Adivasis dance their way to a girl’s heart

The traditional courtship festival, annual Dandari-Ghusadi dance, of Agency villages allows boys to mingle with girls and identify their life partners

October 29, 2016 12:00 am | Updated December 02, 2016 12:26 pm IST - ADILABAD:

Traditional romance:A Dandari troupe of Gond youth from Seetagondi dancing at Bandeyer village in Sirpur (U) mandal of Kumram Bheem Asifabad district on Friday.— Photo: S. Harpal Singh

Traditional romance:A Dandari troupe of Gond youth from Seetagondi dancing at Bandeyer village in Sirpur (U) mandal of Kumram Bheem Asifabad district on Friday.— Photo: S. Harpal Singh

Adivasi bachelors in the Adilabad district dance to win the heart of a girl in a centuries old custom, which provides ample freedom to the youngsters to select their life partners.

The Dandari-Ghusadi dance festival, which ends on Diwali, is an opportunity for the eligible bachelors to find their life partners and some 100 marriages are finalised in this manner in the Agency villages of Adilabad, Kumram Bheem Asifabad, Mancherial and Nirmal districts, which were part of the undivided Adilabad.

Eligible youngsters of Raj Gond and Kolam tribes who want to get married choose to be part of the Dandari dance troupe in their village as it invariably gets to visit one or two other villages giving them an opportunity to woo girls from those villages. The girls on their part watch the performance, which runs for a night and a day, before they express an interest in any boy.

“Our boys and girls get an opportunity to set their eyes upon each other during the dance of the Dandari. They also get to interact a little before they can mutually agree to take the matter to the next step,” Gond Patel or village headman of Seetagondi in Sirpur (U) mandal Atram Sungu said explaining the process of match making.

“Both the boys and the girls later inform their parents about their choice. Following which the process of interaction between the two families begins,” adds Mesram Limba Rao, an elder from Bandeyer in the same mandal where Sone Rao had come leading his Dandari and Ghusadi troupes. “The elders from both the families together take a decision with regard to the wedding which usually takes place between March and May,” he pointed out. “As per our customs and traditions the youngsters enjoy liberty in many aspects. It is rare that a selection made during the Dandari-Ghusadi phase gets cancelled,” Patel of Bandeyer Atram Sone Rao, who was hosting the Seetagondi dancers, said.

The only change which has crept in in recent times is the importance being given by the Raj Gond elders to education of the prospective groom or bride. “We do not insist upon either of them being highly qualified but education can help the couple survive,” Limba Rao asserted.

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