Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 26, 1915.djvu/43

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an Antuniu Festival of the Hindus. ^iZ

feasted. The ascetic or representative of the Raja is now released from his platform, taken veiled to the temple, where he does worship, and is then set at large. The Raja, bare- footed, then receives the litter containing the image of his tribal goddess, Dantesvari, " she with the great teeth," Devi in her most m.alevolent form. He helps to carry her litter on his shoulder to the palace, where she is installed, and the holy food offered to her is distributed to the people. Next day the Raja is believed to be free from taboo, and re- assumes his office. On the following morning he is sup- posed to be abducted by his Gond subjects, and is carried away from the city. His people go in search of him, and when they find him present to him wild animals and birds, grain and money. In the evening, dressed in a yellow robe and carrying a bow and arrows, he is brought back on a car amidst a great concourse of his subjects. ^^ Guns are fired, there is a wild clash of drums and other musical instru- ments, and the roads are illuminated. When he reaches his palace the women wave lamps over him ; Brahmans do worship ; mustard and salt are sprinkled on his head by his female relations ; he prostrates himself before his goddess, Dantesvari, and worships his arms. This ends the cere- monial.

I am indebted to Mr. F. Fawcett for an account of a more grim rite performed at the Dasahra in the native State of Jeypore, in the Vizagapatam District, lying to the east of Bastar, the observances at which place have already been described. The Raja of Jeypore is an Uriya by caste, but his subjects in the wilder parts of the State are largely Kandhs and Savaras, very primitive jungle folk. Bastar was long notorious for the practice of human sacrifice, which prevailed down to quite modern times, until it was discontinued under pressure from the British

'3 It would be tempting to regard this annual abduction of the Raja as a parallel to the Roman Regifugium. See Sir J. G. Frazer, The Golden Bough, 3rd ed. part i. vol. ii. p. 308 sq.

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