Banjara Tribe…

The religion of the Banjara Tribe is based on Hindu and Muslim forms of worship. Their most important deity is the Banjari Devi whose shrine is located in the forest. The shire is represented by  heap of stone is placed. The big stone on top is decorated with vermillion, oil and ghee. This stone is worshipped as the Banjara Devi. When a Banjara passes through the shrine he places a stone over the heap as a sign of offering prayer to the deity. It is believed that the Devi helps him during his time of distress and trouble. The Banjaras also worship Shiva Bhaia. These two deities are mostly worshipped by the Banjaras and are believed to be responsible for all the activities occurring within their community.

The Banjaras believe in ancestral spirits who are benevolent. They think that the souls of the people who meet a natural death get united with the ancestral spirits who also at times incarnate in the form of birth of children. They command respect and worship from their descendants. It is thought that if they are unhappy they cause a couple to be barren.

The Banjara Devi, the Shiv Baia and the ancestral spirits are worshipped and offered sacrifices. They are worshipped on occasions like birth, marriage and death. All these worships are accomplished with the help of the Banjara priest. Animals like goats, cocks, hens, pigeon, ducks, and eggs are offered for sacrifice. Later the meat of the sacrificed animal is shared by the priest and the other community people.

The Banjaras are strong believers of witchcraft, spirits and ghosts. They believe that the people who meet unnatural death turn to become ghosts and their roam about as they are unsatisfied souls. They become malevolent spirits who attack pregnant women and  children. They have Ojhas who by canting mantras can neutralize the attack of the spirits. The Banjaras also believe in witchcraft and magic. It is assumed that a woman acquires the art of witchcraft by sacrificing the life of her husband or son. She then possesses the spirit of the sacrificed person in her witchcraft and becomes a ‘Dain.’ The Dain is then assumed to create pain and miseries to the people of the community. The Banjaras have Guni or Witchdoctor who have the ability to ward off the black magic of the witch.

Colours of Day works among this beautiful tribal people.Jesus is working in the hearts of this tribe.More to come soon.

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