SUBJECT OF PAINTINGS
1. STORY OF BABA DEV PITHORA
It’s a traditional story kept being told by the elderly men of the village. They say there was a time when the entire village got dominated by the extreme drought and infertility. Crops were not growing at all and the greenery was gone off. It seemed to become a long lasting famine. Then the villagers decided to go and meet Badva (Shaman) all together to resolve this through his advice. People explained everything to Badva and asked for the solution then Badva told the villagers that the Lord “Baba Dev” has been displeased so his anger has led the village to this condition. So what should we do now? - People asked… Then he suggested all to do some rituals to please the Baba Dev again. He asked every family to paint their house walls with the paintings of animals and trees etc to please Baba Dev. They followed the instructions of Badva and did the paintings on the walls of their houses and worshiped the Baba Dev as well. In the result of all these rituals Baba Dev was pleased again so he brought the rain to the village after it started blossoming everywhere. Trees happened to grow fruits and full of greenery. No one was unhealthy anymore. It is believed that after that incident Bhil started painting as a ritual to please Baba Dev in order to maintain the richness and fertility of their surroundings. Painting had become a crucial ritual for them.
2. GATALA PAINTING
This is also a very important tradition in Bhil Community in which there’s a custom of building a tombstone in memory of the person who died recently but this is supposed to be done within one year. This memorial stone is called “Gatala”. They use soft rock to carve this memorial stone. A man riding the horse is always shown on Gatala with sun and moon on top left and right. Badva is the holy man (Shaman) who decides the date to sanctify the Gatla in the field of crops in the memory of that family member who died lately. Then the family members pray and request that spirit to take care of the family and entire village. In order to please that spirit they invite people from the village for a feast and to offer them Daru (Drink) made up of Mahua. They also sacrifice five goats in the name of that ancestor.
This is another ritual takes place during the festival of Diwali. Early in the morning, Bhils start decorating their cattle with colors, flowers and with some accessories to get them ready for the ritual that goes from morning to evening. The community worships the Goddess Salar Mata and offers coconuts and daru to her. In order to please the Goddess they sacrifice murga as well. The Bhils say that during this ritual Goddess’s weight suddenly comes over their head and they start feeling it, this makes them cry and they won’t stop crying until the flock of cattle steps on their body. So people gather the flock of cattle in a field and make them walk over the men are lying down on the field. If some of the men remains whose bodies are not stepped by the flock of cattle then they gather the entire flock again to repeat the whole process and they repeat it five times. When the bodies are stepped by the cattle the men stop crying and Goddess takes her weight off from their head.
4. GAL BAPSI
Gal Bapsi is the biggest appeasement festival of the Bhils and also a ritual. They celebrate it next day of Holi. Bhil men whoever have taken the vow to appease Gal Devta become the part of this ritual. To thank the deity for resolving their problems if any disease or family fatality happened they complete their promise by performing this ritual. To perform this ritual they place a raised wooden platform with approx. 20 feet high four wooden pillars. The vowed man climbs through a wooden ladder to the top of this platform and gets tied with one end of the rotating piece of bamboo. This rotating piece of bamboo is tied with a long rope that gets drawn by a couple of men on the ground. They rotate the man over and over again by drawing rope. After so many rotations when the ritual is over the vowed man comes down. He celebrates the success of the ritual by dancing and offering drink to the villagers.
5. GAL GADERA
It’s a kind of game in which young Bhil boys and girls participate. The head of the village (Mukhiya) is responsible to arrange this game at the cross road of the main market. They fix a huge 40 feet wooden log on the ground that is already made very slippery by applying soap and oil on its surface. On the top of the log they hang coconuts that has been set as a target for the boys. When the group of boy starts climbing on it the girls try hit them with a stick to stop them. But whoever succeeds to reach the top and grab the coconut wins the game and can ask any girl to marry whoever they want to.
It is a fair where huge crowd of young girls and boys gather. It is also known as the festival of love where the boys and girls are allowed to choose their life partners and run away. Later they are accepted by the society as husband and wife. Every boy and girl get dressed to look beautiful when they would be in this fair so someone would like them. This is one of the biggest attractions of their cultural events. But now it has changed a lot, boys and girls are not allowed anymore to run away. They can just make their choices for partners but still men are supposed to force women to get along if their choice is different.