|Languages||Gujarati, Hindi, English, Marathi, Chhattisgarhi, Rajasthani and Magadhi, Kurmali.|
|Populated States||Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Chhattisgarh, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan, Odisha, Uttar Pradesh,|
|Subdivisions||Leva, Kadva, Koli, Charotar, Modh, Lingayat, Parsi, Kurmi, Kunbi, Khandayat, Aghria, khati|
Patel is a trade name and previous caste of landowners, farmers and village leaders. The 'Patel' of a village in the mid-1500-1900 state of Gujarat, would be a member of the village committee who would help represent the whole village's views to the local council and take the lead in resolving problems and implementing ideas. They would do this by working closely alongside the village pandit and other members of the 'Brahmin' Community mainly found in Gujarat, India but also across all parts of India and Pakistan. It is currently also used as a surname like Patidar, Bhakta or replaced by an ancestorial name.
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The term patel derives from the word Patidar, "Pat," which refers to a piece of land. Consequently, the name "Patel" referred to one who was tasked with taking care of or farming that piece of land. The name Patel is found primarily in the Indian state of Gujarat, as well as the states of Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, (Kurmi) and in some eastern part of Madhya Pradesh; and metropolitan cities like Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Surat, Vadodara, Kanpur and Delhi. While most Patels originated from Gujarat, some Patels are not Gujarati in origin, a few such prominent individuals being J. H. Patel and Rustomji Dorabji Patel.
The surname is also prevalent in some English-speaking countries due to immigration from India. Within the United Kingdom, it is the twenty-fourth most common surname nationally,[full citation needed] and the third most common in the Greater London region.[full citation needed] In the US, the surname "Patel" ranks 174 among the top 500 list of most common last names, as of the 2000 US Census.
Gujarati Patels were historically village-based landowners and farmers. The patidar community benefited from British Land Reforms during the 19th century and their wealth increased accordingly. The Patel community varies by religion and ideology, with disparate groups having their own samaj (social gatherings) and mandirs. Some have taken up vegetarianism influenced by Hinduism and Jainism and through the process of Sanskritization. The modern Patel communities have branched out of agriculture and landowning to a variety of business trades, especially in hotels. Patels dominate pharmaceutical, chemical, medical, plastic, building construction, ceramic and diamond industry in Gujarat.
"Patel Motel" phenomenon
The "Patel motel" phenomenon, as it is popularly known, has made a major impact on the American hospitality industry.
A sizable number of Indian immigrants to the United States came in the 1960s and 1970s. Many of them worked in blue collar jobs and saved up to buy undervalued or dilapidated properties, turning them into businesses. As many as 60% of mid-sized motels and hotel properties all over the US are owned by people of Indian origin. Of this nearly one-third have the surname Patel - a popular one among Indian Gujaratis (those that came from Gujarat).
In popular culture, a Gujarati film Kevi Rite Jaish satirizes the community's fascination with emigrating to the United States. Patels are separated in 2 subcastes named Leuva Patel (or Leva Patel) and Kadva Patel.
- Skop, Emily (2007). "Asian Indians and the Construction of Community and Identity". In Ines M. Miyares, Christopher A. Airriess. Contemporary ethnic geographies in America. Rowman & Littlefield. pp. 271–90 . ISBN 978-0-7425-3772-9. Retrieved 13 August 2010.
- Washburn, Edward (2005). India Old and New: With a Memorial Address. p. 178. ISBN 0-543-99414-7.
- The BBC Four programme Meet the Patels asserted that there are around 410,000 to 670,000 Patels in the United Kingdom.
- Most common surnames in Greater London, UK
- US Census 2000: Most Common Surnames
- Varadarajan, Tunku. "A Patel Motel Cartel?". The New York Times, 4 July 1999.
- Kamdar, Mira (2007). Planet India: how the fastest-growing democracy is transforming America and the world. Simon and Schuster. p. 29. ISBN 978-0-7432-9685-4.
- Ungar, Sanford J. (1998). Fresh blood: the new American immigrants. U of Illinois Press. p. 32. ISBN 978-0-252-06702-0.
- Kevi Rite Jaish. IMDb
- Namesakes with surname Patel at SurnameAnalysis.com