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The Nishádas, Page 152.

Who of Nisháda lineage came.

The following account of the origin of the Nishádas is taken from Wilson's Vishnu Purána, Book I. Chap. 15. "Afterwards the Munis beheld a great dust arise, and they said to the people who were nigh: 'What is this?' And the people answered and said: 'Now that the kingdom is without a king, the dishonest men have begun to seize the property of their neighbours. The great dust that you behold, excellent Munis, is raised by troops of clustering robbers, hastening to fall upon their prey.' The sages, hearing this, consulted, and together rubbed the thigh of the king (Vena), who had left no offspring, to produce a son. From the thigh, thus rubbed, came forth a being of the complexion of a charred stake, with flattened features like a negro, and of dwarfish stature. 'What am I to do,' cried he eagerly to the Munis. 'Sit down (nishída),' said they. And thence his name was Nisháda. His descendants, the inhabitants of the Vindhyá mountain, great Muni, are still called Nishádas and are characterized by the exterior tokens of depravity." Professor Wilson adds, in his note on the passage: "The Matsya says that there were born outcast or barbarous races, Mlechchhas, as black as collyrium. The Bhágavata describes an individual of dwarfish stature, with short arms and legs, of a complexion as black as a crow, with projecting chin, broad flat nose, red eyes, and tawny hair, whose descendants were mountaineers and foresters. The Padma (Bhúmi Khanda) has a similar deccription; adding to the dwarfish stature and black complexion, a wide mouth, large ears, and a protuberant belly. It also particularizes his posterity as Nishádas, Kirátas, Bhillas, and other barbarians and Mlechchhas, living in woods and on mountains. These passages intend, and do not much exaggerate, the uncouth appearance of the Gonds, Koles, Bhils, and other uncivilized tribes, scattered along the forests and mountains of Central India from Behar to Khandesh, and who are, not improbably, the predecessors of the present occupants of the cultivated portions of the country. They are always very black, ill-shapen, and dwarfish, and have countenances of a very African character."

Manu gives a different origin of the Nishádas as the offspring of a Bráhman father and a Súdra mother. See Muir's Sanskrit Texts, Vol. I. p. 481.