This article is an extract from
THE TRIBES and CASTES of BENGAL.
Printed at the Bengal Secretariat Press.
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Agoria, Lohra a small non-Aryan tribe of Lohardaga and the eastern portion of Sarguja, who live almost entirely by iron smelting. Colonel Dalton seems inclined to connect them with the ASUl'as; who, according to Munda tradition, were destroyed by Singbonga; and, judging from the present position of the tribe, it is likely enough that the Asuras may be the remnant of a race of earlier settlers who were driven out by the Mundas. Herr J ellinghaus, however, suggests that the Asura legend may refer to the more civilised mining and temple¬building people of whom traces are found throughout Chota Nagpur'. The legend is discussed at length in the article Munda.
The Asuras have thirteen totemistic sections, which are shown in Appendix 1. Two of these-Basriar (the bam¬boo) and Mukruar (the spider)-occur also among the Rurmis. A man may not marry a woman belonging to the same section as himself, nor may he eat, cut, or injure the plant or animal whose name his section bears. Marriage is usually adult, though a tendency towards the adoption of infant-marriage is traceable. Polygamy is permitted, and great license of divorce pre¬vails. The women of the tribe indeed are notorious for their lax: morality, and many of them earn their living as Khell'is or dancing¬girls in the towns and larger villages of Chota Nagpur'.
Little is known about the religion of the Asuras. According to Dalton, they worship Singbonga, the supreme deity of most Rolarian tribes, but. know nothing or Marang Buru, though they worship the great hills near them under other names. The name Agoria or Angoria appears in Hazaribagh as the appellation of a sub-caste of the non-Aryan Lohars, whose special function is the smelting of iron ore, from whioh rough pig-iron is manufactured by members of the Lohondia sub-caste.
The following table gives the number and distribution of Asuras in 1872 and 1881 :¬