Governed by customs, Morpirla’s Velips still rely on their budvant to decide on Shigmo celebrations

Katu Fondu Velip, a resident of Morpirla in the remote Quepem taluka, is employed in a reputed higher education institution in Panaji, which means he is unable to travel back home every day, a distance of nearly 60km. However, what’s interesting is that he also doubles as the headman of his village — ‘budvant’ (wise man) as the chiefs of the traditional caste council are reverentially referred to in the tribal nomenclature. Following the death of his father over a year ago, Katu assumed the hereditary position and is now called upon to settle disputes among villagers.