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: 188.8.131.52. Grobschmied. -- Fassung vom 2017-12-21. -- URL: http://www.payer.de/amarakosa8/184.108.40.206.grobschmied.htm
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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]
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],
- Tekām [तेकाम],
- Markām [मरकाम],
- and others.
A few names of Hindi origin are also found, as
- 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.
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.
2 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.
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]
"Agariya [अगरिया].1—A Dravidian tribe found in scanty numbers only in the hilly parts of Mirzāpur [मिर्ज़ापुर] south of the Son [सोन], where, according to the last Census, they number 481 males and 457 females, in all 938 souls. The Mirzāpur [मिर्ज़ापुर] Agariyas [अगरिया] confined themselves almost entirely to mining and smelting iron. They are certainly quite a different people from those described by Colonel Dalton and Mr. Risley in Chota Nāgpur [छोटा नागपुर],2 who claim to be Kshatriya [क्सत्रिय] immigrants from the neighbourhood of Agra [आगरा] and live by cultivation. The Mirzāpur [मिर्ज़ापुर] Agariyas [अगरिया] seem to be almost certainly of non-Aryan origin. A tribe of the same name and occupation in the Mandla [मंडला] District of the Central Provinces is described as a sub-division of the Gonds and among the laziest and most drunken of that race.3 Colonel Dalton and Mr. Risley again describe a people of the same name as a sub-division of the Korwas [कोरवा], who are undoubtedly Dravidians.4 It is with these people that the Mirzāpur [मिर्ज़ापुर] tribe are almost certainly connected.
1 Based on enquiries in Parganas Dudhi [दुधी] and Agori of Mirzāpur.
2 Ethnology, 322. Tribes and Castes of Bengal, I., 5.
3 Central Provinces Gazetteer, 213 sq.
4 Ethnology, 221. Tribes and Castes, I., 4.
In appearance the Agariyas [अगरिया] approximate very closely to allied Dravidian tribes, such as the Korwas [कोरवा], Parahiyas, etc., but they have a particularly gaunt appearance and worn expression of countenance, which is undoubtedly the result of the severe occupation which they follow.
3. Tribal organization.
Those in Mirzāpur [मिर्ज़ापुर] have seven exogamous septs all of totemistic origin.
- The Markām is also a sept of the Mānjhis [मांझी] (q.v., paragraph 3). The word means “a tortoise,” which the members of this sept will neither kill nor eat.
- The Goirār take their name from a tree so called, which the members of this sept will not cut.
- The Paraswān take their name from the palāsa [पलाश] tree (Butea frondosa [Butea monosperma (Lam.) Taub.]), and members of this sept will not cut the tree or eat out of platters (dauna [दौना]) made of its leaves.
- The Sanwān [सनवान] say that they take their name from san [सन] or hemp, which they will not sow or use.
- The Baragwār are named from the bar tree (Ficus Indica}, from the leaves of which they will not eat, and which they will not cut or climb.
- Banjbakwār, the name of the fifth sub-division, is said to be a corruption of Bengachwār from beng [भेंग], “a frog,” which the members of this sept will not kill or eat.
- The Gidhlē, which is also the name of a sept of the Bengal [বঙ্গ] Orāons, will not kill or even throw a stone at a vulture (Gidh [गिद्ध]).
- The Census returns give the chief sept as Bājutheb, which was not recorded by the members of the tribe examined on the spot.
4. Tribal council.
They have a tribal council (panchāyat [पंचायत]) at which all adult males attend. The meetings, in default of any specially urgent business, assemble when the members meet on the occasion of marriages or deaths. The members are summoned by the President of the council (mahto [महतो]), who circulates a root of turmeric among them. The council deals with caste matters, such as adultery, fornication, and the like. The orders are enforced in the usual way (see Mānjhi, paragraph 9). The office of President is permanent and hereditary. If the incumbent happens to be a minor he can select another clansman to act for him until he becomes competent to fill the post.
5. Rules of exogamy.
The only rule of exogamy is that no one may marry within his sept (kuri [कुडी]). This obviously admits of very close marriage connections, but it is not supplemented by the usual formula which prohibits marriage in the family of both the paternal and maternal uncles and paternal and maternal aunts. It is, in fact, admitted on all sides that a man may marry the daughter of his paternal uncle. It is essential that the bridegroom must not be engaged in any degrading labour, such as shoe-making or groom's work. There is no restriction as to place of origin or family worship, but he must nominally conform to the tribal religion.
6. Traditions of origin.
The Mirzāpur [मिर्ज़ापुर] Agariyas [अगरिया] say that some five or six generations ago they emigrated from Rīwa [रीवा], hearing that they could carry on their business in peace in British territory. Their first settlement was in the village of Khairahi in Pargana Dudhi [दुधी]. Their head-quarters in Rīwa [रीवा] are at the village of Rijaura; they do not make any pilgrimages to their original settlements or draw their priests or tribal officials from there.
The bride is purchased and her price by tribal custom is fixed at ten rupees. Polygamy is permitted, and an Agariya [अगरिया] may have as many wives as he can afford to purchase and maintain. The senior wife (Jethi Mehrāru [जेठी मेह्रारू]) is head of the household ; she joins her husband in the family worship and she receives a degree of respect among the clansmen at marriages, etc., which is denied to the junior wives. If there are more wives than one they live in the same house, but in separate huts. Concubinage with women who are not members of the tribe and polyandry are prohibited. The women enjoy a considerable amount of liberty both before and after marriage. If an unmarried girl is detected in an intrigue with a clansman, her father can get her married to her lover on paying a tribal fine of ten rupees and providing a feast for the clansmen to the amount of one goat and the necessary quantity of rice. If she offends with a stranger she is permanently expelled.
8. Marriage ceremonies.
The age for marrying girls is between five and ten, and the parents are disgraced if they do not marry their daughters at an early age. The boy’s maternal uncle (māmu [मामू]) arranges the marriage. There are no professional marriage brokers. The consent of the parents on both sides is essential, and the parties have no freedom of choice. When the preliminaries are arranged, the boy's father sends to the girl's father ten rupees and two loin cloths (dhoti [धोटी]), This is the invariable rate whatever the means of the parties may be. None of this becomes the property of the bride and bridegroom, except one of the loin cloths which is given to the bride ; but her father is expected to spend the cash received on the marriage feast. No physical defects are a bar to marriage, and if after marriage the bridegroom discovers any defect in the bride he must take her home. But this very seldom happens because the relatives on both sides take care to inspect the bride and bridegroom before the preliminaries are arranged. The betrothal consists in the approval of the bride by the boy's maternal uncle and his acceptance of a dinner from the father of the girl. After this the wedding day is fixed. Their marriages usually take place in the light half of the month of Māgh [माघ] (January-February). Five days before the wedding day, the matmāngar ceremony is performed in the usual way. On the marriage day the bridegroom comes with his procession to the house of the bride. They are put up in a place (Janwānsa [जनवांसा]) arranged for their reception. On that day it is not the custom for the father of the bride to entertain the party. Next morning the bridegroom comes with his friends to the bride’s house, and going into the inner chamber, where she is hiding, drags her out into the courtyard. This, and the rule of not entertaining the friends of the bridegroom before the marriage, are obvious survivals of marriage by capture. In the courtyard is fixed up a sort of pavilion (mānro), in the centre of which is planted a branch of the sāl [साल] tree (Shorea robusta). The sāl [साल] is the sacred tree of many of the Dravidian races, and its use at marriages seems to imply that tree marriage was the original custom. Bound this the pair walk five times, and then the bride's father makes a mark with turmeric on the foreheads of both, and warns them to live in unity. After this the clansmen are fed, and the bride is sent home with her husband. When she arrives at the door of her husband's house his sister (nanad [ननद]) bars the entrance, and will not admit the bride until the bridegroom gives her a couple of pice. After this the bridegroom's father feeds his clansmen, who return home next day. Before they enter their new home there is a sort of confarreatio ceremony when the pair have to sit down outside and eat together. The essential part of this marriage ceremony, which is known as charhauwa, because the bride is offered (charhāna [चढाना]) to the bridegroom, is the payment of the bride price and the marking of the foreheads of the pair by the father of the bride.
There is no real divorce : merely expulsion of the faithless wife from hearth and home. The only ground for expulsion is proof of the wife’s adultery to the satisfaction of the clansmen. In fact, it is understood that no proof short of her being caught in the act of adultery will be sufficient. If a woman is put away for adultery, she cannot be remarried in the tribe. Concubinage with strange women is forbidden. All the sons of all the wives rank and share equally. If a woman has a child by a man of another tribe, he is not received into the caste, cannot be married in the tribe, and the clansmen will not eat with him.
10. Widow Marriage.
Widow marriage in the Sagāi [सगाई] form is allowed. When a man proposes to marry a widow, he can do so with the consent of the head of the family. Both parties give a tribal dinner, and the man rubs some oil on the woman’s head and some red lead on the parting of her hair, and brings her home. When he brings her home he has to entertain the clansmen. The levirate is permitted, with the usual restriction that it is only the younger brother of her late husband who is entitled to claim her. It is only on his renouncing his right to her that she can marry an outsider. If she have children by her first husband, they do not accompany her to her new home, but remain with their father’s brother. The widow, on re-marriage, has no rights to her first husband’s property. If the children are very young, the uncle, who maintains them, gets half their property as his remuneration. In the same way if their uncle does not care to look after them, and they go to their stepfather, he receives half their inheritance, and in this case the children are considered to be his own.
Adoption is permitted to a sonless man or one whose son is permanently expelled from caste ; but there is no idea of religious merit in adoption. The son adopted must be of the sept (kuri [कुडी]) of the adopter, and is in most cases a brother’s son. Having once adopted he cannot adopt again as long as the adopted son is alive. A bachelor, an ascetic, or a blind man cannot adopt, nor can a married woman without the leave of her husband, and under no circumstances has the widow this power. A man may give his eldest, but not his only son, in adoption to another. There is no condition of age in the boy to be adopted. Girls cannot be adopted. The adopted son is not excluded from succeeding to his natural father, and will do so if he have no other son. If a natural son be born after adoption, both share equally in the estate.
These are the rules as stated in a meeting of the caste, but they obviously represent the influence of their Hindu neighbours. It is very doubtful if the real Agariyas [अगरिया] have any idea of adoption.
The rules of succession are very similar to those of the Mānjhis [मांझी] (q. v.). When a man dies leaving a widow or widows, a son or sons, a daughter or daughters, brothers or other relatives, the sons alone inherit, and primogeniture is so far observed that the eldest son gets one animal or article, an ox, a brass pot, etc., in excess of the others. The sons take their shares per capita. When a man leaves only a sonless widow, his brothers inherit with the obligation of maintaining the widow for her lifetime or until she marries again. She can be expelled for unchastity. Stepsons inherit only the amount of their father's property which their step-father may have received, but he is bound to support and marry them. Many of the elaborate rules which the tribe pretend to observe are derived from Hindu practice; and it is obvious that it is seldom difficult for an Agariya [अगरिया] to dispose of his simple property.
The relations of the husband are regarded as relations of the wife, and vice versa. The scheme of relationship agrees with that of the Kols [कोल] (q. v.).
14. Birth ceremonies.
There are no ceremonies during pregnancy. Contrary to ordinary Hindu custom the woman lies on a bed facing cast during delivery. She is attended during seclusion by the Chamāin [चमाइन] midwife, who cuts the cord and buries it outside under the eaves of the house. The mother is dosed with a decoction of dill (ajwāin), and gets in the evening a mess of boiled sāwān, millet and konhrauri or balls made of urad [उड़द] pulse, and cucumber (konhra). On the sixth day the clothes of the mother and all the household are washed by one of them. They do not employ a Dhobi [धोबी] which, as the birth pollution is much dreaded, marks a very low stage of ceremonial purity. On the same day mother and child are bathed by the midwife, who gets a loin cloth (dhoti [धोटी]) as her fee. The mother then cooks for the family and a few of the neighbouring clansmen. On the same day the delivery room (saur [सौर]) is cleaned and replastered by the sister of the husband (nanad [ननद]), who receives a fee of four annas for her trouble. On the twelfth day the clansmen and their wives who live in the neighbourhood arए fed.
The husband, is allowed to do no work on the day his wife is delivered, and ह्as to take the first sip of the cleansing draught which is given her after delivery. He does not cohabit with his wife for a month after her confinement.
16. Puberty ceremonies.
There is no regular ceremony on arrival at puberty. The only rite in the nature of initiation is the earboring, which is done both for boys and girls in the fifth year. Up to this they may eat from the hands of a person of any caste. After this ceremony they must conform to tribal usace.
17. Death ceremonies.
The dead, except young children and those dying of small-pox, are cremated in the jungle. This is done very carelessly, and in times of epidemic disease the corpses are merely exposed in the jungle to be eaten by wild animals. The corpse is laid face upwards on the pyre with the feet to the south. The nearest kinsman moves five times round the pyre and touches the face of the corpse five times with a straw torch. As soon as the pyre blazes all go and bathe. Then they fill their vessels (lota [लोटा]) with water and return to the house of the deceased, where each pours the water he has brought in the courtyard. No fire is fit and no cooking done in the house that day. The food is cooked at the house of the brother-in-law (bahnoi [बहनोई]) of the dead man. On the tenth day the clansmen assemble at some running water, and then go and eat at the house of the deceased. The bones which remain after cremation are thrown into the nearest running stream. They are not buried, and subsequently, when convenient, conveyed to the Ganges [गंगा], as is the custom with the similarly named tribe in Chota Nāgpur [छोटा नागपुर].
18. Ancestor worship.
On the day of the Phagua [फगुआ] (Holi [होली]) they feed a fowl with gram and kill it in the name of the sainted dead. But they recognise no deceased ancestor beyond their father and mother, in whose name after the sacrifice they pour a little water on the ground. Only the members of the family eat the flesh of the victim. They do not employ Brāhmans [ब्राह्मण] at funerals; they have no srāddha [श्राद्ध], and the sister’s son has no special functions on this occasion.
They call themselves Hindus, but worship none of the regular Hindu deities. In the month of Aghan [अगहन] they get the Baiga [बाइगा] to worship the village gods (dih [डीह]), The offering consists of five fowls and a goat. The Baiga [बाइगा] chops off the heads of the victims with his axe and takes the heads as his perquisite, while the worshipper and his family cook and eat the rest of the meat at the shrine. In the month of Pūs [पूस] they worship the tribal deity—the goddess of iron— Lohāsur Devi [लोहासुर देवी]. To her is offered a female goat which has never borne a kid and some cakes made of flour and molasses fried in butter. These cakes are broken into pieces before dedication. A fire offering (hom [होम]) is lit and some of the scraps of cake are thrown into it. The remainder are eaten by the worshippers. There is no temple or image of this deity. Brāhmans [ब्राह्मण] are never employed by them, and they do all their religious business themselves, except the worship of the village gods, which is entrusted to the Baiga [बाइगा]. Among them the Baiga [बाइगा] is always one of the Parahiya [परहिया] (q. v.) caste. The village gods are worshipped at their special shrine; offerings to Lohāsur Devi [लोहासुर देवी] and the sainted dead are made in the courtyard of the house. It is only in the case of the sacrifice to the local gods that the Baiga [बाइगा] receives the head of the victim; in other cases the whole of the meat is consumed by the worshippers themselves. No substitutes are used in sacrifice, and they do not offer parts of their own bodies, such as locks of hair, drops of blood, etc.
Their festivals are the Phagua [फगुआ] or Holi [होली] and the Baisākhi [बैसाखी] called after the months in which they occur. At both they sacrifice to deceased ancestors and drink liquor. Both these are regular fixed feasts. They have no other Hindu holidays, nor at the Phagua [फगुआ] do they light the holy fire as Hindus do. Before they offer the black goat to Lohāsur Devi [लोहासुर देवी] they worship it, and before sacrificing it pour water on its head. Ancestors are worshipped to ward off evil from the household. They do not sacrifice animals at funerals, nor do they make any funeral offerings.
They dread the ghosts of the dead who appear in dreams, not because their obsequies have not been duly performed, but because they have not received their customary periodical worship. They are then appeased by the sacrifice of goats and fowls.
All the Dravidian tribes of Mirzāpur [मिर्ज़ापुर],
- the Kharwār [खरवार],
- Majhwār [मझवार],
- Patāri [पटारी],
- Panka [पंका],
- Ghasiya [घसिया],
- Bhuiya [भुइया],
- Parahiya [परहिया],
- Bhuiyār [भुइयार],
- Korwa [कोरवा],
- Agariya [अगरिया],
have their bodies tattooed. This is done both to married and unmarried girls as soon as they attain to puberty. A widow cannot get herself tattooed, unless she marries again by the sagāi [सगाई] form. If a widow gets tattooed it is believed to bring trouble on the village. There are twenty-four forms of tattoo, any of which may be used by any woman of any of the castes. In general opinion tattooing is a sacred rite by which the body is sanctified. They say that the road to the heaven of Parameswar [परमेश्वर] is full of difficulties, and at the end is a great gate guarded by terrible demons. The keepers will let no woman pass who is not tattooed. Accordingly every woman has to be tattooed, and in particular it is advisable to have the mark of some god marked on the body. They also believe that women who are not tattooed during life are tortured by the keepers of the gate of heaven. They burn them in the fire and brand them with a hot iron. They also roll them among thorns and afflict them in sundry ways. Some are taken to the top of the gate and flung down from thence. The only ornament which accompanies the soul to the other world is the godna [गोदना] or tattoo. Besides being a religious obligation the tattoo is used as a decoration, and it hence takes the form of various kinds of jewelry. The tattooing is done by the women of the Bādi [बादी] or Malār tribes of Nats [नट]. The remuneration varies according to the wealth of the patient and the character of the ornament. It ranges from half an anna to four annas. Women get themselves tattooed on the wrists, arms, shoulders, neck, breast, thighs, knees and below the knees. It is done with lamp-black mixed with the milk of the patient. If a woman be unmarried or barren, the milk of another woman of the family is used. If the milk of a woman of another caste be used it is considered most injurious to health. While the operation is going on, the patient is kept amused by the recitation of verses usually obscene. Tattooing is also used as a remedy for pains in various parts of the body. The black substance is made by burning the roots of certain jungle plants known as the gaihora, and Chainshora. Opium is also mixed with the black pigment to reduce the pain. A favorite remedy for barrenness is to tattoo the part of the stomach below the navel. In the same way a woman whose children are unhealthy and die gets a tattoo mark made on her armpit or stomach.
The chief forms of tattoo used by these jungle tribes are as follows :—
- The elephant ; this is the sign of Ganesa [गणेश], and women have it done on both arms ;
- the sacred book (pothi [पोथी]),—this is done on the shoulders and arms ;
- Mahādeva [महादेव],—this represents the name of Siva [शिव] and is done on the breast;
- sankha [शंख ] or the conch shell,—this is done on the wrist, but is prohibited to women of the Majhwār [मझवार] and Patāri [पटारी] tribes. It is the sign of coverture, and the woman who wears it does not become a widow in this world or in the life to come;
- pahunchi [पहुंची] and chūra [चूडा]—these represent bangles or bracelets ; the pahunchi [पहुंची] is done on the arms, and the chūra [चूडा] below the knee;
- Jata Mahādeva [जटा महादेव]— this represent the matted locks of Siva [शिव] and is done on the breast and other parts of the body ,·
- the hansuli [हंसुली] or necklace—this is made on the neck in the place where the necklace is worn. While this mark is being tattooed, the mother of the girl seats her daughter on her knee because it is believed that the existence of this mark ensures that they both shall meet in the next world; the person who makes this mark receives extra remuneration.
- Pān pattar [पान पत्तर]or betel leaf, chāwal [चावल] or rice mark, and the kharwariya are done on the arms in the place where the ornaments known as the bāju or jaushan are worn. Women of the Bhuiya [भुइया] and Parahiya [परहिया] tribes call this mark rijhwār [रिझवार] or “pleasing.”
- The bhanwara [भंवरा] or large bumble bee is done on the knees and thighs.
- The murli-manohar [मुरली मनोहर] is the representation of Krishna [कृष्ण] as the flute-player. It is done on the wrists and arms.
- The phulwāri [फुलवाडी] or flower garden is done on the breasts and arms.
- The dharm gagariya is a mark which is supposed to make the wearer holy in the world to come.
- The rāwana [रावण] is the sign of Rawana [रावण], the enemy of Rāma Chandra [रामचंद्र]. It is done on the breast and hands.
- Garur [गरुड] is the sign of the bird Garuda [गरुड], the vehicle of Vishnu [विष्णु]. It is done on the arms chiefly by women of the Majhwār [मझवार], Patāri [पटारी] and Panka [पंका] tribes.
- Chandrama [चंद्रमा] is the sign of the moon, and is delineated on the breast and arms.
- Rādha Krishna [राधाकृष्ण] is the sign of Krishna [कृष्ण] and his consort, done on the breast, wrist, and arms.
- The dhandha [धंधा] or “work” is the mark made below the navel by barren women in the hope of obtaining offspring.
- Muraila is the mark of the peacock made on the breast.
Many of these marks are probably totemistic in origin, but the real meaning has now been forgotten, and they are at present little more than charms to resist disease and other misfortunes, and for the purpose of mere ornament.
23. Tree worship.
The only tree they respect is the sākhu [साखू] or sāl [साल] which is used at these marriages.
24. Clothes and jewelry.
There is nothing peculiar about their clothes, except their extreme scantiness. The men wear rings of brass or gold in the ear-lobes. The women wear ear ornaments made of palm-leaf (tarki [तरकी]), glass bangles (chūri [चूडी]) heavy pewter anklets (pairi [पैरी]), and on the arm brass rings (ragari), with bead necklaces on the throat.
They swear on the head of their son and believe that they die if they forswear themselves. They have no form of ordeal.
There appears to be no idea that their women, like those of the Bengal [বঙ্গ] Agariyas [অগরিযা], are notorious witches. They have Ojhas [ओझा] in the tribe, who announce, by counting the grains of rice put before them in a state of ecstacy, what particular bhūt [भूत] has attacked the patient. The usual result is that he decides that some particular godling (deota [देवता]) is clamouring for an offering. They believe in dreams which are interpreted by the oldest man in the family. They are usually due to inattention to the wants of the sainted dead. They do not profess to believe in the Evil Eye. But this is more than doubtful.
They eat all kinds of meat, including beef. They will not touch a Dom [डोम] ; they will touch a Chamār [चमार], Dharkār [धरकार], Ghasiya [घसिया], or Dhobi [धोबी], but will not eat from their hands. They have a special detestation for Doms [डोम].
They will not touch a menstrual woman or their younger brother's wife, or mother-in-law, or a connection through the marriage of children (Samdhin [समधिन]). They will not name their wives or elders in the family or the dead. In the morning they will not speak of death or quarrels or unlucky villages or persons of notorious character. They will not eat the flesh of monkeys, horses, crocodiles, lizards or snakes.
29. Social usages.
Children eat first, then the men and women eat together, but in separate vessels. They have no ceremony at eating. They use liquor and chewing tobacco freely; they do not use the huqqa [हुक़्क़ा], but smoke out of pipes made of the leaf of the sāl [साल] tree. When they cannot get liquor to offer to deceased ancestors they mix flowers of the mahua [महुआ] (Bassia latifolia [Madhuca longifolia (J. Konig) J.F.Macbr.]) in water. They believe that the use of liquor keeps off sickness, but consider drunkenness disreputable. They salute in the same form as the Mānjhis [मांझी] (q.v.). They will eat food cooked in butter from the hands of Kahārs [कहार], and boiled rice from Chhatris [छत्री]. There is no caste which will drink water touched by them.
They practically do no agriculture. Their business is smelting and forging iron. The following account of the manufacture is given by Dr. Ball1:—
1 Jungle life, 668. For a more detailed account see Watt’s Dictionary of Economic Products, IV., 502., sqq.
“The furnaces of the Agariyas [अगरिया] are generally erected under some old tamarind or other shady tree on the outskirts of a village, or under sheds in a hamlet where Agariyas [अगरिया] alone dwell, and which is situated in convenient proximity to the ore or to the jungle of sāl [साल] (Shorea robusta), or bijay sāl [बिजयसाल] (Pterocarpus marsupium), where the charcoal is prepared. The furnaces are built of mud and are about three feet high, tapering from below upwards from a diameter of rather more than two feet at base to eighteen inches at top, with an internal diameter of about six inches, the hearth being somewhat wider. Supposing the Agariya [अगरिया] and his family to have collected the charcoal and ore, the latter has to be prepared before being placed in the furnace. The magnetic ores are first broken into small fragments by pounding, and are then reduced to a fine powder between a pair of mill stones. The hematite ores are not usually subjected to any other preliminary treatment besides pounding. A bed of charcoal having been placed on the hearth, the furnace is filled with charcoal and then fired. The blast is produced by a pair of kettle-drum-like bellows, which consist of basins loosely covered with leather in the centre of which is a valve. Strings attached to these leather covers are connected with a rude form of springs which are simply made by planting bamboos or young trees into the ground in a sloping direction. The weight of the operator, or pair of operators, is alternately thrown from one drum to the other, the heels acting at each depression as stoppers to the valves. The blast is conveyed to the furnace by a pair of hollow bamboos, and has to be kept up steadily without intermission for from six to eight hours. From time to time ore and fuel are sprinkled on the top of the fire, and as fusion proceeds the slag is tapped off by a hole pierced a few inches from the top of the hearth. For ten minutes before the conclusion of the process, the bellows are worked with extra vigour, and the supply of ore and fuel from above is stopped. The clay luting of the hearth is then broken down, and the ball (giri) consisting of semi-molten iron slag and charcoal is taken out and immediately hammered, by which a considerable portion of the included slag which is still in a state of fusion is squeezed out. In some cases the Agariyas [अगरिया] continue the further process, until after various re-heatings in open furnaces and hammerings, they produce clean iron fit for the market, or even at times they work it up themselves into agricultural tools, etc. Not unfrequently, however, the Agariya [अगरिया]’s work ceases with the production of the giri which passes into the hands of the Lohārs [लोहार]. Four annas or six-pence is the price paid for an ordinary giri, and as but two of these can be made in a very hard day’s work of fifteen hours’ duration, and a considerable time has also to be expended on the preparation of charcoal and ore, the profits are very small. The fact is that although the actual price which the iron fetches in the market is high, the profits made by the native merchants (Mahājan [महाजन]) and the immense disproportion between the time and labour expended and the outturn, both combine to leave the unfortunate Agariya [अगरिया] in a miserable state of poverty.”
Some further enquiries recently made in Mirzāpur [मिर्ज़ापुर] prove the hopelessness of competition between native and imported iron. The native iron is specially valued for tools, etc., but with the diminution of jungle its manufacture will probably soon disappear."
[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. 1. -- S. 1 - 13]
"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.
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. Ibbetson2 says 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]
"Lohār [लोहार] 1 (Sanskrit lauha-kāra [लौहकार], “ a worker in iron,” the blacksmith caste.—
1 Based on enquiries made at Mirzapur and notes by M. Bāsdco Sahay, Head Master, High School, Farrukhābād ; the Deputy Commissioner, Sultānpur ; the Deputy Inspector of Schools, Dehra Dūn.
As Professor Schrader has shown, the Indo-Germanic names for the smith have a threefold origin. They are derived cither from words designating metals or metal collectively, such as the Hindi [हिन्दी] Lohār [लोहार] and the Greek Chalkeus [χαλκεύς] or Sidereus; or, secondly, from verbals winch mean “ hewing ” ; or, thirdly, substantives with the general meaning of “worker," “artificer,” are specialised down to the narrower meaning of “smith.” Such is the Sanskrit Karmakāra [कर्मकार], “ a blacksmith,” which really means “ workman” par excellence. It has been suggested that the Lohār [लोहार] is ethnically connected with the Dravidian Agariya [अगरिया], or iron smelter, who has been separately described ; and the evidence from Bengal [বঙ্গ] to some extent corroborates this view. But the Mirzāpur [मिर्ज़ापुर] Agariya [अगरिया] does no blacksmith’s work; all he does is to smelt the iron and work it up into rough ingots, which are afterwards converted into axe heads and agricultural implements by the Lohār [लोहार], who is admittedly a recent immigrant into the hill country, and utterly repudiates any connection with the iron-smelter of the jungles. The internal organization of the caste suggests that it is formed of many different elements, and is, in the main, of occupational origin.
2. Legendary origin.
Practically all Lohārs [लोहार] 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 artizans, 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 was in her previous birth a dancing-girl of the gods. By her he had nine sons, who became the ancestors of various artizan castes, such as the Lohār [लोहार], Barhai [बढ़ई], Sunār [सुनार], Kasera [कसेरा], etc. By another tradition they are the offspring of a Brāhman [ब्राह्मण] from a Sūdra [शूद्र] woman. Many of the Western Lohārs [लोहार] fix their original home at Mithila [मिथिला], whence they say they emigrated to Mathura [मथुरा] with Sri Krishna [कृष्ण]. At the last Census, 18,305 persons, chiefly Barhais [बढ़ई] and Lohārs [लोहार], recorded themselves as worshippers of Biskarma or Visvakarma [विश्वकर्म].
3. The wandering blacksmiths.
Occasional camps of these most interesting people are to be met within 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 Panjāb [ਪੰਜਾਬ ] as Gadiya [ਗਾਡੀਆ] or those “ who have carts" (gādi, gāri [गाड़ी]). Mr. Ibbetson1 says that they come up from Rajputāna [राजपूताना] and the North-Western Provinces, but their real country is the Dakkhin [दक्खिन]. In the Panjāb [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 artizan. Of the same people Mr. Balfour2 writes that they are called in Dakkhini [दक्खिनी] Ghisāri [घीसारी], in Marhatti [मराठी] Lohār [लोहार], but call themselves Tārēmūk. They worship Khandoba [खंडोबा]. Their marriages are conducted in the Hindu manner, but intoxicating drinks are largely used. They have earned a great name for gallantry, and it is very usual to hear of the rough Tārēmūk levanting with another man’s wife. On the occasion of a birth they sacrifice in the name of Satvāi [सटवाई]. They burn the bodies of the married people and lay the ashes by a river’s side ; but the unmarried dead are buried, and for three days after the funeral food is carried to the grave, though they draw no augury of the state of the soul of the deceased from any animal eating the food. In the Dakkhin [दक्खिन]3 this class of wandering blacksmiths are called Saiqalgar [صیقلگر] or knife grinders or Ghisāra [घिसारा] or grinders. (Hindi [हिन्दी] ghisāna [घिसना], “to rub”). They wander about grinding knives and tools.
1 Panjāb Ethnography, para. 624.
2 Journal, Asiatic Society of Bengal, Vol. XIII, No. 146.
3 Bombay Gazetteer, XVI, 82.
“They are wiry men with black skins, high cheek bones, and thick lips. Latterly they have taken to shaving the head, but some keep the Hindu top-knot. Since their conversion to Islam most men wear the beard. The women dress their hair rather oddly, plaiting each tress in a separate band.”
They make nails and tongs, and the women blow the bellows, and collect scraps of iron in towns as materials for their husbands’ anvils. Though never pressed for food, they lead a hand-to-mouth life, always ready to spend what they earn in food and drink. They say they are sprung from Visvakarma [विश्वकर्म], the framer of the universe, who brought out of fire, the anvil, the bellows, the sledge, and the small hammer. He taught them how to make Vishnu's [विष्णु] discus, arrow, trident, horse-shoes, sword, and war chariot. When these were prepared and approved by their master, the caste came to be called Ghisādi [घिसाडी], and were told to make various tools and weapons of war. They are strong, dark, dirty, drunken, hot-tempered, and hardworking. In Ahmadnagar [अहमदनगर]
"early marriage, polygamy, and widow marriage are allowed and practised, and polyandry is unknown. The women mark their brows with sandal paste when they bathe. On the fifth day after the birth of a child, an image of Satvāi [सटवाई] is worshipped in Kunbi [कुणबी] fashion, and the child is named and cradled on the seventh and ninth by female friends and relations, who are asked to dine at the house. The mother keeps her room and is held impure for forty days. On the day before the marriage the “god pleasing” (deokārya [देवकार्य]) is performed, when their marriage guardian (derak), the leaves of the mango, ficus glomerata [Ficus racemosa], Syzigium Jamolanum [Syzygium cumini (L.) Skeels], Prosopis spicigera [Prosopis cineraria (L.) Druce], and Calatropis gigantea, are laid in a dining dish with a sword on them and taken to the temple of the village Māruti [मारुति], with music, and a band of friends, by two married pairs—one from the bride’s and the other from the bridegroom’s,—whose skirts are tied together. They are then again brought back and laid before the house gods until the ceremony is ended. The family gods are worshipped with the customary offerings, a goat or a sheep is slain in their name, and the caste people are feasted. All the rites connected with marriage, before and after the guardian worship, are the same as among local Kunbis [कुणबी], and the caste people are treated to a dinner at the house of the pair, or uncooked food is sent to their houses. When a girl comes of age, she sits apart for four days, and is bathed on the fifth, when her female friends and relations meet at the house, dress her in a new robe and boddice, and fill her lap with rice and a cocoanut. They mourn their dead twelve days, burying the unmarried and burning the married after the Kunbi [कुणबी] custom. The son, or chief mourner, gets his face clean shaven, except the eye-brows, on the tenth or twelfth, without requiring the services of a Brāhman [ब्राह्मण] priest, and, on the tenth, treats the caste people to a dinner of stuffed cakes and rice with split pulse. The death day is marked by a “Mind rite” (srāddha [श्राद्ध]), and the dead are remembered in all Souls’ fortnight in the dark half of Bhādon [भादों], on the day which corresponds with the death day. They are bound together by a strong caste feeling, and settle social disputes at meetings of castemen. Breaches of rules are punished by fines, which generally take the form of caste feasts, and a free pardon is granted to those who submit.”
It has seemed worth while to collect so much information about these people, because they probably represent the most primitive form of workers in iron, and are thus closely allied in function, if not in race, to the European Gipsy, whose chief occupation is that of the farrier and tinker.
4. The Lohārs [लोहार] of the North Western Provinces and Oudh [अवध]. Internal organisation.
The Lohārs [लोहार] of these Provinces include both a Hindu and a Muhammadan branch, of which the former is far more numerous than the latter. At the last Census the Hindu Lohārs [लोहार] were divided into nine main sub-castes :—
- Ajudhyabāsi [अयोध्यावासी] or “residents of Ajudhya [अयोध्या] ;”
- Visvakarma [विश्वकर्मा], who take their name from their eponymous ancestor;
- Dhaman [धामन];
- Kanaujiya [कन्नौजिया], from Kanauj [कन्नौज] ;
- Lahauri [लाहौरी], from Lahore [لہور];
- Mahul [माहुल] ;
- Mathuriya [मथुरिया], “those from Mathura [मथुरा]; ”
- Ojha [ओझा], or those professing a Brāhmanical origin, the word being probably derived from the Sanskrit Upādhyāya [उपाध्याय],“ a teacher" and
- Rāwat [रावत ], which comes from the Sanskrit Rājdūta [राजदूत], “ royal messenger. ”
But this does not exhaust the catalogue of sub-castes. Thus, we find at Mirzapur [मिर्ज़ापुर], besides the Kanaujiya [कन्नौजिया], the Mauliha [मौलिहा] or Mauliya [मौलिया], who are said to derive their name from the country of Malwa [माळवा], and to be identical with the Mahauliya [महौलिया] of Benares [वाराणसी] and the Mahul [माहुल] of the Census lists.
Mr. Sherring names in addition
- the Sribāstava [श्रीवास्तव], who take their name from the old city of Srāvasti [श्रावस्ती] :
- the Malik [ملک];
- the Banarasiya [बनारसिया], “those of Benares [वाराणसी] ;”
- the Chaurāsiya [चौरासिया] who, are perhaps called after Tappa Chaurāsi [टप्पा चौरासी] in the Mirzāpur [मिर्ज़ापुर] District;
- Purabiya [पुरबिया] or “Eastern;”
- Maghaiya [मघैया] or Magahiya [मगहिया], those of Magadh [मगध];
- Sinar and
- Mathuriya [मथुरिया] who derive their name from Mathura [मथुरा].
In the Central Duāb [दोआब] their divisions are
- Tumariya [तुमरिया], who assert some connection with Tomar Rājputs [तोमर राजपूत];
- Jholiya [झोलिया] or “ wearers of the wallet” (jholi [झोली]) ;
- Logvarsha or Laungbarsa; and
- Siyāh-maliya [स्याहमलिया], or “workers in black iron. ”
Akin to these are the Palauta of Bijnor [बिजनौर] and the Kachhlohiya, or “workers in unpurified iron," of Morādābād [मुरादाबाद].
The complete Census returns show 736 sub-divisions of the Hindu and 114 of the Musalmān branch. Of these those locally most important are
- the Deswāli [देशवाली] of Sahāranpur [सहारनपुर];
- the Lotē of Muzaffarnagar [मुज़फ़्फ़रनगर] and Meerut [मेरठ];
- the Sengar of Jhānsi [झाँसी];
- the Gotiya of Lalitpur [ललितपुर];
- the Byāhut [ब्याहुत], Gorē [गोरे] and Uttarāha [उत्तराहा] of Ballia [बल्लिया];
- the Basdiha, Byāhut [ब्याहुत], Dakkhināha [दक्खिनाहा], Malik [ملک], Uttarāha [उत्तराहा] of Gorakhpur [गोरखपुर];
- the Dakkhināha [दक्खिनाहा] of Basti [बस्ती]: and
- the Gamela of Sītapur [सीतापुर].
5. The Ojha Lohār [ओझ लोहार] or Barhai [बढ़ई].
One sub-caste known almost indifferently as Ojha Barhai [ओझा बढ़ई] or Lohār [ओझ लोहार] is almost entirely confined to the Central Duāb [दोआब]. They often call themselves Maithal [मैथल] or Mathuriya [मथुरिया] Ojha [ओझा]. The word Ojha [ओझा], as has been already remarked, is probably a corruption of the Sanskrit Upādhyāya [उपाध्याय] “a teacher." They allege that they were brought to Mathura [मथुरा] by Sri Krishna [श्री कृष्ण] from Mithila [मिथिला]. They claim to be of Brāhman [ब्राह्मण] descent and have provided themselves with a number of the ordinary Brāhmanical gotras [गोत्र] :—
- Bharadwāja [भरद्वाज];
- Vasishtha [वसिष्ठ];
- Gautam [गौतम];
- Kasyapa [कश्यप];
- Sandilya [शाण्डिल्य];
- Vatsa [वत्स],
These are all derived from the names of various Rishis [ऋषि] from whom they claim descent. In Farrukhābād [फ़र्रूख़ाबाद] and its suburbs they are divided into some twenty-four groups each of which has a headman (chaudhari [चौधरी]) of its own, to whom all social questions are referred. If the matter is not very particular, he calls a meeting of his group and settles it according to the opinion of the majority. In weightier cases members of the other groups are also invited to attend. Their rule of exogamy is in an uncertain condition. Properly speaking no man should marry in his own gotra [गोत्र] according to the usual Brāhmanical formula; but as a matter of fact, few of them know to which gotra [गोत्र] they belong and they simply use the ordinary rule which prohibits intermarriage between blood relations on the paternal and maternal sides. Polygamy is allowed, polyandry prohibited. Girls are married between five and fourteen years of age. A man may expel his wife for proved immorality, but this is no ground for a woman leaving her husband. Divorced wives and widows may re-marry by the dharauna form. In widow marriage there is no regular ceremony ; but the man who takes a widow to live with him has to undergo some sort of expiation, such as bathing in the Ganges [गंगा], feeding the brotherhood and distributing alms to Brāhmans [ब्राह्मण]. The levirate is allowed under the usual restrictions, but is not compulsory.
6. No ceremonies are performed during pregnancy. On an auspicious day, generally on the third day after her confinement, the ceremony of latadhoba [लटधोबा], is performed when one lock of her hair is washed. This is followed by the bāhar nikalna [बाहर निकलना] when she leaves the confinement room for the first time. As a safeguard against demoniacal influences when she brings out the baby in her arms, an arrow is held in its hand by its maternal uncle who, as in other castes of the same social grade, bears an important part in these domestic ceremonies, probably a survival of the matriarchate. On the sixth day (chhathi [छठी]) mother and child are bathed again. On this occasion the goddess Bihi or Bihai Māta [माता], whose name is probably a corruption of the Sanskrit Vidhi [विधि], “ Fate,” is worshipped as the protector of the child. As soon as the child is born she is installed in the house and a representation of her is made on the wall with ghi [घी]. On the sixth day she is dismissed after being duly honoured with an offering of cakes, flowers, etc. As she is regarded as influencing the destiny of the child, on the day of her worship the baby is dressed in its best clothes so as to ensure it a prosperous life. Then the whole house is purified ; a fire sacrifice is made ; the family gods are worshipped ; the child is named and food is distributed to Brāhmans [ब्राह्मण]. When they adopt, a regular deed of adoption is drawn up and the fact is notified to the brethren by a distribution of cocoanuts and sweets.
7. Marriage in the regular form is solemnised according to the standard Brāhmanical form ; poor people, however, marry by dola [दोला], when the bridegroom’s father goes to the house of the girl, brings her home and goes through the ceremonies at his own house. There is in the ceremony a survival of marriage by capture. A representation of a fish is made of flour and is hung by a string which the bride holds in her hand. She will not enter the house until the boy succeeds in piercing it with an arrow, which the bride tries to prevent by moving it about as he aims at it.
8. The death ceremonies are of the normal type and the usual srāddha [श्राद्ध] is performed. The birth pollution lasts for ten days; that of menstruation for seven days ; that after a death for thirteen days. Their tribal deity is Durga [दुर्गा]. They also in the month of Māgh [माघ] make pilgrimages to the shrine of Shāh Madār. The offerings, consisting of sweetmeats (revari [रेवडी]) flowers and pice are taken by the guardians (khādim [खादिम]) of the tomb. Shaikh [شيخ] Saddu is the guardian of women and children. When a birth or marriage occurs in a family he is worshipped on a Saturday. The women fast and in the evening a Mujāwar [مجاور] is sent for; a sacred square (chauka [चौका]) is made with cow-dung and offerings consisting of a he-goat, cakes, curry and rice are made. The Mujāwar [مجاور] pronounces the Fātiha [الفاتحة] and takes away the offerings. A local godling known as Deota [देवता] is also worshipped. Pilgrimages to his temple are undertaken in the month of Māgh [माघ]. The offerings to him consist of a cocoa-nut, a loin cloth and some pice. The marriage ceremonies commence with ancestor worship. Figures representing them are made on a wall with yellow clay and a lamp placed on a sieve laid on an earthen pot is kept burning near the place. Sweetmeats and other dainties prepared for the marriage feast are first offered to the sainted dead, and every important ceremony commences with an offering to them. This ancestor worship is confined to women. Snakes are also worshipped by women on the feast of the Nāgpanchami [नाग पंचमी]; if this worship be neglected, it is believed that some member of the family will be bitten. The bargad [बर्गद] tree (ficus Indica [Ficus benghalensis]) is also worshipped on the fifteenth of the month of Chait [चैत्र]. Women whose husbands are alive fast up to noon and do not eat any salt that day. When they go to a bargad [बर्गद] tree they make offerings of some grain, flowers and a lighted lamp and then go round it seven times holding in their hands a thread of cotton which thus becomes wound round the trunk. The Sun is worshipped on Sunday, a fast is kept and the offerings are made at noon. On this occasion no salt is eaten. The Moon is worshipped on the festival of the Ganesa Chaturthi [गणेश चतुर्थी] or Ganesa [गणेश]'s fourth. Rice and curds are given to the family priest, offerings are made to the Moon and then the worshipper breaks his fast. Offerings are made to fire daily when the family take their meals. They believe in the Evil Eye which is obviated by burning in the presence of the person affected a strip of cloth his exact height which has been soaked in oil; or a blue thread of the same length is tied round a stone and thrown into the fire; or pepper pods, wheat bran and salt are passed round his head and burnt.
9. They eat meat, goat flesh and mutton, fowls and fish. They use all the ordinary intoxicants; but excess is reprobated. They will eat pakki [पक्की] from the hands of Agarwala Banyas [बनिया], and kachchi [कच्ची] from Kanaujiya [कन्नौजिया] Brāhmans [ब्राह्मण]. They will drink water from the vessels of these two castes, but will smoke the huqqah [हुक़्क़ा] of none but a member of their own caste. Gaur [गौर] Brāhmans [ब्राह्मण] will eat their pakki [पक्की]; none but members of the caste and the lowest menials will eat their kachchi [कच्ची].
10. Ordinary Lohārs [लोहार].
Besides these Lohārs [लोहार] who claim a Brāhmanical origin, there are large bodies of them which make no such pretensions, in the Hills many of them appear to be members of the great Dom [डोम] race and from Pargana Jaunsar Bāwar [जौनसार बावर] in Dehra Dūn [देहरादून] it is reported that the fraternal or family form of polyandry prevails amongst them and that a woman may have as many as five so-called husbands at a time. This custom, it is hardly necessary to say, does not prevail among those residing in the plains. To the East of the Province they marry their daughters at the age of eleven or twelve ; there is, however, an increasing tendency in favour of infant marriage and the richer a man is the earlier he is expected to marry his daughter. Anti-nuptial infidelity is not seriously regarded, provided that it be inter-tribal, and is punished by a line payable to the tribal council and a certain amount of feasting of the brethren. A man can marry as many wives as he pleases, or can afford to support ; but few marry more than one wife unless the first be barren or hopelessly diseased. Widows may marry in the sagāi [सगाई] or kāj [काज] form and the levirate, though permitted, is not compulsory on the widow and is restricted by the usual rule, that it is only the younger who can marry the widow of his elder brother. The children of such unions rank equally with the offspring of virgin brides for purposes of inheritance. Adultery is not severely dealt with, provided it be not habitual or become an open scandal: for the first offence the erring wife is admonished by the council. A repetition of the offence leads to her formal repudiation and such a divorced woman may re-marry in the tribe by the sagāi [सगाई] form, provided her paramour has not been a member of a menial caste. In Oudh [अवध] there is an apparent survival of marriage by capture in the custom by which the women of the bride's household throw packets of betel and handfuls of barley at the bridegroom as he enters the house. They have also a sort of ordeal to ascertain the prospects of married life. A necklace is thrown into a bowl of water and the married pair scramble for it; whichever succeeds in holding it rules the other.
They profess to be Vaishnavas [वैष्णव], but few of them are regularly initiated. To the East their clan deities are Mahābīr [महावीर] and the Pānchon Pīr [पांचों पीर], with the tribal founder Visvakarma [विश्वकर्म]. The Pānchon Pīr [पांचों पीर] are worshipped on a Sunday or Wednesday in the months of Sāwan [सावन], Kuār [क्वार]. Baisākh [बैसाख] or Jeth [जेठ], with an offering of rice milk (khīr [खीर]), cakes (pūri [पूरी]) and garlands of flowers. They worship Mahābīr [महावीर] in the same months on a Tuesday or Saturday with an offering of sweetmeats (laddu [लड्डू]) and sweet bread (rot [रोट]). They are ministered in their religious ceremonies by a low class of Sarwariya [सरवाडिया] Brāhmans [ब्राह्मण]. They worship their implements as fetishes, the seat represents Mahādeva [महादेव] and the anvil Devi [देवी]. At this worship of the anvil they invite the clansmen on an auspicious day and then wash the anvil and offer before it what is called agiyāri [अगियारी] by burning sweet-scented wood before it. This is done only when the anvil is first made, and the ceremony ends with a distribution of sweetmeats among the guests. In Dehra Dūn [देहरादून] they worship Kāli [काली], Aghor Nāth [अघोर नाथ], and Narasinha Deo [नरसिंह देव]. The worshippers of Narasinha [नरसिंह, the man lion avatāra [अवतार] of Vishnu [विष्णु], numbered at the last Census 164,555 throughout the Province. They are specially worshipped when epidemic disease prevails with sacrifices of goats and pouring a little spirits near the shrine. In Farrukhābād [फ़र्रूख़ाबाद] they have a household godling named Kurehna, who is worshipped at marriages, child-birth, and death. The worship is a purely household one.
12. Occupation and social status.
The occupation of the blacksmith is no doubt very ancient in India. He is mentioned in the Rig Veda [ऋग्वेद], but though Indian steel was prized even among the ancient Greeks, “in literary monuments iron can not be traced with certainty before the end of the Vedic period when the oldest names of the metal occur.” The country Lohār [लोहार] is a true village menial. He makes and repairs the agricultural implements of his constituents and receives contributions of grain at harvest time. Thus, in Bareilly [बरेली] he gets from 7½ to 12 sers [सेर] of rice or kodon [कोदों] millet in the autumn and barley or oats in spring per plough. He also gets 2½ sers [सेर] of new grain per plough at each harvest as niboni and one sheaf per plough which is known as phiri. He also gets two for each sugar mill, two sers [सेर] of coarse sugar per field of sugarcane, and his share of the thirteenth jar of cane juice which is divided among the workmen. In Sultānpur [सुल्तानपुर] he receives one and a half panseri or measures of five village sers [सेर] at the autumn, and sheaves representing 2| sers [सेर] of grain in the spring harvest. In the cities they have greatly improved their position and rank as mistri [मिसतरी] or “master” workman. They make carriages and other articles of European style, shoes for horses and keep ironmongers' shops, selling cooking utensils (tawa [तवा], karāhi [कडाही]), axes, knives, chains, nails, screws and the like. Such a trader is often known as Luhiya [लुहिया] or Lohiya [लोहिया]. In these Provinces the Lohār [लोहार] appears to enjoy a social position rather superior to that of his brethren in the Panjāb [ਪੰਜਾਬ ]. There, according to Mr. Ibbetson
“his social position is low even for a menial, and he is classed as an impure caste, in so far that Jāts [जाट] and others of similar standing will have no social communion with him, though not as an outcaste 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, though on the other hand iron has powerful virtue as a charm against the Evil Eye. It is not improbable that the necessity under which he labours of using bellows made of cow hide may have something to do with his impurity."
This feeling of contempt for the blacksmith is not modern. In the Purānas [पुराण] the Karmakāra [कर्मकार] or smith is classed as one of the polluted tribes, and according to Manu iron is one of the commodities which a Brāhman [ब्राह्मण] or Kshatriya [क्सत्रिय], obliged to subsist by the acts of a Vaisya [वैश्य], must avoid. It is at least possible that some of the disrepute attaching to the smith may be connected with his association with the vagrant, gipsy tribes of which evidence has been already given. This feeling of impurity is not so much felt in the East of the Province. In Bihār [बिहार] they are said to rank with Koiris [कोइरी] and Kurmis [कुर्मी], and Brāhmans [ब्राह्मण] take water from their hands. In the Eastern Districts their women are reported to be chaste. There they drink spirits and eat the flesh of goats, sheep and deer, as well as fish. They do not eat meat of other kinds. They will take pakki [पक्की] from Brāhmans [ब्राह्मण], Rājputs [राजपूत] and members of the trading castes, except Telis [तेली] and Kalwārs [कलवार]. They eat kachchi [कच्ची] cooked by their own castemen or by their religious teachers and spiritual guides. They smoke only with their own tribe. Rājputs [राजपूत] of the inferior septs, traders, and all menials will eat pakki [पक्की] cooked by them. Bāris [बारी], Chamārs [चमार] and other low castes eat kachchi [कच्ची] cooked by them. They are, on the whole, quiet, respectable, and little given to crime, except that they will occasionally make the chisel (sabari) used by the professional burglar."
[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. 372 - 381]