Chura or Bhanghi is a caste in India and a tribe in Pakistan. Populated regions include the Punjab region. Their traditional occupation is sweeping, a "polluting" occupation that caused them to be considered untouchables in the Hindu caste system.
Churas in Indian Punjab are largely followers of Sikhism. A small minority practice Valmikism, an offshoot or cult[full citation needed][need quotation to verify] form of mainstream Hinduism which still incorporates elements of Sikhism in its practices.[page needed]
Despite placing great emphasis on social equality and brotherhood among all Muslims, Islam did not address the problem of untouchability for the Churas or Bhangis. As a result, only a very few members from this community ever embraced Islam, most converting to Christianity. Churas adopted the externals of Islam by keeping Muslim names, observing Ramadan and burial of the dead. However they never underwent circumcision. Only a few cases of circumcision have ever been recorded for Churas or Bhangis and these were Churas who lived very near Jama Masjid. The Churas did not accept Mohammed as their prophet and also continued observing traditional Hindu festivals, such as Diwali, Raki and Holi. Just like their Hindu brethren they continued with their traditional caste work. In India the caste system was fully observed by Muslims. Untouchability was fully accepted and justified by the Muslim Orthodoxy in India and the caste system was fully observed by Muslim society. In the same way that Hindu Churas who were barred from entrance to temples in historical times, Muslim Churas are still today barred from entrance to mosques and never allowed to go past the outside steps to Muslim religious places. Untouchability in Islam even extended after death; Churas were to bury their dead in separate graveyards away from other Muslims.
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