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Bundelkhand's Scheduled Castes

Compared to the rest of UP, MP and India, Bundelkhand has a relatively high SC population.

District-wise largest SC groups (Census 2001)

District SC Pop (% of total) Largest SC groups
Jhansi 28.0 Chamar, Kori, Dhobi
Lalitpur 24.9 Chamar, Dhobi
Jalaun 27.0 Chamar, Kori, Dhobi
Hamirpur 22.8 Chamar, Kori, Basor
Mahoba 25.8 Chamar, Kori, Basor
Banda 20.8 Chamar, Kori, Dhobi
Chitrakoot 26.3 Chamar, Kol, Kori
Datia 25 Chamar, Koli, Khangar
Chhatarpur 23.3 Chamar, Koli, Kumhar
Tikamgarh 24.3 Chamar, Basor, Kumhar
Panna 20 Chamar, Kumhar, Koli
Damoh 19.5 Chamar, Basor, Chadar
Sagar 20.5 Chamar, Chadar, Koli
UP state average 21.1  
MP state average 15.2  
India average 16.2  

Percentages derived from figures in district-wise Basic Data Sheets of Census 2001. The second column lists SC population percentage in entire district, including urban areas and is hence different from percentages for rural areas only given in table 'Distribution of social groups among rural households (2002)' in Castes.

The high SC population has some important implications.

Generally, compared to other castes, SC households possess less land, of lower quality and incidence of landlessness among them is higher.

Traditionally deprived of education, in an under-developed, rural economy, SC households fall easily into a trap of never-ending, highly exploitative manual labour.

Oppressive, feudal relations remain the norm in Bundelkhand and SC claim to higher social status, or efforts to enhance economic status, are often met with violence. (Read a related story about a recent incident reported in the Indian Express).

The relatively high SC population also has political implications: Bundelkhand is of particular interest to political parties banking on an 'SC vote'. 

Chamars and related groups form the largest SC group (see table) in the region, with an aggregate population of around 13 lakhs across UP Bundelkhand and 10 lakhs across MP Bundelkhand, according to figures from district-wise Basic Data Sheets of Census 2001.   

Traditionally people who worked with leather (and hence their lower status), Chamars form the major portion of labourers in villages. Many Chamars however have been upwardly mobile and have acquired land; the Jhansi district gazetteer [ p 83] reported that in 1947, Chamars owned 6.2% of the land.

Khangars, a martial race that is said to have been overpowered by Bundelas around the 13th century (read about Khangars and early Bundelas) , and Basors (basket makers) are also among major SC groups of MP Bundelkhand (Khangars are in the general category in UP).

Some households from SC groups like Doms that continue to work as scavengers or rear pigs and other highly marginalised groups that were considered 'criminals' during British rule are generally shunned by the rest of the rural community even today. (Read a story about Doms in the ABSSS website).

Also at the bottom of the social ladder are tribal groups, including Kols, who enjoy scheduled tribe (ST) status in MP, but are considered SCs in UP. 

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