|Rajasthan was inhabited
long before 2500 BC and the Indus Valley Civilisation
had its foundation here in north Rajasthan
itself. The Bhil and the Mina tribes were
the earliest dwellers of this area.
Around 1400 BC the Aryans
paid a visit and settled forever in the
area. The local population was pushed down
south and towards the east. Afghans, Turks,
Persians and Mughals followed in mixing
their blood, first in war then in peace,
with the existing original inhabitants.
This blending gave the martial lineage to
From the times of Harsha (7
AD) to the founding of the Delhi Sultanate,
Rajasthan was fragmented in competing kingdoms.
Perhaps it was during this era by their
influence through wealth and power the Rajputs
persuaded the Brahmins to link them with
the sun, the moon and the fire god.
With the passage of time they were divided
into 36 royal clans. Rajasthan finally settled
for a long and lasting reign under the colourful
and vibrant Rajputs. and it's a surprise
that they lasted as long as they did. Considering
that they were at a constant state of aggression;
if not with a foe, then with each other.
After the 14th century their influence declined
in the area.
In came the Mughals who gained
control of the region through the clever
strategy of Akbar, the Mughal Emperor. He
performed matrimonial alliances with the
Rajputs where faced military failure and
thus turned them from fearsome foes to faithful
friends. This proud but very divided race
was thus brought to some order under the
imperial Mughals, by the some deft mixing
of marital and martial relations. Akbar
gave high offices to many Rajput princes
after seeking reconciliation through marriage
to a Rajput princess, Jodha Bai, the daughter
of the Maharaja of Amber. However, the spunk
of the Rajput soul was never really captured,
till the spread of the British colonial
power. However, when the Mughals weakened
they were quick to reassert their dominance.
The Rajputs as a community thus has outlived
the somewhat tribal Delhi Sultanate, the
grand Mughals and the war-like Marathas.
In fact to this day their descendants, though
stripped of their titles and kingdoms, are
revered as rulers by the common man.
of the Rajputs remains somewhat in doubt.
That they were of foreign origin is suggested
by the elaborate genealogies that the Brahmins
(the priest of the Indian Varna or caste system)
created to accord them the Kshatriya (warrior)
caste. Which status they always insisted upon
with almost undue vehemence. The Rajputs traced
their lineage from a mythical fire atop Mt
Abu, a mountain in Rajasthan, (Agni Kula or
the Fire Family), the sun (Suryavanshi or
the Sun Family) and the moon (Chandravanshi
or the Moon Family).
Whatever their lineage, the
Rajputs certainly were the living image
of the knightly noble; handsome, brave -
almost foolhardily so - and living within
an elaborate code of honour and chivalry.
Even then the attitude towards the British
rule were varied and after the quashing
of the 1857 Mutiny and the establishment
of the British Indian Empire, the Rajput
Princely States gained importance with 21
gun salutes, royal polo matches and durbars,
just as they lost its meaning. Yet today
the spirit and the heroic exploits of famous
Rajput warrior-kings, like Prithviraj Chauhan,
Rana Kumbha, and Bhappa Rawal, continue
to echo in the golden sands of Rajputana
in the people's folklore, music and dance.
When India became independent
23 princely states were combined to form
the State of Rajasthan or the abode of rajas
and now has become the foremost destination