In Rajasthan, a community of self-effacing people still resides collectively in small hamlets. There mud-brick houses, though modest, showing the carefully designed colorful geometrical patterns embedded with inlay mirrors, tell the tales of their denizens lifestyle, who commands people’s attention through silent artistic ways. Yes, we are talking about the Meghwal or Meghwar tribe of Rajasthan, a tribe that distinguishes itself by means of its humanitarian and artistic lifestyle.
Meghwal, as considered by all, are modest people hailing from the Marwar region of Rajasthan. It is said that the tribe is originated from Rishi Megh, a Hindu saint said to have possessed the power of bringing rains to the drought-stricken areas of the arid Rajasthan. In fact, the name of the community itself is derived out of the two Sanskrit words ‘Megh’ and ‘war’, the combination of which literally means the people belonging to Megh lineage.
Nowadays, only a few Meghwals are engaged in their traditional jobs. Most of them have understood the importance of education and have chosen it to be their means of livelihood. Of those who are still working in the field of textiles, most are women. As a matter of fact, the colorful embroidery accomplished by Meghwal womenfolk has its own entity, and is famous as Meghwal embroidery in the Indian textile industry.
The major feature of Meghwal embroidery is the use of vibrantly colorful threads, exuberant patterns, and use of mirrors or similar reflective alternatives. The fabric is most sought-after during festive seasons, for the color these lively designs bring in any occasion still remains unparalleled.
Interestingly, Meghwals don’t use their embroidery techniques just for commercial purpose, the womenfolk of the community wear such embroidered fabrics in their daily life! These vibrant costumes contribute another lively feature to the lifestyle of Meghwal people.
When it comes to the daily apparels, Meghwal people have intriguing traditions, like the newborn girls of the tribe are required to wear red colored 'puthia' (upper-body garment with detailed embroideries) matched with Ghaghra (skirt) and ‘Odhna’ (scarf) until their first Holi after which , they wear white colored ones.
After marriage, considerable ornamental accessories are added to their attire, which includes string nose rings, earrings, and neckpieces. The attire of Meghwal men, however, is somewhat stereotypical of Rajasthani rural men, with one addition of ‘puthia’. Nevertheless, Meghwal people have a sense of art which calls for more attention, then what these modest people would ask for.The traditional occupation of the tribe was weaving of fabrics like Khadi, a task many of the Meghwal people still associate with. The other primary occupation linked with Meghwal community is leather tanning, which had some people confused them with ‘Chamar’ the caste of leather tanners.