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Title: Bisati  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Bhatiara, Khumra, Muslim Kamboh (Uttar Pradesh), Chundrigar, Turk Jamat
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia


Total population
Regions with significant populations
 India Pakistan
Related ethnic groups

The Bisati` are a Muslim community, found in North India .[2] Many members of this community migrated to Pakistan in 1947 and have settled in Karachi and Sindh.

History and origin

The Bisati -known as Shamsi biradri and Punjabi biradriare said to get their name from the word bisat', which means goods spread out for sale. They are a community of peddlars and traders. According to their traditions, they have emigrated from BEHRA now in Pakistan, during the period of Shahjahan rule. They are said to have initially settled in Punjab, and then moved different parts of India. They are now found mainly in Lucknow, Kanpur, Faizabad and other parts of Awadh, as well as the districts of Meerut and Saharanpur in the Doab, and in Gopalganj District of Bihar. The community have several sub-clans, known as biradaris, the most important being the Ansari, Hashmi, Khan, Kazi and Mirza. Technically, marriages are said to occur within the biradari, and all biradari members trace their descent from a common ancestor.[2]

Present circumstances

The Bisati have general merchandise business as their main source of income. Many are also vendors of goods such as bangles, buttons, cosmetics and undergarments. They consider themselves of Shaikh status.[3] In Uttar Pradesh, the Bisati are Sunni Muslim of the Barelvi sect, and speak Urdu, and various dialects of Hindi.[4]

The Bisati in Bihar are found throughout the state, with especial concentrations in Gopalganj district. They are also known as Ferriwala, Manihara, Tikulihara, and Pathera. Like the Uttar Pradesh Bisati, they are peddlars, selling hosiery and locally manufactured toys. They claim descent from Bu Ali Shah Qalandar, a Sufi saint, who is said to have come from Iraq. Like other South Asian communities, they are strictly endogamous, and practice both cross cousin and parallel cousin marriages. There are however cases of marriage with the Qassab, Ansari, Churihar and Chik communities. There are now divisions within the community, with successful Bisati running their own businesses. The community are also involved in the running of small industries such as dyeing and weaving. A good many Bisati are now farmers, with cattle rearing, and poultry are important subsidiary occupations. They speak Bhojpuri and most have knowledge of Urdu.[5]

Many members of this community migrated to Pakistan in 1947 and have settled in Karachi and Sindh.

The bisati in (Rajasthan) are found throughout the state, with especial concentration in Sikar District,Nagaur District, Jaipur,Jhunjhunu district, Bhilwara District. They are also known Sheikh,Saiyed,Qureshi,Pathan,mewati bisayati.

See also


  1. ^
  2. ^ a b People of India Uttar Pradesh Volume XLII Part One edited by A Hasan & J C Das pages 336 to 339
  3. ^ People of India Uttar Pradesh Volume XLII Part One edited by A Hasan & J C Das page 339
  4. ^ People of India Uttar Pradesh Volume XLII Part One edited by A Hasan & J C Das page 339
  5. ^ People of India Bihar Volume XVI Part One edited by S Gopal & Hetukar Jha pages 202 to 204 Seagull Books
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