Gomantak Maratha Samaj is a social organisation formed by merging of communities like Devli, Bhavin, Perni, Kalvant and others. Gomantak Maratha Samaj, Goa was first registered on 08/05/1925. It is pertinent to note that the nomenclature used for identification of these groups is derived from the nature of duties performed by a particular group in a temple environment. Needless to say that these groups/families are found to reside around the temples in Goa.

Thus, those engaged in cleaning temple premises, cleaning and oiling of lamps etc, are called “Bhavin”. Those performing dance, singing in front of the palanquins are “Kalavantin”. The word ‘Bhavin’ is associated with the womenfolk and “Devli” is synonymous with the menfolk. In the ‘Demographic’ survey conducted in Bombay in 1909, there is a reference to ‘Bhavin’ and ‘Devli’. Perhaps is because of this reason that these two sub-castes of Gomantak Maratha Samaj are induced in ‘OBC’ list of the state of Maharashtra and Karnataka.

The other important sub-castes of Gomantak Maratha Samaj is ‘Bandi’ and ‘Forgento’. They are now commonly recognised as ‘Naik’. Just as ‘Kalavant’, ‘Bhavin’ and ‘Devli’ are identified with temple environment, the above two sub-castes are associated with the local landlords. Mostly these landlords are seen to be ‘Saraswats’.

The Saraswats utilised their services (both men and women) to carry out their household works like cleaning, washing, taking care of their animals, milking and other works. Over a period the relationship grew stronger and they were even treated as members of their own families; but with a difference. They were never paid for that bug that compensated in kind of way of providing shelter, adequate assistance during sickness, religious functions etc.

Gomantak Maratha Samaj as a community is well known for progressive thoughts, good knowledge, well educated, sincerity & honesty. However, the Samaj is cursed by two practices in the form of ‘Devdasis’ and ‘Shess System’. It is not that no other community or caste or sub-caste in Goa is free from these two evils. But the two curses are so much identified with Gomantak Maratha Samaj that people like Shri. Rajaram R. Painginkar, Adv. Sushil Kavlekar, Sudamji Mandrekar & others had to launch a movement for the eradication of these two evils from our Samaj. Even the Portuguese Govt. had to introduce legislations to curb these practices. Thus during those days our rating under the social parameters is the lowest. We have come out of this ‘Stigma’ and gained the lost ground.

As far as education is concerned, we are definitely the pioneers. During Portuguese regime, we had the farsightedness to recognise that without education, our Samaj cannot survive. With this objectives we started some Marathi Schools viz:

  • Sharda Vidyalaya, Kakoda
  • Saraswati Vidyalaya, Zambaulim
  • Kamaxi Vidyalaya, Shiroda
  • Saraswati Vidalaya, Kavlem
  • Krishna Vidyalaya, Mandrem
  • Sharadhanana Vidyalaya, Paingin
  • Navdurga Vidyalaya, Borim
  • Mhalsa Vidyalaya, Mardol, etc.

Samaj Krantikaraks