Jump to content

Nagar Brahmin

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Nagar Brahmins
Nagar Brahmins in Western India (c. 1855-1862)
Populated statesGujarat
RegionWestern India

Nagar Brahmin is a Brahmin subcaste from the Indian state of Gujarat.[1]

Author T. Sasaki writes, amongst Brahmins of Gujarat, Nagar Brahmins were the most prominent subdivision in the political, economic and social activities of this region both before and during the British Raj. They have occupied important administrative posts in the courts during the time of the Gujarat Sultanate and the Mughal Empire.[2]


The Nagar Brahmins originate in Vadnagar,[3] in northern Gujarat, but are now mostly concentrated in Kathiawar.[3] The name 'Nagar' is also believed to have come from their geographic origin, Vadnagar.[3]

The Brahmins mentioned in the Nidhanpur and Dubi inscriptions of king Bhaskaravarman bore surnames "which are at present used by Kayasthas of Bengal and Nagara Brahmins of Gujarat", and historians suggest the Bengali Kaysathas may have originated from the same group as Nāgar Brahmins.[4][5]

During the rule of the Caulukya and Vāghela dynasties, the Nāgars held prestigious positions in royal courts along with Jains and other Brahmins. Their occupations included writing Sanskrit literature, performing Vedic rituals, and conducting royal funerals; they were also famed throughout India as pilgrimage officiants at tīrtha (holy water) sites.[6]

The Nāgara Khaṇḍa is a quasi-caste purana for the Vadnagar Nāgars. It was partly composed before the late 13th century up to circa 17th century and was added to the existing Skanda Purāṇa, as part of a wider trend of adding mainly unrelated khaṇḍas to the text. The text extols the holy sites around Vaḍanagara (historically known as Ānarta, Ānandapura, and Camatkārapura).[7][8]

The Nāgars are divided into two sections: Gr̥hasthas who had received land grants from kings and did not have to work as priests, and Bhikṣus who earn money through alms from priesthood. In the Nāgarakhaṇḍa the Nāgars are divided into Nāgars who live in the city, and Bāhyas who had to live outside (often due to excommunication).[9]

The Vaḍanagara Praśasti states that in the time of King Kumārapāla, a wall was built around the town for the protection of the "viprapura" ("Brāḥmaṇa town").[10][11]

According to the Vastupāla Carita of Jinaharṣa Gaṇi, the Vāghela king Vīsaladeva formed the branches of the Nāgars at a yajña (sacrifice) at Darbhavatīpura (modern Dabhoi), the branches being the Vīsalanagara, Ṣaṭpadra, Kr̥ṣṇapura, Citrapura, and Praśnika branches. The subcastes of the Nagars are also known as Visnagarā, Sāṭhodarā, Kr̥ṣṇorā or Krasnora, Citroḍā, Praśnora.[12][13][14]

In the later periods many Nāgars also became financiers and moneychangers.[15]

During the rule of the Gujarat Sultanate and Mughal Empire, the Nāgars learned Persian and held important posts in royal courts. Similarly under British rule, the Nāgars learned English and held administrative posts.[16]

In the late 19th century, many leaders of the Gujarat Vernacular Society were Nāgars, along with Vaniyas.[17] By the 19th century, the dialect of Gujarati as spoken by Nagar Brahmins in Ahmedabad had become the prestige dialect of Gujarati.[18]

Notable People[edit]


  1. ^ Hansa Mehta was expelled from the caste for her marriage to Jivraj Narayan Mehta.[42]
  1. ^ A. M. Shah (1998). The Family in India Critical Essays. Orient Longman. p. 136. ISBN 9788125013068.
  2. ^ T.Sasaki (28 June 2011). Nature and Human Communities. Springer. p. 29. ISBN 9784431539674.
  3. ^ a b c Narain, Dhirendra (1989). Research in Sociology. Concept Publishing Company. p. 100. ISBN 9788170222354.
  4. ^ S. R. Bakshi; S. R. Sharma; S. Gajrani (1998). "Land and the People". Contemporary Political Leadership in India. APH Publishing Corporation. pp. 13–14. ISBN 81-7648-008-8.
  5. ^ Das, Sukla (1980). Socio-Economic Life of Northern India (c. A.D. 550 to A.D. 650). Abhinav Publications. pp. 53–54.
  6. ^ Sathaye, Adheesh A. (2015). Crossing the Lines of Caste: Viśvāmitra and the Construction of Brahmin Power in Hindu Mythology. Oxford University Press. pp. 154–155.
  7. ^ Sathaye 2015, p. 154-155.
  8. ^ Mehta, R. N. (1968). Misra, S. C. (ed.). "Nāgarakhaṇḍa - A study". Humanities. Journal of the Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda. XVII (1). Baroda: 113.
  9. ^ Sathaye 2015, p. 179.
  10. ^ Sathaye 2015, p. 178.
  11. ^ Majumdar 1956, p. 387.
  12. ^ Jain, Jyotindra (1980). Folk Art and Culture of Gujarat: Guide to the Collection of THE SHREYAS FOLK MUSEUM of Gujarat. Shreyas Prakashan. p. 164.
  13. ^ Asoke Kumar Majumdar (1956). Chaulukyas of Gujarat. Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan. p. 178.
  14. ^ "નાગર". Bhagwadgomandal. Gujarati Lexicon.
  15. ^ Yagnik, Achyut; Sheth, Suchitra. The Shaping of Modern Gujarat: Plurality, Hindutva and Beyond. Penguin Books. p. 24.
  16. ^ Isaka 2022, p. 19-20.
  17. ^ Isaka, Riho (2004). "Language and Education in Colonial and Post-Colonial India". In Sasaki, Takeshi (ed.). Nature and Human Communities. Springer. p. 29.
  18. ^ Sheffield, Daniel J. (2015). "Primary Sources: Gujarati". The Wiley Blackwell Companion to Zoroastrianism. Wiley-Blackwell. p. 553.
  19. ^ Shukla-Bhatt, Neelima (2014). Narasinha Mehta of Gujarat : A Legacy of Bhakti in Songs and Stories. New York: Oxford University Press. pp. 105–109, 213, 220. ISBN 9780199976416. OCLC 872139390 – via Oxford Scholarship.
  20. ^ Kapadia, Aparna (2018). In Praise of Kings: Rajputs, Sultans, and Poets in Fifteenth Century Gujarat. Oxford University Press. p. 51.
  21. ^ Isaka 2022, p. 92.
  22. ^ Isaka 2022, p. 98.
  23. ^ Mehta, Makrand (1991). Indian Merchants and Entrepreneurs in Historical Perspective. with Special Reference to the Schroffs of Gujarat: 17th to 19th centuries. Academic Foundation. p. 186.
  24. ^ Raval, R. L. (1986). "Social Environs and Refom Movement in 19th Century Gujarat : The Case of Durgaram Mehtaji". Proceedings of the Indian History Congress. 47 (VOLUME I): 591–598. JSTOR 44141608.(subscription required)
  25. ^ Isaka, Riho (2022). Language, Identity, and Power in Modern India: Gujarat, c. 1850-1960. Routledge. p. 57.
  26. ^ Dwijendra Tripathi; Jyoti Jumani (2007). The Concise Oxford History of Indian Business. Oxford University Press. p. 53. ISBN 978-0-19-568429-2. Retrieved 18 June 2017.
  27. ^ Desai 1978, p. 445.
  28. ^ a b Isaka 2022, p. 83.
  29. ^ Isaka 2022, p. 70.
  30. ^ Isaka 2022, p. 84.
  31. ^ Desai, Neera (1978). Social Change in Gujarat [A Study of Nineteenth Century Gujarati Society]. Vora & Co. p. 439.
  32. ^ Desai 1978, p. 446.
  33. ^ a b Desai 1978, p. 442.
  34. ^ Joshi, Ramanlal (1979). Govardhanram. Makers of Indian Literature. New Delhi: Sahitya Akademi. pp. 5–6. OCLC 6950984.
  35. ^ a b c Desai 1978, p. 441.
  36. ^ a b Isaka 2022, p. 89.
  37. ^ Chopra, Preeti (2011). A Joint Enterprise: Indian Elites and the Making of British Bombay By Preeti Chopra. U of Minnesota Press. p. 25. ISBN 9780816670369.
  38. ^ Desai 1978, p. 439.
  39. ^ a b Isaka 2022, p. 45.
  40. ^ Isaka, Iho (2021). Language, Identity, and Power in Modern India: Gujarat, c.1850-1960. Taylor & Francis. p. 37.
  41. ^ Wood, John R. (November 1984). "British versus Princely Legacies and the Political Integration of Gujarat". The Journal of Asian Studies. 44 (1): 65–99. doi:10.2307/2056747. JSTOR 2056747. S2CID 154751565.
  42. ^ Adami, Rebecca (2018). Women and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Taylor & Francis.
  43. ^ "On Alia Bhatt's birthday, tracing her Kashmiri, Gujarati, German roots". Hindustan Times. 15 March 2021. Retrieved 9 January 2022.