The Rajputs Theories of Origin - Frontier IAS Coaching
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Topic: Unit I- HISTORY: Part A - History, Art, Culture, Literature, Tradition and Heritage of Rajasthan : Major landmarks in the History of Rajasthan from Prehistoric time to close of 18th Century, Important dynasties, their administrative and revenue system.
Origin of Rajput:
- The mid of the 7th century A.D., presents a changing scenario and carves out certain amazing facts.
- The suzerainty of Harsha Vardhan over the entire North India was a landmark in Indian history.
- The way he brought under his sway, different states to establish one organised state was a remarkable feat but in the absence of able and worthy successors, the entire north India was divided into small estates and it remained divided till 12th century.
- In the meantime, many small estates sprang up in western India.
- All of these estates were called ‘Rajput estates’ and the main region where the Rajput dynasties ruled was, in course of time, designated as Rajasthan.
- The Rajputs were brave, fearless and self respecting people.
- It is difficult to trace as to who were the Rajputs and how did they rise to power?
- Historians have propounded a number of theories regarding their origin.
Theories of Origin-
- As per this theory, Rajputs are descendants of the races like Sakas, Kushans, Hunas etc.
- This argument was supported as the Rajputs are also fire worshipers just like the Sakas and Hunas whose main deity was also fire.
- Cunningham described them as the descendants of the Kushanas.
- The Rajputs, according to Tod, are of Scythian origin.
- The term Scythian refers to the Huns and other associated tribes who entered India during the fifth and sixth centuries.
- A.M.T. Jackson described that one race called Khajara lived in Armenia in the 4th century.
- When the Hunas attacked India, Khajaras also entered India and both of them settled here by the later part of the sixth century.
- These Khajaras were called Gurjaras by the Indians.
- In the 10th century, Gujarat was referred to as Gurjara.
- Some scholars believe that the Gurjaras entered India through Afghanistan and settled themselves in different parts of India.
Theory of Descent from Kshatriya Heroes:
- Some Indian scholars do not agree with the theory of foreign origin of Rajputs.
- They assert that the origin of Rajputs came from Suryavanshi and Chandravanshi Kshatriyas.
- The main protagonists of this theory are Vaidya and Ojha etc.
- They assert that Anthropology, Totems and other factors emphasize upon the fact that the origin of Rajputs has been from the indigenous heroes and not from foreign races.
- They have supported their views as under-
(i) Many traditions of the Rajputs resemble the Aryan traditions.
(ii) The physical constitution of Rajputs is like Aryans.
(iii) The rulers of Mewar, Jaipur and Bikaner etc. feel proud of their Aryan ancestry. They consider themselves as Suryavanshi or the descendant of Ram.
(iv) The fire worship among the Rajputs came from the Aryans and not from the foreign races. Indian literature refers to fire worship among the Aryans before the rise of Buddhism. It was not a tradition exclusively among the foreigners.
(v) Likewise the traditions of Sacrifice and Yagana existed among the Aryans.
Theory of Descent from Original Inhabitants of India:
- Some scholars hold that the castes of Rajputs who mainly lived near Vindhyachal mountain, have originated from the original inhabitants of India.
- This theory is supported by the fact that Chandel Rajputs of Bundelkhand originated from the Gonds.
- The famous queen Durgawati belonged to this Gond tribe.
- The modern historians do not give any importance to this theory although there are many supporting proofs.
Origin from Fire (Agnikund):
- This theory was propounded by Chand Bardai in his book ‘Prithviraj Raso’.
- According to this theory some Rajput clans believe that their forefathers were born from the holy fire burnt on the Abu Mountains.
- According to it, when Parshuram killed all Kshatriyas and there remained no Kshatriya on the earth to protect the Brahmins, the Brahmins burnt holy fire on mount Abu and performed Yagna for forty days.
- They prayed to God to grant them for their security a heroic race.
- Ultimately their prayer yielded results and four heroes were born of the Agni Kund (fire place).
- These four heroes founded four lineages of Chauhans, Chalukyas, Parmars and Pratihars.
- Some historians do not agree with it.
- They assert the possibility of a big Yajna performed on mount Abu for converting the foreign races to Hinduism.
- No proof has been available to support this view.
- And so the origin of Rajputs is still a controversy.
Most Plausible Theory of Mixed Origin:
- Though all the above mentioned theories have some truth, still no single theory completely satisfies the historians.
- Historians like V.A. Smith conclude that, “Rajput is a mixed race.”
- Some Rajput castes were the descendants of foreign aggressors like Saka, Kushans and Huns and some were the descendants of ancient Kshatriya clans.
- Who could wield a sword efficiently and fought in the battlefield with extraordinary courage, began to be called as Rajputs transformed into a social group were the Rajputs.
- In the words of V. A. Smith, ‘the term Rajput is used for such a social human group who had no reference to caste and blood relations.
- They are known only as a war loving race who possess sovereignty and the Brahmins designate them as Kshatriyas.
- According to V. A.Smith, the Rajputs were born of various races and castes.
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