From Hindupedia, the Hindu Encyclopedia
By Jit Majumdar
Sometimes transliterated as: Candala, CandAla, Candaala
- pertaining to Canda; belonging to Canda
- savage; angry; wild; untamed; fierce; dangerous
- an ancient social group spread throughout the Indian subcontinent, belonging to many linguistic and ethnic identities, who were traditionally engaged in occupations like burning or burying the dead, collection and disposal of garbage and waste, and sometimes also hunting and selling meat. They normally lived on the fringes of human settlements, and were aggressively demonized, vilified and regarded as dehumanized, unclean, highly polluting and untouchable by the rest of society, specially in Brahminical Hinduism, causing the term to continue upto presaent times as a derogatory expletive to refer to a mean, wicked or lowly person, specially in northern India, but also as a swear word in southern India and Srilanka as “sandala” (fem: caņdālinī): a Tāntrika goddess; another name for the Mahāvidyā goddess Mātańgī, who was worshipped by the caņdāla people, and is seen as hailing from the caņdāla society.