Targala - Bhavaya
‘Anavils’ are a Brahmin sub-caste living mostly in
South Gujarat. The caste has acquired this name from a
small town called ‘Anavil’ about 60 kms. Away from
Surat. According to a gazetter of the then Bombay
state, the other two means of Anavils are: (1) Mastans
and (2) Bhathelas.
nature Anavils are outspoken and generally unyielding.
It is jocularly said that ‘The tongue of an Anavil has
no hinge’ (means an Anavil may speak anything at any
time) and he would speak anything about any person and
would not care what others would feel. Our former
Prime Minister Mr. Morajee Desai is an Anavil.
Since Anavils have lived near Bombay, one
can clearly notice Marathi tinge in their
pronunciations of certain words. They would say, “Kye.
Kahe ?” in place of ‘shun kahe?”. ‘Kay’ and ‘Shun’ are
the equivalent of ‘what’ in English.
‘Kay’ is a Marathi words while ‘shun’ is a
Gujarati word. They have a dislike for words having
conjunct consonants. They would say “shun kayara kare
chhe?” instead of “shun karya kare chhe?”. Their
dialect is spicy and may contain a few words, which
may otherwise be constued as abuses. This
characteristic of their dialect is peculiar to Anavils-
whether men or women! They are no purists so far as
their dialect is concerned. It is a treat to listen to
two Anavils talking to each other.
Although Anavils are Brahmins, they do not live on
eleemosynary contributions. They hardly follow the
rituals of a Brahmin. They are Yujurvedis (‘Yujurved
is the second of four Vedas, mostly composed in prose
and dealing with sacrifices) but they do not care much
for religious rites or caste customs. They are less
tidy in matters of speech and dress. Anavils areb
industrious and adventurous. ‘Desai’ and ‘Nayak’ are
the two surnames that we often come across among
Anavils. They are good-looking fair complexioned and
of a strong build. They are generally well educated
and are mostly working as employees.
The Anavils caste, though small in size,
has produced some of the great personalities.
Gandhiji’s secretary Mahadev Desai barrister Bhulabhai,
a great trade unionist and a former Labour Minister of
India Khandubhai Desai and a former minister of
Gujarat state Thakorbhai Desai ‘Sneharashmi’,
Gulubbhai Desai and Manilal Desai in the field in film
industry and Kunjvarji Desai in science, besides
Morarji Desai in politics are too well-known to need
Through comparatively a smaller community
Anavils are, it has gifted some really big
personalities to Gujarat and India. Their intellectual
and diplomatic abilities have brought them higher
place in politics. Many Anavil gentlemen played an
important role during the freedom-struggle of the
Anavils are a distinguished people. Their
contribution to the political, social, religious and
literary scene is a part of history.