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History Of Kshatriya Thakor Samaj

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Kshatriya History Etymology Dutiful Warrior
Symbol of Kshatriya Kshatriya Lineage Social Status Specialties
Codes of war Kshatriya Dharma    
 
Kshatriya

(Hindi: क्षत्रिय, kṣatriya from Sanskrit: क्षत्र, kṣatra) is one of the four varnas (social orders) in Hinduism. It constitutes the military and ruling order of the traditional Vedic-Hindu social system as outlined by the Vedas and the Laws of Manu. Lord Rama and Lord Krishna belonged to this social order.
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History

Initially in ancient Vedic society, this position was achieved on the merits of a person's aptitude (guna), conduct (karma), and nature (swabhava). The earliest Vedic literature listed the Kshatriya (holders of kṣatra, or authority) as second in rank, after the Brahmins (priests and teachers of law), before the Vaisya (merchant-traders, farmers and some artisan castes)[1], and the Sudra (labourers, some farming castes and other artisan castes). 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.[2] 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 rulership, the pursuit of war, or the possession of land.

The legend that the Kshatriyas, with the exception of the Ikshvakus, were destroyed by Parasurama, the sixth reincarnation of Vishnu, 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.[3]. With the rise of Buddhism, Kshatriyas regained their position as first of the four varnas. The murder of the last Maurya emperor Brhadrata by his Brahmin general Pusyamitra Sunga, and the subsequent decline of Buddhism in India, marked Brahmin supremacy once more in Eastern India. Western India remained a stronghold of Kshatriya clans as epitomized by Rajputana and the powerful Kshatriya empire that ruled from Ujjain right up to the Islamic incursions led to a downfall of the Chauhan Kshatriyas in Delhi.

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Etymology

In Sanskrit, it is derived from kṣatra, meaning "dominion, power, government" from a root kṣī "to rule, govern, possess". Old Persian xšaθra ("realm, power"), xšaθrya ("royal"), and xšāyaθiya ("emperor") are related to it, as are the New Persian words šāh ("emperor") and šahr ("city", "realm"). The Thai word for "king", kasat, and the Malay word for "knight" or "warrior", kesatria or satria, are also derived from it. The term denotes aristocratic status.

In the early Vedic civilization, the warrior caste was called rājanya or kšatrīya. The former was an adjectival form of rājan "ruler, king" from a root rāj "to rule", cognate to the Latin rex "king", the German Reich "empire/realm", and the Thai racha "king". In Persia, the satraps, or "kshatrapa", were the governors, or "protectors", of the Persian Empire's provinces.

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Dutiful Warrior

A Hindu ruler was bound by the Holy Scriptures to govern as a Dharma-Raja (Just Rule), with the main duties being protection of his subjects and livestock.

The Rig Veda states: praja arya jyotiragrah'. People ruled by Aryans are led by the Divine light. King Rama of Ayodhya is considered the greatest of the Dharma-Rajas:

arya sarva samascaiva sadaiva priyadarsanah An Aryan who worked for the equality of all, was dear to everyone. Rama is also considered an avatar of Vishnu.


The Ramayana states: Like the ancient monarch Manu, father of the human race Dasaratha ruled his people with a father's loving grace.

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Symbol of Kshatriya

In rituals, the Nyagrodha (Ficus Indica or India Fig/Banyan tree) danda, or staff, is assigned to the Kshatriya class.

The Nyagrodha or Banyan tree, (not to be confused with the Pipul, Ficus Religiosus or Sacred Fig), with its hanging branch like roots which turn into trunks and can grow to cover acres, was regarded as resembling the Kshatriya. The Nyagrodha is the kshatra power of trees, and the Kshatriya is the kshatra power [among humans], for the Kshatriya dwells fastened to the kingdom, and is supported. The Nyyreoagrodha is fastened to the ground by its downward growths, and supported.

"The staff made of this wood is given to the Kshatriya initiate with a mantra imparting physical vitality or 'ojas'”.

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

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Kshatriya lineage

The major branches of Kshatriya varna are Chandravanshi (lunar line), claiming descent from Chandra, Suryavanshi (solar line), claiming direct descent from Ramachandra and descent from Surya, Agnivanshi, claiming descent from Agni, and the Nagavanshi, claiming descent from the Nāgas.

Suryavanshi

The Suryavanshi or Solar dynasty lineage claims descent from Surya. Suryavanshis also claim descent from Rama, who was himself born into a Suryavanshi dynasty.

gujjar ,Bargujar ,Bedi ,Jhala ,Rajput ,Jaiswal ,Khatri[7][8][9] ,Pundir ,Rathore ,Rajus ofCoastal Andhra Pradesh ,Ror ,Lohana ,Lobana ,Manhas ,Sehgal ,Sengar ,Shekhawat ,Sisodia ,Maurya ,Shakya ,Thakor,Thakur ,Tomar

Chandravanshi

The Chandravanshi or Lunar dynasty lineage claims descent from Chandra.

Chandravansh was formed by Yaduvanshi Lord Sri Krishna.Several Indian castes such as Yadav,Sainis of Punjab and contiguous region, Rajputs of Bhati Clan, Jadaun Rajputs (Madhya Pradesh) and Rajputs of Mathura and Bharatpur, claim descent from the Chandravanshi lineage.

Yadav ,Varma/Burman ,Baghel ,Katoch ,Ahir ,Bundela ,Chandela ,Kalachuri ,Ahir ,Khokhar[12] ,Kukhran[13] - Kukhrans are a sub-group of Khatris. ,Haihayas ,Jadaun ,Jadeja ,Jethwas ,Pathanis ,Sainis of Punjab [10][11] ,Pathania ,Tanwar ,Shome/Some/Som - This surname actually literally means moon and is mostly used by Bengali Kshatriyas from Bengal and Tripura belonging to the Lunar Dynasty.

Agnivanshi

The Agnivanshi lineage claims descent from Agni.

Gurjar ,Bhaduria ,Chauhan ,Paramara ,Pawar ,Panwar ,Pratihara ,Sena ,Solanki ,Vanniyars ,Dhudhi

Nagavanshi

The Nagavanshi or Serpent dynasty lineage claims descent from Naga. Nagavanshis include Nair and Jat castes. The Nagavanshi (or Nagabanshi) are known for ruling Chhotanagpur.
Gotras such as:

Bachak ,Balamon ,Balinese Kshatriyas ,Bunts ,Kaliramna ,Karkotaka ,Nair ,Samanta Kshatriyas ,Takshak

Others

  • Dhangars, the Kshatriyas in distress who became Shepherds to subsist.
  • Kodavas non Aryan Kshatriyas, like the Nairs, they didn't wear the sacred thread, but they owned land, carried arms, and had other such warrior customs, they originated from the Coorg(Kodagu) region of Karnataka.
  • Ahom kings of Assam claimed descent from Indra (identified with Khunlung) and Syama (a low-caste woman), and called themselves Indravanshi (or Indravamsa) Kshatriyas.
  • The Brahmavansha lineage descends from the Brahmavanshi king Chulki.
  • The Vayuvanshi are another Kshatriya clan although not much is known about the clan.
  • The Rexulvanshis are popular for being the kings of Surguja.
  • The alien hordes that didn't follow priestly customs or traditions (Shakas, Kushans, Indo-Greeks, Hunas and Parthians) were stated as Vratya Kshatriyas in Manusmriti[16].
  • Roman Catholic Kshatriyas are known as Chardos.

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Social Status

Past

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. The Kshatriyans were held in respect by everybody. The Kshatriyans were always members of some Royal - Families or Raja-kudumba's. They were also known as Kshatriya-kul's. The folklore 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. Some stories reveal a darker side. Non-Kshatriyans were rejected in the Kshatriyan society even if they did a Kshatriyan's job better than a Kshatriyan. Teachers of Kshatriyans never accepted non-kshatriyans, for example see the story of Ekalavya.


Present

While some Kshatriya-families survive from the past, many claim to be descendants of particular Kshatriyans or Kshatriya-kula's. Raja-kudumba's also exist but the number has fairly decreased. Kshatriyan martial arts have survived and are being revived. 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 and central India attach great pride and command a sense of respect among common people by their lineage while Rajput in Rajasthan and Jat in North-Western parts of India still have their palaces from the past, and enjoy the highest social status. Majority of folk songs are composed around the life of Jat people in Punjab/Haryana.

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Specialties

The Kshatriyans were specialized in guerrilla warfare. History has it that the Maratha warrior and emperor Shivaji Bhonsale, born April, 1627 (also Shrimant Rajaram Shivaji Raje Bhonsle - Chhatrapati 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 themselves employed guerila warfare in Bharatpur, which is very near to the stronghold of Mughals, once. They were fighting successfully with strongest Mughal ruler (Aurangjeb) just 30 kms from Agra. Marathas were lucky to have advantage of distant geography.

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. 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.

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. Many of Rajput kingdoms however later accepted Muslim dominance and started marrying their girls to Muslims, against the social norms of the time. In 1870s when Maratha and Jats were fighting Ahmed Shah Abdali, Rajputs were so terrified of Muslim rulers, that they did not support them at all.

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Codes of war

Codes of war were very important to a Kshatriyan and his lineage. They are still talked about for their innate decency and respect of the enemy and women. There exist old palm-leaf inscriptions on these topics. They are known to many a Kshatriyan families which still believe in the old ways of virtuous Kshatriya living. A trained Kshatriyan -it is said- is never trained till he knows and follows the codes of war.

The Kshatriyan codes of war are stuff of legends and folklore in India. Mahabharatha a Hindu epic also talks about war codes. Conclusive archaeological evidence has not yet been obtained but more or less all sources agree that such codes of war existed and they were followed. Some of the more important codes are listed below.

  • War should not affect the unarmed - meaning that the civilian population should not be attacked for any reason nor should the disarmed and seriously wounded soldiers or warriors unless it is for killing them as an act of mercy.
  • Rest should be provided for both sides - meaning that the war should not continue after sunset unless or otherwise it is a guerrilla war.
  • All foes should be defeated - meaning that even if your kinsman fought against you, you should not hesitate to defeat him.
  • Raids should not be undertaken unless completely necessary - meaning that a raid should not be undertaken unless the motive is to compensate for past losses or to humiliate the enemy.
  • Women should not be looked at unless she challenges you - meaning that unless a woman is in your enemy's army as a soldier or warrior you should not attack her. If the woman is the ruler then she can be attacked or asked to surrender only after the whole army is defeated.
  • A guerrilla war should not be waged unless the objective is victory - meaning that the warriors chosen for a guerrilla war should be the best, able to defeat any large army in the given situation and such an attack should be done only to attain a political goal and not to raid the enemy's supplies.
  • A traitor should never escape death - meaning that a traitor or defector of ones own army should be guaranteed death.
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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.

It used to be unthinkable for a Kshatriya to marry outside his class. It would be breaking the biggest tradition of his family and would cause disgrace to his whole family and community;it has still not changed for most families even today. There is a very strong emphasis on following the customs and traditions of the class which have evolved over centuries. In addition to these, there are also further traditions which will be specific only to particular prominent Kshatryia families which has been handed down from generations. Following these traditions are a matter of great honour and importance that breaking them has resulted in families splitting up or being excluded permanently from the caste (jati) even in the present times. The Joint family system is still widely practised among the Kshatriya families and the family elders have the final say on all important decisions. It was believed that the Kshatriyas were assigned to be protectors of Dharma (duty/justice) and their people.They were sanctioned by the Gods to serve humanity. The noble king is regarded as a Dharma Raja (Just Ruler). People ruled by aryas (honourable men) are led by the Divine light.

Kshtariya Dharma is specifically described in the Mahabharata: "Have you never heard the Kshatriya Dharma: Stand straight and never bow down, for this alone is manliness. Rather break at the knots than bend!" (Mahabharata, as retold by William Buck, University of California Press Berkeley Los Angeles London 1973).

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