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Illegitimate Children

Category: Part V.

Source: Folklore Of The Santal Parganas

If a woman has an illegitimate child and from fear or shame will not
name its father the bastard is called a child of Chando. At its birth
there is no assembly of the neighbours; its head is not ceremonially
shaved and there is no narta ceremony. The midwife does what is
necessary; and the child is admitted into no division of the tribe. If
it is a boy it is called Chandu or Chandrai or sometimes Birbanta and
if a girl Chandro or Chandmuni or perhaps Bonela. Sometimes after the
child is born the mother will under seal of secrecy tell its father's
name to her mother or the midwife; and then between themselves they
will call the child by a name taken from the father's family but
they will never tell it to anyone else. When the child grows up he
is given some nickname and if he turns out well and is popular his
name is often changed again and he is recognised as a Santal.

Often if a father will not acknowledge a child the mother will strangle
it at birth and bury the body. Men who practise sorcery dig up the
bones of such murdered infants and use them as rattles when doing
their sorceries and are helped by them to deceive people.

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