Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Human right violation is circumstantial or cultural event

Human Right Violation Is Circumstantial Or Cultural Event?
Human rights mean the rights relating to life, liberty equality and dignity of individuals guaranteed by the Constitution or embodied in International Covenants and enforceable by courts in India.
Violation of human rights is one of the most worrying problems of our times for entire civilization. Almost every Commission on Human rights has stressed the need to revitalize human society through greater focus on human rights and made quite a few recommendations to attain this illusive ideal and yet every subsequent Commission has lamented over the sorry state of human rights violation and crisis the world over.
The crisis has occurred because the external man has grown and the internal man remains neglected. The standard of life has gone down in proportion to the standard of living going up, there is lot of decline, erosion and imbalance of universal human rights and values, cut throat competition because of advancement of science and technology and industrial revolution resulting in spiraling individualism, lack of human concern and so many other factors have resulted in the violation of human rights at the individual, national and international level, what we all see today is darkness and what we all feel is pain.
Violation of human rights, whatever be the level is a heinous crime against society and hence a grave problem which concerns the entire human race. Today we are in need of strong society based on the principles of acceptance of human rights both in theory and as well as in practice. Three passions, such as unity, morality, spirituality and secularism, simple but overwhelmingly strong, must govern our lives- longing for love, the search for knowledge and unbearable pit for the suffering mankind.
Man is still as much in bondage as he was at the beginning of human civilization and may be, will continue to be so for ever. The forms change but the essence remains. While living in family, man learnt to enjoy gains. The family developed into a clan, a clan into a village. According to Aristotle when several villages were united in a single community, perfect and large enough to be nearly or quite self-sufficing, the state came into existence,
originating in the basic needs of life and continuing in existence for the sake of a good life.
The present work is concerned with human rights in sociological context. In this work an effort has been made to see whether human right violation is circumstantial or cultural event. The study has been done on a group Dhankut who is living in Dhankutty Pura of Bahraich District of Uttar Pradesh, India with a small population of 2687. They form a pocket which is surrounded by other adjacent communities. Apart from Dhankutty Pura and Salarganj, Dhankut don't live anywhere in the district. Every socio-cultural relation occurs within this pocket. What do they think about themselves as well as their social structure, these are discussed in different parts of the work as follows:
Part I encompasses introduction, research design and methodology. Introduction deals with meaning of human-rights and its evolution. Human right is not a new term, this phenomena is well defined in Indian literature and philosophy. Indian religion such as Hinduism, Sikhism, Buddhism and Jainism explains this term in full length and in true spirit. In present world human rights is merely defined in legal and political context but socio-cultural aspect is very momentous to define this term because India is encompassed with many cultures and religion. In a series of different groups the meaning of human rights varies from one group to another. It is not an easy task to impose the provisions of Universal Declaration of Human Rights on them without considering their culture or pattern of living. In this context present research work is focussed on Dhankut- an ignored and culture specific group of Bahraich to understand the meaning of human rights regarding their socio-cultural life. Introduction is coloured with all the above said points.
Second portion of the first part is more important because it throws light on the methodology applied. Methodology is very important for the success of any research. The present research is focussed on Dhankut which is a small group consisting of 2687 people. For the present purpose participant observation- an anthropological technique, is used because no work has been done so far on Dhankut and no literature is available about them, even secondary data is not present. In this regard only participant observation is a way to understand the present position of Dhankut and their awareness towards human rights. Since it was not easy for the researcher to understand each and every socio-cultural aspect of Dhankut to overcome this problem interview technique has also been used. Total 300 respondents have been interviewed for the purpose.
Part II is about the socio-cultural profile of Dhankut. It is divided into two portions. In the first portion description of the district and personal information of the respondents are given. The respondents include male and female, who are of general category and profess Hindu religion. Maximum respondents are educated up to 5th standard. Majority of respondents are of 41-60 years of age group. Dhankut are in low income group and they are engaged in different occupations.
Second portion is concerned with their family, marriage, panchayat etc. Dhankut prefer nuclear family of at least three children. Joint family is also in existence but very few in numbers. Joint family has at least three married couples. In joint family income is joint but at the level of decision, a diversity exists. In maximum families decision is taken by the Head of the family.
Dhankut consider marriage as religious act or God's will but they also believe in it as ritual, social contract or mutual contract. They find marriage is compulsory but they are not satisfied with their present marriage system. Dhankut are monogamous but gotra system is totally absent among them. Love marriage or marriage by elopement, kidnapping or intrusion is not permitted among them but due to small population and single living place, they practice cross- cousin and parallel-cousin marriages. Here it is noticeable that such marriages are prohibited in north India and Dhankut are considered as normal or general group. They have full faith in Hindu marriage system. They respect family desire in marriage and elderly people decide marriage settlement. Dhankut are familiar with divorce and it is known as "Chhutti-chhutta" in their socio-cultural life. In general practice they don't like Chhutti- chhutta. They don't prefer going to civil court for divorce, they put their matter in their traditional panchayat.
Panchayat plays an important role in their traditional life. Due to poverty and poor economy, Dhankut are still bound with their panchayat though civil court in only a few hundred yards away from their living place. Panchayat takes very strict step in case of love marriage or non genuine separation. Panchayat helps a financially poor Dhankut family in case of death. It imposes penalty if any family absents itself in cremation of any Dhankut. Meeting of panchayat is held at Gullabeer which is a sacred place. Gullabeer is their traditional God. Panchayat is the back bone of their socio- cultural life.
Maximum Dhankut are not satisfied with their houses. The houses are small, congested and without any facility like separate kitchen, electricity, water supply and lavatory. Maximum of them use chullah (Hearth) for cooking. They use cow dung cake for fuel.
Part III inquires about the awareness of human right among Dhankut. Generally indigenous groups or rural population is not familiar with the word human right in India, but due to impact of aculturation, and mobility of an individual from one place to another a profile of comparison is created between one culture and another. This process generates the idea of scarcity or abundance. But all these process is seen in the light of Human right as a western view. In case of Dhankut it is clear that almost whole community is unaware about the term human rights and its meaning. Even they don't have any idea about human rights but when they tell their problems regarding life, the researcher can view their problems in the frame of human rights. Those, who are aware about it, comment about human rights as a right which comes with the efforts of the government. Dhankut want right to social identity, right to individual identity, right to live with pride and right to reservation. Dhankut are very much fed up with their ignorance in the society. So they want all these rights but they force more for right to reservation because they think that nothing is possible without proper reservation policy for them. Dhankut is a caste group but due to delisting of their name in four folded caste system and not being recognised as SC/ST/OBC, they are considered as general category which makes a series of problems for their survival. They know that every financial support is governed by caste certificate. So they want caste certificate. They think that caste identification will give them social recognition. They feel that no right is in their possession which should have been given by the government. Dhankut practice cross-cousin and parallel cousin marriages which are the result of their single living place so they want caste identity to overcome all these unpleasant marriages. They find themselves inferior to other communities. Other communities also consider them as a low profile group. Marriage is necessary but they are not in favour of cross-cousin or parallel-cousin marriages. Due to absence of gotra system they are victim to such type of marriages. Such marriages are creating many genetic problems as albinism, impotency and other sexual diseases. Dhankut community is encompassed with 21 albinos which is the highest number in India at the population size of Dhankut but Dhankut don't know the adverse impact of close marriage. Dhankut do not like polygyny, they believe in monogamy.
Dhankut are very much enchanted by the judicial system but poor economy and single living place and control of Panchayat stops them to take assistance of judiciary. Civil court is only a few hundred yards away from their living place but they don't know their legal rights. Right to education, economic help and service are their other demands from the government. They think that adjacent communities are progressing due to higher education but they are poor and mostly uneducated hence they are considered backward. They feel that they should be financially supported by the government.
Part IV looks into educational status of Dhankut. Today education is a good tool for understanding and to earn good or fabulous money. Education gives the knowledge to an individual irrespective to his/ her culture. Again culture has its limitation and it can fulfill a limited desire of its people but beyond it, desire can take its full shape with the help of education. Dhankut consider education as a device which is taught in school and colleges. Reading and writing are considered by them as main part of education. At least one person is educated in every Dhankut family but all these educated persons are under the category of children. Maximum elderly Dhankut are illiterate but after knowing the benefits of education from the adjacent communities, Dhankut have become aware about the benefits of education and they encourage their children to take education. Maximum adjacent communities are well educated and have a good job so Dhankut consider education as a source of money, service, prestige and knowledge giving device but some Dhankut don't consider education as a boon because they see that many youth are wandering for jobs even after having good education so they think it as wastage of time and money. Apart from this divergence in their ideas about education, all accept that education is a good source of job and money. Dhankut consider education as a gate way to get a good job. For Dhankut service means government jobs but they don't like to be sweeper, goods carrier or servant in a shop. They prefer work related to writing though no Dhankut is engaged in writing work.
Only three Dhankut are in government jobs and all are fourth class employee. Poverty and illiteracy are the main causes of lack of jobs. Dhankut feel that they can lead good life with good service. Education gives better understanding, good future for children, good future of the community and it is also a good source of income. But Dhankut are kept away from all these benefits. Having all these benefits, education can change their status in the society. Dhankut think that good marriage, respect and attitude, all are concerned with education. Reservation is a prime source to get education as many deprived caste groups are getting education with the assistance of reservation policy. The lack of reservation and influence of poverty is manifest on their children's education. Dhankut are not satisfied with their children's progress and community's children as well. It is all due to lack of caste certificate, reservation and financial crisis. Education accelerates the process to access rights but in case of Dhankut this process has been slow.
Part V is concerned with occupational situation of Dhankut. Everyone wants survival and it comes with efforts. These efforts vary from one culture to another or from one group to another. It is known as occupation. Traditional occupation of Dhankut is cereal selling. Cereals were put on the back of the horses and were sold in adjacent areas. This situation continued up to 1970. After this a gradual change came in their traditional occupation when new market system evolved and modern society turned towards sachet system. Nobody takes grain in bulk today. With the emergence of market, now cereal available is clear and of quality, so they prefer to buy it from the market instead of from Dhankut. So diversity in occupation has taken place among Dhankut. But Dhankut don't know the exact meaning of occupation. They consider it as a source of income or income for livelihood. Now Dhankut don't link cereal selling with their community identity. Today almost whole community is engaged in different types of businesses but saving is impossible with low income. Due to investment on poor health and liquor, they cannot save money. Dhankut are not satisfied with their income as it does not fulfill family desire. To cope with this unpleasant situation Dhankut women and children are also doing some work for earning livelihood. Dhankut males use their income on liquor and mostly spend on poor health instead of on education. Dhankut want to do some other good occupation but poverty is a serious barrier in this regard. They want government support and education for their occupational upliftment. Their occupations are very unorganized and it is all due to poverty, lack of awareness and education. Due to difference in occupation Dhankut are stratified as rich and poor Dhankut differ from each other in their living, education, and social-status. They are victim of circumstances and want a good job or occupation which could give them money, standard of life and identity in the society. Occupational diversification makes them aware about their rights which they demand from the government.
Part VI sketches the social status of the community. Dhankut are living in the middle of the city "Dhankutty Pura". They have a specific life style which separates them from other adjacent communities. But Dhankut are not considered same as other communities are, Dhankut feel that their status is not good in the society. Poverty, caste identification and illiteracy are main barriers which make them different from other communities and place them as a low status people. They are very far from many facilities such as electricity, water supply, lavatory, education etc. Single living place and absence of any literature about them prove them as a neglected and an isolated group. The name Dhankut is not mentioned under four folded caste system. So Dhankut are living behind the curtain and leading a dark fate which is clear from their absence in government records. Their population is small (2687). So they are not in the knowledge of the academicians and government agencies. Dhankut want a mobility which is possible only when their origin comes into light or they could associate themselves with other castes. Dhankut consider that they are not progressing due to unavailability of literature about their caste. To overcome all these problems for leading a smooth life Dhankut demand for reservation and want to be placed under scheduled caste or OBC instead of scheduled tribe. Due to absence of reservation they are not getting any financial assistance from the government and hence they are deprived of all rights. No study has been done so far on them and that is why they could not get any help from any other sources. Due to all these crisis other communities consider them as lower caste group, unidentified people and poor people. They are backward due to absence of education. Dhankut are fighting against their hard survival. So they started electing their representatives in municipality from 1990 election on wards. Before this period other community members were elected from the Dhankutty Pura ward by using Dhankut's vote. Now Dhankut representation in municipality attracted the society towards their betterment. Dhankut show that if a group is deprived of each and every facility, the violation of human right occurs automatically.
Part VII explores value system of Dhankut. They are neglected by adjacent communities, so they want social identity but they want to retain their social norms for their development. Even after having lack of facilities, they do not want to avoid their responsibilities. If an accident occurs, they register complaint at police station and if accident is serious, they hospitalize the injured person. Poor economy and poverty are prime curse for their life, so they want money for different work and rituals. Dhankut never indulge in theft or any misconduct. They fulfill their requirements by sanctioned path. In case of money crisis instead of borrowing it either from bank or from money lender they borrow it from somewhere else. Poverty doesn't make them cheater, they pay their debt on scheduled time. Dhankut are victim of circumstances and they face a hard livelihood and existence but they treat their guest as God. They welcome and call them inside their houses and offer them whatever they have in their houses. Apart from these values, Dhankut prefer to speak truth. They hate hypocrisy. They have full faith in God and they worship Lord Shiva, Rama, Krishna, Hanuman and Goddess Durga. They have made two religious temples in Dhankutty Pura locality where all the above mentioned God and Goddess are present as statue. It shows their religious attitude. Their traditional God is "Gullabeer", they start their every work with the worship of Gullabeer and ends it with the worship of Gullabeer too.
Human rights are very important in socio-cultural context. Human rights are nothing but basic necessities which are required for the sustenance of life. But when these become absent from an individual's life or a group that individual or a group is said to be deprived. Dhankut, too, are deprived of basic necessities of life. We have already observed in preceding chapters that their accomodations are very congested, they donot have pacca houses, even houses donot have facilities like water, electricity and latrines etc. Even though they are living in urban area but still they are using hand pumps for water, earthern lamps for light and open fields for the discharge of excreta.
Majority of Dhankut are poor. They are deprived of minimum standard of living. In order to enjoy human rights an individual or a group must have occupational rights but Dhankut donot have security of jobs, most of them are self employed. Dhankut women and children are also working to support their families. Instead of going to school children are involved in meagre earnings.
Lack of Human Rights produces deprivations, disabilities and certain circumstances which breeds a cutlure of its own. Since Dhankut are deprived of basic human rights they have developed a culture of their own. They are recognised as lower caste people. Beyond Dhankuttypura they have no identity of their own, even adjacent communities donot recognise them and look down upon them. In order to survive Dhankut have started marrying among themselves which has led to cross cousin and parallel cousin marriages which in turn have led to ill effects of inbreeding such as albinism and veneral diseases. Thus we see that Dhankut are deprived of even right to health which is a component of human right.
Another aspect of human right is ascertainment or enforcement of human rights which is possible only when an individual or group is aware of its rights and mode of enforcement for it. Though Dhankut have an understanding for human rights that it is necessary for a dignified life but majority of them have no knowledge about it, they cannot distinguish between rights and human rights. Since they have been subjugated for long for being poor and lower class people they consider that right to reservation in jobs and right to caste certificate, that too from the government are more important rights through which they can achieve economic and social progress.
Enforcement machinery is must for the realisation of rights, but here too Dhankut are deprived as they cannot afford the enforcement of rights through courts due to their poor economic situation. They still believe in their panchayat system for the redressal of their rights.
If a group is enjoying good social conditions and is aware of human rights, the status of women and children in that group will also be good. Among Dhankut barring few, status of women is not good, majority of them are deprived of education and are involved in the work of cow dung collection and making of cow dung cakes. They have no liberty or freedom to do the work of their choice. Only recently a few women have come forward for having education and taking part in municipal election.
Dhankut children too are deprived of education, most of them are primary educated only. Due to lack of good schooling and poor incentives for education, children are not sent to schools instead they are involved in small time selling in streets and earning small income.
Dhankut are lower class group deprived of all basic facilities hence they need more attention of the government for the realisation of human rights.
So far as human rights are concerned they are not assured naturally. They can only be achieved through individual or governmental efforts. Education and sound economy do help in creating awareness and access to human rights. Since Dhankut are educationally and economically backward they are not aware of human rights and hence cannot have access to them, that is why they need governmental help in this regard.
Though all human beings irrespective of their caste, creed, colour, religion or region must carry with them title to dignity, liberty, equality and other basic rights but Dhankut are deprived of all these rights. Deprivation of Dhankut is not merely an economic phenomenon but linked with a variety of complex socio-cultural relationships aggravated by a long period of subjugation. Thus violation of human rights is not only circumstantial but also a cultural event.
It is concluded in part VIII that due to negligence of society, lack of political Will, living at single place and due to lack of reservation Dhankut are being deprived of every benefit and hence they have made their own world for their survival. But living with adjacent communities and outer world they have gathered many valuable informations, such as policy of reservation, Government. help, role of education, role of good economy and they have started demanding for their rights which are reflected in different tables described in preceding chapters..
Ideologically, effect of education, role of economy, deprivation, status of women, child labour, and status of lower caste group make an atmosphere of awareness of Human rights. But poverty, socio-cultural setup, lack of mobility and unavailability of safeguards by the law and Constitution keeps a group away from their genuine rights as is true in case of Dhankut.

Chapter – VI

Chapter – VI

The present research work has been done on an endogamous group- Dhankut of District Bahraich. This research work is focused on their socio-cultural life. Uptill now maximum groups have been inked on pages by academicians and government officials. But in case of Dhankut, situation is different. They are living in the middle of the city in the locality “Dhankutty Pura”. Local people know them but no literature is available on them. It is all because of their small population (2687) and their living at one place (Dhankutty Pura). They have not attracted the attention of academicians or researchers.

Dhankutty Pura is surrounded by many adjacent communities. Dhankut do not go beyond their living place and form a pocket. The question arises how does a small population regulate its socio-cultural life, when mobility is absent from their living place and how do they maintain their identity? Present research work focuses on these points. Here an attempt has also been made to see whether their socio-cultural institution is culture bound or it has been developed due to their living in a closed pocket. The present study was carried out with the help of participant observation and views of the interviewed respondents. Research reveals following points Dhankut use their own dialect and due to living in one place, it is unaffected by the influence of other communities. The language has its own characteristics. It is spoken in rhythmic way.

Their dress code is not very different from district dress code, but the use of topi (Cap) makes them culture specific.Ornaments used by Dhankut make them different from district people. Lakh bangle is used by married woman and silver bangles are used by widows. The name of earning as Murki and bangles as Khadua make them culture specific because in the district these names are not in use. Here It is known as Jhumki and Kada respectively.

Their name “Dhankut” itself makes them different from other communities of the district because this name is not mentioned in any authentic literature and government records, so peculiarity comes by this name.

Marriage is culture specific among the Dhankut because Gotra system is totally absent among them. Beyond the Dhankutty Pura, no marriage is possible. They follow lineage system of marriage. They are lineage exogamy, this is due to their small population and single living place. Maximum Dhankut feel that marriage is a ritual whereas some feel that it is a religious act or act of God but in contrast to this feeling they are doing cross cousin marriage and parallel cousin marriage as they are living in a single place and they have no other alternative available.
They practice bride price but it is a tribal culture. Mainly they give money and cereal both as bride price. Cash and quantity of cereal vary according to economic condition of the parties. Bride price makes them different from other communities.

The evils of dowry has infiltrated Dhankut culture to some extent. They are being influenced by dowry system because of their poverty, influence of adjacent communities and other circumstances. But still the problem of dowry has not acquired a grave form among Dhankut, since their financial position is very weak, they cannot offer cash as dowry.
Dhankut perform sororate marriage. In this marriage the bride groom gives some lakh bangles to the bride and the marriage is considered to be complete. In the same way levirate marriage is also in existence. Apparently these types of marriages acquire a specific place in their socio-cultural context but in contract to this fact some Dhankut feel that such marriages are in existence due to poverty, as sororate marriage mean less expenses and Levirate marriage too gives economic security to women. Besides these marriages widow marriage is also prevalent among Dhankut. All these marriages are in practice to provide socio-economic security to women.
Marriage ceremony provides a special clue to their socio-cultural life. Dhankut starts their marriage by the settlement of bride price. This is followed by Rangparna ritual. It is the very first ritual of the marriage, when the bride groom side goes to the bride side for marriage. It is for the bride side to decide whether they accept the proposal or not. If they accept, they throw different colours on the face and body of each other. This ceremony establishes that both sides are consenting in every respect.

Lagna is another ceremony same as tilak ceremony of Hindu marriage but it is slightly different. Tilak comes from bride side but lagna comes from bride-groom’s side. Dhankut Bhent ritual gives some clue about their origin. In bow and arrow ceremony bow and arrow is sent to the bride’s home in a bucket with the bridegroom at the time of marriage, if the bride accepts it, it becomes an acceptance of the bridegroom as a husband by her.
In the last decade three inter caste marriages have been noticed among Dhankut. All these three marriages have been contacted with Lodh and Kurmi caste groups. Another noticeable thing is that in all these three cases daughter of Dhankut have been given in other communities.
Panchayat plays an important role in their life specially in marriage disputes separation or divorce (Chhutta-Chhutti). It is found that Panchayat is very much strict about its decision. Dhankut think divorce as a disgraceful act but if situation is unavoidable they go for it. In case Chhutta-Chhutti is not genuine, a separated man and women can’t remarry.

Dhankut mainly constitute nuclear families but extended and joint families are also found to some extent. Family is headed by male and property is inherited from father to son. In case if daughter takes separation from her husband and comes back to her parental home, she gets a share in the parental property. Maximum Dhankut women are not aware of their property rights, they take whatever share is given to them. After marriage son lives in his father’s home but within the six month father asks him to leave and son with his wife leads a nuclear family. Nuclear family system is preferred by maximum Dhankut because of financial crisis. It is very difficult to survive in a joint family with small amount of money, so every one likes a nuclear family. Even after living in nuclear family, they do not want to associate themselves with parental family due to monetary crisis. It may be noticed that due to monetary problem they gave up their tradition of joint family. Those Dhankut who are living in joint family system, have minimum two generation of married couples and share single kitchen.
Their houses are very small and maximum family members share common rooms. They make their food out side the house which acts as kitchen, no separate kitchen is available to most of them. Their houses are so small that maximum houses have no lavatory system. To answer the call of nature they go to far off places sometimes 2km. away from their living place. On the other hand due to financial crisis they can not afford electricity, and their houses have no water supply. Hence they follow natural living. Maximum houses are kachcha and some are mixture of kachcha and cemented both. Kachcha houses are made of mud and cow dung. Every house has one or two rooms without any yard and its front is used as kitchen.

Dhankut enjoy joking relations and avoidance. Joking relation is found between sister-in-law and brother-in-law whereas avoidance is observed between Daughter-in-law and father-in-law and mother in law and son-in-law. Maternal uncle (Mother’s brother) plays an important role in their cultural life. He brings gifts at the time of birth and marriage of son and daughter of his sister. Bua (father’s sister) plays more important role than maternal uncle. She plays an important role as a mediator of marriage and for settlement bride price. Bua helps her brother in marriage settlement if she has an unmarried boy, she prefers to settle his marriage with her niece. Dhankut use almost same kinship terminology as adjacent communities use but they use Dau for Baba (Father’s father) and Dai for Dadi (Father’s mother). They also use Badke Bappa for Tau (father’s elder brother) Chhotke Bappa for chacha (father’s younger brother) and Badki Amma for Tai (father’s elder brother’s wife) and chhotki Amma for chachi (father’s younger brother’s wife).

Since Dhankut have no land and other property, they have personal disputes, mainly, most of them solve their disputes mutually or by the interference of the elderly people but some prefer going to Panchayat when disputes become serious. Every Dhankut obeys Panchayat’s decision. Panchayat plays multifarious role in their lives. If cremation is not possible due to financial crisis in a concerned family, Panchayat provides financial support to the bereaved family. It helps in matrimonial matters also such as in divorce, separation and other marital disputes. Disputes relating to alcoholism are also solved by the Panchayat. Panchayat takes the matter to the civil court when matter is concerned with community and an outsider but an individual can not go to the court without the prior permission of the Panchayat if he goes he may face community boycott. Panchayat bans socio-cultural relation (Hukka-Pani) of the person who goes to the court. Panchayat also imposes penalty for the same. It is clear that Panchayat is an axis of Dhankut, who look towards it for the solution of their problems. Panchayat is a supporting factor of their lives, which gives them protection. So they can not leave it and even the process of acculturation and urbanization couldn’t stop its existence. This institution still survives even though some Dhankut prefer going to the court if they are economically well. Some other factors are also responsible for the existence and influence of the Panchayat. Due to social isolation of Dhankut from the adjacent communities, every problem is solved by the Panchayat. Dhankut are economically poor. They are not in a position to afford the expenditure of judicial court. So they believe in the Panchayat system.

Every family of the Dhankut community finds panchayat near to it at the time of any difficulty. So panchayat provides a moral support in case of any crisis or emergency. It also gives them a feeling of security and stability.
Economy of Dhankut was stemmed by cereal selling which was their traditional occupation. They were engaged in the selling of rice and pulses up to 1970. Rice and pulses were purchased from the nearby villages and these were sold in the city. Horses were used for this purpose. But today it is not so. Villagers don’t want to sell their cereal to Dhankut because they get good money by direct selling and due to acceleration of market system. Dhankut couldn’t maintain their traditional occupation because they are living in urban areas where many cereal shops have come up and are existing. One is able to bring that quantity of cereal from the market which he/she wants. Dhankut used to sell cereal in bulk. Now this occupation has come to an end. This situation has led to multifarious occupations among Dhankut, as Dhankut couldn’t get even shops in market due to financial crisis. Dhankut can be divided into 23 occupational categories such as selling tea, betel, thela pulling (street vendor), numaish (street play), palledari (supervisor of truck load), truck driving, rickshaw pulling etc.
Due to giving up of traditional occupation and switching over to different occupations Dhankut can be divided into different economic strata which has developed. Two clear categories of very poor and poor Dhankut can be noticed.

Sound economy provides a feeling of security and social status. Those Dhankut who are in good economic condition, are looking towards the other communities for social mobility. Economy is also a factor of sanskritization which creates awareness. Socio-cultural change can be noticed regarding marriage, family etc. among rich Dhankut (who get more than Rs. 4000 per month).

Today Dhankut are divided in three main categories namely –
1) Dhankut of service class- these Dhankut use surname Gupta (Tribhuvan Gupta- Railway employee) they want good financial status for marital alliance, but they are not willing to leave the community.
2) Dhankut in agriculture – This class is represented by 09 families.
3) Dhankut in business – Majority of Dhankut belong to this class and they feel neglected among service class and agriculturist Dhankut.
Dhankut believe that good standard of living can be achieved by getting government jobs. Since they are the victims of poverty. They think that government jobs will provide them with fixed salary and other facilities (as Railway pass). They also feel that govt. jobs do not involve any risk and their future will remain secure but they are not getting jobs as their mobility is concentrated only in Dhankutty Pura due to illiteracy and poverty. Lack of reservation in government jobs also works as hindrance to their progress.
As it has already been noticed that traditional occupation of Dhankut was cereal selling but now they have also taken up agriculture as their source of living which makes them land owners also. The size of agricultural land varies from 01 bigha to 07 bigha, where they grow wheat, rice, gram, pulses, etc.

Alchohol is the counter part of their cultural life which is made of mahua and almost every Dhankut male drinks. Women are engaged in the preparation of alchohol to some extent but they are also engaged in other works as in the production of cow dung cake, they sell it to meet house hold expenses. Dhankut have no cattle. So Dhankut women collect cow dung for making cakes in the streets of the city by roaming whole day. Another peculiar characteristic of Dhankut is that they don’t take their wives names. They don’t like them to work outside the houses as servants of others but ironically women are doing these works. It may be noticed that Dhankut women are independent. They are working and supporting their families.
Children are the future of any country and education is the means to develop the personality of a child but Dhankut children are receiving education for getting mid day meal in their primary school. Though child labour is prohibited but among Dhankut it is in practice. Dhankut children sell eatables in the streets of the city to meet house hold expenses.

Since Dhankut are concentrated in one place, they are leading a very difficult life in the absence of proper economy but the irony is that can’t go for other works due to financial crisis. It may be said that they are poor because they are poor. It is a vicious circle.

Dhankut lead a specific socio-cultural life which is creating many health problems due to small houses, absence of sanitary system and inbreeding. They believe in quacks/ojha. They don’t want to go to hospital. The influence of quacks/ojha is due to their poor economy mainly. Inbreeding is caused by their socio-cultural pattern but they are practicing it without knowing its repercussions.

They have full faith in God. So they see every adverse situation as the will of God but normally they feel that illiteracy, poverty and lack of awareness are main causes of their poor health. For Dhankut also, God exists and it fulfils every desire. Their traditional God is Gullabeer. Gullabeer is a sacred place, 3km. away from their living place. This place has an important role in the life of the Dahnkut. Every work starts in their life from the worship of Gullabeer and ends with the worship of the Gullabeer. Due to the process of acculturation Dhankut have started worshipping of God Ram, Krishna, Vishnu, Shiva and Goddess Durga (Shakti).

Dhankut have full faith in “Ram Charit Manas” a holy religious text of Hindus and this book can be seen in every family. Keeping fast is also a recent change among Dhankut. It is all due to process of acculturation.
Dhankut celebrates birth ceremony. Khadua (It is a type of Bangles made of silver) is brought by maternal uncle on the birth of a child.

Kan chheden (Ear piercing) is most important ritual among Dhankut. It is performed on the very first “Makar Sankranti (a festival usually celebrated on 14th January every year) after the birth of child. After this ritual the child wears a ring in the ear, which is known as “Murki”.

Mundan (Hair cutting ritual) – It is performed at the age of three or five years at the holy place of Gullabeer. A biradari bhoj (community feast) is given according to the economic capacity of the family.

Death ceremony among Dhankut is also peculiar. Dhankut women go to the cremation ground along with dead body (in the city other community women don’t do so). They observe Daswan instead of Terhvi.

Social-Change is a natural process. Dhankut have gone through many social changes for their survival even when they are living at one place with a small population.

Every group has its own culture, but culture, itself has its limit. Beyond that a culture can’t retain a groups identity as in case of Dhankut. Traditionally Dhankut were known for their cereal selling business but due to their setup in urban areas they couldn’t retain that practice and now they have adopted different categories of occupations for their existence.

Everyone wants to survive and remain alive, if culture is unable to provide that situation a group searches for another alternative. Incase of Dhankut, their marriage procedure is same till today but it was noticed in the interview data that due to living at single place with small population, they started practicing cross cousin and parallel cousin marriages. To retain their community identity and smooth existence they started practicing widow, levirate and sororate marriages.
Every individual wants a smooth survival. In case of Dhankut they adopted micro type of family i.e. nuclear family to cope with circumstances. Since they are poor and have meagre resources. They can not afford joint families.
Economy plays a vital role in retaining socio-cultural group, as in case of Dhankut, Panchayat is still in existence due to insufficiency of money. The lack of money also keeps them away from modern day facilities as the use of medicine and going to the hospital. They go to quacks or ojhas instead of hospital due to their poor economic condition. If socio-cultural traits are not fulfilling its group requirement, it sees other alternatives as in case of Dhankut, who are living in urban area at single place with small population without any survival trait, they take knowledge from the outer world for their survival. Dhankut find that education, reservation and financial support by government are very important parameters which can uplift their position in society. They find the lack of these traits in their backwardness and demand for these.

If a group finds that it is inferior or neglected in the vision of adjacent communities, it starts adopting higher caste groups tradition, (Sanskritisation) Dhankut are no exception. They are accepting the surname “Gupta” to declare themselves as vaish. Initially they used to have names like Maila, Mailee, Ghure etc. due to process of acculturation and not because of Islamization they adopted the names like Suleman, Husain, Gulam etc. and presently they are having names like Ram Shyam Geeta in order to so their vicinity with higher caste groups. They are worshiping Hindu Gods and Goddesses. They also keep fast as a Hindu does and visit temple. Under the influence of Hindu community they have given up Pai-Puja ritual and have adopted Tilak ceremony in marriages.

Dhankut think that adjacent communities are progressive and developed because they are educated. So they have also started sending their children to school but it is affected by economy again. Children mostly come to school to take cereals the day, it is distributed or to collect mid day meal and not in the pursuit of education. Due to poor economy they have to work to help their families which they think is more important than receiving education.
Upto 1970, members of other communities used to file their name for the election of membership of the Nagar Palika (Municipality) ward Dhankutty Pura and got elected but after 1990 when Nagar Palika election reopened, Dhankut fielded their own candidate and succeeded too. Presently Lado is ward member of Nagar Palika (Dhankutty Pura). It shows that political change has come amongst Dhankut and now they are availing their democratic rights.

Dhankut are living at single place with small population. They want to regulate their life with their own socio-cultural parameters but they have also developed many new socio-cultural traits for their smooth survival. Social mobility is must for the survival of a group which is not very much visible in case of Dhankut.

Dhankut is a good example to study the socio-cultural aspect of a group which is living in a single place. It helps in understanding how a particular group retains its identity and survives even in adverse circumstances.
The origin and link of Dhankut with other communities should be investigated which will help to maintain social mobility.
Marriage ceremony observed in Dhankut should also be researched separately because the use of lakh bangles, Bhent ritual etc. can disclose the origin of Dhankut.
Besides, the government should provide educational and financial assistance to Dhankut to help their survival and for this reservation may be made in educational institutions and government jobs. The government should make sincere efforts in this regard so that a group with its unique characteristics may not become extinct.

Chapter – I

Chapter – I

When human evolved on this earth, he traveled a long path of evolution until he acquired his form of Homo-Sapiens. It was the time of Neolithic when he started agriculture, grinding and polishing, construction of wheel and pot, animal husbandry in order to live a settled life. This phase gave him a complex and static life. The man not only understood the philosophy of nature and work culture of animals but also the whole function of his group which was transferred from generation to generation being beneficial for smooth living.
Advent of Neolithic period and an effort of discovery on this earth for better living made an atmosphere of understanding with different environment for human beings. This event developed an atmosphere for human beings to think about development of adoption in a different environment. Adoption with environment is not an instant event at physical level. It is a long process which results in the form of race after the spreading of homo-sapiens all over the word. Today after having a single family and species homo-sapiens is divided in many racial groups but it is clear that formation of a race is not the matter of one day. After spreading over in different parts of the world, the group of homo-sapiens used many artifacts according to concerned environment. These efforts were the first step towards the formation of culture. In such type of formation of culture, the whole world was wrapped with different cultures which in course of time made a base for Anthropology.
"Culture... is that complex whole which includes knowledge, belief, art, morals, law, custom and any other capabilities and habits acquired by a man as a member of society" (Tylor, 1871:1). This "laundry list" of behaviours and the fact that we are characterized by them by virtue of being born as human being again suggests the universal nature of the concept. These are behaviours that we possess and that other primates do not. Culture is equated with all those human behaviors that are transmitted from generation to generation by learning.
Culture is a queer characteristic and special feature of human society. Kingsley Devis has defined Human society as a socio-cultural system while animal society as bio-social system. Sorokin has defined the integration of social system and cultural system. According to him, social system and cultural system can not be separated practically. Human society is an integrated socio-cultural system. He points out that cultural system is constituted by values and norms, meaning and all these regulate relation and inter personal action of social system of humans. So nobody can imagine without culture, and action and inter personal action can not be analyzed. Sorokin explains that human being (Human agents) learns culture and regulates his personal and social action by given pattern of culture and with the help of socialization and formal and non-formal education. Education, printing and communication are main carriers of culture which communicate culture, values and tradition of a specific time to new generation. Parsons has explained the role of cultural system around values, social system around role and status and personality system around "Need dispositions". All these three, act simultaneously and affect each other.
By culture as such we mean all the ways of life that have been evolved by in the society. By a particular culture we mean the total shared way of life of a given people. Comprising their modes of thinking, acting and feeling, which are expressed, for instance, in religion, law, language, art and custom, as well as in material products, such as houses, clothes, and tools. From another perspective we may regard a culture as the learned and shared behaviour (thoughts, acts and feeling) of a certain people together with their artifacts-learned in the sense that this behaviour is transmitted socially rather than genetically, shared in that it is practiced either by the whole population or by some part of it (Kneller, 1966:3).
Our culture is the way we eat and sleep, the way we wash and dress and go to work. It is the actions we perform at home and on the job. It is the language we speak and the values and beliefs we hold. It is the goods and services we buy and the way we buy them. It is the way we meet friends and strangers, the way we control our children and the way they respond. It is the transportation we use and the entertainment we enjoy.
How, then, is culture to be distinguished from society? A society is a localized population that cooperates over a period of time for certain ends; a culture is the society's way of life, or the things that its members think and feel and do. As felix Keesing says, "Put most simply, 'culture puts the focus on the customs of a people, 'society puts it on the people who are practicing the customs. Animals and insects, it is true, also live in societies; indeed, same, such as deer herds, have families and leaders. But such social behavior is instinctual rather then learned and, hence, it has not given rise to culture (Keesing, 1958:30).
The phenomena of culture can be ordered in a number of ways. They may, for instance, be classified as learned and shared activities such as belief in God and hostility to communism; and shared and socially acquired artifacts such as auto mobiles. Phenomena may also be classified as technology (the means by which a culture manipulates the material world), social organization (the activities and institution involved in the behaviour of its member with one another), and ideology (the cultre's knowledge, values and beliefs). One of the best known classifications is Ralph Linton's triad of universals, specialties and alternatives. Universals are whatever thoughts, acts, feeling and artifacts are common to all adults in a society. They include among other things language, housing, kinship relations, clothing and various beliefs and values.
To understand a culture we must grasp not only its parts but also the structure that hold them (Honigmann, 1959:288). According to anthropologists, this structure consists of certain basic configurations, generally corresponding to the culture's fundamental attitude and belief (Linton, 1936:272).
In every culture some subsystems are more important then others. The most important subsystems are known to anthropologists as foci. A focus is an area of great interest and concern to the culture's members. It is an assemblage of behaviour patterns that absorbs much of their time and energy. The more integrated the culture, the more its foci dominate its patterns of behaviour and the more these foci are related to one another. The converse is true of less integrated cultures.
No culture, however, is ever wholly integrated. Integration, as A.L. Kroebr says; "is an ideal condition invented by a few anthropologists not versed in history". Most areas of a culture possess a measure of autonomy, but precisely how much varies considerably from one culture to another and within the same culture from one area to another. For example even in the most flexible cultures grammar remains fairly constant whereas vocabulary is constantly changing (1952:130).
Culture is overt and covert. It is overt in those actions and artifacts such as houses, clothes and speech forms, that can be observed directly; and covert in those aspects such as its underlying attitude toward nature and the world of the spirit, that must be inferred from what its members say and do.
Culture is explicit and implicit. Explicit culture consists of all those mode of behaviour. Implicit culture comprises those things that people more or less take for granted and that they can't easily explain. For instance all sane adults can speak their culture's language but few can explain its grammer and syntax in any detail.
Culture is ideal and manifest. Ideal culture comprises the ways in which a people believe they ought to behave or in which they would like to behave, or in which they believe they do behave. Manifest culture consists of their actual behaviour (Herskovits, 1945:143-170).
Socio-cultural profile:-
The term socio-cultural, in contemporary British Social Anthropology and American Cultural Anthropology and Sociology are conflicting in nature. Without entering into any controversy it may be said that these terms in the present study have been used on the following basis: when the frame of reference is a group, the word used is social; when the frame of reference is ideas, values or customs shared by a group, the word cultural is used. However, there are situations where a clear cut use of either of these two terms is not possible and in such context the compound term socio-cultural has been used.
"All Socio-cultural anthropology is fundamentally based upon ethnographic data. It provides the raw material for theory building and testing of that which makes anthropology a science. It thus provides the facts with which both ethnology and social anthropology have to deal. Ethnography is defined as a descriptive account of the way of life of people, living at a time in a particular society. Ethnography is mainly concerned with description whereas socio-cultural profile or study is concerned with analysis which has a universal principle or conclusion.
Since education has been taken as a variable for the study of the subject under research, description regarding role of education in development and social-change also becomes important.
Education is concerned with learning. Learning is a process of acquiring knowledge or skills by instruction, study or experience, in this broad sense learning is a life long process. Education refers to the methods by which a society attempts to direct and accelerate the learning process of its members (Pater, 1984).
Education has been increasingly regarded as a major instrument of social change. The deep foundations of the inequality of the sexes are built in the minds of men and women through a socialization process which continues to be extremely powerful. The only institution which can counteract the effect of this process is the educational system. If education is to promote equality for women, it must make a deliberate, planned and sustained effort so that the new values of equality of the sexes can replace the traditional value system of inequality.
The role of education as means for development or social change in the desired directions has been expressed (Banks, 1968:201).
Functionalist have often viewed the educational system as offering opportunities for mobility for individuals; conflict theorists have generally stressed the role of structural inequality. Social class background of individuals is positively and strongly related to their educational and occupational aspirations/achievement. "It is the responsibility of the educational system to bring the different social classes and groups together and thus promote the emergence of an egalitarian and integrated society. But at present, instead of doing so, education itself is tending to increase social segregation and to perpetuate and widen class destructions. Scholars else where (for example Illich, 1973, Freire, 1972) have also expressed serious doubts about the effectiveness of education as a mechanism for equitable development.
Political, economic and social transformations come by education (Chitnis, 1978:242). Educational opportunities, as is now widely recognized, can't be equalized, nor can education equalize opportunity unless society is reasonably equal (Ahmad, 1978:72).
Education is facing the constraint of resources. State shall make effective provision for securing right to education within the limits of its economic capacity and development (Article, 41 of Indian constitution). It shows that economy plays a vital role in accessing education. Right to education flows directly from the right to life (Article, 21 of the Indian constitution) (Swami nadhan, 1992:102).
Education in India is the new caste and is even more effective then the old ones.
Education seems to provide the solution for all problems that arise on the social and individual level of a society.
It is particularly doubtful that it helps to improve the position of the poor and powerless, to increase equality and justice (Clemens, 1984:247).
It seems to be rather clear in India, that education is (together with caste and religion) of an utmost importance in partner selection within the arrangements of marriages by the families (Eckensberger et al. 2001).
Marriage pattern are only one example for the interwoven relations of education and social structure (Clemens, 1984:256 ).
Education is not listed in Anthropology today (Kroeber, 1953) as a field of application for anthropology. But most surprising is the fact that the relations between these two fields have a history extending back to at least 1904 when Hewtt wrote his first pieces on education for the American Anthropologist (1904-05).
Anthropological research offers, therefore a means of determining what may be expected of children of different ages and this knowledge is of considerable value for regulating educational method (Boas, 1928).
Mead's suggestive article on education in the perspective of primitive culture (1943) explains that education is not needed if an individual fulfils his/her desire by his own culture. Out of culture he/she needs education.
In the widest sense, education includes every process, except the solely genetic that helps to form a person's mind, character or physical capacity. It is life-long, for we must learn new ways of thought and action with every major change in our lives (Melinowski, 1947:141).
Every society, therefore, supervise the education of its members. At some point in his childhood, everyone is formally educated, though not necessarily in a school.
Education, then, belongs to the general process known as enculturation, by which the growing person is initiated into the way of life of his society. To understand the dynamics of enculturation as they affect education, we must turn to anthropology.
As one sector in the great network of culture, education reacts to events in other parts of the culture and may on occasion affect these events itself.
Education is a necessary condition of cultural continuity. It is also an important means of cooperating intelligently with cultural change. Education may in addition be an inadvertent source of cultural change. Each culture conditions its members to act, think, and perceive in what the anthropologist calls a "culturally delimited universe". Consisting of the world that the culture itself has created and those aspects of the physical universe that it has chosen to find significant (Henry, 1960:275).
Subject of study:-
This research attempts to delineate the problems faced by a small group of people, who find themselves in the midst of a dominant and alien culture and their reactions to this environment.
The subject of this study is a group of people called Dhankut residing in Dhankutty Pura of district Bahraich of U.P. it is a small, neglected, unobserved group by the academicians and researchers.
The proposed research work is concerned with socio-cultural profile of Dhankut-an endogamous group. Though Dhankut are living in Bahraich for a long time but no study has been done so far on them. The present study tries to put their socio-cultural life in an ethnographic manner.
The study of socio-cultural life of a group is important because through this we can know the basis of requirement of substance of human life in any group. We can inquire about their necessities of life and means of survival.
In this connection the present study of socio-cultural profile of Dhankut acquires a specific place. Almost whole population of the Dhankut is concentrated in a single place. This fact generates curiosity in an individual's mind. How do they perform their marriage while they are living in small place? Do they practice inbreeding? In every caste group, there is a long sphere of villages and lineages for marriage but in case of Dhankut it is not so. Dhankut is not well known for any big occupation. Before 1970 cereal selling was their main occupation but due to formation of market system, their traditional occupation got ruined. This fact again raises a question what is their present occupation status? Whether they have changed their occupation or they have adopted any other means for their survival?
Generally Dhankut are not in govt. jobs. Before starting the present research work researcher collected some information about them which shows that only three are fourth class govt. employee. They are not agriculturist. How do they survive in an urban setup without appropriate means? Whether they are becoming poorer day by day in the absence of appropriate path for survival or whether they have changed their lives depending on circumstances? If one asks about the marriage among them they reply flatly that as Hindus do but how is it possible within a small group which is concentrated only at one place?
Dhankut of district Bahraich is a good example of memory culture, because no literature is available about them any where, so it is very difficult to know anything about their cultural life.
In general practice, they are like urban people in light of their living and culture. So nothing looks specific from the outside, it is very difficult to decipher their reality from outside at first glance.
We distinguish a group from another group on the basis of their culture and this culture gives them original place in the society. For every group at least some literature is available and in the light of their literature, we can compare them with other culture. But in case of Dhankut the picture is totally skewed.
Dhankut, the group under study comes under the category of poor people. They suffer from many problems and their life is surrounded with difficult circumstances. They have no agricultural land and no government or non-government employment, there is a serious lack of education and scarcity of capital. Though they are living at one place surrounded by many other communities but largely unaffected by them, all this makes their living environment a different one. The population of the Bahraich district can be classified into many types. They are immigrants from other states of Bihar, Punjab, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh. The name of Dhankut is not given either in government records or in district gazetteer. Even this name is not given among the displaced persons, such as Bengalis, Burmese or Nepalese. The population of Dhankut as per census (1991) was 2687. They are listed in voter list with the name of Dhankut without any caste or sub caste description. Nothing is known about their history, origin or fore fathers.
The problem, that the Dhankut face today arises from the cultural and social situation in which they are placed. Briefly, it is one of seeking and getting acceptance in the surrounding caste system, in spite of the achieved cultural approximation with other castes, Dhankut have failed to find a place in the caste hierachy. Even after having every characteristics of caste Dhankut don't know their exact association with four folded castes. In order to achieve a status higher than that of the lowest or even lower castes, Dhankut claim to be Vaish and point to the fact of their sharing common traits with the Vaish community such as buying and selling of goods and grains but some factors are deemed essential as pre requisites before such a caste mobility can be achieved, like ownership of land, possession of wealth and status resources, but these in themselves are not enough to achieve a caste status unless their claim to higher caste status is accepted by the dominant group in question. So far as Dhankut are concerned they are very poor, they don't have any landed property nor any social status hence they are not accepted as vaish by other adjacent communities of the district.
Every society wants to make an advanced society by their efforts and their efforts are mainly depended on their children, but any one can see Dhankut children in the street of Bahraich where they sell boiled grams and peas. It is a natural question for an outsider to ask about their engagement in such work instead of going to school. Are Dhankut poor? Are they unable to provide education to their children? These natural questions become more important when one sees a Dhankut woman in the street of the city collecting cow dung. Why do they collect cow dung? What is the importance of this work in their socio-cultural life?
Physical traits and their dialect also attract an outsider because their body colour and dialect differentiate them from other adjacent communities of the city. Their dialect makes them culture specific? Their dialect is in Hindi but is spoken in a rhythmic way.
The role of "Gullabeer" (traditional God) and local Panchaat makes them special. A researcher finds it important to know why and in what matters Panchayat plays a vital role while civil court is so near to them. Is it poverty behind the continuance of panchayat system or the desire not to leave their culture?
A brief observation of Dhankut makes it clear that their houses are small, these are made of mud, they are deprived of basic facilities such as water supply, electricity and lavatory even though they are living in middle of the city. Do they want to avail these facilities or there exists any barrier, or any socio-cultural taboo acts in this regard?
Any individual or any group wants mobility for new changes. Dialect, physical traits, their name and living at one place form the identity of Dhankut. The basic aim of the present research work is to know how does a small population regulates its socio-cultural life by living in a pocket. How do they perform marriage? It is an attempt to see how does a group acquire a special status by living at one place? Does any taboo exist within a small population group? Why do they not move for any change? Is mobility necessary for a healthy society? Whether Dhankut have found any change in their political, religious and academic scenario?
Plan of the study:-
The present research is a participant observation work and interview technique has also been used to project the socio-cultural life of Dhankut. The respondents have been taken on the basis of their educational level. Education is a gate way of knowledge. It accelerates the probability of good living in urban and rural areas as well. In urban area, agriculture is absent and an individual has to survive according to his capability and efficiency which comes by education. Here education is not concerned with learning of way of life within a culture. It is beyond the cultural aspect where a man searches his/her livelihood or smooth survival by acquiring new knowledge and specialties. Such knowledge is given in school, college or university. In case of Dhankut, an attempt has been made to see the impact of education on their socio-cultural life. The work analyses the effect of education on their opinion and thinking as the level of education increases.
Proposed research work is classified into following chapters-
(1) Chapter one contains introduction which also explains the objectives of the research work.
(2) Chapter two encompasses research design and methodology and its relevance in the present study.
(3) Chapter three includes the area, people and history of the city. It also includes a brief of socio-cultural life of the district and Dhankut as well.
(4) Chapter four deals with socio-cultural structure of Dhankut under following heads-
(a) Marriage among Dhankut and what do they think about marriage.
(b) Family, its role among Dhankut.
(c) Kinship among Dhankut and their views towards kinship.
(d) Economy of Dhankut and their views regarding occupation.
(e) Political organization among Dhankut and their inclination towards this institution.
(f) Condition of health among Dhankut and their views.
(g) Religion, festival and ceremonies among Dhankut and their views.
In these chapters the real picture of socio-cultural life of Dhankut has been explained with the help of tables and collected information by participant observation.
(5) Chapter five explains change in the context of Dhankut's socio-cultural life.
(6) Last chapter consists of conclusion and suggestions.
The present study reveals the importance of studies on small groups in transition in order to understand the dynamics of change in small communities and utilize the knowledge so gained in a wider context of socio-cultural studies.

socio cultural profile of Dhankut of Bahraich of u.p. India

Title - Socio-Cultural Profile of Dhankutta – An Endogamous Group of Bahraich District Of U.P.

Acknowledgement....................................................................................................... i
Preface......................................................................................................................... i
1. Introduction................................................................................................................ 1
2. Research design and Methodology ........................................................................... 9
3. Description of the District and Dhankut ................................................................. 15
4. Social Structural of the Dhankut.............................................................................. 32
a. Marriage ……….………………………………………………………………32
b. Family ……………………….…………………………………………………32
c. Kinship ……………………….………………………………………………32
d. Economy …………………….…………………………………………………32
e. Political Organisation ……………………….…………………………………32
f. Health ……………………….…………………………………………………32
g. Religion and festival ……………………….…………………………………32
5. Social Change........................................................................................................... 72
6. Conclusion.............................................................................................................. 100
7. Bibliography........................................................................................................... 115
8. Appendix................................................................................................................ 127

Socio-Cultural Profile Of Dhankutta- an Endogamous

Socio-Cultural Profile Of Dhankutta- an Endogamous
Group of Bahraich district of U.P.
Thesis Submitted for Degree of Ph. D.
to the University of Lucknow
by Alok Chantia.

Department of Anthropology
Lucknow University

Working Women And Its Impact On Society, Culture And Family

Working Women And Its Impact On Society, Culture And Family-A
Study On Working Women Of Lucknow
Dr. Alok Chantia & Dr. Preeti Misra
Identity crisis developed an environment of equality for women in modern world. In
traditional society women were categorized as domestic managers for thousands of years.
But it has been very painful for a woman to bear the surname of her husband throughout
her life within four walls., so she fought against this social web and made a mark for
herself and development of the country .Though today women are free in present
economic world but they face a lot of problems as they are in transitory stage neither very
modern nor very traditional.
Today family fabric comprising of husband ,wife and children have undergone a sea
change Now a new kind of change has arisen which has posed not only personal but
familial, social., and cultural problems for women. Today she is sandwiched between
work and family. She faces double burden of child rearing and official work along with
fulfilling social and cultural demands. All these factors are ultimately destroying sanctity
of marriage and preparing a ground of domestic violence.
Whether a woman is satisfied with her modern working woman image? Whether she
finds any progress in her social status? Whether family is being neglected because of her
work. What are the effects on her family and society and how it is affecting cultural
All these questions were examined in depth in my research work on working women of
Lucknow. It is an exploratory cum descriptive type of work.300 married couples having
children were interviewed randomly. This research work was conducted between 5th June
to 25th June 2007.
Finding of work shows that a rapid socio-cultural change has come in the status of
women. They are enjoying their freedom but it has also led to double work burden,
family tensions, ill effects on the psychology of children and day to day quarrels in the
Dr. Alok Chantia, Lecturer,
Dept. of Anthropology
Sri J.N.P.G.College,Lucknow
Dr. Preeti Misra,Lecturer,
Dept of Human Rights,
Babasaheb Bhimrao Ambedkar University


Dept. of Anthropology
Sri JNPG College
ABSTRACT- Present Paper reveals the co-relation between work posture and health.
Here all 41 lady teachers of SJNPG College, Lucknow are interviewed ethno
methodologically to know their Health problem during teaching i.e. postural problem. All
lady teachers are of different age groups who are suffering from many health problems.
This paper exhibits an idea about difference between male and female postural problem
which can be improved by ergonomics.
KEYWORDS- Occupation, Health, Work, Ethno methodology, Sex difference, Physiology

Women, Work And Health With Special Reference To Dhankut

Women, Work And Health With Special Reference To Dhankut Of
Bahraich District In India.
Alok Chantia, Shailendra Pandey,
Ritu Garg, Neelam Agarwal.
Keywords - Work, health, Dhankut, Tridosha, disease.
In the process of evolution, humans made artificial nature with the specific name
of culture. Culture gave the idea of labor division in which both men and women are
wrapped according to the requirement of their cultural environment, but in the Indian
context, it is unbalanced.
Dhankut is an endogamous group of Bahraich district in the state of U. P. with a
population of 2687. Dhankut women number 1314. It is a matter of social, mental and
physical well-being. In the light of this explanation, the Dhankut women are suffering
from a lot of health problems in their working environment.
Dhankut women are engaged in their traditional work of cow-dung cake
production, wood selling, liquor production, etc. All these work are creating serious
health problems among them.
Being absence from the Indian government records (even the district gazetteer),
they are victims of poverty, illiteracy, which is the cause of their engagement in
traditional work and the occurrence of poor health.
In my proposed paper, I will discuss how Indian women suffer from poor health
due to their working environment in the light of the following points
1. Work-health and illiteracy.
2. Work-health and economy.
3. Work-health and tradition.

Comparison of witchcraft traditions between Nordic countries

Comparison of witchcraft traditions between Nordic countries and the
Indian peninsula
Dr. Alok Chantia,
Dept of Anthropology,
Sri JNPG College
Lucknow(U.P.) India.
The word human includes both man and woman, but upto 1929 woman was not
considered equivalent to man and this situation brought about the worst scenarios in the
woman’s life, of which witchcraft was one of them. Witchcraft is a psychological
problem of the male dominated society. It is found prevalent in all the corners of the
world. In the present paper I have tried to explain that how this tradition in the Indian
context is different from that prevalent in the Nordic countries.
The tradition of witchcraft is very old in the Indian peninsula, but here a woman is
declared as a witch for the following causes:
1. Sexual matters
2. Land dealings
3. Causal maters
4. Social institution based matter
The tradition is very frequent in this peninsula, even though it has been declared an
offence. A fine of Rs.2000/- and six-month imprisonment is imposed on the accused. The
witch tradition is not only concentrated in the villages as in the Nordic countries but also
in the urban areas.
It has mainly three forms in the following manner.
1. Urban witch tradition
2. Rural witch tradition
3. Tribal witch tradition
The term witch is not suitable in the Indian context. Here the woman, who is suspected to
be a witch is known as a chudale, dayan, etc, which is different in many respects. A
woman who is a dayan is not considered bad as in the Nordic countries. Whether the term
witchcraft is suitable in the Indian context or not? What is the difference between “witch”
and dayan? How are dayan categorized into different levels? When it is considered as an
offence and when not?


Dr. Alok Chantia, Lecturer,Dept. of Anthropology, Sri J.N.P.G.College,Lucknow
Dr. Preeti Misra Lecturer,Dept.of Human Rights,School for Legal Studies,Babasaheb Bhimrao Ambedkar
University,Lucknow;Formerly Lecturer in Dept.of Law, Sri J.N.P.G.College,Lucknow
Dr.D.K.Singh, Reader, Dept. of Social Work, Lucknow University, Lucknow
Indian newspapers periodically publish reports about women who, after being accused of
being witches, have been beaten, had their heads shaved or had strings of shoes hung
around their necks and some have been killed.Many times the belief in witchcraft leads to
violent incidents resulting in the plucking of teeth, breaking of hands and legs, cutting off
the tongues, and in some cases burning to death of the so-called witches. Gruesome
murders take place and sometimes women are banished from the village after subjecting
them to severe torture. The woman are stripped, tortured and taken to a local witch doctor
who conducts elaborate rituals to rid her of an evil spirit that villagers believe had
possessed her. The villagers then ask her to leave the village. Some women are branded
as witches and killed and sometimes even their husbands are eliminated by relatives to
usurp their property.
Superstition and faith in witchcraft often are a ploy for carrying out violence against
women. Superstition is only an excuse. Often a woman is branded a witch so that one can
throw her out of the village and grab her land, or to settle scores, family rivalry, or
because powerful men want to punish her for spurning their sexual advances. Sometimes
it is used to punish women who question social norms.
Witchcraft (Dayan Pratha) is nothing but violence against women, it is antithesis of
empowerment of women. The belief in witchcraft and its practice seem to have been
widespread in the world over. In India in the Vedic Age, witches were recognized and
called as yogins. In present Indian society the phenomenon of witchcraft is not only
prevalent in tribal and rural societies but is also found in modern urban societies. The UN
has also released figures of the victims of witchcraft and black magic around the world.
The world body has named India along with countries in Africa, Asia and South America
as a high-incidence zone for witchcraft related killings.
In India, the highest incidence of witchcraft-related crimes occur in Andhra Pradesh,
Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Orissa, Jharkhand and Uttar Pradesh. But only a few Indian states
have outlawed witch-hunting. As the fear of witchcraft and its existence is culturally
rooted, sometimes even the lower rung of the police and others fail to take note of the
violence. At times the criminals escape punishment for their misdeeds. Only 2 percent of
people charged with witch-hunting are convicted in court. People go scot-free because
witnesses are hard to come by.
The present paper highlights historical and present day phenomenon of witchcraft in
tribal, rural and urban societies of India. It makes an in depth analysis of etiology of
witchcraft and propagates for a strong central legislation to punish the wrongdoers who in
the name of superstition perpetuate all kinds of violence against women. The paper also
emphasizes upon the role of society, media, police and judiciary in educating the masses
and in combating violence against women in the name of witchcraft.

Whorl pattern of hair among Dhankut of district Bahraich

Whorl pattern of hair among Dhankut of district Bahraich
Alok Chantia
It has been suggested on the basis of population and family data that hair whorl is
genetically controlled by a pair of autosomal alleles (Bernstein, 1925; Spuhler, 1951) and
that it can be profitably employed as a population marker.
Data on this trait among several Indian populations have been reported by Biswas
(1938,1951,1953), Kumar (1955, 1968), Das (1959), etc., and they report a great deal of
heterogeneity in its incidence. Biswas (1953) further concluded that there are no
significant sex and age variations in this incidence of hair whorl. Detail discussion on this
trait can be found in Bhalla and Kaul’s (1968) work.
In this paper an attempt has been made to report for the first time frequency distribution
of the hair whorl among the two endogamous groups of U.P. This paper further attempts
to suggest that the clockwise whorl which occur mainly on the left side and anticlockwise
on the right wherever there is the double hair whorl having the combination of
one clockwise and one anti-clockwise. The present findings have been compared with
other populations of Mongoloid and Caucasoid origins, in order to spell out the recial
affinities of the groups under considerations.

Various Trends and Dimensions of Contractual Labour

Various Trends and Dimensions of Contractual Labour With Special
Reference to Teaching on Contractual Basis in U.P.
- Dr. Alok Chantia*
Keywords: Labour, Teaching, Survival
Man made culture for a smooth survival and for distinguishing himself from animal. But
this smooth process of survival was threatened by growing population as demands
exceeded supply of goods and services and forced burden on the natural resources of the
country. In order to earn livelihood, man surrendered himself and his labour to the state.
The quest for work forced the man to become contractual labour just to earn the
Constitution guarantees right to work and to live a dignified life. Teaching is regarded as
a mission and not a work, but carrying out this mission is not an easy task. It forces a lot
of teachers to work on contractual basis like labourers. Even new government policies are
focusing on contractual employment instead of providing full time regular jobs, the
teaching is no exception. The contractual teacher gets some amount of money for a
couple of months for his/her teaching period. The government does not provide any kind
of job security or other facilities as enjoyed by the permanent teachers. In such a scenario
the condition of contractual teacher is no better than that of a labour working on
construction site.
Higher education is backbone of growth and development of a country. Level of
education of any country reflects its health and welfare. In case of Uttar Pradesh more
than 800 teachers are working on contractual basis. In the absence of any selection
committee and for the sake of students a lots of teachers are being victimized.
How many teachers are working on contractual basis in Uttar Pradesh? What are their
problems? What are the policies and programmes of the government regarding
contractual teachers? How Constitutional ideal of dignified life can be guaranteed to
these contractual teachers? All these questions will be answered in my proposed paper.
* Lecturer, Dept. of Anthropology, Sri JNPG (KKC) College, Lucknow

Utility Of Human Body Measurement In The Search Of Identity Of An Unknown

Utility Of Human Body Measurement In The Search Of Identity Of An Unknown
Group "Dhankut" Of Bahraich District (U. P.) Of India
Alok Chantia
"Dhankut" a group of India was neither in the government records nor in the gazetteer of
the district. So far their social and caste stratification (which is must for India) is
unknown. In this regard, this group is very far from government facilities and basic
requirements of Homo Sapiens but their social identity is nil. I have done extensive work
on the group. In the light of head form, stature, hair color and texture, eye form and the
color of the body. This group has been identified, so that they can be positioned at their
real position in the society.
In my proposed paper, I will discuss how body measurements are useful in the search of
identity of an unknown group and its real ecological origin. Body measurement makes a
good contribution for a Homo Sapiens group to locate its real place in the society.

Construction and Reconstruction of Indian Tribal Youth

Construction and Reconstruction of Indian Tribal Youth: An
Anthropological Approach
Alok Chantia,
For centuries, the youth have played major roles in the society. In fact they have been the
agents of most of the significant social changes. More recently they toppled governments,
revived cultures and provided leadership in the political, economic, social and cultural
spheres of life. In developing nations, youth are generally segregated from the rest of
their peer groups. The alienation from its peer groups and the mainstream of the
traditional society makes them unsure of their roots. India is one of the few nations noted
for its tribal concentration. According to the 1991 census, the tribal groups of India
account for 8.08% of the total population. About 80% of them live in remote forest areas
and hill tracts, without any access to modern socio-economic inputs. It is assumed that
the current trend of assigned prominence to the “tribalness” as is explicit among the tribal
youth, will take a constructive turn in the future days. In constructing the Bharat of the
21st century, the capability of the tribal youth, their diligence, agility, intelligence,
patriotism – will prove quite effective. With their dynamic mental makeup and
continuous efforts to make a dent on the national level in all walks of life social-politicaleconomic,
the tribal youth have the potency to rejuvenate their own group, as also the
whole notion of ideas of development have yielded good results in sporadic tribal
pockets. These discrete examples of self-reliance and progressive outlook shown and
accelerate radical changes for the betterment of people. This helps them to shed off some
elements in their culture, which are determined to progress. The tribal youth of tomorrow
will be more vibrant with vitality and will sincerely help to build up greater solidarity of
Bharat (India) of the 21st century and will take us into the electronic age. They would
accept the desired socio-politico-economic change for their target development. Such
target development would definitely help the tribal youth for their future, which will play
an important role in constructing India.

Dhankut S’ Struggle Towards Equitable Society For Survival

Dhankut S’ Struggle Towards Equitable Society For Survival And
Growth : An Observation
Dr. Alok Chantia
Dr. Preeti Misra
Dr. Rohit Misra
Different castes and cultures make Homo sapiens a stratified man in society. In Indian
context, caste system and value system has given a new horizon to equitable society. The
equitable society is encompassed with social justice which comes from equal opportunity
to everyone and awareness of human rights that everyone is born free and equal. Thus
pillar of equitable society is casteless society. But irony is that there are certain groups of
people who do not know their caste, they are casteless but still they are devoid of basic
facilities of life. One such group of people is Dhankut living in District Bahraich of
Uttar Pradesh, who are neither SC/ST/OBC nor listed in any caste or sub caste. They are
very far from all those facilities which are available to weaker sections of a society. Due
to small population (2687) and living at single place (Dhankutty pura), Dhankut could not
draw any attention of the government for their upliftment. Since their caste is not known,
cross-cousin and parallel cousin marriages generated amongst them in order to maintain
their identity and lineage. Dhankut are very poor and mostly illiterates hence they have
taken up small works like thela pulling, betel selling .They can be seen in the streets of
Dhankuttypura selling ground nuts ,grams etc. Dhankut women are making and selling
cow dung cakes by collecting cow dung from the vicinity. Their children are also
working to earn the livelihood for the family. Due to poverty they cannot go to hospital
and civil court etc. hence they depend upon quacks for treatment and upon traditional
panchayat for the resolution of their disputes. Dhankut are fighting for their identity since
1973 and they have formed "Dhankut Sangharsh Samiti" for the purpose. A case is also
pending in this regard in State Backward Commission since 2004.Dhankut have occupied
some seats in Municipal Board too in their struggle towards equitable society.
The object of present paper is to analyse how a group of people who do not know their
caste, struggle and survive in the society. As the hypothesis is that one should be aware of
its caste to reap the benefits of equitable society, the present paper examines in detail
whether Dhankut are living in equitable society and what struggles they have made for
their survival and growth.


-Dr. Alok Chantia
Lecturer, Dept. of Anthropology
Sri Jai Narain Post Graduate College
Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh,India
Keywords: culture, tribe, society, constitution, rights
In spite of listing of tribal groups in pre and post independent India, it is very difficult to
sketch the real tribal groups in present India. Under the Constitutional guidelines
government declares some specific groups as tribal groups on the fulfillment of certain
conditions, which may be termed as observed tribal groups. Due to increase in these tribal
groups fruits of privileges given to actual tribal groups are decreasing. The number of
observed tribal groups have increased leaps and bound in post Constitution India. Actual
tribal groups are still far away from being listed as tribal groups. Anthropologically actual
tribal groups are still behind the curtain and devoid of all basic facilities of life. The case
of a group Dhankut living in District Bahraich of Uttar Pradesh is no different and is
glaring example of violation of human rights of actual tribal people. Dhankut are living
in small pocket of Dhankuttypura of District Bahraich. Dhankut’s total population is
2687(2001 census) and their dialect is dhankutty in a rhythmic form. They practice cross
cousin and parallel cousin marriage which is a taboo in north India and legally prohibited
too under Hindu Marriage Act 1955. Even after having these tribal characteristics they
are not included in the category of scheduled tribe. Neither have they been recognized as
scheduled caste or other backward class. Though they are not agricultural people, cereal
selling is still their main occupation. They are poor and illiterate. With 5% literacy rate
only three of them are in fourth class government job. No literature is available about
them neither in government records nor in district gazetteer. They have full faith in their
traditional panchayat and traditional God “Gullabeer.” They are struggling for their tribal
status since 1973 but have not succeeded so far. Dhankut want tribal status for
themselves to enjoy the benefits provided by the government, but it is a matter of conflict
between observed (constitutionally declared tribes) and actual tribes (anthropologically
identified tribe).All this has created a problem in tribal India too, the latest example of
which is problem of Gujjars in Rajasthan. What are the problems of tribal groups, how
observed and actual tribal groups are struggling and striving for benefits will be discussed
in my proposed paper with the help of socio-cultural life of Dhankut.

Socio-Cultural Aspect Of Food Habit In The Garhwal Region

Socio-Cultural Aspect Of Food Habit In The Garhwal Region Of
Uttaranchal – With Special Reference To Pregnant Women
*Dr. Alok Chantia, Lecturer, Dept. of Anthropology, Sri J.N.P.G. College, Lucknow
**Pramod Bihari Shukla .JRF, Dept. of Anthropology, Lucknow University, Lucknow
Food has an important aspect to one's life but it also has varying ideologies present in
every society, culture or ethnic zone. Food ideology has been defined as "attitude,
believes, customs and taboos affecting diet and nutrition". It is a practice associated with
food consumption.
The concept of food ideology includes people's thinking about each of the different items,
the effect of eating various foods on their health and well being and suitability for
individuals and categories of people (i.e., old, infants, sick pregnant and lactating
mothers) and also the suitability of food in certain conditions.
Garhwali population is agricultural community-practicing terrace cultivation on the
mountain terrain, which are difficult to cultivate, have low fertility, and low productivity,
which is some times affected by adverse climatic condition and lack of irrigation. Thus
we find a culture specific pattern of food intake among the people of Garhwal region.
This pattern is reflected homogeneously in the people's access to food methods of
preparation and distribution of cooked food with in the families. This has an overall
bearing on the nutritional status of the people common perception about the nature and
quality of food, gender nutritive quality of food, inequalities in food sharing and
distribution, economic status and seasonal variation of foods have been studied and are
found to have important application for the health of the women.
The most important aspect of folk dietetics is the humeral quality attributed to foods.
Social scientists have analyzed and attempted to explain food behavior patterns of people
and their influence upon the health of the women during pregnancy and lactation. Some
anthropologist like R. Pool (1987), R.L. Currier (1966), G.E. Ferro Lugi (1980), M.H.
Logan (1973), Nichter and Nichter (1983) etc., have discussed the physiological states of
the human body, the fetus, the constitution of the pregnant women and disease in the
humeral perspective of the hot/cold theory.
The purpose of this paper is to describe the food habits of Garhwali people specifically it
attempts to describe the food habits of women during pregnancy including foods
consumed or avoided during pregnancy.


-Dr.Alok Chantia-Lecturer, Anthropology, Sri J.N.P.G. College, Lucknow
-Dr.Preeti Misra-Lecturer, Dept.of Human Rights, School for Legal studies, Babasaheb
Bhimrao Ambedkar University, Lucknow
Keywords-HIV/AIDS, gender, sex ratio, acculturation, awareness
Man created culture for his smooth survival, but every culture has its limits beyond
which it cannot provide for its people, and this leads to process of acculturation.
Acculturation has also contributed to the growth of HIV/AIDS. In present world
HIV/AIDS is the most dreaded disease, which has put humanity in danger. Social science
has not only contributed a lot in the prevention and control of HIV/AIDS but has also
aggravated the problem of HIV/AIDS. Gender studies reflect many socio-cultural
problems of women , decreasing sex ratio is one of them , which is alarming for the
existence of human beings. Today HIV/AIDS is studied under sexual behaviour mainly
but it is based on multiple sexual behaviour. Presently sex ratio is 933 women per1000
men as per 2001 census report, which is against the natural hypothesis of 1:1 sex ratio.
The decreasing number of women is accelerating the process of multiple sexual
behaviour, which has ultimately led to increasing number of HIV/AIDS cases. Domestic
violence is again manifesting itself in unsafe sexual relations outside the marital ties. In
the present paper an attempt has been made to analyse the disintegration of marriage
institution, family and kinship due to awareness of HIV/AIDS progammes .HIV/AIDS
programmes are not only working as awareness agents but also facilitating pre and extra
marital sexual relations causing serious deviations in various societal institutions which
are vital for human existence. Present paper also examines whether acculturation has
aggravated HIV/AIDS problem? Whether HIV/AIDS is responsible for declining sex
ratio? Whether HIV/AIDS programmes have led to more liberal, open and free sex
society? In the last, it is suggested how social science can play a more positive and
concrete role in preventing and controlling HIV/AIDS.