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Balutedari and Alutedari

The rights based upon one’s traditional professions has been the basis of the economic weave in the rural society of Maharashtra since the historical period. It is true in the case of the non-agrarian section of the rural society. It became a rightful activity of a certain section of people following a particular profession for generations together due to its monopolistic nature. These professions later came to be known as castes/sub-castes. This system of social functioning was known as Balutedari and Alutedari in the local dialect.


This system existed across India and is known by different names. In Maharashtra, these non-agrarian professional based sections were known as Balutedar or Karu and Alutedar or Naru. Together they were referred to as Karu-Naru. Teli, Tamboli, Sali, Sangar, Shimpi, Mali, Gondhali, Davrya, Bhaat, Thakar, Gosavi, Koli, Vajantri, Ghadshi, Kalavant, Taraal, Korav, and Bhoi are the eighteen Alutedar as described in the contemporary records and correspondence. As the names suggest, Alutedar were more of an occasional requirement and were paid on a bit lower side compared to the Balutedar, during the harvesting season.
Depending upon the time and place, sometimes one finds the Balutedar-s and Alutedar-s changing their roles and performing each other’s duties. Apart from agrarian duties, the Alutedar worked in unison in the daily life of the village. They performed their duties, during marriages, religious and social festivals against decided remuneration. The cart-wheels of village life, consisting of farmers on one side and the Balutedar-s and Alutedar-s on the other, worked in tandem resulting in smooth functioning of the rural social system. 
As inter-dependency has disappeared due to industrialisation and urbanisation on a large scale, this age-old rural social system has crumbled in modern times.

Districts/Region

Maharashtra, India.

Cultural Significance

The cart-wheels of village life, comprising of farmers on one side and the Balutedar-s and Alutedar-s on the other, worked in tandem resulting in smooth functioning of the rural social system. 


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