Kashmir, Kesar & Kesarwani – these words are being used from Vedic era. Kesarwani i.e. Kesar (Saffron) + Vani. The world ‘Vani’ is from Arabic language & mean – person who sells the things. In Kashmir still they have the same concept & call Doodhvani to milkman, Sabjivani to vegetable seller, Gheevani, Gudvani etc. By this it’s clear that the Kesarwanies were the Saffron (Kesar) producer & trader.
Our ancestors were “Arya” & were living at the bank of river “Vatistha” (Known as “Jhelam” at present) in Kashmir at Pampur, Unnipur, Neeva, Shivpur (Nr. Baramula), Srinagar area. There were around 1200 families and were involved in Kesar production & trade. They were supplying the ‘Kesar’ to China, Afganistan, Mishr, Tibet & other Arab countries also. They had remarkable contribution in Harappa & Mohanjodro civilizations. The saffron was mainly harvested at Pampur (Padampur or Pampam) village in Anantnag District in Kashmir. Great poet Kalhar had also written the same in his famous historical book “Rajtarangini”. Lot of Hindu Temple’s ‘Bhagnavashes’ are still available in this village. Pampur village is still famous for producing best quality Kesar (saffron).
Saffron Harvesting & trading was very important to Kashmir. It was a respected trade & was the main source of revenue. Kesarwanies where having good reputation with King Harshdev to King Jaysingh in Kashmir, for around 200 years from year 943 to 1149.
Upto 10th century the Kashmir was more secure than other Indian kingdoms. In 11th Century Mahmood Gazanavi started invading India. After defeating King Jaypal in Punjab in 1001 AD, Capturing Kannauj in year 1018, he looted Somnath Temple in Gujarat in 1025-26AD. While returning-back to Gazani, he appointed his secretary in Punjab, who ruled Punjab for 150 years.
As per “Rajtarngini”, regarded as one of the most ancient and famous historical texts of the sub-continent, Mahmood Gazanvi Secretary, with the help of his minister ‘Bhoj’ had attacked on Kashmir in year 1133. By 12th Century, during Maharaja Jay Singh’s tenure (1128 AD to 1149 AD), Kesarwanies were having expertise in using weapons also. They helped the king Jaysingh & fought bravely to Gazjanavi men on behalf of the King. Thousands of Kesarwanies were also killed in this war and could push back to muslim invaders for time being. Resulting to that, they became the main targets for the un-human torture of Mahmood Gazanavi & his army. Many Kesarwanies forced to adopt Islam religion. To save their identity, existence, other Kesarwanies with their families, secretly left Shivpur in night & departed towards Delhi During Maharaj Pruthviraj Chauhan. As the Punjab also was ruled by Gazanvi & they were still targeting these Kesarwanies, they forced to leave the Delhi also. In the year 1133 around 100 families of these Kesarwanies (Including 196 men) reached to Kade-Manikpur in Allahabad (U.P.) and camped at the bank of Ganga. Kade-Manikpur was a business center & was prosperous region by then. Kaurvanshi Gaudh Brahmin Pt. Shronidhar had helped them a lot to get settled there.
The above incident is clear with following reference from a historical text:
It is said that, as per a carved-engraved stone, found from Kashmir & presently available at Pakistan Museum, a group of people belonging to “Kansal-Gotra” of Agrawal community from Punjab were gone to Kashmir in regard to Kesar trade & were settled there. Gradually there population increased in the region & after the aforesaid incident they migrated to Delhi & to other places from Delhi. Considering this, Kesarwanies are nothing but Kansal-Gotri Agrawal Vaishy, who became Kesarwani because of their Kesar Business in Kashmir.
At present also, in spite of following Islam religion, people at Kashmir, involved in ‘Kesar’ production & trade use “Kesarwani” word with their name & business firm. They consider themselves superior than other Muslims and use ‘Seikh’ as their title. They write their name as Muhammad Sheikh Kesarwani & Their firm name be as M/s. Muhammad Seikh Usman Seikh Kesarwani. Hope, now it is clear that our roots are from Padmpur (Pampur), Kashmir.
Later 96 groups of these Kesarwanies migrated towards eastern provinces i.e. upto Calcutta, Nepal, Bihar, Bengal & Called as “Purbia”. Balance groups called “Pashimia” & spread in Delhi, UP, MP & Maharasthra
First in Kesarwani Samaj
Following is the summary of "First in Kesarwani Samaj" in the concern field:
Kesarwani were actively participated in India's freedom movement. They were part of 1932 - Civil Dis-obedience Agitation (Savinay Avghya Andolan) & many other such agitations. Many Kesarwani martyred, many got wounded, many Kesarwanies prosecuted & got rigorous imprisonment.
We salute those national Heros & the Kesarwani community feel proud of them.
We could collect detail about only few Kesarwnies, as follows: