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Exploring the Bhanap Identity

Jaishankar Bondal in conversation with Dr Frank F Conlon

Watch the Video here:


The Chitrapur Saraswat community aka Bhanaps, though small in numbers over the centuries, has a distinct identity that has evolved over migration, through varied economic and political conditions, and a changing social milieu. It has consistently punched above its weight, and carved out levels of distinction in diverse fields of endeavour. 

In conjunction with the celebratory events and programs that marked the Rajatotsava of HH Sadyojat Shankarashram Swamiji`s Peetharohana (1997-2022), it was thought appropriate that we also draw attention to the seminal work on the annals of Chitrapur Saraswats in the modern times, done by an American scholar, Dr. Frank Conlon (oftentimes fondly addressed as Conlon mam) who had written his doctoral thesis tracing the evolution of our community between 18th and 20th centuries. Dr.Conlon subsequently taught history at the University of Washington, Seattle, and continues to be Prof. (Emeritus) at the same university now.

His monograph “The Chitrapur Saraswats: A Caste in A Changing World: 1700-1935” has been digitised on; he also gave an online interview on the same platform. His latest contribution, a video conversation recorded earlier this year with Bondal Jaishankar, is yet another focus on Dr Conlon's take on our community`s evolution over the years, leading to contemporary times. It is also a way in which Dr. Conlon mam's achievements of scholarship in chronicling the Chitrapur Saraswat annals could be remembered, and recognised in our Community as an honorary “Bhanap”. The aim of this conversation, (which was first released as part of Samvaad series on, the Shri Chitrapur Math website, in July 2022), is also to make the older, and younger, community members aware of our socio-economic and historical heritage, and an outsider perspective on the evolution of our Samaja and its values. expresses gratitude to HH Shrimat Sadyojat Shankarashram Swamiji for consent to place the video link on


We also thank:

*  Dr Frank Conlon, Prof. Emeritus at Univ.of Washington, Seattle for taking out time for the conversation

*  Dr. Chaitanya maam Gulvady, Dharmapracharaka - Shri Chitrapur Math, for kindly giving prefatory remarks

*  Archana pachi Kumta for coordinating and realizing the recording.

*  Shantish Nayel, Head, Websites, and Chairman, Publications Committee at Shri Chitrapurmath.

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