Kayasthas have historically occupied the highest government offices, serving as ministers and advisors during early medieval Indian kingdoms and the Mughal Empire, and holding important administrative positions during the British Raj. With the passing of time, the Kayasthas have surged ahead. They have broken new grounds in vocations other than those relating to writing and record-keeping and excelled in them.

Thus, in public life, Dr. Rajendra Prasad rose to become the first President of the Republic of India, whereas Lal Bahadur Shastri succeeded Jawaharlal Nehru as the Prime Minister. Dr. Sampuranand was the Chief Minister of U.P. and Governor of Rajasthan, besides being a literary figure.

Jaya Prakash Narain brought down Indira Gandhi, and Subhas Chandra Bose fought the British rule militarily. Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar and Jagdish Chandra Bose were eminent scientists. Munshi Prem Chand, Harivansh Rai Bachchan, Raghupat Sahai "Firaque" Gorakhpuri, Dr. Vrindavan Lal Verma, Dr. Ram Kumar Verma, and Dr. Dharm Vir Bharti have been men of letters. Swami Vivekanand was a philosopher and a true Indian. Amitabh Bachchan and Shatrughan Sinha have excelled in the film world, and Mukesh and Sonu Nigam in the world of music.


Kayasthas mostly belong to the Hindi-speaking states of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Madhya PradeshDelhi, West Bengal, Orissa and Assam. Kayasthas also migrated to various other parts of the country. Most of the Kayasthas who shifted to Hyderabad from Delhi and Uttar Pradesh in the middle of the eighteenth century got employment in the court of the Nizam. 

The maps below illustrate their geographical spread: 

Largest States (only 15 largest shown) World Population= 9,716,000



Kayasthas practice family exogamy and caste endogamy preferring to marry only within their sub-castes. Individuals of the same Al may not intermarry, while those of the same caste and different Als can. Thus, an individual from the Srivastava sub-caste and Pandey Al should not marry another Pandey of the same sub-caste but can marry an individual belonging to another Al of the same subcaste. Though it was a widely practiced old tradition it has lost its significance in modern times to a great extent.


Kayasthas worship all Hindu Gods and celebrate all festivals like Holi, Diwali, etc like any Hindu anywhere in the world, with the same faith and devotion. In addition to the above, the Kayasthas worship Shree Chitraguptaji and on Bhai-Dooj, they celebrate Kalam-Dawaat Pooja (pen, inkpot, and sword worship), a ritual in which pens, papers, and books are worshipped. This is the day when Shree Chitraguptji was created by Lord Bramha and Yamaraj got relieved of His duties and used this leave to visit His sister Devi Yamuna; hence the whole world celebrates Bhai-Dooj on this day and the Kayastha celebrate Shree Chitraguptajayanti, i.e. the 'Birthday' of their progenitor.

By worshipping Chitragupta who is their ancestor, Kayasthas have the singular distinction of being the only "Ancestor-worshipping" sect of Hinduism.

 (Shri Chitragupt Ji Maharaj , Image Courtesy - Internet)


Unlike most Baniya (Vaishya) or Brahmins, and like Kshatriyas, Kayasthas eat onions, garlic, meats like mutton and chicken, fish, and eggs, though a large number are also vegetarians. Meat-eating Kayasthas do not eat beef as the cow is considered sacred for Hindus.

It is believed though not yet proved that Kayasthas of holy towns like Prayag, Mathura, Varanasi, etc. are pure vegetarians, while in other areas they may be mixed. It is said that Kayasthas started eating meat during the Muslim period when they socially mixed with the Muslims.

It is also said that Kayasthas have the best eating sense because, amongst Hindus, Kayasthas add the largest varieties of food to their diet.  Kayastha Cuisine is distinct in its uses of spices and radically different styles of cooking and various recipes are favourites of Michelin star chefs around the world.


Of all the other castes in India, Kayasthas are the easiest to mingle with other castes. They did this when the Muslims came to India, and modern examples of this are Kayasthas outside India where they mingle with other castes more than they mingle among themselves.

This cosmopolitan outlook distinguishes members of this caste, and along with the great emphasis on education, is to a large extent responsible for their success in changing times.


Kayastha ministers find mention in Hindu mythology. Prior to the Raghuvanshis , Ayodhya was ruled by the progeny of Chitragupta.

The Kayastha who are represented by the "Kayats" or the hereditary caste of the scribes of the present day, formed originally a sub-military class. The Anthropological Survey of India conducted a survey during the British Raj which concluded that the Kayastha community was influential during the Mauryan period as administrators.

Also, much proof has been found that the Hindu Kings used to grant lands to the Kayasthas, a practice enjoyed only by a particular caste. Also, it is logical to consider the status of the Kayasthas when Sanskrit was the state language under the Hindu Kings. 

Kayasthas have the unique distinction of having a script – Kaithi, associated with their name. Kaithi (also known earlier as Kayati, Kayathi, or Kayasthi), like Dev Nagri, was used mainly by Kayasthas in northern India. It has its own Unicode now.  

The Kayastha was one of the most influential Castes in Kashmiri politics around the 7th century (ref. Rajatarangini). The economic status of the Kayastha community bettered than that of other castes when the Muslims conquered India. Other Indian castes would typically not find employment under the Muslim rulers, as they could not learn the Muslim languages of Persian, Arabic, and later Urdu. On the other hand, the Kayastha community traditionally put a lot of emphasis on education and prospered during the Islamic period in India. 

a.Classical India: 

Rajendra Prasad, who went on to become the first president of India, alongside Jawaharlal Nehru and Bhulabhai Desai at the All India Congress Committee Session in April 1939 quoted Brahmanical religious texts which refer to Kayasthas as a caste responsible for writing secular documents and maintaining records from the 7th century AD onward. According to the historical chronicle known as the Rajatarangini ("River of Kings"), written by Kalhana in the 12th century AD, Kayasthas served as prime ministers and treasury officials under several Kashmiri kings. 

Prior to the 13th century AD, during the rule of Hindu kings, Kayasthas dominated public service and had a near-monopoly on appointments to government positions. They may also have been described as Karanas, since the two groups performed similar functions. 

In Bengal, during the reign of the Gupta Empire beginning in the 4th century AD, when systematic and large-scale colonization by Aryan Kayasthas and Brahmins first took place, Kayasthas were brought over by the Guptas to help manage the affairs of state. 

b.Medieval India  

After the Muslim conquest of India, Kayasthas mastered Persian, which became the official language of the Mughal courts. According to Abu al-Fazl, Emperor Akbar's prime minister, Kayasthas were rulers of the Pala Empire, one of the major early medieval Indian kingdoms that originated in Bengal. 

One of the most notable Kayasthas of the Mughal period was Raja Todar Mal, Emperor Akbar's finance minister and one of the court's nine Navaratnas, who is credited with establishing the Mughal revenue system. He also translated the Bhagavata Purana from Sanskrit into Persian.

Raja Todar Mal was born on 1st January 1500, in the city of Laharpur, (district Sitapur) in present-day Uttar Pradesh from where many Kayasthas come and have traditionally been employed in civil services of kings much before Akbar's time. Some historians considered him to be either a Khatri or Agarwal, debate on which remains unresolved.

Another renowned Kayastha of those times was Raja Birbal (born Mahesh Das Brahmbhatt in 1528 in Kalpi, Uttar Pradesh). He was an advisor and main commander (Mukhya Senapati) of an army in Akbar’s court and one of his Navratna.

He is mostly known in the Indian subcontinent for the Folk Tales which focus on his wit. Educated in Hindi, Sanskrit, and Persian, Birbal wrote prose and specialized in music and poetry in the Braj language, thus gaining fame. In 1582 he adopted Din-iIlahi, a religion propounded by Akbar. He died in 1586.

In Bengal, Kayasthas had been the dominant landholding caste prior to the Muslim conquest and continued this role under Muslim rule. Indeed, Muslim rulers had from a very early time confirmed the Kayasthas in their ancient role as landholders and political intermediaries. 

Bengali Kayasthas served as governors, prime ministers, and treasury officials under the Mughal rule. As a result of their exalted status amongst Muslim sultans, many Bengali Kayasthas became zamindars and Jagirdars. According to Abu al-Fazl, most of the Hindu zamindars in Bengal were Kayasthas. Maharaja Pratapaditya, the King of Jessore who declared independence from the Mughal rule in the early 17th century, was a Kayastha. 

c.British India 

During the British Raj, Kayasthas continued to proliferate in public administration, qualifying for the highest executive and judicial offices open to Indians. Bengali Kayasthas took on the role occupied by merchant castes in other parts of India and profited from business contacts with the British. In 1911, for example, Kayasthas and Brahmins owned 40% of all the Indian-owned mills, mines, and factories in Bengal. 

Some of the significant figures of the Indian independence movement were Kayasthas, including the spiritual leaders - Swami Vivekananda and Sri Aurobindo, and the revolutionary leader Subhas Chandra Bose. 

d.Modern India

The Kayasthas are found mostly in central, eastern, and northern India, particularly in Bengal. Today, there are an estimated 800,000 Kayasthas in India. Kayasthas that have risen to prominence since independence includes the country's first president, Rajendra Prasad, and its second prime minister, Lal Bahadur Shastri. Glimpses of Kayastha luminaries and their achievements are aptly depicted in this video, the link is given below: https://youtu.be/9ISHYNOFLu4


The Kayasthas trace their genealogy to Lord Chitragupta. According to Hindu Vedic Scriptures and Hindu Mythology, the world was created by Brahma, the Creator. Lord Brahma first created 16 Sons from various parts of his own body. Chitragupt Ji, his 17th creation, is believed to be created from Lord Brahma’s Mind & Soul (Kaya).  

Shree Chitragupt Ji is a divine incarnation in human form and is called Kayastha since he is the only creation of Lord Brahma who was created in entirety (kaya) from the Lord's body, unlike the other 16 sons who were created only from various parts of the body. Shree Chitragupt Ji (and hence the Kayastha) were accorded a dual-caste status, namely Kshatriya (Warrior) and Brahmin (The Learned). 

According to the scriptures, Lord Brahma went into meditation for 11,000 years and when he opened his eyes, he saw a man holding a pen and ink-pot in his hands, as well as a sword girdled to his waist. Lord Brahma spoke: “Thou hast been created from my body (Kaya); therefore, shall thy progeny be known as the Kayasthas. Thou hast been conceived in my mind (Chitra) and in secrecy (Gupta); thy name shall also be Chitragupta Ji.”

Brahma then enjoined him to dispense justice and punish those who violated the dharma. Thus, the Kayasthas were accorded a dual caste, Brahman/Kshatriya. In the legends of Chitragupta Ji as well as in the Vedas, he is referred to as the greatest king, while the rest are "Rajakas," or little kings.


चित्र इद राजा राजका इदन्यके यके सरस्वतीमनु  
पर्जन्य इव ततनद धि वर्ष्ट्या सहस्रमयुता ददत  RIG VEDA Book 8/ Hymn 21/ Stanza 18

In the Garud Purana, Chitragupta is hailed as the first man to give the script. “ Chitragupta namastubhyam vedaksaradatre” (Obeisance to Chitragupta, the giver of letters)


There are several temples in India, particularly in South India, enshrining the Lord Chitragupta. The most famous of them is located at Kanchipuram and one of the ancient temples of Chitragupta Ji is situated in Khajuraho.

b)The Family Tree:

Shree Chitragupta Ji married Devi Nandani and Devi Shobhavati and had twelve divine Sons. The 12 Sons started the 12 main branches of Brahma Kayastha. 

The 12 clans of Brahma Kayastha are: 

  1. Mathur 
  2. Gour
  3. Bhatnagar 
  4. Saxena 
  5. Ambashtha 
  6. Nigam 
  7. Karna 
  8. Kulshreshtha 
  9. Srivastava 
  10. Surdhwaja
  11. Valmiki 
  12. Asthana

1.Shree Charu (Mathur):  

He was a disciple of sage Mathure, Rashi name was Dhurandhar, was married to Devi Pankajakshi , and worshipped Devi Durga. Mathureshwari. Maharaj Chitraguptji sent Shree Charu to establish a Kingdom in the Mathara region (between Mahanadi and KrishnRiverser in Orissa). His descendants were known as the Mathurs. After defeating the demons, a term regularly used for the anti-Vedic tribes, they established the Kingdom of Mathara. This done, they also propagated to another part of Aryavartha. In the meanwhile, they were further divided into 3 sub-divisions 1. The Mathurs of Mathara, 2.The Pancholi or Panchali of Pnachal Kingdom where in Garhwal hills there is a town of Mathara 3.The Kacchi of Gujrat. The Mathurs seemed to enjoy a long history of ruling many Kingdoms, the most important of which was Ayodhya, ruled by them before the Raghuvanshis took the reign. They are divided into 84 Als. They establishethe d Pandya Kingdom covering Madurai Trinivelli etc. 

2.Shree Sucharu (Gaur):

He was a disciple of Sage Bhat, was married to Devi Bhadrakalini and worshipped Devi Jayanti. Maharaj Chitraguptaji sent Shree Chitraksh to establish a kingdom in the region of Bhat river at Bhattdesh and Malwa. They established Chittor and Chitakoot. He settled then there and his progeny came to be known as Bhatnagar. They are divide into 84 Als.

3.Shree Chitraksh (Bhatnagar): 

He was a disciple of sage Bhat, was married to Devi Bhadrakalini, and worshipped Devi Jayanti. Maharaj Chitragupt Ji sent Shree Chitraksh to establish a Kingdom in the region of Bhat River at Bhattdesh and Malwa. They established Chittor and Chitrakoot He settled then there and his progeny came to be known as Bhatnagar. They are divided into 101 Als.

4.Shree Matimaan (Saxena): 

He was married to Devi Kokalesh and worshipped Devi Shakambari. Maharaj Chitragupta Ji sent Shree Matimaan to establish a kingdom in the Shak region. His (Shree Matimaan's) son was a great warrior and established his kingdom in the modern-day Kabul-Kandhar and Eurasia region and as they were sakha (friends of sena) the progeny was called Shaksena or Saksena, a part of modern Iran was under their rule. Today they are abundantly found in the regions of Kannauj, Pillibhit, Bareilly, Shahjahanpur, Badayu, Farrukhabad, Etta, Maninpuri, and Aligarh. They are divided into Khare and Dusare and had 106 main Als at present.  According to RC Manjumdar, they were kings Shena of Shakas hence Shakashena which anglicized to Saxena.

5.Shree Himvaan (Ambashth): 

His Rashi name was Sarandhar, was married to Devi Bhujangakshi and worshipped Devi Amba-Mata. Settled in Girnar and Kathiawar area called Amba-than, hence the name. Shree Himvaan had five divine sons Shree Nagasen, Shree Gayasen, Shree Gayadatta, Shree Ratanmool, and Shree Devdhar and they married Gandharvyakanyas. These five sons settled at different locations and accordingly their lineage spread their rule over these and was further divided into Nagasen: 24 Als, Gayasen: 35 Als. Gayadatta: 85 Als, Ratanmool: 25 Als, Devdhar: 21 Als. Later they settled in Punjab after their defeat by Alexander's general and then  by Chandragupta Maurya.

6.Shree Chitracharu (Nigam):  

His Rashi name was Sumant, was married to Devi Ashgandhmati and worshipped Devi Durga. Maharaj Chitraguptji sent Shree Chitracharu to establish a Kingdom in the Mahakoshal and the Nigam region (on the bank of river Saryu). His progeny was very proficient in the rules laid in Vedas and the Shastras, hence Nigam. Today they live in Kanpur, Fatehpur, Hamirpur, Banda, Jalon, Mahoba. They are divided into 43 main Als.

7.Shree Aruncharu (Karna): 

His Rashi name was Damodar, was married to Devi Kamakala and worshipped Devi Laxmi. They were Vaishnavites. Maharaj Chitraguptji sent Shree Aruncharu to establish a Kingdom in the Karna region (modern-day Karnataka). His progeny slowly migrated to the Northern Kingdoms and now live abundantly in present-day Nepal, Orissa, and Bihar. The Bihar branch is further divided into two; namely, the ‘Gayaval Karna’ who settled in Gaya, and the ‘Maithil-Karna’ who settled in the Mithila region. Later they adopted Buddhism. They are divided into an astounding 360 Als; this huge figure is attributed to the families who migrated in different phases from the South. The clan has nothing to do with the Karna of Mahabharata.

8.Shree Jitendra (Kulshreshtha):  

His Rashi name is Sadananda, was married to Devi Manjubhashini and worshipped Devi Laxmi. Maharaj Chitraguptji  sent Shree Atiyendriya (also known as Jitendra) to establish a kingdom in the Kannauj region. Shree Atiyendriya was one of the most religious and pious ascetics of the twelve Sons. He was known as 'Dharmatama' and 'Pundit' and was a master of passions; His progeny came to known as Kulshrestha. Today the Kulshresthas live abundantly in Mathura, Agra, Fawrookhabad, Etah, Etahwa, and Mainpuri. A few are in Nandigaon, Benga. Shree Shekhar Kulshrestha and Sugam Kulshreshtha as in Jalesar (Etah) both renowned writers. Sons of Mata Nandani.

9.Shree Shribhanu(Srivastava): 

His Rashi name was Dharamdwaj. Maharaj Chitraguptji sent Shree Shribhanu to establish a Kingdom in the Shrivaas (Srinagar)region in Kashmir and Kandhar. He was married to Nagaraj Vaasuki’s daughter Devi Padmini and two divine sons named Shree Devdatta and Shree Ghanshyam was born. Shree Devdatta got the rulership over Kashmir and Shree Ganshyam got the rulership over the banks of the Sindhu River. They were called Srivastava ‘Khare’ born from their second wife Kheri. Two divine sons named Shree Dhanvantari and Shree Sarvagya were born. They were called Srivastava ‘Doosre’. The Srivastava is divided into 65 main Als. 

10.Shree Vibhanu (Suryadhwaj):  

His Rashi name was Shyamsunder, was married to Devi Malti. Maharaj Chitraguptji sent Shree Vibhanu to establish the Kingdom in the northern parts of the Kashmir region. Since Mother Dakshina was the daughter of Suryadev, the progeny of Shree Vibhanu carried the emblem of the Sun God on their flags and were called Suryadhwaj. Jarasandha of Mahabharat and Jamnaya of Taxila were well known. Later they settled at Magadh.

11.Shree Vishwabhanu (Valmiki):  

His Rashi name was Deendayal and worshipped Devi Shakumbhari. Maharaj Chitraguptji sent Shree Vishwabhanu to establish a Kingdom in Valmiki region near Chirakoot and Narmada. Shree Vishwabhanu was married to Nagakanya Devi Bimbvati. He is known to have to spend a great part of his life practicing intense meditation (Tapasya) on the banks of river Narmada when covered with the leaves of creeper Valmiki. His progeny was known as Valmiki. They became Vallabhpanthi. His son Shree Chandrakant settled in Gujarat while the other Sons migrated with their families to the North, near river Ganga and the Himalayas. Today they live in Gujarat and Maharashtra. They are also known as ‘Vallabhi Kayastha’ in Gujarat.

12.Shree Viryabhanu (Asthana):  

His Rashi name Madhavrao, was married to Devi Singhdwani. Maharaj Chitraguptji sent Shree Viryabhanu to establish a kingdom in Adhisthana. His progeny came to be known as Asthana as Ramnagar-Varanasi's king bestowed them eight jewels. Some say that they had no fixed sthan, hence the name. Today the Asthanas live abundantly in various districts of the U.P. In Bihar they live in Saran, Sivaan, Champaran, Mujjafarpur, Sitamadhi, Darbhanga, Bhagalpur regions. Their population is also notable in U.P.'s neighbouring state M.P. They are divided into 5 main Als.


These twelve sub-castes are further divided into ALs. A Vansh originates from a King, a Rishi, or a Deity and as it grows it divides itself into several branches. The descendants start to build their own sub-Vansh depending upon the places and situations met, at the same time acknowledging their submission to the MOOL Vansh. This sub-Vansh adds specific nouns to their names which in the case of the Chirtagupta Vansha (Chitranshi) are called the Als. (Kindly be clear upon the point that the 12 main sub-castes are acknowledged divisions based on the family of the 12 Sons, they are not called Als, their further divisions are what Als are) 

One must be careful to avoid confusing them with Gotra. Gotra goes after the name of a Vedic Rishi, who was either a Guru, Raj Guru, or Progenitor of that Vansh. The gotra for a MOOL Vansh is always the same. It is Kashayap for the Kayasthas. Thus, a Vanshaz can be known from his Gotra and Al (The term Kul is often used for Al, though the former has a much broader meaning). The Als can be thousands in number and must be added to the name in conjunction with one of the 12 main sub-castes. This is the reason that so many do not find their surnames mentioned amongst the 12 main sub-castes.