A fast vanishing tribe, the Kadaklakshmi nomadic community is one that earns its living by a violent tradition of flagellating themselves. Hailing from a small village called Veer in Pune district in Maharashtra, this tribe worships a goddess named Kadak Lakshmi and hence, their name.


These nomads travel far and wide to towns and cities across the state to earn a living. The woman carries the deity on her head and plays the drum continuously. The man sings and dances to this foot-tapping beat wearing a long stole across his neck, a multi-coloured skirt, huge anklets on his feet and a heavy whip in his hand, flogging himself with it frequently. The whacking sound of the whip is not too amusing to hear and it runs a chill up the spine of any observer.

The tribe is fighting hard for its survival, even as its members of the newer generation have begun to explore newer ways of earning their bread and butter. But this hasn’t been a pleasant experience for them. For, their way of life and habits being different from the others in the village, has led them to isolation. The youth of these families do odd jobs in and around farms of other villagers and earn a daily wage out of it. But getting a farm job is again another task. Even their kids are not allowed into schools, indirectly forcing them to be thrust into the same profession which they loathe carrying forward.

Thus is a never ending cycle that ensures they stay in poverty, illiteracy and underdevelopment. These folks live on no man’s land, without any identity of their own, no ration cards, nor any voter’s identity. Despite this, they still await a response from the authorities and an acceptance from the society so that they can live a life with respect, dignity and confidence.

Radhika Gangadhar

Comments (3)

  • Hey radhika, your points are valid.

  • Radhika, Words are cheap. What are you going to do about itto get these sane rights and previleges as any other Indian citizen like you?

  • Guest (Gauri)

    I remember as a child being fascinated by the Kadaklakshmi and mimicking their actions at home with friends albeit in a non painful way.The last I saw one must have been 15 years back.This concise article rekindled those memories.

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