Chandal or Namasudra (Ghasi sub-caste), Eastern Bengal. 19
Medium: Photographic print
Half-length portrait of a young man by an unknown photographer in the early 1860s. The Chandals or Namasudras were a community from Eastern Bengal. According to Nineteenth Century sources, it was believed that they once inhabited lands around Gaya to the north, but were driven to the marshlands of modern-day Bangladesh. They are recorded as living apart from the remainder of the population in cities and as being employed performing menial tasks for members of the brahmin or priestly class. The specific sub-group, known as 'Ghasi', of whom this man was a member, were described as grass-cutters by occupation.