A Study of the Garasia Tribe and Strategies to Evangelize Them
1.) Overview of the Tribal Groups in Rajasthan
Rajasthan is a state steeped in culture and history. Rajasthan, or the realm of the Kings, as it is known, is perhaps one of the princely states of all in India. Its history is abundant with stories and legends about its kings and rulers. In its golden age, the region was ruled by the Rajputs, and in their honor the state was known as Rajputana in its erstwhile years. These were the royal people, the Kshatriyas, the warriors and they were known to be fierce fighters, extremely proud of their heritage and position.
But the state itself comprised of many other people groups, ...view middle of the document...
The Garasias have been classified into three different groups by the census operators, namely, Garasia, Rajput Garasia and Bhil Garasia.
2.1.1) Mythological Origins
The Garasias have their own bards (barwas), who keep the genealogy of the tribe. These bards maintain the genealogy of each and every clan of the tribe. The mythological accounts of the origin of the Garasias differ from bard to bard. Some say it was because of the grace of Ambaji that a ruler named Parmo became the tribal chief of Bhakar – the hilly dwellings of the Garasias. Some say that a shepherd was blessed by the goddess so that he could walk in the sleep. His clan brothers thought it to be of unique quality since he could walk in the sleep without hurting himself. It is said that this shepherd boy, in turn gave rise to the tribe of Garasias.
2.1.2) Historical Origins
According to tradition, when the Chauhan Rajputs of Jalore were defeated, they fled to the hills and started carving out their existence or the sustenance available there. They tried to overpower the Bhils, who were the inhabitants of the region, but ultimately had to pacify them by parting from some of their sustenance to the Bhils. These Bhil who received sustenance or Gras, from the Rajputs, came to be known as the Garasias.
Further when the Rajputs were driven by the Turks to this isolated region ruled by the Garasias, confrontation occurred between the two groups. The Rajputs began to dispossess the tribal chiefs of their land in order to settle their. But these tribal chiefs did not allow peace to the Rajputs. Frequent disturbances were created by taking away the grains and horses of the Rajputs at night. The Rajputs had no other choice but to appease the tribal chiefs. They made the chiefs co-partners in land. These tribal chiefs were made headmen of their areas with power to appoint local leaders and village patels.
2.1.3) Geographical Roots
The Garasias have been dwelling in the hills and the forests. They call it the Bhakar. They are therefore called the Bhakarwasis- the hill dwellers. During the earlier period, the forests and hills provided them with safety and security and on the other hand these same features kept them isolated from the mainline civilization for many years. Currently the Garasias are found mainly along the Aravali range of hills, in North Gujarat and South Rajasthan. In Rajasthan, they are found in the districts of of Pali, Udaipur, Sirohi and a few in Banswara. Approximately 68 percent of the Garasia population can be found in Abu Road Tehsil.
2.2) Social Organization
A Garasia village has scattered pattern of habitation like the Bhils. In a hilly region (Bhakar), one could see a number of clusters of houses situated in rough terrain. The smallest unit of the village is Phalia. The Phalia consists of the members of a single clan.
There is further the division of pal which the Garasias term as patta. There are two pattas among...