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

By Father J. Hoffman and Mr. E. Lister
Pahanr Khunt versus Munda Khunt:
This state of things could not but react strongly on the village life itself.
The Munda in most cases was not slow to perceive the radical change which his intercourse with Government servants had wrought, and he naturally tried to assume in the village the status with which they credited him. His nearest relatives supported him, of course gradually, against the legitimate head, who in turn was backed by those Khuntkattidars who were nearest him genealogically. Thus fraction arose, which brought the so-called khunts into exaggerated prominence. This strife between the Pahanr Khunt and the Munda Khunt spread to many village, and in many of them assumed the character of a war to the death.
When the Pahanr realized the new sate of things, they generally abandoned their former dignified seclusion from the alien official world. They began to insist on having receipts for the village rents, etc., made out in the names of both the Munda and the Pahanr. In a number of cases they even succeeded in obtaining separate receipts; for the Pahanr Khunt was generally numerically superior, and, in the estimation of both the community and the Manki, it formed the socially superior element. Moreover, for years the Pahanr insisted on going with the Munda to Ranchi to file the road-cess returns conjointly with him. In short, there began a general attempt on the part of the Pahanr to secure in the eyes of the Government that civil authority and right which really was theirs in the village. But in the most favourable cases it only ended in placing the real head of the village on a footing of equality with his former assistant or delegate.
In comparatively recent foundations the head of the new village, whilst uniting in his own person the functions of Pahanr and Munda, would take care to pose before the Government as Munda, and his eldest son would similarly assume the same title officially. In certain villages, too, the real headman keeps both functions in his own hand, and though the descendants of the junior branch affect the title of Paharn Khunt, the legitimate heir of the headship, as conceived by the Mundari mind, takes care of avoid any real splitting up of the double function with which he is invested.
The following points are of great importance:-
  • In the khuntkatti village the offices of the Pahanr and the Munda, whether united in one and the same person or exercised by two distinct persons, are services or functions due to the village family, and they are due by the elder or head as such, i.e., either as head of the whole village or as head of a particular khunt.
  • There is no special grant of lands attached to either of these functions. Whatever lands the Pahanr and the Munda hold, they hold by the ordinary laws of inheritance prevalent among the Mundaris. Hence it may, and often does, happen that the Munda is a poor man in comparison with other members of the community. The phrase primus inter pares, therefore, describes very accurately both the prerogatives and the duties of the headman in a khuntkatti village.

Read Part-VIII

One Comment

  1. I am impressed, being a gaunkar of age old village community of Mormugao, south Goa, whose existence is not forseen by Constitution of India and whereas there are at present 223 such age old village communities in Goa whose members are kept under bondage while its land,water and economic resources have fallen in the hands of plunderers, while the State is under the statutory obligation to provide State Tutelage, both of curative and preventage nature in terms of the admiited age old treaty of 1510 and in force.Application is pending before President of India to include the absolute autonomous villages and their Districts in VI Schedule to Constitution of India since the said villages are absolute private properties of the given village communities of Goa free from element of State grant and free from the concept of State landlordism as none of the holders in community land under obligation to pay any land revevue to the State Government, There are no lawfully constituted Revenue villages and revenue District in State of Goa and for which reasons the STATE GOVERNMENT OF GOA CARRIES ON ITS CONSTITUTION BUSINESS BY PLAYING FRAUD ON THE VILLAGE COMMUNITIES OF GOA. (SEARCH ARTICLES BY ADV. ANDRE ANTONIO PEREIRA,GOA FOR MORE INFORMATION)

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