Castes and Tribes of Southern India/Koyi

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Koyi.— The Koyis, Kois, or Koyas, are a tribe inhabiting the hills in the north of the Godāvari district,and are also found in the Malkangiri tāluk of the Jeypore Zamindari. They are said to belong to the great Gond family, and, when a man of another caste wishes to be abusive to a Koyi, he calls him a Gōndia. The Koyi language is said by Grierson to be a dialect of Gondi. Writing concerning the Koyis of the Godāvari district, the Rev. J. Cain states*[1] that " in these parts the Kois use a great many Telugu words, and cannot always understand the Kois who come from the plateau in Bustar. A few years ago, when Colonel Haig travelled as far as Jagdalpuram, the Kois from the neighbourhood of Dummagudem who accompanied him were frequently-unable to carry on any conversation with many of the Kois on this plateau. There are often slight differences in the phraseology of the inhabitants of two villages within a mile of each other. When two of my teachers,living not more than a mile apart, were collecting vocabularies in the villages in which they lived, they complained that their vocabularies often differed in points where they expected to find no variety whatever." A partial vocabulary of the Koyi language is given by the Rev. J. Cain, who notes that all the words borrowed from Telugu take purely Koi terminations in the plural." Its connection," he writes, " with the Gond language is very apparent, and also the influence of its neighbour Telugu. This latter will account for many of the irregularities, which would probably disappear in the language spoken by the Kois living further away from the Telugu country." Mr. G. F. Paddison informs me that all the Gonds whom he met with in the Vizagapatam district were bholo loko (good caste), and would not touch pork or mutton, whereas the Koyi shares with the Dombs the distinction of eating anything he can get in the way of meat, from a rat to a cow.It is noted by Mr. H. A. Stuart*[2] that "the Khonds call themselves Kui, a name identical with Koi or Koya." And, in 1853, an introduction to the grammar of the Kui or Kandh language was produced by Lingum Letchmajee.†[3] It is recorded by the Rev. J. Cain that " until the tālukās were handed over to British rule, the Bhadrāchallam Zamindar always kept up a troop of Rohillās,who received very little pay for their services, and lived chiefly by looting the country around. In attendance upon them were one hundred Kois, and one hundred Mādigas. Twenty-five Koi villages form a samutū, and,in the Bhadrāchallam tālukā, there are ten samutūs. In the territory on the opposite side of the river, which also belonged to the Ashwa Rau family, there were ten samutūs. Each samutū was bound in turn to furnish for a month a hundred Kois to carry burdens, fetch sujiplies,etc., for the above-mentioned Rohillās. During the month thus employed they had to provide their own batta (subsistence money). The petty Zamindars of Albaka, Cherla, Nagar, Bejji and Chintalanada, likewise had their forces of Nāyaks and Kois, and were continually robbing and plundering. All was grist which came to their mill, even the clothes of the poor Koi women,who were frequently stripped, and then regarded as objects of ridicule. The Kois have frequently told me that they could never lie down to rest without feeling that before morning their slumbers might be rudely disturbed,their houses burnt, and their property all carried off.As a rule, they hid their grain in caves and holes of large trees." It is recorded, in the Vizagapatam Manual, that,in 1857, the headman of Koratūru, a village on the Godāvari river, was anxious to obtain a certain rich widow in marriage for his son. Hearing, however, that she had become the concubine of a village Munsiff or Magistrate of Buttayagūdem, he attempted, with a large body of his Koi followers, to carry her off by force. Failing in the immediate object of his raid, he plundered the village,and retreated with a quantity of booty and cattle. Those Koyis, the Rev. J. Cain writes, who live in the plains " have a tradition that, about two hundred years ago, they were driven from the plateau in the Bustar country by famine and disputes, and this relationship is also acknowledged by the Gutta Kois, i.e., the hill Kois, who live in the highlands of Bustar. These call the Kois who live near the Godāvari Gommu Kois and Mayalotilu. The word Gommu is used to denote the banks and neighbourhood of the Godāvari. Thus, for instance, all the villages on the banks of the Godāvari are called Gommu ūllu. Mayalotīlu means rascal. The Gutta Kois say the lowland Kois formerly dwelt on the plateau, but on one occasion some of them started out on a journey to see a Zamindar in the plains,promising to return before very long. They did not fulfil their promise, but settled in the plains, and gradually persuaded others to join them, and at times have secretly visited the plateau on marauding expeditions .... The Kois regard themselves as being divided into five classes, Perumbōyudu, Madogutta, Perēgatta, Mātamuppayo, and Vidogutta." The Rev. J. Cain states further that "the lowland Kois say that they are divided into five tribes, but they do not know the first of these. The only names they can give are Pāredugatta, Mundegutta, Peramboyina, and Wikaloru, and these tribes are again sub-divided into many families. The members of the different tribes may intermarry, but not members of the same tribe."

It is recorded by Mr. F. R. Hemingway*[4] that "exogamous septs, called Gattas, occur in the tribe. Among them are Mūdō (third), Nālō (fourth) or Parēdi,Aidō (fifth) or Rāyibanda, Arō (sixth), Nutōmuppayō (130th), and Perambōya. In some places, the members of the Mūdō, Nālō, and Aidō Gattas are said to be recognisable by the difference in the marks they occasionally wear on their foreheads, a spot, a horizontal, and a perpendicular line respectively being used by them. The Ārō Gatta, however, also uses the perpendicular line." It is further noted by Mr. Hemingway that the Rācha or Dora Koyas consider themselves superior to all other sub-divisions, except the Oddis (superior priests).

It is noted by the Rev. J. Cain that at Gangōlu, a village about three miles from Dummagudem, "live several families who call themselves Bāsava Gollavandlu,but on enquiry I found that they are really Kois, whose grandfathers had a quarrel with some of their neighbours,and separated themselves from their old friends. Some of the present members of the families are anxious to be re-admitted to the society and privileges of the neighbouring Kois. The word Bāsava is commonly said to be derived from bhasha, a language, and the Gollas of that class are said to have been so called in consequence of their speaking a different language from the rest of the Gollas. A small but well-known family, the Matta people, are all said to have been originally Erra Gollas,but six generations ago they were received into the Koi people. Another well-known family, the Kāka people, have the following tradition of their arrival in the Koi districts. Seven men of the Are Kāpulu caste of Hindus once set out on a journey from the neighbourhood of Warangal. Their way led through dense jungle, and for a very long time they could find no village, where they and their horses could obtain food and shelter. At length they espied a small hut belonging to a poor widow, and,riding up to it, they entered into conversation with her,when they learned that the whole country was being devastated by a nilghai (blue bull: Boselaphus tragocamelus), which defied all attempts to capture it. In despair, the king of the country, who was a Koi of the Ēmu family, had promised his youngest daughter in marriage to any man who would rid the country of the pest. Before very long, the youngest of the Kāpus was out wandering in the neighbouring jungle, and had an encounter with the formidable beast, which ran at him very fiercely, and attempted to knock him down. The young man raised a small brass pot, which he was carrying, and struck the animal so forcible a blow on the head that it fell dead on the spot. He then cut off its tail, nose, and one ear, and carried them away as trophies of his victory; and, having hidden his ring in the mutilated head of the animal, he buried the body in a potter's pit close to the scene of the encounter. He and his elder brothers then resumed their journey, but they had not gone far before they received news from the widow that the potter, hearing of the death of the animal,had gone to the king with the tidings, and asserted that he himself was the victor, and was therefore entitled to the promised reward. The king, however, declined to comply with his request, unless he produced satisfactory evidence of the truth of the story. The real victor,hearing all this, bent his steps to the king's court and asserted his claim, showing his trophies in proof of his statements, and requesting the king to send and dig 'up the carcase of the animal, and see whether the ring was there or not. The king did so, and, finding everything as the claimant had asserted, he bestowed his daughter on him, and assigned to the newly married couple suitable quarters in his own house. Before very long, the next elder brother of the bridegroom came to pay him a visit,riding in a kachadala, i.e., a small cart on solid wooden wheels. He found all the city in great trouble in consequence of the ravages of a crow with an iron beak,with which it attacked young children, and pecked out their brains. The king, deeply grieved at his subjects'distress, had it proclaimed far and wide that the slayer of this crow should receive in reward the hand of his youngest remaining daughter. The young man had with him a new bamboo bow, and so he fitted an arrow to the string, and let fly at the crow. His aim was so good that the crow fell dead at once, but the force of the blow was so great that one of the wings was driven as far south as the present village of Rekapalli (wing village), its back fell down on the spot now occupied by Nadampalli (loin or back village), its legs at Kalsaram (leg village), and its head at Tirusapuram (head village),whilst the remainder fell into the cart, and was carried into the presence of the king. The king was delighted to see such clear proofs of the young man's bravery, and immediately had the marriage celebrated, and gave the new son-in-law half the town. He then made an agreement with his sons-in-law and their friends, according to which they were in future to give him as many marriageable girls as could be enclosed and tied up by seven lengths of ropes used for tying up cattle, and he was to bestow upon them as many as could be tied up by three lengths. In other words, he was to receive seventy children, and to give thirty, but this promise has never been fulfilled. The victor received the name of Kāka (crow), and his descendants are called the Kāka people."

The Koyis of the Godāvari district are described in the Manual as being " a simple-minded people. They look poor and untidy. The jungles in which they reside are very unhealthy, and the Kois seem almost to a man to suffer from chronic fever. They lead an unsophisticated. savage life, and have few ideas, and no knowledge beyond the daily events of their own little villages; but this withdrawal from civilised existence is favourable to the growth of those virtues which are peculiar to a savage life. Like the Khonds, they are noted for truth fulness, and are quite an example in this respect to the civilised and more cultivated inhabitants of the plains.They call themselves Koitors, the latter part of which appellation has been very easily and naturally changed by the Telugu people, and by the Kois who come most closely into contact with them, into Dorala, which means lords; and they are always honoured by this title in the Godāvari district. [The Rev. J. Cain expresses doubts as to the title Dora being a corruption of tor, and points out that it is a common title in the Telugu country.Some Koyis on the Bastar plateau call themselves Bhūmi Rāzulu, or kings of the earth.] The villages are small, but very picturesque. They are built in groups of five or six houses, in some places even a smaller number, and there are very rarely so many as ten or fifteen. A clearing is made in the jungle, and a few acres for cultivation are left vacant round the houses.In clearing away the wood, every tree is removed except the ippa (Bassia latifolia) and tamarind trees, which are of the greatest service to the people on account of their fruit and shade. The Kois do not remain long in the same place. They are a restless race. Four years suffice to exhaust the soil in one locality, and they do not take the trouble to plough deeper, but migrate to another spot, where they make a fresh clearing, and erect a new village. Their huts are generally covered with melons and gourds, the flowing tendrils of which give them a very graceful appearance, but the surrounding jungle makes them damp and unhealthy. When the cultivation season is over, and the time of harvest draws on, the whole of the village turns out by families, and lives on the small wooden scaffoldings erected in the fields, for the purpose of scaring away the wild animals and birds, which come to feed on the ripening grain.Deer and wild pigs come by night to steal it, and herds of goats by day. Tigers and cheetas (leopards) often resort to the fields of Indian corn, and conceal themselves among the lofty plants. Poorer kinds of grain are also grown, such as millet and maize, out of which the people make a kind of porridge, called Java. They likewise grow a little cotton, from which they make some coarse cloth, and tobacco. The ippa tree is much prized.The Koyis eat the flowers of this tree, which are round and fleshy. They eat them either dried in the sun, or fried with a little oil. Oil both for lights and for cooking is obtained from the nut, from which also an intoxicating spirit is extracted." I gather that the Koyis further use the oil for anointing the hair, whereas, in Kurnool, the forest officers barter with the Chenchus for the fruits, which they will part with, as they do not require them for the toilette or other purpose.

The cultivation of the Koyis has been described as " of the simplest, most unprofitable kind. A piece of jungle is selected, and all the trees, except the fruit-bearing ones, are cut down and burned, the ashes being used for manure. Then, without removing the stumps or further clearing, the land is scratched along the top,and the seed sown. For three or four years the natural fertility of the soil yields them a crop, but then, when the undergrowth begins to appear and the soil to be impoverished, being too lazy to plough and clean it properly or to give it manure, they abandon it, and the land again becomes scrub jungle." In a note on cultivation in the Agency tracts of the Godāvari district, F. R. Hemingway writes as follows.*[5]" The majority of the hill Reddis and the Koyas in the Agency carry on shifting cultivation, called pōdu, by burning clearings in the forests. Two methods prevail: the ordinary (or chalaka) podu, and the hill (or konda) pōdu. The former consists in cultivating certain recognised clearings for a year or two at a time, allowing the forest to grow again for a few years, and then again burning and cultivating them; while, under the latter, the clearing is not returned to for a much longer period, and is sometimes deserted for ever. The latter is in fashion in the more hilly and wilder parts, while the former is a step towards civilisation. In February or March, the jungle trees and bushes are cut down, and spread evenly over the portion to be cultivated; and, when the hot weather comes on, they are burnt. The ashes act as a manure, and the cultivators think that the mere heat of the burning makes the ground productive.The land is ploughed once or twice in chalaka pōdus before and after sowing, but not at all in konda pōdus. The seed is sown in June. Hill cholam and sāmai are the commonest crops. The former is dibbled into the ground. Grain is usually stored in regular granaries (kottu), or in thatched bamboo receptacles built on a raised foundation, and called gadi. These are not found in Bhadrāchalam or the central delta, where a high, round receptacle made of twisted straw (puri) is used. Grain is also stored, as elsewhere, in pits."

It is noted by Mr. Hemingway that the houses of the Koyis "are made of bamboo, with a thatch of grass or palmyra. They are very restless, and families change frequently from one village to another. Before morning, they consult the omens, to see whether the change will be auspicious or not. Sometimes the hatching of a clutch of eggs provides the answer, or four grains of four kinds of seed, representing the prosperity of men, cattle, sheep, and land, are put on a heap of ashes under a man's bed. Any movement among them during the night is a bad omen. The Koyas proper are chiefly engaged in agriculture. Their character is a curious medley. They excite admiration by their truthfulness and simplicity; contempt by their drunkenness, listlessness, and want of thrift; amusement by their stupidity and their combination of timidity and self-importance; and disgust by their uncanny superstitions and thinly veiled blood-thirstiness. Their truthfulness is proverbial,though it is said to be less characteristic than of yore, and they never break their word. Their drunkenness is largely due to the commonness of the ippa tree (Bassia laiifolia), from the flowers of which strong spirit is distilled, and is most noticeable when this is blossoming. Their laziness is notorious, and their stupidity is attested by numerous stories. One, vouched for by the Rev.J. Cain, relates how some of them, being despatched with a basket of fruit and a note describing its contents, and being warned that the note would betray any pilfering,first buried the note so that it could not see, then abstracted some of the fruit, afterwards disinterred the note and delivered it and the basket, and were quite at a loss, when charged with the theft, to know how the note could have learnt about it. They are terribly victimised by traders and money-lenders from the low country, who take advantage of their stupidity to cheat them in every conceivable way. Their timidity has on occasions driven them to seek refuge in the jungle on the appearancc of a Hindu in clean clothes, but, on the other hand, they insist upon, and receive a considerable measure of respect from lowlanders whom they encounter. They are perfectly aware that their title Dora means lord, and they insist upon being given it. They tolerate the address ' uncle ' (māmā) from their neighbours of other castes, but they are greatly insulted if called Koyas. When so addressed, they have sometimes replied 'Whose throat have I cut?' playing on the word koya,which means to slice, or cut the throat. When driven to extremes, they are capable of much courage. Blood feuds have only recently become uncommon in British territory, and in 1876 flourished greatly in the Bastar State."

Concerning the marriage custom of the Koyis the Rev. J. Cain writes that the Koyis generally marry when of fair age, but infant marriage is unknown. The maternal uncle of a girl has always the right to dispose of her hand, which he frequently bestows upon one of his own sons. If the would-be bridegroom is comparatively wealthy, he can easily secure a bride by a peaceable arrangement with her parents; but, if too poor to do this, he consults with his parents and friends, and, having fixed upon a suitable young girl, he sends his father and friends to take counsel with the headman of the village where his future partner resides. A judicious and liberal bestowal of a few rupees and arak (liquor) obtain the consent of the guardian of the village to the proposed marriage. This done, the party watch for a favourable opportunity to carry off the bride, which is sure to occur when she comes outside her village to fetch water or wood, or, it may be, when her parents and friends are away, and she is left alone in the house.The bridegroom generally anxiously awaits the return home of his friends with their captive, and the ceremony is proceeded with that evening, due notice having been sent to the bereaved parents. Some of the Koyis are polygamists, and it not unfrequently happens that a widow is chosen and carried off, it may be a day or two after the death of her husband, whilst she is still grieving on account of her loss. The bride and bridegroom are not always married in the same way. The more simple ceremony is that of causing the woman to bend her head down, and then, having made the man lean over her, the friends pour water on his head, and, when the water has run off his head to that of the woman, they are regarded as man and wife. The water is generally poured out of a bottle-gourd. (These gourds are used by the Koyis as bottles, in which they carry drinking water when on a journey. Very few Koyis stir far from their homes without one of these filled with water.) Generally, on this all-important occasion, the two are brought together, and, having promised to be faithful to each other, drink some milk. Some rice is then placed before them, and, having again renewed their promises,they eat the rice. They then go outside the house, and march round a low heap of earth which has been thrown up under a small pandal (booth) erected for the occasion, singing a simple love song as they proceed. Afterwards they pay their respects to the elders present, and beg for their blessing, which is generally bestowed in the form of ' May you be happy! may you not fight and quarrel! ' etc. This over, all present fall to the task of devouring the quantity of provisions provided for the occasion, and, having well eaten and drunk, the ceremony is concluded. If the happy couple and their friends are comparatively wealthy, the festivities last several days. Dancing and singing are kept up every evening, and, when the fun waxes fast and furious, the mother-in-law takes up her new son-in-law on her shoulders, and his mother her new daughter-in-law, and dance round as vigorously as age and strength permit. If the mothers-in-law are not able, it is the duty of the respective maternal aunts to perform this ludicrous office. When the bridegroom is a fine strapping young man, this is a duty rather than a pleasure. Some do not object to run away with the wife of another man, and, in former years, a husband has been known to have been murdered for the sake of his wife. Even at present, more disputes arise from bride-stealing than from any other cause, especially as up to the present time (1876) the Government officials have not been able to stop this practice.In the case of a man running away with another man's wife, the samatu dora (headman), on its being reported to him, goes to the village where the culprit lives,assembles the headman, and calls the offender before him. He then fines the man twelve rupees, and orders him to give another twelve to the husband of the woman whom he has stolen, and then demands two rupees' worth of liquor, a goat, and grain for a feast. On these being brought, the night is spent in feasting and drinking, and the fault is forgiven. In cases of breach of the seventh commandment, the offender is often placed between two logs of wood, upon which as many men sit as can be accommodated, and press it down as long as they can without endangering the unfortunate man's life. In all the Koi villages there is a large house, where the young unmarried men have to sleep, and another which the young unmarried girls have to occupy at night." It is noted by Mr. Hemingway that, " if a Koya youth is refused by the maiden of his choice, he generally carries her off by force. But a boy can reserve a girl baby for himself by giving the mother a pot, and a cloth for the baby to lie upon, and then she may not be carried off. Girls who consort with a man of low caste are purified by having their tongues branded with a hot golden needle, and by being made to pass through seven arches of palmyra leaves which are afterwards burnt." (cf. Koraga.) According to Mr. R. E. Enthoven,*[6] "the suggestion seems to be a rapid representation of seven existences, the outcast regaining his (or her) status after seven generations have passed without further transgression. The parallel suggested is the law of Manu that seven generations are necessary to efface a lapse from the law of endogamous marriage."

In a note on marriage among the Koyis of Vizagapatam, Mr. C. Hayavadana Rao writes that the parents and other relations of the bridegroom go to the bride's home with a present (vōli) of three or four head-loads of fermented liquor made from rāgi (Eleusine Coracana)seeds, a pair of new cloths for the girl's father and mother, and a pig. A feast is held, and, on the following day, the bride is conducted to the home of the bridegroom. The marriage ceremony is then conducted on lines similar to those already described.

In connection with birth ceremonies, the Rev. J. Cain writes that "the Koi women are very hardy, and careless about themselves. After the birth of a child, they do not indulge in the luxury of a cot, but, according to their usual custom, continue to lie upon the ground, bathe in cold water, and eat their accustomed food. Directly the child is born, it is placed upon a cot, and the mother resumes her ordinary work of fetching water, wood,leaves, etc., cooking for the family, and so on. On the seventh day the child is well washed, and all the neighbours and near relatives assemble together to name the child. Having placed the child on a cot, they put a leaf of the mohwa tree (Bassia) in the child's hand,and pronounce some name which they think suitable. If the child closes its hand over the leaf, it is regarded as a sign that the child acquiesces, but, if the child rejects the leaf or cries, they take it as a sign that they must choose another name, and so they throw away the leaf, and substitute another leaf and another name, until the child shows its approbation. If the name chosen is that of any person present, the owner of that name generally expresses his appreciation of the honour thus conferred by placing a small coin in the hand of the child, otherwise the father is bound to do so. This ceremony is followed by a night of dancing and singing, and the next day the father gives a feast to his neighbours and friends, or, if too poor for that, treats the male friends to liquor. Most Kois now name their children without all the elaborate ceremonial mentioned above."

"The bodies of children," the Rev. J. Cain writes," and of young men and young women are buried. If a child dies within a month of its birth, it is usually buried close to the house, so that the rain dropping from the eaves may fall upon the grave, and thereby cause the parents to be blessed with another child in due course of time. With the exception of the above mentioned, corpses are usually burnt. A cow or bullock is slain,and the tail cut off and put in the dead person's hand,after the cot on which the corpse is carried has been placed upon the funeral pile. If a pūjāri, or Koi priest, is present, he not unfrequently claims a cloth or two belonging to the dead person. The cot is then removed,and the body burnt. Mr. Vanstavern reports having seen part of the liver of the slain animal placed in the mouth of the corpse. The friends of the deceased retire, and proceed to feast upon the animal slain for the occasion.Three days afterwards they generally return, bringing contributions of chōlam (grain), and, having slain one or more animals, have a second feast. In some parts, immediately after the corpse is consumed, the ashes are wetted, rolled into balls, and deposited in a hole about two feet deep, dug on the roadside just outside their village. Over the hole is placed a slab of stone, and at the head an upright stone, and, whenever friends pass by these monuments, they endeavour to place a few leaves of tobacco on the slabs, remarking at the same time how fond the deceased were of tobacco in their lifetime. The hill Kois have erected very large slabs in days gone by, and it is not uncommon to see rows of ten to fifteen outside the villages close to well-frequented roads, but at present they seldom take the trouble to put up any monuments. In the Malkanagiri tāluk, the Kois every now and then erect these stones, and, when encamped in a village, we were struck by the height of one, from the top of which was suspended an ox tail.On enquiry we found that it was the tomb of the late headman, who had been enterprising enough to build some large bunds (embankments), and thus improve his rice fields. Success attended his efforts, and five crops rewarded him. But, alas, envious persons plotted his downfall, he became ill, and called in the diviner, who soon discovered the cause of the fatal illness in the shape of balls of mud, which had been surreptitiously introduced into his stomach by some demoness at the instigation of some foes. Three days after the funeral feast, a second one is frequently held, and, if means are forthcoming,another on the seventh and fifteenth days. The nights are always spent in dancing to the beating of the tom-tom or drum. All believe that these feasts are necessary for the repose of the spirits of the deceased, and that, if these are not thus duly honoured, they will wander about the jungle in the form of pisāchas (devils) ready to avenge their friends' neglect of their comfort by bringing evil upon their children or cattle. If they are not satisfied as to the cause of the death of any of their friends, they continue to meet at intervals for a whole year, offer the sacrificial feasts, and inquire of the diviner whether he thinks that the spirit of the deceased has been able to associate with spirits or its predeceased friends, and, when they obtain an answer in the affirmative, then and then only do they discontinue these feasts."

In connection with death ceremonies, Mr. Hemingway notes that " when a Koya dies, a cow or bullock is slaughtered, and the tail is cut off, and put in the dead man's hand. The liver is said to be sometimes put in his mouth. His widow's tāli (marriage badge) is always placed there, and, when a married woman dies, her tāli is put in her mouth. The pyre of a man is lighted by his nephew, and of a woman by her son. No pollution is observed by those attending the funeral. The beef of the slain animal provides a feast, and the whole party returns home and makes merry. On the eighth day, a pot of water is placed in the dead man's house for him to drink, and is watched by his nephew. Next morning another cow is slaughtered, and the tail and a ball of cooked rice are offered to the soul at the burning ground."

Concerning the death ceremonies in the Vizagapatam district, Mr. C. Hayavadana Rao writes that the corpses of young children are buried far away from the home of their parents. It is customary, among the more prosperous families, to put a few rupees into the mouth of a corpse before the funeral pyre is lighted. The money is made to represent the value of the animal sacrificed in the Godāvari district. Death pollution is not observed,but on the eighth day the relations kill a fowl, and burn it at the spot where the body was cremated. The ashes of a dead person are carried to a spot set apart close to the highway. Water is poured over them, and they are made into small balls. A hole, two or three feet deep, is dug,into which the balls, a few of the pots belonging to the deceased, and some money are put. They are covered over with a stone slab, at one end of which an upright slab is set up. A cow is killed, and its tail cut off, and tied to the upright slab, to appease the ghost of the dead person. The remainder of the animal is carried off, and used for a feast. Ghāsias are notorious for opening up these Koyi sepulchres, and stealing the money buried in them.

Mr. H. Tyler informs me that he came across the burning funeral pyre of a Koyi girl, who had died of syphilis. Across a neighbouring path leading to the Koyi village, were a basket fish-trap containing grass, and on each side thorny twigs, which were intended to catch the malign spirit of the dead girl, and prevent it from entering the village. The twigs and trap, containing the captured spirit, were to be burnt by the Koyis on the following day.

It is noted by Mr. Hemingway that " people who are neither good enough for heaven, nor bad enough for hell, are born again in their former family. Children with hare-lip, moles, etc., are often identified as re-incarnations of deceased relations. Tattooing is common. It is, for various reasons, considered very important for the soul in the next world that the body should have been adequately tattooed." Concerning the religion of the Koyis, the Rev.J. Cain writes that they say "that the following gods and goddesses were appointed to be worshipped by Sudras: —Muttelamma, Maridimahālakshmi, Poturāzu and Korrāzulu; and the following were to receive adoration from the Koyis: — Kommalamma, Kāturūdu, Adamarāzu. The goddess Māmili or Pēle must be propitiated early in the year, or else the crops will undoubtedly fail; and she is said to be very partial to human victims. There is stronof reason to think that two men were murdered in 1876 near a village not far from Dummagudem, as offerings to this dēvata, and there is no reason to doubt that every year strangers are quietly put out of the way in the Bastar country, to ensure the favour of this blood-thirsty goddess. All the Koyis seem to hold in great respect the Pāndava brothers, especially Arjuna and Bhīma. The wild dogs or dhols are regarded as the dutas or messengers of these brothers, and the long black beetles which appear in large numbers at the beginning of the hot weather are called the Pāndava flock of goats. Of course they would on no account attempt to kill a dhol, even though it should happen to attack their favourite calf, and they even regard it as imprudent to interfere with these dutas, when they wish to feast upon their cattle." The tradition among the Koyis is that, when the Pandava brothers were in exile,Bhīma, whom they call Bhīmador, went hunting in the jungle, and met a wild woman of the woods, whom he fell in love with and married. The fruit of this union was the Koyi people. The tradition further states that this wild woman was not a human being.*[7] "A Koi," the Rev. J. Cain continues, " whom Mr. Alexander met in a village about two miles from Dummagudem, caused him to infer that the Kois think heaven to be a great fort,and in it plenty of rice to eat for those who enter it; that hell is a dismal place, where a crow, made of iron,continually gnaws off the flesh of the wicked. This must have been that particular Koi's own peculiar belief, for it certainly is not that of any of the Kois with whom I so frequently come in contact. The mention of the iron crow reminds me that, about two years ago, a rumour rapidly spread in some of the villages that an iron cock was abroad very early in the morning, and upon the first village in which it heard one or more cocks begin to crow it would send a grievous pestilence, and at least decimate the village. In one instance at least, this led to immediate extermination of all the unfortunate cocks in that village. Last year (1878) the inhabitants of a village on the left bank of the Godāvari were startled by the tallāris (village peons) of the neighbouring village bringing about twenty fowls, and ordering them to be sent on the next village south of Dummagudem. On being asked the reason of this order, they replied that the cholera goddess was selecting her victims in the villages further north, and that, to induce her to leave their parts,some of these villages had sent these fowls as offerings to her, but they were to be passed on as far as possible before they were slain, for then she would follow in anticipation of the feast, and so might be tempted quite out of these regions. The Police, however, interfered,and they were passed back into the Upper Godāvari district."

Writing further concerning the religion of the Koyis, the Rev. J. Cain adds that "one Sunday afternoon, some Kois came to us from a village nine miles away,and begged for medicine for a man, whose right cheek, they said, had been torn away by a tiger, just as if it had been cut out by a knife. A few days afterwards we heard a story, which was far more credible. The people of the village were very anxious for good crops,and resolved to return to the practice of offering a stranger passing by to the goddess Māmili, and so two of them were on the look-out for a victim. They soon saw one, and began to pursue him, but he, a Koi,knowing the former evil repute of the village, suspected their design and fled, and at last took refuge up a manchan. They began to ascend too, when he took out of his belt a knife, and struck at his assailants, and cut away his right cheek. This caused the two assailants to retreat, and the man escaped. As human sacrifices are now illegal, a langur monkey is frequently substituted,and called for occasion Ekuromma Potu, i.e.,a male with small breasts. This name is given in the hope of persuading the goddess that she is receiving a human sacrifice. Mutyalamma is the goddess, who is supposed to preside over small-pox and cholera. When the villages have determined to appease this dread goddess,they erect a pandal (booth) outside their village under a nīm (Melia Azadirachta) tree, search all round for the soft earth of a white-ant heap, and proceed at once to mould this earth into the form of an image of a woman, tie a cloth or two round her, hang a few peacock's feathers around her neck, and place her under the pandal on a three-legged stool, which has been made of the wood of Cochlospermum Gossypium (silk-cotton tree) for the occasion. They then bring forward a chicken and try to persuade it to eat some of the grains they have thrown down before the image, requesting the goddess to inform them whether she will leave their village or not. If the chicken picks up some of the grains, they regard it as a most favourable omen, but, if not, their hearts are immediately filled with dread of the continued anger of the goddess. They then bring forward two sheep or goats,and then present to them a dish of toddy, and, if the toddy is drunk by the animals, they are quite assured of the speedy departure of the plague which is devastating their village. The sheep are then tied up till the next morninor. In the meantime a sorcerer is brought to the front, and they enquire of him the determination of the goddess. After this they return to the village, and they all drink well, and the night is spent in dancing,in which the women join. The next morning the pandal and its inmate are removed to a site still farther away from the village, after which the fowl is killed over the image, on which some drops of blood are allowed to fall. The sheep then have garlands hung round their necks, and their heads are adorned with turmeric, and pots of cold water are poured over them. The deity is at the same time again asked whether she intends to leave them alone, and, if she is disposed to be favourable towards them, she replies by causing the sheep to shiver. The animals are immediately killed, the left ear and left leg being cut off and placed in the mouth, and the head cut off and left as an offering before the image. The rest of the sacrifice is then carried away, to be cooked and enjoyed by all the worshippers before they reach home, as their wives are not allowed to partake of the sacrificial feast.

" Another goddess or demoness, of which many stand in dread, is called a Pida, and her they propitiate in the month of December. All the men of the village gather together and collect from each house a handful of chōlam, which they give to the wife of the pūjāri, directing her to make bread with it for her husband. After he has partaken of it, they bring pots of warm water and pour it over his head, and then all in the village spend some time in dancing. A chatty (pot) is brought after a time, in which are placed leaves of the Diospyros Embryopteris, and two young men carry it between them, suspended from a pole cut from the same tree, all around the village. The pūjāri, carrying a cock, accompanies them, and also the rest of the men of the village,each one carrying a staff cut from the above mentioned tree, with which he strikes the eaves of each house passed in their perambulations. When they have been all around the village, they all march off some little distance, and tie up the stick on which the pot is suspended to two neighbouring trees, and place their staves close by. The pūjāri sets to work to kill the cock, and they all beg the demoness, whom they suppose to have entered the pot, not to come to their village again. The pūjāri then cooks and eats the cock with food which has been supplied him, and the other worshippers also satisfy the cravings of hunger with food they have brought with them. On no account do they return home until after dark, lest the demoness should see the road to their village, and follow in their wake. Very frequently on these occasions, votive offerings, promised long before, are sacrificed and eaten by the pūjāri. It is not at all uncommon for a Koi to promise the Pida a seven-horned male {i.e., a cock) as a bribe to be let alone, a two-horned male {i.e., a goat) being set apart by more wealthy or more fervent suppliants.

"The Kois acknowledge that they worship the dēvatalu or the dayyamulu (demons of the mountains).The Korra Rāzu is supposed to be the deity who has supreme control over tigers, and a friend of mine once saw a small temple devoted to his worship a few miles from the large village of Gollapalli, Bastar, but it did not seem to be held in very great respect. There is no Koi temple in any village near Dummagudem, and the Kois are seldom, if ever, to be found near a Hindu temple. Some time ago there was a small mud temple to the goddesses Sarlammā and Kommalammā at Pedda Nallapalli, and the head Koi of the village was the pūjāri,but he became a Christian, and the temple fell into ruins, and soon melted away. A few families have added to their own faith the worship of Siva, and many of them are proud of the appellation of Linga Kois." " In times of drought," Mr. Hemingway writes, "a festival to Bhīma, which lasts five days, is held. When rain appears, the Koyis sacrifice a cow or pig to their patron. Dancing plays an important part at all these feasts, and also at marriages. The men put on head-dresses of straw, into which buffalo horns are stuck, and accompany themselves with a kind of chant."

"There is," the Rev. J. Cain writes, "generally one vēlpu for each gens, and in a certain village there is the chief vēlpu for the whole tribe of Kois. When any of the inferior vēlpus are carried about, contributions in kind or cash are collected by its guardians almost exclusively from the members of the gens to which the vēlpu belongs. When the superior vēlpu is taken to any village, all the inferior vēlpus are brought, and, with the exception of two, are planted some little distance in front of their lord. There are two, however, which are regarded as lieutenants of the paramount power, and these are planted one on each side of their superior. As it was expressed to me, the chief vēlpu is like the Rāja of Bastar, these two are like his ministers of state, and the rest are like the petty zamindars (land-owners) under him. The largest share of the offerings goes to the chief, the two supporters then claim a fair amount, and the remainder is equally divided amongst those of the third rank ....... Ancestral worship prevails among the Kois, specially on the occasions when the vēlpu of the family is carried round. The vēlpu is a large three-cornered red cloth, with a number of figures of various ancestors roughly cut out of different coloured cloth, white, green, blue, or yellow, and stitched to the main cloth. Whenever any important male member of the family dies, a new figure is added to commemorate his services. It is usually kept in the custody of the leading man of the family, and taken round by him to all members of that family once a year, when each member is bound to give an offering to the vēlpu. No one belonging to a different family takes any part in the ceremonies. On the occasion of its being carried round,it is fixed to a long bamboo ornamented at the top with the hair from the tail of a yak, and with loudly sounding brass bells. On arriving at a village where there are a sufficient number of Kois of the particular family to make it worth while to stay, the priest in charge of the vēlpu and his attendant Dōli give due notice of their arrival, and, having planted the velpu in the ground, the night is spent by all the members of the family to which the vēlpu belongs in dancing and making merry to the sound of the drum, which is beaten by the Dōli only. The priest in charge has to fast all night, and keep himself ceremonially pure. In the morning they all proceed to the nearest stream or tank (pond), with the vēlpu in front carried by the priest, and there bathe, and also enjoy the fun of sprinkling each other with water to their hearts' content. This done, they come up out of the water, plant the vēlpu on the bank, and send for the bullock to be sacrificed. When this is brought, its legs are tied together, and it is then thrown on the ground, and the priest (or, if he is weak, a strong younger man) has to kill it at one blow. It is then cut up, and, after the attendant priest has received his share, it is divided amongst the attendant crowd, who spend the rest of the day in feasting and drinking. As a rule, no act of obeisance or worship is even paid to the vēlpu, unless the offering of money to the custodian be regarded as such.Sometimes a woman very desirous of having a child brings a cock, throws it down before the vēlpu and makes obeisance to it, but this is not a very common custom.The Dōlivandlu or Dōlollu always attend the vēlpu, and are present at all the marriage feasts, when they recite old stories, and sing national songs. They are not Kois, but really a section of the Māla caste, although they will not mix with the rest of the Mālas of their own family, excepting when on the Bastar plateau among the hill Kois. The Kois have very amusing stories as to how the hair from the tail of the yak is obtained. They say that the yak is a hairy animal which lives in a country far away, but that its great peculiarity is that it has only one leg, and that this leg has no joints in it. Being a very swift animal, it is impossible to capture it in any ordinary way, but, as it rests at night by leaning against one particular tree, the hunters carefully mark this tree, and sometime during the day cut the trunk through as far as advisable, and watch the result. When night comes on, the animal returns to its resting place, leans against the tree, which is no longer able to give support to the yak, and both fall to the ground. The hunters immediately rush in, and seize their prey. A friend has supplied me with the following reference in ' De Bello Gallico.' They (the hunters) either undermine all the trees in that place at the roots, or cut them so far as to leave the external appearance of a standing tree. Then the elk, which has no knots or joints, comes, leans, as usual, and down comes tree, elk and all."

Concerning the vēlpus, Mr. Hemingway writes that "they consist of small pieces of metal, generally iron and less than a foot in length, which are kept in a hollow bamboo deposited in some wild and unfrequented spot. They are guarded with great secrecy by those in charge of them, and are only shown to the principal worshippers on the rare occasions when they are taken out to be adored. The Koyas are very reticent about them. Mr. Cain says that there is one supreme vēlpu, which is recognised as the highest by the whole Koya tribe, and kept hidden in the depths of Bastar. There are also vēlpus for each gatta, and for each family. The former are considered superior to the latter, and are less frequently brought out of their retreats. One of them called Lakkāla (or Lakka) Rāmu, which belongs either to the Āro or Perambōya gatta, is considered more potent than the others. It is ornamented with eyes of gold and silver, and is kept in a cave near Sitānagaram in the Bhadrāchalam taluk. The others are deposited in different places in the Bastar state. They all have names of their own, but are also known by the generic term Ādama Rāzu. Both the gatta and family vēlpus are worshipped only by members of the sept or family to which they appertain. They are taken round the country at intervals, to receive the reverence and gifts of their adherents. The former are brought out once in every three or four years,especially during widespread sickness, failure of crops, or cattle disease. An animal (generally a young bullock) is stabbed under the left shoulder, the blood is sprinkled over the deity, and the animal is next killed, and its liver is cut out and offered to the deity. A feast, which sometimes lasts for two days, takes place, and the vēlpu is then put back in its hiding-place.

"At present," the Rev. J. Cain writes, "the Kois around here (Dummagudem) have very few festivals,except one at the harvest of the zonna (Sorghum vulgare).Formerly they had one not only for every grain crop, but one when the ippa flowers were ready to be gathered, another when the pumpkins were ripe, at the first tapping of the palm tree for toddy, etc. Now, at the time the zonna crop is ripe and ready to be cut, they take a fowl into the field, kill it, and sprinkle its blood on any ordinary stone put up for the occasion, after which they are at liberty to partake of the new crop. In many villages they would refuse to eat with any Koi who has neglected this ceremony, to which they give the name Kottalu, which word is evidently derived from the Telugu word kotta (new). Rice-straw cords are hung on trees, to show that the feast has been observed." In some places, Mr. Hemingway tells us, the victim is a sheep, and the first fruits are offered to the local gods, and to the ancestors. Another singular feast occurs soon after the chōlam (zonna) crop has been harvested. Early on the morning of that day, all the men of each village have to turn out into the forest to hunt, and woe betide the unlucky individual who does not bring home some game, be it only a bird or a mouse. All the women rush after him with cow-dung, mud or dirt, and pelt him out of their village, and he does not appear again in that village until the next morning. The hunter who has been most successful then parades the village with his game, and receives presents of paddy (rice) from every house. Mr. Vanstavern, whilst boring for coal at Beddadanolu, was visited by all the Koi women of the village, dressed up in their lords' clothes, and they told him that they had that morning driven their husbands to the forest, to bring home game of some kind or other.This quaint festival is said by Mr. Hemingway to be called Bhūdēvi Pandaga, or the festival of the earth goddess. When the samalu crop is ripe, the Kois summon the pūjāri on a previously appointed day, and collect from every house in the village a fowl and a handful of grain. The pūjāri has to fast all that night, and bathe early the next morning. After bathing, he kills the fowls gathered the previous evening in the names of the favourite gods, and fastens an ear of samalu to each house, and then a feast follows. In the evening they cook some of the new grain, and kill fresh fowls,which have not to be curried but roasted, and the heart, liver, and lights of which are set apart as the especial food of their ancestral spirits, and eaten by every member of each household in their name. The bean feast is an important one, as, until it is held, no one is allowed to gather any beans. On the second day before the feast,the village pūjāri must eat only bread. The day before,he must fast the whole twenty-four hours, and, on the day of the feast, he must eat only rice cooked in milk, with the bird offered in sacrifice. All the men of the village accompany the pūjāri to a neighbouring tree, which must be a Terminalia tomentosa, and set up a stone, which they thus dedicate to the goddess Kodalamma. Every one is bound to bring for the pūjāri a good hen and a seer of rice, and for himself a cock and half a seer of rice.The pūjāri also demands from them two annas as his sacrificing fee. Each worshipper then brings his cock to the pūjāri, who holds it over grains of rice which have been sprinkled before the goddess, and, if the bird pecks at the rice, good luck is ensured for the coming year,whilst, if perchance the bird pecks three times, the offerer of that particular cock can scarcely contain himself for joy. If the bird declines to touch the grains, then ill-luck is sure to visit the owner's house during the ensuing year.

" The Kois have but little belief in death from natural causes. Some demon or demoness has brought about the death by bringing fever or small-pox, or some other fell disease, and this frequently at the instigation of an enemy of the deceased. In days gone-by, the taking of the ordeal to clear oneself was the common practice, but at present it is quite the exception. But, if there are very suspicious circumstances that ill-will has brought about the death, the friends of the deceased assemble, place the corpse on a cot, and make straight for the suspected enemy. If he or she is unfortunate enough to be at home, a trial takes place. A pot is partly filled with water, on the top of which ghee (clarified butter) and milk are poured, and then it is placed on the fire. As soon as it begins to boil, stones are thrown in, and the accused is summoned to take them out. If this is done without any apparent injury to the unfortunate victim, a verdict of not guilty is returned;but, if there are signs of the hand being at all scalded or burnt, the unhappy wight has to eat a bone of the deceased, which is removed and pounded, and mixed with boiled rice and milk. In days gone-by, the sentence was death." According to Mr. Hemingway, when a death occurs, " an enquiry is held as to who is guilty.Some male member of the family, generally the nephew of the deceased, throws coloured rice over the corpse as it lies stretched on the bed, pronouncing as he does so the names of all the known sorcerers who live in the neighbourhood. It is even now solemnly asserted that,when the name of the wizard responsible is pronounced, the bed gets up, and moves towards the house or village where he resides." " For some months," the Rev.J. Cain continues, "a poor old Koi woman was living in our compound, because she had been driven out of village after village in Bastar from the suspicion that she was the cause of the death of more than one relative, and she was afraid that she might fall a victim to their just (?) vengeance. The fear that some envious person will persuade a demon to plague them affects their whole life and conduct. Over and over again we have been told by men and women, when we have remonstrated with them on account of their scanty attire ' Yes, it is quite true that we have abundance of clothes at home,but, if we were always to wear them, some enemy or other would prevail on a demon to take possession of us,and kill us.' A young Koi was once employed to teach a few children in his own village, but, alas, ere long he became unwell of some strange disease, which no medicine could remove. As a last resource, a diviner was called in, who made a careful diagnosis of the case,and the illness was declared to have been brought on by a demoness at the instigation of some enemy, who was envious of the money which the lad had received for teaching. I once saw one of these diviners at work, discovering the sickness which had laid prostrate a strong man. The diviner had in his hand a leaf from an old palmyra leaf book, and, as he walked round and round the patient, he pretended to be reading. Then he took up a small stick, and drew a number of lines on the ground, after which he danced and sang round and round the sick man, who sat looking at him, evidently much impressed with his performance. Suddenly he made a dart at the man, and, stooping down, bit him severely in two or three places in the back. Then, rushing to the front, he produced a few grains which he said he had found in the man's back, and which were evidently the cause of the sickness. In the case of the young man before mentioned, the diviner produced a little silver, which he declared to be a sure sign that the sickness was connected with the silver money he was receiving for teaching. The diviners have to wear their hair long, like Samson, and, if it falls off or is cut short, their power is supposed to leave them." It is noted by Mr.Hemingway that in some parts, when any one falls ill, the professional sorcerer is consulted, and he reads both the cause and the remedy in a leaf platter of rice, which he carries thrice round the invalid.

The name Chedipe (prostitute) is applied to sorceresses among various classes in the Godāvari district. She is believed to ride on a tiger at night over the boundaries of seven villages, and return home at early morn. When she does not like a man, she goes to him bare-bodied at dead of night, the closed doors of the house in which he is sleeping opening before her. She sucks his blood by putting his toe in her mouth. He will then be motionless and insensible like a corpse. Next morning he feels intoxicated, as if he had taken ganja (Cannabis sativa), and remains in that condition all day.If he does not take medicine from one skilled in treating such cases, he will die. If he is properly treated, he will be as well as ever in about ten days. If he makes no effort to get cured, the Chedipe will molest him again and again, and, becoming gradually emaciated, he will die. When a Chedipe enters a house, all those who are awake will become insensible, those who are seated falling down as if they had taken a soporific drug. Sometimes she drags out the tongue of the intended victim, who will die at once. At other times, slight abrasions will be found on the skin of the intended victim, and, when the Chedipe puts pieces of stick thereon, they burn as if burnt by fire.Sometimes she will hide behind a bush, and, undressing there, fall on any passer-by in the jungle, assuming the form of a tiger with one of the four legs in human form.When thus disguised, she is called Marulupuli (enchanting tiger). If the man is a brave fellow, and endeavours to kill the Chedipe with any instrument he may have with him, she will run away ; and, if a man belonging to her village detects her mischief, she will assume her real form, and answer meekly that she is only digging roots. The above story was obtained by a native revenue official when he visited a Koyi village, where he was told that a man had been sentenced to several years' imprisonment for being one of a gang who had murdered a Chedipe for being a sorceress.

In the Godāvari district, a sorcerer known as the Ejjugadu (male physician) is believed, out of spite or for payment, to kill another by invoking the gods. He goes to a green tree, and there spreads muggu or chunam (lime) powder, and places an effigy of the intended victim thereon. He also places a bow and arrow there, and recites certain spells, and calls on the gods. The victim is said to die in a couple of days. But, if he understands that the Ejjugadu has thus invoked the gods,he may inform another Ejjugadu, who will carry out similar operations under another tree. His bow and arrow will go to those of the first Ejjugadu, and the two bows and arrows will fight as long as the spell remains.The man will then be safe. The second Ejjugadu can give the name of the first, though he has never known him.

"The leading man," the Rev. J. Cain writes, " of the Koyi samatu is called the Samatu Dora, and he is assisted by two others, who are called Pettandarulu. The duties of the Samatu Dora are to preside over all meetings, to settle all tribal disputes, and to inflict fines for all breaches of caste rules, of which fines he always receives a certain share. The office is not necessarily hereditary, and the appointment is generally confirmed by the landlord of the majority of the villages, be the landlord the Zemindar or the Government."

The Koyis say that their dance is copied from Bhīma's march after a certain enemy. The dance is described by Mr. G. F. Paddison as being " a very merry business. They sing for a couple of beats, and then take two steps round, and sing again. They first sang to us a song in their own lingo, and then broke into Telugu ' Dora Bābu yemi istavu ' — What will the great man give us? They then burst into a delightful Autolycus song, ' Will you give us a cloth, a jewel for the hair?' and so on."

For the following account of a dance at the Bhūdēvi Pandaga festival at Ankagudem in the Polavaram tāluk of the Godāvari district, I am indebted to Mr. N. E.Marjoribanks. " Permission having been given to dance in our presence, the whole village turned out, and came to our camp. First came about half a dozen young men, got up in their best clothes, with big metal ear-rings, basket caps adorned with buffalo horns and pendants of peacock skins (the neck feathers), and scanty torn cloths, and provided, some with barrel-shaped tom-toms, others with old rusty flintlocks, and swords. Next came all the adult women, two by two, each pair clasping hands, and hanging on to the next pair by holding their waist-cloths with their free hands. The young men kept up a steady monotonous beat on their drums, and went through various pantomimes of the chase, e.g., shooting and cutting up an animal, or a fight between two bulls.The women sang a chaunt, and came along slowly, taking one step back after two steps forwards, copied by the village old men, women, and children. At the camp, the women went round in this fashion in circles, the pantomime among the men continuing, and each vying with the others in suggesting fresh incidents. The women then went through a series of figures. First the older ones stood in a circle with their arms intertwined, and the younger girls perched aloft, standing astraddle on their shoulders. Like this the circle proceeded half round, and then back again till some of the smaller girls looked as if they would split in half, their discomfort causing great merriment among the others. Next all stood in a circle, and jumped round, two steps one way and then back. This was varied by a backwards and forwards movement, the chaunt continuing all the time. Inām (present of money) having been duly disbursed, the double chain of women went round the camp twice, and made off to the village, all standing and raising a shout twice as they turned out of the circle to go. The next day, we were told that the men of the village were all going hunting in the forest. About the middle of the day, we saw a procession approaching as on the previous day, but it consisted entirely of women, the drummers and swordsmen being women dressed up as men. The chaunt and dance were as before, except that the pantomime abounded in the most indecent gestures and attitudes, all illustrative of sexual relations. One girl slipped (or pretended to) and fell. Whereupon, one of those playing a man's part fell upon her to ravish her.A rescue ensued amidst roars of merriment, and the would-be ravisher was in process of being stripped when our modesty compelled us to call an interval. In the evening the men returned unsuccessful, and, we were told (but did not see it), were pelted with dung and rubbish. The next day they went out again, and so did we. Our beats yielded nothing, and we returned to find to our horror the women of the village awaiting our return. Fortunately we had noticed some whistling teal on a tank, and had shot some for the pot. I verily believe this glorious bag was our salvation from dire humiliation. The same dance and antics were repeated round the bodies of the two tigers and panther that we shot during our stay. The Koyis insisted on singeing the whiskers of the beasts, saying we should never get any more if this was not done. Of course we reduced the ceremony to the barest form." I gather that, if the Koyis shoot a sambar (deer) or ' bison,' the head is stuck up on the outskirts of the village, and there are very few villages, which have not got one or two such trophies.Besides beating for game, the Koyis sit up at night over salt-licks or water, and thus secure their game."

It is recorded in the Catalogue Raisonné of Oriental Manuscripts *[8] that " the Coya people reside within their forest boundaries. If any traveller attempt to pluck fruit from any tree, his hand is fastened to the spot,so that he cannot move; but if, on seeing any one of the Coya people, he calls out to that person, explaining his wishes, and gets permission, then he can take the fruit and move away, while the Coya forester, on the receipt of a small roll of tobacco leaf, is abundantly gratified.Besides which, the Coya people eat snakes. About forty years since, a Brāhman saw a person cooking snakes for food, and, expressing great astonishment, was told by the forester that these were mere worms; that, if he wished to see a serpent, one should be shown him; but that, as for themselves, secured by the potent charms taught them by Ambikēsvarer, they feared no serpents.As the Brāhman desired to see this large serpent, a child was sent with a bundle of straw and a winnowing fan, who went, accompanied by the Brāhman, into the depths of the forest, and, putting the straw on the mouth of a hole, commenced winnowing, when smoke of continually varying colours arose, followed by bright flame, in the midst of which a monstrous serpent having seven heads was seen. The Brāhman was speechless with terror at the sight, and, being conducted back by the child, was dismissed with presents of fruits."

The Mission school at Dummagudem in the Godāvari district, where the Rev. J. Cain has laboured so long and so well, was primarily intended for Koyis, but I gather that it has been more successful in dealing with the Malas. In 1905, the lower primary school at Butchampet in the Kistna district was chiefly attended by Koyi children.

  1. • The present note is mainly based on the articles by the Rev. J. Cain in the Indian Antiquary V, 1876, and VIII, 1879; and the Madras Christian College Magazine, V, 1887-8, and VI, 1888-9.
  2. • Madras Census Report, 1891.
  3. † Calcutta Christian Observer, May and June, 1853, Second Edition, by the Rev. J. M. Descombes and J. A. Grierson, Calcutta, 1900.
  4. • Gazetteer of the Godavari district.
  5. • Gazetteer of the Godāvari district.
  6. * Notes for a Lecture on the Tribes and Castes of Bombay, 1907.
  7. * Manual of the Godāvari district.
  8. • Rev. W. Taylor, iii. 1862.