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B. Lewis (Benjamin Lewis) Rice.

Mysore: a gazetteer compiled for government (Volume 1) online

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With all this, there is no restriction in the Mysore State on the acquisi-
tion of land or property by Holeyas, and under the various blending
influences of the times — educational, missionary, and others — members
of this class are rising in importance and acquiring wealth. So nmch
so ♦^hat in the cities and large towns their social disabilities are, to a
great e.xtent, being overcome, and in public matters especially their
complete ostracism can hardly be maintained.

In the Maidan parts of the country, the Holeya, as the kulavddi, had



254 ETHNOGRAPHY

a recognized position in the village, and has always been regarded as
an ultimate referee in cases of boundary disputes. In the Malnad he
was merely a slave, of which there were two classes, — the huiUll, or
slave born in the house, the hereditary serf of the family; and the
mau'.id/, or slave of the soil, who was bought and sold with the land.
These are, of course, now emancipated, and are benefiting by the free
labour and higher wages connected with coffee plantations, often to the
detriment of the areca-nut gardens, which were formerly kept up by
their forced labour.

The Madiga are similar to the Holeya, but are looked down upon
by the latter as inferior. They are toti, or village scavengers, and
nirga?iti, or watermen, in charge of the sluices of tanks and channels,
regulating the .supply of water for irrigation. They are principally dis-
tinguished from the Holeya in being workers in leather. The carcases
of dead cattle are removed by them, and the hides dressed to provide
the thongs by which bullocks are strapped to the yoke, the leather
buckets used for raising water in kapile wells, and other articles
required by the villagers. They are also cobblers, tanners and shoe-
makers, and the increasing demand for hides is putting money into
their purses.

Their subdivisions are Arava, Chakkili, Chammar, (iampa, Gampa-
sale, Goppasale, Hedigebiivva, Kanchala, Kannada, Marabiivva,
Morasn, Matangi, Tirukula, Singadi, Tanigebuvva, Telugu, U'ru and
A^ainadu. They are worshippers of Vishnu, S'iva and S'aktis, and have
five different gurus or maths in the Mysore country, namely, at Kadave,
Kodihalli, Kongarli, Nelamangala and Konkallu. They also call
themselves Jambava and Matanga. There is, moreover, a general
division of the caste into Des'abhaga, who do not intermarry with the
others. Though subordinate to the maths above mentioned, they
acknowledge S'rivaishnava Brahmans as their gurus. The Des'abhaga
are composed of six classes, namely, Biljoru, ISIalloru, Amaravatiyavaru,
Munigaju, Yanamaloru and Morabuvvadavaru.

Certain privileges enjoyed by the Holeya and Madiga in regard to
temple worship will be found described in connection with Melukote
and Belur.

The Mbchi (746) are not to be classed with the Madiga, except in
the matter of working in leather. They are immigrants, who, it is said,
came into Mysore with Khasim Khan, the general of Aurangzeb, and
settled originally in Sira and Kolar. They claim to be Kshatriyas and
Rajputs, pretensions which are not generally admitted. They are shoe-
makers and saddlers by trade, and all S'aivas by faith. They have sub-
divisions called Gujarat, Kannada, Kempala and Marata.



Wodda


. 107,203


Mecia


4,261


Beda


217,128


Jogi, &c


10,884


Domha, Jetti ...


3-703


(laradiga


S76



WODDAS 255

The next class (E) is styled ^'agrant Minor Artisans and Performers,
and is composed of the following groups : —

Earth-workers and Stone-dressers

Mat and Basket-makers

Hunters and Fowlers

Miscellaneous, and Disreputal)le Livers

Tumblers and Acrobats

jugglers, Snake-charmers, i\;c

The large and useful class of JVoddas is composed of Kallu ^^'odda and
Mannu Wodda, between whom there is no social intercourse, nor any
intermarriage. Both worship all the Hindu deities and S'aktis, but a
goddess named Yellama seems to be a special object of reverence.
The Kallu Wodda are stonemasons, quarrying, transporting, and build-
ing with stone, and very dexterous in moving large masses of it by
simple mechanical means. They consider themselves superior to the
Mannu Wodda. The latter are chiefly tank-diggers, well-sinkers, and
generally skilful navvies for all kinds of earthwork, the men digging
and the women removing the earth. Though a hard-working class,
they have the reputation of assisting professional thieves in committing
dacoities and robberies, j)rincipally, however, by giving information as
to where and how plunder may be easily obtained. The young and
robust of the Mannu Wodda of both sexes travel about in caravans in
search of employment, taking with them their infants and huts, which
consist of a few sticks and mats. Wherever they obtain any large
earthwork, they form an encampment in the neighbourhood. The
older members settle in the outskirts of towns, where many of both
sexes now find employment in various capacities in connection with
sanitary conservancy. The Wodda, as their name indicates, were
originally immigrants from Orissa and the Telugu country, and they
generally speak Telugu. They eat meat and drink spirits, and are
given to polygamy. The men and women of the caste eat together.
The subdivisions are Bailu, Bhdja, B6yi, Haje, Jarupa, Jangalpatte-
burusu, Telugu, Tigala, Uppu and U'ru. They are most numerous
in the eastern and northern Districts.

The Mida or (lauriga are mat and basket-makers, and workers in
bamboo and cane. One-fourth arc in Shimoga District, and a good
number in Mysore and Kadur Districts.

The Bcda or Nayaka consist of two divisions, Telugu and Kannada,
who neither eat together nor intermarry. One-third of the number are
in ("hitaldroog District, and the greater proportion of the rest in Kolar
and 'I'umkur Districts. They were formerly hunters and soldiers by
profession. Most of the Mysore Pallegars belong to this caste, and



256 ETHNOGRAJ'IfY

the famous infantry of Haidar and Tipu was largely composed of
B(^das. Now their principal occupation is agriculture, labour and
Government service as revenue peons and village police. They claim
descent from ^'almiki, the author of the Ramayana, and are chiefly
Vaishnavas, hut worship all the Hindu deities. In some parts they
erect a circular hut for a temple, with a stake in the middle, which is
the god. In common with the Golla, Kuruba, Mddiga and other
classes, they often dedicate the eldest daughter in a family in which no
son is born, as a Basavi or prostitute ; and a girl falling ill is similarly
vowed to be left unmarried, which means the same thing. The main
divisions are Halu (3,929), Nayaka (15,453), Pajlegar (48), Barika,
Kannaiyanajati, Kirataka, and Machi or Myasa (9,175). The minor
subdivisions are Arava, Balajdgi, Gujjari, Hajli, Kanaka, Modayavaru,
Muchchalamire, Mugla, Nagi, Telugu and Yanamala. The Machi or
Mydsa, also called Chunchu, call for special notice. Many of them live
in hills and in temporary huts outside inhabited places. The remarkable
point about them is that they practise the rite of circumcision, which is
performed on the boys of ten or twelve years of age. They also eschew
all strong drink, and that so scrupulously that they will not use materials
from the date-palm in their buildings, nor even touch them. On the
other hand they eat beef, but of birds only partridge and quail. Possibly
these peculiarities may have arisen from forced conversion to Islam in
the days of Tipu. With the Musalman rite they also combine Hindu
usages at the initiation of boys, and in the segregation of women in child-
birth follow the customs of other quasi jungle tribes. The dead are cre-
mated, and their ashes scattered on tangadi bushes {cassia auricidata).

In the Miscellaneous group Xh^t Jbgi (9,692) are the most numerous.
They are mendicant devotees recruited from all castes. Their divisions
are Gantij6gi, Gorava, Helava, Jangaliga, Monda, Pakanati, Pichcha-
kunte, Sillekyata and Uddinakorava. They mostly pretend to be
fortune-tellers, while the Jangaliga and Pakanati deal in drugs, and
wander about calling out the particular diseases they profess to cure by
means of their wares.

The Biididmdike (1,092) are gypsy beggars and fortune-tellers from
the Mahratta country, one section being called Busare. They pretend
to consult birds and reptiles, and through them to predict future events.
They use a small double-headed drum, which is sounded by whisking it
about so as to be struck by the knotted ends of a string attached to
each side. The others of this group of beggars are Sudugadusidda
(46), Ciondaliga (29), Pandaram and Valluvar (15), Karma (7), and
S'aniyar (3). The first are all in Shimoga District, and the last three
in the Civil and Military Station of Bangalore.



MUSALMANS 257

The Tumblers and Acrobats include Domba (2,500) and Jatti (1,203).
The former are buffoons, tumblers, and




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262



ETHNOGRAPHY



'J'herc arc thus twenty-four tcjwns with a po[)ulatioii exceeding 5,000,
namely,



Hanf^aloic


.. 180,366


Davangcre ...


.. 8,061


Nanjangud ...


6,421


Mysore ...


.. 74,048


Chikmagalur


.. 7,«i6


I larihar


6,385


Seriiigajwtani


• • 12,55'


Anckal


■• 7,419


Closepet


6,236


Kolar


.. 12,148


I)od Ballapur


• • 7,141


Hole Narsipiir


5,75«


Shimoga ...


■ ■ 11,340


Tarikere


.. 7,056


Malavalli . . .


5,639


Tiimkur ...


.. 11,086


Devanhalli ...


.. 6,693


Hunsur


5,141


Chik Ballapur


10,623


Hassan


.. 6,654


Mulbagal


5,026


Channapatna


9,160


Sidlaghalta...


.. 6,572


Shikarpu-r ...


5,011



to which, in order to make up the totals given, must be added the
large village of Agara in Mysore District, with 5,218 inhabitants ; and
the village of Wokkaleri in Kolar District, where the occurrence of a
large festival at the time of the census 'raised the population to 7,273.

Besides these, there are seventy-four other smaller municipal towns,



Online LibraryB. Lewis (Benjamin Lewis) RiceMysore: a gazetteer compiled for government (Volume 1) → online text (page 31 of 98)