Shashibhushan Kunwar, Patna
Bihar caste based census data has been released by Bihar government. These data have been compiled by the General Administration. Before this, ethnographic study of Bahelia, Chandravanshi and Mali (Malakar) castes has also been conducted by the General Administration in the year 2013, 2015 and 2016. The numbers of Bahliya caste, Chandravanshi (Kahar, Kamkar) castes and Mali (Malakar) castes mentioned in the report of caste based census are less than the ethnographic study. Ethnographic study of these three castes has also been conducted by the General Administration. Ethnography report has been done by AN Singh Institute of Social Studies, Patna. There is no coordination in the population numbers of these three castes in both the studies. Even during the last five-seven years the population of all three castes seems to be decreasing.
Case-1: Fowler caste
(The number in the ethnography report is 67535) In the caste census report, the population of Bahelia caste has been recorded as 8026. An ethnographic study on this caste was conducted by AN Singh Institute of Social Studies in 2015. Its project director was Prof. Ajay Kumar Jha. In the ethnic report of Bahelia caste of Bihar state conducted by AN Singh Institute of Social Studies, it has been told that their population is 67,535 in 2015 itself. The main occupation of the Fowler caste has traditionally been killing or catching birds and selling them. This livelihood profession has changed with time. This caste lives in 17 districts of the state. Khagaria, Kaimur and Buxar districts have the highest population of seven thousand each. Apart from this, this caste is found in Bhagalpur, Rohtas, Aurangabad, Gaya, Purnia, Katihar, Munger, Kishanganj, Araria, Saharsa, Bhojpur, Arwal, Patna and West Champaran districts.
Case-2: Chandravanshi (Kahar, Kamkar)
According to the caste census, the population of Chandravanshi (Kahar, Kamkar) caste is total 21 lakh 55 thousand 644 in the entire state. Ethnographic study of this caste was also conducted by AN Singh Institute of Social Studies on behalf of the General Administration in 2013. Its project director was also Prof. Ajay Kumar Jha. It has been told in the ethnography report that people of Kahar caste are also known by the names Chandravashi and Ravani. In the study, the population of Kahar or Chandravanshi caste has been stated to be 30 lakh 32 thousand 800. This caste lives in all the 38 districts of the state. The study found that the maximum population of 1 lakh 55 people of Kahar caste lives in Gaya district.
In the caste-based census 2022 report, the population of Mali (Malakar) caste in the state has been recorded at three lakh 49 thousand 285. On behalf of the General Administration Department, an ethnography report of Mali (Malakar) castes has been prepared by AN Singh Institute of Social Studies in the year 2016. Its project director is BN Prasad. It has been told in the ethnography report that the number of Mali (Malakar) castes in the entire state is 13 lakh 15 thousand 465. District wise and block wise study of Mali (Malakar) castes has been conducted. This caste also lives in all the districts of the state. Maximum 91 thousand 750 people of Mali caste live in Madhubani district. They also have four sub-castes.