Historical Evidence

The Banjaras have included Hindus as well as Muslims and various groups of itinerant traders. The 1891 Census report for Marwar includes persons of Bhat, Rajput, Charan and Jat extraction as forming this occupational community. Col. James Tod mentions a baalad of taanda (oxen laden with goods) with 40,000 bullocks. There are umpteen references to ‘Lakhi' Banjaras - traders with 1,00,000 bullocks - and their pomp and munificence. Jehangir in his memoirs mentions inducing the Banjaras to accompany the imperial army to Kandhar. The laden bullock of a baalad has been cited as a symbol of opulent grandeur in the well-known 'Vinayak' or ‘Bindayak’ song of Rajasthan. Writing in 1825, Bishop R. Heber wrote this about a Banjara encampment near Nasirabad; We passed a large encampment of Brinjarees, of carries of grain, a singular wandering race, who pass their whole time in transporting this article from one part of the country to another, seldom on their on account, but as agents for more wealthy dealers. They move about in large bodies with their wives, children, dogs and loaded bullocks. The men are all armed as a protection against petty thieves. From the sovereigns and armies of Hindostan they have no apprehensions. Even contending armies allow them to pass…’ Further on, he chanced on another group carrying salt to Malwa and observed that the men were fine-looking and powerful, though not tall, while the females ‘were the largest and most masculine whom I have yet seen in India’.

  • 1417                       - as Banjara
  • 1507                       - as Banjara
  • 1630                       - as Banjara
  • 4Th Century BC   - Laman