Sunar (alternately, Sonar or Swarnkar) is a Hindu caste in India referring to the community of people who work as goldsmiths. Though the community is primarily Hindu, And found usually in Northern India in Rajasthan, Punjab, Haryana etc. They are considered wealthy and privileged people with good business and investment sense. Though they are the traditional goldsmiths of North India, now many are also landowners, money lenders, traders etc., However, their main occupation remains the manufacture and selling of jewellery.
Status in society
[[File:Gold and Silver Smith As Gold is considered a symbol of richness and wealth and considered most valuable among metals from years and years. Indian people likes to invest in gold and gold ornaments. According to a report, every year 200 kg of Gold is sold in Jaipur (capital of Rajasthan) and more than 500 kg is transacted. Sunars make money out of selling ornaments and lending money on gold at high intrests.Sunars are wealthy and the live a comfortable life. Earlier they worked of their own but now they own workshops and take work from hired men and women from Bengal and Bihar. Sunars also works in other feilds like moneylenders, merchants,traders,and businessmen. Some sunars are on higher postes in Indian government offices. In Haryana, Sunars are divided into two segments, the Hindu Sunar and the Sikh Sunar. Some Khatris also adopted this occupation and were called Khatri Sunars. All these groups are strictly endogamous, and practice clan exogamy. These divisions are further divided into clans, known as gotras. There are said to be 52 gotras within the Sunar community. Top considered of them are the Roda, Gund,Chaparwal, Kuhal, Vaid, Mai, Bhulan, Odhera, Naali, Deo, Masoun, Vatash, Kaushal, Kashyap, Dhir, Turar, etc. The Sunar are still involved in their traditional occupation, that is being goldsmiths. There is however a steady process in taking up other occupations, and the community in Haryana and Punjab as whole is fairly successful, having produced several professionals.
The Sunars are divided into a large number of territorial and non-territorial groupings called alla. Some of the major alla are the Santanpuriya, Dekhalantiya, Mundaha, Bhigahiya, Samuhiya, Chilliya, Katiliya Kalidarwa, Naubastwal, Berehele, Gedehiya, Shahpuriya, Mathureke Paliya and Nimkheriya. Each lineage is associated with a particular area. To which its ancestors belonged to. The Sunar use Soni, Seth, Swarnkar, Shah, Bhutani, Sonik, Bagga, Babbar, Verma etc. as their surnames. In Gujarat and Rajasthan, the community is also known as Soni. In Harayana, the Sunars are often known as Swarnakar, Soni, Suri and Verma, are their common surname.
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