Bara Balutedar

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The Bara Balutedar System is a servant-cum-caste systems in Maharashtra, India's Villages which occurs some castes who used to work for the farmers in their surroundings.

Today, according to act 1958,the village servants are free from their work.

Names Of Bara Balutedar In Marathi.

  1. Sonar ( Goldsmith )
  2. Gurav (Idol-Dresser)
  3. Nhawi ( Barber )
  4. Parit (Washerman)
  5. Kumbhar ( Potter )
  6. Sutar ( Carpenter )
  7. Lohar ( Blacksmith )
  8. Chambhar ( Shoe maker )
  9. Dhor ( To Make Wearings of cattle-rare cast only found in Maharastra, Karnataka, Gujarat, and south India.)
  10. Koli ( Water Carrier )
  11. Chougula
  12. Mang (Watchman )

Bara Balutedar were village servants. They were hereditary village servants. They are of two kinds (i) those useful to government, and (ii) those useful to the community.

The village servants useful to Government were the Mahars and the Ramosh's (Ramosis). They were remunerated by watans, which take the form of grants of land either entirely free of assessment or subject to an annual reduced assessment (called mamul judi) or cash payment from the government treasury, or both. The Mahars help the village patil and the talathi in the collection of revenue and do all duties in connection with village administration. They attend on the Mamlatdar and other higher officers when they visit the village. The Ramosis watch the movements of criminals and help the village Patil in the discharge of his duties connected with the police administration.

The village servants useful to the community are known as balutedars. At the time of the old Maratha rule there were twelve of them called Bara Balutedars. Some of them have either disappeared or are in the process of disappearing from village economy, but others are still in existence with their usefulness reduced owing to modern conditions of life. Under the baluta system, the balutedars have certain rights and privileges at ceremonies, etc. Their services are remunerated by the cultivators in the shape of an annual payment in sheaves of corn and a few seers of other grain grown in the field, such as wheat, hulga, gram, Tur, groundnut, etc. For special services rendered on ceremonial occasions payments are made in cash, corn or clothes. Sometimes food is given. The big cultivators who have occasion to indent on their services more frequently than the small cultivators make larger payments.

The balutedars whose services are still in demand in villages are the carpenter (sutar), the barber (nhavi), the idol-dresser (gurav), the water-carrier (koli), the shoemaker (chambhar), the blacksmith (lohar), the washerman (parit), the potter (kumbhar), and the rope-maker (mang). There has been a tendency among them to leave the villages and seek their livelihood in cities and towns. The silversmith (potdar) as a balutedar has entirely disappeared. The village astrologer (gram joshi) is employed at the sweet will of the cultivators. All the religious ceremonies of the cultivators and allied classes are done through the gram joshi, for which he is given cash payment called " daksina". Some religious-minded cultivators give him some quantity of corn and other presents in kind.

The barber, as a balutedar, does many duties not connected with his profession. At the time of a marriage ceremony, when the bridegroom goes to the temple to pray, he holds his horse and receives a turban as present. At village festivals or marriage ceremonies he sometimes acts as a cook. He also serves food and water to the guests on such ceremonies. It is his privilege to act as a messenger at marriage ceremonies and call the invitees for the function. He does massage to persons of distinction at the village. He plays on the pipe and tambour at weddings and on other festive occasions.

The water-carrier not only supplies water to the villages but also keeps watch during floods in the case of villages situated on river banks. He is also useful to the villagers to take them across the river with the help of a sangad (floats joined together).

There were several Mahars in a village. The cultivators used to select one of the Mahars for their services, whom they call "Ghar Mahar". He was expected to clean the open space near the houses of the cultivators and also their stables. It was the right of Mahars to take charge of dead animals and sell their hide to the chambhars (shoe makers). However post independence Mahar community under the able leadership of Dr. B. R. Ambedkar left the menial jobs and converted to Buddhism. Today this group form one of the highly educated groups of the Society in Maharashtra.

The castes whose work was considered less important by the farmers were known as alutedar.