Animal names as the code:
Early morning when all the cattle gathers near Maldhari’s home, feeding and milking them simultaneously can become a task as each tries to eat from other’s food bag. At this point, Maldharis call every cow or buffalo with a name given to the animal to separate it from rest of the herd and the respective animal responds to it and comes forward. This is an interesting phenomenon about Banni that if a pastoralist has 300 animals, he will call each one by their name and they will respond to it. (See Fig. 23)
Chance discovery of unexpected codes- code for buying Oxytocin:
When cows and buffalos stop yielding milk (reasons could be poor health, dying of offspring) pastoralists these days to meet per day quota of milk delivered to the dairies, inject the hormone Oxytocin into the cattle. It is known to known to affect the animal’s health by inducing artificial labour that spurs milk production. Boxes of Oxytocin injections are locally available and are incidentally bought and sold under the code name “Pende ka box” (a box of sweets).
Apart from these codes, clans of Banni can be told apart by their costume, jewelry and the embroidery on women’s cloaks. Married and unmarried women can be distinguished because of their difference in the nose rings their wear. Type and structure of houses is also an indicator of clans. Post earthquake Maldharis have been switching from their temporary mud homes to concrete.
Fig. 23. Interesting practice of milking the cow while she is eating cattle feed. Banni cattle responds when their names are called.
Man-made verbal codes of Banni