THE KANDHS. 47 sense of honour among the Santals compels a son to take upon himself his father's debts. In 1848 three entire villages threw up their clearings, and fled in despair to the jungle. In 1855 the Santils started in a body of 30,000 men, with their bows and arrows, to walk to Calcutta and lay their condition before the Governor-General. At first they were orderly; but the way was long ; they had to live, and the hungry ones began to plunder. Quarrels broke cut between them and the British police ; and within a week they were in armed rebellion. The rising was put down, not without mournful bloodshed. Their complaints were carefully inquired into, and a simple system of government, directly under the eye of a British officer, was granted to them. They are now a prosperous people. But their shyness and superstition make them dread any new thing. A few of them took up arms to resist the Census of 1881. The Kandhs or Kondhs. — The Kandhs, literally 'The Mountaineers,' a tribe about 100,000 strong, inhabit the steep and forest-covered ranges which rise from the Orissa coast. Their system of government is purely patriarchal. The family is strictly ruled by the father. The grown-up sons have no pro- perty during his life, but live in his house with their wives and children, and all share the common meal prepared by the grandmother. The head of the tribe is usually the eldest son of the patriarchal family ; but if he be not fit for the post he is set aside, and an uncle or a younger brother is appointed. He enters on no undertaking without calling together the elders of the tribe. Kandh Wars and Punishments. — Up to 1835, when the English introduced milder laws, the Kandhs punished murder by blood-revenge. The kinsmen of the dead man were bound to kill the slayer, unless appeased by a payment of grain or cattle. Any one who wounded another had to maintain the sufferer until he recovered from his hurt. A stolen article must be returned, or its value paid ; but the Kandh twice convicted of theft was driven forth from his tribe — the greatest punish- ment known to the race. Disputes were settled by duels, or by deadly combats between armed bands, or by the ordeal of boiling oil or heated iron, or by taking a solemn oath on an
Page:A Brief History of the Indian Peoples.djvu/51
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