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Hajjam or Salmani
Regions with significant populations
India and Pakistan
Islam 100%
Related ethnic groups

Hajjam, alternately pronounced and spelled as Hajaam or Hajam, are an ethnic group found in North India and Pakistan. In Pakistan, they are settled in Sindh and Punjab provinces. The word Hajaam is derived from the Urdu word Hajaamat which in Urdu means barber and hairdresser. They are also known as the Khalifa and in Uttar Pradesh as the Salamani.

History and origins[edit]

Most Hajjams are Muslims. They are considered an economically backward community in India, concentrated in North India.[1] They are also found in the provinces of Sindh and Punjab in Pakistan.In addition they are also found in Gujrat (Imran Jamal)[citation needed]

Their traditional occupation has been that of a barber and hairdresser. The word "Hajaam" is derived from the Urdu word "Hajaam" (barber), itself coming from the Arabic word hijama. Most Hajjams are Sunni Muslims, although there is a small minority, particularly in the Awadh region who are Shia.[1] They claim descent from the Prophet Soloman or Sulaiman, and often call themselves Salmani.[citation needed]

Present circumstances[edit]

Barber in India[edit]

The Hajjam have largely been dependent in their labour and services, although some have now acquired agricultural land and engage in settled agriculture, besides being barbers occupationally. Many have also taken to education or are petty businessmen. The community now considers itself of Shaikh status. This transformation in their social status has also seen in the dropping of the word Hajam, and they now self-identify as Salmani. They are found mainly in the states of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. The Hajjam community consists of a number of clans, known as biradaris. Traditionally, marriages occur within the biradri. Their main biradaris are Behlim and Deswal Khalifa of Muzaffarnagar District, Turkiya of Rohilkhand, the Shaikh Salmani, Turkiya and Pirzada in Awadh.[2]

Each of their settlement contains a community has a community council, which acts as an instrument of social control. This community council usually impose fines for the offence of disrespecting traditional norms, and also resolves any petty disputes within the community. The community are Sunni Hanafi Muslims, and are considered fairly orthodox. They are also an endogomous community, preferring to marry among themselves. Cross - cousin marriages are preferred.[3]

In Bihar, the Hajjam are generally known as Khalifas, and they speak the Maithili dialect of Hindi. Most educated Hajjam also speak Urdu. They are found throughout Bihar, and are still engaged in their occupation. However, many Khalifa in Jharkhand are now farmers. The community has a biradari panchayat, which deals with intra community disputes as well as a representative to the state. Many have also emigrated to Mumbai and Kolkata, where they are employed as day labourers.[4]

In Pakistan[edit]

In Pakistan, the Hajjam are found mainly in the Punjab province. The Muslim Hajjam have three sub-divisions, the Bahalim, Chauhan and Kharal. The first claims descent from Yemeni Arabs, the other two were originally Muslim Rajputs. They are also other sub-groups, such as the Banbheru, Ghaghrel and Turkman. In addition, many Hajjam claim to have been of Bhatti, Khokhar, Awan and origin, who due to circumstances, have taken up the occupation of being barbers. Many Hajjam from Uttar Pradesh in India migrated to Pakistan after independence in 1947 and mainly settled in Karachi.


They maintain a manual of their art, known as the Kisbatnama. In this it is related that God first ordered Archangel Gabriel to shave Adam. Thus Adam learnt the art of shaving, and handed down the art to Sulemain Paras, or the Prophet Soloman.[citation needed]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b People of India Uttar Pradesh Volume XLII Part Two by K S Singh page 1050
  2. ^ People of India Uttar Pradesh Volume XLII Part Two by K S Singh page 1052
  3. ^ People of India Uttar Pradesh Volume XLII Part Two by K S Singh page 1051
  4. ^ People of India Bihar Volume XVI Part One edited by S Gopal & Hetukar Jha pages 381 to 382 Seagull Books