PARELL, n.p. The name of a northern suburb of Bombay where stands the residence of the Governor. The statement in the Imperial Gazetteer that Mr. W. Hornby (1776) was the first Governor who took up his residence at Parell requires examination, as it appears to have been so occupied in Grose’s time. The 2nd edition of Grose, which we use, is dated 1772, but he appears to have left India about 1760. It seems probable that in the following passage Niebuhr speaks of 1763–4, the date of his stay at Bombay, but as the book was not published till 1774, this is not absolutely certain. Evidently Parell was occupied by the Governor long before 1776.

“Les Jesuites avoient autrefois un beau couvent aupres du Village de Parell au milieu de l’Isle, mais il y a déjà plusieurs années, qu’elle est devenue la maison de campagne du Gouverneur, et l’Eglise est actuellement une magnifique salle à manger et de danse, qu’on n’en trouve point de pareille en toutes les Indes.”—Niebuhr, Voyage, ii. 12.

[Mr. Douglas (Bombay and W. India, ii. 7, note) writes: “High up and outside the dining-room, and which was the chapel when Parel belonged to the Jesuits, is a plaque on which is printed: —‘Built by Honourable Hornby, 1771.’ ”] 1554.—Parell is mentioned as one of 4 aldeas, “Parell, Varella, Varell, and Siva, attached to the Kasbah (Caçabe—see CUSBAH) of Maim.”—Botelho, Tombo, 157, in Subsidios.

c. 1750–60. — “A place called Parell, where the Governor has a very agreeable country-house, which was originally a Romish chapel belonging to the Jesuits, but confiscated about the year 1719, for some foul practices against the English interest.”—Grose, i. 46; [1st edition 1757, page 72].


a. The name of a low caste of Hindus in Southern India, constituting one of the most numerous castes, if not the most numerous, in the Tamil country. The word in its present shape means properly ‘a drummer.’ Tamil parai is the large drum, beaten at certain festivals, and the hereditary beaters of it are called (sing.) paraiyan, (pl.) paraiyar. [Dr. Oppert’s theory (Orig. Inhabitants, 32 seq.] that the word is a form of Pahariya, ‘a mountaineer’ is not probable.] In the city of Madras this caste forms one fifth of the whole population, and from it come (unfortunately) most of the domestics in European service in that part of India. As with other castes low in caste-rank they are also low in habits, frequently eating carrion and other objectionable food, and addicted to drink. From their coming into contact with and under observation of Europeans, more habitually than any similar caste, the name Pariah has come to be regarded as applicable to the whole body of the lowest castes, or even to denote outcastes or people without any caste. But this is hardly a correct use. There are several castes in the Tamil country considered to be lower than the Pariahs, e.g. the caste of shoemakers, and the lowest caste of washermen. And the Pariah deals out the same disparaging treatment to these that he himself receives from higher castes. The Pariahs “constitute a well-defined, distinct, ancient caste, which has ‘subdivisions’ of its own, its own peculiar usages, its own traditions, and its own jealousy of the encroachments of the castes which are above it and below it. They constitute, perhaps, the most numerous caste in the Tamil country. In the city of Madras they number 21 per cent. of the Hindu people.”—Bp. Caldwell, u. i., page 545. Sir Walter Elliot, however, in the paper referred to further on includes under the term Paraiya all the servile class not recognised by Hindus of caste as belonging to their community.

A very interesting, though not conclusive, discussion of the ethnological position of this class will be found in Bp. Caldwell’s Dravidian Grammar (pp. 540–554). That scholar’s deduction is, on the whole, that they are probably Dravidians, but he states, and recognises force in, arguments for believing that they may have descended from a race older in the country than the proper Dravidian, and reduced to slavery by the first Dravidians. This last is the view of Sir Walter Elliot, who adduces a variety of interesting facts in its favour, in his paper on the Characteristics of the Population of South India.1

Thus, in the celebration of the Festival of the Village Goddess, prevalent all over Southern India, and of which a remarkable account is given in that paper, there occurs a sort of Saturnalia in which the Pariahs are the officiating priests, and there are several other customs which are most easily intelligible on the supposition that the Pariahs are the representatives of the earliest inhabitants and original masters of the soil. In a recent communication from this venerable man he writes: ‘My brother (Col. C. Elliot, C.B.) found them at Raipur, to be an important and respectable class of cultivators. The Pariahs have a sacerdotal order amongst themselves.’ [The view taken in the Madras Gloss. is that “they are distinctly Dravidian without fusion, as the Hinduized castes are Dravidian with fusion.”]

The mistaken use of pariah, as synonymous with out-caste, has spread in English parlance over all India. Thus the lamented Prof. Blochmann, in his

  By PanEris using Melati.

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