A brief note on the community-
- The Hattis are a close-knit community who got their name from their tradition of selling homegrown vegetables, crops, meat and wool etc. at small markets called ‘haat’ in towns.
- The Hatti community, whose men generally don a distinctive white headgear during ceremonies, is cut off from Sirmaur ( the southernmost district of Himachal Pradesh) by two rivers called Giri and Tons.
- Giri is a tributary of the Yamuna river that flows in the state of Himachal Pradesh.
- The Tons is also a tributary of the Yamuna and flows through Garhwal region in Uttarakhand, touching Himachal Pradesh.
- Tons divides it from the Jaunsar Bawar area of Uttarakhand.
- There is a fairly rigid caste system among the Hattis — the Bhat and Khash are the upper castes, while the Badhois are below them. Inter-caste marriages have traditionally remained a strict no-no.
- The Hattis are governed by a traditional council called Khumbli, which like the khaps of Haryana, decide community matters.
- The Khumbli’s power has remained unchallenged despite the establishment of the panchayati raj system.
- The community has been making the demand for Tribal status since 1967, when this status was accorded to people living in the Jaunsar Bawar area of Uttarakhand, which shares a border with Sirmaur district.