niṣāda निषाद

Definition: Is found in the later Samhitās and the Brāhmanas. The word seems to denote not so much a particular tribe, but to be the general term for the non-Aryan tribes who were not under Aryan control, as the Sūdras were, for Aupamanyava took the five peoples (pañca jaηāh) to be the four castes (catvāro varnāh) and the Nisādas, and the commentator Mahīdhara explains the word where it occurs in the Vājasaneyi Samhitā as meaning a Bhilla, or Bhīl. A village of Nisādas is men¬tioned in the Lātyāyana Srauta Sūtra, and a Nisāda Sthapati, a leader of some kind, is referred to in the Kātyāyana Srauta Sūtra and in a Brāhmana cited by the scholiast on that passage. Weber thinks that the Nisādas were the settled aborigines (from ni, ‘down,’ and sad, ‘settle’), a view sup-ported by the fact that the ritual of the Viśvajit sacrifice requires a temporary residence with Nisādas; for the Nisādas who would permit an Aryan to reside temporarily amongst them must have been partially amenable to Aryan influence. But the name might easily be applied to the whole body of aborigines outside the Aryan organization. Von Schroeder thinks that the Nisādas were most probably identical with the Nysseans, who, according to the Greek account, sent an embassy to Alexander when he was in the territory of the Aśvakas, but this identification is doubtful.

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