Rajput n : a member of the dominant Hindu military caste in northern India [syn: Rajpoot]
Rajput constitute one of the major Hindu Kshatriya groups from India. They claim descent from ancient royal warrior dynasties of Kshatriyas. They are identified with the word "Rajanya" found in ancient Indian literature and trace their roots to Rajputana. In ancient times the son of a king was referred as to Rajput- Raja-putra. The Rajputs are comprised of many different clans.
From ancient times they were known for their valor and chivalry in battle. They are considered to be formidable warriors even to this day. It is common to find many of them serving in the Indian Armed Forces. In current days Rajasthan , Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Uttrakhand and Himachal Pradesh are home to most of the Rajputs. Lord Rama of the Hindu Pantheon was a Kshatriya of the Raghuvanshi or Suryavanshi clan which is said to continue to this day in the royal descent of the Udaipur and Jaipur royals. The Rajputs ruled more than four hundred of the estimated six hundred princely states at the time of India's independence. From those princely states, 121 were Salute states in which Rajputs ruled 81 of them at the time of India's independence. The Rajputs were classified as a martial race by the British colonial government and recruited for the military establishment during the subcontinent's colonial period.
OriginsThe Sanskrit word Rajputra is found in the Vedas, the Ramayana, and the Mahabharata. It has been used by Panini. The word Kshatriya was initially used for the community of warriors and rulers. After the passage of much time there were many Kshatriyas. Some of them left their traditional occupation. Some were still rulers and warriors. As a custom these kings married only with the daughters of kings. They were abundant in India. It is very clear from the Puranas, Ramayana, Mahabharata, Prithviraj Raso, Akbarnama, and present genealogy that they intermarried with the royal families only. The rule of primogeniture allowed only the eldest male offspring of a king to succeed him. The rest were known as Rajputras. The word Rajput is claimed to be a corruption of Rajputra. Gradually it became a jati within the Kshatriya or warrior caste, however the Rajputs are often considered the elite of the Kshatriyas - at least by their own members.
The traditional occupations of the Rajputs is military service and at times agriculture. However, due to their natural ability in warfare and their discipline, this would give them opportunities to rise through the ranks and eventually become rulers or at least hold high positions in office.
The concept of the Raja-putra, or "son of a king," is mentioned in Vedic literature. Rajput, a shortened version of Raja-putra, is a name that has come to be associated with specific clans that would gain political importance in a given region. Because of the fluid social structure in early medieval India, a tribe could gain or lose its status based on its political importance, its occupation, and its survival or extinction. Many tribes over the course of time became extinct because of war, or relocated to another location and changed their names. Traditionally, 36 "royal races," or raj-kul, were known as Rajputs.
The term Rajputra was first used by Harshavardhan (606-648 AD) of Kannauj.
There is misconception that Rajputs are migrants to India from Central Asia who mingled with the aboriginal tribes and were given Kshatriya, or warrior status by the priests, however this view is not supported by the archaeological evidence that has come to light in the past century. ( Also see Death of the Aryan Invasion Theory)
During the rule of the British, Lieutenant Colonel James Tod visited Rajasthan and attempted to write a definitive list of the 36 Rajput tribes. However, everyone that he spoke to gave him varying lists of tribes. It can thus be concluded that a tribe that had furnished warriors or was politically dominant in a particular region can justly call itself a Rajput tribe.
Rajput clansRajputs regard themselves as being descended from the vedic warrior class known as the Kshatriyas. To differentiate them from ordinary Kshatriyas the word Rajput was used, which literally means "son of a King."
Rajputs belong to one of three great patrilineages (vanshas), which are sub-divided into 36 main clans (kulas), which in turn divide into numerous branches (shakhas), to create the intricate clan system of the Rajputs.
The 36 Rajput clans are first mentioned in Kumarpala Charita of Jayasimha and then in Prithvirāj Rāso of Chandbardai. The lists include classical clans like Ikshvaku, Soma, and Yadu, well-known Rajput clans such as Bargujar, Parmar, Puwar,Chauhan, Chalukya, Rathore, Parihar, Chandela etc as well as lesser known clans such as Silar (Shilahar), Chapotkat, Tank, etc.
Today, with the aid of inscriptions and copperplates discovered, it is possible to trace the history of the royal clans with considerable certainty. However they were not available in 17-18th century when a number of chronicles (khyats) were compiled, often based on oral tradition. By this time the agni-kunda myth had been expanded to explain the origin of four of the major clans. James Tod wrote his influential book "The Annals and Antiquities of Rajasthan" in 1829 and 1832 on the basis of these chronicles. Some of his hypotheses have been used by other authors, even though the texts discovered and read during the 20th century show that Todd's hypotheses are sometimes inaccurate.
The principle of patrilineage is staunchly adhered to in determining one's place in the system and a strong consciousness of clan and lineage is an essential part of the Rajput character. As the 1911 edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica states, this tradition of common ancestry permits an indigent Rajput yeoman to consider himself as well-born as any powerful landholder of his clan, and superior to any high official of the professional classes. Authoritative listings of the 36 Rajput clans are to be found in the Kumārpāla Charita of Jayasimha and the Prithvirāj Rāso of Chandbardai.
The Suryavanshi lineage
- Suryavamshi claim descent from Surya. The Sun Dynasty
is oldest among Kshatriyas. The first person of this dynasty was
"Vivaswan," who by the meaning of his name is considered to be
"Surya." Ikshvaku was the
first important king of this dynasty. Other important kings were
Sagar, Dileepa, Bhagiratha,
and Rama. The
poet Kalidasa wrote the
great epic Raghuvamsa about
the dynasty of Raghu including the
great king born in the Sun Dynasty.
- Ikshvaku also represents the 2 rivers Sarasvati (Oxus) and Drishadvati (Jaxartes) of which Mr. Gangaram writes:” The Aryan civilisation was centered around the Sarasvati and Drishadavati rivers. We know that the goddess Sarasvati is also called Vaks (speech) and that the Sarasvati (daughter of the lake, sea) river is called Va(m)ksu in the Mahabharata. The Greek word Oxus is a corruption of Vaksu. The other river Jaxartes (Caks-sar(i)tes means eye-river) is. Drishadvati which means daughter of the eye (or stone). (Drish means: to see). The one river signifies sight while the other signifies speech. There is a relationship with Iksh-vaku (sight-speech), the forefather of the warrior race. Iksh-vaku is the great grandson of sage Kashyapa. The 2 rivers represent Iksh-vaku (see-speak), while Kashyap is the Caspian sea, which in Vedic times was called Kasyapa Mira. Scientists have shown that the 2 rivers used to flow in the Caspian sea, before they changed their course and emptied in the Aral sea. This could be the cause of the southward movement of the Aryans. The Vedic river Raha ro Rasa is identified with the Volga river, which in old slavonic languages is called Rasa, from which Russia derives its name”.).
- The Rajwar, a cultivating caste of Bihar and Chota nagpur who claim Surajvansi Rajput descent, but is not generally admitted. The Surajvansi are sometimes also called Kaushilya or Kaushal (after Kush), while the chandravansi are called Kaushik. The Kausik(a) rajput tribe is also found in considerable numbers in Ghazipur, Azimgarh and Gorakhpur, claiming descent from Kausik, father of Gadhi, founder of Gadhipur (Ghazipur).
The Chandravanshi lineage
- Chandravanshi claim descent from Som which literally means "Moon." This Lunar Dynasty is also old but younger than the Sun Dynasty. Som was the first king of this dynasty. Other important kings were Pururawa, Nahush, Yayati, Dushyant, Bharata, Kuru, Shantanu and Yudhishthir. Yadu was the eldest son of Yayati claim descent from Yadu. Krishna was also born in this dynasty of . Harivamsa gives details of this dynasty. The Suryavamsha as well as the Somavamsha originated from the common ancestor, the great Brahma. His sons were : Marichi; his son sage Kashyap; his son Vivaswan or Surya i.e. Sun, and the descendants vamsha was Suryavamsha.
- The other son of Brahma was Atri. And his sons were Sagar or Samundar i.e. sea (from which the apavansi or sagarvansi sprang and Sagar’s son was Soma or Chandra, and his descendants were the Somavansa.
- The youngest of Bramha's seven sons, Rishi Vashisht, prayed Manu to perform a putreyshti-yagya ( yagya to beget a son). Unfortunately, the Rishi made a mistake during the yagya procession that resulted in a baby girl named, Ila, instead. However, the Rishi reverted the mistake by recreating Ila to a man called Sudyumn. Interesting enough, Sudyumn got lost in Lord Mahadev's reserved sports forest where Kamdev's kami shakti resulted in Sudyumn's loss of memory. Consequently, Sudyumn reverted to Ila, his original true form.
- From the start of Somvansh to Shree Krishna, there were 46 generations of kings, all given in this section. The first seven being (in that order): Soma, Buddha (not the Gautama), Puruva or Yela, Ayu, Nahush, Yayati and Yadu. The 46th being Lord Krishna.
- these clans further divide into branches
The Agnivanshi lineageIt claims descent from four persons who were born from fire or by the influence of Ved Mantras." According to Puranic legend, as found in Bhavishya Purana, a yagna was held at Mount Abu, at the time of emperor Ashoka's sons. From the influence of Mantras of the four Veda''s, four Kshatriyas were born. They were: 1. Pramar (Paramara), 2.Chaphani (Chauhan); 3.Chu (Chalukya); 4.Pariharak (Pratihara). But since fire cannot produce warriors, it should be understood that these four persons were either reconverted into Hinduism or revitalized to fight against invaders. They could not be of foreign origin because India was fighting against Indo-Greek kings at that time. Pusyamitra Sunga and his son Agnimitra were Brahmins. They are known for reviving Hinduism. This theory of origin has produced much controversy; however, only four clans out of many Rajput clans are considered to be Agnivanshi. Some scholars also count Nagavanshi and ''Rishivanshi. One of the most important clans of the Rishivans is Dhakare. It was believed that the origin of the Dhakare Rajput was when Raja Bali the king of Patal lok was injured during war with Raja Indra, king of Devta. Then his blood was collected on the leaf of a Dhakh and his guru Sukracharya make one man, by his mantras, whose name was Dhakare, fight against Devtas. The traditional lineages of Dhakare Rajput presently live in Agra (UP) and near the river Chambal. The Yaduvanshi lineage, claiming descent from the Hindu god Krishna, are in fact a major sect of the Chandravanshi.
- It is believed that 4 Agnikula clans originated by Brahmanas having concentrated them by fire.
- According to the myths, Parmar, was created out of fire by Indra Devta, the god of fire, at Mount Abu. It is said that as the newly created man had come out from fire saying “Param-Amar, Param-Amar” or "immortal fire" loudly, he came to be known as parmar. Vikramaditya according to some was a Pa(r)war, but most probably a Tomar. There were many other kings bearing the name Vikramaditya.
- The Rishis and Munis (Hindu ascetics) further say that afterwards Brahma created a young man from fire. He was holding a sword in one hand and Veda in the other. He came to be known as ‘Chilonki’ because it is believed that as Brahma had prepared the putla or human image on his hand, then had thrown it into fire, the man had born. It is said that the word got corrupted to ‘Milonki’ and later on to ‘Solinki’.
- It is said that afterwards god Shiva created a man from fire, who had a dark complexion. This man, though not brave, was well suited to act as guard at the door. This is exactly the reason why he came to be known as ‘Prithvi Dwar’. In its changed form it came to be known as Parrhiar.
- Later on the god Vishnu created a man from fire and made him like himself and with complexion of Krishna (black). He was very brave with bow tied to his body and arrow in one hand and sword in the other. Because of these attributes he came to be known by the name of ‘Chifrang’, which in its corrupted form became ‘Chauhan’.
- In this way the Rajputs were born from fire by the kindness of the gods. They are also known to be agnikul or the fire family hence agni-vansi. The place of fire at the Mount Abu where they were created is still held sacred by them and they prefer pilgrimage (tirath) to it.
Legend of AgnivanshaAmong the legends mentioned above, the one which addresses the origin of the Agnivanshi Rajputs is particularly disputed not least because they were the earliest to rise to political prominence. This legend begins with the puranic legend wherein the traditional kshatriyas of the land were exterminated by Parashurama, an avatara of Vishnu. Later, the legend says, sage Vasishta performed a great Yajna, or fire-sacrifice, to seek from the Gods a provision for the defense of righteousness on earth. In answer to his prayer, a youth arose from the very flames of the sacrifice -- the first Agnivanshi Rajput. According to Bhavishya Purana an yagna was held at Mount Abu during the time of Ashoka's sons. This produced four warriors and an elephant. The Agnikunda legend is explained in Agnivansha. Ashoka and his sons were Buddhists but the general of last Mauryan empereor was a staunch Brahmin.
Legend of Agnivansh is associated with Sage Vashishta when trying to save his Ashram from Vishwamitra's army he creates a "fire born" kshatriya. This legend has been embeliished by indologists over the years.
Early History (6th to 8th c.)Within 15 years of the death of the Muhammad, the caliph Usman sent a sea expedition to raid Thana and Broach on the Bombay coast. Other unsuccessful raiding expeditions to Sindh took place in 662 and 664 CE. Indeed, within a hundred years after Muhammad's death, Muslim armies had overrun much of Asia as far as the Hindu Kush; however, it was not until c.1000 CE that they could establish any foothold in India.
The Rai Dynasty, who ruled Sindh in the 6th and 7th centuries and were displaced by an Arab army led by Bin Qasim, is sometimes held to have been Rajputs. According to some sources, Bin Qasim, an Arab who invaded Sindh in the 8th century, also attacked Chittorgarh, and was defeated by Bappa Rawal.
The Pratiharas rebuffed Arab invasion in the ninth century. Significant Muslim invasions were then not attempted until the eleventh century, largely due to the formidable reputation of the Rajput clans.
Certain other invasions by marauding "Yavvanas" are also recorded in this era. By this time, the appellation "Yavvana" (literally: "Ionian/Greek") was used in connection to any tribe that emerged from the west and north-west of present-day Pakistan. These invasions may therefore have been a continuation of the usual invasions into India by warlike but less civilized tribes from the north-west, and not a reference to the Greeks or Indo-Greeks. Lalitaditya of Kashmir defeated one such Yavvana invasion in the 8th century and the Pratiharas rebuffed another in the 9th century.
Rajput kingdoms (8th to 11th c.)
The first Rajput kingdoms are attested to in the 7th century and it was during the 9th, 10th, & 11th centuries that the Rajputs rose to prominence in the Indian history. The four Agnivanshi clans, namely the Pratiharas (Pariharas), Solankis (Chaulukyas), Paramaras (Parmars), and Chauhans (Chahamanas), rose to prominence first.
- Pratiharas established the first Rajput kingdom in Marwar in southwestern Rajasthan. Later they established themselves at Ujjain and ruled Malwa, and afterwards at Kanauj in the Ganges-Yamuna Doab, from which they ruled much of northern India, from Kathiawar in the west to Magadha in the east, in the ninth century.
- Chauhans established themselves at Ajmer in central Rajasthan
- Solankis in Gujarat
- Paramaras in Malwa.
- The Guhilas (Guhilote or Gehlot, later called the Sisodias) established the state of Mewar (later Udaipur), under Bappa Rawal, who ruled at Chittorgarh (Sanskrit name Chitrakuta), which was given in dowry to Bappa in 734 for his bravery. Chittor, was then ruled by the Mori clan of Rajputs. Maan Mori was their last king at Chittor. It is believed the word Mori is a corruption of Maurya, the famous dynasty.
- The Kachwaha (Kacchapghata) established their rule in Narwar in 8th century. One of their descendant Dulah Rai established his rule in Dhundhar in 11th century, with their capital at Amber, and later Jaipur.
- The Chandela clan ruled Bundelkhand after the tenth century, occupying the fortress-city of Kalinjar and building the famous temple-city of Khajuraho.
- The Tomaras established a state in Haryana, founding the city of Dhiliki (later Delhi) in 736.
The organization of Rajput clan finally crystallized in this period. Intermarriage among the Rajput clans interlinked the various regions of India and Pakistan, facilitating the flow of trade and scholarship. Archaeological evidence and contemporary texts suggest that Indian society achieved significant prosperity during this era.
The literature composed in this period, both in Sanskrit and in the Apabhramshas, constitutes a substantial segment of classical Indian literature. The early 11th century saw the reign of the polymath King Bhoja, Paramara ruler of Malwa. He was not only a patron of literature and the arts but was himself a distinguished writer. His Samarangana-sutradhara deals with architecture and his Raja-Martanda is a famous commentary on the Yoga-sutras. Many major monuments of northern and central India, including those at Khajuraho, date from this period.
PratiharasThe Imperial Pratiharas established their rule over Malwa and ruled from Bhinmal and afterward Ujjaini in the 8th & 9th century. One branch of the clan established a state in (Rever)Tarangagadh in the 11th century. Marwar in 6th and 7th century, where they held sway until they were supplanted by the Rathores in the 14th century. Around 816 AD, the Pratiharas of Ujjaini conquered Kannauj, from this city they ruled much of northern India for a century. They went into decline after Rashtrakuta invasions in the early 10th century.
RathoreThe Rathore or Rathor or Rathod is a Rajput tribe of India. Rathors in India are a Rajput clan from the Marwar region of western Rajasthan, inhabiting Idar state of Gujarat and also the Chhapra and Muzaffarpur districts of Bihar in very small numbers. In India, their native languages are Hindi and its dialects (such as Rajasthani, Marwari and other languages of Rajasthan, Gujarati and Kutchi in Gujarat, as well as Punjabi in the Punjab a dialect of Punjabi called Rathi spoken in Ratia and Tohana in present day Haryana. Rathore are the people from the west Rajasthan. Rathore's have many gotras, most of these gotras are from the name of the great warriors of the past and gotras are being used by their family members. Rathore's were said to be the worshipers of sun. To understand the huge clan of Rathore's we will have understand their areas they occupy. Rathore's of Jodhpur were supreme in present districts such as - Jodhpur, Pali, Ajmer, Nagaur, Barmer, Sirohi. Rathore, s of Bikaner were occupant of the area that included districts Bikaner, Churu, Ganganagar, Hanumangarh.
Dynasties belonging to this clan ruled a number of kingdoms and princely states in Rajasthan and neighbouring states before India's independence in 1947. The largest and oldest among these was Jodhpur, in Marwar and Bikaner. Also the Idar State in Gujrat. The Maharaja of Jodhpur, is regarded as the head of the extended Rathore clan of Hindu Rajputs. Even in the modern times the clout of this clan in the democratic world is such that a large number of MLAs and MPs have been elected from among them.
Prominent Sub-clans are Banirot, Bika, Kandhalot, Rawatot, Bidawat, Kumpawat, Champawat, Medatiya, Jodha, Jaitawat, Khokra, Karnot.
SisodiasThe Sisodias claim their descent from Lord Rama, the hero of the famous Hindu epic Ramayana. It is also said that the group descended from the Sun God and is thus known as the Suryavanshi or Children of Sun. The prince of Mewar is treated as the legitimate heir to the throne of Rama.
They trace their descent from Bappa Rawal, purported scion of the Guhilot or Guhila or Gehlot or Gahlot clan, who established himself as ruler of Mewar in 734 AD, ruling from the fortress of Chittor (or Chittorgarh).
The Mewar flag is disinguished for its "crimson" flag. During both times of war and peace, this standard could always be seen flying high. It depicts the image of a dagger and a flaming sun. Robert Taylor of the Bengal Civil Service records in his book, "The Princely Armory", "...for eight centuries a golden sun in a crimson field has floated over the head of the Rana at feast and fray, and is conspicuous in the ornament of his palace...On the top of the mast is the face of the Sun, embossed in gold. On the triangular Nishan (flag), the human face is embroidered in gold depicting the Sun. It has a gold tassle at the end. A Katar (a type of dagger) with silver threads on the Nishan completes this simple design. The Sun signifies that the Nishan is of the "Surya Vansi" (Sun Dynasty) Maharanas of Mewar.
Prominent Sub-clans include Gehlot, Sisodia, Gahlot, Chundawat, Chandrawat, shaktawat, Dungarpur, Banswara, Mahthan, Ranawat.
BargujarThe Bargujars (Birgoojur) were the vassals of the gurjara pratihars. They are one of the most revered and most fierce clan of the rajputs ever known. They constituted the main force in "Haraval" Tukdi the first line of offence in a battle. The bargujars chose to die rather to submit to the supremacy of the Muslim kings. Many bargujars were put to death for not giving their daughters to Muslim rulers. Some bargujars changed their clan name to sikarwar to escape mass genocide carried out against them.
Lava (one of the Sons of King Rama) was their ancestor and so they are also known as Raghav. Raghav was the great great grandfather of Rama. Bargujars take this name as children of Raghav dynasty.
Bargujar is a suryavanshi clan. Prominent sub-clans include Lawtamia, Madadh, Khadad, Taparia.
PundirThe Pundir are a Suryavanshi branch of Rajputs, one of the thirty six royal rajput clans. The Pundir Rajputs still hold riyasat in Nagaur and Saharanpur where their Kuldevi's are situated. Their Shakha is Koolwal and their Kuldevis are Shakumbhri Devi and Dhadimati Mata with a few of the Gotras shared by them being Bhardwaj(भरद्वाज), Parashara and Pulastya. Most of the Pundirs are today based mainly around the North Indian states of Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab and Haryana. Elliot writes that Uttar Pradesh (Hardwar region), where they are most prominent today, has over 1,440 villages claimed by Pundir Rajputs with high concentrations in the districts of Dehradun, Saharanpur, Muzaffarnagar, Aligarh and Etawah. According to the British census of 1891 the population of the Pundir Rajputs was recorded at approximately 29,000.
SolankisSolankis were descended from the Chalukyas of Karnataka who ruled much of peninsular India between the 6th and 12th centuries. In the 10th century, a local branch of the clan established control over Gujarat and ruled a state centered around the town of Patan. They went into decline in the 13th century and were displaced by the Vaghela.
ParamaraParamaras originated from the Rashtrakutas and rose to power in the 10th century. They ruled Malwa and the area at the border between present-day Gujarat and Rajasthan. Bhoja, the celebrated king of Malwa, belonged to this dynasty. In the 12th century, the Paramaras declined in power due to conflict and succumbed to attack from the Delhi sultanate in 1305. They have families migrated to south-wards in Gujrath, Maharashtra, holding many important positions as regional war-lords and Chiefs of private armies. The origin reference about Naik-Nimbalkar of Phaltan state and Dalvi- Deshmukh of Nasik is available in many British records and Imperial Gazetteer of India, v. 20, p. 101.
ReverRever's were of the State of Tarangagadh. The sword of Rever is known in the history of war in 11th century. They ruled Taranga and the area at the border between present-day Gujarat and Rajasthan belonged to this dynasty.
KachwahaThe Kachwaha (also spelled as Kachavāhā,Kacchavahas, Kachhawa, Kuchhwaha & Kushwah including Kacchapghata, Kakutstha, and Kurma) are a Suryavanshi Rajput clan who ruled a number of kingdoms and princely states in India such as Alwar, Maihar, Talcher, while the largest and oldest state was Amber (city) later known as Jaipur. The Pachrang flag of the former Jaipur state. Prior to the adoption of the Pachrang (five coloured) flag by Raja Man Singh I of Amber, the original flag of the Kachwahas was known as the 'Jharshahi' (tree-marked) flagJaipur(Jainagara), an extension of the old kingdom of Amber, was founded by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II in 1727.The Maharaja of Jaipur is regarded as the head of the extended Kachwaha clan. Overall, sub-clans of the Kachwaha number around 71. Prominent sub-clans of the Kachhawa clan include: Rajawat, Shekhawat, Sheobramhpota, Naruka, Nathawat, Khangarot and Kumbhani. The Kachhawas belong to the Suryavanshi lineage, which claims descent from the Surya and Sun Dynasty of the ancient Kshatriyas. Specifically, they claim descent from Kusha younger of the twin sons of Rama, hero of the Ramayana, to whom patrilineal descent from Surya is in turn ascribed. Indeed, the name Kachawaha is held by many to be a patronymic derived from the name "Kusha".
Prominent Sub-clans are Shekhawat, Naruka, Rajawat, Nathawat, Kalyanot, Jamwal, Minhas, Manhas, Baghel, Jasrotia, Nindar.
ChandelasIn the early 10th century, the Chandelas ruled the fortress-city of Kalinjar. A dynastic struggle (c.912-914 CE) among the Pratiharas provided them with the opportunity to extend their domain. They captured the strategic fortress of Gwalior (c.950) under the leadership of Dhanga (ruled 950-1008). Dhanga's grandson Vidyadhara (ruled 1017-29) expanded the Chandela kingdom to its greatest size, from the Chambal river in the northwest to the Narmada River in the south, thus covering a large portion of the present-day state of Madhya Pradesh.
Tomar/ TanwarTomar, or Tanwar, are Chandravanshi Rajputs, and descended from Mahabharata's great hero, Arjun, through his son Abhimanyu, and grandson, Parikshat. Chakravarti Samrat (King) Yudhishtra, founded Indraprastha, present day Delhi. Tomars (King Anangpal Tomar) conquered and re-established the Delhi Kingdom in CE 792 and founded the city of 'Dhillika,' (modern Delhi). Besides Delhi, Tomar's rule covered western U.P. and most of present day Haryana and Punjab. Tomar's rule lasted until CE 1162 when last Tomar King Anangpal II appointed Prithviraj Chauhan, his grandson (his daughter's son), and King of Ajmer- as 'catetaker,' since his own sons were very young at that time. According to the accounts kept by Tomar/ Tanwar 'Jagas,' King Anangpal Tomar appointed Prithviraj Chauhan as caretaker only when he went on a religious pilgrimage. It is also said by Tanwar 'Jagas' that when King Anangpal returned, Prithviraj refused to hand over the kingdom to him. It is worth mentioning that 'Jagas' are a caste in Rajasthen who are hereditary keepers of genealogical records of Rajputs, and present 'Jagas' of Tomar/Tanwar Rajputs reside near Jaipur, Rajasthan.
Pathania is the name of a branch of the Tomar (Tanwar, Tuar) Clan of chandravanshi Rajputs, descended from Lord Arjuna, the Hero of Mahabharata. It is one of the ruling Rajput Clans of India. They mostly live in and around Himachal Pradesh, Punjab and Jammu in north India. This clan has to its credit three Maha Vir Chakra winners in the Indian Army. This clan has also won many other gallantry awards while serving in the British army of India. Chauhans originated as feudatories of the Pratiharas and rose to power in the wake of the decline of that power. Their state was initially centered around Sambhar in present-day Rajasthan. In the 11th century, they founded the city of Ajmer which became their capital. In the 12th century, their the then King Prithviraj Chauhan acquired Delhi from his maternal grand father, the then Tomar King Anangpal II Tomar (see above under Tomars or Tanwars). Their most famous ruler was Prithviraj Chauhan, who won the First Battle of Tarain against an invading Muslim army but lost the Second Battle of Tarain the following year. This loss heralded a prolonged period of Muslim rule over northern India. After the death of Manik Rae Chauhan (Ruler of Sambhar), his son Chandrapal Dev came and settle at a place called Bhadaura near present place Bah in U.P.,his sons were called BHADAURIA and till date this clan is now seen as a sub class of Chauhans. the last chauhan king was in mainpuri district (U.P), who fought in first war of indpendance in 1857, known as "judev"
MinhasMinhas or Manhas or Minhas-Dogra is a Rajput clan from the Jammu region of the Indian subcontinent. It is an off-shoot of Jamwal-Dogra Rajputs, the founders of the city and state of Jammu and its rulers from ancient times to 1948 C.E. In antiquity of rule, which is generally considered a benchmark of royalty, they are second to none, but the great Katoch Rajputs of Trigarta and Kangra. Paying tribute to the antiquity of their royal lineage, Sir Lepel Griffin says, “These royal dynasties may have been already ancient when Moses was leading the Israelites out of Egypt, and the Greeks were steering their swift ships to Troy.” Minhas Rajputs are Suryavanshis and claim descent from Rama a legendary king of Ayodhya. In Rajputana, their closest cousins are the Kachwaha Rajputs of Jaipur.
They trace their ancestry to the Ikshvaku dynasty of Northern India (The same clan in which Lord Rama was born. He, therefore is the 'kuldevta'(family deity) of the Hindu Minhas Rajputs). Specifically, they claim descent from Kusha younger of the twin sons of Rama, hero of the Ramayana, to whom patrilineal descent from Surya is in turn ascribed.
Islamic invasions (11th to 12th c.)In the early 11th century, Mahmud of Ghazni conquered the Hindu Shahi kingdom in the Punjab. His raids into northern India weakened the Pratihara kingdom, which was drastically reduced in size and came under the control of the Chandelas. Mahmud sacked temples across northern India, including the temple at Somnath in Gujarat, but his permanent conquests were limited to the Punjab, and Somnath was rebuilt after the raid. In 1018 CE, Mahmud sacked the city of Kannauj, seat of the Pratihara kingdom, but withdrew immediately to Ghazni, being interested in booty rather than empire.
In the ensuing chaos, Rathores, as the Gahadvala dynasty established a modest state centered around Kannauj, ruling the Ganges plain from the late 11th through the 12th century, and conquering Marwar in the 13th. They were defeated by Muhammad of Ghor in 1194 CE, when the city was sacked by the latter. Meanwhile, a nearby state centered around present-day Delhi was ruled successively by the Tomara and Chauhan clans. The early 11th century also saw the reign of the polymath king Bhoj, the Paramara ruler of Malwa.
Prithiviraj III, ruler of Delhi, defeated Muhammad of Ghor at the First Battle of Tarain (1191 CE). Muhammad returned the following year and defeated Prithviraj at the Second Battle of Tarain (1192 AD). In this battle, as in many others of this era, rampant internecine conflict among Rajput kingdoms facilitated the victory of the invaders.
Medieval Rajput States (12th to 16th c.)
Rajputs reestablished their independence, and the Rajput states were established as far east as Bengal and north into the Punjab.
Prithviraj Chauhan proved to be the last Rajput ruler of Delhi. The Chauhans reestablished themselves at Ranthambore, led by Govinda, grandson of Prithviraj III. Jalore was ruled by another branch of Chauhans, the Songaras. Another branch of the Chauhans, the Hadas, established a kingdom in Hadoti in the mid-13th century.
The Rever Maharaja Ranavghansinh ruled Taranga, in the 11th century. The Tomaras established themselves at Gwalior, and the ruler Man Singh built the fortress which still stands there. Mewar emerged as the leading Rajput state, and Rana Kumbha expanded his kingdom at the expense of the sultanates of Malwa and Gujarat.
Muhammad's armies brought down the Gahadvala kingdom of Kannauj in 1194 CE. Some surviving members of the Gahadvala dynasty are said to have refugeed to the western desert, formed the Rathore clan, and later founded the state of Marwar. The Kachwaha clan came to rule Dhundhar (later Jaipur) with their capital at Amber.
Other relocations surmised to have occurred in this period include the emigration of Rajput clans to the Himalayas. The Katoch clan, the Chauhans of Chamba and certain clans of Uttarakhand and Nepal are counted among this number.
Delhi SultanateThe Delhi Sultanate was founded by Qutb ud din Aybak, Muhammad of Ghor's successor, in the early 14th century. Sultan Alauddin Khilji) conquered Gujarat (1297), Malwa (1305), Ranthambore (1301), Chittorgarh (1303) Jalore, and Bhinmal (1311). All were conquered after long sieges and fierce resistance from their Rajput defenders.
The "First Jauhar," in particular the siege of Chittor (1303), its brave defence by the Guhilas, the saga of Rani Padmini, and the Jauhar, are the stuff of immortal legend. This incident has had a defining impact upon the Rajput character and is detailed in a succeeding section.
Ala-ud-din Khilji delegated the administration of the newly conquered areas to his principal Rajput collaborator, Maldeo Songara, ruler of Jalore. Maldeo Songara was soon displaced by his son-in-law Hammir, a scion of the lately displaced Guhila clan, who re-established the state of Mewar c.1326 CE. Mewar was to emerge as a leading Rajput state, after Rana Kumbha expanded his kingdom at the expense of the sultanates of Malwa and Gujarat.
Mughal Era (16th-18th c.)
The Delhi sultanate was extinguished when Babur defeated Ibrahim Lodi at the First Battle of Panipat in 1526. Rana Sanga, ruler of Mewar, rallied an army to challenge Babur. He was betrayed by one of his Rajput generals and was defeated by Babur at the Battle of Khanua on March 16, 1527; The Rajput rulers agreed to pay tribute to Babur, but most retained control of their states, and struggles between Babur's successor Humayun and the Suri Dynasty for control of the Sultanate preoccupied the Muslims for several decades. It was not until the reign of Akbar that the structure of relations between the Mughal imperium and the Rajput states took definitive shape.
During the Second Jauhar Rana Sanga died soon after the battle of Khanua. Shortly afterwards, Mewar came under the regency of his widow, Rani Karmavati. The kingdom was menaced by Bahadur Shah, ruler of Gujarat. According to one romantic legend of dubious veracity, Karmavati importuned the assistance of Humayun, son of her late husband's foe. The help arrived, but too late; Chittor was reduced by Bahadur Shah. This is the occasion for the second of the three Jauhars performed at Chittor. Karmavati led the ladies of the citadel into death by fire, while the menfolk sallied out to meet the besieging Muslim army in a hopeless fight to the death.
Mughal-Rajput AllianceBabur's son Humayun was a ruler who was forced to spend long periods in exile. His son Akbar; however, was made of a different mettle. Akbar consolidated his inheritance and expanded what had been the Delhi sultanate into a wide empire. A main factor in this success was indubitably his co-option of native Rajput chiefs into his empire-building project. His reign countenanced, for the first time, the involvement of Hindus in the affairs of the empire.
The Rajput chiefs collaborated with alacrity, an alliance cemented by marriage, with numerous Rajput noblewomen being wed to Mughal grandees. The Kachwahas were the first to extend matrimonial alliances with Akbar; they pioneered a trend that soon turned pervasive and played no small role in extending Rajput influence across the Indian sub-continent, from Bengal to Afghanistan, to the Deccan. Indeed, two successive Mughal emperors, Jehangir and Shah Jehan, were born to Rajput mothers.
Kachwahas were the first to give a daughter to Akbar. This prompted Maharana Pratap to ban marriages between his loyal rajputs with other rajputs of Rajasthan. The Kachwaha rulers of Jaipur and Rathore rulers of Marwar became tributaries of the empire. The Sisodias of Mewar and their vassals, the Hadas of Bundi, continued to refuse Mughal hegemony, and Akbar invaded Mewar, capturing Chittorgarh in 1568 after a long siege. The Sesodias of Mewar moved the capital to the more defensible location of Udaipur and carried on fighting the Mughals. Akbar respected the martial prowess of the Rajputs, and he married a Rajput princess, and Rajput generals, particularly the Kachwahas of Jaipur, commanded some Mughal armies. The Rajputs were betrayed by their kings, the warriors were never asked about their opinions about marrying their women to the Mughals. The royal families of the clans made the decisions and it was always the one family and not the clan which gave in to the mughal regime.
Rajput chiefs served as Mughal officers and administrators across the Mughal Empire and enjoyed much influence in the government. In this period, the aristocratic image of the Rajputs can be said to have finally crystallized; consequently, caste-divisions became rigid. The trend of political relations between Rajput states and the central power was the precursor for similar relations between them and the British.
Aurangzeb and Rajput RebellionThe Mughal emperor Aurangzeb, who was far less tolerant of Hinduism than his predecessors, put a Muslim on the throne of Marwar when Maharaja Jaswant Singh, ruler of Marwar, died without a child. This enraged the Rathores. Ajit Singh, Jaswant Singh's son was born after his death. Marwar nobles asked Aurangzeb to give the throne back to Ajit but Aurangzeb refused and instead tried to kill the infant Ajit. Durgadas Rathore and others smuggled Ajit out of Delhi and did not let pursuing Mughals capture them and reached Jaipur safely. This started the 30 year rajput rebellion against Aurangzeb. This cemented all the Rajput clans into a bond of union, and a triple alliance was formed by the three states of Marwar, Mewar, and Jaipur, to throw off the Mughal yoke. One of the conditions of this alliance was that the rulers of Jodhpur and Jaipur should regain the privilege of marriage with the ruling Sesodia dynasty of Mewar, which they had forfeited by contracting alliances with the Mughal emperors, on the understanding that the offspring of Sesodia princesses should succeed to the state in preference to all other children. The quarrels arising from this stipulation lasted through many generations.
Maratha and British Suzerainty (late 18th to mid 20th c.)The quarrels among the Rajputs led to the invitation of Maratha help from the rival aspirants to power, and finally to the subjection of all the Rajput states to the Marathas. The Marathas of the Deccan rose to power in the late 18th century. They conquered the major portion of India during this period, including the Rajput states of central and western India.
Jodhpur was conquered by Sindhia, who annexed the fort and town of Ajmer and levied a tribute of 60,000 rupees. James Tod, whose personal observation pertains to this period, records that internecine disputes, succession wars and the relentless exaction of levies by the Marathas left the Rajput states immiserated, and that some Rajput states repeatedly petitioned the British administration for protection. After the Third Anglo-Maratha War, (1817-1818), 18 states in the Rajputana region, of which 15 were ruled by Rajputs, entered into subsidiary alliance with the HEIC and became princely states under the British Raj. The British took direct control of Ajmer, which became the province of Ajmer-Merwara. A vast number of other Rajput states in central and western India made a similar transition. Most of them were placed under the authority of the Central India Agency and the various states' agencies of Kathiawar.
Nepal was conquered by a Rajput family in 1768. Nepal was never conquered by the British.
Independent IndiaOn India's independence in 1947, the native rules were given three choices, join one of the two states Indian or Pakistan, or remain independent. Rajput rulers of Rajputana and Central India acceded to newly-independent India and Rajputana, renamed Rajasthan, became an Indian state in 1950. The Rajput states acceded unto the dominion of India and dominion of Pakistan. They were all merged into the union of India before 1950.
The Maharajas were given special recognitions and an annual amount termed privy-purse was set for them. Many of the Rajput Maharajas entered politics and served India as elected representatives. In 1971, Indira Gandhi "de-recognized" the Maharajas and abolished the privy-purses. As a result, the Maharajas had to transformed some of their palaces into hotels. Some of them are now recognized as among the world's best.
Today, the Maharajas still fulfill some of the ceremonial duties as recognized elders, but as private citizens, in the Indian society.
Culture and EthosThe Rajput ethos is martial, in spirit, and fiercely proud and independent, and emphasizes lineage and tradition. Rajput patriotism is legendary, an ideal they embodied with a sometimes fanatical zeal, often choosing death before dishonour. Rajput warriors were often known to fight until the last man.
By the late 19th century, there was a shift from on questions regarding the political relations amongst the Rajputs to a concern with kinship (Kasturi 2002:2). According to Harlan (1992:27), many Rajputs of Rajasthan are nostalgic about their past and keenly conscious of their genealogy, emphasizing a Rajput ethos that is martial in spirit, with a fierce pride in lineage and tradition. These are indeed the timeless values of the Rajput community, as the Encyclopedia Britannica (1911 edition) affirms in its resume of the contemporary social values of the community in India.
- ''The tradition of common ancestry permits a poor Rajput yeoman to consider himself as well born as any powerful landholder of his clan, and superior to any high official of the professional classes. No race in India can boast of finer feats of arms or brighter deeds of chivalry, and they form one of the main recruiting fields for the Indian army of the day. They consider any occupation other than that of arms or government derogatory to their dignity, and consequently during the long period of peace which has followed the establishment of the British rule in India, they have been content to stay idle at home instead of taking up any of the other professions in which they might have come to the front.''
KhandaThe Rajput lifestyle was designed to foster a martial spirit. Tod (1829) describes at length the bond between the Rajputs and their swords. The double-edged scimitar known as the khanda was a popular weapon among the Rajputs of that era. On special occasions, a primary chief would break up a meeting of his vassal chiefs with khanda nariyal, the distribution of daggers and coconuts. The Karga Shapna ritual, performed during the annual Navaratri festival, was another affirmation of the Rajput's reverence for his sword.
RakhiThe festival of Rakhi, known as Lakhri in Punjab, is typically held in August. The rakhis, or bracelets, are tied to a brother's wrist by his sisters. The belief amongst Rajputs was that the bracelets would avert evil in battle and designated those who would make a proper return from battle (Tod i.463). This festival was and is still celebrated all over India.
JauharAll recorded instances of Jauhar and "Saka" have featured Rajput defenders of a fort, resisting the invasion of a Muslim force.
Jauhar (sometimes spelt jowhar) was originally the voluntary death on a funeral pyre of the queens and royal womenfolk of defeated Rajput castles in order to avoid capture and consequent molestation. The term is extended to describe the occasional practice of mass suicide carried out in medieval times by Rajput women, or by entire Rajput communities, when the fall of a besieged city was certain.
On several occasions when defeat in such an engagement became certain, the Rajput defenders of the fort scripted a final act of heroism that rendered the incident an immortal inspiration and afforded the invaders only an exceedingly hollow, inglorious victory. In such incidents, the ladies of the fort would commit collective self-immolation. Wearing their wedding dresses, and holding their young children by the hand, the ladies would commit their chastity to the flames of a massive, collective pyre, thereby escaping molestation and dishonour at the hands of the invading army. As the memorial of their heroic act, the ladies would leave only the imprint of the palm of their right hands on wet clay, which have become objects of veneration. This immolation would occur during the night, to the accompaniment of Vedic chants.
The practice is often described in terms of the women alone, but should correctly be understood as including the death of the men on the battlefield. As generally described, Jauhar involved:
- A defending Rajput army being besieged inside a fortification by an invading Muslim army;
- The realization by the defenders that defeat was certain;
- The immolation, en masse, of women, children and the elderly, to avoid molestation at the hands of the victorious invading army;
- The riding out, into open battle and certain death, of the menfolk, there to die on the field of war
There is extensive glorification of the practice in the local ballads and folk-histories of Rajasthan.
Jauhar was limited to the Kshatriya caste named Rajputs, who formed the upper and ruling classes and castes of Rajasthan. The Rajputs were the fighting warrior caste of this area. The remainder of the people, who were generally Brahmins and the lower castes, did not participate in the practice. In some cases, such as with Chittaurgarh in 1568 the victorious Mughal invaders put the entire remaining population of thirty thousand souls to death.
Despite occasional confusion, this practice is not directly related to the widow-burning practice of satidaho, another feature once common among the Rajputs. It is related to high premium set on the honour of womenfolk in Rajput society. Both practices have been most common historically in the territory of modern Rajasthan.
The best known cases of Jauhar are the three occurrences at the fort of Chittaur (Chittaurgarh, Chittorgarh), the seat of the Sisodia kingdom of Mewar, in Rajasthan, in 1303, in 1535, and 1568. Jaisalmer has witnessed two occurrences of Jauhar. Another occurrence was in Chanderi.
First JauharIn particular, the siege of Chittor (1303), its brave defence by the Guhilas, the saga of Rani Padmini and the Jauhar she led are the stuff of immortal legend. This incident has had a defining impact upon the Rajput character and is detailed in a succeeding section.
Second JauharRana Sanga died soon after the battle; shortly afterwards, Mewar came under the regency of his widow, Rani Karmavati. The kingdom was menaced by Bahadur Shah, ruler of Gujarat. According to one romantic legend of dubious veracity, Karmavati importuned the assistance of Humayun, son of her late husband's foe. The help arrived too late; Chittor as reduced by Bahadur Shah. This is the occasion for the second of the three Jauhars performed at Chittor. Karmavati led the ladies of the citadel into death by fire, while the menfolk sallied out to meet the besieging Muslim army in a hopeless fight to the death.
SakaThe next morning after taking a bath, the men would wear kesariya and apply the ash from the maha samadhi of their wives and children on their foreheads and put a tulsi leaf in their mouth. Then the palace gates would be opened and men would ride out for complete annihilation of the enemy or themselves. Rajput men and women could not be captured alive. This fight until death of men is called "Saka."
When Hindus fought against other Hindus there were never any johars or saka because the defeated were treated with dignity. However, history records very few instances wherein a Rajput king sued for peace after a battle reversal and the Muslims initially agreed to the peace terms, only for the Rajput and Hindu men to be slaughtered upon surrender and their women and children looted, raped and converted to Islam by force once the pols or gates of their mighty fortresses were opened.
One example of this is war between Puran Mal of Raisina and Sher Shah Suri. The opposite is true for wars between Marathas and Rajputs, where even after battle reversals, no jauhars took place in Rajasthan.
Rajputs as a line of defenceThe fertile and prosperous plains of northern India had always been the destination of choice for streams of invaders coming from the north-west. The last of these waves of invasions were of tribes who had previously converted to Islam. Due to geographic reasons, Rajput-ruled states suffered the brunt of aggression from various Mongol-Turkic-Afghan warlords who repeatedly invaded the subcontinent. In his ''New History of India',' Stanley Wolpert wrote, "The Rajputs were the vanguard of Hindu India in the face of the Islamic onslaught."
The Rajputs for centuries were India's line of defense against invaders. They proved their chivalry by fighting with honor and the mercy that they showed to the vanquished. When fighting against the hordes of Arabs, Moghuls, Afghans, and Turks, many preferred to die rather than to forsake their ancestors' faith (Hindu dharma) for Islam. While the nations of the Middle East fell in a matter of a few years to the rapid advance of Islam's new followers, the Rajput men and women refused to let them capture India for over 500 years. The heroism and sacrifice displayed by these tribes is undisputed and unmatched in the chronicles of Indian history.
Famous Rajput Personalitiessee List of Rajputs.
Bappa rawalBappa Raval is known for his strong pride in his Dharma and culture, for defeating the alien Arabian invaders and being a great, glorious and brave king. Bappa Ravala The founder of the Guhilot Rajavansa ( dynasty of rulers ) in Rajasthan, Bappa Raval is known for his strong pride in his Dharma and culture, for defeating the alien Arabian invaders and being a great, glorious and brave king. He started as a ruler of a small principality in Nagahrad ( Nagda ), and extended his rulership up to Chittaud.
Bappa Rawal, born Prince Kalbhoj, was the 8th ruler of the Guhilot dynasty. He founded the state of Mewar (c.734) in present-day Rajasthan, India. Bappa Rawal obtained Chittor in dowry from Maan Mori.
Bappa was also blessed by Harita, a sage of the Mewar region, with kingship. He based the capital of Mewar in the fortress city of Chittor. In order to face of Muslim invasions across the western borders of Rajputana, Bappa united the smaller states of Ajmer and Jaisalmer to repel the invaders. During the next 800 years, Chittor becomes the symbol of Hindu resistance in western India.
In 39th century of Kaliyuga (i.e 8th century A.D.). Muslims started attacking India within a few decades of the birth of Islam. Bappa Raval fought and defeated the Arab invaders in the country and also turned the tide against them and dominated the aliens in their own territory. For a few hundred years they had no success. Bin Qasim was able to defeat Dahir in Sindh but was routed by Bappa Rawal. Qasim attacked Chittore, which was ruled by Mori Rajputs, via Mathura. Bappa, of guhilote dynasty, was a commander in Mori army and so was Dahir's son. Bappa defeated and pursued Bin Qasim through Saurashtra and back to Sindh. After this resounding defeat of the caliphate at the hands of Bappa, for next few hundred years there were no more Islamic incursions into India. (note Muslim historians rarely recorded the defeats of there kings)
Ruling thus oyer his kingdom fora long time he abdicated the throne in favour of his son - rather made his son as the king and himself turned into Siva upasaka ( worshipper of Shiva ) and became a Yati ( an ascetic who has full control over his passions ).
He had been extant in Kaliyuga's 39th (i.e. 5thA.D.) century.
Rana KumbhaRana Kumbha [Maharana Kumbhakarna] was the ruler of Mewar, a state in western India, between AD 1433 and 1468. He was a Rajput belonging to the Sisodia clan. Kumbha was a son of Rana Mokal of Mewar by his wife Sobhagya Devi, a daughter of Jaitmal Sankhla, the Parmara fief-holder of Runkot in the state of Marwar. Rana Kumbha was the vanguard of the fifteenth century Rajput resurgence.
After being overrun by the armies of Alauddin Khilji at the turn of the 13th century, Mewar had become relatively insignificant. Rana Hammira is credited with casting off the Muslim yoke and establishing the second Guhila dynasty of Chittor in 1335. The title Rana and later Maharana was used by rulers of this dynasty. Rana Hammira's grandson, Maharana Mokal was assassinated by his brothers (Chacha and Mera) in 1433. Lack of support, however, caused Chacha and Mera to flee and Rana Kumbha ascended the throne of Mewar. Initially, Rana Kumbha was ably assisted by Ranmal (Ranamalla) Rathore of Mandore. With the passing of time, however, Rana Kumbha wearied of Ranmal's hold on power and in 1438, had him assassinated. In November 1442, Mahmud Khalji (Khilji), Sultan of Malwa, commenced a series of attacks on Mewar. After capturing Machhindargarh, Pangarh and Chaumuha, the Sultan camped for the rainy season. On April 26, 1443, Rana Kumbha attacked the Sultan's encampment, following an indecisive battle the Sultan returned to Mandu. The Sultan attacked again in November 1443, capturing Gagraun and adjoining forts but the capture of Chittor eluded him. The next attack was on Mandalgarh (in October 1446) and was also unsuccessful. Perhaps bloodied by these engagements, the Sultan did not attack Mewar for another ten years. The famed 37-meter, 9-story Vijay -Stambha of Chittorgarh was built in 1458 to commemorate his resounding victory over the combined armies of Malwa and Gujarat (1540). Ahmad Shah (ruler of Gujarat), and Muhammad Shah (ruler of Delhi) cooperated with Rana Kumbha to combat Mahmud Khalji. During this period, the rulers of Delhi and Gujarat conferred on Rana Kumbha the title of Hindu-suratrana. Rana Kumbha was the first Hindu ruler to be given this accolade by the Muslim Sultans.
Capture of Nagaur and reaction of the sultans The ruler of Nagaur, Firuz(Firoz) Khan died around 1453-1454. This set into motion a series of events which tested Kumbha's mettle as a warrior. Shams Khan (the son of Firuz Khan) initially sought the help of Rana Kumbha against his uncle Mujahid Khan, who had occupied the throne. After becoming the ruler, Shams Khan, refused to weaken his defenses, and sought the help of Qutbuddin, the Sultan of Gujarat (Ahmad Shah died in 1442). Angered by this, Kumbha captured Nagaur in 1456, and also Kasili, Khandela and Sakambhari. In reaction to this, Qutbuddin captured Sirohi and attacked Kumbhalmer. Mahmud Khilji and Qutbuddin then reached an agreement (treaty of Champaner) to attack Mewar and divide the spoils. Qutbuddin captured Abu, was unable to capture Kumbhalmer, and his advance towards Chittor was also blocked. Mahmud Khalji captured Ajmer and in December 1456, conquered Mandalgarh. Taking advantage of Kumbha's preoccupation, Rao Jodha (the son of Ranmal Rathore) captured Mandore. It is a tribute to Rana Kumbha's skills that he was able to defend his kingdom against this multi-directional attack. The death of Qutbuddin in 1458, and hostilities between Mahmud Begara (the new ruler of Gujarat) and Mahmud Khalji finally brought relief to Rana Kumbha. Mahmud Khalji's last sally against Mewar was in 1458-1459.
Construction of fortsKumbha is credited with having worked assiduously to build up the state again. Of 84 fortresses that form the defense of Mewar, 32 were erected by Kumbha. Inferior only to Chittor, the chief citadel of Mewar, is the fort of Kumbhalgarh, built by Kumbha. It is the highest fort in Rajasthan (MRL 1075m).
Cultural achievementsAmongst Rajput rulers, the flowering of arts and culture during Kumbha's reign is exceeded only by Bhoja Parmara (Bhoja I). Maharana Kumbha is credited with writing the Samgita-raja, the Rasika-priya commentary on the Gitagovinda, the Sudaprabandha, and the Kamaraja-ratisara. No copies of the Sangita-ratnakara and Sangita-krama-dipaka (two books on music by Rana Kumbha) have survived. During Rana Kumbha's reign, the scholar Atri and his son Mahesa wrote the prashasti (edict) of the Chittor Kirti-stambha and Kahana Vyasa wrote the Ekalinga-mahamatya. Vijay Stambha Rana Kumbha commissioned the construction of an imposing, 37 meter high, 9 story Victory Tower at Chittor. The tower called Vijay Stambha (victory tower) was completed in 1458. It is also referred to as Vishnu Stambha -- "Tower of Vishnu" in other texts. The tower is covered with exquisite sculptures of Hindu Gods and Goddesses and depicts episodes from the Ramayana and the Mahabharata. Architecture In addition to the Vijay Stambha of Chittor, the Ranakpur Trailokya-dipaka Jain temple with its adornments, the Kumbhasvami and Adivarsha temples of Chittor and the Shantinatha Jain temple are some (of many) structures built during Rana Kumbha's rule. There are many inscriptions on the Stambh from the time of Maharana Kumbha.
Verse 17: Kumbha is like the mountain Sumeru for the churning of the sea of Malwa. He humbled its king Muhammad.
Verse 20: He also destroyed other lowly Muslim rulers (of the neighborhood). He uprooted Nagaur.
Verse 21: He rescued twelve lakh cows from the Muslim possession and converted Nagaur into a safe pasture for them. He brought Nagaur under the control of the Brahmanas and secured cows and Brahmanas in this land.
Verse 22: Nagaur was centre of the Muslims. Kumbha uprooted this tree of evil. Its branches and leaves were automatically destroyed.
Prithivi Raj Chauhan
Prithviraj Chauhan (c. 1168-1192) Prithviraj Chauhan was a king of the Rajput Chauhan (Chauhamana) Rajput dynasty, who ruled a kingdom in northern India during the latter half of the 12th century.
Prithviraj Chauhan was the second last Hindu king to sit upon the throne of Delhi (the last Hindu king being Hemu, who managed to sit on the throne of Delhi for a few days after Humayun's death.
He succeeded to the throne c. 1179, while still a minor, and ruled from the twin capitals of Ajmer and Delhi. His elopement with Samyukta, the daughter of Jai Chandra, the Gahadvala king of Kannauj, is a popular romantic tale in India, and is one of the subjects of the Prithviraj Raso, an epic poem composed by Prithviraj's court poet, Chand Bardai. Qila Rai Pithora in Delhi, also known as Pithoragarh, is named after him.
After his unfortunate defeat in 1192 AD at the second Battle of Tarain, India was open to invasion by Muslim invaders, and Delhi came under the control of the Muslim rulers, and continued to be so, until the British period.
First Battle of Tarain (1191 CE) Muhammad Ghori invaded Prithviraj's domains and laid siege to the fortress of Bhatinda in Punjab, which was at the frontier between the two kingdoms. Prithviraj's appeal for help from his father-in-law was scornfully rejected by the haughty Jaichandra. Undaunted, Prithviraj marched on Bhatinda and gave battle to the invaders at a place called Tarain near the town of Thanesar.
In face of the Rajput onslaught, the invading Muslim army broke ranks and fled, leaving their leader, Muhammad Ghori, a prisoner in Prithviraj's hands. Muhammad Ghori was brought in chains to Qila Rai Pithora, Prithviraj's capital. He begged his captor for mercy and release. Prithviraj's ministers advised against pardoning the aggressor. However, the chivalrous and valiant Prithviraj thought otherwise and respectfully and magnanimously released the vanquished Ghori. Some say that Prithviraj actually pardoned him 16 times over 16 encounters.
Second Battle of Tarain (1192 CE) The very next year, Ghori repaid Prithviraj's gesture. In 1192 AD he again invaded India with a huge army of 1,20, 000 armed men. Both the armies faced each other again at Tarain. Prithviraj had the support of his feudal chiefs but these were only small princes. No powerful ruler extended his support to him even at this critical juncture. Thus, for all practical purposes he had to face the enemy single handed. Again, the two armies met at Tarain. The Hindus followed a traditional practice of battling only between sunrise and sunset. This practise was based upon great epics and ethics in their civilized society. The Ramayana and the Mahabharata support this practise. Ghori as advised by Moinuddin Chishti attacked the surprised Rajput army before daybreak and thus emerged victorious. At the point when annihilation became certain, Sanyogita committed Jauhar for self-immolation rather than face the prospect of personal dishonour at the hands of a barbaric invader. Prithviraj was taken in chains to Ghor in present-day Afghanistan.
Rao Maldeo Rathore
Humayun, Babur's son was defeated by Sher Shah Suri, a Pathan. Humayun was forced to leave India and he took refuge with Safavid king of Persia. Sher Shah became ruler of Delhi. The Sesodias of Mewar had not yet recovered from Rana Sanga's treacherous defeat. In Marwar the Rathores were becoming very powerful. The Rathore king Rao Maldeo had extended his territory to within a couple of hundred kilometers of Delhi.
Sher Shah attacked Maldeo. Maldeo came with a force of 40 thousand and Sher Shah had 60 thousand. In the evening Sher Shah sent forged letters to Maldeo's camp. In these letters it was stated that few generals from Maldeo's army were buying arms from Sher Shah's army. This caused great consternation in Maldeo who thought there was treachery and that some of his generals had crossed over to Sher Shah. Maldeo left with 20 thousand men. In reality there was no treachery. Later when Maldeo's generals Kumpa (his progeny are Kumpawat Rathores) and Jaita (his progeny are Jaitawat Rathores) found out what happened they did not loose cool and decided they would not leave the field even though they just had 20 thousand men and had to face 60 thousand Pathans of Sher Shah.
Finally battle of Sammel was fought on a cold morning of January 5th 1544 A.D. and Sher Shah was shocked by what he saw. Sher Shah's top generals lost there lives and his army suffered heavy losses. After this Sher Shah commented that "for a few grains of bajra [a grain crop that grows in Marwar] he had almost lost the entire kingdom of India". It is a moot point now but had Maldeo not retreated because of the fake letter, Rathores/Rajputs would have defeated Sher Shah.
Rana HamirRanathambhor's venerable structure, rapturous beauty and sublime expressiveness seem to be continuously vocalizing the great legends of Hamir Dev, the Rajput king. Seventeen kilometers from Sawaimadhopur stands a fort, encompassing in its stately walls, a glorious history of the Rajputs. Ranathambhor's venerable structure, rapturous beauty and sublime expressiveness seem to be continuously vocalizing the great legends of Hamir Dev, the Rajput king, who ruled in the 13th century.
Hamir Dev belonged to the Chauhan dynasty and drew his lineage from Prithviraj Chauhan who enjoys a respectable place in the Indian history. During his 12 years' reign, Hamir Dev fought 17 battles and won 13 of them. He annexed Malwa, Abu and Mandalgarh and thus extended his kingdom to the chagrin of Delhi Sultan, Jalaluddin, who had misgivings about Hamir's intentions. Jalaluddin attacked Ranathambhor and had it under siege for several years. However, he had to return to Delhi unsuccessful.
Jalaluddin was assassinated by his nephew Allaluddin Khilji who then crowned himself as the new Sultan of Delhi. Muhammad Shah was instrumental in making this coup successful which earned him a basketful of privileges. Muhammad Shah was even allowed access to the harem as a result of which he soon built up a good rapport with its inmates.
Chimna was one of Allaudin's begums, but Allaudin never gave her as much attention as other begums of the harem received from him. He had inadvertently managed to antagonize her. To make things worse Chimna Begum saw a valiant soldier in Muhammad Shah and was extremely impressed by his courage and boldness. Soon the vindictive begum and the ambitious Muhammad Shah started a conspiracy to slay Allaudin. Their objective was to see Muhammad Shah as Sultan and the begum as queen. The conspiratorial plans somehow leaked out. Allaudin was enraged as he came to know of Muhammad Shah's intentions. To escape the fury of Allaudin, Muhammad Shah had to flee from Delhi along with his brother. He sought asylum in many nearby kingdom but no one was ready to stand up to the wrath of Allaudin.
Muhammad Shah approached Hamir Dev. The brave Rajput was moved by his humble pleading and misery and agreed to him shelter. Allaudin's ire was roused when he came to know of it. He immediately attacked the fort of Ranathambhor. The armies of Allaudin and Hamir Dev met in a battle on the banks of river Banas. The Rajputs had the initial victory. However, because of the personal feud between the Prime Minister and the Senapati (General-in-charge of the army) Hamir Dev's army got disorganized. The Prime Minister succeeded in getting the Senapati killed. Meanwhile, Allaudin reorganized his forces and made a renewed attack on the fort. Some unscrupulous officers of Hamir Dev, with Bhoj Dev as their leader, colluded with Allaudin and started giving him secret information about the fort. The war continued. The strong walls of the fort were strategically so situated that it was not possible to blow them down with gunpower, for the debris so created had already killed numerous soldiers of the Sultan in their futile attempt to break in to the fort. At last Allaudin sent a message to Hamir Dev saying that in case he was ready to hand over Muhammad Shah to him, he would go back to Delhi. Hamir Dev was too self respecting to make such an ignominious compromise. He sent back the messenger with the reply that when the Rajputs promised to protect someone, they even gave their lives for his safety. Muhammad Shah saw the hopelessness of the situation and conselled Hamir Dev to hand him over to Allaudin rather than fight such a long drawn-out war and suffer such an enormous loss of lives and resources. Allaudin's army was immense. He put a complete siege on the Ranathambhor fort. Bhoj Dev and his informers kept on supplying him information on the food of water situation inside the fort. The ill-fated war bended with the Sultan's legions emerging victorious. The female members of the Rajput kingdom committed jauhar and gave up lives on the pyres. Hamir Dev, himself, severed his head and put it in front of Lord Shiva's idol as an offering.
After the victory, Allaudin entered the fort. Wounded Muhammad Shah was brought to him.
"What is your last desire?" asked Allaudin. "To kill you and place Hamir's son on the throne of Ranathambhor", replied Muhammad Shah. Then he took out his dagger and committed suicide.
Allaudin, now, turned to Bhoj Dev and his other informers. There faces were keen with eagerness to receive the long awaited reward from the Sultan. On the countrary, Allaudin roared, "Shave of the heads of these traitors. They have not been loyal to their own king".
Within minutes, the heads of all his accomplices rolled on the ground. Allaudin's laughter reverberated against the walls of the fort.
Rana SangaThe mantle of Rana Kumbha's greatness passed onto Maharana Sangram Singh. Rana Sanga, also known as Sangram Singh, was the rana (king) of Mewar, in present-day Rajasthan state of western India, from 1509 to 1527.
He brought Mewar to the peak of its prosperity and prominence, establishing it as the premier Rajput state.
With the collapse of power in Delhi, Rana Sanga emerged as the most powerful Hindu King in North India with a direct or indirect sway over the whole of Rajputana. His battles against the Lodhis and the Muslim rulers of Gujarat and Malwa are legendary.
He united the Rajput states and put up a strong unified defence against Babur's armies. It was a valiant struggle to protect the integrity of Hindu states. The Maharana lost the battle but not the principle of independence.
Like the illustrious Kshatriya Kings of ancient Bharat-varsha, the Maharanas exemplified the finest Hindu values and traditions in war and in peace: Honour and chivalry; selflessness and respect for humanity.
The pinnacle of prosperity, the heights of valour. Under the Mighty Sanga, Mewar reached its apex of prosperity and controlled, directly and indirectly, a large part of Rajputana.
Rana Sanga is the finest example of the Kshatriya King as the Protector, the Suryavanshi King whose focus was on consolidating and developing his state.
Though the power of Delhi was on the decline, Rana Sanga faced repeated invasions from the Muslim rulers of Delhi, Gujarat and Malwa. His powerful army engaged in battle over eighteen times with Muslim forces and the Maharana himself was battle-scarred : having lost an arm and eye, been crippled in one leg and suffered innumerable wounds. But his power and spirit remained indomitable.
In 1519 after Sultan Mahmud of Mandu was defeated and taken prisoner, Rana Sanga displayed the same chivalry and generosity which Rana Kumbha had demonstrated towards a defeated enemy. Mahmud was treated like a guest and his kingdom was restored by the Maharana who could have easily annexed it.
He too upon himself to unite the Rajput states into a confederacy. On February 1527 Rana Sanga led a combined Rajput force of over 200,000 men to drive Babur away. Rana Sanga's army engaged the Mughal force at the Battle of Khanwa.
In the Battle of Khanua in 1527, Rana Sanga's armies gained an initial advantage against Babur's forces. But the tides turned against the valiant Rajputs and Rana Sanga was himself wounded on the battlefield.
Babur's victory was his stepping stone to founding the Mughal Empire in India and in Rana Sanga's defeat the hopes of a Hindu revival were ruined.
Rana Sanga's loyalty to the Rajput code of chivalry and generosity is legendary. He is regarded as the last Hindu emperor of medieval India who could stand up for the principle of independence and 'rashtra' against the march of the Mughals.
Maharana PratapDuring the "Third Jauhar" these relations were not universally approbated. Mewar, which justly enjoys a unique position in the Rajput mind, held out and valiantly gave battle to Akbar. After a brave struggle, Mewar's chief citadel of Chittor finally fell to Akbar in 1568. The third (and last) Jauhar of Chittor transpired on this occasion. vWhen the fall of the citadel became imminent, the ladies of the fort committed collective self-immolation and the men sallied out of the fort to meet the invading Muslim army in a hopeless fight to an honorable death.
Prior to this event, Mewar's ruler, Rana Udai Singh II, had retired to the nearby hills, where he founded a new town Udaipur named it after himself. He was succeeded while in exile by his son Rana Pratap as head of the Sisodia clan. Even in exile, the Sisodias did not rest; under the able leadership of Rana Pratap Singh, they harassed the Mughal administrators of the land enough to cause them to make accommodatory overtures. Rana Pratap, a present-day Rajput icon, rebuffed every such overtures of friendship from Akbar and rallied an army to meet the Mughal forces. Some historians say that he was defeated at the battle of Haldighati but Mughals never invaded in Udaipur on June 21, 1576 but were forced to withdraw to the Aravalli ranges; however, he carried out a relentless guerilla struggle from his hideout in those hills, and never gave in to the Mughal power. On a social level Maharana was very disappointed with other rajputs of rajasthan who had given there daughters to Mughals such as Akbar and he banned all marriages of his rajput followers with this other group whom he did not consider rajputs anymore. By the time of his death, Rana Pratap Singh had reconquered nearly all of his kingdom from the Mughals, except for the fortress of Chittor and Mandal Garh. He died in 1597 CE. After Maharana's death, his son Amar Singh, continued the struggle for 18 years, and faced constant attacks from Mughals. He fought 17 wars with the Mughals. Finally he conditionally accepted them as rulers. At this time, a large chunk of Maharana Pratap's band of loyal Rajputs became disillusioned by the surrender and left Rajasthan. This group included Rathores, Deora Chauhans, Pariharas, Tomaras, Kacchwaha and Jhalas. They are called "Rors" and settled mostly in Haryana, with some in Uttar Pradesh. Until today they do not intermarry with other Rajputs but "gotra permitting" with other Rors only. Amar Singh entered into the peace treaty with the Mughals but on certain conditions:
- 1. Rana of Mewar shall not attend the Mughal court personally but the crown prince shall attend the court.
The treaty was signed by Rana Amar Singh and prince "Khurram" (later Shah Jahan) in 1615 CE at Gogunda. He thus regained control of his state as a vassal of the Mughals.
The Sisodias, rulers of Mewar, were famously the last Rajput dynasty to enter into an alliance with the Mughals. The Rajput states, thereafter, remained loyal to the Mughal Empire for over two centuries, until it was supplanted by the British Raj. Indeed, even as late as the early 19th century, Rajput courts rarely failed to formally affirm their loyalty to the (by now entirely powerless) Mughal Emperor in all their official communiques and documents.
Maharaja Jaswant SinghIn the Battle of Dharmatpur, Jaswant Singh opposed Aurangzeb. The battle was fought on 15th April 1658, fifteen miles from Ujjain. Jaswant could have attacked Aurangzeb but he allowed Murad's armies to join Aurangzeb. He was desirous of beating both Mughal princes at once. This delay allowed Aurangzeb to win over the Mughal general, Kasim Khan, who was sent by Shah Jahan to help Jaswant Singh. Kasim Khan defected as soon as the war started but 30,000 rajputs of Jaswant decided that they would not leave the field. Some prominent generals in Maharaja's army were Mukund Singh Hara of Kotah and Bundi, Dayal Das Jhala, Arjun Gaur of Rajgarh in Ajmer province and Ratan Singh Rathore of Ratlam. Jaswant attacked both Aurangzeb and Murad and they barely escaped. According to James Tod in Annals and Antiquities of Rajasthan: Ten thousand Muslims fell in the onset, which cost seventeen hundred Rathores, besides Guhilotes, Haras, Gaurs, and some of every clan of Rajwarra. Aurangzeb and Murad only escaped because their days were not yet numbered. Notwithstanding the immense superiority of the imperial princes, aided by numerous artillery served by Frenchmen, night alone put a stop to the contest of science, numbers, and artillery, against Rajput courage. Finally the unequal contest ended and Aurangzeb named the place of victory Fatehabad. In this battle Durga Das Rathore changed four horses and lost about half a dozen swords (they broke due to intense fighting) and he finally fell down half dead. Maharajah ordered him to be carried away.
Rajputs, even in the moment of battle, worshipped the rising sun, and they sealed there faith in there blood; and none more liberally than the brave Haras of Kotah and Bundi. . . The annals of no nation on earth can furnish such an example, as an entire family, six royal brothers of Kotah, stretched on the field, and all but one in death. Of all the deeds of heroism performed on this day, those of Ratan Singh Rathore of Ratlam, by universal consent, are pre-eminent, and are wreathed into immortal rhyme by the bard in the Raso Rao Ratan.
Durga Das RathoreWhen Jaswant Singh Rathore died he had no son and this gave Aurangzeb a chance to appoint a Muslim as the ruler of Marwar. This upset Rathore Rajputs a lot. Two of Jaswant Singh's queens were pregnant when he died. One queen gave birth to Ajit Singh and other to Dalathamban. After Ajit's birth, Rathore generals, chief among them was Durga Das Rathore (a Karnot Rathore) went to Delhi along with the queens and the infants, and asked Aurangzeb that crown of Marwar should be given to Ajit Singh. Aurangzeb was very cunning and he had no intention of handing over the throne of Marwar. He suggested that Ajit should grow up in his harem but internally he wanted to kill them all. Durga Das sensed this and they smuggled Ajit Singh out of Delhi to the outskirts of the city. When Mughal army came to capture them in Delhi, Durga Das and his men attacked the Mughals and started riding out of Delhi. Raghunandan Bhati and others soaked the streets of Delhi in crimson by flowing the blood of Mughal pursuers. There were about three hundred Rajputs with Durga Das and there were thousands of pursuing Mughals. Every so often 15 - 20 Rajputs would fall behind attack the Mughal pursuers and in the process get themselves killed but it allowed the forward party to create some distance between Ajit and the Mughals. This continued till the evening by which time the Mughals had given up and Durga Das was left with just seven men out of three hundred he started with and reached Jaipur along with Ajit Singh. Thereby started the 30 year Rajput rebellion against Aurangzeb. Mewar and Marwar forces combined together and almost killed Aurangzeb when he was trapped in the mountains of Rajasthan but the Mewar king out of magnanimity allowed Aurangzeb to escape. All the trade routes were plundered by Rajputs and they started looting various treasuries of Rajasthan and Gujarat. To crush them Aurangzeb sent many expeditions but no success. These expeditions and drying up of revenue from trade routes running through Rajasthan had severe effect on his resources. In addition the lion of Maharashtra, Shivaji, had freed almost all of Maharashtra and was at constant war with Aurangzeb. Shivaji had some Rajput ancestry. Finally, on his death-bed Aurangzeb complained that his life had been a complete failure.
Amar singh RathoreA historical legendary character whose saga of bravery is sung around Agra region of India till date. He served Mughals there at Agra for a short period after being denied his right of inheritance at Nagaur in Rajasthan.
He was the famous fighter who jumped from Agra Fort with his horse.
Amar singh rathore proved this saying appropriately by killing 100 soldiers of auranzgeb alone single handtedly. In auranzgeb court lesser kings had to come daily so as to give their attendance..But amar singh didn't came for some days,,when one day he came auranzgeb asked him why u were absent for so long..Amar singh replied kuch kaam pad gaya tha (Some work had occurred), Auranzgeb told him u are kafir (Non believer of god), At hearing this Amar singh charged with his sword at auranzgeb,,poet and aurangzeb ander ke cabin mein ghoos gaye..Tab amar singh aur auranzgeb ke soldiers mein fight hue (Fight occurred between Amar singh rathore and soldiers).. Auranzgeb at that time asked poet what will happen to Amar singh when he was fighting..Poet replied huzor chinta mat loo (Don't take tension),,ek sher(Lion) 100 Badeahon(Wolves) ke liye more than sufficient hota hai.. Surely enough Amar singh rathore killed all of them..
But he was tricked into by his brother in law,,and killed when he was putting his face out of the window, When his brother in law went with amar singh head kept in plate to impress auranzgeb, at that time auranzgeb beacame very unhappy and told him that u think that will make me happy u fool.instead my heart goes and u have killed such a great warrior cheating him . At that time poet(Bard) said to auranzgeb that one day u had asked why rajput kingdom went away. Thats the reason because of it, they are not united themselves.
Rani PadminiIn the 12th and 13th centuries, the Sultanate of Delhi - the kingdom set up by the invaders was nevertheless growing in power. The Sultans made repeated attack on Mewad on one pretext or the other. Here we may recollect the story of Rani Padmani who was the pretext for Allah-ud-din Khilji's attack on Chittod. In those days Chittod was under the Rule of King Ratansen, a brave and noble warrior-king. Apart, from being a loving husband and a just ruler, Ratansen was also a patron of the arts. In his court were many talented People one of whom was a musician named Raghav Chetan. But unknown to anybody, Raghav Chetan was also a sorcerer. He used his evil talents to run down his rivals and unfortunately for him was caught red-handed in his dirty act of arousing evil spirits.
On hearing this King Ratansen was furious and he banished Raghav Chetan from his kingdom after blackening his face with face and making him ride a donkey. This harsh Punishment earned king Ratansen an uncompromising enemy. Sulking after his humiliation, Raghav Chetan made his way towards Delhi with -the aim of trying to incite the Sultan of Delhi Ala-ud-din Khilji to attack Chittor.
On approaching Delhi, Raghav Chetan settled down in one of the forests nearby Delhi which the Sultan used to frequent for hunting deer. One day on hearing the Sultan's hunt party entering the forest, Raghav-Chetan started playing a melodious tone on his flute. When the alluring notes of Raghav-Chetan flute reached the Sultan's party they were surprised as to who could be playing a flute in such a masterly way in a forlorn forest.
The Sultan despatched his soldiers to fetch the person and when Raghav-Chetan was brought before him, the Sultan Ala-ud-din Khilji asked him to come to his court at Delhi. The cunning Raghav-Chetan asked the king as to why he wants to have an ordinary musician like himself when there were many other beautiful objects to be had. Wondering what Raghav-Chetan meant, Ala-ud-din asked him to clarify. Upon being told of Rani Padmini's beauty, Ala-ud-din's lust was aroused and immediately on returning to his capital he gave orders to his army to march on Chittor.
On being persuaded by her husband Rana Ratansen, Rani Padmini consented to allow Ala-ud-din to see her only in a mirror. On the word being sent to Ala-ud-din that Padmini would see him he came to the fort with his selected his best warriors who secretly made a careful examination of the fort's defences on their way to the Palace.
But to his dismay, on reaching Chittor, Ala-ud-din found the fort to be heavily defended. Desperate to have a look at the legendary beauty of Padmini, he sent word to King Ratansen that he looked upon Padmini as his sister and wanted to meet her. On hearing this, the unsuspecting Ratansen asked Padmini to see the 'brother'. But Padmini was more wordly-wise and she refused to meet the lustful Sultan personally.
But on being persuaded she consented to allow Ala-ad-din to see her only in a mirror. On the word being sent to Ala-ad-din that Padmini would see him he came to the fort with his selected his best warriors who secretly made a careful examination of the fort's defences on their way to the Palace.
On seeing Padmini, the lustful 'brother' decided that he should secure Padmini for himself. While returning to his camp, Ala-ad-din was accompanied for some way by King Ratansen. Taking this opportunity, the wily Sultan treacherously kidnapped Ratansen and took him as a prisoner into his camp.
Ala--ad-din showed his true colours and demanded , that Padmini be given to him and in return Ratnanen was to get his liberty. Word was sent into the palace about the Sultan's demand.
The Rajput generals decided to beat the Sultan at his own game and sent back word that Padmini would be given to Ala-ad-din the next morning. On the following day at the crack of dawn, one hundred and fifty palakies (covered cases in which royal ladies were carried in medieveal times) left the fort and made their way towards Ala-ad-din's camps The Palkies stopped before the tent where king Ratnasen was being held prisoner. Seeing that the Palkies had come from Chittor; and thinking that they had brought along with them his queen, king Ratansen was mortified. But to his surprise from the palkies came out, not his queen and her women servants but fully armed solders, who quickly freed Ratansen and galloped away towards Chittor on horses grabbed from Ala-ad-din's stables.
On hearing that his designs had been frustrated, the lustful Sultan was furious and ordered his army to storm Chittor. But hard as they tried the Sultans army could not break into the fort. Then Ala-ud-din decided to lay siege to the fort. The siege was a long drawn one and gradually supplied within the fort were depleted. Finally King Ratnasen gave orders that the Rajputs would open the gates and fight to finish with the besieging troops. On hearing of this decision, Padmini decided that with their men-folk going into the unequal struggle with the Sultan's army in which they were sure to perish, the women of Chittor had either to commit suicides or face dishonour at the hands of the victorious enemy.
The choice was in favour of suicide through Jauhar. A huge pyre was lit and followed by their queen, all the women of Chittor jumped into the flames and deceived the lustful enemy waiting outside. With their womenfolk dead, the men of Chittor had nothing to live for. Their charged out of the fort and fought on furiously with the vastly Powerful array of the Sultan, till all of them perished. After this phyrrhic victory the Sultan's troops entered the fort only to be confronted with ashes and burnt bones of the women whose honour they were going to violate to satisfy their lust.
These women who committed Jauhar (Johar) had to perish but their memory has been kept alive till today by bards and songs which glorify their act which was right in those days and circumstances. Thus a halo of honour is given to their supreme sacrifice.
Rani DurgavatiRani Durgavati was born on 5th October 1524 A.D. in the family of famous Chandel emperor Keerat Rai. She was born at the fort of Kalanjar (Banda, U.P.). Chandel Dynasty is famous in the Indian History for the valiant king Vidyadhar who repulsed the attacks of Mehmood Gaznavi. His love for sculptures is shown in the world famed temples of Khajuraho and Kalanjar fort. Rani Durgavati's achievements further enhanced the glory of her ancestral tradition of courage and patronage of arts.
In 1542, she was married to Dalpatshah, the eldest son of king Sangramshah of Gond Dynasty. Chandel and Gond dynasties got closer as a consequence of this marriage and that was the reason Keerat Rai got the help of Gonds and his son-in-law Dalpatshah at the time of invasion of Shershah Suri in which Shershah Suri died.
She gave birth to a son in 1545 A.D. who was named Vir Narayan. Dalpatshah died in about 1550 A.D. As Vir Narayan was too young at that time, Durgavati took the reins of the Gond kingdom in her hands. Two ministers Adhar Kayastha and Man Thakur helped the Rani in looking after the administration successfully and effectively. Rani moved her capital to Chauragarh in place of Singaurgarh. It was a fort of strategic importance situated on the Satpura hill range.
After the death of Shershah, Sujat Khan captured the Malwa zone and was succeeded by his son Bajbahadur in 1556 A.D. (Bajbahadur is famous in history for his tumultus love affair with Rani Roopmati). After ascending to the throne, he attacked Rani Durgavati but the attack was repulsed with heavy losses to his army. This defeat effectively silenced Bajbahadur and the victory brought name and fame for Rani Durgavati. In the year 1562 Akbar vanquished the Malwa ruler Baj Bahadur and annexed the Malwa with Mughul dominion. Consequently, the state boundary of Rani touched the Mughal kingdom. Rani's contemporary Mughul Subedar was Abdul Mazid Khan, an ambitious man who vanquished Ramchandra, the ruler of Rewa. Prosperity of Rani Durgavati's state lured him and he invaded Rani's state after taking permission from Mughul emperor. This plan of Mughul invasion was the result of expansionism and imperialism of Akbar. When Rani heard about the attack by Asaf Khan she decide to defend her kingdom with all her might although her minister Adhar pointed out the strength of Mughal forces. Rani maintained that it was better to die respectfully than to live a disgraceful life. To fight a defensive battle, she went to Narrai situated between a hilly range on one side and two rivers Gaur and Narmada on the other side. It was an unequal battle with trained soldiers and modern weapons in multitude on one side and a few untrained soldiers with old weapons on the other side. Her Fauzdar Arjun Daswas killed in the battle and Rani decided to lead the defence herself. As the enemy entered the valley, soldiers of Rani attacked them. Both sides lost some men but Rani was victorious in this battle. She chased the Mughul army and came out of the valley.
At this stage Rani reviewed her strategy with her counsellors. She wanted to attack the enemy in the night to enfeeble them but her lieutenants did not accept her suggestion. By next morning Asaf khan had summoned big guns. Rani rode on her elephant Sarman and came for the battle. Her son Vir Narayan also took part in this battle. He forced Mughul army to move back three times but at last he got wounded and had to retire to a safe place. In the course of battle Rani also got injured near her ear with an arrow. Another arrow pierced her neck and she lost her consciousness. On regaining consciousness she perceived that defeat was imminent. Her Mahout advised her to leave the battlefield but she refused and took out her dagger and killed herself. Her martyrdom day (24th June 1564) is even today commomorated as "Balidan Diwas". Rani Durgavati's was a personality with varied facets. She was valiant, beautiful and brave and also a great leader with administrative skills. Her self-respect forced her to fight till death rather than surrender herself to her enemy.
Ram Singh PathaniaThe last battle was fought in the mid-19th century against the British by the great Ram Singh Pathania for his King who was still a minor. After fighting a Guerilla war against the British, he made Brigadier Wheeler assemble a considerable force on the dhaula dhar range against him. Ram Singh Pathania fought the British many times in pitched battles, but they could not defeat him, and there were heavy losses on both sides, with the British losing many officers. Eventually the British keeping in tune with their tradition of treachery realised that it would not be possible to capture this Brave Rajput Prince by military means. They bribed a Brahmin to tell them where he could be found alone and unarmed, so that they would ambush him. Soon he was captured while he was praying on the banks of the Ravi river without his weapons, near the Shahpurkandi Fortress. Legend has it that before he could be overcome by the soldiers he managed to kill some of them with just his praying tool. Some historians say that he was betrayed by the Raja's of Jammu and Guler and handed over to the British. He was sentenced to life imprisonment beyond the high seas, and sent to Rangoon (Burma). He died there on 11th November, 1856, he was just 23. The Kingdom was annexed by the British soon after this.
Some say that Ram Singh Pathania was the first freedom fighter of India, who stood against the British might and fought bravely against them, but sadly not many people know about him outside his state. He was a true Rajput, who followed the valorous tradition of his Brave ancestors till the end.
Every year a fair honoring his name is held in the dhaula dhar ranges of Himachal Pradesh, where the Sword and Armour of the Lionheart Ram Singh Pathania is displayed.
The Rajput vanshs are:
Gotra-Vats Major Shakhas- Hada, Songara, Deora, Khichi, Shambhri, Sanchora, Pavia, Goyalwal, Bhadauria, Malani, Nirwan, Puravia, Madrecha, Cheeba, Mohil, Chahil, Balecha, Chachera, Boda, Nadola......etc
2) Solanki (Chalukya):
Gotra-?? Main Shakhas- Baghel
Gotra-Vahisht Major Shakhas- Mori, Sodha, Sankhla, Khechar, Umra & Sumra (Muslim converts in Pak), Kohil, Daddha, Maipawat, Khair, Bhuller, Sorgatia, Pachawara, Varah, KabaBeedh, Badhel, Dheek, Ujjjainia, Kaleja.....etc Also major Parmar branches-- Chavda: Gotra-Kashyap in Gujrat & Mewar.
Dodia: Gotra-?? Mainly in Sardargarh(Mewar), Piploda(MP), Dangi, Gudan Khera, Champaner (Gujarat) & UP- Muradabad, Bulandshaher, Meerut, Aligarh, Banda, & Panna & Sagar in MP
Gotra-Kashyap (Sometimes Koshyal/Kanshilya) 13 major shakhas Lullra, Surawat, Rameta, Budhkhel/Pokhawat, Inda, Khokhar, Kilhan/Kinwar/Kalhans/Chandra/Chuhhan, Ghorana, Dhandhil, Sindhu, Dorana, Subrana, Pahara, Keshodas, Sonpalol, Deep Singh
Major subdivisions with Gotras—
1) Suryavanshi- Gotra: Kashyap
2) Nimi vansh- Gotra: Vashishta
3) Nikumbha Vansh (Shreenet/Sirnet)- Gotra: Vashist/ Bharadwaj
4) Gohil – Gotra: Kashyap
5) Gehlot- Major subdivisions- Sisodia, Gohil Sub-sub divisions: Chundawat, Ranawat, Shaktawat, Sarangdevot, Sangawat, Chandrawat, Kshemawat, Suhawat, Ahariya Gotra: Vaijpay/Vaijpayen/Kashyap/Gautam Note: Bhonsle are a non-Rajput (Maratha) subdivision of the Gehlot vansh
6) Rathore/Gahadval/Gaharwar/Rashtrakutt- Gotra:Gautam/Kashyap in UP Main subdivisions—Champawat, Kupawat, Bika, Jodha, Udawat, Dangi, Sihamalot, Mahecha, Mertia, Vanar, Khokhar, Pokharan, Khabaria, Barmera, Mohania, Boola, Mopa, Sunda, Randa, Vikramayat, Kotaria, Jaitmallot .
7) Gautam- Gotra: Gautam
8) Kushwaha/Kachchawa- Gotra:Manavya/Gautam Major subdivisions: Gogawat, Kubhani, Naruka, Ladkhani, Tajkhani, Nathawat, Rajawat, Shekhawat, Jeetawat, Bankawat, Balbhadrot, Khangarot, Chaturbhujot
9) Badgujar (Raghav)- Gotra:Vashisht Major shakhas- Sikarwar, Khadad, Lawtamia, Taparia, Madadh (Gotra: Bharadwaj)
10) Gaur- Gotra:Bharadwaj
11) Pundir/Dahima- Gotra:Paulastya Major Shakha-Kalwal/Koolwal
12) Dahiya- Gotra: Vyas (Extinct)
13) Dogra- Gotra: Kashyap
14) Minhas/ Manhas - Gotra:Bharadwaj
Chandravansh:1) Somvanshi - Gotra:Atri
2) Yaduvanshi/Jadaun- Gotra:Kondindya
3) Bhati- Gotra:Atri Major Shakhas- Tabni, Bogha, Lahua, Maheda/Badecha, Rawalot, Sirmauria
4) Haihai/Kaluchari- Gotra:Krishnatreya/Kashyap/Shandilya
5) Jadeja- Gotra?? Major Shakhas-Sarvaia, Raijdas, Vaj
6) Chandel- Gotra:Chandrayan Major Shakhas-Chamarkate, Mohabiye
7) Tomar/Tanwar- Gotra: Gargya/Vyadhrapad Major Shakhas-Runecha, Gvelera, Beruar, Bildaria, Khati, Indoria, Jwala, Ritalia, Somwal, Raikwal, Mohala, Jaggara, Suniar, Jodhana, Namal, Miha, Saidha, Chandoria, Supal, Devat, Meeri, Panwa, Damdera, Ladhwa, Godhewa, Atawari, Sarohe, Jatu, Jairawta, Raghotanwar, Satrawala, Kalia
8) Sengar- Gotra: Gautam Major Shakhas:Chutu, Kadamb, Barhiya, Dahlia, Daharia
9) Bundela- Gotra: Kashyap (Controversial as to whether they are in Chandravansh or a branch of Gaharwar/Rathores) Major Shakhas-Bundela, Kathi, Karmwar (Gotra:Baradwaj), Sarniha .
10) Jhala (Makwana)- Gotra: Kashyap
11)Banafar- Gotra:Kondinya/Kashyap Major Shakha- Pathania
12) Kanhavanshi- Gotra: Bharadwaj
14) Katoch- Gotra: Chib
16) Gargvansh- Gotra:Garg
18) Sen vansh- Bengal, Mandi & Suket in HP.
19) Janwar- Gotra: Kaushik
20) Palwar- Gotra:Vyadhra
21) Bharadwaj- Gotra:Bharadwaj
22) Kaushik- Gotra: Kaushik
1) Bais/Bhale Sultan- Gotra: Bharadwaj Major Shakhas-Kot bahar, Kath, Dondia, Trilokchandi, Pratishthanpuri, Chandosia, Rawat, Kumbhi, Narwaria, Bhale sultan Rishivansh/Brahmkshatriya
2) Gautam (See Suryavansh)
3) Sengar (See Chandravansh)
4) Bisen- Gotra:Parasar Also included in Suryavansh Major Shakhas-Bumtela(Gotra-Shandilya), Bumbwar(Gotra-Bharadwaj), Donwar(Gotra-Kashyap)
5) Dixit/Dikkit- (Gotra-Kashyap) Also included in Suryavansh/Chandravansh.
1) Gautam (See Suryavansh)
2) Sengar (See Chandravansh)
3) Bisen- Gotra:Parasar Also included in Suryavansh Major Shakhas-Bumtela(Gotra-Shandilya), Bumbwar(Gotra-Bharadwaj), Donwar(Gotra-Kashyap)
4)Dixit/Dikkit- (Gotra-Kashyap) Also included in Suryavansh/Chandravansh
Note: All Rajputs are eventually divided in to either Suryavansh or Chandravansh, including those belonging to Agnikul/Nagvansh/Rishivansh. Eg in Agnikul, Chauhan, Parmar & Pratihar are Suryavnshi & Solankis are Chandravanshi. In Nagvansh, Bisen are Suryavanshi. In Rishivansh, Gautam, Bais, Dixit & Pundir are Suryavansi & Dixit(?overlap) & Sengar are Chandravanshi.
- Kasturi, Malavika, Embattled Identities Rajput Lineages, Oxford University Press (2002) ISBN 0-19-565787-X
- Patnaik, Naveen. (1990). A Desert Kingdom: The Rajputs of Bikaner. George Weidenfeld & Nicolson Ltd., London.
- M K A Siddiqui (ed.), Marginal Muslim Communities In India, Institute of Objective Studies, New Delhi (2004)
- W.W. Hunter, The Indian empire, its people, history and products. First published: London, Trubner & Co., Ludgate Hill, 1886. ISBN 81-206-1581-6.
- Dasharatha Sharma Rajasthan through the Ages a comprehensive and authentic history of Rajasthan, prepared under the orders of the Government of Rajasthan. First published 1966 by Rajasthan Archives.
- Elliot, Sir H. M., Edited by Dowson, John. The History of India, as Told by Its Own Historians. The Muhammadan Period; published by London Trubner Company 1867–1877. (Online Copy: The History of India, as Told by Its Own Historians. The Muhammadan Period; by Sir H. M. Elliot; Edited by John Dowson; London Trubner Company 1867–1877 - This online Copy has been posted by: The Packard Humanities Institute; Persian Texts in Translation; Also find other historical books: Author List and Title List)
References and Footnotes
- Rajput Battles
- The Historic Mandore of the Pratihara (Parihar) http://www.justicekansingh.org/the_mandore.htm
- Rajputs Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition; 2005
- Rajput Encyclopedia Britannica; 1911
- British Association of Rajputs
- Yahoo Group of Rajput World
- Rajputs in Rajoa, Dadyal
- The Mewar Encyclopedia
- Thikana Jiliya The Mertia Rathores
- Ek Tha Raja
- Kota Chauhan Clan
- Jodhpur Rathore Clan
- Origin of Rajputs
- Rajput Vansh and Clans
- Rewa Baghel Clan
- Marwari Horse
- Maheronline a resource for Maher community worldwide
- The Mair Rajputs of Punjab
- "Sikh Rajputs" in Punjab and Haryana
- "The Times of India" (Newspaper) - India's 'Rajput diplomacy' in Nepal
- Indian Princely States
- The Salute States
- Vallabh Bhai Integrated states
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