Kshatriya

Kshatriya

Overview
  • For the Bollywood
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    Bollywood is the informal term popularly used for the Hindi-language film industry based in Mumbai , Maharashtra, India. The term is often incorrectly used to refer to the whole of Indian cinema; it is only a part of the total Indian film industry, which includes other production centers producing...

     film of the same name see Kshatriya (film)
    Kshatriya (film)
    Kshatriya is a 1993 Bollywood film directed by J.P. Dutta. The film features an ensemble star cast including Sunil Dutt, Dharmendra, Vinod Khanna, Sunny Deol, Sanjay Dutt, Raveena Tandon, Meenakshi Seshadri and Divya Bharti. The film has Sunil Dutt and Dharmendra playing fathers to their real-life...



Kshatriya or Kashtriya, meaning warrior, is one of the four varnas (social orders) in Hinduism
Hinduism
Hinduism is the predominant and indigenous religious tradition of the Indian Subcontinent. Hinduism is known to its followers as , amongst many other expressions...

. Traditionally Kshatriya/Chattaris constitute the military and ruling elite of the Vedic-Hindu social system outlined by the Vedas
Vedas
The Vedas are a large body of texts originating in ancient India. Composed in Vedic Sanskrit, the texts constitute the oldest layer of Sanskrit literature and the oldest scriptures of Hinduism....

  and the Laws of Manu.

Sanskrit
Sanskrit
Sanskrit , is a historical Indo-Aryan language and the primary liturgical language of Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism.Buddhism: besides Pali, see Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit Today, it is listed as one of the 22 scheduled languages of India and is an official language of the state of Uttarakhand...

  ruling; one of the ruling order member of the Kṣatriya caste is the derivation for Old Persian
Old Persian language
The Old Persian language is one of the two directly attested Old Iranian languages . Old Persian appears primarily in the inscriptions, clay tablets, and seals of the Achaemenid era...

 xšaθra ("realm, power"), xšaθrya ("royal"), and xšāyaθiya ("emperor") are related to it, as are the New Persian
Persian language
Persian is an Iranian language within the Indo-Iranian branch of the Indo-European languages. It is primarily spoken in Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan and countries which historically came under Persian influence...

 words šāh
Shah
Shāh is the title of the ruler of certain Southwest Asian and Central Asian countries, especially Persia , and derives from the Persian word shah, meaning "king".-History:...

 ("emperor") and šahr ("city", "realm").
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  • For the Bollywood
    Bollywood
    Bollywood is the informal term popularly used for the Hindi-language film industry based in Mumbai , Maharashtra, India. The term is often incorrectly used to refer to the whole of Indian cinema; it is only a part of the total Indian film industry, which includes other production centers producing...

     film of the same name see Kshatriya (film)
    Kshatriya (film)
    Kshatriya is a 1993 Bollywood film directed by J.P. Dutta. The film features an ensemble star cast including Sunil Dutt, Dharmendra, Vinod Khanna, Sunny Deol, Sanjay Dutt, Raveena Tandon, Meenakshi Seshadri and Divya Bharti. The film has Sunil Dutt and Dharmendra playing fathers to their real-life...



Kshatriya or Kashtriya, meaning warrior, is one of the four varnas (social orders) in Hinduism
Hinduism
Hinduism is the predominant and indigenous religious tradition of the Indian Subcontinent. Hinduism is known to its followers as , amongst many other expressions...

. Traditionally Kshatriya/Chattaris constitute the military and ruling elite of the Vedic-Hindu social system outlined by the Vedas
Vedas
The Vedas are a large body of texts originating in ancient India. Composed in Vedic Sanskrit, the texts constitute the oldest layer of Sanskrit literature and the oldest scriptures of Hinduism....

  and the Laws of Manu.

Etymology


Sanskrit
Sanskrit
Sanskrit , is a historical Indo-Aryan language and the primary liturgical language of Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism.Buddhism: besides Pali, see Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit Today, it is listed as one of the 22 scheduled languages of India and is an official language of the state of Uttarakhand...

  ruling; one of the ruling order member of the Kṣatriya caste is the derivation for Old Persian
Old Persian language
The Old Persian language is one of the two directly attested Old Iranian languages . Old Persian appears primarily in the inscriptions, clay tablets, and seals of the Achaemenid era...

 xšaθra ("realm, power"), xšaθrya ("royal"), and xšāyaθiya ("emperor") are related to it, as are the New Persian
Persian language
Persian is an Iranian language within the Indo-Iranian branch of the Indo-European languages. It is primarily spoken in Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan and countries which historically came under Persian influence...

 words šāh
Shah
Shāh is the title of the ruler of certain Southwest Asian and Central Asian countries, especially Persia , and derives from the Persian word shah, meaning "king".-History:...

 ("emperor") and šahr ("city", "realm"). (kasat), "king" or "monarch," and similar-sounding Malay
Malay language
Malay is a major language of the Austronesian family. It is the official language of Malaysia , Indonesia , Brunei and Singapore...

 kesatria or satria, "knight" or "warrior"http://mymemory.translated.net/t/Malay/English/kesatria, are also derived from it. The term may also denote aristocratic status.

History


Initially in ancient Vedic society
Vedic period
The Vedic period was a period in history during which the Vedas, the oldest scriptures of Hinduism, were composed. The time span of the period is uncertain. Philological and linguistic evidence indicates that the Rigveda, the oldest of the Vedas, was composed roughly between 1700–1100 BCE, also...

, this position was achieved on the merits of a person's aptitude, conduct, and nature. The earliest Vedic literature listed by organization of function, not of caste, the Kshatriya (holders of , or authority) as first in rank, and the Brahmin
Brahmin
Brahmin Brahman, Brahma and Brahmin.Brahman, Brahmin and Brahma have different meanings. Brahman refers to the Supreme Self...

s second (priests and teachers of law), before the Vaisya (Cattle-herders, merchant-traders, farmers and some artisan castes), and the Sudra
Shudra
Shudra is the fourth Varna, as prescribed in the Purusha Sukta of the Rig veda, which constitutes society into four varnas or Chaturvarna. The other three varnas are Brahmans - priests, Kshatriya - those with governing functions, Vaishya - agriculturalists, cattle rearers and traders...

 (labourers, some farming castes and other artisan castes).Manusmriti assigns cattle rearing as an occupation of Vaisya; however there are references in available literature that Kshatriyas also owned and reared the cattle and cattle-wealth was the mainstay of their households. Emperors of Kosala
Kosala
Kosala was an ancient Indian region, corresponding roughly in area with the region of Awadh in present day Uttar Pradesh. According to the Buddhist text Anguttara Nikaya and the Jaina text, the Bhagavati Sutra, Kosala was one of the Solasa Mahajanapadas in 6th century BCE and its cultural and...

 and Prince of Kasi are some of many examples.

Movements of individuals and groups from one class to another, both upward and downward, were not uncommon; a rise in status even to the rank of Kshatriya was a recognized reward for outstanding service to the rulers of the day. Over the years it became hereditary. In modern times, the Kshatriya varna includes a broad class of caste groups, differing considerably in status and function but united by their claims to ruler-ship, the pursuit of war, or the possession of land.

The legend that the Kshatriyas, with the exception of the Ikshvakus
Ikshvaku dynasty
The Ikshvaku dynasty, in Puranic literature, was a mythical dynasty founded by Ikshvaku, grandson of Vivasvan or Surya and son of Vaivasvata Manu. This dynasty is also known as . The important personalities belonging to this royal house are Harishchandra, Dilīpa, Sagara, Raghu, Rama and Prasenajit...

, were destroyed by Parasurama, the sixth reincarnation of Vishnu
Vishnu
Vishnu is the Supreme god in the Vaishnavite tradition of Hinduism. Smarta followers of Adi Shankara, among others, venerate Vishnu as one of the five primary forms of God....

, as a punishment for their tyranny is thought by some scholars to reflect a long struggle for supremacy between priests and rulers that ended in victory for the former. By the end of the Vedic era, the Brahmins were supreme, and the Kshatriya had fallen to second place. Texts such as the Manusmṛti (a book of Hindu law) and most other dharmashastras (works of jurisprudence) report a Brahman victory, but epic texts often offer a different account, and it is likely that in social reality rulers have usually ranked first. The persistent representation of deities (especially Vishnu, Krishna, and Rama) as rulers underscores the point, as does the elaborate series of ritual roles and privileges pertaining to kings through most of Hindu history.

Vedic origin


In the Rig Veda the varnas are not rigid and were related to one's actions. The Rig Veda refers to the ways in which Gods four body parts make up the four classes, depending on the nature or values that the human holds. The Brahmans were to signify spiritual and intellectual values and were to be in charge of teaching the Vedic Sanskrit, thus are made up of his head. The Kshatryas were the warriors who protected the countries and thus are made up of his arms. The Vaishyas were the farmers and merchants in the production nature and thus are made up of his belly and the Shudras were the laborers who perform menial chores of farming, labor, artisans and all the jobs required of a society and thus are made up of his legs. This was interpreted as meaning that no one caste is more important than the other and that society cannot survive without all parts working together.

According to Vedic theology
Rigvedic deities
There are 1028 hymns in the Rigveda, most of them dedicated to specific deities.Indra, a heroic god, slayer of Vrtra and destroyer of the Vala, liberator of the cows and the rivers; Agni the sacrificial fire and messenger of the gods; and Soma the ritual drink dedicated to Indra are the most...

 , Manu
Manu (Hinduism)
In various Hindu traditions, Manu is a title accorded to the progenitor of mankind, and also the very first brahman king to rule this earth, who saved mankind from the universal flood. He was absolutely honest which was why he was initially known as "Satyavrata"...

 is considered the law-giver and progenitor of humanity. He had over 50 sons. Manu was both king and priest and his children (and thus all of humanity) are considered highborn. Due to the eventual differences in occupations, people ended up in different jāti
Jati
Jāti is the term used to denote clans, tribes, communities and sub-communities in India. It is a term used across religions. In Indian society each jāti typically has an association with a traditional job function or tribe, although religious beliefs Jāti (in Devanagari: जाति Tamil:சாதி) (the...

s and caste
Caste
Caste is an elaborate and complex social system that combines elements of endogamy, occupation, culture, social class, tribal affiliation and political power. It should not be confused with race or social class, e.g. members of different castes in one society may belong to the same race, as in India...

s. Those who studied the Vedas
Vedas
The Vedas are a large body of texts originating in ancient India. Composed in Vedic Sanskrit, the texts constitute the oldest layer of Sanskrit literature and the oldest scriptures of Hinduism....

 became known as Brahmins, those who practised trade became Vaishya
Vaishya
Vaishya is one of the four varnas of the Hindu social order. According to Vedic tradition, this caste primarily comprises merchants, farmers, cattle-herders and artisans.-Duties of Vaishyas:...

, those who labored became Sudra
Shudra
Shudra is the fourth Varna, as prescribed in the Purusha Sukta of the Rig veda, which constitutes society into four varnas or Chaturvarna. The other three varnas are Brahmans - priests, Kshatriya - those with governing functions, Vaishya - agriculturalists, cattle rearers and traders...

, and those who took up martial arts
Indian martial arts
The Indian subcontinent is home to a variety of fighting styles. In Sanskrit they may be collectively referred to as ' or '. The former is a compound of the words and , meaning "knowledge of the sword" or "knowledge of weaponry"...

 became Kshatriyas.

According to popular myth/lore Rajputs/Thakurs came into being in 6th century AD through a of yagya done by Sage Agastya
Agastya
Agastya was a Tamil/Vedic Siddhar or sage. Agastya and his clan are also generally credited with uncovering many mantras of the Rig Veda, the earliest and most revered Hindu scripture, in the sense of first having the mantras revealed in his mind by the Supreme Brahman...

, though this might refer to Yagya done to provide regal legitimacy to certain warrior tribes. As Jats, assimilated many Surya, Chandra, Nag and Yaduvanshis into their being, same way Rajputs increased their vansh by assimilating same clans of Kshatriyas. Most Yaduvanshis became part of Jat and Rajput clans. For example, Bharatpur's Jat kingdom belong to Sri Krishna's Vrishni clan. Many Gurjar clans like Bhati
Bhati
Bhati is one of the largest tribes of the Gujjars& Rajput. They claim descent from Krishna as an avatar of Vishnu, and thus identify themselves as a Chandravanshi Kshatriya clan. The Bhati trace their history to the desert principality of Jaisalmer in Rajasthan, in the border villages of Bikaner...

 got divided between Rajput, Jat and Muslims.

Most of the Gurjars (or Gujjars) believe to have descended from Suryavanshi
Suryavansha
The Sooryavamsham or Suryavansh or Suryavamsa or Sun Dynasty or Solar Dynasty was one of the most prominent dynasties in the mythical history of India, along with the "Chandra-vaṃśa" or Lunar Dynasty.-Introduction:...

 Kshatriyas (Sun Dynasty) and connect themselves with Shri Ram Chandra
Rama
Rama or full name Ramachandra is considered to be the seventh avatar of Vishnu in Hinduism, and a king of Ayodhya in ancient Indian...

. Historically, the Gurjars were Sun-worshipers and are described as devoted to the Sun-god (God Surya
Surya
Surya Suraya or Phra Athit is the chief solar deity in Hinduism, one of the Adityas, son of Kasyapa and one of his wives, Aditi; of Indra; or of Dyaus Pitar . The term Surya also refers to the Sun, in general. Surya has hair and arms of gold...

). Their copper-plate grants bear an emblem of the Sun and on their seals, too, this symbol is depicted. Also the Gurjar title of honor is Mihir
Mihira
Mihira is an ancient Indian word meaning "Sun".* It is another name for the Indo-Iranian sun god Mithra.* It is another name for the Indian astronomer Varahamihira.* It is part of the name of the Huna king Mihirakula....

 which means Sun
Surya
Surya Suraya or Phra Athit is the chief solar deity in Hinduism, one of the Adityas, son of Kasyapa and one of his wives, Aditi; of Indra; or of Dyaus Pitar . The term Surya also refers to the Sun, in general. Surya has hair and arms of gold...

.

Varna-Jati-Caste


There is confusion between Varna, Jati and Caste. While the term varna refers to the four broad different classes in society, the term jati refers to the different specific endogamous sections of the Hindu Society which are known as castes. Varna means "color" as well as "veil". It shows the four different ways in which the Divine Self is hidden in human beings. In the context of color people have confused it to mean race but it actually represents the distinct qualities (guna) that the four functional classes possess in their hearts and minds. The four different qualities of human beings:
  1. If a person possessed the qualities of purity, love, faith and detachment, seek true knowledge and have a spiritual temperament, they would be represented by the color White (sattva = truthful). Those that belong to this color, belong to the Brahman class.
  2. If a person possessed the qualities of action, will, aggression, and energy, seek honor, power, status and have a martial and political temperament, they would be represented by the color Red (rajas = energetic; the color of blood, sacrifice). Those that belong to this color belong to the Kshatriya class.
  3. If a person tried to seek communication, interchange, trade, business and possessed a commercial temperament they were represented by the color Yellow. They make up the Vaishya class.
  4. Those individuals in society with a love of growing crops (nature) or a love of arts (shudra)(farmers and artisans) were represented by the color Black (tamas = inert, solid). Those belonging to this color are shudras.


The use of 'color' in this sense is metaphorical, however over time racialist interpretations, most notably the 'martial races' theory of the British Raj, gave way to the concept of 'heritable dharma', family castes, and the present divisions in Indian society.
  • Panchjanya
    Panchjanya
    Panchjanya, , is the common name given to five most ancient vedic kshatriya tribes. It is supposed they are all descendants of the Five Folks and are known by that name for e.g. Yadav for descendants of Yadu, paurav for descendants of Puru and so on. Some scholars believe they were different...

    , meaning five people, is the common name given to the five most ancient Vedic kshatriya tribes. It is supposed they are all descendants of the Turvasu. They are Yadu
    Yadu
    Yadu is one of the five Indo-Aryan tribes mentioned in the Rig Veda . The Mahabharata, the Harivamsha and the Puranas mention Yadu as the eldest son of king Yayati and his queen Devayani. The prince of King Yayati, Yadu was a self-respecting and a very established ruler...

    , Sini/Shini, Puru
    Puru
    The Purus were a tribe, or a confederation of tribes, mentioned many times in the Rigveda, formed around 3180 BCE. RV 7.96.2 locates them at the banks of the Sarasvati River. There were several factions of Purus, one being the Bharatas...

    , Anu
    Anu
    In Sumerian mythology, Anu was a sky-god, the god of heaven, lord of constellations, king of gods, Consort of Antu, spirits and demons, and dwelt in the highest heavenly regions. It was believed that he had the power to judge those who had committed crimes, and that he had created the stars as...

     and Druhyu. For example, Yadav is descended from the Yadu
    Yadu
    Yadu is one of the five Indo-Aryan tribes mentioned in the Rig Veda . The Mahabharata, the Harivamsha and the Puranas mention Yadu as the eldest son of king Yayati and his queen Devayani. The prince of King Yayati, Yadu was a self-respecting and a very established ruler...

    ; Saini
    Saini
    Saini is a Rajput descent caste of India. Sainis, also known as Shoorsaini in Puranic literature, are now found by their original name only in Punjab and in the neighboring states of Haryana, Jammu and Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh...

     is descended from Shini and Shoorsen both of whom were Yaduvanshi kings, Paurav is descended from the Puru
    Puru
    The Purus were a tribe, or a confederation of tribes, mentioned many times in the Rigveda, formed around 3180 BCE. RV 7.96.2 locates them at the banks of the Sarasvati River. There were several factions of Purus, one being the Bharatas...

    ; etc.

Theories of origin


Historians generally agree that caste became hereditary around the time of the rise of Buddhism and Jainism based on archaeological, literary, and artistic evidence of the communities that existed in India. Gautama Buddha
Gautama Buddha
Siddhārtha Gautama was a spiritual teacher from the Indian subcontinent, on whose teachings Buddhism was founded. In most Buddhist traditions, he is regarded as the Supreme Buddha Siddhārtha Gautama (Sanskrit: सिद्धार्थ गौतम; Pali: Siddhattha Gotama) was a spiritual teacher from the Indian...

 and Mahavira
Mahavira
Mahāvīra is the name most commonly used to refer to the Indian sage Vardhamāna who established what are today considered to be the central tenets of Jainism. According to Jain tradition, he was the 24th and the last Tirthankara. In Tamil, he is referred to as Arukaṉ or Arukadevan...

 are two Kshatriya sages who made a lasting impression on the world. They did not believe in the pre-eminence of the Vedas and taught to the masses, not keeping spirituality to an elite few. Ashoka Maurya became ardent follower of this faith and promoted it throughout the Mauryan empire. This resulted in the decline in status of the Brahman order.

Two camps exist about the importance of these texts. One camp is similar to the literalists of the Christian
Christian
A Christian is a person who adheres to Christianity, an Abrahamic, monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth as recorded in the Canonical gospels and the letters of the New Testament...

 faith who believe that their holy texts are verbatim documentation of real people, events and dates and that modern society is descended from them. The other camp believes that the holy texts are not meant to be taken literally and should be used symbolically as examples of the proper way to live.

Those who believe the Mahabharata
Mahabharata
The Mahabharata is one of the two major Sanskrit epics of ancient India and Nepal, the other being the Ramayana. The epic is part of itihasa....

, Ramayana
Ramayana
The Ramayana is an ancient Sanskrit epic. It is ascribed to the Hindu sage Valmiki and forms an important part of the Hindu canon , considered to be itihāsa. The Ramayana is one of the two great epics of India and Nepal, the other being the Mahabharata...

 and Puranas
Puranas
The Puranas are a genre of important Hindu, Jain and Buddhist religious texts, notably consisting of narratives of the history of the universe from creation to destruction, genealogies of kings, heroes, sages, and demigods, and descriptions of Hindu cosmology, philosophy, and geography.Puranas...

 were verbatim documents feel that modern Kshatriyas are descended from the Vedic Kshatriyas . The reason for the controversy is that we do not have any physical evidence of their existence. There are no bones, forts, weapons, coins, monuments, pictures etc. discovered to state unequivocally that they existed. However the clans as mentioned in Mahabharat for certain castes has existed as it is since time unknown, and provides the basis for belief in these texts.

The literalists believe that most of the Kshatriya communities descend from Surya, Chandra, or Agni
Agni
Agni is a Hindu deity, one of the most important of the Vedic gods. He is the god of fire and the acceptor of sacrifices. The sacrifices made to Agni go to the deities because Agni is a messenger from and to the other gods...

. The Surya descendants claim descent from the Sun Dynasty (Suryavanshi). Rama
Rama
Rama or full name Ramachandra is considered to be the seventh avatar of Vishnu in Hinduism, and a king of Ayodhya in ancient Indian...

 also belonged to this dynasty, and the Suryavanshis, who trace this lineage via Rama's son, Luv) trace their linage back to him.
The Chandra descendants claim descent from the Lunar Dynasty
Lunar Dynasty
In Hindu mythology, the Lunar Dynasty is one of the three principal houses of the Kshatriya varna, or warrior–ruling caste...

 (Chandravansh). Krishna
Krishna
Krishna is a central figure of Hinduism and is traditionally attributed the authorship of the Bhagavad Gita. He is the supreme Being and considered in some monotheistic traditions as an Avatar of Vishnu...

 is believed to be born in this dynasty. Chandravanshi Kshtriyas consider him as an ancestor. This is mentioned in the Rig Veda and other Puranas as well as in Great epics, the Ramayana
Ramayana
The Ramayana is an ancient Sanskrit epic. It is ascribed to the Hindu sage Valmiki and forms an important part of the Hindu canon , considered to be itihāsa. The Ramayana is one of the two great epics of India and Nepal, the other being the Mahabharata...

, the Mahabharata
Mahabharata
The Mahabharata is one of the two major Sanskrit epics of ancient India and Nepal, the other being the Ramayana. The epic is part of itihasa....

 and the Raghuvaṃśa
Raghuvamsa
Raghuwamsa or Raghu race is a legendary lineage of warrior kings tracing its ancestry to the Hindu solar deity Surya. Kalidasa's famous work, Raghuvaṃśa depicts the legend of this race. The progenitor of the lineage was Raghu, son of the emperor Dileepa. Raghu was father of Aja, and thus...

.

Past



File:Rajpoots_small.jpg|thumb|right|350px|An 1876 engraving of Khokar Rajputs of Punjab from the Illustrated London News
Illustrated London News
The Illustrated London News was the world's first illustrated weekly newspaper; the first issue appeared on Saturday 14 May 1842. It was published weekly until 1971 and then increasingly less frequently until publication ceased in 2003.-History:...

.
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In the past people looked upon Kshatriyans to protect them from all dangers. Kshatriyans were kings and warriors in the army, all soldiers knew basics of Kshatriyan martial arts
Martial arts
Martial arts are extensive systems of codified practices and traditions of combat, practiced for a variety of reasons, including self-defense, competition, physical health and fitness, as well as mental and spiritual development....

. The folklore
Folklore
Folklore consists of legends, music, oral history, proverbs, jokes, popular beliefs, fairy tales and customs that are the traditions of a culture, subculture, or group. It is also the set of practices through which those expressive genres are shared. The study of folklore is sometimes called...

 talks of some great Kshatriyans and legends. The status of Kshatriyans was clearly exalted. Legends tell that Kshatriyan could be told by sight because of his tall, strong and muscular male look. They were supposedly able to fight blindfolded and archers could hit a target by just sound in the dead of the night. Stories of exemplary courage still circulate by word of mouth and are recorded as folk-tales. Teachers of Kshatriyans never accepted non-kshatriyans, for example see the story of Ekalavya
Ekalavya
In the Hindu epic Mahābhārata, Ekalavya is a young prince of the Nishadha tribes, and a member of a low caste, who aspires to study archery in the gurukul of Dronacharya. After being rejected by Drona due to his low caste, Eklavya embarks upon a program of self-study in the presence of a clay...

.

Present


Families consider it as a status symbol or a decoration to have the famous two crossed swords in a shield symbol of a Kshatriyan hung in their house. The Kshatriyan is still a great name and older generation of rural India still attach a great value to it. South Indian Kalarippayattu gurukal teach the old martial art still. The Kalarippayattu is seriously being revived but the old tradition of accepting only Kshatriyans to learn Kalarippayattu has been dropped. The Marathas in Maharashtra
Maharashtra
Maharashtra is a state located in India. It is the second most populous after Uttar Pradesh and third largest state by area in India...

 and central India attach great pride and command a sense of respect among common people by their lineage while Rajput
Rajput
A Rajput is a member of one of the patrilineal clans of western, central, northern India and in some parts of Pakistan. Rajputs are descendants of one of the major ruling warrior classes in the Indian subcontinent, particularly North India...

 in Rajasthan
Rajasthan
Rājasthān the land of Rajasthanis, , is the largest state of the Republic of India by area. It is located in the northwest of India. It encompasses most of the area of the large, inhospitable Great Indian Desert , which has an edge paralleling the Sutlej-Indus river valley along its border with...

.

The situation has changed in modern times and Kshatriyas do not have much to gain or lose in status by their Kshatriya lineage. One area where the Kshatriya heritage has been prominent is the Indian Army.

Kshatriya regiments make up a large portion of the Indian and Nepali Armed forces. Notable among them are Punjab Regiment
Punjab Regiment
Punjab Regiment may refer to the following existing units:*Punjab Regiment *Punjab Regiment From 1922 to 1947, the British Indian Army included 6 numbered Punjab Regiments:*1st Punjab Regiment*2nd Punjab Regiment*8th Punjab Regiment...

, 9th
9th Battalion Madras Regiment
The 9th battalion of the Madras Regiment has completed 300 years in Indian service. The battalion was raised in 1704 at Padmanabhapuram in Kalkulam taluk of Kanyakumari district in Tamil Nadu. Padmanabhapuram was the erstwhile capital of Travancore State...

, 16th and 17th Battalions of Madras Regiment
Madras Regiment
The Madras Regiment is the oldest regiment in the Indian army formed in the 1750s. The regiment has been through many campaigns with both the British Indian Army and the Indian Army.- History :...

 (Nair), Maratha Light Infantry
Maratha Light Infantry
The Maratha Light Infantry is a light infantry regiment of the Indian Army. It was formed as the 103rd Maharattas in 1768, making it the most senior light infantry regiment of the Army....

 (Maratha
Maratha
The Maratha are an Indian caste, predominantly in the state of Maharashtra. The term Marāthā has three related usages: within the Marathi speaking region it describes the dominant Maratha caste; outside Maharashtra it can refer to the entire regional population of Marathi-speaking people;...

), Rajputana Rifles
Rajputana Rifles
The Rajputana Rifles is the most senior rifle regiment of the Indian Army. It was originally raised in 1921 as part of the British Indian Army, when six previously existing regiments were amalgamated together to form six battalions of the 6th Rajputana Rifles...

 (Mainly of Rajasthani
Rajasthani people
Rajasthani people are the native inhabitants of Rajasthan region of India. They form an ethnic group which is a result of assimilation of Scytho-Dravidian, Aryo-Dravidian, Indo-Aryan, Indo-Scythian, Indo-Greeks, Indo-Iranians and Austro-Asiatic ancestries...

 Rajput
Rajput
A Rajput is a member of one of the patrilineal clans of western, central, northern India and in some parts of Pakistan. Rajputs are descendants of one of the major ruling warrior classes in the Indian subcontinent, particularly North India...

s, Gurjars and Jats), Jat Regiment
Jat Regiment
The Jat Regiment is an infantry regiment of the Indian Army and is one of the longest serving and most decorated regiments of the Indian Army. The regiment has won 19 battle honours between 1839 to 1947 and post independence 5 battle honours, Two Ashok Chakras, eight Mahavir Chakras, eight Kirti...

, Dogra Regiment
Dogra Regiment
The Dogra Regiment is an infantry regiment of the Indian Army, formerly the 17th Dogra Regiment when part of the British Indian Army.- Formation:The regiment has the Dogra people from the Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and the hill regions of Punjab...

, The Garhwal Rifles, Kumaon Regiment
Kumaon Regiment
The Kumaon Regiment is one of the most decorated regiments of the Indian Army. The regiment traces its origins to the 18th century and has fought in every major campaign of the British Indian Army and the Indian Army, including the two world wars...

 and Rajput Regiment
Rajput Regiment
The Rajput Regiment is a regiment in the Indian Army that is composed primarily of the Rajput clans from India. The British designated the Rajputs as a martial race and subsequently employed large numbers of these warriors in the British Indian Army....

.

Demographics


According to the 1891 Census of India
1891 Census of India
The 1891 Indian Census was conducted by the British and covered India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Burma. The ethnic distribution was as follows:...

, Martial Races made up more than 10% of the population of British India. This percentage might have decreased over the years. An example is that of the Nairs in Kerala
Kerala
or Keralam is an Indian state located on the Malabar coast of south-west India. It was created on 1 November 1956 by the States Reorganisation Act by combining various Malayalam speaking regions....

 who were decimated during the Mysore invasion of Kerala. Nairs constituted more than 30% of the population of Kerala during the 1854 census, but decreased to 14.41% in 1968 and further decreased to 12.88% in 2000. Frequent warfare was the main cause for demographic decline during early years, but low fertility
Total Fertility Rate
The total fertility rate of a population is the average number of children that would be born to a woman over her lifetime if she were to experience the exact current age-specific fertility rates through her lifetime, and she...

 is the main problem nowadays. (In Kerala
Kerala
or Keralam is an Indian state located on the Malabar coast of south-west India. It was created on 1 November 1956 by the States Reorganisation Act by combining various Malayalam speaking regions....

, the Malayala Kshatriya
Malayala Kshatriya
The Samanta Kshatriya are the topmost subdivision of the Malayala Kshatriya Community in Kerala, India. The Samanta Kshatriyas make up a part of the erstwhile royal families of the Hindu Kingdoms and princely states that existed in Kerala until the creation of the Indian Republic...

s have a fertility of 1.47 children per woman, while the Muslim
Muslim
A Muslim, also spelled Moslem, is an adherent of Islam, a monotheistic, Abrahamic religion based on the Quran, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God as revealed to prophet Muhammad. "Muslim" is the Arabic term for "submitter" .Muslims believe that God is one and incomparable...

s have 2.97 children per woman).

Specialties


The Rajputs were known to make deft political maneuvers to consolidate their kingdom or to defeat an enemy. They are also known to follow certain codes of war to fight a battle. They are recorded in history as a kind of fierce warrior clan who make brave attempts within their war codes to retrieve a lost kingdom or defeat a dangerous enemy. They are also legendarily said to have untiring persistence to attain their goal as in the case of Maharana Pratap. The rajputs are considered to be most revered and persistent Kshatriyas.

Praiseful references of might and administration of the Gurjars can be found in Arab
Arab
Arab people, also known as Arabs , are a panethnicity primarily living in the Arab world, which is located in Western Asia and North Africa. They are identified as such on one or more of genealogical, linguistic, or cultural grounds, with tribal affiliations, and intra-tribal relationships playing...

 records as well as India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

n inscriptions.Kupadvanj inscription of 910A.D. mentions them as Roaring Gurjar.Arab
Arab
Arab people, also known as Arabs , are a panethnicity primarily living in the Arab world, which is located in Western Asia and North Africa. They are identified as such on one or more of genealogical, linguistic, or cultural grounds, with tribal affiliations, and intra-tribal relationships playing...

 records say that the Gurjar king maintained numerous forces and no other Indian prince had so fine a cavalry.Arab invaders referred Gurjars as their greatest foe.

The Maratha warrior and emperor Shivaji Bhonsale, born April, 1627 (also Shrimant Rajaram Shivaji Raje Bhonsle - Chhatrapati
Chhatrapati
Chhatrapati is the Indian honorific title equivalent to the European Emperor. It is more formally written as Kshetrapati, from the Sanskrit kshetra- and -pati...

 Maharaj) had his own army specialized in guerrilla warfare and a particular tale of valor is also a historical fact. It is the tale of Sinhagad Fort. Jats employed guerilla warfare in Bharatpur, which was very close to the stronghold of Mughals. They were able to fight successfully against Mughal ruler Aurangzeb
Aurangzeb
Abul Muzaffar Muhy-ud-Din Muhammad Aurangzeb Alamgir , more commonly known as Aurangzeb or by his chosen imperial title Alamgir , was the sixth Mughal Emperor of India, whose reign lasted from 1658 until his death in 1707.Badshah Aurangzeb, having ruled most of the Indian subcontinent for nearly...

 30 km from Agra.

South India, particularly Kerala also has its own share of Kshatriyans who are better known as members of Raja-Kudumba's or royal families. They practice the worlds oldest martial art known as Kalarippayattu
Kalarippayattu
Kalaripayattu is a southern Indian martial art originating in Tamil Nadu but also practiced in contiguous parts of Kerala and Karnataka.Kalari payat includes strikes, kicks, grappling, preset forms, weaponry and healing methods...

. The Kalarippayattu has something commonly known as Marma Kalai or Varma Kalai where the Marmam is attacked which instantly disables or kills the enemy without making any externally visible injury.

Kshatriya Dharma


Kshatriya Dharma is the rules to be followed by a Kshatriyan to do justice to his caste and status. it still exists in more logical and evolved forms.

Kshtariya Dharma is specifically described in the Mahabharata:

Symbols associated with Kshatriya



In rituals, the Nyagrodha (Ficus Indica or India Fig/Banyan
Banyan
A banyan is a fig that starts its life as an epiphyte when its seeds germinate in the cracks and crevices on a host tree...

 tree) danda, or staff, is assigned to the Kshatriya class, and along with a mantra, intended to impart physical vitality or 'ojas'.

The Nyagrodha or Banyan tree
Ficus benghalensis
Ficus benghalensis, the banyan, is a large and extensive growing tree of the Indian subcontinent. Ficus benghalensis produces propagating roots which grow downwards as aerial roots. Once these roots reach the ground, they grow into woody trunks that can become indistinguishable from the main...

, (not to be confused with the Pipul, Ficus Religiosus or Sacred Fig), with its hanging, branch-like root-trunks which can grow to several acres, is considered symbolically equivalent to the Kshtariya. Where the Nyragrodha is fastened to the ground and supported by its downward growths, the Kshatriya is thought of as supported by the larger society 'beneath' it.

In the Manu Smriti, or Laws of Manu, the Kshatriya caste is given the Varna (Color) red.

Kshatriya lineage



The major branches of Kshatriya varna are: Suryavanshi (solar line), claiming direct descent from Ramachandra, and descent from Surya
Surya
Surya Suraya or Phra Athit is the chief solar deity in Hinduism, one of the Adityas, son of Kasyapa and one of his wives, Aditi; of Indra; or of Dyaus Pitar . The term Surya also refers to the Sun, in general. Surya has hair and arms of gold...

; Chandravanshi (lunar line), claiming descent from Yadu
Yadu
Yadu is one of the five Indo-Aryan tribes mentioned in the Rig Veda . The Mahabharata, the Harivamsha and the Puranas mention Yadu as the eldest son of king Yayati and his queen Devayani. The prince of King Yayati, Yadu was a self-respecting and a very established ruler...

, as Yadu was himself born in a Chandravanshi dynasty, and descent from Chandra
Chandra
In Hinduism, Chandra is a lunar deity and a Graha. Chandra is also identified with the Vedic Lunar deity Soma . The Soma name refers particularly to the juice of sap in the plants and thus makes the Moon the lord of plants and vegetation. He is described as young, beautiful, fair; two-armed and...

; Agnivanshi, claiming descent from Agni
Agni
Agni is a Hindu deity, one of the most important of the Vedic gods. He is the god of fire and the acceptor of sacrifices. The sacrifices made to Agni go to the deities because Agni is a messenger from and to the other gods...

; and Nagavanshi
Nagavanshi
The Nagavanshi dynasty is one of the ancient Kshatriya dynasties of India. The Vedas do not mention Kshatriyas of either Suryavanshi, Chandravanshi, Nagavanshi, Agnivanshi or such Vanshas or lineages. The Puranas, of debatable dating, constructed such genealogies. The Puranas were supposedly...

, claiming descent from the Nāga
Naga
Naga or NAGA may refer to:* Nāga, a group of serpent deities in Hindu and Buddhist mythology.-People:* Nayan / Nayar/Nair people of Kerala Society* Naga people, a diverse ethnic identity in Northeast India...

s.

Suryavanshi


The Suryavanshi or Solar dynasty lineage claims descent from Surya
Surya
Surya Suraya or Phra Athit is the chief solar deity in Hinduism, one of the Adityas, son of Kasyapa and one of his wives, Aditi; of Indra; or of Dyaus Pitar . The term Surya also refers to the Sun, in general. Surya has hair and arms of gold...

. Suryavanshis also claim descent from Rama, who was himself born into a Suryavanshi dynasty. Kshatriya of Punjab, or Khatri
Khatri
Khatri is a caste from the northern Indian subcontinent. Khatris in India are mostly from Punjab, region but later they migrated to regions like Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Jammu, Uttarkhand, Himachal Pradesh, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Haryana, Balochistan, Sindh and Khyber...

 as they are known in the Punjabi
Punjabi language
Punjabi is an Indo-Aryan language spoken by inhabitants of the historical Punjab region . For Sikhs, the Punjabi language stands as the official language in which all ceremonies take place. In Pakistan, Punjabi is the most widely spoken language...

 dialect hail from this dynasty. Out of the 36 major clans of Rajastani Rajput
Rajput
A Rajput is a member of one of the patrilineal clans of western, central, northern India and in some parts of Pakistan. Rajputs are descendants of one of the major ruling warrior classes in the Indian subcontinent, particularly North India...

s, 10 belong to the Suryavanshi lineage (Shekhawat, Rathore, Sisodia, Kachwaha.etc.)

Chandravanshi


The Chandravanshi or Lunar dynasty lineage claims descent from Chandra
Chandra
In Hinduism, Chandra is a lunar deity and a Graha. Chandra is also identified with the Vedic Lunar deity Soma . The Soma name refers particularly to the juice of sap in the plants and thus makes the Moon the lord of plants and vegetation. He is described as young, beautiful, fair; two-armed and...

. Chandravanshis also claim descent from Yadu
Yadu
Yadu is one of the five Indo-Aryan tribes mentioned in the Rig Veda . The Mahabharata, the Harivamsha and the Puranas mention Yadu as the eldest son of king Yayati and his queen Devayani. The prince of King Yayati, Yadu was a self-respecting and a very established ruler...

, who was himself born into a Chandravanshi dynasty.

Agnivanshi


The Agnivanshi lineage claims descent from Agni
Agni
Agni is a Hindu deity, one of the most important of the Vedic gods. He is the god of fire and the acceptor of sacrifices. The sacrifices made to Agni go to the deities because Agni is a messenger from and to the other gods...

. Clans like Bhadauria, Chauhan, Parihar, Panwar & Solanki are of Agnivanshi lineage.

Nāgvanshi



The Nāgvanshi or Serpent dynasty is a sub-clan of Suryavanshi kshatriyas. They adopted Naga as their symbol and worshipped Lord Shiva in various forms. Nāgvanshis include most of the Nair
Nair
Nair , also known as Nayar , refers to "not a unitary group but a named category of castes", which historically embody several castes and many subdivisions, not all of whom bore the Nair title. These people historically live in the present-day Indian state of Kerala...

 and Bunt
Bunt (community)
Bunt , previously spelled Bant, are a community of erstwhile nobility, feudatory and gentry from the region of Tulu Nadu in the south west of India which comprises the districts of Udupi and Dakshina Kannada in the Indian state of Karnataka and Kasaragod taluk of Kerala...

 clans as well as some Rajput
Rajput
A Rajput is a member of one of the patrilineal clans of western, central, northern India and in some parts of Pakistan. Rajputs are descendants of one of the major ruling warrior classes in the Indian subcontinent, particularly North India...

 (Saharan Rajputs, Bais Rajput
Bais Rajput
The Bais Rajput , are an ancient Rajput clan consisting of the wealthy, warriors, entrepreneurs and Zamindar .The Bais Rajput are one of the Chattis Rajkul - 36 Royal Rajput lineages...

s, Naga Rajput
Naga Rajput
Naga Rajput is a gotra of Rajputs in Rajastan, India. The town of Nagaur is believed to have got its name from the Naga Rajputs, who were the warrior rulers of Rajputana. They are also believed to have founded the principality of Jodhpur. The Naga Rajputs of Nagaur lost their power in due course of...

s, Takshak Rajputs. etc.) and Jat clans. The Nāgvanshi (or Nāgbanshi) are known for ruling Chhotanagpur
Chhotanagpur
Chhotanagpur is an area including the tribal areas of Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, and West Bengal states in India. Many residents of the area identify with the name even though there is no political recognition of the area. A local dialect of Hindi called Nagpuri is common in the area....

. Most important among the Jat clans which are of Nāga origin includes Bachak
Bachak
Bachak is a gotra of Jats in India....

 Jats, Kaliramna
Kaliramna
Kaliramna or Kaliraman or Kaleramne is gotra of Jats found in Haryana and Punjab. Kala, Kalidhaman, Kalkhande, Kalirawan, Kalerana, Kalirawat, Kalirai, Kalu are the variations of the same gotra. This gotra is branch of Nagavanshi or Nagas...

 Jats, and Katewa
Katewa
Katewa is a gotra of Jats found in Rajasthan, India. The Katewa gotra people are also settled in Sindh, Pakistan. They are descendants of Karkotaka , a Nagavanshi king. They were inhabiting Kikata Kingdom, during Mahabharata period. While some historians suggests that they belong to Yadu vansh. In...

 Jats. Outside India, the Balinese Kshatriyas
Balinese caste system
The Balinese caste system is a system of social organization similar to the Indian caste system. However, India's caste system is far more complicated than Bali's, and there are only four Balinese castes.The four castes of Bali are:...

 claim descent from Nāgvanshis. In South West India, the Naga Sendraka rulers of Nayarkhanda (Nagarkhanda) were feudatories to the Chalukyas. The Sindas of Bastar
Bastar
* Bastar state, a state founded in the 15th century that later became a princely state of British India* Bastar district, an administrative district of Chhatisgarh state in central India...

 were also of Nagavanshi origin.

Others

  • Velirs/Vellalars, Tamil gentry, ancient feudal landlords.
  • Chera/Chola/Pandya, Tamil royal lineage linked to the Velir/Vellalar
    Vellalar
    Vellalars were, originally, an elite caste of Tamil agricultural landlords in Tamil Nadu, Kerala states in India and in neighbouring Sri Lanka; they were the nobility, aristocracy of the ancient Tamil order and had close relations with the different royal dynasties...

     caste.
  • The alien hordes that did not follow priestly customs or traditions (Shakas, Kushans, Indo-Greeks, Hunas and Parthians) were stated as Vratya Kshatriyas in Manusmriti.
  • The Meitei
    Manipuri Kshatriya
    Manipuri Kshatriya is a Hindu Kshatriya caste in Manipur, India. Census reports from Maniput in 1883 note that nearly all Manpiuris in the Valley of Manipur professed to be Kshatriya...

     of Manipur
    Manipur
    Manipur is a state in northeastern India, with the city of Imphal as its capital. Manipur is bounded by the Indian states of Nagaland to the north, Mizoram to the south and Assam to the west; it also borders Burma to the east. It covers an area of...

     were recognized as Kshatriyas by the Bengali and Assamese Brahmins as they are thought to be the descendants of Lord Arjuna
    Arjuna
    Arjuna in Indian mythology is the greatest warrior on earth and is one of the Pandavas, the heroes of the Hindu epic Mahābhārata. Arjuna, whose name means 'bright', 'shining', 'white' or 'silver' Arjuna (Devanagari: अर्जुन, Thai: อรชุน, Orachun, Tamil: Arjunan, Indonesian and Javanese: Harjuna,...

    .
  • Gurung
    Gurung
    The Gurung people, also called Tamu, are an ethnic group that migrated from Mongolia in the 6th century to the central region of Nepal. Gurungs, like other east Asian featured peoples of Nepal such as Sherpa, Tamang, Thakali, Magar, Manaaggi, Mustaaggi, and Walunggi, are the indigenous people of...

     and Magar ethnic groups are recognized as Kshatriyas in Nepal
    Nepal
    Nepal , officially the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal, is a landlocked sovereign state located in South Asia. It is located in the Himalayas and bordered to the north by the People's Republic of China, and to the south, east, and west by the Republic of India...

     by the Bahun
    Bahun
    Bahun is a colloquial Nepali term for a member of the Pahari or "hill" Brahmin caste, who are traditionally educators, scholars and priests of Hinduism. They are also known as Barmu in Newari. By tradition—and by civil law until 1962—they represented the highest of the four Hindu...

    , along with other Kshatriya groups such as Thakore
    Thakore
    The Thakore are Hindu caste found in the state of Gujarat in India. They also known as Patanwadia, Dharedas or Baria.-History and origin:The Thakore of Gujarat claim to have originated in Maharashtra in the distant past. They are found in the districts of Mehsana, Ahmedabad, Banaskantha,...

     and Chhetri.
  • Shrestha
    Shrestha
    Shrēṣṭha ), is a common Newar surname . Shresthas traditionally have been predominantly traders. Since the unification of the country in the 19th century, with the opening up of the rest of the country for trading, Shresthas have migrated and settled down in various trade hubs all over Nepal, and...

     subdivision among ethnic Newar
    Newar
    The Newa , Newār or Newāl) are the indigenous people and the creators of the historical civilization of Nepal's Kathmandu Valley. The valley and surrounding territory have been known from ancient times as Nepal Mandala, its limits ever changing through history.Newas have lived in the Kathmandu...

     is recognized as Kshatriya in Nepal
    Nepal
    Nepal , officially the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal, is a landlocked sovereign state located in South Asia. It is located in the Himalayas and bordered to the north by the People's Republic of China, and to the south, east, and west by the Republic of India...

    .

Further reading

  • History and Culture of Indian People, The Vedic Age, p 313-314