Muslim Bhumihar

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The Muslim Bhumihar, or sometimes spelled Bhuinhar, are a Muslim community found in the state of Uttar Pradesh in India. The Hindi word Bhumihar means Landlord in English.The families who became Landlord they started calling themselves Bhumihar. They are also known as Bhumihar Pathan, and are found mainly in the district of Ghazipur. The community is one of three Muslim groups in Uttar Pradesh, the other two being the Muslim Tyagi and the Nagar Muslims, who claim to be Brahmin converts to Islam.

Origin[edit]

The Bhumihar Muslims claim to be converts from the Hindu Bhumihar caste. They are said to have been converted to Islam during the period of Lodhi rule over Ghazipur district. Other traditions refer to the conversion having taken place during the rule of Sher Shah Suri. The Muslim Bhumihar belong entirely to a single clan, the Kinwar clan of Bhumihar, who claim to have come from Padampur in the distant past. Subsequent to their arrival, they entered into the service of Tikam Deo, the Cheru tribal chieftain of Birpur and eventually overthrew him, seizing his capital and occupying his estate. They later split into three main branches; after the founders Rajdhar Rai, Mukund Rai, and Pithaur Rai. Rajdhar Rai captured Birpur and one of his subdivisions settled in the Bara taluka of Zamania, and converted to Islam. Kinwar Bhumihars claim to be the descendants of Amog Dixit of Padampur who first settled in Ballia in 1122.[1]

Present circumstances[edit]

The community has much in common with the neighbouring Sikarwar Khanzadas, with whom they intermarry. Unlike Hindu Bhumihars, the Muslim Bhumihar do not practice clan exogamy, and marry close kin. There are, however, still cases of village exogamy. They are now mainly a community of peasant cultivators, but historically were in possession of most of the Bara of Ghazipur District. The Muslim Bhumihar speak Bhojpuri, although most also understand Urdu. Each of their settlement contains an informal caste council known as a panchayat, which enforces communal norms as well as resolving intra-community disputes. The Bhumihar are Sunni Muslims, although they practice many folk beliefs.[2]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Evolution and Saptial Organization of Clan Settlements (1986), S. H. Ansari, Concept Publishing Company, p. 61
  2. ^ Kin, clan, raja, and rule : state-hinterland relations in preindustrial India / Richard G. Fox