significant that Bankura district has a predominance of the Santals and the so-called low
castes but essentially martial communities of the Doms and the Bauris. Roughly the
population of the Bauris in West Bengal comes to a little more than three lakhs and about
two and half lakhs of Bauris live in the districts of Burdwan, Birbhum and Bankura. The
Doms count a little more than a lakh in Bengal and two-thirds of them are to be found in
The contribution of these so-called lower but virile and important castes to the
culture-complex of Bengal is substantial although it has not yet been fully appraised.
Many of the local legends and much of local history are associated with the Dhibars
(fishermen), Doms, Bauris and such other castes that are collectively known as
Bygra-Kshatriya. Many of the ruling families in this area either emanated from them or
entirely depended on the
strength of their arms for the continuity of their rule. Many of their indigenous gods and
godlings have found a place in the eclectic Hindu pantheon of deities. Any enquiry into
the folk-tales, ballads, local songs, proverbs and local festivals will show how deep was
their contribution to the social and cultural level. It is they who fought for the rulers
and supplied military escort for treasures. It is they who supplied the labor for
cultivation. Even the history of the temples in the district of Bankura cannot do without
a reference to these so-called lower castes of the district.
The temples of Bankura district have recently been highlighted in a number of articles and
books in the Bengali Press.2
The Tribes and Castes of West Bengal: A.Mitra: W.B.
Government, 1953, pp. 83-198.
(1) Bankurar Mandir (Bengali), Amiya Kumar
Bandopadhyaya, Calcutta, 1965.