Yadav is a category consisting of several allied castes which together constitute about 20% of the total population of India, 20% population of Nepal and about 3% population of the planet earth. Yādav is an caste found in India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Russia, Middle East and claims descent from ancient king Yadu, the name of one of the five Aryan clans mentioned in the Rig Veda as Panchjanya, meaning "five people", is the common name given to five most ancient Vedic Kshatriya clans. The Yadav caste generally follows Vaishnav traditions, and share Vaishnav Dharmic religious beliefs. They are the worshippers of Lord Krishna or Lord Vishnu. Yadav’s are classified under the Kshatriya varna in Hinduism and remained in power in India and Nepal until 1200-1300AD, before the arrival of Muslim invaders.
Two things are common to these cognate castes. Firstly, they claim to be the descendants of the Yadu Dynasty (Yadav) to which Lord Krishna belonged. Secondly, many castes in this category have a set of occupations centering round cattle. Krishna pastimes lends a kind of legitimacy to the pastoral occupations relating to cattle, and as the castes following these occupations are to be found in almost all parts of India, the Yadav category encompasses a whole range of related castes.
According to Vedic literatures, the Yaduvanshis or Yadavs are the descendants of Yadu, the eldest son of King Yayati. From his line was born Madhu, who ruled from Madhuvana, situated on the banks of river Yamuna, which extended up to Saurastra and Anarta (Gujrat). His daughter Madhumati married Harinasva of Ikshvaku race, from whom Yadu was born again, this time being ancestor of Yadavas. Nanda, the foster father of Krishna, was born in the line of succession of Madhu and ruled from the same side of Yamuna. Jarasandh, Kansa's father-in-law, and king of Magadha attacked Yadavas to avenge Kansa's death. Yadavas had to shift their capital from Mathura (central Aryavart) to Dwaraka (on the western coast of Aryavart) on the Sindhu. Yadu was a legendary Hindu king, believed to be an ancestor of the Lord Shri Krishna, who for this reason is also referred to as Yadava. Genetically, they are in Indo-Caucasoid family. A study in East of India shows their gene structure is similar to Brahmin, Kayastha & Rajput living in the same area.
Some historians also seek a connection between Yadavas and Jews. According to their theory, the Greeks were referred to the Jews as Judeos, or Jah deos or Yadavas, meaning people of Ya.
In Russia, many Russians have surname “Yadav”.
James Tod demonstrated that Ahirs were included into the list of 36 royal races of Rajasthan (Tod,1829,Vol1,p69 ii,p358).
Ahirs synonyms are Yadav and Rao Sahab. Rao Sahab is only used in Ahirwal region consisting of territories of few villages of Delhi, Southern Haryana & Behrod area of Alwar district (Rajasthan). Historically, Ahir laid the foundation of Ahir Batak town which was later called Ahrora and Ahirwar in Jhansi district in A.D.108. Rudramurti Ahir became the chief of the Army and later on, the king. Madhuriputa, Ishwarsen and Shivdatta were well known kings from the lineage who mingled with Yadav Rajputs, Sainis, who are now found by their original name only in Punjab and in the neighbouring states of Haryana, Jammu and Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh. They claim descent from Yaduvanshi Rajputs of the Yaduvanshi Surasena lineage, originating from Yadav King Shoorsen, who was the grandfather of both Krishna and the legendary Pandava warriors. Sainis relocated to Punjab from Mathura and surrounding areas over different periods of time.
It is argued that the term Ahir comes from Abhira who were once found in different parts of India, and who in several places wielded political power. The Abhiras are equated with Ahirs, Gopas and Gollas, and all of them are considered Yadavas.
Scholars, such as Robert Sewell believe that the rulers of Vijayanagara Empire were Kurubas (also known as Yadavas). Some early inscriptions, dated 1078 and 1090, have implied that the Hoysalas of Mysore were also the descendants of the original Yadava clan, by referring to the Yadava vamsa (clan) as Hoysala vamsa. The founder of the Wodeyar dynasty, Vijaya, also claimed descent from the Yadu and took on the name Yadu-Raya.
Many ruling Rajput clans of India traced their origin to the Yaduvanshi lineage, a major branch of the Chandravanshi Kshatriyas. These include the Banaphars and the Jadejas. The Seuna Yadavas of Devagiri also claimed descent from the clan of Lord Krishna.
Legends of the cowherd Krishna and his dances with cowherdesses are mentioned in the Sangam classics. The term Ayarpati (cowherd settlement) is found in Cilappatikaram. It is argued that the term Ayar has been used for the Abhiras in ancient Tamil literature, and V. Kanakasabha Pillai (1904) derives Abhira from the Tamil word Ayir which also means cow. He equates the Ayars with Abhiras, and scholars treat this as evidence of migration of the Abhiras to the south in the first century AD.
* Anarta Kingdom
* Mysore Kingdom
* Nepal Kingdom
* Maratha Kingdom
DWARKAThe submerged palace of Dwarka kingdom.Divers maping the Fort.
DEVGIRI FORT (now Daulatabad) From here Yadav's
ruled whole of Maharastra
Remains of Vijaynagar Kingdom
J.N. Singh, a famous historian, gives the following account in his Yadav's Through The Ages, " he Hoysalas ruled illustriously for over three centuries and have left in the country imperishable monuments of art and culture. They were family of kings who ruled over practically the whole of the Kannada country at the height of their power. They scheduled the hill tribes known as Malepas in the Western Ghats and they assumed the title 'Maleparoleganda'. The account of their origin can be traced in some of their inscriptions. They claimed Sosevura (Sasakapura of Sanskrit writers) as their birthplace.
Also Shivaji was the great Maratha fighter whose mother Jijabai was a Yadav.
* Bihar has Gopalganj, Banka, Darbhanga, Siwan, Chhapra, Madhubani, Munger.
Yadavs of Tamil Nadu and Kerala
The Yadav community has served the Indian armed and defense forces and laid down their lives to safeguard India. Some prominent battles fought by Ahir soldiers are the
In the Indo-China War of 1962, the Ahirs (almost all of them from the Ahirwal region of
General T.N. Raina said, "You rarely come across such example in the annals of world military history when braving such heavy odds, the men fought till the last bullet and the last man. Certainly the Battle of Rezang La is such a shining example."
The heroes who were awarded the Vir Chakra in 1962 defending Rezang La were Naik Hukum Chand (posthumous), Naik Gulab Singh Yadav, Lance-Naik Singh Ram (posthumous), Subedar Ram Kumar and Subedar Ram Chander. All were from the Ahirwal region.
Other Notable Yadav’s
Miss Ekta Chowdhary became the Miss India Universe 2009. Many other Yadavs had been selected for the beauty pageants. Baba Ramdev ji is the Yoga guru and is world famous. Rajpal Yadav and Raghubir Yadav are the famous comedians & actors.
Religious Seats of Yadavs
Although the Abhiras constituted a distinct ethnic group, they spoke diverse regional dialects. The language of the Ahirs was known as Ahirani in Khandesh, resembling Marathi. While the Ahirs of Kathiawad and Kachh have a dialect which resembles Gujarathi (Bhandarkar, 1911:17). Abhira bhasha is in fact considered to be Apabhransha. In the ninth century B.C., it had become the language of the people, and was spoken from Saurashtra, and Shastri (1967) proves that poetry was composed in the language around the sixth century B.C. Suryavamsi (1962:14-15) mentions the following two dialects in addition to the ones above--Gaddi, which is currently the dialect spoken in Gadderan, on the outskirts of the Chamba and Kangra hills, and Gandi, spoken in some parts of Madhya Pradesh. Abhiri as a dialect has been recorded by Sanskrit poets such as Bharata and Dandin. Yadav (1916:15), notes that the dialect the people of Ahirwal in Haryana speak, has a resemblance to Rajasthani, and Grierson (1916:9), considers Ahirwati a branch of eastern Rajasthani and western Hindi.
Many groups and clans claiming descent from the ancient Yadu clan call themselves Yadavs. The major clans among these are:
The Yadavas of Eastern India are traditionally divided into three major clans or shakhas ("branches"):
* Yaduvanshi - Descendants of Yadu