Nagar Muslims

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The Nagar Muslims are a Muslim community found in the state of Uttar Pradesh in India. They are Muslim converts from the larger Nagar Brahmin community. The Nagar are also known as Nagar Shaikh.[1]

Origin[edit]

The Ahar pargana of Bulandshahr District was held by the Gujarati or Nagar prior to the Muslim conquest of the region in the 11th Century. These Nagar are widespread Brahmin sub-caste, who have always been connected with the Doab, the region in which Bulandshahr District is situated. During the rule of the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb, several families converted to Islam, and were granted estates. As the Nagar played a key role in the 1857 War of Independence, most of their estates were confiscated. They were led by Sohrab Khan, who set himself up as the independent ruler, taking advantage of the collapse of British authority.[2]

The Nagar Muslims reside in the ancient town of Ahar, and four neighbouring villages. Ahar is perhaps the most ancient settlement in Bulandshahr District, and is at the centre of a region where the Nagar Brahmins have been the dominant community for time immemorial. As a landowning community, they suffered from the seizure of their estates in 1857, however many remained small to medium sized landowners. Like other Muslim communities of similar status, they suffered as a result of the land reforms carried out by the Indian government after independence. The Nagar have never been cultivators, and many in the town of Ahar have sunk into poverty.[3]

Present circumstances[edit]

The Nagar are largely endogamous, although there have been a few cases of intermarriage with the Behlim Shaikh of Bulandshahr city, a community of similar status. There remains a marked prefrerence to marry close kin, and they practice both cross cousin and parallel cousin marriages. The Nagar are Sunni Muslims, and largely Barelvi. Their customs are similar to other Shaikh communities in the Doab region. The Nagar generally speak standard Urdu.[4]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Bulandshahr District Gazetteer United Provinces Gazetteers edited by H Neville
  2. ^ The Peasant and the Raj: Studies in agrarian society and peasant rebellion in colonial India by Eric Stokes
  3. ^ Bulandshahr District Gazetteer United Provinces Gazetteers edited by H Neville
  4. ^ Indian Muslims by Mohammad Mujeeb