Baheliya

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The Baheliya are a Hindu caste found in the state of Uttar Pradesh, India. They have scheduled caste status. A small number of Baheliya have converted to Islam and now form a distinct community of Muslim Baheliya.[1] In Haryana, the community is known as the Baheliya .[2]

Origin[edit]

The Baheliya are a tribal community of hunters and bird catchers, and the origin of their name is from the Sanskrit vyadka, meaning one who pierces, . They are mainly involved in bird catching, extracting honey from beehives and picking peacock feathers for the manufacture of fans. They are divided into a six groups, the Aheria, Gehlot, Sisodia, Karaul, Pasi and the Muslim Baheliya. Other minor clans include the Chandel and Srivastav. Each of these groups claim a Rajput origin, with the Sisodia claiming to be superior over the other groupings. All these groups intermarry, except the Muslim Baheliya. They are found throughout Uttar Pradesh, and speak the various dialects of Hindi.[1]

Present circumstances[edit]

Traditionally the Baheliya economic activity revolved around bird catching and selling honey. In addition, their main economic activity remains manufacturing fans from peacock feathers. These fans are then sold to Bania middlemen, who sell them on in cities such as Kolkata and Delhi. As a Dalit community, they often suffer from societal discrimination. Each of their settlement contains an informal caste council, known as a biradari panchayat. This consist of five members who are elected by community members. The panchayat acts as instrument of social control, dealing with issues such as divorce and adultery.[1]

The 2011 Census of India for Uttar Pradesh showed the Baheliya population as 143,442.[3]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c People of India Uttar Pradesh Volume XLII Part One edited by A Hasan & J C Das pages 112 to 116 Manohar Publications
  2. ^ People of India Hayana Volume XXIII edited by M.L Sharma and A.K Bhatia pages 122 to 125 Manohar
  3. ^ "A-10 Individual Scheduled Caste Primary Census Abstract Data and its Appendix - Uttar Pradesh". Registrar General & Census Commissioner, India. Retrieved 2017-02-04.