Attar (caste)

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The Attar are a Muslim community and caste found in the state of Maharashtra in India. This community has no connection with the Attarwala of Gujarat, other than both communities at one time having been involved in the manufacture of ittars.[1]


The community's name comes from ittar, the Arabic word for perfume, their historical trade. According to their traditions, they were originally Hindus, and converted to Islam between 1294 and 1674; the exact circumstances are unclear. They are now found mainly in western Maharashtra, particularly in the districts of Nasik, Pune, Ahmadnagar, Sholapur, Kolhapur, Dhulia and the city of Mumbai. Like most Maharashtra Muslims, they are bilingual, speaking both Marathi and the Dakhani dialect of Urdu.[1]

The traces of Attar community also found in modern Pakistan occupied Punjab, Indian Punjab and Haryana. Historically, 'Attar' caste has its roots with «KHING»खिँग community, whose small center can be found in village Bhartan in Gurdaspur, District in Indian Punjab. Maharaj Chanan Shah, a follower of the Sufism was the head founder of the «KHING»खिँग community. Many other last names than "Attar" are associated with this community. Mostly, now followers of Sikhism.

Attars are mainly farmers with small land holdings. They belong to Jatt Clan in North India. Many families now settled in cities and have discarded farming. Some families have moved abroad and settled in USA, Canada and Europe and some in other states of india

Present circumstances[edit]

In other parts of India 'Attar' are a landless community, and their livelihood depends on selling different products needed by Hindus. They have developed a patron-client relationship with neighbouring Hindu communities, to whom they have supplied goods for centuries such as incense sticks, dried coconuts, scents and oils.[1]

The Attar have set up their own caste association, the Attar Council, which acts as a community welfare organization and pressure group. They are Tabliki or sunni Muslims, and now fairly orthodox. The community is endogamous, although there are few cases of intermarriage with the Momin, manyar, Pinjara and Tamboli. There is no concept of clan exogamy, and the community practices both parallel cousin and cross cousin marriages.and now the attar cast becoming the most traditional caste in the local market of villages.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c People of India Maharshtra Volume XXX Part One edited by B.V Bhanu, B.R Bhatnagar, D.K Bose, V.S Kulkarni and J Sreenath pages 88-98 Popular Prakashan