Sage Panini was a great grammarian of Ancient India. There is a word mentioned in Rig-Veda, Pani, which means different things according to the context.

One of the meanings (albeit in later sources) is used to describe a tribe of people.

Is it possible that Sage Panini belonged to the Pani tribe? Is there any such reference in the ancient texts?

1 Answer 1


Well Panini as stated below had few names and on basis of which it was concluded that his mother was Daksi and his dad was Pani or Panin and he was born in a place Shalatur in the north-western region, now in Pakistan. Refer:

enter image description here

Whereas Pani was also a tribe that existed in the same region but were mainly ancient traders:

The Panis (Sanskrit: पणि : ) are a class of demons in the Rigveda, from paṇi-, a term for "bargainer, miser," especially applied to one who is sparing of sacrificial oblations.

They could be related to Panis who were an important tribe of present Pakistan-Afghanistan region.

enter image description here

More analysis about the tribe Pani can be read here where the author has given references to Rig Veda as well.

Now there are two possibilities:

  1. Either it's a conincidence that the name of his dad was Pani and he got his name Panini from him or

  2. His dad belonged to this tribe Pani and as such he too was a member of this tribe, more so because both his birth place and the region where this ancient tribe mainly existed are very close to each other.

But again question that may arise that Panini was a Sanskrit scholar so how could he belong to a trading community?

  • 2
    It was not uncommon in Ancient India to be scholars yet hail from other backgrounds, since there was a gurukul system. For example, Veda Vyas and Valmiki were also not born into scholarly families. Another example (though quite later, but some accounts also place him much earlier) is Aryabhata.
    – MathGod
    Feb 22, 2018 at 18:05
  • @IshanSingh I agree, just thought some people may raise this question :)
    – Just_Do_It
    Feb 22, 2018 at 18:07

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