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Patel is an Indian surname originally representing a community of agriculturalists and merchants, predominantly in the states of Gujarat, India. Once considered to be a status name of Hindu and Parsi origin referring to village headsmen during medieval ages, the surname was later adopted by the Patidar community of land owners.[1] Today, there are currently two major branches of people bearing the surname: Leuva and Kadva.[2][3] The branches Gujarati are distinguished mainly by geographic location and varying cultural practices. Today the surname is used by Hindus and some Muslims.[4] There are roughly 500,000 Patels outside India, including 150,000 in Britain and 150,000 in the US.[5] Nearly 1 in 10 people of Indian origin in the US is a Patel.[5]


The term patel derives from the word community Patidar, literally "one who holds (owned) pieces of land called patis", implying a higher economic status than that of the landless.[6]

Geographical distribution[edit]

The surname historically originated in the Indian state of Gujarat, where it is among the most common of surnames.[7] Today, the name can be found in a wide variety of regions in India, as well as several other countries.

The surname is also common in the Indian diaspora. In the US, several people with this surname have are involved in the motel business, and this has been noted in the popular media.[8][9]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "'Patel', the most common Indian surname: Oxford". The Hindu. PTI. 2016-11-18. ISSN 0971-751X. Retrieved 2018-02-15. 
  2. ^ Koli Patel
  3. ^ patel, anoop. "The Gujarat Model That Did Not Work for the Patidars". The Citizen. Retrieved 2017-01-26. 
  4. ^ Sheikh,, Aziz; Gatrad, Abdul Rashid (2000). Caring for Muslim Patients edited by Aziz Sheikh, Abdul Rashid Gatrad. Oxford: Radcliffe Medical Press Limited. p. 65. ISBN 1 857 75372 0. 
  5. ^ a b Rajghatta, Chidanand (June 4, 2015). "Global Gujaratis: Now in 129 nations". The Times of India. 
  6. ^ Basu, Pratyusha (2009). Villages, women, and the success of dairy cooperatives in India: making place for rural development. Cambria Press. pp. 51–55. ISBN 978-1-60497-625-0. Retrieved 6 August 2016. 
  7. ^ Washburn, Edward (2005). India Old and New: With a Memorial Address. p. 178. ISBN 0-543-99414-7. 
  8. ^ Padma Rangaswamy (2015). "Hotel and Motel Business, Indian Americans in the". In Huping Ling; Allan W. Austin. Asian American History and Culture: An Encyclopedia: An Encyclopedia. Routledge. p. 332. ISBN 978-1-317-47645-0. 
  9. ^ South Asian diaspora in North America: an annotated bibliography. Kalinga Publications. 2002. p. 154. ISBN 978-81-87644-42-2.