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The Khandayat (also known as Khandait) is a cultivating caste[1] of Odisha in India.


Khandayat means master of the sword: Khanda is a type of sword and ayata means control.[2][3]


There were demands in 2007 that the community in Odisha be included as an Other Backward Class in India's system of positive discrimination. At that time The Telegraph described them as "martial castes" who are "the local equivalent of the Kshatriyas", mostly comprising Paiks.[4] Academics suggest that the connection with the Kshatriya varna may be a claim originating within the Khandayat community, some of whom used their martial history to promote a tradition similar to the Rajputs of North India. Those whom identified as Khandayat were often comparatively rich cultivator peasants who sought to raise their social status and legitimise the control they exercised over other people, while some were revenue collectors, village headmen and holders of hereditary jagirs that had been granted to their families for past military service.[5][6][7] The political scientist Subrata Mitra believes that the Khandayats' aspirations regarding influence and upward social mobility — to become similar to Odishan Brahmins and Karanas — were still being pursued in the early 2000s through the process of sanskritisation.[8]


  1. ^ Bailey, Frederick George (1970). Politics and Social Change. University of California Press. p. 132. 
  2. ^ Mohapatra, Dr. Hemanta Kumar (December 2014). "Martial Art Tradition of Odisha" (PDF). OdishaReview. Govt. of Odisha. Retrieved 2015-12-16. 
  3. ^ Indian Association of Kickboxing Organisations (9 February 2013). "Paika Akhada". 
  4. ^ "Demand to be on OBC list". The Telegraph. 19 April 2007. Retrieved 2017-04-10. 
  5. ^ Pati, Biswamoy (2001). Situating Social History: Orissa, 1800-1997. Orient Blackswan. p. 35. ISBN 978-8-12502-007-3. 
  6. ^ Pati, Biswamoy (2007). "The Order of Legitimacy: Princely Orissa". In Ernst, Waltraud; Pati, Biswamoy. India's Princely States: People, Princes and Colonialism. Routledge. pp. 87, 89. ISBN 978-1-13411-988-2. 
  7. ^ Mahapatra, L. K. (1978). "Gods, Kings, and the Caste System in India". In Misra, Bhabagrahi; Preston, James. Community, Self and Identity. Walter de Gruyter. p. 22. ISBN 978-3-110802-65-8. 
  8. ^ Mitra, Subrata K. (2002). Power, Protest and Participation: Local Elites and Development in India. Routledge. pp. 66–68. ISBN 978-1-13489-883-1.