Garasias are small tribe of Rajputs residing in Mount Abu Road area in Southern Rajasthan. They are comprised of only 2.7% of Rajasthan tribal population.
The Garasia speak a language which a mix of three different languages namely Bhili, Marwari and Gujarati. The language is known as Dungri language which is from the Indo-Aryan language family and the dialect is called Nyar dialect.
Garasia people basically follow Hinduism. However, it has been observed that only 1% of the community practice Christianity. They worship Lord Ganesha, Amba Mata, Chamunda, Thakurji, Dharmaraj, Abu, Hawlo, Sitala and Kalaji-Goraji. The festivals they celebrate include Holi, Diwali, Navratri, Dusshera, Akha teej etc.
What makes them different from other tribe is their interesting custom of marriage which usually takes place during the full moon of March at the annual Gaur Fair.
The marriage in this community happens through elopement wherein a bride price is paid to the bride's father, which can be either spontaneous or pre-decided. Another interesting thing is that any Gharasia couple can live-in together without getting married, once they return after the elopement.
Yes! You read it right. Live-in relationships are a tradition in this community where a couple lives together, even have kids, but they only get married when they have fair amount of money to pay the bride price. Garasia people believe that modern society's marriage bring several impositions, especially on women. Hence, they follow the principle of "right to reject and right to choose" giving equal or even higher status to women.
Polygamy is also practiced in this community wherein a Garasia male is allowed to have more than one wife if his first wife is sterile or bear no sons. A woman can also seek out a new live-in partner at another fair who is expected to pay a higher price to the woman’s former partner.Surprisingly, this practice resulted in fewer incidents of dowry death and rapes in their community.