Census of British India 1881 engrooves ‘Origin of Vanjari’ Caste as below.
“The ‘Wanjaris’ claim themselves to be of ‘Maratha Origin’. Basically they belong to a race of ‘Kshatirya Origin’ and ‘Originated’ from the ‘East Part of India’. As mentioned by Manu, ‘Vanjaris’ are those who by omission of holy rites and neglected by Brahmans, ‘Vanjaris’ gradually sunk to the lower class of the four major classes belonging to the community”.
They assert that with other castes they were ‘allies of Parsurama’ when he ravaged the ‘Haihays’ and ‘Vindhya Mountains’, where the task of guarding the ‘Vindhya Range of Mountains’ was entrusted to the ‘Wanjaris’.
Due to the skills or the expertise in keeping down the beasts, which were present in large numbers in forests and use to cause huge losses to the ravines. The ravines named ‘Wanjaris’ as ‘Vanya-Shatru’ and subsequently contracted ‘Wanjaris’ to control the beasts from the forests. To confuse ‘Wanjari’ with ‘Banjara’ they were named as ‘Vanachari’ means ‘Forest Wanderers’ and that was a great offence to ‘Wanjaris’. Even in religion ‘Wanjaris’ are often called and identified as ‘Bhagavatas’.
At every point ‘Wanjari’ use to practice early marriage with the ‘Kunbis’, whose main occupation was agriculture in those ancient days.
The ingenuity displayed in deriving the name ‘Vanjari’ from ‘Vanajari’ (‘Vanjara-wild beasts’ and ‘Ari-enemy destroyer’) or ‘Vanya-Shatru’ is remarkable and should be noted which is very important in the history.
In addition there are several possibilities or probable sources for the term ‘Vanjari’ or ‘Vanjara’. It may be the corrupt form of ‘Vanaskara’ i.e. roaming in the forest, or perhaps from the Sanskrit term ‘Vanja’ (trader or merchant) which is also responsible for the term ‘Bania’ and ‘Banijiga’ (meaning trader or merchant). Probably ‘Vanjara’ may be derived from the persian word ‘Berinj Arind’ means ‘dealers in rice’. Similarly ‘Caran’ or ‘charan’ comes from the same root. ‘Vanjara’ means ‘burners’ or the ‘inhabitants of woods’ while some other says that the word means ‘arrow’.
There are many more possibilities and sources of origin of name and caste. ‘Vanjaris’ were not at all afraid of wild beasts being ‘Vanaj-Ari’, due to which they were entrusted and were working as carriage of commodity goods as their main occupation in known and unknown territories. However carriage of commodity goods for trading was done with the help of bullock carts.
‘Vanjari’ were nomadic traders who were actively engaged in carrying grains and supplies of commodity goods for armies with the help of bullock carts. It is assumed that they probably came from Deccan along with the Mugals in 17th Century. Over the time ‘Vanjaris’ adapted skills in carriage and trading for generations together. ‘Vanjari’ as wanderers and being carriers of commodity goods in known and unknown territories, were very brave and always ready to face any type of attacks from wild beasts, thieves, and looters etc.As an effect of modernization and introduction of cartroads and railways, the entire ‘Vanjari Tribe’ which was badly hampered as their main occupation of commodity goods and grains was suffered a lot. On the other side due to speedy adaption skills ‘Vanjari’ changed their occupation from ‘carriers’ to ‘cultivators’.
‘Vanjari’ differ little from ‘Maratha Kunbis’ due to their local language, manners, costumes used in their day-to-day life. Basically ‘Vanjari’ are divided into four major sub-castes ‘Raojin’, ‘Ladjin’, ‘Mathurjin’, and ‘Bhusarjin’. The ‘Ladjin Vanjari’ like the other lad castes of the dominions probably hail from ‘Lat’ the ancient name of Southern Gujarat which includes Broach, Ujjain and Nasik.
‘Vanjari’ were quiet not only wealthy and opulent but they carried out very extensive trade in their palmy days which can be perceived from quotation viz; Bombay Gazetteer Vol. XVI.
Durga Devi Famine (1396-1407 A.D.)
The period of prosperity, when the fort of Satara and many other forts were probably built, was followed by the awful calamity of the ‘Durga Devi Famine’ when the country is said to have reduced to a desert by Twelve Rainless Years (1396-1407 A.D.), when millions of people and animals died of starvation in the Indian Subcontinent. The ‘Vanjari’ story of the great ‘Durga Devi Famine’ lasted for Twelve Years between 1396-1407 A.D. and ruined the country between the Godavari and the Krishna Rivers.
‘Durga Devi’, a brave Vanjari Woman who had amassed great wealth and owned a million of bullocks which were being used to bring grains from Nepal, Burma and China. ‘Durga Devi’ used to distribute grains among the poor and needy people who were starving due to food, and due to which she earned the title ‘Mother of the World’ (Jagachi Mata), Gazetteer of the Bombay Presidency 1991.
‘Durga Devi’ continuously helped the poor, needy and starving people over a period of 12 Years due to which the 12 Year period (1396-1407 A.D.) was known and identified as ‘Durga Devi Famine’ and is quiet popular in the History. All famines are known or identified by specific place or era as and when they occurred but ‘Durga Devi Famine’ may be unique in the world history which was known by name of ‘Vanjari Lady’, who played a key role in helping the poor, needy and starving people over a period of 12 Years i.e. 1396-1407 A.D.
Early ‘Vanjaris’ settled in Deccan and were probably living in ‘Highlands of the Balaghats’ where at initial stage few colonies appeared but later on they spread over ‘Far East’ in the low lying plain of the ‘District of Warangal’.
A part of ‘Raojin Vanjari’ migrated and settled in the Telugu districts of Indur, Warangal, and Nalagundah. They adapted their local language, manners, costumes used in their day-to-day life. They have still preserved their Maratha Names and Surnames (with the affix ji) and use to worship the Maratha Deities. They are now entirely absorbed and being surrounded in mass numbers in the Telugu districts of Indur, Warangal, and Nalagundah.
Dharmaji Prataprao Munde was the leading revolutionary of the Indian independence movement against the British and Nizam Government, the first uprising in Village Dabi, Parali, Beed, (Maharashtra). The young warrior named Dharmaji Prataprao Munde blasted the first trumpet of independence against the British. However, the fight that took place in 1818 i.e. almost 39 Years ago before the National Uprising (1857) and remained unaffected. The memorial pillar of this battle in Village Dabi, Parali, Beed, Maharashtra is the first inmate of the state and is still giving the testimony of that glorious history.
The battle of ‘Nikra’ was fought between the British Nizam along with the local army and Dharmaji Prataprao Munde on 31 July 1818, in the Village Dabi, Parli, Beed, Maharashtra, 39 Years before the National Uprising (1857). The farming system changed after the Nizam and came together with the British. Instead of grains, farmers were being taken in the form of money and that what the reason the farmers where really got in trouble. With this discontent, Dharmaji Prataprao Munde called young farmers together and rebelled armed attack on the Nizam’s nose, collected weapons and made them sow the seeds of fleeing and fleeing. Nizam-Alexander Jahan tried to break this uprising, but Dharmaji Prataprao Munde and his colleagues successfully sowed the seeds of fleeing. Therefore, the company government was promptly informed about this uprising and threatened the British and Nizam regime. Recognizing the seriousness of the situation, English army battalion came to Beed District on July 10, 1818 under the leadership of Stuthurland. Murtuza also participated in the battle. Stuthurland surrounded Dharmaji Prataprao Munde and his colleagues on the bastion of the planned Ghatvaza, and killed them cruelly. When Dharmaji Prataprao Munde and his colleagues were killed, those were rainy days so the blood transfusion prevails. The place where the blood flowed from the fortresses and the stone were stopped in reverence for the battle of this war, that the reason even today they are reverentially worshiped. It is mentioned that in the battle of ‘Burton A History of Hyderabad Context’, the ‘Wanjari Community People’ were of great importance in this battle.
It is noted that Dharmaji Prataprao was the first to fight for independence in the Beed District of the Maharashtra State, in 1969 as stated and published by the State Government. It was revealed in the research that after the demise of Dabi, Dharmaji’s last name was Munde. Even today, there is a memorial pillar of this battle in Village Dabi, Parali, Beed, Maharashtra.
As per gazetteer Dharmaji Prataprav Munde a ‘Vanjari’, who leaded the first rebellion in the state of Hyderabad against Nizam and British Empire in 1818. However his struggle has been knowingly ignored as well his fight against Nizam and British Empire is also nowhere recorded and mentioned in History. It’s almost 200 Years over the rebellion but Dharmaji Prataprao Munde couldn’t get any recognizable position in History of Independence. He was first freedom rebel leader from Marathwada but may be due to nomadic origin, he was ignored by Historians.
The above reference can be sought form ‘Tribes and Castes of Central Provinces of India by Russel R. V. and Hiralal’ Published in 1916 and above-mentioned can be referred and verified which clearly indicates that its worth nothing and nobody is least bothered about ‘Vanjari Caste’.
From Chanda a different set of sub-castes is reported called ‘Bhusarjin’, ‘Saojin’ and ‘Kanhejin’, the first may take their Name from ‘Bhusa’, the chaff of wheat, while ‘lad’ is a term used for people coming from Gujarat and ‘sao’ means ‘savkar’ or ‘banker’.
In Berar also a number of the caste have become respectable cultivators and now call them as ‘Wanjari’ disclaiming any connection with ‘Banjaras’ probably on account of the bad reputation of crime attached to the latter.
Many of the ‘Wanjaris’ have been allowed to the rank with the ‘kunbi caste’ and call them as ‘Wanjari Kunbis’ in order to dissociate them from their present caste.
कुळी – गंभीरराव (शिर्के), वेद – ऋग्वेद , गोत्र – शौनक
उपनावे – उमाळे, कताले, कावळे, काळटोपे, कुकडे, कोराळे, खरमाटे, खिल्लारे, गवते, गोमासे, गोपाळकर, गंदीले, गंदास-गंधास, चराटे, चाबुकस्वार, चेवले, जरे, डमाळे, डुकरे, ढोले (डोहले), ताडगे, तांबडे, दराडे, नाईकवाडे, नवाळे, नाकाडे, नागरगोजे, नागरे -नांगरे, नेहरकर, पाखटे, पालवे, पोटे, फटकळ, फुंदे, फडे, वहांगे, भांगे, बारगजे, बिकट, बिनावडे (बिनवडे), बरके, बैळगे-बेळगे, बोंद्रे, लादे, लामण, लांडगे, लैंडखैरे, वारे, शेकडे, शेळके, शेरेकर, सारूक-सारुके, सळटे, सोसे, सांगळे, हांगे.
कुळी – प्रतापराव (मुंढावच्छाव) धामपाळ, वेद – यजुर्वेद, गोत्र – अत्री
उपनावे – आरबुज, कतने, कताने, कतखडे, कतारे, खडवगाळे, खेडकर, खोजेपीर, खोकले, खंदारे, गर्जे, गंदवे, गोलार, गवते, घरजाळे, घोडके, चवरे, चेपटे, ठुले, डोंबरे, ढगार, तोगे, दगडखैर, दहिफळे, धज, धुपारे, नेहाळे, पटाईत, पाळवदे, बरवडे, बडे – बढे, वदने, वालटे, वरवडे, वागादि, वमाळे, बोकारे, भटाने, भाताने, मुंडे – मुंढे, मानकर, मिसाळ, मोरुळे – मोराळे, लकडे, लव्हारे, होळंबे, वमळे (वमाळे), विघ्ने, सोशे, साठे, शिरसाठ, सोनपीर, सातभाये.
कुळी – चंद्रराव ( मोरे – मौर्य ), वेद – यजुर्वेद , गोत्र – गौतम – ब्रम्ह
उपनावे – इगारे, इधारे, उंबरे, काकड, लहाने (लहाणे), सानप.
कुळी – गरुडराव, वेद – ऋग्वेद , गोत्र – कश्यप
उपनावे – आंधळे, कांगणे, कुसपटे, केंबरे, केंद्रे, गोंगाणे, घोळवे, चौदार, जाधवर, जायफळ, तांदळे, दूधवरपे, भंडकर, मैंद.
कुळी – पवारराव, वेद – यजुर्वेद , गोत्र – भारद्वाज शुक
उपनावे – आंबले, आंबाले (आंबाळे), उगले, उगलमुगले, उजाडमुळ्गे, कडपे, चिपाटे, बोडके, बारगळ, मुसळे, पवार, पंडित, लटपटे, वनवे, विंचू.
कुळी – जगतापराव (जगताप), वेद – यजुर्वेद , गोत्र – कश्यप
उपनावे – कांदे, कुटे, गंगावणे, दोंड – दौंड, धात्रक, धायतिडीक, मुरकुटे, राख, हेकरे.
कुळी – भालेराव (यादव), वेद- यजुर्वेद, गोत्र – पराशर / कौडिण्य
उपनावे – खाडे, चौले, डोंगरे, बांगर.
कुळी – प्रचंडराव (जाधव), वेद- यजुर्वेद, गोत्र – कश्यप / विश्वामित्र
उपनावे – आव्हाड, इंदूरकर, काळे, काळकाटे, जायभावे, डोंबाळे, डोमाळे, दापुरकर, बोंदर, शिंत्रे, हाडपे.
कुळी – भगवंतराव, वेद- ऋग्वेद, गोत्र – जमदग्नी
उपनावे – काळवझे, ताटे, फड(सौंदनकर), मगर.
कुळी – बळवंतराव, वेद- ऋग्वेद, गोत्र – कश्यप
उपनावे – इपर – ईप्पर, चकोर, दरगुडे – दरगोडे, लाटे, सगळे, हेंबाडे.
कुळी – तवरराव (तोवर), वेद- यजुर्वेद, गोत्र – गार्गायण
उपनावे – केकाण – केकाणे, थोरवे, भाबड, भोके, मानवते.
कुळी – अंकुशराव, वेद- ऋग्वेद, गोत्र – कश्यप
उपनावे– गरकळ, टाकळस, डोईफोडे, डोळे, वरशीड, मरकड.
कुळी – सुखसराव, वेद- ऋग्वेद, गोत्र – कश्यप
उपनावे – कराड (कराडे), कातकाडे, खपले, खांडेकर, खांडवेकर, गुटे, गंडाळ, चकणे, पानसरे, बुरकुल – बुरकुले, भाळवे – माळवे, साबळे, सोनावणे, हुळळे, निमोनकर.
कुळी – पतंगराव, वेद- ऋग्वेद, गोत्र – कश्यप
उपनावे – आघाव, दिघोळे – डिघोळे, गुजर, शेवगावकर.
कुळी – पंचमुखराव, वेद- यजुर्वेद, गोत्र – कपील
उपनावे – कथार, कापसे, कीर्तने, जवेर – जवरे, दोदले, डोळसे, ढाकणे, बोदले, लोखंडे, वाघ.
कुळी – हैबतराव (लाड), वेद- ऋग्वेद, गोत्र – कश्यप
उपनावे– केदार,गामणे – गाभणे, गोरे, सिताफळकर.
कुळी – मानकरराव, वेद- ऋग्वेद, गोत्र – वसिष्ठ / कौशिक
उपनावे – चाटे, वायमासे, पायमासे – पायभासे, पवासे – पंबासे.
कुळी – यशवंतराव (गायकवाड), वेद- ऋग्वेद, गोत्र – कश्यप
उपनावे – गायकवाड, घुगे, तारे, देवरंगे, गोगे.
कुळी – देवराय , वेद- ऋग्वेद, गोत्र – वसिष्ठ / कपील
उपनावे – इलग – विलग, घुले, वडगे, झडग.
कुळी – सुलतानराव (चव्हाण), वेद- ऋग्वेद, गोत्र – कश्यप / पुलस्थ
उपनावे – काकडे, काळे, गिते, बुदवंत – बुधवंत, शेष, कापडी, कापडे, शेपाक, कळी – काळी.
कुळी – तोंडे, वेद- ऋग्वेद, गोत्र – कश्यप / मकन
उपनावे – तोंडे.
कुळी – तिडके, वेद- ऋग्वेद, गोत्र – कश्यप / दुर्वास
उपनावे – तिडके.
कुळी – लाड, वेद- ऋग्वेद, गोत्रज – कश्यप / मांडव्य
उपनावे – लाड.
कुळी – वेद- ऋग्वेद, गोत्र – कश्यप
उपनावे – हुळळे, हुळहुळे, लंग, जमाडे, नवाळे, पवार, हुशे
- Census of British India 1881
- Tribes and casts of central provinces of India by Russel R. V. and Hiralal
- The castes and tribes of H. E. H. The Nizam’s dominions by Syed Siraj Ulf Hassan
- Bombay Gazetteer Vol XVI
- Gazetteers Department – Bhir
- Maharashtra – Land and its people
- Bhatake – Vimukta Samaj Ek Parichay By Navnath Avhad (Marathi)
- Vanjari Samajacha Itihas(Marathi)
- Sarvatma Vanjari by Mayawati Sose
- Gazetteer of the Bombay Presidency: Satara, January 01, 1885
- Rural Women’s Power in South Asia: Understanding Shakti, P. Obeng
- The Muslim Period
- Modern Period – Nizams of Hyderabad
- Maanvikas – Bahamanis
- Famine – Page:EB1911 – Volume 10.djvu/179
As per Maharashtra Land Book and its people proportion of literate among various castes per thousand in year 1911 is mentioned.In Bombay Presidency C. P. and Berar it is NIL where as in Marathwada Proportion of ‘Literate Vanjari Per Thousand was 09’.
Population of ‘Vanjari Caste’ in the regional divisions of Maharashtra as per 1931 census report is as below:
As per census of British India 1881 the Population of ‘Wanjaris’ in British India was 767,177 however it is described as below:
The ‘Wanjaris’ number was 767,177 they are settled branch of the ‘Banjara Caste’, who have abandoned the carrying trade and have either become graziers or agriculturist. The Largest Population of 521,882 is found in Madras, Hyderabad contains 108,359, Berar 27,495 and the Central Provinces 793.
Another interesting fact regarding social status of ‘Wanjari Cast’ in ‘Berar Division’ as Per Census of 1881 is as below:
The Kunbi of Berar corresponds with the Kapu or cultivator caste of Teligana and the Vellore of the Tamil country. Almost on a par with Kunbis in social estimations, although generally less prosperous are Gaolis. With them are ranked the ‘Wanjaris’, a well to do and respected caste engaged in agriculture, they claim to be and locally are District from the ‘Banjara’ carrying castes in rites, customs dress and features.
‘Vanjari’ are mostly settled on large scale in Maharashtra. ‘Vanjari’ have shown their spark in socio-economic, political, administrative, cultural, private, co-operative, semi-government, and government sectors of Maharashtra. On the contrary to this major population of this tribe is engaged in seasonal sugarcane cutting with their family for the entire season, carrying footprints of nomadic tribes as their origin.
‘Vanjari’ once known as of ‘Kshatriya’ race have been affected due to its nomadic nature and injustice meted out over period of Hundreds of Year has resulted into converting this caste as ‘Caste of Sugarcane Labourer’.