पासी जाति

पासी जाति

पासी कौंन होते है ?

Indian Pasi Society

The title of my article is Indian Pasi Society. Will you come to mind whether there is Pasi outside India too, which I have written a lot of Pasi society. So yes there is no society outside India in the name of Pasi but Pasi name in some countries. It is popular. Searching the internet, it is found that some people in America write the name Passi and the name Passi is known as King or Royal. The name Passi is named after boys. People use it but some people keep the name Pasi in America. This is true. And there is also the name Pasi which means King. When you did some more searching, the original name of Pasi was found on different sites. Some Americans are telling some Greece and some Australians are also telling, but the most powerful point is that of Greece, which tells in detail how this word was born. The BAISL and basil from BASILUS create words.

The word BASILEUS was used in ancient Greece to mean war or king or royal family. The word BASILEUS is derived from the word BASIL and is derived from PASI and the word is associated with royal or royal or king. Such information is available on the Internet. But no site of Pasi has been shown to be connected with India in any country, at least I have not found it. I think maybe because India does not have a name Pasi but rather one goes. But there is a similarity that people of Indian Pasi society also associate themselves with the Royal dynasty, because for several hundred years around the 10th century. Pasi kings ruled over a large part of India, among those kings, many mighty kings like Maharaja Bijli Pasi, Maharaja Satan Pasi Maharaja Lakhan Pasi Maharaja Suhail Dev Pasi Area ruled.

During the search on the Internet, the use of the word Pasi was found in many countries, however, no one has been able to form an opinion on the meaning of Pasi here, different information has been given on different sites, but one thing which is common in all places is that In other parts of the world too, Pasi is being considered as the Royal King or warrior, as in our country now Pasi society is adding after knowing its history. Yes, come forward to write so he researched about Pasi past Pasi revealed about Maharajao King of society and about the King Maharajao today has written several books.

The history of Pasi society still has its mark in the whole of North India like Maharaja Lakhan Pasi, the creator of Lucknow city, capital of North India. The huge remains of the Maharaja Bijli Pasi Fort have been found in the heart of Lucknow city, which is protected by the Government of Uttar Pradesh. The statue of Devi Pasi, who killed many Britishers in the freedom struggle, has been installed in Lucknow today. About which historians of the Pasi society have written in books about Pasi history. But here I am talking about some untouched aspects which I found during the search on the internet. There is an airport port in our country in the name of Pasighat in our country in Arunachal Pradesh which most people of Pasi society do not know about. .

There is an entire city by the name of Pasi City, in the country of Philippines, although not much information was found about the name Pasi, but you will search Pasi City, then a city in the Philippines country gets to know about this Pasi City. While searching on Wikipedia, while searching for the information of the word Passi, it is found that the origin of the word Passi is made up of two Sanskrit words Pa + Assi, in which Pa means paw in Sanskrit and Assi means sword. Pasi, by the way, comes out as a sword, or a sword eagle or a symbol of war.

This fact is not only related to the history of the Pasi kings Maharajas but also after the end of the reign of the Pasi kings, they served in the armies of many kings. They were good fighters and therefore were among the bodyguard members of the kings. In fighting with this society, this society took a lot of iron, that is why the British had imposed the Act on this society to control this society. Which in later years had a very bad effect on this society and this Pasi society fell behind the mainstream. 

Today, the Pasi society in India has been divided into many sub-castes and surnames. Today, most people of the Pasi society of India put Pasi, Saroj, Rawat, Cathwas in front of the name. To know that there is a lot of Pasi and sub-caste, you have to know about Pasi historians. Reading books will read.

Today, the Indian Pasi society finds itself isolated, it declares itself to be a Shudra, but it considers itself to be a Kshatriya on the basis of the Pasi king Maharaja of history. In India, all the castes of Hindu religion support in any kind of work of Hindu society like washing of clothes, washing hair, cutting hair, blacksmith, carpenter etc., Brahmin Shik This should protect and worship, and Kshatriya throne, to war and force. The Pasi society Kanha fits in this. The closest the Pasi society finds itself is the Kshatriya. Today the youth of the Pasi society today want to know its history.

In this direction, I did some research and some new information that I got, which is presented to you through this article. If you have invited the suggestions of the people or if there is any error, please indicate the need.

Disclaimer: The views expressed above are the author's own

Churning on the problems of Pasi society in many states including Uttar Pradesh

Special Correspondent, State Headquarters. The All India Pasi Samaj has expressed its displeasure over the allotment of the graveyard land at the eastern gate of Raja Bijli Pasi Fort located in Bangla Bazaar, Lucknow, by the Lucknow Development Authority to someone else.

At the meeting of the national executive of the organization in the development block located in Gomtinagar here on Sunday, the national president RA Prasad said that the account number-1000 of the dice graveyards at the eastern gate of the fort of Raja Bijli Pasi located in Bangla Bazaar, Lucknow city. Is marked in

The cemetery land cannot be allotted to anyone as per the rules. The Lucknow Development Authority has allotted this cemetery land to a land mafia in violation of the law.

Time has been sought from the Governor on this subject. Through them, the Uttar Pradesh government will be demanded to cancel the allocation of cremation ground. Mr. Prasad said that the government is neglecting to maintain the fort of Raja Bijli Pasi located in Bangla Bazaar of Lucknow city. This is not going to be tolerated. In Andhra Pradesh, the dice have been declared as backward caste, while Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra, close to Andhra, have been declared as Pasi. In Andhra, the Pasis are not getting any benefit from the Scheduled Castes. This point was considered. It was decided that this matter should be taken up in the Lok Sabha. Also, the demand letter should be sent to the Scheduled Castes Commission. The meeting considered measures to deal with these problems. It was decided that contact should be made with the Chief Ministers of Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh to cancel this unreasonable demand.

In this meeting, various problems of Pasi society were discussed in various states including Uttar Pradesh. In the resolution passed in this meeting chaired by the national president of the organization RA Prasad, it has been said that caste certificates are not being easily issued to the passers in Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh. A certificate of staying in the state for a period of 40-50 years is being sought from them.

पासी जाती की उत्पत्ति
बड़े विद्वनो ने पासियों की उत्पति नागवंशी भारशिवा के तच्छक (टाकवंश) से माना है पासी नागवंशी छत्रिय है ,जो शिव के उपासक है जिनकी परंपरा आज भी देखि जा सकती है पद्मावती के भारशिवा जो बाद में दण्ड पासी से राजपासी में टूट गयी ,और यही राजपासी अवध के बड़े भू भाग पर अपना छत्र राज कायम किया , 945 - 1370 तक पासियो का अवध में एक छ्त्र राज था ,जिनका संघर्ष तुर्को ,खिलजियों, राजपूतो से हुवा निरन्तर हुवे मुस्लिमऔर राजपूती आक्रमण से छतिग्रस्त हो गए अंत में राजा लहरी पासी जो 1398 से 1416 ईस्वी तुर्को से अपनी राज छीन कर आज़ाद करा के 18 वर्षों तक स्वतंत्र रखा

तुगलकों के नाम पर बसे तुगलकाबाद का नाम बदल कर लहर पुर रख दिया जो शहर आज भी है पासी | पासी | पासी | पासी | पासी | पासी | पासी |पासी जो बाद में बहुत बड़े युद्ध में राजा लहरी वीरगति हुवे ,और उनके बाद पासियो की स्थति पहले से भिन्न हो गयी जो बाद सन 1770 के करीब सरदार पासी खुम्मा रावत के पौत्र राजा गंगाबाक्स रावत के रूप में पासियों में राजा बन कर बाराबंकी के बड़े इलाकेपर राज किया जिनका युद्ध अंग्रेजो से हुवा ,प्रथम युद्ध में अंग्रेज हार गए . पासी मुख्या भूमि से बेदखल हो गए और जंगलो के बड़े भू भाग को साफ करके अपनी सरदार के रूप में राज करते रहे

कृपया ध्यान दे सबसे पहली बात मैं आपको बता देना चाहता हूं

राजभर और पासी का एक छोटा विवाद है लेकिन राजभर लोग इसे एक बड़ा प्रारूप देना चाहते हैं और जिस गजट सरकारी किताबों की बात करते हैं राजा सुहेलदेव पासी को अलग बताते हैं पूरे भर को अलग बताते हैं उसी सरकारी किताबों यानी कि सरकारी गजट ईयर में भर पासी की उपजाति है भर ही पासी है भर का दूसरा नाम पासी है यह साफ-साफ लिखा हुआ है

अंग्रेजों ने फूट डालो राज करो की नीति के तहत पासी जाति को तोड़ने के लिए इनकी अलग कैटेगरी दस्तावेजों में बना दिया बल्कि सच्चाई इसका उल्टा है आज भी भर आपने आप को पासी मानता है जिस तरह से गजट ईयर में ( अरख पासी का और खटीक पासी का ) जिक्र मिलता है और यह भी मिलता है कि अरख पासी कैसे अलग हुए, खटीक पासीवो से कैसे अलग हुए, उसी तरीके से भर और पासी दरअसल क्षेत्र के हिसाब से नाम है दोनों जातियां एक हैं और इसीलिए दोनों की समनताए एक है लेकिन आज के समय कुछ राजभर लोग इस पर राजनीति कर रहे हैं बल्कि गजट ईयर में साफ साफ तौर पर लिखा है की कि भर पासी है

खटीक पासी

दरअसल मैं आपकी जानकारी के लिए बता दूं आप अपनी जाति में खुद पूछ लें अगर आप यादव ठाकुर पंडित ब्राह्मण हैं तो जैसा आपको पता होगा कि हर जाति में 7 जाति होती है उसी प्रकार से पासी जाति में 7 जाति होती है हर क्षेत्र के हिसाब से आप या याद रखिएगा कि पूर्वांचल में पासी जाति में कई उप जाति आती है उसी प्रकार से पश्चिम में आते हैं और ब्रिटिश रिपोर्टों के अनुसार उत्तर प्रदेश में 26 जातियां पासी जाति के उपजाति हैं 1. राजपासी 2. बौरासी 3. कैथवास पासी 4. गूजरपासी 5. भर पासी 6. अरख पासी ( कमानी,मोठी , त्रिशूलीया ,व्याधा, बहेलिया, रावत, प्रहरी, घुड़चड़ा , चिडिमार, महापासी,) आदि जातियां जो आज भी अपने आपको पासी मानती है

इन्हीं सब बातों से अंदाजा लगाते हुए अंग्रेजों ने पासी जाति को कई टुकड़ों में बांट दिया उनके समय काल में पासी कुछ जातियां जानबूझकर अलग की गई दस्तावेजों में लिखी गई बस विवाद यही है आज के समय में जो जातियों को एक होने की पहल करनी चाहिए वही यह लोग एकता को तोड़ने का काम कर रही है और माहौल खराब करने की कोशिश कर रहे हो

ब्रिटिश समय काल में पासी जाति के लोग राजा रजवाड़ों तालुकदार और नवाबों के सेना में और उनकी सैनिक व्यवस्था में और उनकी प्रशासन में नियुक्त थे और खुद पासी लोग तालुकदार और राजा रहे जो अंग्रेजों के विरुद्ध लड़ते रहे , यानी कि अवध के तालुकदारी और राजाओं के यहां सेना में पासी होने के कारण जब यह पासी उनके लिए खतरा हुए तो अंग्रेजो ने कुटिल चालों से पासी जाति को तोड़ने का कार्य किया और साफ-साफ लिखा- ( पासी को भविष्य में निर्दयता पूर्वक दबाने की सख्त जरूरत है ) और अंग्रेजों ने अपने दस्तावेजों में लिखा है की अवध में जितने भी तालुकदार हैं 3000,4000 पासी सैनिक रखते है

राजपासी राजा कंस पहला part - 1Er. R. S. Rawat
सन 1850 से लेकर 1871 तक पासियों पर अंग्रेजों ने प्रतिबंध लगाए थे मगर सन 1871 से बहुत ही कड़ी प्रतिबंध लगा दिए जिसकी बदौलत भारत की अन्य ओबीसी जातियां और श्रवण समाज के लोग डर के कारण पासियों से दूरी बनाए लगे इसी डर के कारण पासियों से दूरी बनाने के कारण लोग उसे छुआछूत समझते हैं मगर ऐसा नहीं था वह सब अंग्रेजों का डर था जो दूसरी ओबीसी जातियां और ब्राह्मण का ठाकुरों में थी । इस वजह से ऐसा भेदभाव हुआ आप अगर अध्ययन करेंगे अंग्रेजों के लिखे गजट इयर्स और उनके द्वारा की गई यात्राओं का तो उसमें साफ-साफ लिखा है कि पासी जाति प्रजा में कभी नहीं आती थी जैसे कि दूसरी ओबीसी जातियां यादव कुर्मी आदि जातियां आती थी। प्रजा में मगर पासी जाति प्रजा में नहीं आती थी इससे आप क्या मतलब निकाल सकते हैं। पासी जाति सबसे टर्बूलेंट कास्ट यानी कि उग्र जाती थी जिसने अंग्रेजो के नाक में दम कर रखा था ऐसी दबंग जाति से कौन पंगा लेता किसी में भी हिम्मत नहीं थी किसी पासी के साथ पंगा ले सके मगर जब अंग्रेजों ने एक्ट लागू कर दिया उसके बाद जातियों ने थोड़ी दूरी बना ली । इस वजह से बढ़ते बढ़ते दो चार पीढ़ियों तक आते-आते भेदभाव होने लगा बस।

Turuk Pasi

From Wikipedia
Turuk PasiRegions with significant populations
Related ethnic groups

The Turuk Pasi are a Muslim community found in the state of Bihar in India.
History and origin

The Turuk Pasi are converts to Islam from the Pasi. There traditional occupation was tapping toddy from palm trees. They are Sunni Muslims and found in the districts of Patna, Hajipur, Saran and Muzaffarpur. The Turuk Pasi speak Bhojpuri and Urdu. Little is known about the circumstances of their conversion to Islam.

Present circumstances
The traditional occupation of the Turuk Pasi remains toddy-tapping. They are issued licences by the government to collect toddy. Some work on daily wages as labourers. Rearing of cattle and poultry are important subsidiary occupations.

Hela (caste)

Hela (caste)
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Hela are a Hindu found in the state of Uttar Pradesh in India. They are a sub-group within the larger community of North India.People of India Uttar Pradesh Volume XLII Part Two edited by A Hasan & J C Das page 603 to 605 Manohar Publications</ref>

The Hela are a community of agricultural labourers. Their traditional occupation was to do agriculture. They are found mainly in the districts of Varanasi, Ghazipur and Mirzapur.

Hela Mehtar
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Hela are a Dalit Muslim community found in the state of Rajasthan in India. They are Muslim converts from the Hindu Hela caste.


The Hela are a community of musicians. They claim to have come from Arabia, sometime in the distant past. The Hela are found in the districts of udaipur Bundi, Kota, Tonk and Jhalawar. They speak the Hadoti dialect of Hindi. The Hela are strictly endogamous, and marry close kin.


Hela communities exist in Udaipur, Ujjain, Bundi, Dhar, and Susner. They are a landless community, and many are employed as wage labourers. Many are now employed in government sector. Traditional occupations are musicians, instrumentalists, singers and other musical trades. The Hela are well versed in ragas such as dadra and thumri, but practice many folk beliefs.

The Hela have only been reported in India
(Representative photo)
Photo Source: Copyrighted © 2021 Michael E All rights reserved. Used with permission
Send us a photo of this people group

Population : 52,000
Main Language : Hindi
Largest Religion : Hinduism (99.92%)

* From latest India census data.
Current Christian values may substantially differ.

Map Source: People Group Location: Omid. Other geography / data: GMI. Map Design: Joshua Project

Introduction / History
The Hela people of Uttar Pradesh are a landless people. Some are agricultural workers, but they are better known as scavengers, mat-weavers, and basket-weavers. In today's world some are in business, trade, and services. Most live in urban areas, especially those that live in neighboring Madhya Pradesh.

Families negotiate who will marry whom. They marry their daughters at about age 16 and their sons between 29-22. The wedding is at the bride's home, but they have a nuptial ceremony at the groom's home. They allow for divorce for either party on the grounds of adultery, maladjustment, or cruelty. Women can generate income, and they are involved with rituals and religious matters.

What Are Their Beliefs?
The Hela people are almost entirely Hindu. They worship all the Hindu deities and participate in all Hindu festivals. At Hela weddings, they worship family deities. Every family propitiates their own family and clan gods.
Profile Source: Global Prayer Digest

People Name General Hela
People Name in Country Hela
Population this Country 52,000
Population all Countries 52,000
Total Countries 1

Alternate Names Betangi; Bhangi; Bhanti; Dom; Halakhor; Haler; Hela Mehtar; Mehtar; हेला

Country India
Continent Asia


Specialized Website South Asia Peoples

Ethnolinguistic map or

Primary Language Hindi (41,000 speakers)
Total Languages 11

Bhojpuri 8,900
Bagheli 1,400
Awadhi 600



मुक्त ज्ञानकोश विकिपीडिया से
चांडाल भारत में व्यक्तियों का एक ऐसा वर्ग है, जिसे सामान्यत: जाति से बाहर तथा अछूत माना जाता है। यह एक प्राचीन अन्त्यज, नीच और बर्बर जाति है। इसे श्मशान पाल, डोम, अंतवासी, थाप, श्मशान कर्मी, अंत्यज, चांडालनी, पुक्कश, गवाशन, चूडा, दीवाकीर्ति, मातंग, श्वपच आदि नामों से भी पुकारा जाता है। भगवान गौतमबुद्ध ने सुत्तनिपात में चांडाल का जिक्र किया है।

खत्तिये ब्राह्मणे वेस्से, सुद्दे चण्डालपुक्कु से।
न कि ंचि परिवज्जेति, सब्बमेवाभिमद्दति।।

मृतुराज क्षत्रिय , ब्राह्मण, वैश्य,शूद्र और चंडाल - किसी को भी नहीं छोड़ता, सबको कुचल डालता है।

"सुत्तनिपात" में "भगवान बुद्ध" ने चांडाल वर्ण व्यवस्था की सबसे निचली पाँचवा वर्ण बताया है,
"खत्तिये ब्राह्मणे वेस्से, सुद्दे चण्डालपुक्कु से।" "न कि ंचि परिवज्जेति, सब्बमेवाभिमद्दति।।"

"मृतुराज क्षत्रिय , ब्राह्मण, वैश्य,शूद्र और चंडाल - किसी को कोभी नही छोड़ता, सबको कुचल डालता है।"
प्राचीन विधि संहिता "मनु स्मृति" के अनुसार, इस वर्ग का उदय एक ब्राह्मण महिला और एक शूद्र पुरुष के मिलाप से हुआ था। आधुनिक समय में बंगाल में कृषक, मछुआरे और नाविकों की जाति विशेष के लिए इस शब्द का उपयोग किया जाता है, वह अधिकतर नामशूद्र कहलाते हैं। कुछ विद्वानों का मत है कि नामशूद्र की उत्पत्ति बिहार की राजमहल पहाड़ियों में निवास करने वाली एक आदिम जनजाति से हुई है।

साहित्य में चांडाल का प्रयोग

चांडाल शब्द का उपयोग प्रेमचंद ने अपनी कहानी नैराश्य में इस प्रकार किया है, ""चांडाल कहीं का! उसके कारण मेरे सैंकड़ों रुपये पर पानी फिर गया।" हिन्दी समाज की लोकोक्तियों तथा कहाबतों में "चांडाल चौकड़ी" का प्रयोग काफी होता है।

इतिहास अपने आपको दोहराता है
फरीदपुर (1873) और ऊना (2016)

सन् 1873 में बंगाल के फरीदपुर जिले, जो अब बांग्लादेश में है, के चांडालों ने हड़ताल कर दी। उन्होंने मुसलमानों और हिन्दुओं की अन्य सभी जातियों के लिए काम करना बंद कर दिया। इस हड़ताल से रोज़ाना की ज़िंदगी ठप्प हो गई। तब तक किसी को यह पता ही नहीं था कि हड़ताल क्या होती है

हम अक्सर सुनते हैं कि इतिहास अपने आपको दोहराता है। हाल में ऊना, गुजरात में गोरक्षकों के विरूद्ध दलितों का आंदोलन, इस कथन की सत्यता को प्रमाणित करता है। आइए, पहले हम देखें कि इतिहास क्या है और फिर यह कि उसने अपने आपको कैसे दोहराया। सन् 1873 में बंगाल के फरीदपुर जिले, जो अब बांग्लादेश में है, के चांडालों ने हड़ताल कर दी। उन्होंने मुसलमानों और हिन्दुओं की अन्य सभी जातियों के लिए काम करना बंद कर दिया। इस हड़ताल से रोज़ाना की ज़िंदगी ठप्प पड़ गई। इस हड़ताल का प्रभाव इतना गहरा और व्यापक था कि आधिकारिक संदेशों में उसे ‘आम हड़ताल’ बताया गया। यह पूरी तरह से शांतिपूर्ण, असहयोग आंदोलन था। तब तक कोई यह जानता ही नहीं था कि हड़ताल क्या होती है (उसी दौरान बंगाल में ‘पुनर्जागरण’ का दौर चल रहा था परंतु उसके झंडाबरदारों को उनके ही आसपास बसी एक अछूत जाति के लोगों की व्यथा से कोई मतलब नहीं था। पुनर्जागरण केवल समाज के ऊपरी तबके तक सीमित था। सन 1911 में इन दुर्भाग्यशाली अछूतों का सरकारी नामकरण नामशूद्र कर दिया गया और अब यह बंगाल की सबसे बड़ी जाति है)।

हड़ताल की शुरूआत आमग्राम नामक एक गांव से हुई, जो बकरगंज (अब बारीसाल) के नज़दीक था। गांव के एक धनी और प्रभावशाली चांडाल चोरोन सपाह ने अपने पिता के श्राद्ध के अवसर पर आयोजित भोज में 10,000 लोगों को आमंत्रित किया। उन्होंने ब्राह्मणों, कायस्थों, शूद्रों आदि सभी जातियों के लोगों को निमंत्रित किया। कायस्थों ने अन्य जातियों के लोगों को चांडालों के खिलाफ भड़काया और परिणामस्वरूप उन्होंने ‘‘निमंत्रण स्वीकार करने से इंकार कर दिया और चांडालों पर खूब ताने कसे और उन्हें भला-बुरा कहा’’। उन्होंने कहा कि ‘‘क्या हम अब उन लोगों के साथ खाना खायेंगे जो अपनी महिलाओं को बाज़ार भेजते हैं और जो जेलों में मेहतर का काम करते हैं और कूड़ा-करकट व अन्य गंदगी साफ करते हैं? इसके बाद और क्या बचेगा!’’ फरीदपुर के पुलिस अधीक्षक डब्ल्यू.एस. ओवेन ने अपनी जांच में यह पाया कि ‘‘गरीब चांडालों की महिलाएं हाटों और बाज़ारों में सामान खरीदने और बेचने जाती हैं, जिसके कारण उच्च जाति के हिन्दू उनसे घृणा करते हैं और उन्हें जानवरों से थोड़ा ही बेहतर मानते हैं”।

बंगाल की जनगणना 1872 की रपट, एच बेवरले, बेंगाल सेक्रटेरिएट प्रेस, कलकत्ता पृष्ठ 26-29. चांडाल महिलाएं निःसंदेह अपने समय से आगे थीं। आज, उन वर्गों की महिलाएं, जो चांडालों से घृणा करते थे, बाज़ारों में घूमते-फिरते देखी जा सकती हैं। परंतु उस समय इस कटाक्ष ने चांडाल समुदाय के नेताओं को क्रोधित कर दिया। समुदाय के प्रधानों ने एक बैठक आयोजित कर तीन ऐतिहासिक संकल्प पारित किए।
‘‘भविष्य में चांडाल महिलाएं हाटों और बाज़ारों में नहीं जाएंगी।

किसी भी जाति को किसी भी तरह की सेवा उपलब्ध नहीं करवाई जाएगी।
ब्राह्मणों को छोड़कर अन्य किसी भी जाति के व्यक्ति द्वारा पकाया गया भोजन चांडाल नहीं खायेंगे।’’ 

सबसे पहला संकल्प चांडाल महिलाओं की गरिमा की रक्षा से संबंधित था। इस हड़ताल ने आम लोगों के लिए इतना बड़ा संकट खड़ा कर दिया कि औपनिवेशिक प्रशासन को उसका संज्ञान लेना पड़ा। 18 मार्च, 1873 को लिखे अपने पत्र में ओवेन ने इस हड़ताल के प्रभावों पर चर्चा करते हुए लिखा :

अगर दूसरे संकल्प का पालन किया गया तो कच्छ क्षेत्र में रहने वाले अन्य जातियों के लोगों को बहुत नुकसान होगा। वर्तमान में मुसलमानों और अन्य जातियों की ज़मीनों पर चांडाल ही खेती करते हैं और इसके बदले वे उत्पादित फसल का आधा भाग लेते हैं। इन ज़मीनों पर अब खेती नहीं हो सकेगी। चांडाल ही नावें बनाते हैं और उन्हें चलाते हैं। ऐसे में वे नावें, जिनके मालिक अन्य जातियों के लोग हैं, नहीं चलेंगी और व्यापार ठप्प पड़ जाएगा। खेती और घर में काम आने वाले लोहे के उपकरण सुधारने वाला कोई न होगा। इससे चांडाल और अन्य जातियों के बीच के परस्पर संबंध पूरी तरह अस्त-व्यस्त हो जाएंगे, उनके बीच शत्रुता पैदा हो जाएगी और अंततः इससे शांति भंग होने की आशंका होगी’’।

फरीदपुर जिले से शुरू हुई चांडालों की हड़ताल जल्दी ही पड़ोसी बकरगंज और जैसोर जिलों में फैल गई। परंतु हड़तालियों ने तनिक भी हिंसा नहीं की और इसके कारण शांति और व्यवस्था में कोई खलल नहीं पड़ा। फरीदपुर के जिला मजिस्ट्रेट डब्ल्यू.एस. वेल्स, जिन्हें इस हड़ताल की व्यक्तिगत रूप से जांच करने को कहा गया था, ने सरकार को लिखा ‘‘…बड़ी संख्या में हिन्दू और मुसलमान मुझसे मिले और यह शिकायत की कि चांडालों की कार्यवाही के कारण वे बरबाद हो रहे हैं’’। उन्होंने अपनी रपट में लिखा कि खेत खाली पड़े हैं, घरों की छतों को फूंस से ढंकने के लिए कोई नहीं है, एक भी चांडाल किसी भी हिन्दू या मुसलमान के लिए कोई काम करने को तैयार नहीं है और बाज़ारों में एक भी चांडाल महिला दिखाई नहीं पड़ती…’’ (पत्र क्रमांक 340, दिनांक 8 अप्रैल, 1873)। बंगाल सरकार को सतर्क करते हुए जिला मजिस्ट्रेट ने लिखा, ‘‘वे (चांडाल) हमेशा से एकताबद्ध रहे हैं और इसलिए यह आंदोलन बहुत गंभीर रूप ले सकता है’’।

इस हड़ताल की जड़ में था सरकार का उन चांडालों के साथ व्यवहार, जो किसी कारण जेलों में बंद थे। उन्हें फर्श पर झाड़ू लगाने और जेलों के शौचालय साफ करने के लिए मजबूर किया जाता था। जिला पुलिस अधीक्षक ने 22 अप्रैल, 1873 को लिखे गए अपने एक पत्र मे इसकी पुष्टि करते हुए कहा, ‘‘यह एक निंदनीय व्यवस्था है जिसे तुरंत समाप्त किया जाना चाहिए…हमारे कानून के अंतर्गत सभी मनुष्य बराबर हैं परंतु यदि केवल चांडालों को गंदे काम करने के लिए मजबूर किया जाएगा तो वे अन्य जातियों के लोगों के बराबर कैसे रह जाएंगे’’। जिला पुलिस प्रमुख ने लिखा कि चांडालों की शिकायत यह है कि, ‘‘अन्य हिन्दुओं के कहने पर सरकार, उन चांडालों को, जो जेलों में हैं, मेहतर का काम करने के लिए मजबूर करती है। उनसे जेलों का पूरा परिसर साफ करवाया जाता है और सारी गंदगी उठवाई जाती है…’’। चांडालों का कहना था कि, ‘‘जेलों में यह गंदा काम करने से ब्राह्मणों, कायस्थों, शूद्रों और मुसलमानों को छूट क्यों है?’’ यह कानून की नज़र में सबके बराबर होने के सिद्धांत का उल्लंघन था। तीन जिलों के 7,54,323 चांडालों की हड़ताल छह माह तक चली। बंगाल के लैफ्टिनेंट गवर्नर (1870-1874) सर जार्ज कैंपबेल ने इस आशय का आदेश जारी किया कि ‘‘भविष्य में जेलों में चांडालों को मेहतर का काम करने के लिए मजबूर नहीं किया जाना चाहिए…’’ (पत्र क्रमांक 523टी. दिनांक 7 जून, 1873)।

एक सदी बाद

गोरक्षों के निशाने पर मुख्यतः मुसलमान, सफाईकर्मी और चर्मकार हैं। दलितों और मुसलमानों को हाशिए पर ढकेल दिया गया है। स्वाधीनता के 70 साल बाद भी भारत उनके खिलाफ अपराधों और हिंसा को रोक नहीं सका है। उनके विरूद्ध गंभीर अपराध होने पर भी उन्हें न्याय नहीं मिलता। उन्हें अपनी मुक्ति के लिए एक राजनैतिक एजेंडे की तलाश है। दलित और आदिवासी, भारत की जनसंख्या का 23 प्रतिशत हैं परंतु उन्हें हिन्दू उच्च जातियां न तो उनके साथ न्याय कर रही हैं और ना ही उन्हें गरिमापूर्ण जीवन जीने का अधिकार दे रही हैं। हिन्दू उच्च जातियों का कार्यपालिका, न्यायपालिका और विधायिका में वर्चस्व है। मुसलमानों की आबादी, दलितों और आदिवासियों से भी कम है। वे देश की आबादी का मात्र 14 प्रतिशत हैं। उनकी स्थिति और खराब है। दलित यदि मरे हुए पशुओं को ठिकाने लगाना, सड़कें साफ करना और सार्वजनिक स्थानों से कचरा उठाना बंद कर दें तो वे अपनी आवाज़ पूरे देश और पूरी दुनिया तक पहुंचा सकते हैं। दलितों, मुसलमानों और आदिवासियों को यह समझना होगा कि अगर वे एक हो गए तो उन्हें उनके अधिकार मिलते देर नहीं लगेगी। भारत का प्रजातंत्र उनकी मुक्ति में सहायक बन सकता है।

By A.K. Biswas एके विस्वास

इतिहास हमें बताता है कि समाज सुधार आंदोलन और सामाजिक न्याय के संघर्ष, एक दूसरे के पूरक नहीं होते बल्कि वे परस्पर-विरोधी और असंगत होते हैं। औपनिवेशिक बंगाल में 19वीं और 20वीं सदी में सामाजिक सुधार और सामाजिक न्याय के आंदोलन एक-दूसरे के समानांतर चले। जहां सामाजिक सुधार आंदोलन का उद्देश्य ऊँची जातियों के घिसे-पिटे दकियानूसी कर्मकांडों और परंपराओं जैसे सती, बहुपत्नी प्रथा, भारी-भरकम दहेज़, बाल-विवाह, बच्चों को गंगा सागर में फेंकना, अंतरजली यात्रा इत्यादि को उखाड़ फेंकना था, वहीं सामाजिक न्याय आंदोलन का लक्ष्य अशिक्षा का नाश और समाज के निचले वर्गों में मानवीय गरिमा की अलख जगाना था। जहां सामाजिक सुधार आंदोलनों की भारतीय इतिहासविदों ने भूरी-भूरी प्रशंसा की, वहीं सामाजिक न्याय आंदोलन को इतिहास के अंधेरे में गुम हो जाने दिया।

बंगाली बौद्धिक वर्ग, पश्चिमी शिक्षा प्राप्त करने और उदारवादी मानवीय मूल्यों, विज्ञान के सिद्धांतों और आधुनिक ज्ञान से परिचित होने के बावजूद, जाति की बेडिय़ों में जकड़ा हुआ था। 20वीं सदी के पूर्वाद्ध का एक दस्तावेज यह बतलाता है कि ब्राह्मण और अन्य ऊँची जातियां, पूर्वी बंगाल (अब बांग्लादेश) की सबसे बड़ी हिंदू जाति चांडाल के बारे में क्या सोचते थे: “(1) चांडाल गांवों के बाहर रहते हैं; (2) कुत्ते और गधे उनकी संपत्ति हैं; (3) वे शवों से उतारे गए चिथड़े पहनते हैं; (4) वे आवारा होते हैं; (5) उनका मुख्य पेशा शवों को जलाना है; (6) वे राजा के आदेश पर अपराधियों को फांसी पर चढ़ाते हैं; व (7) वे अछूत हैं।” अपने एक लेख में, बंकिमचंद्र चटर्जी ने बंगाल के चांडालों के बारे में मनु के दकियानूसी विचारों को उचित ठहराया था। चांडाल, बंगाल के सामाजिक न्याय आंदोलन के अगुवा थे।

पहली ‘आम हड़ताल’

ऊँची जातियों के दमनचक्र और शोषण ने चांडालों को उन्हें सताने वालों के खिलाफ आवाज़ उठाने के लिए प्रेरित किया। फरीदपुर के जिला मजिस्ट्रेट सीए कैली ने 8 अप्रैल, 1873 को ढाका के संभागीय आयुक्त को चिट्ठी लिखकर सूचित किया कि उस साल चांडालों ने ”जिले में आम हड़ताल की और यह निर्णय किया कि वे उच्च वर्ग के किसी भी सदस्य की किसी भी हैसियत से सेवा नहीं करेंगे, जब तक कि उन्हें हिंदू जातियों में उससे बेहतर स्थान प्राप्त न हो जाए, जो उन्हें वर्तमान में प्राप्त है।”

मील का पत्थर

सन 1881 में खुलना जिले के दत्ताडंगा में अखिल-बंगाल नामशूद्र सम्मेलन हुआ। पूरे बंगाल से हजारों नामशूद्रों ने इस सम्मेलन में भाग लिया। सम्मेलन की अध्यक्षता गुरूचंद ठाकुर ने की। इस सम्मेलन में शिक्षा के संबंध में जो संकल्प पारित किए गए, वे सामाजिक उत्थान की राह में मील के पत्थर साबित हुए। इसके बाद से, हर वर्ष सामाजिक और शैक्षणिक मुद्दों पर विचार-विनिमय के लिए अलग-अलग जिलों में नामशूद्र सम्मेलनों का आयोजन शुरू हो गया। हर नामशूद्र गांव में एक समिति गठित की गई। पंद्रह ग्रामीण समितियों का एक संकुल बनाया गया और हर जिले में जिला समिति का गठन हुआ। ग्रामीण, संकुल व जिला समितियों को यह अधिकार दिया गया कि वे ”नामशूद्र अंशदान कोष” के लिए चंदा इकट्ठा कर सकें। हर परिवार अपना भोजन शुरू करने के पहले मुट्ठीभर चावल अलग रख देता था, जो गांव की समिति को जाता था। गांव की समिति का हर सदस्य एक आना प्रतिमास का चंदा देता था, संकुल समिति के सदस्य दो आने और जिला समिति के सदस्य चार आने प्रतिमास चंदे के रूप में देते थे। श्राद्ध, विवाह और अन्य मौकों पर होने वाले खर्च का तीन प्रतिशत इस कोष में दान दिया जाता था। जो परिवार अपने 20 साल से कम उम्र के लड़कों या 10 साल से कम उम्र की लड़कियों का विवाह करते थे, उन्हें जात बाहर कर दिया जाता था।

शनै: शनै: ओराकंडी, नामशूद्र आंदोलन का केंद्र बन गया। गुरूचंद ठाकुर के उत्साही नेतृत्व में नामशूद्रों की बड़ी आबादी वाले क्षेत्रों में सैंकड़ों प्राथमिक स्कूल खोले गए। जब भी कोई नामशूद्र, गुरूचंद से मिलकर मातुआ पंथ में शामिल होने की इच्छा व्यक्त करता था, वे उसे यह सलाह देते थे कि वह अपने गांव में एक स्कूल शुरू करे। स्वच्छता भी उनकी प्राथमिकताओं में से एक थी और वे उनसे मिलने वाले लोगों से कहा करते थे कि सभी को अपने घरों में शौचालयों का निर्माण करना चाहिए।

सन 1908 में फरीदपुर के ओराकंडी गांव में अंग्रेज़ी माध्यम का पहला हाईस्कूल स्थापित हुआ। मुसलमानों और पिछड़े वर्गों की महत्वाकांक्षाओं को ध्यान में रखते हुए, पूर्वी बंगाल व असम के गवर्नर ने ”द प्रपोर्शनल रिप्रजेंटेशन ऑफ कम्युनिटीज इन पब्लिक एम्प्लाएमेंट एक्ट” (सार्वजनिक नियोजन में आनुपातिक सामुदायिक प्रतिनिधित्व अधिनियम) लागू किया। इसी साल, कुमुद बिहारी मल्लिक, बंगाल के पहले नामशूद्र व अछूत डिप्टी मजिस्ट्रेट बने। कैथरीन मेयो ने अपनी पुस्तक ‘मदर इंडिया’ (1927) में लिखा कि तत्समय लगभग 4,900 नामशूद्र लड़के मैट्रिक पास करने के लिए अध्ययनरत थे और 200 स्नातक बन चुके थे। कलकत्ता में उच्च शिक्षा प्राप्त करने के लिए जब नामशूद्रों ने होस्टलों में स्थान प्राप्त करने का प्रयास किया तो उनका ‘अछूत’ का दर्जा इसके आड़े आने लगा। नामशूद्रों के प्रतिनिधिमंडल ने कलकत्ता विश्वविद्यालय के कुलपति से मिलकर इस समस्या के बारे में उन्हें बताया। इसके बाद, 1917 में विश्वविद्यालय ने शहर में अछूतों के होस्टल के लिए एक अलग भवन किराए पर लिया।

सन 1885 में पुन्चनन बिस्वास नामक एक नामशूद्र को आस्ट्रेलिया भेजा गया, जहां उन्होंने साऊथ आस्ट्रेलियन बैप्टिस्ट मिशन के पदाधिकारियों से मिलकर यह अनुरोध किया कि वे पांच महिला मिशनरियों को पूर्वी बंगाल भेजें ताकि अछूत ग्रामीण महिलाओं को शिक्षित किया जा सके। पांच मिशनरी सिस्टर्स पूर्वी बंगाल पहुंचीं और उन्होंने इन वंचित महिलाओं को शिक्षित करने के लिए अपना जीवन समर्पित कर दिया। मीड की पत्नी और उनकी लड़कियां पहले से ही फरीदपुर में थीं।

चांडाल से नामशूद्र

1901 से कई जातियों ने बंगाल सरकार को अभ्यावेदन देकर यह अनुरोध किया कि उनकी जाति का नाम बदला जाए और उन्हें जाति पदानुक्रम में बेहतर स्थान दिया जाए। सन 1911 तक इस तरह के आवेदनों के ढेर का वजऩ करीब 57 किलो हो चुका था। बाभन (जो अब अपने आपको भूमिहार कहते हैं), ब्रह्मर्षि ब्राह्मण कहलाना चाहते थे, बंगाली कायस्थों का मानना था कि उन्हें क्षत्रिय का दर्जा मिलना चाहिए और बैद्य, ब्राह्मण कहलाना चाहते थे। इन सभी मांगों को सरकार ने खारिज कर दिया। केवल दो अभ्यावेदनों – चांडालों द्वारा अपने को नामशूद्र कहलाने और काईबरता द्वारा महिष्य के रूप में पुन: नामकरण – की मांगें स्वीकार की गईं। चांडालों ने अपनी इस मांग को स्वीकार करवाने के लिए बहुत प्रयास किया था। प्रेसीडेन्सी संभाग के आयुक्त एफबी पीकॉक ने अपने एक पत्र (क्रम संख्या 87, दिनांक 18 जुलाई, 1881) में लिखा ”चांडाल, जो यहां (जैसोर जिले के नारेल अनुभाग) के सबसे बड़े कृषक समुदाय हैं, की स्थिति में सुधार होने के कारण वे अब हिंदू जाति व्यवस्था में बेहतर दर्जा चाहते हैं। वे स्वयं को नामशूद्र कहते हैं और अपने आप को वैश्य बताते हैं।”

जोगेंद्र नाथ मंडल पाकिस्तान के कॉस्टीट्यूएंट असेंबली के पहले अध्यक्ष थे, दूसरी तस्वीर में वे असेंबली को संबोधित करते दिख रहे है

सन 1905 में, बंगाल के राजनैतिक और सामाजिक नेताओं ने लार्ड कर्जन द्वारा प्रशासनिक सुविधा के लिए बंगाल को पूर्वी व पश्चिमी बंगाल में विभाजित करने के निर्णय के विरूद्ध आंदोलन शुरू किया। इस आंदोलन के एक बड़े नेता सर सुरेन्द्रनाथ बेनर्जी ने 58 वर्षीय गुरूचंद ठाकुर और उनके अनुयायियों का समर्थन मांगा। गुरूचंद ने एक मार्मिक पत्र लिखकर बेनर्जी से कहा: ”नामशूद्र बहुत गरीब हैं। वे किसी प्रकार के ऐश्वर्य का भोग नहीं करते और ना ही वे जानते हैं कि ऐश्वर्य क्या होता है। सस्ता आयातित कपड़ा वह एकमात्र विदेशी सामान है, जिसका वे इस्तेमाल करते हैं। आयातित सामान का इस्तेमाल करने की आदत तो ऊँची जातियों की है। इसलिए यह आंदोलन (बहिष्कार) केवल ऊँची जातियों तक सीमित रहना चाहिए। नामशूद्रों को अब तक कोई राजनीतिक अधिकार प्राप्त नहीं है, वे दमित हैं और उनका उनकी ही धरती पर अत्यंत क्रूरतापूर्वक शोषण किया जा रहा है। ऊँची जातियों के हिंदू उन्हें किसी भी प्रकार के राजनैतिक अधिकार दिए जाने के सख्त खिलाफ हैं। इसलिए, जब तक वे नीची जातियों के प्रति बंधुत्व का भाव नहीं रखेंगे, तब तक नीची जातियां उच्च जातियों के हिंदुओं द्वारा अंग्रेजों के खिलाफ चलाए जा रहे किसी भी आंदोलन में भाग नहीं लेंगी।”

रबीन्द्रनाथ टैगोर ने मैमनसिंह में 1925 में आयोजित नामशूद्रों के वार्षिक सम्मेलन में भाग लिया था। हिंदू बौद्धिक वर्ग ने जानते-बूझते इस तथ्य को दबा दिया।

नामशूद्र समुदाय ने साईमन आयोग के समक्ष दो ज्ञापन प्रस्तुत किए। फरवरी 1928 में ”अखिल बंगाल दमित वर्ग संगठन” ने भी आयोग के समक्ष ज्ञापन प्रस्तुत किया और नामशूद्र समुदाय द्वारा प्रस्तुत ज्ञापनों को अंगीकार करते हुए कहा कि ये ज्ञापन भी उसके हितों का प्रतिनिधित्व करते हैं। इन दोनों संगठनों के नौ नेताओं ने संयुक्त रूप से आयोग के समक्ष 29 जुलाई, 1929 को कलकत्ता में अपना पक्ष प्रस्तुत किया। इस प्रस्तुतिकरण का अभिलेख उपलब्ध है। प्रतिनिधियों ने बंगाल के सामाजिक-आर्थिक व सांस्कृतिक यथार्थ से कमीशन को परिचित करवाया और अपनी महत्वाकांक्षाओं का वर्णन किया। उनकी एक मांग यह थी कि ”विभिन्न समुदायों के योग्य उम्मीदवारों को आबादी में उनके अनुपात में नियुक्तियां दी जानी चाहिए।” उन्होंने यह भी कहा कि ”जब तक कि सरकारी सेवाओं में पहले से ही जमे लोगों की संख्या उनके बराबर न हो जाए” तब तक केवल मुसलमानों सहित दमित वर्गों के उम्मीदवारों की नियुक्तियां की जानी चाहिए। उनका उद्देश्य प्रशासन में भद्रलोक के एकाधिकार को समाप्त करना था। उन्होंने कहा कि एक बहुत छोटे अल्पसंख्यक वर्ग का न्यायपालिका पर वर्चस्व, देश के लिए अभिशाप है और यह प्रस्ताव किया कि केंद्रीय व राज्य सरकारों में नियुक्तियों के लिए सेवा आयोगों की स्थापना की जाए। उन्होंने कहा कि केंद्रीय आयोग का अध्यक्ष गवर्नर जनरल की कार्यकारी परिषद का कोई यूरोपियन सदस्य होना चाहिए और राज्य सेवा आयोगों के अध्यक्ष, गवर्नर की कार्यपरिषद का यूरोपीय सदस्य। इस प्रकार उन्होंने यह साफ कर दिया कि उन्हें ऊँची जातियों के भारतीयों पर कतई भरोसा नहीं है। वे चाहते थे कि देश में ”नि:शुल्क व अनिवार्य प्राथमिक शिक्षा” व्यवस्था लागू की जानी चाहिए। भद्रलोक को कटघरे में खड़ा करते हुए दमित वर्गों के नेताओं ने कहा कि ऊँची जातियां ऐसा व्यवहार करती हैं मानो वे ”भारतीय जनता की दिव्य संरक्षक” हैं।

सन 1946 में डॉ. बीआर आंबेडकर का संविधानसभा के सदस्य के रूप में बंगाल से चुनाव, बंगाली अछूतों के प्रतिनिधियों जैसे जोगेन्द्रनाथ मंडल, मुकुन्दबिहारी मल्लिक, द्वारिकानाथ बरूई, नागेन्द्र नाथ राय व क्षेत्रनाथ सिंह की राजनीतिक परिपक्वता और दूरदृष्टि का उदाहरण था। ये सभी लोग फरीदपुर, जैसोर, खुलना और बारीसाल जिलों से थे। बंगाली दलितों को यह संदेह है कि डॉ. आंबेडकर को संविधानसभा के सदस्य के रूप में निर्वाचित करने की सज़ा स्वरूप ही नामशूद्रों की बड़ी आबादी वाले इन जिलों को पाकिस्तान का हिस्सा बना दिया गया। इन अछूतों की पर्दे के पीछे से संविधान निर्माण में भूमिका को मान्यता मिलना बाकी है।

(Courtsey : फारवर्ड प्रेस के फरवरी, 2016 अंक में प्रकाशित )

A Chandal’s Rage

How a peaceful strike by Dalits paralysed life in Bengal
A striking Dalit near Ahmedabad

History does repeat itself. In 1873, the Chandals of Bengal, who in 1911 were officially redesignated as Namasudra, called for a strike in Faridpur district, now in Bangladesh, refusing to work for other Hindus and Muslims. It is vividly detailed in a book published in 2015 by West Bengal’s Department of Backward Classes—The 1873 Movement For Dignity and Equality Before Law. The strike brought normal life to a standstill. Significantly, this was when Bengal was witnessing a ‘renaissance’, which was quite unmindful of the sufferings of untouchables.

It all began in Amgram village, where a rich Chandal, Choron Sapah, invited 10,000 men to a feast as part of his father’s shraddh ceremony. He invited people of all castes, including Brahmins and Kayasthas. The Kaya­sthas reportedly instigated others, and they “refused to accept the invitation, couching their refusal with taunts and rep­roaches”. “Eat with men who permit their women to go to the market and who are employed as mehtars in jails for removing filth and everything unclean? What next!” was the refrain.

This was reported after an inq­­u­iry conducted by the superintendent of police W.L. Owen. He noted, “The women of the poorer Chandals attend hauts and bazars for buying and selling purposes, on which account they have been despised by Hindus of the higher caste, who consider them only little better than beasts....” The insult of their women did not go down well with Chandal community leaders. The aggrieved Cha­n­dal leaders, therefore, adopted in a meeting three mom­entous resolutions: One, Chandal women must not in future visit hauts (haats) and bazaars. Two, Chandal men and women would not join any ‘service’ with other castes, and thirdly, food prepared by any caste other than Brahmins would not be partaken.

The strike drew the attention of the colonial administration. In a letter on March 18, 1873, Owen speculated on the impact: “If the second resolution is literally carried out, much injury will be sustained by other castes...at present fields belonging to Mohammedans and other castes are cultivated by Chandals...; these would remain untilled. Boats are built and manned by Chandals; those belonging to other castes would cease to ply and trade will be paralysed. Agricultural and domestic tools of iron would not be repaired....”

The Faridpur Chandal strike was joined by their caste brothers of adjoining Buckergunge (now Barisal) and Jessore districts. But the strikers did not resort to violence; peace and order remained undisturbed.

The district magistrate of Faridpur, W.S. Wells, repo­rted to the government that “a large body of Hindus and Mahommedans came up to complain to me of the ruinous effects arising out of the action of the Chandals.” He recorded that the fields remained untilled, houses unth­atched and not a Chandal was in the service of any Hindu or Musliman....” The magistrate warned that “they (Chandals) have always been united and this movement may become very serious”.

At its root was the government compelling Chandal prisoners to work as sweepers and clean prison toilets. The district offi­cer in a letter on April 22, 1873, admitted, “It is a most humiliating reproach, which should be removed.... Under our law men are equal, but Chandals have no such equality if they alone are obliged to perform the most degrading duties.”

The Chandals asked: “Why were Brahmins, Kay­asthas, Sudras and Mussulmans exempted from the dirty work in jails?” The strike of 7,54,323 Chandals in three districts continued for six months. Lieutenant-governor of Bengal Sir George Campbell issued orders to the effect that “the Chandals in jail should not be forced to do the work of sweepers....” (vide letter no. 523T, June 7, 1873).

Dalits and tribal communities form over 23 per cent of India’s population, though they are denied justice and dignity by Hindu elite castes. Their refusal to dispose carcasses and clean streets is a potential nightmare. Together, this makes a formidable force that promises the road for their emancipation.

(The author, a retired IAS officer, is former vice-chancellor, Ambedkar University, Muzaffarpur)

Slide Show

This first totally non-violent strike in 1873 is barely recognised in historiography. Gandhi was an infant then, and Tolstoy’s writings on non-violence, which so influenced him, came out only in 1896.

Who are the Chandals?
The caste Chandal is considered to be the lowest and untouchable. There is no unanimity about the origin and the exact meaning of the word ‘Chandal.’ In ‘Manusmruti’ three kinds of ‘Chandals’ are described, however in the ‘Scriptures’ they are taken to be of five kinds (Somawanshi B.C. 1989: 27).

1) The offsprings of ‘Shudra’ father and ‘Brahmin’ mother are Chandal.
2) The child born to unmarried lady is Chandal.
3) The child born to the blood related couple is Chandal.
4) The children born to the one who initially accepted ascetic way of life and then entered into the ‘Grahasthashram’ is Chandal.
5) The child born to a Barber father and Brahmin mother is Chandal.

Apart from the above five origins of ‘Chandal’ in ‘Shudra Kamalakar’ vaidaesh man and ‘Ambashta’ lady produce Chandal. Out of the five origins of ‘Chandal’ Gautam, Vashistna, Boddhayan and Manu have agreed upon the first kind. If one has to peep into this question of, who is Chandal, one has to take into acccount the above points that have been suggested in the ‘Smritis’ and religious scriptures because at many places, the ‘Matangs’ have been called ‘Chandals.’ ‘Shambuk’ in Ramayana was a ‘Chandal’ and a ‘Matang.’ Lord Krishna had married ‘Jambavati’ who was a non-aryan lady, not only this but she was a ‘Chandal’ too. We find a reference that the ‘Matangs’ were born in ‘chandal’ ‘kul’ (clan). In ancient country ‘Kishkindha’ was on the bank of river ‘Tungbhadra’ where Mangs, use to inhabit. In Ramayana those are counted among the monkies because the word Mang means monkey in Kannada. This leads one to think that the ‘Mangs’ were belonging to ‘Chandal’ clan. In a Sootnipat pali literature the word ‘Chandal’ and ‘Matang’ have been used as alternate to each other. According to B.C. Somawanshi ‘Chandal’ is ‘Matang’. However, the real meaning of ‘Chandal’ remains unravelled.

Whether it refers to illicit children, caste, race or country?
If we believe in the origin of the word ‘Chandal’ as per the religious scriptures and ‘Manusmriti,’ then Sant Gyaneshwar, Sant Sopan, Sant Muktabai, Sant Nivruti all of them would be ‘Chandals,’ however, they were not the Matangs. If we believe in the second ‘Karna’ in Mahabharata becomes ‘Chandal’ but he was not a Matang which means according to ‘Smriti’ a person or the whole family can be a ‘Chandal’. How can a ethnic group or a caste be a ‘Chandal’? Manu has mentioned that the ‘Chandals’ should live on the outskirts of village or town. They are not supposed to be the part of village or town, however, we see the other castes like Mahar,

Chambhar, Dhor, Bhangi etc. too live on the outskirts of the village or town, even the nomadic tribes also live in the same fashion, then the question arises as to why is it then the word ‘Chandal’ used for Matangs alone? Are the houses of the ‘Chandals’ defined by ‘Dharmashastra’ on the outskirts of the village or town? It is unbelivable that all the ethnic groups who lived on the outskirts of village were called Chandals. It does not make clear sense whether ‘chandal’ is a caste, occupation or race? The question remains ‘who are the Chandals?’ Vitthal Ramji Shinde’s assertion is that, the ‘Chandal’ was an ancient nation seem to be more appropriate.Chand, Mund and Gond were the Monghal countries. The word ‘Aal’ was suffixed to it and chand became ‘Chandal’, Maung became Maungal. ‘Aal’ is a Dravid word which meant ‘country’ or nation (Shinde V. R., 1976: 112).

In sanskrit ‘Chand’ ¼paM½ means an act of great courage. Even we find similar kind of words like ‘Chand’, Chundi, ‘chamundi’ for daities in ‘purana.’ Even that asserts chandal, mundal must be the very ancient countries but in course of time due to political turmoils these countries must have been vanished (Shinde V. R., 1976: 113).

Apart from this in Krishna Yajurveda, Kshatriya, Brahmin Third Kand the reference to the countries of chandal and poulkas is made. This means Chandal is not the name of any one caste, creed or race but it is the country. In Ramayana, Shambuk is Matang chandal which means he belonged to Chandal country. Lord Krishna’s beloved wife Jambuwati was not of chandal caste but of that country. The people of ‘Kishkindha’ city on the banks of river Tungbhadra were not of chandal race but, they all belonged to the Chandal country. In short the word chandal refers to the country, the country of brave people that is the Mangs. They had many provinces and the name ‘Chandal’ is one of the name of their provinces.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Namasudra, also known as Namassej or Namassut, is an Indian avarna community originating from certain regions of Bengal, India. The community was earlier known as Chandala or Chandal, a term usually considered as a slur. They were traditionally engaged in cultivation and as boatmen. They lived outside the four-tier ritual varnasystem and thus were outcastes.


There is a dearth of discussion as to the etymology of the word namasudra in pre-nineteenth-century Bengali literature and its period of origin is also undetermined. Several theories have been suggested but there is no broad consensus supporting any of them. Śekhara Bandyopādhyāẏa agrees with a Namasudra commentator that namasudra probably means "best among the Sudras, who were paid obeisance to".


The Namasudra community was earlier known as Chandala or Chandal, a term usually considered as a slur. They lived outside the four-tier ritual varna system and thus were outcastes and untouchables in the eyes of the Hindu community.

The community was traditionally engaged in fishing and as boatmen, in the marshy swamps of their native lands. Over the years, as the wetlands were reclaimed for agricultural purposes, they turned to peasant agriculture as a major occupation. Their economic condition was quite poor and rates of indebtedness quite high.

Colonial ethnography

Colonial ethnographers such as Herbert Hope Risley believed that the Chandals of their time were related to a tribe of the same name that existed in the Vedic Period. However, modern research disputes their opinion for a variety of reasons, including that the main habitat of the modern community in Eastern Bengal was largely outside the core region of Brahmanical civilisation, that regional texts did not refer to them as untouchables and indeed nor was untouchability rigidly practiced in Bengal. Furthermore, the modern community does not occupy the extreme lowest tier of the society, unlike the historical tribe, and their social status varied widely from region to region, especially with regard to their material wealth.

The more modern community comprises around twelve endogamous sub-castes, most of whom were derived from the occupational traits of the members and was entitled to differential social-status.[9] But the colonial ethnographers choose to coalesce several such low-ranking occupational sub-castes into one caste, without taking the regional variations into account and assigned a fixed social rank to of all Namasudra-Chandals, (something which Bernard Cohn later described as the "objectification" of colonial culture) and falsely stereotyped the entire community as universally despised.

Overall, the term Chandal was a generic term that was initially used to refer to broad groups of people belonging to diverse endogamous communities of similarly-despised social position but which later transformed into a caste name and was soon synomously used with the Namasudras.

Other views

Niharranjan Ray, a historian, believed that they have a closer relation with north Indian Brahmins, saying "they are of the same line as the Brahmans of north India; indeed there is a closer relation between the north Indian Brahmans and the Bengali Namahsudras than between the north Indian Brahmans and the Bengali Brahmans, Kayasthas and Vaidyas."

Identity movement

Transition to Namasudras

The creation of a single caste-cluster led to the beginning of the Namasudra Movement. It emphasised the commonality of low social status and that of being subject to oppression, among all the sub-castes and impressed upon them to stand up to the social authority of the high caste bhadraloks, a perceived common enemy, who were largely responsible for their poor conditions.

Libertarian social influences that were prevalent in the region across the eighteenth and nineteenth century are believed to have imparted a major impetus to the Namasudras, against social oppression. Islam followed by Christianity (which was widely prevalent in the Namasudra-belts, courtesy the missionaries) was majorly responsible for granting them a newer dimension of self-respect. The non-orthodox variants of the Bhakti movement, that aligned with the Sahajiya tradition and sought to encompass the downtrodden sections into the society, also catalysed the Namasudras, as a guiding faith.

Various local socio-religious figureheads (Kalachand Vidyalankar, Sahlal Pir, Keshab Pagal et al), who sought to repudiate the caste system, further impressed upon large sections of the Namasudra population.

The Namasudras, thus, successfully strived to carve out an autonomous niche in the social fabric of Bengal, where the distinction of caste was obliterated but that none from the Hindu bhadralok community did identify themselves with those sects, they were branded as exotic and subsequently came to be rejected by other sections of the society.

In the 1870s, the Chandals of Bakarganj and Faridpur started a boycott of caste Hindus, (apart from Brahmins), as a form of social-protest, when their higher caste neighbors refused to accept an invitation to dine from a Chandal headman. They passed a resolution that also called for prohibition against default-employment of Chandals in menial duties in state-jails and together, the call for boycott was spread in the name of an order from the government.Further that, any Chandal who did not abide by it was threatened with intra-community ostracism, the movement gained huge support across a wide region.

This first rebellion in the community in a bid to redefine the local power structure failed to garner much because the poorer Chandals had to return to their previous employers after a few months, often agreeing to more harrowing work conditions. The social discrimination continued. Joya Chatterjee says that henceforth they "battled continuously to improve their ritual position" in society and later claimed the "more respectable title of 'Namasudra' and Brahmin status".

It was within this context, that they underwent a transition from the Chandala to Namasudra identity. In 1891, the term Namasudras was recorded in the official census as a synonym for the Chandala(s) and by 1900, it had assumed immense social recognition, as people of the community clung to the new identity and tried to distance themselves from the imagery of the Chandals. In the very-initial stages, the elimination of differences across various sub-castes and the creation of lateral solidarity was one of the primary goals of the movement.Gradually, by the late nineteenth century, they came to constitute an organised middle peasantry community, with definite leaders and goals. These movements helped them seek upward mobility by infusing a sense of self-respect. They gradually demanded elevated social status, including a right of entry to Kayastha-organised pujas and a two-third share of the crops grown. They began to refuse to work for lower-caste Hindu and Muslim landlords and also boycotted the upper caste Hindus. Overall, Śekhara Bandyopādhyāẏa has noted a distinct theme of sanskritisation in the dynamics of the caste.

Meanwhile, the Matua sect, which was established by Harichand Thakur in the late nineteenth century among the community in the eastern India (and later organised by his son) played a major role in bringing cohesion to the Namasudra community, in terms of faith. Born to a devout Vaishnava family, he gained initial reputation as a spiritual healer and later claimed to be a reincarnation of God, with a duty to ensure salvation of the downtrodden] A cult was gradually developed, which opposed the idea of social hierarchy along with several other Hindu religio-cultural aspects (Gurubad, mantras, idol-worship etc.) and the spiritual aspects of Vedanta philosophy. Instead, a theme of social equality denouncing untouchability and gender discrimination was put forward. The devotional songs, that were sung in form of Kirtans and namgaan, also helped to collectively reinforce a common congregational identity among themselves.

Whilst the sect did play an important role in organising and propagating the social protests, the efforts to entirely subvert the Hindu society failed and the broader community soon returned to the theme of sanskritisation, whilst still ascribing to the other ideals of the sect.

Freedom movement

In colonial Bengal, the Namasudras constituted the second largest Hindu caste. Their interests differed from those pursuing nationalist politics against the British Raj from the time of the Swadeshi period (1905–11) and thus they did not participate much in that movement. That it was heralded by politicians from the high-caste bhadralok community, who cared little for the lower classes, further broadened the gaps.

In July 1905, the British government validated a proposal for partitioning Bengal along religious lines. Whilst the Congress protested this and asked for a total boycott of foreign goods, the Namasudras thought differently. A series of resolutions by community leaders and multiple submissions to British authorities during 1906 affirmed their complete support for the partition scheme, through which they hoped to obtain equal rights in the proposed eastern state where they, along with Muslims, dominated the populace. It was on this issue that the bhadralok politicians of Bengal faced the first resistance from a community previously insignificant in the broader polity of the nation.

Swadeshi leaders reacted by touring extensively in the Namasudra areas, trying to persuade them to join the agitation and, if that failed, bribing, intimidating and coercing them by such means as constructing schools. But the community leaders, including Guruchand, were steadfast against supporting a political movement that supposedly catered to the interests of the upper class and had no plan of social reform.

The colonial government often provided extensive economic patronage and took steps in reforming their social condition by constructing educational hostels, exclusive-schools et al. which penetrated deep down the community.This was in contrary to the nationalists who were too apathetic to these causes and seldom helped them, in their times of distress.

The Namasudras thus rejected the nationalist politics and instead, along with other untouchable castes continued their independent social movement that increasingly self-asserted their independence from the upper castes and threatened to distort the Hindu-societal-structure.Subsequently, the nationalists sought to align themselves, at-least orally, with the cause of depressed classes.

Post-arrival of Gandhiji in the political landscape, as nationalist politics choose to encompass the entire populace of the nation and gradually transcended into mass-movements, parties started extensive lobbying for the causes of the Namasudra.

This was first visible in 1913, as to the setting up a hostel for the students from Namasudra community in Kolkata, who faced immense hardship in securing lodging facilities. Ironically, whilst it was the extensive nationalist lobbying throughout the years that persuaded the colonial government to implement the proposal in 1918, the colonial government took advantage of the ignorance of the general masses as to the proceedings that happened behind the door and usurped an image of benevolence.This further drifted the community away from nationalist causes.
The same events happened in another case, when the Depressed Classes Missio
n, (which worked for nationalist causes) and ran about 60 schools in different parts of Bengal, for the Namasudra community and other backward classes was gradually inculcated as an agency of the colonial government, after it applied for a government grant to overcome fund shortage. The Namasudra community was unaware of these institutional developments and all the good work that was done by the Mission, was attributed to the colonial government.

The Namsudras maintained a more aggressive anti-nationalist stance during the Home-rule Movement.They saw the movement as a plan, hatched among the upper-caste leaders, to snatch the minimal levels of power that has been assigned to them by the colonial government and claimed the Congress leaders to be a small band of vociferous people from organised castes, without any touch to reality.

A meeting of Namasudra delegates, who were supposedly elected, in a democratic manner from different regions of Bengal, passed a resolution that the community would be loyal to the crown and that it supported Montague-Chelmsford reforms, in the sense that further distribution of powers would re-concentrate power in a few hands and would not lead to any progress for the backward castes. The nationalists promised the establishment of equality, democracy and reforms in the new home-ruled-state but failed to instill any confidence within the community.

At the 1917 session of Congress, a resolution was passed that emphasised "the necessity, justice and righteousness of removing all disabilities imposed by custom on the Depressed Classes"> One Namasudra delegate was convinced to support the demand for Home-Rule but the community generally was not swayed by mere symbolic actions and the delegate was subsequently criticised as a Congress stooge.

Even in the 1920s when mass-nationalism affected the entire country and Gandhi extensively campaigned to include the lower strata of society in the Congress fold, Namasudra-dominated districts were mostly unaffected. The leaders of the movement steadfastly rejected whiffs of nationalism, which they believed to be another tool designed for the interests of wealthy upper-caste Bhadraloks. Resolutions were again passed that supported the British confederacy and in some places the Namasudras actively helped the colonial government to foil Congress.

The colonial government further satisfied the community, as it introduced reservation(s) for the lower-classes in provincial services, thus providing employment opportunities and vouched for a proper representation of them. The Government of India Act of 1919 provided for the inclusion of a depressed classes representative among the nominated non-official members of the Bengal Legislative Council. Meanwhile, Congress hardly invested any ground efforts, other than at verbal lobbying and behind-the-scenes work and much of their work were horribly ill-timed.In the Khulna famine of 1920, whilst the colonial government sought to mobilize relief, the Congress went on to continue the Non-cooperation at full zeal and was blamed for increasing the fatalities.

The Bengal Namasudra Conference in 1922 and 1923 further heightened the anti-nationalist stance and planned a definite agenda that encompassed both social and political upliftment of the community.Whilst, Gandhi attracted some admirers due to his social stances, his views offered no political aspirations for the leaders, which were an easy way to status and wealth.There was a considerable majority in the first conference that supported the nationalist causes including widow-remarriage and boycott of foreign goods, managing to bring the proceedings to a halt but had trickled down to a negligible minority, in the second.

But, as the elections took place in 1923, the Namasudra leadership was found to be much less efficient as to mobilizing the average voters to partake in modern-day-politics. Subsequently, they lost all the seats, even in the electorates where the Namasudras heavily dominated the numbers.This was also attributed to the developments of fissures in the movement, that was extremely united thus far, when two famed Namasudra leaders switched loyalties to the Swaraj Party and a division began to form along nationalist lines.

The steadfast attitude towards nationalism, throughout the years, that owed more to the need of a voice of protest against the oppressive higher castes than to the benefits provided by the British government, was crumbling down gradually and fissures were beginning to develop.

The Hindu solidarity soon followed in realizing that the alienation of lower-castes might hamper its plans of offering a united opposition against the British and the Muslims, as conversions became abundant and threatened to dwindle the numbers of Hindus. Subsequently, the All India Hindu Mahasabha, Bharat Sevasram Sangha et al. actively started to mobilise the lower-caste people.

In the late 1930s, especially after the Poona Pact, the Namasudras of Bengal Presidency increasingly adhered to a loyalist stance to the British Government, which was supposedly its best chance to upgrade their socio-economic condition and all throughout and they consistently remained alienated from the nationalist politics.

Overall, numerous measures were taken over the course of years to alleviate the concerns of the community and to ensure that they were gradually inculcated into the nationalist political-fabric of the nation. Un-touch-ability was propounded as a vice and there were campaigns for providing them with better social rights.The Congress also contributed to these causes via their political programs, largely for the same goals.

The Dalit of Bengal, thus became intrinsically involved in the Partition movement, and the Namsudras along with Rajbanshis became the two groups that majorly dominated Dalit politics in the province.

According to Bandyopādhyāẏa, the aim of the Hindu campaign, throughout the years, was to merely induce the lower castes record themselves as Hindus, which would inflate their numbers and thus, assist them in the redistribution of provinces during partition of the nation rather than to harvest a social reform. The main aim was to agglomerate the lower castes in the fold of Hindus and unitedly fight against the Muslim and the British.

It propagandised the local peasant-rebellions between Namasudras and Muslim community across Dacca et al. with religious colors thereby increasing communal tensions and prospects of partition. In some places, the Namasudras even sided with Muslims against the socio-economic oppression of Hindu zamindars but it was again branded as a communal riot. The Bengal Congress also contributed to the cause. Nonetheless, the organised efforts to articulate the Hindu identity somewhat worked and some of the riots did have a religious flavor.

Gradually, whilst many leaders of the caste-movement increasingly associated with the Hindu narrative, and many Namasudras associated with the views of the Hindu solidarity, there was still a lack of consensus among the masses.In fact, there was a strong discontent among Namasudras that they have been supposedly cheated by the enumerators of the 1941 census where they were recorded as Hindus instead of mere Namasudras.

But, by 1947, a majority of Namasudras actively associated them with the Hindus and that the partition was inevitable, their primary aim was to keep their habitat- the districts of Bakarganj, Faridpur, Jessore and Khulna within the Hindu majority province of West Bengal. But they managed to maintain a separate caste identity throughout.

Ultimately, the efforts of the campaign failed to achieve much of its desired goal because districts that were mostly inhabited by Namasudras went to East Bengal despite vehement protestations by them.

Overall, whilst these attempts at altering the social situation improved things to some extent, discrimination was still markedly abundant and the domination by upper castes continued even post-independence.


Migration to India

Whilst an assemblage of relatively well-off Namasudras immediately migrated to India, using their resources of property, the poorer community members stayed. Śekhara Bandyopādhyāẏa notes that despite Jinnah's promise of equality for all, they were soon subjected to "a process of 'Othering'" as the state sought for "greater Islamisation of the polity" and that the upper-caste-Hindus had almost all left East Bengal, the communal agitation was now solely directed against the lower-caste and untouchable Hindus. An acute economic crisis in some districts, coinciding with a labour-surplus market and the Muslim landlords preferring to employ coreligionists, was another mitigating factor. All these, coupled with numerous provocations ranging from unlawful occupation of land to public humiliation of women and direct instruction to leave the country, led to a build-up of insecurity among the Namasudras.

From around January 1950, the Namasudra peasants decided to migrate to India in large numbers and this continued until 1956, with about 10,000 refugees entering every month. Retaliatory communal violence across both sides of the border also contributed to the cause. There was again a mass migration after the Hazratbal riot in 1964. A police intelligence report in June 1952 reported that "About 95 per cent of the refugees are Namasudras".

Condition in India

Whilst most of the Namasudra refugees who arrived after 1950, were automatically designated as cultivators without any means for survival and were thus dispatched to official refugee camps, some did independently settle across villages in Nadia, Basirhat et al. The latter were often involved in violent fracases with the local Muslims and cross-border communal rivalries, in search of land and livestock, were reported too. That they had to also contend with the local Hindu upper castes, made the situation worse.

Those who were dispatched to the refugee camps spend months in imposed idleness whilst being rewarded with a meager cash dole and weekly ration. They were restricted from going out of the camps, look for jobs or interact with the local population, who were often deeply suspicious of the refugees. Thereafter, they started mobilizing themselves under the umbrage of Bastuhara Samitis (refugee associations) and other leaders like Ramendra Kishor Mullick, who claimed to be close to P. R. Thakur and Manohar Roy, who claimed himself to be a right-hand man of Jogen Mandal to protest against the camp administration in a variety of forms.

Finally, the government, in early 1956 announced the Dandakaranya Scheme of rehabilitating them in a region consisting of 78,000 square miles of inhospitable unirrigated land in the tribal areas of Orissa and Madhya Pradesh. The scheme was compulsory, pending which the refugee camps were to be closed down. Some were also rehabilitated to neighboring provinces of Assam, Bihar, Orissa and the Andaman Islands.

The schemes were heavily protested and in March–April 1958, umbrella-refugee-organisations (United Central Refugee Council (UCRC) and the Sara Bangla Bastuhara Samiti (SBBS)) organised satyagraha campaigns, with political patronage, that lasted for about a month and resulted in the arrests of 30,000 refugees. Most were camp-refugees and 70 percent of them were Namasudras.

Gradually, the campaign, as to an acceptable solution of the refugee issues began to lose momentum as the organisations were more interested in exploiting the refugee-base, as an exercise in electoral constituency building for the political parties.

By 1965, 7,500 refugee families were forcibly settled there and because of their dispersal, the Namasudras, who were till-then a closely knit community, as to local-geography, lost their capacity to organise powerful protest movements. The conditions across Dandakaranya camps were extremely poor and that the refugees not only failed to integrate with the native Adivasis but also had to deal with a corrupt government mechanism made survival more difficult.

Bandyopādhyāẏa has noted that throughout the times, the Namasudras whilst existing in the refugee camps, did not articulate their caste identity; they along with all others shared the common tag of refugees. And that this led a large section of the Dalit-community to lose their distinctive and autonomous political voice. But, nevertheless some means (following different rituals et al.) were adopted by them to distinguish from other castes and maintain a conscious identity of their original identity.


A prominent Namasudra leader, Pramatha Ranjan Thakur, who was once elected to the Constituent Assembly with Congress support and opposed reservation for the Scheduled Castes whilst advocating drastic social reforms, emerged as a political and spiritual figure-head during the refugee crisis. He was the guru of the Matua Mahasangha (MM), which his great-grandfather had established, and thus had a huge following among the Namasudras. In December 1947, he purchased a piece of land in North 24-Parganas, about 63 km (39 mi) from Calcutta, between Chandpara and Gobordanga, and started a venture for purposes of refugee rehabilitation. This led to the establishment of Thakurnagar, the first Dalit-refugee colony in India started by Dalits themselves. The locality grew in size and within the next ten years, more than 50,000 Dalit refugees, mostly Namasudras, had settled in what became a major cultural centre for them.


The Congress government of West Bengal during the refugee crisis was widely perceived as anti-refugee because of its position regarding rehabilitation. The Communist Party of India (Marxist) (CPIM), as the main opposition party, opposed the government's dispersal policy and demanded rehabilitation of refugees in the uninhabited islands of Sunderban, thus gaining a following among the Namasudra refugees.

In 1977, as CPI(M) became the governing party, almost 150,000 refugees returned to West Bengal from Dandakaranya. By now, the economy was in a poor state and the CPIM arranged deportation of many of them back to Dandakaranya. However, a group of about 30,000 refugees managed to infiltrate the Sunderbans and establish a settlement at Marichjhapi, which included such things as schools, health centres, and fishing industries. The government declared the establishment to be illegal, as a contravention of the prohibitions on permanent settlement in the Forest Acts, and asked them to abandon the settlement to protect the ecological diversity of the region.

As the persuasion failed to convince them, beginning 26 January 1979, the local police, on the behest of the government undertook drastic measures which included razing the dwellings of the islanders, destroying fisheries, tube-wells et al. and complete-blockading of the island. despite considerable criticism from the press and a restraining order from the High Court. Boats of escaping refugees were sank and mass-firing were also reported, which led to numerous casualties over the course of next few days.

Finally, as the efforts by the local-police-machinery failed to address the issue in its entirety, the Government ordered a forcible evacuation of the refugees in a 48-hour span from 14 May 1979 to 16 May 1979, in what was called the Marichjhapi Massacre by the scholarly community. Several hundred refugees died in numerous police-firings whilst many more perished as a result of starvation, exhaustion et al. Usage of mercenaries and mass-rapes were also reported.No criminal charges were laid against anyone and the Scheduled Castes and Tribes Commission, in its annual report denied the happening of any atrocity on the Untouchables in Bengal.

Modern day politics and status

MM has transformed itself into a major socio-religious organisation and has one of its major aims as to mobilization of the dispersed Namasudra community and to convert Thakurnagar into a new cultural and spiritual hub for a Namasudra renaissance. In 2010, it claimed to have nearly 50 million members, belonging to 100 to 120 thousand families.

On the occasion of baruni mela – the major festival of the sect – lakhs of devotees from all over India were reported to visit Thakurnagar, in the sort of an annual pilgrimage.

The members of the community have been reported to have fared quite well, post 1980 but despite their educational and social progress, the class remained politically marginal for a long span of time but have often actively negotiated with mainstream political parties for political empowerment.

Beginning the utilization of the network of the MMS, by All India Trinamool Congress, (which included nominating family members of PR Thakur as MLAs), the group managed to establish an independent identity in politics. AITMC did succeed in consolidating Matua votes in its favor in the 2011 state-elections and the consolidation has been attributed to be a cause behind its decisive victory in the South Bengal seats.