BHUMIHARS AND THEIR IMPACT ON BIHAR AND INDIA
Respected Bhumihar Brothers,
We are all proud to be BHUMIHARS and rightly so.Let us examine our contribution towards our state and our country spanning a period of several millenia. Magadh was the greatest state of ancient India It was a great imperial superpower which dominated the ancient age of the Indian sub-continent. There were several factors which made Magadh so special.From time immemorial Magadh has produced fierce warriors,mighty conquerors, outstanding thinkers and gifted intellectuals. When we look in the Indian context we find that states like Rajasthan which have a great military tradition but minimal intellectual development.Similarly a state like Bengal which has produced several great intellectuals but has no military legacy. But in the case of Magadh if it produced Parashuram it also produced Valmiki, Chandragupta and Chanakya,Ashok and Mahavir and so on not to mention Ajatshatru and Buddha.Secondly Magadh had a great seat of learning like Nalanda.Therefore it produced the best intellectual capital in the world. But the most important factor was the presence of a great caste known as Magadh Brahmins which is today called BHUMIHAR. The ancient Bhumihars lived by a code of conduct.They were not only brilliant scholars but also outstanding soldiers.The greatest amongst them was Parashuram.He was the one who started this tradition which lives on to this day. In ancient Magadh Bhumihars either became great scholars or pursued careers in the military and rose to powerful positions. During the reign of Ashoka Buddhism became the state religion of India.Bhumihars who were holding high civil and military posts converted to Buddhism.This was only a tactical move.Pushyamitra,a Bhumihar went on to become the supreme commander of the Mauryan army. In a military coup the Mauryan rule was ended. Those Bhumihars which had earlier converted to Buddhism came back to the Vaishnav fold. The Bhumihars declared Buddha to be an incarnation of Vishnu.That was the beginning of the end of Buddhism in India. The next great dynasty which that ruled Magadh were the Guptas.In this era also Bhumihars excelled in every field. During the British rule Bhumihars tried to keep pace with the times.Today most IAS officers are produced by Bihar but during the British rule only a handful of Indians made it.One of the first ICS officers produced by Bihar was my great grand father Shri Ambika Nandan Sinha in the year 1897. Even when our country was relieved of British ruke the first Chief Minister of Bihar was a Bhumihar, Shri Krishna Sinha. Hence we have not only had an impact on our state but also our nation.We not only banished Buddhism but also championed the cause of Vaishnavism.Lomg live the BHUMIHARS.
The census returns give no less than four hundred and fifty-eight sections: but here the territorial sections and the Brahminical gotras are mixed up together. The most important local sections are the Chaudhari, Gautama, and Kolaha in Banaras; the Gautama in Mirzapur; the Bharadwaj, Bhriguvanshi, Dikshit, Donwar, Gautama, Kaushik, Kinwar, Kistwar, Sakarwar, Sonwar in Ghazipur; Bhagata, Kinwar, Benwar, of Ballia; the Baghochhiya, Baksaria, Gautama, Kaushik and Sakarwar(Sankritya) of Gorakhpur; the Barasi, Birhariya and Kaushik of Basti; and the Barwar, Bharadwaj, Bhriguvansh, Denwar, Gargbans, Gautama, Purvar, Sakarwar, and Shandilya of Azamgarh. On the Jijhoutia clan of Bhumihar Brahmins, William Crooke writes, “A branch of the Kanaujia Brahmins (Kanyakubja Brahmins) who take their name from the country of Jajakshuku, which is mentioned in the Madanpur inscription.”
Domestic ceremonies and religious beliefs
The Bhumihar Brahmins follow in every respect the standard Brahminical rules. They are usually Shaivas and Shaktas. There are some Vaishnavas as followers of Ramanujacharya in the Tirhut region of Bihar. Bhumihar Brahmins, like all other Brahmins are endogamous, but marital relations are known to exist since ancient times between Bhumihar Brahmins and Maithil Brahmins in Tirhut and Mithila and between Bhumihar Brahmins and Kanyakubja Brahmins in Bundelkhand region of Madhya Pradesh where Jihoutia clan of Bhumihar Brahmins live. Bhumihar Brahmin men of Purnea took to Maithil Brahmin wives in Purnea and married their daughters to Bhumihar Brahmin/Babhan men.
Political and social movements
Bhumihars are considered a politically volatile community. Bhumihar Brahmins in Champaran had revolted against indigo cultivation in 1914 (at Pipra) and 1916(Turkaulia) and Pandit Raj Kumar Shukla took Mahatma Gandhi to Champaran and the Champaran Satyagraha began.
Although the Bhumihars have always constituted a very small proportion of the Bihar population (around 2.8%), they wielded political strength in pre-Mandal politics of Bihar. With the partition of Bihar, their percentage has shot up to 6 percent and all political parties are vying for their votes.
See also: Ranvir Sena and Naxalites
Bhumihars, have been involved in many caste-related conflicts . However, it was in reply to the requests made by Yadav peasants in 1927, Swami Sahajanand Saraswati had started the Bihar Provincial Kisan Sabha, which led to the largest peasant movement in the country. Bhumihars also gave Bihar its first chief minister in Sri Krishna Singh who had himself led Dalit’s entry into Baidyanath Dham (Vaidyanath Temple, Deoghar).
Following independence, Naxalite groups began to originate in Bihar in response to low wages and alleged illtreatment of Dalit peasants by upper-caste landlords. Some Bhumihars and other upper-caste landlords responded by starting private militias called Senas. These were heavily funded and promoted by some Bhumihar landlords to fight extremist Naxalite groups which supposedly represented low-caste Bihari peasants. Hostilities began to intensify when in 1994, the Ranvir Sena was founded in Belaur village to counter Naxal terrorism. Since its formation, the Ranvir Sena has been held responsible for murder, rape and burglary in Bihar. This outfit, along with the Maoist Communist Centre, has been responsible for large-scale violence in Bihar. Incidents of violence have been reported from the villages of Belaur, Bara, Senari, Ekwari, Chandi, Nanaur, Narhi, Sarathau, Haibaspur, Laxmanpur-Bathe, Shankarbigha, and Narayanpur.
Bhumihars along with other Brahmins and Rajputs, in some places, were also involved in anti-Muslim communal violence during the Partition of India. and during the 1893 Anti-Muslim riots..