Colours of the Rajasthani Folk
The folks in Rajasthan are an ancient and a multi-communal society. There
are about two hundred different ethnic groups. Each group has its own
characteristic traits, distinguishing long-established social conventions,
customs and practices.
Different Facets of the Folklore
In spite of this seemingly complexity of the ethos, a robust equilibrium in
the inter-group relationship is maintained as they fully understand that
each group is
equally important to the other and has a role to play in the life of the
rural community. Corrective remedies, therefore, always spring up almost by
themselves to set right the conflicting situations that sometime arise.
Whenever peace is disturbed by any predominant group or a powerful
individual, who tries to swing the balance in selfish interest to the
detriment of the weaker, the god- fearing village elders and the enlightened
of the folks take up the cudgels to fight the wrong and restore harmony. The
folks have an ancient system of community association called panchayat
comprising panchas, five elders or most respectable persons, having
jurisdiction over a village or a group of villages. Its main function is the
maintenance of norms of social and religious behavior. It does not have any
formal constitution but wields great authority. A session is called whenever
there arises a need requiring its attention and decision.
Penalties are levied in the form of a mere reprimand to behave, a fine in
the form of a community feast, and matters considered grave are penalized by
outcasting the person for a certain period as a token of social disapproval
of the violation of norms. Similar associations of individual communities
also function as peace-keepers. The ancient jijmani system, when communities
engaged in rendering various types of services, such as the Brahmins
(Priest), Kumhars (Potters) Nais (Barbars), Dholis (Musician), etc., are
traditionally attached to other communities in an intimate manner, also
helps build up a healthy community life.
Various Folks Various Features
A number of folk culture, that have flourished in Rajasthan, have enriched
the socio cultural weight of Rajasthan immensely. In every filed of
Rajasthan, the folk culture has left its valuable impression refining it
even further. Be it the dazzling folk dance or melody of 'sarangi', the
folks of Rajasthan masters in every walk of life. The spectacular paintings,
semi precious ornaments and multi-colour garments are also some examples of
Rajasthani folk culture that make Rajasthan a shopping heaven too.
As We Peep Inside
Tour packages are arranged keeping the special requests made by the
tourists in mind and you can discover the simple yet colourful life of the
tribal and folk people. As you enter in their village, it seems like you are
travelling in a time machine. The age old rituals and cultures of Bishnoi
comminity, Bhils and Gravaria community will just amaze you. They are still
following the traditions of their four fathers with respect and efficiency.
The fast changing modern life has not touched them yet and they are happy
with their age old customs. You will love to see a Gravaria man making rope,
Bishnoi people doing day to day work and courageous Bhils playing with
traditional arms. The beautiful ornaments of Bishnoi women will also attract
you like anything, specially their huge nose rings telling the customs of
their marriage clearly. Stand a while to see the craft of 'Kumhars' (Potter)
creating magic with wet earth or visit a temple and see how the 'Brahmin'
(Priest) is offering 'puja' with undivided devotion.
Apart from the tribes and rural people, Rajputs are the people, who
dominate the society of Rajasthan. These affluent people enjoy the heritage
of royalty and are famous for their courage, chivalry and etiquette. We are
sure, in your Rajasthan trip, you will cherish the company of these
blue-blooded elegant people immensely.
People with different background and tradition melt in a single pot of
Rajasthan and the colour that emerges, paints your heart and soul equally. A
special tour in the various parts of Rajasthan discovers the true beauty of
its heritage and you never know when you fell in love with these innocent
Famous Folklore of
Rajasthan is a land that stores all the colours of nature in it. Be it the
heritage of royal dynasty or the fragrance of culture, the soil of Rajasthan
is always filled with various hues and scent. Folk culture is another aspect
of Rajasthan that attract tourists from all over the world making it famous
for its unforgettable treasure of folklore. You may explore some more hidden
aspects of the state other than its legacy or royalty and we can say for
sure that it will engulf you alike.
The Rajputs of Rajasthan, constituted a warrior aristocracy divided into a
number of prominent clans, each of which regarded a princely state as its
traditional patrimony, whose ruler was the social head of clan besides being
the political ruler. Although the Rajputs never constituted more than a
tenth of the total population, they have commanded the heights of the polity
and the society in Rajasthan for nearly a thousand years.
The princely state of Jaipur was thus ruled by the Kachachawa Rajputs, the
Rathors ruled in Jodhpur and Bikaner, the Hadas in Kota, and the Sisodia in
While the Maharajas, Rajas and Thakurs had special courtiers, singers,
hangers- on and other servants to entertain and serve them, the common
Rajput was normally engaged in soldiering, agriculture and in certain cases,
employment in the royal households of the former. However all Rajputs trace
their ancestry to the ruling clans of the country. Their way of life is
refined and courteous as well as abrasive and dominating compared to other
simple classes and castes of rural Rajasthan. As the Rajputs are devotees of
Durga (Mother-goddess), their common form of greeting each other is Jai mata
ji ki (victory and praise be of the mother Durga) and among the Thakurs and
the erstwhile Rajas, the form of greeting is Khama Ghani meaning, forgive
and be praised.
The Brahmins, who have commandeered the top social rung for themselves in
the rest of the country though no less elevated in Rajasthan, found
themselves at a status that was subservient to that of the Rajputs. It was
perhaps natural: these kingdoms were often at war and the region was at the
mercy of looters and invaders. Therefore, the total sovereignty of the
Rajputs had to be accepted, if only for the protection that they were able
The Brahmins served in the royal courts and worked in departments of
administration, though their main task was to administer the souls of the
people they served. They were priests in the temples and performed the
complex rituals of prayers to mollify the gods, a role the Rajputs often
usurped, because unlike the Brahmins, they claimed a kinship with the very
gods they offered their prayers to. Also,while brahminism exercised great
orthodoxy, the Rajputs had their own precepts: they believed in animal
sacrifices for their gods, a ritual that in other parts of the country would
have been abhorred.
The Jats also called as Choudhary, occupy a prominent position in Rajasthan
being the largest group in this region. They are divided into 12 chief clans
and about 230 minor gotras. Though the origin of the Jat tribe is shrouded
in mystery, the Jats still betray tribal traits. Agriculture has always been
the main occupation of the Jats but now they are branching out in other
fields like military and police. They are also well represented in
government civil services.
"Men may come and men may go, but I go on forever," is a
well-known Jat proverb. They are brave, hardworking people who possess both
the desire and ability to rule.Known for their military powers, many Jats
were recruited into the British-India Army during World War I. Before that,
they served as fighters in the Persian army. A large number of Jats serves
in the Indian Armed Forces and form one of the largest ethnic groups in the
army (The Jat Regiment).The Bharatpur, Deeg & Dholpur of Rajputana
(Rajasthan) were had been ruled by Jat rulers.The Green Revolution brought
considerable prosperity to the Jats in the late 60s and 70s.
Over a period of time, a greater influence in court came to be not the
Brahmin priests, but members of the business community. Even though they
formed a miniscule percent of the population, they controlled the economy to
a large extent. While the Rajputs built their kingdoms on the basis of
offering protection to the caravans that passed through their lands, the
business communities saw in them the opportunity of extending their own
trades. They were able to benefit from the peregrinations along both routes
and their investments paid off. Later, when the overland trade routes dried
up with the opening of the coastal sea routes to Gujarat, the business
families shifted their base to new centres of trade and benefited from the
dependence the English traders had to repose in them.more..
For some communities, nomadic existence has been a way of life. These
people travel in large groups, often on a cyclical, seasonal basis, as they
move around providing their particular services for people in settled
communities. This can range from lending a helping hand with sowing and
harvesting to doing odd jobs, making or repairing agricultural implements,
carrying and trading in grains, spices and dry fruits, to the minstrels
whose job it was to inform and perform.more..
While the association of Rajasthan is always with its warriors, it cannot
be denied that the nature of society has also been largely pastoral.The
Bishnois are known as the conservationists to whom the preservation of
animal and vegetable life is a religion and has been so from the early 15th
Principally, the Muslims came to Rajasthan as invaders and therefore found
little to entice them to stay here, though some of the settlers, such as the
Kayamkhanis of Shekhawati Region and the Meos of Mewat Region (Alwar), have
been associated with agricultural practices, especially in the Shekhawati
belt where the Kayamkhani nawabs also wielded considerable influence. Over
the centuries, there wer only two Muslim kingdoms that arose in Tonk &
Loharu of Rajputana (Rajasthan ). The Muslims also served in the Rajput
court and there was no attempt to subvert each other's religious sentiments.
In fact, the Muslim settlers came to share many of the rituals and festivals
of their Rajput neighbours. However, there is reason to believe that the
majority of the Muslims - there is a significant population in Rajasthan -
were artisans who were simply kidnapped from the various trading caravans,
since their skilled services were highly desired in the princely
kingdoms.Then, as now, they have proved to be mastercraftsmen, especially in
the fields of painting, dyeing, printing, bangle making, jewellery making
and paper manufacture. The Bohras, a community of mercantile Muslims also
have a sizeable presence in Udaipur .
The Bhands are noted for their skillful use of satire, ridicule and sarcasm
in exposing and attacking vices and follies of people. Masters of repartee,
they have the ability to retort with immediate wit and humour, and hold a
highly scintillating conversation.
The Bhambis are also known as the Meghwals. Traditionally, they are
associated with the profession of village watchmen, guides and messengers
and also skinners of dead animals. They are now mostly working as
The Koli community is said to be one of the original dwellers of the
countryside in Rajasthan and their traditional occupation is weaving.
The Harijans also called as Mehater are sweepers.