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Trade and Merchants
(5,509 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 Ki…

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Tambs-Lyche, Harald, “Trade and Merchants”, in: Brill’s Encyclopedia of Hinduism Online, Editor-in-Chief Associate Editors Knut A. Jacobsen, Helene Basu, Angelika Malinar, Vasudha Narayanan. Consulted online on 26 October 2021 <>
First published online: 2018

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