Mathur Vaishya

MathurVaishya (Hindi: माथुरवैश्य), is a sub-caste of Vaishya, a Hindu caste. They are also referred as Mathuria (Vaishya).

Contents

Origins

According to the Hindu theology, Lord Brahma, the Creator, created the four Varnas. Also as per the oldest mention of the varna system in the Purusha sukta of Rigveda 10.90.12[1], "... his two thighs were the Vaishya, ... born". According to the Indian caste system, Vanika (Sanskrit) or Bania (Hindi) is a trader or merchant belonging to the business class. They are also referred to as Vaishya. Yellow color is associated with Vaishya. Gupta is the most widely used surname of Vaishya, and perhaps symbolizes the highly prosperous period of the pre-6th century A.D. when India occupied half of the world economy.

History

The Mathuria Vaishya sub-caste of the Vaishya were a part of trading community in Mathura until around 1018 CE. During the ancient period, Mathura was an economic hub, located at the junction of very important caravan routes. Mathura had historical links with Bateshwar, which is also located on the banks of river Yamuna. Bateshwar[2] was founded by the king Śũrasena grandfather of lord Krishna according to legends. River Yamuna flow around Bateshwar in shape of Bel Patra (Aegle marmelos).

According to history, Mahmud Ghaznavi destroyed and plundered the temple city of Thanesar and massacred its inhabitants in 1014 CE. Mahmud Ghaznavi's army brought to Ghazni 20,000 captives, and much wealth. Then, in 1018, when the news of his imminent attack on Mathura broke out, panic spread in the city, causing mass migration from city of Mathura. One group of the business community (approximately 100 families) rushed to escape southwards along the bank of River Yamuna (about 100 km journey) to Bateshwar (and surrounding area Bah, Jarar). These migrants from Mathura came to be known as Mathuria[3] Vaishya (Vaishya, who came from Mathura), who were named as Mathur Vaishya[4] in British census[5]. Mathur Vaishya have no connection with the Mathur (including so called Mathur Merchants) sub-caste of Kayastha, as well as Mathuria from other Varna apart from sharing the same ancestral homeland in the Mathura kingdom. Mathuria Vaishya used to wear the sacred thread, which is the mark of the Dwija or twice-born.

Since MathurVaishya were forced by circumstances to leave most of their belongings back home in Mathura, most of them became poor. They could not retrieve their belongings afterwards, as almost the whole city was burned to earth by the invaders[6]. They restarted their lives with small business opportunities. With the passage of time and broadening of opportunities, they followed other professions along with trading. Some of them moved to nearby village Samugarh (across the river Uttagan), now known as Fatehabad. Over time, the migration range widened to nearby villages Pinahat, IradatNagar and Shamsabad. During early part of British period (1804-1858 CE), Mathur Vaishya took further steps in migration and moved beyond the northern bank of Yamuna (Shikohabad, Chandwar Nagar, Sirsaganj) and the southern bank of the Chambal (Ambah, Porsa, Morena) & south-west of ephemeral rivers Parbati / Banganga / Uttagan & Gambhiri / Khari-nadi (Dholpur, Mania).

Present conditions

Chandwar Nagar is located on bank of river Yamuna and is south of current Firozabad city. Mathur Vaishya left Chandwar Nagar (only area of their homeland, where they deserted in toto) because of dacoits problem. With the introduction of railways, Mathur Vaishya also migrated to big cities like Kanpur, Kolkata, Delhi, Bangalore, Chennai, Mumbai, Hyderabad. Now they are spread all over India and some abroad too.

The Mathur Vaishya population is still well below a million. Firozabad has highest Mathur Vaishya population, followed by Agra. Most of the Mathur Vaishya in Firozabad are associated with the glass bangles business. In Firozabad, Mathur Vaishya are also referred to as Mathuria[7]. Mr. Russel mentions that subcastes are of the usual local or territorial type, as ... Mathuria, and so on.. Most of Mathur Vaishya use Gupta as their surname, while others write their gotra as surname.

The Mathur Vaishya speak Hindi or BrajBhasha, a dialect of Hindi spoken by people who evolved around the banks of Yamuna river. . Mathur Vaishya have traditionally been strictly vegetarian and non-alcoholic, though some have changed in the modern times. Mathur Vaishya worship deities Rama, Krishana, Shiva, Hanuman, Durga, Ganesha & Laxmi. Mathur Vaishya used to (even now) make a visit to the Mata KAILA devi temple at Karauli, Rajasthan to obtain blessing of Kuldevi after an auspicious occasion.

Distinct features about Mathur Vaishya, unlike some other vaishya communities are:

a) Mathur Vaishya's initial migration from their home land was invariably to the big cities.

b) Mathur Vaishya did not adopt or convert to other religions (including Jainism), despite surrounding areas under severe influence.

c) Mathur Vaishya preferred wholesale nature of business instead of retail.

d) The clan (exogomus division, also known as Gotra in non-Brahamin) nomenclature was derived from trading business of family's head in Mathura.

Aloo (Potato) Ka Rasa is an integral part of dinner meal, and cooked at least once a week in Mathuria Vaishya's home (probably exclusively). Aloo Ka Rasa is basically a Sour Yoghurt based Indian curry or gravy primarily consisting of a sour yoghurt and water base thickened with boiled Potato. Various herbs and spices (Turmeric powder, Corainder leaves, Cumin seed etc.) are added to the 'Rasa' to give it a very distinct flavour.

Clan System

Mathuria Vaishya ancestors in Mathura were wholesale traders, who were engaged in businesses of Food items, Cloth, Kitchen Wares, Gold, Medicines, Health Supplements, Beauty Care products, Building Material, Wood, Plant Leaves, Arms. Hence, the clan system was derived to preserve identity of family tree. Few more clan increased, as bigger clans got sub-divided. The comedy of error (mis-spellings) also helped to add few more clans. People from same clan were Gotriya brother & sistser. Later, Khandan was defined as seven contiguous generations through unbroken male siblings of a clan.

S. No. Clan Name Business Type S. No. Clan Name Business Type
01 Annawaria, Hindi: अनवरिया Food Grain 02 Athabariya, Hindi: अठबरिया / अठबैया Vedas
03 Arabhariya, Hindi: अरबहरया Bow & Arrow 04 Akharwar, Hindi: अखरवार Worship offerings
05 Alampuria, Hindi: अलापुरिया / आलमपुरिया Architect Material 06 Etiwar, Hindi: ऐतिवार Cannibas Resin
07 Oahawar, Hindi: ओहावार Conches 08 Auriya, Hindi: औरिया Ghee (Butter)
09 Theksere, Hindi: ेकसेरे Boat 10 Pengoria, Hindi: पैंगोरिया Books (Science & Fiction)
11 Pachadhari, Hindi: पचाधरी Art (Readymade) 12 Panwaria, Hindi: पनबरिया Plant Leaves
13 Paroliya, Hindi: पारौलिया Betting 14 Panniwar, Hindi: पन्नीवार Language Learning Tool
15 Pipraiya, Hindi: पिपरैया Wood 16 Suraiya, Hindi: सुरैया Music Instruments
17 Sanwasit, Hindi: संवासित Cosmetics 18 Sujanpuria, Hindi: सुजानपुरिया Colors
19 Sudaisak, Hindi: सुदैसक Diamond 20 Senkda, Hindi: सेंकड़ा Copper
21 Soni, Hindi: सोनी Jweller 22 Sandilya, Hindi: साडिल्य Cap & Turban
23 Samasin, Hindi: समासिन Dance Costumes 24 Sakriwar, Hindi: साकरीवार Jaggery
25 Shanichara, Hindi: शनिचरा Oil 26 Shalya, Hindi: शल्या Medical Equipments
27 Shiroiya, Hindi: शिरोइया Mirror 28 Shambashah, Hindi: शम्भाशाह Theatre
29 Raipuria, Hindi: रैपुरिया Iron 30 Rainguriya, Hindi: रैनगुरिया Cart
31 Rampuria, Hindi: रमपुरिया Ayurvedic products 32 Rainduha, Hindi: रैदेहुआ Chariot
33 Ramberiya, Hindi: रामबेरिया Ramayan 34 Revadi, Hindi: रेवाड़ी Sweets
35 Bagula, Hindi: बगुला Mustard 36 Baraiya, Hindi: बरैया Honey
37 Bagbular, Hindi: बगबुलार Berry 38 Bachharwar, Hindi: बछरवार Cattle
39 Balaiwar, Hindi: बलाईवार Health Supplements 40 Bansalas, Hindi: बंसलवार Cloth
41 Bariwar, Hindi: बारीवार Cotton 42 Basoriya, Hindi: बासोरिया Bamboo
43 Babarpuria, Hindi: बाबरपुरिया Hunting Equipments 44 Bandesiya, Hindi: बन्देसिया Teak, Rose Wood
45 Badlas, Hindi: बादलस Horse 46 Bamaniya, Hindi: बामनियां Dry Fruits
47 Badua, Hindi: बादउआ Aroma 48 Virehua, Hindi: विरेहुआ Dumbbell
49 Virthariya, Hindi: विरथरिया Arrow Targets 50 Viroriya, Hindi: विरोरिया Howdah
51 Gajpuria, Hindi: गजपुरिया Transporter 52 Gidoriya, Hindi: गिंदौलिया / गिदौरिया Binoculars
53 Gangalas, Hindi: गांगलस Flower 54 Gulia, Hindi: गुलिया Water Vessel
55 Ganpati, Hindi: गणपति Fruits 56 Guteriya, Hindi: गुटेरिया Dice Games (e.g. Chaturaji)
57 Gotanlas, Hindi: गोतनलस Robes 58 Golas, Hindi: गोलस Milk & milk prodcts
59 Jatua, Hindi: जटुआ Hair Products 60 Jabrewa, Hindi: जबरेवा Tooth Powder
61 Jigariya, Hindi: जिगारिया Culinary Herbs (Digestive) 62 Jiroliya, Hindi: जिरौलिया Cumin Seed
63 Jigarwar, Hindi: जिगरवार Money Lender 64 Katheriya, Hindi: कठैरिया Sword
65 Kashiwar, Hindi: काशीवार Jaree (Silk) 66 Kuteriya, Hindi: कुटेरिया Axe, Rammer
67 Kutwariya, Hindi: कुतवरिया Box & Vault 68 Kachchlas, Hindi: कच्छलस / कठछारस Spices
69 Katrauliya, Hindi: कतरौलिया Pulley 70 Kankatia, Hindi: कनकतिया Weaving Thread
71 Katas, Hindi: कातस Ignition Material 72 Kothia, Hindi: कोठिया Lacquer ware
73 Mohaniya, Hindi: मोहनियॉं Trap & Cage 74 Modi, Hindi: मोदी Grocer
75 Merothiya, Hindi: मैरोठिया Knitting Material 76 Madhawar, Hindi: मढ़ावार Sorghum
77 Mathesuriya, Hindi: माठेसुरिया Flute & Pungi (Blow Pipe) 78 Murwaria, Hindi: मुरवारिया Pickle & Related products
79 Mahamaniya, Hindi: महामनियॉं Ivory 80 Mahawar, Hindi: महावार Calenders
81 Mandalas, Hindi: माडलस Magic Tools 82 Bhesanwar, Hindi: भेसनवार Cattle Feed
83 Bhatarkotia, Hindi: भतरकोठिया Building Material 84 Bhabhalpuria, Hindi: भभालपुरिया Mineral Goods
85 Bhadrauliya, Hindi: भदरौलिया Umbrella 86 Chandalas, Hindi: चॉदलस Lantern
87 Chaudahrana, Hindi: चौदहराना Smoking Pipe 88 Chausia, Hindi: चौसिया Areca Nut
89 Laghua, Hindi: लघउआ Photo Material 90 Therahmaniya, Hindi: तैरहमनिया Buddhist Text - Tipitaka
91 Tainguriya, Hindi: तैनगुरिया Latex Products 92 Ghagharwar, Hindi: घाघरवार Bride Dress
93 Khobadiya, Hindi: खोबड़िया Protective Gears 94 Khuteriya, Hindi: खुटैटिया Rope Halter
95 Fanjoloya, Hindi: फंजोलिया Basmati Rice 96 Farsaiya, Hindi: फरसैया Knife, Sickle
97 Hathkatia, Hindi: हतकतिया / हथकटिया Weaving Tools 98 Jayadeva, Hindi: जयदेवा Maths Learning Tools
99 Doneriya, Hindi: दोनेरिया Cup & Plates 100 Niboriya, Hindi: निबौरिया Preservatives
101 Naugaiya, Hindi: नौगैया Astrological Gems 102 Nirjawar, Hindi: निरजावार Stain Remover
103 Ghunnpuria, Hindi: गुन्पुरिया Insecticides

Obviously, the clan was very divergent. Some of clan names seems common in other varna, castes and / or sub-castes. Vaishya are those whose mind is engaged by the VISHAYA. VISHAYA means, subject or specialization or professional knowledge. When a product is sold in volume at consistent basis, it becomes profession. Hence, these migrants from Mathura were Vaishya from time immemorial in true spirit of Vedas. Some of descendents, from some of clans left Bateshwar area and / or joined their earlier relatives, as life was tough and business aveneues were limited. This has caused some clans big (e.g. Baccharwar), while some small (e.g. Basoriya). In case of adoption, both clan (bio-logical as well adopting) parents linkage was considered. However, marriages are forbidden within two degrees on the biological mother's side, and seven on the bio-logical father. The adopting father gotra becomes gotra of adopted child. Widow re-marriage was not allowed, however widower re-marriage was allowed.

As life moved forward, there was additions in clan (clan names ending with letter 'AL') of those Vaishya of erstwhile Mathura (engaged in businesses mentioned below at time of joining), who could not join them earlier. These following clans were added generations later, when they arrived in Bateshwar area.

S. No. Clan Name Business Type S. No. Clan Name Business Type
01 Kotwal, Hindi: कोतवाल Confiscated Goods 02 Kaushal, Hindi: कौशल Astronomy Yantra (Instruments)
03 Bachhal, Hindi: बाछल Metal

In past, Mathur Vaishya did not marry, if any of four Gotra (of Father, Maternal Uncle, Grandmother & Maternal Grandmother) matched among themselves. The reasoning for same was the belief; that many years ago their elders belonged to one clan and hence are blood related brothers and sisters. This worked perfectly for centuries, as there were more than 100 clans. However, with imbalance in clan sizes and desire for specific type of lifemate in the community, forced a change in custom. Now only matching of Gotra of Father & Maternal Uncle is checked, along with check of bride / groom swapping on father's side among living generations (e.g. Bride's brother can not marry Groom's sister in future). Despite the above mentioned additions in community centuries ago, the community over these years has become localized, and may suffer in future the effects of DNA recessive mutations. According to tradition, the dasa are said to be the close relatives of Mathur Vaishya having non-Mathur Vaishya spouse & their descendants, though this concept is a thing of the past now.

Community Organization

Mathur vaishya have an all India organization called Akhil Bharatiya Mathur Vaishya Mahasabha which was founded in 1887 CE[8], (and also a women organisation called Mahila Sammelan), having its office in all big cities of India, and main offices at Agra & Jaipur. About 1970 CE, reforms were mooted in community again. It was suggested that the remarriage and rehabilitation of widows be permitted, and there was renewed demand for abolition of dowry, which continue to hurt community like double edged sword. Following are some of publications about community in Hindi language:

S. No. Name S. No. Name S. No. Name
01 Mathurvaishya Bandhu 02 Mathurvaishya Chetna 03 Mathurvaishya Chitran
04 Mathurvaishya Darpan 05 Mathurvaishya Jagrati 06 Mathurvaishya Hiteshi

Mathur Vaishya as a community have progressed tremendously. Today many of them are successful too, and moving up the ladder in business graph of India. In pre-independent British India, they actively participated in freedom struggle[9][10][11]. There were few MLA[12] (Member of Legislative Assembly), MLC[13] (Member of Legislative Council) & Mayor from Mathur Vaishya community, who represented the constituencies of Jhansi, Shikohabad, Fatehabad & Agra before caste polarization in Indian politics. In independent India, the initial preference among educated ones were professions of Doctor & Teacher. With the boom in outsourcing opportunities in India, Engineering has become the preferred profession among educated ones. In recent times, they are well placed in Corporate India.

References

  1. ^ Hindu Sacred Texts - RigVeda Book 10 http://www.sacred-texts.com/hin/rvsan/rv10090.htm
  2. ^ The Traveller's Guide to Agra, Page 1 by Satya Chandra Mukerji, Sen & Co., Delhi, 1892
  3. ^ Mathura: A District Memoir, Page 412, 3rd Edition by F. S. Growse, The North-Western Provinces and Oudh Government Press, India, 1883
  4. ^ The Tribes and Castes of the North-western Provinces and Oudh - Volume 3, Page 484 by W. Crooke, Office of the Superintendent of Government Printing, Calcutta, India, 1896
  5. ^ 1901 - Census of India, Volume 16, Page 225
  6. ^ THE HISTORY OF INDIA AS TOLD BY ITS OWN HISTORIANS, THE MUHAMMADEN PERIOD, Volume 2, Page 45, Trubner And Co., London, 1869
  7. ^ The Tribes and Castes of the Central Provinces of India, Volume 1, Page 82 by R. V. Russell, Macmillan and Co., Limited, London, 1916
  8. ^ About Mathur Vaishay Shakha Sabha History http://www.mvsamaj.com/oursamaj.htm
  9. ^ The Ascendancy of the Congress in Uttar Pradesh: Class, Community and Nation in Northern India 1926-34, Page 86 by Gyanendra Pandey, Oxford University Press, 1978
  10. ^ Encyclopaedia Of Political Parties, Volumes 33, Page 168 by O. P. Ralhan, Anmol Publications Pvt Ltd, New Delhi, 1996
  11. ^ Jai Hind Sangh - History Of Dholpur, http://dholpur.nic.in/history.htm
  12. ^ Statistical Reports Of Uttar Pradesh Assembly Elections, http://eci.gov.in/eci_main/StatisticalReports/ElectionStatistics.asp
  13. ^ Past Deputy Chairmen OF UP LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL, http://uplegisassembly.gov.in/DY.CHAIRMEN%20.htm

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