Aguri (caste)

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Aguri or Ugra Kshatriya
আগুরী
Religions Hinduism
Languages Bengali
Populated States West Bengal

Aguri also known as Ugra Kshatriya is a higher-caste Bengali Hindu found in the districts of Bardhaman, Birbhum, Hooghly and Bankura.[1]

Aguri or Ugra Kshatriya, known as The Followers of Lord Shiva. The Term Aguri comes from the Sanskrit word Aghor. Aghor means, not difficult or non terrifying in one perspective and on the other it means absence of darkness. Aghor implies a simple and natural state of consciousness in which there is No fear or disguise. As per old Hindu script auguris are one who are fearless and who does not discriminate, the followers of Lord Shiva, the most powerful of all Hindu Gods and also called The Destroyer.

Aguris are upper caste in the caste hierarchy in Hindu Bengali. They are mainly cultivating and trading caste in Bardhaman, Birbhum, Hooghly and Bankura district in West Bengal, India. Many Aguri’s ancestor were landlords and Bengali zamindars with very rich cultural heritage and was considered as the protector of the society. They were among the richest in Bengali society. In the modern age Aguris are spread across India and the world.

Like Brahmins, some of the Aguris wear a sacred thread during the marriage ceremony and during their worship of God.

Aguris or Ugra Kshatriyas are considered a Forward Caste, as they do not qualify for any of the reservation benefits allotted to Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Other Backward Classes that are administered by the Government of India.

History[edit]

Aguris are a cultivating and trading caste representing Ugra Kshatriyas. They were brought by the King of Burdawan Mehtha from Agra to west Bengal to fight against the British. They are by nature aggressive and hostile people. Aguris are a mixed caste born out of the union between the Sadgops rulers of Gopbhum and the Punjabi Khetri rulers of Burdwan.[1] McLane believes that Oldham has been misled by the claim made by the Aguris. He cites Mukundaram to prove the presence of the Aguris much before the arrival of the Khetris in Burdwan. The Hindu book Manu says Ugra (Aggressive) was born to a Sudra girl by a Kshtriya.[2] Ballal Sen classified the Aguris among the Navashakhas. But it has been proved by John R McLane in his book 'Land and Local Kingship in Eighteenth-Century Bengal'(Cambridge University Press) that this theory is totally wrong citing example that the mention of Aguri cast much before the arrival of the Khettri Rulers in Burdwan was there in the 'Chandi Mangal Kavya' the famous Bengali classic by the famous poet Mukundaram and even in the tenth chapter of Manu Smriti there is mention of Ugra Kshatriya or Aguri as they are called now, which also proves the ancient lineage of the Aguri Caste.

Ethnology[edit]

The Aguris were historically divided into seven sub-groups, out of which only three exist till date, namely Chakraborty, Janah, and Suta. The Chakraborty sub-group wear sacred thread same as Brahmins where Jana sub-group wear sacred thread during the marriage ceremony.

Aguris have several gotras, namely - Bharadwaj, Batsya, Gautam, Kashyap, Shandilya,Parashar etc.

Most of the Aguri communities reside mainly in four districts namely – Burdwan, Birbhum, Hooghly and Bankura. They have been residing mostly by the bank of the rivers Ajoy, Khari, Behula, Banka, Bhalluka,Damodar etc.

Their occupations are Business,cultivation, Teaching, politicians, engineer, doctors, software professional, filmmaker, government employee etc.

The most common Aguri surnames are: Dawn, Dan, Roy, Chakraborty, Sen, Choudhary, Dutta, Datta, Janah, Hazra, Samanta, Chandra, Nayek, Panja, Konar, Kar, Kowar, Ghosh, Sahana, Majumdar, Paul(W.B), Mitra, Rudra, Munsi, Guha, Gupta, Kundu, Karfa, Som, Sikdar, Reja, Hati etc.

Notables[edit]

  • Dr. C. R. Dawn (well-known doctor and writer of many medicine books)
  • Shakti Samanta (Indian film director and producer)
  • Benoy Choudhury (revolutionary freedom fighter, politician and prominent figure of the land reforms in West Bengal)
  • Hare Krishna Konar and Binoy Konar (Ex-MLA and eminent politician)
  • Arundhati Roy (Internationally famous author, winner of Booker Prize and social worker)
  • Ajit Kumar Panja (Ex Union Minister, lawyer by profession, author and actor)

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Kundu, Santosh Kumar (2008). বাঙালি হিন্দু জাতি পরিচয় [An Introduction of Bengali Hindu Castes] (in Bengali). Kolkata: Presidency Library. pp. 65–67. ISBN 978-81-89466-13-8. 
  2. ^ McLane, John R. (25 July 2002). Land and Local Kingship in Eighteenth-Century Bengal. Cambridge University Press. p. 137. ISBN 978-0-521-52654-8. Retrieved December 17, 2011.