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The Bhois are an ethnic community native to Maharashtra, Gujarat,Eastern parts of Karnataka,Western Orissa and Andhra Pradesh states in India. In Maharashtra, the Bhois originally lived in Mumbai, Nashik, Dhulia, Jalgaon, Ahmednagar, Pune, Aurangabad, Kolhapur, Ratnagiri and Sholapur districts of Maharshtra. Presently, the members of the Bhoi community have spread over whole Maharashtra. After independence of India in 1947, they have been included in the list of the Nomadic tribes in Maharashtra. The total 22 sub-groups of the community speak in Ahirani language in the family and within kin groups but speak in Marathi, while talking to the others. They had migrated to Mumbai from Rajasthan during the 13th century during the reign of Raja Bhimdev.
In Maharastra, the Bhois were the palanquin bearers or doli carriers. There are altogether 22 sub-groups namely Zinga Bhoi, Pardesh Bhoi, Raj bhoi, Kahar Bhoi, Gadia Bhoi, Dhuria Kahar Bhoi, Kirat Machwa Bhoi, Hanzi, Jati, Kewat, Dhiwar, Dingar, palewar, Macchindra,Havadi, Halhar, Gadhav Bhoi, Khodi Bhoi, Khare Bhoi and Devra.
In Gujarat, the Bhois consist of seven sub-groups, namely, Bhoiraj, Dhiman Zinga Bhoi or Kevat-Bhoi, Macchindra Bhoi, Paleshwar Bhoi, Kirat Bhoi, Kahar Bhoi, Parbishin Bhoi and Shrimali Bhoi. The community are traditionally associated with fishing.
The name is supposed to be a Telugu word, derived from Boya or Boyar caste but this derivation appears to be fictitious and has probably been suggested because of the similarities between the names "Bhoi", "Bhovi" and "Boya".
- Singh, K.S. (ed.). (2004) People of India:Maharshtra, Vol.XXX, Part I, Mumbai: Popular Prakashan, ISBN 81-7991-100-4, pp.342-8
- Ghatak, N.K.. (2003). K.S. Singh, ed. Gujarat, Part 1. Mumbai: Popular Prakashan. pp. 239–42. ISBN 81-7991-104-7.
- Siraj ul Hassan, Syed (1989). The Castes and Tribes of H.E.H. the Nizam's Dominions 1. Delhi: Asian Educational Service. p. 77. ISBN 81-206-0488-1.