Winding Ways and Hilly Tracts: Mapping the Identity and Cultural Patterns of the Gaddi Tribes of Himachal Pradesh, India

The words ‘culture’ and ‘identity’ have a deep emotional bond with one’s homeland or territories.The modern society,like any other society in the world, is inseparable from its culture and identity, for its history is recorded and embedded in its culture. With increasing globalization, tribes around the world are being exploited, and are almost at the verge of losing their identity. Gaddis, a Scheduled Tribe of Himachal Pradesh, are found mostly concentrated in Bharmauri of Chamba district, a place popularly known as ‘Gaderon’ meaning ‘the home of the Gaddis’.They are semi-nomadic, semi-agricultural and a semi-pastoral tribe. They have a distinct culture, expressed through language, dress, food, marriage, song and religious celebrations. Less than 6% of Gaddi households continue with traditional occupation of cattle-rearing. The Gaddis trace their origin to the plains from where they fled to the remote inaccessible hills to escape persecution at the hands of the Muslim invaders. But the Gaddis have their glorious history rooted in their indigenous culture. They believe in the joint extended family system, and their economy chiefly revolves around agriculture and pastoralism. In order to uphold their cultural heritage, they take pride in their culture and maintain cultural continuity from generation to generation. All these experiences which shaped contemporary life, as basic indigenous beliefs and values became the basis of their cultural identity today. This paper explores the unique cultural patterns which contributed to their identity, thus traces the sense of pride with which they created a culture of their own.



Author Information
Molly Kadiyinkal Abraham, Delhi University, India

Paper Information
Conference: ACAH2019
Stream: Ethnicity

This paper is part of the ACAH2019 Conference Proceedings (View)
Full Paper
View / Download the full paper in a new tab/window

Posted by amp21