Maratha - Economy



In general, the majority of Marathas are cultivators. They are mainly grant holders, landowners, soldiers, and cultivators. A few are ruling chiefs. For the most part the patils (village headmen) in the central Deccan belong to this caste. Some are traders, and many are in the army or other branches of government service. In the plateau region the fields are plowed with the help of bullocks. Almost every farmer except the poorest has cattle and takes great pride in them. The greatest agricultural festival is Bendur or Pola, when the cattle are decorated and taken in procession. The cattle are kept on the farm in a shed ( gotha ), and it is not unusual for them to share the house space with people, so that a corner of the sun court may be given over to them. This is to avoid both theft and predation by wild animals, which once were Common on the plateau. Staple foods are wheat cakes, rice, lentils, clarified butter, vegetables, and condiments. Less affluent people usually eat jowar (sorghum), bhajari (spiked millet), and lentils, while the poorest will subsist on millets seasoned with spices. All Marathas eat flesh and fish, though not beef or pork. Marathas seldom drink liquor, though no caste rule forbids liquor or narcotics. Beedi smoking is Common among the men.


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