CASTES AND TRIBES
A Jangam is a priest to the religious sect of Lingayats, but the term is frequently loosely applied to any Lingayat,
which accounts for the large numbers under this head.
Jangams proper are said to be of two classes, Pattadikaris, who have a definite head-quarters, and Charamurtis, who go
from village to village, preaching the principles of the Lingayat sect.
In the Census Report, 1891, it was recorded that “the full name is Jangama Lingayat, meaning those who always worship a
moveable lingam, in contradistinction to the Sthavara (immoveable) lingam of the temples.
The Jangams are thus referred to by Pietro della Valle (Travels into East India and Arabia deserta, 1665) :
“At Ikkeri I saw certain Indian Friars, whom in their language they call Giangama, and perhaps are the
same with the sages seen by me elsewhere ; but they have wives, and go with their faces smeared with ashes,
yet not naked, but clad in certain extravagant habits, and a kind of hood or cowl upon their heads of dyed
linen of that colour which is generally used amongst them, namely a reddish brick colour, with many bracelets
upon their arms and legs, filled with something within that makes a jangling as they walk. I saw many persons
come to kiss their feet, and, whilst such persons were kissing them, and, for more reverence, touching their
feet with their foreheads, these Giangamas stood firm with a seeming severity, and without taking notice of it,
as if they had been abstracted from the things of the world”.
There is’nt a distinctive MARK for the JANGAM.
Certain ascetics of the priestly class sometimes put on a red robe peculiar to them, and others cover themselves with
VIBHUTI and many quaint ornaments.
A Jangam, interviewed by the Author at a village in Mysore, named Virabhadra Kayaka, and also known as Kasi Lingada Vira,
was going around the village, shouting, dancing, and repeating the Virabhadra khadga or praise of Virabhadra, Siva’s son.
On his head he had a lingam stuck in his head-cloth, with a five-headed snake forming a canopy over it, and the
sacred bull Basava in front.
Tied to the forehead, and passing round the head, was a string holding thirty-two lingams.
At the back of the head was a mane of white false hair.
His face was painted bright red.
Round the neck he had four garlands of rudraksha beads, and suspended from the neck, and resting on the
chest, was a silver casket containing a lingam.
Round the waist was a waist-band made of brass squares ornamented with a variety of figures, among which
were the heads of Daksha Brahma and Virabhadra.
Suspended from the neck was a breast-plate, with a representation of Virabhadra and the figures of Daksha
Brahma and his wife engraved in copper.
From the waist a piece of tiger skin was suspended, to which were attached two heads of Daksha Brahma with a
lion’s head between.
Hanging lower down was a figure of Basava.
Tied to the ankles were hollow brass cylinders with loose bits of brass inside.
Strings of round brass bells were tied to the knees.
In his right hand he carried a long sword, and tied to the left forearm was a gauntlethandled scimitar.
To the handle were attached pieces of brass, which made a noise when the arm was shaken.
Finally, round the forearm were tied pieces of bear skin.
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Painted myths of creation: The art and ritual of a Indian tribe
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What’s in a price?
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Art market, auctions, price, tournament of value, tribal art.
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