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Gaddi Community Himachal Pradesh

Gaddis belong to the class of the shepherds and their job is to look after goats and sheep. This is a kind of popular community in Mandi and you can even discern a section in Billaspur and Kullu. However, a massive Gaddi population resides in the district of Kangra and you can even discern them in Bharmaur in the District of Chamba.

Controversy prevails regarding the origination of the Gaddis. The reason for this is that, during the early days of settlement the Gaddis were known to have no permanent homes. During the summer season they made their ways to the Himalayas with their collection of Dhan that is the congregation of sheep and goats. In the winter season the Gaddis roamed about here and there in the plane land. However, there is no conclusive theory in matters of how the Gaddis originated. Some are however, of the opinion that the Gaddis mainly came from the plains of Punjab.

Gaddis have their own personal language. However, they even have the habit of speaking other dialects such as Hindi and Pahari. The Gaddis form a very small population. It is still unknown the exact population of the community. They have their own individual cultural set up. They even practice personal folk lore, and the quality of the music is extremely soothing and special. Gaddi garments are exclusively colorful and they follow different methods of worshipping Gods and Goddesses.

You have the most renowned Gaddi topi and it is even known as Gaddi cap. This is a kind of wear which is prevalent in all parts of Himachal Pradesh. The particular community has great stamina and they are known to have immense physical capability. They easily carry loads on their backs and walk for miles. As their main walking region is the Himalayas they find it less difficult to go up the steep mountains. The Gaddis are known to be extremely honest. They can work very hard and they are always known to be loving and warm. These days the Gaddis are turning to different professions. Huge sections of the people are doing weaving and farming and some of them are even seeking for governmental jobs.

Gaddis Tribes

The Gaddis mainly reside in either sides of the Dhauladhar Range rightly based in the state of Himachal Pradesh. You even find a good number of them living in the Brahmaur Region based in the District of Chamba. The Ravi River has higher region and the Gaddis are even known to be living here. The population is even known to live on the Valley of the River Budhil. Other places where the Gaddis can be discerned include the District of Kangra, the villages of Khaniyara and Tota Rani and these are all places near Dharamsala.

The anthropologists are of the opinion that the Gaddis are known to have a rich and opulent cultural background and the sort of historical significance contribute in the fast and long standing development of the tribal community. There are several myths in relation to the origin of the Gaddi Tribe and these are myths popular in entire Himachal Pradesh. It is also being assumed that the Gaddis are referred to those emigrants who are known to have taken refuge on the lands of the Indian Territory.

There is one more known legend about the Gaddis. According to the popular belief the classes of the Gaddis are known to have transmigrated at several points of time. At a time of 850-70CE, a section of the Brahmin Gaddi shifted to a place called Chamba and settled there permanently. However, a huge part of the Gaddi Tribal Community fled to the mountain ranges as they could not accept the strict sovereignty of the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb. This basically took place in the seventeenth century. The Gaddis are known to be parishioners of Lord Shiva.

The Gaddi Tribe is not concise. In fact the entire Gaddi society can be bifurcated into sections like the Khatri, the Thakur, the Dhangar, the Brahmin, the Ranas and the Rajputs. These tribal people pay true allegiance to religion and spiritualism. In fact, the Gaddis are believers of both Hinduism and Islam.

The different types of Gaddis can be discriminated based on their dressing style. The Gaddi males wear a sort of Chola along with turban also known as safa together with dora. The Gaddi females on the other hand wear a sort of garment known as launchiri. Gold earrings are worn by both men and women among the Gaddi group of people.

The Indian anthropologists have been able to discover that by nature the Gaddis are tremendously honest. They are even known for their friendly attitude and the sort of peaceful life style they have. You find in fact, zero crime rates in the Gaddi Communities and villages.

According to the norms of the Gaddi Tribe, for the purpose of meeting with the daily requirements, the Gaddis are getting involved with diverse occupations. The Gaddis have their own village and therefore they cannot be referred to as nomads or vagabonds. However, on specific seasons the movements with goats and sheep to higher altitudes and even to the low pasture locale is a sort of conventional practice by the Gaddis. Summertime they take to pasturing extensively.

The tribe is known to speak the Gaddi language. However, when writing they use the Takri language. However, this language is no more in usage and now Devangiri scripts are in huge trend. However, to be smart and contemporary the Gaddis are learning how to speak Hindi. This would help them be more social and now their mode of interaction is sure to improve.

Location

In Himachal Pradesh you would find a huge section of the Tribals living at peace. The several tribes living in Himachal Pradesh are the Lahules, the Pangwalas, you even have the Kinners or you can even name them as Kinnaure, the Spitians and the most popular the Gaddis or the Gujjars. You find the Gaddi people specially living in Mandi and even in the districts of Bilaspur and Kangra in Himachal Pradesh.

The specialty of the tribe lies in their Khanabadosh nature. They mainly bear the traits of gypsy as they move down the pasture with their flocks. You can discern nomadic traits in the tribe, but they are not simply vagabonds as they have their own village to stay. Walking down to the pastures with the goats and sheep is a part of the Gaddi tradition.

Origin

No clear fact is stated regarding the origin of the Gaddis. Most of them believe that they had their roots in the Indian plain lands. May be they fled from the place under trepidation. It was due to the fear of Aurangzeb that a huge population of the Gaddis fled to the upper hilly regions of Himachal Pradesh. You even have several Himachali tales narrating about the existence and the flourishing of the Gaddi Tribe.

Culture

You would find different types of Gaddis existing till date. Among the Gaddis you have the Brahmins, the Rajputs, the Thakurs and the Ranas, the Khatris and the Dhangars. The Gaddis are much inclined towards spiritualism and they are extremely religious in nature. The Gaddi Tribal Community believes in both Hinduism and Islam. They are true worshippers of Lord Shiva and the festival of Shivaratri is celebrated with immense zeal and enthusiasm. The Gaddis have a particular dance when they love to go about in circles and dance on the beat of drums and music. They keep on dancing till they get exhausted. A popular Gaddi tribal trend is that they fasten a long strand of about 25 meters by the wrist and this is done by both males and females. This is considered to be immensely symbolic.

Life Style

You can understand the differences among the people of the Gaddi Community on the basis of their dressing style and manner. Chola is the name of the dress worn by Gaddi men and this is being worn along with turban and dora. Launchuri is the name of the garment worn by Gaddi women. The thing which makes the Gaddis mostly discernible is their special attire. Women weave and spun dresses at home and wear them on special occasions. They even put on scarves on their heads and these serve as colorful coverings for the head and also provide protection to the part of the body. They make use of a black sash on the back for the purpose of carrying children. Some of the common ornaments being worn by Gaddi women are semi precious items of stones and they have mirrors fitted in their necklaces. To make the ornaments they use peacock feathers and gold earrings are commonly worn by Gaddi women. Men even have the habit of wearing gold earrings.

Occupation

In order to earn their daily bread the Gaddis are taking to so many different types of occupations these days. They are not only sticking to live stock rearing and agriculture. They even sell mules, horses, sheep and goats to earn money. However, a part of the community is even endowed with tinkers, farmers and weavers. There was a time in the past when the major Gaddi population crushed millets and even carried loads to earn money for their living.

People

The Gaddis never let go of their morality. They stick to their honest beliefs even in the worst of times. The Indian anthropologists are of the opinion that Gaddis are mainly known for their honesty and the people are too friendly and peace loving. Very rare crime incidents are being detected. The Gaddis are non vegetarian in nature and they even indulge in consuming goat milk. In the early days of Gaddi civilization child marriage and multiple marriages were much in practice. However, with impending time and change in the thought process, the Gaddis are taking to education these days for a more respectable lifestyle and living.

Language

In matters of language the Gaddis speak Gaddi language and when they write they make use of Takri language. These days the Devangiri scrip is quite in trend. However, due to the demand of the age the Gaddis these days are taking to more contemporary language and now they know how to speak Hindi well.

Festivals

The Gaddis celebrate some of the most renowned festivals

  • The first festival to talk about is the Basakhi or it is even referred as Bisu. This is a sort of celebration being held either in the first half or in the middle of April. On the occasion the Gaddis make cakes of bhares and wheat flour.
  • The second occasion being celebrated is known as Sair. Siar is a sort of tribal occasion being celebrated on the 1st of Asju. The Gaddis eat meat on the occasion and they even take to homemade beers along with Babrus made of flour and wheat. These are eaten with lots of vegetables. On the occasion married daughters come to meet their parents. This is basically the day at the end of the rainy season. People buy new clothes to celebrate the occasion.
  • Another grand occasion is the Patroru Sagrand. The Gaddis celebrate the occasion on the first of Bhadon. This generally takes place between the months of August to September. On the day the Kacharu Leaves are being dipped in besan and deep fried in oil. The Gaddis even have the custom of eating Babrus on the day.
  • Lohri is a name given to a particular festivity of the Gaddi Tribe. On the following day the Gaddis eat Khichari made of rice along with mashed dal. The items taste better when eaten with curd and desi ghee.
  • As the Gaddis are dedicated worshippers of Lord Shiva they celebrate the Shivratri festival with complete dedication. The festival takes place on the month of Phalgun, which is between the months of February and March. On the day people of the Gaddi tribe even keep fasts and they restrain themselves from eating cereals.

Apart from the following festivities the Gaddis take to celebrating Holi, Dussehra and Janamashtmi. All occasions are grandly commemorated with special zeal and fervor.

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