Relevance to Marwari Identity
The majority of Marwari migrant traders settled in colonial trading centers first in Bombay and later especially in Calcutta and eastern India, where many of them became fabulously rich through business and speculation. During the nineteenth century, these group were also referred to in Bengal as “upcountrymen”.
The name "Marwari" for the last century, Marwaris and Bengalis alike have been able to ascribe an identity to a group of people in order to make distinctions between various upcountry men and so-called non-Bengalis in Calcutta. For reasons that will become apparent, Marwari became that designated name. It did not matter that the term "Marwar" has no exact territorial referent in the modern Indian nation-state. This is contrary to the objectifying logic of colonial, nationalist, and anthropological thought.
To an extent the appellation Marwari seems to have been born in contempt and jealousy. Contempt for the immigrant’s frugality which was interpreted as stinginess, for his commercial preoccupation which seemed to symbolize lack of interest in socio-cultural concerns, for his dress and food habits which evoked nothing but amusement, and for his clannish interdependence which made him appear as an incorrigible outsider, and jealousy because more often than not the immigrant seemed to leave his Bengali counterpart far behind in the race for business success.