Friday, July 23, 2010

Goala

Goala (milkmen) a pastoral caste among Hindus called Sadgope. Goala's main occupation was, and scarcely still is, selling MILK and milk products. At present, there are goalas in the countryside but in urban areas, they no longer have the monopoly in selling milk and milk products. Goalas are now substituted by common people, both Hindus and Muslims trained in the occupation.
Most parts of West Bengal one can find the myth of lactating cows on a shiva linga. usually most of the parts of west bengal are once upon a time dominated by goala, titled Ghosh. Till recent time a mela(festival) called Samaj used to organised by mainly Goalas.
Tradition goes that the goalas descended from the God KRISHNA, whose relations with the milkmaids of Brindaban play a prominent part in Hindu mythology. Krishna himself is supposed to have belonged to the tribes of Yadavas or the descendants of Yado, a nomadic race who grazed CATTLE and made butter. Goddess MANASA is said to have landed in a cattle field in the guise of a goalini (female goala).
The internal structure of the caste is divided into many sub-castes such as Desi, Nandbangshi, Jadubangshi, Surajbangshi, Goalbagnshi, Ahir and Katha. Ahir goalas carry out veterinary functions. They apply the acupuncture method in treating animal's illnesses such as cracks in the joint, rheumatism etc. Sometimes hot and reddish iron sticks are applied to cattle to help them recover the wound. In the caste hierarchy of Hindu society, goalas occupy a lower position and are counted as inferior, not only to the Navasaka, but also to the cultivating division of the Kaibarta caste. Majority of them is Vaishnavas, and they celebrate JANMASTAMI or festival of the birthday of Krishna with great pomp. Goalas pay special reverence to Bishahari, Ganpat, Gohil, and Gosawan, the god of cattle disease. To these vague shapes, flour, sweetmeats, milk, rice and occasionally sacrifices of goats are offered and partaken of by the worshippers. Monday and Friday are considered the most auspicious days by them and Saturday is believed to be particularly unlucky.
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