|This article relies largely or entirely upon a single source. (July 2012)|
|Regions with significant populations|
|• Urdu • Awadhi • Bhojpuri|
|• Islam 100% •|
|Related ethnic groups|
|• Kunjra • Arain of Delhi • Baghban •|
The Rayee are a Muslim community found in the state of Bihar in India. They are sub-group of the larger Kunjra community of South Asia. They are also known as Sabzifarosh (from Persian سبزیفروش meaning vegetable-seller), Mewafarosh (from Persian میوهفروش meaning fruit-seller) and Al-Raiee.
History and origin
The community are a branch of the wider Kunjra community, and claim to have originally from Arabia. They are said to get their name from Rayee mountains, which are said to exist somewhere in Arabia. The Rayee are the traditional green grocers of Bihar, and North India, and widely distributed throughout Bihar. They speak Urdu, Hindi, and in the west of Bihar, Bhojpuri.
The Rayee are strictly endogamous, but have no sub-divisions or gotras. They prefer marriage among a close kinship circle, and both cross cousin and parallel cousin marriages are practiced. The community are still essentially vegetable and fruit sellers, with a good number engaged in agriculture. They are small to medium sized farmers. With rapid urbanization, many Rayee have also taken unskilled jobs as rickshaw pulling, and form an important part of the Bihari Muslim population in Calcuta. But like other communities of a similar status, there has been a marked tendency to take up education, and they now produced a number of businessmen, administrators, teachers and political leaders.
The Bihar Al-Rayee Anjuman is one of the oldest caste association in Bihar, and plays an active role in the welfare of the community, as well as playing an important role in the politics of Bihar. At village level, the community also possesses informal village panchayats which act as instruments of social control. They are Sunni Muslims and are equal split between the Deobandi and Barelvi sects.
- People of India Bihar Volume XVI Part One edited by S Gopal & Hetukar Jha pages 823 to 826 Seagull Books