Chandraseniya Kayastha Prabhu

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Chandraseniya Kayastha Prabhu (CKP)
Total population
Regions with significant populations

Chandraseniya Kayastha Prabhu (CKP) is an ethno-religious clan of South Asia. It is part of the broader Kayastha community.[1] Traditionally, the CKPs have been granted the upper caste status, which allowed them to study the Vedas and perform religious rites along with Brahmins.

The CKPs are today concentrated primarily in western Maharashtra, southern Gujarat, and Madhya Pradesh (Indore region).[2] They played an important role in the establishment and administration of the Maratha empire.

Etymology and history[edit]

The name Chandraseniya may be a corruption of the word "Chandrashreniya", meaning from the valley of the Chenab River (also known as "Chandra"). This theory states that the word "Kayastha" originates from the term "Kaya Desha", an ancient name for the region around Ayodhya.[3]

The CKP community became more prominent during the Maratha rule. Several of the Maratha King Shivaji's generals and ministers, such as Murarbaji Deshpande and Baji Prabhu Deshpande, were CKPs.[4]

The CKPs have traditionally placed themselves in the Kshatriya varna, next only to the Brahmins, and also followed the Brahmin rituals, like the sacred thread ceremony.[5] The other communities, at times, have contested their upper-caste status. In 1801-1802 CE (1858 Samvat), a Pune-based council of 626 Brahmins from Maharashtra, Karnataka and other areas made a formal declaration that the CKPs are twice-born (upper caste) people who are expected to follow the Kshatriya duties.[6] When the prominent Marathi historian VK Rajwade contested their claimed Kshatriya status in a 1916 essay, the CKP writer Prabodhankar Thackeray wrote a text outlining the identity of the CKP caste, and its contributions to the Maratha empire. In this text, Gramanyachya Sadhyant Itihas, he wrote that the CKPs "provided the cement" for Shivaji's swaraj (self-rule) "with their blood".[7]


The CKPs share many common rituals with the upper-caste communities and the study of Vedas and Sanskrit. Unlike most upper-caste communities however, the CKPs through their interaction with Muslims, have traditionally adopted a diet which includes meat, fish, poultry and eggs.[8]

The mother tongue of most of the community is now Marathi, though in Gujarat they also communicate with their neighbours in Gujarati, and use the Gujarati script,[8] while those in Maharashtra speak English and Hindi with outsiders, and use the Devanagari script.[9]

Notable people[edit]


  1. ^ D. Shyam Babu; Ravindra S. Khare (2011). Caste in Life: Experiencing Inequalities. Pearson Education India. p. 165. ISBN 978-81-317-5439-9. Retrieved 31 March 2013. 
  2. ^ Susan Bayly (22 February 2001). Caste, Society and Politics in India from the Eighteenth Century to the Modern Age. Cambridge University Press. p. 414. ISBN 978-0-521-79842-6. Retrieved 12 September 2012. 
  3. ^ Pran Nath Chopra (1982). Religions and communities of India. Vision Books. p. 88. Retrieved 31 March 2013. 
  4. ^ Balkrishna Govind Gokhale (1988). Poona in the eighteenth century: an urban history. Oxford University Press. p. 112. Retrieved 17 November 2012. 
  5. ^ Kumar Suresh Singh (2004). People of India: Maharashtra. Popular Prakashan. pp. 399–400. ISBN 978-81-7991-100-6. Retrieved 17 November 2012. 
  6. ^ Kali Prasad, ed. (1877). The Kayastha ethnology, an enquiry into the origin of the Chitraguptavansi and Chandrasenavansi Kayasthas. p. 19. Retrieved 17 November 2012. 
  7. ^ Prachi Deshpande (2007). Creative Pasts: Historical Memory And Identity in Western India, 1700-1960. Columbia University Press. p. 181. ISBN 978-0-231-12486-7. Retrieved 1 September 2012. 
  8. ^ a b Kumar Suresh Singh; Rajendra Behari Lal (2003). People of India: Gujarat. Popular Prakashan. pp. 283–. ISBN 978-81-7991-104-4. Retrieved 12 September 2012. 
  9. ^ Kumar Suresh Singh (2004). People of India: Maharashtra. Popular Prakashan. pp. 398–. ISBN 978-81-7991-100-6. Retrieved 12 September 2012. 
  10. ^ a b Kantak, M. R. (1978). "The Political Role of Different Hindu Castes and Communities in Maharashtra in the Foundation of the Shivaji's Swarajya". Bulletin of the Deccan College Research Institute. 38 (1): 46. Retrieved 2016-04-14. 
  11. ^ "Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East". South Asia Bulletin. University of California, Los Angeles. 16 (2): 116. 1996. Retrieved 15 November 2012. 
  12. ^ Gupte, Pranay (December 30, 2010). "Alone and forgotten". The Hindu. Retrieved 29 April 2016. 
  13. ^ Gupte, Pranay (December 30, 2010). "Alone and forgotten". The Hindu. Retrieved 29 April 2016.