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Imperial Gazetteer of India, v. 6, p. 214.


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BAID YABA TI


Baidyabafti.-Town in the Serampore subdivision of Hooghly Dis-
trict, Bengal, situated in 22 47' N. and 88 20' E., on the right bank of
the Hooghly river. Population (I90o), 17,I74. The town is an impor-
tant trade centre, and Seoraphuli, a southern suburb, is a thriving
market for jute and potatoes. A jute-mill at Champdani east of the
town gives employment to 3,000 hands. Rope made of jute and hemp
is manufactured within the town. Baidyabati was constituted a munici-
pality in I869. The income during the decade ending 190o-2
averaged Rs. 20,000, and the expenditure Rs. i8,ooo. In I903-4 the
income was Rs. 25,200, of which Rs. 8,000 was derived from a tax on
persons, and Rs. 5,ooo from a conservancy rate; and the expenditure
was Rs. 22,000.
Baidyanath.-Site of temples in the Santal Parganas District,
Bengal. See DEOGARH.
Baiga '.-A primitive Dravidian tribe in the Central Provinces, with
25,000 members in I901, residing principally in Mandla and the adjoin-
ing Districts. The Binjhals or Binjhwars, who number 7I,000, and are
found chiefly in Sambalpur, were originally a subdivision of the Baigas,
but have now become Hinduized, and are practically a separate caste.
In Mandla and Balaghat the Binjhls are shown as a sub-caste of
Baigas. They include several of the Sambalpur zaminddrs. The
Bhumias (' guardians of the earth') are the same tribe as the Baigas,
while the Bhainas of Bilaspur are probably another offshoot, Raibhaina
being shown as a sub-caste of Baiga in Balaghat.
The Baigas have several endogamous divisions, some of which will
not eat with each other. The Gondwainas who eat beef and monkeys
are the lowest sub-caste. Each sub-caste is divided into a number of
exogamous septs, the names of which are identical in many cases with
those of the Gonds. The septs are further divided, as among the
Gonds, into groups worshipping different numbers of gods, and the
marriage of persons worshipping the same number of gods is prohibited,
although they may belong to different septs. This organization is
probably taken from that of the Gonds, adopted in accordance with the
usual principle of imitation at the time when the Gonds were a ruling
race. Gond girls marrying Baigas are admitted into the caste.
Marriage is adult, and a price varying from Rs. 5 to Rs. 20 is usually
paid for the bride. Unchastity before marriage is said to be a rare
occurrence. The ceremony presents no special features, except that it
is considered essential that the bride's father should go out to meet the
bridegroom's party riding on an elephant. As a real elephant is not
within the means of a Baiga, two wooden bedsteads are lashed together
and covered with blankets, with a black cloth trunk in front, and this
I The greater part of this article is taken from a monograph furnished by the
Rev. J. Lampard, missionary, Baihar.



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