The painting, a contemporary work in oil on canvas, represents two Rajasthani tribal women in light mood, boldly modelled, vigorous and lively as if ready to walk out of the canvas right now. Seated either over a large window or on the terrace of their house they are making fun of a friend passing across in the street below; maybe, with their sensuous gestures they are drawing attention of a passer-by. As suggests lavishness and abundance of the ornaments on their persons, gestures of their hands and fingers, bearings of their faces and eyes, the style of costumes and their overall life style – all invitingly sensuous, the two damsels are in every likeliness Bedia women, a tribe earning its bread by dancing.
Unlike a nomadic tribe that moves from one place to other for livelihood now for many generations Bedias have their permanent settlements in different parts of India. Their settlements are as a rule away from a village population and consist of a few houses. Anthropological researches claim that the tribe hailed originally from Chhota Nagpur plateau and some other regions of Jharkhand but now their greater concentrations are in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh, and more so around where the boundaries of the two states join – Dhaulpur, Kota and Bhilwada in Rajasthan and Mandsaur and Neemuch in Madhya Pradesh in particular. The two women’s Rajasthani links reflect also in their ornaments, particularly silver rings covering their arms up to shoulders and their typical costumes.
Bedias are a tribe but unlike other tribes they have been at least till mid-twentieth century a professional people, their women folk – popularly known as Bedanis, skilled in dancing, and men, in accompanying them on instruments. But for these seven-eight decades the dance of a Bedia woman was considered to add colours to Holi like social celebrations and imparted distinction to a marriage in the family of a village chief or village rich and remained in talks for long time.
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