__NOTOC__ The Bania (also spelled as Baniya, Banija, Banya, Vaniya, Vani, Vania and Vanya) is an occupational community of
merchant A merchant is a person who trades in commodities In economics Economics () is the social science that studies how people interact with value; in particular, the Production (economics), production, distribution (economics), distributi ...

banker A bank is a financial institution that accepts Deposit account, deposits from the public and creates a demand deposit while simultaneously making loans. Lending activities can be directly performed by the bank or indirectly through capital ma ...

s, money-lenders, and (in modern times) owners of
commercial enterprise Business is the activity of making one's living or making money by producing or buying and selling Product (business), products (such as goods and services). Simply put, it is "any activity or enterprise entered into for profit." Having a busi ...
s. The community is composed of several sub-castes including the Agarwal Banias, Oswal Banias, Porwal Banias and Wani Banias, among others. The term is used in a wider sense in
Bengal Bengal (; bn, বাংলা/বঙ্গ, translit=Bānglā/Bôngô, ) is a geopolitical, cultural and historical region located in South Asia, specifically in the eastern part of the Indian subcontinent at the apex of the Bay of Bengal, p ...

than it is elsewhere in India, where it is applied to all money-lenders and indigenously developed bankers, irrespective of caste. Most Banias follow
Hinduism Hinduism () is an Indian religion Indian religions, sometimes also termed Dharmic religions or Indic religions, are the religions that originated in the Indian subcontinent. These religions, which include Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism, ...

Jainism Jainism (), traditionally known as ''Jain Dharma'', is an ancient Indian religion. It is one of the oldest Indian religions. The three main pillars of Jainism are ''Ahimsa in Jainism, ahiṃsā'' (non-violence), ''anekāntavāda'' (non-absolut ...

but a few have converted to
Sikhism Sikhism () or Sikhi ( pa, ਸਿੱਖੀ ', , from pa, ਸਿੱਖ, lit=disciple', 'seeker', or 'learner, translit=Sikh, label=none)''Sikhism'' (indigenously known as ''Sikhī'') originated from the word ''Sikh'', which comes from the Sanskr ...
Islam Islam (; ar, اَلْإِسْلَامُ, al-’Islām, "submission o God Oh God may refer to: * An exclamation; similar to "oh no", "oh yes", "oh my", "aw goodness", "ah gosh", "ah gawd"; see interjection An interjection is a word or ex ...
Christianity Christianity is an Abrahamic The Abrahamic religions, also referred to collectively as the world of Abrahamism and Semitic religions, are a group of Semitic-originated religion Religion is a social system, social-cultural system of ...

Buddhism Buddhism (, ) is the world's fourth-largest religion Religion is a social Social organisms, including humans, live collectively in interacting populations. This interaction is considered social whether they are aware of it or not, and ...

Irfan Habib Irfan Habib (born 1931) is an Indian historian of ancient and medieval India, following the methodology of Marxist historiography Marxist historiography, or historical materialist Historical materialism, also known as the materialist conc ...

Irfan Habib
believes the etymological origin to lie in the Sanskrit word ''vanik'', and deems them to be India's "pre-eminent" trading community, historically. They are classified as Upper Backward Caste in Bihar.

See also

Vaishya Vaishya (Sanskrit Sanskrit (; attributively , ; nominalization, nominally , , ) is a classical language of South Asia that belongs to the Indo-Aryan languages, Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-European languages. It arose in South Asia after ...


Further reading

* *

External links

* {{Britannica, 51854 Social groups of India