The Bharwad tribe forms a part of the Hindu caste. They are chiefly the residents of Gujarat
in India. Few of them who inhabit in Saurashtra use Ahir as a surname. The Bharwad regard themselves as Nandvanshi Ahirs.
Origin of Bharwad Tribe
The traditional occupation of the Bharwad tribe is that of shepherds. They were hence known as Bharwad. The term has been derived from the Gujarati word badawad. Here the word bada means sheep and wada meaning enclosure. The bharwads can be mainly located in Kutchh and Saurashtra. Legend has it that that these Bharwads had once helped a Chavda prince regain his kingdom. They are said to be the descendents of Anavil Bharwad. The Bharwada have been divided into two endogamous groups i.e. the Mota Bhai and Nanabhai. The later group, Nana bhai Bharwads has been further subdivided into clans such as Parmar, Meer, Jograna, Jograna, Dabhla, Satiya, Algotar, Sabhad, Sindhav, Boriya and many others.
Developments of Bharwad Tribe
The Bharwad tribes are still pastoralists, who have their own demarcated areas where they graze their sheep and cattle. Presently many Bharwds have taken to farming and have their individual farming lands. Many are also employed as agricultural labourers. These people also dwell in the Gir, Alech and Barda forests.
The Bharwad have been divided into a number of clans known as ataks. The clans include the Sindhav, Hadagda, Rathadia, Jadhav, Matia, Yadav, Santia, Bathela, Gomara, Kathodi, Mundhva, Dharangia, Colthar, Pancha, Dabi, Garia, Sasda, Babha, Lambari, Dhangla, Ker and Tota.
The Sindhav, Hadagda, Rathadia clans share an equal status and hence they intermarry among themselves. The Bharwad firmly adhere to the custom of clan exogamy. In South Gujarat the main clans of the Bharwads consist of the Rokadka, Jodika, Kuhadiya, Chandulka, Dahika, Kalwamia and Gundarya. The Bharwad are Hindu, and they pay special reverence to Lord Krishna
. Their chief goddess is Masai Mata but they also have their own deity.
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