Pastoral Communities in India

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  • Topic: States and territories of India, India, Gujarat
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PASTORAL COMMUNITIES

Gujars
The Gujar are an ethnic group in India, Pakistan and Afghanistan. Today, the Gujars are classified under the Other Backward Class (OBC) category in some states in India. However, in Jammu and Kashmir and parts of Himachal Pradesh, they are designated as a Scheduled Tribe under the Indian government's reservation program of discrimination. Hindu Gujars today are assimilated into several varnas. The origin of the Gujars is uncertain. Many Gujars claim descent from Suryavanshi Kshatriyas (Sun Dynasty) and connect themselves with the Hindu deity Rama. Historically, the Gujars were Sun-worshipers and are described as devoted to the feet of the Sun-god (God Surya).Their copper-plate grants bear an emblem of the Sun and on their seals too, this symbol is depicted. Also the Gujar title of honor is Mihir which means Sun. Ancient Sanskrit Poet Rajasekhara in his plays styled Gujar rulers as Raghu-kula-tilaka (Ornament of the race of Raghu), Raghu-gramani (the leader of the Raghus) and so forth.[9] The Gujar clan appeared in northern India about the time of the Huna invasions of northern India. Some scholars, such as V. A. Smith, believed that the Gujars were foreign immigrants, possibly a branch of Hephthalites ("White Huns"). In the past, Gujars have also been hypothesized to be descended from the nomadic Khazar tribes, although the history of Khazars shows an entirely different politico-cultural ethos Scott Cameron Levi, in his The Indian Diaspora in Central Asia and its Trade, 1550-1900, mentions Kazar (Khazar, could also refer to Kassar) and Kujar (Gujar) as two different tribes with links to Central Asia. According to some historical accounts, the kingdom with capital at Bhinmal (or Srimal) was established by the Gujars. A minor kingdom of Bharuch was the offshoot of this Kingdom. In 640-41 CE, the Chinese traveller Xuanzang (Hieun Tsang) described the kingdoms of Su-la-cha (identified with Saurashtra) and Kiu-che-lo (identified with Gujara) in his writings. He stated that the Gujaras ruled a rich and populous kingdom with capital at Bhinmal (Pilo-mo-lo). According to his expositor, M. Vivien de St. Martin, Su-la-cha represents the modern Gujarat, and Kiu-che-lo (Gurjjara), "the country of the Gujars", represents the region between Anhilwara and the Indus River, i.e. Sindh region. D. B. Bhandarkar also believed that Pratiharas were a clan of Gujars. Some other historians believe that although some sections of the Pratiharas (e.g. the one to which Mathanadeva belonged) were Gujars by caste, the Pratiharas of Kannauj were not Gujars and there was no Gujara empire in Northern India in 8th and 9th century., though from the work of other historians it has been known that Kannauj was capital of Gurjara-Pratihara. Chavdas, also known as Gujar Chapas was also one of the ruling clans of Gujars.

Banjaras
The Banjara are a class of usually described as nomadic people from the Indian state of Rajasthan, North-West Gujarat, and Western Madhya Pradesh and Eastern Sindh province of pre-independence Pakistan. They claim to belong to the clan of Agnivanshi Rajputs. They are sometimes called the "gypsies of India". They are divided in two tribes, Maturia, and Labana.

The origin of Banjara community is stated in the area between Bikaner and Bahawalpur, Pakistan. After the fall of the Rajputs, they started spreading across the country. The Banjara had spread to Andhra Pradesh, Haryana, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh and other states of India. About half their number speak Lambadi, one of the Rajasthani dialects, while others are native speakers of Telugu, Kannada,Hindi and other languages dominant in their respective areas of settlement. Rathod, Parmar, Naik, Chauhan, and Jadhav castes belong to Banjara community in Rajasthan and Gujarat now are in General Seats after the communal rights taken place in Rajasthan for Reservation in 2008 as they were landlords in Amarkot, Fathaykot and Sialkot before...
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