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Pradhan (Devanagari: प्रधान) is a ministerial title used in regions of Hindu cultural tradition that equates to the more popular term Vizier in rank and function.[1][2] The Sanskrit pradhan translates to "major" or "prime";[3] however, the more modern Hindi definitions provided by the Oxford Hindi-English Dictionary also include "chief" and "leader".[4] The precise interpretation can differ significantly by region. The style was abandoned by many Indian princely states during the Mughal era in favor of Persian styles such as Wasir and Diwan.

Pradhan is also commonly employed as a high-caste surname in the Newāh/Newār (Newar: नेवा) community of Nepal and is also currently used by the Kshatriya and Kayastha people of northern and western India. It is a surname used by Khandayat and Bhanayat (or Kshatriya) castes of eastern Indian state of Orissa. "Khanda" means sword and "Ayata" means control, hence "Khandayat" means "the master of sword" and same as Bhanayat which means the worshiper and having a control of Bow and Arrow, a powerful and most honored warrior castes. Pradhan is also a surname often used by the clan chiefs and tribal chieftains of the Khond Tribe of Eastern India especially the Khondmals and contiguous tribal areas.


  • Pradhans of Nepal: In modern Nepal, Pradhan refers to the family name of people of the Newār community who trace their roots to northern and central India. Among the Newārs, they follow Hinduism and are part of the highest tier "Chatharīya" (छथरिय/क्षत्रीय) Srēṣṭha clan who are descendants of the Malla (Nepal) royalty and its nobility.[5] The other family names of this group consist of the surnames Malla, Joshi, Rājbhandārī, Rājvanshī, Kāyastha, Māské, Hādā, Amātya, among others.[6] Chatharīya Srēṣṭhas are distinguished by the use of their clan or occupational titles (e.g., Pradhān, Rājbhandārī) instead of the all-encompassing "Shrestha" surname. Newar caste system stratifies them as belonging to the Kshatriya varna.[7]
  • Pradhans of Sikkim / Darjeeling: In present-day Indian states of Sikkim and sections of West Bengal, Assam and Bhutan, Pradhan is a title assumed by all the Newar descendants who immigrated from Kathmandu Valley to these places primarily since the mid 19th century. Descendants of the various immigrant upper and lower Newar castes have since adopted the title of 'Pradhān' as their singular caste-denoting name, whereas Pradhan in Nepal is only used as a specific family title by the descendants of the Kshatriya (Chāthariya) aristocratic Newar families of Kathmandu and Patan.[8] Today, Pradhans of Sikkim form an influential ethnic group of a homogenous, non-caste and non-endogamous community, which is in sharp contrast to that of the Newārs of Nepal which still retains its highly complex, heterogenous and caste-based community, where Pradhan is only one of the hundreds of family titles used.[9] Notable Pradhans of Sikkim include trader Chandravir Pradhan (Kayastha), literary icon Paras Mani Pradhan (Shakya), first Chief Justice of Nepal Hari Prasad Pradhan, Bollywood cinematographer Binod Pradhan, footballer Sanju Pradhan, 1974 AD lead singer Adrian Pradhan, actors Menuka Pradhan, Poojana Pradhan, Uttam Pradhan, etc. In terms of India's Affirmative action policy, they are a Forward caste in all of India except in Sikkim where they are Other Backward Class.[10]


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  2. ^
  3. ^ Klaus Glashoff. "Sanskrit Dictionary for Spoken Sanskrit". Retrieved 2012-10-16. 
  4. ^ Stuart, Ronald. The Oxford Hindi-English Dictionary. Edited by Ronald Stuart McGregor. Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1993.
  5. ^ "Nepal". 2008-05-28. Retrieved 2012-10-16. 
  6. ^ "Status of Shrestha". Retrieved 2012-11-19. 
  7. ^ "David Gellner: Language, Caste, Religion and Territory. Newar Identity, Ancient and Modern". Retrieved 2012-10-16. 
  8. ^ Shrestha, Bal Gopal. "Castes Among Newars Status of Shrestha". European Bulletin of Himalayan Research. 
  9. ^ Gellner and Quigley. Contested Hierarchies A Collaborative Ethnography of Caste among the Newars of the Kathmandu Valley, Nepal. Clarendon Press: Oxford Studies in Social and Cultural Anthropology. ISBN 978-0-19-827960-0. 
  10. ^ Shrestha, Bal Gopal (2015-02-01). "Newars of Sikkim". Vajra Books.