|Regions with significant populations|
|• Pakistan • India|
|• Khari Boli • Urdu •Punjabi|
|• Islam • Sikh|
|Related ethnic groups|
|• Jhojha • Muley Jat • Ranghar • Muslim Tyagi|
History and origin
The Garha have fifty one sub-divisions, known as biradaris some based on territorial groupings, and some on the sects and castes they belonged to, prior to their conversion to Islam. Their main biradaris include the Chaurasia, Multania, Bargujar, Bhal, Bhatti, Chandela and Chauhan. Most Garha sub-groups claim descent from the Hindu Rajput community.Prior to their conversion to Islam, they were Chandravanshi Rajputs. Some Garha groups also claim descent from the Gaur Brahmins community, and claim Gara is simply a corruption of the original Gaur. A few groups also claim to be descended from the Shaikh and Mughal communities.
They have a caste association, the Anjuman Garha (Garha association), whose primary purpose is look after the socio-economic welfare. The association runs schools imparting religious education, as well as a boarding house for poor boys. They live in multi caste villages, occupying their own quarters. Each of their settlements also contains an informal caste council called biradari panchayat, which acts as an instrument of social control and resolves intra-community dispute.
The community is basically made up of small peasants, concentrated in the Doab region of Uttar Pradesh, and neighbouring Haridwar District of Uttarakhand and Yamuna Nagar district of Haryana. Each of their settlements contain a village based caste council, known as a biradari panchayat which exercise social control. In terms of religion, they are fairly orthodox Sunni Muslims, and have customs similar to other neighbouring Muslim peasant castes, such as the Kamboh, Jhojha, Gujjar, Muley Jat and Ranghar. They observe all the Muslim festivals, such Eid ul Fitr and eid ul adha. The Garha speak both Urdu and the local Khari boli dialect.
- People of India Uttar Pradesh Volume XLII Part Two editor K S Singh Manohar 2005 page 508
- People of India Uttar Pradesh Volume XLII Part Two editor K S Singh Manohar 2005 page 509
- Hindustani Musalmans and Musalmans of the Eastern Punjab Bourne, W. F. G page 40
- People of India Uttar Pradesh Volume XLII Part Two editor K S Singh Manohar 2005 page 511