Nayak (Hindu)

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The Nayak are a Hindu caste found in the states of Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh in India.[1]

The Nayak name comes from the Sanskrit word nayaka meaning Leader. According to the community traditions, when Bharti Chand, the king of Garhwal invaded western Nepal, soldiers from his army formed relations with women of the neighbouring villages. The offsprings from these irregular unions were called khatkwali meaning illegitimate. Over time, their descendents formed into a distinct caste.

The Nayak are found in both Kumaon and Garhwal regions, with a small number found in Bijnor District of Uttar Pradesh. They are concentrated in the Patti Ramgarh area of Nainital District, and the Katarmall area of Almora District. A small number are also found in the villages of Chouphiya, Lelu, Singchour, Nayakana and Naini in Pithoragarh district. Their villages are located in the middle and lower foothills of the Himalayas. The Nayak share these villages with Khas Rajputs, with whom they occasionally intermarry. However, they in common with most castes are endogamous. They speak Garhwali and Kumaoni languages. Although Hindu, the Nayak incorporate elements of animism.[2]

The Nayak are now a community of small and medium sized farmers. Like other Garhwalis, many Nayak are also employed in the Indian Army.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ People of India Uttar Pradesh Volume XLII Part Three edited by A Hasan & J C Das pages 1092 to 1094 Manohar Publications
  2. ^ People of India Uttar Pradesh Volume XLII Part Three edited by A Hasan & J C Das pages 1092 to 1094 Manohar Publications