Yādav refers to a grouping of traditionally non-elite, pastoral communities, or castes, in India and Nepal which since the nineteenth and twentieth centuries has claimed descent from the mythological King Yadu as a part of a movement of social and political resurgence.

The term 'Yadav' now covers many traditional pastoral castes such as Ahirs of the Hindi belt, the Gavli of Maharashtra, the Goala of Andhra and the Konar of Tamil Nadu. In the Hindi belt, "Ahir," "Gwala," and "Yadav" are often used synonymously. The Yadav are included in the category Other Backward Classes (OBCs) in many Indian states.

Traditionally, Yadav groups were linked to cattle raising and, as such, were outside the formal caste system. Since the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the Yadav movement has worked to improve the social standing of its constituents, through Sanskritisation, active participation in the Indian and British armed forces, expansion of economic opportunities to include other, more prestigious business fields, and active participation in politics. Yadav leaders and intellectuals have often focused on their claimed descent from Yadu, and from Lord Krishna, which they argue confers kshatriya status upon them, and effort has been invested in recasting the group narrative to emphasize kshatriya-like valor, however, the overall tenor of their movement has not been overtly egalitarian in the context of the larger Indian caste system.

Read more about Yadav:  Classification, Gallery

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