Chamar

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Chamar
Leather-bottle makers. - Tashrih al-aqvam (1825), f.360v - BL Add. 27255.jpg
Leather-bottle makers (Presumably members of the ‘Chamaar’ caste), Tashrih al-aqvam (1825)
Total population
50,000,000 (50 million+ worldwide)
Regions with significant populations
• India • Pakistan • England
Languages
PunjabiHindiUrdu
Religion
Om.svg HinduismAllah-green.svg IslamKhanda1.svg SikhismBuddhismCross-of-Christ.png Christianity[1]
Related ethnic groups
other Ramdasia Ravidassia Julaha

Chamar was one of the untouchable communities, or dalits, who are now classified as a part of Scheduled Caste under modern India's constitution (Indian constitution). As untouchables, they were traditionally considered outside the Hindu ritual ranking system of castes known as varna. These communities were socially, politically and economically exploited in India for many centuries; some people from these communities are still facing discrimination in present India. To help these communities to make progress, Indian constitution provided a reservation system (Reservation in India).

Chamars can be found with significant figures in Hinduism, Islam, Christianity, Sikhism and Buddhism.

They are found mainly in the northern states of India and in Pakistan [2][3] and Nepal.

Ram Narayan Rawat posits that the association of the Chamar community with a traditional occupation of tanning was constructed, and that the Chamars were instead historically agriculturists.[4]

General[edit]

Their name derives from Chamakara, meaning "a worker in leather." In South Asia people say the Chamars can be Hindu, Muslim, Christian, Sikh and Buddhist. Chamars can be found in Parts of India, Pakistan, Nepal and Bangladesh.

Chamar Buddhists There is a minority Chamar Buddhist Community.[5] They converted to Buddhsim becuase of Dr B.R.Ambedkar faced discrimination because of his 'low caste' status. Dr B. R. Ambedkar then studied all religions and he found Buddhism had the right teachings to respect other people and that it had no sects/castes and he himself converted to Buddhism then told people to accept their religion as Buddhism.[6]

Chamar Christians The Chamar Christian community were largely converted to Christianity in North India during the British raj.

Chamar Muslims Muslim chamars can be found in parts of Pakistan and India. Muslim Chamars accepted their religion around about 15th century after Sufi saints and the Mughal empire.Muslim Chamar women are known for their beauty. Many of them work as midwives. Chamars seek marriage partners from outside their own clan, but within their own community. Adult marriage is the norm among Muslim Chamars.[7]

Chamar Sikhs There are very few Chamar Sikhs because caste system still exists in Sikhism.[8]

Chamar Hindus Hindus (Brahmins) say Chamars are Hindus because they are in the "Hindu Caste System" but Chamars don't see themselves as Hindus because they face discrimination from Hindus.

Demographics[edit]

According to the 2001 census of India, the Chamars comprise around 14 per cent of the population in the state of Uttar Pradesh[9] and 12 percent of that in Punjab.[10]

Chamar population in India by State, 2001
State Population State Population % Notes
Bengal[11] 999,756 1.25%
Bihar[12] 4,090,070 5%
Delhi[13] 893,384 6.45%
Chandigarh[14] 48,159 5.3%
Chhattisgarh[15] 1,659,303 8%
Gujarat[16] 1,041,886 2%

In Gujarat they are known as Rohit (caste) and Bhambi Khalpa

Haryana[17] 2,079,132 9.84%

Most Chamars in the districts of Hisar, Jind, Panipat, Karnal, Sonepat, Rohtak, Kaithal, Gurgaon, Faridabad,are Jatav Chamars who largely follow Ravidasia sect.[citation needed]

Himachal Pradesh[18] 414,669 6.8% The Chamars are the second largest SC caste in the state after the Kori. Chamars are mainly found in the following districts: Kangra, Mandi and Una.
Jammu & Kashmir[19] 488,257 4.82%
Jharkhand[20] 837,333 3.1%
Madya Pradesh[21] 5,603,723 9.3% Chamars are primarily concentrated in Sagar, Morena, Rewa, Bhind and Chattarpur districts. Chamars work in land measurement are described as Balahi.[22] Balahi have major concentration in Ujjain, West Nimar and Dewas districts.[21]
Maharashtra[23] 1,234,874 1.28%
Punjab[24] 2,800,000 11.9% The most politically and socially influential[citation needed] Chamars are from the state of Punjab, where they form nearly 12% of the population (2.8 million), with Dalits comprising 27% of the population. In the Punjab they are divided into various groups, such as Ad-Dharm, Ravidasi, Ramdasia, and Chamar.

In Malwa most Chamars turned to Sikhism, whereas in Doaba most of them did not opt for Sikhism. In Majha they are called Ramdasia and Ravidasia, in Doaba they are called Adi Dharmi. They are highly concentrated in the Doaba, and the Malwa region of Punjab, where they form over 25% of the population.[citation needed]

Rajasthan[25] 6,100,236 10.8% Chamars in Rajasthan can only be identified in the districts adjoining to the states of Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh. The districts of Bikaner, Shriganganagar, Hanumangarh, Churu, Jhunjhunu, Alwar, Bharatpur and Dhaulpur are inhabited by Chamars. In the districts of Bharatpur, Dhaulpur and parts of Alwar (adjoining to Bharatpur) they are known as Meghwal[26][page needed] Raigar (leather tanners) and Mochi (shoe makers) are other two castes related to the leather profession.[citation needed]In Bikaner region, they are known as Balai.[27]
Uttar Pradesh[28] 19,803,106 14% Most Chamars reside in Western Uttar Pradesh are known as Jatav. In this state, the political party of Chamars Bahujan Samaj Party has its political base and this has led to Bahujan Samaj Party to win the state elections and chief minister post by Mayawati four times since 1990.[citation needed]
Uttaranchal[29] 444,535 5%

Occupations[edit]

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.[30]

Military[edit]

Chamar Regiment

The Chamar Regiment badges

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.[31] 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.[32] The Regiment was disbanded in 1946.[33] Recently, several politicians have demanded that The Chamar Regiment be revived.[33]

Notable people[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Nava Kishor Das (23 Jun 2009). Culture, religion, and philosophy: critical studies in syncretism and inter-faith harmony. the University of Michigan. pp. 374 pages. ISBN 978-81-7033-820-8. 
  2. ^ "Pakistan's caste system: the untouchable's struggle". Retrieved 2013-03-30. 
  3. ^ "Socio-Economic Position of Leatherworkers in Gulbarga City". Retrieved 2013-03-30. 
  4. ^ Yadav, Bhupendra (21 February 2012). "Aspirations of Chamars in North India". Chennai, India: The Hindu. Retrieved 2013-01-14. 
  5. ^ http://drambedkar.org.uk/
  6. ^ http://www.columbia.edu/itc/mealac/pritchett/00ambedkar/ambedkar_buddha/
  7. ^ http://joshuaproject.net/people_groups/17499/IN
  8. ^ http://joshuaproject.net/people_groups/18060/IN
  9. ^ "Uttar Pradesh data highlights: the Scheduled Castes, Census of India 2001". 
  10. ^ "Uttar Pradesh data highlights: the Scheduled Castes". 
  11. ^ "West Bengal — DATA HIGHLIGHTS: THE SCHEDULED CASTES — Census of India 2001". Retrieved 2013-01-14. 
  12. ^ http://www.censusindia.gov.in/Tables_Published/SCST/dh_sc_bihar.pdf
  13. ^ http://www.censusindia.gov.in/Tables_Published/SCST/dh_sc_delhi.pdf
  14. ^ http://censusindia.gov.in/Tables_Published/SCST/dh_sc_chandigarh.pdf
  15. ^ http://censusindia.gov.in/Tables_Published/SCST/dh_sc_chhattisgarh.pdf
  16. ^ http://censusindia.gov.in/Tables_Published/SCST/dh_sc_gujarat.pdf
  17. ^ http://www.censusindia.gov.in/Tables_Published/SCST/dh_sc_haryana.pdf
  18. ^ http://www.censusindia.gov.in/Tables_Published/SCST/dh_sc_himachal.pdf
  19. ^ http://censusindia.gov.in/Tables_Published/SCST/dh_sc_jk.pdf
  20. ^ http://censusindia.gov.in/Tables_Published/SCST/dh_sc_jharkhand.pdf
  21. ^ a b http://censusindia.gov.in/Tables_Published/SCST/dh_sc_madhya_pradesh.pdf
  22. ^ 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.
  23. ^ http://censusindia.gov.in/Tables_Published/SCST/dh_sc_maha.pdf
  24. ^ http://www.censusindia.gov.in/Tables_Published/SCST/dh_sc_punjab.pdf
  25. ^ http://www.censusindia.gov.in/Tables_Published/SCST/dh_sc_rajasthan.pdf
  26. ^ Rawat, Shyam (2010). Studies in Social Protest. VEDAMS. ISBN 8131603318. 
  27. ^ Balai: Chamars in Bikaner region are known as Balai.. 
  28. ^ http://www.censusindia.gov.in/Tables_Published/SCST/dh_sc_up.pdf
  29. ^ http://www.censusindia.gov.in/Tables_Published/SCST/dh_sc_uttaranchal.pdf
  30. ^ Pruthi, R. K. Indian caste system. Discovery. p. 189. Retrieved 2012-04-14. 
  31. ^ "Orders of Battle - 27/2 Punjab Regiment [British Commonwealth]". ordersofbattle.com. Retrieved 2011-03-31. 
  32. ^ "The Battle of Kohima" (PDF). 
  33. ^ a b "RJD man Raghuvansh calls for reviving Chamar Regiment". indianexpress.com. Retrieved 2011-03-31. 
  34. ^ "I will be the best PM and Mayawati is my chosen heir". Indian Express. 2 May 2003. "...I am a chamar from Punjab..." 
  35. ^ "I will be the best PM and Mayawati is my chosen heir". Indian Express. 2 May 2003. "...Jagjivan Ram, a chamar leader..." 
  36. ^ "A Chamar will be my successor: Mayawati". The Hindu (Chennai, India). 29 August 2006. 
  37. ^ "Tytler's party list calls India's Speaker a Chamar". Retrieved 2013-01-14. 
  38. ^ "Cong's doublespeak on caste". Retrieved 2013-01-14. 
  39. ^ "Amar Singh Chamkila". Retrieved 2013-01-14. 
  40. ^ "Amarinder disregarded events organised by state unit, says Kaypee". Retrieved 2013-01-14. 
  41. ^ "Congress's dalit card turning against established dalit leaders of Doaba region". The Times Of India. 21 October 2012. Retrieved 2013-01-14. 

Further reading[edit]