Posted on Friday, February 28, 2020
The Baghels are a North Indian community that is locally known as Pals or Gadarias. Their primary occupation was Shepherding due to which, they are known as Gadarias, the Hindi word for shepherd. They are commonly found in the foothills of mountainous areas but now a days, they've started migrating to the plains in search of jobs and better opportunities. The Baghels in Maharashtra are also known as Kurumwar and trace their lineage to Lord Shiva’s creation to tend to his rams. They are known as Gairi in Rajasthan can claim companionship of Lord Krishna.
Baghel matrimony is a serious affair and they have strict rules about who they can and cannot marry. They follow clan exogamy and caste endogamy which basically means that they marry outside their village but only other Baghels. A match is fixed by the elders but it is sanctioned by the village elders. The act of giving dowry is slowly losing ground due to active intervention of the government officials. Marriage rituals are a simplified affair with the groom offering two goats to the father of the bride in exchange for the hand of her daughter. The sagaai ceremony is truncated and merged with the haldi ceremony which also involves a game of ‘cowries’ between the prospective life partners. The increasing literacy rate among Baghels is allowing them to have a greater say in their matrimonial prospects which translates into better matches. The actual marriage ceremony is solemnised by the groom applying sindoor on the forehead of the bride and the bride applying tika on the groom's forehead. The exchange of garlands or Jaimala completes the ceremony following which, the bride is taken to the house of the groom escorted by her family members.
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