SODHA RAJPUTS

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Region : Kutch, Gujarat
Languages Spoken : Kutchi, Gujarati & Hindi



Sodha Rajput migrations to Kutch started in 1971 after the Indo-Pak war. Originating from Thar Parkar in east Sindh, Pakistan they had relatives in Rajasthan, Gujarat, and Kutch, hence, they settled here and have led a contended life in Kutch. There are 32 Sodha villages in Kutch about 25,000 members of the group with 4,000 artisans among them.

A Blend Of Sindh And Kutch

Sodha Rajput who moved from Sindh, Pakistan, to Kutch live in the Jhura Camp that is well laid out, neat and spotlessly clean. Sodha women are secluded in this village, nestled into a small mountain chain, north of Bhuj.

The Sodhas lead a simple life with no luxuries. Some are not even addicted to beverages like tea and some men usually have only lunch and dinner prepared at home. Fluent in Kutchi, Gujarati, Hindi, they blend well with the local people. They also know Marwari and Thari Sodha language of their earlier homeland. Some even write poetry in Gujarat.

Healthy Living

Thirty Year Old Paako tako cover Sodha Trousseau Item - GujaratSodha culture has been preserved through the circular 'Bhungas' that the community still uses. They are mostly vegetarian. Their staple diet is bajra or Gheo Chaptis and Khichadi. The women are pure vegetarians but some of the men have now started taking non-vegetarian food outside the house. The 'Otara' where the men sit together for meetings or to entertain guests is where they are allowed to eat non-vegetarian food, not inside the house.

Rajput Attire

The men wear a white 'Adita', like a Dhoti, white Khameez (shirt) and turban wrapped around the head with a long tassel hanging on the neck. Women wear Ghaghra Kurta and Odhni or 'Kanjri Kurti' and Odhni.

Cultural Threads

Sodha Rajputs take pride in their embroidery work. Women do split chain stitch with 'Dano' stitch and use small mirrors. Shrujan commissions work from the Sodhas in Loria and Jhura, as well as 'Nen' work of Nirona.

Sodha women embroider folk games, like Chopat, for their trousseau. Their embroidery is found in Loriya, Jhura, Bibbar, Godhjar, Chhari, Sumrasar Shekh, and Faradi. 'Soof' embroidery is done by Sodha women in villages of Jhura, Suraser Pragpur, and bordering villages of Banaskantha district in Bhabhar. It is also called "Sodha Bharat".

Ornaments

Secluded Sodha Women of Jhura Camp - GujaratWomen wear Durgal circular lobe earrings, Nath and bangles. Young girls wear disca earrings and older girls wear a ring earring with hanging stone pendant and Discas in gold. Ornaments of married women are quite exquisite in their looks such as Panadi gold earrings that are leaf-shaped, Nimbodi gold pendant with green and orange Agates and green beads and tassles, Durgala round earrings and Dano Nath in gold with diamonds, also a solid silver flat Kadi with opening adorned with etchings.

Ancient Customs

Sodha Rajput brides cover their faces and visit sacred spots in their new village on the day after the wedding. A cloth is tied to the turbaned groom who precedes her. The handmade embroidery items in her trousseau are her calling card in her new home. Sodha women and other communities on festivals such as Diwali or Gokulashtmi prepare Gariyu Alekh drawings in the center of the village. Old plaster is removed from the walls and a fresh coat is laid on. When dried, Alekh is done on the walls in colourful designs of Torans and decorations in wall recesses.

Religious Rites

Sodha believe in Pithora Pir, a saint whose temple can be seen in all Sodha villages, and hold an annual festival in his honour, and also in Satya Mataji. They celebrate Diwali, Holi, Satam Atam and other Hindu festivals. The victory of good over evil is symbolically expressed in celebration of Dussera (also spelt as Dusshera) and is celebrated by Brahmin, Kshatirya, Vaishya and Shudra Hindus. Earlier a festival of the farming community, it has subsequently turned into a Kshatriya festival.

Agricultural and artisan communities worship Lord Rama, Krishna, Sachiya Mataji or Mother Goddess in her numerous forms. The Sodha Rajput caste blends Hindu and Muslim cultures and some religious practices.



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