COMMUNITY ORGANISATION: TRADITIONAL OF GWAR

Every Banjara / Lambada Thanda has got its own traditional Gwar Panchayat consisting of Naik is assisted by Karbani, Dhaddi, Bhatts and Navi and a few experienced elders. The office of Karbari is hereditary and permanent. The Dhaadi, Bhatts and Naavi are treated as art castes and they always assisted with Gwar Panchayat social control is exercised in the Thanda through various sanctions like fine, pressure of public opinion etc. The Naik or headman presides over all deliberations and announces the decisions in all the cases which come under his jurisdiction. He represents the collective good will and authority of the community on occasion like marriage, death and on various festivals without his presence no function or ceremony is complete. He is responsible for the maintenance of law and order in the Thanda. Generally he personally knows all the people in Thandas and their affairs. Ideally he is expected to possess the qualities of honesty, truthfulness, integrity, bravery and in addition he must have an understanding of all the problems connected with his Thandas.

The post of Naik and Karbari are hereditary but this rule is applied and flexible manner. Generally the elder son of Naik succeeds the father but if the Naik thinks that eldest son is not capable of shouldering the responsibility, he may name any other son to succeed him. Sometimes the people of Thanda themselves may take the initiative and suggest to the Naik whom he should nominate as his successor. In the past the Lambadas used to perform a special ceremony called “page” during the installation of new Naik. They used to invite all the Naiks of the neighboring Thandas to participate in it. In the presence of those Naiks and the villagers a few Lambadas elders used to place a new turban on the new incumbent to this post. If the Thanda is a very large settlement with many streets each street may have its own Naik and above each of them there is another Naik for the entire settlement called Pedda Naik (Big Naik).

If the settlement contains people of other castes as well as very frequently they have their own heads called ‘Kulapedda’ or ‘Pedda Manishi’ when Panchayat considers any case concerning the village as a whole these heads are also invited to take part in the deliberations. Any person can approach the Nayak to convene a meeting of the Panchayat to settle a dispute in which he is interested. Many Thandas old people commented that in the past even police could never interfere with their internal matters because the Naik and village elders could enforce their decision effectively. The Gwar Panchayat takes important decision to settle the disputes of Thandas in matter related to adultery, elopement, divorce and theft etc.

The scholar has found the following reasons for slackening of the traditional Gwar Panchayat political organization.

• Frequent interference of the non Banjara leader in Gwar Panchayat at delebrations.

• In dispute settlement with Banjaras of the Thanda, the caste leaders take lead in solving disputes and most of the Banjaras do visit caste Leaders instead of approaching Gwar Panchayat at and hence the traditional Naiks have become nominal.

• Due to the increased individualistic attitude and un manifested factionalism that the people have started defining judgment given by Gwar Panchayat.

• Educated young Banjaras do not like to full fill the traditional way of providing liquor and non vegetarian food to the members of traditional council during the process of disputes settlement.