Asked in History of India
What is the history of matang caste?
January 16, 2012 1:28AM
Matang is a Dalit caste in the Indian states of Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, and Karnataka. Matangs or Mangs are known as Madigas in Andhra Pradesh.
Matangs originally belong to Nagvansh, an ancient race of North India. This race was staunch follower of Shramanic religions like Jainism and Buddhism. We can trace the origin of Matangs in Indus valley civilization.
References to Matang can be found in ancient Jain literature. According to Jain literature, Vinami, the great grandson of Rishabh the first Teerthankar of Jainism, was the founder of Matang race. Suparshvanath, the 7th Teerthankar of Jainism himself was a Matang. His Yaksha (attendant god) was also a Matang. The Yaksha of Mahavir the 24th Teerthankar was also a Matang.
Matang Yaksha is Jain God of Prosperity.(see matang yaksha sitting on elephant sculpture at Ellora cave no 32)
In Buddhism Matang is the name of Boddhisatva(protagonist of the Matanga Jataka), also the name of Pratyekabuddha, and Matangi is the godess mentioned in Buddhist text Divyavadana.
According to Ramayan, Hanuman, Vali, Sugreev, Jambvant were Matangs. And there was the rishi Matang or Jambmuni residing on rishyamukh parvat in kishkindha, he was guru of shabhari. Ram and laxman also visited his ashram and hanuman,sugreev also reside on these mountain during there exile.
Totem they probably had the elephant for their totem or symbol as word for elephant in sanskrit is matang.
A small number of people from this community in Karnataka follow Veershaivism and Jainism.
Acharya Harikeshi, a Jain Achraya of ancient India
Muni Chitta-Sambhuti Vijay,two brothers who were disciple monks of Teerthankar Mahaveer
Hanuman (Maruti) who helped Raam in his mission
Yampal Matang, a famous lay follower of Jainism mentioned in ancient Jain Literature
Lahuji Raghoji Salve (Lahuji Ustad), Activist, Thinker,Social Reformer and Revolutionary from Maharashtra.
Anna Bhau Sathe, Marathi Novelist, Social Reformer
Shahir Vitthal Umap, A famous Marathi folk singer. Also, known for his songs on Dr. B. R. Ambedkar.
1. Uttaradhyan Sutra, Chittsambhutiya 2. Matangs in Jain Literature by Prof. Pradeep Phaltane