Mishra

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Mishra or Misra (Hindi: "मिश्र" "मिश्रा") is a Hindu Brahmin surname found mostly in the northern,eastern and central parts of India and Nepal. The density of Mishra is more among Saryupareen Brahmins, Kanyakubja Brahmins, utkala brahmin,Sakaldwipi(Sakyadwipi) Brahmins, Maithil Brahmins, Bhumihar Brahmins, Utkala Brahmins and Upadhaya Brahmins in Nepal. It is one of the most widespread Brahmin surnames in the fertile Gangetic plain region and in the Indian states of Delhi, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Odisha, Uttarakhand, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Assam, Hyderabad, and West Bengal. It is also found in countries such as Guyana and Trinidad and Tobago under the anglicized version of Misir, The surname is also found in Nepal, Fiji and Mauritius, as well as in other Indian diaspora communities.

"Mishra" or Misra is similar to Maitreya or mapasa or Maitra or Maitri (friend) Mishra and both have same meaning. It is also found in countries such as Guyana and Trinidad and Tobago under the anglicized version of Misir, where many Mishras were taken to work on sugar plantations due to their agricultural prowess and skills in medical fields. Stories say that even the British used to call Mishra my sir hence Misir and Mishra. The surname is also found in Fiji and Mauritius, as well as in other Indian diaspora communities. It is one of the most common surnames among the Brahmins in India. According to Brahmin Gotravali, a book by Geeta Press Gorakhpur, the title was applied to those Brahmins who consecrated religious rituals by memory and did not take the help of books .

It is believed that 'Misir' is the original pronunciation and 'Mishra' the anglicized version. Those who migrated away from India held to the original names more strongly as it was their identity to their roots. The above anecdote can be justified from the following – MiSir if separated reads as Mi Sir or My Sir.

"Mishra" is a surname associated with Gautam Gotra (descent from one of the three great sage Gautam) Brahmin. However it is also found in other gotras like Bharadwaj, Kashyap, Bauschhasa and Shandilya too."Mishra" surname is also used by descent from the great king Bhagiratha, the warrior saint Parashurama and Vamana. Mishras are very likeable and secular people being Hindus, they have historically been devout Hindus and staunch followers and defenders of the faith. They have historically been martial Brahmins as well, and due to there involvement in the uprising against the British in the First War of Indian Independence in 1857, when many of the ranks which followed Mangal Pandey in his rebellion were composed of Brahmins from the agricultural regions of Eastern Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. Due to this they were not declared a martial race like Mohyals due to their ardent support for the Indian independence movement and rebellion against the British Raj. Historically, Mishras have always fulfilled their religious duties and had great knowledge of the Vedas and other holy texts. However presently the majority are engaged in more secular vocations.

Presently, the majority of Mishras inhabit the fertile agricultural regions of Uttar Pradesh & Bihar, where they are engaged in agriculture, a practice in which they are highly skilled. However as rural depopulation increases, many are leaving the villages and many Mishras are highy skilled professionals and are working in other vocations, both in India and across the globe.

In Hinduism, Brahmin refers to the class of educators and preachers. It is the highest class in the caste system. There are many references in the Ramayana and Mahabharata about the importance of a Brahmin. In the Vedic period, the Brahmins preferred isolation and solely dedicated their life to propagating knowledge and Dharma. However Mishras have historically been martial Brahmins and in earlier years, many were drafted into the army.

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