\nAm stating the obvious \u2013 that every journey results in not only a fresh view of old things, but also views of things never seen before by the beholder.\nHaving travelled considerably in rural India, the attitude of \u2018been-there-done-that\u2019 was slowly coloring my vision and I\u2019d begun to become a bit of the Ms. Know-it-all.\u00a0 Since most of my conversations are conducted with myself in my mind, the \u2018listener\u2019 parts of me were beginning to find the \u2018speaker\u2019 parts of me, a bit obnoxious.\nAnd so it was good to find completely unknown concepts that even Ms. Know-it-all was stumped by!In the vegetable market in Ziro one morning, I came across a man dressed in a red overcoat and ceremonial sash.\n\nAt the vegetable market\n\nBut I was busy sitting on my haunches and chatting with the local vegetable vending women, so after a moment of being distracted by the red, I went back to the chit chat.\n\nWithin a few moments another man arrived strolling in a leisurely manner and I had to to make way for him on the narrow market path for which I stood up.\u00a0 Lo and behold \u2013 this was another man in a red coat looking all distinguished compared to the general laity floating around.\n\nAnother red jacket in the vegetable market\n\nThese were no ordinary men walking the streets of Ziro.\nThe sight of the first red man had aroused my curiosity but that thought train was cut short by my previous engagements.\nBut the second sighting seized my attention and made me ask the Hindi speaking shopkeeper what these red coats were and who these men were.\nHere is what I learnt:\nThese red jacketed men are \u201cGaanv Boodhas\u201d which literally means \u201cVillage Elder\u201d.\u00a0\nWhile there can be many elders or seniors, this title is usually held by the oldest man in the village. His deeds of valour and goodness are also factored in to the selection process because it is important that the entire village respects the headman. Economic standing plays absolutely not role in the respect a man enjoys.\nHe is the official village headman.The government administration involves him in the decision making process and in the information dissemination process. There is also a formal association of Gaanv Boodhas that includes all the appointed headmen. And he wears a distinguishing uniform consisting of the striking red jacket, a sash that is decorated with the trophies of his hunts, a name tag and his special weapons.\nA few images of the many headmen I had the privilege to meet on this journey.\n\nPortrait of a respected Gaanv Boodha\n\n\nPortrait\n\n\nWith his traditional backpack\n\n\nA weapon that is always carried on his person - the 'Dho'\n\n\n\nThe Gaanv Boodha with his grandson at his home\n\n\nThe Name plate announcing his position and office\n\n\nTraditional beads\n\n\nThe respected Gaanv Boodha in normal home clothes\n\n\n\nThe Gaanv Boodha in the full splendour of his uniform\n\n\n\nThe decorated hat contained eagle claws, porcupine quills and feathers\n\n\nDetail of another sash with the jaw\n\n\nDetail of bearskin sash and staff\n\nAnd so, my personal discovery of the concept of GBs that I was ignorant about until now, helped to wash off the saprophytic attitude of smugness that had begun growing like a fungus on my decaying vision. I now stand humbly corrected and reminded that I do not know it all and I hope that this episode will arrest this decay!\nMy other articles on Arunachal Pradesh\nGlimpses of a contented People\nHunter-Gatherer-Weavers\n\u00a0Innovative housing\n\u00a0A chance encounter with a Shaman Priest during a sacrifice ritual\nTribal signatures \u2013 Face Tattoos of the Apatanis\nFierce Nocte Headhunters\nHead Hunting Trophies\njm\nJan 2012\nThe post The Gaanv Boodhas or Village Headmen of Arunachal Pradesh appeared first on The Art Blog by WOVENSOULS.COM.