Folk Icon and Rituals in Tribals Life
The Bagar region comprises the districts of Banswara and Dungarpur and the southern part of Mewar in Rajasthan. This region is mainly inhabited by the Mina tribe, whose indigenous culture is gradually dissolving . But still, despite the process of acculturation, the tribe retains its age-old beliefs and customs. Propitiating supernatural powers, in the shape of snakes, ancestors, gods and mother goddesses hewn out of stone, plays a vital role in tribal ritual. Set, carefully observed ritual accompanies the purchase, installation and worship of icons as Dr. Pramod Kumar explains in detail in this fascinating and very informative study. The stone carvings are executed by Sompura Brahmins and a few Mina tribals. Among the centres of this activity are the townships of Kesariyaji, Dungarpur, Sogwada, Talwada, Gopinath-ka-Ghada and Partapur. In the performance of the social and religious ritual of the Minas the pivotal figure is the bhopa, the highly respected and revered priest. Possessed by a spirit, the bhopa hands down instructions to supplicants for the solution of everyday problems. Witchcraft has a prominent place in the cultural traditions of the Minas, and the ritual for exorcising evil spirits with the aid of stone icons is elaborate and intricate. All these and many other aspects of tribal culture are described in this absorbing monograph.