While most tribal deities have been thoroughly syncretized with the Aryan
deities of the rudra class (rudra and his sons)
and to a much lesser extant viShNu, some still retain traces of their pre-Aryan
past. This is often expressed as a
certain kind of antagonism to the brahmin, upper castes and their deities.
Earlier I illustrated the most poignant example
of this, the Tamil deity kAttavarAyan. Now I shall consider a few more in brief:
-The tamil god karuppu: He is a fierce deity, holding a vAL, seen in many parts
of Tamilnad and in some places is
worshipped with kAttavarAyan, his brother-in-law. He receives a goat, whose head
is pounded to pulp before him. The
tamil priests, the paNTArams, state that he marries a brahmin girl after seizing
-mAci cuvAmi: Another fierce tamil god who receives slaughtered buffaloes from
the paNTArams. He is said to slay a
muni and feed him to a tiger.
-poDDu cuvAmi: A tamil deity. He is said to send ghosts to possess brahmins.
-khaNDobA: A karuppu-like from Maharashtra, AP and Karnata. His lower caste
priest was once asked by a brAhmaNa
as to whether his god had any power. He invoked khaNDobA and the brahmin was
turned into a dog by the deity.
-vAghobA: a tiger like deity in Mah and Kar similar to mAci cuvami. Eats
sacrificial milch cattle.
-MhaskobA: a fierce deity mainly from Mah. He is often considered an enemy of
the great goddess durgA. I have seen a
temple of his on a hill near Pune, were blood offerings from goats and buffaloes
were made to him.
Tribal priest perform a caricature of a homa in the worship of some of these
deities where urine is thrown into the fire. Also
persistant is the theme that these deities appear before the lower caste people
on account of their simple bhakti, but the
brAhmins typically fail to see them despite their complex rites.
This suggests that the native tribes did exhibit some resentment to the
Indo-Aryan colonization of their regions. This was
however not very severe due to the ideological similarities of the Indo-Aryans
and the native pastoralists. Eventually, the
Aryan deities absorbed most of the tribal deities. The main force seemed to be
tribal elite’s strong tendency to Aryanize
completely. Nevertheless, the residual antagonism did remain behind in the lower
What does this mean: I think the moderns Indians, irrespective of their core
religious sympathies, must know the truth of
the past. It is important that Indians do not whitewash clear historical
footprints in their current delusional eagerness to
erase and re-write IE linguistics and history. At the same time an objective
framework for analyzing the Aryan-Dravidian
problem is important, rather than letting Dravidianist and their Western fellow
travellers to hijack it