Monday, July 19, 2010

Rajbansi Community

The Rajbansis are mainly concentrated in the Terai and Dooars region in Jalpaiguri District. Considered to be one of the sixteen numerically important schedule castes of the state. Though according to anthropologists, they disowned affiliation with any tribal group there are reason to believe that they are converted Koches.
The casts like Rajbansis, Koches and the Paliyas have the same origin and they come from a Dravidian stock with a possible admixture of Mongolian blood. Speaking a distinct dialect of Bengali, the Rajbansis most declared Bengali as their mother tongue during Census of 1961.
Marriage among the Rajbansis:
The Rajbansis still maintain some of the traditional practices during their marriage ceremony, which are, however, being supplanted by those of the upper-caste Hindus.
According to Mr. Charu Chandra Sanyal(“Rajbansis of North Bengal”)........"Some forms of companionate marriage where divorce can be effected without ado are still to be found amongst them........The practice of marrying elder brother's widow is not uncommon..........The system of Ghor-dzia where a man is received into a family with a view to being accepted as a son-in-law if the arrangement is suitable and in the meantime he works as an assistant to the prospective father-in-law, is common among the Rajbansis. In the alternative when the demanded bride price cannot be paid by the newcomer has to work under the prospective father-in-law to serve out a probationary period before he can claim to marry the girl.........Another type of marriage found in the Terai is the Chottro-dani. A woman after marriage is not allowed by her guardians to go to her guardians' house and in the meanwhile she is married elsewhere in lieu of some money. The first husband is paid some compensation and he renounces all claims over his wife. The divorce is automatic as no village court or Panchayet is necessary to give a decision."
The Rajbansis are basically agriculturalist and farming is their main occupation. Like all other tribes and castes the rural Rajbansis too have animistic believes, which are reflected in their social customs, festivals and rituals. One of their important festivals is the Mecheni Khela, which is connected with the worship of River Goddess Tista.
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