Profiles

The following list of 72 people group profiles form the original content of this site. Each of these profiles has been researched extensively over several years of first hand observation and interviews. They are intended to inform and not to be overly negative or to upset anyone. However, as always there will be errors and discrepancies and we welcome your comments and feedback. Or better still write your own article to provide greater insight to our members and visitors.

Missing or Inaccurate Profiles?

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Agaria

Agaria

Who are the Agaria? Traditionally, the Agaria are iron-smelter workers and miners. The name Agaria is derived from the Hindi word aag, meaning fire, and from the association with the furnace used for smelting iron ore. They also call themselves Lohar ...
Arakh

Arakh

Who are they? The Arakh are a small community of cultivators of about 250,000 in number.  It is believed that they migrated from Ayodhya, Uttar Pradesh, which is one of seven sacred cities for Hindus.  The Arakh have two endogamous subgroups, namely, S...
Baghban

Baghban

Who are they? The name Baghban comes from the Urdu Baghban, which means one who looks after the garden. The Bagban or Bagvan are a horticultural community residing mainly in the state of Uttar Pradesh (around 420,000 in number) and the southern state ...
Balmiki

Balmiki

Dalit life is excruciatingly painful, charred by experiences.  Experiences that did not manage to find room in literary creations.  We have grown up in a social order that is extremely cruel and inhuman.  Omprakash Valmiki Who are they? The Balmiki ar...
Bania

Bania

Who are they? The Bania, or Baniya, are a large trading community. The word Bania is a generic term derived from the Sanskrit word vanij meaning merchant or trader. Origin They believe that the community originated 5000 years ago when an ancestor...
Barai

Barai

Who are they? The Barai grow and sell paan or betel vine leaf. They are also known as Tamboli (Sanskrit tambul meaning betel), Panwari (panwara, derived from the Sanskrit parna, meaning leaf) and Chaurasia (meaning four sages). Since the betel leaf...
Barhai

Barhai

Who are they? The Barhai or Badhai are an occupational caste of carpenters and wood carvers.  They make furniture, wooden ploughs, harrows, and other agricultural tools as carpenters for village and town people.  Numbering around 4 million people, t...
Bari

Bari

Who are they? The Bari, also known as Rawat and Paanwale (betel-leaf sellers), are a community of household servants and makers of leaf-plates. Location They live in Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Bihar.  In Bihar they ...
Basor

Basor

Who are they? The Basor are a community of bamboo workers who have been marginalized by society. They are from the low Sudra caste (lowest class of servants and peasants), in the lowest tier of the four classes. They live mainly in the states of Uttar...
Beldar

Beldar

Who are they? The Beldar, also known as Lonia, are construction workers who till, dig and carry earth and supply bricks, clay and sand to construction sites. Their existence as a distinct community can be traced to the reign of an Afghan ruler of Northern ...
Bhar

Bhar

Who are they? The Bhar, also known as Rajbhar, Bharat and Bharpatwa, is a community of more than 1.7 million people residing mainly in Uttar Pradesh. The name Rajbhar, according to ethnologists Russel and Hiralal (Tribes and Castes of the Central provinces...
Bharbhunja

Bharbhunja

Who are they? The Bharbhunja, Bharabhunja or Bhurji are a community of grain-parchers spread across the states of Uttar Pradesh (1 million), Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh. They are almost exclusively...
Bhat

Bhat

Who are they? The Bhat are a poetic community known for their phakra (speaking poetically in praise of others) who are found in the states of Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal, Haryana, Punjab, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan....
Bhisti

Bhisti

Who are they? The Bhisti are traditionally a community of water-carriers and supply water in skin bags. A few still do this work but drinking water has been made readily accessible and the Bhisti are no longer needed to provide water. The water is needed...
Bhotia

Bhotia

Who are they? The Bhotia or Bhotiya are an occupational caste of shepherds. Numbering around 120,000 people, they live predominantly in the northern states of Sikkim, Tripura, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, Ladakh,...
Brahmin

Brahmin

Who are they? The Brahmin people are a prominent community spread across the whole of India. The Brahmin are the highest of the four Hindu castes, made up of priests and scholars of Vedic literature and their traditional occupation is to concern themselves...
Chamar

Chamar

Who are they? One of the largest communities of India, they are a Scheduled Caste that has a single generic name. The name Chamar is derived from the Sanskrit charmakar (leather worker). They work with leather, making hides and shoes and bags. They...
Darzi

Darzi

Who are they? The Darzi or Darji, are a community of tailors, numbering around 3,240,000 people. Darzi is derived from the Persian word darzan, meaning to sew or from darz, meaning seam. The Darzi are largely a landless community whose main occupation...
Dhanuk

Dhanuk

Who are they? The word Dhanuk is thought to derive from the Sanskrit dahnushka, meaning archer, or from the Hindi dhan (grain), alluding to cleaning grain which is one of their main occupations—or perhaps from dhanukali or dhanki, a bow-like instrument f...
Dhobi

Dhobi

Who are they? Traditionally, the Dhobi are washer men. The name dhobi is derived from the Hindi dhona (to wash). The Dhobi were considered ‘untouchables’ – the lowest castes in the Hindu social hierarchy. India's independence brought about a new co...
Dhunia

Dhunia

Who are they? The Dhunia are also known as Mansoori, Behna, Naddaf, and Pinjara. They are a Muslim community of cotton-carders, numbering around 3 million people. Location They live mainly in the districts of Gonda, Bahraich, Deoria, Basti, Gorakhpur,...
Dosadh

Dosadh

Who are they? The Dosadh, also known as Dusad or Dusadh, are a large community of more than three million people distributed across the states of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and West Bengal. They were palanquin bearers a long time ago. There are about 200,000...
Fakir

Fakir

Who are they? The Fakir (also spelt as Faqir or Fakhir) are a community of religious mendicants or beggars belonging to the Islamic faith. Location The Fakirs (2.2 million) are concentrated in the districts of Meerut, Moradabad, Bahraich, Sultanpur,...
Gadaria

Gadaria

Who are the Gadaria? The Gadaria are also referred to as Baghela or Pal, are a community of shepherds. The word Gadaria is derived from the Hindi word gadar meaning sheep and denotes "one who keeps or tends sheep". Ethnologists, Russel and Hiralal (1916), describe them as "an occupational shepherd caste of northern India," while another authority, William Crooke (1896), calls them "a caste of shepherds and blanket weavers."
Gaddi

Gaddi

Who are they? The Gaddi are a Muslim community of cow herders. They can be found throughout the northern states of Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Bihar and Rajasthan. Origin William Crooke describes them as a "community of cow-herders" in his Tribes and Castes...
Gond

Gond

Who are they? The Gond is a very large tribe of Central India, numbering 12.7 million. Traditionally they have been cultivating land, producing crops, and raising livestock. They grow rice, wheat, and different types of lentils, sesame, millet and cotton. Location...
Goriya

Goriya

Who are they? The Goriya, also known as Gaur, are a two hundred and fifty thousand strong community of traditional fishermen and boatmen found in the vast north Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. They are distributed predominantly in the fertile, eastern...
Gosain

Gosain

Who are they? The Gosain are traditionally a community of religious mendicants - homeless, wandering ascetics who have renounced material pleasures to become a sadhu (saint) and live by collecting alms and looking after temples. They are dedicated to...
Gujjar

Gujjar

Who are they? The Gujjar are a pastoral community that used to be nomadic but many now live in settled communities. The word Gujjar is derived from the term gaucharana, meaning to graze cows. They are a well-built people, medium to tall in stature. Origin...
Halwai

Halwai

Who are they? The Halwai are a caste of confectioners and sweet-makers. The name is derived from the Hindi word halwa, a popular sweet made of flour, clarified butter (ghee) sugar, almonds, raisins and pistachio nuts and saffron. The Halwai are known...
Jat

Jat

Who are they? The Jats are a dominant farming community who own their land. The Jats have a reputation of being a feisty, hardworking people who are dedicated to community service. The word Jat is derived from Jatta, a generic term for cattle grazers...
Julaha

Julaha

Who are they? The Julaha are an important artisan community who weave cloth on handlooms. They live in Uttar Pradesh (2.9 million), Himachal Pradesh, Delhi, Haryana, Jammu and Kashmir and Chandigarh. The term Julaha is derived from the Persian word...
Kachchi

Kachchi

Who are they? The Kachchi are an agricultural community distributed in the states of Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Delhi. Ethnologist, William Crooke, in his Tribes and Castes of North-Western India (1896) describes them...
Kahar

Kahar

Who are they? The Kahar were once palanquin bearers. As the palanquin is not used anymore, the Kahar carry water for upper castes for weddings, funerals and grow water nuts in ponds and lakes. Location This large community is distributed throughout...
Kalwar

Kalwar

Who are they? The Kalwar, also called Kalar or Kallar, Sehore and Kalal, are traditionally a community of distillers and traders of country liquor. They are spread across the states of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and West Bengal, as well as Madhya Pradesh. The...
Kayasth

Kayasth

Who are they? The Kayasth people are a well-known community of traditional scribes or writers and village accountants. Their name is also spelled Kayastha or Kayashtha. The Kayasth are usually addressed by a number of synonyms like Lala, Lalli, Lal,...
Kewat

Kewat

Who are they? The name Kewat is derived from the Sanskrit word kaivarta, meaning fishermen. As the name implies, this is a community of traditional boatmen and fishermen. This people group is found throughout the states of Uttar Pradesh, Chhattisgarh,...
Khangar

Khangar

Who are they? The Khangar claim that they are of the same status as Rajputs who are of the Kshatriya caste (second highest class of warriors). They trace their ancestry from Khet Singh and Bhopat Singh of the Grah Kundal princely state of Tikamgarh...
Khatik

Khatik

Who are they? The Khatik are a large community of butchers, numbering around 1.7 million. They are distributed throughout Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh, Delhi, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Chandigarh, West...
Khatri

Khatri

Who are they? The Khatri are a trading and mercantile community, who originated in Punjab and spread to the many states in which they now live. Numbering around 2.5 million, they live in Punjab, Delhi, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Jammu & Kashmir,...
Kisan

Kisan

Who are they? The Kisan, Hindi for farmer, are farmers. They are distributed in the states of Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Orissa and West Bengal. Under the provisions of independent India’s 1950 constitution the Kisan are listed as a Scheduled Tribe (ST). T...
Koeri

Koeri

Who are they? The Koeri, also spelled Koiri or Koiry grow fruit, vegetables, tobacco and opium for the local market. They are a large community of around 5.5 million people distributed throughout the states of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Jharkhand and ...
Kol

Kol

Who are they? The Kol are an ancient tribal community, one of the original inhabitants of northern and central India. Location They are located throughout the states of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Tripura. In...
Kori

Kori

Who are they? The Kori are a caste of traditional weavers of North India who are Hindu. The Kori, numbering around two-and-a half million, are distributed throughout the states of Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Orissa and the union territory ...
Kumhar

Kumhar

Who are they? The Kumhar are potters who make earthen vessels, water pots, decorative home wares, toys and idols of gods and goddesses. The name Kumhar denotes a maker of pots and pitchers or someone who creates. They are an integral part of Indian...
Kurmi

Kurmi

Who are they? The Kurmi are a large peasant community of farmers widely distributed in the states of Uttar Pradesh (more than 5 million), Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab and Assam. Successive waves of land reform legislation all over India since the 1950s...
Lodha

Lodha

Who are they? The Lodha are an important agricultural community of 3.2 million who live in Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Delhi. They also call themselves Banbate, Kisan, Lodh, Lodh Rajput or Tomar. Origin According...
Lohar

Lohar

Who are they? The Lohar or Luhar are an occupational caste of traditional traveling blacksmiths that number more than 7.5 million people. The term Lohar is derived from the Sanskrit word lauha-kara, meaning ‘a worker in iron’. In Rajasthan, they are...
Lunia

Lunia

Who are they? The Lunia were traditionally salt makers. They are also known as Nunia, Sambhri, Sambhri Chauhan and Jhumaria Parmer. Location They number more than 1.5 million in Uttar Pradesh and are said to have migrated there from the Sambhar salt...
Mali

Mali

Who are they? The Mali is a caste of gardeners and vegetable-growers. The word Mali is derived from the Sanskrit mala, meaning garland. There are about 8 million Mali. They are a Backward Class (OBC) spread across 89 districts in the states of Uttar...
Mallah

Mallah

Who are they? Mallah is a generic term for a group of people, whose lives revolve around boating and fishing. Residing mainly in the states of Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Delhi and West Bengal, they are also known as Nishad, Kewat, Malso and...
Manihar

Manihar

Who are they? The Manihar are a Muslim community who work with stones, glass and make tin foils. They migrated from the Sindh region of Pakistan about two hundred years ago. The ethnologist, William Crooke, states that the word manihar is derived from...
Meo

Meo

Who are they? The Meo are a community of livestock farmers. There are more than 300,000 people scattered through approximately 1,200 villages across the Mewat region of Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Haryana. They form a quarter of the population of the...
Mochi

Mochi

Who are they? The Mochi are cobblers and saddlers and make up 4.5 million living in North, Central and some parts of South India. They are also known as Muchia, Muchhir, Mochavaru, Dalera, Kattai, Machi, Rishi, Ravidas, Sochi, Arya Kshatriya Chumas...
Mughal

Mughal

Who are they? The Mughal or Moguls were once known as a community of soldiers who are now a landowning community. They are a well-known Muslim community who live in the states of Jammu, Kashmir, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Rajasthan, Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh. Origin ...
Murao

Murao

Who are they? The Murao, also known as Mauriya, are an agricultural community of Uttar Pradesh numbering around 1.8 million people. They are similar to the Kacchi and the Koeri, both large agricultural communities of north India, and are at times considered...
Musahar

Musahar

Who are they? Traditionally, the Musahar of Uttar Pradesh are bee keepers (honey collectors) and stitch leaf plates for local sale. The Musahar also cultivate land. Some other occupations include wage-labour in industry, forestry, fishing, pulling hand...
Nai

Nai

Who are they? The Nai are barbers. The name, Nai, is a corrupt form of the Sanskrit word napika, or ‘one who cleans nails’. The traditional occupation of the Nai is cutting hair, beard and nails, shaving, cleaning ears, extracting teeth, setting spr...
Nat

Nat

Who are they? The Nat are a community of professional dancers, singers and acrobats who originated from Rajasthan. They used to live on the patronage of Rajput rulers and therefore prefer to call themselves Raj Nat. They are also referred to as Bhanmati,...
Pasi

Pasi

Who are they? The Pasi are engaged in settled cultivation in Uttar Pradesh but work in a variety of jobs in other states. This people group can be found in 52 districts of the country as a whole, primarily in Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal, Orissa, Maharashtra,...
Pathan

Pathan

Who are they? The Pathan people are one of four major Muslim communities in India. A hardy, immigrant community from neighboring Afghanistan, these people claim to be descended from Saul, the first king of Israel. They came to India during the successive...
Rajput

Rajput

Who are they? The Rajput people are a proud people whose name is derived from the Sanskrit word Rajputra which means king’s son. The Rajput own rural land and are engaged in agriculture. Some Rajputs are also in trade, government service and an increasing n...
Saini

Saini

Who are they? The Saini is a community of traditional agriculturists and horticulturists distributed across the states of Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh, Delhi, Punjab and the Union Territory of Chandigarh. According to the ethnologist...
Sayyad

Sayyad

Who are they? The Sayyad, also spelled Syed or Saiyed, are a large Muslim landowning rural community. Numbering around 12.2 million they are spread over one hundred and thirty-one districts of the country. The largest number reside in Uttar Pradesh...
Shaikh

Shaikh

Who Are They? The Shaikh are a large Muslim community of around 45 million who are primarily cultivators but also rear buffaloes, cows, goats and sheep in the states of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. Business, trade, service, weaving, woodwork, masonry are...
Shilpkar

Shilpkar

Who are they? The generic term Shilpkar, or Shilpakar, is used for all of Indian people groups regarded as low castes. For generations they have produced ropes, fans and mats. A few are sweepers and scavengers (same as the low-caste Bhangi and Churha...
Sonar

Sonar

Who Are They? The Sonar are gold and silversmiths. They make jewelry and ornaments that are elaborately designed and inlaid with precious and semi-precious stones. Some Sonar cut and polish diamonds, while others engrave deities on pendants and gold...
Taga

Taga

Who are they? The Taga, better known as Tyagi, have been settled cultivators since ancient times and live in the northern Indian states of Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Delhi. They claim their origin from the Brahmin which is the highest Hindu caste. Origin...
Tamboli

Tamboli

Who are they? The Tamboli are also known as Tambuli, Tamuli or Tamli. Tamboli has been derived from the Sanskrit word tambul meaning betel leaf which the Tamboli have cultivated and sold for generations along with areca nuts. They live in Rajasthan,...
Teli

Teli

Who are they? Traditionally, the Teli are an occupational caste of oil-pressers. The traditional wooden oil press was driven by blindfolded oxen around a mill. This labour intensive mill has been replaced by motor operated mills. However, many of today’s o...
Turk

Turk

Who are they? A small Islamic community of around two hundred and fifty thousand people, the Turk people group, also known as Turk Zamat, traces their migration from Turkey in the remote past and derives their community name from that same place. They...
Yadav

Yadav

Who are they? The Yadav are, at present, mostly a landowning community, with large sections being small-scale farmers. Their traditional and main occupations are animal husbandry (cattle and buffaloes) and agriculture, with the selling of milk and milk...