Special Memorandum of the Land System of the Munda Country (III)

By Father J. Hoffman and Mr. E. Lister
Khuntkatti System:

A.  Constitution and Administration of the Khuntkatti village
The Kili or Gotra:
The Mundari race is made up of separate clans or septs, called Kili, for which in some parts the Hindi word Gotra is substituted. These Kilis generally bear the name of the some animal or plant, and are very numerous. Names of other objects are very rarely adopted. The assumption of these kili names has an exclusive religious origin. Descent is counted through the father, and the children belong to the paternal kili.
Even Christian Mundas will on no account contract such marriages, even in cases where Christian marriage-laws would allow them. Should anyone be found guilty of that crime, a Panchayat, composed of elders of that kili and elders of some other kili, will order the offenders to separate. If they refuse, they are out-casted, water and ashes are thrown over them, and they are expelled from the village.
A fortiori, marriages with aliens (non-Mundas), such as Barais (Black-smiths), Penrains (Weavers), etc., are disallowed. If contracted notwithstanding, the unions are considered illegitimate, and the male offspring of them have not the status of the khuntkattidars. With the consent, however, of the other members of the brotherhood, such marriages may be condoned, and the children legitimatized, by means of a somewhat expensive ceremony. The religious bond between the members of the same kili consists, in a communion or partaking of sacrificial offerings (meat, gram, rice, beer). Members of one kili may on no account partake of the sacrifices offered by those of a different kili. Marriage transfers the wife from her paternal kili to the kili of her husband. It has, however, a sort of anomalous reaction on the husband, in as much as it allows him to partake of sacrificial offerings made by his father-in-law, though he be not adopted into the paternal kili of his wife. With an increase in the number of the clan, its members are obliged to spread and found new villages. But the kili name follows them to these new establishments.
Kili Name:
From the above it follows that the kili name, though an essential point in the evidence as to whether an individual belongs to the khuntkatti group of a given village, is strictly speaking, only a negative argument. If he does not belong to the kili of the village family, he is, ispo-facto, proved not to be a khuntkattidar of that village. If he belongs to the kili, he must then further prove that he belongs to that particular branch which has established the village in question. This is done by reference to the burial stones of the village.

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