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A Vaishya

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 dvija status ("twice born", a second or spiritual birth) after sacrament of initiation as 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 historian Ram Sharan Sharma, the Gupta Empire was a Vaishya dynasty that "may have appeared as a reaction against oppressive rulers".[4] Harsha, the 7th century king of northern India, was also of the Vaishya Varna.[5]

Modern communities[edit]

The Vaishya community consist of several jāti or subcastes, notably the Agrahari,[6] Agrawals,[7] Barnwals, Gahois, Kasuadhans, Khandelwals,Telis, Lohanas, Maheshwaris, Oswals, Roniaurs, the Arya Vaishyas of Odisha, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Telangana,[8] the Vaishya Vanis of Konkan and Goa, and the Modh of the west.


  1. ^ Boesche, Roger (1 March 2003). The First Great Political Realist. p. 24. ISBN 978-0-73910-607-5. 
  2. ^ Madan, Gurmukh Ram (1979). Western Sociologists on Indian Society: Marx, Spencer, Weber, Durkheim, Pareto. Taylor & Francis. p. 112. ISBN 978-0-71008-782-9. 
  3. ^ Embree, Ainslie Thomas; Gluck, Carol (1 January 1997). Asia in western and world history. p. 361. ISBN 978-1-56324-265-6. 
  4. ^ Sharma, Ram Sharan (2003) [2001]. Early medieval Indian society: a study in feudalisation. Orient Blackswan. p. 69. ISBN 978-8-12502-523-8. Retrieved 26 January 2012. 
  5. ^ A Journey Through India's Past
  6. ^ Kumar Suresh Singh, Amir Hasan, Hasan, Baqr Raza Rizvi, J. C. Das (2005). People of India: Uttar Pradesh , Voume 42, Part (illustrated ed.). Anthropological Survey of India. p. 66. ISBN 978-81-73041-14-3. 
  7. ^ 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 25 April 2012. 
  8. ^ The New Wind: Changing Identities in South Asia - Google Books

External links[edit]