Page images

the recognized sweetheart of the offending boy. In theory, liaisons between unmarried boys and girls are believed to offend the spirits and bring ill-luck in hunting. But the only result of this theory is to bring perquisites to the Mati and the Naya. For to step detection and disclosure by the Mati (diviner) the young men give him some money presents while they give the Nayā some money to buy a piece of cloth, liquor and fowls so that he may appease the offended spirits who would otherwise prevent success in hunting. Occasionally, supposed spirit-possession is made a pretence by a young man to go with his sweetheart. Thus it sometimes happens that when a young man meets his sweetheart at a market, he begins to shake his head violently and in this condition of supposed spirit-possession carries off the young woman in his arms in the diretion of some jungle. The by-standers merely remark that some spirit is on him and no harm is meant.

The premarital liaisons of a Birhōr woman are so lightly thought of that no Birhōr has the slightest objection to marry a girl whom he knows to have been the sweetheart of another young man. Thus, in a certain Birhōr settlement, I know three men, B, R, and S, who during their bachelorhood were inmates of the same dormitory. F, K, and M were among the inmates of the spinsters' dormitory in the same settlement. During this period, B had F, R had K, and S had M for their respective sweethearts. Later, R was married to F, and K and M were married to men of other ṭāndās. R, who in his bachelor days used to regard F as the recognized sweetheart of B, is on the best of terms with her now as his married wife although B lives next door to him. Neither R nor B nor F appears to think anything of their former relations.

follow a premarital

When any inconvenient consequences follow intrigue, recourse is had to certain medicinal roots to cause abortion (ōchō).


The menstrual condition of a female is believed to be attended with danger to herself as well as to her settlement. This

is true both of the first menses of a girl as also of her subsequent menstrual periods. A menstruant female is taboo to the whole community. She may not touch her husband or any other person for one whole week from the commencement of every menstrual flow. During this period, she may not cook food or draw water, nor even touch any food or drink meant for others; she must not touch the walls or the roof of her own or any one else's hut; she must not come in contact with the spring or well where her tribe-fellows bathe, or from which they draw water; she must not touch her husband or any other man, nor enter any house except her own; she may not touch a bed, but must lie down alone on the bare ground; she must not touch fire, although she may look at it; and she must not walk across a hunting-net. It is apparently the supposed dangers of blood that give rise to these restrictions. Blood is the pabulum which gives nutriment to the spirits, and the sight of blood naturally makes the spirits restive. That is the avowed reason why a menstruant woman is not permitted to enter the spirit-huts of the village or even the ading or inner tabernacle of her own hut where the ancestor-spirits are believed to reside. During this period not only may there be no sacrifices or puja offered to the oṛa-bongako (house-spirits) in the menstruant woman's hut but in fact there will be no puja or sacrifice in any family in the settlement. The reason which the Birkōrs now assign for this prohibition is the fact that in the event of any sacrifice offered in the settlement, the members of the menstruant female's family would have to go without their share of the sacrificial meat. Indeed, if in ignorance of the fact that a female in the tanda is in her menses, any Birhōr in the tanda offers a sacrifice to his home-spirits (ora-bongako), the menstruant female and, in case she is married, her husband must not partake of any portion of the sacrificial meat or any food cooked in the new earthen pot used in preparing the sacrificial food. Should they do so they are liable to be afflicted with some serious illness. Should a menstruant woman touch a man even by accident, the latter is, it is believed, sure to fall ill. In the case of the Hembrōm and Bhuiya clans of Birhōrs it is believed that

if a menstruant female of those clans touches a man even by chance, the husband of the woman is sure to die either of illness or by a fall from a tree or by being devoured by a tiger set on by some spirit, and if she infringes any of the other taboos mentioned above, two individuals of her clan will be carried away by death.

These taboos are removed on the eighth day after the woman has become ceremonially clean by taking a bath and having her elothes boiled in water mixed with ashes and then washing them. in cold water.


1.-Note on five sculptured stones discovered in a ruined temple near Surajkund springs in the District of Hazaribagh.

By F. M. Hollow.

1 took the opportunity the other day of visiting some hot springs near Barakatta Thanah in the Hazaribagh District. The springs are about 1 miles east of Barakatta and half a mile south of the Grand Trunk Road. A description of the springs is to be found in Dr. Hooker's Himalayan Journal (Volume I, Chapter II); the cold spring mentioned by him is now a stagnant pool, and only two cut of the four hot springs are alive. But what interested me more than the springs was the discovery of five pieces of sculptured stone near the site of the ruined temple mentioned by Dr. Hooker; from the sculpturing on them I am inclined to think that this temple, to which these stones belong, was of Buddhistic origin.

The temple was situated on an elevation at the head of the springs about 30 yards away; it is now in ruins, only portions of three walls of what was perhaps an outer entrance room of the temple now remain standing. These with the remains of the fallen cupola of the temple are now roofed over with dry leaves and branches, to form a room, in which the five stones are housed. The floor and walls were plastered over with mud and were clean, and from the marks of vermillion on the stones, it is obvious that the place is still used as a shrine. The original temple appears to have been built of brick and mortar faced with sandstone. The five sculptured stones were most probably in origin ornamental, forming parts of the general scheme of decorations inside the temple. The figures and

designs are engraved in relief on plain black stones and are very beautiful and symmetrical. One of them is placed in a niche in the eastern wall of the room, it is rectangular in shape, with its top rounded off about 2 feet in length and one foot in breadth, the figure on it is that of Buddha sitting with hands raised to the elbows, bent back, with the palms of his hands turned outwards and level with his shoulders. In a niche in the opposite wall is a similarly shaped stone, but the figures on it are that of a woman standing with four hands, locally recognized as Bhagwati, and one on either side of her at her shoulders and at her feet four smaller standing women figures. The remaining three pieces have been embedded in a mud wall of recent date built up against the ruins of the fallen cupola. The left-hand piece is a long rectangular slab of stone about four feet high and a foot broad; it is covered over from top to bottom with most beautiful engravings in sections of various designs; it is capped with a temple resembling the figure in the plaque pictured on the front page of the Bihar and Orissa Research Society Journal; at its base is the figure of Buddha sitting with bis hands and legs crossed. On the left of this slab is a pyramidal shaped slab with the figure of a woman. standing similar to the figure on the slab in the western niche. One of the arms of this figure is broken. On its left is an arch of stone, semicircular in form and three or four feet long; along the top of the arch are five pinnacles cut out of it like the points of a crown; the centre and two end ones are shaped like the figures in the plaque, and the two on either side of the centre one have machicolated tops. But all have the sitting figure of Buddha with arms and legs crossed engraved in their centres. This arch appears to have formed part of a doorway or window as it has been chiselled out of rough sandstone. Local tradition says that the stones rose out of the earth of their own accord. This at least proves their antiquity, and removes the suspicion of their having been brought from somewhere else. The stones were in all probability found among the ruins of the temple and set up there by some Brahmin who, to safeguard them from spoliation

« PreviousContinue »