Munda 2

Origin: The probable origin of this tribe is that they entered India from the South and South-East at a period when India had land connections with Australia and was cut off from Northern Asia. The language spoken has been known as "Kolarian" and is now recognised as being a sub-family of the Austro-Asiatic group of languages. Ethnogically, the Mundas and Dravidians, of whom the Oraons are a type, are not distinguishable and it is, therefore, argued that these two races are among the earliest inhabitants of India and approximate one another ethnically as a consequence of intermarriage and similarity of environment. "Intermarriage" which is strictly interdicted nowadays, refers, of course, to the earlier period when exogamy began and women were captured outside the tribe. The Mundas are nearly related to the Hos, Santals and Kharias, the four tribes representing probably comparatively recent branchings off from some general body or, as some think, the Mundas represent the main body, the others being offshoots.
Numbers And Distribution.
At the last Census the Mundas numbered 593.839, of whom 366.500 were found in Behar and Orissa, and 128.000 in Assam most of the latter being either Tea Garden Coolies or ex-teagarden labourers now settled on the land. The Munda Country consists of the South-eastern quarter of the Ranchi District and the plateau and hills to the North of Singhbhum, known as Parahat. In these two districts there are 286.000 people. In the Rajshahi Division (Dooars) 66.000 were found. Mundas are also found settled in the Native States of Khar-sawan, Seraikela and Gangpur, while a large settlement has found its way to the northern portions of Sambalpur and the Borai State. There are indeed settlers in most of the outlying States-- Keonjhar, Sirguja and Jashpur. Considerable numbers of Mundas are also to be found on the little plateau which occurs as outcrop in the Manbhum District, named Baghmundi. Here the Mundas are found in a state of purity, as is to be expected from the inaccessible nature of Baghmundi, but their brethren of the plains have been partially Hinduized and are known as Bhumij. These Bhumij retain the Munda burial customs, but have lost their Munda speech. In the Central Provinces, as far West as Jubbulpore and extending to the Rewah State and beyond into Mirzapur of the United Provinces, are found the Kols, who are in origin Munda shaving been through various vicissitudes, but who have still retained a dim memory of their relationship to their cousins in Chota Nagpur.
As has been stated, the Munda language is Kolarian, and is of a curiously interesting form. It is agglutinative as opposed to the organic form of Hindu and English. That language consists of a number of words which may be used as nouns, verbs, etc., according to the position in a word-sentence. It is an extra-ordinarily precise and flexible language and comparatively easy to acquire.The Mundas call themselves Horoko, horo being the word for a man (ko is the sign of the plural), the word Munda meaning headman as will be emphasised when discussing the organisation of the village community. H and K are frequently interchangeable as are also L and R (R being a palatal pronounced with the tongue pressed to the roof of the mouth). Hence Kol is merely a variation of Hor. It has been mentioned that the Hos or Larka Kols(fighting or warlike) of Singhbhum and the Santals are nearly allied to the Mundas. The three language are almost identical in structure, Santali being slightly more complex especially as regards the verb. The main differences in the languages are, however, typified by the words used in these languages for man, the same word being used in speaking of the race. Thus: Santali ... Hor. Mundari ... Horo. Larka Kol (or Ho) ... Ho. The Mundari approximates to the English or perhaps the Scotch R; the Santali has a palatal R, while the Larka Kols omit the R in the middle of words: Mundari. Ho. Kuri ... ... Kui a girl. Ora ... ... O-a a house. All these languages have a checked vowel--- Santali being particularly jerky to listen to. Thus water is da pronounced da-a, the first a being very sharp a, not unlike a Glasgow man's pronunciation of water "wa'er." The best book on the Mundari language is Hoffman's Grammar and his two Exercises, available at the Catholic Orphan Press, Calcutta. With these books and a paniwallh or syce to practise on, one should make good progress with the language. As in Greek there is a dual number, and a woman is always addressed in the dual "aben" instead of "am" which is applied to a man. It is always easy to distinguish whether one has picked up Mundari among the pluckers or among those hoeing!
Tribal Organisation.
The Mundas are divided into exogamous septs, each sept or Killi venerating a distinct totem. Examples of the names totem are: Horo or Kachap ... a tortoise.Tuti ... ... a plant. Soe ... ... a fish. Nag ... ... Cobra. Purthi an insect. Barla ... a fruit. Bejra ... small hawk. Chirko ... mushroom. Demta ... red tree-ant.(Risley gives a list of 350 Septs!) There are frequently several sub-divisions of each Killi signifying newly separated exogamous groups. The Eastern portion of the Munda country speaks the purest Mundari and retains the old tribal organisation to this day. It is split up into patis or groups of about seventeen villages, presided over by a Manki, hence this area is known as the Manki-pati. The Manki is maintained by contributions from each village and by his own cultivation in the manki-village. In this area, there is no individual ownership of land, the village lands being held jointly by the village community. No rent is paid but the community is jointly liable for an annual payment to the Manki, which is called "chanda" (subscription) and which represents the commuted value of military service. The lands in the village are cultivated by individual members, each of whom enjoys the fruit of his own cultivation, and his sons nowadays usually inherit his particular fields, but if a man dies intestate, the fields return to the community and are shared by the "hagako" (brotherhood). The idea of individual ownership which is at the basis of the English conception of land tenures is spreading to the Mundas and the system will break down sooner or later. In the western portions, it did breakdown, but owing to the ignorance of the District Officers. The Munda or headman invariably appeared as spokesman for the village and incidentally it was in this way that the tribe received its present name. He was treated by Officials as a zemindar and the other members of the community merely as his raiyats. Some Mundas were not averse to this distinction and encouraged the illusion. They borrowed money, mortgaged the villages, and allowed them to be sold for debt. Very rapidly the aboriginal began to be ousted from his holdings and there was much agrarian discontent, culminating in the risings of 1820 and 1832. After the Mutiny in which they participated, an attempt was made to legislate for the Mundas according to their own customs. The Bhuihari Survey was held in 1862 and certain lands were set aside for the use of the aboriginal families in those villages where the communal system was disappearing. This did not remove the discontent, however, and a further rising under Birsa Bhagwan occurred in 1900. The new Chota Nagpur Tenancy Acts of 1893 and 1908 have gone far towards a settlement of agrarian questions, but there is still considerable discontent, fostered recently by non-cooperators. The Mundas are agriculturists and despise all other occupation. In their villages, and maintained by contributions in kind, but occasionally in cash, reside the necessary industrialists-- Lohars, Barhis, Kumhars, Turis or weavers in bamboo, Malars (workers in brass) and Panrs (weavers). These people are occasionally given small plots of land to cultivate.
Religion And Religious Ceremonies.
The Mundas are Animists, though Babu S.C. Roy, author of "The Mundas and their Country" puts in for them a claim to a higher religion of a monotheistic type, on the ground that they venerate Singh Bonga as the lord of all and that the rest of the pantheon includes the spirits of ancestors, the woodland spirits being merely daemons of lower order, belief in which does not affect their essential monotheism. The idea of Singh Bonga, however, is exceedingly vague and he is nowhere worshipped in the true sense of the word-- a little food is daily set aside for him and for the ancestor spirits, but almost the whole of the religious activities of these people consists of the offering of propitations to the daemons. The priest of the village, or as he is called, the Pahan, is the real Headman, but he is far too holy to appear before strangers to represent the community in mundane matters; the Munda has done this and has profited by the prominence thus acquired. There is at present a growing antagonism between the respective branches of the village community, known as the Pahan khunt and the Munda Khunt. The Pahan is responsible for all public sacrifices and for appeasing the village deities in the Sarna, a grove left standing when the forest clearing was first established. The principal feasts are:

(i) Maghe Parab held at the full moon of Pous (January/February). The penates or household gods-- the spirits of deceased ancestors-- are worshipped at this festival. At this time of the year too new servants are engaged for the following year and are 'fed' as in Scotland.

(ii) Phagua, held at the full moon of Falgun (March/April). This festival corresponds to the Holi festival of the Hindus and is the spring festival. The Pahan propitiates all the local deities, and the sacrifices have the magical object of increasing the fertility of the earth.

(iii) Ba-Parab (Flower festival), also known as the Sarhul, celebrated in Chait (April/May) when the Sal trees are in bloom. Sacrifices are performed in the Sarna, a sacred grove, and much rice beer is imbibed.

(iv) The Hon-Ba Parab and Batauli are private festivals held just before the first sowing and the first transplanting and are meant to ensure the success of these operations. The Karam festival is also an agricultural ceremony intended to secure the health and well-being of the growing corn; it is held in August/September (Bhado). There are several other minor festivals, before reaping, before threshing and before eating the new rice. In fact, no opportunity is missed of making a spree of any occasion.

(v) The Shore is the great harvest festival held on the day of the new moon of Karitk (October/November). Cattle are venerated and feted, being fed on boiled rice beer. The Mundas dance all night and have a great revel.

As has previously been stated, marriage must take place within the tribe, but outside one's own Killi or sept. The bride is formally adopted into her husband's Killi and the ceremony of the putting on of Sindur (red lead) by the bridegroom on the forehead of the bride is a relic of the old ceremony of the mingling of blood. It is essential part of the actual celebration of marriage. The bride has to adopt the totem of her husband, but continues to venerate her own totem. Infant marriages are unknown, and a bride is paid for in rupees or in cattle. Divorce is easy and frequently merely means the return to the husband of the bride-price(gong) by the Lothario who has won the wife's affection. There is a formal betrothal ceremony and much drinking of rice beer. An interesting item is the binding of a mango tree with athread and the citing of the tree as a witness to the marriage. Widow re-marriage is freely permitted, though an elder brother's widow is expected to live with her surviving brother-in-law. The marriage of widows is called "sagai" or "sangha."Readers wishing further details of the marriage ceremonies are referred to S. C. Roy's " The Mundas and their Country."
Birth Ceremonies. There must be a public acceptance of the child by the putative father on the sixth day after birth (Chathi). The mother has to go through various purificatory ceremonies of no particular interest.
The bodies of the deceased are buried, and a year after, the bones are disinterred and placed under the burial stones in the ancestral village. Most villages have extensive graveyards (Sasan) and great slabs of stone flat on the ground cover the bones of deceased members of the family. No one but members of the family of the original reclaimer of the village site may be buried here, the right to bury being taken as a proof of membership in the family and, therefore, as conveying the right to a plot of land to cultivate. The Mundas have a saying "Horoharkoa patta do sasandhiri " ("These gravestones are the pattas or title deeds of the Mundas "). Every Munda cherishes the thought that his bones will finally be interred on the family burial ground and dutiful sons will carefully preserve the bones of parents who have died under foreign skies, taking them for burial when opportunity offers to the ancestral village.
Nagbangshi Mundas and Munda-Oraons. The Munda-Oraons are Oraons living about the town of Ranchi and to the south and south-east for a distance of about fifteen miles. They speak a dialect of Mundari, but have all the customs of Oraons. They were probably early settlers in Munda villages and adopted the Munda tongue. The Mundas themselves have retired from this area and are not now found there, with the exception of afamily maintained for the express purpose of propitiating the village deities.

MAHILI or KHANGAR MUNDAS:- These people are obviously Dravidians, but are not admitted as being of the Munda community for purposes of marriage or communalism. They do menial tasks in Mundari villages.

MUNDA LOHARS:-- these are the Lohars or blacksmiths maintained in Munda villages.They speak Mundari and their customs approximate to those of their hosts.The Bhumij are a sub-tribe, will be separately treated:


(1) Manki Mundas

(2) Munda Majhi  

(3) Konkpat Mundas



Hinduized sub-tribes found in the Ranchi and Manbhum Districts of no particular importance.



Mura, Horo-hon, a large Dravidian tribe of Chota Nagpur classed on linguistic grounds as Kolarian, and closely a kin to the Hos and Santals, and probably also to the Kandhs. The name Munda is of Sanskrit origin. It means headman of a village, and is a titular or functional designation used by the members of the tribe, as well as by outsiders, as a distinctive name much in the same way as the Santals call themselves Manjhi, the Bhumijsardar, and the Khambu of the Darjiling hills Jimdar. The general name Kol, which is applied to both Mundas and Oraons, is interpreted by Herr Jellinghaus to mean pig-killer, but the better opinion seems to be that it is a variant of horo, the Mundari for man. The change of r to l is familiar and needs no illustration, which in explanation of the conversion of h into k, we may cite hon, the Mundari for 'child', which in Korwa becomes kon and koro, the Muasi form of horo, 'a man.' It may be added that the Kharias of Chota Nagpur call the Mundas Kora, a name closely approaching.
The Munda myth of making of mankind tells how the self-existent primeval deities Ote Boram and Sing Bonga created a boy and a girl and put them together in a cave to people the world. At first they were too innocent to understand what was expected of them, but the gods showed them how to make rice-beer, which inflames the passions, and in course of time their family reached the respectable number of twelve of either sex. As is usual in myths of this class, the children were divided into pairs; and Sing Bonga set before them various kinds of food for them to choose from before starting in the world. The fate of their descendants depended on their choice. Thus "the first and second pair took bullocks' and buffaloes flesh, and they originated the Kols (Hos) and the Bhumij (Matkum); the next took of the vegetables only, and are the progenitors of the Brahmans and Chhatries; others took goats and fish, and from them are the Sudras. One pair took shell-fish and became Bhuiyas; two pairs took pigs and became Santals. One pair got nothing, seeing which the first pairs gave them of their superfluity, and from the pair thus provided spring the Ghasis, who toil not, but live by preying on others.
Internal Structure.
The Mundas are divided into thirteen sub-tribes, several of which, such as Kharia-Munda, Mahili-Munda, Oraon-Munda, appear to be the result of crosses with neighbouring tribes, while others again, like Bhuinhar-Munda and Manki-Munda, have reference to the land and communal system of the tribe. The Mahili-Munda sub-tribe has the pig for its totem, and for them pork is tabooed. But appetite has proved stronger than tradition, and the taboo is satisfied by throwing away the head of the animal, the rest of the carcase being deemed lawful food. The septs or kilis, which are very numerous, are mainly totemistic, and the totem is taboo to the members of the sept which bears its name. If it were possible to identify them all, and to ascertain precisely to what extent and in what manner the taboo of the totem is observed each, the information would probably throw much light upon the growth of early tribal societies.
Marriage. A Munda may not marry a woman of his own sept. The sept-name goes by the father's side, and intermarriage with persons nearly related through the mother is guarded against by reckoning prohibited degrees in the manner common in Behar. Adult marriage is still in fashion, and sexual intercourse before marriage is tacitly recognized, but in all respectable families matches are made by the parents, and the parties themselves have very little to say in the matter. The bride-price varies from Rs. 4 to Rs. 20. Sindurdan, or the smearing of vermilion on the bride's forehead by the bridegroom and on the bridegroom's forehead by the bride, is the essential and binding portion. The practice described by colonel Dalton of marrying the bride to a mahua tree and the bridegroom to a mango seems now to have been abandoned. Traces still survive among the Mundas of a form of marriage, resembling the Santali nir bolok. It is called dhuko era, meaning a bride who has entered the household of her own accord. The children of a woman thus married seem to have an inferior status in respect of their rights to inherit the landed property of their father. The late Babu Rakhal Das Halder, Manager of the estate of the Maharaja of Chota Nagpur, gave me an illustration of this fact. Some years ago the munda or headman of one of the villages of the Government estate of Barkagarh died, leaving an only son by a dhuko era wife, and a question was raised as to the latter's right to succeed. Under Colonel Dalton's orders, a number of headmen of villages were called together, and their opinions were taken. No decided results, however, could be arrived at. Some thought the son should get the whole property. Others proposed to exclude him altogether, and a third party considered him entitled to maintenance. Eventually the question was compromised by admitting the son's right to one-fourth of the land and the whole of the personal property. The case is a curious comment on the uncertainty of tribal custom. Widows may marry again by the ritual known as sagai, in which sindurdan is performed with the left hand. Divorce is allowed at the instance of either party, and divorced women are permitted to marry again. In cases of adultery the seducer is required to pay to the husband the full amount of the bride-price.
At the head of the Munda religion stands Sing-Bonga, the sun, a beneficent but somewhat inactive deity, who concerns himself but little with human affairs, and leaves the details of the executive government of the world to the gods in charge of particular branches or departments of nature. Nevertheless, although Sing-Bonga himself does not send sickness or calamity to men, he may be invoked to avert such disasters, and in this view sacrifices of white goats or white cocks are offered to him by way of appeal from the unjust punishments believed to have been inflicted by his subordinates. Next in rank to Sing-Bonga comes Buru-Bonga or Marang-Buru, also known as Pat-Sarna, a mountain god, whose visible habitation is usually supposed to be the highest or most remarkable hill or rock in the neighbourhood. "In Chota Nagpur," says Colonel Dalton "a remarkable bluff, near the village of Lodhma, is the Marang-Buru or Maha-Buru for a wide expanse of country. Here people of all castes assemble and sacrifice-- Hindus, even Mahomedans, as well as Kols. There is no visible object of worship; the sacrifices are offered on the top of the hill, a bare semi-globular mass of rock. If animals are killed, the heads are left there, and afterwards appropriated by the pahan or village priest." Marang-Buru is regarded as the god who presides over the rainfall, and is appealed to in times of drought, as well as when any epidemic sickness is abroad. The appropriate offering to him is a buffalo. Ikir Bonga rules over tanks, wells and large sheets of water; Garhaera is the goddess of rivers, streams and the small springs which occur on many hill sides in Chota Nagpur; which Nage or Naga-era is a general name applied to the minor deities or spirits who haunt the swampy lower levels of the terraced rice-fields. All of these are believed to have a hand in spreading disease among men, and require constant propitiation to keep them out of mischief. White goats and black or brown cocks are offered to Ikir Bonga, and eggs and turmeric to the Nage. Deswali or Kara-Sarna is the god of the village who lives with his wife Jahir Burhi or Sarhul-Sarna in the Sarna or sacred grove, a patch of the forest primeval left intact to afford a refuge for the forest gods. Every village has its own Deswali, who is held responsible for the crops, and receives periodical worship at the agricultural festivals. His appropriate offering is a kara or he-buffalo; to his wife fowls are sacrificed. Gumi is another of the Sarna deities whose precise functions I have been unable to ascertain. Bullocks and pigs are sacrificed to him at irregular intervals. Chandor appears to be same as Chando Omol or Chanala, the moon worshipped by women, as the wife of Sing Bonga and the mother of the stars. Colonel Dalton mentions the legend that she was faithless to her husband, and he cut her in two, 'but repenting of his anger he allows her at times to shine forth in full beauty.' Goats are offered to her in the Sarna. Haprom is properly the homestead, but it is used in a wider sense to denote the group of dead ancestors who are worshipped in the homestead by setting apart for them a small portion of every meal and with periodical offerings of fowls. They are supposed to be ever on the watch for chances of doing good or evil to their descendants, and the Munda fully realise the necessity for appeasing and keeping them in good humour.
The festivals of the tribe are the following:

(1) Sarhul or Sarjum-Baba, the spring festival corresponding to the Baha or Bah-Bonga of the Santals and Hos in Chait (March-April) when the sal tree is in bloom.

(2) Kadleta or Batauli in Asarh at the commencement of the rainy season. "Each cultivator," says colonel Dalton, "sacrifices a fowl, and after some mysterious rites a wing is stripped off and inserted in the cleft of a bamboo and stuck up in the rice-fieldand dung-heap. If this is omitted, it is supposed that the rice will not come to maturity."

(3)Nana or Jom-Nana the festival of new rice in Asin when the highland rice is harvested. white cock is sacrificed to Sing-Bonga, and the first fruits of the harvest are laid before him. Until this has been done, it would be an act of impiety to eat the new rice.

(4) Kharia puja or Kolom Singh, called by the Hos Deswali Bonga or Magh Parab celebrating the harvesting of the winter rice, the main crop of the year. Among the Hos of Singbhum the festival is kept as sort of saturnale, during which the people give themselves up to drunkenness and all kinds of debauchery. This is less conspicuously the case with the Mundas of the plateau who live scattered among Hindu and Christian neighbours, and do not form a compact tribal community like the Hos of the Kolhan. The festival, moreover, is kept by the Mundas on one day only, and is not spread over a month or six weeks, during which time the people of different villages vie with each other in dissipation, as they do in the Kolhan.
Succession among the Mundas is governed by their own customs, which appear to have been little affected by the influence of Hindu law. Property is equally divided among the sons, but no division is made until the youngest son is of age. With them, as with the Santals, daughters get no share in the inheritance; they are allotted among the sons just like the livestock."Thus if a man dies, leaving three sons and three daughters and thirty head of cattle, on a division each son would get ten head of cattle and one sister; but should there be only one sister, they wait till she marries and divide the pan," or bride-price, which usually consists of about six head of cattle. Among the Hos of Singbhum the bride-price is higher than with the Mundas, and the question of its amount has there been found to affect seriously the number of marriages.
Village communes and officials.
According to ancient and universal tradition, the central table land of Chota Nagpur Proper was originally divided into parhas or rural communes comprising from ten to twenty-five villages, and presided over by a divisional chief, called the raja or munda of the parha. In 1839, titular rajas of the parha were still existing in the Fiscal Division of Khukra near Ranchi, who retained considerable authority in tribal disputes, and at times of festival and hunting. But this element in the Munda village system has now fallen into decay, and survives only in the jhandas or flags of the parha villages, and in the peculiar titles bestowed on the cultivators themselves. The exclusive right to fly a particular flag at the great dancing festivals is jealously guarded by every Munda village, and serious fights not unfrequently result from the violation of this privilege. Besides this, individual villages in a parha bear specific titles, such as raja, diwan, kunuar, thakur, chhota lal, etc., similar to those which prevail in the household of the reigning family, which obviously refer to some organization which no longer exists. I am informed that these officials still make the arrangements for the large hunting parties which take place at certain seasons of the year. A kol village community consists, when perfect, of the following officers: Munda, mahato, pahn, bhandari, gorait, goala, and lohar. Washermen, barbers, and potters have been added since 1839, and even now are only found near much frequented halting places, and in villages the larger Hindu tenure-holders live The kols invariably shave themselves, and their women wash the clothes.

(1)MUNDA.-- The munda is the chief of the bhuinhars, or descendants of the original clearers of the village. He is a person of great consequence in the village; and all demands from the bhuinhari, whether of money or labour, must be notified by the owner of the village through the munda. He is remunerated for his trouble by the bhuinhari land, which he holds at a low rate of rent, and receives no other salary. In Pargana Lodhma, and in the south-eastern portion of Lohardaga he sometimes performs the mahato's duties as well as his own, and he then gets a small jagir of half a pawa of land rent-free.

(2) MAHATO.-- The functions of a mahato have been compared to those of a patwari or village accountant, but he may be more aptly described as a rural settlement officer. He allots the land of the village among the cultivation, giving to each man a goti or clod of earth as symbol of possession; he collects the rent, pays it to the owner, and in short manages all pecuniary matters connected with the land. He is appointed by the owner of the village, and receives one pawa of rajhas land rent-free, as a jagir or service-tenure. But the office is neither hereditary nor permanent, and the mahato is liable to be dismissed at the landlord's discretion. Dismissal, however, is unusual, and the mahato is often succeeded by his son. Where the mahato collects the rents, he almost universally receives a fee, called batta, of half an anna from each cultivator, or of one anna for every house in the village. In one village batta amounts to four anna and a half on every pawa of land. Occasionally, where there is no bhandari or agent for the owner's rent-paying land, the mahato gets three bundles (karais) of grain in the straw, containing from ten to twenty sers a piece, at every harvest. Thus during the year he would receive three bundles of gondli from the cold weather crop, and the same amount from the gora or early rice, and the don or late rice. In khalsa villages, which are under the direct management of the Maharaja, the mahato often holds, in addition to his official jagir, a single pawa of land, called kharcha or rozina kket, from the proceeds of which he is expected to defray the occasional expenses incurred in calling upon cultivators to pay their rent, etc. The functions of the mahato are shown in greater detail in the following extract from Dr. Davidson's Report of 1839: "On a day appointed, the thikadar or farmer proceeds to the akhra or place of assembly of the village, where he is met by the mahato, pahn, bhandari, and as many of the rayats as choose to attend. He proceeds, agreeably to the dictation of the mahato, to write down the account of the cultivation of the different rayats, stating the number of pawas held and the rent paid by each. Having furnished this account, any new rayats who may wish to have lands in the village, after having the quantity and rent settled, have a goti given to them. If any of the old rayats require any new land, a goti is taken for that, but not for the old cultivation. The mahato collects the rent as the instalments become due, according to the above-mentioned account given to the farmer; and all differences as to the amount of rent payable by a rayat, if any ever arise, which very seldom happens, are settled by the opinion of the mahato. So well does this mode answer in practice, that in point if fact a dispute as to the amount of rent owed by a rayat is of rare occurrence. When a farmer wishes to cheat a rayat, he accuses him of having cultivated more land than he is entitled to or of owing him maswar or grain-rent for land held in excess; and if such a thing as a dispute as to the amount of rent owed ever does arise, the mahato's evidence is generally considered conclusive by both parites."

(3) PAHN.--The importance of the pahn, or priest of the village gods, may be inferred from the current phrase in which his duties are contrasted with, those of the mahato. The pahn, it is said, "makes the village:" (gaon banata), while the mahato only "manages it" (gaon chalata). He must be a bhuinhar, as no one but a descendant of the earliest settlers in the village could know how to propitiate the local gods. He is always chosen from one family; but the actual pahn is changed at intervals of from three to five years by the ceremony of the sup or winnowing-fan, which is used as a divining rod, and taken house to house by the boys of the village. The bhuinhar at whose house the sup stops is elected pahn. On the death of a pahn, he is frequently, but not invariably, succeeded by his son. Rent-free lands are attached to the office of pahn under the following names:

(a) Pahn, the personal jagir or service-tenure of the priest, generally containing one pawa of land.

(b) Dalikatari, for which the pahn has to make offerings to Jahir Burhi, the goddess of the village. It is called dailkatari, as it is supposed to defray the expenses of the Karm festival, when a branch (dali) of the karma tree is cut down and planted in the fields.

(c) Desauli, a sort of bhutkheta or devil's acre, the produce of which is devoted to a great triennial festival in honour of Desauli, the divinity of the grove. This land is either cultivated by the pahn himself, or by raiyats who pay him rent.

(d) Panbhara and tahalu are probably the same. Lands held under these names are cultivated by the pahn himself or his near relations; and whoever has them, is bound to supply water at the various festivals.

(4) BHANDARI.-- The bhandari or bailiff is the landlord's agent in respect of the management of the village. He is usually a Hindu, and represents the landlord's point of view in village questions, just as the pahn is the spokesman of the bhuinhars or original settlers. He generally holds one pawa of land rent free from the owner, receiving also from raiyat three karais or sheaves of each crop as it is cut-- one of gondli, one of early rice, and one of wet rice. Instead of the land, he sometimes gets Rs. 3 or Rs. 4 in each, with 12 kats or 412cwt. of paddy.

(5) GORAIT.--The gorait is, in fact, the chaukidar or village watchman. He communicates the owner's orders to the raiyats, brings them to the mahato to pay their rents, and selects coolies when required for public purposes. As a rule he holds no service land, but receives the three usual karats or sheaves from every cultivator.

(6) AHIR or GOALA.-- The ahir's duty is to look after the cattle of the village, and to account for any that are stolen. He is remunerated by a payment of one kat of paddy for each pair of plough-bullocks owned by the cultivators whose cattle are under his charge. He also gets the three karais or sheaves at harvest time, besides an occasional sup or winnowing fan full of paddy. If cows are under the ahir's charge, the milk of every alternate day is his perquisite. In the month of Aghan (December) he takes five sers of milk round to the cultivators, receiving in return pakhira or 20 sers of paddy as a free gift. He always pays the abwa  b known as dadani ghi, and in some villages has to give the baithawan ghi as well. In a very few cases the ahir holds half a pawa of land rent-free.

(7) LOHAR.--The lohar or blacksmith gets one kat of paddy and the three karais for every plough in the village, and is also paid two to three annas for every new phar or plough share. In a very few villages he holds half a pawa of land rent-free.The kotwal or constable and the chaukidar or watchman do not belong to the genuine Munda village system, and need not be mentioned here. In the Fiscal Division of Tori the bulk of the inhabitants belong to the Kharwar sub-tribe of Bhogtas, and the village system differs from that which prevails on central plateau. Here the pahn is the only official who holds service land, and he gets half a patti, or not quite two standard bighas. He performs the village pujas, and often does the work of a mahato, when of the village is an absentee. But even then the landlord sometimes employs a bailiff, called barhil, to collect the rents. In the tract known as the Five Parganas, including Tamar, Bundu, Silli, Rahe, and Baranda, as well as in the Mankipatti, or that part of Sonpur pargana which borders on Singbhum district, we meet with mankis and mundas who are undoubtedly the descendants of the original chiefs, and still hold the villages which their ancestors founded. Here the parha divisions exist in their entirety, as groups of from twelve to twenty-four villages, each of which has its own munda or village head; while the whole commune is subject to a divisional headman called manki who collects the fixed rents payable by the mundas. The chief village officer is the pahn, who holds from one to five kats of land analogous to, if not identical with, the khandi of the Kolhan in Singbhum, and denotes the quantity of land which can be sown with one kat of seed. In this part of the country the munda sometimes has a deputy called diwan who assists him to collect his rents, and bhandaris are occasionally met with.


About one-fifth of the total population of India speak languages belonging to the Munda and Dravidian families. These forms of speech have been called by anthropologists the languages of the Dravida race. If we exclude the north-eastern districts from consideration, the population of the Indian peninsula can be said to represent two distinct anthropological types-- the Aryan and the Dravidian. The latter has been described as follows by Mr. Risley: "In the Dravidian type the form of the head usually inclines to be dolichocephalic, but all other characters present a marked contrast to the Aryan. The nose is thick and broad, and the formula expressing its proportionate dimensions is higher than in any known race, except the Negro. The facial angle is comparatively low; the face wide and fleshy; the features coarse and irregular. The average stature ranges in a long series of tribes from 156.2 to 162.1 centimetres; the figure is squat, and the limbs sturdy. The colour of the skin varies from very dark brown to a shade closely approaching black. The typical Dravidian has a nose as broad in proportion to its length as the Negro. "The hair is curly, and in this respect the Dravidians differ from the Australians, with whom they agree in several other characteristics.
Distribution Of The Race.
The Dravidian race is not found outside India. It has already been remarked that the Australians share many of the characteristics of the Dravidians. Anthropologists, nevertheless, consider them to be a distinct race. The various Món-Khmér tribes and the Sakeis of Malacca agree with the Dravidians in having a dolichocephalic head, an dark colour of the skin, and curly hair. They are not, however, considered to be identical with them. Archaeologists are of opinion that the various stone implements which are found from Chota Nagpur on the west to the Malayan peninsula on the east are often so similar in kind that they appear to be the work of one and the same race. Attention has also been drawn to analogous customs found all over the same area, and to other coincidences. It will be mentioned later on that philological reasons can likewise be adduced to support the supposition of a common substratum in the population of parts of Nearer India, Farther India, and elsewhere. We cannot decide whether the Dravidian race is directly descended from that old substratum. At all events, the race is commonly considered to be that of the aborigines of India, or, at least, of Southern India. The various groups into which anthropology divides men are nowhere pure and unmixed. There are also within the Dravidian race great fluctuations in the shape of the skull, the form of the nose, the darkness of the skin, and so forth. It seems therefore necessary to conclude that, in the course of time, numerous racial crossings have taken place.
The probability of such a conclusion is enhanced by a consideration of the languages spoken by the Dravidian race. According to the eminent German philologist and ethnologist Friedrich Müller, they are the Mundâ dialects, Singhalese, and the Dravidian languages proper. Müller's classification of the languages of the world is based on principles which differ widely from those adopted by former writers on the subject, and it will be necessary to give a short explanation of his methods in order to ascertain how much importance he himself would attach to the fact that several languages of different origin are, in his system, classed together within one and the same group. According to Müller, man can only have developed a real language after having split up into races, and the various languages in actual use must therefore be derived from different racial bases. Nay, it seems even necessary to assume that the individual race had often split up into further sub-divisions before developing a language of its own. All the languages of one race are not, therefore, necessarily derived from the same original. Among the languages of the Dravida race Singhalese occupies a position of its own and does not appear to have anything to do with the rest. It is an Aryan dialect and has been brought to Ceylon from India at a very early period. There seem to be traces of a non-Aryan substratum, under the Aryan superstructure, but we are not as yet in a position to judge with certainty as to the nature of this substratum. With regard to the remaining languages of the race, opinion has been divided, some scholars thinking it possible to derive the Mundâ and Dravidian forms of speech from the same original, and others holding that they have nothing to do with each other. The latter opinion seems to be commonly held by scholars in Europe. The Rev. F. Hahn, on the other hand, in his Kurukh Grammar, Calcutta, 1900, pp. 98 and ff., maintains that there is a strong Dravidian element in Mundari grammar. Mundari is a typical Mundâ language, and the view advocated by Mr. Hahn accordingly leads up to the suggestion of a connexion between the Mundâ and Dravidian forms of a peech, i.e., among all the principal languages of the Dravidian race. This theory is a priori very probable. An examination of Mr. Hahn's arguments will, however, show that it cannot be upheld. He commences by giving a list of words which are common to the munda Mundari and to the Dravidian Kurukh. He does not attach much importance to such cases of coincidence in vocabulary, and rightly so. In the first place, Kurukh has largely borrowed from Mundari, and in the second place, it is only to be expected that many words should be common to the two families. Even if we assume that the Dravidian race of the present day consists of two originally different elements, the Mundâs and the Dravidas, it must have been formed or rather must have developed in such a way that the two original races were mixed together. The result of such a mixture must inevitably be that the languages of both races influenced each other in vocabulary. Moreover, that list published by Mr. Hahn contains several Aryan loan-words and also some words where the analogy is only apparent. Compare Mundari engâ, mother, but kurukh ing-yó, my -mother, in which the word ing means 'my.'. I therefore pass by the asserted correspondence in vocabulary. It seems to me that a thorough comparison of Mundâ and Dravidian vocabulary will show that the common element is unimportant. Mr. Hahn further mentions some points where he finds a correspondence between Mundâ and Dravidian grammar. It will be necessary to extend the investigation to other features also, in order to show the true relationship existing between the two families. Mr. Hahn's arguments can then be referred to in their proper place.
The most striking feature of Mundâ phonology is the existence of the so-called semiconsonants. There is nothing corresponding to these in Dravidian languages. On the other hand, the interchange between soft and hard consonants in Dravidian is not a feature of the Mundâ forms of speech.
Formation of words.
The Munda languages like the Dravidian ones make use of suffixes. The same is, however, the case in all Indian, and in many other, languages, and it is, moreover, possible or evenprobably that the use of suffixes Munda is largely due to the influence of dravidian or Aryanforms of speech. The Dravidian languages have nothing corresponding to the Munda infixes.
Dravidian nouns are of two kinds, viz., those that denote rational beings, and those that denote irrational beings, respectively. The two classes differ in the formation of the plural, and also in other respects. The state of affairs in Munda is quite different. Here we find the difference to be between animate and inanimate nouns, quite another principle of classification, pervading the whole grammatical system. Both classes, moreover, denote their plural in the same way. Further, Dravidian languages often have different forms for the yó mother, is a very common word in many languages. It also occurs in Santâli under the form of ayó. Like so many other terms of relationship it is a nursery word and cannot be adduced as a proof of relationship between such languages as possess it. Masculine and feminine singular of nouns denoting rational beings, while the Mundas make no difference whatever. The formation of cases is quite different in the two families. The Dravidian languages have a regular dative and an accusative, while the cases of the direct and indirect object are incorporated in the verb in Munda. The suffix ké, which is used to denote the direct and the indirect object in some mixed dialects of Mundari, is a foreign element. In the face of such facts the comparison of the kurukh ablative suffix ti with Mundari té which is not a real ablative suffix, is of no avail, even if the Kurukh ti nti, should prove to be different in its origin from Tamil inru, Kanarese inda, Tulu edd. In this connexion it should also be noted that the Munda languages do not possess anything corresponding to the Dravidian oblique base.
Adjectives are of the same kind in both families. The same is, however, the case in almost all agglutinative languages.
No connexion whatever can be traced between the Munda and Dravidian numerals. Moreover the principles prevailing in formation of higher numbers are different in the two families. The Dravidas count in tens, the Mundas in twenties.
Pronouns. The pronoun iñ, ing, I, in Munda dialects has been compared by Mr. Hahn with the Kurukh én, oblique eng. It will, however, be shown in the introduction to the Dravidian family that the base of the Dravidian word for 'I' is probably é, while the essential part of the Munda pronoun is ñ or n. Mr. Hahn further remarks that both families have different forms for the plural of the personal pronoun of the first person according to whether the party addressed is included or not. It will be pointed out in the introduction to the Dravidian family that it is very questionable whether this is originally a feature of the Dravidian forms of speech. Moreover,the use of two different forms for 'we' occurs in other families which have nothing to do with the Mundas and Dravidas, e. g ., in the Nuba languages, the Algonquin languages, etc. Mr. Hahn further compares Kurukh ékâ, 'who?' with Mundari oko. But the base of é-kâ is é or í, as is clearly shown by other Dravidian forms of speech. No conclusion whatever can be drawn from the absence of a relative pronoun in both families. The same is, as is well known, the case in numerous languages all over the world.
Every trace of analogy between the Munda and Dravidian families disappears when we proceed to deal with the verbs. Mr. Hahn compares some suffixes in Kurukh and Mundari. It is not necessary to show in detail that his comparisons will not stand a close examination. I shall only take one typical instance. He compares the Mundari suffix of the simple past tense passive jan, which corresponds to Santâlí en, with Kurukh jan, which is the termination of the first person singular feminine of such verbs as end in n . The j of the Kurukh tense is softened from ch, as is clearly shown by connected dialects. The j of Mundari jan, on the other hand, is derived from y in yan = Santâlí en . The final n of Kurukh jan is the personal termination of the first person singular, and is dropped in other persons; the n of Mundari jan is the sign of the passive and runs through all persons.The rest of Mr. Hahn's comparisons are of the same kind and can safely be left out of consideration. On the other hand, the whole conjugational system is quite different in the Dravidian and in Munda languages. The Dravidian system is very simple, only comprising two or three tenses; in Munda the verb is an indefinite form which may be used at will as a noun, an adjective, or as a verb. The most characteristic features of the Munda verb, the categorical a and the incorporation of the direct and the indirect object in the verb, are in absolute discord with Dravidian principles. The Munda languages, on the other hand, do not possess anything corresponding to the Dravidian negative conjugation. It is not necessary to go further into detail. The two families only agree in such points as are common to most agglutinative languages, and there is no philological reason for deriving them from the same original.
On the other hand, the Mundas and the Dravidas belong to the same ethnic stock. It has, however, already been remarked that the physical type is not uniform throughout. If we are allowed to infer from this fact that the Dravidian race is a mixed one and consists of more than one element, the philological facts just drawn attention to seem to show that the chief components of the actual race are the Mundas on the one hand and the Dravidas on the other. The Mundas are everywhere found in the hills and jungles, i. e. in surroundings in which we might reasonably expect to find the remnants of aboriginal races. We cannot, however, now decide if the dialects spoken by them at the present day are derived from the language of those aborigines, and there are, moreover, no traces of their having at any time been settled in the south. With regard to the Dravidas, some authorities believe that they arrived in India from the south, while others suppose them to have entered it from the north-west where a Dravidian language is still spoken by the Brâhîís of Baluchistan. The Brâhîís do not belong to the Dravidian race, but are anthropologically Eranians, i. e. they have merged into the race of their neighbours. It is possible that the same is the case with the Dravidian tribes of the south wherever they came from, but anthropology only tells us that the Dravidian race comprises Mundâs and Dravidas, and we have no information to show that the Dravidas are not the aboriginal inhabitants of the south. Philology does not tell us much about the question. It will be shown later on that the Munda languages agree in so many points with various forms of speech in Farther India, the Malay peninsula, and the Nicobars, that there must be some connexion between them all. The Dravidian languages, on the contrary, form an isolated group. There are no traces of connected forms of speech in the surrounding countries. Comparative philologists agree that the Munda languages, Khassi, Món-Khmér, Nancowry, and the speech of the aboriginal races of the Malay peninsula contain a common substratum, which cannot be anything else than the language of an old race which was once settled in all those countries. No traces of that common stock can be shown to exist in the Dravidian forms of speech, and from a philological point of view, it therefore seems probable that the Dravidian languages are derived from the speech of an aboriginal Dravidian population of southern India, while the Dravidian race at some remote period has received a mixture of tribes belonging to the same stock as the Món-Khmérs of Farther India. The question of the origin and the old distribution of the Dravidian race cannot, however, be solved by the philologist. It is a subject which properly belongs to the domain of anthropology alone. The denomination of the race is that given by anthropologists, and from the point of view of the philologist it is just as unsuitable as, if not more unsuitable than, the name Aryan which is used by some to denote the old people whose language is the origin of the various Indo-European tongues. For our present purpose it is sufficient to state that the languages of the Mundas and the Dravidas are not connected but form two quite independent families. They will accordingly be described as such, and I now proceed to give a more detailed account of the Munda family.


Munda Family

Introduction: The Munda family is the least numerous of the four linguistic families which divide among themselves the bulk of the population of India. The number of speakers is only about three millions.

Name of the family.
The Munda family has been known under various names. Hodgson classed the languages in question under the head of Tamulian. Hó, Santâlí, Bhumij, Kurukh, and Mundari are, according to him, 'dialects of the great Kol language.' The word Kol or Kolh is a title applied by Hindîs to the Hós, Mundari, and Orâôs, and sometimes also the other tribes of the Munda stock. Among the Santâls the corresponding word kâlhâ is used to denote a tribe of iron smelters in the Sonthal Parganas and neighbour hood. It is probably connected with caste names such as Kólí, but we do not know anything really certain about the original meaning of the word. Kóla occurs as the name of a warrior caste in the Harivamsa. The word kóla in Sanskrit also means 'pig' and some authorities hold that this word has been used by the Aryans as a term of abuse in order to denote the aboriginal tribes. According to others 'Kol' is the same word as the Santâlí hâr, a man. This word is used under various forms such as Hâr hârâ hó and kóró by most Munda tribes in order to denote themselves. The change of r to l is familiar and does not give rise to any difficulty. It is even possible that the Aryans who heard the word hâr or kór confounded it with their own word kóla, a pig. The Santâlí form kâlhâ must in that case have been borrowed back again from the Aryans. The name Kol has the disadvantage that it is not used in India to denote all the various tribes of the Munda family. On the other hand, it is also applied to the Orâôs who speak a Dravidian dialect. It is therefore apt to be misunderstood. As has already been remarked, Hodgson used the name to denote Hó, Santâlí, Bhumij, Kurukh, and Mundari. He was followed by Logan, who, however, excluded Kurukh. Logan also followed Hodgson in considering the Munda languages as a Dravidian group, which he called North Dravidian. Both he and Hodgson accordingly laboured under the illusion that the languages of Mundas and the Dravidas were derived from the same original. The late Professor Max Müller was the first to distinguish between the Munda and Dravidian families. He says: "I can see indeed many coincidences between Uraon, Rajmahali, and Gondi on one side, and Sinhbhum (i.e .Hó), Sontal, Bhumij, and Mundala words on the other, but none whatever between these two classes. I, therefore, suppose that in the dialects of the last four tribes, we have traces of a language spoken in India before the Tamulian conquest. The race by which these dialects are used may have merged into the Tamulic in places where both have been living together for some time. Both are, therefore, promiscuously called Koles. But historically as well as physiologically there is sufficient evidence to show that two different races, the Tamulic and an earlier race, came in contact in these regions, whither both fled before the approach of a new civilisation. These people called themselves 'Munda' which, as an old ethnic name I have adopted for the common appellation of the aboriginal Koles. The designation of the family as the 'Munda family' is thus due to Max Müller, and it has been retained in this Survey because it is that originally given by the scholar who first clearly distinguished the family from the Dravidian forms of speech, and because other names which have been proposed are objectionable for other reasons. It is not, however, a very appropriate denomination. The word Munda is used by foreigners to designate the Mundas of the Ranchi district, i.e. only a section of the whole race. In Mundari it denotes the village chief and is also used as an honorific designation of landed proprietors, much in the same way as Mâñjhíin Santâlí. Munda therefore properly only applies to that section of the tribe who speak the Mundari language, and its use as a common designation of the whole family is only a conventional one. The denomination Munda was not long allowed to stand unchallenged. Sir George Campbell in 1866 proposed to call the family Kolarian. He was of the opinion that Kol had an older form Kolar which he thought to be identical with Kanarese kallar, thieves. There is absolutely no foundation for this supposition. Moreover, the name Kolarian is objectionable as seeming to suggest a connexion with Aryan which does not exist. The name Kolarian has, however, in spite of such disadvantages become very widely used Mr. Skrefsrud, and after him Professor Thomsen of Copenhagen, have brought a new name into the field, viz . Kherwarian or Kharwarian. Kherwâr of Kharwâr is according to Santâlí tradition, the name given to the old tribe from which Santâls, Hós, Mundas, Bhumij, and so forth are descended. So far as I can see it includes the bulk of the family, and has great advantages as compared with other titles. It is not, however, quite free from objection. There are no indications of the southern and western tribe, such as Khariâ, Juâng, Savara, Gadabâ, and Kurku, having ever been included in the Kherwâr tribe, and there seems to be little reason for replacing one incorrect name by another which is less incorrect, it is true, but is still not quite appropriate. The name Kherwârí will therefore in this Survery be reserved for the principal Munda language which is known as existing in several slightly varying dialects such as Santâlí, Mundari, Hó and so forth. If we were to coin a new term for the family, the analogy of the denomination Dravidian might suggest our adopting a Sanskrit name. In Sanskrit the common name for the Munda aborigines seems to be Nishâda. The Nishâdas are identified with the Bhillas. They are found to the south-east of Madhyadésa and in the Vindhya range. Their country is said to begin at the place where the river Sarasvatí disappears in the sands. In other words. the Nishâdas lived in the desert and in the hills to the south and east of the strong hold of the Aryans, i.e. in districts where we now find Munda tribes of their descendants. It would, however, only mean adding to the confusion which already exists if we were to propose a new name for the family, and the denomination introduced by Max Müller when he first showed that the languages in question formed one distinct group, will be adhered to in these pages.
Area within which spoken
The principal home of the Munda languages at the present day is the Chota Nagpur Plateau. Speakers are further found in the adjoining districts of Madras and the Central Provinces, and in the Mahadeo Hills. They are almost everywhere found in the hills and jungles, the plains and valleys being inhabited by people speaking some Aryan language. The Munda race is much more widely spread than the Munda languages. It has already been remarked that it is identical with the Dravidian race which forms the bulk of the population of Southern India, and which has also contributed largely to the formation of the actual population of the North. It is now in most cases impossible to decide whether an individual tribe has originally used a Munda or a Dravidian form of speech. The two racial groups must have merged into each other at a very early period. One dialect, the so-called Nahâlí, still preserves traces of a manifold influence. It appears to have originally been a Munda form of speech, but has come under the influence of Dravidian languages. The result is a mixed dialect which has, in its turn, come under the spell of Aryan tongues, and which will probably before long become an Aryan language. The same development has probably taken place in many other cases. The numerous Bhíl tribes occupy a territory of the same kind as that inhabited by the Mundas. Their various dialects show some traces of Dravidian influence, and it seems allowable to infer that these are the result of the same development the first stage of which lies before us in Nahâlí. It is also probable that the tribes who speak various broken dialects in Western India, such a Kólí and so forth, have originally used a Munda form of speech. It is not, however, now possible to decide the question. There are, on the other hand, several Aryanised tribes in Northern India who have certainly once spoken some Munda dialect. Such are the Cheros in Behar and Chota Nagpur, the Kherwârs, the Savaras who have formerly extended so far north as Shahabad, many of the so called Râjbansis, and so forth. Traces of an old Munda element are apparently also met within several Tibeto-Burman dialects spoken in the Himalayas. At all events, Munda languages must once have been spoken over a wide area in Central India, and probably also in the Ganges valley. They were, however, early on superseded by Dravidian and Aryan forms of speech, and at the present day, only scanty remnants are found in the hills and jungles of Bengal and the Central Provinces.
Munda element in Dravidian and Aryan languages
It is no longer possible to decide to what extent the Munda languages can have influenced the other linguistic families of India. Our knowledge of them only dates back to the middle of the last century. Attention will be drawn to a few facts in the introduction to the Dravidian family which apparently point to the existence of a Munda element in Dravidian grammar. The whole matter is, however, beyond the limit of our observations, as the Munda influence must have been exercised at a very early period. In the case of Aryan languages, the Munda influence is apparently unimportant. Professor Thomsen is of opinion that such an influence has probably been at play in fixing the principle, regulating the inflexion of nouns in Indo-Aryan vernaculars. It is, however, more probable that it is Dravidian languages which have modified Aryan grammar in such characteristics, and that the Munda family has thus, at the utmost, exercised only an indirect influence through the Dravidian forms of speech. There is, however, one instance where Munda principles appear to have pervaded an Aryan language, viz  in the conjugation of the Bihârí verb. Though the different forms used to denote an honorific or non-honorific subject or object and the curious change of the verb when the objectis a pronoun of the second person singular can be explained from Aryan forms, the whole principle of indicating the object in the very is thoroughly un-Aryan, but quite agrees with Munda grammar. The existence of a similar state of affairs in Kâsmírí and in Shínâ must, of course, be accounted for in a different way.
Relationship to other languages
It has already been remarked that the Mundas and Dravidas are considered by anthropologists to belong to the same race, but that their languages are not connected. Within India proper the Munda dialects form an isolated philological group. In Farther India and on the Nicobar Islands, on the other hand, we find a long series of dialects which in so many important points agree with the Munda languages that it seems necessary to assume a certain connexion. These languages include the so-called Món-Khmér family, the dialects spoken by the aboriginal inhabitants of the Malayan Peninsula, and Nicobarese.
Món-Khmér family
The family comprises several languages and dialects, and some of them differ considerably from the others. This is for instance the case with Anamese, which is even considered by some not to be a member of the family. It must have branched off at a very early period and has later on come under the influence of Chinese. Similarly the Cham dialect of the old Kingdom of Champa has been largely influenced by Malay, and has even borrowed the Malay numerals. In spite of all this, however, there are so many points of analogy between all the dialects that they must be classed together as one family. The Món-Khmér dialects had long been considered as connected with the Tibeto-Chinese languages. Professor Kuhn has, however, shown that they form a separate family, and that connected forms of speech are found among the polysyllabic languages of Nearer and Farther India. Even anthropologically the speakers of Món-Khmér dialects differ from the Chinese. The word Món has long ago been compared with Munda, and nobody now doubts that there is a connexion between the Món-Khmér and the Munda languages. It has already been remarked that 'Munda' is an Aryan word. It cannot therefore have anything to do with 'Món' but that does not affect the argument. Pater W. Schmidt has been good enough to inform me that an older form of Món is man.The first to draw attention to the connexion between the Munda languages and the Món-Khmér family was Logan in his series of articles on the Ethnology of the Indo-Pacific Islands, in the Journal of the Indian Archipelago . He was followed by F. Mason, in a paper on the Talaing language contributed to the fourth volume of the Journal of the American Oriental Society.  Mason tried to show that many Món words corresponded to others in use in Kolh (i.e. Mundari), Góndí, Kurukh, and Malto. His comparisons are not convincing. His word lists were, however, reprinted in the British Burma Gazetteer and also in the seventeenth volume of the French Revue de linguistique (pp. 167 and ff.) The comparative tables of numerals and pronouns published by Max Müller in his letter on the classification of Turanian languages were made use of by the German Professor W. Schott for a comparison of the numerals and pronouns in Mundari and Anamese. Sir A. Phayre followed Dr. Mason, and he also found his theory confirmed by the resemblance between the stone implements, the so-called shoulder-headed celts, found in Pegu and in Chota Nagpur. Other scholars such as Haswell and Forbes did not believe in the theory of a connexion. Forbes thought that there might have been intercourse, but no racial affinity, between Móns and Mundas. A full discussion of the correspondence between Món-Khmér and Munda vocabulary was given by Professor E. Kuhn in the paper mentioned under authorities below. He sums up his results as follows: "There are unmistakable points of connexion between our monosyllabic Khasi-Món-Khmér family and the Kolh languages, Nancowry, and the dialects of the aborigines of Malacca. It would be rash to infer at once from this fact that it has the same origin as those eminently polysyllabic languages. It seems, however, certain that there is at the bottom of a considerable portion of the population of Further and Nearer India a common substratum, over which there have settled layers of later immigrants, but which, nevertheless, has retained such strength that its traces are still clearly seen over the whole area." The relationship existing between the Món-Khmér languages and the dialects spoken by the wild tribes on the Malay Peninsula has lately been separately dealt with by Pater W.Schmidt. The result of his very careful and detailed studies in that the dialects in question, the so-called Sakei and Semang, must be considered as really belonging to the Món-Khmér family.
Mundari is the dialect spoken by the tribe who call themselves hârâ-kó  or 'men.' The number of speakers is about half a million. 
Name Of The Language. 
Mundari literally means the language of the Mundas. According Mr. Risley, "the name  Mundâ is of Sanskrit origin. It means headman of a village, and is a titular or functional  designation used by the members of the tribe, as well as by outsiders, as a distinctive name  much in the same way as the Santals call themselves Mâñjhí, the Bhumij Sardâr, and the  Khambu of the Darjiling hills Jimdâr." 
Area Within Which Spoken. 
The principal home of the Mundas is the southern and western portion of Ranchi District.  There are, moreover, speakers in Palamau and the south-east of Hazaribagh. Towards the  south we find Mundari spoken side by side with Hó in the north of Singbhum. Speakers are  further found scattered over the Chota Nagpur Tributary States, especially in Bonai and  Sarguja, and further to the south-west, in Bamra and Sambalpur and the neighbouring  districts of the Central Provinces. Emigrants have further brought the dialect to Jalpaiguri,  Dinajpur, Rajshahi, the 24-Parganas, and other districts of the Bengal Presidency, and to the  tea-gardens of Assam. The Mundas of Ranchi assert that they have come from the north-east. 
With regard to sub-dialects Mundari can be compared with Santâlí. The difference is mainly  to be found in the vocabulary borrowed from Aryan neighbours, and in the grammatical  modifications occasioned by the neighbouring Aryan forms of speech.  The most idiomatic Mundari is spoken in Mankipatti, a tract of land to the south-east of the  town of Ranchi, comprising Tamar and a part of Singbhum. The Mundari of Palamau is  almost identical.  In Hazaribagh and in Sambalpur and Bamra the dialect has come under the influence of the  neighbouring Aryan forms of speech. In all essential points, however, it agrees with the  Mundari of Ranchi and Palamau. The same is the case in the State of Patna.  In the State of Sonpur the Mundas are found scattered in villages bordering on the jungles.  They have originally come from Chota Nagpur and must formerly have spoken the same dialect as their cousins in Ranchi. At the present day, however, they have almost entirely  forgotten their old speech, and they now use a form of Oriyâ, intermixed with Mundari  words.  The Kurukhs in the neighbourhood of the town of Ranchi have adopted Mundari as their  common tongue. Their dialect is known under the denomination of Horo liâ jhagar.  We have no information about its character. It is, however, probable that it is identical with  the dialect spoken by the so-called 'Kera-Uraons' to the east of Ranchi. Father de Smet is, so  far as I am aware, the only authority who mentions that form of Mundari. He states that the  principal peculiarity of the dialect is that an r is substituted for the final t' or d of verbal  tenses; thus, jam-der-â-m instead of jam-ked-â-m, thou atest.  During the preliminary operations of this Survey, a Kol dialect called Bhuyau was reported to  exist in Sambalpur. No specimens of any form of speech bearing this name have been  forwarded, and no such dialect occurs in the Sambalpur tables of the last Census. It is  therefore probable that Bhuyau is the dialect of the Munda Bhuiyas of the district, and the  Bhuyau figures have, accordingly, been shown under Mundari  Closely related forms of speech are spoken by the Bhumij tribe of Singbhum and  neighbourhood; by the Bírhars of Hazaribagh, Ranchi, Singbhum and adjoining districts, and  by most of the so-called Kólâs. Those dialects will therefore be dealt with immediately after  Mundari. The dialect of the H¡ós or Larkâ Kols of Singbhum is also so closely connected with  Mundari that it can almost be described as a sub-dialect of that form of speech.
Number Of Speakers. 
According to information collected for the purposes of this Survey, Mundari was spoken as a  vernacular in the following districts:  Bengal Presidency-  Hazaribagh 125  Ranchi 322,148  Palamau 30,000  Jashpur State 100  Bonai 478  Sarguja State 395  ------------  Total Bengal Presidency 353,246  Central Provinces-  Sambalpur 7,500  Sakti 700  Bamra 13,569  Rairakhol 312  Sonpur 1,250  Patna 250  ------------  Total central Provinces 23,581  -----------  Total 376,827 

Of the 7,500 speakers returned from Sambalpur, 1,500 were stated to speak Bhuyau. 

Outside the area where it is a vernacular Mundari was returned from the following district:  Bengal Presidency-  Jalpaiguri 8,965  Angul and Khondmals 46  --------  9,011  Central Provinces-  Kalahandi 40  Assam-  Cachar Plains 896  Sylhet 300  Kamrup 200  Darrang 2,300  Nowgong 1,350  Sibsagar 2,800  Lakhimpur 12,800  ----------  20,646  ---------  Grand Total 29,697 

By adding these figures we arrive at an estimated total of speakers of Mundari at home and  abroad, as follows:  Mundari spoken at home 376,827  Mundari spoken abroad 29,697  ---------  Total 406,524 

The corresponding figures at the last Census of 1901 were as follows:  Bengal Presidency-  Burdwan 835  Birbhum 214  Bankura 61  Midnapore 510  Hoogly 670  Howrah 79  24-Parganas 4,490  Nadia 42  Murshidabad 224  Jessore 4  Khulna 412  Rajshahi 4,255  Dinajpur 3,528  Jalpaiguri 10,290  Darjeeling 3,783  Rangpur 687  Bogra 1,421  Pabna 8  Dacca 84  Backergunge 118  Chittagong Hill Tracts 16  Patna 2  Bhagalpur 809  Purnea 96  Malda 63  Sonthal Parganas 849  Angul and Khondmals 619  Hazaribagh 7,910  Ranchi 298,611  Palamau 8,524   Manbhum 1,886  Singbhum 32,743  Kuch Bihar 2  Orissa Tributary States 837  Chota Nagpur Tributary States 18,576  Hill Tippera 125  -----------  Total Bengal Presidency 403,383  Central Provinces-  Sambalpur 10,844  Sakti 44  Sarangarh 22  Bamra 6,023  Rairakhol 825  Sonpur 594  Patna 261  Kalahandi 146  ---------  Total Central Provinces18,759  Assam-  Cachar Plains 1,450  Sylhet 1,027  Goalpara 9  Kamrup 468  Darrang 6,642  Nowgong 608  Sibsagar 5,438  Lakhimpur 21,698  North Cachar 42  Naga Hills 29  ------------  Total Assam 37,411  ---------  Grand Total 459,553  It has been found convenient to add to this total some speakers who have been returned  under the head of Kol, and who cannot be shown to speak any other Mundâ dialects, viz,  Assam 1,169  United provinces 3  Berar (Bassim) 19  ---------  Total 1,191  The total number of speakers of Mundari can therefore be put down at 460,744. It is, of  course, possible that the speakers of 'Kol' do not belong to Mundari, but are Kalhas. Their  number is, however, so small that no great harm can be done in showing them under that  language. 

Hó or larkâ kol.
H¡ó is the dialect spoken by a Mundâ tribe in Singbhum and the Tributary  States to the south. Name Of The Languages.  Hó is the name of a tribe, and the language is often called Hó -kâjí, i.e. the language of the  Hós. The word Hó is identical with Hâr and hârâ, the words for 'man' in Santâlí and  Mundari respectively. The Hós are closely related to the Mundari, and they assert that they  have come into their present homes from Chota Nagpur. In Singbhum they are usually  known as the Larkâ Kols, i.e . the fighting Kols. Mr. Bradley-Birt rightly remarks that they  have fully justified this name. 'As far back as their annals go, they are found fighting, and  always crowned with victory, driving back invaders or carrying war and devastation into the  enemy's lands.' They have no sub-tribes, and the dialect is the same over the whole area  where it is spoken.  Area Within Which Spoken.  The principal home of the Hós is Singbhum, the neighbouring States of Kharsawan and Sarai  Kala, and the adjoining districts of Morbhanj, Keonjhar, and Gangpur. They are found only  in small numbers outside these localities. Their territory lies in the midst of the country  inhabited by the Mundari, and both dialects are spoken side by side in the frontier tracts. In  Singbhum, however, Hó is the predominant language, even if we consider the Aryan forms  of speech. This is particularly the case in the south-east, in the Kolhan or Kol territory proper.  It has already been mentioned that Kol or Kâlha has been returned as the dialect of numerous  speakers in Hazaribagh, the Sonthal Parganas, and Manbhum, and that it is possible that  some of the Kols of those districts speak Hó. The bulk of them, however, use a form of Santâlí  which has been described above under the name of K¡ârmâlí. 
Number Of Speakers. 
According to local estimates made for the purposes of this Survey, Hó was spoken in the  following districts:  Orissa Tributary States-  Athmallik 200  Daspalla 45  Keonjhar 18,536  Morbhanj 45,479  Nilgiri 2,440  Pal Lahera 710  67,410  Singbhum 205,433  Chota Nagpur Tributary States-  Sarai Kala 9,975  Kharsawan 19,702  Gangpur 65,000  Korea 3  Bonai 3,348  Sarguja 276  98,304  ------------  Total 371,147 

Most of the speakers in the Chota Nagpur Tributary States were returned under the head of  Kol, and it is possible that some of them in reality speak Mundari  Outside the territory where it is spoken as a vernacular Hó was returned from the following  districts:  Bengal Presidency-  Purnea 3,000  Angul and Khondmals 46  3,046  Central Provinces-  665  Kalahandi 575  Assam-  Cachar Plains 4,028  Sylhet 1,750  Kamrup 330  Darrang 500  Lakhimpur 1,750  8,358  -----------  Total 11,979 

By adding all these figures we arrive at the following grand total for the dialect:  Hó spoken at home 371,147  Hó spoken abroad 11,979  -----------  Total 383,216  At the last Census of 1901, 371,861 speakers of Hó were returned. I have only seen the details  from the Bengal Presidency. They are as follows:  Midnapore 334  Balasore 244  Angul and Khondmals 35  Manbhum 85  Singbhum 235,313  Orissa Tributary States 96,249  Chota Nagpur Tributary States 35,353  -----------  Total 367,613 

The Mâhlés are a caste of labourers, palanquin-bearers and workers in bamboo in Chota  Nagpur and Western Bengal. They speak a dialect of Santâlí.  The Mâhlé or Mâhilí dialect has been returned for the purposes of this Survey from the  following districts:  Birbhum 650  Sonthal Parganas 17,237  Manbhum 10,794  Morbhanj State 280  ----------  Total 28,961  The corresponding figures at the last Census of 1901 were widely different and are as follows:  Burdwan 180  Birbhum 322  Midnapore 1,681  24-Parganas 369  Rajshahi 22  Dinajpur 282  Jalpaiguri 1,137  Darjeeling 180  Bogra 116  Malda 117  Sonthal Parganas 8,643  Angul and Khondmals 1  Hazaribagh 9  Ranchi 9  Manbhum 1,169  Singbhum 2,851  Kuch Bihar 12  Orissa Tributary States 1,642  Chota Nagpur Tributary States 59  --------  Total 18,801 

Even the Census figures are probably too high, the name of the caste having, in many cases,  been entered as denoting language.  The principal home of the Mâhlé dialect is the central and southern portion of the Sonthal  Parganas and the adjoining parts of Birbhum and Manbhum.  Specimens have been received from Birbhum, the Nilgiri State, and the Sonthal Parganas.  The Nilgiri specimens were written in a corrupt Santâlí, and those received from Birbhum  contained a considerable admixture of Aryan words. I have therefore only reproduced a  version of the Parable from the Sonthal Parganas. A list of standard words and phrases has  been prepared with the utmost care and accuracy by the Rev. P.O. Bodding.  Mâhlé is closely related to Kârmâlí. Among themselves the Mâhlés to some extent make use  of a kind of secret language, substituting peculiar words and expressions for the common  ones. Thus they say †hâk instead of †âkâ, a rupee; pí†ís instead of paisâ, a pice; mâch instead  of pâe half a seer; lekâ instead of ânâ, an anna, and so forth.