As the festival of Holi approached, a young boy named Damroo, belonging to the Hindu Nat community, looked forward to it with excitement. It was a time when he and his family would go to the highway of Gogunda, stopping cars passing by and asking for "Holi," which meant asking for money. With the money they earned, they would cook sweet dishes and celebrate the festival of colors.
Who are the Nat Tribe?
The Nats, professional dancers, acrobats, and dramatists, are a nomadic tribe that travel from one place to another with no permanent home. They are known for their talent but unfortunately, they are also known for begging. People give them food or money but rarely do they talk to them or let them come inside their houses to eat or drink.
The Reality of the Nat Caste in India
When YFI fellow encountered Damroo and his family, he was curious to know more about their culture and lifestyle. Despite warnings from locals about the Nat community, he took the opportunity to speak to them and learn more about their lives.
Damroo's Struggle: A Nat Boy's Journey to Education and Survival
Damroo, a young boy in class VI, expressed his desire to attend school regularly but was unable to do so because of his family's constant migration. He shared the reality of his family's situation, and how they often go hungry if they don't receive enough food or money from their begging.
The Nat community, which makes up less than 0.4% of the total SC population in Rajasthan, is mostly landless and unskilled. Despite their struggles, they continue to survive and persevere with their unique talents and cultural practices.
Damroo's story is just one example of the resilience of the Nat tribe. They have faced discrimination and marginalization, but they continue to carry on with their traditions and skills. As we celebrate the festival of Holi, let us not forget the people like Damroo and his family, who struggle to make ends meet and yet find ways to celebrate life's joys.
By Prakash Gupta