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Languages Gujarati, Hindi, Marathi, Chhattisgarhi, Rajasthani and Magadhi, Kurmali.
Populated States Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Chhattisgarh, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan, Odisha, Uttar Pradesh,
Subdivisions Kadva, Dhodia, Leuva, Anjana, Koli, Charotar, Modh, Lingayat, Parsi, Khandayat, Aghria, khati, khaga

Patel is a trade name and previous caste of village leaders. The 'Patel' of a village in the mid-1500-1900 state of Gujarat, would be a member of the village committee who would help represent the whole village's views to the local council and take the lead in resolving problems and implementing ideas. They would do this by working closely alongside the village pandit and other members of the 'Brahmin' Community[1] mainly found in Gujarat, India but also across all parts of India such as Telangana and Pakistan. It is currently also used as a surname like Patidar or Bhakta, or replaced by an ancestorial name.


The term patel derives from the word Patidar, "Pat," which refers to a piece of land. Consequently, the name "Patel" referred to one who was tasked with taking care of or farming that piece of land.


The name Patel is found primarily in the Indian state of Gujarat,[2] as well as the states of Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and in some eastern part of Madhya Pradesh; and metropolitan cities like Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Surat, Vadodara, Kanpur and Delhi.

The surname is also prevalent in some English-speaking countries due to immigration from India. Within the United Kingdom, it is the twenty-fourth most common surname nationally,[3][full citation needed] and the third most common in the Greater London region.[4][full citation needed] In the US, the surname "Patel" ranks 174 among the top 500 list of most common last names, as of the 2000 US Census.[5] In the Canadian city of Toronto, "Patel" is the sixth most common surname.[6]


Gujarati Patels were historically village-based farmers. The patidar community benefited from British Reforms during the 19th century and their wealth increased accordingly. The Patel community varies by religion and ideology, with disparate groups having their own samaj (social gatherings) and mandirs. Most of them follow vegetarianism influenced by Hinduism and Jainism and through the process of Sanskritization. The modern Patel communities have branched out of agriculture to a variety of business trades, especially in hotels. Patels dominate pharmaceutical, chemical, medical, plastic, building construction, ceramic and diamond industry in Gujarat.[7]

Starting July 2015, the Patels of Gujarat organized Patidar reservation agitation, seeking Other Backward Class (OBC) status or abolition of reservation on basis of caste. The OBC status is an affirmative action which provides reserved quotas in education and government jobs.

"Patel Motel" Phenomenon[edit]

The "Patel motel" phenomenon, as it is popularly known,[7] has made a major impact on the American hospitality industry.

A sizable number of Indian immigrants to the United States came in the 1960s and 1970s. Many of them worked in blue collar jobs and saved up to buy undervalued or dilapidated properties, turning them into businesses.[1] As many as 60% of mid-sized motels and hotel properties all over the US are owned by people of Indian origin. Of this nearly one-third have the surname Patel - a popular one among Indian Gujaratis (those that came from Gujarat).[8][9]

Patel in Telangana[edit]

People belonging to castes like Munnuru Kapu Reddy used the title of Patel in villages as these are the common land owning castes and many of the village heads were from these

In Popular Culture[edit]

In popular culture, a Gujarati film Kevi Rite Jaish satirizes the community's fascination with emigrating to the United States.[10] Patels are separated in 4 subcastes named Leuva Patel (or Leva Patel), Kadva Patel, Anjana Patel (Anjana Patidar or Chaudhari Patel), Matiya Patidar or Matiya Patel and Koli Patel.[11]



  1. ^ a b Skop, Emily (2007). "Asian Indians and the Construction of Community and Identity". In Ines M. Miyares, Christopher A. Airriess. Contemporary ethnic geographies in America. Rowman & Littlefield. pp. 271–90 [277]. ISBN 978-0-7425-3772-9. Retrieved 13 August 2010. 
  2. ^ Washburn, Edward (2005). India Old and New: With a Memorial Address. p. 178. ISBN 0-543-99414-7. 
  3. ^ The BBC Four programme Meet the Patels asserted that there are around 410,000 to 670,000 Patels in the United Kingdom.
  4. ^ Most common surnames in Greater London, UK
  5. ^ US Census 2000: Most Common Surnames
  6. ^
  7. ^ a b Varadarajan, Tunku. "A Patel Motel Cartel?". The New York Times, 4 July 1999.
  8. ^ Kamdar, Mira (2007). Planet India: how the fastest-growing democracy is transforming America and the world. Simon and Schuster. p. 29. ISBN 978-0-7432-9685-4. 
  9. ^ Ungar, Sanford J. (1998). Fresh blood: the new American immigrants. U of Illinois Press. p. 32. ISBN 978-0-252-06702-0. 
  10. ^ Kevi Rite Jaish. IMDb
  11. ^ Koli Patel