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They are traditionally landholding caste,and have been financially and politically influential since many centuries in Goa.They have been the most dominant caste politically in Karwar region owing to their overwhelming majority and political acumen but in recent times have lost that clout as a result of falling numbers due to the compulsion of migrations to bigger cities because of the lack of industrialization in Karwar as well better opportunities outside.
Prior to the Portuguese conquest of Goa in 1510, they were known as Chardo or Chatur-rathi. The caste appellation of Chardo eventually fell into disuse among the Hindu Kshatriyas, who joined the other Kshatriyas of the Deccan and began to be known as Marathas, in order to differentiate themselves from lower caste Christians claiming Kshatriya status. The Portuguese, fearing the relapses of their converts to Hinduism, destroyed all available material reminiscent of the old religion including literary works which are stated by historians to have been in Konkani, mainly religious or socio-religious in nature. Thus leading to significant loss of history before the Portuguese era, which couldn't be preserved due to repressive treatment of the Hindus by the Portuguese regime.
This community got different names over period of times
Chardos from Chavda dynasty of Gujarat ,chaddi from Chedi dynasty, Bharmakshatriyas from Kadambas ,Kshatriyas from Satavahana and Chalukyas , Kokanastha Kshatriyas from Silhara and Shringarpur of Ratnagiri and Marathas Kshatriyas from yadava of Devagiri
Chardos of Goa
Most of the Chardos of Goa have been landholdings farmers or erstwhile gentry.Some of them have descended from the erstwhile ruling and oligarchic families.They are 96 Kuli Kshatriya's belongs to royal families.
Origin of Konkan Marathas of Karwar
Most members of the community trace their origins to the royal family of Shringarpur of Ratnagiri district of Maharashtra (Kankunkars like Khalwadekar, Sail, Ranes, Savants,Thakur, Naiks, Parab, Gaonkar, Dessai/Desai,Bagwe etc.), while Bagwe original kingdom in Madhya Pradesh Dhar, They were Sardar of vijapur (like shahaji maharaj) and they came for a mission of saving the land and after victory they setteled in Konkan. While Kadams,Dessai and Naik originated from Goa and Karwar Kadambas and the Sawants (savant) owe their origins to the ancient Shilahara dynasty of Konkan Maharashtra (Sawantwadi region), while the Salunkhes (Salunke) are the descendants the great Chalukyas. The Konkana community has been in the area for quite some time. Muhammad Gavan’s conquest of the fort of Shringarpur in Ratnagiri district of Maharashtra and around 1471 AD 3. The period of the devastating invasions of Goa by Malik Kafur in 1313 AD and Muhammad-bin-Tughluk in 1327 AD and the upheavals in Goa and around thereafter in the 14th century AD and 4. The date mentioned in the Sadashivgad copper plates available with the Kadamba family of Deva-wada (Sadashivgad) — 14 October 1179 AD. Shivaji’s conquests of Shiveshwar Mahal and around (Karwar area) — 1665 AD to 1675 AD 2. The Dalvi who was in command of about 1000 men stationed at Karwar under the Sultan of Bijapur played an important role in helping Shivaji in this victory.
They called themselves Chardo before the advent of Portuguese.As a part of Goa Inquisition many of them converted to Roman Catholicism.Most of the conversions were brutal and by force,though many have also embraced Christianity because of other political,financial or personal reasons.The converted Chardos were also called Chardos by the Portuguese,so in order to distinguish between the Hindu and the Roman Catholic converts,the Hindu Charods started calling themselves Marathas. The precise etymology of the word Chardo is unknown. The most probable explanation given by historian B.D. Satoskar is that the Konkani word comes from the Sanskrit word Chatur-rathi or the Prakrit Chau-radi, which literally means "the ones who ride a chariot yoked with four horses".
The Konkan Maratha people primarily speak Konkani, and also Marathi for formal communication. They partake non vegetarian diet.Parboiled rice with various kinds of curries made of fish known as kadi and Gaalne is their staple food. Pej with vegetable or fish preparation is preferred traditional breakfast. Their traditional attire is similar to the Marathas of Maharashtra. They strictly follow clan exogamy,and alliances are also arranged with Marathas of Maharashtra and Karnataka mostly from Konkan parts. They also arrange alliances with other higher class Konkanis but avoid with other tribes and lower class. Thread ceremony is not performed by most even though they are Kshatriya status, Due to two reasons
1.As the community believes thread is a commitment of life as per vedic norms.If one is committed to practice the vedic norms at the highest level without any darmic and karmic violations should perform the thread ceremony otherwise it should be avoided.
Their common titles include Khalwadekar, Naik, Ayare, Gaonkar,Dessai/Desai, Phal, Parab, Rane, Dalvi, parab, Bagwe, Pawar, Thakur, Shinde, Kadams, Khanvilkar, Salunke, Sail, Aigal, Rane, Kadam, Shet, Bhagat, Gauns, Prabhu, Rajeshirke in Karwar district. The members of this community with native from Goa prefer to call themselves as Kshatriya Marathas and are commonly known as Dessai/Desais and Ranes in South and North Goa respectively.May use titles like Phal, Shet, Raut, Prabhu, Naik, Gauns and Sar followed by appellation Dessai/Desai.
- Maratha Empire
- List of Maratha dynasties and states
- People of the Konkan Division#Marathas
- Gomes 1987, pp. 77–78
- Gomes, Olivinho (1987). "Village Goa: a study of Goan social structure and change". S. Chand..