Barot (caste)

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Barots in western India (c. 1855-1862).

Barot are a caste of Gujarat, who were involved in profession as bards and especially as Vahivanchas - meaning traditional genealogists. They also additionally worked as Mythographers.[1] They were also known by name of Bhatt.

Origin[edit]

Traditionally, Barots used to come to the house of the person/family to whom a son was born, whose genealogy they used to maintain. The name of new born boy-baby was then noted in their books and they were rewarded handsomely by the family headman. This reward was one of their source of income besides the income they generated from their occupation as bard or singer for Kings & Royal families, Thakur, Darbar, by whom they were patronized. Many of them also used to get minor land grants as gifts from them. They were a respected Hindu community, a sub-cast of Brahmin origin.[2]

One of the famous Barot/Bhatt in History of India is Chand Barot, a Bhatt Brahmin, the court poet of Prithvi Raj Chauhan, who composed, the epic Prithviraj Raso.[3]

Barot is a commonly found surname in Gujarat and to some extent in Rajasthan in India. This surname has its root in this occupation based caste of Barot.

Barots are known as Vahivanchas, Bhaats, Brhambhatts in Gujarat and as Barot & Balwa in Rajasthan.

The Barot, Bhat, Bhatt, Rao, Brahmbhatt, Inamdar, Dasandi, etc. are some of the Surnames belonging to this caste or community.

Present Circumstances[edit]

At present, the traditional occupation (Vahivanchas or genealogists) of Barots or Bhatts is on verge of extinction. As the new generation of the casts/communities for whom they worked as Barots, no longer patronize them. Further, the young generation of Barots, also have got themselves involved in other occupation and businesses & higher studies. [4]

However, many of these Barot / Bhaat / Brahmbhatt / Balwa families have the books known as Barot na chhopda, Bhatt na Chhopda or Balwa Pothy, which have centuries old documented records of various communities of India & Pakistan for whom they worked as Vahivanchas. These books are rare documented records, which needs to be preserved.

See Also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Shah, A. M.; Shroff, R. G. (1958), "The Vahīvancā Bāroṭs of Gujarat: A Caste of Genealogists and Mythographers", The Journal of American Folklore (American Folklore Society) 71 (Traditional India): 246–276 
  2. ^ People of India Gujarat Volume XXII Part One edited by R.B Lal, S.V Padmanabham & A Mohideen page 137 to 140 Popular Prakashan
  3. ^ [1]
  4. ^ People of India Gujarat Volume XXII Part One edited by R.B Lal, S.V Padmanabham & A Mohideen page 137 to 140 Popular Prakashan