|Regions with significant populations|
History and origin
The community claims to have originally been tribal Kshatriyas. Other members of the tribe claim to be Nagvanshi. The Chero are essentially one of many tribal communities, such as the Bhar and Kol, that inhabit the southeastern corner of Uttar Pradesh. They were the traditional rulers of north Bihar, until they were deposed by the Rajputs and Bhumihars. They are now found in a territory extending from Allahabad in the west, and Muzaffarpur in the east. The Chero have two sub-divisions, the Mahto and Chaudhary.
In Bihar, the Chero are known as Charwa or Cheru, and in Palamau they are known as the Barahazari. The community are found mainly in Jharkhand, especially in Ranchi and Monghyr. Those of Palamau were substantial landowners, and were effective rulers of this region. These Cheros claim descent from the sage Chyavana, and speak the Sadri dialect.
The Chero are classified as a Scheduled Caste in most parts of Uttar Pradesh but are a Scheduled Tribe in Sonbhadra and Varanasi districts. They are also classified as a Scheduled Caste in Bihar.
The Chero are an agricultural community, with animal husbandry also being an important component. They are also involved in the collection of the local mahua flower, which is sold in the local markets. The Chero are also involved in wage labour, and like other scheduled castes, are economically marginal.
The community has a traditional caste council that maintains a strong social control on the community. They are Hindu, but also worship several tribal deities, such as Sairi-ma, Ganwar Bhabhani and Dulha Deo. The community are not endogamous, and marry neighbouring communities such as the Kol and Baiga.
The Chero of Jharkhand have two sub-divisions, the Barahazari and the Terahazari. These two groups are endogamous, and do not intermarry. They practice clan exogamy, and their main clans are the Mawar, Kuanr, Mahato, Rajkumar, Manjhia, Wamwat, and Hantiyas. These clans are of unequal status, and the Chero practice clan hypergamy. The Chero of Jharkhand are mainly farmers, with many were substantial landowners.
- People of India Uttar Pradesh Volume XLII Part One edited by A Hasan & J C Das page 374
- People of India Bihar Volume XVI Part One edited by S Gopal & Hetukar Jha pages 229 to 231 Seagull Books
- "State wise Scheduled Tribes — Uttar Pradesh" (PDF). Ministry of Tribal Affairs, Government of India. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2016-11-23. Retrieved 2017-02-04.
- People of India Uttar Pradesh Volume XLII Part One edited by A Hasan & J C Das page 375
- "A-10 Individual Scheduled Caste Primary Census Abstract Data and its Appendix - Uttar Pradesh". Registrar General & Census Commissioner, India. Retrieved 2017-02-04.