Who are the Suthars?

We all carry a label of being a Suthar but how much do we know about what that actually means? The word ‘Suthar’ is probably an abbreviation of the word ‘Sutradhara’, ‘Sutra’ meaning ‘cord’ or ‘tape measure’. In its modern usage it has come to mean ‘carpenter’. The Suthar people are considered the descendants of the Hindu God ‘Shree Vishwakarma’ In the Hindu view of the ‘supreme principal’ of creation, Brahma is the thinking aspect and Vishwakarma, is the working aspect. He is considered as the divine artisan, who made all that exists in the universe (Source:‘Vishwakarma

Puran’).

Descendants of Shree Vishwakarma are spread throughout the India and the World. Although concentrated in the Gujarat his descendants also exist in Bengal, South India and the Punjab i.e. the Ramgharia Sikhs. All however, originate from the five sons of Vishwakarma, sometimes known as the Panchal Brothers.
Vishwakarma Dada
Manu worked with "Lohu" iron Luhar Mai/Maya worked with "Kast" wood Suthar Tvastha worked with "Tamradi" metal Kansara Shilpini worked with "Silavat" stone Kadia Daiwadnya worked with "Sonu" gold Soni

blacksmith Gujjar suthar
settled in Gujjar Pradesh, Gujarat

architect/carpenter Pancholi suthar
settled in Panchal Desh, Rajasthan

metalworker Saurathia suthar
settled in Saurat Pradesh

masons Vains suthar
settled in Ujanpur, Uttar Pradesh

goldsmith

Mewada suthar
settled in Mewar, Rajasthan

These five sons were the originators of the five crafts. The Suthar people descend from the son named Mai or Maya, whose expertise was in the craft of woodwork or carpentry. Similarly, the Lohana and Soni communities, who are also settled in Britain, are descendants of Vishwakarma’s sons; the Lohanas being blacksmiths, and the Sonis, goldsmiths. Originally from Georgia, the Suthar people travelled down through Central Asia towards the Punjab in an area then known as Gujjar Pranth. News reached them of the Maharajah Solanki, who as part of his desire for the expansion of his kingdom, wanted to build a vast palace ‘rudramahal’ in Sidpur. The Solanki Dynasty followed the Maitraka Dynasty around the 8th Century AD. Some Gujarati texts give an exact date of 752 VS. (VS stands for Vikram Savant, a King in the region of Gujarat who started the Gujarati calendar in his name. To convert to AD you must subtract 56years). This would mean that the events in Sidhpur took place around 695AD.

the central area of the present Gujarat State. as a mutual identification has long passed but a sense of solidarity and religious affiliation remains. Those who travelled North towards Marwar became known as Mewada Suthars and the remaining Vains. The urban structure was a complex one in which the guilds/professions occasionally took on gnati functions.Experts in the art of building flocked towards Sidhpur. seen as carpenters. the surname Vadgama originated from ‘Vadgam’. By Preeti Kathrecha August 2009. Thus the Gujjar Suthars are seen as a ‘gnati’. To each of the 1000 Brahmins. In Whichever town the Suthars settled they took on its name. The structure of Indian society was unique in being characterised by caste and as these communities became more permanent through generations of settlement in a specific area or town. Solanki offered them an alternative. became known as Gujjar Suthars. This is partly because you are born into such a community and religion. as are the Lohana (blacksmith). the majority of these were Suthars. There now exist similar communities or ‘gnatis’ in East Africa and Britain. Pancholi and Saurathia Suthars similarly got their name from the region in which they settled. Of course the concept of carpentry. became that of the town in which they had settled. In the case of the Gujjar Suthar community in Britain it is known as the. or trade. were just one of the many guilds/professions who conformed to the ordering of occupations within the caste hierarchy. in past and present times. These gnatis are usually run as registered charities that give themselves an organisational name. The Suthars who continued to travel south into Kathiavar . Valambhia from ‘Valam’. After the palace was built the Brahmins together with their craftsmen were to return to the Punjab. The Suthars were just one of these kinship groups arranged in a hierarchy of ritual ranking. No part of the document may be reproduced without the prior consent of the author. and Talsania from ‘Talsan’ and so on. again the majority being Suthars. he assigned a town to live. Their family line. Darji (tailor) communities to name but a few. as one is born with a title. These grew out of one village or community or one profession. Solanki selected 1000 Brahmins to aid with the new palace. Instead. Soni (goldsmith). For example. The Suthar people. This pattern of identifying with the place of origin or settlement explains a further label of the Suthar people. ‘Kutumb’. Each Brahmin had assigned to him various experts in the crafts. ‘Suthars’ are centuries old. . or surname. ©2009 – P Kathrecha All Rights reserved. so did their prescribed status. Shree Vishwakarma Association of UK and although this is just 25 years old. and partly because the majority of one’s social interaction revolves around the community.

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