The Marwari or Marwadi. Indian Rajasthan character.

India National costume. The Marwari or Marwadi clothing. Traditional Indian Rajasthan costume

Rajasthan Marwari

The Marwari or Marwadi. (An Indian ethnic group that originate from the Rajasthan Jodhpur region of India)

This name is given to the people hailing from Marwar, and, although there is nothing therefore in the word itself to regard as opprobrious, it has come to be so viewed from the fact that most Marwaris combine with their other business that of money-lending.

Many of them are sellers of food stuffs, and one of the ingrained habits of the native (and-in justice one must add-occasionally that of a European) is never to live within his means unless obliged to do so by circumstances over which he has no control; and of this fact the Marwari is not slow to take advantage. He is willing to advance small sums to approved clients “upon personal security,” and, as the month’s food-supply can be obtained upon the like terms, it is never paid for, among the poorer classes, in advance. When a wedding occurs the Marwari is again called into requisition, for, of all people in this world, the native of India, from the middle class down to the sweeper, is the most improvident of beings, and provision for a rainy day is to him a thing unknown. It might be supposed that the knowledge of his having to pay a very high rate of interest would induce a tendency to provide against contingencies, but – experience proves that nothing short of absolute force will have that desirable effect. He is perfectly willing to pay five rupees per month, for twelve months, to a moneylender for the loan of thirty rupees, but to put away three rupees of his own free will each pay-day is quite another matter, and not to be entertained for a minute. To quote the reply received upon a recent occasion, when such a course was suggested, “Why should I do that when perhaps in a month I may be dead? Then someone else will spend my savings! No, that may be the European way, but it is not our custom, and the wisdom of it is hard to find.”

Meanwhile the Marwari waxes fat, and his profits are large profits; his ears are adorned with precious stones, and his neck with pearls. But the way of the native is inscrutable, and his customs are as the laws of the Medes and Persians. Yet, since it pleases him and hurts no one specially the Marwari, why worry?

Gallery: Typical pictures of Indian Natives. By F. M. Coleman, 1897.