LEARNING TO BE SETTLED
The Van Gujjar community is a pastoral nomadic community who has been migrating with their livestock since years. The stories of their movement and resettlement are becoming folklore as they inch towards sedentarization. This transition has impacted the community in numerous ways challenging its ongoing customary beliefs. The changing exposure, challenges and exchanges with outside world has made the the community to adopt a new way of life. It is gradually accepting the traditions of a settled society. But are they prepared?
The forest communities have always had a frugal and sustainable living with very less dependence on the market. The celebrations in the community never included fancy and expensive social gathering rather they were an event of coming together of clans and supporting each other. The system are churning now though!
Marriage in the community was never a cost intensive activity as there was no provision of dowry, gifts etc. The relatives would give ghee and milk to the families of the bride and groom. But all of this is changing as the community practices the new normal, with the traditional practices being let go or becoming subsuming to economic wherewithal.
DOWRY is becoming a new normal in the community which is a matter of concern says the elderly women of the community. Dowry never comes alone as it always brings evils like domestic violence, financial burden and preference of male child over the female child.
Samanta is initiating these conversations with the women in the community. The women are sharing their concerns and experiences with dowry.