The origin of this Damaria tribal community has got a rich history to bank upon. The Damaria tribes can be linked to the Rajputs. The popular saying of the Damaria tribal society is that there was a king of Rajput who actually belongs to this Damaria tribal community. Also, some people love to link up these Damaria tribes with another famous tribes of the Indian subcontinent, namely Bhill tribes, who mainly resided in the adjoining areas of Rajasthan and also Madhya Pradesh.
In order to carry on conversation with each other and also with other people of the Indian Territory, these Damaria tribal communities use the wonderful dialect of Vagadi. This Vagadi has got local origination.
If one carries on study in the whole of the Damaria tribal society, one can easily find that it can be segregated into two exogamous groups. These include Upper Damor and Lower Damor, each regarding themselves advanced and have their individual clans namely Parmar, Sisodia, Rathor, Chauhan, Solanki etc.
The cultural exuberance is rightly being in several of its aspects like house settlements, clothing etc. These Damaria tribes live in village, which are stretched far and near. These are called hamlets, also known popularly as 'Phalas'. Each phala is usually 'uni-clan' in nature and put into practice the custom of exogamy. The Phalas abide by the name of either its originator or 'geographical location'. To some of the Damaria tribes, their houses are also popularly known as 'Gher', and animal shed adjoining to the house is called Dhalia.
The way this Damaria tribal community is also unique thus reflecting the tinge of the ennobled culture and tradition of the Damaria tribes. The Damaria man put on white kamij, dhoti . Also they wear safa or tolia on their head. The customary dress of the Damaria females include lugra, kanchali, kabja, ghaghra. These days contemporary dresses are worn by the Damaria females. In addition, the Damaria tribal community also loves to wear gold and silver ornaments. Tattooing also is in vogue.
As afar as the societal structure is concerned, these Damaria tribal community, they follow the norms of patriarchy. Patrilineal , patrilocal and kin based rules are practiced. . They by and large reside in the 'nuclear and monogamous families'.
Just like many of the tribal communities, marriage also is an important institution of the Damaria tribal society. Child marriage is also permitted. There are numerous instances where the Damaria tribes practice child levirate, child sororate, Polygamy are permitted in the Damaria society. The match is fixed through conciliation between both the families. As part of the marriage ritual, bride price is a must. It is also called Dapa.
What is also interesting is that although divorce is allowed in the Damaria society, 'compensation' is to be paid. Other customs like widow, divorce, remarriages are acceptable. Closely linked to marriages, there are also important rituals that are prevalent. The Suraj puja, mundan, sagai, shadi bhoj are some of these rituals .
Apart from marriages, there are few rituals that are associated with death ceremony. The dead body is cremated. However, this Damaria tribal community buries the dead bodies of the children.
These Damaria tribes have got ardent faith on the religion and its related practices. Since the Bhagat Movement, most of these Damaria tribes have adapted to Hinduism as their main religion. These Damaria revere a plethora of Hindu gods and goddesses. These include Mahadeo, Ganesh, Ram, Krishna, Ranchhod, Ganga Mata, Kalika Mata, Khalri Mata, Phula Mata etc.
Fairs and festivals form an integral part of the Damaria tribal society. Dipawali, Holi, Rakshabandhan, Navratri are chief festivals. They take part in fairs, namely, Jhela-Bavaji ka Mela, Rewadi ka Mela, Amli ka Mela, Navratri ka Mela.
These Damaria tribes have developed tastes for some of the culinary delights that these Damaria tribe prepare locally. A huge number of Damaria tribes are veggies and stay away from consuming alcohols. Staple food of these Damaria tribes is wheat, maize and rice. Pulses like urad, chana are preferred.
The non-vegetarian items include fish, meat, chicken, flesh of wild animals and birds. They devour 'home brewed mahudi' and also mutton. During marriage ceremony, Mitha dalia of wheat, rice and dal are dished out.
That these Damaria tribes are no less in producing artistic exuberances as highlighted in its numerous art and craft products
No festival of the Damaria tribal community is feted without dancing and singing that adds fervor to the whole of the festive mood. Mewari and Vagri folk songs are some of the beautiful songs that are sung at the time of Holi, festival of colors. Also quite a handful of Damaria tribes fete Garba dance during Navratri festival.
For better controlling and administration, these Damaria tribal community set up the conventional panchayat system. These are held at clan and village level. The chief of the panchayat is called Mukhia or patel.
In order to sustain their livelihood, these Damaria tribes have adapted the occupation of cultivation. These Damaria tribes also work as wage earner. The Damaria tribes have taken up to the development programs and utilize variety of agricultural inputs such as plough, water pumps, threshers, and chemical fertilizers. Today, few of the Damaria tribes have also employed in 'white-collar' jobs and are leading an up to date, urbane life.
(Last Updated on : 12-12-2008)
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