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This article was written in 1916 when conditions were different. Even in
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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.


list of paragraphs 1. Origin and traditions. 7. Childbirth. 2. Exogamoiis septs. 8. Disposal of the dead. 3. Marriage. 9. Religion. 4. Festivities of the women of the 10. Magic a7id witchcraft. bridegroom^s party. 1 1 . Social rules. 5 . CoJiclusion of the marriage. 1 2 . Dress a7td tattooing. 6. Widow-marriage and divorce. 13. Names of children. 1 4. Occupation.

Dhanwar, Dhanuhar

A primitive tribe living in the wild hilly country of the Bilaspur zamindari estates, adjoining Chota Nagpur. They numbered only 19,000 persons in 191 1. The name Dhanuhar means a bowman, and the bulk of the tribe have until recently been accustomed to obtain their livelihood by hunting with bov\^ and arrows. The name is thus merely a functional term and is analogous to those of Dhangar, or labourer, and Kisan, or cultivator, which are applied to the Oraons, and perhaps Halba or farmservant, by which another tribe is known. The Dhan- wars are almost certainly not connected with the Dhanuks of northern India, though the names have the same meaning.

They are probably an offshoot of either the Gond or the Kawar tribe or a mixture of both. Their own legend of their origin is nearly the same as that of the Gonds, while the bulk of their sept or family names are identical with those of the Kawars. Like the Kawars, the Dhanwars have no language of their own and speak a corrupt form of Chhattisgarhi Hindi. Mr. Jeorakhan Lai writes of them : — " The word Dhanuhar is a corrupt form of Dhanusdhar or a holder of a bow. The bow consists of a cleft piece of bamboo ' This article is based almost entirely on a monograph by Mr. Jeorakhan Lai, Deputy Inspector of Schools, Bilaspur.

and the arrow is made of wood of the d/uiiiian tree' The pointed end is furnished with a piece or a nail of iron called phani, while to the other end are attached feathers of the vulture or peacock with a string of tasar silk. Dhanuhar boys learn the use of the bow at five years of age, and kill birds with it when they are seven or eight years old. At their marriage ceremony the bridegroom carries an arrow with him in place of a dagger as among the Hindus, and each household has a bow which is worshipped at every festival." According to their own legend the ancestors of the Dhanuhars were two babies whom a tigress unearthed from the ground when scratching a hole in her den, and brought up with her own young.

They were named Naga Lodha and Nagi Lodhi, Naga meaning naked and Lodha being the Chhattisgarhi word for a wild dog. Growing up they lived for some time as brother and sister, until the deity enjoined them to marry. But they had no children until Naga Lodha, in obedience to the god's instructions, gave his wife the fruit of eleven trees to eat. From these she had eleven sons at a birth, and as she observed a fortnight's impurity for each of them the total period was five and a half months. In memory of this, Dhanuhar women still remain impure for five months after delivery, and do not worship the gods for that period. Afterwards the couple had a twelfth son, who was born with a bow and arrows in his hand, and is now the ancestral hero of the tribe, being named Karankot. One day in the forest when Karankot was not with them, the eleven brothers came upon a wooden palisade, inside which were many deer and antelope tended by twelve Gaoli (herdsmen) brothers with their twelve sisters.

The Lodha brothers attacked the place, but were taken prisoners by the Gaolis and forced to remove dung and other refuse from the enclosure. After a time Karankot went in search of his brothers and, coming to the place, defeated the Gaolis and rescued them and carried off the twelve sisters. The twelve brothers subsequently married the twelve Gaoli girls, Karankot himself being wedded to the youngest and most beautiful, whose name was Maswasi. ' From each couple is supposed to be descended one of the tribes who live in ^ Grewia vcstita.

this country, as the Binjhvvar, Bhumia, Korwa, Majhi, Kol, Kawar and others, the Dhanuhars themselves being the progeny of Karankot and Masvvasi. The bones of the animals killed by Karankot were thrown into ditches dug round the village and form the pits of cJihui inithi or white clay now existing in this tract. 2. Exo- The Dhanuhars, being a small tribe, have no endo- 56^°"^ gamous divisions, but are divided into a number of totemistic exogamous septs. Many of the septs are called after plants or animals, and members of the sept refrain from killing or destroying the animal or plant after which it is named. The names of the septs are generally Chhattisgarhi words, though a few are Gondi. Out of fifty names returned twenty are also found in the Kawar tribe and four among the Gonds.

This makes it probable that the Dhanuhars are mainly an offshoot from the Kawars with an admixture of Gonds and other tribes. A peculiarity worth noticing is that one or two of the septs have been split up into a number of others. The best instance of this is the Sonvvani sept, which is found among several castes and tribes in Chhattlsgarh ; its name is perhaps derived from Sona pant (Gold water), and its members have the function of readmitting those temporarily expelled from social intercourse by pouring on them a little water into which a piece of gold has been dipped. Among the Dhanuhars the Sonwani sept has become divided into the Son-Sonwani, who pour the gold water over the penitent ; the Rakat Sonwani, who give him to drink a little of the blood of the sacrificial fowl ; the Hardi Sonwani, who give turmeric water to the mourners when they come back from a funeral ; the Kari Sonwani, who assist at this ceremony ; and one or two others. The totem of the Kari Sonwani sept is a black cow, and when such an animal dies in the village members of the sept throw away their earthen pots. All these are now separate exogamous septs.

The Deswars are another sept which has been divided in the same manner. They are, perhaps, a more recent accession to the tribe, and are looked down on by the others because they will eat the flesh of bison. The other Dhanwars refuse to do this because they say that when Sita, Rama's wife, was exiled in the jungles, she could not find a cow to worship and so revered a bison 11 MARRIAGE 49 1 • ill its stead. And they say that the animal's feet are grey because of the turmeric water which Slta poured on them, and that the depression on its forehead is the mark of her hand when she placed a tika or sign there with coloured rice. The Deswars are also called Dui Uuaria or ' Those having two doors,' because they have a back door to their huts which is used only by women during their monthly period of im- purity and kept shut at all other times. One of the septs is named Manakhia, which means ' man-eater,' and it is possible that its members formerly offered human sacrifices.

Similarly, the Rakat-bund or ' Drop of blood Deswars ' may be so called because they shed human blood. A member of the Telasi or ' Oil ' sept, when he has killed a deer, will cut off the head and bring it home ; placing it in his courtyard, he suspends a burning lamp over the head and places grains of rice on the forehead of the deer ; and he then considers that he is revering the oil in the lamp. Members of the Suraj- goti or sun sept are said to have stood as representatives of the sun in the rite of the purification of an offender. Marriage within the sept is prohibited, and usually 3. Mar- also between first cousins. Girls are commonly married a '^'^^^" year or two after they arrive at maturity. The father of the boy looks out for a suitable girl for his son and sends a friend to make the proposal. If this is accepted a feast is given, and is known as Phul Phulwari or ' The bursting of the flower.' The betrothal itself is called Phaldan or ' The gift of the fruit ' ; on this occasion the contract is ratified and the usual presents are exchanged.

Yet a third ceremony, prior to the marriage, is that of the Barokhi or inspection, when the bride and bridegroom are taken to see each other. On this occasion they exchange copper rings, placing them on each other's finger, and the boy offers vermilion to the earth, and then rubs it on the bride's forehead. When the girl is mature the date of the wedding is fixed, a small bride- price of six rupees and a piece of cloth being usually paid. If the first signs of puberty appear in the girl during the bright fortnight of the month, the marriage is held during the dark fortnight and vice versa. The marriage-shed is built in the form of a rectangle and must consist of either seven or nine posts in three lines. The bridegroom's party 492 DHANWAR comprises from twenty to forty persons of both sexes. When they arrive at the bride's village her father comes out to meet them and gives them leaf-pipes to smoke. He escorts them inside the village where a lodging has been prepared for them. The ceremony is based on that of the local Hindus with numerous petty variations in points of detail.

In the actual ceremony the bride and bridegroom are first supported on the knees of two relatives. A sheet is held between them and each throws seven handfuls of parched rice over the other. They are then made to stand side by side ; a knot is made of their cloths containing a piece of turmeric, and the bride's left hand is laid over the bridegroom's right one, and on it a sendJiaiira or wooden box for vermilion is placed. The bride's mother moves seven times round the pair holding a lighted lamp, at which she warms her hand and then touches the marriage-crowns of the bride and bridegroom seven times in succession. And finally the couple walk seven times round the marriage-post, the bridegroom following the bride. The marriage is held during the day, and not, as is usual, at night or in the early morning.

Afterwards, the pair are seated in the marriage- shed, the bridegroom's leg being placed over that of the bride, with their feet in a brass dish. The bride's mother then washes their great toes with milk and the rest of their feet with water. The bridegroom applies vermilion seven times to the marriage-post and to his wife's forehead at the parting of her hair. The couple are fed with rice and pulses one after the other out of the same leaf-plates, and the parties have a feast. Next morning, before their departure, the father of the bride asks the bride- groom to do his best to put up with his daughter, who is thievish, gluttonous and so slovenly that she lets her food drop on to the floor ; but if he finds he cannot endure her, to send her home. In the same manner the father of the boy apologises for his son, saying that he cares only for mischief and pleasure.

The party then returns to the bridegroom's house. 4. Fcstivi- During the absence of the wedding party the women ties of the ^ .... women of of the bridcgroom's house with others in the village smg the bride- son^s at night in the marriage - shed constructed at his groom s ° ° ° party. housc. These are known as Dindwa, a term applied to a

man who has no wife, whether widower or bachelor. As they sing, the women dance in two h'nes with their arms interlaced, clapping their hands as they move backwards and forwards. The songs are of a lewd character, treating of intrigues in love mingled with abuse of their relatives and of other men who may be watching the proceedings by stealth. No offence is taken on such occasions, whatever may be said. In Upper India, Mr. Jeorakhan Lai states such songs are sung at the time of the marriage and are called Naktoureki louk or the ceremony of the useless or shameless ones, because women, however shy and modest, become at this time as bold and shameless as men are at the Holi festival.

The following are a few lines from one of these songs

The wheat-cake is below and the urad-cake is above. Do you see my brother's brother-in-law watching the dance in the narrow lane.^ A sweetmeat is placed on the wheat-cake ; a handsome young black- guard has climbed on to the top of the wall to see the dance. When a woman sees a man from afar he looks beautiful and attractive : but when he comes near she sees that he is not worth the trouble. I went to the market and came back with my salt. Oh, I looked more at you than at my husband who is wedded to me. Several of the ceremonies are repeated at the bride- 5. Conciu- groom's house after the return of the wedding party. On 5^°"°^'^^^ ° _ is f J ^^ marriage. the day following them the couple are taken to a tank walking under a canopy held up by their friends. Here they throw away their marriage-crowns, and play at hiding a vessel under the water. When they return to the house a goat is sacrificed to Dulha Deo and the bride cooks food in her new house for the first time, her husband helping her, and their relatives and friends in the village are invited to partake of it.

After this the conjugal chamber is prepared by the women of the household, and the bride is taken to it and told to consider her husband's house as her own. The couple are then left together and the marriage is consummated. The remarriage of widows is permitted but it is 6. Widow- not considered as a real marriage, according to the "^"^se ^ The term brother's brother-in-law is abusive in the same sense as brother-in- ^'^'orce. law {sala) said by a man.

saying : " A woman cannot be anointed twice with the marriage oil, as a wooden cooking - vessel cannot be put twice on the fire." A widow married again is called a CJiuriydlii Dauki or ' Wife made by bangles/ as the ceremony may be completed by putting bangles on her wrists. When a woman is going to marry again she leaves her late husband's house and goes and lives with her own people or in a house by herself.

The second husband makes his proposal to her through some other women. If accepted he comes with a party of his male friends, taking with him a new cloth and some bangles. They are received by the widow's guardian, and they sit in her house smoking and chewing tobacco while some woman friend retires with her and invests her with the new cloth and bangles. She comes out and >the new husband and wife bow to all the Dhanwars, who are subsequently regaled with liquor and goats' flesh, and the marriage is completed. Polygamy is permitted but is not common. A husband may divorce his wife for failing to bear him issue, for being ugly, thievish, shrewish or a witch, or for an intrigue with an- other man. If a married woman commits adultery with another man of the tribe they are pardoned with the exaction of one feast. If her paramour is a Gond, Rawat, Binjhwar or Kawar, he is allowed to become a Dhanwar and marry her on giving several feasts, the exact number being fixed by the village Baiga or priest in a pancJidyat or committee. With these exceptions a married woman having an intrigue with a man of another caste is finally expelled. A wife who desires to divorce her husband without his agreement is also turned out of the caste like a common woman.

7. Child- After the birth of a child the mother receives no food for the first and second, and fourth and fifth days, while on the third she is given only a warm decoction to drink. On the sixth day the men of the house are shaved and their impurity ceases. But the mother cooks no food for two months after bearing a female child and for three months if it is a male. The period has thus been somewhat reduced from the traditional one of five and a half months,^ but it must still be highly inconvenient. At the expiration of the time of impurity the 1 See commencement of this article. birth.

c.ullicn pots arc chang^cd and the mother prepares a meal for the whole household. During- her monthly period of impurity a woman cooks no food for six days. On the seventh day she bathes and cleans her hair with clay, and is then again permitted to touch the drinking water and cook food. The tribe bury the dead. The corpse is wrapped in 8. Disposal an old cloth and carried to the grave on a cot turned upside ° 'j^ ^ ^ dead. down. On arrival there it is washed with turmeric and water and wrapped in a new cloth. The bearers carry the corpse seven times round the open grave, saying,

' This is your last marriage,' that is, with the earth. The male relatives and friends fill in the grave with earth, working with their hands only and keep their backs turned to the grave so as to avoid seeing the corpse. It is said that each person should throw only five handfuls. Other people then come up and fill in the grave, trampling down the surface as much as possible. For three days after a death the bereaved family do not cook for themselves but are supplied with food by their friends. These, however, do not give them any salt as it is thought that the craving for salt will divert their minds from dwelling on their loss.

The tribe do not perform the sJirdddh ceremony, but in the month of Kunwar, on the day corresponding to that on which his father died, a man feeds the caste-fellows in memory of him. And at this period he offers libations to his ancestors, pouring a double handful of water on the ground for each one that he can remember and then one for all the others. While doing this he stands facing the east and does not turn to three different directions as the Hindu custom is. The spirit of a man who has been killed by a tiger becomes Baghia Masan or the tiger imp, and that of a woman who dies in childbirth becomes a Churel. Both are very trouble- some to the living. The principal deities of the Dhanwars are Thakur 9. Reii- Deo, the god of agriculture, and Dulha Deo, the deity of ^'°"' the family and hearth. Twice a year the village Baiga or medicine-man, who is usually a Gond, offers a cocoanut to Thakur Deo. He first consecrates it to the god by placing it in contact with water and the small heap of rice which

lies in front of his shrine, and then splits it asunder on a stone, saying, ' Jai Thdkur Deo', or ' Victory to Thakur Deo.' When any serious calamity befalls the tribe a goat is offered to the deity. It must also be first consecrated to him by eating his. rice ; its body is then washed in water and some of the sacred dub ^ grass is placed on it, and the Baiga severs the head from the body with an axe. Dulha Deo is the god of the family and the marriage-bed, and when a Dhanwar is married or his first son is born, a goat is offered to the deity.

Another interesting deity is Maiya Andhiyari, or the goddess of the dark fortnight of the month. She is worshipped in the house conjointly by husband and wife on any Tuesday in the dark fortnight of Magh (January-February), all the relatives of the family being invited. On the day of worship the husband and wife observe a fast, and all the water which is required for use in the house during the day and night must be brought into it in the early morning. A circular pit is dug inside the house, about three feet deep and as many wide. A she -goat which has borne no young is sacrificed to the goddess in the house in the same manner as in the sacrifice to Thakur Deo. The goat is skinned and cut up, the skin, bones and other refuse being thrown into the hole. The flesh is cooked and eaten with rice and pulse in the evening, all the family and relatives, men and women, eating together at the same time.

After the meal, all the remaining food and the water including that used for cooking, and the new earthen pots used to carry water on that day are thrown into the pit. The mouth of the pit is then covered with wooden boards and plastered over with mud with great care to prevent a child falling into it ; as it is held that nothing which has once gone into the pit may be taken out, even if it were a human being. It is said that once in the old days a man who happened to fall into the pit was buried alive, its mouth being covered over with planks of wood ; and he was found alive when the pit was reopened next year. This is an instance of the sacrificial meal, common to many primitive peoples, at which the sacred animal was consumed by the worshippers, skin, bones and 1 Cynodon dactylon.

all. But now that such a course has become repugnant to their more civilised dii^estions, the refuse is considered sacred and disposed of in some such manner as that described. The goddess is also known as Rat Devi or the goddess of the night ; or Rat Mai, the night motiicr.

The goddess Masvvasi was the mythical ancestress of the Dhanwars, the wife of Karankot, and also the daughter of Maiya Andhiyari or Rat Mai. She too is worshipped every third year in the dark fortnight of the month of Magh on any Tuesday. Her sacrifice is offered in the morning hours in the forest by men only, and consists also of a black she-goat. A site is chosen under a tree and cleaned with cowdung, the bones of animals being placed upon it in a heap to represent the goddess. The village Baiga kills the goat with an axe and the body is eaten by the worshippers. Masvvasi is invoked by the Dhanwars before they go hunting, and whenever they kill a wild boar or a deer they offer it to her. She is thus clearly the goddess of hunting.

The tribe also worship the spirits of hills and woods and the ghosts of the illustrious dead. The ghosts of dead Baigas or medicine- men are believed to become spirits attending on Thakur Deo, and when he is displeased with the Dhanwars they intervene to allay his anger. The brothers of Maswasi, the twelve Gaolis, are believed to be divine hunters and to haunt the forests, where they kill beasts and occasionally men. Six of them take post and the other six drive the beasts or men towards these through the forest, when they are pierced as with an arrow. The victim dies after a few days, but if human he may go to a sorcerer, who can extract the arrow, smaller than a grain of rice, from his body.

In the month of Aghan (November), when the grass of the forests is to be cut, the members of the village collectively offer a goat to the grass deity, in order that none of the grass-cutters may be killed by a tiger or bitten by a snake or other wild animal. The Dhanwars are fervent believers in all kinds of magic and witchcraft. Magic is practised both by the Baiga, the village priest or medicine-man, who is always a man and who conducts the worship of the deities mentioned above, and by the tonlii, the regular witch, who may be a VOL. II 2 K

man or woman. Little difference appears to exist in the methods of the two classes of magicians, but the Baiga's magic is usually exercised for the good of his fellow-creatures, which indeed might be expected as he gets his livelihood from them, and he is also less powerful than the tonJii.

The Baiga cures ordinary maladies and the bites of snakes and scorpions by mesmeric passes fortified by the utterance of charms. He raises the dead in much the same manner as a witch does, but employs the spirit of the dead person in casting out other evil spirits by which his clients may be possessed. One of the miracles performed by the Baiga is to make his wet cloth stand in the air stiff and straight, holding only the two lower ends. He can cross a river walking on leaves, and change men into beasts. Witches are not very common among the Dhanwars. A witch, male or female, may be detected by a sunken and gloomy appearance of the eyes, a passionate temperament, or by being found naked in a graveyard at night, as only a witch would go there to raise a corpse from the dead. The Dhanwars eat nearly all kinds of food except beef and the leavings of others.

They will take cooked food from the hands of Kawars, and the men also from Gonds, but not the women. In some places they will accept food from Brahmans, but not everywhere. They are not an impure caste, but usually live in a separate hamlet of their own, and are lower than the Gonds and Kawars, who will take water from them but not food. They are a very primitive people, and it is stated that at the census several of them left their huts and fled into the jungle, and were with difficulty induced to return. When an elder man dies his family usually abandon their hut, as it is believed that his spirit haunts it and causes death to any one who lives there. A Kawar is always permitted to become a Dhanwar, and a woman of the Gond, Binjhwar and Rawat tribes, if such a one is living with a Dhanwar, may be married to him with the approval of the tribe. She does not enjoy the full status of membership herself, but it is accorded to her children. When an outsider is to be admitted a pancJidyai of five Dhanwars is assembled, one of whom must be of the Majhi sept.

The members of the pancJidyat hold out their

right hands, pahn upwards, one below the other, and beneath them the candidate and his wife place their hands. The Majhi pours water from a brass vessel on to the topmost hand, and it trickles down from one to the other on to those of the candidate and his wife. The blood of a slaughtered goat is mixed with the water in their palms and they sip it, and after giving a feast to the caste are considered as Dhanwars. Permanent exclusion from caste is imposed only for living with a man or woman of another caste other than those who may become Dhanwars, or for taking food from a member of an impure caste, the only ones which are lower than the Dhanwars.

Temporary exclusion for an indefinite period is awarded for an irregular connection between a Dhanwar man and woman, or of a Dhanwar with a Kawar, Binjhwar, Rawat or Gond ; on a family which harbours any one of its members who has been permanently expelled ; and on a woman who cuts the navel-cord of a newly-born child, whether of her own caste or not. Irregular sexual intimacies are usually kept secret and condoned by marriage whenever possible. A person expelled for any of the above offences cannot claim readmission as a right. He must first please the members of the caste, and to do this he attends every caste feast without being invited, removes their leaf-plates with the leavings of food, and waits on them generally, and continually proffers his prayer for readmission. When the other Dhanwars are satisfied with his long and faithful service they take him back into the community.

Temporary exclusion from caste, with the penalty of one or more feasts for readmission, is imposed for killing a cow or a cat accidentally, or in the course of giving it a beating

for having a cow or bullock in one's possession whose nostrils or ears get split ; for getting maggots in a wound ; for being beaten except by a Government official ; for taking food from any higher caste other than those from whom food is accepted ; and in the case of a woman for saying her husband's name aloud. This list of offences shows that the Dhanwars have almost completely adopted the Hindu

code in social matters, while retaining their tribal religion.

A person guilty of one of the above offences must have his or her head shaved by a barber, and make a pilgrimage to

the shrine of Narsingh Nath in Bodasamar zamlndari ; after having accomplished this he is purified by one of the Sonwani sept, being given water in which gold has been dipped to drink through a bamboo tube, and he provides usually three feasts for the caste-fellows. The tribe dress in the somewhat primitive fashion prevalent in Chhattlsgarh, and there is nothing distinctive about their clothing. Women are tattooed at their parents' house before or just after marriage. It is said that the tattoo marks remain on the soul after death, and that she shows them to God, probably for purposes of identification.

There is a saying, ' All other pleasures are transient, but the tattoo marks are my companions through life.' A Dhanwar will not take water from a woman who is not tattooed. Children are named on the chathi or sixth day after birth, and the parents always ascertain from a wise man whether the soul of any dead relative has been born again in the child so that they may name it after him. It is also thought that the sex may change in transmigration, for male children are sometimes named after women relatives and female after men. Mr. Hira Lai notes the following instance of the names of four children in a family.

The eldest was named after his grandfather ; the second was called Bhalu or bear, as his maternal uncle who had been eaten by a bear was reborn in him ; the third was called Ghasi, the name of a low caste of grass-cutters, because the two children born before him had died ; and the fourth was called Kausi, because the sorcerer could not identify the spirit of any rela- tive as having been born again in him. The name Kausi is given to any one who cannot remember his sept, as in the saying, ' BJiule bisdre kausi got,' or ' A man who has got no got belongs to the Kausi got' Kausi is said to mean a stranger. Bad names are commonly given to avert ill-luck or premature death, as Boya, a liar ; Labdu, one smeared with ashes ; Marha, a corpse ; or after some physical defect as Lati, one with clotted hair ; Petwa, a stammerer ; Lendra, shy ; Ghundu, one who cannot walk ; Ghunari, stunted ; or from the place of birth, as Dongariha or Paharu, born on a hill ; Banjariha, born in brushwood, and so on.

A man will not mention the names of his wife, his son's wife or his palion.

sister's son's wife, and a woman will not name her husband or his elder brother or parents. As already stated, a woman saying her husband's name aloud is temporarily put out of caste, the Hindu custom being thus carried to extremes, as is often the case among the lower castes. The tribe consider hunting to have been their proper 14- Occu- calling, but many of them are now cultivators and labourers. They also make bamboo matting and large baskets for storing grain, but they will not make small bamboo baskets or fans, because this is the calling of the Turis, on whom the Dhanwar looks down. The women collect the leaves of sd/^ trees and sell them at the rate of about ten bundles for a pice (farthing) for use as cJwngis or leaf-pipes. As already stated, the tribe have no language of their own, but speak a corrupt form of Chhattlsgarhi. ^ Shorea robtista.


(From People of India/ National Series Volume VIII. Readers who wish to share additional information/ photographs may please send them as messages to the Facebook community, Indpaedia.com. All information used will be gratefully acknowledged in your name.)

Synonyms: Baiga, Dhanuhar, Dhirkar, Lodha [Madhya Pradesh and/or Chhattisgarh] Surnames: Sal, Sonpakir, Sonvani [Madhya Pradesh and/or Chhattisgarh] Baiga, Mudihar, Sonani [Orissa]

  • Exogamous septs: Deswaras, Hardi Sonwani, Kari Sonwani, Rakat Sonwani, Son- Sonwani, Sonwani [Russell &

Hiralal] Exogamous units/clans (gotra): Bagh, Baiga, Ban, Barma, Harma, Khunta, Madihar, Mudihar, Singly, Sonani, Sonsohani, Sunati [Orissa] Exogamous units/clans (goti): Baghel, Ganga, Kachul, Karai, Marai, Sonha, Sonpakir, Sonvani, Tilasi, Vika [Madhya Pradesh and/or Chhattisgarh] Exogamous units/lineages (bansh): [Madhya Pradesh and/or Chhattisgarh]

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