Teli


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Who are they?

Traditionally, the Teli are an occupational caste of oil-pressers. The traditional wooden oil press was driven by blindfolded oxen around a mill. This labour intensive mill has been replaced by motor operated mills. However, many of today’s oil mills are owned by other communities. Consequently, the Teli have been forced diversified into other vocations.

They are a large group numbering around 17.5 million and are distributed in one hundred and twenty-one districts throughout India and spread across fifteen states.

Origin

They derive their community name from the Hindi word tel which means oil. The Sanskrit word for oil, tailika or taila, is also derived from tilli, meaning sesame. The mythological origin of the Teli is traced to Shiva. Legend has it that he created the Teli to destroy five demons. The Teli have many other legends concerning their origin, one being that the first Teli was created by Shiva to massage him with oil. There is another belief that when Mahadev (a synonym of Shiva) needed oil he created a man from the dirt of his body and gave him a bullock and told him to produce oil. Yet another myth maintains there was man who had three sons and fifty-two mahua (Bassia latifolia) trees whose produce he decided to divide among the sons. One son picked up the leaves; another collected the flowers, while the third took the fruit kernels and crushed oil out of them, thereby becoming the founder of the Teli.

Language

The Teli’s mother tongue varies from state to state. In Uttar Pradesh they speak dialects of Hindi, while in Chandigarh (where the Teli are known also as Malik), Punjabi or Hindi is spoken. In Madhya Pradesh, where they are also known as Sahu, and in Delhi, they speak Hindi. Other regional languages are Mewari, Magahi, Bengali, Chambiali, Marathi, Haryanvi, Punjabi and Oriya.

Most of the Teli perceive their caste position as Vaisya – the third highest class of traders in the four-fold Hindu class system and other communities acknowledge this. However, some Teli, like those of Delhi and Rajasthan, place themselves in the Kshatriya or second highest class of warriors which is not accepted by others, especially the higher castes. The Teli accept food and water from similar or higher ranking people but not those lower down the hierarchy.

What are their lives like?

The traditional occupation of oil pressing has virtually disappeared and the Teli have taken to trade and agriculture on which they now largely depend. In fact, today land is the main economic resource for the majority of the rural Teli community. Some have taken up animal husbandry as a vocation while others rear sheep and goats.

Many of those who are landless, like those of Haryana, Chandigarh, Himachal Pradesh and Punjab, work as labourers on farms, industrial areas and construction sites, or as hand-cart pullers, load carriers, sharecroppers, metal workers and such. In Bihar ladhi (transport of food grains, onions, potatoes and other food stuffs) is also treated as a traditional occupation of the Teli and is still practiced extensively.

A number of Teli are businessmen, like those of Delhi who deal in milk and milk products. In Rajasthan, they are oil traders. There are some moneylenders, a few run small hotels and some such as those in Punjab who manufacture scissors and others in Haryana who make harrows and trolleys for tractors. Quite a number can be found in service in both the government and private sectors at various levels. The Teli participate actively in modern politics and MPs and MLAs (Member of Legislative Assembly) have been elected from among them.

The Hindus avoid eating beef and Muslims avoid pork. Wheat, maize, rice and millets are staple cereals. A variety of pulses, seasonal vegetables and fruit form their diet, as well as dairy products. Mustard oil is the main cooking medium. Alcohol is consumed occasionally by men; though some segments of the Teli community abstain completely. Both men and women chew betel and tobacco.

The Teli generally favour formal education for both boys and girls, but literacy levels remain low and drop out rates are high especially in rural areas, as higher education is denied to daughters. In some states graduates and postgraduates are becoming common. They have benefited from modern medicine and are conducive to family planning, except some who oppose it on religious grounds.

Customs

The Teli are endogamous, i.e. they marry only within their community. Many times they are also endogamous at the subgroup level, as in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Rajasthan.

Teli marriages are mostly monogamous and adult marriages are common. Marital alliances are arranged by family elders on both sides. Marriage by exchange is also seen in some states like Rajasthan. Junior sororate and junior levirate are permissible and practiced. To indicate that they are married, women wear a vermilion mark in their hair parting called sindur, glass or conch-shell bangles, toe rings and a nose stud. Dowry is paid in both cash and kind. Divorce is socially sanctioned in certain cases like adultery, barrenness, impotency and cruelty. Remarriage of divorcees, widows and widowers is also permitted.

The Teli live in joint or, increasingly, in nuclear families. Usually the parental property is divided equally among sons only and the eldest son succeeds as the head of the family. However, among the Teli of Orissa, and all Muslim Teli, daughters also receive a share of the inheritance. Women have a status secondary to that of men. In addition to doing all the domestic chores, the women contribute to the family income. They also take a leading role in social, religious and ritual activities. The women of Himachal Pradesh are famous for a particular style of embroidery called ‘Chamba embroidery’. The Teli people have many folk songs and tales, and the women sing and dance to the accompaniment of the dholak (barrel-shaped, double-sided drum) on auspicious occasions.

In some states the Teli have an informal community panchayat (council) consisting of elderly and respectable members of the community. These councils deal with intra-community disputes and look after the welfare of their people.

What are their beliefs?

In Haryana and Punjab, the Teli are Muslims while in Uttar Pradesh, Chandigarh and Delhi there are both Muslim and Hindu Teli. The Hindu Teli makes up 86%; they worship all the gods and goddesses of Hinduism.

At birth of a child and at marriages, clan deities are worshiped. Regional deities like Mansa Devi or “wish-fulfilling goddess” are also propitiated. The dead are cremated and ashes immersed in a river, preferably the Ganges at Hardwar, Uttar Pradesh, which is considered to be holy.

Ancestor worship is prevalent among them and they have a strong belief in evil spirits. They celebrate all major Hindu festivals like Holi (spring festival of colors), Diwali (festival of lights) and Ramnavmi (Rama’s birthday) among others.

The Muslims of this community believe in Allah and Prophet Mohammed and most belong to the Sunni sect. They bury their dead according to Islamic edicts, revere the dargahs (tomb shrines) of Muslim saints; the tombs of Hazrat Nizamuddin and Ajmer Sharif as sacred places of pilgrimage.

 

94 Comments

  1. I like it.

    Reply
    • Please all tell use Sahu as his surname

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  2. In Nepal, the Teli’s mother tongue varies from District to District. They speak Maithili, Bhojpuri, Obdhi, Nepali & Others.

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  3. I am from kashmir, Distt, kulgam. I want to know the origin of my grandfathers.

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    • north India only

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    • please see above website

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    • But you are Muslims

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    • If you are feeling than your original is Hindu teeli

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      • u r right

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    • Go to 7 generation back

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  4. I am from Aliganj, BHAGALPUR,BIHAR. & I want to know the social position of teli in India

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    • ALL TELI SHOULD USE MALIK AS SURNAME

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      • Why in Pakistani people like malik(teli)

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      • Good

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  5. I am from howrah , west bengal. I want to know that the tittle “shaw” is belong to “teli” cast

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    • Yes dear

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  6. i am muslim teli (marwadi) from borawar ( makrana ) rajasthan.best wishes to all hindu,muslim and sikh teli biradar.

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    • Thank you
      But teli in Muslim I don’t belief

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      • why not rajat , iam also teli

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        • they all are converted by Mugals

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          • U r right bro..

  7. i also like because i am from nepal here are much teli samaj but not know about teli community so i am very happy i proud of teli

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    • kindly visit our sahu page and like and share it also u can help us through development of page.

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  8. i am muslim teli(malik) i hope that all HINDU & MUSLIM TELI PROGRESS DAY DAY i am from dehradun uttra khand

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    • How abt hindu malik ?

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  9. i like it i am maharastra teli how many teli casts and sub casts

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  10. i am gandla caste this belongs to teli caste.

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  11. i am from gokak of belgaum district in karanataka

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  12. I am Tilwan Teli, Dist.Ahmednagar, Maharashtra, India
    Jay Santaji.

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    • Hi tilwan give slogan Jai Teli, not Jai santaji

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    • Hi rathore I am at jaipur join in facebook and whatapps and share views

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    • I am ashok rathore(teli) from bareilly uttar pradesh.

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    • Yes I am ashok rathore from bareilly uttar pradesh.. My whatsup no.9761306522 I am interested the create any social group to rathore teli..

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    • i m also teli belongs to chhattisgarh

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  13. I Tahir Malik From Pakistan I am also belong to telli cast, people do not like the name here in Pakistan .. But by the GOD grace we progressing well in every department of the life… i also want joine telli community in the sub continent.

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    • Hi Malik great to know about intention of making our valuable. Only education learning can position ourself. Join in facebook and whatapps and share ideas and feeling.

      Reply
    • U welcome here bro…

      Reply
  14. We have to communicate each other.
    And starts a group that belongs to all our community.
    Namo Modi

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  15. ” Bharat/ Hindustan/ India ” befor britishers, communites divide over occupation not for thier worshiping principles . . thanks for recall us – v r human .

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  16. I am manjesh Teli, knowing about all I feel proud and energy. We people must join in telisamaj group on facebook whatapps. Educating learning as our reverted pm says only position us.

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    • kindly visit and like our page thankyou.

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  17. Im Kashmir Singh Kashyap from Kullu-Manali Himachal Pradesh. I belongs to teli caste sub caste is Kashyap.

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    • Okay guys please all SAHU visit this it’s right

      Reply
  18. In Kullu Manali ,Himachal Pradesh Teli known as Kashyap, Bhatnagar, Bhandor, Lakkar, Patiyal, Chauhan and more.

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  19. I am teli(janakpuri)want to know history of teli.
    We must crest a unity for development.

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  20. I am mukesh sahu live in hanumangarh Rajasthan. and make join sahu samaj plz all sahu samaj join facebook link Id: sahu samam haryana

    Reply
    • hi…………

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  21. Guy’z i am from Mainpuri/Uttar pradesh
    Lives In Delhi
    And I am a Famous Rapper Also
    Friends I jus want to know that lodhi Rajput Was coming in OBC Or Not..
    You can also add me on facebook just search My Username:koushal.Rajput.92

    Reply
    • Ha bhai OBC me hi aate hai Lodhi

      Reply
  22. I am savteli but we must know only teli.post some information about the splendid history of our caste.

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  23. Hii I am RK gupta, I. Belong from Allahabad uttar Pradesh. I belong from teli community.

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  24. i live i ara bihar and i am also teli

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  25. I am also belong to teli cast I live in shahjahanpur in utter Pradesh .

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  26. I want to know about batri (72) teli (Rajput) History and origin.

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  27. i am sahu from bhilai chhattisgarh

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  28. Its proud to be a teli. Danvir Bhama Sah, Chandragupta mourya , our PM Mr Narendra modi also belong to our own society.

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  29. I’m Sonu kumar sah, from sirha dist Nepal. I want to know about origin of our teli community…..

    Reply
  30. My self SHAKTI PRATAP GUPTA from sultanpur u.p. and i,m also blongs to teli caste and have to make make a big teli comunity for respectance for teli samaj…my cont.dtail-fb.com/shakti.pg,wtsapp-9452989892,[email protected]

    Reply
    • I am Teli{Kasyap}native place fm Ballia (UP), settled in Delhi since 1968,Life Member of Snehi Bharti (Teli Samaj) Delhi & Akhil Bharatiya Talik Samaj, Delhi.
      Contact : 9560073150

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      • Hi I am RAMALINGU from mysore karnataka i belongs to teli(GANIGA)
        COMMUNITY NICE TO KNOW YOU PEOPLE. PL HELP TE COMMUNITY PEOPLE TO AQUIRE GOOD EDUCATION.

        Reply
  31. dear all
    i am so glad today by seeing many youth people of teli samaj are becoming well educated but i worried to think that there is lack of unity and co-operation because most of the people belong from villages and such types of wrong things found in there who break the unity,,
    so i request to all those who belong to teli society please think something to do for our society and i am very happy to found this group…
    thanks to all those who posted there thoughts..
    PAPPU LAL SHAH
    Email- [email protected]
    mobile- 9442915938

    Reply
  32. in dakshina kannada district of karnataka state ganigas are speaks tulu language

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  33. Hlo, i also belongs to teli samaj .i proud to be a teli

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  34. Telic in now a days emerged as good academic. Business

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  35. Hi, I m from varanasi. But here in east UP every teli has started using gupta as a title . My forefathers used sahu but now a days it has converted. Telis should forge a strong community to help among themselves so that teli samaj can reach the pinnacle of success. Good Luck to all the “telis” of the world.

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    • yes u r right

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  36. Topmos telis of world:

    Mahatma gandhi
    narendra modi

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  37. I from nagpuer blongings to teli comuity.I am interested to involve in community activity positively & help to them anytimes which is undermaharastrin leadership.

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  38. I filling proud that I am belongs to teli cast which gives our country to FATHER OF NATION MAHATAMA GANDHI & PM MODI

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    • they are teli

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  39. I filling proud that I belong to teli cast which gives our country to FATHER OF NATION MAHATAMA GANDHI & P.M MODI.

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    • Gandhiji was baniya.

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  40. Hey Guys ! i just want to know Why some rathore (rajput) using teli! plz

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    • In rajasthan both rajputs n teli use rathore surname.

      Reply
  41. I’m from Maharastra and was kind of tracing my ancestor’s root.This was very helpfull.
    thankyou so much

    Reply
  42. All india Teli youth for nation , join this group in Facebook… All r welcome for any suggestion or Help. #Mahadev , search me on Google

    Reply
  43. Caste doesn’t matter. First become real and true Indian. We should think about caste less India. I am also teli by caste and feeling proud. Come together and contribute to the development of our country after caste etc. Jai Hind Jai Bharat

    Reply
  44. I am also teli I proud to be teli community

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  45. I am teli

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  46. Hii..I am K Gujarkar live in Nagpur(Maharashtra), belongs to Teli community,Jai Santaji….

    Reply
  47. Proud to be a Teli,
    Please know some of our ancestors

    http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-others/tv-serial-on-emperors-and-modi/

    http://www.indiatvnews.com/news/india/tv-serial-on-pm-modis-community-50470.html

    Must watch: A TV serial on PM Modi’s community
    Currently reading: Must watch: A TV serial on PM Modi’s community
    #narendra modi, #gujarat India TV News Desk [Updated:06 May 2015, 10:57:31]
    must watch a tv serial on pm modi s community- India Tv
    Very soon you will see a serial on Doordarshan which puts Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the league of emperors like Chandragupta Maurya and Ashoka – all of whom have made a community known as oil-pressers proud through their deeds. Modi belongs to the Ghanchi community of oil-pressers in Gujarat, which comes under the OBC category.

    The serial titled as ‘Diye Jalte Hain’ will be telecasted on DD1. The reason why PM has been included among late emperors like Maurya and Ashoka is that he also like them has made the community (to which they all belong) proud.

    Its muhurat has already taken place in Gandhinagar, Gujarat on Monday. Prime Minister’s elder brother Somnath aka Sombhai Modi appeared as the guest in the muhurat function. The muhurat was performed at the Modi community hall in Pethapur town of Gandhinagar.

    The programme is expected to telecast on Doordarshan by October. It will narrate the history of Ghanchi-Teli community by weaving biographies of its famous members.

    As told by a Pune-based producer Suresh Chaudhari, the muhurat shot was of a young Teli boy who is unsure of his roots. As per Chaudhari, his mother tells him about the community’s glorious past and its heroes like Chandragupta Maurya, Ashoka and Modiji.

    “Doordarshan has in the first phase sanctioned 128 episodes of the serial. It is likely to run for about 10 years. It will give the message that one should be proud of the community that has produced so many great personalities,” Chaudhari said.

    It is learnt that the part of the serial was shot in Modi’s hometown Vadnagar in Gujarat.

    Sombhai told The Indian Express: “The serial is about our glorious past, the leaders that the community has produced. From Samrat Chandragupta Maurya and Samrat Ashoka, even a commoner like Gangu Teli, who are important in the history of India. It also includes a biography of the Prime Minister.”

    He also told that the director and the producer of the serial had approached him for the muhurat shot. He said this will help tell the world the contribution of the community.

    The serial director Saif Subedar revealed that they are yet to do the casting for the role of Modiji. “Just a muhurat shot was done today”, he said.

    As per Chaudhari, the decision on Modi’s role will be made in a month’s time.

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  48. You are right Rajendra Kumar first Indian and then Teli. Jai Hind.I am also Teli from Maharashtra.

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  49. I belong to teli caste from Deoghar Jharkhand. It is proud to become a teli.I am also a social worker to work for poor people.

    Reply
  50. मेरा नाम सुशिल कुमार साहू है मेरा घर बेत्तिया(बिहार) में हैं मैं तेली हु मुझे तेली होने पर गर्व है I love teli caste

    Reply

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