Patharkat

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The Patharkat are a Hindu caste found in North India. They are also known as Sangtarash.[1]

Origin[edit]

The Patharkat are a sub-group of the larger Kanjar caste. Their name Patharkat in Hindi literally means stone cutters. Having taken up the profession of stone cutting, this particular group of Kanjars broke all links with the parent community, and the two communities do not now intermarry. They are found mainly in Awadh, and their concentrations are in the districts of Sitapur, Unnao, Raebareli, Hardoi and Lucknow. In Lucknow, they are found mainly in the localities of Qaisar Bagh, Saafatgang, Daligang, Bangla Bazar, Nishatgang, Lal Kuan and Chinhat. They speak Ghiarai among themselves and Hindi with outsiders.[2]

In Bihar, the Patharkat are found in the districts of Champaran, Arrah and Gaya. They are divided into seven exogamous clans, the Sankat, Sanda, Bhains, Marriya, Uthwar, Lahia and Baid. The Patharkat claim to have comme from Rajasthan some three hundred years ago. [3]

Present circumstances[edit]

The Patharkat are endogamous, but avoid marrying among close, but they have no system of exogamous clans. They are largely a landless and urban community, and their traditional occupation remains the manufacturing of the Hindu idols. The Patharkat now buys stones from quarries in western Uttar Pradesh, and then engrave and cut the stones. A few Patharkat have abandoned their traditional occupation and taken to wage labour. The Indian government has given them scheduled caste status, which allowed some to access affirmative action programmes. They are Hindu, and their customs are similar to other Awadh Hindus.[4]

The Bihar Patharkat are a nomadic community, and many are employed in quaries. They move from place to place, and live in ecampments at the edges of towns. The Patharkat are strictly endogamous, and practice clan exogamy. They are almost totally illiterate, and are one of the most deprived community in Bihar.[5]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ People of India Uttar Pradesh Volume XLII Part Three edited by A Hasan & J C Das page 1142 to 1146 Manohar Publications
  2. ^ People of India Uttar Pradesh Volume XLII Part Three edited by A Hasan & J C Das, page 1142–1146 Manohar Publications
  3. ^ People of India Bihar Volume XVI Part Two edited by S Gopal & Hetukar Jha pages 770 to 771 Seagull Books
  4. ^ People of India Uttar Pradesh Volume XLII Part Three edited by A Hasan & J C Das page 1142 to 1146 Manohar Publications
  5. ^ People of India Bihar Volume XVI Part Two edited by S Gopal & Hetukar Jha pages 770 to 771 Seagull Books