A Story On Caste

: Part I.
: Folklore Of The Santal Parganas

There was once a village inhabited only by Musahars. Among them was

one girl who was so beautiful that she seemed more than human. Her

father and mother were so proud of her looks that they determined

not to marry her to a man of their own caste. They were constantly

discussing whom they should choose as a son-in-law; one day they began

to consider who were the greatest persons in the world. The old woman

was of opinio
that there was no one greater than Chando, the Sun God,

and suggested that they should marry the girl to him. Her husband

agreed and off they set and presented themselves before Chando. Chando

asked why they had come. "O Chando, we understand that you are the

greatest being in the world and we have come to marry our daughter

to you," Chando answered "I fancy there is some one greater than I,"

"Who is he?" asked the parents. "The cloud is greater than I, for it

can hide my face and quench my rays."

At this the father and mother hurried off with their daughter in search

of the Cloud, and when they found him, told him that they had brought

their daughter to give him to wife, as he was the greatest being in

the world. "I may be great," said the Cloud, "but there is a greater

than I, the Wind. The Wind rises and blows me away in a minute." So

they went in search of the Wind and when they found him, explained

to him why they had brought him their daughter. The Wind said "I am

strong but there are stronger than I: the Mountains are stronger. I can

blow things down or whirl them away, but I cannot move the mountains."

So on they went to the Mountain and explained their errand. The

Mountain said "I am great but there are more powerful than I. The

ground-rat is more powerful, for however high I may be the ground-rats

burrow holes in me and I cannot resist them."

The poor parents by this time began to feel rather discouraged,

but still they made up their minds to persevere and went on to look

for the ground-rat. They found him and offered him their daughter in

marriage, but the ground-rat denied that he was the most powerful

being on earth, the Musahars were more powerful for they lived by

digging out ground-rats and eating them.

The hapless couple went home very dejectedly, reflecting that they

had begun by despising their own caste and had gone in search of

something greater and had ended where they begun. So they arranged

to marry their daughter to a man of their own caste after all.

Moral You should not despise your own caste or race; you cannot

help what caste you are born into. A Santal may learn to read and

write and associate with men of good position and thereby his mind

may be perverted. He may wish to change his caste become a Sadhu, or

a Kherwar, or a Boistab, or a Mussulman, or a Christian or anything

else; but people will still know him for a beef-eating Santal. If he

becomes a Christian, no one will think him the equal of a Saheb or

a Brahman; no Saheb will marry his daughter or give him his daughter

in marriage. Remember what happened to the Musahar, who despised his

own caste. God caused you to be born in a certain caste. He and not

we made the different castes and He knows what is good and bad for us.