Basic Information about Karhaadaa People

Their presence in India, Population

Historical information about any community in India is almost negligible. As we people do not have the historical perspective; we might not have possessed any information about them. We people sprung up from spiritual thinking & living day to day practical life, which taught us in the words of Adi Shankaracharya or even J. Krishnamurthy, ‘Past cannot be overcome, future you have not seen, only the present is given to you, try to live it as passively as you can’. May it be traditionally and even factually correct view-point! One great western historian says that, that country is the best country/community which has no History!

On such a background, a person like me, whose subject is not history; trying to write something about Karhade community appears to be strange enough. Simply attracted towards the inborn qualities, that are peculiarly similar everywhere, I started collecting names of meritorious Karhades. Last two decades I have, thus, collected about 1400 names spread over 95 fields of human activity.

Shri. Vishnu W. Athalye, while writing the volume of History of Athalyes’ family, has given some account of Karhade community[1]. This is a by-product of his major project. Many Karhaadaas have written their family history, wherein scanty references about this community appear. A book published from Nagpur giving some information about all Maharashtra Brahmanas contain some information about this community also. The great thinker of Maharashtra, late Shri. Nanasaheb Gore has stated, that, this Karhade community is such an old community, that references about which are available from 3rd or 5th century A D. See “Sardesai gharanyacha itihaas” – preface by Shri. Gore. The anthropological studies conducted by Dr. Malhotra, a student of Dr. Irawati Karve, has concluded in his Ph.D. thesis that all the names of Maharashtra Brahmana communities are not merely geographical. There is a scientific distinctive character with them. They are not the one. While going through the most reliable district gazetteer, I found Dr. Enthoven’s statement in the following words “Whatever disqualifications may, in theory attached to chitpawans, their present social and religious position is, as high, as that of Karhade or any other branch of Deccan Brahmins”

It could, therefore be surmised that by the time 1820 AD or so, Karhades have become the standard for measuring status of any advanced community in the society!

Karhades have begotten great & most respected historians like Riyasatkar G. S. Sardesai (Baroda), Trymbak Bhikaji Shejwalkar (Mumbai), Shriniwas Hardikar (Kanpur), Mahamahopadhyay Datto Vaman Potdar, V. V. Mirashi and some other, but no one appears to have written about Historical account of this community.

Contrary, the present day Karhade luminaries are either passive or silent about noting the contribution of this illustrious community. Therefore, carrying this ardous task of writing about these meritorious personalities becomes a really difficult one; but my love for these qualitative people activates me to write.

The hypothetical inferences I had gone through made me realise that the Karhades were living in the Karhatak province; which was spread between and around Krishna and Tungabhadra rivers, of which the capital was what is presently called Karad in the Satara district of Maharashtra. All Karhades in Maharahstra are belonging to the Rigveda-Shakala shakha, ashwalayana suutras. They have 24 gotras and divided into 546 fmily names of which 224 are ending with the suffix-‘kar’. These suffixes are showing as to which village this family was originally belonging to. Thus, of the names in this community, one will find – Golwalkar, Satavalekar, Hardikar, Kirloskar, Mavalankar, Paradkar so on and so forth.

Many saintly, enterprising and qualitatively superior worthy Karhade families were taken to Konkan area by the Shilaharas during their reign. The ill-famous Durgadevi famine which lasted about a decade also made many to migrate to Konkan. Some of them might have gone to Karnataka, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh wherin an ample number of Karhades are there. For example, Kasargoad district of Kerala itself has a population of 26,000 Karhades. Chikmangloor, Tanjore, Mangalore, Karwar, Goa etc. are the further examples of noticeable Karhade people.

From King Chatrapati Shivaji’s time, Karhades with valour and enterprise started migrating to northern states of India. Not only the old Berar (Varad) & Vidarbha provinces, but even modern states like Gujarath, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, Bihar, UP, Himachal Pradesh to Bengal. The Karhades have migrated and marked their names with respect and regards. They established five states and improved their Financial & social status a lot and contributed in many fields of humanity.

One hypothetical inference holds the view as their first migration was from Karnataka to Karahat (Karad), second migration is from east Maharashtra to west i.e. Konkan; and third migration is from Konkan to North India. And now they are spread all over in the world. You may go to Australia, any big city of USA, Canada, England, Brazil, Africa and many many other countries, Karhades do have global appearance.

With effect from 1941, the census stopped cast-wise or subcast-wise enumerating no. of people. There is therefore, no reliable account of population of Karhades at present. By 1931, it was about one lakh all over Maharashtra and hence by present ratio of calculation it could go a little over a quarter million. Maybe throughout India and the globe, they would be a little above three lakhs. I hope without bothering the present Karhade Brahman Sanghas, who have already been busy in their scheduled jobs, someone is required to come forward to study the present status, contribution, living condition, population etc. of Karhade Brahmans in the respective locality.

The main localities in India where Karhades are ample preserving their culture are:

Maharashtra: Kalyan, Dombivali, Thane, Mulund, Dadar, Khar, Borivali, Malad, Andheri, Bandra, Girgaon, Mahalakshmi, Parel, Vashi, Chembur, Mahim, Parle, Pune, Satara, Karad, Wai, Kolhapur, Sangli, Ratnagiri, Rajapur, Lanja, Sawantwadi, Kanakawadi, Chiplun, Sangameshwar, Deorukh, Vengurla, Akola, Amravati, Yeotmal, Nagpur, Bhandara, Solapur, Mahad, Kudal, Guhagar, Dharwad,

Madhya Pradesh: Sagar, Indore, Bhopal, Jabalpur, Jhanshi, Gune, Gwalior, Hoshingabad, Ujjaini

Others: Kota, Varanasi, Allahabad, Delhi, Agra, Mathura, Chikmangloor, Belgaum, Goa, Karwar, Mangalore, Harihar, Bangalore, Kasargoad, Shirsi, Hyderabad, Tanjavoor.

[1] He has written a small portion of history of Karhade people

Request to all Karhade people

By Awadhoot R. Hardikar
September 2007


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