The Hindu community is divided into numerous socially-differentiated groups, better known as castes. In keeping with the change in Government policy, the census enumeration has ceased to take cognisance of these groups since 1941. However the customs, practices and traditions of the various communities or castes are sociologically so important that a publication such as Gazetteer should give a vivid account of the various communities which is of immense interest to a student of sociology, a scholar as also a general reader. It is with this important consideration that the account from the former edition of the Sholapur Gazetteer has been reproduced below with necessary changes and abridgement. The lengthy description of the mode of dress, pattern of food, betrothal, marriage customs, child birth rites, various rituals and after-death rites and obsequies, as given in the former edition, is required to be abridged as many of those observances are either not in vogue, or are on the decline even among those castes which used to practise them in the past.
The influence of education and impact of modern concepts about social hierarchy, individual freedom and the place of religion in life have generated a spirit of questioning the old practices and beliefs. In the present-day society there appears a general apathy towards the past ways of life and many of the beliefs and customs appear to be insipid, superfluous and ridiculous. The pace of change has been further accelerated by growing urbanisation and industrialisation. The impact of economic forces has been so deep that they have shaken many of the convictions about communal as also religious life of the people. The impact of the evolutionary process is felt even among the backward class tribes which were formerly in a stagnant stage. It is therefore necessary to give a narration in a changed perspective though it has to be viewed in the context of tradition and heritage which sway human dealings for long.
Brahmans: Brahmans include thirteen classes, viz., Deshasthas. Devrukhas, Golaks, Gujaratis, Kanaujs, Karhadas, Konkanasths, Marwadis, Ramanujs, Shenvis, Telangs, Tirguls and Vidurs. Each of the class is described below:-
Deshasthas: Deshasthas or local Brahmans are found over the whole district. They are old settlers in the district and have no tradition or memory of any earlier home. They are divided into Ashvalayans, Kanvas, and Yajusshakhis or Madhyandins, who eat together but do not inter-marry. Among the members of the same section intermarriage can-not take place if the family-stocks or gotras are the same. Their surnames are Aradhye, Dandavate, Deshpande, Gatade, Gore,
Guljar, Kale, Kande, Konkne, Tathe and Thite. Persons bearing the same surname cannot inter-marry unless the surname is only an office or calling name. Thus a Deshpande of one village can give his daughter in marriage to a Deshpande of another village provided their family-stocks are different. The names in common use among men are Anant, Bandoba, Bhagvant, Bindo, Gindo, Krishnacharya, Malhar, Narhari, Shamraj, Timaji, Venimadhav and Yamaji; and among women, Gita, Koyna, Krishna, Lakshmi, Radha, Rahi, Sarasvati and Satyabhama. They are generally dark with regular features, but are rougher, hardier, and less acute than Konkanasth Brahmans. The women, like the men, are dark and rough, and not so good-looking as the Konkanasth women. Deshasth Brahmans live in houses of the better sort one or more storeys high with walls of mud and stone and flat roofs. Their house goods include copper and brass and stainless steel pots and pans, plates, ladles, and cups, also cots, bedding, and quilts. They generally have no servants, the women of the house doing all the work. They are a thrifty and careful people, are vegetarians, whose staple food is millet bread, rice, pulse and vegetables. They are extremely fond of spices and chillis. Their chief holiday dishes are gram cakes or puranpolis and sugared and spiced milk. Snuff-taking and tobacco-chewing is common and betel-eating is universal. The men used to wear the top-knot and the moustache, but neither the beard nor the whiskers in the past. They dress in a waist-cloth, a waist-coat or a coat, a head-scarf or turban, a shoulder-cloth, and shoes or sandals. Except in public, the shoulder-cloth takes the place of the coat and waist-coat. The women dress in the backed bodice and the full Maratha robe with the skirt drawn back between the feet and tucked in at the waist behind. They mark their brows with a large red circle and braid the hair into a coil like a scorpion's tail. They have rich clothes in store many of which have been handed down two or three generations. As a class they are indolent, and untidy, but thrifty and hospitable, and franker and less cunning than Konkanasthas. Their slovenliness and dullness had given them the name of dhamyas or dhamgands, that is, stay-at-homes in the past. They are writers, bankers, money-lenders and changers, traders, medical practitioners, land-holders, priests and religious beggars. They claim to be superior to all Brahmans, professing to look down on the Konkanasths as Parashuram's creation. They associate freely with Konkanasths and Karhadas, and eat with them; but except in a few cases do not marry with them. Some are Smarts or followers of the doctrine that the soul and the universe are the same, and others are Bhagvats who hold that the soul and universe are distinct. The members of both sects worship all Brahmanic gods and goddesses, and
keep the ordinary fasts and festivals. Their priests belong to their own caste. They make pilgrimages to Alandi, Allahabad, Banaras, Gaya, Jejuri, Mathura, Nasik, Pandharpur, Rameshvar and Tuljapur. Like many other conservative Hindus in the past they believed in sorcery, witchcraft, sooth-saying, omens, and lucky and unlucky days, and consult oracles. They always have their horoscopes cast and when anything goes wrong they either consult their horoscopes or go to an astrologer. They have house gods and goddesses, goddesses being more frequently worshipped. Some of the goddesses Karamma, Saha-devi, Shakambari, and Yallamma, seem to point to a Dravidian, that is, an eastern or a southern origin. In social matters they belong to the great local community of Brahmans which includes the members of the Chitpavan, Deshasth, Devrukha and Karhada castes. Now they are an enlightened and educated class.
Devrukhas: Devrukha Brahmans are immigrants from Devrukh in Ratnagiri. They have no sub-divisions and their family-stocks or gotras are Atri, Jamadagnya and Kashyap. Their surnames are Joshi, Mule and Padval. Sameness of stock, not sameness of surname, bars marriage. In house, dress, food and customs they do not differ from Deshasthas. They are either Smarts or Bhagvats, keep all Brahmanic fasts and festivals, and go on pilgrimage to Banaras, Jejuri, Nasik and Pandharpur. They believe in sorcery and witchcraft, and consult oracles. They form part of the great Brahman community, and settle social disputes at meetings of local Deshasths, Chitpavans, Karhadas and Devrukhas.
Golaks: Golaks are found in Barshi and in Pandharpur. They say they are Govardhan Brahmans, and that they are considered degraded because their ancestors, instead of rearing cows, sold them and lived on the proceeds. They say they came to Sholapur from Parali Vaijnath in the thirties of the 19th century in search of work. The names of their family-stocks or gotras are Bharadvaj, Bhargav, Kashyap, Kaushik, Sankhyayan, Vasishtha and Vatsa; and their surnames are Alate, Avte, Kakde, Kolsune, Mandvale, Nachne, Pachpore, Polade, Rishi and Supnekar. Persons bearing the same stock-name and the same surname cannot inter-marry. They look like Deshasthas, and differ little from Deshasthas in speech, food or dress. They are hardworking, even-tempered and hospitable. They are writers, moneychangers, cloth merchants, messengers, Government servants and husbandmen. They claim to be equal to Deshastha Brahmans, but Deshasthas consider them inferior and neither eat nor drink with them. They worship the usual Brahman and local gods and goddesses, especially Bahiroba, Khandoba, and the Bhavanis of Aundh, Kolhapur and Tuljapur. They keep all Hindu fasts and feasts and call
Deshastha Brahmans to officiate at their houses. They go on pilgrimage to Alandi, Allahabad, Banaras, Jejuri, Oudh, Pandharpur and Tuljapur. They believe in sorcery, witchcraft, sooth-saying, omens, and lucky and unlucky days and consult oracles. The Golaks had some peculiar rituals at the child-birth in the past, most of which have now been discarded.
Gujarat Brahmans: Gujarat Brahmans are found over the whole district except in Malshiras. They come in search of work either as cooks or priests, stay for a few years, and go back to their native country. They are divided into Audiches, Nagars and Shrimalis, who neither eat together nor inter-marry. The names of their family-stocks are Bharadvaj, Kapil and Vasishth, and persons belonging to the same family-stock cannot inter-marry. Their surnames are Achare, Bhat, Pandya, Raul, Thakur and Vyas, and families bearing the same surname can inter-marry provided the family-stock or gotra is different both on the father's and on the mother's sides. The names in common use among men are Aditram, Atmaram, Shankar, Shivshankar, Umya-shankar, Vallabhram and Vithal, and among women Gulab, Jadhav, Moti, Narbada, Reva and Rukhmini. They are generally fair with regular features, and neither very strong nor tall. The women are fairer than the men with delicate features, oval face, and small hands and feet. Their home-tongue is Gujarati, but out-of-doors they speak Marathi mixed with Gujarati. These Gujarat Brahmans are extremely careful and frugal; they are sober, thrifty, and orderly. They are religious beggars, astrologers, family priests, and cooks. They are well paid by their Vani patrons, and are free from debt, and generally carry back considerable sums to their native country. They are a religious people. Their family-deities are Ambabai and Balaji, and they worship all Brahman gods and goddesses and keep all fasts and festivals. Their priests belong to their own caste and they go on pilgrimage to Banaras, Nasik, Pandharpur and Tuljapur. They believe in sorcery, witchcraft, sooth-saying, omens, and lucky and unlucky days, and consult oracles. They are bound together by a strong caste feeling. Now-a-days they are a prosperous class, but not keen about scholastic pursuits.
Kanaujs: Kanauj Brahmans are found over the whole district except in Malshiras. They are an offset from the Kanya-Kubjas of north India, and are said to have come into the district as soldiers in Aurangzeb's army (1658-1707). They are divided into Kanaujs, Sanadhyas, and Sarvariyas, who eat together but do not inter-marry. The names of their family-stocks or gotras are Bharadvaj, Gargya, Kashyapa, Lohita and Maithuna; and persons bearing the same family-name cannot inter-marry. Their surnames are Adrun, Avarti,
Chobe, Dube, Pande, Sukul and Trivedi. The names in common use among men are Beniram, Girdharlal, Kanyalal, Mohanlal, Prasad and Ramchandra; and among women Balubai, Chhotibai and Jamnabai. They are fair with regular features, tall, strong, and athletic. In dress and appearance the rich and well-to-do resemble Konkanasth Brahmans, and the poorer classes have a martial Rajput-like air. Since their settlement in the district the women, who are very fair and delicate-looking with small hands and feet, have taken to wear the Maratha women's dress. Their home-tongue is Hindustani, but out-of-doors they speak Marathi and Kanarese. They are thrifty, hardworking, even-tempered and hospitable. They are money-lenders and changers, writers, and soldiers formerly in British regiments. Though their calling is neither steady nor flourishing, their thriftiness keeps them from debt. Some of the poorer may be indebted but as a class they have credit enough. They are religious people and worship all Brahmanic gods and goddesses. Their family-deities are Bhavani of Calcutta, Mahadev of Banaras, and Betrajmata of upper India. Their priests belong to their own caste. They keep the regular Brahmanic fasts and feasts and go on pilgrimage to Dwarka, Jejuri, Kashi or Banaras, Mathura, Pandharpur, Prayag or Allahabad, Rameshvar, and Tuljapur. They believe in sorcery, witchcraft, sooth-saying, omens and lucky and unlucky days, and consult oracles. Their customs do not differ from those of the Poona Kanaujs. Formerly they had a caste council which settled social disputes at meetings of the castemen. Offences were punished by fines which, when recovered, were spent on sweetmeats.
Karhada Brahmans: Karhada Brahmans are found over the whole district. Their original settlement is Karhad (Karad), the sacred meeting of the Krishna and Koyna, in Satara. They believe they came into the district from the Konkan, Kolhapur and Satara during the last hundred years in search of work. They have no sub-divisions, and the names of some of their family-stocks are Atri, Bharadvaj, Gautam, Jamadagnya, Kashyap, Kaushik and Lohitaksh. Persons belonging to the same family-stock or gotra cannot inter-marry. Their surnames are Agle, Amonkar, Athlekar, Buge, Chunekar, Devuskar, Gadre, Kelkar, Kirane and Kole. Sameness of surname is no bar to marriage. The names in common use both among men and among women are the same as those among Chitpavans. Their home Marathi differs little from the ordinary Sholapur Marathi, but it is more like the Chitpavans' dialect than any other. In their house, dress and food they do not differ from Chitpavans. They are the best cooks of all Deccan or Konkan Brahmans. They are thrifty, clean and neat in their habits, hospitable and orderly. Most of them serve in the revenue,
police, and judicial departments of Government service. Some are land-holders letting their fields to husbandmen on the crop-share system. Karhadas claim and hold an equal rank with Deccan Brahmans with whom they eat. Their customs from birth to death are the same as Konkanasth customs. They worship all Brahman gods and goddesses and more often worship goddesses than gods. The family-goddess of almost all is the Kolhapur Bhavani though some have the Tuljapur Bhavani. Their priests belong to their own class. They keep all Brahmanic fasts and festivals and go on pilgrimage to Banaras, Kolhapur, Nasik, Pandharpur and Tuljapur. They believe in spirit possession and lucky and unlucky days, and consult oracles. They hold caste councils, send their boys to school, are free from debt, and live in fair comfort.
Konkanasths: Konkanasth Brahmans are found over the whole district. They are said to have come into the district during the time of the Peshwas (1714-1818). They are divided into Apasthamba or the followers of the Yajurved, and Ashvalayans or the followers of the Rigved. The members of both these branches eat together and inter-marry. Their personal names, stock-names and surnames are the same as those of Poona Konkanasths. Both men and women are fair, many of them with grey eyes. They have an air of intelligence and superiority, and are always awake to their own interests. The women are delicate with small hands and feet and are the fairest Hindus in the district, though those who have been long in the district are somewhat darker and rougher than Ratnagiri Konkanasths. Their home Marathi differs from the Deshasth Brahman Marathi in being more nasal and in the use of some peculiar phrases. Their staple food includes rice, pulse, wheat, millet, curds and pickles. They are good cooks, though compared with those of the Deshasths or Karhadas their dishes are somewhat insipid. They are very fond of curds and buttermilk, cocoanuts, and kokamb, and live almost entirely on rice. Like other Brahmans they are fond of clarified butter eating it chiefly with bajri bread. Their intelligence, pride, cunning, and love of intrigue have combined to raise the Konkanasths to the first place among Deccan Brahmans. They are hard-working, sober and wideawake to their own interests. They are thrifty and proverbially stingy. Konkanasths are landed proprietors, money-lenders, cloth and grain dealers, and Government servants. They are fond of parading their religiousness. They are either Smarts or Bhagvats and worship all Brahmanic gods and goddesses. They keep the usual fasts and festivals and their priests belong to their own caste. They make pilgrimages to Banaras, Kolhapur and Tuljapur, and believe in sorcery and witchcraft, and in the supernatural powers of magicians.
They have a full belief in astrology. They are very keen on educating their children, and are one of the most enlightened of Indian castes.
Marwadis: Marwad Brahmans are found over the whole district except in Madha, Pandharpur and Sangola. They say they have come into the district from Marwad in the middle of the last century. They are divided into Adigauds, Audichs, Dayamas, Gauds, Gujar Gauds, Parikhs, Purohits, Sanavadis, Sarasvats, Shri-Gauds and Shrimalis. The names of some of their family-stocks or gotras are Bharadvaj, Bhargav, Gautam, Kashyap, Sandsan and Shandilya, and persons belonging to the same family-stock or gotra do not inter-marry. The surnames are Joshi, Mishar, Ojha, Pande, Pandit, Tivari, Upadhya and Vyas; and persons bearing the same surname cannot inter-marry. The names in common use among men are Bansilal, Bholaram, Girdharlal, Rupchand and Shivlal, and among women Champa, Chhoti, Kasturi, Keshar, Rangu, Saku and Thaki. They are fair, tall and stout, the women fairer than the men. The men have notably hard greedy lines at the corners of their mouths and sharp twinkling eyes. Among themselves they speak Marwadi, a mixture of Gujarati and Brijbhasha.
They are hard-working, sober, and almost miserly in their thriftiness. They are writers, petty bankers, money-changers, cooks and beggars. They believe in astrology, but profess to have no faith in witchcraft, sorcery or oracles. Child marriage and polygamy were allowed but widow marriage was forbidden by them in the past. They are bound together by a strong caste-feeling.
Ramanujas: Ramanuja Brahmans are found only in Pandharpur. Ramanujas or followers of Ramanuja, the twelfth-century reformer of Vaishnavism, belong to all high and middle class Hindus. Each marries with and keeps to the customs of his own caste. All the Pandharpur Ramanujas are Brahmans by caste and ascetics. Ramanuja, the founder of the sect, was, it is said, an incarnation of Shesha, the cobra god, on whose coils and under whose open hood lies Narayana or Vishnu, the universal spirit. [For details refer to the former edition of the Sholapur District Gazetteer.]
Ramanuja belonged to the Vishishtadvaita school which regards the deity as one with the universe. The sect spread widely in southern
India, most of his followers being Dravidian Brahmans, though it also numbers many northern India or Gaud Brahmans. His followers claim a high antiquity for the sect, but, as has been noticed, Ramanuja seems to have lived in the twelfth century. The Ramanujas of Pandharpur are all Brahmans and are divided into Badagalai [Badagalai is the Tamil badag north; and Tingolai is the Tamil tingol south.] or Badahalai meaning northerners and Tingolai meaning southerners who eat together and inter-marry. Their family-stocks or gotras are Atri,
Bharadvaj, Jamadagnya, Kashyap, and Shandilya. Sameness of stock is a bar to marriage. A member of the Ramanuja sect, whether his caste be Brahman, Vani, Sonar, Sutar or Kunbi, can be easily known by two upright yellow guardian-sandal or gopichandan-marks which stretch from between the eye-brows to the root of the hair and are known as Vishnu's feet. Between the two lines is a third, red or yellow, representing the goddess Lakshmi, Vishnu's spouse. The Pandharpur Ramanujas are unmarried ascetics who live in a strongly-built math or religious house at Pandharpur well supplied with vessels and furniture and with cows, buffaloes and parrots. Brahman Ramanujas are strict vegetarians. They are great eaters and fair cooks.
The men wear the sacred thread unless they turn ascetics, mark their brow with the nam or two upright colour lines and brand their arms with the discus or chakra and other symbols of Vishnu. The Pandharpur Ramanujas are a quiet, hospitable and harmless people, now following many callings. During the 1876-77 famine they fed some hundreds of famished people daily at their own expense. They claim equality with Deshastha Brahmans, but will not eat or drink at their houses. Deccan Brahmans keep aloof from them and profess to look down on them. Except Panchals other Hindus eat at their houses. They are religious and believe Vishnu to be the Supreme Being who exists from before the creation and will for ever remain. Their leading gods are the incarnations of Vishnu, Krishna, Ram and Vithoba. Their chief religious books are the Bhargava purana, Vishnu purana and Ramanuja bhashya. Their chief monastery is in northern India and they also have shrines in south India. They are the priests of Balaji's temple at Giri or Tirupati in North Arkot.
Except their initiation their customs are the same as those of the caste to which they belong.
Sarasvats: Sarasvats or Shenvis are found over the whole district except in Karmala and Sangola. The Sholapur Shenvis say that they take their name from Shahannavi or ninety-six villages over which they had authority. According to their account Parashuram, the sixth incarnation of Vishnu, the destroyer of the Kshatriyas, brought three families of Sarasvats from a town called Trihotrapur supposed to be Tirhut and settled them and their family-gods in Goa; the original settlers were afterwards joined by seven more families. The Sholapur Shenvis are said to have been settled in the district for four or five generations and to have originally come in search of work from Gwalior, Kolhapur and the Konkan. They are divided into Bardeshkars, Kudaldeshkars, Rajapurkars, and Shenvis proper. These divisions do not inter-marry and used not to eat together though lately the Shenvis
proper, who are the highest of the four classes, have begun to employ Rajapurkars as cooks. The men are generally middle-sized, and the women taller than the men, fair and regular-featured. They speak Marathi both at home and abroad. They have forgotten the Konkani dialect which Goa, Malvan, and Savantvadi Shenvis speak, though their speech has still traces of the Konkan twang.
They are a neat, clean, sober, hospitable, and orderly people. They are land-holders and occupy high position in Government service. They are a well-to-do class seldom in debt. They hold themselves equal to Deshastha, Konkanastha and Karhada Brahmans and have the same privileges as other Maratha Brahmans. Shenvi women are quiet, forbearing and hard-working. A rich man's wife leads an easy life generally with a servant to do the heavy unpleasant parts of the housework. The wife of a poor Shenvi is always busy.
They are religious and worship all Hindu gods and goddesses. The shrines of their family-gods are chiefly in Goa. They are either Smarts or Bhagvats and their priests are Deshasth Brahmans. They keep the usual Hindu fasts and feasts and go on pilgrimage to Alandi, Banaras, Pandharpur and Tuljapur. They have three religious teachers or swamis, two of them Bhagvats and the third a Smart. The sacraments or sanskars observed by Shenvis are puberty, pregnancy, birth, naming, first feeding, keeping of the top-knot, thread-girding, marriage, and death. Many of them are highly educated and follow intellectual professions.
Telangs: Telang Brahmans are found in Barshi, Pandharpur, and Sholapur. They do not always live in the district but come once every two or three years, gather money by begging, and go back to Telangan in the south. They have no sub-divisions, and the names of their family-stocks are Angiras, Bharadvaj, Kaundanya, Kashyap, Kaushik and Shrivatsa. Their surnames are Chalavaru, Chalbatavaru, Pidal-batalavaru, and Rantachantalavaru, and persons having either the same family-name or the same surname do not inter-marry. The names in common use among men are Govindanna, Rachaya, Ramaya, Ramanna and Shripatanna; and among women Kashibai, Mariamma and Shitamma. The men are dark, tall, and stout, and besmear their face and hair with cocoanut oil. Formerly a Telang Brahman was proverbially regarded as an unbidden guest. When a dinner was given to Brahmans, the Telangs came unasked, clamoured for a share, and if they got no share used to load the host with hearty curses. But these traits are no more in existence. Both men and women dress like Deshastha Brahmans. They are clean but idle and hot-tempered. They are beggars and some make and sell sacred threads. They are religious and are chiefly Smarts or followers of Shankaracharya, the apostle of
the doctrine that the soul and the universe are one. They worship all Brahman gods and goddesses, and their family-gods are Jagadamba and Vyankoba whose shrines are in the Telangana country. They keep the ordinary fasts and feasts, and their priests belong to their own caste. They have great faith in sorcery, witchcraft, sooth-saying, omens, and lucky and unlucky days and consult oracles.
Tirguls: Tirguls are found over the whole district except in Karmala and Sangola. According to Sholapur Brahmans, apparently a play on the words tin gul or gol, Tirguls are those whose ancestors for three generations have been Golaks. The local history is that during the time of the Peshwas, Brahman widows and wives who were pregnant by men who were not their husbands were sent on a pilgrimage to Pandharpur, to prevent them committing abortion and infanticide. The women lay in at Pandharpur and the infant with or without money presents was made over to any one who would take it. This is said to be the reason why so many Tirguls are found in and about Pandharpur. Their family-stocks are Angiras, Bharadvaj, Haritasya, Kashyap, Lohit and Shrivats, and their sub-stocks or pravars are Bhargav, Chavan, Jamadagni and Shrivatsa. They look and speak like Maratha Brahmans, are betel-vine growers, cultivators, grain dealers, money-lenders and changers, bankers and Government servants. Their house, food and dress do not differ from those of Maratha Brahmans. They are well-to-do but other Brahmans do not eat with them and look down on them because in growing the betel-vine they kill insects. They are either Smarts or Bhagvats and worship all Brahman gods and goddesses and keep the usual fasts and festivals. Their priests are Deshastha Brahmans. They go on pilgrimage to Alandi, Banaras, Nasik, Pandharpur and Tuljapur. Their customs are generally the same as Deshasths. They follow many professions to individual tastes and abilities. Among Tirguls, a lighted lamp is kept burning in the lying-in room for three months after child-birth. For the first ten days, the family-priest every evening repeats sacred verses at the mother's house.
Vidurs: Vidurs are found only in Barshi and Sholapur. They are said to be illegitimate, born of a Brahman father and Maratha mother. They say they cannot tell when and whence they came into the district. The names of their family-stocks or gotras are Kashyap, Govardhan and Kaundanya, and their surnames are Degade, Devle, Londhe and Parmale. Persons whose surname and family-name are the same cannot inter-marry. They look like Deshastha Brahmans, and are healthy and strong. They speak a Marathi closely like that spoken by Marathas and cultivating Kunbis. Both men and women dress like Deshasth Brahmans, but, unlike all other Maratha Brahmans, their widows
never shave their heads. They are hard-working, sober, thrifty and hospitable. They are land-holders and money-changers though most of them prefer service to other callings now-a-days. They are either Smarts or Bhagvats, worship all Brahman gods and goddesses and keep the usual fasts and festivals. Their priests are Deshasth Brahmans. They go on pilgrimage to Alandi, Banaras, Jejuri, Nasik, Pandharpur and Tuljapur, and believe in sorcery, witchcraft, sooth-saying, omens, lucky and unlucky days, and oracles.
Their customs from birth to death are the same as those of Deshasths. They are bound together by a strong caste-feeling and settle social disputes at meetings of the caste-men.
Kayastha Prabhus: Kayastha Prabhus are found over the whole district except in Malshiras. They claim to be Kshatriyas and to be descended from Chandrasen, an early king of Oudh. Some of their surnames are Randive, Tamhane and Vaidya. They are middle-sized, slightly built and fair, and their women are graceful. They speak Marathi and are clean, neat and hard-working. Most of them were writers in the past. They eat fish and flesh and drink liquor, occasionally. They worship all Brahmanic gods and goddesses, but so greatly prefer to worship goddesses that they are known as devibhaktas or goddess-worshippers. Their priests are Deshastha Brahmans and they keep the usual fasts and festivals. They go on pilgrimage to Banaras, Nasik and Pandharpur, and believe in witchcraft and soothsaying and consult oracles. They are very keen about educating their children, and occupy important positions in Government and private services. Inspite of their small numbers and the keen competition against Brahman and other classes whom they term intruders, they are decidedly well-to-do.
Mudliars: Mudliars, literally south-easters, also called Madrasis, are found in Barshi, Karmala and Sholapur. They are said to have come to the district from the former Madras Presidency in the middle of the last century in search of work. They are divided into Mudliars, Pilles and Telangs, who eat together but do not inter-marry. They have only two family-stocks or gotras Shiv and Vishnu, and families bearing the same stock-name cannot inter-marry. They have no surnames. The names in common use among men are Armu, Jagannath, Khamaya, Madhavrav, Narhariaya, Pulaya and Tandrav. The mode of writing their names is to write the initial letter of their native town, then the person's name, his father's name, and lastly the name of the sub-division or caste; thus Tanjor Madhavrav Jagannath Pille or T. M. Jagannath Pille, or simply T. Madhavrav. The women's names are Bhagirthi, Ganga, Manakbai and Sonubai. They are very dark with regular features, and the men are rough
and hardy. Their home-tongue is Telugu, but with others they speak Marathi or Hindustani.
They are hard-working, even-tempered, hospitable, thrifty, polite and orderly. Their women are not so neat or clean as the men. They are clerks and writers, contractors, money-lenders, land-holders letting fields to husbandmen on the crop-share system, tobacconists selling cigarettes and cheroots. They claim to be Vaishyas and take food from Brahmans. The Mudliars are religious. Their family-gods are Mahadev, Maruti, Ram, Vithoba and Vyankoba. Their priests are Dravidian or Telugu Brahmans who officiate at their houses and are greatly respected. They fast on Saturdays and the lunar elevenths or ekadashis and keep the ordinary Hindu fasts and festivals. Formerly they use to marry their girls between ten and sixteen and their boys between fifteen and twenty-five. The girl's father had to find her a husband. When a boy was found, on a lucky day his parents with relations and friends went to the girl's house and presented her with a robe, a bodice and ornaments. [For details of marriage ceremony and after-death rituals refer to former edition of Sholapur Gazetteer.]
Traders: Traders include nine classes, viz., Agarvals, Bhatias, Gujarat Vanis, Kashikapdis, Komtis, Lingayat Vanis, Lohanas, Marwad Vanis, Vaishya Vanis which are briefly described below:-
Agarvals: Agarvals are found in Barshi, Pandharpur and Sholapur. They believe they are called Agarvals because they make frankincense sticks or agarbattis, and think they came to Sholapur about three hundred seventy-five years ago from the neighbourhood of Agra and Delhi. They are divided into Dasa and Visa Agarvals who eat together but do not inter-marry. They have no surnames. The names in common use among men are Chandulal, Girdharlal, Motiram, Shankarlal, Shivdas and Vithallal; and among women Bhagirthi, Dwarka. Jasoda, Kashibai, Lakshmi and Munyabai. They are dark and stout and speak Marathi. Both men and women dress like Marathas and are hard-working, even-tempered, thrifty and hospitable, but neither clean nor neat. They are perfumers, selling scents, frankincense sticks, powders, and oils, and spices, butter, sugar, wheat, millet, rice or pulse flour, and cloth both country-made and European. Some are husbandmen whose women help them In the field. They worship all Brahman gods and goddesses, and their family-deities are Balaji of Giri, Bhavani of Tuljapur, and Kalika of Delhi. Their priests are Gaud Brahmans. Their fasts and festivals are the same as those of Marathas and they believe in sorcery, witchcraft and sooth-saying. Formerly a girl was married between three and twelve, and a boy between five and twenty-five. The boy's father had
to look for a wife for his son, and, when a girl was found, on a lucky day presented her with a robe and bodice and ornaments. [For details of marriage ceremony refer to the old edition of Sholapur Gazetteer.] When a girl comes of age they hold her impure for four days, and on any lucky day within the first sixteen, the boy and girl are presented with new clothes, and seated near each other on low wooden stools. The girl's lap is filled with grain and fruit, and the ceremony ends with a dinner to near relations. They burn the dead and mourn ten days, with almost the same rites as those of local Marathas. They are bound together by a strong caste-feeling.
Bhatias: Bhatias are found in Barshi and Sholapur. They have come from Kutch probably through Bombay since the beginning of British rule. They are stout and healthy and the men wear the top-knot and moustache. Their home-tongue is Gujarati and out-of-doors they speak Marathi. They are strict vegetarians, and among vegetables avoid onions and garlic, and spend much on caste-feasts. Both men and women keep to the Gujarat dress, the men wearing their peculiar double-peaked turban, and the women the petticoat, open-backed bodice, and upper scarf or odhni.
They are sober, thrifty, hospitable, hard-working and well-to-do. They used only to sell tobacco, now they are traders, dealing in grain, oil, and butter, and also acting as money-changers and money-lenders. They are Vaishnavas, have images of their gods in their houses, and employ Gujarat Brahmans as priests. When seven years old, the boy is taken to the priest's house and is there girt with the sacred thread. Their marriages are preceded by betrothals; they rub the boy and girl with turmeric at their houses, raise an earthen altar in the girl's marriage booth, set earthen jars at its four corners, and pass a thread round them. A sacred fire is lit, and when the boy and girl have walked four times round the fire they are husband and wife. They bum their dead, the corpse-bearers being helped on the way by other mourners. They mourn ten days, on the eleventh day wheat-flour balls or pindas are offered to the deceased and thrown in a running stream. They feast Brahmans on the twelfth, and their caste-fellows on the thirteenth. They do not allow widow marriage and settle social disputes by a caste-council. They send their boys to school and are a wealthy rising class.
Gujarat Vanis: Gujarat Vanis are found over the whole district. They are believed to have come into the district within the last about two hundred and seventy-five years and are divided into Humbads, Khadaits. Lads, Mods, Nagars, Porvads and Shrimalis, each of which is again divided into Dasas and Visas. The main divisions neither eat together nor inter-marry, and the sub-divisions eat together but
do not inter-marry. Their home-tongue is Gujarati, but most of them can speak pure Marathi like Brahmans. It is sometimes difficult cither from their look or their talk to tell a Gujarat Vani from a Maratha Brahman. They are clean, neat, sober, frugal and hard-working, and are shop-keepers, money-lenders, merchants and petty dealers. They marry their girls prematurely and, as they have to pay large sums to the girl's parents, they do not marry their boys till they are about twenty-five. Widow marriage is forbidden. Their priests are Gujarat Brahmans and they have images of their gods in their houses. They are a well-to-do class.
Kashikapdis: Kashikapdis are found only in Barshi and Sholapur. They are wandering beggars and petty dealers of Telugu extraction but they cannot tell when and whence they came into the district. They have no sub-divisions. They speak Telugu among themselves and broken Marathi with others. They are dark, tall, and regular-featured, and their young women are pretty. They are religious, worshipping all Hindu gods and goddesses. Their priests are Telang Brahmans to whom they show great respect. Their family-deities are Balaji of Telangan, Bhavani and Durga. They keep the usual Hindu fasts and festivals and believe in witchcraft, sooth-saying and sorcery. They allow child and widow marriage and practise polygamy. They burn their dead and mourn ten days. They hold caste-councils, send their boys to school for a short time, and are a poor people.
Komtis: Komtis are found over the whole district except in Sangola. They are said to have come for trade purposes within the last about three hundred years or more from Karnatak, Penguthpattan and Telangan. They say they had once six hundred family-stocks or gotras but that the number has dwindled to one hundred and one. The story of the decline in the number of family-stocks is that once a low-caste king wished to marry a beautiful Komti girl, Kanika of the Labhshatti family. The girl refused his offer and the king sent an army to bring her by force. Kanika agreed to come but asked that she might worship her family-goddess. Her wish was granted. She bathed, kindled a great fire, walked round it several times, and threw herself in. Men of a hundred and one families, each after offering a fruit or a vegetable to Nagareshvar, the village-god, leaped after her into the fire. The 499 other families joined the king's army and lost caste. The order in which the 101 devotees followed Kanika is preserved by the number of dough lamps which the members of the different family-stocks burn when they worship Kanika, and a trace of the offering of a flower or a vegetable to Nagareshvar remains in the rule under which the use of some one fruit or vegetable is forbidden to the members of each family. The one hundred and one families are
known by the name of Yagginvandlus or the injured and the remaining four hundred and ninety-nine by the name of Yagganvandlus or the disgraced. A section of the 499, found in Madras but not in Sholapur, are known as Repakvandlus who eat fish and drink liquor. Of the one hundred and one family-stocks only eight are found in Sholapur, Buchankula, Chedkula, Dhankula, Gundkula, Masatkula, Midhankula, Pagadikula and Pedkula. The members of these family-stocks cat together but do not inter-marry. The Labhshattis, Kanika's family, have died out. Their memory is said to be preserved in Labh the trader's name for the first measure. The commonest names among men arc Bhumaya, Narayan, Narsaya, Sangaya, Viraya and Vithu; and among women Ganga and Vitha. Men add appa or aya that is father, and women amma or mother to their names. Komtis are tall and thin and proverbially black. The men wear the top-knot and moustache and sometimes whiskers but never the beard. Their home-tongue is Marathi though very few speak Telugu. They are vegetarians, and their staple food is millet, rice, pulse and vegetables. They are forbearing, sober, thrifty, even-tempered and orderly. Most of them are grocers, dealing in spices, salt, grain, butter, oil, molasses and sugar. They also trade in cotton, hemp and oil-seeds. They claim a higher position but rank with Vaishyas. They eat from Brahmans only, and say that they are Brahmans and have a right to perform the sixteen sacraments or sanskars according to the Vedas. Deccan Brahmans do not admit their claim and say they are shudras. The Komti trader rises early in the morning, opens his shop, and sits in it till late at night. Their family-deities are Balaji, Kanyakadevi, Nagareshvar, Narsoba, Rajeshvar and Virbhadra, all of whose chief shrines are in Telangan. All their ceremonies are conducted by Deshastha Brahmans. They keep the usual Brahmanic fasts and festivals and make pilgrimages to Banaras, Nasik, Pandharpur and Tuljapur. Those who have no Kanika jar in the house worship the god Virbhadra before beginning a marriage. Their religious guide or guru is the Shankaracharya Swami and Bhaskaracharya, a pupil of his, is also now acknowledged as guru. They have a separate teacher known as mokshguru. literally the sin-freeing teacher, who repeats verses to the penitent to ensure his salvation. The sin-freeing teacher is by caste either a Brahman or a Vaishya. If he is a Brahman, his disciples drink water in which his feet have been washed; if he is a Vaishya, he pours a few drops of the water in which his feet have been washed on a pinch of cowdung ashes or bhasma which
The family-god of some families is Nagareshvar or the city god, a form of Mahadev, who is found only in cities where there are Komtis of at least one hundred family-stocks. His chief shrine is in the
valley of the Kaveri. Some Komti men wear the sacred thread, others wear the ling, and others wear both the ling and the thread. The ling is worn as a purifying or diksha rite. A Jangam or Lingayat priest cannot claim a ling-wearing Komti as a Lingayat. A ling-wearing father may ask a Jangam to invest his child with a ling immediately after birth, but this is done without any ceremony. The child can at any time give up wearing the ling. The son of a ling-wearing father is not bound to follow his father's practice. Some Komtis assume the sacred thread without ceremony, even without calling a Brahman. A father can present his son with a sacred thread at any time before the boy's wedding. When a Komti father girds his son with a sacred thread the boy goes begging, beginning at his sister's house, and asking his first alms from his sister's daughter. Before he leaves their house his sister and her husband pour water over the boy's hands. Among Komtis a man must marry his sister's daughter, however ugly or deformed she may be. So strict is the rule that if the sister is young the brother must wait until the sister gets a daughter and the daughter grows old enough to marry him. It sometimes happens that the parties do not agree, and a caste-meeting is called to settle the dispute. Under no circumstances can the girl be given away without the consent of the boy's parents. Among Komtis, a woman pregnant with her first child is sent for her confinement to her parents' house.
The thread-girding now forms part of the wedding. They say they used to have a separate thread-girding ceremony and gave it up because Of its costliness, as the rule was that all the boy made by begging had to be increased fourfold and given to the priests. Others say they gave up a separate thread ceremony because it was degrading for them as merchants to beg. According to a third account the thread-girding was given up because they rode on bullocks. The Brahmans said they must give up either the sacred thread-girding or the bullock-riding. They preferred to give up the sacred thread ceremony. Among Komtis girls were married formerly between seven and ten and always before they came of age; boys were married between ten and fifteen. The child's marriage occupies the parents' thoughts from its earliest days. In families who have a young daughter the women, in consultation with the men, fix on some boy as a good match for the girl and either the girl's father or other near male relations are sent to the boy's house to see if they are willing to take the girl in marriage. The girl's relations do not go straight to the boy's house. They go to a neighbour and make enquiries about the girl. If everything goes well, the engagement is fixed. [For details about the betrothal and marriage which are no more in vogue, refer to old Gazetteer of Sholapur.] In the past, the Komtis, like many other communities,
used to have a very elaborate marriage ceremony with a lot of fanfare and ostentatious observances. The marriage ceremony was preceded by a number of rituals with minute details, and was followed by many
religious as also frivolous practices. The ceremony proper was an occasion of rejoicing full of a number of trivial rituals, and many solemnities with some religious significance. The fanfare of the marriage used to continue over 3-4 days with some feasts from the boy's as also the girl's side. Many of these rituals and practices appear to be insipid and superfluous, if not ridiculous, in the present-day context. In the nature of things, many of them are either not in vogue or are gone through hurriedly.
The Komtis' after-death rites and obsequies are quite elaborate. Cold water in which the tail of a cow or a silver miniature cow is dipped is dropped into the dying person's mouth. After death the body is carried to the burial-ground, some rituals are performed and burnt on the pile containing cowdung cakes and firewood. The obsequies are gone through with solemnity. Most of these rituals vary from those of other castes only in details while the pattern is almost the same. A Brahman priest presides over the important after-death rites.
Lingayats: Lingayat Vanis are found all over the district but chiefly in Sholapur. They seem to have come into the district about two hundred and seventy-five years ago. According to the Nandikeshvar Puran, Basveshvar, the founder of the Lingayat sect, was born of a Brahman woman at Bagevadi in Kaladgi, and claiming divine inspiration, founded the Lingayat faith. He established his religion about the middle of the twelfth century at Kalyana and he, or rather one of his apostles, is said to have gone to Marwad, and brought back 1,96,000 converts from Marwad and spread them all over the Panch Dravid country or southern India. [In connection with this story it is worthy of note that Ujjain in Malwa is one of the five chief or lion seats of the Lingayats. At the same "time the story of converts brought from Marwad seems unlikely. Perhaps the foundation of the story was the conversion of local Jains who were afterwards confused with Marwadis as most modern Jains come from Marwad.] The earliest Sholapur settlements of these Marwadi converts arc said to have been at Kasegaon a village three miles to the south of Pandharpur, Mohol, and Malikpeth in Madha. These towns are now greatly declined and Kasegaon and Malikpeth arc in ruins. Their second great centre was Vairag in Barshi which remained a prosperous place until the railway centred trade at Sholapur. Their chief family-stocks or gotras are Bhringi, Nandi, Skanda, Vina and Vrishabha. They lay little count on family-stocks. Many people do not know their stock, and inter-marriage takes place among families belonging to the same gotra so long as the surname is different. The names in common use among men are Baslingappa, Chanbasappa, Gopalshet,
Hariba, Kalappa, Krishnappa, Malkarjun, Maruti, Rajaram, Ramshet, Shivappa, Shivlingappa, Vishvanath and Vithoba; and among women Basava, Bhagirthi, Chandrabhaga, Janki, Kashibai, Lakshmi, Lingava, Malava, Rakhumai and Vithai. Their commonest surnames are Ainapure, Barge, Bodhke. Galakatu, Karanje, Kare, Korpe, Lokhande. Mahalshet, Rajmane, Samsher and Shilavant. The surnames have their rise in distinctions of trade, calling, residence, or any notable family event or exploit. Thus Galakatu, or cut-throat, arose from the fact that years ago some member of the family had his throat cut by highwaymen. Whatever their surnames, all Lingayat Vanis eat together but do not inter-marry. They are a dark, thin, and middle-sized people, healthy and long-lived. They can be easily known from other Hindus by the ash-mark on the brow and by the ling case which they wear. Most speak Marathi both at home and abroad, and some speak Kanarese at home.
Both men and women mark their brows with ashes, carry the ling in a small metal-box, or roll it in an ochre-coloured cloth, tied either in the headscarf, round the neck, round the upper left arm or right wrist, or hanging from the neck down to near the heart, or the navel. They are hard-working, sober, thrifty and hospitable, but hot-tempered, overbearing, and impatient. They term themselves Virshaivs, that is. fighting Shaivs. They greet one another with the words Sharanarth or I submit or prostrate. They are mostly traders dealing in grain, spices, salt, oil, butter, and molasses or sugar. They are cloth-sellers, bankers, money-lenders, brokers and husbandmen. Some act as brokers, a business which does not require capital unless the broker acts as shroff or money-changer, making purchases on account of orders from outside customers. As husbandmen some are over-holders but most take fields from others paying a certain yearly acre cash rent. They are a prosperous and well-to-do people and have considerable power over the local market. They eat from no one, not even from Brahmans.
Lingayat Vanis are a religious people and worship all Hindu gods and goddesses, calling them forms of Shiv. Their family-deities are Ambabai of Tuljapur, Banali and Danammai in Jat, Dhanai in the Konkan, Esai, Janai, and Jotiba of Kolhapur, Khandoba of Jejuri, Mahadev, Malikarjun near Vyankoba in Tirupati, Nesai, Rachoti-virbhadra in Giri, Revansiddheshvar in Sangli, Shakambari in Badami, Siddheshvar of Sholapur, Yallamma of Saundatti in Bijapur, Vyankoba and Virbhadra, to all which places they go on pilgrimage. Their worship is the same as that of Brahmanic Hindus except that they offer their gods neither red flowers nor kevda (Pandanus odorutissimus). Their family-priest is a jangam of the rank of a mathapati or
beadle. He is the general manager of all their ceremonies. A strict Lingayat Vani does not respect Brahmans and never calls them to conduct his weddings so long as he can find a jangam to conduct them. Still in practice they tolerate Brahmans, and, after the jangam is done, allow a Brahman to repeat verses and throw grains of red rice or mantra-kshada over the boy and girl. The only use they make of a Brahman is in finding out lucky days for the performance of ceremonies, and also on the day when turmeric is rubbed on the boy and girl on which occasion he chooses women to rub the turmeric. A Lingayat has no horoscope based on the time of his birth, but of late jangams have learned enough to act the astrologer's part and thus the occasions on which Brahmans are needed are becoming fewer. They keep the usual Hindu fasts and festivals, and believe in sorcery, witchcraft, soothsaying, omens, lucky and unlucky days, and oracles.
Formerly Lingayats used to marry their girls between eight and sixteen, and their boys between twelve and twenty-five. The magni or public asking is an important marriage observance. On a lucky day the boy's kinspeople, with a Lingayat beadle or mathapati go to the girl's and present her with a robe, bodice and ornaments. The girl's mother is presented with another robe and bodice and five of her kinswomen with bodices. The girl's lap is filled with five pounds of rice, five dry dates, turmeric roots, betelnuts, plantains, five half-dry cocoa-kernels, and a cocoanut. A dinner and a service of betel packets closes the day. Next day the girl's kinspeople and friends go to the boy's and present him with a turban, and, if well-to-do, with robes and bodices for the boy's mother and kinswomen. The day closes with a dinner. This ceremony is not performed if the boy and the girl belong to the same village. A marriage generally takes place within a couple of years of the asking, and on any day in Magh or January-February, Phalgun or February-March, Vaishakh or April-May, Jyeshth or May-June, Kartik or October-November, and Margashirsh or November-December.
A marriage always takes place in the evening or at any time of the night, never after day-break or before lamplight. The marriage time is fixed either by a jangam or by the village Brahman astrologer. On the marriage day the boy is seated on horse or bullock back, and is taken in procession to the village temple of the god Maruti with a party of kinspeople and friends with music. A marriage ornament is tied to the boy's brow. He is met by the girl's relations and the two parties throw red and scented powders on each other and are led to the girl's house. At the girl's a woman of her family waves a cake and water round the boy's head and throws the cake on one side to satisfy evil spirits. In the booth is raised an earthen altar covered
with a rich carpet on which the jangam sits the boy. Near the jangam are laid two trays, one from the girl's house containing a waist and shouldercloth and a turban, the other from the boy's with a robe, a bodice, and ornaments for the girl. The jangam touches the hems of the different clothes with red powder and gives them to the boy and the girl. The girl walks with them into the house and comes back dressed in them, and the boy puts them on in the booth. The jangam or the village Brahman fills the girl's lap with grains of rice and with fruit and both take their seats as before facing the jangam. One end of a piece of five strands of gray cotton thread is held by the jangam under his feet and the other end by the boy with both his hands, and the boy's hands are held by the girl with both her hands. An enclosure is formed with a sheet in which are the jangam and the boy and the girl. The hems of the couple's garments are knotted together and the mathapati repeats verses over their joined hands, pours a little water over them, with ashes. He throws sandal, grains of rice and flowers over them, burns incense, camphor and a lamp before them, and puts a little sugar into the boy's and the girl's mouths. He repeats verses, and, at the end, throws grains of rice over their heads, pulls the threads from their hands, throws them on the ground, and orders the curtain to be pulled aside. The couple now turn their faces towards the guests, and the Brahmans repeat marriage verses or mangalashtakas and at the end throw rice over the boy's and the girl's heads and the musicians play. Money is given to jangams and Brahmans and the guests retire each with a packet of betelnut and leaves. The ceremony of giving away the bride or dharghalne is now performed. The hems of the boy's and the girl's clothes are knotted together, and the father taking in his hands a metal pot of red water and the mother a plate, sit in front of the boy and girl. The girl's mother holds the boy's feet in both her hands over the plate, the father pours water over them from the pot, and the mother rubs them with both her hands and wipes them dry. The pot and the plate are now the property of the boy and the ceremony is over. The boy's father presents the girl's mother with a robe and bodice and her father with a turban and shouldercloth. The ceremony of sheshbharne comes next when women by turns draw near the couple, and each standing in front of them with both hands throws pinches of coloured rice over the boy's and girl's knees, thighs, shoulders and heads. Some in addition wave a copper coin over the couple's heads and give the coin to a jangam. The couple are now taken before the house-gods, make a low bow to them, and retire. Then as a sign of friendliness and good feeling they perform the bhum or earth offering ceremony, when a large tray filled with various
dishes is set in the middle and the boy and girl and their kinsmen sit round it and take a few morsels. Sometimes the men merely touch the tray with their fingers and give the food to children to cat. On the third day comes the rukhvat or boy's feast when the girl's kinswomen take several cooked dishes to the boy's on the heads of servants, empty them, and return with the empty pots and baskets. The boy and girl rub one another's body with turmeric powder and wash one another with warm water. They then play games of odds and evens with betelnuts and bite off rolls of betel-leaves from one another's mouths. Either on the fourth or the fifth evening the boy's relations are asked to dine at the girl's. On their way cloths arc spread for them to walk on. The girl's relations carry with them a large jar filled with water, a dish, and strings of onions, and carrots, rags, old brooms, and a broken piece of a white-washed jar. At times on the way the boy's mother takes offence and refuses to go further. A wooden stool is set in the street and she is seated on it and the girl's mother washes her feet, gives her clothes, and asks her to walk on. On the way one of the party takes one of the pieces of the white-washed earthen jar and asks the boy's mother to look at her face in the looking-glass. Some hold old brooms over her head, and hang strings of onions, carrots and rags round her neck. When they reach the girl's house, the women are bathed, new glass bangles are put round their wrists, or, if they are well-to-do, they are presented with robes and bodices. Next day comes the robe or sada ceremony when the boy's relations and friends go with music to the girl's house and present her with a new robe and bodice. The girl's parents present the boy with a new waistcloth and turban and the pair dress in the new clothes. Either the jangam or the Brahman priest fills the girl's lap with grains of rice and the boy and girl are seated on a horse or bullock or in a palanquin and with kinsfolk and music go in procession to the boy's. At the boy's they are seated on low wooden stools, and the boy's mother, approaching the girl with a wooden rolling-pin wound in a bodice-cloth and smeared with red powder, calls it a child and lays it in the girl's lap. The girl asks the boy to take it saying she is going to look after the house. She then looks to her father and mother-in-law and husband and says she must have good clothes for her child, and putting the bodiced rolling-pin into her husband's hands, says she is going to sweep the house. After this the boy's parents present the girl's parents with clothes and one of the boy's relations, taking a winnowing fan or a basket, beats it with a stick crying: The wedding is over. It is time the. guests were taking their leave.
Lingayat Vanis allow widows and divorced women to marry. For
a widow's marriage the widow s consent is necessary and for a divorced woman's marriage both her and her husband's consent is wanted. If a man wishes to marry a divorced woman, he applies to the headman of the caste who is called Shetya, who summons both the women and her husband, and, in the presence of some of the caste-men, asks them whether they are willing to separate. If the husband is willing he gives his consent in writing. Then on a dark night the man goes to the woman's with a few friends among them perhaps a widow or two, as no married woman attends these marriages.
For her first confinement a young wife goes to her parents. When the child is born, its navel cord is cut by a Lingayat midwife. They name their children on the twelfth day after child-birth. The ling-girding or lingdharna takes place on the fifth day after a child's birth. In a ling-girding, the mathapati or beadle, the sthavar resident, the deshantari, the math ganacharya or manager, and the guru or teacher should take part. But as the Lingayat Vanis cannot keep up all these priests the mathapati or beadle and the deshantari or head of a religious house serve the purpose. On the morning of the fifth the whole house is cowdunged, and the mother's bedding and clothes are washed. The mathapati and deshantari bring a ling, and, after rubbing it with a mixture of molasses and cement, place it in a metal plate, and bathe it first with the five nectars or panchamrits (milk, curds, honey, sugar and butter and again with the five cow gifts or panchgavya (urine, dung, curds, milk and butter), then with water, again with lime and sugar, and once more with water. It is marked with sandalpaste, rice, tulsi leaves and flowers are laid on it, camphor and frankincense are waved round it, a few drops of water in which a deshantari's feet have been washed are poured over it, and a mixture of sugar, sugarcandy, dates, cocoa-kernel, almonds, and dry grapes arc laid before it. The ling is folded in a piece of white cloth and tied round the child's neck.
When a Lingayat Vani is on the point of death money is distributed among jangams. After death the body is bathed in cold water, wiped dry, and rubbed with ashes. Earth is heaped in the veranda into a raised seat and the dead is seated on it leaning against the wall, with his head tied to a string hung from a peg in the wall or the ceiling. The body is dressed in its every-day clothes, and the mathapati, sitting in front of it, lays sandal-paste, flowers and burnt frankincense before it, and the ling which hangs from the neck. Over the body and the ling the mathapati throws bel leaves, flowers, sandal, water, and ashes, and burns incense and camphor before them. Then with a low bow, the mathapati gives the jangams who are present, pieces of cloth about a foot and a half square to the end of which are tied bel leaves, ashes, and a couple of camphor. The mathapati then calls
forward four men from among the mourners and rubs them with
ashes as a sign that they are to lift the body. If the family is well-to-do,
the body is carried in bamboo frame, if poor it is carried in a blanket
slung from two bamboos, and the head is held behind, by the chief
mourner. In front of the body musicians play and a jangam blows
the conch-shell. Behind the body walk the male mourners and after
them the female mourners, all repeating Har Har, Shiv Shiv. When
they reach the outskirts of the village, the bearers change places those
behind going in front and those in front coming behind. Then the
body is borne to the burial-ground. A grave is dug and in the grave
a second hole five pands or the dead man's five feet long broad and
deep, and in front of it, facing either east or north, a niche is dug
three and a half feet deep and four square with an arched top. The
whole is either cowdunged or white-washed and the dust of the jangam's feet is thrown into it. The body is seated in the hole, and,
except the loin-cloth, all the clothes are stripped off. The mathapati takes the ling worn by the deceased, lays it on the dead man's left
hand, and places the palm on the left thigh. He then lays before the
body rice, flowers, sandal, and ashes, and round it waves burning
incense and camphor. The ling is tied with a string to the hand and
it is lifted up and laid in the niche in front. Bel leaves, cowdung
ashes, salt, and earth are thrown in, and, when the earth is filled as
high as the face, a piece of gold is laid in the mouth and the chief
mourner, touching the lips with water, strikes his mouth, and covers
the mouth with a cloth. The hole is filled with earth and stones, and
a small mound of earth and stone is raised over it. The mourners
go to the river or stream and wash their hands and feet, the chief
mourner gives each of the jangams present a copper, and all go to
the mourner's house. The spot where the dead breathed his last is
cowdunged and a pot of water and ashes are set on it, and each
mourner drawing near to it takes a little ash, rubs it on his brow, and goes home. The Lingayats keep no mourning except that a few of
the nearest relations and friends send the family presents of cooked
dishes. On the third day the chief mourner, jangams, and the four
corpse-bearers go to the burial-ground, pour a little milk and butter
on the grave, return to the deceased's house, and dine. Money presents
are made to the jangams and the deceased's clothes and other
personal effects are made over to the mathapati or to the deceased's guru.
Lingayat Vanis are bound together as a body and settle social disputes at meetings of the Shetya, the mathapati, and the caste-men. If the chief guru is present he presides. The Shetya is the most
influential hereditary headman. He had formerly privileges and rights equal to those of a police patil. What a patil is to a village a Shetya is to the Lingayat peth or ward of a town. The chief offences to punish which meetings are called are eating fish and flesh, drinking liquor, drinking water with people who are not Lingayats, and cohabiting with a woman who is not a Lingayat. The minor offences are many as they are most strict in observing the rules of their faith. Caste-meetings are held in religious houses or maths. The power of caste shows no signs of failing.
Marwad Vanis: Marwad Vanis are found in all the towns and leading villages in the district. They are tall, dark, hardy, and vigorous with sharp eyes and hollow cheeks. The men shave the head leaving three patches of hair, a top-knot, and a lock over each ear. All wear the moustache, and some whiskers and beards dividing the beard down the chin. They speak Marwadi among themselves and an incorrect Marathi with others. They worship Parshvanath and their priests are Marwadi Brahmans. Social disputes are settled at caste-meetings. They have betrothals and marry their girls before they come of age. Eight days before marriage, each at their own house, the boy and girl are seated on a horse, dressed in rich clothes, and paraded through the town with music and party of kinspeople. This is called the horse parade or ghoda miravni. They do not allow widow-marriage. They teach their boys first at home, and then send them to school to learn Marathi and to cast accounts. They are a well-to-do class.
Vaishya Vanis: Vaishya Vanis are found mostly in Barshi, Madha and Sholapur. They are rather tall, thin and dark; the men wear the moustache and top-knot. Their women are fair but not good-looking. Their home-speech is Marathi. They eat fish and flesh and drink liquor. They are hard-working and thrifty, but not enterprising. They are husbandmen, traders and petty shop-keepers. They worship the usual Hindu gods, have images in their houses, and keep all the Hindu fasts and feasts. Their priests are the ordinary Maratha Brahmans generally Deshasths. Their social disputes are settled at caste-meetings. They send their boys to school for a short time and are in easy circumstances.
Husbandmen: Hatkars: Hatkars are an agriculturist class found over the whole district. They say they came from Bijapur. Their surnames are Bhusvar, Jarvar, Karvar, Sadgar and Yarngar, who eat together and inter-marry except with families bearing the same surname. They speak Marathi and eat the flesh of goats, sheep, hare and deer. The women do not eat fish or flesh, and men who have eaten flesh are held impure and are not touched till the next morning. In house and dress they do not
differ from Marathas. They are land-holders, potters, messengers, house servants, shepherds, and a few money-changers. Their family-deities are Bhavani, Durga, Khandoba, and Sidoba, and their priests are ordinary Maratha Brahmans. Their women are impure for twelve days after child-birth, they worship Satvai on the fifth, and name girls on the twelfth and boys on the thirteenth. They cut the child's hair any time between its first and its fourteenth years. The. hair-cutting is later with them than with other castes, as before cutting the hair they have to offer seven sheep to seven different Satvais and hold feasts. They have betrothals. Except that they tie two marriage ornaments one over the other on the boy's and girl's brows, their marriage ceremonies do not differ from those of Marathas. Their marriage guardians are the panch palvis or five tree-leaves in whose honour they feast five married women, seven in honour of the goddess Satvai, five in honour of Jukerya, the water goddess, seven in honour of the goddess Ashar. and three in honour of Gadjivan. They either bury or burn the dead. The chief mourner shaves his moustache on the thirteenth day after death and feasts his caste. They have two headmen, each of: whom they term gauda, the Kanarese term for headman. They send their boys to school and are steady people.
Maratha Kunbis: Marathas are found over the whole district. According to local accounts the Marathas came to Sholapur from Karad, Satara, and the western Deccan after the great Durgadevi famine at the close of the fourteenth century. After their coming they are said to have degenerated into Kunbis. A Maratha proper keeps no spinning wheel or bell-metal pot in his house, and allows no widow-marriage. A Kunbi allows widow-marriage and keeps the wheel and the quilt, and eats, and drinks from bell-metal vessels. The Marathas and Kunbis eat together but do not inter-marry. Maratha Kunbis vary greatly in appearance. Some of the gentry, the village headmen, and other large land-holders are strongly built, occasionally fair with good features and a martial air. The bulk of the caste, though as a rule stalwart and well-made, are dark and coarse-featured hardly to be distinguished from Dhangars and Mahars. All the men wear the top-knot and among the Kunbis some wear ear-tufts. Marathas, both at home and abroad, speak a somewhat coarsely and broadly pronounced Marathi. Rich Marathas live in houses of the better sort generally one-storey high with mud walls and flat or tiled roofs. Of the old mud-walled forts or gadhis, which, in the hands of the Maratha gentry or deshmukhs, sometimes held out against an army, examples remain in Kasegaon, Gurhal and Mohol. The furniture in Maratha houses includes metal and earthen vessels, bedsteads, and field tools. Most of them have cattle and ponies but few keep house servants. Kunbis
generally live in untidy, ill-cared-for mud-walled flat-roofed houses. Their staple food includes millet, pulse and vegetables. They eat the flesh of sheep, goats, hare, deer, fowls, the wild hog, and eggs. They are great eaters. Their holiday dishes include wheat and gram cakes fried in oil, wheat cakes, vegetables, fowls, and mutton and liquor. Animal food is too dear to be often used. Those who have become varkaris or keepers of holy times profess to leave off fish, flesh and liquor. Traditionally Maratha men dress in a loincloth, a waistcloth, or a pair of short drawers reaching the knee. The well-to-do use silk-bordered waistcloths and gaily dyed tight-fitting well-folded Maratha turbans. Their women wear the backed short-sleeved bodice and the full robe with or without passing the skirt back between the feet. When going out women of the higher Maratha families cover themselves from head to foot with a broad white sheet which prevents any part of the body being seen. This is commonly known as the Maratha mola or Maratha practice. There is however a conspicuous change in their dress ensemblance with the increase in number of school and college going boys and girls. They do not work out-of-doors, the water being brought home by servants or by the men of the house. An upper class Maratha woman on no account shows her face before strangers. The wives of Kunbis work in the fields and appear with their faces uncovered in public. Women wear glass bracelets, and pearl, gold and silver nose, ear, neck, hand and foot ornaments, as well as the black glass bead necklace, the mangalsutra or lucky thread. They are hard-working, hospitable, and frugal in ordinary life, but wanting in forethought and extravagant on great occasions. Most are husbandmen. Of the husbandmen many are land-holders, many under-holders, and many field labourers with no interest in the crop beyond their wages. The women help the men in the field. Well-to-do Marathas claim connection with the old Maratha aristocracy and consider themselves Rajputs and Kshatriyas, claim to rank immediately after Brahmans, and say they eat from Brahmans only. The Kunbis consider themselves Shudras and eat from Brahmans, Kshatriyas and Vaishyas. They worship Jotiba near Ratnagiri, Khandoba of Jejuri, Mahadev of Singnapur, and Vithoba of Pandharpur. Their priests are Deshasth Brahmans. They go on pilgrimage to Pandharpur, Tuljapur, and sometimes to Banaras. Within the last about 100 years the worship of Vithoba of Pandharpur has greatly risen in favour. The Varkari sect which holds the Pandharpur Vithoba in high veneration has gained good ground in the district. The followers of this sect are known by wearing a necklace of tulsi beads. Those that are not varkaris worship local deities.
The Maratha holidays are the same as those of other Hindus. The husbandman's chief holiday is the Pola or Ox Day, which falls on
the last day of Shravana in July-August. In Malshiras the Ox Day is known as Bendur and falls on the last day of Bhadrapada or August-September. On Ox Day the Marathas deck their bullocks and feed them on sweetmeats. At births, among the well-to-do, betel packets are distributed among kins-people and friends. After child-birth a Kunbi woman is held impure for ten days during which neither is she touched nor are her house-gods worshipped. On the fifth evening, to the grind-stone or pata, fruit, cakes and sweetmeats are offered. A sword or a common house knife or vila is laid near the grind-stone and a dry millet stump which they call an arrow or tir. The goddess Satvai is believed to come on that night to guard the mother and her infant from evil. A blank sheet of paper, a pen and an ink-pot are set near the stone to enable her to write the child's destiny. They name their girls on the twelfth and their boys on the thirteenth. On the naming day, kins-women and friends are called, and present the child with new clothes, and cradle, and name the child, the name being chosen by the village astrologer. The guests retire with a handful of wet gram or wheat. A year after, on a lucky day, the child if it is a boy is seated on its maternal uncle's lap and its hair is clipped.
Before a marriage can be fixed, the boy's father must ascertain that the boy and girl are not of the same clan, have different surnames, and have a different devak, that is, guardian or crest. The Kunbi marriage is preceded by a betrothal. The marriage may take place immediately after the betrothal and in no case should more than a year pass between the two. On the betrothal day the boy's relations bring a bodice, a robe and an ornament or two to the girl's house and present them to her. The village astrologer is asked to fix a lucky day for marrying the boy and girl, and at their houses the boy and girl are rubbed with turmeric first by the village washerwoman and then by five married women. On the marriage morning the guardian or devak is brought and tied to a post in the marriage porch. In the evening the boy is taken to the girl's in procession on bullock or horse back with music and a band of kins-people. At the girl's the boy and girl are made to stand on a blanket facing each other and a cloth is held between them. While the priest repeats verses one of the party goes on the roof of the house or mounts a tree to see the sun go down. When the sun is set the verses cease, the cloth held between the boy and girl is pulled on one side, and they are husband and wife. Cotton thread is passed ten times round the boy and girl, and the threads are cut in two and tied round the wrists of the boy and girl. Next comes the girl-giving or kanyadan when butter is poured over the hands of the boy and girl. The girl's parents wash the boy's feet in a metal plate with water and the ceremony is over.
Marathas allow widow marriage but hold the ceremony only on dark nights. No married woman or girl attends the ceremony and the faces of the newly-married couple are not seen for a couple of days.
Marathas, as a rule, burn their dead, and the Kunbis either burn or bury. The dead body is washed, laid on a bier, and red powder and betel leaves are thrown over it. The chief mourner walks before the body, carrying a fire-pot hanging from a string. They mourn ten days and offer a rice-flour ball on the eleventh. They feast bearers and kins-people on the twelfth and thirteenth. Formerly they were bound together by a strong caste-feeling, and settled social disputes at caste-meetings under the village patil or headman. But of late the forces of modern education have weakened the feeling of caste cohesion. There is considerable improvement in the standard of their education. Many of them are found to occupy high position in services as also in political fields. They suffered severely during the 1876-77 famine, and though they have since improved considerably they are still as a class poor.
Malis: Malis or gardeners are found over the whole district. They are divided into Khirsagar Malis and Rant Malis. Their home-tongue is Marathi, and they look and dress like cultivating Marathas except that the women in the past used to wear shoes like men's shoes. Their houses do not differ from Kunbi houses. They eat fish and flesh. Malis are a hard-working, orderly and contented people. They earn their living as husbandmen, gardeners and labourers, and their women and children help in selling vegetables and flowers. With
the availability of irrigation facilities the Malis have progressed economically, and have immensely been benefited by sugarcane cultivation. They have concurrently gained in their social and political status. They worship Ambai, Bhavani, Janai, Khandoba, Mahadev, Tukai and Vithoba; and their priests are ordinary Maratha Brahmans to whom they pay great respect. Except that at the marriage time their boys and girls are rubbed with turmeric at their house by washerwomen, their customs are the same as those of Marathas. They either bury or burn their dead, hold caste-councils, send their boys to school, and are a steady class.
Craftsmen: Craftsmen include about thirty classes, viz., Khatris, Koshtis, Kumbhars, Lakheris, Lohars, Lonaris, Niralis. Otaris. Panchals, Patharvats, Patvekars, Rangaris, Rauls, Saltangars, Salis, Sangars, Sonars, Sutars, Shimpis, Tambats, Tambolis and Telis. These are briefly described below:-
Beldars: Beldars or quarrymen are found in Barshi, Karmala, Sangola and Sholapur. They are strong and dark and the men wear the moustache and top-knot. They speak Marathi. They are stonecutters and brick-layers, digging wells, blasting rocks, and breaking
stones. Their houses are alike those of cultivating Marathas. The men wear the loincloth, waistcloth, and short tight trousers or cholnas, the jacket, and the Maratha turban; and the women dress in the ordinary Maratha robe and bodice and do not tuck the end of the robe back between the feet. They eat fish and flesh and drink liquor. They are hard-working, orderly and hospitable but fond of drink. They have caste-councils, do not send their boys to school, and are a steady people earning enough to maintain themselves.
Bhadbhunjas: Bhadbhunjas or grain parchers are found in the Sholapur town. They are divided into Marathas and Pardeshis. The following particulars apply to the Maratha Bhadbhunjas. Their surnames are Gaikavad, Jadhav, Povar and Shinde, who eat together and families with the same surname do not inter-marry. They look like Marathas, speak Marathi, and live in houses the same as Maratha houses except for the furnace or bhatti and a shop in the veranda. In dress and food they resemble Marathas, eating fish, fowls, and the flesh of the hare, deer and wild hog. They arc an orderly, sober, hard-working and even-tempered people. In religion, customs, and community they are the same as Marathas. They send their boys to school and are a poor people.
Buruds: Buruds or bamboo-workers are found in towns and large villages. According to their own account they arc descended from Kenshuka, whose father's name was Bhivar and his mother's Kuvinta, and they are said to have come into the district five or six generations back. They are dark and strong and the men wear the top-knot and moustaches. They speak Marathi both at home and abroad, and live in untidy and ill-cared-for grass huts or houses of stone and mud with flat or tiled roofs. The dress of the men and women is the same as live Mahar's dress. They are hard-working, patient, and forbearing, but intemperate and impulsive. They make bamboo baskets, mats, winnowing fans, and sieves, and a few make cane chairs and cots. In Pandharpur they find good employment in making fine bamboo sticks for the use of frankincense stick preparers. They belong to no particular sect, and worship all Hindu gods and goddesses, chiefly Ambabai, Jotiba, Khandoba and Satvai. Their priests are village Brahmans and they have no priests belonging to their own caste. They keep all Hindu lasts and feasts and believe in sorcery and witchcraft. Except that their guardian or devak is the mango-tree, branches of which are brought home and tied to the marriage hall, and that the
boy and girl are married on the earthen altar or ota, their marriage and funeral ceremonies are the same as those of Mahars and Mangs. They generally bury their dead. They allow widow marriage making over the first husband's children to his relations. They have a caste-council, and their headman, who is called mhetrya, decides social disputes in consultation with a few leading members of the caste. The fine generally takes the form of a caste-feast. They do not send their boys to school, and as their calling is not well paid, many have turned varkaris or Pandharpur holy time keepers and go about begging.
Chambhars: Chambhars or leather-workers are found all over the district. Their surnames are Dhodke, Kamble and Vaghmare. Families with the same surname eat together but do not inter-marry. They are generally rather fair with regular features and the men wear the top-knot and moustache, and a few the whiskers. They speak Marathi. They are hospitable and forbearing, but fond of drink, and proverbially lazy. They work in leather, cut and dye skins, make sandals, shoes and water-bags, and till the ground. The women help the men in drawing silk flowers and making silk borders to the shoes. They worship the ordinary Hindu gods and goddesses, and have house images of Bahiri, Jotiba, Khandoba and Mhasoba. They keep the usual Hindu fasts and feasts, and their priests are village Brahmans to whom they pay the greatest respect. The poor bury the dead and those who can afford it burn them. They allow widow marriage, the widower during the ceremony being seated on bullock harness and the widow on a low wooden stool. They have a caste-council and settle social disputes in presence of the headman. Formerly they did not send their boys to school but now-a-days there is considerable expansion of education among them.
Gavandis: Gavandis or masons are found all over the district. They are divided into Jingars, Jires, Kamathis, Marathas, Panchals and Sagars. A few Brahmans also work as masons. Of these, Jingars, Kamathis and Brahmans are found in very small numbers in the district, and Panchals are rare.
Jire Gavandis: Jire Gavandis are found only in Pandharpur and Sholapur. They are called Jires after their headman's surname who was the Bijapur kings' builder. They are said to have been Maratha husbandmen who were put out of caste because they refused to pay a fine which their caste-fellows levied on them for building mosques for the Adilshahi kings (1490-1686) at Bijapur. They say Marathas are willing to let them back, but that they do not wish to go back, because the Marathas have lately taken to eating, and in out-of-the-way places, marrying with Telis and Sangars. The Jires and Marathas eat together, and their married women or savashins attend feasts at one another's houses. They have Kadus or bastards among them, with whom they eat but do not inter-marry. The Jire surnames are Kamle, Pavar, Salunke and Surve, and families having the same
surname do not inter-marry. The names in common use among men are Apa, Balvanta, Ganpati and Rama; and among women Elubai, Ittai, Rakhumai and Subai. All belong to the sun family called Surygotra or Surugotra. Neither men nor women differ from cultivating Marathas in look, speech, house, dress or food. They eat fish and the flesh of goats, sheep, rabbits, hare, and fowls and their staple food is bajri, tur, jvari, milk, and every two or three days rice.
The Jires are hard-working, even-tempered, sober, thrifty, hospitable, contented and orderly. They are masons and husbandmen and their women mind the house. Their family-deities are Bhavani of Tuljapur, Jakhai and Jokhai, and Khandoba of Jejuri. They also worship all Brahmanical gods and goddesses, and keep the regular fasts and feasts. Their priests are the ordinary Maratha Brahmans before whom they bow and whom they worship as gods. Their gurus or religious teachers are either Gosavis or Brahmans. When a child or a grown person is initiated the teacher whispers into his right ear a sacred verse. A year or two after marriage they generally go and seek the advice of the teacher. Before a marriage can be fixed, the parties must ascertain that the boy and girl have different surnames and have not the same guardian or devak. When the Brahman has fixed a lucky evening for the wedding, word is sent to the girl's parents, and the boy's father sends invitations to relations and friends. Marriage booths are built at both houses. Except that an altar is built at the girl's, the preparations at both houses are the same. The marriage ceremony does not differ much from that of the Kunbis except for trivial formalities. Traditionally the Jires allow widow marriage and polygamy, though the latter custom is now banned by law. Their rituals pertaining to child-birth as also obsequies differ from the Kunbi gentry only in minor details. The power of caste has of late grown weak. The Jires can read and write Marathi both Balbodh and Modi, and keep their boys for long at schools. They are a steady and contented, if not a rising, class.
Sagar Gavandis: Sagar Gavandis claim to have come from Banaras in search of work to the Nizam's Hyderabad. Their caste-fellows are found near Hyderabad, some of them wearing sacred threads and dining in silk waistcloths. They occasionally come on pilgrimage from Hyderabad to Pandharpur when they dine with the Sholapur Sagars, but not unless the local Sagars dress in a silk or in a fresh washed waistcloth. They are said to have come into the district about three hundred and seventy-five years ago, and are divided into Sagars proper and Lekavlas or Kadus, that is, bastard Sagars who eat together but do not inter-marry. The names in common use among them are Govind. Nagu, Narayan and Narsu; and among women Bhagirthi, Kashi, Yamuna and Yashvada. Their surnames are Gadpate, Kalburge,
Kasle and Name; and families bearing the same surnames do not inter-marry. All belong to the Kashyap family-stock. Both men and women look like and dress like Maratha husbandmen. They eat fish and the flesh of sheep, goats, hare, rabbits and fowls, and their staple food is jvari, tur, bajri, and occasionally rice and wheat bread. Formerly all ate flesh whenever they could afford it without offering it to the gods. Many of them keep to the old practice, but some who have become varkaris or Pandharpur devotees, offer no sheep, goats or fowls, have given up eating flesh and drinking liquor, and have taken to wear a necklace of tulsi beads. The women wear the nose-ring, ear-rings, neck ornaments, bangles and toe-rings. Men wear a gold neckchain and finger rings, and boys up to fifteen wear wristlets. They are hard-working, even-tempered, sober, thrifty, hospitable and orderly. Besides by stone-cutting and house building some earn their living as husbandmen and some as labourers. Sagars claim Kshatriya descent though they admit they have fallen in social ranking. They eat with Marathas, Dhangars and Lingayat Vanis, but not with Lingayat Telis, Panchals, Jingars, Sonars, Kasars or low caste Hindus like Buruds, Mahars and Mangs. They are a religious people and worship Hindu gods and goddesses as well as Musalman saints and the tabuts or Muharram biers. Their family-deities are Balaji of Giri or Tirupati. Bhavani of Tuljapur, Jotiba of Ratnagiri, Khandoba of Jejuri, and Yallama of the Karnatak to whom they sometimes go to pay vows. Their priests are the ordinary Maratha Brahmans to whom they show the greatest respect. The gurus or teachers of some are Ramanujas and of others Shankaracharya. They are either Smarts or Vaishnavs and keep the usual Brahmanic fasts and feasts. They believe in sorcery, witchcraft and sooth-saying. Formerly they used to marry their girls between seven and twelve, and their boys between twelve and twenty-five. Sagar Gavandis are bound together by a strong caste-feeling. They have no headman, and settle social disputes at meetings of men of their own castes. The spread of English law and of lawyers has weakened the power of caste, and the people are afraid to enforce their rules by the old penalties. The Sagars have realised the necessity of educating the children. They are a steady class.
Ghisadis: Ghisadis or tinkers are found wandering over the whole district. They are said to have originally passed from Gujarat to Hyderabad and from Hyderabad, about five hundred years ago, to Sholapur in search of work. Their commonest surnames are Chavan, Kate, Khetri, Padval, Pavar, Shelar, Solanke and Suryavanshi, who eat together and inter-marry. They are said to have sprung from Vishvakarma, the framer of the universe, who brought out of fire the airan or anvil, the bhata or bellows, the sandas or tongs, the ghan or hammer, and the hatodi or small hammer. He taught the Ghisadis how to make the sudarshan chakra or Vishnu's discus, ban or arrow, trishul or trident, nal or horse-shoe, khadg or sword, and rath or war chariot. When these were prepared and approved by their master the caste came to be called Ghisadis and were told to make various tools and weapons of war. They are strong, dark, ditty, hot-tempered and hard-working. They speak a mixture of Gujarati and Marathi. They are wandering blacksmiths and tinkers. They have a betrothal ceremony which is performed one to five years before marriage. On the betrothal day, with kins-people and music, the girl is taken to the boy's house, is presented with new clothes and a full set of ornaments, is feasted and is sent back. The boy's father has to pay in cash to the girl's father. If the boy's father tails to pay the stipulated amount, the girl is offered to another boy. No second betrothal ceremony is performed. At the time of the marriage the boy stands with a dagger in his hand in front of the girl on an earthen altar and a cloth is held between the boy and the girl. The Brahmans repeat verses and they arc husband and wife. Four near relations stand on the four sides of the boy and girl and pass cotton thread round them on their thumbs, cut the threads into two parts and tie them with two turmeric roots to the wrists of the boy and the girl. Feasts are exchanged, and the boy takes his wife to her new home. They burn their dead and mourn for eleven days. They allow widow marriage. They settle social disputes at caste-meetings. They do not send their boys to school and take to no new pursuits. They are a poor class.
Karanjkars and Jingars: Karanjkars that is fountain-makers, including Jingars, that is saddlers, who call themselves Somvanshi Arya Kshatris, are found over the whole district. They say that the Brahmand and Bhavishyottar purans contain a full account of their origin. The founder of their caste was Mauktik, Mukdev or Mukteshvar, whose temple is in Shiv Kanchi or the modern Conjeveram in Madras. The spot where Mukteshvar bathed and prayed is called Muktamala Harini. Even two demons Chandi and Mundi were made holy by bathing there, and bathing at this spot still cleanses from sin. This place the Karanjkars hold to be sacred and make pilgrimages to it. They have no divisions and have eight family-stocks or gotras, the names of which are Angiras, Bharadvaj, Garg, Gautam, Kanv, Kaundanya. Valmik and Vasishth. Their surnames are Chavhan, Gadhe, Gavli, Honkalas. Kale, Kamble. Lohare, Vaghmare and Vasunde. Of these. Chavhans belong to the Vasishth gotra, Mukteshvar pravar, Rudragayatri. Rigved, and the colour of the horse and chariot is white or shvet. Families belonging to the same family-stock eat together but cannot
inter-marry. They have regular features and are neither dark nor fair. The men wear the top-knot and moustache and rub sandal on their brow. Their women, who are fair and pretty, tie the hair in a knot behind the head and rub red powder on their brows. The home-tongue of most is Marathi, but some speak
Kanarese both at home and abroad.
They are sober, thrifty, hard-working, even-tempered, hospitable, orderly and clever workers. They follow a variety of callings, making cloth-scabbards, and khogirs or pad-saddles and charjamas or cloth-saddles, but not leather-saddles. They make boxes and cradles, carve stones, paint and make figures of clay and cloth, pierce metal and paper plates, carve wood, make and repair padlocks, make and repair tin brass and copper pots, make gold and silver ornaments, cut diamonds, and make vinas or lyres and sarangis or fiddles and other musical instruments. A skilful workman seldom serves under another man. He opens a shop or works in partnership with his master. The Arya Kshatris always work to order, and keep no ready-made articles in stock. The merchants who want the articles give them the metal agreeing to pay them at so much a pound. Their work is not constant and few of them have capital. According to their calling Jingars are known as Chitaris, Jades, Lohars, Nalbands, Otaris or casters, Patvekars, Sonars, Sutars, Tambats, Tarkars or wire-drawers, and Tarasgars or scale-makers who eat together and inter-marry. They claim to be Somvanshi Kshatris and their claim is supported by deeds or sanads given to them by the Shankaracharya of Shringeri in Mysore. The Arya Kshatris are Smarts and keep images of their gods in their houses. Their priests are ordinary Brahmans, generally Deshasths to whom they pay great respect. They keep the usual Brahmanic fasts and feasts, and make pilgrimages to Banaras, Gaya. Jejuri, Shiv Kanchi, Tuljapur and Vishnu Kanchi near Rameshwar. and Mukteshvar near Shrivangapatam. Their teacher or guru is Shankaracharya whose chief monasteries are at Shringeri and Sankeshvar. Every two or three years his followers make Shankaracharya a money present. For her first child a young wife generally goes to her parents'. [For details of the mode of engagement, betrothal and marriage ceremony refer to the old Sholapur Gazetteer.]
The Jingars perform the thread-girding ceremony when the boy is between seven and nine in consultation with an astrologer. Among many other rituals they install the devak (marriage god) as among the Brahmans. They also follow many of the rituals as done by the Brahmans, which include Bikshaval, Sodmunj, etc. Formerly this ceremony used to last for three days, which is now summarily gone
through in a day. They also used to entertain guests with feasts and gondhal dance.
Arya Kshatris used to marry their girls in the past between five and eleven or on pain of loss of caste, at least before they came of age. Boys were married at any time and were generally married between twelve and eighteen. The parents limit the choice to families of the same caste, and among caste-fellows, to families of a different stock or gotra. The marriage rituals are not much different from other caste of equal social ranking. The marriage party from the boy's side (Varhad) goes to the girl's village and the usual ceremonies of simantpujan, exchange of garlands, lucky verses, madhupark, etc. are performed. The priests recite marriage verses, and at the end throw red rice on the heads of the couple and they are husband and wife. Betel is served, money is presented to Brahmans and other beggars, and the guests retire. The cloth and the sandal grind-stone are removed and the boy and the girl are seated on the low wooden stools on which they were standing. Five Brahmans sit round the couple, repeat verses, and taking a cotton thread dip it in water and pass it seven and nine times round the couple. The thread is divided in two and laid in a plate along with two turmeric roots and worshipped by the boy and girl. Turmeric roots are tied to the two threads, the thread of seven turns being tied to the girl's wrist and the thread of nine turns to the boy's wrist. This is called the tying of the wristlets or kankans, and silver toe-rings
or jodvis are also put round the girl's big toes. The boy and girl leave their places and are seated on the altar. The boy feeds the sacrificial fire with butter, and the girl feeds it with parched grain which her brother hands her. This ends the ceremony, and the boy and girl walk into the house. The ear-squeezing ceremony is not performed but on account of it the boy's father presents the girl's brother with a turban. The boy and girl dine in company with other children, and after the guests have all dined, the marriage day is over. On the morning of the second day the girl's kins-people accompanied by music go to the boy's and ask his party to a feast at their house. About twelve the girl's kins-men go to the boy's house with music and fetch the men to dine at their house. After the men have dined the women are brought and after dining they too retire. On the third day the same ceremonies are performed as on the second day except that the women walk on cloths which the washerwomen spread in front of them. The girl's mother washes the boy's mother's feet with warm water and presents her with a comb and five brass boxes and a washing pot or tast. Many trivial rituals take place which are but rarely observed these days. The Lakshmipujan or Lakshmi worship is performed with the same rites as among the Komtis. That night the girl stays at the boy's house. Next
morning the boy and girl bathe and are taken to the girl's house. The priest repeats verses, and the threads or kankans are untied from the wrists of the boy and girl. After some rituals the boy and girl are taken to the boy's house and the girl's parents and relations are feasted. Meanwhile at the boy's house the marriage gods are bowed out. Next day the marriage gods at the girl's house are bowed out and the boy's party are feasted. If their deity is the Tuljapur Bhavani a gondhal dance is held that night. After a copule of days the boy's party has a final feast and starts for its own village. [For details refer to the old Sholapur Gazetteer.]
Shortly before death a dying Jingar is laid on a blanket and his son sits with his father's head on his right knee. Water in which a Brahman's toe has been washed, a few drops of the Ganga water, and the five cow gifts are dropped into the dying mouth. When all is over relations gather round the dead and weep. A bamboo bier is made, and the body is brought out of the house, and its head is rubbed with butter, and warm water is poured over the body. After dressing body is taken to the burial-ground on a bier, where it is burnt. The after-death rites and obsequies differ from other principal castes of the same ranking only in minor details. They also perform the vedishraddha and shodashi shraddha. As a caste, they believe in performing in the traditional rituals, though the hold of tradition is declining with the passage of time. They are a clever class.
Kasars: Kasars are found in every large village and town. They are divided into Marathas and Jains, who neither eat together nor inter-marry. The Maratha Kasars look like high caste Hindus and speak Marathi. Except the Jain Kasars they eat fish and flesh. Both men and women dress like Maratha Brahmans. They are clean, neat, hard-working and orderly, and make vessels of copper, brass and tin. They also deal in glass bangles and make and sell wax bangles, in some of which they set small pieces of looking glass. They worship all Hindu gods and goddesses and keep the usual fasts and feasts, and their priests are the ordinary village Brahmans. They wear the sacred thread only at the time of marriage. Formerly they used to marry their girls before they were nine and their boys between twelve and sixteen. They hold their women impure for eleven days after child-birth, worship the goddess Satvai on the sixth, and name the child on the twelfth. They have lost much of their former trade and income from the competition of factory-made utensils, but on the whole are a well-to-do class. They have a caste-council and send their boys to school.
Khatris: Khatris are found in all sub-divisions. They claim to be Khatris and are said to have come from Cheul in Kolaba about
hundred and eighty years ago. The men are short, spare, fair and small-eyed; and the women are fair and short but not good-looking. Their home-tongue is Marathi though some times they speak a mixture of Kanarese, Gujarati and Hindustani. They are cotton and silk weavers, dyers and dealers in gold, silver, and silk lace. They worship the ordinary Hindu gods and goddesses, and their favourite house-hold gods arc Khandoba, Narsoba and Renuka. Their priests are ordinary Brahmans whom they treat with respect. They gird the boy with a sacred thread before he is ten years old, and marry him before he is twenty-five. They mourn ten days and on the twelfth feast the caste. They practise widow marriage and polygamy. Their social disputes are settled by a meeting of elderly caste-men in presence of their Brahman priests.
Koshtis: Koshtis or weavers are found all over the district. They are divided into Hatgars, Khatavans and Patnavals, and are said to have come from Mungi Paithan six to seven generations ago. Of the three divisions, the Hatgars and Patnavals are Lingayats and do not eat from the Khatavans. None of the three divisions inter-marry. They look and dress like Marathas and high caste Hindus. They speak Marathi. The Khatavans eat fish and flesh. The Hatgars and Patnavals are vegetarian and avoid spirits. They are hard-working, forbearing, hospitable and temperate. Koshtis, Salis, and Sangars, though of different castes, all follow the craft of weaving cotton and silk. They weave sheets, quilts, waistcloths, robes and turbans. Some are shopkeepers and others are labourers. Their women help in cleaning yarn and spinning. The competition of mill-made cloth depresses the Koshtis. Their house-gods are Khandoba, Mahadev, Vithoba. and the goddesses Ambabai, Jakhai, Kombai, Nalsaheb and Shivrai, and their priests are Brahmans. The priests of the Hatgars and Patnavals are Jangams. The Khatavan customs are the same as those of Maratha. They burn the married and bury the unmarried dead. The Koshtis have a caste-council and settle social disputes at caste-meetings.
Kumbhars: Kumbhars or potters are found in all towns and market villages. It is not known when they came into the district, but they are believed to have come with the Marathas as their potters. Most are Marathas but a few are Lingayats and Pardeshis. Except Pardeshis who speak Hindustani, both Lingayats and Marathas speak ordinary Marathi. Their daily food is jvari bread, split pulse and vegetables and except the Lingayats, all eat fish and flesh and drink liquor. The men wear a pair of drawers reaching to the knee, a smock, a waist-cloth, turban, and blanket, and the women a robe and bodice. They are hard-working, patient, forbearing and hospitable. Their wives never help them in their work, but they make hearths or chuls. They are
a poor class, living from hand to mouth, and bartering their wares for grain.
Kumbhars do not gird their boys with the sacred thread. At the marriage time they rub the boy's and girl's bodies with turmeric at their houses. Their marriage guardian or devak is the thapatne or bat-shaped piece of wood with which they beat their pots to harden them before baking. To their marriage Lingayat Kumbhars call both a Jangam and a Brahman priest. Other Kumbhars call only a Brahman priest. During the night the boy and girl are seated on a bullock and paraded through the village. [This custom is not in much vogue now.] Feasts and return feasts are given and the marriage ceremony is over. They bury their dead and carry the body in a cloth slung from the shoulders of two men. Lingayat Kumbhars mourn for three and other Kumbhars for seven days. They have a headman or mhetar who settles all social disputes in the presence of the caste-men. They are a poor class.
Lakheris: Lakheris or lac workers are found in the town of Sholapur. They are Marwad Vanis who are said to have come into the district about one hundred and seventy years ago to trade in lac bracelets. They say they are Kshatris, and their surnames arc Bagdis of Jaypur, Chavaris of Ajmir, Povars of Ujain, and Sisodes of Udepur. Their stocks or gotras are Gautami Kashyap, and Vasishth; persons bearing the same surname do not inter-marry. They are the same as Marwad Vanis, look like them, wear their hair like them, with a top and two ear knots, the moustache and whiskers, and some the beard. Their home-tongue is Marwadi, but out-of-doors they speak good Marathi. Their staple food is bajri and wheat. They are notorious for the amount of butter they consume at feasts mixed with sugar. They have no objection to eat fish and flesh. Both men and women dress like Marwad Vanis and the women wear lac bangles or chudas and occasionally a couple of glass bangles. They make eight kinds of bracelets kangnis, todas, gots, chudas, gangajamnis, gajras, raymanis and chhavds. Their work is not constant and they work to order. The craft is hereditary and their women and children help. They say a good workman can make three thousand bracelets or chudas in four or five days. They are either Shaivs or Vaishnavs, and their priests are the ordinary Maratha Brahmans. They do not perform thread ceremony, and marry their girls after they come of age. They allow widow marriage, burn the dead and mourn ten days. They have caste-councils.
Lohars: Lohars or blacksmiths are found in all villages and towns. They are divided into Akuj, Kalsabad, Kamle, Pokalghat, Parvale, Shinde and Tingare, who neither eat together nor inter-marry. They
are dark and strong and speak Marathi. They eat fish and fiesh and dress like cultivating Marathas, and make and repair the iron work of ploughs and carts. They also make pick-axes, spoons, iron vessels, and nails. Their house-deities are Bhavani, Khandoha, Jotiba and Mahadev, and their priests are Maratha Brahmans. They keep the chief Hindu fasts and feasts. They marry their girls before they are eleven, and their boys between fifteen and twenty. Their devaks or marriage guardians are sandas or a pair of tongs, the hatoda or hammer, and the panch palvis or five tree-leaves which they tie to a post of the marriage hall and worship. At the time of marriage thread bracelets or kankans and turmeric roots are tied to the wrists both of the boy and the girl, and after the marriage ceremony, are untied by washerwomen at the boy's and girl's houses. They also tie marriage brow-horns or bashings to the boy's and girl's brows, and in addition, gird the boy with the sacred thread. On the fourth day after marriage the girl's lap is filled with rice and sesamum seed or til balls. After the marriage the marriage ornaments and sacred thread are removed and are never again used. They either bury or burn the dead and mourn ten days. They settle social disputes at meetings of the caste-men.
Lonaris: Lonaris or cement-makers are found all over the district. Their surnames are Bule, Dage, Gadse, Gaganmal, Gavne, Ged, Gudal, Jhadge, Kalarkar, Karche, Korde, Khandekar, Khilari, Kolal, Lagad, Munje, Notraliparkar, Pharkar, Shelki, Thire and Vag, who eat together and inter-marry. They are strong and robust. They make and sell cement and charcoal and also work as labourers. Their women help by hawking cement and charcoal. Their chief god is Mahadev, and they have house-images of Ambabhavani, Bahiroba and Khandoba. They keep the usual Hindu fasts and feasts and their priests are the ordinary Deshasth Brahmans. They have betrothals, and if the boy's parents are poor, they present the girl with a rupee and the ceremony is over. They marry their girls before they come of age, and the day before the marriage offer a sheep to the family-god. At the time of the marriage the girl is made to stand on a grind-stone or pata, and the boy on a coil of rope. A cloth is held between them, paper brow horns or bashings are tied to their brows, at the end of the marriage verses the Brahman priest and other guests throw rice over their heads and the boy and girl are husband and wife. They are seated on the altar or bahule, the hems of their garments are knotted together, and presents of clothes are exchanged. Feasts and return feasts are given, the girl bows to the village Maruti, and walks with the boy to his house. They burn their dead, mourn ten days, offer rice-balls on the eleventh, and end the mourning with a feast. They have a caste-council, and a feast or a low bow admits the guilty back into caste.
Niralis: Niralis or indigo-dyers are found in towns and large villages. They are divided into Niralis proper and Kadus or bastards who eat together but do not inter-marry. Their surnames are Chitrakar, Kadge, Kalaskar, Kandarkar, Mehetar, Misal and Nakil. The traditional founder of their caste was one Prakash who was the son of a Kukut mother and an Abhir father. Their home-tongue is Marathi. They prepare indigo and dye yarn, some weave and others serve as day-labourers. Their women and children help in untying the bundles of yarn and keeping them well reeled. Their priests are ordinary Maratha Brahmans, and their chief deities are Ambabai, Khandoba and Vyankoba. They worship the usual Hindu gods and goddesses, have images in their houses, and keep the regular fasts and feasts. At the time of betrothal, the boy's parents present the girl with a robe and bodice and with silver and gold ornaments. A day before the marriage the boy and girl are rubbed with turmeric at their houses, booths are raised, and caste-fellows feasted. During the marriage the boy and girl are made to stand on low wooden stools in front of each other, a cloth is held between them, and when the priests have repeated the marriage verses and the guests have thrown red rice over their heads they become husband and wife. Niralis either bury or burn the dead. The body is carried either slung in a cloth or on a bier. They mourn ten days, offer balls to the spirit of the dead, and feast caste-fellows on the thirteenth on rice and wheat bread. They allow and practise widow marriage and polygamy.
Otaris: Otaris or casters are found in towns. They look, speak arid dress like Maratha husbandmen. They eat fish and flesh. They are hard-working, hospitable and orderly. They make molten images of Hindu gods, copper and brass ornaments, and vessels. Except that their goddess Satvai is offered cakes or mutkis of bajri flour on the fifth day after child-birth, and that their devak or marriage guardian is a pardi or pair of scales and panch palvis or the leaves of five trees, their customs are the same as those of cultivating Marathas. They burn their dead, allow widow marriage and practise polygamy.
Panchals: Panchals are found only in Madha. They give three explanations of the name Panchal, first that they are composed of five classes: goldsmiths, coppersmiths, blacksmiths, carpenters, and masons; second, that the word comes from panch five and al to melt because they melt gold, silver, copper, brass and zinc; and third that they have only five stocks or gotras, Abhuvan, Pratan, Sanag, Sanatan and Suparn. They say they are sprung from Vishvakarma the framer of the universe, and that they came to the district two hundred years ago. They are divided into Kasars or coppersmiths, Lohars or iron-smiths, Patharvats or masons, Sonars or goldsmiths, and Sutars or carpenters who neither eat together nor inter-marry. Their surnames are Dharmadhikari, Kshirsagar, Mahamuni, Pandit and Vedpathak; and persons bearing the same surname eat together but do not intermarry. The names in common use among men are Govind, Narhari, Raghunath, Vaman and Vishnu; and among women Chandrabhaga, Ganga, Mathura, Sarasvati and Savitri. They are strong and fair, and especially the Sonars, look like Brahmans. They speak an incorrect drawling Marathi both at home and abroad. Their staple food is millet, rice, pulse and vegetables, and they are fond of chillis and hot spices. They are generally hard-working and thrifty, but hot-tempered. They are goldsmiths, coppersmiths, blacksmiths, carpenters. masons, husbandmen, and clerks and writers. Their calling is steady and well paid, but owing to heavy marriage expenses they are generally in debt. They consider themselves equal, if not superior, to the local Brahmans and do not eat or drink either with them or from them. The local Brahmans term them Shudras, and hold them lower than Kunbis. Panchals worship all the Brahmanic gods and goddesses. Their family-deities are Bhavani of Tuljapur, Kalmadevi of the Karnatak, Khandoba of Jejuri, and Vyankoba of Giri. Their family priests, who are members of their own community, are held in. high respect. They keep the usual Brahmanic fasts and feasts and go on pilgrimage to Banaras, Jejuri, Pandharpur and Tuljapur. They gird their boys with a sacred thread when they are between seven and nine. Formerly the thread-girding ceremony was elaborate which is now gone through hurriedly.
A girl is married between eight and twelve and a boy between twelve and twenty-five. Marriage was formerly celebrated on a larger scale [For details refer to the former edition of the Sholapur Gazetteer.] than at present, and the ceremony used to last 2/3 days. The rituals of simantpujan, madhupark, varat, kanyadan, kankan-bandhan, laxmipujan, sacrificial fire, navagrahapujan and many others are performed. A feast is held in honour of the guests and the marriage party. Panchals burn their dead. The dying man is laid on a blanket strewn with darbh grass. The body is carried on a bier, and the usual rituals are performed at the burial-ground. Their customs as regards after-death rites and obsequies do not differ much from those of other Hindu castes of equal status.
Patharvats: Patharvats or masons are found over the whole district. They look like Marathas, speak Marathi, live in mud and stone houses, and eat fish and flesh. They make stone pillars, handmills, grind-stones, rolling-pins and images of gods and also work as stone masons and carriers. They worship the usual Hindu gods and goddesses
and keep the regular fasts and feasts. Their priests are the ordinary Maratha Brahmans, and their customs are the same as those of Marathas. They marry their widows and burn their dead. They had a caste-council.
Patvekar: Patvekars or tassel-makers are found in the town of Sholapur. They look, speak and dress like Marathas and like them eat fish and flesh and drink liquor. They are hard-working, orderly people and make silk threads for necklaces, and other head, hand and waist ornaments. They string and fix gems or beads on silk or cotton threads, and make fringes tassels and netted work. They make silk and cotton waistcords called katdoras or kargotas to which high caste boys a short time after their thread ceremony and all Marathas fasten the loincloth or langoti. They work from sunrise to sunset. Their work is constant. The craft is hereditary and the women do not help them. Their boys begin to work at twelve and are skilled workers by sixteen. They also work as day-labourers and some of them are musicians.
Rangaris: Rangaris or dyers are found in towns and large villages. They say they were originally Kshatris, and that their ancestors who were twin brothers, on being pursued by Parashuram, hid in a temple belonging to the goddess Ambabai and sought the goddess' protection. The goddess gave one brother a piece of thread and a needle, and the other a paint which she spat at him and told the one to sew and the other to dye. Meanwhile Parashuram begged the goddess to make over to him the two Kshatris, but she denied all knowledge of them and Parashuram had to go back disappointed. From that time the sewer became a Shimpi and the dyer a Rangari. Their surnames are Bagre, Kunthe, Nikte, Rashankar and Sarvade, who eat together but do not marry with people who have the same surname. Among their family-stocks or gotras are Gangav Rishi and Vasishth. They look, speak and dress like Marathas. A Rangari's house can be known by the high four-legged stool or jhanji which is generally kept on the veranda and also from dyed turbans and robes hung to dry on ropes or poles. They say they prepare thirty-six colours. They do not dye black and look down on and refuse to touch any one who dyes black. They have house-images of Ambabai, Davud Malik, Ganpati, Khandoba and Mahadev and their priests are ordinary Maratha Brahmans. They keep the usual Hindu fasts and feasts. Their women are not held impure after child-birth. They worship the goddess Satvai on the fifth and if the child is a girl name her on the twelfth, and if a boy on the thirteenth. They marry their girls between five and ten and their boys between five and twenty. If a girl remains unmarried till after she comes of age her whole family is put out of caste. They either burn or bury the dead. They mourn ten days and the chief
mourner gets his moustache shaved either on the tenth or on the twelfth day after a death. They give a feast to their caste-fellows on the thirteenth. They had a caste-council in the past which used to settle caste-disputes. Breaches of caste rules were punished by fines.
Rauls: Rauls or tape-makers are found scattered over the whole district. They say the founders of their caste were Adinath and Machhindra-nath. They look and dress like Marathas and Gosavis. It is sometimes difficult to tell a Raul from a Gosavi. Their surnames are Abdule, Chavhan, Gaikavad, Jadhav, Kavad, Naikjavle, Povar and Salunke. All of these eat together, but the Abdules and Jadhavs do not marry with the rest. When they do not cover themselves with ashes, wear the hair long and matted and the beard and whiskers, they look like Marathas; otherwise they do not differ from Gosavis. They speak Marathi both at home and abroad. They are clean, neat, hard-working and
orderely. They weave strips of coarse cotton cloth, and girdles, tape, wallets, purses, and coarse cloth bags. They are Shaivs of the Gorakh panth or sect and their fasts and feasts are the same as those of Marathas. They worship Bahiroba, Devi, Khandoba, the bottom or patar of a dried gourd, the trishul or trident, the dried gourd or tumba cut at the head or the begging bowl, and the shankh or conch-shell. They carry a whistle or shringi hung to a woollen string or saili, wear ear ornaments called mudras and a necklace of manshankh or rudraksh beads. Their betrothals and their guardians or devaks are the same as among Marathas and except that the Gurav repeats the words dhan properly dhyan that is attention in the boy's cars after die marriage ceremony, their ceremonies are the same as those of Marathas. They allow widow marriage, and bury the dead carrying the body slung from a pole. The body is dressed in ochre-coloured clothes and in front of the body one of them goes blowing a conch-shell or shankh. They repeat the word Gorakh while carrying the body, and their women accompany the men to the grave. After the body is laid in the grave, the chief mourner pours a little water into its mouth and the grave is filled. They feast the caste on the thirteenth day after a death.
Tanners: Saltangars or tanners are found only in Karmala. They are a wandering tribe of Marwadis, and are said to have come into the district from Marwad some centuries ago. They are generally good-looking, fair and robust and the men wear the moustache and a few the beard. They speak a mixture of Hindi and Marwadi. They are hardworking and hospitable. The men tan hides and skins, deal in cattle and go about selling them in market villages. Their god is Balaji or Vyankoba and they keep the eleventh of each fortnight as a fast day. They mourn ten days and allow widow marriage.
Salis: Salis or weavers are found all over the district, but especially in towns and large villages. They are dark and tall, and speak Marathi. They are hard-working, even-tempered, courteous and hospitable and weave turbans, quilts or pasodis and waistcloths: a few are money-lenders and the rest day-labourers. They eat flesh but their staple food is jvari, pulse and vegetables. They do not allow widow marriage. Their family-gods are Ambabai. Jotiba, Khandoba and Mahadev, and their priests are ordinary Maratha Brahmans. They have a caste-council and settle social disputes at meetings of the caste-men.
Sangars: Sangars or wool-weavers are found over the whole district. They are divided into Sangars proper, Dhangar Sangars and Mahar Sangars. The surnames of the Sangars are Dhoble, Gonjare, Karande, Palshande and Raul who eat together but do not inter-marry. They cannot tell when or whence they came into the district, neither can they give an account of their origin. They look like Marathas and speak Marathi. They dress like Marathas and the women do not pass the end of the robe back between the feet. They weave and sell blankets and serve as day-labourers. Their house-gods are like those of Marathas and their priests are both Brahmans and Jangams to whom they pay great respect. They have betrothals and their marriages are not very costly. They have no rule that girls must be married before they come of age. Both Jangams and Brahmans conduct their marriages, and one after the other repeat marriage verses. At the end rice grains are thrown over the boy and girl and they are husband and wife. As a rule they bury the dead but a lying-in woman who dies within fifteen days of child-birth is burnt. In all cases a Jangam walks before the body ringing a bell. They have a caste-council.
Sonars: Sonars or goldsmiths are found over the whole district. They are divided into Panchal Sonars and Lad Sonars and Dasiputras or bastards born of Panchal and Lad Sonars, who do not eat together or inter-marry. The surnames of the Panchals are Dahale, Jojari Kulthe, Dolge, Misal, Shahale, Tak and Udvant, and the Panchal's family-stocks are Abuvan, Pratan Sanag, and Suparn. They look like local Brahmans. Panchals are vegetarians and Lads and Dasiputras eat fish or flesh. Panchals dress like Brahmans and Lads and Dasiputras like Marathas, and their women like Maratha women, do not pass the skirt of the robe between the feet. They are hard-working, frugal, polite and hospitable and generally they make gold and silver ornaments, and set precious stones. Their position in the local caste list is below Vaishyas, but they claim place next to Brahmans and some even rank themselves above Deshasth, Konkanasth and other Deccan Brahmans; Kshatriyas and Vaishyas hold aloof from them,
only Shudras eat from their hands. Of late their efforts to imitate Brahmans have increased.
Panchal Sonars have priests of their own caste, the others employ the ordinary village Brahmans. Their favourite deities arc Bhavani, Ganpati, Mahadev and Vyankatesh. They have image of their gods in their houses. Except the Panchals, Sonars do not gird their boys with the sacred thread. Their guardian or devak is the savana or pincers and the panch palvis or the five tree-leaves. They marry their children standing on low wooden stools and holding cocoanuts in their hands. They burn the dead, and except the Panchals who do not bathe the body they pour warm water over the corpse before laying it on the bier. Panchals forbid and Lads and Dasiputras allow widow marriages. Ail have caste-councils and the Panchals give their priests the fines inflicted for breaches of caste rules.
Sutars: Sutars or carpenters are found over the whole district. They are divided into Arya Kshatri Sutars, Brahman Sutars, Mahar Sutars, Mang Sutars, Maratha Sutars, Panchal Sutars, Shiv Brahma Sutars and Vidur or Kadu, that is, Bastard Sutars.
Most Sholapur Sutars are Vidur or Kadu and Shiv Brahma Sutars. Kadu Sutars say that other people call them Dasiputra Sutars, Akar-mase Sutars, Shinde Sutars or Vidur Sutars all words meaning bastards or of illegitimate birth. They call themselves Maratha Sutars or simply Marathas, and eat and sometimes marry with cultivating Marathas. They say that the origin of the caste was a young good-looking Maratha widow who had an only son, lived with a Sutar widower, and got the boy married to bastard Maratha girl. Their surnames are Chavhan, Jadhav, Mise and Povar; one of their family-stocks is Kashyap. They are like Marathas in all respects. They are carpenters, husbandmen, labourers and messengers. Their customs are the same as those of Marathas; they have a caste-council.
Shiv Brahma Sutars belong to the Abhavany and Manujay family-stocks or gotras and their surnames are Bamne, Kashikar and Morajkar. They are said to belong to Sankhli and Dicholi about 50 miles from Goa and say that their ancestors came to Sholapur two or three hundred years ago to avoid the tyranny of the Portuguese. They have still relations near Goa and they still go there to get their children married. They are tall, dark and thin and look more like Shudras than Brahmans. The men wear a large gold ring in the upper part of the right ear like Konkan or Deccan Marathas. They are clean, neat, hard-working, thrifty and orderly. Their chief deities are Kalamma and Mahadev and they keep house-images of their gods. Their priests are Deshasth Brahmans, and they keep the usual Hindu fasts and feasts. They marry their girls before they are ten and their
boys between fifteen and twenty. They burn their dead, forbid widow marriage, and practise polygamy. Their social disputes are settled at caste-meetings.
Shimpis: Shimpis or tailors are found all over the district They are divided into Jain Shimpis, Namdev Shimpis and Rangari Shimpis, of whom Rangaris eat from Jains and Namdevs, Jains neither eat from Namdevs nor Rangaris, and Namdevs eat from Jains but not from Rangaris. They are a Marathi-speaking people. The Jains avoid flesh and liquor; the Namdevs and Rangaris eat flesh. They dress like cultivating Marathas and especially the women are clean, neat, orderly and hard-working. Their customs are the same as those of Marathas and they allow widow marriage. Their house-deities are Ambabai, Bahiroba, Khandoba and Vithoba, and their priests are village Brahmans. They settle social disputes at caste-meetings.
Tambats: Tambats or coppersmiths are found all over the district. They say they came into the district about hundred and forty years ago from the Konkan in search of work. They have no sub-divisions. The names of their family-stocks are Bharadvaj, Bhargav and Kashyap and their surnames are Bode, Dhamdhare, Gondle, Hajare, Kadu, Pimple, Samle and Vadke; families bearing the same gotra
or family-stock eat together but do not inter-marry. The names in common use among men are Govind, Lakshman, Pandurang and Rama; and among women Chandra, Gita, Godavari and Sita. They are dark, middle-sized and hardy, and speak Marathi both at home and abroad. They are not neat or clean in their habits but are hard-working, thrifty, orderly, sober and hospitable. They make vessels of copper, brass and tin and tin cooking vessels. They claim to be Brahmans, and avoid flesh and liquor. The Tambats are a religious class, worshipping the usual Hindu deities and keeping the regular fasts and festivals. Their priests are Deshasth Brahmans who officiate at their houses. They go on pilgrimage to Banaras, Jejuri, Pandharpur and Tuljapur. Their family-deities are Narsoba of Narsingpur, Khandoba of Jejuri, Bhavani of Tuljapur, and Amjai, Mimjai and Satvai in the Konkan. They gird their boys with the sacred thread between eight and twelve and marry their boys between twelve and twenty-five. Their thread-girding and marriage ceremonies are generally the same as those of Maratha Brahmans.
Tambolis: Tambolis or betel-sellers are found in the town of Sholapur. In appearance, speech, house, food and dress they do not differ from cultivating Marathas. They grow betel leaves and sell them retail. They say they are Kunbis rather than Tambolis. They worship all Hindu gods and goddesses and keep the regular fasts and festivals. They allow and practise child and widow marriage and polygamy, and their customs social and religious are the same as Maratha customs.
They burn their dead and mourn ten days. They have a caste-council.
Telis: Telis or oil-pressers are found all over the district. They are divided into Lads, Lingdas or Lingayats, Mirjis, Pardeshis and Tuljapuris, who neither eat together nor inter-marry. The Tuljapuris look like Marathas and their home-tongue is Marathi. They do not eat fish or flesh. Both men and women dress like Marathas, the women without drawing the end of the robe back between the feet. They are dirty but hard-working and thrifty. They press sesamum seed, kardai seed, and groundnuts. They worship the ordinary Hindu gods, and their house-deities are Ambabai, Jotiba and Khandoba. Their priests are the ordinary village Brahmans and Lingdas
in addition employ Jangams. Except that the Lingda women after child-birth become impure for five days and tie a ling to the child's neck on the fifth, their ceremonies are the same as Maratha ceremonies. Besides the ling ceremony the Lingdas worship Satvai on the fifth day like other Telis and name their children on the twelfth. Except that their devak or guardian is the iron bar or pahar and the stone oil-mill or ghana, their customs are the same as those of Marathas. The marriage priests of all Telis are the ordinary village Deshasth Brahmans. The Lingdas carry their dead in a bag or jholi behind a Jangam who blows a conch-shell. The Telis bury their dead, mourn three days and offer no balls. They allow widow marriage and practise polygamy. Their headman or mhetar settles social disputes in presence of the council or panch.
Servants: Servants include two castes, viz-, Nhavis and Parits.
Nhavis: Nhavis or barbers, also called Variks or time-keepers, are found all over the district. They are divided into Maratha, Telangi, Lingayat, Pardeshi, Marwadi and Gujarati Nhavis. The following particulars apply to Maratha Nhavis only who are divided into Konkanis and Deccanis who eat together but do not inter-marry. Their customs are the same as Maratha customs. They marry their girls between ten and fourteen and their boys between fifteen and twenty. The marriage ceremony lasts four days. They allow widow marriage, practise polygamy, worship the ordinary Hindu gods and goddesses, keep the regular fasts and feasts, and employ the local Maratha Brahmans as their priests. They settle social disputes at caste-meetings.
Parits: Parits or washermen are found in small numbers all over the district. They have no memory of any former home and are divided into Lingayats, Marathas, and Telangis who neither eat together nor inter-marry. The following details apply chiefly to Maratha Parits. Their personal names and surnames are the same as those of Maratha Kunbis and they do not differ from local Kunbis in look, speech, house, dress or character. Parits belong to the class of balutedars and rank low in the social scale. Their social and religious customs are the same as those of local Kunbis. Early marriage,
polygamy, and widow marriage are allowed and polyandry is unknown. They have a caste-council and settle social disputes at caste-meetings.
Musicians: Musicians include three castes, viz., Ghadshis, Guravs and Holars.
Ghadshis: Ghadshis or musicians are found in towns and large villages. They are a dark people and look like cultivating Marathas. They speak and dress like Marathas and have the same customs. They are musicians, songsters and beggars. They act the part of Bhats and Bahurupis, and imitate half-naked Gosavis and Bairagis.
Guravs: Guravs or priests are found in small numbers all over the district. They are divided into Khatavni and Nakhatavni, who neither eat together nor inter-marry. They speak Marathi. They neither eat fish nor flesh, and their staple food is jvari, pulse and vegetables. They are clean in their habits, hard-working, even-tempered and hospitable. They serve at the shrines of the village gods. They make leaf-cups and plates and are excellent musicians. They wear the sacred thread, and their chief gods are Ambabai, Khandoba, Mahadev and Maruti. Their priests are ordinary Maratha Brahmans whom they
show great respect. They gird their boys with the sacred thread. Their guardian or devak is the leaves of the vad or banyan tree which they tie to a post of the marriage hall and worship. The boy and girl are married standing face to face and a cloth is held between them. When the Brahman priest has finished the marriage verses, and the guests have thrown rice over their heads, they are husband and wife. Feasts are exchanged on both sides, and the boy walks with his bride to his village. They burn their dead dressing the body in a green robe and bodice if the deceased is a married woman.
Holars: Holars, apparently meaning field men or sons of soil, are found over the whole district. They are divided into Ayavle, Birlinge, Garode, Gijge, Gulik, Javir, Kamle, Karde, Halmane, Namdase, Parsha and Vagar, who all eat together but do not inter-marry. They are like Mangs, dark, tall and strong. They speak Marathi both at home and abroad. In food and dress they are the same as Mangs, and are hard-working, dirty and when they can afford it, drunken. They are shoe and sandal makers, leather-dressers, tillers, musicians, and day-labourers. Betrothal takes place before marriage, and they generally marry their girls between five and fifteen and their boys between twelve and twenty. They have a great fondness for child marriage but their poverty often prevents them satisfying their and their women's wishes. They allow widow marriage, but the ceremony is always held in dark nights, and no one will look at the newly-married couple's face till the Sun has been up four or five hours. They bury their dead, but say they would burn them if they could afford it. In religion they are the same as Mangs, worshipping all Hindu gods and goddesses,
especially Bahiroba, Damrai, Janai, Jokhai, Khandoba and Satvai. Their priests are the ordinary village Brahmans whom they greatly respect. They have a caste-council and their social disputes are settled at caste-meetings.
Shepherds: Shepherds include two castes, Dhangars and Gavlis.
Dhangars: Dhangars or shepherds, literally cow-keepers, are found over the whole district. They are said to have come to Sholapur during the great Durgadevi famine (1396-1408) from the valley of the Man river in north-east Satara. They are divided into Barges or Bandes, Hatgars and Khutegars or Khutes, who neither eat together nor inter-marry. The chief Dhangar surnames are Bhage, Chendke. Duble, Gadekar, Kore, Murle and Rayural. They are dark, large, and well-featured. Their home-tongue is Marathi. They are neither neat nor clean in their dress. The men are strong, sturdy, simple, hospitable, orderly, dirty and rough. Their women are brave and hard-working. The Khutegars are weavers and the Hatgars sell milk, butter, clarified butter, and wool, sell sheep and goats and make and sell country blankets. The Barges are husbandmen. Some Dhangars also work as brick-layers, day-labourers, petty shop-keepers, messengers, writers and a few are money-lenders and cloth merchants. Besides goats and sheep they own cows and buffaloes. Their chief gods are Bahiroba of Raji in the Indi sub-division of Bijapur, Bhuloba, Khandoba of Jejuri, Tukai of Tuljapur, and Yemai of Mardi in Sholapur. Dhangars worship the ghosts of their deceased ancestors and keep ancestral images in their houses. On Dasara day they go to the temple of the god Hedamdev in waste land with music and one of them gets possessed and strikes himself with a naked sword but is not wounded. Those who are present throw wool and pieces of cocoa-kernel over their heads and all dance and sing. They have Brahman priests who officiate at their marriage and death ceremonies. They keep the usual Hindu holidays and fast on the elevenths of every lunar month. They marry their boys between five and fifteen and their girls at any time before they come of age. Their marriage customs are the same as those of cultivating Marathas, except that the bride sends to the boy a present of about two hundred stuffed cakes. Most Dhangars bury the dead, but those who can afford it burn them. A woman who dies in child-birth is always buried. A feast is given on the twelfth day after death. They have a caste-council and settle social disputes at caste-meetings.
Gavlis: Gavlis or milkmen are found all over the district. They are divided into Bijapur Gavlis, Kunbi Gavlis, and Nagarkar Gavlis who neither eat together nor inter-marry. The Bijapur and the Nagarkar Gavlis are Lingayats. The Kunbi Gavlis were formerly in the service
of the Bijapuris. They have established themselves as Gavlis but eat,
drink, marry and associate with Kunbis from whom they differ in no respect. The chief surnames among the Bijapur and Nagarkar Gavlis ore Aglave, Ajidvani, Bashkar, Bahervadi. Bhaganagdi, Chipkar, Dhajaie, Divte, Gadya-Palatukar, Ghule, Ghungre, Gholi, Gisal, Huchche, Jangavli, Kalagate, Lakdya, Langute, Malkunaik, Namdhe, Pangud. Sathe, Shadapure and Sholapure. The Gavlis look like Marathas and speak Marathi. They are dirty in their habits, but hard-working and thrifty. The men wear the ling in their turbans. They generally carry betel and tobacco in a pouch or batva with bells tied to it. They marry their girls between six and twelve and their boys some time before they are twenty-five. Before marriage they have the same magni or asking ceremony as among cultivating Marathas. Formerly they used to have a very elaborate method of celebrating the magni ceremony as also the marriage ceremony, the details of which are furnished in the old Sholapur Gazetteer.
On the marriage day the boy is dressed in new clothes, goes on a bullock to the village Maruti with kins-men and kins-women, friends and music, makes a bow, and goes straight to the girl's house where he and the bride are seated together on a blanket in front of the altar or bahule. Brahmans repeat verses and when the verses are ended throw rice over the pair and they are husband and wife. Betel is served and the guests retire. Next day a feast is held at the boy's and on the day after at the girl's. The boy and girl are presented with clothes and seated on the shoulders of two men, who dance while musicians play and the boy and girl pelt each other with sweet scented powder. Formerly when the boys and girls were married at an early age they were seated on the shoulders of a man who was called kotvalghoda or the police commissioner's horse and he danced to music.
Except women who die in child-birth Gavlis bury the dead. The body is carried sitting in a bamboo frame, the grave is dug, and sprinkled with cowdung and cow urine and water in which a Jangam's feet have been washed. The body is lowered into the grave and the Jangam goes into the grave, drops some water in which his toe has been dipped into the dead mouth, places the
lingam which the dead wore in his clasped hands, and comes out. The grave is filled with earth up to the corpse's neck, from that till the head is covered it is filled with salt, and above that with earth. When they come home the mourning family are impure for three days, and on the fourth day are purified by drinking a mixture of cow's urine, dung, milk, curds, sugar and honey. They worship all the usual Hindu gods, and chiefly Ambabai, Khandoba, and Krishna, and fast on Mondays, on the elevenths of every lunar month, and on Gokulashtami in August and Anant Chaturdashi in September. Their priests are Jangams
whom they hold in great respect. They call caste-meetings to settle social disputes. Caste,, offences are punished with fine and after the fine is paid the offender drinks water in which Jangam's toe has been washed, and is pure.
Fishers: Fishers include two castes: Bhois and Kolis.
Bhois: Bhois or fishers are found in towns and large villages. They are divided into Maratha Bhois who speak. Marathi and Pardeshi Bhois who speak Hindustani. The following particulars apply to Pardeshi Bhois:-They are a lazy and dirty people, earning their living as fishers and day-labourers, the women helping the men in selling the fish. Their chief god is Vyankoba. They keep all Hindu holidays, and their priests are ordinary village Brahmans.
On the marriage day Pardeshi Bhois fix a post in the ground in the middle of the booth, and place near the post a new earthen jar filled with cold water. When the boy comes to the girl's house, he and the girl are bathed in the booth with the cold water from the jar, and they are seated near the post. The Kulkarni or any other Brahman repeats marriage verses, throws grains of rice over their heads, and they walk five times round the post and the boy goes walking with the bride to his house with kins-folk, friends and music. Their marriage guardian or devak is the Sun god or Surya. They allow widow marriage and either bury or burn the dead. Their chief deities are Ambabai, Bahiroba and Khandoba; and their great holiday is Shivratra in February. Their headman who is called Chaudhari, settles social disputes and levies fines. When a fine is recovered the headman is presented with a turban, and the rest is spent in a feast.
Kolis: Kolis are found all over the district. According to a book called the Malutarangranth, Shalivahan, with his minister Ramchandra Udavant Sonar, sent four Koli chiefs from Paithan to Sholapur, to punish a rebel in the Dindirvan forest. After the rising was put down the Koli chiefs were placed in charge of the forest and the country round, and were ordered to maintain themselves by carrying on the work of boatmen and by acting as priests in all Mahadev temples. Afterwards two more chiefs with their families and the parents of the four original chiefs came and settled in the district. The names of the four original chiefs were Abhangrav, Adhatrav, Nehetrav and Parchande, and these with a few others have become Koli surnames. The Kolis are divided into Maratha and Panbhari or Pan Kolis who cat together and inter-marry. [Besides these two classes of Kolis some Kamathis from the Balaghat hills in the Nizam's country call themselves Mahadev Kolis. Most speak Marathi out-of-doors, but in many families the home-speech is Telugu. This class is interesting as they apparently are the origin of the Mahadev Kolis of the Ahmadnagar hills.] The names in common use among men are Babaji, Hari, Keru, Kondi, Limba, Mukund, Nathaji, Pandu and
Rakhma; and among women Bhagu, Gita, Kondu, Kusha, Krishna, Rakhma, Rangu and Tulsi. They look like Marathas, and are strong, dark and hardy. They speak an incorrect Marathi mixed with peculiar expressions, some for shortness sake and others without any apparent reason. [Thus for do not want nako, they say naga, for yonder palikade, palyad; for take this h; ghe, hinga; for plenty pushkal, lai or mayndal; for little thode, ulis; for there tikade, takada, for here ikade, hakada, for soon lavkar, be gi; and for beat mar han.] They give caste dinners on marriages and the anniversaries of deaths. They eat fish and the flesh of goats, sheep, hare, deer, and domestic fowls and eggs. They hold themselves impure when they eat flesh and on that day do not visit the temple. Such of them as have turned varkaris, devotees of the Pandharpur Vithoba, and wear necklaces of basil or tulsi leaves, have given up eating flesh. They sometimes get over the difficulty by hanging their tulsi necklaces to a peg in the house before tasting flesh and putting them on again next morning after bathing. Both men and women dress like Marathas. They are a hard-working, even-tempered, thrifty, hospitable and orderly people. They are boatmen, carrying passengers across rivers and streams during the rainy season. They are hereditary ministrants in Mahadev's shrines and take to themselves the offerings laid before the god. The Pan Kolis or watermen carry water in bags on the backs of buffaloes, supply the villagers, and receive a yearly allowance in grain, hay or money. They claim the same rank as Maratha Kunbis with whom they dine. They are a religious people and worship the usual Hindu gods and goddesses. Their family-gods are Vithoba of Pandharpur, Bhavani of Tuljapur, and Khandoba of Jejuri. Their priests are Deshasth Brahmans to whom they pay great respect. They keep the usual Hindu fasts and festivals. Their spiritual guides or gurus are the Kanphata Gosavis. They marry their boys before they are twenty, and their girls before they are twelve. The father of the boy has to look cut for a suitable girl as a wife for a son. They either bury or burn their dead. On the way to the burning ground they halt, and leaving a cake and cooked rice folded in an old piece of cloth go to the burning ground. The body is either buried or burnt and the chief mourner, taking the fire-pot and filling it with water, goes round the grave or the pyre, and picking a pebble makes a hole in the Jar, dashes the pebble and the jar on the ground and beats his mouth with the palm of his open hand. He marks the spot by a big stone, bathes in the river or stream and goes home. The chief mourner remains impure for ten days. On the third day with a few near kins-men he goes to the burning ground, removes the ashes, sprinkles flowers over the spot, lays two earthen saucers one with bread and the other with water, bathes and goes home. Either on the tenth or the twelfth day
the chief mourner goes to the burning ground and has his moustache shaved. He then takes a nimb branch, dips it in oil, and with it touches the shoulders of the four corpse-bearers, asking them at the same time 'Are the shoulders rested?' and they answer ' They are rested.' [The Marathi is " Khande utarle kay?" " Hoy, utarle. "] When they go home a mutton feast is held. A Bhat who is called in, sings songs and leaves with uncooked food and money. His nearest relations present the chief mourner with a turban and he is free to
go out. The Kolis have a caste-council and settle social disputes at caste-meetings.
Labourers: Labourers include six classes. They are: Kalals, Kamathis, Khatiks, Lodhis, Pardeshis and Raddis.
Kalals: Kalals or distillers are in the town of Sholapur. They are said to have come into the district from Lucknow in search of work. They are dark and strong. They are vegetarians as a caste. They marry their children at any age but their girls generally before they come of age. They burn their dead and mourn ten days. On the tenth day they offer rice balls to crows and beg them to eat, and on the twelfth the caste is feasted. They practise polygamy but do not allow widow marriage. On the death of the husband the widow's necklace and nose-ring are taken off, but her head is not shaved and she is allowed to wear bangles. A headman called either mukhi or shetya settles all their social disputes.
Kamathis: Kamathis are found in small numbers over the whole district. They have come from the Nizam's country since the beginning of British rule. They are tall, dark and robust, and their young women are good-looking and healthy. A few speak Telugu, but the majority of them speak Marathi. They are an active, hard-working and frugal people. They are masons, husbandmen, gardeners, messengers, blacksmiths, carpenters, house-builders, painters, stone-cutters, grain-sellers, money-lenders and money-changers. Most of them are labourers, both men and women working for daily hire.
Their boys are married between eleven and fifteen and their girls between nine and eleven. The boy's father sends a present to the girl's to ask if her parents will give their daughter in marriage. If they agree, a Deshasth Brahman is called, the horoscopes of the boy and girl are laid before him. He advises the desirability of the engagement and fixes the date of betrothal. Formerly the marriage used to be celebrated with a lot of fan-fare which is very much on the decline. At the time of marriage the boy stands on the altar and the girl is made to stand before him face to face and a cloth is held between them. The Brahman repeats verses and the guests keep throwing grains of jvari on the heads of the boy and girl. When this is over the boy and girl are husband and wife. They are seated on low wooden
stools near the altar and round their wrists threads are bound to each of which is tied a turmeric root and a marriage paper or patrika. The boy and girl then go into the house and bow before the house-gods. A feast is given, betel is served and the guests withdraw. Next morning the boy and girl are taken to the girl's and friends and relations are feasted. On the third day comes the sada or robe ceremony when the boy's father presents the girl with a robe and bodice and ornaments, and the girl's father presents the boy with a turban and waist-cloth. The boy and girl are seated on horseback, [ Now that the girls are married after about 15 years of age, they are not seated on horseback.] taken to the village god, and brought back to the girl's house where they bow to the elders of the family and to the house-gods and the boy's parents take the boy to their house with the girl. The wedding ends with a feast or two at the boy's to the girl's friends and the untying of the turmeric bracelets and the marriage papers. Widow marriage is allowed. The man makes the offer of marriage, and the wedding generally takes place between ten and twelve at night in the presence of a few near relations. It is kept secret till next morning when a few kins-people and friends are asked to dine.
When a Kamathi dies butter is rubbed on his head and warm water is poured over his body, a silk cloth is tied round his loins, his body is sprinkled with red powder and betel leaves, flower garlands are thrown round his neck, the Jangam marks the brow with cowdung ashes, and the body is laid on a bamboo bier. The body is covered from head to foot with a white cloth, it is raised by four persons, musicians head the party and the son walks in front of the bearers with an earthen fire-pot. The Jangam walks in front blowing a conch-shell. The body is burnt, and the Jangam retires with a present of a couple of coppers. At the end of the three days the ashes are searched for footprints, and the marks are supposed to be those of the animal into which the spirit of the dead has passed. After examining them the ashes are gathered and thrown into the river. Mourning lasts ten days. On the thirteenth a feast is given to caste-fellows including the corpse-bearers, or if the heir is poor only the bearers are asked. The Kamathis are Shaivs. The men mark their brows with ashes and sandal and the married women rub theirs with red powder. They worship the ordinary Hindu gods, and visit Banaras, Jejuri, Nasik and Pandharpur. They worship the cholera and small-pox goddesses Mariamma and Pochamma and Musalman saints or pirs. They keep the usual Hindu holidays. They wear neither the sacred thread nor the ling. Their priests are Deshasth Brahmans and they treat both them and Jangams with great respect. They have house-images of Ambabai, Khandoba, and embossed plates or taks of their dead ancestors whom they daily offer flowers
and cooked food. They have a caste-council and settle social disputes at caste-meetings.
Khatiks: Khatiks or butchers are found in large towns and villages all over the district. They believe they came into the district a number of generations ago. They are like Marathas and speak Marathi both at home and abroad. They are hard-working and are more restless and active than other low class Hindus. They are fond of show and pleasure and are rather extravagant. Most are mutton butchers, but some trade in sheep and goats buying them and sending them to Bombay. They worship the same gods as Marathas and their priests, whom they treat with no great respect, are Deshasth Brahmans. They keep the same fasts and feasts as Marathas, believe in witchcraft and sorcery, and have the same marriage and other rites. They have a caste-council and their headman is styled a mhetre.
Lodhis: Lodhis are found scattered over the whole district. They are Pardeshis and are dark, tall and strong. They speak Hindustani at home and Marathi and Kanarese with others. They are a hard-working people, but intemperate and improvident and wanting in courtesy and hospitality. They are cart-drivers, thatchers, fuel-sellers, tillers, and day-labourers. Their family-deities are Ambabai and Khandoba, and they generally keep no fasts. They allow widow marriage, practise polygamy, and either bury or burn their dead. They mourn ten days, offer balls to the crows on the twelfth, and if well-to-do, give a caste-feast. They have a caste-council and settle social disputes at caste-meetings.
Pardeshis: Pardeshis, literally foreigners, chiefly Brahmans and Rajputs from upper India, and their children by local Maratha mistresses, who also call themselves Rajputs, Pardeshis, or Deccan-Pardeshis, are found in large towns and villages all over the district. They have come in considerable numbers since the railway has made travelling easy. They are strong, dark and tall. Some of the men wear the beard and others whiskers; others again both shave the head and the face. They speak Hindustani with a mixture of Marathi. A few of them have north Indian wives who dress in a petticoat and a bodice fastened either in front or behind and an upper robe with which they carefully hide the face. They are proud, hot-tempered, clean, faithful, thrifty, obedient, strong and brave and will face any danger to save their employer's life and property. They show no attachment to their illegitimate children and mistresses, and some of them desert them and go back to upper India. Many, however, marry Maratha girls and settle in the district. They keep sweetmeat, parched grain, and fruit shops and are tillers, barbers, shoe-makers, potters, washermen, milkmen and labourers. The Brahmans act as priests to their countrymen. They are a saving people and are seldom in debt. They are generally
Shaivs but they worship all Hindu gods and goddesses and keep the regular fasts and feasts.
They marry their boys between twelve and twenty-five. They nave a betrothal ceremony before marriage. At the marriage they rub the boy and girl with oil and turmeric at their homes, and as telsadas or oil robes, the fathers-in-law present the boy and girl each with a white cloth, ten and a half and seven and a half feet long. The boy goes on horseback to the girl's and is there presented with a new waistcloth which he puts on. In the marriage hall a post is fixed in the ground and near it is set an earthen jar full of cold water covered with an earthen lid in which a dough lamp is kept burning. The boy and girl are made to stand face to face, a cloth is held between them, the priest repeats verses and the priest and the guests throw rice on their heads and they are husband and wife. The sacrificial fire is lit, and the marriage ends with the boy and girl walking seven times round the earthen jars. Feasts are inter-changed and the boy walks with the girl to her new home. Pardeshis burn their dead, mourn ten days, offer rice balls on the eleventh, the mourners become pure on the twelfth, the sacrificial fire is lit on the thirteenth, and thirteen earthen pots each with a copper coin in it, a piece of white cloth seven or eight feet long, and a betel packet are presented to thirteen Brahmans, along with wheat, butter and pulse. They have a caste-council.
Raddis: Raddis are found over the whole district. They speak Telugu at home but Marathi outside and eat fish and flesh. They sell scented oils, powders, tooth paste and frankincense sticks, and also cultivate. Their chief objects of worship are Ganesh, Ishvar, Jamblamma, Mallikarjun and Vyankatraman, and their priests are Telugu Brahmans. They marry their girls between eight and ten, are impure for twenty-one days after the birth of a child, worship the goddess Satvai on the third and name the child on the thirty-fourth. At the time of marriage at the girl's the boy and girl are seated on low wooden stools set on the two altars, they are touched by an iron bar which is laid between the two stools, and verses are read over them by the priest. After an exchange of feasts the boy leads his bride to his house where they are again seated on altars. They either bury or burn their dead and mourn ten days and on the tenth shave the chief mourner's moustache. They offer rice balls on the tenth and feast caste-fellows either on the twelfth or thirteenth.
Unsettled tribes: Unsettled tribes include eight classes, [The Census of India, 1971, has enumerated the following Scheduled Tribes in Sholapur district, besides some unspecified tribes:-
(1) Barda, (2) Bhil, (3) Gamit, (4) Gond, (5) Kathodi, (6) Kokana, (7) Koli-dhor, (8) Naikda, (9) Pardhi, (10) Pomia and (11) Vitolia.] viz., Berads or Ramoshis, Bhamtas, Bhills, Kaikadis, Katavdis, Phasepardhis, Vadars and Vanjaris.
Berads: Berads or Bedars are found over the whole district. Like Mahars, Mangs and others who serve as village watchmen Berads are sometimes called and sometimes call themselves Ramoshis. They arc divided into Berads and Helgas who neither eat together nor intermarry. They are dark and either stout or strongly made. They arc idle, hot-tempered and impudent. Their most binding oath is taken on bhandar or turmeric. Their main calling is village watching. Some arc husbandmen and others labourers. The chief objects of their worship are Ambabai, Jotiba and Khandoba, and their priests are the village Brahmans. Betrothal among them is the same as among cultivating Marathas. A day before the marriage booths arc raised at the houses both of the boy and of the girl, the marriage guardian or devak consisting of leaves of five trees or panchpalvis is worshipped, a sheep is offered, at night a feast is held, and the boy and girl are rubbed with turmeric at their own houses. On the marriage day the guests are feasted at the girl's, the couple are presented with clothes and ornaments, and made to stand on an earthen platform or ota and a curtain is held between them. A Brahman, who acts as priest, repeats verses, rice is thrown over their heads and they are husband and wife. They allow widow marriage and practise polygamy. Their funeral ceremonies are the same as those of cultivating Marathas. Their headman called naik or leader settles all social disputes.
Bhamtas: Bhamtas or pick-pockets are found solely in towns. They look like high caste Hindus, and speak a mixture of Hindustani, Gujarati and Marathi. They have the same rules about food as Marathas, eating the flesh of sheep, goats, fowls, hare, and deer. Formerly when they used to start on a thieving expedition either in gangs or singly the men dressed in silk-bordered waistcloths and shouldercloths, coats, coloured waistcoats, and big newly-dyed turbans with large gold end dangling down their backs and folded either in Maratha or Brahman fashion. Both men and women were petty thieves and pick-pockets. But now they have taken to other pursuits, and no more follow their hereditary calling.
Bhils: Bhils were probably outside beggars or labourers. It is said that no Bhils are settled in the district.
Kaikadis: Kaikadis are found in towns and large villages. They are divided into Jadhavs and Manes, who eat together but do not intermarry. They speak Marathi with a mixture of other words. [Among the non-Marathi words are, Rati for bhakar bread, telni for parti water, pal for dudh milk, tat for dhanya grain, gomda for gahu wheat, seja for bajri millet, yersi for tandul rice, mor for dahi curds, nai for tup clarified butter, shakri for sakhar sugar, balle for gul molasses, ta for de give, ita for nahi no, ba for ye come, ho for ja go, od for dhav run, and nankot mi duila for maj javal kahi nahi
I have got nothing with me.] They were hereditary thieves and robbers but have now taken to other
pursuits. They eat pork, sheep and goats and drink liquor. They make the reed sizing brushes which are used by weavers, they also make snares for catching birds and deer, and their women plait baskets of the branches, leaf, fibres and stalks of the tarvad (Cassia suriculata) tree. They plait twigs of the same material into wicker work. and cages for storing grain, and sell them and beg at the same time. Some have lately taken to tillage. Their favourite deities are Bhavani, Khandoba, Narsoba and Vithoba and their priests are the ordinary Brahmans. Their wedding guardian or devak is the mango and the umbar (Ficus glomerata) twigs of which they bring home, worship and offering a sheep, feast the caste at least a couple of days before the marriage. They either burn or bury the dead. The four corpse-bearers are held impure for five days, and are not only avoided by others but do not even touch each other. Except the chief mourner who is held impure for five days the other members of the family mourn for three days only. They make an image or tak of the dead, set it in the family shrine with the other gods, and worship it on Dasara and on Divali. They allow widow marriage, the widow during the ceremony being seated on a bullock's saddle. A caste-council or panch settles social disputes.
Katavdis or Katkaris: Katavdis or Katkaris, that is, catechu-makers, are found in Madha only. They are not permanent residents of the district but occasionally come during the fair weather from below the Ghats in search of work, especially the picking of groundnuts and return to their homes before the rains.
Phansepardhis: Phansepardhis or snarers are found wandering over the district. They are an unsettled tribe. The men do not shave the head, and let the beard, moustache, and whiskers grow. They speak a mixture of Gujarati, Marathi, Kanarese and Hindustani. The men dress in short drawers, a tattered turban, and short shouldercloth with which they often cover their bodies. The women dress in a robe and out-of-doors put on a bodice which generally reaches to the waist. They wear ear, nose, neck, hand, and foot ornaments generally of bell-metal and brass. They are a strong, hot-tempered and cruel people. They are hunters and snarers and are very skilful in making horsehair nooses in which they catch almost all birds and some animals. They prepare and sell cotton cakes and sell fuel. A few are husbandmen and watchmen and the rest work as day-labourers and beg. Their favourite deities are Ambabhavani, Jarimari, Khandoba and all other village gods, and their chief holidays are Shimga and Dasara. Among them betrothal takes place a day to a year or two before marriage. On the marriage day the boy and girl are made to stand side by side, the hems of their garments are tied together by seven knots, a white sheet is held over their heads, and the village Brahman repeats verses. At the end he
throws rice over their heads and the boy and girl are husband and wife. The Brahman retires with a money present, the caste is feasted with split pulse and wheat cakes both by the boy's and the girl's fathers, and the marriage ends by the boy taking the girl to his house. They have a headman called naik or leader, and settle social disputes at caste-meetings. A person accused of adultery or other grievous sin is told to pick a copper coin out of a jar of boiling oil. If he picks the coin out without harming his hand he is declared innocent; if he refuses to put his hand into the jar, or if in putting it in his hand is burnt, he is turned out of caste and is not allowed to come back.
Vadars: Vadars are found scattered over the district. They are divided into Gada or Cart Vadars, Mati or Earth Vadars, and Pathrat or Stone Vadars, who eat together and inter-marry. Cart Vadars take their name from their low solid-wheeled stone-carrying carts, Earth Vadars because they do earth work, and Stone Vadars because they quarry and dress the stone. They are dark, tall and regular-featured. Their home-tongue is Telugu, but with others they speak Marathi. They eat the flesh of sheep, goats, fowls, hogs and rats of which they are specially fond. They drink liquor but do not eat beef. They keep from animal food on Fridays and Mondays in honour of their gods Narsoba and Vyankoba. Their dress is like that of other low caste Hindus. As a class Vadars are hard-working, thrifty, hospitable and orderly, but rude, drunken, hot-tempered, and of unsettled habits.
They worship the usual Hindu gods and goddesses, and their chief object of worship is Vyankoba of Giri or Tirupati in North Arkot. They worship Mariamma, Narsoba, Padmava and Yallamma. Among their house-gods are the images of their deceased ancestors, generally square flat metal plates with turned edges and a figure stamped on them. They worship them with the same rites as other Hindus, washing them, rubbing them with sandal, throwing flowers over them, burning incense before them and offering them cooked food. They have no priests, but ask Brahmans to name their children and to fix a lucky day for their children's marriage. They keep the regular Hindu fasts and feasts. They make pilgrimages to Pandharpur, Tuljapur and Vyankatgiri in North Arkot. They generally marry their boys after twenty and their girls after sixteen. An unmarried girl who has a child is put out of caste and is not allowed to come back. They allow widow marriage and practise polygamy. They have no music at their marriages, exchange no presents of clothes, and do not rub the boy and girl with turmeric. They say they used to have music, presents, and turmeric, but gave them up because a man who was sent by one of their chiefs to buy clothes for a wedding on his way to the town saw by the roadside the lower half of a stone handmill. He lifted the stone and under it saw a beautiful naked girl, the goddess Satvai. The
girl told him to put back the stone. He was confused by her beauty, failed to obey and was struck dead. The chief waited for a time and had to go on with the marriage without the presents. When the marriage was over they searched the country and found the dead man. Since then they have never used turmeric, music or presents. Vadars are bound together by a strong caste-feeling and settle their social disputes at caste-meetings.
Vanjaris: Vanjaris are found in all sub-divisions. They are tall, dark and rather good-looking, and their women are healthy and well-made. They speak Marathi. Some of the men eat the flesh of goats and sheep, and drink liquor, but the women touch neither liquor nor flesh. They marry their children at any time between five and thirty but girls are generally married between twelve and twenty. Their marriage ceremony lasts five days and they rub the boy and girl with turmeric at their houses, at least couple of days before the marriage. Marriage halls are raised at both houses and kins-people and caste-fellows are feasted. On the marriage day the boy with kins-people, friends and music goes to the girl's on a bullock and they are married, the marriage verses being repeated by a village Brahman. Feasts are given at both houses and when the feasts are over the boy goes with his wife on a bullock to his house with kins-people and music. They allow widow marriage and practise polygamy. They generally burn their dead, and mourn ten days, offer wheat cakes and balls to the crows, and purify themselves. The ceremony ends with a caste-feast on the thirteenth. They worship Ambabhavani, Mahadev and Ramchandra, and also non-Brahmanic gods as Mariai, Mhasoba and Vaghoba whom they generally fear. They keep the usual Hindu fasts and feasts, and there has been no recent change in their religious beliefs. They settle their social disputes at meetings of the caste-men.
Depressed Classes: Depressed classes include four castes, [The Census of India, 1971, has enumerated the following eleven Scheduled Castes in Sholapur district, besides some unspecified castes:-
(1) Bakad, (2) Bhangi, (3) Chalwadi, (4) Chambhar, (5) Chenna Dasar, (6) Dhor, (7) Holar, (8) Mahar, (9) Mang, (10) Mang (group A) and (11) Mang Garudi.] viz., Dhors, Halalkhors, Mahars and Mangs.
Dhors: Dhors or tanners are found over the whole district. The founder of the caste is said to have been the sage Lurbhat who was born of an Aygav father and a Dhigvar mother. They are divided into Maratha and Lingayat Dhors who do not eat together or intermarry. In each division families having the same surname eat together but do not inter-marry. They are generally dark with round faces, thick lips and straight black hair. Both at home and abroad most speak Marathi, and the rest speak Kanarese at home. They are hardworking and hospitable but intemperate and dirty. They work in
leather, cut and dye skins, make saddles, shoes and water-bags, and till the ground. They are fairly off. They are religious and keep house-deities, generally Bahiroba, Bhavani and Khandoba. Their priests are the ordinary village Brahmans whom they greatly respect. They fast on every lunar eleventh and on Shivratra. The Lingayat Dhors who are a small body are invested with a ling by a Jangam soon after birth. Their teacher or guru, who is a Lingayat, visits them occasionally. Except the Lingayats, Dhors held their women impure for ten days after child-birth. In their customs they differ little from Marathas. Their guardian or devak is formed of the branches of five trees or panchpalvis, which they tie to a post in the marriage booth. At the time of marriage the boy is made to stand on a grind-stone and the girl facing him in a basket on a coil of thick plough rope, belonging to her father's field. A quilt is held between them, the Brahman priest utters some words and throws grains of rice over their heads and they are husband and wife. They are then seated on an earthen altar in the marriage hall, and to keep evil, married women draw near and each in turn takes a few rice-grains in her hands and throws them over the boy's and the girl's head, body, knees and feet. The hems of their garments are knotted together and they are taken on a bullock to the village Maruti, and to the boy's. They allow widow marriage and practise polygamy. They either bury or burn the dead, and mourn ten days. The chief mourner shaves his moustache and the body is carried on the shoulders of two bearers in a blanket or coarse cloth slung on a pole. Lingayat Dhors as a rule bury the dead, do not shave the mourner's moustache, and observe no mourning. Their headman is called Mhetar and their social disputes are settled at caste-meetings.
Halalkhors: Halalkhors or scavengers are found in all municipal towns. They are Hindustanis and have come into the district since the establishment of municipalities for whom they work as night-soil men. They are tall, dark and thin, and speak Hindustani. Their priests are ordinary village Brahmans who during the marriage stand at a distance and repeat the texts. They have a caste-council.
Mangs: Mangs are found all over the district. According to their tradition they are descended from Jambrishi, and their ancestors came into Pandharpur at the same time as the god Vithoba. They say that their high priest or chief Dakalvar, who lives in Karwar in North Kanara, knows their whole history and occasionally visits them. They are divided into Mangs proper, Mang Garudis, Pend Mangs, Holar Mangs, Mochi Mangs, and Dakalvars. Of these, the first are considered the highest, and their leavings are eaten by Holars and Dakalvars. The Dakalvars say they are the highest branch of Mangs and that the others profess to despise them to punish the Dakalvars because they refused to touch the other Mangs. This story seems unlikely as
Dakalvars eat the leavings of Mangs and Nade Mangs and no Mang will touch them. At the same time some sanctity of power is attached to the Dakalvars as no Mang will ever swear falsely by a Dakalvar. As a class Mangs are tall, some of them as much as six feet high, dark and strongly made, and the white of their eyes is generally bloodshot. They generally speak Marathi both at home and abroad. Their Marathi accent and intonation are rough and coarse and sometimes unintelligible. They live by themselves in a quarter known as the Mangavada, separate from the Mahars, the hereditary rivals and enemies of their tribe. The Mang Garudis or snake-charmers, being a wandering class of jugglers, have no fixed dwellings. They are passionate and revengeful at times. They are hard-working, unthrifty, dirty, and fond of pleasure.
Mangs make thin cord or charate of ambada (Hibiscus cannabinus) or hemp and of kekti or Sweet Pandanus, ropes, date brooms, slings for hanging pots in and also slings for throwing stones with and bullock-yoke straps. They are carpenters, brick-layers, musicians, songsters, beggars and labourers. Mangs rank lowest among Hindus and will take food from any caste except Bhangis. Mangs do not eat from the hands of twelve castes, of which the only ones the Sholapur Mangs know are Ghadshis, Jingars, Mahars and Buruds. They are not a religious people. Their chief deities are Ambabai, Jotiba, Khandoba, Mahadev, Mariamma and Yallamma. Their fasts and feasts do not differ from those of Maratha cultivators.
They marry their children very young. Their betrothals do not differ from Mahar betrothals, the girl being presented with a bodice and robe and clothes are exchanged between the two fathers. Mang marriages take place during Vaishakh and Jyeshth that is in April, May and June, and on days when Brahmans perform their marriages. [For details of the marriage ceremony refer to the former edition of the Sholapur Gazetteer.] Mangs generally bury the dead. When any one dies fire is lit in the front part of the house and water heated over it in a new earthen jar, and the body is bathed and then laid on a bier, red powder and betel leaves being sprinkled over it. The chief mourner walks in front with an earthen fire-pot and music, and the mourners follow. The body is buried and some rituals are performed at the burial-ground as well as the deceased's house. They allow widow marriage and polygamy. They have a headman called mhetrya and settle social disputes at meetings of the leading members of the caste. They levy fines and spend the amount on a caste-feast. Till the feast is given the offender is not allowed back into caste.
Mahars: Mahars are found over the whole district. They are divided into Advans, Bavans, Godvans, Kadvans or bastards, Soms
and Tilvans, who except the Kadvans all eat together and intermarry. Of these divisions, the Soms or Somvanshis are the most numerous. Their surnames are Jadhav, Jugle, More, Shelar and Sarvgod. They are generally tall, strong, muscular, and dark with regular features and low foreheads. Mahars are Shaivs and Vaishnavs and worshippers of goddesses. Most of them are Vaishnavs and worship Bhavani of Tuljapur, Chokhoba, Jnyanoba of Alandi, Khandoba of Jejuri, and Vithoba. They also worship the usual Hindu gods and goddesses and Musalman saints especially the ancestral Cobra or Nagoba, the small-pox goddess Satvai, and the cholera goddess Mariai whose shrines are found in all Mahar quarters. They go on pilgrimage to most of the places mentioned above as well as to the shrine of Shambhu Mahadev in Satara. Their religious teachers are Mahar gurus and sadhus or gosavis. They have also Mahar vachaks or readers who read and explain their sacred books, the Bhaktivijay, Dasbodh, Jnyaneshvari, Harivijay, Ramvijay, Santlila and the poems of Dnyanoba, Tukoba and others. The readers also preach, and repeat marriage verses when a Brahman is not available. The gurus, sadhus, vachaks and Mahar gosavis all belong to the Mahar caste and some of them are very fluent preachers and expounders of the Purans. Any one of these lecturers who maintains himself by begging may become a guru or teacher. Every Mahar both among men and women has a guru; if they have no guru they are not allowed to dine in the same line with the sadhus. A child is first brought to be taught by its guru when it is about a year old. The rite is called kanshravni or ear-whispering and more commonly kanphukne or ear-blowing. Mahars in the past used to marry their girls sometimes when they were infants and always before they came of age, and their boys sometimes before they were twelve and seldom after they were twenty. They had no rules forcing them to marry their girls before they came of age. Now however they marry their boys and girls after coming to age. Among them the magni or asking the girl's parents to give their daughter in marriage is the same as among Marathas. On the marriage day the boy, with kins-people, friends and music, goes to the girl's sometimes on horseback or on an ox. On reaching the girl's the girl's brother or some other near kins-man leads the boy into the house and seats him on a blanket. The girl is brought by her sister or some other Kins-woman and seated on the blanket beside the boy. The guests of both houses feast at the girl's. He dresses in the new clothes and takes his stand on a wooden stool near the blanket. The girl stands on another stool facing him, and each of them holds a roll of betelnut and leaves in both hands. A cloth is held between them, the boy and girl stretch out the tips of their fingers till they touch on either side of the cloth or below the cloth and the village priest from some
distance, or if not one of their own holy men repeats marriage verses. When the last verse is over the guests throw over the couple's
heads rice mixed with the rice which the Brahman astrologer gave the fathers at the time of settling the marriage day. The cloth is pulled on one side and five persons hold it over the pair's heads.
For four days, including the marriage day, the boy stays at the girl's and feasts are held. On the evening of the fifth comes the sada or robe ceremony when the boy's father presents the girl with a robe and bodice, a necklace of black glass beads with a gold bead in the centre, glass bangles, and silver toe-rings. The boy and girl are seated on the laps of their maternal uncles and bite the ends of a black thread. At night a procession is formed and the boy and girl are paraded through the village with kins-people, music and dancing. The marriage is over and the guests go home.
They allow and practise widow marriage and polygamy. Mahars generally bury the dead. The body is shrouded in a new cloth, laid on the bier, and sprinkled with red powder and betel leaves, and grains of rice arc tied to one of the hems of the cloth. The body is carried to burial on the shoulders of four kins-men who as they pass say ' Ram' ' Ram' in a low voice. The chief mourner walks in front with fire in the new earthen jar and music if he has the means. The mourners follow. The body is buried in the graveyard and some rituals are performed. Like Marathas Mahars keep the death-day, when crows are fed with rice and a dish of molasses. They settle social disputes either by a council or panchayat composed of the foremost members of the caste, under the hereditary headman called patil, or by a caste meeting.
Beggars: Beggars include thirteen classes, viz., Balsantoshis, Bhats or Thakurs, Dasaris, Dauris, Gondhalis, Gosavis, Jangams, Joharis, Kolhatis, Kudbuda Joshis, Vaghyas and Murlis and Vasudevs.
Balsantoshis: Balsantoshis or children-pleasers are found only in Sangola. They look and speak like cultivating Kunbis, and do not differ from them in food, dress or customs. They are fortune-tellers and weather prophets. They wander about the streets in the early morning, turn into some house, and shower blessings on the children always ending with Balsantosh, bless the babies. In religion they are the same as Marathas, keep the same fasts and feasts, and employ the ordinary village Brahmans as their priests. They have a caste-council and settle social disputes at caste-meetings.
Bhats or Thakurs: Bhats or Thakurs are found all over the district. According to their tradition they were created from the sweat of Shiv's brow and were driven out of heaven because they persisted in singing Parvati's instead of Shiv's praises. They look like Marathas and speak Marathi. They are intelligent, patient, and hospitable. They
earn their living by repeating the songs called banis and kavits, reciting stories, and begging. Their customs are the same as Maratha customs. Boys are girt with the sacred thread at the time of marriage. They are Shaivs, worship the usual Hindu gods as well as Dhanai, Janai, and Jogai, and other early and village deities, and go on pilgrimage to kharsun Shiddh in Mhasvad thirty-five miles west of Pandharpur. Their priests are the ordinary Maratha Brahmans whom they greatly respect. They have a caste-council and settle social disputes at caste-meetings.
Dasaris: Dasaris or slaves are found wandering over the whole district. They are a dark, tall people whose home-tongue is Kanarese though they speak Marathi with others. They move from place to place and seldom own houses. They are a dishonest, hot-tempered people and work as beggars, musicians and dancers. When they beg they wear bells round their feet and carry a drum and two metal cups or cymbals in their hands. Their family-deities are Ambabai and Yallamma, and they keep no fasts. They have a priest or guru who lives in Telangana. Their marriage ceremonies are like those of Marathas. They allow widow marriage and burn the dead. They settle social disputes at caste-meetings.
Dauris: Dauris or the daur drum beaters are found in towns and large villages. Their surnames are Jadhav, Mane, Povar and Salunke. People with the same surname eat together but do not inter-marry. They offer their food to their gods before eating and do not touch it till they have called on one of their Navnaths or Nine Saints, and blowing a small wooden whistle or shingi. Both men and women dress like Marathas. They have the peculiar practice of hanging a wooden whistle about an inch and half long round their necks fastened to a woollen string which reaches to the navel. They are beggars, and beg and perform the gondhal dance with a daur drum in their hand. Except that the girl is made to stand on a grind-stone laid in a basket, and the boy facing her in another basket in which a coil of rope is laid, the Dauris' marriage customs are the same as those of Marathas. They bury the dead, carrying the body in a cloth or blanket slung on a pole resting on two men's shoulders, and repeating Shiv, Gorakh, Jade. They mourn three days and on the seventh or ninth give a feast called bhandara. They allow widow marriage. In religion they belong to the Nathpanth sect of Gosavis. They keep in their houses metal plates engraved with figures of Ambabai, Bahiroba and Jotiba. Their priests are Maratha Brahmans, and they keep the usual Hindu fasts and feasts. Their religious house is on the banks of the Godavari and their teacher visits them once every year or two, when he is feasted.
Gondhalis: Gondhalis or gondhal dancers are found all over the
district. They are a set of wandering beggars recruited from all castes, and are generally children offered to goddesses in fulfilment of vows. Their surnames and guardians are the same as those of Marathas and they look, speak, eat, drink and dress like Marathas. They beg and perform at the houses of Brahmans and other Hindus whose family-goddesses are Ambabai, Bhavani, and Durga, either before or after a marriage or on the fulfilment of a vow. The men cover their bodies with shells and go begging with a thick lighted torch soaked in oil. They wear a long flowing coat smeared with oil and daub their brows with red powder and on their heads wear either a long flowing turban or a cap covered with tassels and rows of shells. They are sometimes accompanied by one or two men who do not cover themselves with shells but carry a one-stringed fiddle or tuntune and a drum or samel, and metal cups or cymbals. They tie a number of brass bells to their feet, and while singing, dance and wave the lighted torch away from the house or shop, saying ' may evil go and my lord be happy '. [The Marathi runs: " Idapida javo, maharaj sukhi raho. "] Their customs are the same as Maratha customs and they worship goddesses more than gods. Their priests are ordinary Maratha Brahmans to whom they show great respect. They have a caste-council and settle social disputes at caste-meetings.
Gosavis: Gosavis or passion lords are found over the whole district. They are divided into Bajaran, Bharathi, Giri, Kanphate, Puri, Sagar, Sarasvati and Tirthashram, who have their religious houses at Allahabad, Banaras, Dwarka, Giri and Puri. Most of them are hereditary Gosavis, the children of wandering beggars, but they admit members of any caste and of both sexes. They are generally dark. They are sluggish, hot-tempered and greatly feared as sorcerers. They arc notorious as sturdy beggars and a few trade in cloth, pearls, and cattle, til and are money-lenders and bankers. They are either Shaivs or Vaishnavs, carry images of their gods with them and worship them whenever they halt. When a woman wishes to marry the chief part of the ceremony is the exchange of necklaces by the bride and bride-groom. After marriage the woman wanders with her husband. Boys marry between sixteen and twenty, and girls between twelve and fourteen. They bury the dead, dressing the body in an ochre cloth and burying it sitting with a quantity of salt, and on the head bel leaves if the dead was a Shaiv, or tulsi leaves if a Vaishnav. They never mourn the dead. Their only funeral service is on the thirteenth a feast to caste-fellows including the four corpse-bearers. They allow widow marriage. They have a headman. In cases of disputes they go to Allahabad, Banaras, Dwarka or other places where their people gather and settle the disputes according to the opinion of the majority.
Jangams: Jangams or Lingayat priests are found in small numbers over the whole district. Almost all have come north from the Kanarese country. Their home-tongue is Marathi. They neither eat flesh nor drink liquor. Both men and women wear a ling in a small box or shrine hung round the neck, bound round the upper right arm, or hid in the folds of the headcloth. Jangams are clean, sober, thrifty, even-tempered, hard-working and hospitable. They are traders and shopkeepers, selling almonds, sugarcandy, spices, cocoanuts, oil, butter, molasses and drugs, and also beg. Their chief god is Mahadev and they fast on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays as well as on ekadashis or all lunar elevenths and observe the usual Hindu holidays. After the birth of a child the family remains impure and worship goddess Satvai. They tie the ling round the child's arm hung from its neck or laid under its pillow. They do not gird their boys with the sacred thread, and they marry their girls between ten and twelve and their boys between twelve and twenty. They rub them with turmeric daily for five days before the wedding and marry them on a lucky day fixed by the village astrologer. Their marriage guardian is a bunch of mango and jambhul (Syzigium jambolanum) leaves, tied to a post in the marriage hall. Their priests are Maratha Brahmans who repeat marriage verses and throw rice over the heads of the boy and girl. Feasts are held for five days, and at the end the boy takes the girl with him, and visits the village Maruti, and goes straight with his wife and relations to his village. They allow widow marriage and bury the dead. When a person dies red powder is rubbed on his face, and he is carried to the burying ground in a blanket hung from a pole which is carried on two men's shoulders. On the spot where the dead breathed his last, a pot full of water is laid and the mourners when they return from the burial-ground bring in their hands a few blades of grass, throw them on the pot, rub their brows with ashes, and return to their homes. A shraddh or mind-rite is performed at the close of the year. They have a caste-council and settle social disputes at caste-meetings.
Joharis: Joharis are found in the towns of Pandharpur and Sholapur. They are said to have come into the district from northern India during the times of the Peshwas. About twenty families numbering in all one hundred and twenty-five came in search of work and settled near Sholapur. They are divided into Agdode, Ardhaduba, Badgujar, Bam, Bhati, Bhayad, Dasivant, Digva, Gadria, Gaud, Gujar, Kapsya, Kativale, Mathian, Pathivan, Rathod, Sarvativale, Shishode, Sonya Rathod, Suni and Thak. They are and look like Pardeshis and speak a mixture of Gujarati and Hindi. In food they are vegetarians. They sell pearls, corals, diamonds and other precious stones, and glass beads. They buy old gold and silver lace and
embroidered clothes, burn them, and extract the gold and silver. Their women keep small haberdashery shops selling wooden and tin boxes, combs, glass beads of different sizes and colours, needles, thread, buttons, marbles, looking glasses, tops, whistles, dolls and small brass cups and dishes. They worship Khandoba, Mahadev, Satvai, Vithoba, Vyankatesh and Yallamma and other Hindu deities, and keep Sundays, Gokulashtami in August, and Shivratra in February as fast days. Their priests are Kanauj Brahmans, and in their absence the ordinary Deshasth Brahmans officiate at their houses.
A few wear the sacred thread and generally marry their girls before they come of age. At the time of marriage date leaves are tied to the brows of the boy and girl as marriage ornaments, and they are made to stand on wooden stools, face to face and after repeating marriage verses and throwing rice-grains, they are husband and wife. The priest kindles the sacred fire and the boy feeds it with parched grain. Feasts are interchanged, and, followed by kins-men, friends and music, the boy starts with his bride for his home either on foot or on horseback. They do not allow widow marriage and practise polygamy. They burn the dead and mourn ten days, feed crows, and offer
rice balls in the name of the deceased, the deceased's father and the deceased's grandfather. They have a caste-council and settle social disputes at caste-meetings.
Kolhatis: Kolhatis or Dombaris, rope dancers and tumblers, are found scattered in towns and large villages. They have no sub-divisions and their surnames are Andhare, Jadhav, Pavar and Sankeshvar, who eat together and inter-marry. According to their story the founder of their class was a man who was named Nat or dancer and nicknamed Kola, born of a Teli father by a Kshatriya mother. They have no tradition about coming into the district or of any former home. Their chief settlement in the district is at Mankeshvar in Barshi. They are active and dark. They also make hide combs and gunpowder flasks. Their women, besides singing and dancing, make and sell rag dolls. They are a wandering people. The women wear a long rich robe and a tight-fitting bodice and have gold, silver and brass ornaments. As the boy's father has to pay the girl's father a dowry, two families, if they can make a double marriage and so avoid the expense. Two or three days before marriage a sheep is offered to the village god and the caste are feasted. Next day a marriage hall is built, two earthen pots are white-washed and worshipped, a bunch of mango-leaves is tied to a post in the marriage hall called their guardian devkarya or devak. The boy and girl are rubbed with turmeric at their home and bathed by kins-women who sing songs. On the marriage day the boy with kins-people and music walks to the girl's and touches her brow with red powder or kunku. The pair are made to stand on
low wooden stools facing each other, and the Brahman repeats some words and throws grains of rice over their heads and they are husband and wife. No dinner is given but large quantities of liquor are drunk. The women dance and sing the whole night. Next day the fathers knot the hems of their clothes together, and taking the boy and girl on their shoulders, carry them to the village Maruti before whom they bow. They are then taken to the boy's house, where the hems of the fathers' garments are untied and the boy and girl call each other by their names. A large feast is held, and quantities of flesh and liquor are taken. They bury the dead, carry the body sitting slung from a pole on the shoulders of four men. On the third day funeral ceremonies arc performed and a dish of rice, split pulse, salt, and oil is prepared. Six months after, the caste is feasted on wheat bread and split pulse. They worship Ambabhavani, Hanuman, Khandoba, and the cholera goddess Mariai, but their favourite, and, as they say their only living gods are the bread-winners or hunger-scarers the drum, the rope, and the balancing pole.
Kudbuda Joshis: Kudbuda Joshis or Kudbud-playing astrologers are found wandering over the whole district. They occasionally come to the district from the Konkan and are a class of Maratha astrologers and beggars who wander playing on an hourglass-shaped drum called the kudbud. Their surnames are Bhosale, Chavhan, Jadhav and Povar and families of all these surnames eat together and inter-marry. They look, dress and speak like Marathas. They wander from house to house and village to village beating a drum. They know how to read and write, foretell events by referring to a Marathi calendar which they carry rolled in their turbans, and tell fortunes from lines on the hands. On the marriage day the guardian or devak, which is the leaves of five trees or panchpalvis, is tied to a post of the booth along with a hatchet, two wheat cakes, and an earthen lighted lamp. A sheep is offered to the guardian and the caste is feasted. The boy and girl are rubbed with turmeric at their homes, and the boy goes on horseback to the girl's, where both the boy and girl are made to stand in bamboo baskets half full of rice and a curtain is held between them. The Brahman priest hands red rice to all the guests, and chants marriage verses, and at the end along with other guests throws grains of rice over the couple's heads and the boy and girl are husband and wife. Kudbudas allow widow marriage and practise polygamy. They bury their dead, the body being slung from a pole carried on the shoulders of two men. On the third day wheat bread, rice and milk are laid on the spot where the dead was buried. They mourn the dead ten days and feast caste-fellows on the twelfth. Their chief deities are Ambabhavani, Bahiroba and Shidoba. Their priests are Maratha Brahmans to whom they pay great respect.
Vaghyas and Murlis: Vaghyas are found in the larger towns. They are divided into Maratha, Dhangar and Mahar Vaghyas, of whom the Marathas and the Dhangars eat together but do not inter-marry. The surnames of the Maratha Vaghyas are Chavhan, Dhaigude, Jadhav, Kare and Shinde. Like Murlis, Vaghyas are children of Marathas, Dhangars and Mahars whose parents have vowed them to the service of the god Khandoba. Both boys and girls are devoted as Vaghyas; only girls become Murlis. Vaghya boys and girls can marry; a Murli cannot marry as she is Khandoba's bride. Vaghyas generally marry into their father's caste, but there is no objection to the inter-marriage of a Vaghya boy and Vaghya girl. Their children are Vaghyas and marry with their father's caste. The child is always dedicated in Khandoba's temple of Jejuri in Pune on any day in the month of Chaitra or April-May. When parents have to dedicate a boy to Khandoba they go to Jejuri, stay at a Gurav's house and perform the dedication ceremony under his religious guidance. Vaghyas are considered Khandoba's disciples, and Marathas and other middle and low caste Hindus bow down to them. They have to go to Jejuri once every three years. They beg loitering in the streets ringing small bells in their left hand, singing, and rubbing turmeric on the brows of passers-by. Sometimes a Murli goes with them. If the Murli is clever and good-looking the people give, otherwise Vaghyas get little. Their religious, ceremonial, and social observances are the same as those of Marathas.
Murlis, literally flutes as if instruments on which the god may play, are found over the whole district. They are divided into Maratha and Mahar Murlis. The following details apply to Maratha Murlis:- They are like Maratha women, most of them plain and somewhat harsh-featured, many of them pleasant-looking, and some of them handsome. Their home-tongue is Marathi. They keep Vaghyas in their houses to dance, to take care of them and as servants. They eat fish and flesh and are fond of liquor. They wear a flowing robe and a tight-fitting bodice; they mark their brows with red and turmeric powder, and wear gold and silver ornaments. Their special ornament is a necklace of nine cowrie shells. They are clean, neat and hospitable, but idle, dishonest and given to drink. They are beggars, singing and dancing with bells in their hands. They generally go with two or three Vaghyas who beat small drums or dafris. The Vaghyas dance and if the Murli is handsome the entertainment is popular. The Murli sings songs generally indecent in praise of Khandoba. While singing she suddenly seats herself in the lap of one of the listeners, kisses him, and will not go till she is paid in silver. Murlis like Vaghyas are generally children whose parents have vowed them to Khandoba's service. Others are married women who leave their husbands and
even their children, saying they. have made a vow to Khandoba, or who are warned in a dream that they should be the brides of Khandoba, not of men. Middle and low class Hindus respect and bow before the true Murli who was wedded to the god as a girl; they look down on women who leave their husbands and children to play the Murli. Girls whose parents have vowed them to Khandoba are married to the god between one and twelve and always before they come of age. When she is to be married to Khandoba her parents take the girl to Jejuri sometimes in Chaitra or April-May. At the temple the girl is bathed, the god is rubbed with turmeric and the rest of the turmeric is rubbed on the girl. The girl is dressed in the new robe and bodice, green glass bangles are put round her wrists, and flower marriage ornaments or mundavals are tied to her brow. The god is worshipped, the turban and sash are presented to him, and the Gurav, taking in his hands a necklace or gatha of nine cowrie shells, fastens it round the girl's neck. This is called the gatha phodne or breaking cowrie necklace. When a Murli comes of age she sits by herself for four days. Then she looks for a patron. She lives with her patron fifteen days to a month and afterwards, if he wishes to keep her he settles with her. Murlis have house-images, generally or Bahiroba, Bhavani, Jotiba, Khandoba and Satvai. Their priests are ordinary Maratha Brahmans. They keep the usual Hindu fasts and settle social disputes at meetings of Vaghyas.
Vasudevs: Vasudevs are found over the whole district. They are dark, tall and regular-featured, and speak Marathi. They dress like Marathas, the women wearing the robe without tucking the skirt behind. The men beg dressed in a long crown-like hat with a brass top and surrounded with peacock feathers, a long white coat and trousers. They dance and sing while begging, playing on several musical instruments and blowing a whistle. They train their boys from infancy and by fifteen they are expert dancers and singers. Their house-deities are Bahiroba, Bhavani, Jotiba and Khandoba, and their priests are ordinary Maratha Brahmans. Their marriage and death customs are the same as Maratha customs. They allow widow marriage.