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Regions with significant populations
  • India
  • Pakistan
Related ethnic groups

The Rath (Rajasthani: रथ (Devanagari) رتھ (Perso-Arabic), are a community, found in the state of Rajasthan in India. They also settled in Punjab and Sindh provinces Pakistan. There is another clan similar to it known as Rathi.[1]



Historically, the Rath were a community of pastoral nomads, breeding mainly cows and sheep, as well as cultivating dry crops, and migrating three to nine months of the year. Till about the 1950s, no recognized rights to the land existed. This was in marked contrast to the related Pachhada community, who were found in Hissar and Mahendargarh districts of Haryana, who was forced to settle down by the British authorities in the late 19th century. With the construction of the Indira Gandhi Canal, land was divided up, and a large number granted to settlers. This led to a drastic reduction in the grazing area, and process that has led to the abandoning of the nomadic lifestyle. The community are now only partially nomadic, with some members taking the cattle and sheep to their grazing areas, while the majority remaining in the village.[2]


Like other North India communities, they have a council of elders which settles intra-community disputes, and punishes the guilty. Each lineage has an informal caste council, known as a biradari panchayat. This acts as an instrument of social control by punishing those who breach community norms such as marrying out of the community etc. The Rath are Sunni Muslims, but incorporate many folk beliefs.[citation needed]


  1. ^ Pati, Sushmita (2017). "Accumulation by Possession: The Social Processes of Rent Seeking in Urban Delhi". In Mitra, Iman Kumar; Samaddar, Ranabir; Sen, Samita (eds.). Accumulation in Post-Colonial Capitalism. Springer. p. 95. doi:10.1007/978-981-10-1037-8. ISBN 978-9811010378. Retrieved 17 May 2020.
  2. ^ Resisting Change? Adaptations by Traditional Pastoralists to the Rajasthan Canal Project by Saurabh Sinha International Institute for Environment and Development, Dryland Development Project page 21