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KARENS. (466) WE make the following extracts from an article by Colonel Balfour for his [[italics]]Indian Cyclopaedia[[/italics]]. "This people are found within the British, Burmese, Siamese, and Chinese territories, and extend from 28º to 10º north latitude. According to Dr. Bowring the eastern Karens are separated from those of the Burmese, or western frontier, by the valley of the Menam, and the great part of the Thay population occupying Korat, and the foot of the mountains that form the water-shed of Sheklong. The Karens between Burmah and China are independent, with a patriarchal constitution, and reckon themselves by families and villages, or tribes. They are agricultural. The Burmese and the men of Pegu assert that the Karens of Tennaserim are the prior occupants of that territory, and a tradition of their own makes them come from the north. Their language is Burmese with Singpho affinities. Some of the tribes are Buddhists; but two of them, the Sgair and Pgho, are Pagans. Karen is a Burmese term, and is often pronounced as Khyen. The bakho, or priest and physician, has considerable influence. The Wi is a shaman, a poet and soothsayer, or prophet; their local personal and individual genii are called kelah; plu is their hades, and lerah their hell. They have also gods of the elements and atmospheric phenomena. A perverted Christianity seems to prevail among them, as they have evinced in adopting the tenets of that faith. Those within the British territory of the true Karens are about 62,326, of whom 25,615 are under Christian influence. The red Karens or Kaya, eastern and western, are estimated at 200,000. There are fourteen tribes of the Ka-ya or mountain Karen in the highland country lying between the rivers Sitang and Salwin, the majority of whom have forsaken their ancient savage customs. "Karen is said to mean 'wild man.' They are found in small communities scattered over twelve degrees of latitude and ten of longitude, from the table land of Tibet to the banks of the Menan, and from the province of Yunan in China to the Bay of Bengal. Their whole number has been estimated at five millions. . . .
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