Their story in Hyderabad or the Telugu states can be traced back to 1630 CE during the reign of the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan. The Banjaras, or the Lambadas as they are known, migrated from Rajasthan to Deccan. When the Mughals fought the Qutb Shahi dynasty for power in the Deccan region, the Banjaras worked as grain couriers during the eight-year conflict between them.
However, Aurangazeb defeated them and appointed governors for the Deccan region in Aurangabad. Eventually, in 1724, Asaf Jahi Nizams seized Aurangabad. And when Asaf Jahis traveled from Aurangabad to Golconda kingdom, the Bhangi and Jhangi tribes followed him in 1,80,000 bullocks.
In the same year, Mir Kamuddin Khan or Asaf Jahi 1 was crowned Nizam for the first time. As the Banjaras were not able to care for their cattle after the subjugation of Golconda to the Mughal emperors, Asaf Jah assured the Banjaras that their cattle would be cared for.
Since then, the Bhangi and Jhangi tribes settled in the Telangana region and have been known for their colorful clothes. Their unique clothing happens to be beautifully done, vibrant mirror work. While the men have been into small-time works, the women are known for their skills of making Banjara apparel which was very popular with the locals at one time.
However, when the Indian government took over the Nizam state, and an elected government came to power, the Banjaras were given pattas or land in a hilly region in the heart of Hyderabad. However, later as per historical lores, knowing that the hilly region was prime property, the land was bought back by the rich politicians at throw-away prices from the Banjaras.
Well, at least that’s the story behind the much sought-after Banjara Hills. The local Banjaras have retained their cultural roots, and many are now educated and well-placed.