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Patel is an Indian surname, predominantly in the state of Gujarat, India, representing a community of farmers and later (with the British East India Company) agriculturalists and merchants. The surname was a status name referring to village chieftains during medieval ages, and was later adopted by various communities of land owners, including among Patidars, Kolis, some Parsis and Muslims.[1][2][3] Currently, there are two major branches of people bearing the surname: Leuva and Kadva.[4] The branches are distinguished mainly by geographic location and varying cultural practices. There are roughly 500,000 Patels outside India, including 150,000 in Britain and 150,000 in the US.[5] Nearly 1 in 10 people of Indian origin in the US is a Patel.[5]


The term patel derives from the word Patidar, literally "one who holds (owned) pieces of land called patis", implying a higher economic status than that of the landless,[6] ultimately from Sanskrit paṭṭakīla[7], with the ending -dar (from sanskrit "धार" - supporting, containing, holding) denoting ownership.[8]

Geographical distribution[edit]

The surname historically originated in the Indian state of Gujarat, where it is among the most common of surnames.[9] Today, the name is found across India, as well as several other countries.

The surname is also common in the Indian diaspora. In the United States of America, several people with this surname are involved in the motel business, and this has been noted in the popular media.[10][11]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "'Patel', the most common Indian surname: Oxford". The Hindu. PTI. 18 November 2016. ISSN 0971-751X. Retrieved 15 February 2018.CS1 maint: others (link)
  2. ^ Sheikh, Aziz; Gatrad, Abdul Rashid (2000). Caring for Muslim Patients edited by Aziz Sheikh, Abdul Rashid Gatrad. Oxford: Radcliffe Medical Press Limited. p. 65. ISBN 1-857-75372-0.
  3. ^ Gujarat. Popular Prakashan. 2003. ISBN 9788179911044.
  4. ^ patel, anoop. "The Gujarat Model That Did Not Work for the Patidars". The Citizen. Retrieved 26 January 2017.
  5. ^ a b Rajghatta, Chidanand (4 June 2015). "Global Gujaratis: Now in 129 nations". The Times of India.
  6. ^ Basu, Pratyusha (2009). Villages, women, and the success of dairy cooperatives in India: making place for rural development. Cambria Press. pp. 51–55. ISBN 978-1-60497-625-0. Retrieved 6 August 2016.
  7. ^ "Patel | Definition of Patel by Lexico".
  8. ^ Goyal, Pawan (19 May 2014). "Monier-Williams Sanskrit-English Dictionary --ध". The Sanskrit Heritage Site (in Javanese). Retrieved 28 September 2019.
  9. ^ Washburn, Edward (2005). India Old and New: With a Memorial Address. p. 178. ISBN 0-543-99414-7.
  10. ^ Padma Rangaswamy (2015). "Hotel and Motel Business, Indian Americans in the". In Huping Ling; Allan W. Austin (eds.). Asian American History and Culture: An Encyclopedia: An Encyclopedia. Routledge. p. 332. ISBN 978-1-317-47645-0.
  11. ^ South Asian diaspora in North America: an annotated bibliography. Kalinga Publications. 2002. p. 154. ISBN 978-81-87644-42-2.