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Social organization of markets

Many sociological studies of the Indian economy have focussed on traditional merchant communities or castes such as Nakarattars.There is close connection between caste system and trade and markets.Vaisyas constitute one of the four varnas an indication of the importance of the merchant and of trade or buisness in Indian society since ancient times.Vaisya is a status that is claimed or aspired to rather than a fixed.Although there are vaisya communities whose traditional occupation has been trade or commerce for a long time there are some caste groups that have entered the trade.

Such groups tend to acquire or claim vaisya status in the process of upward mobility.

The traditional buisness communities in India include not only Vaisyas but also other groups with distinctive religious or other community identities such as parsis,sindhis,bohras or jains.Mercant communities did not always have a high status in society for instance during the colonial period the long distance trade in salt was controlled by a marginalised tribal group the Banjaras.

In each case the particular nature of community institutions and ethos gives rise to a different organization and practice of buisness.

Emagzine