Izikowitz’s Description

In an article that first appeared in 1960 and that is to my knowledge his only publication derived from his work among the Gadaba, Izikowitz describes two gotr that he observed in the spring of 1952. The ritual in Kamarguda[1] [2] [3] - one of Gudapada’s neighboring villages - is treated at length; for the second example, the Parenga’s ritual in Kichop, Izikowitz limits himself to individual details. After introductory remarks on the region and the Gadaba social and economic system, the author explains the significance of gotr, its heavy expenses for those involved, and the motives for the ritual. The increasing number of the “spirits of the dead” (133) or “goigigi”u6 can be harmful to human beings. They cause illness, and especially when a person is rich and nonetheless has not held a gotr for the dead, the angry spirits cause harm to his livestock and harvest. If someone performs a gotr and frees himself from the dead, the harvest is good. Among the various types of relationships that are relevant in gotr, Izikowitz mentions the panjabai and moitr. The former take the buffaloes that contain the spirits; the latter are a kind of “sacred friend” (132).

  • [1] Izikowitz (1969, 135) spells the village name “Kammarguda.” In summarizing Izikowitz’sand Pfeffer’s descriptions, I will maintain the previously introduced terms and spellings for thesake of consistency. So, for example, I will continue to refer to moitr and not to “oath brothers,”as Pfeffer does in his 1991 article, and I will also not change the spelling to moitur, followingIzikowitz.
  • [2] From my research, I know only the word duma as a term for the dead. Furer-Haimendorfreports the same term and adds in a footnote, “Duma is a word of Oriya origin, which has beenadopted by the Gadabas, as it seems to the exclusion of any term in their own language” (1943b,152n1). Pfeffer (e. g. 1991, 61) also mentions goigigi as an indigenous term for the dead. Accordingto my knowledge of Gutob, the adjective goigi means “dead,” and goigujimeans “to die.” Goud’s(1991, 96) wordlist includes the terms goigu, “death, heaven,” and gogoi, “to die.” Rajan andRajan (2001a, 48) translate goyigu as “died.”
  • [3] Munda means “post, stake,” among other things; this is what the buffaloes are tied to.
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