Bhatia is a group of people and a caste found in Punjab, Rajasthan, Sindh and Gujarat. The Bhatias primarily live in Northwestern India and Pakistan.[1]

ReligionsHinduism, Islam and Sikhism
Populated statesRajasthan, Punjab, Gujarat, Sindh
SubdivisionsKutchi, Halai, Kanthi, Navgam, Pachisgaam, Thathai


Bhatia men in western India (c.1855-1862)
Bhatia women in western India (c.1855-1862)

The geographical origins of the Bhatia caste are uncertain. Denzil Ibbetson, an ethnographer of the British Raj, noted that many were found in Sindh and Gujarat in the 19th century CE but that there were grounds to believe that they had migrated from Bhatner, Jaisalmer and the area then known as Rajputana (approximating to modern-day Rajasthan). A more recent study by André Wink traces a 12th-century connection between the Bhatias of Jaisalmer and the Caulukyas of Gujarat, while Anthony O'Brien almost-contemporaneous attempt to discover their homeland caused him to place them around Sindh from the 7th century. Wink, who is a professor with interests in medieval and early modern Indian history, records that many of the community in Sindh converted to Islam during the reign of Firoz Shah Tughluq, although Robert Vane Russell, another Raj ethnographer, was of the opinion that those engaged in foreign trade in the 19th century were exclusively Hindu.[2]

The Bhatias, who had been associated in particular with the Multan area in Sindh, were historically merchants and they probably formed part of the earliest Indian diaspora found in Central Asia, together with the Bhora and the Lohana communities.[a] Their emergence as a significant merchant group pre-dates the 17th century and certainly by the time that India became subject to colonial rule, the Bhatias and the other two early diaspora communities had established trade and moneylending networks that, according to Scott Levi, who specialises in the history of Central Asia, "... extended across Afghanistan, Central Asia, and eventually reached even beyond the Arabian Peninsula and East Africa to the Caribbean islands in the west, and to Southeast Asia and China in the east."[4]


Among the Bhatias, there are different sub-castes, such as Jakhar, Kutchi, Veha, Halai, Kanthi, Pavrai, Navgam, Pachisgaam, Thattai and Punjabi. Bhatias from Kutch are Kutchi Bhatias, those from around Jamnagar district are known as Halai Bhatia, those from Sindh in present-day Pakistan are known as Sindhi Bhatias and those from Punjab in present-day India and Pakistan are known as Punjabi Bhatias. A large number of Punjabi Bhatias settled in Pakistani Punjab in 1947.[5]

Some of the major groups derived from the principal professions they follow or the crafts they practice.[6]


Mainly Bhatias are engaged in agriculture profession. In many district of Punjab they are known as Landlord or Zamindar. Although zamindars were considered to be equivalent to lords and barons[7][need quotation to verify] in some cases they were seen as independent, sovereign princes.[8][need quotation to verify]


Informational notes

  1. ^ Claude Markovits, whose studies encompass commercial networks in colonial India, says that the Lohana term referred to all merchant communities of Sindh other than the Bhatias and the Khatris.[2] Mark-Anthony Falzon considers all Sindhi Hindu communities to be jatis of the Lohana caste, with the exception of Brahmins and Bhatias.[3]


  1. ^ Tribalism in India, pp 160, By Kamaladevi Chattopadhyaya, Edition: illustrated, Published by Vikas, 1978, Original from the University of Michigan.
  2. ^ a b Levi, Scott (2007). "Multanis and Shikarpuris: Indian Diasporas in Historical Perspective". In Oonk, Gijsberk (ed.). Global Indian Diasporas: Exploring Trajectories of Migration and Theory. Amsterdam University Press. pp. 64–65. ISBN 978-90-5356-035-8. Retrieved 1 May 2013.
  3. ^ Falzon, Mark-Anthony (2004). Cosmopolitan Connections: The Sindhi Diaspora, 1860-2000. BRILL. pp. 32–34. ISBN 978-90-0414-008-0. Retrieved 1 May 2013.
  4. ^ Levi, Scott (2007). "Multanis and Shikarpuris: Indian Diasporas in Historical Perspective". In Oonk, Gijsberk (ed.). Global Indian Diasporas: Exploring Trajectories of Migration and Theory. Amsterdam University Press. pp. 44–46. ISBN 978-90-5356-035-8. Retrieved 1 May 2013.
  5. ^ People of India: Gujarat Part 1, pp 201, 899, By Kumar Suresh Singh, Rajendra Behari Lal, Published by Popular Prakashan, 2003
  6. ^ The Sikhs in History, pp 92, By Sangat Singh, Edition: 2, Published by S. Singh, 1995, Original from the University of Michigan
  7. ^ "Cinema: A Tragedy of Pride". 13 September 1963. Retrieved 14 January 2015.
  8. ^ Posthumous Memoirs of His Own Time. Volume 2. Retrieved 14 January 2015.

Further reading

  • Markovits, Claude (2000). The Global World of Indian Merchants, 1750 - 1947: Traders of Sind from Bukhara to Panama. Cambridge Studies in Indian History and Society (Book 6). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • O'Brien, Anthony (1996). The Ancient Chronology of Thar: the Bhattika, Laukika and Sindh Eras. Delhi: Oxford University Press.
  • Wink, André (1997). Al-Hind - The Making of the Indo-Islamic World: The Slave Kings and the Islamic Conquest, 11th - 13th Centuries. 2. Leiden: E. J. Brill.

See also

External links