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s.munagala

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s.munagala

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Posted: 03 May 2012 at 1:14am | IP Logged
Ok, I have a couple ofquestions about the whole way of life of this entire community. If anyone can enlighten me I will be grateful as I have lived out if India all my life and have only seen a little of things when we went back for holidays once every few years. This is something I had never heard of before and was really intrigued about as it seems to go against all our religious & cultural norms...

1. Is conducting a Sardhakai on a Bedni girl who dances Rai the sole purpose of dancing the Rai dance (or was it actually danced as part of a festival or for any other reason; as most dance forms, in India are directly related to some form of prayer), or is that something the Thakurs just took advantage of, after seeing a pretty face and a dancing body?

2. Do Thakur families actually operate the way that they've shown them here, or is just exaggeration on their part? I mean, do they ACTUALLY treat their wives and daughters in real life like 2nd class citizens who are only meant to be of use in the kitchen or to provide them with sons to carry forward their familial name/wealth/honour? I mean - whatshisface - that Jwaala Thakur bloke basically placed his own wife in the interrogation booth for going out to the market. She did not have to buy anything if she didn't feel like it after all. Then when he learns what she was up to, he silences her very valid points about his having brought the disgrace upon them to begin with & places her in house arrest!!!

Do these guys actually follow such primitive ways in real life in this day & age? Could someone please answer these questions for me?

Thx a mil,
Cheers,

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blrgal

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Posted: 03 May 2012 at 3:06am | IP Logged
yeah.. very valid questions indeed...

hopefully the show will answer about the customary practices soon... but yes, the thakur definitely take advantage.. I am sure customs or traditions did not dictate that a thakur should be married to one for the sake of porgeny but have bedni's for pleasure... world over the rich take advantage of the poverty ridden women...


Blukitten

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Posted: 03 May 2012 at 5:08am | IP Logged
All TV shows are exgagerated version of the real life situation...This show is based in remote village where thakurs still rule and they have the custom of Rai.
I dont know If it really happens in tht villages I have never seen any such practice whichever places I have lived in India.
These r fudual customs which used to occur during middle age...It probably still happens in some remote village...
 As for behaving badly with his wife...well there are bad husbands everywhere Even in US u'll find suspicious domineering husbands...
So its not tht all thakurs are bad husbands just the thakur being shown in this show is bad.


Edited by niharika_n - 03 May 2012 at 11:24pm

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Posted: 03 May 2012 at 10:56pm | IP Logged
Read this article, there are many more on google if u search for Bedia tribe in India, they are a nomadic tribe spread over Rajasthan, UP, MP etc. Some Bedni women do perform Rai dance and sell themselves to Thakurs or other rich people to support the lazy men of their families.

http://carnstyle.com/Travel_Details.aspx?id=43

While researching about tribes in India, we got to know about a tribe called Bedia that exists in an around Agra. This tribe has a tradition of engaging their women folk into prostitution with familial consent. This tradition is widespread among a few other nomadic groups in the country like the Nat, Sansi, Kanjar, and Bachada found in different parts of north, northwestern, and central India.

We were keen to know more about the Bedia tribe and how the community was surviving in modern India. Women born into a Bedia family remain unmarried. They engage in prostitution in order to provide for the economic needs of their natal family. Bedia men, although not economically productive, do marry. The wives of the Bedia men do not engage in prostitution. But they are largely responsible for all the domestic work including cooking, washing, cleaning, and childcare.

As Agra is hardly 200km from Delhi, we started our journey towards this popular tourist destination by around 11am. A few hours of journey by road led us to Agra and as we reached the place we were told that we should go towards Nagar in Bharatpur where we could find the tribals from the Bedia tribe living in a cluster of around 15-20 huts. We headed toward Bharatpur. Although the distance from Agra to Bharatpur is merely75km, we had to slow down our vehicle because a part of the road was under construction. When we reached Nagar it was already evening and we were tired, more so because of the slow drive. We rested for the night in a local hotel. 


In morning we reached the village where the Bedia tribals dwelled. Their village was situated on the highway itself. Members of the Bedia community had different versions to tell us about the origin of prostitution among their womenfolk. A middle-aged woman told us that, "This (prostitution) is going on for many generations. We don't even know since when this is being carried out. It has been going on from the times of our ancestors." On another occasion, she explained to me, "Earlier we used to like this. Sometimes we would camp in one village sometimes in another. We used to beg and survive. Then one ancestor of ours started this tradition. He put his daughter into this flesh trade. He even set out all the rules of the trade. And ever since then, this has been going on in the community."

In sharp contrast, the Bedia men do not engage in any kind of wage or even non-wage work for a major part of their lives. While the community members do own some land, the young Bedia men do not participate in its cultivation although some of the older men do so intermittently. We also noticed Bedia men sometimes participate in domestic chores. Under some conditions, the men may engage in some gainful activities such as agriculture, rickshaw pulling, or some other work involving manual labour. But they barely ever do so consistently and in no case are they primarily responsible for the sustenance of their family.

Considering the fact that the men are not fully occupied in professional work, the Bedia community depends primarily on the earning of the womenfolk from prostitution. The women also take care of all domestic chores. So that leaves the Bedia men almost parasitic in nature, living off the money earned through the flesh trade. It is hardly surprising that the community members draw a clear correlation between men's inactivity and their increasing dependence upon prostitution. Despite our several questions put forth to the members of the Bedia community, we were not able to gauge or assess the precise earning of the tribal women from prostitution.

Despite India progressing on the economic front, the Bedia men have developed a strong resistance to any change in their style of living. Fortunately, lots of NGOs are working very hard to re-establish this tribe and provide them with respectable jobs so as to wean them away from this shameful activity.

We later visited another village, 10 km away from where we were, inhabited by the Bedia tribe but transformed and rehabilitated by NGOs and the efforts of the local government officials. It is a new beginning for them and a new way of living which they seem to have got used to it. It is the poor economic condition of the Beida tribe that had once compelled them to indulge in prostitution. But now there is ray of hope for these tribals and we surely hoped that the next time we visited them, it would be a different story. Anyway we hope to find another interesting place and another interesting tribe in our journey. 



Edited by pallavi25 - 03 May 2012 at 10:59pm

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Posted: 03 May 2012 at 11:04pm | IP Logged
http://www.india9.com/i9show/Bedia-Tribes-48373.htm

One more article abt Bedia tribe. 

And yes, there are many Landlords/Thakurs in backward rural areas who do behave like that...they have wives and kids at home but they frequent the Rai dances performed by village dancers and they often keep them as mistresses and have illegitimate children by them. 
Its part of the feudal legacy that still continues in backward areas of the country.

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s.munagala

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Posted: 04 May 2012 at 3:35pm | IP Logged
Thank you so much for the insight into this community and their way of life. I admit, I am shocked to learn that it is a reality that exists in India today.

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Posted: 04 May 2012 at 4:36pm | IP Logged
Originally posted by s.munagala

Thank you so much for the insight into this community and their way of life. I admit, I am shocked to learn that it is a reality that exists in India today.

You're welcome!
Unfortunately many horrible customs still persist in rural areas inspite of the progress in urban India...like untouchability, bonded labor, child marriages, exploitation of poor women by landlords, etc. 
But NGOs and Social workers are trying to improve the lives of these abused or exploited people. And serials like these are raising awareness in general public abt these evil customs so that educated people can raise their voices against them! 

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s.munagala

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s.munagala

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Posted: 05 May 2012 at 6:53am | IP Logged
Ok pls excuse this ignorant "outsider" Confused here - what exactly are NGO's? Are they like govt. agencies or something that help rural/poor India? In my naivety I also believed that Child Weddings & Untouchability to be a thing of India's distant past. Is that not so? We still hear of women dying at their In-Laws'/husbands hands if they don't pay a dowry and stuff, but not about Child Brides/Grooms or Untouchability. They do publicize the fact that children make up a larger part of the workforce though. It is something I am embarrassed about when my non-Indian friends question me about it here. I try to downplay it and tell them that the government cracks down on employers who practice hiring kids. I hope that I'm not lying outright about it!

Edited by s.munagala - 05 May 2012 at 7:11am

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