Historical and Ethnical Roots of Jainism
One must not glass over the existence of the Pani tribe. But again it is not quite certain where this tribe had settled. It is referred to in Rigveda and in other Vedic literature but to which group it belonged-whether to the Dravidian or Aryan-it is as yet not possible to say definitely.
This literature tells us about the riches of Pani. A Pani is called 'ayajnic' i.e. not a sacrificer (they think of him in this way, called the Pani Dasas, as they call all non-Aryans). The Aryans fought against Pani tribe, subjugated and plundered them and turned them into slaves.
These people are described as liers, evil-doers and demons, robbers of treasures and cows.
D. D. Kosambi considers that these people carried on trade with Aryans and that the words 'Baniya' and 'Vanik'-merchant, are of non-Sanskrit origin and can be traced back to the ethnonym Pani.
Several Indian scholars express the opinion that Pani were the bearers of the 'culture of Shramana' i.e. the Jainic religion.