Scheduling the OBCs Among  the Muslims in Uttar Pradesh: Discrepancies and Irregularities Download

Abdul Waheed

On 9 March 2005, the PMO had issued the Notification for constitution of the High Level Committee under the chairmanship of Justice Rajindar Sachar for preparation of Report on the Social, Economic and Educational Status of the Muslim Community of India. (Here onwards will be referred as the Committee) Among its various terms of references, following are related with Muslim Other Backward Classes (OBCs).

“What is the proportion of Other Backward Classes (OBCs) from the Muslim community in the total OBC population in various States? Are the Muslim OBCs listed in the comprehensive list of OBCs prepared by the National and State Backward Classes Commissions and adopted by the Central and State Governments for reservation for various purposes? What is the share of Muslim OBCs in the total public sector employment for OBCs in the Centre and in various States in various years?” (p.3)

Report of the committee states, “Sociological studies on the social structure of Muslims in India have emphasized on the presence of descent based social stratification among them. Features of the Hindu caste system, such as hierarchical ordering of social groups, endogamy and hereditary occupation have been found to be amply present among the Indian Muslims as well”. (Ibid., p. 192)  The committee categorizes Muslim castes/communities into three categories i.e. “the Ashraf, (those without any social disabilities), the Ajlafs, (those equivalent to Hindu OBCs) and the Arzals , (those equivalent to Hindu SCs). Since the Constitutional (Scheduled Caste) Order, 1950, popularly known as the Presidential Order (1950), restricts the SC status only to Hindu groups having ‘unclean ’ occupations, their non-Hindu equivalents have been bracketed with the middle caste converts and declared OBC . Thus, the OBCs among Muslims constitute two broad categories. The halalkhors, helas, lalbegis or bhangis (scavengers), dhobis (washermen), nais or hajjams (barbers), chiks (butchers), faqirs (beggars) etc belonging to the ‘Arzals ’ are the ‘untouchable converts ’ to Islam that have found their way in the OBC list. The momins or julahas (weavers), darzi or idiris (tailors), rayeens or kunjaras (vegetable sellers) are Ajlafs or converts from ‘clean ’ occupational castes”. (Ibid. p 193)

It is the constitutional obligation of the government under Articles 340(1), 340(2), 15(4) and 16(4) to promote the welfare of the OBCs. Therefore, the first Backward Classes Commission under the chairmanship of Kaka Kalelkar was set up by the government on January 29, 1953. The commission submitted its report on March 30, 1955.  But the government has not accepted the recommendations of the commission due to various reasons. (For detail, see A Ramaiah 1992. pp.1203-1207)  Second Backward Classes Commission was set up on January 1, 1979.  Its chairman being B.P. Mandal, so it is popularly known as Mandal Commission. The commission submitted its report in December 1980.  Figures of caste-wise population are not available beyond 1931. So the commission used the 1931 Census data to calculate the number of OBCs .  To identify the socially and educationally backward classes, the commission adopted 11 criteria, which could be grouped under three major headings: social, educational and economic. (For detail of these criteria, see Ibid.)   The commission has recognized 82 Muslim castes as OBCs.

What is the share of Muslim OBCs in total OBC population of the country?  Has Mandal Commission included all Muslim castes and tribes, categorized as criminal and backward in Census of India 1931?  Is there correspondence between castes listed as OBCs in Central list and those, which are included in lists of various states?

In regard to these questions following facts can be identified from the report of the Committee:

a).        Neither Decennial Census operation in post–independent India provides caste wise information nor listing of castes as backward by Backward Classes Commission of various states is based on any latest, sound and systematic survey.      Therefore,  no all India estimate can be made from them
b).        It is, therefore, the committee collected information about Muslim OBCs from 61st round survey of National Sample Survey Organisation (NSSO).  It reports that OBCs constitute 40.7% population of Indian Muslims.  But the committee made it very clear that, “At the outset, it must be noted that the NSSO data is self reporting and, particularly so in the case of OBCs, it is contingent on  the awareness of the respondents of his/her social status.”(Ibid. p. 189)  In fact, large number of Muslims, being illiterate and poor do not know about the category of OBCs and, therefore they do not report themselves as OBCs.

c).        Relying on the data provided by the 1931 Census, the Mandal Commission estimated the population of OBC in the country to be 52% and the share of  non-Hindu OBCs is 8.40%.

d).        Report of the Committee unambiguously states, “Given the fact that the 1931 base   is itself contentious, this estimate needs to be further examined. The Mandal estimate is also unreliable because a large number of castes/communities that were included in the Mandal list have not yet found place in the Central list of OBCs”. (Ibid., p. 203)

e).        “The list of OBCs prepared by the state governments have also missed many under privileged castes  and communities. There are few groups among Muslims that have found place in the Central list but have not found a place in the State list.”(Ibid.,p.201)

f).         There  are still  a number of Muslim groups  that have neither been included in the State list nor in the Central list.  Therefore, the committee suggests that, “These groups can be identified using the information collected by Anthropological Survey of India  under its People of India Project.” (Ibid., p. 201)

As per the advice of the Committee, this paper aims at exploring discrepancies and irregularities in listing Muslim castes/communities  of Uttar Pradesh both in Central and State lists of OBCs.

First we have attempted to identify Muslim castes and tribes of Uttar Pradesh from United Provinces Census of India 1931 . [J.H. Hutton, 1933], (Here onwards will be referred as the Census of India 1931)
Secondly, identified Muslim castes and tribes are matched with those Muslim castes/ communities of Uttar Pradesh which have been studied by Anthropological Survey of India under its People of India Project, launched on 2nd October 1985. [K.S. Singh, 2005].   (Here onwards will be referred as POI) Uttar Pradesh  in order to find out discrepancies.

Thirdly, after identifying discrepancies, we have formulated a list of 88 Muslim castes/ communities of Uttar Pradesh, which are matched with castes listed in Central and State list of OBCs.  We have found four kinds of discrepancies:

  • Discrepancy between Muslim castes and tribes of 1931 and Muslim caste/communities, studied by POI.
  • Discrepancy between 88 identified Muslim caste/communities with those listed in Central and State list of OBCs.
  • Discrepancy between castes listed in Central and those listed in State lists of OBCs and
  • Discrepancy between castes listed in State list with those listed in Central list of OBCs

The Census of India 1931, classified castes and tribes of United Provinces of Agra and Oudh (present day Uttar Pradesh) into three major categories i.e. Untouchables, Depressed classes and Backward classes. (pp.626-38).  The Census states that, “The untouchables and depressed classes are entirely a creation of Brahmanic Hindu society, finding no equivalent in any other religious or social community. Backward classes naturally are met with in all communities”. ( p. 626)

Untouchables and Depressed classes have been classified into two sub-categories i.e., a). Untouchables and Depressed and, b) Touchables and Depressed for the reasons untouchables and depressed classes are not identical, as many people believe.  “There are untouchables who are in no sense depressed and conversely there are depressed classes who are not untouchables”. (Ibid. p. 627)  Sixty six castes and tribes were listed in the category of Untouchables and Depressed and 9 in the category of Touchables and Depressed. In this way 75 castes and tribes were categorized as Untouchables and Depressed classes.
Backward Classes: The Census of India 1931 states that, “The untouchable and depressed classes are of course backward as well but in addition to these there are other tribes and castes  both Hindu and Muslim who whilst not being depressed are more conspicuously backward than the average tribe or caste. These can be divided into two:

i).         Criminal tribes
ii).        Other tribes and castes both Hindu and Muslim.” (Ibid., p. 630)

Criminal Tribe: Thirty two castes and tribes have been gazetted as criminal in the whole or in any part of the Province. All of them are regarded as backward classes and classified into two categories i.e.

(a).      untouchables and depressed classes as well as touchable but depressed
(b).     criminal but backward classes.

Former category includes total number of  17 castes and tribes  which  are part of  75 castes and tribes listed as Untouchables and Depressed classes, latter includes 15 castes and tribes and are part of backward classes (Detail of which follows). Name of these 15 castes and tribes are as follows:-

1. Banjara       2. Bhawapuria           3. Gandhila     4.  Hindu Ghosi          5.  Gujar
6.  Kewat        7.  Kisan          8.  Lodh          9.  Mallah        10 . Meo, Mewati, Mina or  Mina Meo
11.  Ondhia    12.Rajput  Muslim     13. Ranghar   14. Rind         15. Tagabhat

As the Census does not provide information regarding religious affiliation of these communities, except of Muslim Rajput and Hindu Ghosi, we have identified 5 of these communities either distinctively Muslims or common to both Hindus and Muslims on the basis of our knowledge.  Names of these Muslim ‘criminal’ but backward classes are as follows: Banjara, Gujar, Meo, Rajput Muslim and Ranghar.

Other Castes and Tribes:

Imperial Table No. XIV of Census of India 1931(pp.480-82) categorized other castes and tribes of U.P.  into  three categories i.e. Advanced, intermediate and backward on the basis of their level of male literacy. Caste/tribes having male literacy of 50% and above were included into advanced category whereas those caste/tribes in which male literacy was between 10%-50% categorized as intermediate. Those who constituted the category of backwards had less than 10% male literacy.

Names of the castes/tribes are not arranged alphabetically but in descending order according to  their level of male literacy in the following Table 8.1:

Table 8.1: Classification of Other Castes and Tribes of United Provinces into Three Categories i.e. Advanced, Intermediate and Backward.






  1. Vaishya
  2.  Syed
  3. Bhuinhar
  4. Brahman
  5. Mughal
  6. Sonar
  7. Kalwar
  8. Shaikh
  9. Rajput
  10. Halwai
  11. Tathera
  12. Pathan
  13. Kotwar
  14. Bhat
  15. Korwa
  16. Tamboli
  17. Taga


  1. Dhabgar and Gharami
  2. Sainthwar
  3. Goshain
  4. Jat
  5. Bari
  6. Mochi
  7. Nau Muslim
  8. Tharu
  9. Julaha
  10. Kurmi
  11. Bharbhunja
  12. Manihar
  13. Darzi
  14. Lohar
  15. Barhai
  16. Teli
  17. Barai
  18. Kunjra
  19. Sansia
  20. Koeri
  21. Nai
  22. Mali
  23. Faqir
  24. Barwar
  25. Qassab
  26.  Habura
  1. Gujar
  2. Dhunia
  3. Silpkar
  4. Gidhiya
  5. Turk
  6. Lodh
  7. Meo
  8. Mallah
  9. Kathik
  10. Dharhi
  11. Luniya
  12. Saini
  13. Ahir
  14. Bhishti
  15. Kachhi
  16. Kori
  17. Gond
  18. Kahar
  19. Dusadh
  20. Kanjar
  21. Gaddi
  22. Ahar
  23. Bahelia
  24. Nat
  25. Kisan
  26. Beldar
  1. Kumhar
  2. Murao
  3. Arakh
  4. Gadariya
  5. Bhangi
  6. Badhik
  7. Dom
  8. Goriya
  9. Kewat
  10. Bhar
  11. Bhoksa
  12. Agariya group
  13. Dhobi
  14. Chamar
  15. Pasi
  16. Baghban
  17. Kapadiya
  18. Bawariya
  19. Kol
  20. Bayar group
  21. Saharia
  22. Bhil
  23. Kharot
  24. Khairawa
  25. Sanaurhiya


Source:- Imperial Table No. XIV, U.P. Census of India 1931,  pp. 480 – 82

Besides, 77 castes and tribes in the category of backward mentioned in above table 8.1, the Census also categorized 63 those castes and tribes as backward “for whom figures for Imperial Table XIV have not been tabulated”. (p. 631) The Census provides information about their religious affiliation, which has not been provided in the case of castes and tribes mentioned in table 8.1 and in the list of criminal tribes.  Names of these 63 castes and tribes and their religious affiliation (H for Hindus, M for Muslims and H&M for both Hindus and Muslims) are as follows:

1. Atishbaz (M);   2. Atit (H);    3. Bairagi (H);   4.  Baiswar (H);   5. Bargahi (H) (Bargah or Bargaha);       6. Belwar (H);    7. Bhagat (H);    8. Bhand or Naqqal (M);      9. Bhathiyara (M);      10. Bhotia (H);      11. Bhurtia (H);       12. Bind (H);         13.Bisati (M); 14. Bishnoi (H);  15. Biyar (H);  16. Chai (Chain or Chaini) (H);  17.Chhipi (H&M); 18. Churihar (M); 19. Dafali (M); 20. Dhimar (H); 21. Gandharb (H); 22. Gandhi (H&M)  23. Gharuk (H); 24. Goriya (H&M); 25. Gosain (H); 26. Harjala (H); 27. Hurkia (H);  28. Jhojha (M); 29. Jogi (H); 30. Joshi (H); 31. Kadhera (H);  32. Kamkar (H); 33. Kanchan (H);  34. Kasera (H);   35. Khagi (H); 36. Khangar (H) 37. Kunera (H);  38. Lakhera (H);  39. Mirasi (M); 40. Naik (Hills), (H); 41. Naik (Plains) (H);  42. Nalband (M); 43. Orh (H); 44. Paturia (H);  45. Patwa (H&M); 46. Phansiya (H); 47. Qalaigar (M); 48. Qalander (M); 49. Radha (H); 50. Rain (H&M); 51. Raj (H&M); 52. Ramaiya (H);  53. Rangrez (H&M); 54. Rangsaz (H&M); 55. Saiqalgar (M);  56. Sejwari (H);  57.  Singharia (H);  58. Soeri (H);  59. Sorahiya (H); 60. Sunkar (H); 61. Tarkihar (H&M);  62. Tawaif (H&M);  63.Tiyar (H)

We have identified 57 castes and tribes either distinctively Muslims or common to both Hindus and Muslims from the Census of India 1931.   Names of these castes are alphabetically arranged in column No. 1 of the following table 8.2.  In contrast POI has studied 69 Muslim castes/communities, which are matched with castes and tribes of 1931 in column No. 2 on the basis of occupational similarity.

discrepancies emerge from the comparison of castes and tribes listed in Census of India 1931, with those castes/communities studied by POI.

a)         It is evident from the above table 8.2, that 41 out of 69 Muslim communities studied by POI are matched with 38 Muslim castes and tribes of 1931.  It means 28 Muslims communities (69-41=28) are not matched. Names of these Muslim castes/communities are as follows:-

  1. Ahmadiya
  2. Bawarchi
  3. Bangali/Bengali
  4. Dhari
  5. Dilliwal Shaikh
  6. Garha
  7. Ghassal
  8. Ghosi
  9. Hijra
  10. Irani
  11. Jogi Faqir
  12. Kamangar
  13. Kamboj
  14. Kankali


  1. Kanmaila
  2. Kasgar
  3. Kingharia
  4. Lal Begi
  5. Madari
  6. Mian
  7. Mujavir
  8. Muker
  9. Muslim Banbati/ Bandhmati
  10. Muslim Dhagi
  11. Nanbai
  12. Putliwale
  13.  Sai
  14. Shekhzade


b).        POI has failed to identify and study 19 Muslim castes and tribes listed in Census of India 1931 (57-38=19).  If we add these 19 castes and tribes in the list of 69 castes/communities studied by POI we get a list of 88 Muslim castes and communities.

Names of 88 Muslim castes/communities of Uttar Pradesh  are alphabetically arranged  and presented in Column No. 1 of the following table 8.3.  These castes/communities are matched with the castes listed as OBC in the Central list (Column. No. 2) and in State list (Column No. 3)

Sl No.

List of Muslim castes/communities, emerged from 1931 Census and POI project (1985-90) of Uttar Pradesh

Column No. 1

Castes listed as in Central List of OBCs



Column No. 2

Castes listed in Uttar Pradesh State List of OBCs



Column No. 3


Iraqi (Rankia) Kalal, Rankia, Arakh Rankia, Kalal, Araq


Ahmadiya ——- ——-


Atishbaz Atishbaz ——–


Baghban Baghban ————-


Bakar Qassab Qassab (Qureshi), Chikwa Qassab (Qureshi), Chikwa


Bangali/Bengali ———- ———–


Barhai Barhai Barhai


Bawarchi ———- ———-


Behna Behna (Naddaf, Dhunia, Mansoori) Naddaf (Dhunia, Mansoori)


Bhand Bhand —–


Bhatiara Bhatiara Bhatiara


Bhisthi Bhisthi (Saqqa, Abbasi) Bhisthi (Saqqa, Abbasi)


Bisati —-


Chippi Chippi (Chippe) Chippi (Chippe)


Churihar —–


Dafali Dafali Dafali


Darzi Darzi Darzi (Idrisi)


Dhari ——— ———–


Dilliwal Shaikh ——— ——–


Faqir Faqir Faqir


Gaddi Gaddi Gaddi


Ghandi ——— Ghandi


Garha ———- Garha


Ghassal ——— ———


Ghosi Ghosi Ghosi


Goriya ——— ———-


Halalkhor Halalkhor Halalkhor


Hijra ——– ——–


Hurkia ———- ———-


Irani ————– ————


Jaga ———- ———


Jogi Faqir —————- —————-


Jhojha Jhojha Jhojha


Kalander ——— ———-


Kamangar ——- ——–


Kamboj   Kamboj


Kankali ————– ————-


Kanmaila ———- ———


Kasai Kasai ————-


Kasgar Kasgar Kasgar


Kingharia ———— ———-


Kunjra Kunjra Kunjra


Kumhar Kumhar Kumhar


Lal Begi Lal Begi ————


Madari Madari ———


Mali Mali Mali


Manihar Manihar Manihar


Meo Meo Meo


Mian ————– ——–


Mirasi Mirasi Mirasi


Momin Ansari Momin Ansari, Julaha Momin Ansari


Mughal ————– ————–


Mujavir —————– ————-


Muker Muker (Mekrani) Muker (Mekrani)


Muslim Banbati/ Bandhmati ————–



Muslim Banjara Banjara Banjara


Muslim Dhagi   Dhagi


Muslim Dhobi Dhobi Dhobi


Muslim Gujar Gujar Gujar


Muslim  Halwai Halwai Halwai


Muslim  Kayasth Muslim  Kayasth Muslim  Kayasth


Muslim Nai Hajjam (Nai), Salmani, Nai, Hajjam (Nai), Salmani, Nai,


Muslim Nat Nat Nat


Muslim Raibhat —————- ————


Muslim Rajput —————- —————


Muslim Teli Teli (Rogangar, Teli Malik) Rogangar, Teli


Nakkal Nakkal Nakkal


Nalband Nalband ———


Nanbai ———– Nanbai


Neo-Muslim ———— ————-


Pathan ————- ————-


Putliwale —————– ——————


Patwa Patwa Patwa


Qalaigar Kalaikar  


Rain Rayeen Rayeen


Raj Raj (Memar) ————–


Ranghar ————– ———-


Rangrez Rangrez Rangrez


Rangsaz ————- ————


Sai Sai ————


Saifi Lohar Lohar (Saifi)


Saiqalgar —————- ————–


Sheikh —————– ——————


Shekhzade ————– —————-


Syed ————– ————-


Tarkhihar —————- ————-


Tawaif ———— —————-


Turk ————- —————


  Some other Muslim Castes which are neither included in 1931 Census nor studied by POI  but included in Central List of OBCs  are as follows:-
      i)    Khumra
     ii)    Sangtarash
iii)  Sheikh Sarvari                (Pirai)
Some other Muslim Castes which are neither included in 1931 Census nor studied by POI  but included in state List of OBCs  are as follows:-
      i).   Khumra
  1. Sangtarash
  2. Sheikh Sarvari (Pirai)
  3. Meershikar


If one compare castes/communities listed in three columns of the above table 8.3, one would find three major discrepancies.

i).         Discrepancy between castes listed in Column No. 1 with those categorized as OBCs in Column No. 2 & 3 and vice-versa.
ii).        Discrepancy between castes listed in Column No. 2 and those in Column No.3 and
iii).       Discrepancy between castes listed in Column No.3 and those in Column No.2
In regard with discrepancy No. (i), the above Table shows that 37 castes of Column No.1 are not included in both Column No. 2 & 3. While 4 castes of column No. 2&3 namely Khumra, Sangtarash, Meershikar, Sheikh Sarvari (Peerai) do not figure in column No.1 (i.e. they are neither listed in Census of India 1931 nor studied by POI.).

The names of  37 castes are as follows:

Ahmadiya, Bengali/Bangali, Bawarchi, Bisati, Churihar, Dhari, Dillwal Sheikh, Ghassal, Goriya, Hijra, Hurkia, Irani, Jaga, Jogi Faqir,  Kalander, Kamangar, Kankali, Kanmaila, Kingharia, Mian, Mughal, Mujavir, Muslim Banbati/Bandhmati, Muslim Raibhat, Muslim Rajput, Neo-Muslim, Pathan, Putliwale, Ranghar, Rangsaz, Saiqalgar, Sheikh, Shekhzade, Syed, Tarkhihar, Tawaif, Turk

POI has studied 29 of these 37 castes. Their brief account is given below:-

Ahmadiya : It  is a very small community of Uttar Pradesh, indeed, it is a sect.  Members of the community are generally educated. Most of them are engaged in cultivation, trade and white-collar occupation. (for detail see POI, Uttar Pradesh 2005. Vol XLII , part I-III, pp. 74-77)
Bengali/Bangali: It is a linguistic community. Members of the community believe in major religion of the state i.e. Hinduism, Islam, Christianity and Sikhism. However, POI has provided detailed account only of Bengali Hindus.  There is urgent need to explore the conditions of the Bengali Muslims in the state. (Ibid. pp. 252-255)

Bawarchi : They  are one of the two endogamous groups which together constitute the Kasai caste. They  are professional cooks and call themselves as “Qureshi”. This is a large community, distributed in different parts of Uttar Pradesh. They are often illiterate and cannot earn their livelihood independently (Ibid.  pp.220-223)

Bisati: The community has adopted the business of general merchandise. It occupies the  middle position in the social hierarchy and  the community is found in many parts of Uttar Pradesh and is backward in education. ( Ibid. pp 336-339)

Dhari: It is a community of singers. They are found in the districts of central Uttar Pradesh.  It is a community of poors, which has unfavourable attitude towards formal education. (Ibid. pp. 438-40)

Dilliwal Sheikh: They are Muslim washerman. It is a very small community, mainly concentrated in the districts of Lucknow, Kanpur, Aligarh and Varanasi. They perceive themselves equal to Qabaria and Qasai communities and superior to Jamadar. It is a community of landless wage earners.  (Ibid. pp. 452-454)

Ghassal: It is a microscopic community on the verge of extinction. They are the professional undertakers, who take charge of the dead body. They give the last bath to the corpse. Very poor and illiterate community. (Ibid. pp.535-538 )

Goriya: U.P. Census of India 1931 identified Goriya as a community of both Hindus and Muslims, an of shoot of Kahars and Malllahs, the community is associated with the occupation of fishing and cultivating. (P. 632).  While POI identified the community only of Hindus and a sub caste of Mallah. Therefore, field investigation is required to probe whether some sections or groups of the Goriya community are still Muslims or they have dissociated themselves from Islam. (Ibid. pp. 552-555)

Hijra:  Hijras or Eunuchs were associated with the courts of both Hindu and Muslim Kings and Nobles in the past. Therefore, it is community of both Hindus and Muslims.  However most of the Hijras are Muslims. They are generally illiterate and earn their livelihood  by singing and dancing. (Ibid. pp. 606-614)
Irani :  As the name suggest they have migrated from Iran to India and traditionally associated with the occupation of horse trade and precious stone. They claim themselves Syed and belong to Shia sect.  Today they are a marginalised community. “ On the whole their economy is hand-to- mouth with no land to subsit  on and no steady source of income… Regarding the development activities related to literacy, health, transport and electricity, it should be pointed out that the community is suffering a great deal on most fronts on account of their nomadic character  and abject poverty”. (Ibid. pp 615-617)

Jaga :  “The Jaga are a well-known Muslim community.  They are also known as Jagawa, Jagabhat, and Bhatt.  They believe their origin  from  those who were engaged as professional singers of praises of great men.  Their present day distribution  is in Shahjahanpur, Bareilly, Farrukhabad, Hardoi, Kanpur and Lucknow districts… the Jagas are landless  people and today they are engaged as agricultural labourers and daily wage casual labourers .  (Ibid. pp. 662-625)

Jogi Faqir.  They are also known as Madariya Faqirs.  They trace their origin from various Sufi saints and are divided into many endogamous groups.  “It is mainly a landless community and its traditional occupation is to render religious service, religio-medical service and begging.  Begging is their common traditional profession which they are now giving up rapidly. Most of the Jogi Faqirs are working as labourers. The community is deprived of education.  (Ibid. pp 647- 652)

Kalander:  Kalander or Qalander Faqir is a community of poors.  They are mainly found in the districts of Mainpuri, Agra Kanpur, Etawah and Lucknow. The community earns its livelihood by performing feats of the animals.  (Ibid., pp. 677-682)

Kamangar:  It is a little known Muslim community scattered mainly in the urban and semi-urban   areas of Uttar Pradesh.  Their traditional occupation was to make to make and arrows.  Today most of the kamangars are poor daily wage earners and have no access to education. (Ibid. pp. 688-690)

Kankali: The Kankali, a community of musicians, singers and beggars are also known as Kankal and Mangta. They are one of the occupational group of Muslims and belong to Sunni sect.  They are landless community. Dancing, singing and begging is their traditional, as well as present, primary occupation. (Ibid. pp. 709-713)

Kanmaila:  The Kanmaila is an occupational caste whose members  specialize in cleaning the stuffed ears from inside.  They usually operate at the railway or bus stations, or on the pavement of the road.  They are very poor and illiterate people.  (Ibid. pp. 714-717)

Kingharia:  It is a community of singers and beggars. They are landless community and their traditional and primary occupation is singing and begging.  Labour, hawking and rickshaw pulling are their other means of livelihood.  (Ibid. pp. 824-827)

Mian: The Mian is a community title of intermediaries who existed between the nawabs or landlords and the workers in the field.  The Malik, Milki, Kidwai and Cowdhary constitute the Mian community. They place themselves in the Ashraf category of Muslims.  Land is their major economic resource.  These days some of the community members do business and are in government jobs. (Ibid. pp. 968-972)

Mughal:  Mughals are both Sunni and Shia.  Often these people are referred to by their  surnames Mirza and Beg.  The Mughal have two divisions  called Chugtai and Changezee.  They perceive their position as second to Sayyads among the Muslims.  They were once known as soldiers of the Mughal army, do not claim to be proficient in any specific occupation,  profession or skill.  They have taken up variety of  works as economic activity . In villages, they do some agriculture, own orchards, specially mango orchards, whereas in towns , they are engaged  in trade, handicrafts, viz. Kashdakari (embroidery), carpet weaving, and even in white collar jobs and services in government  and non-government organizations. (Ibid. pp. 986-990)

Mujavir: They were traditionally care-takers of shrines and mosques in the past. Today they are professional musicians dealing with various modern instruments such as harmonium, trumpet, clarionet, and dhol.  Many of them are self-employed  as petty shopkeepers, rickshaw pullers, tailors, barbers, carpenters, ironsmiths and musicians.   (Ibid. pp.991-994)

Muslim Banbati/Bandhmati:  The Banbati or Bandhmati is a Muslim community and their Hindu counterparts known by the same name ate also known as Bandhmati. They traditionally live by making ropes (ban). The community is found in the districts of Saharanpur and adjacent areas in western Uttar Pradesh.  Traditionally they are self-¬employed, which includes rope-making, animal husbandry, poultry and miscellaneous other small jobs.  Economic constraints discourage them from allowing their children  to complete their school education.  (Ibid. pp. 1017-1020)

Muslim Raibhat:  The Raibhat is a community of bards whose traditional occupation has been singing Sehra. Occupation of composing and singing Sehra is almost abandoned by the community. Today they are generally engaged in occupation of agriculture labour, masons, wage labourers, shopkeepers, peddlers and repairmen. It is a community of poors and illiterates  (Ibid. pp. 1181-1184)

Muslim Rajput:  As mentioned in preceding pages Muslim Rajputs had a status of both criminal tribe and backward in 1931 Census.  The Muslim Rajputs are distributed at Farrukhabad,  Agra, Mainpuri, Etah and Etawah districts of Uttar Pradesh.  They send their children to school.  The children do not study due to poverty, social problems and sometimes due to non-availability of schools.   They are mainly agriculturists. (Ibid. pp. 1057-1060)

Pathan:  The Pathans are numerically large and geographically widely distributed community having no synonyms and titles.  The Pathan are divided into 16 sub-groups:  Afridi, Bangash, Bakarzai, Barech, Daudazi, Durrani, Ghorgushti, Gauri, Kakar, Khalil, Lodhi,  Mohammad,  Mohammadzai, Orakzai, Rohilla, and Yusufzai.   Their main occupation is agriculture while business is their subsidiary source of earning. Some of them are also in service. (Ibid. pp. 1139-1141)

Putliwale:  They are traditional puppeteers, singers and puppet makers.  The people are an urban based landless community who traditionally eked out their livelihood through performing puppet shows for their patrons  who invite them on the occasions of marriage and some other life cycle rituals. They are forced to keep their children illiterate because of economic reasons inspite of their keenness  in making a headway in the field of education.    (Ibid. pp. 1163-1165).

Ranghar: The Ranghar Live in the district of Saharanpur, wesatern Uttar Pradesh and the adjacent areas.  The community’s primary occupation is agriculture.  Some of the community members are engaged in business, some are masons, and some are some are non-skilled labourers.  (Ibid. pp 1197-1200)

Syed:   They are both Shias and Sunnis. They are found scattered  through the length and breadth of the state.  Being descendants of Prophet Muhammad,  the  perception of the community is very high and other communities too take them in the same stride.  Prior to zamindari abolition, the Saiyid were zamindars, taluqdars and absentee landlords in rural areas whereas in cities they were priests, men of letters, teachers and saints. They never entered into the castes for the purposes of sharecropping.  Now, teaching, and public service are the major avenues of their  livelihood.  (Ibid. pp. 1246-1254)

Sheikh:  The word Sheikh is derived from an Arabic word meaning an ‘elder’ or ‘chief’ or ‘venerable’. They are both Shia and Sunnis.  The community includes many sub-groups  of Muslims  like  Abbasi, Ansari (not Momin Ansari), Faridi,  Farooqi, Hashmi, Jafari, Qidwai,  Qureshi (not Qureshi Qassab), Maliks,  Siddiqi, Sulemani, and so on.   Their primary occupation is cultivation.  Sheikhs  of rural areas are lagging behind in education but of urban areas have acquired education and entered into business and white-collar occupations. (Ibid. pp. 1300-1302)

Shekhzade:  The term ‘shekhzade’ literally means ‘sons of chief or elder’ and denotes pious spiritual guides and religious teachers. They are identified as landlords in the region and were owners of large landholdings during zamindari. Their population is mainly found in Saharanpur and Muzaffarnagar districts.  Primary occupation of the Shekhzade is settled cultivation. Their other occupations are agricultural labour, wage labour, tonga driving, petty shop-keeping and industrial labour. Due to lack of higher education among the boys and girls, only a few are in government and private services. (Ibid. pp. 1303-1305)

Preceding account of 29 communities shows that 8 of them namely Syed, Sheikh, Mughal, Pathan, Shekhzade, Mian, Irani, and Muslim Rajput  appear to have or claim to have noble descent and  higher social status . Therefore, one could argue against their inclusion in the list of OBCs. However, their economic and educational condition, especially that of Shekhzade, Irani and Muslim Rajput is so pathetic that they deserve affirmative action.

Although Ahmadiya is a small Muslim community whose member are generally educated and engaged in cultivation and white-collar occupation. They deserve affirmative action because of their peripheral status in the structure of Muslim society.

20 other communities  are marginalised. They are illiterate, poor and engaged in such menial occupations like singing, dancing, begging, and performing feats of animals etc.  By all criteria, they deserve to be included in the category of most backward.

POI has not identified 8 of the 37 castes mentioned above.  Of these 8 castes Churihar (community of glass bangle makers) and Rangsaz (community of Dyers) may be placed against the communities of Manihar and Rangrez (categorized as OBCs in both Central and State list) respectively because of their occupational similarities.

Tawaif was the caste of women singers, dancers and prostitutes according to Census of India 1931.  It was common to both Hindus and Muslims. The caste might have disintegrated and lost its identity with the decline of feudal lords who were promoters and protectors of the community. However, it is a fact that large numbers of women are still engaged in the occupation of singing, dancing and prostitution.  They occupy lowest position in the social hierarchy and their economic and educational condition is worse off. They deserve special measure for their uplift.

The Census of India 1931, did not mention the occupation of  Nau-Muslims.  As the literal meaning of the word Nau-Muslims is New Muslims. We assume that this community would be consisted of those ‘new converts’ into Islam, belonged to different castes and tribes and engaged in various occupations. The community might have lost its identity over a period of time either due to its fusion in other community or adoption of some other names for its identity.

Survey team of POI, might have failed to identify Hurkia (the community of musicians and attendant on dancing girls), Saiqalgar (the community of armour and metal polishers), and  Tarkhihar (the community of  makers of palm leaf ornaments) either due to  their small size or obscure identity. Therefore, these communities must be explored. They deserve to be included in the category of most backward as they have been associated with menial occupations.

But it is surprising to note that POI has not identified the community of Turk, which is large in size and well known in many districts of Uttar Pradesh.

Ethnographic accounts of British period explicitly show Turks were originally Banjaras. H.M. Elliot divided the Banjaras of North western Provinces and Awadh into five categories i.e.  Turkia, Mukeri, Baid, Labana, Bahrup. (1976, p. 52) First two categories of Banjaras were Muslims while the last three categories were of non-Muslims.

Muslim Banjaras were distributed in different parts of the United Provinces but their concentration was in the area of Tarai, stretching out from    Saharanpur in the west through districts of Rampur,  Moradabad, Bareilly, Pilibhit to  the eastern  districts of Bahraich and Gorakhpur. Turkia Banjaras were divided into 36 tribes namely:

“Tumar, Badan, Chakiraha, Chauhan, Gahlot, Dilvari, Aghwan, Bechrari, Durki, Shaikh ,Alvi, Kanothi, Dhanhikaia, Gaddi, Chandaul, Teli, Kaik, Ghor, Gotahni, Titar , Hindia , Burki, Nathamir, Charkhi,  Padar, Raha, Marauthia, Khakhara, Kareya, Bahlim, Bhatti, Bandwari, Bargadda, Alia and Khilji”. (Ibid., p.53)

In the district of Moradabad, Rampur and adjoining areas many Turkia Banjaras adopted Turk title for them. The Gazetteer of the then Rampur state (or Riyasat Rampur) 1911 reports that;

Turks numbered 32,938 persons, surprisingly large figure, five times as great as the total Turk population of the united provinces. Elsewhere they are found in Nainital, and to a less degree in Bareilly and Moradabad. These Turks are apparently Banjaras…It is a well-known fact that the northern portion of Rampur and the Tarai parganas of Nainital swarm with Banjaras and the supposition that these people prefer the name Turk is strengthened by the appearance of only, 8,102 Banjaras in the state according to 1901 census report. General tradition indicates that all Banjaras were originally Hindus they certainly retain or have adopted many Hindu customs and are strictly endogamous. (p. 49)

Thus Turks deserve to be categorized as OBCs.

As mentioned above 3 castes namely Sangtarash, Khumra and Sheikh Sarvari (Peerai) listed both in column No. 2 & 3 and one caste i.e. Meershikar listed only in column No. 3 do not figure in column No. 1.  It means that these 4 castes have not been listed by Census of India 1931, nor identified by POI.  These are Muslim castes, as their names suggests.  This discrepancy leads us to say that neither Census of India 1931 nor POI can be final bases for identification of castes and their inclusion in the list of OBCs.  It is also important to note that both National and State Backward Classes Commissions do not go by Census of India 1931 in categorization of castes as OBCs, indeed lists of OBCs are open ended.

It is evident from the above table 8.3 that 46 castes (either distinctively Muslims or common to both Muslim and non-Muslim) are listed in column No.2, i.e. Central list of OBCs.  9 of these 46 castes are not mentioned in Column No.3 i.e., in Uttar Pradesh’s list of OBCs. Names of these are as follows:

Atishbaz, Baghban, Bhand, Lalbegi, Madari, Nalband, Kalaikar, Raj (Memar), Sai. Therefore, these Muslim castes must be included in the Uttar Pradesh’s list of OBCs.

There are 44 castes and their sub-groups in Column No. 3 of above table 8.3. If we compare 44 castes of Column No.3 with 46 castes of Column No. 2, we find that 6 castes namely, Gandhi, Garha, Kamboj, Dhagi, Nanbai, and Meershikar  are not listed in Central list of OBCs.  Therefore, these castes deserve to be included in the Central List of OBCs.


In the light of these discrepancies, it may be concluded that;

a).        Both National and state Backward Classes Commissions do not follow any systematic and objective criteria for the identification and listing of castes. Therefore, not only discrepancies in scheduling castes as OBCs exist but also many castes which deserve for affirmative action, are not categorized as OBCs. For example, many Muslim castes having lowest status in social hierarchy and associated with menial occupations like dancing, singing, begging etc. are not included in the list of OBCs.  Therefore, there is urgent need for fresh and comprehensive caste-wise Census based on objective and proper definition of OBCs incorporating social, educational and economic indicators.  Backward Class Index (BCI) may be developed for the categorization and classification of castes/communities according to their level of Backwardness.

b).       OBCs of Uttar Pradesh are treated at par for the benefits of reservations despite the fact they are consisted of various castes having different level of socio-economic and educational condition. A few OBC’s castes are prosperous, educated and politically powerful while many are poor, illiterate and powerless.  Considering prosperous, educated and powerful on equal footing with those who are poor, illiterate and powerless for the benefits of affirmative action would further promote and consolidate inequalities and defeat the spirit and goal of social justice.  Therefore, OBCs must be categorized into sub categories of advanced backward, intermediate backward and most backward on the basis of their socio-economic and educational condition and accordingly their share/quota in 27% reservation may be fixed.
The Committee finds out that, “the Muslim community as a whole is lagging behind Hindu-OBCs. However, overall, the condition of Muslim-OBCs are worse than those of Muslim–Gen. The abysmally low representation of Muslim-OBCs suggests that the benefits of entitlements meant for the backward classes are yet to reach them”. (p. 213).  It is obvious that Muslim OBCs cannot compete with Hindu OBCs.  Therefore, they deserve to be categorized as most backward and accordingly separate quota may be fixed for them.

c).        While lists of OBCs categorize castes across religion, this principle is not being followed in case of SCs.  Castes of Muslims and Christians having status and occupation like those of non-Muslim and Christian untouchables are deprived of benefits of reservation available to SCs on the ground of their religion.  It has frequently been argued that religion cannot be the basis for the benefits of reservation.  But the same has been accepted for excluding the Muslims and Christains from Schedule Castes.  Is it judicious?  This contradiction must be removed in order to make policy of affirmative action inclusive and non-discriminatory.  Many castes of Muslims, having the status of Arzals, deserve to be included in SCs.

d ).       Governments of both Centre and States must publish annually the list of  beneficiaries of reservation policy and their castes, in order to make the policy transparent.


› Elliot, M. Henry. (1976). Memoirs. (first published1842, Reprint ), Osnabruck: Biblio Verlogs

› Gazetteer of Rampur State 1911, Allahabad

› Hutton, J.H. (1933). Census of India 1931. Delhi: Manager of Publications.

› National Daily Newspaper The Hindu. 1st   December, 2006, New Delhi Edition

› _______________________________. 17th  April 2007, New Delhi Edition

› _______________________________. 22nd February, 2007, New Delhi Edition

› Ramaiah A. (1992). Identifying Other Backward Classes. Economic and Political Weekly, June 6.

› GOI. (2006). Social, Economic and Educational Status of the Muslim Community of India- A Report. New Delhi: Prime Minister’s High Level Committee, Cabinet Secretariat, Government of India (Chairperson Justice Rajindar Sachar).

› Singh, K.S. (1992). People of India: An Introduction. National Series, Vol. 1, Calcutta: Anthropological Survey of India

› ________ (2005). People of India: Uttar Pradesh. Vol. XLII, Part I, II and III, New Delhi: Manohar