Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 26, 1915.djvu/64

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54 The Dasahra :

Uralis and Valayans, the Bedars or Boyas of Madras and some Chutiya Nagpur tribes. The rule with the Gadabas is that the women abuse and pelt the men if they return unsuccessful.^^

The rite, though some of its details still remain obscure, seems to be connected with the more critical periods of agriculture, and is a part of the observances which include purification and expulsion of demons.

Such observances account for the worship of the imple- ments and animals used in warlike operations which occurs at the Dasahra. The Raja of Sakti in the Central Provinces worships the wooden sword, a primitive weapon used before the age of metals by the two brothers who are said to have founded the State.^^ The Marathas worship their swords at this feast, and it used to be the rule that warriors should ride stallions and landowners mares. Hence warriors wor- shipped their stallions on the first day of the feast, and cultivators their mares on the ninth day. Raghuji Bhonsla, the first Raja of Nagpur, held his Dasahra on the ninth day, to proclaim the fact that he was really a farmer and only incidentally a man of war.^^ Instances of the worship at this festival of tent-ropes, the club of the watchman, the bridle of the horse, daggers, spears, arrows, boats, and the account-books of the tradesman are common.^^

An obvious parallel to these forms of worship is the Roman Ouinquatrus or Ouinquatria, celebrated on 19th March, when there was a lustration of the ancilia or sacred shields, which were brought out to be ready for the cam-

. **J. F. Hewitt, op. cit. p. 53, note; E. Thurston, op. cit. i. 191, ii. 249^(7., vii. 246, 278.

®* E. A. de Brett, Chhatisgarh Feudatory States Gazetteer {igog), vol. i. p. 194.

^^ Ethnographic Stirvey, Cetttral Provinces, part ix. (191 1), p. 131.

^^ Ibid, part ix. (191 1 ), p. 149 sq. ; part iii. (1907), p. 6; Census /Report, Central Provinces, 191 1, vol. i. p. 83 ; R. V. Russell, Damoh Gazetteer (igo6), vol. i. p. 47 ; K. D. Erskine, IVestern Kajputana States and Bikaner Agency Gazetteer, vol. iii. A. (1909), p. 85; Panjab Census Report, 191 1, vol. i. p. 448.