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Banik


Banik a Hindu sub-caste, consisting mainly of traders and merchants. According to Manusanghita, the duties of the vaishya, a major caste, include not only trading but also cattle breeding and tilling the soil. Baniks, however, are traders and merchants, and hence are regarded as a different Vaisya sub-caste.

Vrhaddharma Purana and Brahmavaivarta Purana mention Suvarna Banik (goldsmiths), Gandha Banik (perfume traders), Taulik (betelnut traders), Modak (sweetmeat traders) as well as some artisan classes such as kumbhakar (potters), Kangsakar (conchshell bangle makers), Karmakar (blacksmiths) and Tantubay (weavers). Among Bengali Hindus, Gandha Banik, Suvarna Banik, saha, Kundu, Karmakar, Modak are businessmen and traders. The title Saha is used by various business communities. [Hiralal Bala]