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Hindu names commonplace in Maharashtra's Tadvi Bhil Muslims

Religion Belief

Press Trust of India  |  Mumbai 

The suicide of 26-year-old doctor Payal Tadvi, allegedly due to casteist slurs by three seniors, has put the spotlight on Hindu names commonly used in Tadvi Bhil Muslim tribal community, found in parts of Maharashtra.

The Tadvi community is listed under Scheduled Tribes and is also found in pockets of Rajasthan, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh. Payal belonged to the Tadvi Bhil Muslim community.

The gynaecology PG student had secured admission in a state-run medical college and hospital in Mumbai last year through a reserved category seat.

Tadvi Bhils are a sub-caste of the Bhil community and among them, those who adopted Islam are known as Tadvi Bhil Muslims, said a social activist from Payal's home district Jalgaon in north Maharashtra.

Jalgaon district has over 60,000 Tadvi Bhil Muslims, the largest number in Maharashtra. The community is mainly spread in Raver, Yawal and Chopda regions of the district, the activist said.

Asked about the tribal community following Islam as religion, he said, "It is very interesting in our part that many newborn boys and girls have names not typically from Islam or a particular book. You will find many young boys and girls having Hindu names as well. Names like Sagar and Sameer are quite common in Tadvi community following Islam."

However, the Tadvi Bhil Muslims are not so rigid while practicing Islam and also retain aspects of Hindu culture, he said. "Many women from the community wear a sari," he added.

"They offer namaaz but they will also fold and join their hands in front of an idol," the activist said.

The Tadvi Bhils were a nomadic tribe living in hills and many converted to Islam when Aurangazeb toured Burhanpur, an important Mughal outpost (now in Madhya Pradesh).

Payals family claims that she was the first woman in their community to become a gynaecologist and this was a big achievement, considering the low literacy rates among Tadvi Bhil Muslims.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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First Published: Thu, May 30 2019. 15:30 IST