Introduction / History
The Tamboli can go by the names Tambuli, Tamli and Tamuli. Their name comes from the word "tambool" which means "big leaf" in Sanskrit. They sell betel leaves and this is what their name derives from. They are said to have Brahmin influences. Many of the Tamboli call themselves Suryavanshi to do with the sun god Surya.
Where Are they Located?
The Tamboli Hindu live in Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Bihar and Orissa. They also live in Rajasthan where they are called Chaurasia.
What Are Their Lives Like?
The Tamboli mix with castes above them, but not with lower castes. Castes above them will accept food and water from the Tamboli.
Traditionally they grow and sell betel, but some work in government or private sector jobs. Some work as farm laborers. Not many can read or write. Education is less for girls than for boys.
Most Tamboli are non-vegetarian but still refrain from eating beef and pork.
Tamboli marriages have to be at community level. Monogamy is the most common way in marriage. There are few divorces. Tamboli women, though considered lower than men, have a say in families and some work as teachers among other things.
Family property is given to the sons and not the daughters. There must be no interaction between father-in-laws and daughter-in-laws nor with the brother of the husband and the wife of the younger brother. The Tamboli caste council in the villages judges on things like divorce, adultery and stealing. Fines are often given.
The Tamboli usually speak the language of their region.
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