The great husbandman and gardener races, the Kachi, Kolta, Kunbi, Kurmi, Lodhi, Mandela, Mali, and Molar, number 1,531,900 persons, a seventh part of the population of the Central Provinces. They are all immigrants.
The Kunbi (451,712) came into the province from Poona, Kandesh, and Maharashtra generally. They are the oldest settlers, and, as in the Mah ratta country, Kunbi has come to mean a farmer. They are the backbone of the agricultural com munity; they distinguish their origin as Mahratta Kunbi, Dekhani Kunbi, and Deskar Kunbi, and those who came from Berar were Mahratta horse men who accompanied the first Raghoji.
The Kurmi are the cultivators north of the Kunbi, but to the south of the Rajput and Jat. They form the bulk of the population in the part of 3fanbhum near the Damuda river (Dalton, p.
157), and are a very industrious class of quiet cultivators in 'considerable numbers in all the central and eastern parts of the N.W. Provinces, and in Ilindustan generally, and there attend to the finer garden style of cultivation much more than the Jat and Itajput, hut, like the Jat race, are assisted by their industrious women, while the Kunbi women's industry has passed into a proverb : 13hale jat, Koonbin ki, K'hoorpi hat'h, K'het nirii wen apne pi ke sat'h.
The Kurmi have villages of their own, and are also spread in detached families or groups. Colonel Tod and Mr. Campbell consider them to be ident ical with the Kunbi, and to occupy from 16° to 23° or 24° N., and from the western frontiers of Gujerat to the countries watered by the Wain the Middle Gangs and upper streams of the Nerbadda. Very few of these became soldiers, and in the valley of tho Ganges they are looked down upon as mere humble tillers of the soil. They are more numerous towards the Jubbulpur and Saugor territories, where they mingle with the Lodha. Thence westwards, as on both sides of the Nerbadda, in Malwa, where they meet the Jat, and throughout the southern borders of Ilindu stan, there are numerous Kurmi who speak Hindi. Those in Hindustan are darker and less good looking than Brahmans and Raj puts ; but Mr. (Sir George) Campbell states (p: 93) that they are quite Aryan in their features, institutions, and manners.
Other authorities, however, think that there is no similarity in the. physiognomy of the Kurmi and Kunbi. The Kurmi subdivisions are—Jesh war, Dhaviai, Patan, Adhonda, Patrihu, Ghora Charhao ; but Sir H. Elliot says the seven sub divisions are usually enumerated as K'hureebind, Puturya, G'horchurha, Jyswar, Canoujia, Kewut, and Jhooneya. Wilson also says they have seven sections.
The Ghameta of Behar are a subdivision of the Kurmi. They form, says Elliot, a large class of the cultivators in the eastern and central portion of Bengal ; few in Dehli and the Upper Doab.
The aboriginal races to a large extent (1,753,917) adhere to their peculiar religions, and their tendency is towards some form of mono theistic cult. A summary shows— Hindus, . . . 8,703,110 Aboriginal, . . 1,753,917 Sikh, . . . . . . 99 Religions Kabirpanthi, . 317,094 Parsee, 399 Satnami, . . 398,909 Jew, 63 Kumbhipathia,. . . 913 Christian, . . . 11,973 Brahmo, . . . . 7 Muhammadan, 285,GS7 Jaina, 45,911 Unspecified, . . 12 Buddhist, . . . 17 The Kabirpanthi, followers of Kabir, and their sect the Dadupanthi, have departed from Kabir's monotheistic teachings • the majority continue to worship their own gods, but invoke Kabir as an additional deity. The chief guru of the sect resides at Kawardha,in the Bilaspur district. The system of caste has been introduced, and all cere monies are performed by Hindu priests according to established ritual.
The Sad'h mendicants, who beg from door to door in pairs, own allegiance to the chief guru at Kawardha. In the Central Provinces, most of the Kabirpanthi are married people, whereas in Northern India they are celibates.
The Nanakpanthi, and its sect the Nanakshahi, continue to follow the inculcations of Nanak.
The Singhapani, followers of Singhaji, a holy man, have temples in the Hoshangabacl and Nimar districts, which arc frequented by people of all castes.
The Satnami sect was founded by Ghasi Das, a Chamar, between the years 1820 and 1830, amongst the people of his own tribe in Ch'hattisgarh. Their title means the True Name. They are theistic sectarians, with some rules as to diet and narcotics.