[In his alleged defamatory speech, during poll campaign, in Karol in
Karnataka on April 19 2019, Rahul Gandhi had specifically named three
Modi's as "thieves".
Apart from Narendra Modi, the main target, the other two named -- Lalit
Modi and Nirav Modi -- as it turns out are not OBCs.

In fact, Modis, as the write-up below bring out, come from a range of
communities and regions -- only some are OBCs.
Incidentally, there're Modi's from amongst the Parsi community as well.
Sohrab Modi, Piloo Mody and Russi Mody are three very eminent names.

So, whatever be the specific merit or otherwise of the controversial
comment, the charge of insulting OBCs is, evidently, a complete bunkum.]

What’s in a surname: The origins of ‘Modi’, its caste links, What is the
surname ‘Modi’?; Appearance, caste background
Tuesday 28th March 2023 05:03 AM

*Shyamlal Yadav* , *Kamal Saiyed* , *Gopal B Kateshiya*

Congress President Rahul Gandhi, who was expelled from Parliament after
being convicted and sentenced to two years in prison in a defamation case
under Section 8(3) of the Representation of the People Act, 1951, has
claimed that he did not cause any personal damage to the petitioner, BJP
MLA Purnesh Modi. , argued in the Magistrate’s Court in Surat that, in
fact, there is no specific community called “Modi” in the country.

On April 13, 2019, at an election rally in Kolar, Karnataka, referring to
fugitive businessmen Nirav Modi and Lalit Modi along with Prime Minister
Narendra Modi, he asked, “Why do all thieves have the surname Modi?” asked
Rahul Gandhi.

*Also Read:* *Disqualification of Rahul Gandhi: What are the perks and

The next day, Purnesh Modi filed a personal complaint against Rahul Gandhi
before the Surat Chief Judicial Magistrate, accusing him of defaming
everyone in the name of Modi.

“Any person with the surname Modi all over India belongs to the Modi
Samaj-Modwanic community and is found all over Gujarat and this community
exists in other states besides Gujarat… Rahul Gandhi, who is accused of
insulting the surname Modi, the family name of the current Prime Minister
Mr. Narendra Modi, has 13 crore Modi surnames. He has insulted people as a
‘thief’ for political selfishness,” Purnesh Modi said.

Rahul Gandhi’s lawyer Krit Panwala argued in court that there was no
“identifiable and tangible” community of ‘Modi’. “Poornesh Modi refers to
the Modvanic community as the ‘Modi’ community; It (the ‘Modi’ community)
has no real evidence. “Even though the ‘Modi’ community has 13 crore
people, it is not an identifiable and concrete community,” he told The
Indian Express.

“Only one sentence should not be taken as blasphemy. He (Rahul) does not
insult any community. The Modi surname is not exclusive to the Mothwanik
community, but to other castes as well. If proper identification is
established, [only] then this case is maintainable… Here, identity is not
established,” said Krit Panwala.

*Who has the surname Modi in Gujarat?*

Although many people use the surname Modi, it does not denote a particular
community or caste. In Gujarat, Modi surname is used by Hindus, Muslims and
Parsis. Vaishnavas (Banias), Garvas (fishermen from Porbandar), and Lohanas
(community of merchants) include those with the Modi surname.

Purnesh Modi, the complainant in the Rahul Gandhi case, belongs to Surat’s
Modhvanik community, Hasmukh Lalwala, who was earlier Purnesh Modi’s
lawyer, and Rahul’s lawyer, Girit Panwala, also belong to the Modhvanik

Members of the Mothvanic clan worship Mother Motheshwari, whose temple is
near the Sun Temple of Mothera in Mehsana District. Prime Minister Modi
visited the Motheshwari temple in October last year ahead of the assembly
elections in Gujarat.

According to Lalwala, there are about 10 lakh Modvanis in Gujarat. They
live all over the state, though mainly in North and South Gujarat.

*Are all Modis from Other Backward Classes?*

No, they are not in OBC. In fact, there is no community or caste named
“Modi” in the central list of OBCs for reservation in jobs and education.

Entry number 23 in the central list of 104 communities of OBCs from
Gujarat: “Kanchi (Muslim), Delhi, Moth Kanchi, Delhi-Sahu, Delhi-Rathod,
Delhi-Rathore.” All these communities have traditionally been involved in
activities related to the extraction and trade of edible oils.

People from these communities living in eastern Uttar Pradesh usually use
the surname Gupta and more often Modi.

Among the 136 communities of Bihar listed in the Central List of OBCs,
while “Deli” (Entry No. 53 in the Central List of OBCs of Bihar) is
present, “Modi” is not. Sushil Kumar Modi, the most prominent BJP leader in
Bihar, filed a separate defamation case against Rahul.

In the list of 68 communities of Rajasthan in the central OBC list, “Deli”
is the 51st entry, but no community is listed as “Modi”.

*When were these communities in Gujarat included in the central OBC list?*

OBCs were added in 1993 when the first Central List was notified after the
implementation of ‘mandal’ reservation. From the beginning there were some
communities in the central list of OBCs.

On October 27, 1999, the Muslim Kanji community was included in the Central
List of OBCs, along with some similar communities from other states.
Subsequently, vide notification dated April 4, 2000, other communities from
Gujarat namely “Teli”, “Moth Kanchi”, “Teli Sahu”, “Teli Rathod” and “Teli
Rathore” were included in the Central List of OBCs.

Thus, almost 18 months before Modi became the Chief Minister of Gujarat (on
October 7, 2001), Kanji, a caste belonging to Prime Minister Modi, was
included in the central list of OBCs.

*Where else (besides Gujarat) do people with Modi surname live?*

As mentioned above there are Modis in UP and Bihar.

The surname is widely used by the Marwaris, a mass of Agarwals who are said
to have originated from Agroha in Hisar, Haryana, and later spread to
districts like Mahendragarh in Haryana and Jhunjhunu and Sigar in Rajasthan.

Former IPL administrator Lalit Modi’s grandfather, Rai Bahadur Gujar Mal
Modi, settled near Meerut from Mahendragarh, which was later renamed as
Modi Nagar.

Fugitive diamantaire Nirav Modi hails from Gujarat’s Jamnagar, a community
traditionally engaged in the diamond trade.

Former chairman of Tata Steel Rassi Modi and stage and film personality
Sohrab Modi hail from the Parsi community from Bombay (Mumbai).

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