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Marwari Caste

Other Spellings : Marvari, Marwadi, Marvadi

Other Surnames / Gotras : Birla, Goenka, Khemka, Poddar, Ruia, Jhunjhunwalla, Garg, Mangal, Kucchal, Goyan, Goyal, Bansal, Kansal, Singhal, Jindal, Thingal, Airan, Dharan, Madhukal, Bindal, Mittal, Tayal, Bhandal, Naagal, Parasrampuria

Religion : Hindu

Varna : Vaishya

Dialect : Marwari

Regional Spread : Marwaris are dispersed throughout India and across the globe

Traditional Occupation : Business

Population : Data not available for India. In Pakistan, there are approximately 256,000 Marawaris divided into: Marwari, Southern Marwari and Dhatki Marwari. Marwaris are in sizeable number in Myanmar and Bangladesh also.

Place of Origin : Marwar region of southwest Rajasthan in India.

Chief Deities : Hindu Marwaris worship Ganesha and Laksmi

Food Habits : Marwaris follow a strict vegetarian diet. Their cuisine is spicy, rich in ghee and aromatic. Some special Marwari dishes include allo bhaji, karhi and dal batti.

Specific Traits : Marwari community is known for their honesty. Some people consider the community to be stingy white others refute the claim. A popular saying goes "Marwari baat aur bhaat ke liye jaan bhi dega" (A Marwari will give his life to honor his word and dowry). This is the principle on which most Marwaris do business and succeed.

Marriage Preference : Marwari community prefers arranged marriages. Matchmaking is done strictly within the community by matching horoscope. Utmost care is taken to ensure social and financial status of families is at par. Marwari weddings are an ostentatious affair and are carried out in a traditional manner. It has been noticed that divorce rate is minimal in this community.

Related Communities : The Marwari community can be broadly categorized into the Marwari Agarwals and the Marwari Oswal Jains. As a caste, the Marwaris can be further classified in Agarwals, Maheshwaris, Goels and Oswals. Marwaris usually identify themselves with one of these sub castes.

Marwari Houses : Prominent Marwaris trading, commercial and industrial houses include: Birlas (AV Birla group, Hindustan Motors, Grasim suitings, L&T, BirlaSoft), Jindals (Jindal Steel, Shalimar paints), Bhartias (India glycol, Hindustan Times), Goenkas (HMV, CESC), Jalans, Singhanias (JK Tire, Raymonds), Ruia (Essar steel, Hutch) and Jhunjhunwalas (Bhilwara Suitings). Also famous Marwari Houses are Aggarwal, Bagari, Baid, Bajaj, Bansal, Banthia, Bhut, Bhuwalka, Bindal, Chamaria, Daga, Dalamia, Dhanuka, Dudavewala, Gadia, Ganeriwal, Garodia, Goyal, Jaipuria, Jhanwar, Kankaria, Kanodia, Khandelwal, Khemka, Khetan, Kothari, Lakhotia, Lohia, Malani, Malpani, Oswal, Patodia, Poddar, Rungata, Rupramka, Sabu, Saraf Saravagi, Sekhsaria, Singhi, Sodani, Somani and Surana.

History and Origin

Marwaris refer to a community of entrepreneurs who originally belonged to Marwar and Jodhpur regions of Rajasthan that lies in Thar Desert. The word 'Marwar' is considered to be derived from Sanskrit word Maruwat, the meaning of maru being 'desert'. Some believe that 'Marwar' is made up of 'mar' from alternate name of Jaisalmer and last part war of Mewar.

Marwari community originally belonged to specific social groups including Agarwals, Maheshwaris, Oswals, Khandelwals and Porwals. However, over a period of time people of other social groups belonging to same culture and ethnicity also became part of the Marwari Diaspora.

Earlier Marwaris included only the business community but later, people from other professions like commerce, industries and service-class, who believed in traditional Rajasthani culture were also known as Marwaris. Thus, people from Haryana and Malwa region were also included in Marwaris.

Migration of Marwaris

  • - Since Mughal period (16th -19th century), particularly during the reign of Emperor Akbar, Marwari entrepreneurs have been moving out of their homeland in Marwar to the eastern parts of India, mainly West Bengal, Bihar, Orissa, Jharkhand and Bangladesh.
  • - After the First War of Independence another wave of large-scale Marwaris migration took place and during the remaining period of 19th century, a number of Marwari business houses emerged. At that time Marwaris controlled major business activities of the eastern parts of the Indian subcontinent. They also had almost complete control of indigenous banking, finance and hundi.
  • - The depression of 1929-30 and Partition of India in 1947 caused an exodus of Marwaris from East Bengal, but a substantial number of them stayed back and continued their business, mainly in the cloth and jute trade.
  • - The communal riot of 1964 and the wars of 1965 and 1971 caused the departure of the community from Bangladesh.

Contribution to Society

  • - The development of the fresco paintings on Havelis in Shekhawati region is linked with the history of the Marwaris.
  • - The Shekhawati region has produced large number of Marwaris who are controlling the economy of India. India's richest industrialists of the century, such as the Birlas, were Marwaris.
  • - Marwaris supported Congress with donations and hospitality and influenced MK Gandhi and Nehru to undertake humanitarian and social welfare activities.
  • - The Marwari Relief Society played a significant role in relief operations during the Great Famine of 1943.

also read Marwari Wedding