ndsharma's blog

Tribal way of punishment

Posted on: January 19, 2017

Once the festival of revelry, frolicking and occasionally even free love, the Holi now causes tension in many parts of the civil society because of the changed attitude and growing intolerance among the people. But in the tribal society of Jhabua in Madhya Pradesh, this is still the festival of merry-making which the people, particularly the youth of both sexes, enjoy with abandon for a whole week.

Love and romance play an important role in the lives of the tribals – not only in Jhabua. For them the most heinous crime is cheating. There was once a case in the Bastar region where a tribal had in the middle of the night went to the hut of a fellow tribal and hacked his head with an axe for cheating the former to the tune of two rupees and fifty paise. The next morning the killer had carried the severed head to the Dantewada police station and innocently told the police that the other fellow had cheated him and so he hacked his head.

When it comes to love and romance, the tribals are quite considerate. There was a case at Dhankaar village in Harda district. The 17-year-old daughter of Nandram Korbu had eloped with Kailash Mali, about 28, of the same village. They returned to the village a few days later.

This infuriated the elders of the village. A meeting of the panchayat was convened. The panchayat, as per the local tribal tradition, made the boy sit on a charpoy (bed made with cords of twisted grass) while the girl sat under it. The water poured on the head of the boy filtered through the twisted cords and the girl bathed with it. Later the boy, his face blackened, was garlanded with a string of shoes and taken round the village. Their punishment over, the two were readmitted to the community.


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January 2017
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No liberty, peace or justice!

When there are too many policemen, there can be no liberty;
When there are too many soldiers, there can be no peace;
When there are too many lawyers, there can be no justice.
— Lin Yutang


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