2. Dvitīyaṃ kāṇḍam

16. śūdravargaḥ

(Über Śūdras)

2. Vers 5 - 15: Handwerker

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Zitierweise | cite as: Amarasiṃha <6./8. Jhdt. n. Chr.>: Nāmaliṅgānuśāsana (Amarakośa) / übersetzt von Alois Payer <1944 - >. -- 2. Dvitīyaṃ kāṇḍam. -- 16. śūdravargaḥ  (Über Śūdras). -- 2. Vers 5 - 15: Handwerker.  -- Beispiele zu: Kupferschmied. -- Fassung vom 2018-01-03. --  URL:                                                        

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Chembōtti (Malayalam)

"Chembōtti.In the Madras [மதராஸ்] Census Report, 1901, it is stated that the name Chembōtti is derived from “chembu [ചെമ്പ്], copper, and kotti, he who beats.” They are coppersmiths in Malabar [മലബാര്‍], who are distinct from the Malabar Kammālans. They are supposed to be descendants of men who made copper idols for temples, and so rank above the Kammālans in social position, and about equally with the lower sections of the Nāyars [നായര്‍]. The name is also used as an occupational term by the Konkan [कोंकण] Native Christian coppersmiths. In the Cochin [കൊച്ചി] and Travancore [തിരുവിതാംകൂര്] Census Reports, Chembukotti [ചെമ്പുകൊട്ടി] is recorded as an occupational title or sub-caste of Nāyars [നായര്‍] who work in copper, chiefly in temples and Brāhman houses.

In the Gazetteer of the Malabar [മലബാര്‍] district, the Chembōttis are described as copper-workers, whose traditional business is the roofing of the Sri-kōvil [ശ്രീകോവിൽ], or inner shrine of the temple with that metal. They are said to have originally formed part of the Kammālan community. 

“When the great temple at Taliparamba [തളിപ്പറമ്പ്] was completed, it was purified on a scale of unprecedented grandeur, no less than a thousand Brāhmans being employed. What was their dismay when the ceremony was well forward, to see a Chembōtti coming from the Sri-kōvil [ശ്രീകോവിൽ], where he had been putting finishing touches to the roof. This appeared to involve a recommencement of the whole tedious and costly ritual, and the Brāhmans gave vent to their feelings of despair, when a vision from heaven reassured them, and thereafter the Chembōttis have been raised in the social scale, and are not regarded as a polluting caste.”

[Quelle: Thurston, Edgar <1855-1935> ; Rangachari, K. (Kadambi) [கா. இரங்காச்சாரி] <1868 – 1934>: Castes and tribes of southern India / by Edgar Thurston ; assisted by K. Rangachari. -- Madras [மதராஸ்] [மதராஸ்] : Govt. Press, 1909. -- 7 Bde. : Ill. ; 24 cm. -- Bd. 2. -- S. 25f.]

Kanchugāra (Kannada)

"Kanchugāra.In the Madras [மதராஸ்] and Mysore [ಮೈಸೂರು] Census Reports, Kanchugāra is recorded as a sub-division of Panchāla, the members of which are workers in brass, copper, and bell-metal. The Kanchugāras of South Canara are described by Mr. H. A. Stuart (Manual of the South Canara district) as

“a Canarese [ಕನ್ನಡ] caste of brass-workers. They are Hindus of the Vaishnava [ವೈಷ್ಣವ] sect, and pay special reverence to Venkatramana of Tirupati [తిరుపతి]. Their spiritual guru is the head of the Rāmachandrapuram [రామచంద్రాపురం] math. A man cannot marry within his own gōtra [ಗೋತ್ರ] or family. They have the ordinary system of inheritance through males. Girls must be married before puberty, and the dhāre form of marriage (see Bant) is used. The marriage of widows is not permitted, and divorce is allowed only in the case of women who have proved unchaste. The dead are either cremated, or buried in a recumbent posture. Brāhmans officiate as their priests. The use of spirituous liquors, and flesh and fish is permitted. Bell-metal is largely used for making household utensils, such as lamps, goglets, basins, jugs, etc. The process of manufacturing these articles is as follows. The moulds are made of clay, dried and coated with wax to the thickness of the articles required, and left to dry again, a hole being made in them so as to allow the wax to flow out when heated. After this has been done, the molten metal is poured in. The moulds are then broken, and the articles taken out and polished.”

[Quelle: Thurston, Edgar <1855-1935> ; Rangachari, K. (Kadambi) [கா. இரங்காச்சாரி] <1868 – 1934>: Castes and tribes of southern India / by Edgar Thurston ; assisted by K. Rangachari. -- Madras [மதராஸ்] [மதராஸ்] : Govt. Press, 1909. -- 7 Bde. : Ill. ; 24 cm. -- Bd. 3. -- S. 159f.]

Kasār [कसार], Kasera [कसेरा], Kansari [कंसारी] [कंसारी], Bharewa [भरेवा] (Central Provinces)

"Kasār [कसार], Kasera [कसेरा], Kansari [कंसारी] , Bharewa [भरेवा].1

1 This article is compiled from papers by Mr. Rājarām Gangādhar, Tahsīldṣr, Arvi; Mr. Sadāsheo Jairām, Sanskrit Professor, Hislop College; and Mr. Deodatta Nāmdār, Manager, Court of Wards, Chauri.

A group of Kasārs [कसार] or brass-workers.

1. Distribution and origin of the caste.

The professional caste of makers and sellers of brass and copper vessels. In 1911 the Kasārs [कसार] numbered 20,000 persons in the Central Provinces and Berār [बेरार], and were distributed over all Districts, except in the Jubbulpore [जबलपुर] division, where they are scarcely found outside Mandla [मन्द्ला]. Their place in the other Districts of this division is taken by the Tameras [तमेर]. In Mandla [मन्द्ला] the Kasārs [कसार] are represented by the inferior Bharewa [भरेवा] group. The name of the caste is derived from nsa [कांसा], a term now applied to bell-metal. The kindred caste of Tameras [तमेर] take their name from tāmba [तांबा], copper, but both castes work in this metal indifferently, and in Saugor [सागर], Damoh [दमोह] and Jubbulpore [जबलपुर] no distinction exists between the Kasārs [कसार] and Tameras [तमेर], the same caste being known by both names. A similar confusion exists in northern India in the use of the corresponding terms Kasera [कसेरा] and Thathera [ठठेरा]. In Wardha [वर्धा] the Kasārs [कसार] are no longer artificers, but only dealers, employing Panchāls [पंचाल] to make the vessels which they retail in their shops. And the same is the case with the Marātha [मराठा] and Deshkar [देशकर] sub-castes in Nāgpur [नागपूर]. The Kasārs [कसार] are a respectable caste, ranking next to the Sunārs [सुनार] among the urban craftsmen.

According to a legend given by Mr. Sadāsheo Jairām they trace their origin from Dharampāl [धरमपाल], the son of Sahasra Arjun [सहस्र अर्जुन] or Arjun [अर्जुन] of the Thousand Arms. Arjun [अर्जुन] was the great-grandson of Ekshvaku [इक्ष्वाकु], who was born in the forests of Kalinga [कलिंग], from the union of a mare and a snake. On this account the Kasārs [कसार] of the Marātha [मराठा] country say that they all belong to the Ahihaya [अहिहय] clan (Ahi [अहि], a snake ; and Haya [हय], a mare). Arjun [अर्जुन] was killed by Parasurāma [परशुराम] during the slaughter of the  Kshatriyas [क्षत्रिय] and Dharampāl [धरमपाल]’s mother escaped with three other pregnant women. According to another version all the four women were the wives of the king of the Somvansi [सोमवंशी] Rājpūts [राजपूत] who stole the sacred cow Kamdhenu [कामधेनु]. Their four sons on growing up wished to avenge their father and prayed to the Goddess Kāli [काली] for weapons. But unfortunately in their prayer, instead of saying bān [बाण], arrow, they said vān [वाण], which means pot, and hence brass pots were given to them instead of arrows. They set out to sell the pots, but got involved in a quarrel with a Rāja [राजा], who killed three of them, but was defeated by the fourth, to whom he afterwards gave his daughter and half his kingdom ; and this hero became the ancestor of the Kasārs [कसार]. In some localities the Kasārs [कसार] say that Dharampāl [धरमपाल], the Rājpūt [राजपूत] founder of their caste, was the ancestor of the Haihaya Rājpūt [हैहय राजपूत] kings of Ratanpur [रतनपुर] ; and it is noticeable that the Thatheras [ठठेरा] of the United Provinces state that their original home was a place called Ratanpur [रतनपुर], in the Deccan [दक्खिन]. Both Ratanpur [रतनपुर] and Mandla [मन्द्ला], which are very old towns, have important brass and bell-metal industries, their bell-metal wares being especially well known on account of the brilliant polish which is imparted to them. And the story of the Kasārs [कसार] may well indicate, as suggested by Mr. Hīra Lāl, that Ratanpur [रतनपुर] was a very early centre of the brass-working industry, from which it has spread to other localities in this part of India.

2. Internal structure.

The caste have a number of subdivisions, mainly of a territorial nature. Among these are the
  • Marātha [मराठा] Kasārs [कसार] ; 
  • the Deshkar [देशकर], who also belong to the Marātha [मराठा] country ;
  • the Pardeshi [परदेशी] or foreigners,
  • the Jhāde or residents of the forest country of the Central Provinces, and
  • the Audhia [अवधिया] or Ajudhiabāsi [अयुधियावासी] who are immigrants from Oudh [अवध].

Another subdivision, the Bharewas [भरेवा], are of a distinctly lower status than the body of the caste, and have non-Aryan customs, such as the eating of pork. They make the heavy brass ornaments which the Gonds [गोंड] and other tribes wear on their legs, and are probably an occupational offshoot from one of these tribes. In Chanda [चंद्रपूर] some of the Bharewas [भरेवा] serve as grooms and are looked down upon by the others. They have totemistic septs, named after animals and plants, some of which are Gond [गोंड] words ; and among them the bride goes to the bridegroom’s house to be married, which is a Gond [गोंड] custom. The Bharewas [भरेवा] may more properly be considered as a separate caste of lower status. As previously stated, the Marātha [मराठा] and Deshkar [देशकर] subcastes of the Marātha [मराठा] country no longer make vessels, but only keep them for sale. One subcaste, the Otāris [ओतारी], make vessels from moulds, while the remainder cut and hammer into shape the imported sheets of brass. Lastly comes a group comprising those members of the caste who are of doubtful or illegitimate descent, and these are known either as Takle (‘Thrown out ’ in Marathi [मराठी]), Bidur, ‘Bastard,’ or Laondi Bachcha, ‘ Issue of a kept wife.’ In the Marātha [मराठा] country the Kasārs [कसार], as already seen, say that they all belong to one gotra [गोत्र], the Ahihaya [अहिहय]. They have, however, collections of families distinguished by different surnames, and persons having the same surname are forbidden to marry. In the northern Districts they have the usual collection of exogamous septs, usually named after villages.

3. Social customs.

The marriages of first cousins are generally forbidden, as well as of members of the same sept. Divorce and the remarriage of widows are permitted. Devi [देवी] or Bhawāni [भवानी] is the principal deity of the caste, as of so many Hindus. At her festival of Māndo Amāwas [अमावस] or the day of the new moon of Phāgun [फाल्गुन] (February), every Kasār [कसार] must return to the community of which he is a member and celebrate the feast with them. And in default of this he will be expelled from caste until the next Amāwas [अमावस] of Phāgun [फाल्गुन] comes round. They close their shops and worship the implements of their trade on this day and also on the Pola [पोळा] day. The Kasārs [कसार], as already stated, rank next to the Sunārs [सुनार] among the artisan castes, and the Audhia Sunārs [अवधिया सुनार], who make ornaments of bell-metal, form a connecting link between the two groups. The social status of the Kasārs [कसार] varies in different localities. In some places Brāhmans [ब्राह्मण] take water from them but not in others. Some Kasārs [कसार] now invest boys with the sacred thread at their weddings, and thereafter it is regularly worn.

4. Occupation.

The caste make eating and drinking vessels, ornaments and ornamental figures from brass, copper and bell-metal. Brass is the metal most in favour for utensils, and it is usually imported in sheets from Bombay [मुंबई], but in places it is manufactured from a mixture of three parts of copper and two of zinc. This is considered the best brass, though it is not so hard as the inferior kinds, in which the proportion of zinc is increased. Ornaments of a grey colour, intended to resemble silver, are made from a mixture of four parts of copper with five of zinc. Bell-metal is an alloy of copper and tin, and in Chānda is made of four parts of copper to one part tin or tinfoil, the tin being the more expensive metal. Bells of fairly good size and excellent tone are moulded from this amalgam, and plates or saucers in which anything acid in the way of food is to be kept are also made of it, since acids do not corrode this metal as they do brass and copper. But bell-metal vessels are fragile and sometimes break when dropped. They cannot also be heated in the fire to clean them, and therefore cannot be lent to persons outside the family ; while brass vessels may be lent to friends of other castes, and on being received back pollution is removed by heating them in the fire or placing hot ashes in them. Brāhmans [ब्राह्मण] make a small fire of grass for this purpose and pass the vessels through the flame. Copper cooking-pots are commonly used by Muhammadans but not by Hindus, as they have to be coated with tin ; the Hindus consider that tin is an inferior metal whose application to copper degrades the latter. Pots made of brass with a copper rim are called ‘Ganga Jamni’  [गंगाजमनी]after the confluence of the dark water of the Jumna [जमुना] with the muddy stream of the Ganges [गंगा], whose union they are supposed to symbolise. Small figures of the deities or idols are also made of brass, but some Kasārs [कसार] will not attempt this work, because they are afraid of the displeasure of the god in case the figure should not be well or symmetrically shaped."

[Quelle: Russell, R. V. (Robert Vane) <1873-1915> ; Hīra Lāl <Rai Bahadur> [हीरालाल <राय बहादुर>] <1873 - 1923>: The tribes and castes of the Central Provinces of India. -- London: MacMillan, 1916. -- 4 Bde. : Ill. -- Bd. 3. -- S. 369 - 372]

Kasera [कसेरा] (NW Provinces und Oudh)

"Kasera [कसेरा].—(Sanskrit kansya kāra [कंसकार], “a worker in bell metal.·”)1 The brass founding caste.

1 But on the suffix era see Hoernle, Comparative Grammer of the Gaudian Languages, para. 249, sqq.

 According to Mr. Risley,2 they are

2 Tribes and Castes, I., 429.

“probably an offshoot from one of the higher mercantile castes, which was separated from the parent group by adopting this special profession. The fact that the Kaseras [कसेरा] have a well-defined set of exogamous sections and pride themselves on their purity of descent seems to indicate that the caste is a homogeneous one, and is not, like many of the functional castes, a collection of men from several different groups held together merely by the bond of a common occupation.”

In Mirzāpur [मिर्ज़ापुर], which is one of the head-quarters of the caste, they call themselves Kshatriyas [क्षत्रिय], and assert that they were driven to adopt their present occupation when Parasurāma [परशुराम] made a general massacre of the Kshatriya [क्सत्रिय] race.1

1 In Mirzapur they represent themselves as descended from the ancient Kshatriya Rājas -Tamar, Mordhuja, Tānchardhuja, and Haihaja. Mordhuja is possibly Moradhwaj (Cunningham, Archaeological Survey, VI., 227 ; XVII., 98). Haihaya was the name of the Kala Chūri dynasty of Chedi (ibid., IX., 77).

2. Internal structure.

In Benares [वाराणसी]  they name seven endogamous sub-castes—

  • Purbiya [पूर्वीया] or Purbiha [पुर्वीहा] (Eastern),
  • Pachhawan [पछवां] or Pachhiwahan [पच्छिवहां] (Western),
  • Gorakhpuri  [गोरखपुरी] (from Gorakhpur [गोरखपुर]),
  • Tānk [टांक] (either connected with the Rājput [राजपूत] clan of that name or, as Mr. Sherring supposes, from the principality of Tānk [टांक] (Tonk [टोंक]),
  • Tanchara,
  • Bhariya, and
  • Golar.

Of these the Purbiya or Purabiya [पुरबिया], Pachhiwahan [पच्छिवहां], and Golar are found in Mirzāpur [मिर्ज़ापुर].

The Purabiya [पुरबिया] and Pachhiwahan  [पच्छिवहां] sub-castes are divided into a number of exogamous sections (al [आल]).

The following arc the sections of the Purabiya [पुरबिया] in Mirzāpur [मिर्ज़ापुर]:—

  • Baikata,
  • Barwār,
  • Paigiha,
  • Belkatha, 
  • Chorkat,
  • Chūrīhār [चुरीहार],
  • Ganreriya,
  • Ghorcharha,
  • Gurteliya,
  • Hardiha [हरदिहा], 
  • Kardhaniyator Mahobiya [महोबिया],
  • Kharmarauriya,
  • Lohār [लोहार],
  • Mahobiya [महोबिया], 
  • Qalaigar,
  • Tamaha,
  • Teliya [तेलिया].

The sections of the Pachhiwahan  [पच्छिवहां] are :— 

  • Bāri [बारी],
  • Bapdahka,
  • Berwār,
  • Belkata,
  • Budhmaniya,
  • Chilimāra, 
  • Chūrīhāra,
  • Dhumel,
  • Ghoraha,
  • Ghamela,
  • Ghumila,
  • Hardiha [हरदिहा],
  • Jarseth, 
  • Jhamaiya,
  • Katha,
  • Khutaha,
  • Koraiya,
  • Mahalwār,
  • Paitiha,
  • Rahilaha, 
  • Sirbhaiyān,
  • Songar.

The Golar are few in numbers in Mirzāpur [मिर्ज़ापुर], and do not appear to have any well-recognized sections. They are a separate sub-caste of Kaseras [कसेरा] who have been permanently excommunicated for some violation of caste rules and form an endogamous sub-caste of their own.

These three sub-castes are endogamous and do not eat together. As to the origin of these sections—some are obviously the names of existing castes such as the

  • Teliya [तेलिया], 
  • Lohār [लोहार],
  • Ganreriya,
  • Chūrīhār [चुरीहार],
  • Qalaigar, and
  • Bāri [बारी].

Others like the Mahobiya [महोबिया] and Kardhaniyator Mahobiya [महोबिया] (“those who break the waist string”) are of local origin (from Mahoba [महोबा] in the Hamīrpur [हमीरपुर] District).

It illustrates the fertility with which these sections are prodneed that none in these Mirzāpur [मिर्ज़ापुर] lists correspond with those given by Mr. Risley for Bihār [बिहार].

In the hills the Kasera [कसेरा] is represented by the Tamota or Tamta, who is a Dom [डोम].

The complete lists show 53 sections of the usual type. Some are territorial such, as 

  • Ajhudhyabāsi [अयुध्यावासी],
  • Brij [ब्रज],
  • Jamnapāri [जमुनापारी],
  • Jaunpuri [जौनपुरी],
  • Kanaujiya [कन्नौजिया],
  • Mainpuriya [मैनपुरिया], 
  • Pachhiwahan [पच्छिवहां],
  • Purabiya [पुरबिया] ;

others are taken from tribes with which they imply some connection, such as

  • Ahīrbansi [अहीरवंशी],
  • Chhatri [छत्री],
  • Paribais Chhatri [छत्री],
  • Tānk [टांक], and
  • Sombansi [सोमवंशी].

They practise a strict rule of exogamy. No man may marry a woman of his own section, and the tendency among the more respectable Kaseras [कसेरा] appears to be to extend this prohibition so as to prevent not only persons of the same section from intermarrying, but to bar intermarriages between persons whose fathers, mothers, grandfathers and grandmothers belong to the same section. They have in addition a rule of exogamy based on geographical position. Thus the Mirzāpur [मिर्ज़ापुर] Kaseras [कसेरा] intermarry only with those resident in Benares [वाराणसी]  and Jaunpur [जौनपुर], not with those of Bihār [बिहार].

3. Marriage rules.

Infant marriage is the rule with all the more respectable Kaseras [कसेरा], but ordinary people marry their daughters at ten or twelve. Inter-tribal fornication in the cases of unmarried people or widows and widowers seems to be lightly regarded. The offenders are not ex-communicated, only fined. In Bihār [बिहार] it would seem that polygamy is allowed only if the first wife is barren : here, as far as can be ascertained, a man may marry as many wives as he can afford to keep. They have the ordinary forms of marriage,—charhauwa, the respectable form, and dola [दोला], used by poor people. Widows can marry by sagāi [सगाई], but they profess this to be a modern institution. She may marry the younger brother of her late husband or an outsider as she pleases. A husband can put away his wife for adultery with a member of another caste, and a wife can leave her husband if he does not support her, or abandons his religion. Divorced women cannot re-marry within the tribe.

4. Religion.

Kaseras [कसेरा] generally follow the Vaishnava [वैष्णव] or Nanakpanthi [नानकपंठी]  sect. Their clan deities are the Pānchonpīr [पांचों पीर], Durga [दुर्गा], and Bandi Devi [बंदी देवी]. The first are worshipped in the month of Jeth [जेठ] on a Sunday or Wednesday, with offerings of pulse cakes (phulauri [फुलौरी]) and bread. Durga [दुर्गा] is worshipped on 15th Chait [चैत्र] with an offering of cakes (pūri [पूरी]), rice milk (khīr [खीर]), and sweetmeats. Bandi Devi [बंदी देवी] is honoured with an offering of pepper and sugar dissolved in water (mirchwān [मिर्चवान]) at the full moon of Sāwan [सावन]. When a person recovers from small-pox a yellow cloth and some flowers are dedicated to Sītala Māta [शीतला माता]. All these offerings are, after dedication, consumed by the worshippers. Their priests are Tiwāri Brāhmans [तिवारी ब्राह्मण], who are received on terms of equality by other Brāhmans [ब्राह्मण]. The dead are cremated in the ordinary way, and balls (pinda [पिंड]) are offered to them on the 15th of any month which falls on a Wednesday, and also in the first fortnight of Kuār [क्वार]. On such occasions uncooked grain (sīdha [सीधा]) is given to Brāhmans [ब्राह्मण]. People who die in a distant land or who have died a violent death are thrown into running water and cremated in effigy, with the usual ceremonies, within six months of death.

5. Occupation and social status.

There is some difference of opinion as to their occupation. According to Mr. Nesfield1:

1 Brief view, 29.

“The Kasera’s [कसेरा] speciality lies in mixing the softer metals (zinc, copper, and tin) and moulding the alloy into various shapes, such as cups, bowls, plates, etc. The Thathera’s  [ठठेरा] art consists in polishing and engraving the utensils which the Kasera [कसेरा] supplies. ”

On the other hand Mr. Hoey2 says that at Lucknow [लखनऊ] the manufacturer of brass vessels is called indifferently Thathera [ठठेरा], Kasera [कसेरा], or Bhariya.

2 Monograph, 198.

In Mirzāpur [मिर्ज़ापुर] it appears that the name Kasera [कसेरा] is confined to the moulder of vessels in brass or alloy and to the man who beats out trays out of metal sheets, while the Thathera [ठठेरा] makes and sells ornaments made of alloy (phūl [फूल]). A workman akin to him is the Dhaliya or Dhalnewāla of Lucknow [लखनऊ], who makes ornaments (hansli [हंसली], kara [कडा], tariya) of zinc (jasta [जस्ता]), others from pewter (rānga [रांगा]), and who moulds in lead moulds for other artizans.3

3 Ibid., 102. Dr. Buchanan (Eastern India, II., 260) says: "In some places these two professions are considered distinct, the makers and menders of vessels being called Kasera [कसेरा], and the makers of ornaments being called Thathera [ठठेरा], but in others the terms are used as synonymous."

The Kaseras [कसेरा] pretend that they were originally landowners like the Kshatriyas [क्सत्रिय]. Kaseras [कसेरा] all wear the sacred thread (janeu [जनेऊ]), and are very punctilious in matters of caste. They eat the flesh of goats and sheep and fish. They do not drink spirits. They eat pakki [पक्की]  cooked by all Brāhmans [ब्राह्मण], Kshatriyas [क्सत्रिय], and Vaisyas [वैश्य], except Kalwārs [कलवार], Kāyasths [कायस्थ], Nāis [नाई], Bāris [बारी], and Ahīrs [अहीर]. They eat kachchi [कच्ची] cooked by their own tribesmen or priests. It is said that all Brāhmans [ब्राह्मण], except Sarwariyas [सरवाडिया], will eat pakki [पक्की]  cooked by them, and Nāis [नाई], Bāris [बारी] and Kahārs [कहार] eat kachchi [कच्ची] prepared by them. A full account of the Kasera’s [कसेरा] craft will appear in the forthcoming Monograph on the brass metal trade of the Province and need not be repeated here."

[Quelle: Crooke, William <1848-1923>: The tribes and castes of the North-western Provinces and Oudh. -- Calcutta : Office of the superintendent of government printing, 1896 - 4 Bde. : Ill. -- Bd. 3. -- S. 167 - 171]

Khodūra (Oriya)

"Khodūra.The name is derived from khodu, bangle. The Khodūras, Mr. Francis writes (Madras Census Report, 1901), are

“manufacturers of the brass and bell-metal bangles and rings ordinarily worn by the lower class Odiyas [ଓଡ଼ିଆ]. Their headman is called Nahako Sāhu, and under him there are deputies called Dhoyi Nahako and Bēhara. There is a fourth functionary styled Aghopotina, whose peculiar duty is said to be to join in the first meal taken by those who have been excommunicated, and subsequently readmitted into the caste by the caste panchayat (council). A quaint custom exists, by which honorific titles like Sēnāpati [ସେନାପତି], Mahāpātro [ମହାପାତ୍ର], Subuddhi, etc., are sold by the panchayat to any man of the caste who covets them, and the proceeds sent to Puri and Pratābpur for the benefit of the temples there. It is said that the original home of the caste was Orissa [ଓଡ଼ିଶା], and that it came to Ganjam [ଗଞ୍ଜାମ] with Purushottam Deva [ବୀର ପ୍ରତାପ ପୁରୁଷୋତ୍ତମ ଦେବ, r. 1466 - 1497], the Mahārāja of Puri [ପୁରୀ]. In its general customs it resembles the Badhōyis.”

I am informed that the name of the fourth functionary should be Aghopotiria, or first leaf man, i.e., the man who is served first at a public dinner."

[Quelle: Thurston, Edgar <1855-1935> ; Rangachari, K. (Kadambi) [கா. இரங்காச்சாரி] <1868 – 1934>: Castes and tribes of southern India / by Edgar Thurston ; assisted by K. Rangachari. -- Madras [மதராஸ்] [மதராஸ்] : Govt. Press, 1909. -- 7 Bde. : Ill. ; 24 cm. -- Bd. 3. -- S. 288]

Tamera [तमेर], Tambatkar [ताम्बतकार] (Central Provinces)

"Tamera [तमेर], Tambatkar [ताम्बतकार].1

1 This article is based on information contributed by Nand Kishore, Nāzir of the Deputy Commissioner's Office,  Damoh; Mr. Tārāchand Dube, Municipal Member, Bilāspur ; and Mr. Adurām  Chaudhri of the Gazetteer Office.

1. Tamera [तमेर] and Kasār [कसार].

The professional caste of coppersmiths, the name being derived from tāmba [तांबा], copper. The Tameras [तमेर], however, like the Kasārs [कसार] or brass-workers, use copper, brass and bell-metal indifferently, and in the northern Districts the castes are not really distinguished, Tamera [तमेर] and Kasār [कसार] being almost interchangeable terms. In the Marātha [मराठा] country, however, and other localities they are considered as distinct castes. Copper is a sacred metal, and the coppersmith’s calling would be considered somewhat more respectable than that of the worker in brass or bell-metal, just as the Sunār [सुनार] or goldsmith ranks above both ; and probably, therefore, the Tameras [तमेर] may consider themselves a little better than the Kasārs [कसार]. As brass is an alloy made from copper and zinc, it seems likely that vessels were made from copper before they were made from brass. But copper being a comparatively rare and expensive metal, utensils made from it could scarcely have ever been generally used, and it is therefore not necessary to suppose that either the Tamera [तमेर] or Kasār [कसार] caste came into being before the adoption of brass as a convenient material for the household pots and pans.

2. Social traditions and customs.

In 1911 the Tameras [तमेर] numbered about 5000 persons in the Central Provinces and Berār [बेरार]. They tell the same story of their origin which has already been related in the article on the Kasār [कसार] caste, and trace their descent from the Haihaya Rājpūt [हैहय राजपूत] dynasty of Ratanpur [रतनपुर]. They say that when the king Dharampāl [धरमपाल], the first ancestor of the caste, was married, a bevy of 119 girls were sent with his bride in accordance with the practice still occasionally obtaining among royal Hindu families, and these, as usual, became the concubines of the husband or, as the Tameras [तमेर] say, his wives : and from the bride and her companions the 120 exogamous sections of the caste are sprung. As a fact, however, many of the sections are named after villages or natural objects. A man is not permitted to marry any one belonging to his own section or that of his mother, the union of first cousins being thus prohibited. The caste also do not favour Anta sānta or the practice of exchanging girls between families, the reason alleged being that after the bride’s father has acknowledged the superiority of the bridegroom’s father by washing his feet, it is absurd to require the latter to do the same, that is, to wash the feet of his inferior. So they may not take a girl from a family to which they have given one of their own. The real reason for the rule lies possibly in an extension of the principle of exogamy, whether based on a real fear of carrying too far the practice of intermarriage between families or an unfounded superstition that intermarriage between families already connected may have the same evil results on the offspring as the union of blood-relations. When the wedding procession is about to start, after the bridegroom has been bathed and before he puts on the kankan [कंकण] or iron wristlet which is to protect him from evil spirits, he is seated on a stool while all the male members of the household come up with their choti [चोटी] or scalp-lock untied and rub it against that of the bridegroom. Again, after the wedding ceremonies are over and the bridegroom has, according to rule, untied one of the fastenings of the marriage-shed, he also turns over a tile of the roof of the house. The meaning of the latter ceremony is not clear; the significance attaching to the choti [चोटी] has been discussed in the article on Nai.

3. Disposal of the dead.

The caste burn their dead except children, who can be  buried, and observe mourning for ten days in the case of an adult and for three days for a child. A cake of flour containing two pice (farthings) is buried or burnt with the corpse. When a death takes place among the community all the members of it stop making vessels for that day, though they-will transact retail sales. When mourning is over, a feast is given to the caste-fellows and to seven members of the menial and serving castes. These are known as the ‘Sāttiho Jāt’ or Seven Castes, and it may be conjectured that in former times they were the menials of the village and were given a meal in much the same spirit as prompts an English landlord to give his tenants a dinner on occasions of ceremony. Instances of a similar custom are noted among the Kunbis [कुणबी] and other castes. Before food is served to the guests a leaf-plate containing a portion for the deceased is placed outside the house with a pot of water, and a burning lamp to guide his spirit to the food.

4. Religion.

The caste worship the goddess Singhbāhani [सिंहवाहनी] or Devi [देवी] riding on a tiger. They make an image of her in the most expensive metal they can afford, and worship it daily. They will on no account swear by this goddess. They worship their trade implements on the day of the new moon in Chait [चैत्र] (March) and Bhādon [भादों] (August). A trident, as a symbol of Devi [देवी], is then drawn with powdered rice and vermilion on the furnace for casting metal. A lamp is waved over the furnace and a cocoanut is broken and distributed to the caste-fellows, no outsider being allowed to be present. They quench their furnace on the new moon day of every month, the Rāmnaomi [राम नवमी] and Durgapuja [दुर्गापूजा] or nine days’ fasts in the months of Chait [चैत्र] and Kunwār [कुंवार], and for the two days following the Diwāli [दीवाली] and Holi [होली] festivals. On these days they will not prepare any new vessels, but will sell those which they have ready. The Tameras [तमेर] have Kanaujia Brāhmans [कन्नौजिया ब्राह्मण] for their priests, and the Brāhmans [ब्राह्मण] will take food from them which has been cooked without water and salt. On this account other Kanaujia Brāhmans [कन्नौजिया ब्राह्मण] require a heavy payment before they will marry with the priests of the Tameras [तमेर]. The caste abstain from liquor, and some of them have abjured all flesh food while others partake of it. They usually wear the sacred thread. Brāhmans [ब्राह्मण] will take water from their hands, and the menial castes will eat food which they have touched. They work in brass, copper and bell-metal in exactly the same manner as the Kasārs [कसार], and have an equivalent social position."

[Quelle: Russell, R. V. (Robert Vane) <1873-1915> ; Hīra Lāl <Rai Bahadur> [हीरालाल <राय बहादुर>] <1873 - 1923>: The tribes and castes of the Central Provinces of India. -- London: MacMillan, 1916. -- 4 Bde. : Ill. -- Bd. 4. -- S. 536 - 539]

Thathera [ठठेरा] (NW Provinces und Oudh)

"Thathera [ठठेरा]1 (Probably derived from Sanskrit tashta-kāra [तष्टकार], “ one who polishes ”)—The caste of braziers and makers and sellers of brass and copper vessels. It is not easy to ascertain exactly the difference of function between the Kasera [कसेरा] and Thathera [ठठेरा].

1 Based on enquiries at Mirzapur and notes by M. Chhote Lāl, Lucknow ; Pandit Baldeo Prasād, Deputy Collector, Cawnpur.

According to Mr. Nesfield : 2    

2 Brief View., 29

“The Kasera’s [कसेरा] speciality lies in mixing the softer metals (zinc, copper, and tin), and moulding the alloy into various shapes, such as cups, bowls, plates, etc. The Thathera’s [ठठेरा] art consists in polishing and engraving the utensils which the Kasera [कसेरा] supplies.” 

In the Panjāb [ਪੰਜਾਬ ] it would seem that the Kasera [कसेरा] is the capitalist dealer, while the Thathera [ठठेरा] is the skilled artizan.3

3 Johnstone, Monograph on Brass and Copper Ware, 17.

But these functions seem to overlap, and in Mirzāpur [मिर्ज़ापुर] the term Thathera [ठठेरा] seems to be more generally applied to the craftsman who makes ornaments out of the alloy known as phūl [फूल].

2. Tradition of origin.

Curiously enough, there is, in Oudh [अवध], a widespread tradition that the Thatheras [ठठेरा] were lords of the land before the Rājput [राजपूत] invasion.4

4 Elliott, Chronicles of Unāo, 25; Oudh Gazetteer, I, 22, 221, sq. 270, 275. Hardoi Settlement Report, 75, 85, 100, 165, 227.

Mr. McMinn hazards the speculation that the Thatheras [ठठेरा] of Oudh [अवध] legend were Bhars ; others say that they were Thārus. But all this is mere speculation, and we really know nothing as to the people who are referred to. The tribe in Mirzāpur [मिर्ज़ापुर] say that they came from Bengal [বঙ্গ] some three or four generations ago, and they name a place called Nasīrganj [नासरीगंज] in the Shāhābād [शाहाबाद] District as their head quarters. In Lucknow [लखनऊ] they say that they were originally Kshatriyas  [क्सत्रिय], and they have the stock story that, when Parasurāma [परशुराम] destroyed the Kshatriya [क्सत्रिय] race, one of their women, who was pregnant, was protected by a certain Kamandala Rishi [कमंडल ऋषि], and that her offspring founded the caste of Thatheras [ठठेरा]. They add that their original home was a place called Ratanpur [रतनपुर] in the Dakkhin [दक्खिन]. In Benares [वाराणसी] , according to Mr. Sherring, they wear the Brāhmanical thread and claim to hold a place intermediate between the Kshatriyas [क्सत्रिय] and Vaisyas [वैश्य]. The caste is obviously purely occupational.

3. Internal organization.

The internal organization of the caste is very complex. At the last Census no less than three hundred and fourteen sub-castes were recorded, but it is at present impossible to say how many of these represent endogamous, and how many exogamous, groups. In Mirzāpur [मिर्ज़ापुर] there are two endogamous groups, Awadhiya [अवधिया] or “ those of Oudh [अवध],” and Bhusantiya.

In Lucknow [लखनऊ] the chief exogamous groups are

  • Bhariya,
  • Bangariya,
  • Barwār,
  • Daundiya Kheriya [डौंडिया खेडिया], who take their name from the famous Bais Rājput [बैस राजपूत] stronghold on the Ganges [गंगा],
  • Gurha,
  • Barhariya,
  • Tusaha,
  • Gulraha,
  • Dandiya,
  • Jarseth, and 
  • Lodh.

4. Exogamy.

The exogamous groups practise the usual rule which excludes the line of the paternal and maternal uncle

and the paternal and maternal aunt for three or four generations, or until all knowledge of relationship is lost.

5. Marriage.

They marry in the orthodox way by the forms known as byāh or charhaua and dola [दोला]. Widow marriage and the levirate are allowed under the usual restrictions.

6. Religion.

Some Thatheras [ठठेरा] are Saivas [शैव] ; but most of them are Vaishnavas [वैष्णव]. In Mirzāpur [मिर्ज़ापुर] they worship Mahābīr [महावीर], the Pānchon Pīr [पांचों पीर], and Devi [देवी] in the form of Bhāgawati [भागवती]. Mahābīr [महावीर] is worshipped in the months of Sāwan [सावन] or Kuār [क्वार] and on the birth of a child with an offering of sweetmeats, fried gram (ghughuri}, bread, and the erection of a flag (jhanda [झंडा]in his honour. The Pānchon Pīr [पांचों पीर] are worshipped at marriages and at the festivals of the Diwāli [दिवाली] and Khichari [खिचड़ी] ; at marriages with an offering of a head-dress (maur [मौड]) and food, on the Diwāli [दिवाली] with parched grain (lāi [लाई], chura [चूरा]), and at the Khichari [खिचड़ी] with Khichari [खिचड़ी] or rice boiled with pulse. They worship as a fetish the furnace (bhatti [भट्ठी]) in which the metal they work up is melted. In Lucknow [लखनऊ] their anvil (nihāi [निहाई]) and hammer represent a deity known as Kalawati Kanya [कलावती कंया] or “the skilful maiden." Their domestic ceremonies are superintended by a low class of Brāhmans [ब्राह्मण], who, in Lucknow [लखनऊ] [लखनऊ], are Tiwāris [तिवारी].

7. Social customs and status.

They drink spirits and eat goat’s meat and mutton as well as  fish. They eat pakki [पक्की] cooked by Brāhmans [ब्राह्मण], Rājputs [राजपूत], and Halwāis [हलवाई] ; but kachchi [कच्ची] only if cooked by one of their own caste. Banyas [बनिया] and all lower castes eat pakki [पक्की]  cooked by them ; but kachchi [कच्ची] cooked by them is eaten only by Nāis [नाई] and other castes of similar social standing."

[Quelle: Crooke, William <1848-1923>: The tribes and castes of the North-western Provinces and Oudh. -- Calcutta : Office of the superintendent of government printing, 1896 - 4 Bde. : Ill. -- Bd. 4. -- S. 407f.]