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Banerjee Genealogy and Banerjee Family History Information

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  • Abhijit Banerjee, Nobel Prize in Economics, 2019
    Abhijit Binayak Banerjee (Bengali: অভিজিৎ বিনায়ক বন্দ্যোপাধ্যায়; born 1961) is an Indian American economist of Bengali heritage. Banerjee shared the 2019 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences wit...
  • Banerjee (deceased)
  • Amarendu Bhushan Banerjee (1903 - 1983)
    Second Son of Tara Bhushan Banerjee, famous criminalogist & law practioner.He married Gauri,a beutiful girl from Benares' famous Mukherjee family.Amarendu Banerjee persued his studies in Calcutta unive...
  • ... Banerjee (deceased)

About the Banerjee surname

Banerjee is the anglicised form of Bandyopadhyay.

Bandyopadhyay is of Sandilya gotra, which means that the unbroken paternal lineage of a Bandypadhyay can be traced to Rishi Sandilya. It is difficult to say whether Rishi Sandilya is mythical or historical figure (I would love to believe that he is a historical figure) but if he existed then he lived sometime around 1200-800BC. We get reference of Rishi Sandilya in Brihadaranyak Upanishad as the author of Sandilya Upanishad. He was noted to be a grandson of Rishi Kasyapa.

It is said that the word Sandilya means ‘one of the full moon’ implying – either a priest or descendent of the moon god. Kalhana (12th century AD) mentioned in his works (Rajtarangini) that the people of Sandilya clan migrated from the Saraswati River Delta to Aryabarta *. It is slightly confusing as The river Saraswati ceased to exist between 5000BC to 3000 BC. In that case, Rishi Sandilya should have lived before 1200 BC, and we have to consider that earliest Upanishadas (Sandilya is considered an author) were composed around 6000BC.

This gotra is also shared by some telugu Brahmins (Vaidiki), north Indian Brahmins (Bhumihar and Maithili) and Assamese Brahmins.

Bandyopadhyay also belongs to the Rarhi class of Bengali Brahmins. Bengali Brahmins are divided in different groups-.

Rarhi -(From South - West Bengal) - Bandyopadhyay (Banerjee), Mukhopadhyay (Mukherjee), Chattopadhyay (Chatterjee), Gangopadhyay (Ganguli), Bhattacharya and Goswami.

Barendra - (From North-East Bengal) -Bagchi, chakrabarti, Sanyal, Maitra, Bhaduri, Misra etc.

Vaidika – (who came to Bengal separately from other parts of India - ? Andhra).

Saptasati – They lived in Bengal even before the 5 kanyakubja Brahmins came (Arath, Jagaye, Pikoori etc).

Pirali – Brahmins who mixed with Muslims in eating and other social activities and hence boycotted by the orthodox section (Thakur, note Rabindranath Thakur).

Patita – Outcast Brahmins.

Rarhi – This group is descendent of the 5 Kanyakubja Brahmins invited to Bengal by King Adishra sometime between 700 -1100 AD. Neither the identity of King Adishura nor his reign is historically proven. He may belong to the last few rulers of Gupta Dynasty, who started his own kingdom in the eastern part of the empire or he might be an independent King who ruled before the Pal Dynasty or he may be an ancestor (Maternal) of Ballal Sen of Sen Dynasty.

5 Kanyakubja Brahmans were either - Ksitisha, Medhatithi, Vitaraga, Saurabhi and Sudhanidhi or their son – Bhattanarayana, Shriharsa, Daksa, Vedagarbha and Chandara.

Ksitisha and Bhattanarayana belong to Sandilya Gotra and they are considered the ancestors of Bandyopadhyays. They came from Dillicatvara/ Jambucatvara village (I am not entirely sure where is this village) possibly somewhere is Uttarpradesh. It is also mentioned in some places that the Surname Bandyopadhyay originated from Vanoda + upadhyay, Vanoda being the ancient name of Raebareli – Unnava, which is the ancestral land of Bandypadhyays.

It is an interesting fact that King Shamal Varma invited Vaidiki Brahmans to Bengal in c923 AD. They were Sanaka, Bharadwaja, Sabarna, Sandilya, Vasistha. They were given a village each to live, and Kotalipara in Faridpur was given to Sandilya.

It is also fascinating how the origin of Bandyopadhyay and Banerjee as been explained in different sources. –

1 Bandyopadhyay – Vanoda (old name of Raebareli –unnava) + upadhyay (teacher).

2 Bandyopadhyay – Bandoghat (Where is it?) village + upadhyay.

3. Bandyopadhyay – Bandyonio (revered) + Upadhyay.

4 Banerjee – Ban (bandoghat) + Jee (came from Jha, which in turn came from Upadhyay).

5 Banerjee – Colonial Englishmen found Bandyopadhyay is tongue twister, hence shortened it to Banerjee.

I vaguely remember a storywhich I read when I was a kid that Bandyopadhyay, Chattopadhyay, Mukhopadhyay and Gangopadhyay went to the Governor General (Borolat) of colonial India with a petition (arjee) that their surnames were being messed around by the British. They were terribly distressed by the fact that Latsaheb was sitting there cleaning a gun. Gangopadhyay fled fearing that they might get shoot on submitting the petition. Others held their nerves and submitted it. Latsaheb came up with a solution that as they submitted ARJEE – those 3 will be called Banerjee, Mukherjee, Chatterjee, but as Gangopadhyay fled fearing a Guli (shot), he will be called Ganguli.

I am sure this one is merely a entertaining story (my apologies, I forgot the author’s name), but I believe in the fact that Banerjee surname possibly evolved during British colonial period.

Bandyopadhyay’s is also Kulin Brahmins (as they were found to have 9 exceptional qualities) i.e.| highest class of Brahmins in Ballal Sens Social structure. Kulin system was not a hereditary system when it was started, but eventually it became hereditary, and defeated its purpose.

Genetic studies showed that Bandyopadhyay as a part of Bengali Brahmins Share the Highest concentration of R1A1a(yDNA) haplotype, which has been analysed by various experts. I being a novice in this field, tried my best to come to a simple conclusion from all the data gathered from the internet. The population group in which the Bengali Brahmins belong might have originated indigenously in South East Asia (? Around ancient Saraswati river) and eventually migrated to Pakistan, central Asia, Russia and Europe or they might have originated somewhere in Central Asia, while One group came to India the other group went towards the Ural Mountains.