Feature by: Yudish Dubey, Darshan Mistary
NASHIK: Nomadic Tribe, popularly known as banjaras, have no fixed homes and move according to seasons in search of food, water, and grazing land. A lot of these families have settled in different parts of Nashik who work hard daily to make ends meet. To understand the obstacles they face in their daily lives, Deshdoot Times interviewed them.
They shared their hardships and stated a lot of struggles they face in everyday life. Amar Singh Rathore, the headman of a small Banjara group located at Pathardi phata, when asked about his struggles in Covid-19 crisis and in general, said no amount of words can explain the number of problems he has to face in day-to-day life. He is a skilled artisan who makes idols out for P.O.P. & clay for living.
He mentioned how he, in general, faces issues even while paying for his family’s food. After lockdown, his family was in serious debt, and they were completely dependent on the food that some people donated to them. He added that the government did not help them at all in the Covid crisis. For them, the tribe doesn’t even exist.
The only time government approaches them is when they have set up their tents on govt. property and the latter want the former to clear the area. The children in the family mostly don’t go to school, and the ones enrolled had to drop out since they don’t have phones or internet services. There are no beds to sleep on, and neither do they have bathrooms. Children and females in the family have to defecate in open or in forest areas, thus increasing the risk of health hazards, and the presence of wild animals in the forest could make the situation worse.
They have no ID’s and thus, even getting gas to cook turns into a big struggle. They have to buy it illegally, and the gas companies charge them Rs.1500- Rs.1700 per gas cylinder. There are 25-30 people in every group who need serious attention from the authorities for their betterment as adults in these communities are worried that their future generations will end up having more problems and struggles with time. These groups are not even aware of the schemes that the government has laid out for them. It is the job of concerned authorities to aware the tribe of the schemes and better their living conditions.
Nomadic people (Banjaras) are the ones who migrate from one place to another in search of work or other various reasons. The population of such tribes is huge in India, but unfortunately, they are not given the required attention. Banjaras are a community of people without fixed habitation who regularly move from one place to other. Such groups include pastoral nomads and trader nomads. Nomadic tribe has a population of 60 million in India which is more than two percent of the total population.
However, they still don’t get the required attention. These banjara communities from a long period are being looked down upon. From the time when our country was known as British India, this community is being treated harshly. As they couldn’t cultivate in Rajasthan due to water scarcity, people of these tribes migrate to other big cities for work.
During the time of British India, these tribes were declared illegal, considered criminals, and have to face the harshness of the government to date. Poverty led them to get engaged in ill practices, which made them notorious in the government’s eyes.