Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy launched a programme to revive 1,500 Sevalal Cultural Centres across the state aimed to preserve the unique culture, art and traditional rituals of the Banjara community.
According to a survey done by the state government, several centres currently in place across the state were found to be in a dilapidated condition. The government plans to invest Rs 112 crore for this project over the next three years to preserve the ways of life of the Banjaras, a nomadic community that traces its origins to Rajasthan.
In Karnataka, the community is called Lambani and the governmentâ€™s initiative is aimed at integrating the members of the community into the society.
Speaking about the programme, the Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy said, â€śSevalal Maharaj is an important spiritual leader for the Banjara community and his contribution to the art, culture and welfare of the Banjara people is unmatched. The Karnataka government understands the importance that Sant Sevalal holds in the hearts and minds of the community, which is an integral part of Karnataka. We hope that the revival of these centres will help revitalise the art and culture of the state, and give a fillip to the rural economy as well.â€ť
A maximum grant of Rs 10 lakh will be given for the construction of each Sevalal cultural centre building as part of the project. This is a part of the plan to protect the culture and arts, especially the dance, vajabhajans and other traditional rituals as well as practices of the Banjara community, its community dances â€“ particularly during festivals like Holi, Deepavali, Teej, Vaja, Bhajan, Homa and Havan, among others.
The project is being taken up after a survey by the Karnataka State Tanda Development Corporation found that nearly 45% of the existing centres of the nomadic community were in dilapidated conditions.
â€śThere are over 3,300 tandas in the state where the Banjara community has been living and practising their age-old cultural traditions under the spiritual guidance of Sevalal Maharaj. It is important that these traditions are not only preserved but also given the opportunity to thrive, in order to ensure that Karnataka continues its tradition of multiculturalism, tolerance and pluralism,â€ť Deputy Chief Minister Dr G Parameshwara said.
According to the latest census, there are around 1.1 million members of the Banjara community living in Karnataka.