Bania (caste)

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Bania women in British India. Image taken before 1860. KITLV 87170 - William Johnson - Bania women in British India - Before 1860.jpeg
Bania women in British India. Image taken before 1860.

The Bania (also spelled Baniya) is a Vaishya community mainly found in Indian states of Gujarat, and Rajasthan,Madhya Pradesh [1] but they are also found in Madhya Pradesh. Haryana, Punjab, Chandigarh, Delhi, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, and Uttar Pradesh, Traditionally, the main occupations of the community are merchants, bankers, money-lenders, and in modern times they are mostly White-collar and Knowledge workers and owners of commercial enterprises. [2] [3]


The community is composed of several sub-castes including the Gahoi , Agarwal Banias, Maheshwari Banias, Porwal Banias, among others. [4] Most Banias follow Hinduism or Jainism, but a few have converted to Sikhism, Islam, Christianity and Buddhism. [5] [6] [7] Most of Hindu Banias are Vaishnavas and are followers of Vallabhacharya and Swaminarayan. [8]

Notable People's


The derives from the Sanskrit word vanik. [9] [10] In Bengal the term Bania is used to indicate people who are moneylenders and indigenously developed[ clarification needed ] bankers, without respect to caste. [11]

See also

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  1. Aniketh Aga (2021). Genetically Modified Democracy: Transgenic Crops in Contemporary India. Yale University Press. p. 187. ISBN   9780300262582.
  2. Hardiman, David (1996). "Usury, Dearth and Famine in Western India". Past & Present. 152 (152): 113–156. doi:10.1093/past/152.1.113. ISSN   0031-2746. JSTOR   651058.
  3. Cheesman, David (1982). "'The Omnipresent Bania:' Rural Moneylenders in Nineteenth-Century Sind". Modern Asian Studies. 16 (3): 445–462. doi:10.1017/S0026749X00015262. ISSN   0026-749X. JSTOR   312116. S2CID   145722413.
  4. Hanks, Patrick (8 May 2003). Dictionary of American Family Names. Oxford University Press. p. xcvi. ISBN   978-0-19-977169-1.
  5. Marenco, Ethne K. (1974). The Transformation of Sikh Society. HaPi Press. p. 151. The Banias were again predominantly Hindu, but there were many Jain Banias and also Sikh and Muslim Banias in lesser numbers, and very few Buddhist Banias. Such was the picture in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
  6. Tyler, Stephen A. (1986). India: An Anthropological Perspective. Waveland Press. p. 186. ISBN   978-0-88133-245-2. Some, like the Khojah caste, are Bania groups converted to Islam by Muslim pirs (saints).
  7. John, Jose Kalapura (2000). "King, Fort, Zamindaris and Missionaries: The Founding of Bihar's Oldest Christian Community, 1745". Proceedings of the Indian History Congress. 61: 1011–1028. ISSN   2249-1937. JSTOR   44148177.
  8. Rajeev Bhargava; Amiya Kumar Bagchi; R. Sudarshan (1999). Multiculturalism, Liberalism, and Democracy. Oxford University Press. p. 228. ISBN   978-0-19-564824-9. Most of the Hindu banias of Gujarat in the nineteenth century were followers of Vallabhcharya of the Vaishnava sect; the rest were Jains or Shravaks.
  9. Habib, Irfan (1990). "Merchant Communities in Precolonial India". In Tracy, James D. (ed.). The Rise of Merchant Empires: Long-Distance Trade in the Early Modern World, 1350-1750. Cambridge University Press. pp. 371–99. doi:10.1017/CBO9780511563089. ISBN   978-0-52145-735-4.
  10. Ishwari Prasad (1986). Reservation, Action for Social Equality. Criterion Publications. Retrieved 23 February 2021. Here we are concerned only with upper backwards which have four castes; Yadav (11.0 per cent), Koeri (4.0 per cent), Kurmi (3.5 per cent) and Bania (0.6 per cent) .
  11. Schrader, Heiko (1997). Changing financial landscapes in India and Indonesia: sociological aspects of monetization and market integration. LIT Verlag Münster. p. 68. ISBN   978-3-8258-2641-3.

Further reading