Part -4- ANCIENT HISTORY OF GOR BANJARAS

Origin: Afghanistan

The kingdom of Gorvamshiya groups was extended up to Kabul Gajni’s mountainous region in North-South of Hirat for many years before Christ. Hence the mountain ranges in the region are known as Gor region even today. Gorvamshiya tribals still live in this region. The costumes of women here also like the Banjara women. A river named Gor flows through the region. And also a city named Gor is situated in the Gor province. Based on the available references about the religious and cultural life in the region it can be predicted that the kingdom of Gor tribe must have been here before Christ.

Rahul Samskritayan finds references about Gor kings in ‘History of Central Asia’ on pages 433 to 439. He says: “Almost all Gor mountain people were ‘Kapir’ till 10th century. Eventhough this region was engulfed by Muslims the meaning of Kapir was Buddhist, Zoroastrian or Hindu.” (Page 434). He further says: “According to Elphinston this country is situated in the upper region of Murgao river near Gor. In Hizari 401 (year 1001) Gaznavi, in his quest to conquer the world had attacked on Gor military.

Gorsthan was also called as Gurjisthan.” (History of India by Elliot Downson, translated by Dr. Mathuralal Sharma, page 131). The table top between Hiraat and Gazna is known as Gor province (History of the world by D.S. Maratha, page 415). Proof about settlement of Hindus in the region is available. “Afghanistan was part of Hindustan during Gupta period in 3-4th Century. Hindus ruled this region for 131 years.” (Indian Culture, Will Durand, page 52). A reference in Aryan Bhasha Granth says: “The residents of Afghanistan were Hindus and their tribe as well as language was different from the residents of Western Punjab.

The currency minted by Hindu kings of Afghanistan had Ox shown on them (Bharatiya Aryan Bhasha and Hindi, by Dr. Suniti Kumar Chatterji, page 194). The coin depicting the figure of ox was of Gorvamshiyas. Hindus from Afghanistan must have been Gorvamshiya.

Numerous references are found regarding the residence of Hindus in the Gor province. Dr. Shyam Manohar Vyas has a reference in his Hindi book ‘Bharatiya Samskriti and Dabhan’: “Pre-Islamic Vedic religion and Buddhism had been effective in Gandhar (Afghanistan) (page 118).

Gorvamshiya are basically Vedic in nature. This has been explained further. References regarding adoption of Buddhism first are also found. “Buddhism first went to Afghanistan outside India in 250 BC (Effect of Indian Culture on Muslims, Dr. Mohammad Amar, Tr. By Janaki Prasad Sharma, page 213).

The festivals are also alike. References about it are found in History of India by Elliot Downson; Hindi Tr. by Dr. Mathuralal Sharma, page 167: “The customs and lifestyles of nomadic tribes of Kabul are totally Indian in Nature.” The history of Gors can be understood by comparative study of ancient cultural life of people of Afghanistan and those of Gor Banjaras. Gorvamshiya are found in Afghanistan even today.

If a physical study is conducted on them then it can be proved that the original place of Gorvamshiya is Afghanistan. The groups (Tandas) of Gors are found in Hiraat, Gazani, Kandhar, Multan, Kabul and Pakistan. Their settlements are called as Tandas.


 

Language

The dialect of Gor Banjaras is enriched with songs, ritual songs, folklores, proverbs and phrases. Even though the Indian oral literature is in vogue since Vedic times, generally the period of folklores like Panchatantra, Hitopadesh, Arabian Nights date back to 6000 to 1000 BC. The tragedy of Greek King Oedipus Rex is included as it is in Gor Banjara folklores. That means the ancient Gor language and literature might be as ancient as the Greek language. An independent dialect cannot be originated until there is an interaction for some centuries.

Aryan dialects and Indo-Aryan languages need to be taken into consideration while searching for ancient history of the Gor Banjara dialect. Author on Indian Culture Will Durand says: “Sanskrit was the language of Pundits and priests. Even in Vedic period the language of all people was not one but many.

Ancient tribes had a unique Aryan dialect (page 17).” It means an independent tribe was speaking Gor dialect. More research is needed in this regard.

‘Bhashaonka Viagyanik Adhyayan’: Indian Aryan clans had different types and they had different dialects when they arrived in India. Aryan clans were distributed in groups (Kabila).

Gor dialect belongs to all Gor clan. Even today Gors while meeting for the first time ask each other: “ton gormati awach kaiyee.” That means the dialect spoken by Gor clan is the Gormati dialect. Among the aryans different clans had number of dialects. In this context Dr. Shamshersinh Narula has a reference in his book ‘Hindi Aur Pradeshik s). This clearly proves that the Gor was a group with an independent dialect among the different groups of Aryans.

The pronunciations of the language become unclear in the cold region while they are clear in the hot region. The language is also affected by the place of origin and climatic factors. The meaning of the words is also created through the environment. There is a saying in Hindi, which means that the (taste of) water changes after every 4 miles while the language changes after every 10th mile. Gor Boli seems to be obeying this rule.

The ancient Pashto language of Afghanistan in 1500-500 BC had an impact on the Gor dialect. Later the Paishahi language in Central India had an impact on it from 500 BC to 1000 AD. And since then, according to changing times Arabic, Persian, Urdu, Rajasthan, Hindi, Nemadi, Malawi dialects were also instrumental in shaping the Gor dialect. Today the Gor Banjaras inhabit in 20 provinces.

Even though the Gor dialect had been subjected to local dialects still two Banjara men from different provinces find no difficulty in communicating with each other. It means that the Gor dialect is alive today without any destruction of its core.

A look at their oral literature and dialect before they entered India reveals that many of their generations had resided in Afghanistan. The independent Gor dialect might have originated in the Afghanistan region. Sanskrit is considered as the mother of Indian languages. Even its origin is said to be in Afghanistan according to a reference in a book by Samshersinh Narula: “Based on the comparative study of Pashto and Sanskrit, it is concluded that the Sanskrit has originated in the region West of Indus river (page 30).” Based on this finding the theory that the place of origin of Gors might be Afghanistan gets support once again.

A researcher in Indian languages Dr. Griyarson has noted that Banjara Labhani dialect is the sub-dialect of Rajasthani language. While language expert Bholanath Tiwari, Dr. Uday Narayan Tiwari and researcher in Indian dialects Dr. Devendra Kumar Shastri treat Labhani Banjara dialect at par with Nimadi and Malawi dialect. More interested readers should refer to my book titled ‘Gormati.’


 

Clothing and Ornaments

The ancient history of primitive tribes is hidden yet alive in their literature, dialect, lifestyle, food habits, festivals, rituals, worship etc. Man uses naturally available things to fulfill his needs according to his environment and later on uses the clothing and ornaments for his status and beautification.

Banjara people use silver ornaments on large scale. Women use threads or funda flower in their weaving works. Earlier silver and the other items were in abundance in Afghanistan hence they were imported in India. A.S. Chand in his book ‘Bharatiya Sanskriti Ka Vikas says:” India used to import Silver and other such material from Afghanistan (page 24).” It means Gors according to their clothing, must be basically from Afghanistan because once upon a time Afghanistan was part of India.

Chand says: “When Aryans came to India geographically Afghanistan was part of India.” This means the Gorvamshiya Hindus are originally Indians. Gor women have fond of weaving. Needle and thread are two of her most liked items.

Aryan women were expert in needle-work according to a reference in Chand’s book: “Aryan women used to weave their cloth with needle work and the women were very much expert in this skill (page 40).” Banjara women also used to weave the cloth with needle and thread till recently.

The clothing style and ornaments wore by Gor Banjara women is a subject of research. They use head cloth, Ghaghra and blouse. The cloth is richly embroidered. More details can be found in a book by Dr. Shriram Pawar titled ‘Paramparik Gor Banjara Bharatkam.’ For more details about the ornaments please refer to my book ‘Gor Banjara Jati Ka Itihaas.’ Here the objective is to find their place of origin on the basis of their clothing and ornaments.

Banjara women use thread and needle, small mirrors, glass, mercury, lac, ganthani, beads, laladi, ivory bangles, lead, brass, bronze, gold and silver ornaments. For weaving work she used silver beads in the necklace, munga, garthali and also beads of mercury.

All these items for ornaments are found in Afghanistan. The Sonar clan (goldsmiths) engaged in making ornaments for Banjara women lives along with the Tanda. The Gor Banjara women in Afghanistan use Ghaghra, head cloth, Topali, Ghugari (for married women) and Wakadi as ornaments. The clothing style of Gor Banjara women in Pakistan is same as like Indian Banjara women.

The women in Kabul and Iran used Kawadi, beads and glass. The Ghaghra of Baluchi women is same as Banjara women. Even the clothing style of Baluchi women seen in Pune is worth watching. These women can be seen in the S.T. stand area.

Earlier Gor Banjara woman did not use to apply vermilion on her forehead. The tribal custom of tattooing the body is also seen in Banjara tribe. The ox is regarded in high esteem and as a pure one. As a symbol of the ox the women use two small horns on their head, while as a symbol of the King Bhoja, she uses an ornament called Bhojpatra around the neck.

Men use the word ‘Singh’ in front of their name as a symbol of their worship of cow. The ornaments of men, their hairstyle, style of head gears, maintaining small pony tail, special hair style on both the ears, ear rings, silver bangle on the wrist, silver band on the waist and the use of ‘wasohi’ for keeping money are all subjects of research.

 

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