‘Rajput’ is derivative of a Sanskrit word raj-putra which means “son of a king”. Rajput were recognized for their bravery, faithfulness and royalty. They were the warriors who fought in the battles and took care of the governing functions. The Rajputs originated from western, eastern, northern India and from some parts of Pakistan. Rajputs enjoyed their eminence during the 6th to 12th centuries. Until 20th century Rajputs ruled in trounce majority in the princely states of Rajasthan and Surashtra.
In the 6th century, India was divided into caste systems which consist of The Brahmins, Kshatriyas, Vaishyas and shudras. The Brahmins was known as upper class Hindus who was only responsible for the scared works. The Kshatriyas were the warriors who fought in the battles and took care of the governing functions. The Vaishyas were the agriculturalist, landowners, traders and money-lenders and the shudras known as the lower class Hindus who have to serve the above three caste. The Rajput falls in the category of the Kshatriyas. Throughout their periods of rule in northern India, Rajput built remarkable shrines, castles and forts and were eager supporters of paintings.
The Rajput had a widespread population almost of the subcontinent particularly in north, west and central India. Populations were found in Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand Himachal Pradesh, Surashtra, Jammu, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh and Bihar.
The origin of Rajputs is the topic of argument. Authors, such as V. P. Malik and M. S. Naravane, considered that the period was not given to any particular community or communal group until the 6th century A.D, as there is no reference of the period in the historic record. Leaders and aristocrats from the intruders were called as the Kshatriya in the Hindu caste system, although others who trailed and helped them — such as the Jats, Ahirs and Gurjars - were ranked as Shudra. At the similar time, some congenital communities were graded as Rajput. Few examples of these are the Chandelas, Rathors and Bundelas. Aydogdy Kurbanov says that the integration was precisely between the Hephthalites, Gurjars, and folks from northwestern India. Though, some researchers, such as C. V. Vaidya and Gauri Shankar Ojha do not accept these integration philosophies.
Groupings in Rajputs
Rajputs are divided as vansh and vamsha. The vansh is further divided as Suryavanshi which denotes “House of Sun” who are descended from Lord Ram, Chandravanshi denoting “House of Moon” descended from Lord Krishna and the last one Agnivanshi from the “Family of Fire God”.
Beneath the vansh division there are smaller subdivisions which are kul or shakh (branch), khamp or khanp (twig) and nak (twig tip). Kul serves as primary identity among Rajputs and each one of them worship and is protected by their family goddess known as kuldevi.
The Suryavanshi clans are Bais, Chattar, Gaur, Kachwaha, Minhas, Pakhral, Patial, Pundir, Naru, Rathore and Sisodia. In Chandravanshi we have Bhati, Chandelas, Bhangalia, Chudasama, Jadauns, Jadeja, Jarral, Katoch, Pahore, Som and Tomaras. Lastly in Agnivanshi we have Bhaal, Chauhan, Dodiya, Chavda, Mori, Naga, Paramara and Solanki.
Rajput women were meant to do household work but were also skilled for the war and did not shy to go into the battleground if there were less number of males in the force. However, if the king and all their men died in the battle, Rajput women prefer to commit suicide instead of becoming prisoners to other rulers. This ritual was known as ‘Johar’ and was only practiced by Rajput woman.
The Rajput kingdom proved to be a very big difficulty to the whole Muslim conquest of Hindu India, during the period of Islamic invasions from 11th to 16th centuries. During the reign of Mughal Emperor Akbar (1556-1605 CE), Mughal authority was accepted by Rajput & were allowed into the emperor’s court. They were given status in his administration & forces & also formed martial & martial associations with the Emperor.
Prithviraj Chauhan is the most prominent ruler of Rajputana dynasty. After the death of his father he ascended the seat at a small age of thirteen.
He was known for his skilled archery that he could aim based only on sound and did not even look at his target. In between he raised his territory and organized most of the Rajasthan and Haryana unifying Rajput against Muslim attacks. A Muslim defeater called Shahabuddin Muhammad Ghori became threat to Prithviraj & his territories as he was capturing nearby empires. Prithvi Raj was defeated & captured at the second battle of Tarain. He was tortured & his eyes were blinded by red hot iron rods. Afterward, in an archery rivalry he exhibited his talent by striking targets. Ghori said to be has acclaimed for his accomplishment on hearing his voice, Prithvi Raj aimed an arrow in his direction killing him over.
Another famous ruler was Maharana Pratap. He was King of Mewar and was regarded as a fearless warrior & ingenious strategist, who successfully fought the Mughals & safeguard his people until his death. Slowly the power of Rajput declined as there was no match for the supremacy of Mughals.
When the British arrived in India, the Rajput states become colonies which in turn ended the reign of Rajputs forever. After India’s independence (1947), most of the Rajput states in Rajputana were merged to form the state of Rajasthan within the Indian union.
When the British arrived in India, the Rajput states become colonies which in turn ended the reign of Rajput forever.