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For the Marathi, Assamese, Bengali and Nepali rice dish, see Bhat (food)
For the general caste, see Bhatt.
For the English name, see Butt (name).
Bhats in western India (c. 1855-1862).

Bhat (Hindustani: भट (Devanagari), بھٹ (Nastaleeq)), also spelled as Butt (Pahari: بٹ), both of which are a shortened rendition of Bhatta (Hindustani: भट्ट (Devanagari), بھٹٹ (Nastaleeq)),[1] is a common surname in India and Pakistan.


Historians state the surname is a distorted form of Bhatta, which originates from Sanskrit (भटट), meaning "scholar" according o the Brāhmaṇa.[2] While the original shortened rendition of "Bhatta" was "Bhat" or "Bhatt,"[1] but after many of the migrants to the Punjab region came, the Punjabis out of admiration of the Kashmiris and a desire for them and their children to be like the Kashmiri people most probably due to their fairer skin, and other racial features, started spelling their surname as "But" or "Butt" which is the spelling of the clan used in the Punjabi language.[3][4][5]


People named Bhat or Butt were said to be a clan of Brahmin descendants of intellectual Vedic and Dardic saints that inhabited the banks of the Saraswati River, which ran dry around 2000 BC. This forced the community to migrate to the Kashmir region of the Indian subcontinent in search of "ultimate truth".[6]

Geographic distribution[edit]


The Bhatt of South India were said to be invited there King Pratapa Rudra of the Kshatriya dynasty of Warangal (1295 to 1323) After the fall of this dynasty, the Bhatraju became court bards and entertainers for a number of Vellama and Reddi chiefs who had carved out small principalities for themselves in the Telegu country. The Bhatraju are now a Telugu speaking community[7]


The surname is in use among some Konkani Christians who trace their ancestry to the Goud Saraswat Brahmins of Goa.[8]


Bhat, also spelled as Butt, is a Kashmiri surname, found among individuals native to the Kashmir Valley of India, as well as Kashmiri émigrés who have migrated to the Punjab,[9][10][11] a region divided between India and neighbouring Pakistan.[4] Kashmiris bearing the surname Bhat belong to the larger Bhat caste of Brahmins found in the rest of the India;[1][3][12] the surname is shared by both Hindus and Muslims.[13]


In areas such as the Punjab most of the Northern Hindu Saraswat Brahmins and some various other northern Hindu castes, such as Rajputs converted to the Sikh Bhat/Bhatra sangat during the missionary efforts of prince Changa Bhat Rai who earned the title "Bhat Rai", who was the grandson of Raja Shivnabh, a Hindu king who had met Guru Nanak and converted to Sikhism during the 16th century.[14]

During the 14th to 16th century many Saraswat Brahmins were forced to lead unsettled lives due to religious oppression, unable to practice their hereditary profession as Hindu priests, artists, teachers, scribes, technicians class (varna). They used their academia in there unsettled life travelling as scribes, genealogies, bards and astrologists. In the 15th century the religion of Sikhism was born causing many to follow the word of Guru Nanak Dev. The Sikhs also share the Bhat heritage, and are known as the Bhat or Bhatra and Bhatta sangat and were amongst the first followers of Guru Nanak.[15] Even though Sikhism itself does not support separation by caste, the social system meant that the Bhatra followed a hereditary profession of travelling missionaries, scribes, genealogies, bards astrologists and itinerant salesman.,[16] however it is not uncommon to see Bhats in other professions such as farming and retail.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Saligram Bhatt. Kashmiri Scholars Contribution to Knowledge and World Peace. Retrieved 2010-12-02. Bhat {Bhatt} surnames are found in Uttaranchal, Northern Belt, Central and Western parts of the country and is a surname of sizeable Brahmins in Konkan, Maharashtra and Gujarat; where they had migrated in sizeable strength. Bhatta's who migrated to Gauda {Bengal} werecalle dAcharaya's {Scholars} and thus Bhattacharaya's. In Nepal they became priests, ardent worshippers of Bhadrakali and spread Kali worship; mostly around Pashupatinath Temple. In Uttaranchal they became Purohit {Priestly} class, adopted surname Purohit, many changed profession but retained Bhatt surname. In northern plains, few became Bhatta's, many Bhatt's; in both cases Purohit {Priestly} class. In Central and Western parts, strict requirements of a Bhatta {Purohit} could not be sustained and to indicate their Brahmin roots they opted for surname only. Thus Bhatta and Purohit are surnames of the same category. Bhatta has a shortened version, Bhat {Bhatt}; referring to the same class of people. Surname Bhat {Bhatt} in Kas'mira can also be traced to short form of Bhatta. In Kas'mira, Bhatta honorific has been associated with many personalities, scholars of 9th and 10th centuries, scriptures and specific in many cases in 14th century and later. 
  2. ^ For definition of ब्राह्मण brāhmaṇa, with last syllable showing a Vedic accent, used as a noun as "m. (having to do with Brahman or divine knowledge), one learned in the Veda, theologian, priest, Brāhman, man of the first four castes"; and definition of ब्राह्मण brāhmaṇa, with only first syllable showing a Vedic accent, used as an adjective as "a. (i) belonging to a Brāhman, Brāhmanic", see: Macdonell 1924, p. 199.
  3. ^ a b "Madras journal of literature and science, Volume 4". Athenæum Press. Retrieved 2010-12-02. Bhatt (vulgarly Butt) is the distinctive name of a class of Bramins in the north; and in the south the same class bear the distinctive title of Pattar. 
  4. ^ a b The Journal of the Anthropological Survey of India, Volume 52. The Survey. Retrieved 2010-12-02. The But/Butt of Punjab were originally Brahmin migrants from Kashmir during 1878 famine. 
  5. ^ P.K. Kaul. Pahāṛi and other tribal dialects of Jammu, Volume 1. Eastern Book Linkers. Retrieved 2010-12-02. The But/Butt of Punjab were originally Brahmin migrants from Kashmir during 1878 famine. 
  6. ^
  7. ^ Bhatt pages 141 to 142 in The last wanderers : nomads and gypsies of India by Tejinder Singh Randhawa ISBN 0-944142-35-4
  8. ^ Sarasvati's Children: A History of the Mangalorean Christians, Alan Machado Prabhu, I.J.A. Publications, 1999, p. 137
  9. ^ Explore Kashmiri Pandits. Dharma Publications. Retrieved 2010-12-02. 
  10. ^ A Glossary of the Tribes and Castes of the Punjab and North-West Frontier Province. Nirmal Publishers and Distributors. Retrieved 2007-03-25. The most important Kashmiri element is in Indian Punjab and is found in the cities of Ludhiana and Amritsar, which still contain large colonies of weavers, employed in weaving carpets and finer fabrics. 
  11. ^ Kashmiris’ contribution to Ludhianvi culture. The Tribune. Retrieved 2007-03-25. In fact, the Ludhiana hosiery industry owes its origin to Kashmiris. According to the Ludhiana District Gazetteer, during a devastating famine in the 19th century a number of Kashmiris migrated to Ludhiana. They are known world over for their handicraft skills. They started weaving woollen fabric here. Slowly the trade got popular and Ludhiana started to be identified with hosiery only. 
  12. ^ The quarterly journal of the Mythic society (Bangalore)., Volume 96. The Society. Retrieved 2010-12-02. Even today most common family name in Kashmir is Butt, a distortion of Bhatt, a Hindu surname common amongst the Brahmins in India. 
  13. ^ Parvéz Dewân. Parvéz Dewân's Jammû, Kashmîr, and Ladâkh: Kashmîr. Manas Publications. Retrieved 2010-12-02. This is a surname shared by Hindus and Muslims. 
  14. ^ Haqiqat Rah Muqam shivnabh raje ki page 624 [p.1248]khari
  15. ^ HA Rose, Glossary of Tribes and Castes of the Punjab (Lahore 1883), quoted by Pradesh
  16. ^ HA Rose, Glossary of Tribes and Castes of the Punjab (Lahore 1883), quoted by Pradesh