On Sunday, an eight-member Gond tribal family in Mandla district could breathe easy after a year-long diktat ostracizing them was lifted by elders of the clan after intervention by administrative officials.
The family’s fault was to allow non-tribal men from Nanda and Yadav castes carry the body of its elder Dhanwa Masram in June 2015.
The clan elders in Githar Malpahari village had warned anyone from their clan of heavy cash penalties if they dared to associate with the family.
When repeated requests by the Masram family to reverse the diktat fell on deaf ears, the family recently approached ‘Jan Sunwai’ (public hearing) of the Mandla district collector.
A team of officials, including a tehsildar, reached Githar Malpahari and resolved the matter after bringing village elders and the family to sit for talks.
“We sat with all concerned parties in the village and resolved the issue amicably,” tehsildar Manoj Chaurasia told HT.
“In June 2015, my father Dhanwa Masram passed away. Since my father had friends from the Nanda and Yadav castes in adjoining villages, they also were part of cremation procession. Non-Gond men also carried my father’s body to the cremation ground, infuriating other members of our clan,” Durga Bai claimed.
“This angered the elders of Gond clan in our village. We were treated like untouchables. Despite repeated requests, the elders of our clan didn’t allow us to return in village mainstream till we served pork, chicken and mutton along with liquor at feats for the clan,” she added.
Poor finances did no good and the family remained ostracized for failing to meet the demand.
Masram family’s allegations were seconded by those from Yadav caste in adjoining Rampuri Malpahari village.
“My father was Dhanwa Masram’s childhood friend, which is why we carried his body to the cremation. This irked close relatives of his family,” alleged Dinesh Yadav from adjoining Rampuri Malpahari village.
“The family raised the matter at the collector’s Jan Sunwai on Tuesday, after which we visited the village. We found that the tribal family had exaggerated by alleging that the elders had demanded non-veg food and liquor parties. After a meeting of two hours, we managed to broker peace,” tehsilar Manoj Chaurasia said.
The Gonds are the tribal community mostly found in the Gond forests of the central India.
They are widely spread in Chhindwara district of Madhya Pradesh, Bastar district of Chhattisgarh and also in Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Odisha. Gonds are largely influenced by Hinduism