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 living in the districts of Varanasi, Mirzapur, Ghazipur, Ballia, Gorakhpur and Azamgarh of Uttar Pradesh.

Origin

H.H. Risley in The Tribes and Castes of Bengal (1891) describes the Dosadh as a degraded cultivating caste of Bihar and Chotanagpur, the members of which are largely employed as village watchmen and messengers. It is said that the army of Robert Clive, which won the decisive battle of Plessey in1757 and laid the foundation of the British Empire in India, consisted of the Dosadh. The Dosadh were known for their criminal behavior, looting and robbing travelers.

The Dosadh are registered as a Scheduled Caste under the provision of the Indian Constitution. These former ‘untouchables’ receive allowances such as reserved quotas in government jobs and higher educational institutions, lower qualifying criteria in open examinations and reserved seats in Parliament.

These people claim descent from the Kaurava prince, Dushasan, the younger brother of the main villain in the ancient and very famous Hindu mythological epic, the Mahabharata. Another account refers to their descent from Bhima, the giant brother among the heroic and noble of the five Pandava brothers ranged against the evil Kauravas in the same grand epic. Bihari Dosadh claim to be descendants of another Pandava brother, Arjuna.

They speak the Indo-Aryan language, Bhojpuri, as their mother tongue and are also conversant with Hindi, using both these languages for inter-group communication. In West Bengal they have two main subgroups, namely Patwar Dosadh, whose mother tongue is Hindi, and Gope Dosadh, who are largely concentrated in the Purulia district and whose mother tongue is the Indo-Aryan language Sadri. Also, in the southern parts of Bengal they have a comparatively better social status as they are the traditional priests of Sitala Mata (literally, “cool mother”, the goddess of smallpox).

The Dosadh accept raw and cooked food from higher castes like Brahmin, Rajput (warrior), Baniya (trader), Yadava (pastoralist) but this is not reciprocated. In fact, they cannot even participate with the Brahmin and the Rajput in Holi festivities (the spring festival of colours and general revelry). In their turn, they do not accept food and water from certain castes considered lower than them like the Dom (scavenger), Chamar (tanner) and Dharkar (rope-maker). However, a considerable degree of relaxation in inter-caste relations is gradually being discerned under the impact of constitutional safeguards as well as the processes of urbanization, democratization and secularization.

What Are Their Lives Like?

The Dosadh are economically backward and are mostly landless, with only a few having small landholdings. In Uttar Pradesh and Bihar most of them work as wage labourers in forests, and industries and as agricultural labourers, with the latter being their dominant vocation in Bihar. Some eke out a living by woodcutting, collecting forest produce and selling cow-dung cakes used as fuel.

In West Bengal their primary vocation is to seek alms while singing Kapila Mangal and Sitala Mangal songs. They can be identified when they are out seeking alms for they carry a special type of a small metal idol of Sitala and Lakshmi (goddess of prosperity) in a small bamboo pot, smeared with vermilion. In some families both men and women work as wage labourers but the local peasants hesitate to employ them in agricultural work because they do not have the skill to do such work; sometimes they earn their livelihood by searching for insects in the cattle of the peasants.

The literacy rate of the Dosadh is greatly below the national average. Most of the elderly members of the community are illiterate. However, they have made moderate progress in education since the independence of India. Increasingly, they now send their children to school – primarily the sons. Usually the boys drop out after the secondary level and those girls who do manage to go to school, tend to drop out after the primary level.

The Dosadh people have strong faith in the efficacy of traditional medicine for both humans and animals. They even extend their help to other communities in treating bovine diseases. However, they also use modern medicine when necessary. In general they accept family planning. Facilities like self-employment schemes under government-sponsored development programmes, electricity, banks and fair-price shops are available to them, but in areas like West Bengal they do not take advantage of this assistance.

The Dosadh eat meat but abstain from beef, while those living in West Bengal do not take pork also. Rice is their staple cereal which is supplemented with wheat, maize, barley, bajra (millet) and pulses. Seasonal vegetables and fruits as well as milk and milk products are taken. Sweets and curds are served on ceremonial occasions such as marriage ceremonies. Men consume alcoholic drinks that are either available in the local market (mostly cheap country liquor) or made at home. They are fond of rice beer, smoke bidis, and chew tobacco mixed with lime and betel leaf.

Customs

The Dosadh are an endogamous community (they do not marry outside their community) and are divided into a number of subgroups: two in West Bengal, four in Bihar and seven in Uttar Pradesh. These subgroups are further divided into exogamous clans or lineages serving to regulate marriage alliances. However, nowadays marriage within the same clan is allowed among many Dosadh, as those of West Bengal, but relatives up to four generations are avoided. Spouses are acquired through negotiation or exchange of sisters and monogamy is the norm, though a second wife is taken if the first is barren.

Married women wear a vermilion mark (sindur) and iron bangles as marriage symbols. Junior sororate and junior levirate are permitted, as is the keeping of a concubine. Both bride price and dowry are popular and are paid in cash and kind. Divorce and remarriage are allowed except in Bihar where divorce is not permissible.

The Dosadh follow the rule of male equigeniture, i.e. all the sons inherit the patrimony equally; hence succession devolves upon the eldest son. The status of women, who attend to all household chores in addition to collecting drinking water and fuel, is invariably secondary to that of men in all spheres of life. Often, the women also support the family through different domestic jobs.

The Dosadh have a traditional village caste council, in which all male members of the community participate and exercise social control. This council has a headman who is known variously as Sardar, Mahajan or Chaudhari in Uttar Pradesh. In West Bengal the village headman is known as Majhi or Mahato, where the head of the regional caste council is called Deshmandal. These positions are usually hereditary.

What are Their Beliefs?

The Dosadh are Hindus but mixed with other beliefs. There s a sacred place of their own called ‘place of Goriya’. Though they worship prominent deities like Shiva (Destroyer in the Hindu trinity), Durga (ten-armed, goddess and wife of Shiva) and Manasa Devi (snake goddess) they also worship very little known, lesser deities. Rahu (seizer) is a sinister four-armed demon that swallows the sun and the moon during eclipses. According to Hindu belief, his body was severed in two by an angry Vishnu and the lower part of Rahu’s body became a corresponding demon called Ketu, who gave birth to comets and fiery meteors. Rahu and Ketu have to be appeased to ward off evil consequences.

Goriya or Bandi Goriya is a local divinity who is worshipped in the form of little mounds or platforms of clay. Pigs and alcohol are sacrificed to the deity. Tigers are also prayed to.

The Dosadh observe festivals like Holi, Diwali (festival of lamps) and Dussehra (festival commemorating Rama’s killing of the demon king Ravana). There is a belief in evil spirits and witchcraft. A priest known as Bhagat (devotee) cures diseases using spells and charms, and protects them from harmful spirits. Family deities like Rahu and Jagdamba are also appeased by the Bhagat in the month of Aswin (sixth month of the Hindu calendar, September-October). During this time flowers and kheer (sweet and milky rice pudding) are offered to these deities.

A Brahmin priest performs rituals for births, marriages and deaths. The dead are either cremated or buried, but the Dosadh of Uttar Pradesh cremates and scatters the ashes in a river, preferably the holy Ganges River.

21 thoughts on “Dosadh

  1. am flabbergasted by certain details on dusadhs.,used to go out on own ,leaving my wife with my descendants of my ancestors in the village ,to ask dusadhs and the infomants used to tell me fantastic facts about their ancestors in bihar in u p and in mewar. dsc.

  2. dusadhs are gahlot rajputs. They are suryavanshis. Why are they not recognised as rajputs inspite of historical evidence? In fact they are considered as low inspite of the fact that they claim they are from arjuna lineage? Arjuna of the Pandavas. Arjuna of the Epic Mahabharata.

    • i m also agree with u but here want to say that here is no need to only for dusadh but also for every cast here it too long time to over come from that situation . unfortunately some of people are not achieve there position as we want (dusadh) /(sc ) we steel at initial stage . we say that u r bramhan ,ahir , baniya etc. …..how much time this is going on ……when we get our position (repudiated)….

    • The so called low castes are in fact, those people, who got defeated, enslaved and depressed during the feudal medieval era. They are suppressed nationalities or sub nationalities. Dusadh is one of them. This word is corrupted form of Duhsadhya of Sanskrit, which means someone, who is tamed with greater difficulty. During the medieval period, when caste system was coming into existence, this community must have posed a lot of difficulty to the victors. That is why Dusadh was degraded substantially and made untouchable and deprived of a regular profession in the society. Not only Dushadh, but many so called low castes had higher status before their defeat and subjugation. Only solution to the problems of these so called low castes, who in reality are suppressed nationalities, is the abolition of caste system as a whole.

  3. i just dont understand that dusad surnames are included in schedule caste or not?

      • The so called low castes are in fact, those people, who got defeated, enslaved and depressed during the feudal medieval era. They are suppressed nationalities or sub nationalities. Dusadh is one of them. This word is corrupted form of Duhsadhya of Sanskrit, which means someone, who is tamed with greater difficulty. During the medieval period, when caste system was coming into existence, this community must have posed a lot of difficulty to the victors. That is why Dusadh was degraded substantially and made untouchable and deprived of a regular profession in the society. Not only Dushadh, but many so called low castes had higher status before their defeat and subjugation. Only solution to the problems of these so called low castes, who in reality are suppressed nationalities, is the abolition of caste system as a whole.

  4. dusadh cast ke liye ek behtar preyas hai. knowledge hona jaruri hai.

  5. Tyrants do make history i.e Atilla The HUNS…i.e tje Hunas who form part of hindu society. Are they untouchables? Are they s.c? Are they dalits? Had they been subjugated to low caste? They were the ravagers ,the destroyers etc .They had no lands in India.They were the marauders ,the3 destroyer of civilisation of India. just like Aurangzeb the destroyer of temples the killer of hindus ,the forcible converter of hindus to Islam.The book of Mani Padma is available to just about very very few people.The entireHindu society should know the truth about THIS dusadh king whose name shines brighter than Chandragepta , more than Alexander The Great,,Even Maharana Pratap Singh Shivaji. He was democratically elected by the entire subjects ,sages and hidu holy men of his kingdom. He had never known a defeat like Maharana pratap Singh and he had never been captured and put under arrest or jail …..to me he is a king—warrior—hero—the defender of hindu faith— a demi-god…..a just man—-every hindu should be proud of him for what noble deeds he has done for all his subjects in his kingdom,even greater than raja Ashok..He gave utmost respect to to all living people and creatures giving absolute and qualified rights to all his subjects.He was a romantic man,he was a pious man and he gave fair justice to all his subjects ,He never followed the principle of Prithiviraj Chauhan or Maharana Pratap Singh by lettiong the enemies escape…….he went in hot pursuit of his retreating mongoloid enemies until they were completely defeated.He ensured thorough victory….no hollow victory. Such ,was the greatness of this RAJA SAILESH ,The Dusadh Caste Gahlot Rajput of Suryavanshi Lineage. All Hindus should be absolutely proud of him. Who is that hindu who will be flinging the dirt of as low …. when this man had followed human rights principles? He is unique .one in a billion!

  6. I just submitted my comment.What happened to it? I can assure you that it is not duplicate comment. It is something new and there new ideas .If it is noot shown then It has to be in the book of mine.

  7. Janeshwar, Upendra,Casre system existed more than 5000 years ago. Feudal medieval caste system a continuation of oppression and slavery through discrimination. You want to abolish caste system,it means the abolition of Lord Vishnu, Lord Krishna and Lord Manu the creators of caste system .Buddha, Mahavira ,Mahatma Gandhi and Ambedcar with the mighty Indian Constitution could not abolish caste system.To abolish Hindu Religion is to abolish caste system.If you want this ,go ahead and do it. In 1980,Kolkotta informers said dusadhs repudiate dusadhs..Jealousy..Why not follow the perfect solution of human rights of the noble dusadh Raja Sailesh?Read dr.s.p.ram and paharilall literary works before giving the meaning of the word duhsadhya?Read the book of Mani Padma, Dr indra deo and rash beehary singh before enteringi nto the politics of caste system.

  8. To comment that this dusadh community must have posed a lot of difficulty to the victors appears like figment of imagination..To commment that the dusadhs were deprived of a profession in the society also appears as figment of imagination. To comment that so many low castes had higher status before their defeat and subjugation also appears as figment of imagination .. The comment that the solution to the problem is abolition of the caste system as a whole also appears as figment of imagination.When you comment do make reference to 5000 years of dusadh history. What battle? How many low castes had higher status?.Defeat? Subjugation? Victory to victors? OMG. GOK .Solution to the problems is abolition of caste system……the answer is Ambedcar and his team provided in the Indian Constitution the abolition of caste system…..equal status to all hindus ? I do have religious evidence to prove that dusadhs are suryavanshis.You are free to comment that this is the figment my imagination.I like people to challenge me and defy me.Do remember what shri krishna says in bhagawat gita…. knowledge can make someone attain the truth. I like people to challenge me.I want you to dare me as I have 5000 years of dusadh history at my finger tips. Upendra I respect you but remember what raja sailesh had said to his brother Moti Ram on the battlefield.?

  9. As my name says that i’m also a dusadh & this is also true that i don’t know about our history. I am dying to know about my history. I have searched google but there are nothing to improve my knowledge. If anyone of you know about dusadh past please reply me on my mail ID. [email protected]

  10. I have hindu religioud book evidence that dusadhs are rajputs. i have already given historical evidence that dusadhs are pajputs.

  11. Dosadh, Dusadh, Dosanjh is a controversy words. In literacy such words caring double meaning and create arguments for getting social status. I read various article about dusadh caste position . Some one wrote about their living position or life style. What food dusadh people are eat? What is the occupation of dusadh people? It is very simple to say that most of Dusadh people have poor economical condition in West Bengal, Bihar, Uttarpradesh Jharkhand. So most of their people will lead a poor life.
    Next they are Hindu Indian people usually eat rice or wheat pulses, vegetables , meat, fish and abstain himself from beef. Generally people can eat pork it is depend on choice not necessary.Because today many Hindu new generation person they may be belong in higher or lower caste, out of sight they take pork. But this discussion should have rule out.
    Next, poor dusadh people for his surviving every day life they do laborers work in the field or in the market or in the factory. But some body discussed here they do robbery in the state of Bihar, West Bengal etc. I want to know from that people who said him robber. You can say how many number of Dusadh people are engage in robbery or you can give any famous name of Dabang person from Dusadh community in the state of Bihar or West Bengal. I know you can’t say because there is no Dabang person from Dusadh community. Then I will say if you don’t know then don’t write any wrong information.Also many higher caste people are engaged in robbery for their poorness.
    Discussion matter is what is the caste position of Dusadh? Rajput or lower caste or jat. I know Dusadh gotra are found in jat community and they are chandravansi according to jat’s caste history(search:Dusadh jat Wikipedia)
    But I have a quire if there is any historical record or establishment that prove the Dusadh are really Rajput then it should be published in news papers which is published from Bihar, West Bengal and Jharkhand.
    Next it should be keep in the syllabus in the 9th -10th class standard. We discussed many thing but forgot to discuss dusadh’s history. Could not give any name or Dusadh ruler or Dusadh’s historical establishment. I read the article of D.S.Chaman there D.S. Chaman wrote Dusadhs are Rajput yes I am happy to hear this word. One thing I want to discuss here, I saw Dusadh Wikipedia there I read that Dusadh came from Rajsthan with king Rana Lakha in between 1381-1421 A.D. for protect Hindu temple from sultani king. Who write and create this page I don’t know. But now a days this page is empty and article is vanished from Wikipedia page.For this I am unhappy .I think it may be removed for lack of evidence for proving the incident of 1381-1421A.D.
    If Dusadh people are Rajput and their forefather was living in Rajsthan then it is necessary to make a social chain between Dusadh people of Rajsthan and Bihar, West Bengal.
    Eventually I will say that stick to find out the original history of Dusad and cast off all illegal truth for finding Dusad’s History and have to submitted original,proving Historical document against this claim.

  12. I have gone through all the details given on the sites, history of Dusadhs which greatly disappointed me as the comments given there appear to be misleading and contradictory.This community has already suffered a lot.Please do not post such things which are far from the facts without historical evidence. Your community will be confused.

  13. hello friend
    i am also a dusad , u beter know about our realigion , our religion a more trustabel person in earlier time all king was appoint to protactet ther kingdom

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