Bharatha people

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"Baratha" and "Bharatas" redirect here. For the Vedic tribe, see Bharatas (tribe). For the noctuid moth genus Baratha, see Mocis.
Bharatha People
Total population
Greater than 1,500
Regions with significant populations
 Sri Lanka       1,688 (.008%)
(2012)[1]
Languages
Tamil, Sinhala
Religion
Roman Catholic, Hindu
Related ethnic groups
Negombo Tamils, Sri Lankan Chetty

Bharatha People also Bharatakula are a Sri Lankan caste of Paravar immigrants from Tamil Nadu in India.

Origins[edit]

In India they were traditional fishers' merchants and traders. Most are Roman Catholics although a significant minority practice Hinduism.[2]

Paravar are to be found all over Sri Lanka. Amongst Sri Lankan Tamils Paravar are still a fishing and trading caste although commonly confused with the Karaiyar. The Bharatas or Bharatakula identity is maintained by a relatively prosperous merchant group from India that settled amongst the Sinhalese in the Negombo area.[3]

Claims of North Indian origins[edit]

Already in India, keeping with the tradition of Sanskritisation they had their name as Bharatas a Vedic tribe of Indian mythology from North India. In Sri Lanka they have maintained this caste myth and claim North Indian Kshatriya varna or caste origins. It is also noteworthy that the Bharatas in the Rig Veda were a clan among the Indo-Aryan Pauravas who fought away Iranian invaders.

Assimilation[edit]

Historical population
Year Pop. ±%
2001 2,200 —    
2011 1,688 −23.3%
Source:Department of Census
& Statistics
[4]
Data is based on
Sri Lankan Government Census.

Along with Colombo Chetty and other relatively recent merchant groups from South India, there is rapid Sinhalisation or assimilation with the Sinhalese majority. But unlike the Colombo Chettys many still speak Tamil at home and even have marital relationships in India.

According to recent Sri Lankan census categories in July 2001, Bharatakula has been moved out of Sri Lankan Tamil category to simply as a separate ethnic group Bharatha [1] thus currently they are neither Sinhalese nor Tamil.

Areas of inhabitation[edit]

They are primarily found in capital Colombo and in towns north of it, namely Negombo in the Western Province.

Names[edit]

Common last names adopted by Bharatkulas include Fernando, Ferdinandes, Peeris and Rubeiro. Fernando is the commonest last name.

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "A2 : Population by ethnic group according to districts, 2012". Department of Census & Statistics, Sri Lanka. 
  2. ^ One Nation:diversity and multiculturalism-Part I The Island - July 20, 2009
  3. ^ imitri Mascarenhas and the Negombo connection The Nation - August 19, 2007
  4. ^ "Population by ethnic group, census years". Department of Census & Statistics, Sri Lanka. Retrieved 23 October 2012.