A Short Account Of The Dandasi: A Scheduled Caste Community Of Odisha
Dandasi Scheduled Caste Untouchable Ex-Criminal Community Village Watchmen
Tribal and Harijan Research-cum-Training Institute (THRTI), Bhubaneswar, 751003
In the State of Odisha as many as 93 Scheduled Caste communities reside: Until the recent times no systematic attempt has. Been made to; record the, ethnographic account of any one of these communities, except some stray articles which have been published in different journals and magazines. Among the Scheduled Castes of Odisha, Dandasi is one. They are an ex-criminal community. They are largely settled in the undivided Ganjam district of Odisha. Traditionally, they served as village watchmen but at present most of them are agricultural labourers. The Dandasis are an endogamous community and are divided into different exogamous banshas whose main function is to regulate marital alliances. They ractice cross-cousin marriage and adult marriages arranged through negotiation. They profess Hinduism, worship Hindu deities and observe Hindu festivals.
As one of the major research undertakings the Tribal and Harijan Research-cum-Training Institute, Bhubaneswar had taken up an empirical ethnographic study on Dandasi, an untouchable Scheduled Caste of the State. Relevant ethnographic data on the socio-cultural aspects of the community has been collected from some Dandasi inhabited villages of the Ganjam district. The field work was carried out in different phases. A set of questionnaires was prepared to collect data on different aspects, of the community. Besides, the day to day activities of the Dandasis were recorded by observation. The data has been presented in this booklet. Hopefully, this book will serve as a first hand reference for further research.