Introduction / History
The Khangar get their ancestry from Khet Singh and Bhopat Singh of the Grah Kundal state of Tikamgarh. That status is not accepted by the higher castes who believe they are lower or middle in class. They are called Khangur Thakur in Uttar Pradesh. They are calkled Rajthakur in Bihar and Gohenja in Kota, Rajasthan. They also have other names which are Khara, Kharal, Kharwal, Khengor, Khand, Kotpal, Kotwar, Rao Khangad, Roy and Rawat.
What Are Their Lives Like?
The word Khangar has come from the words Dhoran and Khang which mean sword bearer. They are believed to be bold. They are classed as a Scheduled Caste in Madya Pradesh and Rajasthan. This status is given to lower castes who have been oppressed for a long period of time. This new status gives them government jobs and reserved seats in legislature among other opportunities.
The Khangur speak local dialects and Hindi and write in Devanagari. In Bihar they speak Hindi. In Madya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh they speak Bundelkhandi, a form of Hindi. Food and water is accepted by them from higher communities but higher castes usually do not accept cooked food from them.
What Are Their Beliefs?
The main work of the Khangar is agriculture. In Madya Pradesh weaving has been the main work though many have turned to other things such as cloth selling, cosmetic selling, manufacturing and tailor work as the profits are greater. Most Khangar own some land but in Bihar they usually have no land and work as farm laborers. Some work for the government and in the construction industry among other things. At village level they have political leaders. Literacy is lower than the average nationally, particularly in Bihar where girls especially are not sent to school. They believe in family planning, modern medicines, development programs and loans except in Bihar. The Khangur eat such things as chicken, pork and fish but not beef due to their religious beliefs. They also eat food like wheat, rice, seasonal vegetables and milk products and fruit. They drink alcohol and smoke rolled and dried Tendu leaves called Bidis and chew tobacco.
The Khangar are endogamous, marrying partners from the same group. Marriages are arranged by relatives. Adult marriages happen more now but child marriages are common in Rajasthan. Marriage is from twelve to twenty for boys and from ten to sixteen for girls. Polygamy does not happen often. Marriage ceremonies are done in the home of the bride by a Brahmin priest and the couples live with the family of the husband or nearby. Dowry is preferred. Divorce is acceptable from either the man or the woman. Divorcees and the bereaved can marry again. If a married woman elopes, the man she eloped with has to pay compensation to the husband. Only males receive an inheritance. Money can be saved for an unmarried daughter. The eldest son succeeds his father as leader of the home. Women are lower than men and take part in domestic, religious social and money matters. The Khagar have traditional caste councils called Jati Panchayats. They deal with lesser civil and criminal matters.
The Khangar are Hindus. They worship family, clan and regional gods and goddesses such as Balaji, Rama and Shiva. They believe in ancestor worship too. They bring in sorcerers and witchdoctors called Bhopa who they believe will get rid of evil spirits.
The Khangar use a Brahmin priest to cremate the dead and they have birth and death pollution periods. They celebrate the festivals of Diwali, Holi, Janamashtami and Rakshabandhan.