Basith

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The Basith are a Hindu caste found in the Indian administered area of Jammu and Kashmir and have been granted Scheduled Caste status.[1] According to the 2001 Census of India, their population was 18,866.[2]

Origin[edit]

According to the traditions of the Basith community, they immigrated from Chamba in Himachal Pradesh some two centuries ago to Poonch. They are a Hindu community in a predominantly Muslim region, occupying their own villages. The Basith speak Pahari, and their customs are similar to neighbouring communities such as the Domaal. However, the Basith maintain a distance from neighbouring Muslim communities with strict restrictions on commensality.[3]

Social organization[edit]

The Basith are strictly endogamous and practice clan exogamy. There clans called zaats include the Chatriyal, Chimal, Raine, and Salotre, each of which have their own origin myth. A number of zaats then form a gotra, for example the Chatriyal belong to the Changin gotra and the Chimal belong to the Pardwari gotra. Like many North Indian Hindus, the Basith have an informal caste council called a biradari panchayat. Each of their settlement contains this informal body, headed by a chaudhary. The panchayat deals with all intra community disputes, and as well as those who breach community norms. Marriage outwith the caste is strictly discouraged, and those who transgress this are excommunicated. The Basith are Hindu of the Satnami sect. They worship all deities of the Hindi pantheon besides have their clan gods and goddesses called kul-devitas.[4]

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References[edit]

  1. ^ People of India Jammu and Kashmir Volume XXV edited by K.N Pandita, S.D.S Charak and B.R Rizvi pages 107 to 114 Manohar
  2. ^ http://censusindia.gov.in/Tables_Published/SCST/SCCRC_24.pdf
  3. ^ People of India Jammu and Kashmir Volume XXV edited by K.N Pandita, S.D.S Charak and B.R Rizvi pages 107 to 114 Manohar
  4. ^ People of India Jammu and Kashmir Volume XXV edited by K.N Pandita, S.D.S Charak and B.R Rizvi pages 107 to 114 Manohar
  5. ^ People of India Jammu and Kashmir Volume XXV edited by K.N Pandita, S.D.S Charak and B.R Rizvi pages 107 to 114 Manohar