Introduction / History
The Bedars are a Dravidian tribe in origin. "Bedar" comes from the word "bed" or "bedaru" meaning a hunter. Hindus are known as Bedar and Muslims as Berad. They prefer to be called Naikwadi because they serve as village policemen or Talwar (watchmen) or Naikmakkalu (chief's children).
The Bedar language is a corruption of Kannada and Marathi languages. They have six social divisions. They work as servants, traders, messengers, police and soldiers. Their tradition states that Kannayya was a fowler and hunter and a devout worshipper of god Shiva who was pleased with his devotion and appeared to him, granting two wishes. Kannayya prayed that his descendants would be true shots and their land would grow much corn with little labor or water.
Men and women wear silver and gold jewelry. Some traditionally shave their heads, wear waist girdles (uddurs), gold and silver bracelets (khade) and gold earrings (muruva). Women tie their hair in a loose knot, wear nose-rings, a gold necklace and on their head they have a hooped silver ornament (dhora).
At the age of four or five girls are tattooed on the forehead, corners of the eyes, temples and forearms. Unmarried girls can be made into prostitutes. The girls are taken to a guru (spiritual leader) who brands them with a stamp, and then takes them to a temple where a necklace is tied around their neck in the name of the god, and they are now known as Basavi. The boy's parents initiate marriage proposal. Child marriage is common but the girl does not live with her husband until after puberty. Marriage cannot be within the same sub-division. Widow remarriage and divorce are allowed. The Bedar have headmen (kattimani) to solve community disputes.
The dead are buried or cremated. Their images are usually made from silver, copper or brass. They are non-vegetarian and drink alcohol. Hindu Bedar will take food from Muslims but Muslims will not eat Bedar food. Bedar have faith in soothsaying, sorcery and astrology. Brahmins act as priests and in some places Lingayat Mathpati's serve as priests. Hindu festivals such as Diwali, Dussera, Holi, etc. are celebrated. Hindu Bedar identify all their gods with Rama. In Pune, Janai, Jokhai, Khandoba are the main deities. In Dharwad, the main deity is Hanmappa. In Solapur, the main deities are Ambabai, Jotiba and Khandoba. In Bijapur, the main deities are Durgava, Maruti, Venkatesh, Yellamma and Mallikarjun, which are often made into silver, copper or brass images. They observe Hindu festivals and have a hereditary guru. The Durgamuri Bedar carries the image of Durgamurgavva around in a box on their head.
Alternative Names: Beda, Berad, Boya, Bendar, Berar, Burar, Ramoshi, Talwar, Byadar, Valmiki
Occupation: Agricultural Laborers, Watchmen, Laborers, Stone Cutters, Herdsmen
* For the transformation of this community, thereby influencing the society through their profession as traders, messangers, police and soldiers.
* A mighty impact of the "Jesus" film and Christian radio broadcasting among this people.
* Christian workers among them to resist the evil works of sorcery, soothsaying and witchcraft and demonstrate instead the power of the Holy Spirit.
* The practice of child marriage to be abolished.
|Profile Source: India Missions Association - Edited by Philipose Vaidyar Copyrighted © Used with permission|