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Pāṇi is a surname used in India, found in the state of Orissa. There are two stories how this surname came about. The first one says the great grammar pundit Pāṇini is the descendant of Pāṇis, and the other story is that a king of Kalinga conferred the title Pāṇi to Brahmins who could easily memorize all of the Vedas.
Some Pāṇis migrated inland to the tribal areas of Jharkhand and settled during the Mughal period (17th century). (The migrants' descendants still identify themselves as residents of Orissa.) There are a few Pāṇis from this migratory group in Bengal and in western Orissa.
The surname Pāṇi is widely used in Orissa, Madhya Pradesh, and a large part of eastern and central India. This surname is used by Brahmins whose root can be traced to Ujjain of Madhya Pradesh and to the period of Kalidasa, the great poet. In Sanskrit, "pāṇi" means "hand". It is widely believed that the Brahmins who were primarily occupied with writing scriptures and preserving it were known by the surname Pāṇi. Unlike other Brahmin communities, these Brahmins practiced martial arts and participated in wars. They migrated to Orissa in the 12th century AD after king Jajati Keshari invited them for a yajna that was held to honour Lord Shiva. This community reached their zenith and were revered as ministers in the period of king Vikramaditya.. There are few pani family are there in puruliya district of west Bengal,where they have been jaminders for years.They are highly talented and highly achievers.Basically pani family came to chakradharpur of jharkhand from Puri (sasan village near sakshi gopal) and later one clan moved to Barabazar of purulia district(west Bengal) then again the maharaja of barabazar gave them jamindari of few villages in fulberia mouza.