Lamani Economy And Society In Change
What economic changes led the Lamani (also known as Banjara, generic name), an erstwhile nomadic tribe employed by the Moghul army as transporters of supplies in their raids on the South, as well as by the other armies in the subsequent periods including the British, to settle down mainly to wage labour and agriculture? What led to the ?peasantization? of the Lamani, who historically started off as a nomadic tribe, then on losing their traditional occupation, became a criminal tribe, and in post-independence India, emerged as a settled peasant community? This study, mainly based on anthropological field work conducted during 1967 and 1971 in two Lamani settlements in Kalghatagi Taluka of Dharwad district, followed by occasional visits till the summer of 1983, seeks to depict a historical background to highlight the changes that have taken place in the economic organization of the Lamani for the last one and a half centuries and also seeks to analyse the effects of these economic changes upon their traditional institutions like kinship, family, social control and religion, customs, beliefs and values. Further, the study attempts to answer the question: why and how the Lamani have been able to maintain the basic structure of their cultural identity, despite contact with, and living within the realm of, the dominant culture of the region. The study is conceptually and methodologically inspired by the structural-functional ?theortical framework with a concern for the processes of change and is intended to be a valuable contribution to economic anthropology and social change. To bring into relief the Lamani case, use has been made of the comparative method illustratively by considering some critical aspects of other similar communities in India. Though based on a doctoral dissertation, it is extensively revised and abridged. Besides, being addressed to fellow anthropologists, sociologists, economists, social historians, the study would be of interest to policy makers and planners, especially in the field of tribal welfare.
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