Ahir is an Indian caste. The term can be used synonymously with Yadav, as the latter term refers to Ahirs who have
identified as Yadavs. The major divisions of Ahirs are:
Ahir is a Prakrit form of the Sanskrit word abhira (fearless),which is the name of a ancient tribe of herders. The Indologist F. Max Müller stated in 1886 that the Abhira are the modern Ahir
Asirgarh Fort, built by King Asa Ahir in Madhya Pradesh
Various theories exist regarding the origin of the Ahirs. Sir William Wilson Hunter proposes that the word Ahir derives from the Sanskrit Ahi (snake) and that snake worship, compounded by other cultural facts, suggests a Scythic origin. However, J. C. Nesfield refutes it by saying that snake worship is not peculiar to scythics but a common practice all over India, and he also argues that it is absurd to derive Ahir from ahi, a Sanskrit word, when the original name of the community is Abhira, and Ahir its Prakrit corruption. He is of the view that Ahirs have purely Aryan origin. One study in Deccan Ahirs have found out existence of totemistic septs, which is regarded as a sure sign of being non-Aryan, seconded by existence of a sect called Romabans, which is the regular corruption of word romak, frequently found in Sanskrit works on astronomy, and identified by Prof. Weber to be the town Alexandria in Egypt, from where the science of astronomy was cultivated and from whom people of India borrowed the concepts of astronomy. It is argued that foreign hordes from Romak might have settled in India, and incorporated into Ahirs.
Bhagwan Singh Suryavanshi claims that archaeological research in Deccan has revealed the presence of pastoral people of Neolithic era, who shares many attributes of Abhira. Hence, Abhira might have been present much earlier than what has been postulated so far. Finally he concludes, they spread from Indus to Mathura, and migrated southward and eastward. He also claims that similarity of culture and common belief that they are descendant of the god Krishna, is the proof that they sprang from a common source. According to a theory advanced by A. P. Karmakar, Abhiras were a proto-Dravidian tribe, derived from Dravidian ayir, which means cowherd. He further argues that Aitareva Brahmin refers to vasah, as the name of people, which in Vedic literature means "cow".
Finally, he concludes from Padma Purana, where Vishnu informed Abhiras, "I shall be born among you, O Abhiras, at Mathura in my eighth birth". D. R. Bhandarkar, supports the non-Aryan origin theory, by directly relating Krishna to the Rig Veda's "Krishna Drapsah", where he fights Aryan god Indra. Added to this Karmakar, shows Harivamsa says Yadu was born of Harynasva and Madhumati, who was the daughter of Madhu. Madhu says all the territory of Mathura belongs to Abhiras. Further, Mahabharata describes Abhira as forming one of the seven republics, Samsaptak Gunas, and as a friend of Matsyas, a pre vedic tribe. Early history Ancient Sanskrit scholars such as Pāṇini, Chanakya and Patanjli mentioned Ahirs as followers of Bhagawat sect of Hindu religion. According to historian K.A. Nilkanth Shastri Abhira chiefs established their independent political kingdoms in western India after the decline of Maurya and Satvahan empire.
Greek historians' reference of Abisares are thought to be of Abhira chief. Ahirs ruled the whole of Haryana under the Mogul rule and later were declared as independent kings. In religious scriptures The Manusmrti refers to Abhiras as sons of Brahmin and Ambashta. The earliest inscription about them refers to them as Abhira Brahmin. Ptolemy and Sreemad Bhagwatam wrote similar accounts of a country called Abhira at the mouth of the river Indus. Nineteenth century writers, such as Christian Lassen Gesenius, Sir Emerson Tennent, and Max Müller, mentioned an "Ophir", a seaport on the southwest coast of India which may correspond to Ophir, mentioned in the Tanakh. In the Coptic language, Sofir, the name of India, refers to Surabhir. Many scholars believe both Gupta Empire and Mauryas The original cult of Krishna, especially the aspect dealing with Krishna's boyhood in Vrindavan and his dalliances with the Gopis, has been attributed to the Ahir or Abhir tribe. The merging of this Krishna with the hero of the Mahabharat did not occur until about 4th century Map of "Bharatvarsha" (Kingdom of India) during the time of Mahabharata and Ramayana.
Ahir as an ethnic category According to sociologist M.S.A. Rao, Yadava is an ethnic category consisting of several allied castes, which together constitute about one-tenth of the total population of India. These castes are found in different parts of India, Burma, Nepal and Sri Lanka and are known as the "Ahir" in the Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and Rajasthan; the "Goalas" and "Sadgopa" or Gauda in Bengal and Orissa; Dhangar in Maharashtra; Yadava and Kurubas in Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka and Idayan and Konar in Tamil Nadu. There are also several sub-regional names such as Thetwar and Rawat in Madhya Pradesh, and Mahakul (Great Family) in Bihar.
M.S.A Rao further states that the Allahabad iron pillar inscription of Samudragupta (4th century AD) mentions the Abhiras as one of the tribal states of west and south west India, who paid homage to the emperor (churn, 1943:81). A 4th century (AD) inscription found in Nashik speaks of an Abhira king, and there is proof that in the middle of the 4th century the Abhiras were settled in eastern Rajputana and Malwa. Similarly, when the Kathis arrived in Gujarat in the 8th century, they found the greater part of the country in the possession of the Ahirs. The Mirzapur district of the United Provinces has a tract known as Ahraura, named after the Ahir, and near Jhansi, another piece of country was called Ahirwar. The Ahirs were also kings of Nepal at the beginning of the Christian era. Khandesh and the Tapti valley were other regions where they were kings. This indicates that the Abhiras, who rose to political prominence in the 2nd century BC., had a chequered political career until the 14th century AD when their importance was over-shadowed by the Mughals, but even during the Mughal period the Ahir and Golla rajahs were a power to be reckoned with. The Gawlis rose to political power in Deogarh, on the Chhindwara Plateau in the central provinces. The Saugar traditions trace the Gawli supremacy to a much later date, as the tracts of Etawa and Khurai are held to have been governed by chieftains till the close of the 17th century
Royal emblem of Kalachurya. Kalachuri belonged to Abhira Dynasty Ahir kings ruled present-day India and beyond. At the beginning of the Christian era (CE), the invading Scythians and Kushans forced most of the Ahirs to lower Rajasthan in the Arbuda (Aravali region). In Marubhumi (Marwar), Saurashtra and Maharashtra areas, they served the local rulers and established their own rule. Ahirs laid the foundation of Ahir Batak town, which was called Ahrora, located in Central provinces, and Ahirwar in Jhansi district in 108 CE. Rudramurti Ahir became the chief of the army and later on the King. Madhuriputra, Ishwarsen and Shivdutta were well-known kings of this lineage. Ishwarsena, a great Ahir general, became master of Western Deccan in place of the famous Satavahanas. He took the title of Rajan and an era was named after him. His descendants continued to rule for nine generations. This generation of Abhira kings ruled for 167 years till last of them was ousted by their Traikutaka feudatory in AD 415. It is generally supposed that Traikutakas were a different dynasty of Abhira, and hence are sometimes called Abhira-Traikutika. Indradutta, Dahrasena & yaghrasena were well known kings from this dynasty. Traikutakas were known for their Vaishnava faith, who claimed to be Yadav of Haihaya branch and Dahrasena performed Ashvamedha yajna too Abhira Era started by Ishwarsena in AD 249, continued with them and was called Abhira-Traikutika era. This era was later continued by Kalachuri Dynasty, calling it Kalachuri era, and later Kalachuri-Chedi era. After the rule of five traikuta kings, they retired to central provinces and assumed the name Haiyhaya (Chedi) and Kalachuri. Historians call this entire era as Abhira-Traikutika-Kalachuri-Chedi era In a cave inscription at Nashik, references were made to an Ahir prince named Ishwersena, son of Shivdutta. Another inscription, found at Gunda and dated 181 CE, in the reign of the Kshatrapa Rudrasinha, described his general Rudrabhuti, who was called Ahir. When the kathis arrived in Gujarat, they found the greater part of the country controlled by Ahirs. The old fort Asirgarh(short of Asa Ahir Garh), in Khandesh, retains the name of its founder Asa Ahir. For centuries the Ahirs were eclipsed as a political power in Haryana until the time of the Pratihara dynasty .
Ahirs ruled the whole of Haryana under the Mogul rule and later were declared as independent kings. Vātsyāyana also noted the Abhira kingdoms in the Kama Sutra.Ahirs also ruled beyond the geographical borders of present-day India, as kings of the hilly terrain of Nepal. Eight kings of the first Ahir dynasty ruled Nepal, the first being Bhuktaman and the last Yaksha Gupta. Owing to pastoral disputes, this dynasty was replaced by another Ahir dynasty. The second Ahir dynasty had a succession of three kings: Badasimha, Jaymati Simha, and Bhuban Simha. Their rule ended when the Kirati invaders defeated Bhuban Simha.
Painting of Jahal, sonbai and Devat Bodar who is killing his own son Uga to save RaNavghan
Ra Mandalika (ruler of Somnath)
Rao Tula Ram
Madhuriputra (mingled with Rajputs) 
Ishwarsena (Western Deccan)
Jaya Gupta (Nepal)
Param Gupta (Nepal)
Harsha Gupta (Nepal)
Bhim Gupta (Nepal)
Vishnu Gupta (Nepal)
Jaya Gupta II (Nepal)
Yaksha Gupta (Nepal)
Vishva Gupta (Nepal)
Bhumi Gupta (Nepal)
Jishnu Gupta (Nepal,
His inscription reads Kshatriya of the Lunar Dynasty, Somavansa Bhushana)
Raj in the Moghul era
Yadav (1802–1888) was an extraordinary military commander of his time. He was a
close friend of Hari Singh Nalwa and famous Punjab
ruler Maharaja Ranjit Singh.In his early career he trained Sikh Khalsa army.
After the death of Maharaja Ranjit Singh he fought in both the First and Second
Anglo-Sikh Wars, due to his extreme hatred towards Britishers after the defeat
of Sikhs he started giving military training to the farmers of Narnaul and
Mahendragarh region.
to historians Crooke and Risley, Ahirs of Mathura and Rajputana are
characterized by tall stature, light brown complexion and finer features.
 As a
rulers of India classified the Ahirs amongst the "martial races",
and in 1898, the British raised four Ahir companies, two of which were in the
95th Russel Infantry. The Ahirs continued their warrior tradition by their
extensive participation in the Indian Army and police forces.
listings, Ahirs are divided into Yaduvanshi, Nandvanshi, and Gwalvanshi
In Gujarat, they are divided into the Prantharia, Machhoya,
Boureecha, and Sorathia.
are a subcaste of Dhangar and are not only found in the Kaatch
(Kutch) area of western Gujarat, but also in Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Punjab,
Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, Nepal. In Maharashtra, Ahirs
comprise a subgroup of the Dhangar caste system of India. Ahirs are present in large
numbers in Terai, the plains that lie in the southern part of Nepal.[citation
In many Western Uttar Pradesh districts like Badaun, Etah, Mainpuri, Southern Haryana, northern Madhya Pradesh and eastern Rajasthan, the Ahirs are still in a majority. Ahirs also form a majority in various districts of Eastern Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, including
Azamgarh and Madhepura.
Jhansi was known for a long time as Ahirwada (land of Ahirs).People from Ahirwada also known as Ahirwar orAharwar. The Ahirwar live in different regions of India from Jhansi to Mathura,Delhi, Ahmedabad, Agra region. The Ahirs preserve their associations with the country lying between the Sutlej and the Yamuna.
For centuries the Ahirs were eclipsed as a political power in Haryana until the time of the Pratihara dynasty. In time they became independent rulers of Southwest Haryana. They are majority in the region around Behror, Alwar, Rewari, Narnaul, Mahendragarh, Gurgaon and Jhajjar which is therefore known as Ahirwal or the abode of Ahirs.
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). Ahirs of this region are mainly in armed forces.
Yadav dominated areas in National Capital Region(NCR) includes Gurgaon, Noida, Manesar,Behror, Neemrana, Bawal, Dharuhera, Pataudi, Bhiwadi, Badshahpur,Kosli, Alwar and Rewari.This belt is also called as Ahirwal Belt. Delhi has 40 villages.
neighbouring Gurgaon has 106 villages  and Noida has around 30 villages.
Thousands of Yadav villagers from Gurgaon and Manesar are millionaires today after selling their agricultural land to private builders and HUDA,[clarification needed] and many have become property dealers.
Rajasthan and Gujarat
(Kutch) District, State of Gujarat
There is a great concentration of Ahirs in Kutch. There are five main castes of Ahirs in Kutch: Prantharia, Mochhaya, Boricha, and Sorathia and Vagadia. These communities are mainly of farmers who once sold milk and ghee but who now have diversified their businesses because of the irregularity of rain. The other community is of Bharwads those of Saurashtra use Ahir as a surname, Bharwad consider themselves as Nandvanshi Ahirs. Their mother tongue is Gujrati.
Rajasthan has 26 districts of which seven have Ahir Sabhas. These are Tonk, Jaipur, Sawai Madhopur, Boondi, Kota,Jhalawara Sikar and Alwar.
The very ancient race of Ahir also appears in Gujrat, once a ruling race, as inscriptions and grants mention their princes. Traditionally they appear in frequent connection with the Yadava – in the Krishan legend. Some historians say they may be Turanian. In Jamnagar and Junagadh There is large number of Ahir population in Jamnagar and Junagadh, who have been said to be migrated along with Krishna during his migration from Mathura to Dwarka (Jamnagar). Ahirs in rural areas of Jamnagar and Junagadh are mainly involved in agriculture, while those migrated to cities of Jamnagar and Junagadh are involved in business of construction, real estate, travels agency and heavy construction machinery. The Ahirs of Jamnagar region are the economically fastest developing community of Jamnagar in year 2009, with growth rate of around 80%.
In Marubhumi (Marwar), Saurashtra and Maharashtra, Ahirs served the local rulers and established their own rule. Ishwarsena, an
Ahir general, became master of Western Deccan in place of the Satava-hanas. He took the title of Rajan and an era was named
after him. His descendants continued to rule for nine generations.
There is a significant concentration of Ahers (as they are locally known) in Northern Maharashtra. They are influential in politics,
administration. They are all Kshatriyas with classification as 96 Kuli Marathas since the establishment of Hindavi Swaraj by Shivaji.
With the downfall of the Rashtrakutas which ruled Pune from the 8th century AD to the middle of the 10th century.It went under the control of the Yadavs. The Yadavs ruled Maharashtra from 10th century AD to the end of the 13th century. Singhania, the Yadav ruler was a lover of literature and art. Sant Dnyaneshwar, a Bhakti saint lived during this period. The Yadav rule came to an end with the coming of Ala-ud-din Khilji.
Historically,Ahir laid the foundation of Ahir Batak town which was later called Ahrora and Ahirwada in Jhansi district in AD 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. As Jhansi was known for a long time as Ahirwada (land of Ahir's). Bundelkhand anciently known as Chedi Kingdom. The region is now divided between the states of Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh, with the larger portion lying in the latter. The major towns are Jhansi, Datia, Tikamgarh, Lalitpur, Sagar, Damoh, Orai, Panna, Hamirpur, Mahoba, Banda, Narsinghpur, Khajuraho and
Chhatarpur. However, the cities of Gwalior, Jabalpur and even Bhopal are under close cultural influence of Bundelkhand, especially linguistically.
Ahirs from Ahirwada and Bundelkhand also known as Dau sahab (Dau saab). Dau sahab means the powerful and mighty of all. Up to 1800 AD, ruling class among Ahirs in Bundelkhand use Rao as their title name which was replaced by the title Maate. Maate means Mother Goddess or Supreme authority of that region. zamindar having control over multiple villages known as Maate.In Bundelkhand, Ahirs are considered to be very strong and powerful class. In Bundelkhand both Chandravanshi Rajputs/Thakurs (Ahirs, Chandela, Bundela) and suryavanshi Rajputs/Thakurs has equal status. Ahirs of Jhansi and Bundelkhand either came from Rewari or Gurgaon. A town 22 km from Jhansi known as Niwari which is named analogous to the name Rewari of Haryana, since Niwari is in jhansi zone it is
also an Ahir dominant region.
Scholar K.S. Singh noted that the Rajasthan Ahir are non-vegetarian, though cooking their vegetarian and non-vegetarian foods on separate hearths. Though they eat mutton, chicken, and fish, they do not eat beef or pork. Their staple is wheat, they eat millet in the winters, and rice on festive occasions. They drink alcohol, smoke biri and cigarettes, and chew betel. In Maharashtra, however, Singh states that the Ahir there are largely vegetarian, also eating wheat as a staple along with pulses and tubers, and eschewed liquor. Noor Mohammad noted in Uttar Pradesh that most Ahirs there were vegetarian, with some exceptions who engaged in fishing and poultry raising. In Gujarat,Rash Bihari Lal states that local Ahirs were largely vegetarian, ate Bajra and Jowar wheat with the occasional rice, and that few drank alcohol, some smoked bidi, and some of the older generation smoked hookahs. S. D. S. Yadava
writes that Ahirs in Madhya Pradesh and some other areas eat meat, while those of Uttar Pradesh and Haryana are mostly vegetarian.
an Indo-Aryan language, classified as a Rajasthani language, and is spoken in the Mahendragarh and Rewari districts of Haryana. According to historian Robert Vane Russell Ahirwati is language of Yaduvanshi Ahirs and spoken in Rohtak and Gurgaon districts of Punjab (now Haryana) and Delhi. This is akin to Mewati, one of the forms of Rajasthani or the language of Rajputana.
were one of the more militant Hindu groups, including in the modern era. For
example, in 1930, about 200 Ahirs marched towards the shrine of Trilochan and
performed puja in response to Islamic tanzeem processions.
numerous political parties such as the Samajwadi Party, Rashtriya Janata Dal,
Janata Dal (Republic), Janata Dal the Yadavs have considerable political
influence, especially in the North Indian states of Uttar Pradesh and
Bihar. Laloo Yadav became the chief minister of Bihar and Mulayam Singh in
UP and in Madhya Pradesh Subhash Yadav became the Deputy chief minister for two
terms. Arun Subhash Yadav became the Centre Minister of Heavy Industries &
became the Deputy chief minister for two terms.
Birender Singh became the chief minister of Haryana and his son Rao Inderjit
Singh became Minister of State of External Affairs and Defence.
Brahm Prakash was the first chief minister of Delhi.Ram Baran Yadav became
President of Nepal.Yoga Guru Baba Ramdev started a political party called
All-India Yadav Mahasabha
emergence of an English-educated elite among the Yadavs led to the formation of
the All-India Yadava Mahasabha in 1924 in Allahabad.
The AIYM immediately engaged itself in two issues. It appealed to its castemen
in all regions to add "Yadav" to their names and at the same time
launched on a major programme of social reform. The regional organisation of
the Gollas of Hyderabad, the Hyderabad Rashtra Yadav Mahajana Samajam, for
example, appealed to the Census Commission that their caste names of Golla,
Gowli, Gollawar and Ahir be changed to Yadava.
Yadav Mahasabha is also pressing Indian government for the formation of Yadav
regiment in Indian Army after they showed their bravery in the 1965 Indo-China
war. In 1966 the AIYM held its annual conference in Etawa, with Mulayam Singh
Yadav as chairman of the reception committee and Rao Birender Singh the scion
of the Rewari dynasty as president. 
have served the Indian armed and defense forces throughout its history, with
particularly prominent participation in the 1962 India-China War.
article: Rezang La
India-China War of 1962, the Ahirs (almost all of them from the Ahirwal region
of Southern Haryana) of 13 Kumaon Regiment
defended their position at Rezang La in Ladakh district of Jammu and Kashmir.
The battle of Rezang La, a ridge overlooking the strategic Chushul plains in
Ladakh, to defend the highest air strip in the world located at 16,000 feet —
just across the Chinese claim line. In the final phase of the Indo-China War of
1962, where Indian units typically offered little resistance while being routed
by attacking People's Liberation Army forces, the Ahir Charlie Company from 13
Kumaon Regiment, fought literally to the last man. Of the 120 defenders, only
four survived, all seriously wounded. Of the 120 soldiers, 114 were Yadavas
from Ahirwal region of Haryana, Rajasthan and Delhi. Six of
the unit's soldiers, all from the Ahirwal region, received the Vir Chakra medal
for this battle.
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