Last week I visited to NAGAVI TANDA with some of my friends, which is about 7 to 8 kms from Gadag. The aim of the visit was just to understand the lifestyle, social, economic and political aspects of the inhabitants of Nagavi Tanda people.
Before visiting Nagavi , all I know was Tanda means mud roads, drainage water running in front of the houses and women washing their clothes right next to it etc but when we entered into the tanda, we saw the roads were proper, the houses were made out of concrete on top of it a couple of pulsars , Deo and karizma zoom past our vehicle. The guys were riding them, they were wearing branded t-shirts and funky sun glasses, fancy footwear and the latest accessories and cool hair styles. Most of the youth with whom we interacted are completed education up to SSLC, PUC, etc. Some of them have gone ahead and are pursuing bachelors and masters degrees in various courses.
It was around 20 to 25 years back when they first visited to Goa a small city, with beaches which attracts highest number of tourists every year. Their parents had migrated to those places and setup the business. After that it was just one or two guys who went and worked there, slowly youths are getting attracted towards it and now almost 60% of the households have at least one male member working in Goa or Kerala. They usually work in shacks or as beach sports instructors or in tattoo parlors or in shops which deal in handicrafts, traditional dresses, and necklace.
The parents or house member assort the unique ornaments and dresses from various places like Udaipur, Rajasthan, Raampur etc and sells them in the beaches. If community any new member wants come up with a business then these people will help them out in settling the shop and make the necessary arrangements.
Interesting thing about these people is that they are very good adopters. All these people who work in Goa , Kerala and Hampi can speak fluent English. Most of the people know many other languages like French, Spanish, German, Malayalam, and Russian. The surprising thing what I have experienced is “a mother knows minimum 15 languages who is migrated to Goa with her parents at the age of 15 years and her daughter who is studying in B.Com knows only 2 languages Kannada and English”. When I asked how you will learn new languages? Then a 35 year old lady replies politely, we just listen to the others when they are speaking then we recall those words and learn that language in just 20 days to a month.
Now let’s know about the economic condition of this tanda. It’s very visible that they are now economically very well off, from the moment i step inside the tanda, I saw the new concrete houses, the latest bikes, the clothes, the accessories, the furniture and some of them even own cars. Some people still do farming and some house wives or old age women manufacture products like dresses, mobile pouches and other stuff. The main USP of these products are that they are handmade and have all the basic accessories on them which is famously only worn by lamani’s (like small mirrors, rimzim, 25 paise coins etc).
When asked about the demand for these products, they said “Now the demand has decreased, but earlier it was very much in demand. Now people don’t buy a lot they only buy scarfs, mobile pouches and other fancy cloth pieces with their trademark design”. We couldn’t get him to divulge much about the customers or sales of these products. But we got to know that it takes about a month to prepare a complete set of dress and would cost somewhere 10000 for one. In tanda it’s not just the man of the family who earns, it’s both man and women. They have even exported these mobile pouches abroad, but in small quantities.
Families in tanda have their kids studying in mostly cities like Dharwad, Hubli and Gadag, this is another indication that these people are financially well off. We asked another young man about his income, he said” During season we easily make up to anywhere from 40 to 50 thousand per month”. So considering the level of education these kids are exposed to, that’s a pretty good sum to earn per month.
The last aspect we studied was culture related. Though these people have enough money, they live in Goa for most of year, they still are very much rooted to their community and values. They do regularly visit their families during off season, they still attend functions in tanda if they can and they do visit each other in Goa also if they get a chance. The people are very cooperative and good heart.
Lesson learnt : it’s always not right what you see and hear from others, if you are hunger to learn & innovate something then step out from your comfort zone, explore and experience the surprises of life.