Pastoral Communities in India

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PASTORAL COMMUNITIES

Gujars
The Gujar are an ethnic group in India, Pakistan and Afghanistan. Today, the Gujars are classified under the Other Backward Class (OBC) category in some states in India. However, in Jammu and Kashmir and parts of Himachal Pradesh, they are designated as a Scheduled Tribe under the Indian government's reservation program of discrimination. Hindu Gujars today are assimilated into several varnas.
The origin of the Gujars is uncertain. Many Gujars claim descent from Suryavanshi Kshatriyas (Sun Dynasty) and connect themselves with the Hindu deity Rama. Historically, the Gujars were Sun-worshipers and are described as devoted to the feet of the Sun-god (God Surya).Their copper-plate grants bear an emblem of the Sun
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Even though they settled across the country, they still consider themselves as nomad community.
The word "Banjara" must have evolved from Prakrit and Hindi and Rajasthani words "Bana/Ban or Vana/Van" meaning Forest or Moorlands and "Chara" meaning 'Movers'. The Banjara are (together with the Domba) sometimes called the "Gypsies of India".
The word Banjara is a deprecated, colloquial form of the word of Sanskrit origin. The Sanskrit compound-word vana chara, "forest wanderers" was given to them presumably because of their primitive role in the Indian society as forest wood collectors and distributors.
Their customs, language and dress indicate they originated from Rajasthan. They live in settlements called thandas. They lived in zupada (hut). Now many of them live in cities. They have a unique culture and dance form. On many occasions they gather, sing and dance.
Their traditional occupation is nomadic cattle herding. Later they slowly moved into agriculture and trade.
The accurate history of Lambanis or Lambadis or Banjaras is not known but the general opinion among them is that they fought for Prithvi Raj Chauhan againstMuhammad of Ghor. The trail of the Lambadi/Banjara can be verified from their language, Lambadi borrows words from Rajasthani, Gujarati, Marathi and the local language of the area they belong to.
The Banjaras are grouped into five gotras, or super-families,
Members of the same
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