Mali caste

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Regions with significant populations
India • Nepal
Related ethnic groups
Malis in western India (c. 1855-1862).

The Mali are an occupational caste found among the Hindus who traditionally worked as gardeners. They also call themselves Phul Mali, who derived their names from their occupation of growing flowers. The Mali are found throughout North India, East India as well as the Terai region of Nepal and Maharashtra.[1] Elements of the Mali community identify as Rajput Mali.[citation needed]


There are many endogamous groups within Malis. Not all Mali groups have the same origin, culture, history or social standing and there is at least one group from Rajasthan that overlaps with Rajputs and was included under Rajput sub-category in Marwar State Census Report of 1891 CE.[2]

Adoption of surname Saini[edit]

1937 Jodhpur State Order in respect of renaming of Mali caste to "Saini" or "Sainik Kshatriya". Source: Jodhpur State Archives.[3][4]

The Mali community adopted the surname Saini during the 1930s when India was under British colonial rule.[3][5]


  1. ^ People of India Uttar Pradesh Volume XLII Part Two edited by A Hasan & J C Das pages 929 to 932 Manohar Publications
  2. ^ Action sociology and development, pp 198, Bindeshwar Pathak, Concept Publishing Company, 1992
  3. ^ a b "...the Malis (ie gardners who call themselves Saini now).." A Muslim Sub-Caste of North India: Problems of Cultural Integration Partap C. Aggarwal Economic and Political Weekly, Vol. 1, No. 4 (Sep. 10, 1966), pp. 159-161, Economic and Political Weekly
  4. ^ Singh, Kumar Suresh; Lavania, B. K.; Samanta, Dipak Kumar; Mandal, S. K.; Vyas, N. N., eds. (1998). People of India: Rajasthan. State series. Mumbai: Popular Prakashan, for the Anthropological Survey of India. p. 845. ISBN 9788171547692. 
  5. ^ "At the time of 1941 Census most of them got registered themselves as Saini (Sainik Kshatriya) Malis." pp 7, Census of India, 1961, Volume 14, Issue 5 , Office of the Registrar General, India.

Further reading[edit]

  • People of India: Haryana, Kumar Suresh Singh, Madan Lal Sharma, A. K. Bhatia, Suresh Pushpakar Anthropological Survey of India, Published by Published on behalf of Anthropological Survey of India by Manohar Publishers, 1994