigalas, said to be a section of the Tamil Pallis, who have settled in Mysore. An ingenious suggestion has been made that Arava is derived from ara, half, vayi, mouthed, in reference to the defective Tamil alphabet, or to the termination of the words being mostly in consonants.
Aravan.—Recorded, in the Travancore Census Report, 1901, as a sub-division of Nayar.
Archaka.—Archaka, or Umai Archaka, is a title of Occhans, who are priests at temples of Grama Devatas (village deities).
Are. A synonym for Marathi. The name occurs as a sub-division of Kunchigar and Kudubi. In South Canara Arya Kshatri occurs as the equivalent of Are, and, in the Telugu country, Are Kapu refers to Marathi cultivators. Arya Kuttadi is a Tamil synonym of Marathi Dommaras.
Concerning the Ares, Mr. H. G. Stuart writes as follows. * "Of the total number of 6,809 Ares, 4,373 are found in South Canara, Bellary and Anantapur, and these are true Ares. Of the rest I am not able to speak with certainty, as the term Arya, which is a synonym of Are, is also used as an equivalent of Marathi, and sometimes in a still wider sense. The true Ares are husbandmen of Maratha origin. They wear the sacred thread, have Brahmans as their priests, and give allegiance to the head of the Sringeri Mutt.
* Madras Census Report, 1S91.
Marriage of girls takes place either before or after puberty, and the remarriage of widows is not allowed. A husband may divorce his wife for adultery, but a wife cannot divorce her husband. When the guilt of a woman is proved, and the sanction of the Guru obtained, the husband performs the act of divorce by cutting a pumpkin in two at a place where three ways meet.
The use of animal food is allowed, but intoxicating liquors are forbidden.
"The Ares of South Canara, Mr, Stuart writes further, * "usually speak Marathi or Konkani, but in the Kasaragod taluk, and possibly in other parts too, they speak Canarese. Their exogamous septs are called manathanas. They use the dhare form of marriage (see Bant), but the pot contains a mixture of water, milk, ghee (clarified butter), honey and curds instead of the usual plain water."
* Manual of the South Canara district.
The Marathi-speaking Areyavaru or Aryavaru of the South Canara district follow the makkala santana law of inheritance (from father to son). For ceremonial purposes, they engage Shivalli Brahmans.
An interesting feature of the marriage rites is that the bridegroom makes a pretence of going to a battle-field to fight, presumably to show that he is of Kshatriya descent. The ceremony is called dandal jatai. The bridegroom ties a bead on the neck of the bride if of the Powar sept, and a disc if of the Edar sept.
The Areyavaru eat fowls and fish. The former are killed after certain mantrams (prayers) have been uttered, and, if a priest is available, it is his duty to despatch the bird. The caste deity is Ammanoru (Durga), in the worship of whom the Areyavaru, like other Maratha castes, employ Gondala mendicants.
Are (Bauhunia racemosa).—A gotra of Kurni.
Ari.—The Aris or Dotans are described, in the Travancore Census Report, 1901, as a "small but interesting community confined to a village in the Tovala taluk. By traditional occupation they are the Ambalavasis of the Saivaite temple of Darsanamkoppa. They are strict vegetarians, wear the Brahminical thread, perform all the Brahminical ceremonies under the guidance of Brahman priests, and claim a position equal to that of the Aryappattars. But they are not allowed to dine with the Brahmans, or to enter the mandapa in front of the garbhagriha, the inner sanctuary of a Hindu shrine. Their dress and ornaments are like those of the Tamil Brahmans, and their language is Tamil. Their period of pollution, however, is as long as fifteen days."
Ari (ebony).—An exogamous sept of Kuruba.
Arigala.—Arigala, denoting a dish carried in procession, occurs as an exogamous sept of Mutracha. Arigala and Arika, both meaning the millet Paspalumscrobiculatum, are septs of Jatapu and Panta Reddi. The latter may not use the grain as food.
Arikuravan.—Recorded, in the Travancore Census Report, 1 901, as a sub-division of Nayar.
Arisi.—A sub-division of Savara.
Ariyar.—Ariyar or Ariyanattu Chetti is given as a caste title by Pattanavans.
Ariyur.—Ariyur or Ariviyur is the name of a subdivision of Nattukottai Chettis.
Arli (Ficus religiosa).—An exogamous sept of Stanika.
Arudra (lady-bird).—An exogamous sept of Kalingi.
Arupathukatchi (sixty house section).—A subdivision of Valluvan.
Arupattanalu Taleikattu (sixty-four, who covered their heads).—A sub-division of Chetti.
Aruththukattatha.—The name, meaning those who do not tie the tali a second time, of a section of Paraiyans who do not allow the remarriage of widows.
Aruva.—The Aruvas are an interesting "caste of cultivators along the sea-coast in the Berhampur taluk of Ganjam. They say that they are descended from the offspring of alliances between Patanis (Muhammadans) and Oriya women.
Like other Oriya castes, they have a number of titles, e.g., Nayako, Patro, Podhano, Ponda, Mondolo, and Mollana, some of which seem to be exogamous, and there are also numerous exogamous septs or bamsams. The headman is styled Nayako, and he is assisted by a Bhollobhaya. Both these offices are hereditary. The Aruvas say that they belong to two Vedas, viz., the males to Atharva Veda, and the females to Yajur Veda. Muhammadans are believed by them to be Atharvavedis.
A member of the caste, called Mollana, officiates on ceremonial occasions. A pure Oriya casteman will not allow his son to marry his sister's daughter, but this is permitted in most places by the Aruvas. The marriage ceremonial, except in a few points of detail, conforms to the general Oriya type.
On the day before the wedding, a milk-post of bamboo is erected, and in front of it a new cloth, and various articles for worship are placed. When the fingers of the contracting couple are linked together, and at other stages of the marriage rites, the Mollana recites certain formulæ, in which the words Bismillahi and Allah occur.
The dead are always buried. In former days, stone slabs, with Arabic or Hindustani legends in Oriya characters inscribed on them, used to be set up over the grave. For these, two sticks are now substituted. The corpse of a dead person is sewn up in a kind of sack.
As it is being lowered into the grave, the Mollana recites formulæ, and those present throw earth over it before the grave is filled in. They then take their departure, and the Mollana, standing on one leg, recites further formulae.
On the following day, bitter food, consisting of rice and margosa (Melia Azadirachta) leaves, is prepared, and given to the agnates. On the third day after death, the burial-ground is visited, and, after water has been poured over the grave, a cloth is spread thereon. On this relations of the deceased throw earth and food. A purificatory ceremony, in which ghi (clarified butter) is touched, is performed on the fifteenth day. On the fortieth day, the Mollana officiates at a ceremony in which food is offered to the dead person.
The Aruvas do not take part in any Muhammadan ceremonial, and do not worship in mosques. Most of them are Paramarthos, and all worship various Hindu deities and Takuranis (village gods). At their houses, the god is represented by a mass of mud of conical shape, with an areca nut on the top of it. In recent times, a number of Aruva families, owing to a dispute with the Mollana, do not employ him for their ceremonials, in which they follow the standard Oriya type.
They neither interdine nor intermarry with other sections of the community, and have become an independent section thereof.
Arya.—Arya or Ariya (noble) occurs as a class of Pattar Brahmans, a division of Samagaras, and an exogamous sept of Kurubas. Some Pattanavans call themselves Ariya Nattu Chetti (Chettis of the country of chiefs) Ariyar, or Ayyayirath Thalaivar (the five thousand chiefs).
Asadi.—The Asadis of the Bellary district are summed up, in the Madras Census Report, 1901, as "a sub-caste of Mala or Holeya, which, in Bellary, are almost interchangeable terms. They are prostitutes and dancers."
Among the Madigas, men called Asadi, who have undergone an initiation ceremony, go about, in company with the Matangis (dedicated prostitutes), playing on an instrument called the chaudike, and singing the praises and reciting the story of Ellamma. (See Madiga.)
Asan (teacher).—The title of Variyans, who have held the hereditary position of tutors in noblemen's families. Also a title of Pisharati and Kanisan.
Asari.—In most parts of the Madras Presidency, Mr. H. A. Sturat writes, "Asari (or Achari) is synonymous with Kammalan, and may denote any of the five artizan castes, but in Malabar it is practically confined to the carpenter caste. The Asari of Malabar is the Brahman of the Kammala castes. The Kammala castes generally pollute Nayars by approaching within twelve feet, and Brahmans by coming within thirty-six feet ; but an Asari with his measuring rod in his hand has the privilege of approaching very near, and even entering the houses of higher castes without polluting them. This exception may have arisen out of necessity."
At the census, 1901, some Sayakkarans (Tamil dyers) returned Asari as a title.
In a Government office, a short time ago, the head clerk, a Brahman named Rangachari, altered the spelling of the name of a Kammalan from Velayudachari to Velayudasari in the office books, on the ground that the former looked Brahmanical.
Ashtakshari (eight syllables).—A sub-division of Satanis, who believe in the efficacy of the eight syllables om-na-mo-na-ra-ya-na-ya in ensuring eternal bliss. The name ashtabhukkulu, or those who eat the eight greedily, also occurs as a sub-division of the same people.
Ashtalohi.—The name, meaning workers in eight metals, of a small class of Oriya artizans. According to one version the eight metals are gold, silver, bell-metal, copper, lead, tin, iron, and brass ; according to another, gold, silver, coj;per, tin, lead, load-stone, iron, and steel.
Ashtikurissi.—Ashtikurissi (ashti, a bone) or Attikurissi is an occupational sub-division of Nayars and Marans, who officiate at the funerals of Nambutiri Brahmans and Nayars, and help in collecting the remains of the bones after cremation.
Asili.—The name for Telugu toddy-drawers in the Cuddapah district. (See Idiga.)
Asupani.—An occupational name for Marans who play on the temple musical instruments asu and pani.
Asvo (horse).—An exogamous sept of Ghas.,
Atagara or Hatagara.—A sub-division of Devanga.
Aththi (Ficus glomerata).—An exogamous sept of Stanika.
Atikunnan. Recorded, in the Travancore Census Report, 1901, as a sub-division of Nayar.
Atreya.—A Brahmanical gotra of Bhatrazus. Atreyas are descendants of Atri, a rishi who is regarded by some as one of the ten Prajapatis of Manu.
Atta (mother).—A sub-division of Pallan.
Attangarai (river-bank).—A sub-division of Konga Vellala.
Attikankana (cotton marriage thread).—A subdivision of Kurubas, who tie a cotton thread round the wrist at weddings.
Atumpatram.—A name, meaning an object which dances, for Deva-dasis in Travancore.
Aunvallur (possessors of cattle).—A fanciful name for Idaiyans.
Avaru.—A synonym of Agaru.
Aviri (hidigofera tinctoria).—An cxogamous sept of Padma Sales, who use indigo in the manufacture of coloured cloth fabrics.
Avisa (Sesbania grandiflora).—A gotra of Medara.
Avu (snake).—An exogamous sept of Kuruba.
Avula (cow),—An exogamous sept of Balija, Boya, Golla, Kapu, Korava, Mutracha, and Yerukala.
Ayar (cow-herd).—A synonym or sub-division of Idaiyan and Kolayan.
Ayodhya (Oudh).—A sub-division of Kapus, who say that they originally lived in Oudh.
Azhati.—Recorded, in the Travancore Census Report, 1901, as a synonym of Pisharati.