Chaudhari

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Chaudhari (चौधरी) is title of Jats. These were empowered to collect taxes in certain villages. [1]

Variants

Meaning

Choudhury is a term in Indo-Aryan languages, literally meaning "holder of four". Choudhury was a hereditary title of honor, awarded by Moghul Emperors to persons of eminence. Traditionally, the term is used as a title indicating the ownership of ancestral land, but in contemporary usage it is often taken as a surname or title.

Origin and Description

The direct meaning of the name is "Possessor of four important duties." or "Holder of four parts" from Chadhur (four) and Dhar (to hold or possess). The name is an ancient Sanskrit term denoting the head of a community or caste

In some traditions, the term is said to have been derived from a title for a military commander. This military commander would control four different fighting forces, namely the navy, cavalry, infantry and elephant corps. The earliest reference to Chaudhary is from the 15th century.

This title of Chaudhary was conferred by the Sultans of the New Delhi Sultanate upon its military nobles of Indian Origin. Chaudhary was given the privileged position as an area administrator. In Northern India, the area administrator was given the responsibility to collect taxes, maintain law and order, and provide military supplies/manpower to the provincial government. The Talqdar or area administrators of a region were entitled to retain a percentage of the total revenue collected which was around 10%, a large amount to say the least, but the privileged Chaudhary were able to retain a 25% or ¼ share of the revenue, even more than the area administrator! Hence called the Chaudhry, which also literally means the owner of the fourth part.

Though in North and South India the Chaudhry is different in ethnicity, the job title and responsibilities such as a privileged area administrator or landowner are still the same.

Historic origins of this name can be traced back almost 600 years. This name is of Asian/Middle Eastern descent. Throughout the centuries, families bearing this title of respect or surname are well known in regions around the world as affluent landowners, business owners, trusted merchants, or traders.

A Chaudhri was, during the Mughal Empire, the head-man in a certain District, for the revenue collection of which he was responsible, receiving a fixed percentage on the tax collection. His office was termed “Chaudhariyat.[2]

Chaudhary is a hereditary title of honor originating in the Indian subcontinent. Chaudhary is one possible spelling of Chowdhury. They have governed major areas of the Indian subcontinent before and during British India. Chaudhary is a Zamindar title of important noble standing. Although lesser than royal and princely titles such as Maharaja (Great King), Raja (King) and Nawab, they still owned land and ruled over peasants. The name was especially common in places such as Bihar and Bengal. Those with the surname Chaudhary belong to upper-caste Hindu communities such as Rajputs, Maithil Brahmins, Bhumihars or Kayasthas. Chaudhary itself is not a caste but a title given to a person owning 100 acres of land, these people would then manage, collect taxes, and command these lands like other nobles.

चौधरी

यह उपाधि केवल मुगलकाल से ही प्रचलित है। इसका अर्थ भी 'प्रमुख' है। बादशाहों ने प्रमुख वंशों व व्यक्तियों को यह उपाधि दी थी।

भरतपुर राजपरिवार के रिश्तेदारों, मथुरा के नौवार, हंगा, खड़ई गोत्र, मेरठ एवं अम्बाला कमिश्नरी के सभी जाटों को चौधरी कहलाने का गौरव प्राप्त है। बिजनौर में बारह गांव - बिजनौर, झालो, कुम्हेड़ा, आलमसराय, वलदिया, इस्मायलपुर, नांगल, सुवाहेड़ी, कीरतपुर, आदमपुर आदि के जाट चौधरी कहलाते आये हैं। हरयाणा के सब हिन्दू जाट और पंजाब में हिन्दू व मुसलमान जाट भी चौधरी कहे जाते हैं। चौधरी के साथ साहब भी कहलाने का गौरव जाटों को प्राप्त है। आम बातचीत करते समय जाट को चौधरी साहब कहकर पुकारा जाता है। चौधरी शब्द सुनते ही 'जाट' का बोध हो जाता है। चौधरी शब्द की बड़ी प्रतिष्ठा है। यहां तक कि 'सर' की ऊंची उपाधि मिलने पर भी सर छोटूराम को सर चौधरी छोटूराम कहा जाता है। इसी प्रकार चौधरी कहलाने वाले और भी हैं जैसे - सर सेठ छाजूराम जी चौधरी, सर चौधरी शहाबुद्दीन साहब विधानसभा अध्यक्ष, सर चौधरी जफरुल्ला खां (जाट गोत्र शाही), चीफ जज फेडरेल कोर्ट, राव बहादुर कैप्टन चौधरी लालचन्द जी आदि। फतेहपुर के दीक्षित, सहारनपुर-मेरठ के सभी राजपूत, कानपुर की घाटमपुर तहसील के ब्राह्मण तिवारी, शिकारपुर-बुलन्दशहर के रईस ब्राह्मण, बंगाल के कायस्थों का एक दल, यू० पी० के तगा, गूजर, अहीर मण्डियों के प्रमुख वैश्य भी चौधरी कहलाते हैं। इसी तरह हिन्दुओं की बहुत-सी अन्य जातियां भी अपने पुत्र व पुत्री के ससुर को या अपने सम्बन्धी को सम्मान के तौर पर चौधरी कह दिया करते हैं जो कि उनकी यह स्थायी उपाधि नहीं है।[3]

Duties and Jurisdiction

During the Mughal era, a Taluqa or District usually consisted of 84 villages and a central town. The Taluqdar was required to collect taxes, maintain law and order, and provide military supplies and manpower to the provincial Government. In most cases the Taluqdars were entitled to retain a tenth of the collected revenue. However, some privileged Taluqdars were entitled to a quarter and hence were called Chowdhury, which also literally means owner of the fourth part.According to the Glossary of Punjab Castes, the Talukdars Minhas and Kassar tribes of the Dhanni country (present day Chakwal) in the northwest of Punjab were among the first few to receive this honorific title from the Mughal Emperor, Zaheerudin Babur. During the Mughal era, this title was only conferred upon a few privileged revenue collectors.

However, during the Sikh rule in Punjab this title became very common and quite a few village headmen or 'Lumberdars' were given the title of 'Chowdhury' by Maharaja Ranjit Singh. Ever since, the Chowdhurys of Chakwal style themselves as 'Chowdhurial' to distinguish themselves from the newly appointed men.[4]

In northern Indian states such as Haryana, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh, the title is used by Jats, Rajputs, Gujjars and other landowning ethnic group and communities.[5] However, it is also used by the Brahman-Zamindars, Muslims and Mewari-kayasths.

In Pakistan

In Pakistan the title is used by landowning tribes like Rajputs,Gujjars, Jatts, Kassar[3], and Minhas.

Older references of word Chaudhari

रतन लाल मिश्र[6]लिखते हैं कि एक दूसरा प्रमाण भी है जो फतेहपुर नगर के बसने की बात को थोड़ा पीछे ले जाता है. फ़तेहखां फतेहपुर आया तो अपने साथ पंडित, सेठ, साहूकार लेकर आया. श्री किशनलाल ब्रह्मभट्ट की बही के लेख से ज्ञात होता है कि फ़तेहखां हिसार से संवत 1503 (1446 ई.) में ही इधर आ गया था. इस बही में यों लिखा है -

"हरितवाल गोडवाल नारनोल से फतेहपुर आया, संवत 1503 की साल नवाब फ़तेहखां की वार में चौधरी गंगाराम की बार में."

References

  1. Mahendra Singh Arya et al.: Adhunik Jat Itihas, Agra 1998, p.242
  2. The Rajas of the Punjab by Lepel H. Griffin/The History of the Patiala State,p.4 fn
  3. Jat History Dalip Singh Ahlawat/Chapter II (Page 83-84)
  4. http://wipul.webs.com/apps/blog/show/503705-history-of-the-chaudharies
  5. India. Office of the Registrar General (1962). Census of India, 1961. Manager of Publications. p. 11
  6. रतन लाल मिश्र:शेखावाटी का नवीन इतिहास, कुटीर प्रकाशन मंडावा, 1998, पृ. 89