Lambadis of Telangana region speak Lambadi,
which is a combination of Sanskrit, Rajasthani and Guajarati and most of them also speak Telugu. They have a unique culture and dance form which
contributed to the richness of Telangana State
Haritha S Sundar
India has always been a land full of magnificent diversity and a bundle of contradictions held together by strong but invisible threads. India, with her multiplicity of languages and diverse cultures yet held together with a common civilisational heritage has always shown a cultural unity amidst her diversity. India is home to different communities different dialects and linguistic groups, during different time intervals these different communities and linguistic groups, migrated from their home regions to other areas, in course of time adapted to the new culture, contributed to their new homes and still retained their unique identities. In a way this process has strengthened the national integration. This process still continues to enrich the culture and strengthens our civilisational roots Rod Marathas in Haryana, Rajasthanis in Bengal, Bengalis in Gujarat, Punjabis in Uttarakhand etc. are the real carriers of our integration. Banjarasis are one such group who has spread to Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Haryana, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and other states of India. They claim to belong to the clan of Agnivanshi Rajputs, and are also known as Banjari, Pindari, Lamadi, Goola, Gurmarti, Gormati, Kora, and Sugali. In the Telangana region they are called Lambadis. Their origin is traced back to the area between Bikaner, Rajasthan and Bahawalpur in Pakistan. After the fall of the Rajputs, they started spreading across the country to protect their cattle from drought and in search of feed and subsequently took up trade and agriculture. The accurate history of Lambanis or Lambadis or Banjaras is not known but the general opinion among them is that they fought for Prithvi Raj against Muhammad of Ghor. The trail of the Lambadi/Banjara can be verified from their language, Lambadi borrows words from Rajasthani, Gujarati, Marathi and the local language of the area they belong to. Together with the Domba, they are called the “Gypsies of India”.
They have settled down in the southern or central area of the country and slowly lost contacts with Rajasthan, and their original community. Over a period of time both the communities got separated and they adopted the local culture. Yet they continued to retain their cultural identity and traditions intact. Many of them have also learnt to speak the languages predominantly used in their respective areas of settlement. Despite this, they have managed to preserve their own language, cultural identity and social structure such that it is identical across the various states they have settled in. Lambadis of Telangana region speak Lambadi, which is a combination of Sanskrit, Rajasthani and Guajarati and most of them also speak Telugu. They have a unique culture and dance form which contributed to the richness of the culture of Telangana State. It originated at Anupu village near Nagarjunakonda, Andhra Pradesh. The dancers perform this dance to rejoice an abundant harvest or a good sowing season. The day to day tasks of a farmer, like reaping, harvesting, planting, sowing etc. are represented in the Lambadi Dance. It is permeated with fervent grace and lyricism. The subtle sensuality of the dancers makes it more appealing. Lambadi Men wear Dhoti and Kurta. Lambadi women wear colourful and beautiful costumes like Phetiya (as ghagra) and Kanchalli (as top) and lots of jewellery and have tattoos on their hands. Their clothes are decorated with pieces of mirror and cowl. They wear ivory bangles and ornaments, which are innumerable. Their rich jewellery which includes armlet, nose rings, tribal necklace and bangles speak the volumes of the rich antique craftsmanship of Banjaras. Their ornaments are made up of silver rings, coins, chain. The traditional food of Lambadis is Bati made of wheat or Jowar, Saloi and Daliya are the special dishes of Lambadis. Though Lambadis were group of nomadic cattle herders later agriculture and trade also became their traditional occupation. But now the development of cheap modern means of road and railways destroyed their occupation. The Lambadis prefer not to mingle with other people and live in small settlements on the outskirts of a town. These settlements are referred to as Thaandas. A Thaanda usually has less than 500 houses. They live in Zupada (hut) which usually consist of one small room and no opening except the doorway. The doors to some of the Lambadi homes are very striking with simple designs and typical motifs, usually found in vibrant shades of the primary colours. Floral or diamond shapes are made in blue, yellow, red or green to create a simple yet vivid and eye-catching patterns. The cattle, if any are usually tied up outside.
The Banjaras are grouped into 4 categories called gotras. The Lambadi language term for gotra is Goth/Pada. The gotras are
Under each of these gotras there are several Jaaths. People falling in the same Gotra don’t marry, because they consider them as family members. Lambadis in the Telangana region recognised as Scheduled Tribes. “Urbanisation effects” made significant changes in the Lambadi community. Banjara Hills, the place in Hyderabad, where they lived earlier but now many of them shifted to cities. In cities, they are getting better opportunities. Their children are now going to school, men are employed. Youth is opened to higher education and jobs. The city offers best health facilities and employment opportunities. As a
community they are trying to adapt modern ways, and as a result, their traditional customs, practices are undergoing transformations. Since schools in a Thaanda offer education up to class VII. Only if a child wishes to study beyond, he/she will have to go to a town
nearby. The basic amenities are minimal. Cooking gas and stove are not familiar to Lambadis. Women use wood and clay stoves.
Lambadi Youth Association was started in 2012 Founded by Ramawat Shashikanth Naik to make aware the Lambadi (Gore) people about their basic rights, with the help of a group of young Students. The group is very active in social networking and also requests the public to donate books, clothes, money and other basic facilities to the Lambadi Kids.
Lambadis are the struggling community against self-destruction. They are expecting few helping hands and as a society it is our right to welcome them to join a world of sustainable development. They are definitely one amongst us and will always add bright colours to the nation. In this nation of unity and diversity, culture is never a barrier for development. Our heritage lies in believing that cultural diversity is one of the strongest traits of our country.