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Cockeral picks the names for the babies

Written by Dr Sunder Rao Bethapudy

How this is done is fascinating and is a part of ancient custom.  The Gadaba tribe is one of most ancient tribes in India and their ancestries go back to more than 2000 years and are associated with migration of the people from Africa. Essentially they are forest dwellers and has been so for centuries. They live out of forest products and have very little contact with the outside world. They speak a language called Moduli and hence they are called Moduli Gadaba people. Their numbers are dwindling and are in fact a vanishing tribe. Due to recent deforestation in the last 30 years they have been uprooted and have come down into the plains.

They live in their own villages and have very little contact with the residential population.. As a result they have poor access to main medical services, transport and the modern civilisation. Their village are stereotype; with two rows houses on either side do a road. There is no transport inside the village and hence they use the road for children’s play ground, spread the grain for drying and even sleep during summer time. They practice witch craft and also endogamy. As result every body is related to each other in some way or other.

They are in fact so primitive they have not learnt how to cultivate the land. In modern times they work mainly as labourers. They still go for hunting into the near by forest as they use to. If they come from hunting with a kill everybody in the village shares the meat…

Although matches are available, to light a fire, they prefer to strike a stone with a piece of iron they carry all the time. When they go for hunting.

The naming of the baby is very much a ceremony where whole village takes part n it. Every village has what is known as ‘’RACHA  BUNDA’’, literally means ‘’a platform for discussion’’. It is a veranda built around a tree where every body sits around the tree and discuss any problems of the village including marriages, divorces, loans not been paid back. They practice the barter system.

In the case of naming the baby, the village head sits in the middle and holds a cockerel and they put rice grain in front of the cockerel while the whole village watches the proceedings. In the mean time the father of the baby at the top of his voice resites the various names , if the baby is male, the male names and if the baby is female, the female names of his choice. The mother of course watches from a distance.. As the father is resiting the names continuosly when the cockerel picks the grain the name uttered by the father at the same time, will be the name of the baby! And the whole village agrees.


Media Gallery Cockeral picks the names


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