Bhanushali

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Bhanushali (Gujarati : ભાનુશાલી) / Bhānshali / Bhansali (Gujarati : ભણશાળી)[1] is a Hindu Vaishya community, who claim to be of Kshatriya origin and mainly belonging to State of Gujarat in India.

History[edit]

Bhanushalis are believed to be Kshatriya people who were mainly living in Balochistan, Sindh and Punjab region before their migration to present day Kutch and Halar region of Gujarat, somewhere in 330 BC due to Alexander and subsequent Mughal invasions.[2] Bhanushalis claim to have descended from Chalukyas and often have Rajput surnames,[1] while there is also a major opinion to have descended from Lava, son of Rama and hence Suryavanshi and are related to or a bifurcation of Lohana clan.[1][3]

Bhanushalis are divided in to two sub groups according to their region of living, that is :- Cutchhi Bhanushali Community[4] ( those living or having ancestry in Kutch region ) and Halai Bhanushali Community those living or having ancestry in Halar (Jamnagar) region.[5]

Bhanushalis were mainly involved in agriculture and farming.[1]

Bhanushalis worship different kuldevis as per their clan names / surnames.[6] and follow Hindu customs and beliefs and worship God like Maa Hinglaj, Asapura Mataji, Shiva, Durga and Vishnu.[7] Further, they also worship Veer Dada Jashraj and claim, like Lohanas, that he belonged to their community.[8] They are largely Vaishnava community.[1] and are considered as a trading or vaishya community in Gujarat. Bhanushalis chiefly worship Hinglaj, whose main temple is in Baluchistan, Sind, their ancestral home.[1]

Among their community Sant Odhavramji of Vandhay was prominent figure of Kutchi people and did much work for up-liftment and education of Bhanushali community in decades of 1930-1950s.[3]

Relationship with Lohanas[edit]

Bhanushalis also shared their early home in Sind with Lohanas and seem to share common history.[1] Like Lohanas, Bhanushalis are largely involved in trading and have gained name as businessman and identified as Vaishya community although have its origins as Kshatriya clan. They like Lohanas worship Dada Jashraj as their kuladevata. Many of the surnames of Bhanushalis, coincidentally, are also found among Lohana community and as they and Lohanas share common history or lineage. Like Lohanas, Bhanushalis are largely involved in trading and have gained name as businessman and identified as Vaishya community although have its origins as Kshatriya clan.[1]

Surname[edit]

Bhanushalis often use their community name also as their surname and as such you can find many people using Bhanushali and Bhanshali surname. However, other surnames among this community are Shethia, Amal, Kataria, Hemani, Damani, etc. etc.[9] It is said that Bhanushali's had 96 surnames. Few others are Katarmal, Nanda, Gori, Bhadra, Hurabada, Joisher, Joisar, Mithiya, Gajra, Mange, Fuliya, Visariya, Nakhva,Harvara,Chandra, Dhabha, Chunada, Mengar, Khichda, Vador, Maajania, Mav, Motani, Ratda, Dama, Gajra,kataria,

Kanakhara, Nanda, joisar, gajra And Bhadra are said to be most largely used surnames.

Again, it seems that many Bhanushalis, changed to Jainism during course of history and therefore Bhanushali surname can be found among Jain people of Gujarat.

Notable Persons[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h [1] Folk art and culture of Gujarat:guide to the collection of the Shreyas Folk Museum of Gujarat
  2. ^ Indian pediatrics , Volume 18. p. 387. 
  3. ^ a b Sant Odhavram : Bhanushali’s are “Surya Vanshi” but due to illiteracy & poverty were being harassed by society. Odhavramji decided to draw a path for his own community and give them their real place in the society. He traveled across villages and cities preaching the importance of education and finally succeeded in starting the first boarding in Mandvi. Bhansuhali Haridas Pradhan Joisar sold off almost all his properties & life savings to manage the required funds for this cause. A few years later Odhavramji also struggled to build home shelter for the Bhanushali’s who had migrated from Kutch to Mumbai for work & with funds provided by Bhanushali Haridas Velji Joisar of Mumbai, The Bhanushali wadi in Mumbai came into existence in 1952.
  4. ^ Genetics abstracts , Volume 5, Issues 6-9. 1973. p. 217. 
  5. ^ Indian journal of medical sciences , Volume 25. 1971. p. 311. 
  6. ^ The Anthropology of Values By Berger Peter. p. 366. 
  7. ^ Bhimnath Mahadev-Kutch Sethias- a Bhanushali
  8. ^ Jasraj Dada
  9. ^ [2]