Rajasthani rajput

Rajasthani rajput DEFAULT


Social community of South Asia

For the 1982 film, see Rajput (film).

Charles Shepherd and Arthur Robertson01.jpg

Chohan Rajputs, Delhi (1868)

ReligionsHinduism, Islam and Sikhism[1][2]
LanguagesHindustani (Hindi-Urdu, Haryanvi, Bundeli, Chhattisgarhi), Rajasthani, (Marwari, Mewari), Bihari (Bhojpuri,[3]Maithili[4]), Gujarati, Sindhi, Punjabi, Marathi, Odia, Pahari (Dogri)
CountryIndia, Pakistan and Nepal
RegionRajasthan, Haryana, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Eastern Punjab, Western Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Jammu and Kashmir, Azad Kashmir, Bihar, Odisha, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra,[5] and Sindh

Rajput (from Sanskritraja-putra, "son of a king") is a large multi-component cluster of castes, kin bodies, and local groups, sharing social status and ideology of genealogical descent originating from the Indian subcontinent. The term Rajput covers various patrilineal clans historically associated with warriorhood: several clans claim Rajput status, although not all claims are universally accepted. According to modern scholars, almost all Rajputs clans originated from peasant or pastoral communities.[6][7][8][9]

The term "Rajput" acquired its present meaning only in the 16th century, although it is also anachronistically used to describe the earlier lineages that emerged in northern India from the sixth century onwards. In the 11th century, the term "rajaputra" appeared as a non-hereditary designation for royal officials. Gradually, the Rajputs emerged as a social class comprising people from a variety of ethnic and geographical backgrounds. During the 16th and 17th centuries, the membership of this class became largely hereditary, although new claims to Rajput status continued to be made in the later centuries. Several Rajput-ruled kingdoms played a significant role in many regions of central and northern India until the 20th century.

The Rajput population and the former Rajput states are found in northern, western, central and eastern India as well as southern and eastern Pakistan. These areas include Rajasthan, Haryana, Gujarat, Eastern Punjab, Western Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu, Uttarakhand, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh and Sindh.



The origin of the Rajputs has been a much-debated topic among historians. Historian Satish Chandra states: "Modern historians are more or less agreed that the Rajputs consisted of miscellaneous groups including Shudra and tribals. Some were Brahmans who took to warfare, and some were from Tribes- indigenous of foreign". Thus, the Rajput community formation was a result of political factors that influenced caste mobility, called Sanskritization by some scholars and Rajputization by others.[10] Modern scholars agree that nearly all Rajputs clans originated from peasant or pastoral communities.[7][8][9][13]

Alf Hiltebeitel discusses three theories by Raj era and early writers for Rajput origin and gives the reasons as to why these theories are dismissed by modern research. British colonial-era writers characterised Rajputs as descendants of the foreign invaders such as the Scythians or the Hunas, and believed that the Agnikula myth was invented to conceal their foreign origin. According to this theory, the Rajputs originated when these invaders were assimilated into the Kshatriya category during the 6th or 7th century, following the collapse of the Gupta Empire. While many of these colonial writers propagated this foreign-origin theory in order to legitimise the colonial rule, the theory was also supported by some Indian scholars, such as D. R. Bhandarkar. The second theory was promulgated by the nationalist historian C.V.Vaidya who believed in the Aryan invasion theory and that the entire 9th-10th century Indian populace was composed of only one race - the Aryans. Vaidya and R.B.Singh write that the Rajputs had originated from the Vedic Aryan Kshatriyas of the epics - Ramayana and Mahabharata. Vaidya bases this theory on certain attributes - such as bravery and "physical strength" of Draupadi and Kausalya and the bravery of the Rajputs. However, Hiltebeitel says that such "affinities do not point to an unbroken continuity between an ancient epic period" in the Vedic era(3500-3000 BC) and the "Great Rajput Tradition that began in sixteenth-century Rajasthan" but only "raise the question of similarities between the epics' allusions to Vedic Vratya warbands and earlier medieval low status Rajput clans". Hiltebeitel concludes that such attempts to trace Rajputs from epic and Vedic sources are "unconvincing" and cites Nancy MacLean and B.D.Chattopadhyaya to label Vaidya's historiography on Rajputs as "often hopeless". A third group of historians, which includes Jai Narayan Asopa, theorised that the Rajputs were Brahmins who became rulers. However, such "one track arguments" and "contrived evidence" such as shape of the head, cultural stereotypes, etc. are dismissed by Hiltebeitel who refers to such claims and Asopa's epic references as "far-fetched" or "unintelligible".

Recent research suggests that the Rajputs came from a variety of ethnic and geographical backgrounds and various Varnas.[21][22] Tanuja Kothiyal states: "In the colonial ethnographic accounts rather than referring to Rajputs as having emerged from other communities, Bhils, Mers, Minas, Gujars, Jats, Raikas, all lay a claim to a Rajput past from where they claim to have 'fallen'. Historical processes, however, suggest just the opposite".[23]

The root word "rajaputra" (literally "son of a king") first appears as a designation for royal officials in the 11th century Sanskrit inscriptions. According to some scholars, it was reserved for the immediate relatives of a king; others believe that it was used by a larger group of high-ranking men. The derivative word "rajput" meant 'horse soldier', 'trooper', 'headman of a village' or 'subordinate chief' before the 15th century. Individuals with whom the word "rajput" was associated before the 15th century were considered varna–samkara ("mixed caste origin") and inferior to Kshatriya. Over time, the term "Rajput" came to denote a hereditary political status, which was not necessarily very high: the term could denote a wide range of rank-holders, from an actual son of a king to the lowest-ranked landholder.[26][27]

According to scholars, in medieval times "the political units of India were probably ruled most often by men of very low birth" and this "may be equally applicable for many clans of 'Rajputs' in northern India". Burton Stein explains that this process of allowing rulers, frequently of low social origin, a "clean" rank via social mobility in the Hindu Varna system serves as one of the explanations of the longevity of the unique Indian civilisation.[29][30]

Gradually, the term Rajput came to denote a social class, which was formed when the various tribal and nomadic groups became landed aristocrats, and transformed into the ruling class. These groups assumed the title "Rajput" as part of their claim to higher social positions and ranks. The early medieval literature suggests that this newly formed Rajput class comprised people from multiple castes. Thus, the Rajput identity is not the result of a shared ancestry. Rather, it emerged when different social groups of medieval India sought to legitimise their newly acquired political power by claiming Kshatriya status. These groups started identifying as Rajput at different times, in different ways. Thus, modern scholars summarise that Rajputs were a "group of open status" since the eighth century, mostly illiterate warriors who claimed to be reincarnates of ancient Indian Kshatriyas – a claim that had no historical basis. Moreover, this unfounded Kshatriya status claim showed a sharp contrast to the classical varna of Kshatriyas as depicted in Hindu literature in which Kshatriyas are depicted as an educated and urbanite clan.[35][38][39] Historian Thomas R. Metcalf mentions the opinion of Indian scholar K. M. Panikkar who also considers the famous Rajput dynasties of medieval India to have come from non-Kshatriya castes.[40]

During the era of the Mughal empire, "Hypergamous marriage" with the combination of service in the state army was another way a tribal family could convert to Rajput. This process required a change in tradition, dressing, ending window remarriage, etc. Such marriage of a tribal family with an acknowledged but possibly poor Rajput family would ultimately enable the non-Rajput family to become Rajput. This marriage pattern also supports the fact that Rajput was an "open caste category" available to those who served the Mughals.

Rajput formation continued in the colonial era. Even in the 19th century, anyone from the "village landlord" to the "newly wealthy lower caste Shudra" could employ Brahmins to retrospectively fabricate a genealogy and within a couple of generations they would gain acceptance as Hindu Rajputs. This process would get mirrored by communities in north India. This process of origin of the Rajput community resulted in hypergamy as well as female infanticide that was common in Hindu Rajput clans. Scholars refer to this as "Rajputization", which, like Sanskritization, was a mode for upward mobility ,but it differed from Sanskritization in other attributes, like the method of worship, lifestyle, diet, social interaction, rules for women, and marriage, etc. German historian Hermann Kulke has coined the term "Secondary Rajputization" for describing the process of members of a tribe trying to re-associate themselves with the former chief of their tribe who had already transformed himself into a Rajput via Rajputization and thus become Rajputs themselves.[42][43][21][22]

Scholarly opinions differ on when the term Rajput acquired hereditary connotations and came to denote a clan-based community. Historian Brajadulal Chattopadhyaya, based on his analysis of inscriptions (primarily from Rajasthan), believed that by the 12th century, the term "rajaputra" was associated with fortified settlements, kin-based landholding, and other features that later became indicative of the Rajput status. According to Chattopadhyaya, the title acquired "an element of heredity" from c. 1300. A later study by of 11th–14th century inscriptions from western and central India, by Michael B. Bednar, concludes that the designations such as "rajaputra", "thakkura" and "rauta" were not necessarily hereditary during this period.

Sociologists like Sarah Farris and Reinhard Bendix state that the original Kshatriyas in the northwest who existed until Mauryan times in tiny kingdoms were an extremely cultured, educated and intellectual group who were a threat to the intellectual monopoly of the Brahmins. According to Max Weber, ancient texts show they were not subordinate to the Brahmins in religious matters. These Kshatriyas were later undermined not only by the Brahmin priests of the time but were replaced by the emerging community of Rajputs, who were illiteratemercenaries who worked for kings. Unlike the Kshatriyas, the Rajputs were generally illiterate hence their rise did not present a threat to intellectual monopoly of the Brahmins - and the Rajputs accepted the superiority of the educated Brahmin community.[38][39]

Rajputs were involved in nomadic pastoralism, animal husbandry and cattle trade until much later than popularly believed. The 17th century chronicles of Munhata Nainsini i.e. Munhata Nainsi ri Khyat and Marwar ra Paraganan ri Vigat discuss disputes between Rajputs pertaining to cattle raids. In addition, Folk deities of the Rajputs - Pabuji, Mallinath, Gogaji and Ramdeo were considered protectors of cattle herding communities. They also imply struggle among Rajputs for domination over cattle and pasturelands. The emergence of Rajput community was the result of a gradual change from mobile pastoral and tribal groups into landed sedentary ones. This necessitated control over mobile resources for agrarian expansion which in turn necessitated kinship structures, martial and marital alliances.[23][13][47]

During its formative stages, the Rajput class was quite assimilative and absorbed people from a wide range of lineages. However, by the late 16th century, it had become genealogically rigid, based on the ideas of blood purity. The membership of the Rajput class was now largely inherited rather than acquired through military achievements. A major factor behind this development was the consolidation of the Mughal Empire, whose rulers had great interest in genealogy. As the various Rajput chiefs became Mughal feduatories, they no longer engaged in major conflicts with each other. This decreased the possibility of achieving prestige through military action, and made hereditary prestige more important.

The word "Rajput" thus acquired its present-day meaning in the 16th century. During 16th and 17th centuries, the Rajput rulers and their bards (charans) sought to legitimise the Rajput socio-political status on the basis of descent and kinship. They fabricated genealogies linking the Rajput families to the ancient dynasties, and associated them with myths of origins that established their Kshatriya status.[53][22] This led to the emergence of what Indologist Dirk Kolff calls the "Rajput Great Tradition", which accepted only hereditary claims to the Rajput identity, and fostered a notion of eliteness and exclusivity. The legendary epic poem Prithviraj Raso, which depicts warriors from several different Rajput clans as associates of Prithviraj Chauhan, fostered a sense of unity among these clans. The text thus contributed to the consolidation of the Rajput identity by offering these clans a shared history.

Despite these developments, migrant soldiers made new claims to the Rajput status until as late as the 19th century. In the 19th century, the colonial administrators of India re-imagined the Rajputs as similar to the Anglo-Saxon knights. They compiled the Rajput genealogies in the process of settling land disputes, surveying castes and tribes, and writing history. These genealogies became the basis of distinguishing between the "genuine" and the "spurious" Rajput clans.

Scholars also give recent examples of successful assimilations into the Rajput communities by communities not associated with warriorhood even as late as the early 20th century. William Rowe, discusses an example of a Shudra caste - the Noniyas (caste of salt makers)- from Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. A large section of this caste that had "become" "Chauhan Rajputs" over three generations in the British Raj era. The more wealthy or advanced Noniyas started by forming the Sri Rajput Pacharni Sabha (Rajput Advancement Society) in 1898 and emulating the Rajput lifestyle. They also started wearing of Sacred thread. Rowe states that at a historic meeting of the caste in 1936, every child in this Noniya section knew about their Rajput heritage. Similarly, Donald Attwood and Baviskar give and example of a caste of shepherds who were formerly Shudras successfully changed their status to Rajput in the Raj era and started wearing the Sacred thread. They are now known as Sagar Rajputs. The scholars consider this example as a case among thousands.[58][59]

Rajput Kingdoms

See also: Rajput resistance to Muslim conquests and List of Rajput dynasties and states

The Rajput kingdoms were disparate: loyalty to a clan was more important than allegiance to the wider Rajput social grouping, meaning that one clan would fight another. This and the internecine jostling for position that took place when a clan leader (raja) died meant that Rajput politics were fluid and prevented the formation of a coherent Rajput empire.

The first major Rajput kingdom was the Sisodia-ruled kingdom of Mewar. However, the term "Rajput" has been used as an anachronistic designation for leading martial lineages of 11th and 12th centuries that confronted the Ghaznavid and Ghurid invaders such as the Pratiharas, the Chahamanas (of Shakambhari, Nadol and Jalor), the Tomaras, the Chaulukyas, the Paramaras, the Gahadavalas, and the Chandelas. Although the Rajput identity for a lineage did not exist at this time, these lineages were classified as aristocratic Rajput clans in the later times.[64][65][66][67]

In the 15th century, the Muslim sultans of Malwa and Gujarat put a joint effort to overcome the Mewar ruler Rana Kumbha but both the sultans were defeated.[68] Subsequently, in 1518 the Rajput Mewar Kingdom under Rana Sanga achieved a major victory over Sultan Ibrahim Lodhi of Delhi Sultanate and afterwards Rana's influence extended up to the striking distance of Pilia Khar in Agra.[69][70] Accordingly, Rana Sanga came to be the most distinguished indigenous contender for supremacy but was defeated by the Mughal invader Babur at Battle of Khanwa in 1527.

Legendary accounts state that from 1200 CE, many Rajput groups moved eastwards towards the Eastern Gangetic plains forming their own chieftaincies.[72] These minor Rajput kingdoms were dotted all over the Gangetic plains in modern-day Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. During this process, petty clashes occurred with the local population and in some cases, alliances were formed.[72] Among these Rajput chieftaincies were the Bhojpur zamindars[74] and the taluks of Awadh.

The immigration of Rajput clan chiefs into these parts of the Gangetic plains also contributed the agricultural appropriation of previously forested areas, especially in South Bihar.[76] Some have linked this eastwards expansion with the onset of Ghurid invasion in the West.[76]

From as early as the 16th century, Purbiya Rajput soldiers from the eastern regions of Bihar and Awadh, were recruited as mercenaries for Rajputs in the west, particularly in the Malwa region.[77]

Mughal period

Akbar's policy

After the mid-16th century, many Rajput rulers formed close relationships with the Mughal emperors and served them in different capacities.[78][79] It was due to the support of the Rajputs that Akbar was able to lay the foundations of the Mughal empire in India.[80] Some Rajput nobles gave away their daughters in marriage to Mughal emperors and princes for political motives.[82][83][84] For example, Akbar accomplished 40 marriages for himself, his sons and grandsons, out of which 17 were Rajput-Mughal alliances.[85] Akbar's successors as Mughal emperors, his son Jahangir and grandson Shah Jahan had Rajput mothers.[86] The ruling Sisodia Rajput family of Mewar made it a point of honour not to engage in matrimonial relationships with Mughals and thus claimed to stand apart from those Rajput clans who did so.Once Mewar had submitted and alliance of Rajputs reached a measure of stability, matrimonial between leading Rajput states and Mughals became rare.[88] Akbar's intimate involvement with the Rajputs had begun when he returned from a pilgrimage to the Chisti Sufi Shaykh at Sikri, west of Agra, in 1561. Many Rajput princesses were married to Akbar but still Rajput princess were allowed to maintain their religion.[89]

Aurangzeb's policy

Akbar's diplomatic policy regarding the Rajputs was later damaged by the intolerant rules introduced by his great-grandson Aurangzeb. A prominent example of these rules included the re-imposition of Jaziya, which had been abolished by Akbar.[80] However, despite imposition of Jaziya Aurangzeb's army had a high proportion of Rajput officers in the upper ranks of the imperial army and they were all exempted from paying Jaziya.[90] The Rajputs then revolted against the Mughal empire. Aurangzeb's conflicts with the Rajputs, which commenced in the early 1680s, henceforth became a contributing factor towards the downfall of the Mughal empire.[91][80]

In the 18th century, the Rajputs came under influence of the Maratha empire.[91][92][93] By the late 18th century, the Rajput rulers begin negotiations with the East India Company and by 1818 all the Rajput states had formed an alliance with the company.[94]

British colonial period

Mayo Collegewas established by the Britishgovernment in 1875 at Ajmer, Rajputana to educate Rajput princes and other nobles.

The medieval bardic chronicles (kavya and masnavi) glorified the Rajput past, presenting warriorhood and honour as Rajput ideals. This later became the basis of the British reconstruction of the Rajput history and the nationalist interpretations of Rajputs' struggles with the Muslim invaders.James Tod, a British colonial official, was impressed by the military qualities of the Rajputs but is today considered to have been unusually enamoured of them.[96] Although the group venerate him to this day, he is viewed by many historians since the late nineteenth century as being a not particularly reliable commentator.[97][98] Jason Freitag, his only significant biographer, has said that Tod is "manifestly biased".[99]

In reference to the role of the Rajput soldiers serving under the British banner, Captain A. H. Bingley wrote:

Rajputs have served in our ranks from Plassey to the present day (1899). They have taken part in almost every campaign undertaken by the Indian armies. Under Forde they defeated the French at Condore. Under Monro at Buxar they routed the forces of the Nawab of Oudh. Under Lake they took part in the brilliant series of victories which destroyed the power of the Marathas.[100]

The Rajput practices of female infanticide and sati (widow immolation) were other matters of concern to the British. It was believed that the Rajputs were the primary adherents to these practices, which the British Raj considered savage and which provided the initial impetus for British ethnographic studies of the subcontinent that eventually manifested itself as a much wider exercise in social engineering.[101]

During the British rule their love for pork, i.e. wild boar, was also well known and the British identified them as a group based on this.[102]

Independent India

On India's independence in 1947, the princely states, including those of the Rajput, were given three options: join either India or Pakistan, or remain independent. Rajput rulers of the 22 princely states of Rajputana acceded to newly independent India, amalgamated into the new state of Rajasthan in 1949–1950.[103] Initially the maharajas were granted funding from the Privy purse in exchange for their acquiescence, but a series of land reforms over the following decades weakened their power, and their privy purse was cut off during Indira Gandhi's administration under the 1971 Constitution 26th Amendment Act. The estates, treasures, and practices of the old Rajput rulers now form a key part of Rajasthan's tourist trade and cultural memory.[104]

In 1951, the Rajput Rana dynasty of Nepal came to an end, having been the power behind the throne of the Shah dynasty figureheads since 1846.[105]

The Rajput Dogra dynasty of Kashmir and Jammu also came to an end in 1947,[106] though title was retained until monarchy was abolished in 1971 by the 26th amendment to the Constitution of India.[107]

There have been several cases of Sati (burning a widow alive) in India from 1943 to 1987. According to an Indian scholar, there are 28 cases since 1947. Although the widows were from several different communities, Rajput widows accounted for 19 cases. The most famous of these cases is of a Rajput woman named Roop Kanwar. 40,000 Rajputs gathered on the street of Jaipur in October 1987 for supporting her Sati. A pamphlet circulated on that day attacked independent and westernised women who opposed a woman's duty of worshipping her husband as demonstrated by the practice of Sati. This incident again affirmed the low status of women in the Rajput community and the leaders of this pro-sati movement gained in political terms.[108][109]

The Rajputs, in states such as Madhya Pradesh are today considered to be a Forward Caste in India's system of positive discrimination. This means that they have no access to reservations here. But they are classified as an Other Backward Class by the National Commission for Backward Classes in the state of Karnataka.[110][111][112][113] However, some Rajputs, as with other agricultural castes, demand reservations in Government jobs.[114][115][116][117]


Main article: Rajput clans

The term "Rajput" denotes a cluster of castes,[118] clans, and lineages.[119] It is a vaguely-defined term, and there is no universal consensus on which clans make up the Rajput community. In medieval Rajasthan (the historical Rajputana) and its neighbouring areas, the word Rajput came to be restricted to certain specific clans, based on patrilineal descent and intermarriages. On the other hand, the Rajput communities living in the region to the east of Rajasthan had a fluid and inclusive nature. The Rajputs of Rajasthan eventually refused to acknowledge the Rajput identity claimed by their eastern counterparts, such as the Bundelas. The Rajputs claim to be Kshatriyas or descendants of Kshatriyas, but their actual status varies greatly, ranging from princely lineages to common cultivators.[123]

There are several major subdivisions of Rajputs, known as vansh or vamsha, the step below the super-division jāti These vansh delineate claimed descent from various sources, and the Rajput are generally considered to be divided into three primary vansh:[125]Suryavanshi denotes descent from the solar deity Surya, Chandravanshi (Somavanshi) from the lunar deity Chandra, and Agnivanshi from the fire deity Agni. The Agnivanshi clans include Parmar, Chaulukya (Solanki), Parihar and Chauhan.[126]

Lesser-noted vansh include Udayvanshi, Rajvanshi,[127] and Rishivanshi[citation needed]. The histories of the various vanshs were later recorded in documents known as vamshāavalīis; André Wink counts these among the "status-legitimizing texts".[128]

Beneath the vansh division are smaller and smaller subdivisions: kul, shakh ("branch"), khamp or khanp ("twig"), and nak ("twig tip"). Marriages within a kul are generally disallowed (with some flexibility for kul-mates of different gotra lineages). The kul serves as the primary identity for many of the Rajput clans, and each kul is protected by a family goddess, the kuldevi. Lindsey Harlan notes that in some cases, shakhs have become powerful enough to be functionally kuls in their own right.

Culture and ethos

The Bengal army of the East India Company recruited heavily from upper castes such as Brahmins and Bihari Rajputs. However,after the revolt of 1857 by the Bengal sepoys, the British Indian army shifted recruitment to the Punjab.[130]

Martial race

The Rajputs were designated as a Martial Race in the period of the British Raj. This was a designation created by administrators that classified each ethnic group as either "martial" or "non-martial": a "martial race" was typically considered brave and well built for fighting,[131] whilst the remainder were those whom the British believed to be unfit for battle because of their sedentary lifestyles.[132]However, the martial races were also considered politically subservient, intellectually inferior, lacking the initiative or leadership qualities to command large military formations. The British had a policy of recruiting the martial Indians from those who has less access to education as they were easier to control.[133][134]According to modern historian Jeffrey Greenhunt on military history, "The Martial Race theory had an elegant symmetry. Indians who were intelligent and educated were defined as cowards, while those defined as brave were uneducated and backward". According to Amiya Samanta, the marital race was chosen from people of mercenary spirit (a soldier who fights for any group or country that will pay him/her), as these groups lacked nationalism as a trait.[135]


Lord Shiva (who is very popular all across India) and Goddess Durga are popular deities worshipped by the Hindu Rajputs. Lord Shiva's image is found in the shrines in the homes of many of the Rajput families. In Sikh Rajputs, Guru Ram Rai is quite popular. The fierce form of Goddess Durga, called Sherawali Mata or "she who rides a lion" is popular among Rajput women.[136]

Rajput lifestyle

The Rajput bride, illustration in The Oriental Annual, or Scenes of India (1835)
Rajputs of Udaipurplaying the game of Puchesee.

The Rajputs of Bihar were inventor of martial art form Pari Khanda, which includes heavy use of Swords and Shields.This exercise was later included in the folk dances of Bihar and Jharkhand like that of Chhau dance.[137] On special occasions, a primary chief would break up a meeting of his vassal chiefs with khanda nariyal, the distribution of daggers and coconuts. Another affirmation of the Rajput's reverence for his sword was the Karga Shapna ("adoration of the sword") ritual, performed during the annual Navaratri festival, after which a Rajput is considered "free to indulge his passion for rapine and revenge".[138] The Rajput of Rajasthan also offer a sacrifice of water buffalo or goat to their family Goddess ( Kuldevta) during Navaratri.[139] The ritual requires slaying of the animal with a single stroke. In the past this ritual was considered a rite of passage for young Rajput men.

Rajputs generally have adopted the custom of purdah (seclusion of women).[91]

Rajput women could be incorporated into Mughal Harem and this defined the Mughals as overlords over the Rajput clans. The Sisodia clan of Mewar was an exception as they refused to send their women to the Mughal Harem which resulted in siege and mass suicide at Chittor.

Historically, members from the Rajput ruling clans of Rajasthan have also practised polygamy and also took many women they enslaved as concubines from the battles which they won. During numerous armed conflicts in India, women were taken captives, enslaved and even sold, for example, the capture and selling of Marwar's women by Jaipur's forces in the battle between Jaipur state and Jodhpur state in 1807. The enslaved women were referred to by different terms according to the conditions imposed on them, for example, a "domestic slave" was called davri; a dancer was called a patar; a "senior female slave–retainer in the women's quarters" was called badaran or vadaran; a concubine was called khavasin; and a woman who was "permitted to wear the veil" like Rajput queens was called a pardayat.[142]

The term chakar was used for a person serving their "superior" and chakras contained complete families from specific "occupational groups" like Brahmin women, cooks, nurses, tailors, washer–women. For children born from the "illegitimate union" of Rajputs and their "inferiors", the terms like goli and darogi were used for females and gola and daroga were used for males. The "courtly chronicles" say that women who were perceived to be of "higher social rank" were assigned to the "harems of their conquerors with or without marriage". The chronicles from the Rajput courts have recorded that women from Rajput community had also faced such treatment by the Rajputs from the winning side of a battle. There are also a number of records between the late 16th to mid–19th century of the Rajputs immolating the queens, servants, and slaves of a king upon his death. Ramya Sreenivasan also gives and example of a Jain concubine who went from being a servant to a superior concubine called Paswan[142]

According to Priyanka Khanna, with Marwar's royal Rajput households, the women who underwent concubinage also included women from the Gujar, Ahir, Jat, Mali, Kayastha, and Darji communities of that region. These castes of Marwar claimed Rajput descent based on the "census data of Marwar, 1861".[143] However, the research by modern scholars on the forms of "slavery and servitude" imposed by ruling clans of Rajasthan's Rajputs between the 16th and early–19th centuries on the captured women faces hurdles because of the "sparse information", "uneven record–keeping", and "biased nature of historical records".[142]Ravana Rajput community of today was one such slave community[144]

The male children of such unions were identified by their father's names and in some cases as 'dhaibhai'(foster-brothers) and incorporated into the household. Examples are given where they helped their step-brothers in war campaigns.[142] The female children of concubines and slaves married Rajput men in exchange for money or they ended up becoming dancing girls. The scarcity of available brides due to female infanticide led to the kidnapping of low caste women who were sold for marriage to the higher clan Rajputs. Since these "sales" were genuinely for the purpose of marriage, they were considered legal. The lower clans also faced scarcity of brides in which case they married women such as those from Gujar and Jat communities. Semi nomadic communities also married their daughters to Rajput bridegrooms for money in some cases.[146]

Female infanticide

Female Infanticide was practiced by Rajputs of low ritual status trying upward mobility as well as Rajputs of high ritual status. But there were instances where it was not practiced and instances where the mother tried to save the baby girl's life. According to the officials in the early Raj era, in Etawah(Uttar Pradesh), the Gahlot, Bamungors and Bais would kill their daughters if they were rich but profit from getting them married if they were poor.[147]

The methods used of killing the female baby were drowning, strangulation, poisoning, "Asphyxia by drawing the umbilical cord over the baby's face to prevent respiration". Other ways were to leave the infant to die without food and if she survived the first few hours after birth, she was given poison.[147] A common way to poison the baby during breastfeeding was by applying a preparation of poisonous plants like Datura, Madar or Poppy to the mother's breast.[148]

Social activists in the early nineteenth century tried to stop these practices by quoting Hindu Shastras:

"to kill one woman is equal to one hundred brahmins, to kill one child is equal to one hundred women, while to kill one hundred children is an offence too heinous for comparison".[147]

Infanticide has unintended consequences. The Rajput clans of lower ritual status married their daughters to Rajput men of higher ritual status who had lost females due to infanticide. Thus, the Rajputs of lower ritual status had to remain unmarried or resorted to other practices like marrying widows, levirate marriages(marrying brother's widow) as well as marrying low caste women such as Jats and Gujars or nomads. This resulted in widening the gap between Rajputs of low ritual status and Rajputs of high ritual status.[147]

In the late 19th century, to curb the practice, the act VIII of 1870 was introduced. A magistrate suggested:

"Let every Rajput be thoroughly convinced that he will go to jail for ten years for every infant girl he murders, with as much certainty as he would feel about being hanged if he were to kill her when grown up, and the crime will be stamped out very effectually; but so long as the Government show any hesitation in dealing rigorously with criminals, so long will the Rajpoot think he has chance of impunity and will go on killing girls like before."[147]

However, the practical application of the law faced hurdles. It was difficult to prove culpability as in some cases the Rajput men were employed at a distance although the baby girls could be killed at their connivance. In most cases, Rajput men were imprisoned only for a short time. Between 1888 and 1889, the proportion of girl children rose to 40%. However, the act was abolished in 1912 as punishments were unable to stop infanticide. A historian concludes that "the act, which only scraped the surface of the problem had been unable to civilize or bring about a social change in a cultural world devaluing girl children". In addition to Rajputs, it was observed that Jats and Ahirs also practiced infanticide.[147]

Brideprice or Bridewealth weddings

"Bridewealth" is discussed in north Indian Rajputs of 19th century India by the University of Toronto historian Malavika Kasturi. She states that Rajputs belonging to social groups where their women worked in the fields received Bridewealth from the groom's family. She adds that evidence shows that the assumption made by officials of the time that female infanticide among clans was a result of poverty and inability to pay dowry is incorrect.[147]

Between 1790-1815, this sale of wives and widows was taxed and a duty was applied to their export.[citation needed]

These Rajput groups(khasa) of Uttarakhand today were formally classified Shudra but had successfully converted to Rajput status during the rule of Chand Rajas (that ended in 1790).[149] Similarly, the Rajputs of Gharwal were originally of low ritual status and did not wear the sacred thread until the 20th century.[150]

Opium usage, etc.

The Indian Rajputs fought several times for the Mughals but needed drugs to enhance their spirit. They would take a double dose of opium before fighting. Muslim soldiers would also take opium.[151] Mughals would give opium to their Rajput soldiers on a regular basis in the 17th century.[152] During the British rule, Opium addiction was considered a serious demoralising vice of the Rajput community.[153] Arabs brought opium to India in the 9th century. The Indian Council of Medical Research on "Pattern and Process of Drug and alcohol use in India" , states that opium gives a person enhanced physical strength and capacity. Studies of K.K.Ganguly, K. Sharma, and Krishnamachari, on opium usage also mention that the Rajputs would use opium for important ceremonies, relief from emotional distress, for increasing longevity and for enhancing sexual pleasure.[154] Opium was also consumed when Vahīvancā bards would recite poetry and stories about the Rajputs and their ancestors. After the Independence of India, and the political integration of India, educated Rajputs have mainly discontinued both the usage of opium and recitation of bardic poetry.[155]

Alcoholism is considered a problem in the Rajput community of Rajasthan and hence Rajput women do not like their men drinking alcohol. It was reported in a 1983 study of alcoholism in India that it was customary for Rajput men (not all) in northern India to drink in groups. The women would at times be subjected to domestic violence such as beating after these men returned home from drinking.[156][157]


By the late 19th century, there was a shift of focus among Rajputs from politics to a concern with kinship.[158] Many Rajputs of Rajasthan are nostalgic about their past and keenly conscious of their genealogy, emphasising a Rajput ethos that is martial in spirit, with a fierce pride in lineage and tradition.

Rajput politics

Rajput politics refers to the role played by the Rajput community in the electoral politics of India.[160][161][better source needed] In states such as Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Uttrakhand, Jammu, Himachal Pradesh, and Gujarat, the large populations of Rajputs gives them a decisive role.[162][163][164][better source needed]


An 18th-century Rajput painting by the artist Nihâl Chand.

The term Rajput painting refers to works of art created at the Rajput-ruled courts of Rajasthan, Central India, and the Punjab Hills. The term is also used to describe the style of these paintings, distinct from the Mughal painting style.

According to Ananda Coomaraswamy, Rajput painting symbolised the divide between Muslims and Hindus during Mughal rule. The styles of Mughal and Rajput painting are oppositional in character. He characterised Rajput painting as "popular, universal and mystic".[166]

Notable people

Main article: List of Rajputs

See also



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  7. ^ abDaniel Gold (1 January 1995). David N. Lorenzen (ed.). Bhakti Religion in North India: Community Identity and Political Action. State University of New York Press. p. 122. ISBN .
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  11. ^ abRichard Eaton 2019, p. 87, [1]In Gujarat, as in Rajasthan, genealogy proved essential for making such claims. To this end, local bards composed ballads or chronicles that presented their patrons as idea warriors who protected Brahmins, cows and vassals, as opposed to the livestock herding chieftains that they actually were, or had once been. As people, who created and preserved the genealogies, local bards therefore played critical roles in brokering for their clients socio-cultural transitions to a claimed Rajput status. A similar thing was happening in the Thar desert region, where from the fourteenth century onwards mobile pastoral groups gradually evolved into landed, sedentary and agrarian clans. Once again, it was bards and poets, patronized by little kings, who transformed a clan's ancestors from celebrated cattle-herders or cattle-rustlers to celebrated protectors of cattle-herding communities. The difference was subtle but critical, since such revised narratives retained an echo of a pastoral nomadic past while repositioning a clan's dynastic founder from pastoralist to non-pastoralist. The term 'Rajput', in short, had become a prestigious title available for adoption by upwardly mobile clan in the process of becoming sedentary. By one mechanism or another, a process of 'Rajputization' occurred in new states that emerged from the turmoil following Timur's invasion in 1398, especially in Gujarat, Malwa and Rajasthan.
  12. ^ abMayaram, Shail (2010). "The Sudra Right to Rule". In Ishita Banerjee-Dube (ed.). Caste in History. Oxford University Press. p. 110. ISBN .
  13. ^ abcIshita Banerjee-Dube (2010). Caste in History. Oxford University Press. p. xxiii. ISBN .
  14. ^ abTanuja Kothiyal 2016, p. 265, [2]...from gradual transformation of mobile patoral and tribal groups into landed sedentary ones. The process of settlement involved both control over mobile resources through raids, battles and trade as well as channelizing of these resources into agrarian expansion. Kinship structures as well as marital and martial alliances were instrumental in this transformation.[...]In the colonial ethnographic accounts rather than referring to Rajputs as having emerged from other communities, Bhils, Mers, Minas, Gujars, Jats, Raikas, all lay a claim to a Rajput past from where they claim to have 'fallen'. Historical processes, however, suggest just the opposite.
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Sours: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rajput



ALTERNATE NAMES: Ksatriya caste

LOCATION: India (Rajasthan state)

POPULATION: 120 million

LANGUAGE: Language or dialect of their region

RELIGION: Hinduism


"Rajput" identifies numerous ksatriya or warrior castes in northern and western India. The term "Rajput" comes from rajaputra, which means "son of kings." Rajputs are famed for their fighting abilities and once ruled numerous Indian princely states. The British grouped many of these states into the Rajputana Province. Today, it is the Indian state of Rajasthan.

Most believe Rajputs come from tribes in central Asia such as the Parthians, Kushans, Shakas, and Huns. These groups entered India as conquerors and became kings or rulers. They often married high-caste Hindu women or converted to Hinduism. By the ninth century, Rajputs controlled an empire that extended from Sind to the lower Ganges Valley, and from the Himalayan foothills to the Narmada River.

In 1192, Prithviraj Chauhan led the Rajputs against the Muslim Mughal ruler Muhammad Ghuri (d. 1206) who defeated them at the second battle of Tarain, near Delhi. This firmly established Muslim power and ended Rajput dominance. The only Rajput kingdoms that could challenge Mughal rule were those in the great Thar Desert.

In the eighteenth century, many Rajput states came under control of Marathas and, by the early nineteenth century, the British. Many Rajput kings retained a status as rulers of princely states under the British. This ended when India gained its independence in 1947.


About 120 million people in India call themselves Rajputs. They live throughout northern India, although Rajasthan is considered their cultural homeland.


Rajputs speak the language or dialect of their region. In Rajasthan, Rajputs speak one of the dialects of Rajasthani, which sounds a little like Hindi. Some Rajasthani dialects include Jaipuri, spoken in Jaipur, and Marwari, spoken in Marwar.


Many folktales describe Rajput exploits. In one story, a ksatriya (warrior) clan leader decided to kill all Brahman (priest and scholar) men after learning a Brahman had killed his father. This meant Brahman females had to marry ksatriya men and gave rise to various Rajput dynasties. In another story, gods created some ksatriya clans on Mount Abu in Rajasthan to help fight Buddhists and foreigners. These Rajputs were known as the agnikula ("fire-race") and were the ancestors of clans such as the Chauhan, Solanki, and Ponwar Rajputs. Other Rajput clans trace their ancestry to the Sun or Moon.


Most Rajputs are Hindu. They were known for protecting Hinduism against Buddhism and Islam. Today, in their religious practices, Rajputs differ little from other high-caste Hindus. They use Brahmans (priests and scholars) for ceremonial and ritual purposes. They worship all major Hindu deities. Most Rajputs are devotees of the god Shiva. Many also worship Surya (the Sun God), and Durga as Mother Goddess. In addition, nearly every Rajput clan has its own patron god to whom it turns for protection.


Rajputs celebrate all major Hindu holy days. Of particular importance is Dasahara, a festival dedicated to Durga (the Mother Goddess). It is customary for Rajputs to sacrifice a buffalo to the goddess, in commemoration of her victory over buffalo-demon Mahisha. The animal is beheaded with one stroke of a sword. The meat is usually distributed to servants or lower caste groups.


Rajputs celebrate major stages in life with twelve ceremonies called karams.

When a boy is born, a family Brahman (member of the highest social class) records details for the infant's horoscope. A family barber informs relatives and friends of the birth, and there is much celebration. The Brahman chooses a favorable day to name the infant. When the child is about two years old, a head-shaving ritual takes place. Many Rajputs regard the birth of a daughter as a misfortune and observe the day with little ceremony.

One important rite of passage for Rajput boys is tying of the janeu or sacred thread. As death approaches, a sick person is placed on a bed of sacred kusa grass on a spot that has been circled by cow dung. A sprig of tulsi plant, a piece of gold, or a few drops of Ganges River water are placed in the mouth to delay messengers of Yama, god of death. A cow is brought to the side of the dying person so that he or she can grasp its tail and be carried safely to the other world. After death, the corpse is washed and prepared for cremation. The body is placed on a funeral pyre, facing north. The eldest son lights the fire, and later cracks open the skull so the soul can leave the body.


Rajput greeting practices vary by region.


Rajputs traditionally formed landowning classes. In the past, Rajput rulers of princely states such as Kashmir, Jaipur, and Jodhpur were known for their splendid courts. Rajput Maharajas (kings) often lived luxuriously in ornate palaces. After India's independence, however, the princes lost their titles and privileges.

In Rajput homes, men's quarters consist of a courtyard containing a platform about four to six feet (about one to two meters) high, reached by a series of steps and often shaded by trees. Men often gather on these platforms to chat and perhaps smoke the hukka (a pipe). At one end of the platform is a roofed porch. Men usually sleep behind this porch. Smaller side rooms are used for storage.

Women's quarters are enclosed by walls, with rooms facing an inner courtyard. A fireplace is built against one wall for cooking. Stairs provide access to the roof. The interconnecting roofs of the houses let Rajput women visit each other without being seen by men.


A distinctive feature of Rajput society is its clans. More than 103 clans have been identified in all. Among the more important ones are the Chauhans, whose former capital was Ajmer; the Gehlots of Mewar; the Rathors of Marwar; and the Kachhwaha of Jaipur.

Rajputs marry outside their clan. They also try to marry their daughters into clans of higher rank than their own, while accepting daughters-in-law from clans of lower rank. The Rajput clans in Rajasthan have the highest standing, so families with sons in Rajasthan often are sought by those with daughters.

Rajput marriages are arranged. Marriages are occasions for great ceremony and feasting. The groom, accompanied by friends and relatives, rides in a barat (procession) to the bride's house. Mounted on a horse, he is dressed in colorful robes, with turban and sword. Sometimes, he rides a decorated elephant. Gifts and money are distributed to those who gather. A piece of cloth is tied to the edge of the bride's sari and groom's coat. The couple walks around a sacred fire while Brahmans (priests and scholars) chant prayers. This is known as agni puja (fire-worship ceremony). Several days of celebration follow.

In 1303, when the fort of Chitor in Rajasthan was about to fall to Muslims, the Rajput Rani and all the women in the fort burned themselves to death to avoid being taken prisoners. Women who practiced this act of sati were revered as saints and stone sati memorials exist in Rajasthan. Despite abundant folklore surrounding this tradition, it was never widely practiced.


Rajput men wear the dhoti (loincloth consisting of a long piece of white cotton wrapped around the waist and then drawn between the legs and tucked into the waist), often with a cotton tunic. Rajput men may also wear a short jacket, or angarhkha, that fastens on the right side. Rajput men wear turbans that are tied to represent their particular clan. Rajput women wear either the sari (a length of fabric wrapped around the waist, with one end thrown over the right shoulder) or loose, baggy pants with a tunic. The lengha (long, flowing skirt) is also associated with the traditional dress of Rajasthan.

12 • FOOD

Rajputs' dietary patterns vary by region. In drier parts of India, their staple diet consists of various unleavened breads (roti) , pulses (legumes), and vegetables. Rice (chawal) and milk products are also important. Rajputs are fond of hunting and enjoy eating venison and game birds such as goose, duck, partridge, and grouse.


Formal education used to be of little significance among ruling and landowning Rajput clans. Boys were brought up in the traditions of Rajput culture, trained in martial arts and in a code of conduct based on valor and honor. The sons of Rajputs became huntsmen, polo players, horsemen, and swordsmen.

An educational institution of particular note is Mayo College in Ajmer, Rajasthan. The British founded the college in the early 1870s as a school for the sons of princes. Though many Rajputs still attend the school, it has become an exclusive private school for upper class Indian children.


India's Rajput heritage is vibrant. Rajputs are seen as champions of Hindu dharma (faith). They have left a strong mark on India, particularly in Rajasthan. Members of the Bhat caste keep family records and can trace a Rajput genealogy to a clan's mythical ancestors. Member of the Charan caste record deeds and accomplishments of Rajput rulers. Rajput courts were centers of culture where literature, music, dance, painting, and sculpture flourished with support of the Rajput elite. A specific style of Rajput painting—often focusing on religious themes, portraiture, or miniatures—emerged at Rajput courts in the Himalayas (the Pahari school) and in the western desert (the Rajasthani school). Bardic literature such as Prithviraj Raso recounts deeds of Rajput heroes. Mira Bai, a poet born in the fifteenth century, was a Rajput princess who is known for her contributions to Hindu bhakti (devotional) literature.

Rajputs built irrigation canals, dams, and reservoirs. The beautiful temples at Khajuraho were built in the tenth and eleventh centuries, and some Rajput groups built many well-known temples in Gujarat and western Rajasthan. Many palaces and forts represent a pleasing blend of Hindu and Muslim architectural styles. Among the more notable are forts at Chitor, Gwalior, and Jodhpur, and the Palace of the Winds in Jaipur. Maharaja Jai Singh II of Jaipur constructed astronomical observatories in Jaipur and Delhi in the early eighteenth century.


Rajputs continue to be landowners and soldiers. Agriculture is the group's primary work today, but many Rajputs serve in the Rajput Rifles or other branches of the armed services. They also pursue careers as police officers.


Rajputs used to hunt tiger, panther, deer, and game birds. Also popular was pig-sticking, the dangerous sport of riding on horseback to hunt wild boar by sticking them with a lance. Polo sharpened riding skills.


Historically Rajputs have taken great pleasure in the elaborate rituals and ceremonies associated with their religion and community. Weddings and other festive occasions are observed with much enthusiasm and are often celebrated with feasting, and sometimes with nautch (dancing) girls.


Rajput folk traditions include string puppet shows and ballads told by traveling storytellers known as bhopas. In one such ballad, Pabuji, a thirteenth-century chieftain, borrows a horse from a woman to ride to his wedding. Before he does so, he promises the woman he will protect her cows. Soon after the wedding ceremony has begun, Pabuji learns that the thieves are making off with the cows. He leaves his wedding to keep his word and recovers all but one calf. He risks another battle for the calf and is killed by the enemy. His bride then leaves her handprint on the gate of Pabuji's residence and commits sati (burns herself to death, a saintly act in Rajasthan).


As landowners, Rajputs do not face the social discrimination and problems of poverty that confront many others in India. While some may have fallen on hard times, Rajputs as a community are prosperous. One of the biggest challenges they face is adjusting to India's democratic environment. As former kings and members of the former ruling class, their power and prestige today is of less importance than in the past. Their economic resources have been threatened by government attempts to redistribute wealth. They have faced challenges from castes seeking economic and political independence from Rajput control. Rajputs lack the unity that would give them a powerful voice in modern Indian politics.


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" Oriya Indonesia

Sours: https://www.everyculture.com/wc/Germany-to-Jamaica/Rajputs.html
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Rajasthani people

Native inhabitants of Rajasthan, India.

The people of Rajasthan called the Rajasthani people or Rajasthanis are an Indian ethnic group native to Rajasthan ("the land of kingdoms")[1] a state in Northern India. Their language, Rajasthani, is a part of the western group of Indo-Aryan languages.


Main article: History of Rajasthan

The first mention of the word Rajasthan comes from the works of George Thomas (Military Memories) and James Tod (Annals). Rajasthan literally means the Land of Kingdoms. However, western Rajasthan and eastern Gujarat were part of "Gurjaratra".[2] The local dialects of the time use the expression Rājwār, the place or land of kings, later Rajputana.[3][4]

Although the history of Rajasthan goes back as far as the Indus Valley Civilization, the foundation of the Rajasthani community took shape with the rise of Western Middle Kingdoms such as Western Kshatrapas. Western Kshatrapas (35-405 BC) were rulers of the western part of India (Saurashtra and Malwa: modern Gujarat, Southern Sindh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan). They were the successors to the Indo-Scythians who invaded the area of Ujjain and established the Saka era (with Saka calendar), marking the beginning of the long-lived Saka Western Satraps kingdom.[5]Saka calendar (also been adopted as Indian national calendar) is used by the Rajasthani community and adjoining areas such as Punjab and Haryana. With time, their social structures received stronger reorganizations, thus giving birth to several martial sub ethnic groups (previously called as Martial race but the term is now obsolete ). Rajasthanis emerged as major merchants during medieval India. Rajasthan was among the important centres of trade with Rome, eastern Mediterranean and southeast Asia.[6]

Romani people

Main article: Romani people

Some claim that Romani people originated in parts of the Rajasthan. Indian origin was suggested based on linguistic grounds as early as 200 years ago.[7] The roma ultimately derives from a form ḍōmba ("man living by singing and music"), attested in Classical Sanskrit.[8] Linguistic and genetic evidence indicates the Romanies originated from the Indian subcontinent, emigrating from India towards the northwest no earlier than the 11th century.[citation needed] Contemporary populations sometimes suggested as sharing a close relationship to the Romani are the Dom people of Central Asia and the Banjara of India.[9]


Like other Indo-Aryan peoples, modern day Rajasthanis and their ancestors have inhabited Rajasthan since ancient times. The erstwhile state of Alwar, in north-eastern Rajasthan, is possibly the oldest kingdom in Rajasthan. Around 1500 BC, it formed a part of the Matsya territories of Viratnagar (present-day Bairat) encompassing Bharatpur, Dholpur, and Karauli.[10][better source needed]


Rajasthani society is a blend of predominantly Hindus with sizable minorities of Muslims, Sikhs and Jains.


Shaivism and Vaishnavism is followed by majority of the people; however, Shaktism is followed in the form of Bhavani and her avatars are equally worshiped throughout Rajasthan.[11]

The Khatiks of Rajasthan worship Shiva, Kali (kalika ma), Bhavani, and Ram as well as Hanuman.

Meenas of Rajasthan till date strongly follow Vedic culture which usually includes worship of Bhainroon (Shiva) and Krishna as well as the Durga.[12]

The Jats worship the Shiva, Vishnu, Sun, Moon and Bhavani (Goddess Durga).[13]

The Rajputs generally worship the Sun, Shiva, Vishnu, and Bhavani (Goddess Durga).[13]

The Gurjars worship the Sun God, God Devnarayan, Vishnu, Shiva, and Goddess Bhavani.[14][15][16] Historically, the Gurjars were Sun-worshipers and are described as devoted to the feet of the Sun-god.[16]MarathiBhakti movement by Mahanubbavis and Virakaripanthis of Maharashtra had immense influence on the development of Rajasthani Bhakti movement.[17]Meerabai (मीराबाई) was an important figure during Rajasthani Bhakti movement.


Rajasthani Muslims are predominantly Sunnis. They are mainly Meo, Mirasi, Khanzada, Qaimkhani, Manganiar, Muslim Ranghar, Merat, Sindhi-Sipahi, Rath, and Pathans.[18] Converts to Islam still maintained many of their earlier traditions. They share lot of socio-ritual elements. Rajasthani Muslim communities, after their conversion, continued to follow pre-conversion practices (Rajasthani rituals and customs) which is not the case in other parts of the country. This exhibits the strong cultural identity of Rajasthani people as opposed to religious identity.[19] According to 2001 census, Muslim population of Rajasthan is 4,788,227, accounting for around 9% of the total population.[20]

Other Religions[edit]

Some other religions are also prevalent such as Buddhism, Christianity, Parsi religion and others.[13] Over time, there has been an increase in the number of followers of Sikh religion.[13] Though Buddhism emerged as a major religion during 321-184 BC in Mauryan Empire, it had no influence in Rajasthan for the fact that Mauryan Empire had minimal impact on Rajasthan and its culture.[21] Although Jainism is not that prevalent in Rajasthan today, Rajasthan and Gujarat areas were historically strong centres of Jainism in India.[22]

Castes and communities[edit]

Noblemen from Jaipur 1875

Rajasthanis form an ethno-linguistic group that is distinct in its language, history, cultural and religious practices, social structure, literature, and art. However, there are many different castes and communities, with diversified traditions of their own. Major sub ethnic groups are Brahmins, Jats, Rajputs, Meenas, Gurjars, Mali Rajputs, Kolis, Agrawals, Kumhars,Kumawat etc.[23][24][25][26]

Jats (14%), rajputs (12%), Meenas (11%), Gurjars (9%), Brahman (7%), of Rajasthan population. [27]% of Rajasthan.

Rajputs (Rajput, Rajput) are well-known warrior people of Rajasthan. Rajputs of Rajasthan (historically called Kshtriya) hold distinctive identity as opposed to Rajputs of other regions of the country. This identity is usually described as "proud Rajput tribes of Rājputāna".[28] They traced their lineage from a mythical fire atop Mt. Abu–a mountain in Rajasthan (Agni Kula or the Fire Family), the sun (Suryavanshi or the Sun Family), and the moon (Chandravanshi or the Moon Family). The Sun Family includes Sisodias of Mewar (Chittaur and Udaipur), Rathores of Jodhpur and Bikaner, and Kachwahas of Amer and Jaipur while The Moon family includes Bhattis of Jaisalmer whereas The Fire family includes Chauhans of Bundi and Kota and Solankis of Baran and Desuri. Vaishya or Baniya (वैश्य/बनिया) are the trading communities which includes Agarwal, Khandelwal and Maheshwari. Agarwals trace their origin to Agroha, a historic town near Hisar in Haryana while Khandelwal and Maheshwari communities are said to be originated from Khandela, near Jaipur. The Vaishya/Vaish/Baniya community is known for their excellent trading techniques and business acumen. They are among the influential and prosperous communities of Rajasthan. Vaishs are also known for their society serving. A number of Schools, Colleges, Hospitals, Dharmshalas, etc are built by the Vaish Community which provide their facilities at very minimum rates to serve the society. Vaish people are strict vegetarians and many even avoid eating onion and garlic. Drinking alcohol is also strictly prohibited in Vaish Society.

Gurjars (गुर्जर, Gurjars) are well known people from Rajasthan. Historically, they were protectors of Gurjaratra.[29][30] Some scholars believe, Gurjars guarded some part of Northern India against foreign invasion until the end of tenth century and thus came to known as pratiharas (protectors).[31] Praiseful references can be found in Arab chronicles about administration and might of these Gurjars.[32]

Sain Nai mostly lives in Alwar, Dausa, Bharatpur, Jaipur & some other district of Rajasthan. They worship their kuldevi sati Narayani Mata (Temple in Alwar)


Seervi are mainly in agriculture business in Jodhpur and Pali District of Rajasthan. Major population of Seervi's are followers of Aai Mata which has main temple at Bilara. These days Seervi have migrated from Rajasthan to Southern part of India and became good business community.

Kumawat:- are also found all over Rajasthan with majority in Jaipur, Pali, Bikaner, Jodhpur etc . Kumawat are also called as Kheti Ghar Kumar as their main profession is related to agriculture and now even they are into business all over the country like Indore , Bangalore, Hyderabad, Chennai etc.

There are few other tribal communities in Rajasthan, such as Meena and Bhils. The Ghoomar dance is one well-known aspect of Bhil tribe. Meena and Bhils were employed as soldiers by Rajputs for their bravery and martial capabilities. Meenas, in ancient times, were ruler of Matsya, i.e., Rajasthan or Matsya Union.[citation needed] However, during colonial rule, the British government declared 250 groups[34] which included Meenas, Gujars, etc.[35][36] as "criminal tribes". Any group or community that took arms and opposed British rule were branded as criminal by the British government in 1871.[37] This Act was repealed in 1952 by Government of India.[34] Sahariyas, the jungle dwellers, who are believed to be of Bhil origin, inhabit the areas of Kota, Dungarpur and Sawai Madhopur in the southeast of Rajasthan. Their main occupations include working as shifting cultivators, hunters and fishermen.[38][39] Garasias is a small Rajput tribe inhabiting Abu Road area of southern Rajasthan.[38][39]

Rajasthani Brahmins are mostly dadheechs, Pareeks, Saraswats, Gujar Gaur, Khandelwal Brahmins or Khandal, Shrimalis, Garg Brahmins, Sharma Brahmins, Bhutia Brahmins, Paliwals, Pushkarna Brahmins, and Gaur. Pushkarna brahmins in particular are the group of people who fled muslim persecution in Sindh during the conquest of the Umayyad dynasty in the 8th century and later settled in the Marwar region, mainly in cities of Marwar (west Rajasthan) like Jodhpur, Jaisalmer, Bikaner, Falaudi etc. Pushkarna brahmins still maintain a blend of old sindhi culture and marwadi culture to this day. There are a few other colourful folks, groups like those of Gadia Luhar, Banjara, Nat, Kalbelia, and Saansi, who criss-cross the countryside with their animals. The Gadia Luhars are said to be once associated with Maharana Pratap.[40]

Rajasthani literature[edit]

Scholars agree on the fact that during 10th-12th century, a common language was spoken in Western Rajasthan and Northern Gujarat. This language was known as Old Gujarati(1100 AD — 1500 AD) (also called Old Western Rajasthani, Gujjar Bhakha, Maru-Gurjar). The language derived its name from the Gurjars (or Gujjars), who were residing and ruling in Punjab, Rajputana, central India, and various parts of Gujarat at that time.[41] It is said that Marwari and Gujarati has evolved from this Gurjar Bhakha later.[42] The language was used as a literary language as early as the 12th century. Poet Bhoja has referred to Gaurjar Apabhramsha in 1014 AD.[41] Formal grammar of Rajasthani was written by Jain monk and eminent scholar Hemachandra Suri in the reign of Chaulukya king Jayasimha Siddharaja. Rajasthani was recognized by the State Assembly as an official Indian language in 2004. Recognition is still pending from the government of India.[43]

First mention of Rajasthani literature comes from a well known work Kuvalayamala, inscribed c. 778 in the town of Jalor in south-eastern Marwar by Jain acharya Udyotan Suri. Udyotan Suri referred it as Maru Bhasha or Maru Vani. Modern Rajasthani literature began with the works of Suryamal Misrama.[44] His most important works are the Vamsa Bhaskara and the Vira satsaī. The Vira satsaī is a collection of couplets dealing with historical heroes. Two other important poets in this traditional style are Bakhtavara Ji and Kaviraja Muraridana. Apart from academic literature, there exists folk literature as well. Folk literature consists of ballads, songs, proverbs, folk tales, and panegyrics. The heroic and ethical poetry were the two major components of Rajasthani literature throughout its history. The development of Rajasthani literature, as well as virkavya (heroic poetry), from the Dingal language took form during the early formation of medieval social and political establishments in Rajasthan. Maharaja Chatur Singh (1879–1929) was a devotional poet from Mewar. His contributions were poetry style that was essentially a bardic tradition in nature. Another important poet was Hinglajdan Kaviya (1861–1948). His contributions are largely of the heroic poetry style.[45]

Developmental progression and growth of Rajasthani literature cand be divided into 3 stages[46]

900 to 1400 ADThe Early Period
1400 to 1857 ADMedieval Period
1857 to present dayModern Period

Culture and tradition[edit]

Bani Thani (Monalisa of Rajasthan)


Rajasthani man wearing a paggarstyle of turban.

Traditionally men wear Earring, Apadravya, Moustache, dhotis, kurta, angarkha and paggar or safa (kind of turban headgear). Traditional Chudidar payjama (puckered trousers) frequently replaces dhoti in different regions. Women wear ghagra (long skirt) and kanchli (top). However, dress style changes with lengths and breaths of vast Rajasthan. Dhoti is worn in different ways in Marwar (Jodhpur area) or Shekhawati (Jaipur area) or Hadoti (Bundi area). Similarly, there are a few differences pagri and safa despite both being Rajasthani headgear. Mewar has the tradition of paggar, whereas Marwar has the tradition of safa.

Traditional Rajasthani Jewelry

Rajasthan is also famous for its amazing ornaments. From ancient times, Rajasthani people have been wearing jewelry of various metals and materials. Traditionally, women wore Gems-studded gold and silver ornaments. Historically, silver or gold ornaments were used for interior decoration stitched on curtains, seat cushions, handy-crafts, etc. Wealthy Rajasthanis used Gems-studded gold and silver on swords, shields, knives, pistols, cannon, doors, thrones, etc., which reflects the importance of ornaments in lives of Rajasthanis.[47]


Rich Rajasthani culture reflects in the tradition of hospitality which is one of its own kind. Rajasthan region varies from arid desert districts to the greener eastern areas. Varying degree of geography has resulted in a rich cuisine involving both vegetarian and non vegetarian dishes. Rajasthani food is characterized by the use of Jowar, Bajri, legumes and lentils, its distinct aroma and flavor achieved by the blending of spices including curry leaves, tamarind, coriander, ginger, garlic, chili, pepper, cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, cumin, and rosewater.

The major crops of Rajasthan are jowar, bajra, maize, ragi, rice, wheat, barley, gram, tur, pulses, ground nut, sesamum, etc. Millets, lentils, and beans are the most basic ingredients in food.

The majority of Hindu and Jain Rajasthanis are vegetarian. Rajasthani Jains do not eat after sundown and their food does not contain garlics and onions. Rajputs are usually meat eaters; however, eating beef is a taboo within the majority of the culture.[48][49]

Rajasthani cuisines have a whole lot of varieties, varying regionally between the arid desert districts and the greener eastern areas. Most famous dish is Dal-Baati-Churma. It is a little bread full of clarified butter roasted over hot coals and served with a dry, flaky sweet made of gram flour, and Ker-Songri made with a desert fruit and beans.


Rajasthani Artists.jpg

Main article: Music of Rajasthan


Rajasthani Music has a diverse collection of musicians. Major schools of music includes Udaipur, Jodhpur, and Jaipur. Jaipur is a major Gharanas which is well known for its reverence for rare ragas. Jaipur-Atrauli Gharana is associated with Alladiya Khan (1855–1943), who was among the great singers of the late 19th and early 20th century. Alladiya Khan was trained both in Dhrupad and Khyal styles, though his ancestors were Dhrupad singers.[50] The most distinguishing feature of Jaipur Gharana is its complex and lilting melodic form.

Main article: Art of Rajasthan

Rajasthani paintings[edit]

The colorful tradition of Rajasthani people reflects in art of paintings as well. This painting style is called Maru-Gurjar painting. It throws light on the royal heritage of ancient Rajasthan. Under the Royal patronage, various styles of paintings developed, cultivated, and practiced in Rajasthan, and painting styles reached their pinnacle of glory by 15th to 17th centuries. The major painting styles are phad paintings, miniature paintings, kajali paintings, gemstone paintings, etc. There is incredible diversity and imaginative creativity found in Rajasthani paintings. Major schools of art are Mewar, Marwar, Kishangarh, Bundi, Kota, Jaipur, and Alwar.

Rajasthani Painting.jpg

Development of Maru-Gurjar painting[51]

  • Western Indian painting style - 700 AD
  • Mewar Jain painting style - 1250 AD
  • Blend of Sultanate Maru-Gurjar painting style - 1550 AD
  • Mewar, Marwar, Dhundar, and Harothi styles - 1585 AD

Phad paintings ("Mewar-style of painting") is the most ancient Rajasthani art form. Phad paintings, essentially a scroll painting done on cloth, are beautiful specimen of the Indian cloth paintings. These have their own styles and patterns and are very popular due to their vibrant colors and historic themes. The Phad of God Devnarayan is largest among the popular Pars in Rajasthan. The painted area of God Devnarayan Ki Phad is 170 square feet (i.e. 34' x 5').[52] Some other Pars are also prevalent in Rajasthan, but being of recent origin, they are not classical in composition.[52] Another famous Par painting is Pabuji Ki Phad. Pabuji Ki Phad is painted on a 15 x 5 ft. canvas.[52] Other famous heroes of Phad paintings are Gogaji, Prithviraj Chauhan, Amar Singh Rathore, etc.[53]

Main article: Architecture of Rajasthan


  • Interior shows stone work Adisvara temple

The rich tradition of Rajasthanis also reflect in the architecture of the region. There is a connecting link between Māru-Gurjara architecture and Hoysala temple architecture. In both of these styles, architecture is treated sculpturally.[54]


Agriculture is the main occupation of Rajasthani people in Rajasthan. Major crops of Rajasthan are jowar, bajri, maize, ragi, rice, wheat, barley, gram, tur, pulses, ground nut, sesamum, etc. Agriculture was the most important element in the economic life of the people of medieval Rajasthan.[55] In early medieval times, the land that could be irrigated by one well was called Kashavah, which is a land that could be irrigated by one Knsha or leather bucket.[56] Historically, there were a whole range of communities in Rajasthan at different stages of economy, from hunting to settled agriculture. The Van Baoria, Tirgar, Kanjar, vagri, etc. were traditionally hunters and gatherers. Now, only the Van Baoria are hunters, while others have shifted to agriculture related occupations.[57] There are a number of artisans, such as Lohar and Sikligar. Lohar are blacksmiths while Sikligar do specific work of making and polishing of arms used in war. Now, they create tools used for agriculture.

Main article: Marwaris

Trade and business[edit]

Historically, Rajasthani business community (famously called Marwaris, Rajasthani: मारवाड़ी) conducted business successfully throughout India and outside of India. Their business was organized around the "joint-family system", in which the grandfather, father, sons, their sons, and other family members or close relatives worked together and shared responsibilities of business work.[58] The success of Rajasthanis in business, that too outside of Rajasthan, is the outcome of feeling of oneness within the community.[citation needed]Rajasthanis tend to help community members, and this strengthens the kinship bondage, oneness, and trust within community. Another fact is that they have the ability to adapt to the region they migrate. They assimilate with others so well and respect the regional culture, customs, and people.[59] It is a rare and most revered quality for any successful businessman. Today, they are among the major business classes in India. The term Marwari has come to mean a canny businessman from the State of Rajasthan. The Bachhawats, Birlas, Goenkas, Bajajs, Ruias, Piramels and Singhanias are among the top business groups of India. They are the famous marwaris from Rajasthan.[60]


The Marwari group of Rajasthanis have a substantial diaspora throughout India, where they have been established as traders.[61] Marwari migration to the rest of India is essentially a movement in search of opportunities for trade and commerce. In most cases, Rajasthanis migrate to other places as traders.[62]


In Maharashtra (an ancient MarathaDesh), Rajasthanis are mainly merchants and own large to medium size business houses. Maheshwaris are mainly Hindus (some are also Jains), who migrated from Rājputāna in the olden days. They usually worship all Gods and Goddesses along with their village deities.[63]


  • Carved elephants on the walls of Jagdish Temple that was built by Maharana Jagat Singh Ist in 1651 A.D.

  • The region surrounding Aravalli hills near Ranthambore, Rajasthan, India.

  • Detailed stone work, Karni Mata Temple, Bikaner Rajasthan.

  • Marble stone work, Jaisalmer Jain Temple, Rajasthan.

  • Seated Ganesha, sandstone sculpture from Rajasthan, India, 9th century, Honolulu Academy of Arts.

  • Yellow sandstone sculpture of a standing deity, 11th century CE, Rajasthan.

  • Armor coat, 18th century, Rajasthan.

  • Marble sculpture of a female, ca 1450, Rajasthan.

  • Bani Thani painting, Rajasthan.

  • Camel ride in sand dunes, Thar desert, Jaisalmer.

See also[edit]


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External links[edit]

Sours: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rajasthani_people
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