|Regions with significant populations|
|Hindi, Bhojpuri, Awadhi, Maithili, Bundelkhandi, English etc.|
|Related ethnic groups|
|Caste in India|
The Dusadh or Paswan is a Hindu community generally found in the states of Northern India (Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Bihar, Uttarakhand and Delhi) and few parts of Eastern India (Jharkhand, West Bengal) and Nepal, a country bordering India There is also a significant migrant population of Dusadh in Mauritius, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana and others.
Dusadh (also Dusadhya) means one who cannot be conquered. The word was not known until Maurya period. It came into existence after 340-298 BC. The Senapatis or Sarsenapatis (i.e. Commander-in-chief) were called Dusadhya. The word Dusadh is derived from Dusadhya. Another alternative Paswan is also used, which is derived from Persian word "Pasban" meaning the guardian. When mughals came, after seeing their bravery, they started appointing dusadhs as their bodyguards and commander-in-chiefs(also Senapatis). The mughals started calling them Pasban which means defender/guaardian in Persian. Later pasban became paswan.
It is believed that the Dusadhs are the direct descendants of Janak Raja Salhesh (5th–6th century). The Kings of Mithila were called Janaka. The name Mithila is derived after Mythical King 'Miti'. He was supposed to have been created from the body of his father King Nimi. He established the capital of his kingdom at Mithilapuri and hence the region came to be called Mithila. Since he was born out of body of his father, he took the title Janaka. After this, the Kings of Mithila were called Janaka. The most famous Janaka was Kushadhwaja, father of Sita. He was 21st Janaka of Mithila. This Dynasty was also called Videha Janaka. There were 57 kings in the dynasty of Videha Janaka. The legend of Mithila extends over many centuries. Both Gautama Buddha and Vardamana Mahavira are said to have lived in Mithila. It also formed the center of Indian history during the first millennium, and has contributed to various literary and scriptural works. The most important reference to Mithila is in the Hindu epic, Ramayana where Lord Rama's wife Sita is said to have been the princess of the land, born to King Janaka, who ruled Mithila from Janakpur, Nepal. Other famous kings of Mithila during ancient period are King Bhanumath, Satghumanya, Suchi, Urjnama, Satdhwya, Kriti, Anjan, Arisnami, Srutayu, Supasyu, Suryasu, Srinjay, Sourmabi, Anena, Bhimrath, Satyarath, Upangu, Upgupt, Swagat, Snanand, Subrachya, Supraswa, Subhasn, Suchurut, Susurath, Jay, Vijay, Critu, Suny, Vith Habya, Dwati, Bahulaswa, Kriti Tirtiya.
It is said that the last king of Janak Dynasty was of bad character. He was dethroned by public under leadership of Acharyas (Learned Men). Thereafter, Mithila remained without king for hundreds of years. Instead of king, a democratic system was followed were the ruler was elected by the people and the decisions were taken in a collective manner. In fact, Mithila in Nepal may be referred as the first democracy of the world. This continued for several centuries till the region was attacked and conquered by Magadh empire.
Thereafter several dynasties such as Vajjisangh, Lichhavi, Shaishunaga, Nanda, Maurya, Sunga, Kant, Gupta, Vardhan etc. ruled there from time to time. There was no significant ruler in Mithila after Janaks till 5th–6th century when Jaywardhan Raja Salhesh became the king. He made his capital at Mahisautha-Sirha (presently in Nepal). He defended the region against attacks by Tibetans several times. Hence, he was called Shailesh (king of Mountains) from Jaywardhan which in local dialect was called Salhesh. According to some legends, It is said that Goddess Durga ( a Hindu deity) used to visit him.
The Dusadh community belongs to the Gahlot Rajputs. The original Gahlots branched off into 24 branches and 21st branch was named as Dusadh. They initially belonged to the Gahlot Rajput clans and lost their status under different unfavourable circumstances. Migration from one place to another was one of the main reasons. It is evident from many authentic resources that they migrated from Rajasthan and Delhi. Alha and Udal came to Varanasi and Gaya in Bihar to protect the temples. Dusadhs settled there and other nearby places without any land or property. Many returned too. Alha Udal bade ladaiya jinse haar gayi talwar (meaning "Alha and Udal were such great fighters that even swords were defeated by them"), the folklore of Alha and Udal, is still sung in the heartland of Bundelkhand. According to folklore, Alha was invincible, made immortal by the goddess Sharda. The shrine of the goddess is at Maihar in Madhya Pradesh (India). Alha gifted his head to Sharda after cutting it off with a sword. The goddess, extremely pleased by the act, made him immortal. Alha also had two maternal brothers, Malkhan and Sulkhan. Malkhan had enormous strength, represented in the sentence, "das das haathi bhuj par taule" (meaning "ten elephants were weighed by him on one hand").
Alha had a sword given to him by his uncle Parmal, the ruler of Mahoba. The sword was said to be from heaven and no weapon could match its fury. Authors still write versions of Alha-Khand, including Lumbardar Thakur Amol Singh Bhadauriya of Kanpur district. The people who listen to a recital of the Alha-Khand are filled with a warrior spirit and fearlessness. They honor the code of the Kshatriya warriors and the courage shown in the gruesome, difficult battles fought by them. "Aadi bhawani durga tose bada na koy aath khand nau dweep mei toy kare so hoy" (meaning "oh great goddess of war, the oldest of old, the sole reason for evolution of the world, nobody is above you; what is happening in this world is done by your power only.").[clarification needed] The warriors of Mahoba were unbeatable. They worshiped goddess and sword and hence were undefeated.[clarification needed]
Battle of Plassey
The army of Nawab Siraj-ud-daulah mainly consisted of Dusadh soldiers. Robert Clive also deployed 2100 dusadh sepoys for the upcoming battle and later won it. The dusadhs never accepted the British allegiance and refused to surrender. The Britishers, after winning the battle of Plassey, stripped the Dusadhs off their lands, properties and assets and conspired in every way they could to wipe out the community completely. They declared them as criminal caste. The Britisher became aware of the devotion of the Dusadhs towards their land(nation) and to protect it even at the cost of their lives. The Britishers started calling them thieves, criminals, the Robbers and did everything to make them socially and economically backward.
The Dusadh community lives in Bihar, UP, Delhi, Rajasthan, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh etc. The population of this community in Bihar is 8–9% and in UP it is 3–4%. In Bihar, they live in the regions of Vaishali (Hajipur), Araria, Aurangabad, Begusarai, Bhagalpur, Bhojpur, Buxar, Darbhanga, Gaya Gopalganj, Jamui, Jehanabad, Kishanganj, Nalanda, Patna, Purnia, Samastipur. This community have presence in the Purvanchal region, especially in the districts of Varanasi, Chandauli, Sonbhadra, Mirzapur, Ghazipur, Ballia, Gorakhpur Devaria, Basti, Bahraich, Sant Kabir Nagar, Mau, Jaunpur, Lucknow, Balrampur, Gonda, Azamgarhand and other districts. In Jharkhand they can be found in Ranchi, Lohardaga, Gumla, Palamuu, Latehar, Garhwa, West Singhbhum, East Singhbhum, Dumka, Sahebganj, Pakur, Hazaribagh, Dhanbad, Bokaro Deoghar. They have a very good presence in Delhi, Uttarakhand, West Bengal, Orissa, Delhi, Madhya Pradesh and other states also.
- Madhubani art
- Madhubani painting/Mithila painting has been done traditionally by the women of the Brahman, Dusadh and Kayastha communities in the Mithila region of north Bihar, India. Mithila is a well-demarcated cultural region lying between the Ganges and the Nepal terai, and between the Kosi and Gandak tributaries. This painting as a form of wall art was practiced widely throughout the region; the more recent development of painting on paper and canvas originated among the villages around Madhubani, and it is these latter developments that may correctly be referred to as Madhubani art.
- The German anthropologist film-maker and social activist Erika Moser persuaded the impoverished Dusadh community to paint as well. The result was the Dusadh captured their oral history (such as the adventures of Raja Salhesh, and depictions of their primary deity, Rahu) — typified by bold compositions and figures based on traditional tattoo patterns called Goidna locally. This added another distinctive new style to the region’s flourishing art scene.
The community has a traditional caste council, and each village sends representatives to the caste council. The council deals with issues of divorce, adultery, theft and disputes with in the community. The Akhil Bhartiya Dusadh Kalyan Parishad is working for development of this caste. In this time, The people of Dusadh caste are suffering many problems like: GARIBI, SHIKSHA, ROJGAR etc.
- Virchandra Paswan, Member of Parliament in 14th Lok Sabha
- Ram Vilas Paswan, President of Lok Janshakti Party and Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution minister
- Bhola Paswan Shashtri, former chief minister of Bihar.
- H. L. Dusadh, founder of bahujan Diversity mission, known as diversity man of India
- Chhedi Paswan, is a member of Bihar Legislative Assembly and a former member of the Lok Sabha.
- Chirag Paswan,actor and politician.
- Vijay Kumar Paswan, general secretary of Akhil Bhartiya Dusadh Kalyan Parishad
- Dr Sanjay Paswan, Dalit thinker, former member of Parliament, former minister of state, HRD, Govt of India
- Arbind Kumar paswan ,graduated from Ism dhanbad,worked as president of Kartavya top twenty nonprofitable orginatation in the world.
- People of India Uttar Pradesh Volume XLII Part One edited by A Hasan & J C Das pages 464 to 469
- "Table 1. Y-haplogroups percentage distribution in studied regional population groups of India" 54 (1).
- Madhubani art
- "Ram Vilas Paswan struggles to stay relevant - Economic Times". indiatimes.com. 3 April 2010. Retrieved 22 November 2011.
Mr Paswan's standing among people other than those belonging to his Dusadh community