ancient indian history

Bengali Brahmins

Bengali Brahmins are a community of Brahmins who trace their roots to the Bengal region, which is located in the eastern part of the Indian subcontinent, encompassing present-day Bangladesh and the Indian states of West Bengal, Tripura, and parts of Assam and Jharkhand. Brahmins are considered to be priests, scholars, and custodians of religious rituals and knowledge. Bengali Brahmins have historically played important roles in religious and intellectual spheres, contributing to the development of various fields such as philosophy, literature, music, and arts.

Consequent to massive Hindu-Muslim riots during 1946, most of the brahmin communities shifted to west Bengal.
The riots in Calcutta on August 16, 1946, also known as “Direct Action Day,” were provoked by none other then Mohammad Ali Jinnah, who was pushing hard for the partition of India based on religion, into two nations.
Mohammad Ali Jinnah and muslim league announced 16th August 1946 as Direct Action Day, and this call to muslims, led to massive voilence against Hindus.
When the British left India in 1947, carving out separate nations, many Brahmins, whose original homes were in the newly created Islamic Republic of Pakistan, migrated en masse to the newly defined Republic of India, and continued to migrate for several decades thereafter to escape Islamist persecution.
Bengali Brahmins follow ancient practices of Hinduism, and their religious ceremonies and rituals are often performed in Sanskrit, with the ancient language of Hindu scriptures. They have their own distinct customs and traditions, which may vary across sub-regions and families.
Within the broader category of Bengali Brahmins, there are several subgroups or castes.
Here are some of the prominent bengali brahmins
1. Rarhi Brahmins: They belong to Rarh region, which covers parts of West Bengal and Bangladesh.

2. Varendra Brahmins: Varendra Brahmins, also known as Vaidya Brahmins, trace their ancestry to the ancient Varendra region, which is now part of northern Bangladesh and adjacent areas of West Bengal. They are considered to be highly learned and have traditionally been associated with scholarly pursuits.

3. Kulin Brahmins: Kulin Brahmins were a historically influential group within the Bengali Brahmin community. They were known for their strict adherence to marriage rules and rituals, maintaining a high social status. However, the significance of the Kulin system has diminished over time.

4. Shakadwipi Brahmins: Shakadwipi Brahmins claim descent from Sage Shaka, and they are considered to be part of the broader Bengali Brahmin community.

5. Jangamas: Jangamas are a subgroup of Bengali Brahmins who primarily reside in parts of present-day Bangladesh. They are known for their association with the Shaiva tradition and are often recognized as Shaivaite priests.

6. Barendra Brahmins: Barendra Brahmins are another prominent subgroup within the Bengali Brahmin community. They were historically associated with the Brahmaputra Valley region, covering areas in present-day Assam, West Bengal, and Bangladesh.

It is important to note that the kings of donated lands to Brahmins, (after development) The Dhanaidaha copper-plate inscription, Nidhanpur copperplate inscription and several ancient Inscriptions mentions that marshy land tracts were developed by the kings   and the agriculture able land was granted to  Brahmins especially  Brahmins versed in the Vedas.

It is traditionally believed that much later, in the 11th century CE, after the decline of the Pala dynasty, a Hindu king, Adisura brought in five Brahmins from Kanauj, his purpose being to provide education for the Brahmins already in the area whom he thought to be ignorant, and revive traditional orthodox Brahminical Hinduism. As per tradition, these five immigrant Brahmins and their descendants went on to become the Kulin Brahmins. According to Sengupta, multiple accounts of this legend exist. For example there was migration of Orissan Brahmins, under the legendary king of Yayati Kesari.
Consequent to the attack of Muhammad Bakhtiyar Khilji in Bengal in early 13th century,  Islamisation of Bengal started. Khilji attacked a place called Nadia, also known as Nabadwip, a holy place of Hindus ruled by Sena kings. He captured some parts of Bengal. The Hindu kings, however, continued to rule significant parts of Bengal, even as Islam gradually started spreading in Bengal. However hindu kings valiantly resisted the process of Islamisation. It is a known fact that Muslim rulers in Bengal spread Islam and converter people with the power of sword, but like hindus of Kashmir and Maharashtra, the ancestors of the Bengali converts were very wise. They didn’t want their coming generations to loose connect with their roots.
Converted hindus continued to suffix their surnames i.e casts with their first names. Purpose of this was to remain connected with hindus roots.
This is how cast system developed in Hindu society.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top