Other Personal Aspects-
from Maharashtra, their home tongue is Marwari and they speak a corrupt
Marathi abroad; from Mysore and Coorg speak Hindusthani and it is presumed
that they are immigrant from some part of Northern India and probably from
The Mathuria speak marathi some what mixed with gujrathi. Bijapur : Their
home tongue is called lambani has a strong gujrathi element. it is curious
that as the kilikets have kept thier marathi so the Lamans khave kept thier
gujrathi or a dialect of it though al know kanareas, and generally marathi,
Ahmednagar : home tongue was marwadi, speak corrupt form of marathi. Hasan-Gypsy
languages are spoken by Lamanis. Mysore : speak a mixed dialect called kulmi,
largely composed of marathi and hindi composition.
They live in cottages with wattled walls and thatched roofs and when
travelling, in small tents or pals when engaged in carrying on trade; they
usually live in kuris and hamlets attached to such regular villages; as have
considerable tracts of waste lands belonging to them, when tanda or caravan
started on its long carrying trips, the young and some of the women used to
go with it with working bullocks while the young men , remainder of the
women and children remained to tend breeding cattle in the hamlet. In Nimar
they generally rented a little land in the village to give them footing and
paid also a carrying fees on the number of cattle present. Whatever
connotation Tanda may have among other groups, most Banjaras Ghormati
speakers probably think of the lieteral meaning as caravan, in practice,
however the term is applied to any hearth-site of a traditional mobile Jati,
varying in duration from overnight or seasonal camps, to semi permanent
In many villages they have not built proper houses but continued to live in
mud houses thatched with grass. They considered it unlucky to live in a
cement or tiled roof. this being, no doubt superstition arriving from their
Their houses must also be built so that the main beams do not cross , that
is the main at the house must never be in a position, that if projected , it
would cut another main beam but beams may be parallel. The same rules
probably governed the arrangement of their tent in their camps.
Their household goods include earthern vessels with one or two metal pots.
They are great eaters and poor cooks. Puran-polies with hot and sour sauce
are among their danties. Their staple food is millet bread, pulses, sauces
and vegetables, men eat flesh, fish except beef, women abstain from flesh
and do not even cook it.
Those from Bijapur, will not eat flesh unless it is received Musalman
blessings, other dishes are wheat bread, cooked rice, with curry, wheat
bread stuffed with boild pulses, puran-poli, wheat cooked with milk and
sweetened with molasses, are fond of hot and sour food stuffs, tamrind and
garlic and onions in their ordinary diet.
Grooming - dress and ornaments
Men shave the head except the topknot and grow the moustaches and whiskers.
Women plait the hair in tre braids, which hang loosely about the head and
deck it with silk tassles and coweri shells, some women tie beads in
blackknot, none of them use flowers or false hairs. The men dressing is a
waiste cloth worn after Maratha fashion, a smock or a bandi, shoulder cloth,
a Maratha turban and a pair of sandals or shoes.
Women wear the Marwari petticoat and backless short sleeved bodice and cover
the bossom and shoulder with mulitcoloured sheet of cloth. Embroidery work
is done on the petticoat and shoulder cloth with small pieces of round
mirror, studded beautifully on them which attracts attention of the
onlookers. This way of peculiar dressing is exclusive to them. The men
ornaments are , gold ear ring called as Bhik Bali, a silver wristlet
or Kadas and the women have gold nose-ring or Nath, silver ear
rings or Bugdis, silver and tin necklaces, ivory bangle, cowery
wristlets, feet ornaments Paijans, or brass anklets. Neither men nor
women had special dress for great occasion.
They have strict caste-rules against wearing Godhadis or quilts.
They are thrifty and hospitable as a class they are dark, strong, and well
made; both Mathuria and Labhana men are fairer than Charants. Women are
plain and ordinary looking and as they grow older become seamed and
careworn, as if form the hard work. In fact the woman is very industrious,
far in addition to her domestic duties she very often earns wages as a
labourer or assist her husband on their own fields, sells the produce at the
fairs. They make good husband, and women are chaste, clean, faithful, neat
but plain and ordinary looking, tall, dark, rather good-looking women
healthy and well made -- have an intelligent face, well cut features and
prominant nose and eyes. the marked difference some times noticeable, among
the Lamans, some being tall and fair, others short and thickset with bushy
whiskers and beards , is due to the fact that men of several castes and even
different religions live together in one body or community.
Character as a class : Are dirty but honest hard working, orderly and
frugal. They are brave and have a reputation of great independance. The name
Cháran is generally held to rank below the local kunbhis and above
the impure classes in Maharashtra. The term Cháran is held to mean
wanderer, and in their capacity also as bards they were accustomed to travel
from court to court of the different Chiefs in quest of patronage. They were
first protected by their sacred character and then by their custom of Taga
orChándi that is killing themselves when attacked and threatening their
assialents with dreaded fate of being haunted by their ghosts.
Banjaras are credited much attention for their dogs. In the palmi
days of the tribes dacoities were undertaken on a most extensive scale.
Gangs of fifty to hundred fifty would go long distances from their tanda or
encampment, for attacking houses in the villages, treasure parties and
wealthy travellers on the highway. Banjaras are very expert cattle lifters
some times taking as many as hundred or even more at a time, this kind of
robbery is usually practiced in the hilly or forest country where the cattle
is sent to graze.
Banjaras are however far from being wholly criminals, and the number who had
adopted honest mode of livelihood is continously on the increase. How many
can read and write is unknown, but their memories from cultivation are
marvelous and very relative. They carry in their heads, without a slip of
mistake, the most varied and complicated transactions, the share of each, is
astriking and debtor account accurately as best kept ledger, while history
and songs all are learnt by heart, transmitted orally from generation to
generation. On the whole and taking on their clanish nature their virtues
preponder over their vices. In the main they are trustful and very brave, be
it in war or chase and once gained over one, very faithful and devoted
Lamans from Bijapur : as a class the Bhukia or the middle class
Hindus, Lamans are above the locale Kanares hindu - both in heigth and
strength. As a class they are hard working , thrifty but prone to robbery,
are fond of drink, poor and declining, as a class below Brahmin, Rajput,
Lingayat who look down upon them and above Mahars, washermen and barbers and
other low caste hindus. They take food cooked only by their own castes.
Vanjari from Maharashtra nearly in every point resemble Kunbis. They eat
from hands of Kunbis and Maratha.
Banjara from Chhattisgarh belong to a peculiar class. The men are
daring and adventrous and are habituated to the most insalubrious climates.
Status : At the head of the physical
series in south India stand the Lambhadi with the mean index of 69.1. They
do not employ Brahmin as their priests and their touch is held to convey
ceremonial pollution. But there is a reason to believe that they are nomadic
people from Upper India and their social rank is low mearly because they
have not been absorbed in the social system of the South. In Maharashtra
they are scarcely distinguishable from other Hindus in religion or customs.
Social position of Banjaras may be determined by the fact that they eat from
the hands of all hindu castes except Dhobi, Hajam, Panchdayi, Jingar and
other low classes.
They may be said to rank below the Vokaligas, in social status though an
account of their being foreign, it is not easy to fix their place so
definately. They may freely enter the houses of other castes and their
contact is not generally considered obnoxious.