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History Of Caste
It would be better to deport them to Africa or the middle east. Africa will have a lot of room with the population decline from AIDS.

<!--QuoteBegin-Bharatvarsh+Aug 12 2006, 08:28 AM-->QUOTE(Bharatvarsh @ Aug 12 2006, 08:28 AM)<!--QuoteEBegin--><!--QuoteBegin--><div class='quotetop'>QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->I was under the impression that most Kashmiris were of Indian ancestry, the usual enforced conversion to Islam. I read somewhere that Indian, Pak and Bd Muslims have 90% or more Indian ancestry. <!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
Yes majority are of Indian ancestry, not foreign, the foreign influence is more in evidence in POK, NWFP etc but all that doesn't matter, all of them need to be reconverted or else Hindus will have to face some unpleasent consequences.
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->It would be better to deport them to Africa or the middle east. Africa will have a lot of room with the population decline from AIDS.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->Many people don't realise that there are still significantly large numbers of non-ChristoIslamists in Africa. Africans don't deserve more Islamists. They already have trouble trying to survive, caught as they are in the middle of wars that the Christos and Islamists have started all over their continent.
Africa's population decline from AIDS is a most tragic thing, it doesn't warrant sending evil Islamofascists there.
We have to work on removing the intolerant ChristoIslamic religions in India and then in other countries like those in Africa. Bharatvarsha's solution is the only way - I don't know how it can be implemented though. ChristoIslamism has to be neutered or it will destroy everything. If the Middle East remains Islamic, for instance, it will still export that psycho-ideology elsewhere.
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->A good example is the Kamma 'caste' in AP. I strongly suspect that the Kamma caste is a modern creation and that there may not be more than scant references to a kamma caste going back more than 150 years ago.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
Kaushal the references to Kammas evidently date back as far as the Vijayanagara empire, here is one reference:


At the time when Narasimharaya waged war upon the
Qutb Shah and the Gajapati, Bukkaraja accompanied him as
far as Delhi with 4,000 Kshatriyas of Murikinau, 2,500 Velmas and Kammas together with all his kinsmen. When the Qutb
Shahi troops broke, the army of Barno (?) Grajapati came to their
rescue. The army of the Kaya, which was defeated, retreated
to the banks of the Narmada (pursued by the victorious
enemy); but Bukka with the help of his followers arrested the
enemy's progress and acquired great glory by putting them to
flight. The Raya who was struck with the courage of Bukka
conferred upon him as jaglr Aravidu and Celamanur yielding
a revenue of 2 lakhs of varahas in addition to the estate fetching
one lakh which he was already enjoying.

Karnatarajya Vrttantamu, Journal of the Telugu Academy, X, pp. 194-5.

Further Sources Of Vijayanagara History, K.A.Nilakanta Sastry, Pg 83-84.


Thank you , Bharatvarsh.I stand corrected. I dont want o harp on this topic, but i remain unconvinced that there was a multiplicity of Castes , going back to BCE.. There were always of course Jatis and Kulas (clans) who called themselves by whatever name .But there was no implication that it had anything to do wtih the Varna system of the ancient indics, which i still maintain was not hierarchical nor by birth alone,, but by aptitude and was the first example of a meritocracy.
I think the culprit was Buddhism. Many trades and occupations adopted the Buddha's message and upon the re-assimilation kept their trades and occupations along with kinship patterns. When the British census was taken these mutlipicity of trades and occupationswere listed as castes due to their heriditary nature and kinship patterns.

I also think it was the neglect during the long Buddhist phase which resulted in the discovery of long lost idols and vigrahas atleast in South India.

The Kammas in my view are long lost Multani displaced persons who kept together as a biradari and emerged as a caste. There are refs to their serving in the court of Pratap Rudra deva the Kakatiya king.

I did post a link on them in one of the threads in IF. Page 2 of Misc topics in Indina History

here: http://indculture0.tripod.com/kammas.htm
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Just sample these familiar insertions in the
Sunday matrimonial pages of any newspaper:

* CSI Nadar Christian invites alliance...

* CSI Adi dravida wants ...

* Roman Catholic wants...except SC/ST..

* Protestant Pillai seeks...

Welcome to the 'casteless' egalitarian world
of Christianity. Or at least, that is what the board
outside Evangelists Inc claims. Then what do the above
advertisements that routinely appear in very secular
newspapers point to? Well, they reveal what really one
confronts behind the facade, the truth, the whole
truth and nothing but the truth, but unfortunately
kept captive by an army of lies. Frankly it does not
need much effort to nail all these self-evident
bluster regarding 'a casteless' Christianity, nor do
they qualify as a closely held secret. As they say,
everyone knows. But there is certainly a crying
urgency to brush up the facts, for, the key weapon
brandished by the champions of conversions is the
'oppressive caste-system of Hinduism'which is deemed
as justification enough for people to migrate to
Christianity. And the orchestrated indignation and
self-righteousness with which these paragons sermonise
from the roof-top make one almost believe for a moment
that they are right after all. That is the power of
lies, told repeatedly and at high decibel levels. And
couched as it is in holy attire, it would make even
Goebbels feel shy. <!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
<!--QuoteBegin-Husky+Nov 8 2006, 12:55 PM-->QUOTE(Husky @ Nov 8 2006, 12:55 PM)<!--QuoteEBegin-->Erica (post 12),
It is indeed wrong to impose an occupation on people by birth. In India's case, this was not imposition in the way you understand. Until recently there was no other choice than to carry out the same trade one's parents did. For a very simple reason: occupations were handed down from parents to their children. This was the ground reality and continues to be so in most villages. In the past, one's geographic location and ancestry did determine one's work. If you lived by the sea and your parents were fishermen, you'd likely be a fisher(wo)man too. It's the just the way things were in the whole world. Parents could teach you an art, trade or other profession that they had perfected for generations and you could be confident to do well in it and earn a decent livelihood, serving the whole community. One may protest at this way of life, but there is nothing wrong with it (when circumstances, not fellow man, determines profession).

India has always had an immense population. Specialisation is a hallmark of large population sizes. Communities will inevitably specialise (especially in the pre-modern era). In early times, this meant that parents became one's teachers, schooling their kids in what they knew. That is why even today, one may find entire Hindu communities devoted to one specific craft or skill that they have developed for maybe thousands of years. Sculpting deities for instance. You have to see these people at work to believe what they can do. So too the temple builders, they are like Vishwakarma (the Divine Architect). Whatever the work one did, however humble it may seem today, all of them contributed to the overall national community and helped the country progress and prosper. (In this way, Jatis were comparable to the Old Roman Trade Unions you had.)

It may sound like the erstwhile communist Russia which insisted that people talented in gymnastics made that their profession, or like the communist China of today where entire villages are devoted to lamp-making for export (not by their choice either). But there is a significant difference: no one in India made various communities do what they did: the jobs evolved from need, from wanting to fit into mainstream society, from seeing what work was required to be done that no one else was yet doing (and hence an opening for people to become indispensible and newcomers to gain acceptance).
In major cities in India some people could learn new trades, though often this was more a place where they could continue doing what they already knew and were good at. The best places to learn new trades were universities and schools which taught the major disciplines. Contrary to western ideas about India, our old universities and schools did not just teach philosophy (religion), but a great many fields. The islamic invaders destroyed many of these and the British systematically closed down our Indian schools, even those in the villages - another victory for them. See the thread on Dharampal's writings on this topic (author Dharampal did a lot of research on this). Nevertheless, not all remote regions had access to schools, so one can't expect everyone to have had access to studying different trades.
Also, to think people were miserable or feeling stifled in whatever work they were doing is also only a modern idea. In the past, people just accepted that work needed to be done to earn a living and got on with it. They also knew that whatever job one did, however simple it may appear to them, it served the whole country, which was a supreme exercise of Dharma. And though everyone worked, they also did artistic stuff at home (storytelling, drawing, making small things out of clay or mud, playing games). No one was spiritually deprived either - everyone knew stories from the Puranas, including the Ramayana and Mahabharata especially. These distill all of Hindu spiritual thought and teachings and convey deep messages in a natural and easy-to-understand manner. Fishermen who never left the view of the ocean would still know these tales excellently well and passed them onto their infants. And there were temples everywhere (many destroyed now, of course), and puja areas in people's homes.

There are in fact organisations out there, trying to destroy Indian jatis. They tend to be of the missionary kind. In many ways, destroying jatis helps conversion greatly. See for instance the aims of Project Thessalonica which is itself only part of Joshua Project's campaign for converting us 'unsaved' Hindus. (The Joshua Project is a worldwide operation. They are also looking to convert Italy from Catholicism into born-again American christianity)

Also jatis are very important for another reason: they don't just signify a trade, but are often an important source of identity. Words like tribe and jati have negative connotations in the west (tribe has come to signify something backward or primitive), but there's nothing shameful in belonging to any community (tribe, sometimes jati) in India. Each one of them has had a long and eventful past, and there have been heroes in each of them. All communities have contributed to serving or protecting Hindu Dharma in some way throughout history. And sometimes jatis overlap with community identity in India, and therefore are very strong links to our past. In my next life, if I don't get born as someone's pet animal, and am perhaps born as an Indian again but in another community than in this life, it would give me a strong identity to a different ancient line in India. These things ground us to our country, gives us a sense of our ancientry and importance in our local and national setting. I may have achieved nothing myself, but I have people to look upto and want to emulate among my present ancestors.

Therefore, to say that all notion of tribe or community or jati (these terms occasionally overlap and sometimes have merged in India's context) has to disappear is not a good suggestion. No sense of history or identity means we'll easily fall into the 'anything goes' crowd. The west insist India has no history and Indians have no sense of history, but the existence of India's ancient communities disproves them on this all the time. Perhaps that's why departments in the west and missionary organisations keep harping on a uniform Indian society made up of pseudo-secularists who have no notion of who their ancestors were and therefore can be swayed left and right as the western missionary wind blows. Churches in India would also like to sever ties Hindus have with their jati, because they know christians (converts) no longer have one and are therefore without moorings. This puts converts at a distinct disadvantage, as they perceive they are without a sense of historical identity and so lack a valid historical connection to India. Christian organisations want to even the playing field by trying to wipe out the existence of Hindu jatis, as christian converts are no longer counted by Hindu society amongst our ancient jatis (and they will never be, because Jati is something that belongs to Hinduism and Jainism and maybe Buddhism).

Because there is a European Union now, doesn't mean Europeans ought to give up what their ancestral identity was: French, Swiss Italian, Swiss German, Italian, English, Finnish and the like. Some of the European identities might only be a few centuries old, but those centuries make a difference because the accumulated shared experiences during that time formed them into nations. Hence you have the French (where in the past there were Gauls and Franks who were quite separate tribes in Europe) and the English. Germany's nationhood is also quite recent. But as historical populations or communities they are very old. And then there are sub-identifiers within each case.

India likewise is a massive country, considering the population. We do have our own regional identities or community identities. And we like to keep them. Professions can easily be changed today, since there are schools everywhere (even though they teach false history and try to evangelise at present) and so need no longer depend on birth (one's parents). But as a source of connection to the past, affiliation to our tribes or jatis is invaluable. Identifying with one's region, communities and sub-communities, and even individual families, is something we all do. The Rishis and Acharyas don't do that, but regular people do - all over the world.

<b>Not many know the Indian past he had discovered</b>!

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Not many know the Indian past he had discovered!
Thursday November 16 2006 09:31 IST
S Gurumurthy

"What is it that keeps the country down", asked the speaker. A young man in the audience replied unhesitatingly: "Undoubtedly the institution of caste that kept the majority low castes and the society backward" and added "it continues".

The speaker replied, "May be". But, pausing for a moment, he added, "May not be". Shocked, the young man angrily asked him to explain his "may-not-be" theory.

The speaker calmly mentioned just one fact that clinched the debate. He said, "Before the British rule in India, over two-thirds - yes, two-thirds - of the Indian kings belonged to what is today known as the Other Backward Castes (OBCs).

"It is the British," he said, "who robbed the OBCs - the ruling class running all socio-economic institutions - of their power, wealth and status." So it was not the upper caste which usurped the OBCs of their due position in the society?

The speaker’s assertion that it was not so was founded on his study - unbelievably painstaking study for years and decades in the archives in India, England and Germany. He could not be maligned as a ‘saffron’ ideologue and what he said could not be dismissed thus. He was Dharampal, a Gandhian in ceaseless search of truth like his preceptor Gandhi himself was, but a Gandhian with a difference. He ran no ashram on state aid to do ‘Gandhigiri’.

Admitting that "he and those like him do not know much about our own society", the young man who questioned Dharampal - Banwari is his name - became his student. By meticulous research of the British sources over decades, Dharampal demolished the myth that India was backward educationally or economically when the British entered. Citing the Christian missionary William Adam’s report on indigenous education in Bengal and Bihar in 1835 and 1838, Dharampal established that at that time there were 100,000 schools in Bengal, one school for about 500 boys; that the indigenous medical system that included inoculation against small-pox.

He also proved by reference to other materials that Adam’s record was ‘no legend’. He relied on Sir Thomas Munroe’s report to the Governor at about the same time to prove similar statistics about schools in Madras. He also found that the education system in the Punjab during the Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s rule was equally extensive. He estimated that the literary rate in India before the British was higher than that in England.

Citing British public records he established, on the contrary, that ‘British had no tradition of education or scholarship or philosophy from 16th to early 18th century, despite Shakespeare, Bacon, Milton, Newton, etc’. Till then education and scholarship in the UK was limited to select elite. He cited Alexander Walker’s Note on Indian education to assert that it was the monitorial system of education borrowed from India that helped Britain to improve, in later years, school attendance which was just 40, 000, yes just that, in 1792. He then compared the educated people’s levels in India and England around 1800. The population of Madras Presidency then was 125 lakhs and that of England in 1811 was 95 lakhs. Dharampal found that during 1822-25 the number of those in ordinary schools in Madras Presidency was around 1.5 lakhs and this was after great decay under a century of British intervention.

As against this, the number attending schools in England was half - yes just half - of Madras Presidency’s, namely a mere 75,000. And here to with more than half of it attending only Sunday schools for 2-3 hours! Dharampal also established that in Britain ‘elementary system of education at people’s level remained unknown commodity’ till about 1800! Again he exploded the popularly held belief that most of those attending schools must have belonged to the upper castes particularly Brahmins and, again with reference to the British records, proved that the truth was the other way round.

During 1822-25 the share of the Brahmin students in the indigenous schools in Tamil-speaking areas accounted for 13 per cent in South Arcot to some 23 per cent in Madras while the backward castes accounted for 70 per cent in Salem and Tirunelveli and 84 per cent in South Arcot.

The situation was almost similar in Malayalam, Oriya and Kannada-speaking areas, with the backward castes dominating the schools in absolute numbers. Only in the Telugu-speaking areas the share of the Brahmins was higher and varied from 24 to 46 per cent. Dharampal’s work proved Mahatma Gandhi’s statement at Chatham House in London on October 20, 1931 that "India today is more illiterate than it was fifty or hundred years ago" completely right.

Not many know of Dharampal or of his work because they have still not heard of the Indian past he had discovered. After, long after, Dharampal had established that pre-British India was not backward a Harvard University Research in the year 2005 (India’s Deindustrialisation in the 18th and 19th Centuries by David Clingingsmith and Jeffrey G Williamson) among others affirmed that "while India produced about 25 percent of world industrial output in 1750, this figure had fallen to only 2 percent by 1900." The Harvard University Economic Research also established that the Industrial employment in India also declined from about 30 to 8.5 per cent between 1809-13 and 1900, thus turning the Indian society backward.

<i>PS: This great warrior who established the truth - the truth that was least known - that India was not backward when the British came, but became backward only after they came, is no more. He passed away two weeks ago on October 26, 2006, at Sevagram at Warda.

Comment: gurumurthy@epmltd.com</i>
The word 'outcast' does not come from caste. It comes from 'cast out' of the group or tribe.

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->  I don't know too much but from what i've seen on the net don't a lot of earlier texts like puranas and mahabharat point to rigid caste systems which authors frequently saying an entire community is this or that. and then ofcourse there is the Manu smriti which just introduces a lot stuff like that. maybe i've been reading the wrong or selective translations but could you point me to some links cause apart from maybe the Vedas a lot of the later stuff seems to contain specific racist stuff. and then there's the whole reform jain and buddhist movements which were said to be against such social injustices, so it seems the rot had set in long before islamic times.


I am no expert on the issue but had compiled this some time ago. A good start to read some alternate versions of history, start here and read some of the references cited.

The caste system became rigid and moribund only after India’s contact with Islam in the 8th century. There is some evidence that Islam was a contributing cause to caste rigidity, readers may doubt this theory due to a lack of firm evidence but it is almost certain that the caste system was NOT a key factor resulting in the defeat of the Hindus in India. I also believe that in order to believe the above, one has to look beyond clichés such as the sanction of caste based segregation in Manu Smriti and how the British and western colonizers taught India her history. It is one of the great tragedies of India that our so called eminent historians with the sanction of our government have played an active role in engineering new history and the suppression of facts. Many new authors are now challenging various aspects of our history. Below is some material. Collated by me from various sources, most of them with a bias against the “secular” labeled historians.

Manusmriti (and other shastric texts) have as much or as little authority for Hindus as a contemporary book on hindu philosophy.
The British consistently promoted the myth that Hindus were governed by their codified versions of shastric injunctions. The modern educated elite in India, whose knowledge of India comes mainly from English language sources, were thenceforth systematically brainwashed into believing that the British were actually administering Hindu personal laws through the medium of the English courts. This was part of a larger myth-building exercise, whereby the people of the subcontinent were taught that theirs was a stagnant civilisation. The ignorant assumptions of our colonial rulers, that social stability in India was due to the supposed proclivity of its people to follow the same old traditions, customs and laws that had allegedly remained moribund for centuries, slowly came to acquire the force of self-evident truth over a period of time, both for those supporting as well as those opposing British rule.
<span style='color:red'>
The confusion is not theirs alone; these common misrepresentations are an unfortunate byproduct of our colonial education which we slavishly cling to, even though it is more than five decades since we declared our Independence. We keep defending or attacking the same hackneyed quotations from the shastras and the epics which, incidentally, colonisers used for the purpose of creating a new discourse about these writings. Their inaccurate and biased interpretations have continued to inspire major misreadings of our religious tenets.*</span>

Since different smritikars documented the customs of different communities, there were substantial differences in their approaches, perspectives, and precepts. But characteristically, none of the smritikars deny the authority of other smritikars or attempt to prove that theirs is the supreme, most authoritative version of a code of conduct. They acknowledge that the authority of the king and the law are derived from the people. Most of the leading smritikars make explicit statements to this effect. The Smriti of Yajnavalkya, for instance, lists twenty sages as law givers. The Mitakshara explains that the enumeration is only illustrative and Dharmasutras of others are not excluded. Nor is the authority of any shastrakar assigned hierarchical importance.
The smritikars were not rulers. Nor did they owe their authority to any sovereign political or military power. The authority of the codes they enjoined were not enforced by punitive measures. Their influence depended solely on the voluntary internalisation of such value systems by the groups to which they addressed themselves to, and people's respect for their judgement. Actual enforcement was left in the hands of the local communities.</b> An oft-repeated maxim was that reason and justice are to be accorded more regard than mere texts. Most important of all, a dharmic code, in the rishis' view, was one that was "agreeable to good conscience."

Gandhi is one of the few modern social reformers to have understood this principle underlying the shastras. Therefore, he could unhesitatingly declare:

"My belief in the Hindu scriptures does not require me to accept every word and every verse as divinely inspired... I decline to be bound by any interpretation, however learned it may be, if it is repugnant to reason or moral sense."

Discrimination against women or Dalits is neither inherently 'Hindu' nor is it scripturally mandated. This is not to suggest that such practices do not exist. Sadly enough, the disgraceful treatment of Dalits and downgrading of women are among the most shameful aspects of contemporary Indian society. But they will not disappear by burning ancient texts because none of the 'Hindu' scriptures have projected themselves as commandment-giving authorities demanding unconditional obedience from all those claiming to be Hindus.

We are free to rid ourselves of any text that debases women or certain castes. Let us not imagine that Manu or any other shastrakar is obstructing our efforts to improve the lot of women or other oppressed groups. Despite some of the very negative and offensive things he might have said from our point of view (which many scholars hold to be later interpolations)** Mr. Manu did have the proper sense to pronounce that good karma was more important than biological lineage. He also emphasised that families and societies which demean women and make them lead miserable lives inevitably move towards destruction. He noted that truly prosperous families are only those in which women are honoured and happy.
It is also worth noting that the classical four varna division of Hindu society (as described in the Manusmriti) does not appear to have had much practical significance if one were to go by the accounts of the Greek chronicler, Megasthenes. In his accounts of Mauryan India. Megasthenes appears to list a seven fold social order in which he differentiates between the priest and the philosopher (who he ranked much above the priest, and who could have been a Brahmin, Jain or Buddhist) and also gives special attention to court bureaucrats such as record keepers, tax collectors and judicial officials. He also ascribed to the peasantry a higher status than might be inferred from the Manusmriti and noted with amazement how the peasantry was left unharmed during battles.</b>

According to Megasthenes, philosophers - whether Brahmins or Jain/Buddhist monks also had obligations in terms of offering advice to the ruler in matters of public policy, agriculture, health and culture. Repeated failure to provide sound counsel could lead to a loss of privileges - even exile or death. Thus, although many Brahmins may have held on to their privileges by being shameless sycophants - others made significant contributions in the realm of science, philosophy and culture. Social mobility was possible since learning was not an exclusive preserve of the Brahmins and both the Buddhist and Jain sanghas admitted people from different social backgrounds and also admitted women. <b>(Jyotsna Kamat points to a Karnataka inscription from 1187 A.D. that suggests that Jain nuns enjoyed the same amount of freedom as their male counterparts.) The more advanced sanghas enforced a separate quorum for women to ensure that a largely male gathering may not take decisions that did not meet with the approval of the women members of the sangha.
Over time, it appears that the sanghas degenerated, losing their intellectual vitality and egalitarian spirit allowing the Brahmins to gradually consolidate their power and influence in the Gangetic plain. But even as late as the 6th-7th C, Gupta-period inscriptions describing land grants in Bengal appear to corroborate Megasthenes' view of how Indian society was structured. Social rank of senior court administrators (who may have risen from different caste backgrounds) invariably exceeded the rank of ordinary village priests.

Nevertheless, the seeds for a more privileged role for the Brahmins were also being sown through the process of land grants to Brahmins. In some instances, thousands of Brahmins were granted rights to hitherto uncultivated land. In other cases, Brahmins were appointed as the local representatives of the state authorities in what are described as agrahara villages where Brahmins presided over small peasants, who in Bihar were mostly landless sharecoppers or bonded labourers. These agrahara villages were typically small villages and sattelites of bigger villages that included members of several castes and bigger land-holders. In Bihar, such agrahara villages proliferated and it is quite likely that in such agraharas oppressive social relations and some of the most egregious patterns of caste-centred discrimination and exploitation may have developed.

(While early Gupta period records indicate the existence of rural consultative councils that mediated between the rulers and the artisans and peasants, it seems that such consultative councils became less important or were phased out with the growth of the agraharas. Thereafter, the Brahmins became the sole intermediaries between the village and the state, and over time, this may have enabled the Brahmins to exercise social and political hegemony over other inhabitants of the village. It also appears that the greatest incidence of the practice of untouchability occurs in conjunction with the growth in the power and authority of the Brahmins in such villages.)

But these developments took time to spread elsewhere in India, first spreading to Bengal and eastern UP, and very gradually elsewhere in India. However, this pattern was not necessarily replicated in identical form throughout India and some parts of India virtually escaped this trend. In agrahara villages in other parts of India, Brahmins did take on the role of local administrators and tax collectors, but the status of the small peasantry was not always as miserable as in Bihar. The degree of exploitation and oppression appears to be related to the extent of alienation from land-ownership.

For example, evidence for Brahmin domination in Kalikatti, Southern Karnataka emerges after the 13th C. when villagers were instructed to pay taxes to the Brahmin assignees, leading to constant tensions and disputes, but without dramatic changes in the overall status of the tax-paying villagers.

For instance, in Orissa, the ossification of the bureaucracy and its conversion into a group of privileged and exclusive castes appears to take place after the 14th-15th C. when we begin to see a general decline in its overseas trade due to the silting up of its rivers. At the same time, we see the growth of Brahminical hegemony in the realm of religion and military defeats at the hands of the Mughal armies led by Raja Man Singh of Jaipur. All these factors may have played a role in destroying the vibrancy of Oriya society and encouraging caste conservatism.
Although Brahminization was an important factor in leading to caste ossification, it was not necessarily the sole or even the most important factor in the mix. The impact of the Islamic invasions, colonization by the British and ecological changes played an equally crucial if not decisive role in many instances.

Source: The Manusmriti, with critical commentary by Dr. Surendra Kumar, Arsh Sahitya Prachar Trust, Delhi

It is clear from a variety of evidence that considerable mobility was prevalent in the caste system till the tenth century. Shishir Thadani points out that during the Pratihara period, caste categories were relatively flexible and popular temples were constructed by those considered low-caste. Temple construction was often a way of gaining social respect and upward mobility. But the caste system began to ossify in the 10th century which contributed to a general decline that was happening in Hindu Indian society.

Muslim writers, who frequented India within hundred years after the birth of Islam, give us a window into the Indian world in existence in the 8th century. Sindh fell to Muslim occupation in the year 712 C.E. to Muhammad bin Qasim, a cousin of Caliph of Baghdad. Chach-nama and writings of al-Biruni, though written in the 13th and 11th centuries, claim their sources from other contemporary writings. It appears as though the systematic classification was not rigid in the 8th century after all. Shudra as well as Brahmin kings were ruling and not all royalty belonged to the Kshatriya class.

The passivity and rigidity of the caste system became pronounced only after the Muslims made their appearance on the shores of India, when religious discrimination and oppressive taxation (Jizya – a taxation on non-Muslims imposed by Muslim rulers), conspired to remove certain segments of the population from the political system and economic advancement. The Muslim rulers became quite adroit at exploiting it. Some Brahmins and Buddhist monks were exempt from the taxation. Caste system then became static, lost its influence in the process and came to be known as a distinguishing characteristic of orthodox Hinduism.

The Hindu religion itself became more orthodox as a direct result of the external threat of a foreign religion with little tolerance to the ‘infidels’. Al-Biruni writes about a much admired Brahmin king of Sindh in the 8th century called Chach (hence the historical journal: Chach-nama), who ruled admirably but went ‘straight to Hell, when he died, as he is an infidel’. Much of the freedom enjoyed by the citizens had to be curtailed out of necessity and Islam had a profound negative effect on the progress of the more liberal Hinduism.

Just to add to ShauryaT's excellent post above, the shastras have always been sharply divided into two- shruti- which is timeless (sanatana)and apaurushya (basically the vedas and vedanga), and smriti, which are time-bound and commentaries on various social paradigms.... and the Manu Smriti is a Smriti, which is why is it not taught as a part of Vedanta

There are numerous commentaries available on how the codification process of the British actually made the caste system rigid as we know it now.......... otherwise, what sociologists term sanskritization was known to have occured in the Coorg as late as 18th century

The failure of anti-caste movements

The curse of the caste system as it obtains now or as developed in the course of the past several thousand years is not peculiar to Dravidian or non-Dravidian States. It was and continues to be very much alive throughout the country with all its ugly trappings. Movements to eradicate the system have taken shape in various parts of the country at various times but have failed to continue as a sustained effort. THE CASTE system which developed in India in the course of the past thousands of years, besides being a blot on the fair name of Hinduism, has been a source of acute social disharmony and oppression of the lower castes by the upper castes. Economic distress and educational backwardness aggravate the misery of the lower castes. Social reformers have, from time to time, come on the social scene and attempted to eradicate the evil. The Dravidian movement in Tamil Nadu was born as a force to fight the caste system. Spearheaded by the Dravidian movement in Tamil Nadu and Phule and Babasaheb Ambedkar in Maharashtra the movement had achieved a measure of success but has failed as a sustained action. This article is an attempt to pinpoint the reasons for the failure of the movements as a sustained fight against the age-old social evil in Tamil Nadu.

Untenable view
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There is a view among some social scientists that Brahmanism had been given shape as the ideology of the ruling class in the middle of the first millennium B.C. with intelligentsia claiming cultural purity and sacredness to the exclusion of the vast majority of the people. This view is untenable. History will show that there were very few rulers among Brahmans during the period. The Vedic religion, the one and only religion practised by the people during the period, had assigned the practice, propagation, interpretation and teaching of Vedic knowledge and conduct of the rituals dictated by the Vedas as the specific and only duties of the Brahmans. </span>They were patronised by the rulers who needed the guidance and advice of the Vedic pundits in establishing and running the administration in just and righteous manner. The nexus between the ruling class and the Brahmans had developed in this way. The shantistava or the benediction pronounced at the conclusion of all religious rituals runs thus:

"Let the king who rules the country in just and righteous manner be in good state of health and welfare. Let the cows and Brahmans be well and let all people of the world be happy''. (Cows and Brahmans were held in high veneration in those days).

The benediction specifically states Loka samastha sukhino bhavanthu i.e. `let all people of the world be happy'. This would show that the vast majority of the people were not excluded from the thoughtful regard by those performing rituals for the welfare of the world. No deliberate exclusion of any section of society had been made by either the ruling elite or the intelligentsia. Unlike in the present age the spread of education had been a difficult process in those days with the needed infrastructure being not available in required level and standard.

In the Hindu religious rituals, the above benediction is uttered even to this day. Long before the first millennium B.C., Lord Krishna (Himself not a Brahman), while performing the charioteer's duty for Arjuna in the Kurukshetra war, had in the course of his famous philosophic discourse to Arjuna on the battle field (The Bhagawad Gita) stated that the "four Varnas (Brahmana, Kshatriya, Vaishya, Shudra) are created by `me' in accordance with the mental make-up of and the specific duties required to be performed by people''. (Bhagavad Gita, Chapter IV, verse 13). The categorisation was duty-specific or job-specific and had no intention of dividing society into higher and lower classes. According to the system, the ruling class has to be Kshatriyas and not Brahmans. Post-Vedic history would show that this duty specific categorisation had held ground. That degeneration of the system paved the way for the caste system in the course of a long period of time is an unfortunate phenomenon which can be attributed to the dynamics of social change and evolution. Even the best of systems can get corrupted and become a curse by passage of time. There were exceptions even in those days when non-Kshatriyas had become rulers and the mode of seeking advice from the Brahmans an accepted line in administration.

Indian identity

There is a misconception among some people that the `Indian identity' was essentially the creation of the elite and that the same elite had claimed that Sanskrit, the Vedic tradition and the Vedanta constituted the `Indian culture' which was later projected as `Hinduism', the majority religion of the country today. In essence the implication being that the non-Brahmana Varnas were excluded from this culture and hence from Hinduism. Historically because of the pre-eminence of the Vedic knowledge, the language of the Vedas and the scriptures, namely, Sanskrit had been held sacred. Due to this, Sanskrhad bit een considered as the Deva bhasha the language of the gods. Sanskrit as a highly developed language had also been adopted as state language by most rulers. Most regional languages had developed by absorbing copiously from the Sanskrit vocabulary and grammar. Incidentally the development of regional languages has been one of the causes even for the decline of the study of Sanskrit.

Although the Indian culture has been shaped through the past several millennia, when the Vedic knowledge had been the most important branch of intellectual discourse and writing, other secular subjects such as medicine, astrology, architecture, etc., also came under the broad sweep of Sanskrit literature. The primacy given to spirituality and study of the philosophy contained in the Vadas had made Sanskrit language pre-eminent besides its place as state sponsored language. The advent of other religions such as Buddhism, Jainism, Christianity and Islam in later periods could not make much inroad into the entrenched Vedic religion being practised by the people in the post-Vedic, medieval and later periods. The majority of the population therefore continued to practise the religion propagated by the Vedas though certain accretions and beliefs had crept in during the long course of history. It is thus the "Indian identity'' came to be identified with the Vedic religion and not due to any attempt by the elite.

The passage of several centuries however saw the development of cultures based on the newer faiths which raised the richness of this Indian identity and shaped it as the present pluralistic culture. Liberal accretions due to regional intelligentsia providing a diversity of interpretations leading to development of local customs and lifestyles based on them are also a factor in the development of the `Indian identity'.

The caste system as developed through thousands of years does not have the sanction of the Vedas. In fact the Tantra Sastra, an important branch of Vedic practice, insists that no differences of castes or even religions should be applied while practising. Even the four Varnas described in the Puranas and texts do not have the evil caste connotations as they are now. Intermarriages among people of the four Varnas were freely in vogue even during the post-Vedic period. It will be seen that the caste system had developed not only in one geographic area or region but was a pan-India phenomenon. In fact, the term "Brahmanism'' was never envisaged to be a caste in the Vedic and the post-Vedic periods. The literal meaning of the term "Brahmana'' is one who knows about the "Brahman.''
The curse of the caste system as it obtains now or as developed in the course of the past several thousand years is not peculiar to Dravidian or non-Dravidian States. It was and continues to be very much alive throughout the country with all its ugly trappings. Movements to eradicate the system have taken shape in various parts of the country at various times but have failed to continue as a sustained effort. This is the fact, also, with the Dravidian movement. The reasons for this can be analysed as follows:</b>

Relevance lost

In Tamil Nadu, the movement started by Periyar failed because it was not focussed so much against the all-pervasive caste system as against "Brahmanism''. It should be noted that even upper caste non-Brahmans were part of the movement against "Brahmanism" along with the lower denominations in the caste hierarchy. The percentage of Brahmans in the total population is so low and the movement specifically targeted against Brahmanism that after achieving the vanquishment of the Brahmans the movement naturally lost its relevance and militancy. When the oppression by Brahmanism came to an end, rivalries, against one another among the non-Brahman castes resulted. Economic disparities worsened the situation. Even when the anti-Brahman movement was in progress, oppression of the Dalits by the non-Brahman upper castes and the backward castes was in existence, but in the thick of the movement which had gained powerful momentum under the leadership of a dynamic leader, the intra-non-Brahman caste rivalries and caste based oppression of the Dalits by higher castes did not show up. But, when the anti-Brahman movement weakened the rivalries among the non-Brahman castes and oppression of the Dalits by the higher castes came to surface and the anti-Dalit stance became pervasive.

Economic vulnerability of Dalits due to their dependence on the more well-to-do upper and backward castes added to the conflict. The statutory reservation regimen to Dalits added fuel to the already simmering fire and conflicts between backward castes and Dalits became common. As a result every denomination of the backward castes started demanding benefits such as reservations.

An important reason for the gradual weakening of the movement started by Periyar is the advocacy of rationalism and atheism. The Indian society irrespective of whether Dravidian or non- Dravidian is firmly rooted in religion and worship of God. Using rationalist arguments to oppose the caste system and religion- based superstitions has had very little effect among the people who have deep moorings in a culture having adherence to religion. The opposite, that is, teaching religion on the right lines and specially the absence of sanction for superstitions and castes in the correct religious tenets would have been more effective in rooting out these evils.

Rigid structure

The peculiarity of the caste system is the existence of well- defined structure of the castes and even sub-castes within castes. Intermarriages between members of one caste and another and even among sub-castes are frowned upon by members. The structure becomes more oganised and rigid when a particular caste suffers a perceived disadvantage in getting benefits from the government. In any society, a person takes pride in the identity of the caste he belongs to. Associations of members to unite them are organised by most castes. The "Thevar Peravai'' and "Nadar Sangham'' are examples. Such organisations are in existence practically for most castes whether forward, backward or Dalit.

All the movements so far for the cause of eradicating caste system and its evils are conducted by members of the oppressed castes and they generally help only in creating ill-will and disharmony between the oppressor and oppressed castes. A dangerous dimension is added by the formation of political outfits based on caste affiliations. Even elections are fought under the aegis of these parties hoping to garner the support of the caste people. They specifically seek benefits and political empowerment by highlighting castebased disadvantages rather than creating a bond of love and fraternity among castes. The movements do not eschew attitudes of conflicts and confrontation. An atmosphere congenial to development of inter-caste fraternity is not even thought of. The leaders of such movements seek patronage from other political parties in furtherances of their limited objective of gaining benefits and political empowerment and thus form what is now known as "vote banks''. The mainstream political parties are more than willing to support them. The result is perpetuation of the system rather than eradication.

A prerequisite

One prerequisite for the total eradication of the caste system is to separate the conferment of benefits in relation to castes from the higher purpose of creating a lasting bond of love and fraternity between members of various castes. The focus should be to educate the members about the absence of any basis for caste differences in the religious tenets. Any effort by the government to eradicate the caste system is bound to be ineffective because of the need at present to categorise people as MBC, FC, SC/ST etc., in order to extend the various statutory benefits such as reservations. Similarly formats for applying for jobs or admission to educational institutions also call for information about the caste of the applicant. In effect the differences of castes are perpetuated rather than obliterated. Even the child is made aware of his/ her caste and the benefits which accrue due to it repeatedly during its education. Indian society is afflicted with not only social evils like the oppressive caste system but also severe economic backwardness in every stratum of society. The latter is widespread irrespective of caste difference. Economic backwardness is the prime reason for the Dalits to depend upon the more well-to-do backward and upper castes and thereby being subjected to social indignities in addition to economic exploitation. Economic betterment, therefore, will go a long way in countering oppression of Dalits by the higher castes. This needs a multipronged action programme.

Further, instead of a caste-based reservation regime, if economic criterion is adopted for reservations and other benefits, the need for categorising the community into a large number of castes and perpetuating the difference through a statutory system can be eliminated. This will also discourage caste groups from demanding for inclusion in the list of those entitled to the benefits. The percentage of upper castes in the population is very small, the economically backward among them who will be entitled to reservations will in effect be a small proportion of the population entitled to reservations. The larger portion of the benefits will therefore go only to the economically backward among the backward and SC/ST.

WhenIndia started having western contacts, This caste discrimination accelerated when British got power.

It may be worth reading this
Indian Caste System and British

Some more on the Post Gupta period and the influence of the changing landscape of the social-political context, the march of Islam and the codification by the British.

Apologies to all for the long post, there simply is not a single link to explain it all. Hope it is worth it.

It is worth noting that the classical four varna division of Hindu society (as described in the Manusmriti) does not appear to have had much practical significance if one were to go by the accounts of the Greek chronicler, Megasthenes. In his accounts of Mauryan India. Megasthenes appears to list a seven fold social order in which he differentiates between the priest and the philosopher (who he ranked much above the priest, and who could have been a Brahmin, Jain or Buddhist) and also gives special attention to court bureaucrats such as record keepers, tax collectors and judicial officials. He also ascribed to the peasantry a higher status than might be inferred from the Manusmriti and noted with amazement how the peasantry was left unharmed during battles.

According to Megasthenes, philosophers - whether Brahmins or Jain/Buddhist monks also had obligations in terms of offering advice to the ruler in matters of public policy, agriculture, health and culture. Repeated failure to provide sound counsel could lead to a loss of privileges - even exile or death. Thus, although many Brahmins may have held on to their privileges by being shameless sycophants - others made significant contributions in the realm of science, philosophy and culture. Social mobility was possible since learning was not an exclusive preserve of the Brahmins and both the Buddhist and Jain sanghas admitted people from different social backgrounds and also admitted women. (Jyotsna Kamat points to a Karnataka inscription from 1187 A.D. that suggests that Jain nuns enjoyed the same amount of freedom as their male counterparts.) The more advanced sanghas enforced a separate quorum for women to ensure that a largely male gathering may not take decisions that did not meet with the approval of the women members of the sangha.

Over time, it appears that the sanghas degenerated, losing their intellectual vitality and egalitarian spirit allowing the Brahmins to gradually consolidate their power and influence in the Gangetic plain. But even as late as the 6th-7th C, Gupta-period inscriptions describing land grants in Bengal appear to corroborate Megasthenes' view of how Indian society was structured. Social rank of senior court administrators (who may have risen from different caste backgrounds) invariably exceeded the rank of ordinary village priests.

Nevertheless, the seeds for a more privileged role for the Brahmins were also being sown through the process of land grants to Brahmins. In some instances, thousands of Brahmins were granted rights to hitherto uncultivated land. In other cases, Brahmins were appointed as the local representatives of the state authorities in what are described as agrahara villages where Brahmins presided over small peasants, who in Bihar were mostly landless sharecoppers or bonded labourers. These agrahara villages were typically small villages and sattelites of bigger villages that included members of several castes and bigger land-holders. In Bihar, such agrahara villages proliferated and it is quite likely that in such agraharas oppressive social relations and some of the most egregious patterns of caste-centred discrimination and exploitation may have developed.

(While early Gupta period records indicate the existence of rural consultative councils that mediated between the rulers and the artisans and peasants, it seems that such consultative councils became less important or were phased out with the growth of the agraharas. Thereafter, the Brahmins became the sole intermediaries between the village and the state, and over time, this may have enabled the Brahmins to exercise social and political hegemony over other inhabitants of the village. It also appears that the greatest incidence of the practice of untouchability occurs in conjunction with the growth in the power and authority of the Brahmins in such villages.)

But these developments took time to spread elsewhere in India, first spreading to Bengal and eastern UP, and very gradually elsewhere in India. However, this pattern was not necessarily replicated in identical form throughout India and some parts of India virtually escaped this trend. In agrahara villages in other parts of India, Brahmins did take on the role of local administrators and tax collectors, but the status of the small peasantry was not always as miserable as in Bihar. The degree of exploitation and oppression appears to be related to the extent of alienation from land-ownership.

For example, evidence for Brahmin domination in Kalikatti, Southern Karnataka emerges after the 13th C. when villagers were instructed to pay taxes to the Brahmin assignees, leading to constant tensions and disputes, but without dramatic changes in the overall status of the tax-paying villagers.

For instance, in Orissa, the ossification of the bureaucracy and its conversion into a group of privileged and exclusive castes appears to take place after the 14th-15th C. when we begin to see a general decline in its overseas trade due to the silting up of its rivers. At the same time, we see the growth of Brahminical hegemony in the realm of religion and military defeats at the hands of the Mughal armies led by Raja Man Singh of Jaipur. All these factors may have played a role in destroying the vibrancy of Oriya society and encouraging caste conservatism.
Although Brahminization was an important factor in leading to caste ossification, it was not necessarily the sole or even the most important factor in the mix. The impact of the Islamic invasions, colonization by the British and ecological changes played an equally crucial if not decisive role in many instances.

Source: The Manusmriti, with critical commentary by Dr. Surendra Kumar, Arsh Sahitya Prachar Trust, Delhi

It is clear from a variety of evidence that considerable mobility was prevalent in the caste system till the tenth century. Shishir Thadani points out that during the Pratihara period, caste categories were relatively flexible and popular temples were constructed by those considered low-caste. Temple construction was often a way of gaining social respect and upward mobility. But the caste system began to ossify in the 10th century which contributed to a general decline that was happening in Hindu Indian society.

Muslim writers, who frequented India within hundred years after the birth of Islam, give us a window into the Indian world in existence in the 8th century. Sindh fell to Muslim occupation in the year 712 C.E. to Muhammad bin Qasim, a cousin of Caliph of Baghdad. Chach-nama and writings of al-Biruni, though written in the 13th and 11th centuries, claim their sources from other contemporary writings. It appears as though the systematic classification was not rigid in the 8th century after all. Shudra as well as Brahmin kings were ruling and not all royalty belonged to the Kshatriya class.

The passivity and rigidity of the caste system became pronounced only after the Muslims made their appearance on the shores of India, when religious discrimination and oppressive taxation (Jizya – a taxation on non-Muslims imposed by Muslim rulers), conspired to remove certain segments of the population from the political system and economic advancement. The Muslim rulers became quite adroit at exploiting it. Some Brahmins and Buddhist monks were exempt from the taxation. Caste system then became static, lost its influence in the process and came to be known as a distinguishing characteristic of orthodox Hinduism.

The Hindu religion itself became more orthodox as a direct result of the external threat of a foreign religion with little tolerance to the ‘infidels’. Al-Biruni writes about a much admired Brahmin king of Sindh in the 8th century called Chach (hence the historical journal: Chach-nama), who ruled admirably but went ‘straight to Hell, when he died, as he is an infidel’. Much of the freedom enjoyed by the citizens had to be curtailed out of necessity and Islam had a profound negative effect on the progress of the more liberal Hinduism.

The caste system had been a fascination of the British since their arrival in India. Coming from a society that was divided by class, the British attempted to equate the caste system to the class system. As late as 1937 Professor T. C. Hodson stated that: "Class and caste stand to each other in the relation of family to species. The general classification is by classes, the detailed one by castes. The former represents the external, the latter the internal view of the social organization." The difficulty with definitions such as this is that class is based on political and economic factors, caste is not. In fairness to Professor Hodson, by the time of his writing, caste had taken on many of the characteristics that he ascribed to it and that his predecessors had ascribed to it but during the 19th century caste was not what the British believed it to be. It did not constitute a rigid description of the occupation and social level of a given group and it did not bear any real resemblance to the class system. However, this will be dealt with later in this essay. The British saw caste as a way to deal with a huge population by breaking it down into discrete chunks with specific characteristics. It appears that the caste system extant in the late 19th and early 20th century has been altered as a result of British actions so that it increasingly took on the characteristics that were ascribed to by the British.

The British belief that caste was the key to understanding the people of India. Caste was seen as the essence of Indian society, the system through which it was possible to classify all of the various groups of indigenous people according to their ability, as reflected by caste, to be of service to the British.

Caste was seen as an indicator of occupation, social standing, and intellectual ability. It was, therefore necessary to include it in the census if the census was to serve the purpose of giving the government the information it needed in order to make optimum use of the people under its administration. Moreover, it becomes obvious that British conceptions of racial purity were interwoven with these judgements of people based on caste when reactions to censuses are examined. Beverly concluded that a group of Muslims were in fact converted low caste Hindus. This raised howls of protest from representatives of the group as late as 1895 since it was felt that this was a slander and a lie.H. H. Risely, Commissioner of the 1901 census, also showed British beliefs in an 1886 publication which stated that race sentiment, far from being: a figment of the intolerant pride of the Brahman, rests upon a foundation of fact which scientific methods confirm, that it has shaped the intricate grouping of the caste system, and has preserved the Aryan type in comparative purity throughout Northern India.

The word caste is not a word that is indigenous to India. It originates in the Portuguese word casta which means race,breed, race or lineage. However, during the 19th century, the term caste increasingly took on the connotations of the word race. Thus, from the very beginning of western contact with the subcontinent European constructions have been imposed on Indian systems and institutions. To fully appreciate the caste system one must step away from the definitions imposed by Europeans and look at the system as a whole, including the religious beliefs that are an integral part of it. To the British, viewing the caste system from the outside and on a very superficial level, it appeared to be a static system of social ordering that allowed the ruling class or Brahmins, to maintain their power over the other classes. What the British failed to realize was that Hindus existed in a different cosmological frame than did the British.

It should also be borne in mind that an entire caste could rise through the use of conquest or through service to rulers.Thus, it may be seen that within traditional Indian society the caste system was not static either within the material or metaphysical plane of existence. With the introduction of European and particulary British systems to India, the caste system began to modify. This was a natural reaction of Indians attempting to adjust to the new regime and to make the most of whatever opportunities may have been presented to them.

Unlike its predecessors in England, the census of India attempted not only to count, but to define and explain. As a result, the census became not simply an accounting of what existed but an active participant in the creation and modification of the society. As a result, Indians of many levels of society reacted to the census in attempts to gain or maintain status. In 1895, Fazl-i-Rabb wrote a book that attacked H. Beverly, Census Commissioner of Bengal for the 1871-72 census for stating that the Muslims of Bengal were converted low caste Hindus.

Rabb's demands reinforce this suspicion when he states that the British Government should: repair the wrongs done to us Musalman subjects through the public writings of Mr. Beverly and [we] solicit the question at issue; viz., that our origin and ancestry, be thoroughly enquired into with the help afforded by history and [that] the results of such investigation may be placed on record.

This is virtually a call for a public enquiry into what most westerners would consider a relatively minor matter of very limited concern.

The Mahtons claimed that they should be granted the status of Rajputs because of both history and the fact that they followed Rajput customs. Therefore, since they had not received this status in the 1901 census, they requested the change to be affected in the 1911 census. Their request was rejected, not on the basis of any existing impediment but on the basis of the 1881 census which stated that the Mahtons were an offshoot of the Mahtams who were hunter/scavengers. Thus, it appears that the census system had become self reinforcing. However, after further debate the Mahton were reclassified as Mahton Rajput on the basis that they had separated themselves from the Mahtams and now acted in the manner of Rajputs. Interestingly, it was at this point that the reasoning behind the claim became evident. Some of the Mahton wanted join an army regiment and this would only be possible if they had Rajput status. The Mahton, a rural agricultural group, were fully aware that the change of status would allow their members to obtain direct benefits. In and of itself, this definitely shows that the actions of the British in classifying and enumerating castes within the census had heightened indigenous awareness of the caste system and had added an economic aspect that the Indian people were willing and anxious to exploit.

Contrary to what the British appear to have believed, it seems doubtful that the Brahmans were dominant within the material world in pre colonial Indian society. A cursory examination of any of the ruling families quickly shows a dearth families of the Brahmin caste. Rather, one finds that the majority, though by no means all, of rulers were Kshytria and occasionally Vaishnava. This suggests that although the Brahmin caste had power in spiritual matters, their power and control within the material world was limited to the amount of influence that they could gain with individual rulers. No doubt there were instances when this was quite considerable but there is also little doubt that there were times when Brahman influence was very weak and insignificant. With this in mind, it is not difficult to imagine a situation where, Brahmans, seeing the ascendancy of British power, allied themselves to this perceived new ruling class and attempted to gain influence through it. By establishing themselves as authorities on the caste system they could then tell the British what they believed the British wanted to hear and also what would most enhance their own position. The British would then take this information, received through the filter of the Brahmans, and interpret it based on their own experience and their own cultural concepts. Thus, information was filtered at least twice before publication. Therefore, it seems certain that the information that was finally published was filled with conceptions that would seem to be downright deceitful to those about whom the information was written. The flood of petitions protesting caste rankings following the 1901 census would appear to bear witness to this.

Risely wrote that: "the caste system itself, with its singularly perfect communal organization, is a machinery admirably fitted for the diffusion of new ideas; that castes may in course of time group themselves into classes representing the different strata of society; and that India may thus attain, by the agency of these indigenous corporations, the results that have been arrived at elsewhere through the fusion of individual types." In making this statement Risley exposes the British agenda of creating a society that conformed to British ideals through the use of a British interpreted caste system. It is also interesting to note that Risley juxtaposes "individual types" with castes in such a way that it seems that he believed that there was a dearth of individuality within Indian society which could be compensated for through the substitution of caste structures. To Risley caste was not only the essence of Indian society, it was the essence of Indians. The entire meaning of the individual was embodied in caste. Risley's paternalistic disdain for the Indian people was further illustrated by his belief that: "the factors of nationality in India are two - the common usage of the English language for certain purposes and the common employment of Indians in English administration." India's salvation, its only hope of becoming a nation, was through the language and tutelage of the British, according to Risley's brand of liberal paternalism.

In examining the writings of Edward Dalton, Commissioner of Chutia Nagpur, the nomenclature alone is enough to indicate that the Indian people were regarded as less than human in at least some regard. People are referred to as "specimens" and the only fear expressed over the possibility of bringing various "specimen" together for a display was that: "... if specimens of the more independent tribes fell sick and died in Calcutta or on the journey, it might lead to inconvenient political complications." It is also in these writings that one sees the type of classification of ability that the British in India have become so notoriously famous for. In considering Rajputs Dalton states that:

. [they] are not the inert sensualists that wealthy Bengalis so often become; they are fully capable of enjoying field sports; they generally ride well, are good shots and keen sportsmen. They are sure to have a good battery of guns by the best English makers, good horses, dogs, elephants, and hawks, and even fishing tackle.

.. Surely a description of the finest of English country gentlemen. However, in describing the Kayasths who often worked as clerks for the British, Dalton states that:

From their appearance we might say that the first selection was made of people with weak bodies and strong intellect, of small courage, but great cunning, and that physical beauty was of less consequence than sharpness of wit.

Needless to say, this description is far from flattering. However, what is more important is the contention that one can determine the character of people based on their physical appearance. This extended, as well, to the type of work that individuals were seen as being fit for under British rule.

Thus Kayasths were seen as being natural clerks and scribes and Rajputs were natural for the military and as a local upper class. However, census data sometimes went beyond attributing occupational abilities to physical build and insisted on the maintenance of "traditional" occupations being listed with the caste groupings in the census.

Such was the case during the census of 1891. In an effort to arrange various castes in order of precedence: "... functional grouping is based less on the occupation that prevails in each case in the present day than on that which is traditional with it, or which gave rise to its differentiation from the rest of the community." This action virtually removed Indians from the progress of history and condemned them to an unchanging position and place in time. In one sense, it is rather ironic that the British, who continually accused the Indian people of having a static society, should then impose a construct that denied progress. In ways such as this, it is possible to see how the census began to increase the rigidity of the caste system, particulary when one considers the fact that one of the primary ways that a caste could traditionally raise its status was to change its occupation. Once again, the British appear to be creating the situation where their interpretation of Indian society is validated through their own actions. In a similar way, Beverley's analysis of the 1872 census sought to prove continuity with the past by attempting to identify purity and impurity of race in ways that would fit with British theories of Indian history and British notions of group abilities and temperaments.

The censuses forced the Indian social system into a written schematic in a way that had never been experienced in the past. While the Mughals had issued written decrees on the status of individual castes, there had never been a formal systematic attempt to organize and schedule all of the castes in an official document until the advent of the British censuses. The data was compiled on the basis of British understanding of India. This understanding was deeply affected by British concepts of their own past, and by British notions of race and the importance of race in relation to the human condition. Further, the intellectual framework, such as that provided by anthropology and phrenology, that was used to help create the ideas surrounding the concept of race, was foreign to the intellectual traditions of India. These concepts endured well into the 20th century and affected the analysis of the censuses throughout this period. Risley, for example, used anthropometric measurements, which were directly descended from anthropological and phrenological methodology, in his ordering of castes following the census of 1901. These same notions led to a classification of intelligence and abilities based on physical attributes, and this in turn led to employment opportunities being limited to certain caste groupings that displayed the appropriate attributes. Indians attempted to incorporate themselves into this evolving system by organizing caste sabhas with the purpose of attaining improved status within the system. This ran contrary to traditional views of the purpose of the caste system and imposed an economic basis. With this, the relevance and importance of the spiritual, non material rational for caste was degraded and caste took on a far more material meaning. In this way, caste began to intrude more pervasively into daily life and status became even more coveted and rigid. In a sense, caste became politicized as decisions regarding rank increasingly fell into the political rather than the spiritual sphere of influence. With this politicization, caste moved closer to class in connotation. The actions of the Indian people that contributed to this process were not so an much acquiescence to the British construction as they were pragmatic reactions to the necessities of material life. In expropriating the knowledge base of Indian society, the British had forced Indian society and the caste system to execute adjustments in order to prosper within the rubric of the British regime.

The British consistently promoted the myth that Hindus were governed by their codified versions of shastric injunctions. The modern educated elite in India, whose knowledge of India comes mainly from English language sources, were thenceforth systematically brainwashed into believing that the British were actually administering Hindu personal laws through the medium of the English courts. This was part of a larger myth-building exercise, whereby the people of the subcontinent were taught that theirs was a stagnant civilisation. The ignorant assumptions of our colonial rulers, that social stability in India was due to the supposed proclivity of its people to follow the same old traditions, customs and laws that had allegedly remained moribund for centuries, slowly came to acquire the force of self-evident truth over a period of time, both for those supporting as well as those opposing British rule.

The confusion is not theirs alone; these common misrepresentations are an unfortunate byproduct of our colonial education which we slavishly cling to, even though it is more than five decades since we declared our Independence. We keep defending or attacking the same hackneyed quotations from the shastras and the epics which, incidentally, colonisers used for the purpose of creating a new discourse about these writings. Their inaccurate and biased interpretations have continued to inspire major misreadings of our religious tenets

Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation -
<b>The Tribes and Castes of the Central Provinces of India—Volume I (of IV</b>)
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<b>The Tribes and Castes of the Central Provinces of India—Volume I (of IV</b>)

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->10. Racial Theory.

In his Introduction to the _Tribes and Castes of Bengal_ Sir Herbert Risley laid stress on the racial basis of caste, showing that difference of race and difference of colour were the foundation of the Indian caste system or division of the people into endogamous units. There seems reason to suppose that the contact of the Aryans with the indigenous people of India was, to a large extent, responsible for the growth of the caste system, and the main racial divisions may perhaps even now be recognised, though their racial basis has, to a great extent, vanished. But when we come to individual castes and subcastes, the scrutiny of their origin, which has been made in the individual articles, appears to indicate that caste distinctions cannot, as a rule, be based on supposed difference of race. Nevertheless Sir H. Risley's _Castes and Tribes of Bengal_ and _Peoples of India_ will, no doubt, always be considered as standard authorities, while as Census Commissioner for India and Director of Ethnography he probably did more to foster this branch of research in India generally than any other man has ever done.

11. Entry of the Aryans into India. The Aryas and Dasyus.

M. Emile Senart, in his work _Les Castes dans l'Inde_, gives an admirable sketch of the features marking the entry of the Aryans into India and their acquisition of the country, from which the following account is largely taken. The institution of caste as it is understood at present did not exist among the Aryans of the Vedic period, on their first entry into India. The word _varna_, literally 'colour,' which is afterwards used in speaking of the four castes, distinguishes in the Vedas two classes only: there are the Arya Varna and the Dasa Varna--the Aryan race and the race of enemies. In other passages the Dasyus are spoken of as black, and Indra is praised for protecting the Aryan colour. In later literature the black race, Krishna Varna, are opposed to the Brahmans, and the same word is used
of the distinction between Aryas and Sudras. The word _varna_ was thus used, in the first place, not of four castes, but of two hostile races, one white and the other black. It is said that Indra divided the fields among his white-coloured people after destroying the Dasyus, by whom may be understood the indigenous barbarian races. [2] The word Dasyu, which frequently recurs in the Vedas, probably refers to the people of foreign countries or provinces like the Goim or Gentiles of the Hebrews. The Dasyus were not altogether barbarians, for they had cities and other institutions showing a partial civilisation, though the Aryas, lately from more bracing climes than those which they inhabited, proved too strong for them. [3] To the Aryans the word Dasyu had the meaning of one who not only did not perform religious rites, but attempted to harass their performers. Another verse says, "Distinguish, O Indra, between the Aryas and those who are Dasyus:
punishing those who perform no religious rites; compel them to submit to the sacrifices; be thou the powerful, the encourager of the sacrificer." [4]

Rakshasa was another designation given to the tribes with whom the Aryans were in hostility. Its meaning is strong, gigantic or powerful, and among the modern Hindus it is a word for a devil or demon. In the Satapatha Brahmana of the white Yajur-Veda the Rakshasas are represented as 'prohibiters,' that is 'prohibiters of the sacrifice.' [5] Similarly, at a later period, Manu describes Aryavarrta, or the abode of the Aryas, as the country between the eastern and western oceans, and between the Himalayas and the Vindhyas, that is Hindustan, the Deccan being not then recognised as an abode of the Aryans. And he thus speaks of the country: "From a Brahman born in Aryavarrta let all men on earth learn their several usages." "That land on which the black antelope naturally grazes, is held fit for the performance of sacrifices; but the land of Mlechchhas (foreigners) is beyond it." "Let the three first classes (Brahmans, Kshatriyas and Vaishyas) invariably dwell in the above-mentioned countries; but a Sudra distressed for subsistence may sojourn wherever he chooses." [6]

Another passage states: "If some pious king belonging to the Kshatriya
or some other caste should defeat the Mlechchhas [7] and establish
a settlement of the four castes in their territories, and accept the
Mlechchhas thus defeated as Chandalas (the most impure caste in ancient
Hindu society) as is the case in Aryavarrta, then that country also
becomes fit for sacrifice. For no land is impure of itself. A land
becomes so only by contact." This passage is quoted by a Hindu writer
with the same reference to the Code of Manu as the preceding one,
but it is not found there and appears to be a gloss by a later writer,
explaining how the country south of the Vindhyas, which is excluded by
Manu, should be rendered fit for Aryan settlement. [8] Similarly in
a reference in the Brahmanas to the migration of the Aryans eastward
from the Punjab it is stated that Agni the fire-god flashed forth from
the mouth of a priest invoking him at a sacrifice and burnt across all
the five rivers, and as far as he burnt Brahmans could live. Agni, as
the god of fire by which the offerings were consumed, was addressed as
follows: "We kindle thee at the sacrifice, O wise Agni, the sacrificer,
the luminous, the mighty." [9] The sacrifices referred to were, in the
early period, of domestic animals, the horse, ox or goat, the flesh of
which was partaken of by the worshippers, and the sacred Soma-liquor,
which was drunk by them; the prohibition or discouragement of animal
sacrifices for the higher castes gradually came about at a later time,
and was probably to a large extent due to the influence of Buddhism.

The early sacrifice was in the nature of a communal sacred meal at
which the worshippers partook of the animal or liquor offered to the
god. The Dasyus or indigenous Indian races could not worship the Aryan
gods nor join in the sacrifices offered to them, which constituted
the act of worship. They were a hostile race, but the hostility was
felt and expressed on religious rather than racial grounds, as the
latter term is understood at present.

12. The Sudra.

M. Senart points out that the division of the four castes appearing
in post-Vedic literature, does not proceed on equal lines. There were
two groups, one composed of the three higher castes, and the other
of the Sudras or lowest. The higher castes constituted a fraternity
into which admission was obtained only by a religious ceremony of
initiation and investment with the sacred thread. The Sudras were
excluded and could take no part in sacrifices. The punishment for the
commission of the gravest offences by a Brahman was that he became
a Sudra, that is to say an outcast. The killing of a Sudra was an
offence no more severe than that of killing certain animals. A Sudra
was prohibited by the severest penalties from approaching within a
certain distance of a member of any of the higher castes. In the Sutras
[10] it is declared [11] that the Sudra has not the right (Adhikara)
of sacrifice enjoyed by the Brahman, Kshatriya and Vaishya. He was
not to be invested with the sacred thread, nor permitted, like them,
to hear, commit to memory, or recite Vedic texts. For listening to
these texts he ought to have his ears shut up with melted lead or
lac by way of punishment; for pronouncing them, his tongue cut out;
and for committing them to memory, his body cut in two. [12] The Veda
was never to be read in the presence of a Sudra; and no sacrifice
was to be performed for him. [13] The Sudras, it is stated in the
Harivansha, are sprung from vacuity, and are destitute of ceremonies,
and so are not entitled to the rites of initiation. Just as upon the
friction of wood, the cloud of smoke which issues from the fire and
spreads around is of no service in the sacrificial rite, so too the
Sudras spread over the earth are unserviceable, owing to their birth,
to their want of initiatory rites, and the ceremonies ordained by the
Vedas. [14] Again it is ordained that silence is to be observed by
parties of the three sacrificial classes when a Sudra enters to remove
their natural defilements, and thus the servile position of the Sudra
is recognised. [15] Here it appears that the Sudra is identified with
the sweeper or scavenger, the most debased and impure of modern Hindu
castes. [16] In the Dharmashastras or law-books it is laid down that
a person taking a Sudra's food for a month becomes a Sudra and after
death becomes a dog. Issue begotten after eating a Sudra's food is of
the Sudra caste. A person who dies with Sudra's food in his stomach
becomes a village pig, or is reborn in a Sudra's family. [17] An
Arya who had sexual intimacy with a Sudra woman was to be banished;
but a Sudra having intimacy with an Arya was to be killed. If a Sudra
reproached a dutiful Arya, or put himself on equality with him on a
road, on a couch or on a seat, he was to be beaten with a stick. [18]
A Brahman might without hesitation take the property of a Sudra; he,
the Sudra, had indeed nothing of his own; his master might, doubtless,
take his property. [19] According to the Mahabharata the Sudras are
appointed servants to the Brahmans, Kshatriyas and Vaishyas. [20]
A Brahman woman having connection with a Sudra was to be devoured by
dogs, but one having connection with a Kshatriya or Vaishya was merely
to have her head shaved and be carried round on an ass. [21] When a
Brahman received a gift from another Brahman he had to acknowledge it
in a loud voice; from a Rajanya or Kshatriya, in a gentle voice; from a
Vaishya, in a whisper; and from a Sudra, in his own mind. To a Brahman
he commenced his thanks with the sacred syllable Om; to a king he gave
thanks without the sacred Om; to a Vaishya he whispered his thanks;
to a Sudra he said nothing, but thought in his own mind, _svasti_,
or 'This is good.' [22] It would thus seem clear that the Sudras
were distinct from the Aryas and were a separate and inferior race,
consisting of the indigenous people of India. In the Atharva-Veda
the Sudra is recognised as distinct from the Arya, and also the
Dasa from the Arya, as in the Rig-Veda. [23] Dr. Wilson remarks,
"The aboriginal inhabitants, again, who conformed to the Brahmanic
law, received certain privileges, and were constituted as a fourth
caste under the name of Sudras, whereas all the rest who kept aloof
were called Dasyus, whatever their language might be." [24] The
Sudras, though treated by Manu and Hindu legislation in general as a
component, if enslaved, part of the Indian community, not entitled to
the second or sacramental birth, are not even once mentioned in the
older parts of the Vedas. They are first locally brought to notice in
the Mahabharata, along with the Abhiras, dwelling on the banks of the
Indus. There are distinct classical notices of the Sudras in this very
locality and its neighbourhood. "In historical times," says Lassen,
"their name reappears in that of the town Sudros on the lower Indus,
and, what is especially worthy of notice, in that of the people Sudroi,
among the Northern Arachosians." [25]

"Thus their existence as a distinct nation is established in the
neighbourhood of the Indus, that is to say in the region in which, in
the oldest time, the Aryan Indians dwelt. The Aryans probably conquered
these indigenous inhabitants first; and when the others in the interior
of the country were subsequently subdued and enslaved, the name Sudra
was extended to the whole servile caste. There seems to have been some
hesitation in the Aryan community about the actual religious position
to be given to the Sudras. In the time of the liturgical Brahmanas
of the Vedas, they were sometimes admitted to take part in the Aryan
sacrifices. Not long afterwards, when the conquests of the Aryans were
greatly extended, and they formed a settled state of society among
the affluents of the Jumna and Ganges, the Sudras were degraded to
the humiliating and painful position which they occupy in Manu. There
is no mention of any of the Sankara or mixed castes in the Vedas." [26]

From the above evidence it seems clear that the Sudras were really
the indigenous inhabitants of India, who were subdued by the Aryans as
they gradually penetrated into India. When the conquering race began
to settle in the land, the indigenous tribes, or such of them as did
not retire before the invaders into the still unconquered interior,
became a class of menials and labourers, as the Amalekites were to the
children of Israel. The Sudras were the same people as the Dasyus of
the hymns, after they had begun to live in villages with the Aryans,
and had to be admitted, though in the most humiliating fashion,
into the Aryan polity. But the hostility between the Aryas and the
Dasyus or Sudras, though in reality racial, was felt and expressed
on religious grounds, and probably the Aryans had no real idea of
what is now understood by difference of race or deterioration of
type from mixture of races. The Sudras were despised and hated as
worshippers of a hostile god. They could not join in the sacrifices
by which the Aryans renewed and cemented their kinship with their god
and with each other; hence they were outlaws towards whom no social
obligations existed. It would have been quite right and proper that
they should be utterly destroyed, precisely as the Israelites thought
that Jehovah had commanded them to destroy the Canaanites. But they
were too numerous, and hence they were regarded as impure and made to
live apart, so that they should not pollute the places of sacrifice,
which among the Aryans included their dwelling-houses. It does not
seem to have been the case that the Aryans had any regard for the
preservation of the purity of their blood or colour. From an early
period men of the three higher castes might take a Sudra woman in
marriage, and the ultimate result has been an almost complete fusion
between the two races in the bulk of the population over the greater
part of the country. Nevertheless the status of the Sudra still
remains attached to the large community of the impure castes formed
from the indigenous tribes, who have settled in Hindu villages and
entered the caste system. These are relegated to the most degrading
and menial occupations, and their touch is regarded as conveying
defilement like that of the Sudras. [27] The status of the Sudras
was not always considered so low, and they were sometimes held to
rank above the mixed castes. And in modern times in Bengal Sudra
is quite a respectable term applied to certain artisan castes which
there have a fairly good position. But neither were the indigenous
tribes always reduced to the impure status. Their fortunes varied,
and those who resisted subjection were probably sometimes accepted as
allies. For instance, some of the most prominent of the Rajput clans
are held to have been derived from the aboriginal [28] tribes. On the
Aryan expedition to southern India, which is preserved in the legend of
Rama, as related in the Ramayana, it is stated that Rama was assisted
by Hanuman with his army of apes. The reference is generally held to
be to the fact that the Aryans had as auxiliaries some of the forest
tribes, and these were consequently allies, and highly thought of,
as shown by the legend and by their identification with the mighty
god Hanuman. And at the present time the forest tribes who live
separately from the Hindus in the jungle tracts are, as a rule, not
regarded as impure. But this does not impair the identification of the
Sudras with those tribes who were reduced to subjection and serfdom
in the Hindu villages, as shown by the evidence here given. The view
has also been held that the Sudras might have been a servile class
already subject to the Aryans, who entered India with them. And in
the old Parsi or Persian community four classes existed, the Athornan
or priest, the Rathestan or warrior, the Vasteriox or husbandman,
and the Hutox or craftsman. [29] The second and third of these names
closely resemble those of the corresponding Hindu classical castes,
the Rajanya or Kshatriya and the Vaishya, while Athornan, the name
for a priest, is the same as Atharvan, the Hindu name for a Brahman
versed in the Atharva-Veda. Possibly then Hutox may be connected with
Sudra, as _h_ frequently changes into _s_. But on the other hand the
facts that the Sudras are not mentioned in the Vedas, and that they
succeeded to the position of the Dasyus, the black hostile Indians,
as well as the important place they fill in the later literature,
seem to indicate clearly that they mainly consisted of the indigenous
subject tribes. Whether the Aryans applied a name already existing
in a servile class among themselves to the indigenous population whom
they subdued, may be an uncertain point.

13. The Vaishya.

In the Vedas, moreover, M. Senart shows that the three higher castes
are not definitely distinguished; but there are three classes--the
priests, the chiefs and the people, among whom the Aryans were
comprised. The people are spoken of in the plural as the clans who
followed the chiefs to battle. The word used is Visha. One verse
speaks of the Vishas (clans) bowing before the chief (Rajan), who was
preceded by a priest (Brahman). Another verse says: "Favour the prayer
(Brahma), favour the service; kill the Rakshasas, drive away the evil;
favour the power (_khatra_) and favour the manly strength; favour the
cow (_dherm_, the representative of property) and favour the people
(or house, _visha_)." [30]

Similarly Wilson states that in the time of the Vedas, _visha_ (related
to _vesha_, a house or district) signified the people in general;
and Vaishya, its adjective, was afterwards applied to a householder,
or that appertaining to an individual of the common people. The Latin
_vicus_ and the Greek o>=ikoc are the correspondents of _vesha_. [31]
The conclusion to be drawn is that the Aryans in the Vedas, like other
early communities, were divided by rank or occupation into three
classes--priests, nobles and the body of the people. The Vishas or
clans afterwards became the Vaishyas or third classical caste. Before
they entered India the Aryans were a migratory pastoral people,
their domestic animals being the horse, cow, and perhaps the sheep
and goat. The horse and cow were especially venerated, and hence were
probably their chief means of support. The Vaishyas must therefore
have been herdsmen and shepherds, and when they entered India and took
to agriculture, the Vaishyas must have become cultivators. The word
Vaishya signifies a man who occupies the soil, an agriculturist, or
merchant. [32] The word Vasteriox used by the ancestors of the Parsis,
which appears to correspond to Vaishya, also signifies a husbandman,
as already seen. Dr. Max Müller states: "The three occupations of the
Aryas in India were fighting, cultivating the soil and worshipping
the gods. Those who fought the battles of the people would naturally
acquire influence and rank, and their leaders appear in the Veda as
Rajas or kings. Those who did not share in the fighting would occupy a
more humble position; they were called Vish, Vaishyas or householders,
and would no doubt have to contribute towards the maintenance of the
armies. [33] According to Manu, God ordained the tending of cattle,
giving alms, sacrifice, study, trade, usury, and also agriculture
for a Vaishya." [34] The Sutras state that agriculture, the keeping
of cattle, and engaging in merchandise, as well as learning the
Vedas, sacrificing for himself and giving alms, are the duties of a
Vaishya. [35] In the Mahabharata it is laid down that the Vaishyas
should devote themselves to agriculture, the keeping of cattle and
liberality. [36] In the same work the god Vayu says to Bhishma:
"And it was Brahma's ordinance that the Vaishya should sustain the
three castes (Brahman, Kshatriya and Vaishya) with money and corn;
and that the Sudra should serve them." [37]

In a list of classes or occupations given in the White Yajur-Veda,
and apparently referring to a comparatively advanced state of Hindu
society, tillage is laid down as the calling of the Vaishya, and
he is distinguished from the Vani or merchant, whose occupation is
trade or weighing. [38] Manu states that a Brahman should swear by
truth; a Kshatriya by his steed and his weapons; a Vaishya by his
cows, his seed and his gold; and a Sudra by all wicked deeds. [39]
Yellow is the colour of the Vaishya, and it must apparently be taken
from the yellow corn, and the yellow colour of _ghi_ or butter, the
principal product of the sacred cow; yellow is also the colour of
the sacred metal gold, but there can scarcely have been sufficient
gold in the hands of the body of the people in those early times to
enable it to be especially associated with them. The Vaishyas were
thus, as is shown by the above evidence, the main body of the people
referred to in the Vedic hymns. When these settled down into villages
the Vaishyas became the householders and cultivators, among whom the
village lands were divided; the Sudras or indigenous tribes, who also
lived in the villages or in hamlets adjoining them, were labourers
and given all the most disagreeable tasks in the village community,
as is the case with the impure castes at present.

14. Mistaken modern idea of the Vaishyas.

The demonstration of the real position of the Vaishyas is important,
because the Hindus themselves no longer recognise this. The name
Vaishya is now frequently restricted to the Bania caste of bankers,
shopkeepers and moneylenders, and hence the Banias are often supposed
to be the descendants and only modern representatives of the original
Vaishyas. Evidence has been given in the article on Bania to show that
the existing Bania caste is mainly derived from the Rajputs. The name
Bani, a merchant or trader, is found at an early period, but whether
it denoted a regular Bania caste may be considered as uncertain. In
any case it seems clear that this comparatively small caste, chiefly
coming from Rajputana, cannot represent the Vaishyas, who were the
main body or people of the invading Aryans. At that time the Vaishyas
cannot possibly have been traders, because they alone provided
the means of subsistence of the community, and if they produced
nothing, there could be no material for trade. The Vaishyas must,
therefore, as already seen, have been shepherds and cultivators,
since in early times wealth consisted almost solely of corn and
cattle. At a later period, with the increased religious veneration
for all kinds of life, agriculture apparently fell into some kind of
disrepute as involving the sacrifice of insect life, and there was
a tendency to emphasise trade as the Vaishya's occupation in view
of its greater respectability. It is considered very derogatory for
a Brahman or Rajput to touch the plough with his own hands, and the
act has hitherto involved a loss of status: these castes, however,
did not object to hold land, but, on the contrary, ardently desired
to do so like all other Hindus. Ploughing was probably despised as a
form of manual labour, and hence an undignified action for a member
of the aristocracy, just as a squire or gentleman farmer in England
might consider it beneath his dignity to drive the plough himself. No
doubt also, as the fusion of races proceeded, and bodies of the
indigenous tribes who were cultivators adopted Hinduism, the status
of a cultivator sank to some extent, and his Vaishyan ancestry was
forgotten. But though the Vaishya himself has practically disappeared,
his status as a cultivator and member of the village community appears
to remain in that of the modern cultivating castes, as will be shown

15. Mixed unions of the four classes.

The settlement of the Aryans in India was in villages and not in
towns, and the Hindus have ever since remained a rural people. In
1911 less than a tenth of the population of India was urban, and
nearly three-quarters of the total were directly supported by
agriculture. Apparently, therefore, the basis or embryo of the
gradation of Hindu society or the caste system should be sought
in the village. Two main divisions of the village community may be
recognised in the Vaishyas or cultivators and the Sudras or impure
serfs and labourers. The exact position held by the Kshatriyas and the
constitution of their class are not quite clear, but there is no doubt
that the Brahmans and Kshatriyas formed the early aristocracy, ranking
above the cultivators, and a few other castes have since attained to
this position. From early times, as is shown by an ordinance of Manu,
men of the higher castes or classes were permitted, after taking
a woman of their own class for the first wife, to have second and
subsequent wives from any of the classes beneath them. This custom
appears to have been largely prevalent. No definite rule prescribed
that the children of such unions should necessarily be illegitimate,
and in many cases no doubt seems to exist that, if not they themselves,
their descendants at any rate ultimately became full members of the
caste of the first ancestor. According to Manu, if the child of a
Brahman by a Sudra woman intermarried with Brahmans and his descendants
after him, their progeny in the seventh generation would become full
Brahmans; and the same was the case with the child of a Kshatriya or a
Vaishya with a Sudra woman. A commentator remarks that the descendants
of a Brahman by a Kshatriya woman could attain Brahmanhood in the
third generation, and those by a Vaishya woman in the fifth. [40]
Such children also could inherit. According to the Mahabharata, if
a Brahman had four wives of different castes, the son by a Brahman
wife took four shares, that by a Kshatriya wife three, by a Vaishya
wife two, and by a Sudra wife one share. [41] Manu gives a slightly
different distribution, but also permits to the son by a Sudra wife
a share of the inheritance. [42] Thus the fact is clear that the son
of a Brahman even by a Sudra woman had a certain status of legitimacy
in his father's caste, as he could marry in it, and must therefore
have been permitted to partake of the sacrificial food at marriage;
[43] and he could also inherit a small share of the property.

16. Hypergamy.

The detailed rules prescribed for the status of legitimacy and
inheritance show that recognised unions of this kind between men of a
higher class and women of a lower one were at one time fairly frequent,
though they were afterwards prohibited. And they must necessarily
have led to much mixture of blood in the different castes. A trace
of them seems to survive in the practice of hypergamy, still widely
prevalent in northern India, by which men of the higher subcastes of
a caste will take daughters in marriage from lower ones but will not
give their daughters in return. This custom prevails largely among the
higher castes of the Punjab, as the Rajputs and Khatris, and among the
Brahmans of Bengal. [44] Only a few cases are found in the Central
Provinces, among Brahmans, Sunars and other castes. Occasionally
intermarriage between two castes takes place on a hypergamous basis;
thus Rajputs are said to take daughters from the highest clans of
the cultivating caste of Dangis. More commonly families of the lower
subcastes or clans in the same caste consider the marriage of their
daughters into a higher group a great honour and will give large sums
of money for a bridegroom. Until quite recently a Rajput was bound to
marry his daughters into a clan of equal or higher rank than his own,
in order to maintain the position of his family. It is not easy to
see why so much importance should be attached to the marriage of a
daughter, since she passed into another clan and family, to whom her
offspring would belong. On the other hand, a son might take a wife
from a lower group without loss of status, though his children would
be the future representatives of the family. Another point, possibly
connected with hypergamy, is that a peculiar relation exists between a
man and the family into which his daughter has married. Sometimes he
will accept no food or even water in his son-in-law's village. The
word _sala_, signifying wife's brother, when addressed to a man,
is also a common and extremely offensive term of abuse. The meaning
is now perhaps supposed to be that one has violated the sister of
the person spoken to, but this can hardly have been the original
significance as _sasur_ or father-in-law is also considered in a
minor degree an opprobrious term of address.

17. The mixed castes. The village menials.

But though among the four classical castes it was possible for the
descendants of mixed unions between fathers of higher and mothers of
lower caste to be admitted into their father's caste, this would not
have been the general rule. Such connections were very frequent and
the Hindu classics account through them for the multiplication of
castes. Long lists are given of new castes formed by the children
of mixed marriages. The details of these genealogies seem to be
destitute of any probability, and perhaps, therefore, instances of
them are unnecessary. Matches between a man of higher and a woman of
lower caste were called _anuloma_, or 'with the hair' or 'grain,'
and were regarded as suitable and becoming. Those between a man of
lower and a woman of higher caste were, on the other hand, known as
_pratiloma_ or 'against the hair,' and were considered as disgraceful
and almost incestuous. The offspring of such unions are held to
have constituted the lowest and most impure castes of scavengers,
dog-eaters and so on. This doctrine is to be accounted for by the
necessity of safeguarding the morality of women in a state of society
where kinship is reckoned solely by male descent. The blood of the
tribe and clan, and hence the right to membership and participation
in the communal sacrifices, is then communicated to the child through
the father; hence if the women are unchaste, children may be born
into the family who have no such rights, and the whole basis of
society is destroyed. For the same reason, since the tribal blood
and life is communicated through males, the birth and standing of
the mother are of little importance, and children are, as has been
seen, easily admitted to their father's rank. But already in Manu's
time the later and present view that both the father and mother must
be of full status in the clan, tribe or caste in order to produce a
legitimate child, has begun to prevail, and the children of all mixed
marriages are relegated to a lower group. The offspring of these mixed
unions did probably give rise to a class of different status in the
village community. The lower-caste mother would usually have been
taken into the father's house and her children would be brought up in
it. Thus they would eat the food of the household, even if they did
not participate in the sacrificial feasts; and a class of this kind
would be very useful for the performance of menial duties in and about
the household, such as personal service, bringing water, and so on,
for which the Sudras, owing to their impurity, would be unsuitable. In
the above manner a new grade of village menial might have arisen and
have gradually been extended to the other village industries, so that
a third group would be formed in the village community ranking between
the cultivators and labourers. This gradation of the village community
may perhaps still be discerned in the main social distinctions of the
different Hindu castes at present. And an attempt will now be made
to demonstrate this hypothesis in connection with a brief survey of
the castes of the Province.

18. Social gradation of castes.

An examination of the social status of the castes of the Central
Provinces, which, as already seen, are representative of a great part
of India, shows that they fall into five principal groups. The highest
consists of those castes who now claim to be directly descended from
the Brahmans, Kshatriyas or Vaishyas, the three higher of the four
classical castes. The second comprises what are generally known
as pure or good castes. The principal mark of their caste status
is that a Brahman will take water to drink from them, and perform
ceremonies in their houses. They may be classified in three divisions:
the higher agricultural castes, higher artisan castes, and serving
castes from whom a Brahman will take water. The third group contains
those castes from whose hands a Brahman will not take water; but
their touch does not convey impurity and they are permitted to enter
Hindu temples. They consist mainly of certain cultivating castes
of low status, some of them recently derived from the indigenous
tribes, other functional castes formed from the forest tribes, and
a number of professional and menial castes, whose occupations are
mainly pursued in villages, so that they formerly obtained their
subsistence from grain-payments or annual allowances of grain from
the cultivators at seedtime and harvest. The group includes also some
castes of village priests and mendicant religious orders, who beg
from the cultivators. In the fourth group are placed the non-Aryan
or indigenous tribes. Most of these cannot properly be said to form
part of the Hindu social system at all, but for practical purposes
they are admitted and are considered to rank below all castes except
those who cannot be touched. The lowest group consists of the impure
castes whose touch is considered to defile the higher castes. Within
each group there are minor differences of status some of which will
be noticed, but the broad divisions may be considered as representing
approximately the facts. The rule about Brahmans taking water from
the good agricultural and artisan castes obtains, for instance, only
in northern India. Maratha Brahmans will not take water from any but
other Brahmans, and in Chhattisgarh Brahmans and other high castes
will take water only from the hands of a Rawat (grazier), and from
no other caste. But nevertheless the Kunbis, the great cultivating
caste of the Maratha country, though Brahmans do not take water from
them, are on the same level as the Kurmis, the cultivating caste of
Hindustan, and in tracts where they meet Kunbis and Kurmis are often
considered to be the same caste. The evidence of the statements made
as to the origin of different castes in the following account will
be found in the articles on them in the body of the work.

19. Castes ranking above the cultivators.

The castes of the first group are noted below:

                Kayasth and Prabhu.

The Brahmans are, as they have always been, the highest caste. The
Rajputs are the representatives of the ancient Kshatriyas or second
caste, though the existing Rajput clans are probably derived from
the Hun, Gujar and other invaders of the period before and shortly
after the commencement of the Christian era, and in some cases from
the indigenous or non-Aryan tribes. It does not seem possible to
assert in the case of a single one of the present Rajput clans that
any substantial evidence is forthcoming in favour of their descent
from the Aryan Kshatriyas, and as regards most of the clans there are
strong arguments against such a hypothesis. Nevertheless the Rajputs
have succeeded to the status of the Kshatriyas, and an alternative
name for them, Chhatri, is a corruption of the latter word. They are
commonly identified with the second of the four classical castes,
but a Hindu law-book gives Rajaputra as the offspring of a Kshatriya
father and a mother of the Karan or writer caste. [45] This genealogy
is absurd, but may imply the opinion that the Rajputs were not the
same as the Aryan Kshatriyas. The Khatris are an important mercantile
caste of the Punjab, who in the opinion of most authorities are
derived from the Rajputs. The name is probably a corruption of
Kshatri or Kshatriya. The Banias are the great mercantile, banking
and shopkeeping caste among the Hindus and a large proportion of
the trade in grain and _ghi_ (preserved butter) is in their hands,
while they are also the chief moneylenders. Most of the important
Bania subcastes belonged originally to Rajputana and Central India,
which are also the homes of the Rajputs, and reasons have been given
in the article on Bania for holding that they are derived from the
Rajputs. They, however, are now commonly called Vaishyas by the Hindus,
as, I think, under the mistaken impression that they are descended
from the original Vaishyas. The Bhats are the bards, heralds and
genealogists of India and include groups of very varying status. The
Bhats who act as genealogists of the cultivating and other castes and
accept cooked food from their clients may perhaps be held to rank with
or even below them. But the high-class Bhats are undoubtedly derived
from Brahmans and Rajputs, and rank just below those castes. The bard
or herald had a sacred character, and his person was inviolable like
that of the herald elsewhere, and this has given a special status to
the whole caste. [46] The Kayasths are the writer caste of Hindustan,
and the Karans and Prabhus are the corresponding castes of Orissa and
Bombay. The position of the Kayasths has greatly risen during the last
century on account of their own ability and industry and the advantages
they have obtained through their high level of education. The original
Kayasths may have been village accountants and hence have occupied a
lower position, perhaps below the cultivators. They are an instance of
a caste whose social position has greatly improved on account of the
wealth and importance of its members. At present the Kayasths may be
said to rank next to Brahmans and Rajputs. The origin of the Prabhus
and Karans is uncertain, but their recent social history appears to
resemble that of the Kayasths. The Guraos are another caste whose
position has greatly improved. They were priests of the village
temples of Siva, and accepted the offerings of food which Brahmans
could not take. But they also supplied leaf-plates for festivals,
and were village musicians and trumpeters in the Maratha armies,
and hence probably ranked below the cultivators and were supported
by contributions of grain from them. Their social position has been
raised by their sacred character as priests of the god Siva and they
are now sometimes called Shaiva Brahmans. But a distinct recollection
of their former status exists.

Thus all the castes of the first group are derived from the
representatives of the Brahmans and Kshatriyas, the two highest
of the four classical castes, except the Guraos, who have risen in
status owing to special circumstances. The origin of the Kayasths is
discussed in the article on that caste. Members of the above castes
usually wear the sacred thread which is the mark of the Dwija or
twice-born, the old Brahmans, Kshatriyas and Vaishyas. The thread is
not worn generally by the castes of the second group, but the more
wealthy and prominent sections of them frequently assume it.

20. Castes from whom a Brahman can take water. Higher agriculturists.

The second group of good castes from whom a Brahman can take water
falls into three sections as already explained: the higher agricultural
castes, the higher artisans, and the serving or menial castes from
whom a Brahman takes water from motives of convenience. These last
do not properly belong to the second group but to the next lower one
of village menials. The higher agricultural castes or those of the
first section are noted below:

                Mina or Deswali.
                Panwar Rajput.

In this division the Kurmis and Kunbis are the typical agricultural castes of Hindustan or the plains of northern India, and the Bombay or Maratha Deccan. Both are very numerous and appear to be purely occupational bodies. The name Kurmi perhaps signifies a cultivator or worker. Kunbi may mean a householder. In both castes, groups of diverse origin seem to have been amalgamated owing to their common calling. Thus the Kunbis include a subcaste derived from the Banjara (carriers), another from the Dhangars or shepherds, and a third from the Manas, a primitive tribe. In Bombay it is considered that the majority of the Kunbi caste are sprung from the non-Aryan or indigenous tribes, and this may be the reason why Maratha Brahmans do not take water from them. But they have now become one caste with a status equal to that of the other good cultivating castes. In many tracts of Berar and elsewhere practically all the cultivators of the village belong to the Kunbi caste, and there is every reason to suppose that this was once the general rule and that the Kunbis or 'householders' are simply the cultivators of the Maratha country who lived in village communities. Similarly Sir H. Risley considered that some Kurmis of Bihar were of the Aryan type, while others of Chota Nagpur are derived from the indigenous tribes. The Chasas are the cultivating caste of Orissa and are a similar occupational group. The word Chasa has the generic meaning of a cultivator, and the caste are said by Sir H. Risley to be for the most part of non-Aryan origin, the loose organisation of the caste system among the Uriyas making it possible on the one hand for outsiders to be admitted into the caste, and on the other for wealthy Chasas, who gave up ploughing with their own hands and assumed the respectable title of Mahanti, to raise themselves to membership among the lower classes of Kayasths. The Koltas are another Uriya caste, probably an offshoot of the Chasas, whose name may be derived from the _kulthi_ [47] pulse, a favourite crop in that locality.

Similarly the Vellalas are the great cultivating caste of the Tamil
country, to whom by general consent the first place in social esteem
among the Tamil Sudra castes is awarded. In the _Madras Census Report_
of 1901 Mr. Francis gives an interesting description of the structure
of the caste and its numerous territorial, occupational and other
subdivisions. He shows also how groups from lower castes continually
succeed in obtaining admission into the Vellala community in the
following passage: "Instances of members of other castes who have
assumed the name and position of Vellalas are the Vettuva Vellalas,
who are only Puluvans; the Illam Vellalas, who are Panikkans;
the Karaiturai (lord of the shore) Vellalas, who are Karaiyans;
the Karukamattai (palmyra leaf-stem) Vellalas, who are Balijas; the
Guha (Rama's boatmen) Vellalas, who are Sembadavans; and the Irkuli
Vellalas, who are Vannans. The children of dancing-girls also often
call themselves Mudali, and claim in time to be Vellalas, and even
Paraiyans assume the title of Pillai and trust to its eventually
enabling them to pass themselves off as members of the caste."

This is an excellent instance of the good status attaching to the
chief cultivating caste of the locality and of the manner in which
other groups, when they obtain possession of the land, strive to get
themselves enrolled in it.

The Jats are the representative cultivating caste of the Punjab. They
are probably the descendants of one of the Scythian invading hordes
who entered India shortly before and after the commencement of the
Christian era. The Scythians, as they were called by Herodotus,
appear to have belonged to the Mongolian racial family, as also did
the white Huns who came subsequently. The Gujar and Ahir castes, as
well as the Jats, and also the bulk of the existing Rajput clans, are
believed to be descended from these invaders; and since their residence
in India has been comparatively short in comparison with their Aryan
predecessors, they have undergone much less fusion with the general
population, and retain a lighter complexion and better features,
as is quite perceptible to the ordinary observer in the case of the
Jats and Rajputs. The Jats have a somewhat higher status than other
agricultural castes, because in the Punjab they were once dominant,
and one or two ruling chiefs belonged to the caste. [48] The bulk of
the Sikhs were also Jats. But in the Central Provinces, where they are
not large landholders, and have no traditions of former dominance,
there is little distinction between them and the Kurmis. The Gujars
for long remained a pastoral freebooting tribe, and their community
was naturally recruited from all classes of vagabonds and outlaws, and
hence the caste is now of a mixed character, and their physical type
is not noticeably distinct from that of other Hindus. Sir G. Campbell
derived the Gujars from the Khazars, a tribe of the same race as the
white Huns and Bulgars who from an early period had been settled in
the neighbourhood of the Caspian. They are believed to have entered
India during the fifth or sixth century. Several clans of Rajputs,
as well as considerable sections of the Ahir and Kunbi castes were,
in his opinion, derived from the Gujars. In the Central Provinces the
Gujars have now settled down into respectable cultivators. The Ahirs
or cowherds and graziers probably take their name from the Abhiras,
another of the Scythian tribes. But they have now become a purely
occupational caste, largely recruited from the indigenous Gonds and
Kawars, to whom the business of tending cattle in the jungles is
habitually entrusted. In the Central Provinces Ahirs live in small
forest villages with Gonds, and are sometimes scarcely considered as
Hindus. On this account they have a character for bucolic stupidity,
as the proverb has it: 'When he is asleep he is an Ahir and when he is
awake he is a fool.' But the Ahir caste generally has a good status
on account of its connection with the sacred cow and also with the
god Krishna, the divine cowherd.

The Marathas are the military caste of the Maratha country, formed
into a caste from the cultivators, shepherds and herdsmen, who took
service under Sivaji and subsequent Maratha leaders. The higher clans
may have been constituted from the aristocracy of the Deccan states,
which was probably of Rajput descent. They have now become a single
caste, ranking somewhat higher than the Kunbis, from whom the bulk
of them originated, on account of their former military and dominant
position. Their status was much the same as that of the Jats in the
Punjab. But the ordinary Marathas are mainly engaged in the subordinate
Government and private service, and there is very little distinction
between them and the Kunbis. The Khandaits or swordsmen (from _khanda_,
a sword) are an Uriya caste, which originated in military service,
and the members of which belonged for the most part to the non-Aryan
Bhuiya tribe. They were a sort of rabble, half military and half
police, Sir H. Risley states, who formed the levies of the Uriya
zamindars. They have obtained grants of land, and their status has
improved. "In the social system of Orissa the Sreshta (good) Khandaits
rank next to the Rajputs, who are comparatively few in number, and
have not that intimate connection with the land which has helped to
raise the Khandaits to their present position." [49] The small Rautia
landholding caste of Chota Nagpur, mainly derived from the Kol tribe,
was formed from military service, and obtained a higher status with
the possession of the land exactly like the Khandaits.

Several Rajput clans, as the Panwars of the Wainganga Valley,
the Raghuvansis, the Jadums derived from the Yadava clan, and the
Daharias of Chhattisgarh, have formed distinct castes, marrying among
themselves. A proper Rajput should not marry in his own clan. These
groups have probably in the past taken wives from the surrounding
population, and they can no longer be held to belong to the Rajput
caste proper, but rank as ordinary agricultural castes. Other
agricultural castes have probably been formed through mixed descent
from Rajputs and the indigenous races. The Agharias of Sambalpur say
they are sprung from a clan of Rajputs near Agra, who refused to bend
their heads before the king of Delhi. He summoned all the Agharias to
appear before him, and fixed a sword across the door at the height
of a man's neck. As the Agharias would not bend their heads they
were as a natural consequence all decapitated as they passed through
the door. Only one escaped, who had bribed a Chamar to go instead
of him. He and his village fled from Agra and came to Chhattisgarh,
where they founded the Agharia caste. And, in memory of this, when an
Agharia makes a libation to his ancestors, he first pours a little
water on the ground in honour of the dead Chamar. Such stories may
be purely imaginary, or may contain some substratum of truth, as that
the ancestors of the caste were Rajputs, who took wives from Chamars
and other low castes. The Kirars are another caste with more or less
mixed descent from Rajputs. They are also called Dhakar, and this
means one of illegitimate birth. The Bhilalas are a caste formed of the
offspring of mixed alliances between Rajputs and Bhils. In many cases
in Nimar Rajput immigrants appear to have married the daughters of Bhil
chieftains and landholders, and succeeded to their estates. Thus the
Bhilalas include a number of landed proprietors, and the caste ranks as
a good agricultural caste, from whom Brahmans will take water. Among
the other indigenous tribes, several of which have in the Central
Provinces retained the possession of large areas of land and great
estates in the wilder forest tracts, a subcaste has been formed of
the landholding members of the tribe. Such are the Raj-Gonds among
the Gonds, the Binjhals among Baigas, and the Tawar subtribe of the
Kawar tribe of Bilaspur, to which all the zamindars [50] belong. These
last now claim to be Tomara Rajputs, on the basis of the similarity
of the name. These groups rank with the good agricultural castes,
and Brahmans sometimes consent to take water from them. The Dangis
of Saugor appear to be the descendants of a set of freebooters in the
Vindhyan hills, much like the Gujars in northern India. The legend of
their origin is given in Sir B. Robertson's _Census Report_ of 1891:
"The chief of Garhpahra or old Saugor detained the palanquins of
twenty-two married women and kept them as his wives. The issue of the
illicit intercourse were named Dangis, and there are thus twenty-two
subdivisions of these people. There are also three other subdivisions
who claim descent from pure Rajputs, and who will take daughters
in marriage from the remaining twenty-two, but will not give their
daughters to them." Thus the Dangis appear to have been a mixed group,
recruiting their band from all classes of the population, with some
Rajputs as leaders. The name probably means hillman, from _dang_, a
hill. _Khet men bami, gaon men Dangi_ or 'A Dangi in the village is
like the hole of a snake in one's field,' is a proverb showing the
estimation in which they were formerly held. They obtained estates
in Saugor and a Dangi dynasty formerly governed part of the District,
and they are now highly respectable cultivators. The Minas or Deswalis
belonged to the predatory Mina tribe of Rajputana, but a section of
them have obtained possession of the land in Hoshangabad and rank as a
good agricultural caste. The Lodhas of the United Provinces are placed
lowest among the agricultural castes by Mr. Nesfield, who describes
them as little better than a forest tribe. The name is perhaps derived
from the bark of the _lodh_ tree, which was collected by the Lodhas
of northern India and sold for use as a dyeing agent. In the Central
Provinces the name has been changed to Lodhi, and they are said to
have been brought into the District by a Raja of the Gond-Rajput
dynasty of Mandla in the seventeenth century, and given large grants
of waste land in the interior in order that they might clear it of
forest. They have thus become landholders, and rank with the higher
agricultural castes. They are addressed as Thakur, a title applied
to Rajputs, and Lodhi landowners usually wear the sacred thread.
97. Decline of the caste system.

The caste system has maintained its vigour unimpaired either by the political vicissitudes and foreign invasions of India or by Muhammadan persecution. Except where it has been affected by European
education and inventions, Hindu society preserved until recently
a remarkably close resemblance to that of ancient Greece and Rome
in the classical period. But several signs point to the conclusion
that the decay of caste as the governing factor of Indian society is
in sight. The freedom in selection of occupation which now obtains
appears to strike at the root of the caste system, because the relative
social status and gradation of castes is based on their traditional
occupations. When in a large number of the principal castes the
majority of the members have abandoned their traditional occupation
and taken freely to others, the relative status of castes becomes a
fiction, which, though it has hitherto subsisted, cannot apparently be
indefinitely maintained. The great extension of education undertaken by
Government and warmly advocated by the best Indian opinion exercises
an analogous influence. Education is free to all, and, similarly,
in the careers which it opens to the most successful boys there is
no account of caste. Thus members of quite low castes obtain a good
social position and, as regards them personally, the prejudices and
contempt for their caste necessarily fall into abeyance. The process
must, probably, in time extend to general social toleration. The
educated classes are also coming to regard the restrictions on food
and drink, and on eating and drinking with others, as an irksome and
unnecessary bar to social intercourse, and are gradually abandoning
them. This tendency is greatly strengthened by the example and social
contact of Europeans. Finally, the facilities for travelling and the
democratic nature of modern travel have a very powerful effect. The
great majority of Hindus of all castes are obliged by their comparative
poverty to avail themselves of the cheap third-class fares, and have
to rub shoulders together in packed railway carriages. Soon they
begin to realise that this does them no harm, and get accustomed
to it, with the result that the prejudices about bodily contact
tend to disappear. The opinion has been given that the decline of
social exclusiveness in England was largely due to the introduction
of railway travelling. Taking account of all these influences, and
assuming their continuance, the inference may safely be drawn that
the life of the Indian caste system is limited, though no attempt
can be made to estimate the degree of its vitality, nor to predict
the form and constitution of the society which will arise on its decay.

<b>Arya Samaj</b>

[_Bibliography_: Sir E.D. Maclagan's _Punjab Census Report of 1891_;
Mr. R. Burn's _United Provinces Census Report of 1901_; Professor
J. C. Oman's _Cults, Customs and Superstitions of India_.]

List of Paragraphs
1. _The founder of the sect, Dayanand Saraswati_.
2. _His methods and the scientific interpretation of the Vedas_.
3. _Tenets of the Samaj_.
4. _Modernising tendencies_.
5. _Aims and educational institutions_.
6. _Prospects of the sect_.

1. The founder of the sect, Dayanand Saraswati.

_Arya Samaj Religion_.--This important reforming sect of Hinduism
numbered nearly 250,000 persons in India in 1911, as against 92,000 in
1901. Its adherents belong principally to the Punjab and the United
Provinces. In the Central Provinces 974 members were returned. The
sect was founded by Pandit Dayanand Saraswati, a Gujarati Brahman,
born in 1824. According to his own narrative he had been carefully
instructed in the Vedas, which means that he had been made to commit a
great portion of them to memory, and had been initiated at an early
age into the Saiva sect to which his family belonged; but while
still a mere boy his mind had revolted against the practices of
idolatry. He could not bring himself to acknowledge that the image
of Siva seated on his bull, the helpless idol, which, as he himself
observed in the watches of the night, allowed the mice to run over it
with impunity, ought to be worshipped as the omnipotent deity. [240]
He also conceived an intense aversion to marriage, and fled from home
in order to avoid the match which had been arranged for him. He was
attracted by the practice of Yoga, or ascetic philosophy, and studied
it with great ardour, claiming to have been initiated into the highest
secrets of _Yoga Vidya_. He tells in one of his books of his many
and extensive travels, his profound researches in Sanskritic lore,
his constant meditations and his ceaseless inquirings. He tells how,
by dissecting in his own rough way a corpse which he found floating
on a river, he finally discerned the egregious errors of the Hindu
medical treatises, and, tearing up his books in disgust, flung
them into the river with the mutilated corpse. By degrees he found
reason to reject the authority of all the sacred books of the Hindus
subsequent to the Vedas. Once convinced of this, he braced himself
to a wonderful course of missionary effort, in which he formulated
his new system and attacked the existing orthodox Hinduism. [241]
He maintained that the Vedas gave no countenance to idolatry, but
inculcated monotheism, and that their contents could be reconciled
with all the results of modern science, which indeed he held to be
indicated in them. The Arya Samaj was founded in Lahore in 1877,
and during the remainder of his life Dayanand travelled over northern
India continually preaching and disputing with the advocates of other
religions, and founding branches of his sect. In 1883 he died at Ajmer,
according to the story of his followers, from the effects of poison
administered to him at the instigation of a prostitute against whose
profession he had been lecturing. [242]

2. His methods and the scientific interpretation of the Vedas.

Dayanand's attempt to found a sect which, while not going entirely
outside Hinduism, should prove acceptable to educated Hindus desiring
a purer faith, appears to have been distinctly successful. The leaders
of the Brahmo Samaj were men of higher intelligence and ability than
he, and after scrupulously fair and impartial inquiry were led to
deny the infallibility of the Vedas, while they also declined to
recognise caste. But by so doing they rendered it impossible for a
man to become a Brahmo and remain a Hindu, and their movement has
made little headway. By retaining the tenet of the divine authority
of the Vedas, Dayanand made it possible for educated Hindus to join
his sect without absolutely cutting themselves adrift from their old
faith. But Dayanand's contention that the Vedas should be figuratively
interpreted, and are so found to foreshadow the discoveries of modern
science, will naturally not bear examination. The following instances
of the method are given by Professor Oman: "At one of the anniversary
meetings of the society a member gravely stated that the Vedas
mentioned _pure_ fire, and as pure fire was nothing but electricity,
it was evident that the Indians of the Vedic period were acquainted
with electricity. A leading member of the sect, who had studied
science in the Government college, discovered in two Vedic texts,
made up of _only eighteen words in all_, that oxygen and hydrogen
with their characteristic properties were known to the writers of the
Rig Veda, who were also acquainted with the composition of water,
the constitution of the atmosphere, and had anticipated the modern
kinetic theory of gases." [243] Mr. Burn gives the following parallel
versions of a verse of the Rig Veda by Professor Max Müller and the
late Pandit Guru Datt, M.A., of the Arya Samaj:

_Professor Max Müller_.--"May Mitra, Varuna, Aryaman, Ayu, Indra,
the Lord of the Ribhus, and the Maruts not rebuke us because we shall
proclaim at the sacrifice the virtues of the swift horse sprung from
the Gods."

_Pandit Guru Datt_.--"We shall describe the power-generating virtues of
the energetic horses endowed with brilliant properties (or the virtues
of the vigorous force of heat) which learned or scientific men can
evoke to work for purposes of appliances. Let not philanthropists,
noble men, judges, learned men, rulers, wise men and practical
mechanics ever disregard these properties." In fact, the learned
Pandit has interpreted horse as horse-power.

3. Tenets of the Samaj.

Nevertheless the Arya Samaj does furnish a haven for educated Hindus
who can no longer credit Hindu mythology, but do not wish entirely
to break away from their religion; a step which, involving also the
abandonment of caste, would in their case mean the cessation to a
considerable extent of social and family intercourse. The present
tenets and position of the Arya Samaj as given to Professor Oman
by Lala Lajpat Rai [244] indicate that, while tending towards the
complete removal of the over-swollen body of Hindu ritual and the
obstacles to social progress involved in the narrow restrictions of
the caste system, the sect at present permits a compromise and does
not require of its proselytes a full abjuration. In theory members
of any religion may be admitted to the Samaj, and a few Muhammadans
have been initiated, but unless they renounce Islam do not usually
participate in social intercourse. Sikhs are freely admitted, and
converts from any religion who accept the purified Hinduism of the
Samaj are welcome. Such converts go through a simple ceremony of
purification, for which a Brahman is usually engaged, though not
required by rule. Those who, as Hindus, wore the sacred thread are
again invested with it, and it has also been conferred on converts,
but this has excited opposition. A few marriages between members of
different subcastes have been carried out, and in the case of orphan
girls adopted into the Samaj caste, rules have been set aside and they
have been married to members of other castes. Lavish expenditure on
weddings is discouraged. Vishnu and Siva are accepted as alternative
names of the one God; but their reputed consorts Kali, Durga, Devi,
and so on, are not regarded as deities. Brahmans are usually employed
for ceremonies, but these may also, especially birth and funeral
ceremonies, be performed by non-Brahmans. In the Punjab members of
the Samaj of different castes will take food together, but rarely
in the United Provinces. Dissension has arisen on the question of
the consumption of flesh, and the Samaj is split into two parties,
vegetarians and meat-eaters. In the United Provinces, Mr. Burn states,
the vegetarian party would not object to employ men of low caste as
cooks, excepting such impure castes as Chamars, Doms and sweepers,
so long as they were also vegetarians. The Aryas still hold the
doctrine of the transmigration of souls and venerate the cow, but
they do not regard the cow as divine. In this respect their position
has been somewhat modified from that of Dayanand, who was a vigorous
supporter of the Gaoraksha or cow-protection movement.

4. Modernising tendencies.

Again Dayanand enunciated a very peculiar doctrine on Niyoga or the
custom of childless women, either married or widows, resorting to men
other than their husbands for obtaining an heir. This is permitted
under certain circumstances by the Hindu lawbooks. Dayanand laid down
that a Hindu widow might resort in succession to five men until she
had borne each of them two children, and a married woman might do
the same with the consent of her husband, or without his consent if
he had been absent from home for a certain number of years, varying
according to the purpose for which he was absent. [245] Dayanand held
that this rule would have beneficial results. Those who could restrain
their impulses would still be considered as following the best way;
but for the majority who could not do so, the authorised method
and degree of intimacy laid down by him would prevent such evils as
prostitution, connubial unfaithfulness, and the secret _liaisons_
of widows, resulting in practices like abortion. The prevalence of
such a custom would, however, certainly do more to injure social
and family life than all the evils which it was designed to prevent,
and it is not surprising to find that the Samaj does not now consider
Niyoga an essential doctrine; instead of this they are trying in face
of much opposition to introduce the natural and proper custom of the
remarriage of widows. The principal rite of the Samaj is the old Hom
sacrifice of burning clarified butter, grain, and various fragrant
gums and spices on the sacred fire, with the repetition of Sanskrit
texts. They now explain this by saying that it is a sanitary measure,
designed to purify the air.

The Samaj does not believe in any literal heaven and hell, but
considers these as figurative expressions of the state of the soul,
whether in this life or the life to come. The Aryas therefore do not
perform the _shradhh_ ceremony nor offer oblations to the dead, and
in abolishing these they reduce enormously the power and influence
of the priesthood.

5. Aims and educational institutions.

The above account indicates that the Arya Samaj is tending to become
a vaguely theistic sect. Its religious observances will probably
fall more and more into the background, and its members will aspire
to observe in their conduct the code of social morality obtaining in
Europe, and to regulate their habit of life by similar considerations
of comfort and convenience. Already the principal aims of the
Samaj tend mainly to the social improvement of its members and their
fellow-Indians. It sets its face against child-marriage, and encourages
the remarriage of widows. It busies itself with female education,
with orphanages and schools, dispensaries and public libraries, and
philanthropic institutions of all sorts. [246] Its avowed aim is to
unite and regenerate the peoples of Aryavarrta or India.

As one of its own poets has said: [247]

Ah! long have ye slept, Sons of India, too long!
Your country degenerate, your morals all wrong.

Its principal educational institutions are the Dayanand Anglo-Vedic
College at Lahore and the Anglo-Vedic School at Meerut, a large
orphanage at Bareilly, smaller ones at Allahabad and Cawnpore, and a
number of primary schools. It employs a body of travelling teachers
or Upadeshaks to make converts, and in the famine of 1900 took charge
of as many famine orphans as the Local Governments would entrust
to it, in order to prevent them from being handed over to Christian
missionaries. All members of the Samaj are expected to contribute one
per cent of their incomes to the society, and a large number of them
do this. The Arya Samaj has been accused of cherishing political aims
and of anti-British propaganda, but the writers quoted in this article
unite in acquitting it of such a charge as an institution, though some
of its members have been more or less identified with the Extremist
party. From the beginning, however, and apparently up to the present
time, its religious teaching has been directed to social and not to
political reform, and so long as it adheres to this course its work
must be considered to be useful and praiseworthy. Nevertheless some
danger may perhaps exist lest the boys educated in its institutions
may with youthful intemperance read into the instruction of their
teachers more than it is meant to convey, and divert exhortations
for social improvement and progress to political ends.

6. Prospects of the sect.

The census of 1911 showed the Arya Samaj to be in a flourishing
and progressive condition. There seems good reason to suppose that
its success may continue, as it meets a distinct religious and
social requirement of educated Hindus. Narsinghpur is the principal
centre of the sect in the Central Provinces, and here an orphanage is
maintained with about thirty inmates; the local members have an _ata_
fund, to which they daily contribute a handful of flour, and this
accumulates and is periodically made over to the orphanage. There is
also a Vedic school at Narsinghpur, and a Sanskrit school has been
started at Drug. [248]

Brahmo Samaj

[_Bibliography:_ Professor J. C. Oman's _Brahmans, Theists and Muslims
of India_ (1907); _Cults, Customs and Superstitions of India_ (1908);
Rev. F. Lillingston's _Brahmo Samaj and Arya Samaj_ (1901). The
following brief account is simply compiled from the above works and
makes no pretence to be critical.]

List of Paragraphs
1. _Ram Mohan Roy, founder of the sect_.
2. _Much esteemed by the English_.
3. _Foundation of the Brahmo Samaj_.
4. _Debendra Nath Tagore_.
5. _Keshub Chandar Sen_.
6. _The Civil Marriage Act_.
7. _Keshub Chandar's relapse into mysticism_.
8. _Recent history of the Samaj_.
9. _Character of the movement_.

1. Ram Mohan Roy, founder of the sect.

_Brahmo Samaj Religion_.--This monotheistic sect of Bengal numbered
only thirty-two adherents in the Central Provinces in 1911, of whom
all or nearly all were probably Bengalis. Nevertheless its history
is of great interest as representing an attempt at the reform and
purification of Hinduism under the influence of Christianity. The
founder of the sect, Ram Mohan Roy, a Brahman, was born in 1772
and died in England in 1833. He was sent to school at Patna, where
under the influence of Muhammadan teachers he learnt to despise
the extravagant stories of the Puranas. At the age of sixteen he
composed a tract against idolatry, which stirred up such a feeling of
animosity against him that he had to leave his home. He betook himself
first to Benares, where he received instruction in the Vedas from the
Brahmans. From there he went to Tibet, that he might learn the tenets
of Buddhism from its adherents rather than its opponents; his genuine
desire to form a fair judgment of the merits of every creed being
further evidenced by his learning the language in which each of these
finds its expression: thus he learnt Sanskrit that he might rightly
understand the Vedas, Pali that he might read the Buddhist Tripitaka,
Arabic as the key to the Koran, and Hebrew and Greek for the Old and
New Testaments. [249] In 1819, after a diligent study of the Bible,
he published a book entitled _The Precepts of Jesus, the Guide to
Peace and Happiness._ Although this work was eminently appreciative of
the character and teaching of Christ, it gave rise to an attack from
the missionaries of Serampore. Strange to say, Ram Mohan Roy so far
converted his tutor Mr. Adam (himself a missionary) to his own way
of thinking that that gentleman relinquished his spiritual office,
became editor of the _Indian Gazette,_ and was generally known in
Calcutta as 'The second fallen Adam.' [250]

2. Much esteemed by the English.

Ram Mohan Roy was held in great esteem by his English contemporaries
in India. He dispensed in charities the bulk of his private means,
living himself with the strictest economy in order that he might have
the more to give away. It was to a considerable extent due to his
efforts, and more especially to his demonstration that the practice
of Sati found no sanction in the Vedas, that this abominable rite was
declared illegal by Lord William Bentinck in 1829. The titular emperor
of Delhi conferred the title of Raja upon him in 1830 and induced
him to proceed to England on a mission to the Home Government. He
was the first Brahman who had crossed the sea, and his distinguished
appearance, agreeable manners, and undoubtedly great ability, coupled
with his sympathy for Christianity, procured him a warm welcome in
England, where he died in 1833. [251]

3. Foundation of the Brahmo Samaj.

Ram Mohan Roy, with the help of a few friends and disciples, founded,
in 1830, the Brahmo Samaj or Society of God. In the trust deed of
the meeting-house it was laid down that the society was founded for
"the worship and adoration of the eternal, unsearchable and immutable
Being who is the Author and Preserver of the Universe, but not by
any other name, designation or title peculiarly used by any men or
set of men; and that in conducting the said worship and adoration, no
object, animate or inanimate, that has been or is or shall hereafter
become ... an object of worship by any men or set of men, shall be
reviled or slightingly or contemptuously spoken of or alluded to
either in preaching, or in the hymns or other mode of worship that
may be delivered or used in the said messuage or building." [252]
This well exemplifies the broad toleration and liberality of the
sect. The service in the new theistic church consisted in the recital
of the Vedas by two Telugu Brahmans, the reading of texts from the
Upanishads, and the expounding of the same in Bengali. The Samaj, thus
constituted, based its teaching on the Vedas and was at this time,
though unorthodox, still a Hindu sect, and made no attempt at the
abolition of caste. "Indeed, in establishing this sect, Ram Mohan Roy
professed to be leading his countrymen back to the pure, uncorrupted,
monotheistic religion of their Vedic ancestors; but his monotheism,
based, as it was, essentially upon the Vedanta philosophy, was in
reality but a disguised Pantheism, enriched as regards its ethics by
ideas derived from Muslim and Christian literature and theology." [253]

4. Debendra Nath Tagore.

After the death of its founder the sect languished for a period of ten
years until it was taken in hand by Debendra Nath Tagore, whose father
Dwarka Nath had been a friend and warm admirer of Ram Mohan Roy, and
had practically maintained the society by paying its expenses during
the interval. In 1843 Debendra drew up a form of initiation which
involved the renunciation of idolatry. He established branches of
the Brahmo Samaj in many towns and villages of Bengal, and in 1845 he
sent four Pandits to Benares to copy out and make a special study of
the Vedas. On their return to Calcutta after two years Debendra Nath
devoted himself with their aid to a diligent and critical study of the
sacred books, and eventually, after much controversy and even danger
of disruption, the Samaj, under his guidance, came to the important
decision that the teaching of the Vedas could not be reconciled with
the conclusions of modern science or with the religious convictions
of the Brahmos, a result which soon led to an open and public denial
of the infallibility of the Vedas.

"There is nothing," Professor Oman remarks, "in the Brahmic movement
more creditable to the parties concerned than this honest and
careful inquiry into the nature of the doctrines and precepts of the
Vedas." [254]

5. Keshub Chandar Sen.

The tenets of the Brahmo Samaj consisted at this time of a pure theism,
without special reliance on the Hindu sacred books or recognition of
such Hindu doctrines as the transmigration of souls. But in their
ordinary lives its members still conformed generally to the caste
practices and religious usages of their neighbours. But a progressive
party now arose under the leadership of Keshub Chandar Sen, a young man
of the Vaidya caste, which desired to break altogether with Hinduism,
abolish the use of sect marks and the prohibition of intermarriage
between castes, and to welcome into the community converts from all
religions. Meanwhile Debendra Nath Tagore had spent three years in
seclusion in the Himalayas, occupied with meditation and prayer; on
his return he acceded so far to the views of Keshub Chandar Sen as to
celebrate the marriage of his daughter according to a reformed theistic
ritual; but when his friend pressed for the complete abolition of all
caste restrictions, Debendra Nath refused his consent and retired once
more to the hills. [255] The result was a schism in the community,
and in 1866 the progressive party seceded and set up a Samaj of
their own, calling themselves the Brahmo Samaj of India, while the
conservative group under Debendra Nath Tagore was named the Adi or
original Samaj. In 1905 the latter was estimated to number only about
300 persons. [256]

Keshub Chandar Sen had been educated in the Presidency College,
Calcutta, and being more familiar with English and the Bible than
with the Sanskrit language and Vedic literature, he was filled with
deep enthusiastic admiration of the beauty of Christ's character
and teaching. [257] He had shown a strong passion for the stage and
loved nothing better than the plays of Shakespeare. He was fond of
performing himself, and especially delighted in appearing in the
role of a magician or conjurer before his family and friends. The
new sect took up the position that all religions were true and
worthy of veneration. At the inaugural meeting, texts from the
sacred scriptures of the Christians, Hindus, Muhammadans, Parsis
and Chinese were publicly read, in order to mark and to proclaim to
the world the catholicity of spirit in which it was formed. [258]
Keshub by his writings and public lectures kept himself prominently
before the Indian world, enlisting the sympathies of the Viceroy
(Sir John Lawrence) by his tendencies towards Christianity.

6. The Civil Marriage Act.

By this time several marriages had been performed according to the
revised ritual of the Brahmic Church, which had given great offence
to orthodox Hindus and exposed the participators in these novel rites
to much obloquy. The legality of marriages thus contracted had even
been questioned. To avoid this difficulty Keshub induced Government
in 1872 to pass the Native Marriage Act, introducing for the first
time the institution of civil marriage into Hindu society. The Act
prescribed a form of marriage to be celebrated before the Registrar
for persons who did not profess either the Hindu, the Muhammadan,
the Parsi, the Sikh, the Jaina or the Buddhist religion, and who
were neither Christians nor Jews; and fixed the minimum age for a
bridegroom at eighteen and for a bride at fourteen. Only six years
later, however, Keshub Chandar Sen committed the fatal mistake of
ignoring the law which he had himself been instrumental in passing:
he permitted the marriage of his daughter, below the age of fourteen,
to the young Maharaja of Kuch Bihar, who was not then sixteen years
of age. [259] This event led to a public censure of Keshub Chandar
Sen by his community and the secession of a section of the members,
who formed the Sadharan or Universal Brahmo Samaj. The creed of this
body consisted in the belief in an infinite Creator, the immortality of
the soul, the duty and necessity of the spiritual worship of God, and
disbelief in any infallible book or man as a means of salvation. [260]

7. Keshub Chandar's relapse into mysticism.

From about this period, or a little before, Keshub Chandar Sen appears
to have attempted to make a wider appeal to Indians by developing the
emotional side of his religion. And he gradually relapsed from a pure
unitarian theism into what was practically Hindu pantheism and the
mysticism of the Yogis. At the same time he came to consider himself
an inspired prophet, and proclaimed himself as such. The following
instances of his extravagant conduct are given by Professor Oman. [261]

"In 1873 he brought forward the doctrine of Adesh or special
inspiration, declaring emphatically that inspiration is not only
possible, but a veritable fact in the lives of many devout souls
in this age. The following years witnessed a marked development of
that essentially Asiatic and perhaps more especially Indian form of
religious feeling, which finds its natural satisfaction in solitary
ecstatic contemplation. As a necessary consequence an order of devotees
was established in 1876, divided into three main classes, which in
ascending gradation were designated Shabaks, Bhaktas and Yogis. The
lowest class, divided into two sections, is devoted to religious study
and the practical performance of religious duties, including doing good
to others. The aspiration of the Bhakta is ... 'Inebriation in God. He
is most passionately fond of God and delights in loving Him and all
that pertains to Him.... The very utterance of the divine name causes
his heart to overflow and brings tears of joy to his eyes.' As for the
highest order of devotees, the Yogis, 'They live in the spirit-world
and readily commune with spiritual realities. They welcome whatever is
a help to the entire subjugation of the soul, and are always employed
in conquering selfishness, carnality and worldliness. They are happy
in prayer and meditation and in the study of nature.'

"The new dispensation having come into the world to harmonise
conflicting creeds and regenerate mankind, must have its outward
symbol, its triumphal banner floating proudly on the joyful air
of highly-favoured India. A flag was therefore made and formally
consecrated as 'The Banner of the New Dispensation.' This emblem of
'Regenerated and saving theism' the new prophet himself formed with
a yak's tail and kissed with his own inspired lips. In orthodox Hindu
fashion his missionaries--apostles of the new Dispensation--went round
it with lights in their hands, while his less privileged followers
respectfully touched the sacred pole and humbly bowed down to it. In
a word, the banner was worshipped as Hindu idols are worshipped any
day in India. Carried away by a spirit of innovation, anxious to keep
himself prominently before the world, and realising no doubt that
since churches and sects do not flourish on intellectual pabulum only,
certain mystic rites and gorgeous ceremonials were necessary to the
success of the new Dispensation, Keshub introduced into his Church
various observances which attracted a good deal of attention and did
not escape criticism. On one occasion he went with his disciples
in procession, singing hymns, to a stagnant tank in Calcutta,
and made believe that they were in Palestine and on the side of
the Jordan. Standing near the tank Keshub said, 'Beloved brethren,
we have come into the land of the Jews, and we are seated on the
bank of the Jordan. Let them that have eyes see. Verily, verily,
here was the Lord Jesus baptised eighteen hundred years ago. Behold
the holy waters wherein was the Son of God immersed.' We learn also
that Keshub and his disciples attempted to hold communication with
saints and prophets of the olden time, upon whose works and teaching
they had been pondering in retirement and solitude. On this subject
the following notice appeared in the _Sunday Mirror_:

"'It is proposed to promote communion with departed saints among
the more advanced Brahmos. With a view to achieve this object
successfully ancient prophets and saints will be taken one after
another on special occasions and made the subject of close study,
meditation and prayer. Particular places will also be assigned to
which the devotees will resort as pilgrims. There for hours together
they will try to draw inspiration from particular saints. We believe
a spiritual pilgrimage to Moses will be shortly undertaken. Only
earnest devotees ought to join.'"

8. Recent history of the Samaj.

Keshub Chandar Sen died in 1884, and the Brahmo Samaj seems
subsequently to have returned more or less to its first position of
pure theism coupled with Hindu social reform. His successor in the
leadership of the sect was Babu P.C. Mazumdar, who visited America
and created a favourable impression at the Parliament of Religions
at Chicago. Under his guidance the Samaj seems to have gradually
drifted towards American Unitarianism, and to have been supported in
no slight degree by funds from the United States of America. [262] He
died in 1905, and left no one of prominent character and attainments
to succeed to the leadership. In 1911 the adherents of the different
branches of the Samaj numbered at the census only 5500 persons.

9. Character of the movement.

The history of the Brahmo Samaj is of great interest, because it was
the first attempt at the reform and purification of Hinduism made under
the influence of Christianity, the long line of Vaishnavite reformers
who strove to abrogate Hindu polytheism and the deadening restrictions
of caste, having probably been inspired by the contemplation of
Islam. The Samaj is further distinguished by the admirable toleration
and broadness of view of its religious position, and by having had for
its leaders three men of exceptional character and attainments, two
of whom, and especially Keshub Chandar Sen, made a profound impression
in England among all classes of society. But the failure of the Samaj
to attract any large number of converts from among the Hindus was
only what might have been expected. For it requires its followers
practically to cut themselves adrift from family and caste ties and
offers nothing in return but an undefined theism, not calculated
to excite any enthusiasm or strong feeling in ordinary minds. Its
efforts at social reform have probably, however, been of substantial
value in weakening the rigidity of Hindu rules on caste and marriage.

Dadupanthi Sect. [263]

_Dadupanthi Sect._--One of the sects founded by Vaishnava reformers
of the school of Kabir; a few of its members are found in the
western Districts of the Central Provinces. Dadu was a Pinjara or
cotton-cleaner by caste. He was born at Ahmadabad in the sixteenth
century, and died at Narayana in the Jaipur State shortly after
A.D. 1600. He is said to have been the fifth successor in spiritual
inspiration from Kabir, or the sixth from Ramanand. Dadu preached
the unity of God and protested against the animistic abuses which
had grown up in Hinduism. "To this day," writes Mr. Coldstream,
"the Dadupanthis use the words Sat Ram, the True God, as a current
phrase expressive of their creed. Dadu forbade the worship of idols,
and did not build temples; now temples are built by his followers, who
say they worship in them the Dadubani or Sacred Book." This is what has
been done by other sects such as the Sikhs and Dhamis, whose founders
eschewed the veneration of idols; but their uneducated followers could
not dispense with some visible symbol for their adoration, and hence
the sacred script has been enthroned in a temple. The worship of the
Dadupanthis, Professor Wilson says, is addressed to Rama, but it is
restricted to the Japa or repetition of his name, and the Rama intended
is the deity negatively described in the Vedanta theology. The chief
place of worship of the sect is Narayana, where Dadu died. A small
building on a hill marks the place of his disappearance, and his bed
and the sacred books are kept there as objects of veneration.

Like other sects, the Dadupanthis are divided into celibate or
priestly and lay or householder branches. But they have also a third
offshoot, consisting in the Naga Gosains of Jaipur, nearly naked
ascetics, who constituted a valuable part of the troops of Jaipur
and other States. It is said that the Nagas always formed the van
of the army of Jaipur. The sect have white caps with four corners
and a flap hanging down at the back, which each follower has to make
for himself. To prevent the destruction of animal life entailed by
cremation, the tenets of the sect enjoin that corpses should be laid
in the forests to be devoured by birds and beasts. This rule, however,
is not observed, and their dead are burnt at early dawn.

Dhami, Prannathi Sect.

_Dhami, Prannathi Sect._--A small religious sect or order, having
its headquarters in the Panna State of Bundelkhand. A few members of
the sect are found in the Saugor and Damoh Districts of the Central
Provinces. The name Dhami is simply a derivative from _dham_, a
monastery, and in northern India they are called Prannathi after their
founder. They are also known as Sathi Bhai, brothers in religion,
or simply as Bhai or brothers. The sect takes its origin from one
Prannath, a Rajput who lived in the latter part of Aurangzeb's reign
towards the end of the seventeenth century. He is said to have acquired
great influence with Chatra Sal, Raja of Panna, by the discovery of a
diamond mine there, and on this account Panna was made the home of the
sect. Prannath was well acquainted with the sacred books of Islam, and,
like other Hindu reformers, he attempted to propagate a faith which
should combine the two religions. To this end he composed a work in
Gujarati called the Kulzam Sarup, in which texts from the Koran and
the Vedas are brought together and shown not to be incompatible. His
creed also proclaimed the abolition of the worship of idols, and
apparently of caste restrictions and the supremacy of Brahmans. As
a test of a disciple's assent to the real identity of the Hindu and
Muhammadan creeds, the ceremony of initiation consists in eating in
the society of the followers of both religions; but the amalgamation
appears to be carried no further, and members of the sect continue
to follow generally their own religious practices. Theoretically they
should worship no material objects except the Founder's Book of Faith,
which lies on a table covered with gold cloth in the principal temple
at Panna. But in fact they adore the boy Krishna as he was at Mathura,
and in some temples there are images of Radha and Krishna, while in
others the decorations are so arranged as to look like an idol from
a distance. All temples, however, contain a copy of the sacred book,
round which a lighted lamp is waved in the morning and evening. The
Dhamis now say also that their founder Prannath was an incarnation
of Krishna, and they observe the Janam-Ashtami or Krishna's birthday
as their principal festival. They wear the Radha Vallabhi _tilak_
or sect-mark, consisting of two white lines drawn down the forehead
from the roots of the hair, and curving to meet at the top of the nose,
with a small red dot between them. On the cheeks and temples they make
rosette-like marks by bunching up the five fingers, dipping them in
a solution of sandalwood and then applying them to the face. [264]
They regard the Jumna as a sacred river and its water as holy, no
doubt because Mathura is on its banks, but pay no reverence to the
Ganges. Their priests observe celibacy, but do not practise asceticism,
and all the Dhamis are strict vegetarians.

There is also a branch of the sect in Gujarat, where the founder
is known as Meheraj Thakur. He appears to have been identical with
Prannath, and instituted a local headquarters at Surat. [265] It is
related by Mr. Bhimbhai Kirparam that Meheraj Thakur was himself the
disciple of one Deo Chand, a native of Amarkot in Sind. The latter
was devoted to the study of the Bhagwat Puran, and came to Jamnagar in
Kathiawar, where he founded a temple to Radha and Krishna. As there is
a temple at Panna consecrated to Deo Chand as the Guru or preceptor
of Prannath, and as the book of the faith is written in Gujarati,
the above account would appear to be correct, and it follows that
the sect originated in the worship of Krishna, and was refined by
Prannath into a purer form of faith. A number of Cutchis in Surat
are adherents of the sect, and usually visit the temple at Panna on
the full-moon day of Kartik (October). Curiously enough the sect has
also found a home in Nepal, having been preached there, it is said,
by missionary Dhamis in the time of Raja Ram Bahadur Shah of Nepal,
about 150 years ago. Its members there are known as Pranami or Parnami,
a corruption of Prannathi and they often come to Panna to study the
sacred book. It is reported that there are usually about forty Nepalis
lodging in the premises of the great temple at Panna. [266]

Jain Religion

[_Bibliography: The Jainas_, by Dr. J.G. Bühler and J. Burgess,
London, 1903; _The Religions of India_, Professor E.W. Hopkins; _The
Religions of India_, Professor A. Barth; _Punjab Census Report_
(1891), Sir E.D. Maclagan; article on Jainism in Dr. Hastings'
_Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics_.]

List of Paragraphs
1. _Numbers and distribution_.
2. _The Jain religion. Its connection with Buddhism_.
3. _The Jain tenets. The Tirthakars_.
4. _The transmigration of souls_.
5. _Strict rules against taking life_.
6. _Jain sects_.
7. _Jain ascetics_.
8. _Jain subcastes of Banias_.
9. _Rules and customs of the laity_.
10. _Connection with Hinduism_.
11. _Temples and car festival_.
12. _Images of the Tirthakars_.
13. _Religious observances_.
14. _Tenderness for animal life_.
15. _Social condition of the Jains_.

1. Numbers and distribution.

_Jain_.--The total number of Jains in the Central Provinces in 1911
was 71,000 persons. They nearly all belong to the Bania caste, and
are engaged in moneylending and trade like other Banias. They reside
principally in the Vindhyan Districts, Saugor, Damoh and Jubbulpore,
and in the principal towns of the Nagpur country and Berar.

2. The Jain religion. Its connection with Buddhism.

The Jain tenets present marked features of resemblance to Buddhism,
and it was for some time held that Jainism was merely a later offshoot
from that religion. The more generally accepted view now, however, is
that the Jina or prophet of the Jains was a real historical personage,
who lived in the sixth century B.C., being a contemporary of Gautama,
the Buddha. Vardhamana, as he was commonly called, is said to have
been the younger son of a small chieftain in the province of Videha or
Tirhut. Like Sakya-Muni the Buddha or enlightened, Vardhamana became
an ascetic, and after twelve years of a wandering life he appeared
as a prophet, proclaiming a modification of the doctrine of his own
teacher Parsva or Parasnath. From this time he was known as Mahavira,
the great hero, the same name which in its familiar form of Mahabir
is applied to the god Hanuman. The title of Jina or victorious,
from which the Jains take their name, was subsequently conferred
on him, his sect at its first institution being called Nirgrantha or
ascetic. There are very close resemblances in the traditions concerning
the lives of Vardhamana and Gautama or Buddha. Both were of royal
birth; the same names recur among their relatives and disciples;
and they lived and preached in the same part of the country, Bihar
and Tirhut. [267] Vardhamana is said to have died during Buddha's
lifetime, the date of the latter's death being about 480 B.C. [268]
Their doctrines also, with some important differences, present,
on the whole, a close resemblance. Like the Buddhists, the Jains
claim to have been patronised by the Maurya princes. While Asoka
was mainly instrumental in the propagation of Buddhism over India,
his grandfather Chandragupta is stated to have been a Jain, and his
grandson Sampadi also figures in Jain tradition. A district which is
a holy land for one is almost always a holy land for the other, and
their sacred places adjoin each other in Bihar, in the peninsula of
Gujarat, on Mount Abu in Rajputana and elsewhere. [269] The earliest
of the Jain books belongs to the sixth century A.D., the existence of
the Nirgrantha sect in Buddha's lifetime being proved by the Cingalese
books of the Buddhists, and by references to it in the inscriptions
of Asoka and others. [270] While then M. Barth's theory that Jainism
was simply a later sect of Buddhism has been discarded by subsequent
scholars, it seems likely that several of the details of Vardhamana's
life now recorded in the Jain books are not really authentic, but
were taken from that of Buddha with necessary alterations, when the
true facts about their own prophet had been irrevocably lost.

3. The Jain tenets. The Tirthakars.

Like the Buddhists, the Jains recognise no creator of the world,
and suppose it to have existed from eternity. Similarly, they had
originally no real god, but the Jina or victor, like the Buddha or
Enlightened One, was held to have been an ordinary mortal man, who
by his own power had attained to omniscience and freedom, and out of
pity for suffering mankind preached and declared the way of salvation
which he had found. [271] This doctrine, however, was too abstruse
for the people, and in both cases the prophet himself gradually
came to be deified. Further, in order perhaps to furnish objects of
worship less distinctively human and to whom a larger share of the
attributes of deity could be imputed, in both religions a succession
of mythical predecessors of the prophet was gradually brought into
existence. The Buddhists recognise twenty-five Buddhas or divine
prophets, who appeared at long epochs of time and taught the same
system one after another; and the Jains have twenty-four Tirthakars
or Tirthankars, who similarly taught their religion. Of these only
Vardhamana, its real founder, who was the twenty-fourth, and possibly
Parsva or Parasnath, the twenty-third and the founder's preceptor,
are or may be historical. The other twenty-two Tirthakars are purely
mythical. The first, Rishaba, was born more than 100 billion years ago,
as the son of a king of Ajodhya; he lived more than 8 million years,
and was 500 bow-lengths in height. He therefore is as superhuman
as any god, and his date takes us back almost to eternity. The
others succeeded each other at shorter intervals of time, and show
a progressive decline in stature and length of life. The images of
the Tirthakars are worshipped in the Jain temples like those of the
Buddhas in Buddhist temples. As with Buddhism also, the main feature
of Jain belief is the transmigration of souls, and each successive
incarnation depends on the sum of good and bad actions or _karman_
in the previous life. They hold also the primitive animistic doctrine
that souls exist not only in animals and plants but in stones, lumps
of earth, drops of water, fire and wind, and the human soul may pass
even into these if its sins condemn it to such a fate. [272]

4. The transmigration of souls.

The aim which Jainism, like Buddhism, sets before its disciples
is the escape from the endless round of successive existences,
known as Samsara, through the extinction of the _karman_ or sum of
actions. This is attained by complete subjection of the passions and
destruction of all desires and appetites of the body and mind, that
is, by the most rigid asceticism, as well as by observing all the
moral rules prescribed by the religion. It was the Jina or prophet
who showed this way of escape, and hence he is called Tirthakar or
'The Finder of the Ford,' through the ocean of existence. [273]
But Jainism differs from Buddhism in that it holds that the soul,
when finally emancipated, reaches a heaven and there continues for
ever a separate intellectual existence, and is not absorbed into
Nirvana or a state of blessed nothingness.

5. Strict rules against taking life.

The moral precepts of the Jains are of the same type as those of
Buddhism and Vaishnavite Hinduism, but of an excessive rigidity,
at any rate in the case of the Yatis or Jatis, the ascetics. They
promise not to hurt, not to speak untruths, to appropriate nothing to
themselves without permission, to preserve chastity and to practise
self-sacrifice. But these simple rules are extraordinarily expanded
on the part of the Jains. Thus, concerning the oath not to hurt,
on which the Jains lay most emphasis: it prohibits not only the
intentional killing or injuring of living beings, plants or the souls
existing in dead matter, but requires also the utmost carefulness in
the whole manner of life, and a watchfulness also over all movements
and functions of the body by which anything living might be hurt. It
demands, finally, strict watch over the heart and tongue, and the
avoidance of all thoughts and words which might lead to disputes
and quarrels, and thereby do harm. In like manner the rule of
sacrifice requires not only that the ascetic should have no houses or
possessions, but he must also acquire a complete unconcern towards
agreeable or disagreeable impressions, and destroy all feelings
of attachment to anything living or dead. [274] Similarly, death by
voluntary starvation is prescribed for those ascetics who have reached
the Kewalin or brightest stage of knowledge, as the means of entering
their heaven. Owing to the late date of the Jain scriptures, any or
all of its doctrines may have been adopted from Buddhism between
the commencement of the two religions and the time when they were
compiled. The Jains did not definitely abolish caste, and hence escaped
the persecution to which Buddhism was subjected during the period of
its decline from the fifth or sixth century A.D. On account of this
trouble many Buddhists became Jains, and hence a further fusion of
the doctrines of the rival sects may have ensued. The Digambara sect
of Jains agree with the Buddhists in holding that women cannot attain
Nirvana or heaven, while the Swetambara sect say that they can, and
also admit women as nuns into the ascetic order. The Jain scripture,
the Yogashastra, speaks of women as the lamps that burn on the road
that leads to the gates of hell.

6. Jain sects.

The Jains are divided into the above two principal sects, the
Digambara and the Swetambara. The Digambara are the more numerous
and the stricter sect. According to their tenets death by voluntary
starvation is necessary for ascetics who would attain heaven, though
of course the rule is not now observed. The name Digambara signifies
sky-clad, and Swetambara white-clad. Formerly the Digambara ascetics
went naked, and were the gymnosophists of the Greek writers, but now
they take off their clothes, if at all, only at meals. The theory
of the origin of the two sects is that Parasnath, the twenty-third
Tirthakar, wore clothes, while Mahavira the twenty-fourth did not,
and the two sects follow their respective examples. The Digambaras now
wear ochre-coloured cloth, and the Swetambaras white. The principal
difference at present is that the images in Digambara temples are naked
and bare, while those of the Swetambaras are clothed, presumably in
white, and also decorated with jewellery and ornaments. The Digambara
ascetics may not use vessels for cooking or holding their food, but
must take it in their hands from their disciples and eat it thus;
while the Swetambara ascetics may use vessels. The Digambara, however,
do not consider the straining-cloth, brush, and gauze before the
mouth essential to the character of an ascetic, while the Swetambara
insist on them. There is in the Central Provinces another small sect
called Channagri or Samaiya, and known elsewhere as Dhundia. These do
not put images in their temples at all, but only copies of the Jain
sacred books, and pay reverence to them. They will, however, worship
in regular Jain temples at places where there are none of their own.

7. Jain ascetics.

The initiation of a Yati or Jati, a Jain ascetic, is thus described:
It is frequent for Banias who have no children to vow that their
first-born shall be a Yati. Such a boy serves a novitiate with a _guru_
or preceptor, and performs for him domestic offices; and when he is
old enough and has made progress in his studies he is initiated. For
this purpose the novice is carried out of the tower with music and
rejoicing in procession, followed by a crowd of Sravakas or Jain
laymen, and taken underneath the banyan, or any other tree the juice of
which is milky. His hair is pulled out at the roots with five pulls;
camphor, musk, sandal, saffron and sugar are applied to the scalp;
and he is then placed before his _guru,_ stripped of his clothes and
with his hands joined. A text is whispered in his ear by the _guru_,
and he is invested with the clothes peculiar to Yatis; two cloths, a
blanket and a staff; a plate for his victuals and a cloth to tie them
up in; a piece of gauze to tie over his mouth to prevent the entry
of insects; a cloth through which to strain his drinking-water to
the same end; and a broom made of cotton threads or peacock feathers
to sweep the ground before him as he walks, so that his foot may not
crush any living thing. The duty of the Yati is to read and explain
the sacred books to the Sravakas morning and evening, such functions
being known as Sandhya. His food consists of all kinds of grain,
vegetables and fruit produced above the earth; but no roots such as
yams or onions. Milk and _ghi_ are permitted, but butter and honey
are prohibited. Some strict Yatis drink no water but what has been
first boiled, lest they should inadvertently destroy any insect,
it being less criminal to boil them than to destroy them in the
drinker's stomach. A Yati having renounced the world and all civil
duties can have no family, nor does he perform any office of mourning
or rejoicing. [275] A Yati was directed to travel about begging and
preaching for eight months in the year, and during the four rainy
months to reside in some village or town and observe a fast. The
rules of conduct to be observed by him were extremely strict, as has
already been seen. Those who observed them successfully were believed
to acquire miraculous powers. He who was a Siddh or victor, and had
overcome his Karma or the sum of his human actions and affections,
could read the thoughts of others and foretell the future. He who had
attained Kewalgyan, or the state of perfect knowledge which preceded
the emancipation of the soul and its absorption into paradise, was
a god on earth, and even the gods worshipped him. Wherever he went
all plants burst into flower and brought forth fruit, whether it was
their season or not. In his presence no animal bore enmity to another
or tried to kill it, but all animals lived peaceably together. This
was the state attained to by each Tirthakar during his last sojourn
on earth. The number of Jain ascetics seems now to be less than
formerly and they are not often met with, at least in the Central
Provinces. They do not usually perform the function of temple priest.

8. Jain subcastes of Banias.

Practically all the Jains in the Central Provinces are of the Bania
caste. There is a small subcaste of Jain Kalars, but these are
said to have gone back to Hinduism. [276] Of the Bania subcastes
who are Jains the principal are the Parwar, Golapurab, Oswal and
Saitwal. Saraogi, the name for a Jain layman, and Charnagar, a
sect of Jains, are also returned as subcastes of Jain Banias. Other
important subcastes of Banias, as the Agarwal and Maheshri, have a
Jain section. Nearly all Banias belong to the Digambara sect, but the
Oswal are Swetambaras. They are said to have been originally Rajputs
of Os or Osnagar in Rajputana, and while they were yet Rajputs a
Swetambara ascetic sucked the poison from the wound of an Oswal boy
whom a snake had bitten, and this induced the community to join the
Swetambara sect of the Jains. [277]

9. Rules and customs of the laity.

The Jain laity are known as Shrawak or Saraogi, learners. There
is comparatively little to distinguish them from their Hindu
brethren. Their principal tenet is to avoid the destruction of all
animal, including insect life, but the Hindu Banias are practically
all Vaishnavas, and observe almost the same tenderness for animal life
as the Jains. The Jains are distinguished by their separate temples
and method of worship, and they do not recognise the authority of
the Vedas nor revere the _lingam_ of Siva. Consequently they do not
use the Hindu sacred texts at their weddings, but repeat some verses
from their own scriptures. These weddings are said to be more in the
nature of a civil contract than of a religious ceremony. The bride and
bridegroom walk seven times round the sacred post and are then seated
on a platform and promise to observe certain rules of conduct towards
each other and avoid offences. It is said that formerly a Jain bride
was locked up in a temple for the first night and considered to be
the bride of the god. But as scandals arose from this custom, she is
now only locked up for a minute or two and then let out again. Jain
boys are invested with the sacred thread on the occasion of their
weddings or at twenty-one or twenty-two if they are still unmarried
at that age. The thread is renewed annually on the day before the
full moon of Bhadon (August), after a ten days' fast in honour of
Anant Nath Tirthakar. The thread is made by the Jain priests of
tree cotton and has three knots. At their funerals the Jains do not
shave the moustaches off as a rule, and they never shave the _choti_
or scalp-lock, which they wear like Hindus. They give a feast to the
caste-fellows and distribute money in charity, but do not perform the
Hindu _shraddh_ or offering of sacrificial cakes to the dead. The
Agarwal and Khandelwal Jains, however, invoke the spirits of their
ancestors at weddings. Traces of an old hostility between Jains and
Hindus survive in the Hindu saying that one should not take refuge in a
Jain temple, even to escape from a mad elephant; and in the rule that
a Jain beggar will not take alms from a Hindu unless he can perform
some service in return, though it may not equal the value of the alms.

10. Connection with Hinduism.

In other respects the Jains closely resemble the Hindus. Brahmans
are often employed at their weddings, they reverence the cow,
worship sometimes in Hindu temples, go on pilgrimages to the Hindu
sacred places, and follow the Hindu law of inheritance. The Agarwal
Bania Jains and Hindus will take food cooked with water together and
intermarry in Bundelkhand, although it is doubtful whether they do
this in the Central Provinces. In such a case each party pays a fine
to the Jain temple fund. In respect of caste distinctions the Jains
are now scarcely less strict than the Hindus. The different Jain
subcastes of Banias coming from Bundelkhand will take food together
as a rule, and those from Marwar will do the same. The Khandelwal
and Oswal Jain Banias will take food cooked with water together when
it has been cooked by an old woman past the age of child-bearing,
but not that cooked by a young woman. The spread of education has
awakened an increased interest among the Jains in their scriptures
and the tenets of their religion, and it is quite likely that the
tendency to conform to Hinduism in caste matters and ceremonies may
receive a check on this account. [278]

11. Temple and car festival.

The Jains display great zeal in the construction of temples in which
the images of the Tirthakars are enshrined. The temples are commonly of
the same fashion as those of the Hindus, with a short, roughly conical
spire tapering to a point at the apex, but they are frequently adorned
with rich carved stone and woodwork. There are fine collections of
temples at Muktagiri in Betul, Kundalpur in Damoh, and at Mount Abu,
Girnar, the hill of Parasnath in Chota Nagpur, and other places in
India. The best Jain temples are often found in very remote spots,
and it is suggested that they were built at times when the Jains
had to hide in such places to avoid Hindu persecution. And wherever
a community of Jain merchants of any size has been settled for a
generation or more several fine temples will probably be found. A
Jain Bania who has grown rich considers the building of one or more
temples to be the best method of expending his money and acquiring
religious merit, and some of them spend all their fortune in this
manner before their death. At the opening of a new temple the _rath_
or chariot festival should be held. Wooden cars are made, sometimes
as much as five stories high, and furnished with chambers for the
images of the Tirthakars. In these the idols of the hosts and all

Muhammadan Religion
[_Bibliography_: Rev. T.P. Hughes, _Notes on Muhammadanism_, and
_Dictionary of Islam_, London, W.H. Allen, 1895; _Bombay Gazetteer_,
vol. ix. Part II. _Muhammadans of Gujarat_, by Khan Bahadur Fazalullah
Lutfullah Faridi; _Qaun-i-Islam,_ G.A. Herklots, Madras, Higginbotham,
reprint 1895; _Muhammadanism and Early Developments of Muhammadanism_,
by Professor D.S. Margoliouth; _Life of Mahomet_, by Sir. W. Muir;
Mr. J.T. Marten's _Central Provinces Census Report_, 1911. This
article is mainly compiled from the excellent accounts in the _Bombay
Gazetteer_ and the _Dictionary of Islam_.]

List of Paragraphs
1. _Statistics and distribution_.
2. _Occupations_.
3. _Muhammadan castes_.
4. _The four tribal divisions_.
5. _Marriage_.
6. _Polygamy, divorce and widow-remarriage_.
7. _Devices for procuring children, and beliefs about them_.
8. _Pregnancy rites_.
9. _Childbirth and naming children_.
10. _The Ukika sacrifice_.
11. _Shaving the hair and ear-piercing_
12. _Birthdays_.
13. _Circumcision, and maturity of girls_.
14. _Funeral rites_.
15. _Muhammadan sects. Shiah and Sunni_.
16. _Leading religious observations. Prayer._
17. _The fast Ramazan._
18. _The pilgrimage to Mecca._
19. _Festivals. The Muharram_.
20. _Id-ul-Fitr._
21. _Id-ul-Zoha._
22. _Mosques._
22. _Mosques_
23. _The Friday service._
24. _Priest. Mulla and Maulvi._
25. _The Kazi._
26. _General features of Islam._
27. _The Koran._
28. _The Traditions_
29. _The schools of law._
30. _Food._
31. _Dress._
32. _Social rules. Salutations._
33. _Customs._
34. _Position of women._
35. _Interest on money._
36. _Muhammadan education._

1. Statistics and distribution.

_Muhammadan Religion._--The Muhammadans numbered nearly 600,000
persons in the Central Provinces in 1911, or about 3 per cent
of the population. Of these about two-fifths belong to Berar,
the Amraoti and Akola Districts containing more than 70,000 each;
while of the 350,000 returned from the Central Provinces proper,
about 40,000 reside in each of the Jubbulpore, Nagpur and Nimar
Districts. Berar was for a long period governed by the Muhammadan
Bahmani dynasty, and afterwards formed part of the Mughal empire,
passing to the Mughal Viceroy, the Nizam of Hyderabad, when he became
an independent ruler. Though under British administration, it is still
legally a part of Hyderabad territory, and a large proportion of the
official classes as well as many descendants of retired soldiers are
Muhammadans. Similarly Nimar was held by the Muhammadan Faruki dynasty
of Khandesh for 200 years, and was then included in the Mughal empire,
Burhanpur being the seat of a viceroy. At this period a good deal of
forcible conversion probably took place, and a considerable section
of the Bhils nominally became Muhammadans.

When the Gond Raja of Deogarh embraced Islam after his visit to Delhi,
members of this religion entered his service, and he also brought back
with him various artificers and craftsmen. The cavalry of the Bhonsla
Raja of Nagpur was largely composed of Muhammadans, and in many cases
their descendants have settled on the land. In the Chhattisgarh
Division and the Feudatory States the number of Muhammadans is
extremely small, constituting less than one per cent of the population.

2. Occupations.

No less than 37 per cent of the total number of Muhammadans live
in towns, though the general proportion of urban population in
the Provinces is only 7 1/2 per cent. The number of Muhammadans
in Government service excluding the police and army, is quite
disproportionate to their small numerical strength in the Provinces,
being 20 per cent of all persons employed. In the garrison they
actually outnumber Hindus, while in the police they form 37 per
cent of the whole force. In the medical and teaching professions
also the number of Muhammadans is comparatively large, while of
persons of independent means a proportion of 29 per cent are of this
religion. Of persons employed in domestic services nearly 14 per cent
of the total are Muhammadans, and of beggars, vagrants and prostitutes
23 per cent. Muhammadans are largely engaged in making and selling
clothes, outnumbering the Hindus in this trade; they consist of two
entirely different classes, the Muhammadan tailors who work for hire,
and the Bohra and Khoja shopkeepers who sell all kinds of cloth; but
both live in towns. Of dealers in timber and furniture 36 per cent
are Muhammadans, and they also engage in all branches of the retail
trade in provisions. The occupations of the lower-class Muhammadans
are the manufacture of glass bangles and slippers and the dyeing of
cloth. [299]

3. Muhammadan castes.

About 14 per cent of the Muhammadans returned caste names. The
principal castes are the Bohra and Khoja merchants, who are of the
Shiah sect, and the Cutchis or Memans from Gujarat, who are also
traders; these classes are foreigners in the Province, and many
of them do not bring their wives, though they have now begun to
settle here. The resident castes of Muhammadans are the Bahnas or
cotton-cleaners; Julahas, weavers; Kacheras, glass bangle-makers;
Kunjras, greengrocers; Kasais, butchers; and the Rangrez caste
of dyers who dye with safflower. As already stated, a section of
the Bhils are at least nominally Muhammadans, and the Fakirs or
Muhammadan beggars are also considered a separate caste. But no caste
of good standing such as the Rajput and Jat includes any considerable
number of Muhammadans in the Central Provinces, though in northern
India large numbers of them belong to this religion, while retaining
substantially their caste usages. The Muhammadan castes in the Central
Provinces probably consist to a large extent of the descendants of
Hindu converts. Their religious observances present a curious mixture
of Hindu and Muhammadan rites, as shown in the separate articles on
these castes. Proper Muhammadans look down on them and decline to
take food or intermarry with them.

4. The four tribal divisions.

The Muhammadans proper are usually divided into four classes, Shaikh,
Saiyad, Mughal and Pathan. Of these the Shaikhs number nearly 300,000,
the Pathans nearly 150,000, the Saiyads under 50,000, and the Pathans
about 9000 in the Central Provinces. The term Saiyad properly
means a descendant of Ali, the son-in-law, and the lady Fatimah,
the daughter of the Prophet. They use the title Saiyad or Mir [300]
before, and sometimes Shah after, their name, while women employ
that of Begum. Many Saiyads act as Pirs or spiritual guides to other
Muhammadan families. The external mark of a Saiyad is the right to
wear a green turban, but this is of course no longer legally secured
to them. The title Shaikh properly belongs only to three branches of
the Quraish tribe or that of Muhammad: the Siddikis, who claim descent
from Abu Bakr Siddik, [301] the father-in-law of the Prophet and the
second Caliph; the Farukis claiming it from Umar ul Faruk, the third
Caliph, and also the father-in-law of the Prophet; and the Abbasis,
descended from Abbas, one of the Prophet's nine uncles. The Farukis are
divided into two families, the Chistis and Faridis. Both these titles,
however, and especially Shaikh, are now arrogated by large numbers
of persons who cannot have any pretence to the above descent. Sir
D. Ibbetson quotes a proverb, 'Last year I was a butcher; this year I
am a Shaikh; next year if prices rise I shall become a Saiyad.' And Sir
H. M. Elliot relates that much amusement was caused in 1860 at Gujarat
by the Sherishtadar or principal officer of the judicial department
describing himself in an official return as Saiyad Hashimi Quraishi,
that is, of the family and lineage of the Prophet. His father, who was
living in obscurity in his native town, was discovered to be a Lohar
or blacksmith. [302] The term Shaikh means properly an elder, and
is freely taken by persons of respectable position. Shaikhs commonly
use either Shaikh or Muhammad as their first names. The Pathans were
originally the descendants of Afghan immigrants. The name is probably
the Indian form of the word Pushtun (plural Pushtanah), now given to
themselves by speakers of the Pushtu language. [303] The men add Khan
to their names and the women Khatun or Khatu. It is not at all likely
either that the bulk of the Muhammadans who returned themselves as
Pathans in the Central Provinces are really of Afghan descent. The
Mughals proper are of two classes, Irani or Persian, who belong to
the Shiah sect, and Turani, Turkish or Tartar, who are Sunnis. Mughals
use the title Mirza (short for Amirzada, son of a prince) before their
names, and add Beg after them. It is said that the Prophet addressed
a Mughal by the title of Beg after winning a victory, and since then
it has always been used. Mughal women have the designation Khanum
after their names. [304] Formerly the Saiyads and Mughals constituted
the superior class of Muhammadan gentry, and never touched a plough
themselves, like the Hindu Brahmans and Rajputs. These four divisions
are not proper subcastes as they are not endogamous. A man of one
group can marry a woman of any other and she becomes a member of her
husband's group; but the daughters of Saiyads do not usually marry
others than Saiyads. Nor is there any real distinction of occupation
between them, the men following any occupation indifferently. In fact,
the divisions are now little more than titular, a certain distinction
attaching to the titles Saiyad and Shaikh when borne by families who
have a hereditary or prescriptive right to use them.

5. Marriage.

The census returns of 1911 show that three-fourths of Muhammadan boys
now remain unmarried till the age of 20; while of girls 31 per cent are
unmarried between 15 and 20, but only 13 per cent above that age. The
age of marriage of boys may therefore be taken at 18 to 25 or later,
and that of girls at 10 to 20. The age of marriage both of girls and
boys is probably getting later, especially among the better classes.

Marriage is prohibited to the ordinary near relatives, but not between
first cousins. A man cannot marry his foster-mother or foster-sister,
unless the foster-brother and sister were nursed by the same woman
at intervals widely separated. A man may not marry his wife's sister
during his wife's lifetime unless she has been divorced. A Muhammadan
cannot marry a polytheist, but he may marry a Jewess or a Christian. No
specific religious ceremony is appointed, nor are any rites essential
for the contraction of a valid marriage. If both persons are legally
competent, and contract marriage with each other in the presence of two
male or one male and two female witnesses, it is sufficient. And the
Shiah law even dispenses with witnesses. As a rule the Kazi performs
the ceremony, and reads four chapters of the Koran with the profession
of belief, the bridegroom repeating them after him. The parties then
express their mutual consent, and the Kazi, raising his hands, says,
"The great God grant that mutual love may reign between this couple
as it existed between Adam and Eve, Abraham and Sarah, Joseph and
Zuleika, Moses and Zipporah, His Highness Muhammad and Ayesha, and
His Highness Ali and Fatimah." [305] A dowry or _meher_ must be paid
to the wife, which under the law must not be less than ten silver
_dirhams_ or drachmas; but it is customary to fix it at Rs. 17, the
dowry of Fatimah, the Prophet's favourite daughter, or at Rs. 750,
that of the Prophet's wife, Ayesha. [306] The wedding is, however,
usually accompanied by feasts and celebrations not less elaborate
or costly than those of the Hindus. Several Hindu ceremonies are
also included, such as the anointing of the bride and bridegroom
with oil and turmeric, and setting out earthen vessels, which are
meant to afford a dwelling-place for the spirits of ancestors, at
least among the lower classes. [307] Another essential rite is the
rubbing of the hands and feet of the bridegroom with _mehndi_ or red
henna. The marriage is usually arranged and a ceremony of betrothal
held at least a year before it actually takes place.

6. Polygamy, divorce and widow-remarriage.

A husband can divorce his wife at pleasure by merely repeating the
prescribed sentences. A wife can obtain divorce from her husband for
impotence, madness, leprosy or non-payment of the dowry. A woman who
is divorced can claim her dowry if it has not been paid. Polygamy is
permitted among Muhammadans to the number of four wives, but it is
very rare in the Central Provinces. Owing to the fact that members
of the immigrant trading castes leave their wives at home in Gujarat,
the number of married women returned at the census was substantially
less than that of married men. A feeling in favour of the legal
prohibition of polygamy is growing up among educated Muhammadans,
and many of them sign a contract at marriage not to take a second
wife during the lifetime of the first. There is no prohibition on
the remarriage of widows in Muhammadan law, but the Hindu rule on
the subject has had considerable influence, and some Muhammadans of
good position object to the marriage of widows in their family. The
custom of the seclusion of women also, as Mr. Marten points out,
operates as a bar to a widow finding a husband for herself.

7. Devices for procuring children, and beliefs about them.

Women who desire children resort to the shrines of saints, who are
supposed to be able to induce fertility. "Blochmann notes that the
tomb of Saint Salim-i-Chishti at Fatehpur-Sikri, in whose house
the Emperor Jahangir was born, is up to the present day visited by
childless Hindu and Musalman women. A tree in the compound of the
saint Shaih Alam of Ahmedabad yields a peculiar acorn-like fruit,
which is sought after far and wide by those desiring children; the
woman is believed to conceive from the moment of eating the fruit. If
the birth of a child follows the eating of the acorn, the man and woman
who took it from the tree should for a certain number of years come at
every anniversary of the saint and nourish the tree with a supply of
milk. In addition to this, jasmine and rose-bushes at the shrines of
certain saints are supposed to possess issue-giving properties. To
draw virtue from the saint's jasmine the woman who yearns for a
child bathes and purifies herself and goes to the shrine, and seats
herself under or near the jasmine bush with her skirt spread out. As
many flowers as fall into her lap, so many children will she have. In
some localities if after the birth of one child no other son is born,
or being born does not live, it is supposed that the first-born child
is possessed by a malignant spirit who destroys the young lives of
the new-born brothers and sisters. So at the mother's next confinement
sugar and sesame-seed are passed seven or nine times over the new-born
infant from head to foot, and the elder boy or girl is given them to
eat. The sugar represents the life of the young one given to the spirit
who possesses the first-born. A child born with teeth already visible
is believed to exercise a very malignant influence over its parents,
and to render the early death of one of them almost certain." [308]

8. Pregnancy rites.

In the seventh or ninth month of pregnancy a fertility rite is performed as among the Hindus. The woman is dressed in new clothes, and her lap is filled with fruit and vegetables by her friends. In some localities a large number of pots are obtained, and a little water is placed in each of them by a fertile married woman who has never lost a child. Prayers are repeated over the pots in the names of the male and female ancestors of the family, and especially of the women who have died in childbirth. This appears to be a propitiation of the spirits of ancestors. [309]

9. Childbirth and naming children.

A woman goes to her parents' home after the last pregnancy rite and
stays there till her confinement is over. The rites performed by the
midwife at birth resemble those of the Hindus. When the child is born
the _azan_ or summons to prayer is uttered aloud in his right ear,
and the _takbir_ or Muhammadan creed in his left. The child is named
on the sixth or seventh day. Sometimes the name of an ancestor is
given, or the initial letter is selected from the Koran at a venture
and a name beginning with that letter is chosen. Some common names
are those of the hundred titles of God combined with the prefix _abd_
or servant. Such are Abdul Aziz, servant of the all-honoured; Ghani,
the everlasting; Karim, the gracious; Rahim, the pitiful; Rahman,
the merciful; Razzak, the bread-giver; Sattar, the concealer; and
so on, with the prefix Abdul, or servant of, in each case. Similarly
Abdullah, or servant of God, was the name of Muhammad's father, and
is a very favourite one. Other names end with Baksh or 'given by,' as
Haidar Baksh, given by the lion (Ali); these are similar to the Hindu
names ending in Prasad. The prefix Ghulam, or slave of, is also used,
as Ghulam Hussain, slave of Hussain; and names of Hebrew patriarchs
mentioned in the Koran are not uncommon, as Ayub Job, Harun Aaron,
Ishaq Isaac, Musa Moses, Yakub Jacob, Yusaf Joseph, and so on. [310]

10. The Ukika sacrifice.

After childbirth the mother must not pray or fast, touch the Koran
or enter a mosque for forty days; on the expiry of this period she is
bathed and dressed in good clothes, and her relatives bring presents
for the child. Some people do not let her oil or comb her hair during
these days. The custom would seem to be a relic of the period of
impurity of women after childbirth. On the fortieth day the child
is placed in a cradle for the first time. In some localities a rite
called Ukika is performed after the birth of a child. It consists of a
sacrifice in the name of the child of two he-goats for a boy and one
for a girl. The goats must be above a year old, and without spot or
blemish. The meat must be separated from the bones so that not a bone
is broken, and the bones, skin, feet and head are afterwards buried
in the earth. When the flesh is served the following prayer is said by
the father: "O, Almighty God, I offer in the stead of my own offspring
life for life, blood for blood, head for head, bone for bone, hair
for hair, and skin for skin. In the name of God do I sacrifice this
he-goat." This is apparently a relic of the substitution of a goat for
Ishmael when Abraham was offering him as a sacrifice. The Muhammadans
say that it was Ishmael instead of Isaac who was thus offered, and they
think that Ishmael or Ismail was the ancestor of all the Arabs. [311]

11. Shaving the hair and ear-piercing.

Either on the same day as the Ukika sacrifice or soon afterwards the
child's hair is shaved for the first time. By the rich the hair is
weighed against silver and this sum is distributed to beggars. It is
then tied up in a piece of cloth and either buried or thrown into a
river, or sometimes set afloat on a little toy raft in the name of a
saint. Occasionally tufts of hair or even the whole head may be left
unshaven in the name of a saint, and after one or more years the child
is taken to the saint's tomb and the hair shaved there; or if this
cannot be done it is cut off at home in the name of the saint. [312]

When a girl is one or two years old the lobes of her ears are bored. By
degrees other holes are bored along the edge of the ear and even
in the centre, till by the time she has attained the age of two or
three years she has thirteen holes in the right ear and twelve in the
left. Little silver rings and various kinds of earrings are inserted
and worn in the holes. But the practice of boring so many holes has
now been abandoned by the better-class Muhammadans.

12. Birthdays.

The child's birthday is known as _sal-girah_ and is celebrated by a
feast. A knot is tied in a red thread and annually thereafter a fresh
knot to mark his age, and prayers are offered in the child's name to
the patriarch Noah, who is believed to have lived to five hundred or
a thousand years, and hence to have the power of conferring longevity
on the child. When a child is four years, four months and four days
old the ceremony of Bismillah or taking the name of God is held,
which is obligatory on all Muhammadans. Friends are invited, and the
child is dressed in a flowered robe (_sahra_) and repeats the first
chapters of the Koran after his or her tutor. [313]

13. Circumcision, and maturity of girls.

A boy is usually circumcised at the age of six or seven, but among
some classes of Shiahs and the Arabs the operation is performed a few
days after birth. The barber operates and the child is usually given
a little _bhang_ or other opiate. Some Muhammadans leave circumcision
till an age bordering on puberty, and then perform it with a pomp and
ceremony almost equalling those of a marriage. When a girl arrives
at the age of puberty she is secluded for seven days, and for this
period eats only butter, bread and sugar, all fish, flesh, salt and
acid food being prohibited. In the evening she is bathed, warm water
is poured on her head, and among the lower classes an entertainment
is given to friends. [314]

14. Funeral rites.

The same word _janazah_ is used for the corpse, the bier and the
funeral. When a man is at the point of death a chapter of the Koran,
telling of the happiness awaiting the true believer in the future life,
is read, and some money or sherbet is dropped into his mouth. After
death the body is carefully washed and wrapped in three or five cloths
for a male or female respectively. Some camphor or other sweet-smelling
stuff is placed on the bier. Women do not usually attend funerals, and
the friends and relatives of the deceased walk behind the bier. There
is a tradition among some Muhammadans that no one should precede the
corpse, as the angels go before. To carry a bier is considered a very
meritorious act, and four of the relations, relieving each other
in turn, bear it on their shoulders. Muhammadans carry their dead
quickly to the place of interment, for Muhammad is stated to have
said that it is good to carry the dead quickly to the grave, so as
to cause the righteous person to attain the sooner to bliss; and, on
the other hand, in the case of a bad man it is well to put wickedness
away from one's shoulders. Funerals should always be attended on foot,
for it is said that Muhammad once rebuked people who were following
a bier on horseback, saying, "Have you no shame, since God's angels
go on foot and you go upon the backs of quadrupeds?" It is a highly
meritorious act to attend a funeral whether it be that of a Muslim,
a Jew or a Christian. The funeral service is not recited in the
cemetery, this being too polluted a place for so sacred an office,
but either in a mosque or in some open space close to the dwelling of
the deceased person or to the graveyard. The nearest relative is the
proper person to recite the service, but it is usually said by the
family priest or the village Kazi. The grave sometimes has a recess
at the side, in which the body is laid to prevent the earth falling
upon it, or planks may be laid over the body slantwise or supported on
bricks for the same purpose. Coffins are only used by the rich. When
the body has been placed in the grave each person takes up a clod
of earth and pronouncing over it a verse of the Koran, 'From earth
we made you, to earth we return you and out of earth we shall raise
you on the resurrection day,' places it gently in the grave over the
corpse. [315] The building of stone or brick tombs and writing verses
of the Koran on them is prohibited by the Traditions, but large masonry
tombs are common in all Muhammadan countries and very frequently they
bear inscriptions. On the third day a feast is given in the morning
and after it trays of flowers with a vessel containing scented oil
are handed round and the guests pick flowers and dip them into the
oil. They then proceed to the grave, where the oil and flowers are
placed. Maulvis are employed to read the whole of the Koran over the
grave, which they accomplish by dividing it into sections and reading
them at the same time. Rich people sometimes have the whole Koran
read several times over in this manner. A sheet of white or red cloth
is spread over the grave, green being usually reserved for Fakirs or
saints. On the evening of the ninth day another feast is given, to
which friends and neighbours, and religious and ordinary beggars are
invited, and a portion is sent to the Fakir or mendicant in charge of
the burying-ground. Some people will not eat any food from this feast
in their houses but take it outside. [316] On the morning of the tenth
day they go again to the grave and repeat the offering of flowers and
scented oil as before. Other feasts are given on the fortieth day,
and at the expiration of four, six and nine months, and one year from
the date of the death, and the rich sometimes spend large sums on
them. None of these observances are prescribed by the Koran but have
either been retained from pre-Islamic times or adopted in imitation of
the Hindus. For forty days all furniture is removed from the rooms and
the whole family sleep on the bare ground. Sometimes a cup of water and
a wheaten cake are placed nightly for forty days on the spot where the
deceased died, and a similar provision is sent to the mosque. When a
man dies his mother and widow break their glass bangles. The mother
can get new ones, but the widow does not wear glass bangles or a
nose-ring again unless she takes a second husband. For four months
and ten days the widow is strictly secluded and does not leave the
house. Prayers for ancestors are offered annually at the Shab-i-Barat
or Bakr-Id festival. [317] The property of a deceased Muhammadan is
applicable in the first place to the payment of his funeral expenses;
secondly, to the discharge of his debts; and thirdly, to the payment
of legacies up to one-third of the residue. If the legacies exceed
this amount they are proportionately reduced. The remainder of the
property is distributed by a complicated system of shares to those of
the deceased's relatives who rank as sharers and residuaries, legacies
to any of them in excess of the amount of their shares being void. The
consequence of this law is that most Muhammadans die intestate. [318]

15. Muhammadan sects. Shiah and Sunni.

Of the two main sects of Islam, ninety-four per cent of the Muhammadans
in the Central Province were returned as being Sunnis in 1911 and three
per cent as Shiahs, while the remainder gave no sect. Only the Cutchi,
Bohra and Khoja immigrants from Gujarat are Shiahs and practically
all other Muhammadans are Sunnis. With the exception of Persia,
Oudh and part of Gujarat, the inhabitants of which are Shiahs, the
Sunni sect is generally prevalent in the Muhammadan world. The main
difference between the Sunnis and Shiahs is that the latter think
that according to the Koran the Caliphate or spiritual headship of
the Muhammadans had to descend in the Prophet's family and therefore
necessarily devolved on the Lady Fatimah, the only one of his children
who survived him, and on her husband Ali the fourth Caliph. They
therefore reject the first three Caliphs after Muhammad, that is Abu
Bakr, Omar and Othman. After Ali they also hold that the Caliphate
descended in his family to his two sons Hasan and Hussain, and the
descendants of Hussain. Consequently they reject all the subsequent
Caliphs of the Muhammadan world, as Hussain and his children did not
occupy this position. They say that there are only twelve Caliphs,
or Imams, as they now prefer to call them, and that the twelfth
has never really died and will return again as the Messiah of whom
Muhammad spoke, at the end of the world. He is known as the Mahdi, and
the well-known pretender of the Soudan, as well as others elsewhere,
have claimed to be this twelfth or unrevealed Imam. Other sects of
the Shiahs, as the Zaidiyah and Ismailia, make a difference in the
succession of the Imamate among Hussain's descendants. The central
incident of the Shiah faith is the slaughter of Hussain, the son
of Ali, with his family, on the plain of Karbala in Persia by the
sons of Yazid, the second Caliph of the Umaiyad dynasty of Damascus,
on the 10th day of the month Muharram, in the 61st year of the Hijra
or A.D. 680. The martyrdom of Hussain and his family at Karbala is
celebrated annually for the first ten days of the month of Muharram by
the Shiahs. Properly the Sunnis should take no part in this, and should
observe only the tenth day of Muharram as that on which Adam and Eve
and heaven and hell were created. But in the Central Provinces the
Sunnis participate in all the Muharram celebrations, which now have
rather the character of a festival than of a season of mourning. The
Shiahs also reject the four great schools of tradition of the Sunnis,
and have separate traditional authorities of their own. They count the
month to begin from the full moon instead of the new moon, pray three
instead of five times a day, and in praying hold their hands open by
their sides instead of folding them below the breast. The word Shiah
means a follower, and Sunni one proceeding on the _sunnah_, the path
or way, a term applied to the traditions of the Prophet. The two words
have thus almost the same signification. Except when otherwise stated,
the information in this article relates to the Sunnis.

16. Leading religious observances. Prayer.

The five standard observances of the Muhammadan religion are the
Kalima, or creed; Sula, or the five daily prayers; Roza, or the
thirty-day fast of Ramazan; Zakab, the legal alms; and Hajj, the
pilgrimage to Mecca, which should be performed once in a lifetime. The
Kalima, or creed, consists simply in the sentence, 'There is but
one God and Muhammad is His prophet,' which is frequently on the
lips of Muhammadans. The five periods for prayer are Fajr ki namaz,
in the morning before sunrise; Zohar, or the midday prayer, after the
sun has begun to decline; Asur, or the afternoon prayer, about four;
Maghrib, or the evening prayer, immediately after sunset; and Aysha,
or the evening prayer, after the night has closed in. These prayers
are repeated in Arabic, and before saying them the face, hands and
feet should be washed, and, correctly speaking, the teeth should
also be cleaned. At the times of prayer the Azan or call to prayer is
repeated from the mosque by the _muezzan_ or crier in the following
terms: "God is great, God is great, God is great, God is great! I
bear witness that there is no God but God! (twice). I bear witness
that Muhammad is the Apostle of God! (twice). Come to prayers! Come
to prayers! Come to salvation! Come to salvation! God is great! There
is no other God but God." In the early morning the following sentence
is added, 'Prayers are better than sleep.' [319]

17. The fast of Ramazan.

The third necessary observance is the fast in the month of Ramazan,
the ninth month of the Muhammadan year. The fast begins when the new
moon is seen, or if the sky is clouded, after thirty days from the
beginning of the previous month. During its continuance no food or
water must be taken between sunrise and sunset, and betel-leaf, tobacco
and conjugal intercourse must be abjured for the whole period. The
abstention from water is a very severe penance during the long days of
the hot weather when Ramazan falls at this season. Mr. Hughes thinks
that the Prophet took the thirty days' fast from the Christian Lent,
which was observed very strictly in the Eastern Church during the
nights as well as days. In ordaining the fast he said that God 'would
make it an ease and not a difficulty,' but he may not have reflected
that his own action in discarding the intercalary month adopted by the
Arabs and reverting to the simple lunar months would cause the fast
to revolve round the whole year. During the fast people eat before
sunrise and after sunset, and dinner-parties are held lasting far
into the night.

It is a divine command to give alms annually of money, cattle, grain,
fruit and merchandise. If a man has as much as eighty rupees, or forty
sheep and goats, or five camels, he should give alms at specified
rates amounting roughly to two and a half per cent of his property. In
the case of fruit and grain the rate is one-tenth of the harvest for
unirrigated, and a twentieth for irrigated crops. These alms should
be given to pilgrims who desire to go to Mecca but have not the means;
and to religious and other beggars if they are very poor, debtors who
have not the means to discharge their debts, champions of the cause
of God, travellers without food and proselytes to Islam. Religious
mendicants consider it unlawful to accept the _zakat_ or legal alms
unless they are very poor, and they may not be given to Saiyads or
descendants of the Prophet.

18. The pilgrimage to Mecca.

The Hajj or pilgrimage to Mecca is incumbent on all men and women
who have sufficient means to meet the expenses of the journey and
to maintain their families at home during their absence. Only a
very small proportion of Indian Muhammadans, however, now undertake
it. Mecca is the capital of Arabia and about seventy miles from the Red
Sea. The pilgrimage must be performed during the month Zu'l Hijjah,
so that the pilgrim may be at Mecca on the festival of Id-ul-Zoha
or the Bakr-Id. At the last stage near Mecca the pilgrims assume a
special dress, consisting of two seamless wrappers, one round the
waist and the other over the shoulders. Sandals of wood may also be
worn. Formerly the pilgrim would take with him a little compass in
which the needle in the shape of a dove pointed continually towards
Mecca in the west. On arrival at Mecca he performs the legal ablutions,
proceeds to the sacred mosque, kisses the black stone, and encompasses
the Kaaba seven times. The Kaaba or 'Cube' is a large stone building
and the black stone is let into one of its walls. He drinks the water
of the sacred well Zem-Zem from which Hagar and Ishmael obtained water
when they were dying of thirst in the wilderness, and goes through
various other rites up to the day of Id-ul-Zoha, when he performs
the sacrifice or _kurban_, offering a ram or he-goat for every member
of his family, or for every seven persons a female camel or cow. The
flesh is distributed in the same manner as that of the ordinary Bakr-Id
sacrifice. [320] He then gets himself shaved and his nails pared, which
he has not done since he assumed the pilgrim's garb, and buries the
cuttings and parings at the place of the sacrifice. The pilgrimage is
concluded after another circuit of the Kaaba, but before his departure
the pilgrim should visit the tomb of Muhammad at Medina. One who has
performed the pilgrimage to Mecca thereafter has the title of Haji.

19. Festivals. The Muharram.

The principal festivals are the Muharram and the two Ids. The month
of Muharram is the first of the year, and the first ten days, as
already stated, are devoted to mourning for the death of Hussain and
his family. This is observed indifferently by Sunnis and Shiahs in
the Central Provinces, and the proceedings with the Sunnis at any
rate have now rather the character of a festival than a time of
sorrow. Models of the tomb of Hussain, called _tazia_, are made of
bamboo and pasteboard and decorated with tinsel. Wealthy Shiahs have
expensive models, richly decorated, which are permanently kept in a
chamber of the house called the Imambara or Imam's place, but this is
scarcely ever done in the Central Provinces. As a rule the _tazias_
are taken in procession and deposited in a river on the last and
great day of the Muharram. Women who have made vows for the recovery
of their children from an illness dress them in green and send them to
beg; and men and boys of the lower classes have themselves painted as
tigers and go about mimicking a tiger for what they can get from the
spectators. It seems likely that the representations of tigers may
be in memory of the lion which is said to have kept watch over the
body of Hussain after he had been buried. In Persia a man disguised
as a tiger appears on the tomb of Hussain in the drama of his murder
at Karbala, which is enacted at the Muharram. In Hindu mythology the
lion and tiger appear to be interchangeable. During the tragedy at
Karbala, Kasim, a young nephew of Hussain, was married to his little
daughter Sakinah, Kasim being very shortly afterwards killed. It is
supposed that the cast shoe of Kasim's horse was brought to India,
and at the Muharram models of horse-shoes are made and carried fixed on
poles. Men who feel so impelled and think that they will be possessed
by the spirit of Kasim make these horse-shoes and carry them, and
frequently they believe themselves to be possessed by the spirit,
exhibiting the usual symptoms of a kind of frenzy, and women apply
to them for children or for having evil spirits cast out. [321]

20. Id-ul-Fitr.

The Id-ul-Fitr, or the breaking of the fast, is held on the first
day of the tenth month, Shawwal, on the day after the end of the
fast of Ramazan. On this day the people assemble dressed in their
best clothes and proceed to the Id-Gah, a building erected outside
the town and consisting of a platform with a wall at the western end
in the direction of Mecca. Here prayers are offered, concluding with
one for the King-Emperor, and a sermon is given, and the people then
return escorting the Kazi or other leading member of the community and
sometimes paying their respects in a body to European officers. They
return to their homes and spend the rest of the day in feasting and
merriment, a kind of vermicelli being a special dish eaten on this day.

21. Id-ul-Zoha

The Idu-l-Azha or Id-ul-Zoha, the feast of sacrifice, also called
the Bakr-Id or cow-festival, is held on the tenth day of the last
month, Zu'l Hijjah. It is the principal day of the Muhammadan year,
and pilgrims going to Mecca keep it there. [322] At this time also the
Arabs were accustomed to go to Mecca and offer animal sacrifices there
to the local deities. According to tradition, when Abraham (Ibrahim)
founded Mecca the Lord desired him to prepare a feast and to offer his
son Ishmael (Ismail). But when he had drawn the knife across his son's
throat the angel Gabriel substituted a ram and Ishmael was saved,
and the festival commemorates this. As already stated, the Arabs
believe themselves to be descended from Ishmael or Ismail. According
to a remarkable Hadis or tradition, related by Ayesha, Muhammad said:
"Man hath not done anything on the Id-ul-Zoha more pleasing to God
than spilling blood in sacrifice; for, verily, its blood reacheth
the acceptance of God before it falleth upon the ground, therefore
be joyful in it." [323] On this day, as on the other Id, the people
assemble for prayers at the Id-Gah. On returning home the head of a
family takes a sheep, cow or camel to the entrance of his house and
sacrifices it, repeating the formula, 'In the name of God, God is
great,' as he cuts its throat. The flesh is divided, two-thirds being
kept by the family and one-third given to the poor in the name of
God. This is the occasion on which Muhammadans offend Hindu feeling
by their desire to sacrifice cows, as camels are unobtainable or
too valuable, and the sacrifice of a cow has probably more religious
merit than that of a sheep or goat. But in many cases they abandon
their right to kill a cow in order to avoid stirring up enmity.

22. Mosques.

The entrance to a Muhammadan mosque consists of a stone gateway,
bearing in verse the date of its building; this leads into a paved
courtyard, which in a large mosque may be 40 or 50 yards long and
about 20 wide. The courtyard often contains a small tank or cistern
about 20 feet square, its sides lined with stone seats. Beyond this
lies the building itself, open towards the courtyard, which is on its
eastern side, and closed in on the other three sides, with a roof. The
floor is raised about a foot above the level of the courtyard. In
the back wall, which is opposite the courtyard to the west in the
direction of Mecca, is an arched niche, and close by a wooden or
masonry pulpit raised four or five feet from the ground. Against
the wall is a wooden staff, which the preacher holds in his hand
or leans upon according to ancient custom. [324] The walls are bare
of decorations, images and pictures having been strictly prohibited
by Muhammad, and no windows are necessary; but along the walls are
scrolls bearing in golden letters the name of the Prophet and the
first four Caliphs, or a chapter of the Koran, the Arabic script
being especially suitable for this kind of ornamental writing. [325]
The severe plainness of the interior of a mosque demonstrates the
strict monotheism of Islam, and is in contrast to the temples and
shrines of most other religions. The courtyard of a mosque is often
used as a place of resort, and travellers also stay in it.

23. The Friday service.

A service is held in the principal mosque on Fridays about midday, at
which public prayers are held and a sermon or _khutbak_ is preached or
recited. Friday is known as Jumah, or the day of assembly. Friday was
said by Muhammad to have been the day on which Adam was taken into
paradise and turned out of it, the day on which he repented and on
which he died. It will also be the day of Resurrection. The Prophet
considered that the Jews and Christians had erred in transferring
their Sabbath from Friday to Saturday and Sunday respectively. [326]

24. Priests, Mulla and Maulvi.

The priest in charge of a mosque is known as Mulla. Any one can be a
Mulla who can read the Koran and say the prayers, and the post is very
poorly paid. The Mulla proclaims the call to prayer five times a day,
acts as Imam or leader of the public prayers, and if there is no menial
servant keeps the mosque clean. He sometimes has a little school in the
courtyard in which he teaches children the Koran. He also sells charms,
consisting of verses of the Koran written on paper, to be tied round
the arm or hung on the neck. These have the effect of curing disease
and keeping off evil spirits or the evil eye. Sometimes there is a
mosque servant who also acts as sexton of the local cemetery. The funds
of the mosque and any endowment attached to it are in charge of some
respectable resident, who is known as Mutawalli or churchwarden. The
principal religious officer is the Maulvi, who corresponds to the
Hindu Guru or preceptor. These men are frequently intelligent and
well-educated. They are also doctors of law, as all Muhammadan law
is based on the Koran and Traditions and the deductions drawn from
them by the great commentators. The Maulvi thus acts as a teacher of
religious doctrine and also of law. He is not permanently attached
to a mosque, but travels about during the open season, visiting
his disciples in villages, teaching and preaching to them, and also
treating the sick. If he knows the whole of the Koran by heart he
has the title of Hafiz, and is much honoured, as it is thought that
a man who has earned the title of Hafiz frees twenty generations of
his ancestors and descendants from the fires of hell. Such a man is
much in request during the month of Ramazan, when the leader of the
long night prayers is expected to recite nightly one of the thirty
sections of the Koran, so as to complete them within the month. [327]

25. The Kazi.

The Kazi was under Muhammadan rule the civil and criminal judge,
having jurisdiction over a definite local area, and he also acted as
a registrar of deeds. Now he only leads the public prayers at the Id
festivals and keeps registers of marriages and divorces. He does not
usually attend marriages himself unless he receives a special fee, but
pays a deputy or _naib_ to do so. [328] The Kazi is still, however,
as a rule the leading member of the local Muhammadan community,
the office being sometimes elective and sometimes hereditary.

26. General features of Islam.

In proclaiming one unseen God as the sole supernatural being, Muhammad
adopted the religion of the Jews of Arabia, with whose sacred books
he was clearly familiar. He looked on the Jewish prophets as his
predecessors, he himself being the last and greatest. The Koran says,
"We believe in God, and that which hath been sent down to us, and that
which was sent down unto Abraham, and Ishmael and Isaac, and Jacob,
and the tribes, and that which was delivered unto Moses, and Jesus and
the prophets from the Lord, and we make no distinction between any
of them." Thus Muhammad accepted the bulk of the Old but not of the
New Testament, which the Jews also do not receive. His deity was the
Jewish Jehovah of the Old Testament, though called Allah after the name
of a god worshipped at Mecca. The six prophets who brought new laws
were Adam, the chosen of God; Noah, the preacher of God; Abraham, the
friend of God; Moses, one who conversed with God; Jesus, the Spirit
of God; and Muhammad, the Messenger of God. His seven heavens and
his prophecy of a Messiah and Day of Judgment were Jewish beliefs,
though it is supposed that he took the idea of the Sirat or narrow
bridge over the midst of hell, sharper than the edge of a sword,
over which all must pass, while the wicked fall from it into hell,
from Zoroastrianism. Muhammad recognised a devil, known as Iblis,
while the Jinns or Genii of pagan Arabia became bad angels. The great
difference between Islam and Judaism arose from Muhammad's position
in being obliged continually to fight for his own existence and
the preservation of his sect This circumstance coloured the later
parts of the Koran and gave Islam the character of a religious and
political crusade, a kind of faith eminently fitted to the Arab nature
and training. And to this character may be assigned its extraordinary
success, but, at the same time, probably the religion itself might have
been of a somewhat purer and higher tenor if its birth and infancy
had not had place in a constant state of war. Muhammad accomplished
most beneficent reforms in abolishing polytheism and such abuses as
female infanticide, and at least regulating polygamy. In forbidding
both gambling and the use of alcohol he set a very high standard to his
disciples, which if adhered to would remove two of the main sources of
vice. His religion retained fewer relics of the pre-existing animism
and spirit-worship than almost any other, though in practice uneducated
Indian Muhammadans, at least, preserve them in a large measure. And
owing to the fact that the Muhammadan months revolve round the year,
its festivals have been dissociated from the old pagan observances of
the changes of the sun and seasons and the growth of vegetation. At the
same time the religious sanction given to polygamy and slavery, and the
sensual nature of the heaven promised to true believers after death,
must be condemned as debasing features; and the divine authority and
completeness ascribed to the Koran and the utterances of the Prophet,
which were beyond criticism or question, as well as the hostility
towards all other forms of religion and philosophy, have necessarily
had a very narrowing influence on Muhammadan thought. While the formal
and lifeless precision of the religious services and prayers, as well
as the belief in divine interference in the concerns of everyday life,
have produced a strong spirit of fatalism and resignation to events.

27. The Koran.

The word Kuran is derived from _kuraa_, to recite or proclaim. The
Muhammadans look upon the Koran as the direct word of God sent down
by Him to the seventh or lowest heaven, and then revealed from time to
time to the Prophet by the angel Gabriel. A few chapters are supposed
to have been delivered entire, but the greater part of the book was
given piecemeal during a period of twenty-three years. The Koran
is written in Arabic prose, but its sentences generally conclude
in a long-continued rhyme. The language is considered to be of the
utmost elegance and purity, and it has become the standard of the
Arabic tongue. Muhammadans pay it the greatest reverence, and their
most solemn oath is taken with the Koran placed on the head. Formerly
the sacred book could only be touched by a Saiyad or a Mulla, and an
assembly always rose when it was brought to them. The book is kept on a
high shelf in the house, so as to avoid any risk of contamination, and
nothing is placed over it. Every chapter in the Koran except one begins
with the invocation, '_Bismillah-nirrahman-nirrahim_,' or 'In the name
of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful'; and nearly all Muhammadan
prayers and religious writings also begin with this. As the Koran is
the direct word of God, any statement in it has the unquestioned and
complete force of law. On some points, however, separate utterances
in the work itself are contradictory, and the necessity then arises of
determining which is the later and more authoritative statement. [329]

28. The Traditions.

Next to the Koran in point of authority come the Traditions of
the sayings and actions of the Prophet, which are known as Hadis or
Sunnah. These were eagerly collected as the jurisdiction of Islam was
extended, and numerous cases arose for decision in which no ruling
was provided by the Koran. For some time it was held necessary that a
tradition should be oral and not have been reduced to writing. When
the necessity of collecting and searching for the Traditions became
paramount, indefatigable research was displayed in the work. The most
trustworthy collection of traditions was compiled by Abu Abdullah
Muhammad, a native of Bokhara, who died in the Hijra year 256, or
nearly 250 years after Muhammad. He succeeded in amassing no fewer than
600,000 traditions, of which he selected only 7275 as trustworthy. The
authentic traditions of what the Prophet said and did were considered
practically as binding as the Koran, and any case might be decided by
a tradition bearing on it. The development of Moslem jurisdiction was
thus based not on the elucidation and exposition of broad principles
of law and equity, but on the record of the words and actions of
one man who had lived in a substantially less civilised society than
that existing in the countries to which Muhammadan law now came to be
applied. Such a state of things inevitably exercised a cramping effect
on the Moslem lawyers and acted as a bar to improvement. Thus, because
the Koran charged the Jews and Christians with having corrupted the
text of their sacred books, it was laid down that no Jew or Christian
could be accepted as a credible witness in a Moslem lawsuit; and since
the Prophet had forbidden the keeping of dogs except for certain
necessary purposes, it was ruled by one school that there was no
property in dogs, and that if a man killed a dog its owner had no
right to compensation. [330]

29. The schools of law.

After the Koran and Traditions the decisions of certain lawyers during
the early period of Islam were accepted as authoritative. Of them
four schools are recognised by the Sunnis in different countries,
those of the Imams Abu Hanifa, Shafei, Malik, and Hambal. In northern
India the school of Abu Hanifa is followed. He was born at Kufa,
the capital of Irak, in the Hijra year 80, when four of the Prophet's
Companions were still alive. He is the great oracle of jurisprudence,
and with his two pupils was the founder of the Hanifi code of law. In
southern India the Shafei school is followed. [331] The Shiahs have
separate collections of traditions and schools of law, and they say
that a Mujtahid or doctor of the law can still give decisions of
binding authority, which the Sunnis deny. Except as regards marriage,
divorce and inheritance and other personal matters, Muhammadan law
is of course now superseded by the general law of India.

30. Food.

An animal only becomes lawful food for Muhammadans if it is killed by
cutting the throat and repeating at the time the words, '_Bismillah
Allaho Akbar_,' or 'In the name of God, God is great.' But in shooting
wild animals, if the invocation is repeated at the time of discharging
the arrow or firing the gun, the carcase becomes lawful food. This
last rule of Sunni law is, however, not known to, or not observed by,
many Muhammadans in the Central Provinces, who do not eat an animal
unless its throat is cut before death. Fish and locusts may be eaten
without being killed in this manner. The animal so killed by Zabh
is lawful food when slain by a Moslem, Jew or Christian, but not if
slaughtered by an idolater or an apostate from Islam. Cloven-footed
animals, birds that pick up food with their bills, and fish with
scales are lawful, but not birds or beasts of prey. It is doubtful
whether the horse is lawful. Elephants, mules, asses, alligators,
turtles, crabs, snakes and frogs are unlawful, and swine's flesh
is especially prohibited. Muhammadans eat freely of mutton and fish
when they can afford it, but some of them abstain from chickens in
imitation of the Hindus. Their favourite drink is sherbet, or sugar
and water with cream or the juice of some fruit. Wine is forbidden in
the Koran, and the prohibition is held to include intoxicating drugs,
but this latter rule is by no means observed. According to his religion
a Muhammadan need have no objection to eat with a Christian if the
food eaten is of a lawful kind; but he should not eat with Hindus,
as they are idolaters. In practice, however, many Muhammadans have
adopted the Hindu rule against eating food touched by Christians,
while owing to long association together they will partake of it when
cooked by Hindus. [332]

31. Dress.

The most distinctive feature of Muhammadan dress is that the men
always wear trousers or pyjamas of cotton, silk or chintz cloth,
usually white. They may be either tight or loose below the knee, and
are secured by a string round the waist. A Muhammadan never wears the
Hindu _dhoti_ or loin-cloth. He has a white, sleeved muslin shirt,
made much like an English soft-fronted shirt, but usually without a
collar, the ends of which hang down outside the trousers. Over these
the well-to-do have a waistcoat of velvet, brocade or broadcloth. On
going out he puts on a long coat, tight over the chest, and with
rather full skirts hanging below the knee, of cotton cloth or muslin,
or sometimes broadcloth or velvet. In the house he wears a small cap,
and on going out puts on a turban or loose headcloth. But the fashion
of wearing the small red fez with a tassel is now increasing among
educated Muhammadans, and this serves as a distinctive mark in their
dress, which trousers no longer do, as the Hindus have also adopted
them. The removal of the shoes either on entering a house or mosque
is not prescribed by Muhammadan law, though it has become customary in
imitation of the Hindus. The Prophet in fact said, 'Act the reverse of
the Jews in your prayers, for they do not pray in boots or shoes.' But
he himself sometimes took his shoes off to pray and sometimes not. The
following are some of the sayings of the Prophet with regard to dress:
'Whoever wears a silk garment in this world shall not wear it in the
next.' 'God will not have compassion on him who wears long trousers
(below the ankle) from pride.' 'It is lawful for the women of my
people to wear silks and gold ornaments, but it is unlawful for the
men.' 'Wear white clothes, because they are the cleanest and the most
agreeable, and bury your dead in white clothes.' Men are prohibited
from wearing gold ornaments and also silver ones other than a signet
ring. A silver ring, of value sufficient to produce a day's food in
case of need, should always be worn. The rule against ornaments has
been generally disregarded, and gold and silver ornaments have been
regularly worn by men, but the fashion of wearing ornaments is now
going out, both among Muhammadan and Hindu men. A rich Muhammadan woman
has a long shirt of muslin or net in different colours, embroidered
on the neck and shoulders with gold lace, and draping down to the
ankles. Under it she wears silk pyjamas, and over it an _angia_
or breast-cloth of silk, brocade or cloth of gold, bordered with
gold and silver lace. On the head she has a shawl or square kerchief
bordered with lace. A poor woman has simply a bodice and pyjamas,
with a cloth round the waist to cover their ends. Women as a rule
always wear shoes, even though they do not go out, and they have a
profusion of ornaments of much the same character as Hindu women. [333]

32. Social rules. Salutations.

There are certain social obligations known as Farz or imperative, but
if one person in eight or ten perform them it is as if all had done
so. These are, to return a salutation; to visit the sick and inquire
after their welfare; to follow a bier on foot to the grave; to accept
an invitation; and that when a person sneezes and says immediately,
'_Alhamd ul lillah_' or 'God be praised,' one of the party must reply,
'_Yar hamak Allah_' or 'God have mercy on you.' The Muhammadan form
of salutation is '_Salam u alaikum_' or 'The peace of God be with
you,' and the reply is '_Wo alaikum as salam_' or 'And on you also
be peace.' [334] From this form has come the common Anglo-Indian use
of the word _Salaam_.

When invitations are to be sent for any important function, such as
a wedding, some woman who does not observe _parda_ is employed to
carry them. She is dressed in good clothes and provided with a tray
containing betel-leaf _biras_ or packets, cardamoms wrapped in red
paper, sandalwood and sugar. She approaches any lady invited with
great respect, and says: "So-and-so sends her best compliments to
you and embraces you, and says that 'as to-morrow there is a little
gaiety about to take place in my house, and I wish all my female
friends by their presence to grace and ornament with their feet the
home of this poor individual, and thereby make it a garden of roses,
you must also positively come, and by remaining a couple of hours
honour my humble dwelling with your company.'" If the invitation is
accepted the woman carrying it applies a little sandalwood to the neck,
breast and back of the guest, puts sugar and cardamoms into her mouth,
and gives her a betel-leaf. If it is declined, only sandalwood is
applied and a betel-leaf given. [335]

Next day _dhoolies_ or litters are sent for the guests, or if the
hostess is poor she sends women to escort them to the house before
daybreak. The guests are expected to bring presents. If any ceremony
connected with a child is to be performed they give it clothes
or sweets, and similar articles of higher value to the bride and
bridegroom in the case of a wedding.

33. Customs.

Certain customs known as Fitrah are supposed to have existed among the
Arabs before the time of the Prophet, and to have been confirmed by
him. These are: To keep the moustache clipped short so that food or
drink cannot touch them when entering the mouth; not to cut or shave
the beard; to clean the teeth with a _mismak_ or wooden toothbrush;
this should really be done at all prayers, but presumably once or
twice a day are held sufficient; to clean the nostrils and mouth with
water at the time of the usual ablutions; to cut the nail
<b>Sikh Religion</b>

List of Paragraphs
1. _Foundation of Sikhism--Baba Nanak._
2. _The earlier Gurus_.
3. _Guru Govind Singh_.
4. _Sikh initiation and rules_.
5. _Character of the Nanakpanthis and Sikh sects._
6. _The Akalis._
7. _The Sikh Council or Guru-Mata. Their communal meal._

1. Foundation of Sikhism--Baba Nanak.

_Sikh, Akali_.--The Sikh religion and the history of the Sikhs have
been fully described by several writers, and all that is intended in
this article is a brief outline of the main tenets of the sect for the
benefit of those to whom the more important works of reference may not
be available. The Central Provinces contained only 2337 Sikhs in 1911,
of whom the majority were soldiers and the remainder probably timber
or other merchants or members of the subordinate engineering service
in which Punjabis are largely employed. The following account is taken
from Sir Denzil Ibbetson's _Census Report of the Punjab_ for 1881:

"Sikhism was founded by Baba Nanak, a Khatri of the Punjab, who lived
in the fifteenth century. But Nanak was not more than a religious
reformer like Kabir, Ramanand, and the other Vaishnava apostles. He
preached the unity of God, the abolition of idols, and the disregard
of caste distinctions. [390] His doctrine and life were eminently
gentle and unaggressive. He was succeeded by nine _gurus_, the last
and most famous of whom, Govind Singh, died in 1708.

"The names of the _gurus_ were as follows:

1. Baba Nanak 1469-1538-9
2. Angad 1539-1552
3. Amar Das 1552-1574
4. Ram Das 1574-1581
5. Arjun 1581-1606
6. Har Govind 1606-1645
7. Har Rai 1645-1661
8. Har Kishen 1661-1664
9. Teg Bahadur 1664-1675
10. Govind Singh 1675-1708

Wahhabi Sect

_Wahhabi Sect._ [407]--A puritan sect of Muhammadans. The sect was not
recorded at the census, but it is probable that it has a few adherents
in the Central Provinces. The Wahhabi sect is named after its founder,
Muhammad Abdul Wahhab, who was born in Arabia in A.D. 1691. He set
his face against all developments of Islam not warranted by the Koran
and the traditional utterances of the Companions of the Prophet, and
against the belief in omens and worship at the shrines of saints,
and condemned as well all display of wealth and luxury and the
use of intoxicating drugs and tobacco. He denied any authority to
Islamic doctrines other than the Koran itself and the utterances of
the Companions of the Prophet who had received instruction from his
lips, and held that in the interpretation and application of them
Moslems must exercise the right of private judgment. The sect met
with considerable military success in Arabia and Persia, and at one
time threatened to spread over the Islamic world. The following is an
account of the taking of Mecca by Saud, the grandson of the founder,
in 1803: "The sanctity of the place subdued the barbarous spirit
of the conquerors, and not the slightest excesses were committed
against the people. The stern principles of the reformed doctrines
were, however, strictly enforced. Piles of green huqqas and Persian
pipes were collected, rosaries and amulets were forcibly taken from
the devotees, silk and satin dresses were demanded from the wealthy
and worldly, and the whole, piled up into a heterogeneous mass,
were burnt by the infuriated reformers. So strong was the feeling
against the pipes and so necessary did a public example seem to be,
that a respectable lady, whose delinquency had well-nigh escaped
the vigilant eye of the Muhtasib, was seized and placed on an ass,
with a green pipe suspended from her neck, and paraded through the
public streets--a terrible warning to all of her sex who might be
inclined to indulge in forbidden luxuries. When the usual hour of
prayer arrived the myrmidons of the law sallied forth, and with
leathern whips drove all slothful Moslems to their devotions. The
mosques were filled. Never since the days of the Prophet had the
sacred city witnessed so much piety and devotion. Not one pipe, not
a single tobacco-stopper, was to be seen in the streets or found in
the houses, and the whole population of Mecca prostrated themselves
at least five times a day in solemn adoration."

The apprehensions of the Sultan of Turkey were aroused and an army
was despatched against the Wahhabis, which broke their political
power, their leader, Saud's son, being executed in Constantinople in
1818. But the tenets of the sect continued to be maintained in Arabia,
and in 1822 one Saiyad Ahmad, a freebooter and bandit from Rai Bareli,
was converted to it on a pilgrimage to Mecca and returned to preach
its doctrines in India. Being a Saiyad and thus a descendant of the
Prophet, he was accepted by the Muhammadans of India as the true
Khalifa or Mahdi, awaited by the Shiahs. Unheeded by the British
Government, he traversed our provinces with a numerous retinue of
devoted disciples and converted the populace to his reformed doctrine
by thousands, Patna becoming a centre of the sect. In 1826 he declared
a _jihad_ or religious war against the Sikhs, but after a four years'
struggle was defeated and killed. The sect gave some trouble in the
Mutiny, but has not since taken any part in politics. Its reformed
doctrines, however, have obtained a considerable vogue, and still
exercise a powerful influence on Muhammadan thought. The Wahhabis deny
the authority of Islamic tradition after the deaths of the Companions
of the Prophet, do not illuminate or pay reverence to the shrines of
departed saints, do not celebrate the birthday of Muhammad, count
the ninety-nine names of God on their fingers and not on a rosary,
and do not smoke.

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