MARRIAGE WITH THE SCIMITAR IN GUJARATI, INDIA

a collective wedding in Buhji, Gujarat, Kutch district, India

photographs and words by Massimo Pacifico

 


In Gujarat, the northwest Indian state (which borders with Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, the Arabian Sea and the Sindh province of Pakistan) collective caste marriages are still celebrated. To strengthen the bonds of belonging to the same caste, to comply with the written (and not) rules  of endogamy, and… to save money. The bride and groom portrayed here are of Rajput ethnicity and belong to the caste of Kshatriyas (those who have the royal power), the warriors, placed in the class system right after the Brahmins, the priests, and before the Vaisya, farmers – breeders – traders, and the Sudras, responsible of domestic jobs. The Kshatriyas are the youths that are “ready to die” (mrtyu, from which the Latin Marius), among them the rajan, the king (lat. rex) was chosen, and they are not vegetarians. For the wedding a colt is ridden and a (fake)double edged scimitar, the khan, is flaunted.

 The following pictures were taken on January 28th, 2013, in Bhuj, a town of a hundred thousand inhabitants in the district of Kutch.



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