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  • 26 December, 2023

  • 2 Min Read

Dhangar Community in Maharashtra

The Dhangar community’s demand for ST status has been dismissed.

Dhangars – They are large cluster of pastoral groups and they live mostly in Western Maharashtra and Marathwada.

Population – In Maharashtra, they are estimated to range from 4 to 12% of the total population (unofficially estimate).

  • Reservation status – In Maharashtra, there is an exclusive quota of 3.5% under a separate category called NT (No Tribe).
  • In central list, they are recognised as Other Backward Classes (OBC) community.

Demand for ST status – It started in 1955, when there was no reservation for them either in the state or at the Centre.

Reason for demand – Better constitutional safeguards to SC and ST than to OBCs.

Article 340 directs the President to constitute a commission to identify backward communities and make recommendations for their upliftment.

Discretion of executive government in implementing welfare activities for OBC

    • The 1st BC commission’s (Kaka Kelkar) report came in 1955, whose recommendations were never implemented.
    • The 2nd BC Commission’s (Mandal) report came in 1980 whose recommendations were implemented partially only in 1990.

Historical background of Dhangar

  • Economic activity – British identified 23 subgroups of the Dhangars, many specialising in livestock activities.
  • While mostly settled as agriculturalist, some within the cluster were nomadic.
    • The Dange Dhangars herd buffaloes in high-rainfall forest tracts of the Western Ghats.
  • Social status – British recognised them as a tribe for their nomadic nature and lower status in Maharashtra.
  • However, few were privileged and even have royal antecedents.
    • Ahilyabai Holkar, the queen who reigned the Malwa region in the 18th century was a Dhangar.


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