The word kalabaz in Hindi means an acrobat, and the Kalabaz are an endogamous sub-group within the larger Nat caste of North India. Like other Nats, they claim to have originally been Rajputs, who lost caste after their defeat at the hands of the Mughal Empire. Those Nats who became acrobats over time evolved into a distinct community. Historically, the Kalabaz were a nomadic community, but have now been settled by the Indian government. They speak Hindi but have their own particular dialect.
The Kalabaz are strictly endogamous and practice clan exogamy. They are further divided into a number of exogamous sub-divisions, known as gotras, namely the Bakiya, Dariyabadi, Dibichia, Ghughasia, Goojre, Gulal, Jharbheria, Kala, Kingiriya, Kulba, Marora, Panchiya, Paharia and Sati. The main function of the gotra is to trace descent and to regulate their marriage alliances.
The Kalabaz are a landless community, and are still involved in their traditional occupation of acrobatic performances. Many have seen a decline in their traditional occupation, and are employed as day labourers. Like other Hindu castes, each Kalabaz settlement contains a biradari panchayat, an informal caste association, which acts as an instrument of social control.
- People of India Uttar Pradesh Volume XLII Part One edited by A Hasan & J C Das pages 673 to 676 Manohar Publications
- "A-10 Individual Scheduled Caste Primary Census Abstract Data and its Appendix - Uttar Pradesh". Registrar General & Census Commissioner, India. Retrieved 2017-02-04.