People of Haryana
 
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Haryana has been the hub of social, cultural and religious activity in India, even before the time of Vedic Civilization. Given its unique geography, the state of Haryana was witness to the invasions of the Muslim rulers, battles of the Marathas and the Sikhs. Hindu saints, Buddhist monks and Sikh gurus have traversed Haryana, spreading their messages of universal love and brotherhood. The population of Haryana, according to the 2001 census, is 2,10,83,000, with 1,13,28,000 males and 97,55,000 females. The population density is 477 people/sq km.

People of Haryana are simple, straight-forward, enterprising and hard-working. Since ancient times, they have survived many upheavals upholding the traditional glory and greatness of the land to this day. They have preserved their ancient Vedic traditions. They celebrate festivals with great enthusiasm and traditional fervor. The region has its festivals, popular folklores, folksongs and musical instruments. The women are devoted and diligent and assist their men-folk on the farms. The people have simple food habits. They are known for their love for cattle and the abundance of milk and curd in their diet.

Religion has always provided the main basis for the structure of the Haryana society. In ancient times, Aryan people followed the Vedic religion. Later on Buddhism, Jainism, Islam and Sikhism influenced the people. Swami Dayanand's teachings greatly impressed the people and the Arya Samaj has a large following among Hindus of Haryana. In present day Haryana, Hindus are about 90% of the population, Sikhs 6.2%, Muslims 4.05% and Christians 0.10%. Hindus are divided into a number of castes like Jats, Brahmins, Ahirs, Gujars, Aggarwals, Arora Khatris, Sainis, Rajputs and Rors. Among them all, the Jats occupy a preeminent position in Haryana, being the largest group in the state. The artisan castes such as Telis (oil traders), Sunars (goldsmith), Lohars (blacksmiths), dhobis (launderers) and Nais (barbers) are found throughout the state, especially in villages.

The Jats are spread throughout Haryana. The origin of Jats is shrouded in mystery. Harijans constitute about one fifth of the population. As a result of various facilities and privileges provided by the Government, the Harijans are now taking a active part in all the activities. The Muslims in the state are mostly Meos and are concentrated in the Mewat region. Although Islam does not preach casteism, there are three categories of Muslims in Haryana. The Asharf or Sharaf (noble) form the higher caste, the Ajlaf (base or mean) is the middle with Arzal (lowest of all) coming at the end. There are Muslim Rajputs as well as converted Muslims. The Sikhs generally live in Ambala, Kurukshetra and Karnal districts. Sikhs too have their own castes like Jat Sikhs, Aroras etc.

More than 70% of the population is depended on agriculture for their livelihood. The people speak several similar sounding dialects of Hindi. The most important dialect being 'Bangaru'. The people of Haryana are generally speaking taller, stronger and healthier than the average Indian due to hard work and the inclusion of lots of dairy products in their diet. The main languages spoken by the people are Haryanavi, Hindi, Panjabi, Urdu and English. Sanskrit is now taught in schools till the 8th class.
 

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