The Kulhaiya(کلہیا) are a Muslim community found in the northern part of state of Bihar in India. Some people say kulhaiya is a particular ethnicity but in fact it is mixture of races, ethnicity and different caste like braahman,harijan,yadav, rajput etc.
History and origin
According to their traditions, the word kulhaiya means a "cap wearer" in Persian. As the word kulah means cap in Persian. Basically kulahiyas were soldieors in mughal emperor The faujdar of purnea at the time of mughal nawab saif ali khan on the advice of delhi sultanate appointed kulhaiyas to protect Indian Border on the side of Nepal  Those who started this Muslim community in simanchal area were basically Arabs and have inhabited India for more than 1000 years. Few members of the community are said to be the descendants of Abu Bakar Siddiq, a companion of prophet Muhammad (saws).
The Kulhaiya are traditionally farmers, but many are now also well-educated, such as IPS Ahasn Reza, Qaisar Khalid and Parvez Salik. Dr. Farhat Ara is the first female PhD holder of this community . Dr. Husne Ara Begum is the first lady doctor from Purnea division belonging to Kulahiya. Kulahiya has also produced many IITians like Shafique Matin; working as Scientist in Ministry Of Earth Sciences,India, NITians like Asif Qamar who was a senior scientist at NASA and has also served as a professor in University of California, Berkeley. Education in girls has started gaining prominence in the Kulhaiya community. The Kulhaiya generally speak Urdu, and also speak in their colloquial dialect. The Kulhaiya are confined to the Purnia Division of Bihar. Actually it happened that when Arabs and other Muslims were reaching all the part of the world to spread Islam, some of them came simanchal region of bihar.They settled there, tried to spread islam.Some of them even married local woman.During mughal period, they became landlord of this region, under their landlordship, local population started to convert into Islam due to its principle of equality.Its not surprising that like other part of India, backward Hindu classes of this region accepted Islam, most of them harijan.Even some upper caste converted into Islam as they found Islam true way of life and even some of them converted into Islam to evade from #jizya.Even, people having title sheikh, mir are found in kulhaiya community.This support the theory that this community is result of amalgamation of may people with different ethnicity.As in ancient time, some Arabs, Persian, Afghani traders use to come here and often settled here,married local women.Even some herders and farmer from other part of India like Gujarat,UP and many other came here with their family in search of pasture and agricultural land and settled here.All those people who came here and settled here and became Muslim or either were Muslim, and the local converted Muslim in earlier part of Islamic history of simanchal area of Araria, Purnea, Kishanganj, Katihar totally came to known as kulhaiya. Genes of people of this region were studied by Prof.Rauf Anwer,for which he got his docterote degree,and during research he found that genes of kulhaiya community is much nearer to lower Hindu caste.This research also support the fact that Islam is religion of equality and it was lower classes who choosed Islam to evade centuries of persecution by upper class hindus.This community attached itself to deoband school of thought of sunni sect.The kulhaiya people are hard working and religious.It was Sheikh Saidur Rahman, first govt. high school teacher of this community who even worked under British raj,who championed the cause of girls education and instead of widespread jibe and taunt, he educated her daughters and made his daughter Husna Ara Wahaj first lady doctor.She acted as icon and motivational figure for other people and now there are a lot of lady doctor within this community.Even this community got leader like taslim ud din, who served as cabinet minister two times in govt. of India.These days, this community is scattered to all part of globe from san francisco to london,middle east countries, different part of India, Nepal etc.
- People of India Bihar Volume XVI Part Two edited by Surendra Gopal and Hetukar Jha, pages 587-589
- Aina-e- purnea by akmal yazdani
- Kulhaiya Bridari by Kabiruddin Fauzan