Mahajan is an Indian surname or title, found among several castes and communities. The word "Mahajan" is an amalgam of two Sanskrit words: Maha meaning great, and Jan meaning people or individuals. Over the years, the word Mahajan has become a common generic job title used to describe people involved in money lending.
Mahajans originally are believed to be descendants of "Gupt" dynasty who migrated from Maharashtra /MP to Rajasthan and then to Punjab several hundred years back. However when people started confusing 'Gupt' with 'Gupta' and started to think of Mahajans as Vaishyas or money lenders, a renowned social reformer called Lala Hans Raj Mahajan urged people to replace "Gupt" by 'Mahajan' as their surname in the early 20th century .The Mahajan community of North India originated from the Punjab region. They are not considered to be banias. They are concerned in money lending activities for centuries within the Punjab prior to their migration. This migration occurred very early to Himachal, Jammu and Kashmir, the present-day state of Punjab, the Punjab province and the North West Frontier area. Most of these Mahajans speak Punjabi and Dogri, and reside in the regions of the Punjab, Jammu, Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh. Mahajans of Jammu and Punjab were landlords, traders and business men who were highly respected and had a major influence in their society. They were always considered to be of a high caste and therefore given the name Mahajan. These Mahajans were economically and socially powerful people. Many of them engaged in money lending. In the present day India, Mahajans are primarily concentrated in the Jammu Region of the state of J&k and the castes is on the rise.
The majority of Mahajans in Punjab came from Pakistan after the Partition of India.Mahajans of Punjab were farmers as well and most Punjabi Mahajans took part in sending their oldest son to the khalsa army hence there are some Sikh Mahajans e.g. Tarlochan Singh Mahajan. Guru Govind Singh named one of his regiment as the Mahajans as well. Punjabi Mahajans are considered khatri sometimes because of their inter-marriage with Khatris and hence can be classified as a mixture of vaishya-kshatriya varna.
Gujrat and Madhya Pradesh
People in Gujarat or Madhya Pradesh's Nimar region also bear Mahajan as a common surname. They also use other common surnames such as Nema. They believe in Srinathji at Nathdwara (Rajasthan) and are staunch vegetarians. In Gujarat, the Bhatia caste also use the "Mahajan" suranme, as the Mahajan community was traditionally associated with money lending..
Mahajans from Maharashtra is a Vaishya.
Mahajans have many sub castes such as Swaar, Mahotra, Beotra, Sanghois, Phagetra, Jandials, Vaid, Bhagwathiye, Langars, Rarotra, Fave (Phave), Padotra, Kubre, Gadhede, Chunne, Manath, Karmotra, Kankaal, Lamhe, Khadyals, Kanghal/kaag, Sadad, Paba, Jugnal, Ukhalmunde, Bucche, Gadri, Laira, Kalsotra, Chapate, Bharray, Jadyal, Parru, Rometra, Malguria, Chukarne, Iddar, Chogga, Thathar and Lamma. Many individuals of these sub castes gather at their respective religious centres. Each sub caste believes in its own deity, known as devte.The Swaar baradri worships Baba BramhDev Ji as their devta or their deity .Mahajans created temples at these centres, the temples being located in many locations such as Batala, Punjab to Jammu and Gurdaspur. Temple for Lanagrs is at Kalith in Jammu, similarly for Swaar's it is in Rajpura in Jammu. This gathering is called a Mail of Mahajans. Gadhede has their deity (devte) in bhaddu (jammu and kashmir). At this gathering, Mahajans worship their deity after taking bath at the temple. These temples are managed by managing committee called sabha. This committee organise langar on the day of gathering. Certain other family ceremonies are also performed in these temples by the persons belonging to the caste such as sutra and mundan ceremonies. There is no particular day fixed for these ceremonies. This day of mail (gathering) is celebrated on the occasion of Sri Guru Nanak Dev's Birthday, usually in November. Like Phagetra Mahajans gather at Changia village in Arnia sector (R.S. Pura) for their Mail on dushehra and beotra family gather in batala on guru nanak's birthday every year. Similarly the members of the SWAAR Baradari gather at village Rajpura in Kathua district of Jammu & Kashmir every year on Guru Nanak Dev Jayanti. Jandials have their deity in talab tillo (Jammu and Kashmir).
Traditionally, Mahajans do not marry into the same sub caste. A Kubra boy does not marry a Kubra Girl because they are brother and sister, according to the their belief.
Some Mahajans use the castes of Gupta and Jandiyals. The Gupta surname is mostly used by the Mahajans of the Jammu region.
Mahajan as a generic title
Mahajan is also used a generic job title referring to people involved in money lending. In this case, a person involved in money lending is referred to as a Mahajan whether or not he is a Mahajan by caste.