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From The Tribes And Castes Of The Central Provinces Of India
By R. V. Russell
Of The Indian Civil Service
Superintendent Of Ethnography, Central Provinces
Assisted By Rai Bahadur Hira Lal, Extra Assistant Commissioner
Macmillan And Co., Limited, London, 1916.
NOTE 1: The 'Central Provinces' have since been renamed Madhya Pradesh.
NOTE 2: While reading please keep in mind that all articles in this series have been scanned from the original book. Therefore, footnotes have got inserted into the main text of the article, interrupting the flow. Readers who spot these footnotes gone astray might like to shift them to their correct place.
The Khedawals are a class of Gujarati Brahmans, who take their name from Kheda or Kaira, the headquarters of the Kaira District, where they principally reside. They have two divisions, known as Inside and Outside. It is said that once the Kaira chief was anxious to have a son and offered them gifts. The majority re- fused the gifts, and leaving Kaira settled in villages outside the town ; while a small number accepted the gifts and ^ Tribes and Castes, art. Kanaujia.
remained inside, and hence two separate divisions arose, the outside group being the higher/ It is said that the first Khedawal who came to the Central Provinces was on a journey from Gujarat to Benares when, on passing through Panna State, he saw some diamonds lying in a field. He stopped and picked up as many as he could and presented them to the Raja of Panna, who made him a grant of an estate, and from this time other Khedawals came and settled. A considerable colony of them now exists in Saugor and Damoh. The Khedawals are clever and astute, and many of them are the agents of landowners and moneylenders, while a large proportion are in the service of the Govern- ment. They do not as a rule perform priestly functions in the Central Provinces. Their caste observances are strict. Formerly it is said that a Khedawal who was sent to jail was permanently expelled from caste, and though the rule has been relaxed the penalties for readmission are still very heavy. They do not smoke, but only chew tobacco. Widows must dress in white, and their heads are sometimes shaved. They are said to consider a camel as impure as a donkey, and will not touch either animal. One of their common titles is Mehta, meaning great. The Khedawals of the Central Provinces formerly married only among themselves, but since the railway has been opened intermarriage with their caste-fellows in Gujarat has been resumed.