Seeking change from within
The gradual exposure and integration of Nomadic and De-notified Tribes with the mainstream society is making them introspect their cultural rigidities that have for long barred them from making progress. Last year some of the Communtiy Associations or the Gnayati Panch were restructured to accommodate some progressive ideas in the communities.
The Bajaniyaa Community Association is making some remarkable progress in this direction. The youth of this community is working towards making some radical changes in the dictates that govern the community and in the traditions and customs followed.
Child Marriages: Child Marriage is an age-old custom that is still practiced in this community. The most important side effect is that parents resist sending their children especially girls to school. The instances on separation and divorce are also high because they children when they grow up do not wish to stay together because of mental and physical incompatibility.
The Community Association with consent of community elders has brought a ban of marriage of underage children. The girl will need to be 18 years old and boy 21 years old at the time of marriage.
Alcohol Consumption: Consumption of alcohol is rampant in this community. Be it occation of marriage, death or other social event, the men of these community never miss the opportunity to get drunk. The host has no option but to spend generously on buying liquor on such occasions. The Community Association inspite of protests and abuse has decided to ban serving and consumption of alcohol on social and public events. Those breaking the rule will be fined Rs. 200 and Rs. 500 if a community elder or leader is found breaking the norm.
Seeking Consent: The community members will be required to take permission from the Community Association for arranging any marriages, social or religious event. The Association will check the l, need, funds to be spend on revelieries etc. of the occasion. Those who fail to seek permission will face community boycott.
It is aimed that such measure will help in curbing unnecessary expenditure on such events. The families in such marginalized communities are always reeling under some or other debt.
No Police Complaints: The disputes in the community are now redressed by the Community Associations. Earlier all petty or major disputes went to nearby police station and the police were more interested in benefiting from the situation rather that solving it. The new requirement has simply stopped the quarrels going to the police.
Restricting Condolence meets: The practice of visiting the grieving family during the first 12-13 days of death and spending on the mourners has been banned. The reason being the family could not go to work to earn daily living and had to spend heavily on tea, alcohol, food, cash etc. Only the bare minimum rituals are allowed. All the practices that required spending lot money have been banned.