History of Patidar

The family name (surname) Patel is renowned all over the world. One would come across a Patel in almost every corner of the world. A few interesting statistics about the Patel Community are:

  • Patel is the most common surname in Gujarat, India, also in US and UK.
  • There are more than 1.5 lakh Patels living in the UK alone!
  • It would seem that nearly one of every ten people of India-origin in US is Patel.
  • 15 % of India's business families and 70% of Gujarat's business families are Patels.
  • The sixth richest person in the world is a Patel!

Descendants of the Aryan Kurmis:
There are many theories and legendary stories about the history of Patidars. According to the most believable story based on the historical records and credible evidences as with most of the people of the Indian Peninsula, Patidars roots go to the origin of the Aryans. Ancient migratory routes suggest that there were three major Aryan groups moved over the time to achieve success & keep their existence. While one movement was towards Europe, another was towards Iran and central Asia while third group traversed the Pamir Mountains, and crossed the Amu River (central Asia) towards the Indian mainland via Afghanistan and the Punjab area. The Patidars are believed to be descendants of this group of the Aryans At that time they were called Aryans (not Hindus) and they worshiped life sustaining elements like sun, wind, fire, and rain, etc. They believed in one God "BRAHAMAN". Their religion was known as Aryan Dharma, Sanatan Dharma, or Vedic Dharma, but not Hindu Dharma.

When the Aryans came to India they settled in the plains of a big river like an ocean that they named as Sindhu. With passage of time, the Aryans got integrated, socially, culturally, vocationally, and religiously, with the natives living there. Together, they established a well organized and developed settlement that became known as Sindhu Valley Civilization. The Sindhu Valley civilization is the mother civilization of Hindus and Patidar. It was a most advanced civilization with farming, commerce, and social amenities. Its inhabitants had established standards, based on decimal system, for weight, length, area, and volume measurements. They had engineering and technical skills for transportation, farming equipment, metal working, and town planning. They had a language with 26 readable and writable characters. It was written from left to right. They were followers of Lord Shiva.

Later on that area became known as Punjab area, also known as Saptasindhu Valley (currently some part is in India and some in Pakistan). While Aryans were in the Sindhu Valley, they established trades with Mesopotamia and Iran. Those people cannot pronounce sound of "S" instead they say sound of "H". They started referring the people of Sindhu Valley as "Hindu". This is how Aryans became Hindus. With time the Hindu society, settled in the Sindhu Valley, got divided into four social classes by profession as described below.
1. Brahmins: Provided education and religious services
2. Kshatriya: Protected (during wars) and ruled the society
3. Vaishya: Conducted businesses and commerce
4. Shudra: Did manual work and served the other three groups

Later on, the Kshatriya class got divided into three sub-classes, Rajan Kshatiya (Kings and leaders), Kshatriya (warriors), and Kurmi Kshatriya. The Kurmi Kshatriya did farming during the peacetime and helped army during the war times. Later they became known only as Kurmis, working on farms (growing food and raising cows for the benefits of the entire society). All Patidars are descendants of those Kurmis.

About Kadva Patidar and Leuva Patidar:
Contrary to the popular belief, neither of the Patelgroups are direct descendants of Luv or Kush (The Sons of Lord Rama, Great King of Ayodhya) Historians suggest the Luv and Kush had invaded and defeated the King of Punjab and thereafter settled their peoples there. The region settled by Luv was called leya and the region settled by Kush was called Kushad.

Beginning of year BC1000, foreign invaders from west (Turkey, Iran, Iraq, etc.) started attacking the people settled in the Punjab area and robbing, torturing, killing, and destroying houses, farms, and temples. This forced the Kurmis and other peoples to leave Punjab to keep their existence safe because of frequent attack from outside and they migrated to eastern and southern parts of India. Some of the groups of Kushad region kurmis migrated and settled in North Gujarat near Unjha, while the groups of Leya region kurmis settled in Adalaj with continued their farming occupation. Not to forget the origin of their ancestors, they adopted their last names (family surname) based on the town name (in Punjab) where they lived before migrating.

While in Punjab, those Kurmis lived in Kushad(Karad) area of the Punjab were known as Karad Kurmi (Kadva Kanabi) and those who lived in Leya area were known as Leya Kurmi (Leuva Kanabi).

In 17th Century, the Kanabi community known as Patidars (means managing leased the land mostly from kings). These changed Kadva Kanbi to Kadva Patidar and Leuva Kanabi to Leuva Patidar.

Hence descendants of Leya region kurmis are known as Leuva Patidars and those from the Kushad or Kharad regions kurmis are called Kadva Patidars.

Spread of Kadva Patidars in Gujarat and Abroad:
In Gujarat, the word Patel is 300 years old. When Gujarat was taken over by Muslim kings, they started torturing the public. To escape from the torture and shortage of the farming land, some Kadva Patidar families migrated from North Gujarat to other part of Gujarat including Saurashtra and Kutch. Some of them adopted new last name (based on name of the town they lived in the North Gujarat), while others kept the original last name.

When the Patidars started owning land, they adopted title of "Patel", a short form of "Patidar" word. Other populace started referring Patidars as Patel caste that is Kadva Patidars as Kadva Patels. However, the word Patidar is still a very popular and frequently used word for Kurmis/Kanabis. Recently, some of Kadva and Leuva Patidars have adopted "Patel" as their last name(Surname).

To continue to prosper, some Kadva Patidars migrated to other part of the world including Africa, UK, USA, Malaysia, Canada, and Australia. Early Patidar ancestors, being farmers, were providers, of all the basic life necessities to the entire population. That is the reason; Patidars are also called caretakers of the world. As described above, our ancestors migrated, from Central Asia to Sindhu Valley, to Ganges Plains, to North Gujarat, and to Saurashtra in search of peace and prosperity. Wherever they went, they prospered due to their hard work, dedication to society, resilience to torture, adventurous nature, and having skills to survive in any circumstances.

Late in the 18th century, Kadva Patidars ancestors understood that education was the central spine of social reform and progress. That gave them an appetite for education. They poured money into building educational institutions and providing scholarships and other encouragements for education. This revolutionized and modernized the entire Kadva Patidar community and helped the community to transform the ensuing generations from simple farmers to industrialists, businessmen, doctors, engineers, accountants, scientists, professors, teachers, soldiers, writers, and politicians. The current Kadva Patidar generation is a result of the education euphoria started less than 130 years ago.

Early in the 19th century, Kadva Patidars started Kadva Patidar conventions to uplift and to modernize the community. Such conventions inspired the entire Kadva Patidar community to get education and to reform the old social customs (such as child marriage, bride selling, multiple wives, and expensive funeral ceremony) which were holding them back. Many Patidar /Kurmi publications were also catalysts for this transformation.

Once we comprehend Kadva Patidars triumph based on their history, migration hardships, their social progress, changes in their life styles and living standard, their appetite for education, and their forward thinking, we can’t help ourselves but be proud of our rich and inspiring history and heritage.

Therefore, do not let anyone fool you, neither let anyone put you down. We, Kadva Patidars are not uneducated hillbillies anymore. Our history is very rich and inspiring. Our ancestors struggled to put us in our current state. They never tortured anyone, killed any masses, robed people and destroyed their homes, destroyed any places of worship, or forced anyone to convert his/her religion. There is nothing in the history of Kadva Patidars that is to be ashamed of. Instead, it gives us pride of being descendants of our ancestors.

While Patidar settled in North Gujarat, Kadva Patidar made Unjha as the center of the community and established a Temple of Umiya Mataji, their family goddess.With blessings of Umiya Mataji’s, we will continue our march for peace and prosperity that our ancestors started long time ago.

Congratulation & Thanks to all of us....!!!