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History of Migration of Jain Community

Updated on June 17, 2013
Jain Migration Map. Click on it to enlarge
Jain Migration Map. Click on it to enlarge

Humans are migrating here and there from ancient times. Migrations were due to natural disasters in their region like droughts & famines, floods, earthquakes etc. and also because of the problems created by other people, like invasions and wars, persecutions, disputes etc. Many group of people migrated to other places in search of new opportunities, in search of new land or just for adventures.

There is a long history of migration of Jains from ancient time.

Migration from Indus Valley: Now it is proved that primitive form of Jainism existed in Indus Valley Civilization. There were followers of Jainism in cultivators and traders in Indus valley. Indus people known as Panis, were traders and were exporting and importing goods through big ships to and from Egypt, central Asia and Western Asia. After natural disasters and Aryan invasions, some of them migrated to Western Asia for ever while others to East, specially to Punjab region. Some of the sub-communities of Jains, like Agarwals are descendents of these Panis.

Migration to South and East India: When inhabitants of Indus valley migrated towards East, Aryans occupied the valley. Then the latter invaded Punjab. There was a fight between these people for hundreds of years, resulting migration of Indus people to further east. As Jains were a part of Indus people, this was their migration too. These people continued to move to East, and reached present day Eastern states of India, namely Bihar, Bengal, Jharkhan and Orissa.

Migrations in the Period of Teerthankars: There are some hints about these migrations, which we can find from the biographies of Jain Teerthankars. Rishabh and Munisuvrat, the first and seventh Teerthankar of Jains belonged to Indus valley. Then many Teerthankars were from North India, i.e. present day Uttar Pradesh. We see a migration of people from Mathura of North India to Dwaraka of Gujarat in the period of Neminath. Further, there was a migration of people of Eastern region of Uttar Pradesh to Bihar in the period of Parshwanath.

Migrations After Teerthankar Vardhaman Mahavir: Licchavis, the srong supporters of Jainism left Bihar and went to Nepal after the Gupt period. Before that a big migration of Jains of Bihar took place at the time of Mauryan Emperor Chandragupt. Jains migrated to western and southern India. Again after fall of Mauryan Empire, Jains of Magadh migrated to the same direction, while some groups took shelter of jungles in Bihar and Jhar Khand.

Migration of Oswal Jains: Hundreds of Thousands of Oswal Jains from Osia region migrated to various directions after 6th century. A group of them migrated to Sindh, Kutchh and Gujarat.

Migration of Tamil Jains: Many Tamil Jains migrated to Southern Karnataka when there were persecutions against them in 9th and 10th Century AD.

Migration from Deccan to Malwa: In the reign of Rashtrakuts and Chalukyas, many Jain families from Deccan migrated to Malwa, Gujarat and Rajasthan. Both the dynasties were supporter of Jainism and their states were spread up to Malwa, so many Jains of Deccan migrated to North. The Jains of Rajsathan and Gujarat who have their surname as Solanki and Rathod, are originally from Deccan.

Migrations to South Maharashtra from North Karnataka: Hundreds of thousands of Jains from Bijapur and other districts of North Karnataka migrated to Southern Maharashtra, especially to Kolhapur and Sangli Districts in 13th to 17th Century A.D. It was because of adverse political and religious conditions.

Migrations to Western Maharashtra from Gujarat: Thousands of Jain families from Gujarat migrated to Khandesh (North Maharashtra) and Western Maharashtra, especially in the reign of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj (King Shivaji). This migration was for finding new opportunities.

Migrations to African Countries: A large number of Jains from Gujarat migrated to African countries, especially South Africa, East Africa- Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania in early 20th Century. It was in search of new opportunities.

Migrations from Pakistan to India: After partition of India, thousand of Jain families from Pakistan migrated to India, especially to Punjab, Haryana and North Rajsthan.

Migrations to UK: A large number of Jains from Uganda migrated to UK in the period of Idi Amin, the dictator of Uganda, in 70's. This was because of persecutions. There was migrations of Jains also from India to UK in 20th Century, in search of new opportunities.

Migrations to USA: A large number of Jains from India and UK migrated to USA and Canada in forth quarter of 20th Century. This migration is still going on. It is going on for new opportunities as well as education.

A detailed sociological study in this subject is needed.

-Mahavir Sanglikar


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  • jainismus profile image

    Mahaveer Sanglikar 5 years ago from Pune, India

    Thank you Shailesh for reading and commenting.

  • profile image

    shailesh jain 5 years ago

    jainism is most peaceful religion on earth it must be spread throughout the world there will be peace all over

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    ckvikram 5 years ago

    Hello sir could u share some details related to famous jaina saints of north karnataka...thank u sir

  • profile image

    Akshay Kittur 6 years ago

    @ Shreyans

    Contemporary historians like Ramprasad Chandra, Vilas Sangave,Heinrich Zimmer,John Marshall, Thomas McEvilley, P.R. Deshmukhand Mircea Eliade are of the opinion that there exists some link between Rishabha(the first tirthankar) and Indus valley civilization.

    Ram Prasad Chanda who supervised excavation at Indus Valley found some seals in yoga posture of Kayotsarga which is the standing position of meditation. Which can be related with Jainism. And much more. See Rishabha in wikipedia (explained with references).

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    Ahimsa Artist, ignatius Xavier 6 years ago

    Universal citizen " Live and let live"

  • prasadjain profile image

    Dr.S.P.PADMA PRASAD 6 years ago from Tumkur

    A good hub with the content of of reference value.Much of the points stated here are historically true.

    1 Osiya- is a small village between Jodhpur and Jaisalmer in Rajasthan. MAny Jains from here have migrated to different parts. They are good bussinessmen. they bear the surname- Oswal.

    2. it is sure that that Jainism was well developed and followed in Indus valley.A human torso has been found in Harappa excavations. Archeologists have opined that that torso could be of Jain tirthankara only.

  • jainismus profile image

    Mahaveer Sanglikar 6 years ago from Pune, India

    Hi Shreyans,

    There are lot of evidences to prove it that there was primitive form of Shramanic religion in Indus valley. Many scholars have written about it. I suggest you to read the book of Ad. P. R.Deshmukh, an authority on Indus valley civilization.

    I would like to write a short article on this subject within few days.

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    Shreyans Patil 6 years ago

    Do u have any proof of Jainism being the religion in Sindhu valley civilisation ? From some historian not just assumptions