The family name, “Patel” is one of the most commonly used in the world and there are certain interesting facts about the Patel community.
* “Patel” is one of the most commonly used surname in India, The UK and The USA.
* There are about 1,00,000 Patels living in the UK.
* Every tenth person of Indian-origin in the USA is a Gujarati with “Patel” as a family name.
* Almost 15% of Indian and 70% of Gujarati business houses are owned by “Patels”.
* The sixth richest person in the world is a Patel!
Descendants of the Aryan Kurmis :
There are numerous versions on the history of Patidars. According to one story based on historical records and credible evidences, Patidars roots go to the origin of the Aryans. Ancient migratory routes suggest that there were three major Aryan groups that moved over the time to prosper & survive in the modern world. While one movement was towards Europe, another was towards Iran and central Asia and the third traversed the Pamir Mountains, and crossed the Amu River (central Asia) towards the Indian mainland via Afghanistan and Punjab. The Patidars are believed to be descendants of this group of Aryans.
As the Aryans advanced to India they settled in the plains of an ocean-like river that they named, Sindhu. With time, as the Aryans cross-bred, socially, culturally, vocationally, and religiously with the natives living there, they established a well-organized and developed settlement that was later known as Sindhu Valley Civilization. It was also known as Saptasindhu Valley (currently some part is in India and some in Pakistan).
The Sindhu Valley civilization is one of the most significant civilizations for Hindus and Patidar. It was a progressive civilization with activities like farming, trade and commerce, and had social amenities. The inhabitants of this civilization had established standards based on decimal system for weight, length, area, and volume measurements. They had specialized engineering and technical skills for transportation, farming equipment, metal working, and town planning and had a language with 26 readable and writable characters and wrote from left to right. They were followers of Lord Shiva.
The Aryans established trades with Mesopotamia and Iran. Due to the difference in accent and language, people of Mesopotamia and Iran used, “H” instead of “S” and thus, they started referring the people of Sindhu Valley as “Hindu”. This “Hindu” society settled in the Sindhu Valley and was categorised 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 Kshatriyas got divided into three sub-classes; Rajan Kshatiya (Kings and leaders), Kshatriya (warriors), and Kurmi Kshatriya. These Kurmi Kshatriyas carried out farming activities regularly and helped the army during war. Later they were known 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 :
Interestingly enough, contrary to the folklore, neither the Kadva Patidars nor the Leuva Patidars are direct descendants of Luv or Kush (Sons of Lord Rama, King of Ayodhya)
According to some historians, Luv-Kush defeated the King of Punjab and thereafter settled there with their subjects. The region where Luv settled was called Leya and the region where Kush settled was called Kushad.
In 10,000 B.C., foreign invaders from west attacked Punjab and robbed, tortured and killed its inhabitants and destroyed houses, farms, and temples. This resulted in the shift of Kurmis and other tribes from Punjab to survive the frequent attacks from foreigners. Thus, they migrated to the eastern and southern parts of India. Some of the Kushad region Kurmis settled in North Gujarat near Unjha, while the Leya region kurmis settled in Adalaj and continued with farming. The Kurmis took their last names (Family names) from the town their ancestors belonged to or migrated from. Those Kurmis who once 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 the 17th Century, the Kanabi community were known as Patidars (meaning managers of the leased lands). 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 :
The word “Patel” is about 300 years old in the state of Gujarat. When barbaric foreigner kings invaded the state tortured its subjects, they tend to move away from Gujarat. Some Kadva Patidar families migrated from North Gujarat to other parts of Gujarat including Saurashtra and Kutch. Now they adopted new last names (based on the name of the town they lived in the North Gujarat), while others kept their original last names.
When the Patidars became land owners, they adopted title of “Patel”, a short form of “Patidar”. However, the word Patidar is still a very popular and frequently used word amongst the Kurmis/Kanabis.
In order to prosper and explore foreign lands, some Kadva Patidars migrated to other parts of the world like Africa, UK, USA, Malaysia, Canada, and Australia. Since time immemorial, the Patidars have carried out farming activities to provide grains and other necessary items to the population. That is the reason they are also called caretakers of the world. The Kadva Patidars and their 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 towards the society, resilience against affliction, high-spirited nature and predominant skills to survive in any circumstances.
Later in the 18th century, Kadva Patidars understood that education was the only road to further success, prosperity and progress. This gave them an appetite for education. They poured money into social infrastructure and started inaugurating educational institutions and scholarships and other encouragements towards education. Thus, the entire Kadva Patidar community was revolutionized and modernized and was transformed from simple farmers to industrialists, businessmen, doctors, engineers, accountants, scientists, professors, teachers, soldiers, writers, and politicians.
Early in the 19th century, Kadva Patidars started Kadva Patidar conventions to uplift and revamp the community. Such conventions inspired the entire Kadva Patidar community to get education and breakaway from old social customs (such as child marriage, woman trafficking, bigamy, and expensive funeral ceremonies) which were holding them back. Many Patidar /Kurmi publications were also catalysts for this transformation.
While Patidar settled in North Gujarat, Kadva Patidar made Unjha as the centre of the community and established a Temple of Goddess Umiya, the community deity. With blessings of Goddess Umiya, we shall continue our march for peace and prosperity that our ancestors started long time ago.