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Dalit Population



The Chamar people live primarily in India's western states of Maharashtra, Karnataka, and Gujarat. They are considered untouchable, and most of them know nothing else their entire lives. With a population of over 50 million, they are among the largest untouchable, or Dalit communities in the Hindu world.

The Chamar people are also known as Bhambi, Asadaru, Khalpa, Machigar, Lingayat, Mochi and Rohit. They are mostly distributed in Maharashtra, Karnataka and Gujarat. 

They are regarded as untouchables or Sudras. To be untouchable, according to Indian-Hindu tradition, is to be undesirable, or unworthy of any sort of consideration or provision by society. This translates into frequent joblessness, lack of education and lifelong poverty. Traditional upper caste members will even avoid an untouchable's shadow.

What are their lives like?
The Chamar use the Devanagari script and speak Kannada, Gujarati and Hindi along with regional languages. Their main occupation is manufacturing shoes and chappals from finished leather. Besides this, they are engaged in daily-wage labour and petty business. Day labor and petty business are also main sources of income, along with the manufacture of shoes and chappal, an Indian sandal. The origins of the name "chamar" come from their leather work. You can imagine how working with the remains of dead cows can be viewed in Hindu cultures where the cow is sacred. Women are also involved in agricultural work, animal husbandry and various economic activities. The Bhambi Khalpa community repairs musical instruments like dhol and nagara which are played in the temples during worship. Men occasionally drink alcohol. The Chamar regard themselves higher than the Mangs and the Mahars.

The Chamar practice monogamy in marriage. Dowry is largely prevalent and is paid in cash and kind. Remarriage is allowed for widowers but not for the widows. The dead body of a bachelor is buried lying on its back with the head facing the south, whereas others are cremated and their mortal remains are immersed in sacred water. Rice balls are offered to the dead and to ancestors on the tenth day after death.

What are their beliefs?
The Chamar are Hindu. They belong to the Shiva and Bhagvat sects. Their deities are Bahiroba, Janai, Kandova of Jejori and Bhawani of Tuljapur. They follow the spiritual teachings of Ravidas. They recite mythological tales and sing songs from the religious epics.

There is a slightly higher degree of responsiveness to the gospel among the Chamars than among other Dalits. There is a church planting movement underway among Chamars in several districts across India.

Half of India's dalit population lives in 4 states
B Sivakumar, - 2011 census
CHENNAI: Four states account for nearly half of the country's dalit population, reveals the 2011 census. Uttar Pradesh stands first with 20.5% of the total scheduled caste (SC) population, followed by West Bengal with 10.7%, says the data released by the Union census directorate on Tuesday. Bihar with 8.2% and Tamil Nadu with 7.2 % come third and fourth. Dalits form around 16.6% of India's population.
The 2011 census recorded nearly 20.14 crore people belonging to various scheduled castes in the country. As per the 2001 census, the number was 16.66 crore. The dalit population showed a decadal growth of 20.8%, whereas India's population grew 17.7% during the same period. "Though there is an increase in the population of dalits in the country, many states with a considerable number of dalits don't have any legislation to protect the interests of the community.Dalit empowerment is very poor in many states," said former Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi (VCK) MLA D Ravikumar.

Many scheduled caste families don't own land or any other property, said Ravikumar. "Many dalits are landless and efforts to empower them by giving free land have not been successful in Tamil Nadu. Unlike Punjab, which has a considerable number of dalits as industrialists, here there is hardly any industrialist from our community," the leader of the dalit party said.
There are around 9.79 crore women among the total SC population, and the sex ratio works out to 946 females per 1000 males. Nagaland, Lakshwadeep and Andaman and Nicobar islands have no scheduled castes among their population. Though UP has the largest chunk of the total SC population, Punjab has the largest share of dalits in its population at 31.9%. Himachal Pradesh and West Bengal follow Punjab with 25.2% and 23.5%. In Tamil Nadu, dalits account for about 18% of the population.
The state budget should also allocate funds for creation of assets for dalits, said Ravikumar. "Instead of distributing freebies, the state governments can set aside a portion of the total allocation for dalits. In many cases, funds are being diverted and dalits lose whatever is due to them," he said. The states with considerable number of dalits in their population must pass a separate legislation on the lines of Andhra Pradesh, which has passed the SC/ST Sub Plan Act, said a dalit activist.

Chamars in Gujarat, Maharastra, Assam

In state like Gujarat, Chamar groups Bhambi and Meghwal are listed as Schedule caste(SCs) while other Chamars are listed as Other Backward Classes (OBCs - - serial number 72- gov official source). Same is the case of Maharastra, Bhambi Chamars are listed in Schedule Caste while other Chamars group Jatiya/Jatia(also known as Jatav-Jatava-Jatia Chamars in north)are listed as Other Backward Caste(OBCs - - serial number 45 and 211- gov official source). Same is the case of North-eastern state like Assam where Chamars are listed in Other Backward Castes(OBCs - - serial number 26(24 in further serialization of 26)- gov official source). It can be stated that all sub-groups of Chamar community are not essentially a part of Schedule Castes all across India. It is only north where all most all sub-groups of Chamar caste have Schedule Castes status. -- Indiancj (talk) 15:27, 12 April 2013 (UTC)


Scheduled Caste population by district in Uttar Pradesh:

NumberDistrictPopulation (2001)Scheduled Caste Population (2001)PercentageScheduled Castes (Largest Three)
1Agra3,620.436788,39421.78Chamar (593,263), Kori (56,634) and Balmiki (51,649)
2Aligarh2,992,286634,27021.20Chamar (396,997), Khatik (57,331) and Balmiki (55,414)
3Allahabad4,936,1051,065,09721.58%Pasi (412,466), Chamar (402,3470 and Kol (106,164)
4Ambedkar Nagar2,026,876495,37524.44Chamar (438,182), Dhobi (29,364) and Pasi (7,809)
5Auraiya1,179,993326,78827.69Chamar (210,649), Dhanuk (38,687) and Kori (22,478)
6Azamgarh3,939,9161,013,80125.73Chamar (829,755), Pasi (87,872) and Dhobi (34,343)
7Badaun3,069,426524,68417.09Chamar (331,011), Balmiki (56,7123) and Dhobi (55,713)
8Bagpat1,163,991127,81310.98Chamar (89,732), and Balmiki (27,232
9Bahraich2,381,072342,74714.39Chamar (160,679), Pasi (62,426) and Kori (37,979)
10Ballia2,761,620454,64716.46Chamar (304,224), Dusadh (59,649) and Gond (33,116)
11Balrampur1,682,350226,75313.48Kori (92,734), Pasi (48,552) and Chamar (30,585)
12Banda1,537,334320,22620.83Chamar (213,002), Kori (52,162) and Dhobi (19,783)
13Barabanki2,673,581718,89726.89Pasi (379,012), Chamar (224,996) and Kori (31.192)
14Bareilly3,618,589457,77112.65Chamar (250,911), Dhobi (72,628) and Balmiki (55,294)
15Basti2,084,814435,08220.87Chamar (344,350), Dhobi (43,044) and Khatik (23,523)
16Bijnor3,131,619655,80620.94Chamar (571,454), Balmiki (42,135) and Bhuiyar (18,353)
17Bulandshahr2,913,122588,68320.21Chamar (436,047), Balmiki (51,804) and Khatik (37,562)
18Chandauli1,643,251399,17424.29Chamar (285,302), Dusadh (21,573) and Musahar (18,752)
19Chitrakoot766,225201,83926.34Chamar (116,878), Kol (39,472) and Kori (17,265)
20Deoria2,712,650493,34418.19Chamar (290,458), Gond (82,993) and Dhobi (36,687)
21Etah2,790,410478,66517.5Chamar (285,485), Dhobi (71,764) and Balmiki (40,653)
22Etawah1,338,871313,47023.41Chamar (190,517), Dhanuk (39,088) and Kori (25,678)
23Faizabad2,088,928471,83922.59Pasi (175,258), Kori (149,274) and Chamar (90,143)
24Farrukhabad1,570,408258,08016.43Chamar (126,154), Dhanuk (37,970) and Dhobi (32,031)
25Fatehpur[2,308,384578,07025.04Chamar (215,829), Pasi (195,629) and Kori (57,796)
26Firozabad2,052,958387,04718.85Chamar (233,693), Dhobi (41,407) and Kori (33,383)
27Gautam Buddha Nagar1,202,030190,02216.31Chamar (140,549), Balmiki (28,069) and Khatik (6,529)
28Ghaziabad3,290,586593,78018.04Chamar (448,862), Balmiki (72,764) and Kori (29,887)
29Ghazipur3,037,582649,51021.38Chamar (518,794), Dhobi (23,712) and Dusadh (23,600)
30Gonda2,765,586433,49115.67Kori (195,711), Chamar (71,931) and Pasi (68,873)
31Gorkakhpur3,769,456831,07022.05Chamar (522,742), Pasi (110,900) and Beldar (74,237)
32Hamirpur1,043,724237,90222.79Chamar (133,601), Kori (44,258) and Basor (26,251)
33Hardoi3,398,3061,065,84831.36Chamar (497,693), Pasi (424,758) and Dhobi (59,039)
34Jalaun1,454,452393,30727.04Chamar (240,753), Kori (61,470) and Dhobi (30,203)
35Jaunpur3,911,679857,88321.93Chamar (636,277), Pasi (112,804) and Dhobi (36,207)
36Jhansi1,744,931489,76328.07Chamar (271,048), Kori (88,814) and Dhobi (40,946)
37Jyotiba Phule Nagar1,499,068258,85717.27Chamar (224,565), Balmiki (20,674) and Dhobi (6,655)
38Kannauj1,388,923256,03818.43Chamar etc. (141,819), Dhanuk (42,694) and Dhobi (23,643)
39Kanpur Dehat1,563,336388,41924.85Chamar (234,591), Kori (44,780) and Dhanuk (37,732)
40Kanpur Nagar4,167,999685,80916.45Chamar (304,424), Kori (95,008) and Pasi etc. 89,895
41Kaushambi1,293,154466,85336.10Pasi (283,145)m Chamar (96,207) and Dhobi (36,537)
42Kushinagar2,893,196524,14918.12Chamar (283,033), Gond (65,886) and Dhobi (51,673)
43Lakhimpur Kheri3,207,232820,35925.58Chamar (353,143) , Pasi (333,880) and Dhobi (50,960)
44Lalitpur977,734243,78824.93Chamar (138,167), Saharya (44,587) and Dhobi (20,857)
45Lucknow3,647,834776,50221.29Pasi (334,398), Chamar (229,704) and Rawat (47,396)
46Mahamaya Nagar1,336,031336,73925.20Chamar (220,953), Dhobi (37,195) and Kori (22,775)
47Maharajganj2,173,878424,19019.51Chamar (265,168), Pasi(57,353) and Dhobi (54,072)
48Mahoba708,447182,61425.781Chamar (116,164), Kori (24,117) and Basor (20,011)
49Mainpuri1,596,718308,39019.31Chamar(148,402), Dhanuk (62,125) and Dhobi (40,918)
50Mathura2,074,516406,60019.60Chamar (302,459), Balmiki (28,951) and Kori (28,868)
51Mau1,853,997421,67722.74Chamar (265,168), Dhobi (57,353) and Gond (54,072)
52Meerut2,997,361552,69218.44Chamar (443,200), Balmiki (65,570) and Khatik (11,337)
53Mirzapur2,116,042566,16026.76Chamar (285,801), Kol (123,996) and Pasi (39,515)
54Moradabad3,810,983604,25315.86Chamar (468,335), Balmiki (57,442) and Dhobi (19,006)
55Muzaffarnagar3,543,362478,32413.50Chamar (375,600) Balmiki (58,716) and Kori (19,006)
56Pilibhit1,645,183250,49515.23Chamar (92,574), Pasi (41,941) and Dhobi (37,930)
57Pratapgarh2,731,174601,04322.01Pasi (286,572), Chamar (244,002) and Dhobi (29,171)
58Rae Bareli2,872,335856,74929.83Pasi (474,133), Chamar (226,481) and Kori (66,161)
59Rampur1,923,739257,36513.38Chamar (170,475), Balmiki (26,206) and Dhobi (23,847)
60Saharanpur2,896,863629,34021.73Chamar (546,674), Balmiki (26,206) and Dhobi (23,847)
61Sant Kabir Nagar1,420,226300,90221.19Chamar (215,913), Beldar (35,387) and Dhobi (29,537)
62Sant Ravidas Nagar1,353,705292,74721.63Chamar (184,397), Pasi (70,259) and Dhobi (11,146)
63Shahjahanpur2,547,855451,49217.72Chamar (194,784), Dhobi (66,941) and Pasi (52,046)
64Shravasti1,176,391216,35218.39Pasi (89,123), Chamar (53,996) and Kori (33,958)
65Siddharthnagar2,040,085337,31116.53Chamar (238,032), Pasi (43,062) and Dhobi (41,445)
66Sitapur3,619,6611,153,66131.87Pasi (599,413), Chamar (437,085) and Dhobi (59,687)
67Sonbhadra1,463,519613,49741.92Chamar (179,239), Gond (132,946) and Kharwar (excluding Benbansi) (64,738)
68Sultanpur3,214,832715,29722.25Chamar (304,624), Kori (196,096) and Pasi (146,096)
69Unnao2,700,324827,25530.64%Pasi (396,538), Chamar (290,198) and Dhobi (52,906)
70Varanasi3,138,671435,54513.881Chamar (308,100), Khatik (31,251) and Dhobi (21,206)

References:Jump up

Demographic statistics

Today, Dalits make up 16.2% of the total Indian population, but their control over the resources of the country is marginal – less than 5%. Close to half of the Dalit population lives under the poverty line, and even more (62%) are illiterate. Among the Dalits, most of those engaged in agricultural work are landless or nearly landless agricultural labourers. The average household income for Dalits was 17,465 rupees in 1998, just 68% of the national average. Less than 10% of Dalit households can afford safe drinking water, electricity and toilets, which is indicative of their deplorable social condition. Moreover, Dalits are daily victims of the worst crimes and atrocities, far outnumbering other sections of society in that respect as well. The vast majority of these crimes remain unreported due to omnipresent fear, and those that are reported are often ignored by police or end up languishing in the backlogged court system. Between 1992 and 2000, a total of 334,459 cases were registered nationwide with the police as cognizable crimes against Scheduled Castes. More than 60 years after gaining independence, India is still very much afflicted by the cancer of the caste system. Dalits remain the most vulnerable, marginalized and brutalized community in the country.

Regions with significant populations
 India~ 166 million
 Nepal~ 4.5 million (2005)
 Pakistan~ 2.0 million (2005)
 Sri LankaUnknown (2008)
 BangladeshUnknown (2008)
 United Kingdom50,000 - 200,000 estimated (2009)

Village Survey Results (Human Rights Watch 2007)

  • 37.8% of village schools force Dalit children to sit separately
  • 27% of Dalits not able to go to the police
  • 33% of public health workers refuse to go to Dalit homes
  • 12% of villages reported preventing Dalits from voting
  • 48% of villages stopped Dalits from drinking from water sources
  • 64% villages prevented Dalits from entering temples
  • 70% of villages do not allow Dalits to eat with non-Dalits
Note: Chamar population in India is 191000

Dalits and religion

The Sachar Committee report of 2006 revealed that scheduled castes and tribes of India are not limited to the religion of Hinduism. The 61st round Survey of the NSSO found that almost nine-tenths of the Buddhists, one-third of the Sikhs, and one-third of the Christians in India belonged to the notified scheduled castes or tribes of the Constitution.
ReligionScheduled CasteScheduled TribeTotal
Read more:
Chamar Population in Indian States
StatePopulationState Population %
Himachal Pradesh414,6696.8%
Jammu & Kashmir187,2771.9%
Madya Pradesh4,498,1657.5%
Uttar Pradesh19,803,10614%
Uttaranchal    444,535      5 %

Primary Language:Hindi (37,946,000 Speakers)
Language Code (ISO):hin    Ethnologue Listing
Secondary Languages:
Bhojpuri (3,903,000)Chhattisgarhi (1,353,000)
Panjabi, Western (1,280,000)Gujarati (1,061,000)
Kanauji (1,031,000)Awadhi (1,030,000)
Bengali (952,000)Marathi (649,000)
Dhundari (503,000)Kannada (475,000)
Note: Only 10 largest secondary languages listed
Total Languages:58

Dalit in World

(click name for details)
# of CountriesPopulation# Peoples-
# Unreached People Groups% Peoples UnreachedPopulation in Unreached% Popl in Unreached% Urban
Central and South America22558,549,0001,4091097.7 %747,0000.1 % 83 %
Central Asia11433,229,0001,03983079.9 %420,488,00097.1 % 40 %
East and Southern Africa28462,341,0001,32533325.1 %58,590,00012.7 % 29 %
Eastern Europe and Eurasia23342,180,00088324327.5 %18,985,0005.5 % 71 %
Middle East and North Africa19317,902,00059439366.2 %217,459,00068.4 % 60 %
North America and Caribbean29387,448,00084412614.9 %12,331,0003.2 % 82 %
Northeast Asia81,514,546,00065749675.5 %349,893,00023.1 % 47 %
South Asia71,449,388,0003,4153,02188.5 %1,328,974,00091.7 % 30 %
South Pacific2737,508,0001,483292.0 %582,0001.6 % 40 %
Southeast Asia11602,576,0001,81774240.8 %306,005,00050.8 % 44 %
West and Central Africa24430,614,0002,21651523.2 %136,332,00031.7 % 47 %
Western Europe28399,759,00095720621.5 %18,532,0004.6 % 78 %
Totals:122376,936,040,00016,6397,04342.3 %2,868,918,00041.4 %

Dalit in Tamil Nadu
There are 11 million Dalits in Tamil Nadu,
Which represents 20% of the regions' population
50% of the Dalits live below the poverty rate
Activities and Ownership :
  • 72% of Dalits are land workers,
    7% of the land only belongs to them,
    90% of Dalits own no land.
  • 18% of Dalits are construction workers in building sites or roads.
These activities are season activities which encourages debts towards land-owners that run across the generations as well as child labour. As far as child labour is concerned, the region of Madurai ( where DACA is based) is famous for its match industry and fire-works industry that employ children for their agility (from the age of 8).

Infant mortality :
Infant mortality in rural areas is of 86.7 ‰ for the global population.
It raises to 104.2 ‰ for the Dalit community.

Literacy and Education Rates 

90% of Dalits in rural areas are illiterate whereas only 10% of the non Dalit community are. Women are especially concerned by this problem.

The situation of Women :

Doubly submitted to the burden of social structures because of their untouchability and their gender, the women Dalit are a group the DACA is paticularly concerned with. A number of programs are reserved for them (agricultural cooperatives, formation to become teachers or secretaries) so as to give them the means for a certain autonomy. Experience shows that they often reveal themselves to be very good managers and team leaders, unlike the men who are often prey to alcohol problems.

India: Official Dalit population exceeds 200 million

Figures from the 2011 census confirm that there are more than 200 million Scheduled Castes (the official term for Hindu, Sikh and Buddhist Dalits) in India. The total number of Dalits is probably much higher as Muslim and Christian Dalits are not included in these figures.

Dalit manual scavengers demonstrating for their rights. Many of them are Muslims, and not included in the official SC figures.
The number of Scheduled Castes (SCs) in India increased by 35 million during the decade ranging from 2001 to 2011, recently released census figures have shown. This means that there are now 201.4 million Hindu, Sikh and Buddhist Dalits in the country.
The increase of 20.8 per cent is somewhat higher than the general population increase of 17.7 per cent. This means that the overall SC share of the population has grown from 16.2 to 16.6 per cent. India’s demographic imbalance is reflected in the number of SCs of which there are 103.5 million males and 97.9 million females.
More than three fourths of India’s SCs are still living in rural areas, but since the 2001 census, there has been a 40 per cent increase in the number of SCs living in urban areas. This figure is now approaching 50 million, while more than 150 million still live in rural India.
India’s Scheduled Castes are distributed across 31 states and union territories. The states with the highest total numbers of SCs are Uttar Pradesh, with more than 40 million, and West Bengal with approximately 20 million. The less populous Punjab is the state with the highest proportion of SCs to its total population – 31.9 per cent.
While the 200 million SCs constitute a significant proportion of India’s population, the total, if unofficial, number of Dalits in the country is almost certainly considerably higher, as Christian and Muslim Dalits are not registered as ‘Scheduled Castes’. Hence, they are not entitled to so-called ‘reservations’ in the education system and government jobs and other constitutional safeguards.
According to some estimates, there are 15-20 million Christian Dalits in India, while the number of Muslim Dalits may be as high as 100 million or more. Were these figures to be confirmed, the number of Dalits in India could exceed 300 million – or a quarter of the country’s population of 1.2 billion people.
Dr. Umakant, a researcher on Dalit issues, believes that with the rise in population of SCs the Government of India should reorient several of its policies for their overall inclusive development: “It should also increase the quantum of reservations in education and jobs and other sectors without any further delay,” he said.


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