Finance The Success Story of a Bank Manager With Narikuravas, the Gypsy People (Nomadic Tribe) of Tamilnadu

Narikuravas are the gypsy people (Nomadic tribe) of South India. They won’t stay in a single place nor have any tangible wealth. ‘Nari’ means jackal in Tamil and they are known as narikuravas because they hunt jackals. They move from place to place. They name the children after the place where they are born during the travel. Their source of income is mainly derived from selling horns, nails and bones of the animals they hunt, like jackals, deer, peacocks, cats etc. Some of them indulge in sale of beads. They are known also for begging door to door, singing film songs in unbearable pitch using empty Dalda tins as accompaniments. They are much notorious among public because they are engaged in petty thefts and house breakings. Especially Police would turn their needles of suspicion on them whenever there were local thefts.In Tamilnadu, it is also a common sight wherein they will be tattooing, sitting in temporary sheds. Some Narikuravas give ‘medicines’ to gullible visitors for various skin complaints. They are also potential HIV carriers, not because of sex but because of the probable mixing of infected blood during tattooing and crude operations.One great positive aspect is that they don’t indulge in prostitution and wherever they visit during day time, they should return to their tents before dark.Government of India has come out various welfare measures treating them as one of the most backward community. But there should be somebody to advise them to avail such concessions since they live in darkness.Here is a success story of a bank manager who lent money for their business and the repayments were 100 per cent without any default.He (name withheld) was posted as manager of that bank branch situated in a medium town. He was meeting important customers and was busy in canvassing business. One day a Pastor called on him (name withheld) and requested permission to discuss about a loan proposal. He informed that he often visited a Narikurava settlement at the outskirts. Nearly 200 families were living there. He was taking care of them and named it as Kanan nagar, taking the cue from the Bible.He invited the manager for a visit and then come to his own conclusion.

Accordingly, the manager visited on a particular day and was surprised to see the neatness with which the hamlet was maintained. There were nearly 200 families. The male members normally go out for hunting and earning their livelihood whereas females indulge in making neck ornaments using beads. There were nearly a hundred children belonging to various age groups. They were playing in the open ground near the hamlet”Sir, today is holiday for them and that is why they are playing here”, the Pastor told. Then he asked them to fall in a single line and introduce themselves one after other. The manager was surprised to note the orderliness with which they behaved.Then he was introduced to some teenagers. They were college students studying in nearby colleges. They spoke to him in good English and the manager was surprised.”Sir, kindly finance them for their business venture. Once financed, they will discontinue all the unwanted practices” pastor requested.”But for what business?” manager asked. “Without a tangible business, banks will not finance”, he further added.”Sir, they have lot of business proposals. The bead garlands range between one hundred to two thousand rupees, depending upon the quality of beads. They sell animal bones, nails and other horny parts. Especially the jackal’s horns are very costly.Finally the manager agreed to give loans of Rupees 5000 each. Some of them constructed small sheds while most of them toured as usual. They were able to sell with good profit. The repayments were also regular.The news was flashed by Press and in a single day the nomads became very popular. Interview of the most successful business woman, and that of a woman graduate were published in leading newspapers and they hit the headlines.Other good things also followed. Being attracted by the fineness of the bead garlands, orders from abroad started pouring in.One graduate got Police postings and another passed I.A.S.The proceedings were not without hitches. There were some opponents to the over- all growth of these depressed people. Some local politicians and money lenders were against lending money to them.Rumours were afloat that the pastor was converting the depressed people to his religion and thereby earning money too.There was an aborted attempt to physically attack him. He narrowly escaped unhurt.There were one or two lapses in repayment.The manager was worried and informed the pastor, “Our head office would not allow default for more than three months. I have to give it to bank lawyer and arrange to file suit”, he expressed his anguish to the pastor.”Sir, don’t do it, please accompany me to their hamlet tomorrow’, he requested.Next day they went to the hamlet. He sent a word to them and all the three defaulters were there within seconds.”What is this? You have not paid the instalments.” he commanded.”Sorry Sir, we shall repay from next month”"Sorry, we can’t give you more time”. So saying, he requested a senior person, “Please bring their IDOL”. That person entered the house and brought an idol covered by some cloth.”No, no, don’t take it sir” the defaulter was crying.”No, no I won’t take it. You repay the instalment and take it back. We shall wait here”He collected money from all others. On seeing his method others also borrowed and within no time, the overdue loans were collected.”Pastor Sir, What was the magic you did?” the manager asked.”That idol is their family idol and is an ancestral property. It is given by father to his eldest son and so on. They worship the idol and it is very dear to them. At any cost, they will never part with them. If we threaten to grab it, they will obey any order”, he replied.After some pause, he told in a grim voice, “One more thing I want to tell you now.”Manager was ready to hear with all seriousness.”I know that there is a strong feeling among local people, that I am helping them only to convert to my religion. I was also abused and attacked on some occasions”His voice was choked with emotion.”Yes sir” I nodded in approval.”That could never be true. These people worship only that Idol as God. That is their religion and they will never change. There were war-like situation also to protect their family idol”

“You can extract work from them to any extent. But they will never convert their religion”, he concluded.By correlating with the incidents of the evening, the manager had to accept that the family idol was their most valuable possession..Soon, the manager got transfer to North India. Whenever he toured South and whenever he came across gypsy people anywhere, he was reminded of that loan mela’ at Kanan Nagar.It was only after ten years he got the opportunity to visit Kanan Nagar again.There were a lot of changes in Kanan Nagar. There was a marked change in their style of living. He was informed that one of them was a district collector in Bihar.”Can I meet the Pastor… “he anxiously asked.There was a marked silence,”What happened?”"Sir, he died in a scooter accident while travelling with one of our boys as his pillion rider” was the reply with a voice choked with emotion.The manager was shocked.He kept silence for a minute. Then he recovered and asked, “What about the boy who accompanied him?”"Sir, miraculously he escaped with minor injuries”, was the reply.”Can I meet the boy?” manager again asked.”Yes sir”The boy was present within five minutes.The manager put his hand on his shoulder and tried to console.”I am sorry brother” he told in a consoling manner. He spent another ten minutes with them. Then took leave of them and took his seat in his car. When the car was was about to start the boy approached him.Realising that he wanted to say something, manager asked him,”Comeon boy, what do you want to say?”"Sir, it was not an accident?”"What?”"Yes sir it was a murder, local hooligans who disliked his social services staged a drama of accident and killed him”"What about police?”"Sir they hushed up the case by threatening us with dire consequences”, so saying, he fled away from the scene.The manager was sitting in the car in utter disbelief. It took some minutes to start his car.