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 for carding raw cotton, referring to their weaving occupation.

The Dhanuk community is spread across 51 districts in the states of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Haryana, Punjab, Rajasthan, Delhi, Madhya Pradesh, Tripura, and the union territory of Chandigarh. Although their language, vocation and customs vary, the Dhanuk share common cultural traits.

The Dhanuk people of Delhi prefer to call themselves Dhanak Julaha, or simply Julaha, because the Dhanuk are considered low in social hierarchy. Some claim that they are called Dhanuk because they are followers of the saint Dhanakamuni.

Origin

There many theories about their origin. The anthropologist Risley (1891) thought they were a clean caste who served the higher castes as personal servants, palanquin-bearers and farm laborers, descended from a Chamar (tanner) father and Chandal (unclean sweeper caste) mother, or from an outcaste Ahir (herdsman) father and a Chamar mother. William Crooke (1896) noted that the “Dhanuk are a low tribe who work as watermen, musicians at weddings and their women as midwives,” and trace their pedigree to many castes of Basor or basket makers. Ibbetson (1916) said, “The Dhanuk of Punjab are fowlers, archers, and watchmen, besides performing other menial service.” In Madhya Pradesh, Russel and Hiralal (1916) noted that the Dhanuk “were a low caste of agriculturists” whose origins, as given in the Padma Purana (a Hindu genealogical text) are the same as mentioned above by Risley.

In all states, except Bihar and Tripura, the Dhanuk are treated in the Indian Constitution as a Scheduled Caste. This guarantees them many benefits such as a fixed quota of government jobs, admissions to government medical and engineering colleges, and welfare schemes for economic and social improvement. There are reserved seats in Parliament for persons of Scheduled Castes status.

What are their lives like?

The Dhanuk people pursue a variety of occupations in the many regions where they live. In Uttar Pradesh, they rear pigs for sale. Women work as midwives. Some are farmers on their own land, while others are labourers. In Bihar, the Dhanuk are landless and work as casual and agricultural labourers. Child labour is prevalent. In Haryana, where they are mostly landless, with some sharecroppers, they do farming. Others are weavers who also dye and print on the cloth they make. Mostly, they work as farmers, or as construction, and roadside laborers, masonry, poultry farming and rearing animals.

In Rajasthan, they used to be watchmen in the stables of rich rulers, but are now engaged in agricultural labour. Some make baskets and weave mats. In Delhi, most are landless and are employed as peons in offices, garbage and sanitation workers, or as wedding band musicians, unskilled labourers in transport companies and tongawallahs (horse carriage drivers). The women sell vegetables, while some are midwives or domestic servants. In Tripura, where the Dhanuk migrated from Uttar Pradesh about seventy years ago, they are predominantly scavengers. In Punjab, they are mostly sweepers and weavers, while in Chandigarh they are watchmen, musicians and scavengers. In Madhya Pradesh, the majority is in agriculture or work as daily-wage labourers. The women sell cut-grass in the market.

They are mostly non-vegetarians, pork being a favourite, along with fish and mutton, but do not eat beef. Their staple food is dhal, roti (flat, unleavened wheat bread), rice and seasonal vegetables. Some fruit is eaten. Men drink a lot of alcohol, mostly cheap country liquor.

Literacy is low, as they cannot afford schooling. Boys are preferred over girls when it comes to education. They accept both indigenous and modern medicine. In Rajasthan, the Bhopa, or witch doctor, has the job of curing diseases.

Customs

The Dhanuk marry within their community but usually outside their clan (descended from a common ancestor). Child marriages were common, but today they marry in their late teens and early twenties. Arranged marriages, are organized by elders of both sides of the family. Monogamy is normal, but polygamy is allowed in exceptional instances such as barrenness. Divorce is permitted but rare. Remarriage is allowed for widows. Payment of a bride price by the groom has been replaced by a dowry, paid by the bride’s family.

Dhanuk women have a lower status than men, but their opinions are considered, and they are active in social, ritual and religious spheres. Some women participate in politics by canvassing for political parties in elections. In spite of the law requiring equal inheritance and succession, it is common for daughters to pass their inheritance to their brothers, who then divide it equally among themselves.

What are their beliefs?

Although the Dhanuk are Hindus and worship all prominent Hindu deities, their local gods, like their occupations, vary from region to region. In Uttar Pradesh they worship Kare Deo and Jakhai Devta, while in Bihar they revere Goreybaba and Mahabir. There are also specific deities for clans and villages.

In Haryana, prayers and requests are made to female deities, such as Gurgaonwali Mata (goddess of Gurgaon city), Pathriwali Mata (goddess of stones), Phoolam De Mata (goddess of flowers), and Beriwali Mata. The Dhanuk sometimes try to appease their gods by sacrificing a male goat. In Rajasthan, Bheruji (a form of Shiva, god of destruction) is worshipped, sometimes with liquor offerings.

The Dhanuk visit the main Hindu pilgrimage centres such as Haridwar, Allahabad and Varanasi. They celebrate all major Hindu festivals such as Holi (festival of colours), Diwali (festival of lights) and Janamashtami (birthday of Krishna). A Brahmin priest (highest Hindu caste) conducts all birth, marriage and death rituals.

 

28 Comments

  1. best knowledge for my caste

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  2. You can share your view, experience, Gotra, testimonial to the people coming from Dhanuk community from all region of world ad single plateform etc.

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  3. DHANUSHKA is derived from sanskrit language its meaning is na arture or bowman. in hindi it is called as DHANUK its meaning is the same as stated, but mostly scholars who have not studied the classical literature of sanskrit they dont know about the authenticity of its history.they must read mahabharat, balmiki ramayan, purans. sahimtaye etc. you will find the authenticity of its history, also malik mohammad jayisi has described its glory in PADMAWAT.

    Reply
  4. please read this book, dilli saltanat written by aasirwadi lal sriwastwa,page 285,para graph 2.is mai likha hai ki 1526 tak dhanuk mugal sena mai tir dharan kar sabse agrani dasta mai rhate the jo payak kahlate the jo apne ko”danur-dhari,dhanuk kahlate the” jo sanskrit k wikrit sabd hai.kripya padm puran padhe awam kaie hindu granth mai v iski pusti ki gaye hai.kurmi chetna k 100 wars writter dilawar singh jaiswar ne ye likha hai GOD sri ram chandra ne v dhanuk jati mai janm liya tha.

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  5. In Tripura, where the Dhanuk migrated from Uttar Pradesh about seventy years ago, they are predominantly scavengers.this is worng satement dhanuk is a army please read some books about dhanuk like dhanuk darpan written by shashi kiran vastwal.

    Reply
    • We are kshtriya as historical evidences. Then why our people are begging for reservation? Why our people are interested to be untouchable community? Whether reservation is the only solution to progress? It is very shameful to all of us. Be strong through hard work and support reservation on economic basis. Due to caste base reservation, we are loosing respect of our great Community. We should adopt the actual name of our caste as ‘Dhanushka kshtriya’ instead of Dhanuk. Thanks to my all Biradari’s brother & sisters
      Note: If anybody agree with me that we are Kshtriya/Rajput and our Community Dhanuka or Dhanushka is a Kshtriya Community, then please contact me: O.P.Nirwan, Mb.08800998336,

      Reply
      • Sir ,I am very thankful to you that people like you are working for the up liftment of our community keep going.
        I am always with u.

        Reply
  6. Please visit the website for more information regarding the same People’s Group. You can communicate with another user over there on same group as well.

    http://www.dhanuk.com/

    Reply
  7. samaj ke baremay janker aacha laga

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  8. History says that Dhanuka and its sub castes are Rajpoot/Khastriya community, then why some people of this caste shows themselves as Dalit/Harijan/SC/ST and availed facilities of reservation. Is it not a same for this rajpoot community. Atleast they should present themselves as OBC and favour for reservation on economic base. Who are well settled at present they should present themselves as Khastriya. Above are my personal views. Please do’nt mind if feels bad. I may be wrong. Regards to all my community people.

    Reply
  9. In my above view dated 11.9.14. the word ‘same’ may kindly be treated as word ‘shame’. Some writer like Rishley used objectionable words for our community. Such type of people are not bigger than our Ved-Puran in which the actual history of Dhnushka kshtriya community is mentioned. I condemn these type of literature and their writers. All my community brothers/sisters should come together for development and to present the actual position of ourselves to the Indian Society. Regards,O.P.Nirwan

    Reply
  10. i want to all dhanuk bhai indian society of dhanuk
    se kanet rahe than all of u

    Reply
  11. https://www.facebook.com/katheriyadhanuksamaj……………………………………………………………………………………………………….. ………………….. युवा समाजसेवी विचारक व चिंतक अमित कठेरिया{धानुक }

    Reply
    • Basode dhanak Ek ho

      Reply
  12. DHANUK/DHANAK/DHANAKA/ALL ARE SAME AND GOVT OF INDIA SHOULD SERIOUSLY CONSIDER FOR TREATING THEM AS ST KEEPING IN VIEW THAT THEY ARE VERY VERY POOR THROUGH THE COUNTRY AND FULLFIL ALL CONDITIONS FOR ST CATEGORY.

    Reply
  13. We are kshtriya as historical evidences. Then why our people are begging for reservation? Why our people are interested to be untouchable community? Whether reservation is the only solution to progress? It is very shameful to all of us. Be strong through hard work and support reservation on economic basis. Due to caste base reservation, we are loosing respect of our great Community. We should adopt the actual name of our caste as ‘Dhanushka kshtriya’ instead of Dhanuk. Thanks to my all Biradari’s brother & sisters
    Note: If anybody agree with me that we are Kshtriya/Rajput and our Community Dhanuka or Dhanushka is a Kshtriya Community, then please contact me: O.P.Nirwan, Mb.08800998336,

    Reply
  14. Dhanuk samaj ke bare me jankari de

    Reply
    • GREAT DHANUSHKA KSHTRIYA COMMUNITY ZINDABAD
      The Dhanuks, who are settled in the Terai districts of Saptari, Siraha and Dhanusa, are either backwards or a minority indigenous people. Dhanuks are called Rajbanshis. The Dhanuks of eastern Terai are called Kurmi and Patel in the Western Terai. There are Dhanuk called Mandal or Rajvansi living in Eastern part of Nepal. Different types/groups of Dhanuk lives in Nepal. They are extended all over country from Eastern Terai to Western hills. Among them, the Dhanuks of hilly region in far western are considered as a kshetris, whose were believed to originated from Bhatt Brahmin of Doti rajya, Ugratara temple. One brother of brahman was believed to given titled kshetri by Kalu Shahi the king of Doti Rajya at that time as he protect the king from Muslim who attack the Doti kingdom. It is also believed that that Brahmin used his tantrik knowledge and bravery to protect his religion and kingdom. These people have a history of about 200 years being called Dhanuk. The people of these group follow the rituals like other kshetris of that areas. Dhanuk caste is considered as a prominent caste of Bihar. They are also found in the adjoining state of Jharkhand. Dhanuk caste is mainly the caste of agriculturists. The name of Dhanuk caste is derived from the Sanskrit term ‘dhanuska’, which means an archer. This caste of India is regarded as an ancient one because reference of its origin can also be found in Padma Purana. Scholars are of the opinion that formerly, Dhanuks were actively a part of the militia of the country. The Dhanuks are minority indigenous people and they are also known as Rajbanshis.
      In my views, history says that Dhanushka and its sub castes are Rajpoot/Khastriya community, then why some people of this caste shows themselves as backwards and availed facilities of reservation. Is it not a shame for this Rajpoot/Khastriya community. We should present ourselves as General Category Community and favour for reservation on economic base. Who are well settled at present they should present themselves as Khastriya( General Community). People who are using bad word for our community, not bigger than our Ved-Puran in which the actual history of Dhnushka kshtriya community is mentioned. I condemn these type of literature and their writers. All my community brothers/sisters should come together for development and to present the actual position of ourselves to the Indian Society.

      We are kshtriya as historical evidences? Then why our people are begging for reservation? Why our people are interested to be untouchable community? Whether reservation is the only solution to progress? It is very shameful to all of us. Be strong through hard work and support reservation on economic basis. Due to caste base reservation, we are loosing respect of our great Community. We should adopt the actual name of our caste as ‘Dhanushka kshtriya’ instead of Dhanuk. Please come together and do something special for our great community.Thanks to my all Biradari’s brother & sisters
      Note: If anybody agree with me that we are Kshtriya/Rajput and our Community Dhanuka or Dhanushka is a Kshtriya Community, then please contact me: O.P.Nirwan, Mb.08800998336,
      The position of the Dhanuks was always more subordinate and no appreciable number of them came to be officers or leaders. The very debased origin of the caste already mentioned as given in the Padma Purana may be supposed as in other cases to be an attempt on the part of the priestly chronicler to repress what he considered to be unfounded claims to a rise in rank. But the Dhanuks, not less than the other soldier castes, have advanced a pretension to be Kshatriyas, those of Narsinghpur sometimes calling themselves Dhankarai Rajputs, though this claim is of course in their case a pure absurdity. It is not necessary to suppose that the Dhanuks of the Central Provinces are the lineal descendants of the caste whose genealogy is given in the Puranas ; they may be a much more recent offshoot from a main caste, formed in a precisely similar manner from military service.^
      The above literature has been obtained from various websites available at internet.
      e-mail ([email protected])

      Reply
    • Sir, do Mandal belong to Dhanuk in Uttar predesh

      Reply
  15. Hi,
    We are dhanuk.com to add all people who are coming from hanuk samaj. Please share your views and suggestion to help our people who needs our help.

    Thanks

    Reply
  16. dhanuk jati ko bihar me aneko naam se jana jata hai. dhanuk ko kurmi ke naam se kuch jagaho par kaha jata hai. bihar me dhanuk jati ko jashwar kurmi ke naam se jana jata hai. aur bhi bibhinn naam dhanuk jati ka hai bihar me exa. kaharkurmi, jaiswarkurmi, patalkhinchkurmi, etc. magadh khetra me naam se dhanuk jati ka hi naam hai.

    anuj patel

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  17. If possible pl furnish district wise population of dhanuk community in India.

    Reply
    • our political leaders should demand government about actual dhanuk population by making survey all over india

      Reply
  18. people from all over India belonging to dhanuk samaj please communicate each other and try to come closer by arranging meetings. Even we do not know each other by name and face.Meeting venue can be decided by contacting each other.In the initial meeting if 5 persons are present ,it will be a great starting.
    gc verma
    m-9425474493

    Reply
  19. katheriya is the very bravery community but now days have no any business and also have no any political support as like other sc community education and literacy are very poor also community young boys and girls not skilled should make skilled and should take action by community leader who belong to BJP,SP ,BSP please do something about the caste otherwise disappears the symbol of danuk katheriya please go and see the caste condition in village label .

    Reply
  20. Hi !
    I am Sudesh Khundiya Julaha Dhanak from Delhi.
    I am glad to know that my caste is a Kshatriya caste.
    Before that I seemed that I am belong to a Shudra caste.
    Kurmi caste is a Dhanak caste, I don’t know.
    Please! Tell me.

    Reply
  21. Hi,
    I am very pleased to know about the caste but feel sorry to know that majority is feeling inferiorty to expose themselves that is
    why people don’t use any such type of surname which may introduce
    as Katheria(Dhanuk) to come to-gether This will help to our society to come closer our leading persons of the society sould also make efforts to encouage the downtrodden persons of the society by meeting/seminars/social activities or counselling regarding to come ahead in respective field

    Reply

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