CASTES AND TRIBES OF SOUTHERN INDIA
EDGAR THURSTON, C.I.E.
Superintendent, Madras Government Museum
4. Bhayipuo - Byagara
Bhayipuo. Bhayipuo is returned, in the Census Report, 1901, as an Oriya caste, the members of which claim to be Kshatriyas. The word means brother's son, in which sense it is applied to the issue of the brothers of Rajahs by concubines. The illegitimate children of Rajahs are also classed as Bhayipuo.
Bhima.—A section of Savaras, named after Bhima, one of the Pandava brothers.
Bholia (wild dog).—An exogamous sept of Kondra.
Bhondari.—The Bhondaris are the barbers of the Oriya country, living in Ganjam. "The name Bhondari," Mr. S. P. Rice writes,* is "derived from bhondaram, treasure. The zamindars delivered over the guarding of the treasure to the professional barbers, who became a more important person in this capacity than in his original office of shaver in ordinary to His Highness."
* Occasional Essays on Native South Indian Life
The Bhondaris occupy a higher position than the Tamil and Telugu barbers. Though various Oriya castes bathe after being shaved, the touch of a Bhondari at other times is not regarded as polluting. All over the Ganjam district, the Bhondaris are employed as domestic servants, and some are engaged as coolies, cart-drivers, etc. Others officiate as pujaris (priests) at Takurani (village deity) temples, grind sandalwood, or make flower garlands.
On the occasion of ceremonial processions, the washing of the feet of the guests, carrying articles required for worship, and the jewels and cloths to be worn by the bridal couple on the wedding day, are performed by the Bhondari.
I am informed that a woman of this caste is employed by Karnams on the occasion of marriage and other ceremonials, at which her services are indispensable. It is said that in some places, where the Bhondaris do not shave castes lower than the Gudiyas, Oriya Brahmans allow them to remove the leaf plates off which they have taken their food, though this should not be done by a non- Brahman.
There are apparently three endogamous sub-divisions, named Godomalia, Odisi, and Bejjo. The word Godomalia means a group of forts, and it is said to be the duty of members of this section to serve Rajahs who live in forts. The Godomalias are most numerous in Ganjam, where they claim to be superior to the Odisi and Bejjo sections.
Among exogamous septs, Mohiro (peacock), Dhippo (light), Oppomarango (Achyranthes aspera), and Nagasira (cobra) may be noted. Members of the Oppomarango sept do not touch, or use the root of the plant as a tooth brush. Lights may not be blown out with the breath, or otherwise extinguished by members of the Dhippo sept ; and they do not light their lamps unless they are madi, i.e., wearing silk cloths, or cloths washed and dried after bathing.
Nagasira is a sept common to many Oriya castes, and is said to owe its origin to the influence of Oriya Brahmans.
The hereditary headman of the caste is called Behara, and he is assisted by a Bhollobaya. Most of the Bhondaris follow the form of Vaishnavism inculcated by Chaithyana, and known as Paramartho matham. They wear as a necklace a string of tulsi (Ocimum sanctum) beads, without which they will not worship or take their food. Many Hindu deities, especially Jagannatha, and various local Takuranis are also worshipped by them.
A man should not marry his maternal uncle's or paternal aunt's daughter. Infant marriage is the rule, and, if a girl has not secured a husband before she attains maturity, she has to go through a mock marriage ceremony called dharma bibha. She is taken to a Streblus asper (sahada or shadi) tree, and married to it. She may not, during the rest of her life, touch the Streblus tree, or use its twigs as a tooth brush.
Sometimes she goes through the ceremony of marriage with some elderly man, preferably her grandfather, or, failing him, her elder sister's husband as bridegroom. A divorce agreement (tsado patro) is drawn up, and the pseudo-marriage thereby dissolved. Sometimes the bridegroom is represented by a bow and arrow, and the ceremony is called khando bibha.
The real marriage ceremonies last over seven days. On the day before the bibha (wedding), a number of earthen pots are placed on a spot which has been cleaned for their reception, and some married women throw Zizyphus Jujuba leaves and rice, apparently as an evil-eye removing and purificatory ceremony. While doing so, they cry "Ulu, ulu" in a manner which recalls to mind the kulavi idal of the Maravans and Kallans.
A ceremony, called sokko bhondo, or wheel worship, is performed to a potter's wheel. The bridegroom, who has to fast until the night, is shaved, after which he stands on a grindstone and bathes. While he is so doing, some women bring a grinding-mill stone, and grind to powder Vigna Catiang, Cajanus indicus and Cicer arietinum seeds, crying “Ulu, ulu," as they do so.
The bridegroom then dresses himself, and sits on the marriage dais, while a number of married women crowd round him, each of whom touches an areca nut placed on his head seven times with a grinding stone. They also perform the ceremony called bhondaivaro, which consists in throwing Zizyphus Jujuba leaves, and rice dyed with turmeric, over the bridegroom, again calling out "Olu, ulu."
Towards evening, the bridegroom's party proceed in procession to a temple, taking with them the various articles required on the morrow, such as the sacred thread, jewels, cloths, and mokkuto (forehead ornament). After worshipping the god, they return home, and on the way thither collect water in a vessel from seven houses, to be used by the bridegroom when he bathes next day.
A ceremonial very similar to that performed by the bridegroom on the eve of the wedding is also performed by the bride and her party. On the wedding day, the bridegroom, after worshipping Vigneswara (Ganesa) at the marriage dais with the assistance of a Brahman purohit, proceeds, dressed up in his marriage finery, mokkuto, sacred thread and wrist thread, to a temple in a palanquin, and worships there.
Later on, he goes to the bride's house in a palanquin. Just as he is about to start, his brother's wife catches hold of the palanquin, and will not let him go till she has received a present of a new cloth. He is met en route by the bride's father, and his feet are washed by her brother. His future father-in-law, after waving seven balls of coloured rice before him, escorts him to his house.
At the entrance thereto, a number of women, including the bride's mother, await his arrival, and, on his approach, throw Zizyphus Jujuba leaves, and cry "Ulu, ulu." His future mother-in-law, taking him by the hand, leads him into the house. As soon as he has reached the marriage dais, the bride is conducted thither by her maternal uncle, and throws some salt over a screen on to the bridegroom.
Later on, she takes her seat by his side, and the Brahman purohit, after doing homam (making sacred fire), ties the hands of the contracting couple together with dharbha grass. This is called hastagonthi, and is the binding portion of the marriage ceremony. The bride and bridegroom then exchange ten areca nuts and ten myrabolams (Terminalia fruits).
Two new cloths are thrown over them, and the ends thereof are tied together in a knot containing twenty-one cowry (Cyprœa Arabica) shells, a coin, and a few Zizyphus leaves. This ceremonial is called gontiyalo. The bride's brother strikes the bridegroom with his fist, and receives a present of a cloth. At this stage, the couple receive presents from relations and friends. They then play seven times with cowry shells, and the ceremonial closes with the throwing of Zizyphus leaves, and the eating by the bride and bridegroom of rice mixed with jaggery (crude sugar) and curds.
On the two following days, they sit on the dais, play with cowries, and have leaves and rice thrown over them. They wear the cloths given to them on the wedding day, and may not bathe in a tank (pond) or river. On the fourth day (chauti), the bride is received into the gotra of the bridegroom. In token thereof, she cooks some food given to her by the bridegroom, and the pair make a show of partaking thereof.
Towards the evening the bride is conducted by her maternal uncle to near the dais, and she stands on a grinding stone. Seven turns of thread dyed with turmeric are wound round the posts of the dais. Leading his wife thither, the bridegroom cuts the thread, and the couple stand on the dais, while four persons support a cloth canopy over their heads, and rice is scattered over them. On the fifth day, the newly-married couple and their relations indulge in throwing turmeric water over each other. Early on the morning of the sixth day, the bridegroom breaks a pot placed on the dais, and goes away in feigned anger to the house of a relation. Towards evening, he is brought back by his brother-in-law, and plays at cowries with the bride.
The Bhondaivaro ceremony is once more repeated. On the seventh day, the sacred thread, wrist-threads and mo kkuto are removed.
Widows and divorcees are permitted to remarry. As among various other castes, a widow should marry her deceased husband's younger brother.
The dead are cremated. When a person is on the point of death, a little Jagannatha prasadam, i.e., rice from the temple at Puri, is placed in his mouth. Members of many Oriya castes keep by them partially cooked rice, called nirmalyam, brought from this temple, and a little of this is eaten by the orthodox before meals and after bathing. The corpse is washed, anointed, and wrapped in a new cloth. After it has been secured on the bier, a new red cloth is thrown over it.
At the head, a sheaf of straw, from the roof of the house, if it is thatched, is placed. The funeral pyre is generally prepared by an Oriya washerman. At the burning-ground, the corpse is placed close to the pyre, and the son puts into the mouth some parched rice, and throws rice over the eyes. Then, lighting the straw, he waves it thrice round the corpse, and throws it on the face.
The corpse is then carried thrice round the pyre, and laid thereon. In the course of cremation, each mourner throws a log on the pyre. The son goes home, wet and dripping, after bathing. On the following day, the fire is extinguished, and two fragments of bone are placed in a small pot, and carefully preserved. The ashes are heaped up, and an image is drawn on the ground with a stick, to which food is offered. A meal, called pithapona (bitter food), consisting of rice and margosa (Melia Azadirachta) leaves, is partaken of by agnates only.
On the tenth day, the relatives and intimate friends of the deceased are shaved, the son last of all. The son and the agnates go to a tank bund (pond embankment), and cook food in a new pot within a shed which has been specially constructed for the occasion.
The pot is then broken into ten fragments, on which food is placed, and offered to the dead person. The son takes the fragments, one by one, to the tank, bathing each time. The pot containing the two pieces of bone is generally buried beneath a pipal (Ficus religiosa) tree growing near a tank.
On the tenth day, after the offering of food, the son proceeds to this spot, and, after pouring water ten times over the ground beneath which the pot is buried, takes the pot home, and buries it near the house. As he approaches his home, he goes ahead of those who accompany him, and, carrying a vessel filled with water, pours some of this three times on the ground, waving his hand in a circular manner. He then makes three marks with a piece of iron on the ground. A piece of hollow bamboo open at both ends, or other grain measure, is given to him, with which he measures rice or other grain seven times. He then throws the measure behind him between his lees, and. entering the house, puts a sect mark on his forehead with the aid of a broken looking-glass, which must be thrown away. Ghi (clarified butter) and meat may not be eaten by those under death pollution till the eleventh day, when a feast is held.
If an important elder of the community dies, a ceremony called jola-jola handi (pot drilled with holes) is performed on the night of the tenth day. Fine sand is spread over the floor of a room having two doors, and the surface is smoothed with a tray or plank. On the sand a lighted lamp is placed, with an areca nut by its side. The lamp is covered with an earthen cooking-pot. Two men carry on their shoulders a pot riddled with holes, suspended from a pole made of Diospyros Embryopteris wood, from inside the room into the street, as soon as the lamp is covered by the cooking-pot. Both doors of the room are then closed, and not opened till the return of the men.
The pot which they carry is believed to increase in weight as they bear it to a tank, into which it is thrown. On their return to the house, they tap three times at the door, which then opens. All present then crowd into the room, and examine the sand for the marks of the foot-prints of a bull, cat or man, the trail of a centipede, cart-track, ladder, etc., which are believed to be left by the dead person when he goes to the other world.
Opprobrious names are very common among the Bhondaris, especially if a child is born after a succession of deaths among the offspring of a family. Very common among such names are those of low castes, e.g., Haddi, Bavuria, Dandasi, etc.
Bhonjo.--The title of the Raja of Gumsur in Ganjam.
Bhumanchi (good earth).—A sub-division of Kapu.
Bhu (earth) Razu.—A name for Razus who live in the plains, in contradistinction to the Konda Razus who live in the hills.
Bhu Vaisya (earth Vaisya).—A name returned by some Nattukottai Chettis and Vellalas.
Bhumi Dhompthi.—The name, meaning earth marriage offering-, of a sub-division of Madigas, at whose marriages the offering of food is placed on the ground.
Bhumi Razulu (kings of the earth).—A name assumed by some Koyis.
Bhumia.—The Bhumias are an Oriya caste of hill cultivators, found in the Jeypore Zamindari. According to a tradition, they were the first to cultivate the land on the hills. In the Central Provinces they are said to be known as Baigas, concerning whom Captain Ward writes* that "the decision of the Baiga in a boundary dispute is almost always accepted as final, and, from this right as children of the soil and arbiters of the land belonging to each village, they are said to have derived their title of Bhumia, the Sanskrit bhumi meaning the earth."
* Gazetteer of the Central Provinces, 1870.
For the following note I am indebted to Mr. C. Hayavadana Rao. The Bhumias have septs, e.g., bhag (tiger) and naga (cobra).
A man can claim his paternal aunt's daughter in marriage. The marriage ceremonial is much the same as among the Bottadas. The jholla tonk (presents) consist of liquor, rice, a sheep or fowl, and cloths for the parents of the bride. A pandal (booth), made of poles of the sorghi tree, is erected in front of the bridegroom's house, and a Desari officiates.
The remarriage of widows is permitted and a younger brother usually marries his elder brother's widow. If a man divorces his wife, it is customary for him to give her a rupee and a new cloth in compensation. The dead are burned, and pollution lasts for nine days. On the tenth day a ceremonial bath is taken, and a feast, with copious supplies of liquor, is held. In parts of the Central Provinces the dead are buried, and two or three flat stones are set up over the grave.*
* Report of the Ethnological Committee of the Central Provinces,
Bhuri.—A sub-division of Gond.
Bijam (seed).—An exogamous sept of Boya.
Bilpathri (bael : Ægle Marmelos).—An exogamous sept of Boya.
Bindhani (workman).—A title of Oriya Badhoyis, and sometimes used as the name of the caste.
Bingi.—The Bingivandlu are described, in the Kurnool Manual, as a class of mendicants, who play dramas. Some of them have shrotiyam villages, as Lingineni Doddi in Pattikonda. " Shrotiyam " has been defined t as * “lands, or a village, held at a favourable rate, properly an assignment of land or revenue to a Brahman learned in the Vedas, but latterly applied generally to similar assignments to native servants of the government, civil or military, and both Hindus and Muhammadans, as a reward for past services."
* Wilson. Glossary of Judicial and Revenue Terms.
Bhutiannaya (ashes).—An exogamous sept of Bant.
Bidaru (wanderers).—A sub-division of Odde.
Bilimagga.—The Bilimagga weavers of South Canara, who speak a very corrupt form of Tamil, must not be confused with the Bilimaggas of Mysore, whose mother-tongue is Canarese.
In some places the Bilimaggas of South Canara call themselves Padma Sales, but they have no connection with the Padma Sale caste. There is a tradition that they emigrated from Pandiya Maduradesa in the Tamil country. The caste name Bilimagga (white loom) is derived from the fact that they weave only white cloths.
In some places, for the same reason, Devangas call themselves Bilimaggas, but the Devangas also make coloured cloths. White cloths are required for certain gods and bhuthas (devils) on occasions of festivals, and these are usually obtained from Bilimaggas. The Bilimaggas follow the makkala santana law of inheritance (from father to son). They are said to have seven gotras, and those of the Mangalore, Kundapur, and Udipi taluks, are stated to belong respectively to the 800, 700, and 500 nagaras. The caste deities are Virabhadra, Brahmalinga, and Ammanoru.
For the whole community, there is a chief headman called Paththukku Solra Settigar, or the Setti who advises the ten, and for every village there is an ordinary headman styled Gurikara. The chief headman is usually the manager of some temple of the caste, and the Gurikara has to collect the dues from the members of the community. Every married couple has to pay an annual tax of twelve annas, and every unmarried male over twelve years of age of six annas towards the temple fund. Marriage of girls before puberty is the rule, and any girl who attains maturity without being married runs the risk of losing her caste.
The remarriage of widows is permitted. The betrothal ceremony is important as being binding as a contract. It consists in the father of the girl giving betel leaves and areca nuts in a tray to the father of her future husband, before a number of people. If the contract is dissolved before the marriage is celebrated, betel and nuts must be presented to the father of the girl, in the presence of an assembly, as a sign that the engagement is broken off. On the day previous to the marriage ceremonial, the fathers of the contracting couple exchange betel leaves and areca nuts three times.
On the following morning, they proceed to the house of the bridegroom, the bride's father carrying a brass vessel containing water. From this vessel, water is poured into smaller vessels by an odd number of women (five or more). These women are usually selected by the wife of the headman. The pouring of the water must be carried out according to a recognised code of precedence, which varies with the locality.
At Udipi, for example, the order is Mangalore, Barkur, Udipi. The women all pour water over the head of the bridegroom.
The rite is called mariyathe niru (water for respect). The bridegroom is then decorated, and a bashingam (chaplet) is placed on his forehead. He sits in front of a brass vessel, called Ganapathi (the elephant god), which is placed on a small quantity of rice spread on the floor, and worships it. He is then conducted to the marriage pandal (booth) by his sister's husband, followed by his sister carrying the brass vessel and a gindi (vessel with a spout), to which the bride's bashingam and the tali (marriage badge) are tied.
A red cloth, intended for the bride, must also be carried by her. Within the pandal, the bridegroom stands in front of a cot. The bride's party, and the men in attendance on the bridegroom, stand opposite each other with the bridegroom between them, and throw rice over each other.
All are then seated, except the bridegroom, his sister, and the bride's brother. The bridegroom's father waves incense in front of the cot and brass vessel, and hands over the gindi, and other articles, to the bridegroom's sister, to be taken to the bride. Lights and arathi water are waved before the bridegroom, and, while the bride's father holds his hands, her brother washes his feet.
He then goes seven times round the cot, after he has worshipped it, and broken cocoanuts, varying in number according to the nagara to which he belongs—seven if he is a member of the seven hundred nagara, and so on. He next takes his seat on the cot, and is joined by the bride, who has had the bashingam put on her forehead, and the tali tied on her neck, by the bridegroom's sister.
Those assembled then call the maternal uncles of the bridal couple, and they approach the cot. The bridegroom's uncle gives the red cloth already referred to, to the uncle of the bride. The bride retires within the house, followed by her maternal uncle, and sits cross-legged, holding her big toes with her hands. Her uncle throws the red cloth over her head, and she covers her face with it. This is called devagiri udugare.
The uncle then carries her to the pandal, and she sits on the left of the bridegroom. The Gurikara asks the maternal uncle of the bridegroom to hand over the bride's money, amounting to twelve rupees or more. He then requests permission of the three nagara people, seven gotra people, and the relatives of the bride and bridegroom to proceed with the dhare ceremony. This being accorded, the maternal uncles unite the hands of the pair, and, after the cloth has been removed from the bride's face, the dhare water is poured over their hands, first by the bride's father, and then by the Gurikara, who, while doing so, declares the union of the couple according to the observances of the three nagaras.
Those assembled throw rice on, and give presents to the bride and bridegroom. The presents are called moi, and the act of giving them moi baikradhu (Tamil). Some women wave arathi, and the pair go inside the house, and sit on a mat. Some milk is given to the bridegroom by the bride's sister, and, after sipping a little of it, he gives it to the bride. They then return to the pandal, and sit on the cot.
Rice is thrown over their heads, and arathi waved in front of them. The bridegroom drops a ring into a tray, and turmeric-water is poured over it. The couple search for the ring. The wedding ceremonies are brought to a close by bathing in turmeric-water (vokli bath), after which the couple sit on the cot, and those assembled permit the handing over of the bride to the bridegroom's family (pennu oppuchchu kodukradhu).
Any number of marriages, except three or seven, may be carried on simultaneously beneath a single pandal. If there are more than a single bridal couple, the bashingam is worn only by the pair who are the elder, or held in most respect. Sometimes, one couple is allowed to wear the bashingam, and another to have the dhare water first poured over them.
The dead are cremated. The corpse is carried to the burning-ground on a bier, with a tender plantain leaf placed beneath it. Fire is carried not by the son, but by some other near relative. The ashes are collected on the third day, and a mound (dhupe) is made therewith. Daily until the final death ceremony, a tender cocoanut, and water in a vessel, are placed near it.
In the final death ceremony (bojja), the Bilimaggas closely follow the Bants, except as regards the funeral car. To get rid of death pollution, a Tulu Madivali (washerman caste) gives cloths to, and sprinkles water over those under pollution. The caste title is Setti or Chetti.
Billai-kavu (cat-eaters).— Said to be Mala Paidis, who eat cats.
Billava.—The Billavas are the Tulu-speaking toddy-drawers of the South Canara district. It is noted, in the Manual, that they are "the numerically largest caste in the district, and form close upon one-fifth of the total population. The derivation of the word Billava, as commonly accepted in the district, is that it is a contraction of Billinavaru, bowmen, and that the name was given as the men of that caste were formerly largely employed as bowmen by the ancient native rulers of the district.
There is, however, no evidence whatever, direct or indirect, to show that the men of the toddy-drawing caste were in fact so employed. It is well known that, both before and after the Christian era, there were invasions and occupations of the northern part of Ceylon by the races then inhabiting Southern India, and Malabar tradition tells that some of these Dravidians migrated from I ram or Ceylon northwards to Travancore and other parts of the West Coast of India, bringing with them the cocoanut or southern tree (tenginamara), and being known as Tivars (islanders) or Iravars, which names have since been altered to Tiyars and Ilavars. This derivation would also explain the name Divaru or Halepaik Divaru borne by the same class of people in the northern part of the district, and in North Canara.
In Manjarabad above the ghauts, which, with Tuluva, was in olden days under the rule of the Humcha family, known later as the Bairasu Wodears of Karakal, they are called Devaru Makkalu, literally God's children, but more likely a corruption of Tivaru Makkalu, children of the islanders.
In support of this tradition, Mr. Logan has pointed out* that, in the list of exports from Malabar given in the Periplus, in the first century A.D., no mention is made of the cocoanut. It was, however, mentioned by Cosmos Indico Pleustes (522 to 547 A.D.), and from the Syrian Christians' copper-plate grants, early in the ninth century, it appears that the Tiyans were at that time an organised guild of professional planters.
* Manual of Malabar.
“Although the cocoanut tree may have been introduced by descendants of immigrants from Ceylon moving up the coast, the practice of planting and drawing toddy was no doubt taken up by the ordinary Tulu cultivators, and, whatever the origin of the name Billava may be, they are an essentially Tulu class of people, following the prevailing rule that property vests in females, and devolves in the female line."
It is worthy of note that the Billavas differ from the Tiyans in one very important physical character—the cranial type. For, as shown by the following table, whereas the Tiyans are dolichocephalic the Billavas are, like other Tulu classes, sub-brachycephalic :
Some Billavas about Udipi call themselves either Billavaru or Halepaikaru. But the Halepaiks proper are toddy-drawers, who are found in the Kundapur taluk, and speak Kanarese. There are said to be certain differences between the two classes in the method of carrying out the process of drawing toddy.
For example, the Halepaiks generally grasp the knife with the fingers directed upwards and the thumb to the right, while the Billavas hold the knife with the fingers directed downwards and the thumb to the left.
A Billava at Udipi had a broad iron knife with a round hole at the base, by which it was attached to an iron hook fixed on to a rope worn round the loins. For crushing the flower-buds within the spathe of the palm, Billavas generally use a stone, and the Halepaiks a bone.
There is a belief that, if the spathe is beaten with the bone of a buffalo which has been killed by a tiger, the yield of toddy will, if the bone has not touched the ground, be greater than if an ordinary bone is used.
The Billavas generally carry a long gourd, and the Halepaiks a pot, for collecting the toddy in.
Baidya and Pujari occur as caste names of the Billavas, and also as a suffix to the name, e.g., Saiyina Baidya, Bomma Pujari.
Baidya is said to be a form of Vaidya, meaning a physician. Some Billavas officiate as priests (pujaris) at bhutasthanas (devil shrines) and garidis. Many of these pujaris are credited with the power of invoking the aid of bhutas, and curing disease.
The following legend is narrated, to account for the use of the name Baidya. A poor woman once lived at Ullal with two sons. A Sanyasi (religious ascetic), pitying their condition, took the sons as his sishyas, with a view to training them as magicians and doctors. After some time, the Sanyasi went away from Ullal for a short time, leaving the lads there with instructions that they should not be married until his return.
In spite of his instructions, however, they married, and, on his return, he was very angry, and went away again, followed by his two disciples. On his journey, the Sanyasi crossed the ferry near Ullal on foot. This the disciples attempted to do, and were on the point of drowning when the Sanyasi threw three handfuls of books on medicine and magic. Taking these, the two disciples returned, and became learned in medicine and magic. They are supposed to be the ancestors of the Billavas. The Billavas, like the Bants, have a number of exogamous septs (balls) running in the female line.
There is a popular belief that these are sub-divisions of the twenty balis which ought to exist according to the Aliya Santana system (inheritance in the female line).
The caste has a headman called Gurikara, whose office is hereditary, and passes to the aliya (sister's son). Affairs which affect the community as a whole are discussed at a meeting held at the bhutasthana or garidi.
At the betrothal ceremony, the bride-price (sirdachchi), varying from ten to twenty rupees, is fixed. A few days before the wedding, the maternal uncle of the bride, or the Gurikara, ties a jewel on her neck, and a pandal (booth) is erected, and decorated by the caste barber (parel maddiyali) with cloths of different colours.
If the bridegroom is an adult, the bride has to undergo a purificatory ceremony a day or two before the marriage (dhare) day. A few women, usually near relations of the girl, go to a tank (pond) or well near a Bhutasthana or garidi, and bring water thence in earthenware pots.
The water is poured over the head of the girl, and she bathes. On the wedding day, the bride and bridegroom are seated on two planks placed on the dais. The barber arranges the various articles, such as lights, rice, flowers, betel leaves and areca nuts, and a vessel filled with water, which are required for the ceremonial. He joins the hands of the contracting couple, and their parents, or the headman, place the nose-screw of the bridesmaid on their hands, and pour the dhare water over them. This is the binding part of the ceremony, which is called kai (hand) dhare.
Widow remarriage is called bidu dhare, and the pouring of water is omitted. The bride and bridegroom stand facing each other, and a cloth is stretched between them. The headman unites their hands beneath the screen.
If a man has intercourse with a woman, and she becomes pregnant, he has to marry her according to the bidu dhare rite. Before the marriage ceremony is performed, he has to grasp a plantain tree with his right hand, and the tree is then cut down. At the first menstrual period, a girl is under pollution for ten or twelve days. On the first day, she is seated within a square (muggu), and five or seven cocoanuts are tied together so as to form a seat.
A new earthenware pot is placed at each corner of the square. Four girls from the Gurikara's house sit at the corners close to the pots. Betel leaves, areca nuts, and turmeric paste are distributed among the assembled females, and the girls pour water from the pots over the head of the girl.
Again, on the eleventh or the thirteenth day, the girl sits within the square, and water is poured over her as before. She then bathes. The dead are usually cremated, though, in some cases, burial is resorted to. The corpse is washed and laid on a plantain leaf, and a new cloth is thrown over it.
Some paddy (unhusked rice) is heaped up near the head and feet, and cocoanut cups containing lighted wicks are placed thereon. All the relations and friends assembled at the house dip leafy twigs of the tulsi (Ocimum sanctum) in water, and allow it to drop into the mouth of the corpse. The body is carried on a plank to the burning-ground. The collection of wood for the pyre, or the digging of the grave, is the duty of Holeyas.
The wood of Strychnos Nux-vomica should never be used for the pyre. This is lighted by placing fire at the two ends thereof. When the flames meet in the middle, the plantain leaf, paddy, etc., which have been brought from the house, are thrown into them. On the fifth day, the ashes are collected, and buried on the spot. If the body has been buried, a straw figure is made, and burnt over the grave, and the ashes are buried there.
A small conical mound, called dhupe, is made there, and a tulsi plant stuck in it. By the side of the plant a tender cocoanut with its eyes opened, tobacco leaf, betel leaves and areca nuts are placed. On the thirteenth day, the final death ceremonies, or bojja, are performed. On the evening of the previous day, four poles, for the construction of the upparige or gudikattu (car), are planted round the dhupe.
At the house, on or near the spot where the deceased breathed his last, a small bamboo car, in three tiers, is constructed, and decorated with coloured cloths. This car is called Nirneralu.
A lamp is suspended from the car, and a cot placed on the ground beneath it, and the jewels and clothes of the dead person are laid thereon. On the following morning, the upparige is constructed, with the assistance of the caste barber. A small vessel, filled with water, is placed within the Nirneralu. The sons-in-law of the deceased receive a present of new cloths, and, after bathing, they approach the Nirneralu. The chief mourner takes the vessel from within it, and pours the water at the foot of a cocoanut tree. The chief Gurikara pours some water into the empty vessel and the chief mourner places it within the Nirneralu. Then seven women measure out some rice three times, and pour the rice into a tray held by three women. The rice is taken to a well, and washed, and then brought back to the car. Jaggery (crude sugar) and cocoanut scrapings are mixed with the rice, which is placed in a cup by seven women.
The cup is deposited within the car on the cot. The wife or husband of the deceased throws a small quantity of rice into the cup. She turns the cup, and a ladle placed by its side, upside down, and covers them with a plantain leaf. The various articles are collected, and tied up in a bundle, which is placed in a palanquin, and carried in procession, by two men to the upparige, which has been constructed over the dhupe.
Nalkes and Paravas (devil-dancers), dressed up as bhutas, may follow the procession. Those present go thrice round the upparige, and the chief mourner unties the bundle, and place its contents on the car. The near relations put rice, and sometimes vegetables, pumpkins, and plantains, on the plantain leaf. All present then leave the spot, and the barber removes the cloths from the car, and pulls it down. Sometimes, if the dead person has been an important member of the community, a small car is constructed, and taken in procession round the upparige.
On the fourteenth day, food is offered to crows, and the death ceremonies are at an end.
If a death occurs on an inauspicious day, a ceremony called Kale deppuni (driving away the ghost) is performed. Ashes are spread on the floor of the house, and the door is closed. After some time, or on the following day, the roof of the house is sprinkled with turmeric water, and beaten with twigs of Zizyphus Œnoplia. The door is then opened, and the ashes are examined, to see if the marks of the cloven feet of the ghost are left thereon. If the marks are clear, it is a sign that the ghost has departed ; otherwise a magician is called in to drive it out. A correspondent naively remarks that, when he has examined the marks, they were those of the family cat.
In some cases, girls who have died unmarried are supposed to haunt the house, and bring trouble thereto, and they must be propitiated by marriage. The girl's relations go in search of a dead boy, and take from the house where he is a quarter of an anna, which is tied up between two spoons. The spoons are tied to the roof of the girl's house. This represents the betrothal ceremony. A day is fixed for the marriage, and, on the appointed day, two figures, representing the bride and bridegroom, are drawn on the floor, with the hands lying one on the other. A quarter-anna, black beads, bangles, and a nose-screw, are placed on the hands, and water is poured on them. This is symbolical of the dhare ceremony, and completes the marriage.
The pujaris of all the bhuthasthanas and garidis are Billavas. The bhutha temples called garidis belong to the Billavas, and the bhuthas are the Baiderukulu (Koti and Chennayya), Brimmeru (or Brahmeru) Gunda, Okka Ballala, Kujumba Ganja, and Devanajiri.
The Baiderkulu are believed to be fellow castemen of the Billavas, and Koti and Chennayya to be descended from an excommunicated Brahman girl and a Billava. The legend of Koti and Chennayya is recorded at length by Mr. A. C. Burnell in the Indian Antiquary.*
* Devil worship of the Tuhivas, Ind. Ant. XXIII, XXIV, and XXV, 1894-96.
The bhuthas are represented by idols. Brimmeru is the most important, and the others are subordinate to him. He is represented by a plate of silver or other metal, bearing the figure of a human being, which is kept within a car-like stone structure within the shrine. On its left are two human figures made of clay or stone, which represent the Baiderukulu.
On the right are a man on horseback, and another figure, representing Okka Ballala and Kujumba Ganja. Other idols are also set up at the garidi, but outside the main room. They seem to vary in different localities, and represent bhuthas such as Jumadi, Pancha Jumadi, Hosabhutha, Kallurti, etc.
Brimmeru has been transformed, by Brahman ingenuity, into Brahma, and all the bhuthas are converted into Gonas, or attendants on Siva. In the pardhanas (devil songs) Brimmeru is represented as the principal bhutha, and the other bhuthas are supposed to visit his sthana.
A bhuthasthana never contains idols, but cots are usually found therein. A sthana may be dedicated to a single bhutha, or to several bhuthas. and the number may be ascertained by counting the number of cots, of which each is set apart for a single bhutha. If the sthana is dedicated to more than one bhutha, the bhuthas are generally Kodamanithaya, Kukkinathaya, and Daiva.
All the arrangements for the periodical kola, or festival of the bhuthasthana, are made by the pujari. During the festival, he frequently becomes possessed. Only such Billavas as are liable to be possessed are recognised as pujaris. As a sign of their office, they wear a gold bangle on the right wrist. Further details in connection with bhutha worship will be found in the articles on Bants, Nalkes, and Paravas.
Bilva (jackal).—An exogamous sept of Kondra.
Bindhollu (brass water-pot).—An exogamous sept of Jogi.
Binu (roll of woollen thread).—An exogamous sept of Kuruba.
Bissoyi.—The Parlakimedi Maliahs are, I am informed, divided up into muttahs, and each muttah contains many villages, all ruled over by a Bissoyi, a sort of feudal chief, who is responsible for keeping them in order. Concerning the Bissoyis, Mr. S. P. Rice writes * that in the Maliahs “are a number of forts, in which the Bissoyis, or hill chieftains, reside. Each them holds a small court of his own ; each has his armed retainers, and his executive staff. They were set to rule over the hill tracts, to curb the lawlessness of the aboriginal tribes of the mountains, the Khonds and the Savaras. They were, in fact, lords of the marches, and were in a measure independent, but they appear to have been under the suzerainty of the Raja of Kimedi, and they were also generally responsible to Government. Such men were valuable friends and dangerous enemies. Their influence among their own men was complete ; their knowledge of their own country was perfect. It was they, and they only, who could thread their way through the tangled and well-nigh impenetrable jungle by foot-paths known only to themselves. Hence, when they became enemies, they could entrench themselves in positions which were almost impenetrable. Now a road leads to every fort ; the jungles have disappeared ; the Bissoyis still have armed retainers, and still keep a measure of respect ; but their sting is gone, and the officer of Government goes round every year on the peaceful, if prosaic occupation of examining schools and inspecting vaccination."
* Occasional Essays on Native South Indian Life.
The story of the Parlakimedi rebellion, "a forgotten rebellion" as he calls it, in the last century, and the share which the Bissoyis took in it, is graphically told by Mr, Rice.
At times of census, Bissoyi has been returned as a title of Doluva, Kalingi, Kurumo, and Sondi.
Biswalo.—A title of various Oriya castes.
Bochchu (hairs).—An exogamous sept of Odde.
Boda.—Recorded, in the Madras Census Report, 1901, as a small cultivating class in Ganjam. Boda is the name of a sub-division of the Gadabas, who use the fibre of boda luvada (Ficus glomerata) in the manufacture of their female garments.
Boda Dasari (bald-headed mendicant).—An exogamous sept of Jogi.
Boddu (navel).—An exogamous sept, or sub-division of Idigas and Asilis. It is recorded in the Gazetteer of the Bellary district, that "in the middle of the threshold of nearly all the gateways of the ruined fortifications round the Bellary villages will be noticed a roughly cylindrical or conical stone, something like a lingam. This is the Boddu-rayi, literally the navel stone, and so the middle stone. Once a year, in May, just before the sowing season begins, a ceremony takes place in connection with it." (See Bariki.)
Bodo (big).—A sub-division of Bottada, Mali, Omanaito, Pentia, and other castes. Bodo Nayak is a title among the Gadabas, and Bodo Odiya occurs as a sub-division of Sondi.
Bogam.—See Deva-dasi and Sani.
Bogara.—Recorded, in the Madras Census Report, 1901, as "Canarese brass and copper-smiths: a subdivision of Panchala."
From a note on the Jains of the Bellary district * I gather that "there is a class of people called Bogaras in the Harpanahalli taluk, and in the town of Harpanahalli itself, side by side with the Jains. They are a thriving class, and trade in brass and copper wares. The Bogaras practice the Jaina religion, have the same gotras, freely worship in Jain temples, and are accepted into Jaina society. Evidently they are a sub-division of the Jains, though now excluded from inter-marriage."
* Madras Mail, 1905.
It is said that "arrangements are now being made (through the Jaina Bhattacharya at Kolhapur) to enable Bogaras to intermarry with the Jains."
Bogarlu.—Occurs as the name of a class of agricultural labourers in the Vizagapatam Agency, who are probably workers in metal who have taken to agriculture.
Boggula (charcoal).—An exogamous sept of Boya and Devanga.
Bohora.—The Bohoras or Boras are "Musalman converts from the Bombay side. They are traders. In Madras they have their own high priest and their own mosque (in Georgetown). It is said that, when one of them dies, the high priest writes a note to the archangels Michael, Israel and Gabriel, asking them to take care of him in Paradise, and that the note is placed in the coffin."
"They consider themselves as a superior class, and, if a member of another section enters their mosque, they clean the spot occupied by him during his prayers. They take part in certain Hindu festivals, e.g. Dipavali, or feast of lights, at which crackers are let off.
Boidyo.—Recorded under the name Boyidyo, in the Madras Census Report, 1901, as "literally a physician : a sub-caste of Pandito."
There is said to be no difference between Panditos and Boidyos. In Ganjam they are known by the former, elsewhere by the latter name.
Boipari.—A synonym of Lambadi. (See Bepari.)
Boishnobo.—The Boishnobos have been defined as a class of Oriya religious mendicants and priests to Sudras. The name means worshippers of Bishnu or Vishnu. Most of them are followers of Chaitanya, the great Bengali reformer.
Boksha.—Boksha or Boksham (treasury) is the name of a sub-division of Gollas, indicating their employment as treasury servants in guarding and carrying treasure. In some places, those who are employed in packing and lifting bags of money in district treasuries are still called Gollas, though they may belong to some other caste.
In the Census Report, 1901, Bokkisha Vadugar (treasury northerner) was returned as a Tamil synonym for Golla.
Bolasi.—The Bolasis are a caste of Oriya cultivators, who are largely found in the Gumsur taluk of Ganjam. Many of them serve as paiks or peons. The original name of the caste is said to have been Thadia, which has been changed in favour of Bolasi (Bayalisi, forty-two) in reference to the caste being one of the recognized forty-two Oriya Sudra castes. It is also suggested that the name is derived from bola (anklets), as the women wear heavy brass anklets. Their ceremonial rites connected with marriage, death, etc., are similar to those of the Doluvas, Gaudos, Badhoyis, and other castes.
Marriage is infant, and, if a girl does not secure a husband before she reaches maturity, she goes through a form of marriage with an arrow or a grinding stone. The Bolasis are Vaishnavites, and observe the Paramaribo or Chaitanya form thereof. The caste titles are Podhano, Nayako, Daso, Mahanti, Patro, Sahu, Jenna, and Konhoro.
Gudiyas who are engaged in agriculture are sometimes known as Bolasi Gudiyas.
Bolodia.—The name of a section of Tellis, who use pack-bullocks (bolodo, an ox) for carrying grain about the country. Some Gaudos, at times of census, have also returned Bolodia as their sub-division.
Bombadai (a fish).—A gotra of Medara. The equivalent Bomidi occurs as an exogamous sept of Mala. Members of the Vamma gotra of the Janappans abstain from eating this fish, because, when some of their ancestors went to fetch water in a marriage pot, they found a number of this fish in the water collected in the pot.
Bomma (a doll).—An exogamous sept of Padma Sale. The equivalent Bommala occurs as an exogamous sept of Mala. The Bommalatavallu are said to exhibit* shows in the Vizagapatam district.
* Manual of the Vizagapatam district.
Bommali.—A sub-division of the Koronos of Ganjam.
Bonda.—A sub-division of Poroja.
Bondia.—A small class, inhabiting Ganjam. The name is said to be derived from bondono, meaning praise, as the Bondias are those who praise and flatter Rajas.
Bondili.—In the Madras Census Report, 1891, the Bondilis are "said to derive their name from Bundelkund. They claim to be Rajputs, but appear to have degenerated. The Sivaites of this sect are said to bury their dead, while the Vishnavaites burn. In the Kadri taluk of Cuddapah all are said to bury. The custom in this respect appears to differ in different localities. Besides Siva and Vishnu worship, three of the eight authorities who give particulars of this section agree that they worship village deities as well. All state that remarriage of widows is not permitted. They are generally cultivators, peons, or the body-guards of Zemindars."
The Bondilis of the North Arcot district are described by Mr. H. A. Stuart* as being "foreigners from Bundelkund, from which fact their name originates, and of various Vaisya and Sudra castes ; the former having the termination Lala to their names, and the latter that of Ram.
* Manual of the North Arcot district
“Many of the Sudra Bondilis, however, improperly take the title Singh, and say they are Kshatriyas, that is, Rajputs. The Vaisya Bondilis are few in number, and only found in Vellore, Chittoor and Arni, where they are usually money-lenders. The Sudras are mostly sepoys, constables, or revenue peons. Some say that they are not even Sudras, but the descendants of Rajputs by women of the country, and probably many of them are such. All are very particular with respect to eating with another professed Bondili, and refuse to do so unless they are quite certain that he is of their class.
“In their marriage customs they resemble the Rajputs."
I am informed that one section of the Bondilis is named Toli, in reference to their being workers in leather. There is, at Venkatagiri, a street called Toli mitta, or Toli quarters, and, in former days, the inhabitants thereof were not allowed to enter the temples.
In the Census Report, 1901, Guvalo, or traders from Sambalpur, is returned as a sub-caste of Bondili.
Boniya.—The Oriya name for Baniya (trader). Boniya Korono appears* as the name for traders and shopkeepers in Ganjani.
* Manual of the Ganjam district.
Bonka.—Recorded, in the Vizagapatam Manual, as cultivators in the Jeypore hills, and, in the Madras Census Report, 1901, as a small Oriya caste of hill cultivators, which has three sub-divisions, Bonka, Pata Bonka, and Goru Bonka.
Bonthuk.—The Bonthuks or Bonthuk Savaras are scattered about the Kistna and Gimtur districts, and lead a nomad life, carrying their small dwelling-huts with them as they shift from place to place. They are called Bonthuk Savaras to distinguish them from the Pothra (stone) Savaras, who dwell further north.
By Telugu people they are called Chenchu or Bontha Chenchu, though they have no connection with the Chenchus who inhabit the hills in Kurnool, and other parts of the Telugu country. The Bonthuks, however, like the Chenchus, claim Ahobila Narasimha as their tribal deity.
The Bonthuks speak the Oriya language, and they have a Mongoloid type of features, such as are possessed by the Savaras of Ganjam and Vizagapatam. Their house-names, or intiperalu, however are Telugu.
These constitute exogamous septs, and seem to be as follows :—Pasupuretti, Simhadri (the god at Simhachalam near Vizagapatam), Koneti, Dasapatri, Gedala (buffaloes), Kudumala (cakes), Akula (leaves), Sunkara, and Tota (garden).
At marriages, individuals of the Pasupuretti sept officiate as priests, and members of the Koneti sept as drummers and musicians. Men belonging to the Gedalu sept are considered as equivalent to shepherds. The Bonthuks have a very interesting way of naming their children. If a child is born when an official or person of some distinction happens to be near their encampment, it is named after him. Thus such names as Collector, Tahsildar, Kolnol (Colonel), Governor, Innes, Superintendent, and Acharlu (after one Sukracharlu) are met with.
Sometimes children are named after a town or village, either because they were born there, or in the performance of a vow to some place of pilgrimage. In this way, such names as Hyderabad, Channapatam (Madras), Bandar (Masulipatam), Nellore, and Tirupati arise. A boy was named Tuyya (parrot), because a parrot was brought into the settlement at the time of his birth. Another child was called Beni because, at its birth, a bamboo flute (beni) was played.
Every settlement is said to have a headman, called Bichadi, who, in consultation with several elders of the tribe, settles disputes and various affairs affecting the community. If an individual has been fined, and does not accept the punishment, he may appeal to another Bichadi, who may enhance the fine.
Sometimes those who do not agree to abide by the decision of the Bichadi have to undergo a trial by ordeal, by taking out an areca nut from a pot of boiling cow-dung water. The dimensions of the pot, in height and breadth, should not exceed the span of the hand, and the height of the cow-dung water in the pot should be that of the middle finger from the base to the tip. If, in removing the nut from the pot, the hand is injured, the guilt of the individual is proved. Before the trial by ordeal, a sum of ten rupees is deposited by both complainant and accused with the Bichadi, and the person under trial may not live in his dwelling-hut. He lives in a grove or in the forest, watched by two members of the Pasupuretti sept.
The Bonthuks are engaged in collecting bamboos, and selling them after straightening them by heating them in the fire. Before the bamboos are placed in carts, for conveyance to the settlement, a goat and fowls are sacrificed to Satyamma, Dodlamma, Muthyalamma, and Pothuraju, who are represented by stones.
Girls are married before puberty, and, if a girl happens to be mated only after she has reached maturity, there is no marriage ceremonial. The marriage rites last over five days, on the first of which a brass vessel, with a thread tied round its neck, and containing turmeric water and the oyila tokka or tonko (bride's money), is carried in procession to the bride's hut on the head of a married girl belonging to a sept other than those of the contracting couple. She has on her head a hood decorated with little bells, and the vessel is supported on a cloth pad. When the hut is reached, the bride's money is handed over to the Bichadi, and the turmeric water is poured on the ground.
The bride's money is divided between her parents and maternal uncle, the Bichadi, and the caste men. A pig is purchased, and carried by two men on a pole to the scene of the marriage. The caste people, and the married girl carrying a brass vessel, go round the animal, to the accompaniment of music. The girl, as she goes round, pours water from the vessel on the ground. A thread is tied round the neck of the pig, which is taken to the bridegroom's hut, and cut up into two portions, for the parties of the bridegroom and bride, of which the former is cooked and eaten on the same day.
At the homes of the bride and bridegroom, a pandal (booth) and dais are erected. The materials for the former are brought by seven women, and for the latter by nine men. The pandal is usually decorated with mango and Eugenia Arnottiana leaves.
After supper, some relations of the contracting couple go to an open space, where the Bichadi, who has by him two pots and two bashingams (chaplets) of arka (Calotropis gigantea) flowers, is seated with a few men. The fathers of the bride and bridegroom ask the Bichadi to give them the bashingams, and this he does after receiving an assurance that the wedding will not be attended by quarrelling.
The bride and bridegroom take their seats on the dais at the home of the latter, and the officiating priest ties the bashingams on their foreheads. Nine men and seven women stand near the dais, and a thread is passed round them seven times. This thread is cut up by the priest, and used for the kankanams (wrist threads) of the bride and bridegroom. These are removed, at the close of the marriage festivities, on the fifth day.
When a girl attains maturity, she is under pollution for nine days, at the conclusion of which the Bichadi receives a small present of money from her parents. Her husband, and his agnates (people of his sept) also have to observe pollution, and, on the ninth day, the cooking pots which they have used are thrown away, and they proceed to the Bichadi, to whom they make a present of money, as they have probably broken the tribal rule that smoking is forbidden when under pollution.
On the ninth day, the girl and her husband throw water over each other, and the marriage is consummated. The dead are usually buried, lying on the left side.
On the second day, food is offered to crows and Brahmani kites. On the eleventh day, a mat is spread on the floor of the hut, and covered with a clean sheet, on which balls of food are placed. The dead person is invoked by name, as the various people deposit the food offering. The food is finally put into a winnowing basket, and taken to the bank of a tank (pond).
A small hut is made there, and the food is placed therein on two leaves, one of which represents the Yama Dutas (servants of the god of death), the other the deceased.
Boori (cake).—An exogamous sept of Mala.
Bosantiya.—The Bosantiyas are summed up, in the Madras Census Report, 1901, as "Oriya cultivators found in the northern taluks of Ganjam. They are said by some to have been originally dyers."
I am informed that the caste name has reference to the fact that the occupation thereof was the collection of the fruits of Mallotus philippinensis, and trade in the dye (bosonto gundi) obtained therefrom. The dye, commonly known as kamela, or kamala, is the powdery substance obtained as a glandular pubescence from the exterior of the fruits.
The following note on the dye was published in the Indian Forester, 1892. "Among the many rich natural products of Ganjam, probably the most esteemed in commerce is the red kamela dye, the valuable product of the Mallotus philippinensis. This tree, with its lovely scarlet berries and vivid emerald green foliage, is a marked feature of forest scenery in Ganjam. The berries are coated with a beautiful red powder, which constitutes the dye. This powder is collected by being brushed off into baskets made for the purpose, but the method of collection is reckless and wasteful in the extreme, the trees being often felled in order to reach the berries more easily. The industry is a monopoly of the Hill Khonds, who, however, turn it to little advantage. They are ignorant of the great commercial value of the dye, and part with the powder to the low-country dealers settled among them for a few measures of rice or a yard or two of cloth.
“The industry is capable of great development, and a large fortune awaits the firm or individual with sufficient enterprise to enter into rivalry with the low-country native dealers settled among the Khonds, who at present enjoy a monopoly of the trade. It is notorious that these men are accumulating vast profits in respect of this dye. The tree is cultivated largely by the Khonds in their forest villages."
The Bosantiyas seem to have no sub-divisions, but exogamous gotras, e.g., nagasira (cobra) and kochimo (tortoise) exist among them. Socially they are on a par with the Bhondaris, and above Pachchilia Gaudos and Samantiyas. They have a headman called Bissoyi, who is assisted by a Bhollobaya, and they have further a caste messenger called Jati Naiko. The caste titles are Bissoyi and Nahako.
Most of the Bosantiyas are Saivites, but a few follow the Paramartho form of Vaishnavism. They also worship various Takuranis (village deities), such as Kotaru and Chondi.
In the Vizagapatam Manual (1869), Bosuntea is described as a caste of Paiks or fighting men in the Vizagapatam district (Jeypore).
Bottada.—The Bottadas are, Mr. H. A. Stuart writes,* "a Class of Uriya cultivators and labourers, speaking Muria or Lucia, otherwise known as Basturia, a dialect of Uriya. Mr. Taylor says the caste is the same as Muria, which is shown separately in the tables, and in Mr. H. G. Turner's notes in the Census Report of 1871. But, whether identical or distinct, it seems clear that both are sub-divisions of the great Gond tribe."
For the following note, I am indebted to Mr. C. Hayavadana Rao. There is a current tradition that the caste originally dwelt at Barthagada, and emigrated to Vizagapatam long ago. It is vaguely mentioned that Barthagada was situated towards and beyond Bastar, near which place there are still to be found people ot this caste, with whom those living in the Vizagapatam Agency intermarry. The caste is divided into three endogamous divisions, viz. :
(i) Bodo, or genuine Bottadas ;
(2) Madhya, descendants of Bottada men and non-Bottada women;
(3) Sanno, descendants of Madhya men and non-Madhya women. The Bodos will not interdine with the other two sections, but males of these will eat with Bodos.
The following notes refer to the Bodo section, in which various exogamous septs, or bamsa, exist, of which the following are examples:
Goyi, lizard ( Varaniis).
Girls are married either before or after puberty. A man can claim his paternal aunt's daughter in marriage. When a marriage is under contemplation, the prospective bridegroom's parents take maddho (liquor) and chada (beaten rice) to the girl's house, where they are accepted or refused, according as her parents agree to, or disapprove of the match. After a stated period, further presents of liquor, rice, black gram, dhal, salt, chillies, and jaggery (crude sugar) are brought, and betel leaves and areca nuts given in exchange. Two days later the girl's parents pay a return visit to those of the young man. After another interval, the marriage takes place. Nine days before its celebration, paddy (unhusked rice) and Rs. 2 are taken to the bride's house as jholla tonka, and a feast is held.
At the bridegroom's house, a pandal, made of nine sorghi or sal (Shorea robusta) posts, is erected, with a pot of turmeric water tied to the central post. The bride is conducted thither. At the marriage rites the Desari officiates. The ends of the cloths of the contracting couple are tied together, and their little fingers are linked together, while they go, with pieces of turmeric and rice in their hands, seven times round the pandal. The sacred fire, or homam, is raised, and into it seven or nine different kinds of wood, ghi (clarified butter), milk, rice and jaggery are thrown. Turmeric-rice dots are put on the foreheads of the bride and bridegroom by the Desari, parents, and relations. They are anointed with castor-oil, and bathed with the water contained in the pot tied to the post. New cloths are presented to them, and a caste feast is held.
Widow remarriage is permitted, and a younger brother often marries the widow of his elder brother. If, however, she marries any one else, her new husband has to pay rand tonka, consisting of liquor, a sheep or goat, and rice, as a fine to the caste, or he may compound for payment of five rupees. Divorce is permitted, and, if a man divorces his wife, he usually gives her some paddy, a new cloth, and a rupee. If the woman divorces herself from her husband, and contracts an alliance with another man, the latter has to pay a fine of twenty rupees to the first husband, a portion of which is spent on a feast, at which the two husbands and the woman are present.
The dead are burned, and death pollution is observed for ten days, during which no agricultural work is done, and no food is cooked in the bamsa of the deceased, which is fed by some related bamsa. On the day following cremation, a new pot with water, and some sand are carried to the spot where the corpse was burnt. A bed of sand is made, in which a banyan (Ficus bengalensis) or pipal (Ficus religiosa) is planted. A hole is made in the pot, and the plant watered. On the tenth day, on which a bath is taken, some fried rice and a new pot are carried to the burning-ground, and left there.
The Bottadas have the reputation of being the best cultivators in the Jeypore Agency, and they take a high position in social rank. Many of them wear the sacred thread, at the time of marriage and subsequently, and it is said that the right to wear it was acquired by purchase from former Rajas of Jeypore.
Bottu Kattoru (those who tie the bottu).—A subdivision of Kappiliyans, who are Canarese cultivators settled in the Tamil district of Madura. The bottu (marriage badge) is the equivalent of the Tamil tali.
Bovi.—The name of the palanquin-bearing section of the Mogers of South Canara. Some Besthas from Mysore, who have settled in this district, are also called Bovi, which is a form of Boyi (bearer).
Boya (see Bedar).—Boya has also been recorded* as a sub-division of Mala, a name for Ekari.
* Manual of the North Arcot district.
Boyan.—A title of Odde.
Boyi (see Bestha).—It is also the title of one of the chief men among the Savaras.
Brahmans - see this page
Brahmani.—A class of Ambalavasis. (See Unni.)
Brihaspati Varada.—The name, indicating those who worship their god on Thursday, of a sub-division of Kurubas.
Brinjari.—A synonym of Lambadi.
Budubudike.—The Budubudike or Budubudukala are described in the Mysore Census Report as being "gipsy beggars and fortune-tellers from the Marata country, who pretend to consult birds and reptiles to predict future events. They are found in every district of Mysore, but only in small numbers. They use a small kind of double-headed drum, which is sounded by means of the knotted ends of strings attached to each side of it. The operator turns it deftly and quickly from side to side, when a sharp and weird sound is emitted, having a rude resemblance to the warbling of birds. This is done in the mornings, when the charlatan soothsayer pretends to have divined the future fate of the householder by means of the chirping of birds, etc., in the early dawn. They are generally worshippers of Hanumantha."
The name Budubudike is derived from the hour-glass shaped drum, or budbudki.
For the following account of the Budubudukalas, I am indebted to a recent article* :—
* Madras Mail, 1907.
"A huge parti-coloured turban, surmounted by a bunch of feathers, a pair of ragged trousers, a loose long coat, which is very often out at elbows, and a capacious wallet underneath his arm, ordinarily constitute the Budubudukala's dress. Occasionally, if he can afford it, he indulges in the luxury of wearing a tiger or cheetah (leopard) skin, which hangs down his back, and contributes to the dignity of his calling. Add to this an odd assortment of clothes suspended on his left forearm, and the picture is as grotesque as it can be. He is regarded as able to predict the future of human beings by the flight and notes of birds.
“His predictions are couched in the chant which he recites. The burden of the chant is invariably stereotyped, and purports to have been gleaned from the warble of the feathered songsters of the forest. It prognosticates peace, plenty and prosperity to the house, the birth of a son to the fair, lotus-eyed house-wife, and worldly advancement to the master, whose virtues are as countless as the stars, and have the power to annihilate his enemies.
“It also holds out a tempting prospect of coming joy in an unknown shape from an unknown quarter, and concludes with an appeal for a cloth. If the appeal is successful, well and good. If not, the Budubudukala has the patience and perseverance to repeat his visit the next day, the day after that, and so on until, in sheer disgust, the householder parts with a cloth.
“The drum, which has been referred to above as having given the Budubudukala his name, is not devoid of interest. In appearance it is an instrument of diminutive size, and is shaped like an hour-glass, to the middle of which is attached a string with a knot at the end, which serves as the percutient. Its origin is enveloped in a myth of which the Budubudukala is naturally very proud, for it tells him of his divine descent, and invests his vocation with the halo of sanctity.
“According to the legend, the primitive Budubudukala who first adorned the face of the earth was a belated product of the world's creation. When he was born or rather evolved, the rest of humankind was already in the field, struggling for existence. Practically the whole scheme was complete, and, in the economy of the universe, the Budubudukala found himself one too many. In this quandary, he appealed to his goddess mother Amba Bhavani, who took pity upon him, and presented him with her husband the god Parameswara's drum with the blessing 'My son, there is nothing else for you but this. Take it and beg, and you will prosper.'
Among beggars, the Budubudukala has constituted himself a superior beggar, to whom the handful of rice usually doled out is not acceptable. His demand, in which more often than not he succeeds, is for clothes of any description, good, bad or indifferent, new or old, torn or hole. For, in the plenitude of his wisdom, he has realised that a cloth is a marketable commodity, which, when exchanged for money, fetches more than the handful of rice.
“The Budubudukala is continually on the tramp, and regulates his movements according to the seasons of the year. As a rule, he pays his visit to the rural parts after the harvest is gathered, for it is then that the villagers are at their best, and in a position to handsomely remunerate him for his pains. But, in whatever corner of the province he may be, as the Dusserah approaches, he turns his face towards Vellore in the North Arcot district, where the annual festival in honour of the tribal deity Amba Bhavani is celebrated."
“The insigne of the Budubudike, as recorded at Conjeeveram, is said* to be a pearl-oyster.
* J. S. F. Mackenzie, Ind. Ant, IV, 1875.
“The Oriya equivalent of Budubudike is stated* to be Dubaduba.
* Madras Census Report, 1901.
Bujjinigiyoru (jewel-box).—A sub-division of Gangadikara Vakkaliga.
Bukka.—Described, in the Madras Census Report, 1901, as a “sub-caste of Balija. They are sellers of saffron (turmeric), red powder, combs, etc., and are supposed to have been originally Komatis." They are described by the Rev. J. Cain as travelling about selling turmeric, opium, and other goods. According to the legend, when Kanyakamma threw herself into the fire-pit (sec Komati), they, instead of following her example, presented to her bukka powder, turmeric, and kunkuma. She directed that they should live apart from the faithful Komatis, and live by the sale of the articles which they offered to her.
Buragam.—A sub-division of Kalingi.
Burgher.—A name commonly applied to the Badagas of the Nilgiri hills. In Ceylon, Burgher is used in the same sense as Eurasian in India.
Burmese.—A few Burmese are trained as medical students at Madras for subsequent employment in the Burmese Medical service. At the Mysore census, 1901, a single Burman was recorded as being engaged at the Kolar gold fields. Since Burma became part of the British dominions in 1886, there has been emigration to that developing country from the Madras Presidency on a large scale. The following figures show the numbers of passengers conveyed thence to Burma during the five years, 1901—05 :
Busam (grain).—An exogamous sept of DOvanga.
Busi (dirt).—An exogamous sept of Mutracha.
Byagara.—Byagara and Begara are synonyms of Holeya.