History of Oshwals – Acceptance of Jain Religion, Origin, Migration and Progress

This book is a collection of 25 articles written in Gujarati by the late Somchand Ladha Deva Shah (Gudka) of Navagam, Kenya and U.K. These articles were published in Oshwal Community’s publications – “Halari Bandhu” and “Oshwal Samachar” of Mumbai and “Oshwal News” of London. He diligently studied books on Jain religion written in several languages including Pratik. This gave him a clear understanding of the link between the origin of Oshwals and the Jain religion. Oshwals were originally a warrior community known as Kashtriya and some members of this community, living in what is now as known as the City of Osiya in Rajasthan, started practicing Jainism. The book goes into details of Oshwals migration to Sindh, Cutchh, Halar (Jamnagar District), Kenya and U.K. The book describes changes in Oshwal community from warriors to farmers in Halar to successive progression over the last 100 years from clerical jobs to small shop owners to international industrialists and bankers.

Somchandbhai was a leading member of the Halari Visa Oshwal community with interests in social reforms, education and religion. He was born in 1914 at Navagam, Jamnagar District, Gujarat, India and after a few years of schooling, he left for Kenya in 1926. He married Raniben Dhanani at Chela in 1931. After working with his relatives at several towns of Kenya including Mombasa, Nairobi, Muragwa, Fort Hall, Saba Saba and Thika, he started business in partnership in Nairobi in 1941. He moved to Mombasa in 1948 and ran his own business until 1974 when he migrated to UK. In UK pursued his main interest of reading and writing about the Halari Visa Oshwal community. He passed away on 20th April 2000 at Harrow in UK.

Somchandbhai book