Print edition : September 07, 2012

The Nutts are a marginalised community of tribal origin, now settled in parts of Bihar and Rajasthan. From whatever mythical memories of their past they retain, one learns that they were nomadic and possessed exceptional acrobatic skills.

The half-forgotten bardic songs of Alha-Udal note that Nutts had shown great bravery as contingents in the army of Rana Pratap in his battles against the Mughals. They never took up agriculture. They were settled on homestead land in some parts of Bihar and Rajasthan by their feudal overlords who used their military prowess for their own purposes.

Perhaps, even in pre-colonial times these feudal lords extracted sexual services from Nutt women, which would explain the evolution of the so-called custom prevalent in the community even today. It is a closed and largely endogamous community. Many of them have a Hindu and a Muslim name, suggesting that they have been on the margins of both the religions without being accepted by either.

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