Rajputs: Socio-Cultural Setup
The Rajputs were considered belonging to the “Martial Race” during the period of the British Rule in India. This designation was given to the ethnic group that were considered brave and courageous people.
Conduct of Rajput
The most popular weapon amongst the Rajputs was the double-edged blade popularly known as the “Khanda”. This was used to break the coconuts during special occasions, which were distributed to the people. There was another ceremony called the “Karga Shapna” (“adoration of the sword”) ritual, which was performed during the Navaratri festival. After this ritual, a Rajput was given the right to use the weapon during any war.
The Rajputs were usually non-vegetarians and they used to take alcohol on daily basis, alongwith smoking and chewing of betel leaves.
Times of Women in Rajput period
During the Rajput times, the child marriages were promoted. But there are evidences of adult marriages in the form of “swayamwara”. As a result of child marriage, there were child widows, and the remarriage of a widow as not permitted. This made the life of young widows miserable as they had to face many challenges. The polygamy was a very usual practice followed at that time. A daughter’s birth was not liked by the Rajputs, as they thought that the father of a girl would have to bow his head down at the time of his daughter’s marriage. Female child were killed at the time of birth by her own parents and relatives. Women’s education did not exist at all, and they were dependent on their husbands and male relatives.
The practice of “Sati” (setting of wife on funeral alongwith husband’s dead body) and “Jauhar” (a mass suicide in order to escape befoulment at the hands of the enemies) were there during the Rajput times. There are instances of those times when women entered fire to save their honour.
Languages in Rajput times
The original language was Prakrit with minor differences in accent, which got divided into regional languages. During the Rajput period, the indigenous literature made progress. It is true that the infrastructure of the modern vernacular languages of India like Hindi, Gujarati, Marathi and Bengali were established in the Rajput period. It was this literature only in which the poetry was first written.
Celebrations in Rajput families
The Rajputs celebrated twelve ceremonies during the various phase of their lives.
During the birth of male child, a Brahmin records details for the infant’s horoscope, and a favourable day is selected to christen the name for the infant. When the child has completed two years of age, a head-shaving ceremony takes place. The Rajputs usually considered the birth of a female child as a misfortune and only few important ceremonies are done.
Another important rite for Rajput boys is the tying of the “janeu” or sacred thread on their body. As soon as they predict some death, the sick person is placed on a bed of sacred “kusa” grass on a spot that has been encompassed by cow dung. A small leaf of Tulsi plant, a piece of gold, or a few drops of Ganges River water are placed in the mouth of the dying person, with a thought that death can be delayed. Often a cow is brought near to the dying person so that he or she can hold of its tail and reach safely to the heaven. As the person dies, the cremation is done by the eldest son by lighting the fire on the funeral facing North direction, and finally hits the skull so that it cracks and the soul can peacefully leave the body.