The Bhuiya are a Hindu community found in the Indian states of Assam, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal. They are not only geographically disparate but also have many cultural variations and subgroups.
The Bhuiya name comes from the Sanskrit bhumi, meaning land. Most of the Bhuiya are agriculturalists and many believe that they are descended from Bhūmi, the Hindu goddess who represents Mother Earth. They are patrilineal exogamous groups with strong family ties.
There are significant economic variations in the Bhuiya community, with some in areas such as Ghatwar and Tikait being landowners but many others being reliant on working the land either independently or as paid labourers. Basket-making, livestock rearing, fishing, hunting and the sale of forest produce such as firewood, honey and resin also contribute to their livelihood, although the practise of food collection has probably mostly died out.
The Government of Uttar Pradesh had classified the Bhuiya as a Scheduled Caste but by 2007, they were one of several groups that it redesignated as Scheduled Tribes. As of 2017, this tribal designation applies only for Sonbhadra district.
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- "State wise Scheduled Tribes — Uttar Pradesh" (PDF). Ministry of Tribal Affairs, Government of India. Retrieved 2017-02-04.
- "A-10 Individual Scheduled Caste Primary Census Abstract Data and its Appendix - Uttar Pradesh". Registrar General & Census Commissioner, India. Retrieved 2017-02-04.
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