Who are they?
The Julaha are an important artisan community who weave cloth on handlooms. They live in Uttar Pradesh (2.9 million), Himachal Pradesh, Delhi, Haryana, Jammu and Kashmir and Chandigarh. The term Julaha is derived from the Persian word julah, meaning ball of thread. The word is commonly associated with the Hindi jala or jali, meaning interlaced thread.
The Julaha are listed as a Scheduled Caste (SC) under the provisions of the Indian Constitution. This grants them and other SCs many benefits like fixed, reserved quotas in government jobs, in admissions to various government-sponsored professional colleges and welfare schemes for economic and social improvement and reserved seats in parliament.
The Julaha speak the local languages of the states they live in. In Himachal Pradesh, where they live mainly in rural areas, they speak Kangri and Chambali. They speak The Indo-Aryan language of Haryanvi in Haryana. In Delhi, where they are migrants from Rajasthan, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh, they speak Rajasthani, Haryanvi or Hindi. All these languages use the common Devanagari script. In Chandigarh they speak Punjabi and write in the Gurumukhi script.
The Julaha belong to the Shudra caste, the fourth and lowest class of the Hindu caste system. The higher castes consider the Julaha as a lower class especially in rural area and do not accept food and water from them. The Julaha, in turn, do not exchange food with communities considered lower than them like the Churha (sweeper), Chamar (tanner), Dhanuk (laborer) and Raigar (tanner).
What Are Their Lives Like?
The Julaha used to be handloom weavers but industrial change has introduced cheaper, machine-made textiles to the market which has caused them to look for work in other fields. Some still continue weaving, making coarser cloth for bedspreads or Kharad (a large, thick cloth on grain at harvesting time to protect it from getting wet in the rain) and dhurries (floor rugs). Previously they wove intricate designs and patterns in beautiful colors. Cooperatives have been formed to regulate prices and help the Julaha sell cloth at local markets.
Some Julaha have taken up other professions and work as skilled and unskilled laborers, run small scale industries, shops or are businessmen. In the hilly state of Himachal Pradesh, they work for daily wages in building roads and forestry. They sometimes also work as farm laborers or plough land on a contract basis. Some Julaha rent out threshing machines during the harvesting season. Many Julaha do not own land, like those of Chandigarh. Breeding and caring for animals, tailoring, masonry, dyeing cloth and calico printing is some other types of work they do.
Child labour exists among the Julaha with children learning and working on the looms from a young age. The poor people send their children to work at tea stalls, small roadside restaurants, automobile workshops or factories to earn their living.
The literacy rate is very low and children do not complete their education. They practice family planning in order to have fewer children. They use both local remedies as well as visit clinics. They have benefitted from the facilities provided for them by the Public Distribution System and have electricity, water supplies and are given equipment at subsidised rates. In Himachal Pradesh, they have been allotted land for cultivation.
The Julaha are endogamous at the community level, i.e. they marry only within the community. They are exogamous at the gotra (clan) level, and sometimes at the village level too. Adult marriages are gradually replacing child marriages and are arranged by family members. Monogamy is preferred and sindur (vermilion), glass bangles, bindi (coloured dot on forehead), and rings for the nose and toes are the marriage symbols for women. Dowry is paid in cash by the bride’s parents to the bridegroom’s family and goods such as utensils, furniture, linen, gold ornaments and clothes are also given. The earlier practice involved the husband paying a bride price to the bride’s family. Divorce is socially unacceptable and rare but can be granted on ground of adultery, cruelty, insanity, impotency or incompatibility. Widows, widowers and divorcees are permitted to remarry. Junior levirate and junior sororate are prevalent and preferred.
Families live as smaller unit with parents and children and also in extended families with other relatives. The family is male-dominated and inheritance is only given to sons. The women are considered lower than men even though they are active in social and religious spheres. In addition to housework, they work as weavers, rear cattle or collect fuel. Urban women work in small industries. The Julaha have a rich tradition of folklore and tales and both men and women sing at celebrations. Women dance at births and marriages. They are good at performing comedy.
The Julaha have panchayats (community councils) at village and regional levels that settle community issues. Political leadership has emerged largely at the village level.
What Are Their Beliefs?
The Julaha are Hindu or Sikh by faith. The Hindus worship the gods and goddesses of Hinduism and celebrate all Hindu festivals. They also observe weekly fasts on Monday, Tuesday and Friday. A Brahmin priest performs rituals. The Himachal Pradesh Julaha have a priest from their own community who is called a purohit. The dead are cremated and the ashes immersed in a river, preferably the Ganges at Haridwar, Uttar Pradesh, which is considered holy. Ancestor worship is prevalent. The Julaha believe in witchcraft and superstition and make use of sorcerers to cure diseases and make their wishes come true.
The Sikh Julaha (living in Chandigarh, Haryana and Delhi) follow Sikhism and revere their ten Gurus as well as their holy book, the Guru Granth Sahib. They believe in the creator of the universe, and do not worship idols and believe that people are created equal and practice service to the community. The priest is called a giani and he conducts prayers at the gurudwara. Sikh festivals are celebrated by them. Some Julaha are also followers of guru-centric sects like the Arya Samaj and Radha Soami.
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hlo. iam. Davinder Singh. & iam kabirpanthi.julaha. from. Chandigarh. can any one tell that why r some julaha
s in sc & some in bc
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Sikhism does not endorse caste based distinctions in society that lead to unequal opportunities for some people. In fact, Sikhism completely rejects class or race based distinctions between humans, that leads us to make an inequitable society. Such distinctions have surfaced only due to ill interests of certain section of people, who, on the pretext of making a society more manageable through these classifications, eventually paved the way to an unequal grouping within the human race. This article is just for information purpose and to share how people from different castes came into the Sikh fold. So, please treat this article as a source of general information about this issue and kindly do not amend this article to highlight this important underlying Sikh principle. If you have any comments, please discuss them appropriately here
Julaha also called weavers. Members of this community were engaged in the profession of weaving also called ramdasia sikhs. They may at times be also referred to as julaha meaning a weaver in punjabi and hindi. The total population of this community is about 505,000, 80% of which reside in Punjab alone. The remaining 20% are found in the states of Haryana, Delhi, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh. The Sikh Light Infantry draws its man power from the Mazhabi and Ramdasia elements amongst the Sikhs. The terms ravidasia and ramdasia are not synonymous and hence should never be used interchangeably as they differ in thier Profession.
Region: South Asia
Population in this Country: 801,000
Largest States on file:
Uttar Pradesh (271,000), Himachal Pradesh (163,000)
Jharkhand (134,000), Punjab (84,000)
Delhi (76,000), Haryana (41,000)
Rajasthan (12,000), Uttaranachal (5,200)
Bihar (3,200), Maharashtra (3,000)
Total States on file: 25
Entry No. In centre list
Acc. to backward list
Backward – Jullaha/Julaha (Weavers) 31
Backword – Weaver (Jhullaha or Julaha (including Kabirpanthi
Julaha excluding those who are
Scheduled Castes) 17
In Haryana the Julaha are the followers of Kabir though some Julaha have adopted Buddhism, and some The Julaha of Delhi and Chandigarh are divided into two groups, Kabirpanthi and Julaha. The Kabirpanthi Julahas derive their name from Kabir. The Hindu Julahas also follow Kabir teachings. There are both Hindu and Sikh Julahas among them. In Jammu and Kashmir, the Kabirpanthi are also known as Bhagats. Some follow Sikhism and some even Christianity.
Madhya Pardesh, Himanchal Pardesh, Haryana, Uttar Pardesh
Some Historic Points
Kabir seek an escape from his caste identity, there is no attempt to deny that he is a julaha or kori. He is acutely aware of the vileness and idiocy attributed to his caste, he even uses this awareness with pungent irony at many places — a fact which makes his insistence on being a julaha even more significant. He categorically rejects the “normal” attribution of vileness and idiocy to julahas or for that matter to any social group.
Declares he: Julaha by caste and steadfast in intellect, Kabir is happily merged with the qualities (of God). — Granthavali–pada 270. Also, says he: Kabir that caste of mine is a joke to everyone; Blessed indeed be such a birth that let me invoke the creator — Saloka 2, Adigranth. (Translated and cited by Charlotte Vaudeville in ‘A Weaver named Kabir’, p.71; OUP, new Delhi, 1993).
It should be clear from the above that his caste is the inevitable marker of the social location which Kabir does not feel like escaping from, while descriptions like Hindu, Muslim or Jogi essentially refer to certain conceptual frameworks and the communitarian identities based on them. His refusal to describe himself as belonging to any of them indicates the intellectual independence of an individual who is conscious of his location and precisely because of this conciseness is insistent on rejecting the available frameworks. Here is an individual who is confidently challenging the given attributions of certain qualities to certain social groups on the basis of his own achievements and intellectual steadfastness. His description of himself as a julaha, steadfast in the intellect, his insistence on his worth as an individual is in conformity with his fundamental refusal to internalise the idea of arbitrary ascription to some social group without any regard for the individual’s achievement or the lack of it.
The Kabirpanthis believe that Kabir was an incarnation having a miraculous birth. A weaver’s wife, Nima, found him as an infant floating on a lotus in a tank near Benares. She and her husband, Niru, brought Kabir up as their child. Other legends tell of Kabir’s wife, Loi, son, Kamal, and daughter, Kamaliya, all having miraculous births. Niru and Nima were of the Julaha, a low caste of Muslim weavers, and Kabir worked as a weaver near Benares all his life. The Julaha were probably recent converts to Islam and it is not certain that Kabir was circumcised
Choti jat da Kabir julaha, Naam jap ucha ho gaya (2x)
Kabir was once a low caste weaver; He became the highest by meditating on Naam.
Kabir était jadis un tisserand de caste pauvre; Il est devenu le plus haut en méditant sur le Naam.
Mus-mus rove, Kabir ji ki mai, (2x)
Ehe balak kese, jive raghurai (2x)
Naam jap ucha . . .
Kabir’s mother weeps bitterly, worrying, “How is this child going to live, O God?” He became the highest by meditating on Naam.
La mère de Kabir pleura amèrement, s’inquiétant: “Comment cet enfant va-t-il vivre, O Dieu? Il est devenu le plus haut en méditant sur le Naam.
Tanana bunana, tajyo Kabira (2x)
Har ka Naam likh, leyo sharira (2x)
Naam jap ucha . . .
Kabir has quit weaving, and has written the Naam of God on his body. He became the highest by meditating on Naam.
Kabir a abandonné le tissage, et a gravé le Naam de Dieu sur Son corps. Il est devenu le plus haut en méditant sur le Naam.
Ochhi mat meri, jat julaha (2x)
Har ka Naam, leyo mai laha (2x)
Naam jap ucha . . .
I am of low community, my caste is weaver; I have only one advantage, that is of Naam. He became the highest by meditating on Naam.
Je suis d’une communauté pauvre, ma caste étant celle des tisserands; Je n’ai qu’un avantage, c’est celui du Naam. Il est devenu le plus haut en méditant sur le Naam.
Kahat Kabir, suno meri mai (2x)
Hamara inka data, ik raghurai (2x)
Naam jap ucha . . .
Kabir says: “Listen, my mother, God is the only giver for all of us”. He became the highest by meditating on Naam.
Kabir dit: “Ecoutez, mère, Dieu est l’unique donateur pour nous tous”. Il est devenu le plus haut en méditant sur le Naam.
People Name This Country: Julaha
People Name General: Julaha
Alternate People Names:
Djanate Julaha Jogi Julaha
Population in this Country:801,000
Population in all Countries:801,000
Affinity Bloc: South Asian Peoples
People Cluster: Hindi
People Name General: Julaha
Primary Language:Hindi (501,000 Speakers)
Panjabi, Eastern (144,000), Mandeali (39,000)
Bilaspuri (24,000), Haryanvi (6,500)
Magahi (1,300), Gujarati (400)
Chhattisgarhi (300), Bhojpuri (200)
Telugu (100), Mewari (100), Pahari,
Kullu (100), Sirmauri (80), Chambeali (30)
Kachchi (20), Bengali (20), Kanjari (Unknown), Kinnauri (Unknown) Ladakhi (Unknown), Pangwali (Unknown), Tinani (Unknown)
Total Languages Spoken: 21
Hinduism 95.53 %
Sikhism 4.47 %
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