|Regions with significant populations|
|• Pakistan • India|
|• Urdu • Hindi • Awadhi|
|• Islam 100% •|
|Related ethnic groups|
|• Halwai • Bhatiara • Nanbai • Shaikh|
The Muslim Halwai (Urdu: حلواى ) are a Muslim community found in Pakistan, and in Uttar Pradesh state, India. They were former members of the Hindu Halwai caste, who have converted to Islam. Halva means sweets in Hindi and Halvai or Halwai are sweet makers. Their preferred self-designation is Shaikh.
History and origin
The Halwai are a community associated with the manufacture of sweeatmeats. Their name comes from the Arabic word Halva, which means a sweatmeat. The Halwai claim descent from Bhalandan, who belonged to the Vaishya caste. Like other Vaish groups that have converted to Islam, they belong to the Shaikh category.
They have the following subdivision, the Purbi or eastern and Pachaon or western group, and speak Urdu, as well as local dialects of Hindi. These sub-divisions are further divided into clans, known as biradaris, which claim descent from a common ancestor. Important biradaris include the Kanaujia, Jaiswar, Allahabadi, Hajipuria and Makhdumpuria. Marriages are preferred within the biradari, and only rarely will take place outside the community.
They are a landless community, involved in the selling of sweetmeats, tobacco, and well as the occupation of dyeing clothes. Members of the community members have taken up jobs in government and private service. They are largely an urban community, living in their residential quarters. Almost all older cities in North India and Pakistan have a Halwai Mohalla
The Halwai have their own council of elders to deal with matters relating to the community. This caste council or panchayat deals with issues such as elopement, fights, thefts and disrespect of community norms. The community head or chaudhary, is also involved in resolving disputes within the community. They are an endogamous community, and cross cousin and parallel cousin marriages are prevalent.
- People of India Uttar Pradesh Volume XLII Part Three by K S Singh page 1042 Manohar Publications
- People of India Uttar Pradesh Volume XLII Part Three by K S Singh page 597 Manohar Publications
- People of India Uttar Pradesh Volume XLII Part Three by K S Singh page 1240 Manohar Publications
- People of India Uttar Pradesh Volume XLII Part Three by K S Singh page 1041 Manohar Publications