History of Tribes:
From the beginning of man's presence till around 1400 BC, the Bhil and Mina tribes roamed and ruled the
land of Rajasthan. Due to the Aryan invasion, represented by horse drawn chariots and superior bows and arrows,
these tribes migrate towards the south and the east. Pushed into the natural hideout forests and the ancient and craggy Aravalli ranges, the Bhil and the Mina tribes survived more easily.
In the northern part of Rajsthan the nomadic intrusions continued.
These people were respected by the Sakes, Kuakas, Abhors,
Hunas and others. A large number of these invaders are
known as the Rajputs whose royal lineage stood upon the ruins of the
Gurnard (Prather Empire). These warrior invaders fitted the Aryan material caste of Kshatriyas which
were earlier divided into 36 Rajput clans.
The various tribes in Rajasthan
are as follows:
Bhils are the bow men of Rajasthan. The
Bhils comprise of 39% of Rajasthanís tribal population
and form an important group in the southern part of the
state around Dungapur, Udaipur and Chittorgarh. Their
stronghold is in Banswara. The generic term derives from
bil (bow) which describes their original talent and
strength. The Hindu epic the Mahabharata mentions the
Bhils and their archery skills.
- Minas are the militant defenders of Rajasthan. The Minas
are Rajasthanís largest and most widely spread tribal
group. It seems that the Minas may have been the original
inhabitants of the Indus valley civilization before they
were ousted by the Aryans. The Minas have a tall, athletic
build with sharp features, large eyes thick lips and a
light brown complexion.
Sahariyas - Sahariyas are the jungle dwellers of Rajasthan. The
Sahariyas are jungle dwellers and their name possibly
derives from the Persian Sehr (jungle). Simple, illiterate
and open to exploitation, the Sahariyas are regarded as
the most backward tribe in Rajasthan and serve their
living as shifting cultivators and by hunting and fishing.
Garasias - Garasias are the fallen Rajputs of Rajasthan. The
Garasias comprises only of 2.7% of Rajasthanís tribals.
These tribals have an interesting custom of marriage
through elopement, which usually takes place at the annual
Gaur fair held during the full moon of March.
Lohars - Lohars are the nomadic blacksmiths of Rajasthan. The
Gaduliya Lohars receive their name from their beautiful
bullock carts (gadis). These nomadic blacksmiths are said
to have wandered from their homeland of Mewar because of a
pledge made to their acknowledged lord, Maharana Pratap.
He was ousted from Chittorgarh by the Mughal emperor Akbar
and the Gaduliya Lohars, a clan of warring Rajputs, vowed
to re-enter the city only after the victory of Maharana
- The Bishnoi community of Rajasthan have been identified
as conservators. The Bishnois can be mostly seen in the
western Rajasthan, especially in the Jodhpur and Bikaner
areas. The Bishnois were the followers of the 15th century
saint, Guru Jambeshwar who, due to a prolonged period of
drought, bade all his followers to protect all animal and
plant life, since it seemed the only way to nurture
nature. Ever since, their sanctity has extended to all
trees and animals, and they do not allow either felling or
hunting on their lands.
They also believe that in their after life they will be
reincarnated as deer, due to this the herds of deer can be
seen roaming in their fields, without fear. The Bishnoi
men are distinguished by their large, white turbans, while
the women wear earth colours and have particularly
ostentatious nose ring that establishes their identity.
Cattle rearing and agriculture are their main occupation.