Page:A Brief History of the Indian Peoples.djvu/53

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THE KANDHS. 49 Kandh Human Sacrifices.— The Kandhs, like the Santals, have many deities, race-gods, tribe-gods, family-gods, and a multitude of malignant spirits and demons. But their great divinity is the earth-god, who represents the productive energy of nature. Twice each year, at sowing-time and at harvest, and in all seasons of special calamity, the earth-god required a human sacrifice. The duty of kidnapping victims from the plains rested with the lower race attached to the Kandh village. Brdhmans and Kandhs were the only classes exempted from sacrifice, and an ancient rule ordained that the offering must be bought with a price. The victim, on being brought to the hamlet, was welcomed at every threshold, daintily fed, and kindly treated till the fatal day arrived. He was then solemnly sacrificed to the earth-god, the Kandhs shouting in his dying ear, ' We bought you with a price ; no sin rests with us 1 ' His flesh and blood were portioned out among the village lands. The Kandhs under British Rule. — In 1835 the Kandhs passed under our rule, and human sacrifices were put down. Roads have been made through their hills, and fairs estab- lished. The English officers interfere as little as possible with their customs ; and the Kandhs are now a peaceable and well- to-do race. The Three non-Aryan Stocks. — Whence came these primitive peoples, whom the Aryan invaders found in the land more than 3000 years ago, and who are still scattered over India, the fragments of a prehistoric world? Written annals they do not possess. Their traditions tell us little. But from their languages we find that they belong to three stocks. First, the Tibeto-Burman tribes, who entered India from the north- east, and still cling to the skirts of the Himalayas. Second, the Kolarians, who also seem to have entered Bengal by the north-eastern passes. They dwell chiefly along the north- eastern ranges of the central tableland which covers the southern half of India. Third, the Dravidians, who appear, on the other hand, to have found their way into the Punjab by the north- western passes. They now inhabit the southern part of the three-sided tableland as far down as Cape Comorin, the southern- most point of India.