Ghosa

Ghosas or hamlet people are descendants of outcast or oppressed communities who worked in professions regarded as ritually impure or degrading, such as butchering, undertaking, removal of dead animals, removal of night soil, hunting and leather-work. Engaging in these activities is believed to be tainting to the individual who performs them, and this taint is considered contagious.

Ghosas are generally forbidden to enter temples, schools and drink from wells where high castes drink. They can not marry someone of a higher caste and use separate burial grounds. The ghosas tend to sleep during the day and work at night. Roughly twenty percent of the Kaliyatra population is a ghosa.

A ghosa is not considered to be part of society. As a result, they are commonly banned and live in segregated areas of the village. Ghosas are viewed as tainting for higher caste people. Ironically, the ghosa have a monopoly over their trades and can control and prevent others from working in their professions. Due to their outcast status, they have no rights within Kaliyatra society, which works to their advantage in some ways: they are excused from military service, compulsory labour, and paying taxes.

Segregation and discrimination are high, sometimes encouraged by the authorities as means of government control. Ghosas are forced into fixed ghettos on the outskirts of towns and villages. These communities are largely autonomous, with strong organization and solidarity.

See also

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