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June 05 , 2009

Omens and Superstitions of Southern India (Illustrated)


This book deals mainly with some aspects of what may be termed
the psychical life of the inhabitants of the Madras Presidency,
and the Native States of Travancore and Cochin. In my "Ethnographic
Notes in Southern India" (1906), I stated that the confused chapter
devoted to omens, animal superstitions, evil eye, charms, sorcery,
etc., was a mere outline sketch of a group of subjects, which, if
worked up, would furnish material for a volume. This chapter has
now been remodelled, and supplemented by notes collected since its
publication, and information which lies buried in the seven bulky
volumes of my encyclopædic "Castes and Tribes of Southern India"
(1909). The area dealt with (roughly, 182,000 square miles, with
a population of 47,800,000) is so vast that I have had perforce to
supplement the personal knowledge acquired in the course of wandering
expeditions in various parts of Southern India, and in other ways, by
recourse to the considerable mass of information, which is hidden away
in official reports, gazetteers, journals of societies, books, etc.

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Castes and Tribes of Southern India, Volume VI of VII

In 1894, equipped with a set of anthropometric instruments obtained on loan from the Asiatic Society of Bengal, I commenced an investigation of the tribes of the Nīlgiri hills, the Todas, Kotas, and Badagas, bringing down on myself the unofficial criticism that “anthropological research at high altitudes is eminently indicated when the thermometer…

To the many friends and correspondents, European and Indian, who have
helped me in the accumulation of facts, and those whose writings I
have made liberal use of, I would once more express collectively,
and with all sincerity, my great sense of indebtedness. My thanks
are due to Mr L. K. Anantha Krishna Iyer for supplying me with the
illustrations of Malabar yantrams.

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