Concatenated Bengali last names

Two things about an eastern state of India, West Bengal, surprise me:

1. Why is it still called West Bengal, when East Bengal has been renamed to Bangladesh and is not even a part of India?

2. The Bengalis have very peculiar last names (surnames). At one end are surnames such as Sen, Gupta, Dutta, Choudhary, Ghosh, Maulik, Das, Roy. At the other end are concatenated surnames – Sengupta, Duttachoudhary, Ghoshmaulik, Dasgupta, Roychoudhary. Sometimes these names are written in mixed cases, e.g., Roychoudhary or RoyChoudhary. Sometimes even with a space, e.g., Ghoshmaulik or Ghosh Maulik (with the space!)

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626 thoughts on “Concatenated Bengali last names

  1. Did you get to know the reason why they use concatenated surnames.Is it mother and father surname used to be mixed in past.

  2. I don’t have a confirmed answer, yet. However, you are partly correct. These concatenations are indeed of the parents’ surnames. However, I am told that these indicate primarily mixed-caste heritage of the individual.

  3. I have a question…I want to know the caste of a particular bengali surname….MAHATA….is it Brahmin? Kshatriya? Baishya? or Sudra? I appreciate your help and suggestions in this regard…

    • MAHATA is not a bengali cast at all !It is a tribal surname & the persons belongs this cast live in Bankura, Purulia & Jharkahnd!

      • Even the tribals of erstwhile Saontal Pargana have their own caste system. Mahata ( Mahto, Mahato) and Majhin (Majhi) consider themselves to be above the others. Linguists have conjectured (and some historians did accept the conjecture) on the basis of available literature that both the names cited above were government job titles. Majhi<Majjhim<Madhyam signified a "middleman" in the process of tax collection and other processes; call him a middle level manager if you like. Mahato<Mahattara is some sort of a superior post. Neither, originally, signifed one's cast. However, some (or many) of the holders of the post had been casteless Buddhists. The new caste status was assigned to them by the society when they reconverted to Hinduism.

      • DUTT IN WESTERN PART OF INDIA IS BRAHMIN AND IN EASTERN PART IS SUDRA ACTOR SANJAY DUTT IS BRAHMIN

  4. 1. West Bengal is historically correct. People of west bengal are different from East Bengal/Bangladesh culturally, linguistically. The whole united bengal was geographically many unique regions, and current west bengal consists of primarily Rarh, and part of Varendra regions. In current west bengal, people of both west and east origin live because of partition when a large no of east bengalis migrated to west bengal.

    2. I’m not sure about concatenated surnames, but it may have multiple different reasons, one reason is adding the job-title or social-position in the lastname, like adding choudhury to roy, or just keeping ‘choudhury’. In the past, there was a tradition of getting ‘upadhi’ from Kings etc. That’s how many families use such ‘upadhi’s as lastnames. Sen, Gupta, Sengupta are Bengali Vadiya lastnames, and as they migrated into bengal from North and South (many say Karnataka), they might have some ways to distinguish various roots, just guessing.

    3. In modern times , perhaps in last 50 years, many people use a concatenated lastname after marriage, mostly the ladies. The marriage could be in the same or mixed castes. It’s kind of fashion.

    4. Mahata is probably a brahmin lastname, but Mahato is not. I could be wrong though. There are not many Mahatas.

    • You are correct.

      My father told me that our surnames were combined because “Das” made “Gupta” a lower caste. So my grandfather had changed the surnames from Das Gupta to Dasgupta only because Gupta is of a higher caste in the west bengal caste system.

      Either way I am very proud of my surname and I appreicate your explanation as I have found it very interesting. Thank you!

      • Many, if not most, Sen and Das last name folks added gupta to their last names at the turn of the nineteenth century. I do not have a good explanation for this but know that my grandfather did the same.

        However, for many generations, my family used the last name Sen or Sen Sharma. I think many made the switch to indicate that they were Vaidyas as the Gupta last name is used by some original Vaidyas in Uttar Pradesh (I only learned this from a BBC show!)

        Your father’s explanation may be correct for your family but it may not be. Sanskrit (and Bengali) has three different S sounds. If the family last name sounds more like dashgupta although spelled as dasgupta, then your family is an authentic Vaidya family as the last name Dash is a Vaidya name. If it was originally spelled in Bengali with another s that sounds like s, not sh, then your father’s explanation may be correct for your family. One way to find out is if your father knows his gotra. All Vaidya Dashguptas are Moudgalya gotra. If he is, then his explanation is incorrect.

      • There were in general four castes according to the clans activities. Brahmans, who did pujas etc; Baidyas, who were in medicine ; Kayasthas, who did the agriculture and Sudras, who did other menial jobs required to run a society. Off these, with full respect to their clan, the Brahmans often used to enjoy the women of their servants, ie: the Sudras.( this is not to harm their reputation but a known fact). The offsprings of their union were often very intelligent due to the lineage from upper caste and also could work very hard. Hence they often became a power. Their surnames consisted of ‘Das’, ‘Dutta’ etc showing the Sudra lines. They also added ‘Gupta’ instead of ‘Sharma’ denoting the Brahman caste.In Bengali ‘Gupta’ means hidden. Thus the surnames Dasgupta / Duttagupta has come. Being learned many of them become doctors. Hence their clan were named Baidyas meaning doctors. However, this is my private knowledge I hope nobody should misunderstand this whether they accept this theory or not.

      • nrahmin,kshatrya,baishya,sudra……kayastha is kshatryo.kayastha is not for cultivation.they are for writing or adhyayana….chitragupta was also kayastha….he was not hidden in our mythology…..
        brahmin for worshipping,kshatriya for fighting in war ,baishya for trading(subarna bonik-for ornament selling ,gandhobonik for groccery),sudra for servant community

      • Well sonya Dasgupta, sen gupta, dutta gupta etc are not low cast at all they were high cast brahmins of up who were migrated to “bangadesh” (bengal) during the reign of sen dynasty specially Vallal Sen as doctors or boddi and they were granted the royal title “Goptri” which on later period came to be known as gupta. The two gotra found among thes cast are Shakti And Kashyap which are very high cast gotras among up brahmins.

    • I agree with your point no.2. Because our actual surname was Dey and we got “Sarkar” upadhi from British. My grandfather’s surname was Deysarkar, but now our surname is only Sarkar.

      • Even Chitragupta was assigned a Caste! I wonder why. It might be symbolic to explain the reason why He was into writing and maintaining records. Anyways our great people!! Surnames were actually meant to be based on the job of the people from a community

      • my name is subhankar sarkar……………but our actual surname is deysarkar…………. then we r in same caste

  5. Dear Lalit,
    Concatination of surnames is not unique in Bengal, If you study in depth then you see that it is also present in other parts of our country like thakore desai,dutt chowdhury, sinh rathore etc.
    Now your first is rightly answered by anshuman , but I would contradict him a little that two way migrations happened for nearly 700-800 years. That is why rarhi brahmins and uttar rarhi kayasthas identfy themselves as eastbengalees.
    bengali vaidyas started identifying themselves as off shoot of Brahmin Father and vaishya mother that is why calling themselves as either sengupta or sensharma(where gupta indicates vaishya and sharma brahmana)
    This practice is hardly 200-250 years old
    still vaidya are available without this compounding surnames like das ,dutta,kar,sen, gupta etc.
    Most bengali kayasthas are having their surnames common with lower caste as kayastha is not only an kshatriya clan but this also means writter in sanskrit which is a profession – can be taken by brahmins and other castes.That is why purakayastha or Governer surname is also found in brahmins.
    Whenever an ancient bengali takes up the profession of kayastha he used to combine that title with his surname.
    SenMajumdar_ person having the sen surname takes up the profession of majumdar(similar to maratha mujumdar which is actually fersi majmuadaran)
    Ghosh moulik_ kayastha ghoshes are generally kulin but some of them are moulik(not kulin) they use it to distinguish themselves.
    Ghoshmoulik and ghosh moulik wrong grammer:(
    Person of roy is a small jaminder and roychowdhury is the bigger one
    My maternal family is Kayastha Roychoudhury
    Chowdhury spelling differs but it has no reason:(

    East bengalee kayasthas are brethren of Maharashtrian CKPs and the West Bengali one migrated from UP,Uttar Bihar (Shrivastava, mathurs) (Ref Atul Sur – Historian)

    • <<>>

      I disagree with this explanation.

      It is common knowledge that anywhere in India, including in Bengal, and including in present day Bengal, when two castes marry, the caste of the man prevails. Even if a Brahmin marries a Shudra, the offsprings will then be called Brahmin and not a mixture — unless the Brahmin is excommunicated, which obviously was not the case often as there has been a lot of intermixture everywhere in India, including in Bengal, and upper caste migrants have married women from local folks.

      I think these stories about ‘Brahmin” etc. father and “Sudra” etc. mother, etc. are all cooked up stories by a section of the Brahmins in power — when they conspired to render all the rest of the castes, except themselves as ‘Shudras.’

      • A person identified by himself is known as “Uttama”. Person who is identified by his father is known as “Madhyama”. A person who identifies himself by his community / caste is known as “Adhama”. Great people of our country used to preach this.

        On the other hand, It is natural and human tendency to linkup with some great personality, community, caste etc. to enhance his/her image/prestige in the society.
        This is very particular, when one does not have his own personality. Therefore dont be upset if some one made certain comments on caste etc. please ignore gracefully.

    • Mr. Rudrin,
      before placing any comment about some caste first check your’s to reconfirm. don’t get jealous to someone if they want to distinguish themselves. u don’t have and categorical proof to substantiate your version as reflected upon.

    • Yes. The Debnath community is a branch of Brahmins. They are also called Nath or Rudraja brahmins. The brahmins were of two types in the ancient times. One that lead a domestic life and the other that use to sacrifice the domestic life and would go to forests or Himalayas and indulge in meditation. The Debnath community belongs to the later. As they would not indulge into a domestic life, the population of this community is also limited.

      • Dear Avni,
        Can u please tell me what are “das” in bengoli?do they belong to scheduled castes? can u please tell me the details regarding there castes. My marriage is going to be fixed. and i need an worthy decision to be made. So, kindly help.

      • Kabya We Bengalis have very peculiar last names (surnames). Chowdhury, Bhowmik, Ghosh are the surmanes which are used by Upper cast as well as Lower caste, similarly Das is a Surname used by Kayastha in East Bengal and by lower cast in West bengal. Bhowmick and Chowdhrury are Bramhins as well as Kayastha. Ghosh are Goyala as well as kulin. So kabya you can’t recognise Cast by all surnames

      • Das can also be a Bengali kayastha or brahmin. Many vaishnav also use ‘Das’ as their surname. Das here means ‘servant of God’.

      • Das are of a lower caste. Nower days it does not matter because all the lower castes have married into our castes higher than theres.

      • Gotra is different from caste. Alimman, Sandilya, Maudhagalyan,kashyap etc were all saints of ancient India. You cant judge a person is higher caste or lower caste from his gotra.

      • you know nothing! chittaranjan das(west bengal), jibananada das(east bengal) both belong belong to kayastha…in west bengal kayastha das(not all das-es are kayastha)belong to kulin kayastha.for your kind information baidya cast originally comes from brahmin as well as kayastha.
        thank you

      • Nath is a community outside the social structure of Vedic community. Their religion is known as Nathism. Most of the people of Nathism and particularly intellectuals and powerful ones embraced Vedic system and accordingly social status were defined. same was true for people of Buddhism.
        Buddhisht intellectuals of higher status were “Deva Sarmana or Dev Sarma” and Upadhaya and that of lower status were Acharya etc. They are todays Mukherjee, Chatterjee etc
        Similar way the intellectuals/priests of Nath religion were termed as “Devanath”, The present day descendants of such intellectuals are known as “Debnath” or “pandit”.
        This is what came to know from my study on casteism in Bengal.

      • This is wrong, it is an adoption of Vedic Samskriti.
        Debnath is priest community /intellectual of Nath religion, which is a Non Vedic religion.

      • Debnath is Yogi or ‘jugi’ but not original vedic Brahman. And as such, in earlier times could not mingle with Vedic Brahmans; even marriage would also not be solemnised between the twosome.

    • yes, debnath is east bengali surname because about 90 percent were from east bengal now from that 87% are living in North eastern states having majority in assam and tripura. but there population is very less in comparison to other bengali brahmins

      • Our family migrated from East Pakistan ( erstwhile ) to West Midnapore District of West Bengal. I found a few Debnath family who are native of West Midnapore District.

    • Rudraj Brahmin/Yogi Brahmin/Nath Brahmin sampradaya is highest among the Brahmins. One Yogi Brahmin is equated with five Bipra or Brahmin. According to Bhagvat, Padmapuran, Brahmabaibarta puran eleven Rudra was created from the forehead of Lord Brahma, Mahan Rudara was the head of the eleven Rudras. Mahadev (Lord Shiva) is none other than Mahan Rudra. Since these Brahmins were originated from the Rudra, they arfe called Rudraj Brahmin. Since the Brahmins were pacticing Yoga, they are called Yogi Brahmin. In ancient times no other brahmins or persons were allowed to practice Yoga, the Yogi Brahmins were only the Gurus and prists of the people. Their only work was to teach people about the religious and other teachings.

      • In Bengal Nath were main purohit of sena rulers but later on Kanauj brahmin like Chatterjee, Mukherjee, Banerjee got high post and came to be known as kulin brahmin.

      • Ashok Babu,

        Please do not become a laughingstock and exhibit your ignorance, in every possible way, especially in srauta, smarta, agama and vajrayana shastras, including your natha sampradayas. It merely underline what the calibre of a “debnath” really is!

        Here is a synopsis of Bangali Brahmana samaj, but not a complete one, because that would take too long. I have been reading such a load of rubbish from people who claim to have made a study of it, primarily those who carry the surname “debnath” that I am convinced that these are genetically challenged. This was something I had not ever allowed myself to even consider, EVER before, but now I must seriously think about.

        In our Bangabhumi, we have the Vaidika Brahmanas, of whom there are the Dakshinatya and the Pashchatyas.

        Let us deal with the Dakshinatyas first, because these are the smallest. Migrating from Odisha, where they stilla re found in Mayurbhanj [Baripada, for example], including my family, these have settled in just 3 places in Bengal, primarily around Harinabhi in South 24-Parganas, Subhasgram- Kodalia, Changripota, where you will find the Bhattacharyas and Chakravartis, including the famous Shivanatha Shastri, Ashok Shastri and Gaurinath Shastri. Last, in Mukhberia in Medinipur, you will find a small group, the Nandas. The Dakshinatyas happen to include the few Samavedis in Bengal, of RanayanIya Shakha, along with the usual plethora of Yajurvedis. MM. Durgamohan Bhattacharya discovered in Odisha some Atharva-vedins of the Jaiminiya Shakha.

        Next, the Pashchatya Vaidikas, a large group, including a few Kanyakubja brahmans but no Sarayuparins. The Rarhi Brahmans come from the Paschatya vaidika branch and you have the Mukhopadhyaya, Chattopadhyaya, Gangopadhyaya, etc. and not from any Buddhist remnants as some crass idiot upthread suggested. Rather, as is the case with MM. Jagannatha Upadhyaya of Kashidhama, these brahmans have been instrumental in preserving Buddhist scholarship long after it died out in mainland India and even among the Bajracharyas of Newar. A little knowledge is a dangerous thing, and ignorance in the hands of an anadhikari is poison. There is excellent reason why brahmanas restricted sacred literature from falling into the hands of those completely unsuited to handling ANY of it. The foolish and dangerous comments upthread merely convinces me why this ancient custom needs to be reinvigorated with extreme fervor. This is why Nampudris had 8 subcastes within their ranks and only the higher were allowed the srauta rites and Veda patha. SvAdhyAya and Veda pArAyaNam were allowed to all. Sadly, in Bengal, Vedas have died a natural death, and we can see why!

        ShvA yadi kriyate rAjA sa kim nAshAdupAnaham?

        Aside from the VAIDIKA brahmans in Bengal, we have various types of other brahmans who are called grahavipras, agradanis, and a whole host of accretionary types who have managed to attach the tag “brahman” to themselves, not excluding “lodh brahmans”. This last group are truly noble, being those brahmans who volunteered to enter the tribal areas, “lost” status, but for the cause of propagating the Vedic Dharma. Their nobility and sacrifice cannot be revered enough and lauded enough. It is sad that the so-called “higher brahmans” remain ignorant of this extraordianary mission in these times.

        Another great injustice has been done to the agradanis, who have been demoted and degraded, so much so that the Vaidika kulinas will not accept water from them. Sadly, the agradani ancestors were actually MAHABRAHMANS, i.e. those possessing such extreme piety and spiritual greatness that ONLY they were deemed to have the QUALITY and STRENGTH to absorb all the negativity associated with taking the gifts offered at funerals, and of eating the food offered during such ceremonies. Again, these great souls were offering their spirituality up as sacrifices for the good of society and for the good of their yajamanas. Today, their descendants are seen as little more than pious parasites. I speak as the scion of a gurvamshiya kulina dakshinatya vaidika bhattacharya, who has officiated at enough rites and shraddhas. I have had enough of kulinism, although being the rare Bangali who is a panchasandhi Shikhapathi! My Holy Acaryadeva was a Sarayuparin from Sridhama Ayodhya, so I am steeped in the lore of the northern brahmana culture as well as that of Bangabhumi. So please do not insult me with nonsense and half-baked foolishness unless you are prepared to engage in scholarly debate.

        I have read what some of you have written about “das” and “dash”. You are ignorant of Sanskrit, Bengali and greater Indian and hence write nonsense, based on nothing but your ignorance and conjecture. “Dash” with a tAlavya ‘sh” or “z” in the Harvard-Kyoto system, derives from the phrase ” dAshati yasmai” : to whom something [e.g. dakshinA] is(should be) given, i.e the brahmana. In Odisha, you will find DASH being an exclusively Brahmana surname, a shorthand for DashasharmaNa.

        In Bengal, among the Vaidyas, there has been an age-old argument within that community that they are AmbashTha brahmanas derived from the Sarasvatas, and that they should announce themselves to society as such and have the shikhA and sutra, etc. etc. Indeed, in my time and for my forbears, it was often said that the Vaidyas are “brahmana tulya” or comparable to the brahmanas. Vaidyas in Bengal are very touchy about their status, or were. Hence, they were in the habit of concatenating their names with the brahmanical half, e.g DASHA [brahmana] + gupta [vaidya], Sena [vaidya] + Sharma [brahmana].

        Sengupta, Guptabhaya, etc. grew out customs that are too complex to explain here; for example, Choongta in East Bengal had a famous Sen family, again to be understood as “Sensharma”; so when a Choongta-r Sen married a Dashgupta,after many iterations, we got a Dashgupta, and so on. Over time, Dash and Das in English spelling has become conflated but in Bengali orthography has retained the talavya and dantya “s” distinctions, exhibiting the ancient brahmanical and dasa differences. Got that clear?

        There is another class of concatenations, the DEVA-VARMANAs, or Deb-barmans, e.g Sachin Deb-barman, who use that surname to differentiate themselves from the Kayasthas around them. They term themselves “Brahma-Ksatriyas”, an intermediate caste between brahmins and ksatriyas, something like what the bhumihars were until they started a movement to become recognized as full brahmins. In Bengal, Kayasthas have not been accorded the rank of Ksatriyas, but sudras, although several orthodox brahmins in the past century have fought to upgrade their status to that of Ksatriyas. so, in this contest, we understand why the Deb-barmans were particular to separate themselves from the Kayastha grouping.

        Within the Kayastha grouping, agin we find the kulins and the rest: Ghosh, bosh, guha, mitra, ei chAr shobar patro: meaning, the 4 clans of Ghosh, Boshu, Guha and Mitra are fit to be married to each other and to all others. Next are the Dattas, the famous Dattas of Hatkhola from whom descend Bhakti Vinode Thakur, whose son was the truly great saint, Prabhupada Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati, and from whom arose the disciples who gave rise to the ISKCON and other great Vaishnava revival movements.

        Finally, all manner of subcastes have attached themselves to the kayasthas, just like all manner of accessory groups have done the same to the Brahmanas by hook or by crook. THese are called the “Bahatture Kayasthas” or the 72 subcastes of the kayasthas, and are innumerable. This is good, because it allows anyone and everyone to rise up into society, without become OBC, Mahadalit, Atidalit etc. Simply by claiming to be a Kayastha, one is assured of a respectable place in Bengali society, and no further question is asked and no one really cares at all about caste in most matters. That is the really good point of Bengali society, unless someone makes exaggerated claims, such as ” I am the most superior brahman” as a doltish, completely ignorant fool has made above. I suspect he has not the slightest familiarity with the Vedas, and revealing his own idiocy in public only emphasizes his shamelessness. Unlike the Japanese, Bengalis today have no sense of shame and decency. That alone disqualifies him from brahminhood. ” VidyA vinaye sampanne…..

        Das is an entirely different kettle of fish as noted in many posts. I am not familiar with what the kayastha samaj does or does not do, so I cannot help there. But, all manner of upstart folk might claim brahminhood, which is not the same as their being recognized as such. Anyone coming from Odisha slings a sacred thread, and becomes a brahmin upon alighting at the Haora Station, and this is also true of many from Bihar and UP. So be it. But careful records are kept in Bengal and people basically know who is who. Their faces give away their identity! Their ears give away their identity, just as it is possible to distinguish an Iyer or an Iyengar. So, a Debnath, or a snakecharmer, can scream as much as they want about the Ekadasha Rudra, but we also understand the meanings of the Puranas and the Nigamas and we also are deeply immersed in the Rudrabhishekam, day and night, without ceasing. Are you?

        Now, the Bajracharyas make no upstart claims, but by being REAL SADHAKAS, are given the REAL HONORS that are their due. No one asks them, Are you Buddhists, are you Vaidikas, are you Shaktas, etc!! Why are you using the pranava, who gave you that authority, etc. since you do not have the Gayatri diksha; none of that. Such questions are never ever asked even of the true Vajrayana Buddhist monks who reside among the temples, and I know of many such cases. Even in Varanasi, the brahmana samaj sees the noble ones among them as ACARYAS, pure and simple!

        There is NO NEED to shout for something, proclaim this or that and incur contempt! BE that something instead!! The honors will be automatically given to you, and indeed be lavished upon your doorstep.

        “Das” is often a diksha name taken after Vaishnava initiation into the Gaudiya Vaishnava sampradaya. Some branches of the latter have taken to giving their initiates, mainly the western ones, the sacred thread. Nowadays, I am even noticing shakta initiates from the west wearing the sacred thread, and strangely enough, those who claim to be sannyasis and are performing SriSri Kali Puja, show off their sacred thread. Now, a sannyasi must throw away all things to do with the world including the sacred thread, although some keep this foolish emblem wrapped aroud their danda. One wonders whether these westerners enter the fold just to play at being brahmanas and to impress their completely ignorant Indian devotees. Indians are taken in by the symbols of worship, rather than any substance and do not care to investigate any further.

        It is the goal of the Sanatana Dharma to move EACH person into the realm of true brahmanhood. Not merely the symbol, which is basically like a dog’s collar, a sign of service and not a symbol of superiority. I should urge all to discover the etymology & meaning of diksha as offered by Mahatma Panini: dah + san : the determination to burn up, to become flame.

      • tara sharan,
        Please read the ‘Rudraja Brahmin Books’ before commenting on me or my knowledge. Search google and ask ‘Are Debnath Brahmins’? you will get the answers and read the books and literature written in Bengali language. You can also get the names and address of the books in ‘Nikhilo Bharat Rudraja Brahmin Sammilani Worldwide’ website

    • Shiv,
      Please read “Nath Sahityer Etibritya” written by Sri Upendra Kumar Debnath {Mobile No. 9433431083/(033) 25369240} Shasthitala, PO: Duttapukur, North 24 Pargana, Pin: 743248 and many literature with proofs which will solve all questions about Debnath or Rudraja Brahmins in accordance with the history, and religious scriptures.

      • Dear tara sharan,
        I do not know what is your depth of knowledge but a little humility in expression always pays.

  6. I am sorry, but I am not in a position to give any information about the castes for any name. I am not an expert. What I wrote are just observations. From now on, I will not even respond to such queries.

    • The question asked is simple, but it’s reply will be very large as it needs to re-open the civilization history of India.
      The reply may not be suitable including the present “Nath community”, as it is painful for every Indian.

      Well, in short let me explain :
      1) Indian History is written based on so called Vedic literature and hearsay.
      2) While writing Indian History, the other literature Viz. Non Vedic or Bratya religions were not considered.
      According to the available sources,
      a) Nath religion is the Oldest religion of India, all the Indian religions are derivatives of Nath religion. The founder is Lord “Adinath”, who is named as 1st Teerthamkara in Jain religion. He is also known as Brishav Nath, Rishav Nath. A lot of seals have been discovered in Mohen jo daro excavation.
      b) Vedic religion or Rig vedic society was eastablished only after that, and is a modification of Nath religion.
      c) This religion was also became known as “Arihant” or “Arihat” religion after the name of 22nd Teerthamkara lord “Nemi Nath”. It was further popularized as “Jain religion” after the name of 24th Teerthamkara Lord “Bardhaman Mahavir”, the district “Bardhaman” was named after him.
      d) The religion of Lord Krishna was Nath religion. Lord Krishna was a cousin of Lord Nemi Nath. The religion of Gautam Buddha was Nath religion prior to his preaching of new religion.
      e) Saivaism is also a derivative of Nath religion. Lord Shiva is also known as Lord “Adi Nath”, Lord “Brishav Nath” or Lord “Rishav Nath”.
      Main properties:
      a) it is a caste less society. the inherent quality is the main criteria to make his profession.
      b) In naths a person with a profession of priest used to write “Deb nath”. However marriage among Naths and Deb naths are allowed as it is a caste less society and never accepted the authority of Veda.

      The fact is that almost all people of India accepted the Vedic social rules on caste, as described in Vedic literature; because of the intrinsic benefits for a better social status in the society permanently. D

      I think to give a Vedic touch, the concept of “Rudraj Brahmin” was developed and introduced..

    • Dear Mr. Shiv and others,

      1) Why we need a debate on Rudraj Bramins are Bengali Bramins or not.
      If we call a person is a Rudraj Bramin, it automatically directs towards a point that he is a Brahmin. The matter ends there.
      2) Debnath surname is not a Bengali Brahmin, but at least one of the ancestors of a person bearing a surname “Debnath” must be a Brahmin of Nath people, who believe and follow Nath religion.
      Well, this is what I know. But I am having a doubt is it required under present social system or it is required to enhance our prestige in the society?
      Whatever be it, it is very difficult to trace the origin of any caste as the society have been continuously getting changed and a new coat have been put over old one. In spite of this there are patches or hidden clues from where one can trace out to some extent.
      The History of India and Bengal are written mainly based on Vedic literature and heresay from Vedic people ignoring the non vedic literatures. The main reason may be due to destruction of non Vedic literatures. Thus we don’t find Charbak, Ajeebaks, Buddhist, Nath etc. Literatures. However these are mentioned in Vedic literatures. Thus any person really interested to know himself need to study Non Vedic literatures written by modern historians and researchers.
      Based on my study , Let me share my little knowledge with all of you.
      Nath Religion:
      This is perhaps the oldest religion of India.
      Founder: Lord Adi Nath, alias: Brishav Nath, Rhishav Nath, The first teerthamkar of India. His vehicle is identified as Bull.
      It is opined that Reference of him traced at Mohenjo daro civilization, the oldest civilization of undivided India geographically as well as in Rig Veda.
      Lord Shiva also has been mapped with Adinath. Lord Shiva is also known as Lord Adi Nath, Brishav Nath and Rhisav Nath. Lord Shiva’s vehicle is also Bull.
      This Nath religion was also termed as “Arihant” or “Arihat” religion, in the name of 22nd Teerthamkara Lord Arshto Neminath. It is mentioned in Jain literature that “there was a city in Bangodesha by name Mithila, where Lord Neminath was born”. Lord Neminath was a cousin of Lord Krishna of Mahabharat.
      The religion of Lord Krishna and Neminath was same ie. Nath religion. The religion of Gautam Buddha was also Nath religion. Lord Jesus was a Buddhist/ Nath. He is known as “Isai Nath” in India. He lived at Himis Gumpa at Tibet almost for 18 Yrs. The Chief of Belur Math had visited the place and also confirmed the same in his Book, publist by Ramkrishna Math.
      The religion of Bardhaman Mahavir , the 24th Teertamkar was also Nath. This Nath religion became popular as “Jain” religion after Lord Mahavir. The district of Bardhaman in West Bengal was named in his honour.
      It be be noted that gurudev of Chandra Gupta Maurya was a Bengali person by name “Lord Bhadra bahu” or “Bir bahu” belonged to present Bagura of Bangla desh. Lord Bhadra Bahu was highly respected in Jain religion and placed a rank below Lord Mahavir. Bhadrabahu took Chandragupta to Karnataka and their establishment is still existing at Sravan belle gola, which is a pilgrimage place of Jains.
      Another interesting fact is that the famous Bengali Buddhist monk, the chief of Nalanda University, embraced Nathism from Lord Matsendra Nath after his return from Tibet.
      Thus it may not incorrect that all the religions originated in India are primarily derivatives of Nath religion.
      Therefore Lord Matsendra Nath cannot be credited as the founder of Nath religion, However he was a great reformer of Nath religion, derived from Saivaism, which again derived from Nath religion.
      Lord Matsendra Nath was probably priest of Kamakhya temple, prior to him it was a Buddhist temple.
      His disciple Lord Gorokh Nath was the founder of Kalighat temple of Kolkata. His disciple lord Chourangi Nath was the first priest of Kalighat Temple. These two holy places are among 4 Adi shakti Peethas. The other two are Puri Jagan Nath temple and Tara temple of Orissa, which were originally Buddhist Peethas.
      Well, in Buddhist society the intellectuals, professors level people at various Buddhist Universities, Viz. Nalanda, Vikramshila, Paharpur, Odanto puri etc, people involving in priestly profession were honoured as “Deb Sharmana” or “Dev Sharma” or “Uapdhyaya. In Nath society people in similar discipline were honoured as “Deb Nath” or “Dev nath”.
      At a later stage all most all these people embraced “Vedic religion” and Smriti rules were adopted in the society, probably due to intrinsic benefits as provided in the Vedic social system. However exceptions may kindly be ignored.
      All thes “Upadhyayas” are to days Kulin Brahmins, and there are more than 9 Sakti Peethas out of 51 in Rarh area itself. I think their ancestors were too great leaders of Buddhism.
      The ancestors of present Nath people probably could not join the main stream (Vedic stream) or did not join whatever the case may be during that social reformation in Bengal.
      Further research works are being carried out by Modern researchers in the above lines.

      Further readings:
      1) http://drkkdebnath.blogspot.in/2011/12/shakti-peethas-tantra-peethas-of-india.html
      2) http://drkkdebnath.blogspot.in/2011/10/development-of-vedic-social-system-of.html
      3) http://drkkdebnath.blogspot.in/2011/10/bengaliindian-race-vs-aryan-race.html
      4) http://drkkdebnath.blogspot.in/2011/10/origin-of-bengali-language-some-facts.html

    • Shiv,
      I prefer you must read the ‘Rudraja Brahmin Books.’ Please search google or any other search engine, you will find the name of the books, address etc. also in website ‘Nikhil Bharat Rudraja Brahmin Sammilani Worldwide’ which will give you all the details, with all reference to the history and our religious books. I have already uploaded in the internet about this matter.

  7. Can you explain the difference between Chatterjee and Chattopadyay? Is the former the anglicized version of the latter? Also, how is Satyajit Ray’s last name pronounced in Bengali? Is it Ray, Rai, or Roy?
    Thanks!

    • I think Chatterjee is anglicized version of Chottopadhai and Satyajit Ray should be pronounced as sort of ‘Sottojeet Rai’

  8. Dave,

    Yes Chatterjee is a anglicized form of Chottopadhyay.

    ‘Ray’ in Bengali is pronounced as Roy.

    • Das is of a lower caste which was married into a higher caste… The “Guptas”.

      Which then makes Dasguptas and still a higher caste.

      • In the West, children of mixed marriages (i.e, between black & white) are usually referred to as non-white or mixed race (or more crudely, as black). These references are non-judgemental with regard to superiority, although it is now generally accepted in the West that mixed race people are more gifted than the thoroughbreds.
        Following the same logic of classification and since in India these observations are often judgemental, Dasguptas should belong to a lower caste, because higher caste Gupta DNA has been infected by lower caste Das DNA.
        I am making this observation from a disadvantageous position of being a Moslem. It is hard for me to fully understand the intricacies of Caste structure.
        I have an academic interest in this subject and would like to undestand it more.

  9. can some one pls tell me……………………….to wat caste the bengali das belong……………….do the oriya das belong to th e same caste

    • all ‘Das’ in West Bengal are kayastha [see wikipedia]…..we all became Das because at some point of time our forefathers got influenced by Chaitanya mahaprabhu’s teachings and hence the surname.

    • Dutta can be a kayastha, benia(actually baishya), tili and even Baidya. Sanyal is a Barendra Brahmin. Barendrabhumi is modern day Malda, Rajshahi and some some other part of north Bengal.

  10. ok lets answer all the quaries

    Datta choudhury is generally kayastha but dutta surname is also common among bania and other castes in bengal. It may happen that some of them may get a title of Chowdhury from the muslim rulers …but I haven’t heard of it.

    Debnath is not Brahmin… the are known as jogis but they claim that they are brahmins and want to be known as Rudraja Brahmins. But there is no approval of the society available.

    Raghu is not a bengali surname.

    Das surname is available with 72 castes in bengal even my surname is also das later my forefathers took purakayastha surname. It is available with brahmins, baidyas and kayasthas as well as other castes.

    As far as oriya brahmin and kayasthas are concerned both have das surname.

    I am not sure about lower castes

    Sanyal is a bengali brahmin surname originated from village name. They are known as Barendra brahmins like bagchhi, moitra,lahiri, bhaduri etc

    Mr kothary I don’t understand why you want to dig the past?
    I do not believe in casteism and it is purely due to academic interest.
    As far as my knowledge goes indian varna system is not logical at all. Due to the foreign invasion many foreign communities were co-opted in the society and given better status that varies from state to state. In gujarat there is one sect called kayastha brahmins … how can it be possible even in uttaranchal there are brahmin chhatris……having status better than kshatriya but lower than brahmins….so in my opinion these all are baseless.

    • who told you that Debnath is not a surname of Bengali brhmin??.. Do you know Chowrangi Nath??? He was a formaer priest of kalighat temple .

      you have accepeted that they are jogi.. from this word it is cleared that they are brahmin..because yoga was not the basic job/practice of kayastha or any other casts.

      But, i’m not interested to go into any argument about this matter ,because we have to think it, above of all we all are human being.

      • The entire caste system in Bengal is rather murky (far too murkier than the rest of India), and a lot of blatantly dirty politics has been involved. It is easy for me to see it as a non-Bengali, though to a Bengali whose community has lived this insanity for centuries, it may seem normal.

        So, in all probability, Debnath, which were originally probably a Brahmin caste have been at the receiving end of this politics too, and were allotted a lower than Brahmin segment, which they have not accepted till date and hence the conflict.

        Also, Kayastha-Brahmin should not really be so much of a surprise, although, to a Bengali Kayasth who was marginalized by this politics as a SomShudra and who is used to being seen as a shudra caste by the Bengali Brahmins whose ancestors conspired to do this, and where Bengali Brahmins still use this historical defeat of the Kayastha caste to ‘show-Kayasthas-their-place’ … the term Kayastha-Brahmin may seem like an oddity.

        But really, Kayasthas did originally flow from the Brahmins, being joined later by the Kshatriyas, as the Brahmins in the north plotted against the Kshatriyas to concentrate their powers (the myth of Parushrama killing all the Kshatriyas in all likelihood refers to this — there are no more original Kshatriyas in the North).

        Even today, in places like Maharashtra, Kayasthas and Brahmins are seen more or less as equals, and even intermarriage takes place. Kayasthas in the north are often referred to as half-Brahmins, even if a section of the Brahmins continues to hate and spread misinformation about the Kayasthas. The Kayastha-Brahmin affinity is also as strong as the rivalry between one section of the Brahmins and the Kayasthas.

      • ALL DEBNATHS NATHS ARE RUDRAJA BRAHMIN. THEY ARE DESCENDANTS OF ADINATH OR LORD SHIVA /RUDRA.mahayogi gorakshanath /chowringeenath/MATSENDRANATH ARE TEACHERS OF NATH DHARMA /NATH SAHITYA IN INDIA/NEPAL/MAYANMAR. ALMOST ALL SHIVA TEMPLES IN INDIA AND NEPAL ARE FOUNDED BY NATH YOGI BRAHMANS. FOR DETAILS PLZ REFER TO book by dr.kalyani mallik of jadavpur uni, kolkata. and http://www.allindiarudrajabrahrmansociety.com. THANKS. S CH. DEBNATH/15.04.2012

      • I would like to bring the attention of all readers on Bragmin and Brahminism. and Brahmiinic religion.
        I would prefer if readers can highlights on these aspects, so that things would be clear for all.

    • Dear Rudrin,
      How can the caste sytem be baseless? Why so many readers are keen to find out if their family surnames belong to the upper strata of the society. You only have to look at the matrimonial websites to appreciate the magnitude of the importance people still attach to the caste system. The dream of caste-less society, although desireable, is still far off.

    • Debnath’s were practising priest and Yogi and were revered with highest precedence until 16th century, that is until the incident of insult from then King Bhalal sen. Even today initiated (baptised) Nath brahmins are revered in Shiva temple of highest orders like in Pashupati. The unfortunate incident allowed other non rudraja brahmins to rise and prosper in the then provinces of Bengal. Many Rudraja brahmins have last name like Bhowmik, Nath, Deb, Roy, Debburman, Bhaduri, Mujumdar, Choudhary, were primarily they are Nath or Debnath. We know few Nath brahmins who are initiated and perform brahmin priesthood. Yogi brahmins can opt as per his wish for samadhi (Burial) or water burial or cremation. This information is based on discussion with Nath community.

    • I prefer you should read the ‘Rudraja Brahmin Books’ available and given the name of the books, address and availability. All of your questions about the Debnath (Rufdraj Brahmins) will be solved. You may also login ‘Nikhil Bharaqt Rudraja Brahman Sammilani Worldwide’ to get the name and address of the books.

  11. Rudrin,
    Thanks for the answers. As I mentioned earlier, I am not an expert in castes, etc. The blog is just out of something that I noticed. At the same time, I would have really liked if no one asked me about the caste of any person…

  12. How the surname sengupta originated? How is it differ from Sen or Gupta? Both Sen and Gupta titles are used by Baidyas and Kayasthas in Bengal. Although if u ask their gotra then that will be different. Gupta title is also widely available all over india (non bengali) But they are Kayasthas. Senguptas are only baidya. So far my knowledge goes (as told by my father who is no more) my family used to use Sen title during Pratapaditya,s time. My fore father Sonaram Sen was one of the Gomasta (minister/adviser) of Pratapaditya Roy one of the 12 Bhnuias of East Bengal. But when his defeat was almost sure Pratapaditya alloted some land in Khaisakota village of Barishal district to his favourite Gomasta Sonaram Sen. One night Sonaram Sen with his family came to Barishal and started living there. Since then upto partition we were at Khailsakota village. Anybody if can throw some more light on it please write to this blogg or to ck_sengupta@sify.com.

    • Mr. Sengupta,

      I’m not too sure if Gupta is a kayastha surname, either in Bengal or any part of North India. Guptas are generally ‘bania’ or trader class, they use various surnames viz. Agarwal, Garg, etc. Gupta is generic name for anybody from the trading class, very much like Verma is to the kayasthas & Sharma to the brahmins.

  13. I dont think Bengali , by itself is a last name.

    Ethnically , unlike many cultures, Bengalis do not use Bengali as a last name. Rest all over the world , people have been known to use their origin or even place of origin as their last or middle name. But Bengalis dont use their origin as their last name as they mostly intend to keep their legacy of last names to run down the generations.

    Best,

    SM

  14. Chatterjee = anglicized form of Chattopadhyay
    Banerjee = anglicized form of Bandopadhyay
    Mukherjee= anglicized form of Mukhopadhyay
    Ganguly = anglicized form of Gangopadhyay

    Bhattacharyya and Bhattacharjee are the same.

  15. Hi
    I want to know Is there any difference between DUTTA, DATTA n DUTT castes
    Is someone says I am Dutta and we are Jamidar .Is that true.
    What does this Dutta caste do in Bengal

    Pls reply soon

    • Dutta/Datta/Dutt are Bengali or Punjabi upper caste surnames. Bengali Duttas are Kayasthas. And yes, there were a lot of Dutta zamindars.

  16. This has been a very fascinating reading. Like most of the resondents above, I also do not accept or believe in caste system. many Hindu revisionist claim based upon Gita that Krishna crated Varnas according to ” guna”. But also in Gita, Arjuna poses a real dilemma (ch. 1) that in the war many men will be killed, “kulasttrees” will become debased and and there will be “varnasankara”. When Krishna again and again chastises Arjuna to fight because that is his “kshatradharma”, why? Manusmriti goes one step furher and describes how the four Varnas can have “varna purity” through arranged marriages. And this is still prevalent in India, whether or not we like it.

  17. sengupta , dasgupta, dassharma,dutta gupta these surnames used for special indentifications of their cast. actually they are baidyas.Now the question who is baidya? what is the difference between baidya and brahmins?

    from the ancient time baidya and brahmins are allmost equal in respect of social respects. baidys are appointed for treating sicks and brahmins are for pujas. baidya and brahmins both are allowed in the maharajas khas mahal and theres no need to take any prior permission as it requred for mahamantri and other high officials.- peoples said like that.

    according to purana, baidyas are formed from the God Dhanawantary and there for they are appointed to treat .the things is there , the secret of treating ailments only it was baidys own and tradition was continues, but in our modern society the tradition stoped so long before.

    and the same way, mantras, the secret of the mantras inherited with brahmins and aside that secret of the life saving was with baidyas.

    [the remaining of the comment was deleted by Lalit Patil]

  18. I’m doing a project for a class and I need to know some common surnames of the Harijan caste. If someone could respond quickly, I would appreciate it. My project is due tomorrow. :)

  19. could anyone plzzzz tell that maity surname belongs to which caste because during my search i have found that in some cases maity can be from mahishya caste & in some from kayastha caste, is it true????

    • Maity surname is a corruption of Mohanty surname. They are Oriya Kayasta or Khandayat people from Medinipur region who later accepted Bengali as their mother tongue.

  20. It is interesting to see the discussion on Bengali Brahmins. Can anyone clarify how and where the Bengali brahmin surname Bhattacharya originated. And whether all Bhattacharyas could be Rarhi brahmins?

    • Bhattacharya could be both rarhi or varendreya.You see,Bhattacharya is just an upadhi (A bestowed title) given by King BALLAL SEN when the kuleen pratha gained prominence in Bengal.It is infact a concatenation of BHATT(priest) and ACHARRYA(teacher),and is meant to be honorary,usually bestowed upon brahmins excelling in the fields of paurohitya (priesthood,vedic rituals,etc) and shikshakata(tutoring).It could however be safely assumed that since it was only the Rarhi brahmins who played a predominant role in both these fields most Bhattacharyas are rarhis,gotras would also play a major role in this.In West bengal most Bhattacharyas were originally Bannerjee,Mukherjee,Ganguly or Chatterjee.

  21. hi everybody very interesting’ i am a bengli originaly from east bengal palludi gaurnadi barishal ( i hope spelled correctly) i know my clan using surname duttchowdhary but we r not using , my granfather’s elderbother still uses it. There is no zamindari involved & im not sure . can anybody throw light

  22. Hindu Sacred works say caste is about character, not birth. Bhagavad-gita (18-42) defines a Brahmin as follows: “sama: dama: tapa: soucam kshaanti aarjavam eva ca| jnaanam vijnaanam aastikyam brahma-karma sva-bhaava-jam||”. Serenity, self-restraint, austerity, purity, forgiveness, honesty, knowledge, realization and faith – these are the duties of the Brahmanas born of their own nature”. The inborn qualities identify the caste, not the birth itself. The phalasruti (“fruits”) section of the Vishnu Sahasranaama Stotram confirms: Vedanta-go braahmanah-syaat… sudrah-sukham-avaapnuyaat. Brahmana is one who seeks knowledge… sudra is one who seeks pleasure. No mention of birth here either. Who among us can claim to be a pure “seeker of knowledge”, or more relevantly, who among us can deny being a “seeker of pleasures”?

  23. Dear Sidharth,

    Bhattacharya – in my opinion – probably originates from the South India (Tamil Nadu). In Tamil Nadu, the Vaishnav brahmins are commonly known as “Iyengars” They are distinguished from Saivite Brahmins who have common suname “Iyer”.

    Among the Iyengars, those who perform priestly duties in temples are called “Patta charya”. Acahrya means the Guru (Teacher) and Pattam in Tamil means “Title”. Thus it can be inferred that these Patta cahryas were really “Qualified Scholors” having mastered the Vaishnav brand of Temple worship. Even now one can find the “Patta Charya” Clan in renowned Vaishav temples of south like, the Sri Rangam, Tirupati. They were “Thiruman”/ “Sree Churnam” / “Namam” on their fore-head. Three vertical lines joined at the bottom.

    These Patta charyas shifted towards Bengal probably during the time of Chaitanya. The surname has got corrupted to Bhattacharya or Bhattacharjee.

    Bhattacharya is one of the prominent Bengali surname but unlike the other Bengali Brahmin surnames like Mukherjee )Mukhopadyay), Banerjee (Bandopadyay), Chattarjee (Chattopadyay) and Gaguli (Gangopadyay), Bhattachrjee has no “Upadhyay”. Thus it can be inferred that the Bhattcharjee surname orignates from south India.

    • Hello Mr. Iyer,

      Is this a confirmed fact or just plain guess work? Bhattacharyas as I know are actually Chakrabortys. The first lot of a particular family settled in a certain area near the Ganga river & the settlers assumed the surname – Bhotta + acharjo. Usage of “Bhatta’ is not peculiar to Bengal, as you may have heard about Bhatt, Bhat, Bhatnagar, Bhatta Rai, etc.

      • This conclusion though convincing doesn`t fully suffice the titile naming,that being the case the customs should have at-least one commonality with South Indians as opposed to other Bengals.. Gud luck next time..

    • Mr Subramaniam iyer,you are not correct in saying so,infact the title Bhattacharya has nothing to do with the title you have mentioned.The reason for the similarity between the two arises out of the fact that both are derived from the languge sanskrit(the acharya part) and thats it. Unlike pattam the word BHATTA or BHATT means purohit in sanskrit.In fact I am a Bhattacharya and belong to the Bannerjee clan (i.e.,we are originally bandopadhyay),my gotra is SHANDILYA.Just like all other rarhi brahmins in Bengal I belong to the Kannyakubj shreni of Brahmans of Uttar pradesh who were invited to Bihar and Bengal during the reign of Adhisura to perfom yajnas for warding of droughts and famines.I have already clarified in my reply to Siddharth the other aspects of the title.I would also like to draw your attention to the fact that brahmins with the title bhatt are found from Kashmir to Kannyakumari,in Karnataka there are brahmins with the Bhatt upadhi currently entrusted with the performance of daily rituals at the PASHUPATINATH temple in NEPAL and were originally appointed by SHRI SHRI ADI SHANKARACHARYA, that doesnt necessarily make them related to the patta acharyas you have mentioned,if you want you can refer to WIKIpEDIA.

      • To Prof – Do you mean ‘Kannyakubj’ is the same of present days Kanauj? I have the genealogical chart of our family and I am 26th generation. In that chart it mentions taht we are from “Kannyakubj”.

    • I think Acharya is a word may be “Chara” or behaviour. and the people who were good in behaviour/habit or preacher of good behaviour and habits and recorded such moral story are known as “Acharya” .
      Pattya or Patta is alternate name of human locality. “pattatanam” may be a locality with large population.. This is sanskritized version of “Palli” or “patti” or “basti” of Bengali and Andra and Orissa, “Halli” of Karnataka.
      Therefore, Pattyacharya or Bhattyacharya were a title probably bestowed on honourable people of a locality of high morals.

  24. hi, i’m rishab. my grandmother had explained to me all about the castes among bengalee hindus. mookherjees, banerjees, chatterjees and bhattacharjees are the ‘kulin’ or elite brahmins. chakraborthy, bhaduri… are lower brahmins. the ghosh or ghose, bose or basu, guha and mitra or mitter clans are the kulin kayasths. dutta, das ….. are lower kayasths. Sens are baidya and a highly educated clan. mondal ,panja…… are very educated shudras. composite surnames like sengupta, dasgupta are born through propounding both lineages. roy or roychowdhurys were zamindars from the later mughal period, who had to use their original surnames and gotras like bose, ghosh etc. pujas and so on .the zamindars in the british period (through the permanent settlement of bengal in 1793)were not given any titles. my own family were the zamindars of the maharajpur and pailanpatti estate in the faridpur district of east bengal and we were known as the ‘maharajpurer Bose bari’ in bengali. however, being zamindars since 1793, we weren’t given any title. my grandmom’s family, however, were older zamindars and are ghosh-roychowdhurys. my mom’s family, were the das-majumdars of bhingulia estate, in comilla, east bengal. just some examples from the family. hope this has answered all your queries.

    • Hi Rishab,
      Coincidently, I am also from “maharajpurer Bose baadi”. Rakhal Chandra bose was my grandfather. Hope we will get in touch.

  25. my surname is sarkar. but i was knew from my grandfather that our past surname is dev. so i want to know actually what cast can i belong? most probably kayasta. what is means of kayasta.from which cast it was originated.

  26. To all my friends in the vaidya clan…
    I took the pain of learning our forefathers from various sources..the theory of migration is really true in our case.AND..the most important part is….NONE OF THE VAIDYAS HAVING TITLES GUPTA,SENGUPTA OR DASGUPTA ARE CREATED BY MIXTURE OF TWO CLASSES..Vaidyas were originally called Saraswat Brahmins from the ancient times..We have a very deep cultural heritage and an even more fascinating history of how we became vaidyas from saraswat brahmins..Our forefathers used to live along the banks of saraswati river and cultured various forms of applied science like medicine,astrology,astronomy..etc..but were not purahits.They were brahmins,but not priests.You will be astonished to know that Dronacharya,the astraguru of pandavas n kauravas was also a saraswat brahmin.When saraswati river dried up,these brahmins spread all over India..in present day we find saraswat brahmins in kerala,punjab,goa,andra and many more places.In bengal,saraswat brahmins are called vaidyas..that too from the era of king ballal sen.Our forefathers were rajvaidyas(doctors).When the brahmin class found that doctors are gaining importance through their treatment in the king’s life they suggested that since the doctors touch the untouchables and deadbodies they have lost their brahmin status.So king ballal sen with his priest’s suggestions declared the saraswat brahmins as vaidyas and termed as patit brahmins..but with this ballal sen also said that in every cultural meet or any form of gathering when both the brahmin and the vaidya remain present,one should respect vaidya first by touching his feet even before touching the brahmin’s feet.Saraswat brahmins had titles like Sharma,Dassharma, and sen sharmain bengal these sharmas were replaces by guptas..many vaidyas did not change their sharma title even today and hence we find these titles in todays bengal.I like to tell my vaidya friends that we have lived in begal for a very very long time and adopted its culture..but we are not bengalis by origin….we lived beside saraswati river which was nowhere near bengal..with the saraswati river drying up the forefathers of vaidyas of today shifted to the gangetic plain…you can have a lovely reading and great discoveries of all of yur origin through a precious book called BAIDYA KULAPANJI…so happy reading…and also a very happy enlightenment through net searching as well…cheers!!

    • All Bengalis actually migrated from West to East, later they arrived to todays Bengal. Follow the languages of western India you will find lots of similarities (Gujarati, Punjabi, Gurumukhi)
      It is the history of Bengal in 7000 years. You should know world bengal came from vanga. Banga and bangali maximum 600yrs. Bengalis came from Europe.

      • It is nice to read the comments that Bengalis are descendents of Western people. Let him live with his belief. Mr. jaydip need not be contradicted.

        As per Mahabharata, Lord Krishna along with his Yadava community people migrated from Mathura (UP) to Dwaraka of Gujrat (East to West).
        Mr. Jaydip may trace out the origin of “Gaur brahmin” of Hariana, Rajasthan, Gujrat, Maharastra, Konkon and Udupi.
        Besides this, it is desired to know the Jain history, where the maximum numbers of Jain Teerthamkaras were born which has much older history than the history of Gujrat.
        Who guided Chandragupta Maurya to Karnataka and settled there and where he belonged? Who was the Guru of Chandragupta Maurya ?Well I think people are aware of time of Chandragupta Maurya.
        Where the maximum numbers of ancient Universities are discovered? Is it in Gujarat or in this Bengal?
        Who was Isha or Isai Nath? Why he was named as “Iasai Nath”?

        I think the interested person on the origin of Bengalis may go through various articles , now easily available on line.

    • Thank you Jayanti gupta for enlightening us about Vaidya origin(we are having gotras like shaktri,maudgalya dhanwantari etc. who were rishis of vedic periods).Are we connected to King Jayanta or Sena kings by any chance?

    • Dear Jayati,

      Can you throw more light where can we get a copy of the book “Baidya Kulapanji”? If you have it. can you share it through inernet.

      Amritarupa

    • Basak s are weaver clan……in hindi the cast is called Julha. They are concentrated and originated mostly from Krishna Nagar Near Nawadeep, W.Bengal………to the best of my knowledge they belong to OBC

  27. My grand father came from Vikram Pur, Dacca, East Pakistan in 1947. We are East bengal Kayastha. I want know my forefather’s history(origin). How can I get it?

    • Ashim, you may find your origin at hansara Village of Bikrampur. I know Shome families of hansara village are very familliar during those days.

  28. Mr Rudrin,
    With all due respects to ur analysis i want to put forth before you that your understanding of the “vaids” history is utter rubbish.If you dont know something do not write it as it may misguide others.To know about vaids type in Mohyals in google serach.And for ur kind info Vaids(Sengupta’s,Dasgupta’s ect)were those brahmins who practiced ayurveda n were descendants of dhanvantari..

  29. Bhattacharya surname is also available in U.P. They are by no means connected to Bengal. They belong to basically Shukla group of Kanykubja brahmans. Bengali Bhattacharyas however may be brahmans of any sect. It only shows that their fore fathers at some point of time used the teaching profession (acharya) and they are by caste brahman (bhatta). I have found Bhattacharyas in Rarhi, Barendra and Vaidic sects.

    As regarding Shome, although i’m not sure I can tell what I heard. In North India Som or Singh-Som is a surname used by Kshatriyas who claim decent from Som or Chandra (Moon) family. Yes, it is the same family involved in Mahabharata. Kshatriyas population in Bengal was never numerous. So they per force intermarried and became assimilated in kayastha community but the surname remains. Shome is however spelt as per the Bengali pronunciation of Som.

    All the caste claims in Bengal seem hogwash if one delves deeper in history anyway.

  30. I am a Chakroborty of Bharadwaj gotra ( My parents spelled it as Chakraverty and naturally it is my registered surname.
    I was told that Chakraborty was a Nawab title received by my forefathers who were originally Mukherjee’s (Mukhopadhya).
    I am against casteism and have married beyond my caste some 35 years ago in rural Bengal and my question is only based on academic interest.
    If there would be someone who could enlighten me I would be grateful.

  31. Dear Mr Chiranjeev Sengupta

    You are mistaken totally. What I have written about Vaidya’s is not based on my research but on other dignatories research. Probably You have heard about Raja Rajballav Sen(Refer sen2sen.com) who let the entire Vaidya society go through some kind of makeover.He recommended that Vaidyas should use Guptasharmana and you will see many important facts about your community.

    Moreover I am very much aware about mohiyal.They do use the surname vaid and their gotra is dhanvantari which led you to believe that your community originated from mohiyal but do you know mohiyal though they are brahmins they never accept jobs of priesthood.They are military brahmins originated from parasuram like other brahmin communities like anavail,bhojki,bhumihar etc .Who are they? Please do conduct your research on them.

    Like kayastha , Vaidyas also regarded as shudra in brihaddharma purana. But Vaidya name was not used there, instead ambastha was used.

    Vaidya profession was also sometimes followed by karanas/kayasthas.

    Now about Vaidya surname it is also used by various other communities like CKP/SKP/bihari Ambasthas/uttarakhand brahmins etc.

    If vaidyas came from mohiyal vaids then bengali kayasthas should also come from mohiyal Dutts.

    Hindu casteism and its history is not so easy that you can resolve it by searching google. It is not mathematics so that you can prove it by 2+2=4.You can only claim something which can either be accepted or not accepted by others.

    Kulpanjis are of no value to historians.Some Rajput kulpanjis says that they came out of Fire(Agnikula) now tell me is that possible?

    Surname and Gotra have no historical or anthropological value, Say Das surname and moudgalya Gotra is found among Vaidyas as well as some scheduled caste and other castes also. Do they have any connection. They don’t. Then how you relate one Gotra of bengali vaidyas with vaid surname of mohiyals and their dhanvantari gotra?

    Go to a library and read some books on History of bengal you will find all what I have written .

    I am not here to guide or misguide anyone regarding Indian history, read some history books than you will learn it yourself.

    Lastly Niharranjan gupta , Ramesh Chandra Mazumdar ,Atul sur (historians)’s books were my source. So you can read them.

  32. The community owes its pre-eminence to Raja Raj Ballabh Sen, the Dewan of Serajuddaula, who conspired to overthrow the nawab with the help of Robert Clive and bring in the English in 1757. He arranged a conclave of Vaidya leaders in Murshidabad and declared “Henceforth we will call ourselves Vaidya Brahmins and wear the sacred thread”. The practice is still carrying on.
    see http://sen4sen.com/More%20History.htm

    • I am not surprised that Bengali Brahmins accuse the Bengali Vaids of “going through some kind of makeover,” just like they do to Kayasthas in North India — and both are nothing short of malafide mispropaganda (what is really ironical, is that their clearly outlandish claims were documented as ‘facts’ by some lazy British historians). The only “makeover” that occurred was to change the character of Bengali caste system from the vedic four varna system to a two-varna system, and the invalid Sudrafication of Bengali Vaids and Kayasthas by the Bengali Brahmins, as well as giving them fake ‘Sudra’ mythologies — something that both the Bengali Vaids and Kayasthas have always disputed.

      The truth however is this. The Mohyal Brahmins, migrated eastward, all the way from Pakistan to West Bengal. They are known as Tyagi Brahmins in UP and Bhumihars in UP and Bihar — and indeed, some of them seem to be Bihari Kayasthas too (Ambastha Kayasthas?). In Bengal, the fierce caste politics made the Mohyals and Kayasthas (both of which share some features, including the fact that some Mohyal communities, like some other Brahmin communities became Kayasthas), into Sat Sudras (that they dispute till date). Brhid Purana that you refer to is a fake Purana fabricated by Bengali Brahmins, as late as 700 or so years ago — and its also against the principles of the Vedic Dharma (four varnas).

      The Ambasthas (vaids of Bengal) are sometimes seen as Vaids, and sometimes as Kayasthas, while Ambasthas of Bihar as seen as Kayasthas.

      Mohyals and Bengali Vaids share exactly the same names, the same legends, and worship the same “Kul Devta” (Dhanvantari). Today, the victimization of Bengali Mohyals by the Bengali Brahmins as ‘sat-sudras’ may make the Mohyals disown them, but, it cannot change the facts. Perhaps, it is high time now that the Bengali Brihad Purana was thrown into the dust-bin, and past injustices are corrected.

  33. This leads us to see an apparently bewildering phenomenon, namely the intense contempt expressed for the physicians and surgeons in the Indian legal literature. The usual way of expressing it is to declare that the physicians and surgeons are intrinsically impure beings—so impure indeed that their very presence pollutes a place, that food offered by them is too filthy to be accepted and that even food offered to them turns into something vile. Here are just a few examples.
    The law codes of Apastamba declare that food given by a physician is too filthy to be accepted by members of higher castes (i.6.19.14). Gautama’s law codes assert that a Brahmin may accept food from a “trader who is not an artisan”, but he must not accept food from an artisan or a surgeon who belongs to the group of the intrinsically impure persons (xvii. 7 & 17). The law codes of Vasistha fully concur: food offered by the physician is as impure as that offered by the harlot etc. (xiv. 1 10 & 19).
    The three authorities just quoted are the most prominent of the earliest Indian law makers, whose works—called the Dharma sutra s—are usually placed between 600 300 B.C. The legal contempt for the physicians and therefore also for their science thus dates back to a very ancient period. The later legal literature shows how it continues. Here is only one example. The most prominent of the Indian law books is Manu smrti, the codification of which is usually dated as the first or second century A.D. Like the earlier law makers, Manu declares that it is prohibited for the members of the higher castes to accept food from the physicians. What he adds to it is only a greater contempt for such food: “the food received from a doctor is as vile as blood and pus” (iv. 220). Accordingly, Manu takes care to prescribe that like the other intrinsically impure persons the physicians are not to be allowed to attend sacrifices offered to the gods and manes, because their very presence destroys the sanctity of the sacrifices (iii. 152). The later commentators of Manu like Medhatithi (A.D. 900) and Kulluka bhatta (c A.D. 1150 1300) elaborately explain the desirability of enforcing these laws.
    Hence there can obviously be no sanction from the law makers’ point of view for the dvija or member of the privileged class to go in for medical practice. This is already emphasized in the law codes of Vasistha, which declare that a Brahmin who makes his living by medical practice forfeits his right to be considered a dvija (iii. 3). But this cannot but raise a practical problem. If medicine, in spite of its obvious use, is too derogatory a profession to be followed by the dvija s, on whom can its practice be entrusted? Manu answers the question and says: medical practice must remain restricted among the Ambastha s (x. 47). Who, then, are the Ambastha s? Though historically speaking they appear to be members of. some ancient tribe, Manu wants us to believe in a fanciful genealogy of them, which is intended to prove that they are bastards (varna samkara s) in caste nomenclature. They are born, says Manu, of the mating of Brahmana males with Vaisya females (x. 10)—a quaint story taken up in the ancient law codes of Baudhayana (i.8.7 & i.9.3) and reasserted by the later law makers
    (If you are not satisfied then look for Manu Samhita and search Ambastha)
    (See http://www.autodidactproject.org/other/chatto2.html)
    (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Debiprasad_Chattopadhyaya)

    The material posted about Vaid Mohyals is not yet approved ….(see citation needed) .The writer of the Article falsely claims some historical characters as of Vaid origin.King Porus was a khatri. See khatri in wikipedia. Others were gurjar kings.

    Ambasthas are placed among kayasthas. They were an ancient tribe who was very brave and learned. They were expert in Ayurveda . King Ambhi (who joined Alexander) belonged to this tribe. Ambastha tribe ruled Kashmir for a long period and they worshipped Devi Amba thus the name Ambastha . They migrated to various places and came to Bengal around 1000 years ago much after Brahmin and Kayasthas.
    They had the highest literacy rates especially among the females. Kayastha kulgranthas will give you a different story about ambasthas but that story is a mythical one.

    Brahmins in many ancient texts cursed Vaidya as well as kayasthas (an example you can see above) was due to an economical reason. Cause the profession of kayasthas and vaidya was also followed by them. Many of such things is described in Kalhan’s Rajtarangini. CKP ‘s harassed by KOBRA s many times .

    See CKP in wikipedia

    Ancient Brahmins who practiced ayurveda use the Gotra Dhanvantari. Other Gotras found among the vaidyas are shaktri , moudgalya, kashyap etc.

    In North India (UP etc) both kayasthas and ambasthas are regarded as Vaishya.
    Brahmin priests think they are varna shankara.

    20.2.1.2.2 Offspring of vratyas
    But from a Vratya (of the) Brahmana (caste) spring the wicked Bhriggakantaka, the Avantya, the Vatadhana, the Pushpadha, and the Saikha. [v.10.21.]
    From a Vratya (of the) Kshatriya (caste), the Ghalla, the Malla, the Likkhivi, the Nata, the Karana, the Khasa, and the Dravida. [v.10.22.]
    From a Vratya (of the) Vaisya (caste) are born a Sudhanvan, an Akarya, a Karusha, a Viganman, a Maitra, and a Satvata. [v.10.23.]

    20.2.1.2 Vratyas (apostates)
    20.2.1.2.1 Twice-born who neglect their duties
    Those (sons) whom the twice-born beget on wives of equal caste, but who, not fulfilling their sacred duties, are excluded from the Savitri, one must designate by the appellation Vratyas. [v.10.20.]

    20.2.1.1.1.2 Anuloma of two or three degrees
    From a Brahmana a with the daughter of a Vaisya is born (a son) called an Ambashtha, with the daughter of a sudra a Nishada, who is also called Parasava. [v.10.8.]

    20.2.2.3 Status of the mixed varnas
    20.2.2.3.1 Pure & anuloma amongst the twice-born
    Six sons, begotten (by Aryans) on women of equal and the next lower castes (Anantara), have the duties of twice-born men; but all those born in consequence of a violation (of the law) are, as regards their duties, equal to Sudras. [v.10.41.]
    Vritti:
    Equal matches;
    1) brahmana + brahmana = brahmana
    2) ksatriya + ksatriya = ksatriya
    3) vaisya + vaisya = vaisya
    Anantaras;
    4) brahmana + ksatriya = ksatriya
    5) brahmana + vaisya = vaisya
    6) ksatriya + vaisya = vaisya
    Any of the above six combinations born out of wedlock or from adultry are concidered sudras
    By the power of austerities and of the seed (from which they sprang), these (races) obtain here among men more exalted or lower rank in successive births. [v.10.42.]
    Vritti:
    More exalted [v.10.64,65]
    Lower Rank
    [v.10.29-31]

    Manu Samhita

    I found the mention of kayastha Brahmin in the following site but I do not know much about them.

    http://www.vedah.net/manasanskriti/Brahmins.html#Various_Brahmin_Communities

    Kayastha kul granthas gave them dual status of Brahmin and kshatriyas. See wikipedia.I do not know its authenticity as no source was mentioned. Ambasthas are included among kayasthas. They are found mainly in Uttar bihar. I do not know if Bengali baidyas are related to them.But they also practice ayurveda and vaidya as a surname is also found among them.

    If you see CKP in wikipedia you will find a story of King Chandrasen. Also see bender.net.
    Similar story can be found for brahma kshatriyas (Lohana). In bengal similar story was found here also only the King’s name is Bhadrasen and he is described as a pro gene of Chitragupta thus combining the story of Chitragupta (UP)and CKPs (Maharashtra).

    • First of all, Kayasthas in UP and other parts of North India are NOT seen as “Vaishyas” but as “Kshatriyas”. The Calcutta courts disputed the status of Bihari Kayasthas, when Bihar was part of Bengal, but other courts, viz the Allahabad and the Patna high courts, soon upheld the status of Kayasthas in “Upper India,” Benares and Bihar as that of Kshatriyas.

      Ambasthas are referred in the Mahabharata as Kshatriyas. It mentions their King Srutayuh as the “best of Kshatriyas.”

      Many Puranas also mention Ambasthas as “Kshatriyas.” It is only in some smritis that they are referred to as tribes. Now, we all know that at one time in the history of Indian caste politics, the Brahmins started to tamper with religious texts and included their whims and fancies by distorting several smritis and Purans,

      The Ambatha Sutras describe Ambasthas as Brahmins. While Gautama Dharmashastra hints at their being of mixed origin … which could point to the fact that like the Kayasthas they belong to a mixed Brahmin-Kshatriya origin. Indeed, when they came to the east, they became the learned Kayasthas.

      As regarding the profession of medicine being a “Sudra” profession — this is also a part of the dirty politics played by powerful Brahmin groups at a much later date of ancient indian history. Manu Smriti seems to have been distorted to include this misinformaiton, to suits the whims of the Brahmins, esp. Bengali Brahmins. Medicine requires intense knowledge, which only the Brahmins were allowed to achieve. Ayurveda could not have been written by Sudras.

      “Kayastha kulgranthas will give you a different story about ambasthas but that story is a mythical one.”
      You’re saying as if the ManuSmritis and some other junk doled out by conniving Bengali Brahmins are anything but mythology!!

      • It is the Mother Nature who made anything and everything, which has life to move upwards, it may be physically or it may be logically.

        This intrinsic desire in every human drives to move forward, and not in backward direction.

        However, everybody can not be identical and as a result someone move faster and someone in slower speed.

        In this process, someone was branded as Brahmin and someone as Sudra.

        Again Mother Nature is always careful to protect it’s children, as a result a Brahmin man tries to protect the interest of his own kid, the result the child also become brahmins.

        We need not give much value to this at least under present day circumstances.

        We can notice of Brahmin girls marrying non Brahmin boys , even marrying a person of different religion , the common factor we observe is the quality of the person mainly.

        I am not a believer in degradation or any upgradation of any human, Unfortunately Indian society give much importance to this.

        In fact all of us I must appreciate Mr. Anirudhdha Sen for sharing his knowledge with us.

    • Quote from the Wikipedia article on Sakaldwipiya Brahmins:
      “Sakaldwipiya Brahmins or Bhojaka Brahmins, is a class of Hindu priests and Ayurveda teachers (acharyas),[1] with significant concentrations of their populations occurring in Western and Northern India.”

      It is clear that physicians are not treated with contempt in North India. Any such trend was the result of the connivations of the shrewd, anti-Kayastha, Bengali Brahmin lobby.

      It should also be noted that the Kashmiri Kayastha King Lalitaditya has been described as a Sakaldwipiya Brahmin by Kashmiri Pundits.

    • First of all Mr. Rudrin tell me if foods accepted from physician community was considered so filthy then how could the so called upper caste peoples accepted medicine from the vaids. Don’t you feel you are talking unscientific rubbish things or are you suggesting that at that time injections were discovered. How about the rajas where these vaids were rajvaids, do you think the vaids just ordered the rajas to make their own medicine.

      You will be shocked to know about the namboodari brahmins…
      The Nambudiri Brahmins, also transliterated Namboothiri, are the dominan Hindu Brahmins from the Indian state of Kerala. Orthodox in the extreme, its members regard themselves as the true repositories of the ancient Vedic religion and of the traditional Hindu code.

      There are five subdivisions within the Nambudiri caste: Tampurakkal, the highest in status, who with the Adhyas form an endogamous subcaste; the Adhyas, who are temple priests; the Visistas, some of whom are ritualists, while others pursue traditional learning and philosophy; the Samanyas, who study the Veda; and the Jatimatras, who practice Ayurvedic medicine.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nambudiri

      There are still other examples…
      Sakaldwipi (Shakdwipi) or Maga brahmins are pioneers in Sun worship and Ayurvedic medical system.

      http://shakdwipi.com/historyintroduction.htm

      Jaiswal Brahmin Surnames are Jaiswal, Jayaswal, Gaur, Garg, Gupta, Bhagat, Vaish(nav), Dubey, Prasad, Chowdhury, Rai or Ray or Roy, Thakur, Sahu, Malviya, Varma or Varman Or Barman, etc.
      Brahmin Guptas are believed to be Vaidya Brahmins and are descendants of Dhanavantari, the god of medicine and father of Ayurveda.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jaiswal_Brahmin

      agamandala (nAgamandala) (ನಾಗಮಂಡಲ) is a particular variety of Cobra worship in a broad spectrum of such practices in the coastal districts of South Canara and Udupi. This is associated more with Brahmin community when compared with other prevalent practices such as ‘Ashleshabali’, ‘kADyanATa’ and ‘Dakkebali’A particular sub sect of Brahmins called ‘vaidya’ has the hereditary rights to perform this ceremony under the aegis of whoever is willing to sponsor it. .

      http://www.classicalkannada.org/DataBase/KannwordHTMLS/CLASICAL%20KANNADA%20FOLKLORE%20AND%20FOLK%20ARTS%20HTML/NAGAMANDALA.htm

      There are many sub-communities in Saraswats, including
      Rajasthan Saraswats
      Saraswats from haryana
      Saraswats from Uttar Pradesh
      Saraswats from Konkan
      Kashmiri Pandits
      Dogra Saraswats (Brahmins from Jammu)
      Punjabi Saraswats
      Sindhi Saraswats
      Bengali Saraswats(Vaidyas)[2]
      Oriya Saraswats
      The Bengali Saraswats (Vaidya-Brahmins) have surnames like Sen Sharma(or Sengupta), Dash Sharma etc. and they are traditional practitioner and teachers of Ayurveda.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saraswat_Brahmin

      Saraswat Brahmins had titles like Dash Sharma and Sen Sharma in Bengal. Many Baidyas did not change their Sharma title till today. The Sena of Bengal ruled through eleventh and twelfth century. They were called Bramha Kshatra division of Saraswat Brahmins (those who were Brahmins first and become Kshatriya later). As evidenced through their surname which is derived from Sanskrit, for army. According to Ramakanthdas, who in Baidyakula Panjika wrote details about Baidyas, whose forefathers used to live along the banks of Saraswati river and practiced various forms of medicine, astronomy etc.

      http://saraswatdirectory.com/saraswat6.php

      I think these are enough evidence and the story invented by you i think its you only who believe in it. Moreover Vaidyas all over India are considered Trija which means thrice born. First birth from his mothers womb, then through upnayana and after that by completing the study of Ayurveda, not just a dvija. If you still don’t believe in it type in google with the keywords Dvija Trija and you will find the entire internet filled with it.

  34. Some scribes of Mohyal history including Russell Starcey have tried to find a tenuous relationship between Mohyal Vaids and the Baidya rulers of Bengal (990 to 1200 AD). The postulation is to be accepted with a hint of fanciful philosophy because its veracity is yet to be proved. Brief background:

    http://www.mohyal.com/gms/m_member.htm

    Note Sen Rulers was not baidya but they were Karnataka Brahmins who entered Bengal as chieftains of pala empire.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sena_dynasty

    Mohiyal vaids are known for their bravery and valour no such fact is known about Bengali baidyas.

    • Dear Rudrin,

      I think, as with several other people before you, you haven’t been able to follow the sutras you mention about Baidyas properly. In fact, I have met mistakes like this one before, as many leftist (I don’t know or care whether you are one) friends tend to have this idea – chase up Manu here, some other big name there, someone else somewhere… and they get it all mixed up like you have done. So I have done my research and here’s the result:
      First and foremost: in the ancient Vedic texts, from where the religion we call “hinduism” comes, Brahmana is one who can roam with Brahma (Brahma ramaneya), one who can feel and claim oneness with The ONE. Fullstop. That has to be achieved through the highest of Yogas, and one needs to waken up ones kulakundalinis and be free of the five ripus, and overcome identification with worldly possessions and so on, which are barriers against enlightenment. To this effect, any pure born or impureborn can achieve it, and become a true Brahman. No sage, not even Manu, can rise above the veda. And I do guess you will have to agree to that. Caste and the Equations you gave on caste are much later work, and ofcourse if a high ranking Brahmin dictates that Brahmin + Vaishya = Brahmin, obviously that is going to be problem with people marrying outside their castes, and so Brahmin + Vaishya = Vaishya or even lower, if one can take it… the problem is when people start taking this as a dictat. By the way, hope you know, of course, that a bride’s gotra is changed according to the groom’s gotra, and Mukherjee groom + Das bride = Mukherjee child, which, if male, will have upavit through upanayan!!! (funny, isn’t it?)
      Secondly, consider this: (a) even by what you have said, that we have never ever taken up priesthood, which by the way is not a profession… a priest is not allowed to charge fees, he is officially offered alms only. once again, I am sure you know this; (b) the word Vaidya does not originally come from being a physician, but from “VaidiK” or “Vaidi” – someone who has studied and is an expert on the Vedas – Rigvaidi, or experts on rigveda in particular. Vaidyas who were physicians later on studied and practiced the Ayurvedas. Many a community may have had the pleasure later on, but Vaid brahmins were the first. To this effect, the Senas were Vaidik brahmins, although I am not quite sure whether they were the physician lot. And you see, Senguptas are considered on several counts to be descendants of the original Senas of Bengal, who were “Karnadh Deshiya Brahmins” – or, if loosely translated, Kannada brahmins. Sengupta (Sen + Gupta) is NOT TO BE MIXED WITH Sen vaishyas or Sen kayasthas, which is probably what you have done. After Upavit, I was supposed to write Sen Sharma, but left the cause because of documentational difficulties. Now when the Senas, Vaidik brahmins, came to be one with Vaids, physician Brahmins, is a matter of geopolitics. (c) By the way, if we have Vaids of Dhanwantari Gotra in Bengal, and Also in Punjab, what prompts you to say they are not the same? There are several castes which have migrated and there is proof and common knowledge on this matter. So why do you feel the need to prove otherwise, I have no particular clue!
      (d) Points on bravery: Nelly Sengupta, Surya Sen…
      Lastly, even Mukherjees, Chatterjees, Lahiris etc know that DashGuptas (or DasGuptas) and SenGuptas are brahmins, and they have known it for a very long time… even before the Murshidabaad incident you talked about – the Senas predate and later overlap the Muslim rulers. We are listed as brahmins by proper authority and by proper proof, our marriage rituals and Upavit are proof of the fact that we are brahmins, and I don’t know what more proof anyone, including Manu and others you mentioned, can give you that we are Brahmins. Over to you now!

    • There are so many false statements in your post about, but I’m specifically pointing out this …

      Kayasthas in North India are not regarded as “Vaishyas.” Kayasthas all over India are regarded as Kshatriyas, except in Bengal. In fact, Kayasthas enjoy a dual Brahmin/Khsatriya status.

      There arose a problem in British India because Bengal was merged with Bihar. And while in Bengal, Kayasthas were victimized into fake “Sudradom” by the Brahmins, in the Upper Provinces, Benares and Bihar, they were still Kshatriyas. The Calcutta High court received several cases from Bihar Kayasthas or others that naturally claimed as part of the proceedings (e.g. of adoption or marriage or property disputes) that Kayasthas are Kshatriyas, to which the Bengali courts (sic) raised questions and referred it to a privy council. In at least two of such cases, a vyavastha of more than 1000 Benares Pandits had given in writing that Kayasthas are indeed Kshatriyas. However, the Privy council did not give any ruling on this, and the question was left open. However, soon, the Allahabad High Court ruled that the Kayasthas of Upper Provinces and Bengal are indeed Kshatriyas. The Patna High Court, as soon as Bihar was separated from non-Aryan Bengal, too, gave a pronouncement that Bihari Kayasthas are Kshatriyas too. The Bengali Kayasthas are still fighting their victimization at the hands of Bengali Brahmins. But, even in Bengal, Kayasthas enjoy a triple Brahmin/Kshatriya/Sudra status (The last one being an invalid one).

      • The following research about the genetic origins of Bengali Brahmins and Kayasthas will also throw a lot of light on the issue:

        http://www.ias.ac.in/jgenet/Vol80No1/23.pdf

        Genetic variation in three east Indian populations, R A N J A N D U T T A a n d V . K . K A S H Y A P, Journal of Genetics, Vol. 80, No. 1, Apri1 2001 25;

        Quote:
        The Brahmin and the Kayastha, among the three groups studied, belong to the same ethnic and linguistic families. Our allele frequency analysis shows considerable admixture between these two population groups. The Garo community, which belongs to the Tibeto-Burman linguistic group, shows significant difference in the allele pattern with the Brahmin and Kayastha despite occupying the same geographical area. Distribution of alleles/fragments at loci D1S7, D4S139, D5S110 and D17S79,grouped under fixed-bin boundaries (figure 1), shows considerable similarity between the two Indo-Caucasoid groups, the Brahmin and the Kayastha, and differences of these from the Indo-Mongoloid group, the Garo. The tree shows three distinct branches, comprising Indo-Mongoloid populations (Meitei, Kuki, Naga, Hmar and Garo), Indo-Caucasoid populations (Brahmin, Kayastha, Hindu, Punjabi and Sikh), and the Manipuri Muslims … The pattern of the NJ tree reflects the ethnic background of the Indian populations. The Indo-Mongoloid populations are found separated from the Indo-Caucasoid groups. Among the Indo-Caucasoid cluster, the Brahmin and Kayastha form a separate subbranch, justifying the closeness between these groups predicted by protein and other DNA markers. The close genetic affinity among Kayastha and Brahmin populations suggests that these two groups could have the same origin with recent separation from common stock, or they are two different groups with extensive gene flow between them.

  35. Hello readers, dated 23-04-2008

    I have gone thru the comments .It is quite interesting.

    Below i am giving some points for debate for better understanding for the readers of this site.

    1) What is Hinduism? Is it an amalgation of various religions originated in India or it is a one particular one?

    2) Among so called Hinduism, Acharya normally associated with top class noble persons,viz. Dronacharya, Kripacharya,
    Lord Sankaracharya, Lord Madhavacharya,LordBallavacharya, etc, ie. Acharyas are at the top of the society .

    However, in Bangadesha, Upadhyas are at the top, instead of Acharyas. What is the reason?

    Historians and researchers say, Among Budhdhistic society,
    Upadhyas were at top,and followed by achryas. Does it mean that Upadhyas(Mukherjees,Chatterjeesetc) are originally budhdhists and lateron adopted or converted to Vedic principle?

    3)The Upadhyas are called as “KULIN”,and todays meaning of this is “ELITE” or “ARSTOCRAT”. however there is no linkage How KULIN i word is derived.
    But in tantric religion “KOULA” traditions is available.
    According, to researchers and historians the founder of “KOULAPRATHA” was Great natha reformer Lord Matsendranatha, the GURU of Lord Gorokhsha nath, who was
    founder of famous KALI Temple of KALIGHATA of present Kolkata,and Lord Matsendra nath was the founder of another famous sakti temple known as “KAMAKHSA MANDIR” of ASSAM.

    The point is that is the word “KULIN” derived from the word “KOULA” ?

    4) The Vaidyas of Bengal claim that they are “BODDI BRAHMIN” or “BAIDYA BRAMINS”, May be there is a linkage.
    In “KOULACHARA” a woman is a necessay, and without a women this TANTRIC sSADHANA can not be performed.
    A koulachari or kouli has to get a suitable female, then how to perform this SADHANA? For this purpose money / power was probably used to bye woman from weaker/poor family.
    The children born out of this could not made eqivalent to koulas children born thru legal wife, hence position was given next to koulas, but higher than others in society. This may be one of the reason why “GUPTA” was posted at the end of the surname. “GUPTA” means secret.
    This may be the reason for having surname like
    “das gupto”, “sen gupto” Gupto sarma” “dutta gupto” etc or in short simply “gupto”, “sen” etc.

    5) one more point on this, the Upadhyas are known as “KONOUJEE” or “KANNAKUBJEE” brahmin, it says their ancestors migrated from KANOUJ, near ALLAHABAD.While comming accross the Bhahmis of Rajasthana or GOA/KONKON area, it is said ther are “GOURIA BRAHMINS”, . their ancestor migrated from GOUR(Present MALDA) of BENGAL.

    Does it mean that Bengali Brahmis or brahmins of other parts
    of india , all are migratories from a distant place? Is it LOGICAL?

    5) We find five types of Brahmis, they are as UTKALI,GOURIA,
    MAITHILY, KOUNOUJEE and SARASWAT. and among the 5 types of original brahmins, three catagories are from EASTERN part of INDIA, and further 2 catagories are from ANCIENT BANGADESHA.
    How it is possible, when it say that their ancestors migarated from present AFGANISTAN, UJBEKISTHAN,KIRKAZISTAN,etc, ie. From CENTRAL ASIA.

    It is expected that readers will have a thought on this and suitable logical comments will be available to all of us, to satsfy
    ourselves

    I thank this site for giving this opprtunity to me and many others to know about bengalis.

    thanks

    PRANABHANDHU

    • Dear Shoumi,
      No, they are basically Kshatriyas.
      Beyond Sarju river (Fazabad-U.P.) upto Assam, Bihar, Bengal & Orissa………it was called Bengal, the Capital was Varanasi. Its King was Raja Aadishudra. In 942 AD he asked king of Kannauj (Original the place of Brahmins ) to provide the services of five Brahmins for Putreshti-Yagya. King of Kannauj obliged, he sent Five brahmins, called Upadyayas, along with five Kshatriyas as senapati to guard them throughout their journey. They also took little no. of soldiers with them. Those too were kshatriyas.

      So yagya brought fruit and Raja Adishudra was blessed with a son.Remember the area of the then Bengal was under Shudras.Raja was so happy that he requested Upadyayas and the Senapatis to stayback, lured them with Taluqedari. Upadyaya opted for land near Ganga was called Gangopadhyaya, of Chattagram became Chattopadhyaya, Mukhiya of village became Mukhopadhyaya.Taluqdar of Bandha(Bihar) became Bandhopadyaya & so on.

      Similarly Senapatis(Kshatriyas) too became Raja, Zamidar, also with King’s blessings.Like my ‘Poorbo purus’ Raja Kali Mittir was king of Bardwan where still we have our laded property.Those five brahmins and five Senapatis ( Ghosh, Bose, Mitra, Guha, Datta ) were appointed on important designations – In Sanskrit Kaya-means(designation). Later on Brahmins and Kshatriyas fought for their respective suprimecy.Brahmins had upper hand due to King’s favour.Everybody knows King feared them. So on brahmin’s advice kshatriya’s designations were dismanteled- their ‘Kaya got Asta. So from then on they became Kulin ‘Kayastha’, not remaining kshatriyas.

  36. Hello Everyone

    It aws very interesting to know all about Bengali Hindu cast system and their surnames. What about some surnames which are common among Muslim and Hindu Bengalis like, Mazumdar, Howladar, Chowdhury, Jottdar, Thakur, Munshi, Pramanik, Jaigirdar, Biswas, Tarafdar. How they are identified in caste system?

    If anyone has any answer, pl reply.

    Thanks

    • Abul,

      The ones you are referring to as ‘surnames’, were at some point of time taken/given as ‘titles’ based on the work they were performing or profession. With the passage of time regularized by the desendents as’surnames’.

  37. reply to query of SOUMI DUTTA at sl.no. 62 above.

    Mythological stories are fictions only.

    However, it has been made to believe
    that their (ie: Ghose,Bose, Mitra,Guha) ancestors came to Banga Desha from Kanouj (UP) at invitation of some king by name “ADISURA”, to assist Brahmins for establishment Vedic
    System in the form of CASTE system.

    However, Historians and Researchers could not find out the trace of King ADISURA in Bengal history.

    Well, since you are interested,the probable origins of beginingsas per research are given below:

    No doubt their ancestors were powerfull at the time of formation of caste system in Bengal.
    The caste system was started by Sens Kings. Prior to that there was no caste system in bengal.
    during that period, Bengal was dominated by Non vedic religion
    like Budhdhism, Nathism, Ajjeevaks etc.
    Bduhdhists were the original developers of TANTRA, MANTRA and YANTRA.
    Nathism wre followers of SIVA AND lateron developed and became Saktas.
    There were lot of commonalities,among these groups/religions.

    One of the developements in Yantra is “KOULACHAR”,to become a Koulachari,one need a female. The rich and powerfull people were able to organise the same, and they were known as “KULIN”.At a later stage they embraced vedic religion during the period of SEN DYNASTY. Also there were lot of social reformation took place to the current form of Saktipuja, Kumari puja etc.

    For further details you may contact me at “kkd17441@yahoo.co.in”

    PRANABHANDHU

  38. Bengali surname “Das” in generally belongs to which caste??..can anybody tell me in details??…

      • Hello Jaydip,
        You seem to have much knowledge of the culture. I am married to Ronojit Roychoudhury born here in NY. His parents are Nita Das and Raythindran Roychoudhury. I have been told that Rathindran was the son of a ruler in Bengali and grew up in a castle/temple. Nita was the daughter of royalty also. Their marriage was arranged. I had a photo of the family in a carriage outside the Annapurna Temple that was lost in a housefire we had. My husbands mother and father are growing very old now and haven’t told their 3 children much of anything about their history. I was wondering if you knew anything about this family or how I might aquire information on the family history.
        Thank You,
        Barbara Roychoudhury

      • caste is different from rank/post
        anyone can be ruler
        there were many low caste rulers/kings .
        eg. ashoka

  39. In my opinion the caste system as originated in india to help identify the different class of people in view of easy governence.

    Basically.the king would be the victor and slave would be victored.

    So there started the King and Slave.
    The Gurus are the next,The Ministers to King are next,The Generals are the next,Governers are the next.

    And the most enslaved,who might have been most anatagonists become worst in class and given a class to become untouchables. Sudras etc.

    The Vedic system of classifing the body of Brahma into Brahmin,Kayastha,Baiysa,Sudra.is a starting point.

    Kautilya’s artha sastra identified detailed way of classification.

    In modern India,this does not have any value except historical reading only.

  40. ORIGIN OF BAIDYAS

    Mr. Prasenjit Dasgupta and Ms.Jayita Gupta are requested to go thru Point no 61. of Pranabhandhu.

    This may clarify their doubts.

  41. My Dear Jayanti Gupta & Prasenjit Dasgupta,
    Thanks for a nice information on Baidya Community. I want to have more details, I shall be thankful to you if you can provide me. I am from East Bengal settled in U.P.
    aksengupta2002@yahoo.com

  42. The Sena rulers of bengal were descendants of a brahmin (brahmakSatra) family of Karnataka, and are descendants of Virasena (called a general of the cholas) of the mythical Chandra or lunar dynasty (see the mythic geneologies page), and were called of Baidya caste by the later genealogical texts

    The present day Sen Baidya Brahmins are descendants of the Sena rulers.The original surname(of the Kings) was Senan,which was gradually transformed into Sen.The Sen Baidya Brahmins are comparatively small in number,even today.My family’s historical records carry the fact that we came from Karnataka.
    Also,if one delves into the origin of the Durga Puja,one will know that the look of the idol is derived from an ancient temple in Karnataka.
    Equating Baidyas to Vaidyas will not help,because each region in India and it’s people have a varied background.
    Many of the Brahmins of Bengal were invited by the Sena rulers to ‘Barendra-Bhoomi’ because the Senas were staunch followers of Hinduism(Shiva and Vishnu);the image of Lord Shiva was emblazoned on their royal seal.Not all Sena rulers were popular since they were responsible for turning Bengal from Buddhism to Hinduism.

    • This has ref to your Sen Dynasty context.
      To our knowledge, Ballal Sen family has “Basuki” gotra. Hence Kayastha, and not Bidya.
      A few families are still now there with Sen Kayastha gotra.
      One more interesting inf.
      Sen Dhipi (mound) exits near Sri Mayapur, Nadia, about 130 km from Kolkata on NH32, which is the ruins of Ballal Sen’s palace.

    • Sen rullers are of Khatriya back ground, they use paita like brahmin. You will find their family members somewere near central Kolkata (Surya sen st)

  43. but still again ….reading alll msges … i m really confused about baidyas ……i m guptasharma ……. ..culd nebody plez tell me … which caste r we ……. i really need to know ……. i hope i ll get help from u ppl ……

  44. i cant believe in this day and age so many people are stuck on caste. apart from academic reasons, this question should not even be asked.

  45. (Radha-Krishna family temple at 12,Beltola Road, Bhowanipore, Kolkata-700026).

    It goes back to 1070 AD when Sen Dynasty was established in Bangadesh (Bengal). By 1168 Raja Ballal Sen established total control of Bangadesh. He established the caste system and Brahmin rule. He had invited five Kulin Brahmin families and five Kulin Kayastha families from Kanauj, U.P. Makaraksha Ghosh, a descendent himself of Mahorshi Soukalin and one of the Kayasthas who came to Bangadesh from Kanauj during the reign of Ballal Sen (1159-1179 AD). He settled in the village of Bali near Howrah.

    Around 1830’s, Nilmoni Ghosh, the 24th decendent of Makaraksha Ghosh,a zamindar, moved from the village of Telari near Bajbaj, 24 parganas to Khidirpur, built a mansion (between Dock No. 8 and 9) and lived happily with his family until 1848. He had six sons. One of his sons, built a family temple adjacent to their residence and installed the deities of Radha and Krishna on April 17, 1852.

    Kolkata at that time was the capital of undivided Bengal and the British decided to build a port in Khidirpur. The Ghoshes were asked to relocate and was compensated with Rs.36,000/-. A two bigha land was purchased on Beltala Road, Bhowanipore and on a portion of 10 cottahs the present Thakurbari was built and in the year 1880.
    The current President of Thakurbari is the sixth generation descendent of Nilmoni Ghosh.

    • Possibly a sixth one from Kashmir. Mallicks from Kashmir were also invited to settle in Bengal. Mallicks should therefore be of one of the highest order in the caste system. I would like to know more about this.

    • There are a big settlement of Ghosh in Bali. Many Ghosh Families are migrated from Bali. But 2500 yers back there were people in Bengal with surname Ghosh. Who were they?
      Kulin families are those who adopted the system (implemented by Adi Sur) and married their daughters to Kanuj Kulin.
      In Bengal you will find few lakh of ghosh, no way 1 can become lakhs in only 1000 yrs.

  46. My forefathers were from Faridpur and i am told that since we hailed from a family of zamindars we were awarded the title “Majumdar” where as our original title is “Dutta”.
    Where can i get more information on this topic

  47. Can any body tell me about the origination of rarhi kayastha(surname like Ghose, Das, Sinha, Dutta) descendents of which son of chitragupt bhagwaan?

  48. Paramita,

    Thank you so much Jayanti for giving us the original details about baidya. I too belong baidya community we are Majumdar but my original surname is Sensharma could you please provide me more history about my ancestors.

    majumdar_paramita@yahoo.in

  49. Upadhyay’s from kannauj settled at different villages in present day West Bengal and thus earned the prefixes of the villages before their Upadhay surname.The Bandopadhyays (of Bandyaghati village of Birbhum), the Mukhopadhyays (of Mukhoti village of Bankura in western Ra’r’h), the Chattopadhyays (of Chatuli village of Burdwan in Ra’r’h), the Gangopadhyays (of Gangoli village of Burdwan) and the Ghosa’ls(18) (of Ghosali village of Manbhum) are some examples. Many Bengali Brahmin family names are written in two different ways. For example, Chattopadhyay is the Sanskritized form of the local Prakrit word “chaturjye”, anglicized to Chatterjee. Same applies to Mukhurjye/Mukherjee/Mukhopādhyāya and Banurjye/Banerjee/Bandyopādhyāya.

  50. can anybody tell me ‘roy’ belongs to which caste and religion??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????
    do they come under general/sc/st????????????????????????

  51. Dear Lalit,

    West Bengal is a state of India. This is base less thing you are talking. In West Bengal, the people of east bengal and west bengal both are there in modern India. Earlier there is no country called Bangladesh. East Bengal consists of North Eastern states (Assam) in ancient days.
    Every parts of the country have its own history.

    The partition was revoked in 1912, but it was accompanied by slicing off the non-Bengali portions of the province – creating two additional provinces, Assam and Bihar and Orissa (both themselves further subdivided after Indian independence) – and the shifting of the capital from Calcutta to Delhi.

  52. Hi All,

    It is really nice to read all the comments above. It is also very nice to anticiapte regarding our deep and versatile knowledges about our own cultures and hsitory as well. I wish to give my cordial thanks to those persons specially who sang the universal truth in spite of all differences in between of our cast systems.

    As a considerable and rational clan (I mean to say the whole bengali community), we are to here to show our particular notion regarding this utmost truth that in the muddy envio of caste system, there is no prominent answer for our steady future….. We can shed our forevision to our neighbouring communities in our country that all those old and limited boundaries of caste bindings are to be left as if a sudden to culminate the knowledgeable future!!!

    Thanking you all — whoever those answered wisely and who also asked the qyuestion primitively too.

    Thanking You All,

    Saswatam Bandyopadhyay

  53. About Sengupta and Dasguptas: They are Baidyas (or Vaidyas). Several of them uses Sen but Dasguptas (pronounced as Dashgupta and spelled differently from Das a differnet last name) never uses Das or Dash as short (not that I know of). Sen can therefore by Baidyas (short form of Sengupta) or Kayasthas (just Sen).

    During marriage however the last name that is formally used in the ceremony for Senguptas is Sensharma and for Dasguptas as Dassharma (pronounced as Dashsharma). Questioning I was told – Gupta, Roy, Choudhury, (therefore Roychoudhury), Mallick — they are all titles. From where, who gave – no idea.

    Titles cannot be used in weddings. True original lastnames and gotras to be used. For example, somebody with last name Ray during his marraige had given Dashsharma as his last name. So, he is originally Dasgupata and uses Roy and then Ray as his last name!

    If anybody who can throw some light on where the Sengupta/Dasgupta s got their Gupta title and for what and why did they so widely shed their Sensharma/ Dashshrmas – would be great. (you still find some Sensharmas but they are small in numbers; mostly you find the concatenated guptas)!

  54. Thank you Jayanti Gupta for your mail. Where one can get a copy of BAIDYA KULAPANJI? If you also please write about how the Gupta title came along and Sharma was replaced that will be great.

    Imagine that – Saraswat Bramhins! As a Baidya I always had a very ambiguous caste identity – which was good I think. When I moved to south India to study to my amazement I was asked my caste. I had filled None and felt quite proud (It was not accepted. I had put Baidyas and it was not liked either but was accepted).

    Ambiguous or not – there was (and is) a lot of Baidya solidarity in family circles which spills beyond. Somehow being part of a comparatively small group always makes you wonder where you came from and makes one seek out others just like you who shares that.

    BTW Jayanti Gupta — do you have a blog site or article online a more elaborate version of what you wrote? I will be interested.

    Thanks to all!

  55. I really liked the detailed writing by Rudrin Purakayastha – even though the history seems very different from that of Jayanti Gupta. Thanks,

  56. Ram asked the caste of Basak. I believe Basaks used to be Tanti or cloth weaver by profession. Correct me if I am wrong. There are other last names related to profession.
    Karmakar : ironsmith.

    Many last names are really titles given ( or may be self-proclaimed) by rulers. These are Roy, Roychoudhuri, Choudhuri, khasnobis, patronobis etc.

    Although caste and culture or wealth do not have any correlation, I am surprised to see that many Bengali singers, artists and actors are Brahmins of upper stratum.
    Hemanta Mukherjee, Kishore Kumar ( Ganguli), Uttam Kumar ( chatterjee), Soumitra Chatterjee, Kanika Banerjee, Sandhya Mukherjee, Sourav Ganguli, Subhendu Chatterjee, Manabendra Mukherjee, Satinath Mukherjee, Dhananjaay and his brother Pannalal Bhattacharya, Suchitra Mitra ( born Mukherjee), Bhanu Banerjee, Sarat Chandra Chatterjee, Bankim Chandra Chatterjee, Saradindu Banerjee, Narayan Ganguli to name a few.

  57. Dear Abul Shamsuddin,
    Incase you are still interested- The sirnames common among the Hindoo and the Moslem Bengalis (a great thing to be – in this age of intolerance!) are mostly designation derivatives. Most of the last names that you have mentioned (eg. Mazumdar, Topdar etc.) seem to have a Persian origin (etymological, not racial!) indicating that the Moslem rulers (Moghuls, Pathans etc.) may have thus designated their artillery officers, revenue collectors, estate officers etc., who were both Hindoos and Moslems. These designations and honorary titles got stuck on to their names (a proud reason indeed) and down the centuries turned into certified sir-names. Choudhury or Choudhuri, a Bengali spelling variant of Urdu Chaudhree (head-man), thus would indicate that an ancient fore-father of the sirname holder had been designated the head-man/zamindar of some village by the then ruler. “Thakur”, although not (perhaps) of the Arabic or Persian origin, would again mean the same. L.Patil plz appear.

  58. Talking of the initial question of concatenated sir-names, don’t we find similar cases in other states as well? viz. Bheem Sen Joshi, Rasa Singh Rawat, Bishen Singh Bedi, Himansu Rautray (Raut & Ray?) etc? While in most of these cases, there is a middle name concept, is there a possibility that down a few centuries, Sen Joshi or Singh Rawat would evolve as concatenated last-names? All the learned contributors have indeed made very interesting comments on the initial problem. They have cited from blogs, websites and ancient scriptures. But, being a Baidya myself, I would still like to find out how the people, once of the same social standing (Boddis, Baidyas or Vaidyas – undoubtedly meaning medical practitioners) could have sir-names of such varying etymological meanings. While “Sen” is certainly a derivative of the Sanskrit ‘Sena’ meaning soldier/army, ‘Das’ – a derivative of Sanskrit “Dasa” would mean a slave. Could it indicate to the native doctors as opposed to the forigners (enslavened), who stayed back?

  59. I do not understand the status of Kayastha of Bengal!
    Are they one of 12 main clans of Kayastha Brahmins or not?
    I have heard of some document named Kayastha Kaustubh by Sir Rajendra Lala Mitra (Asiatic Society) which was undersigned by influential Brahmins of Bengal and dealt with the varna-status of Kayastha caste of Bengal.
    If anyone could arrange a copy for me, nothing could be better.
    If not, tell me where to get one.

  60. I have a question…I want to know the caste of a particular bengali surname….SHARMA….is it Brahmin? Kshatriya? Baishya? or Sudra? I appreciate your help and suggestions in this regard…

  61. Can anyone please tell me about the history and origin of the bengali surname ‘KUNDU’ and to which caste these people belong. Thanks in advance

  62. Hi my Sir name is Halder can any one tell me which castes halders belong to and what is our history of existance in bengal?

  63. Hi,
    My surname is mondal,my parents told me that we are rajput kshatriyas, our gotrya is ‘kashyap’ gotrya. but I did’nt found any proof of it. would you plz tell me which caste the mondal/mandal belongs to.

  64. Hi, My surname is Bardhan and I belong to Subarna Banik Cast. Can any one put light on the origin of Bardhan surname.

    • Bardhan are not banik…..the title Bardhan came from the dinesty of Harsha Vardhan….its origin is Soutriya….maybe due to circumstances ur cast (maybe ur forefather was a Banik) it may also be like chatterjee where the title was inherited of given by the king(as upadhi).

  65. hi, my surname is Dey. My name is Debarttasharan Dey. My gotra is alliman, sub-caste barujibi. I got to know that my lineage is of brahmin father and kyastha mother. Is it true?? My ancestor were from Pabna, Bangladesh.

  66. Hi All,
    About the starting question, I have heard that most people who have surnames like sengupta, dasgupta are originally from East Bengal/ Bangladesh. Because bengalees who are from west side don’t carry any surname like that. Some scholars here I believe can justify this.
    I have a question regarding one surname. It is Batabyal. Does anybody have any idea about the origin of it. It is actually sandilya brahmin but I dont have any idea about its origin. please answer. Thanks

    • We are a branch of Guha Majumdars from Khulna in East Bengal, Haridhali village,near Kapotaksha Nad of Michael Modhusudhan fame.

      • Hare Bole to all . ABJ I dont know if you can enlighten me some . I have been scrolling through and saw mention of a name can you or any one reading help. In 1880 my ancestor left from Calcutta to the West Indies.Name Gopinauth Sing. Cast Yeaat Father’s name Modhoosudan Sing Age 25yrs Zillah-Midnapore. Pergunnah Moisadul. Village Poorboserampore??? Brother-in-Law ofChundramonee Dino BundhooSing, age 24yrs who died in Trinidad in 1882, NB Ihave been trying to spell the names as recorded by I guess englishmen TXY all God bless Hope some one can help////???

  67. I am not sure but i feel in today’s date bengalis are much head of others in India , and probbly we are the only ones who realy care a damn about cast any more .

    Sen were people who were gold smith , Das were generally lower caste , and as i said bengalis are much ahead and forward as far as the castism is is concrened

    Even in olden days the lower casts were allowed to study nd were allowed to take up other job , so when Sens started a different business they started adding Gupta (Baniya or business man) along with their surname , Das were lower caste and used to help human beings a lot so slowly slowly they learned many things about human body and their tretment too so all cast people started going to them and they started taking money for treating some one so in a way they also become business man and added Gupta at suffix so they became Das Gupta generally Das Gupta were Doctors in olden days

    Coudhary is a title not a surname , some king or zamindar o raja/,aharaja used to give upadhis to their best wokers ..its like getting a knighthood title in England even KHAN is a also a title you will find many hindus having hindu name but write KHAN as their surname where as KHAN is not a surname its title

    well there is indeed a slight cultural difference in both part of bengal but that very minor which can be ignored and all Bangals & Ghatis should be known as Bengalis or bangali

    well whatever i have written above is to the best of my knowldge I amy be wrong in many parts and facts
    if some one thinks I am wrong then i request him / her to kindly update me about he facts

  68. Please tell me what exctly purkayastha belongs from which cast,and why it is purkayastha not kayastha.
    What was the basic occupation of purkayastha’s.

    If any body tell me the answer I realy apritiat him/her.
    [note;we are the creater of this universe.]

  69. Religious Developments in Bengal/Banga Desha

    According to modern historians and researchers primarily two religions were existing in India. These are commonly known as Vedic religious system and Non Vedic (Vratya) religious system.
    Vedic Religion: Vedic people were followers of Vedic system, and their holy books were Rig Veda, Suma Veda, Yajur Veda and Atharva Veda.

    The followers of this religion were believers of multiple Gods and the main God was Lord Indra. Other deities were Lord Surya, Lord Chandra, Lord Mitra, and Lord Varuna etc. All their Gods are of male characters. They used to invoke their Gods through Holy fire known as “HOMA or YAGNA”. The Yagna was the main rituals of Vedic believers and during this ritual, animals used to be sacrificed and followed by a great feast. Almost all the slokas/verses of Vedas were dedicated to their Gods and praying for obtaining cows, women and wealth indicating their materialistic approach to their life. Historians believe that the 1st mandala and the 10th mandala of Rig Veda were compiled at a much later stage. During the post Vedic period from 1200 BC to 700 BC, some other Gods like Rudra and Vishnu became more prominent and the prime Gods of earlier period were put at back side. At a later stage Rudra become synonymous with Shiva and slowly Prajapati appeared as God during this period. They used to address their enlightened ones as “RISHI”.

    Non Vedic Religion: Those who were not believer of Vedic religion have been classified as Non-Vedic or Vratyas. The prominent religions among them are Jaina religion, Buddhist religion, Ajeevaka religion, Saiva religion, Vaisnava religion etc. The main characteristic of Non Vedic people are that they used to believe in austerity or vrata. They were believer of simple life and were believers of spirit and destiny. They address their enlightened teachers/preachers as “MUNI”.
    The word MUNI was derived from MOUNI, means person who keep silence.

    Religious Developments of Bengalis: According to modern historians and researchers the earliest religion of Bengalis was Jainism. It is in this Bengal where 23 Theerthamkaras, out of a total 24 Theerthamkaras left their temporal world. Lord Mahaveer, the last Teerthamkar spent 18 years of his spiritual life in this land and preached Jainism. In his honor a place was named as “Bardhaman” which is now a district of West Bengal. Two Theerthamkaras viz. The 19th Lord Malli Nath and the 21st took birth at Mithila.20th Teerthamkar Muni Subrata Nath was born at Rajgriha of present Bihar. The last Bhagawan Mahaveer was born at Vaisali (Present Mazaffarpur of Bihar). Theerthamkaras viz. Atit Nath, Sambaba Nath, Abhinandana Nath, Sumit Nath, Padmaprabha Nath, and Bhagawan Parsha Nath left their temporal world at a hill named as Parsha Nath Hill near present city of Ranchi. 2nd Teerthamkar Muni Vasupujya Nath left his physical body at Champa (Capital of Anga near present Jamalpur of Bihar).and the last 24th Teerthamkar Bhagawan Mahaveer left his body at Apapa puri of Magadha. As per historians and Prof. R. D. Banerjee, Jain religion was originated at eastern India.

    The founder or the 1st Teerthamkar of Jainism was Lord Adi Nath. He was also addressed as Brishav Nath or Rishav Nath. In modern Hinduism Adi Nath or Brishav Nath or Rishav Nath is known as Lord Shiva. Probably at a later stage Lord Shiva was mapped on Adi Nath and Lord Shiva started his own philosophy and people who followed him were identified as Saivas.
    Probably during this period or subsequent period, Upanishadic philosophies were developed. According to historians Upanisads were written around 700 BC to 600BC.

    The place where these philosophical discourses (as described in Upanishads) took place was Mithila at the court of King Janaka, again in Banga Desha. One important change was observed by researchers about Vedic religion that during this Upanishad period, the main Vedic rituals of sacrificing of animals was totally discarded and chosen the path of “ahimsha” and huge yagna was replaced by meditation or austerity /Vrata. The concept of “atma/spirit” was defined and for the first time appeared in Bhihadaranyaka Upanishad. There was no concept of “atma/spirit” in Vedic religion and was introduced at a very later stage. On the other hand the concept of “Atma/Spirit” was already available in Jainism much earlier in this Banga Desha of eastern part of India. Further to this, meditation, control of body and mind together in a synergic way to wards salvation, energizing the individual soul to the highest level is the principle of Jainism. The word “jeena” or conquering of body and mind is the essence of life and from this only “JAINA” was derived and the religion was name as ‘JAIN”. This highest level of soul was defined as the Universal soul in Upanishads, which is nothing but the state of Shiva or Bramha. From this only the fundamental principle of Upanishads was derived as “TAT TWAM ASHI” or “AHAM BRAMHASMI” and the syllable “OUM” were derived. And in course of time become the fundamental source of all Indian philosophies.

    All these were flourished in the very region of eastern /north eastern India and the spiritual concept was spread to north and rest of India. According to Swamy Adidevananda of Ramakrishna Math, to wards the end of Vedic age (end of 5th Century BC), there appeared Upanishad. This also shows that Upanisads are not as old as we used to think. If we look at Jainism, Lord Mahaveer was born during 600 BC and 200 yrs earlier to him was Lord Parsha Nath took birth, and further 300 yrs earlier to Lord Parsha Nath, 22nd Teerthamkar Lord Aristha Nami Nath was born. Historically Lord Nami Nath was a cousin of Lord Krishna of Mahabharata and this indicates how old is the Jainism.

    Besides this, it is interesting to observe that during this Upanishadic period, most of the spiritual leaders were kings or princes and all of them belonged to Royal families. Janaka was the king of Mithila, Bardhaman Mahaveer was the prince of Vaisali, Gautama Buddha was the prince of Kapila vastu, Parsha Nath was the prince of Kasi, and Nami Nath was the prince of Mithila and so on. However they lived on austerity or on vratas by ignoring and leaving the material gain and temporal comfort and pleasure. All of them are seen in almost naked state. On the other hand all the Vedic intellectuals/Rishis worked for material gain and pleasure as evident from verses written by them addressing to their Lords (ref; Rig Veda Samhita).

    The famous ladies like Maitreyi, Gargi participated in various religious discourses during Upanishadic era were from this eastern part of India. We can not find such examples in Vedas.
    Thus it is clear that during this period, the Vedic religion took a total change and absorbs almost all the important features of non Vedic philosophy in it and as a result of this Jainism might have been perished from this part of India. A similar situation could be observed during the period of Bhagawan Sankaracharya, when he single handedly converted Buddhist people and Jain people to Vedic people by adopting all the good features of those faiths into Vedic system and as a result Buddhism perished from India.

    The primitive form of Jainism and saivaism was followed by Buddhism and Ajeevakas and Saivaism in Banga Desha. These religions never recognized the authority of Vedas. Buddhist, Jain, Saiva and other non Vedic religions are known as Vratya religion as these religions are based on austerity and vratas. Ajeevakas and Saivas at a later period were further divided as Pasupatas, Naths, Kalamukhas, Aghories, Kapalikas etc and these systems do not recognize the authority of Vedas. Ajeevakas were the believer of destiny, whereas Pasupatas, Nathas, Kalamukhas and others were various divisions of Saivas.

    The Banga calendar (Bangabda) was inagurated by King Shasanka during 593 AD. The day it was inaugurated was Monday the day of Lord Shiva, the 12th April of 593 AD. It is well known fact that he was a devout Saiva, and during his period north India was ruled by Hun King Harsha Vardhan. King Harsha was a Buddhist and as a result Shasanka was against Buddhism.

    However after the death of King Shasanka, Banga Desha was occupied by invaders and Buddhism spread over Banga desha. During the period of Pala kings (750 AD – 1180), Banga Desha was under the influence of Buddhism and during this period Tantra, Mantra and Yantra were developed by Buddhism and in course of time Buddhism was also modernized and god divided into many divisions like Hina yana, Maha yana, Bajra yana, Kalachakra yana, and Sahaj yana etc. Historians opine that Tantra, Mantra and Yantra were originally developed by Buddhist followed by Jains and finally hijacked by Vedic system.

    Tantra means cultivation of tan or body, and Mantra means cultivation of Man or mind and finally Yantra originated from Yoni, about the cultivation of Yoni Vidya. Buddhism collapsed due to its misusages of Tantra, mantra and Yantra. Lord Sankaracharya however could not convert entire Banga Desha people in to Vedic fold. This was done by Sena kings of Bengal.

    During the ancient period there was no state of Bihar. The area beyond Anga and eastern part of Gandak a river was known as Banga Desha. During the invasions of Afghani people under the leadership of Md. Bin Bakhtier and others who were having Islamic faith used to call this area as Bihar due to huge population of Buddhist mathas or bihars.

    In course of time this area become famous as bihar and ultimately got the name Bihar. Similar situation was prevailing in North Bengal and that place became known as Cooch Bihar. Cooch name came from the name of Cooch community and Bihar from Buddhist bihars. However this system of naming failed at mainland of Banga Desha due to its high cultural and civilization background.

    During the period of Palas, Buddhism and Saivaism were at peak at Banga Desha. Both were under the influence of Tantra, Mantra and Yantra. During this period there was not much difference between Buddhists and non Buddhists as all were under the influence of Tantra, Mantra and Yantra. From Yantra system Famous Siddha Lord Matsendra Nath introduced “Koula” system, To days” Kumari puja“ is a modified and refined version of the same. This introduction of Yantra system of Buddhists and Saivas finally leads all the Bengalis towards Sakta system and this ultimately leads us towards Sakti puja system, like Goddesses Durga, Kali etc. from Buddhist came Goddess Chinna masta, Raksha kali etc. In this system , disciple needs to be highly enlightened or intellectual and influential person in the society. Hence, only few people were able to practice this type of meditation. The people who were under this Koula system were used to be identified as Koula and in course of time, the system got its name as “Koulinya Suystem”. During the period of Sena kings it was regularized and legalized once these people embraced and accepted the authority of Vedas over non Vedic religion. They were also given high position in the court of king and suitably rewarded .Those who opposed to acknowledge the supremacy of the Vedas were made outcaste, tortured and extradited or banished from his state. After the period of Sena dynasty, Bengal was ruled by Afgani kings of Islamic faith. They used to call people as Hindus who were not following Islamic system and gradually the revised religion got its name as “Hinduism”. Along with Invaders various Sufis and saints also came to Banga Desha and the people who were having no place in the Hindu society found Islam as place of solace and they embraced enmass Islamic faith. In fact it is wrong to say that Hindu people were converted to Islam, the fact is that people having no place in Hinduism embraced Islamic faith.

    Also, Tantra, mantra and Yantra were further modified and finally Bhakti was introduced in the religion, the followers were known as Vaishnavas. During the period of Sree Chaitanya ahaprabhu, it got a major boost and gradually the Hindu society was divided in to two major groups as Saivaits and Vaishnavites. The influence of Vedas remains at backyard, but in the society the division of labour system was introduced as a caste system. The present Hindu systems are the continuation of the same with reformation wherever felt necessary.

    Some prominent personalities of Banga Desha of ancient period:

    1) Siddha Kapil:

    He was one of the greatest and most distinguished Siddha of India for all times. The philosophy introduced by him is famous as “Saamkhya Darshan”. It is the oldest philosophy based on “purush” and “prakriti”. It is classified as one of the six premier Indian philosophies. It does not recognize Vedas. Muni Kapil established his seat at Gangasagara. Every year annual festival is held at this place in his honour.The temple dedicated to Kapil Muni is still maintained by non Vedic people. In his honour the city of Kapilavastu was named. The earlier name of Hardwar or Haridwar was Kapilasthan or Kapilashram. A stream fountain at Bodhgaya is also found to be named after him as Kapildhara .This is a very holy place particularly for Sadhus and Yogis. He was well respected in Holy book Bhagvata Gita as greatest among all sages (10th Chapter, V-2)

    2) Bhagawan Buddha (563 BC-483 BC):

    He belonged to Sakya community bordering present India and Nepal. He was the originator of Buddhism. This religion was flourished throughout India as well as abroad. The last fortress of Buddhism was present Bihar and Bengal. Even Lord Sankaracharya could not make it to perish it from present Bengal. The philosophy preached by Buddha does not recognize the authority of Vedas. Buddhism was the principal architect for the development of vernacular languages. The Language used by Buddhists are called “Prakrit “which means natural. On the other hand Vedic people were using “Sanskrit”, which means refined. It was not easy to eradicate Buddhism from India, until he was given the position of Lord Vishnu and was declared as an “AVATAR” of Vishnu.

    3) Jaina Munis:

    As already described, there are 24 Jain Teerthamkar found in Jain religion and the Last was Bardhaman Mahaveer (600BC-527BC). He had spent 18 yrs of his spiritual life in Banga Desha. In his honour a place (Bardhaman) was named after him and now it is a district. The Jain religion does not recognize the supremacy and authority of Vedas.

    4) Gouda Pada:

    He was the grand Guru of Bhagawan Sankaracharya, the great Advaitavadi and reformer of Vedic system. Gouda Pada was the first person to write explanatory note on Upanisads, known as “GOUDAPADA KARIKA”. Lord Sankaracharya included this karika in his books on Upanishads. He belonged to “GOUDA”, the ancient capital of Banga and the place of learning of Vedas. The surname Pada indicates that he belonged either to Buddhist community or Nath community of Bengal. This further it indicates that there were learned people, who were very proficient in Vedic philosophy.

    It is quite interesting to mention here that, there were five Vedic centers in ancient India. These are Saraswat (Taxila) in Punjab, Kanouj (between Allahabad and Kanpur) in present UP, Mithila in ancient Banga Desha, Goud/Gour in ancient Banga Desha and Puri in Utkala. Thus out of five centers two were in Banga Desha and one bordering Banga , and 4th one was at middle India and the 5th one at present west Punjab in Pakistan. This contradicts the theory that there were not Vedic intellectuals in Banga Desha prior to Sena Dynasty of Banga. Beside this, it again contradicts that Vedic religion was an imported religion in line with Christianity and Islam.

    5) Matsendra Nath:

    He is one of the most prominent Bengali, who had changed the religious history of Bengal as well as India and Nepal.. He was Saiva and founder of Sakta system in Bengal and India. He was the founder of “KOULA” system of Tantra, Mantra and Yantra in Bengal, and from this at a later stage “Koulinya” system was formed. He had written books on this subject and is known as “KOULA GNAN NIRNAYA”. He was also known as “Adi Kavi ” of Bengali literature. He was a great Hatha yogi and invented many yoga mudra which were named after him in his honor .According to historians , he belonged to Mahesh Khali of present Bangla Desh.

    Even though he was a Saiva Siddha, he was highly respected in Buddhism. His famous mantra “Om Manipadme Hum” was adopted by Mahayani Buddhism. He was the person who brought Buddhism closer to Saivaism and under his influence, the famous Buddhist personality Atish Dipnakar become his disciple and embrased Saivaism. He was equally respected among Kashmiri Saivaits. Sree Abhinavagupta Acharya, the famous Kashmiri Pandit expressed his deep respect and honor towards him as per Kashmiri literature.

    In Buddhism, he is worshipped as “Avaloketishwara”, as one of the incarnation of Buddha. He and his famous disciple Lord Gorokhsha Nath are worshipped even to day in Nepal. His wooden statue was being worshipped at a place and the place was named as “Kasthamandu” due to the Kastha Murthy (Wooden idol) and in course of time, Kastha Mandu became as “Kath Mandu”, and capital of Nepal. Even to day he and lord Gorokhsha Nath are being worshipped at the Pashupati Nath temple of Nepal.

    He along with his disciples Lord Gorokhsha Nath and Bhartrihari / Bhartrhari Nath (Elder brother of King Vikramaditya of Ujjain) are worshipped at the famous temple of “Mahakal” at Ujjain in Madhya Pradesh. He is worshipped at Amarkantka (source of origin of the river Narmada) and the temple is named as “Matsendra Nath” temple. In Gujarat and Maharastra a lot of places still bear his name. Famous saint poet of Maharastra like Sant Gnaneshwar and Sant Tukaram are few among the parampara established by him. In Karnataka where he preached and temple was built by his disciple princess Mangala Devi of Kerala, was named as Mangala Devi temple and the village was named after her as Mangalore, to day it is a major city of Karnataka. The Adichunchungiri math was established by his parampara, but now it is with Gowda community. His faith was found to be well accepted all over India including present Pakistan and Afghanistan and lot of places are found to be named after him in his honor.

    He was credited as the founder of Famous Saktipeetha of Kamakhya of Assam. This Saktipeetha was discovered by Maharaja Vishwa Sihma (1496AD-1533AD) of Cooch Bihar and a temple was constructed by him. Maharaja Naranarayana (1533AD-1587AD) further renovated it. Maharaja Nripendra narayana brought a Bengali Brahmin family in 1865 AD from Nadia district of Bengal and the temple was placed under the total administrative and religious control of this family. They are still in occupation of Kamakhya Temple. This family is known as Parvatia Gosain.

    6) Lord Gorokhsha Nath:

    He was the most prominent disciple of Lord Matsendra Nath. He is also called as “Manasputra” of Matsendra nath. The way Bhagawan Ramakrishna and Swami Vivekananda were related, the same way Lord Matsendra Nath and Lord Gorokhsha Nath were related.
    He is credited as the founder of the great Sakti temple of “Kali” of Kalighat at Kolkata. A place at Kolkata where one of his disciples “Chourangi Nath” built an ashram and made a road from there to Kalighat temple for devotees. The place was named as “Chourangi” and the road was named as “Chourangi road”.

    The city of Gorokhpur was named in his honor. His holy seats are available in all parts of India, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nepal. The Gorka race of Nepal was named after him in his honor. His foot print was emblemd on the crown of King of Nepal, as a sign of respect towards him for his blessings to the kingdom. He is worshipped in the village of Bengal during the Milk ceremony of Cow, when a calf is born. It is opened by Historians that “Gorokh Nath is the greatest religious leader and social reformer after Bhagawan Sankaracharya”.

    He made a great impact in socio-religious movement and was the most prominent and influential leader of pre-medieval India. He traveled throughout length and breadth of the country to spread the philosophy of Siddha-siddhanta and fought for a unified society. He and Lord Matsendra Nath brought Buddhism closer to Sivasaktaism. According to historians Prior to Bhaki movement, Lord Gorokhsha Nath was the undisputed socio-religious leader of India.
    Sahityacharya Dinesh Chandra Sen states in his book on “Banga Bhasha O Sahitya” that, character of Gorokhsha Yogi was like a spotless white jasmine or parijat flower of sarad ritu. The manifestation of his strength and character was described in the book named as “Goroksha Vijay”, which is the oldest book in Bengali literature. This also shows the nature and maturity of Bengali literature of ancient India.

    The way Asoka pillar stands as a symbol of Buddhist era of India, the same way the philosophy of Siddha-siddhanta documented in “Goroksha Vijay” stands as a symbol of Nathism of Banga Desha, wherein the best of Vratya and Vedic religion were amulgated. The folk literatures of Bengali, Hindi, Marathi, Punjabi, Himachali, Telegu, etc are occupied by Matsendra Nath and Gorokhsha Nath about their glorious work and achievements. Their philosophy however , not recognized the authority of Vedas. Prof. HP Dwivedi in his book on them said that it was in Bengal, where Lord Sankaracharya was defeated by a Bengali Sakta Tantrik Siddha of Nath Sampradaya.

    The parampara, they established known as Nathism was credited to established the Sakta system and later on many sects were born out of it. The Sampradaya established by Lord Matsendra Nath and Lord Gorokhsha Nath was also credited for the developments of the vernacular languages of India, whether it is Bengali, or Hindi, or Marathi, etc. The history of developments of Indian vernacular languages and literatures begins with Nath Literature and Matsendra Nath was named as “Adi Kavi” of Bengali literature.

    7) Chaitanya Maha Prabhu:

    He is known as the founder of Bhakti movement and establishment of Vaishnava Sampradaya of Bengal. He was credited to remove the last sign of influence of Buddhism from India. Historians say that Lord Sankaracharya kept Buddhism in a coffin and Chaitanya Dev put the last nail on it.
    His followers gave further thrust towards the developments of Bengali vernacular language. In the history of Bengali language we find Bhaki literature after Nath literature.
    His followers are now spread throughout India and world over and they have formed a religious platform known as “ISKON”, to preach Bhakti philosophy.

    8) Bhagawan Sree Rama Krishna Paramahamsa:

    Sree Rama Krishna is known as the greatest saint of modern India, the most famous Sakta worshipper of Bengal of modern period. He along with his wife Maa Sarada Devi and his most prominent disciple Swami Vivekananda are being respected and worshipped throughout the world. He combined Bhakti with Sakti.

    He was a Siddha in all respect and a great Tantrik philosopher. It was proved before great pundits of India by his Tantrik Guru Maa Bhairavi that he is a “Bhagawan” and declared Ramakrishna as “Paramahamsa”. He introduced Bhakti in Yoga and Tantra. This Bhakti was lagging in the philosophy of Matsendra Nath and Gorokhsha Nath, and was one of the critical factor for the downfall of Nathism. The teaching of Bhagawan Ramakrishna was very simple like nature. It says “Service to anything is a service to lord Shiva” or “Siva gnyane jeeva seva”.

    9) Swami Vivekananda:

    He is known as the greatest Indian Monk of Modern India.
    The world renowned Saint Swami Vivekananda was a great disciple of Bhagawan Sree Ramakrishna. He had established the modern Hindu religion and philosophy before entire western civilization. His simple preaching was “Jeeve prem koriche jei jon sei jon sebiche Ishwar.

    He declared that Vedas and Gayatri Mantra must be propagated among all, irrespective of caste, creed, sex or religion. It is said that he was abused by orthodox Brahmins of South India, while he was preaching the philosophy of Upanishads at the initial stage, saying that he was not a Brahmin by caste and not eligible to preach . However at a later date they came to know about him and ultimately became his disciple and they were proud to introduce themselves as disciple of Swami Vivekananda. This is how He used to command the respect throughout India and world.

    He had established Ramakrishna Math, an institution devoted to the study of Indian religions and dedicated the same to the service of mankind irrespective of caste, community and religion. The branches of Ramakrishna Maths is now spread all over the world with its head quarter at Belur in Hoogli district of Bengal.

    All these great personalities of Banga Desha had adopted all the good qualities from various religions and faiths, which were necessary for the society during the period they preached their philosophy and thoughts; keeping their identity separately in a logical and rational way.

    Prof. Sahidulla of Dhaka University expressed that , It is from this Bengal, where three greatest religious personalities were born in three different periods of time. They become immortal due to their credit for successful preaching of three different ideology at three different period to the people of India.Viz.

    a) In ancient period , Lord Matsendra Nath gave us “Nath Yoga” and “Sakta Dharma” and credited as the “Adi Kavi” of Bengali literature.
    b) During medieval period Bhagawan Sree Chaitanya Mahaprabhu gave us “Vaishnava Dharma” or “Bhakti Yoga”.
    c) During the modern period Bhagawan Sree Ramakrishna Paramahamsa gave us “Seva Dharma” or “Shiv Gnyane Jeev Seva”, i.e. “serve the people in the name of Lord Shiva”.

    —- END —

  70. My dear friends, dated: 13th July,2009.

    It is really nice to see that people are really interested to know their roots.

    The best probably to look at the origins of Bengali. As genetically,it has been proved that Bengali Bramhins are closer to Bengali lower caste people than Bramhins of Panjab or South India.

    It is very natural that the powerful and influential people had devised this method to differentiate their position in the society, it might be necessary during that period of time.

    However, under today’s situation it may not be very useful, due to the socio-economic condition.

    our religious script say “if a person is known by his own ,he is the Uttama.,if he is known by his father ,he stands as Madhyama, and a person lived using his caste is called as Adhama.”

    Hence my appeal to all,instead of finding the surnames and caste, to write on the origin and developments of Bengali civilization.

    Regards.

    • This is by far the best and the most constructive comment I have come across on this site. Bengali nation should stand on the strength of its collective achievement (i.e involving both Bengals – Bangladesh & West Bengal) which has produced three Nobel laureats). The Bengali Language movement in East Pakistan in 1952 not only led to the creation of Bangladesh, it fecilitated its recognition at the United Nations that declared 21st February as the International Mothers Language Day. To be Bengali is something to be proud of, not chasing after the elusive caste lineage which is rather pathetic.

  71. Please.. who really cares about our names.!! This is our Indians problem. Always worried what the others are thinking, and ill fated caste’s.. Name is a name & that’s it.. Only us in the world think that we are important, cuz the names.. that’s bs if you ask me.. Get real Indian’s we are still a third world country.. Think how to get out of this mess..!

    • Historical study is and should be academic . We Bengalis attach it prejudice other like in above lines Lord Shankarcharya was defeated. Ridiculous as the Naths and Shankarcharya were on the same mission to stop at evolved religion of Sanatana get overwhelmed by Buddhism

    • Hari – if pronounced like “hurry” or “hoary” – would not be a surname (though it might very well be a first name). However, if you mean Hari that would rhyme with “saree” with a nasal intonation, it could very well be a caste indicative surname. You may compare Hari with Bauri)

  72. Hi,
    It is really interesting going through all the comments, we all know that we are not bothered about caste any longer, I married outside my caste. But I guess people here are curious to know about their roots and I do not see anything wrong in it rather it is helping us to know our ancient system better.
    My ancestors were from Mymesingh district of Bangladesh, gotra Jamodogni and our surname is KAR, we are kayastha. I would like to know more about my family roots if anyone can highlight about the origin that will be great!
    Best Regards,
    Sangeeta

  73. Hi,
    My name is Vijay Bal of mudgal gotra,my ancestors belong to BARISAL now in Bangladesh. I want to know more about my lineage as my father tells us that we are originally majumder’s but bal was added due to unknown reasons.If you could plz help me out in knowing my proper lineage.

  74. Hi,
    My name is Vijay Bal of mudgal gotra,my ancestors belong to BARISAL now in Bangladesh. I want to know more about my lineage as my father tells us that we are originally majumder’s but bal was added due to unknown reasons.If you could plz help me out in knowing my proper lineage.

  75. LALIT,
    Interesting blog you have out there. about your question on concatenated( misnomer) surnames , being a Dasgupta myself , i can tell you my forefathers had Mahalnobis as surname( literally would mean chartered accountant of a mansion) .when the zamindar system became irrelevant in current india , they changed their surname to reflect their profession ( mostly doctors- boddhi brahmins). dasguptas , senguptas are just titles to reflect the boddhi brahmins community at that time , which had it roots during sage parashuram time..
    Essentially they are all saraswat brahmins . when the river saraswati started drying up , some went to east of bharat ( gaud = south bengal ) . some remained in the north ( have surnames like chawla, vaid etc..), while some remained in bengal ( or gaud pradesh); some travelled further south to konkan/karnatak and goa ( gomantak). you know them as gaud saraswat brahmins… actually they should be called gomantak saraswat brahmins and konkansatha saraswat brahmins

    ” The Mahabharata also makes reference to the brahmanic colonization of Goa. After the Aryan invasion of India from the northwest around 1750 BC, some Aryans settled around the river Saraswat in the Punjab. Drought and famine obliged these Brahmans to eat fish, and they emigrated to Sind, Rajputana and Bengal (Gaud). Meanwhile the Saraswat river dried up and exists no more. The section of the Saraswat Brahmans who went east to Bengal, some of them remained there ,some changed course, and became the first wave of Brahmans to settle in Goa. Ninety-six families, known as Gaud Saraswats, trekked southwest to settle in Gomantak around 1000 BC. These settled in the Ilhas de Goa (of which Tiswadi is the biggest), Salcete, Bardesh, Pernem and Kudal. Salcete derives from the Sanskrit word SASSAST meaning 66, Tiswadi is the Sanskrit for 30, and Bardesh, the Sanskrit for 12. The settlement of these 96 Brahman families were a milestone in the history of Goa, who together with the hardworking Kundbis, a race which migrated from the south, literally wrenched from the mountain range and the sea, the fertile stretch of land between the Arabian Sea and the Western Ghats. It is worthwhile to recall how the reality of the Kundbis and Brahmans ingeniously working together, making bunds to gain soil from the sea for period of more than 250 years, is described poetically as a legend in the Skanda Purana: Vishnu, in his avatar as PARASURAMA argues with SAMUDRA, the Indian Neptune. From the height of the Ghats, Parasurama lets fly an arrow to mark the limit where Samudra should withdraw. Defeated, Samudra has to cede many miles of its aquatic region ( konkan). The arrow falls in Bannali (Bann: arrow, ali: village),and this is how the village of Benaulim got its name, quite close to the beach.

    You can see their similarities in kuladevi “durga “or shanta durga or mangeshi or mookambika and their fish eating habits . language dialect may have varied but not that much..

    hope this clears the air a bit….

    cheers

    • I think we have goud factor wrong as Goud is in Bengal. What we understand that the Saraswat who came first were ‘Shaivait’ Saraswat Brahmins or simply SB as they are known now. The Goud Saraswats are the ones who settled in the ancient learning centre of Goud(Malda) in Bengal. Here they became Vaishnavites and in another drought they moved towards Goa.Even today they share common surnames with Bengali Brahmans Like Mujumdar, Gangulee etc

  76. I am particularly interested in the origin of the surname DasGupta / Dasgupta with its most commonly used spelling in Bengali (talobyo sh). I have been told that dasgupta, with a “dontyer sh” was the original spelling till even early 20th century. “banglar podobir itihaaash” the book also says it. but then when the dasguptas started using the shortened form, “das” they found that “das”spelt with a dontyer sh was getting them confused with the kayasthas and so they started the practice of “talobyo sh” to distinguish themselves from the kayasthos. we get this in jibananodo das and chittaranjan das. this use of talobyo sh, later underwent a process of backformation, a very common process in any language, and the dasguptas have their present bengali spelling with a talobyo sh. I would please like to know if there is any fact in this explanation. no conjectures please.

  77. Well being a Boddi My self ill give a different angle to the story.
    I would ask most senguptas and dasguptas duttaguptas to go through a wedding card or even the ritual.
    Most often or not you would find the names are written as Sen sharmas and Das Sharmas. Sensharma or Dassharma being the original Brahminical surname.
    As doctors we had to do work on the human anotomy hence work on the dead . and but obvious the then society would not allow the upper caste hindus and so called Brahmans to to do human autopsy. Hence the new caste emerged the Baidya … and instead of using sharma as the surname we started using gupta.

    But during any hindu ritual we still use the brahminical surnames.. of sensharma or dassharma…and still use a sacred thread post wedding which is made by a brahmin itself.

    The question of Das… its historical origin is from dasas which originated from dasyus.. hence the takllibos s concept is right so that dasguptas distinguished them selves from regular das

  78. <>

    Can anyone please tell me about the history and origin of the bengali surname ‘KUNDU’ and to which caste these people belong. Thanks in advance

  79. Hi,
    I want to know the origin of Title ‘Manna’ in Bengal. I can find lot of Brazilian with the same title. Also in the Dictionary I can find the meaning of this as “(in the Bible) a food which dropped from heaven and prevented Moses and his people from dying of hunger in the desert ” . In Bengal caste linage where ” Manna” title falls and under which Varna.
    Thanks,

    • Hello Krishnakumar! My surname is KAR and I am a Bengali, We are neither Brahmin nor scheduled caste we are Kayastha. All my near relatives are kayasthas , they hold surnames like eg, Dhar, Guha, Bose, Sen, Palit.

  80. I partially agree with “o.Odbhut” on the dispute regarding Sengupta, DasGupta Chapter. As for the knowledge cascaded to me by my parents and grandparents, all Sengupta, Dasgupta, SenRoy, SenSharma etc surnames are “Baidya” originating mainly from Bangladesh. Baidya, according to ancient history are been considered as true descendent of Brahmins. The term “Baidya” in bengali comes from the word “Baidyaraj” or Doctors of Ayurvedic medicines. Now the actual fact is that, since these clan of brahmins were doctors they had to deal with people seeking medical attention from different castes including lower castes like ‘shudra” which was not being taken lightly by core brahmins who were into “ritualistic’ works. These so called “gora” or “core” brahmins revolted against this fact of dealing with schedule castes and outcasted the clan of brahmins who were “baidyaraj”. The, then outcasted doctors formed a clan/caste of their own called “baidya” who are still today given the same honour as brahmins infact more than that since this particualr clan in ancient days were considered the most educated and literate.
    That’s how the caste “Baidya” is formed and has no mixture of Brahmins and Kyasthas as mentioned by few of my learned friends earlier. Infact, still today few baidya’s go through the so called “paitey” process which normally takes place during their marriage.

  81. Namaskar,

    Please stop determining someone’s caste based on his/her surname/title, try to learn the proper definition of caste and how caste system works based on Sanatana(Hinduism) scriptures.

    The Gita says that one’s varna is to be understood from one’s personal qualities and one’s karma (work), not one’s birth. Ref: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Criticism_of_Hinduism

    Srimad-Bhagavatam 7.11.35
    yasya yal laksanam proktam
    pumso varnabhivyanjakam
    yad anyatrapi drsyeta
    tat tenaiva vinirdiset

    SYNONYMS

    yasya–of whom; yat–which; laksanam–symptom; proktam–described (above); pumsah–of a person; varna-abhivyanjakam–indicating the classification (brahmana, ksatriya, vaisya, sudra, etc.); yat–if; anyatra–elsewhere; api–also; drsyeta–is seen; tat–that; tena–by that symptom; eva–certainly; vinirdiset–one should designate.

    TRANSLATION

    If one shows the symptoms of being a brahmana, ksatriya, vaisya or sudra, as described above, even if he has appeared in a different class, he should be accepted according to those symptoms of classification.

    TEXT 41
    brahmana-ksatriya-visam
    sudranam ca parantapa
    karmani pravibhaktani
    svabhava-prabhavair gunaih

    SYNONYMS
    brahmana–the brahmanas; ksatriya–the ksatriyas; visam–the vaisyas; sudranam–the sudras; ca–and; parantapa–O subduer of the enemies; karmani–activities; pravibhaktani–are divided; svabhava–own nature; prabhavaih–born of; gunaih–by the modes of material nature.
    TRANSLATION
    Brahmanas, ksatriyas, vaisyas and sudras are distinguished by their qualities of work, O chastiser of the enemy, in accordance with the modes of nature.

    TEXT 42
    samo damas tapah saucam
    ksantir arjavam eva ca
    jnanam vijnanam astikyam
    brahma-karma svabhava-jam

    SYNONYMS
    samah–peacefulness; damah–self-control; tapah–austerity; saucam–purity; ksantih–tolerance; arjavam–honesty; eva–certainly; ca–and; jnanam–knowledge; vijnanam–wisdom; astikyam–religiousness; brahma–of a brahmana; karma–duty; svabhava-jam–born of his own nature.

    TRANSLATION
    Peacefulness, self-control, austerity, purity, tolerance, honesty, wisdom, knowledge, and religiousness–these are the qualities by which the brahmanas work.

    TEXT 43
    sauryam tejo dhrtir daksyam
    yuddhe capy apalayanam
    danam isvara-bhavas ca
    ksatram karma svabhava-jam

    SYNONYMS
    sauryam–heroism; tejah–power; dhrtih–determination; daksyam–resourcefulness; yuddhe–in battle; ca–and; api–also; apalayanam–not fleeing; danam–generosity; isvara–leadership; bhavah–nature; ca–and; ksatram–ksatriya; karma–duty; svabhava-jam–born of his own nature.

    TRANSLATION
    Heroism, power, determination, resourcefulness, courage in battle, generosity, and leadership are the qualities of work for the ksatriyas.

    TEXT 44
    krsi-go-raksya-vanijyam
    vaisya-karma svabhava-jam
    paricaryatmakam karma
    sudrasyapi svabhava-jam

    SYNONYMS
    krsi–plowing; go–cows; raksya–protection; vanijyam–trade; vaisya–vaisya; karma–duty; svabhava-jam–born of his own nature; paricarya–service; atmakam–nature; karma–duty; sudrasya–of the sudra; api–also; svabhava-jam–born of his own nature.

    TRANSLATION
    Farming, cow protection and business are the qualities of work for the vaisyas, and for the sudras there is labor and service to others.

    *****************************************
    Mantra numbered 5-60-5 in Rig Veda, the divine poet declares, “All humans are brothers; no one is big, no one is small. All are equal.”

    Mantra numbered 16-15 in Yajur Veda reiterates that all humans are brothers; no one is superior or inferior.

    Mantra numbered 10-191-2 in Rig Veda calls upon humanity to be united to have a common speech and a common mind.

    Mantra numbered 3-30-1 in Atharva Veda enjoins upon all humans to be affectionate and to love one another as the cow loves her newly-born calf.

    Mantra numbered 3-30-6 in Atharva Veda commands humankind to dine together, and be as firmly united as the spokes attached to the hub of a chariot wheel.

    Rig Veda further emphasises unity and harmony of entire humanity, “Samani Vha Aakuti, Samana Hrudyani Vha, Samanam Astu Vo Mano, Yatha Vha Su Saha Asti.” (“Let your aims be one, let your hearts be one, let your minds be one, and let your unity go from strength to strength”).

    Please don’t discuss about caste system without having proper knowledge and understanding of scriptures.

    Dhanyabadh,

    • Dear Itseureka,
      Thanks for the painstaking shloka renditions. What has interested people in this blog are the origins of their surnames and not the caste system of India. It is more of an etymological and historical case than a religious or spiritual one. Dhanyavaad.

  82. I would like to thanks Diptiman Sengupta, for his post on dtd 14 nov 2009.. very apt..any one interested 2 know abt Bengali Baidyas…plz go thru it..

  83. Once, probably, you wanted to know, the caste of the
    surname, ‘Sanyal’.
    Myself, being a ‘Sanyal’….a Bramhin, and was originally from East Bengal (now, Bangladesh), migrated to India, in 1947, after partisan; East Bengal was also knwn as Barendra Bhumi, so we are ,
    Barendra Brahman (such as, those were originated in North Bengal/West Bengal, as Brahmin, are called,
    Rari Brahman (as, the North/West Bengal were known as Rar Bhumi).
    Namaskar (Salutation).
    Kalhan Sanyal, age, 66, retired person

  84. Hello Mr. Lalit

    Your study on surnames seems to be interesting. Recently I came across a Bengali surname Pandit, which was something I had never heard before, atleast among bengalis. Could you give me some detail on this particular surname, if possible.

  85. Can u please tell me what are “Naskar” in bengoli?do they belong to scheduled castes or kayastha? can u please tell me the complete details regarding there castes?

      • A lot of the Bengali Sinha/Sinha Roy/Sinha Roy Chowdhuri have Rajput ancestory, so they are Kshatriyas. However, even among that, there may be a number of gotras you can belong to.

      • Yes, they are all Rajput, came from Russia as Saka , Huns and white Huns. Occupied the land of Vedic Brahmins(Rajasthan), migrated from Bengal during the the period of King Parikshit.
        Therefore they are not Bengali and you may use non Bengali Sinha for all communication.

  86. Hi,

    I am interested in knowing the origins (geographical and otherwise) of the bengali surname Sarkar.

    Just out of curiosity…any informed answers?

    • nath are (yogi) bengali brahmin , having the same gotra “shiva-di”. those pleple who have nath as their surname are yogi. rabindranath tagore has also the “nath” word in his name but he was not a yogi

  87. Hey fellas,
    I know this is not the site to ask a question, but I am searching for my roots. I was made to believe that my fore father Sri. Kalicharan Mukhapadhyay was a jamidaar of Bajrihati, Chanditala, Hoogly district. I have been trying to trace my lineage, and want desperately to contact my relatives to re-establish the past bonds. I know the task before is quite impossible, but this site has given me hopes.
    I am a 60 yr old man, and I have been trying to trace my roots for the last 10 years. I believe theres a clan records of the Mukerjees’ which has the lineage of both the Uttarpara clan and its branches. PLEASE HELP.
    Capt. Nabindu Kumar Mukerjee.

    • Very difficult to trace with Jamindari Record. During Pathan period earlier Kings and Jamindars were uprooted. Tey appointed new Jaminders and later by Mughals cancelled them and appointed new families and during British Raj they again appointed new families. During British rule many people bought jamindaris.

    • Dear Captain Mukherjee,

      1) You need not give reference to your ancestor.
      2) You are Bharadwaj Gotriyo Brahman.
      3) Bharadwaj was a Vedic intellectual and belong to
      the clan of Sage Vasishtha.
      4) Sage Vasishtha belonged to present Afghanistan.
      5) He had not seen the valley of Ganges or Bangadesha.
      6) If you are a believer, then no more reply, else

      1) Historically All Upadhyayas including Chatterjee, Banerjee ,Mukherjee and Ganguly were Jains (Nath) initially, then embraced Buddhism (Pada) and were highly intellectuals, later on became Saiva (Nath-Koula), Lord Shiva is known as “MAHA KOULA”. later on they developed Saktism (Nath-Koula-Kula) and popularly was known as “KULIN”. All these religions are Non Vedic and not believer of Castism in line with with Vedic social rules.
      2) Senas introduced Castism in Bengal in line with Vedic rules with the help of these Kulins on Society, which was politically/administratively supported by Kayasthas, who were also honoured as “KULIN” on return and who opposed were tortured and fled beyond their area of influence.
      3) The history of Bengali literatures begins with Nath Literatures and the ancestors of these Kulin Brahmins were the originator of the same.

      On the other hand,If you believe in the “Gotra System” , then these “Sapta-Rishis or “Pravara Rishis” can be called as “Rapist” to the extreme due to the fact that all present day Hindus are all descendants of these Sapta-Rishis only,
      Contrary to the above, these Rishis were highly intellectuals and devoted to spiritual life of those period, Hence the present belief and practice of “Gotra System” is a blatant lie.
      You may offer and post your to the following email id:

      “balhik@yahoo.co.in”

      “Balhik”, 13th Nov, 2010

    • Dear Captain Mukerjee,
      I had seen your appeal earlier but didn’t respond for I wouldn’t be able to help directly. I was told by an acquaintance that the best way out was to catch hold of a local person, a Chanditala resident in your case, and feed him as much information as you might have (names, approximate periods, events, whatever) and a token sum for his labour and expenses. He might have to incur some expenses in document searches from the district court, if such are available. My acquaintance had his roots in Beldanga, Murshidabad, and he has been able to trace his family lineage back to 1861 through that method. He can’t go farther back for the court records were destroyed in a fire in 1859. I have seen the body of evidence (the permanent settlement papers for the landed property they once held, municipal death records from the neighbourhood and also s few from Kolkata, some school admission records and the likes of that) and was quite impressed. Relationships between the named people got murkier though as a function of the depth of penetration in history.
      He has asked me to flesh it up with additional hearsay evidence and family lores so that he can leave a tangible history for his progeny. And he is 72 now.
      I don’t know how far away from Chanditala you live; it’s worth a try if you are. Though I pass Dankuni twice a week on the way to Singur in connection with my consultancy (and Chanditala is just off Dankuni) I can’t help for I’m well past sixty myself. If you live too far off, I can find someone willing and put him in touch with you. You may get in touch with me directly at .

  88. Hi all
    Its really interesting to know about our roots, im surprised so many people knew so much about their forefathers. Im a bengali and i live aboard. My surname is Ray and i have no idea to which caste i belong to. Is Ray a bengali surname or is it a modified name? Is Ray and Roy the same surnames? If anyone knows about my surname details or to which caste i belong to, do let me know…

  89. Hi everyone

    My surname is Ray and im a bengali. I live abroad and i don’t know about my roots nor about my ancestors. Im surprised about the knowdelge you all have on your ancestors. can you please help me too…Which caste do the ‘Ray’ surname fall under? Is Ray a benagli surname or is it a modified surname?

    Thanks
    Ray

    • Ray is a given name. To track your origin you have look into your family history. Pratapaditya Roy (King of Jessore) had a uncle Basanta Roy. Basanta Roys son was Kochu Roy. Bidhan Chandra Roy (ex chief minister of West Bengal) is from the family of Kochu Roy.

  90. dear lalit,
    u sure r touchn a hornets nest i must say though ur outcry on the non-nationalised name of west bengal seems good enough i dont see how should u have any questions about the reasonability of surnames in a secular, multicultural and deeply religiuos country . i pray to god ur next blog may not be about the funny surnames of parsi,gujrati or malayali communities

    • Dear Anirban,

      The point of the post was never to make fun of the last names or question the reason. It was purely to understand the logic or the reason behind such concatenations. I, for one, find such things very interesting to understand.

      Thanks,

      Lalit

  91. To the moderator:
    I came across this discussion while looking for clues on my Baidya historical and genealogical background. There’s a wealth of information in here about Bengali Baidyas and inspite of the conflicting theories it provides good informational material for Wikipedia which might make it much easier to find in the internet.
    Since I do not want to indulge in plagiarism by lifting information directly from here to upload on Wikipedia, I’m sure it’ll of immense help to people like myself who are looking for caste related historcial information if you could do that.
    Just a suggestion :)

    • Dear D. Dasgupta

      Thanks for this input. I will think about it. I do not mind if you lift stuff from here and upload to Wikipedia. Honestly, I do not own most of the comments that have come from here. But, I guess that if we give the reference to the comments, it might be okay.

      -Lalit

  92. Some of you are keen to know where “Vaidyakula Panjika” could be obtained. The Panjika is in 5 vols. edited by Direndra Kumar Sengupta and published by him along with C.K.Sen & Co. I believe it is out of print and only photocopies are being circulated. One can also look up The Telegraph (Metro) of 25th May 2008 for information on the Panjika.
    The Panjika only deals with the genealogical ancestry of Baidya’s in West Bengal.

  93. Being a Vaidya, I can leave a comment about Vaidya names. They were originally Brahmins, but being practitioners of ayurveda (vaidya = ayurvedic physician), they had “fallen”, so that their basic surname is ‘Gupta-Sharma’ (hidden Brahmins) or ‘Purah-Kayastha’ (being ahead of Kayasthas in social order). The first part of the surname denote erstwhile patrons of the clan, e.g., Sen-Gupta-Sharma means court-physicianship of the ancestor to the Sen dynasty. Being long and cumbersome, this surname is shortened to Sensharma, Sengupta or simply Sen. But all the three are equivalent. Other such first parts include Datta, Dhar, Das etc. This ‘Das’ is not to be confused with that of the Scheduled Caste; Vaidya ‘Das’ is spelled with talavya (velar) ‘s’ (as in the name of poet Jibanananda Das or nationalist leader Chitta Ranjan Das), whereas SC ‘Das’ is spelled with dantya (dental) ‘s’. Hope the matter has been sufficiently clarified. Joining of the surnames of both parents does not enter into the picture here. Formerly ladies did not use their surname, but used ‘Devi’ (for Brahmins and Vaidyas) and’Dasi’ for others. Joining of surnames is comparatively recent; as in the case of writer Nabanita Dev-Sen (Dev from her father, poet Narendra Dev, and Sen from her onetime husband, Nobel-laureate Amartya Sen).

  94. Some people above wanted to know caste from casteless surnames. These are various secondary surnames, usually official designations during the Muslim rule and other conferred titles; e.g., Majumdar, Mallik (Mullick), Kanungo, Ray (Roy), Chaudhuri (Chowdhury), Sarkar etc. You cannot know caste from these secondary surnames, because these were taken on after the caste system was introduced. For example, to discern that Satyajit Ray was a Vaidya and Rabindranath Tagore was a Brahmin, you must first know their primary surnames: Dev and Kushari respectively. Same applies for Pankaj Kumar Mullick, asked about above by Riaz.

  95. can somebody pleasee explain the origin of the bengali surname SAHA…all i know is that they are of the merchant class. Are Saha’s predominantly from west or east bengal or did they migrate from else where? etc..

  96. are “mukherjee” and “mookerjee” pronounced differently or are they pronounced differently ( h silent in mookerjee) . any bengali please reply.

  97. are “mukherjee” and “mookerjee” pronounced differently ( h silent in mookerjee) . any bengali please reply .

  98. It is interesting to note someone who mentioned bhattacharya’s were chakraborthis….
    there is an iyengar connection again. chakravarthy my last name is also iyengar. i have several priestly relatives with the name bhattacharya(pattar acharya) another famous iyengar (south indian) with a last name chakravarthy is the gorgeous hema malini

    • Chakraborty originated from Chakro and Bhattacharyya from Bhatta ( in Bengal). Possibly they have migrated from Bengal during Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.

  99. Hi,

    I’m very interested to know about my lineage and was hoping somone can help me. I live in the UK and most of my older family members have passed away and took with them most of the knowledge about my background. I have a lot of young family members, but typically, living in the UK has meant thay have no interest in their ancient lineage and can’t tell me much about it. I get very jealous when all my white friends can look into public records and find out about their background, but I can’t :-(

    I have no interest in the political side of caste system. I am lucky enough to have had a liberal upbringing where both my father and mother encouraged me to love all human beings, no matter caste, race, colour or religion. So my interest is only so I can find a little bit more about my ancient family. My current boyfriend is Japanese and I am jealous that he can tell me exactly where his name has come from, but I do not have thhis knowledge.

    My surname is Deypurkaystha…..I am aware that there may be slight spelling differences as people who emigrated to the West tried to spell their surnames using the unfamiliar English alphabet. I have Bangladeshi roots and my father came to the UK when it was still East Pakistan. I have been told that I could possibly be Brahmin, but then I’ve also been told I could be Kshatriya caste…………or a lower caste (I hate using the word lower! All humans are equal)

    Can anyone help me?

    Can anyone tell me what caste system I am,

  100. Sens are eastern chaukya from Karnataka.During their dynasty they put some engineering in social system to strengthening their rule over Bengal because orthodox were not accepting them.Through such engineering such as importing people from Kannoj ,allowing inter cast marriage for specific reason they redefine cast system for their benefit.They dictate the whole social order not just like any other ruler .

    • Ruler before Sens were Buddhist, and the Sens were Saiba or (hindus). Simply they implemented hindu system in the society. Ballal sen imported shakharis in Bengal from south India for religion only. Cast system they implemented to put Bengal at par with the rest of Arian world.

    • Sens are not Chalukyans. The Chalukyas came to Bengal along with Tamil king Raja Rajendra of Chola dynasty.

      These Chalukyans were in army of Cholas, and were called as “Senas” in Bengal.

      There is no records in history on their descendants.

  101. I wana knw abt SUR surname caste? My gf is of SUR surname n we wana get marid bt wana know about her caste to convience my parents.i d0nt blv caste but my parents do n wana hv mariage .so plz plz give me info abt SUR its bengali surname ,or any link whr i get info lyk gotra n other

  102. when I was doing my Phd at university of Pune I had come across a Phd thesis on Kundus of Bengal.It was shown that Kundus had migrated from Punjab to Bengal.Since then I have found Kundu sirnames Also among Punjabis,Sikhs and even Kashmiris.

  103. You referred different title (sur-name) here and explained mysterious origins. In the beginning there were no surname and the society distributed different jobs to different people in their own interest. Their families later started using last part of their name as surname. Even many surnames have been created on basis of village name.
    Sur-name in Bengal appears around 500-600bc. Actually Bengal has no high class low class difference till 10th century. Adi Sur (ballal sen) started arianization program and introduced kulin systems.
    Historians write Sens of south Indian origin but in 2500 years of history of Bengal you will find lots of people had surname sen even gupta originally baidya.
    Originally People of Bengal arrived in Bengal by sea, were a maritime nation, mostly sea warrior and sea traders. They were not even hindu upto 10th century AD.
    In time maritime power and trade falls, and they entered in agro trade. All major costal states in India were the frontier post of Bengal to protect cargo ships (vijay scandhabar/ bijaychakrabar). Later many of them became independent kings (varalla of Madras)
    During 2650 yrs back kings of Bengal taken interest of becoming Uttarapathswamy (northern Indian ruller) and they concurred Magadh and upto Afganisthan.
    During Persian rise western provinces of Bengal served the Persian empires. Bengalis and Egyptians of same origin, however they have not migrated from Egypt, but they went from Bengal.
    Nanda kings of Magadh were barber (Nanda is a surname now) in trade originated from sea like palas and other Bengalis. During the fall of Nanda Empire, many families settled in Punjab, Haryana and Kashmir. Earliest Bengal capital was Ganj ( a place near kumar river in Bangladesh) later called Nawabganj. Bengal had a gold coin then. During Pala, Sen and Chandra dynasty many new surnames were created on basis of rank of the office. Later during Muslim period tribals were brought in Bengal to serve in the armies and some title added to Bengal (pradhan, sardar)
    Through the ages Bengal has invaded many places across the country and beyond. Pal king invaded Nepal (by Nepal Deb) you will find many Bengali title among gurkhas.
    Still few people believe they are arian origin and migrated in Bengal. But they should look themselves in mirror, no way they are arians.
    Even Muslims in Bengal and Bangladesh sometimes refers themselves as Turkish or Pathan. Yes there are but only few families, majority are Buddhist origin.

  104. Central Bengal was from Darbhanga (Dar Bhanga – entrance of Vanga empire later reffered as Gauda empire) from West to Tripura in East. In Ancient time Bengal known as Bhanga or Vanga not Banga. Area covered were Kalinga of Orissa, West Bengal, Jharkhand, Lower Assam, Bangladesh. You will find more Bengali surname in these regions

  105. I have written earlier too on this issue.
    However still people will try to know further and further.
    Once again i am replying about the origin of Baidya Community here.

    Bengal or Banga desha is a place of Tantra, Mantra and Yantra.The culture of Bengalis are based on Tantric philosophy, irrespective of his caste and religion. Tantra in Bengadesha has originated from Buddhism, followed by Jaina, followed by others like Saivas and Baishnavas.
    There was not much variation among religious groups on tantras.
    At the fall of Buddhism, Saivaism became prominent.
    The Saiva monks/intellectuals were known as “NATHS or Nathas”. The founder was Adi Nath, who was named as Shiva . His Meditation / Sadhana was known as “Natha Siddha or Siddha siddhanta system to obtain Siddhi and become a KOULA”.
    It was known as Natha-Koula system, and later on became simply “KOULA”. On the introduction of Yantra along with Tantra and Mantra, it became popular as Sakti Shadhana. It is said that Shiva without Sakti is Sava (dead body). and becomes most popular in Bengal. That is what we see Shiva in lying and Kalika in standing position on him.
    This original name of Sakti sadhana was “KULA Sadhana” and the system was known “KULA System”.
    The whole system was known as “Natha-KOULA-KULA” system.
    Nath is the origin, Adinath is the originator.
    Koula is the 1st derivative of Nath: Shiva is known as Maha Koula.
    Kula is the 2nd derivative of Naths and 1st derivative of Koula.
    At a later stage, during reformation of Bengali Society in line with Vedic Caste system at the period of Sena Dynasty, the people of high calibre/ position in Banga Desha and practitioners of Kula system became known as KULIN. and who opposed this caste system were put in to outside of Power and were tortured.
    This Kula system require woman in their Sadhana( Yoni Vidya System) and used to buy women from extremely poor people or forcibly took away from their family.
    However, very few people used to succeed in this, as a result lot of children were found to be born with out marriage. These children born out of wedlock, but fathered by powerful and influential people, known as “Kulin”, hence they can not be orphaned.
    Such children surnames were give as “Das – Gupta”,”Sen – Gupta” etc.
    Das indiacte mother side, Gupta indicate “Gopon” or secret.
    That is these children were forbidden to use the surnames of their father, and status in the society was placed below these Kulin sect.
    While Kulins adopted Vedic System, they became known as Kulin Brahmins, who were in intellectual jobs and position and the illegitimate children of them were placed below their status , but above others. They are to days “Baidya or Vaidya” people.

    This is the reason why intellectual Naths in Bengal is known as “Rudraja Bramin”, which is the original definition of Brahmin in a caste less Society (EG. Society of true Jainism, Buddhism, Saivaism, Saktaism, Baishnavism, Ajeevakaism etc ).

    PRANABANDHU

    • Kulin is not related with Koula (Koulinaya). Kulin is kula sreshtha. Partially accepted by people under Adisur rule. You wont find Kulin outside Bengal. During Adisur there were other rullers in Bengal they did not started this and accepted this. There were also high class but they never grown Kulin. Kulin actually not a prestige but punishment to higher class by their king adisur.

    • Dear Balhiki Chatterjee,
      Your explanation fails to account for the fact that Senguptas and Das(H)guptas have Rigvaidic Sandhya and rituals, including Upavit, and Rudraja Brahmins are Yajurvediya having Yajurvaidic rituals and sandhya, which is lower than Rigvaidic. Why do us, Senguptas, only differ in Sandhya rituals from Chatterjees and otherwise have the same rights to yagnas as Samvediya Brahmins like yourself? If the Gupta in Sengupta or Das(H)gupta means gupta because of illegitimacy in birth, I don’t seriously think we would have the rights to Rigvaidic rituals like other Rigvaidic Brahmins in India!

      • What you are telling is a religious belief and practice, it has nothing to do with historical proof.

        Brahmins were in existence prior to Vedas. This was based on quality of a person.

        Buddhists and Jain and Nath (All Non Vedic) intellectuals were being addressed as “Brahmins” by Foreigners of Non-Indian faiths in accordance with historical truths. (Ref: Ancient History of India by RS Tripathy).

        Rudraja Brahmins are Non Vedic. Hence it does not fit in to Vedic Social system. During the period of “SENAS” in Bengal, Castism was introduced and majority of Buddhist, naths fallen in line with Sena’s dictation and were honoured and protesters were tortured and all benefits were taken away from them, which forced them to live in miserable condition.
        (ref: History of Bengalis-an introspection– Google)

    • Dear Balhiki Chattejee
      Your recent comments fail to underline why Senguptas and Das(H)guptas are considered Vaidic Brahmins in the case of Upanayan and in the case of rites and rituals. I am a Sengupta, I have an upavit and have to perform all rituals as a Samvediya Brahmin like yourself, only that Sandhya Mantras vary – I am supposed to follow Rigvaidic Mantras and you the Samvediya ones. Your comments also fail to point out why the Naths and Debnaths follow the Yajurvediya rituals, which is supposed to be followed by the lowest sub-caste of the three – Samvediya, Rigvediya and Yajurvedia. In fact, Senguptas and Das(H)guptas have the same rights to rites as any Vaidic Brahmins in India. My experience and instinct tells me that such high position would not be given to Senguptas and Das(H)guptas if the gupta (secret) in their names was a result of illegitimacy of birth!

      • You are talking on Vedic rituals, what I have told is history and its analysis .

        Where you fit yourself?

        everybody want to like with some higher ups to enhance his prestige and image in the society. For doing these all things are happening.

        When We dont want to identify ourselves as native Bengali or Indian or the original inhabitant of Bengal , what is the use of knowing all these?

    • kayastha is a general and major cast in Bengal region. When Vang race migrated from Mediterranean, then there were no cast in our society. It entered in India with Indo Arians, they entered India during alexander the great, but they were non greeks, concentred in Afganisthan for nearly 500 years but they unable to cross rivers because they did not aware of sail and swim. They entered using alexandar pontoon bridging system, later they concentrated in todays UP and started dominating the religion using the word shindu later known as hindu. All the cast they invented and imposed on Indian.

  106. i have surname as Das but I love a Chatterjee girl..is the marriage possible? my family don’t believe in castes but the other family may do…therefore i am worried. :(..is the marriage possible..i am deeply in love with the girl…please reply…

    • I understand your anguish. Have you approached the Chatterjee family yet? Caste system is becoming increasingly anachronistic and out of step with the present generation. You prospective inlaws may not believe in caste system and your fear may be entirely misplaced. Be brave and approach them with brave heart.

  107. I read few questions and ans above,some of them are flattering and some are full of rubbish.yet I am participating in this queue because I read somewhere above that SENGUPTA / DASGUPTA are concatenated titles but as per my knowledge they were a class of bengali non pujari brahmins who practiced
    ayurveda and were descend from lord dhanwantari.
    My family is originated from faridpur,Bangladesh and we were zamindars but as my grand mother told me we are predecessors of pandua royal bloodline and later on one of my ancestor separeted and moved to faridpur and till 1911 we were owners of 21 villages and two forest,here my questions lies if sengupta are baiyas(brahmins) then how come they become ruling class later..?

    • Dear Abhranil,
      Never believe what you may have heard about the Bengali Vaidyas and their surnames without proper authentication. Ambashtha finds mention in many kulujis and other old (but not ancient) literature. Members of this caste were practitioners of Ayurveda. The cast (sometimes as a surname) survive outside Bengal. Barbers (napit, paramanik) belong to the caste of vaidyas in the Hindi belt. The vaidya caste of Bengal is unique but without any verifiable provenance. The Bengali vaidya surnames Sen, Das, Gupta or combinations thereof are almost ertainly derived from double-barreled Buddhist personal names (Bhimsen, Chandragupta, Dharmadas etc). The end part was transmitted from father to son and finally became surnames. In the Pala era of Bengal, Buddhism was stronger than the so-called Sanatana Dharma (the Hindu label for the loosely knit group of religions had not been current at that time). Even the Bengali kayastha surnames (Mitra, Dutta, Ghosh, Chandra, Basu etc) are of Buddhist origin. I donot know whether your interest is casual or deep: let me tell you that my family (Sen) used to add an otherwise needless appendage, “Sharmanah” (Sharma), when signing of wedding or shraddha invitations. It was, no doubt, a laughable attempt to prove the vaidya-brahman theory. You may directly contact me at lakeavenue@hotmail.com, if you so wish.

      • Can anybody inform me exactly what caste ” deb” surname belong to ?does ”deb” belong to SC /OBC / GEN ?can someone provide any evidence on behalf of his answer…?

    • As far as I am aware “Chaudhuri” is a casteless and a very noble title shared by both Hindus and Muslims of the subcontinent and therefore a very desirable surname. You should cherish it.

      • Chaudhury is a tax collector, originated from chaudhu or chaudh. Type of Jamindars. Chaudhury came from possibly chaudhu raja.
        In the muslim period sultans adopted the title for use

  108. Casteism lost its meaning, at least in todays Bengal.

    However, still there are few who believes in this.

    There is a research article on the History of Bengalis and it includes, geography of bengal , Its Political history, social history, Casteism, Culture, Dev. of modern Standard Bengali Language, etc. I got a copy in Pdf Version.
    This may be useful for the people who are interested about Bengalis.

    On personal request, the same may be forwarded .

    Thanks

  109. i have ”sarkar” surname. but i wanna know about subcaste regarding this surname.
    so can you send some name of the subcaste(lower and higher).
    Hope i will get it very soon…..
    Thank you….

  110. Why are bengali brahmins non-vegetarian while the south Indian brahmins veg? There are lot of claims of bengali brahmins having migrated from the south and hence this qn

      • Question raised reproduced below:
        Madhu K Says:
        October 21, 2010 at 1:23 pm
        Why are bengali brahmins non-vegetarian while the south Indian brahmins veg? There are lot of claims of bengali brahmins having migrated from the south and hence this qn

        Reply
        Jaydip Says:
        October 27, 2010 at 8:45 am
        Beangali Brahmins are not migrated. They were here from begining.

        Reply from Balhik:

        The above reply may not be correct.
        The current south Indian Brahmins were converted from Jainism and Buddhism by Adi Sankara Acharya.
        Sankar converted these people when he defeated Buddhist of Buddhist University and Matha of Kanchipuram and converted it in to a Vedic Matha (This is the First Vedic Matha and there was no Matha concept in Vedic Literature, earlier to this).
        He introduced Bhagavat Gita to these converted Brahmins and there food habits were made in accordance to prescription of Gita ,which is nothing but Swattik Food for Brahmins.

        This is the reason why they are vegetarian. In fact all the vegetarian Brahmins were converted from Buddhism or Jainism.
        On the other hand Bengali Brahmins adopted Vedic religion, keeping the old tradition intact, which was Buddhism and Nath-Koula-Kula or Kula religion.

        It is interesting to note that from this Koula and Kula system of worshipers become known as Kulin class in Bengal.

        From Balhik

    • None of the brahmins are migrated from south. In 10th century they converted to hindu from their local religion. Only brahmin migration occured as per recorded history was from Orissa to Nabadwip. There are lot of non brahmins are veg in diiferent parts of North India. It has no relation with migration.

  111. Surnames did not exist in the subcontinent in the pre-Islamic period. Personal names, however, often had two or more components (cf Bhimasena, Kshetrapala), especially amongst Buddhists and Jainas. Bengal was no exception and was predominantly Buddist. Then there was the Indian penchant for maintaining some sort of family identity by repeating the last part of their compound names (Taranisena, son of Dharmasena, brother of Bhimasena and so on). Many of the Bengali surnames are derived from the end part of compound names: Sen, Das, Kar, Basu, Nandi etc are apt examples. Some Bengali Brahmins had started the practice of identifying themselves with a name-suffix denoting the village of their residence (Chatuti from village Chatu, Mukhoti from Mukhot, Ganguli from Gangul, Kushari from Kusho etc). Yet other Brahmins had added their educational degrees or professions to their names (Vidyasagar, Upadhyaya or Ojha, Kathak, Pujari etc). The two practices were sometimes practised simultaneously, giving rise to the ubiquitous Bengali “ji”s. The Upadhyaya or Ojha (teacher) of Mukhot thus became Mukho-ojha>Mukhujje>Mukherji (anglicised) and somewhere down the line Sanskritised to Mukhopadhyaya. With the advent of Islamic rule, when surnames became necessary, many surnames were pulled out of the hat. Occupational (Sarkar, Chowdhury, Dastidar, Bhuinyan), geographical (Pahari, Telenga), tribal (Chakma, Saontal) and even arbitrarily obscure (Gur – a Brahmin name, Bag, Hati) surnames came into being.
    With a handful of exceptions, surnames in Bengal do not indicate ones caste. Sen, my surname, can denote Vaidya, Kayastha, Banik and even Kshatriya caste. Some spurious family (caste) histories, kulapanjikas or kuluji granthas, written in the relatively recent past, claim noble descent and fancifully fabricated lineage to enhance prestige of a privileged few. Most of such documents have been conclusively proved to be forgeries.

  112. Dear Shilpi,
    Sarkar is a job title of Islamic origin and, like many others of that ilk (Majumdar, Dastidar, Kanungo etc), had metamorphosed into surnames, for there were no surnames in Bengal (or even in India) in the pre-Islamic era. And most Bengali surnames that we come across today, with mighty few exceptions, do not indicate caste. As Mr. Rizvi had commented some time back, Chaudhary/Chowdhury are not caste-specific and is, perhaps, not even derived from Sanskrit Chaturdhurin as some experts have suggested. Nor is the honorific ‘Thakur’, which is a surname for barbers in the Hindi belt and for the Kushari class Brahmins (Rabindranath, for example) in Bengal; some believe that it is of Turki origin as it only starts appearing after the Turks had reached India. However, though the progeny of a genuine Kanungo need not all be land-surveyors, they continue to use the surname nevertheless.
    You ask about sub-castes: please note that Vedic “varna” and common Hindu “caste” are NOT the same. Vaidiks recognise four varnas but Hinduism has hundreds of castes, sub-castes, and what have you.

  113. i want to know the caste of particular bengali surname’kandar’

    whether they are of high caste or middle cast or low caste?
    plz tell me whether the surname ‘pradhan’ is same as surname’kandar’

    • plz tell me

      i want to know the caste of particular bengali surname’kandar’

      whether they are of high caste or middle cast or low caste?
      plz tell me whether the surname ‘pradhan’ is same as surname’kandar’

  114. Extracts of Comments from Aniruddha Sen:
    “Some spurious family (caste) histories, kulapanjikas or kuluji granthas, written in the relatively recent past, claim noble descent and fancifully fabricated lineage to enhance prestige of a privileged few. Most of such documents have been conclusively proved to be forgeries.”

    Reply From Balhik ( balhiki@yahoo.co.in )

    Yes, Mr. Sen is right for the above remark.
    In fact every one wanted to find out his origin in some nobility, to enhance his prestige in the society and it is natural as nature make each and everything to move in upwards direction.
    As a result of this, no Indian want to say that he is native, and try to find out some some story that their ancestors had
    migrated from abroad and are out siders . all the originals are now all downtrodden people.
    This is true even for Cooch people of Cooch behar.

    Bengalis had no Caste system, where are the Khastriya, Vaishya and Sudra people in Bengal?

    The entire history of Bengal / India need to be written, it is full of incorrect informations. Please refer to Research article by “Dr KK Debnath on History of Bengalis” with details of references on Google.

    Balhik

  115. My Dear friends,
    This is in response to queries from some learned readers.
    There are a lot of research articles on Vedas.
    I sincerely request the readers to go through the Rig, Sama, Yajur and Atharvana Vedas, to know what Veda is.
    Bengal was never dominated by Vedic religion and dominated by Jainism (Nathas), Buddhism (Padas), saivaism (Nath-Koulaism), Saktism (Nath-Koula-Kulaism) and latest is Vaishnavism.
    Bengali literature begins it journey thru Koula (Nath) literatures.
    Interested persons can go through these literatures.
    As far as historical records are concerned, no historians recognised Adi Sur as King of Bengal, I fact they all denied the presence of Adi Sur in Bengal.
    It is interesting to know that Buddhist intellectuals were referred by rulers of Islamic faith of foreign origin as “BRAHMAN” as per historical records. Further to this there is no mention of God Brahma in Rig Veda Samhita. Out of five Brahminic educational centre, Mithila is in ancient Bengal, Gour is the present Malda district of West Bengal, Puri is close to Banga desh, the fourth is at Konouj in UP and the lat one is at Taxashila( Sara swat). Swat River is at Afghanistan and Valley is known as Swat Valley. Please think why majority are in east India.
    During the Mauryan rule, a script “Brahmi” (writing left to right) was being used in this part of Banga where as a script “Khorosthi” (writing from right to left) was in use at north western part of Mourya Empire. Please analyse why?
    Besides these, the Brahmins of Rajasthan, Maharashtra and Udupi (West Karnataka) say their ancestors had migrated from Gour-Bangla and they are known as Goudia/Gouria Brahmins.
    On the other hand Bengali Brahmins are called Kanauji Brahmins or Maithili Brahmins.
    In fact nobody identifies himself as a native of the place due to obvious reason.
    It is also very natural that everybody wants to enhance their prestige in the society by linking them with great race or people and these necessitates to generate some stories like Adisur and others.
    It was during the period of Senas, that Casteism was made operational in line with Vedic system.
    The intellectuals of the then Bengal took the advantage of it and implemented the same due to obvious benefits and advantages built in the Vedic social system without effecting the religious and spiritual life.

    • Dear Mr. Nath,
      Not being a know-all, I can’t give you a meaningful reply right away; give me a few days to research the question of rudraja brahmanas. But the surname Natha can be either of the two following roots: (1) a surnamised appendage of a concatenated personal name such as Taranatha, Vaidyanatha, etc, the last “a” being silent in modern Bengali; (2) something to do with the Natha cult (religious) — perhaps an obscure off-shoot of Buddhism [some of the poets of the charyapada were Nathas, but that is unlikely for a brahmana. I shall come back to you in a few days.

      • Nath Sampradaya is an old non vedic religion.

        However , Lord Matsendra nathhas been credited as the founder, who was a contemporary of Atish Dipankar prior to Sena period.
        How ever, i differ on this view. Nath religion was found to be established long back and probably the ist religion of India founded by none other than “Brishav Nath” or “Adi Nath”.
        Adinath is named as the founder of 1st religion Nathism, probably , later on it was renamed as Jainism from the period of 24th Tirthankar Bardhaman Mahavir. and some naths remains separate and became the follower of lord Siva, who is also known as “Adi Nath” or “Brishav Nath”. and became Saivas.
        Siva also equated and maped with Vedic God Rudra. That may be reason why they are Rudraja.
        Comming to the Brahminc features, it may be noted that Brahma is not a Vedic God, and he was a non Vedic God at a later stage he was mapped with Vedic God Agni.
        In the non Vedic ideals, intellectuals were termed as Brahmins and almost all intellectuals and religious preachers are found to be Naths, That may be the reason Nath intellectuals are known as Rudraja Brahmin. However , all naths are not Brahmins, if we follow the scriptures of Non Vedic religions. The priestly community of Naths is normally referred as “Rudraja Brahmin”. This is due to the influence and amulgation of Vedic and Non Vedic religions.
        Historically there are enough evidences are available, which indicates that all the Brahmins of Bengal were either Buddhists or Naths.
        The Kulins are appeared to be embraced Vedic religion from Buddhism.
        There are lot of Books avl on Nath literatures in Bengal.
        You may refer to those.

        regds.
        Balhik

  116. Dear Bahlik,
    The hardware I’m typing this on is playing tricks on me; I lost about 5 minutes worth of effort in a jiffy. It might happen again. Please be warned that, in that case, I shall not bother you again.
    Hindutva-vadis had successfully launched a propaganda decades ago, perhaps, to establish their ethno-religious supremacy. They and the people who believe them had never read a word of the vast body of pre-Islamic literature — religious or secular. They refer to the vedas, even (mis-)quote from them, to prove their point. Had they bothered to, they would have seen the following incontrovertible facts. (1) That there were vaishnavas, saivas, pasupats, sramanas, charvakas and others of that ilk in the past but not a single religion called Hinduism. (2) The oft-quoted trineeti (brahma, vishnu, mahesvara) is clearly a much later addition and obviously influenced by the judaeo-christian trinity (god, son and holy ghost). (3) That ones religion did not matter at all in our epics but dharma, in the buddhist sense of one’s code of conduct in life and behaviour to others, did. (4) Whatever might have been the origin of aryan chaturvarna or, perhaps, pre-aryan casteism, it did not prevent poets and purana-karas from going ga-ga over upright and heroic chandalas and sudras. I could go on in that vein for hours together, never repeating myself. Experience and a little curiosity (jijnasa and not kautuhala) had taught me not to take religious and social myths on their face value. Myth, after all, is cognate with mithya. Myth, by definition, is fact, distorted over time, by repeated re-telling; so much so that it often becomes unrecognisably symbolic. The danger begins when we start viewing such myths as gospels.

    • Dear Sir,

      While going through i find this as quite interesting.
      The current status of Nath community in the greater Hindu panthem is categorized as “Backward”.
      Before going into the logic of naths or surnames, if we look at any society, it was and it is governed by a religion. Any religion has two component for it’s completeness. The first component deals with the spiritual aspect while the other component deals with Temporal aspect. A religion is balanced if the strength of both the components shares equally to make it complete, otherwise it becomes unbalanced, yet may be stationery.
      For some religion, spiritual part may not be so strong, but it’s temporal aspect in such case is found to be much stronger. ( may be 40:60, or 30:70 ratio or it may be other way also).
      The Vedic religion is found to be superior in temporal aspect, while Nath religion is found to be superior in spiritual aspect.
      As a result of this the educated, elite, rich, and mid-class people of Bengal and India ultimately switched over to Vedic religion, and all other religions of Indian origin more or less perished from India. This good quality of Vedic religion is that it had accepted all non Vedic philosophy and continuously refined the same. As a result of this it becomes the most vibrant and dominant religion of India. where as others could not survive due to their rigidness. Nath religion is one of such religion.
      Further details may be discussed and shared separately, in case of interest.

      Regards,

      (Dr. KK DEbnath0
      “drkkdebnath@gmail.com”.

  117. My Dear Sree Anirudhha,

    I could not get you about , what you want to say.

    One thing may be noticed that there are a lot of hidden clues available in our literature to find out the truth.

    Yes, there are lot of big organisations, politically as well as religiously who are spearheading their attack on other religion and distorting the facts.
    However, in the days to come the truth will be known to common people, who are still in dark.

    If you have any remarks on me directly you may mail to me at “balhiki@yahoo.co.in”.

    I am not a student of history or literature or social science.
    I started to study mainly religion and i dont know how and when I switched over to entire gamut of Indian Civilisation.

    well bye , if I get any query , i will try to explain in a rational way.

    Thank you

    Balhik

  118. Dear Aniruddha,
    Let us leave the Vedas alone. They are perhaps the set of scriptures that has been verily misinterpreted. However, apart from the sacerdotal associations, could you throw some light on the etymology of the surnames?

    • Dear Dibyendu,
      Not being a professional historian or linguist, and having been a sceptic virtually all my life, my “throwing some light on the etymology of surnames”, concatenated or straightforward, is likely to DARKEN whatever you may have been told so far. I’ll be glad to explain my point of view, without the least intention of imposing on others as pundits are wont to do, if you mail me direct to aniruddhasen.10@gmail.com. I have painstakingly typed out a long mail on that to Bahlik earlier today; I can forward it to you for your edification, if you so want.

  119. Pls Let me know…which caste does the surname Ghorai belong to? And Is Dasgupta superior to Ghorai as per the caste is concerned? pls reply

  120. Dear friends…i want to know about “SAHA” caste in bengoli…it belongs to which division, does they have any gotra system, if so than which gotra Saha belongs to?

    Thanx

    • Look we have saha as surname in both bangladesh and west bengal.. those who have migrated from bangladesh are of general caste but guys having surname as saha in westbengal are of schedule caste.

  121. Hi,
    Can anyone shed some light into the caste and history of the the surname ‘pahari’ ? Please share your knowledge.

  122. Dear Dibyendu,
    Look up Romila Thapar’s “Ancient Indian Social History” on google search, page 76. Key in “Rudraja Brahman” on google and then select.

    • Dear Shruti,
      Why should you bother about castes, sub-castes and surnames attached to that? Bong surnames are tricky at best; the same surname (e.g. Ray) may denote a number of castes, and each caste invariably has many surnames. Unlike in Europe, our surnames do not even help us in tracing back our lineage. The original surname of Rabindranath was Kushari, indicating that his family had once lived in Kusho gram. It is also known that many brahmans of Bengal used the adjectival place name of their origin as surnames. From that and a few other written records, we know that Rabindranath’s family had once hailed from Kusho and that they were brahmans. At some point in time (now lost in the mists of antiquity) in the past, a Kushari got converted to Islam. Gossipmongers like to say that it was a forced conversion and that it was done by making him eat beef. We have no way to verify the facts. One thing is certain though: all the Kusharis, wherever they were, were demoted in their brahmanhood to “Pirali” brahmans. I am not sure what the word means: the most published guess thinks it is a sandhi of “pir” and “ali”, both mussalman handles, though I have my doubts. Later still, some Pirali Kushari, started to hide behind their zamindari honorific, “Thakur”. That again got anglicised by Dwarakanath to Tagore. It shows that surnames have a habit of changing. Even today you will find several affidavits in the Bengali newspapers: “… I, Bhutnath Malakar, hereby proclaim on the strength of this affidavit that, henceforth, I shall be known and referred to as Pradip Roy….”
      So, don’t you try to search your ancestry through castes, sub-castes and surnames.
      Aniruddha Sen.

  123. Dear Mr. Lalit,

    Thank you for your kind response.
    I think you made me a member of your blog .
    This blog helps us to know some historical aspect on casteism, though casteism lost its importance among Bengalis, due to various reasons. Still is natural to know one’s root of origin as far as possible.
    I think your Blog is of emense helpful in this regard.

    With regds.

    Deb

    Debnath

    • Dear Dr. Debnath,

      I agree that casteism has no value and should not have any value. But, it is also natural and interesting to learn about origins.

      Thanks for your appreciation. However, as you will notice, I just posed a simple interesting observation. It is only a result of the painstaking efforts of a lot of the readers that the post has been able to collect so much information.

      So, the real appreciation should go to them. Not to me.

      -Lalit Patil

  124. Dear Lalit,
    Thanks for your prompt response on the “(ir)religious” issue on which I am 100% with you. This is about the first of your your two original questions on the CONCATENATED BONG post.
    Ancient states of Radh, Barendra, Samatat, Kajangal, Champa and others constituted the Mughal Bangal (including Bangladesh, parts of Assam and Odisha, and Bihar (Jhadkhand) east of Dvar Banga (Darbhanga: gateway of Bengal).
    It passed through a history, far older than but also during the Islamic period, of breaking up and coalescing again several times like an amoeba, often with ever so slight difference in geography. In the Division of Bengal Act of 1905 Assam, Odisha and Bihar were given back part of their due and Bengal proper was split into East and West. People of the region before that, as evidenced from contemporary literature, always called the part east of river Dhalesvari ‘purva bangla’. The ‘purvis’ got the sobriquet ‘bangal’ (with both long “a”s) and the paschimis ‘ghati’ (with the “a” approximating but not quite the sound “o”; the “o” in “Kolkata” should actually be replaced by the same “a”) — don’t ask me why. Our vowels are not Indo-European as in the northern and western tongues, but has a strong overlay of Austric vowels; our mitochondrial DNA too show a significant Austric strain. The 1947 partition awarded erstwhile Pakistan the districts of Khulna (where my father’s people had lived for many generations till partition) and Jessore in lieu of Murshidabad in cognisance of geographical simplicity. So the Dhalesvari line is no longer sacrosanct.
    Paschimbanga, therefore, is older than the partition of India.
    Aniruddha.

    • On whose authority do you call a celebrity historian a “paid writer who wants to degrade Hindus?” I suppose that you have been fed by fundamentalist groups like RSS, VHP, Shiva Sena and the likes. Please be informed that Ms Thapar has been equally denigrated by jingoistic Islamic fundamentalists. Both the groups have identical grey matters, similar education and cultural levels and the same venom in their yellow fangs. Please go to bed on that without advising me — someone who is as old as your father is and has had at least as much experience.

      • I do agree with Mr. Aniruddha Sen.

        I request Mr. Sen sharma to achieve a similar status like ms. Thapar in his own profession.

        One may disagree with the view with others, and views can be criticized, but it is not a healthy sign in a civic society to criticize other person.
        I wish Mr. sen sharma will understand and resist himself to control his emotion in future correspondence.

        (Dr. KK Debnath)

  125. Kundu appears to have some relation with Kunda, means well.

    There is a Well in Afghanistan by name “Vasistha KundA’.

    May Mr. Anirban search in Pre-islamic Afghanistan history to find the roots of Kundu.

    They may not be Original Native of Bengal,

    • Do you mean Madhukalya and Aliman gotra? Why do you want to stick to a system that began some three thousand years back and has been much abused over the eons? If you are still interested, please refer to the text quoted hereunder from wikipedia. You could look up for yourself too.

      The term Gotra broadly refers to people who are descendants in an unbroken male line from a common male ancestor. Panini defines gotra for grammatical purposes as ‘ apatyam pautraprabhrti gotram’ (IV. 1. 162), which means ‘the word gotra denotes the progeny (of a sage) beginning with the son’s son. When a person says ‘ I am Kashypasa-gotra’ he means that he traces his descent from the ancient sage Kashyapa by unbroken male descent. According to the Baudhâyanas’rauta-sûtra Vishvâmitra, Jamadagni, Bharadvâja, Gautama, Atri, Vasishtha, Kashyapa and Agastya are 8 sages; the progeny of these eight sages is declared to be gotras. This enumeration of eight primary gotras seems to have been known to PâNini. The offspring (apatya) of these eight are gotras and others than these are called ‘ gotrâvayava ‘.[1]
      There are 49 established Hindu gotras. All members of a particular gotra are believed to possess certain common characteristics by way of nature or profession. Many theories have been propounded to explain this system. According to the brahminical theory, the Brahmins are the direct descendants of seven or eight sages who are believed to be the mind-born sons of Brahma. They are Gautama, Bharadvaja, Vishvamitra, Jamadagni, Vasishtha, Kashyapa and Atri. To this list, Agastya is also sometimes added. These eight sages are called gotrakarins from whom all the 49 gotras (especially of the Brahmins) have evolved. For instance, from Atri sprang the Atreya and Gavisthiras gotras.[2]
      A gotra must be distinguished from a kula. A kula is a set of people following similar cultural rituals, often worshiping the same divinity (the Kula-Devata, god of the clan). Kula does not relate to lineage or caste. In fact, it is possible to change one’s kula, based on one’s faith or Iṣṭa-devatā.
      It is common practice in preparation for Hindu marriage to inquire about the kula-gotra (meaning clan lineage) of the bride and groom before approving the marriage. In almost all Hindu families, marriage within the same gotra is prohibited, since people with same gotra are considered to be siblings. But marriage within the kula is allowed and even preferred.

      Not only Brahmins, several other castes also follow them in marriages. For example a weaver falls under Markandeya gotra. Markandeya was known be a great Maharishi and his Son Bhavana Rishi had 100 sons, and their names are used as Sa-gothras. Weavers follow the Markandeya gotra, or these 100 family names (sa-gotrha). Marriages are held within Markandeya but never in same family name. So, every weaver falls under one of these gotra.
      In a court case “Madhavrao vs Raghavendrarao” which involved a Deshastha Brahmin couple, the German scholar Max Mueller’s definition of gotra as descending from eight sages and then branching out to several families was thrown out by reputed judges of a Bombay High Court.[3] The court called the idea of Brahmin families descending from an unbroken line of common ancestors as indicated by the names of their respective gotras impossible to accept.[4] The court consulted relevant Hindu texts and stressed the need for Hindu society and law to keep up with the times emphasizing that notions of good social behavior and the general ideology of the Hindu society had changed.[5] The court also said that the mass of material in the Hindu texts is so vast and full of contradictions that it is almost an impossible task to reduce it to order and coherence.[3]
      Origin of gotra
      Gotra is the Sanskrit term for a much older system of tribal clans[citation needed]. The Sanskrit term “Gotra” was initially used by the Vedic people [citation needed] for the identification of the lineages. Generally, these lineages mean patrilineal descent from the sages or rishis in Brahmins, warriors and administrators in Kshatriyas and ancestral trademen in Vaisyas[citation needed].
      The lineage system, either patrilineal or matrilineal, was followed by the South Asian people. In present-day Hinduism, Gotra is applied to all the lineage systems.
      The case of sage Vishwamitra is the example. Thus the gotra must have been of the lineage of the learning one chose rather than the lineage of one’s birth. Rama is stated to be the descendant of Ikshwaku, but the lineage was broken when Kalmashpada got his son through Niyoga of Vasishta with Kalmashapad’s wife Madayanthi, and not through a biological liaison. Yet Rama is said to be Ikshwaku’s descendant and not of Vasishta. Some claim of a continuous biological linkage with the moola purusha [or most significant personality] of the Gothra, where as it need not be the case. Some times, a Gotra is based on the Guru for the family or one of the ancestors.
      Marriages between close relatives within a gotra reflect inbreeding with significant health consequences. Inbreeding generally increases pre-reproductive mortality and crude mortality increases with inbreeding in proportion to the mortality rate.[6]
      [edit]Marriages and gotras
      In a patrilineal Hindu society (most common), the bride belongs to her father’s gotra before the marriage, and to her husband’s gotra after the marriage. The groom on the other hand only belongs to his father’s gotra throughout his life.
      Marriages within the gotra (‘sagotra’ marriages) are not permitted under the rule of exogamy in the traditional matrimonial system. The word ‘sagotra’ is union the words ‘sa’ + gotra, where ‘sa’ means same or similar. People within the gotra are regarded as kin and marrying such a person would be thought of as incest. The Tamil words ‘sagotharan’ (brother) and ‘sagothari’ (sister) derive their roots from the Sanskrit word ‘sahodara’ (सहोदर) meaning co-uterine or born of the same womb. In communities where gotra membership passed from father to children, marriages were allowed between maternal uncle and niece[7], while such marriages were forbidden in matrilineal communities, like Malayalis and Tuluvas, where gotra membership was passed down from the mother.
      A much more common characteristic of south Indian Hindu society is permission for marriage between cross-cousins (children of brother and sister). Thus, a man is allowed to marry his maternal uncle’s daughter or his paternal aunt’s daughter, but is not allowed to marry his father’s brother’s daughter. She would be considered a parallel cousin who is treated as a sister.[8]
      North Indian Hindu society not only follows the rules of gotra for marriages, but also had many regulations which went beyond the basic definition of gotra and had a broader definition of incestuousness.[9] Some communities in North India do not allow marriage with some other communities on the lines that both the Communities are having brotherhood.[10]
      An acceptable social workaround for sagotra marriages is to perform a ‘Dathu’ (adoption) of the bride to a family of different gotra (usually dathu is given to the bride’s maternal uncle who obviously belongs to different gotra by the same rule) and let them perform the ‘kanniyadhanam’ (‘kanniya’ (girl) + ‘dhanam’ (to donate)). However, this is easier said as it would be quite difficult for the bride’s father to watch another man give his daughter’s hand away in marriage in his own presence.
      Khap panchayats in Haryana have been making a huge fuss over banning “same gotra marriages.” Kadyan Khap International convener Naresh Kadyan had moved a petition seeking amendment to the Hindu Marriage Act (HMA) so as to legally prohibit marriages in the same gotra. However, the petition was dismissed as withdrawn after a vacation Bench of Justices S N Dhingra and A K Pathak of the Delhi High Court warned that a heavy cost would be imposed on the petitioner for wasting the time of the court. In course of the proceedings, the bench observed, “You don’t know what is a gotra. Which Hindu text prescribes banning of sagotra (same clan) marriage? Why are you wasting the time of the court? If you are not able to substantiate your words, then you should not have come before the court.” [11]
      Castes belonging to gotras[1]
      1. Bhaal gotra thirty five clans,
      2. Kasyap Gotra eighty-two clans,
      3. Atri Gotra seventy-five clans,
      4. Bharaddwaj Gotra seventy-seven clans,
      5. Jamadagni Gotra seventy-five clans,
      6. Basniwal Gotra thirty-one clans,
      7. Vasisht Gotra eighty clans,
      8. Kausik Gotra forty-seven clans,
      9. Naidhruva Gotra twenty-four clans,
      10. Gautam Gotra fifteen clans,
      11. Gfirgya Gotra sixteen clans,
      12. Mudgal Gotra eight clans,
      13. Vainya Gotra six clans,
      14. Sandilya Gotra six clans,
      15. Kulsa Gotra three clans,
      16. Vatsa Gotra two clans,
      17. Bhargau Gotra two clans,
      18. Parthiva Gotra two clans,
      19. Viswamitra Gotra one clan (Kale),
      20. Vadrayana Gotra one clau (Bharbhare).
      21. Kaundinya Gotra one clan (Ringe).
      22. Upmanyu Gotra one clan (Tike),
      23. Angiras Gotra one clan (Dhamankar).
      24. Lohitaksh Gotra one clan (Ojhe).
      25. Jemuni
      [edit]Bhatias gotra
       The following is a partial list of 7 Gotras and 84 Nukh found in the Bhatia
      community of Vaishnavs/Hindus:
       1-PARASAR: Gajaria, Panchlodia, Paleja, Gagla, Soni, Sofla, Jia, Mogia, Dhadha,
      Rika, Jigna, Kodhia, Radia, Kajaria, Sijiwali, Jalala, Malan, Dhewa, Dhiren, Jaiyati, Niya, Koa.
       2-SARANHS (SANDILIYA): Dutia,Dhutia,Purecha,Porecha, Jab, Babla, Sukhdi, Dhawan,
      Vanda, Udeshi, Vadhhuch, Belai, Dhega, Kanthia.
       3-BHARDWAJ: Haria, Padamshi, Media. Jiwa, Thula, Tambod, Lajavanta, Thakar,
      Bhuderia, Mota, Unegar, Sothia, Poda, Modia, Dhadhal, Devchandra, Asher.
       4-SUDRVANSH: Sapat, Chachia, Nagra, Babla, Pramla. Potha, Poddhaga. Mathura
       5-MADHAVADYSAVAS: Ved, Suraiya, Gokulgandhi, Nayagandhi, Panchal, Farasgandhi,
      Paregandhi, Jujargandhi, Prema, Bibal, Powar.
       6-DEVDAS: Ramaiya, Pawar, raja, Parajia, Gurugulab, Karatari, Dhadher, Kukad.
       7-RUSHIVANSH: Multani, Chamuja, Daiya, Karangota, Kajia.
      [edit]Hindu gotras
       Sawarna
       Marichi
       Manikya – Kuruba Gowdas
       Bhardwaj
       Agastya
       Angirasa
       Atri
       Bhrigu
       Kashyapa
       Koundinya
       Vasistha
       Harinama
       Vishvamitra
       Pamidikula
       Grandhisila
       Dosodia
       Siwal
       Serawat
       Haritasa హరితస
       Hansaj
       Gowans Gotra (Mundhra community)
      [edit]References
      1. ^ Sherring, Matthew Atmore (1872). Hindu tribes and castes, Volume 1. Pp. 82

  126. Dear Pronoy,
    Your original query was about Madhukalya and Aliman gotras. My responses to that are:
    (1) Indians, though Indo-European speakers, were clearly not of the same race with the same penchant for recording and studying history (including family history). Hitler thought that all Aryans were blue-eyed and blonde Nordics, but he was historically mistaken.
    (2) There are many tales — true, partially true and patently false — about gotra/caste origins in India, and you (and only you) have to decide which one you want to believe. For that you have to conduct the necessary research yourself. You may err if you decide to get it from some religious fanatic or firm believers of old maids’ tales.
    (3) The Wikipedia entry that I had posted was to demonstrate how futile it would be to trace your lineage to Gautama, Bhradvaja, Dhanvantari et al, not to speak of Madhululya and Aliman.
    Etymologically, the word ‘gotra’ is derived from ‘go’ (cow; please note that Samskrta gau and English cow are cognate words of IE origin) and means ‘cow mark’. It has been surmised by some pundits that early Indo-European speakers who had found their way to the subcontinent around 15th century Before Christian Era (BCE) through the Khaibar pass had a mellifluous language, loose morals, poor technical knowledge (as compared to native Indus people), lots of domestic animals, a rudimentary religion with a small pantheon mostly made up of nature gods (read the Rgveda) and quite a few thorough-bred brahmanas who couldn’t read or write but could compose beautiful hymns. All their cows, perhaps, grazed together in the same fertile river valleys of Punjab — known as Saptasindhava then. To identify them, the owners branded special gotra marks behind their ears (they would not have writing till the 8th century BCE). “This is the cow-mark of Shaktr and that of Bhrgu,” they would say. Every staff member (including the menials) in the employ of a cow-owning, rich brahmana, would also say, “I’m of vaishya (or Sudra) varna and my gotra is Kashyapa,” meaning that the ancestor of the brahmana family for which he worked had descended from Kashyapa. It is like a modern person saying, “I work for the Tatas (or Kirloskars).”
    Recent DNA surveys conducted all over India have so far shown that many (if not most) of the ‘ancient’ tales are untenable, but the above conjecture could perhaps be true. Your thirst for seeking your ancestry is a result of European hegemony on education for several centuries and British colonialism for 200 years.
    The point I’m trying to make is that, no matter how eagerly you seek, your ancestry (gotra, veda, varna and other identities of that ilk) will forever remain shrouded in the mists of antiquity.
    I know that that wouldn’t satisfy you — it usually doesn’t — but I don’t have a better answer for about 40 years of my studies.
    Aniruddha.

  127. This is for Mr. Lalchan Krishna Ramdass.
    I have taken the liberty of transcribing whatever data you have posted about your ancestry in current spellings.
    1. Ancestor’s name: Gopinath Singh.
    2. Ancestor’s father’s name: Madhusudan Singh.
    3. Ancestor’s caste: Yeaat (cannot decipher or guess; no help on Google but that may not be utterly discouraging).
    4. Ancestor’s last known address in India: Village- Purba (East) Srirampur (not on Google), Precinct- Mahishadal (now a small town in the Haldia subdivision of Purba (East) Medinipur district.
    5. Ancestor’s brother-in-law: Chandramani Dinabandhu Singh.
    6. Ancestor’s year of migration: 1880.
    7. If your ancestors were Bengalis, the current spelling of the family surname could be “SINHA”.
    I’m afraid, you’ll have to research your ancestry personally on the strength of the above data. Mahishadal town is accessible from Kolkata (erstwhile Calcutta) by train, but the administrative geography and place names of the area may have undergone a sea change in 130 odd years. You’ll have to locate Purba Srirampur village from the Block Office or by asking around.
    I have a few personal points to add.
    The first names of both your ancestors and that of his in-law have a Bengali flavour but the surname could also make them Biharis or migrants from elsewhere in the Hindi-belt in India. The Singh surname is also there in Orissa and Orissa abuts East Medinipur. There are, of course, some Bengali Singhs even today. All the above options did exist in or around 1880.
    Your own personal name belies ancestral admixture with Hindi-speaking people — on foreign soil, I presume.
    You will need a local person who can guide you through the painstaking process of record searching, interviewing a large number of people, and sifting the data to arrive at a conclusion, if definite conclusion is possible. That is assuming that you will decide to undertake the quest in person.
    Rudimentary records, mainly of land-holders, were kept in the nineteenth century but small villages, though recorded as such, are unlikely to yield any information pertaining to the poor and/or landless populace. Human memory is very strong but weakens to weaken with each generation. About five generations have passed since 1880 and the memory may have vanished.

  128. This is for Mr. Lalchan Krishna Ramdass.
    This is a postscript to my quoted note to you
    “3. Ancestor’s caste: Yeaat (cannot decipher or guess; no help on Google but that may not be utterly discouraging).”
    Yeaat, when pronounced, sounds suspiciously like “Jat”. That is a well-known North Indian caste. That, certainly, is a possibility. The early Bengal Regiments of the East India Company (and later British India) were largely manned by northerners, Jats inclusive. That was because the English people didn’t trust Bengalis to be loyal enough and also because Bengalis have never been a martial race. It is possible that a few had reneged and settled in Bengal.

  129. Thank You so much I think we are on the same wave length and I appriciate your help very much. I will like to foward to you some doc and random pg of manuscript to see if we can get some disclosure. thank you again .God bless, Hari Bole.lkr.

  130. Hello Aniruddha Sen,
    I wanted to ask about the surname “DEY”?
    I got to know that we are Kayasthas?What does that mean plus someone told methat we are kind of brahmins?
    Comment!

    • Dear Abhishek,

      It’s been quite a while since I had visited this blog site, partly because Lalit has shifted his blog base and my ‘notifification’ request was annuled, but also because I had been otherwise occupied. Sorry for the delay, though.

      Let me tell you at the outset that I’m no Bong surname specialist. History (through linguistics) is my hobby but I’ve had no professional training. And surnames do give you some (not much) insight of the sociological mores of Bongs for the past 500 years or so. So, don’t you take my word as gospel.

      Bong surnames originated in the post-Islamic era. Some of them are indicative of ones caste (Brahman, Acharya, Upadhyaya, Banik, Kaibarta, etc); most aren’t. Those that aren’t may be divided into several different categories:
      (1) The repetitive last part of ones given name, eg Sen from Chandrasena, son of Suryasena, brother of Bhimasena. Ghosh, Basu, Mitra, Som, Gupta etc are apt examples.
      (2) Job titles during the Islamic period often became Hindu surnames, eg Chakladar, Dastidar, Khan, Sarkar, Munsi, Daftari etc. You may also add indigenous job titles to the list, eg Dom, Rajak, Jola, Dhibar, Malakar, Mahato (from Mahattara, a Buddhist era position), Majhi (from Majjhim<Madhyam, another Buddhist era position), Majhi (boatman, unrelated to the other 'Mahji') etc.
      (3) The name of ones place of origin had often been taken up as a surname in the true Dravidian manner, eg Brahmins from the villages Kusho, Mukhot, Chatuti, Banrari (Bandari, Bandyo gram), Gangul had become Kushari, Mukhuti (Mukhujje or Mukhopadhyaya, after adding their teaching profession 'ojha' or 'upadhyaya' to the village name), Bandujje, Ganguli etc. These are called 'ganyee' or 'grameen' surnames.
      (4) Surnames of obscure origins, their provenance lost in the mists of time. De, Bag, Kayal (Kheyal), Barat etc, unfortunately, fall in this category.

      I'm no expert or believer of the caste system. What you see today around you, and your own curiosity about your own caste, are relics of a historical past. A past that will never come back. So why bother?

      Fact is that De is one of the old Bong surnames. It indicated the Kayasthas, perhaps, but there are many surnames (such as my own) that are not caste specific. Sen could be Kahar-Kaivarta, Bene, Kayet, Baidya and some more. In my personal study of pre-Bengali and Bengali literature of the past and considerable personal connections till date, I've never come across a Brahmin 'De'. But does it really matter?

      • in current bengal more than 50% surnames are not of any bengali origin.
        likely SEN is also not a bong name . SEN people had come from karnataka when pal dynasty was in power

      • Dear Dr. Debnath,
        The picture is not at all that bleak. I haven’t counted personally but have it on the authority of a friend of mine (a distinguished historian, specialised in post-Chaitanya Bengal) that there are very few Bengali surnames that have been ‘imported’, if you leave aside Islamic and Christian names.
        The Karnataka Sen dynasty [actually the family was of ethnic (linguistically) Karnataka descent but geographically from modern Andhra/ Odishya] did not contribute their family name to the Bengali lexicon. If they did at all, it would have been so insignificant as to be ignored in practice; not many Sens from K’nataka came to Bengal and, incidentally, Sen was not their surname at all.
        In the Buddhist/Jain era double or triple barreled personal names were rather common. Gotama’s direct diciple Sariputta obviously was the son of Sari. In later periods — still pre-Islamic, ornamental end-names (namanta, not to be confused with surnames) such as chandra, kumar, sen, basu, bhadra, mitra, ghosh, kar, nandi etc were very common. Haven’t you heard of family names such as Taranisena, Bhimsena, Vajrasena, Indrasena, Kumarasena ad nauseum, or Agnimitra, Vasumitra, Suryamitra, Dharitrimitra et al? I’ve cited all these names from the vast body of Prakrta and Abahatta literature available at the Asiatic Society — mostly from the pre-Islamic period and collected from the Bengal, Bihar, Orissa, Andhra and Assam regions. Where were surnames then? No one had a surname since the concept itself is alien to the Indian ethos. Some Brahmanas used to sport their personal achievements (Chaturvedi, Sastri, Sankhya etc) or vocations (Upadhyaya, Kathaka, Kaviraja etc); those were not necessarily inherited by their progeny.
        Scholars, however, still scratch their collective heads over one puzzle: when casteless Buddhists (and Jains) were fianlly assimilated into the fold of the mixture of several religions (that we have recently started calling by the common label ‘Hinduism’), how did they know what was their caste when once — several centuries ago — they belonged to that religion!
        Being a professional scientist in my real life and having travelled extensively all over India and a major part of the globe, I have come to realise that “bisvase milaye Krishna, tarke bahudur” might be all right for religion but in the corridors of science and knowledge in general “tarka” alone takes you closer to the truth and “bisvasa” leads you far and farther away.
        Sorry to make it so long but, I believe, blind faith in whatever our scriptures, parents and religious gurus say is holding back the progress of the subcontinental people.

      • Ballal Sen and the sen Dynasty are not Bengali sen. There were known as “Sena”. and not as “Sen”.
        It is the human tendency to link with some celebrity (Modern day Brand name), to enhance the prestige in the society.

        I think Bengali surnames were originated in Bengal only. However there are some surnames common to all over India. Like Upadhyaya, Mishra, Sarma, mostly among Brahmins.

  131. Dear all,
    This is a truly fascinating website. I have a question too which has bothered for many years now. My gothra is “Bharadwaj” and I am supposed to be a kayastha bengali. But I have been told that I am also a brahmin by some. Both my parents’ sides (“Shom/Som/Shome” and Dastida)r were originally from East Bengal. Can somebodyplease tell what is my cast?

      • I had decided that I wouldn’t respond to such queries but you made me return from voluntary retirement.

        At the outset I’d like to make it clear that I’m no scholar and don’t have either a religion (or belief in god) or any illusion about surname-caste relations. Rabid Hindus (the RSS/Śivasenā type fundamentalists) and elderly/pious gurujans still hold on to such things and try to contaminate fresh minds with rotten rabies. I’m elderly indeed but, by a series of circumstances and events that I had witnessed for over five decades, have been able to break away from the norms — tentatively from age 18 and permanently for over thirty years. Take my words with a pinch of salt.

        Never confuse varna with caste and caste with gotra. Gotra, by etymology and according to Pānini, is a cow-mark. If someone had many cows grazing in a common pasture along with others in the vaidic era (about 1200 to 800 years BCE), he used to mark his own cows with a firebrand behind the ears. That was a gotra. Thus, the cowherd (rākhāl) or the launderer (dhobi<dhautik) of the brāhmana cow-owner – say Bharadvāja by name – would also belong to Bharadvāja’s distinctive gotra and yet be non- brāhmana.

        There were no surnames in the subcontinent before the Islamic era. When it became necessary, especially say for getting a job in the nawab’s court, Bengali brāhmanas took up the names of their villages (Bandyo, Mukho, Gāngul, Kusho etc) as surnames, adding, sometimes, their profession (upādhyāya, āchārya etc) to that, and in other cases, they dropped the village name and retained the professional appendage (kathak, pāthak, kavirāja etc). These are known as grāmīn or gāñyi surnames.

        For many non- brāhmana people of Buddhist or Jaina descent the end of their double-barrelled given names (such as Chandra-sena, Bhringi-pāla, Sandhyākara-nandi, Sudhā-kar, Graha-soma, Asva-ghosha etc) often became the surname: Som, Sen, Kar, Datta, Ghosh etc belong to that type. My surname, Sen, is listed under several castes – vaidya, kāyastha, bene, tili, kaivarta and more.

        That your gotra is Bharadvāja, might mean that your ancestor’s medieval kula-purohita — perhaps illiterate himself — had, without an iota of material proof, decided THAT. But I’ve never known Som to be a brāhmana surname.

        Does that satiate your curiosity or your quest for ancestral roots?

      • Mr. Sen, Sen is a Brahmin title. You might be knowing Shaktri gotra. They are pure north Indian Brahmins and descendants of Sage Vashista.

    • Neither are related to caste. These are Pharsi (Persian) double-barreled job titles that abounded during the relatively late Mughal period. The Mughals (Mongols) usually spoke Turkish but their court language was Pharsi. Nobish approximately means ‘secretary’. I am none too sure whether Mahola (mohalla) means ‘territorial’, ‘regional’, or ‘land/ land revenue’. Khash<khas definitely connotes 'personal' and, by analogy, 'confidential'. Very few Hindus, presumably, were entrusted with such high posts. Those who did, were likely to be high-born Brahmins with knowledge of local language(s) and Pharsi as well. Bharatchandra Rai, the poet, got his normal schooling in a Sanskrit 'tol', then was sent to a Hindu munshi (at Devanandapur, where Saratchandra was born much later) for Pharsi lessons, and he wrote both in Bengali and Hindi. He was employed by Raja Krishnachandra of Krishnanagar who had conferred the honorific Raigunakar. Had the raja been a Muslim, the title certainly would be at least part Islamic — Kavitanobish(?). There are Combination language parallels: Patra(letter)nobish, the first barrel being Sanskrit.

    • Tamal,

      Mahalnobish /khasnobish were titles..given during zamindar period in bengal to reflect their profession at that time. mahalnobish would mean accountant for a large mansion like a chartered accountant for a firm. yes they are definitely boddhi brahmins . I know becos my forefathers had that surname.

      A. Dasgupta

  132. my surname is bayer, can any body tell me which caste it is……as i m not getting specific answers, we are bengali but settled in orissa…….plz tell

    • I’m risking a guess on the basis of several 19th and early 20th century anglicised spellings of Bong surnames such as Audie (Adhya), Sorcer or Sircar (Sarkar), Paul (Pal) etc.
      Behura is a surname common to both sides of the Odisha-Bengal border. Bayer could be an anglicised version of that. Bayer is a well-known German name (as in the chemical company Bayer AG in Leveruesen). Why are you bothered about your caste?

  133. Please some one let me know about the bengali surname “poddar”..to which caste they belong and what is their origin…Any help is appreciated. Thanks for your time on this. Kind regards…

  134. Hi Rishab,
    Coincidently, I am also from “maharajpurer Bose baadi”. Rakhal Chandra bose was my grandfather. Hope we will get in touch.
    Btw, I have noticed that even in this modern times, with exceptions though, the caste system still has its colors left in our lives. In fact if you see the bose,ghosh,guha,mitra clan(the kulin kayasthas), most of them have secluded themselves in JOBs of stature and carry their status in all their interactions silently.I still remember that I was taught by my grandparents that “we are bose family and hence we cannot do any cheap or dirty things in life(such as drugs,shouting at neighbours,streetfights,talking loose,running away with girls,disrespecting elders etc.”…..Though I laugh at the way it was out made out by or grandparents and given the fact that we all were involved in atleast one of the “dirty and cheap things” in life at some point of time (probably behind the public eye), I cannot stop appreciating the fact that this idealogy had greatly affected our bringing up in a positive way.

  135. I am Ram Kamal Batabyal of Sandilyo Gotro. I have seen there are many discussion regarding title, but no where seen discussion on Batabyal’s origin.
    Do anyone can tell me about our Origin/ancestor?

    Thanks & Regards.
    Ram.

  136. I Ramkamal Batabyal cordially request all of you, Please tell something regarding Batabyal’s origin.

    Thanks and Regards.

  137. can anybody tell me bengali surname ‘modak’ belongs to which caste? does it belong to st/sc category?

    • Dear Sukanta,

      I think you should carefully read all posts under Lalit Patil’s excellent blog site “Concatenated Bengali last names”. You mayn’t find the answer to your specific query but it will give you a feel of the futility of such casual curiosity.

      There are many answers to your specific question, each of them true to its own logic yet contradicting the other. Why do you want to leave the question of your origin to others?

      Perhaps, because you don’t want to take the pains of looking up yourself.

      If you still feel equally curious, please go ahead and find out for yourself. But, in the tricky process, please don’t fall prey to the casteist propagandists.

      • Dear Sukanta/Mr. Sen,

        This post was merely a matter of my curiosity. It is excellent only because of the multiple explanations from several participants, such as Mr. Sen (just one example). Consider those to be excellent. I had to clarify :)

        -Lalit

      • Ram Kamal Batabyal.
        I am Ram Kamal Batabyal of Sandilyo Gotro. I have seen there are many discussion regarding title, but no where seen discussion on Batabyal’s origin.
        Do anyone can tell me about our Origin/ancestor?

        Thanks & Regards.
        Ram Kamal.

    • I’d just give you two clues:

      (1) Hasra: An Islamic surname; (2) Hazari: Owner of one thousand soldiers (or cattle, or measures of land), relic of an Islamic era title, Marathi version ‘Hazare’.

      You may have a secret desire to get a specific type of response and, in all probability, you may soon get it from somebody or the other, but don’t fall into booby traps.

      No caste detail is hidden in those three syllables.

      • Dear Mr. Sen,

        Thanks for this response. I am grateful that you have have consistently provided inputs at this blog. At the same time, I am grateful for your consistent emphasis on getting rid of caste-related traps.

        -Lalit

      • Thanks for your kind words.
        The older I get, the more convinced I am that prejudices (caste, religious or communal) don’t diminish with the level of education or the socio-economic status in life. I’ve been crusading against an indefatigable evil.
        In this connection I draw your attention to the expression “blood feud” used by Palin in one of her several foot-in-the-mouth speeches. The expression actually refers to an anti-semitic prejudice whereby Christians (and, perhaps, Moslems too) believed that Jews stole and sacrificed Christian and Moslem children in some of their religious rites. Thence the questionable “feud”. [My attention was drawn to it by an America-based global blog site dedicated to unearthing English word origins. I happen to be a member as well.]
        It isn’t clear whether Palin had known about the origin of the expression but the prejudice certainly lives on, not quite on the surface but none too deep either.
        How many such prejudices do each of us Indians carry on our shoulders?
        Does it surprise you that I’ve acted like a zealot on caste issues?

      • I am not surprised that you have acted like a zealot; I am surprised at your patience. I am anti-caste and anti-religion, but I have lost patience. As a result, I have let go. My reason for letting go is perhaps the reason for your zeal. I have accepted that education, etc. have very little impact on prejudices.

        Education, perhaps, also does not help much with ignorance, because we are prejudiced and close our brains. I have doctor friends who feel that drinking cold water or swimming in water or bathing with water on the head causes flu or common cold, or eating ice causes sore throat. How do we convince those? To what level do we indulge in these activities when the person ahead of us does not want to listen!

        About Palin: I think she really did not know the meaning.

  138. can anybody throw light abut the origin of the bengali title “maji”(not majhi)– with reference????? how it came and from where???

    • Māji (sometimes misspelt as Mājhi by association with the current Bengali word for ‘boatman’ and also a caste) is a well-documented job title of the late Buddhist era in the Bengal, Bihar and Jharkhand region. It is derived from majjhim, a Māgadhī Prākŗta (the dialect prevalent in the region before Bengali or Hindi were born) corruption of madhyam, meaning mejo-babu in current gubernatorial parlance. Since the Buddhist society was casteless, such titular handles, which later became surnames, had no caste-connotation whatsoever. Mahato (<mahattara) is another surname of similar derivation.
      When the rising tide of Hinduism swept away Buddhism altogether, the new assignment of caste must have been quite arbitrary. Brāhmanas, always within the fold of Hinduism, continued to be brāhmanas, retaining their social advantage. The influential business class and well-to-do professional warriors too were easily identified as vaiśya and kshatriya. Others (a vast majority, perhaps) were assigned into specific castes. Śaśanka, anti-Harshavardhana and hence not ardently pro-Buddhist, and the administration during his rather short reign, are believed to have assigned some – based, no doubt, on the popular societal opinion of the period. The Sena dynasty (starting with Ballāla), rabidly Hinduistic, had assigned most castes rather autocratically, lowering some and elevating others in status often within their own castes.
      There is a patently fraudulent caste list called kulaji-grantha, purportedly written at the behest of king Ādiśura of antiquity (history does not record any king of that name), that is often cited by those who wanted to be elevated in rank and status. The forgery was, perhaps, a fairly late one – not much older than the British raj. Based on that and their own fertile imagination, some so-called samājpatis still try to confuse laymen with a wealth of caste lore. They had never been able to establish their claims with valid citations. There is no dearth of literature and copperplate dānapatras for the transition period (from Buddhism to Hinduism); true scholars have combed through it without finding an iota of evidence that the caste assignments were not arbitrary.
      To cut a long story short, the surnames Māji and/or Mājhi, are on record in Buddhist era texts as honourable titles. The title-holders had to do important administrative work (involving land records and taxation) for their respective kings and rulers; therefore, they must have been literate. Be proud of your heritage without splitting hair.

      • Dear Mr. Sen,

        I think there is some confusion. Hinduism could not finish Buddhism. It was Vedic social rules where intellectuals were being treated as Brahmin. Thus the Vedic system was found to be beneficial for intellectuals of any community or religion. Therefore the entire Buddhists intellectuals migrated from Buddhist system to Vedic system of society. As a result of this Buddhism totally collapsed.
        The definition of Hindu as a religion was created by Pt. Nehru and others. There is a supreme Court Judgement on this.

  139. want to know something about the surname “saha” in hinduism? is it a very low cast or a low cast?

    • Dear Sushmita,

      I am concerned about the question and the way it has been asked. and I was thinking of moderating it out. I think you should understand that there is no point in exploring if this is “low or very low” caste. It is worthwhile to understand one’s origins to satisfy curiosity and it also is an intellectual journey (for me). But, beyond that, caste needs to be discarded. How does it matter if it is low a caste or not? All that matters is how that person is. He or She was not born by choice and mostly even the “low caste” were not so by choice!

      my closest and most trusted friends are in both castes – so called, lower, and so, called, upper. It does not matter. They are all fantastic humans. Please consider the nature of the person and completely discard the caste.

    • a bengali “saha” was earlier shudra but now a days most of them are in the small scale business.

  140. With your kind permission, Lalit, I’d like to refer the Bong callers to this site, which is now much larger than life but insatiable as yet, to “Amader Padabir Itihas” (The History of our Surnames) by Lokeswar Basu, Ananda Publishers, Kolkata. It’s a slim collection of monographs and gives a brief history of many (not all) surnames. It also tries to link surnames to castes to the extent possible. Those who can read Bengali might benefit from it, if not from the research that had gone into it, at least from the handy compendium of caste-linked surnames appended at its end..

  141. I am Ram Kamal Batabyal of Sandilyo Gotro. I have seen there are many discussion regarding title, but no where seen discussion on Batabyal’s origin.
    Do anyone can tell me about our Origin/ancestor?

    Thanks & Regards.
    Ram Kamal.

    • According to Vedic sriptures, the origin of “Gotra” is from “PRAVARA” and only the seven rishis belong to this group. All Indiansare children of these Seven rishis.
      It looks funny to see that these seven Rishis spread their seed through out India from Kashmir to Kanyakumari and from Sindh to Assam and went on pregnanting the females of those places, as if there were no males available besides these seven Rishis.
      Yet they are called Rishi, Maharishi, Brahmarishi, Devarishi etc.

      This is due to lack of “WISDOM” among Indians. The famous Indian proverb “Joto Kom Janbe Toto Besi Manbe”, again proves the same.

  142. HOW DO THE SUR NAME SEN INCLUDED IN SCHEDULE CAST? IN MANY RESULT IT IS FOUND THAT SEN BELONGS TO SC? HOW IS THIS POSSIBLE IN WEST BENGAL..WAHT ARE THERE SUBCASTE???????

    • We are helpless in this regard. Even people like Raja Rammohon Roy, Vidyasagar, Ramakrishna Thakur, Vivekananda et.el. could not eradicate this problem. this may be due to our socio economic condition
      I think lack of education is primarily responsible towards the menace of Casteism.

  143. sir, I want to know that my surname is ‘Debnath’,then my community is YOGI-NATH, so in west bengal where YOGINATH samity is located, that samities full name is Assam Bongo Yogi samity.

    • “Yogi nath” is not a caste. It is a community of separate religion. The ancestors of current people of this Sampradaya did not accept the authority of Veda. Due to certain socio-political situation, almost all the people who belonged to this religion had embraced Vedic system.
      Therefore you will find all sorts of people in this community, Starting from “Rudraj Brahmin” to “backwards or OBC” to “SC” catagory of people under current social system.

  144. hello..i have gone through all d entries above..n yet gt no clue whatsoevr about the title hazra..please do reply to my queries..about which cast they belong to..n anything about their origins that you may know of.i would be greatly obliged for your reply.thank you.

    • No language/history scholar can ever reply to your satisfaction, for you are seeking a caste/sub-caste type of answer which is the monopoly of quasi-religious charlatans.

  145. Hi Guys,

    I am delighted to read so much of information on Bengali surnames. Well, I have a very specific query. My surname is “Chall” and my gotra is “Kashyap”. My native place is in “Kalna”, Dist: Bardwan. Do anyone have any idea where or which caste category i belong. My Mother’s maiden surname was “Mondal” an her gotra was “Sandalya”.

    Thanks and Regards,
    Indrani

  146. I think you belong to kayasta o r mahisya caste. your native place kalna is mainly dominated by these two castes and these can be concluded from your motheers surname.

    • I think they belong to baishya. In modern India we follow a Hindu caste system which is actually different from Aryan caste system conststing of 4 caste i.e brahmin, kshtriya, baishya and sudra

  147. what caste is chandradhurjee in west bengal .. I am getting married and my in laws tell that they are kings and kanouj brahmin

  148. Dear frnz its nice to read the discussion about surnames.I too have a query and would like to share it with u.
    Is “Gorai” a bengali surname? R they SC? How did it originate? Please give ur valuable inputs….

  149. Entire Hindu (under current meaning) community people of any Gotra or sub gotra or caste or sub caste are the descendants of 7 (seven) Rishis, who had composed 2, 3, 4, 5, 6,7 and 8 Th Mondala of Rig Veda .
    Therefore all Hindus are blood related due to marriage among different gotras.
    Therefore they must be related to each other either from father’s side or from mother’s side.

  150. And here people thought that reservations are no longer important because we don’t judge people by their castes. With the urgency that some here are assking caste details and the pedantic detailing that is done by some others shows that the problem is far from over.

    Also, this group probably consists of well-to-do urban citizens. Rural areas will be much more conservative in their approach.

    Sad state of affairs I must say!!

    • You are right. But Indian social leaders, Political leaders and religious leaders will not allow it, because they may loose their popularity and power.

  151. My last name is Sen (living in USA), in my family tree is Sengupta and Sen – my dad and others are quite divided on why the Gupta was added or dropped.

    What resources are there that I can research to learn more about the history of our culture, the caste system, the impact of Brit Imperialism and consequent India independance and the fall out on surnames, etc.?

    I’d be interested in all resources that I can read in English…

    Thank you all for the amazing posts…

    • Well the surname “Sen” generally identifies to the caste “Barujeevi”, who are cultivators of Bittle leafs.But now a days people generally identifies with “Kayasta” caste.

      It is also a fact that many people of “Baidya” caste dropped “Gupta” from their surname. thus Sengupta or Sengupto becomes Sen. similarly many people write “DASH” in place of “Dasgupta”. But simple “Das” identifies with “SC” community, but usually they write their caste as “Kayasta”.

    • If you are looking for rational answers please see my posts on this blog dated 22 and 23 October, 16, 20 and 29 November, 2010, 8 March and 11 April 2011 in reply to similar questions. If you want a consolidated picture, please visit and click open my blog titled “Hindutva….”

  152. Well, now a days in Bengal Biswas came under “SC” catagory.
    However majority of the people with Biswas surname write their caste as “Kayasta”.
    There are people with Biswas surname, who claims to be Brahmin.

    Hence, your parent may be the right person to answear your query.

    • thanku so much to answer my question…
      actually m my bf’s surname z biswas .. thts why i ws worried cz my dad z totally against SC’s .. i knw its their bad thinking bt cnt help it…
      my bf said tht his ancestors wer SC bt nw they r nt .. is dat true ?

      • i hv even searched the SC’s list bt there “biswas” is not mentioned to be a SC caste.. plz tell me wot to do

  153. Hello everybody………… I am Rituparna Shome. I have learnt from my father that our ancestral house was in the place called Uari (not sure of the spelling) in Dacca……. Due to a change in the course of the River Padma, it got drowned in the river, and later our ancestors shifted to Bikrampur, again in Dacca….. After partition, my grandfather shifted to Bijoygarh in Jadavpur and later from there to Naihati in 24 parganas (North)….. I would like to trace my family history…… Can you people be of any help?
    For your help, here is a bit of information which I have been told by my father. I have been told that Durga Puja used to be held during our ancestors’ time and that the idol had a speciality. Half of the face of the idol used to be yellowish-red (the normal colour of Durga idol) and the other half used to be black (Ardha-Kali murti).
    I would be highly grateful to you if you people could help me in some way or the other……
    Also, I would like to know about the ‘Gotra’ system in India…… What does this signify? When did it originate? How is it different from the ‘Varnashram’, i.e., ‘caste system’?
    Thanking you in advance……

    • In partial reply to your questions, I offer you the map location of Wari (click open) now. Till some years ago, there was a Wari club that used to play first class football in Calcutta. I’m none too sure of the location of the Wari devoured by Kirtinasha (Padma) but many people were rendered homeless in several course changes by the same river. Bikrampur was much more than a district once upon a time and had given refuge to many rendered homeless by the whimsical river.
      You cannot trace your ancestry with such scant knowledge and, had you had more information to bank on, it wouldn’t be easy.
      You may try advertising in Calcutta papers with whatever details you have and the ‘ardhakali’ (অর্ধকালী) information. Miracles do happen sometimes.

  154. THE SEN ARE PANCHAVEDIC BRAHMINS. THEY ARE HIGHER THAN KULIN BRAHMINS. THEY ARE DESCENDANTS OF SAGE VASHISTA AND OTHER VEDIC SAGES.

    THUS, THEY ARE NORTH INDIAN, AND NOT SOUTH INDIAN !!!

    • Dear Mr. Anirvan,

      Almost all the people coming under “Hindu ” category of religion tought to believe that they are the descendant of Saptarshies namely Angira, vashistha, Brugu, Kanva, Atri etc from paternal side and navtive Indians from Maternal side.
      In such case clarification is sought on :
      1) whether there were no male or paternity figures in native Indians ?
      2) Whether these saptarsies roamed all over India to make native Indians pregnant or not without any resistance from native male population?
      3) if their prime job was to make native women pregnant, how they can be termed as “Hrishi” or noble person?
      My second point is on Pancha Vedic Brahmin. Out of these five categories of Brahmins, two categories were originated in Banga Desh, the 3rd one is very close to Bangadesh, the fourth one is also not far from Banga desh, while the fifth one is in Madra desh. Under this circumstance, do you belong to North Indian or east Indian origin?
      Therefore how you can say they are North Indians instead of East Indians ?

  155. Well, well, well. I feel a lot better now. I was trying to worry about why us Basu Roy Chowdhury Devburmans (grandiose, ain’t it?) wore the sacred thread, although we are (as I now realize) Kayastha. I live in Varanasi. A rather famous pundit told me that the sacred thread is actually supposed to be worn by any and all Savarnas interested, except that Brahmins must wear it. A pundit of Bengali origin, when asked the same question, behaved as if I had made him drink a glass of bitter gourd juice. I found Dr. Aniruddha Sen’s comments consistent and logical, and a pleasant break from the inane, insane (sorry, that is not a professional diagnosis) or atrociously phrased remarks I found here and elsewhere. It seems that I have the longest concatenated name of all. And most of it is additional baggage, though it identifies me as one of the descendants of the Ulpur Basu Roy Chowdhury’s.
    I immensely liked the “brahmaye ramanayante tasyabrahmanochyate” view presented somewhere in this morass of comments.
    We can trace our roots back to seven generations before Dashrath Basu, the disciple/senapati/cowherd/almost certainly a human being identified as the Gautam gotra from Kanyakubja. An old book identifies us as “Chedi Vansh”, and other anecdotal stories end up with the Puru vansha and are lost in mythology. I am not quite sure whether this claim has any historical basis.
    Some of our relatives were kings of Chandradweep (Barisal?), and Pratapaditya’s (yes, the one of Jessore) daughter was married into our family. This portion is verifiable. Somewhere down the line, after the fall of Pratapaditya and his death in exile in Varanasi, one of our ancestors was “reconfirmed” the Jaygirdari of 27 villages in Ulpur (presently Gopalganj/ Faridpur). My great-grandpa’s folks added 7 more villages at Bhanga/ Algi. Naturally, we lost all that thanks to Lord Curzon, God rest his soly hole, I mean holy soul. A relatove married Countess Katalin of Romania, and his descendants still live at the castle of Zabola.
    My pop is a professor (in electronics engineering), and my mom was a Vasistha gotra Bhattacharyya before marriage. By the way, my wife is an Arora with a Khanna/ Khatri heritage.
    According to our family stories, some of which are astonishingly well-researched (while others, alas, are frankly not), Adishura or Adishudra was actually King Jayant (whoever that might be). Others opine that it was an aggrandized representation of King Ballal Sen. The Basu’s were certainly present and accounted for at the Sen court, for the incredibly complex, somewhat illogical and definitely politically mediated “Equalizations”.
    To Dr. Sen, the current “equalizer” : Present, sir!
    All in all, thank you, Mr. Lalit, for maintaining this blog patiently; and Dr. Aniruddha Sen for his erudite and painstaking notes, and his polite and helpful replies to all comers. And I sincerely hope my pop or my Guru never find out that I read this blog to the last when I should rather have been worrying about my research instead of a bit of thread or a cowherd’s mark. How egocentric. Do mail me at priyoneel@gmail.com
    In today’s context, past hang-ups don’t matter, unless they make you polite and kind out of courtesy for your heritage. I believe in two castes, the intelligentsia and the fools. I believe there should be no further castes or caste-based (or creed-based or gender-based) discrimination. Alas, even by this system, my status is “concatenated”; that of an intelligent fool.

  156. are the Gupta Sharma brahmin or vaidya brahmin?is there any link between brahmin and vaidya..i am really egar to know the truth

    • Gupta Sarma is classified under baidya catagory.
      There is a article written by me on “Baidya Community” on articlebase.com and available on line.You can find the details through Google Search.

    • In Bengal Gupta can be a vaidya surname, with or without the Sharma suffix but with several possible prefixes (Sen, Datta, Das etc). Sharma is a suffix that I’ve seen my grandfathers’ generation use only to sign off invitations to weddings, śrāddhas, upanayanas, annaprāśanas etc. The idea behind that was a tacit claim to debatable brāhmaņa-hood.

      There is no caste called vaidya or vaidya-brāhmaņa listed in any old scripture, but both are listed in some fairly recent familial texts which have not stood the acid test of dating. There is a medical caste called ambashtha, though, in other parts of N.India but not in Bengal; we don’t know whether Bengal ever had that caste.

      In Bihar and UP, vaids belong to the barber caste. Vaidya is typically a Bengali caste of uncertain and dubitable origin but, all said and done, it is regarded by most within the Bengali society to be a noble caste next to brāhmaņa and, perhaps, at par with kāyasthas (in certain parts of East Bengal kāyasthas and vaidyas always intermarried without any scriptural bar).

      In the olden days practice of medicine and surgery (however rudimentary) called for extensive study of medical texts such as Atharva Veda, Cadaka, Śuśruta etc. It was usually the domain of the brāhmaņas. It is possible that Bengal had developed a non-brāhmaņa caste of medical specialists who eventually came to be regarded as vaidyas — a separate caste. It’s equally possible that some brāhmaņa physicians had fallen from the high caste-pedestal but continued to be needed by the society for their medical skills; hence the creation of a special caste.

      The truths of the matter are lost in the mists of antiquity. There are charlatans and some gullible souls who have long (for about 250 years) been trying to prove their status next to brāhmaņas with mythical tales. Several familial lineage manuscripts were also ineptly forged for the purpose. Be assured that myth is cognate with sankkrit ‘mithya’.

      • Observation from Dr. KK Debnath:

        Paragraph I.: I am also of the same opinion. This is also similar in Brahmins, particularly for Kunlin Brahmins. I think they use Upadhdhaya prefixed by the name of village of original resettlement, after the fall of famous buddhist Universities of Nalanda, Vikram Shilla. They use “Debsharma” only for religious ceremonies.
        Paragraph IV.: It is true that Brahmins are the practioners of Medinines. Bengal was always known as country of Tantra. Even Adi Sankara was defeated here by Bengali Tantrik. These Tantriks were known for medical practice. Tantra is basically a “Kula Shadhana or Devi Aradhana” and was usually practiced by Elite Brahmins and few prominant Bhuians. In course of time they became popular as “Kulins” of Bengal. Kulins are also available in other sates of India too. Baidyas were off springs of Kulin Brahmins and they were allowed to carry out the practice of Medicines, as Baidyas are invariably found to be worshippers of Devi or Kula.
        It is also a fact, that they are also called as “Baidya Brahmins”, and they are found to be highly literate people and mainly depends on their professional expertise.

    • In Bengal Gupta can be a vaidya surname, with or without the Sharma suffix but with several possible prefixes (Sen, Datta, Das etc). Sharma is a suffix that I’ve seen my grandfathers’ generation use only to sign off invitations to weddings, śrāddhas, upanayanas, annaprāśanas etc. The idea behind that was a tacit claim to debatable brāhmaņa-hood.

      There is no caste called vaidya or vaidya-brāhmaņa listed in any old scripture, but both are listed in some fairly recent familial texts which have not stood the acid test of dating. There is a medical caste called ambashtha, though, in other parts of N.India but not in Bengal; we don’t know whether Bengal ever had that caste.

      In Bihar and UP, vaids belong to the barber caste. Vaidya is typically a Bengali caste of uncertain and dubitable origin but, all said and done, it is regarded by most within the Bengali society to be a noble caste next to brāhmaņa and, perhaps, at par with kāyasthas (in certain parts of East Bengal kāyasthas and vaidyas always intermarried without any scriptural bar).

      In the olden days practice of medicine and surgery (however rudimentary) called for extensive study of medical texts such as Atharva Veda, Cadaka, Śuśruta etc. It was usually the domain of the brāhmaņas. It is possible that Bengal had developed a non-brāhmaņa caste of medical specialists who eventually came to be regarded as vaidyas — a separate caste. It’s equally possible that some brāhmaņa physicians had fallen from the high caste-pedestal but continued to be needed by the society for their medical skills; hence the creation of a special caste.

      The truths of the matter are lost in the mists of antiquity. There are charlatans and some gullible souls who have long (for about 250 years) been trying to prove their status next to brāhmaņas with mythical tales. Several familial lineage manuscripts were also ineptly forged for the purpose. Be assured that myth is cognate with sanskrit ‘mithya’.

    • Gupta-Sharma belong to a mixed race, one Gupta & other Sharma, Sharmas are bhramin & Guptas belong to many casts, ‘Vaishya in north India, Kshatriya during ancient period,Kayastha among bengalis etc. Moreover they are the offspring of Gupta plus Sharma.If Sharma happend to be male factor, then they are bhramins, if male happewn to be Gupta then they may be Vaishya or Kshatriya or Kayastha as I said above.

      • Readers may Please go through my article on “Evolution of Baidya Community of Bengal – Its Origin and development ” available on “articlebase.com”.
        Use Google search , read and make your observation.

        Thanks.

      • Please show me one citation or a single authentication in support of the singularly unimaginative and concocted theory (of the biracial origin of the concatenated surname Gupta-Śarma) of yours that you are trying to pass off as truth. I’ll eat my hat if you can. You have to eat yours if you can’t.

  157. Does anyone know what the surname ‘Ayan’ means and where it is from?

    It is the surname of my late Takurma and I have not found any other bengali or non-bengali to have it.

    Thank you

  158. I would like to clear some doubts of Sweet girl, Misti (hope not the same person) and Mithali.

    Biswas surname is not more than 200-250 years old. This is why the surname is not mentioned with Das, Ghosh, Gupta, sharma, Chattopadhyay before British era.

    How the surname is originated?
    Those who were close to Britisher were call as faithful or in Bengali bis-shas as there was a lot of people was against British rule at that time. I have not heard a freedom fighter with Biswas surname.

    Who are the people accepted Biswas surname?
    As per my information people from all the casts accepted the surname except the upper Brahmins and Jamindars (Mostly those who were wealthy / had good reputation in the society /was proud to have their own surname).

    Why they have accepted surname?
    For betterment, financial benefit (Business, Free land, jobs, education etc.).
    You will find people with Biswas surname in Nepal, Bangladesh, India from Hindu, Christian and Muslim community.

    Biswas from Christian, Muslim and a few from Hindu community are not considered as SC.

    I have heard there are some Brahmins with Biswas surname but never got opportunity to confirm the same.

    The Biswas was poor Brahmin boy in the book called “The house for Mr. Biswas” written by V.S. Naipaul.

    It is good to know the past but today, what we do is important than what our forefather did irrespective of what cast we belongs to.

  159. To have such a Loooooooooooooong and worthless discussion on Caste system is pure wastage of time with no relevance whatsoever…

    (It may have had its relevance in the past as the ancient and medieval and contemporary Hindu society till 1990 when Liberalisation was allowed in Indian Economy, was simpler with fewer occupations and the caste system was nothing but reflections of then four main occupations like worshiper with suposedly knowledge of all scpritures, fighter and protector of kingdoms, business man, sweepers and cleaners of human waste and filth).

    Our present occupations have become as numerous and as varried as human nature and none of the so called Upper caste Brahmins have any inklings about the ancient Vedic scriptures or Samhitas or Upanishadas nor do they earn their money by offering pujas, conducting yagas etc etc. Neither the so called dirty Sudras are earning their livelihood by scavanging and cleaning drains.
    Or for that matter the so called Kshatriyas are fighting for my homeland.

    Our present Indian society has become far more complex with intermarriages, inter caste marriage, inter religious marriage, inter country, inter ethnic marriage that to hold discussions on the superiority or inferiority of a particular caste and its origin is sheer wastage of time. Rather we should focus on educating our mind and heart and soul and treat all human beings as equal and as varied and interesting as the starts in the sky and just enjoy their company.

    • Ms Sangeeta Sinha

      “discussion on Caste system is pure wastage of time with no relevance”- This statement is fully wrong, because now -a- days Govt Jobs and Education is fully dependent on Cast system,
      People belongs to SC and ST are getting much more facilities though Neither the so called dirty Sudras are earning their livelihood by scavanging and cleaning drains. Or for that matter the so called Kshatriyas are fighting for my homeland.
      In our country India Facilities are not depend on economic status or intelligence it depend on cast system. Now a days Father gets his Job by his cast, get promotion due to cast, their children get 1st chance in education with less intelligence, also get cast stipend though his father is doing a good job.
      But a poor Brahmin or Kayastha never get stipend, never get chance in college never get job instead of having more intelligence. SC /ST people get rails pass to attend govt job examination, have to pay 50% of fees, get traimh on examination held. This is wrong.
      “to hold discussions on the superiority or inferiority of a particular caste and its origin is sheer wastage of time. Rather we should focus on educating our mind and heart and soul and treat all human beings as equal and as varied and interesting as the starts in the sky and just enjoy their company.” quoting your words.

    • In India 99.99% people have no idea about caste system.Thats why there is so much of confusion and hatred among people regarding this.

  160. Thnx fr giving such a great information about Nath Yogi rudroja brahmin samraday,Really i m proud of my surname( Nath), and i suggest those persons who do not agree that Nath surname is a rudrojo bramhin to study and observe what the below mentioned holy books say abaout Nath yogi sampraday. Books are-1. The bhagbhatpurana,2.The Brahmavaibartapurano,3 Bollalcharit,4.Aagam Sanhita,

  161. Nath is Rudraja Brhamin whose has glorious history but now they decline stage day by day. So , we all of both bengal , should stand in few particular point. We should increased cordial co-operation among of us.We should spread our anciant glorious history . we should also high educated and should know it.

  162. In respect of Mr. Avni’s query I humbly want to pass my opinion regarding the caste status of the Naths/Debnaths. They call themselves Rudraj Brahmins etc. But the Hindu society in general, do not admit it. To speak the truth I myself have found this here for the first time. Actually Naths/Debnaths were the followers of the Buddhist Nath Gurus (Gorokhnath, Matsendranath etc). During Sen period they as well as other depressed Buddhist castes were converted to Hinduism and were placed in the lower ranks of the caste heirarchy. During British rule these depressed castes were branded as scheduled castes but with a few exceptions viz. Swarna Baniks and Nath Yogis. Naths/Debnaths declared themselves Brahmins and did not accepted the socalled Hindu Brahmins as their family priests. Their culture were a bit different than the other Hindus in some respects viz. they used to bury their dead bodies though not like the Muslims.
    However, caste-ism is a curse of the Hindu religion or Indian civilisation as well. Such type of abominable culture is found nowhere in the world. It must be abolished with all its roots. Thank you.

    • During the period of Sena period, The Buddhist intellectuals and priestly people embraced Vedic religion. They are to days “Upaddhayas” in Bengal, Bihar and Up and known as “Konoujee Brahmins”. During this period many rich and intellectuals fro othe Sramanic religions like Saiva and Saktism also joined Vedic stream due to various benefits. Some orthodox people of course left out.
      The nath community of today probably could not retain its intellectuals except few. The sorry state of affairs is that to days Naths as well as Bengalis are also not aware of their glorious history and everybody want to link up with with some glorious people/community to enhance their own image and prestige in the society.
      For details please see my comments on “CHANDAN MAJUMDER
      Bhaumick can be a brahmin or a kayastha. Debnaths are brahmin”, Dated: 21st Jan 2012.
      Further interested readers may go through my articles available online. I may be contacted at “drkkdebnath@gmail.com”.

  163. my surname is “shome”. i am Bengali. our grandparents are from Rajabazar, Kolkata. can anyone put any input on my “shome” surname. thanks.

      • It is quite interesting.
        Well comming to the root of Denath, they belong to a religion called “Nath religion”. This religion does not recognise the authority of Veda and Varna Pratha.
        According to Jainism, the religion of Bardhaman Mahavir was Nathism prior to his preaching which is commonly known as “Jainism”.
        The earlier name of Jainism is “Arihant religion”, Lord Kirishna and Lord Buddha were Arihants. Nathism is probably is an offshoot of Arihantism. Even Saivaism is an offshoot of Arihantism. The founder of Arihant religion is Lord Adi Nath ,he is also known as Lord Brishav Nath and Lord Hrishav Nath.
        later on Nathism became Saivaism, who spread “Kulinism” or Saktaism in Bengal and the credit for this goes to Lord Matsendra Nath and Gorokh Nath.
        Gorokh Nath is the founder of Famous Kalighat temple (One of the four Adi sakti Peetha). His disciple Chourangi Nath was the first priest of Kalighat temple.
        Another section of Sakticult originated from Buddhism, Thus we have Chinnamasta, Maa Tara etc, who were primarily Buddhist Tantric Goddesses.
        The priest and high ranking community of Buddhism (Deba Sarmana) later on adopted Vedic religion and became Kulin Brahmins and adopted the surname “Upaddhaya”,
        On the other hand the priest community of Nathism were using “Deba Nath” as their surnames. Since Nathism does not recognize caste, marriage among nath and Debnath is not prohibited, but in Kulin Brahmins it is prohibited.
        Interested persons may need to study jainism and Buddhism, their history along with Vedic religious history.

  164. Has anyone noticed that these so called mixed surnames like Dashgupta or Roychowdhuri is more common for people of east bengal background than that of west bengal backgrounds?

    in fact statistically the skewness is about 85-90%.Anyone interested in why is that?

    My hunch is that,People in East Bengal in pre-british era had less to do with the north-indian tradition of the wife adopting husbands surname due to its relative geographical isolation from other parts of Aryabarta than West Bengal/

    • Sengupta ,Dasgupta etc are not due to mixture of husband and wife surnames. These were actually titles given to people who used to hold post under a local landlord.

    • I think it is everywhere. for example debnath carries two surnames, Deb and nath. Similarly all Upadhyas now write Mukho-Upaddhyaya, Bando-upadhyaya etx, However, they are Deb Sarmana which is their gotra title, again consisting of two surnames as Deb and Sarmana.

      I think under current socio economic condition it is no ver significant.
      People live with present not with past.

      • Thanks for your reply.If i am not disturbing u , can u give me a brief description about how the title ACHARJEE came , and what is the status of the said title with other bhramins.

      • The name Acharjee is the anglicized version of Acharya which comes from the Sanskrit word for for someone that teaches conduct, so basically a teacher of Dharma or when added to another pre-fix usually means a religious teacher of that type… it is also a title or honorific… I don’t know what the status is with other Brahmins

  165. I wants to know the difference between Maharastriyan kayastha ckp and Bengali kayastha Maharastriyan ckp is also known as kayastha.

    • bengali kayastha were bought from banaras by the adi sur king of bengal along with brahmins in bengal. kaystha in bengal are counted in upper caste.

  166. Hello People, I am very disturbed a group of people who call themselves Pramanik in English. They are Poramanik, the hair cutter. Pramanik is a title given by muslim rulers. Later may be or so. Pramanik means, in dictionary, “Proven” or “Authoretarian” So do not mix Poramanik with Pramanik

    • Pls somebody help on this. I want to know if Ghati’s are Bengali? Which caste does it belong to? I need this answer asap. Thanks

    • hey maya,, i m not sure,, but sure about that adi sur was the king of sadgope community in bengal and bihar. u can check further in google in detail. sorry for giving u less and confussing reply.

  167. It appears that the use of Surnames has put the people of Bongo into dilemma..the debate started with the name of the State written as West Bengal and all the way went on caste-ism and use of proper surnames.. but I learnt the people of Bongo believe much on Karma.. They should use surnames in accordance with the type of work they are engaged in.. like karmakar, swarnakar, malakar, Jantrik, tantric..etc.. etc..

  168. Does anyone know what the surname ‘Ayan’ means and where it is from?

    It is the maiden surname of my late Takurma and I have not heard of any Bengalis or Non-Bengalis who have it. Would be a great thing to expand my knowledge on.

    Thank you

  169. hallo my sirname is Ghosh Roy we are originally from Faridpur, Eastbengal(Bangladesh) I rather found low number of Ghosh Roys in Kolkata as well as in other parts of WestBengal & Bangladesh.
    I heard from my father & other paternal relatives that we were a very powerful influencial zamindars of Faridpur with a lots of political influence
    my gotra is soukalin
    could anyone can give me the origin of my dynesty?
    am i a kulin kayastha?
    does kayastha ghosh is sudra or kshatriya?
    i will be greatful if anyone reply to my query
    thak you

  170. hey angle the same question i want to know,,,khatua comes under which caste,,,i asked to my parents and elders, they said that we are sadgope. but they also said that sadgope are diveded into sub caste. in some area it is concedred as scheduled caste and some where it is general. though we r general caste. mainly sadgope caste comes under third catagorey tat is vaishya ( business class). i m not sure.

    if any one can suggest a better answer about sadgope caste then please suggest.

    hey angle it also does matter,, that,, is ur family or ur forefathers migrated from orissa. if they have migrated from orissa then..i must say khatua is a labourer in orissa,,they r from scheduled caste. if not then they are general caste in bengal as we are.

  171. I am from Bangladesh! Somehow I landed here and found the discussion interesting. Hopefully Bengali people will start neglecting caste/surnames soon for their own good. Having said that I am just curious to know does anybody here know the surname “bagh”, yes I meant tiger! My grandfather’s surname was “bagh”. But we did not see any tigers around even though we heard some lions might be out there.

    After finding ourselves such a rare breed, we gave up “bagh” and started using “Das”. I am considering to use Bagh as it sound so exotic :P

    Anybody?

  172. hallo my sirname is Ghosh Roy we are originally from Faridpur, Eastbengal(Bangladesh) I rather found low number of Ghosh Roys in Kolkata as well as in other parts of WestBengal & Bangladesh.
    I heard from my father & other paternal relatives that we were a very powerful influencial zamindars of Faridpur with a lots of political influence
    my gotra is soukalin
    could anyone can give me the origin of my dynesty?
    am i a kulin kayastha?
    does kayastha ghosh is sudra or kshatriya?
    i will be greatful if anyone reply to my query
    thak you

  173. Subject: Nath/Debnath who they are ?

    From Dr. KK Debnath, “drkkdebnath@gmail.com”; dated 6th April 2012

    Dear Mr. Shiv and others,

    1) Why we need a debate on Rudraj Bramins are Bengali Bramins or not.
    If we call a person is a Rudraj Bramin, it automatically directs towards a point that he is a Brahmin. The matter ends there.
    2) Debnath surname is not a Bengali Brahmin, but at least one of the ancestors of a person bearing a surname “Debnath” must be a Brahmin of Nath people, who believe and follow Nath religion.
    Well, this is what I know. But I am having a doubt is it required under present social system or it is required to enhance our prestige in the society?
    Whatever be it, it is very difficult to trace the origin of any caste as the society have been continuously getting changed and a new coat have been put over old one. In spite of this there are patches or hidden clues from where one can trace out to some extent.
    The History of India and Bengal are written mainly based on Vedic literature and heresay from Vedic people ignoring the non vedic literatures. The main reason may be due to destruction of non Vedic literatures. Thus we don’t find Charbak, Ajeebaks, Buddhist, Nath etc. Literatures. However these are mentioned in Vedic literatures. Thus any person really interested to know himself need to study Non Vedic literatures written by modern historians and researchers.
    Based on my study , Let me share my little knowledge with all of you.
    Nath Religion:
    This is perhaps the oldest religion of India.
    Founder: Lord Adi Nath, alias: Brishav Nath, Rhishav Nath, The first teerthamkar of India. His vehicle is identified as Bull.
    It is opined that Reference of him traced at Mohenjo daro civilization, the oldest civilization of undivided India geographically as well as in Rig Veda.
    Lord Shiva also has been mapped with Adinath. Lord Shiva is also known as Lord Adi Nath, Brishav Nath and Rhisav Nath. Lord Shiva’s vehicle is also Bull.
    This Nath religion was also termed as “Arihant” or “Arihat” religion, in the name of 22nd Teerthamkara Lord Arshto Neminath. It is mentioned in Jain literature that “there was a city in Bangodesha by name Mithila, where Lord Neminath was born”. Lord Neminath was a cousin of Lord Krishna of Mahabharat.
    The religion of Lord Krishna and Neminath was same ie. Nath religion. The religion of Gautam Buddha was also Nath religion. Lord Jesus was a Buddhist/ Nath. He is known as “Isai Nath” in India. He lived at Himis Gumpa at Tibet almost for 18 Yrs. The Chief of Belur Math had visited the place and also confirmed the same in his Book, publist by Ramkrishna Math.
    The religion of Bardhaman Mahavir , the 24th Teertamkar was also Nath. This Nath religion became popular as “Jain” religion after Lord Mahavir. The district of Bardhaman in West Bengal was named in his honour.
    It be be noted that gurudev of Chandra Gupta Maurya was a Bengali person by name “Lord Bhadra bahu” or “Bir bahu” belonged to present Bagura of Bangla desh. Lord Bhadra Bahu was highly respected in Jain religion and placed a rank below Lord Mahavir. Bhadrabahu took Chandragupta to Karnataka and their establishment is still existing at Sravan belle gola, which is a pilgrimage place of Jains.
    Another interesting fact is that the famous Bengali Buddhist monk, the chief of Nalanda University, embraced Nathism from Lord Matsendra Nath after his return from Tibet.
    Thus it may not incorrect that all the religions originated in India are primarily derivatives of Nath religion.
    Therefore Lord Matsendra Nath cannot be credited as the founder of Nath religion, However he was a great reformer of Nath religion, derived from Saivaism, which again derived from Nath religion.
    Lord Matsendra Nath was probably priest of Kamakhya temple, prior to him it was a Buddhist temple.
    His disciple Lord Gorokh Nath was the founder of Kalighat temple of Kolkata. His disciple lord Chourangi Nath was the first priest of Kalighat Temple. These two holy places are among 4 Adi shakti Peethas. The other two are Puri Jagan Nath temple and Tara temple of Orissa, which were originally Buddhist Peethas.
    Well, in Buddhist society the intellectuals, professors level people at various Buddhist Universities, Viz. Nalanda, Vikramshila, Paharpur, Odanto puri etc, people involving in priestly profession were honoured as “Deb Sharmana” or “Dev Sharma” or “Uapdhyaya. In Nath society people in similar discipline were honoured as “Deb Nath” or “Dev nath”.
    At a later stage all most all these people embraced “Vedic religion” and Smriti rules were adopted in the society, probably due to intrinsic benefits as provided in the Vedic social system. However exceptions may kindly be ignored.
    All thes “Upadhyayas” are to days Kulin Brahmins, and there are more than 9 Sakti Peethas out of 51 in Rarh area itself. I think their ancestors were too great leaders of Buddhism.
    The ancestors of present Nath people probably could not join the main stream (Vedic stream) or did not join whatever the case may be during that social reformation in Bengal.
    Further research works are being carried out by Modern researchers in the above lines.

    Further readings:
    1) http://drkkdebnath.blogspot.in/2011/12/shakti-peethas-tantra-peethas-of-india.html
    2) http://drkkdebnath.blogspot.in/2011/10/development-of-vedic-social-system-of.html
    3) http://drkkdebnath.blogspot.in/2011/10/bengaliindian-race-vs-aryan-race.html
    4) http://drkkdebnath.blogspot.in/2011/10/origin-of-bengali-language-some-facts.html

    Regards to all.

  174. kumar surname belongs to which caste in bengal???????????? plzzzzzzzzzzzzz plzzzzzzzzzz do let me know…………

  175. First of all i like to thank wikipedia for providing such a good platform to findout the the origin of bengali kayastha, but i beg to differ with Mr.sitash(talk) about his view and presentation which is more personally decisive rather discusssion whish also is an act of vandalism, by ignoring other’s point of view, & creating confusion within a community.I will definately going to give detailed evidence about the court verdict and all the summery of diffrent manuscript quoted by eminent lawyers at that time. But first of all lets analyse the matter with logic:
    Its written under the heading “Kulin Kayastha” that “It is traditionally believed that at this point a Hindu king brought in five Brahmins and their five Shudra servants, his purpose being to provide education for the Brahmins already in the area whom he thought to be ignorant.” Now, in vedas & puranas it was clearly written that brahmins were condemned to stump on the shadow of the sudras, and if that happens then they had to took bath or rathyer purify theselves.Secondly, brahmins condemned to drink water from the hand of a sudra, so, how could brahmins had sudra servants?According to puranas brahmins can olny be served by the lower cast of brahmins or rather khsatriyas, who came to the Gurukul(teacher’s house)for learning.While learning under a certain brahmin guru he had to serve him by helping his wife(Guru Maa)in her household activities.So, the line written under “Kulin Kayastha” not only lack evidence but also iilogical.Now again,five kayasthas who came from Kannaj(Kanhakubja)with five brahmins cannot be sudra because kayasthas in Kannauj at a present day does enjoy the status of khatriys and not sudras.It can be produced by the persons who believe that kulin kayasthas are sudras that they doesnot follow the rituals of “upanayan”. this is because the social evolution of bengal took place in a different way from north india. Benagl was influenced by buddhism, islam in such an extant which is uncomparable with nothern india.Due to these emmense influence kayasthas who used to the high rankig officials of the king’s court started adopting the king’s way of life. Same happened with bengali brahmins, unlike brahmins of the other region bengali brahmins intake nonvegetable food items. — Preceding [[Wikipedia:Signatures|unsigned]] comment added by [[User:Hrishiraj talk|Hrishiraj talk]] ([[User talk:Hrishiraj talk|talk]] • [[Special:Contributions/Hrishiraj talk|contribs]]) 08:07, 7 June 2012 (UTC)

  176. Can anybody Tell me something about the title Garai as well as Bera,as i came accross that are mainly from Medinipur.But i am curious about what actually they are Brahmins,Kayastha or any other caste??

  177. Hi..

    I am curious to know to which caste pal/paul surname belong to…some say its Kayastha..some say its kumbhakar..are they both same,..

  178. Is mitrabhan a bengali last name? This name was likely written and frenchisized when the person landed on a french island in the 1800′s – the immigration records only provide the departure place as Calcutta and the caste as Kschattrya. Is it possible to find the village of departure from Haridwar and lost relatives??? Thanks.

  179. Most of the bonded workers sent to the far off Islands to the eastern oceans from the erstwhile Raj were shipped from Calcutta. So much so that turbaned Sikhs from Punjab are called Bengalis in the Malayan archipelago. Mitrabhan is, perhaps, a composite of Mitra (a Vedic god) and Bhanu (the sun god). Such composites are often found as given names and, less frequently, as surnames with the final vowel dropped. One such that comes to my mind is Chandrabhan. Extrapolating from Chandrabhan, I guess that Mitrabhan, not Frenchified as you suggest but truly Indian, belonged to any of the Hindi-speaking states in North India (Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Delhi and even Bihar), most probably a Rajput kayastha.

    • Thanks. The immigrant apparently only had one name! Is this usual for the time to only have one name? Also What is a Rajput Kayastha? Is there a gotra attached to this name? It would also appear that he came with lots of gold, a Ramayana and was not an indentured laborer and bought land at that time on the island as recorded in Land Titles, for growing sugar cane. Thanks again. bhim

  180. there seems to be a lot of confusion about where you come from, names, caste etc etc is there anyone who knows where they come from?

  181. Very fascinating reading. Once I was present in a lecture some 15yrs back in our office (ISRO) auditorium on “from where we came from”. The speaker (Dr…. from MIMAHNS, Bangalore) was trying to make his point that we all are originated from the Bushman of Africa some 300K yrs back. This was before the project of National Geography & IBM on the same topic based on DNA analysis. A colleague of mine strongly opposes the very idea that we all came from Africa (Negro). Immediately my friend Anadi Ray reminded to all: ‘but all of us came from chimpanzee’.

  182. my surname is bala….all i know is my gotra os kashyap…born in noida…..my mum’s surname is ghosh……my residence certificate has kayasth written in them…but i want to know what caste do i come under with bala as my surname according to norms n tradition….

    • As far I know Bala is surname of Namasudra and it is notified as SC in Govt. of India. In fact one gets all the privileges [reservation] from government. I had a friend with same surname and his was father was a high position police officer in West Bengal in 70s.

    • Saha is a Baniya[business] community by cast. If it is Suri Saha[ who were doing business with liquor/ alcohols , it is SC otherwise not.

  183. In West Bengal and erstwhile East Bengal (present day Bangladesh) many surnames are being used by the Hindus, some of them have been nicely discussed herein. Can some one throw light on the surname AIN i.e. the origin of this surname, their original surname before they started using this surname. This surname is found in many States of India and in other countries and literally meaning of AIN is also different in different languages.

  184. Dear Mr. Aniduddha And Mr. K K Debnath,
    Can you please tell me one thing that is Pal surname originated from the Pala dynasty of Bengal? According to Dr. Niharranjan Roy (In Bangalir Itihash), Pal surname came from the last part of name (like Rampal, Narapal etc.). According to Lokeshwar Basu (In Amader padabir itihash), Pal isn’t a caste name and it doesn’t indicate any job category (unlike Sarkar, Pathak, Sett, Ghatak etc.). Pala empire ruled Bangla and Bihar for a long time, near 450 years, and all the kings and their sons, brothers etc. used the suffix “pal” in their name (As pala means protector, came from Sanskrit ‘Palok’). So can we conclude that the surname Pal came from “Pala Empire” of Bengal, by their descendant, in course of time?

  185. In West Bengal and erstwhile East Bengal (present day Bangladesh) many surnames are being used by the Hindus, some of them have been nicely discussed herein. Can some one throw light on the surname AIN or AINE i.e. the origin of this surname, their original surname before they started using this surname. This surname is found in many States of India and in other countries and literally meaning of AIN is also different in different languages.

  186. I have a dbout regarding this mandal caste.my friend has got his surname as mandal,and his brother uses the surname as mondal.Is both the same.if so,does this mandal caste belongs to general or SC caste.what is the hierarchical order, can please help me where can i find answers to my questions…..

    • Mandal are scheduled caste. I knew a gentleman from Kolkata who was a student with the surname and he showed me his SC ID papers…

    • Mandal/Mondal/Mondol/Mundul is a very common surname. It is written by many castes in Bengal itself. It is originally Bengali. Some are Brahmins, some are Kshatriyas, Vaishyas and SC as well.
      I am also Mandal and my caste is KEBARAT which is Bengali Vaishya. We migrated to Nepal some 100 years back. People of this caste are in Purnia and Katihar district of Bihar as well.
      In Bihar, Mandal is written by many castes like KEBOT, SUDI, GANGAI, DHANUK and they are also in many parts of Southern Plains of Nepal.

    • No, it is not true that all the Kayastha Sarkar have original surname Dey. Sarkar is a honorary title. Jenerally the people who were involved in Government Job in Mushlim and English period, some get the title ‘Sarkar’.
      So their original surname may be any. And Dey is a Kayastha and tili title. According to researchers, it is the short form of ‘Dev’ title. So, some Kayastha Sarkar may have the original title Dey, but not all.

      • I agree a bit with u… but i have found dat majority of Kayastha Sarkars are originally Dey/Deb.Eminent Magician P.C.Sorcar’s original surname is Dey/Deb,Eminent Zamindar Ramdulal Sarkar’s original surname was Dey or Deb to name a few. I am Kayastha Dutta & we have lots of Sarkar Relatives who actually are Dey or Deb Kayasthas.Dey/Deb is mainly Kayastha but can be Barujibi,Tamboli,Karmakar & Tili also.I also read a book which states dat majority of Kayastha Sarkars have original Surname of Dey or Deb i.e;DeySarkar or DebSarkar.

  187. In reply to S G Basu
    Very fascinating reading. Once I was present in a lecture some 15yrs back in our office (ISRO) auditorium on “from where we came from”. The speaker (Dr…. from MIMAHNS, Bangalore) was trying to make his point that we all are originated from the Bushman of Africa some 300K yrs back. This was before the project of National Geography & IBM on the same topic based on DNA analysis. A colleague of mine strongly opposes the very idea that we all came from Africa (Negro). Immediately my friend Anadi Ray reminded to all: ‘but all of us came from chimpanzee’.
    >

    http://topdocumentaryfilms.com/incredible-human-journey/

    Here is a fascinating documentary on the out of africa history:

    • Another theory of human origin, to some extent to Max Mauler theory on Aryan Race .
      The basic assumption in the African origin is that human race originated from one place and spread out. This assumption itself does not hold good.
      Reasons are many.
      Can anyone tell how the insects living under the soil can travel throughout the World? As the same type of worm, are found at various parts of the World.

      • What is the Aryan business 300k yrs back? DNA test shows that we all are from a group from the bush man of Africa. DNA is a very scientific test. During same time around 500k to 200k yrs back there 10 or more two legged species [chimps are NOT two legged] are evolved in the world; but only Homo sapiens survived. Brain size of a Homo sapiens is largest w.r.t body size so far among all species evolved of this planet.
        Aryan business may not be more than 2-3k yrs and even Indus Vally civilization is not of Aryans.

    • Roy (or Ray or Rai) is a honorary title of ancient jaminders or land lord, very rich government personalities etc. A people having the title Roy, may be from any other title and any cast.

    • Roy is the anglicised version of Ray or Rai, all meaning ‘raja’ (‘Rex’ in Latin), whether in Bihar or Bengal or anywhere else. It is not even a proper surname but either part of a title (Raibahady Rai of Kalikapur) or simply the end part of a given name (Bhattarai, Dakshinray etc). It never denoted a caste. A Shudra or a Brahmin had as much right to be a Rai/Ray as a Kshatriya.

  188. I am a Dutta Gupta on my fathers side and a Sen gupta on my moms side. Actually the baidyas inclusive of Das gupta are saraswat bramhin .We are saraswat moonis descendents who use to carry out his yagnas on the banks of Saraswati river .
    As the river dried up our first migration happened to Kinnauj UP .from there or from before we started practicing ayurved….. our actual caste names are sen sharma,das sharma and dutta sharma .Sen sharma as they are descendent of Pandit Bhudsen ,dutta most probably the name came as sharmas who use to do charities ,As in dutta is some what related to dan or giving and das I am nt sure
    ….Pandit Kavidas who, along with 3 other Vaidya pandits Budhsen, Shaktidhar Sen and Sumati, had been invited to King Adishur’s court in Bengal from Kannauj (Kanyakubja) in the10th century.
    Over there as they were physicians they had to come in contact with people of the lower caste and so were not allowed to do priest works ……in the courts of rajas and zamindars the Gupta title were awarded to them….gupta means goptri as some kind of military governor .So as the evolution occurs our title sen sharma, dutta sharma and das sharma were replaced by segupta das gupta and duttagupta….

  189. I have a question…I want to know the caste of a particular bengali surname….Roy….is it Brahmin? Kshatriya? Baishya? or Sudra? I appreciate your help and suggestions in this regard…

  190. You don’t know full about bengali surnames n i think u don’t know how many surnames exists in bengali so better don’t debate on it

  191. Hi. My family name is Pramanik, which means Proven. There is another family name, which is Poramanik. Poramanik are of hair cutters. If I am wrong, what is the difference between these two last name?