Attarwala

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The Attarwala are a Muslim community found in the state of Gujarat in India.[1]

History and origin[edit]

The Attarwala claim to be descended from a group of Hazara soldiers who were initially settled in Agra, during the rule of the Mughal Emperor Jahangir. According to their recorded documents, they then migrated to Ahmedabad via Gwalior, Ratlam and Godhra. This migration followed their participation of the community in the 1857 Indian War Independence. Once settled in Gujarat, the community took up the occupation of manufacturing of perfumes known as ittars. The word attarwala means the manufacturer of perfumes. A second migration took place in 1947 from Agra, after the partition of India, with some member immigrating to Pakistan, while others joining their co-ethnics in Ahmedabad. The Attarwala are now found mainly in Ahmedabad, while those in Pakistan are found mainly in Karachi. [1]

Present circumstances[edit]

The Attarwala are distinct from other Gujarati Muslims, as their mother tongue is Urdu. They are divided into fourteen lineages, the main ones being the Peer Baksh, Ammer Ali, Khorata, Mandusa, Hussainsa, Zahur Hussain, Mohammad Hussain, Khodar Baksh, Barkhan, Mashoob Khan and Ghulam Khan. These lineages are named after an ancestor. There is no system of clan hierarchy, and all the clans intermarry. The community marry among close kin, and practice both cross cousin and parallel cousin marriages. [1]


The Attarwala are a landless community, and are still involved in the manufacture of attar, the traditional perfume of North India. Many now are wage labourers, involved in pulling rickshaw. They are Shia Muslims and have their own caste association, the Shia Jafria Attarwala Jamat. The caste association runs a madrasa as well as other welfare activity.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c People of India Gujarat Volume XXI Part One edited by R.B Lal, P.B.S.V Padmanabham, G Krishnan & M Azeez Mohideen pages 78-81