The Banjara Tribe

Knowledge

Banjara is a significant tribe in Eastern India. Banjara people are typically nomads who wander from one place to another, leading life on their own terms and conditions. Thus, their way of living is quite thrilling and full of adventures. 


According to anthropologists, these tribes are related to European gypsies who migrated from India. Another piece of research says the tribe, which is also known as Banjara, Lamani and Lambada, is actually part of the Kshatriya Gorvamshiya tribe. Pundit Gaurishankar Oza has done some pioneering work in unearthing their unknown history. During the course of this research it came to light that the Gor culture of the Gorvamshiyas is responsible for the origin of Indus culture. A world conference of Banjara tribes was held in Germany in 1980. A delegation of Gor Banjaras from India was present at the conference.


CULTURE

Banjaras are known by different names such as Lamani, Lambadi, Bangala, Banjori, Banjuri, Gohar Herkeri, Goola, Gurmarti, Kora, Labhani Muka, Lambara, Lavani, Lemadi, Lumadale, Sugali, Tanda, Vanjari, Waji, Gormati and Singali. These tribes hail from Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Orissa and West Bengal.

Their occupations are gathering of forest products and agriculture. The Banjara settlement is not called a village. It is referred to as a 'Tanda'. Banjara tandas are also found in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

DRESS

Banjara women wear a full length skirt with borders embroidered in mustard and green thread. They also wear pretty silver anklets. Silver, brass, gold, cowries, ivory, animal bone and even plastic are used in making Banjara jewellery. These tribes are experts in traditional hand embroidery with mirror-work. Artworks created by the Banjara tribe have got a great demand in the international market.


NOTABLE BANJARA PEOPLE
 
Vasantrao Naik was an Indian politician who served as Chief Minister of Maharashtra from 1963-1975. He was born in Gavli, Pusad.
 
Sudhakarrao Naik was an Indian politician who served as Chief Minister of Maharashtra from 1991-1993. He was born in the remote Gavli village in Vidarbha.