Posted by: janpierce | January 13, 2008

An Evening in a Banjara Village

We drove out about 30 km. into the countryside one evening to a Banjara village. We missed the entrance several times and finally found it amongst some trees. Their homes are small adobe-looking structures and there are narrow dirt roads in between. We met the head man (Naik) and his family first and then were given chairs in front of a large plastic tarp in the central area where all the women and children sat. The men stood around the outside of the square.
The Banjaras are strikingly beautiful. They sang some songs along with the very complicated rhythms from a large round flat drum. It is played with two sticks each playing a different rhythm. The singing, drumming and clapping were done with enthusiasm but were nothing like what came next. A ripple of excitement spread through the crowd when several women came out in their traditional dress. That meant dancing!! They do circle dances in which one woman is the leader and she cues the others when the steps and motions change. The dancing was intense. Quick, but graceful ups and downs, ins and outs. It was a blur of color. The men drummed and whistled. As with everywhere we go here, we were expected to get into the act at some point. We obliged in our clumsy way and got lots of approval for giving it a shot. Before we were allowed to leave we were served tea at the head man’s home. It is thick, sweet chai and very good. This group of Banjaras (gypsies) are farmers these days rather than engaging in some of the less acceptable endeavors of their forefathers. Most of them are believers. Many of the children attend school. Still, sitting under those trees and soaking in the events before me made me feel as though I had stepped back a long way in time.

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Responses

  1. Hope there’s something like that still to come when we get there. Sounds wonderful.

  2. Hey Jan,
    Hope I’m doing this right. I can’t seem to see through my computer glasses, so this may say something really interesting. Old age sure is!

    Don’t be discouraged by the difficulties you encounter teaching. I’m sure you’re helping the kids more than you know.

    Hope you and Roger are well and enjoying constant blessing.

    Love,
    June

  3. Good descriptions of your experience, sights and sounds! I especially enjoyed your story from last Sunday with the “offerings”. Having seen some of the traditional dances of different states I can imagine how beautiful the dancing at the Banjara village was. What a blessing that you are being used by the Master in this time and place.


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