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The Bhar are a caste in India, sometimes referred to as a subcaste of boatmen.[1] They are also known as Rajbhar.[2]

History and origin[edit]

Bhar is a word derived from tribal languages such as Gondi and Munda, which means warrior. The tribal society of central India used to have its own hierarchy, with clans ranging from Brahmins (priestly class), warriors to service or menial class. The tribal society had special respect for its warriors and martial clans. Bhar is one such clan, which in the Medieval period had its own small principalities in various parts of North India. The Bhar formed small kingdoms in the Eastern Uttar Pradesh region, until they were disposed by invading Rajput and Muslim groups in the later Middle Ages. The last Bhar raja was killed by Ibrahim Shah Sharqi, the Sultan of Jaunpur.[3]


The Bhar are primarily a community of small cultivators who supplement their income by wage labour. Landholdings are small, and many Bhar work on fields owned land.[clarification needed] The Bhar are a Hindu community, and have customs similar to other Hindu communities of the Awadh region. They speak Awadhi and Bhojpuri. The community are found in the districts of Azamgarh, Jaunpur, Ghazipur, Gonda, Gorakhpur, Varanasi, Ambedkar Nagar and Faizabad.[4]

Communities that are related to the Bhar by occupation in Uttar Pradesh include the Batham, Bind, Dhimar, Dhinwar, Dhewar, Gariya, Gaur, Godia, Gond, Guria, Jhimar, Jhir, Jhinwar, Jhiwar, Kahar, Kashyap, Keot, Kewat, Kharwar, Khairwar, Kumhar, Machua, Majhi, Majhwar, Mallah, Nishad, Prajapati, Rajbhar, Riakwar, Tura, Turah, Turaha, Tureha and Turaiha. There were proposals in 2013 that some or all of these communities in the state should be reclassified as Scheduled Castes under India's system of positive discrimination; this would have involved declassifying them from the Other Backwards Class (OBC) category.[1] Whether or not this would happen was a significant issue in the campaign for the 2014 Indian general election.[5]

They are among 17 OBC communities that were again proposed for Scheduled Caste status by the Samajwadi Party-controlled Government of Uttar Pradesh. However, this proposal, which relates to votebank politics, has been stayed by the courts; the prior attempt had been rejected by the Government of India.[6][7]



  1. ^ a b Shah (2013)
  2. ^ People of India Uttar Pradesh Volume XLII Part One edited by A Hasan & J C Das pages 268 to 271
  3. ^ People of India Uttar Pradesh Volume XLII Part One edited by A Hasan & J C Das page 268
  4. ^ People of India Uttar Pradesh Volume XLII Part One edited by A Hasan & J C Das page 270
  5. ^ Srivastava (2014)
  6. ^ "Setback for Akhilesh government as High Court stays their order to include 17 sub-castes in the SC category". Financial Express. 24 January 2017. Retrieved 2017-02-04. 
  7. ^ "UP govt to include 17 other backward castes in SC list". Hindustan Times. PTI. 22 December 2016. Retrieved 2017-02-04.