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Karmakar (Bengali: কর্মকার) is a Bengali Hindu caste spread throughout West Bengal and Bangladesh. The Karmakars are traditionally blacksmiths or goldsmiths by trade. While some of them use Karmakar as their family name, others use Rana, Das, Roy, Mullick etc.
According to mythology the forefather of Karmakars was the son of Vishwakarma and a kshatriya mother. The Karmakars are one of the nine trading castes that constituted the Navashākha. The Brihaddharmapurana categorizes the Karmakars in the upper tier of the pure castes hierarchy.
The Karmakars used to be blacksmiths by profession. Over the time the Karmakars have produced engineering masterpieces. In the 17th century Janardan Karmakar, gunsmith from Dhaka designed and built the world famous Jahan Kosha Cannon, 5.5 metres long and weighing around 7 tons and still showing no signs of rust. Another grand cannon named Dol Madol was built by the Karmakars in the 18th century in the kingdom of Bishnupur, in order to fend the Maratha raids. In the late 18th century, Panchanan Karmakar pioneered the Bengali printing industry by inventing movable type punch marked Bengali scripts.
In course of time, Karmakars living in and around Kolkata, Dhaka and other smaller towns of Bengal entered into other professions like goldsmiths, working with machineries, trading etc. To this day there are many Karmakars who are jewellers. In some remote villages of West Bengal and Bangladesh, to this day, the Karmakars still practice their original trade of a blacksmith
Now most of the Karmakars are not engaged with the original blacksmith trade in the principal city and suburbs, the other communities like brahmans, kyasthas, sudras are also not doing their own business what is mentioned the ancient shastras, similarly Karmakars are engaged with different business other than blacksmith trade. But it is considered that the Karmakars are eligible in any technical work for their heredity..
Traditionally they worship Lord Viswakarma, all through the year but mostly on the last day of the month of Bhādra in the Bengali calendar, which normally falls around on 17 September every year.
- Radhu Karmakar (1919-1993), cinematographer and film director
- Prokash Karmakar (1933-2014), artist
- Patit Paban Karmakar Famous Engraver, sculpturist a disciple of the Great Abanindranath Tagore, Nephew of Rabindranath Tagore
- Krishna Gopal Karmakar (b. 1952), Former MD of NABARD
- Romuald Karmakar (b. 1965), French & German film director
- Harashit Keshari Roy Philosopher and creator of present Biswakarma Image
- Joydeep Karmakar (b. 1979), sports shooter
- Prasanta Karmakar (b. 1980), swimmer
- Dipan Karmakar (b. 1982), Bureaucrat
- Dipa Karmakar (b. 1993), gymnast
- "Government of West Bengal: List of Other Backward Classes". Govt. of West Bengal. Retrieved February 13, 2011.
- Ray, Nihar Ranjan (2009). Bangalir Itihash. Deys Publishing, p. 246.