Please check back often since the website is still under construction and constantly being updated.
- Around approximately 5000 people or 2000 families who had managed to escape from Jaiselmer headed into the desert eastward towards Punjab and Multan. The family settled in various villages along the way-some in Punjab, some in Sindh. In the end, the whole community was dispersed.
They gave up their Kshatriya life and became traders, while others settled into farming in Punjab. A few even worked as administrators for local rulers. They thrived within a few years, no matter what profession they chose. In time, they became very successful moneylenders and traders.
As the children grew up and became eligible adults, the Bhatias faced another major challenge. Upon becoming Vaishyas, the Kshatriya Rajputs no longer gave or took their daughters as brides. So, around Samvat 1366 or S 1368, local Bhatia leaders and the communities settled in Punjab, and other regions decided to meet in Multan to find a solution.
Our elders knew the dangers of marrying into close families and wanted to avoid that. They, therefore, assembled some learned Pandits to find a solution according to the shastras. Their opinion was that you could get married to someone more than 49 generations away. Therefore, the decision was made to create separate gotras and classify closely related families into separate nukhs. Marriage within the same Gotra was strictly prohibited. Accordingly, all related families were categorized into 84 nukhs and 7 gotras. From there onwards, weddings were freely arranged between different gotras.
LIST OF SEVEN GOTRAS AND EIGHTY-FOUR NUKHS
List of each Gotra containing related nukhs, and in brackets is the number of houses that were joined to that nukh.
Parashar gotra included 23 nukhs:
Rae Gajaria (208) was the largest nukh, Rae Panchloriya (27), Rae Palija (25), Rae Gagla (30), Rae Saraki (14), Rae Soni (12), Rae Sofla (25), Rae Jaya (16), Rae Mogya (28), Rae Ghaga (8), Rae Rika (12), Rae Jindhan (30), Rae Kothiya (40), Rae Kova (18), Rae Radia (36), Rae Kajaria (24), Rae Sijvalla (10), Rae Jabbal (14), Rae Malan (22), Rae Dhaba (17), Rae Dhiran (12), Rae Jagta (28), Rae Nisat (11).
Sanas gotra containing 11 nukhs as follows:
Rae Dutiya (24), Rae Jabba (24), Rae Nago Babla (32), Rae Suara (22), Rae Dhawan (11), Rae Vanada (7), Rae Dhaga (49), Rae Kandhiya (10), Rae Udesi (16), Rae Vadhucha (9), Rae Balaya (8).
Bharadwaj gotra with the following 18 nukhs:
Rae Hariya (48), Rae Padamshi (27) , Rae Maidaya (19) , Rae Chandan, Rae Khiyara (11), Rae Thula (17), Rae Sodhiya (24), Rae Bodha (14), Rae Mochha (1), Rae Tambol, Rae Lakhanvanta (49), Rae Thakkar (32), Rae Bhudariya (12), Rae Mota, Rae Andhar (18), Rae Dhadhal (32), Rae Degchanda (21), Rae Asar (64).
Sudharvans gotra with the following 8 nukhs:
Rae Sapat (25), Rae Chhachhaiya (6), Rae Nagada (26), Rae Gatha Babla (11), Rae Pramala (15), Rae Potha (23), Rae Podhdhagga (9), Rae Mathura (11).
Madhobadhas Gotra includes the following 11 nukhs:
Rae Ved (30), Rae Suraiya (30), Rae Gokulgandhi (20), Rae Nayegandhi (20), Rae Panchal (8), Rae Farasgandhi (21), Rae Paregandhi (17), Rae Jujargandhi (16), Rae Premasuja (27), Rae Bibal (32), Rae PoWar (4).
Devdas gotra includes the following 9 nukhs:
Rae Ramaiya (16) , Rae Pawar (17), Rae Raja (47), Rae Parijiya (30), Rae Kapoor (21), Rae Gurugulab (30), Rae Dhadhar (12), Rae Kartari (20), Rae Kukad (30).
Hrishivansh Gotra consists of the following 4 nukhs:
Rae Multani (84), Rae Chamuja (24), Rae Daiya (10) , Rae Karangota (37).Today, Multan is one of Pakistan's most important cities. Multan was one of the major trading centres of medieval India. Multan was the name given to the whole province between Punjab and Sindh at that time. The Arab geographer Masudi reported in 915 that Multan played a significant role in India's overland trade with Iran, Afghanistan, and other parts of the Muslim world.
In the coming years, the Bhatias prospered, and the trading network grew, which led them to disperse through central Asia again, but this time for economic reasons.
‘Based on research in the Russian colonial archives and the Office of the Bukharan Khushbegi, the Russian historian G. L. Dmitriev suggests that the majority of the Indians present in Turan in the colonial period were Bhatias, a merchant caste associated with Sind, especially the area around Multan, since the seventh century. In the nineteenth century, many Bhatia caste members were located in the northwest frontier town of Dera Ismail Khan and were known to have travelled to Kabul, Bukhara and even as far as Arabia. Their centralization in Dera Ismail Khan is most certainly related to that city’s position as the renowned winter headquarters of Powinda nomads and its convenient location on the west bank of the Indus river, approximately 100 kilometres northwest of Multan, near the Gumal Pass.’
- SCOTT C. LEVI 2002
Most Muslim states permitted Hindus to practice their religious traditions, but only a few allowed them to build temples. Turan was one of the places where Hindus dedicated special rooms for worship. Kabul was a relatively tolerant city for Hindus in the early nineteenth century. As a result, Hindus felt comfortable relocating to Kabul with their families at that time. The nearby Jalalabad area is known for its magnificent Hindu temple of Gorakh Nath.
Even in the nineteenth century, the Nathdwara temple received substantial income from foreign communities, noted Lieutenant-Colonel James Tod. According to Tod, in Nathdwara:
‘But it is with the votaries of the maritime provinces of India that he has most reason to be satisfied; in the commercial cities of Surat, Cambay, Muskat-Mandavi, etc., etc., where the Mukhyas, or comptrollers deputed by the high priest, reside, to collect the benefactions, and transmit them as occasion requires. A deputy resides on the part of the high priest at Multan, who invests the distant worshippers with the initiative cordon and necklace. Even from Samarkand, the pilgrims repair with their offerings; and a sum, seldom less than ten thousand rupees, is annually transmitted by the votaries from the Arabian ports of Muscat, Mocha, and Jiddah; which contribution is probably augmented not only by the votaries who dwell at the mouths of the Volga but by the Samoyede of Siberia.’
It is evident from this how far, and wide the Bhatias had spread in pursuit of trade. And despite being a minority amongst the Hindu traders, Bhatias were dominant in trade.
Babur, the first Mughal ruler of India, acquired a kingdom crisscrossed with extensive trade routes connecting India with Central Asia and China. According to his memoirs, caravans travelled to Kandahar and Kabul, bringing slaves, white cloth, sugar candy (Sakkar), refined sugar, and spices.
The main export was Indian textiles, mainly from Gujarat but some also from Bengal and Chinese silk. For centuries, Bhatias have been involved in the textile trade. Edward Pettus, an East India Company agent in Isfahan, Iran, noted that "the Banians, in return for their linens, carry most of the silver and gold out of the country". In medieval times, India was considered the world's largest textile producer.
A flourishing colony of Bhatia traders from Thatta's main Sindh port was established in Muscat at that time. It played a pivotal role in the maritime trade between Western India and the Arabian Peninsula until about the mid-18th century.With trade declining and Hindus harassed by the rulers in Sindh, many Bhatia families moved to Kutch and Saurashtra. Bhatia seths established their businesses in Kutch through the invitation of Jadeja rulers who knew the importance of commerce.
According to Enthoven, Bhatias most likely settled in Kutch and Kathiawar after the establishment of Jadeja power around 1350. A large number of Bhatia families moved to Kutch from Sindh. Here they settled in Tera, Vinjan & Kothara towns of Abdasa Taluka of Kutch. From Abdasa Taluka, Bhatias spread to newly established Kutch cities Mandvi, Mundra, Anjar & Bhadreshwar. Many families moved to Saurashtra. As usual, wherever they settled, they built magnificent houses and big Havelis. You can still find abandoned Bhatia houses in Kutch's towns and villages.
Mandvi city was founded in 1581 by Maharaja Khengarji, who invited Bhatia Seth Topan from Sindh to plan the city and develop the shipbuilding industry and maritime trade. Consequently, many Bhatia families followed him, and Mandvi or Madai, as Bhatias call it, had the most Bhatia families of any town in Kutch. According to MacMurdo (1818), Mandvi had 50000 inhabitants, of whom 15000 were Bhatias. Mandvi became a major trading port in Gujarat.
Seth Topan built the Kalyaneshwar Mahadev temple at Mandvi Kutch in 1607 AD. He also built Topansar lake. Kutchi Bhatias with the surname Toprani are his descendants.
According to Alexander Burnes, in 1827, Mandvi had 214 boats. Seventy-five of these belonged to the maritime community of Bhadalas. Seventy-two were owned by the Bhatias, while six were owned by the Rao of Kutch.
Mundra was established by Bhojarajji I of Kutch State in the 1640s. A wealthy and influential Jain merchant, Vardhman Shah, was invited to build it. Most Bhatias who settled in Mundra were engaged in trade with Zanzibar and the East African coast. The city wall was built in 1728 by Devkaran Seth, the prime minister of Rao Deshalji. The wall's stones are said to have been brought from the declined Bhadreshwar.
Shivji Topan, his sons Jairam Shivji and Ibji Shivji, and the manager of their trading firm Laddha Damji belonged to Mundra and were highly successful in Muscat and Zanzibar. Jairam Shivji adapted the surname Sually after the word Swahili, the local language in Zanzibar. He built a magnificent house in Mundra, and the street became known as Sually Sheri. His descendants still use various spellings of the surname Sually. He returned to Mundra from Zanzibar after handing over the firm to his manager Ladha Damji.
In Zanzibar, Ladha Damji had a reputation as one of the most honest and influential men. In addition to being the advisor and banker for the Sultan of Zanzibar, he was also well respected by the British Consul of Zanzibar, John Kirk. Ladhabha spent most of his life in Zanzibar. As a mark of respect, the British, French, German, American and Italian consulates hoisted their flags at half mast on the day of Ladhabha's death.
Laximdas Ladha, son of Ladha Damji, built a two-story bungalow in Mundra named Navlakho. It cost nine lakh Kories to construct.
Foreign trade has historically been the basis of Kutch's ancient prosperity. But Kutch has always been noted for its textiles, jewellery, enamel work, embroidery, ivory carvings, knives, daggers, betelnut cutters, swords and shields. There was a high demand for these articles in Africa, the Persian Gulf, and countries Kutch had direct trade relations with. Bhatia’s dominated the cotton and textile trade. Bhatia's from Kutch were the first to migrate to Bombay. Muscat and Zanzibar.
- Originally, there were only seven islands separated by swamps: the land was unhealthy. The islands were once part of the Magadhan empire a thousand years ago. In 1343, they became part of the Gujarati Sultan's lands.
The Portuguese captured the islands in 1534 and established a trading centre there. There are several versions of how the city got its name. According to legend, the Portuguese called the place Bom Bahia, which the English pronounced Bombay. Some believe it's named after the local goddess Mumbadevi.
This trade slowly grew, with local people trading products such as silk, muslin, chintz, onyx, rice, cotton and tobacco. As early as 1626, a big warehouse, a fort, and a shipbuilding yard were in place.
Catherine of Portugal and Charles II of England were married on 8 May 1661, and Catherine's dowry included Bombay. In 1668, the crown gave it to the East India Company. During 1675, the city's population grew from 10,000 to 60,000 in just a few years. The East India Company officially transferred their headquarters from Surat to Bombay.
It is believed that Bhatia Jivaraj Baloo was the first Bhatia to move to Mumbai in 1720. Following him, many Bhatias arrived in Mumbai, and in 1780, 266 Bhatias lived there. Bhatia's in Mumbai increased day by day, and by 1830, there were 6200 Bhatias. Bhatia Mahajan counted nine thousand people in 1891.
Bhatias and Parsis played a vital role in the trade and development of Mumbai. Although both communities were small, they controlled most of the cotton and textile trade. Among them were many mill owners. Gujaratis contributed significantly to Mumbai's success in business, industry, education and culture in the 19th century. It is undeniable that Bhatia entrepreneurs have played a unique role in it.
‘Sheth Goculdas Tejpal (1822–1867) was a merchant, businessman, social reformer and philanthropist from Mumbai, India. Gokuldas, who hailed from Gujarati Bhatia community, is well known for building charity institutions, hospitals, schools, hostels including famous Gokuldas Tejpal Hospital, Gokuldas Tejpal Sanskrit College, where the first session of Indian National Congress was held, Gokuldas Tejpal Anglo-vernacular high school and Gokuldas Tejpal Boarding House.
In 1822, Gokuldas was born in Bhatia community. His father and his uncle began life at early age as hawkers in Bombay. His father, Tejpal, passed his fortune to Gokuldas in 1833 when he died. His uncle too left his own fortune to Gokuldas when he died. Gokuldas died in 1867 by leaving large amounts of money for charity institutions, including a boarding school and several other schools.’
Around 1820, Mulji Jetha arrived in Mumbai. He founded the import-export firm Moolji Jetha & Company. The firm exported spices, copra, cotton and other sundry items. Additionally, they owned ships. Moolji Jetha established Sundardas Spinning and Weaving Mills in Mumbai. Similar mills were established at Jalgaon and Madras.
After setting up mills, Mulji Jetha decided to set up a textile market in Mumbai. With Mr Thakarshi Moolji, Mr Vishram Ravji, and Mr Jairam Naranji, he established the "New Piece Goods - Bazaar Company Limited" in 1866 for Rs. 12 lakhs. The Moolji Jetha Market was considered to be Asia's largest textile market.
Vijay Merchant, an international cricketer, was a Bhatia and belonged to the Thackersey family. The Thackersey family has been a leader not only in the field of business and industry but also in the field of education. The Thackeray family founded SNDT University for women. Thackersey Moolji's family was from Khambhalia village of Jamnagar.
Sir Damodar Thackersey started The Hindustan Spinning and Weaving Mill. The Manchester and Bombay Mill was subsequently mortgaged and bought under the name The Western India Spinning and Manufacturing Mill. A third mill, The Indian Manufacturing Mill, was started within a few years.
Khatau Makanji established Khatau Mill in Mumbai at Byculla in AD 1874. Khatau Makanji was born in AD 1808 in Kutch.
Morarji Gokuldas built Morarji Mills at Parel in 1870.Morarji Mills was built at the cost of approximately seven and a half lakh rupees. With the success of Morarji Mills in Mumbai, the foundation of Solapur Mills was laid in Solapur on the 16th of February 1875, and Solapur Mills started working on the 28th of December 1876.
‘Two shifts in the Zanzibar market during the early 1860s drew EastAfrica and Bombay more closely together. First, the American Civil War took the popular merekani cloth out of circulation. Second, the total value of East African ivory exports increased dramatically. Though the volume of ivory on the coast had been increasing since 1857, the rise in ivory demand in Europe, India, and China put a premium on East African ivory. This, combined with the sudden removal of merekani cloth,provided an ideal market opportunity for Bombay exporters interested in selling Indian cloth in the Zanzibar trade. Bombay exporters moved quickly to flood the market with Indian consumer goods. The immediate success Of Bombay goods in East Africa is exemplified by the fact that before the war Zanzibar was an insignificant consumer of Indian-made cloth exported from Bombay, whereas by 1863 it had already become the second most important export destination for Bombay-made cloth. This trend continued, and in 1866—67 the number of Indian-made cloths exported to East Africa increased ninefold.
The first textile mills in Bombay were built in the 1850s, and their number increased rapidly in the 1860s and 1870s, reaching almost seventy by the mid-1890s. What is particularly important about these mills from the perspective of the western Indian regional economy and colonial India's history, is that they were founded almost entirely by investments of Indian, not British, capital. Bhatia (a Hindu social group) merchants, many of whom relocated to Bombay from Kutch, built up the Bombay overseas trade and invested tremendous amounts Of capital in the new mill industry at the very moment that the exit of American cloth left a consumer vacuum in the western Indian Ocean region.'Bhatia firms, along with many Parsi houses based in Bombay, expanded their operations and came to command much of the export trade of Western India, which was concentrated on cotton, opium, rice, and diverse manufactures.’
Jeremy Prestholdt · 2008