The Mer People of India
The Kathiawar peninsula in Western India on the Arabian Sea is the home of the Mer people of Saurashtra. Of Aryan stock and descended from royal Hindu warriors, they speak Gujarati, Hindi and its dialects, and Marwari and its dialects. Their ancestors came into the Indian Continent around 126 B.C. through what is known today as the Punjab. The Guptas considered them invaders and eventually drove them south to Gujarat, and on the way they left significant settlements also in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, and Sindh.
They eventually settled to the east of the Indus River, driven there by the Jats who considered them invaders, and who governed the southern part of the Indus Valley. The main Mer lineages from which they are descended include Keshwala, Sisodia, Odedra, Rajshakha and they can now be found in the villages around Porbandar region. The history of the Mers is a rich one. They were warriors whose attributes were loyalty, honesty and valor. Another traditional occupation of the Mers is agriculture, and they were known as masters of the soil. The Mers of Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh are factory workers and some are farmers. They have quite a different culture than the Mers of Saurashtra who are considered more advanced.
Another difference between the Mers of Saurashtra and the Mers of Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh is that the Mers of Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh do not practice cross-cousin marriage. The Mers language sounds harsh, probably due to the Rajput influence with which they came into contact and with whom they intermarried. Mers are Hindus who observe all the Hindu festivals. They worship Hindu gods and goddesses. Their foremost goddess is called a kuldevi, a guardian of fortune and honor. The leader of each group of Mers has his own kuldevi and when a woman marries she must worship the kuldevi of her husband’s group Mers have a unique dance style or dandiya raas which is a traditional dance styled as battle-like movements.