People Groups India

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…a rich tapestry of cultures, ethnic mixes, languages and traditions. India’s landscapes span from the awe inspiring Himalayas, beaches, forests, the Deccan plateau and the Rajasthani desert. From North to South, East to West – there are changes to color of skin, clothing, food and language. These may appear to be superficial regional and language changes. Yet, varying religions, traditions, culture and caste add another layer to the complexity of Indian society. India’s caste system is intricately entwined with the people’s identities. The people group name denotes everything – it is a person’s occupation, religious beliefs, social standing, traditions and life story.

India – tradition and change

As India continues to grow, many people are drawn away from their traditional occupational groups into other professions and locations. A father and grandfather who are itinerant cattle herders have a grandson who works at a call centre in Delhi. Although he is an office worker, the community identifies this young man with his people group. Everything about who he is, his surname and who he will marry is entwined with the knowledge of this background.

People Groups of India

There are over 72 People Groups with a population of more than 100,000 each in Uttar Pradesh, North India. This site currently features 72 profiles of these groups from the Agaria to the Yadav. There are, of course, many hundreds more depending on how you define these groups. Here are 5 random profiles. You can find a full list on our profiles page:

Lodha - Who are they? The Lodha are an important agricultural community of 3.2 million who live in Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Delhi. They also call themselves Banbate, Kisan, Lodh, Lodh Rajput or Tomar. Origin According to William Crooke, the word Lodha in Sanskrit is the bark of… ...Read More...
Teli - Who are they? Traditionally, the Teli are an occupational caste of oil-pressers. The traditional wooden oil press was driven by blindfolded oxen around a mill. This labour intensive mill has been replaced by motor operated mills. However, many of today’s oil mills are owned by other communities. Consequently, the Teli… ...Read More...
Kol - Who are they? The Kol are an ancient tribal community, one of the original inhabitants of northern and central India. Location They are located throughout the states of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Tripura. In Uttar Pradesh (where they number 270,000) they are mainly distributed in nine… ...Read More...
Gujjar - Who are they? The Gujjar are a pastoral community that used to be nomadic but many now live in settled communities. The word Gujjar is derived from the term gaucharana, meaning to graze cows. They are a well-built people, medium to tall in stature. Origin The origin of the Gujjar… ...Read More...
Barai - Who are they? The Barai grow and sell paan or betel vine leaf. They are also known as Tamboli (Sanskrit tambul meaning betel), Panwari (panwara, derived from the Sanskrit parna, meaning leaf) and Chaurasia (meaning four sages). Since the betel leaf is a luxury item and favored by upper castes… ...Read More...

Community Forums


We have now also added a new forum feature to give members a space to communicate more freely around a broader range of topics. You can find a forum for each of the people groups and several others to discuss other topics. More will be added later.