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The Nawayath (also spelled Navayath and Nawayat) are a Muslim community concentrated mostly in Uttara Kannada, and Udupi in coastal Karnataka, India. They are mostly of Arab descent.

History of origin[edit]

Nawayats are migrants predominantly from Saudi Arabia, Turkey and few are from Persia who married into another trading community of India, the Jains who had been converted to Islam more than 1,000 years ago.[1][2] With this a new caste system emerged.[3]

The Indian historian Omar Khalidi says they are one of three groups of Indian Muslims who have used the Nawayarh name. These groups have common origins in the Arabian Peninsular and Persian Gulf regions, where they were mariners and merchants. and that they have also been called Nait, Naiti, Naita and Naite. groups is based mainly in the Bhatkal, Tonse, Malpe, Kandlur. Karnataka while another is nowadays found in Chennai and Hyderabad.[4]

While some colonial accounts proposed an origin in Iraq or Yemen, these are generally rejected today. D'Souza believes that only a few may have such a background.[5]


See also: Goan Konkani

The community speaks a dialect called ‘Nawayathi’. It is an amalgam of Portuguese, Persian, Arabic, Hebrew, Marathi and Urdu with Konkani as its base. The Nawayath language uses Persian script for writing, it is interesting to note that "Persian script" was being used to write by the Nawayathi's long before the language Urdu came into existence.[citation needed]


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  4. ^ Khalid, Omar (2006). Muslims in the Deccan: A Historical Survey. New Delhi: Global Media Publications. pp. 17–18. 
  5. ^ D'Souza, Victor S. (1955). The Nawayaths of Kanara- study in culture contacts. Dharwar: Kannada Research Institute. pp. 12–20. 

External links[edit]