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Blacksmith Caravans on the Move


[cart blacksmiths]

The gaduliya lohar are the traditional travelling blacksmiths of southeastern Rajasthan, who identify their ancestry as the weapon makers of the Rajput rulers of Mewad at Chittorgarh. When Mogul king Akbar invaded the fort, they escaped, and, ashamed at the failure of their weapons, vowed never to return to Chittorgarh until Mewad was restored. This identity has carried forward to the present, and still defines them as a community. Throughout their history, they have travelled from village to village, repairing and selling farm and household tools. As cities have expanded, and industrialized implements have taken the market, the competition has stiffened and work has dwindled. But the draw of the city remains, and many lohar have set up camp in the city for longer periods, and with fewer caravan accoutrements because ox carts are bulky and urban oxen are expensive to maintain. Still, the gaduliya lohar remain squatters, permanently camping and treated as outsiders wherever they are located...

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