Gujjars Tribe | UPSC
Uttarakhand Van Gujjars allege forest officials assaulted women; probe underway
WHY IN NEWS:
Rajaji National Park area villagers allege they tried to lodge two FIRs, but police did not register them
SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 1 : Tribes
For PRELIMS concentrate on location of the tribe , history , occupation , culture , religion etc.
For MAINS look out for the Forest rights Issue and the migration pattern of the tribe.
Gurjar or Gujjar (also known as Gojar and Goojar) is an ethnic agricultural and pastoral community .
Gujjar Tribe is found in India, Pakistan, and Afghanistan.
- Although traditionally they have been involved in agriculture (most famously, dairy and livestock farming).
- Gurjars are a large heterogeneous group that is internally differentiated in terms of culture, religion, occupation, and socio-economic status.
They variously follow Hinduism, Islam, and Sikhism.
- Gurjars are linguistically and religiously diverse.
- The communities have also developed fluency in other languages such as Punjabi, Urdu, Hindi, Pastho, Pahari languages like Kangri and Dogri.
STATUS OF WOMEN
- The level of literacy among the Gujjar is low especially for girls.
- Gujjar women are well known for their talents and interest in music and dance and have many traditional folksongs, dances and folktales.
- Gujjar women have a secondary status to men but play a very important role in the economic activities of the family.
- The Gujjar are an endogamous community but observe exogamy at the clan and, often, village levels.
- They still follow custom of early marriages, where girls are married at an age of 14 – 15 years and boys at 17-18 years.
- Dowry is given in both cash and kind. Divorce is rare, though permitted in cases of adultery.
- Widow, widower and divorcee remarriage is allowed except in Rajasthan.
- They were known as Gurjaras during the medieval times, a name which is believed to have been an ethnonym in the beginning as well as a demonym later on.
- The origin of this tribe is quite interesting as it has said it was during the time of invasion of Hunas the Gurjara tribes moved into northern India and the Himachal Pradesh.
CHALLENGES AND ISSUES
- RESERVATION : They can avail 1% reservation under most backward class (MBC) category apart from the benefit of OBC reservation.
- Reservation in the Rajasthan stands at 50% – 16% to SC, 12% to ST, 21% to OBC and 1% to Gujjars.
- Gujjars are culturally very much depictable by dancing, religious rites and customs etc.
- The tribes have got inclination towards religion.
- Some of them have converted themselves to Hinduism and also Islam.
- Sindur (vermilion mark), bindi (coloured dot on forehead), glass bangles, nose and finger rings are marriage symbols for women.
- Festivals are of part and parcel for Gujjar Tribal Community.
- They celebrate all the festivals of national significance apart from these Gujjars too have incorporated their religious beliefs and customs.
- Eid is one the main festivals for their society which they celebrate with great festivity and enthusiasm.
- The Van Gurjars (“forest Gurjars”) are found in the Shivalik hills area of Uttarakhand.
- The Van Gurjars follow Islam, and they have their own clans, similar to the Hindu gotras.
- They are a pastoral semi-nomadic community, practising transhumance.
The Van Gurjars have had conflicts with the forest authorities, who prohibited human and livestock populations inside a reserved park, and blamed the Van Gurjar community for poaching and timber smuggling.
After the creation of the Rajaji National Park (RNP), the Van Gurjars in Deharadun were asked to shift to a resettlement colony at Pathri near Haridwar.
SOURCES:THE HINDU | Gujjars Tribe | UPSC