Vaghri: The Eminent Class Found in Sindh, Pakistan

The Vaghri are an other Backward Class found in the states of Rajasthan and Gujarat in India, and the province of Sindh in Pakistan.

Origin of Vaghri

In accordance with their traditions, the Vaghri originated through intermarriage among the members of the Gujjar, Jat and Kolis communities.

During the Colonial period, Vaghri were listed under the Criminal Tribes Act, 1871, as being a tribe “addicted to the systematic commission of non-bailable offences.”

Current circumstances

In India

In Rajasthan, they are found primarily in the Jaipur District. Like many other Rajasthan Hindu communities, they are endogamous, but maintain gotra exogamy. Their main clans are the Badgujar, Pawar, Solanki, and Godara. They are a landless community, although a few do hold small plots of land. The Vagri are also cattle breeders and cattle traders, and sell their cattle at the famous Pushkar cattle fair. They have an effective caste council, which acts as quasi-judicial body and deals with intra-community disputes. It is headed by an heredity office holder, known as a Patel. They are a Hindu community, with their main tribal deities being Jabner mata, Galta mata, Sambher mata and Shile mata. .

In the state of Gujarat, the Vaghri are found mainly in the districts of Sabarkantha, Banaskantha, Panchmahal, Kheda and Ahmedabad. They speak Marwari among themselves, and Gujarati with outsiders. The Vaghri are divided into a number of sub-divisions, the main ones being the Chunarias, who are cultivators, the Datanias who sell twig toothbrushes, the Vedus who sell gourd, Salaat, who are stonemasons, and the remaining clans being landless agriculture workers. Their minor sub-divisions include the Mori, Bajania, Kakodia, Bamcha and Pomla. They are endogamous, and maintain gotra exogamy. The Vaghri are landless, and depend on agricultural labour. They are also involved in the raising poultry, sheep, goat, and cattle, as well as selling vegetables. In Gujarat, the Vagri are Hindu, and their main tribal deties are Vihat, Narsingabir, Kalika and Meldi mata.

In Pakistan

The Vaghri in Pakistan are found primarily in the districts of Umerkot and Tharparkar. They are landless, and have been subject to discrimination at the hands of the locally strong Sodha Rajput community. A recent study indicated that the majority of scheduled caste population of Pakistan, which includes the Vaghri are practically landless. The survey conducted showed that in TharparkarUmerkot, Rahim Yar Khan, and Bahawalpur districts disclosed that an overwhelming majority of 83 percent Scheduled Caste population did not own even a small piece of land. The land ownership by the remaining 17% is also very small as 90% of the Scheduled Caste land owners have a very small piece of land between one and five acres. Like those in India, the Pakistan Vagri are Hindu, and speak both Sindhi and their own language, Bagri, which distantly related to Rajasthani

 

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