The Bedia a community of Bihar and jharkhand, Bedia, they believe that they originally lived on Mohdipahar and have descended from the union of Vedbansi prince with a Munda girl. The other view is that a section of the Kurmis were outcasts and to be known as the Bedia or Wandering Kurmis.
The community has several names, like Bedia Kudmi,Choto Kudmi, Shershahbadia, Bhathia,Wandering Kurmis, Maldahiya and Badia and Bedia too, however its official name is Sharshahbadia. The word bedia is a corrupt form of the Hindi word behara, which means a forest dweller. They are a nomadic tribe, that had been notified under the Criminal Tribes Act. According to early British scholars, they were one of the many nomadic tribes found in North India, and were of the same stock as the rajputs. According to their own traditions, they were originally Rajputs, who lost status, after their defeat at the hands of the Mughals. The community was connected with some bad works, as well as petty theft. They speak Awadhi and are found mainly in the districts of Bahraich, Barabanki, Basti, Agra, Faizabad, Gonda and Kanpur. After independence, they were denotified in 1952, when the Criminal Tribes Act was repealed.
According to Risley, the Bedia are divided into septs. The marriage age for boys and girls is twenty to twenty five years and respectively A marriage is arranged thorough monogamy is prevalent. Married women lives like a normal Hindu lady put all the shrangar and all those traditional clothes.They follow the rule of patrilocal residence. Either spouse can seek divorce with social approval on grounds of adultery, barrenness, maladjustment, cruelty and laziness. Remarriage of widows and divorcces is permitted and a widow can marry her late husband’s brother.The Bedia live both in nuclear and extended families.Sons inherit parental property in equal measure while the eldest son succeeds to his father’s authority. The first cereal feeding ceremony is optional. The marriage rites are performed at the bridegroom’s house. The dead are buried. The death rites observed are telnahan and daskarma.
The Bedia are the followers of the traditional tribal religion. Their family and clan deities are Mai, Mudkati Kundri Bansa Darha, etc. The village deities worshipped by them are Jher-buri Gawandeti Mahadania, Durga and the regional deities are Palcharu and Badpahari. They visit the annual fairs at Rajarappa, Hundru and Jonha falls and Jaganathpur.The Bedia celebrate festivals like Phagun,Sarhul, Karma,Jitia and Sohrai.
The Bedia who have settled down in West Bengal, are also known as the Bedia Kudmi,Choto Kudmi or San Kurmi. They speak in Kudmali, an Indo-Ayan language, at home and Bengali for inter-group communication. The Bengali and Devanagari scripts are used. The Bedia are divided into three territorial groupings, the Nathotiya, Jogiara and Gangaparia. Each of these groups is strictly endogamous. There is also a further division between those who still follow their traditional occupation of bad works and those who are now settled agriculturists and also bis businesses.
A number of Bedia have given up their nomadic lifestyle, and are now settled agriculturists. However, the majority are mainly sharecroppers and agricultural labourers. Those Bedia that are still engaged in their activity often employ. They live in multi-caste villages. Each of their settlement contains an formal caste council known as biradari panchayat. The panchayat resolves most intra community disputes. Thesa biradari panchayats ate headed by headmen known as a chaudhary. The position of the chaudhary is hereditary, and these families exercise considerable influence over the community.
The Bedia are Sarna,originally formerly known as beriya and famous among the communities about their dedication to work and businesses
- Ethnographic notes on the scheduled tribes of West Bengal by Manas Kamal Chowdhuri; West Bengal (India). Cultural Research Institute
- People of India Uttar Pradesh Volume XLII Part One edited by A Hasan & J C Das pages 235 to 239 Manohar Publications