Pathare Prabhu

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Pathare Prabhu is one of the Hindu communities in the city of Mumbai (formerly known as Bombay). These people are among earliest settlers in the city.[citation needed] They are known[by whom?] to have one of the oldest academic traditions amongst Hindus on par with Brahmins.[citation needed][1] They were amongst the first of the Hindus to adopt to British educational practice and be well educated in it.[citation needed] They never treated women badly but offered complete freedom, occasionally even sending them to study in foreign universities.[citation needed] They advocated widow re-marriage, an act considered a taboo in the orthodox Hindu society of those times and they were amongst the first in abolishing hunda (dowry) custom.[citation needed]

History[edit]

According to their own detailed chronicled lineage, they trace their descent much further back in Indian history from King Ashwapati (circa 700 BC) who was a monarch of Nepal and from the solar lineage of Lord Ram. Amongst Pathare Prabhu families, 12 families belong to solar line and 17 to lunar line. Solar from Lord Ashwapati and lunar from Lord Kamapati probably the king of Kamarup or present-day Assam,[citation needed] Pururavas being one of the prominent ancestors from the lunar side. And so this community has both solar and lunar lineages unlike other Kshatriya clan.[2] As we[who?] see that both the kingships were close to each other, geographically intermarriages were possible amongst them and so eventually that became one community of royal lineage. The name of the community, 'Pathare Prabhu', probably derived from plateau of Nepal since plateau is called pathar in local terms. Lords of the plateau was the original name which changed to other ellipsis such as Pattan Prabhu, Patara Prabhu,[3] and Patharia Prabhu.[4] However, they are not now in vogue any more.

A legend goes that Risi Bhrugu cursed lord Ashwapati[5][6][7] because he did not take cognizance of the Risi during one religious ceremony and according to that the descendants of Ashwapati were to lose their kingship and shall be reduced to petty clerks in the Kaliyug. According to the legend, Risi Bhrugu condemned his progeny to be called as Pattan Prabhu in place of Pathare Prabhu; Pattan[8][9] means defeated. According to the records,[10] Pathare Prabhu rulers were at Ayodhya and from there they went to Paithan and from there to Konkan. These records show that the people of this community eventually spread across the country and settled in many kingdoms as nobles. It appears from the later history of this community that the curse came to be true. They began to lose their power as monarchs and gradually were reduced to petty lords of small regions; many were accepting courtier-ship of other rulers. Having natural talent as administrators,[citation needed] they were welcome as nobles in many dynasties to manage those kingdoms. At that, eventually they became nobles in the court of many rulers from other parts of India such as Pratihara of Rajasthan and Yadavas of Deccan.

They inherited Rajput/Kshatriya aristocracy from the Pratihara dynasty where they worked as honorable nobles. From the regions of North India and Rajasthan, after the Turkic invasion and subduction of the Pratihara rulers around the 12th and 13th centuries AD, some families migrated to Mumbai and other regions in Maharashtra via Prabhas Pattan in Gujarat. Gentlmen from this community of Pathare Prabhu also held important position in the court of Yadava kings of Deogiri. After the fall of Yadava dynasty at the hands of Alauddin Khilji, members of Pathare Prabhu community decided to return under the stewardship of King Bimba to Mumbai region along with their Yajurvedi Brahmins where other families had already settled. During Pesewa rule of Maratha dynasty, some difference appeared within the Pathare Prabhu landlords and the Pesewa. That made people of this community to go under the protection of Portuguese and later on under East India Company. Finally most of the families of this noble community settled in the islands of Mumbai for safekeeping under East India Company. They were no more lords but still held large lands as landlords. There again they held important positions such as judges and translators for the erstwhile British Raj.

They were associated with Raja Bhimdev who ruled over the islands of Mumbai and during British times, many members of this community were absorbed in the administrative and official departments of the British government because of their excellent knowledge of the English language.[citation needed]

Members of this community built many landmarks of Mumbai, such as Mahalaxmi Temple in central Mumbai, Bhau-cha-dhakka (Ferry Wharf), Gora Ram Mandir and Kala Ram Mandir at Thakurdwar, Prabhadevi Mandir at Dadar, Shri Ram Mandir at Kalbadevi, Kirtikar Market at Dadar.

Culture[edit]

Pathare Prabhu middleclass gentleman of nineteenth century.
Pathare Prabhu middleclass housewife of nineteenth century.

Pathare Prabhu are known for their love for cuisine,[11] arts, religion, education and philosophy. The population of this community is today dwindling in Mumbai due to strict adherence to family planning, however a non-conservative estimate of their numbers is around 7000.[12]

The Pathare Prabhus are a few of the oldest residents of Mumbai.

Members of Pathare Prabhus community owned places in Mumbai-India, like Fort, Palav Road (present Girgaum Road), Laini (present Princess Street), Girgaon Back Road (present V. P. Road) & Navi Wadi. Likewise places in Malad, Goregaon, Bhayendar, Kashi-Meera, Uttan, Uran, Kelve Mahim (now Mahim), Chene were also owned by them. A major part of present day Khar is still owned by the Pathare Prabhus.

When the social reforms movement started in Bombay, in the mid-nineteenth century, young literate Pathare Prabhus were part of the Paramhansa Sabha (present Prarthana Samaj). In fact, for many years its officiating person was Shri Ramchandra Balkrishna Jaykar. Some other distinguished personalities are; the founder and president of the Townhall Asiatic library (first native general library of Bombay) was Shri Raobahadur, Narayan Dinanath Velkar, Magistrate Raobahadur Nana Moroji Trilokekar (first native Magistrate), Bhujangrao Mankar (father of Marathi & Gujarati shorthand) & Gajanan Bhaskar Vaidya (first Hindu Missionary), the list continues.

The typical Pathare Prabhus nickname is 'Sokaji', meaning, one who wants to enjoy life. The true nature of their richness comes from the way they preserve and carry out their traditions. Clannish, traditional and religious, yet at the same time, preserving modern outlook.

Temples Built by Pathare Prabhus[edit]

Prabha Devi (Shakhambari Devi) Temple[edit]

Prabha Devi Road
Down the road form Siddhivinayak is the 285-year- old Prabhadevi temple that lends its name to the locality. Built in 1715, this 18th-century temple has a very interesting history behind it.

Maheshwaridevi Temple (Family Goddess of the Mankars)[edit]

Navi-Wadi
Approximately since 1848 the place where the temple stands today and the area behind it belonged to Shri Ramchandra Raghunathji Trilokekar. The northern corner of the temple contains a phallus shaped mound which is supposed to be the self-raised idol of the Maheshwaridevi.

Maheshwaridevi Temple[edit]

Rajasthan
The genesis of worship of mother-goddess can be traced to the remote past. The earliest extinct depiction of a group of Matrikas (Divine mothers) in Indian sculpture may be pushed back safely to the Kushana period. This cult, however, became popular during the Gupta and subsequent periods.

Notable people[edit]

Mukundrao Ramrao Jayakar, a noted jurist, scholar and statesman played a crucial role in the freedom fight of India[13] and is honoured by epithet, builder of Modern India. He was instrumental for the formation of the University of Pune and was founder vice-chancellor of that University.
Raobahadur Narayan Dinanath Velkar, was instrumental in the Central Library at Town Hall Bombay, The Bombay Association which finally culminated in The National Congress in 1885. He was one of the native commissioners along with three English gentlemen to look after welfare of the town of Bombay, which became the present day Municipal Corporation of Mumbai.

Some of the prominent Pathare-Prabhus of recent time are:

List of Pathare Prabhu Last Names[edit]

Ajinkya Agaskar Brahmandkar Dalvi Desai
Dhurandhar Gorakshakar Jayakar Kirtikar Kothare Kotkar
Navalkar Nayak Prabhakar Pradhan Rane Ranjit
Rao Senjit Talpade Trilokekar Vazkar Dharadhar Vaidya Wassoodew
Velkar Vijayakar Vyavaharkar Zaoba Mankar Dhairyawan Dharadhar Wazkar Zaoba
Charts
This chart 1 shows details of ancient academic tradition of families of lunar lineage. Over the time some Kirtikar families took last name, Agaskar and some Anandkar took last name, Vaidya.
This chart 2 shows details of ancient academic tradition of families of solar lineage. Over the time some Nayak families took last name, Dalvi and some Desai took last name, Zaoba.
English translation of Chart 2 above for non Indian readers
Meanings of various terms used in the charts given here for the benefit of English readers.
English translation of Chart 1 above for the non Indian readers.

Notes[edit]

  1. Dr.Motiram Balaram Velkar
  2. Dr.Krishnarao Ganpatrao Dhairyawan

External links[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Charts included in article
  2. ^ Pattanprabhu Lekhamani by Shamrao Moroji Nayak (1862)
  3. ^ A description of pathare prabhu culture as experienced by Helena Blavatsky in the 18th century.
  4. ^ Pattanprabhu Lekhamani page 6, 7, 8
  5. ^ Pattan Prabhu Lekhamani, page 8-13
  6. ^ Sahyadrikhand Chapter 26-27
  7. ^ Ganesh puran
  8. ^ Pattan Prabhu Lekhamani page 14-16
  9. ^ Ganesh puran
  10. ^ Sahyadrikhand chapter 35
  11. ^ The Pathare Prabhu Community Website
  12. ^ The Pathare Prabhu Directory 1997, published by The Pathare Prabhu Charities
  13. ^ [1] M. R. Jayakar
  • Pattanprabhu Lekhamani by Shamrao Moroji Nayak (1862)
  • Scundhapuraana
  • Sahyadrikhanda
  • Shree Bhrugu sumhita
  • Ganesh Puran
  • The Pathare Prabhu Directory 1997, published by The Pathare Prabhu Charities