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The Ad-Dharmi (Punjabi: ਆਦਿ ਧਰਮ) are a Ravidassia community found in the state of Punjab in India. They are one of a number of Hindu sub-groups that have been granted Scheduled Caste status.[1]


The ad-dharmi movement was started in 1920's, for the purpose of getting a distinct religious identity. The founder of the ad-dharmi movement was Mangu Ram Mugowalia and B L Gherra.[2] The word ad dharm means original faith in Sanskrit, and this term was adopted by groups of Chamars who were affiliated with the Ad-Dharam Mandal, a reformist Ravidassia sect. As is common in many other parts of India, this reformist sect has evolved into a caste, with strict rules of endogamy. Marriages are even rare with other members of the Chamar caste. The Ad-Dharmi are further divided into a number of exogamous clans, the main ones being the Bangur, Bhardwaj, Bhargu, Chakhu, Chokhria, Chandar, Chumar, Hohe, Por, Rai, Rattu, Sandhu, Soniara, Sund, Suman, Sidhu, Shergill and Thind and Pharias community.[3]

Present circumstances[edit]

Although Ravidassias, the Ad-Dharmi are followers of Guru Ravidas, and incorporate elements of Hinduism. Each of their settlement contains a gurdwara, which both a centre of worship and as well as a focus of the community.

The traditional occupation of the Ad-Dharmis was the tanning of leather, although a majority were agricultural labourers. There has greater upward mobility among scheduled caste groups in Punjab then other parts of India. As such, many Ad-Dharmis have started to migrate to towns and cities, where they have taken on a number of blue and white collar professions. A small but significant minority have also taken to education. Like other Punjabis, the Ad-Dharmis have participated in the overseas migration of the ethnic group. There are now fairly large Ad-Dharmis communities in Europe and North America, in particular the United Kingdom.[4]

On May 2009, a sudden incident of killing of a Ravidassia Sant Ramanand Dass led to a huge social change when Dera Sach Khand announced the establishment of new religion Ravidassia and now all ad-dharmis follow Ravidassia Religion.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ People of India Punjab Volume XXXVII edited by I.J.S Bansal and Swaran Singh pages 20 to 25 Manohar
  2. ^ pg 20, Sikh Identity: An Exploration Of Groups Among Sikhs by Opinderjit Kaur Takhar
  3. ^ People of India Punjab Volume XXXVII edited by I.J.S Bansal and Swaran Singh pages 20 to 25 Manohar
  4. ^ People of India Punjab Volume XXXVII edited by I.J.S Bansal and Swaran Singh pages 20 to 25 Manohar