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Being from a Rajput family is something I find intriguing, as we descend from the lineages of warriors and kings. However, it is also complex because we are expected to follow a lot of rules. Thus, in this blog post, I would like to define what my family background is and educate people about Rajputs.
Background Info on the Rajput Ancestry
Rajput means King`s Son in Hindi/Urdu as an originally Sanskrit word. Rajput’s are ranked as being Kshatriyas (Warriors/Rulers) on the Varna/Indian caste system. The actual origins of the Rajputs are unknown and disputed. Nevertheless, through Indian mythology, it is believed that we are descended through the lineages of Hindu mythological creatures/individual. However, historical evidence presents that, the Rajputs were the descendants of the 6th-century invaders, like the Hephthalites, who were from central Asia and intermixed with the local Indian population to become the Rajput caste. Finally, some chief’s Indian groups also came to identify as Rajputs.
Once the Rajput caste emerged, the caste began to practise endogamous intermarriages (marrying within the Rajput caste but into different clans). Rajputs abided this principle during wars with men committing saka, wherein they would fight the enemy to their last breath and women committing jauhar by enveloping themselves in the fire to avoid becoming slaves of the enemy. By the 7th century, Rajput started to emerge as great/successful political leaders, kings and warriors through the region of North India (especially the region of Rajputana or modern Rajasthan). This pattern is continued today, where Rajput are included as important political leaders and high-ranking army or government officials of South Asian countries. Finally, in today’s, modern democratic republics of India and Pakistan, the kings and rulers have only become a hereditary figureheads/ symbols of the past and the South Asian culture, as the current governments are elected via democratic voting.
Being from a fully blooded Rajput family, the first thing that comes to my mind is the motto of Aan, Ban, Shan. In English, the motto means, pride, wealth and honour. In Rajputi, Aan or pride is vital, because we feel pride in our ancestor’s achievement of being able to rule and protect the motherland. We also are our proud of our rich heritage along with the impact it has had on the North Indian and Pakistani culture. Next, Ban is a word that means wealth. However, I don’t believe that it only refers to the material wealth of Rajput’s owning gold/jewels, land and property, and having lots of money. It also refers to how, Rajputs are wealthy of loyalty, pride, honour, chivalry, physical and emotional strength. Finally, Shan means honour, which is huge for Rajputs, because we value our traditions, and adhere to our strict niyam or rules to fulfil our obligations. Finally, our niyam/rules tend to vary depending on the regions/society we live in. However, Rajputs are mainly required to live with keeping our motto of Aan, Ban, Shan in mind and are encouraged to try to live a respectable life in which, we can do good for the universe and humanity.
To conclude this, post off, I would like to add the Rajputi culture is very rich. This is because, we include the customs and traditions of respecting/protecting women, giving presents to each other during weddings and important ceremonies, respecting others, training ourselves in martial arts, and finally, continue to remain a distinct group by marrying into our Rajput caste.
- Bundela, H S et al. “Rajput | Indian History”. Encyclopedia Britannica.2017.Web. 6 Feb. 2017 . <https://www.britannica.com/topic/Rajput>.