2. Dvitīyaṃ kāṇḍam

16. śūdravargaḥ

(Über Śūdras)

2. Vers 5 - 15: Handwerker

Beispiele zu: Pauker / Trommler / Musiker

Hrsg. von Alois Payer 

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: Pauker / Trommler / Musiker. -- Fassung vom 2017-11-17. --  URL:                                                         

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Holia [होलिया] (Central Provinces)

"Holia [होलिया].1

1 This article is compiled from a paper by Mr. Bābu Rao, Deputy Inspector of Schools, Seoni District.

A low caste of drummers and leather-workers who claim to be degraded Golars [गोलर] or Telugu [తెలుగు] Ahīrs [अहीर], under which caste most of the Holias [होलिया] seem to have returned themselves in 1901.2

2 In this year only 33 Holias [होलिया] were returned as against more than 4000 in 1891; but, on the other hand, in 1901  the number of Golars [गोलर] was double that  of the previous census.

The Holias [होलिया] relate the following story of their origin. Once upon a time two brothers, Golar [गोलर] by caste, set out in search of service, having with them a bullock. On the way the elder brother went to worship his tutelary deity Holiāri Deva ; but while he was doing so the bullock accidentally died, and the ceremony could not be proceeded with until the carcase was removed. Neither a Chamār [चमार] nor anybody else could be got to do this, so at length the younger brother was prevailed upon by the elder one to take away the body. When he returned, the elder brother would not touch him, saying that he had lost his caste. The younger brother resigned himself to his fate and called himself Holu, after the god whom he had been worshipping at the time he lost his caste. His descendants were named Holias [होलिया]. But he prayed to the god to avenge him for the treachery of his brother, and from that moment misfortunes commenced to shower upon the Golar [गोलर] until he repented and made what reparation he could ; and in memory of this, whenever a Golar [गोलर] dies, the Holias [होलिया] are feasted by the other Golars [गोलर] to the present day. The story indicates a connection between the castes, and it is highly probable that the Holias [होलिया] are a degraded class of Golars [गोलर] who took to the trade of tanning and leatherworking. When a Holia [होलिया] goes to a Golar’s [गोलर] house he must be asked to come in and sit down or the Golar [गोलर] will be put out of caste ; and when a Golar [गोलर] dies the house must be purified by a Holia [होलिया]. The caste is a very numerous one in Madras [மதராஸ்]. Here the Holia [होलिया] is superior only to the Mādiga [మాదిగ] or Chamār [चमार].1

1 Mysore Census Report (1891), p.254.

In the Central Provinces they are held to be impure and to rank below the Mahārs [महार], and they live on the outskirts of the village. Their caste customs resemble generally those of the Golars [गोलर]. They believe their traditional occupation to be the playing of leathern drums, and they still follow this trade, and also make slippers and leather thongs for agricultural purposes. But they must not make or mend shoes on pain of excommunication from caste. They are of middle stature, dark in colour, and very dirty in their person and habits. Like the Golars [गोलर], the Holias [होलिया] speak a dialect of Canarese [ಕನ್ನಡ], which is known as Golari, Holia [होलिया] or Komtau. Mr. Thurston gives the following interesting particulars about the Holias [होलिया] :2    

2 Ethnographic Notes in Southern India, p. 258.

“If a man of another caste enters the house of a Mysore Holia [होलिया], the owner takes care to tear the intruder’s cloth, and turn him out. This will avert any evil which might have befallen him. It is said that Brāhmans [ब्राह्मण] consider great luck will wait upon them if they can manage to pass through a Holia [होलिया] village unmolested. Should a Brāhman [ब्राह्मण] attempt to enter their quarters, the Holias [होलिया] turn him out, and slipper him, in former times it is said to death.”

[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. 212f.]

Māng [मांग] (Central Provinces)

"Māng [मांग].1

1 This article is based partly on a  paper by Mr. Achyut Sitāram Sāthe, Extra Assistant Commissioner.


1. Origin and traditions.

A low impure caste of the Marātha [मराठा] Districts, who act as village musicians and castrate bullocks, while their women serve as midwives. The Māngs [मांग] are also sometimes known as Vājantri [वाजंत्री] or musician. They numbered more than 90,000 persons in 1911, of whom 30,000 belonged to the Nāgpur [नागपूर] and Nerbudda [नर्मदा] Divisions of the Central Provinces, and 60,000 to Berār [बेरार]. The real origin of the Māngs [मांग] is obscure, but they probably originated from the subject tribes and became a caste through the adoption of the menial services which constitute their profession. In a Marātha [मराठा] book called the Shūdra Kamlākar [शूद्रकमलाकर],2 it is stated that the Māng [मांग] was the offspring of the union of a Vaideh [वैदेह] man and an Ambashtha [अम्बष्ठ] woman. A Vaideh [वैदेह] was the illegitimate child of a Vaishya [वैश्य] father and a Brāhman [ब्राह्मण] mother, and an Ambashtha [अम्बष्ठ] of a Brāhman [ब्राह्मण] father and a Vaishya [वैश्य] mother. The business of the Māng [मांग] was to play on the flute and to make known the wishes of the Rāja [राजा] to his subjects by beat of drum. He was to live in the forest or outside the village, and was not to enter it except with the Rāja’s [राजा] permission. He was to remove the dead bodies of strangers, to hang criminals, and to take away and appropriate the clothes and bedding of the dead.

 2 P. 389.

The Māngs [मांग] themselves relate the following legend of their origin as given by Mr. Sāthe : Long ago before cattle were used for ploughing, there was so terrible a famine upon the earth that all the grain was eaten up, and there was none left for seed. Mahādeo [महादेओ / महादेव] took pity on the few men who were left alive, and gave them some grain for sowing. In those days men used to drag the plough through the earth themselves. But when a Kunbi [कुणबी], to whom Mahādeo [महादेओ / महादेव] had given some seed, went to try and sow it, he and his family were so emaciated by hunger that they were unable, in spite of their united efforts, to get the plough through the ground. In this pitiable case the Kunbi [कुणबी] besought Mahādeo [महादेओ / महादेव] to give him some further assistance, and Mahādeo [महादेओ / महादेव] then appeared, and, bringing with him the bull Nandi [नन्दी], upon which he rode, told the Kunbi [कुणबी] to yoke it to the plough. This was done, and so long as Mahādeo [महादेओ / महादेव] remained present, Nandi [नन्दी] dragged the plough peaceably and successfully. But as soon as the god disappeared, the bull became restive and refused to work any longer. The Kunbi [कुणबी], being helpless, again complained to Mahādeo [महादेओ / महादेव], when the god appeared, and in his wrath at the conduct of the bull, great drops of perspiration stood upon his brow. One of these fell to the ground, and immediately a coal-black man sprang up and stood ready to do Mahādeo’s [महादेओ / महादेव] bidding. He was ordered to bring the bull to reason, and he went and castrated it, after which it worked well and quietly ; and since then the Kunbis [कुणबी] have always used bullocks for ploughing, and the descendants of the man, who was the first Māng [मांग], are employed in the office for which he was created. It is further related that Nandi [नन्दी], the bull, cursed the Māng [मांग] in his pain, saying that he and his descendants should never derive any profit from ploughing with cattle. And the Māngs [मांग] say that to this day none of them prosper by taking to cultivation, and quote the following proverb: ‘Keli kheti, Zhāli mati,’or, ‘If a Māng [मांग] sows grain he will only reap dust.’

2. Subdivisions.

The caste is divided into the following subcastes:

  • Dakhne [दक्खिने],
  • Khandeshe [ख़ानदेशे]  and
  • Berārya [बेरार्या], or those belonging to the Deccan [दक्खिन], Khāndesh [ख़ानदेश] and Berār [बेरार] ;
  • Ghodke [घोडके], those who tend horses ;
  • Dafle, tom-tom players ;
  • Uchle [उचले], pickpockets ; 
  • Pindāri [पिंडारी], descendants of the old freebooters;
  • Kakarkādhe, stone-diggers ;
  • Holer, hide-curers ; and
  • Garori [गरोडी].

The Garoris [गरोडी] 1 are a sept of vagrant snake-charmers and jugglers. Many are professional criminals.

1 See also separate article Māng-Garori [मांग गरोडी].

3. Marriage.

The caste is divided into exogamous family groups named after animals or other objects, or of a titular nature. One or two have the names of other castes. Members of the same group may not intermarry. Those who are well-to-do marry their daughters very young for the sake of social estimation, but there is no compulsion in this matter. In families which are particularly friendly, Mr. Sāthe remarks, children may be betrothed before birth if the two mothers are with child together. Betel is distributed, and a definite contract is made, on the supposition that a boy and girl will be born. Sometimes the abdomen of each woman is marked with red vermilion. A grown-up girl should not be allowed to see her husband’s face before marriage. The wedding is held at the bride’s house, but if it is more convenient that it should be in the bridegroom’s village, a temporary house is found for the bride’s party, and the marriage-shed is built in front of it. The bride must wear a yellow bodice and cloth, yellow and red being generally considered among Hindus as the auspicious colours for weddings. When she leaves for her husband’s house she puts on another or going-away dress, which should be as fine as the family can afford, and thereafter she may wear any colour except white. The distinguishing marks of a married woman are the mangal-sūtram [मंगलसूत्रम] or holy thread, which her husband ties on her neck at marriage ; the garsoli or string of black beads round the neck ; the silver toe-rings and glass bangles. If any one of these is lost, it must be replaced at once, or she is likely soon to be a widow. The food served at the wedding-feast consists of rice and pulse, but more essential than these is an ample provision of liquor. It is a necessary feature of a Māng [मांग] wedding that the bridegroom should go to it riding on a horse. The Mahārs [महार], another low caste of the Marātha [मराठा] Districts, worship the horse, and between them and the Māngs [मांग] there exists a longstanding feud, so that they do not, if they can help it, drink of the same well. The sight of a Māng [मांग] riding on a horse is thus gall and wormwood to the Mahārs [महार], who consider it a terrible degradation to the noble animal, and this fact inflaming their natural enmity, formerly led to riots between the castes. Under native rule the Māngs [मांग] were public executioners, and it was said to be the proudest moment of a Māng [मांग]’s life when he could perform his office on a Mahār [महार].

The bride proceeds to her husband’s house for a short visit immediately after the marriage, and then goes home again. Thereafter, till such time as she finally goes to live with him, she makes brief visits for festivals or on other social occasions, or to help her mother-in-law, if her assistance is required. If the mother-in-law is ill and requires somebody to wait on her, or if she is a shrew and wants some one to bully, or if she has strict ideas of discipline and wishes personally to conduct the bride’s training for married life, she makes the girl come more frequently and stay longer.

4. Widow-marriage.

The remarriage of widows is permitted, and a widow may marry any one except persons of her own family group or her husband’s elder brother, who stands to her in the light of a father. She is permitted, but not obliged, to marry her husband’s younger brother, but if he has performed the dead man’s obsequies, she may not marry him, as this act has placed him in the relation of a son to her deceased husband. More usually the widow marries some one in another village, because the remarriage is always held in some slight disrepute, and she prefers to be at a distance from her first husband’s family. Divorce is said to be permitted only for persistent misconduct on the part of the wife.

5. Burial.

The caste always bury the dead and observe mourning only for three days. On returning from a burial they all get drunk, and then go to the house of the deceased and chew the bitter leaves of the nīm [नीम] tree (Melia indica [Azadirachta indica A. Juss.]) . These they then spit out of their mouths to indicate their complete severance from the dead man.

6. Occupation.

The caste beat drums at village festivals, and castrate cattle, and they also make brooms and mats of date-palm and keep leeches for blood-letting. Some of them are village watchmen and their women act as midwives. As soon as a baby is born, the midwife blows into its mouth, ears and nose in order to clear them of any impediments. When a man is initiated by a guru [गुरु] or spiritual preceptor, the latter blows into his ear, and the Māngs [मांग] therefore say that on account of this act of the midwife they are the gurus [गुरु] of all Hindus. During an eclipse the Māngs [मांग] beg, because the demons Rahu [राहु] and Ketu [केतु], who are believed to swallow the sun and moon on such occasions, were both Māngs [मांग], and devout Hindus give alms to their fellow-castemen in order to appease them. Those of them who are thieves are said not to steal from the persons of a woman, a bangle-seller, a Lingāyat Māli [लिंगायत माळी] or another Māng [मांग].1 In Marātha [मराठा] villages they sometimes take the place of Chamārs [चमार], and work in leather, and one writer says of them :

“The Māng [मांग] is a village menial in the Marātha [मराठा] villages, making all leather ropes, thongs and whips, which are used by the cultivators ; he frequently acts as watchman ; he is by profession a thief and executioner; he readily hires himself as an assassin, and when he commits a robbery he also frequently murders.” 

In his menial capacity he receives presents at seed-time and harvest, and it is said that the Kunbi [कुणबी] will never send the Māng [मांग] empty away, because he represents the wrath of Mahādeo [महादेओ / महादेव], being made from the god’s sweat when he was angry.

1 Berār Census Report (1881), p. 147.

7. Religion and social status.

The caste especially venerate the goddess Devi [देवी]. They apparently identify Devi [देवी] with Saraswati [सरस्वती], the goddess of wisdom, and they have a story to the effect that once Brahma [ब्रह्मा] wished to ravish his daughter Saraswati [सरस्वती]. She fled from him and went to all the gods, but none of them would protect her for fear of Brahma [ब्रह्मा]. At last in despair she came to a Māng [मांग]’s house, and the Māng [मांग] stood in the door and kept off Brahma [ब्रह्मा] with a wooden club. In return for this Saraswati [सरस्वती] blessed him and said that he and his descendants should never lack for food. They also revere Mahādeo [महादेओ / महादेव], and on every Monday they worship the cow, placing vermilion on her forehead and washing her feet. The cat is regarded as a sacred animal, and a Māng [मांग]’s most solemn oath is sworn on a cat. A house is defiled if a cat or a dog dies or a cat has kittens in it, and all the earthen pots must be broken. If a man accidentally kills a cat or a dog a heavy penance is exacted, and two feasts must be given to the caste. To kill an ass or a monkey is a sin only less heinous. A man is also put out of caste if kicked or beaten with a shoe by any one of another caste, even a Brāhman [ब्राह्मण], or if he is struck with the kathri or mattress made of rags which the villagers put on their sleeping-cots. Mr. Gayer remarks1 that

1 Lectures on the Criminal Tribes of the Central Provinces, p. 79.

“The Māngs [मांग] show great respect for the bamboo ; and at a marriage the bridal couple are made to stand in a bamboo basket. They also reverence the nīm [नीम - Azadirachta indica A.Juss., 1830] tree, and the Māngs [मांग] of Sholapur spread hariāli [हरियाली] grass (Cynodon dactylon (L.) Pers.) and nīm [नीम - Azadirachta indica A.Juss., 1830] leaves on the spot where one of their caste dies.”

The social status of the Māngs [मांग] is of the lowest. They usually live in a separate quarter of the village and have a well for their own use. They may not enter temples. It is recorded that under native rule the Mahārs [महार] and Māngs [मांग] were not allowed within the gates of Poona [पुणे] between 3 P.M. and 9 A.M., because before nine and after three their bodies cast too long a shadow ; and whenever their shadow fell upon a Brāhman [ब्राह्मण] it polluted him, so that he dare not taste food or water until he had bathed and washed the impurity away. So also no low-caste man was allowed to live in a walled town ; cattle and dogs could freely enter and remain but not the Mahār [महार] or Māng [मांग]. The caste will eat the flesh of pigs, rats, crocodiles and jackals and the leavings of others, and some of them will eat beef. Men may be distinguished by the senai [शहनाई] flute which they carry and by a large ring of gold or brass worn in the lobe of the ear. A Māng’s [मांग] sign-manual is a representation of his bhall-singāra or castration-knife. Women are tattooed before marriage, with dots on the forehead, nose, cheeks and chin, and with figures of a date-palm on the forearm, a scorpion on the palm of the hand, and flies on the fingers. The caste do not bear a good character, and it is said of a cruel man, ‘ Māng-Nirdayi' [मांग-निर्दयी]or ‘ Hardhearted as a Māng [मांग].’"

[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. 184 - 189]



No joyful or sorrowful occasion in a village passes without an accompaniment of music. They have music on the day of their marriage, and music in connection with their deaths. They must have music at the purificatory ceremony of a girl who has attained her womanhood. They cannot make their united offerings to their gods and goddesses without music. No ceremony, no festival of the village, can go on without a musical accompaniment.

There are three kinds of music, the paray kottoo, pallan kottoo, and raja malaam. The paray kottoo is a very peculiar kind of music. It is played by the pariahs [பறையர்], the out-caste people of Southern India. There are four or five round drums, and one or two Indian trumpets. These instruments make up the full set of the paray malaam. When the men beat the deafening drums and blow the trumpets, it is enough to rend the air, to frighten the children, and to drive the beasts from the neighbouring forests. These musicians know no tunes, and all that they do is jump hither and thither while they beat the drums. The villagers are not expected to pay anything when these pariahs [பறையர்] are asked to play, but they have to feed them.

The pallan kottoo is very little better, either in sound or in method. There are two or three drums and a country clarionet, and with these the pallars keep on playing only one tune of their own through the whole day, and even sometimes through the night. If these musicians commence to play in the night, the sound will be heard two or three miles away, and it has a charming effect upon the uncivilized masses. These musicians also render their services for little or no payment when they are required by the villagers.

The raja malaam is a far superior kind, and the most decent of all the three musical sets. It is owned by a class of people called Octhan, who are allowed to move about freely in the inner and outer yards of the village houses. This musical set consists of two or three drums of a peculiar shape, which are beaten only on one side, and a drum which can be beaten on both sides, a cymbal, two clarionets, and an instrument called othos—i.e., helping instrument—which keeps only one note, like the drone of a bagpipe. These instruments form the whole set of raja malaam. These men know several tunes, and they also understand the notes of the Oriental music, but they cannot be classified as experts in the art of music. They also play some Mohammedan tunes. This set of musicians cannot be found in every village, and they have to be engaged by the party who requires their service fora fixed sum of money, which must be paid promptly at the close of their service. During marriage times there is usually a great demand for this kind of music."

[Quelle: Pandian, T. B. (Thomas B.) [பாண்டியன், தாமஸ் பி] <1863 - >: Indian village folk: their works and ways. -- London : Stock, 1898. -- 212 S. : Ill. ; 21 cm. -- S. 132f.]