Holeya (caste)

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Holeya are a scheduled caste of India, mainly belonging to present day Karnataka State,[1][2] Kerala, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and also Madhya Pradesh[3][4]

Originally, they were one of the out-caste, commonly an agricultural labor. The term Hola means an agricultural field and term Holeya is derived from Hola.[1][5]

In British India, Holeyas lived in Canara, Coorg Province and Mysore. They were one of the lowest class, a perdial slave, who can be sold by the owner of the estate in which they were located.[1][2][6]

Holeyas are considered to be a sub division of Dher.[6] Among Dhers there were three principal class of slaves[verification needed] called Holiyas, Yemaru and Paleru.[1][6]

Holeya are also known by name of Pariah in some areas.[1][7] The old Tamil poems and early Christian writing do not mention the word Pariah or Paraiyan but mention the name of a tribe called Eyninas, who were quite distinct from the rest of people and did not live in villages, but in forts of their own. Mr Francis, a historian, regards them as ancestors of present day Pariahas or Holeyas.[1]