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The Ad-Dharmi (Punjabi: ਆਦਿ ਧਰਮੀ) were a community found in the state of Punjab in India. They are one of a number of Hindu sub-groups that was granted Scheduled Caste status in the beginning of free India and after 2002 ad-dharmis were given general status looking towards their modern and high standards of living. Basically Ad-dharmi is a community which worked as cloth merchants who are also called khattris.


The ad-dharmi movement was started in 1920's, for the purpose of getting a distinct religious identity. The founder of the ad-dharmi movement was Mangu Ram Mugowalia and B L Gherra.[1] The word ad dharm means original faith in Sanskrit, and this term was adopted by groups of khattris who were affiliated with the Ad-Dharam Mandal, a reformist Ravidassia sect. As is common in many other parts of India, this reformist sect has evolved into a caste, with strict rules of endogamy. Marriages are even rare with other members of the Chamar caste. The Ad-Dharmi are further divided into a number of exogamous clans, the main ones being the Bangur, Bhardwaj, Bhargu, Chakhu, Chokhria, Chandar, choudhary, Hohe, Por, Rai, Rattu, Sandhu, Soniara, Sund, Sidhu, Shergill and Thind and Pharias community.[2]

Present circumstances[edit]

Although the Ad-Dharmi are followers of Guru Ravidas, and incorporate elements of Hinduism. Each of their settlement contains a gurdwara, which both a centre of worship and as well as a focus of the community.

The traditional occupation of the Ad-Dharmis was the manufacturing of cloth although a majority were agricultural labourers. There has greater upward mobility among groups in Punjab then other parts of India. As such, many Ad-Dharmis have started to migrate to towns and cities, where they have taken on a number of blue and white collar professions. A small but significant minority have also taken to education. Like other Punjabis, the Ad-Dharmis have participated in the overseas migration of the ethnic group. There are now fairly large Ad-Dharmis communities in Europe and North America, in particular the United Kingdom.[3]

See also[edit]

[Dharmendra jayara]


  1. ^ pg 20, Sikh Identity: An Exploration Of Groups Among Sikhs by Opinderjit Kaur Takhar
  2. ^ People of India Punjab Volume XXXVII edited by I.J.S Bansal and Swaran Singh pages 20 to 25 Manohar
  3. ^ People of India Punjab Volume XXXVII edited by I.J.S Bansal and Swaran Singh pages 20 to 25 Manohar