Barai (caste)

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Barai
Regions with significant populations
• India
Languages
HindiAwadhi
Religion
Hinduism
Related ethnic groups
Tamboli

The Barai are a Hindu caste found in the state Uttar Pradesh in India. They are also known as Chaurasia, and are a sub-group within the larger Tamboli community of South Asia.[1]

Origin[edit]

The Barai derive their name from the Sanskrit word vritti which means a maintainer. According to other traditions, they get their name from the word bari, which means a hedge or enclosure. Both these names alludes to the fact that they are a community of horticulturists. They are a community that grows and sells the betel leaf. The Barai are found mainly in eastern and central Uttar Pradesh, their place in the west is taken by the Tamboli, who are also traditionally involved in the cultivation of betel leaves. The Barai are very likely to be a sub-division of the Tamboli community. They are further divided into a number of clans, the main ones being the Chaurasia, Katiyar, Jaiswar, Mahobia and Nag .[1]

Present circumstances[edit]

Most families possess small holdings, with a smaller number renting land from other communities. A significant number are also involved in selling paan, especially in Awadh. In western Uttar Pradesh, they sell their produce to the Tamboli community. They tend to live in their own settlements, which are often located near the outskirts of towns.[1]

The Barai are strictly endogamous, and practice clan exogamy. Like other Hindu castes, they have set up a caste association, the Chaurasia Samiti. This acts both as an instrument of social control, as well the controlling the sale of betel nuts in eastern Uttar Pradesh. The Barai are Hindu, and their tribal deity is Nāg, the snake god.[1]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d People of India Uttar Pradesh Volume XLII Part One edited by A Hasan & J C Das page 177 to 182 Manohar Publications