Online Encyclopedia

KHONDS, or KANDHS

Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V15, Page 779 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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KHONDS, or KANDHS  , an aboriginal tribe of India, inhabiting the tributary states of
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Orissa and the
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Ganjam
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district of
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Madras . At the census of 1901 they numbered 701,198 . Their main divisions are into Kutia or hill Khonds and plain-dwelling Khonds; the landowners are known as Raj Khonds . Their religion is animistic, and their pantheon includes eighty-four gods . They have given their name to the Khondmals, a sub-division of Angul district in Orissa:
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area, 800 sq. m.; pop . (1901), 64,214 . The Khond language, Kui, spoken in 1901 by more than
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half a million persons, is much more closely related to
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Telugu than is Gondi . The Khonds are a finer type than the Gonds . They are as tall as the
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average
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Hindu and not much darker, while in features they are very
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Aryan . They are undoubtedly a mixed Dravidian
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race, with much Aryan
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blood . The Khonds became notorious, on the
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British occupation of their district about 1835, from the prevalence and cruelty of the human sacrifices they practised . These " Meriah " sacrifices, as they were called, were intended to further the fertilization of the earth .

It was

incumbent on the Khonds to
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purchase their victims . Unless bought with a price they were not deemed acceptable . They seldom sacrificed Khonds, though in hard times Khonds were obliged to sell their children and they could then be
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purchased as Meriahs . Persons of any race, age or sex, were acceptable if purchased . Numbers were bought and kept and well treated; and Meriah
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women were encouraged to become mothers . Ten or twelve days before the sacrifice the victim's hair was cut off, and the villagers having bathed, went with the priest to the sacred grove to forewarn the goddess . The festival lasted three days, and the wildest orgies were indulged in . See Major Macpherson, Religious Doctrines of the Khonds; his account of their religion in Jour . R .
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Asiatic
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Soc. xiii . 220–221 and his Report upon the Khonds of Ganjam and
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Cuttack (
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Calcutta, 1842) ; also District Gazetteer of Angul (Calcutta, 1908) .

End of Article: KHONDS, or KANDHS
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