Bhoksa, also known as Buksa, are indigenous peoples living mainly in
the Indian states of
Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh. They are mostly
concentrated in Dehradun and Nainital districts in the Kumaon
foothills of the outer Himalayas. They are also found in the Bijnor
district of Uttar Pradesh, where they are known as Mehra. Both
communities have been granted Scheduled Tribe status.
3 Present circumstances
4 See also
The language of Bhoksa is one of the Tharu languages.
The language is spoken in Uttarakhand, mainly in southwestern Nainital
district, along a diagonal from Ramnagar to Keneshpur. It is spoken
around 130 villages in
Kichha and Kashipur tahsils, some in
Garhwal Districts.
There are various traditions as to why the community acquired the name
Bhoksa. According to some experts, the name is a corruption of the
word buqra, which is root found in the Terai, and was the staple diet
of the Bhoksa. Other traditions state that they acquired the name on
account of the fact that their appearance was unkempt, and their
neighbours gave the name boksa, which means a mountain goat in the
local Pahari language.[clarification needed] In Dehradun and Bijnor
districts, they are known as Mehra, which is said to be a corruption
Hindi word mehram, which means a knowledgeable person. They are
said to have acquired this name on the account of the fact that they
were the only community that was employed as guides by travelers in
the Terai. According to the community's own traditions, they are
Rajputs from the
Deccan Plateau that fled to the hills to escape the
Muslim conquerors of India. This is said to be
reflected in their sub-division, the Rajvanshi, Suryavanshi,
Chandravanshi and Dujvanshi, all well known
Rajput sub-groups. The
Bhoksa are found along the slopes of the lower Himalayas, in a
forested region known as the Terai. In Uttar Pradesh, they are found
in Pilibhit and
Bijnor districts, while in Uttarakhand, they are found
in Udham Singh Nagar and Dehradun districts.
The Bhoksa are now Hindu, having abandoned earlier animist traditions,
and this is seen by their use of
Brahmin priests. However, they
maintain a tribal deity, Shakumbari Devi, to which they place a
special relevance. The Bhoksa now speak Hindi, and have customs
similar to other neighbouring
Hindu communities. The Bhoksa still
occupy distinct settlements, which they do not share with any tribal
or caste grouping.They are now cultivators, with many maintaining
their secondary occupation as mountain guides.
The Bhoksa are strictly endogamous, and practice clan exogamy. Their
main clans are the Chauhan, Pundir, Tonwar, Chambaval, Kutiyala,
Panwar, Phalsane, Katheriya, Tumbewar, Banwarbatti, Lakkiwal,
Malanhas, Khasam, Kotwal and Chad. All these clans are of equal
status, and intermarry.
As of 2001[update], the Bhoksa of
Uttarakhand were classified as a
Scheduled Tribe under the Indian government's reservation program of
affirmative action. As Buksa, they are similarly classified in
List of Scheduled Tribes in Uttar Pradesh
^ "Uttaranchal, DATA HIGHLIGHTS: THE SCHEDULED TRIBES, Census of India
2001" (PDF). Retrieved 2008-03-16.
^ "Uttar Pradesh, DATA HIGHLIGHTS: THE SCHEDULED TRIBES, Census of
India 2001" (PDF). Retrieved 2008-03-16.
^ Singh, R. "Composition and Social Order". Social Transformation of
Indian Tribes. New Delhi, India: Anmol Publications PVT. LTD.
pp. 25–26. ISBN 81-261-0452-X.
^ "Buksa". ethnologie.com. Retrieved 31 August 2012.
^ a b People of
Uttar Pradesh Volume XLII Part One edited by A
Hasan & J C Das pages 289 to 293 Manohar Publications
^ "List of Scheduled Tribes". Census of India: Government of India. 7
March 2007. Archived from the original on 5 June 2010. Retrieved 27
^ "State wise Scheduled Tribes — Uttar Pradesh" (PDF). Ministry
of Tribal Affairs, Government of India. Archived from the original
(PDF) on 2016-11-23. Retrieved 2017-02-04.
Scheduled tribes of India