Trade and Merchants
(5,554 words)

M. Weber (1958) thought the Hindu ethos generally unsuitable for developing a capitalist ideology and assumed that merchants would, to some extent, be “outsiders” to mainstream Hinduism. Since H. Lamb (1939), however, a large number of studies have pointed to the importance of the merchant ethos in Hindu India. Yet in classical India, from the Mauryas to the successor states of the Guptas, merchant communities seem to have been largely Buddhist or Jain. This was certainly true of the Maitraka Kingdom of Vallabhi, in Gujarat: sources indicate that the fierc…

Cite this page
Harald Tambs-Lyche, “Trade and Merchants”, in: Brill’s Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Edited by: Knut A. Jacobsen, Helene Basu, Angelika Malinar, Vasudha Narayanan. Consulted online on 19 February 2019 <>
First published online: 2012

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