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Magnificient Kutch The People

      Kutch has been a significant confluence point for different races and people. The nomadic pastoralists are certainly the most interesting and their links can be traced on one side to Marwar and Mewar (regions of Rajasthan), Saurashtra and, on the other side, Sindh and beyond to Afghanisthan, Iran and Central Asia.

      The great Rabari group is spread over the western plains of India from Kutch to Rajasthan. They are Hindu cattle-breeders and shepherds, falling into three endogamous groups - those of Kutch, Rajasthan and Central Gujarat.


      There are further sub-divisions according to region like the Garasia, Kachela, Dhebaria and Wagadia of Kutch. Rabaries worship the mother goddess, Ramdev Pir, horsemen heroes and the sainted dead. In Kutch, after the monsoon rains and their year's wanderings, they celebrate all marriages on one day only, that of Gokul Ashtami, the birthday of Lord Krishna.


The other main group of pastoralists consists of two dozen nomadic and semi-nomadic Muslim groups who trace their roots from Sindh and beyond. The Jath are the largest such group. The others are smaller and live in Banni area, a low-lying, sixteen hundred square kilometers pastureland close to the salt marshes of the Great Rann of Kutch, and also in the surrounding areas.

The main clans are the Halipotra, Raisipotra, Mutwa, Node, Hingorjah, Bhambha, Cher, Junejah, Kaskalee, Korar, Ladai, Nunai, Pathan, Baluch, Samejah, Sumra and Tabah.


The Dhanetah section of the Jath are also in the Banni. They keep mainly cattle, no goats, and are settled around nearly fifty water-holes on the Banni.


The Jaths are a nomadic community spread over Kutch. They appear to have started their migration to this area, from Sindh, some four hundred years ago. Their main groups are Dhanetah, Fakirani and Garasia. The Garasia Jaths live mainly in the Nakhatrana region of Kutch.

There is a sprinkling of Bharwads also in Kutch, and they have spilled over from their home region in Kathiawar. There is a great concentration of Ahirs in Kutch.

In and around Pacham are the Sammas. An interesting community is that of the Sodha Rajputs, some of whom have been settled in Kutch in the recent past only, after coming from Pakistan. In other castled villages tribals like the Koli mingle with the normal population mix of Patels, Jadejas, Rajputs, Bhatias, Kayasths, Lohanas, Gosains, Gadhvis, Kapdis, Jains, Brahamans, Jogis, Banias, Bairagis, Sanghars, Bhanushalis, Bhadalas Syeds, Shaikhs, Pathans, Khojas, Memans, Miyanas, Sammas, Kharvas and Toris. And intermingling with them are the service groups and craftsmen.