“Babu idhar sab gaon bahut rangbaaj hai! Hum log ka Mangrodih ab sudhar gaya hai!”
Driving to Rajrappa today. I have a different companion this time though. Sanjay Bhaiya comes from the village of Mangrodih, very close to where I live. I’m better informed now, having devoured a book on the state titled Inside Jharkhand. I can willingly and knowledgably enter into such discussions.
“Haan Sanjay Bhaiya! Aap ko pata hai idhar rehne vala sab bhumiar jaat ka hai. Un log naturally thoda ladaku hai.”
“Ek baat bataiye, Vaibhav Babu, Yeh Bhumiar log kahan se aaya. Saala in log jaat mein kahin fit nahin hota hai!”
Perplexed caught in a corner, with my tail between my legs I look left to see my dad smiling at me casually.
“Bataiye! I know you know the answer.” I grin at him.
“Jab Buddha ka dharam idhar Bihar , us samay toh Jharkhand Bihar sab ek tha… toh jab who idhar aaya na, toh bahut log dharam badalne lage.”
He stops, rolls down the window and continues.
“yehi, bahut din chala. Phir Shankaracharya aaye, aur Buddha ko idhar se bhagaya gaya. Iske baad jo bhi log convert kiye, they were asked to convert back.”
“Now when the reverse process was on, the Shudras went back to being the Shudras, similiarly the kshatriyas and the vaishyas fit into the ladder. Rahi baat Brahmin ki. Toh, yeh toh vaapas fit nahi ho sakta tha. They had quit Hinduism once, being brahmins so they couldn’t be allowed back into the fold like they were. Toh ek naya jaat banaya gaya. Who tha Bhumiar, fitting between the brahmins and the kshatriyas.”
“Toh yeh Bhumiar log aur Maithil Brahmin matlab ek hi hua?”
“haan! Yeh kaise pata chalta hai maloom?”
“Maithil ka brahmin ke liye jo bola jaata hai, wahi cheez idhar Bhumiar ke liye bola jaata hain.”
“what’s that?” I prod my father.
“Bolte hain… Agar raat ko ek Bhumiar aur ek saap mil jaye toh pehle Bhumiar se nipat lo. Saap toh dekha jaega.”
(If you ever encounter a snake and a Bhumiar at night, you should always deal and do away with the Bhumiar. The snake can wait for later.)
This is followed by laughter.
“Lekin Babu, aaj kal bhi gaon mein jaat ut bahut dekhta hai. Hamara shaadi hi le lijiye. Sab gothra (family tree) milaya jaat hai dekhta hai ki koi jaat ke bahar shaadi kiya ya nahin. Isliye toh humara shaadi itne door par hua hai.”
His wife’s village is about 90-95 kms from Mangrodih in a Naxal infested belt. I’m supposed to lunch there tomorrow.
“par Sanjay Bhaiya! Yeh sab jaat ka log toh jab kaam karne jaata hoga toh kuch toh niyam todna padta hoga.”
“haan babu! Jab sab city bombay, calcutta jaata hai toh ghar ka safai ka kaam, bartan dhona, kapda dhona. Bhumiar ho ya harijan sab karta hain.”
“Ab log padne lagey hain toh yeh samajik rukavat sab khatam ho raha hai. Acha hoga!”