Wednesday, December 7, 2011

LOHANA A VAISHYA CASTE - लोहाना एक वैश्य समुदाय

Te Lohana (Gujarati: લોહાણા, Sindhi:لوها ڻا Hindi: लोहाना) also referred to as Luvana (Gujarati: લુવાણા) are an Indian Vaishya caste, largely classified as merchants and are Now categorized as Vaishya or Bania caste although their ancient history proves that they are Kshatriya of Suryavanshi descant, claiming their lineage from Lava, son of Rama. They are said to belong to Rathor clan of Kshatriyas. The community originated in the Sindh and Punjab before migrating to Kutch and Gujarat.

The Lohana claim descent from the Lava son of Rama, and thus status as Suryavanshi Kshatriya and are now a days said to be vaishya or bania.

One potential source for the name Lohana is that these Rathors changed their name after a miracle from their kuladevata saved them from massacre by taking shelter in an iron fort [iron=loh]. After this they changed their names to Loh-rana, from which the name Lohana comes. They started to put Loh also before the towns and kingdoms founded by them, as such Lohargadh, the old name of Lahore. Another source is that the name is derived from Lavnam, one of the 18 grades of Kshatriya, ultimately derived from Lava himself.

Historian Burton writes Lohanas were brave people and says they were spread over today's Baluchistan (Pakistan), Afghanistan and eastern fringes of Central Asia. Colonel James Todd, who delved into history of Rajasthan, describes Lohanas as one of the oldest Vaishya community.

In the 7th century, there was a Buddhist ruler named Agham Lohana ruled a part of Sindh and was Governor of Brahmanabad and contemporary of Chach of Alor. We find frequent mention of Agham Lohana in Chachnama and the city of Agham Kot is said to be named after him. Even the sea around was known as Lohana Darya. Chach of Alor killed Agham Lohana in battle of Brahmanand and married his widow and also married his niece to Agham's son Sirhind.Further, Chach is said to have laid restrictions of Lohana tribes from wearing headgear and carrying weapons. He further placed upon the Lohana restrictions such as: 

Forbidding them riding horses with saddles

Forbidding them from wearing silk or velvet
Forbidding them from wearing headgear or footwear
Forcing them to wear black or red scarves

This discrimination of Lohanas lead to their decline from ruling or warrior class and conversion into traders in Sindh. In other parts of India, such as Punjab, Lohanas continued to rule until Islamic conquests of various regions under their control succeeded.
Dada Jashraj

Main article: Veer Dada Jashraj

Lohanas and also Bhanushalis worship Veer Dada Jashraj as their clan deity or kuladevata and his sister Harkor as Kuldevi.

Conversion to Islam & migration of Hindu Lohanas

As per community's history, it was after the death of Veer Dada Jashraj, the decline of Lohana kingdom began and their reign at Lohargadh/Lohanpur/Lohkot inMultan. Lohanas get their name from the city of Lohanpur or Lohkot from which they were driven out in 13th century AD by Muslim invaders.

Ismaili Dai' Pir Sadardin converted many of them to the Shia Ismaili Nizari sect of Islam in 14th Century AD. As Lohanas were worshipers of Shakti, in order to convert them Ismaili missionaries made certain modifications in their doctrines to convert them. They are known as Khojas or Khawaja. 

In 1422, the Sindh was ruled by a Hindu king of Samma dynasty named Jam Rai Dan, who was converted to Islam by Sayad Eusuf-ud-Din and he got a new name Makrab Khan.At that time a person named Mankeji was head of eighty-four nukhs of Lohanas, who was in favor in court of that Samma king. He was persuaded by ruler and the Quadri to convert to Islam. However, not all Lohanas were ready to convert from Hinduism. But 700 Lohana families comprising some 6178 persons converted to Islam at the hands of one in Thatta Sindh these are now known as Memons. Even today not only Khoja Ismaili Muslims but Memon Sunni Muslims also retain some of their Hindu surnames, among the most famous of these is Lakhani.

Sindh which had fallen under Muslim rule of Muhammad bin Qasim after defeat of Dahir and the Hindus were increasingly pressurized to either convert to Islam or face persecution and were living in constant fear. It was around this time, that Uderolal who is revered as Jhulelal ( by Sindhis ) or Dariyalal (by Gujaratis and Kutchis ) and Zinda Pir ( by Muslims ) who was born in to Ratanchand (Ratnarai) Thakkur and Devki, a Hindu Lohana family of Nasarpur in Sindh. He took upon the mantle of Lohana and Hindu leadership. Uderolal showed his miraculous powers and preached Muslim chief Mirkshah, and initiated him into the true meaning of religion that Allah and Ishwar are one and same. Uderolal, thus won the freedom of religion for Hindus from the Muslim rulers and devoted the rest of his life to spiritual and community service. Today Uderolal is revered as Jhulelal, the patron saint of Sindhis and also considered to be as Pir and revered as Jinda Pir, as such, both Hindus and Muslims visit the site of his Samadhi. The Lohanas after Dariyalal took samadhi for almost two centuries Hindus and Lohanas remained fearless but later again due to their Hindu identity being discriminated and increasingly threatened in Sindh and they began to migrate mainly towards Kutch and Saurashtra. 

Their mettle as warriors of past was tested in 1764, when Gulam Shah Kahoroattacked Cutch and they had to account for themselves in the Battle of Zora. Lohana women fought alongside their men in this battle and the land of Kutchchh is strewn with memorial stones marking the deaths of Lohanas. A saying in Gujarati eulogies Lohana women thus: Only Rajputani, Loharani and Miyani bring forth gem of children. However, in 1778, one person named Devchand, who was head of their caste was put to death in Cutch and since then never a Lohana has rose to the post of minister in Princely State of Cutch till its merger into Union of India in 1947.

Colonel James Todd, who delved into history of various warrior casts of India, describes Lohanas as of Rajput origin but have fallen into third category ( that isvaishya ). Also it mentions that Lohanas are involved in petty trades and their caravans travel between Deraband and Kabul into Calcutta and Bokara and St. Malaire in Russia carrying cotton goods, kimkhab embroidery materials, salt, indigo and fruits. They were then found in large numbers in Dhat and Talpura. Even Babur has mentioned of Lohana tribe in his records. It further mentions that Lohanas in Sind are Vaishnava and Shaiva and worship river Indus and their Jenda Pir. But like Saraswat Brahmins, eat meat, fish and onions and drink spirits.

Lohanas, who were once from warrior class are now in to trade and business and considered a merchant or baniya community due to their social conversion over the several centuries.

Sindhi Lohanas have since been divided in to three major groups :- 

1. Amils : Amils were generally involved in clerical jobs in government offices, as as working in posts of revenue collectors and other senior positions. 

2. Bhaibands : Bhaibandhs are Lohanas, who are mainly involved in trade and commerce and are as such mostly merchants. 

3. Sahitis : They are somewhere placed between Amils & Bhaibands, and could be either in government service or traders

Since time of British India Lohanas have been classified as Vaishya or Bania community. Lohana culture has diverged over the centuries between different regions. Thus there are significant differences between the culture, professions and societies of Sindhi Lohanas ( those who migrated from Sind after partition of India ), Kutchi Lohanas (those living or having ancestry in Kutch )and those of Gujarati Lohanas ( those living or having ancestry in Saurashtra ), the three present day sub-divisions of Lohanas.

Although Gujarat today consists of area of Kutch, the Kutchi Lohanas maintain even today their separate group identity and they speak Kutchi language at home, while other Gujarati Lohanas speak Gujarati language as their mother tongue.

Sindhi Lohanas, including the Bhaiband community, were primarily engaged in agriculture, industries and professional services before the Partition of India. However, after the partition, Sindhi Lohanas dispersed throughout the world, and having lost their agricultural property, have focused on industry, trading and professional services. The Khudabadi Sindhi Swarankar (Sonara) community were mostly in the jewellery business. As per 1901 census of British India, the Lohanas numbered 562,261 and found principally in Sind, Gujarat and Cutch. The 1911 Encyclopedia Brittanica stated in the article about Sindh : "More than half of the Hindus are Lohanas, are traders, who have almost monopolized government service and the professions.


The Lohanas are also known as the Thakkar. and hence often holding surnames including Thakkar, Thakur and Thakrar. There are more than 84 surnames, some prominent ones are Akhani, Ratnani, Mirani, Gatta,Shonchhatra, Ruparel, Kariya, Palan, Jasani, Madlani, Tanna, Lakhani, Mehta, Jobanputra, Damani, Madhvani,Chag, Badiyani, Katariya, etc. In Gujarati, Lohanas performing the puja of Dariyalal are known as Pujaras and Dariyalal's descendants as Ratnani.

Lohanas largely follow Hindu rituals and worship Shiva, Ambika, Shakti and Shrinathji apart from their clan deities like Veer Dada Jashraj and Dariyalal. Further, most are now followers of Vallabha Acharya and founder of Pushtimarg sect. Also the whole community without fail visit the temple of Jalaram Bapa, a saint of their community, whose original house and temple is at Virpur. 

The community apart from Gujarat is largely found in Mumbai, Kolkata and other major cities and parts of India. Further, a widespread diaspora developed since the late 19th century, when they largely migrated to East African countries like Uganda, Kenya & Tanganyika and later also to United Kingdom, United States, and Canada.

Gujarati Lohanas and Cuttchi Lohanas gravitated towards trading since the eighteenth century. A large number of Lohanas from Gujarat migrated to the British colonies of East Africa during the early part of the 20th century. Gujarati Lohanas in East Africa were great entrepreneurs. The Ruparelia, Madhvani, Mehta, Kotecha [Uganda Cotton] and Jobanputra families being the prominent industrialists in Uganda. The descendants of these East African settlers have moved to either Kenya and Tanzania or Great Britain in recent decades. Many of them can be found in North West London and Leicester.

Today, a good number of Gujarati Lohanas reside outside Gujarat in other parts of India. Gujarati Lohanas own the majority of food businesses, especially “Farsan Marts,” in major cities. They also have a noticeable share in other businesses.

Among the Sindhi Lohana community many migrated to India, after partition of Indiaand can be found living along with other Sindhi community in various parts of Kutch and Punjab, where they were rehabilitated. Many Sindhi Lohana are also found in Britain and East Africa also.

Notables Lohanas

Veer Dada Jasraj - folk-deity of Lohanas
Shree Jalaram Bapa - a saint of Gujarat
Guru Nanak - 1st Guru & founder of Sikhism
Yogiji Maharaj: 4th spiritual successor of Bhagwan Swaminarayan
Kal Penn - American film & television actor.
Lekhraj Kripalani founder of the BKWSU
Shriti Vadera- Baroness and UK Government Minister.
Rao Bahadur Sheth Curumsey Damjee - famous businessman during British Raj.
Nanji Kalidas Mehta (1887-1969) - founder of Mehta Group
Shekhar Mehta (1945-2006) - Rally Driver legend
Jai Mehta - Industrialist
Muljibhai Madhvani (1894 - 1958) - founder of Madhavani Group in East Africa
Manubhai Madhavni (1930-2011)- scion of Madhavani group, son of Muljibhai Madhvani
Jaydev Unadkat - Cricketer.
Himesh Reshamiya - famous Bollywood singer.
Uday Kotak - Banker, CMD of Kotak Mahindra Bank
Karishma Kotak - London based Model.
Gopaldas Madavji Kotecha (1938-1974) founder of Gopaldas Madhawji Group in Pemba, Tanzania
Muhammad Ali Jinnah founder of Pakistan
Vinesh Pandipotra - Glamor model & writer


Atara, Aadatiya, Aade, Abhani, Acam, Adaliya, Adatia, Adhia, Ahya, Ajebiya, Akhani, Alani, Almadi, Amblani, Amdavadi, Amlani, Anadkat, Asari, Badayani, Badiani, Badiyani, Bagdai, Baldev, Baliya, Bapari, Barai, Barcha, Baru, Batavia, Bathia, Bathiya, Bhagde, Bhagdev, Bhatecha, Bhayani, Bhimdev, Bhimjayani, Bhinda, Bhinde, Bhojani, Bhupta, Bhuptani, Bimani, Bodani, Boriya, Buddhadev, Bundiyani, Chag, Chandan, Chandarana, Chandarani, Chande, Chande(Is, Chandeadupotra, Chandeparpotra, Chandeputra), Chandibhamar, Chandrani, Chandwani, Chatwani, Chetwani, Chhotai, Cholani, Cholera, Choraba, Chotai, Chothai, Common, Daiya, Dakhkhani, Dantani, Dasani, Dashani, Dattani, Davada, Davda, Daxini, Deshi, Devani, Dhairi, Dhalani, Dhamecha, Dhanecha, Dhinga, Dhirai, Dhokai, Dhruna, Dhupeliya, Dutta, Gadhiya, Gadit, Gajani, Ganatra, Gandecha, Gandha, Gangdev, Gangvani, Gatecha, Gesota, Ghebariya, Ghela, Ghelani, Ghenani, Ghiya, Gokani, Goklani, Gotecha, Govani, Hadani, Halani, Harkhani, HindiSota, Hindocha, Hinduja, Hinga, Jarejani, Jasani, Jaswani, Jataniya, Javani, Jivarajani, Jobanputra, Kachchela, Kachela, Kakkad, Kanabar, Kanani, Kanchela, Kapdi, Karia, Kariya, Kariyani, Kataria, Kathrani, Katira, Kesariya, Khagram, Khakhar, Khakhariya, Khakhkhar, Khalpada, Khandhadiya, Kharsani, Khatani, Khimani, Khiraiya, Khiya, Khoda, Kikani, Kotak, Kotecha, Kothari, Kundalia, Kundaliya, Laghani, Lakhani, Lakhdhir, Lalseta, Lukha, Lukka, Madecha, Madhvani, Madhwani, Madiya, Madlani, Magecha, Maharuda, Mainthia, Majithia, Majithia/Majethia, Makhecha, Makhkhija, Mala, Malani, Mandalmijar, Mandhai, Manek, Mansata, Maruda, Marutada, Masarani, Masaru, Mashru, Mata, Mathrani, Matrawadiya, Mavani, Meghani, Mendha, Mensan,Mithani, Mirani, Modi, Mohanputra, Morjaria, Mukdani, Mulani, Nagecha, Nagrecha, Nandani, Naram, Nathavani, Nathwani, Odhiya, Ondhiya, Otaradi, Oundiha, Pabari, Pajwani, Palan, Panchani, Panchmatiya, Pandhi, Pandit, Panditpotra, Panpai, Parabiya, Parekh, Pariyani, Parkariya, Pastani, Pattani, Pau, Paun, Paw, Pawagadhi, Phulvardhawa, Pobaru, Ponda, Popat, Prashnani, Premani, Pujara, Rach, Rachchha, Rachurvia, Radhwani, Radia, Radiya, Raichana, Raichhada, Raichura, Raimagiya, Raithatha, Raivadera, Raiyani, Raiyareli, Raja, Rajani, Rajdev, Rajpopat, Ramani, Rana, Rangpuriya, Ratani, Ratnadharya, Ravani, Ravasia, Raveshiya, Raychadda, Raychanda, Rayjada, Raykada, Raykundaliya, Raythaththa, Rudhani, Rughani, Rupabhinda, Rupani, Ruparel, Ruparelia, Ruperlia, Ruteshwar, Sachdev, Sadharani, Sadrani, Samani, Sameta, Sanghani, Sata, Sait, Satwani, Satyadev, Savajupani, Savani, Savjani, Sayani, Sayata, Sejpal, Selani, Seyaraliya, Shaycha, Shingala, Shivjavani, Simriya, Sodha, Somaiya, Someshvar, Sonaiya, Sonchhatra, Sonecha, Sonpal, Suba, Subarana, Suchak, Suchde, Suchdev, Sunthaniya, Tanna, Tannarana, Thacker, Thakaraar, Thakerar, Thakkar, Thakker, Thakker, Thakrar, Thinga, Thobhani, Tholera, Trikmani, Udvani, Ukeda, Unadkat, Vachhani, Vadera, Vaghani, Vajani, Vanjara, Vasani, Vasant, Vassant, Vithalani, Vithlani, Vardhan.


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  2. They're not banias and are not confined to trade. Amil Lohana were administrators and governers. Its Brahmins who forced Jats into shudra and Lohana into Vaishya, both races are war clans and were historically against brahminist which is why old maps separate Al Sind from Al Hind. Also a good portion of Lohanas were buddhist and never had a caste system. Sindhis in general never had a caste system. Lohana are Aryan people and Jinnah was a Lohana too, he is a leader from Pakistan not a bania. We were never related to bania people. Just like Jats were never shudras either

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  6. Sheth and shethiya are also lohrana.

  7. add cheteshwar pujara in notable names please


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