Batwal (Hindu traditions) in India

The Batwal (Hindu traditions) have only been reported in India
Population
Main Language
Largest Religion
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Introduction / History

The Batwal people of Punjab trace their ancestry to the town of Batmalu in the Kashmir Valley, and the word 'Batwal' in Punjabi means literally "the inhabitants of Batmalu." Other traditions place their origin to the town of Batbal in Jammu. The community provided the traditional watchmen of the Punjab.

According to the community's own tradition, the Batwal people were forced to flee their settlements when India was attacked by Alexander the Great. Once the Greek armies retreated, the Batwal people found that their neighbors had seized their lands and they were forced to become village watchmen.

Like other communities of similar status, the Batwal people have been granted Scheduled Caste status, which allows them to avail a number of affirmative action schemes by the government of India. In the Jammu region, from where the Punjab Batwal people claim to have originated, there are a number of traditions as to their origin. One tradition refers to the fact that the Batwal people were tied to the land by the Dogra land owners, and the word 'Bat' in the Dogri language means someone who is bonded. They were for generations bonded to particular families of Dogras, and were practically serfs.


Where Are they Located?

The Batwal people are found mainly in Kathua, Jammu and Udhampur Districts.

Important Batwal villages include Bhadurpur, Bhaore, Chaute Miani, Azadpur, Habowal, Kakowal, Machiawara, Nurewal, Sarhind, Walipu, Batala Camp, Jawahar Nagar, Chuhala, Findar, Bajiru Chack, Garhi, Shahzadpur, Mulke Chack, Makwal, and Hakkal. These villages are owned by the Batwal community, and they are the dominant community. But many Batwal people have started to immigrate to towns and cities where their main occupations are agriculture, government jobs, transport, trade and commerce.


What Are Their Lives Like?

The Batwal people are divided into thirteen clans which include Kaith, Motan, Lakhotra, Dhagge, Nandan, Jhanjotra, Lahoria, Sargotra, Targotra, Mandee, Basae, Sandhu and Linder. Like other neighbouring Hindu communities, the Batwal are strictly exogamous, never marrying within the clan. The Basae, a name derived from the Beas River and meaning those settled along the banks of that river, and the Kaithie, those who were inhabitants of Kainth gali (in Udhampur).

Most Batwal people in India have been strongly influenced by the Arya Samaj movement, while some Batwals have come under the influence of other Hindu reformist sects. The Batwal people shares the customs and traditions of the locally dominant Dogra ethnic group and speak Dogri. The Batwal people were found historically in the sub mountain region of Punjab, roughly stretching from Gujrat District in the west to Hoshiarpur District in the east. All the Hindu Batwal people immigrated from what became Pakistan at the time of the partition of India. Historically, the Batwal had two functions: the heredity position of the village watchmen as well as those who summoned the village for work. Many were allocated land by the British authorities, and this saw a transformation, as the Batwal took to agriculture.

The Batwal community has also produced a renowned Punjabi Singer from Punjab, India, popularly known as 'Lal Chand Yamla'. He was the doyen of Punjabi Music and first singer that comes to mind who laid foundation of Punjabi music in Indian Punjab. He was widely revered as 'Ustad' among his singer contemporaries and as 'Yamla' by his audience.


What Are Their Beliefs?

Each of the Batwal clans has its own temples, e.g. the Kaith at Umran Ali in Sialkot, Meer in Udhampur and Pindi Kudoyal, Langotian and Domana in Jammu; the Jhanjotra at ghuhe in Zafarwal and Chinia in Jammu; Motan at Gillianwala in Zafarwal and Deoli in Jammu.

Similarly, each clan has its tutelary male deity, e.g. the Kaith has Sankri Dev; the Motan has Sukhdev Singh Manhas; the Lakhotra has Thakur Jai Pal; the Mandee has Jagdish Manhas; the Sargotra has Baba Badgal; and the Jhanjotra has Kalu Chouhan.

Each clan has also its god also, e.g. the Kaith has Attar; the Sargotra has Kandal; the Nandan has Janjua; the Jhanjotra has Kashyap and the Motan, the Targotra and the Lakhotra have Bhardwaj. Once a year, the members of each clan organize congregations at the temples before which they prostrate themselves, each head of a family sacrificing at it a goat in honor of his eldest son.

A huge segment of Batwal people worship Sri Guru Gyagi Ji Maharaj and follow his teachings and also, every year on Magh Purnima, celebrate his birthday at Shahzad Pur Kothi (in Tehsil Jammu) with enthusiasm.


What Are Their Needs?

Since the Batwal community people were economically most backward, and as such, the government of India in 1994 ordered the Planning Commission of India to undertake their ethnographic study which was accordingly undertaken by the Census Operation J&K and its report was personally collected by the Deputy Registrar General, India, New Delhi. Now almost 20 years have passed but no step has yet been taken by the Government to enhance their economic position.


References

Some information from "The Scheduled Castes" K. S. Singh, ed. Oxford University Press, USA (1994)


Profile Source:   R.L.Kaith  

Prayer / Resource Links:
Global Prayer Digest: 2017-09-21
People Name General Batwal (Hindu traditions)
People Name in Country Batwal (Hindu traditions)
Population in India 96,000
World Population 96,000
Total Countries 1
Indigenous Yes
Progress Scale 1
Unreached Yes
Frontier People Group Yes
GSEC 4  (per PeopleGroups.org)
Pioneer Workers Needed 1
Alternate Names Barwala, Haukara, Hokadena, Karaock, बटवाल (हिंदू ट्रेडिशन्स)
People ID 16342
ROP3 Code 111478
Country India
Region South Asia
Continent Asia
10/40 Window Yes
National Bible Society Website
Persecution Rank 11  (Open Doors top 50 rank, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
Total States on file 9
Largest States
Jammu and Kashmir
61,000
Himachal Pradesh
17,000
Punjab
16,000
Haryana
1,900
Delhi
600
Chandigarh
200
Rajasthan
50
Uttarakhand
40
Uttar Pradesh
10
Specialized Website South Asia Peoples
Country India
Region South Asia
Continent Asia
10/40 Window Yes
National Bible Society Website
Persecution Rank 11  (Open Doors top 50 rank, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
Total States 9
  Jammu and Kashmir 61,000
  Himachal Pradesh 17,000
  Punjab 16,000
  Haryana 1,900
  Delhi 600
  Chandigarh 200
  Rajasthan 50
  Uttarakhand 40
  Uttar Pradesh 10
Website South Asia Peoples
Primary Language Dogri (39,000 speakers)
Language Code dgo   Ethnologue Listing
Language Written Yes   ScriptSource Listing
Total Languages 16
Secondary Languages
(only 15 largest shown)
Hindi
17,000
Kangri
13,000
Punjabi, Eastern
12,000
Kashmiri
9,800
Chambeali
1,700
Purik
1,500
Balti
900
Shina
400
Bagri
100
Bhattiyali
100
Haryanvi
70
Churahi
60
Gujari
50
Bhadrawahi
20
Ladakhi
20
Other People Groups Speaking Dogri
Primary Language Dogri (39,000 speakers)
Language Code dgo   Ethnologue Listing
Total Languages 16
Secondary Languages (only 15 largest shown)
  Hindi 17,000
  Kangri 13,000
  Punjabi, Eastern 12,000
  Kashmiri 9,800
  Chambeali 1,700
  Purik 1,500
  Balti 900
  Shina 400
  Bagri 100
  Bhattiyali 100
  Haryanvi 70
  Churahi 60
  Gujari 50
  Bhadrawahi 20
  Ladakhi 20
People Groups Speaking Dogri

Primary Language:  Dogri

Bible Translation Status  (Years)
Bible-Portions Yes  (1883-1971)
Bible-New Testament Yes  (1826-2017)
Bible-Complete No
Possible Print Bibles
Amazon National Bible Societies
Forum of Bible Agencies World Bible Finder
Gospel Go World Bibles
Resource Type Resource Name
Audio Recordings Audio Bible teaching (GRN)
Audio Recordings Oral Bible stories in Dogri
Audio Recordings Story of Jesus audio (Jesus Film Project)
Film / Video God's Story Video
Film / Video Jesus Film: view in Dogri
General Got Questions Ministry
Mobile App Download Bible from Google Play Store
Text / Printed Matter Bible
Text / Printed Matter Online Bible (Bibles India)
Primary Religion: Hinduism
Major Religion Percent *
Buddhism
0.00 %
Christianity  (Evangelical 0.00 %)
0.00 %
Ethnic Religions
0.00 %
Hinduism
99.26 %
Islam
0.00 %
Non-Religious
0.00 %
Other / Small
0.74 %
Unknown
0.00 %
Photo Source Anonymous 
Map Source Omid / Joshua Project / Global Mapping Intl  
Profile Source R.L.Kaith  
Data Sources Data is compiled from various sources. Read more
* Religion Values From latest India census data.  Current values may differ.


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