Life at the Ghats: An anthropological study on the boatman of Banaras

The present paper is an attempt to study the socio-economic condition of the boatman community in Banaras from an anthropological approach. The city of Banaras now developed as a major pilgrimage centre of Hindus and a key destination for foreign backpackers to search for the true soul of Indian culture. However, Banaras is incomplete without focusing the role of boatman and their cultural context. Boatman of Banaras plays an important role in introducing the city to its visitors. Although, traditionally the boatman community belongs to „Mallah‟ caste group, but this features is now diminishing, as different caste groups entering into this profession day by day. In this perspective, this paper ethnographically describes the social structure, material culture and other aspects of boatman community.

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