Social and Cultural Development during Rajput Dynasty

‘Rajput’ is derived from Sanskrit word ‘raj-putra’ which means “son of a king”. Rajput was identified for their courage, loyalty and royalty. They were the warriors who fought in the battles and took care of the administrating functions. The Rajput originated from western, eastern, northern India and some parts of Pakistan. Rajput has their prominence during the 6th to 12th centuries. Until 20th century Rajput ruled in trounce majority in the princely states of Rajasthan and Surashtra.
Created On: Sep 3, 2015 18:45 IST

Rajput’s were valiant and aggressive fighters which they even considered as their ‘Dharma’. They valued qualities and ideals that were of very high fundamentals. Yet they were large-hearted and generous and they took pride in their roots and lineage which to them was supreme. They were brave, egoistic and very forcefully loyal clan who gave shelter to the refugees and their foes.

Social and General Conditions of the People

  • Wars conquests and victories was the dominating feature of the Rajput culture and society.
  • The society suffered also because there was a great disparity in the standard of living of the people. They believed in caste and creed systems.
  • The ministers, officials, feudal chiefs belonged to the upper class so they enjoyed the privileges to accumulate wealth as they were entitled to live in luxury and splendor.
  • They were indulged in costly clothes, jewels and ornaments of gold and silver. They lived in palace like houses of several storeys.
  • The Rajput showed their glory with their Harems and number of servants that worked under them.
  • On the other hand the peasants were burdened with the land revenue and other taxes that were brutally taken by the feudal lords or else they had to render forced labor.

Caste System

  • The lower castes suffered the animosities of feudal lords who looked upon them like vultures.
  • Most of the workers like weavers, fishermen, barbers, etc. as well as tribal were treated very ruthlessly by their owners.
  • The Rajput’s as a new caste  were more involved in image building and had supreme egos which made the caste system even more prominent.

Condition of Women

  • Although the honor of women was much defined and matter of utter dignity to the Rajput’s yet they lived in an unauthentic and handicapped society.
  • The Rajput women of low class were denied the right to study the Vedas. However families of higher families received higher education. The laws for women were very stingy.
  • They were supposed to follow higher ideals in terms to their men and society. They were supposed to gladly sacrifice themselves along with the dead bodies of their husbands.   
  • Though there was no ‘purdah’ system. And ‘Swayamvar’ type of marriage was in vogue in several royal families yet the society saw the evil practice of Infanticide and early marriage.

Education and Science

  • Under the rule of Rajput only Brahmans and some sections of upper classes were entitled to be educated.
  • The famous centre of higher learning was at Nalanda in Bihar and some other important centres were Vikramasila and Uddandapura. At this time only some Saiva centers of learning flourished in Kashmir.
  • Religion and philosophy were the popular subjects for study and discussion.
  • Yet during this time the overall, growth of the knowledge of science slowed down as the society became increasingly rigid, thinking was mostly confined to traditional philosophy also during this period Science did not get proper scope or opportunity to develop.

Architecture

  • The Rajputs were significantly great builders who expended extravagantly on building forts, palaces and temples to show off their generous wealth and valor. In this period Temple building reached its zenith.
  • Few significant temples are the Lingaraja temple, Jagannath temple at Puri and the Sun temple at Konark.
  • Khajuraho, puri and Mt. Abu are measured most well-known temples built by the Rajput.  
  •  Rajput was also known of building irrigation canals, dams, and reservoirs which are still considered for their precision and high quality.
  • Foundations of many cities like Jaipur, Jodhpur, Jaisalmer, Bikaner, were laid down by the Rajput kings  these cities were decorated  with beautiful palaces and forts and are today known as Heritage Cities
  • The Victory Tower at the fort of Chittor the Lake palace at Udaipur, Hawa Mahal and, Astronomical Observatory by Sawai JaiSingh in 18th century are some astonishing   examples of very complexly built Rajput architecture.

Paintings

  • The Rajput works of art can be ordered into two schools-the Rajasthani and the Pahari schools of painting.
  • The subjects of the artworks were enormously affected by the Bhakti religion and for the most part portray scenes from the Ramayana and Mahabharata and Radha and Krishna in different temperaments.
  • The system of both the schools is the same and both have made utilization of brilliant shades to explain scenes from the lives of the basic individuals.