‘Blood Thirsty Dravidians’! (Post No.3265)


Pictures of Kondhs from Wikipedia

Compiled by London Swaminathan


Date: 18 October 2016


Time uploaded in London: 16-48


Post No.3265


Pictures are taken from various sources; thanks. (Picture is used only for representational purpose; no connection with the current article.)


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(People Like Bishop Caldwell, Arthur Miles and other foreigners have projected Dravidians as primitive, uncultured, uncivilized brutes in their Hindu castes articles. All those who have black skin are described as Dravidians and Shudras. This is wrong. Tribes existed along with the civilized people in the North as well as South. In every society we see people with good and bad customs. But generalizing them as Dravidians is absurd. Foreign writers dubbed them as speakers of Dravidian languages. That is also wrong. They use both Tamil and Sanskrit words. The tribes have been living in India for at least 30,000 years and the proof lies in the Bhimbetka Cave paintings in Madhya Pradesh, India).


Following is an excerpt from Arthur Miles’ book The Land of the Lingam:-


“The Kondhs, judged by their type, are Dravidians. They are found in Orissa, Ganjam, Bengal, and the Central Provinces. They call themselves differently, according to their district. In the Telugu country they are named Kotuvardlu in and near Vizagapatam Konda Dora, or Konda Kappu The word Kondh, deriving from Telugu, denotes a hill mountain. The Kondhs’ character varies according to their location; those of the plains are said to compare unfavourably with the mountain people. They cultivate grains and vegetables, and breed animals. Their most valuable crop is turmeric which requires two years to mature. This crop is responsible for many of the blood sacrifices; it being believed that blood gives its turmeric its colour and causes to flourish.


The bloodthirsty earth goddesses, Pari Pennu and Bera Pennu, are not happy to-day because the Government has forbidden the Kondhs to worship them with human sacrifices. Very reluctantly they accept the blood of buffalos, goats, and sheep. Round about the year 1860, however, the altars of these goddesses were drenched with human blood, and three human beings were sacrificed at a time upon them. One offering was to the sun, one to the east and the other to the west end of the village.


In the “meriah” rite a wooden post about six feet long, with a cross-bar near the top was sunk into the ground, and to it the sacrificial victim was tied by his long hair. A narrow grave was dug under the post, and four men held the arms and legs of the human offering, who was suspended horizon- tally over the grave. The officiating priest repeated a long invocation, while with his knife he hacked pieces out of his victim’s back. There is one of these meriah posts, very much eaten up by white ants, in the Madras museum.


The goddess was implored to eat the offering, and in return give the Kondhs swords, guns, gunpowder, and victory over other castes. There was always a special prayer for the preservation of the caste from the tyranny of kings and governments. The priest addressed the victim after the poor, unfortunate was almost cut to pieces, and consoled him something after the following manner: “ Do not be grieved, the parents, the goddess  will eat you at once. We purchased you from your parents, who knew we intended to sacrifice you, and therefore there is no on our heads, but on the heads of your parents.  After the priest had finished speaking, he decapitated the victim. The body slipped into the grave, and the head was left on the post until the wild beasts devoured it. The knife was then stuck into the post, until required for the two sacrifices that followed.


When their frenzy reached a certain pitch, the watching Kondhs did not wait for the priest to carry out the rite. They surrounded the victim, and beat him violently on the head with brass bangles made for the occasion. If this inhuman treatment did not kill the wretched man, they finished him off by strangulation with a piece of slit bamboo. The priest, with that, hacked the body to pieces and distributed the fragments, and the Kondhs dashed with their precious treasure to the stream which irrigated their fields, and suspended the piece of flesh on a pole over the water. The mangled remains of the corpse were finally buried, and funeral obsequies were performed.


The meriah agents say (see manual of  Vizagapatam district) that there was reason to believe that the Raja of Jeypore, when he was installed on the death of his father, sacrificed a girl of thirteen at the shrine of the goddess Durga in the town of Jeypore. While, officially, goats and buffaloes are now sacrificed by the Kondhs, the belief in the superior of the human sacrifice dies hard. During the Rampa rebellion of 1880 several cases of human sacrifice were discovered, while the same year two persons were convicted of attempting the meriah rite near Ambadala in Bissamkatak. In 1888 a man was found murdered in one of the temples of Jeypore, in circumstances pointing to the meriah. In 1886 a formal inquiry showed ample grounds for the belief that were being kidnapped for sacrifices in Bastar, and as recently as 1902 a petition was presented to the District Magistrate of Ganjam, asking him to sanction a human sacrifice.


Female infanticide was so common in Jeypore country as to be farmed out as a paying business. The Raja is said to have made money out of it in one of the caste’s larger divisions. The custom was to consult the priest concerning the fate of the child before it was born. If the priest decided it was to be killed, the parents had to pay the headman of the division a fee for the privilege of killing it, and the headman paid Raja three hundred rupees a year for renting the the privilege to murder.


Sacrificial Post of the Kondhs

From Macpherson’s manuscripts we learn that the portion of the Kondh country where female infanticide was known to prevail, was estimated at 2000 square miles. The population numbered about 64,000 and, approximately, 1200 to 1500 infants were destroyed annually.


Infanticide has existed among the Kond from time immemorial. Their belief is that the sun god created everything good, and the earth goddess introduced evil into the world. These two powers are supposed to be always in conflict. Certain divisions of the caste worship the sun god, and make no sacrifices, but by far the greater number hold that the earth goddess must be propitiated with blood. The divisions which practised infanticide believed that the sun god deplored the birth of females because the feminine creation had caused all the trouble in the world. Men were charged to rear as few females as possible, and only to refrain from murdering them from the sheer necessity of keeping the race going.


The Kondhs believe that souls return over and over again in the same families, and if they are not welcome in female form, they will acquire sense enough to return as males. In many houses, even now, one finds no female children. The divisions however, addicted to infanticide did not practise adult sacrifice. One division, indeed, is said never to have performed it; the reason being that during the first attempt the knife was crooked and dull, and the sacrificers made such a bad business of it that it was abandoned.


Twenty-five descendants of persons reserved for sacrifice at a former meriah rite, but who were rescued by Government officers, returned themselves as meriah at the census of 1901.



Picture of Kondh Mask

The Maliahs of Goomsur (Kondhs) sacrificed annually to Thada Pennoo, their earth goddess. Several settlements contributed to the purchase of a victim, no criminal or prisoner being acceptable to the goddess. Unless the victim was paid for, the goddess would ignore the sacrifice, and grown men were the most esteemed, because they were more expensive. When children were purchased, they were reared by the family who purchased them until they were old enough to be sacrificed. They were kindly treated, and kept under no restraint when young. When they were older, and could appreciate the fate that awaited them, were watched and guarded. Grown victims were often captured by the traders in human flesh, and sold to some family wishing to offer a sacrifice. The price was paid in money, cattle, or corn.


For a month before the sacrifice the celebrants feasted and danced round the meriah in an intoxicated condition. On the opening day of the gruesome rite, the victim was stupefied with toddy or opium, and made sit leaning against the post. The assembled multitude then danced round him chanting: oh, Thada Pennu, we offer you this sacrifice. Give us good crops and health. Afterwards the unhappy victim dragged home.


The second day, having been intoxicated, the victim was anointed with oil, and each individual present touched the part and wiped the oil on his own body. The crowd then formed a procession and walked round the village, carrying the victim, together with the post which had been dug up from the earth. To the top of the post was attached a tuft of peacock feathers. When the procession returned to the meriah ground, the priest cut a piece of flesh from the victim and buried it under the village idol. He then presented each of the villagers with a piece of flesh. Taking the bloody prize, they ran with all haste to their land, to bury it before sunset. The priests and his assistants there upon killed a pig and, after allowing the blood to first flow into the grave, they buried the victim.


On the morrow a buffalo calf was brought to the post. Its fore feet were cut off, and it was tied to the post until the following day. On this, the last day, drunken women, dressed in male attire and armed with sticks, danced and sang round the dying calf.


Mr. Arbuthnot, collector of Vizagapatam, not so long ago reported the following facts: “Of the hill tribe Codooloo there are said to be two distinct classes, the Cotia Codooloo and the Jethapoo Codooloo. The former class is that which is in the habit of offering human sacrifices to the god called Jenkery, with a view to secure good crops. This ceremony is generally performed on the Sunday preceding or following Pongal (Tamil word for cooked rice) feast. The victim is seldom carried by force, but procured by purchase, and there is fixed price for each person, which consists of forty articles such as a bullock, a male buffalo, a cow, a goat, a piece of cloth, a silk cloth, a brass pot, a large plate, a bunch of plantains etc.



The man who is destined for sacrifice is carried before the god and a small quantity of rice coloured with turmeric is put upon his head. The influence of this is said to prevent his attempting to escape, even though set at liberty. It would appear, however, from the moment of his seizure till he is sacrificed, he is kept in a continued state of stupefaction or intoxication.


He is allowed to wander about the village, to eat and drink anything he may take a fancy to, and even to have connection with any of the women whom he may meet.


On the morning set apart for the sacrifice he is carried before the idol in a state of intoxication. one the villagers acts as priest, who cuts a small hoe in the stomach of the victim, and with the blood that flows from the wound the idol is smeared. Then the crowds from the neighbouring vllages rush forward,and he is literally cut into pieces.


Each who is so fortunate as to procure it carries away a morsel of the flesh and presents it to the idol of his own village.



Colonel Campbell, during his services among the hill tribes of Kondhistan, ordered his men to destroy the effigies of elephants on which human offerings had been made. The colonel in some of his writings, described the method of the sacrifice. Human beings were tied to the proboscis of the elephant effigies and whirled around until, at a given signal from the priest, the crowd rushed in. the crowd seized the victim, and with their knives chopped off every bit of flesh from the shrieking wretch, whose remains were then cut down, and as the colonel expresses it, “the horrid orgies were over”.

(This is how the foreign writers described the customs of the Dravidian Kondhs)





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