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The Pulayar, or Pooliar, caste of Travancore, Cochin, and Malabar appear to be identical with those who are called Holiers in Coorg and Canara. The term is derived from pula “ceremonial pollution,” taint or defilement, especially by a case of birth, or by touching a dead body.

In Cochin these form the largest part of the Cherumar, or former slave population, which, according to the census of 1875, numbers over 52,000 in a total population of 601,000.

In Travancore this caste numbers 188,916, which is one-twelfth of the entire population. They are next in number to the Ilavars. “They are distributed over the whole land, north of Nanjinad. Their number is greatest in the Tiruvella district, where they muster 15,399; in Moovattupuley they number 15,124; in Cunnattur 14,592; the lowest number is four in Shencotta. They are a Malayalam speaking race, and are, therefore, sparse in the Tamil Talooks of Nanjinad and Shencotta.”

Besides the above, there are some ten or twelve thousands of the same race under the instruction of the Church and London Missionary Societies, who are classed in the census under the head of “Protestant Christians.”

The Pulayars are peculiar to the Western Coast, and unknown in the British provinces on the East. They belong to the very lowest grades in caste, having been formerly slaves and still deeply degraded, as education and civilisation have not yet largely affected them, and their former masters do not wish them to rise to independence or full liberty. Their customs and usages are full of the deepest interest to the ethnologist, while their social condition calls for the profoundest sympathy of the philanthropist.

Origin. — Bishop Caldwell rightly regards the Pulayars as representatives of the same class as the Pariahs and Pallars of Tinnevelly. He remarks, “Perhaps the best representatives at present of the earliest race of inhabitants are those long-oppressed tribes, now considered the lowest in the social scale. It is a noticeable circumstance that there is no tradition whatever of the arrival in the country at any time of the Pallas and Paraiyas.”

And again, “I consider the black, low caste races of Southern India not Turanians or immigrants of any sort, but aborigines like the negroid aborigines of the Eastern Islands and Australia.”

About Trevandrum, their own tradition, evidently impressed upon them by their masters, is expressed in words uttered by one of this class. “We are content to remain in our present circumstances for Bhagavan (God), after having created the higher castes, considered what to do with the surplus earth, when Parvathi advised him to create therewith a low class to serve the higher ones.”

Another account is given in one of the Mackenzie MSS, as held by the Pulayars residing near Kanjerapalli. When Parasu Raman had made slaughter in his wars, the widows lamented their being without husbands, and besought him to supply others, which he effected by calling in strangers, from which origin the Pulayars are derived.

The Pulayars of Malabar are in a far lower condition than the Pariahs of the Tamil country. The reason seems to be the same as produced the extreme conservatism and bigoted retention of Hindu caste and primitive customs of the inhabitants of the Western Coast — the physical conformation of the country shutting them off from intercourse with their neighbours.

While in the Carnatic serfs could run away from one king to another (as some Pariahs are known to have come seven generations ago to Nanjinad for greater freedom and safety); here in Malabar they were hemmed in by impassable mountains and forests and by the sea — deep rivers to cross, Nairs everywhere on the watch, and no possibility of escape. So they sank from generation to generation. And of this tribe the lowest and most debased are now found on the strip of land between Alleppy and Cochin, where they are entirely isolated between the sea and the backwater.

G. K. Vurma classes the Pulayars as one of eight Nicha or polluted castes. They were brought, he says, into Malabar by Parasu Raman for the service of Brahmans and others. The law of inheritance of Pariahs and Ulladars is by sons — that of Pulayars, Nayadis, and the four jungle tribes, part by sons, part by sisters’ sons.

In the neighbourhood of Trevandrum, Pulayars are accustomed to boast of having once had a chieftain or rajah of their own, who resided in a fort not far off. There certainly are some remains on the summit of a hill near Vely of a mud wall and ditch, some 60 or 70 feet square, enclosing a small level plot of ground now overgrown with scrub and having a deep well inside. This is commonly called Pulayanar Kotta, and a Sudra family in the neighbourhood are called by their fellows “the Pulayan’s Accountants,” and freely admit that their ancestors did hold that office.

Perhaps this was the nick-name of some ancient chieftain, as has been suggested in explanation of such names as Chakkilian (shoemaker’s) Fort in North Arcot, and others in the Tamil country. Or, as Head Pulayars were appointed by the Travancore Government to be responsible for the others in all matters of business, there may have been one chief head of all near the capital, to whom, as a politic means of ruling the others, some special privileges, and a small mud walled fort might have been allowed, as it was to the head of the Shanars at Agatiswaram, But it seems impossible to believe that any of this unfortunate race could have been within the last few centuries in possession of independent authority.

Sub-divisions. — The caste is divided into several sections and local clans, varying in different parts of the country.

For instance, a few miles south and east of Trevandrum, a class numbering a few hundreds, are called Ina (real or first-class) Pulayars. They consider themselves superior to the others, whom they call Vada or Northern Pulayars; but the latter assert that the Ina people are the inferiors, and that their name should properly be Hina — base. The Ina Pulayars will not eat or intermarry with the others. Such is pride amongst some of the lowest of the human family !

Near Alleppy a remarkable section of the caste is found, of whom an interesting description is given by Rev. W. J. Richards in the “Indian Antiquary.” He says : —

“The men of the Tandu Pulayans (who wear the tandu grass) wear the ordinary lower cloth of the kind worn in this country, but the distinctive name of the tribe comes from the women’s dress, which is a very primitive article indeed. The leaves of a certain water plant {Isolepis articulate, Nees) are cut into lengths of a foot long, and tied round the waist in such a fashion that the strings unwoven hang in a bushy tail behind, and present the same appearance in front, reaching nearly to the knees. This dress is accounted for by a tradition that in former days a certain high caste man of that region had been sowing grains and planting vegetables in his fields, but found that his daily work was in some unknown way frustrated; for whatever he planted or sowed in the day was carefully picked up and taken ‘when men slept.’

So he set a watch, and one night he saw coming out of a hole hitherto unknown to him certain beings like men, but quite naked, who set to work destroying his hopes of a crop. Pursuing them, he succeeded in catching a man and a woman; and he was so impressed with shame at their condition that he gave the man his own uppercloth, which was hanging on his shoulder, and made him put it on, but not having one to spare for the woman, she made herself an apron of grass as above described.

These were the progenitors of the numerous slaves who are found there at this day. They are also called Kuri or ‘Pit’ Pulayans, from having originated as above said.

“Their language is Malayalam. They worship the sun and heavenly bodies, and I have seen among them a little temple, about the size of a large rabbithutch, in which was a plank for the spirits of their deceased ancestors to come and rest upon. The spirits are also supposed to fish in the backwater, and the phosphorescent appearance seen sometimes on the surface of the water, is taken as an indication of their presence.

“The food of these Pulayans is fish, often cooked with arrack and with the liliaceous roots of certain water plants. When visited about eleven to one o’clock in the day, they are found intoxicated, especially the men.

“They live south of Cochin, between the backwater and the sea. Another division of them is found more south than Alleppy, who are called Kanna Pulayans. These wear rather better and more artistically-made ‘aprons.’ When a girl of the Tandu Pulayans puts on this garment — a sigh of maturity — for the first time, there is a ceremony called the Tandu marriage. The state of these poor people is still virtually that of slavery, though some of them possess property.”

These people remind us of the Juangs or Patnas (leaf-wearers) of Orissa, whose women also wear no clothes — only a few strings of beads round the waist with a bunch of leaves tied before and behind. But the British Government took the trouble to provide a cotton cloth for each of the women to put on; then they gathered the bunches of leaves into a heap and set fire to it. Oddly enough, the Tandu Pulayan women are much opposed to the change of “grass“ for cloth : they appear to think they might as well be out of the world as out of the fashion!

Further information respecting these Pulayars, also called Kanna or Cunna Pulayars (kannan, barbarian), is given by the Rev. W. Johnson to the following effect : —

The Cunnar Pulayars live only four miles north of Alleppy, yet they are about the most uncivilized people that one could meet with in any part of India. The very appearance of a European in their midst causes a fearful alarm. The men are dressed as the lowest class of natives usually are; but the women dress in long grass split to the texture of horsehair, which hangs gracefully over their bodies, and these, with a few red glass beads, form their whole attire.

Their houses are of the simplest nature; and at night they rest on the bosom of mother earth, and have but few comforts. They speak in a dialect peculiar to themselves, and which cannot be well understood even by natives of Alleppy. Yet they are proud and consider their grass dress the acme of perfection for the fashionable world.

They are perfectly ignorant as to how they came to their present settlement, so also as to another world after death. They number about 150 souls in the neighbourhood above referred to, and about the same number twelve miles off.

They have a headman or ruler who is also looked upon as high-priest. It is remarkable that they have no graven or molten image, whatever. Unhewn blocks of white granite form the object of their worship. These unsightly blocks are placed under little sheds close to where their relations are buried, near to their own huts. The barber of the tribe acts as sexton and gave-digger.

They acknowledge an author of good, whom they reverence, and an author of evil, whose fury they constantly strive to appease by votive offerings of poultry, afterwards eating the bodies of the birds which they have offered in sacrifice. They have a traditional reverence for the seventh day, which corresponds with our Sunday. On this day they stay in their own settlements as much as possible, and will not set out on journeys.

On the twenty-eighth day after the birth of a child, it is brought to the house and named. Up to this day both mother and child are kept in a small shed, in which one would hardly like to trust a good-bred dog during the rainy season. One good feature about this race is, that they give their women ample opportunities of gaining their livelihood, for they make their whole grass attire, which takes them ten whole days with close application; and then they have their time taken up in making mats, which they sell, or barter for rice and tobacco, and thus aid their husbands, to whom they are not indebted for a single cash towards their wardrobe or their food.

When a youth of the tribe wishes to enter wedlock, he delegates his powers to a friend of about the same age, or younger than himself. The delegate has then to make all necessary arrangements, and to pay from his own hands the sum of fifty-one chuckrams, or about one rupee and three-quarters, to the father of the bride, which, being paid, the bride is by her friends conducted to the bridegroom’s house; the bridegroom promising his successful delegate that should he ever be in want of a person to act for him in the same way, he will do so, and also pay the required sum.

They are a happy and cheerful-looking set of persons on the whole, naturally very intelligent, and both boys and girls, when brought to the mission school, most anxious to learn to read and write. They are very proud of their origin, which they consider as perfectly unique among Hindus, regard themselves as far superior to all others who bear the designation of Pulayars; and practice ablutions whenever they come in contact with any persons whom they consider lower than themselves. The members of their caste intermarry very much among themselves. Their masters are Sudras.

The two great divisions of this caste, however, are the Eastern and Western Pulayars. The former are found principally about Changanacheri and at Mallapalli, and other hilly parts. Their customs seem to point them out as virtually Pariahs, as the Pallar colonies in Travancore are often called Pulayars; and in Cochin the highest class of Pulayars is said to be called Vallava, which is wellknown to be a title belonging to the Pariah caste.

The term “eastern” also perhaps implies that they came more recently from the eastern side of South India, unless it means simply eastward towards the hills of Travancore. There seem to be some traces also of Tamil forms in their language, as vandu for vannu. Yet a marked difference exists between them and the recognized Pariahs of the country.

These Eastern Pulayars are still more degraded than the “Western” Pulayars and the Pariahs, who would consider themselves polluted by coming in contact with them. Most went about in former days, and some do still, without any other clothing than a string of large thick leaves round the loins; or if they got a cotton cloth, they wore it over this, or as a headcloth. They hang a large quantity of strings of beads or cowries round the neck. The kudumi is not worn.

The Eastern Pulayars eat beef and such refuse as the Pariahs eat. In fact many Pulayars from about Quilon northwards generally eat beef, and appear to be rather a kind of Pariahs. Eastern and Western Pulayars will not eat together, but the Easterns will eat what is cooked by the others.

The Eastern Pulayars celebrate marriage with the pandal or Hindu festive bower, and with tying of the minnu or tali marriage-badge, not the Malayalam mundu or “cloth” given to a concubine. They always give so many rasis (=ten chuckrams each) for the girl. Their devil-dancers, or priests, have idols, bells, swords, belts, crowns made of peacock’s feathers, &c. These are considered better servants than other Pulayars, and consequently are valued at a higher rate.

Their own tradition is that they were the slaves of Suyodhana and his brothers, while the Western Pulayars belonged to the Pandus — the two rival parties in the great war of the Mahabharata — and the defeat of Suyodhana is alleged to be the cause of the greater degradation of the former.

The Western Pulayars prevail near Cottyam. They do not eat beef, nor wear so many beads as the Eastern. They “give Cloth” for concubinage, and were formerly nepotists as to the law of inheritance, but are now adopting “makkatayam “usages.

The whole caste is divided into Illams, “houses,” or lineage, as we say, “the house of Devonshire,” &c. These illams are very numerous. Their denominations are such as Brahmakotta — Velli (silver) — Pallikkutachan (carpenter of the temple), and so forth. Men and women belonging to the same illam cannot intermarry; they are considered to be the descendants of one family, therefore brethren, and such marriages are regarded as incestuous. “Others would laugh at them.” So it is with the Ilavars also.

General Description. — The Pulayars are inferior to Pariahs in appearance, strength and courage, perhaps from not eating flesh meat; or from having been more oppressed. The men are small, and short in stature, their complexion dark from exposure in field-work. “The forehead is low, the cheek-bones high, the mouth large, the nose rather broad, the lips thick, and the hair in some cases, slightly woolly. There is much difference between them, however, in these respects.”

A few may be seen fairer and with well-formed features from some slight intermixture of Muhammadan, possibly even Sudra parentage, or high-caste females in former times condemned to slavery. Aged persons appear to be comparatively few amongst this people, as their hardships are great The women are smaller still, mostly quite diminutive and very plain-looking, but a few of them are passable looking when young. Bunches and strings of beads being worn around the women’s neck and hanging on the breast, there is a demand for beads as amongst the negroes of Africa.

Gold and silver ornaments are not allowed them, only brass or lead : thin flat plates of brass about an inch in diameter, with a small dot pattern, are strung round the neck. They purchase bangles, beads, shells, rings, &c., of trifling value, which are crowded on their fingers, arms, necks, and ears, in such quantity as to be almost a burden. The front teeth are filed sharp like canine teeth.

Their dress and habits are extremely filthy, as no one is willing to wash for them, and they have no washermen of their own, like other castes. Difficulty has been experienced even in getting the ordinary washing of cloths done for Christian boys in the Mission Boarding School, “on account of the disgrace of the thing” said the washermen. And even some of the degraded Pulayars had their foolish pride touched, and thought it a still deeper degradation to learn this useful employment : some who were perforce trained to it went off to other labour, being unable to bear the jeers and contempt of their fellows.

As to the admirable habit of daily bathing, they are the very opposite of the Brahmans. Each washed his own cloth slightly at times, or wore it as it was till it fell off in filthy rags. This, again, was a mark of their belonging to the “great unwashed” castes, and served to point them out as polluted, besides preventing the approach of decent people on the ground of common cleanliness.

Their dwellings are miserable huts formed of sticks cut out of the woods, with walls, of reed or mud, and thatched with grass or cocoa-leaf, situated by the sides of the rice swamps, or on mounds in their centre, to be out of the way of polluting respectable people. They were discouraged from having comfortable huts, in order that they might be willing to move about as required for the work of cultivation. Denied admission to the markets, they must stand apart at some distance, and make purchases or sales as well as they could.

The work of the Pulayars lies almost exclusively in the rice fields — pumping them dry, making up the embankments, hedging, digging, manuring, ploughing, weeding, transplanting, and reaping. Yet the grain is not considered as polluted, but used by the Brahmans and nobles, offered in temples, and carried into the most exclusive kitchens. Men, women, and children work together at harvest and other times; but hard work does not continue throughout the year, only about six or eight months.

Sometimes after a hard day’s work they have to cook their own food at night. Their master’s fields also must be guarded at night from the encroachments of cattle or the depredations of wild animals, when the slaves must remain in the fields and keep awake all night, shouting to frighten away the trespassing cattle, deer, wild boars, or elephants.

Their food is chiefly rice, as they are employed in its cultivation, to which they add vegetables and fruits grown in the small plots usually allotted them by their masters. The rice is boiled and eaten with coarse curry, or only pepper and salt.

It is also parched, or beaten flat, but they have no skill in baking or cookery. Even when milk and eggs are produced, they are sold rather than consumed in the household. The children consequently suffer much from diarrhoea, debility, and intestinal worms, arising from innutritious food. A considerable proportion of children die from want of proper care and attention. Adults also suffer much from disease. They pride themselves on not eating beef, and despise the Pariahs, who have the advantage in greater strength and courage.

Other kinds of flesh or fish are sought — small fish, snails and shell-fish in the tanks and channels which irrigate the rice fields, crabs, rats, and so forth. In the hot season the children are often faint with hunger, and are obliged to wander into the jungles in search of wild roots and fruits.

From lack of sufficient and palatable food, it is no wonder that they have a longing for strong drink, and indulge in it too freely. Some, on being cautioned on this point, urged that their owners gave them so little food that they were obliged to dispose of a part to purchase liquor, in order to satisfy the cravings of the stomach. But of course this injures the health, and is no real remedy for their miseries. They also chew tobacco, especially the women, who then suffer from dyspepsia, headache, and convulsions. Chewing this narcotic is a more dangerous habit than smoking, and is specially injurious to a badly-fed constitution.

They possess no weapons, and have no manufactures, save that of palm-leaf umbrellas and reed baskets. The slaves about Cottayam make large mats of the beesha reed, also mats and baskets of pandanus leaf. At Mallapalli they make very good native canvas from the fibre of some tree : bags of this cloth are used by high castes.

Few have ever travelled beyond a few miles from their homes, as they had no occasion or permission to do so. They have never been able to migrate, like the Shanars, to Ceylon or elsewhere. Their barbarous mispronunciation of Malayalam is not readily understood by others: the ludicrous errors which are made are a source of amusement to other castes. Of the total number of 188,916 Pulayars in Travancore, the census gives only 183 males and no females as able to read and write.

Yet these poor people are fairly intelligent,, and readily capable of instruction. They are sharp enough in comprehension, and heartily enjoy any good thing that is said. Some of them are entrusted with the management of cattle and agricultural details by their masters, and are set over their fellows. Others are priests, singers after a rude fashion, or natural leaders of their fellow-men.

Their improvidence, like that of most slaves and uncivilized peoples, has often been remarked, especially in their religious offerings of first fruits, powdered rice, &c., to the Five Virgins, which are merely feasts for themselves; and in eating up at once a stock of grain, which might be made to last, with economy, for months.

There is a proverb that in harvest time the slave goes about, asking, “Can you sell me an elephant ?” but when hard times begin he drives even his dog out of the hut The people illustrate this by a story which they relate, or rather a parable, of a Pulayan, who went to buy an elephant. The owner told him to go and pound and eat some rice first. He did so, and stayed till all his rice was finished : then he had nothing in hand wherewith to make the purchase ! It is no great wonder, however, that such half-starved people take a good feed when they can get it.

Their enslaved condition also drove them to thievery. Serious crimes they have rarely committed, but are still addicted to petty robberies. Some kind masters were liberal, and permitted their slaves to take almost what they chose from their estates; but in general they were, no doubt, sorely tempted to theft by hunger and want.

Even the degraded Pulayars have some excellent qualities. From lengthened and intimate acquaintance, we have found them just like other men — under the power of many evils engrained in them through long-continued ignorance, superstition, and oppression, but simple hearted, grateful for kindness, deeply attached to those who show themselves their friends, and improving with marked rapidity under instruction.

It is sometimes difficult to make the young truthful and honest in small things; but this is a defect observable in many Hindus, and it may be expected to take two or three generations to improve and establish their moral stamina. Already some Pulayars, under the operation of Christian teaching and guidance, have become admirable characters — gentle, honourable, devout, and loving; and probably they will display a very beautiful type of character when fully Christianised. A remarkable testimony is borne to them in the Census Report, p. 206: — “They are an extremely useful and hardworking race, and are sometimes distinguished by a rare character for truth and honour, which their superiors in the caste scale might well emulate.”

Some of the masters appear to appreciate individuals of this tribe as valuable servants; and the mission teachers like them very much. One expressed the opinion that “the Pariahs have more worldly cunning and intelligence, but the Pulayars are more frequently truly pious.”

A native missionary wrote, “The Pulayar Christians are earnest in learning to read, and in giving contributions for benevolent objects. Their desire to learn and repeat their lessons is remarkable, and they complain if instruction is not duly supplied to them. Some children glean and sell scattered stalks of rice to purchase the Scriptures. The elders sell plantains and fowls in order to be able to contribute for religious purposes.”

And one European missionary remarked, “There is a good deal of heart amongst Pariahs and Pulayars, such as we do not often see in the Shanars.”

Birth and Childhood. — The woman is taken to a shed at some distance, put up for the particular occasion, where she is assisted by her mother-in-law or some female friend. Any delay or unusual suffering is attributed to the malice of demons. This shed is erected because the mother is regarded as polluted during confinement. Should she not be thus set apart “others will laugh at them, and will not touch them, nor join in marriage feasts with them.” It is often erected of wretched materials, exposing the unfortunate woman on all sides to the weather, so that this unfeeling custom is dropped by Christians. Men are not allowed to enter the shed.

The mother remains six or seven days in it, then it is burnt. When recovered, the mother rubs the body with oil and turmeric, afterwards washes in water and re-enters her house. The husband also goes to the sea or river for a bath to cleanse from pollution. The woman returns to her work in such time as may be necessary.

As soon as an infant is born, a little cocoanut water is given to supply the deficiency of the mother’s milk, which she usually gives on the third day. The child is also bathed with hot water, and for three months it is generally washed twice a day. After ten days, cocoanut oil and turmeric are used to rub the infant with twice a day, the limbs are also shaken, and the nose gently pulled out. This is continued for several months. A low head is admired.

The mother eats the usual food — rice and fish, or fowl if procurable, or pork; beef and mutton are never eaten by this caste. For about a couple of months she takes a ball morning and evening of the acid pulp of the fruit of Garcinia Roxburghii (pinaru) and black pepper ground.

The child is nursed for two years, sometimes much longer, which often greatly exhausts the strength of both mother and child. In the sixth month solid food is first given, for which occasion the relatives are invited. The father and grandfather and other relatives each take a small quantity of rice, and put it in the mouth of the infant. The name is at the same time given by the father, usually the name of the grandfather, or the father or other relative. The friends afterwards drink some toddy and leave.

The names in common use are not many; in any list many persons will be of the same name, and we have known two sisters both named Kali; the father had to call one “black”and the other “white”Kali. For males the most usual name is Eiyan (father or lord), then Chattan (=Shastavu or lyenar), Veluttan (white one), Chadayan (hairy), Kiliyan (parrot), Palei and Arangan. For women the commonest name is Kali, Chatta (fem. of Chattan), Eiyi (fem. of Eiyan), Velutta (fem. of Veluttan), Chakki, Natchatram (star), Kannamma, Oomala, and Mala (Garland).

The hair is first cut when the infant walks, whether male or female. The ears of girls are perforated with some ceremony. For the puberty of girls a small hut is built of jungle sticks, where the girl is sent, and no other person allowed to enter, not even the mother. Women must stand at a little distance from the shed, and food is brought and laid down a little way off. Here the girl remains for seven days, and is then brought back to the house, dressed in a new or clean cloth, and friends invited and treated with betel-nut, toddy, and arrack. When people have means, or in time of harvest when rice is always plentiful, rice flour is put on the forehead, arms, and cheeks of the girl.

Marriage is celebrated before or after maturity, according as a suitable husband may offer. Boys usually marry at the age of 14 to 18 or 20. A father likes to see his sons married during his own lifetime, so that he may arrange matters to his own satisfaction.

The father of the youth and his maternal uncle first make enquiries as to where suitable girls may be found. Coming to such a house without previous notice, the owner will ask, “What have you come for?” “To ask your daughter for our son.” “Come again after a few days, and we shall arrange a day for the matter.” They then hand over two or three fanams to the bride’s mother or maternal uncle, and partake of some food or drink. After a few days the bridegroom goes there, taking a few fanams in hand to give to them; and they entertain him for a few days.

Again the relatives accompany the youth on some auspicious day, and appoint a day for the marriage. An old man gives three fanams and beads worthy say, two fanams into the hands of the girl’s father, and proclaims, “from such a date this girl is betrothed to be the wife of this youth.” Then the girl’s father sends a pot of toddy and three measures of parched rice to the relations of the youth; and their acceptance of these present confirms the betrothal.

On the day of the wedding, after the bride is dressed (which is done at the cost of the bridegroom), 16 fanams, or 22, are paid to a middle-man, who divides the money amongst the maternal relatives of the bride. The mother also gets her share of this, perhaps one fanam. But if the mother or the younger sisters of the bride were to approach the bridegroom, this would cause ceremonial pollution. On the day of the wedding any woman may attend, except the mother and maternal aunts of the bride. Therefore, one fanam and some betel-leaf, &c., are laid on some spot by the bridegroom for the mother. He walks off to some distance, and she takes up the presents. Sometimes a cow, or other present, is given to the bride’s family — is it not a kind of purchase money, or payment for the rearing of the bride?

A wedding pandal or shed is put up at the bride’s house, and by invitation the relatives of both families and the neighbours assemble. The affair begins in the evening and continues till morning. They begin by drinking some toddy or arrack; then sit and talk awhile. For the feast 22 edungalies of rice are given by the father of the bridegroom and other relatives, along with baskets, mats, pots, and curry stuffs. This is cooked by two of the bridegroom’s party. While the rice is being cooked, four or five of the men will dance in a circle with drumming and singing.

The sister of the bridegroom ties the till, or marriage badge corresponding to our wedding ring (usually a bead of glass purchased from a Muhammadan dealer), on the neck of the bride.

The male and female guests sit apart, and in order for the feast, with plantain leaves laid before them for use as plates. The newly-married husband and wife eat a little, in the presence of all, out of one vessel. But Pulayar husbands and wives commonly do eat together at the same time. Afterwards all wash hands and partake of betel-nut. This feast takes place about midnight. Then there is more play but no more drinking till dawn. The play consists of dancing and leaping, several persons together.

At dawn, a conch shell is put in a sieve, and spun round to see whether the marriage will turn out a lucky one. The interpretation is given by wise men of their own caste. If the shell falls to the north, it is an omen of good fortune; if to the east, still more so. The west is not considered specially favourable, but the south is the most unpropitious. In the morning the sun is worshipped with a salam by the bride and others. This is a daily practice. She also bows to her father (not to her husband’s father) and to her maternal uncle, then to the four quarters; to the east first, next north, thirdly west, and lastly, south; thus not going round with the sun.

A new house is not built specially for the newly-married couple. Several families may reside in one house, that is, in several huts built close together. The bridegroom’s party, and two or three of the bride’s, accompany the young people home and put them into their house. Her nearest relatives will drink a little and go home. Nothing is given to others. If they continue to live affectionately together, the wife remains with her husband; if displeased at any time, she returns to her own home.

It is considered that the husband of a young girl should not be over sixteen years of age or so. But it often happens that a youth of sixteen marries a young girl of eight or nine years of age; and they do live together. The earliest age at which they become mothers is from fourteen to sixteen. Children are not very numerous in a family.

Polygamy is common, a man taking as many as four wives, all married as above: there is no fixed limit. Polyandry is never practised. But a brother-in-law may take the widow.

If a husband wishes to get rid of his wife before she has borne children, he may take her back to her parents; and if she also wishes to be freed from him, his money (the 22 fanams) will be returned to him. But if she was unwilling to part with the man, this money is not returned. If another man afterwards desires to have her, he pays the parents the 22 fanams, and they repay the first husband. No ceremony whatever is observed on this re-marriage.

Adultery and disputes arising from jealousy are not very prevalent, perhaps because a change is so easily effected. Discontented parties can separate and leave at once; the women are also so poor, badly-fed and hard-worked, that there is less incentive to evil.

The Pulayars are spoken of as less licentious than Pariahs. If adultery is committed they would be excluded from their caste privileges. They also worship spirits called Kannimar or virgins, apparently the ghosts of girls who have died unmarried, who are supposed to punish this crime. In case it is committed, the injured husband will beat his wife and her paramour. Or, he invites the chief men of the caste (on which occasions many will assemble), and makes his complaint before them. Then both the guilty parties are tied, and beaten with rattans by his brother-in- law, or by persons employed for the occasion. Fines are resorted to, generally 12 fanams, paid by the adulterer, and spent on arrack for all who were assembled to adjudicate. No money is paid to the injured husband.

Pregnancy. — The ceremony called Vayittu pongali is observed in the seventh month. It is an offering to Tottiya or Bhagavan, the sun. New pots are procured and brought to the centre of the courtyard, and rice boiled in them. Some rice is taken out of the pot while on the fire, and shown or presented to the sun. It is waved three times, then put back into the pot; afterwards distributed to the persons invited. There is no dance on this occasion.

Then a pot is brought full of water, the mouth tied tightly with a cloth and a plantain leaf, and the pot put upside down. The priest repeats some mantrams while the pregnant woman stands on the top of the inverted water-pot : it will not break. At the four corners of the yard, four plantain stems are fixed like posts, and connected with strings, which the woman cuts with a knife after getting down from off the pot. At the foot of the four plantain stems are placed four cocoa-nuts; the husband goes with a bill-hook and splits them. Then they feast on the rice, of which the woman also partakes, and all return to their homes.

Sickness. — Pulayars are subject to many ailments arising from their privations, and the nature of their employment. Standing at times in the rice swamps with their feet in water or mud and the head uncovered produces headache, rheumatism and fever. From their uncleanly habits they are afflicted with skin diseases, inflammation of the eyes, ulcers, and leprosy. Bad food, strong drinks and tobacco-chewing also injure them. From the beginning of any sickness they, like many other castes, consider it dangerous to wash or bathe; and this, of itself, often aggravates disease.

They are both careless and ignorant in the treatment of the sick. Wives or husbands are often abandoned to the care of their parents when ill. They have no professional doctors amongst them; and no knowledge of medicines even so simple as castor oil. A mixture of salt and chillies is sometimes used.

The Sudra masters give some medicines; and would sometimes on an emergency, visit their slaves, purifying themselves afterwards. When physicians of other castes are applied to they charge very heavily, such as on account of tottukuli, “bathing after having touched” a patient of this class, 3 fanams; for feeling the pulse, a few fanams and a basket of parched rice; all must be paid in advance, besides offerings of fowls, rice, &c., to various demons. For all diseases both medicines and incantations are resorted to.

Every ailment is attributed to the agency of some demon or other whom it is the business of the pujari or priest, to discover. He is acquainted with the proper mantrams or incantations, and has an iron rattle, called kokkara, by the sound of which he divines. “It will be revealed to him by a kind of inspiration or possession which demon it is that has caused the sickness; and he will declare who it is, and what is to be done in the particular case.”

The kokkara is formed of a plate of iron turned into a tube, the edges strongly serrated and not closely united. It is about nine inches in length and one and a half in diameter. From it hangs a chain and an iron pin, or spike, which is rubbed along the dentate edges of the iron cylinder, making a horrid grating noise. This instrument is used by sorcerers amongst Pariahs, Vedars and Kuravars, but it seems more especially to belong to Pulayars. It is used in seeking demoniac possession, in exorcising demons, in divination and in cases of sickness. The instrument costs from three-quarters to one rupee, and is made by the ordinary blacksmith.

When a youth wishes to learn this black art, he goes to some one accomplished in it, and presents a para of paddy, three fanams in money, seven cocoanuts, and two chuckrams’ worth of betel leaf. A feast is also given to his relatives, costing, say twenty-five fanams. He learns for about a week the names of all the demons and the charms with which the teacher is acquainted. When fully instructed, he receives from the teacher a kokkara and a cowry shell, and pays a further fee. It costs about 100 fanams to learn the business.

He is then called to cure patients, young and old, of various diseases by playing this instrument; and with the addition of a conch shell, a cocoanut and a cowry, he may make a reputation for himself and much gain by deceiving the people. All Pulayars honour and fear him; Sudras also employ him in various matters. When he goes to find omens for fortunetelling, he is paid one fanam; for casting out demons, three fanams and three edungalies of paddy; for rescuing a pregnant woman from a demon, seven fanams; for offering sacrifices, ten fanams and the flesh of the fowls slain and some toddy; and for destroying enemies or detecting robbers, twelve fanams.

In times of sickness, these dancers frighten the people by announcing the wrath of the demons, and the necessity of further propitiatory offerings in order to get rid of the disease. They also give sacred ashes to patients for their recovery.

When the priest is called to a house for a case of sickness, he generally comes in the evening, and is first entertained with food, toddy to drink, and betel to chew. He then prepares a tender cocoanut, the flower of the Areca palm, and some parched rice powdered — these he lays down and covers over with a young palm leaf. Bringing the sick person forward, the priest draws a circle with an iron pen or stylus round the patient, then sticks the stylus outside the circle.

This is called “putting in fetters,” and by this the demon is supposed to be arrested. The demon sometimes causes the patient to cry out, “Oh, I am in pain — he is beating me,” and such like; but the patient does not know who it is that is afflicting him. Sometimes the priest will make the demon speak. The sick man makes a vow, which is to be fulfilled in due course, promising sheep, rice, flowers, palm leaf, and arrack. All such vows are paid at their annual festivals in February or March.

Or, on visiting the sick house, a rice fan or sieve, containing three betel leaves with areca nuts, three nari of paddy, Ocimum flowers, sacred ashes, and the conch and cowry shells, is laid in the yard; sitting before this fan and facing the sun, the officiator begins to worship the demons. While doing so, he holds the shells in his hand, and turns to the four points. After noticing some omen, he takes the kokkara and sounds it, chanting the names of terrible demons, such as Mallan, Karunkali, Kottu-tamburan, Ayiravilli, The Five Virgins; and repeating incantations. This is varied with dancing also.

The performer plays on the iron instrument, sometimes from evening till noon of the next day; and it is no wonder that the nerves of the tortured patient are unstrung by a whole night’s incessant grating of this harsh file. The sick person is often terrified into confession of some sin (possibly in the case of hysteric females a purely imaginary one), when a fine of, say three fanams, is imposed, and at once spent for toddy, which is drunk by the assembled party.

If death unexpectedly occurs, he consoles the bereaved, and warns them that their offerings to the spirits have been insufficient.

Sometimes affliction is supposed to be brought on by the enmity of others who have got incantations written on palmleaf or potsherds, and buried in the earth near the house, or by the side of the well. Another sorcerer will be called to find out and counteract such evil charms, for which he digs, destroying them when found. Of course, this pretence affords great opportunity for imposition.

Death. — When just on the point of death they give some rice water conjee, “because the soul is leaving.” As soon as death takes place, the family set up a cry; hearing this, the relatives, both male and female, come to the house. Lamentation is made in various terms, such as “You are dead, are you not? There is no one left us now. This is our misery. We have no father now to help us. Precious father! you did us such and such benefits. O demon! you have very quickly taken his life.

If you had not called him away, we should have given you fine gifts. We have now lost both our expenditure (in the sickness) and our friend. O, Udaya Tamburan (Possessor-God), thou gavest him birth, and now hast taken him again.” Sometimes comfort is offered to the bereaved, such as “Why should you weep — what can be done? It is God who has taken him away. Though you weep and cry, he will not return.” The influence of Christian teaching as to the existence and unity of God seems apparent in some of these statements.

The body is washed by the near relatives, men for men and women for women. Cocoanut oil and turmeric are rubbed over the corpse, and it is covered with a white cloth. Women are buried with all their ornaments on. Men wear ear-rings and finger rings, and these are left on after death.

Vaykkari, “rice for the mouth,” is a pinch of raw rice put into the mouth of the corpse. In some higher castes a coin also is put into the mouth, as was done by the ancient Romans. If a priest dies, the body is bathed and oiled; all his devildancing ornaments, head-dress, &c., are put on, but removed again before burial.

Bodies are buried in their own gardens, or if they had no land, in some retired place belonging to their employers. Those who are better off are buried in a room in their own house, at a depth of about four feet. The grave is levelled and smeared with cow dung; no bad smell is observed to come from the grave. This is done through affection to the deceased; still it is rare, and no women are so buried.

It is not priests merely, but wealthy and esteemed persons who are buried in this way; the relatives are not careful to avoid treading on the grave. “The soul does reside there — this is what is desired. The spirit is called vadha, or familiar, and will not harm the survivors, but watch over their interests and protect them from disease and danger. Propitiatory offerings are made to it occasionally of anything they eat; and the ghost can be set on their enemies. If neglected or displeased it haunts and troubles the household.”

The corpse is taken to the side of the grave, and incantations and prayers made there. It is carried by the sons and nephews and others, on a frame, and covered with a cloth. A small quantity of paddy is brought, and whispering over this an incantation (the names of demons, &c.), it is. cast into the grave. The pujari, or priest, then goes round the grave three times, without drumming or singing on this occasion.

The corpse being put in, the grave is filled up, and the relatives throw in three handfuls of earth. At the four corners of the grave a few grains of rice are placed, and a little pebble laid over this with mantrams, “to prevent jackals from disturbing, and to hinder the spirit from molesting people.” The grave is dug north and south, the head placed to the north. The grave will be preserved, and no cultivation made over it.

On the seventh day, the priest goes to the grave and lifts a handful of earth, as other castes gather up the burnt bones, makes a rude image of the dead man, and brings it near the house. It is not brought into the yard, but to a place cleared for it at some distance from the house, to avoid pollution. Then turmeric, flour, &c., are put on it to prepare it for the spirit’s reception. Now he rattles the kokkara, spins the conch, and invokes the deceased by name to enter the image; from thence it passes into the priest, and from him into a cloth which a man standing beside him holds out like a sheet. While possessed by the spirit the priest dances; when he ceases, he puts the spirit into the cloth and holds it there.

The image is no further used. Both men now go to the water, they bathe and dip the cloth in water, then return into the house, holding the cloth folded up, which they put on a plaited palm leaf, placing around it offerings of rice, toddy, arrack, and betel-leaf. The conch is again spun round to ascertain whether the offerings have been accepted. If the spira of the conch points towards the spirit in the cloth, the offering has been accepted. They simply spin on till they obtain a favourable omen of complacency, and again until they obtain permission to eat.

They then go into the yard with the cloth, mix a little turmeric with water and with oil, and sprinkle the cloth, thus representing the anointing of the spirit as the body had been anointed. After the food {annam) has been presented to the spirit, the priest repeats mantrams to retain the spirit in the house. It is then supposed to have left the cloth, which is taken into the yard and opened. No further Sraddha or funeral ceremony is performed.

The conch shell is used by sorcerers near Cottayam to spin round in order to ascertain from which of the eight directions the evil spirit has come, and caused any given case of affliction.

The spirits of deceased relatives are called Chavu “the dead.” They are seen in dreams, especially by near relations, who repeat such dreams in the morning, telling that they saw and spoke with the deceased. The souls of women and children, even of still-born infants, are existent. “Many of these ancient spirits are now great gods.” A man will continue to worship the spirit of his own father, and of his deceased wife.

Superstitions and Worship. — As will be evident from the preceding observations, the worship practised by the Pulayars is simply that of demons and evil spirits, or of deceased ancestors, who must be propitiated by offerings of such things as will please them. Images are not used in the South, but small ones of brass, a few inches in height, are not uncommon in North Travancore. They represent both males and females, and are called pretham, or ghost, equivalent to chavu. A case is mentioned in which the image of a murdered slave was made and worshipped by the murderer, to appease the spirit of his victim. The spirits are supposed to be displeased if the people receive instruction in Christianity.

A woman said, “Our domestic demon troubles us whenever we hear your Bible read, therefore we do not wish to become Christians.” Another said that a demon was residing in his hut, and begged the teacher to come and pray in his dwelling, that the evil spirit might take his flight. The sorcerers and devil dancers also hinder the people from Christian instruction, lest their profits should be gone. Some of the priests are dreaded even by the higher castes, as exercising great influence in the spirit world, whether to set their familiars to destroy, or to restrain them from injury by magic arts.

They are consequently employed by Sudras and Shanars for casting out devils and counteracting enchantments.

To avoid the malignance of these demons, various plans are adopted. Some wear rolls of palm leaf tied round the neck, to prevent the demons approaching or annoying them. Baskets are hung up in rice fields, containing peace offerings. Where-ever there is a grove or dense forest, adoration is paid to Madan, Kali, &c., supposed to reside there, and sacrifices are occasionally offered. Special efforts to please their demons occupy all the leisure enjoyed from rice cultivation between the close of November and the beginning of April, when the dancers go about the slave huts, collecting money to provide parched rice, fowls, and ardent spirits for offerings.

Gardens and cultivation will be protected from the blight of the evil eye by hanging up earthen pots with spots of lime daubed over them. If a good cloth is worn when going out, sickness is supposed to result from the evil eye of jealousy.

These poor people are also deceived by Hindu mendicants of other castes to secure some money from them. One came and uttered mantrams over a young cocoanut, which he gave to a woman who had no milk for her babe.

Their chief deities are Madan and the Five Pandus. “These are greater than the Sun, but of course Udaya Tamburan (the Possessor-God) is greater than all” they now say. Last come the deceased ancestors, or Chavus. Pulayars have no temples built by or belonging to themselves, but chiefly attend the Sudras’ temples as far as permitted. Temporary places of worship are formed by trees planted in a square, one at each corner — such trees as Odina odier, Silk cotton, Rottlera and Erythrlna.

On these a platform of cocoanut wood or common sticks is erected, and upon this a frame or cage of cocoanut leaves, as the special residence or shrine pro tempore of the demon. At the foot of the trees is a representation of the cobra. Several little shrines of this kind are put up for the habitation of several demons, the Chavus or Ghosts and the Virgins, once a year; and offerings are made of rice, grain, parched rice, and flowers. A fowl is decapitated and the blood sprinkled over the shrine; the flesh is afterwards eaten by the worshippers.

For devil-dancing there is a special dress and ornaments.

Any one may become a priest by practice, but the profession is often, as might be expected, hereditary. The head-dress is a helmet of basket-work with red cords hanging down from either side. A cotton scarf is worn round the waist, and bells tied on the legs. In one hand an old sword is held, in the other a bell. At first the dancer goes round slowly, then greatly quickens his motion. He stamps heavily on the ground with the feet alternately, trembling and greatly agitated.

On one occasion in March I had the opportunity of witnessing a little of their dancing at Trevandrum during the prevalence of small-pox, when similar scenes were enacted generally through the country. They had been engaged in this festival all night, and the noise of their drumming and cheering was still heard in the early morning. The scrub and weeds had been cleared off a raised bank by the side of the rice-fields, and a kind of temporary altar, as above described, made on the stem of a tree cut off at the height of ten or twelve feet.

On this was a small platform with a rude ladder leading up to it, and offerings laid upon it. At the base of this frail structure stood two or three painted boards, one of them the figure of the cobra’s hood very clearly represented. At one side was a shed for the accommodation of the people, and at the other side a miniature house, about two feet high, which was supposed to be the residence of the demon, and in which offerings of cocoanuts and other things were placed. Women were beating rice for the feast; others selling provisions; altogether about a hundred people were then present.

Some of the principal officiators were adorned with fringes of young palm leaves tied round the waist, and with the usual brass bells around the ankles and calves of the legs. Several had plaited bundles of palm leaves to represent horses, on which they pretended to gallop round the altar, whipping the horses and shouting. A fire was alight, and they galloped through and over this until it was extinguished. On such occasions dancing and singing are sometimes carried on for several days with great enjoyment and enthusiasm.

In the North a curious “club dance“ is practised at night, by the light of a large fire. The dancers, men with clubs a foot long, one in each hand, go in concentric circles in different directions, and meeting each other very prettily strike each other’s clubs, keeping time to the songs they sing — now bending to catch the blow made towards the feet and then rising to ward off or meet one directed towards the head.

Attendance at Hindu Temples — It has been remarked that the servile castes, have, in various parts of South India, special privileges granted them on particular festivities, whether as treats in relaxation from sore toil, bribes to keep them submissive under oppression, or as vestiges; of a higher position in former times, when they were masters of the land before the arrival of the Aryans.

Captain Mackenzie, in the “Indian Antiquary” for March, 1873, thinks that the Holiars of Mysore, now despised and outcast, once held the foremost place in the village circle, having been the first to establish villages there. A Holiar is even now generally the priest to the village goddess, and, as such, on annual offerings takes precedence of Brahmans.

At Mailkota, and at Bailur, Holiars have the right of entering the temple on three days in the year specially set apart for them. He considers that it proves that the Holiars were the first to take possession of the soil, that the Kulwadi, or village henchman, a Holiar, receives fees from the friends of any who die — “they buy from him the ground for the dead.”

In Travancore, nothing of this kind is observed, but on festival days the Pulayars and other low castes are permitted some games and a little nearer approach than usual to some pagodas, as at Pareychaley, &c. At Ochira, on the great sham fight, slaves are permitted to join and give and receive blows equally with Nayars. Wooden swords and shields are used. At Kumaranallur annual feast of slaves, Sudras come from Bhagavathi’s temple with little beaten-gold images of the goddess for sale. The slaves buy and offer them to the deity; the same image being sold over and over again, and each time offered by the buyer to the goddess.

At the Neduvengaud Temple, where two or three thousand people, mostly Sudras and Ilavars, attend for the annual festival in March, one third of the whole are Pariahs, Kuravars, Vedars, Kanikars, and Pulayars, who come from all parts around. They bring with them wooden models of cows neatly hung over and covered, in imitation of shaggy hair, with ears of rice. Many of these images are brought, each with a separate procession from its own place. The headmen are finely dressed with clothes stained purple at the edge.

The image is borne on a bambu frame, accompanied by a drum, and men and women in procession — the latter wearing quantities of beads, such as several strings of red, then several of white; or strings of beads and then a row of brass ornaments like rupees — and all uttering the kurava cry. These images are carried round the temple, and all amuse themselves for the day.

Oaths and Ordeals — They swear by the Sun, raising the hand towards the sun — or by some temple — saying, “By this deity, I did not do so.” “By the Sun, I did not.” “If I speak falsely, may my eyes perish, or my head be struck off by lightning,” or, “let me be cut off by cholera or small-pox;” or, “let me not live more than forty-one days.”

If falsely accused of adultery, an oath is taken, or the following ordeal : — A new pot is procured, in which some cowdung is mixed up with water, then made to boil thoroughly. Into this the man dips his hand, stirs it three times round in the water, and lifts out some of the cowdung which he lays on a plantain leaf. Before the pot is placed, the priest utters some imprecations on the man if guilty. If the hand is burnt, he is guilty — if not burnt, innocent. In case of other faults than adultery, he will make oath at some devil temple.

Once when a theft of rice occurred, the loser went to a temple of Lakshmi, belonging to Sudras, and standing afar off as required, laid down three fanams as an offering, praying aloud to the deity, “Oh, hear my complaint !” The priest comes out and takes up the money; then the deity is expected to punish the thief. If the thief afterwards suffers from sickness, he will make the usual inquiries and be informed — “So and so made vows against you.” The temple priest is not able by his charms to discover who it was that committed the theft.

Good Manners. — In presence of an elder brother, a younger brother cannot sit down. Before a father, grown-up daughters should not sit; and sons sit on a somewhat lower level. Little children sit anywhere. Nephews and nieces must not sit on the same level with the maternal uncle, nor the common people with a Head Pulayar. There is one of these in each Proverty, formerly appointed by the Sirkar, now by the people.

A woman cannot sit at all in the presence of her sonin- law, and vice versa. These two cannot approach one another nearer than about twenty feet. This rule sometimes causes little difficulties when converts first begin to attend Christian worship. We have seen the son-in-law climb into the prayer-house over the wall at the farthest point from where the mother-inlaw was sitting; but this absurd regulation is soon dropped as useless and inconvenient.

Slavery and Work. — All castes, Brahmans, Sudras, Ilavars, and Shanars possessed slaves. Yet Pulayars have of late years since their emancipation, and perhaps in rare cases previously, had some little property in cattle, or land purchased or reclaimed by their own labours. They still regard themselves and speak as being slaves, but those who have opportunity to break off the old connection are free. Many prefer their former situation when at all favourable, to independence and self-help.

When they work in the rice-fields, women now receive daily one edungaly of paddy; men, one and a half, also four armfuls of straw and rice (or perhaps only two) from each field for watching the crops throughout the year. For residence, a small bit of land is allotted. The trees in this belong to the master, but the Pulayar enjoys the produce while he lives there. When not required by his master, he is at liberty to work elsewhere, or for himself. Actual work for the master occupies about three months in the year, and watching, three months.

There is little to do in the hot season, say March, after the February rice crop has been garnered. In April, rice nurseries are prepared, enclosures repaired, and manuring and ploughing attended to. In the middle of May the rice is sown and transplanted; in June, weeding occupies till the end of that month. There is then little field work for two months till August when the second harvest begins.

While some masters treated their slaves with consideration, others greatly oppressed them. If a cow gave them milk they must take it to the house of the master. When bought and sold, the agreement specified “tie and beat, but do not destroy either legs or eyes.”

For faults or crimes they were cruelly confined in stocks or cages, and beaten. For not attending work very early in the morning, they were tied up and flogged severely. Awful cruelties were sometimes perpetrated. Cases are known in which slaves have been blinded by lime cast into their eyes. The teeth of one were extracted by his master as a punishment for eating his sugar cane.

A poor woman has been known, after severe torture and beating, to kill her own child in order to accuse her master of the murder and get revenge. Even the Syrian Christians were sometimes most cruel in their treatment of their slaves. Rev. H. Baker, fils was acquainted with a case in which a slave ran away from his master, but afterwards returned with presents, begging forgiveness. He was beaten severely, covered with hot ashes, and starved till he died. It cost the unworthy master, however, five hundred rupees in bribes “to settle the trouble.”

Slaves were not only bought and sold outright, but also mortgaged like lands. Female slaves were valued at double price, on account of the “produce”— the children— half of which went to the seller and half to the purchaser. Lieut. Conner says in Report of Survey, 1820, “Husband and wife sometimes serve different persons, but more frequently the same. The females of this class are given in usufruct, scarcely ever in complete possession : the eldest male child belongs to the master of the father : the rest of the family remain with the mother while young, but being the property of her owner, revert to him when of an age to be useful; and she follows in the event of her becoming a widow.”

In 1852, before emancipation, the Rev. George Matthan wrote that the price of a slave was usually Rs. 6, but in Mallapalli, Rs. 18. The children were the property of the mother’s owner. Being paid in kind and at the lowest possible rate, they were able to obtain only the coarsest support of life. Lying, stealing, and drunkenness were common among them.

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