Culture of the Bajara Tribe reflects different shades of their rituals, customs and traditions that are followed. The Banjara Tribe belonging to the states of Jharkhand
are found in the districts of Rajmahal, Godda and Santhal Pargana. In the year 1956 on the recommendation of the Backward Class Commission Government of India they were included in the list of scheduled in the list of scheduled tribe.
Material Culture of Banjara Tribe
The Banjara villages are located near the hills of the forest. They live with other castes in their villages. Their houses are rectangular in shape and are made of mud walls with bamboo rafters and tiles on the roof. The house is divided into two to three rooms with the help of mud walls. The Banjaras are usually nomadic people who keep moving from one village to another. The household items of the Banjaras include aluminium pots and pans, earthen pots and knives made of iron. They make mat, basket, broom tray from the grass available in the forest. They use Lathi, Bhala, Bher, Khanti and axe as their weapon for various uses. The Banjaras are Del players who wander from village to village singing prayer songs on various occasions like that of the birth of a child. They also use instruments like Dol and Table to accompany their songs. Along with singing they also perform dance sequences in the courtyard of the houses of the new born child`s parents.
The Banjaras carry pack buffaloes. They have a liking towards dresses and ornaments. The women usually adorn themselves with Lalianga and Chunari where as the men wear Dhoti, Lungi, Kamij and Muretha. The children dress themselves in Ganji and pants. Women wear ornaments made of elephant teeth, steel, brass, glass, thread bead and many others. They also decorate themselves with ornaments made of gold and silver which they usually receive as gifts. The Banjaras use lota, thali and glass made up of glass and bronze. They buy these from the nearby local Haat.
Birth and Death Rituals of Banjara Tribe
The birth of a child in the house of a Banjara is considered to be very auspicious as it confirms the fertility of the couple. If a baby boy is born then he will carry the name of the family and inherit the property of the parents. If a girl child is born then she will be exchanged during the time of marriage for the continuity of the race. The birth of a child among the Banjaras is celebrated with much joy and happiness. The Banjaras give equal status to both the sexes and hence they celebrate the birth of both the girl and the boy child. The Banjaras celebrate the birth of a child by singing and dancing on the occasion. All the males and females of the community gather together and dance and sing during the occasion.
After the birth of the child the mother and her baby is considered to be impure. Hence after five days the mother and the child take a purificatory bath. The house id also washed and purified with mud, cowdung and water. After the purification ceremony the mother and the child visits the shrine of the family deity and then takes the blessings of the elder members of the community. Birth feast is also given to the community members.
Death rituals among the Banjara tribes are also prevalent. They view a difference in the deaths of various people. The death of aged people are considered to be a good sign as they believe that they either get transformed into new bodies or they get salvation. Premature deaths occurring out of various reasons like accident, suicide, murder, burning, drowning is not considered as a good sign. They think that these unsatisfied souls are malevolent spirits who cause harm to pregnant women, children, bride and groom. Among the Banjaras the dead ones are buried. They consider that death causes impurities hence purification rituals are conducted on the tenth day after the death all clothes and houses are washed. The male members shave their heads, beard and moustache. Thereafter a purification feast is also organised among the community members.