(Last Updated on : 12/02/2009)
Traditionally Baidyas are physicians and there are legends associating them with the gods of medicine, Dhanvantari and the Asvin. Though small in number, they have also made a notable contribution to other aspects of life in India, particularly in Bengal. They do not believe in amassing wealth and enjoy life as long as health and means permit.
A Panini Sutra says that 'vaidya' or 'baidya' means one who has studied the Vedas. There are references to Brahmins who, after becoming conversant with the Vedas, studied Ayurveda and became Baidyas or physicians.
History of the Baidya Community
: There are a number of legends, which speaks about the history of the Baidya caste. Legend has it that Dhanvantari was born when the devas and asuras churned the ocean. He is considered to be an incarnation of Lord Vishnu and has four hands - in one he holds medicinal herbs and in one the text of Ayurveda. He was the first Baidya.
Society and Religion of the Baidya Community
: Talented, cultured and intelligent as a class, the percentage of literacy and education of the Baidyas is much higher than that of any other community in Bengal. The women are treated as equals and even in the days of Kulinism, when polygamy was practised, a Baidya hardly ever had two wives at a time.
Profession of the Baidya Community
: The Baidyas were originally the physicians.
In recent times, many Baidyas have joined the Brahmo Samaj, including some of the leaders. Some well-known Baidyas have achieved distinction as political and social workers, historians, authors, music directors, film directors, film stars, actors, dancers and singers.