Kurmi(Hindi: कुर्मी) or Kunbi is the name of one of the Jātis (Castes) of the Hindus in India. Kurmi are highly respected tribe among the Har-Mitan social civilization. Kurmi is known as the chief ancient agricultural caste of India. People from the Kunbi / Kurmi community in India belong to a sub-caste of the Kshatriya Varna.
Kshatriyas and agriculture: Kurmi
Kshatriyas turned to farming or agriculture are known as Kurmis.
|“||"A Kshatriya who has fallen into distress, may subsist by all these means..."||”|
— Laws of Manu, X:95 
As per ancient Hindu texts, agriculture is permissible to Kshatriyas under special circumstances  Laws of Manu, Chapter X, Verses 90, 95, 116  in the absence of opportunities in the military and feudal apparatus of a righteous Aryan king. Indeed, the service in the army of an unrighteous, or a 'Yavana', or a 'Maleccha', king was the biggest imaginable anathema for a conscientious and observant Vedic Kshatriya in ancient India. A Vedic Kshatriya was not a mercenary soldier but a defender of faith and righteous order (dharma).
The link between Kshatriyas and agriculture has been justified on the grounds of linguistic affinities between the root “ar” (Bravery, heroism, found in English and Greek hero, Russiangeroj and Sanskrit arya) and other words for Cultivators i.e. those who labour nobly (Russian oratel or ploughman, Airga in the Zend-Avesta), as well as in the legend of King “Prithu”, who tamed the earth to make fertile again. It is for this reason that the Sanskrit word for “earth” is “Prithvi”, in honour of the Aryan king “Prithu” who first cultivated the earth. And, in the words of Thomas Jefferson, “cultivators of the earth are the most virtuous and independent citizens”.
Mr. Craddock remarked: to the outside world the Kunbi is regarded as the embodiment of the agriculturist and the term Kunbi and become the generic name for professional cultivator. He is certainly a most plodding. Patient mortal with a cat-like affection for his land. Some of the more intelligent and effluent of the caste, who have risen to be among the most prosperous member of the community, are as shrewd men of business in their way as any section of the people, though lacking in education. But of the general body of the kunbi caste it is true to say that in the matter of enterprise, a capacity to hold their own with the money-lender, determination to improve their standard of comfort or their style of agriculture……., he is much their superior in endurance under adversity, is more law-abiding, and commands both by reason of his character and caste, greater social respect among the people at large'. 
Kurmi - Common Kurmi Surnames
The Rajwade,Chandrakar,Chaudhary, Chandra, Chandrawanshi, Patel, Patidar, Patanwar,Kadwa, Lewa, Uttam, Reddy, Naidu, Niranjan, Wakkaligar, Kunbi, Kanbi, Kutumbi, Kudumi, Kulmi, Kulambi, Kulwadi, Kapu and Kama - all belong to one caste, commonly called as ‘Kurmi’ or ‘Kunbi’. Common surnames or family names of Kurmis include Singh,Sinha, Chaudhary, Rathor, Patel, Verma, Katiyar, Niranjan, Gangwar, Pawar, Patil, Bhonsle, Reddy, Gowda, Mohanta, Scindia, Naidu, Mahato, Sachan, Kanaujia, Jichkar, Wankhde, Chavan, Rau,Mene and few more.
Origin & History
People from the Kurmi known as Kunbi also, community in India belongs to a sub-caste of the Kshatriya Varna. The word 'kunabi' is a generic term equivalent to farmer in English. According to the great Indian mythology Lord Rama had two sons one Luv and other Kush. Luv's successors came to known as lavyas who settled in Kashmir and later moved towards other parts of the country mentioned below. Successors of Kush came to be known as Kushwahas. who basically settled in northern plains of India. Kurmis (then known as patildars) used to be governing bodies patildars in Gujrat, Maharashtra, South India, Sindh, Kashmir, eastern Afghanistan plains, Indus valley and parts of Pakistan before invasion of Aryans. Then were owners of land and gave that for farming in 'pattas'. Owners of 'pattas' were called patidars>>patildars>>patil & patel later on and they further got subdivided into many other sub casts ‘Atharvavanshi’ or ‘Atharvansi’, ‘Jaisawar’, ‘Katiyars’, ‘Kannaujia’ and some more mentioned in below paragraphs. History indicates that Kunbi also called Kurmi and are original native of India they originated and lived here.
The physical appearance of the Kurmis tends to support the view of their Kshatriya Origin. According to the Revd. Sherring, “The Kurmi has a strong, bony hand, natural to a man of hisemployment. He is frequently tall and powerful, manly outspoken and independent in manner and is altogether free from cringing obsequiousness” [”Tribes and Castes” Vol III - p/258].Colonel Edward Tuite Dalton regards them as the descendants of some of the earliest AryanColonists - a brown tawny coloured people, of an average height, well proportioned and with [fair] amount of good looks. They show well-shaped heads and high features and except when they have obviously intermixed with aborigines, they are unquestionable Aryans in looks. Grey eyes and brownish hair are sometimes met with amongst them. The women usually have small and well formed hands and feet [”Ethnology of Bengal” - p/320]. Sir George Campbell, speaking of the Kurmis of Hindustan says, “They are on an average darker and less good looking than the Brahmans and Rajputs, but still quite Aryan in their features, institutions and manners [”Ethnology of India” - p/92].
Etymology and usage
Basically, it means “I do”, “I am able”. “Kuru” in Sanskrit means “do”. “Kurmi” in Sanskrit, which is frequently used in The Ramayana, literally translates as “I can” or “I am able”, or “within my power to act”. In other words, those who are not Kurmi are not able, incompetent or withoutpower to act.
Examples of the usage of the word in Sanskrit are from the Ramayana:
2)’na Kurmi’ tvam bhasmam (Valmiki Ramayana, Book 5, Sarga 22) ‘I am not making’ you into ashes.
Kurmi in north/south India and Nepal
Kurmi also present in the east as well as southern India. They are relatively prosperous and educated, forward thinking, but conscious and rooted to farming and trading also. Etymologically, the words, Kunbi are generally considered a derivative of the word Kurmi. Kurmis constitute around sixteen percentage of the total population of India.
In 1894 the Kurmi formed their first association in Lucknow which was named as “Sardar KurmiSabha” to give teeth to their protest against the British decision to cut their numbers in theMilitary forces. Later on, realising it was not enough, this “Kurmi Sabha” included the Patidars, Kunbis, Reddys, Naidus, Kapus, Wakkaligars and Kurmis of other states in its fold. In its 5th conference in 1909, this sabha declared to change its name from “Sardar Kurmi Sabha” to “All India Kurmi Kshatriya Association”. By 1910, in the All India Kurmi Kshatriya Mahasabha, the Ramanandi sect, a group of monastic Brahmin sages, traced the Kurmis ancestry to Luv, confirming their Kshatriya claims.
Famous Kurmi/Kunbi people
Saint Tukaram 17th Century Poet and a petty grain merchant & farmer who was born during the existence of two tier caste system (Brahmins & all Non-Brahmins termed as Sudras) that existed around in Maharashtra region, when Hindu religion was busted out by the mighty Moughals. That is the reason why Tukaram calls himself a Sudra. He has also greatly influenced Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj & Mahatma Gandhi. Saint Ramdas and Saint Tukaram existed during the same time period. His Brahmin disciple Sri Bagewadi Maharaj had documented his entire poem. Saint Tukaram had followers from all sects including those who were untouchables during those days. Visnupanth Damle’s film on Sant Tukaram received one of the three best films of 1937 at Venice. Tukaram Chair, University of Pune has hosted a website on the saint.
Rashtra Sant Tukdoji Maharaj Author of Gramgita, First President Dr Rajendra Prasad bestowed him the title Rashtrasant. He has participated in religious conventions in Japan. He was arrested by the then British government for performing Hindu Spiritual Rituals. He is one of the founding Vice President of Vishwa Hindu Parishad. He has composed 3000 bhajans and was great musician. The Indian Department of Posts honoured the memory of this great Saint, Patriot, musician and social worker, in 1995, by issuing a special postage stamp.
Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel First Deputy Prime Minister and home minister of India. He is famous as "Iron Man of India". After the Independence of India in 1947, he got selected for the first prime minister (PM) of India. Actually, Pt. Nehru want to be first prime minister of India but he was defeated by Sardar Patel. Then M. Gandhi interfere in this matter and he was against to Sardar Patel.Therefore, Due to the bad politics of M. Gandhi and Pt. Nehru,he left the post.
Smt Pratibha Patil (First women president of India, First Woman Governor of Rajasthan, Woman President of MPCC) before becoming Governor of Rajasthan, She was a member of Rajya Sabha. She was Table Tennis Champion in her college days and has won Inter-Tournaments. She holds MA in Arts and a Law Degree. Beside her political career she also manages her own educational institutes for poor and industries. Currently, She is first women president of India.
Raja Jai Lal Singh One of the martyrs of the First war of Independence in 1857, in whose memory a park is built opposite the DM’s residence in Lucknow. Military command of the rebels in Lucknow was in the hands of Raja Jai Lal Singh, who had been the názim of Azamgarh. He was a close confidante of Begam Hazrat Mahal, and was a key member of the military council that took all major decisions. He was also the main spokesperson for the troops in their dealings with the Court of Birjis Qadr/Hazrat Mahal. Raja Jai Lal Singh was instrumental in mobilising military support from the districts around Lucknow.
Babu Guptanath Singh Member of Constituent Assembly of India, Freedom fighter,Editor andwriter, written “Kurmi Kshatriya Jati ka Itihas” and Shivaji”, founder of Sardar Vallabhbhai PatelCollege (founded on Oct.31, 1957), Patel College has celebrated its 50th anniversary on 31stOctober 2007.
Dr. Prabhu Narain Singh Economist, Retired Prof. of Business Administration and Business Management, College of Business, Florida A & M University, USA. He received double PhD in Economics & Business Administration from University of South Carolina USA.
Dr. Kamta Prasad Agronomist, Principal Scientist with ICAR, New Delhi. Founder Member of a Society helping Girl child and Women of Rural areas. Working on all fronts to improve upon the education level in Kurmis of Central and Western Uttar Pradesh.
Dr. C.D. Deshmukh First Governor of RBI & Chairman of UGC Union Finance Minister of India, President of the Indian Statistics Institute, Board of Governors of the Adm. Staff College of India, Hyderabad, Chairman of the Indian Institute of Public Administration, New Delhi A number of prestigious universities and Institutions, international as well as Indian, conferred on himdoctorates honoris causa. He was student of University of Bombay in 1912 and University of Cambridge.
Dr Shrikant Jichkar, MP, Member of Rajya Sabha, Cabinet Minister of Maharashtra. Holds 20Postgraduate degrees. He has obtained 28 Gold Medals. Between 1972 and 1990 he has written 42 University Examinations. He was also IPS officer and IAS officer. He was the Youngest MLA in India at 25 years. He was also leading Indian Delegations on several forums including the UNO, the UNESCO. Founder of Kavi Kula guru Kalidas (India’s First) Sanskrit University. Managing Editor of Nagpur Times and Nagpur Patrika. Founding Chairman of National Institute of Amateur Radio. (Guinness & Lima Book of records lists him Politician with most qualifications and was the first Non-Brahmin who was awarded ‘Dixit’ Title).
Shri Yashwantrao Chavan Chief Minister of Maharashtra; Union Defence Minister during India-China War Union Finance Minister, India.
Sandeep Patil Cricket Player (Holds the record for six fours in a cricket over).
Kiran More Cricket Player.
Shri Ashok Desai (Former Attorney General of India, Author of several books on Law, Former Chief Justice of Uttaranchal Awarded ‘Padma Bushan’ by Government of India).
Barrister S. K. Wankhede (Former BCCI President and State Minister. He was married to Late Smt Kusumtai (From Brahmin family) who has greatly contributed to his career success. Due to his contribution to Indian cricket a stadium was named after him.)
Shri Datta Meghe (Educationist, Member of Parliament, Rajya Sabha) He runs several educational institute in Mumbai and Central India).
Dr Atul Gawande(A second generation Harvard Professor & Doctor, who is also a columnist in USA. He was a student at Stanford, Oxford and Harvard).
Sharad Pawar, Union Minister of Agriculture and Former Chief Minister of Maharashtra, Mumbai Cricket Association President & BCCI President. A native of Baramati.
Lalita Pawar Bollywood Actor Know as The Mother of all mother-in-laws in films was born in a rich Yevle family of Nasik and was married to Raj Prakash Gupta and lived in Pune. She started her career in 1928 in silent films. She has acted over 500 Hindi and Marathi films.
Usha Chavan Bollywood actress. She was famous for acting as the leading lady of the great Marathi Comedy actor Dada Kondke.
Smita Patil Bollywood Actor The first Asian cine-star who had the unique honour of Retrospectives in Paris and La Rochelle, (at the promptings of no less a film luminary than Director Costa Gavras), a two-time Best Actress award winner at the National Film Festival (Bhumika and Chakra) and a Padmashree. She was a keen photographer and died at the age of 31 years.
Smt. Prabha Rau (Woman President of MPCC). She was a sportsperson and has represented Maharashtra in long jump, high jump, hurdles, discus throw and running. Beside this she is a musician and holds a Masters degree in Politics and Music.
Late Saraswati Prasad Patel freedom-fighter senior Congress Leader.
Dr.R.K. Kusmaria senior BJP leader mp Khajuraho.
Dr.S.R. Niranjan Founder of Sun India Pharmacy (A major pharmaceutical company in India).
Ganesh Singh BJP leader Satna.
Indrajeet Patel senior congress leader former cabinet minister.
Ganga Ram Patel cabinet minister govt. MP.
Late Shri Chandu Lal Chandrakar Journalist, Famous Congress Leader from Chhattisgarh.
Late Shri Ram Lal Chandrakar Freedom Fighter, senior leader from Chhattisgarh.
Ajay Chandrakar BJP Leader and Ex-minister of Chhattisgarh.
Agni Chandrakar Ex-minister and sitting MLA,Chhattisgarh.
Pratima Chandrakar Sitting MLA, Chhattisgarh.
Dr. B. P. Chandra a well known Scientist and Ex Vice Chancellor,Pt. Ravishankar University, Raipur C.G.
P.Chandra Post Graduate Structural Design Engineer and IT Panel Valuer, Raipur C. G.
Naresh Kumar Patel Urban Planner with engineering background involved in planning of Hi-Tech and Integrated Townships.
Ishan Verma Founder of Inspire Software.
Nitish Kumar Chief Minister of Bihar.
Vinay Katiyar Famous BJPleader and founder of Bajranj Dal.
Keshu Bhai Patel Famous BJP Leader and Former Chief Minister of Gujrat.
Santosh Gangwar Famous BJP leader.
Sharad Pawar Famous Kunbi leader Union Cabinet Minister and BCCI president.
Beni Prasad Verma Famous Leader and Founder of Samajwadi Kranti Dal.
Sone Lal Patel Famous Leader and Founder of Apna Dal.
Om Prakash Singh Famous BJP Leader, leader of opposition in UP.
Premlata Katiyar Famous BJP Leader.
Dr. Brajendra Sachan Well known personlaity from Ghatampur in uttar pradesh. Initially he was District mahamantri of congress. later connected with Parag Dairy and played a vital role their to get the firm popular globally.
Lalji Verma Famous BSP Leader and Cabinet Minister in Mayawati Government.
Ram Poojan Patel Famous Congress Leader from Uttar Pradesh. He was elected as member of parliament continuously three times from Phoolpur Lokshabha seat. He was cabinet minister during Rajeev Gandhi period. He was deserving candidate for the post of prime minister of India during that time. He got good opportunity but could place himself at right place.
Ravindra Ahar Developer of www.kurmisamaj.com
Rakesh sachan Political leader from Kanpur,Uttar Pradesh. He was MLA from Ghatampur assembly constituency in 2002. Now he is MP from Fatehpur for the first time.