(Last Updated on : 16/08/2010)
Chitrakathi is a small group mainly comprising religious mendicants. They are found in several places of Central Provinces of India. The name of Chitrakathi is derived from chitra, which means a picture, and from the term katha, meaning a story. Traditional occupation of Chitrakathi caste is to travel around and exhibit pictures of heroes and gods, and reciting stories about them. It is believed that the community is of mixed functional origin. They have several exogamous sections and their names have been taken from those of Marathas. Interestingly in the region of Berar different set of exogamous sections of the caste is found. Some names in this part appear to be named after various offices held or the functions performed by community members. Like for instance, Atak section implies the caste headmen; the Mankari means a sort of substitute for Atak; Bhojni section is the section serving food at different ceremonies; Kakra arrange for lighting; Kotharya, store-keepers; and so on.
Chitrakathis are believed to be migratory instead of settled. They in various aspects differ from Chitaris. In Chitrakathi community, marriage within the same group is not allowed. Moreover, members of Mankari and Atak sub-sections are prohibited to intermarry as it is believed that are closely connected being divisions of one section. The indigenous social customs of Chitrakathi caste are very similar to those of the Kunbi tribe
. They bury the dead. During the festival of Akhatij, Chitrakathis worship a vessel filled with water for honouring their ancestors.
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