and grandsons shall make us work as slaves, and have power to sell or make a gift of us to others. On these conditions I execute this bond. "Dated 19th Kartik, 1201 B.S. (November 1794V Dr. Wise adds that, although slavery is illegal, and has been Bo for many years, the buying and selliiig of domestic slaves still goes on, and it may be safely said that there is hardly a family of any distinction which has not several Bhandarfs on its establishment. The life of the Nafr, or Shahna, as the slave is called in other parts of the country, is most congenial to the Bengali. With rare exceptions he is kindly treated, and in return he regards the welfare and happiness of each member of the family as inseparable from his own. Owing to the deaths of their masters many thousands are scattered throughout Bengal, who are found working at all trades, and in Chittagong, Noakhali, and Tipperah do not consider themselves degraded by holding a plough or wielding a mattock. In Bikrampiir they are often boatmen, while in Dacca Sudras are employed as confectioners, coolies, braziers, shop-keepers, and vendors oipdn and Indian hemp. Even at the present day, however, any Sudr* who is rich and

Eevident can raise his family by judicious marriages with pure ayasths as high as the Madhalya grade of that caste. Such families drop the title Sudra, and after a generation or two become absorbed in the ranks of recognized Kayasths. This circumstance is the more remarkable as the Sudras are certainly to some extent recruited from among castes inferior in social standing to the Kayasths. So far as I am aware, no parallel instance can be quoted within the range of the moder n caste system. Thus, according to Dr. Wise, Brahmans, Baidyas, Sunris, and Bauiyas possess slaves, but none of these castes have ever permitted their servants to rise in rank or assume an equality with their masters. It is suggested by the Kayasths that the Sudras of the present day are the descendants of the tribe resident in Bengal before the advent of the Kanauj families; but this conjecture is erroneous, for not only are individuals being added even now to the servile branch, but admissions such as that of Ram Kisto Pal, the subject of the deed of sale, who was a Teli by caste, can be proved by existing documents.

In the case of a girl the Sudras deem infant-marriage indispen. sable, and it would disgrace a family to have

,»nage. & daughter unmarried at the age of puberty.

Their sections are the same as those of the Brahmans, and they observe the same set of prohibited degrees. They have, however, no hypergamous groups, such as Kulin or Maulik. A bride-price (pan) is paid to the parents of the bride, and girls seem as a rule to be rather in demand. This is probably due to the fact that the lower grades of pure Kayasths take wives from among the Sudras, but do not give their daughters to men of that class. For this reason there is a slight surplus of males in the Sudra group, and Sudra men often marry comparatively late in life, and always have to purchase their wives.

For the rest, Sudras conform on the whole to the customs of the
Kayasth caste. Widows are not allowed to

Social status. • • j j • • • j

marry again, and divorce is not recogmzed. The status of the caste is respectable, and they rank immediately below the Nabasakh group. Brahmans take water from their hands, and will as a rule permit them to eat in the same room with themselves. Kayasths, except the very orthodox, will eat cooked food prepared by a Sudra. In matters of diet Sudros themselves follow the same rules as Hindus of the higher castes. In former years they used to eat the leavings of influential Brahmans, Caidyas, and Kayasths in whose houses they were employed as servants. This custom, however, is now dying out.

The following statement shows the number and distribution of Sudrasin 1872 and 1881 :—


Suga, parrot, a totemistio sept of Korwas and Mundas in Chota Nagpur.

Sugain, a gain or sub-section of Saptasati Brahmans in Bengal.

Sugardhar, a section of the Biyahut and Kharidaha Kalwars in Behar.

Sugargane-Loam, a mul of

the Parasara section of Maithil Brahmaus in Behar.

Suia, a kind of little bird, a totemistio sept of Bedias, Kharwars and Lohdrs in Chota Nagpur.

Suir, a synonym for Savar.

Sukalnaki, a sept of the Suryabansi sub-tribe of Rajputs in Behar.

Sukalvala, a group of the Adi (Jaura sub-caste of Gaura Brahmans.

Sukarbar, a sept of the Suryabansi sub-tribe of Rajputs in Behar.

Sukhar, a group of the Aoghar sect of Saiva ascetics founded in Guzerat by a Dasnami mendicant named Brahmagiri. See Aoghar.

Sukhong, a sept of Limbua in Darjiling.

Sukhsar^, a pur or section of Sakadwipi Brahmans in Behar.

Sukli, a sub-caste of weavers in Western Bengal ranking below the Tantis. They use a wooden shuttle; the Tantis an iron one. Brahmans will eat sweetmeats, etc., in a Tanti's house, not in a Sukli's.

a small cultivating caste peculiar to the district of Midnapur. Suklis claim to be the descendants Origin< of a Sulanki Rajput named Bir Singh, who

came to Midnapur about six hundred years ago and buile himself a fort at Birsinghpur in pargand Kedarkunda. The remains of the fort are still visible. It is flanked by two large mounds, called Mundamarui and Gardamarui, the former of which is said to cover the heads, and the latter the bodies, of seven hundred Bagdis who were slain by Bir Singh because they could not pronounce the word hesh, meaning a mat made of date-leaves. The legend goes on to say tha* after a time Bir Singh himself was defeated, and that his followers then discarded the sacred thread, changed the name Sulanki to Sukli, and settled down as cultivators. The internal T_. , , , structure of the caste throws no light on its

Internal structure. . . T, ....... ,. D,

origin. It is divided into three sub-castes— Barabhaiya, Bahattarghari, and Dasasai. The first, which is reckoned the highest in rank, is supposed to be descended from the twelve grandsons of Bir Singh. Their sections are of the ordinary Brahmanical type.

Suklis marry their daughters as infants, forbid widows to marry ,, . again, and do not recognize divorce. For

-Marriage. i- • j • i At. i

religious and ceremomal purposes they employ Brahmans, who however are not received on equal terms by other members of the sacred order. Most of them are Vaishnavas. They burn their dead and perform the ceremony of srdddh in the orthodox fashion on tlie thirty-first day after death.

Notwithstanding their conformity with all standard observances, the social position of Suklis is very low. They rank with Pods and Dhobas, and Brahmans will not take water from their hands. Agriculture is their sole occupation. A few hold tenures and small zamindaries, the bulk of the caste being occupancy raiyats.

In the Census Report of 1872 the Suklis were included with the Tantis. The following statement, however, shows their number and distribution in 1881 :—

Social status and occupation.

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Sumai, a kind of fish, a totemistio sept of Dhenuars in Chota Nagpur.

Suman, a title of Bangaja Kayasths.

Sumat, a totemistio section of Turis, signifying a deer.

Sumedh iar, a tree, a totemistio sept of Kharwars in Chota Nagpur. h

Sunaka, a gotra or section of Brahmans in Bengal.

Sunam, a thar or sept of Damis ^in Darjiling whose chief profession is sewing.

Sunari, a thar or sept of Mangars in Darjiling.

Sunaria, a section of Goalas in the North-Western Provinces and Behar.

Sundar, a section of the Kishnaut sub-caste of Goalas in Behar.

Sundas, a thar or sept of Damis in Darjiling whose chief profession is sewing.

Sundi, a synonym for, and a sub-caste of, Sunris in Bengal; a section of Goalas in Behar. In Chota Nagpur, a totemistio sept

of Bedias, signifying mahud flower.

Sundi Baniya, a sub-caste of Baniyas in Behar.

Sundi Deogam, a sept of Hos in Singbhum.

Sundip, a sub-caste of Dhobfis in Noakhali.

Sundipa, a sub-caste of Jugia and Napits in Noakhali.

Sundipe, a sub-caste of Kaibarttas in Noakhali.

Sundriaba, red mushroom, a totemistio sept of Juangs in Orissa.

Sung, a sub-sept of the Besra and Tudu septs of Santals.

Sungaru, a thar or sept of Damis in Darjiling, the members of which are drummers by profession.

Sunga Sarbbanandi, a melot hypergamous sub-group of Rarhi Brahmans in Bengal.

Sungdele, a thar or sept of Khambus in Darjiling.

Sungutmung, a sept of Lepohas in Darjiling.

Sunkewar, a sept of Rajputs in Behar.

ri, Saundika, Sundaka, Shdhd, a large and widely-diffused Traditions of origin. Sf8*6' found in most districts of Bengal and , , Behar, whose original profession is beHeved to

be the manufacture and sale of spirituous liquors. Many of its tZfcte DOW taken to mercantile pursuits, call themselves by the title Shaha, and disown all connexion with those who still follow the characteristic occupation of the caste. Their striving for social advancement has as yet not been entirely successful, and in spite of their wealth and enterprise ancient associations still hold themSwn

SillTM oJ ilaSlil°VS hard to break' According to Hindu ideas' distillers and sellers of strong drink rank among the most degraded castes, and a curious story in the Yaivarta Purana keeps alSethe memory of their degradation. It is said that when Sani,the Hindu Saturn, failed to adapt an elephant's head to the mutilated trunk of Ganesa, who had been accidentally beheaded by Siva, Viswa-Karmd the celestial artificer, was sent for, and by careful dissectionTud mampula ion he fitted the incongruous parts together and made a man called Kedara Sena from the slices out off in fanning his

work. This Kedara Sena was ordered to fetch a drink of water for
Bhagavati, weary and athirst. Finding on the river's bank a shell
full of water he presented it to her, without noticing that a few
grains of rica left in it by a parrot had fermented and formed an
intoxicating liquid. Bhagavati, as soon as she had drunk, became
aware of the fact, and in her anger condemned the offender to the
vile and servile occupation of making spirituous liquors for mankind.
Another story traces their origin to a certain Bhaskar or Bhaskar
Muni, who was created by Krishna's brother, Balaram, to minister
to his desire for strong drink. A different version of the same
legend gives them for ancestor Niranjan, a boy found by Bhaskar
floating down a river in a pot full of country liquor, and brought
up by him as a distiller. Others, again, following the traditional
method of accounting for the formation of castes, believe that Sunris
are descended from a Vaisya man and a Tiyar woman.

Putting these fables aside, we may, I think, find in the internal
structure of the Sunri caste, and most of all

Internal structure. ., i j j- e -i j

m the number and diversity of its eudogamous and exogamous divisions, some ground for believing that it probably comprises several independent groups, which have arisen in different parts of the country to supply the wants of the community in the matter of strong drink. In Manbhum, for example, eight sub-castes are said to be known: Ariyar, Biahut, Maghaiya, Lakargarha, Holongwar, Paripal, Sikhariya, Chaturthan. The first three admit intermarriage and have practically become amalgamated into a single endogamous group. These Sunris have totemistic sections, permit the adult-marriage of girls and the remarriage of widows, allow divorce by the tearing of a sal leaf, and generally show the characteristics of non-Aryan races who are beginning to come under the influence of Hinduism. In Behar, as a reference to Appendix I will show, the sub-castes and sections are very numerous; but the latter are mostly titular, and I cannot find that any totemistio usages are connected with the two (Hathi and Bichhu) which appear to bear animal names. In Bhagalpur theKul-Sunri sub-caste is further subdivided into groups called chatdis (mats, hence those who sit together on the same piece of matting), the members of which may not intermarry. So far as I am aware, the chatais have no distinctive names.

In Central and Western Bengal four sub-castes are found— Rarhf, Barendra, Banga, and Magi. In Eastern Bengal, according to Dr. Wise, the caste is subdivided into two sections, or Sreni Rarhi and Barendra. The former are distillers, called Stinri; the latter traders, who have assumed the title of Saha or merchant, which is said to be a corruption of Sadhu, 'perfect, honest.' Sahas usually object to being called Sunris, and affect to belong to a distinct caste from the latter. By some authorities, however, they are held to be descended from a {jjiidra father and a Sunri mother. My own enquiries go to show that the sub-castes are now more numerous than they were in Dr. Wise's time.

The Magi or Maghaiya sub-caste of Central and Western Bengal seems to derive its name from some real or supposed connexion with Behar, and may possibly be composed mainly of immigrants from that province. In various parts of Eastern Bengal a Magi


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