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Arora also called Nagari , is an abugida alphabet of India and Nepal...

: अरोड़ा) is an Indo-Aryan community of the Punjab region
Punjab region
The Punjab , also spelled Panjab |water]]s"), is a geographical region straddling the border between Pakistan and India which includes Punjab province in Pakistan and the states of the Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Chandigarh and some northern parts of the National Capital Territory of Delhi...

. Commentators differ in their opinions regarding the relationship between the Arora and the Khatri
Khatri is a caste from the northern Indian subcontinent. Khatris in India are mostly from Punjab, region but later they migrated to regions like Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Jammu, Uttarkhand, Himachal Pradesh, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Haryana, Balochistan, Sindh and Khyber...


They are traditionally a mercantile community, whom Lakshmi Chandra Jain, an economic historian writing in 1929, believes "control[led] the finance of much of the commerce of India with central Asia, Afghanistan and Tibet."

The name of the community is claimed to have originated from the ancient city of Aror in the northwestern part of what is now the Sindh
Sindh historically referred to as Ba'ab-ul-Islam , is one of the four provinces of Pakistan and historically is home to the Sindhi people. It is also locally known as the "Mehran". Though Muslims form the largest religious group in Sindh, a good number of Christians, Zoroastrians and Hindus can...

 province of Pakistan. The Hindu temples of Kabul
Hindu temples of Kabul
Kabul was the capital of the great Hindu Shahi kings.Afghanistan was a great center of Vedic culture.There were many Hindu temples in Afghanistan...

 and the Hindu Fire Temple of Baku
Fire Temple of Baku
The Baku Ateshgah or "Fire Temple" is a castle-like ancient Hindu religious structure in Surakhani, a suburb of greater Baku, Azerbaijan. "Atash" is the Persian word for fire....

 built and maintained by them still exist.

Aroras were mainly concentrated in West Punjab
West Punjab
West Punjab was a province of Pakistan from 1947 to 1955. The province covered an area of 160,622 km², including much of the current Punjab province and the Islamabad Capital Territory, but excluding the former princely state of Bahawalpur. The capital was the city of Lahore and the province...

 (now Pakistan) along the banks of the Indus River
Indus River
The Indus River is a major river which flows through Pakistan. It also has courses through China and India.Originating in the Tibetan plateau of western China in the vicinity of Lake Mansarovar in Tibet Autonomous Region, the river runs a course through the Ladakh district of Jammu and Kashmir and...

 and its tributaries; in the Malwa region in East Punjab
East Punjab
East Punjab was the part of the Punjab region that went to India following the Partition of the Punjab Province of British India between India and Pakistan in 1947...

 (a part of India), although not greatly in what became the North-West Frontier Province
North-West Frontier Province
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa , formerly known as the North-West Frontier Province and various other names, is one of the four provinces of Pakistan, located in the north-west of the country...

 from 1901; in Sindh
Sindh historically referred to as Ba'ab-ul-Islam , is one of the four provinces of Pakistan and historically is home to the Sindhi people. It is also locally known as the "Mehran". Though Muslims form the largest religious group in Sindh, a good number of Christians, Zoroastrians and Hindus can...

 (mainly as Sindhi Aroras but there were many Punjabi and Multani
Saraiki language
Saraiki , transliterated as Sirāikī and sometimes spelled Seraiki and Saraiki, is a standardized written language of Pakistan belonging to the Indo-Aryan languages. It is a language spoken in the heart of Pakistan...

 speaking Aroras as well); in Rajasthan
Rājasthān the land of Rajasthanis, , is the largest state of the Republic of India by area. It is located in the northwest of India. It encompasses most of the area of the large, inhospitable Great Indian Desert , which has an edge paralleling the Sutlej-Indus river valley along its border with...

 (as Jodhpur
Jodhpur , is the second largest city in the Indian state of Rajasthan. It is located west from the state capital, Jaipur and from the city of Ajmer. It was formerly the seat of a princely state of the same name, the capital of the kingdom known as Marwar...

i and Nagaur
Nagaur is a city in the state of Rajasthan in India. It is the administrative headquarters of Nagaur District. The Nagaur city lies about midway between Jodhpur and Bikaner. It was founded by the Naga Kshatriyas.- History :...

i Aroras/Khatris); and in Gujarat. In post-independence and post-partition India, Aroras mainly reside in Punjab
Punjab (India)
Punjab ) is a state in the northwest of the Republic of India, forming part of the larger Punjab region. The state is bordered by the Indian states of Himachal Pradesh to the east, Haryana to the south and southeast and Rajasthan to the southwest as well as the Pakistani province of Punjab to the...

, Haryana
Haryana is a state in India. Historically, it has been a part of the Kuru region in North India. The name Haryana is found mentioned in the 12th century AD by the apabhramsha writer Vibudh Shridhar . It is bordered by Punjab and Himachal Pradesh to the north, and by Rajasthan to the west and south...

, Himachal Pradesh
Himachal Pradesh
Himachal Pradesh is a state in Northern India. It is spread over , and is bordered by the Indian states of Jammu and Kashmir on the north, Punjab on the west and south-west, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh on the south, Uttarakhand on the south-east and by the Tibet Autonomous Region on the east...

, Delhi
Delhi , officially National Capital Territory of Delhi , is the largest metropolis by area and the second-largest by population in India, next to Mumbai. It is the eighth largest metropolis in the world by population with 16,753,265 inhabitants in the Territory at the 2011 Census...

, Jammu
Jammu , also known as Duggar, is one of the three administrative divisions within Jammu and Kashmir, the northernmost state in India.Jammu city is the largest city in Jammu and the winter capital of Jammu and Kashmir...

, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh
Uttar Pradesh
Uttar Pradesh abbreviation U.P. , is a state located in the northern part of India. With a population of over 200 million people, it is India's most populous state, as well as the world's most populous sub-national entity...

, Uttarakhand
Uttarakhand , formerly Uttaranchal, is a state in the northern part of India. It is often referred to as the Land of Gods due to the many holy Hindu temples and cities found throughout the state, some of which are among Hinduism's most spiritual and auspicious places of pilgrimage and worship...

 and Gujarat.


According to Puranic mythology, the Arora are a people from the Suryavansha
The Sooryavamsham or Suryavansh or Suryavamsa or Sun Dynasty or Solar Dynasty was one of the most prominent dynasties in the mythical history of India, along with the "Chandra-vaṃśa" or Lunar Dynasty.-Introduction:...

 group of the Ikshvaku
Ikshvaku pāli: Okkāka) was the first king of the Ikshvaku dynasty and founder of the Solar Dynasty of Kshatriyas in Vedic civilization in ancient India.-In Hinduism:He is remembered in Hindu scriptures as a righteous and glorious king...

. According to ancient religious texts, Devaneek, who was an eighth-generation descendant of Rama
Rama or full name Ramachandra is considered to be the seventh avatar of Vishnu in Hinduism, and a king of Ayodhya in ancient Indian...

, had three sons. Of the three, Ruru is regarded by all Aroras as their eponymous ancestor. The lineage from there on is well-preserved by their bards right up to King Dadror.

Denzil Ibbetson
Denzil Ibbetson
Sir Denzil Charles Jelf Ibbetson KCSI was an administrator in British India and an author. He served as governor of the Central Provinces and Berar from 1900 to 1902....

, who wrote the Report for the Indian census of 1881, notes that "The Aroras are often called Roras in the east of the Panjab". However, he considers the community calling itself Ror
The Ror is a Kshatriya community and numbers between 750,000 and 1,000,000. They hold nearly 270 villages in Haryana and 52 more in Western Uttar Pradesh and the Haridwar district of Uttarakhand....

 to be distinct from the Punjabi Arora, stating that "I can hardly believe that the frank and stalwart Ror is of the same origin as the Arora" even though they shared a common account of their origin. The account was that in the past they had denied their original status in order to avoid persecution, and were in fact "Rajputs who escaped the fury of Paras Ram by stating that their caste was aur or 'another'", from which word their name came.

According to Ibbetson, the belief of the Punjabi community is that in fleeing the persecution there was at some point a bifurcation, with some members moving north and others moving south. From this arose the two major endogamous divisions within the Arora, respectively known as Uttradhi and Dakhna, which in turn had subdivisions. H. A. Rose is more specific, considering this to be the belief of the Arora of Gujarat, who maintain that Paras Ram pushed the community towards Multan
Multan , is a city in the Punjab Province of Pakistan and capital of Multan District. It is located in the southern part of the province on the east bank of the Chenab River, more or less in the geographic centre of the country and about from Islamabad, from Lahore and from Karachi...

, where they founded the town of Arorkot, probably near to the present day Rohri
Rohri is a town of Sukkur District, Sindh province, Pakistan. It is located at 27°40'60N 68°54'0E, on the east bank of the Indus River. Rohri town is the administrative headquarters of Rohri Taluka, a tehsil of Sukkur District with which it forms a metropolitan area...

. That town was subsequently cursed and its inhabitants fled in different directions through its north, south and west gates. While Rose agrees with Ibbetson that the Dakhna division is sometimes thought to include a subdivision called Dahra, he states that the Dahra went westwards, rather than south, and that there is also another major division known as the Sindhi of Sindh.

For the purposes of his report on the census, Ibbetson treats the Arora as a separate community from that of the Khatri, although similarly one of the "great mercantile castes". He notes that the Arora claimed to be of Khatri origin, evidenced by their claims to have denied their true origin to avoid persecution, but that the Khatri themselves rejected this. Jogendra Nath Bhattacharya
Jogendra Nath Bhattacharya
Jogendra Nath Bhattacharya was a pandit and one of a group of Hindu nationalists who held a benevolent view of the traditional role of caste in Indian society at a time, in the late nineteenth century, when social reformers were challenging the concept...

, writing in 1896, goes further and states that only the Arora believe this connection to be true. However, a more recent commentator, Scott Cameron Levi, believes that they are a "sub-caste of the Khatris".

Occupation and demographics

At the time of the 1881 census, more than half the Arora in the then Punjab Province lived in the areas of Derajat
Derajat meaning, 'Land of the Jats' or "Jat Land'. Derajat is a cultural region of central Pakistan, located in the region where the provinces of Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab meet. Derajat is bound by the Indus River to the east and the mountains to the west...

 and Multan
Multan , is a city in the Punjab Province of Pakistan and capital of Multan District. It is located in the southern part of the province on the east bank of the Chenab River, more or less in the geographic centre of the country and about from Islamabad, from Lahore and from Karachi...

, with another significant presence at Bahawalpur
Bahawalpur , located in the province of Punjab, is the twelfth largest city in Pakistan. The city was once the capital of the former princely state of Bahawalpur. The city was home to various Nawabs and counted as part of the Rajputana states...

. Their influence extended as far as Kohat
Kohat is a medium sized town in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan. It is located at 33°35'13N 71°26'29E with an altitude of 489 metres and is the capital of Kohat District. The town centres around a British-era fort, various bazaars, and a military cantonment. A British-built narrow gauge...

 and Peshawar
Peshawar is the capital of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and the administrative center and central economic hub for the Federally Administered Tribal Areas of Pakistan....

, as well as towards Sirsa
Sirsa is a city and a municipal council in Sirsa district in the Indian state of Haryana. It is a town in the westernmost region of the state, bordering Punjab and Rajasthan. Its history dates back to the time of Mahabharata...

. Unlike other mercantile castes of the region, the Arora had almost sole control of the mercantile activities in their areas of abode, sharing them with no other mercantile community as defined by Ibbetson. He noted of the Punjab mercantile classes that

Ibbetson further noted that unlike other Punjabi mercantile castes such as the Bania
Bania (caste)
Bania is an occupational caste of bankers, money-lenders, dealers in grains, spices and in modern times numerous commercial enterprises. Baniya is a distinct caste mostly coming from Western India and Central India but spread now all over India...

, the Arora did not confine themselves solely to that economic activity, although it was nonetheless their primary occupation: they had a "peculiar versatility .... trader[s] first indeed, but after that anything and everything." He considers that the Khatri shared the same trait. The Arora were "the trader par excellence of the Jakti-speaking or south-western portion of Panjab", which corresponded to the lower river valleys, and were a match for the Khatri in the higher reaches of those rivers.

Despite their versatility and industry - they worked in such occupations as agriculture, metalwork, weaving and basket-making, as well as trading - they were not well respected and were particularly liable to be referred to as kirár (roughly, "coward"). This term was also used, but less frequently, in respect of other mercantile communities, except the Khatri. Ibbetson believes that the prevalence of usage against Arora may have been connected to their status as Hindus in an area where Hindus were looked down upon.

In 1911, Rose reported that the Arora of Bahawalpur were " ... dealing in every commodity, and even selling shoes and vegetables. Some are contractors, bankers or moneylenders, and in the latter capacity they have now acquired a considerable amount of land by mortgage or purchase from Muhummadan owners, though forty or fifty years ago they did not own an acre of cultivated land".

According to the Imperial Gazetteer of India (1901), the three major mercantile communities of the Punjab province—the Aroras, the Bania, and the Ahluwalia — were dominant in the southwest (Multan
Multan , is a city in the Punjab Province of Pakistan and capital of Multan District. It is located in the southern part of the province on the east bank of the Chenab River, more or less in the geographic centre of the country and about from Islamabad, from Lahore and from Karachi...

 division), the southeast (Delhi
Delhi , officially National Capital Territory of Delhi , is the largest metropolis by area and the second-largest by population in India, next to Mumbai. It is the eighth largest metropolis in the world by population with 16,753,265 inhabitants in the Territory at the 2011 Census...

 division including present Haryana), and the northeast (Jalandhar
Jalandhar is a city in Jalandhar District in the state of Punjab, India. It is located 144 km northwest of the state capital, Chandigarh...

 division) respectively; in the central area (Lahore
Lahore is the capital of the Pakistani province of Punjab and the second largest city in the country. With a rich and fabulous history dating back to over a thousand years ago, Lahore is no doubt Pakistan's cultural capital. One of the most densely populated cities in the world, Lahore remains a...

 division) and the northwest (Rawalpindi
Rawalpindi , locally known as Pindi, is a city in the Pothohar region of Pakistan near Pakistan's capital city of Islamabad, in the province of Punjab. Rawalpindi is the fourth largest city in Pakistan after Karachi, Lahore and Faisalabad...

 division), Aroras and Khatris were almost equal in numbers.

The numerical strength of the Arora community in the 1901 census of the province (which included Delhi) was 653,000. In the former princely state
Princely state
A Princely State was a nominally sovereign entitity of British rule in India that was not directly governed by the British, but rather by an Indian ruler under a form of indirect rule such as suzerainty or paramountcy.-British relationship with the Princely States:India under the British Raj ...

 of Bahawalpur
Bahawalpur , located in the province of Punjab, is the twelfth largest city in Pakistan. The city was once the capital of the former princely state of Bahawalpur. The city was home to various Nawabs and counted as part of the Rajputana states...

, practically the entire commerce was in the hands of Aroras. A majority of the government employees were Aroras. In the same census, the Arora population in North-West Frontier Province was 69,000; in the province of Sindh and the princely state of Khayrpur, both Aroras and Khatris were probably counted as Lohanas, the mercantile community of Sindh. Many Aroras were promoted in all departments of the Indian government as Extra Assistant commissioners, accountants, professors, doctors, civil surgeons, engineers, military officers, and court officers. After the partition of India in 1947, the majority of Sikh and Hindu Aroras from all over Pakistan migrated to India.


Aroras joined with the rest of India to fight for Indian independence. Many were imprisoned for satyagraha
Satyagraha , loosely translated as "insistence on truth satya agraha soul force" or "truth force" is a particular philosophy and practice within the broader overall category generally known as nonviolent resistance or civil resistance. The term "satyagraha" was conceived and developed by Mahatma...

(nonviolent resistance). Some were involved in the Hindu Mahasabha in fighting for independence, including Madanlal Pahwa
Madanlal Pahwa
Madanlal Pahwa came to India in 1947 as a refugee after the partition of India. The plight of refugees intensified his anger against Mahatma Gandhi and other Congress leaders...

. As the Aroras are mainly from the Western Punjab region, most Aroras had to migrate to India during the partition of India in 1947.

After partition

The Aroras settled in Amritsar
Amritsar is a city in the northern part of India and is the administrative headquarters of Amritsar district in the state of Punjab, India. The 2001 Indian census reported the population of the city to be over 1,500,000, with that of the entire district numbering 3,695,077...

 during the time of Maharaja Ranjit Singh
Ranjit Singh
Maharaja Ranjit Singh Ji was the first Maharaja of the Sikh Empire.-Early life:...

 or even earlier. It is presumed that they migrated from Sind or Multan to Lahore, and then to Amritsar. This is inferred from the fact that, after a very long stay in the central Punjab, they ceased to speak their Lahnda dialect. The Arora Sikhs are mostly found in big towns, especially in Amritsar. They were living there even before the partition. Their Hindu counterparts, the majority of whom migrated from Pakistan, arrived in India in 1947 after a journey lasting up to a month or more to cross only 100 to 400 miles, starved, dehydrated, ill, and often with only the clothes they were wearing. Aroras not only have survived but have prospered. The Amritsar Gazetteer claims Aroras are very energetic and intelligent. They are mostly engaged in trade and industry. They are superior in business acumen to their counterparts settled in the district. A good number of them have also joined public and private services. The Hoshiarpur Gazetteer says

Before the partition, Aroras used to marry only among their sub-group i.e. Uttradhi, Dakkhna or Dahra and members of the same geographic region. But after the partition, spheres of permissible arranged matrimonial alliances were widened to others of Punjabi origin,< especially Khatris, Bhatias, and Sood. Inter-caste marriages with other communities of Punjab (with Brahmins and Baniyas especially) and other parts of India and world have become quite common and are becoming more common every day. These sub-castes have mixed so overwhelmingly that all of these castes together are now referred to as the Punjabi Aroras or simply the 'Punjabi' community. Aroras have been increasingly shunning the caste system, twith he Aroras (and all Punjabis in general) becoming more liberal, especially the populace in bigger towns and cities. Among Punjabis, socioeconomic status has replaced caste as the primary concern in matrimonial alliances.

Role in Indian society

Arora families in India place great emphasis and attention to the education of their children, including their daughters; because of this, they have become prosperous and are successful in many diverse professions such as trade
Trade is the transfer of ownership of goods and services from one person or entity to another. Trade is sometimes loosely called commerce or financial transaction or barter. A network that allows trade is called a market. The original form of trade was barter, the direct exchange of goods and...

, education
Education in its broadest, general sense is the means through which the aims and habits of a group of people lives on from one generation to the next. Generally, it occurs through any experience that has a formative effect on the way one thinks, feels, or acts...

, medicine
Medicine is the science and art of healing. It encompasses a variety of health care practices evolved to maintain and restore health by the prevention and treatment of illness....

, finance
"Finance" is often defined simply as the management of money or “funds” management Modern finance, however, is a family of business activity that includes the origination, marketing, and management of cash and money surrogates through a variety of capital accounts, instruments, and markets created...

, technology
Technology is the making, usage, and knowledge of tools, machines, techniques, crafts, systems or methods of organization in order to solve a problem or perform a specific function. It can also refer to the collection of such tools, machinery, and procedures. The word technology comes ;...

, engineering
Engineering is the discipline, art, skill and profession of acquiring and applying scientific, mathematical, economic, social, and practical knowledge, in order to design and build structures, machines, devices, systems, materials and processes that safely realize improvements to the lives of...

, manufacturing
Manufacturing is the use of machines, tools and labor to produce goods for use or sale. The term may refer to a range of human activity, from handicraft to high tech, but is most commonly applied to industrial production, in which raw materials are transformed into finished goods on a large scale...

, entertainment
Entertainment consists of any activity which provides a diversion or permits people to amuse themselves in their leisure time. Entertainment is generally passive, such as watching opera or a movie. Active forms of amusement, such as sports, are more often considered to be recreation...

, arts
aRts, which stands for analog Real time synthesizer, is an audio framework that is no longer under development. It is best known for previously being used in KDE to simulate an analog synthesizer....

, armed forces
Armed forces
The armed forces of a country are its government-sponsored defense, fighting forces, and organizations. They exist to further the foreign and domestic policies of their governing body, and to defend that body and the nation it represents from external aggressors. In some countries paramilitary...

, and bureaucracy
A bureaucracy is an organization of non-elected officials of a governmental or organization who implement the rules, laws, and functions of their institution, and are occasionally characterized by officialism and red tape.-Weberian bureaucracy:...

. They are a very small minority, lack a political power-base, and have in the pre-partition period suffered from Muslim attempts to disparage and suppress them. Some lost their homes, businesses, properties, and bank deposits (at Punjab & Sind Bank
Punjab & Sind Bank
Punjab & Sind Bank is a major Public Sector bank in Northern India. Of its almost 1000 branches and offices spread throughout India, almost 400 are in Punjab state, though the bank's corporate headquarters is in New Delhi.-History:...

, owned and controlled by three Sikh Khatri families) at the time of partition in 1947. Another prominent bank in Punjab at that time (Punjab National Bank) is reported to have played a very positive role by encashing bank deposits of migrants based on pass book entries, even though the bank had lost its records in Pakistan.

Aroras have taken roles in the Indian Armed Forces
Indian Armed Forces
The Indian Armed Forces are the military forces of the Republic of India. They consist of the Army, Navy and Air Force, supported by three paramilitary forces and various inter-service institutions such as the Strategic Forces Command.The President of India is...

. Jagjit Singh Aurora
Jagjit Singh Aurora
Lieutenant General Jagjit Singh Aurora was the General Officer Commanding-in-Chief of the Eastern Command of the Indian Army during the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971...

 was a prominent member of the Arora community in the Indian Armed Forces. Aroras were prominent in the Kargil War
Kargil War
The Kargil War ,, also known as the Kargil conflict, was an armed conflict between India and Pakistan that took place between May and July 1999 in the Kargil district of Kashmir and elsewhere along the Line of Control...

. Squadron Leader Ajay Ahuja was declared a war hero and died during the conflicts.


At the time of the 1881 census, Ibbetson noted that most of the Punjabi Arora were Hindu and around 7% were Sikh; a few were Muslim. However, he queried the classification because, for example, some who were recorded as Hindu were in his opinion "really Munna (shaven) Sikhs, or followers of Baba Nanak".

Aroras are very tolerant in their religious faith. Most are followers of Hindu Dharma; however, they respect the sanctity of and frequently visit Arya Samaj
Arya Samaj
Arya Samaj is a Hindu reform movement founded by Swami Dayananda on 10 April 1875. He was a sannyasi who believed in the infallible authority of the Vedas. Dayananda emphasized the ideals of brahmacharya...

 temples, Jain temples, Mazars and Sikh Gurdwara
A Gurdwara , meaning the Gateway to the Guru, is the place of worship for Sikhs, the followers of Sikhism. A Gurdwara can be identified from a distance by tall flagpoles bearing the Nishan Sahib ....

s. For several centuries in the past, the eldest son of an Arora Hindu family voluntarily changed his religion to Sikhism as a family devotion to the Sikh Gurus
Sikh Gurus
The Sikh Gurus established Sikhism from over the centuries beginning in the year 1469. Sikhism was founded by the first guru, Guru Nanak, and subsequently, all in order were referred to as "Nanak", and as "Lights", making their teachings in the holy scriptures, equivalent...

 in the 18th century. The Arora community is in charge of most of the temples in Delhi, Haryana, and Punjab areas. Most of the Shiv Mandirs, Hanuman Mandirs, Sanatan Dharma Mandirs, Durga Mandirs, and Krishna Mandirs are managed by Arora communities in the provinces with significant Arora population.


Aroras share cultural and genetic similarity with Khatris/Kukhrans. The Arora existed in western districts of Punjab, and only influenced towards Sanatan Dharma or Shiv Lingam Poojan, but Khatris in eastern Punjab followed Sikh and other beliefs. After the Khatris started condemning Brahmins, the Arora stopped being known by the name Khatri. Another genetically similar group living in Pakistan is the Memons.

The folk dance of the Arora community is the Jhumar
Jhumar or Jhoomar is a lively form of music and dance that originated in the Multan and Balochistan, but thrived specially in Sandalbar areas of Punjab. It is slower and more rhythmic form of Bhangra. The word "Jhumar" comes from Jhum/Jhoom, which means Swaying. The songs evoke a quality which...

, a slow moving and expressive dance, and the Khatri folk dance is the Bhangra, which is more aggressive.