Kesar in Rajasthan has numerous nuance. It is saffron, the most delicious of spices…It is the color of sweet-scented, inspiring sandalwood…Kesar imitate the golden sand dunes of the region…It signifies the aspiration of the people for auspiciousness, profusion and prosperity…It is one of the most favorite colors of choice, individually or in blend with hot pink and bright red, for women’s veils and men’s turbans… beyond these all, Kesar is the color of the indigenous Rajasthan’s love and desiring for her/his lover… personified as the Kesariya…
In this parched desert region of immense distances, men of all communities – other than agriculturists – have conventionally, for thousands of years, been obliged to drift far from home exploring livelihood or fortune… whether as merchants, warriors, herdsmen or artisans. Given the tradition of early betrothal and marriage, the incident of loneliness and partition came early in the lives of men and women here
Marriages in Rajasthan have always been based on tribe exogamy. And since clans were resolute in definite regions, marriages usually took place amid families located almost 1000 km. apart. Teenaged daughters left home and parents after marriage, to subsist in outlying lands with strange families. A young woman’s emotional sustainability thus depended on her ability in making a reciprocally supportive relationship with the people in her new and +multifaceted social environment.
The only person in this environment with whom she could share a deep familiarity was her husband. In such a circumstances, when couples were alienated for extended periods owing to the male migration, they lived in an enduring state of desiring for the beloved…a loneliness most expressively felt by women, for apparent reasons.
All of this is personified in the well-liked word-name for lover – Kesariya. Kesar, thus, is both the color of and symbol for… love and longing for…separation from and union with…the beloved. It is also a well-liked name in the region for both men (Kesar Singh) as well as women (Kesar Kanwar). The influx of the rains – a liberation to all – is co-terminus with the long-awaited unification with the lover.