|Populated states||West Bengal|
Chunaru (Bengali: চুনারু) is a Bengali Hindu caste whose traditional occupation is the manufacture of slaked lime from the shell of snails. After the advent of quick lime from limestone and the arrival of cement as mortar ingredient, the Chunaru struggled to make a living of their traditional vocation and gradually dwindled in numbers. According to Dr. Maniklal Sinha, there are only about two to three hundred Chunaru families in West Bengal today.
The Brahma Vaivarta Purana and the Brihaddharma Purana have no mention of the Chunarus. According to Santosh Kumar Kundu, the Chunarus were probably counted within the Shankhakars. He also believes that the Chunaru are neither counted as a Scheduled Caste or as an Other Backward Class probably because their numbers are very small.
The shells are first burnt in earthen ovens and then watered to prepare the slaked lime.
- Kundu, Santosh Kumar (2008). বাঙালি হিন্দু জাতি পরিচয় [An Introduction of Bengali Hindu Castes] (in Bengali). Kolkata: Presidency Library. pp. 128–129. ISBN 978-81-89466-13-8.
- Ishwardi.com Newsdesk (January 11, 2010). ঝিনুক থেকে চুন উত্পাদনই জীবিকা [Where preparing lime from shells is the occupation]. Ishwardi.com (in Bengali). Retrieved December 25, 2011.