Bhat


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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. They were genealogists and chroniclers to the rulers of India. They kept records of genealogy and wrote about the exploits and heroic deeds of their masters.

In a way, the Bhat were expert historians, and the literature of India owes the preservation of its oldest treasures to these people. They recited poems and ballads (in a typical high-pitched sing-song tone) in the courts of rulers and chiefs. The Bhat were known to ridicule those who offended them with sarcastic wit. In some cases, an effigy of the offender would be hung on a pole with a slipper also attached to it as a mark of disgrace. This would then be paraded around with the accompaniment of a humiliating song until the offender paid to shut them up!

Origin

According to Russel and Hiralal (The Castes and Tribes of the Central Provinces of India) their community name is derived from the Sanskrit word bhatta, meaning a lord. They further state that the Bhat “are an offshoot of Brahmins, their name being merely a corruption of the term Brahmin.” The ancient epic, the Mahabharata, speaks of a band of Brahmin bards marching in front of the victorious king. The Bhat originated in Rajputana (an old name for Rajasthan) and later migrated to the adjoining states after the downfall of the kingdoms. Rai, Bandh and Bharata are some of their titles.

Language

They speak different languages depending on where they live. In Uttar Pradesh they speak Hindi, while in West Bengal they speak Bengali. In Himachal Pradesh they speak Pahari; Churasi in Maharashtra, Mewari in Madhya Pradesh and Marwari in Rajasthan. The Bhat of Haryana speaks Haryanvi.

The Muslim Bhats (making up 10%) live in Jammu & Kashmir and Bihar. They speak Kashmiri and Urdu, both of which are written in the Persian Arabic script. The Bhat are also conversant in Hindi.

What are their lives like?

The Bhat are mainly landowners, the land given to them by their patrons. Some landless Bhat have taken to begging like the religious mendicants who lead nomadic lives. The landowners cultivate their land. Some Bhat work in government jobs, the army and the police, or are small businessmen running grocery, vegetable and sweet shops and tea stalls. Some are also engaged in making and selling country liquor. Many work as daily wage labourers in industrial areas, the agriculture sector and in road and bridge construction. In Jammu & Kashmir and Bihar many Bhat are weavers and embroiderers. In West Bengal some are temple priests.

A small few are scholars, teachers, professionals and artists, especially the younger generation. Although this community approves of formal education, literacy levels are very low, especially among girls and women. Poverty, household chores and work deny them the opportunity. The women of this community are increasingly receptive to family planning. Traditional cures are more commonly used. The Bhat make good use of the facilities provided for irrigation, electricity, banking and the take part in the Public Distribution System (PDS) offered by the government.

The Hindu Bhat people are strict vegetarians. Most others of this people group do eat mutton, poultry, and fish but do not eat beef due to their Hindu beliefs. The Muslim Bhats eat beef and buffalo meat but their religion does not permit them to eat pork. Rice, wheat, millet and maize are staple cereals. Pulses, seasonal vegetables and fruit, milk and dairy products supplement their diet. Though alcohol consumption is not encouraged many Bhat do drink occasionally.

Customs

The Bhat marry only within their community. The Bhat are divided into subgroups and clans and will marry outside their own clan. The Hindu Bhats are monogamous but Muslim Bhats permit polygamy. Adult marriages are more common and are arranged by parents and family elders from both sides, though marriage by exchange is also observed. The practice of marrying one’s deceased wife’s younger sister and, to a lesser degree, that of marrying one’s deceased husband’s younger brother is prevalent and cross-cousin marriages are also acceptable. The women have sindur (vermilion mark), nose stud, glass and iron bangles, toe-rings and bindi (coloured dot on the mid forehead) as the symbols of matrimony.

The custom of giving dowry in cash and kind remains prevalent everywhere else except in Maharashtra where the groom pays a cash bride-price. Divorce is permitted on grounds of adultery, maladjustment, impotency and insanity. Remarriage of widows, widowers and divorcees is socially allowed.

Both extended and nuclear families exist among the Bhat with the trend for living apart becoming more popular. The Bhats of Madhya Pradesh still prefer to live in joint families. Parental property is usually divided equally among all the sons only; in Maharashtra the daughters can inherit a lesser share. Islamic law also grants inheritance rights to both males and females to those in Maharashtra. The sons receive two-thirds and the daughters’ one–third of the inheritance.

In addition to doing all household chores, the women collect fuel wood and water and also look after the domestic animals. They have specific roles in the social, religious and ritual spheres and also contribute to the family income by doing various jobs. They are generally accorded a status equal to men and are as bold, voluble and ready in retort as the men. They also have a say in the family finances. The Bhat have oral traditions about their migration and glorious past. Folk songs are sung to the accompaniment of music by both men and women, who also dance at weddings. Common musical instruments are khartal, dholak (double-headed, cylindrical drum), flute, harmonium, and chimta (tongs). Some Bhat are good poets and have composed folk songs like the jhumur of West Bengal. They also perform the famous chhou folk dance here.

The Bhat of some regions have a panchayat (council) that is headed by five members. In Ujjain, Madhya Pradesh the community council is called the Kshatri Bhat Samaj which deals with cases of adultery, quarrels and social irregularities. The West Bengal council is called Pancha Bhadran. Political leadership has emerged among them – even to the state level as in Jammu & Kashmir.

What are their beliefs?

Over the centuries the Bhats have taken on the belief systems of the patrons they have served and added it to their own. Those who are Muslim adhere to the tenets of Islam. The Hindu Bhat worship all the major gods and goddesses of Hinduism like Shiva (the Destroyer), Vishnu (the Preserver), Krishna (8th incarnation of Vishnu), Radha (Krishna’s consort), Rama (7th incarnation of Vishnu), Ganesha (elephant-headed god of good luck; Shiva’s son), Kali (black goddess; Shiva’s wife), Durga (ten-armed goddess who slays demons) and a host of regional and village deities.

The Hindu Bhat celebrates fairs and festivals common to other Hindus and attaches similar significance to them. These include Holi, Diwali, Janamashtami, Ramnavmi and others. The Muslim community observes Id and Muharram. They also revere Muslim saints and pay homage at their tomb shrines.

The Hindu Bhat cremates their dead and immerses the ashes in a river, except children under five years who are buried. The Hindus have sacred specialists from their own and the Brahmin community to perform all rites and rituals. Ancestor worship and a belief in the occult is prevalent among them. Muslims bury their dead.

 

47 Comments

  1. in order to get ancient/old banjara language translated i need to know the place where could i find their jaga community genolists in rajasthan .(jaga are the people who translate ancient documents
    and records for their community).i want to know the where the jaga community of banjara people
    is located.this information is of great importance.please reply at the earliest.thanks.

    Reply
  2. it is very usefull. thanku

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  3. IT GIVES US KNOWLEDGE

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  4. i am very happy for this history

    Reply
  5. I Want to know about Bhat khshetri especially who lived in western part of Nepal.I want to know history about us.

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    • Im bhat myself and my grandfather say bhat of nepal are brahmins..and his grandfather would not even eat food cook by others not even upadhya brahmins.i guess somewhere down the line the bhat brahmins might have married a lower clean cast that made the children bhat kshetriyas.

      Reply
  6. You are not having sufficient information about bhatt brahmin community. please revised literature with deep research and historical available information.

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    • this website speaks bullshit they don’t know about bhatt/Brahmbhatt the first of the Brahmin class of Saraswat gaud.They were the manasputra of Brahma the creator and such etymology poorly demolished here …better remove this trash or get ready for summons legal actions under freedom of religion rights and laws you are tarnishing the image of Brahmin that too of high importance of Hindu mythology

      Reply
  7. “bhatt” not bhat or bhant or bhand.bhatt means a priest or scribe in sanskrit.bhatt r great brahmins they belong to saraswat brahmins.This is title given to learned Brahmins. A predominantly Hindu last name, it is found most commonly in the states of Rajasthan, Gujarat, Haryana, Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab, Madhya Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and in West Bengal (as Bhattācharya) and some parts of Karnataka.

    Among the communities in India with this last name are the Nagar Brahmins, Bhattmewada Brahmins, Audichya Brahmins, Gouda Saraswat Brahmins Gurjargaur Brahmins, Konkanastha and the Smartha Brahmins. Some families in Karnataka also share the surname belong to Havyaka, Shivalli (and or) madhva and even Daivajna.

    In the olden days, the kings used to have the presence of Brahmins for various purposes. People who belonged to the class of Brahmins mainly gave highly influential judgements on the right and wrong decisions in the court, later came to be known as ‘Bhatt’.

    It is believed that because of this, these people possess excellent communication,Judgement and logical argument skills in them. Bhatts was known to keep genealogies of Rajput kings.

    The earliest reference of Bhatt can be found in Chandragupta’s empire. In Mudrarakshasa, while describing different divisions in Chandragupta’s army, a reference can be found to Bhatt-Bala. Here Bala means a division, hence Bhatt-Bala would mean a division composed of Bhatt.
    i would like to say that bhatt r brahmins n bhant or bhand r muslims.( bhatt or bhant me jamin asman ka antar hai)

    Reply
    • excellent, knowledgeble

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    • I agree with your information.
      Aryabhatt- Great Mathemetician
      Baanbhatt- Historian
      Vishnusharman- economist and author of panchtantra
      Kumarila bhatt – Author of Purvamimansha mainly known as mimansa sutra. His well known student was Mandana Mishra.
      Vamana Bhat- he was well known priest in Maharashtra chinchwad region who devoted his life to Lord Ganesha and his successor are still here in Morya Mandir pimpri chinchwad Pune with dev as their surname.

      I can give various facts and proofs that we were the supreme Brahmins.

      Reply
  8. Ashok Sharma From Indore , Belongs from Bihar ,

    If u want to know the history of Bhatt pls contact to my younger brother , he is having sound knowledge of Bhatt & Bhat . Pls do not match such msg

    Reply
  9. The Bhatts are also from Uttrakhand. Those from here are strict vegetarians, not even eating mushrooms.

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  10. Myself suryawanshi khyatriya hindu lad Khatik caste who are bhats of this cumunity

    Reply
  11. hi, i am looking for any information on my great great grand father who migrated from india to australia, his name was Alexander Mongta, apparently when he came here his last name was changed because it was to long. he came from a little village up in the mountains or punjab… if anyone could help with the last name MONGTA if its similar to any known last names please any information would help.

    Reply
    • Hi this my great grandfather

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  12. Bhatt is actually not a cast but the title offered to those brahmins who proved their excellence over others,established their superiority.They were offered the title as Phd etc are offered these days.Because of their pride for the title they made relations n alliances with those who have proved themselves too.This led to formation of a sub group within the varna of brahmins.Since only few who have distinguished themselves in their fields were entitled to use the title,in exclusion to others,hence an exclusive sub group was most likely to come into eminence,eventually it did emerge.Owing to their concentration in rigvedic-indo-aryan area i;e around river Sarsawati they were called
    sarsawati-Putra,as Sarsawat Brahmins they actually are.They perfected mastery over various academic fields including veds,rituals,music,medicines,art,culture,poetry,history,records n many other creative fields,besides whatever duty assigned by kings–who amongst hindus of those times was considered as reincarnation of Lord Vishnu hence to be followed without fail.But Bhatts due to their proven wisdom were allowed to disagree n not invite wrath.Due to proximity with King,they had influence,power etc.As we know power corrupts, certain wrongs must have arisen with some of them.However after drying of river Sarswati they were forced to leave their natural habbitat n move other place to meet their needs.in this way you loose a lot.New place one is at the mercy of new people.Your own co-professionals will feel dis-comfirt n competition,n hence discard will be the most likely option.Thus some Brahmins are not very appritiative of their skills n capabilities, extreme,proffesional rivalry was but natural.Nevertheless,they have shown their mettle in all most all fields.But continuous advers conditions n political upheavals of northern india faced by them have effected some wanting in development, like any other society/class.Yet the community has carried on with their Sarswati-basin brahminical model n thoughts,at times different then others. Any-way good, as in the field of knowledge,right to disagree,generates creative energy n results/ breeds new knowledge . From Dr Sharad Bhatt.

    Reply
    • Thank you sir

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    • i want to about brahmbhatt and who is rao brahmbhatt caste in rajputana

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    • Thank you sir

      Reply
  13. I don’t beleive in castes.Dil Acha to sab acha

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    • Well said bro..

      Reply
  14. har har mahadeva for all brahmanas live by calture secure your tradition too

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  15. I am like side

    Reply
  16. i want ref.on this from granths etc or from vedas.

    Reply
  17. I want to know about the bhaat people who migrated from rajasthan to ” Aundh” sansthan, satara,maharashatra.l am one of them,approx.5th genaration in maharashatra.Now staying at thane.pl.help me to search my origin.

    Reply
    • Hi..

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  18. I am told that Bhaat people are a caste that travelled from place to place recording the generations over the years. Neary village in Dhule, North Maharashtra, is a village called Dondaicha. The Bhaat community that recorded my caste people in my village came from there. They left the village some years ago and migrated, mostly to Surat in Gujarat. I want to know about my family”s generations. Can anyone help trace these people. Alternatively where can I get information about my family. Do they have a central repository somewhere. I heard they have a connection with Rajasthan. Is there a place in Rajasthan where I can access this information for my family? We belong to the Mahar caste and they are a sub-caste called Rajbhaats. Thanks.

    Reply
  19. why bhatt community write their surname sharma?actually I wanted to know the reason of writing sharma.due to this our strengthen is going down .so I request to write bhatt because we are superior than other brahmin.

    Reply
    • I m totally agree with u ….

      Reply
    • Sharma title is changed version of Sharman from Sanskrit. it means Aacharya.

      Reply
  20. In rajasthan there are kathputalee bhat there are work as papeter ..

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  21. Total population of brahmbhatt brahmin in india

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  22. I like to know About Raibhat & Bhatt.What is deference between to Caste in India.I am As muslim Asking.please must Answer my Email & Website. I will be thankfull you. Alhaj Ramzan Ahmad Rahmani Bilariyaganj Azamgarh up.

    Reply
  23. Hi, I am looking for information on the last name Bhattan. My Ancestors migrated to the West Indies and I am seeking knowledge in the historical sense of the last name and people. Can anyone shed some light on the subject… Is the name Bhattan any relations to Bhatta or Bhat?

    Reply
  24. I want to have contact details of any bhat (genealogy record keeper) for Pawar Clan. Please help me with this. I will be very thankful.

    Reply

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Indian Culture by States: Rajasthan Culture - People Groups of India - […] different “People Groups Profiles” seen in Rajasthan which includes Bari, Bharbhunja, Bhat, Gaddi, Kachchi, Khatik, Lodha, Lohar, Meo, Mughal, Nat, Saini, Tamboli. Other […]
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