The community is known all over India as Santmuchchar community Sant means

The community is known all over india as santmuchchar

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education that were essential for leading a respectable and dignified human life. The community is known all over India as Santmuchchar community. Sant means market and muchchar means thief. Hence Santmuchchar means one who steals from weekly market or bazaars. As the people are refused opportunities to earn their livelihood by respectable means, they are forced into pilfering. The Uchalya community is known by different names in different districts of Maharashtra. Some of the names are: Pathrut, Takari, Bhamta, Uchale, Girnewadar, Kamati, Ghantichor and Wadar. They have two surnames Jadhav and Gaikwad and each one has many clans or Kulams. The clans among Gaikwad include Ulonor, Bumonir, Kalpithnor and those among Jadhavs are Kaskonor, Papponor and Ilenor. We do not find the critical material or the authentic material on the nomadic tribes in British India. According to P. A. Kolharkar (2009): No systematic ethnological, historical and sociological studies are available on these tribes .” 1 The autobiography is an authentic document, which presents bitter truth of the social conditions of the tribe. People of the Uchalya community do not go for jobs as per the
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70 law of the country. Moreover, they believe that sending their children to school would doom their community. As a result, they beat their children to teach them thieving skills. Mastering these skills ensure the security against starvation. The training to bear the beatings of the police is also given to children, as this is the only risk factor they have in their profession. The trainer takes six months earnings as his fee for this training after the pupil is fully trained. There are four thieving skills: i. Khistang matne picking pockets. ii. Chappal, muthal aanane stealing footwear and bundles of things. iii. Paddu ghalane deception. iv. Uthewaari deception by sleight of hand while engaging a person in conversation, e.g. substituting spurious gold for the genuine (p.10). Acquiring these skills, the youth from the community becomes the perfect thief. Being notified as criminal, any one of the Uchalya community has to obtain a permit from the police-patil (a village headman in charge of law and order) to leave a place for more than three days. Therefore, the pass is worshipped as a God and the blade as Laxmi, the goddess of wealth. The people cannot go out according to their wish. The Branded also highlights the trials and tribulations of the the Uchalyas. Gaikwad virtually rescued them from obscurity bringing the problems posed by their social and economic conditions to the attention of society and placed them firmly on the social and cultural map of Maharashtra and the neighbouring regions. As an autobiographical narrative Laxman Gaikwad is a pioneer in revealing with masterful sensitivity the inner feelings, the suffering and the exploitation of tribes historically reviewed as criminals. The novel tells the life story of a member of the Uchalyas who overcame the disabilities arising from the circumstances of birth and who emerged as a leader of the dispossessed people.
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