Bania: Dhusar, Bhargava Dhusar

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This article was written in 1916 when conditions were different. Even in
1916 its contents related only to Central India and did not claim to be true
of all of India. It has been archived for its historical value as well as for
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From The Tribes And Castes Of The Central Provinces Of India

By R. V. Russell

Of The Indian Civil Service

Superintendent Of Ethnography, Central Provinces

Assisted By Rai Bahadur Hira Lal, Extra Assistant Commissioner

Macmillan And Co., Limited, London, 1916.

NOTE 1: The 'Central Provinces' have since been renamed Madhya Pradesh.

NOTE 2: While reading please keep in mind that all articles in this series have been scanned from the original book. Therefore, footnotes have got inserted into the main text of the article, interrupting the flow. Readers who spot these footnotes gone astray might like to shift them to their correct place.

Bania, Dhusar, Bhargavas Dhusar

The origin of this group is much disputed. They are usually classed as a subcaste of Bania, but claim to be Brahmans. They take their name from a hill called Dhusi or Dhosi, near Narnaul on the border of Alwar State. The title Bhargava signifies a descendant of Bhrigu, one of the famous eponymous Rishis or Brahmanical saints, to whom Manu confided his institutes, calling him his son. If this was their original name, it would show that they were Brahmans, but its adoption appears to be somewhat recent.

Their claim to be Brahmans is, however, admitted by many members of that caste, and it is stated that they perform the functions of Brahmans in their original home in Rajputana. Mr. Burn wrote of them : ^ "In his book on castes published in 1872 Mr. Sherring does not refer to any claim to kinship wnth Brahmans, though in his description of Dhusar Banias he appears to include the people under consideration. Both 1 United Provinces Census Report (1901), p. 220.

the Dhusar Bhargavas and Dhusar Banias assert that Himu, the capable Vazir of Muhammad Shah Suri, belonged to their community, and such a claim by the former is if anything in favour of the view that they are not Brahmans, since Himu is variously described by Muhammadan writers as a corn-chandler, a weighman and a Bania. Colonel Dow in his history of Hindustan calls him a shopkeeper who was raised by Sher Shah to be Superintendent of Markets.

It is not improbable that Himu's success laid the foundation for a claim to a higher position, but the matter does not admit of absolute proof, and I have therefore accepted the decision of the majority of the caste - committees and considered them as a caste allied to Brahmans." In the Punjab the Dhusars appear to be in some places Brahmans and in others Banias.

" They take their food before morning prayer, contrary to the Hindu rule, but of late years they have begun to conform to the orthodox practice. The Brahman Dhusar marries with his caste-fellows and the Bania with Banias, avoiding always the same family {gotrd) or one having the same family deity." ^ From the above accounts it would appear that the Dhusars may have originally been a class of Brahmans who took to trade, like the Palliwal Brahmans of Marv/ar, and have lost their position as Brahmans and become amalgamated with the Bania caste ; or they may have been Banias, who acted as priests to others of the community, and hence claimed to be Brahmans. The caste is important and influential, and is now making every effort to recover or substantiate its Brahman status. One writer states that they combine the office aptitude and hard-heartedness to a debtor characteristic of the Bania.

The Dhusars are rigid in the maintenance of the purity of their order and in the performance of Hindu ceremonies and duties, and neither eat meat nor drink any kind of spirit. In Delhi they were distinguished for their talent as singers, and cultivated a peculiar strain or measure, in which they were unsurpassed.^ In the Central Provinces the Dhusars are a flourishing body, their leaders being Rai Bahadur Bihari Lai Khizanchi of Jubbulpore and Rai Sahib • Atkinson, Himalayan Gazetteer, article Dhusar. ii. p. 473, quoted in Mr. Crooke's ^ Sherring, FIi7idH Castes, i. p. 293.

Seth Sundar Lfil of Betul. They have founded the Bhfirgava bank of Jubbulporc, and shown considerable public spirit ; to the latter gentleman's generosity a large part of the success of the recent debt-conciliation proceedings in the Betul District must be attributed.

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