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Papers of W.G. Archer: An Account of Musahar Movement in North Bihar Before Independence

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Kameshwar Singh Bihar Heritage Series-20
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Item Code: HAO683
Author: Hetukar Jha
Publisher: Kameshwar Singh Darbhanga Sanskrit University, Bihar
Language: English
Edition: 2015
ISBN: 9789383647026
Pages: 111
Other Details 9.5x6.8 inch
Weight 389 gm
Book Description

Musahars belong to the lowest layer of caste hierarchy. They are included in the list of the Scheduled Castes (Harijans/Dalits) and are considered to be comparatively most deprived and exploited living in very miserable conditions of existence. They are distributed in many parts of India such as Bihar, Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, etc. However, historical sources regarding their socio-economic and cultural life and identity in pre-modern era are virtually few and far between. Yet, some observations which appear to be rather conjectural in this context are briely mentioned here. For example, according to Monier-Williams some people inhabiting the Malabar-Coast between Quilon and Cape Comorin were known as Mushika¹. Further, Mushakada was the name of a Naag (cobra) and this also meant 'mouse-eater'². Debiprasad Chattopadhyaya writes in this context that³ "We hear...of the Musikas in ancient India. It has been conjectured that they were the same as the Musicanis of the early Greek narrators...(K.P.) Jayaswal thought...'The Musikas were a people of the south. The Mahabharata mentions them in the company of the Vanavasis (i.e., forest dwellers). Their country could not have been far removed from Kaling for the Natyashastra (circa100 B.C. to A.D. 100) describes the Tosalas, the Kosalas, the Mosalas (the Musikas)".

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