(Last Updated on : 29/01/2011)
The Agrawals who belong to the large Vaishya community, are found in almost every part of the country. They are also known as Banias because of their occupation. The term `Vaishya` is very comprehensive and covers several business communities such as the Agrawal, Maheshwari, Khandelwal, Oswal, Jaiswal, Poswal, Dasse and Mahajan. Of these, the Agrawal is by far the largest community.
The name Agrawal or Aggarwal is derived from the Agragan state said to be founded by Maharaja Agrasen some 5000 years ago.
History Of The Agrawal Community
In those ancient times Agragan was one of the numerous states or janapadas which were like the city states of Greece. The Mahabharata and the Buddhist and the Jain literature are the chief sources of information about them. The state comprised Fatehpur, Sikar, Jhunjhunu, Nawalgarh, portions of Rajasthan in the west, Mahendragarh and the Hissar districts of Haryana in the south, some areas of Punjab in the north and the territory as far as Agra in the east. Agroha, which is now in ruins and forms part of the Hissar district of Haryana, was its capital.
Maharaja Agrasen is said to have lived up to the age of 193 and ruled for more than a hundred years. With the foreign invasions in India began the downfall and disintegration of the state. Agroha was devastated during Shahabuddin Ghori`s invasion in 1194 and it resulted in the flight of the Agrawals and their dispersal in the neighbouring areas of Haryana, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh.
Society and Religion Of The Agrawal Community
: Agrasen attached great importance to family life and instituted 18 gotras and restricted people of the same gotra from intermarrying, a custom which prevails even today. These gotras were not derived from Agrasen`s eighteen sons, as is commonly believed by the Agrawals. Rather these were derived from 18 leading families of Agrohas which were selected for this purpose by him.
Profession Of The Agrawal Community
: By and large being businessmen and traders, the Agrawals enjoy a fair share of representation in several other professions as well. If the community has produced numerous renowned businessmen and industrialists like the Dalmias, Modis, Singhanias, Srirams and Bajajs, it has also produced a number of distinguished jurists, educationists, scientists, engineers, politicians, doctors, philosophers, poets and scholars.