Bhat caste

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The Bhatt are an Indian caste; Brahmin, traditionally employed as genealogists, found mainly in North India,[1] with a smaller minority found in Pakistan. They are also known as Rai Bhatt and Brahm Bhatt other sub title as Bandiji, Barna, Barwa, Bhargava, Bhatela, Maharaj/ Rao, Raja/ Rai, Kavi putra (in Hindi a poet), and Dasaundhi. The Bhat are a caste who traditionally the genealogists of a number of North Indian castes. The northern Indian Sikhs have a Brahmin Bhatt heritage, and are known as the Bhatt or Bhatra sangat and were amongst the first followers of Guru Nanak.[2]

Origin[edit]

In Gujarat the Bhat are known as Barots.In Rajasthan the Bhat are known as Rao.In Orissa Bhat are known as Baikar,Rai,Darwan,Sharma. Other names include Rao, Kavi (in Hindi a poet), and Dausandhi from dasham or tenth, i.e. one who is entitled to a tenth part, as it was customary for a chief to give his bard a tenth of his own income. They are divided into a number of sections, the Naqib or flag bearers in a procession the Nazir or ushers who introduced visitors to a Rajah, the Nagaria or players of drums, the Karaola who pour sesame oil on their clothes and beg, the Panda who serve as priests of Devi and the Baraigi Bhat who beg from Bairago and keep genealogies of the temple priests. Other Bhat sub-groups include the vuna, Brahmbhatt,Raibhatt, Jaga, Vartishar, Chandisar and Kutichar[3]

In addition of being genealogists, the Bhatt are also famous puppeteers and with their string marionettes or katputlis, they used to travel the countryside holding village shows.

Sikh Bhats[edit]

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.[4] (Bhat clan)

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 Ji. 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.,[5] however it is not uncommon to see Bhats in other professions such as farming and retail.

Bhatt of South India[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[6]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Bhat pages 141 to142 in The last wanderers : nomads and gypsies of India The last wanderers : nomads and gypsies of India by Tejinder Singh Randhawa ISBN 0-944142-35-4
  2. ^ HA Rose, Glossary of Tribes and Castes of the Punjab (Lahore 1883), quoted by Pradesh
  3. ^ Bhat pages 141 to142 in The last wanderers : nomads and gypsies of IndiaThe last wanderers : nomads and gypsies of India by Tejinder Singh Randhawa ISBN 0-944142-35-4
  4. ^ Haqiqat Rah Muqam shivnabh raje ki page 624 [p.1248]khari
  5. ^ HA Rose, Glossary of Tribes and Castes of the Punjab (Lahore 1883), quoted by Pradesh
  6. ^ Bhatt pages 141 to142 in The last wanderers : nomads and gypsies of IndiaThe last wanderers : nomads and gypsies of India by Tejinder Singh Randhawa ISBN 0-944142-35-4