Showing posts with label Bania. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Bania. Show all posts

Hinduism - Who Are The Bania Or Baniya?


Bania is a variant of the term Baniya. A merchant or shopkeeper in traditional northern Indian society who belongs to the vaishya varna, which is the third of four social classes in Hindu culture. 

Aside from their commercial operations, the wealthier ones often participated in moneylending, sometimes at exorbitant interest rates, to supplement their cash. 

  • Banias are often depicted in folklore as ruthless and avaricious individuals who only care about their wealth. 

Banias, despite their reputation as parasites, were an important component of the ancient agricultural economy since they provided farmers with commodities on loan that could be returned after the harvest. 

  • They also gave farmers loans to help them get back on their feet after a poor crop. 
  • The farmers relied on the banias for capital, while the banias relied on the farmers for continued consumption and patronage. 

C. A. Bayly, Rulers, Townsmen, and Bazaars, 1983, is a superb recreation of the ethos of a northern Indian merchant family, in which Hindu religiosity was an essential part.

You may also want to read more about Hinduism here.

Be sure to check out my writings on religion here.