Banians a religious sect in the empire of the Mogul. The word is sometimes used in a general and extended sense to denote the idolaters of India as distinguished from the Moharnmedans; but in a more restricted sense it is applied to the Vaishyas (q.v.). In the Shaster they are called Shuddery, and they follow the occupation of merchants or of brokers. Should a Banian quit his mercantile occupation and give himself wholly up to the performance of religious duties, even though he still retain his caste, he is regarded as a Brahmin of a more devout kind. The Banians are the great factors by whom most of the trade of India is managed. They claim it as almost a matter of sacred right that all mercantile arrangements should be conducted through them. They are found, accordingly, everywhere throughout Asia, where they are not only merchants, but act as bankers, and give bills of exchange for most of the cities of Hindustan.