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According to some academicians, the name Gupta is derived from Sanskrit goptri, meaning 'protector' or 'governor'. According to prominent historian R. C. Majumdar, the surname Gupta was adopted by several different communities in northern and eastern India at different times.
Unlike other Indian surnames, the surname Gupta has been adopted by various different communities across India irrespective of their caste.
In northern India, the surname Gupta is used mainly by the Vaish communities, particularly those belonging to Agarwal, Mahur, Tailik(Teli), Barnwal, Kanu, Khandelwal, Jaishwal, Mahajan, Mahawar, Maheshwari, Kasuadhan,Lashkari and Mathur Vaishya sub castes.
Additionally, the surname Gupta is adopted by some other communities in other parts of the Indian subcontinent:
- The Guptas from the West Bengal belong to the Vaidya/Baidya (physician) community, and are related to the Sengupta and Dasgupta communities of Bengal who are also Vaidyas.
- Tailik Vaish (Teli) also use the Gupta surname.
- Gomathis and Chettys (Andhra Pradesh) also use Guptha added along with a surname
- Like Gomathis, who are of Dravidian descent, Kayasthas also use the title Guptha.
List of people with the name Gupta
- Maharaja Sri-Gupta, founder of the Gupta Empire
- Ghatotkacha (Gupta Ruler), father of Chandragupta I
- Chandragupta I, first Gupta emperor
- Chandragupta II, also known as Chandragupta Vikramaditya
- Kumaragupta I
- Skandagupta, last Gupta emperor
- Vishnugupta (Gupta Empire)
- Devendra Prasad Gupta, Indian academician and a former vice chancellor of Ranchi University.
- Akhil Gupta, professor at the University of California, Los Angeles, in the field of social and cultural anthropology
- Amar Gupta, professor and scientist
- Amlan Das Gupta, Indian professor of English in Jadavpur University, Kolkata
- M K Das Gupta, Indian professor and scientist
- Modadugu Vijay Gupta, Indian biologist
- S. P. Gupta, Indian archaeologist and art historian
- Suraj N. Gupta, Indian-American physicist
- M. G. Gupta, Urdu poet and research scholar
In business and management
- Mahendra Mohan Gupta, owner of the Dainik Jagran group of Hindi newspapers
- N. C. Sen Gupta, eleventh Governor of the Reserve Bank of India
- Raj Gupta, CEO and president of Rohm and Haas
- Rajat Gupta, United Nations special advisor on management reforms, former director of Goldman Sachs and former head of McKinsey Consulting
- Rajiv Gupta, general manager of Hewlett Packard's E-speak project
- S. K. Gupta, vice president of Lockheed Martin Corporation
- Vinod Gupta, chairman and CEO of infoUSA
- Sanjay Gupta (director), Alstom Grid
- Subodh Gupta, chairman and CEO of HemtroN Lightings,www.rouniyar.com,Rouniyar Sewa Sansthan Delhi
- Vikas Gupta, head of consumer payments division of Google
- Sanjeev Gupta - MD, Global Advertisers 
- Rajeev Gupta - Director of MM MITHAIWALA PVT. LTD., JMD LEASERS DEVELOPERS & GLOBAL ADVERTISERS.
- Aditi Gupta, Indian television actress
- Anil Gupta, British writer and producer (radio and television)
- Buddhadev Das Gupta, Indian classical sarod musician and teacher
- Neena Gupta, Indian film and television actress
- Rajendra Gupta, actor in cinema for good character roles.
- Partho Sen-Gupta, Indian film director and script writer
- Puja Gupta, winner of Miss India Universe in 2007
- Tanika Gupta, British playwright of Indian origin
- Sanjay Gupta (director), Bollywood director
- Yana Gupta, Indian model-actress of Czech origin
- Dr. Sanjay Gupta, American teleneurosurgeon and CNN senior medical correspondent
- Rohit Gupta, Film director, producer
- Esha Gupta, Femina Miss India International title in 2007, Indian film actress
- Maithili Sharan Gupt, Indian Hindi poet
- Baldev Raj Gupta, Indian writer
- Ishwar Chandra Gupta, Indian Bengali poet and writer
- Jagadish Gupta, Bengali poet and writer
- Mahendranath Gupta, Indian spiritual writer and disciple of Ramakrishna Paramahamsa
- Shashibhusan Dasgupta, Bengali scholar in philosophy, languages and literature
- Banarsi Das Gupta, former chief minister of Haryana
- Indrajit Gupta, Indian Communist leader, Union Minister for Home Affairs during 1996-98
- Ram Prakash Gupta, Indian politician; former chief minister of Uttar Pradesh and governor of Madhya Pradesh
- Shyama Charan Gupta, Indian politician
- Badal Gupta, Indian revolutionary
- Dinesh Gupta, Indian revolutionary
- Ram Prakash Gupta, Indian social worker and participant in the Indian Independence movement and Bhoodan movement
- Manmath Nath Gupta, Indian revolutionary and author of autobiographical, historical and fictional books in Hindi, English and Bengali
- Niranjan Sen Gupta, Indian revolutionary
- Nolini Kanta Gupta, Indian revolutionary, linguist, scholar, critic, poet, philosopher and mystic
- Chaman Lal Gupta, Minister in Vajpayee Government (BJP)
- Abhinn Shyam Gupta, Indian badminton player
- Pankaj Gupta, Indian sports administrators
- Sandip Gupta, Kenyan cricketer
- Abhijeet Gupta, Indian chess player
- GUPTA - Surname Meaning | Origin for the Surname Gupta Genealogy. Genealogy.about.com (2013-07-14). Retrieved on 2013-07-18.
- Majumdar, Ramesh Chandra; Anant Sadashiv Altekar (1986). Vakataka Gupta Age: circa 200–550 A.D. Motilal Banarsidass Publ. p. 126. ISBN 81-208-0026-5.
- Sharma, Tej Ram (1978). Personal and Geographical Names in the Gupta. Concept Publishing Company.
- Teli use surname Gupta
- Sanjeev Gupta
- Rajeev Gupta