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Panchal Movement to Reclaim Brahminical Right Collection by Ramsaran Yuyutsu

Panchal Movement to Reclaim Brahminical Right
Collection by Ramsaran Yuyutsu
Though the Panchals, also known as Vishwakarma Brahmins, held great importance in olden times, some Brahmins refused to accept Panchals as being Brahmins. This refusal led to a feud between the two groups. During Peshwa Brahminical rule, the Panchals suffered much. The Panchals were not even allowed to tie the dhoti - a cloth worn between legs and around the waist - a mark of Brahminical rank.
The Peshwas belonged to the Chitpavan Brahmin caste and were actually late migrants to India, having arrived from the Middle East and Central Asia. The Peshwas competed with the Panchals, who saw themselves as being the original Brahmins and first builders of the Aryan Vedic civilization.
Nelson Hindu Law, Page 139-140 states - "The refusal of many castes in ancient times to accept the Brahmins as their pastors and masters would seem to have bred a hereditary feud between castes. The origin and history of the feud at present are wholly unknown but it seem to me to be not improbable that the feud sprang from rivalries and contentions between the supporters and adherents of Brahmins on one hand and those of the goldsmiths and other artificers on the other hand. In south of India the goldsmith’s appear to have strenuously resisted the aggressive supremacy of Brahmans and have, for ages, claimed for themselves the right to be priests and spiritual guides styling themselves as Acharyas (religious teacher) by wearing the sacred thread.
Meharban, a British collector, in his book ‘Bombay Gazetteer’ states in Solapur Vol XX page 125: "Panchals are composed of five classes: goldsmiths, bronzesmiths, blacksmiths, carpenters and masons. They consider themselves equals, if not superior, to the local Brahmins. Their family priests, who are members of their own community, are held in high respect. They gird their boys with the sacred thread at the age of seven to nine years. A feast called the Brahmins' feast or Brahma Bhojan is held where kith and kin and members of the caste are invited."
Sub-divisions across India
Andhra Pradesh
In Andhra Pradesh, Vishwakarmas are called Vishwabrahmins or Vishwakarma Brahmins. The Vishwakarmas, apart from the five traditional occupations, are also engaged in vedaadhyanam. Many eminent Vishwakarma purohits have been felicitated by Government of Andhra Pradesh in honor of their excellence in the veda adhyayana. One of the oldest vedic schools of Andhra Pradesh, Yalavarti Anjaneya Shastri Veda Pathashala, in Tenali, founded in 1893, belongs to Vishwabrahmins and has produced thousands of vedic purohits and another vedic school, Patnala sanyasi rao Veda Pathashala, at Brahmam gari matham, Kadapa, has produced hundreds of vedic purohits by providing free food and accommodation.
In terms of their architectural skills, every temple in Andhra Pradesh stands as an ultimate testimonial for their excellence.[citation needed] Vishwabrahmins have shown their ultimate architectural and craftsmanship in the temples like Kalahasthi, Tirupathi, Srisailam, Lepakshi, Amaravathi, Warangal 1000 pillars temple, Alampur, Arasavilli, Bhadrachalam and Ramappa temple etc.
At Brahmam gari matham in Kadapa District, AP Sri Patnala Sanyasi Rao Garu constructed Navaratna Mandapam.
Tamil Nadu
Vishvabrahmins or Kamaalar or Aachari or Aasaari in Tamil Nadu form several occupational subdivisions. Swarna Shilpis (goldsmiths) (surnames Pathar,in some areas in Tamil Nadu, especially around thanjavur, kumbakonam)
* Kamsya Shilpis (Silver and bronze smiths)
* Ayo Shilpis (ironsmiths)
* Daru Shilpis (Carpenters)
* Rathi Shilpis (Stonemasons)
Each temple of Tamil Nadu is an ultimate testament to the Vishwakarmas. Vishwakarmas have shown their excellent architectural and craftsmanship skills in temples such as Thiruvannamalai, Tanjaore Brihadee swara temple, Kumbhakonam, Kanchipuram, trichy, Madura meenakshi temple, Mahabalipuram, etc.
Vishwabrahmins of Tamil Nadu engaged in Veda Adyayaana has shown their Vedic cognizance on numerous occasions. The Vishwakarma Peetham at Arunachalam, Thiruvannamalai dates back to 1500 years, and jagadguru sri. Adishivalinga acharya guruswamigal is the jagatguru for this peetham. The very ancient and famous Sri Kaligambal Temple situated near the Bay of Bengal in the Chennai city of Tamilnadu maintained by the Viswakarma Brahmin community and administered by five trustees elected by the Viswabrahmin living in Chennai. The Tamilnadu Vishwabrahmana Vaidiga Sangam (http://tamilviswabrahmin.jimdo.com/) is one of the prominent organization working for bringing the vishwakarmas back to rich vedic lifestyle.
Kerala
Vishvakarmas or Viswabrahmins of Kerala, also known as Achary or Viswabrahmins. In the legends of Kerala Vishwabrahmin community, Adi Sankaracharya was the son of a Vishwakarma [Twashtra]. In Sri Sankara Vijaya there is a sloka "Acharyo sankarao nama, Twostha putra nisamshaya, Viprakula gurordweekhsa, Vishwakarman thu Brahmana". Vishwakarmas of Kerala are presently considered backward Hindus and enjoy the benefits of reservation stipulated for the Other Backward Classes. They are classified into various sub-castes.
* Marayasari (carpenters)
* Kallassari/Shilpi (masons, sculptors)
* Moosari (bronzesmiths)
* Thattan (goldsmiths)
* Kollan/Karuvan (blacksmiths)
Karnataka
The Vishwakarma caste of south Karnataka is composed of several sub-castes.
* The Kulachars
* The Shivachars
* The Uttaradi goldsmiths
* The Matachar founders
* The Muddekammaras
* The Doddamanes[11]
Most of these sub-castes do not intermarry and have a hierarchy among themselves. All the sub-castes worships the goddess Kali, they are very similar to Brahmins in their ritual practices but few of them are non-vegetarians.
The Sankruthi Sahiti Prathishtana is a prominent organization from Karnataka working to bring the Vishwabrahmins back to a vaidic life style. G. Gnanananda, is running this organization and started Brahmshri shilpa gurukulam affiliated with Bangalore University at Chikballapur.
Goa
In the state of Goa, Vishvakarmas are known as Charis who call themselves Vishwakarma Manu Maya Brahmins. Other artisan castes do not claim Vishvakarma status. Many artisans were converted and few immigrated during the Portuguese rule. Many who settled in Karnataka were temple builders and are called Gudigars. Others of the Shtapathis were converted and are now sometimes called Thavvayi in Konkani, which is a corrupted form of Sanskrit Sthapati. A math was established by them some 900 years ago in Mazali.
Madhya Pradesh
Vishwakarma Brahmins have a huge presence in Madhya Pradesh. When the British founded the defense industry during the world war, lakhs of Vishwakarma Brahmins took employment in these factories.
Gujarat
Some of the profession practiced by Panchals and related last names are given below:
* Carpentry: Gurjar Sutar (aka Suthar). The common last names in use are Panchal, Suthar, Mistry, Wadia, Pitroda, Sanghadia, Gajjar
* Stone-smith: known as Kadia
* Blacksmith: known as Luhar with lastnames Panchal, Luhar, Sheth.
* Sompuras: Related with construction of temples, wood and stone carving,
Panchals catered to the needs of chariots, horse carriages, furniture, home construction and agricultural equipment. They have witnessed the transition from animal driven water lifting wheel to use of diesel engines and electrical water pumps being used now for irrigation. Many Vishwakarma castes are found in the above-mentioned state. The Vishwabrahmins in Gujarat have the surname Vyas.
The entrepreneurial Panchals developed designs and manufactured various parts, assemblies and sub-assemblies for cotton textile mills. They have been engaged in production of bobbins, shuttles, lattices, weaving looms and ancillary items of equipment for dyeing and bleaching, weaving looms, drilling rigs, water pumps, lathe machine, drilling machines and hand tools.
With industrialization, Panchals adopted technical professions such as draughtsman, design engineer, architects, and shop floor and construction supervisors.
Maharashtra
Vishwakarmas are found in Maharashtra. People from Maharashra share the same surname(Vishwakarma ,Panchal,Suvarnakar) among multiple castes. Hence it would be difficult to pin-point particular surnames as belonging to only the Vishwakarma caste.
Rajasthan
In Rajasthan, the Vishwakarmas are also known as Jangids and suthar.[12]
Bengal
Vishwakarmas in the state of Bengal have the last name of Kar or Karmakar.
Uttar Pradesh and Bihar
Vishwakarmas in the states of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar have the surname of Vishwakarma,Dhiman, Sharma, Mistry,Panchal, Lohar etc title. They are highly skilled in technical area.
Orissa
In the state of Orissa, Vishwakarma Brahmins have the following surnames: Moharana (this title used by all Viswakarmas), Mohapatra (only Mayas - Kastakars), Ojha (only Manu -Lauhakars)e.g. cricketer Pragyan Ojha, Sutar (only Maya -Kastakars), Sahu (Maya -Kastakars & Viswajna -Swarnkars), Parida (Maya -Kastakar and Manu -Lauhakars), Choudhry (Only Maya -Kastakars), Karamkar (Maya and Viswanja), Das (Maya -Kastakars), Bindhani (Maya -Kastakars), Badhei (Maya -Kastakars), Mistry (Maya -Kastakars & Manu -Lauhakars), Mishra (Maya-Kastakars), Subudhi (Maya -Kastakars) and Martha (Maya -Kastakars), Mishra, Senapati, Behera etc.