Doms المصدر: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doms

The Dom (Sanskrit ḍoma, dialectally also Domra, Domba, Domaka, Dombari and variants) are caste, or groups, scattered across India. Dom were a caste of drummer.[1] According to Tantra scriptures, the Dom were engaged in occupation of singing and playing music.[2] Historically, they were considered as an untouchable caste and their traditional occupation has been disposal and cremation of dead bodies.[3][4] They are in the list of Scheduled caste for Reservation in India in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Odisha and West Bengal.[5][6][7][8][9]


According to Tantra scriptures, individuals who live by singing and music were mention as Dom. According to historian M.P Joshi, the word Duma is connected to the sound of a drum.[2] Its presumed root, ḍom, which is connected with drumming, is linked to damara and damaru, Sanskrit terms for "drum" and the Sanskrit verbal root डम् ḍam- 'to sound (as a drum)', perhaps a loan from Dravidian, e.g. Kannada ḍamāra 'a pair of kettle-drums', and Telugu ṭamaṭama 'a drum, tomtom'.[10]


The term dom is mentioned in Tantra scriptures as individuals who live by singing and music. During the reign of the Chand dynasty and Gorkha, all service castes were referred to as Dom and were prohibited from wearing gold and silver ornaments. They had to work as palanquin bearers, but they were prohibited from using palanquins at their weddings. They had to live in separate villages with different cremation sites and water sources. They had to bury the dead cows of others of which they ate flesh. During the British period, the British prohibited these discriminative practices. However British also had prejudice against the Doms with their racial theory. Social activist Lala Lajpat Rai and dalit leader Khusi Ram sought to reject low caste status and introduced the term Shilpkar to replace the prjorative Dom. They conducted purification rituals of Arya Samaj in which shilkars wore scared threads (Janeu) and were allowed to use a palanquin in their wedding. Since then, in Uttarakhand, the Shilpkar replaced Dom in the official category. But it has done little to reduce the social stigma in the central Himalaya region.[2]

Many nomadic and peripatetic groups in Uttar Pradesh are said to be of Dom origin such as the Bangali, Bhantu, Bazigar, Habura, Kanjar, and Sansi. It could also be that the term Dom is generically used to describe any peripatetic nomad, as all of the aforementioned groups are distinct and strictly endogamous. Some speak a dialect or argot of their own, while others speak the prevailing dialect or language.[11]

The Doms were formerly classified as a criminal tribe under the Criminal Tribes Acts of the British Raj.[12][13]

A Dom man in Eastern Bengal, c. 1860.


Hunza valley[edit]

The people are called Bericho, Dom, or Doma. The Dom identity developed out of their work as musicians. They are a heterogeneous group, descended from a number of families that took up service with the various local rulers. The Dom belong to the Nizari Ismaili sect in Hunza.[14]


Dom were engaged in occupation of singing and playing music in Uttarakhand. They were also engaged in disposal of dead animals.[2]


Dom were engaged in occupation of beating drums in marriage ceremonies in Delhi of caste hindus. But marriages of high caste are facilities by Brahmin priest where drum is not beaten. In Delhi, Dom women facilities marriages of Bhangi caste by singing and drum beating as Brahmin not facilities marriages of Bhangi caste as they are considered untouchable.[1]


In Jashpur district of Chhattisgarh, Dom were ruler from 16th century to 18th century until the defeat of king Raibhan of Dom dynasty by Sujan Rai of Sonpur who established Jashpur State.[15]


In Varanasi, the city in Uttar Pradesh, the Dom perform the most important task of cremation of dead bodies.[16] According to puranic legend, Raja Harishchandra was purchased by Kallu Dom and Harishchandra was working under him.[17][18] But According to Purana, Harishchandra was purchased by a Chandaala and employed in cremation ground.[19]

Present Circumstances[edit]

The traditional occupation of Dom was making musical instruments and households items of bamboo. Still they make Musical instruments and households items of bamboo. But due to advent of the electronic music such as DJ, their sell of musical instruments has dwindled.


There are around 706,000 Doms in Odisha.[20]

Doms numbered 316,337 at the 2001 census and were 1.7 percent of the scheduled caste population of West Bengal. The same census found overall 46.0 percent of Doms (aged 7 and up) were literate. Along gender lines, 58.9 percent of males and 32.6 percent of females were found by the census to be literate.[7]

The 2011 Census of India for Uttar Pradesh showed the Dom as a Scheduled Caste with a population of 110,353.[5]

Official Classification[edit]

Dom are listed as Scheduled Caste for Reservation in India in Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Odisha and West Bengal.[5][6][7][8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Rama Sharma (1995). Bhangi, Scavenger in Indian Society: Marginality, Identity, and Politicization of the Community. M.D. Publications Pvt. Ltd. p. 126. ISBN 978-8185880709.
  2. ^ a b c d Stefan Fiol (2017). Recasting Folk in the Himalayas: Indian Music, Media, and Social Mobility. University of Illinois Press. p. 51-53. ISBN 978-0252099786.
  3. ^ Panchali Ray (2019). Politics of Precarity:Gendered Subjects and the Health Care Industry in Contemporary Kolkata. OUP India. p. 207.
  4. ^ Robert E. Van Voorst (2018). RELG: WORLD. Cengage Learning. p. 85.
  5. ^ a b c "A-10 Individual Scheduled Caste Primary Census Abstract Data and its Appendix – Uttar Pradesh". Registrar General & Census Commissioner, India. Retrieved 6 February 2017.
  6. ^ a b "Bihar Caste List 2022". Biharonlineportal. Retrieved 26 November 2022.
  7. ^ a b c "West Bengal, Census of India 2001, Data Highlights – The Scheduled Castes" (PDF). Office of the Registrar General, India. Retrieved 28 June 2009.
  8. ^ a b "Dom". Retrieved 26 November 2022.
  9. ^ "Legal Database".
  10. ^ T. Burrow and M.B. Emeneau, A Dravidian Etymological Dictionary 2nd ed. (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1984), p. 257, entry #2949.
  11. ^ Nomads in India : proceedings of the National Seminar / edited by P.K. Misra, K.C. Malhotra
  12. ^ Bates, Crispin (1995). "Race, Caste and Tribe in Central India: the early origins of Indian anthropometry". In Robb, Peter (ed.). The Concept of Race in South Asia. Delhi: Oxford University Press. p. 227. ISBN 978-0-19-563767-0. Retrieved 1 December 2011.
  13. ^ Gupta, Ganesh (2005). Padabi Abhidhan [Dictionary of Family Names] (in Bengali). Kolkata: Annapurna Prakashan. p. 52.
  14. ^ Disappearing peoples? : indigenous groups and ethnic minorities in South and Central Asia. Brower, Barbara Anne., Johnston, Barbara Rose. Walnut Creek, CA: Left Coast Press. 2007. ISBN 978-1-59874-726-3. OCLC 647914842.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: others (link)
  15. ^ Shashishekhar Gopal Deogaonkar (1985). The Hill Korwa. Concept Publishing Company. p. 22. Retrieved 25 November 2022.
  16. ^ "Doms of Varanasi make a living among the dead". reuters. 26 October 2017. Retrieved 26 November 2022.
  17. ^ Namit Arora (2021). Indians: A Brief History of A Civilization. Penguin Random House India Private Limited. p. 329. ISBN 978-9353052874.
  18. ^ Lalita Prasad Vidyarthi, Makhan Jha, Baidyanath Saraswati (1979). The Sacred Complex of Kashi: A Microcosm of Indian Civilization. Concept Publishing Company. p. 306.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  19. ^ Bibek Debroy (2008). Sarama and Her Children: The Dog in Indian Myth. Penguin Books India. p. 116. ISBN 978-0143064701.
  20. ^ "Census of India Website : Office of the Registrar General & Census Commissioner, India". censusindia.gov.in. Retrieved 11 May 2020.

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