Gotras of Kashmiri Pandits

Gotras of Kashmiri Pandits

The Kashmiri Brahmins are divided into 199 exogamous sections (gotras) the members of which profess to be descended from the Rishi or inspired saint whose name the gotra bears. Among these sub-divisions social preeedence is governed by the spiritual greatness or the inferiority of the respective Rishis, Koul being considered the highest of all the sub-divisions. But, generally, social position is determined by the nature of occupation followed rather than by the gotra and those who have been employed in superior State service since two or three generations hold their heads high above, those who are engaged in trade or cultivation. Originally there existed only six gotras, viz., Dhattatreya, Bharadwaja, Paladeva, Aupamanyava, Maudgalya and Dhaumyayana. By intermarriage and intermixture with other Brahmins the number of gotras multiplied to 199. According to some authorities there were only three principal divisions viz., Bhat, Pandit and Razdan, from which are derived the distinctive appellations of Koul, Sopori Pandit and Raina. From these three families, as each took to a particular occupation or by adoption or intermarriage with other gotras, other gotras came into existence.

Besides gotra, each family has a kram or nick-name added to the original name by reason of the head of the family's or any of his ancestor's special calling or because of such peculiar circumstance which has occurred to him. For instance, a man, named Wasdev, had mulberry tree growing in his courtyard and, therefore, he was called Wasdev Tul (mulberry). He, in order to get rid of this nick-name, cut down the tree. But a mund (trunk) remained and people began to call him Wasdev Mund. He then removed the trunk of the tree but by its removal a khud (depression) was caused and henceforth people called him Wasdev Khud. He then filled up the depression and the ground became teng (a little elevated) and he began to be called Wasdev Teng. Thus exasperated, he left to do any further attempt to remove the cause of his nick-name and it continued to be Teng which is now attached to the names of his descendents.

The Kashmiri Brahmins perform their religious ceremonies and rites according to the Vedas of Laugakshi Rishi and the Nilamatpurana. They freely partake of fish and flesh. They intermarry, only avoiding gotras on both paternal and maternal sides. A list of gotras, together with the two chief divisions of Bhamamasis and malmasis and the nick-names of the families belonging to each gotra is at the end of this chapter.

Pocock says that there are traces of the settlements of Kashmiris in Greece and from this he infers that the Kashmiri Pandits were originally Greek or Persian settlers in the valley who were Brahmanised. It is by no means improbable that some Kashmiris went to Persia and Greece in the time of Darius Hystapse's invasion of the Punjab and Alexander's conquest of India (331 B.C.) and settled there. Hence there might be traces of Kashmiri settlement in those countries. It is possible that some people from Greece came and settled in Kashmir in ancient times. The tribe Mlecchas which existed here in the time of Ashoka is assumed to have been Greeks (see Rajatarangini I, footnote 10). These were driven out of the country by his son Jalauka. But Mlecchas were quite a distinct race from the Kashmiri Brahmins.

There is a tradition in Maharashtra that white men like Kashmiri Brahmins got drifted in a storm on the Malabar Coast and, being supposed to be dead, were, however, found alive when attempted to be cremated. Probably it was a large number of fugitives from Kashmir in the time when Hindus here were being forced to embrace Islam. They might have been quite exhausted and emaciated as if looking dead after their long and tedious journey. The terms of this tradition are, I believe, a grossly exaggerated form of expression.

During the Muhammadan rule some Brahmins were once given option to either submit to the sword or take food prepared by a Musalman. They naturally quivered at the prospect of death and unwillingly accepted the latter alternative, but, in their anguish to reduce pollution to its minimum. made the Musalman cook boil rice in a new lej or earthen pot and when ready they took it out from the lej with their own hands and reluctantly ate it. They afterwards expaciated for the forcible pollution by performing Prayashchitta but still the Biradari, who were as punctilious as ever, ostracised them, condemmning them for not having preferred death to losing their caste by pollution as thousands others had boldly done under such circumstances. Their descedents are called Lejibat because of their ancestors having eaten food cooked by a Muhammadan in a lej. A stigma also attaches to the members of the caste known as Wurud or Purib who are the illegitimate offspring or are of a mixed union in which one of the parents is brahrmin and the other a khatri. No Brahmin will take food touched by a Lejibat, Wurud or Purib. In the time of Zain-ul-abdin the Brahmins, who studied Persian and took to government service, were called Karkuns. With the advent of Sikh rule in 1819 A.D. some Karkuns began the study of Sanskrit literature again, and they were called Pandits. Karkuns do not, intermarry with Bachabats. Those who are versed in astrology and draw up calendars, cast horoscopes and profess to prophecy future events, are called Jotshis. The priests, who preside over Shiva worship, are called Gurins. The Panyechh are those who receive alms and other offerings connected with funeral obsequies. Their office is legarded as derogatory by the Bachabats as well as the Karkuns who, for this reason, look down on them and refuse to take food from their hands. 

Gotras  Nick Names
Bhava Kapishthala Khoru, Zadu, Sibbu, Vantu, Chandra, Kalla, Khaibri, Lattu.
Bhava Kapishthal Aupamanyava  Wanikhan. 
Bhuta Vatsya Aupamanyava  Peshin.
Bhuta Vatsya Lauaakshi  
Dar Bharadwaja  Bangi, Dar, Jawansher, Misri, Parikala, Qandahari Thalatsur, Tritsha, Tshut, Turki, Uthu, Vichari, Waguzari.
Dar Varshaganya  Bakhshi, Kachru, Safaya, Shali
Dar Wasak Shandilya  Safaya.
Deva Bharadwaja  Jatu, Khurdi, Sabani, Yachh, Zaru, Kallu.
Deva Vardhatta Shalan Kaushika  Tsrungu. 
Deva Varshaganya Shandilya  Safaya.
Datthtreya (Koul)  Aima, Babu, Bamtsunt, Bamzai, Buju, Chowdhri, Dandar, Dangar, Drabi, Dout, Hak, Jalali, Jinsi, Jota, Kak, Keni, Kissu, Kothdar, Ladakhi, Mekhzin, Mandal, Moza, Muhtasib, Nagari, Padar, Pahalwan, Ratiz, Sahib, Shargha, Shoga, Singhari, Salman, Sultan, Tota, Ugra, Zamindar.
Kantha Dhaumyana Laugakshi Gautama  Bandar, Breth, Hastiwal, Muhtasib, Kav, Razdan, Shah, Shair, Wangani, Wat, Zari.
Paldeva Vasagargya  Pat, Kukru, Khoshu. Kav, Pir, Malla.
Pat Svamina Kaushika  Amhardar, Bira, Braru, Chacha, Chaghat, Durani, Fotedar, Ganju, Jala, Kachru, Kalu, Khurdi, Kyani, Mam, Mattu, Misri, Pandit, Panzu, Salman, Shanglu Sulu, Teng, Tritshal, Unt, Vashnavi, Wufa, Wanchu, Waza, Zithu.
Pat Svamina Deva Ratra Parwara  Pandit, Watal. 
Raj Kaushika  Khod.
Svamina Bharadvaja  Bazari, Garyali, Jan, Khar, Miskin, Miyan, Munshi, Tikku.
Svamina Gautama  Gagar, Tava, Padora, Parimu, Keni, Kak, Razdan, Fehrist, Tarivala.
Svamina Gautama Laugakshi  Fata.
Svamina Koshk Bharadwaja  Bhatt, Kukru.
Svamina Maudgalya  Lala, Kandar, Buni
Svamina Laugakshi  Tur
Svamina Vasishtha Vatsya Laugakshi   
Svamina Was Atreya  Thusu.
Shalan Kautsa Sharman Gusha Watsya Aupamanyava  Tilwan Koul, Mukka.
Wasadeva Palagargya  Bindri



Gotras  Nick Names
Atri Bhargaya  Hapa
Artha Varshaganya Shandalya  Choudhri
Bhava Atreya  
Bhava Devalya  
Bhava Kapishthala Kaushika  Patar
Bhava Kapishthala Manana  
Bhava Aupamanyava  Variku
Bhuta Laugakshi Dhaumyayana Gautama  
Bhuta Laugakshi Gautama  
Bhuta Raja Laugakshi Dhaumyayana Gautama  
Bhuta Aupamanyava Laugakshi  
Bhuta Aupamanyava Shalan Kayana  Giru
Bhuta Aupamanyava Vatsya Laugakshi  Pishen
Bhuta Was Aupamanyava Laugakshi  Peshen, Thakur, Zalpari
Dar Bharadwaja Paladev Vasagargya  
Dar Dev Shalan Kapi  Mota
Dar Dev Shalana Kaushika  Muttu
Dar Dev Shalana Kuayana  
Dar Kapisthala  Lidi, Bhatt.
Dar Kapisthala Upamanuva  Mich
Dar Shandalya  Jogi
Dar Sharman Kautsa  
Dipat Saman Aupamanyava  Sapru
Dat Dat Shalan Kautsa  Bhatt, Kasab, Khaumush, Malik
Dhaumyayana  Razdan
Datta Kaushika  
Dat Sharman Kantha Kashyapa  Raina
Dat Varshaganya  Sazawul
Dat Was  Khari
Deva Bharadwaja  Bhatt, Gadar, Kallu
Deva Bharadwaja Kaushika  Deva
Deva Gargya  Bhan
Deva Gautama  Bhatt, Purbi
Deva Gautama Laugakshi  Hakim
Deva Kaushika  Bhatt
Deva Kantha Kashyapa  Kar
Deva Kucha Atreya  Badgami
Deva Kashyap Maudgalya Kashyap  Bradi
Deva Laugakshi  Mantapuri, Pandit
Deva Parashara  Thogan, Tulsi, Yachh, Kak
Deva Patsvamina Aupamanyava Kaushika  
Deva Patsvamina Koshk  Kalpush
Deva Rishi Kaushika  
Deva Svamina Gautama Kaushika Maudgalya  
Deva Sharmanya Kautsa  
Deva Shandalya  Bataphalu, Karawani
Dev Svamina Maudgalya  Bradi
Dev Chahanda Shandalya  
Dev Aupamanyava  Kalu, Khashu, Meva, Pandit
Dev Vasishta Bharadwaja  
Dev Wasishta  Shopuri, Hukku
Dev Vishamitra Varshaganya  Kem, Vangar
Dev Wasishta  Ukhlu
Ishwar Shandalya Kusha  Nakhasi, Raval
Kautsa Atreya  Bhatt
Kaushika Bhardwaja  Bhatt, Nagari
Kanth Kasahap  Bhatt, Dassu, Razdan, Tangan
Karchanda Shandale  Chandru, Kar
Kara Shandalya  Mantu
Kash Aupamanyava  Bhatt
Mitra Atreya  
Mitra Kaushika  
Mitra Kashyapa  Handu
Mitra Shandalya  Bhatt
Mitra Svamina Kaushika Atreya  Said
Nanda Kaushika Bharadwaja  Pandit
Nanda Kotsa  
Nanda Koshk  Bhatt
(Deva) Parashara  Yechh
Paladeva Vasgargya  Bangru, Bakaya, Kadalabuju, Khashu, Kichlu, Kokru, Mala, Mam, Mirakhur, Misri, Munga, Pir, Put, Sopuri-Pandit
Raj Dat Atreya Shalan Kautsa  Bhatt
Raj Bhut Logaskhi Deval  Bhan
Ratra Bhargava  Zitshoo, Chacha
Raj Dhattatreya  Partazi
Ratna Kucha  
Raj Kaushika  Hakachar
Rishi Kaushika  Kashgari
Raj Kautsa  
Rishi Kavigargya  Zaru
Ratna Maudgalya  
Rama Ratra Vishwamitra Agastya  
Rama Ratra Vishwamitra Vasishta  
Raj Shandalya  Duru
Raj Soma Shandale  
Ratra Varshaganya  Kotar
Raj Vasisht  Shunglu
Ratra Vishwamitra Agastya Aupamanyava  
Ratra Vishwamitra Vasishta  Trakari
Ratra Vishwamitra Agastya  Mattu
Sharman Atreya  Gaddu
Sharman Bharadwaja  Bhatt
Shandalya Bharadwaja  Bhatt
Sharman Kautsa  Bhatt, Mogal, Sav, Thela
Sharman Kanth Kashyapa  
Shalan Kayana Atreya  
Sharman Kaushika  
Sharman Shandalya  
Shila Shandalya  
Soma Gargya  
Soma Shandalya  
Soma Vatsa Gargya  
Svamina Atreya  Chaka, Handu, Gadwali, Kala, Shal, Sikh
Svamina Bhargava  Bali, Battiv
Svamina Bharadwaja  Khar, Kutsru
Svamina Bharadwaja Vatsa Atreya  
Svamina Bharadwaja Kaushika Vatsa  
Svamina Bharadwaja Vas Atre  Kalu
Svamina Bharadwaja Kaushika  
Svamina Bharadwaja Shandalya  
Svamina Bharadwaja Kaushika  
Svamina Bharadwaja Dhuni, Kashypa, Gautama, Laugakshi Divali  
Svamina Deva Gargya  
Svamina Gargya  Machama
Svamina Gautama  Bazaz, Badam, Charangu, Chillum, Gurut, Kak, Khosa, Kakapuri, Labru Langer, Manwotu, Naqib, Padora, Piala, Qazi, Razdan, Thalatsur, Thapal, Zari
Svamina Gautama Atreya Shalan Kucha  Raina
Svamina Gan Kaushika  Padi
Svamina Gotam Bharadwaja  Kemdal, Karihalu
Svamina Gotam Laugakshi  Choku, Chhotu, Turi
Svamina Gotam Shandalya  Labru, Razdan
Svamina Gotam Kaushika  
Svamina Gotam Shalan Kucha Atreya  Razdan
Svamina Gotam Gosh Vas Aupamanyava  Chakan
Svamina Gotam Atreya  Tsul
Svamina Gotam Shalan Kucha  
Svamina Hasya Dvaseya  Khanakatu
Svamina Kaushika  Thakur, Watal
Svamina Kantha Kashyapa  Labru
Svamina Laugakshi  
Svamina Maudgalya  Bhuni, Chana, Dewani, Galikrapa, Kanth, Khazanchi, Mazari, Muj, Madan, Mushran, Put, Shora Taku, Zahi, Razdan, Zitu, Zotan
Svamina Maudgalya Parashara  
Svamina Parashara  
Svamina Rishi Kanya Gargya  Koul (Kulin)
Svamina Rishi Kanya Vatsya  
Svamina Shandalya  Bhatt, Bakhshi, Nari
Svamina Aupamanyava  Gigu
Svamina Kautsa Atreya  
Svamina Vasishta  
Svamina Vasishta Bharadwaja  Bhatt, Handu, Hukhu
Svamina Vaaa Gulak  
Svamina Vara Mitra Vatsya Guna Kaushika  
Svamina Vasa Gargya  Langer, Sum
Svamina Vatsya  
Svamina Vas Atreya  Ghasi, Thusu, Waza
Svamina Vatsya Aupamanyava  Bhatt, Wallu
Svamina Warshaganya  Chothai; Duda, Hangal, Kathju, Lange, Kasid
Svamina Was   
Chhanda Shandalya  
Varshayani  Barbuz, Karnel
Vatsya Atreya  
Vatsya Gusha Aupamanyava  Pandit
Vishnu Bharadwaja  
Vishnu Gargya  
Vishnu Shaunaka  
Vasishta Svamina Maudgalya  Bhandari
Vasa Aupamanyava Laugakshi  
Wasishta  Bhatt, Rangateng
Wasishta Dhatta Shalana Kucha   
Wardhatta Shalana Kucha  Muki
Wata Shalana Kucha  

Excerpts from: 
The Kashmiri Pandit 
by Pandit Anand Koul 
Thacker, Spink & Co. 

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