The Structure of Jain Community

Jainism is a less known religion from India. The number of followers of Jainism is very small, when compared to the other religions.

There are many misconceptions about Jainism. Jainism is known as an advocate of non-violence, and it is. But there are more important things about Jainism which are not discussed even by Jains. Please read my article What Jains Do Not Tell You About Jainism? discussing the core values of Jainism.

Like the religion, the followers of Jainism are also misunderstood. Most of the people think that followers of Jainism are mostly business people, and that too from Gujarat and Rajasthan, two states of western India.

This article tells you about ethnic, linguistic and cultural diversity in the followers of Jainism. It is a social survey of Jain Community in India.

What is Jain Community?

Jain community is the community which is follower of Jainism. But it is not the perfect definition, as there are many small endogamous groups, which follow Jainism but do not call themselves as Jains. On the other hand, there are some other endogamous groups, which do not follow Jainism, but call themselves as Jains.

Archit Verdia: Young Jains in the Army
Archit Verdia: Young Jains in the Army

Are All Jains Business People?

It is one of the biggest misconceptions that Jains are mostly business people. But in fact Jain community consists of people working in the various fields of life like education, administration, farming, police, journalism, military and other jobs in private and public sector.

Jain community is not a single community, but a group of communities with different traditional occupations.

We should note that the percentage of business people in Jain community is low, and the percentage of Jain business people in entire business community is also low.

But Jain religious activities are dominated by business people, so one can think that Jainism is a religion of businessman.

Languages Jains Speak

The most spoken languages by Jains in India is a subject of interest. I have compiled two lists of the languages spoken by Jains, one of first languages and second of Second or Third Languages.

First Languages of Jains

1. Hindi
2. Marathi
3. Gujarati
4. Kannada
5. Marwadi
6. Tamil
7. Tulu
8. Punjabi
9. Bengali
10. Malayalam

Second or Third Languages of Jains

Most of the Jains have become multilingual. They speak in their first language at home, with community members of their own specific community, and with the people having same first language. Then they speak other language or languages whenever necessary. The most spoken second language of Jains is of course Hindi. According to a survey, almost all of the Jains who are non-Hindi, can understand and speak this language fluently. Then, if they are migrants, they can understand and speak the regional language of that area. A small percentage of Jains can speak English language.

It would be interesting to know that Marathi stands on the second number in the list of popular second languages amongst Jains.

Here is a list of the most popular second or third languages in Jain community.

1. Hindi
2. Marathi
3. Kannada
4. Tamil
5. Telugu
6. Malayalam
7. Bengali
8. Punjabi
9. Assamese
10. Gujarati

Jainism in Tribal Communities

According to the famous report of Sachchar commission, 2.6% of total Jains belong to the tribals. Jainism is widespread amongst tribal communities of India.We can see Jainism amongst tribal communities all over India, including Gujarat, Rajasthan, Kashmir, Punjab, Karnatak, Maharashtra, Bengal etc. Some of such tribal communities are traditionally Jains, others are converted to Jainism in recent days.

Some of the tribal communities amongst which there are considerable number of followers of Jainism are, Kurumba/Kuruba (Karnataka), Gadaria, (Gujarat), Meena (Rajasthan), Gujjar (all over western India), Bakarwal (Kashmir). Two big tribal communities Saraak (Bengal and Jharkhand) and Parmar Kshatriya (Gujarat) are well known tribal Jain communities.

Jainism in Brahmins

In ancient and medieval times, Brahmins had contributed a lot for the promotion of Jainism. In modern times also, few great Jain ascetics from Jain Brahmin communities and also from non-Jain Brahmin communities have worked for the spread of Jainism.

A small percentage of Brahmins are followers of Jainism today. They are found in southern part of Karnataka, and also in Gujarat, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh. Some Brahmin communities follow both Jainism and Vedic religion.

Jainism in Dalit Communities

Two big dalit castes of Malawa region, Balai and Khatiks were converted to Jainism in recent past. Now they are known as Dharmpal and Veerval. These neo-Jains are numerically strong.

Now many Dalits are becoming Jain laymen and few of them have joined Jainism as ascetics.

A dalit community of Maharashtra is attracted towards Jainism in recent days.

Jainism in Warrior Communities

Jainism is originally a religion of warriors. There is a great history of Jain warriors.

In India, some communities are traditionally warriors. Most of such communities were great followers and patrons of Jainism. Although such communities follow Hinduism today, there are considerable number of followers of Jainism amongst them. Such warrior communities include Jats, Rajputs,Khatris and Bunts

Jat Jains of Rajasthan
Jat Jains of Rajasthan

Jainism in Cultivators

Cultivation is the most important occupation of Indians. In Jain community also, the number of cultivators is very large. There are many Jain sub-communities who are traditionally farmers. Chaturth community is one of such community of farmers. It is the biggest community in Digambar sect of Jainism. Then there are many Gowda and Patidar farmers, who follow Jainism.

List of Major Jain Castes

According to People of India, there are more than 120 endogamous groups who follow Jainism. following is the list of some of major Jain sub-communities. Please read in following order: Name of the community, region, traditional occupation. Community name in bold font denotes that it is numerically strong.

Agrawal/ Agarwal: North India: Business community, also dominant in high level Government jobs, armed forces, politics etc.
Arasu: Karnataka: Backward Community
Asathi Vaishya: Uttar Pradesh: Business community
Ayodhyavasi: Uttar Pradesh: Business community
Bagherwal: Rajasthan, Maharashtra: Business community
Bakarwal: Kashmir: Shephards
Bhavsar:Gujarat, Maharashtra: Tailors
Bhojak: Gujarat: Brahmins
Bogar: Karnataka: Business People
Chaturth: South Maharashtra, North Karnataka: Cultivators
Chippiga: Tailors
Dhakad: Cultivators
Dharmpal: Ex-Dalits
Gujjars: Western India:Shephards
Indra: Tulunadu -Karnataka: Brahmin
Jain Brahmin: South Karnataka
Jain Bunt: Decedents of Royal families
Jain Gouda:South Karnataka: Cultivators
Jain Kalar:
Jain Koshti: Vidarbh (Maharashtra): Weavers
Jaiswal: Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Gujarat: Traders
Jangada Porwal
Jaat: Haryana, Punjab, North Rajasthan, Western Uttar Pradesh: Cultivators
Humad/Humbad: Business People
Kuchchhi Oswal: Business People
Kandoi: Gujarat: Sweet Makers
Khandelwal: Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Marathwada (Maharashtra):Business community
Khatri: Punjab: Warriors
Kshatriya Ghanchi: Rajasthan: Oil millers
Kshatriya Parmar: Gujarat: Tribals
Nainar: Tamil Nadu: Cultivators
Oswal: Business Community: Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra
Padmavati Purwal
Pancham: North Karnataka, South Maharashtra: Traders, cultivators
Parwar: Bundelkhand (M.P.-U.P.): Cultivators, Traders, Intellectuals
Patidar: Gujarat: Cultivators
Porwal: Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh: Traders
Saitwal: Maharashtra: Tailors
Sadaru: Karnataka: Cultivators
Saraak: Bengal, Jharakhand: Tribals
Shrimali: Rajasthan: Brahmins
Shrimali: Gujarat: Traders
Upadhye: South Maharashtra, North Karnataka: Priests
Veerval: Malawa: Ex-Dalits

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Comments 16 comments

Pawan Jain 2 years ago

Jains are in kerala and tamilnadu and has temples too, but these people are isolated from mainstream Jains because of language . They are called Jain medu, lot of them in wainad ,kerala. Malabar hills has lot of Jain converted to Muslim , there are lot of Jain who converted to christain. And last name Jain with vergehese,Thomas and George , and some other South India name, recently the archeology reports states that South was predominant with Jains. If your remember ,the emporear

jainismus profile image

jainismus 2 years ago from Pune, India Author

MahaveerS , thank you for your comment.

Please check:

MahaveerS profile image

MahaveerS 2 years ago from Bangalore, India

This is great to know about Jains around India..

Do you have list of famous Jain persons contributed to different fields like Scinece,Maths , Entrepreneurs etc ..This could help in encouraging the youngsters of Today ..

npbaroda 3 years ago

Dear Mahavirji, I have gone through your articles about Jain in India and found them very interesting. I am a Jain and editor of 'Kutch Arpan' - a bimonthly magazine publishing from Vadodara. I am planning to translate your articles in Gujarati and get it published in various community magazines published by various Gujarati Jain Community. Of course I have to check authenticity of some of the facts claimed by you in your articles. (Like V Shantaram and some other fellows are jain ?) but that is not much issue.

I would like to have your permission to do this. Due credit as an author will be given to you. Being a jain I feel that your views must be distributed to maximum jains. Hope to hear from you soon. Please contact me on

Jai Jinendra

Navin Patel

Rajesh Jain 3 years ago

Very informative. I'd like to contribute another piece of information. There are quite a few brahmins in Rajastan, Gujarat and Karnataka who, besides worshiping deities like Ganesha, Lakshmi and Saraswathi, revere and worship the 24 tirthankars. In the past, many brahmins were devout jains. Present-day acharyas and munis are requested to bring back more brahmins into the jain fold.

jainismus profile image

jainismus 4 years ago from Pune, India Author

Thank you Sunil Kumar for providing this important information.

Sunil Kumar 4 years ago

Dear Sir,

Near Ooty , we can find a Toda community they are pure Vegetarian, If our Jain community either Digamber or Shwethabar want to covert them they can try please sen a message to our missionary if it is possible


Sunil Kumar


KDuBarry03 4 years ago

Ah yes, I came across Jainism in some of my earlier studies when I was about 14. It is definitely a beautiful religion. Like all religions, Jainism definitely does have these misconceptions. I see many positive similarities between Jainism, Buddhism, and Sikhism in terms of moral code. Thank you for such an informative Hub!

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jainismus 4 years ago from Pune, India Author

Thanks for the correction.

JYOTI KOTHARI profile image

JYOTI KOTHARI 4 years ago from Jaipur

Thanks for an informative hub. Pl correct Shrimali to Shrimal. Shrimal are mostly from Rajasthan (Origin: Bhinmal, Rajasthan). They also live in Gujrat, Delhi, UP and West Bengal.

Ashish 4 years ago

i am very surprise ,there are many other community in Jainism.

In Haryana ,Delhi and near by city of these state mostly Jain are Aggarwal

I think that there are only Bania,Rajpoot,Gurjar and Meena caste in Jainism.

But to read this topic

i have known that there are several other caste in Jainism instead of above caste..

i really thank ful to you for that person.

but we should come ahead and tell to other community also with Jainism

about this...

and teel tham about Jain culture and ancient Jain civilazation...

Mark Pitts profile image

Mark Pitts 4 years ago from United States

The intricities and details associated with the culture and caste system of India have always amazed me. Great hub.Very interesting.

jainismus profile image

jainismus 4 years ago from Pune, India Author

Hi all,

Thanks for the comments and appreciation of my Hub

cr00059n 4 years ago

Hello Jainismus,

I'm an Indian living overseas and really treasure reading articles like this. It gives me time to connect to my native community. Such a great way to experience India's most finest elements from home. Thanks for the great article.


Rahul K.Patil 4 years ago

Its interesting and mostly unknown for jains also

thirdmillenium 4 years ago

I was surprised that there ar jains who have Tamil, Malayalam etc as their mother tongue. Useful is my verdict

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