Gotras of Kashmiri Pandits

 

Sects

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 farmily'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.
 
 

Bhanamasis
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
 
Malmasis
Gotras  Nick Names
Atri Bhargaya 
Hapa
Artha Varshaganya Shandalya 
Choudhri
Bharadwaj
 
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
 
Shandalya
 
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.
Calcutta
Kashmiri Overseas Association
 Kashmiri Names