The Charminar gallis or lanes and gotraachar

Govind Lal and Mohana Devi at their home in Boggulakunta, July 2019

Mohana Devi says: “Chudi Galli, Talim Galli, Kutta Galli, Dekchi Galli, Gurbanna Galli- we stayed close to each other”. If we imagine a time when some folks are jagirdars (property/land owners) and some without the jagirs (property), this community established rules to control expenses related to weddings and such events. Here is one such example where Govind Chacha and Mohana Chachi talk about the custom where elders would come to bless the couple at the time of gotraachhar or “the auspicious time when the stars have aligned” for the couple to be married and this time is set by the pundits based on the couple’s kundlis or astrological charts.

Govind Lal said that some elders would only come to bless the couple and leave because they may not be related directly to the couple and hence were invited for ‘giving’ the blessing. They would not stay for the meal and festivities later on. This became a custom for a while and changed with the times when community members could afford the expense. Incomes increased later and people have incorporated newer customs.

As with most material aspects and objects, our capabilities and desires change. We find more ways for enjoyment but also work to find a balance. Maya and surplus, the measure of our success is always around the corner beckoning us to scale up.

Published by

hema

I am a trained sociologist and an archival and UX researcher. I am currently the principal investigator for an archival research project on the brahmakshatriyasofhyderabad.com in Hyderabad and also researcher/ manager for choosingwellness.org. I also go by my other name Malini. I am a translator of notes that remain in the margins to bring the user of technologies into sharper focus. I use the term community researcher, immersive researcher to talk about the work I do. In the past, as a Director and user experience lead at Code for Princeton I worked with non-profits, community groups, users, and subject matter experts to identify areas of need. I translated this into conversations with brigade members, developers, potential users, and other stakeholders. The applied ethnography and social research skills got me to meet with a diverse set of people across the broad middle class spectrum in Urban India. Living and working in New Jersey for the past several years has given me a breadth and width of understanding and engaging with people adding critical diversity to my bracket of "users" and experience all rolled in one.

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