Kumhar

Kumhar_Potter_3Kumhar_Pottery_2Kumhar_Potter_2Kumhar_PotterKumhar_PotteryKumhar_pots
Share
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  

Who are they?

The Kumhar are potters who make earthen vessels, water pots, decorative home wares, toys and idols of gods and goddesses. The name Kumhar denotes a maker of pots and pitchers or someone who creates. They are an integral part of Indian society because their creations are an integral part of an Indian’s daily life rituals.

They make idols, statues of famous people and folk deities and animals. They can be found at local markets selling their wares on most days. They have started using terracotta instead of red clay as it can be painted and is less fragile. There is a growing demand for their products in the urban market. This trend is beneficial to the Kumhars as long as they are not exploited by middlemen.

Location

One of the largest castes, they are reportedly spread across 212 districts of India, predominantly in the states of Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal, Gujarat, Maharashtra, parts of Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. They are known by different names in each state.

Origin

Each state has its own legend of the Kumhar’s origins. The Maharashtra Kumhar claim that they emerged on earth with the blessing of the Hindu trinity – Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. Brahma the creator gave them his art, Vishnu the preserver his wheel and Shiva the destroyer, his form. Their first product was a water pot.

In Madhya Pradesh & Uttar Pradesh, they are listed as a scheduled caste (previously called untouchables.) They themselves do not consider themselves as such.

This community has a number of subgroups that vary depending on where they come from. In Uttar Pradesh, there are the Baradia or Baradiya sub-group who carry clay on oxen; the Gadhere subgroup who carry clay on donkeys and the Chakbai (wheel) subgroup.

What Are Their Lives Like?

The Kumhar are a landless community who continue in their traditional occupation as potters, with some engaged in animal husbandry and crop farming on a share-cropping basis. Some work as masons and manual labour for a daily wage. Many Kumhar have abandoned their traditional occupation and are employed in government service – as teachers, engineers, doctors, police and armed forces; while others work for private enterprises. Political leadership at various levels is also emerging among them.
When we compare the accounts of 19th and early 20th century ethnographers, we can see that the Kumhar’s traditional occupation has diversified considerably. In addition, there has been a devolving of subgroups and an increasing identity-consciousness across states.

Wheat and rice are staple cereals supplemented by barley, maize and lentils and pulses. Fruit intake is occasional and seasonal. Non vegetarians do not eat beef or pork. Those who follow the Radhasoami sect are strict vegetarians. Alcohol is consumed occasionally.

What Are Their Customs?

Endogamy is practiced at community and subgroup level. Exogamy is practiced among clans as a rule for marriage. However, marriages between subgroups are becoming common. Marriages are arranged by negotiation between the elders of both parties.

Child marriage is becoming less prevalent among the Kumhar. In child marriages, consummation takes place only after the girl has attained puberty at the age of twelve to fifteen. In many cases, especially in rural areas, the bride and groom do not see each other before marriage. Bride price used to be the norm but it has been replaced by a dowry which is in both cash and goods.

The Kumhar are monogamous though polygamy is permitted if the first wife is barren, but such cases are very rare. Junior levirate and junior sororate are recognised and preferred. Remarriage is permitted for widowed persons; remarriage is performed simply by exchanging garlands without the ritual encircling the sacred fire. Though divorce is permissible, it is uncommon as it is looked down upon by their society. Only male heirs have an equal share of the inheritance and the eldest son succeeds as the head of the family.

The literacy rate is very low and child labour is common. Response to developmental aid is mixed – they are encouraged to educate their children, but boys are favored over girls and the dropout rate is high due to social and economic reasons. They use both modern and indigenous medicine and are open to family planning.

What Are Their Beliefs?

The Kumhar are predominantly Hindu. They worship the gods and goddesses of the wider Hindu pantheon and participate in all Hindu religious festivals. Although quite low in the Hindu caste hierarchy, they have access to all the sacred shrines of pilgrimage for Hindus. Families may choose to give importance to a deity. All Hindu workmen, including the Kumhar, regard the tools of their trade as the cause of their prosperity and worship them as such.

Collectively, the Kumhar worship an overwhelming number of local and regional deities for an equally amazing variety of reasons. For example, in Himachal Pradesh a provincial deity called Guga is propitiated for eight days all over the state. Nahar Singh – the whistling deity who lives in the pipal (Indian fig tree) is considered to be a great benevolent god and benefactor of all. In Haryana a regional deity is worshipped for the fulfillment of wishes. In Uttar Pradesh the Kumhar revere Mahadeva, another form of Shiva and worship the potter’s wheel on Diwali (Festival of Lights). In Himachal Pradesh, the god of their choice is Vishwakarma (the great architect of the universe.) They observe a three day fast when they do not make any pots. In Maharashtra the Kumhar worship Sant Gora Kumbhar (White Saint Kumhar), the god Vitthala (an aspect of Vishnu) and goddess Yellamma. In the desert state of Rajasthan the main deity of the Kumhar is Surya Deva (Sun god) as well as Bhairava (a particularly fearsome incarnation of Shiva).

Some Punjabi Kumhar are Sikh while a few, as in the Union Territory of Chandigarh, are Muslims. There are Catholic Kumhars in the state of Goa which is chiefly Christian.

What Are Their Needs?

Practical needs are literacy, economic self-sufficiency and health care.

24 thoughts on “Kumhar

  1. Pls correct your site only mahar kumhar included in sc list only in three four district of Madhya Pradesh. Not in all Madhya Pradesh. Kumhar are not comes in scheduled caste in uttar pradesh. Please read ancient time ved purans shalivahan stories and chak puja. Kumhar, Prajapati are respectable caste. You are mentioning wrong. I think you are deliberately written this in your website. Please dont make fool society. Kumhar, Prajapatis comes under OBC category and is a medium or higher caste. In south India mostly kumbhar caste worked as priest, pujari. Please gain full knlwledge then write such articles.

    • Please note kumbhars are called as kullars
      in south india beloning to OBC
      they are respectable families

  2. The creator of this peoplegroupsindia.com/profiles/kumhar is suffered from mental illness and is deliberately manipulating wrong stories to the viewer. Please correct the wrong article written above. Kumhar are the ancient caste and according to Ved, Purans and Upnishad kumhar are the origin from Brahamin father and kshatriya mother. In Uttar Pradesh kumhar does not comes in the list of sc, they comes in OBC list. to publish such types of articles please go through all the facts, then written such types of articles.

  3. plzzzzz can u giv more information on sikh kumars and also a list of famous kumhars

    • You can see a list of famous Prajapati Sikhs by writing Prajapati/Kumhar on google.

  4. In my opinion, the writer of this website has little knowledge about the Kumhar Caste, which is regarded as “Prajapati” in over India. When there was no Varna, the Prajapati was there. It is true that the Kumhar (Prajapati) is a respectable caste and who have deep knowledge of Puranas, Vedas and Upnishdas regarded the Prajapati above Brahmins. It is advisable, please do not look at the present picture of the Prajapatis but to attain deep knowledge about the Prajapatis from Vedas especially from Yajur Veda at the first. Maharaja Shalivahana was also a Kumhar. Kumhar are listed under the “Other Backward Classes”, not under Scheduled Castes and never treated as untouchables in the society. In many old and famous temples, located in Himachal Pradesh and Rajasthan, a Kumhar/Prajapati can only be a priest and not a Brahmin.

  5. Dear as i read some comments on Kumhar caste some are true and Some are false.As my views according to Hindu Shastra mentioned Three Gods (BRAHAMA,VISHNU&MAHESH).THEY worshiped by all over india.For your kind information Prajapati Daksha was the son of Brahma and Prajapati Daksha Daughter Sati Marriage with Shiva.so two out of Three Gods are our ancestors and you told we Untouchable.please correct this.

  6. Dear, Birender Kumar ji, please ready again carefully, comments on Kumhar/Prajapati caste posted by Shri Krishan Kumar Arya. He is telling “Kumhar/Prajapati caste NEVER treated as UNTOUCHABLE in the society”.

  7. Dear, Birender Kumar ji, please read again carefully, comments on Kumhar/Prajapati caste posted by Shri Krishan Kumar Arya. He is telling “Kumhar/Prajapati caste NEVER treated as UNTOUCHABLE in the society”.

  8. kumhar in AP is named as kummari….guys u must know that mysore kings are of kumhar caste and king salivahana…satavahana dynasty is ruled by kumhar caste ones…..prajapati are the creators…..they may be backward in money ..they are most creative people…..

  9. kumhar ,kumawat and prjapati are same.these are ancient castes of hinduism.not only earthen pot makers,also earthen bricks maker,stone archilogist.farmers,landowners.in northern india rajsthan,punjab,haryana are landlords.whole village owners in punjab( abohar fazilka area) also in sirsa and hissar dist of haryana live like zamidar(landlords) also in rajsthan in many districts.these are in OBC.in reajsthan sh kaluram prjapat and dolly gularia in punjab are best singer.you have written very short of this society with very less knowlege.

  10. Prajapati is a good caste but in this caste lack of education, money, designation and social prestige after 60 years of freedom. Now time is education, designation, money and social prestige which castes have the above features that are develop and taken social prestige. If Prajapati Samaj want uplift self then they must for education, designation, money and social prestige like player, actor, leader and other valuable name. If all these features will be developed in Kumhar (Prajapati) then self he will be attracted every caste and every caste will be like from and add from Prajapati Samaj and everywhre will be praise in country.

  11. Prajapati is a good caste but in this caste lack of education, money, designation and social prestige after 60 years of freedom. Now time is education, designation, money and social prestige which castes have the above features that are develop and taken social prestige. If Prajapati Samaj want uplift self then they must for education, designation, money and social prestige like player, actor, leader and other valuable name. If all these features will be developed in Kumhar (Prajapati) then self he will be attracted every caste and every caste will be like and add from Prajapati Samaj and everywhere will be praise in country.

  12. bhai kyon samaj me galat baten mere samaj ke bare me failate ho..in u.p kumhar caste o.b.c me belong karti h na ki s.c me..wahan baith ke bacchodi karne se kuch nhi hota…samaj me aao dekho hum log bhi pragati kar rhe h..plz change ur view

    • Dear Kaushalendra
      Apni Bhasha ko sudharo batchchodi jaisa sabad se jahir hota hai your bhasha is not good. Rahi pragati ki bat to kitne Girl/Boy ek chhoti si bhoomika nibha ker parde par samaj main nam kama rahe hai, kitne player hai, kitne leader, kitne businessman hai. Sathi hi ladkiyon ki dasa to behad kharab hai kitni teacher hai, kitni achchi post par hai. Abhi Oonth ke Muh main jeera jaisi bat hai. Abhi bhi log prajapati kahene par kumhar nahi samajh pate hain.

  13. Dear Kaushlendra
    Apni bhasha ko sudharo wahan baith ker bacchodi karne kya yeh ek sahi bhasha hai, rahi pragati karne ki to batao kitne log parde par ek chhoti bhumika nibha nam kama rahe hai, kitne leader hai, kitne log IAS officer evam achchhi post par hai. Sath hi kitni ladki samaj ki govt. job or other private job kar rahi hai. Abhi Oonth ki Muh main Jeera Samjho.

  14. dear Sir
    I wants to give you information about kumhar cast .Kumbhar /Kumhar / Kunbher are same words , deference only of different region language .now these cast i widely spread in pakistan, and highly edeucated.In pakistan they are doctor, engneir,landlord and others have profession.

  15. if your category belongs to OBC, PL. contact us to involve in the ongoing movement in delhi against inclusion of jats in OBC category. We need to coordinate on national level to spread this movement and please spread this message to other OBC castes. DO CONTACT ME DO GET DETAILS OF ACTIVITIES IN DELHI SINCE 4TH jANUARY.

  16. Prajapati is a very respectively cast but at today time there is very difficulty in their life.
    without sheddule cast, Prajapati cast will not success in their Life so today’s time Prajapati must be in sheddule cast.

  17. mr mentally prajapati was neverever untouchables they act as priests in variou as states and are a higher caste coming from kshtriya origin. due to being economically backward they r called backward not because their varna

  18. dear sir , we find a drastically wrong statement in your article that kumars previously called untouchables. kumhar is called a prajapati since thousand years because of their kshtriya origin. they are economically backward with time but not a low caste at all. please correct it else you wil invite a drastic action against your website. we have all the evidence to prove our point and you might not have even one. internet is a social platform please use it carefully not to publish any dam shit on it

  19. Dear Readers,
    my fufa,(my father’s brother-in-law, who himself was a pious person, once wrote to Shakeracharya that which caste, Prajapati belongs to?
    Shankeracharyaji categorily reply in his letter that “Prajapati” belongs to Brahmin caste.This is authenticated by our(Hindu’s)shastras and Hindu granthas.
    I am proud to be Prajapati and wish to reborn in Prajapati if there is second birth.
    Amen.
    –Ashok Dalwadi(Prajapati)Kitchener, On, Canada

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>