Holi of Lambadas & Gonds మార్చి 22, 2008Posted by M Bharath Bhushan in Adilabad, Gond, Lambada, Medak, Telangana Festivals.
When mothuka is in full bloom
Banjaras, or Lambadas, as they are known in Andhra Pradesh, know that it is the Holi season when the red mothuka flowers bloom. Unlike city folks who restrict their celebration to a single day, Holi is a two-week-long affair for this indigenous tribe.
The celebrations, which begin on the Amavasi of the Phalgun month of the Hindu calendar, goes on till the Purnima day.
Preparations for Holi start with the community members going to the nearby forests to collect mothuka flowers.
The flowers are then dipped in a huge drum filled with water, that turns red overnight. And this natural colour is used to play Holi the next day.
“Their way of celebrating Holi is very natural,” said M. Subhash Chandra, director of the non-profit Centre for Action Research and People’s Development. “In fact, the Lambadas use only red colour during Holi celebrations.”
Holi, of course, is not all about colours and for Lambadas, it is the time to strengthen family bonds as well.
Women in each thanda form groups and visit each Lambada home. Each group is also accompanied by two men. They collect some money from every home so that they can arrange a grand feast on the Purnima day. Toddy is served after the feast.
The singing and dancing activities are done by Daliyas, the traditional Lambada artistes. But as the celebrations touch high pitch, others join them too.
Members of the tribe, which has roots in Rajasthan, burn the effigy of ‘Kamudu,’ the Telugu God of lust, on the Purnima and not the effigy of demoness Holika, as is the practice in North India. Tribals in other parts of the state also use natural colours from mothuka and tur-meric to celebrate Holi.
But the trend is slowly changing. Many tribals now buy artificial colours from the market for their celebrations. “Nowadays very few people bother to make natural colours,” said Tekam Ramu of Sirpur (U) mandal.
Like Lambadas, other tribal groups of the state also burn the effigy of Kamudu during Holi.
Each family contributes one dry coconut husk to the tribal head for the burning rite. In old days, tribal heads would use the occasion to exert their power and will. For instance, they would not accept a dry coconut from a family that has committed a mistake. This was akin to social boycott.
“These families would usually settle disputes and appease tribal heads before Holi to avoid ostracism,” said Sidam Shambu, district president of Rai Centres.
Similarly, those who wanted to leave the tribe and settle in another village, would also donate one coconut to the tribal head.
When the curry prepared during the burning of Kamudu is served to the tribals, it would not be given to the aforesaid family members. This would send the message to others that one family is leaving the village.
source: Deccan Chronicle, Culture Plus, 22 March 2008 http://www.deccan.com/cultureplus/cultureplus.asp