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POLAYERS. (452) THE Official Report gives the following description of this class of people, who are principally located in the Travancore province, and are evidently one of the aboriginal tribes belonging to the forest races of the south-western portion of the peninsula; not now wild, as they once were, but much reclaimed to settled pursuits, though they do not belong to any recognized class of Hindoos; and some of them, as it would seem, have been converted to Christianity by the local missionaries. They were once slaves, but are now free. "This is the lowest class in the country. Some years ago the Travancore government gave the government slaves their freedom; but with regard to the slaves of private individuals, decreed that no registry of slaves as property, and no complaints of masters against slaves for refusing to work, should be received in the courts. This of course was
bonâ fideabolishing slavery, but in many instances the buying of slaves is carried out without the knowledge of the authorities; and in consequence of the prevailing evil consequences of caste, it is questionable whether cognizance would be taken of it, as the Polayer caste is said to be so polluting, that they could not enter a court of justice--in fact, they are not permitted to enter the bazars, and are obliged, if met on the road by a Brahmin or Nair, to jump over a wall or run to a side. If by any means they become possessed of money, and wish to exchange or buy articles on the road side from the many stalls or shops to be met with, they must stand at a distance, call out for what they want, and put down their money, and retire till the articles are brought and put where the money was, and return for them when the other party regains his stall. This too to perhaps very low castes. "They have no religion, and only believe in devils, which, if their actions are not good, are supposed to haunt them. Their women are perhaps the most faithful of any Asiatic class. They call their children monkeys, but observe within themselves sub-divisions of caste with great scrupulousness. This caste suffered greatly during the last famine, and Dr. Waring, with the assistance of
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