The Tribes and Castes of the Central Provinces of India - Volume IV of IV - Kumhar-Yemkala
by R.V. Russell
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Rajput, Bagri

Rajput, Bagri.—This clan is found in small numbers in the Hoshangabad and Seoni Districts. The name Bagri, Malcolm says, [498] is derived from that large tract of plain called Bagar or 'hedge of thorns,' the Bagar being surrounded by ridges of wooded hills on all sides as if by a hedge. The Bagar is the plain country of the Bikaner State, and any Jat or Rajput coming from this tract is called Bagri. [499] The Rajputs of Bikaner are Rathors, but they are not numerous, and the great bulk of the people are Jats. Hence it is probable that the Bagris of the Central Provinces were originally Jats. In Seoni they say that they are Baghel Rajputs, but this claim is unsupported by any tradition or evidence. In Central India the Bagris are professed robbers and thieves, but these seem to be a separate group, a section of the Badhak or Bawaria dacoits, and derived from the aboriginal population of Central India. The Bagris of Seoni are respectable cultivators and own a number of villages. They rank higher than the local Panwars and wear the sacred thread, but will remove dead cattle with their own hands. They marry among themselves.

Rajput, Bais

Rajput, Bais. [500]—The Bais are one of the thirty-six royal races. Colonel Tod considered them a branch of the Surajvansi, but according to their own account their eponymous ancestor was Salivahana, the mythic son of a snake, who conquered the great Raja Vikramaditya of Ujjain and fixed his own era in A.D. 55. This is the Saka era, and Salivahana was the leader of the Saka nomads who invaded Gujarat on two occasions, before and shortly after the beginning of the Christian era. It is suggested in the article on Rajput that the Yadava lunar clan are the representatives of these Sakas, and if this were correct the Bais would be a branch of the lunar race. The fact that they are snake-worshippers is in favour of their connection with the Yadavas and other clans, who are supposed to represent the Scythian invaders of the first and subsequent centuries, and had the legend of being descended from a snake. The Bais, Mr. Crooke says, believe that no snake has destroyed, or ever can destroy, one of the clan. They seem to take no precautions against the bite except hanging a vessel of water at the head of the sufferer, with a small tube at the bottom, from which the water is poured on his head as long as he can bear it. The cobra is, in fact, the tribal god. The name is derived by Mr. Crooke from the Sanskrit Vaishya, one who occupies the soil. The principal hero of the Bais was Tilokchand, who is supposed to have come from the Central Provinces. He lived about A.D. 1400, and was the premier Raja of Oudh. He extended his dominions over all the tract known as Baiswara, which comprises the bulk of the Rai Bareli and Unao Districts, and is the home of the Bais Rajputs. The descendants of Tilokchand form a separate subdivision known as Tilokchandi Bais, who rank higher than the ordinary Bais, and will not eat with them. The Bais Rajputs are found all over the United Provinces. In the Central Provinces they have settled in small numbers in the northern and eastern Districts.

Rajput, Baksaria

Rajput, Baksaria.—A small clan found principally in the Bilaspur District, who derive their name from Baxar in Bengal. They were accustomed to send a litter, that is to say, a girl of their clan, to the harem of each Mughal Emperor, and this has degraded them. They allow widow-marriage, and do not wear the sacred thread. It is probable that they marry among themselves, as other Rajputs do not intermarry with them, and they are no doubt an impure group with little pretension to be Rajputs. The name Baksaria is found in the United Provinces as a territorial subcaste of several castes.

Rajput, Banaphar

Rajput, Banaphar.—Mr. Crooke states that this sept is a branch of the Yadavas, and hence it is of the lunar race. The sept is famous on account of the exploits of the heroes Alha and Udal who belonged to it, and who fought for the Chandel kings of Mahoba and Khajuraha in their wars against Prithwi Raj Chauhan, the king of Delhi. The exploits of Alha and Udal form the theme of poems still well known and popular in Bundelkhand, to which the sept belongs. The Banaphars have only a moderately respectable rank among Rajputs. [501]

Rajput, Bhadauria

Rajput, Bhadauria.—An important clan who take their name from the village of Bhadawar near Ater, south of the Jumna. They are probably a branch of the Chauhans, being given as such by Colonel Tod and Sir H.M. Elliot. [502] Mr. Crooke remarks [503] that the Chauhans are disposed to deny this relationship, now that from motives of convenience the two tribes have begun to intermarry. If they are, as supposed, an offshoot of the Chauhans, this is an instance of the subdivision of a large clan leading to intermarriage between two sections, which has probably occurred in other instances also. This clan is returned from the Hoshangabad District.

Rajput, Bisen

Rajput, Bisen.—This clan belongs to the United Provinces and Oudh. They do not appear in history before the time of Akbar, and claim descent from a well-known Brahman saint and a woman of the Surajvansi Rajputs whom he married. The Bisens occupy a respectable position among Rajputs, and intermarry with other good clans.

Rajput, Bundela

Rajput, Bundela.—A well-known clan of Rajputs of somewhat inferior position, who have given their name to Bundelkhand, or the tract comprised principally in the Districts of Saugor, Damoh, Jhansi, Hamirpur and Banda, and the Panna, Orchha, Datia and other States. The Bundelas are held to be derived from the Gaharwar or Gherwal Rajputs, and there is some reason for supposing that these latter were originally an aristocratic section of the Bhar tribe with some infusion of Rajput blood. But the Gaharwars now rank almost with the highest clans. According to tradition one of the Gaharwar Rajas offered a sacrifice of his own head to the Vindhya-basini Devi or the goddess of the Vindhya hills, and out of the drops (bund) of blood which fell on the altar a boy was born. He returned to Panna and founded the clan which bears the name Bundela, from bund, a drop. [504] It is probable that, as suggested by Captain Luard, the name is really a corruption of Vindhya or Vindhyela, a dweller in the Vindhya hills, where, according to their own tradition, the clan had its birth. The Bundelas became prominent in the thirteenth or fourteenth century, after the fall of the Chandels. "Orchha became the chief of the numerous Bundela principalities; but its founder drew upon himself everlasting infamy, by putting to death the wise Abul Fazl, the historian and friend of the magnanimous Akbar, and the encomiast and advocate of the Hindu race. From the period of Akbar the Bundelas bore a distinguished part in all the grand conflicts, to the very close of the monarchy." [505]

The Bundelas held the country up to the Nerbudda in the Central Provinces, and, raiding continually into the Gond territories south of the Nerbudda on the pretence of protecting the sacred cow which the Gonds used for ploughing, they destroyed the castle on Chauragarh in Narsinghpur on a crest of the Satpuras, and reduced the Nerbudda valley to subjection. The most successful chieftain of the tribe was Chhatarsal, the Raja of Panna, in the eighteenth century, who was virtually ruler of all Bundelkhand; his dominions extending from Banda in the north to Jubbulpore in the south, and from Rewah in the east to the Betwa River in the west. But he had to call in the help of the Peshwa to repel an invasion of the Mughal armies, and left a third of his territory by will to the Marathas. Chhatarsal left twenty-two legitimate and thirty illegitimate sons, and their descendants now hold several small Bundela States, while the territories left to the Peshwa subsequently became British. The chiefs of Panna, Orchha, Datia, Chhatarpur and numerous other small states in the Bundelkhand agency are Bundela Rajputs. [506] The Bundelas of Saugor do not intermarry with the good Rajput clans, but with an inferior group of Panwars and another clan called Dhundhele, perhaps an offshoot of the Panwars, who are also residents of Saugor. Their character, as disclosed in a number of proverbial sayings and stories current regarding them, somewhat resembles that of the Scotch highlanders as depicted by Stevenson. They are proud and penurious to the last degree, and quick to resent the smallest slight. They make good shikaris or sportsmen, but are so impatient of discipline that they have never found a vocation by enlisting in the Indian Army. Their characteristics are thus described in a doggerel verse: "The Bundelas salute each other from miles apart, their pagris are cocked on the side of the head till they touch the shoulders. A Bundela would dive into a well for the sake of a cowrie, but would fight with the Sardars of Government." No Bania could go past a Bundela's house riding on a pony or holding up an umbrella; and all low-caste persons who passed his house must salute it with the words, Diwan ji ko Ram Ram. Women must take their shoes off to pass by. It is related that a few years ago a Bundela was brought up before the Assistant Commissioner, charged with assaulting a tahsil process-server, and threatening him with his sword. The Bundela, who was very poor and wearing rags, was asked by the magistrate whether he had threatened the man with his sword. He replied "Certainly not; the sword is for gentlemen like you and me of equal position. To him, if I had wished to beat him I would have taken my shoe." Another story is that there was once a very overbearing Tahsildar, who had a shoe 2 1/2 feet long with which he used to collect the land revenue. One day a Bundela malguzar appeared before him on some business. The Tahsildar kept his seat. The Bundela walked quietly up to the table and said, "Will the Sirkar step aside with me for a moment, as I have something private to say." The Tahsildar got up and walked aside with him, on which the Bundela said, 'That is sufficient, I only wished to tell you that you should rise to receive me.' When the Bundelas are collected at a feast they sit with their hands folded across their stomachs and their eyes turned up, and remain impassive while food is being put on their plates, and never say, 'Enough,' because they think that they would show themselves to be feeble men if they refused to eat as much as was put before them. Much of the food is thus ultimately wasted, and given to the sweepers, and this leads to great extravagance at marriages and other ceremonial occasions. The Bundelas were much feared and were not popular landlords, but they are now losing their old characteristics and settling down into respectable cultivators.

Rajput, Chandel

Rajput, Chandel.—An important clan of Rajputs, of which a small number reside in the northern Districts of Saugor, Damoh and Jubbulpore, and also in Chhattisgarh. The name is derived by Mr. Crooke from the Sanskrit chandra, the moon. The Chandel are not included in the thirty-six royal races, and are supposed to have been a section of one of the indigenous tribes which rose to power. Mr. V.A. Smith states that the Chandels, like several other dynasties, first came into history early in the ninth century, when Nannuka Chandel about A.D. 831 overthrew a Parihar chieftain and became lord of the southern parts of Jejakabhukti or Bundelkhand. Their chief towns were Mahoba and Kalanjar in Bundelkhand, and they gradually advanced northwards till the Jumna became the frontier between their dominions and those of Kanauj. They fought with the Gujar-Parihar kings of Kanauj and the Kalachuris of Chedi, who had their capital at Tewar in Jubbulpore, and joined in resisting the incursions of the Muhammadans. In A.D. 1182 Parmal, the Chandel king, was defeated by Prithwi Raja, the Chauhan king of Delhi, after the latter had abducted the Chandel's daughter. This was the war in which Alha and Udal, the famous Banaphar heroes, fought for the Chandels, and it is commemorated in the Chand-Raisa, a poem still well known to the people of Bundelkhand. In A.D. 1203 Kalanjar was taken by the Muhammadan Kutb-ud-Din Ibak, and the importance of the Chandel rulers came to an end, though they lingered on as purely local chiefs until the sixteenth century. The Chandel princes were great builders, and beautified their chief towns, Mahoba, Kalanjar and Khajuraho with many magnificent temples and lovely lakes, formed by throwing massive dams across the openings between the hills. [507] Among these were great irrigation works in the Hamirpur District, the forts of Kalanjar and Ajaighar, and the noble temples at Khajuraho and Mahoba. [508] Even now the ruins of old forts and temples in the Saugor and Damoh Districts are attributed by the people to the Chandels, though many were in fact probably constructed by the Kalachuris of Chedi.

Mr. Smith derives the Chandels either from the Gonds or Bhars, but inclines to the view that they were Gonds. The following considerations tend, I venture to think, to favour the hypothesis of their origin from the Bhars. According to the best traditions, the Gonds came from the south, and practically did not penetrate to Bundelkhand. Though Saugor and Damoh contain a fair number of Gonds they have never been of importance there, and this is almost their farthest limit to the north-west. The Gond States in the Central Provinces did not come into existence for several centuries after the commencement of the Chandel dynasty, and while there are authentic records of all these states, the Gonds have no tradition of their dominance in Bundelkhand. The Gonds have nowhere else built such temples as are attributed to the Chandels at Khajuraho, whilst the Bhars were famous builders. "In Mirzapur traces of the Bhars abound on all sides in the shape of old tanks and village forts. The bricks found in the Bhar-dihs or forts are of enormous dimensions, and frequently measure 19 by 11 inches, and are 2 1/4 inches thick. In quality and size they are similar to bricks often seen in ancient Buddhist buildings. The old capital of the Bhars, five miles from Mirzapur, is said to have had 150 temples." [509] Elliot remarks [510] that "common tradition assigns to the Bhars the possession of the whole tract from Gorakhpur to Bundelkhand and Saugor, and many old stone forts, embankments and subterranean caverns in Gorakhpur, Azamgarh, Jaunpur, Mirzapur and Allahabad, which are ascribed to them, would seem to indicate no inconsiderable advance in civilisation." Though there are few or no Bhars now in Bundelkhand, there are a large number of Pasis in Allahabad which partly belongs to it, and small numbers in Bundelkhand; and the Pasi caste is mainly derived from the Bhars; [511] while a Gaharwar dynasty, which is held to be derived from the Bhars, was dominant in Bundelkhand and Central India before the rise of the Chandels. According to one legend, the ancestor of the Chandels was born with the moon as a father from the daughter of the high priest of the Gaharwar Raja Indrajit of Benares or of Indrajit himself. [512] As will be seen, the Gaharwars were an aristocratic section of the Bhars. Another legend states that the first Chandel was the offspring of the moon by the daughter of a Brahman Pandit of Kalanjar. [513] In his Notes on the Bhars of Bundelkhand [514] Mr. Smith argues that the Bhars adopted the Jain religion, and also states that several of the temples at Khajuraho and Mahoba, erected in the eleventh century, are Jain. These were presumably erected by the Chandels, but I have never seen it suggested that the Gonds were Jains or were capable of building Jain temples in the eleventh century. Mr. Smith also states that Maniya Deo, to whom a temple exists at Mahoba, was the tutelary deity of the Chandels; and that the only other shrine of Maniya Deo discovered by him in the Hamirpur District was in a village reputed formerly to have been held by the Bhars. [515] Two instances of intercourse between the Chandels and Gonds are given, but the second of them, that the Rani Durgavati of Mandla was a Chandel princess, belongs to the sixteenth century, and has no bearing on the origin of the Chandels. The first instance, that of the Chandel Raja Kirat Singh hunting at Maniagarh with the Gond Raja of Garha-Mandla, cannot either be said to furnish any real evidence in favour of a Gond origin for the Chandels; it maybe doubted whether there was any Gond Raja of Garha-Mandla till after the fall of the Kalachuri dynasty of Tewar, which is quite close to Garha-Mandla, in the twelfth century; and a reference so late as this would not affect the question. [516] Finally, the Chandels are numerous in Mirzapur, which was formerly the chief seat of the Bhars, while the Gonds have never been either numerous or important in Mirzapur. These considerations seem to point to the possibility of the derivation of the Chandels from the Bhars rather than from the Gonds; and the point is perhaps of some interest in view of the suggestion in the article on Kol that the Gonds did not arrive in the Central Provinces for some centuries after the rise of the Chandel dynasty of Khajuraho and Mahoba. The Chandels may have simply been a local branch of the Gaharwars, who obtained a territorial designation from Chanderi, or in some other manner, as has continually happened in the case of other clans. The Gaharwars were probably derived from the Bhars. The Chandels now rank as a good Rajput clan, and intermarry with the other leading clans.

Rajput, Chauhan

Rajput, Chauhan.—The Chauhan was the last of the Agnikula or fire-born clans, According to the legend: "Again Vasishtha seated on the lotus prepared incantations; again he called the gods to aid; and as he poured forth the libation a figure arose, lofty in stature, of elevated front, hair like jet, eyes rolling, breast expanded, fierce, terrific, clad in armour with quiver filled, a bow in one hand and a brand in the other, quadriform (Chaturanga), whence his name was given as Chauhan." This account makes the Chauhan the most important of the fire-born clans, and Colonel Tod says that he was the most valiant of the Agnikulas, and it may be asserted not of them only but of the whole Rajput race; and though the swords of the Rahtors would be ready to contest the point, impartial decision must assign to the Chauhan the van in the long career of arms. [517] General Cunningham shows that even so late as the time of Prithwi Raj in the twelfth century the Chauhans had no claim to be sprung from fire, but were content to be considered descendants of a Brahman sage Bhrigu. [518] Like the other Agnikula clans the Chauhans are now considered to have sprung from the Gurjara or White Hun invaders of the fifth and sixth centuries, but I do not know whether this is held to be definitely proved in their case. Sambhar and Ajmer in Rajputana appear to have been the first home of the clan, and inscriptions record a long line of thirty-nine kings as reigning there from Anhul, the first created Chauhan. The last but one of them, Vigraha Raja or Bisal Deo, in the middle of the twelfth century extended the ancestral dominions considerably, and conquered Delhi from a chief of the Tomara clan. At this time the Chauhans, according to their own bards, held the line of the Nerbudda from Garha-Mandla to Maheshwar and also Asirgarh, while their dominions extended north to Hissar and south to the Aravalli hills. [519] The nephew of Bisal Deo was Prithwi Raj, the most famous Chauhan hero, who ruled at Sambhar, Ajmer and Delhi. His first exploit was the abduction of the daughter of Jaichand, the Gaharwar Raja of Kanauj, in about A.D. 1175. The king of Kanauj had claimed the title of universal sovereign and determined to celebrate the Ashwa-Medha or horse-sacrifice, at which all the offices should be performed by vassal kings. Prithwi Raj alone declined to attend as a subordinate, and Jaichand therefore made a wooden image of him and set it up at the gate in the part of doorkeeper. But when his daughter after the tournament took the garland of flowers to bestow it on the chief whom she chose for her husband, she passed by all the assembled nobles and threw the garland on the neck of the wooden image. At this moment Prithwi Raj dashed in with a few companions, and catching her up, escaped with her from her father's court. [520] Afterwards, in 1182, Prithwi Raj defeated the Chandel Raja Parmal and captured Mahoba. In 1191 Prithwi Raj was the head of a confederacy of Hindu princes in combating the invasion of Muhammad Ghori. He repelled the Muhammadans at Tarain about two miles north of Delhi, but in the following year was completely defeated and killed at Thaneswar, and soon afterwards Delhi and Ajmer fell to the Muhammadans. The Chauhan kingdom was broken up, but scattered parts of it remained, and about A.D. 1307 Asirgarh in Nimar, which continued to be held by the Chauhans, was taken by Ala-ud-Din Khilji and the whole garrison put to the sword except one boy. This boy, Raisi Chauhan, escaped to Rajputana, and according to the bardic chronicle his descendants formed the Hara branch of the Chauhans and conquered from the Minas the tract known as Haravati, from which they perhaps took their name. [521] This is now comprised in the Kotah and Bundi states, ruled by Hara chiefs. Another well-known offshoot from the Chauhans are the Khichi clan, who belong to the Sind-Sagar Doab; and the Nikumbh and Bhadauria clans are also derived from them. The Chauhans are numerous in the Punjab and United Provinces and rank as one of the highest Rajput clans. In the Central Provinces they are found principally in the Narsinghpur and Hoshangabad Districts, and also in Mandla. The Chauhan Rajputs of Mandla marry among themselves, with other Chauhans of Mandla, Seoni and Balaghat They have exogamous sections with names apparently derived from villages like an ordinary caste. The remarriage of widows is forbidden, but those widows who desire to do so go and live with a man and are put out of caste. This, however, is said not to happen frequently. A widow's hair is not shaved, but her glass bangles are broken, she is dressed in white, made to sleep on the ground, and can wear no ornaments. Owing to the renown of the clan their name has been adopted by numerous classes of inferior Rajputs and low Hindu castes who have no right to it. Thus in the Punjab a large subcaste of Chamars call themselves Chauhan, and in the Bilaspur District a low caste of village watchmen go by this name. These latter may be descendants of the illegitimate offspring of Chauhan Rajputs by low-caste women.

Rajput, Dhakar

Rajput, Dhakar.—In the Central Provinces this term has the meaning of one of illegitimate descent, and it is often used by the Kirars, who are probably of mixed descent from Rajputs. In northern India, however, the Dhakars are a clan of Rajputs, who claim Surajvansi origin; but this is not generally admitted. Mr. Crooke states that some are said to be emigrants from the banks of the Nerbudda; but the main body say they came from Ajmer in the sixteenth century. They were notorious in the eighteenth century for their lawlessness, and gave the imperial Mughal officers much trouble in the neighbourhood of Agra, rendering the communications between that city and Etawah insecure. In the Mutiny they broke out again, and are generally a turbulent, ill-conducted sept, always ready for petty acts of violence and cattle-stealing. They are, however, recognised as Rajputs of good position and intermarry with the best clans. [522]

In the Central Provinces the Dhakars are found principally in Hoshangabad, and it is doubtful if they are proper Rajputs.

Rajput, Gaharwar

Rajput, Gaharwar, Gherwal.—This is an old clan. Mr. V.A. Smith states that they had been dominant in Central India about Nowgong and Chhatarpur before the Parihars in the eighth century. The Parihar kings were subsequently overthrown by the Chandels of Mahoba. In their practice of building embankments and constructing lakes the Chandels were imitators of the Gaharwars, who are credited with the formation of some of the most charming lakes in Bundelkhand. [523] And in A.D. 1090 a Raja of the Gaharwar clan called Chandradeva seized Kanauj (on the Ganges north-west of Lucknow), and established his authority certainly over Benares and Ajodhia, and perhaps over the Delhi territory. Govindachandra, grandson of Chandradeva, enjoyed a long reign, which included the years A.D. 1114 and 1154. His numerous land grants and widely distributed coins prove that he succeeded to a large extent in restoring the glories of Kanauj, and in making himself a power of considerable importance. The grandson of Govindachandra was Jayachandra, renowned in the popular Hindu poems and tales of northern India as Raja Jaichand, whose daughter was carried off by the gallant Rai Pithora or Prithwi Raj of Ajmer. Kanauj was finally captured and destroyed by Shihab-ud-Din in 1193, when Jaichand retired towards Benares but was overtaken and slain. [524] His grandson, Mr. Crooke says, [525] afterwards fled to Kantit in the Mirzapur District and, overcoming the Bhar Raja of that place, founded the family of the Gaharwar Rajas of Kantit Bijaypur, which was recently still in existence. All the other Gaharwars trace their lineage to Benares or Bijaypur. The predecessors of the Gaharwars in Kantit and in a large tract of country lying contiguous to it were the Bhars, an indigenous race of great enterprise, who, though not highly civilised, were far removed from barbarism. According to Sherring they have left numerous evidences of their energy and skill in earthworks, forts, dams and the like. [526] Similarly Elliot says of the Bhars: "Common tradition assigns to them the possession of the whole tract from Gorakhpur to Bundelkhand and Saugor, and the large pargana of Bhadoi or Bhardai in Benares is called after their name. Many old stone forts, embankments and subterranean caverns in Gorakhpur, Azamgarh, Jaunpur, Mirzapur and Allahabad, which are ascribed to them, would seem to indicate no inconsiderable advance in civilisation." [527] Colonel Tod says of the Gaharwars: "The Gherwal Rajput is scarcely known to his brethren in Rajasthan, who will not admit his contaminated blood to mix with theirs, though as a brave warrior he is entitled to their fellowship." [528] It is thus curious that the Gaharwars, who are one of the oldest clans to appear in authentic history, if they ruled Central India in the eighth century before the Parihars, should be considered to be of very impure origin. And as they are subsequently found in Mirzapur, a backward forest tract which is also the home of the Bhars, and both the Gaharwars and Bhars have a reputation as builders of tanks and forts, it seems likely that the Gaharwars were really, as suggested by Mr. V.A. Smith, the aristocratic branch of the Bhars, probably with a considerable mixture of Rajput blood. Elliot states that the Bhars formerly occupied the whole of Azamgarh, the pargana of Bara in Allahabad and Khariagarh in the Kanauj tract. This widespread dominance corresponds with what has been already stated as regards the Gaharwars, who, according to Mr. V.A. Smith, ruled in Central India, Kanauj, Oudh, Benares and Mirzapur. And the name Gaharwar, according to Dr. Hoernle, is connected with the Sanskrit root gah, and has the sense of 'dwellers in caves or deep jungle.' [529] The origin of the Gaharwars is of interest in the Central Provinces, because it is from them that the Bundela clan of Saugor and Bundelkhand is probably descended. [530]

The Gaharwars, Mr. Crooke states, now hold a high rank among Rajput septs; they give daughters to the Baghel, Chandel and Bisen, and take brides of the Bais, Gautam, Chauhan, Parihar and other clans. The Gaharwars are found in small numbers in the Central Provinces, chiefly in the Chhattisgarh Districts and Feudatory States.

Rajput, Gaur

Rajput, Gaur, Chamar Gaur.—Colonel Tod remarks of this tribe: "The Gaur tribe was once respected in Rajasthan, though it never there attained to any considerable eminence. The ancient kings of Bengal were of this race, and gave their name to the capital, Lakhnauti." This town in Bengal, and the kingdom of which it was the capital, were known as Ganda, and it has been conjectured that the Gaur Brahmans and Rajputs were named after it. Sir H.M. Elliot and Mr. Crooke, however, point out that the home of the Gaur Brahmans and Rajputs and a cultivating caste, the Gaur Tagas, is in the centre and west of the United Provinces, far removed from Bengal; the Gaur Brahmans now reside principally in the Meerut Division, and between them and Bengal is the home of the Kanaujia Brahmans. General Cunningham suggests that the country comprised in the present Gonda District round the old town of Sravasti, was formerly known as Gauda, and was hence the origin of the caste name. [531] The derivation from Gaur in Bengal is perhaps, however, more probable, as the name was best known in connection with this tract. The Gaur Rajputs do not make much figure in history. "Repeated mention of them is found in the wars of Prithwi Raj as leaders of considerable renown, one of whom founded a small state in the centre of India. This survived through seven centuries of Mogul domination, till it at length fell a prey indirectly to the successes of the British over the Marathas, when Sindhia in 1809 annihilated the power of the Gaur and took possession of his capital, Supur." [532]

In the United Provinces the Gaur Rajputs are divided into three groups, the Bahman, or Brahman, the Bhat, and the Chamar Gaur. Of these the Chamar Gaur, curiously enough appear to rank the highest, which is accounted for by the following story: When trouble fell upon the Gaur family, one of their ladies, far advanced in pregnancy, took refuge in a Chamar's house, and was so grateful to him for his disinterested protection that she promised to call her child by his name. The Bhats and Brahmans, to whom the others fled, do not appear to have shown a like chivalry, and hence, strange as it may appear, the subdivisions called after their name rank below the Chamar Gaur. [533] The names of the subsepts indicate that this clan of Rajputs is probably of mixed origin. If the Brahman subsept is descended from Brahmans, it would be only one of several probable cases of Rajput clans originating from this caste. As regards the Bhat subcaste, the Charans or Bhats of Rajputana are admittedly Rajputs, and there is therefore nothing curious in finding a Bhat subsection in a Rajput clan. What the real origin of the Chamar Gaurs was is difficult to surmise. The Chamar Gaur is now a separate clan, and its members intermarry with the other Gaur Rajputs, affording an instance of the subdivision of clans. In the Central Provinces the greater number of the persons returned as Gaur Rajputs really belong to a group known as Gorai, who are considered to be the descendants of widows or kept women in the Gaur clan, and marry among themselves. They should really therefore be considered a separate caste, and not members of the Rajput caste proper. In the United Provinces the Gaurs rank with the good Rajput clans. In the Central Provinces the Gaur and Chamar-Gaur clans are returned from most Districts of the Jubbulpore and Nerbudda divisions, and also in considerable numbers from Bhandara.

Rajput, Haihaya

Rajput, Haihaya, Haihaivansi, Kalaehuri.—This well-known historical clan of the Central Provinces is not included among the thirty-six royal races, and Colonel Tod gives no information about them. The name Haihaya is stated to be a corruption of Ahihaya, which means snake-horse, the legend being that the first ancestor of the clan was the issue of a snake and a mare. Haihaivansi signifies descendants of the horse. Colonel Tod states that the first capital of the Indu or lunar race was at Mahesvati on the Nerbudda, still existing as Maheshwar, and was founded by Sahasra Arjuna of the Haihaya tribe. [534] This Arjuna of the thousand arms was one of the Pandava brothers, and it may be noted that the Ratanpur Haihaivansis still have a story of their first ancestor stealing a horse from Arjuna, and a consequent visit of Arjuna and Krishna to Ratanpur for its recovery. Since the Haihayas also claim descent from a snake and are of the lunar race, it seems not unlikely that they may have belonged to one of the Scythian or Tartar tribes, the Sakas or Yueh-chi, who invaded India shortly after the commencement of the Christian era, as it has been conjectured that the other lunar Rajput clans worshipping or claiming descent from a snake originated from these tribes. The Haihaivansis or Kalachuris became dominant in the Nerbudda valley about the sixth century, their earliest inscription being dated A.D. 580. Their capital was moved to Tripura or Tewar near Jubbulpore about A.D. 900, and from here they appear to have governed an extensive territory for about 300 years, and were frequently engaged in war with the adjoining kingdoms, the Chandels of Mahoba, the Panwars of Malwa, and the Chalukyas of the south. One king, Gangeyadeva, appears even to have aspired to become the paramount power in northern India, and his sovereignty was recognised in distant Tirhut. Gangeyadeva was fond of residing at the foot of the holy fig-tree of Prayaga (Allahabad), and eventually found salvation there with his hundred wives. From about A.D. 1100 the power of the Kalachuri or Haihaya princes began to decline, and their last inscription is dated A.D. 1196. It is probable that they were subverted by the Gond kings of Garha-Mandla, the first of whom, Jadurai, appears to have been in the service of the Kalachuri king, and subsequently with the aid of a dismissed minister to have supplanted his former-master. [535] The kingdom of the Kalachuri or Haihaya kings was known as Chedi, and, according to Mr. V.A. Smith, corresponded more or less roughly to the present area of the Central Provinces. [536]

In about the tenth century a member of the reigning family of Tripura was appointed viceroy of some territories in Chhattisgarh, and two or three generations afterwards his family became practically independent of the parent house, and established their own capital at Ratanpur in Bilaspur District (A.D. 1050). This state was known as Dakshin or southern Kosala. During the twelfth century its importance rapidly increased, partly no doubt on the ruins of the Jubbulpore kingdom, until the influence of the Ratanpur princes, Ratnadeva II. and Prithwideva II., may be said to have extended from Amarkantak to beyond the Godavari, and from the confines of Berar in the west to the boundaries of Orissa in the east. [537] The Ratanpur kingdom of Chedi or Dakshin Kosala was the only one of the Rajput states in the Central Provinces which escaped subversion by the Gonds, and it enjoyed a comparatively tranquil existence till A.D. 1740, when Ratanpur fell to the Marathas almost without striking a blow. "The only surviving representative of the Haihayas of Ratanpur," Mr. Wills states, [538] "is a quite simple-minded Rajput who lives at Bargaon in Raipur District. He represents the junior or Raipur branch of the family, and holds five villages which were given him revenue-free by the Marathas for his maintenance. The malguzar of Senduras claims descent from the Ratanpur family, but his pretensions are doubtful. He enjoys no privileges such as those of the Bargaon Thakur, to whom presents are still made when he visits the chiefs who were once subordinate to his ancient house." In the Ballia District of the United Provinces [539] are some Hayobans Rajputs who claim descent from the Ratanpur kings. Chandra Got, a cadet of this house, is said to have migrated northwards in A.D. 850 [540] and settled in the Saran District on the Ganges, where he waged successful war with the aboriginal Cheros. Subsequently one of his descendants violated a Brahman woman called Maheni of the house of his Purohit or family priest, who burnt herself to death, and is still locally worshipped. After this tragedy the Hayobans Rajputs left Saran and settled in Ballia. Colonel Tod states that, "A small branch of these ancient Haihayas yet exist in the country of the Nerbudda, near the very top of the valley, at Sohagpur in Baghelkhand, aware of their ancient lineage, and, though few in number, are still celebrated for their valour." [541] This Sohagpur must apparently be the Sohagpur tahsil of Rewah, ceded from Mandla after the Mutiny.

Rajput, Huna

Rajput, Huna, Hoon.—This clan retains the name and memory of the Hun barbarian hordes, who invaded India at or near the epoch of their incursions into Europe. It is practically extinct; but in his Western India Colonel Tod records the discovery of a few families of Hunas in Baroda State: "At a small village opposite Ometa I discovered a few huts of Huns, still existing under the ancient name of Hoon, by which they are known to Hindu history. There are said to be three or four families of them at the village of Trisavi, three kos from Baroda, and although neither feature nor complexion indicate much relation to the Tartar-visaged Hun, we may ascribe the change to climate and admixture of blood, as there is little doubt that they are descended from these invaders, who established a sovereignty on the Indus in the second and sixth centuries of the Christian era, and became so incorporated with the Rajput population as to obtain a place among the thirty-six royal races of India, together with the Gete, the Kathi, and other tribes of the Sacae from Central Asia, whose descendants still occupy the land of the sun-worshipping Saura or Chaura, no doubt one of the same race."

Rajput, Kachhwaha

Rajput, Kachhwaha, Cutchwaha—A celebrated clan of Rajputs included among the thirty-six royal races, to which the Maharajas of the important states of Amber or Jaipur and Alwar belong. They are of the solar race and claim descent from Kash, the second son of the great king Rama of Ajodhia, the incarnation of Vishnu. Their original seat, according to tradition, was Rohtas on the Son river, and another of their famous progenitors was Raja Nal, who migrated from Rohtas and founded Narwar. [542] The town of Damoh in the Central Provinces is supposed to be named after Damyanti, Raja Nal's wife. According to General Cunningham the name Kachhwaha is an abbreviation of Kachhaha-ghata or tortoise-killer. The earliest appearance of the Kachhwaha Rajputs in authentic history is in the tenth century, when a chief of the clan captured Gwalior from the Parihar-Gujar kings of Kanauj and established himself there. His dynasty had an independent existence till A.D. 1128, when it became tributary to the Chandel kings of Mahoba. [543] The last prince of Gwalior was Tejkaran, called Dulha Rai or the bridegroom prince, and he received from his father-in-law the district of Daora in the present Jaipur State, where he settled. In 1150 one of his successors wrested Amber from the Minas and made it his capital. The Amber State from the first acknowledged the supremacy of the Mughal emperors, and the chief of the period gave his daughter in marriage to Akbar. This chief's son, Bhagwan Das, is said to have saved Akbar's life at the battle of Sarnal. Bhagwan Das gave a daughter to Jahangir, and his adopted son, Man Singh, the next chief, was one of the most conspicuous of the Mughal Generals, and at different periods was governor of Kabul, Bengal, Bihar and the Deccan. The next chief of note, Jai Singh I., appears in all the wars of Aurangzeb in the Deccan. He was commander of 6000 horse, and captured Sivaji, the celebrated founder of the Maratha power. The present city of Jaipur was founded by a subsequent chief, Jai Singh II., in 1728. During the Mutiny the Maharaja of Jaipur placed all his military power at the disposal of the Political Agent, and in every way assisted the British Government. At the Durbar of 1877 his salute was raised to 21 guns. Jaipur, one of the largest states in Rajputana, has an area of nearly 16,000 square miles, and a population of 2 1/2 million persons. The Alwar State was founded about 1776 by Pratap Singh, a descendant of a prince of the Jaipur house, who had separated from it three centuries before. It has an area of 3000 square miles and a population of nearly a million. [544] In Colonel Tod's time the Kachhwaha chiefs in memory of their descent from Rama, the incarnation of the sun, celebrated with great solemnity the annual feast of the sun. On this occasion a stately car called the chariot of the sun was brought from Rama's temple, and the Maharaja ascending into it perambulated his capital. The images of Rama and Siva were carried with the army both in Alwar and Jaipur. The banner of Amber was always called the Panchranga or five-coloured flag, and is frequently mentioned in the traditions of the Rajput bards. But it does not seem to be stated what the five colours were. Some of the finest soldiers in the old Sepoy army were Kachhwaha Rajputs. The Kachhwahas are fairly numerous in the United Provinces and rank with the highest Rajput clans. [545] In the Central Provinces they are found principally in the Saugor, Hoshangabad and Nimar Districts.

Rajput, Nagvansi

Rajput, Nagvansi.—This clan are considered to be the descendants of the Tak or Takshac, which is one of the thirty-six royal races, and was considered by Colonel Tod to be of Scythian origin. The Takshac were also snake-worshippers. "Naga and Takshac are synonymous appellations in Sanskrit for the snake, and the Takshac is the celebrated Nagvansa of the early heroic history of India. The Mahabharat describes in its usual allegorical style the war between the Pandus of Indraprestha and the Takshacs of the north. Parikhita, a prince on the Pandu side, was assassinated by the Takshac, and his son and successor, Janamejaya, avenged his death and made a bonfire of 20,000 snakes." [546] This allegory is supposed to have represented the warfare of the Aryan races against the Sakas or Scythians. The Tak or Takshac would be one of the clans held to be derived from the earlier invading tribes from Central Asia, and of the lunar race. The Tak are scarcely known in authentic history, but the poet Chand mentions the Tak from Aser or Asirgarh as one of the princes who assembled at the summons of Prithwi Raj of Delhi to fight against the Muhammadans. In another place he is called Chatto the Tak. Nothing more is known of the Tak clan unless the cultivating Taga caste of northern India is derived from them. But the Nagvansi clan of Rajputs, who profess to be descended from them, is fairly numerous. Most of the Nagvansis, however, are probably in reality descended from landholders of the indigenous tribes who have adopted the name of this clan, when they wished to claim rank as Rajputs. The change is rendered more easy by the fact that many of these tribes have legends of their own, showing the descent of their ruling families from snakes, the snake and tiger, owing to their deadly character, being the two animals most commonly worshipped. Thus the landholding section of the Kols or Mundas of Chota Nagpur have a long legend [547] of their descent from a princess who married a snake in human form, and hence call themselves Nagvansi Rajputs; and Dr. Buchanan states that the Nagvansi clan of Gorakhpur is similarly derived from the Chero tribe. [548] In the Central Provinces the Nagvansi Rajputs number about 400 persons, nearly all of whom are found in the Chhattisgarh Districts and Feudatory States, and are probably descendants of Kol or Munda landholding families.

Rajput, Nikumbh

Rajput, Nikumbh.—The Nikumbh is given as one of the thirty-six royal races, but it is also the name of a branch of the Chauhans, and it seems that, as suggested by Sherring, [549] it may be an offshoot from the great Chauhan clan. The Nikumbh are said to have been given the title of Sirnet by an emperor of Delhi, because they would not bow their heads on entering his presence, and when he fixed a sword at the door some of them allowed their necks to be cut through by the sword rather than bend the head. The term Sirnet is supposed to mean headless. A Chauhan column with an inscription of Raja Bisal Deo was erected at Nigumbode, a place of pilgrimage on the Jumna, a few miles below Delhi, and it seems a possible conjecture that the Nikumbhs may have obtained their name from this place. [550] Mr. Crooke, however, takes the Nikumbh to be a separate clan. The foundation of most of the old forts and cities in Alwar and northern Jaipur is ascribed to them, and two of their inscriptions of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries have been discovered in Khandesh. In northern India some of them are now known as Raghuvansi. [551] They are chiefly found in the Hoshangabad and Nimar Districts, and may be connected with the Raghuvansi or Raghwi caste of these Provinces.

Rajput, Paik

Rajput, Paik.—This term means a foot-soldier, and is returned from the northern Districts. It belongs to a class of men formerly maintained as a militia by zamindars and landholders for the purpose of collecting their revenue and maintaining order. They were probably employed in much the same manner in the Central Provinces as in Bengal, where Buchanan thus describes them: [552] "In order to protect the money of landowners and convey it from place to place, and also, as it is alleged, to enforce orders, two kinds of guards are kept. One body called Burkandaz, commanded by Duffadars and Jemadars, seems to be a more recent establishment The other called Paik, commanded by Mirdhas and Sirdars, are the remains of the militia of the Bengal kingdom. Both seem to have constituted the foot-soldiers whose number makes such a formidable appearance in the Ain-i-Akbari. These unwieldy establishments seem to have been formed when the Government collected rent immediately from the farmer and cultivator, and when the same persons managed not only the collections but the police and a great part of the judicial department. This vast number of armed men, more especially the latter, formed the infantry of the Mughal Government, and were continued under the zamindars, who were anxious to have as many armed men as possible to support them in their depredations. And these establishments formed no charge, as they lived on lands which the zamindar did not bring to account." The Paiks are thus a small caste formed from military service like the Khandaits or swordsmen of Orissa, and are no doubt recruited from all sections of the population. They have no claim to be considered as Rajputs.

Rajput, Parihar

Rajput, Parihar.—This clan was one of the four Agnikulas or fire-born. Their founder was the first to issue from the fire-fountain, but he had not a warrior's mien. The Brahmans placed him as guardian of the gate, and hence his name, Prithi-ha-dwara of which Parihar is supposed to be a corruption [553]. Like the Chauhans and Solankis the Parihar clan is held to have originated from the Gurjara or Gujar invaders who came with the white Huns in the fifth and sixth centuries, and they were one of the first of the Gujar Rajput clans to emerge into prominence. They were dominant in Bundelkhand before the Chandels, their last chieftain having been overthrown by a Chandel prince in A.D. 831 [554]. A Parihar-Gujar chieftain, whose capital was at Bhinmal in Rajputana, conquered the king of Kanauj, the ruler of what remained of the dominions of the great Harsha Vardhana, and established himself there about A.D. 816 [555]. Kanauj was then held by Gujar-Parihar kings till about 1090, when it was seized by Chandradeva of the Gaharwar Rajput clan. The Parihar rulers were thus subverted by the Gaharwars and Chandels, both of whom are thought to be derived from the Bhars or other aboriginal tribes, and these events appear to have been in the nature of a rising of the aristocratic section of the indigenous residents against the Gujar rulers, by whom they had been conquered and perhaps taught the trade of arms. After this period the Parihars are of little importance. They appear to have retired to Rajputana, as Colonel Tod states that Mundore, five miles north of Jodhpur, was their headquarters until it was taken by the Rahtors. The walls of the ruined fortress of Mundore are built of enormous square masses of stone without cement, and attest both its antiquity and its former strength [556]. The Parihars are scattered over Rajputana, and a colony of them on the Chambal was characterised as the most notorious body of thieves in the annals of Thug history [557]. Similarly in Etawah they are said to be a peculiarly lawless and desperate community [558]. The Parihar Rajputs rank with the leading clans and intermarry with them. In the Central Provinces they are found principally in Saugor, Damoh and Jubbulpore.

Rajput, Rathor

Rajput, Rathor, Rathaur.—The Rathor of Jodhpur or Marwar is one of the most famous clans of Rajputs, and that which is most widely dominant at the present time, including as it does the Rajas of Jodhpur, Bikaner, Ratlam, Kishengarh and Idar, as well as several smaller states. The origin of the Rathor clan is uncertain. Colonel Tod states that they claim to be of the solar race, but by the bards of the race are denied this honour; and though descended from Kash, the second son of Rama, are held to be the offspring of one of his progeny, Kashyap, by the daughter of a Dait (Titan). The view was formerly held that the dynasty which wrested Kanauj from the descendants of Harsha Vardhana, and held it from A.D. 810 to 1090, until subverted by the Gaharwars, were Rathors, but proof has now been obtained that they were really Parihar-Gujars. Mr. Smith suggests that after the destruction of Kanauj by the Muhammadans under Shihab-ud-Din Ghori in A.D. 1193 the Gaharwar clan, whose kings had conquered it in 1090 and reigned there for a century, migrated to the deserts of Marwar in Rajputana, where they settled and became known as Rathors. [559] It has also been generally held that the Rashtrakuta dynasty of Nasik and Malkhed in the Deccan which reigned from A.D. 753 to 973, and built the Kailasa temples at Ellora were Rathors, but Mr. Smith states that there is no evidence of any social connection between the Rashtrakutas and Rathors. [560] At any rate Siahji, the grandson or nephew of Jai Chand, the last king of Kanauj, who had been drowned in the Ganges while attempting to escape, accomplished with about 200 followers—the wreck of his vassalage—the pilgrimage to Dwarka in Gujarat. He then sought in the sands and deserts of Rajputana a second line of defence against the advancing wave of Muhammadan invasion, and planted the standard of the Rathors among the sandhills of the Luni in 1212. This, however, was not the first settlement of the Rathors in Rajputana, for an inscription, dated A.D. 997, among the ruins of the ancient city of Hathundi or Hastikundi, near Bali in Jodhpur State, tells of five Rathor Rajas who ruled there early in the tenth century, and this fact shows that the name Rathor is really much older than the date of the fall of Kanauj. [561]

In 1381 Siahji's tenth successor, Rao Chonda, took Mundore from a Parihar chief, and made his possession secure by marrying the latter's daughter. A subsequent chief, Rao Jodha, laid the foundation of Jodhpur in 1459, and transferred thither the seat of government. The site of Jodhpur was selected on a peak known as Joda-gir, or the hill of strife, four miles distant from Mundore on a crest of the range overlooking the expanse of the desert plains of Marwar. The position for the new city was chosen at the bidding of a forest ascetic, and was excellently adapted for defence, but had no good water-supply. [562] Joda had fourteen sons, of whom the sixth, Bika, was the founder of the Bikaner state. Raja Sur Singh (1595-1620) was one of Akbar's greatest generals, and the emperor Jahangir buckled the sword on to his son Gaj Singh with his own hands. Gaj Singh, the next Raja (1620-1635), was appointed viceroy of the Deccan, as was his successor, Jaswant Singh, under Aurangzeb. The Mughal Emperors, Colonel Tod remarks, were indebted for half their conquests to the Lakh Tulwar Rahtoran, the hundred thousand swords which the Rathors boasted that they could muster. [563] On another occasion, when Jahangir successfully appealed to the Rajputs for support against his rebel son Khusru, he was so pleased with the zeal of the Rathor prince, Raja Gaj Singh, that he not only took the latter's hand, but kissed it, [564] perhaps an unprecedented honour. But the constant absence from his home on service in distant parts of the empire was so distasteful to Raja Sur Singh that, when dying in the Deccan, he ordered a pillar to be erected on his grave containing his curse upon any of his race who should cross the Nerbudda. The pomp of imperial greatness or the sunshine of court favour was as nothing with the Rathor chiefs, Colonel Tod says, when weighed against the exercise of their influence within their own cherished patrimony. The simple fare of the desert was dearer to the Rathor than all the luxuries of the imperial banquet, which he turned from in disgust to the recollection of the green pulse of Mundore, or his favourite rabi or maize porridge, the prime dish of the Rathor. [565] The Rathor princes have been not less ready in placing themselves and the forces of their States at the disposal of the British Government, and the latest and perhaps most brilliant example of their loyalty occurred during 1914, when the veteran Sir Partap Singh of Idar insisted on proceeding to the front against Germany, though over seventy years of age, and was accompanied by his nephew, a boy of sixteen.

The Ratlam State was founded by Ratan Singh, a grandson of Raja Udai Singh of Jodhpur, who was born about 1618, and obtained it as a grant for good service against the Usbegs at Kandahar and the Persians in Khorasan about 1651-52. Kishangarh was founded by Kishan Singh, a son of the same Raja Udai Singh, who obtained a grant of territory from Akbar about 1611. Idar State in Gujarat has, according to its traditions, been held by Rathor princes from a very early period. Jodhpur State is the largest in Rajputana, with an area of 35,000 square miles, and a population of two million. The Maharaja is entitled to a salute of twenty-one guns. A great part of the State is a sandy desert, and its older name of Marwar is, according to Colonel Tod, a corruption of Marusthan, or the region of death. In the Central Provinces the Rathor Rajputs number about 6000 persons, and are found mainly in the Saugor, Jubbulpore, Narsinghpur and Hoshangabad Districts. The census statistics include about 5000 persons enumerated in Mandla and Bilaspur, nearly all of whom are really Rathor Telis.

Rajput, Sesodia

Rajput, Sesodia, Gahlot, Aharia.—The Gahlot or Sesodia is generally admitted to be the premier Rajput clan. Their chief is described by the bards as "The Suryavansi Rana, of royal race, Lord of Chitor, the ornament of the thirty-six royal races." The Sesodias claim descent from the sun, through Loh, the eldest son of the divine Rama of Ajodhia. In token of their ancestry the royal banner of Mewar consisted of a golden sun on a crimson field. Loh is supposed to have founded Lahore. His descendants migrated to Saurashtra or Kathiawar, where they settled at Vidurbha or Balabhi, the capital of the Valabhi dynasty. The last king of Valabhi was Siladitya, who was killed by an invasion of barbarians, and his posthumous son, Gohaditya, ruled in Idar and the hilly country in the south-west of Mewar. From him the clan took its name of Gohelot or Gahlot. Mr. D.R. Bhandarkar, however, from a detailed examination of the inscriptions relating to the Sesodias, arrives at the conclusion that the founders of the line were Nagar Brahmans from Vadnagar in Gujarat, the first of the line being one Guhadatta, from which the clan takes its name of Gahlot [566] The family were also connected with the ruling princes of Valabhi. Mr. Bhandarkar thinks that the Valabhi princes, and also the Nagar Brahmans, belonged to the Maitraka tribe, who, like the Gujars, were allied to the Huns, and entered India in the fifth or sixth century. Mr. Bhandarkar's account really agrees quite closely with the traditions of the Sesodia bards themselves, except that he considers Guhadatta to have been a Nagar Brahman of Valabhi, and descended from the Maitrakas, a race allied to the Huns, while the bards say that he was a descendant of the Aryan Kshatriyas of Ajodhia, who migrated to Surat and established the Valabhi kingdom. The earliest prince of the Gahlot dynasty for whom a date has been obtained is Sila, A.D. 646, and he was fifth in descent from Guhadatta, who may therefore be placed in the first part of the sixth century. Bapa, the founder of the Gahlot clan in Mewar, was, according to tradition, sixth in descent from Gohaditya, and he had his capital at Nagda, a few miles to the north of Udaipur city. [567] A tradition quoted by Mr. Bhandarkar states that Bapa was the son of Grahadata. He succeeded in propitiating the god Siva. One day the king of Chitor died and left no heir to his throne. It was decided that whoever would be garlanded by a certain elephant would be placed on the throne. Bapa was present on the occasion, and the elephant put the garland round his neck not only once, but thrice. Bapa was thus seated on the throne. One day he was suffering from some eye-disease. A physician mixed a certain medicine in alcoholic liquor and applied it to his eyes, which were speedily cured. Bapa afterwards inquired what the medicine was, and learnt the truth. He trembled like a reed and said, "I am a Brahman, and you have given me medicine mixed in liquor. I have lost my caste," So saying he drank molten lead (sisa), and forthwith died, and hence arose the family name Sesodia. [568] This story, current in Rajputana, supports Mr. Bhandarkar's view of the Brahman origin of the clan. According to tradition Bapa went to Chitor, then held by the Mori or Pramara Rajputs, to seek his fortune, and was appointed to lead the Chitor forces against the Muhammadans on their first invasion of India. [569] After defeating and expelling them he ousted the Mori ruler and established himself at Chitor, which has since been the capital of the Sesodias. The name Sesodia is really derived from Sesoda, the residence of a subsequent chief Rahup, who captured Mundore and was the first to bear the title of Rana of Mewar. Similarly Aharia is another local name from Ahar, a place in Mewar, which was given to the clan. They were also known as Raghuvansi, or of the race of king Raghu, the ancestor of the divine Rama. The Raghuvansis of the Central Provinces, an impure caste of Rajput origin, are treated in a separate article, but it is not known whether they were derived from the Sesodias. From the fourteenth century the chronicles of the Sesodias contain many instances of Rajput courage and devotion. Chitor was sacked three times before the capital was removed to Udaipur, first by Ala-ul-Din Khilji in 1303, next by Bahadur Shah, the Muhammadan king of Gujarat in 1534, and lastly by Akbar in 1567. These events were known as Saka or massacres of the clan. On each occasion the women of the garrison performed the Johar or general immolation by fire, while the men sallied forth, clad in their saffron-coloured robes and inspired by bhang, to die sword in hand against the foe. At the first sack the goddess of the clan appeared in a dream to the Rana and demanded the lives of twelve of its chiefs as a condition of its preservation. His eleven sons were in their turn crowned as chief, each ruling for three days, while on the fourth he sallied out and fell in battle. [570] Lastly, the Rana devoted himself in order that his favourite son Ajeysi might be spared and might perpetuate the clan. At the second sack 32,000 were slain, and at the third 30,000. Finally Aurangzeb destroyed the temples and idols at Chitor, and only its ruins remain. Udaipur city was founded in 1559. The Sesodias resisted the Muhammadans for long, and several times defeated them. Udai Singh, the founder of Udaipur, abandoned his capital and fled to the hills, whence he caused his own territory to be laid waste, with the object of impeding the imperial forces. Of this period it is recorded that the Ranas were from father to son in outlawry against the emperor, and that sovereign had carried away the doors of the gate of Chitor, and had set them up in Delhi. Fifty-two rajas and chiefs had perished in the struggle, and the Rana in his trouble lay at nights on a counterpane spread on the ground, and neither slept in his bed nor shaved his hair; and if he perchance broke his fast, had nothing better with which to satisfy it than beans baked in an earthen pot. For this reason it is that certain practices are to this day observed at Udaipur. A counterpane is spread below the Rana's bed, and his head remains unshaven and baked beans are daily laid upon his plate. [571] A custom of perhaps somewhat similar origin is that in this clan man and wife take food together, and the wife does not wait till her husband has finished. It is said that the Sesodia Rajputs are the only caste in India among whom this rule prevails, and it may have been due to the fact that they had to eat together in haste when occasion offered during this period of guerilla warfare.

In 1614 Rana Amar Singh, recognising that further opposition was hopeless, made his submission to the emperor, on the condition that he should never have to present himself in person but might send his two sons in his place. This stipulation being accepted, the heir-apparent Karan Singh proceeded to Ajmer where he was magnanimously treated by Jahangir and shortly afterwards the imperial troops were withdrawn from Chitor. It is the pride of the Udaipur house that it never gave a daughter in marriage to any of the Musalman emperors, and for many years ceased to intermarry with other Rajput families who had formed such alliances. But Amar Singh II. (1698-1710) made a league with the Maharajas of Jodhpur and Jaipur for mutual protection against the Muhammadans; and it was one of the conditions of the compact that the latter chiefs should regain the privilege of marriage with the Udaipur family which had been suspended since they had given daughters in marriage to the emperors. But the Rana unfortunately added a proviso that the son of an Udaipur princess should succeed to the Jodhpur or Jaipur States in preference to any elder son by another mother. The quarrels to which this stipulation gave rise led to the conquest of the country by the Marathas, at whose hands Mewar suffered more cruel devastation than it had ever been subjected to by the Muhammadans. Ruinous war also ensued between Jodhpur and Jaipur for the hand of the famous Udaipur princess Kishen Kumari at the time when Rajputana was being devastated by the Marathas and Pindaris; and the quarrel was only settled by the voluntary death of the object of contention, who, after the kinsman sent to slay her had recoiled before her young beauty and innocence, willingly drank the draught of opium four times administered before the fatal result could be produced. [572]

The Maharana of Udaipur is entitled to a salute of nineteen guns. The Udaipur State has an area of nearly 13,000 square miles and a population of about a million persons. Besides Udaipur three minor states, Partabgarh, Dungarpur and Banswara, are held by members of the Sesodia clan. In the Central Provinces the Sesodias numbered nearly 2000 persons in 1911, being mainly found in the districts of the Nerbudda Division.

Rajput, Solankhi

Rajput, Solankhi, Solanki, Chalukya.—This clan was one of the Agnikula or fire-born, and are hence considered to have probably been Gurjaras or Gujars. Their original name is said to have been Chaluka, because they were formed in the palm (chalu) of the hand. They were not much known in Rajputana, but were very prominent in the Deccan. Here they were generally called Chalukya, though in northern India the name Solankhi is more common. As early as A.D. 350 Pulakesin I. made himself master of the town of Vatapi, the modern Badami In the Bijapur District, and founded a dynasty, which developed into the most powerful kingdom south of the Nerbudda, and lasted for two centuries, when it was overthrown by the Rashtrakutas [573]. Pulakesin II. of this Chalukya dynasty successfully resisted an inroad of the great emperor Harsha Vardhana of Kanauj, who aspired to the conquest of the whole of India. The Rashtrakuta kings governed for two centuries, and in A.D. 973 Taila or Tailapa II., a scion of the old Chalukya stock, restored the family of his ancestors to its former glory, and founded the dynasty known as that of the Chalukyas of Kalyan, which lasted like that which it superseded for nearly two centuries and a quarter, up to about A.D. 1190. In the tenth century apparently another branch of the clan migrated from Rajputana into Gujarat and established a new dynasty there, owing to which Gujarat, which had formerly been known as Lata, obtained its present name [574]. The principal king of this line was Sidh Raj Solankhi, who is well known to tradition. From these Chalukya or Solankhi rulers the Baghel clan arose, which afterwards migrated to Rewah. The Solankhis are found in the United Provinces, and a small number are returned from the Central Provinces, belonging mainly to Hoshangabad and Nimar.

Rajput, Somvansi

Rajput, Somvansi, Chandravansi.—These two are returned as separate septs, though both names mean 'Descendants of the moon.' Colonel Tod considers Surajvansi and Somvansi, or the descendants of the sun and moon as the first two of the thirty-six royal clans, from which all the others were evolved. But he gives no account of them, nor does it appear that they were regularly recognised clans in Rajputana. It is probable that both Somvansi and Chandravansi, as well as Surajvansi and perhaps Nagvansi (Descendants of the snake) have served as convenient designations for Rajputs of illegitimate birth, or for landholding sections of the cultivating castes and indigenous tribes when they aspired to become Rajputs. Thus the Surajvansis, and Somvansis of different parts of the country might be quite different sets of people. There seems some reason for supposing that the Somvansis of the United Provinces as described by Mr. Crooke are derived from the Bhar tribe; [575] in the Central Provinces a number of Somvansis and Chandravansis are returned from the Feudatory States, and are probably landholders who originally belonged to one of the forest tribes residing in them. I have heard the name Somvansi applied to a boy who belonged to the Baghel clan of Rajputs, but he was of inferior status on account of his mother being a remarried widow, or something of the kind.

Rajput, Surajvansi

Rajput, Surajvansi.—The Surajvansi (Descendants of the Sun) is recorded as the first of the thirty-six royal clans, but Colonel Tod gives no account of it, and it does not seem to be known to history as a separate clan. Mr. Crooke mentions an early tradition that the Surajvansis migrated from Ajodhia to Gujarat in A.D. 224, but this is scarcely likely to be authentic in view, of the late dates now assigned for the origin of the important Rajput clans. Surajvansi should properly be a generic term denoting any Rajput belonging to a clan of the solar race, and it seems likely that it may at different times have been adopted by Rajputs who were no longer recognised in their own clan, or by families of the cultivating castes or indigenous tribes who aspired to become Rajputs. Thus Mr. Crooke notes that a large section of the Soiris (Savaras or Saonrs) have entirely abandoned their own tribal name and call themselves Surajvansi Rajputs; [576] and the same thing has probably happened in other cases. In the Central Provinces the Surajvansis belong mainly to Hoshangabad, and here they form a separate caste, marrying among themselves and not with other Rajput clans. Hence they would not be recognised as proper Rajputs, and are probably a promoted group of some cultivating caste.

Rajput, Tomara

Rajput, Tomara, Tuar, Turtwar.—This clan is an ancient one, supposed by Colonel Tod to be derived from the Yadavas or lunar race. The name is said to come from tomar a club. [577] The Tomara clan was considered to be a very ancient one, and the great king Vikramaditya, whose reign was the Hindu Golden Age, was held to have been sprung from it. These traditions are, however, now discredited, as well as that of Delhi having been built by a Tomara king, Anang Pal I., in A.D. 733. Mr. V.A. Smith states that Delhi was founded in 993-994, and Anangapala, a Tomara king, built the Red Fort about 1050. In 1052 he removed the celebrated iron pillar, on which the eulogy of Chandragupta Vikramaditya is incised, from its original position, probably at Mathura, and set it up in Delhi as an adjunct to a group of temples from which the Muhammadans afterwards constructed the great mosque. [578] This act apparently led to the tradition that Vikramaditya had been a Tomara, and also to a much longer historical antiquity being ascribed to the clan than it really possessed. The Tomara rule at Delhi only lasted about 150 years, and in the middle of the twelfth century the town was taken by Bisal Deo, the Chauhan chieftain of Ajmer, whose successor, Prithwi Raj, reigned at Delhi, but was defeated and killed by the Muhammadans in A.D. 1192. Subsequently, perhaps in the reign of Ala-ud-Din Khilji, a Tomara dynasty established itself at Gwalior, and one of their kings, Dungara Singh (1425-1454), had executed the celebrated rock-sculptures of Gwalior. [579] In 1518 Gwalior was taken by the Muhammadans, and the last Tomara king reduced to the status of an ordinary jagirdar. The Tomara clan is numerous in the Punjab country near Delhi, where it still possesses high rank, but in the United Provinces it is not so much esteemed. [580] No ruling chief now belongs to this clan. In the Central Provinces the Tomaras or Tunwars belong principally to the Hoshangabad District The zamindars of Bilaspur, who were originally of the Tawar subcaste of the Kawar tribe, now also claim to be Tomara Rajputs on the strength of the similarity of the name.

Rajput; Yadu

Rajput; Yadu, Yadava, Yadu-Bhatti, Jadon. [581]—The Yadus are a well-known historical clan. Colonel Tod says that the Yadu was the most illustrious of all the tribes of Ind, and became the patronymic of the descendants of Buddha, progenitor of the lunar (Indu) race. It is not clear, even according to legendary tradition, what, if any, connection the Yadus had with Buddha, but Krishna is held to have been a prince of this tribe and founded Dwarka in Gujarat with them, in which locality he is afterwards supposed to have been killed. Colonel Tod states that the Yadu after the death of Krishna, and their expulsion from Dwarka and Delhi, the last stronghold of their power, retired by Multan across the Indus, founded Ghazni in Afghanistan, and peopled these countries even to Samarcand. Again driven back on the Indus they obtained possession of the Punjab and founded Salbhanpur. Thence expelled they retired across the Sutlej and Gara into the Indian deserts, where they founded Tannote, Derawal and Jaisalmer, the last in A.D. 1157. It has been suggested in the main article on Rajput that the Yadus might have been the Sakas, who invaded India in the second century A.D. This is only a speculation. At a later date a Yadava kingdom existed in the Deccan, with its capital at Deogiri or Daulatabad and its territory lying between that place and Nasik. [582] Mr. Smith states that these Yadava kings were descendants of feudatory nobles of the Chalukya kingdom, which embraced parts of western India and also Gujarat. The Yadu clan can scarcely, however, be a more recent one than the Chalukya, as in that case it would not probably have been credited with having had Krishna as its member. The Yadava dynasty only lasted from A.D. 1150 to 1318, when the last prince of the line, Harapala, stirred up a revolt against the Muhammadans to whom the king, his father-in-law, had submitted, and being defeated, was flayed alive and decapitated. It is noticeable that the Yadu-Bhatti Rajputs of Jaisalmer claim descent from Salivahana, who founded the Saka era in A.D. 78, and it is believed that this era belonged to the Saka dynasty of Gujarat, where, according to the tradition given above, the Yadus also settled. This point is not important, but so far as it goes would favour the identification of the Sakas with the Yadavas.

The Bhatti branch of the Yadus claim descent from Bhati, the grandson of Salivahana. They have no legend of having come from Gujarat, but they had the title of Rawal, which is used in Gujarat, and also by the Sesodia clan who came from there. The Bhattis are said to have arrived in Jaisalmer about the middle of the eighth century, Jaisalmer city being founded much later in A.D. 1183. Jaisalmer State, the third in Rajputana, has an area of 16,000 square miles, most of which is desert, and a population of about 100,000 persons. The chief has the title of Maharawal and receives a salute of fifteen guns. The Jareja Rajputs of Sind and Cutch are another branch of the Yadus who have largely intermarried with Muhammadans. They now claim descent from Jamshid, the Persian hero, and on this account, Colonel Tod states, the title of their rulers is Jam. They were formerly much addicted to female infanticide. The name Yadu has in other parts of India been corrupted into Jadon, and the class of Jadon Rajputs is fairly numerous in the United Provinces, and in some places is said to have become a caste, its members marrying among themselves. This is also the case in the Central Provinces, where they are known as Jadum, and have been treated under that name in a separate article. The small State of Karauli in Rajputana is held by a Jadon chief.


Rajwar. [583]—A low cultivating caste of Bihar and Chota Nagpur, who are probably an offshoot of the Bhuiyas. In 1911 a total of 25,000 Rajwars were returned in the Central Provinces, of whom 22,000 belong to the Sarguja State recently transferred from Bengal. Another 2000 persons are shown in Bilaspur, but these are Mowars, an offshoot of the Rajwars, who have taken to the profession of gardening and have changed their name. They probably rank a little higher than the bulk of the Rajwars. "Traditionally," Colonel Dalton states, "the Rajwars appear to connect themselves with the Bhuiyas; but this is only in Bihar. The Rajwars in Sarguja and the adjoining States are peaceably disposed cultivators, who declare themselves to be fallen Kshatriyas; they do not, however, conform to Hindu customs, and they are skilled in a dance called Chailo, which I believe to be of Dravidian origin. The Rajwars of Bengal admit that they are the descendants of mixed unions between Kurmis and Kols. They are looked upon as very impure by the Hindus, who will not take water from their hands." The Rajwars of Bihar told Buchanan that their ancestor was a certain Rishi, who had two sons. From the elder were descended the Rajwars, who became soldiers and obtained their noble title; and from the younger the Musahars, who were so called from their practice of eating rats, which the Rajwars rejected. The Musahars, as shown by Sir H. Risley, are probably Bhuiyas degraded to servitude in Hindu villages, and this story confirms the Bhuiya origin of the Rajwars. In the Central Provinces the Bhuiyas have a subcaste called Rajwar, which further supports this hypothesis, and in the absence of evidence to the contrary it is reasonable to suppose that the Rajwars are an offshoot of the Bhuiyas, as they themselves say, in Bihar. The substitution of Kols for Bhuiyas in Bengal need not cause much concern in view of the great admixture of blood and confused nomenclature of all the Chota Nagpur tribes. In Bengal, where the Bhuiyas have settled in Hindu villages, and according to the usual lot of the forest tribes who entered the Hindu system have been degraded into the servile and impure caste of Musahars, the Rajwars have shared their fate, and are also looked upon as impure. But in Chota Nagpur the Bhuiyas have their own villages and live apart from the Hindus, and here the Rajwars, like the landholding branches of other forest tribes, claim to be an inferior class of Rajputs.

In Sarguja the caste have largely adopted Hindu customs. They abstain from liquor, employ low-class Brahmans as priests, and worship the Hindu deities. When a man wishes to arrange a match for his son he takes a basket of wheat-cakes and proceeding to the house of the girl's father sets them down outside. If the match is acceptable the girl's mother comes and takes the cakes into the house and the betrothal is then considered to be ratified. At the wedding the bridegroom smears vermilion seven times on the parting of the bride's hair, and the bride's younger sister then wipes a little of it off with the end of the cloth. For this service she is paid a rupee by the bridegroom. Divorce and the remarriage of widows are permitted. After the birth of a child the mother is given neither food nor water for two whole days; on the third day she gets only boiled water to drink and on the fourth day receives some food. The period of impurity after a birth extends to twelve days. When the navel-string drops it is carefully put away until the next Dasahra, together with the child's hair, which is cut on the sixth day. On the Dasahra festival all the women of the village take them to a tank, where a lotus plant is worshipped and anointed with oil and vermilion, and the hair and navel-string are then buried at its roots. The dead are burned, and the more pious keep the bones with a view to carrying them to the Ganges or some other sacred river. Pending this, the bones are deposited in the cow-house, and a lamp is kept burning in it every night so long as they are there. The Rajwars believe that every man has a soul or Pran, and they think that the soul leaves the body, not only at death, but whenever he is asleep or becomes unconscious owing to injury or illness. Dreams are the adventures of the soul while wandering over the world apart from the body. They think it very unlucky for a man to see his own reflection in water and carefully avoid doing so.


1. General notice

Ramosi, Ramoshi.—A criminal tribe of the Bombay Presidency, of which about 150 persons were returned from the Central Provinces and Berar in 1911. They belong to the western tract of the Satpuras adjoining Khandesh. The name is supposed to be a corruption of Ramvansi, meaning 'The descendants of Rama.' They say [584] that when Rama, the hero of the Ramayana, was driven from his kingdom by his step-mother Kaikeyi, he went to the forest land south of the Nerbudda. His brother Bharat, who had been raised to the throne, could not bear to part with Rama, so he followed him to the forest, began to do penance, and made friends with a rough but kindly forest tribe. After Rama's restoration Bharat took two foresters with him to Ajodhia (Oudh) and brought them to the notice of Rama, who appointed them village watchmen and allowed them to take his name. If this is the correct derivation it may be compared with the name of Rawanvansi or Children of Rawan, the opponent of Rama, which is applied to the Gonds of the Central Provinces. The Ramosis appear to be a Hinduised caste derived from the Bhils or Kolis or a mixture of the two tribes. They were formerly a well-known class of robbers and dacoits. The principal scenes of their depredations were the western Ghats, and an interesting description of their methods is given by Captain Mackintosh in his account of the tribe. [585] Some extracts from this are here reproduced.

2. Methods of robbery

They armed themselves chiefly with swords, taking one, two or three matchlocks, or more should they judge it necessary. Several also carried their shields and a few had merely sticks, which were in general shod with small bars of iron from eight to twelve inches in length, strongly secured by means of rings and somewhat resembling the ancient mace. One of the party carried a small copper or earthen pot or a cocoanut-shell with a supply of ghi or clarified butter in it, to moisten their torches with before they commenced their operations. The Ramosis endeavoured as much as possible to avoid being seen by anybody either when they were proceeding to the object of their attack or returning afterwards to their houses. They therefore travelled during the night-time; and before daylight in the morning they concealed themselves in a jungle or ravine near some water, and slept all day, proceeding in this way for a long distance till they reached the vicinity of the village to be attacked. When they were pursued and much pressed, at times they would throw themselves into a bush or under a prickly pear plant, coiling themselves up so carefully that the chances were their pursuers would pass them unnoticed. If they intended to attack a treasure party they would wait at some convenient spot on the road and sally out when it came abreast of them, first girding up their loins and twisting a cloth tightly round their faces, to prevent the features from being recognised. Before entering the village where their dacoity or durrowa was to be perpetrated, torches were made from the turban of one of the party, which was torn into three, five or seven pieces, but never into more, the pieces being then soaked with butter. The same man always supplied the turban and received in exchange the best one taken in the robbery. Those who were unarmed collected bags of stones, and these were thrown at any people who tried to interfere with them during the dacoity. They carried firearms, but avoided using them if possible, as their discharge might summon defenders from a distance. They seldom killed or mutilated their victims, except in a fight, but occasionally travellers were killed after being robbed as a measure of precaution. They retreated with their spoils as rapidly as possible to the nearest forest or hill, and from there, after distributing the booty into bags to make it portable, they marched off in a different direction from that in which they had come. Before reaching their homes one of the party was deputed with an offering of one, two or five rupees to be presented as an offering to their god Khandoba or the goddess Bhawani in fulfilment of a vow. All the spoil was then deposited before their Naik or headman, who divided it into equal shares for members of the gang, keeping a double share for himself.

3. Ramosis employed as village watchmen

In order to protect themselves from the depredations of these gangs the villagers adopted a system of hiring a Ramosi as a surety to be responsible for their property, and this man gradually became a Rakhwaldar or village watchman. He received a grant of land rent-free and other perquisites, and also a fee from all travellers and gangs of traders who halted in the village in return for his protection during the night. If a theft or house-breaking occurred in a village, the Ramosi was held responsible to the owner for the value of the property, unless a large gang had been engaged. If he failed to discover the thief he engaged to make the lost property good to the owner within fifteen days or a month unless its value was considerable. If a gang had been engaged, the Ramosi, accompanied by the patel and other village officials and cultivators, proceeded to track them by their footprints. Obtaining a stick he cut it to the exact length of the footprint, or several such if a number of prints could be discovered, and followed the tracks, measuring the footprints, to the boundary of the village. The inhabitants of the adjoining village were then called and were responsible for carrying on the trail through their village. The measures of footprints were handed over to them, and after satisfying themselves that the marks came from outside and extended into their land they took up the trail accompanied by the Ramosi. In this way the gang was tracked from village to village, and if it was run to earth the residents of the villages to which it belonged had to make good the loss. If the tracks were lost owing to the robbers having waded along a stream or got on to rocky ground or into a public road, then the residents of the village in whose borders the line failed were considered responsible for the stolen property. Usually, however, a compromise was made, and they paid half, while the other half was raised from the village in which the theft occurred. If the Ramosi failed to track the thieves out of the village he had to make good the value of the theft, but he was usually assisted by the village officer. Often, too, the owner had to be contented with half or a quarter of the amount lost as compensation. In the early part of the century the Ramosis of Poona became very troublesome and constantly committed robberies in the houses of Europeans. As a consequence a custom grew up of employing a Ramosi as chaukidar or watchman for guarding the bungalow at night on a salary of seven rupees a month, and soon became general. It was the business of the Ramosi watchman to prevent other Ramosis from robbing the house. Apparently this was the common motive for the custom, prevalent up to recent years, of paying a man solely for the purpose of watching the house at night, and it originated, as in Poona, as a form of insurance and an application of the proverb of setting a thief to catch a thief. The selection of village watchmen from among the low, criminal castes appears to have been made on the same principle.

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