(Last Updated on : 16/08/2010)
Chadar caste is a small caste of weavers and village watchmen. They are mainly the residents of several regions of Saugor, Damoh District
, Jabalpur District
and Narsinghpur District
. However, Chadar caste is not largely found outside the northern districts of the Central Provinces of India. The name of this caste has been derived from Sanskrit term 'chirkar', which means a weaver belonging to Bundelkhand. Beyond this fact, the Chadars have no knowledge of their origin. It is believed that in the past, probably the Chadars were an occupational group that was constituted by the members of the Dravidian tribes and others members who took to the occupation of village watchmen. Some claim that the Chadars are the descendents of Chandelas.
Further, in northern India, a number of other occupational castes are also found. Their existence is most likely to be accounted for by the information that the forest tribal organisation was destroyed by the invading Bundelas and others several centuries back. They were initially deprived of the land and demoted to the performance of tedious duties. They have created a new set of sub-divisions into the castes that arose from the different occupations, which they adopted. The Chadars principally have two sub-castes created on the basis of differences in religious practices. The names of the two sub-castes are the Parmesuria, worshippers of Lord Vishnu
, and Athia, devotees of Devi. It is not certain, whether these sub-divisions are endogamous or not. Chadar caste has various exogamous septs or groups, which are named after animals, plants and other objects of nature. Some of the names are Dhana (a leaf of rice plant), Kasia (bell-metal), Gohia (a kind of lizard), Sugaria (a pig), Laraiya (a jackal), Barraiya (a wasp), Bachhulia (a calf), Gujaria (a milkmaid), Moria (a peacock), Khatkira (a bug), Neora (a mongoose), Bhartu Chiraiya (a sparrow) and others.
Members of each exogamous sept draw the figure of that particular animal or the plant after which it has been named on the wall during marriage ceremonies and they worship it. They do not kill the totem animal. In Chadar community, marriage within members of the same gotra or sept is not allowed. Further, marriage between first cousins and other close relations is prohibited. They have a belief that marriages of persons closely related by blood are not successful. Girls usually get married in fifth, seventh, ninth, or eleventh year of age and boys get married between eight and sixteen years of age. Chadar caste allows widow remarriage and divorce is also permitted. They employ the services of a Brahmin
priest to fix the date of weddings and occasionally for naming of kids. Chadar people worship all their weaving implements during the festivals of Diwali and Holi
. The indigenous cultures and customs of Chadar community are based on several superstitious beliefs.
The Chadars will admit other caste members into their community. Several surnames are used by people Chadar Caste such as Chidar, Charar, Vilye, Gehlot, Sandariya, Athiya, Chandel, Charul, Thakur, Pushkar, Pawar, Soniya, Verma, Sagar, Chandravansi.