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(Continued from Part-7)

Worship and Devotion

The Tanda of Gors followed some definite principles of life. The references to their faith in life and work are seen in the prayer of the goddess. Gors are worshippers of Goddess. The goddesses viz. Tulaja, Mathara, Sitala, Hingala, Kankali, Durga, Maryamma are called as Banjaran goddesses in Nimad region. The goddess of Rammya Khola clan is called as Wagai. In every clan the God is worshipped as the god of the family. Legend says that the Maramma goddess was once after the life of Gors. The devotees worship her to keep her calm, making her pleased is considered difficult. She puts her devotees in more trouble. Worship of this goddess is prevalent in Gors since ancient times. Sewabhaya was supposed to be her last devotee. Gor call her a Maramma (Yadi). The goddess is shown riding a tiger, having spear and sword in her hand and with golden hair. The prayer that is sung to praise the goddess contains principles of life. It is as follows:

¨É®úªÉɨÉÉ ªÉÉb÷Ò EòÒ +É®úiÉÒ... VÉä VÉä ¨É®úªÉɨÉÉ ªÉÉb÷Ò ¤ÉÉä±É...VÉè VÉè... JÉb÷ÒªÉÉ®úÒ +ɺɴÉÉ®úÒ ®äúhÉÉå, {Ébä÷iÉÒ JÉb÷Ò Eò®úhÉÉå ºÉ¨É®ú +ÉäiÉ +Éb÷ +ÉhÉÉå, ªÉÉb÷Ò ¨É®úªÉɨÉÉ... JÉä{É ´É]õÉ´Éä ´ÉiÉ ¯û{ÉÉ, ®äú±É SɱÉÉhÉÉå ªÉÉb÷Ò... nùÒ {ɽþ®ú ºÉɽþÒ ´Éä³ýÉä, SÉÉ®ú {ɽþ®ú VÉÉMÉiÉ ®äúhÉÉå... ®úÉEò +]õÉ´É +ÉäiÉ {ÉÉEò Eò®ú±Éä ªÉÉb÷Ò... ¤ÉÉMÉ ¤ÉMÉÒSªÉÉ ¡Öò±É´ÉÉb÷Ò ½þ®úҦɮúÒ ®úJÉÉb÷, JÉÖ]õÉ ¨ÉÆMÉÖ®úÒxÉ ºÉÉ<Ç ´ÉäºÉ, ÊEòb÷Ò ¨ÉÖÆMÉÒxÉ ºÉÉ<Ç ´ÉäºÉ, ¤ÉÉ±É ¤ÉSSÉÉ®ú ºÉÉ<Ç ´ÉäºÉ, ºÉÉ´ÉEòÉ®äú®ú ºÉ¨ÉxÉEò ®úEòÉb÷, EòSÉä®úÒ®äú {ÉÉSÉxÉ EòÉfø, Eòɳäý ¨ÉÉlÉä®ú ¨ÉxÉCªÉÉ UôÉ, {ÉMÉä {ÉMÉä¨ÉÉ SÉÖEòÉSÉÉ, ¦ÉÖ±ÉÒ SÉÖEòÒ ¨ÉÉ¡ò Eò®ú, Eò¤ÉÖ±ÉÉä Eò¤ÉÖ±É Eò®ú ªÉÉb÷Ò ¨É®úªÉɨÉÉ...

Meaning: First the goddess has been described in detail. May you be pleased with all of living tribes, all children and may you protect us always. Our fields and plantations should always remain green. Our travel during the goods transport should be complete without pain. Even though we load ash for trade, turn it into silver. Let the goods double. The bags loaded on oxen are safe. The instrument used for cattle should also be protected. We can’t survive without cattle. Hence save them. The death should not lift us before clearing all the debt of the money lender. Keep us away from the clutches of the courts. Man is to err, please forgive us. And accept the sacrifice of goat.

Dhabukar

Even though the Gors are worshippers of goddess they have a custom of offering Dhabukar in the name of ancestors. In Maharashtra there is a custom of offering food and worshipping the ancestors in Marathi month of Bhadrapad. In the same manner the ancestors are remembered in every household of the Tanda on the occasion of Diwali and Holi. Favourite food items of the ancestors are prepared and its five portions are put into holy fire. The court yard of the house is cleaned and water is sprinkled there. Water is also sprinkled at the place where the cattle are rested to purify the area. This ritual is known as Dhabukar. For the ancestor who is known to have had habit of drinking some liquor is sprinkled for him. This is known as ‘Dhar Deyar.’

Bhog

The goddess is worshipped with a sacrifice. This offering is prepared in a vegetarian way. In some of the clans there is a tradition of offering in the memory of sages, saints and great men. In Harawel clan the special offering is made to Balaji. A pit is prepared in the courtyard so as to accommodate an elongated cooking ware. Male members then cook a recipe called as ‘Kadhav’ made from wheat. When the food is ready all the Tanda members are called to give the offering (Bhog). They stand in a circle and pray. Then the person in whose courtyard the food is prepared, asks permission of all and offers the ‘Kadhav’ and other sweet items to the fire. All members bow in front of the fire and then the food (prasadam) is distributed to all. Now there is also a tradition of making the offering in the name of Sewabhaya. For it chanting of the name is followed by the same procedure as above. There was no other method of worship in this tribe. A custom of community lunch (Bhandara) is also in vogue now. All the members of the Tanda contribute money and then the food is presented. Activities like religious discourses (Bhajan, Pravachan) are arranged on this occasion.

Bhog (Dhabukar)

The Nagaswami Baba of Udaipur was perhaps a Jogi. Gor Banjara had faith in him. He was not worshipped except on the occasion of marriages. The offering of 1 rupee seems to be connected with his name. There was a religious figure named Bhajan Baba in 16th Century in Malawa area. He belonged to Ramanna Khola linage. He propounded the principles of non-violence, truth and justice along with devotion. There was a great sage named Lala Fatta from the same clan and Bhajan Baba was his worshipper. In the end Lala Fatta went to Kashi. Facts about his further life are not known. Still, since my clan is ‘Ramanna Khola’ I enquired about it from my parents. He was basically from Khairagarh. He traveled to all tribesmen living in the mountain region and propagated the feeling of devotion among them. The people belonging to Ramanna Khola clan offer food in his name on the occasion of Diwali and Holi. The women of this clan take bath and go to fetch water. They worship the place of the water as the Ganga River. The cows are also worshipped and the cow dung is applied on the forehead. This clan has the honour to celebrate Diwali and Holi first in the Tanda. By saying ‘Lal patar pujer’ an item made up of wheat and jaggery is offered to the fire lit in a small square. The girls are not given portion of this offering. The people of Ramanna Khola clan do not eat poori, chapatti made up of gram and jaggery (puranpoli) and meat of Teetar bird and deer. When the worship of Lala Fatta is over then only the other members of the Tanda offer the ‘Dhabukar.’

Custom of Samat Sati

People belonging to Palathya Chavan clan worship Samat Dada and Sati Mata. There is a temple at Vandegahi village in the Nasik district of Maharashtra. It is their place of worship. Legend has it that the son of a Samat named Dhanawat denounced the worldly life and became a sage. His disciple named Sati Mata was of Brahmin caste. The Sati Mata is first worshipped in the morning. Some sweet items are offered to her. It is said that she was unmarried. Her flag is white in colour. After her worship is over the Samat Dada is offered the sacrifice of goat. The girls of this clan are not given share of this offering. If any girl eats the offering by mistake it is believed that the Samat follows her after her marriage. The colour of the Samat’s flag is Red. A red flag is shown in front the house where Samat is worshipped.

The Bhog of Sewabhaya

A great saint named Sewabhaya was born in this caste. His Samadhi is situated at Pohara Umari in Akola district of Maharashtra State. It is a pilgrimage center of the Gor Banjaras in the country. A huge fair is organized here on the occasion of Ram Navami every year. A sweet item made up of wheat is prepared on this occasion and distributed to all as a portion of the offering. First the offering to Sewabhaya is given in a fireplace (Dhuni) in front of the Samadhi. At a short distance from this place is the temple of Maryamma Yadi. She is offered goats in sacrifice. The practice is still on today in which thousands of goats are sacrificed. Both the Sewabhaya and Maryamma Yadi are worshipped on the occasion. The temples of these two have also been constructed in number of Tandas. Sewabhaya was a devotee of Maryamma Devi. The people from Sewabhya’s lineage are still alive. They are the chiefs of this temple.

The Prayer-Song of Sewabhaya

VÉªÉ VÉªÉ ¦É®úiÉÉ®úÉ ºÉä´ÉɱÉɱÉ, iÉÉ®úÉä VÉªÉ VɪÉEòÉ®ú ¨É½þÉ®úÉVÉ EÖò±ÉvÉÉ®úÒ ¤ÉÉ±É ¥ÉÀSÉÉ®úÒ ¤ÉÉ{ÉÚ ºÉä´ÉɱÉÉ±É iÉÉä³ýÉ®úÉ¨É PÉÉäbä÷ ®úÉä º´ÉÉ®ú ®äúhÉÉå ** xÉ®äú®úÒ xÉÉ®úÒ ¤ÉxÉɪÉä ´ÉɳýÉä ¤ÉÉ{ÉÖ ºÉä´ÉÉ ¨ÉÖªÉä ¨É®únùÉxÉ, VÉÒ´ÉiÉÉä Eò®äú ´ÉɳýÉä, MÉÉä¯û EòÉä¯û ®úÉä ¤ÉÉ{ÉÚ ºÉä´ÉɱÉÉ±É ºÉÖ®úÉ JÉÆbä÷®úÒ ¦ÉÖʨɪÉÉ®úÉä, ¨ÉÉiÉÉä iÉÉbä÷ ´ÉɳýÉä ºÉä´ÉɦÉɪÉÉ ÊSÉiÉäEòÉ¨É ¡òkÉä Eò®äú, {Éb÷Ò ¨ÉÖÆb÷Ò JÉb÷Ò Eò®ú...¤ÉÉ{ÉÖ ºÉä´ÉɱÉÉ±É vÉ®úiÉÒxÉ vÉxÉäiÉÒ vÉ{ÉÉbä÷ºÉ, VÉiÉ ºÉ¨É³ý Eò®ú +ÉäiÉ +Éb÷ +ɪÉäºÉ Eòɳäý ¨ÉÉiÉä®äú ¨ÉxÉCªÉÉ UôÉ, {ÉMÉä {ÉMÉä¨ÉÉ SÉÖEòÉSÉÉ...¤ÉÉ{ÉÚ ¨É½þÉ®úÉVÉ ¦ÉÖ±ÉÉ SÉÖEòÉ {Éä]õ¨É PÉɱÉ, iÉÉ®úÉä xÉɨÉä®úÉä EòføÉ´É..vÉÉä³äý näù´É³äý¨É Eò¤ÉÖ±É Eò®ú ¨É½þÉ®úÉVÉ

Meaning: There was the great saint Sewalal Maharaja in the Banjara community. All the Banjaras in the country worship him with complete devotion. The offering made up of wheat and ghee is distributed to all in his name. The devotional song on this occasion is as follows:

+MÉ±É ¤ÉMÉ±É {É®úEòÉä]õ Uô ®äú, ¨ÉÉÆ<Ç ¦ÉɪÉÉ ¤Éä`öÉäSÉ ¨ÉÉÆ<Ç ¦ÉɪÉÉ ¤Éä`öÉäSÉ, ´ÉiÉ näù´É³ý ¤ÉÆvÉÉåSÉ +MÉ±É ¤ÉMɱÉ..¦ÉɪÉÉ ¤Éä`öÉäSÉ, ºÉ³ýÉä Ê]õEòÉä ±ÉMÉÉäSÉ b÷É´ÉÒ ´Éb÷Ò EÖò´ÉÉ ´ÉÉ´Éb÷Ò ®äú, Vɳý xÉÒ³ý ¦É®úÉäSÉ, EÖò´ÉÉ ´ÉÉ´Éb÷Ò®úÉä {ÉÉhÉÒ ®äú, ºÉä´ÉÉ ¦ÉɪÉÉ ®úÉä iÉÒ®úlÉ Uô VɨÉxÉÒ ´Éb÷Ò ½þ®úÒªÉÉä ¤ÉÉMÉ Uô ®äú, VÉÉ<Ç ¨ÉÉäMÉ®úÉ ¡Öò±ÉSÉ VÉÉ<Ç ¨ÉÉäMÉ®úÉ ®úÉä ¡Öò±É ®äú, ºÉä´ÉɦÉɪÉÉ xÉ SÉføSÉ {ÉÖ`äö ±ÉÉ®ú +ɨɱÉÒ®úÉä ZÉÉb÷ Uô ®äú, PÉÉä®úÒ UôɪÉÉ näù®úÉäUô PÉä®úÒ UôɪÉÉ näù®úÉäSÉ, ´ÉiÉ ºÉä´ÉɦÉɪÉÉ ¤Éä`öÉäSÉ ºÉɨÉÖ ºÉ¨ÉxÉEò iÉÉä³ýÉ®úÉ¨É Uô ®äú, ºÉÉäxÉÉ ´É®ú³ýÒ ZÉÖ±ÉSÉ...

The Gors from South India take small amount of soil from this place and put it into their fields and believe that it will help them to grow a good harvest. The birthplace of Sewabhaya is Gollaldodi, in the Anantpur district of Andhra Pradesh. The annual fair at Pohara Umarer is held on 15th of February each year. Now a new temple is being constructed here.

Mithu Bhukiya

Another saint named Mithu Bhukiya was also born in this caste. Gors worship him devotedly. Legend has it that Mithu Bhukiya was going for his own marriage when he met with some people on the way and told him the tragic news of his bride’s death. This news transformed Mithu Bhukiya and he decided to renounce the material life and became a sage. It is said that Bhukiya blesses the pilgrims. He is offered both kind of vegetarian and non-vegetarian food items as promised by the devotee prior to his worship. The worship is not done unless a person has benefited in some form or the other. Women are not allowed inside the temple of Mithu Bhukiya. They even do not pronounce his name. Mithu Bhukiya is said to have remained a bachelor till his death. Gor people also worship both the gods i.e. inside and outside the house. The place of the gods is called as Thano (Samadhi). The worship of Badi Mata is performed by Gor Banjaras in the Southern part of Madhya Pradesh. There are around 100 Tandas. Among them the Lokadya Tanda organizes the fair of Badi Mata. Lakhs of Gor attend this fair. The goddess is offered sweets. The ‘Guna Dev’ is offered sacrifice of goat. The people of Jadhav Clan worship the goddess ‘Bijasan’ as their reining deity. While in Nimad region Banjara goddess is worshipped.

Festivals of Gors

The lifestyle of any tribe can best be understood by studying the festivals and celebrations of that tribe. Religious as well as principles of life are closely related with these festivals. Man is emotional and enthusiastic right from his birth. In order to express these feelings the festivities are one of the media. Man is equally attracted towards knowing his future and past as well. The festivities have not undergone any major change during the course of time. Now the tendency to celebrate the festivals on a large scale is increasing day by day. The Gor Banjaras were living in a natural habitat with their cattle for many years. Hence they celebrate Hindu festivals as per their customs.

Gudhi Padawa (Chaitra Shukla Pratipada)

Since Gors belong to Kshatriya class non-vegetarian food and drinks are their favourites. Whatever may be the occasion they enjoy it with eating and drinking. The first day of the New Year is celebrated as Gudhi Padwa i.e. Chaitra Shukla Pratipada. Many an auspicious works are initiated on this occasion. Gor Banjaras go for hunting together on this occasion. They believe that they must hunt an animal on this day otherwise the year will not pass peacefully. Hindus prepare special sweet items on this day while Gors celebrate with the dish of the hunted animal called as ‘Boti-Bati.’ The Banjaras celebrate the birth of a child or death of a person with meat and drinks with equal passion. The four major festivals celebrated by these people are Teej, Dussehra, Diwali and Holi with traditional fervour.


Festival of Teej

Singing and dancing along with special foods is special characteristic of this tribe. Singing and dancing have become a part of their joyous attitude; it is their essence of life. The trade of goods transport was not carried out in the rainy season. Hence all the male and female members of the Tanda were present at that time. Earlier marriages were also held during this period. The girls married during the season would return to their parental home after the rainy season was over. The festival of Teej is celebrated on this occasion. The tradition of this festival among the Rajasthani Gor Banjaras is different. In Nimad and Malawa regions this festival is celebrated in a unique style. This festival mainly belongs to girls and boys from the Tanda. Women also participate in the dance and singing more compared to men.

Teej Perer: The permission of Naik is essential to start any social function. The newly married girls and other women of the Tanda go to the Naik’s home and ask him the permission to celebrate Teej by singing a song:

"½þ¨ÉÉ®äú xÉɪÉEò +ÉUôÉä ªÉä ±ÉÉb÷É EÖò®ú EÖò< Eòx½èþªÉÉ ±ÉÉ±É VÉÉ´É´ÉÉ ¤Éä]õÒ®ú +ɺÉÒ®ú´ÉÉnù ʱɪÉä®äú ±ÉÉb÷É ½þ¨ÉxÉäxÉ iÉÒVÉ {Éä®úɪÉÉä - ½þ¨ÉÉ®úÉä ±ÉÉb÷É xÉɪÉEòÉ"
Meaning: The Naik of our Tanda is a good person. The Naik has given permission to sow Teej to take blessings of the young girls.

Kal Dhud Layer: The girls go together to get the black soil from their own fields, dancing and singing. The groups of girls and boys compete with each other in dance and songs. The boys pose difficult quizzes in front of the girls. The girl who is to be married next year is highly respected. The young girls are going to leave the Tanda for sowing the Teej this year. Only unmarried girls sow the seeds for the Teej. The boys try to stop the girls from taking the black soil from the fields.

Barere Phera Pherer: The girls in turn pester the boys with such words as Dada, Bhaiyya (big brother), and Veera etc. Then the girls take 7 circles around a tree of wild berry. The boys tease the girls by comparing the tree as their first husband. This song is sung at that time:

"¤ÉÉä®úb÷Ò®ú ¤ÉÉä®ú JÉÉ]äõ ʨÉ]äõ ¤ÉÉä®ú JÉÉ>ð Eò EòÊxɪÉÉ SÉ®ú¨É]õb÷Ò +É´ÉMÉä {ÉɱÉiªÉÉ iÉÉäb÷ ±ÉäMÉä ¤ÉÉä®ú"

Meaning: The berries are not ripe yet, how can I eat the half raw and sour berries. The boys are staring at us with wide-open eyes. Meanwhile the boys from Palthya clan came and ate all the berries.

After this the girls go back to the Tanda. Boys stop them in the way. All the women and men of the Tanda gather there. At this time songs with mystical quizzes are sung. The girls solve the puzzles.

Boy:

"´ÉÉ]õ ¤ÉÉÆvÉÖ PÉÉ]Öõ ¤ÉÉÆvÉÖ, ¤ÉÉÆvÉÖ SÉÉ®úÒ näùºÉÉ {ÉMÉä {ÉMÉä¨ÉÉ nùɨɳýÒ ¤ÉÉÆvÉÖ VÉÉ<ÇºÉ EÖò³ÆýºÉä näùºÉÉ?"

Meaning: I closed your way, closed all the four directions. Also I have tied your legs, now in such situation where you will go?

Girl replies:

"PÉÉ]õ UôÉäbÖ÷, ´ÉÉ]õ UôÉäbÖ÷, UôÉäbÖ÷ SÉÉ®úÒ näùºÉÉ ZÉÉ®úÒ ºÉnùÉ ¤Éäb÷±ÉÉä UôÉäbÖ÷, VÉÉ>ð ¤ÉÉ{ÉÖ®ú näùºÉÉ"

Meaning: I will remove the obstacles you have put in my way and the directions. I also leave the containers of water etc. and go to my father’s place.

After this all the girls in the Tanda go to the Naik’s home. The unmarried girls bring small baskets with them. Depending on the clan of the girls black soil is put in the basket and the seeds of wheat are sowed in it. Naik and his wife sprinkle water over it. Also wheat is sowed in two separate bowls made up of leaves. Then dancing and singing follows in front of the Naik’s house.

e.g.

®úÉVÉÉ ¦ÉÉäVÉ {Éä®úɪÉÉä iÉÒVÉ +É<Ç®úÉä {ÉɱÉhÉÉå ®úÉªÉ¨É±É ¤ÉÉä®úɪÉÉä iÉÒVÉ +É<Ç®úÉä {ÉɱÉhÉÉå {Éɱɳåý ¨ÉÉ<Ç ºÉÉäxÉä®úÒ b÷Éä®ú +É<Ç®úÉä {ÉɱÉhÉÉå nÆùb÷Ò ªÉÉb÷Ò ¤ÉÉä®úÉ<Ç iÉÒVÉ +É<Ç®úÉä {ÉɱÉhÉÉå MÉÉä¯û®úÒ EòÉÉÒiÉÒ +ɪÉÉå EòzɪÉÉ VɱnùÒ MɽÖþ MɳýɪÉÉä +É<Ç®úÉä {ÉɱÉhÉÉå...

Meaning: The Naik belonging to the lineage of Raja Bhoj and Raja Raimal is sowing the Teej. The Queen Dandi Mata is sitting in a swing and having pleasure. The Naik who has come from the sacred land of Goru (mountain region named Kashi) i.e. Bhuri Pathar (Malwa) is giving blessings to the Teej. References to this fact have been given earlier. It is clear that King Bhoj and Raimal were Gor Banjaras and this folk song supports the fact that Gor Banjaras are original habitants of Malwa and mountain region of Kashi.

The next day girls bring in water and pour over the soil bed. In the next ten days the wheat grows gradually. Singing and dancing continues during this time. When the girls go to fetch water on the 1st day the boys stop them in the way. Again the ritual of questions and answers is performed. All the Tanda members enjoy the competition.

Boy says:

EòɳýÉä EÖÆòb÷Éä EòSÉxÉ ¦É®úÉä ½äþ±nùÉ ¯ÆûnùÒ ´ÉÉ]õ EÖÆò´ÉÉ®úÒ SÉÉä®úÒ EÖòEò®ú {ÉEòbÖ÷ iÉÉ®úÉä ½þÉlÉ

Meaning: The river is overflowing with black water. The way to the water spot is wide enough. O girl, you are not married even, how should I grab your hand?

Girl says:

½þÉºÉ PÉɱÉÚ ½þɺɱÉÒ, JÉäSÉxÉ ¤ÉÉÆvÉÖ +É]õÒ ¦É®äú ºÉ¦ÉÉ¨É ±ÉÉlÉ ¨Éɯû ¨É VÉÉiÉä®úÒ ¤Éä]õÒ

Meaning: How you will grab my hand? I have this Hasali (a necklace) around my neck. Also fixed an Anti (an ornament) on my head. I will kick you in front of all. I am a high-status girl.

Boy says: "b÷MÉ ¨ÉMÉ b÷MÉ b÷ÉMɳýÉä MÉÉä®úÒ ®úÉEäò JÉäiÉ ¨ÉÖ`öÒ ¦É®ú ½Öþ±b÷É nù ªÉä iÉÉ®úÉä PɳýÉåSÉ {ÉÉEòÒªÉä JÉäiÉ*"

Meaning: Your beauty has reached the harvesting stage now. How long you will be able to handle it? If you give me a handful of grains (hola – green grains baked on fire) your harvest will bloom more.

Girl retorts:

EòÉSÉÉä ºÉ®úÉ EòSÉ EòSÉ ±ÉÉMÉÉä, xÉJÉ ±ÉÉMÉä VÉÒ´É VÉÉªÉ PÉ®ú vÉhÉÓ EòÉähÉÒ JÉÉnùÉä {É®únäùÉÒ EÖò EòÉÆ<Ç JÉɪÉ

Meaning: The grains are not ripe yet. They are very tender, they will die if (you) touch them with nails. The owner of the field himself has not tasted them yet, how a foreigner can have them?

The wheat is sown in the form of the holy Teej.

Boy:

"{ÉÉxÉä ºÉ®úEòÒ {ÉÉiɳýÒ, ±ÉÖÆMÉä®úÒ Eò³ýÒnùÉ®ú iÉä®äú ºÉ®úEòÒ ¤ÉÉÆnùÒ {ÉÉhÉÒ ¦É®äú nùÉä SÉÉ®ú"

Girl:

{ÉÉxÉä ºÉ®úEòÒ {ÉÉiɳýÒ ±ÉÖÆMÉä ºÉ®úÒEòÒ Eò³ýÒnùÉ®ú (¨Éè ½ÖÄþ ½þÒ) ¤ÉxÉÉ ¨ÉÖUäô®úÉ UôÉä®úÉ, iÉÉ®ú PÉ®ú EòºÉä®úÒ xÉÉ®ú"

The words viz. Hasali, Anti, Hulda, Shalonch, Kacho occurring in the folk songs come from Nimadi-Malawi dialect. The same words are used in Gor dialect. It again proves that Gor Banjara people are basically habitant of Nimad Malawa region. Same type of Teej is celebrated in Nimad region.


The Teej festival is celebrated for 9 to 11 days. Every evening song and dance programmes and masking are performed for entertainment. A programme called Gangeer is arranged before breaking the Teej. Men and women prepare two idols of clay. Women dress up the idol of Lord Shankara while men do the same for idol of Parwati. This is called Gangar. Gangar is offered coconut and jaggery. Then dancing and singing follows throughout the night in front of the Gangar. Naik selects a chief from among the boys at this time. The girls and boys who are engaged for marriage can’t sow the wheat for Teej. Naik selects such boys and girls and they are called as Garkala and Garkali. One of the folk songs on this occasion is as follows:

"´ÉÉnù³ý xÉ {ÉÉhÉÓ ªÉå {ÉÉhÉÓ +ɪÉÉä +ÉÆnùÉvÉÖÆnù ¤ÉÉ<Ç ´ÉÉnù³ýxÉ {ÉɳýÓ xÉnùÒ xÉ®ú¨ÉnùÉ ªÉä xÉnùÒªÉÉ +ɪÉÒ ¦É®ú{ÉÖ®ú ¤ÉÉ<Ç"

Meaning: There is a storm and heavy rains. Now the Narmada River will be in spate.

The reference to Narmada River in this song gives a proof of the fact that Gor Banjaras were originally living in this region.

Teej Toder

The structure of Teej is broken on the 10th day and the contents are immersed in flowing water. A big feast is arranged on this occasion. It is called as Dhamboli. The Dhamboli is made up of wheat and rice. First of all Garkali and Garkala play a game of Dona Pidiya. Also they sing a dialogue song. In the end all the Tanda members gather in front of the Naik’s house. The sprouts of wheat (Teej) are cut and given to all as gifts. People tie these sprouts on their hands and around the next. Naik puts it in his turban. It is called as Chhungala. Then the whole Tanda proceeds to immerse the Teej in the water. The girls weep as if their beloved (friend) is being seen off. The Teej is immersed in water amidst a gloomy atmosphere. The girls sing for this last moment:

"ÊEò¨ÉäiÉÒ +ɪÉÉä®äú ´Éä®úÒ JÉɳýÒªÉÉ; ¨ÉÉ®äú ºÉÉÆiÉhÉä xÉ ±ÉäMÉÉä ´Éä®úÒ JÉɳýÒªÉÉ"

[Rajasthani Evam Gujrathi Lokgeetonka Tulanatmak Abhyas, by Dr. Ragamal Singh, page 33]

"EòÉäxÉÒ ½Öþ<ǪÉä MÉ´É®úÒ ¨ÉxÉä®úÒ ½ÖÄþºÉ, ÊVÉ´Éb÷É®úÒ ½ÖÄþºÉ"

Meaning: Oh deer Teej, our aspirations are still not fulfilled. How you can leave us then? Do come early next year.


In Rajasthan the festival of Gangaur and Teej are celebrated with tremendous enthusiasm. They have a following song akin to Gor Banjara song and dialect:

"JÉä±ÉxÉ nùÉä, MÉhÉMÉÉè®ú, ¦É´É®ú ¨½þÉxÉä {ÉÖVÉxÉ ½äþ MÉhÉMÉÉè®ú +Éä ¨ÉÉ]õÒ xÉhÉnù ®úÉ ´ÉÒ®ú ®ú¨ÉhÉä näù MÉhÉMÉÉè®ú ¨½þÉ®úÉ ±ÉÉ±É xÉhÉnù ®úÉ ´ÉÒ®ú ¨½þÉhÉä EÖòhÉ JÉä³ýÉ´Éä MÉhÉMÉÉè®ú MÉ®úVÉxÉ ±ÉÉMÉÒ ¤ÉÉnù±ÉÒ Ê½þ´Éb÷É +¨ÉÖÊb÷ªÉÉä ¨Éä½þ ¤É®úºÉxÉ ±ÉÉMÉÒ iÉÒVÉhÉÒ ¡òb÷EòxÉ ±ÉÉMÉÒ näù½þ .......®ú¨ÉhÉä näù MÉhÉMÉÉè®ú"

Dussehra

This is second most important festival of the Tanda. The equipments and arms in the house like ‘Khuti Mungari’ are worshipped on the occasion. The impact of Hindu people’s style of celebrating this festival is seen on the Gor Banjara style. Still, Gor Banjara does it a bit differently by giving a bath to the reigning deity or making new idol of a goddess. According to them Dussehra means to sacrifice a goat and eat its meat. The tradition of worshipping the goddess is age-old in this lineage. Every 2-4 Tandas will have a Bhagat (the priest) and the temple of the reigning deity (Kuladevata). During the nine days of Dussehra an earthen pot is established in the house. The priest observes fast during this period. The idols in the temple are kept open for the devotees to take blessings. Incense sticks and oil lamps are lighted and coconut is offered to the deity. Religious discourses (bhajans) are performed during the nine nights. It is not that all the members of the Tanda establish the earthen pot (ghat). A goat is sacrificed to the goddess on the 9th day. Other members also offer sacrifice as a fulfillment of their wishes by the goddess. The goddess is offered the blood, head and toes of the goat and rest of the body is buried. The meat is prepared by applying turmeric and salt and given to all as a gift from the goddess. It is called as Naroja. The whole Tanda is treated with feast in the night. Then the earthen pot is worshipped through the whole night. In the morning a prayer of the goddess is performed, accompanied by some music on Nagara and Thaali:

"ªÉä MÉÉä³äý iÉÉ®úÉ, näù´ÉÒ¨É näù´ÉÒ EÖò³ÆýºÉÒ ¨ÉÉä`öÒ Ê´ÉªÉä®äú MÉÉä³äý iÉÉ®úÉ... näù´ÉÒ¨É näù´ÉÒ ¨É®úɨ¨ÉÉ ¨ÉÉä`öÒ Ê´ÉªÉ®äú MÉÉä³äý iÉÉ®úÉ... ¦ÉMÉiÉ ¨Éå ¦ÉMÉiÉ EÖò³ÆýºÉÉå ¨ÉÉä`öÉä ʴɪɮäú MÉÉä³äý iÉÉ®úÉ... ZÉÉ{ÉÉ ¨ÉÉä`öÉä ʴɪɮäú MÉÉä³äý iÉÉ®úÉ... ºÉÉiÉÒ ¦ÉäxÉä®úÒ +É®úiÉÒ =iÉ®úÒ MÉÉä³äý iÉÉ®úÉ..." ¨ÉɽÚþ®ú MÉbä÷iÉÒ ZÉMɨÉMÉ VÉÉäiÉ ±ÉMÉÉ<Ç ªÉäiÉ vÉÉä³äý näù´É³äýiÉÒ +É®úiÉ +É<Ç ¨ÉÉÄ... vÉVÉÉ, xÉÉ®ú³ý iÉÉäxÉ ¦ÉÆ]õ SÉføÉ<Ç ªÉä ®úÉiÉ... ¦É´ÉÉxÉÒ iÉÉ®úÒ +É®úiÉ ºÉnùÉ ºÉnùÉ... EòÉSÉEäò®úÉä Ênù´É±Éä, Eò{ÉÖ®ú Eäò®úÒ ´ÉÉiÉ ¨ÉÉiÉÉ iÉÉ®úÒ +É®úiÉ ºÉnùÉ...

Meaning: The word Gole Tara might be used as chorus or meant as if the stars in sky are watching this prayer. Who is the greatest goddess of all? Goddess Maramma is the greatest of all. Who is the greatest devotee? Zapa is the greatest devotee of all. We are praying to the seven-goddess sisters (Saptadevi).

This way the prayer goes on for almost an hour mentioning the names of gods, goddess, brother, mother, oxen, horses etc. Then prasadam is distributed to all. The Bhajani mandal performs the Bhajans. The priest is traditionally half clad below the waist with his hair set free. He adorns a necklace in the name of the goddess, a whip in his hand; dust is applied on his body and especially forehead. His body starts moving and dancing on the beat of the drum (Nagara). This act is known as Khelana.

Ghat Verayer

After the prayer the earthen pot is immersed in the water. All the devotees in the Tanda come together, sing bhajans, one person collects the material for worship including coconut, lemon etc. And the immersion procession is started. People who wish to fulfill a desire from the goddess, patients and people affected by witchcraft stand by the roadside. The priest hits them with the whip and the devotees accept lemon and ash (Bhasma) from him. The Ghat is immersed in a waterway situated in the East of Tanda. Pouring water on his body pacifies the priest. Also the material offered in worship is immersed at this time. The devotees return singing bhajans. All men and women take blessings of the priest and the ritual ends. The people belonging to Dhagawat clan worship the goddess Kankali during this period. Earlier human sacrifice was offered to this goddess. The worship of goddess Kankali is still in vogue in Bundi, Kota and Western Bundelkhand. People who regard the goddess Kankali as their reigning deity celebrate Dussehra every year. People belonging to Khamandar lineage still offer a male buffalo as sacrifice.

Diwali

The Naik of the Tanda arranges a meeting of the main representative prior to Deepawali. They discuss about the situation in the Tanda, diseases, epidemics and the auspiciousness of the year and then the Naik gives permission to celebrate the Diwali festival.

"®úÉiÉ +ÆvÉä®úÒ B; Ênù´É±ÉÉä ¤Éɳý ±ÉÒVÉÉä... nù´ÉɳýÒ®úÉä nùxÉ B; Ênù±ÉÉä ¤Éɳý±ÉÒVÉÉä... iÉä±Éä®úÉä iÉÉä]õÉä B* iÉä±É ¦É®ú ±ÉÒVÉÉä* °üB®úÒ Eò¨ÉÒB; ´ÉÉiÉä Eò®ú ±ÉÒVÉÉä* PÉ®ú ºÉEòb÷É<ÇB;¨ÉEòb÷É<ÇB;¨ÉEòb÷É<Ç Eò®ú ±ÉÒVÉÉä*"

If he thinks that there is no wrong in celebrating the Diwali then he gives permission for the same.(Continued...)

For Next Part, Please Click here: Book: Motiraj Rathod-9

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