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There are several possible sources for the term Vanjari or Vanjara. It may be the corrupt form of the Sanskrit term "Vanja" (trader, merchant) which is also responsible for the term Bania and Banijiga (meaning trader). Vanjara may be derived from the Persian word "Berinj Arind", means" dealers in rice" (Shakespear's Dictionary). Caran or Cháran also comes from the same root. Vanjara means burners or the inhabitants of woods, while yet others say that the word means an arrow. The true derivation is perhaps from the Sanskrit term "Vanja" (trader, merchant) which is also responsible for the term Bania and Banijiga (meaning trader). There are many sub-types within the Vanjari caste which were distinguished on the basis of the main family members of the top hierarchy of these caste.
In olden ages, this nomadic tribe was into selling goods like rice, wheat, dry fish etc travelling long distances exploring Western ghats, Konkan, Gujarat and visiting places in Maharashtra. With flourishing business they started settling in Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Andhra Pradesh. They owned farmlands and became the farmers of Maharashtra, producer of rice finally. Vanjari community in Palghar and Nashik District is economically and socially advanced and has sound standing in cultural arena. Most of population of vanjari caste in Maharashtra is in Palghar, Beed, Parbhani, Latur, Satara, Sangali, Jalna, Aurangabad, Buldhana, Akola and Ahmednagar districts. Vanjari from Palghar District have taken considerable jump in literacy.
- People of India: Maharashtra part 3