03 April, 2013

Untouchable but not Dalit (1 Picture & Texts)

     (Thanks VSSM to give this moment)
     Mangabhai Parmar (in picture); Lathi, District: Amreli, Gujarat; is a man of hard working. Sweat is nature of his body, and this nature has derived from social tradition, let me say from caste system. How? Briefly, Mangabhai belongs to Nat (not Marwadi Nut) community. Nat is the one of twenty eight nomadic tribes in Gujarat. Nat population is 10580 in 82 villages of Gujarat, this updated information given by Babubhai Solanki (Nat), Chotila, District: Surendranagar. Nat has traditional works like to walk on rope, to do very different kind of body exercises with rings, bamboo, swards etc. that give surprise and entertainment to viewers. Nat makes all these activities publically, but here one thing is very necessary to remember that traditionally Nut did not have social permission to show his typical art of body before all communities, but only Dalit communities, of village and town. Because of very less education and fast growing technology Nats are losing their traditional work and becoming drivers, farm labors, masons and similarly others. Nat’s dwellings have been in Dalit specially ‘Vankar (Weaver) locality for years, so here one another thing is necessary to remember that because of this compulsion imposed by the society, migrated from the state of the Rajsthan, Nat has been facing the untouchability in Gujarat for years.
     Nut community could not become beneficiary of reservation policy and of welfare schemes for Scheduled Castes (Dalit), even though victimized of the untouchability, because he is not in the list of the Scheduled Castes, and this is the surprise. Any community that is victimized of the untouchability must be in the List of the Scheduled Castes, for, that is its right. I cannot say Constitutional right because Constitution is silent about the definition of Scheduled Castes.  
(What The Constitution of The India says, - Article 341(1) - The president after consultant with the Governor by public notification, specify the castes, races or tribes or parts of, or groups within castes, races or tribes which shall for the purposes of this Constitution be deemed to be scheduled castes in relation to that state (or union territory, as the case may be) Article 341(2) – Parliament may by law include or exclude from the list of the Scheduled Castes specified in a notification issued under clause (1) any caste, race or tribe or part of or group within any caste, race or tribe, but save as aforesaid a notification issued under the said clause shall not be varied by any subsequent notification.)
     The another surprise is that many years ago, Mochi community had been excluded from the List of the Scheduled Castes because of many kind of long term pressures created by the Dalit leadership and the Dalit communities, for, in Gujarat, Mochi community is not victimized of the untouchability like that in other states of India, so Mochi is in the List of OBC (Other Backward Classes).
     But question is that who would create the pressure on the Government to include Nut in the List of Scheduled Castes? A decade ago this kind of pressure was created by Nat community, leadership and NGOs, but result was nothing. I don’t know why, perhaps it was not strategic or it was short term or because of weaker political leadership or because of lack of political will of representatives of the Gujarat, anything could be, but now nobody thinks politically about Nat community that is one of Dalit communities, if someone does, what can be said about; guess about.


  1. Hi Umesh, Thanks for such a nice and thought provoking article about Nat community. I do agree that many where in Gujarat and also in some states, Nats are treated as untouchables but they are not listed in Schedule caste and the reason is our Indian history and lack of political leadership during pre and post independence. In the Lunawada region of Panchmahal district, Nats are allowed to stay outside the villages like Dalits but politically they don't get reservation for the same so they are kept aloof in darkness and constantly society and system make them confuse that who they are?. As you know that Bhasha and Budhan Theatre took leadership to have social and political justice not only for Nats but for all 192 Nomadic and De-notified tribes of the country. Bhasha has done lobbying with central governments (whether it is UPA or NDA) and finally succeeded to convince Dr. Manmohan Singh in 2005 and he appoint National commission to study the problems of DNTs. Like Nats and many other nomadic and De-notified Tribes problems are taken seriously and we hope that in 2014 an act will come to secure our communities social and political rights. Hopefully, NT and DNT will be included in the exciting Atrocity Act. Currently, by Government of India, Budhan Theatre is assigned to conduct survey on the status of Nomadic and De-notified Tribes in the state of Gujarat and we have finished survey on Devi-Pujak, Madaris and Nats in the various districts and now conducting survey for more 10 communities. I hope, these statistics will help to frame the welfare and social and political security policy at national and regional level. Again, thanks for the post, keep write. I love to read your post regularly. Best wishes,

  2. विचारोत्तेजक लेख है। जानकारी बढ़ाने के लिए बधाई।

  3. Mary Scully03 April, 2013

    What a beautiful portrait, Umesh! Thank you. the story you tell about this man is fascinating and deplorable at the same time.
    - Mary Scully, Saint Paul, Minnesota

  4. Pls see http://www.counterview.net/2013/04/all-round-indifference-prevails-towards.html


  6. પુરુષોત્તમ જાદવ20 August, 2016

    આ મારા ધ્યાનમાં નહોતું. પણ જ્યારે શિડ્યુલ્ડ કાસ્ટની યાદી બનાવતા હતા, ત્યારે ઘણી પછાત જ્ઞાતિઓએ કૉંગ્રેસના (ગાંધીજી માનવું) ઉશ્કેરવાથી કે આંબેડકર તેઓને 'ઢેડા' બનાવવા માગે છે, તેમની જ્ઞાતિને આ યાદીમાં શામેલ નહોતી કરાવી.હવે, લાભો જોઇને ઘણા ધમપછાડા કરે છે. છેલ્લે, પટેલો પણ હવે 'અનામતિયા' બનવા માગે છે, તે આપણે જોઇ રહ્યા છીએ. નટ માટે દુ:ખ છે. પણ હવે સમય હાથમાંથી જતો રહ્યો છે. કેમ કે, લોકો હવે બધી બાબતોને 'આર્થિક' રીતે વિચારવા લાગ્યા છે.