PARELL to PARIAH
PARELL, n.p. The name of a northern suburb of Bombay where stands the residence of the Governor.
The statement in the Imperial Gazetteer that Mr. W. Hornby (1776) was the first Governor who took up
his residence at Parell requires examination, as it appears to have been so occupied in Groses time.
The 2nd edition of Grose, which we use, is dated 1772, but he appears to have left India about 1760. It
seems probable that in the following passage Niebuhr speaks of 17634, the date of his stay at Bombay,
but as the book was not published till 1774, this is not absolutely certain. Evidently Parell was occupied
by the Governor long before 1776.
Les Jesuites avoient autrefois un beau couvent aupres du Village de Parell au milieu de lIsle, mais
il y a déjà plusieurs années, quelle est devenue la maison de campagne du Gouverneur, et lEglise est
actuellement une magnifique salle à manger et de danse, quon nen trouve point de pareille en toutes
les Indes.Niebuhr, Voyage, ii. 12.
[Mr. Douglas (Bombay and W. India, ii. 7, note) writes: High up
and outside the dining-room, and which was the chapel when Parel belonged to the Jesuits, is a plaque
on which is printed: Built by Honourable Hornby, 1771. ] 1554.Parell is mentioned as one of 4
aldeas, Parell, Varella, Varell, and Siva, attached to the Kasbah (Caçabesee CUSBAH) of
Maim.Botelho, Tombo, 157, in Subsidios.
c. 175060. A place called Parell, where the Governor
has a very agreeable country-house, which was originally a Romish chapel belonging to the Jesuits, but
confiscated about the year 1719, for some foul practices against the English interest.Grose, i. 46; [1st
edition 1757, page 72].
PARIAH, PARRIAR, &c., s.
a. The name of a low caste of Hindus in Southern India, constituting one
of the most numerous castes, if not the most numerous, in the Tamil country. The word in its present
shape means properly a drummer. Tamil parai is the large drum, beaten at certain festivals, and the
hereditary beaters of it are called (sing.) paraiyan, (pl.) paraiyar. [Dr. Opperts theory (Orig. Inhabitants,
32 seq.] that the word is a form of Pahariya, a mountaineer is not probable.] In the city of Madras
this caste forms one fifth of the whole population, and from it come (unfortunately) most of the domestics
in European service in that part of India. As with other castes low in caste-rank they are also low in
habits, frequently eating carrion and other objectionable food, and addicted to drink. From their coming
into contact with and under observation of Europeans, more habitually than any similar caste, the name
Pariah has come to be regarded as applicable to the whole body of the lowest castes, or even to denote
outcastes or people without any caste. But this is hardly a correct use. There are several castes in the
Tamil country considered to be lower than the Pariahs, e.g. the caste of shoemakers, and the lowest
caste of washermen. And the Pariah deals out the same disparaging treatment to these that he himself
receives from higher castes. The Pariahs constitute a well-defined, distinct, ancient caste, which has
subdivisions of its own, its own peculiar usages, its own traditions, and its own jealousy of the encroachments
of the castes which are above it and below it. They constitute, perhaps, the most numerous caste in
the Tamil country. In the city of Madras they number 21 per cent. of the Hindu people.Bp. Caldwell,
u. i., page 545. Sir Walter Elliot, however, in the paper referred to further on includes under the term
Paraiya all the servile class not recognised by Hindus of caste as belonging to their community.
interesting, though not conclusive, discussion of the ethnological position of this class will be found in
Bp. Caldwells Dravidian Grammar (pp. 540554). That scholars deduction is, on the whole, that they
are probably Dravidians, but he states, and recognises force in, arguments for believing that they may
have descended from a race older in the country than the proper Dravidian, and reduced to slavery by
the first Dravidians. This last is the view of Sir Walter Elliot, who adduces a variety of interesting facts in
its favour, in his paper on the Characteristics of the Population of South India.1
Thus, in the celebration
of the Festival of the Village Goddess, prevalent all over Southern India, and of which a remarkable
account is given in that paper, there occurs a sort of Saturnalia in which the Pariahs are the officiating
priests, and there are several other customs which are most easily intelligible on the supposition that the
Pariahs are the representatives of the earliest inhabitants and original masters of the soil. In a recent
communication from this venerable man he writes: My brother (Col. C. Elliot, C.B.) found them at Raipur,
to be an important and respectable class of cultivators. The Pariahs have a sacerdotal order amongst
themselves. [The view taken in the Madras Gloss. is that they are distinctly Dravidian without fusion,
as the Hinduized castes are Dravidian with fusion.]
The mistaken use of pariah, as synonymous with
out-caste, has spread in English parlance over all India. Thus the lamented Prof. Blochmann, in his