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The Kanjar are a nomadic tribe or group of people of North India, Kashmir and Pakistan.[1] The Mirasi tribes are also probably related to them. These people are also sometimes called by the names of Nath, Banchra and Gashtay.[2]

Old photograph of Kashmiri dancing girl of the Kanjar tribe, by Samuel Bourne, 1860s

In old times, most of the Kanjar people used to live in jungles or forests. They used to hunt wild animals to eat and also keep some goats, cows and Water buffaloes for their meat and milk.[3] Many of them still live like nomads, moving from place to place but some have started to live in towns and cities. Some of them are Hindu and Sikhs and some are Muslims. They are mostly very poor people and do all the dirty jobs that rich people won't do.

In Lahore, Pakistan, and in parts of Kashmir, many Kanjar women are sold by their families to become prostitutes. They go and live in brothels in the Heera Mandi.[4] Many men will go there to have sex with these poor women for money, but no one will marry them. They think they are 'unclean' or bad.[5]

References[change | change source]

  1. HA Rose 'Tribes and Castes of Punjab' 1908 reprint, p 475
  2. Rose aa
  3. Rose
  4. Fouzia Saeed, 'Taboo: The Hidden Life of a Red Light Area' pub Karachi, Pakistan: Oxford UP,2001
  5. Fouzia Saeed