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Thursday, April 19, 2012

Community Concerned: Kayastha groups worried over fall in political representation in Parliament and Assemblies apart from decline in influence

Rajendra Prasad
Jyotsana Srivastava's victory from a constituency in Varanasi in the recently concluded Uttar Pradesh (UP) election may not seem significant to you unless you are a Kayastha.

After all, when results for the 403 member UP house were declared, she was among the few [three or four] Kayasthas who managed to win. Another contestant, Mukesh Srivastava won from Payagpur while one, Mr Nigam, got elected from Kalyanpur.

Now compare this to 1952, when 52 Kayasthas were elected to UP Assembly. And there were leaders like Rajendra Prasad [President of India], Sampurnanand [UP chief minister], Lal Bahadur Shastri [Prime Minister] among numerous other towering personalities of the community.

No wonder, there is a feeling of concern among Kayasthas, who are considered among the forward castes, over their steep decline in representation in Parliament and Assemblies. In Kayastha community's in-house magazines and programmes, there is growing expression of concern over the decline in their influence as also the clout in society.

As a website* of the Kayastha community mentions:

The participation of Kayasthas in Govt. Service was over 50% at the time of independence, which is now estimated reduced to less than 9%. There were as many as 75% Secretaries or Head of Departments in a particular state in 1977, which is now reduced to a few. There is only one MLA in M.P. Likewise first Bihar Assembly was having 52 Kayasatha MLAs, which is now reduced to only three.In Jharkhand Assembly, there is no Kayastha MLA... 


The site suggests that Kayasthas should also form alliances like other groups for electoral success. There is similar concern that is seen at different fora and one could understand the reasons for their worry.

Kayasthas are less numerous. But as the word 'Kayastha' literally means, 'writer', the community always stressed on learning. As worshippers of 'pen' and 'ink pot', they earned their living by keeping records and through administrative jobs.
Lord Chitragupta

Not just in Mughal era and British rule, even earlier wherever there was a Raja, he would keep a Kayastha to keep his office and records. Mughals, especially, relied on Kayasths, who also culturally got close to Muslims and even great Urdu scholars came from this community.

Nonetheless, due to their focus on education and their exposure, the Kayasthas, who mostly lived in cities and towns, remained vocal and active in all spheres. There were a host of Kayastha zamindars in pre-independence era in Northern India.

The Kayasthas also had a script of their own, Kaithi, which is forgotten now. Even most young generation Kayasthas aren't aware that once there was a much developed script which was used by their forefathers for a long period.

Comparatively, the Kayasthas are more in numbers in UP, Bihar and Bengal. However, the Bengali Kayastha doesn't seem affected as much. Or at least, not worried over this decline in representation and less concerned about his caste identity, unlike the UP-Bihar Kayastha.
                                                        Uttar Pradesh                                                                                                         
In 1952: 52 Kayasthas elected
In 2012: Less than 5

In judiciary and civil services, the percentage of Kayasthas remained quite high. Politically the decline had begun but after VP Singh implemented Mandal Commission report, the Kayasthas' strength in legislatures came down drastically.

With middle-level castes asserting themselves other than the backwards, Dalits and Tribals, Kayasthas were no longer getting favour from political parties. Even in urban centres, it was becoming difficult to claim a seat as a person gets ticket on the basis of the numerical presence of his/her caste group in the constituency.

Srivastava, Saxena, Mathur, Bhatnagar, Asthana and Nigam were getting replaced by Yadav, Meena, Dangi, Gujjar, Kushawah, Kori, Majhi, Maurya and Balmiki. The scenario is same across the country now, either in Assemblies or Parliaments.

In 1952, the first Lok Sabha had 47 Kayasthas. In 1999, the figure was just 5. The first Lok Sabha had 8.7% Kayasthas and in 1999 there were just 0.9%. The change came in a few decades. Though till 1977, their percentage, even after fluctuation, remained substantial, post-1989, their number fell steeply.

Famous Kayastha personalities in India
While the Mandal movement affected all the Upper Castes, none of the groups suffered such a sharp decline in its representation as Kayasthas.

The Brahmins, and even Thakurs (Rajput), in comparison, have still managed to retain their hold and numerical strength to a certain degree in politics.

For those who aren't aware of the caste system, Brahmins, Banias and Thakurs are the Upper castes. Kayasthas are also considered as an Upper caste.

The Kayasthas mainly worship Lord Chitragupta, their patron deity, who keeps a record of good and bad deeds of human beings on earth.

One of the most famous Indians, Amitabh Bachchan aka Amit Shrivastav, [son of Hindi poet Harivansh Rai Bachchan is also a Kayastha. And so was the great Vivekananda. Also, other famous Kayastha personalities include Urdu poet Firaq Gorakhpuri, Subhas Chandra Bose, Prem Chand & Jai Prakash Narayan [JP].

[*The website link]

[A caste in Maharashtra, Chandraseniya Kayastha Prabhu or CKP, to which Bal Thackeray belongs is also considered as Kayastha though there are reservations expressed from some sections regarding the group]

17 comments:

Anonymous said...

Kayasth supported rulers and got good position in return. They had no strict Brahmin rules in eating, drinking and life.

Somdutt Sharma

Huzefa said...

I alwayz heard Kayastha caste were like Muslim but all those whom I meet are more BJP like and don't like Muslims my grandfather generation had friend circle of Saxenas and Sahays but I don't see pro-Muslim feeling in them. sorry cud be personal experience but thot shud tell u.

Adarsh Kumar Khare said...

I read that many of the hindu kayasthas were converted to Muslim. And many of the Muslim Kayastha are having surname like Siddiqi and Faruqi. But I think Hindu and Muslim kayastha can come together again in one platform. I have seen so much excitement among Hindu Kayasthas about kayastha community. Th hindu kayastha are proud of their caste because they were the descedents of Chitrgupt. But I did not see such excitement among Muslim Kayastha. This may be because of different religion. Muslim kaysthas might not be considering theory of Chitragupt as true. Secondly inter-caste marriage among muslims might not be a taboo as it is among Hindu communities. But if any Muslim kaystha is coming forward enthusiastically, we can come on one platform and cheris our past. this can also bring harmony among hindus and muslims.

Adarsh Kumar Khare said...

I read that many of the hindu kayasthas were converted to Muslim. And many of the Muslim Kayastha are having surname like Siddiqi and Faruqi. But I think Hindu and Muslim kayastha can come together again in one platform. I have seen so much excitement among Hindu Kayasthas about kayastha community. Th hindu kayastha are proud of their caste because they were the descedents of Chitrgupt. But I did not see such excitement among Muslim Kayastha. This may be because of different religion. Muslim kaysthas might not be considering theory of Chitragupt as true. Secondly inter-caste marriage among muslims might not be a taboo as it is among Hindu communities. But if any Muslim kaystha is coming forward enthusiastically, we can come on one platform and cheris our past. this can also bring harmony among hindus and muslims.

Adarsh Kumar Khare said...

I read that many of the hindu kayasthas were converted to Muslim. And many of the Muslim Kayastha are having surname like Siddiqi and Faruqi. But I think Hindu and Muslim kayastha can come together again in one platform. I have seen so much excitement among Hindu Kayasthas about kayastha community. Th hindu kayastha are proud of their caste because they were the descedents of Chitrgupt. But I did not see such excitement among Muslim Kayastha. This may be because of different religion. Muslim kaysthas might not be considering theory of Chitragupt as true. Secondly inter-caste marriage among muslims might not be a taboo as it is among Hindu communities. But if any Muslim kaystha is coming forward enthusiastically, we can come on one platform and cheris our past. this can also bring harmony among hindus and muslims.

Adarsh Kumar Khare said...

I read that many of the hindu kayasthas were converted to Muslim. And many of the Muslim Kayastha are having surname like Siddiqi and Faruqi. But I think Hindu and Muslim kayastha can come together again in one platform. I have seen so much excitement among Hindu Kayasthas about kayastha community. Th hindu kayastha are proud of their caste because they were the descedents of Chitrgupt. But I did not see such excitement among Muslim Kayastha. This may be because of different religion. Muslim kaysthas might not be considering theory of Chitragupt as true. Secondly inter-caste marriage among muslims might not be a taboo as it is among Hindu communities. But if any Muslim kaystha is coming forward enthusiastically, we can come on one platform and cheris our past. this can also bring harmony among hindus and muslims.

indscribe said...

@ Anon: People do tend to get close to power but it is also a fact that Kayasthas were more educated, hence, got jobs.

@ Huzefa: Kayasthas were close to Muslims not just in their food and lifestyle but resembled in other cultural aspects also.

This was the reason a section of Brahmins and some other castes, even Kayasthas themselves, termed the caste as 'Adha Musalman' or Half-Muslim.

This no longer remained a compliment as Muslims' social status had gone down in UP and North India after partition.

There was a strong and chauvinist upper class among Hindus, and the Hindi movement that unfortunately turned into anti-Urdu movement was also spearheaded by Kayastha leaders, who perhaps wanted to get rid of earlier perception and wanted to take centre stage in revivalism.

This caused some bitterness. But this was restricted to UP. As UP was home to most Muslims and gave birth to rich Indo-Muslim culture, the impact was felt more by Muslims in the region.

But poets like Firaq Gorakhpuri, who was a Kayastha, were most vocal whenever the issue of injustice to the language and prejudices against it. So it can't be generalised.

@ KHARE Sahab: I think if there is lack of interaction, both sides must share the blame. Changing a religion doesn't mean that one should severe his/her roots, perhaps, Hindu Kayasthas can also take initiative in this regard.

Adarsh Kumar Khare said...

As I know kayastha community was changing themselve as per the social need. Earlier Kaystha were well versed in Sankrit, Vedas, Purans, etc. Later during Muslim rule they quickly learned Urdu and were doing most of the official written work. But Brahmin community opposed learning of Urdu and named Kaysthas as Half Muslim. Later during English rule Kayastha learned Englih and find a suitable position in government jobs. Now Kaystha community is learning English and technical education an finding a suitable job as other communities are also doing.

As per my opinion, currenlty we have around 75 lakhs of Hindu Kayasths and about one crore Muslim Kayasths.

Chitragupt-Kayastha are the progeny of a Vedic God, Bhagvaan Chitrgupt.

The Yama Samhita says that Dharmaraja or Yamraj complained to Lord Brahma about his difficulties in performing his most responsible duties of keeping records of the deeds of men and doing justice to them. Lord Brahma went into meditation. Shree Chitragupta sprang from his body and stood before him bearing an inkpot and a pen. The God Brahma (Creator) said: "Because you are sprung from my body (kaya), therefore you shall be called Kayastha and as you existed in my body unseen I give you the name of Chitragupta." He then assumed charge of Yamapuri. Shree Chitraguptjee (and hence the Kayastha's) were accorded a dual-caste status, namely KSHATRITYA [Warrior] and BRAHMIN [The Learned].
please refer to refer to http://chitraguptvanshi.wetpaint.com/
Chitragupta Kaystha are also Brahmin according to http://www.kamat.com/kalranga/people/brahmins/list.htm website.

If you belive on this above mentioned text, Chitrgupta's blood is running through our viens.

Now we can take the initiative. We can have website where All Hindu and Muslim Kayasthas can join together and Cherish their past. later we can do something innovative and come together.


*** में खरे कायस्थों की तीन परिवार थे| एक परिवार में भक्कू और फारू दो भाई थे , तो दूसरे परिवार में राय बहादुर खरे (मेरे पुरखे) थे|
तीनो खरे परिवार जमींदार परिवार थे| भक्कू और फ़ारू के तो लगभग १८०० बीघा जमीन थी|
*** क्षेत्र में ३६ (छत्तीश) गाँव थे| जिनमे से १२ (बारह) गाँव के लोगों ने मुस्लिम बनना स्वीकार कर लिया| भक्कू "भक्कू फ़रिया" के नाम से जाने जाने लगे| जबकि फारु "लाला फारुक" के नाम से जाने जाने लगे| यहाँ "लाला" शब्द
सामान्यतः कायस्थों को भी कहते हैं|
*** में तीन खरे कायस्थ परिवारों में दो ने हिन्दू धर्म में रहना ही स्वीकार किया| आज से लगभग पचास वर्ष पहले मेरी दादी के पास भक्कू फरिया और लाला फारुक के घर की औरते हरछट पूजने आती थीं|

Adarsh Kumar Khare

Adarsh Kumar Khare said...

As I know kayastha community was changing themselve as per the social need. Earlier Kaystha were well versed in Sankrit, Vedas, Purans, etc. Later during Muslim rule they quickly learned Urdu and were doing most of the official written work. But Brahmin community opposed learning of Urdu and named Kaysthas as Half Muslim. Later during English rule Kayastha learned Englih and find a suitable position in government jobs. Now Kaystha community is learning English and gaining technical education and finding a suitable job as other communities are also doing.

As per my opinion, currenlty we have around 75 lakhs of Hindu Kayasths and about one crore Muslim Kayasths.

Chitragupt-Kayastha are the progeny of a Vedic God, Bhagvaan Chitrgupt.

The Yama Samhita says that Dharmaraja or Yamraj complained to Lord Brahma about his difficulties in performing his most responsible duties of keeping records of the deeds of men and doing justice to them. Lord Brahma went into meditation. Shree Chitragupta sprang from his body and stood before him bearing an inkpot and a pen. The God Brahma (Creator) said: "Because you are sprung from my body (kaya), therefore you shall be called Kayastha and as you existed in my body unseen I give you the name of Chitragupta." He then assumed charge of Yamapuri. Shree Chitraguptjee (and hence the Kayastha's) were accorded a dual-caste status, namely KSHATRITYA [Warrior] and BRAHMIN [The Learned].
please refer to http://chitraguptvanshi.wetpaint.com/
Chitragupta Kaystha are also Brahmin according to http://www.kamat.com/kalranga/people/brahmins/list.htm website.

If you belive on this above mentioned text, Chitrgupta's blood is running through our viens.

Now we can take the initiative. We can have website where All Hindu and Muslim Kayasthas can join together and Cherish their past. later we can do something innovative and come together.

*** में खरे कायस्थों की तीन परिवार थे| एक परिवार में भक्कू और फारू दो भाई थे , तो दूसरे परिवार में मेरे पुरखे थे|
तीनो खरे परिवार जमींदार परिवार थे| भक्कू और फ़ारू के तो लगभग १८०० बीघा जमीन थी|
*** क्षेत्र में ३६ (छत्तीश) गाँव थे| जिनमे से १२ (बारह) गाँव के लोगों ने मुस्लिम बनना स्वीकार कर लिया|
भक्कू "भक्कू फ़रिया" के नाम से जाने जाने लगे| जबकि फारु "लाला फारुक" के नाम से जाने जाने लगे| यहाँ "लाला" शब्द सामान्यतः कायस्थों को भी कहते हैं|
*** में तीन खरे कायस्थ परिवारों में दो ने हिन्दू धर्म में रहना ही स्वीकार किया |
आज से लगभग पचास वर्ष पहले मेरी दादी के पास भक्कू फरिया और लाला फारुक के घर की औरते हरछट पूजने आती थीं|

Adarsh Kumar Khare

Adarsh Kumar Khare said...

Today's Hindi script Devnagari has many similarities with Kaithi. As I know Brahmins developed a script known as Brahmi, while kaysth developed a script known as Kaithi. Now Devnagari is modified form kaithi only. Kaithi is not forgotton. Devnagari script is developed based on kaithi with some modification. Brahmi script was devloped long back and has no (or little) similarities with Devnagari script.

indscribe said...

Thank you Khare sahab for your insightful comments and providing such invaluable information.

I have also heard about presence of Muslim Kayasthas in UP and many of them proudly assert their caste.

aishmghrana said...

Dear Friend,

In response of this post, I just posted my views on http://aishmghrana.wordpress.com/2012/05/04/diminishing-influence-of-kayasta-community-analysis/

Please Read and comment.

Ganesh Dhamodkar said...

Just for information, Bal Thackrey's father was a staunch member of non-Brahminical movement in Maharashtra, but nowadays Maharashtrian CKPs are considering themselves as Brahmins.

indscribe said...

@aishmghrana: Just read the post on your impressive blog. Thanks for taking up the issue.

@Ganesh bhai: I didn't know this. Shukria.

Adarsh Kumar Khare said...

'कायस्थ साधारण' दो प्रकार के होते हैं:
(1) चित्रगुप्त कायस्थ (ब्रह्म कायस्थ या कायस्थ ब्राह्मण) गोत्र कश्यप
(2) चन्द्रसेनीय कायस्थ प्रभु (राजन्य क्षत्रिय कायस्थ) गोत्र बगादालिया

हिंदी भाषी क्षेत्र में रहने वाले कायस्थ (खरे श्रीवास्तव, अस्थाना, इत्यादी) सामान्यत: चित्रगुप्त वंशज ब्राहमण कायस्थ हैं, जबकि महारास्ट्र एवं बंगाल के कायस्थ क्षत्रिय हैं जिन्होंने परशुराम के क्षत्रिय वध के कारण कायस्थ बनाना स्वीकार किया|

Please read below for Chandraseniya kayastha

त्रेता युग में परशुराम नें सहत्रार्जुन को मारकर क्षत्रियों के वंश को मिटाया। उस समय कुछ क्षत्रियों व क्षत्राणियों नें जंगल व पहाड़ की और भागकर अपनी रक्षा की थी । उनमें से चन्द्रसेन राजा की रानी गर्भावस्था में थीं । वह भागकर बगदालिया मुनी की कुटी में पहुंची । मुनी नें स्त्री को दुखी व अनाथ देखकर शरण दी। जब परशुराम जी को पता चला तो वह बगदालिया मुनी के पास पहुंचे, बगदालिया मुनी भगवान परशुराम जी को आया देख बडे ही आदरभाव से उनका सत्कार किया एवं पूरे विधी विधान से उनकी पूजा अर्चना कर उन्हे आसन दिया और प्रसाद तैयार करा कर भोजन ग्रहन करनें का निवेदन किया। बगदालिया मुनी का आदरभाव देख भगवान परशुराम जी ने भोजन ग्रहन किया और भोजनोपरांत भगवान परशुराम जी बोले आपकी कुटिया में चन्द्रसेन राजा की रानी गर्भ सहित आई है उसे मुझे सौप दिजीए जिससे मै उसे गर्भ सहित मिटा सकूं। बगदालिया मुनी नें उन्हे देना स्वीकार किया। तब भगवान परशुराम जी बगदालिया मुनी पर खुश होकर उनसे एक मनोरथ मागनें को कहा तब बगदालिया मुनी नें कहा कि आप उसी स्त्री का गर्भ हमें दे दीजिए। भगवान परशुराम जी यह सुनकर हंसे और स्त्री को वापस करनें को स्वीकार किया। बगदालिया मुनी नें तब उस स्त्री से भगवान परशुराम जी के चरण कमल को प्रणाम करवाया। परशुराम जी नें प्रसन्न होकर बगदालिया मुनी से कहा कि आप तो जानते है मैं क्षत्रियों का नाश करनें वाका तीनो लोको में विदित हूँ परंतु आपनें इस स्त्री के गर्भ को मांग लिया है इस कारण अब मैं इसे नहीं मारूंगा किंतु मेरे रहते कोइ क्षत्रिय बच नही सकता इस कारण जब इस स्त्री की गर्भावस्था समाप्त हो तब इस बालक को चित्रगुप्त के वंश संस्कार कराकर इसे कायस्थ धर्म दीजिएगा। भविश्य में इस वंश वाले बगदालिया गोत्र कायस्थ कहे जाएगें।

Please refer
http://hi.wikipedia.org/wiki/%E0%A4%9A%E0%A4%A8%E0%A5%8D%E0%A4%A6%E0%A5%8D%E0%A4%B0%E0%A4%B8%E0%A5%87%E0%A4%A8%E0%A5%80%E0%A4%AF_%E0%A4%95%E0%A4%BE%E0%A4%AF%E0%A4%B8%E0%A5%8D%E0%A4%A5_%E0%A4%AA%E0%A5%8D%E0%A4%B0%E0%A4%AD%E0%A5%81

Adarsh Kumar Khare

Anonymous said...

Your website is very knowledge full and very good look.

Anonymous said...

Thank.you adarsh ji....kayastha ke baare me itni jaankari dene ke liye....me bhi kayastha hu...and i am proud of that...