Savji

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For the village in Iran, see Savji, Iran.

The Savji (or Saoji, Souji[1] or Sauji) are an Indian caste. They claim descent from the mythological Puranic king Sahasrārjuna.

Etymology

When Savjis from the north central India migrated to the southern states, many of them were involved in silk cleaning and weaving business. Today, there are many Savji families in Karnataka, Andhra and Tamil Nadu who are in silk cleaning and weaving business.[2] They are called Khatri in parts of Rajasthan and Andhra Pradesh.[citation needed]

Origin ties

Customs, traditions and the language spoken by Savjis suggests that the community has its origin in North Central part of India or Malwa region (between west Madhya Pradesh and East Gujarat)[citation needed] where such customs are followed and languages similar to the Savji language are spoken. Savjis were part of a larger community that lived in north-central part of India during 6th century till 13th century before the advent of Islam in northern part of India. Shakti pooja (in the form of Hinglaj mata, Bhawani mata or Jagdamba mata etc.) is common to the Savji and Kalchuri the communities.[citation needed] Chandraseniya Kayastha Prabhu claim to be descendants of King Sahastrarjuna and the Haihaya dynasty.[3] All of these communities were once the same and part of the dynasty that ruled the region of Malwa. Once powerful, the Kalchuri dynasty fell gradually to the rising Islamic rule in northern India. Constant threat of Islamic invasions and a fear of losing their cultural identity to the forced religious conversions by the Islamic rulers compelled the community to gradually disintegrate, and disperse from their homeland to different parts of India.[citation needed]

Culture and festivals

Dasara or Dusshera is the main festival in Savji community during which goddess of power or Shakti is worshiped. Special culinary dishes like edimi (prepared of wheat flour, gram flour), arithi (prepared of wheat flour in shape of Diyas) and offer lalpani (intoxicants) to the Goddess Bhavani. On every Kartika month Sapthami tithi in Shravana Nakshatra Savjis celebrate the birthday of Sri Sahastrarjun called “Sahastrarjuna Jayanti”[4] with much pomp and gaiety. Procession of Sahastrarjun’s idol is taken out in many places on the Sahastrarjuna Jayanti.[5] Other festivals that are celebrated are Diwali, Holi and other traditional Hindu festivals. Every year communities in some places organize social gathering and deity prayer called “Bhandara”. The function is preceded with prayer, bhajan and aarti of the deity, followed by meals in the form of Prasad. The meal served during the function is mostly vegetarian food.

Like Brahmins, Savjis perform the thread ceremony (Upanayana). Marriages follow the traditional Vedic wedding and happens for three days with all the rituals like deity pooja, engagement, “Gandh”, “Haldi” etc. Offering dowry in any form is strictly forbidden in the community. This is a notable feature of Savji community which they take lot of pride in. Moreover, the marriage ceremony is performed by the bride groom’s side. In many places mass marriages and upanayanas are conducted for the welfare of poor samaj people.[6] During marriage the bride and groom side look for the Lagna and Janma Kundli to match between the boy and the girl, and also for the matching Gotra. Wedding date is fixed based on the Panchang for auspicious day. Inter caste marriages are not very common in the community. Marriages mostly happen within the community and in some cases between far relatives. Because of this close association, the community has also managed to preserve its distinct culture and tradition.

Cuisine

Savji community is known for its hot and spicy non vegetarian delicacies and Savji masala in places where Savjis are concentrated in large numbers. Majority of the Savji people are non-vegetarian and hence preparation of variety of meat dishes is very common in the community. Goat meat, chicken and fish forms major component of Savji cuisine along with other vegetarian dishes. Alcohol consumption is not restricted in the community.[citation needed] Some of the common recipes include edmi (puris made of wheat flour, gram flour, chilies and other spices), khaimo or kheema (minced goat meat), shakanu chaknu (goat and chicken curry) prepared in special Savji spices.[7]

Savji food is famous for its very hot and spicy flavor in many cities (where they are in large number) served in small family style restaurants called Savji khanavali[8] or "Savji hotel" or bhojanalaya,[1] found in large numbers in places like Hubli, Bangalore, Belgaum in Karnataka, Nagpur and Solapur in Maharashtra. There are a line of Savji bhojanalays [9][10] in Nagpur that are very popular in Maharashtra. So much so that, the Indian chef Sanjeev Kapoor once featured Savji mutton on one of his shows and its recipe is also listed on his website.[11]

Language

Savji people speak a language called "Savji bhasha" or "Khatri bhasha" in some regions[12] that belongs to the Indo-Aryan language family and appears to be an amalgamation of Indic languages such as Sanskrit, Hindi, Marathi, Sindhi, Gujarati, Marwari.

References

  1. ^ a b Beteille, Gopa Sabharwal ; with a foreword by André (2005). Ethnicity and class : social divisions in an Indian city. New Delhi: Oxford University Press. p. 134. ISBN 0-19-567830-3. 
  2. ^ Ernst, edited by Waltraud; Pati, Biswamoy (2007). India's princely states : people, princes and colonialism (1. publ. ed.). London: Routledge. p. 210. ISBN 0-415-41541-1. 
  3. ^ Singh, ed. by B.V. Bhanu, B.R. Bhatnagar, D.K. Bose, V.S. Kulkarni, J. Sreenath ; gen. ed. K.S. (2004). Maharashtra. Mumbai: Popular Prakashan. p. 398. ISBN 81-7991-101-2. 
  4. ^ Sahastrarjun Jayanti Celebration In India – Date of Sahastrarjun Jayanti Festival In Year 2011
  5. ^ Correspondent, Staff (30 October 2006). "Hundreds participate in Sahasrarjun Jayanti Utsav procession in Hubli". Hindu. 
  6. ^ Joshi, K.G. (1993). Mass marriages in Karnataka : a sociological study. Calcutta, India: Minerva Associates (Publications). pp. 46, 49. ISBN 81-85195-52-8. 
  7. ^ Weaving a spicy cult. SpiceFlair.com
  8. ^ Bhatia, Arun (Sep 2, 2002). "A 'khanavali' in our metropolis". Hindu. 
  9. ^ Joiye, Joiye. "Saoji food in Nagpur". Joiye. Joiye. 
  10. ^ nagpuronline, nagpuronline. "Restaurants in Nagpur". nagpuronline. nagpuronline. 
  11. ^ Sanjeev, Kapoor. "Saoji Mutton". sanjeevkapoor. sanjeevkapoor. 
  12. ^ Beteille, Gopa Sabharwal ; with a foreword by André (2005). Ethnicity and class : social divisions in an Indian city. New Delhi: Oxford University Press. pp. 133, 134. ISBN 0-19-567830-3. 

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