Bauris

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The Bauris (Bengali: বাউড়ি) are people of aboriginal origin, belonging to a caste, low in the caste system in India, found in large numbers in Bankura, Birbhum and other districts in the western fringe of the Indian state of West Bengal.[1][2]

Bauris numbered 1,091,022 in the 2001 census and were 5.9 per cent of the scheduled caste population of West Bengal. 37.5 per cent of the Bauris were literate - 51.8 per cent males and 22.7 per cent females were literate. Only 4.7 per cent of the Bauris were matriculates or completed schooling.[3]

Subcastes[edit]

Bauris are divided into the following subcastes: Mallabhumia, Sikharia or Gobaria, Panchakoti, Mola or Mulo, Dhalia or Dhulo, Malua, Jhatia or Jhetia, and Pathuria. Some of these subcastes appear to be territorial subdivisions. Mallabhumia, Malua and perhaps also Mola, were residents of Mallabhum, the central and eastern parts of Bankura district. Sikharia were Bauris who hailed from Shikharbhum, the tract between the Kasai and Barakar rivers. The Dhulia subcaste is supposed to be from Dhalbhum, which is the area in Khatra subdivision. Panchakoti refers to the central area of Panchet estate now in Purulia district. Gobaria is said to refer to a domestic custom of clearing up the remnants of a meal with cowdung. Jhatia is explained as denoting a group who simply sweep away the fragments of a meal without washing the place where it has been spread.[1]

Practices[edit]

Traces of totemism still survive in their reverence for the red-backed heron and the dog. The heron is looked upon as the emblem of the tribe. Dogs are also sacred, and a bauri will on no account kill a dog.[1]

Bauris are addicted to strong drinks[1] and they eat beef, pork, fowls, all kids of fish and rats. However, they do not eat snakes and lizards.[1]

Prominent Bauris[edit]

Sandhya Bauri and her daughter, Susmita Bauri, have been members of parliament from Bishnupur (Lok Sabha constituency).[4]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e O'Malley, L.S.S., Bengal District Gazaeteers, Bankura, pp. 65-67, 1995 edition, Government of West Bengal
  2. ^ O'Malley, L.S.S., Bengal District Gazeteers, Birbhum, p.41, 1996 edition, Government of West Bengal
  3. ^ "West Bengal, Census of India 2001, Data Highlights - The Scheduled Castes". Office of the Registrar General, India. Retrieved 2009-06-28. 
  4. ^ "CPM goes for kill with axe on losers". The Telegraph, 7 February 2004. Retrieved 2010-10-17.