The largest trading community, the Baniya is a name directly derived from the Sanskrit word vanij which means merchant or trader. The community has thrived for almost 5000 years with its origin dating back to the era of Maharaja Agrasen of Agroha, Haryana. The most common Baniya surnames are Aggarwal, Gupta, Lala, Seth, Vaish, Mahajan, Sahu and Sahukar. The Baniya has been further classified into six groups – the Bisa or Vaish Aggarwal, Dasa or Gata Aggarwal, Saralia, Saraogi or Jain, Maheshwari or Shaiva and Oswal. They speak Hindi amongst themselves as well as the regional language of the states they reside in. The Baniyas are the most revered caste amongst all. The primary occupation of the Baniyas are that of traders of grains, groceries and spices. Some might also work as money lenders. Baniyas may also be found in government departments, private enterprises and agriculture. With such a rich and legendary culture, the Baniyas prefer to marry among their own kith and kin. With similar background, such marriages are much more successful than weddings outside the caste.
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