The Kharwar have various putative origins. Some may be traced to Palamu district, now in the state of Jharkhand, while others may have lived in the Sone Valley. Those of Uttar Pradesh claim to have come from Rohtas[disambiguation needed] and to be descended from the mythological Suryavansha dynasty, calling themselves "Kharagvanshi". Some members of the community claim that their ancestors were zamindars (landlords), and that the Rajas of Ramgarh belonged to the community.
The primary traditional economic activity of the Kharwar has been agriculture but their reliance on a single annual crop and on suitable weather means that it is barely enough to sustain themselves for a part of the year. Thus, they also engage in work based on forest activities, livestock, fishing, hunting and trapping.
The Government of Uttar Pradesh had classified the Kharwar as a Scheduled Caste but the community members disliked this. preferring to think of themselves as a tribe. By 2007, they were one of several groups that the Uttar Pradesh government had redesignated as Scheduled Tribes. As of 2017, this designation applied only in certain districts of the state. The Kharwar Scheduled Caste population in Uttar Pradesh at the 2011 Census of India was 14,796.
- Mishra, R. C. (2011). "Villages and Villagers of the Naughar Region in Chanduali". In Narayana, Badri. Rethinking Villages. Concept Publishing Company. pp. 87–. ISBN 978-81-8069-764-7.
- "State At A Glance - Uttar Pradesh". Pratiyogita Darpan. 2 (13): 81. July 2007.
- "State wise Scheduled Tribes — Uttar Pradesh" (PDF). Ministry of Tribal Affairs, Government of India. Retrieved 2017-02-04.
- "A-10 Individual Scheduled Caste Primary Census Abstract Data and its Appendix - Uttar Pradesh". Registrar General & Census Commissioner, India. Retrieved 2017-02-06.