Chowdhury is a surname and hereditary title of Bengali, Hindi origin. It means the "holder of four". During British rule in the Indian subcontinent, the term was associated with landowners and social leaders; the common female equivalent was Chowdhurani.[1] Many landlords under the Permanent Settlement carried this surname. Land reforms after the partition of India abolished the permanent settlement. In modern times, the term is a common South Asian surname for both males and females. In the Chittagong Hill Tracts, the titular Rajas of the Bohmong Circle and Mong Circle have the surname Chowdhury.[2][3][4][5]

MeaningHolder of four; four-way duties; four responsibilities
Region of originIndian subcontinent
Other names
Variant form(s)Chaudhary, Chaudri, Choudhary, Chaudhry, Chowdary, Chowdhary, Chaudry, Choudary, Choudhry, Chaudhuri, Chaudhari, Chudhry, Choudhari, Choudhury, Chowdhuri, Chowduri, Chaudhurani, Choudhurani, Chowdhurani, Chowdhrani, Choudhrani, Chaudhrani.

Meaning and significanceEdit

"Chowdhury" is a term adapted from the Sanskrit word caturdhara, literally "holder of four" (four denoting a measure of land, from catur ("four") and dhara ("holder" or "possessor")).[6] The name is an ancient Sanskrit term denoting the head of a community or caste.[7] It was a title awarded to persons of eminence, including both Muslims and Hindus, during the Mughal Empire. It was also used as a title by military commanders responsible for four separate forces, including the cavalry, navy, infantry and elephant corps.[8] These people belonged to the zamindar families in British India.[9]

Chowdhuries of CacharEdit

The Muslim Mirashdars living in the Kachari Kingdom (predominantly Sylhetis) were given titles by the Kachari Raja which had a hierarchy, and in modern-day acts as a surname for the Kachari Sylheti Muslims of the Barak Valley. The title was the highest ranking title granted by the Kachari king above Majumdar, Bhuiyan, Barbhuiyan, Mazarbhuiyan, Rajbarbhuiyan, Laskar, and Barlaskar respectively.[10]

In BiharEdit

In Bihar, the Pasi are also known as the Chaudhary, a community traditionally connected with toddy tapping.[11]

Alternate spellingsEdit

Its alternate spellings include: Chaudhary, Chaudri, Choudhary, Chaudhry, Chowdary, Chowdhary, Chaudry, Choudary, Choudhry, Chaudhuri, Chaudhari, Chudhry, Choudhari, Choudhury, Chowdhuri and Chowdury.[8] The female equivalent is Chaudhurani and alternate spellings include: Choudhurani, Chowdhurani, Chowdhrani, Choudhrani, Chaudhrani.

Notable peopleEdit






United KingdomEdit

United StatesEdit



  1. ^ "::: Star Weekend Magazine :::".
  2. ^ "InsideStoryEventsMaster - Raj Punyah Ceremony Held Both in Bandarban..."
  3. ^ "Saching Prue new Mong King". The Daily Star. 18 January 2009.
  4. ^ "Feature: 'Kingdom' system in Bangladesh's Chittagong Hill Tracts still in force - People's Daily Online".
  5. ^ "UNPO: Chittagong Hill Tracts: Stalemate For Land Commission".
  6. ^ "Chaudhury Name Meaning & Chaudhury Family History at®".
  7. ^ Campbell, Mike. "User-submitted surname Choudhry". Behind the Name. Retrieved 5 April 2016.
  8. ^ a b Patrick Hanks, Richard Coates, Peter McClure (2016). The Oxford Dictionary of Family Names in Britain and Ireland. Oxford University Press. p. 501. ISBN 9780192527479.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  9. ^ The Journal of the Anthropological Survey of India, Volume 51. Anthropology Survey of India. 2002. p. 204.
  10. ^ E M Lewis (1868). "Cachar District: Statement No. XVIII: Glossary of Local Terms". Principal Heads of the History and Statistics of the Dacca Division. Calcutta: Calcutta Central Press Company. pp. 406–408.
  11. ^ People of India Bihar Volume XVI Part Two edited by S Gopal & Hetukar Jha pages 759 to 765 Seagull Books
  12. ^ Ahuja, M. L. (2000). Handbook of General Elections and Electoral Reforms in India, 1952-1999. Mittal Publications. pp. 302, 340. ISBN 9788170997665.
  13. ^ "Pakistani Leaders Online". Archived from the original on 20 July 2018. Retrieved 17 January 2021.
  14. ^ Hossain, Anowar (2003). Muslim women's struggle for freedom in colonial Bengal: (1873-1940). Progressive Publishers. p. 266. ISBN 9788180640308.