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Rabari, Bharvad and Charan Tribes of Gujarat

The Gujarat government will constitute a commission to identify the members of Rabari, Bharvad and Charan communities who are eligible to get the benefits of Schedule Tribe (ST) status.

About the Tribes

Rabari

  • The Rabari, also called the Rewari are an indigenous tribal caste of nomadic cattle and camel herders and shepherds that live throughout northwest India, primarily in the states of Gujarat, Punjab and Rajasthan.
  • The word “Rabari” translates as “outsiders”, a fair description of their primary occupation and status within Indian society.
  • They speak ‘Bhopa’ which is a mixture of Gujarati, Kachchi, Marwari words and Pharasi (Persian) and use Gujarati script.
  • The Rabari are known for their distinctive art, particularly the mirrored and whitewashed mud sculpture-work that adorns their homes and villages.
  • Rabari women are responsible for this artwork and also traditionally spin the wool from their sheep and goats, and give it to local weavers to make their woollen skirts, veils, blankets and turbans.

Bharvad

  • The Bharwad are tribals primarily engaged in herding livestock.
  • The Bharwad name may derive from the Gujarati word badawad, constructed from bada (sheep) and wada (a compound or enclosure).
  • The Bharwads have numerous subgroups known as ataks or guls (clans) whose main purpose is to determine eligibility for marriage.
  • Constrained exogamy is practised between clans.

Charan

  • The Charan, also called Gadhvi, is a small tribe in Gujarat and the name Charan is derived from the word ‘Char’ which means grazing.
  • Members of the caste are considered to be divine by a large section of society.
  • Women of the caste are adored as mother goddesses by other major communities of this region.

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October 2022
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