Bohra - Orientation

The Bohra, who numbered 118,307 in 1901, are found today in large numbers in the Surat and Bharuch districts of Gujarat State, in Bombay city, and in all major trade centers of India. Their religious and political center is at Surat, where the high priest of the Daudi Bohra, the main section of the community, resides. Although the Daudi Bohras (also known as the Lotias, from their word for "water pot," because their turban is traditionally shaped like one) represent the largest and most widespread class of Bohras, there are several other divisions of trading Bohras: Alia, Jaafari, Nagoshi, and Sulaimani Bohras. In addition to the trading Bohras there is a large and equally prosperous group of village Bohras whose occupation is farming. The origin of the name "Bohra" is believed to be traceable to the class of Hindu Bohras who are still found in Jodhpur District, Rajasthan. One theory suggests the word is derived from the Gujarati word meaning "to trade," the occupation of the first Hindu converts to Islam. Many Barias and Nagar Brahmans to this day bear the surname "Bohora."

The Daudi and most of the other Bohras speak Gujarati, an Indo-European language; many living in large cities such as Bombay also speak Urdu and English.

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