Rahul Sharma

Teli

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Teli

Teli is a caste traditionally occupied in the pressing of oil in India, Nepal and Pakistan. Members may be either Hindu or Muslim; Muslim Teli are called Roshandaar or Teli Malik.

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The Jewish community of Maharashtra (called Bene Israel) was also known to be a sub-group in the Teli caste called Shanivar Teli meaning Saturday oil pressers for their Jewish custom of abstention from work on Shabbat.

Varna status

The Teli are sometimes considered to belong to the Vaishya (merchant) varna in Hinduism. Other sources, however, classify them with the ritually lower-ranked Shudra (cultivators), while others note that the Teli have attempted to avoid lower-classed activities and associations in an attempt to identify themselves as Vaishya.

In Bengal, the Teli would be reckoned as Vaishya, along with other traders and bankers such as the Suvarnabanik, Gandhabanik, Saha, had not the Vaishya varna disappeared there.

In Rajasthan, the Teli claim Kshatriya (warrior) status, though their neighbors recognise them as Vaishya.

Other Teli

The Bene Israel of Maharashtra were nicknamed the Shanivar Teli ("Saturday oil-pressers") by the local population as they abstained from work on Saturdays which is Judaism's Shabbat.

The Ghanchi community of Gujarat have been described as a "counterpart" of the Telis.

Bihar

In the late 2000s, some among the Teli community of Bihar, organised by the Teli Sena, were engaging in vote bank politics as they sought to achieve categorisation as a Most Backward Class in the state. Initially, they had failed to achieve this repositioning in India's official positive discrimination scheme, with opposition coming from other groups who considered the Teli to be too populous and socio-economically influential to justify the change. In April 2015, Bihar chief Minister Nitish Kumar announced a decision to include the Teli caste in the list of Extremely Backward Class in Bihar.

Jharkhand

In 2004, Jhanrkhand government under Arjun Munda recommended Scheduled Tribes status to Teli caste in Jharkhand, but the move didn't materialize as of 2015. In 2014, Raghubar Das became first Teli Chief minister of Jharkhand.

References

Teli Wikipedia


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