Chamar is one of the untouchable communities, or dalits, who are now classified as a Scheduled Caste under modern India's system of positive discrimination. As untouchables, they were traditionally considered outside the Hindu ritual ranking system of castes known as varna.
Chamars are primarily Hindus with significant numbers also found in Islam, Sikhism, Buddhism and Christianity.
Some Chamars are followers of the Ravidassia religion after Guru Ravidas, a 14th Century guru, and himself a Dalit Chamar. Conversion of Hindu Chamars to Ravidassia accelerated towards the end of the nineteenth century, due to the rise of the Adi Dharm mission, launched in 1903 for the restoration and propagation of Guru Ravidass teachings, including the removal of caste distinctions. The number of Chamars who declared Ravidassia as their religion increased from 100,014 in 1881 to 155,717 in 1931. In 2009, the Ravidassia religion formally broke from Sikhism, following the assassination of a Ravidassi clergymen by Sikh extremists at a temple in Vienna, Austria.
Chamars who have adopted the weaving profession and abandoned tanning and leathercraft, identify themselves as Julaha Chamar; R. K. Pruthi suggests this is in the hope that they might in future be considered as Julaha by other communities in the future. They believe that leatherwork is "degrading" when compared to weaving.
Sikh Light Infantry
The 1st Chamar Regiment was an infantry regiment formed by the British during World War II. Officially, it was created on 1 March 1943, as the 27th Battalion 2nd Punjab Regiment was converted. The Chamar Regiment which was involved in the Pacific War Japanese front and was awarded the Battle Honor of Kohima for theirs distinguished role in the Battle of Kohima. The Regiment was disbanded in 1946. Recently, several politicians have demanded that The Chamar Regiment be revived.
- Kanshi Ram (1934–2006), founder of Bahujan Samaj Party and mentor of Mayawati Kumari
- Jagjivan Ram (1908–1986), first Labour Minister of India, former Defence Minister of India, former Deputy Prime Minister of India and father of Meira Kumar
- Mayawati, Leader of B.S.P, Chief Minister of U.P.
- Meira Kumar, Speaker of Indian Parliament
- Chamkila, Punjabi Singer,
- Mohinder Singh Kaypee M.P Jalandhar
- "Pakistan's caste system: the untouchable's struggle". Retrieved 2013-03-30.
- "Socio-Economic Position of Leatherworkers in Gulbarga City". Retrieved 2013-03-30.
- Yadav, Bhupendra (21 February 2012). "Aspirations of Chamars in North India". Chennai, India: The Hindu. Retrieved 2013-01-14.
- "Uttar Pradesh data highlights: the Scheduled Castes, Census of India 2001".
- "Uttar Pradesh data highlights: the Scheduled Castes".
- "West Bengal — DATA HIGHLIGHTS: THE SCHEDULED CASTES — Census of India 2001". Retrieved 2013-01-14.
- http://books.google.co.in/books?id=rTdnvQBPWIUC&pg=PA579&dq=balahi+chamar&hl=en&sa=X&ei=6BSSUq6BEMOTrgfIwICQDg&ved=0CEgQ6AEwBQ#v=onepage&q=balahi%20chamar&f=false%7Ctitle=Balahi: Chamars employed to measure land.
- Rawat, Shyam (2010). Studies in Social Protest. VEDAMS. ISBN 8131603318.
- Balai: Chamars in Bikaner region are known as Balai..
- Knut A. Jacobsen; Kristina Myrvold (1 November 2011). Sikhs in Europe: Migration, Identities and Representations. Ashgate Publishing, Ltd. pp. 290–. ISBN 978-1-4094-2434-5. Retrieved 2012-04-10.
- Pruthi, R. K. Indian caste system. Discovery. p. 189. Retrieved 2012-04-14.
- "Orders of Battle - 27/2 Punjab Regiment [British Commonwealth]". ordersofbattle.com. Retrieved 2011-03-31.
- "The Battle of Kohima" (PDF).
- "RJD man Raghuvansh calls for reviving Chamar Regiment". indianexpress.com. Retrieved 2011-03-31.
- "I will be the best PM and Mayawati is my chosen heir". Indian Express. 2 May 2003. "...I am a chamar from Punjab..."
- "I will be the best PM and Mayawati is my chosen heir". Indian Express. 2 May 2003. "...Jagjivan Ram, a chamar leader..."
- "A Chamar will be my successor: Mayawati". The Hindu (Chennai, India). 29 August 2006.
- "Tytler's party list calls India's Speaker a Chamar". Retrieved 2013-01-14.
- "Cong's doublespeak on caste". Retrieved 2013-01-14.
- "Amar Singh Chamkila". Retrieved 2013-01-14.
- "Amarinder disregarded events organised by state unit, says Kaypee". Retrieved 2013-01-14.
- "Congress's dalit card turning against established dalit leaders of Doaba region". The Times Of India. 21 October 2012. Retrieved 2013-01-14.
- Briggs, George W. (1920). The Religious Life of India — The Chamars. Calcutta: Association Press. ISBN 1-4067-5762-4.
- Rawat, Ramnarayan S. (2011). Reconsidering Untouchability: Chamars and Dalit History in North India. Indiana University Press. ISBN 9780253222626.
- Schmalz, Mathew N. (2004). "A Bibliographic Essay on Hindu and Christian Dalit Religiosity". Journal of Hindu-Christian Studies 17: 55–65.