Bazigar

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Bazigars (from Persian: بازیگر‎ bazi + gar) are a nomad gipsy-folk of India, found throughout North India. They live a life apart from the surrounding Hindu population, and still preserve a certain ethnical identity. Many make livings as jugglers, dancers, basket-weavers and fortune-tellers; and in true European gipsy fashion each clan has its king.[1] They are found in the states of Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh.

Origin[edit]

The name Bazigar is derived from the Urdu word bazi, which means an accrobat. They themselves claim to be Chauhan Rajputs, who took to the occupation of accrobatics, to escape persecution and attempts to forcefully convert them to Islam during the period of the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb. They have now been granted Scheduled Caste status in Haryana, Punjab and Uttar Pradesh. The Bazigar speak their own dialect, known as bazigar boli, while speaking in Hindi with outsiders. In Haryana, they are found mainly in the districts of Ambala, Kurukshetra, Rohtak, Sirsa, Fatehabad and Karnal. Major Bazigar clans in Haryan include the Lalka, Myane, Dharsout, Namsout, and Jagateka.[2]

In Punjab, the Bazigar have Scheduled Caste status. They are found throughout Punjab, but in terms of numbers, they are concentrated in Patiala, Sangrur and Bhattinda districts are centres of this tribe. The Bazigar are a nomadic tribe, who go about from village to village practicising acrobatic feats. Their primary occupation was the performance of acrobatics. Generally, each family was allocated twelve villages, and the Bazigar were paid by the villagers to entertain them. Many Bazigar were also employed as seasonal agricultural laborers. With the increase in televisions in rural Punjab, the Bazigars traditional occupation in under threat.[3]

The Bazigar are further sub-divided into five sub-groups, the Jogi, Badtia, Mushal, Dharamsot and Namsout. The first four sub-divisions cannot intermarry, but Namsout only marry within the clan. Historically, the Bazigar were either Hindu or Muslim, but with the departure of their Muslim patrons, the Bazigar have embraced Sikhism. They have also abandoned their traditional dialect Bazigar boli for standard Punjab. [4]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Public Domain One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Bazigars". Encyclopædia Britannica 3 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 561. 
  2. ^ People of India Hayana Volume XXIII edited by M.L Sharma and A.K Bhatia pages 63 to 67 Manohar
  3. ^ People of India Punjab Volume XXXVII edited by I.J.S Bansal and Swaran Singh pages 94 to 96 Manohar
  4. ^ People of India Punjab Volume XXXVII edited by I.J.S Bansal and Swaran Singh pages 94 to 96 Manohar