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 the North Indian states of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Delhi, Rajasthan and West Bengal and the union territory of Dadra and Nagar Haveli. In Uttar Pradesh, they number more than 3.5 million. They are also found in the remote northeastern state of Tripura.

Origin

One anthropologist observes about them, “they are a large cultivating and palanquin-bearing caste of Bihar…the Brahminical genealogists represent the Kahar as a mixed caste descended from a Brahmin (highest priestly caste) father and a Nishada (hunter) or Chandala (cremator) mother, but it seems more likely that they are a remnant of one of the primitive races who occupied the valley of the Ganges before the incursion of the Aryans.”

Those living in Rajasthan and Delhi prefer to be called Kashyap Rajput. They claim ancestry from the Kashyap Rajput of Rajasthan who, in turn, believe that they have originated from the divine sage Kashyap, one of the ten sons of the god Brahma, creator in the Hindu trinity. However, this claim of descent from the Rajput – the second highest Hindu caste of warriors – is obscure, and the rest of society places them somewhere in the middle of Indian social hierarchy.

Those living in Bihar, West Bengal and Tripura claim their descent from the mythical king Jarasandh of Magadh, which is the ancient name of Bihar. According to Risley, the name ‘Kahar’ is derived from the Hindi words kandha (shoulder) and bhar (burden), and denotes ‘one who bears burdens on his shoulders’, pointing to their traditional occupation of palanquin bearing. Another version states that their community name is derived from the Hindi words, kandha (shoulder) and ahar (food), meaning, ‘earning of livelihood by the shoulder’ – another description of their traditional occupation.

Languages

In Bihar these people are also known as Ravani, Ramani, Kamkar or Chandrabansi and speak the Indo-Aryan tongue of Magahi. In Uttar Pradesh they are known as Dhimar and use the Indo-Aryan language, Bhojpuri. In Rajasthan they are called Mehra and speak Shekhawati and Marwari. In Dadra and Nagar Haveli, where they speak Gujarati, they are known as Raj Bhoi. The Kahar synonym in West Bengal is ‘Kahal’. There they speak Bengali. Almost all the Kahar speak Hindi along with their native tongue.

What Are Their Lives Like?

The Kahar are farmers and are engaged in small businesses – restaurants, fabric shops, fruit and egg stalls. They can be found working for Indian Railways, state transport corporations and state-run primary schools. They also work as rickshaw-pullers, carpenters, basket weavers, boatmen and fishermen. In Dadra and Nagar Haveli, they primarily sell fish.

There are some professionals and politicians among them. The women are employed as domestic helpers and agricultural labourers. Women from Rajasthan and Tripura make baskets of mulberry sticks or bamboo.

Child labour is prevalent. In Bengal, the children work as cowherds and servants on annual contract, while in Delhi the poorer Kahar send their sons to work at tea stalls, motor garages or factories. Daughters assist their mothers in cleaning dishes for others.

The Kahar eat meat except pork and beef as it is forbidden by Hinduism. Their diet consists of rice, wheat, lentils, vegetables and fruit, as well as milk and dairy products. Most men smoke bidis (dried and rolled tendu leaves) and cigarettes. Both men and women chew tobacco. Alcoholic beverages are accepted mainly by the men folk.

The Kahar people approve of formal education for their children and a majority study to tertiary levels. Modern medicine, immunization and family planning programmes are well received. They utilise the facilities provided by government-sponsored development programmes such as those assisting them in self-employment.

The Kahar community has many subgroups and clans. In Uttar Pradesh, there are four subgroups, namely Kharwar, Batham, Rawani and Jaiswar and other clans like Kashyap and Madgolla; in Rajasthan there are three subgroups, namely Budana, Turaha and Mahara, and eighty-four clans. As a rule they, they observe endogamy at the community and subgroup levels and exogamy at clan level. Increasingly, inter-subgroup marriages are also being practiced.

Customs

Both child and adult marriages are considered acceptable, though adult marriages are becoming popular. Marriages are arranged by negotiation among parents and elders, and in very few cases (mostly in cities) it is by mutual consent of the couple. Monogamy is common though polygamy is allowed in some cases. Junior levirate and junior sororate are practiced and preferred if such a match is available.

Vermilion, glass or lac bangles and toe-rings are symbols of marriage which are strictly observed. Divorce is permitted as are remarriage for widows, widowers and divorcees.

The community lives in extended families. Property is inherited by males and is equally divided among the sons; the eldest son succeeds as head of the household.

Although the Kahar women have a secondary status to the men, they help out in the fields and animal husbandry by collecting fuel, fodder and water and managing all of the household chores. They also contribute directly to the family income and have an active role in social, ritual and religious spheres. Folksongs are sung by men and women separately during festive occasions.

The Kahar have community councils that function at various levels. In Bihar they are called panchayats and are headed by a council chief. In Rajasthan these councils have been transformed into temple organisations with a president, vice president and treasurer as their office bearers. If there is any violation of community norms, a meeting is held in the temple courtyard and corrective measures decided upon. In Rajasthan, a number of similar communities, including the Kahar, have formed an umbrella organisation called Kashyap Nishad Samaj to form a united front for their welfare and progress. In Dadra and Nagar Haveli there is the Kahar Samaj which exercises social control at the village level and is headed by a chief elected by vote. Delhi has an ad hoc council of elderly persons that has replaced a strong caste council.

What Are Their Beliefs?

The Kahar’s religion is Hinduism. They worship the gods and goddesses of Hinduism like Shiva (Destroyer in the Hindu trinity), Vishnu (Preserver), Lakshmi (goddess of wealth and Vishnu’s wife), Kali and other regional and local deities. In Bihar they worship Vishnupad, Mangalagouri, Kalesari Devi and Dhakarni Mai, as their regional deities, while Manasa Devi, a regional goddess associated with snakes, is very popular, especially among the Kahar of Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal. In Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Gotrej is their clan deity while Amba Mata is the village deity. The Kahar of Delhi have great reverence for Sant Kalu Baba (Saint Black Father) whose birthday they celebrate yearly.

In Rajasthan, Rani Sati (Queen Virtuous, who immolated herself on her husband’s funeral pyre), Sakhambari Devi, Jeen Mata, Jobner Ki Mata and Bheru Deo are worshipped. Here the Kahar have constructed many temples dedicated to Balaji, Hanuman (monkey god) and Shiva. Tomb shrines of Muslim saints are also venerated. A few Kahar have joined Guru-dominated sects like the Arya Samaj and Radhasoami that lay stress on pious and simple living to achieve salvation.

The Kahar celebrate all major Hindu festivals like Maha Sivaratri (Great Night of Shiva), Janamashtami (Krishna’s birthday), Holi (festival of colours), and Navratri. This is a nine-day-long festival connected with the autumnal equinox during many rituals are performed.

The Kahar seek the services of Brahmin priests for their birth, marriage and death rituals. They cremate their dead and immerse their ashes in a river, preferably the Ganges which is considered to be holy. Animal sacrifices and ancestor worship are also prevalent.

They are deeply religious, seeking salvation through the worship of many gods, goddesses, worship at shrines and temples, offer blood sacrifices, worship of ancestors, pilgrimages and even in their guru-dominated sects or the rituals of the Muslim Kahar, their lives are spent in service as a means of finding peace and freedom from fear.

Leave a Reply

88 Comments on "Kahar"


Guest
pratima singh(kahar)
4 days 23 hours ago
thanku so much for this today i know what i am nd my caste
Guest
dr.mahesh chandravanshi
17 days 16 hours ago
Dear sir i read and its good for knowledge
Guest
ramprasad patel
2 months 21 days ago
IN Madhya pradesh what is raikwar caste
Guest
tarkeshwar prasad
3 months 16 days ago
I am tarkeshwar prasad from ranchi
Guest
Pratap singh
3 months 29 days ago
इस जानकारी के लिए बहुत अधिक धन्यवाद | आशा करता हूँ की भविष्य में भी इसी प्रकार की जानकारी से हमारे समाज को अवगत कराते रहेंगे | एक बार फिर धन्यवाद |
Guest
VIJAY KUMAR
5 months 11 days ago
Recently Lok Sabha-2014 Winner MP, Different Seat in India. ( Kashyap-Nishad Majhee ke Winner MP) Sr.No Name of Janpratinidhi City/State Winner Party 1 Sh.Dharmendra Kr.Kashyap Aavala -UP BJP 2 Shadhvi Niranjan Jyoti Kashyap fatehpur-UP BJP 3 Sh.Veerendra Kashyap Shimla-HP BJP 4 ,,Dinesh Kashyap (ST-Seat) Baster-Chhatisgar BJP 5 ,,Ram Charitra Nishad (SC-Seat) Machhleesahar-UP BJP 6 ,,Ajay Nishad Mujjfarpur-Bihar BJP 7 ,,Hari Majhee SC-Seat Gya-Bihar BJP 8 ,,Balvendra Majhee Navrang-Udeesa Biju Janta Dal 9 ,, Har Narayan Rajbhar Ghosee-UP BJP 10 ,,Chhote lal Kharwar (SC-Seat) Rabartganj-UP BJP 11 ,, Faggan Singh kulste (ST-Seat) Mandla-MP BJP 12 ,,Dileep Singh Bhuria (ST-Seat) Ratlam-MP BJP 13 ,,Bahadur Singh Koli (SC-Seat) Bharatpur-Rajsthan BJP 14 ,,Kanwar Singh Tanwar Amroha-UP BJP
Guest
VIJAY KUMAR
5 months 22 days ago
vHkh gky esa Ykksd lHkk pquko&2014 esa d”;i&fu"kkn eka>h lekt ds fot;h gq, tuizfrfuf/k;ksa ds uke o izkUrA dza0 tuizfrfuf/k;ksa ds uke “kgj@izkUr fot;h ikVhZ 1-Jh /kesZUnz dqekj d';i vkWaoyk&mRrj izns”k Hkk0t0ik0 2-lk/oh fujatu T;ksfr d';i Qrsgiqj&mRrj izns'k Hkk0t0ik0 3-Jh ohjsUnz d';i f'keyk&fgekpy izns”k Hkk0t0ik0 4-Jh fnus'k d”;i ST cLrj&NRrhlxh SC x;k& fcgkj Hkk0t0ik0 8-Jh cycsUnz eka>h uojaxiqj &mMhlk chtw t0ny 9-Jh gj ukjk;.k jktHkj ?kkslh&mRrj izns'k Hkk0t0ik0 10-Jh NksVs yky [kjokj SC jkcVZxat&mRrj izns'k Hkk0t0ik0 11-Jh QXxu flag dqyLrs ST e.Myk&e/; izns'k Hkk0t0ik0 12-Jh fnyhi flag Hkwfj;k ST jryke&e/; izns'k Hkk0t0ik0 13-Jh cgknqj flag dksyh SC Hkjriqj&jktLFkku Hkk0t0ik0 14-Jh daoj flag raoj vejksgk&mRrj izns'k Hkk0t0ik0 01-Jh thru jke eka>h SC fcgkj&izns'k ts0Mh;w0 eq[; ea=h ¼vHkh gky esa eq[; ea=h dh ckxMksj iw0eq0ea=h Jh furh'k dqekj }kjk ukfer fd;k x;k gSA½ uksV%& lekftd cU/qkvksa esjh tkudkjh ds rgr vktknh ds ckn igyh ckj bruh cMh la[;k esa tuizfrfuf/k;ksa dh Hkkxhnkjh gqbZ gSA tksfd d';i&fu"kkn]eka>h lekt ds fy;s cMs xoZ dh ckr gSA mijksDr tuizfrfuf/k vks0ch0lh0@,l0lh0@,l0Vh0 lhV ;k vkfnoklh lhV ls yksd lHkk&-2014 esa fofHkUu izkUrksa@'kgjksa ls fuokZfpr gq, gSA Note- Above list Winner MP-2014 ( Yeh Hindi font mai hai)
Guest
muttesh bhovi
6 months 13 days ago
namaskar sabhi bhayiyonko, mera nam muttesh.mai karnatak dist-haveri savanur ka rahane wala hoon. mera mother tounge kannada hai.mai ne bhovi (maharastra me bhoi) caste ka hoon.maine caste ke bare me internet per khoj kiyatho kahar samaj se rajbhoi samaj se sambandh julthimilthi hai.hamara traditionally occupation palanquin bearing hai.karnatak me hamare caste sangatith nahi hai,aur karnatak me bahuth kum logh hamari caste ka logh hai.karnatak me bhovi surname se humko janatha hai.maine internet per khoj kiya tho bhoi shabd sahi lag raha hai. bhayiyo muje ek clarificatin chahiye tha..........bhoi(karnatak me BHOVI ) kahar samaj ek hai....or nahi......muje jarur bathayiye...............idhar karnatak me kahar samaj ke bandhuvo ne rajput se janatha hai.aur muje bhoi aur kahar samaj kaise judathe hai bathayiye..........facebook per mera profile name MUTTESH BOVI.......
Guest
amit singh chandravansi
7 months 26 days ago
Hi........... this is amit and i belong to Nalanda dist from bihar
Guest
prakunj
8 months 14 hours ago
Hi I m prakunj. In Bihar there is a problem in our caste.people of our caste is hidding there identity and used surname Singh prasad Verna etc.my father surname is also Singh. And second big problem is marriage of girl. How to find a groom in our caste becose people are hidding themselves. I remove the surname Singh and used kumar . I m in central gov job. My phn no is 9250045489.
Guest
Triloki nath singh
10 months 8 days ago
Dear friends , very warm good morning to all of you, Because Iam very new to this blog I belongs to chandervansi samaj , after reading lots of things here , I want to know whether the pandav (in mahabharat) are chandervansi , and about krishan if he is also a chandervansi than why people said that he is from yaduvvansi , and maharaja kans and jarashant if all of they are chandervansi than why they fight with krishna and pandav . further more i also visted BAMSEF where they say JAI BHIM , who is Bhim is he of mahabharat or they give respect to RESPECTED BABASHEB BHIMRAO kindly clarify this things . Somewhere I had studyed that use of RATH in ancient war like Mahabharat and ramayan was started by aryans is it true or our great ancestor also known about these techniques of Rath and DIVYASTAR . kindly reply I want to know more.
Guest
Shiv kumar kashyap rajput
10 months 12 days ago
Kashyap Rajput is a community which is found mainly in Haryana, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and Rajasthan in India. Many members of this community have migrated from India to Canada, USA, Australia and European countries. The Kashyap Rajputs are descendants of ancient Hindu and Indo-Aryan, with some converting to Sikhism and a few others to Islam during the Mughal period. The Rajputs from the Kashyap clan were the most trusted by kings, with whom they would travel as confidants and personal guards. .Rajputs of Kashyap belong to the branches of Suryavansh, Chandravansh, Raghuvansh, Nagvansh and Nimivansh. so please do not thnk that we are some lower caste . kashyap rajputs are high caste having roots joined with rajputs.
Guest
Dharmender
10 months 18 days ago
All THE BEST TO ALL OF CHANDRAVANSHI KSHTRIY.
Guest
Suraj Jathapi
11 months 2 days ago
Hi all, Iam Suraj Jathapi from Indore,its very good to see that people from our community are now coming forward and expressing their views particularly they are open to tell which group/community/caste they belong to...Here i know few of them who basically belong to KAHAR community but they have changed their social staus to RAJPUTS due to social stigma which is very painful to hear... Can any one provide the details of CHANDRAVANSHI KAHAR community as to what are the other Names and Tittle they keep also please let me know what is the exact TITLE for us (CHANDRAVANSHI KAHAR ) as a SURNAME...because i find many different titles like..Singh...Prasad..Sharma...etc Would feel happy to know if some one can provide correct and trusted details so that we can pass this valuable information to other members.Dear Friends ,intern-ate is the best communication thing ,i am really thankful to all for comments about our community ,i really proud to be from chandravanshi community,but i am little up-sad when i seeing the people of our community ,there is lots of improvement needed in our community in comparison of others,i founded that lots of educated & rich families are still hiding there identification,i want to say than pls donnt do this help the community ,pls come in front as a key leader my basic point of view is not to debate about the status of our community but weather people are rich or poor but bring those fundamentally and economically strong people together to help our needy people. Help can be in form of providing better livings ,jobs , business ideas, getting benefits from govt., marriages ,social etc. To make this thing come true we have to come unity. Thanks & Regards Suraj Jathapi Manager(Operation) Lafarge Cement India Ltd Shambhupura Unit (Rajasthan) www.lafarge.in Email: [email protected] /[email protected] Mobile: +91-9039300289 Thanks and Regards,
Guest
KRISHNA KUMAR
11 months 3 days ago
"""""jarasandh""""
Guest
KRISHNA KUMAR
11 months 3 days ago
Jai ""'
Guest
KRISHNA KUMAR
11 months 3 days ago
I am krishna kumar s/o late niranjan ram ranchi jharkhand 09835163838
Guest
ankit kashyap
11 months 9 days ago
can kashyap be rajput or not?
Guest
jinendra
1 year 18 days ago
tell me about Singhariya is it in kahar
Guest
Prem Kumar Singh
1 year 1 month ago
Dear sirs I am very happy when read delails about our community. Basically I am belong from nalanda bihar now leaving bilaspur chhattisgarh.