Members of the caste are considered to be divine by a large section of society. Women of the caste are adored as mother goddesses by other major communities of this region, including Rajputs. For centuries, the Charans were known for their reputation of preferring to die rather than break a promise.
Anil Chandra Banerjee, a professor of history, has said that
In them we have a combination of the traditional characteristics of the Brahmin and the Kshatriyas. Like the Brahmins, they adopted literary pursuits and accepted gifts. Like the Rajput, they worshipped Shakti, drank liquor, took meat and engaged in military activities. They stood at the front gate of the fort to receive the first blow of the sword.
Banerjee's opinion is shared by another historian, G. N. Sharma, who said that
Charans exercise great respectability and influence in Rajasthan. The speciality of the caste is that it combines in its character the characteristics of Rajputs and Brahmans in an adequate manner.
Food and drink
Their eating and drinking habits resemble those of the Rajputs. Charans used to enjoy consumption of opium and drinking of liquor, practices which are also popular among the Rajputs of this region. Charans do not eat the flesh of cows, and hold those who do in utter disregard. Cows are respected like mothers. A husband and wife will not drink milk from the same cow, as drinking milk from one mother (cow) symbolises that those who do so should be considered as siblings. Before Indian independence in 1947, a sacrifice of a male buffalo constituted a major part of the celebration of Navratri. Such celebrations quite often used to be presided over by Charan woman.
Contributions to Indian literature
A whole genre of literature is known as Charan literature. The Dingal language and literature exist largely due to this caste. Zaverchand Meghani divides Charani sahitya (literature) into thirteen subgenres:
- Songs in praise of gods and goddesses (stavan)
- Songs in praise of heroes, saints and patrons (birdavalo)
- Descriptions of war (varanno)
- Rebukes of wavering great kings and men who use their power for evil (upalambho)
- Mockery of a standing treachery of heroism (thekadi)
- Love stories
- Laments for dead warriors, patrons and friends (marasiya or vilap kavya)
- Praise of natural beauty, seasonal beauty and festivals
- Descriptions of weapons
- Songs in praise of lions, horses, camels, and buffalo
- Sayings about didactic and practical cleverness
- Ancient epics
- Songs describing the anguish of people in times of famine and adversity
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- Meghani, Z. (1943). Charano and Charani Sahitya. Ahmedabad.
- Sharma, G. N. (1968). Social Life in Medieval Rajasthan. Agra: Lakshmi Narayan Agarwal Educational Publisher. pp. 94–96.
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