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TRIBAL IN GUJARAT
TRIBLES-GUJARAT

 “Happiness is never a function of tribe or ethnicity anyone can find true love

and happiness from anywhere.”

 

Tribes of Gujarat have an interesting history. The Ramayanaand the Mahabharata make several references to the hill tribes. The reference to the Bhil hunter mistakenly slaying Lord Krishna at Prabhas Patan shows that the tribe had freedom in this region. In the character of Shabri, Valmiki’s Ramayana portrays the simple and hospitable nature of the Bhil women.

Bhil tribes ruled over the Chhota Udaipur, Rajpipla and Sagbara region of Ratanmal in the Panchamahals district, the Danta region in the Banaskantha district and over principalities around Idar.

In the 11th century, Karnadeo (son of Bhimadeo, the Chalukya king who ruled over North Gujarat) marched against Asha Bhil of Asha Palli and vanquished him. He then established Karnavati, a new kingdom near Palai, in the southern suburb of Ahmedabad.

 

Location of Tribes of Gujrat

Tribes of Gujrat inhabit the rugged terrain adjoining the Aravallis, the western ridges of the Vindhya and Satpura mountain Range and the northern slopes of the Sahyadri Ranges.

The tribal belt in Gujarat consists of the districts of Danga, Surat, Broach, Baroda, Panchmahals, Sabarkantha and Banaskantha. Various sects of adivasis, mainly of Bhil Tribe and Konkan origin reside in this region.

Tribes such as the Siddhis, Rabari tribe, Padhar tribe, Mers and Bharwads live in the coastal Saurashtra districts of Junagadh, Jamnagar and Kutch.

The Siddhis are known to have come to India from East Africa and have distinct Negroid features. The Rabaris and the Mers seem to have come from the Mediterranean in early times.

The Australoid Adivasis (who have Australoid features) live in two tracts. They have Konkan features. the other group lives in the hill tracts along the state’s eastern border and comprise of the Bhil Garasias, Dungri Bhils, Ratwas, Naikas and others. They have Bhil features.

In the plains of the Surat, Broach and Bulbar Districts, there are also other tribes, such as, the Dublas, who seem to have a foreign origin, the Dhodias, who might have migrated from the Dhulia region of Maharashtra and the Choudhuris, who may have come from Orissa or West Bengal.

 

Tribes of Gujarat

In 1972, the Tribal Development Department established for effective implementation of Tribal Welfare Schemes. In 1976 Tribal Development Commissionerate was established. In 1984 separate Tribal Department.

 

Barda

The Barda means hilly region. So people from hilly region are called Barda. They are believed to have migrated to Gujarat from the Khandesh region and are hence also known as the Khandeshi Bhil. At the regional level they are regarded as a subdivision of the Bhil. Enthoven (1920) mentioned them as belonging to one of the twelve forest and hill tribes of Gujarat. The Bhil consider them as one of their group but treat them as inferior in social status because of their habit of consuming beef. They are mainly distributed in Mehsana, Ahmedabad, Baroda and Surat districts. They speak the local dialect of Gujarat and use the Devnagri script. A few communicate with outsiders in Hindi. Earlier men used to wear a loin cloth but now they wear turban, shirt and dhoti. Their women wear enormous hared ghagra (shirt) with or without inner garment. Both men and women wear brass or silver ear-rings and anklets. They are a scheduled tribe. They have well-built muscular bodies.

The Barda are non-vegetarians and take fish, egg, mutton and beef. Their staple food is bajra, jowar and wheat. They consume pulses like tur, urad, moong, moth etc. Groundnut and linseed oil are used in cooking and they consume a variety of leafy and green vegetables. Men and women take home-made alcoholic drinks. Milk is taken and they smoke bidi, cigarette and chew tabacco and betel leaves. However, largely they subsist on a gruel made of bajra.

The Barda have totemic clans, such as Ahir, Baria, Dangia, Gatkwad, Mali, Mori, Thakur and so on which are the basis of marriage alliances. They use clan names as their surnames.

 

Bawcha

Except some historical information, no written evidence is available about origin of Bawcha tribe. Bawcha must have their origin in Yadav dynasty or Pandav dynasty. This is presumed on the basis of custom of marriage between maternal cousin. This system also prevailed in Pandavas too. As heard from the elderly people in oral communication; Bawcha have migrated from Maharashtra for socio-political conditions and settled in Gujarat. According to them, Bawcha were very active during Maharaja Chhatrapati Shivaji. It is also said that Bawchas were recruited in Shivaji’s army. – See more at:

 

Bharwad

The term Bharwad is reported to be a modified form of the word ‘Badawad’ and ‘bada’ means sheep and ‘wada’ in Gujarati refers to compound or enclosure. The person who possess compounds or pens in this caste of shepherds were known as Badawad which in course of time came to be known as Gadarieas. In Sough Gujarat they are referred to as Ahirs. The Gaxetters of Amreli (1973) states that Bharwad is caste of shepherds. The Bahrwad in Saurashtra is divided into two endogamous groups vizz. Mota Bhai and Nana Bhai. There are various versions of the origin of the Bharwads. According to one version stated by Enthoven (1920) which is connoborated by the origin myths of the community, is that Gokul Vrindavan near Mathura was their original home. They then migrated to Mewar in Rajasthan and finally to Gujarat where they are spread out. Another version states that the Bharwad originated from Bharude, a community of cattle herders in Madhya Prades. They might be a section of the Ahirs of Gujart since the occupation of Ahirs is also cattle breeding. According to another account, during the eighteenth century, a tribal leader, Anavil Bharuvad, helped a King Vanraj Chavda to ecacpture the kingdom which Chavada’s father had lost to any enemy. The people who call themselves as Bharwads are descendants of Anavil Bharwads and his associated. They are mainly distributed in Junagadh, Rajkot, Surendranagar and Bhavnagar districts. They are also found in other parts of the state. Enthoven (1920) writes that Bharwads numbered 95,832 according to 1901 census. The population of Bharwads (1961 census) in Alech, Barda and Gir forests of Junagadh and a part of Jamnagar district was 59 and 531 respectively. Their population was increased to 1619 in 2001 census. They are being forcibly evicted from ‘neses’ (settlement) of Gir forest and being rehabilitated in some of the villages of Junagadh district by the forest department. They communicate in Gujarati. They use Gujarati script. The women wear kaachuru and bandi as the upper and lower garments respectively. Men usually wear an earring made of silver called Variyo. The length of turbans differs among the two divisions of Bharwads. In Alech, Barda and Gir forests they are listed as Scheduled tribes.

The Bharwads are vegetarian. The Gazetteer of India – Amreli district (1972) states that Bharwads are non-vegetarian. Jawar, bajra are the common cereals they take. Occasionally eat wheat and generally they take rice. Pulses like tur (Pigeon pea) and grams are consumed. The cooking medium is groundnut oil or polyolefin oil. They consume available vegetables and fruits. During festivals they eat homemade sweets like Ladu, Bundi, Lapsi etc. The only change is the gradual switching over to a vegetarian diet under the impact of various socio-religious movements.

 

Bhil

Bhil is the second largest tribe in India. According to census 2001 the population of Bhil tribe was 3441945 out of them were 1749813 males and 1695132 were female. The Bhil tribal community mainly resides in Rajasthan, western Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and northern Maharashtra. Some families have migrated to other states like Tripura for job in tea gardens. In Bhil tribe, sub-tribes Bhil-Garasia and Dholi Bhil are included.

 

Bhil Tribe in Gujarat

In Gujarat the population of Bhil tribe in 2001 was 34,41,945-male 17,46,813 and female 16,95,132. They are 46% of total tribal population of the state. The population includes people of sub tribes like Bhil Garasia and Dholi Bhil. Bhil tribal community mainly live in Banaskantha, Sabarkantha, Panchmahal, Bharuch, Vadodara, Surat and Dang districts. Bhil tribe is the dominant tribe in Guajarat. In north Gujarat they are close to Rajasthan Bhil and their sub tribes. In Panchmahal, Vadodara and Bharuch districts Bhil tribe is in close contact with Rathava, Dhanaka, Patelia and Nayaka who live in Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh. In south Gujarat Bhil are in close contact with other tribes of the area and tribes of Maharashtra.

Bhil tribe divided into major groups are Bhil Garasia, Vasave Bhil, Pawra Bhil and Tadai Bhil. There are some minor groups.

 

Charan

The Charan is a small tribe in the state, their total population in year 2001 was 2481 (0.035), 1299 male and 1182 female. They are also called Gadhvi. According to Enthoven (1920) the name Charan is derived from the word char which means grazing. The Charans were bards attached to royal courts to spread royal fame by singing praises. As they use to look after Gadh’s (forts) in golden days, they are also known as Gadhvi. They are distributed in all districts of Gujarat. The population of Charan, notified as Scheduled Tribe in the areas of Barda, Gir and Alech records 2481, according to 2001 census. They speak Gujarati and use Gujarati script. The traditional man’s dress consists of a pair of trousers, a waist cloth, a jacket, a loose short cotton coat and turban around the head. Women wear a petticoat, a jacket, a robe and a black woolen blanket over the head. The male wear a silver anklet in the left foot, a gold finger ring, a necklace and a gold ear ring while females wear silver bracelets, silver anklets, gold necklace, a gold nose ring and a gold or silver ear rings.

The Charan are strictly vegetarian and their staple food is Jawar or barjri roti with tur, moong and moth and occasionally seasonal vegetables. They drink milk and are in the habit of smoking bidi and chewing tobacco.

There are four endogamous groups among the Charans known as Prajia, Seva, Agarvacha and Tumbel. Hierarchical order does exist between these groups. Most of the Charans belongs to Prajia group. The first three groups are cattle breeders, whereas the fourth work as agricultural laborer, contract labourer and also cattle breeders. Each group has a number of clans. Pralias have the clans like Bavada, Bati, Gaganiar, Raba, Gagoria, Karnal, Jaysar, Takeria; Seva has clans like Bada, Talia, Basodia, Heykadia, Giga, Gujaria; Agarvacha has clans like Taperia, Hangaria, Kerwa and Dhanjog. The main function of these clans is to regulate marriage alliances.

 

Choudhuri / Choudhury

The Choudhury are a well-documented community, with studies having conducted on this community since 1900. The term Choudhra is also used for the Choudhury community, though during 1961. Census Choudhura and Choudhari appeared as independent groups with their respective population figures (Choudhara – 6,107 and Choudhri 1,37,469) in Gujarat. The population according to census 2001 was 2,82,392, males 1,41,512 and females were 1,40,880.

In 2001 In the rural areas they are called choudhara while in urban areas as Chaudhury claim Rajput descent. A section of the Choudhury, call themselves ‘Ravalia’ after the last Rajput ruler of Pavagarh. Patel Raval. The Choudhury of Vyara as well as Mandavi talukas claim that they migrated from Pavagarh and settled in this part of the state about five hundred years back. According the 1981 census the Choudhury population records as 2,19,897 and Choudhura, 5,646, totally to 2,25,361. They speak in Choudhra dialect and they are also well conversant with Gujarati. The Gujarati script is used.

The Choudhury are non-vegetarian. The common cereals are rice, Kodra, jowar and wheat. The pulses such as toovar and urad, and grams are taken. Tea is taken regularly. Alcohol is also consumed procured from the market. Fruits and vegetables are a part of the diet but occasionally consumed. Chewing betel leaves and smoking bidi are common habits among the men folk, though it has become very limited by 2010.

The Choudhhury have three endogamous divisions, namely; Paragadia, Naladri and Valvda, According to the 1961 census, they are further segmented into nine exogamous divisions called kuls (clans) such as Bamania, Dharat, Kanabi, Rajput, Ravelia, Valivi, Vashi, Hajarnia and Desai. Ganshyam Shah (1977) has mentioned five sections “Nana, Mota, Valvi, Tekaria and Bonda”. Nana Choudhury are treated higher than the other section, the Mota. The Valiv, Tekaria, and Bonda are territorial groups. Nana and Mota Choudhury are the numerically largest section while the rest are spread over Songadh, Mongool, and Mahuva Talukas. They have a story to relate to their origin; it is said that a cow belonging to a Choudhury family died and its corpse was carried outside the village by two brothers, the elder (Mota) and the younger (Nana). The elder brother did not observe the obligatory customary ablutions but only washed his hands and feet with a few drops of water. The descendants of the elder brother were hence called ‘Chatala’ which means ‘sprinkled with drops’. The ‘Nana’ descendants of the younger brother i.e. Nani who had immersed his body in water in accordance with custom, consider themselves “Elokpuri” which means “the pure ones”. Both Mota and Nana are endogamous. The Choudhury are again classified into two groups i.e. Varjelas and Sarjelas, depending on the extent to which they have been influenced by reformist ideas the Varjelas are a reformed group, follows of different gurus leading a life in accordance with the reformist ideas of the guru concerned but Sarjelas, who continue their traditional ways of life.

 

Chodhara

Only in 1981 & 2001 Census they classified as Chodhari and Chodhara in caste wise and District wise. Chodhara Tribe Main population in Narmada, Bharuch & Surat District.

 

Dhodia

The term Dhodia has been derived from ‘Dhulia’, a place in Maharashtra from where two Rajput princes namely Dhan Singh and Roop Singh came to this area. They met two beautiful Naika women and got married to them. And thus, a new community was formed and the progeny of these are called ‘Dhodia’. Another legend traces their origin from the word Dholaka Dhandhuka, a place near the south bank of Narmada River where Dhana and Roopa married the Naika women named Sani and Jheeni. It is also said that they belonged to Jadav Rajputs, the descendants of Lord Krishna. Due to disturbance at Dwarka, they came to south Gujarat and settled. They had come with cattle (dhor) so they were being called Dhorwala in the beginning. Later on, the term ‘Dhodia’ was derived from it. This legend narrates that Dhana and Roopa migrated to their present habitat with thousands of community people. The Dhodia are mainly distributed in Surat and Valsad district of Gujarat. The Dhodia are also distributed in Bharuch, Vadodara, Ahmedabad, and Dangs districts. They are a scheduled tribe. The population of this community was 3,58,773 according to 1971 census and 5,89,108 according to census 2001 out which 2,96,115 male and 2,92,993 female. They speak in Dhodia dialect, among themselves. They know Gujarati and use the Gujarati script for writing. The main distinguishing feature to differentiate Dhodia woman from others is the style of their draping the charaka.

The Dhodia are non-vegetarians. Staple food for them is rice, wheat and jawar. Rice makes main part of their diet. Pulses of tur, urad, moong, wal and gram make the part of their diet. Intake of vegetables has increased in their dietary habits and they eat the available seasonal fruits. They take milk and milk products tea daily. Oil of ground nut is used for preparation of food items. Their male members take alcoholic drinks. They smoke bidi and loose tobacco. Cigarette is smoked by educated and well to do persons. Lapsi is a sweet preparation which is cooked occasionally on festive occasions.

The Dhoida community has a number of exogamous clans which are equal in status. This also shows their descent and most of the clans are named after some communities with whom the Jadav Rajputs believed to have made contact after settling down in their present habitat. Some of the common clans (jut) are Desari, Naika, Garasia, Mehta, Joshi, Rawat, Ahir, Vajaria, Rupasari, Gaikwad, Sadu Bamaniya, Pradhaniya, Kedariya, etc. These clans are also locally known as kud. Each clan has its headman who propitiates the clan deity. The Dhodia enjoy good social status in the local social hierarchy. They are placed after Brahman, Vania, Rajput, Kanbi, Ahir, etc. They are placed above the tribes like Gamit, Dubla, Naika, Kokna, Chodhury, Kotwalia, Warli and Kolcha.

 

Gamit

Gamit believe that they belong to The Sun dynasty Rajput community. It is believed that they might have migrated to India via Khaibar Ghat and Bolanghat of Sindh region and then they might have proceeded to Marwad areas. This is supported by the songs of leel sung by Gamit old ladies during Holi festival. They perform ‘Pooja’ on any social or religious occasions. The first God to be worshiped is the Sun God. All other Gods are worshiped after this. Another school of thought indicates that the word ‘Gamit’ came from the word ‘Gam’ – a village. That those who got settled in a village (a Gam) are Gamits. They are also known as Vasava (those who settled).

 

Gond

Mr. Hinslow believed that Gond must be a kind of code. He used to write Khand in a code word. Gond people speak Gondi dialects which are derived from a mix of Tamil, Kanada and Telugu. It could therefore be presumed that they might have come from South India to Madhya Pradesh. Their route could be Chandana through Godovari River and then upper part of Indravati River and thereafter south and east hills, Chhatisgadh plain, reaching to Vardha and thereafter hills of Satpudo. A Gond dynasty is said to have ruled for several centuries in Chandama. There, they could have developed contacts with Telugu people and could have acquired “Gond” name. With this name and identity, they must have migrated to easten direction. In Gujarat State, they are mainly settled in the districts of Surat, Bharuch, Vadodara and Panchmahals.\

 

Halpati

Dubla is Hindi means ‘thin’ or ‘weak’, even though physically they are stout. They claim to be the descendants of the Rajputs. Actually they remained economically very weak due to their dependency on the ladlords whom they served as hali for a considerably long time. The Dubla are also known as ‘Halpati’. Holi means a permanent agricultural labourer who ploughs the field and his family also serves the landlords by working in the house and in the fields. Enthoven (1920) says that “the Dublas or weaklings, as their names is said to mean, are a feeble people, soon aged by their hard life and their fondness for liquor”. Sinha (1988) considers that the term. ‘Dhubla’ has relevance to their poor economy and hardships in life. Shah (1958) writes that when Parashuram was killing all the Kshatriyas (warrors), the Rathors to save their lives told him that they were the Talavias (living on the bank of the tank) thereby saving their lives. Since then, they are known as Talavia Rathors. The Talavia is one of the subdivisions of the Dubla community which is numerically the largest section and an endogamous group. The Dubla are chiefly distributed in Surat, Valsad, Bharuch and Vadodara districts. They speak in Gujarati language and use Gujarati script. They have been listed under the category of scheduled tribes.

Shah (1958) writes that the Dublas are an isolated and foreign element in the population of Gujarat. The isolation is more prominent in case of minimum frontal breadth, auricular height, sitting length and lastly upper facial length. As regards other characteristics, Dublas have lower, if not lowest mean value for stature.

The Dubla are non-vegetarian consuming mutton, fish, chicken and eggs. Rice is staple food for them. Now, they have started taking wheat and jowar also. Pulses of tur, urad and wal are consumed by them. They are almost all vegetables and seasonal fruits which are locally available. They use Pamoline, soybean and groundnut oil for cooking. They consume alcohol preparing it from the mahuah flowers. They take tea daily. They smoke bidi.

 

Kukana

Unlike other tribes, there has been no legend or no prevalent belief about origin of this tribe. Therefore, special efforts are required to trace out the historical background of this tribe.

One inference can be drawn very easily from the name ‘Kukana’, and it can be considered if they have migrated from Konkan patti in Thana District (Maharashtra). Even to-day, some Kukana’s are still there. But then, why did they migrate from this place to Gujarat? There has been a story running. Nevertheless, they look like Konkan people and there is hardly any difference between these two communities. In both these areas, people look alike; they have dark complexion and they have height around 5′ – 6″ and their nose is also broad and flat. The women have little fair complex on as compared to men folk.

 

Kunbi

The term ‘kun’ means people and ‘bi’ means seeds; so Kunbi means those who germinate more seeds from one seed. The community people call themselves Kunbi and others also recognise them as the same. The Kukana is a synonymous term for the Kunbi. The Kunbi are mainly distributed in Bangs district. They are also distributed in the districts of Surat and Valsad. The Kunbi who are inhabited in the north of Dangs are influenced by the language and culture of Maharashtra and those of south Dangs by south Gujarat. According to 1981 census their population in Dangs district was 35,214 and under 2001 census population of Kunbi was 43,292, out of which 21,806 were male and 21,486 were female. They communicate with family and kin members in Dagni dialect. Hindi and Gujarati languages are spoken to communicate with the outsiders. Gujarati and Marathi scripts are used. Tattooing marks are reported among them. The community belongs to the constitutional status of scheduled tribes.

The Kunbis are non-vegetarians. They take fish, meat, eggs etc. They prefer roti and rice. The roti is made up of nagli and occasionally with wheat. They consume all pulses and vegetables. Palmolin oil is the cooking medium. They consume seasonally available fruits occasionally. They take alcoholic drinks which are prepared in their own households with mohua flowers. The smoking habit is prevalent among them. Rarely do they chew betel.

 

Naikda

The Naikas are also called Mota Naika in Chikhli Taluka and Navsari district and Mahuva, Surat and Songadh taluka in Surat district and Nana Naika in other parts of Surat district respectively…

View MoreThe Naikas are also called Mota Naika in Chikhli Taluka and Navsari district and Mahuva, Surat and Songadh taluka in Surat district and Nana Naika in other parts of Surat district respectively. Shah (1959) states that etymologically the term Naika means a leader-a chief or a governor who exercises command over a group of people. The word is also used as a title .by the Kings of Vijayanagar and lords of Madurai. They trace their origin from those Naikas (chief or commanders) of armies of Dharampur. According to one legend, Naikas and Dhodias are believed to have descended from Rupa Khatri and Dhana Khatri respectively. Naikas used to act as sacred specialists in the, marriage rituals of the Dhodia community. They are mainly distributed in Surat, Valsad and Vadodara districts with a thin pocket of concentration in north and central parts of Gujarat. They are a scheduled1 tribe community. In some areas of Dharampur they speak a language called Naiki, a mixture of Gujarati and Marathi but Gujarati is largely spoken among themselves and in relation to others. They use Gujarati script. Their total population in the state was 2,80,230 according to 1981 census and under census 2001 total population of Nayakas was 3,93,024 out of them 1,99,652 were male and 1,93,372 were female. Serological data of the Nayaka by Vyas (1962) suggests a more or less equal frequencies of A and B genes, a slight excess of the latter, in the ABO system, a general trend observed in the area. In the Rh gene complex, they have Rl (75%), the predominant type and show similar frequencies of R3, and R2 like that of Dhodia. They share the characteristic features of the Gujarat tribes in having a very high incidence of N gene (51%) in the MN system. They also record a moderate to high incidence of the sickle cell trait (about 16%).

The Naikas are non vegetarians. However they do not eat beef and carrion, bajra or rice is the staple food. Seasonally available vegetables, fried chilly and a little oil are consumed. Red gram, green gram, urad and tur are the pulses used frequently. Roots or tubers are sometimes used. Fruits are rarely eaten. Both ground nut and palmolin oil are used as cooking media. Those who rear cow or buffaloed take milk or butter milk. Others cannot afford to do so. Consumption of alcoholic drinks is quite common even on usual days. Sweets of meethapur, guyra (derived out of rawa) or rawaladdu and meat or chicken are eaten during festivals. The Naika have two main endogamous divisions; Naikas of south Gujarat, Naika of Baroda and Panchamahal districts of central Gujarat. Again the Naikas of South Gujarat have two endogamous divisions having equal status viz. Kapadia Naika and Choliwala Naika. Each division consists of several clans like. Andherivadvi, Vaghad, Vaghya, Pahu, Chawra, Bharahat, Vadu, Moorai, Githira, Singda, Baraf etc, which have come into existence on some memorable deeds or eating habits of ancestors. All clans enjoy equal status and are exogamous in nature. Thus the regulation of mate selection is the main function of a clan. The Naika community considers itself as socially equivalent to Dhodia tribe but above Muslims, Parsis, Warlis, Koknas and Dublas. However, the Naika community is placed by others after Brahmans, Banias, Koli Patels, Anavil Brahmans, Dhodias and at par with Muslims and Parsis and above Dublas, ‘Warlis, Harijans and Waghri in local social hierarchy. In recent years, very few male Naikas living in urban habitats have started suffixing the term Patel to their names in order to elevate their social position. Between the Kapadia and Choliwalas a sort of hypergamy was existing (Shah 1959). But now it is not observed. Matrimonial alliances are by exogamous nature of clan. Neither a ritual is observed or is bride-price paid in the case of widow remarriage. In-such alliances the consent of two or three village elders is sufficient to give social sanction. Both boys and girls are married off between the ages of 18 to 21 years. They also have khandado (gharjamai) system of marriage. The Naikas living in urban centres also have half marriage in which the man and woman live together without a formal marriage. Community marriages are practiced only in selected habitats. Although polygamy is not forbidden, yet, monogamy is the prevalent form of marriage. Payal (anklet), ear rings and sindur (vermilion) are the symbols of a married woman. They have a system of paying bride price. The amount of bride price varies. Divorce is permitted On grounds of maladjustment between the spouses, adultery of women and cruel treatment and impotency of husband. The dehaj (bride price) is to be returned if a woman seeks divorce and as fixed by the panch. The panch consists of two persons from each party and one elderly person. Children can be retained by the mother also if her second husband has no objection. Remarriage of a widow/ widower is allowed, and junior sorrorate, levirate is preferred in case of death of any of the spouses. A widow is required to wait for at least six to twelve months, after her husband’s death for remarriage. The age at marriage has been increased.

 

Patelia

The term ‘Patelia’ has been derived from the term Patel which locally means ‘headman’. The Patelias are mostly distributed in Panchamahal district. They are also distributed in Surat, Kheda, Sabarkantha and Ahmedabad districts. They speak among themselves in Bhili and with outsiders in Gujarati. They use Gujarati script. They also speak in Hindi. They have been listed under the category of scheduled tribes; according to 1981 census, their population was 70,230 and in 2001 they were 1,09,390. The Patelia are non-vegetarian. They take mutton, chicken, eggs and fish. Maize and wheat constitute staple diet for them. Rice is taken occasionally. They eat pulses of tur, urad, gram, chawala and moong. Ground nut oil is used for cooking purposes. They consume all the vegetables available in their area. Locally available fruits they take. They make use of roots and tubers also which they gather from the forest. Consumption of alcoholic drinks is common among them. They distill liquor from mahua (Bassia latifoliaj) or mollasses. They smoke bidi and use tobacco. The community has a number of exogamous clans. All the clans enjoy an equal status. The Patelia clans have been grouped under six broader categories; they appear to have been borrowed from Rajputs. They are Farmer, Solanki, Jadav, Chauhan, Gohil and Rathor. Parmar includes Skya, Bhagat, Gangodiya Budia, Glot, Godad, Wagal, Chautar, Kochara Devaliya, Suswad and Eal, clans. Solanki Comprises of Jhaniya, Rojada (Rose), Nalwaya, ananiya, Cohari, Bariya, Chopada and Hihor. Jadav consists of clans like Khaped, Bhuriya, Damor, Hathila. Chauhan includes clans like B’habhor, Pasya, Katara, Mori, Dundawa, Dhokiya and Wawadiya. Gohil have only one clan, Gamar Rathore includes clans like Chota and Bada. According to the Gazetteer of India (1972), “The Patelias found in Dohad claims Rajput descent”. This is the plausible explanation for the grouping of clans under Rajput clan categories.

The Patelia are monogamous. They follow community endogamy and clan exogamy. They also exclude the members of the clan of mother’s brother in marriage alliances. The marriage age for the girls is from sixteen to eighteen years and for boys it is from eighteen to twenty years. Negotiated marriage type is most prevalent, but lugda-ladi (marriage without full rites) and bhagedi-vivah (marriage by elopement) are also prevalent among them. The symbols of the marital status of a woman are mangalsutra (beed necklace), kankcu in hair parting, nose pin and toe rings. Bride price is paid in cash. The Patelias are patrilineal in descent and patrilocal in residence. Divorce and remarriages are permitted. Widow remarriage (naturun) is also allowed. This involves a brief ritual. In cases of divorce, the children become the responsibility of the father. Compensation is paid to the aggrieved party.

Extended and nuclear types of families co-exist among the Patelia. They favour extended type of family. The daughter-in-law maintains avoidance relations with her husband’s father and elder brother as she keeps a veil before them. Property is equally divided among the sons. The eldest son succeeds the father. Inter- family linkages within and outside the community remain warm and friendly. : Women do not inherit parental property. They fully help their men folk in the economic activities. They participate in all, the various agricultural operations. Apart from this they also do’ tile household work. Patelia women are also employed in permanent jobs. They contribute to the family income in a big way and play an important role in the management of family affairs. Patelia women collect fuel and fodder. They also participate in socio religious activities. However the final authority rests upon the eldest male in the family. Women have a lower social status than men.

 

Pomla

The people call themselves Pomla while other community people refer them by different synonyms like Pomla. Topiwala, Chabriwala etc. In Indore city of Madhya Pradesh state, from where they are said to have migrated other community people refer to them as Barguda, as their traditional occupation was making broom (/horu). The Pomla has migrated to Baroda first and stayed in the open fields located in front of “Kal Bhavan” palace of the ruler of Baroda. Later they were granted land for constructing huts or houses from the Royal family during the reign of Sayaijirao Gaikwad. The Pomla are distributed in several districts i.e., Ahmedabad, Bharuch, Baroda, Surat, Panch Mahals, Kheda etc. Their population in Gujarat is 819 (2001 census). Mother tongue of the Pomla community is Pomla dialect. They use Gujarati script. Gujarati language is their second language which is spoken with others. Men are conversant with Hindi and Marathi languages too. Pomla is a very small scheduled tribe.

The Pomla community is non-vagetarian. Their staple food is rotla made of jawar or bqjra flour during summer season. However, they take rotla of wheat or bajra flour in the lunch while they eat rice in the evening. Dal, sak (vegetables) and occasionally non-vegetarian dishes (fish, meat or egg curry) constitute their full diet. Tur, moong and mosur pulses are preferred by them. Their cooking medium is pamolin oil and very rarely they use groundnut oil. Consumption of roots and tubers is not very common. Men take locally available alcoholic drinks, occasionally. They take fruits once in a while. Children of the Pomla community are given milk occasionally but consumption of milk products is rare. Smoking bidi is prevalent in the, community and chewing of tobacco and betel leaf is also common. Special dishes are prepared on festive occasions. Due to poor economic conditions, they are becoming vegetarian from non-vegetarianism.

This community has few social divisions like atak (clan). Only four ataks are reported among them. These are Satpara, Looria, Limari and Batti. Clan hierarchy exists in, their socio-political sphere. Batti atak kinsmen get chieftainship of the community. Traditionally, boys and girls of this clan used to be married with only Looria boys and girls. Now-a-days, this type of preferential marriage is not being practiced. These ataks have goddesses like Melari mata, Wanbati mata, Khatarpar mata, Makali mata, Chamunda mata. These clans govern the marital alliances. They suffix their community name as surname. Self-perception of this community about themselves is medium in this area. Perception of other communities regarding them is low.

 

Rabari

The word bhopa is derived from the words ‘bhumi palak’, i.e. ruler of the land and Rabari is a one who is wealthy. The word Rabari may also mean the one who is beyond rules and regulations. However, the exact etymology of these words is not clearly known. Bhopa is the short name used for a group of Rabaris who are referred as Bhopa Rabari. The government records and the literature refer to them as Bhopa or Rabari who have eight endogamous groups viz., Gujarati, Kutchi, Vaghed, Debar, Panchal, Venu, Jhalawadi, Bhopa and Sorathiya. They had migrated from Rajasthan via Kutch to Okhamandal and now most of the Bhopa Rabaris are, distributed in the Okhamandal region of Jamnagar district. They speak a language which is a mixture of Gujarati, Kachchi and Marwari words and Pharasi; it is popularly known as a language, by the community name, i.e. Bhopa. This Bhopa tongue is used while communicating with the family members other kin and the community members, but Gujarati admixed with Kachchi with the members of other communities. They use Gujarati script. A Bhopa male or female can be identified by their dress. There are specific ornaments for young, adult and old males which differ with regard to their marital status and number of children. The population according to census 2001 was 15,417 out of which 8,027 were male and 7390 female. The literacy among women is very low, Total 4,733 were literate out of which 2,996 were male and 1,737 female.

Most of the Bhopa are vegetarian. Those who are non-vegetarian eat mutton, egg, chicken and pork. The staple foods are bajra, jowar, and rice taken along with all kinds of pulses and vegetables. Palmolin or ground nut oil is the cooking media. Milk, products are consumed daily by a majority of the community members. They have elaborate prescriptions related to taking certain food items during the festivals and fairs specific to them. Shift to vegetarianism is an important change noticeable amongst the Bhopas. Consequently there has been an increase in the consumption of pulses and vegetables.

The different groups of Rabari enjoy an equal status and the differentiation of these groups is largely based on territorial affiliation and to some extent on social aspects for the different groups practice considerably different customs and follow divergent practices. The Bhopa have different clans (ataks) such as Mordav, Ganghor, Luna, Gujar, etc. The ataks which have the same kul-devi are considered fraternal ataks. These, ataks mainly regulate the marital alliances between the different groups. Bhopa as a group of Rabari are included in the their-tasili cluster of communities like Bharwad, Charan, Ghedia Koli, Ahir, Rajput, Lohar, Sutar, etc. All the their-tasili groups have commensally relations but not the connubial ties. Because of this, they are considered equivalent to Rajputs, so, placed in the Kshatrlya Varna. Other communities in the area also consider them to be Kshatriyas.

 

Rathwa

The name of the tribe has been derived from the term “rathbistar” which means the forest and hilly areas. Thus the people who are the inhabitants of the rathbistar are called Rathwas. They are also known as Rathawa Koli. They recall their migration from the adjoining state of Madhya Pradesh. They are mainly distributed in the Chhota Udaipur, Jabugam and Nasvadi talukas of Vadodara district and also in Halol, Kalol and Baria talukas of Panchmahal district. According to 1981 Census, their total population was 3,08,640. According census 2001 the population of Rathwa was 5,35,284 out which 273296 were male and 2,61,988 female. The Rathvi is the medium of communication within the family and with kin members while Gujarati in relation to others and for writing Gujarati script is used. They communicate with the outsiders in Hindi also. The traditional dress of the adult male members are langoti (loin cloth), kachuta and the phenta (headgear). Now young people wear pant and shirt. The female members dress up with the ghagaro (lower garment) and cholia (upper garment). The women wear kala (armlet) made up of chandi (silver) but kala, (armlet) of men is of iron. They also wear fasi at the wrist which is made up of silver. They wear biti (finger ring). They have tattoo marks on their body. They have been included in the list of the scheduled tribes.

The Rathwa are occasionally non-vegetarian. They take meat fish, eggs and chicken. They take rotla (homemade bread), rice, dal (pulses) and sabji (vegetables) as a staple food. Pamolin oil is the cooking medium. Seasonally available vegetables are consumed. They take non-alcoholic beverages kadhi (buttermilk) and chhas (butter-milk with spices). They also take home brewed alcoholic drinks, and smoke tobacco.

The community has various petha (clans) like Hamania, Thebaria, Mahania, Kothari Baka, Fadia etc. which are exogamous. The Rathwa perceive them as having the middle order rank in the local social hierarchy but other communities place them at a lower level. They suffix father’s name and the community’s name to their names.

 

Warli

The Warli is a well known tribe who are mostly living in the mountainous regions of Dharampur and Vansda talukas and in the coastal region of Umbergaon taluka of Valsad district. Their main concentration is in Umbergaon’ taluka. They are also distributed in Panchmahals, Surat, Bharuch, Vadodara, Sabarkantha, Banaskantha and Mehasana districts in very small numbers. According to 2001 census, their population is 2,55,271. Pandya (1981) writes ethnologically the word Warli has originated from Warud. As the records show, in Satpura of Vindhya mountain ranges, three anarya tribes went to reside, namely Nishad, Vyas; and Warud. ‘Warud’ was later distorted and it became ‘Warli’. He! further writes, in Bhagwato Mandal dictionary, it has been written that Warli (F) means an aboriginal tribe which is proficient in digging out roots and transplanting new, trees in the forests and are also involved in agriculture. Save (1945) writes that “the Warlis are an aboriginal tribe living in the north-eastern part of the Thana district- Dharampur and Bansda states in the Surat Agency and the western part of the Nasik district, especially on the eastern slopes of the Sahyadris”. According to him, Warli has its root in the word warul which means forest or fanatic. The Warli tribe is divided into three groups viz. Rusi or Davar, Kilwat or Murdey and Nehri. The Davar form a major group of Warlis in the state. The Davar Warlis who live in coastal villages are known as Pathar Warlis i.e., near sea areas, Mandal and Malhotra (1983) write, “In Warli mythology it is said that when God was creating mankind he gave Warlis a plough, therefore, they became Kulambi-farmer”. It is said that the Warlis have migrated to south Gujarat from Konkan area of Maharashtra due to the pressure of the British. It is also believed that it may be due to imperialistic movement of the Marathas. The Warli speak their own language which is mixture of Khandeshi Bhili dialect and Marathi. They speak Gujarati and use Gujarati script. They also make use of Marathi words in their conversation. A Warli woman wears choli, (a type of blouse), a four yard sari called lugda. A man wears a bush-shirt, or a half sleeve shirt, or sleeve less jacket and a half-pant or a striped under-wear. Earlier, old women, used to wear a loin cloth around the waist to cover the genitals. On the upper part of the body they used nothing. Men also used to cover the head with a turban.

The Warli are non-vegetarian. They eat the meat of deer, goat, wild rabbit, fowls, pigeons and peacocks, but the most favorite non-vegetarian dish is that of fish. Dry fish is mixed with dal (pulse) or vegetable and then eaten with rotlas (thick breads of nagli, wheat, jowar or rice). Staple food is nagli and rice. Rice is relished with chutney. Pulses of urad (green gram), tur (pigon pea) and gram make a part of their diet. Rice-gruel is taken in the morning as breakfast. Wild roots of vora are eaten during the winter season, besides tubers, spinach and a number of leafy vegetables in their day to day intake. The Warli make use of palmoline and groundnut oils for preparation of food items. They brew liquor prepared from mahua and molasses for their own consumption and supply to others also. Seasonal fruits which they get from the forest are consumed occasionally. Using milk for preparation of tea is very limited due to non-availability of milk. They keep asitra (timroo) leaves for preparation of bidi in their pockets and- roll it when they feel like smoking. They produce fire with the help of a chakmak stone, iron and cotton.

 

Tadvi

Why Dhankas had different surnames? Why they were known as Tadvi instead of Valvi, or why Tetariya? There have been several popular beliefs behind this. According to one such belief, during famine period, they ale the meat of horse and they were known as Tadvi, one who rides over horse. Those who ale the meat of a bird Tetar, became Tetariya. Dhankas and Tadvi’s usually consume meat, fish etc., but according to one knowledgeable person, Tetariyas are perhaps an exception. Another legend considers them to be Rajput Chauhan of Pawagadh. However, the names, family names and surnames or social customs indicate that they are a sub-tribe of Bhils only.

 

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