Free Web Hosting Provider - Web Hosting - E-commerce - High Speed Internet - Free Web Page
Search the Web

Punjabi Castes Website

Professor Niranjhan Singh


Punjabi Castes Website

Punjabi Castes Home Page

Caste interested me extensively from the begining, how it came about its reasons and structure.
Having read up extensively about the caste system in operation in India,I have learnt the following:

Note: I would like to make a request to all visitors to this site: Please could you forward me any information that you have on the history of either your surname or others that you know of and any interesting subdivisions or practices regarding caste within the sikh religion.My aim is to compile a comprehensive database that would allow any visitor to this site, to retrace the origins of their family name.



1. Brahmin - they originated from the most educated people in ancient India they were able to read the ancient scripts and perform religious activities such as sacrificing. As they were not allowed to come into contact with the lower castes they appointed Kshatriya's (Khatri's most common).Unsurprisingly there are few Brahmins as few wanted to leave their high status as Hindus to become equals as Sikhs.

2. Kshatriyas were the governors and kings and ruled over the other castes, they also became warriors in time of war and later took up trading (in the UK they are most commonly the Business community). Khatris were very affluent in Punjab and few headed west unlike the Jatts and Ramgharias, this explains they're small numbers in the UK. All the Sikh Gurus and their wives originated from this community.


3. Jatts were farmers they grew the crops that fed the whole village and therefore were part of the high caste, but ranked 3rd after the Brahmins and Kshatris.Because of the large amount of fertile land in Punjab, Jatts account for 2/3 of the population of Sikhs. As families grew it was neccessary to divide the land-so many Jatts left India and headed towards the west, seeking work, that is why there is such a large number of Jatts in the west. Many Jatts in the West have been led to believe that they are the highest class, however being farmers and given history this is obviously untrue. It must be said that although the Brahmins and Khatris reigned supreme in the cities, in villages the prosperity of the village depended upon he yield of crop, so the Jatts there became almost as important as their higher caste brothers.


4. Ramgharias (Tarkhans) these were tradesmen, skilled workers who worked for the higher castes making and fixing cultivating equipment for the Jatts and building houses and temples for the Kshatriyas. During the British Raj many were sent or left for Africa to help the British with building the African Railway they far outnumbered the Jatts there (some poorer Jatts went to Africa and learnt trade there). After the British Raj ended in Africa there was little work for them there, but labourers were much needed in the UK. Many Tarkhans came here in the 60's.

5. Darsi (tailors), Chimba (weavers), Halvyi (sweet makers), Taank Kshatri
These communities worked under all the above and were particularly busy during weddings where they were invited to high caste houses to prepare for the weddings. There income and standard of living in turn depended upon the yield of crop that year and how much the higher castes could afford to pay them.

6. Chammar (leather-workers), Lohaar(Blacksmiths)
These were the menial workforce who worked hard, but treated badly by the other communities.

7. Churrah (Cleaners)
This community were called the Untouchables. They originated from the original native communities living in the Punjab before the Turk-derived Arriyan race conquered most of India sending the natives further south or using them as slaves. This is why they are usually very dark skinned and have flatter more Aboriginal features. As Sikhs they often practise as the Ravi Dassi community.


Obviously over time and although it was looked down upon, intercaste marriages occured and the following mixed offspring eventually became subcaste communities of there own. The same thing happened when people varied their trade i.e. from Governor to Money Lender. Brahmins seldom married outside they're own caste, however Subcastes did frequently exist between the Kshatri and Jatt communities and others below.

Arora - these were money lenders and therefore frequently came into contact with the lower castes, they fall into the lower end of the Khatri community, but lie above the Jatts

Saini - these were poor Jatts who did not own much land themselves but cultivated rented land from larger Jatt landowners. Being farmers however they were classed as Jatts and fell into the lower end of the Jatt community.

Ahluwalia (Walia common subcaste) - They were distillers and were a Bopari community (Business community), however owing to the nature of their business they were ranked between the Khatri and Jatt community.

Bhatra - these were vagrant gypsies who were not readily accepted in the sikh community, they mix only with one another and have the reputation of lower morals, however this may be ill-deserved.

Taank-Kshatri - these are a low caste community that believe themselves to be of Khatri origin, this however remains disputed.Some regard this caste as being the same as Chimba.

This website is not meant to offend anyone-if you have any views please express them on the guestbook.
I must also state that as a sikh we do not and should not believe in castes.Equality is a major aspect of our religion and this is one of the many appealing attributes that makes Sikhism a well respected religion.
This message of equality should be taught to all of our fellow sikhs.

This site is solely for education purposes!

Punjabi Castes Website!!!

Punjabi Castes