Nai/Sen
Nai (barber) doing his work (c. 1870s)
Regions with significant populations
Primary populations in:
Religion

Nai, also known as Sain is a generic term for occupational castes of barbers. The name is said to be derived from the Sanskrit word nāpita (नापित).[1] In modern times Nai in northern India refer to themselves as "Sain" instead of Nai.

The Nai caste is listed as an Other Backward Classes in various regions of India. These include Andhra Pradesh,[2] Assam,[3] Bihar,[4] Chandigarh,[5] Chhattisgarh,[6] Dadra and Nagar Haveli,[7] Daman and Diu,[8] Delhi NCR,[9] Goa,[10] Gujarat,[11] Haryana,[12] Himachal Pradesh,[13] Goa,[10] Jharkhand,[14] Karnataka,[15] Madhya Pradesh,[16] Maharashtra,[17] Odisha,[18] Puducherry,[19] Punjab,[20] Rajasthan,[21] Tripura,[22] Uttaranchal,[23] Uttar Pradesh,[24] West Bengal.[25]

Origin

Puranic view

According to a legend prevalent among Nais, they are descended from Nabhi, who in puranic literature is king of the Ikshvaku dynasty.[26]

Other views

In Tamil region some members of the barber caste practiced medicine and used to be called Ambathan.[27]

Occupation

The traditional occupation of Nais is barbering. They also perform the work of match-making for marriages.[28][29][30] The educated people among the community have taken up various other occupations like business and service.[31]

Impact of the ideas of Sain

The process of the Nais adopting the ideas and teachings of Bhagat Sain can be conceptualized as Sainization, depicted through deifying Sain by setting up the institution of Sainacharya. Sain, who was the contemporaries of Kabir, the Bhakti poet who challenged the hegemonic values and hierarchy of the caste system, has become the most revered symbol of pride and identity formation of the Nais. In order to assert their cultural autonomy in 1992 Akhil Bharatiya Sain Bhaktipith Trust was set up on the occasion of the Ujjain mahakumbh mela headed in Pushkar. Achlanandji Maharaj was made the first Sainacharya.[32]

Attempts for upward mobility

During the British period, the Nais tried to raise their social status by claiming themselves as Thakurs in 1921 census and Brahmins in 1931 census.[33] The members of the caste pleaded that their caste be named as "Nai Brahmin" in 1941 census.[34] Such attempts by relatively lower castes to lay claim on higher varna status is termed as Sanskritisation.[33]

Notable people

References

  1. ^ Rangachari, Edgar Thurston (1855-1935) K. "Castes and Tribes of Southern India: Volume VII—T to Z". www.gutenberg.org. Retrieved 5 November 2021.((cite web)): CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  2. ^ "National Commission for Backward Classes" (PDF). Ncbc.nic.in. Retrieved 30 July 2016.
  3. ^ "National Commission for Backward Classes" (PDF). Ncbc.nic.in. Retrieved 30 July 2016.
  4. ^ Central List of OBCs for the State of Bihar (PDF). National Commission for Backward Classes. p. 2. Retrieved 29 May 2012.
  5. ^ "National Commission for Backward Classes" (PDF). Ncbc.nic.in. Retrieved 30 July 2016.
  6. ^ "National Commission for Backward Classes" (PDF). Ncbc.nic.in. Retrieved 30 July 2016.
  7. ^ "National Commission for Backward Classes" (PDF). Ncbc.nic.in. Retrieved 30 July 2016.
  8. ^ "National Commission for Backward Classes" (PDF). Ncbc.nic.in. Retrieved 30 July 2016.
  9. ^ Central List of OBCs for the State of Delhi (PDF). National Commission for Backward Classes. p. 3. Retrieved 29 May 2012.
  10. ^ a b "National Commission for Backward Classes" (PDF). Ncbc.nic.in. Retrieved 30 July 2016.
  11. ^ Central List of OBCs for the State of Gujarat (PDF). National Commission for Backward Classes. p. 5. Retrieved 29 May 2012.
  12. ^ Central List of OBCs for the State of Haryana (PDF). National Commission for Backward Classes. p. 2. Retrieved 29 May 2012.
  13. ^ "National Commission for Backward Classes" (PDF). Ncbc.nic.in. Retrieved 30 July 2016.
  14. ^ "National Commission for Backward Classes" (PDF). Ncbc.nic.in. Retrieved 30 July 2016.
  15. ^ "National Commission for Backward Classes" (PDF). Ncbc.nic.in. Retrieved 30 July 2016.
  16. ^ Central List of OBCs for the State of Madhya Pradesh (PDF). National Commission for Backward Classes. p. 5. Retrieved 29 May 2012.
  17. ^ Central List of OBCs for the State of Maharashtra (PDF). National Commission for Backward Classes. p. 4. Retrieved 29 May 2012.
  18. ^ "National Commission for Backward Classes" (PDF). Ncbc.nic.in. Retrieved 30 July 2016.
  19. ^ "National Commission for Backward Classes" (PDF). Ncbc.nic.in. Retrieved 30 July 2016.
  20. ^ Central List of OBCs for the State of Punjab (PDF). National Commission for Backward Classes. p. 2. Retrieved 29 May 2012.
  21. ^ Central List of OBCs for the State of Rajasthan (PDF). National Commission for Backward Classes. p. 2. Retrieved 29 May 2012.
  22. ^ "National Commission for Backward Classes" (PDF). Ncbc.nic.in. Retrieved 30 July 2016.
  23. ^ "National Commission for Backward Classes" (PDF). Ncbc.nic.in. Retrieved 30 July 2016.
  24. ^ Central List of OBCs for the State of Uttar Pradesh (PDF). National Commission for Backward Classes. p. 3. Retrieved 29 May 2012.
  25. ^ "National Commission for Backward Classes" (PDF). Ncbc.nic.in. Retrieved 30 July 2016.
  26. ^ Mani, Vettam (1975). Puranic encyclopaedia : a comprehensive dictionary with special reference to the epic and Puranic literature. Robarts - University of Toronto. Delhi : Motilal Banarsidass.
  27. ^ Leslie, Charles M. (1998). Asian Medical Systems: A Comparative Study. Motilal Banarsidass Publishers. p. 38. ISBN 978-81-208-1537-7.
  28. ^ K.S Singh (1998). India's communities. Anthropological Survey of India. p. 2550. ISBN 978-0-19-563354-2. Hair-cutting, shaving and match-making are the traditional occupations of the Nai.
  29. ^ Indu Banga, ed. (1997). Five Punjabi Centuries: Policy, Economy, Society, and Culture, C. 1500-1990 : Essays for JS Grewal. Manohar. p. 410. ISBN 817304175X. A nai carried invitations of marriage (gandhs) and communicated the news of auspicious events to the relatives of his patrons . He was an agency through which preliminaries of match - making were conducted. He completed some formalities during wedding ceremonies.
  30. ^ Brij Mohan (2021). Life Lessons from Gitaji on New Society. Notion Press. ISBN 978-1638326274. A 'Nai' was a trusted marriage match maker and the skill of a good physio-therapist too.
  31. ^ K.S Singh (1998). India's communities. Anthropological Survey of India. p. 2550. ISBN 978-0-19-563354-2. Some are still pursuing their traditional occupation, but the educated among them have taken up various other occupations, such as business and service.
  32. ^ Singh, Jagpal (7 October 2020). Caste, State and Society: Degrees of Democracy in North India. Taylor & Francis. ISBN 978-1-000-19606-1.
  33. ^ a b Fernandes Lancy; Bhatkal Satyajit (1999). The Fractured Civilization. Popular Prakashan. p. 37. ISBN 8171588816.
  34. ^ Shriram Maheshwari (1996). The Census Administration Under the Raj and After. Concept Publishing Company. p. 105. ISBN 9788170225850.
  35. ^ Selections from the Sacred Writings of the Sikhs. Orient Blackswan. 2000. ISBN 978-81-250-1790-5.
  36. ^ Grewal, J.S. (2011), "The Sikh Faith and the Khalsa Panth: Chhibber's Bansāvalīnāma", History, Literature, and Identity, Delhi: Oxford University Press, doi:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198070740.001.0001, ISBN 978-0-19-807074-0, retrieved 5 November 2021
  37. ^ "एक आम आदमी, जो बना भोजपुरी का शेक्सपियर!". Amar Ujala (in Hindi). Retrieved 5 November 2021.
  38. ^ Singh, Aastha (24 January 2019). "Karpoori Thakur, the other Bihar CM who banned alcohol". ThePrint. Retrieved 5 November 2021.