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Paundra-Kshatria


Paundra-Kshatria a section of the scheduled caste community specifically earmarked in the schedule as Paundra-Kshatria. As per gavi identity of the Radhiya Brahmins, the people of this community are divided into various gavi identity such as Dhuliapuri, Bajitpuri, Nurnagaria, Syedpuria etc and are found to be settled in West Bengal in India and in southern districts of Bangladesh like Bagerhat, Khulna and Satkhira. They constituted a population numbering 4,64,736 in 1901, 5,36,568 in 1911, 5,88,394 in 1921 and 6,67,731 in 1931.

In the census report of 1872 the people of this community are designated as 'Pode'. In consequence of the movement of the Paundra-Kshatrias, though the word 'Paundra' was inserted within bracket after the designation 'Pode' in the census report of 1921 the insertion was found deleted in the census report of 1931. On 14 December 1939, Patiram Roy MLA placed the demand before the Bengal Legislative Assembly for identifying the community as Paundra-Kshatria, and the proposal was carried in the Assembly. Earlier on 6 May 1938, the secretary of the Bengal government in a letter appraised Patiram Roy that the community would be designated as 'Paundra-Kshatria' in the official documents and in proceedings of the court.

To trace the anthropology of the Paundra-Kshatrias we should bring into consideration the diversity in the mankind. It is more a consideration of genus and species than social interaction and profession. The defference between one race and the other is virtually the difference in mankind. In the process of formation of the society for dire necessity of self-protection, procurement of subsistance, solution of economic problems by concerted efforts, no basic differcnce is noticed among the different communities of Bangladesh, whether they belong to the backward scheduled caste community or to the advanced group of population. In anthropological consideration, the people of the soil belonging to different castes, Aboriginal, Scheduled Caste, Brahmin, Kayastha, Sadgope, Goala, Kaivarta, Paundra (Pode), Rajbonshi, Bagdi, Bauri, Chandal, Santal, Orang, Mal-paharia are not brachycephalic, rather of moderate height. Despite some difference, there is anthropological affinity in size among the Brahmins, Vaidyas, Kayasthas and Sadgopes. Similary there is affinity among the Goala, Kaivarta and the Pode. Some scholars postulate that the Namasudra caste emerged by an amalgam of the Pode, Mahishya and some other castes. The affinity among the Namasudra, Pode, Paundra-Kshatria and Mahishya indicates that they are the people of same characteristics.

The Paundra-Kshatrias are continuing social movement demanding for them the social status of the Brahmins, right of wearing the holy thread and the observance of the rite of Dvadashahashoucha. They have floated as their organ a number of papers like Bratya-Kshatria-Bandhab, Pratijna, Kshatria, Paundra-Kshatria Samachar, Satyayug, Kshatria Bandhab, Dipti, Sangha, Paundra-Kshatria (monthly), Shuvabani and Pratibha. [Suranjan Roy]