Who Are Angadias? Know Everything About The Ancient Parallel Banking System That Still Prevails In 21st Century

Who Are Angadias? Know Everything About The Ancient Parallel Banking System That Still Prevails In 21st Century

The Angadia system originated in Gujarat's Mehsana district and was pioneered by the Patel community. Later Marwaris from Rajasthan also came to rely on this system for their businesses.

Vishal SinghUpdated: Monday, January 08, 2024, 12:25 PM IST
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Angadia is a centuries-old parallel banking system, which allows traders to send cash, valuables and important documents from one state to another through 'angadias' (couriers) in return for a nominal fee.

The system works completely on trust. Whenever a businessman has to send cash or jewellery or documents from one place to another, he uses an angadia. These angadias remain associated with their businessmen for generations. They never use flights only trains and buses and have fixed routes.

A businessman said that the Angadia system became organised during the British rule. When cotton from Gujarat was first exported to Manchester and then returned to Mumbai mills, angadias provided informal money transfer services, facilitating instant payments to farmers across Gujarat.

The Angadia system originated in Gujarat's Mehsana district and was pioneered by the Patel community. Later Marwaris from Rajasthan also came to rely on this system for their businesses.

After independence, with industrialisation in and around Mumbai and Surat, and Vadodara and Ahmedabad, trade between these cities increased manifold. Since traditional banking and postal channels were inadequate, businessmen needed a network that could deliver high-value goods reliably and on time, and the Angadia system flourished.

How does the system work?

Businessmen usually use currency note numbers to verify authenticity of the receivers. The trader will, for example, give a Rs10 note to the angadia and provide the number of the note to the recipient. It is only after the recipient confirms the note number that the angadia will hand over the money / valuable / document to the person.

In return for this work, the angadia receives a fee. As time passed, the services provided by angadias were refined and expanded. In the era of mobile phones and social media, the business has become faster. Due to this, the delivery time has also become faster.

For example, a businessman who wants to pay Rs1 crore to someone in Surat will call his angadiya in Mumbai. The angadia will call another angadia in Surat and give the name and number of the merchant to whom the money is to be given.

Another businessman said that paper slips still play a key role. Angadias give a paper slip to the businessman who wants to send money to another state. That businessman sends a soft copy of the slip on WhatsApp to the recipient.

Classification Of Angadias

Angadias can be classified into three groups based on the services they provide. One group is dedicated to serving diamond traders, facilitating the transportation of rough and uncut diamonds. The second focuses on the safe transportation of gold and silver. The third takes the responsibility of safely transporting substantial amounts of currency and miscellaneous goods from one state to another.

There was a time when the angadias of Bhuleshwar used to travel with their consignment on horsedrawn carts to Mumbai Central Railway Station. But when people with criminal tendencies came to know about the business of angadias, they started attacking and looting, due to which they started getting police escort

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