Bania: Agrahari

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This article was written in 1916 when conditions were different. Even in
1916 its contents related only to Central India and did not claim to be true
of all of India. It has been archived for its historical value as well as for
the insights it gives into British colonial writing about the various communities
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From The Tribes And Castes Of The Central Provinces Of India

By R. V. Russell

Of The Indian Civil Service

Superintendent Of Ethnography, Central Provinces

Assisted By Rai Bahadur Hira Lal, Extra Assistant Commissioner

Macmillan And Co., Limited, London, 1916.

NOTE 1: The 'Central Provinces' have since been renamed Madhya Pradesh.

NOTE 2: While reading please keep in mind that all articles in this series have been scanned from the original book. Therefore, footnotes have got inserted into the main text of the article, interrupting the flow. Readers who spot these footnotes gone astray might like to shift them to their correct place.

Bania, Agrahari

This subcaste numbered nearly 2000 persons in 191 1, resident principally in Jubbulpore, Raipur and Bilaspur, and some of the Feudatory States. Mr. Crooke states that they claim partly a Vaishya and partly a Brahmanical descent, and wear the sacred thread. Like that of the Agarwala Banias their name has been con- nected with the cities of Agra and Agroha. There is no doubt that they are closely connected with the Agar- walas, and Mr. Nesfield suggests that the two groups must have been sections of one and the same caste which quarrelled on some trifling matter connected with cooking or eating, and have remained separate ever since. The Agrahari Banias are Hindus, and some of them belong to ' The information on this subcaste is taken from Mr. Crooke's article on it in his Tribes and Castes.

the Nanakpanthi sect. They are principally dealers in provisions, and they have acquired some discredit as com- pared with their kinsfolk the Agarvvalas, through not secluding their women and allowing them to attend the shop. They also retail various sweet-smelling woods which are used in religious ceremonies, such as aloe -wood and sandalwood, besides a number of medicines and simples. The richer members of the caste are bankers, dealers in grain and pawnbrokers.

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