The pastrol community of Rabaris are the nomadic herders scattered throughout Rajasthan & Gujarat. It is believed that they were the natives of Sindh region who then migrated to Kutch in search of grazing lands.
Rabari men are always dressed in white clothes, a white ‘Choksi’ paired with white ‘Kediyu’ or an ‘Abho’. While on the other hand, Rabari women dress in black Ghagra-choli and odhnis, with indigenous motifs embroidered on them. Considering the climatic conditions of Kutch (the arid temperature), it is surprising that this community wears a colour that in fact absorbs more heat.
Legend has it that many years ago, a Muslim King (possibly Allauddin Khilji) fell in love with a young Rabari woman in Jaisalmer, Rajasthan. When the community refused the King’s proposal, the King got furious and threatened to kill everyone. To save their lives, the whole community decided to leave their village overnight with the help of a Muslim man who belonged to the King’s court. While helping the Rabaris in escaping, the Muslim man was killed by the King for being treacherous. From that day on, to mourn the death of the man who saved their lives, the Rabari women started wearing black.
It is also said that the loyalty of the Muslim man to the Hindu Rabaris is a testimony to the secular interaction between the two religions.
Images : Saumya Pande