Barot (caste)

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Barots in western India (c. 1855–1862)

Barot is an Indian caste native to Gujarat and Rajasthan. They traditionally worked as genealogists and mythographers.[1]

Origin[edit]

The caste is also known as "Vahivancha Barots". The word Vahivancha (IAST: "Vahīvancā) literally means "one who reads a vahi" (vahi means a book of genealogy, a ledger or a book in general). The Vahivanchas traditionally maintained genealogies, told stories and recited bardic poetry. The term "Barot" was originally used as an honorific title for both Vahivanchas and Bhat, and was gradually adopted as a caste appellation by the Vahivanchas.[1]

According to one theory, the caste of Vahivancha Barots developed from the Bhats. Widespread tradition states that the Vahivanchas came to Gujarat from Rajputana during the Solanki period (942-1245 CE). The oldest extant Vahivancha book dates back to 1740 CE, written in Old Gujarati language.[1] They are said to be of Brahmin origin.[2]

Present circumstances[edit]

At present, the traditional occupation of Barots or Bhatts is on the verge of extinction as the new generation of the casts/communities for whom they worked as Barots, no longer patronize them. Further, the young generation of Barots, also have got involved in other occupation and businesses and higher studies.[2]

Barot is a commonly found surname in Gujarat. Barot, Inamdar, Bhat, Brahmbhatt, are some of the surnames belonging to this caste or community.[citation needed]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Shah, A. M.; Shroff, R. G. (1958), "The Vahīvancā Bāroṭs of Gujarat: A Caste of Genealogists and Mythographers", The Journal of American Folklore, American Folklore Society, 71 (Traditional India): 246–276, doi:10.2307/538561, JSTOR 538561
  2. ^ a b People of India Gujarat Volume XXII Part One edited by R.B Lal, S.V Padmanabham & A Mohideen page 137 to 140 Popular Prakashan