social community of South Asia

Rajput (from Sanskrit raja-putra, "son of a king") is a member of any of the various patrilineal Kshatriya clans of the Indian subcontinent, associated with warriorhood.

Pratap Singh Bundela of Orchha state, one of the hundreds of Rajput ruled kingdoms


  • “Rajput is a corrupt form of the Vedic word Rajputra. It occurs in Rigveda, Yajurvedic Kaphak Samhita, and Aitareya Bramana of the Rigveda as a synonym for Râjanya. ...In Mahabharata also the word Rajputra has been used in the sense of nobles and chiefs, as well as ordinary Kshatriyas. The literal meaning of Kshatriya again is the son of a Kshatra. ... So the primary meaning of Rajanya and Kshatriya is the same and Rajputra is used for either of the two words though its meaning becomes distinct as we proceed on the long road of time... As pointed out by G.H. Ojha in Rajputane ka Itihasa Vol. I, Rajputras have been referred to in Kautilya’s Arthasastra, Kalidasa’s Malvikagnimitra, Asvaghosha’s Saundarananda and Banabhatta’s Harshacharita and Kadambari. The word has been used with different connotations by these authors. In Kautilya’s work it implies sons of the king while by Kalidasa and Asvaghosha it is used for nobles. Banabhatta in the first work uses it in the sense of nobles and in the latter work as sons of the nobles”
    • J.N. Asopa, Origin of the Rajputs, Delhi, 1976, pp.4-5. [1]
  • "What nation on earth could have maintained the semblance of civilization, the spirit or the customs of their forefathers, during so many centuries of overwhelming depression, but one of such singular character as the Rajpoot? . . . Rajast’han exhibits the sole example in the history of mankind, of a people withstanding every outrage barbarity could inflict, or human nature sustain, from a foe whose religion commands annihilation; and bent to the earth, yet rising buoyant from the pressure, and making calamity a whetstone to courage. . . . Not an iota of their religion or customs have they lost. . . ".
  • "The Rajput race is the noblest and proudest in India, they are of highest antiquity and purest descent, they have a military autocracy of a feudal type, and “brave and chivalrous, keenly sensitive to an affront, and especially jealous of the honour of their women".
  • "If we compare the antiquity and illustrious descent of the dynasties which have ruled, and some which continue to rule, the small sovereignties of Rajasthan, with many of celebrity in Europe, superiority will often attach to the Rajput."
  • "If devotion to the fair sex be admitted as a criterion of civilization, the Rajpoot must rank high. His susceptibility is extreme, and fires at the slightest offense to female delicacy, which he never forgives."
  • Bernier says that the Rajput “Rajas never mount (guard) within a (Mughal) fortress, but invariably without the walls, under their own tents… and always refusing to enter any fortress unless well attended, and by men determined to sacrifice their lives for their leaders. This self devotion has been sufficiently proved when attempts have been made to deal treacherously with a Raja.”
    • François Bernier, quoted from Lal, K. S. (1992). The legacy of Muslim rule in India. New Delhi: Aditya Prakashan. Chapter 4
  • This Dark Age was lighted up for a moment by the epic of Rajputana. Here, in the states of Mewar, Marwar, Amber, Bikaner and many others of melodious name, a people half native in origin and half descended from invading Scythians and Huns, had built a feudal civilization under the government of warlike rajas who cared more for the art of life than for the life of art. They began by acknowledging the suzerainty of the Mauryas and the Guptas; they ended by defending their independence, and all India, from the inroads of Moslem hordes. Their clans were distinguished by a military ardor and courage not usually associated with India;VI if we may trust their admiring historian, Tod, every man of them was a dauntless Kshatriya, and every woman among them was a heroine. Their very name, Rajputs, meant “sons of kings”; and if sometimes they called their land Rajasthan, it was to designate it as “the home of royalty.”
  • All the nonsense and glamor—all the bravery, loyalty, beauty, feuds, poisons, assassinations, wars, and subjection of woman—which our traditions attach to the Age of Chivalry can be found in the annals of these plucky states. “The Rajput chieftains,” says Tod, “were imbued with all the kindred virtues of the western cavalier, and far his superior in mental attainments.”59 They had lovely women for whom they did not hesitate to die, and who thought it only a matter of courtesy to accompany their husbands to the grave by the rite of suttee. Some of these women were educated and refined; some of the rajas were poets, or scientists; and for a while a delicate genre of water-color painting flourished among them in the medieval Persian style. For four centuries they grew in wealth, until they could spend $20,000,000 on the coronation of Mewar’s king.
  • It was their pride and their tragedy that they enjoyed war as the highest art of all, the only one befitting a Rajput gentleman. This military spirit enabled them to defend themselves against the Moslems with historic valor, but it kept their little states so divided and weakened with strife that not all their bravery could preserve them in the end.
  • “What the Rajputs really lacked was a spirit of aggression so conspicuous among the Muslims, and a will to force the war in the enemy’s dominions and thus destroy the base of his power.”
    • Ram Gopal, Quoted from S.R. Goel, (1994) Heroic Hindu resistance to Muslim invaders, 636 AD to 1206 AD.

  • "Indeed it is amongst the Rajputs of our Army that we find the best specimen of Hindu character, and is no part of the world has the devotion of the soldiers to their immediate Chiefs been more remarkable than among the Rajputs."
  • In the ancient days the Rajput principalities were India's stoutest bulwarks against foreign invasion. Khshatriya armies fought not only Alexander and his Greeks, but also the hordes of Scythians and Bactrians which poured into India up to the end of the 1st century.

  • Meanwhile, another Tabligh movement had arisen in Haryana under the leadership of Shah Muhammad Ramzan (1769-1825). “He found that the converted Rajputs and Jats… were in no way different from their Hindu counterparts in culture, customs and celebration of religious festivals… Shah Muhammad Ramzan used to sojourn in areas inhabited by such converted Rajputs, dissuade them from practising Hindu rites, and persuade them to marry their cousins (real uncle’s daughters which converts persistently refused to do). They equally detested eating cow’s flesh. To induce them to eat beef, he introduced new festivals like Maryam ka Roza and ‘Rot-bot’. On this day, observed on 17 Rajjab, a ‘pao’ of roasted beef placed on a fried bread was distributed amongst relatives and near and dear ones… Such endeavours ruled out the possibility of reconversion and helped in the ‘Islamization’ of neo-Muslims…”
    • Muhammad Ramzan cited in K.S. Lal, The Legacy of Muslim Rule in India, quoted from (1997). Time for stock taking, whither Sangh Parivar?. Edited by S.R. Goel.
  • Akbar sent Raja Man Sing and Asaf Khan against Rana Pratap of Mewar in 1576. There were Rajput soldiers on both sides; those under Rana Pratap were fighting the ones under Raja Man Singh. At one stage in the fierce struggle, Badaoni asked Asaf Khan how he could distinguish between the friendly and the enemy Rajputs. Asaf Khan replied: “Shoot at whomsoever you like, on whichever side they may be killed, it will be a gain to Islam.”
    • Battle of Haldighati. Quoted from K.S. Lal, Indian Muslims who are they, 1990
  • The Hindu architects produced buildings incomparably more rich and interesting as works of art. I have not visited Southern India, where, it is said, the finest specimen of Hindu architecture are to be found. But I have seen enough of the art in Rajputana to convince me of its enormous superiority to any work of the Mohammedans. The temples at Chitor, for example, are specimens of true classicism.
    • Aldous Huxley, quoted in : On Hinduism Reviews and Reflections - By Ram Swarup p.161-165
  • [Padmanabh, in his Kanhadade-Prabandh (written about the middle of the fifteenth century) has this to say about the Rajput warriors:] “They bathed the horses in the sacred water of Ganga. Then they offered them Kamal Puja. On their backs they put with sandal the impressions of their hands… They put over them five types of armour, namely, war armour, saddles acting as armour, armour in the form of plates, steel armour, and armour woven out of cotton. Now what was the type of Kshatriyas who rode these horses? Those, who were above twenty-five and less than fifty in age,… shot arrows with speed and were the most heroic. (Their) moustaches went up to their ears, and beards reached the navel. They were liberal and warlike. Their thoughts were good… They regarded wives of others as their sisters. They stood firm in battle, and struck after first challenging the enemy. They died after having killed first. They donned and used (all the) sixty-six weapons. If any one (of the enemy ranks) fell down they regarded the fallen person as a corpse and saluted it.”
    • Quoted from Lal, K. S. (1992). The legacy of Muslim rule in India. New Delhi: Aditya Prakashan. Chapter 4
  • "Rajasthan, the land of the kings, that lies in the hot dry part of north-western India, evokes visions of a golden desert bathed in brilliant sunshine. Tall men sport luxuriant moustaches, their aquiline features reminiscent of a regal past. In their large, brightly coloured turbans, white kurtas or tunics and short knee-length dhotis, they go about their business. The women of Rajasthan walk tall, ghagra-cholis – colourful skirts and blouses, swinging about their knees, silver anklets tinkling and water pots piled one on top of the other balanced gracefully on their heads. The picture of Rajasthan is incomplete without a mention of the camels that wander in herds or as a part of disciplined caravans, bells ringing on their feet, their noses held high. There is an aroma about them that is warm and not unpleasant. Clouds of dust rise as men and beasts walk, making no attempt to look for a bit of shade for the short thorny kikar, that abounds amidst the dunes, has little to offer. These are the descendents of valiant warrior clans, who once thrilled to the clash of steel, the wind that whipped past and the steeds that strained at their bits.They call themselves Rajputs – the sons of kings. Their bards sing of valour, of love and of great battles fought since time immemorial. It was these songs that so captivated the heart of Captain Tod, that he added his name to the list of the bards of Rajasthan."
    • The Royal Rajputs- Manoshi Bhattacharya.
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  1. A History of Rajasthan Rima Hooja,pg-271