Chuhra

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Chura or Bhanghi is a caste in India and a tribe in Pakistan.[1] Populated regions include the Punjab region,[2] their traditional occupation is sweeping, a "polluting" occupation.[3]

Churas in Indian Punjab are largely followers of Sikhism.[4] A small minority practice Valmikism,[4] an offshoot form of mainstream Hinduism which still incorporates elements of Sikhism in its practices.[5] In Pakistan the term ‘chura’ is often used as a derogatory remark for its minorities, specifically it’s Christian and Hindu communities, the term has often been used to deny its minorities jobs and education.[2]

In Christianity[edit]

There were waves of Chuhra conversions to Christianity between the 1870s and 1930s, the British Raj censuses became increasingly confused regarding Chuhra religious beliefs because the respondents were allowed to choose their designation. Jeffrey Cox says that in the 1920s and 1930s they described themselves variously as

Chuhra, "Hindu" Chuhra, Musali (Muslim Chuhra), Mazhabi (Sikh Chuhra), Ad-Dharmi, Christian Chuhra, or simply Christian ... It is certain that a large majority of the 391,270 Indian Christians enumerated in Punjab were Chuhras - that is, the most stigmatized minority in the province.[6]

In Islam[edit]

Only a very few members from this community ever embraced Islam, most converting to Christianity. Chuhras adopted the externals of Islam by keeping Muslim names, observing Ramadan[citation needed] and burial of the dead. However they never underwent circumcision. Only a few cases of circumcision have ever been recorded for Chuhras or Bhangis and these were Chuhras who lived very near Jama Masjid, they also continued observing traditional Hindu festivals, such as Diwali, Raki and Holi. Just like their Hindu brethren they continued with their traditional caste work; in India the caste system was fully observed by Muslims. [7]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Sharma, Rana (1995). Bhangi, Scavenger in Indian Society: Marginality, Identity, and Politicization of the Community. M. D. Publications. p. 17. ISBN 978-8-18588-070-9. 
  2. ^ a b Phan, P.C. (2011). Christianities in Asia. John Wiley & Sons. p. 25. ISBN 1405160896. 
  3. ^ Bodley, J. H. (2011). Cultural Anthropology: Tribes, States, and the Global System (5th ed.). Rowman Altamira. p. 315. 
  4. ^ a b "Census" (PDF). 
  5. ^ Leslie, J. (2003). Authority and Meaning in Indian Religions: Hinduism and the Case of Valmiki. Ashgate Publishing. ISBN 0754634302. [page needed]
  6. ^ Cox, Jeffrey (2002). Imperial Fault Lines: Christianity and Colonial Power in India, 1818-1940. Stanford University Press. p. 122. ISBN 978-0-80474-318-1. 
  7. ^ Sharma, Rana (1995). Bhangi, Scavenger in Indian Society: Marginality, Identity, and Politicization of the Community. M.D. Publications. p. 128. ISBN 978-8-18588-070-9. 

Further reading[edit]