[Tribes in News] Rabari, Bharvad and Charan Communities


  • The Gujarat government said that a five-member commission will be formed to identify the members of Rabari, Bharvad and Charan communities, living in nesses (tiny, oval-shaped hutments made of mud) of Gir, Barda and Alech areas of the state, who are eligible to get the benefits of Schedule Tribe (ST) status.
  • The central government had, through a notification dated October 29, 1956, conferred ST status on people from Rabari, Bharvad and Charan communities living in the nesses of Gir, Barda and Alech in the state.

Back to Basics

Rabari Community

  • Rabaris are nomadic herders who live scattered throughout Gujarat and Rajasthan.
  • They had migrated from Rajasthan via Kutch to Okhamandal and now most of them are distributed in the Okhamandal region of Jamnagar district.
  • One of the most striking features of the Rabari community is their artistic embroidery.There are specific ornaments for young, adult and old males which differ with regard to their marital status and number of children.
  • Also,all Rabari women always dress in severe black.
  • Women stand in an almost equal status to that of their men. However, Women do not have a right to the parental property.
  • Their folk songs are known as ‘Siya’.
  • They speak a Bhopa language which is a mixture of Gujarati, Kachchi, Marwari and Pharasi.
  • They profess Hinduism and are Shiva and Shakti followers.

Bharwad Community

  • Bharwad is caste of shepherds.
  • The term Bharwad came from word ‘Badawad’. ‘bada’ means sheep and ‘wada’ means Hence, the person who possess compounds in this caste of shepherds were known as Badawad which in course of time came to be known as Gadarieas.
  • The Bahrwad in Saurashtra is divided into two endogamous groups vizz. Mota Bhai and Nana Bhai. In South Gujarat, they are referred to as 
  • Bharwad women enjoy low status compared to men.
  • They profess HindusimLord Krishna is considered the supreme God.
  • They are permitted to graze their sheep and cattle in certain demarcated areas of the reserved forest.

Charan Community

  • The Charan, a small tribe distribute across Gujarat, were bards attached to royal courts to spread royal fame by singing praises.
  • As they use to look after Gadh’s (forts), they are also known as
  • The Charans marry within their community. All the marriages are arranged.
  • They profess The main deity of the Charan is Pithorai Mata located at Pathrama village of Junagadh.

Constitutional Provisions for Scheduled Tribes

  • The Constitution does not define the criteria for recognition of Scheduled Tribes and hence the definition contained in 1931 Census was used in initial years after independence.
  • Article 330 and 332 provides for specific representation through reservation of seats for SCs and STs in the Parliament and in the State Legislative Assemblies respectively.
  • Article 338 A gives powers to the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes (NCST)to oversee the implementation of various safeguards provided to STs.
  • According to Article 342, only those communities who have been declared as such by the President through an initial public notification or through a subsequent amending Act of Parliament will be considered to be Scheduled Tribes.
  • Article 366 (25)of the Constitution of India refers to Scheduled Tribes as those communities who are scheduled in accordance with Article 342 of the Constitution.

Source: Indian Express, Wikipedia, 

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