Yaduvanshi caste

Indian Ahir/Yadav community

Yaduvanshi is an Ahir caste[1] found in the Indian subcontinent, mainly modern-day India and Nepal. The Yaduvanshi Ahir presence in India is well established through old writings and various Hindu scriptures from the ancient times going back to 6000 years B.C.[2] The Ahir all over India call themselves Yaduvanshi (Belonging to Yadu dynasty). Krishna was this dynasty; hence many of the customs associated with him are found in this society. They were rulers in different regions.[3]

Yaduvanshi
A statue of Yaduvanshi Ahir King Rao Tularam Singh in Jhajjar
ReligionsHinduism
CountryIndia and Nepal

Etymology change

The name "Yadu" is of non-Indo-Aryan origin.[4]

Origin and History change

The Yaduvanshis claim descent from the Rigvedic Yadu tribe. The Yadu had a tribal union with the Turvasha tribe, and were frequently described together.[5][6] The Yadu were a partly Indo-Aryan-acculturated Indus tribe. By the time of the arrival of the Puru and Bharata tribes, the Yadu-Turvashas were settled in Punjab, with the Yadu possibly residing along the Yamuna River.[7]

In the Rigveda, x.62.10, the Yadu and Turvashas are called dasas or barbarians. From these evidences R.P. Chanda infers that the Yadu were of homo-Alpinus origin, settled originally in Western Asia, whence they came to India settled in saurastra or kathiawad Peninsula and then spread to Mathura.[8]

In later Hindu texts such as the Mahabharata, the Harivamsha and the Puranas mention Yadu as the eldest son of king Yayati and his queen Devayani. The prince of King Yayati, Yadu was a self-respecting and a very established ruler. According to the Vishnu Purana, the Bhagavata Purana and the Garuda Purana, Yadu had four sons, while according to the rest of the Puranas he had five sons.[9] The kings between Budha and Yayati were known as Somavanshi. According to a narrative found in the Mahabharata, and the Vishnu Purana, Yadu refused to exchange his years of youth with his father Yayati. So he was cursed by Yayati that none of Yadu's progeny shall possess the dominion under his father's command.[10] Thereby, he could not have carried on the same dynasty, called Somavamshi. Notably, the only remaining dynasty of King Puru was entitled to be known as Somavamshi. Thereby King Yadu ordered that the future generations of his would be known as Yadav and the dynasty would be known as Yaduvanshi. The generations of Yadu had unprecedented growth and got divided into two branches.

Ahirs or Abhiras as Yadavas change

The term Ahir is derived from Abhira, a clan mentioned several times in inscriptions and Hindu revered books. The term Ahir is often seen as synonymous with Yadav because these are two names of the same community.[11][12] In the 1881 census records of the British empire, the Yadavs are identified as Ahirs.[13] The Indian Scholar M. S. A. Rao say that historical evidence exists for equating the Ahirs with the Yadavas. Historians such as P. M. Chandorkar, using both literary and epigraphic sources has argued that the modern Ahirs should be identified with the Yadavas of the classical Sanskrit texts.[14][15] According to Historian T Padmaja, the Ahirs migrated to Tamil Nadu and established their kingdoms and in inscriptions these Ahirs mention they are from Yadav lineage.[16]

Hemachandra, in the Dyashraya-Kavya, describe the Ahir King Graharipu, ruling at Vanthali near Junagadh, as an Ahir and a Yadav. Again, many remains of Khandesh (historical stronghold of Ahirs) are popularly believed to be of Gawli Raj, which archaeologically belongs to the Yadvas of Devgiri. Hence, it is concluded that Yadavs of Devagiri were actually Ahirs. This receives some support from the fact that Yaduvanshis even now are one of the most important sub-divisions of the Ahirs.[17]

The Mahabharata and other authori-tative works use the three terms-Ahir, Yadav and Gopa synonymous.[18][19] In the epics and the Puranas the association of the Yadavas with the Abhiras was attested by the evidence that the Yadava kingdom was mostly inhabited by the Abhiras.[20] In the time of the Periplus (C. 80 A.D.) the very area called by Ptolemy Larike was called Abiria or Abhiria. the Abhiras of Gujarat were the Rastrikas of Ashoka and the Yadavas of the Mahabharata. Again and again in that area we find republicans. In the time of the Mahabharata they are Andhaka-Vrisnis and Bhojas (Yadavas); in the time of Asoka we have the Rastrikas and Bhojas; in the time of Kharvela we have the Rathikas and Bhojakas; in the time of Samudragupta we have the Abhiras, while a contemporary Puranic text designates the Saurastras and Avantyas as the Abhiras; in the time of Kumara Gupta I and Skandagupta we have the Pusyamitras there. These were all one and the same people, with different names at different times.[21]

References change

    • "High court seeks reply from state on continuation of quota". The Times of India. 2013-09-12. ISSN 0971-8257. Retrieved 2023-06-28. Similarly, in Other Backward Class (OBC) category such as Ahir, Yadav, Yaduvanshi and Gwala, it has come to the same level.
    • Bhattacharya, Jogendra Nath (1896). Hindu Castes and Sects: An Exposition of the Origin of the Hindu Caste System and the Bearing of the Sects Towards Each Other and Towards Other Religious Systems. Thacker, Spink. pp. 297.
    • Soni, Lok Nath (2000). The Cattle and the Stick: An Ethnographic Profile of the Raut of Chhattisgarh. Anthropological Survey of India, Government of India, Ministry of Tourism and Culture, Department of Culture. p. 13. ISBN 978-81-85579-57-3. Yadubansi Kshatriyas were originally Ahirs.
    • Bahadur), Sarat Chandra Roy (Rai (1974). Man in India. A.K. Bose. pp. 40–41. The Yādavas, mentioned in the Mahabharata, were pastoral kshatriyas among whom Krishna was brought up. The Gopas, whom Krishna had offered to Duryodhana to fight in his support when he himself joined Arjuna's side, were no other than the Yadavas themselves, who were also the Abhiras. ... The present Ahir of the North-Western Province are divided into three sub-castes namely Jādubansi Nandabansi and Gualbansi, with their profession as cowherd, who claim their descent from Srikrishna of the Yadava dynasty, described in the Mahabharata. The Yadavas of the Mahabharata period were known to be the followers of Vaisnavism, of which Krishna was the leader. They were the gopas (cowherd) by profession, but at the same time they held the status of the Kshatriyas, participating in the battle of Kurukshetra. The present Ahirs are also followers of Vaisnavism. In the Epics and the Puranas the association of the Yadavas with the Abhiras was attested by the evidence that the Yadava kingdom was" mostly inhabited by the Abhiras. In the Mahabharata it is mentioned that when the Yadavas (though belonging to the Abhira group) abandoned Dwaraka and Gujarat after the death of Krishna and retreated northwards under Arjuna's leadership, they were attacked and broken up.
    • Singh, K. S. (1998). India's Communities. Anthropological Survey of India. p. 56. ISBN 978-0-19-563354-2. The Ahir are divided into three groups of equal status, namely Yaduvanshi, Gwalvanshi and Nandvanshi.
    • Enthoven, Reginald Edward (1990). The Tribes and Castes of Bombay. Asian Educational Services. p. 25. ISBN 978-81-206-0630-2. Chudásama prince styled Graharipu and ruling at Vanthali near Junagadh is described in the Dyáshraya-Kávya of Hemachandra as an Abhira and a Yádava. In their bardic traditions as well as in popular stories, the Chudásamas are still called Aheraránás. ... Again, many ancient remains in the Khándesh district are popularly believed to belong to the period of the Gauli Ráj. From the Archæological point of view, they are to be ascribed to the time of the Yádavas of Devagiri. It is, therefore, not unlikely that, according to popular belief, these Yádavas were Abhiras. This receives some support from the fact that Yaduvanshis even now are one of the most important sub-divisions of the Ahirs
  1. Yadava, S. D. S. (2006). Followers of Krishna: Yadavas of India. Lancer Publishers. p. 18. ISBN 978-81-7062-216-1. The Yaduvanshi Ahir's presence in India is well established through old writings and various Hindu scriptures from the ancient times going back to 6000 years B.C. The Rajputs on the other hand , came on the scene only during the fifth and sixth century A.D.
  2. Contemporary Social Sciences. Research Foundation of India. 1977. p. 43. Ahirs all over India call themselves Yaduvanshi (Belonging to Yadu dynasty). Krishna was this dynasty; hence many of the customs associated with him are found in this society. They were rulers in different regions.
  3. Witzel, Michael (1999). "Aryan and non-Aryan Names in Vedic India. Data for the linguistic situation, c. 1900-500 B.C." (PDF). Harvard Oriental Series Opera Minora. 3.
  4. Witzel, Michael (2001). "Autochthonous Aryans?: The Evidence from Old Indian and Iranian Texts" (PDF). Electronic Journal of Vedic Studies. 7: 7.
  5. Erdosy, George; Witzel, Michael (1995). Language, Material Culture and Ethnicity. The Indo-Aryans of Ancient South Asia: Rgvedic history: poets, chieftains and politics. De Gruyter. p. 204.
  6. Erdosy & Witzel 1995, p. 262.
  7. Chattopadhyaya, Sudhakar (1978). Reflections on the Tantras. Motilal Banarsidass Publ. p. 18. ISBN 978-81-208-0691-7.
  8. Patil, Devendrakumar Rajaram (1946). Cultural History from the Vāyu Purāna Issue 2 of Deccan College dissertation series, Poona Deccan College Post-graduate and Research Institute (India). Motilal Banarsidass Publisher. p. 10. ISBN 9788120820852.
  9. Thapar, Romila (1996) [1978]. Ancient Indian Social History: Some Interpretations (Reprinted ed.). Orient Longman. pp. 268–269. ISBN 81-250-0808-X.
  10. Kumar, Ravinder (1984). Philosophical Theory and Social Reality. Allied. p. 159. ISBN 978-0-8364-1171-3.
  11. Soni, Lok Nath (2000). The Cattle and the Stick: An Ethnographic Profile of the Raut of Chhattisgarh. Anthropological Survey of India, Government of India, Ministry of Tourism and Culture, Department of Culture. p. 11. ISBN 978-81-85579-57-3.
  12. Report on the Census of British India taken on the 17th of February 1881: Vols. I-III. 1881-02-17. The Yadavas, who in their turn are identified with the Gaolis and Ahirs, were the dominant race at that time.
  13. Rao, M. S. A. (1987). Social Movements and Social Transformation: A Study of Two Backward Classes Movements in India. Manohar. p. 124. ISBN 978-0-8364-2133-0.
  14. Guha, Sumit (1999-07-15). Environment and Ethnicity in India, 1200-1991. Cambridge University Press. p. 47. ISBN 978-0-521-64078-7.
  15. Padmaja, T. (2002). Temples of Kr̥ṣṇa in South India: History, Art, and Traditions in Tamilnāḍu. Abhinav Publications. p. 34. ISBN 978-81-7017-398-4.
  16. Enthoven, Reginald Edward (1990). The Tribes and Castes of Bombay. Asian Educational Services. p. 25. ISBN 978-81-206-0630-2. Chudásama prince styled Graharipu and ruling at Vanthali near Junagadh is described in the Dyáshraya-Kávya of Hemachandra as an Abhira and a Yádava. In their bardic traditions as well as in popular stories, the Chudásamas are still called Aheraránás. ... Again, many ancient remains in the Khándesh district are popularly believed to belong to the period of the Gauli Ráj. From the Archæological point of view, they are to be ascribed to the time of the Yádavas of Devagiri. It is, therefore, not unlikely that, according to popular belief, these Yádavas were Abhiras. This receives some support from the fact that Yaduvanshis even now are one of the most important sub-divisions of the Ahirs.
  17. Chopra, Pran Nath (1982). Religions and Communities of India. Vision Books. p. 140. ISBN 978-0-391-02748-0. The Mahabharata and other authori-tative works use the three terms-Gopa, Yadava and Ahir synonymously.
  18. Rao, M. S. A. (1987). Social Movements and Social Transformation: A Study of Two Backward Classes Movements in India. Manohar. p. 147. ISBN 978-0-8364-2133-0.
  19. Bahadur), Sarat Chandra Roy (Rai (1974). Man in India. A. K. Bose. p. 41.
  20. Jayaswal, K. p (1943). Hindu Polity A Constitutional History Of India In Hindu Times. p. 141.