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Schedule Caste/Tribe


First of all know about caste


The word Caste, originates from the Portugese and Spanish Casta, meaning "race," "breed," or "lineage."  It was first applied to the jatis of Indian Society by the Portugese Travelers in the 16th Century.  This has a strong Racial base, Ethnic foundation and a Cultural bias.  Although, now the superstition and belief created by the Caste System appear to have started to deteriorate and change, the unjust social structure and unfair recognition of individuals groups and their contributions, that was created by the Castes is still very much in place, especially in Rural Areas.  There are about 3,000 jatis or Castes and more than 25,000 sub-Castes in India.  India's 3,000 Castes are grouped loosely into four varnas.

The word varna is Sankrit for colour, which later came to also mean classification and grouping.  The varnas or classes, traditionally determined the occupations of the People.  Those at the top had reserved for themselves the purest, most sanctified and lightest or easy occupations, and those at the bottom were coerced and forced to deal with things that were taxing, heavy, risky, dangerous, difficult, uncomfortable and impure.  Thus Classes based on varnas, do not depend upon any ones education, intelligence, occupation, suitability, capablities, achievements, income, wealth and potentials; but the varna determines the Class of a whole Segment of the Society, the Group, the People, and the education one born there in can have, the occupation one can take inspite of education intelligence knowledge suitability skill capacity capablity potential, the income they can have, the heights to which they can grow, and the wealth they can acquire retain hold and own.  Hence, in this Country, Caste is varna based determinant of Class, and Class in the Indian Society is dependant on the varna based Occupational Caste!  And it holds good even today, inspite of some exceptions.  Exceptions they are, not a measure of the changes taking place in the Indian Society.  This is true, not only in India, but anywhere in the World amongst the Indian Society, be it in USA or Canada, or Britain and Europe, Asustralia or Russia, South East or Middle East, Ceylon or Burma!

In traditional terms, the four main varnas and their occupations were, in descending order:

Brahmans:        priests and vedic scholars
Kshatriyas:        warriors and rulers
Vaisyas:             merchants and traders
Shudras:            artisans, labourers and servants

These are the visible mainstream, and hence recognised and acceptable part of the Indian Society, that is directly dominated by the brahmins.  The occupations indicated against each of them are what generally is attributed to them.  But don't ever ask what the brahmins as scholars were doing, why they were said to be scholars, whether they were students and teachers, what they were learning or teaching anything, what they were teaching, whom they were teaching!  And don't question as to what developments and progress did the prayers and scholarship of brahmins ever led this ancient Nation, large Society in this Country and the invariably hard working but poor people!!

See the list of notified Scheduled Tribes

Jammu & Kashmir

The Constitution (Jammu & Kashmir) Scheduled Tribes Order, 1989 and The Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) Order
(Amendment) Act, 1991

Scheduled Tribes

1 Bakarwal
2 Balti
3 Beda
4 Bot, Boto
5 Brokpa, Drokpa, Dard, Shin
6 Changpa
7 Gaddi
8 Garra
9 Gujjar
10 Mon
11 Purigpa
12 Sippi

Himachal Pradesh

The Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes Orders (Amendment) Act, 1976

Scheduled Tribes

1 Bhot, Bodh
2 Gaddi [excluding the territories specified in sub-section
(1) of section 5 of the Punjab Reorganisation Act, 1966
(31 of 1966), other than the Lahaul and Spiti district]
3 Gujjar [excluding the territories specified in sub-section
(1) of section 5 of the Punjab Reorganisation Act, 1966
(31 of 1966)]b

4 Jad, Lamba, Khampa
5 Kanaura, Kinnara
6 Lahaula
7 Pangwala
8 Swangla


The areas excluded now comprises of Kangra,
Hamirpur, Kullu, Una and Shimla districts.


The area excluded now comprises of Kangra,
Hamirpur, Kullu, Una, Shimla and Lahul and Spiti

List of notified Scheduled Tribes


The Constitution (Scheduled Tribes)(Uttar Pradesh) Order, 1967 and as inserted by Act 29 of 2000

Scheduled Tribes

1 Bhotia
2 Buksa
3 Jannsari
4 Raji
5 Tharu

Scheduled Tribes in Rajasthan

1.         Bhil, Bhil Garasia, Dholi Bhil, Dungri Bhil, Dungri Garasia, Mewasi Bhil, 
            Rawal Bhil, Tadvi Bhil, Bhagalia, Bhilala, Pawra, Vasava, Vasave
2.         Bhil Mina.                                                                                              
3.         Damor, Damaria.                                                                                     
4.         Dhanka, Tadvi, Tetaria, Valvi.                                                                    
5.         Garasia (Excluding Rajput Garasia.)                                                          
6.         Kathodi, Katkari, Dhor Kathodi, Dhor Katkari, Son Kathodi, Son Katkari.      
7.         Kokna, Kokni, Kukna.                                                                              
8.         Koli Dhor, Tokre Koli, Kolcha, Kolgha.                                                        
9.         Mina                                                                                                      
10.       Naikda, Nayaka, Cholivala Nayaka, Kapadia Nayaka, Mota Nayaka, 
            Nana Nayaka.                              
11.       Patelia.                                                                                                   
12.        Seharia, Sehria, Sahariya.

Scheduled Castes in Rajasthan
  1. Adi Dharmi                                                                                                 
  2. Aheri                                                                                                        
  3. Badi                                                                                                         
  4. Bagri, Bagdi                                                                                             
  5. Bairwa, Berwa                                                                                           
  6. Bajgar                                                                                                      
  7. Balai                                                                                                        
  8. Bansphor, Bansphod                                                                                 
  9. Baori                                                                                                        
  10. Bargi, Vargi, Birgi                                                                                        
  11. Bawaria                                                                                                    
  12. Bedia, Baria                                                                                             
  13. Bhand                                                                                                      
  14. Bhangi, Chura, Mehtar, Olgana, Rukhi, Malkana, Halalkhor, Lalbegi, Balmiki, Valmiki, Korar, Zadmalli
  15. Bidakia                                                                                                    
  16. Bola                                                                                                         
  17. Chamar, Bhambhi, Bambhi, Jatia, Jatava, Mochi, Raidas, Rohidas, Regar, Raigar, Ramdasia, Asadaru, Asodi, Chamadia, Chambhar, Chamgar, Haralavya, Harali, Khalpa, Machigar, Mochigar, Madar, Madig, Telegu, Mochi, Kamati, Mochi, Ranigar, Rohit, Samgar                                                                                                              
  18. Chandal                                                                                                   
  19. Dabgar                                                                                                     
  20. Dhanak, Dhanuk                                                                                     
  21. Dhankia                                                                                                   
  22. Dhobi                                                                                                       
  23. Dholi                                                                                                        
  24. Dome, Dom                                                                                              
  25. Gandia                                                                                                     
  26. Garancha, Gancha                                                                                     
  27. Garo,Garura, Gurda, Garoda                                                                                   
  28. Gavaria                                                                                                    
  29. Godhi                                                                                                       
  30. Jingar                                                                                                       
  31. Kalbelia, Sapera                                                                                       
  32. Kamad, Kamadia                                                                                       
  33. Kanjar, Kunjar                                                                                           
  34. Kapaida, Sansi                                                                                         
  35. Khangar                                                                                                   
  36. Khatik                                                                                                      
  37. Koli, Kori                                                                                                  
  38. Kooch Band, Kuchband                                                                               
  39. Koria                                                                                                        
  40. Madari, Bazigar                                                                                        
  41. Mahar, Taral, Dhegumegu,                                                                         
  42. Mahyavanshi, Dhed, Dheda, Vankar, Maru, Vankar.                                     
  43. Majhabi                                                                                                    
  44. Mang, Matang, Minimadig                                                                          
  45. Mang, Garodi, Mang Garudi                                                                       
  46. Megh, Meghval, Meghwal, Menghvar                                                           
  47. Mehar                                                                                                      
  48. Nat, Nut                                                                                                   
  49. Pasi                                                                                             
  50. Rawal                                                                                                         
  51. Salvi                                                                                                        
  52. Sansi                                                                                                       
  53. Santia, Satia                                                                                            
  54. Sarbhangi                                                                                                 
  55. Sargara                                                                                                    
  56. Singiwala                                                                                                 
  57. Thori, Nayak                                                                                             
  58. Tirgar, Tirbanda                                                                                     
  59. Turi  

Uttar Pradesh

The Constitution (Scheduled Tribes)(Uttar Pradesh) Order, 1967

Scheduled Tribes

1 Bhotia

2 Buksa
3 Jaunsari
4 Raji
5 Tharu
List of notified Scheduled Tribes


The Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes Orders (Amendment) Act, 1976

Scheduled Tribes

1 Asur

2 Baiga
3 Banjara
4 Bathudi
5 Bedia
6 Bhumij (in North Chotanagpur and South Chotanagpur
divisions and Santal Parganas district) a
7 Binjhia
8 Birhor
9 Birjia
10 Chero
11 Chik Baraik
12 Gond
13 Gorait
14 Ho
15 Karmali
16 Kharia
17 Kharwar
18 Khond
19 Kisan
20 Kora
21 Korwa
22 Lohara, Lohra
23 Mahli
24 Mal Paharia
25 Munda
26 Oraon
27 Parhaiya
28 Santal
29 Sauria Paharia
30 Savar


North Chotanagpur division comprised of Dhanbad,

Giridih and Hazaribag districts; South Chotanagpur
division comprised of Palamu, Lohardaga,
Gumla,Ranchi, Purbi Singhbhum and Pashchimi
Singhbhum districts;Santal Parganas district comprised
of Godda, Sahibganj, Dumka and Deoghar districts.

List of notified Scheduled Tribes


The Constitution (Sikkim) Scheduled Tribes Order, 1978

1 Bhutia (including Chumbipa, Dopthapa, Dukpa,

Kagatey, Sherpa, Tibetan, Tromopa, Yolmo)
2 Lepcha

Arunachal Pradesh

The Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes Lists (Modification) Order, 1956 and as inserted by Act 69 of 1986

Scheduled Tribes

All tribes of the State including:

1 Abor
2 Aka
3 Apatani
4 Dafla
5 Galong
6 Khampti
7 Khowa
8 Mishmi
9 Momba
10 Any Naga tribes
11 Sherdukpen
12 Singpho


The Constitution (Nagland) Scheduled Tribes Order, 1970

Scheduled Tribes

1 Garo

2 Kachari
3 Kuki
4 Mikir
5 Naga

/List of notified Scheduled Tribes


The Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes Orders (Amendment) Act, 1976

Scheduled Tribes

1 Aimol

2 Anal
3 Angami
4 Chiru
5 Chothe
6 Gangte
7 Hmar
8 Kabui
9 Kacha Naga
10 Koirao
11 Koireng
12 Kom
13 Lamgang
14 Mao
15 Maram
16 Maring
17 Any Mizo (Lushai) tribes
18 Monsang
19 Moyon
20 Paite
21 Purum
22 Ralte
23 Sema
24 Simte
25 Suhte
26 Tangkhul
27 Thadou
28 Vaiphui
29 Zou


The Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes Lists (Modification) Order, 1956 and as inserted by Act 81 of 1971
Scheduled Tribes

1 Chakma

2 Dimasa (Kachari)
3 Garo
4 Hajong
5 Hmar
6 Khasi and Jaintia (including Khasi Synteng or Pnar,
War, Bhoi or Lyngngam)
7 Any Kuki Tribes, Including:
(i) Biate, Biete
(ii) Changsan
(iii) Chongloi
(iv) Doungel
(v) Gamalhou
(vi) Gangte
(vii) Guite
(viii) Hanneng
(ix) Haokip, Haupit
(x) Haolai
(xi) Hengna
(xii) Hongsungh
(xiii) Hrangkhwal, Rangkhol
(xiv) Jongbe
(xv) Khawchung
(xvi) Khawathlang, Khothalong
(xvii) Khelma
(xviii) Kholhou
(xix) Kipgen
(xx) Kuki
(xxi) Lengthang
(xxii) Lhangum
(xxiii) Lhoujem
(xxiv) Lhouvun
(xxv) Lupheng
(xxvi) Mangjel
(xxvii) Misao
(xxviii) Riang
(xxix) Sairhem
(xxx) Selnam
(xxxi) Singson
(xxxii) Sitlhou
(xxxiii) Sukte
(xxxiv) Thado
(xxxv) Thangngeu
(xxxvi) Uibuh
(xxxvii) Vaiphei
8 Lakher
9 Man (Tai speaking)
10 Any Mizo (Lushai) tribes
11 Mikir
12 Any Naga tribes
13 Pawi
14 Synteng


The Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes Orders (Amendment) Act, 1976

/Scheduled Tribes

1 Bhil

2 Bhutia
3 Chaimal
4 Chakma
5 Garoo
6 Halam
7 Jamatia
8 Khasia
9 Kuki, including the following sub-tribes:
(i) Balte
(ii) Belalhut
(iii) Chhalya
(iv) Fun
(v) Hajango
(vi) Jangtei
(vii) Khareng
(viii) Khephong
(ix) Kuntei
(x) Laifang
(xi) Lentei
(xii) Mizel
(xiii) Namte
(xiv) Paitu, Paite
(xv) Rangchan
(xvi) Rangkhole
(xvii) Thangluya
10 Lepcha
11 Lushai
12 Mag
13 Munda, Kaur
14 Noatia
15 Orang
16 Riang
17 Santal
18 Tripura, Tripuri, Tippera
19 Uchai


The Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes Orders (Amendment) Act, 1976 and The Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) Order

(Amendment) Act, 1987

1 Boro Kacharis

2 Chakma
3 Dimasa, Kachari
4 Garo
5 Hajong
6 Hmar
7 Khasi, Jaintia, Synteng, Pnar, War, Bhoi, Lyngngam

8 Koch

9 Any Kuki Tribes, including:
(i) Biate, Biete
(ii) Changsan
(iii) Chongloi
(iv) Doungel
(v) Gamalhou
(vi) Gangte
(vii) Guite
(viii) Hanneng
(ix) Haokip, Haupit
(x) Haolai
(xi) Hengna
(xii) Hongsungh
(xiii) Hrangkhwal, Rangkhol
(xiv) Jongbe
(xv) Khawchung
(xvi) Khawathlang, Khothalong
(xvii) Khelma
(xviii) Kholhou
(xix) Kipgen
(xx) Kuki
(xxi) Lengthang
(xxii) Lhangum
(xxiii) Lhoujem
(xxiv) Lhouvun
(xxv) Lupheng
(xxvi) Mangjel
(xxvii) Misao
(xxviii) Riang
(xxix) Sairhem
(xxx) Selnam
(xxxi) Singson
(xxxii) Sitlhou
(xxxiii) Sukte
(xxxiv) Thado
(xxxv) Thangngeu
(xxxvi) Uibuh
(xxxvii) Vaiphei
10 Lakher
11 Man (Tai speaking)
12 Any Mizo (Lushai) tribes
13 Mikir
14 Any Naga tribes
15 Pawi
16 Raba, Rava
17 Synteng


The Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes Orders (Amendment) Act, 1976

Scheduled Tribes

I In the autonomous districts:

1 Chakma
2 Dimasa, Kachari
3 Garo
4 Hajong
5 Hmar
6 Khasi, Jaintia, Synteng, Pnar, War, Bhoi, Lyngngam

7 Any Kuki Tribes, including:

(i) Biate, Biete
(ii) Changsan
(iii) Chongloi
(iv) Doungel
(v) Gamalhou
(vi) Gangte
(vii) Guite
(viii) Hanneng
(ix) Haokip, Haupit
(x ) Haolai
(xi) Hengna
(xii) Hongsungh
(xiii) Hrangkhwal, Rangkhol
(xiv) Jongbe
(xv) Khawchung
(xvi) Khawathlang, Khothalong
(xvii) Khelma
(xviii) Kholhou
(xix) Kipgen
(xx) Kuki
(xxi) Lengthang
(xxii) Lhangum
(xxiii) Lhoujem
(xxiv) Lhouvun
(xxv) Lupheng
(xxvi) Mangjel
(xxvii) Misao
(xxviii) Riang
(xxix) Sairhem
(xxx) Selnam
(xxxi) Singson
(xxxii) Sitlhou
(xxxiii) Sukte
(xxxiv) Thado
(xxxv) Thangngeu
(xxxvi) Uibuh
(xxxvii) Vaiphei
8 Lakher
9 Man (Tai speaking)
10 Any Mizo (Lushai) tribes
11 Mikir
12 Any Naga tribes
13 Pawi
14 Syntheng

II In the State of Assam excluding the autonomous

1 Barmans in Cachar
2 Boro, Borokachari
3 Deori
4 Hojai
5 Kachari, Sonwal
List of notified Scheduled Tribes

6 Lalung

7 Mech
8 Miri
9 Rabha


The autonomous districts of Assam comprised of Karbi

Anglong and North Cachar Hills districts.

West Bengal

The Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes Orders (Amendment) Act, 1976

1 Asur

2 Baiga
3 Bedia, Bediya
4 Bhumij
5 Bhutia, Sherpa, Toto, Dukpa, Kagatay, Tibetan,
6 Birhor
7 Birjia
8 Chakma
9 Chero
10 Chik Baraik
11 Garo
12 Gond
13 Gorait
14 Hajang
15 Ho
16 Karmali
17 Kharwar
18 Khond
19 Kisan
20 Kora
21 Korwa
22 Lepcha
23 Lodha, Kheria, Kharia
24 Lohara, Lohra
25 Magh
26 Mahali
27 Mahli
28 Mal Pahariya
29 Mech
30 Mru
List of notified Scheduled Tribes

31 Munda

32 Nagesia
33 Oraon
34 Parhaiya
35 Rabha
36 Santal
37 Sauria Paharia
38 Savar


The Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes Orders (Amendment) Act, 1976 and as inserted by Act 30 of 2000
Scheduled Tribes

1 Asur

2 Baiga
3 Banjara
4 Bathudi
5 Bedia
6 Binjhia
7 Birhor
8 Birjia
9 Chero
10 Chick Baraik
11 Gond
12 Gorait
13 Ho
14 Karmali
15 Kharia
16 Kharwar
17 Khond
18 Kisan
19 Kora
20 Korwa
21 Lohra
22 Mahli
23 Mal Pahariya
24 Munda
25 Oraon
26 Parhaiya
27 Santhal
28 Sauria Paharia
29 Savar
30 Bhumij

List of notified Scheduled Tribes


The Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes Orders (Amendment) Act, 1976

Scheduled Tribes

1 Bagata

2 Baiga
3 Banjara, Banjari
4 Bathudi
5 Bhottada, Dhotada
6 Bhuiya, Bhuyan
7 Bhumia
8 Bhumij
9 Bhunjia
10 Binjhal
11 Binjhia, Binjhoa
12 Birhor
13 Bondo Poraja
14 Chenchu
15 Dal
16 Desua Bhumij
17 Dharua
18 Didayi
19 Gadaba
20 Gandia
21 Ghara
22 Gond, Gondo
23 Ho
24 Holva
25 Jatapu
26 Juang
27 Kandha Gauda
28 Kawar
29 Kharia, Kharian
30 Kharwar
31 Khond, Kond, Kandha, Nanguli Kandha, Sitha Kandha
32 Kisan
33 Kol
34 Kolah Loharas, Kol Loharas
35 Kolha
36 Koli, Malhar
37 Kondadora
38 Kora
39 Korua
List of notified Scheduled Tribes

40 Kotia

41 Koya
42 Kulis
43 Lodha
44 Madia
45 Mahali
46 Mankidi
47 Mankirdia
48 Matya
49 Mirdhas
50 Munda, Munda Lohara, Munda Mahalis
51 Mundari
52 Omanatya
53 Oraon
54 Parenga
55 Paroja
56 Pentia
57 Rajuar
58 Santal
59 Saora, Savar, Saura, Sahara
60 Shabar, Lodha
61 Sounti
62 Tharua


The Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes Orders (Amendment) Act, 1976 and as inserted by Act 28 of 2000

Scheduled Tribes

1 Agariya
2 Andh
3 Baiga
4 Bhaina
5 Bharia Bhumia, Bhuinhar Bhumia, Bhumiya, Bharia,
Paliha, Pando
6 Bhattra
7 Bhil, Bhilala, Barela, Patelia
8 Bhil Mina
9 Bhunjia
10 Biar, Biyar
11 Binjhwar
12 Birhul, Birhor
13 Damor, Damaria
14 Dhanwar
15 Gadaba, Gadba

List of notified Scheduled Tribes

16 Gond; Arakh, Arrakh, Agaria, Asur, Badi Maria,

Bada Maria, Bhatola, Bhimma, Bhuta, Koilabhuta,
Kolibhuti, Bhar, Bisonhorn Maria, Chota Maria,
Dandami Maria, Dhuru, Dhurwa, Dhoba, Dhulia,
Dorla, Gaiki, Gatta, Gatti,Gaita, 'Gond, Gowari Hill
Maria, Kandra, Kalanga, Khatola, Koitar, Koya,
Khirwar, Khirwara, Kucha Maria, Kuchaki Maria,
Madia, Maria, Mana, Mannewar, Moghya, Mogia,
Monghya, Mudia, Muria, Nagarchi, Nagwanshi, Ojha,
Raj Gond, 'Sonjhari, Jhareka, Thatia, Thotya, Wade
Maria, Vade Maria, Daroi

17 Halba,Halbi

18 Kamar
19 Karku
20 Kawar, Kanwar, Kaur, Cherwa, Rathia, Tanwar,
21 Khairwar, Kondar
22 Kharia
23 Kondh, Khond, Kandh
24 Kol
25 Kolam
26 Korku, Bopchi, Mouasi, Nihar, Nahul, Bondhi,
27 Korwa, Kodaku
28 Majhi
29 Majhwar
30 Mawasi
31 Munda
32 Nagesia, Nagasia
33 Oraon, Dhanka, Dhangad
34 Pao
35 Pardhan, Pathari, Saroti
36 Pardhi, Bahelia, Bahellia, Chita Pardhi, Langoli Pardhi,
Phans Pardhi, Shikari, Takankar, Takia [in (i) Bastar,
Dantewara, Kanker, Raigarh, Jashpurnagar, Surguja and
Koria district, (ii) Katghora,Pali, Kartala and Korba
tahsils of Korba district, '(iii) Bilaspur, Pendra, Kota
and Takhatpur tahsils of Bilaspur district,(iv) Durg,
Patan, Gunderdehi, Dhamdha, Balod,Gurur and
Dondilohara tahsils of Durg district,(v) Chowki,Manpur
and Mohala Revenue Inspector Circles of Rajnandgon
district,(vi) Mahasamund, Saraipali and Basna tahsils of
Mahasamund district,(vii) Bindra-Navagarh Rajim and
Deobhog tahsils of Raipur district, and (viii) Dhamtari,
Kurud and Sihava tahsils of Dhamtari district]

37 Parja

38 Sahariya, Saharia, Seharia, Sehria, Sosia, Sor
List of notified Scheduled Tribes

39 Saonta, Saunta

40 Saur
41 Sawar, Sawara
42 Sonr

Madhya Pradesh

1 Agariya

2 Andh
3 Baiga
4 Bhaina
5 Bharia Bhumia, Bhuinhar Bhumia, Bhumiya, Bharia,
Paliha, Pando
6 Bhattra
7 Bhil, Bhilala, Barela, Patelia
8 Bhil Mina
9 Bhunjia
10 Biar, Biyar
11 Binjhwar
12 Birhul, Birhor
13 Damor, Damaria
14 Dhanwar
15 Gadaba, Gadba
16 Gond; Arakh, Arrakh, Agaria, Asur, Badi Maria,
Bada Maria, Bhatola, Bhimma, Bhuta, Koilabhuta,
Koliabhuti, Bhar, Bisonhorn Maria, Chota Maria,
Dandami Maria, Dhuru, Dhurwa, Dhoba, Dhulia,
Dorla, Gaiki, Gatta, Gatti,Gaita, Gond Gowari, Hill
Maria, Kandra, Kalanga, Khatola, Koitar, Koya,
Khirwar, Khirwara, Kucha Maria, Kuchaki Maria,
Madia, Maria, Mana, Mannewar, Moghya, Mogia,
Monghya, Mudia, Muria, Nagarchi, Nagwanshi, Ojha,
Raj, Sonjhari Jhareka, Thatia, Thotya, Wade Maria,
Vade Maria, Daroi

17 Halba,Halbi

18 Kamar
19 Karku
20 Kawar, Kanwar, Kaur, Cherwa, Rathia, Tanwar,

List of notified Scheduled Tribes

21 Keer (in Bhopal, Raisen and Sehore districts)

22 Khairwar, Kondar
23 Kharia
24 Kondh, Khond, Kandh
25 Kol
26 Kolam
27 Korku, Bopchi, Mouasi, Nihal, Nahul, Bondhi,
28 Korwa, Kodaku
29 Majhi
30 Majhwar
31 Mawasi
32 Mina (in Sironj sub-division of Vidisha district)
33 Munda
34 Nagesia, Nagasia
35 Oraon, Dhanka, Dhangad
36 Panika (in Chhatarpur, Datia, Panna, Rewa, Satna,
Shahdol, Sidhi and Tikamgarh districts)
37 Pao
38 Pardhan, Pathari Saroti
39 Pardhi (in Bhopal, Raisen and Sehore districts)
40 Pardhi; Bahelia, Bahellia, Chita Pardhi, Langoli
Pardhi, Phans Pardhi, Shikari, Takankar, Takia [in (1)
Bastar, Chhindwara, Mandla, Raigarh, Seoni and
Surguja districts, (2) Baihar tahsil of Balaghat district,
(3) Betul and Bhainsdehi 'tahsils of Betul district, (4)
Bilaspur and Katghora tahsils of Bilaspur disitrict, (5)
Durg and Balod tahsils of Durg district, (6) Chowki,
Manpur and Mohala Revenue Inspectors Circles of
Rajnandgaon district, (7) Murwara, Patan and Sihora
tahsils of Jabalpur district (8) Hoshangabad and
Sohagpur tahsils of Hoshangabad district and
Narsimhapur district, (9) Harsud tashil of Khandwa
district, (10) Bindra-Nawagarh, Dhamtari and
Mahasamund tahsils of Raipur district ]
41 Parja
42 Sahariya, Saharia, Seharia, Sehria, Sosia, Sor
43 Saonta, Saunta
44 Saur
45 Sawar, Sawara
46 Sonr


Ó The entry is to be read as "(9)Harsud tashil of East

Nimar district, (10) Dhamtari and Mahasamund districts
and Bindra-Nawagarh tahsil of Raipur district".
List of notified Scheduled Tribes


The Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes Orders (Amendment) Act, 1976

Scheduled Tribes

1 Barda

2 Bavacha, Bamcha
3 Bharwad (in the Nesses of the forests of Alech, Barada
and Gir)
4 Bhil, Bhil Garasia, Dholi Bhil, Dungri Bhil, Dungri
Garasia, Mewasi Bhil, Rawal Bhil, Tadvi Bhil,
Bhagalia, Bhilala, Pawra, Vasava, Vasave

5 Charan (in the Nesses of the forests of Alech, Barada

and Gir)
6 Chaudhri (in Surat and Valsad districts)
7 Chodhara
8 Dhanka, Tadvi, Tetaria, Valvi
9 Dhodia
10 Dubla, Talavia, Halpati
11 Gamit, Gamta, Gavit, Mavchi, Padvi
12 Gond, Rajgond
13 Kathodi, Katkari, Dhor Kathodi, Dhor Katkari, Son
Kathodi, Son Katkari
14 Kokna, Kokni, Kukna
15 Koli (in Kutch district)b

16 Koli Dhor, Tokre Koli, Kolcha, Kolgha

17 Kunbi (in the Dangs district)
18 Naikda, Nayaka, Cholivala Nayaka, Kapadia Nayaka,
Mota Nayaka, Nana Nayaka
19 Padhar
20 Paradhi (in Kutch district)b

21 Pardhi, Advichincher, Phanse Pardhi (excluding

Amreli, Bhavnagar, Jamnagar, Junagadh, Kutch,
Rajkot and Surendranagar districts)

22 Patelia

23 Pomla
24 Rabari (in the Nesses of the forests of Alech, Barada
and Gir)a
25 Rathawa
26 Siddi (in Amreli, Bhavnagar, Jamnagar, Junagadh,
Rajkot and Surendranagar districts)

27 Vaghri (in Kutch district)b
28 Varli
29 Vitola, Kotwalia, Barodia


The area comprised of Jamnagar and Junagadh



Spelling of Kutch is to be read as Kachchh.

Daman & Diu

The Constitution (Goa, Daman and Diu) Scheduled Tribes Order, 1968 and as inserted by Act 18 of 1987

1 Dhodia
2 Dubla (Halpati)
3 Naikda (Talavia)
4 Siddi (Nayaka)

Dadra & Nagar Haveli

The Constitution (Dadra & Nagar Haveli) Scheduled Tribes Order,1962

Scheduled Tribes

1 Dhodia

2 Dubla Including Halpati
3 Kathodi
4 Kokna
5 Koli Dhor Including Kolgha
6 Naikda or Nayaka
7 Varli


Scheduled Castes (SCs)
SNName of Caste - SCRemarks
4Aarwa Mala
5Bahna, Bahana
6Bakad, Bant
7Balahi, Balaai
8Basor, Burud, Baansor, Baansodi
9Bedajangam, Budagaa Jangam
11Bhaambi, Bhaambhi, Asodi, Chamdiya, Chamaar, Chamaari, Chambhar, Chamgaar, Haralayya, Harali, Khalpa, Machigaar, Mochigaar, Maadar, Maadig, Mochi, Telagu Mochi, Kamati Mochi,Ranigaar, Rohidas, Nona, Ramnami, Rohit, Samgaar,
Surajyabanshi, Surajyaramnami
12Bhangi, Mehatar, Olagaana, Rukhi,
Malkana, Halalkhor, Lalbegi, Balmiki, Karor, Zadgalli
15Chalwaadi, Channaya
16Chennadaasar, Holaya Daasar, Holeya Dasaari
17Dakkal, Dokkalwar
18Dhor, Kakkayya, Kankayya, Dohor
19Dom, Dumar
20Yallamwar, Yellamalvandalu
21Ganda, Gandi
22Garoda, Gaaro
23Ghassi, Ghassiya
25Halsaar, Hasalaar, Hulsawar
26Holar, Vhalar
27Holaya, Holer, Holeyaa, Holiyaa
28KaikadiAkola, Amaravati, Bhandara, Buldhana, Nagpur, Vardha and Yavatmal Districts. And Chadrapur dist except Rajura Taluka.
29Katiya, Pathariya
30Khangar, Kanera, Mirdha
31Khatik, Chikwa, Chikvi
37Mahar, Meharaa,Taral, Dhegu-Megu
38Maahayaavanshi, Dhed, Vankar, Maru-Vankar
40Mala Daasari
41Mala Hannai
42Mala Jangam
43Mala Masti
44Mala Saale, Netkanee
45Mala Sanyasi
46Mang, Matang, Minimaadig, Dakhani-Mang, Mang-Mhashi, Madaari, Gaarudi,Radhemang
47Mang-Garodi, Mang-Garudi
50Menghwal, Menghwar
51Mitha, Ayalwar
53Nadiya, Haadi
56Shenwa, Chenwa, Sedamaa, Ravat
57Sindhollu, Chindollu
58Tirgaar, Tirbanda
SC Caste Status Updated till March 31,2006. 
This refers to Maharashtra Govt Letter No.CBC-10/2006/P.No.94/MVC-5 of Dept of Social Justice, Cultural Affairs & Special Assistance, Mantralaya Extension Building, Mumbai-32 dated 25.5.2006 addressed to various Ministerial Depts, Divisional Commissioners, DMs, ZP CEOs, Tahsildars etc

Scheduled Tribes (STs)
SNName of TribeRemarks
4.Bavacha, Bamcha
6.Bharia Bhumia, Bhuinhar Bhumia, Pando
Bhil, Bhil garasia, Dholi, Bhil, Dangri Bhil, Dungri, Garasia, Mewsi Bhil, Rawal Bhil, Tadvi Bhil, Bhagalia, Bhilala Pawra, Vasava, Vasave
11.Birhul, Birhor
12.Chodhara (excluding Akola, Amravati, Bhandara, Buldana, Chandrapur, Nagpur, Wardha, Yavatmal, Aurangabad, Bhir, Nanded, Osmanabad and Parbhani districts)
13.Dhanka, Tadvi, Tetaria, Valvi
16.Dubla Talavia, Halpati
17.Gamit, Gamta, Gavit, Mavchi, Padvi
Gond, Rajgond, Arakh, Arrakh, Agaria, Asur, Bedi Maria, Bada Maria, Bhatola, Bhimma, Bhuta, Koilabhuta, Koilabhuti, Bhar, Bisonhorn Maria, Chota Maria, Dandami Maria, Dhuru, Dhurwa, Dhoba, Dhulia, Dorla, Kaiki, Gatta, Gatti, Gaita, Gond Gowari, Hill Maria, Kandara Kalanga, Khatola, Koitar, Koya, Khirwar, Khirwara, Kucha Maria, Kuchaki Maria, Media, Maria, Mana, Meannewar, Moghya, Mogia Moghya, Mudia, Muria, Nagarchi, Naikpod, Nagwanshi, Ojha, Raj Sonjhari Jhareka, Thatia, Thotya, Wade Maria, Vade Maria.
19.Halba, Balbi
Kathodi, Katkari, Dhor Kathodi, Dhor Kathkari, Son Kathodi, Son Katkari
22.Kawar, Kanwar, Kaur, Cherwa, Rathia, Tanwar, Chattri
25.Kokna, Kokni, Kukna
27.Kolam, Mannervarlu
28.Koli dhor, Tokre Koli, Kolcha, Kolgha
29.Koli Mahadev, Dongar Koli
30.Koli Malhar
31.Kondh, Khond, Kandh
32.Korku, Bopchi, Mouasi, Nihal, Nahul, Bondhi, Bondeya
33.Koya, Bhine Koya, Rajkoya
34.Nagesia, Nagasia
Naikda, Nayaka, Cholivala Nayaka, Kapadia Nayaka,, Mota Nayaka, Nana Nayaka
36.Oraon, Dhangad
37.Pardhan, Pathari, Saroti
Pardhi, Advichincher, Phans Pardhi, Phanse Pardhi, Langoli Pardhi, Behelia, Behellia, Chita Pardhi, Shikari, Takankar, Takia
43.Sawar, Sawara
44.Thakur, Thakar, Ka Thakar, Ma Thakur, Ma Thakar
Thoti (in Aurangabad, Bhir Nanded, Osmanabed and Parbhani districts and Rajura tahsil of Chandrapur district)
47.Vitolia, Kotwalia, Barodia
Andhra Pradesh

The Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes Orders (Amendment) Act, 1976

Scheduled Tribes

1 Andh
2 Bagata
3 Bhil
4 Chenchu, Chenchwar
5 Gadabas
6 Gond, Naikpod, Rajgond
7 Goudu (in the Agency tracts)a
8 Hill Reddis
9 Jatapus
10 Kammara
11 Kattunayakan
12 Kolam, Mannervarlu
13 Konda Dhoras
14 Konda Kapus
15 Kondareddis
16 Kondhs, Kodi, Kodhu, Desaya Kondhs, Dongria
Kondhs, Kuttiya Kondhs, Tikiria Kondhs, Yenity

17 Kotia, Bentho Oriya, Bartika, Dhulia, Dulia, Holva,
Paiko, Putiya, Sanrona, Sidhopaiko
18 Koya, Goud, Rajah, Rasha Koya, Lingadhari Koya
(ordinary), Kottu Koya, Bhine Koya, Rajkoya

19 Kulia
20 Malis (excluding Adilabad, Hyderabad, Karimnagar,
Khammam, Mahbubnagar, Medak, Nalgonda,
Nizamabad and Warangal districts)

21 Manna Dhora
22 Mukha Dhora, Nooka Dhora
23 Nayaks (in the Agency tracts)a

24 Pardhan
25 Porja, Parangiperja
26 Reddi Dhoras
27 Rona, Rena
28 Savaras, Kapu Savaras, Maliya Savaras, Khutto
29 Sugalis, Lambadis
30 Thoti (in Adilabad, Hyderabad, Karimnagar,
Khammam, Mahbubnagar, Medak, Nalgonda,
Nizamabad and Warangal districts)

31 Valmiki (in the Agency tracts)a

32 Yenadis
33 Yerukulas

The Agency tracts is comprised of Srikakulam, Vizianagaram, Visakhapatnam, East Godavari, West Godavari and Khammam districts.

List of notified Scheduled Tribes


The Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes Orders (Amendment) Act, 1976 and as inserted by Act 39 of 1991

Scheduled Tribes

1 Adiyan
2 Barda
3 Bavacha, Bamcha
4 Bhil, Bhil Garasia, Dholi Bhil, Dungri Bhil, Dungri
Garasia, Mewasi Bhil, Rawal Bhil, Tadvi Bhil,
Bhagalia, Bhilala, Pawra, Vasava, Vasave

5 Chenchu, Chenchwar
6 Chodhara
7 Dubla, Talavia, Halpati
8 Gamit, Gamta, Gavit, Mavchi, Padvi, Valvi
9 Gond, Naikpod, Rajgond
10 Gowdalu
11 Hakkipikki
12 Hasalaru
13 Irular
14 Iruliga
15 Jenu Kuruba
16 Kadu Kuruba
17 Kammara (in South Kanara disitrict and Kollegal taluk
of Mysore district)
18 Kaniyan, Kanyan (in Kollegal taluk of Mysore district) c

19 Kathodi, Katkari, Dhor Kathodi, Dhor Katkari, Son
Kathodi, Son Katkari
20 Kattunayakan
21 Kokna, Kokni, Kukna
22 Koli Dhor, Tokre Koli, Kolcha, Kolgha
23 Konda Kapus
24 Koraga
25 Kota
26 Koya, Bhine Koya, Rajkoya
27 Kudiya, Melakudi
28 Kuruba (in Coorg district)a

29 Kurumans
30 Maha Malasar
31 Malaikudi
32 Malasar
33 Malayekandi
34 Maleru
35 Maratha (in Coorg district)a

36 Marati (in South Kanara district)d

37 Meda
38 Naikda, Nayaka, Cholivala Nayaka, Kapadia Nayaka,
Mota Nayaka, Nana Nayaka, Naik, Nayak, Beda, Bedar
and Valmiki

39 Palliyan
40 Paniyan
41 Pardhi, Advichincher, Phanse Pardhi
42 Patelia
43 Rathawa
44 Sholaga
45 Soligaru
46 Toda
47 Varli
48 Vitolia, Kotwalia, Barodia
49 Yerava


The entry is to be read as "in Kodagu district".


The entry is to be read as "Dakshina Kannada district
and Kollegal taluk of Chamarajanagar district".


The entry is to be read as "Kollegal taluk of
Chamarajanagar district".


The entry is to be read as "in Dakshina Kannada


The Constitution (Goa, Daman and Diu) Scheduled Tribes Order, 1968 and as inserted by Act 18 of 1987

Scheduled Tribes

1 Dhodia
2 Dubla (Halpati)
3 Naikda (Talavia)
4 Siddi (Nayaka)
5 Varli

The Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes Lists ( Modification) Order, 1956 and the Laccadive, Minicoy and Amindivi Islands
(Alteration of Name) ( Adaptation of Laws) Order, 1974

Throughout the Union Territory :-

Inhabitants of the Laccadive, Minicoy and Amindivi
Islands who, and both of whose parents, were born in
those islands.a


The entry is to be read as "Inhabitants of the
Lakshadweep who, and both of whose parents, were
born in the Union Territory".


The Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes Orders (Amendment) Act, 1976

Scheduled Tribes

1 Adiyan
2 Arandan
3 Eravallan
4 Hill Pulaya
5 Irular, Irulan
6 Kadar
7 Kammara [in the areas comprising the Malabar district
as specified by sub-section (2) of section 5 of the States
Reorganisation Act, 1956 (37of 1956)] a

8 Kanikaran, Kanikkar
9 Kattunayakan
10 Kochu Velan
11 Konda Kapus
12 Kondareddis
13 Koraga
14 Kota
15 Kudiya, Melakudi
16 Kurichchan
17 Kurumans
18 Kurumbas
19 Maha Malasar
20 Malai Arayan
21 Malai Pandaram
22 Malai Vedan
23 Malakkuravan
24 Malasar
25 Malayan [excluding the areas comprising the Malabar
district as specified by sub-section (2) of section 5 of the
States Reorganisation Act, 1956 (37 of 1956)] a

26 Malayarayar
27 Mannan
28 Marati (in Hosdrug and Kasaragod taluks of Cannanore
29 Muthuvan, Mudugar, Muduvan
30 Palleyan
31 Palliyan
32 Palliyar
33 Paniyan
34 Ulladan
35 Uraly

a  Malabar district comprised of Kannur (earlier Cannanore), Kozhikode, Malappuram districts and Palakkad (earler Palaghat) district excluding Chittur taluk.

b  The entry is to be read as "in Hosdrug and Kasaragod taluks of Kasaragod district".

Tamil Nadu

The Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes Orders (Amendment) Act, 1976

1 Adiyan
2 Aranadan
3 Eravallan
4 Irular
5 Kadar
6 Kammara (excluding Kanyakumari district and
Shenkottah taluk of Tirunelveli district) 

7 Kanikaran, Kanikkar (in Kanyakumari district and
Shenkottah taluk of Tirunelveli district)
8 Kaniyan, Kanyan
9 Kattunayakan
10 Kochu Velan
11 Konda Kapus
12 Kondareddis
13 Koraga
14 Kota (excluding Kanyakumari district and Shenkottah
taluk of Tirunelveli district)
15 Kudiya, Melakudi
16 Kurichchan
17 Kurumbas (in the Nilgiris district) b

18 Kurumans
19 Maha Malasar
20 Malai Arayan
21 Malai Pandaram
22 Malai Vedan
23 Malakkuravan
24 Malasar
25 Malayali (in Dharmapuri, North Arcot, Pudukottai,
Salem, South Arcot and Tiruchirapalli districts)
26 Malayekandi
27 Mannan
28 Mudugar, Muduvan
29 Muthuvan
30 Palleyan
31 Palliyan
32 Palliyar
33 Paniyan
34 Sholaga
35 Toda (excluding Kanyakumari district and Shenkottah
taluk of Tirunelveli district)c
36 Uraly


The entry is to be read as "in Kanniyakumari district
and Shencottah taluk of Tirunelveli district".


The entry is to be read as "in the Nilgiri district".


The entry is to be read as "excluding Kanniyakumari
district and Shencottah taluk of Tirunelveli district".


The entry is to be read as "in Dharmapuri, Vellore,
Tiruvannamalai, Pudukkottai, Salem, Namakkal,
Villupuram, Cuddalore, Tiruchirappalli, Karur and
Perambalur districts".

List of notified Scheduled Tribes

The Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes Orders (Amendment) Act, 1976

1 Andamanese, Chariar, Chari, Kora, Tabo, Bo,
Yere, Kede, Bea, Balawa, Bojigiyab, Juwai, Kol

2 Jarawas
3 Nicobarese
4 Onges
5 Sentinelese
6 Shom Pens

Relations to other castes

Fellow Indian sub-castes even within the lowest Dalit caste such as Dhobi (washer-men) and Chamar (leather workers), are considered socially above the Bhangi. These upper sub-castes among Dalits would not interact with lower-order Bhangis, who have been described as "outcasts even among outcasts". Even though most Bhangis are devout Hindus, some Bhangis have converted to Islam and Christianity in an attempt to escape the social stigma. Examples are the families of Yuvraj Valmiki, Indian field hockey player,and of Pakistani cricketer Mohammad Yousuf, who was a Christian before converting to Islam.


Although the Bhangis traditionally have a lower status, there have been Bhangis that are recognized as Hindu saints. For example, Maharshi Naval Ram and his successors Daya Ram Maharaj (his son), Ram Baksh Maharaj and the present-day Badri Ram Maharaj are important Hindu figures. Saint Umaid Ram Maharaj and his successors Sukaram Maharaj, Deepa Ram Maharaj and the present-day Mangeshwar Ram Maharaj are important Hindu figures as well.
In Gujarat, Makarand Paranjape, A.M., PhD when he was researching the Bhangi of the Swadhyaya tradition, a Bhangi member said to him, "I am a Bhangi, but I also do the work of a Brahmin. A Brahmin is one who spreads knowledge, sanskars; so I too am a Brahmin. I go on Bhakti pheris to spread the liberating message of Svadhyaya. So I am a Bhangi-Brahmin."
Sanjeev Khudshah is a Bhangi motivational speaker, writer & sociologist. He wrote a book about scavenger community from India named Safai Kamgar Samuday. This book has been included in Washington University of America for study of scavenger community from India.


Sakkiliar or Chakkiliyar or Arunthathiyar are one of the most marginalized social groups or castes from Tamil Nadu and Sri Lanka. Along with Pallar and Parayar, they form the largest Dalit group. "Arunthathiyar" is more preferred and considerate name over "Chakkiliyar".

Chakkiliya Durg or Chamar Tikri


The name "Sakkili" is hypothesized to be derived from Sanskrit to mean beef eater or someone who eats more meat. It also said to mean someone who is afraid or blind.However, It has been suggested that the word is a corrupted form of two words "sakya"(clan of the buddha) + "kular",used derogatorily on the people of "shramana" buddhist faith, when buddhism and buddhists were persecuted in India..Several prominent Buddhist monks and rulers may have shared their lineage with this caste before their subjugation.

In caste system,Although they were traditionally associated with leather work for agriculture and war equipments, they're associated with scavenging (janitor), as a result of forced labor upon them by virtue of ascriptive system of caste domination .hence their social status is artificially depressed below other scheduled castes suffering from lack of social ,political and economic empowerment . Though they're classified into scheduled caste group, they're considered untouchableamong untouchables in scheduled castes.

Sakkili is a term used by certain Flame Warriors from Sri Lanka, partisan to the Sinhalese nationalistic cause in the current civil war to describe all Sri Lankan Tamils and has been noted by sociologists.

Due to the negative connotation associated with this word coined by others, the community has chosen its name to be Arunthathiyar using Sanskritisation.basing on the text of vedic origin from a wife of a mythical Brahmin-vashishta sage of the highest order named Arundati known for her unparalleled beauty and loyalty.


At some point in history, a class of people who were soldiers and military commanders were forced into submission of menial labor due to political and social change. This resulted in this community’s devolution to the low caste status it has today. This is well reflected in the number of freedom fighters that this community produced in the pre Indian independence era. While there are several similar castes across India, this seems to be the only community that has its origins in the warrior class. The most notable are Chamars, Jhatia, Mathigas, Chandala and those of North India. The place of residence of Arunthathiyar is said to be "palayam" which literally means the place of army who did the kavalgars job.

There are also some opinions that they may be migrated from Andhra as many of them speak Telugu as in group language.

Current Status

With the migration of many rural workers to urban areas, the landscape of urban cities has changed. The Arunthathiyar have taken a prominent role into labor supply of the construction industry in the rapidly ever changing urban cities of south India. But, still many of them are marginalized and taking up janitor jobs.

The Indian census of 2001 reported the Arunthathiyar population to be 15,00,000 

Were Adivasi ancient Buddhist Naga rulers ?

 Dr. K. Jamanadas,

Various names of Scheduled Tribes (aadivaasi) Various scholars have given different names to the population which is popularly called aadivasis in India. Nadgonde [p.1] has summerized these terms:

(1) “Aboriginal” or “Aborigines” by Riseley, Lassi, Elvin, Grigson, Shuburn, Talent, Martin and A. V. Thakkar (2) “Primitive Tribes” by Hutton (3) “So called aborigines” or “Backward Hindus” by Dr. G. S. Ghurye. (4) “Submerged humanity” by Dr. Das. (5) “Vanavasis” is a new name given to them by “Sangh Parivar”, against which the tribal leaders are agitating as they feel it as insulting as “Harijan” to the dalits. (6) Some Adivasi leaders do not like the term “Adivasi” also, as they feel it originates from Brahmanic texts and has an effect like “Harijan” for untouchables. [L. K. Madavi, p. 10] (7) “Scheduled Tribe” is the term used in the Constitution, the reason as explained by Dr. B. R. Ambedkar, was:

“the word Adiwasi is really a general term, which has no specific legal dejure connotation, whereas the word ‘Scheduled Tribes’ has a fixed meaning, because it enumerates the tribes. In the event of the matter being taken to a court of Law, there should be a precise definition as to who these Adiwasis are. It was, therefore, decided to enumerate the Adiwasis under the term to be called “Scheduled Tribe” [Madavi, p. 17]

Who should be called Aadivaasi

Nadgonde gives the following as distinctive marks of tribal society as distinct from Hindu population: (1) Separate location (2) Small number (3) Common blood relationship (4) Absence of own dialect and own writing (5) Own life style (6) Simple Economics (7) Limited technology (8) Common religion and (9) Integrated social life

Differences between Castes and Tribes

1.. Caste is based on birth, and there is no entry to caste without being born in it. Basis of tribe is not birth, but it is a group of people inhabiting in a particular area and are related by blood.
2. Caste is an endogamous group, but tribes do not oppose strongly the inter tribal marriages unlike caste. Inter dining also is allowed unlike caste.
3. Caste has obligations to follow hereditary traditional occupations, tribe does not.
4. Castes are spread on many areas but tribe stays at a place and has territorial integrity.
5. Castes have graded inequality in status, even subcastes have it, but not so in tribes.

Origins of various names

Various tribes have their own legends about their origin. One example is about origin of the word Korku – a legend says, once upon a time there ruled a king in Vidarbha at Nagpur, called Koram. Renouncing his home and kingdom, he went to forest with the intention of taking sanyas. A young Kol damsel fell in love with him and prayed for his love. King accepted after due consideration. The progeny of this union was called Korum or Korku. The area where they stay in large numbers is even now termed as Chota Nagpur. [Risley, "Tribe and Caste of Bengal, Appendix V., Chaure, p.12]

Prehistoric Period

It is held by scholars like Sankhalia, that the people of Neolithic age understood the use of fire, made pottery, cultivated grain and domesticated animals. The potters wheel and the art of spinning and weaving are also traced from the Neolithic period. [Mahajan, in "Ancient India", [p. 28 ff.]

Some scholars believe that present day Adivasis are the survivals of the Neolithic Age, some of the Neolithic people were driven into hills and forests by later invaders and they are at present represented by the Gonds, Bhils, Santhals, etc. and a number of superstitious along with the worship of manes and spirits and Phallus images of stone and wood and the the use of amulets, beads, sacred threads, shells, stones, etc., for curing diseases and keeping away the evil spirits can be traced to the Neolithic period. [Mahajan, Ancient India, [p. 28 ff.]

Adivasis are post Buddhistic

The idea that present day Adivasis are the “Original inhabitants” or Mul Nivasis and are remnants of the Neolithic Age is a popular theory of many activists. But it is far from the truth. Sociologists do not believe that the present S.T.s are that ancient, as mentioned by Nadgonde, who avers that sociologists do not think them to be the most ancient society or the most original residents. [Nadgonde, p.2] At the time of rise of Buddhism, the society was so much intermixed that no trace of pure Aryans, or pure Dravidians for that matter, was left. Rhys Davids has observed:

“It is generally admitted that there are now no pure Aryans left in India. Had the actual custom been as strict as the brahmin theory this would not be so. … in Northern India the ancient distinction, Aryan, Kolarian, and Dravidian, cannot, at the time of the rise of Buddhism, any longer be recognized. Long before the priestly theory of caste had been brought into any sort of working order, a fusion, sufficient at least to obliterate completely the old landmarks, was an accomplished fact; and the modern division (on caste), though race has also its share in them, use different names, and are based on different ideas. [Rhys Davids, Buddhist India,p. 59]

Dr. Ambedkar also has expressed the similar opinion. It follows, therefore, that the creation of S.T.s is a post Buddhistic phenomenon, and the present day Adivasis are descendants of population, who were called Naagas and were Buddhist by faith, and after the fall of Buddhism were degraded to the present status by the ruling priestly class because Naagas had the enmity with the Aryans, did not worship Aryan Gods, did not perform yadnas but were devotees of Arhats, and chaiytas.

Indus Valley civilization was not of Aryans

The present Brahmanic scholarship is bent on proving that Aryans are the original residents of India and that there was no “Aryan Invasion”. They try to prove that Aryans were a civilized people and were the builders and not the destroyers of Harrapan Civilization. What is the reason, that they wish to somehow prove this? To us, it appears that, since Mahatma Jotirao Phule criticized the Arya Bhats for the atrocious behaviours of these people towards shudras and ati-shudras, in this “Land of Bali” – Bali Sthan -, and organized the masses against the Aryabhats, the latter felt that they will loose the supremacy, which they had achieved and very jealously guarded. So it became eminent for them, they prove that they are not aliens, they belong to the soil, and that Aryan Invasion is just a myth. Voluminous literature is being created by them and every method is being used to promote through the media, print as well as electronic, to put forward their view. Not withstanding all this, it was the Naagas who were the original residents of this land and Aryans were the invaders. That is the verdict of the history.

India was land of Naagas and its language Tamil

Who were the people inhabiting India during the Indus Valley Civilization? The modern scholars like Karan Singh and Dasaku Ikeda think that the Dravidians are the descendants of people from Harrapan Civilization. In his opinion, “…the creators of the Indus civilization were the forefathers of the Dravidians, who today mainly inhabit southern India.” [Karan Sing and Daisaku Ikeda, p.2]

Like many others like Gail Olmvet, Datta Ray Chaudhari and Majumdar also opine that, the main basis of Indian social cultural system is presumed to be Vedic Culture. This presumption is baseless, and unacceptable. There is no doubt that, the Indus valley culture played a great role in the development and preservation of Indian culture. [Kosare, p. 263]

Dr. Ambedkar’s views

That these people were the Naagas is clear from the account by Dr. Ambedkar, who observes that the students of ancient Indian History often come across four names, the Aryans, Dravidians, Dasas and Naagas. The Aryans were not a single homogeneous people, being divided into at least two sections. A greater mistake lies, he says, in differentiation of the Dasas from the Naagas. Dasas are the same as Naagas, Dasas being another name for Naagas. Dasa is the sanskritised from of the Indo Iranian word Dahaka, which was the name of the king of the Naagas. The following points emerge from his writings:

1. Undoubtedly the Naagas were non-Aryans. A careful study of Vedic literature reveals a spirit of conflict, of a dualism, and a race superiority between two distinct types of culture and thought. The mention of the Naagas in the Rig Veda shows that the Naagas were a very ancient people.

2. It must also be remembered that the Naagas were in no way aboriginal or uncivilized people. History shows a very close association by intermarriage between the Naaga people with the Royal families of India. Not only did the Naaga people occupy a high cultural level but history shows that they ruled a good part of India.

3. That Andhradesa and its neighbourhood were under the Naagas during early centuries of Christian era is suggested by evidence from more sources that one. The Satvahanas, and their Successors, the Chutu Kulu Satkarnis drew their blood more or less from the Naaga stock.

4. Contrary to the popular view is that Dravidians and Naagas are the names of two different races, the fact is that the term Dravidians and the Naagas are merely two different names for the same people.

5. The word ‘Dravida’ is the Sanskritised form of the word Tamil. The original word Tamil when imported into Sanskrit became Damila and later on Damila became Dravida. The word Dravida is the name of the language of the people and does not denote the race of the people.

6. The thing to remember is that Tamil or Dravida was not merely the language of South India but before the Aryans came it was the language of the whole of India, and was spoken from Kashmere to Cape Camorin. In fact it was the language of the Naagas throughout India. ["The Untouchables", pp. 56, 58, 59, 63, 66, 75]

Vratyas were Naagas

Before seventh century B.C., i.e. before the rise of the Buddha, all the ksatriya dynasties of Mahabharata times had been ruined, shattered and destroyed. They were replaced on one side by the Dravidas – Naagas in Taxilla, Patalpuri, Udyanpuri, Padmawati, Bhogpuri, Nagpur, Anga or Champa, and in various places in the south; and on the other side by ganas or republics of vratyas like Licchavis, Mallas, Moriyas etc. [Jyoti Prasad Jain, quoted by Kosare, p. 42]

Brahmanic literature calls the various clans like Lichavis, Mallas, Moriyas, etc. as Vratyas. The Shishunakas are called as Ksatra-bandhus and not as Ksatriyas. According to Prof. Jaychandra Vidyalankar, this term is used to describe the ignoble origin of these people. They were the warriors among the vratyas, and the vratyas were those people who inhabitated the east and north-west of madhya-desha. They were not followers of Vedic brahmin culture. Their cultural language and day to day language in use was Prakrit. They did not respect the brahmins, instead they respected the arhants and worshipped the chaityas. [Kosare, p. 42] He further avers that there was no pure progeny of Aryans alone. Because of inter marriages, cultural interchanges and religious conversions, a new class of Indian people was emerging, which comprised in majority of followers of shramanic Naagas or Dravidas or Vratyas as they were called by the followers of chaturvarnya. There used to be inter marriages among the Aryans and Dravidas, and the ethnic differences were getting eliminated. All those who followed the profession of ksatriyas, may they be descendants of Vedic Aryans, or Manav-vamshi Aryans, or Vratyas, or Naagas or Vidyadharas or Dravidas, they all called themselves as Ksatriyas, and were having marriage relationship among themselves very freely. [Kosare, p. 42]

Sisunaaga Dynasty

The name of Sisunaaga is applied to first king of dynasty by the Brahmins, but Buddhist tradition, as seen in Mahawanso, applies it to tenth and narrates a legend, that he was a son of a courtesan from a Licchavi king, was thrown on a dung heap as an abortion, a certain Naaga Raja revived and protected the male child, who ascended the throne of Magadha. [Fergusson, p. 63]

Second Buddhist convocation was held hundred years after the Buddha, during reign of King Kalashoka. He and his successors, including nine Nandas, till Chandragupta Maurya came on throne, were all Naagas, and were considered of very low caste and hated by Brahmins. Maha Padma and Nanda, the only two of their names, certainly known to us, are both names of serpents and their coins depict the serpent as principle symbol. [Fergusson, p. 64]
After the Shishu-Naagas, the Nandas ruled Magadha. Their founder was called by many names, including vratya-nandi Shishu Naaga, the term according to K. P. Jayswal denotes of their being the vratyas, which meant that the Nandas like their predecessors, Shishu Naagas, were also from the Naaga descent. [Kosare, p. 43]

Naaga worship is non-Vedic

Fergusson explains, though the serpent worship is found as traces in various places, it is “diametrically opposed to the spirit of Vedas or of the Bible”, and it is prevalent among the Turanian races and essentially only among them only. By Turanian he means Dravidians, in Indian context. [Fergusson, p.3] Like Vedas, Zend Avesta also records the religious beliefs of Aryans, and they “are not, and never were, serpent worshipers anywhere” and that “serpent worship is essentially that of Turanian, or at least of non-Aryan people.” [Fergusson, p. 40]

Naagas were Buddhists
That the Naagas were sympathizers and followers of Buddha is well known. Dr. Ambedkar in 1956. while converting half a million of his followers to Buddhism at Nagpur, had remarked that his selection of Nagpur, was due to the historical association of the area with the Naagas, who were friendly towards Buddhism. His opinion that we all are the descendants of a Naaga Takshaka saved by Rishi Astika from the genocide of Naggas, in the Sarpa yadnya, performed by Janmejaya, the great grand son of Pandavas, is also well known. We might also quote a Buddhist tradition from Mahavatthu:

“Naagas are generally devoted to the Buddha. The enthusiastic devotion that our compilers believed Naagas to possess towards the Teacher and the Teaching finds expression in the popular episode of Muchalinda’s extraordinary way of protecting the Exalted One during the seven days of untimely rain. They were also among the beings who formed a body of guards protecting the Bodhisattva and his mother. At the Bodhisatva’s birth some Naagas came to bathe him, a scene that had long been a favourite among sculptors. On the magnificent demonstration of bearing parasols. From other sources we learn how they happened to obtain relics of the Buddha, which they jealously guarded for a long time, [quoted by K. Jamanadas, "Tirupati Balaji was a Buddhist Shrine", p. 108]

While describing the birth of Bodhisatta, Paul Carus mentions about Naaga kings:

“The Naaga kings, earnestly desiring to show their reverence for the most excellent law, as they had paid honour to former Buddhas, now went to greet the Bodhisatta. They scattered before him mandaara flowers, rejoicing with heartfelt joy to pay their religious homage.” [Paul Carus, p. 11]

That “Naaga” was an honorable appellation used in ancient Indian society is clear from the description of the rite of initiation of Buddhist Bhikku. Dharmanand Kosambi mentions that the shramner desiring upasampada was being addressed as “Oh, Naaga”. [p. 57] Diggha Nikaya has two poems, which describe “how all the gods of the people come to pay reverence, at Kapilvastu, to the new teacher”, as Rhys Davids observes, among whom were four kings, which included the King of Naagas. While explaining the relationship between worship of Naaga, tree and river, Rhys Davids observes:

“Then come the Naagas, the Siren serpents, whose worship has been so important a factor in the folklore, superstition, and poetry of India from the earliest times down to-day. Cobras in their ordinary shape, they lived, like mermen and mermaids, more beneath the water, in great luxury and wealth, more especially of germ, and sometimes, as we shall see, the name is used of the Dryads, the tree-spirits, equally wealthy and powerful. They could at will and often did, adopt the human form and though terrible if angered, were kindly and mild by nature. Not mentioned either in the Veda or in the pre-Buddhistic Upanishads, the myth seems to be a strange jumble of beliefs, not altogether pleasant, about a strangely gifted race of actual men; combined with notions derived from previously existing theories of tree worship, and serpent worship, and river worship. But the history of the idea has still to be written. These Naagas are represented on the ancient bas-reliefs as men or women either with cobra’s hoods rising from behind their heads or with serpentine forms from the waist downwards.” [Rhys Davids, "Buddhist India", p. 223]

Though “scarcely noticed in the Vedas”, as Rhys Davids mentions, the Tree worship formed an important part of the beliefs of peoples of Northern India at the time of the rise of Buddhism, and the tree deities were called Naagas. As to why tree gods are not mentioned separately, in Diggha Nikaya, Rhys Davids observes:

“… The tree-deities were called Naagas, and were able at will, like the Naagas, to assume the human form and in one story the spirit of a Bunyan tree who reduced the merchants to ashes is called a Naaga-raja, the tree itself is the dwelling place of Naaga. This may explain why it is that the tree-gods are not specially and separately mentioned in the Maha Samaya list of deities who are there said by the poet to have come to pay reverence to the Buddha. …” [Rhys Davids, "Buddhist India", p. 232]

Rajwade’s Opinion

About the existence of the Naagas in this country, shri V. K. Rajwade mentions that ‘Rajtarangini’ describes in detail about the Naaga kingdoms in Kashmir in olden days. Astik parva of Mahabharat is related to Naagas from beginning to end. It mentions the inhabitation of Naagas in the Khandava-prastha and Khandav vana situated to the south of Yamuna river. Harivamsha mentions the of Naagas residence to be in Nagpur. Therefore, there is no doubt that in olden days, during the Pandava times and there after, there were Naagas residing on a vast territory of India. It can definitely be stated on the basis of description of ‘sarpa satra’, that there was a fierce war between the Naagas and Manavas for some time. Arjuna married a Naaga princess Ulupi. From this it can be inferred that some Naagas were friendly towards the Manavas. [Kosare, p. 270]

Views of T.A Gopinath Rao

While discussing hindu iconography he has agreed that majority of Buddhists were Naagas, as he said, quite a long time back, that many regions of India, in historical times, were inhabitated by the Naagas and they are said to have formed the majority of persons who joined the newly started Buddhistic religion. [p.554] He further states:

“Some scholars of Malabar are inclined to believe that the modern Nayars (Sudras) of Malabar might be descendants of early Naagas as name within modern times might have been corrupted into Nayars. The hypothesis is more fictitious and fanciful than real and tenable.” [Gopinath Rao, vol. II, part 2, p. 554]

Prof. Rao, who categorically mentions Nayars were sudras, finds the theory that they were Buddhists, untenable. It is difficult to understand what faults Prof. Rao found with the theory. At least, we do not find any particular reason to disbelieve this theory. One thing is certain that the Nayars were the original inhabitants of the region, they did not come from outside. Before the Brahmins came from the North and establish ‘sambamdhams’ with the female folks of Kerala, and thus dominated over the Nayar community, the original inhabitants were the Naagas only. From ‘Naaga’ they could have become ‘Nayar’. What is so peculiar in this, that Prof. Rao finds, is hard to understand.

Let it be as it may, the fact remains that the Naagas became Buddhist in great numbers, is a fact that is certain, as admitted by him. Today’s Indian society is made up of and is developed from the erstwhile aboriginal tribal people, is a fact recognized by all the scholars. Then what is the difficulty in accepting that the word ‘Nayar’ could have come from ‘Naaga’?

The relations of Nayars with low caste Pullayas, who were undoubtably Buddhists originally, can also be judged by a well known, and now banned by British, custom of so called “Pullaya scare”, where a Nayar woman had to go with a Pullaya man, if touched by him outside the house while alone, during one month in a year after Makar Sankrati. Barbosa, a traveller from Portugal has recorded about Pulaya Scare in 1517 AD.

There was a casteless society among the Naaga culture

The non-aryan Naaga people were believers in Buddhistic social culture. During their rule, there was a society based on social equality in India, because their cultural values were influenced by the Buddhist traditions. This social system of Naagas, even in those early days, is noteworthy in contrast to Brahmanical social system of inequality. It is unfortunate that the modern high caste scholars, while narrating the greatness of ancient Indian culture, ignore this fact. Shri H. L. Kosare opines:

“As all the elements in the Naagas society were treated with equal status, casteless social order was the main basis of social system of Naagas. As the Naaga culture was based on Buddha’s principles of equality, it received the status of Buddha’s religion. Thus, Naaga culture played the greatest role in the process of establishing a casteless egalitarian and integrated society in Indian cultural life.” [Kosare, p. 256]

“Basham has shown that there is no mention of caste anywhere in ancient Tamil literature. But after Aryan influence increased, and political and social system became more complex, caste system which was somewhat more severe than in north, evolved even here. The period of Sangam literature is third century A.D., This shows that during the Satavahana rule there was no caste system.” [Kosare, p. 251]

Naagas had their Republics

Not only their social system was public oriented, but unlike the brahmanical system, their political system also was designed to give social justice to all sections of people. It is well known that during pre-Gupta era, from first to the beginning of fourth century A.D., the central countries in India comprised of strong Republics of Naagas. Samudragupta destroyed these republics. About the system of administration of Bharshiv Naagas, Dr. K. P. Jaiswal has observed that their social system was based on the principles of equality. There was no place for any caste system in them. They all belonged to one and the same caste.” [Kosare p. 251]

There were independent kingdoms of Naagas in South India also. These kingdoms came together and formed a federal republic. This federal republic of Naagas was termed as Fanimandal or Naagamandal. This Cheromandal republic of Naagas of South India was very powerful and indivisible at the time of Periplus, i.e. in 80 A.D. Later during Ptolemy’s times, i.e. 150 A.D., north eastern part of Tondemandalam became separate. (J.P.Jain, ‘bharatiya itihas’, p. 239). This Cheromandal or Fanimandal was a federation of separate kingdoms of Naagas coming together to form a united national federation. In reality, it was a united Naaga Nation of South India. [Kosare, p. 179]

Naagas in Mahabharata

It is an accepted fact, that Mahabharata had minimum three revisions as per brahmanic scholars, along with Gita in it. As a matter of fact, scholars like Khare, an ardent student of Gita from Pune, has differentiated the verses of each of three authors, in his book. Western scholars like Kaegi believe that the epics continued to be interpolated upto 13th century and even to the beginning of current century. Therefore, it is no wonder that Rhys Davids finds it difficult to assign particular verses to Mahabharata depicting state of affairs in seventh century B.C. at the time of rise of Buddha. [Rhys Davids, p. 214] He feels the changes made by priests were “because the priests found that ideas not current in their schools had so much weight with the people that they (the priests) could not longer afford to neglect them.” The objects of priests in doing so were:

“…in the first place to insist on the supremacy of the brahmins, which had been so much endangered by the great popularity of the anti-priestly views of the Buddhists and others; and in the second place to show that the brahmins were in sympathy with, and had formally adopted, certain popular cults and beliefs highly esteemed by the people. In any case, there, in the poem, these cults and beliefs, absent from the Vedic literature, are found in full life and power. …” [Rhys Davids, "Buddhist India", p. 214]

Mahabharata is a story of feud between Kurus and Pandus, and Pandus are unknown to early literature, either Brahamanas or Sutras. Mahabharata was originally a story of war between Kurus and Panchalas. But Mahabharata without Pandus is ‘like an Iliad without Achilles and Agamemnon’. In the epic, Panchalas are allies of Pandus. Pandus are for the first time mentioned by Katyayana (c.180 B.C.). Pandus first come to view in later Buddhist literature, as a mountain clan. Epic Pandus is not a people but a family. [Cambridge hist. of India, p.226] But who were Panchalas? Presumably, they were Aryans and the epic represents the ‘fight between Aryans after the original inhabitants were overthrown and Brahmanised’. But the author says this is doubtful, and speculates:

“It is possible that the Panchalas represent five Naaga clans (with ala ‘a water snake’ cf. Eng. eel) connected with the Kurus or Krivis (meaning ‘serpent’ or ‘Naaga’), and that none of the families is of pure Aryan blood, for the Naagas in the epic are closely related to Pandus …” [Ibid., p. 227]

Mahabharata opens with a curse on Naagas

Fergusson avers that, to start with, this epic poem opens, with a curse on the serpents. Poet uses the words so cleverly that, if carelessly read, the curse could appear to be on reptiles and not on human worshipers. But in reality it is a curse on the Naaga people. In Adi parva the word used is Naaga and in Vana parva, where Bhima gets in trouble with Nahusha in the form of a real serpent, it is sarpa. [Fergusson, p. 47, fn.]

“the story of great sacrifice for the destruction of the serpents is so mixed up with historical and human action that it is evident at once that the ambiguity about the name is only seized upon by the Hindu poets as an excuse for introducing the super natural into an ordinary human transaction, …” [Fergusson, p. 47]

Immediately after the introductory passages, the story Naaga races starts with two sisters Kadru and Vinata marrying Rishi Kashyapa. Kadru, the eldest, becomes mother of 1,000 Naagas, from whom originates the whole Naaga race. Important among the names of her decedents are Sesha, Vasuki, Airavata, Takshaka, Karkotaka, Kaaliya, Aila or Elaapatra, Nila, Anila, Nahusha and others. The younger sisters gives birth to garuda, who becomes a powerful enemy of Garuda race. “When divested of all poetical garb and mythological rubbish”, the heroes Mahabharata, “Lunar race” are of second horde of Aryan race comming to India, comming about 1000 years after purer “Solar race”, their original seat traced near north of Peshawar, however, has shown all of Buddhistic sculptures of Bactrian influence. [Fergusson, p. 59]

They passed through Punjab and settled at Hastinapura. In the first transaction with Naagas, they burn the forest Khandava, for making place for a second capital and dislodge the Naagas there. The Naagas were protected by a Buddhist deity Indra. But attacked by Vedic god Agni, the brahmin poet depicts that all Naagas perished except their king Takshaka. [Fergusson, p. 60]

The relations with the Pandus and Naagas were most friendly as seen by Arjuna, marrying first Ulupi, the daughter of a Naaga king at the foot of Himalayas, near Hurdwar, and marrying Chitrangada, daughter of Chitravahana, the Naaga king of Manipur. By her, he had a son, Bhabra-vahana, who played a strange part subsequently, during Arjuna’s Ashwamedha. From these and other minor particulars, Fergusson feels, “the author of Mahabharata wished to represent the Aryans of that day as cultivating friendly relations with the aborigines.” [Fergusson, p. 60] The quarrel between Aryans and Naagas started when Parikshit insulted a hermit by hanging a dead snake around his neck. Hermit’s son invoked Takshaka, who is represented as king of Takshashila. Takshaka bit the king to death to avenge the insult. Janmejaya started the great sacrifice for destruction of the Naagas to avenge the assassination of his father. Thousands – myriads – had already perished when slaughter was stayed at the intervention of Astika, a Brahmin, though nephew of Vasuki, a Naaga king of east. Probably, the remnants got converted or promised submission to Aryans and for next 3 or 4 centuries, we hear nothing about Naagas until 691 B.C., when we find Naaga dynasty on the throne of Magadha, and in reign of sixth king Ajatshatru, the Buddha was born in 623 B.C., and “regeneration of the subject races was inaugurated.” [Fergusson, p. 60] About Manipur, he feels it curious to observe that in Manipur, the scene of Arjuna’s marriage with Chitragandha, and his slaughter by her son, that at present day, the peculiar God of Royal family is a species of snake called Pa-kung-ba, from which family claims decent. [Fergusson, p. 61] In the immediate neighborhood of Manipur, there are numerous tribes of aboriginal people still called Naagas, though they are not serpent worshipers. [Fergusson, p. 61] The site of the Naaga sacrifice of Janmejaya is said to be Kurukshetra, but it is more probable that the site is in Orrisa, at Agrahaut. Here the tradition of Mahabharata is preserved by images of kings, who could not be present on the occasion. And the serpent worship is still prevalent in the region. [Fergusson, p. 61]

Naaga Rajas in Kashmir

Fergusson believes, “Kashmir has always been considered, in historical times, as one of the principle centres of serpent worship in India”, and whatever knowledge of Naagas has been gathered is from its legends. Though Naaga worship prevailed from ancient past, it is certainly seen from a century before Christ, when king Damodara, as per Raj Tarangani, was converted into a snake because he offended some brahmin. He was succeeded by three tartar princes who were Buddhists as confirmed by their coins. His successor was Abhimanyu, who appears to be against the Buddhists. His successor Gonerda III, restored the Naaga worship. Many more Naaga kings are mentioned. [Fergusson, p. 45]

When Huen Tsang entered the valley in 632 A.D. during the reign of Baladitya, Buddhism was flourishing, though the King was against Buddhism. He repeats the usual story of valley being a lake in the past, but adds that fifty years after the Nirvana of the Buddha, a disciple of Ananda, converted the Naaga Raja, who quitted the tank, built 500 monasteries, and invited bhikkus to dwell in them. [Fergusson, p. 46]

It is not only in the valley of Kashmir, but from Kabul to Kashmir, Huen Tsang finds Dragon Kings or Naaga Rajas playing important role in the history of land. All this shows how north west India, in seventh century, was Naaga worshiper and became Buddhist. [Fergusson, p. 46]

Huen Tsang further mentions a legend of a king of Sakya kula, during his travels through the land, fell in love with and married a Naaga princess, who was cured of blindness by the Buddha Himself; and her son was among those who were present during the distribution of relics of Buddha on His nirvana. [Fergusson, p. 46]

Another legend is of a Bhikku becoming a serpent because he killed the tree Elaapatra and resided in a beautiful lake or spring near Taxila. People could go there along with a sramana, during Huen Tsang’s times, and their wishes of good rain or weather were fulfilled by prayer of the Naaga. General Cunningham visited the spring in 1863, and found it still reverenced. [Fergusson, p. 46]

A story in ‘Mahavamso’, confirms the presence of Naaga Kings two centuries before Huen Tsang. A bhikku, named Majjhantiko, was sent to Kashmir and Gandhara by Ashoka after third Sangiti in 253 B.C. Aravaalo, the Naaga king ruling there, tried to terrify the bhikku, but was ultimately converted to Buddhism. Similarly in Himavanta, 84,000 Naagas were converted, and all his subjects were bowing down to the Thero. [Fergusson, p. 47]

Ambassadors of Alexander, returning after a visit to Kashmir, mentioned that the King there cherished two large serpents. The King of Taxilla also showed to Alexander a huge serpent being worshipped, according to Strabo. [Fergusson, p. 47]

The Naaga and Buddhist influence persisted till Moghul times as Abdul Fazal tells us in Ayeene Akbari, that during reign of Akbar (1556-1605), there were temples in Kashmir, 45 of Shiva, 65 of Vishnu, 3 of Brahma, 22 of Durga, but 700 of the Naagas, in active worship. All this is confirmed by the architecture of the valley. [Fergusson, p. 47]

Rise of Buddhism

A large section of Indian population is of Turanian race, which fell prey to hordes coming from west for centuries. The incoming Aryans intermixed with aboriginal races, became weak and were subdued by next hordes coming in. Less pure “Lunar race” came about 13th or 14th century B.C. For next thousand years, no other horde came here, due to powerful kingdoms in Assyria and Persia. As the blood of Aryans had become impure, Veda had lost its rule of faith. Under these circumstances, Sakyamuni tried to “revive the religion of aboriginal Turanians” and his call was responded to by not only Turanians in India, but by “all the Turanian families of mankind.” [Fergusson, p. 62]

On Puranic evidence, Fergusson, rather unjustifiably feels, the Buddha himself was Aryan. Though Buddhist tradition takes his son Rahula as a bhikku, Vishnu Purana records his succession to throne of his grand father. He says: “the dissemination of Buddhist religion is wholly due to the accident of its having been adopted by the low caste kings of Magadha, and to its having been elevated by one of them to the rank of the religion of the state.” [Fergusson, p. 62] As a matter of fact, Buddha was a Naaga, and even by Brahmins, he is described as Vratya Kshatriya. Fergusson feels that as the reforms introduced by the Buddha, ancestral worship was abolished and worship of relics of saints started, serpent worship was repressed and “its sister faith” the tree worship, was elevated to first rank. [p. 63]

Ahimsa of Buddha

Ferguson avers that the Buddha promoted asceticism, denounced the sensual enjoyment and preached nonviolence, and observes:

“No war was ever waged by Buddhists, … No faith was ever so essentially propagated by persuation as that of Buddha, and though the Buddhists were too frequently persecuted even to destruction, there is no instance on record of any attempt to spread their faith by force in any quarter of globe.” [Fergusson, p. 63]

Serpent worship during Mauryan Dynasty

Ashokan edicts do not show worship of Buddha, or tree or Serpent, but Mahinda takes branch of Bo tree to Ceylon and in caves in Orissa we see both tree and serpent worship prevalent during the period. [James Fergusson, "Tree and Serpent Worship", p. 64]

Time of Naagaarjuna and Kanishka

Naagaarjuna was the ruling spirit behind the Buddhist Council held under Kanishaka. Roman coins dated 73 to 33 B.C. are found in a stupa by Kanishka at Manikyaal. The Name Naalandaa originates from a Naaga called Naalandaa, who resided in a pool nearby. Naagaarjuna was monk at Naalandaa monastery. According to him,

“the words uttered by the Sakya Muni during his life time, had been heard and noted down by the Naagas, and have kept them to themselves in their own abode, till such time as mankind would become worthy to receive them. Naagaarjuna gave out that he had received these documents from the Naagas and was commissioned to proclaim them to the world. …” [Fergusson, p. 65]

Buddhist Sculptures

The literary evidence is only available from Lalita-vistara of Tibet onwards, and such later books from Ceylon etc., it is hoped that original sutras would be available in future. Our only means to reconstruct the history is from archeological finds from Ashoka edicts, Sanchi, Amravati, Ajintha, Mahabalipuram, and other caves in ghats. [James Fergusson, "Tree and Serpent Worship", p. 67 ff.]

Ashoka’s inscriptions present the picture of early Buddhism, entirely different and in a wonderful contrast with Buddhism of Lalitvistara. [James Fergusson, "Tree and Serpent Worship", p. 67]

Gateways of Sanchi are of times of Naagarjuna, in first half of first century. “Buddha never appears in them as an object of worship. The Dagoba, the Chakra or wheel, the tree and other such emblems are reverenced. Serpent does appear but rarely.” [James Fergusson, "Tree and Serpent Worship", p. 67]

At Amravati, three centuries later, Buddha is worshipped, but Naaga is his coequal, more in accordance with modern notions. Dagoba, Tree, Chakra are all worshipped. Thus Sanchi gives picture of Hinayana and Amaravati that of Mahayana, before coming of Fa Hian. [James Fergusson, "Tree and Serpent Worship", p. 67]

Ajanta depicts picture just before its decline, three centuries later than Amravati. There is no serpent worship in paintings, but Naaga representations are found as sculptured decorations on the doorways or in detached bas-reliefs in the caves. [Fergusson, p. 67]

The important bas-relief described by Fergusson, which today’s brahmanic scholars like to describe as a scene of “Descent of river Ganges”, is at Mahabalipuram. He mentions it as “great Naaga sculpture belonging to the classical stage of Indian Art”. He describes the sculpture in minute details, and laments that the top portion is broken away, In 1827, only the lower part of Naaga was remaining, but his wife below him was quite intact. It has a form of Naaga different from those at Sanchi, Amravati and Ajanta, but the grouping of the figures around Naaga is so similar to the oldest one in Sanchi, as if so many centuries made no difference in style, and this is last of Takshaka sculptures. [Fergusson, p. 68]

Ayrans created writings, Turanians created structures

Fergusson believes, Turanians were builders, the stone architecture starting from Ashoka. The point that Turanian, i.e. Dravidian culture had also created great Buddhistic literature, and has been destroyed by Brahmanic / Aryan / Sanskritic vandalism, has not been taken into account by him, it seems. He mentions:

“… It (Buddhism) was not a reform of Vedic religion of Aryans, but simply that when they had lost their purity, Sakya Muni called on the subject races to rise, and moulded their feelings and their superstitions into that form of faith we now know as Buddhism. It was when these Turanians first came into power that permanent architecture was thought of in India, and as they grew in strength, and their influence extended, so did their architecture acquire consistency, and spread over the length and breadth over the land. They had no literature, or next to none; at least we have not yet found one Buddhist book that was reduced to its present shape till nearly 1000 years after the death of the founder of the religion. … Stated in its broadest terms, the distinction is this, – all the literature of India is Aryan, all the architecture is Turanian; and the latter did not come into existence till the former race had lost their purity and power, or, in other words, till the Turanian religion, known as Buddhism, rose to surface, and its followers usurped the place hereto occupied by the Aryans and their Vedas.” [James Fergusson, "Tree and Serpent Worship", p. 78]

Tribal Population in Sanchi and Amaravati Stupas

By careful study of human figures both of men and women, which Fergusson has described in minute details, he identified two distinct races to be present there.

One is described as civilized, and worshiping the Buddhist emblems like Chakra, Stupa and tree. He is actually referring to Buddhist upasakas, i.e. house holders, though he calls them as Hindoos, not in modern sense as of brahmanic faith, as word hindoo has no relevance for a period before the arrival of Muslims. As against this there is another race, referred by Fergusson as Dasyus, for want of any suitable name, which is of Aboriginal Tribal culture, mostly worshiping Naaga emblems. These were labeled as “ascetics or priests” by General Cunningham and Colonel Massey, because their costumes resembled Buddhist ascetics in Burma and other Buddhist countries. But Fergusson believes them to be Aboriginal tribals. He says, as there is no appropriate name, he would “unhesitatingly” suggest them to be called as Takshaka, like Colonel Todd did. This is because, they are essentially serpent worshipers and “Naaga and Takshaka being synonymous appellations in Sanskrit for snake, and Takshaka is the celebrated Naagavamsha of the early heroic history of India.” He believes, these people were converted to Buddhism, as he says:

“From their appearing so frequently on Buddhist monuments, we may certainly assume that they were converted eventually to Buddhism, and being a tribe dwelling in woods, their priests may have become forest ascetics …” [Fergusson, p. 94 ff.]

He further avers that they were the real architects of India, their original home was near Takshsila, the important seat of serpent worship, and from there they spread all over India. [James Fergusson, "Tree and Serpent Worship", p. 95]

Antiquity of Naaga worship

Fergusson believes that, Snake worship was an old and prevalent form of original faith all over India before Aryans arrived, and Aryans adopted it gradually as they intermarried with indigenous Naaga people. He remarks:

“It is not mentioned in Vedas, hardly hinted at in Ramayana, occupies a considerable space in Mahabharata, appears timidly at Sanchi in the first century of our era, and is triumphant at Amaravati in the fourth, and might have become dominant faith of India had it not been elbowed from its place of power by Vishnuism and Shaivism, which took its place when it fell together with the religion of Buddha, to which it had allied itself so closely.” [James Fergusson, "Tree and Serpent Worship", p. 114]

Tri Ratna – not Trishul

On a fallen pillar of Southern gate way at Sanchi, along with a Bo tree, an emblem, which Fergusson conjectures to be a Trishul is found. Such is also found at Amarawati and Karle, and many Buddhist monuments at various places. It is not a trishul, as we understand from weapon of Shiva. Trishul has a central prong prominent and longer because of its use as a weapon, and also has a long handle. The emblem found in Buddhist monuments is Tri-Ratna, which denotes Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha. It has roundish contour, a smaller middle prong and no handle. It is also found on the chest of Buddhist images, and was later copied by Brahmins to be carved on Vishnu images, as Fergusson further observes:

“General Cunningham suggests that this afterwards became emblem of Juggernath, with his brother and sister. In this suggestion, I entirely agree, but the transformation took place at a period long subsequent to that we are now engaged upon. The more I look at it the more do I become convinced that Vishnuism is only very corrupt Buddhism.” [James Fergusson, "Tree and Serpent Worship", p. 125]

Amaravati and Tree worship

As is well known, Buddha at Amaravati is now a days is worshipped as Shiva, the subject being discussed more fully by us elsewhere. [Tirupati Balaji was a Buddhist Shrine, p. 10]. The Tree worship and Naaga worship are well known methods of Buddhist practices. After conversion to Brahmanism, even now they form important part of ritual at Amareswara. Fergusson, while describing tree worship at Amaravati, observes:

“The following is a curious instance of irradicability of local forms, even long after the religion to which they belonged may have perished. At the present day, during the festival of Navaratri, in honour of Shiva at Amareswar, the immortal lord, on the third night a brazen tree is carried round the town in procession; on the fifth night a ten headed serpent in brass. At the close of the festival the worshipers go in great pomp to a tree called Shemmu Veerchum, where the god is made to exercise in shooting an arrow at the sacred tree, followed by discharge of fire arms in the air, which closes the ceremony. In the festival called Shiva Maharatri, the procession to the same tree is the culminating point, to which all previous arrangements are subordinate, and thus the festival closes.” [James Fergusson, "Tree and Serpent Worship", p. 171]

Mihirkula and Feet marks of Buddha

The feet marks of Buddha are seen in many places at Amaravati, and are also seen stamped on cloths there. Mihirkula, a Shaivite king of Kashmir, is well known as the enemy of Buddhists. He waged a war against Sri Lanka, because his wife happened to wear a jacket of Simhala cloth, which was stamped with feet marks of Buddha. The impression came off on her bosom, and the king became indignant and invaded Ceylon, and forced him to stamp the cloth in future with a golden sun. [James Fergusson, "Tree and Serpent Worship", p. 189]

Tribals are Naagas

Fergusson describes mainly two types of persons worshiping Buddha and being disciples of Buddhism. Turanians are the Dravidians, also termed the Naagas, whom we now know as aboriginal tribal population. Who are the people, whom Fergusson referred to as Hindoos. He himself has cleared the point. : “… the sculpture meant to represent the inhabitants of the province now known as Upper Bengal, more specially of the districts of Tirhoot and Behar, which were assuredly the cradle of Buddhism. …” [Fergusson, p. 225]

The people who are associated with Buddha in both the stupas of Sanchi and Amarawati, are the mixed race of Bengal, with some Aryan blood, but mostly which was mixed with the aboriginal tribes of Bengal before Aryan invasion. That the Buddhism could rise on its ruins, is the evidence of it.

Another important question is, Are the people who wear the snake hoods are as same race or not. Fergusson believes that the difference is only artistic, they are the same people but of two different nations. He explains that these are the aboriginal tribes.:

“The people whose manners and customs appear to present the closest affinities with what we found on the monuments, are those known as the Gonds and other closely allied tribes inhabiting the country to the south of the Vindhya hills. From their language we learn that they were allied to Dravidians, now occupying nearly the whole of Madras Presidency, …” [Fergusson, p. 225]

After careful study of figures, Fergusson comes to conclusion that people with snakes are the Naaga people. [Fergusson, p. 192]

Adivasis in South India

Most ancients were Villavar, (bowmen) identified with Bhils and Minaver (fishers) identified with Meenas. The other group is termed by the Sangam poets as Naagas, whom Hindu books depict as semi divine beings, half men and half snake, but Tamil poets describe them as warrior race with bows and nooses and famous as free booters. Various tribes are mentioned like Aruvalar in Arvunadu, and Aruva vadatalai, Eyinar, Maravar, Oliyar, and Paradavar (fisher tribe), who are certainly belonged to Naaga stock. [Cambridge hist. of India, vol. I, p. 539]

The main dynasties ruling Tamil country were of land tilling class. Pandyas, claiming descent from a tribe styled Maarar, Chola kings from tribe Tirayyirar, and Chera from Vaanavar tribe. Even in first century A.D., the country was free from Brahman caste system, thanks to the influence of strong Buddhist and Jain churches. [Cambridge hist. of India, p. 540]

Satavahanas were Buddhists and not of Brahmanic faith

Because Goutamiputra Satkarni performed the yadnyas, as mentioned in Nanaghat inscription of Naaganika, some scholars tend to think that he belonged to Brahmanic faith. This is a wrong interpretation. Shri Kosare feels the nature of these vedic yadnyas must be considered as a political act of a Ksatriya to raise ones own political prestige, status and glory as an Emperor. These yadnyas had absolutely no brahmanic effect on the republican style of their social culture in Satvahana times. Similarly, there are no records to show that any other king of Satvahana dynasty performed any vedic sacrifices. On the contrary, it appears that Buddhism flourished and developed to a great extent during the Satvahana period only. [Kosare, p.167]

Brahmanic traditions do not depict correct picture

It is now well recognised that Brahmanic books try to depict the superiority of Aryan / Sanskritic / Brahmanic culture and ignore the vast population, which had always been against this culture. Prof. Rhys Davids, aptly, points out this mentality:

“It is the accepted belief that it is in the literature of the brahmins that we find the evidence as to the religious beliefs of the peoples of India in the sixth and seventh centuries B.C. This seems to me more than doubtful. The priests have preserved for us, not so much the opinions the people actually held, as the opinions the priests wished them to hold. … We see how unreasonable it would be to expect that the brahmins, whose difficulties were so much greater, should have been able to do more. What they have done they have done accurately and well. But the record they have saved for us is a partial record. [Rhys Davids, "Buddhist India", p.210 ]

Language of masses was Pali

That similar misinformation is spread by the Brahmanic claims that Sanskrit was lingua franca of India is clear when he avers:

“What had happened with respect to religious belief is on a par with what had happened with respect to language. From Takkasila all the way down to Champa no one spoke Sanskrit. The living language, everywhere, was a sort of Pali. … in the schools of the priests, and there only, a knowledge of the Vedic language (which we often call Sanskrit) was kept up. But even this Sanskrit of the schools had progressed, as some would say, or had degenerated, as others would say, from the Vedic standard. And the Sanskrit in actual use in the schools was as far removed the Vedic dialact as it is from the so-called classical Sanskrit of the post Buddhistic poems and plays.” [Rhys Davids, p. 211]

The religion of masses was not Vedic

The brahmanic books, and their propaganda by the vested interests, try to give an impression that the religious beliefs of Indian masses also were Vedic. This is far from the truth. Rhys Davids remarks:

“So with the religion, outside the schools of the priests the curious and interesting beliefs recorded in the Rig Veda had practically little effect. The Vedic thaumaturgy and theosophy had indeed never been a popular faith, that is, as we know it. … The gods more usually found in the older system – the dread Mother Earth, the dryads and the dragons, the dog-star, even the moon the sun have been cast into the shade by the new ideas (the new gods) of the fire, the exciting drink, and the thunderstorm. And the charm of the mystery and the magic of the ritual of the sacrifice had to contend, so far as the laity were concerned, with the distaste induced by its complications and its expense. … Those beliefs (in Rig Veda) seem to us, and indeed are, so bizarre and absurd, that it is hard to accept the proposition that they give expression to an advanced stage to thought. And one is so accustomed to consider the priesthood as the great obstacle, in India, an way of reform, that it is difficult to believe that the brahmins could ever, as a class have championed the newer views.

“But a comparison with the general course of the evolution of religious beliefs elsewhere shows that the beliefs recorded in the Rig Veda are not primitive. A consideration of the nature of those beliefs, so far as they are not found elsewhere, shows that they must have been, in the view of the men who formulated them, a kind of advance on, or reform of, the previous ideas, and at least three lines of evidence all tend to show that certainly all the time we are here considering, and almost certainly at the time when the Rig Veda was finally closed there were many other beliefs, commonly held among the Aaryans in India, but not represented in that Veda.” [Rhys Davids, Buddhist India, p. 212]

Atharva Veda is more ancient

It is well known that there are in reality only two Vedas, Rig and Atharva, the other two Sama and Yajus being the compilation of verses mostly from Rig, with a few more ideas being added. Out of these two, Atharva has got beliefs more ancient, the beliefs of ancient original residents, and therefore, the brahmins for a long time did not recognise it as a Veda, neither did the Buddhists. Rhys Davids explains:

“The first of these three lines is the history of the Atharva Veda. This invaluable old collection of charms to be used in sorcery had been actually put together long before Buddhism arose. But it was only just before that time it had come to be acknowledged by the sacrificial priests as Veda inferior to their own three older ones, but still a Veda. This explains why it is that Atharva is never mentioned as a Veda in the Buddhist canonical books. … Yet it is quite certain that the beliefs and practices to which the Atharva Veda is devoted are as old, if not older, than those to which the three other Vedas refer; and that they were commonly held and followed by the Aryans in India. …” [Rhys Davids, "Buddhist India", p.213 ]

Forest folks were looked after by Ashoka

An account of his Kalinga conquest and its effects is given by Ashoka himself in Rock Edict XIII. After the horrible disaster, he became Buddhist, expressed profound sorrow and regret for the war, and started spreading Buddhism. About the forest dwellers he said, in the same edict:

“Even upon the forest-folk in his dominion, His Sacred Majesty looks kindly and he seeks to make them think aright, for, if he did not, repentance would come upon His Sacred Majesty. They are bidden to turn from evil ways that they be not chastised. For His Sacred Majesty desires that all animated beings should have security, self control, peace of mind and joyousness.” [Mahajan, "Ancient India", p. 276]

Why Ashoka was sympathetic towards Adivasis is explained by todays Adivasi scholars: because “he was himself of the same blood”, says Venkatesh Atram as well as L. K. Madavi. [Venkatesh Atram, "Gondi sanskuti che sandarbha", p. 51]

Naagas flourished before Guptas

Among the important monarchies flourishing before the rise of Guptas, the most important were the Naaga dynasties, and also many Republics. They were scattered all over India, as proved by literary, epigraphic and numismatic evidence. Vidisha, Kantipuri, Mathura and Padmavati were all Naaga powers, according to Puranas. We know from inscriptions, that Bharshiv Naagas came into power after fall of Kushanas. We have some coins of Bhava Naaga of Padmawati. In Puranas nine Naagas are mentioned by name. Powerful King Virsen of Mathura was also perhaps a Naaga. Guptas flourished by marriage of Chandragupta I, with princes Kumar Devi of Licchavis, whom Manusmriti had condemned as Vratya Ksatriyas. Allahabad Pillar inscription mentions of marriage of Chandragupta II with a Naaga princess Kuveranaga. Thus though the Guptas rose to power with the help of Naagas, they terminated Naaga kings like Ganpati Naaga and Naagsena, and most of the Naaga republics. [Mahajan, Ancient India, p. 406 ff.] Republics of Tribals were destroyed by Samudragupta The disappearance of the republics about 400 A.D. was due to the imperialism of the Guptas, according to Jaiswal, who said, “Samudragupta, like Alexander, killed the free spirit of the country. He destroyed the Malavas and the Yaudheyas who were the nursery of freedom and many others of their class.” As Dr. Altekar pointed out, even after Samudragupta, the republics of the Malavas, the Yaudheyas, the Madras and the Arjunayanas maintained their existence and autonomy, though now, under suzerainty of Guptas. However, the leadership became hereditary, and under those circumstances the republics disappeared and monarchy became the general rule. [Mahajan, "Ancient India", p. 201]

The Pala Period

Many people are under a wrong impression, that after Harshavardhana in seventh century, there were no Buddhist Kings. They conveniently forget that Palas ruled for four centuries, and they ruled nearly whole of north India. They were staunch Buddhists and no brahmins were left after their reign in Bengal, so the Senas, who came after Palas, had to import the Brahmins, for yadnyas.

The area under control of Palas is the area of Naagas and is now an Adivasi tract. It was from Palas that the Buddhism finished, or mostly so. So they are the last remnants of Buddhism. Therefore, their history deserves special study by the Buddhists. That is why the tribal belt extends from North East Provinces, lower Bihar, some parts of Bengal, some parts of Orissa, Madhya Pradesh, Chatisgadh and Bastar and adjoining part in Chandrapur Gadchiroli and the parts of Andhra? The relationship of Pala kingdom with Adivasi tracts is not discussed by the scholars. The Adivasi scholars start the history of Adivasis from the Gonds kings in Sirpur in Andhra, and in old Chandrapur district, which is now divided into two, and in Bastar and Chattisgadh and Madhya Pradesh etc. Some people like to connect themselves to the people of the neolithic age, as if nothing has happened in the mean time. Then they are silent about the period in between. They not only remain silent, but do not try to understand the reasons why their history is ignored by the Brahmanic scholars. But even then, from scanty references, it is possible to reconstruct the history of tribal population in the area. A mention is made about Tribal kings as Naaga kings in post Harsha period in Madhya Pradesh. The Tunga kings, Jayasimha, ruled over the whole of Gondama (or Gondama) which is sometimes specifically referred to as Eighteen Gondama. Gondama has been taken to mean the Gond tribe, but it probably denotes a territory, which was perhaps the entire hilly tract extending from Bonal and Barma in the north up Jeypore in the Visakhapatnam District in the south. [Imperial Kanauj, p.77 ] An account in a book by the poet Padmagupta, of the court of a Paramara king, Navasahasanka Sindhuraja, is considered historical and it narrates how a Naaga king ruling south of the Narmada sought help from Sindhuraja against a neighboring demon-king named Vajrankusa, and gave his daughter Shashiprabha to him after their killing the demon king. It is suggested that the Naaga king was a chief of the Naaga dynasty ruling in old Bastar State, and the demon-king was a chief of the Non-Aryan Mana tribe of Vajra, modern Wairagarh, presently in Chandrpur District of Maharashtra. [Imperial Kanauj, p.97]

Also mention is made of Vijayaditya II, coming into conflict with a Naaga king probably of the Bastar region. [Imperial Kanauj, p.134]

The Pala Kingdom comprised tribal areas

After the death of Harshavardhana, the brahmins regained the lost prestige and started converting people to brahmanism through the means of force by creating small principalities. The empire was broken down and only small feudatories under the newly created Rajput clans started appearing. R. C. Majumdar, explains how the Palas stopped this political disintegration of Bengal resulting in anarchy and confusion for more than a century after the death of Sasanka, the king of Bengal and strong enemy of Buddhism and of Harshavardhana, and how in the middle of the eighth century A.D., a heroic and laudable effort was made to remedy the miserable state of affairs. Realizing at last, that all the troubles of masses were due to the absence of a strong central authority, the numerous chiefs exercising sovereignty in different parts of the country did set up such a regime by voluntary surrender of powers to one popular leader. This shows no small credit upon the sagacity and sacrifice of the leaders of Bengal who rose to the occasion and selected one among themselves to be the sole ruler of Bengal to whom they all paid willing allegiance. Majumdar comments:

“… It is not every age, it is not every nation that can show such a noble example of subordinating private interests to public welfare. The nearest parallel is the great political change that took place in Japan in A.D. 1870. The result was almost equally glorious and the great bloodless revolution ushered in an era of glory and prosperity such as Bengal has never enjoyed before or since.” [Majumdar R. C., "The Age of Imperial Kanauj" HCIP vol. IV, p 44]

The hero was one Gopala (c. 750-770 A.D.), whose early accounts are uncertain, but he came to be known as a Kshatriya and was a Buddhist. All his successors also were Buddhists and the dynasty ruled over a vast area for about four hundred years. The “bloodless revolution”, was no doubt religiously motivated. This was also the time when Tantrika Buddhism made its appearance, and the religious leadership passed on to the lower castes in the society, to such an extent that after the fall of Palas, their successors had to import the brahmins for performance of yadnyas. After Gopala, his son Dharmapala (c.770-810 A.D.), came on throne. He was a hero of hundred battles, and had assumed full imperial tiles. He held a most magnificent durbar at Kanauj, to proclaim himself as the suzerain. Vassals attending durbar, among others, were the rulers of Bhoja, Mastsya, Madra, Kuru, Yadu, Yavana, Avanti, Gandhara and Kira, who uttered

acclamations of approval “bowing down respectfully with their diadems trembling.” He is described as the “Lord of Northern India” (Uttarapathasvamin). [Majumdar, ibid., p.46]

He was ruling over a vast territory. Bengal and Bihar, which formed its nucleus, were directly ruled by him. Beyond this the kingdom of Kanauj, roughly corresponding to modern U.P., was a close dependency, whose ruler was nominated by, and directly subordinate to, him. Further to the west and south, in the Punjab, Western Hill States, Rajputana, Malwa and Berar, were a number of vassal states whose rulers acknowledged him as their overlord and paid him homage and obedience. According to tradition preserved in the Svayambhu-Purana, Nepal was also a vassal state of Dharmapala. [Majumdar, p.47]

His grateful subjects fully realized his greatness and sung in his praise all over the country. He was great patron of Buddhism and founder of Vikramshila University, named after his another name, and a great vihara at Sompuri in Varendra. He also built Odantpuri Vihara in Bihar as per Tibetian sourses, though credit is given to his father or son by some scholars. Great Buddhist author Haribhadra flourished during his reign. Majumdar laments that his greatness, though sung by masses, “it is irony of fate that he should have been forgotten in the land of his birth but his memory should be kept green in Tibet.” [Ibid., p.49] What is so strange about it? It had always been the practice of brahmanic scholars to kill the memory of great non-brahmanic dignitaries by non-mention, and if we may say so, it continues even today. No non-brahmanic king is remembered by the priestly scholars of this country. Chandragupta Maurya is remembered in a fiction Mudrarakshasa written thousand years later; Ashoka is remembered by his edicts and credit of identifying Ashoka of Cylonese chronicles with Piyadassi of edicts goes to James Prinsep; Kanishika is remembered by his coins, Chinese sourses and Buddhist MSS, and Buddhacharita of Ashvaghosha; King Milinda by foreign accounts and Harshavardhana mainly by Huen Tsang’s writings. For the elite of this country, even Alexander the great never existed.

Dharmapala was succeeded by his son Devapala who had a long reign of about forty years. He was a great patron of Buddhism like his father, and his fame spread to many Buddhist countries outside India. Devapala granted five villages on the request of Balaputradeva, a king of a powerful Buddhist Dynasty, in the East Indies, in order to endow a monastery at Nalanda. Another record informs us that a learned Buddhist priest, hailing from Naagarahara (Jelalabad), received high honors from Devapala and was appointed the head of Nalanda monastery. [Majumdar, p. 52] After Devapala, glory of Pala empire declined. Though to a large extent, Mahipala tried to restore it. The Brahmanical dynasty of Senas overtook them. Senas, had to import Brahmins to their kingdom from other Brahmanical areas and start the infamous Kulin system, to reestablish Brahmin supremacy.

The reason why we like to stress the importance of the history of Pala Kings, is that they were Buddhists and their subjects were Buddhists, and at the present time, the area under the influence of Pala kings is the exact area which is occupied by the present day Adivasis. This shows that they were reduced to their present state, after the fall of Palas, due to neglect by and the atrocities of the Brahmanical forces during post Pala period. Though the miseries of tribals had started with the rise of Guptas, they had no protector left after the fall of Palas.

Rise of Rajputs was mostly from Tribals

After the fall of Harsha, the Rajputs were created by the Brahmins, with the intention of fighting with the Buddhists by physical force. Through the Agnikula theory four dynasties of foreigners like Hunas were hinduised in North India, and in south India, through hiranyagarbha mahadana five dynasties were created out of tribal Buddhists. The subject is discussed fully by us elsewhere, suffice here to mention that also some tribal chiefs were among those who became the Rajputs. Giving example of House of Mewar which played important role in political and military history of India for centuries to come, and gave heroes like Bapa Raval, Rana Sanga, and Rana Pratap, Stella Kramerish observes:

“Formerly they (Bhils) ruled over their own country. This was prior to the arrival or Rajputs. The Rajputs, the ‘sons of king’, invaded the country, subsequently Rajasthan in about sixth century A. D. They became Kshatriyas, the nobility par excellence of India. Some of these Rajput princes, including the most exalted of them, the Rana of Mewar, at the inception of their rule, had their foreheads marked with the blood of a Bhil. It was drawn from his thumb or big toe. This was an acknowledgement of the precedence of Bhils as rulers of the country”. [Stella Kramerish, "Selected writings of Stella Kramerish", Philadelphia Museum of Art, 1968, p. 90; fn:- Koppers, "Die Bhil", p.14]

Rajputs came from Tribals

In North India, Rajputs were made on the Mount Abu, by a purificatory yadna and four important dynasties were created to physically oppose the Buddhists and accept the supremacy of Brahmins. Some were remnants of Hunas and some were tribals. But the Brahmins took special precaution to limit the admittance to Rajputs to only a few important people, and the rest were remaining as ordinary castes, as explained by Balkrishna Nair. In Southern India, the rite prformed for purification, conversion, and initiation into awarding Ksatriyahood was called Hiranya-garbhs mahadana and the king was designated as Hiranya-garbha-prasuta, i.e. “one who performed the sacred rite of hiranya-garbha which consists in the performer passing through an egg of gold which was afterwards distributed among the officiating priests”. [D. C. Sircar, 'The Classical Age', HCIP vol. III, p. 225]

The Hiranya garbha prasuta kings of South India belong to the dynasties of: (1) Ananda gotra connected with Chezarla. (2) Vishnukundin connected with Srisaila. (3) Chalukyas. (4) Pandyas and (5) Rashtrakutas.

Most, if not all, of them were Buddhist Tribals, but after accepting Brahmin supremacy they fought with Palas as well as among themselves, thus instituting a tripartrite struggle for centuries, till they all handed over the reigns of the country to Muslims. The detailed discussion of them is beyond scope of this article.

With their conversion, all their deities got converted into Brahmanic deitis, like Jaganath Puri, Pandharpur, Ayyapa, Draksharama, Srisailam, Badrikeswara and many more including Tirupati, as explained in my book “tirupati Balaji was a Buddhist Shrine”. Only one example is given below how tribal Madiyas became devotees of Puri.

Tribals worship Danteswari and are disciples of Jagannatha of Puri The tribal population of Bastar, known as Madiyas, as is well known, are Naagas, and they were referred as Naagas in inscriptions. What is not well known is that they have a Rath Yatra, very much like that of Puri. As explained by us in “Tirupati Balaji was a Buddhist Shrine”, both Rath Yatra and Puri Temple are of Buddhist origin. Also the name Danteswari of their deity is strongly suggestive of Dantpura, where Tooth Relic of the Buddha is being worshiped, which now is Jagannatha of Puri. The following are the excerpts from the article by Bhai Mahavir, who attended Dushera festival of Madiyas, and describes it as “a Dussehra without any mention of the Ramayana”. Even the date of Dushera is significant, as prior to Dr. Ambedkar’s conversion to Buddhism in 1956, the Hindu Panchangas used to depict Dushera as the date of birth of the Buddha, though Buddhist tradition places it on Veshakh full moon day. He writes:

“While for a large part of the country, Dussehra gets its name from the victory of Ram over the 10 headed Ravana, … in Bastar we have none of this. There is no Sita abduction, no Hanuman search mission and no Ram-Ravana battle. You do not see the spectacle of any effigies of Ravana, Kumbhakarna and Meghnath going up in flames as its finals. In fact, when this idea was mooted once, tribal leaders did not welcome it.”

Author explains how Baster’s Dussehra is connected with their own favourite deity, Danteshwari, unknown elsewhere. The festival, lasting virtually for two and a half months, is not mere entertainment, but a genuine religious practice and an essential part of their culture and philosophy.

Ratha Yatra being the main part, its preparation starts early, and different villages having well-designated duties of fetching wood meant for specified parts of the Rath. It is pulled with long ropes by about 500 Madiya tribals of Kilpal, a privilege they jealously guard. The fourth ruler of Bastar, Raja Purushottam Dev, who ascended the throne in 1408 AD, performed Dandavat (prostration) pilgrimage from Baster to Jagannath Puri, offered lots of precious gifts with one lakh gold mohurs to temple, and started the Ratha Yatra. Like in several states, the practice continued till the tragic death of Pravinchandra Bhanjdev. Now only the chhatra and the chief pujari of Danteshwari temple of Jagdalpur ride it. All the tribes bring their favourite deities with their chhatras to the courtyard of the royal palace. The whole town is out jostling to watch the gigantic chariot being pulled by hundreds of devotees. The tribes of Bastar are no Vaishnavites (vegetarians), they are devotes of Danteswari, though their Danteshwari Temple, at Dantewada, in Bastar, has an idol of Nandi and an image of Shiva. The Rath Yatra commences with a goat sacrifice, and no less than five goats are sacrificed by the time the festivals conclude. [An article "Without Ram or Ravana" by Bhai Mahavir in "Indian Express", Nagpur, 4.12.99]

Why the Adivasis Struggle can not succeed in Hindu India

Excluding the population of Africa, India is the largest habitat of Adivasis. They are mostly divided into three geographical areas. A group in North East provinces, the “seven sisters”, are having Mongoloid influence. The second group, the “Central” group is in Bihar, Orrisa, Madhya Pradesh, Telangana and Vidarbha extends upto sea in the east and has Gond and Santhal origin. The Western group has mostly Bhil influence. The Constitution of India has taken note of these areas and the first group is placed under Schedule VI and the rest are placed in Schedule V. About the condition of all these adivasis, less said the better. Whereas the tribals in VI schedule are fighting a loosing battle against the Manuvadi social order, those in other areas are fast getting hinduised and accepting the Brahmanic values, and pessimistic about their struggle. The main question is why they are not getting any success in their struggle. The reason as explained by Kanshiram, long time back, is that they are fighting isolatedly and the reason is that they do not like to identify themselves as one of the co-sufferers among the multitudes of castes suffering under the tyranny of brahmanic social order. He appeals to them to organize their struggle together with these multitudes under one banner. [Adivasi-Bharat ke Mulnivasi, hindi, p. 10]

A. L. Basham, ‘The wonder that was India’, Rupa & Co., 1975
Carus Paul, The Gospel of Buddha reprinted by National book Trust, 1961
Chaure Narayan Dr., Korku Jan Jati ka itihas, hindi, Vishwa bharati prakashan, Nagpur, 1987
James Fergusson, Tree and serpent worship, 1868 India Museum London, Indian ed. – Indological Book House, Delhi, 1971
Kosambi Dharmanand, Buddha Dharma aani Sangh marathi, third edition 1970, publ. by Buddha Vihar Risaldar Park, Luckhnow
Kosare H. L. prachin bharatatil naag, marathi, 1989, Dnyan Pradip prakashan, Nagpur,
Karan Sing and Daisaku Ikeda, Humanity at the Cross Roads, Oxford University Press, 1988
Madavi L. K., (marathi), swatantra bharatatil adivasinchi swaytate chi chalval, 1998, publ. Mul Nivasi Mukti Manch Nagpur
Majumdar R. C., Chapter on The Palas The Age of Imperial Kanauj, HCIP, vo IV, 1955
Mahajan Vidya Dhar, Ancient India, Fifth Edition, Reprint 1972, Chand and Co., New Delhi.
Mukherjee, M.A. Prof. L., History of India (Hindu period), Mondal Brothers & Co. Pvt. Ltd. 54-8, College Street, Calcutta. 12. 26th edition.
Nadgonde, Gurunath D., (Dr.), Bharatiya Adivasi, (marathi), Continental Prakashan, Pune, 1979, reprint 1986
Nair Balkrishna N., The Dynamic Brahmin Popular Book Depot, Lamington Rd., Bombay – 7, 1959
Rapson E. J., Ed. The Cambridge History of India, vol. I, S.Chand and Co., third Indian reprint, 1968
Rhys Davids, Buddhist India, Motilal Banarasidas, 1993 reprint, original edition England, 1903
Karan Sing and Daisaku Ikeda, Humanity at the cross roads, Oxford University Press, 1988
T. A. Gopinath Rao, Elements of Hindu Iconography, vol. II, part 2, Motilal Banarasidas, 1985

Chura Indian Caste

Chura caste is from Punjab who follows the religion of Sikhism and Hinduism. They were treated as untouchables.

 Chura caste belongs to Dalit section of Hinduism. Chuhras rarely owned land and only a small portion had a claim upon some land as tenants. They were hired as agricultural labourers either on a daily wage basis. They also received small payments as well as "gifts" for traditional services rendered. They also had to perform some services without receiving any payment. They were totally dependent upon their powerful patrons for survival. 

They were extremely poor, insecure and dependent on others for survival. Other villagers never allowed them to use the village well. They lived in small mud houses on the edge of the village. They wear simple clothes and consume simple food. Under the conditions they had to live alcohol and opium was used commonly. They have their own leaders and caste panchayats to deal with internal matters and to negotiate matters affecting relationships with others. 

Their religious life offers an insight into their culture. A certain amount of religious flexibility is practiced amongst them. Chuhras adopted the religion of the dominant groups within their villages. If Muslims dominated the village they would become Muslims and were called Musallis. In Sikh villages they became Sikhs and were known as Mazhabis. In Hindu villages they remained Chuhras and followed their own religion. Conversion brought about religious equality but not social equality. 

They believed in evil spirits and ghosts. They also relied on faqirs, bhagats and pirs to drive these away. They also had belief in omens, sorcery and magic, evil eye, in charms, and in auspicious and inauspicious times. They worshipped Muslim saints, Mata Devi who was the smallpox deity and Gugga Pir who protected people from snake bites. They had their own totems and taboos. 

They have their own life-cycle customs and ceremonies. No special birth ceremonies are held. However a sugar product is given to friends and ten days later relatives are invited to a meal. The mother is considered as impure for a period of twenty-one days, after which she bathes and resumes cooking. Generally arranged marriages take place and it took place before the girl reached puberty. A bride-price was paid, gifts were exchanged, people were fed, and songs were sung. The actual wedding is performed by a Brahmin priest, a Muslim maulvie or Chuhra gyani. After a few days at her husband`s house, she returns home until called for, at times after attaining puberty years later. Once again gifts are brought and songs are sung. Divorce and remarriage is allowed but no ceremonies are held neither there is any exchange of gifts. 

The also follow some distinctive beliefs that revolves round the worship of Bala Shah. They erected dome-shaped shrines of mud or brick that had no images but had niches for oil lamps and an altar for offerings. Worship was done on Thursday evenings with a major sacrifice being offered once or twice a year. 

Dhoba Caste

Dhoba Caste of Central India mainly consists of cultivators. Dhobas have various indigenous customs and beliefs. For the Gond people, Dhobas act as priests.

Dhoba is a small caste belonging to the central region of the country. They are considered as an offshoot of one of the primitive tribes. Interestingly, they have always been amalgamated with the Dhobi caste and have never been classified separately in the census of the country. However, the Dhoba caste of Mandla region, deny any sort of connection with Dhobis. The Dhobas are tall and dark in complexion and have flat features similar to that of the Gond tribe. The origin of Dhoba caste is very vague; however it appears that they are an offshoot of one of the Dravidian tribes. 

Dhoba caste has around 12 exogamous sects, which are said to have been named after the names of certain villages. They prohibit the marriage between the Maratha and Khatnagar and Maralwati sects, the Baghmar and Baghcharia sects, and the Sonwani and Sonsonwani sects. The names Baghmar and Baghcharia are derived from tiger; Sonnwani is from Sona-pani or gold-water, and more. However, the children of a brother and a sister can marry but not the children of two sisters. They follow certain marriage rites. For the wedding, the bridegroom goes to the village of the bride. The wedding ceremony is conducted as per the Hindu rituals of walking round the sanctified post. The Dhoba community allows divorce and widow remarriage. The members of Dhoba caste also observe several birth and funeral rites. They bury the dead, which is followed by various funeral rites. 

Dhoba community has a caste head belonging to the Sonwani sect and is known as the Raja. He has no deputy and he does not receive any contribution from the caste, instead he takes a double share of the food and sweetmeats when distributed. He selects the other members of the committee from any sect as he wishes. In Dhoba caste, if a man has been put out for any serious offence then for re-admission, he has to give three feasts. The first meal comprises a goat with rice and pulses, which is eaten on the banks of a stream. Further, on this occasion, the offender`s head is shaved and the hair is thrown into the stream. The second meal given by the offender is eaten in his house`s yard and this meal comprises cakes fried in butter with pulses and rice. Interestingly, the offender is not permitted to participate either in the first or the second meal. Lastly, on the third day, the offender is given gold-water by the Raja and then he is considered to be purified. After that he cooks himself. If a man is sent to jail then he is not put out of caste. 

The Dhobas have various social customs, which they follow religiously. They also employ the services of a Brahmin priest for performing the various ceremonies. They eat the flesh also drink liquor. 

Dharkar is a very low caste, which is much lower than the Chamars but considerably above the Doms.

Dharkar is a very low caste, which is much lower than the Chamars but considerably above the Doms. Dharkars are workers in reeds and canes. They manufacture cane stools and chairs, palm leaf fans, matting for floors and the like. Some of the Dharkars are employed as porters. 


Pulayas are a part of the outcastes in the caste structure of Kerala. People belonging to this community are regarded as the oldest inhabitants of the Kerala lowlands.

Pulayas are highly untouchable castes that were the last in the order of castes in the state of Kerala. This last group hides under its rags some very interesting features, since all the castes it comprises still carry on magical and shamanistic practices. They include the astrologer caste of Kanisans or Pannikars, the Vanans or washer men who claim powers of exorcizing diseases, the Pulayas who claim spiritual familiarity with the ancient serpent deities, and the Paraiyas, who are feared as sorcerers. 

From the Pulayas and the Paraiyas were drawn the agrarian serfs of the lowlands; even below them were the miserable, unseeable Nayadis. The outcaste groups are led numerically by the Pulayas and the Paraiyas. Altogether these three groups comprise over eighty percent of the Hindu population in Kerala; the Pulayas are the oldest inhabitants of the lowlands of Kerala. Many of their customs resemble those of the hill tribes, and their legends claim that they were once independent and lived under a Pulaya king who ruled from a fort at the village of Pulayanarkotta in the hills close to Trivandrum. A further suggestion of their past importance is contained in the legend that Sri Padmanabhan, the avatar of Vishnu who reigns in the great Temple at Trivandrum, was discovered as an infant and nurtured by a Pulaya woman. 

The people belonging to this community are well-known for their craftsmanship, music and for some specific dances which include Kolam-thullal. Kolam-thulla is a mask dance which forms a vital component of their exorcism rituals, and also the Mudi-attam or hair-dance which is linked to a fertility ritual. There are various other traditions of the Pulayas which include, the Theyyannam. It is a ritualistic dance which is done by the Kurava and Pulaya communities. There is a devotional offering made by the Pulayas called Bhadrakali thullal meant for their deity Bhadrakali. Especial pandals are erected in fields once the harvesting work is done and there the dances are executed. 

There were certain hints of past wars between Pulayas and other Malayalis in a curious Saturnalian custom called Pula peddi which was abolished by a proclamation of the Raja of Venad as late as 1696. Pulapeddi was the privilege accorded to Pulayas at a certain season to molest women of higher castes whom they encountered after nightfall, either by abducting them or by casting stones or sticks so that, if hit, the women would feel polluted and on their own accord would leave their homes and join the outcastes. At the same time, the shamanistic practices of the Pulayas and other outcaste groups link them with a pre-Aryan and even pre-Dravidian magical culture. There seems little doubt of their descent from those remnants of the megalithic people who stayed in the lowlands to be enslaved by the Dravidian invaders, while their relatives in the hills retained a much greater degree of independence. 


Mehtar, is name of the sweeper or scavenger caste.
 As per Hindu tradition Mehtar or Mihtar was the sweeper or scavenger caste. They were believed to be very unclean and despicable tribe. The caste has many sub-divisions which are perfectly distinct from one another and do not intermarry. In Oudh and some other districts the clans or the people do intermarry. 

The Helas, another sub- division does not touch dogs, an important distinction in the eyes of the caste because the cleaning and feeding of dogs is one of the usual duties that it performs. 

Dhanuk Caste, Bihar

Dhanuk Caste is an ancient caste of India mainly inhabiting the states of Bihar and Jharkhand. Members of Dhanuk Caste earn their livelihood by working as farm servants and agricultural labourers.

Dhanuk caste is considered as a prominent caste of Bihar. They are also found in the adjoining state of Jharkhand. Dhanuk caste is mainly the caste of agriculturists. The name of Dhanuk caste is derived from the Sanskrit term `dhanuska`, which means an archer. This caste of India is regarded as an ancient one because reference of its origin can also be found in Padma Purana. Scholars are of the opinion that formerly, Dhanuks were actively a part of the militia of the country. The Dhanuks are minority indigenous people and they are also known as Rajbanshis. 

Dhanuk caste has no major sub castes. The names of the gotras or the family groups of Dhanuk caste are apparently territorial. Some of these names are Maragaiyan from Maragaon; Barodhaya from Barodha village; Pangarya from Panagar; Benaikawar from Benaika village; Binjharia from Bindhya or Vindhya; and so on. In Dhanuk community, marriages within the same gotra or clan are prohibited. Further, marriages between the first cousins are also not allowed. Child marriage is usual in Dhanuk caste. In their community, the boy`s father takes all the initiative for arranging a match for his son. Further, in their society, if a man is willing to find a match for his daughter then he must seek the help of his relatives for getting a good proposal, as it is considered derogatory to take any decision without consulting. In Dhanuk society, marriage contract is usually made at the house of the boy, which is inviolable. When the bridegroom leaves for the bride`s village, several rituals are observed by his mother. A number of rituals and customs are followed in wedding ceremonies. They also employ a Brahmin priest for performing the marriage rituals. Widow re-marriage and divorce are allowed in Dhanuk society. 

Some members of the Dhanuk caste work as tenants. However, majority of the Dhanuks are working as field labourers and farm servants. Few of them also serve as village watchmen. The Dhanuks are religious people and they observe their indigenous set of beliefs and customs. They eat flesh and fish and they refrain from liquor. Dhanuk caste is said to have a mixed organisation structure. 

Koli Chamar

From the book: THE RELIGIOUS LIFE OF INDIA Publisher: Association Press (1920) ASIN: B001AS1UEQ
"The KORI or KOLI Chamar is found almost exclusively in the Gorakhpur and Lucknow Divisions. About 100,000 are found in the Sultanpur District alone, while more than 50,000 are found in the District of Basti, and more than 80,000 in the two Districts of Fyzabad and Partabgarh. He is a shoe-maker, a field-labourer, a groom, and a weaver. 1 He will not touch dead camels or horses. In the Punjab, where he does not work in leather, and where he does not perform menial tasks, he is called a Chamar-Julaha, i.e., Chamar weaver. The Kori (Weaver) often lives alongside of him, and was undoubtedly formerly a Chamar. In some places people still remember when the Kori and the Kori Chamar ate together and intermarried. In Mirzapur the Kori is known as Chamar-Kori. "

Caste System is of Indian Origin : MIT study

A map showing the groups across India included in the Nature study. (Credit: Photo courtesy of D. Reich, K. Thangaraj, N. Patterson, A. Price and L. Singh)
A map showing the groups across India included in the Nature study. (Credit: Photo courtesy of D. Reich, K. Thangaraj, N. Patterson, A. Price and L. Singh)

In a study published in the September 24th, 2009 issue of Nature, an international team describes how they harnessed modern genomic technology to explore the ancient history of India, the world’s second most populous nation.   The new research reveals that nearly all Indians carry genomic contributions from two distinct ancestral populations. Following this ancient mixture, many groups experienced periods of genetic isolation from each other for thousands of years. The study, which has medical implications for people of Indian descent, was led by scientists at the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) in Hyderabad, India together with US researchers at Harvard Medical School, the Harvard School of Public Health and the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT.

“This work is an outstanding example of the power of international collaboration,” said Lalji Singh, senior author of the Nature paper, who is a Bhatnagar Fellow and the former director of CCMB. “Scientists in India and the United States have together made discoveries that would have been impossible for either group working alone.”

Although the genome sequences of any two unrelated people differ by just 0.1%, that tiny slice of genetic material is a rich source of information. It provides clues that can help reconstruct the historical origins of modern  populations. It also points to genetic variations that heighten the risk of certain diseases. In recent years, maps of human genetic variation have opened a window onto the diversity of populations across the world, yet India has been largely unrepresented until now.

To shed light on genetic variability across the Indian subcontinent, the research team analyzed more than 500,000 genetic markers across the genomes of 132 individuals from 25 diverse groups, representing 13 states, all six language families, traditionally “upper” and “lower” castes, and tribal groups.

These genomic analyses revealed two ancestral populations. “Different Indian groups have inherited forty to eighty percent of their ancestry from a population that we call the Ancestral North Indians who are related to western Eurasians, and the rest from the Ancestral South Indians, who are not related to any group outside India,” said co-author David Reich, an associate professor of genetics at Harvard Medical School and an associate member of the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT.

The finding that nearly all Indian groups descend from mixtures of two ancestral populations applies to traditional “tribes” as well as “castes.” Kumarasamy Thangaraj, a senior research scientist at CCMB in Hyderabad and a co-author said, “It is impossible to distinguish castes from tribes using the data. The genetics proves that they are not systematically different. This supports the view that castes grew directly out of tribal-like organizations during the formation of Indian society.”

The one exception to the finding that all Indian groups are mixed is the indigenous people of the Andaman Islands, an archipelago in the Indian Ocean with a census of only a few hundred today. The Andamanese appear to be related exclusively to the Ancestral South Indian lineage and therefore lack Ancestral North Indian ancestry.

“The Andamanese are unique,” said co-author Nick Patterson, a mathematician and researcher at the Broad Institute. “Understanding their origins provides a window onto the history of the Ancestral South Indians, and the period tens of thousands of years ago when they diverged from other Eurasians.” Added Singh, “Our project to sample the disappearing tribes of the Andaman Islands has been more successful than we could have hoped, as the Andamanese are the only surviving remnant of the ancient colonizers of South Asia.”

The researchers’ work also has surprising and important medical implications. They discovered that many groups in modern India descend from a small number of founding individuals, and have since been genetically isolated from other groups. In scientific parlance this is called a “founder event.”

“The finding that a large proportion of modern Indians descend from founder events means that India is genetically not a single large population, but instead is best described as many smaller isolated populations,” said Singh. Thangaraj continued, “The widespread history of founder events helps explain why the incidence of genetic diseases among Indians is different from the rest of the world.”

Founder events in other groups, such as Finns and Ashkenazi Jews, are well known to increase the incidence of recessive genetic diseases, and the new study predicts that the same will be true for many groups in India. “It is important to carry out a systematic survey of Indian groups to identify which ones descend from the strongest founder events,” said Reich. “Further studies of these groups should lead to the rapid discovery of genes that cause devastating diseases, and will help in the clinical care of individuals and their families who are at risk.”

“Just as important as these findings are the statistical approaches that led to them,” said Alkes Price, an assistant professor of epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health and a co-author of the Nature study. “In studying Indian genetic variation we also developed a novel toolkit for understanding the relationships among groups and the history of mixture. We believe that these tools can drive future studies not only of Indian history but of groups worldwide.”

Journal reference:
1. David Reich, Kumarasamy Thangaraj, Nick Patterson, Alkes L. Price & Lalji Singh. Reconstructing Indian population history. Nature, 2009; DOI: 10.1038/nature08365
Adapted from materials provided by Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard.
Science Daily (Sep. 23, 2009) 

 Scheduled Castes
The Scheduled CSastes (SCs), also known as the Dalit, and the Scheduled Tribes (STs) are two groupings of historically disadvantaged people that are given express recognition in the Constitution of India. During the period of British rule in the Indian sub-continent they were known as the Depressed Classes.
 The Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Order, 1950 lists 1,108 castes across 25 states in its First Schedule, while the Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) Order, 1950 lists 744 tribes across 22 states in its First Schedule.
 To effectively implement the various safeguards built into the Constitution and other legislations, the Constitution, under Articles 338 and 338A, provides for two statutory commissions - the National Commission for Scheduled Castes, and National Commission for Scheduled Tribes.
The Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes make up around 15% and 7.5% respectively of the population of India, or around 24% altogether, according to the 2001 Census. The proportion of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in the country's population has steadily risen sinceindependence in 1947.
The Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Order, 1950 lists 1,108 castes across 25 states in its First Schedule, while the Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) Order, 1950 lists 744 tribes across 22 states in its First Schedule.
Since Independence, the Scheduled Castes have benefited by the "Reservation" policy. This policy became an integral part of the Constitution through the efforts of Dr. Bhimrao Ambedkar, regarded as the father of the Indian constitution, who participated in Round Table Conferences and fought for the rights of the Depressed Classes. The Constitution lays down general principles for the policy of affirmative action for the SCs and STs.


From the 1850s these communities were loosely referred to as the "Depressed Classes".And they are also referred to as Adivasis (original inhabitants) The early part of the 20th century saw a flurry of activity in the British Raj to assess the feasibility of responsible self-government for India. The Morley-Minto Reforms ReportMontagu–Chelmsford Reforms Report, and the Simon Commission were some of the initiatives that happened in this context. One of the hotly contested issues in the proposed reforms was the reservation of seats for the "depressed" classes in provincial and central legislatures.

In 1935 the British passed the Government of India Act 1935, designed to give Indian provinces greater self-rule and set up a national federal structure. Reservation [disambiguation needed] of seats for the Depressed Classes was incorporated into the act, which came into force in 1937. The Act brought the term "Scheduled Castes" into use, and defined the group as including "such castes, races or tribes or parts of groups within castes, races or tribes, which appear to His Majesty in Council to correspond to the classes of persons formerly known as the 'Depressed Classes', as His Majesty in Council may prefer". This discretionary definition was clarified in The Government of India (Scheduled Castes) Order, 1936, which contained a list, or Schedule, of castes throughout the British administered provinces.
After independence, the Constituent Assembly continued the prevailing definition of Scheduled Castes and Tribes, and gave (via articles 341, 342) the President of India and Governors of states responsibility to compile a full listing of castes and tribes, and also the power to edit it later as required. The actual complete listing of castes and tribes was made via two orders The Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Order, 1950, and The Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) Order, 1950 respectively.

Constitutional framework for safeguarding of interests

The Constitution provides a framework with a three pronged strategy to improve the situation of SCs and STs.
  1. Protective Arrangements - Such measures as are required to enforce equality, to provide punitive measures for transgressions, to eliminate established practices that perpetuate inequities, etc. A number of laws were enacted to operationalize the provisions in the Constitution. Examples of such laws include The Untouchability Practices Act, 1955,Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989, The Employment of Manual scavengers and Construction of Dry Latrines (Prohibition) Act, 1993, etc.
  2. Affirmative action - provide positive preferential treatment in allotment of jobs and access to higher education, as a means to accelerate the integration of the SCs and STs with mainstream society. Affirmative action is also popularly referred to as Reservation.
  3. Development - Provide for resources and benefits to bridge the wide gap in social and economic condition between the SCs/STs and other communities.

National commissionsTo effectively implement the various safeguards built into the Constitution and other legislations, the Constitution, under Articles 338 and 338A, provides for two statutory commissions - the National Commission for Scheduled Castes, and National Commission for Scheduled Tribes.


In the original Constitution, Article 338 provided for a Special Officer, called the Commissioner for SCs and STs, to have the responsibility of monitoring the effective implementation of various safeguards for SCs/STs in the Constitution as well as other related legislations and to report to the President. To enable efficient discharge of duties, 17 regional offices of the Commissioner were set up all over the country.
In the meanwhile there was persistent representation for a replacement of the Commissioner with a multi-member committee. It was proposed that the 48th Amendment to the Constitution be made to alter Article 338 to enable said proposal. While the amendment was being debated, the Ministry of Welfare issued an administrative decision to establish the Commission for SCs/STs as a multi-member committee to discharge the same functions as that of the Commissioner of SCs/STs. The first commission came into being in August 1978. The functions of the commission were modified in September 1987 to advise Government on broad policy issues and levels of development of SCs/STs.
In 1990 that the Article 338 was amended to give birth to the statutory National Commission for SCs and STs via the Constitution (Sixty fifth Amendment) Bill, 1990. The first Commission under the 65th Amendment was constituted in March 1992 replacing the Commissioner for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes and the Commission set up under the Ministry of Welfare's Resolution of 1989.
In 2002, the Constitution was again amended to split the National Commission for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes into two separate commissions - the National Commission for Scheduled Castes and the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes.


According to the 61st Round Survey of the NSSO, almost nine-tenths of Buddhists in India belonged to scheduled castes of the Constitution while one-third of Christians belonged to scheduled tribes. Major part of scheduled castes were Hindus by religion but belonged to castes and tribes having low population. The Sachar Committee report of 2006 also confirmed that members of scheduled castes and tribes of India are not exclusively adherents of Hinduism.
ReligionScheduled CasteScheduled Tribe

Scheduled Caste Sub-Plan

The strategy of Scheduled Castes Sub-Plan (SCSP) of 1979 is an important intervention that mandates a planning process for social, economic, and educational development of Scheduled Castes and for improvement in their working and living conditions. It is an umbrella strategy that ensures flow of targeted financial and physical benefits from general sectors of development for the benefit of Scheduled Castes. Under this strategy, population.It entails targeted flow of funds and associated benefits from the annual plan of States / Union Territories (UTs) at least in proportion to the SC population i.e. 16 % in the total population of the country / the particular state. Presently, 27 States / UTs having sizeable SC populations are implementing Scheduled Castes Sub-Plan. Although the Scheduled Castes population, according to 2001 Census, was 16.66 crores constituting 16.23% of the total population of India, the allocations made through SCSP in recent years have been much lower than the population proportion. Table hereafter provides the details of total State Plan Outlay, flow to Scheduled Castes Sub-Plan (SCSP) as reported by the State / UT Governments for the last few years especially since the present UPA government is in power at the
  • Information in respect of 14 States/UTs only and as on 31-12- 2007
Source: Network for Social Accountability (NSA)

Half of SC/ST teaching posts in Central Universities unfilled
04 Jul 2012

As many as half the teaching positions for SCs and STs in Central Universities are still unfilled, putting a question on the fair participation of them in the Indian higher education system. According to the data provided by the government of India in December 2011 to a Right to Information query by Lucknow-based activist Mahendra Pratap Singh, 48.5 per cent of posts in these two categories in 24 Central varsities were vacant during 2010-2011. The stipulated quota for SCs and STs in Central institutions is 15 per cent and 7.5 per cent respectively.

For the year, 2010-211, the total backlog in SC category at the entry-level position of Lecturer was 341 out of 740 required posts. Thus, 46 per cent of these posts were unfilled. In the ST category, 197 or 53 per cent of posts were vacant out of the required posts of 369.

This discrepancy points to the under-representation of these marginalised communities in educational institutions. The SCs constitute 12 per cent of the total filled positions in Central Universities and STs constitute five per cent of the filled posts.

Even on higher posts of Reader and Professor, their share is alarmingly dismal. Over 84 per cent of posts for Readers in the SC-ST category were vacant in 2010-2011. And, over 92 per cent Professor’s positions in these categories are vacant.

The Banaras Hindu University (BHU) has the poorest record of clearing the backlog. There was a whopping 59.7 per cent of SC and ST vacancies in lecturer positions itself in 2010-2011.

A BHU source confirmed the situation remained the same in 2012 as well, since the University had not undertaken a recruitment drive in the past few months to clear this backlog.

Speaking on the grim situation, Professor Emeritus at BHU Subhash Lakhotia said “The problem is that candidates are often not found suitable. The university has to consider certain minimal requirement. Many teaching positions are for specialised candidates. The quality of degrees our education system gives is not [of a very high standard]. So, although candidates meet the eligibility criteria, they are not found suitable. A large number of open posts are also vacant.”

“The fallacy lies in the system. The graduates coming out today are unemployable,” he pointed out.

“I would not like reservation anywhere. Higher education is about quality. The government says launch a special drive to fill posts; it is in their interest. But in the process you lose out on quality,” he further remarked.

“Reservation has made things worse,” remarked a source from BHU. “You don’t get quality people. SC/ST candidates are competent. The ones from Maharashtra and the northeast are good. Tezpur University is doing very well. That’s because their graduates return to their native place.”

Another reason cited by BHU was the increase in the retirement age to 65 years (as per 2006 UGC recommendations). “For some years, no one retired and then there were mass retirements creating a sudden vacancy. In Banaras, availability of housing and other facilities is a major problem. So no one wants to take up jobs here,” an official remarked.

BHU should be excluded from the reservation policy as it is considered “centre of excellence” contended another source.

Meanwhile, Dr. Vikas Gupta from the Delhi University proposes roster system as solution for the problem. “Filling posts roster-wise would help ease the backlog. That entailed marking posts in departments as per each category and so on,” he remarked.

He added that the situation was changing with universities going in for the roster system.

Jainism for Dalits

Matang is a Dalit caste spread all over Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka states of India. We can trace the origin of Matangs in Indus valley civilization. Matangs have ancient history and we can find referances about them in ancient Jain literture.
According to Jain literature, Vinami, was the great grandson of Rishabh the first Teerthankar of Jainism. Vinami's son Matang was the founder of Matang race.

Suparshvanath, the 7th Teerthankar of Jainism himself was a Matang. His Yaksha (attendant god) was also a Matang. The Yaksha of Mahavir the 24th Teerthankar was also a Matang. 

Matang Yaksha is Jain God of Prosperity.

Acharya Harikeshi, Maiterya, Chitta and Sambhuti were some of famous Jain Ascetics from Matang Community. Their bio-graphies and work is given in Uttaradhyayan Sutra, the famous Prakrit text of Jains.

We laso find mention of layman Matangs of ancient India, who were disciples of Jain Acharyas.

Matangs had enjoyed higher position and statues in Jain community of ancient India.

Matangs are known as Madigas in Andhra Pradesh.

Provisions for SC

  • List of Muslim Other Backward Classes communities

A  Abdal (caste)

B  Bakho

C  Chamail

D  Dalit

H  Halalkhor

K  Kan (tribe)

L  Lal Begi

M  Mirshikar, Muslim Dabgar

N  Nat (Muslim)

O  Ossan

P  Pamaria, Pasmanda Muslim Mahaz

Q  Qalandar (clan)

S  Sai caste, Sapera (Muslim) ,Hela Mehtar, Singiwala

T  Turuk Pasi

The following 81 pages are in this category, out of 81 total. This list may not reflect recent changes (


  • Ad-Dharmi
  • Adi Dravida
  • Arunthathiyar


  • Badhik
  • Badi (caste)
  • Baheliya
  • Baiswar
  • Bajgi
  • Balahar
  • Balai
  • Basith
  • Basor
  • Batwal
  • Bawariya
  • Beda people
  • Bedia (caste)
  • Bhambi
  • Bhambi Khalpa
  • Bhantu
  • Boria (caste)


  • Chamail
  • Chamar
  • Chandala
  • Chirimar
  • Chuhra


  • Dabgar
  • Dalera
  • Deha
  • Dharkar
  • Dhedh
  • Dher
  • Dhobi
  • Domar (caste)
  • Domba
  • Dusadh


  • Gandhila


  • Habura (caste)
  • Halalkhor
  • Hela (caste)
  • Heri (caste)
  • Holeya
  • Holiya (caste)
  • Hurkiya


  • Jatav


  • Kharot
  • Khateek
  • Kinnaraya
  • Koli people


  • Lonia


  • Madiga
  • Mahar
  • Mala (caste)
  • Mang (caste)
  • Meghwal
  • Mochi (Hindu)
  • Musahar


  • Nalavar
  • Nethakani


  • Orh


  • Pallar
  • Panchpiria
  • Paraiyar
  • Pasi (caste)
  • Paswan
  • Patharkat
  • Pulayar


  • Rai Sikh
  • Rattal
  • Ravidassia religion
  • Rohit (caste)


  • Saryara
  • Singikat
  • Singiwala
  • Sirkiband
  • Sonkar


  • Thori caste
  • Tirgar
  • Tribals in Kerala
  • Turahiya


  • Vagri


  • Watal


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