He reports that in early November 1922 a large number of adivasi peasants from several villages assembled at a place in southern Gujarat to listen to the teachings of a goddess Mata or Devi known as Salahbai.
The Devi, who was not generally represented by any image, was supposed to have come out of the mountains and expressed her demands through spirits. While most of the adivasis listened to Devi, a number of them went into a state of trance. These men would shake their heads violently and begin to utter what were believed to be the Devi’s commands.
The principal commands were to abstain from eating flesh or drinking liquor or toddy, to take a bath daily, to use water rather than a leaf to clean up after defecation, to keep their houses clean, to release or sell goats and chicken, and to boycott Parsi liquor dealers and landlords.
Social anthropology can identify the culture complex in the whole episode of adivasis of southern Gujarat. The possession of the Devi is attained by different rituals, which include shaking of heads and beating the bare back of the possessed with iron chains. All these culture complexes include a large number of traits.
These traits, if put together, constitute the Devi possession. Yet another example of culture complex is that of halma practised by the Bhils of western India. It is a cooperative endeavour. When a peasant wants to harvest his maize crop, he invites all the peasants of the village to help him in harvesting.
In a day or two, the process is over. Halma involves a large number of activities. The host peasant has to provide simple meals, tea and often bidi for smoking. No wage payment, however, is made. All the culture traits observed during halma jointly make a culture complex.