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. This makes them a modest people. 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.
The Kulhaiya are traditionally farmers, but many are now also well-educated, such as Dr. Farhat Ara is the first female PhD holder of this community and Dr. Husne Ara Begum is the first lady doctor from Purnea division belonging to Kulahiya. There are numerous IPS offices in this community namely Mr. Ahasn Raza (First IPS Officer in Kulhaiya, Currently I.G. in Hyderabad), Qaisar Khalid and Parvez Salik. Dr. Md. Saquib Anwer from Bara Idgah, Distt- Purnea has successfully completed Ph.D in Urdu from Aligarh Muslim University. One of the eminent scholar in the department of Political Science, AMU, Aligarh Dr. Md. Noman Ahmad from Domariya, District Araria has successfully awarded his doctorate degree from Aligarh Muslim University, Aligarh. Apart from these, Kulahiya has also produced many Doctorates (Ph.D) and IITians like Dr. Md. Ejaz Anwer from Purandaha, District Araria got his Ph.D (Economics) degree from AMU, Aligarh and research and teaching experiences from IIT-Roorkee and IIT-Kanpur, Ex. Assistant Professor in TIT, Roorkee, Uttarakhand, and presently working as a Post Doctoral Research Associate in National Centre for Agricultural Economics and Policy Research, ICAR, Ministry of Agriculture, Govt. of India. Dr. Md. Humayoon Akhtar from Bagmara, Jokihat got his Ph.D (Zoology) degree from AMU, Aligarh. He also worked twice as a Senior Researcher in India's one of the reputed research organization i.e., IIPR (Indian Institute of Pulses Research) Kanpur. Mr. Shafique Matin completed his graduation and post graduation from AMU, Aligarh and received highest degree from IIT-Kharagpur; worked as scientist in MoES,Govt. of India and presently working as research scientist in Irish Government, NITians like Asif Qamar who was a senior scientist at NASA and has also served as a professor in University of California, Berkeley. There are also lots of engineers from this community like Mughees Nasir, Shadab Anjum, Absar Anjum,Abuzar, Atif Habib.Md Ehtasham arfee(Jec jaipur),Mohtashim arfee(amu aligarh) Er.Zaki Anwar Shakoor from BARA IDGAH, PURNEA of this community, currently working as an Engineer (E) in NATIONAL HYDRO POWER CORPORATION (NHPC LIMITED) who has successfully completed his M.Tech (Power Systems) from NIT PATNA in 2013. Mr. Muntashir Alam appointed as PGT Teacher in Navodaya Vidyalaya since last one decade.
Most of the youngsters are migrating to other cities for their higher education. Bangalore, Delhi and Hyderabad are their favourite places for pursuing higher education. Rizwan Ahmed from Bishanpur, Purnea has been studying in Bangalore since last one decade. But a large portion of the population are labours and they are currently working in different parts of the country.
Education in girls has started gaining prominence in the Kulhaiya community. The Kulhaiya generally speak Urdu, and also speak in their colloquial dialect i.e., Methili. The Kulhaiya are confined to the Purina 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 chose 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. Areas like Bishanpur, Bada Eidgaah, Muhammadiya, etc are mainly concentrated with them.
- 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