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Bhats in western India (c. 1855-1862)

Bhat (Sanskrit: भट, Urdu: بھٹ‎ , Gurmukhi: ਭੱਟ), also spelled as Butt (Pahari: بٹ),[1][2] both of which are a shortened rendition of Bhatta (Sanskrit: भट्ट), also spelled Bhatt (Sanskrit: भट्, Urdu: بھٹٹ‎), [2][3] is a common surname in the Indian subcontinent. The Bhatta surname is associated with the Brahmin varna (caste) of Hinduism,[4] however, large number of Muslims retained the surname after their conversion to Islam from Hinduism.[1]


Historians state the surname is a distorted form of Bhatta, which originates from Sanskrit (भटट), meaning "scholar" according to the Brāhmaṇa.[5] While the original shortened rendition of "Bhatta" was "Bhat" or "Bhatt,"[3] many of the migrants to the Punjab region started spelling their surname as "But" or "Butt" which is the spelling of the clan used in the Pahari language.[6][7]

Geographic distributionEdit


Hindu Bhattas who reside in Nepal and speak Nepali language and Doteli language are mostly found in the Mahakali zone of Sudurpashchim Pradesh,Nepal. Some Nepali Bhattas are also found from the Gorkha district of Nepal. However, due to migration of people for opportunities nowdays, Bhattas can be found in different parts of Nepal.


The surname is in use among some Konkani Christians who trace their ancestry to the Goud Saraswat Brahmins of Goa.[4]


This is a common surname among the Tuluva Brahmins, Goud Saraswat Brahmins and Havyaka Brahmins of Karnataka.


Bhat, also spelled as Butt, is a Kashmiri surname, found among individuals native to the Kashmir Valley, as well as Kashmiri émigrés who have migrated to the Punjab,[1][8] a region divided between India and neighbouring Pakistan.[6] Many such Muslim Kashmiris migrated to the Punjab in the late 19th century due to natural disasters.[9][2][3] The surname is shared by both Kashmiri Hindus and Muslims.[10][11]


Some Muslim Bhats/Butts found in the Punjab migrated from Kashmir and Jammu during the 1878 famine,[6][7] and are Brahmin Hindu converts to Islam.[1][2] Many such Muslim Kashmiris migrated to the Punjab in the late 19th century due to natural disasters and oppression at the hands of the Rajput Dogra Hindu rulers of Kashmir.[9]


Hindu Bhatts who speak the Gujarati language reside in the Indian state.

Notable individualsEdit


Actors, models and musiciansEdit


  • Baiju Bhatt (born 1984/1985), American billionaire, co-founder of Robinhood


  • Muhammad Zaki Butt, former Air Commodore in the Pakistan Air Force and bodyguard of Quaid-e-Azam, Muhammad Ali Jinnah
  • Ziauddin Butt, former Chief of the Inter-Services Intelligence
  • Tahir Rafique Butt, 20th Chief of Air Staff of the Pakistan Air Force
  • Malik Tazi Bhat, 15th century Warlord, from Jammu, who fought Lodhi Dynasty



  • Noor Muhammad Butt, Pakistani nuclear physicist, research scientist and chairman of Pakistan Science Foundation
  • Parvez Butt, Pakistani nuclear engineer and former chairman of the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission
  • Atul Butte, researcher in biomedical informatics and biotechnology entrepreneur in Silicon Valley


See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c d The Journal of the Anthropological Survey of India. The Survey. 2003. Retrieved 10 January 2015. The But/Butt of Punjab were originally Brahmin migrants from Kashmir during 1878 famine.
  2. ^ a b c d The quarterly journal of the Mythic society (Bangalore)., Volume 96. The Society. 2005. Retrieved 2 December 2010. Even today most common family name in Kashmir is Butt, a distortion of Bhatt, a Hindu surname common amongst the Brahmins in India.
  3. ^ a b c Saligram Bhatt (2008). Kashmiri Scholars Contribution to Knowledge and World Peace. ISBN 9788131304020. Retrieved 2 December 2010. Bhat {Bhatt}, surnames are found in Uttaranchal, Northern Belt, Central and Western parts of the country and is a surname of sizeable Brahmins in Konkan, Maharashtra and Gujarat; where they had migrated in sizeable strength. Bhatta's who migrated to Gauda {Bengal} were called Acharaya's {Scholars} and thus Bhattacharaya's. In Nepal they became priests, ardent worshippers of Bhadrakali and spread Kali worship; mostly around Pashupatinath Temple. In Uttaranchal they became Purohit {Priestly} class, adopted surname Purohit, many changed profession but retained Bhatt surname. In northern plains, few became Bhatta's, many Bhatt's; in both cases Purohit {Priestly} class. In Central and Western parts, strict requirements of a Bhatta {Purohit} could not be sustained and to indicate their Brahmin roots they opted for surname only. Thus Bhatta and Purohit are surnames of the same category. Bhatta has a shortened version, Bhat {Bhatt}; referring to the same class of people. Surname Bhat {Bhatt} in Kas'mira can also be traced to short form of Bhatta. In Kas'mira, Bhatta honorific has been associated with many personalities, scholars of 9th and 10th centuries, scriptures and specific in many cases in 14th century and later.
  4. ^ a b Sarasvati's Children: A History of the Mangalorean Christians, Alan Machado Prabhu, I.J.A. Publications, 1999, p. 137
  5. ^ For definition of ब्राह्मण brāhmaṇa, with last syllable showing a Vedic accent, used as a noun as "m. (having to do with Brahman or divine knowledge), one learned in the Veda, theologian, priest, Brāhman, man of the first four castes"; and definition of ब्राह्मण brāhmaṇa, with only first syllable showing a Vedic accent, used as an adjective as "a. (i) belonging to a Brāhman, Brāhmanic", see: Macdonell 1924, p. 199.
  6. ^ a b c The Journal of the Anthropological Survey of India, Volume 52. The Survey. 2003. Retrieved 2 December 2010. The But/Butt of Punjab were originally Brahmin migrants from Kashmir during 1878 famine.
  7. ^ a b P.K. Kaul (2006). Pahāṛi and other tribal dialects of Jammu, Volume 1. Eastern Book Linkers. ISBN 9788178541013. Retrieved 2 December 2010. The But/Butt of Punjab were originally Brahmin migrants from Kashmir during 1878 famine.
  8. ^ Explore Kashmiri Pandits. Dharma Publications. ISBN 9780963479860. Retrieved 2 December 2010.
  9. ^ a b Bahl, Arvin (2007). From Jinnah to Jihad: Pakistan's Kashmir Quest and the Limits of Realism. Atlantic Publishers & Dist. p. 76. ISBN 9788126907212.
  10. ^ Parvéz Dewân (January 2004). Parvéz Dewân's Jammû, Kashmîr, and Ladâkh: Kashmîr. Manas Publications. ISBN 9788170491798. Retrieved 2 December 2010. This is a surname shared by Hindus and Muslims.
  11. ^ Sharma, Usha (1 January 2001). Political development in Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh. Radha Publications. ISBN 9788174870629. Retrieved 11 January 2015. Surnames like 'Bhatt' and 'Pandit' are common to both Hindus and Muslims.