Author Topic: Different Castes Residing In Uttarakhand - उत्तराखंड मे रहने वाले विभिन्न जातिया  (Read 50807 times)

एम.एस. मेहता /M S Mehta 9910532720

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Rung

The Shauka live in Chaudas, Vyas and Darma valleys and in Munsiyari in the Pithoragarh district in Kumaon, and as well as parts of extreme north-west Nepal. They are also known as Rang and speak a distinct Tibeto-Burman dialect, which is barely intelligible with Magar. According to legend, they are of Tibetan and Kiranti origin, although it seems that they are of solely of Tibetan origin.

The Shauka have their own scripts, which is now extinct. According to anthropologists, portions of it dating back to the 12th century can be found in the caves of the mountains

एम.एस. मेहता /M S Mehta 9910532720

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Tolcha
A small Bhotiya tribe living in the Niti valley among the Marcha tribe, the Tolcha, like the Marcha, are Hindu. Despite the fact that they are of Tibetan origin, Indian intermarriage over the centuries have made the Tolcha tribe resembling much more closely to the Indian Jaunsari than the Tibetans

एम.एस. मेहता /M S Mehta 9910532720

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Kang-Dali Victory Dance of the Shauka

Kang-Dali Victory Dance of the Shauka Tribe
It was a bright and chilly morning. Three of us—my friends and I—started our journey in a Maruti 800 from Kashipur in the Terai belt at the foothills of Nainital. We were on our way to Chaudas Valley to participate in the Kang-Dali festival of the Shauka tribe.
We started at 3.30 a.m. for Dharchula and reached there by 7 p.m. The journey was through picturesque mountains and valleys via soni, Ranikhet, Gagas, Kausani, Bageshwar and Chaukori. Next morning we passed the majestic ice-clad peaks at Tawaghat on our way to our next halt at Pangu. Just before Pangu village we had a punctured tyre. The nearest tyre repair place was 35 km behind us. We requested a jeep going back to take our punctured tyre, get it repaired and leave it at Pangu for us. It may sound unbelievable but we received our repaired tyre at Pangu on our way back. It was kept hanging on a tree, guarded by a few children! This incident and the extremely warm welcome we encountered all the way restored our faith in humanity.

The Shaukas are a very handsome people. They inhabit the Chaudas, Vyas and Darma valley in Pithoragarh district of Kumaon region. These tribals had a flourishing trade with Tibet in the early days but after Chinese occupation of Tibet the trade dwindled. The tribe was given the status of a scheduled tribe and 2 per cent reservation by the Indian government in 1967.

According to folk lore, a widow of Chaudas valley had a son who was infected with a terrible boil on his leg. She applied on the boil a traditional cure—a paste of the root of a local shrub called Kang-Dali. The boil deteriorated and poison spread over the patient’s body resulting in his death. The bereaved mother cast a curse on the shrub saying that when it is in full bloom the women of the tribe will destroy it once in every 12 years. Since then a victory dance is performed every 12 years after destruction of this shrub.

The festivities start in the morning. The beautiful tribal women deck up in colourful dresses and adorn themselves with jewellery. They can be seen looking out of the exquisitely carved windows of their homes as though framed in a picture. The men folk attired in white and carrying a sword in one hand and a shield in the other come out in the streets. They are joined by the women and in a disciplined row start advancing to the rhythmic beat of local drums. In the field they form a circle and dance in abundance. Meanwhile some of the others are engaged in destroying the Kang-Deli shrub.

Unfortunately, the sky became overcast and there was a heavy downpour. The dancers headed back to the village. But inspite of the cold the people continued dancing in the streets and accepting prasad from the villagers. As feast of mutton and rice culminated the ceremony.

We started our return journey the next morning. We carried back memories of the limitless hospitality of a pure and simple people.
 

एम.एस. मेहता /M S Mehta 9910532720

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Bhotia community

Without   any    reference   to     Bhotia community,  the  details about Uttaranchal are   incomplete.   The   higher      Himalayas  ( above   10000 Ft )    are inhabited  by  these  tribes.   Thus   this  area is  named   as 'Bhotantic'   by   Dr   Shiv  Prasad Dabral.  These  brave  sons   of   Himalayas    had  been   instrumental   to  made     India  a  Golden    Bird   since   ages.   No     history    of    Uttranchal  is available  before  Katyuri  Dynasty.      But    these     traders     find  references   in   ancient   Hindu Scriptures    like     Mahabharata,     Puranas,   Harsh Charitam,  Kadambni     etc.  According    to     Mahabharata     their  representative   was   present   during Rajsuya  Yagna  performed   by  King   Yudhishtira  with  gifts  of   Pipalika  Gold  ( dig by   ants ),   soft    white   and    black    Chawar   (tail  of   Chawar  Cow),      Honey,   Precious   Gems,    Mahabala medicine and holy Ganges water.

एम.एस. मेहता /M S Mehta 9910532720

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MORE ABOUT BHOTIA'S

Basically   Bhotias were  nomads   and    inhabited  in    the     higher    valleys     of Himalayas. Harsil, Niti, Mana, Malari in the Garhwal region and  Darma , Johar and Byans  Valleys  of  Kumaon  region  are   mainly  inhabited  by  these  tribes. Generally  they have two homes; one in higher ranges  for Summer and one in lower ranges   for Winter. Due  to  the Geographic   conditions  and  climate,   Bhotias    practice    unique   customs, rituals  and  traditions.  In  fact  it  was  an   open   society   with   a   carefree  life style  best  suited    to such harsh conditions.   Different  languages are spoken  by   inhabitants  of   various valleys.   Although  these  tribes  are associated with Tibet and China  since  ancient  times  but  they never accepted Buddhism     and   are   followers    of Hinduism.   

 Bhotias have  more  faith  upon their  dogs than  any one else. These dogs sleep  in the  day   but  remain vigilant during nights and can challenge  even tiger or  bear. It is said that King of  Kekaya  presented one  such   dog along with other gifts to   Alexander   The  Great.     The      Bhotias    are      brave,        courageous, adventurous  and   entrepreneurs.  After  the  cessation  of  business  with Tibet  they  merged into  the  main  stream  of   nation   and   are   holding    important    positions    in   Government   and   Private Sector.  Few  of   them  are still  engaged  in traditional   trade  of  woolen  goods.  During  the  fairs  at Jauljibi,  Bageshwar,  Ghucher,  Uttarkashi etc they exhibit their handicrafts.  Lot of them also provide their services as Guide to trekkers  and  mountaineers  which  is of great help to them.
These      communities        have produced great adventurers like Pt Nain  Singh  and  Durga Singh brothers      who    clandestinely surveyed         Tibet pretending as  traders,            great mountaineers like H. C. S. Rawat, Hukum Singh, Bachendri

SEE THIS PHOTO OF BHOTIA'S DOG
 

एम.एस. मेहता /M S Mehta 9910532720

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Munsiyari, Of Shaukas, Salt Route and Snow Peaks

The Himalayan settlement of Munsiyari, an untrodden path, is the closest you can get to experiencing the Greater Himalayas.

We set out early in the morning, two carloads of excited children and adults in two Maruti Gypsies, for a destination that few had heard of ----- Munsiyari in the Kumaun Hills. A driving distance of 650 km from Delhi. We decided to cover it in two days with a night halt at Ranikhet.

The route is fairly straightforward although a good road map is a great help. Highway driving brings its own logistics -¤ it is always advisable to pack extra helpings of munchies and biscuits. Having been put in charge of four children of "growing age", I can vouch for that. Also, carry lots of drinking water and a towel. Once in the hills, those prone to motion sickness should take an anti-vomiting tablet although on this route I found the roads to be very good and the bends gentle, unlike the acute stomach-churning ones in other parts of the Himalayas. But keep in mind that the journey is long. The other thing is to keep track of refueling points. In the hills extra petrol in a 40-litre jerrycan is a must. Petrol, particularly the unleaded variety is not as freely available as in the plains.

On the way from Ranikhet to Munsiyari we passed through pine forests that gave way to mixed vegetation of oak and birch as we approached higher altitudes. We caught glimpses of Trishul and Nanda Devi from Kausani and of Panchchuli peaks from Chaukori. Our journey was interrupted in several places by baraat (wedding) processions; entire villages descended upon the roads (most of them high on and in spirits). Each group was accompanied by men who sang and danced sporting naked swords and shields. They were in their traditional finery -¤ long skirts worn over tights. At least one man played the bagpipes. The last 10 km of the drive turned out to be the most exciting. As we turned round a bend near Kalamuni, the highest point en route, a stunning view of the Panchchuli peaks greeted us. There is a temple here. After this it was a steady descent into Munsiyari. Every bend brought a fresh view, often better than the last one. It is amazing how the slightest change in elevation alters the perspective completely.

Munsiyari is a quaint place. It is a fairly big Himalayan township; it enjoys the status of a tehsil ( ) in the Pithoragarh district with a population of 15000. It boasts of an Inter-College and its STD facilities are better than those available at Bageshwar. People here are progressive and outward bound; they tell you proudly that Munsiyari has produced three IAS officers! We met Dr. Sher Singh, a retired teacher who is vastly knowledgeable about the place, its history and people; everyone in Munsiyari knows him as "Masterji". Munsiyari has a very interesting history. The entire area is generally known as Johar valley. It was inhabited by the Shauka people from time immemorial. They led semi-nomadic lives actively engaged in trade with Tibet across the difficult Himalayan passes. It took them 20-25 days to reach Munsiyari from Tibet from where they carried back mainly salt. Salt consumed in the entire Himalayan region came from Tibet those days. Masterji recalls his childhood, "I still remember when I was in school, the month of July brought our Tibet-returned friends with their flocks of sheep laden with salt; they hummed music while weighing salt and grain with local measuring pot (nali). Beating drums and blowing trumpets every villager accompanied the outward-bound group to Tibet till the very edge of the village to bid them goodbye."

Every able-bodied man in the village braved the dangerous passes to cross over to Tibet as a trader, petty businessman, muleteer or as a helper. They travelled in convoys carrying cloth and other provisions on the backs of sturdy mountain goats and sheep, each animal laden with 40 kg. The Britishers named these people "Bhutiyas". However they are not Buddhists as the name might lead one to believe, but Hindus. They worship Goddess Nanda Devi. The locals were suddenly found without a viable livelihood when the border with Tibet was sealed in 1962 and the trade stopped completely. Agriculture has never been too developed here on account of the unfavourable climate. Most of them were therefore forced to migrate. The villages of Milam, Burfu etc., to the east of Munsyari, are largely deserted today. A walk through the local village of Dharkot reveals interesting corners. The houses are typical. Some of them have beautiful carvings on the wooden doors and windows. The art of weaving fine shawls and blankets from coarse goat wool is prevalent even today.

Upon enquiring at the bus stop in Munsiyari, we were directed to the "tent colony". Run by Wayfarer Resorts it is a camp set up about 10 km from the main township. We had bookings at Wayfarer Resorts, undoubtedly the best place to stay in Munsiyari. Set in the elevated fields there were no bricks and mortar to greet us. Instead we were accommodated in Swiss-cottage tents. The tents were furnished with twin beds, racks and hangers. They had attached toilets in the shape of a tin shed at the back fitted with "western style" commodes! We set about unpacking excitedly. Out with the binoculars and cameras! Majestic Panchchuli peaks flanked on either side by Hansling, Rajarambha and Chiplakot glistened in the sun. The name Panchchuli derives from the legend that the Pandavas cooked their last meal on their way to heaven on these five chulis (cooking hearths). To the left we could see the Milam Glacier. Way down below the thin ribbon of the Gori river meanders through the valley. It originates at the Milam Glacier. This 18 km long glacier is situated 5 km west of Milam village at a height of 3852 m. Gori Ganga flows into Nepal to the west of Kumaun, and joins the Kali river of Nepal.

Next morning, I was woken up by the loud chirping of magpies right outside the tent. Lifting the tent flaps I could see the hazy outline of the snow peaks. The sun was about to rise. However the peaks were held in silhouette since it rose from right behind them. The best views of the snow peaks were to be had only when the sun got high or in the late afternoon. But what a brilliant sunlight flooded the entire valley!

Munsiyari is ideally located for experiencing high altitude trekking to Milam glacier and the Nanda Devi base camp. In fact, Wayfarer regularly takes groups for ten to fifteen days for these treks. They organize all the paraphernalia like camping gear, porters and the most critical inner line permits. Owing to paucity of time we had to limit our explorations to short forays into the surrounding countryside. We set out for Maheshwari Kund. We followed the narrow tracks past walnut, juniper and birch; the hillside was awash in blood red rhododendrons. We clambered over huge rock falls and tramped trough brambly patches illuminated with white dog rose. Chameleons darted from the path and long haired mountain goats and sheep tinkled their bells as they gamboled up and down. As we gained height, the pink rhododendrons appeared. Maheshwari Kund is a quiet lake surrounded by marshy wetlands. The cool moist bank of the lake was teeming with life. Moss and lichens filled every nook and cranny. Legends abound about the lovers who shunned the world and were united in this place. Another short one hour trek took us to Balati Farm at a height of 9000 ft., a result of an aborted attempt of some NGOs at researching high yielding potatoes. It offers breathtaking panoramic views of the snow peaks. You are allowed to pitch a tent for a night for which it is well suited, the ground being pretty level and having a water source close by. There are a number of bugyals -- the rolling lush green high altitude meadows that lend themselves ideally for a night out under the stars.

In the afternoon it threatened to rain. Dark cumulonimbus clouds gathered around the snow peaks. Cold gusts of wind swept across the pastures and fine lightening streaks cracked across the sky and we realized none of us was carrying a raincoat! We somehow managed to reach the shelter of our tents before the temperature plummeted down and lo behold -- hail! In no time the grass in front of our tent lost its colour and the hills beyond took on a whiter look.

Ensconced inside my tent I delved into Munsiyari's past. I came across this very interesting account of the Pundit explorer who hailed from this Johar valley. Pundit Nain Singh was born in 1830 in Milam village. His landmark journey of 1200 miles from Kathmandu to Lhasa and thence to Mansarovar lake and back to India which he carried out in 1865-66 won him accolades of geographers all over the world; the Royal Geographical Society acknowledged his contribution in drawing up a map of Tibet, Mongolia and Central Asia, by awarding him a gold watch. Prior to this, these upper reaches of the Himalayas and beyond were shrouded in mystery and maps of these regions either did not exist or they were in the form of vague pictorial Chinese maps.

Cartography is an ancient obsession of man. Not only had man to travel everywhere and find a way to record his journey, he had to twist, reshape and abstract all he recorded in order to depict the contours, elevations and changing landscapes on a flat sheet of paper. The Britishers set about this task systematically. A section of the Survey of India known as the Great Trigonometrical Survey was assigned the task of fixing the co-ordinates of points on earth and their elevation. In 1863 Colonel Walker and Captain Montgomery started training Indian explorers to take latitudes by *tant, directions by compass, to determine heights by observing a thermometer in boiling water, to count paces and keep accurate notes. All this had to be done without attracting attention. The explorers had to pose as simple travellers. The Indian explorers had the definitive advantage of going unnoticed in the Indo- Tibetan milieu. They most often disguised themselves as Buddhist lamas. Like all good Tibetans they carried a rosary in one hand and a prayer wheel in the other. But instead of 108 beads, their rosaries had exactly 100; with every tenth a big one. A bead was counted after every 100 paces, the larger one reading a thousand. The prayer wheel was fitted on the inside with stripes of paper on which they took down their survey notes. Very few strangers would venture to speak to a devout Buddhist lama twirling the prayer wheel and chanting Om Mani Padme Hum(Oh Jewel of the Lotus) and looking suitably inscrutable. They could carry on their work uninterrupted.

Fascinating isn't it? Had it not been for such wandering men we could very well have been sitting in Delhi completely oblivious of this enchanting place tucked away in the lap of Himalayas! But listening to other traveller's tales only sparks off the urge to set forth and discover the places for ourselves. The trekking season had just started and soon the hills would resound with the crunch of sturdy footwear. But it was time for us to turn back

There are two distinct types to invade the Himalayas in summertime when the plains get unbearably hot, the comfort seeking travelers bound for the hill-stations, and the back packers heading for more exotic, out-of-bound locales. Being accessible on very good roads, Munsiyari is possibly that ultimate destination for all those seeking that magic combination of comfort and adventure.




 

एम.एस. मेहता /M S Mehta 9910532720

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Bhotia People residing in Manaa, near Badrinath.

Cultural dress



एम.एस. मेहता /M S Mehta 9910532720

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Caste Stratification of Garhwalis and Kumaonis

Garhwali and Kumaoni Rajputs are generally the main cultivators of Uttarakhand, although Brahmins may also farm. Kols or Doms, (collective name for indigenous low-caste groups) generally have little or no land and engage in little agricultural activity, while the artisan castes create traditional implements that farmers use. Most villages are dominated by Rajput cultivator families (45-60% of population) with artisan and low caste groups providing a diverse array of services to the entire community (e.g., barber, blacksmith, carpenter-mason, weaver, drummer - "Bajgi" or "Auji" - also engage in shamanism, singing, tailoring, and basketmaking). Unlike the plains, the Rajput (Thakur and Khasi) farmers do no usually employ sharecroppers or tenant farmers as their lands are small and cultivated by single families. As such, the problems of landlordism have not arisen to the extent it has a short stone throw away in the Terai.

There is no indigenous trader class, which also sets Uttarakhand culture apart from those of the plain. However, all Uttarakhand castes and especially the Bhotiyas migrants (Tibetan-speaking Buddhists) may engage in commerce.

Source :  uttarakhand.prayaga.org/info4.html


एम.एस. मेहता /M S Mehta 9910532720

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JAUNSARI


The people of Jaunsar-Bawar (Upper Dehra Dun district) and Rawain (present day Uttarkashi) are distinct from their Garhwali neighbours in their style of dress and unique cultural practices. As a collection of smaller tribes, Jaunsari society is caste stratified with the indigenous Koltas as the main service caste and Khasa Brahmins and Rajputs as the main cultivators.

The Jaunsari are well known to be one of the few polyandrous societies in the world, although this practice is receding into history. Marriage and *ual mores also tend to be more liberal, with women enjoying greater freedom to choose and divorce. Jaunsaris are also famous for their colorful clothes and festivals.[/b]

एम.एस. मेहता /M S Mehta 9910532720

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BHOTIA

Bhotias traditionally lived in the high Himalayan region, close to the Tibetan border. The term Bhotia comes from "Bo" which is the native Tibetan word for Tibet. In the winter, they migrate to southern climes, although recently, many have begun settling permanently in the mid-Himalayas.

Bhotias are subdivided into three main categories: The Jadhs of Uttarkashi, the Marchas (once mainly traders) and Tolchas (farmers) of Chamoli, and the Shaukas of Pithoragarh (near Dharchula). Apart from cultural differences, the three Bhotia groups resemble one another in their distinctive Tibetan-like physical appearance. Furthermore, the Jadhs are followers of Buddhism and the Shaukas hold to their own Hindu-Buddhist faith, although both rely on Lamas to conduct ceremonies and rituals. The central Marcha/Tolcha group are the most Hinduized, sharing Rajput septs (family names) with their Garhwali neighbours. Bhotias observe some aspects of the caste system as they, like their Garhwali and Kumaoni counterparts, depend on lower castes (Doms) for many services.

Since the closing of the Tibetan frontier and militarization of the border, the traditional Bhotia trade routes have also been closed, leading to social and economic dislocation. The north-south trade across the Himalayas has given way to a strictly downward relationship, impacting the cultural life of the Bhotias.


Source : http://uttarakhand.prayaga.org/info4.html

 

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