Muslim Rajputs

Muslim Rajputs or Musulman Rajputs are Rajputs who practice Islam.

Contents

 

  • 1 History
    • 1.1 Muslim conquest of South Asia
    • 1.2 Conversion to Islam
    • 1.3 Recent conversions and ethos
      • 1.3.1 Muslim Gautama Thakurs
    • 1.4 Rajputs of the Punjab Hill States and Kashmir
  • 2 Beliefs and customs3 See also
    • 2.1 Marriages
  • 4 References

History

The term Rajput is traditionally applied to the originalSuryavanshiChandravanshi and Agnivanshi clans, the ancient Hindu ruling dynasties of South Asia.

Muslim conquest of South Asia

The history of the Muslim Rajput coincides with the Muslim conquest of South Asia. The Rajputs started converting to Islam due to various reasons beginning with the conquest of Indus Valley fromMultan to Debal by Muhammad bin Qasim, the Arab general of Umayyad Caliphate from Taif(now in Saudi Arabia) in 712 AD. At the time of arrival of Islam, the north and western regions of South Asia were ruled by Rajput clans. The Rajputs and Muslim armies fought many battles for the control of South Asia. Sultan Mahmud of Ghazni conquered the regal power of Rajput Maharaja Jayapala Shahiof the North Western South Asian(modern day Pakistan) region by 1026, through successive battles.

Towards the end of the 12th century the Turkic Shahbudin Muhammad of Ghor conquered Delhi after defeating last defense of the Rajputs in the second battle of Tarain 1192, by Maharaja Prithvi Raj Chauhan. Later his successor in India Qutb-ud-din Aibak established the Delhi Sultanate in 1206.

In 1527, the Muslim Janjua Rajput clan aided the Mughal conquest of South Asia by taking part in the Imperial Mughal armies as Generals.[2] Hindu Rajputs also took part in these conquests as allies and even took part in marriages with the Mughals such as Raja Man Singh of the Kachhwaha clan, who aided Emperor Akbar in 1568 against the Sisodias.

The Mughal princes and emperors had maternal Rajput blood. Emperor Bahadur Shah I‘s mother was a Muslim Rajput Nawab Bai Begum Sahiba (second wife of Emperor Aurangzeb) being the daughter of Raja Taj-ud-Din Jarral (Raja Chatar Shena Jarral) the late Raja of Rajauri, in Kashmir. EmperorJahangir‘s mother was a Kachhwaha Rajput princess, the daughter of Raja Bharmal and the aunt ofRaja Man Singh.

Conversion to Islam

Many Rajput clans were converted to Islam during the early 12th century and were given the title ofShaikh (elder of the tribe) by the Arab or Mirza by the Mughal rulers. Rajputs converted to Islam due to many reasons including physical or economic duress,[3][full citation needed] pragmatism and patronage such as social mobility among the Muslim ruling elite or for relief from Jazia taxes for being a non-Muslim ( Dhimmi ),[3][full citation needed][4] as a socio-cultural process of diffusion and integration over an extended period of time into the sphere of the dominant Muslim civilization and global polity at large,[4] whereas some conversions also took place for political reasons. The Delhi Sultanate and later Mughal dynasty encouraged the martial Malik Rajput clans to convert to Islam. Conversions to Islam continued into the 19th century period of the British Raj.

The fact of subsequent conversion to other faiths, did not deprive them of this heritage; just as the Greeks, after their conversion to Christianity, did not lose pride in the mighty achievements of their ancestors, of the Italians in the great days of the Roman Republic and early empire… Christians, Jews, Parsees, Moslems. Indian converts to these religions never ceased to be Indian on account of a change of their faith …

Nehru also mentioned his own personal experience with Muslim Rajputs as he grew up, “I grew to know …. the Rajput peasant and petty landholder, still proud of his race and ancestry, even though he might have changed his faith and adopted Islam.” More importantly he bears testament to the fact that despite his change of faith, a Rajput is still a Rajput.

He further stated the conversions of Hindu upper castes to Islam, “Some individuals belonging to the higher castes also adopted the new faith, either because of a real change in belief, or, more often, for political and economic reasons.”

Recent conversions and ethos

Regarding their rule as Muslim Rajput chiefs of multi-faith subjects, it is recorded in the Jhelum District Gazetteer “thoroughly convinced of the truth of their own Islamic creed, though they are by no means intolerant or fanatical.”

The Rajput conversions attracted criticism from their Hindu counterparts. In fact a testimony of the steadfast practice of Islam by the Muslim Rajputs;

By and large, the only converts who keep the prescriptions of the (Islamic) Faith intact are the Muslim Rajputs

There is a case of this happening up until the recent British Raj era of India’s history which established a precedent in their government. In the state of Rajgarh, the ruling Rajput chief began to show a tendency towards Islam and got into difficulties with his Hindu caste peers over this. This occurred during the period of Sir John Lawrence’s Viceroyalty. His open following of Islamic traditions had infuriated his peers and feelings were so strong against him that he chose to abdicate the royal throne and retire to his new-found faith. The subsequent inquiry against him however showed that he was a good ruler and no misgovernment was charged against him and his subjects were satisfied with his rule. A year later this Rajput chief openly declared the Kalima (Muslim affirmation of embracing Islam) and renounced the Hindu faith. This case established for the British Raj the precedent that no leader or ruler can be replaced simply because of his change of creed. Regardless of the feelings of his peers, it was the quality of his rule that mattered.[10]

There is also recorded instances of recent conversions of Rajputs to Islam in Western Uttar Pradesh, Khurja tehsil of Bulandshahar.

But despite the difference in faith, where the question has arisen of common Rajput honour, there have been instances where both Muslim and Hindu Rajputs have united together against threats from external ethnic groups.

Muslim Gautama Thakurs

Further information: Gautam Khanzada and Khanzada (Awadh)

One is that of the Gautamana Thakurs. Gautama is the gotra of Kshatriya Rajputs of Uttar Pradesh, India. Gautama Maharishi is one of the Saptarishis (Seven Great Sages). He was one of the Maharishis of Vedic times, known to have been the discoverer of Mantras — ‘Mantra-drashtaa’, in Sanskrit. The kshatriyas consisting of both Hindus and Muslims, co-exist as a single tribe, supported each other staunchly through the pre-partition communal riots and continued their respect towards each other despite the two distinct faiths of Islam and Hinduism. They are a sub-group of theKhanzada community of Awadh, a larger grouping of Muslim Rajputs.

Rajputs of the Punjab Hill States and Kashmir

J. Hutchinson and J.P.Vogel lists a total of 22 states (16 Hindu and 6 Muslim) that formed the State ofJammu following the conquest of Kashmir by Maharaja Ranjit Singh in 1820. Of these six Muslim states, two (Kotli and Punch) were ruled by Mangrals, two (Bhimber and Khari-Khariyala) were ruled by Chibs one (Rajouri) was ruled by the Jarrals and one (Khashtwar) was ruled by the Khashtwaria. Of these 22 states, 21 formed a pact with Ranjit Singh and formed the State of Jammu. Only Poonchruled by the Mangrals retained a state of semi-autonomy. Following the War of 1947 Poonch was divided and is now split between Pakistan Administered Kashmir Poonch District (AJK) and Indian Administered Kashmir Poonch.

Hutchinson and Vogel have said that “Kotli was founded about the fifteenth century by a branch of the royal family of Kashmir.Kotli and Punch remained independent until subdued by Ranjit Singh in 1815 and 1819 respectively.”

Beliefs and customs

Marriages

Hindu Rajput code dictates that Rajputs can only marry amongst other Rajputs. However, tradition of marriages into only one group or clan because of caste reasons is not permitted in Islam. This led to a great change in the traditional Rajput marital policy. Muslim Rajputs therefore started to marry from other dominant aristocratic Muslim clans. This was to continue the tradition of royal or strategic marriages without prejudice to Rajput affiliation. This was further realized when some major Rajput clans of Punjab intermarried into other clans of foreign descent. However, Mostly Muslim Rajputs still follow the custom of marrying only into other Muslim Rajput clans.

Being recent converts to Islam from a culturally Rajput background, there was very little difference between Rajasthani and Uttar Pradeshi Hindu and Muslim Rajputs (outside of religious practices).[15]Hence up until recently, marriages between Muslim and Hindu Rajputs also took place.[16]

See also

References

  1. ^ “UNHCR Refugee Review Tribunal. IND32856, 6 February 2008″.
  2. ^ The Baburnama, 2002, W.M Thackston, p377
  3. a b der Veer, pg 27-29
  4. a b Eaton, Richard M. (1993). The Rise of Islam and the Bengal Frontier, 1204-1760. Berkeley: University of California Press. Retrieved 1 May 2007.
  5. ^ The Discovery of India by Jawaharlal Nehru, Oxford Uni. Press 1985, p62, p341
  6. ^ The Discovery of India by Jawaharlal Nehru, Oxford Uni. Press 1985, p58
  7. ^ The Discovery of India by Jawaharlal Nehru, Oxford Uni. Press 1985, p265
  8. ^ Jhelum District Gazetteer Lahore, repr.2004, p129
  9. ^ Looking back on Indiaby Hubert Evans, 1988, p112
  10. ^ Rulers of India, Lord Lawrence and the Reconstruction of India Under The Crown by Sir Charles Aitcheson, K.C.S.I., M.A., LL.D., Clarendon Press 1897,V p117
  11. ^ Muslim Women by Zakia A. Siddiqi, Anwar Jahan Zuberi, Aligarh Muslim University, India University Grants, M.D. Publications Pvt. Ltd., 1993, p93
  12. ^ Self and sovereignty: Individual and Community in South Asian Islam Since 1850 by Ayesha Jalal, Routledge 2000, p480,p481
  13. ^ <India Today
  14. ^ History of the Panjab Hill States by J. Hutchinson, J.P. Vogel
  15. ^ People Of India by K. S. Singh, B. K. Lavania, S. K. Mandal, Anthropological Survey of India, N. N. Vyas, Popular Prakashan, 1998, p880
  16. ^ Sangari, Kumkum (2004). “Multiple Temporalities, Unsettled Boundaries, Trickster Women”. In Blackburn, Stuart H.; Dalmia, Vasudha. India’s Literary History: Essays on the Nineteenth Century. Orient Blackswan. pp. 225–226. ISBN 9788178240565.

 

 

Historical figures

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