The word "Mahajan" is an amalgam of two Sanskrit words: Maha meaning great, and Jan meaning people or individuals. Over the years, the word Mahajan has come to be used a generic job title that refers to people involved in money lending.
The Mahajan community of North India originated from punjab region. Most of these Mahajans speak Hindi, Marathi, Punjabi or Dogri, and reside in the states of Punjab, Jammu and Kashmir, Rajasthan and Himachal Pradesh.
Mahajans of Jammu, Maharashtra and Punjab were landlords, traders and business men and were supposed to have good respect and influence in the society. It was always considered to be a high caste therefore they were given the name Mahajan. The Mahajans were always economically and socially powerful people of the society. Ironically a few of them were also involved in money lending. Most of Mahajans in panjab and jammu have come from Pakistan after partition.Because they are small in number they frequently marry among Khatris and Aggarwals.
Mahajans from Maharashtra are a diverse group. They are mostly Chitpavan or Kokanastha and Deshastha Brahmins like Late Pramod Mahajan and Vishnupant Mahajan. The surname Mahajan also exists within the Lingayat, Gujri, Leva Patil, Mali, Bhavsar (Rangari), Digambar Jain,kunabi communities of Maharashtra.
Mahajans have many sub castes like Kubre, Beotra, Kankaal, Lamhe, kanghal etc. and each of the sub casted people gather at their religious places. Actually each sub cast believes in different god(called devte). So, Mahajans created temples at their places. Mostly temples are located from Batala, Punjab to Jammu and Gurdaspur also. This gathering is called Mail of Mahajans. This day is celebrated on the occasion of Sri Guru Nanak Dev Birthday, mostly comes in November.
Traditionally, Mahajans do not get married into same sub castes. It means Kubra boy cannot get married with Kubra Girl because as per the rituals they are brother and sister.
Some Mahajans use the caste Gupta and Jandiyals. Jandiyals are mostly used by the Mahajans of Jammu.
Mahajan as a generic title
Mahajan is also used a generic job title that refers to people involved in money lending. Any person involved in money lending was referred to as Mahajan whether or not was a Mahajan by caste.
In Gujarat, the Bhatias also use the "Mahajan" suranme, as the Mahajan community was traditionally associated with money lending. The Mahajans of Gujarat believe in Srinathji at Nathdwara (Rajasthan), follow strict vegetarianism.
In the coastal state of Goa Mahajan is not used a family name. But Mahajan (Konkani: Mhajan) is a title which is used by the members of Mazanias; it means elder (Maha — great and Zan — person). Mazanias are associations of a religious nature consisting of the founders of Hindu temples or their descendants.These people mostly belong to Brahmin subcastes like Gowda Saraswath Brahmins, Daivajnas, Padyes or Kshatriyas.