-> A Profile of the
The Gadi Lohars are a community of
wandering blacksmith found in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and
Maharashtra. However, they are concentrated mainly in north-east
part of maharashtra and few scattered through the other states.
They are known under different name in
the different states - Chittoriya Lohar, Panchal Lohar or Gadi Lohar
in Madhya Pradesh; Ghisadi, Chittoriya Lohar or Rajput Lohar in
Gujarat and Maharashtra. Gadi, Gadia, Gadoliya or Gaduliya Lohar are
found in southern part of Rajasthan and north-eastern region of
Maharashtra. As a matter of fact, the words, Gadi, Gadia, Gadoliya
or Gaduliya are the synonyms of bullock-cart.
The Gadi Lohars are characterised by
- not to return to the Chittorgarh Fort
- not ot
live in permanently settled homes
- not to light candle at night
- not to keep their cots in the carts
- not to keep a rope for
drawing water from a well.
They attribute the taboos to their
Rajput ancestors who, it is believed, prepared iron weapons for the
army of a Rajput ruler of Chittorgarh but escaped from the Fort when
it was attacked by Akbar, They then pledged to become a nomadic
people observing the above self imposed taboos till the freedom and
glory of the Fort were revived.
Although no historic evidence is
available, the tradition among the Gadi Lohars is fairly strong.
Moreover, some of their customs and beliefs, revealed though their
actual practices, lend support to the traditional account of the
origin of the community.
Despite social Workers and
Politicians, assured the Gadi Lohars to get back their lost respect,
they didn't left their traditional belief that those who break the
taboo would be destroyed by Kali, the Goddess of that Place.
If their contentions that their
ancestors belonged to the upper caste of the Rajputs is accepted, it
is really painful to imagine the different factors which must have
contributed in lowering the social prestige of the community till,
at last, they were pushed to a very low status in the Hindu Society.
Their adoption of the practice of
using bullock-carts, conditions with no clothes, illiteracy, extreme
poverty were looked down by the Hindus in particular and the damage
to their prestige caused by heir own taboos, especially not keeping
a rope for drawing water from a well. to get water, they have to
stand a foot away and depend on upper caste people to pour water in
their empty pots.
All these circumstances od the last
four centuries demonstrate how a historical accident almost
completely changed the socio-cultural life of the community.