Chamar

No photos

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 were relegated to living on the outer edges of villages due to the small of rotting hides and chemicals that they were steeped in. The name Dalit (Marathi for the broken or oppressed people) is a preferred name for this community.

They are known by various names in each state and are listed along with other synonyms and subgroups. In Uttar Pradesh they are known as Raidas; in Bihar as Charmkar, Mochi or Ravidas; in Chandigarh as Jatia Chamar or Ramdasi; in Himachal Pradesh as Arya or Mochi; in Punjab as Ramdasi or Raigar; and in Haryana as Jatav or Jatia. Some of these subgroups, such as the Satnami of Madhya Pradesh, prefer not to identified with Chamars and maintain a separate identity.

They belong to a caste group of heterogeneous people who are not racially or socially homogenous. They are a conglomeration of a large number of people groups from the lowest caste regarded as untouchable according to Hindu social and religious belief. The Indian Constitution abolished the Chamar’s untouchable status and was listed in a schedule with all other lower castes (from which the term Scheduled Caste is derived) and made them eligible to receive special benefits from the government’s developmental schemes. In spite of this legislation, social stigma remains and higher castes still do not drink or eat food and water from Chamars, especially in rural areas. UP has the largest percentage (21%) and number (37 million) of the Oppressed Dalits (a collective term used for people groups considered untouchables by Hindus). The Chamar live in almost all the states of northern, central and western India.

What Are Their Lives Like?

The Chamar are partly urban and partly rural community, mostly living in the plains. In the past, the Chamar have been landless and known for their work in skin and hide work and agricultural labour. However, under the government’s post-independence land allotment programs, seven of the twenty-nine Chamar communities have become landholders. The Reservation policies for Scheduled Castes have enabled many Chamar to become government employees. Some other occupations include unskilled labour for daily wages or contract basis, masonry, basketry and self employment.

The Chamar play an important part in politics. In an attempt to rid themselves of caste bias and exploitation, they have united with other Dalits to form a national political party called the Bahujan Samaj Party which has takes an offensive position towards higher castes. The Party has been quite successful. One of its Chamar leaders, Ms. Mayawati, was elected Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh in 1995. This was a milestone in conservative Uttar Pradesh which is traditionally ruled by the higher castes.

Although education is important to the Chamars, boys are sent to school only for a short time and leave to find work in order to support the family. Girls are generally kept home as it is socially unacceptable to extend opportunities to them that are traditionally reserved for boys. The Chamar are a dynamic community and are more likely to make use of the opportunities offered by development programs in comparison to other Dalits. Family planning is increasingly acceptable to them.

The Chamar are non-vegetarians who eat mostly pork; beef is eaten in Gujarat though it is not permitted by Hindus. Some eat carrion. Goan Chamar have a diet of fish curry and rice. Other staples are wheat, rice, barley, millet and maize.

Customs

The Chamar marry within their community but maintain exogamy at village or clan level. In Uttar Pradesh, marriages between cousins are acceptable, preferably with the daughter of a mother’s brother. Marriage is arranged by negotiation between families. Child marriages are becoming less common. Marriage symbols are vermilion on the forehead, bangles and toe-rings. A dowry is given by the bride’s family though a few Chamar pay a cash bride price. Divorce is permitted on grounds of maladjustment, adultery or cruelty. Widows and divorced women are allowed to remarry.

Chamar’s live apart from their parents and in joint families. A son is entitled to an equal share of inheritance; the oldest succeeds his father as head of the family. Daughters receive no inheritance and have a low status. In villages, the women tend domestic animals, collect cow dung and make ‘pats’ that is used as fuel and sometimes also work as laborers to contribute to the family’s income. They participate in social and religious events that relate to family and community.

Community councils exercise social control. Sentencing for includes social boycott, excommunication and cash fines. The community is rich in oral tradition and has a vast repertoire of folk-songs, sung to the accompaniment of percussion instruments.

What Are Their Beliefs?

Chamar communities are mainly Hindu but some are Buddhist and Sikh. In North India, most Hindu Chamar belong to the Raidasi sect and worship guru Ravidas, a disciple of Ramananda, who is known as a champion for promoting change for the oppressed Chamar. Other gods, family and village deities are also worshipped.

The Jatav, a subgroup of the Chamar famous for leather craftsmanship, live in the districts of Agra and Mathura and disassociate their community from other Chamar. The Jatav continue mass conversions to Buddhism since 1956, when Dr. Ambedkar, a champion for India’s disadvantaged people, embraced Buddhism. Festivals for his birth and death anniversaries are held in his honor.

In Haryana, some Chamar, influenced by Dr. Ambedkar, converted to Buddhism, while others are Christian and Sikh. Sociologists have found that despite calling themselves Buddhists, old Hindu beliefs are so ingrained that they coexist with their belief in Ambedkar and Buddha. Some Chamar communities also believe in spirits and the ‘evil eye’ and consult sorcerers. Bihari deities include Sati, and Sitala Mata, while in Goa, Ganesh and Shiva are worshipped. Most Chamar in Punjab and Chandigarh are Sikh and are called Ramdasi after Guru Ramdas the fifth Sikh Guru. They bow down before the Guru Granth Sahib, the holy book of the Sikhs. The Nirankari and Radhasaomi sects advocate worship to an omnipresent Supreme Being who is without form, does away with rituals and idolatry and provides close fellowship within equals.

What Are Their Needs?

The basic needs of the Chamar are financial security and literacy. A greater need is for equal opportunity, dignity and freedom from discrimination. .

71 thoughts on “Chamar

  1. why , even today people thinks that we are back wards and dont have any type of status in the society .Well i just wat to say to the communities who think we are back wards , but wea re not come in any field and any competation we tell u we are where.

    And i fell very happy that I am a chamar ,i proud to be . B ecause I am not lesser then any one . Hats of to BABA SHAIB BHIM RAO KO.

    • hi this is vipin kumar(robbin jaatav),
      i m also with you,
      CHAMAR HUN WO NA RAHE JEBBAN RAKHDE NOTTA NAL BHARKE,
      CHAMAR HUN WO NA RAHE GHARO NIKLE BULET TE CHADHKE……………

        • We chamar’s can achieve anything and everything with the EDUCATION just educate yourself and become professional or atleast fluent yourself in ENGLISH language as Dr. Ambedkar said

  2. chamars are discoverers we have to investigate the reality in order to establish identity

  3. feel proud to be CHAMAR
    and want to say
    shikshit bano, sanghtit raho, sangharsh karo

  4. chamar full form chamda atma(soul) mans ragt then coplete chamar so every person chamar
    and i am a chamar i proud to bee chamar

  5. A lot of Chamars escaped oppression and emigrated to Fiji, St Lucia etc as labourers over 100 years ago. These people removed the caste system and the dowry system altogether from their culture. Their decendants grew up to be educated professionals such as doctors, professors, bankers and businessmen who now thrive in Fiji USA New Zealand Canada etc.. They live with dignity and pride with no stigma. They enjoy a quality lifestyle far removed from what their fellow dalits are subjected to in India even today. Their success is proof that the reason Dalits are backward is because they are subjugated and trodden upon by the so called upper castes in their homeland.. Give us a level playing field and we are just as good as anybody else. Had god designated the occupation and status of Dalits, those in Fiji would still have been exactly in the same situation as Dalits in India.

    • The only Dharm is Bauddh, it gives us social justice and equality. No caste system exists in Buddha. So all Chamars should accept Bauddha Dharm and accelerate it intellectually as good as other Asian Countries like China, Japan, Srilanka, Hongkong etc…….

  6. why are you disgracing the mochis/chamars?
    I am a Mochi by caste and doing my Phd,I reside in maharashtra.
    Please get your facts right and get them updated.Almost all Mochis are educated (as far as i have seen in my native state-maharashtra)
    In my family we have well known docters,bankers,engineers,architects,and the women too are highly educated.Most of the women are highly educated in our community.
    Also let me clarify you we dont have pork…you will find many Mochis who are strict vegeterians.
    We are living in the 21st century and you are still in 1600′s…we dont hve child marriages,dowry in our community infact it is more prevalent in rich class communities
    I am proud to belong to Mochi caste..we did a noble job of making and selling footwears as they protected the feet from infections,wounds and dust.
    Please get your facts right and then make a statement!

  7. The recent emerging theories have shown that actually leather profession has nothing to do with word CHAMAR. Upto mid of 19th century Chamars of North-West India were biggest landowning communities and they fiercely participated in 1857 revolution. After the end of 1857 revolution emerged British empires identified some castes with it’s civil officers who belonged to the upper castes, identified Chamars, Gujjar, Meenas, Babaria, etc as criminal castes. As Chamars were the biggest communities of all and keep showing their resilience even after, so Britishers snatched their lands away from them and divided that lands into the no-farmer castes like Tyagi, Brahmans, Rajputs, etc and in help of Britishers cast-est history writers removed the struggle of Chamars from history. Research of the govt district-level documents of 19th century has shown that in Murabad division, Agra division, Sirsa, Gurgaon and Jallandhar, chamars was communities which highest agricultural revenue to government, followed by muslims, Jats and at some places Gujjars. Association of Chamars with leather mainly started only by the end of 19th century because of their need of survival and this give the reason to build a lie around the history.

  8. i m very very proud to be chamar because al world is chamar. Jo bole so Nirbhe Shri Guru Ravidass maharaj g ki jai.

  9. actuly chamar word jo chawanr wansh se nikla hai jo aryo se pehle raj karte they kyoki arya bad me aaye aur hamare sub sadhno par kabja kar liya aur baki sub loot liya kuch bhag gaye jo nahi bhag suke unhe jabrdusti neech karyo par laga diya is liye chamar jati nahi hai ye to chawanar vansi hai is liye alag state me alag nam se jana jata hai kyoki india me 6000 village hai aur hur gaon me kevel 2 log ye kam karte hai iska mutlub ye nam kam se nahi hai bulki vansh se hai kyoki chander gupt morya isi vans ke hai aur ashok bhi is liye mujhe gurv hai ki me ek chawanar vansi hun or jat aur cast to bad me aai hai jabki humra vans pehle se hi tha is liye ye sub humari hi branch hai kyoki bap pehle hota hai beta bad me

    • Please note total no of inhabitated villages in India 600000( 593731 as per 2011 census)

  10. i have one question iam a chamar girl and my boyfriend is saini do you think we can get married? we love each other alot and are going to tell our parents soon someone please help me

    • CHAMAR HUN WO NA RAHE JEBBAN RAKHDE NOTTA NAL BHARKE,
      CHAMAR HUN WO NA RAHE GHARO NIKLE BULET TE CHADHKE……………

    • Haan ho sakti hai

      apko manana pdega ghrwalon ko

      waki to aapkay upar depend karta hai Ki aap parents ko kitna convince kar patay ho

      so everything is possible

  11. Hi I am a bit confused. . About your history for chamar. . I have also done some reaserch on history…I have go through your words provided .. but just go through our link. And tell me kuldevta of chamar.. jai baba sidhchano ji.

    • Dear sir, let us clear who are kuldevata? They are non but ourgrand family member who had sacrified for their family and done great contribution to family and society. We do not keep written histiry that is why mislead to consider as god, hence we never has name of Kuldevta like Ram or similar aryas name.

  12. Chamars were never SC, we belong to the chamar clan of a very famous wrestler and head of army of king kans of mathura, CHANUR BALI. We are his descendants and our clan diety is also chanur bali only also known as baba sidh chano bali ji.

    Jai Baba Bali !!!

  13. I am going to say what I have through with this class of people – I am not going to say any speculative matter.

    I am from Fiji our family was purely a Brahmin Class but after the modern education had changed my families outlook and when the proposal for the marriage came from the Chamaar family we accepted it- but lot I have been through firstly on the actual marriage day they disrected our priest and vowed that he cannot carry the marraige ceremony, then demanded large sum of money from my father, when I went to my inlaws place my mother in law started swearing at me and started saying things about my caste and i being a vegetarian she ridiculed my belief , and she asked her son to go and file a divorce. I just asked my husband our family knew nothing about you people why are you treating me like this he understood and left his parents. We started to live hapily and after one year I was preganant with my first child I was very happy and thought my husband would be happy too but he was worried because now his parents demanded a brand new house from him and he made it clear that I need to abort my child – I cried in silence this was purely against my religious up bringing and I came to understand for this class they can do this kind of sinful activity. Then after 4th year of marriage I was doing a good job I got through my second preganancy because I could support my baby financialy. I am really thankful to God. However, my inlaws never came to visit me and when I went she again started her age old story of passing ill remarks. For many years I thought her nature is like this but she was behaving very well with her other sons wives one of them actually left her son for other man but she got her back and was showing so much love. I began to feel this modern education totally talks about rubbish there can never be any inter caste marriage. I know my husband loves me a lot but influence from his side of the family will never let me live peacefully. I just urge the all so called lower caste dont just demand respect and rights only but try to live with some higher thoughts and kindness for other beings.

  14. I am going to say what I have through with this class of people – I am not going to say any speculative matter.
    I am from Fiji our family was purely a Brahmin Class but after the modern education had changed my families outlook and when the proposal for the marriage came from the Chamaar family we accepted it- but lot I have been through firstly on the actual marriage day they disrected our priest and vowed that he cannot carry the marraige ceremony, then demanded large sum of money from my father, when I went to my inlaws place my mother in law started swearing at me and started saying things about my caste and i being a vegetarian she ridiculed my belief , and she asked her son to go and file a divorce. I just asked my husband our family knew nothing about you people why are you treating me like this he understood and left his parents. We started to live hapily and after one year I was preganant with my first child I was very happy and thought my husband would be happy too but he was worried because now his parents demanded a brand new house from him and he made it clear that I need to abort my child – I cried in silence this was purely against my religious up bringing and I came to understand for this class they can do this kind of sinful activity. Then after 4th year of marriage I was doing a good job I got through my second preganancy because I could support my baby financialy. I am really thankful to God. However, my inlaws never came to visit me and when I went she again started her age old story of passing ill remarks. For many years I thought her nature is like this but she was behaving very well with her other sons wives one of them actually left her son for other man but she got her back and was showing so much love. I began to feel this modern education totally talks about rubbish there can never be any inter caste marriage. I know my husband loves me a lot but influence from his side of the family will never let me live peacefully. I just urge the all so called lower caste dont just demand respect and rights only but try to live with some higher thoughts and kindness for other beings.

    • Hey sunita…
      I donna wt happened to u..I read yer story n it quite sad sort of…but I just wanna say you one thing, on the act of one person you can’t blame whole society or caste whatever….
      See acc to ma opinion, the whole world full of two kind of animals…..GOOD ONE OR BAD ONE….
      Feel froud whatever you are or who ever you are….
      I have so many stories of upper caste people who are boorish, orthodox, cruel etc…if I tell you u get goose bumps….
      So stop blaming others…face your problems..make them understand with your care n love…seee they are elders they cannot accept things easily…now its your FAMILY

  15. I am going to say what I have through with this class of people – I am not going to say any speculative matter.
    I am from Fiji our family was purely a Brahmin Class but after the modern education had changed my families outlook and when the proposal for the marriage came from the Chamaar family we accepted it- but lot I have been through firstly on the actual marriage day they disrected our priest and vowed that he cannot carry the marraige ceremony, then demanded large sum of money from my father, when I went to my in-laws place my mother in law started swearing at me and started saying things about my caste and i being a vegetarian she ridiculed my belief , and she asked her son to go and file a divorce. I just asked my husband our family knew nothing about you people why are you treating me like this he understood and left his parents. We started to live hapily and after one year I was preganant with my first child I was very happy and thought my husband would be happy too but he was worried because now his parents demanded a brand new house from him and he made it clear that I need to abort my child – I cried in silence this was purely against my religious up bringing and I came to understand for this class they can do this kind of sinful activity. Then after 4th year of marriage I was doing a good job I got through my second preganancy because I could support my baby financialy. I am really thankful to God. However, my inlaws never came to visit me and when I went she again started her age old story of passing ill remarks. For many years I thought her nature is like this but she was behaving very well with her other sons wives one of them actually left her son for other man but she got her back and was showing so much love. I began to feel this modern education totally talks about rubbish there can never be any inter caste marriage. I know my husband loves me a lot but influence from his side of the family will never let me live peacefully. I just urge the all so called lower caste dont just demand respect and rights only but try to live with some higher thoughts and kindness for other beings.

  16. the ones who are trully backwards in India are those that live by the caste system…………

  17. chamar is really a very faithfull, honest, hardworker,simple,person.there are a lot of views about what the chamar to be but i have a question in my mind that who made us chamar,God or human being. if God made no caste system then why we are so much trodden or in underpreasure of upper caste. in the modern time all of you properlly now that the person who have everything or rich are doing all type of froud missdeed in society for improve yourself more &more rich.a poor person never can do a scam .so in brief our mistake is only is to be taken birth in a dalit caste. but once again a question why we are dalit . when our deed are not dalit or lower so it is my heartly request to all of my brotherhood that prove yourself abig by deed.

    so always proud to be a chamar. if a small baby takes birth in a brahmin family then a 100 years old chamar called him DADA and when a baby takes birth in chamar house noone calle him KAKA too.so all my brother please awake and go to the target which is fixed by BABA SAHEB.

  18. M bhi ek chamar hu or chamar hona koi jurum nhi h
    Or m bhi duniya ko btana chata hu ke hum log bhi
    Kise se kam nhi h
    Agar hum aapni se par aye to duniya ke har aadmi
    Ko dhool chata sakte h
    Jo log hme chota samte he jara ye to socho or phir
    Bolo ki
    Ek mahan aadmi jiska name h DR BR Ambedkar jee
    Jinhone Desh ajad kraya tha wo bhi to ek chamar
    Hi the other caste walo socho
    jai Dr BR Ambedkar jee ki •••••••••••••••••••

  19. HATH LEKE HATHIYAR JADO NIKLE CHAMAAR,
    FIR DEKHYO PATAKA KINDE PO MITRO,
    AAJ VEKHDE PANGA KEDA LAU MITRON………….

  20. I am working as superintending engineer in central govt. department after completing BE and again started my education in the age of 45. done MHRM, MBA, M.Phil (Management) from distance mode. My bosses in govt. sector always spoiled my Annual Confidential Reports so i suffered a lot in my career. due to chamar SC Communities. But i feel proud …of the communities..

    • It happens many times. As Chamars is a developing community so society will always test its perverence and strength as a community. Mostly chamars are strong and skilfull community but there are many bad things also like drinking,lack of unity , lack of importance to education and lack of confidence. I am also Chamar and working with a PSU .

    • You may leave this kind of Dharm like Hindu, which pro-vogue caste-ism system. Buddhism is the best, accepted by Bharat Ratna Dr. B.R. Ambedkar.

  21. EDUCATION AND MONEY BOTH STRONG PART OF EVERY FIELD SO DO NOT SPEND TIME AND TRY TO ACHIEVE THE GOAL. IF U HAVE BOTH THE THINGS U CAN DO EVERY THING.

  22. Main eh puchna chandi a k addharmi, chamar etc. Sadi cast vich kine sirname han te kehde kehde hun main apni cast te book likh rehi han te ek website bna rehi a

  23. I am proud I am sech. caste but the thinking of our caste society people is very high. Now days we cannot depend on others high castes of people. In my opnion the high caste of people mainly depend on us. Mainly nowdays thinking of castes are nothing. I doesnot believe on caste tribe ita nothing its man made, and blood which I have in my body is,same wth on the body of brahmn people, on day he alsa buried and turninto soil and me also.same, so doesnot believe on caste itz man made

  24. jai baba saheb Ki

    baba saheb bheemrab ambedkar ko koti koti pranaam

  25. I am a proud chamar living in Australia for over 22 years and currently working as Project Manager. I am higly qualified so too some of my relatives here working as doctors and engineers.

  26. everyone is equal for God………those are foolish…….. who dicriminate ppl on basis of caste,,,,,,,god nver created caste its only by humans, there is no caste in real………. its not caste which makes a person good or bad,,,, its the person’s acts behaviour , thinking , thoughts , which makes person good , and here after reading all comnts,,,,, i m feeling great, that this comunity is doing well…… god bless u all,,,,,,, and one thing that everyone must kno,,,,,that ,,,,,,,,there. is no caste in reality……for god everyone is equal,,,,,god love those whose intention is good,,,,,,

  27. We are leaving in such s society or social group where where ponga pundits or contractor of Hindu Dharm making fool in the name of religion by influencing in such a way whether educated or uneducated People worshiping Dung (Gobar) in the name of God Goverdhan and worshiping Pig (Suar) in the name of Varahawatar; but general mass or common people of this community is untouchable even in now a days. Further, India where lot of brilliant people taken birth in all community but no body was able or devise any small or big tool to abolish the nefarious cast system; except the Great Crusader of Social Justice, Reverend Dr. Baba Saheb Ambedakar, who taught us to hold our heads high in every sphere of life.
    Cell No.09477331136.

  28. Jai bhim jai bharat….m proud to be chamar…..baba shahab forever….

  29. I am from Gujarat;I am chamar.after all we all chamar have to be united for our global identy.our first motto is to be financial freedom. &second motto is to be ruler in democracy. Jay Him &Jay Saint Rohidas(Ravidass).

Add Comment Register

Leave a Reply

Login with your Social ID

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>