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This article is an excerpt from
Castes and Tribes of Southern India
By Edgar Thurston, C.I.E.,
Superintendent, Madras Government Museum; Correspondant
Étranger, Société d’Anthropologie de Paris; Socio
Corrispondante, Societa,Romana di Anthropologia.
Assisted by K. Rangachari, M.A.,
of the Madras Government Museum.

Government Press, Madras


The Māgane Shānbōg takes the place, in South Canara, of the village Karnam or accountant. There are also temple Shānbōgs, who are employed at the more important temples. When social disputes come up for decision at caste council meetings, the Shānbōg appointed by the caste records the evidence, and the Moktessor or Mukhtesar (chief man) of the caste decides upon the facts. In some places in South Canara Shānbōg is used as a synonym for Sārasvat Brāhman. In Mysore, the Shānbōg is said to be “the village accountant, with hardly an exception of the Brāhman caste. The office is hereditary. In some places they hold land free of rent, and in others on light assessment. In some few places a fixed money allowance is given. In all instances there are certain fixed fees payable to them in money or kind by the ryots.”

It is noted by Mr. W. Robinson, in a report on the Laccadive islands (1869), that “the Monegar has the assistance of one of the islanders as a Karany, to take down depositions, and to read them, for the character used is the Arabic. In addition to these duties, the Karany has those of the Shanbogue. He keeps the accounts of the trees, and the coir (cocoanut fibre) in the islands, and makes out and delivers the accounts of coir brought to the coast.”

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