2. Dvitīyaṃ kāṇḍam

16. śūdravargaḥ

(Über Śūdras)

2. Vers 5 - 15: Handwerker

Beispiele zu: Grobschmied

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: Grobschmied. -- Fassung vom 2017-10-28. --  URL:                                                         

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3. THE BLACKSMITH (Kullan [கொல்லன்]).

As India is an agricultural country, the services of the blacksmith and carpenter are indispensable. The village blacksmith generally has a circuit of his own. If a blacksmith lives in a village called Pandiapuram, he has several other villages attached to it, and does the work also for them. If a village is a large one, he may limit his labours entirely to it. In some smaller villages the carpenter does the work of the blacksmith as well as his own. During the time of ploughing the blacksmith finds it difficult to meet all the demands of the villagers, for he must make iron blades for their ploughs, and repair their old ones. He also supplies the villagers with heel-tips, hinges, hooks, locks and keys, axes, knives, sickles, spades, crowbars, ‘uramonuis,’ i.e., kitchen-knives ; choppers, ‘ panaarooval,’ i.e., reaping-hooks ; and other useful implements. Some blacksmiths have their workshops under trees, while others have theirs in thatched huts. The blacksmith has a few hammers of different sizes, a bellows, and some pincers, and with these instruments he works to the satisfaction of the villagers. The workshop of the blacksmith is usually crowded with men who have come in from other villages belonging to the circuit of the blacksmith, in order to get their implements repaired or new ones made.

The ironsmith is not such a schemer as the village goldsmith, but he will take his own time in doing his work. Indian villagers are seldom in a hurry, and the ironsmiths are very fond of chatting with the people who bring their work to them. The blacksmith is, in truth, a great gossip, and delights in fishing out every secret of the village.

This chatterbox goes to his work about 7 a.m, and returns home late in the evening. If a villager comes to him to sharpen an axe, say at about 8 a.m., he is kept in the workshop till 5 p.m. During this time the ironsmith will try his best to waste his visitor’s time by introducing vain conversation, and endeavouring to extract news from him. To begin with, he desires to know how Mr. A-- is getting on; how Mr. D-- and Mr. C-- have settled their dispute; why Mr. G--’s cow died; why Mr. F-- sold his big bullock ; why the girl B-- is not married ; when are they going fishing in the Western Tank ? Do not you know that the sea-fish is very cheap now?—such things as these begin wearying conversations. The poor villager, who has been actually starving, at last takes up his axe and walks home, having waited about the workshop nearly the whole of the day. The work of sharpening a worn-out axe should not take more than an hour.

As a rule, the smith never goes to fetch work, and never returns it to his customer. The villagers always bring their own work to the workshop, and take it back when it is finished. In many cases they will have to wait in his workshop day after day, and watch him doing the work for them. He is all the day away from the village, working in his lonesome workshop If he has any male members of his family he makes them assist in his work, but the female members never help him. One of them brings him his noonday meal to his workshop.

In the form of wages, the ironsmith gets a fixed fee from every house, which varies according to the position of the tenants. There are others who pay at once for the work that is done for them. The cultivator usually engages his services for the whole year, and gives him a fixed allowance, as well as special gifts, such as a bundle of ears at harvest time, and a few measures of grain, and some money, on the occasion of important festivities.

Some of the ironsmiths are well versed in the vernacular of the country, and have a general knowledge of the works of their poets. One day, a certain Tamil [தமிழ்] poet came to a blacksmith’s workshop with the intention of getting some help from him. As soon as the poet entered the workshop the blacksmith said : ‘ Varum pulavara erumbadium ’— i.e., ‘Come on, poet, sit down and sing.’ The latter word, ‘erumbadiam,’ has two meanings; the one is, ‘sit down and sing,’ and the other is, ‘sit down and beat the iron.’ The poet misunderstood the ironsmith, and gave the latter meaning to the word ; so he showed an unpleasant countenance. Then the blacksmith addressed the poet in a very courteous manner, ‘Erumbadium.’ At this the poet became angry, and said : ‘Thou fool ! don’t you know that I am a poet ? How dare you ask me to sit down and beat the iron !’ The blacksmith for the third time begged the poet to sit down and sing, using the same Tamil [தமிழ்] word, ‘ erumbadium.’ At this the poet became furious, and called the ironsmith 'a dog and a stupid ass.’ Again the blacksmith said : ‘ What is the matter with you, poet? Don’t be angry; sit down and sing.’ But he again used the same Tamil [தமிழ்] word, ‘erumbadium.’ The poet now lost control of his temper, and beat the blacksmith with his walking-stick. Then the smith took one of his hot bars, and branded the poet with it in several places. Immediately a charge was brought against the smith before the chief of the village. On inquiring into the case, the magistrate pitied the ignorant poet, but punished the witty blacksmith.

There are 13,741 of this useful class of artisans in Southern India alone."

[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. 35 - 38]

Agaria [अगरिया] (Central Provinces)

Agaria [अगरिया]].1

1 This article is compiled from papers by Mr. Mīr Pādshāh, Tahsīldār of Bilāspur, and Kanhya Lāl, clerk in  the Gazetteer office.

1. Origin and subdivisions.

A small Dravidian caste, who are an offshoot of the Gond [गोंड] tribe. The Agarias [अगरिया] have adopted the profession of iron-smelting and form a separate caste. They numbered 9500 persons in 1911 and live on the Maikal range [मैकल पर्वतमाला] in the Mandla [मन्द्ला], Raipur [रायपुर] and Bilāspur [बिलासपुर] Districts.

The name probably signifies a worker with āg [आग] or fire. An Agaria [अगरिया] subcaste of Lohārs [लोहार] also exists, many of whom are quite probably Gonds [गोंड], but they are not included in the regular caste. Similar Dravidian castes of Agarias [अगरिया] are to be found in Mirzāpur [मिर्ज़ापुर] and Bengal [বঙ্গ]. The Agarias [अगरिया] are quite distinct from the Agharia [ଅଘରିଆ] cultivating caste of the Uriya [ଓଡ଼ିଆ] country. The Raipur [रायपुर] Agarias [अगरिया] still intermarry with the Rāwanbansi [रावणवंशी] Gonds [गोंड] of the District. The Agarias [अगरिया] think that their caste has existed from the beginning of the world, and that the first Agaria [अगरिया] made the ploughshare with which the first bullocks furrowed the primeval soil. The caste has two endogamous divisions, the Patharia [पथरिया] and the Khuntia [खुंटिया] Agarias [अगरिया]. The Patharias [पथरिया] place a stone on the mouth of the bellows to fix them in the ground for smelting, while the Khuntias [खुंटिया] use a peg. The two subcastes do not even take water from one another.

Their exogamous sections have generally the same names as those of the Gonds [गोंड], as

  • Sonwāni [सोनवानी],
  • Dhurua,
  • Tekām [तेकाम], 
  • Markām [मरकाम],
  • Uika,
  • Purtai,
  • Marai,
  • and others.

A few names of Hindi origin are also found, as

  • Ahindwār,
  • Ranchirai and 
  • Rāthoria [राठौडिया],

which show that some Hindus have probably been amalgamated with the caste. Ahindwār or Aindwār and Ranchirai mean a fish and a bird respectively in Hindi, while Rāthoria [राठौडिया] is a gotra [गोत्र] both of Rājpūts [राजपूत] and Telis [तेली]. The Gond [गोंड] names are probably also those of animals, plants or other objects, but their meaning has now generally been forgotten. Tekām [तेकाम] or teka is a teak tree. Sonwāni [सोनवानी] is a sept found among several of the Dravidian tribes, and the lower Hindu castes. A person of the Sonwāni [सोनवानी] sept is always chosen to perform the ceremony of purification and readmission into caste of persons temporarily excommunicated. His duty often consists in pouring on such a person a little water in which gold has been placed to make it holy, and hence the name is considered to mean Sonāpāni [सोनापानी] or goldwater. The Agarias [अगरिया] do not know the meanings of their section names and therefore have no totemistic observances. But they consider that all persons belonging to one gotra [गोत्र] are descended from a common ancestor, and marriage within the gotra [गोत्र] is therefore prohibited. As among the Gonds [गोंड], first cousins are allowed to marry.

2. Marriage.

Marriage is usually adult. When the father of a boy wishes to arrange a marriage he sends emissaries to the father of the girl. They open the proceedings by saying, ‘So-and-so has come to partake of your stale food.’1 If the father of the girl approves he gives his consent by saying, ‘He has come on foot, I receive him on my head.’ The boy’s father then repairs to the girl’s house, where he is respectfully received and his feet are washed. He is then asked to take a drink of plain water, which is a humble method of offering him a meal. After this, presents for the girl are sent by a party accompanied by tomtom players, and a date is fixed for the marriage, which, contrary to the usual Hindu rule, may take place in the rains. The reason is perhaps because iron-smelting is not carried on during the rains and the Agarias [अगरिया] therefore have no work to do. A few days before the wedding the bride-price is paid, which consists of 5 seers each of Urad [उड़द - Vigna mungo (L.) Hepper] and til and a sum of Rs. 4 to Rs. 12. The marriage is held on any Monday, Tuesday or Friday, no further trouble being taken to select an auspicious day. In order that they may not forget the date fixed, the fathers of the parties each take a piece of thread in which they tie a knot for every day intervening between the date when the marriage day is settled and the day itself, and they then untie one knot for every day. Previous to the marriage all the village gods are propitiated by being anointed with oil by the Baiga [बैगा] or village priest. The first clod of earth for the ovens is also dug by the Baiga [बैगा], and received in her cloth by the bride’s mother as a mark of respect. The usual procedure is adopted in the marriage. After the bridegroom’s arrival his teeth are cleaned with tooth-sticks, and the bride’s sister tries to push sāj [साज] leaves into his mouth, a proceeding which he prevents by holding his fan in front of his face. For doing this the girl is given a small present. A paili2 measure of rice is filled alternately by the bride and bridegroom twelve times, the other upsetting it each time after it is filled. At the marriage feast, in addition to rice and pulse, mutton curry and cakes of Urad [उड़द - Vigna mungo (L.) Hepper] pulse fried in oil are provided. Urad  [उड़द - Vigna mungo (L.) Hepper] is held in great respect, and is always given as a food at ceremonial feasts and to honoured guests. The greater part of the marriage ceremony is performed a second time at the bridegroom’s house. Finally, the decorations of the marriage-shed and the palm-leaf crowns of the bride and bridegroom are thrown into a tank. The bride and bridegroom go into the water, and each in turn hides a jar under water, which the other must find. They then bathe, change their clothes, and go back to the bridegroom’s house, the bride carrying the jar filled with water on her head. The boy is furnished with a bow and arrows and has to shoot at a stuffed deer over the girl’s shoulder. After each shot she gives him a little sugar, and if he does not hit the deer in three shots he must pay 4 annas to the sawāsa or page. After the marriage the bridegroom does not visit his wife for a month in order to ascertain whether she is already pregnant. They then live together. The marriage expenses usually amount to Rs. 15 for the bridegroom’s father and Rs. 40 for the bride’s father. Sometimes the bridegroom serves his father-in-law for his wife, and he is then not required to pay anything for the marriage, the period of service being three years. If the couple anticipate the ceremony, however, they must leave the house, and then are recalled by the bride’s parents, and readmitted into caste on giving a feast, which is in lieu of the marriage ceremony. If they do not comply with the first summons of the parents, the latter finally sever connection with them. Widow marriage is freely permitted, and the widow is expected to marry her late husband’s younger brother, especially if he is a bachelor. If she marries another man with his consent, the new husband gives him a turban and shoulder-cloth. The children by the first husband are made over to his relatives if there are any. Divorce is permitted for adultery or extravagance or ill-treatment by either party. A divorced wife can marry again, but if she absconds with another man without being divorced the latter has to pay Rs. 12 to the husband.

1 Bāsi [बासी] or rice boiled in water the previous day.
 A measure containing about 2½ lbs. of grain.

3. Birth and death ceremonies.

When a woman becomes pregnant for the first time, her mother goes to her taking a new cloth and cakes and a preparation of milk, which is looked on as a luxurious food, and which, it is supposed, will strengthen the child in the womb. After birth the mother is impure for five days. The dead are usually burnt, but children under six whose ears have not been pierced, and persons dying a violent death or from cholera or smallpox are buried. When the principal man of the family dies, the caste-fellows at the mourning feast tie a cloth round the head of his successor to show that they acknowledge his new position. They offer water to the dead in the month of Kunwār (September-October).

4. Religion and social customs.

They have a vague belief in a supreme God but do not pay much attention to him. Their family god is Dulha Deo [दुल्हादेव], to whom they offer goats, fowls, cocoanuts and cakes. In the forest tracts they also worship Bura Deo [बूढ़ादेव], the chief god of the Gonds [गोंड]. The deity who presides over their profession is Lohā-Sur [लोहासुर], the Iron demon, who is supposed to live in the smelting-kilns, and to whom they offer a black hen. Formerly, it is said, they were accustomed to offer a black cow. They worship their smelting implements on the day of Dasahra [दशहर] and during Phāgun [फाल्गुन], and offer fowls to them. They have little faith in medicine, and in cases of sickness requisition the aid of the village sorcerer, who ascertains what deity is displeased with them by moving grain to and fro in a winnowing-fan and naming the village gods in turn. He goes on repeating the names until his hand slackens or stops at some name, and the offended god is thus indicated. He is then summoned and enters into the body of one of the persons present, and explains his reason for being offended with the sick person, as that he has passed by the god’s shrine without taking off his shoes, or omitted to make the triennial offering of a fowl or the like. Atonement is then promised and the offering made, while the sick person on recovery notes the deity in question as one of a vindictive temper, whose worship must on no account be neglected. The Agarias [अगरिया] say that they do not admit outsiders into the caste, but Gonds [गोंड], Kawars [कवर] and Ahīrs [अहीर] are occasionally allowed to enter it. They refuse to cat monkeys, jackals, crocodiles, lizards, beef and the leavings of others. They eat pork and fowls and drink liquor copiously. They take food from the higher castes and from Gonds [गोंड] and Baigas [बैगा]. Only Bahelias and other impure castes will take food from them. Temporary excommunication from caste is imposed for conviction of a criminal offence, getting maggots in a wound, and killing a cow, a dog or a cat. Permanent excommunication is imposed for adultery or eating with a very low caste. Readmission to caste after temporary exclusion entails a feast, but if the offender is very poor he simply gives a little liquor or even water. The Agarias [अगरिया] are usually sunk in poverty, and their personal belongings are of the scantiest description, consisting of a waist-cloth, and perhaps another wisp of cloth for the head, a brass lota [लिटा] or cup and a few earthen vessels. Their women dress like Gond [गोंड] women, and have a few pewter ornaments. They are profusely tattooed with representations of flowers, scorpions and other objects. This is done merely for ornament.

5. Occupation.

The caste still follow their traditional occupation of iron-smelting and also make a few agricultural implements. They get their ore from the Maikal range [मैकल पर्वतमाला], selecting stones of a dark reddish colour. They mix 16 lbs. of ore with 15 lbs. of charcoal in the furnace, the blast being produced by a pair of bellows worked by the feet and conveyed to the furnace through bamboo tubes ; it is kept up steadily for four hours. The clay coating of the kiln is then broken down and the ball of molten slag and charcoal is taken out and hammered, and about 3 lbs. of good iron are obtained. With this they make ploughshares, mattocks, axes and sickles. They also move about from village to village with an anvil, a hammer and tongs, and building a small furnace under a tree, make and repair iron implements for the villagers."

[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. 2. -- S. 3 - 8]

Lohār [लोहार], Khāti [खाती], Ghantra, Ghisāri [घिसारी], Panchāl [पंचाल] (Central Provinces)

"Lohār [लोहार], Khāti [खाती], Ghantra, Ghisāri [घिसारी], Panchāl [पंचाल].

1. Legends of the caste

The occupational caste of blacksmiths. The name is derived from the Sanskrit Lauha-kara [लौहकार / लोहकार], a worker in iron. In the Central Provinces the Lohār [लोहार] has in the past frequently combined the occupations of carpenter and blacksmith, and in such a capacity he is known as Khāti [खाती]. The honorific designations applied to the caste are Karigar [कारीगर], which means skilful, and Mistri [मिस्त्री], a corruption of the English ‘Master’ or ‘Mister.’ In 1911 the Lohārs [लोहार] numbered about 180,000 persons in the Central Provinces and Berār [बेरार]. The Lohār [लोहार] is indispensable to the village economy, and the caste is found over the whole rural area of the Province.

“Practically all the Lohārs [लोहार],” Mr. Crooke writes,1 “trace their origin to Visvakarma [विश्वकर्म] , who is the later representative of the Vedic Twashtri [त्वष्टृ], the architect and handicraftsman of the gods, ‘The fashioner of all ornaments, the most eminent of artisans, who formed the celestial chariots of the deities, on whose craft men subsist, and whom, a great and immortal god, they continually worship.’ One tradition tells that Visvakarma [विश्वकर्म] was a Brāhman [ब्राह्मण] and married the daughter of an Ahīr [अहीर], who in her previous birth had been a dancing-girl of the gods. By her he had nine sons, who became the ancestors of various artisan castes, such as the Lohār [लोहार], Barhai [बढ़ई], Sunār [सुनार], and Kasera [कसेरा].”

1 Tribes and Castes of the N.W.P. and Oudh, art. Lohār.

The Lohārs [लोहार] of the Uriya [ଓଡ଼ିଆ] country in the Central Provinces tell a similar story, according to which Kamar, the celestial architect, had twelve sons. The eldest son was accustomed to propitiate the family god with wine, and one day he drank some of the wine, thinking that it could not be sinful to do so as it was offered to the deity. But for this act his other brothers refused to live with him and left their home, adopting various professions ; but the eldest brother became a worker in iron and laid a curse upon the others that they should not be able to practise their calling except with the implements which he had made. The second brother thus became a woodcutter (Barhai [बढ़ई]), the third a painter (Mahārāna [महाराणा]), the fourth learnt the science of vaccination and medicine and became a vaccinator (Suthiar), the fifth a goldsmith, the sixth a brass-smith, the seventh a coppersmith, and the eighth a carpenter, while the ninth brother was weak in the head and married his eldest sister, on account of which fact his descendants are known as Ghantra.3 The Ghantras are an inferior class of blacksmiths, probably an offshoot from some of the forest tribes, who are looked down on by the others. It is said that even to the present day the Ghantra Lohārs [लोहार] have no objection to eating the leavings of food of their wives, whom they regard as their eldest sisters.

3 In Uriya  [ଓଡ଼ିଆ] the term Ghantrabela means a person who has illicit intercourse with another. The Ghantra Lohārs [लोहार] are thus probably of bastard origin, like the groups known as halfcastes and others which are frequently found.

2. Social position of the Lohār [लोहार].

The above story is noticeable as indicating that the of the social position of the Lohār [लोहार] is somewhat below that of the other artisan castes, or at least of those who work in metals. This fact has been recorded in other localities, and has been explained by some stigma arising from his occupation, as in the following passage :

“His social position is low even for a menial, and he is classed as an impure caste, in so far that Jāts [ਜੱਟ] and others of similar standing will have no social communion with him, though not as an outcast like the scavenger. His impurity, like that of the barber, washerman and dyer, springs solely from the nature of his employment ; perhaps because it is a dirty one, but more probably because black is a colour of evil omen. It is not improbable that the necessity under which he labours of using bellows made of cowhide may have something to do with his impurity.” 1

1 Punjab Census Report (1881), para. 624. (Ibbetson.)

Mr. Nesfield also says :

 “It is owing to the ubiquitous industry of the Lohàr that the stone knives, arrow-heads and hatchets of the indigenous tribes of Upper India have been so entirely superseded by iron-ores. The memory of the stone age has not survived even in tradition. In consequence of the evil associations which Hinduism has attached to the colour of black, the caste of Lohār [लोहार] has not been able to raise itself to the same social level as the three métallurgie castes which follow.”

The following saying also indicates that the Lohār [लोहार] is of evil omen :

Ar, Dhār, Chuchkār.
In tinon se bachāwe Kartār.

Here Ar means an iron goad and signifies the Lohār [लोहार] ; Dhār represents the sound of the oil falling from the press and means a Teli [तेली] or oilman ; Chuchkār is an imitation of the sound of clothes being beaten against a stone and denotes the Dhobi [धोबी] or washerman ; and the phrase thus runs, ‘My Friend, beware of the Lohār [लोहार], Teli [तेली], and Dhobi [धोबी], for they are of evil omen.’ It is not quite clear why this disrepute should attach to the Lohār [लोहार], because iron itself is lucky, though its colour, black, may be of bad omen. But the low status of the Lohār [लोहार] may partly arise from the fact of his being a village menial and a servant of the cultivators ; whereas the trades of the goldsmith, brass-smith and carpenter are of later origin than the blacksmith’s, and are urban rather than rural industries ; and thus these artisans do not commonly occupy the position of village menials. Another important consideration is that the iron industry is associated with the primitive tribes, who furnished the whole supply of the metal prior to its importation from Europe : and it is hence probable that the Lohār [लोहार] caste was originally constituted from these and would thus naturally be looked down upon by the Hindus. In Bengal [বঙ্গ], where few or no traces of the village community remain, the Lohār [লোহার] ranks as the equal of Koiris [कोइरी] and Kurmis [कुड़मी], and Brāhmans [ब्राह्मण] will take water from his hands ;1 and this somewhat favours the argument that his lower status elsewhere is not due to incidents of his occupation.

1 Tribes and Castes of Bengal, art. Lohār.

3. Caste subdivision.

The constitution of the Lohār [लोहार] caste is of a heterogeneous nature. In some localities Gonds [गोंड] who work as blacksmiths are considered to belong to the caste and are known as Gondi Lohārs [गोंडी लोहार]. But Hindus who work in Gond [गोंड] villages also sometimes bear this designation. Another subdivision returned consists of the Agarias [अगरिया], also an offshoot of the Gonds [गोंड], who collect and smelt iron-ore in the Vindhyan [विन्‍ध्य] and Satpura [सतपुड़ा] hills. The Panchāls [पंचाल] are a class of itinerant smiths in Berār [बेरार]. The Ghantras or inferior blacksmiths of the Uriya [ଓଡ଼ିଆ] country have already been noticed. The Ghisāris [घिसारी] are a similar low class of smiths in the southern Districts who do rough work only, but sometimes claim Rājpūt [राजपूत] origin.

Other subcastes are of the usual local or territorial type, as

  • Mahūlia, from Mahūl in Berār [बेरार];
  • Jhāde or Jhādia, those living in the jungles ;
  • Ojha [ଓଝା], or those professing a Brāhmanical origin;
  • Marātha [मराठा],
  • Kanaujia [कन्नौजिया],
  • Mathuria [मथुरिया],
  • and so on.

4. Marriage and other customs.

Infant-marriage is the custom of the caste, and the ceremony is that prevalent among the agricultural castes of the locality. The remarriage of widows is permitted, and they have the privilege of selecting their own husbands, or at least of refusing to accept any proposed suitor. A widow is always married from her father’s house, and never from that of her deceased husband. The first husband’s property is taken by his relatives, if there be any, and they also assume the custody of his children as soon as they are old enough to dispense with a mother’s care. The dead are both buried and burnt, and in the eastern Districts some water and a tooth-stick are daily placed at a cross-road for the use of the departed spirit during the customary period of mourning, which extends to ten days. On the eleventh day the relatives go and bathe, and the chief mourner puts on a new loin-cloth. Some rice is taken and seven persons pass it from hand to hand. They then pound the rice, and making from it a figure to represent a human being, they place some grain in its mouth and say to it, ‘Go and become incarnate in some human being,’ and throw the image into the water. After this the impurity caused by the death is removed, and they go home and feast with their friends. In the evening they make cakes of rice, and place them seven times on the shoulder of each person who has carried the corpse to the cemetery or pyre, to remove the impurity contracted from touching it. It is also said that if this be not done the shoulder will feel the weight of the coffin for a period of six months. The caste endeavour to ascertain whether the spirit of the dead person returns to join in the funeral feast, and in what shape it will be born again. For this purpose rice-flour is spread on the floor of the cooking-room and covered with a brass plate. The women retire and sit in an adjoining room while the chief mourner with a few companions goes outside the village, and sprinkles some more rice-flour on the ground. They call to the deceased person by name, saying, ‘Come, come,’ and then wait patiently till some worm or insect crawls on to the floor. Some dough is then applied to this and it is carried home and let loose in the house. The flour under the brass plate is examined, and it is said that they usually see the footprints of a person or animal, indicating the corporeal entity in which the deceased soul has found a resting-place. During the period of mourning members of the bereaved family do not follow their ordinary business, nor eat flesh, sweets or other delicate food. They may not make offerings to their deities nor touch any persons outside the family, nor wear head-cloths or shoes. In the eastern Districts the principal deities of the Lohārs [लोहार] are Dulha Deo [दुल्हादेव]and Somlai or Devi [देवी], the former being represented by a knife set in the ground inside the house, and the latter by the painting of a woman on the wall. Both deities are kept in the cooking-room, and here the head of the family offers to them rice soaked in milk, with sandal-paste, flowers, vermilion and lamp-black. He burns some melted butter in an earthen lamp and places incense upon it. If a man has been affected by the evil eye an exorcist will place some salt on his hand and burn it, muttering spells, and the evil influence is removed. They believe that a spell can be cast on a man by giving him to eat the bones of an owl, when he will become an idiot.

5. Occupation.

In the rural area of the Province the Lohār [लोहार] is still a village menial, making and mending the iron implements of agriculture, such as the ploughshare, axe, sickle, goad and other articles. For doing this he is paid in Saugor [सागर] a yearly contribution of twenty pounds of grain per plough of land (About 15 acres) held by each cultivator, together with a handful of grain at sowing-time and a sheaf at harvest from both the autumn and spring crops. In Wardha [वर्धा] he gets fifty pounds of grain per plough of four bullocks or forty acres. For making new implements the Lohār [लोहार] is sometimes paid separately and is always supplied with the iron and charcoal. The hand-smelting iron industry has practically died out in the Province and the imported metal is used for nearly all purposes. The village Lohārs [लोहार] are usually very poor, their income seldom exceeding that of an unskilled labourer. In the towns, owing to the rapid extension of milling and factory industries, blacksmiths readily find employment and some of them earn very high wages. In the manufacture of cutlery, nails and other articles the capital is often found by a Bhātia [भाटिया] or Bohra [बोहरा] merchant, who acts as the capitalist and employs the Lohārs [लोहार] as his workmen. The women help their husbands by blowing the bellows and dragging the hot iron from the furnace, while the men wield the hammer. The Panchāls [पंचाल] of Berār [बेरार] are described as a wandering caste of smiths, living in grass mat-huts and using as fuel the roots of thorn bushes, which they batter out of the ground with the back of a short-handled axe peculiar to themselves. They move from place to place with buffaloes, donkeys and ponies to carry their kit.1

1 Berār Census Report, 1881 (Kitts)

Another class of wandering smiths, the Ghisāris [घिसारी], are described by Mr. Crooke as follows: 

“ Occasional camps of these most interesting people are to be met with in the Districts of the Meerut [मेरठ]  Division. They wander about with small carts and pack-animals, and, being more expert than the ordinary village Lohār [लोहार], their services are in demand for the making of tools for carpenters, weavers and other craftsmen. They are known in the Punjab [ਪੰਜਾਬ] as Gādiya [गाडिया] or those who have carts (gādi, gāri [गाड़ी]). Sir D. Ibbetsonsays that they come up from Rājputāna [राजपुताना] and the North-Western Provinces, but their real country is the Deccan [दक्खिन]. In the Punjab [ਪੰਜਾਬ] they travel about with their families and implements in carts from village to village, doing the finer kinds of iron-work, which are beyond the capacity of the village artisan. In the Deccan3 this class of wandering blacksmiths are called Saiqalgar, or knife-grinders, or Ghisāra [घिसारा], or grinders (Hindi, ghisāna [घिसना], ‘ to rub ’). They wander about grinding knives and tools."

2 Punjāb Ethnography, para. 624.
3 Bombay Gazetteer, XVI, 82.

[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. 120 - 126]