Under Brahmans come eight divisions with a strength of 66,046 souls (males 32,223, females 33,823) or seven per cent of the total Hindu population. Of these 30,053 (males 14,527, females 15,526) were Ghitpavans or Konkanasths; 14,367 (males 7146, females 7221) Karhadas; 777 (males 423, females 354) Deshasths; 5727 (males 2776, females 2951) Devrukhas; 70 (males 46, females 24) Kirvants; 40 (males 28, females 12) Kanojas; 1277 (males 648, females 629) Javals; 13,669 (males 6579, females 7090) Shenvis and 66 'Other Brahmans'.
CHITPAVANS, [According to Molesworth, the Konkanasths were, in allusion to the story of their
being sprung from corpses brought to life by Parshuram, nicknamed Chitpavans or
pure from the pyre, chita. Turning this from a nickname into a title of honour, the
Konkanasths say that it means pure of heart, chitta.] also known as Konkanasths or the chief Konkan Brahmans, have a total strength of about 30,000 souls or 45.42 per cent of the Ratnagiri Brahman population. Parshuram hill, near Chiplun, is the head-quarters of the caste whose original limits are said to be the Savitri in the north and the Devgad river in the south. They have no sub-divisions, all eating together, and intermarrying. [The fourteen Konkanasths gotras are: kashyap, shandilya, vasishtha, vishnu-vardhan,
kaundinya, nityundan, bharadvaj, gargya, kapi, jamdagnya,
kaushik, and atri. Their sixty ancient surnames are: of the kashyaps, Lele, Ganu,
Jog, Lavate, Gokhale; of the shandilyas, Soman, Gangal, Bhate, Ganpule, Damle,
Joshi, Parchure; of the vasishthas, Sathe, Bodas, Ok, Bapat, Bugul, Dharu, Gogte,
Bhabhe, Pongshe, Vinjhe, Sathaya, Goundye; of the vishnuvardhans, Kidmide, Nene,
Paranjpe, Menhadale; of the kaundinyas, Patvardhan, Phanse; of the
Vaishampayan, Bhadbhoke; of the bharadvajs, Achavla, Tene, Darve, Gandhare,
Ghanghurade, Ranade; of the gargyas, Karve, Gadgil, Londhe, Mathe, Dabke; of the kapis,
Limaye, Khambete; of the jamdagnyas, Pendse, Kunte; of the vatsas,
Malse: of the babhravyas, Bal, Behere; of the kaushiks, Gadre, Bama, Bhave,
Vad, Apte; of the atris, Chitale, Athavle, Bhadbhoke. Besides the sixty ancient
surnames named above, there are 244 modern surnames current among them, making a total of 304. Of the ancient surnames 37 belong to the ashvalayans and
23 to the taitiriyas; while of the modern, including that of Bhat, by which the family of the
Peshwa was denominated, 178 belong to the ashvalayans and 66 to the
taitiriyas. Dr. Wilson's Indian Caste, 19, 20.] Of their early history or settlement in Ratnagiri no record remains. The local legend makes them strangers descended from fourteen shipwrecked corpses who were restored to life by Parshuram. In former times, little thought of and known chiefly as messengers or spies, harkaras, the success of their patrons, the Maratha chiefs, brought out their keen cleverness, good sense, tact, and power of management, and their caste supplied not only the ruling family, but most of the leading men who during the eighteenth century held together the loose Maratha confederacy. Fair and pale with, in most cases, light eyes, [Their colour is greenish-grey rather than blue. They are known in Marathi as
cat-eyes, ghare or manjare dole.] they are a well-made, vigorous class, the men handsome with a look of strength and intelligence; the women small, graceful, and refined, but many of them delicate and weak-eyed. In their homes they use a peculiar dialect,
[The following are some of its peculiarities: ched, girl; hay, a respectable expression used amongst women in addressing their elders; ke(n), where, kita(n), what;
am; me(n), I; vincha(n), just before sunset; te nin, he; tyahaati, thence;
nay, river: phal, shut; pahanpati, early in the morning ;theyala(n), put;
hara(n), want; ghevni.
taking; gecha(n). coming: had. bring: okhad, medicine;
matha(n), with me: gota.
near; kai, when; haday, to force downwards; chakhot, good; bakara, for a while; pekh, stop; atvar, kitchen room; kinla, for what; nanka (n), don't want; yatha, here; kedla, when; bolche, speaks.] in
many respects not easily followed by Marathi-speaking Deccan Hindus. Out of doors they speak pure Marathi differing from that spoken in the Deccan only by the more marked pronunciation of the nasal sound, anusvar.
Many of the best coast villages, owned and field by Chitpavans, are for cleanliness and arrangement a pleasing contrast to the ordinary Indian village. The houses, built of stone, stand in cocoanut gardens or in separate enclosures, shaded with mango and jack trees, and the village roads, too narrow for carts, are paved with blocks of laterite and well shaded. Ponds, wells, and temples add to the general appearance of comfort. The Chitpavans are very clean and tidy. The men wear a turban, pagote,
[School boys wear a piece of cloth rumal or pheta instead of a turban.] a sleeved waistcoat, bandi, a coat, angarkha, the shoulder cloth, angvastra, the waistcloth, dhotar, and country made shoes, joda, in the fair season, and during the rains sandals, vahanas. Very few Ratnagiri Chitpavans have taken to the broadcloth coats, trousers, and polished leather shoes so common among the younger of their Bombay caste fellows. The women wear the long full robe, lugde, and shortsleeved bodice, choli, covering both the back and chest. They wear no shoes, and none, except the very rich, wear woollen shawls. Very neat in their dress and way of wearing the hair, their clothes are generally of cotton, white, or dyed some single bright colour, pink, scarlet, black, green, or primrose. Of ornaments, the men sometimes wear in their right ear a gold pearl-ornamented ring, bhikbali, and gold finger rings, angthya or jodvi, and the women a pearl-studded nosering, nath, and earrings, bugdya, gold hair ornaments, rakhdi, ketah, chandrakor, and keuda, gold neck ornaments, thushi, putlyachimal, sari, patlya, kantha, laffa, and tik, and gold bracelets, goth, tode, patlyas, and bangdyas. Young women and girls generally wear silver anklets, sakhlyas, and a, few women wear gold finger rings, angthyas. Girl widows, though they no longer have the red forehead mark, kunku, are allowed to wear a bodice and a robe of any colour and ornaments. When she comes of age the girl widow has her head shaved, her glass bracelets broken and her bodice taken off, and is allowed to wear no robes except white or red and no ornaments except gold finger-rings. Like Karhadas, Deshasths, and other Maharashtra Brahmans who eat together, except on Vedic sacrificial occasions, Chitpavans are forbidden animal food and spirituous liquors. Like other Konkan people they take large quantities of buttermilk, tak. Though not superior to Deshasths and Karhadas in rank, they are held in much respect by most Ratnagiri Hindus, who believe that the sacred texts, mantras, repeated by a Chitpavan have special worth. A very frugal, pushing, active, intelligent, well-taught, astute, self-confident, and overbearing class, they follow almost all callings and generally with success. Many Chitpavans live by begging. Some trust altogether to charity, others add to their profits as
husbandmen by starting from their homes in July, after the crop has come up, and, begging through the rich coast villages as far as Pen and Panvel, come back in time for harvest. [Some Chitpavan, as well as other Ratnagiri Brahman beggars, pass several months every year in Bombay, Baroda, and other places taking charity gifts, dan dakshina, or earning some reward for performing religious services to the lay, grahasth, members of their caste.] Others are very skilled husbandmen owning and tilling the richest garden lands in the district, as the local proverb says 'give waste land to a Chitpavan and he will turn it to gold.' Among cultivating Chitpavans many in good positions as khots or upper landholders act as moneylenders, and some trade chiefly in grain and other field produce. Others have succeeded well as pleaders, generally increasing their gains by lending them in usury. They have over all India a good name for their knowledge of Hindu lore, and in Bombay and Poona, some of the most distinguished native scholars in Sanskrit, mathematics, medicine, and law, are Ratnagiri Chitpavans. Their scruples about serving under the British have long passed away, and now their favourite occupation is Government service, in which they hold places from the humblest village accountant, schoolmaster, and clerk, to very high and responsible posts. [For some years after the transfer of Ratnagiri to the British, the Chitpavans were a discontented class. Though every effort was made to give them places, many of the best families, 'from a feeling which deserved respect', refused to take service under the British. Mr. Dunlop, 15th August 1824, Rev. Rec. 121 of 1825, 76-78.]
Ever ready to push their fortunes in other British districts or in native states, as a class they are successful and well-to-do. All are Smarts, that is followers of Shankaracharya the high priest of the doctrine that God and the soul are one, advait vedant mat, and with equal readiness worship Vishnu, Shiv, and other gods. Their chief places of pilgrimage are Parshuram in Chiplun, Ganpatipule in Ratnagiri, Hareshvar in Janjira, and other places held sacred by all Hindus, as Benares, Allahabad, Gaya, Pandharpur, Nasik, and Mahabaleshvar. Like other Brahmans their chief household gods are Ganpati, Annapnrna, Gopal Krishna, Shaligram, and Suryakant. Their family priests belong to their own caste. They are divided into religious, bhikshuks, and lay, grahasths. The religious class can take to other occupations besides acting as priests. A layman may perform ceremonies, but, unless forced to do so, he does not act as a priest, or receive charity gifts, dan dakshina. Caste disputes come before a meeting of the local community of Brahmans,including Chitpavans, Karhadas, Deshasths, Yajurvedis, and Devrukhas, that is all the local Brahman sub-divisions who eat together. When a difficult religious question is the Subject of dispute, the caste refer the point to some learned divines, shastris, at places like Benares and Nasik, or to the Shankaracharya. The Chitpavans marry among themselves. [Marriages between Chitpavan and Karhada families are not unknown. ' Though condemned by the more aristocratic, families, they are contracted without scruple,
and involve no pains and forfeitures, either social or religious.' Rav Saheb Vishvanath narayan Mandlik, C.S I. jour. Br. Ro. As. Soc. VIII. 9.]
The KARHADAS, [The great Marathi poet Moropant (1750) belonged to this caste.] with a strength of 14,367 souls, are supposed to take their name from Karhad in the Satara district near the meeting of the Krishna and Koyna. They are found in small numbers over the whole district especially in Rajapur and Devgad. They are probably the descendants of one of the Rishis or Tapasis who fixed on the holy meeting of the Krishna and Koyna rivers as his settlement. [The slander in the Sahyadri Khand, that the Karhadas sprang from asses' or camels' bones, is probably a pun on the word karhad, as if khar-gad, ass-bone. Tradition has a reproach against their name that in former times they occasionally poisoned their sons-in-law, visitors, and strangers as sacrifices to their goddess in the hope of securing offspring, vanshvriddhi.] They have many family stocks, gotras, whose exact number is not known. Their original country is said to stretch along the Krishna from its meeting with the Koyna on the north to the Vedavati (Varna) on the south, but they are now nearly as widely scatteredas other Maharashtra, Brahmans. They have nosub-divisions, all eating together and intermarrying. Though some are fair, as a class they are darker than the Chitpavans, none of them having grey eyes. Except some local dialectic difference, their Marathi is the same as that of Deccan Brahmans. In house, dress, and food, they do not differ from Chitpavans. They are clean, neat, intelligent, hardworking, hospitable, and well-behaved. At the same time they are more formal, and less thrift yand enterprising than the Chitpavans. Many of the Karhada village priests and astrologers are cultivators, some as ordinary husbandmen, and others, over the whole district except Malvan and Devgad in the south, as superior landholders, khots. They also engage in moneylending and trade in grain. [The leading bankers of Kharepatan in Devgad are Karhadas.] But, their chief occupation is Government service.. On the whole their condition is middling; few of them are rich, still fewer poor, and almost none beggars. Their religion does not differ from that of the Chitpavans. All Karhadas are Rigvedis. Their chief household goddesses are, besides those worshipped by the Chitpavans, Mahalakshmi and Durga. As among Chitpavans, caste disputes are settled at a meeting of all the local Brahmans who eat together. Unlike the Chitpavans the marriage of a brother's daughter and of a sister's son is not, unusual. They sometimes marry with Deshasths. Strong, temperate, hardworking, and not less anxious than the Chitpavans to educate their children, the Karhadas are a rising class.
DEVRUKHAS, [Devrukha comes from the Sanskrit Dev-Rishi or Devarshi. The Devarshis were a shakha the Atharva-Ved. The Devrukhas may be remnants of this shakha. Dr. Wilson's Indian Caste, 25.] with a strength of 5727 souls and their head-quarters
at Devrukha in Sangameshvar, are found in considerable numbers all over the Ratnagiri sub-division, and occasionally in all parts of the district except Malvan and Devgad. They are said to have originally come. to these parts as revenue farmers. Their only division is into family stocks, gotras. They are generally strong and healthy like the Karhadas, but somewhat darker. Their women are strong, dark, and healthy. Except for some local peculiarities their home
tongue is the ordinary Marathi. Their houses, dress, and food do not differ from those of the Karhadas. The Devrukhas are hardworking, hospitable, sober, thrifty, and hot tempered. As a class they are rather poor, many of them being employed as cooks by other Brahmans. Moat are cultivators, both small and large proprietors. They are much given to irrigation, most of their villages standing in places where good supplies of river water are available. Only a few engage in trade or enter Government service. Among Brahmans they hold rather a low position. Several Chitpavans, Karhadas, and Deshasths object to dine with them, rather because they are thought poor and unlucky, than from the idea that they are of lower origin. Their religion does not differ from that of the Chitpavans. They marry among themselves. Their caste disputes are decided at a meeting of all the local Brahmans who eat together. They send their children to school, but on the whols are not a rising class.
DESHASTHS, with a strength of 777 souls, originally from the Deccan, are found all over the district, but chiefly in Khed, Chiplun, and Ratnagiri. Of their arrival in the Konkan no special story is told. They would seem to have come in small numbers at different times. Except family stocks, gotras, of which the exact number is not known, they have no sub-divisions. [Deshasths are generally Rig-Vedis, but some of them read the Sama-Ved and also the Atharva-Veda. Dr. Wilson's Indian Caste, 18.] Most of them are darker, coarser looking, and more vigprous than Chitpavans or Karhadas. They speak pure and correct Marathi. Except that they are less neat and clean, their houses and dress do not differ from those of Chitpavans. They marry as a rule among themselves and sometimes with Karhadas. In Khed they are hereditary district officers. Some are khots and some are under-landholders; others are traders and shopkeepers, and a few are in Government service. Though not so clever or frugal as the Chitpavans, they are more lively and hospitable. Besides the gods worshipped by the Chitpavans the Deshasths worship Khandoba. In the Sahyadri Khand, their original country is said to extend from the Narbada to the Krishna and the Tungbhadra rivers excluding the Konkan. In religion they do not differ from Chitpavans or Karhadas. As among Chitpavans and Karhadas, caste disputes are settled at a meeting of the whole local community of Brahmans who eat together. They send their children to school, and on the whole are a rising class.
KIRVANTS, with a strength of 70 souls, are found only in a few
Malvan villages. According to the Sahyadri Khand they are sprung from twelve Brahmans, whose original seat was near the Gomanchal (region of the Gomant mountain). As a class they are badly off, some of them cultivating but most living as beggars. They sometimes marry with Chitpavans. But these Chitpavans are then considered Kirvants, and other Chitpavans do not intermarry with them. Their name, kirvant, is generally said to mean insect, kide, killers, because in working their betel gardens they destroy
much insect life. [Ind. Ant. III. (1874), 45.] Another explanation is that the proper form of the name is Kriyavant, and that they were so called because they conducted funeral services, kriya, an occupation which degraded them in the eyes of other Brahmans. [Mr. Ganpat Venkatesh Limaye, B.A., Dep. Ed. Inspector, Ratnagiri.]
SHENVIS, with a strength of 13,669 souls, are found all over the
district, but chiefly in Malvan and Vengurla. Goa was their original Konkan settlement, where, according to the Sahyadri Khand, they are said to have come at Parshuram's request from Trihotra or Tirhut in northern India. This legend is probably confirmed by the fact that especially in Goa, Shenvis, like Bengalis, freely rub their heads with oil, and also like them are fond of rice gruel, pej, and fish. The honorific Bab, as in Purushottam Bab, is perhaps a corruption of Babu in Bengali. [Rav Bahadur Shankar Paudurang Pandit, Oriental Translator to Government.] Their broad pronunciation of vowel sounds is also like that of the Bengalis. [Professor R. G. Bhandarkar, M.A., Hon.M.R.A.S.] Though they fled from Goa. to escape conversion by the Portuguese, every family has still a private idol there. They claim to be Sarasvat Brahmans of the Panch Gaud order. Besides Shenvis proper, who are of two sects Smarts and Vaishnavs, there are seven local divisions, [They belong to ten gotras, Bharadvaj, Kaushik, Vatsa, Kaundinya, Kashyap, Vasishtha, Jamdagnya, Vishvamitra, and Gautam.] Bardeskars, Kudal-deskars, Bhalavalkars, Pednekars, Lotlikars, Divadkars, and Khadpe-kajules, each claiming superiority over the other, dining together in some cases, but not intermarrying. Of the local divisions, except Bardeskars, none seem to have come from Goa. Though some are fair, as a class they are darker than the Chitpavans. Their women are well made, fair, and graceful. They speak Marathi, but at home with many Konkan peculiarities. [Among the peculiar words used by Ratnagiri Shenvis are: Jhil, son; chedu, girl; bapus, father; aus, mother; daji, an honorific; ghov, husband; bhitur, within; kha(n)y, where; asa(n)y, am; tena, by him; tha(n)y, there; nhay, river; dhak, shut; phatphati, early in the morning; vhaya(n), want; yeta(n)y, I come; okhad, medicine; bakra, for a while; rav, stop; randap ghur, kitchen room; kityak, for what; ha(n)y, here. In masculine nouns the Marathi final a, is generally changed to o as ghodo, horse; ambo, mango; and dolo, eye. The plural of feminine nouns in i also ends in o as nadyo, rivers; kathyo, sticks. The third person singular of verbs ends in a instead of o and e in the present, and in o instead. of a in the past, as, he or she goes, jata ; he went, gelo.] Their houses are strong and well built, but not so clean as those of the Chitpavans. Their dress is like that of the Chitpavans. The women are fond of decorating their hair with flowers. All Shenvis eat fish and some eat mutton. Other Brahmans assert that the Shenvis are inferior, trikarmi, Brahmans. [That is, of the six Brahman functions, karmas, sacred study, sacred teaching, alms-giving, alms-receiving, sacrificing for one's self, and sacrificing for another, a Trikarmi is vested only with three, sacred study, alms-giving, and sacrificing for one's self.] But among the Hindus of the district, they hold a higher position than the Javal Brahmans. As a class they are well-to-do. Most of them are superior landholders and hereditary officers, kulkarnis and others, and only a few are cultivators. Others engage in cotton and grain trade; some are shopkeepers and bankers, and a good many
enter Government service. Fond of show and somewhat extravagant, in intellect and energy Shenvis can hold their own even with Chitpa-vans. They rose to high office under Sindia, and now, in Bombay and elsewhere, hold high posts as barristers, professors, pleaders, physicians, and merchants. Most of them are well-to-do. Their chief household gods and goddesses are Mangirish (Mangesh), Mahalakshmi, Mhalasa, Shanta-Durga, Nagesh, BinduMadhav, and Saptakotishvar. They have two head priests, svamis, one Smart living in Sonavda in Kanara, and the other Vaishnav living in Goa. They have rich monasteries, maths, in Khanapur, Karwar, Bombay, Nasik, and Benares. Their family priests are either Shenvis or Karhada Brahmaus. They have no peculiar customs. Caste disputes are settled by a caste meeting of the members, and finally referred to the head priests, svamis. Eager to educate their children, and ready to follow any promising calling or profession, Shenvis seem likely to keep their high place as one of the most intelligent and prosperous classes of west India Hindus.
JAVAL Brahmans, with a strength of 1277 souls, have their head-quarter at Burundi in Dapoli, and are found in small numbers over almost the whole of that sub-division. According to the ordinary story, the Javals take their name from being shipwrecked in a storm, javal. They probably always claimed to be Brahmans. But their position was not recognised till (1767) Parshuram Bhau Patvardhan, a relation of the Peshwa's, in return for some service, established them in the rank of Brahmans. They have no divisions. Sturdier and much darker than Chitpavans, their home tongue is a rough Marat hi like that spoken by Kunbis. Their bouses, seldom large or well built, do not differ from those of the better class of cultivators. Except that they are less careful of their appearance, the dress, both of men and women, does not differ from that of Chitpavans. Their rules about food come between those of the Brahman and other classes. They eat fish but no other kind of animal food, and refrain from liquor. Though they rank as Brahmans they hold a low social position, other Brahmans neither marrying nor dining with them. Some of them are employed by other Brahmans as water carriers, but almost all are cultivators. They are frugal, hardworking, and skilful husbandmen. As domestic servants they are honest, good tempered, and well-behaved. They worship Vishnu and Shiv, and have almost the same household gods as Chitpavans. Caste disputes are settled at a general meeting of the members. They do not send their children to school, and show no sign of rising above their present state as cultivators.
KANOJAS, numbering 40 souls, originally came, as their name shows, from Kanauj in north India. They seem to have come into Ratnagiri in small numbers at different times, either as beggars or as pensioned soldiers. Though not so fair as the Chitpavans, they are larger and bettor made. Their home tongue is Hindustani, but they also speak Marathi. Their houses are small but clean. In their dress and food they do not differ from the Chitpavans. They neither dine nor intermarry with Konkanasth Brahmans. Except some of the pensioners who are well-to-do, they are poor, working
either as water carriers or earning their living by begging. They are found only in towns, and none engage in cultivation or trade. They are clean, neat, hardworking, and honest, but hot tempered. Most of them worship Vishnu and are religious. They marry among themselves.
The only class of Writers are Kayasth Prabhus with a strength of
664 souls (males 341, females 323). They are found in very small numbers all over the district, but chiefly in the north, in Dapoli, Chiplun, and Khed. Among Kayasth Prabhus there are no subdivisions. Except that none have light eyes, they do not, in appearance or dress, differ from Brahmans. They speak Marathi correctly and have no separate dialect. They eat fish, mutton, and game, but not domestic fowls. They are clean, neat, and hard- working, and in former disturbed times had a name for faithfulness and bravery. Though frugal in straitened circumstances, when prosperous they are hospitable and fond of show and pleasure. Some are in Government service, some are cultivators, and a few are hereditary officers or the holders of land grants. In religion they do not differ from Brahmans. Their chief household god and goddess are Khandoba and Bhavani. Their family priests are Brahmans. They do not intermarry with other castes. Caste disputes are settled by a mass meeting of the castemen. They send their children to school, and are on the whole prosperous.
Under the head of Mercantile, Trading, and Shopkeeping classes
come six castes with a strength of 36,299 souls (males 18,142, females 18,157), or 3.85 per cent of the. whole Hindu population. Of these 32,569 (males 15,936, females 16,633) are Vanis; 1216 (males 798,
females 418) Lingayats; 1051 (males 553, females 498) Jains; 927 (males 507,
females 420) Gujars; 507 (males 325, females 182) Bhatias; and 29 (males 23,
females 6) Marvadis.
The VANIS, found all over the district and said to have come from
north India, are known by the names of the towns where they first settled, Sangameshvari, Patane, [The Patane Vanis are said to take their name from Patan in Satara.] and Kudali. These sub-divisions do not marry or eat together. Among them the Kudalis claim superiority wearing the sacred thread and forbidding widow marriage. They all speak Marathi, but those who live in Malvan and Vengurla have many Konkan peculiarities. Most of them live in good houses. They are active, intelligent, sober, thrifty, and in fair condition. They allow widow marriage, eat animal food, and drink liquor. Most Vanis are shopkeepers, some are husbandmen, and a few are Government servants. Their family priests are Brahmans, and they do not differ from Marathas and Kunbis in religion. They eat with no other caste. They show special respect to members of certain families called Shetias, who have the hereditary right to preside at caste meetings. Other families known as Mahajans, inferior to Shetias, hold a position of special honour. They send their children to school and on the whole are a rising class.
LINGAYATS, 1216 souls, are found chiefly in Rajapur and Sangameshvar. They are said to be partly immigrants from the
Deccan, and partly local converts especially from the neighbourhood
of Sangameshvar. [Basav (1150), the founder of the Lingayat sect, is said to have settled for some time at Sangameshvar. Wilson's Mackenzie Collection, 11. 4 and 10.] Rather dark in colour, most of them live in
houses of the better class, and take neither animal food nor liquor.
They are in middling circumstances, some of them husbandmen, others retail dealers and pedlars who buy stocks of cloth and spices
in the towns, and carrying them to villages sell or barter them for
grain. They have separate temples and priests of their own known
as jangams. The Lingayats worship the ling, and always carry an
image of it in a small box, either tied to the left arm or hanging
round the neck. Their religion widely differs from that of other
Hindus by holding that a true worshipper cannot be made impure,
and so setting the members of the sect free from the need of
purification after a family birth or death. Originally doing away
with caste differences, after the first spread of the new faith, the
old social distinctions regained their influence, and the sect is now
broken into several sub-divisions who neither eat together nor
intermarry. Not a very vigorous or pushing class, the Lingayats
take little trouble to have their children taught, and show no signs
of rising above their present position.
JAINS, 1051 souls, are found chiefly in the south. They are believed
to have come from the Karnatak and in appearance resemble
Lingayats. Most of them live in good houses. They are strict in
matters of diet, using no animal food and taking no liquor. Among
Vanis they hold a good but isolated position. Traders, most of
them well-to-do, they are frugal and thrifty and have a good name
for fair dealing. They are religious, worshipping the saints called
Tirthankars. They have their over priests, Gorjis and Jatis. Their
only temple at Kharepatan is dedicated to Parasnath the twenty-third
saint. They are educating their children and show signs of
improvement. Besides those Jain Vanis who are more or less
late comers, and openly and carefully observe the rules of their
faith, there are, in certain classes, traces of a time when the Jain
was the ruling form of faith. [A king of Savantvadi, a very learned jain, is mentioned in an old Belgaum legend Ind. Ant. IV. 140]
Traces of Jainism.
These traces are chiefly found
among Guravs, or temple servants, and Kasars, or coppersmiths. The members of both of these classes hold aloof from Brahmans and Brahmanic Hindus, refusing, however high their caste, to take water from their hands, and the Kasars have as priests, gurus, Jains from the south Deccan. The Guravs, servants in village temples, like the Kasars, in matters of eating and drinking, hold aloof from Brahmanic Hindus. Though the village temples are now dedicated to some Brahman god, there are near many of them the broken remains of Jain images, and most temple land grants seem to date from a time when Jainism was the state religion. A curious survival of Jainism occurs at Dasara, Shimga, and other leading festivals when the village deity is taken out of the temple and carried in procession. On these occasions, in front of the village god's palanquin, three, five, or seven of the villagers, among whom the gurav is always the leader,
carry each a gaily painted long wooden pole resting against their right shoulder. At the top of the pole is fastened a silver mask or hand, and round it is draped a rich silk robe. Of these poles the chief one, carried by the gurav, is called the Jain's pillar Jainacha Khamb. [Contributed by Rao Bahadur Shankar Pandurang Pandit, Oriental Translator to Government.]
GUJARS of the Porvad, Nema, Umad, Khadayata, and Shrimali
sub-divisions are found all over the district, especially in Dapoli,
Khed, and Chiplun. They are settlers from Gujarat and occasionally
visit their own country. Though they understand and speak
Marathi, their home tongue and the language in which they keep
their accounts is Gujarati. They are fair and most of them strong
and healthy. They generally live in good brick-built houses, and
dress like Brahmans, except that the end of the women's robe, lugda,
is drawn over the left instead of the right shoulder, and that they do
not pass the robe between the legs. They are strict vegetarians, and
for their evening meals never take rice, but eat bread, pulse, and
milk. All are traders dealing in grain, spices, and cloth, and
lending money. Most of them live in towns, occasionally moving
about the country either as pedlars or to recover their outstandings.
As a class they are well-to-do. Except Porvads, Nemas, and Umads,
who are Shravaks or Jains, the Gujars are Vaishnavs of the Vallabhachari sect. They have their own family priests, Gujarati Brahmans.
They marry only among their own sub-divisions and often form
connections with families in Gujarat. The Vaishnavs pay great
respect to their head priest, Maharaj, who occasionally visits the
large towns. Though they have settled in Ratnagiri for more than
a century, Gujar Vanis have kept their own customs and do not
mix with the other Vanis of the district. They are bound together
as a body, and refer caste disputes to arbitrators chosen at a
meeting of all the male members. Anxious to have their children taught, they are as a whole a pushing and prosperous class.
BHATIAS, with a strength of 339 souls, are found at Chiplun, Rajapur, Malvan, and Vengurla. Coming through Bombay from Catch and north Gujarat, almost all the Bhatias have settled in Ratnagiri within the last fifty years. Most of them can speak Hindustani and a broken Marathi, and even Konkani in Malvan and Vengurla, but their home tongue is Gujarati. They are a strong sturdy class inclined to stoutness, some of them fair with handsome regular features. Almost all live in towns in large well-built houses. They keep to their Gujarati dress. They are strict vegetarians and take no intoxicating drinks. Large merchants and shipowners, their chief dealings are with Bombay, Cochin, and Kalikat. They mostly deal in cotton, grain, cocoanuts, betelnuts, dates, cocoa kernels, molasses, sugar, groundnuts, butter, and oil. A pushing active class, though settled in Ratnagiri, they occasionally move to Bombay and Cochin. They are prosperous and well-to-do. Careful to teach their children, strong, unscrupulous, and ready to. take advantage of any new opening or industry, the Bhatias seem likely to hold the place they have gained as the leading district
traders. In 1877 they took the chief part in managing the immense imports of grain for the Deccan and southern Maratha famine districts. Lohanas, twenty in number, are like the Bhatias traders from Cutch and north Gujarat.
MARVADIS, numbering 29 souls, are found in some of the chief towns of the district. Most of them are late arrivals, coming through Bombay from Marwar. They all know Marathi, but among themselves speak Marvadi. Strong pushing men, they wear the hair long and most of them have long scanty beards. They generally keep to the dress of their own country, the small tightly-wound red and yellow or pink turban, the tight full coat, and the waistcloth The women wear a robe and open-backed bodice and a piece of red or pink cloth thrown over the head and shoulders. They are strict vegetarians and very temperate, allowing few luxuries but tobacco. As their favourite occupation of moneylending is almost entirely in the hands of the superior landholders, Marvadis make little way in Ratnagiri. Besides the few families settled as shopkeepers and traders dealing in spices and cloth, some come yearly in the fair season from Bombay as travelling jewellers. They are Jains by religion with Balaji as their household god. They have no temples in the district. As their number is very small, they generally go to their own country to marry.
Under the head of Husbandmen come nine classes with a total strength of 583,730 souls (males 277,868, females 305,862) [ The excess of females over males is probably due to the fact that when the census wan taken more men than women were away at work in Bombay and other places.] or 62.02 per cent of the whole Hindu population. Of these 284,267 (males 135,273, females 148,994) were Kunbis; 203,406 (males 97,467, females 105,939) Marathas; 70,796 (males 33,671, females 37,125) Bhandaris; 12,772 (males 5753, females 7019) Shindes; 622 (males 307, females 315) Malis; 488 (males 256, females 232) Pharjans; 319 (males 156, females 163) Ghadis; 4025 (males 1805, females 2220) Mit-gavdas; and 7035 (males 3180, females 3855) Gavdas.
KUNBIS, with a strength of 284,267 souls, are found all over the
district, but chiefly in the northern sub-divisions. According to Hindu books, Kunbis are the descendants of pure Shudras Of their former settlements or the date of their arrival in Ratnagiri nothing has been traced. Their home tongue is Marathi spoken more roughly and less clearly than by Brahmans, but differing little in words or grammar. They are smaller, darker, and more slightly made than the Deccan Kunbi. The men shave the head except the top knot, and wear the mustache and sometimes whiskers, but never the beard. The women are small, and as a class rather plain and hard featured. Few of them have good houses. Most live in small thatched huts with few signs of cleanliness or order. The men generally work in the fields bareheaded, and with no body clothes except a piece of cloth, langoti, worn between the legs. A few of them, in the cold season, we
are woollen waist-coat or blanket thrown over the head, and in the rains a blanket or a rain shield, irle, of plaited palas or kumbha leaves. On holidays, and at weddings and other great occasions, the men wear small turbans generally white, rolled something in the form of the Maratha head-dress, but more loosely and with less care. In the fields the women wear the Marathi robe, lugde, [Their way of wearing the lugde differs from that of the Deccan women. All lower class Konkan women wear it pulled above the knee, the end passed between the legs and tucked into the waistband. In the Deccan it falls below the knees and is not passed through the legs.] sometimes with a bodice, and in the rainy season on their heads a leaf shield. For great occasions they have generally a new robe and bodice. Their staple food is nagli and vari cakes. They do not object to animal food, eating dried fish and chickens, and when they can afford it killing a male goat or sheep. Beef, either of buffalo or cow, they never touch. They eat deer and wild hog and allow animal food at their caste feasts. They rear fowls, and have nothing of the Rajput feeling against eating them. All smoke and a few chew tobacco. They are allowed to drink liquor, and among coast Kunbis drunkenness is not uncommon. Their usual drink is cocoa-palm juice, generally fermented, but sometimes distilled. All are cultivators, steady and hardworking; but from their numbers and the poorness of the soil they are scarcely supported by what their fields yield. Many make up the balance, and earn enough to meet marriage and other special expenses by seeking employment in Bombay, working as carriers, labourers, or garden or house servants, or in the steam spinning and weaving factories where whole families find well paid employment. A very quiet, easy tempered, and orderly class, singularly free from crime, they have much respect for the gods, believing chiefly in such village gods and goddesses as Bahiri, Bhavani, Somai, and Salubai. They believe in witchcraft and evil spirits, and to avert the anger of the gods offer cocoanuts, cocks, sheep, and goats, when any of their family are sick. When a child is to be named, the father goes to a village Brahman and tells him that his wife gave birth to a daughter or son on such and such day at sunrise or sunset as the case may be. The Brahman, referring to his almanac, tells that the child should be named so and so according to the position of the stars, the first letter of the star and of the name being the same. For this the Brahman gets a' pice. Caste disputes are settled by a mass meeting.
MARATHAS, with a strength of 203,406 souls, found all over the
district, are specially numerous near the Sahyadri hills. The Marathas claim to be the descendants of Rajput families, some of whom came to serve under the Bijapur government. The class forms two great divisions, those with and those without surnames. Families with surnames. hold themselves to be the only pure Marathas, asserting that the others are the offspring of mixed or unlawful marriages. [ At the same time some of the Kunbis have the same surnames as Marathas.] The home tongue of all is Marathi, but especially to the south, different from Brahman Marathi, and in many points
much more like the Konkani dialect. Stronger, more active, and better made than the Kunbi, many of them, even among the poorer classes, have an air of refinement. The men share the head except the top knot, and wear a mustache, and sometimes whiskers, but never the beard. Most of them live in ordinary second class village houses. The pure Marathas wear a flat four-cornered turban of twisted cloth. In other respects their every day and show dress do not differ from those of the Kunbis. Of most the staple food is cheap rice or nachni, the well-to-do always, and all of them on high days, adding some pulse. They eat fish, fowls, and mutton, and of game, deer and wild hog, and generally use animal food at their marriage dinners, often getting the animal's throat cut by some temple servant and offering the blood to the god.[At Dusara in some villages a buffalo is shin. The flesh is not eaten by the Marathas, but generally scattered round a temple as food for spirits,
bhuts. Though seldom to excess, they drink toddy and other liquors, and freely use tobacco. Though Marathas and Kunbis eat food cooked by each other, they will not dine from the same dish, and, at big feasts, sit in separate rows. Intermarriage is not allowed.
As a rule all the Ratnagiri vatandar Marathas of a village have the same surname and when one dies the rest go into mourning. Their surnames such as Kadam, More (Maurya), Shellke (Chalukya), Palav, Dalvi, Kander, and others show their connection with old ruling tribes.
[Besides these, the Marathas bear many surnames such as Jadav, Chohan, Shinde, Dabekar, Pavar, Medekar, Thamre, Gogvale, Jamie, Khetle, and Savant.] Though most of them are cultivators, a large number are soldiers, no caste supplying the Bombay army with so many recruits as the Batnagiri Marathas. Others go into the police or find employment as messengers. A few are becoming clerks and schoolmasters. As it has been to the Kunbis, the opening of Bombay spinning and weaving factories has been a great gain to Batnagiri Marathas, whole families finding work and earning high rates of pay. [A clever weaver earns from 40s. to 60s. a month, his wife 16s. to £1, and each child of six years and over 10s. to 12s. Weaving jobbers get from £4 to £5 and head jobbers from £8 to £10.] Like the Kunbis, orderly, well-behaved, and good-tempered, the Marathas surpass them in courage and generosity. Very frugal, unassuming, respectable, and temperate most of them bring back to their homes considerable sums of money. They are a very religious class, ready to consult the village god or his attendant in any matter of difficulty. Their family priests and astrologers, generally Chitpavan Brahmans, are treated with much respect. Some among them wear the sacred thread, janve, renewing it yearly in Shravan (August). Their practice in the matter seems very loose. All claim the right to wear the thread, but as it has to be renewed every year and the ceremony seldom costs less than 6d. to 1s. (4-8 annas), they do not all wear it. It often happens that only one brother of a family adopts the practice. Caste disputes are Settled by a mass meeting of the caste. On the whole they are a prosperous class, hardworking,
active and pushing, and as education spreads a, larger number will probably rise to high positions.
BHANDARIS, numbering 70,796 souls, are found in most parts of the district, but chiefly in the coast villages. They supplied the former pirate chiefs with most of their fighting men, and the name seems to show that they were originally used as treasury guards. [Two hundred years ago (1673) among the Bombay guard were 300 Bhandarins armed with clubs and other weapons, Eryer's New Account, 66.] They have four sub-divisions, Kite, More, Gaud, and Shinde, who neither intermarry nor eat together. Of these the Kite is the highest, claiming as their own the coast from Goa to Bankot Their home tongue is a rough Marathi. A strong, healthy, and fine-looking set of men, they are generally well housed, and in dress are extravagant, very fond of bright colours, and when well-to-do, dressing in Brahman fashion. The women dress like Kunbis and Marathas. Their rules about animal food are almost the same as those of the Marathas, but unlike them they refrain from intoxicating drinks. In social position they are below the Marathas, who do not eat with them, nor do Brahmans employ them as house servants. Some of them are cultivators and others sailors, soldiers, and police. A few are moneylenders and most own cocoanut trees or are engaged in the liquor trade. A strong, pushing tribe, they are fond of athletic exercises especially of wrestling. They employ Brahman family priests and pay them great respect. In other points they do not differ from the Marathas and Kunbis. They are not bound together as a body. Caste disputes are settled by a mass meeting of adult men. Though ready to take to new callings, few of them send their children to school, or have risen to any high position.
SHINDES, numbering 12,772 souls, found
in small numbers all over the district, are the descendants of female slaves. In their language and appearance, and in their rules about food and dress, they do not differ from Marathas. Pure Marathas and Kunbis look down on them. But if a Shinde succeeds, after a generation or two, his children pass as Marathas, and are allowed to marry into lower class families. As a class they are intelligent and well-to-do, living as cultivators and entering Government service in which some have risen to high offices.
MALIS, numbering 622 souls,
are scattered over the district. They probably found their way to Ratnagiri from the Deccan where their caste is strong and widespread. They dress and eat like Marathas, and differ little from them in look or dialect. A hardworking, quiet, and sober class, most of them are husbandmen, gardeners, and some are day labourers.
PHARJANS, literally children, numbering 188 souls, are
found only in the south of the district. In former times it was, and still to a less extent is, the practice for the rich to keep female servants, kunbins, to attend on the women of the family and as concubines. The children
of these maidservants form the class of Pharjans. They are almost all husbandmen, and except that they hold a lower position, marrying only in their own class, differ little from Marathas and Kunbis.
GHADIS, numbering 319 souls, are
found in Rajapur, Devgad, and Malvan. Originally the lower
temple servants, whose chief duty is to cut the throat of animals
offered to the gods, many of them now live as husbandmen and
GAVDAS, numbering 11,379 souls, are found in the
south of the district chiefly in Malvan and Vengurla. They seem to
be a class of Marathas who formerly held the position of village
headmen. [From gav a village; In the Kanarese districts, the village headman is still known
as gavda. In Malvan there are a few Bhandaris whose surname in Gayda, but they are
distinct from this class.] They have two divisions, Gavdas husbandmen and cart-men, and Mit-Gavdas salt makers. The latter, who work on the salt
pans of Mitbav, Achra, Malvan, Kochra, Vengurla, and Shiravda,
hold a degraded position. No Hindus but Mhars will eat from
Of Manufacturers there were four classes with a strength of 20,602 souls (males 10,177, females 10,425) or 2.18 per cent of the whole Hindu population. Of these 16,879 (males 8278, females 8601) were Telis, oil pressers; 1694 (males 829, females 865) Koshtis, weavers; 1591 (males 822, females 769) Salis, weavers; and 438 (males 248, females 190) Sangars, weavers of coarse woollen cloth and blankets. TELIS, or oil pressers, are found all over the district but chiefly in Malvan. They are of two divisions Lingayat Telis and Somvare Telis. The Lingayat Telis are vegetarians and make cocoanut, sesamum, and undi tree oil and are husbandmen and labourers. The Somvare Telis, in addition to the above occupations, enter Government service as messengers. The Telis are hardworking, sober, and thrifty. KOSHTIS, SALIS, and SANGARS, though of different castes, all follow the craft of weaving. They are found all over the district in small numbers. The Sangars, properly sankars or workers in hemp, make blankets, kamblis ; and the Koshtis and Salis work cotton and silk. Owing to the competition of European goods, the condition of the Koshtis and the Salis is somewhat depressed. Of Artisans there were twelve classes with a strength of 46,998 souls (males 23,506, females 23,492) or 4.99 per cent of the whole Hindu population. Of these 15,377 (males 7602, female 7775) were Sutars, carpenters; 11,442 (males 5714, females 5728) Kumbhars, potters; 12,733 (males 6320, females 6413) Sonars, goldsmiths; 1828 (males 992, females 836) Lohars, blacksmiths; 3058 (males 1530, females 1528) Kasars, brass and coppersmiths; 462 (males 253, females209) Tambats coppersmiths;41 (males 23, females 18) Otaris, casters'; 33 (males 16, females 17) Ghisadis, blacksmiths; 10 (males 7, females 3) Patharvats, stone hewers; 4 (males 3, female 1) Rangaris, dyers; 2 (male 1, female 1) Gaundis, masons; 2008 (males 1045, females 963) Shimpis, tailors. Of these classes, the most important found all over the district are the carpenters, Sutars, the goldsmiths, Sonars, and the blacksmiths, Lohars. SUTARS, working both as carpenters and blacksmiths, and LOHARS, working only as blacksmiths, are very useful to husbandmen. They make and mend their field tools, and are paid in grain at harvest time. Most of them cultivate in addition to their calling as carpenters. SONARS make and renew gold and silver ornaments.
As a class they are better off than the Sutars and Lohars, but have a bad name for dishonesty. KUMBHARS are found in large numbers especially in Malvan, making earthen pots, tiles, and bricks. They are hardworking and mostly poor. KAsars and TAMBATS are generally found in large towns. They work in copper and brass, and are mostly well-to-do. SHIMPIS are found in large villages and towns. They are tailors by profession and live by making clothes.
Of Actors there were five classes with a strength of 20,108 souls
(males 9698, females 10,410) or 21.3 per cent of the whole Hindu population. Of these 17,990 (males 8796, females 9194) were Guravs; 1321 (males 752, females 569) Devlis; 418 (all females) Bhavins, prostitutes, some of whom are skilled singers and dancers; 69 Kalavantins, professional dancing and singing girls; and 310 (males 150, females 160) Bhorpis. GURAVS are of two classes Lingayats and Bhaviks; the Bhaviks found throughout the, district and the Lingayats only in a few villages. Bhavik, or faithful Guravs, besides drumming and at marriages playing on the clarion, sanai, have generally charge of the village gods; and, as pujaris, being believed to influence the gods, are much respected by the lower classes. Some by cultivation add to their gains as musicians, drummers, and players. The Lingayat Guravs, worshippers of shivling, are all temple servants.
The BHAVINS and DEVLIS, [Contributed by Mr. Ganpat V. Limaye, Dy. Ed. Inspector.] found only in the south divisions of
Vengurla, Malvan, and Devgad, are said to be descended from
the female servants of some of the Savantvadi or Malvan chiefs,
who were presented with lands and dedicated to the service of
the village gods. Of these people the Bhavins are the female and
the Devlis the male offspring. Among her daughters a Bhavin
chooses one to succeed her as a temple servant, and when the
girl comes of age, she is dedicated by pouring over her head oil
from the god's lamp. The Bhavin practises prostitution and
differs from a common prostitute, kasbin, only in being dedicated
to the god. Much lower in position than a professional
singer or dancer, she is not allowed to sing or dance in public
and no regular musician ever accompanies her. Except the
one chosen to succeed her mother, the daughters of a Bhavin
are married to the sons of some other Bhavin. These sons, called
Devlis, weak but sharp and good-looking and in their dress neat
and clean, earn their living as drummers or strolling players, and a
few as husbandmen or village temple servants. According to
their rules, the sons and daughters of Bhavins and the sons and
daughters of Devlis cannot intermarry. BHORPIS, or rope dancers, a
dark well-made class, generally come from the Deccan in gangs of
about twenty with a few donkeys, goats, pigs, and dogs. They
generally stop near some large village in their temporary huts,
which they carry with them, both men and women performing
jumping and rope dancing tricks. The women, prostitutes in their youth, generally settle down in later life to marry one of their own tribe. As a class they are badly off and show no signs of improving.
Of Personal Servants there were three classes with a strength of 12,669 souls (males 6080, females 6589) or 1.34 per cent of the whole Hindu population. Of these 8683 (males 4169, females 4524) were Nhavis, barbers; 3985 (males 1910, females 2075) Parits, washermen; and one Bhisti, water-drawer. The barbers as a class are badly off. Some going to Bombay improve their condition, but most are poor, forced to cultivate to eke out a living [There is generally one barber for' one or more villages which he visits every fortnight and shaves as many persons as he can in the course of the day. The barber is paid in kind. At harvest time he gets a bundle, bhara, of each of the crops. The barber generally attends on well-to-do persons in the Divali festival (October) to rub cocoanut oil on the bodies of the male members of the house before they bathe. On the next day his wife comes with a burning lamp, arti, and waves it before the chief person of the house who generally gives her 3d. (2 annas) or a piece of coloured cloth, than, for a bodice. The barber gets a meal on festivals and holidays, and on thread ceremonies and marriages, a turban. When a boy is shaved for the first time the barber gets a new square piece of cloth, rumal, worth from 2d. to 9d. (1¼-6 annas), a cocoanut, one pound of rice, and a betelnut. The barber holds the flag, nishan, of the village god when the palanquin, palkhi, is taken round the temple.] The washermen as a rule live close to towns, and most of them are well off. Those of Ratnagiri, Dapoli, and Bankot are considered the best in the district. Some of them add to their earnings by tilling land.
Of Herdsmen and Shepherds there were two classes with a strength of 18,505 souls (males 9234, females 9271) or 1.96 per cent of the whole Hindu population. Of these 14,396 (males 7095, females 7301) were Gavlis, and 4109 (males 2139, females 1970) Dhangars. GAVLIS are cattle keepers, settled in towns and large villages mostly in well-built houses. Some cultivate and are employed as day labourers and servants, and at Ratnagiri some keep carts for hire, but their chief means of living is by selling milk and butter, in. which, as. almost all classes compete, the profit is small. The men look after and milk the cattle, leaving to the women the work of selling the milk and butter. DHANGARS are an inferior class of shepherds who generally live among the hills wandering from place to place with their flocks. A few own cows and buffaloes as well as goats, and cultivate some small fields. The men are very strong, sturdy, ignorant, simple, and rough; the women, brave and hardworking, take the milk and butter to market for sale.
Of Fishers and Sailors there were four classes with a
strength of 30,994 souls (males 15,222, females 15,772) or 3.29 per cent of the whole Hindu population. Of these 14,703 (males 7004, females 7699) were Gabits; 8928 (males 4456, females 4472) Kharvis; 3949 (males 2191, females 1758) Kolis; and 3414 (males 1571, females 1843) Bhois. GABITS, found from Devgad down to the Goa frontier, are some of them cultivators and labourers, but most are sea-fishers and sailors. The women sell fish on the
spot or take them dried for sale in other parts of the district.
Though not so important as to the north of Bombay, the curing of
fish is carried on to a considerable extent, and the Gabits have some
local importance from managing the native craft that still carry the
bulk of the coasting goods and passenger traffic. KHARVIS are
a small class with, besides some about Harnai and Bankot, three villages in the Ratnagiri sub-division, one on the Jaygad river, one on the Purangad creek, and one near Ratnagiri. Sailors and fishers by calling, they also trade and a few cultivate. They are sober, intelligent, trustworthy, and good seamen. Boats manned by Kharvis are always in demand. KOLIS are found on the north coast. The aborigines of the country, they formerly possessed many strongholds, the principal being Kardu near the Devghat, whose Koli chief, styled Raja, held lands both in the Konkan and in the Maval above the Sahyadris. They are a strong hardy race, the men sturdy, thick-set, and many of them very fat, the women well-made and healthy. They live in thatched huts, in villages very dirty, untidy, and full of smells. The men wear a rather high skull cap of red flannel scalloped in front over the nose; generally a waistcoat of flannel or broadcloth, and a very tightly-wound waistband. Except for the cap their full dress does not differ from that of the Kunbis. The women dress like the Kunbis, but more, neatly. They eat the cheapest sort of rice and vegetables, but to a great extent live on fish, on their great days killing fowls or a goat or sheep. They are excessively fond of liquor, generally taking a large draught before their evening meal. From the nature of their work they hold a low place among Hindus. Except a few traders and husbandmen all are seamen and fishers, very bold, pushing and skilful, owning their own boats, preparing their own nets, and on the whole independent and well-to-do. They believe strongly in ghosts and spirits, and if they think that the spirits are displeased they kill sheep, goats, or fowls, and scatter pieces of their flesh that the spirits may feed on them. They believe in omens and watch them carefully in starting, fishing or going on a voyage. [Meeting on the road or path to their vessel a woman whose husband is alive, two Brahmans, or a man with grain or fish are good omens. It is bad to meet a widow a cat, or a bareheaded Brahman.] BHOIS, numbering 3400 souls, are found all over the district. Freshwater fishers, palanquin bearers, melon growers, cultivators, and labourers, they are a quiet, orderly, and hardworking class. In food and dress they do not differ from Marathas and Kunbis.
Of Labourers and Miscellaneous Workers there were seven classes
with a strength of 721 souls (males 374, females 347), or 0.07 per cent of the whole Hindu population. Of these 464 (males 222, females 242) were BURUDS, bamboo and ratan basket and mat makers; 42 (males 22, females 20) BHADBHUNJAS, parchers and sellera of parched grainl and pulse; two males, TAMBOLIS, betelnut and leaf sellers; 32 (males 23, females 9) RAJPUTS, locally called Deccani Pardeshis, some of them husbandmen, the rest messengers and constables; 18 (males 11, females 7) VADARS, a wild tribe of wandering
cutters, hardworking but dissipated, inclined to steal and fond of
all animal food especially of field rats. BELDARS, numbering 99
souls (males 54, females 45), come in bands of ten to fifteen from the
Deccan in the fair season and go back for the rains. Sturdy, dark,
and very hardworking, they are, like the Vadars, stone cutters,
and like them have very few scruples as to what they eat. RAMOSHIS,
numbering 64 souls (males 40, females 24), are found only in
Chiplun, where they are employed as village watchmen. VAIDUS,
a tribe of wandering doctors, occasionally come from the Deccan
and hawk medicinal herbs, which they are said to collect on the Mirya
hill near Ratnagiri. Tall, swarthy, and strong, the men, with hair
and beard unshaven, generally move about in small bands of two or
more couples. They speak a corrupt Marathi, and among themselves
are said to use a Telugu-like dialect. On reaching a village they put
up in some temporary sheds, and dressed in red ochre head-cloths,
loose coats, and trousers, move fram house to house calling out the
names of their medicines. [Their chief medicines are kant mandur and ras-shindur a factitious cinnabar made of zinc, mercury, blue vitriol, and nitre'fused together.] They are also skilled in drawing out
guinea worms for which they are paid 6d. to 1s. (4-8 annas).
Of Leather Workers there were two classes, with a strength of
10,694 souls (males 5468, females 5226), or 1.13 per cent of the whole
Hindu population. Of these 10,572 (males 5400, females 5172)
were Chambhars, shoemakers, and 122 (males 68, females 54)
Jingars, saddlers. CHAMBHARS, found throughout the district, are
a hardworking orderly class, rather badly off. Those of Lanja in
Rajapur have a local name for their skill in making the sandals, vahanas, generally worn by natives in the rainy season. They are
one of the castes reckoned impure by other Hindus. Their family
priest is a Jangam or Lingayat. In social estimation the priest
does not suffer degradation by ministering to the Chambhars.
JINGARS make cloth scabbards, saddles, and harness, and also
work in wood. They are skilled workers, but of intemperate
Besides Chambhars there were three Depressed Castes with a
strength of 85,528 souls (males 41,756, females 43,772) or 9.08 per
cent of the whole Hindu population. Of these 85,513 (males 41,750, females 43,763) were Mhars; 12 (males 5, females 7) Manga; and 3 (male 1, females 2) Bhangis or sweepers. MHARS are found all over the district, but are specially common in Dapoli where they own much land. They are of two divisions, Mhar-bele and Mhar-pale. They are a strong and thick-set race, and all over the district affect the name of landholder, mirasi, as more respectable than Mhar or Dhed. They have no scruples about food and drink, eating all animals, even carcasses, and drinking liquor to excess. Their touch is considered to pollute Hindus, and so strong is the feeling about them, that when a Mhar meets a high caste man the Mhar is expected to leave the road and step to one
side, in case his shadow should fall on the man of high caste. Some of them who have risen to high positions in the army are, as pensioners, treated with respect. But as their pension dies with them, none of the families have been permanently raised to any higher position. Most of those who remain in Ratnagiri are Tillage servants and field labourers. Very few of them hold or till land of their own. Of those who leave the district in search of work the bulk come to Bombay as carriers and labourers. Large numbers enter the army and have always proved obedient, hardy, and brave soldiers. From a statement supplied by the Military Authorities it would seem that there are at present 2180 Ratnagiri Mhars on the rolls of the Bombay army, of whom 1030 are in active service and 1150 pensioners. Except the pensionerswho are well-to-do, the Mhars are poor, many of them in debt to the village headmen and the large landholders. They are a quiet, orderly class, with a good character as soldiers, and, except in Dapoli where their increase has begun to burden the cultivators, they are contented and liked. The Mhars are a religious class, with a priest of their own whom they call Mare Joshi. Their household gods are Vithoba, Rakhumabai, and others, and they go on pilgrimages to Vithoba's shrine at Pandharpur. MANGS are scarcely found in the district. One of them was a. cultivator and the rest beggars.
Of Unsettled Tribes there were five, with a strength of 938
souls (males 444, females 494), or 0.09 per cent of the whole Hindu
population. Of these 863 (males 171, females 192) were Katkaris; 485 (males 226, females 259) Thakurs; 57 (males 27, females 30) Dongri Kolis; 31 (males 18, females 13) Lamans; and 2 Bhils. (males). KATKARIS, or makers of catechu, kat, are a wandering tribe, occasionally passing through the district and travelling as far north as Khandesh. They claim to be of the same stock as the Khandesh Bhils, and are one of the most degraded of hill tribes. They know Marathi, but are said among themselves to use an unintelligible jargon. They are small, active, and very dark, and dirty in their habits, the men wearing the beard and hair long. For clothes the men have seldom more than two pieces of coarse cloth, one wound round the head, the other round the waist; the women wear a ragged robe almost always without a bodice. They have no scruples in the matter of food, eating animals of all kinds, even monkeys. They hold the very lowest social position. They travel about in gangs of ten to fifteen, armed with formidable bows and arrows, with donkeys, goats, and hunting dogs, generally offering monkeys and parrots for sale, or working as day labourers. If they find no employment they stay only a few days at one place. During the rains they live in the forests, but sometimes work for hire in the fields. They have a bad name for thieving and are generally watched by the police. They reverence the ordinary Hindu gods and believe in ghosts and witchcraft. Low as they are, they arc said to be better off, and less utterly savage, than they were fifty years ago. THAKURS are a wandering tribe found in different parts of the district. They are stouter, fairer, and much less savage-looking than the Katkaris, and the women, though fat and ungainly, have frank kindly
faces. They live in small portable huts. The, men wear a cloth wound round the head, a. waistcoat, and a small waistcloth; the women a tight-fitting bodice and a robe closely girded round the waist. Some are hunters, labourers, cultivators, and herdsmen, but most are beggars generally going about with bullocks, nandis, trained to dance and nod the head. DONGRI or hill KOLIS wander from place to place. They know Marathi, but are said among themselves
to use a strange dialect. They till, fish in rivers, and bring firewood for sale. They are a simple and harmless class. LAMANS or VANJARIS pass through the district along the trade routes between the coast and the Deccan. Carriers of grain and salt on pack bullocks, they generally pass the rains in the Deccan, and after the early harvest is over, come to the coast. They generally make two trips each fair season. Formerly they were a very large class, but since the opening of hill-passes fit for carts, the demand for their services has in great part ceased.
Devotees and religious beggars of various names, Gosavis, Jogis,
Gondhalis, Bhutes, Bhats, Saravdes, Gopals, and Jangams numbered 6553 (males. 3186, females 3367), or 0.69 per cent of the whole Hindu population. The fame of Ganpatipule in the Ratnagiri sub-division, Parshuram in Chiplun, and the intermitting spring, Ganga, at Unhale in Rajapur attract many religious beggars. GOSAVIS (3343) till land, work as private servants, and when at leisure, go begging, but seldom to any distance from their homes. Recruited from almost all castes, and worshippers of Vishnu and Shiv, they wander in every direction begging and visiting places of pilgrimage. JOGIS are of many kinds. Some foretell events, others act as showmen to curiously formed animals, and a third class are the Kanphates; or slit-eared Jogis, who wear large circular pieces of wood and ivory in their ears. Some marry and others remain single. GONDHALIS, at Maratha, Bhandari, and Kunbi marriages, are always, on the last night of the festival, called to perform a gondhal dance and repeat verses. All the performers are men. They have two musical instruments, a tuntuna and a gamel. At the time of the performance, they wear long white coats and their ordinary turbans. They are generally three, one actor and two musicians. BHUTES, followers of the goddess Bhavani, go about begging with a lighted torch and a tuntuna in their hands. They have their bodies covered with strings of kavdi shells. BHATS and Brahman beggars go begging during the fair season, and generally gather enough to last them the whole year. SARAVDES, a healthy strong-looking class, are found in almost every sub-division. They generally travel in November, buying and selling cows and she-buffaloes. Some of them go begging with their whole families, and return home in April or May. GOPALS sing, dance, leap, and wrestle; their women beg. They keep and deal in cows and buffaloes. JANGAMS act as priests to Lingayats and cultivate land.
In the proportion of Musalmans, Ratnagiri, with 74,833 souls or about 7.34 per cent of the whole population, stands first of the three Konkan districts. Musalmans are found in large numbers in the
northern coast districts, 18,545 in Dapoli and 13,818 in Chiplun; in considerable strength at the old trade centres of Kajapur (11,616), and Sangameshvar (4845); and in very small numbers in the south, 3166 in Devgad and 1741 in Malvan.
Arabs and Parsians.
As in the other coast districts of Western India, the Ratnagiri Musalman population has a strong strain of foreign blood, both Arab
and Persian. A foreign element probably existed before the time of the prophet Muhammad (570 -632). [A trace of the early Arab sailors is found in Jazira, or the island, the latter part of the name Melizeigara, apparently applied by Ptolemy (150) and the Periplus (247) to the town and island of Malvan or Melundi.] And in the spread of Musalman power, between the seventh and tenth centuries, as sailors, merchants, and soldiers of fortune, Arabs came to the west coast of India in great numbers. [Many high Ratnagiri families, though at present following different professions, are distinguished by Arabic surnames, Kazi, judge; Fakih, lawyer; Muallam, professor; Khatib, preacher; Mukri, elegy singer; and Hafiz, Kuran reciter.] From the accounts of Suliman, the earliest Arab traveller, it would seem that about the middle of the ninth century, the Balharas who ruled the Konkan were very friendly to the Arabs. The people of the country said that if their kings reigned and lived for a long time it was solely due to the favour shown to the Arabs. Among all the kings there was no one so partial to Arabs as the Balhara, and his subjects followed his example. [Elliot's History, I. 4. The Balharas were the Rajputs of Malkhet near Haidarabad. Compare Mas'udi's Prairies d'Or, I. 382.] Early in the tenth century, Arabs are mentioned as settled in large numbers in the Konkan towns, married to the women of the country, and living under their own laws and religion. [Mas'udi (913), Prairies d'Or, II. 86.] During the fourteenth, fifteenth, and sixteenth centuries, when the lands of Ratnagiri formed part of the possessions of the Bahmani and Bijapur kings, a fresh impulse was given to immigration, both from the increased importance of Dabhol and other places of trade, and from the demand for Arab and Persian soldiers. Even under the Marathas the services of Arab seamen were still in demand. [In 1683 the Company's merchantman President was, off Sangameshvar,
attacked by two ships and four grabs. The crew were Arabs who said they were in Shambhaji s pay. Orme's Hiat. Frag. 120.] No record has been traced of any attempt to force Islam on the people of the district, and from the tolerant character of the Bijapur kings, [During the reigns of Yusuf Adilshah (1489-1510) and of Ibrahim Adilshih II. (1590-1626) no man's religion was interfered with. Ferishta, II. 128.] it seems probable that, except a few who yielded to the persuasion of missionaries, to the temptation of grants of land, or to the oppression of Aurangzeb, Ratnagiri Musalmans are not descended from purely Hindu converts.
Besides the Arabs and Persians who from time to time came
as soldiers, traders, and sailors, the character of many Musalman villages near Chiplun and along the shores of the Bankot creek, point to some more general Arab settlement. These people, the fair Arab-featured Konkani Musalmans of Bombay, generally known among Musalmans by the term Kufis, seem, as the name shows, to have come to India from the Euphrates valley, and to
belong to the same wave of Arab settlers who in Gujarat are known as Naiatas, and in Kanara as Navaits. The traditions of the people and the accounts of many Musalman historians agree that the bulk of them fled to India from the Euphrates valley about the year 700 (82 A.H.) to escape massacre at the hand of the fierce governor Hajjaj bin Yusuf. [Details of Hajjaj the ' terror and scourge' of his country are given in Mas' udi's Prairies d'Or, V. 193-400. (See also Khulasat-ul-Akhbar, and Tarikh-i-Tabari in Price's' Muhammadan History, 455-460) According to the general story these men were at first natives of Madina from which they were driven by the persecution of Hajjaj. In addition to the original body of settlers, it seems probable that fresh immigrants arrived in the tenth century (923-926) to escape the ravages of the Karmatian insurgents who destroyed Basra and Kufa and enslaved part of the people (D'Herbelot's Bibliotheque Orientale, I. 509; Dabistan, II. 421), and in the thirteenth century (1258) when Halaku Khan the Tartar captured all the cities ofthe Euphrates valley, put the reigning Khalifah to death, and massacred 160,000 of the inhabitants.]
Besides the regular classification into the four main tribes, Syeds, Shaikhs, Moghals, and Pathans, [About
1/16 are Syeds, 12/16 Shaikhs, and 3/16 Moghals and Pathans.] Ratnagiri Musalmans are locally divided into two classes, Jamatis or members of the community, and Daldis coast fishers, with whom the Jamatis do not intermarry. [Perhaps daldi or thrown, in the sense of ontcaste.]
Though JAMATIS have much sameness in appearance and manners,
there is among them a special class whose head quarters are along the Bankot creek and on the Dapoli coast. The Bankot Musalmans are rather a slim but well made, fair, and good-featured class, the men shaving the head and wearing short rather scanty beards. Their home tongue is Marathi, but most of them know Urdu. Except a few well-to-do landholders they live in second class houses. Some of the villagers wear a white Brahman-like turban and the Hindu coat and waistcloth. But as a rule the men wear a high stiff turban of dark cloth, taken, like the Parsi hat, from the head-dress of Surat Vanias, a coat, trousers, and Gujarat shoes. [All Konkan Musalmans are said formerly to have dressed like Hindus, and, marrying Hindu wives, to have adopted many Hindu practices. In time under the influence of Musalman teachers many town families have become more strict in their
practice. Villagers still in many cases dress like Hindus, even worshipping Shitala-Devi, if their children are attacked by small-pox. Maulvi Syed Ahmad Sahib Gulshanabadi.] The women wear the Hindu dress, and when they travel, a large white sheet-like over-robe. Widows dress in white. Landholders, sailors, and some of them servants to Europeans, they are on the whole well-to-do. The calling of boatmen in Bombay harbour has of late greatly suffered from the competition of steam launches; but many find good employment as engineers and workers in machinery. Sunnis of the Shafai school few know the Kuran or are careful to say their prayers. On every Thursday, either in a mosque, or in a house built for the purpose, the Konkanis meet together, and sing hymns to the praise of God and the Prophet. This done tea is drunk, and sweetmeats distributed. Except that at marriages a dough lamp, filled with clarified butter, is, by the women, lit, carried to a river, pond or well, and left there, and that for five Thursdays after, a death, dinners are given to relations and friends, their customs do not differ from those of
other Musalmans. [Maulvi Syed Ahmad Sahib Gulshanabadi.] They many only among themselves, marriage with any other caste being considered a disgrace. Of late one or two families have given their daughters to Bombay Arabs. A few of them, some in Bombay and a very small number in Ratnagiri, know English, and teach their children Marathi and a few English.
DALDIS, found chiefly in the Ratnagiri sub-division, have the
tradition that their forefathers came in ships from across the seas. Their appearance and position among the Musalmans of the district would seem to make it probable that they are partly converted Hindus, probably Kolis, and partly the descendants of immigrant Musalmans and slave girls. [According to Major Jervis (Statistics of Western India, 14,15) they are a race of people descended from the first Arabian colonists who settled on the western coast in the seventh or eighth century and correspond with the Maplas of Malabar.] The men are tall, strong, and stoutly built with pleasant but irregular faces; most of the women are swarthy, but a few are fair and well featured. They speak Marathi in their homes and many understand and speak Hindustani. Their houses are almost all thatched huts of the second class. Except that a few of the men wear tight trousers, they dress, both men and women, in Hindu fashion. Some are sailors and cultivators, and some go. to Bombay in search of work; others make and sell nets and rope of all sorts, and most are fishermen differing little from Hindus in their way of fishing. They hold a low position among the Musalmans of the district. They are hardworking, and though many are in debt, as a class they are fairly well-to-do. Sunnis in religion they marry only among themselves and obey the Kazi. Very few of them send their children to school.
Most of the rest of the Musalmans are in appearance somewhat less sturdy and rough-featured than the Daldis,
and darker and not so foreign-looking as the Bankot men. The home tongue of all
is Marathi, but most of the well-to-do know Urdu. The bulk of them are
townspeople living in second class houses, generally on rice and pulse. Most of
them are able to afford dry fish, but few; except on holidays, eat animal food.
The men generally wear a skull cap, the Musalman coat, and the waist-cloth, only
the well-to-do wearing trousers. Their women all dress in Hindu fashion, in the
large Marathi robe and bodice. Neither hardworking nor thrifty, they are
orderly, clean, and hospitable. Living chiefly as grain-dealers, cultivators,
sailors, constables, and messengers, they are not as a class well-to-do. In
religion almost all are Sunnis following the Kazi. Few of them send their
children to school; but many children go to the Maulvi to learn the Kuran. Few
have risen to high positions.
There are only three families of Parsis, one settled at Dapoli and
two at Vengurla. They are Europe shopkeepers and traders with their head quarters in Bombay.
Of the 3244 Christians, all, except the European residents, are
found in the south of the district. Calling themselves Christis, and
known by the people of the district as Feringis or Portuguese, some of
them may have a strain of Portuguese blood, but the bulk are natives
converted in mass to Christianity during the time of Portuguese rule.
They speak the dialect known as Konkani with more Portuguese
words than Others use. They are generally dark, healthy, and stout, living in tiled houses with walls stained with some coloured wash. There are few solely Christian settlements, but Malvan, Vengurla, Redi, and other large villages have each a considerable Christian quarter. They differ from the other people of the country in eating rice and wheat instead of nagli, and from Musalmans in eating pork. Both men and women smoke tobacco, and the men are great toddy drinkers, though perhaps not more so than middle class Hindus. Among the men, the well-to-do dress like Europeans, and the poor generally in a jacket and short trousers of coloured cotton and a red cloth cap like that worn by Kolis. The women dress like Hindus, except that they wear a peculiar neck amulet of red stone beads Strang together and joined in front by a green coloured stone edged with gold, called fora. They are fond of the red and blue checked Belgaum cloth, and, at church, wear a large white robe drawn over the head. They are a quiet, orderly class, hardworking, and, except for their fondness for drink, frugal. Most of them are husbandmen showing great skill in growing vegetables and in breeding pigs, ducks, turkeys, and hens. Some also quarry red stones and sell them to masons who work them into small household vessels. The upper classes are employed in Bombay as clerks and shopmen. Unlike Goa Christians, none take household service with Europeans. As a class they are fairly well-to-do. As was shown by their remaining true to it after the fall of Portuguese. power, they are attached to their religion, supporting their priests, keeping their churches [The Christian churches are almost all plain oblong buildings with a small chancel at the east end, but rarely with aisles. The larger churches have generally a low square tower at the north-west or south-west corner and the smaller ones a bell turret. All are whitewashed outside and tiled, and inside many of them are gaudy with colour, gilding, pictures, and glass chandeliers. The priest's house is generally attached to the church and outside of it. At the west, there is always a stone cross raised on steps and carved with the symbols of the passion and with the date of the building or restoration of the church. On the greater festivals, during service, the church bells are kept ringing almost without stopping.] in good repair, attending the services, and carefully observing the high days. Though they have all Christian names and surnames they still keep the old distinction of caste, calling themselves Christian Kunbis, Bhandaris, or Kolis, and marrying only among members of their own caste.
Soon after the establishment of British rule (1822), the Scottish Missionary Society resolved on establishing a mission in western India. The first missionary, the Reverend Donald Mitchell, as Bombay was occupied and as he was not allowed to settle at Poona, chose Bankot as the first station, and soon after added Haraai. In the first year there were, under mission superintendence, ten schools in ten villages with an attendance of 435 pupils. This, in 1828, had increased to seventy-nine schools and 3219 pupils, forty schools and 1484 pupils in Bankot and thirty-nine schools and 1735 pupils in Harnai. Of the whole number of pupils 300 were girls. In 1829, as
the work of superintending them was found to interfere with vernacular preaching, the schools in the Bankot district were closed. In 1830 the mission head-quarters were moved to Poona, and in 1834 the Ratnagiri mission was given up. During the ten years of work few converts were made. And when the mission was withdrawn these few went to Bombay. [Contributed by the Rev. D. Mackichan, M. A. of the Free Church Mission, Bombay.] For many years after the Scotch mission was withdrawn no fresh efforts were made to spread Christianity. In 1873 the American Presbyterian Board took
up Ratnagiri as a station of the Kolhapur mission. The missionaries teach two schools, one for boys with 134 pupils, the other for girls with fifty-two. Besides those brought as helpers from other districts, there are six native Christians who have been received to Church membership. Of these one was a Roman Catholic, two were Muhammadans, two Marathas, and one a Mhar. The mission church, built in 1878 at a cost of £321 (Rs. 3210) and called the Hunter Memorial Chapel, is a stone edifice with an audience hall fifty feet by thirty-five. [Contributed by the Rev. J. P. Graham of Ratnagiri.]