'polluting' effect of leather in music?

Mikael Aktor aktor at coco.ihi.ku.dk
Fri Apr 4 08:00:35 UTC 1997

>(On 3-APR-1997 01:50) Narender Mohkamsing wrote:

>I would appreciate if someone would pass on some refference in Dharmasharstras 
>etc., where the 'polluting' effect of leather, and whatever is made by
them, is 
>taught ???

The relation between pollution and leather is not a very explicit one in
dharmazaastra. Persons working in hides (carmakaara) are classified as
antyajas together with the washerman, the dancer / performer (naTa) and
other groups. But this group of people is not regarded as untouchable in the
classical literature. Only in medieval digests (SmRticandrikaa and
CaturvargacintaamaNi for instance) do we find this view. I have not come
across an explicit reference to drummers in dharmazaastra. But acording to
one (but not the only one) etymology of the _tamil_ term (?, correct me if I
am wrong) paRaiya (which in South Indian non-dharmazaastra sources is
regarded as socially equal to the untouchable caNDaala in dharmazaastra),
this term means something like "drum-people". In a hagiography of the
paRaiya naayanmaar, Nantanaar, his hamlet is described very much according
to stereotypical descriptions of caNDaala hamlets in Sankrit literature. But
instead of clothes of dead people, which is a standard ingredient in such
descriptions because caNDaalas according to dharmazaastra were prescribed to
clothe themselves in such clothes, these paRaiyas are surrounded by their
drums which are hanging from the branches of the mango trees. The text is
quoted (from K.A.N. Sastri) in: K.R. Hanumanthan, _Untouchability: A
historical study upto 1500 A.D._, Madurai, Koodal Publishers 1979, pp.166-67.

Best regards

Mikael Aktor, Research Fellow, cand.phil.

Department of History of Religions, University og Copenhagen,
Njalsgade 80, DK-2300 Copenhagen S, Denmark.

Phone: (45) 3532 8954 - Fax: (45) 3532 8956 - E-mail: aktor at coco.ihi.ku.dk

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