Accepted paper:

The Dombo: an Ethnographic study of a Dalit Community in South Odisha


Iswar Chandra Naik (KIIT University )
Dwiti Vikramaditya (Kalinga Institute of Social Sciences)

Paper short abstract:

The purpose of this paper is to analyse the contemporary economic, political, social and cultural characters of the Dombo a Scheduled Caste in South Odisha.

Paper long abstract:

In Odisha the numbers of Scheduled Castes are ninety-three (93), out of ninety-three the Dombo is the third largest group among the scheduled castes in Odisha. The bulk of their population is concentrated in the south part of Odisha comprising, districts of Undivided Koraput and Kalahandi. In these localities, they have been known as weavers, drum beater and messengers. In the feudal society and during the British rule, the Dombos served as village watchmen (Gramarakhi or Choukidar). There were a Choukidar or Gramarakhi in every village and his duties were to control the village at night, report the cases of death, birth, suicide homicide and other law and order problems occurring in the village at the nearest police station carry messages of birth death etc. of upper caste to their relatives, disposed of carcasses of cattle and attend the dignitaries and visiting officials. He used to announce any news concerning the public by the beat of drums and assist the Gauntia or village headmen in matters of revenue collection and day to day administration of the village affairs. The Gramarakhi or Choukidar was an important person at the village level in the feudal administration. They are surviving representatives 'one of the indigenous people of India' Being outcaste, they are never allowed to live within a village, but have their own little hamlet adjoining a village proper, inhabited by people of various upper caste. They also work as professional pipers and drummers and are employed as musicians in marriage ceremonies.

panel MMM21
Caste, community and class identities of Dalits in a global context