1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Juangs

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JUANGS (Patuas, literally “leaf-wearers”), a jungle tribe of Orissa, India. They are found in only two of the tributary states, Dhenkanal and Keonjhar, most of them in the latter. They are estimated to amount in all to about 10,000. Their language belongs to the Munda family. They have no traditions which connect them with any other race, and they repudiate all connexion with the Hos or the Santals, declaring themselves the aborigines. They say the headquarters of the tribe is the Gonasika. In manners they are among the most primitive people of the world, representing the Stone age in our own day. They do not till the land, but live on the game they kill or on snakes and vermin. Their huts measure about 6 ft. by 8 ft., with very low doorways. The interior is divided into two compartments. In the first of these the father and all the females of a family huddle together; the second is used as a store-room. The boys have a separate hut at the entrance to the village, which serves as a guest-house and general assembly place where the musical instruments of the village are kept. Physically they are small and weak-looking, of a reddish-brown colour, with flat faces, broad noses with wide nostrils, large mouths and thick lips, the hair coarse and frizzly. The women until recently wore nothing but girdles of leaves, the men, a diminutive bandage of cloth. The Juangs declare that the river goddess, emerging for the first time from the Gonasika rock, surprised a party of naked Juangs dancing, and ordered them to wear leaves, with the threat that they should die if they ever gave up the custom. The Juangs’ weapons are the bow and arrow and a primitive sling made entirely of cord. Their religion is a vague belief in forest spirits. They offer fowls to the sun when in trouble and to the earth for a bountiful harvest. Polygamy is rare. They burn their dead and throw the ashes into any running stream. The most sacred oaths a Juang can take are those on an ant-hill or a tiger-skin.

See E. W. Dalton, Descriptive Ethnology of Bengal (1872).