Cholistan was once a cradle of the great Indus civilization and the Hindu tribes of Cholistan are representatives of this great civilization. They still preserve their ancient culture. Cholistan was located around the river Sarswati, which, although dried up, still withholds a big part of history. Sarswati was often meant as ‘passing Water’ and also as ‘goddess of knowledge, art and music’ in ancient mythic tradition of Hindustan.

In Cholistan there is a tribe called Marwari, comprising of both Muslims and Hindus - the latter can be subdivided into the Balachs and Mangis. Basti Aman Garh is a strip in Cholistan that has been home to Marwari people for centuries. During Partition, thousands of Marwari fled to India, but the Hindu residents of Basti Aman Garh were promised security by their Muslim counterparts, so they remained.

The Marwari people arrange a festival annually celebrating their performing arts and tradition. The festival begins with an excerpt of the Holy Quran and then of Bhagavad Gita, and includes dancing, singing and storytelling. Pictured above is Hazari Lal, drag name Kajal, belonging to the Lalo Bheel group. Hazari is performing a fire dance.

Have you attended this festival?

Source: Historical Anthropology of Cholistan Through Folk Tradition, and Dawn.
Image: @umarnadeemphoto for @hussainrehar.official

Note: This image is not a historically accurate depiction of the traditional attire worn in this region.
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