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Vaishya is one of the four varnas of the Hindu social order.

Traditional duties[edit]

Hindu religious texts assigned Vaishyas to traditional roles in agriculture and cattle-rearing but over time they came to be landowners, traders and money-lenders.[1] The Vaishyas, along with members of the Brahmin and Kshatriya varnas, claim "twice born" (dvija) status in Hindu theology.[2] Indian traders were widely credited for the spread of Indian culture to regions as far as southeast Asia.[3]

Historically, Vaishyas have been involved in roles other than their traditional pastoralism, trade and commerce. According to Ram Sharan Sharma, a historian, the Gupta Empire was a Vaishya dynasty that "may have appeared as a reaction against oppressive rulers".[4]

Modern communities[edit]

The Vaishya community consist of several jāti or subcastes, notably the Agrawals,[5] Barnwals, Gahois, Kasuadhans, Khandelwals, Lohanas and Maheshwaris of the north; Oswals, Roniaurs, the Arya Vaishyas, [6] of Tamil Nadu, the Vaishya Vanis of Konkan and Goa, and the Modh and Patidars of the west.


  1. ^ Boesche, Roger. The First Great Political Realist. p. 24. 
  2. ^ Madan, Gurmukh Ram (1979). Western Sociologists on Indian Society: Marx, Spencer, Weber, Durkheim, Pareto. Taylor & Francis. p. 112. ISBN 9780710087829. 
  3. ^ Embree, Ainslie Thomas; Gluck, Carol. Asia in western and world history. p. 361. 
  4. ^ Sharma, Ram Sharan (2003) [2001]. Early medieval Indian society: a study in feudalisation. Orient Blackswan. p. 69. Retrieved 2012-01-26. 
  5. ^ Bhanu, B. V.; Kulkarni, V. S. (2004). Singh, Kumar Suresh, ed. People of India: Maharashtra, Part One XXX. Mumbai: Popular Prakashan, for Anthropological Survey of India. p. 46. ISBN 81-7991-100-4. OCLC 58037479. Retrieved 2012-04-25. 
  6. ^ The New Wind: Changing Identities in South Asia - Google Books

External links[edit]