BRIEF HISTORY OF AIBSS MOVEMENT OF 45 YEARS: For the first time, they had gathered on a common platform, in 1953 at Digras Town,Yevatmal Dist. (the then Central Province of Independent India), under the leadership of Late Shri Vasantraoji Phulsing Naik, (the then Deputy Revenue Minister of Central Province) . By then an idea had germinated in the minds of youths, staying in free boarding and lodging hostel, Pratapsingh Ade, Gajadhar Rathod and R.R. Rathod to form an organisation of C.P. and Berar Banjara Yuvak Melav, which culminated in the formation of National level Banjara organisation on the advise of Shri V.P. Naik, where Shri Lalbahadur Shastriji, the then Railway Minister, Government of India, graced the occasion as Chief Guest. It was resolved to organise and form by name and title as “ALL INDIA BANJARA SEVA SANGH” (AIBSS) and Shri Uttamrao Baliram Rathod was elected as first president of the Sangh and Shri Pratapsingh Ade as General Secretary.
Since then AIBSS has been working as a social organisation for overall ameliorative programmes and upliftment of Banjaras of the country. Accordingly a programme was laid for Social Reforms, Economic and Educational Developments. Also to work for the protection of the Rights and privileges of Banjaras, staying in many States by different names and as many as 27 Synonyms and 18 Sub-Castes. However they are distinctly, prominently and popularly identified by the main name as ‘BANJARA’ OR ‘GOR BANJARA’. It was resolved that AIBSS achieve its Aims and Objectives by the constitutional means, on democratic principles and by adopting peaceful methods under the constitutionally granted fundamental rights to Indian citizens. Since 1953, the AIBSS has been holding Gor Panchayats (Community Panchayat Meetings), Seminars, Shibirs (workers training camp) and All India General Conferences, etc. to educate, motivate, organise, unite and to create awareness amongst illiterate Banjaras of the country. The main aim was to work for unity and to bring Banjaras of the country on a common platform, right from ‘Kashmir to Kanyakumari, and from Raan of Kutch to Bengal’.
The main feature and unifying factor of this ancient and the biggest ethnic group, Banjaras of India is that they have a rich culture and age old tradition of Indian continent, which they have preserved their identity even today, in spite of onslaught of Western cultural invasion. Banjaras’ origin can be traced right from Sindh Valley culture, that they have been doing transportation and trading on Barter System on Pack bullocks, mules, camles and horses.It is said hat even the culture dates back to Vedic period. The bonafide proof of the same is their ancient transportation routes, which is well known in the history of India in the form of “LAMAN MARGAS” (Laman is one of the important synonym of Banjaras, as salt transporters and traders). This map has been recorded by the Britishers which dates back to 600 B.C. The pack Bullock transport system was very much used by Mughal Empires, Nizams, Marathas, Rajputs and also East India Company used them for transportation of grains, arms and ammunitions and for showing them way from their respective State capitals to battle fields. Banjaras also were used as guides, as well as suppliers of food grains, etc. As explained Banjaras have a glorious history, tradition and culture. Unfortunately, they were the first victims of the ‘East India Company’ and later by the British Raj. Banjaras became the potential competitors to East India Company’s trade and commerce. Therefore their vocation of pack bullock transportation for livelihood was crushed and destroyed. Thus their economy collapsed, then for them the very survival became a question. Therefore, they took shelter in river valleys, at the foothills and deep in the forest areas with a view, firstly to protect their cattle wealth (which was their livelihood and hence they are sentimentally attached to it, for centuries). Secondly, to survive with subsistence economy of forest produce. Gradually they learnt the art of agriculture and practiced it by clearing tracts of forest lands, illegally. The Banjaras went through a bad period stretching for nearly two centuries.
It was an era of down fall, virtual destruction during the period of British Trade and Raj. Added to this British Raj forced on them a stigma by bringing such a noble community under the purview of ‘ CRIMINAL TRIBES’ Act. This blot was put on Banjaras, and they were looked down up[on in the eyes of the Society. It took many decades for Banjaras to come out of this stigma. After world war-II and Independence of India, the Banjaras could raise their heads again as honourable citizens of the country. ‘ A STAR’ was born amongst the Banjara community, in the form of Shri V.P. Naik, who ruled Maharashtra State for eleven and half years, as the most popular and successful Chief Minister of Maharashtra ever had, and earlier as Agriculture and Revenue Minister for ten years. Under the inspiring leadership of Shri V.P. Naik, Indian Banjaras became aware of their self and the community of 3 Southern States, (Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Maharashtra) came on one platform, initially during 1950′ s. Leaders and social workers of these three States became enlightened and organised. They started educating themselves and their children, because of the concessions and privileges granted by the State and Central Governments. Gradually the influence and inspiration of Shri V.P. Naik and the leaders of these three States spread over to the Northern, Western and Eastern part of India.
Then AIBSS became popular as an All India organisation, particularly during 1960′ s, when Shri V.P. Naik, became Chief Minister of Maharashtra State and stretched its wings in about 10 to 12 States where Banjaras population exist in good numbers. Because of these efforts nearly eight All India Banjaras Conferences took place, the first in 1953, at Digras (Maharashtra), second in 1955 at Tarur (Dist. Warangal, Andhra Pradesh), third in 1958, at Chalisgaon, (Dist. Jalgaon, M.S.) fourth in 1959, at Tarur (Dist. Warangal, Andhra Pradesh), fifth in 1964 at Gulbarga (Karnataka State), sixth in 1980, at Pusad, (Shri V.P. Naik’ s native town in Maharashtra State), seventh ni 1985, at Aurangabad (Maharashtra State), and eighth in 1988, at Bijapur (Karnataka State). Besides these 8 conferences, two General Council meetings of AIBSS took place : one at Penukonda (Dist. Anantapur, Andhra Pradesh State) and the second at Naik Nagar, Mumbai, in 1975. One Banjara Sevak Shibir was organised in 1966, first time in North part of India, in Hindi speaking belt, where Smt. Indira Gandhi, the then Prime Minister of India was the Chief Guest. With these major events and many more State Conferences, Local Conferences, Meetings, Gor Panchayats, Seminars and Shibirs, the AIBSS has been actively organising, educating and motivating Banjaras of the country and therefore, it has now become very popular all over India, in all the 19 States, 4 Mega Cities where Banjara population is existing and also amongst Banjaras with its 27 Synonyms and 18 Sub-Castes. However, the earlier Executive Committee members of the then AIBSS being with less formal education and financially weak, the Sangh was not formally registered, since 1953. The Committee could not carry out membership drive or fund collection programmes nor conduct periodical committee members elections.
Neither there was any audit nor the organization was following any institutional regulation. In spite of not being a registered organization the AIBSS was working in an organised manner and on democratic principles and process, just like ‘ Gor Panchayat System’ , which worked with unwritten rules, regulations, but on traditional voncention and customs followed for centuries by Banjaras on consensus and popular opinions of the majority Banjara population. AIBSS was well recognised amongst Banjaras of the country as well as non Banjara population and Governmental authorities. Therefore the activities of AIBSS have been carried out, all these years, on conventional and on AD-HOC basis for all practical purposes, with the financial help of some generous donors. As such it is proven and established that the AIBSS is in existence, for the last 45 years, since 1953 and this banner enjoys goodwill of 60 million Banjaras of the country. However, AIBSS in its Fifth All India Conference in 1964 at Gulbarga (Karnataka State) felt the need to have a written constitution and resolved to have a constitution of its own under the modern context and to get the Sangh registered under Charitable Trust Act as well as under Societies’ / Associations’ Registration Act, which could be operative all over India. Then a constitution drafting committee was constituted with the following members. Shri Hiralal Chauhan, Advocate, Chalisgaon (Convenor) Shri Ramsingh Bhanawat, Fulumari, Maharashtra State, Member. Shri Tejsingh Rathod, Arjanagi, Dist, Gulbarga Karnataka, Member. Shri Sakharam Dhavji Mude (Guruji), Umarkhed, (M.S.), Member. Shri Hirasingh Sada Pawar, Kusumbe, Tq. Raver, Dist. Jalgaon, (M.S.) Member. Shri Premsingh Rathod, Bijapur, (Karnataka), Member. Shri K.T. Rathod, Bijapur, Member. Shri Ranjit Naik, Mumbai, Member.
Shri Harji Visram Rathod, Ambevadgaon, Tq. Pachora, Dt. Jalgaon (M.S.) Member. A meeting of this drafting committee was convened at Vasantnagar (Varandali), Taluka-Darwa, District-Yeotmal, Maharashtra State, on 27th and 28th October 1966. This committee had detailed deliberations on all aspects, for the all-round development of Banjara community, staying in many States of the Country and drafted a progressive and workable constitution of the Sangh. The same was unanimously approved and adopted in the General Council meeting of AIBSS held in 1968, at Penukonda, Dist. Anantapur (A.P.) However AIBSS did not pursue further, after 1968, to get the AIBSS registered. AIBSS activities were slowed down due to national Emergency Period. In 1978, the youth of Maharashtra got agitated with the slowness, methods and callous functioning of AIBSS therefore under the leadership of Shri Makhram Pawar, the then budding youth leader, ‘ Maharashtra Banjara Yuvak Mandal’ was organised, which held its first conference, at Amravati in Maharashtra State, on 12th and 13th November, 1978 and a resolution was passed to establish an Ad-Hoc Committee of 59 members, drawn from AIBSS and Maharashtra Banjara Yuvak Mandal, combined, to redraft, fresh constitution by reorienting and amending the earlier draft of 1968.It was unanimously passed and adopted by AIBSS and therefore, AIBSS was registered at regional office of Assistant Charity Commissioner, Akola, Maharashtra State in 1981-82.
However from 1982 to as on 25th and 26th January, 1999, the said registered AIBSS become non functional, without any audit report and change reports submitted to said Assistant Charity Commission. Neither a single meeting of trustees was conducted, nor a single rupee was collected as membership fees and totally became paralysed. As such the said registered constitution of AIBSS become defunct and the new leadership of AIBSS found that it was impossible to revive and adopt the same, after a gap of 18 years of its registration. At the end of twentieth century a new brigade of the community emerged. Thanks to the opportunities in education ad employment opportunities the young generation of the community got well educated and got employed inall walks of life including professional bodies. There were technocrats, beauracrats and experts in the field of education, agriculture and medicine. Particularly in three Southern State i.e., Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Maharashtra, these youngmen emerged in good numbers. Naturally they were more resourceful aware of social and political status of their community. They have also become vigilant of their rights and privileges in a free and democratic India . Responding to the changes they naturally expected So they expect fast, progressive and modern outlook in AIBSS and to become an organised Sangh, with sound and scientific system.
Also to make the organization move speedily by use of modern techniques, to reach the message in every nook and corner of India. Because of urbanisation a good number of Banjara youth have settled in big towns, Cities and Mega Cities for employment and livelihood, Many Banjara professionals (Doctors and Engineers) are employed in foreign countries and thus have become NRI’ s. These fast changes have taken place in the last 10 years. By seeing all these Socio-Economic, changes which are fast and tremendous amongst the Banjara youths of Southern States of India, the counterpart of Northern Hindi speaking belt are also catching-up and are moving fast towards Socio-Economic and Educational progress in the last 5 to 10 years, although they don’ t enjoy the same Government privileges and benefits as SC, ST and Vimukta Jatis (Denotified Tribes) in the three Southern States. Therefore AIBSS has now become better organised, strong, popular and has spread its wings all over India. It has also developed contact with Banjara NRIs, as well as its forgotten and long lost (800 to 1000 years) Roma / Gypsy brothers and sisters, staying in many countries of the world.
Now AIBSS has established its Branches in 26 States and 4 Mega Cities. Hence AIBSS has decided to remove its Ad-Hocness by adopting a new, progressive, legally structured and reoriented constitution with a definite policies and programmes to meet the demands of modern times and aspirations of the present and future generation. The new constitution upholds the same Aims and Objects laid down by our founding fathers of the Sangh. AIBSS consists of representatives from all the 31 Synonyms and 12 sub-castes of Banjaras of the country and it has Re-formed this constitution, with Rules and Regulations and have constituted themselves as ‘ ALL INDIA BANJARA SEVA SANGH’ (AIBSS). The redrafted constitution was placed before the participants of 25th and 26th meeting and got approved unanimously and affixed the signatures of 25 members of the Re-organised and Re-constituted National Executive Committee, in the meeting held on 25th and 26th January, 1999, in Mumbai. Accordingly ‘ All India Banjaras Seva Sangh’ , has been Registered on 19-02-1999, in Mumbai, under Charitable Trust Act of 1950 and Societies / Association Registration Act of 1860.All India Banjara Seva Sangh (AIBSS) at the end of the 20th century has now become an organised body of banjaras of the country:
Because of a foundations laid by our old generation leaders of 1930′ s and 1040′ s. Particularly leaders from old Mysore State, Hyderabad State and Berar region of C.P. AIBSS feels that a social and educational awareness has taken place, a silent and peaceful social revolution has started amongst Banjaras of Southern States. Since 1980 the movement has become vigorous and in an organised manner. By seeing these developments and improvements and good results of progress in Southern States for the past 30 to 40 years. Banjaras of the Northern, (Hindi speaking belt) has taken inspiration, and are also catching up with the fast changing times for the last 10 years, and are getting educated, improving their living conditions and getting organised. But unfortunately they are to catch-up to the speed and level of Southern State Banjaras in the absence of any special privileges granted to Northern Banjaras.
Therefore they are finding it very difficult to compete with others communities, and even among Backward communities and make any speedy progress in all sprears of their lives. As such in Northern State Banjaras are 40 to 50 years behind Southern States and nearly 95% of Banjaras are below poverty line and illiterate. The efforts and foundation laid to form the AIBSS, by our reverend leader, Late Shri V.P. Naik, along with his band of colleagues, from Maharashtra, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh, through the establishment of ‘ All India Banjara Seva Sangh (AIBSS)’ , which took place in 1953, is gradually bearing fruits, lately. In these 47 years work of AIBSS, we could see that the Banjaras of 26 States and 4 Mega Cities of the country have awakened and are marching forward, for the last 10 years, with a good spirit and with a greater acceleration to catch up with other elite and advanced classes and communities of their respective States.
(Updated on September 1, 2015)----------------------------------------------------
Dr. M. Shankar Naik (Ex Minister Karnataka) President, All India Banjara Seva Sangh (AIBSS)
State and National Units of AIBSS will be reorganized very soon New Delhi, November 5, 2006: State and National Units of AIBSS will be reorganized very soon. These words, Dr. M. Shankar Naik, said in his speech in front of the gathering of nationwide activists of Goaar Community at Andhra Bhawan, New Delhi on 4th Novemember.
This meeting was the first meeting in two years after sad demise of Ex-President Mr. Ranjit Naik. In the presence of Mrs. Chander Kala Naik wife of Late Mr. Ranjit Naik (Architect of Banjaras), all speakers appreciate the work done by Late Mr. Rankjit Naik.
Mostly speakers present suggestions about the strong structure of All India Banjara Seva Sangh. Prominent Workers from different states said in their speech, that the demand of the time is, give place to the active workers of Goaar Community in Organigation, instead of SHOW-PIECES. Dr. M. Shankar Naik, President AIBSS, assured the activists, that National Body will fight for reservation rights of different groups of Banjaras in all states.
Prominent personalities from different states, who attended the national level meeing, were as follows: Mrs. Chander Kala Naik, D. Ravinder Naik, MP (Andhra Pradesh), Hari Bhau Rathod, MP (Maharashtra), K. G. Banjara (Gujarat), Harbans Lalka, Jagir Singh Khalsa, Sucha Singh Dharamsaut, Inder Singh Valjaut, Gurnam Singh Rathod, Kashmir Singh, Shinda Ram Kheeva, Sunder Lal (Panjab), Maan Singh Parmar, Prof. Abhay Singh Parmar (Himachal), Malik Chand Jagat, Sunil Khanna (Haryana), Amar Singh (Utranchal Pradesh), Netrapal Singh Naik (Uttar Pradesh), Surjan Lal Panwar, Roshan Lal Rathod (New Delhi), Din Dayal Chauhan (Chhatisgarh), Kishore Chander Naik, Sakru Rathod (Orissa), Madan Singh Chauhan (Rajasthan), Mrs. J. Naik, MLC (Karnataka) and many others. This meeting was presided over by Dr. M. Shankar Naik, National President of AIBSS. (Goaars of India News Beaureu)
Meeting of All India Banjara Seva Sangh (AIBSS) will be held at New Delhi on 4th November A Letter from Dr. M. Shankar Naik President
Dear Goaar Bhai and Bahno! I am pleased to inform you that we had a meeting with AIBSS Office bearers and taken charge whatever material was available. I am also thinking to visit every state to consult the members and office bearers to restructure state unit as well as national unit. In this regard to discuss elaborately as informed earlier, I have fixed meeting in New Delhi on 4th November at 10 AM in "Andhra Bhawan", Man Singh Road. So once again I whole heartedly welcome you to attend the meeting alongwith your office bearers of both the state unit and national unit.
Marriage of son of Mr. Roshan Lal (Vice President of AIBSS) is going to be celebrated on 2nd November in Kurukshetra and also reception on 3rd evening in New Delhi. He has requested me to invite you all and he might be sending wedding invitation to you also. Thanking You. (Milenge Zarur Delhi Mein). Yours Sincerely, Dr. M. Shankar Naik, President, AIBSS, Office: 26/b, 2nd Main, C.I.L. Colony, Opp. Police Station, Sanjay Nagar, Bangalore-560094, India. Phone: 080-23413700 (R), Cell: 91-94482-12313.
Golden jubilee celebrations of Banjara Sangha from Jan 31, 2004 GULBARGA, January 25, 2004: The All India Banjara Seva Sangha (AIBSS) will host its Golden Jubilee celebrations on January 31 at Digras of Yavatamala district in Maharashtra.
Speaking to the media persons AIBSS National General Secretary Subash Ratod said, around 1.5 lakh Lambani’s from various parts of the country and Tribe representatives from 24 countries would participate in the celebrations. Congress party President Sonia Gandhi would inaugurate the function, NCP President Sharad Pawar and Maharastra Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde would be the guests, he added.
Mr Subash Ratod explained that many representatives from the state would also participate under the leadership of AIBSS State President and Former Minister Dr Shankar Nayak. He urged to include the Lambani language ‘Goaar Boli’ to eightth schedule of the constitution. An appeal has been made to the Union Government to include Banjara community to Scheduled Tribes in all the states like Karnataka , Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra, he added.
Original organisation: The Sangha National President said All India Banajara Seva Sangha is representing six crores of Banjara community who are residing at 26 States and three Union Territory.
Mr Subash Ratod mentioned that Minister for Libraries Baburao Chauhan resigned from the post of designate working President of the Sangha last year when a notice was served to him for working against the party.
He said Mr Baburao Chauhan had started a separate All India Banjara Seva Sangha and has called for a meeting on February 8 in Delhi. Mr Subash Ratod alleged Baburao Chauhan for copying the name of the original sangha and misleading the public. In this regard the Sangha has decided to seek court justice, he added.
Golden Jubilee Rally of Banjaras DIGRAS (MAHARASHTRA), JAN. 31, 2004 (Arunkumar Bhatt): The Leader of the Opposition and Congress president, Sonia Gandhi today assailed the National Democratic Government's move for an vote on account and said that it was nothing but "empty slogans and a joke."
Ms. Gandhi said the BJP-led Government had "no guts to present the full budget" as it feared that it would expose the Government. "If they really wanted to do something for the poor and the farmers, why did they not do anything in the past four to five years and why did they not fulfil their poll promises," she asked. She was speaking at the Golden Jubilee convention of the All-India Banjara Seva Sangh (AIBSS) here.
Ms. Gandhi virtually turned the Banjara convention into her party's election rally and was unmindful of the absence of the Nationalist Congress Party leader, Sharad Pawar, who was expected to join her on the dais.
She did not refer to him at all. The NCP was, however, represented by the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly Speaker, Arun Gujarati. Also present were the Chief Minister, Sushilkumar Shinde, and the Deputy Leader of the Congress in the Lok Sabha, Shivraj Patil.
She said that the BJP-led Government was "deceiving" the people and it was a Government of "price rise and unemployment." She alleged that "corruption under this Government surpassed all previous levels."
Ms. Gandhi mentioned the steps taken by the Maharashtra Government for the education of students belonging to nomadic tribes such as the Banjaras but did not comment on the principal demands of the community — its inclusion either in the Scheduled Tribes list or the creation of a third schedule for communities such as theirs and a place for their dialect, Gor Boli, in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution.
In an apparent bid to reclaim the party's traditional constituency of the backward communities, Ms. Gandhi said that the late Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi, and her successor, Rajiv Gandhi, had great sympathy for these communities.
She said the Union Government had not helped Maharashtra fully in meeting the drought conditions and observed that against the State's demand for Rs. 1700 crores, New Delhi had provided only Rs. 50 crores. (With Thanks from The Hindu)