Saturday, December 17, 2011

Origin of Bhumihar, The Clan of Brahmins

Bhumihar Brahmins also known as Bhumihar (भूमिहार) are an influential Hindu sub-caste who have traditionally resided in fertile regions of Indo-Gangetic plains of North India, in the states of Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Jharkhand. They were referred to as Baabhans (बाभन) too, an apabhramsha word for Brahmin.

History of Bhumihar

Bhumihar Brahmins also known as Bhumihar (भूमिहार) are an influential Hindu sub-caste who have traditionally resided in fertile regions of Indo-Gangetic plains of North India, in the states of Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Jharkhand. They were referred to as Baabhans (बाभन) too, an apabhramsha word for Brahmin.
Bhumihar is a caste Mainly Found in the states of Bihar, Jharkhand , Uttar Pradesh and in the Bundelkhand area of the Madhya Pradesh . One Story of their origin is that the Bhumihar Brahmins Parashurama destroyed the Kshatriya Many times and he set up in their Place the descendent's of Brahmins. Bhumihar Brahmins is known as Karm Kandi Pandit in the sixteenth Century Particularly in North Bihar. In South Bihar their Most Prestigious King (Gopal Sharan) was the Tekari Family in the Eighteenth Century. In our Country So many Bhumihar Scholars have been born like Swami Sahajanand Saraswati , Sir Ganesh Dutt and Siyaram Tiwary the Former Dean of the Vishwa Bharti university Formerly Known as Shanti Niketan.
Gotra and Pravaras of the Bhumihar
The Gotras of the Bhumihar has been mainly Kept on the name of the Rishis.Initially,there are mainly nine gotras of the bhumihar. But Pravaras are classified into the name of the Seven Rishis, that is given below :-
In Rigved author has been written that the Rishi Jamadagni was a descendants of Rishi Bhirgu While the rishis Gautam and Bhardavaja Were the descendants of rishi Angirasa.
            • Agastya
            • Angirasa
            • Atri
            • Bhrigu
            • Kashyapa
            • Vasishtha
            • Vishwamitra
Etymology: The word Bhumihar consists of two Sanskrit words, bhoomi (भूमि), meaning "land" and har (हर), meaning 'seizer'. There are a lot of theories about the origin of this caste and there is no unanimous accord over any of them excepting one which is the authority of Swami Sahajanand Saraswati who gives the most acceptable account of the origin and history of Bhumihar Brahmins. The name of his book is "Brahmarshi Vansha Vistar". Some of the other theorists owe the origin of the Bhumihar to the displacement of Brahmins from Western India following the Muslim invasion or, a change of religion to Buddhism and reconversion to Hinduism or, a change of profession from priesthood to farming or, a gradual shift from priestly and academic activities to farming and conquest, owing to lack of support from the rulers during the reign of ignorant kings. At some point of time the word 'Bhumi' was also used for some administrative unit or revenue unit or some geographical unit, just like Bundelkhand or Jharkhand. Singhbhumi, Birbhumi and Manbhumi are or was names of districts. Dhalbhumi was an adminitrative unit. Thus the word 'Bhumihar' may also mean Talukdar or Jagirdars etc.
Bhumihar Brahmins is also known for taking the revenge .As for example when Kshatriya King has stolen the Parashurama's Father wish-granting Cow, Kamdhenu. That time he has killed thousands of kshatriya army. But in retaliation the King's Son has killed the Parashurama's Father. Then, he has decided to destroy the Kshatriya and he has fought battles from the Kshatriya 21 times and destroyed all the Kshatriya . This shows the Power between the kshatriya and Bhumihar Brahmins.


Suryanarayan Pandey in his book Sainik Brahmin has noted that only in two situation they were separated from Kanyakubja brahmin the first was, when they were honoured and given land as AGRAHARAM by the kings of different states and second when they were attacked by muslim ruler. They wanted to preserve Hindu cultural heritage so they came to Eastern Kashi. 
Usually Bhumihar clans are known by the original place from which they come. For example Bhumihars from Dighwa nearby DIGHAWA DUBAULI ( Gopalganj , Old SARAN ) went to Barahiya and settled there and known as Dighwait Bhumihars, similarly, Eksaria Bhumihars belongs to Eksaar village in Balia but spread over complete Saran district of Bihar. But there are others like Jijhoutiya Bhumihar Brahmins who reside in Eastern U.P. and the region of Jhansi. Chitponia Bhumihar of Nawada are from Maharashtra. In fact at times they are considered as a separate Brahmin sub-caste altogether. Swami Sahajanand Saraswati was from Jijhoutia clan of Bhumihar Brahmins. Then there are others like Bhriguvansh, claiming lineage from Maharishi Bhrigu as the name suggests. There are around two to three dozen such clans. Drona Ticar (Domkatar colloquially) is another Bhumihar clan. There were some famous zamindars and feudal lords like:
★ Kashi Naresh (Varanasi)
★ Maharaja Of Hathwa (also pronounced HATHUA, Gopalganj, Old SARAN)
★ Maharaja of Bettiah (Champaran)
★ Raja of Amawan (old MONGHYR)
★ Raja of Tekari (old GAYA)
★ Zamindar of Chainpur, Sheohar, Pandooi
★ Zamindar of HAKAM-REOTITH in Old SARAN (Now Gopalganj)
★ Bagaura Naresh (Siwan)
★ Udayni Kothi near Bagaura estate (Siwan)
★ Goreya Kothi
The Village Eksar from where the origination of Eksaria started is situated in Ballia. The First clan of Eksaria Bhumihar Brahmins was Jaganath Dixit, who migrated probably from Indraprasth or from Hastinapur in the year 1551 A.D. and became mantra guru of Nepal Maharaj. 

SOME MORE COLLECTIONS (Based on wikipedia) are as follows:-

Varna status[edit]

The Bhumihars are classified in the Brahmin varna of the Indian caste system and traditionally are landowners.[6][7] Their land has been acquired at different times through grants by kings or during the rule of Brahmin kings.[6][8][9][10] In ancient times, the Brahmin Empires like Sunga Empire and Kanva dynasty are believed to be the historical ancestors of present day Bhumihar Brahmins.[6][8][9][10][11]
The Kanyakubja Mahati Sabha, an association of Kanyakubja Brahmins, determined at its 19th and 20th national conventions in 1926 and 1927 that the Bhumihar Brahmins are among the Kanyakubja Brahmin communities, which also include the Sanadhya, Pahadi, Jujhoutia, SaryupareenChattisgarhi, and different Bengali Brahmins.[11]
"Kanyakubj Vanshavali" mentions five branches of Kanyakubja Brahmins as Saryupareen, Sanadhya, Bhumihar, Jujhautiya and Prakrit Kanaujia:
Saryupareen Sanadhyascha Bhumiharo Jijhoutayah
Prakritashcha Iti Panchabhedastasya Prakartitah
First modern Indologist of Indian origin, and a key figure in the Bengal RenaissanceRajendralal Mitra writes about the five branches of Kanyakubja Brahmins as Saryupareen, Sanadhya, Bhumihar, Jujhoutia and Prakrit Kanaujia or Kanyakubj proper.[13] In Kanyakubj Vanshavalis (360 on record), it is mentioned that Kashyap gotra Bhumihar Brahminsare ancestors of Kashyap gotra Kanyakubja Brahmins, making Kashyap gotriya Sanadhya Brahmins also as descendents of Kashyap gotriya Bhumihar Brahmins.[14] Threfore, it is merely a difference in profession between Kanyakubja proper and Bhumihar Brahmins where they kept converting from Ajachak (Bhumihar) to Jachak(Kanyakubja) and from Jachak(Kanyakubja) to Ajachak(Bhumihar) depending on the times which shows the jivikartha karma of Brahmins.[15]
Bhumihars have been the traditional priests in Prayag, at Vishnupad Mandir in Gaya as Gayawar Pandas and in the adjoining districts like Hazaribagh.[2] The Kingdom of Kashibelonged to Bhumihar Brahmins and big zamindari like Bettiah RajHathwa Raj, Pandooi Raj and Tekari Raj, Sheohar Raj, Ram Nagar belonged to them. Bhumihars were well respected Brahmins in the courts of Dumraon Maharaj, King of Nepal and Raj Darbhanga.[2] Some Mohyal Brahmins migrated eastward and are believed to constitute some sub-divisions of Bhumihars.There is also a significant migrant population of Bhumihars in Mauritius,[16] Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana and others.
Bhumihars are commonly called Babhans and also Western Brahmins some times[17][18][19] which is the Pali word for Brahmins[20][21] and is used to refer to Brahmins in Buddhistsources.[21][22]

Origin and history[edit]


Parshurama, 6th Avatar of Vishnu
When Parashurama destroyed the Kshatriya race, and he set up in their place the descendants of Brahmins, who, after a time, having mostly abandoned their priestly functions, took to land-owning (Zamindari) or became kings.[13][23][24] Lord Parashurama was the first Bhumihar.[13][23][24] The ancestor of Dronwar Bhumihar Brahmins is Guru Dronacharya and that of Kashi Naresh is Gautama Maharishi.[13][25]


The literal meaning of Bhumihar is Bhumi – "Land", kara or hara – "maker" in Sanskrit.[25] In the language of the Indian feudal system, Bhum is the name given to a kind of tenure similar to the Inams and Jagirs of Mohammedan times.[25] By a Bhum, according to the Rajputana gazetteer, a hereditary, non-resumable and inalienable property in the soil was inseparably bound up with the revenue-free title.[25] The meaning of the designation Bhumihar being as stated above, the Bhumihar Brahmins are evidently those Brahmins who held grants of land for secular services.[25] Bhum was given as compensation for bloodshed in order to quell a feud for distinguished services in the field, for protection of services in the field, for protection of a border, or for the watch and ward of a village.[25]


Left: The Maharaja's Fort (Ramnagar Fort), front view, 1869. Right: Entrance gate to the fort, 1905.
By the 16th century, Bhumihars known as "karm kandi pandit" controlled vast stretches of territory, particularly in North Bihar.[26] InSouth Bihar, their most prominent representative was the Tekari family, whose large estate in Gaya dates back to the early 18th century.[26] With the decline of Mughal Empire, in the area of south of Avadh, in the fertile rive-rain rice growing areas of Benares,GorakhpurDeoriaGhazipurBallia and Bihar and on the fringes of Bengal, it was the 'military' or Bhumihar Brahmins who strengthened their sway.[27] The distinctive 'caste' identity of Bhumihar Brahman emerged largely through military service, and then confirmed by the forms of continuous 'social spending' which defined a man and his kin as superior and lordly.[28] In 19th century, many of the Bhumihar Brahmins were zamindars. Of the 67000 Hindus in the Bengal Army in 1842, 28000 were identified as Rajputs and 25000 as Brahmins, a category that included Bhumihar Brahmins.[29] The Brahmin presence in the Bengal Army was reduced in the late 19th century because of their perceived primary role as mutineers in the Mutiny of 1857,[29] led by Mangal Pandey.
Some Bhumihars had settled in ChandipurMurshidabadBardhaman during late 19th and early 20th centuries where they are at the top of the social hierarchy.[30] Pandit Jogendra Nath Bhattacharya in his book Hindu Castes and Sects published in 1896, went on to write about the origin of Bhumihar Brahmins of Bihar and Banaras[23] as: "The clue to the exact status of the Bhumihar Brahmans is afforded by their very name. The word literally means a landholder. In the language of the Indian feudal systems, Bhoom is the name given to a kind of tenure similar to the Inams and Jagirs of Mohammedan times. By a Bhoom, according to the Rajputana Gazeteer, an hereditary, non-resumableand inalienable property in soil was inseparably bound up with a revenue-free title. Bhoom was given as a compensation for bloodshedin order to quell a feud, for distinguished services in the field, for protection of a border or for the watch and ward of the village. The meaning of the designation Bhumihar being as stated above, the Bhumihar Brahmans are evidently these Brahmans who held grants of land for secular service. Whoever held a secular fief was Bhumihar. Where a Brahman held such a tenure, he was called a Bhumihar Brahman....Bhumihar Brahmans are sometimes called simply Bhumihars..."
They perform all their religious ceremonies in the same manner as other Brahmins, but as they also practice secular occupations like the Laukik Brahmans of Southern India, they are not entitled to accept religious gifts or to minister to anyone as priest. The usual surnames/titles of the Bhumihar Brahmins are same as those of other Brahmins of Northern India. Being a fighter by caste few of them have Rajputana surnames/titles.[11][25] The general editor of the book "People of India (Bihar and Jharkhand)", published byAnthropological Survey of India (ASI), and noted academician-bureaucrat, the late Kumar Suresh Singh, said that the surname Singh, which used to denote connection with power and authority, was used in Bihar by Brahmin zamindars, like the surname "Khan" in Muslims.[31]
Before independence, it was the custom of the Bhumihar Brahmins to stage an elaborate Kālī puja, during which annual payments were made to servants and gifts of cloth were distributed to dependents, both Hindu and Muslim.[30]
M. A. Sherring in his book Hindu Tribes and Castes as Reproduced in Benaras[32] published in 1872, mentions, "Great important distinctions subsist between the various tribes of Brahmins. Some are given to learning, some to agriculture, some to politics and some to trades. The Maharashtra Brahmin is very different being from the Bengali, while the Kanaujia (Kanyakubja Brahmins) differs from both. Only those Brahmins who perform all six duties are reckoned perfectly orthodox. Some perform three of them, namely, the first, third and fifth and omit the other three. Hence Brahmins are divided into two kinds, the Shat-karmas and the tri-karmas or those who perform only three. The Bhumihar Brahmins for instance are tri-karmas, and merely pay heed to three duties.
Bhumihars were referred to as "Military Brahmin" by Francis Buchanan and as "Magadh Brahmin" by William Adam in 1883.[33] William Crooke in his book, Tribes and Castes of the North-Western Provinces and Oudh,[34] has mentioned Bhuinhar as an important tribe of landowners and agriculturists in eastern districts and that they are also known as Babhan, Zamindar Brahman, Grihastha Brahman, or Pachchima or 'western' Brahmans.
Swami Sahajanand Saraswati, a Bhumihar himself, wrote extensively on Brahmin society and on the origin of Bhumihars. He stated that the Bhumihars are among the superior Brahmins.[35] Some Bhumihar Brahmins are also known for their secular and unorthodox practices, where some of them are also descendants of Husseini Brahminss.[36] On the social scale, although the Bhumihars are known to be Brahmins, on account of the fact that they were cultivators they were not given the ritual status of Brahmins.[37] Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, who came from a Niyogi Brahmin community who are just like the Bhumihar Brahmins and are called Laukik or Ajachak Brahmins attests in his Hindu View of Lifeto the fact of "The Rishis of yore were agriculturists and sometimes warriors too".[38]
Siyaram Tiwari, the former dean at Visva Bharati University, stated that the Bhumihars are "landed Brahmins who stopped taking alms and performing pujas and rituals", These areTyagis of Western UP, Zamindar Bengali BrahminsNiyogi Brahmins of Andhra Pradesh, Nambudiri Brahmin and Ezhavathy Brahmins of Kerala, Chitpavans of Maharashtra, AnavilDesais of Gujarat and Mohyals of Punjab.[1] Bhumihars are classified in the Brahmin varna in Hinduism and hence use the designation Bhumihar Brahmin.[7]
Acharya Tarineesh Jha, himself a Maithil Brahmin scholar has attested how from ancient times to modern all great Brahmin scholars like Maithili Manishi Mahamahopadhyay Chitradhar Mishra, Mahamahopadhyay Balkrishna Mishra; Saryupareen Brahmin scholars Mahamahopadhyay Dwivedi, Mahamahopadhyay Shivkumar Shastri, Hazari Prasad DwivediKanyakubja Brahmins scholars Mahavir Prasad Dwivedi, Pandit Laxminarayan Dixit Shastri, Pandit Venkatesh Narayan Tiwari and others have mentioned about Bhumihar Brahmins as their fellow Brahmin brothers.[39]
They are also called Ajachak Brahmans, i.e., Brahmans who do not take alms (jachak) in contrast to the ordinary Brahmans who are Jachaks or almstakers[40] but there are still some who traditionally take alms as in Gaya and Hazaribagh.[41] Like fellow Brahmans, they did not use to hold the plough, but employed labourers for the purpose.[40]

Social organisation[edit]

The census returns give no less than four hundred and fifty-eight sections: but here the territorial sections and the Brahminical gotras are mixed up together.[34] The most important local sections are the Gautama, and Kolaha in Banaras; the Gautama in MirzapurBhriguvanshi, Donwar, Gautama, Kinwar, Kistwar, Sakarwar, Sonwar, in Ghazipur; Bhagata, Kinwar, Benwar, of Ballia; the Baghochhiya, Baksaria, GautamaKaushik and Sakarwar (Sankritya) of Gorakhpur; the Barasi, Birhariya of Basti; and the Barwar, Bharadwaj,Parashar of Siwan, Denwar, Gargbans, Gautama, Purvar, Sakarwar, and Shandilya of Azamgarh.[34] On the Jijhoutia clan of Bhumihar Brahmins, William Crooke writes, "A branch of the Kanaujia Brahmins (Kanyakubja Brahmins) who take their name from the country of Jajakshuku, which is mentioned in the Madanpur inscription."[34]

Domestic ceremonies and religious beliefs[edit]

The Bhumihar Brahmins follow in every respect the standard Brahminical rules.[34] They are usually Shaivas and Shaktas.[34] There are also Vaishnavas, following the Tatvavada school of Madhavacharya.[42] Bhumihar Brahmins, like all other Brahmins are endogamous, but marital relations are known to exist since ancient times between Bhumihar Brahmins and Maithil Brahmins in Tirhut and Mithila and between Bhumihar Brahmins and Kanyakubja Brahmins in Bundelkhand region of Madhya Pradesh where Kanchanwar and Jihoutia clan of Bhumihar Brahmins live.[41] Bhumihar Brahmin men of Purnea took to Maithil Brahmin wives in Purnea and married their daughters to Bhumihar Brahmin/Babhan men.[43][44]

Common titles and last names[edit]

Common titles of Bhumihar Brahmins are PandeyShuklaMishraOjhaYajeeKarjeeDwivediSharmaTiwariTripathiUpadhyay but AwasthiDixitMalviya and Jha are known to exist.[41] However, due to their profession of kings and landholders a lot of Bhumihar Brahmins use RaiSingh, and Shahi in Uttar Pradesh and KunwarThakurChaudhary, andSingh in Bihar, and Pradhan in Jharkhand.[41] Some Singh converted and anglicised their surnames to Sinha[41][45]

Political and social movements[edit]

Bhumihars are considered a politically volatile community.[46][47] Bhumihar Brahmins in Champaran had revolted against indigo cultivation in 1914 (at Pipra) and 1916 (Turkaulia) and Pandit Raj Kumar Shukla took Mahatma Gandhi to Champaran and the Champaran Satyagraha began.[48] Sri Krishna Sinha, born into a Bhumihar Brahmin family is considered the architect of modern Bihar.[49] Barring the war years, Shri Babu (Sri Krishna Sinha was Chief Minister of Bihar from the time of the first Congress Ministry in 1937 until his death in 1961.[50] He led Dalit’s entry into the Baidyanath Dham temple (Vaidyanath Temple, Deoghar), reflecting his commitment to the upliftment and social empowerment of dalits.[1] He was the first Chief Minister in the country to abolish the zamindari system.[51]
The community has produced stalwarts like Sir Ganesh Dutt, lone minister representing pre-independence interim government from the then united Bihar and Orissa province, andRam Dayalu Singh, the first Speaker of Bihar legislative assembly.[1]
Bhumihars had made their presence felt in the politics right from freedom movement with patriots like Yogendra Shukla and Kishori Prasanna Sinha, both aides of martyr Bhagat Singh.[1]
Nationalist, trade unionist, and the first leader of opposition in Bihar Basawon Singh (Sinha), the stalwart Communist leader Pandit Karyanand Sharma and the biggest Jan Sanghleader from the state Kailashpati Mishra were all Bhumihar Brahmins.

Some notable Bhumihar Brahmin personalities[edit]

Scholars, writers and government agency[edit]

Ramdhari Singh 'Dinkar'

Ramvriksh Benipuri

Freedom fighters[edit]


Monarchs and zamindars[edit]


Entertainment, sports and films[edit]


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Atish Adarsh said...

Why not we unite again Bhumihar Brahamin & Brahamin (Pandit) again ?????
And establish relation between each other

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raj narayan singh known as 'Lokbandhu' from varanshi is also a bhumihar you add his name in the list of freedom fighters.

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