Burud: Deccan

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Burud, AD 1920

This article is an extract from






Of Merton College, Oxford, Trinity College, Dublin, and

Middle Temple, London.

One of the Judges of H. E. H. the Nizam's High Court

of Judicature : Lately Director of Public Instruction.




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Burud, Miyadar, Myadar, Medare — a low caste of bamboo- workers and basket and mat-makers, found under different names in all parts of the Dominions. They appear to be a heterogeneous group, comprising members of different tribes, among whom there is probably some infufton of aboriginal blood. The name ' Burud,' by which the caste is designated in Maharashtra, is of uncertain origin, and corres- ponds to the Telugu word ' Medare ' and the Carnatic ' Miyadara.' The customs and the social status of the caste are found to vary greatly in different places, a fact which may be due to its wide distribution and its consequent exposure to different social and religious influences.

Internal Structure

The Buruds have three main divisions, Maratha Buruds, Telugu Buruds and Carnatic Buruds, named after the countries they have long occupied. No intermarriage nor inter- dining is allowed among the members of the sub-castes.

Maratha Buruds

By Manu and other ancient authorities, these are regarded as a mixed caste, being the descendants of the Kanishka, the son of a Kaivartaka father and a Kuravinda mother. Several legends are current among them regarding their origin. According to one story the first Burud was created by Mahadeva for the purpose of making winnowing baskets to hold the offerings with which Parvati, on reaching mature age, was presented by the celestial matrons. The Burud was allowed to cut five bamboos from Parvati's garden ; but he over-reached himself and cut seven bamboos instead, for which offence he and his descendants were condemned to a degraded position. Another legend ascribes his degradation to the manufacture of a bamboo basket for Parvati's flowers and fruit as she went to worship the Wadh (Ficus indica) on the full moon day of Jesta (end of June). These legends, however, throw no light upon the real origin of the caste. '

It will be very interesting to notice the curious form of totemism followed by the Buruds. Their exogamous sections bear the names of trees, plants and animals, whose representations are set up under marriage booths and worshipped as Deoak (wedding guardian deity) at marriage ceremonies. Similarity of worship is a bar to marriage, and matrimonial alliances will be broken off if the two houses are discovered to pay honour to the same totem.

The section names go by the male side. A Burud cannot marry outside the sub-caste, nor inside the section to which he belongs. Marriage with the daughter of the mother's brother or the father s sister is allowed. Two brothers may marry two sisters, provided that the elder brother marries the elder sister.


Daughters are married both in infancy and after they have attained the age of puberty. Sexual licence before marriage is not tolerated, and if a girl becomes pregnant before marriage she is required to undergo prayaschii (penance) which consists of bathing her, giving her cow's urine to drink and feasting caste brethren. Polygamy is permitted in case the first wife is barren or incurably diseased.

The parents or guardians of the boy look out for a suitable match for their son and carry on the preliminary negotiations. After the match has been settled, the betrothal or Kunku Lavane ceremony is performed, at which the girl is presented with a sari, a choli and one rupee. Liquor is then brought and drunk by the assembled people. The parents of the bride visit and present the bridegroom with a ring. After the village Joshi has fixed an auspicious date for the wedding and for smearing the bridal pair with turmeric and oil, offerings are made to the village and family gods and marriage booths are erected in front of the houses of the bride and bridegroom. On the day prior to the wedding, a married couple, belonging to the bridegroom's family, bring, in procession, their characteristic family Devak, with Pancbpallavi from Maruti's temple and instal it ceremonially on the central pillar of the booth. The same ceremcJhy is performed by the bride's people on the wedding day. The bridegroom is escorted to the bride's village by his friends and relatives and on the wedding day he is taken in procession on the back of a horse or bullock to the bride's house. The cere- monies that follow are — Antarpat, at which a cloth is held between the bridal pair, mantras are pronounced by the priest and rice is sprinkled over their heads ; Kanyadan, or the formal gift of the bride to the bridegroom ; Kankan Bandhan, or the tying of thread-bracelet's on the wrists of the couple ; and Sade, or the return of the bridal pair to the bridegroom's house. Antarpat is held to be the essential part of the ceremony. The ceremony occupies four days and on each day food and liquor are provided to guests and relatives, who freely indulge in drink and often become uproarious. The caste Panchayat claim Rs4 as their perquisite in the ceremony, and spend the amount in feasting and drinking.

Widow-marriage or pat is allowed, and is always performed at night, the widow not being restricted In her selection of a second husband, provided he does not belong to her father's or late husband's gotra. The couple are seated side by side and their clothes are knotted together, the tying of the knot completing the ceremony. On the next day a feast is given to the caste people. Married women, whose husbands are alive, are not allowed to be present at the ceremony.

Divorce is permitted, with the sanction of the caste Panchayat, on the ground of the wife's adultery or misconduct, and it is effected by a Soda Chitti, or divorce deed. Divorced women are allowed to marry again by the same ritual as widows. The name for divorce is farkat, which means separation. Adultery is usually punished by small fines and the adulteress is required to do penance.


The Buruds follow the Hindu law of inheritance and a sonless father's property goes to his nephew, the daughters having no claim. The widow has a life estate, provided she does not re-marry.


A woman, after child-birth, is held unclean for ten days. On the fifth day after birth an image of the goddess Satwai is set up on a grindstone and daubed with red lead. Near it pieces of moss (shewal) and prickly pear are laid, and worshipped by the members of the household with offerings of bread and pulse. A dough lamp is kept burning and the women of the house keep a vigil and sing and converse the whole night. On the 12th day after birth the house is smeared with cow-dung, the clothes are cleansed and the mother and child are bathed. Five pebbles are worshipped outside the house and in the evening the child is laid in a cradle and named.


The religion of the Buruds is the ordinary form of Hinduism current among the other castes of the Maratha Districts. They are mostly Shaivas and worship, on Mondays, the god Mahadeva as their favourite deity. Bhavani, Khandoba, Maruti, Bahiroba, Krishna and Ram are also honoured, and a variety of offerings are made on days sacred to them. Among their minor deities may be ranked birs and munfyas (spirits of departed ancestors), Mari Ai, Shitala, Mahasoba and other local gods. The well-to-do members of the caste make pilgrimages to Alandi, Jejuri, Tuljapur, Mahur and Pandharpur. Deshastha Brahmans are employed for religious and ceremonial purposes, but at funerals Jangams usually officiate. Ancestral worship prevails and they have in their houses silver and copper embossed plates of their dead ancestors. In Aswin (Dassera) they pay honour to the implements of their craft.

Disposal of the Dead

The dead are burnt, as well as buried in a lying posture with the head pointing to the south. In the case of cremation, the ashes are collected on the third day after death and thrown into a river or tank. The chief mourner shaves his moustache and beard. Sradha is performed on the 1 0th day after death, when pindas, or balls of rice, are offered in the name of the deceased person. On the 1 3th day, caste people are feasted and some charity is distributed for the benefit of the departed soul. Persons dying of smallpox or cholera, and children dying under five years of age, are buried.

Social Status

Socially, the Buruds rank below the Maratha Kunbis, Malis, Hatkars and Wanjaris, from whose hands they accept cooked food. They eat mutton and the flesh of fowl, hare, deer and fish and indulge freely in strong drink.


The occupation of the caste has always been that of bamboo working, but some of them have, of recent years, taken to cultivation and are engaged as landless day-labourers. They make bamboo baskets, mats, winnowing fans, cages, cradles, sieves, chairs, and other articles. They also make cane chairs and boxes.

Medare or Telange Buruds

These are supposed to have taken their name from Mount Mahendra, or Mahendragiri, near Cape Comorin. A popular legend regarding their origin relates how Mahadeva, desirous of gratifying the yearning of Parwati for winnowing fans, planted the snakes from his neck, heads downwards, in the ground on Mount Mahendra and how bamboos grew out of them and were worked into fans by Siva's attendants. On one occasion, lovely apsaras (heavenly courtezans) visited the moun- tain and captivated the hearts of the Siva ganas (Siva's attendants), their unions being blessed with sons and daughters who were called Mendare, or Medare, after the name Mahendra of their birth- place ; these inherited, as their profession, the work of their fathers, and became the progenitors of the present Medare caste.

Internal Structure

The internal structure of the caste is intricate owing, doubtless, to the fact that the term ' Medare ' has now become the common appellation of all classes who have taken to bamboo working. As for instance, there are Mang Medares, or Mangs who have adopted the occupation of bamboo-workers ; Tota Medares ; and so on. The following sub-castes may be distinguished as constituting the Medare caste-j(l) Lingayit Medare, (2) Chetti Medare, (3) Medara, (4) Are Ifledare, (5) Pachabadalwad and (6) Adi Kodku. The last are the genealogists, or gotra custodians, of the rest of the sub-castes and beg only from them. Lingayit Medares are Lingayits in creed, and occupy the highest social level among the community. They stand in hypergamous relation to the other sub-castes. Next to these, in social precedence, rank the Chetti Medares, who originally represented rich and respectable families, but have now separated themselves from the poorer members of the community and formed an independent sub-caste. In recognition of their superiority the title ' chetti ' is affixed to their names. Are Medares were formerly Maratha Buruds who, under some social pressure, emigrated into Telingana, where, in course of time, they adopted the customs and manners of Telanga Buruds and are now completely absorbed into their adopted community.

Like other Telanga castes, the Medares follow a double system of exogamous sections, one consisting of gotras and the other of family names. Both the systems have been given below : —


these two systems are reconciled in the regulation of their marriages, it is certain that totemism is in full force among the Medares as it is among the Burud caste. Each Medare family has its own totem in the form of a tree, plant, animal or some other object, which its members have to worship at their marriages. Thus, members of the Hanmanta gotra pay honour to the pipal tree {Ficus religiosa) at their marriages ; members of the Usikula gotra reverence linseed oil ; and those of the Nagarsa gotra honour the serpent and abstain from eating the snake gourd (Trichosanthes anguina).

Infant marriage is practised by the caste, although adult marriage is still in vogue among the Medares of the Adilabad District. A price varying in amount from Rs. 6 to Rs. 26, according to the social status of the parties, is paid for the bride. The marriage ceremony is performed in accordance with the usage current among the higher Telugu castes, Kanyadan, or the giving and receiving of the bride, being the essential portion of the ceremony. Polygamy is permitted, without limit in theory as to the number of wives. Widows may marry again and divorce is recognised with the sanction of the caste Panchayat, the breaking of a straw symbolising the separation. A woman taken in adultery with a low caste member is turned out of the caste.


The Medares profess to be orthodox Hindus, being divided, like the other Telanga czistes, between Tirmanidharis (Vaishnavas) and Vibhutidharis (Shaivas). They regard Malayya of Mallikarjuna, a form of Mahadev, as their special deity. Brahmans officiate as priests at their marriages and on other ceremonial occasions. Pochamma, Mari Amma and Maisamma are among their minor gods, whom the members of each household worship on Tuesdays and Fridays, with sacrifices of goats and offerings of cooked rice and cheese. The dead are burned by Tirmanidharis and buried by Vibhutidharis and the ashes and bones of the burnt are collected and thrown into a river or under some tree. Jangams officiate at the funerals of the Vibhutidharis while the funeral service of the Tirmanidharis is conducted by Ayyawars.

Social Status

The social status of the caste is low. It is [jlower in Telingana than in Mahai^ishtra. The village servants. barbers and washermen, will not defile themselves by working for them, and a barber shaving a member of the caste has to bathe subsequently. They live on the outskirts of villages and their touch is deemed a pollution by members of the higher castes. They eat fish and the flesh of swine, fowls and lizards, and drink arrack and other liquors.

Miyadara, Or Cannada Buruds, are to be found in the Camatic districts of the Dominions. They are identical with the Telanga Medares, but differentiate from the latter owing to their customs and usages having been affected by the new social influences to which they are exposed. In the Camatic, Lingayatism.has absorbed all rival sects and religions, and Miyadaras are not an exception to the general rule. The Miyadaras admit members of the higher castes into their community on the performance of a ceremony in which a betel leaf -s cut on the tongue of the novice and caste people are feasted.

Polygamy is permitted ; widows are allowed to marry again and divorce is recognised. Infant marriage is customary, and the ceremony is modelled upon that prevalent among other Camatic castes. In matters of religion they profess to be Shaivayits, but worship Venkatramanna as their special deity. Margamma, Dur- gamma, Maisamma, Polkamma and Mashamma are among their minor gods.

Brahmans officiate at their marriages but Jangams are their Gurus and are engaged for all other religious and ceremonial observances. The dead are buried in a sitting posture. Women dying pregnant or in child-birth are burnt. No regular Sradha is performed, but caste people are feasted in honour of the deceased on the 9th day after death. Their social status is higher than that of the Telugu Medares, the village barber shaving them and the village washerman washing their clothes.

As in 2018

Pooja Narendra Patil (Gotkhindikar), BURUD COMMUNITY A SOCIOLOGICAL STUDY Research Student, Shiva ji University, Kolhapur/ Navjyot / Vol. VI / Issue - III

Handicraft and Burud Caste :

We can find different handmade crafts like rope making, wooden toys, pottery making, hand made textiles, sculptors, jewellery and metal ware etc., in various areas of our country.Burud work or cane work is one of the type of handicraft. All the various items are made with the help of hand. From the ancient days Handicraft Burud work is very useful. It is said that each and every item which is made up of Bamboo is useful for a human being from his birth to death.

In the ancient days, economic system of each village was based on the Barter or Jajmani System. There were serving and served castes. All the Balutedars, Alutedars and some tribes were serving caste's which were providing services to upper castes and at the same time, some castes were served castes, accepting services of serving castes. Buruds are one of the serving caste from Alutedar Category. People from Burud Community makes various products from the bamboo sticks like Cages, Ladder, Buttya, Supa's etc.

Features of Burud Community :

1)Burud's as an Artist :

Burud's always makes various kinds of items from Bamboo sticks. It is their traditional tool of gaining money. Making traditional as well as modern bamboo product's is the art of Burud Community.

2)Burud as a Tribe :

In the various areas of State Maharashtra, Buruds are recognized as a Tribe e.g. In the Chandrapur, Yavatmal, Nagpur, Vardha, Gadchiroli. They are considered as tribals.

3)Customes of Child Marriage :

During primitive days the child marriages were performed normally. In this community, it was common. Providing liquor and non-veg meel was compulsory in Burud Marraiges. Though the economic conditions of any family is not good, they had to provide all these things in marriage.

Family God of Burud is Khandoba.

These people blindly believes on their God and Goddess. They keeps fast as well as a vow for getting blessings. Whenever they faces any kinds of problems in their life. They take help of an acetic to find a solution.

Dominance of Jat Panchayat :

During the ancient days Jat Panchayat had an incredible place in this community. It was regarded as a sacred institute of providing the justice. All the distributes of community members were solved by the Jat Panchayat. The decisions, suggestions, provided by the Jat Panchayat were blindly followed by people.

Belongs to Karnataka Region :

Before so many decades, they came to Maharashtra from their own place Karnataka. Buruds which we find in all over Maharashtra originally belongs to Karnataka. Their surnames like Lingappa, Vyankappa, Sidrappa etc., incidcates their region. But at present this community has totally became Maharashtrian.

Orthodox Thoughts :

Though the educational level of this community is increasing they are not ready to give up their superstitious nature. They keep faith on the existence of black magic, sacrifice a beast to satisfy various God and Godess. They are very rigid about their caste, rules. Some rules of their castes are strictly obeyed bycaste persons.


Hair cutting ceremony is the one part of culture. In this community on the occasion of "Hair cutting ceremony" (Jawal), they cut hairs of both girl and boy child. Brahmin priest are not allowded for performing the death rituals. Instead of Brahmin priest, they allow “Jangam” to perform various rituals.

Impact of Technology on Burud Community :

As Britishers came in our country, they also brought with them technology. This technique changed the face of Handicraft industry. Machines started taking place of manual work. Plastic and Metal work has also badly affected on the traditional burud work. Instead of use of eco-friendly bamboo items, people are also using various colour plastic made items. For example "Samruddhi" products are famous. They make all those things which Burud's make. Like Plastic, Metal also has taken place of Bamboo that Ladders made up of Metal are famous. Thus, for conserving traditional Burud work from the Plastic and Metal work, it is very much essential to make over Burud work and to bring some modernity in work.

References :

1.The magazine "The great Burud 2013; Miss. Manik Sapate.

2. The news article appeared in Daily "Sakal" on 19th June, 2011 entitled Burud work is persistently going on. www.navjyot.net

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