(Last Updated on : 10-08-2010)
Kunjra community is basically classed as Muhammadans and they are considered as the caste of greengrocers, selling vegetables and fruits. They mainly sell potatoes, sugarcane
, onions and other vegetables. Kunjra community is found in the northern and in some parts of central India. The name of Kunjra community has been derived from Sanskrit term kunj, which literally means bower or an arbour. People belonging to Kunjra community prefer to call themselves Rayeen. They claim their immigration from Rayee Mountains in Arabia. However, this particular claim of Kunjra community has been rejected by the smaller Rayeen community of Rohilkhand region, which is a small Muslim agricultural caste.
Kunjra Community has several social divisions namely Jaunpuria, Mirzapuria and Purbia. The popular customs of Kunjra community appear to be an indiscriminate combination of Hindu and Muslim traditions and rites. In their society, marriage is prohibited between cousins, brothers and sisters. At their engagement ceremony, gifts are given to the parties. Further, a powder of henna leaves is sent to the bride, who sends it back to the girl's house after rubbing it with his fingers. The girl also does the same. Marriage shed is prepared and on the fixed date of wedding the bridegroom goes to the house of the bride riding on a bullock. A barber holds an umbrella over the groom's head and he is given presents before he folds the umbrella. The Nikah ceremony is performed by a Kazi by reading verses from the Holy Quran
. Usually the wedding ceremony is held early in the morning. After that the groom is given a cup of juice, of which he drinks half and giver the rest to his bride. The bride is given some money by the boy's father and it is known as 'Meher'. The custom of giving Meher is considered as a seal to the marriage contract. In their societies, widow re-marriage and divorce is permitted. When a widow is re-married, Kazi is employed for performing the wedding rites.
Kunjra community observes and celebrates all the Muslim festivals. They make sacrifices of goats and fowls. Only members of a family can participate in the celebrations. New born babies are given names on the day of their birth. A Kazi or Brahmin selects the name. They make offerings to the saints and give feasts to relatives and friends. Kunjra community bury the dead and on the third or fourth day after someone's death, they offer feast to fellow caste members. They do not observe any mourning but prayers are offered.
The Kunjra community chiefly belongs to the north province of India with large numbers settled in Uttar Pradesh
and some parts of Madhya Pradesh