Awakening the duma and Banishing the Evil Spirits

About two weeks before the chief day of the gotr (gotr din), the duma were awakened (duma utaibar) in the house of the initiator (Komlu). Together with the dissari,ш the six brothers who made up the group of sponsors - and who referred to themselves as the Four Brothers - assembled in the big room of the house in the afternoon.154 The dissari drew a pattern on the ground and began the invocation. Subsequently, all six brothers scattered rice from their own platters on the platform and called out the names of their duma (na pokaibar). Following the sacrifice of a black chick, its blood was made to drip on all the implements, especially the prepared medicine, including iron pegs (kuti) filled earlier with finely chopped thorn plants. After the kuti had thus “eaten blood” (rokto kaibar), they were hammered into the ground in various places in the house, yard, and

Table 11: Sequence of the gotr in Ponosguda and Gudapada (2001)


Ponosguda (Sponsor)

Gudapada (purani-giver)



- purani buffalo purchased, name given



  • - duma awakened (duma utaibar)
  • - bon duma banished by medicine



  • - rau sacrifice
  • - simli branches set up

February 6

  • - duma transferred into the buffaloes (by means of sig rice)
  • - sponsors feed the buffaloes from now on

February 7

- drums repaired

February 8

- duma sacrifice (duma balo**)

  • (Thursday)
  • (full


February 9 (Friday)

- feeding the buffaloes (affines)

  • - simli munda set up
  • - duma transferred into the buffalo (by means of chuti, sig rice)


  • 10
  • (Saturday)
  • - feeding the buffaloes (gada mara)
  • - bur tsoru for Ranju
  • - feast (boji) for all
  • - agnates arrive
  • - guests feed and mourn the buffalo
  • - duma sacrifice


  • 11
  • (Sunday)

gotr din (chief day)

  • - rau sacrifice
  • - rice packets (chuti) distributed
  • - jur rice for buffalo-takers (?)
  • - buffaloes taken to the external platform
  • - purani arrives
  • - purani ritually killed
  • - buffaloes given away
  • - purani washed and dressed
  • - departure for Ponosguda
  • - arrival in Ponosguda
  • - tsorubai go back to Gudapada


  • 12
  • (Monday)
  • - buffalo-takers and affines bathe
  • - moali gifts distributed


  • 13
  • (Tuesday)

- return to Gudapada

village.[1] [2] [3] The dissari drove the first kuti into the house’s threshold and divided the rest among the brothers, who hammered them into the earth in their stables, their houses, and on the paths leading out of the village. Gotr attracts other, outside duma, it was explained, including those permanently malicious beings who died a bad death. After one’s own duma had been awakened, therefore, it was necessary to keep bag duma, rau, and daini away by means of the medicine-fil- kuti. As soon as the duma were awakened, the drums were beaten, an announcement of gotr that can be clearly heard in the neighboring villages as well.

With his more junior assistant, the dissari subsequently procured first two simli branches and then, after dark, two more branches from the palda tree. Each time he returned with the branches, Ranju’s widow greeted him in front of the house with tika. These branches (munda) were set up at the stone platform only the next morning, however, after the sacrifice for the rau demon.

  • [1] Each of the dissaris medicines and instruments must receive sacrifices on a regular basis inorder to maintain its effectiveness.
  • [2] The platforms are referred to in a wide variety of ways. The collective platform inside thevillage was often called ga munda or gotr munda, but the external platform was also referred toas gotr munda (panja munda in Pfeffer; see above), as well as poda munda.
  • [3] The branches ritually set up on this occasion were significantly smaller than those thatwere set up later and to which the buffaloes were tied.
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