Nema (or Neema) is an Indian subcaste and a merchant community mainly found in the state of Madhya Pradesh. Their name comes from their ancestor, King Nimi. Nema means one who lives in accordance with niyama (codes of conducts); in this case, these codes were prescribed by the sage Bhrigu.
The origin of the name is obscure; the suggestion that it comes from Nimār appears to be untenable, as few Nemas live in that District. It is said that when Parasurāma was slaying the Kshatriyas, fourteen young Rājpūt princes, who at the time were studying religion with their family priests, were saved by the latter on renouncing their Kshatriya status and declaring themselves to be Vaishyas. These fourteen princes were the ancestors of the fourteen gotras of the Nema subcaste, but the gotras actually bear the names of the fourteen Rīshis or saints who saved their lives. These sections appear to be of the usual Brāhmanical type. Legend has it that Bhrigu sheltered and taught the Khastriya students. After renouncing Kshatriya status,
Neema, and other titles of Nema in various places use a similar "Gotra" as system identification for matrimonial purposes.
In central India, people write "Nema"' with their name, but near the Malwa, Gujrat region they spell the word "Neema".
Nema mainly practiced business due to the influence of many kings and the British in India. These persons were known as Seth or Mahajan. They worked in other merchant businesses to hide their primary activities. The loaned money to Kings who fell short. They influenced politics of that time through the economy, although only one, 'Bhamaashah' of Rana Pratap's time, is known.
The original land of the Nema was in the Jaipur (Rajasthan, India) Kingdom. Between 1700 and 1800 AD, large scale migration from Jaipur to central India occurred due to the decline of the Rajput Kingdom in Jaipur. The majority of the immigrants were Rajput and Banias. Nema remained and were forced to invite warriors and Kings to settle in Gondwana and central India. At the Battle of Patan, Marathas under Holkar and General deBoigne defeated the Rajputs and Mughals. The defeat crushed Rajput hope of independence.
Nema abide all over the world, adapting their code, conduct, language and religion accordingly. A common saying, "All Nema are from Narsinghpur", connected them to their original homeland.
This caste system is unique to India.
The subcaste numbers nearly 4000 persons, the bulk of whom reside in the Saugor, Damoh, Narsinghpur and Seoni Districts. The Nemas are largely returned from Central India. They are a Bundelkhand group; they eat food cooked without water with Golapūrab Banias, which is found there. They are mainly Hindus, with a small minority of Jains. Marriage is regulated by another set of fifty-two subsections, with names that are apparently titular or territorial.
Like other Bania groups the Nemas are divided into Bīsa and Dasa subdivisions or twenties and tens, the Bīsa of pure and the Dasa of irregular descent. A third group of Pacha (fives) also are there . After some generations, after the details of their ancestry are forgotten, the Pachas probably obtain promotion into the Dasa group. The Bīsa and Dasa groups take food together, but do not intermarry. The Nemas wear  the sacred thread. They apparently prohibit the remarriage of widows.
The Nemas are considered to be keen at business, and a saying about them is, "Where a sheep grazes or a Nema trades, what is there left for anybody else?"". Nemas are stereotyped for their intellect, honesty and hard-work. Theyprovide lawyers, bankers, doctors, engineers, software professionals and entrepreneurs. Eminent families dominate the community, especially in Central Madhya Pradesh areas, such as the Lahiri family of Sagar, Choudharys, Modis and Purawales of Narsinghpur, Guptas of Jabalpur and Bhopal, Badaghars, Manjhleghar, Sanjhaleghar, Nanhas, Naajars, Khiras of Narsinghpur, Nayaks of Satna, Choudharys of Bedu, Bhorias, Seths and Mandir-wales of Kareli and Bakhars of Mekh.
The towns and villages where Nema families live include Narsinghpur, Bhopal, Jabalpur, Satna, Sagar, Balaghat, Chhindwara, Seoni, Bhilai, Raipur, Kareli, Gadarwara, Amarwara, Aadegaon, Bedu, Mekh, Sighpur, Gotegaon, Dhamna, Naadia and Udaipura. In Vidharbha region, Jain nema are found in Amravati, Akola and Nagpur in smaller numbers.
There is a saying "All Nemas are from Narsinghpur".Nema community is in good number in Narsinghpur and around near by areas of Narsinghpur. Then based on their occupation people started moving out and now lot of Nema people are settled different part of world including US and UK which shows intellectual and adaptable nature of community maintaining their tradition.
Recently Community people have started good communication channel across India to gather more knowledge about the community with senior members of the society of each location. In this, there is one more saying is added that Nema earlier belongs to Khishanganj Rajasthan then to avoid attacks and for better living they started moving towards Central India.
Standing in 2016, community people presence is noted in: Delhi, Mumbai, Pune, Bangalore, Chennai, Kolkata, Indore,Hyderabad. Mostly because of young population presence in IT industry.
Outside India: In US: Newyork, New Jersey, Chicago, Stamford, Hartford city, California state is noted. Good amount of Nemas are now in UK, Europe, Australia and New-Zealand.
Their language resembles Hindi,Rajasthani and Marathi.
- Tribes and Castes of the Central Provinces of India, By R.V. Russell & Hira Lal, 1916
- Russell, R. V. The Tribes and Castes of the Central Provinces of India, Volume IV of IV. Library of Alexandria. pp. 508–. ISBN 978-1-4655-8302-4. On Gutenberg
- Nemas of Rajasthan
- People of India Rajathan Part II (By Kumar Suresh Singh, B. K. Lavania, D. K. Samanta, S. K. Mandal, Anthropological Survey of India, N. N. Vyas, Anthropological Survey of India Published 1998 Popular Prakashan), at Page 704-708, tells about Nemas of Rajasthan