Monday, November 23, 2015

136. Lords of hills: genealogy Meghs of Jammu

Lords of hills: genealogy
Meghs of Jammu
"--------..---It was at this time that one of the distant branches of the family settled inChumba and another about or at Teera-Kangra- - The first of these is called now the Chummiall Rajpoot, the second the Katochee family ; and other members of the house became the founders>^ different principalities at present known by divers names, such as Patancote, Mandote, Seeba, Samba, Jesro- ta, &c. while the two principal or head members* of the family wandered for some time in search of a proper and suitable place of rest for their families. Ultimately Kirpal Debu and his * brotker*Singram Dehu settled in the then thickly-wooded and almost uninhabited hills of Dhahman, and about the spot where the present fort of Bhow stands. This occurrence is put down at about 591 of the Hejira,.or three years after their return from the battle of Thanessur. These hills were then but a wild, mountainous, thickly-wooded tract, very thinly peopled by a few Meghs, a poor race of low caste, and by yet fewer of a Hindoo race called Tukkers. But these hills, though wild, still afforded good pasturage, which was enticement sufficient to ensure the annual visits of the northern and eastern Ghaddees, — herdsmen and shepherds who generally live in and about the snowy ranges, north of Chumba, Kistowar, &c. and who were then a bold, independent and wandering race, who for ages past had been in the habit of proceeding with their flocks and familiejto the southern and milder parts, and to pass the severity of winter grazing their numerous flocks of sheep, goats, <fec. in the hdls now described. A long continued animosity existed between the bold and hardy hill shepherds and their neighbours, the poor and helpless Meghs, and each year's visit only brought on a new succession of quarrels and»sometimes bloody affrays. The Ghaddees in their annual visits monopolized and partly destroyed the best pasture spots, and even sometimes encroached cn the small tillage fields of the Meghs, who, too weak openly
to resist, sought to aveiage themselves and their wrongs 'by *""7 - nightly thefts and attacks, in which they carried off the , wiy^es and children of their enemies, whom th*ey usually sold afterwards in the Punjaub, &c. But the wild herdsmen always with fury, bloodshed and desolation, ^venged these barbarities. Such was the state of the hills when these two brothers came 'among the Meghs, and chose the place near _ V Bhow for their future residence. This poor and hitherto un- - * protected race were soon brought to cocsider the Rajpoot set- — X tlement among them in the light ef a blessing, and as a token of the favour of Heaven ; and they willingly acknowledged their claim to the title of lords and masters. The Rajpoot com munity, including the families of botU brothers, numbered only about t\vent3r persons ; but still their very name seems to have become a terror to the Ghaddees, who were brought by the superior prowess and policy ef the Rajpoots to enter into certain agreements and conditions, and to respect the rights of the now protected Meghs. Thus in course of time all animosity between these tribes was partly lost and for gotten, until the Rajpoot race grew so strong and numerous that at last even the very Ghaddees were obliged for their own > security to acknowledge the superiority and power ef the new colony, whom they in a few years were constrained to look on in the light of their temporary masters. However about the i— - ' year of the" Hejira 602, or nine years after their arrival, these two brothers are said, for some uuknewu reason, but most likely for their mutual interest, Kggraia/JAzement, and power, to have separated. The elder, Kirpal Behu, remained at or near the present site of Bhow, where hfe' had erected some huts ' with thatched roofs ; while his younger brother erected a small habitation of the same kind en the opposite hill to the west, and just on the opposite bank of the small stream, -Called the
Thovee, which divides the two hills, on the site of the present Jummoo, the places being less than a mile apart. Thus were the seeds of* the present gTeat and promising Hill principality sown, and thus those two brothers and their descendants slowly but steadily\ecame Lords of the Hills and of those around them. The 58th in the line of succession of the Jummoo or Jumwall family was the son of Singram Dehu, the elder branch, or that of Kirpal Dehu, being called the Bhow family, of which mention will be made hereafter in its proper place, The sixty-third chief of the family was the great Mai Dehu, who was the eldest of nine sons of Jey Dehu, and lived about the year 1389 of Vikramadita, or, as is mentioned, 749 of the Hejira, and is supposed to have been contemporary with Timor or Timorlung, Timor the Lame. He was the first of the family who had ever in those parts aspired to the title of Rajah. For this purpose he is said tothave taken a large stone (of about half a ton weight, and to be seen at the present day) from the bed of the stream that flowed round the hill on which his hum ble habitation stood, and thence carried this immense weight in his arms, up the steep paths to his home, where at a suitable spot he laid it down. Then collecting thither all his kinsmen and relatives on his side of the Thovee (then supposed to be about 500 in number) he, in the presence of these and of the neighbouring Meghs, was unanimously declared Rajah, by his own brotherhood and the people of all the hill territory, from the Thovee, westward to the Chenaub, an extent of about fourteen or fifteen miles of a wild hill tract, and then very thinly inha bited. He was now formally installed, and the ceremony was enacted, while he proudly sat on the huge block of stone, which was thenceforward considered a most necessary point in the creation or installation of his successors. It was to the story of his having (by the will and favour of Heaven) carried
this great fragment of rock the distance he is said to have done, •that he owed his own title of Rajah.* Henceforward this Rajgoot colony was treated with greater respect by thfc country people around, while the Meghs and numerous other new comers and temporary inhabitants, Hindoos, who fytfl fled from the Moslem rule and emigrated from the Punjaub. hither— all now looked up to> the Rajpoot chief as their rightful lord, prince, and protector."    Pages 232 to 235
Reference
A history of reigning Family of Lahore,
WITH SOME ACCOUNT OF  THE JUMMOO RAJAHS,
THE SEIK SOLDIERS AND THEIR SIRDARS
EDITED BY MAJOR G. CARMICHAEL SMYTH,
THIRD BENGAL LIGHT CAVALRY; WITH NOTES ON y malcolm, prinsep, lawrence, steinbach, McGregor, and the Calcutta review.
Publication: CALCUTTA: W. TRACKER AND CO.— ST. ANDREWS LIBRARY. 1847 , pp 232-235

135. Tribes and castes of Scinde province and frontier

Tribes and castes of Scinde province and frontier
IX.—The Dher or Meghawar Tribe.
    "An outcast aboriginal race, of low habits, scattered about the districts of Scinde, especially in Ghara, Hyderabad, Mir-poor, and Omerkot. Their religion is distinct from that professed by either Hindus or Mahomedans. They bury their dead in a position from east to west."   Page 376
Reference:
HINDU TRIBES AND CASTE : TOGETHER WITH AN ACCOUNT OF THE MAHOMEDAN TRIBES OF THE NORTH-WEST FRONTIER AND OF THE ABORIGINAL TRIBES OF THE CENTRAL PROVINCES.
Volume 2
BY THE Rev. M. A. SHERRING, 
Culcutta: THACKER, SPRING & Co. LONDON:  Publication:1879,  page 379
See also:
History of Scinde, by Lieut. B. F. Burtoii, p. 323.

134. The tribes and castes of Bombay Presidency

The tribes and castes of Bombay Presidency
  " The lowest caste among the Hindus, and found in every town and village. From their nukks, or family names, most of them appear to have been originally of Rajpoot descent. For instance, we find among them Solankhis, Chavaras, Jhalas, Vaghelas, &c. The Hindus consider themselves polluted by their touch. Their profession is that of weavers, cobblers, wood-splitters, and tanners. They also take the hides and entrails from the carcases of dead animals. They are also called Meghvals, and serve as guides to Government ofiicers. " page 238-239
Reference:
HINDU TRIBES AND CASTE : TOGETHER WITH AN ACCOUNT OF THE MAHOMEDAN TRIBES OF THE NORTH-WEST FRONTIER AND OF THE ABORIGINAL TRIBES OF THE CENTRAL PROVINCES.
Volume 2
BY THE Rev. M. A. SHERRING,

Culcutta: THACKER, SPRING & Co. LONDON:
Publication:1879,  page 238-239

133. Meghs from the pen of shradhdhanandji


RECLAIM THE STRAYED SHEEP AND TO PURIFY THE DEPRESSED CLASSES who were ready to go out of their religious fold whieh, when pure, had given consolation to their souls for centuries. The uplift of the so-called Untouchables appeared to be an impossible feat on accouut of the bitter opposition of Hindu orthodoxy to the movement. But the Arya Samaj put its hands to the plough and and the ground was gradually prepared for sowing the seeds of reform. The first mass purification began with the SHUDDHI OF RAHTIAS. a sect of Sikhism who were not allowed to sit on the same carpet even by the Khalsas, the religious founder of whose sect, the great Ouru Grovind Singh had himself boptized them with the Amrit of the Sword. In the middle of 1896 A. D. they applied for their Shuddhi and withiu the next few months a thousand and more were taken in the Arya Samaj as brethren, entitled to full social and religious rights. At first there were great persecutions in which the Arya Samaj ists had to suffer social ostracism even, but by lhe end of 1898 A. D. all opposition died out and the Rahtias, consisting of some thousands, were all absorbed in the Hindu society. In 1903 the Arya Samaj at Sialkot (Punjab) took up the question of the UPLIFT OF MEGHS who were considered to be untouchables. There, too, opposition was at first very strong, evenMuham- madans joining the Hindus in their work of persecut ing the new Arya Makashayas; but when more than half a lakh had been raised to an equality with other Aryas the opposition died its natural death. And then the Odes in the Mnzaffarnagar and Multan districts, the Domnas in the Punjab hilly tracts and others were purified in their thousands. At present a great movement for the uplift of the Meghs in the Cashmere state is workjng its way in Jammu and other places and more than 40 thousands have enter ed the Aryan fold and the rest are coming round in their thousands. So Punjab has been leading the way and the late census (of 1921) shows that in the U. P. of Agra and Oudh the Christian Missionary has begnn to complain of the obstacles put in his way by the Arya Samajists in his work of conversion. In and around Delhi lhe Arya Samaj has recon verted hundreds of so called untouchables who were Christians in name only, and thousands of Dhanaks, Chamars, Rengars and even Bhangis have been made safe from the inroads of Pauline Christianity for the future. The Christian Missionary had almost given up the -work of conversion in despair when they received help frem a very unexpected quarter. The Muhammadans had left off being very keen about mass conversion of Hindus and their work was proceeding imperceptibly by doles. It appears from Census reports that since 1911 the number of Muslim Bhangis have decreased and that of Hindu Bhangis has proportionately increased in the Punjab and some other places. As regards the United Provinces, in 1911, the Census Superintendent says on page 54 — " Conversions to Islam are so infrequent here as to be negligible." But during the heydey of the Non-Co operation movement, when Mahatma Gandhi laid down that one of the conditions for obtaining Swara- jya was the uplift and absorption by the Hindus of the so-called Untouchable class, the Muslim leaders saw their chance and nursed an idea of converting the Hindu untouchables to Islam. For me the question of uprooting the curse of un rehability was the 'sine qui non' of Nationality in India. Speaking on 27th December 1919 at Amrit- sar as Chairman of the Reception Committee of the
34th session of the Indian National Congress, I laid stress on National education and removal of Un- touchability as the two-fold means of evolving nationality out of chaos. As regards the latter my address read as follows : — " The nation lacks one thing. What is that ? Genl. Booth-Tucker of the Salvation Army stated be fore the Reform Scheme Committee that the six and a half croros of untouchables in India should be given special concessions because they were the an- chorsheets of the British Government. I would ask you to reflect and find out how six and a half crores of untouchables could be the anchorsheets of Govern ment. I would also request you to take a vow, while you are within this sacred Pandal, to so be have towards these so-called untouchables that their children may read in schools and colleges which your children attend, that they be allowed to mix with your families as your families do amongst themselves and that they may be allowed to put their shoulders along with your own to the wheel of political acti vity and advancement. Ladies and Gentlemen ! Do pray with me that this dream of mine may be re alized v After the Amritsar session of the Congress was over I again took charge of my work at the Gurukula, but when a Special Session of the Congress was called at Calcutta I joined simply for the reason that I had sent a resolution to the Reception Committee asking the Great National Assembly to make the uplift of the so-called untouchables a plank in the Congress programme. But unfortunately that resolution was not allowed to be discussed even in the Subjects' Committee. Before the Nagpur Congress met Mahatma Gan dhi had been to Madras where the depressed classes heckled him with questions about their position and Mahatmaji was obliged to make it one of the condi tions of obtaining Swaraj within 12 months that the curse of untouchability be removed. It was on the 15th August, 1921 that after plac ing the management of the Gurukula in other hands, I reached Delhi and found that the question of the depressed classes was becoming acute. I then orga nised the Dalitoddhar Sabha at Delhi and wired to Mahatma Gandhi for monetary help from the Working Committee. But I found later that the Congress could do nothing and on the 9th September 1921, I wrote a letter to Mahatmaji in Hindi from which I cull the following : — " I wired from Lahore that I would apply for financial aid through the Provincial Congress Committee but on reaching Delhi I found that the uplift of the depressed classes through the Cong ress was impossible. The Delhi and Agra Cha. mars simply demanded that they be allowed to draw water from the wells used by both Hindus ',' and Mahomedans and that water be not served to themthrough leaves. Even that appears impos sibles for the Congress Committee to accomplish. Not only this but a Mussalman Congressman whom I asked for assistance replied that even if Hindus allowed the untouchables to draw water out of common wells, they (the Mussalmans) would forcibly exclude them from those wells because the chamars ate dead carcase (murdar). I know thafthousands of these chamars do not touch wine or meat and those who were addicted to the eating of murdar are relinquishing the dirty habit as a result of the Arya Samaj preachings. I have written this letter to inform you that I . cannot apply, now, to the Working Committee for finan cial aid. I shall do whatever I can according to my limited means." An occasion arrived again when I moved the A.I.C.C. at Lucknow to take up the question of the removal of untouchability in right earnest, but no thing came out of it as the correspondence which I published sometime ago under the heading of " My parting advice " would show.
Pages 87 to 92
Reference
HINDU SANQATHAN : SAVIOUR OF THE DYING RACE,
By SHRADDHANANDA SANYASI.
Edition 1926, pages 87 to 92

132, Chamar of Sirsa and Megh

THE CHAMARS. According to the Census of 1881, the Chamars of this dis trict number 18,022, or 7 per cent. of the total population ; of these only 314 are returned as Sikh, and the rest as Hindu*. It is the third tribe in point of numbers in the district. They are very numerous also to the south and east in Bikaner, Rohtak, and much further east, and form about 10 per cent. of the population of the whole south and east of the Panjab. If the number of Chamars was rightly given at last census as 11,701, they have increased in numbers 54 per cent. In the Musalman villages their place as leather- workers is taken by the Mochls, who number 3,073, all Musalman except 132 who are Hindri. All the leather-work is done by Chamars or Mochis, who also work as labourers in the fields for wagps in money or kind. But in this district land is so plentiful that many of the Chamars are ordinary tenants and have given up leather-work for agriculture, making very good, prosperous cultivators,
little inferior to the J&ts. The Cha mars also do the weaving of blankets and coarse cloth in the Hindd villages, their places as weavers being taken in the Musalman villages by the Julahas. The Panjabi Chamars are known only by the name of Cha mar or Chimiy&r. Those from the Bagar like to be called Meghwal, and say they are descended from Meghrikh, who was created by Narayan. Any one wishing to be abusive calls a Chamar " Dhed," which seems to be the name of a large tribe holding a similar position in Kachh and Sind. They are also sometimes called Bhambi. Possibly all the tribes — Chamar, Bhambi, Meghwal, Dhed, Julaha or PaoK, and Mochi, engaged in weaving coarse cloth and work ing in tanned leather — are originally the same race, or at all events closely connected. The Chamars are divided into several distinct sections, which will not intermarry with each other. Almost all the Chamars of this neighbourhood are of the Chandor section, and will not intermarry with the Jatiya Chamars in the neigh bourhood of Delhi, who (they say) work in leather made from camels' and horses' skins, which is an abomination to the Chandors. On the other hand, some Marwari Chamars settled in Dehli, who make trips in this direction in the cold weather, selling leather ropes in the villages, refuse to have any connection with the Chamars here, who (they say) tan leather and eat the flesh of animals that have died, while the Marwari Chamars eat only the flesh of animals that have heen killed in the Musalman manner {haldl). All the Chamars of this neighbourhood intermarry with each other. They do not claim to be descended from any other tribe, and have no tradition of any special origin. The Chamars of this neighbourhood do not themselves tan leather— that is done by the Rahgar and Khatlk ; but the Jatiya Chamars of Dehli and the Chamars of the Pawadh about Ludhiana do tan leather. The Sirsa Chamars eat the flesh of cows, buf faloes, goats, and sheep, and work in their leather, but they will not eat the flesh of camels or horses, or work in their leather, nor will they eat fish, lizard, or pig. The skins of the camel and horse are left to the Chuhras. Cham&rs are practically Hindi! They have no special deity of their own, but worship the ordinary Hindu* deities, and make pilgrimages to shrines commonly held sacred, such as Ramdeo Gosayan of Runicha in the Bagar, Mairi-ka- pir or Guga Pir, not far from Sirsa in Bikaner, Hanuman, Masani of Gurgaon, Debl of Nagarkot near Kangra, Bhiron of Ahror near Rewarf". They have a caste of Brahmans of their own called Gurra or Chamrda Brahman, who wear the sacred thread (janeu), and do not eat with Chamars, but are quite distinct from the ordinary high-caste Brahmans. They accept offerings from Chamars and preside at their marriage ceremonies, which are performed, as among Hindus, by walking round the sacred fire. It is worthy of note that among the Chamars the dead are either buried or burned, as is most convenient ; neither custom is binding. Towards Bikaner it is more common to bury the dead ; towards the Panjab both customs are common, even in the same family. In either case the phul (if burned, the ashes ; if buried, the nails) are taken to the Ganges. They have no belief in transmigration, but believe the good in this life go to heaven (snrg) and are happy after death, while the wicked go to hell (narag) and are miserable. At funerals the women remain at home and weep, while the men go out with the corpse, mourning somewhat as follows : " tu hi hoi; tainne paidd kiya aur tainne mdrliya " — " Thou alone art. Thou madest and thou hast struck down." The Chamars have also a separate caste of Mirasis (Musalman), and another of Bhats (Hindu), both endogamous and distinct from the Chamdrs on the one side and from the ordinary Mirdsis and Bhats on the other, but probably originally belonging to the latter, and separated from them only when they took to serving Chamars.  Pages 23 to 25
Reference
A GENERAL CODE of ^ TRIBAL CUSTOM IN THE SIRSA DISTRICT OF THE PANJAB.
DRAWN UP BY
J.WlLSON,
SETTLEMBNT OFFICER
Published by GOI, calcutta
1882,

Sunday, November 22, 2015

131. The Dher or Meghawar Tribe

Tribes and castes of Scinde province and frontier
IX.—The Dher or Meghawar Tribe.
    "An outcast aboriginal race, of low habits, scattered about the districts of Scinde, especially in Ghara, Hyderabad, Mir-poor, and Omerkot. Their religion is distinct from that professed by either Hindus or Mahomedans. They bury their dead in a position from east to west."   Page 376
Reference:
HINDU TRIBES AND CASTE : TOGETHER WITH AN ACCOUNT OF THE MAHOMEDAN TRIBES OF THE NORTH-WEST FRONTIER AND OF THE ABORIGINAL TRIBES OF THE CENTRAL PROVINCES.
Volume 2
BY THE Rev. M. A. SHERRING, 
Culcutta: THACKER, SPRING & Co. LONDON:  Publication:1879,  page 379
See also:
History of Scinde, by Lieut. B. F. Burtoii, p. 323.

130. Rajpoot descent

The tribes and castes of Bombay Presidency
  " The lowest caste among the Hindus, and found in every town and village. From their nukks, or family names, most of them appear to have been originally of Rajpoot descent. For instance, we find among them Solankhis, Chavaras, Jhalas, Vaghelas, &c. The Hindus consider themselves polluted by their touch. Their profession is that of weavers, cobblers, wood-splitters, and tanners. They also take the hides and entrails from the carcases of dead animals. They are also called Meghvals, and serve as guides to Government ofiicers. " page 238-239
Reference:
HINDU TRIBES AND CASTE : TOGETHER WITH AN ACCOUNT OF THE MAHOMEDAN TRIBES OF THE NORTH-WEST FRONTIER AND OF THE ABORIGINAL TRIBES OF THE CENTRAL PROVINCES.
Volume 2
BY THE Rev. M. A. SHERRING,

Culcutta: THACKER, SPRING & Co. LONDON:
Publication:1879,  page 238-239