Rajput

social community of South Asia

Rajput is a community of India. They themselves claimed descent from the old Kshatriya dynasties but the ruling dynasties before the Seventh Century A.D. not called Rajputs, Hence this theory is not widely accepted.[1]

Rajput with sword and shield, c. 1858

Origin change

The origin of Rajputs is the subject of debate. The word ‘Rajput’ does not appear in Sanskrit literature or Indian history before the Seventh Century A.D. The Hindu or Buddhist dynasties such as the Mauryas, Sungas, Kanvas, Guptas, Maukharis and Vardhanas were not called Rajputs. Some of them were Kshatriyas, others Brahmanas, but the new ruling dynasties of the Seventh Century were known by a new name ‘the Rajputs’. Who were they and what was their origin? There are several theories about it.[2]

Tribal origin change

Some Rajput clans are of tribal origin, Indian tribes, including Gonds and Bhars, who had martial blood, seized political power after the death of Harsha, when there was chaos in the country. Since they became rulers they began to call themselves Rajputs. Some of these clans are the Bundelas and the Chandelas of central India.[3]

Suryavanshi and chandravanshi myth change

Quite a number of Rajput clans trace their descent to Rama and Krishna. The descendants of Rama called themselves ‘Suryavanshi’ and those of Krishna ‘Chandravanshi’. It is difficult to believe this theory. Perhaps the bards and poets of Rajput kings gave them these high sounding titles because of their deeds of valour.[4]

Mixed race change

Some historians believe that the Rajputs were of mixed. The foreign tribes settled in India and married Indian women. Their offsprings were called the Rajputs. The last theory: is widely accepted.[5]

According to John Keay, not until the Mughal period, which began in 1526 AD, did the word "Rajput" come to be used of a particular class or tribe.[6]

Other writers, such as M. S. Naravane and V. P. Malik, believe that the term was not used to designate a particular tribe or social group until the 6th century AD, as there is no mention of the term in the historical record as pertaining to a social group prior to that time.[7]

One theory espouses that with the collapse of the Gupta Empire from the late 6th century, the invading Hephthalites (White Huns) were probably integrated within the Indian society. Leaders and nobles from among the invaders were assimilated into the Kshatriya ritual rank in the Hindu varna system, while others who followed and supported them — such as the Ahirs, Gurjars and Jats - were ranked as Shudra. At the same time, some indigenous tribes were ranked as being of the "rajput" Kshatriya status, examples of which are the Bundela, Chandelas and Rathors.[8] The Encyclopaedia Britannica notes that Rajputs actually vary greatly in status, from princely lineages, such as the Guhilot and Kachwaha, to simple cultivators.[9]

According to V.A. Smith, Rajput is a mixed race. Rajputs have descended from the foreign invaders like Sakas, Kushans and Hunas. V.A. Smith states that Rajputs were born of various races and castes.[10]

.[11]

References change

  1. Orient Longman, New Delhi. An Outline Of Indian History And Culture Vol 1 By Raghubir Dayal And Edited By A. E. T. Barrow, 1974, New Delhi Orient Longman, New Delhi.
  2. Orient Longman, New Delhi. An Outline Of Indian History And Culture Vol 1 By Raghubir Dayal And Edited By A. E. T. Barrow, 1974, New Delhi Orient Longman, New Delhi.
  3. Orient Longman, New Delhi. An Outline Of Indian History And Culture Vol 1 By Raghubir Dayal And Edited By A. E. T. Barrow, 1974, New Delhi Orient Longman, New Delhi.
  4. Orient Longman, New Delhi. An Outline Of Indian History And Culture Vol 1 By Raghubir Dayal And Edited By A. E. T. Barrow, 1974, New Delhi Orient Longman, New Delhi.
  5. Orient Longman, New Delhi. An Outline Of Indian History And Culture Vol 1 By Raghubir Dayal And Edited By A. E. T. Barrow, 1974, New Delhi Orient Longman, New Delhi.
  6. Keay, John (2011-04-12). India: A History. Open Road + Grove/Atlantic. p. 212. ISBN 978-0-8021-9550-0.
  7. Naravane, M. S. (1999). The Rajputs of Rajputana: A Glimpse of Medieval Rajasthan. APH Publishing. p. 20. ISBN 978-81-7648-118-2.
  8. Dikshit, R. K. (1976). The Candellas of Jejākabhukti. Abhinav Publications. p. 6. ISBN 978-81-7017-046-4.
  9. "Rajput | History, Significance, & Facts | Britannica". www.britannica.com. 2023-12-11. Retrieved 2024-01-12.
  10. Experts, Disha. Indian History & Culture Compendium for IAS Prelims General Studies Paper 1 & State PSC Exams 4th Edition. Disha Publications. ISBN 978-93-90486-68-7. According V.A. Smith "Rajput is a mixed race". • Some Rajputs have descended from the foreign aggressors like Saka, Kushans and Huns. • V.A. Smith states that "Rajputs were born of various races and castes".
  11. Bhatia, Harbans Singh (1984). Political, Legal, and Military History of India. Deep & Deep Publications. It would appear that Brahmans, Bhars, Ahirs, Jats, Gujars, and Huns have all contributed to the Rajput clans.

Other websites change

Origin of Rajputs