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Issues with Rajput Hindutv; Why the Liberals must Instead embrace Rajputs

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The current Rajput community of this country is predominantly a working-class and rural agrarian community. However, the importance of this huge yet highly diffused ethnic group can be gauged from the fact that a large number of cities in the Subcontinent from Thatta in Sindh to Tirhut in Bihar, were either established by their tribes or bore their indelible mark.

The political rise of these Kshatriya clans overlaps with the rise of Islamic powers immediately after the birth of the prophet. As a result of this as well as due to the geographical proximity to the Islamic World, the history of these tribes and their myriad sub-lineages remains intertwined with various Islamic Imperialists from Ummayids to Mughals. This lenghthy period of conflicts and co-option leaves enough room for perpetuity of stories, ballads, polarizing memories and even conspiracy theories. Therefore, both the Rajput History and even the current socioeconomic struggles of the ethnic group remain bogged in extreme narratives of both hues.

However, in the exchange of apologia and polemic, certain misconceptions regarding the Rajput community held by Rajputs and non-Rajputs alike are never addressed. Thus before that, one must go back to the academic basic.

Who are Rajputs and what are their Origins?

  1. Etymology of “Rajput”

Understanding origins of any identity, requires glimpse into the etymology of the self-identifying term. We cannot study origin of Turkic or Mongolic without etymological roots of these ethnonyms in the Göktürks or Mengwu Shiwei respectively. Similarly, study of the origins of the Rajput identity lay in its evolution from the royal designation “rajaputra” i.e. “sons of kings” to a gradual usage as an appellation for all Kshatriya clan-kinsmen, irrespective of social station from the 3rd century BCE Pali text Khuddaka Nikaya of Sutta Pitaka onwards.

न ब्राह्मणो नोम्हि न राजपुत्तो,
न वेस्सायनो उद कोचि नोम्हि।
गोत्तं परिञ्ञाय पुथुज्जनानं,
अकिञ्चनो मन्त चरामि लोके॥ (Source: the verse number 457 under Sutta Nipata (its section 3.4 called Sundarika Bharadvaja Sutta) of the Khuddaka Nikaya)

Read a more detailed story of the term here.

  1. What is a Rajput?
The Adivaraha 1 coinage of the Pratihara ruler Bhoja I alias MIhirbhoj who is known by the same title, 850-900 CE. Source: here

From the Buddhist period itself, the lineage term “Rajput” began to gradually  gain some currency as a synonym for Kshatriya, indicating a move from social-class to a lineage-based closed group.

Thus the word “Rajput” is an ethnicity of various lineage-kinship networks of various Kshatriya clans (kuls) and their subclans (khaaps). From Kumarpala Prabandh of 1435 AD, there has been a tendency to enumerate these clans to 36 [1]; although the actual number of these clans is  slightly higher than this, however there has always been abundance of their sub-lineages ie Khaaps. The smallest Kshatriya sociopolitical unit was the Khaap (sub-lineage) headed by a  coparcenary chief in a quasi-republican system variously called bhaibants, bhayats or bhaicharas [2]. However, formation of Khaap was a direct result of allocation of lands or migration for conquest. The Rajput Khaap took either  a patronym (usually from the sub-lineage’s founder) or demonym (usually the land).  The term “Khaap” often  invoked in case of modern Jat Caste-panchayats, had its origins in Rajputs for the smallest sociopolitical tribal unit.  

Thus Kahluria is a Chandel from Kahlur State (present day Bilaspur District, Himachal), a distinct branch from Girdhaura Chandel of southern Bihar’s Jamui district [3]. Rohtak in Haryana was founded by & named after Raja Rohtas, a chief of Mephawat Parmar (ref)[4] while Bhojpur was established by Raja Bhojraj, a chief of Ujjainiya Parmar [5]. Mewar, pre-13th century, was ruled by the Ahada Guhilot royalty and from circa 1340, came to be ruled by royals from Sisodia-Guhilots (the word Gehlot is a prakrit form of Guhilot). The former took their identity from Ahada village in Udaipur district while the latter from the Sisoda village of Rajsamand district.

  1. Origins of various Kshatriya clans
Vanraj Chavda (746-780 CE); Source: Alexander Kinloch Forbes (1856) Râs Mâlâ: Or, Hindoo Annals of the Province of Goozerat, in Western India, 1, Richardson Bros., pp. 36–4

Each Kshatriya clan has undergone cycle of political hegemony and political decline. Any Kshatriya Clan first appears noticeably in  history – not when it was formed, but when it rose to significant political power, especially as an Imperial power or its vassal. For instance, the first political appearance of Chavda rajputs was in the form of  Vyaghramukha Chavda, a Bhinmal ruler, under whose reign the mathematician-astronomer Brahmagupta wrote his famous treatise in 628 AD [6]. He was a vassal of Emperor Harsha. The Chavda rajputs, still found in abundance in Northern and Central Gujrat, continued to play a strong role in shaping the Gujarati society alongside Solankis, Jadeja branch of Sammas and various Parmar clans. Any historical entity left inscriptional evidence only when sovereign or powerful vassals. This is equally true of Chavdas and other Rajputs. Out of the last 1500 years, they show inscriptions only when they gain powers, and at other times (when not in power), knowledge about the clan or sub-clan is derived from written-records.

However, by 10th century all major Rajput clans are known to have shown appearance. After this period only the subclans appear , eg Bundela branch of Gahadavalas (Gaharwars) who rose to power in 16th century, who gave Bundelkhand its name. Hence like any ancient or early medieval clan, it is impossible to find origins of any specific Rajput clans. In the absence of evidence, Historians can speculate and publish some of the most wild and extreme theories of Origins for a Kshatriya clan. An oft-quoted theory is linking Rajputs to Alchon Huns. But how does one construe these Hunnic rulers, whose core dominion was Kashmir-Gandhara, as progenitors of Tomars, Chauhans, Guhilots and even Kalachuris etc?  Sri Pravarasena (530-590 CE), the Hunic ruler was separated by the early Guhilot Rajput inscriptions ( Samoli Inscription 646 CE)[7] barely by a few decades and yet the latter showed neither political affiliation nor cultural similarities. Rather they showed political affiliation to the Moriya rajputs of Chittaurgarh.

 Thus Chauhan Rajputs, whose forebearers always identified as Kshatriyas, have been given variously Hun, Saka, Brahmin and even Gujjar origins. The same holds true of the Parihar Rajputs, who often have been assigned Brahmin and Gujjar yet identified with none. Its a big blot on Indian history-writing that the Imperial Pratihars are deliberately written as “Gurjara-Pratihar”, which in fact changes the very clan of the two Rajput entities. The Gurjara-Pratihar refers to Bargujar Rajputs, who were rather cadets of Imperial Pratihars.

Therefore such hackneyed exercise is always more political than scholarly.

4) An Ethnic Group or a Social-class

Many people, including some scholars with cursory knowledge, are quick to put Rajputs as a social-class. However, this categorization doesn’t survive even a skin-deep scaratch. If mere attainment of Royal power made an individual or his family Rajput – the Brahmin Chach dynasty, the Bhumihar dynasty of Benaras,  Jat dynasties too would have become Rajputs. Even the strong emphasis of Sisodia Rajput origins by Bhonsle Royals or Nepal Royals is not universally accepted by Rajputs. The veracity of Chauhan lineage of Tulsipur royals is often questioned,  as is Bhatti Rajput origins of Phulkian Sikh Royals. Hence, nether Social status nor taking Rajput surnames via Rajputization (a form of Sanskritization) makes one a Rajput.

However, on the other hand, despite centuries of plebianisation due to repeated loss of lands to different Colonialists, Chauhans of Karnal (in Haryana), Madhadh Pratihars of Kaithal (Haryana), Gehlots of Gautam-Buddhnagar, Bhatti rajputs of Bulandshahr just never lost their ethnic identity. Similarly, the Tomars of Hapur and Pratihars of Chambal remain Rajputs, despite their socio-economic and political decline by 16th century. Indeed, Peter Mundy describes the 16th century Bhadauriya clansmen (a branch of Chauhan rajputs) like “They are  a numerous industrious and brave race. Every village has a small fort. They never pay revenue to the hakeem without a fight. The ones who drive the plough keep a musket slung over the neck and a powder-pouch at the waist” [8].

Neemuchana Peasant uprising (1925) which was entirely a rebellion by Rajput peasants against the monarch of Alwar, which resulted in Neemuchana massacre, is another instance pointing towards what is often obfuscated in academic circles – plebianization of majority of Rajput kins over centuries [9].

Hence, Rajput is a closed Lineage-based Ethnic Group, rather than a Social class or occupational caste. Furthermore, for the Kshatriyas, the term kshatriya has always connoted a closed lineage-group religio-culturally united by the Nath Sampraday, even if its understanding among non-Kshatriyas still remains that of an open Social-class (varn) that they aspire to achieve. This highlights the distinction between ethnic Kshatriyas or ethnic Rajputs and the “spurious Rajputs” or “spurious Kshatriyas”.

It is this latter definition of the term, that the Hindutvadi organizations peddle to radicalize groups like Gujjars, Ahirs, Jats, Bhars, Koeris etc who are then encouraged to appropriate identities of different Rajput clans – Gujjars obsessed with Parihars or Ahirs obsessed with Yaduvanshi rajputs – both are noticeable examples.  The only Indians to have clashed with Islamic powers, before the rise of Sikhs and Marathas, were the Kshatriyas (i.e. Rajputs) – these communities like Jats, Gujjars or Ahirs had littlee or no conflicts with Islamic powers. Therefore, through this Rajputization, RSS has been bent upon radicalizing, motivating and appealing en-masse to these groups to inflict violence against Muslims.

 5) Are Rajputs just a Hindu Caste?

Lohri & lore of Dulla Bhati ; Credits: Orijit Sen

No. The “Rajput connotes Kshatriya lineage and indicates clan-kinship affiliation like Mongols, Ahoms and Bhils. Therefore, both Sikhs and Muslims of Rajput lineage identify themselves as such.  And even though a lot many Islamist Tablighis and Jamaats are adamant at homogenizing Muslims by destroying native roots – a large population of Muslim Rajputs on both sides of the border, remain conscious of their roots just as any proud Pathan , Baloch or Shina tribesmen does.  Read the account of a Muslim Bargujar (Lalkhani) Rajput here. Hence, it mustn’t surprise if prominent British-Pakistani Boxer Amir Khan identifies himself as a Janjua Rajput, because he is a Janjua tribesman and Janjuas are a Kshatriya clan. History of Subcontinent is filled with famous men and women, who were both Muslims and Rajputs – Hasan Khan Mewati, the Yaduvanshi rajput (Khanzada) who led Khanzadas and Meos at Khanwa;  Dulla Bhatti, who is celebrated during Lohri by all Punjabis,  Isa Khan of Bais clan, who led Baro Bhuinyar rebellion; Khudadad Khan Minhas, the first Indian to receive Victoria Cross , Major General  Shahnawaz Khan Janjua of INA and noted film-maker Muzaffar Ali, an Ahban Chawda.

Similarly, Rajput clansmen who converted to Sikhism became Sikh Rajputs – former athlete Milkha Singh is a Rathore clansmen, while late comedian Jaspal Bhatti, was a Bhatti rajput.

Hence, Muslim Tomar Rajputs of Rajori’s Jarral khaap or a Muslim Bhatti Rajput from Nankana Sahib are Rajputs by virtue of being Tomar and Bhatti tribesmen, while at the same time a non-Rajput Hindu adopting these names owing to Sanskritization, is not.

Islamic Powers and the Rajput People

The extent of Imperial Pratihars (mid 8th century-1036 CE)

The  Rajput sociopolitical setup traversed through all 3 stages: coparcenary bhaichara, the feudal State and the Imperial power. The corapcenary bhaichara was the most basic unit and was always represented by the Khamp (sub-lineage) headed by a Chief. The feudal State involved all the Khaaps of various Clans residing in the region stacked in a hierarchy under the leader of the ruling lineage, who acted as the King.  Many such regional states made up the Empire.

 Junaid’s raids in western India, weakened and destroyed the different Moriya kshatriya states of Rajasthan. However, the Chavdas, the Guhilots, the Pratihars, and the Rashtrakuts withstood the Arab assaults and eventually filled in the vacuum left by Moriyas and Takshak Nagvanshis. This also catapulted the Pratihars (Parihars) into an Imperial position at Kannauj, filling the vacuum left by Harsha’s dynasty. The Gallaka Inscription dtd 795 CE corroborates how Imperial Parihars, very likely supported by other Parihar vassals and non-Parihar vassals defeated the Arabs [10], during the reigns of Nagbhat I and Vartsraj Parihar. Even Emperor Mihirbhoj Parihar also played a similar role. The Sumras and Samma Rajputs (parent clan of Jadejas and Chudasamas) established dynasties at Sindh replacing the Arab Habbaris. Similarly, Emperor Vigrahraja Chauhan IV defeated Ghaznavid ruler Amir Khusrau Shah in 1160 CE [11]. However, the House of Jaypal, the ancestor of Janjuas did suffer severe defeats forcing them to shift their capital from Hund (Swabi district, KPK) to Nandana in Salt Range Punjab where the Janjuas remained active until independence [12]. Muiz-uddin Ghori was defeated by Solankis at Kasahrada (Kayadra in Sirohi district) in 1178 CE [13] and by 26 year old Prithviraj Chauhan at Taraori at 1192 CE. Defeats at Taraori in 1194 CE and Chandwar ended both the Imperial Chauhan of Rajasthan-Haryana and Imperial Gahadavala powers of Gangetic Plains, while coup destroyed the Imperial Solankis of Gujarat. Throughout from 1200s to 1400s, smaller Rajput states continued to fight the Turks across Northern India, including Purvanchal. Thus older Rajput States vanished, while many of those Rajput States that survived grew larger. The Mandore power of Pratihars was replaced by a bigger power of Rathores, that included whole Marwar. Even as Delhi Sultans destroyed the Parihars of Gwalior, who were descendants of Imperial Parihars (700s – 1036 CE), by 1390s, Gwalior was taken over by Tomar Chiefs of Chambal.  Mewar rose to regional hegemony – destroying the short-lived Nagaur Sultanate and challenging the Delhi Sultans and Mandu Sultan (both Turks & TurkoAfghans). The maps of Delhi Sultanates shown, are far from truth and obfuscate this chaotic reality. Due to his military reputation, Sanga built a Confederacy of Rajput states  of Eastern Rajasthan, Chambal and Doab that first defeated a Mughal force at Bayana [14] but was routed at Khanwa.

While the Rajput States held onto regional hegemony, sometimes through resistance and sometimes through co-option, the condition of Rajput peasant republics (autonomous Khamps) was precarious. For instance, when Kaithal’s Madhadh (or Mandhar) Rajputs, a branch of Pratihars of Haryana, attacked and destroyed a small section of Babur’s troops for encroaching their lands, they were met with the Imperialists brute that not only killed all men but also sold away their women and children to slavery [15]. When Emperor Akbar took over Chittor after 4-months of siege, he beheaded 2000 Rajputs and 8000 non-Rajput peasants [16]. More than the warriors, it were the peasants ,Rajputs and non-Rajputs alike, saw most of the Imperial Turks’ wrath . A similar event happened in 1634 with Jats of Agra, wherein 10,000 men were slayed and their women and children seized [17].

The symbiotic pact made by the Chief of Kachwahas (Kacchapghatas) of Dhundhar Bharmal with Akbar initiated a phenomenon that benefited both the Rajput States and the new Timurid dynasty. It gave the Rajput states, in Rajasthan, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and lower Himalayas an opportunity for economic revival after centuries of unrest. It gave the Timurids the opportunity to establish the most stable Empire of medieval India. The Mughal administration worked on a simple strategy. They used Rajput State armies to guard the North-western Frontier and fight at Kabul, Kandahar and Badakhshan against Afghan and Turkic rebels on one hand. At the same time they relocated and settled loyalist Turkic warlords and Afghan tribesmen in Gangetic plains to counter and subdue rebellious Rajput republics of that region [18]. The habitual emphasis on the phrase “Rajput-Mughal alliance” by liberal Historians oversimplifies, misleads and misconstrues these as pact between the Imperial Timurid house and the larger Rajput ethnic group, which is betrayal of truth since Rajputs of the day lacked political uniformity.

Hence, located in the Northwest and the North, the Rajputs had the lengthiest interaction or conflict with foreign Islamic powers, relative to any group — spanning a full millennium & more. The worst victims of this were not Kshatriya States but the autonomous Kshatriya khaaps. However, despite this, there are many issues with Rajput Hindutv

 Why Rajputs must reject RSS’s Hindutv project?

Raja Dungersimha(1425-59) & Raja Kirtisimha Tomar(1459-80) patronized Gopachal rock-cut monuments , source: here

After having been somewhat familiarized with the Rajput Community, we can better understand the eight reasons why Rajputs must reject the RSS project.  

  1. The greatest and the most influential Kshatriya was Siddhartha Gautam “The Buddha” and coincidentally Gautam rajputs of today continue tp exist in Awadh and Purvanchal. Should the meat-eating descendants of the Buddha support a Brahminical ideology that promotes strict-vegetarianism?
  2. Hindutva is guided not by the Kesari-colour of Kshatriyas but the Bhagwa colour of the 18th century Peshwas. It is an ideology with origins in Maharashtrian Brahmin discourse. While the two century long Timurid period, was a period of stability and prosperity for Rajput States & Cities across much of North India, within a few decades the Peshwa-led Confederacy brought instability and inflicted depredations across North Indian including Rajput States insofar as forcing them to sign treaties with the East India Company . Thus the pilfering  predecessors of Hindutv were destructive to North India like the Turks, even if they lacked the wrath of the latter.
  3. Despite having resisted all invaders to the region, the Hindutvadi leadership that derives its lineage from the Peshwas, has always publicly ridiculed Rajputs as weak, cowards and traitors. They have even reduced men like Jaychand Gaharwar and Mansinghji Rajawat Kachwaha to metaphors of “gaddar” in public lexicon, despite repeated protests from the community.
  4. The Hindutvadi Elites, who observe Shivaji as their central icon, never hesitate to run a roughshod over the Rajput population even while terming their ancestors “defeat specialists”.
  5. Despite shaming and branding the Rajput population, the Hindutvadi ideologues hypocritically promote Rajputization. They never hesitate to appropriate and auction legacies of different Rajput clans to co-opt different Hindu castes. They appropriate the identity of Yaduvandhi Rajputs to co-opt Ahir cate, and Pratihar, Chauhan, Chawda etc to co-opt the Gujjar caste. They also barter the Tomar legacy to appropriate the Jats. While at the same-time they denounce Muslims of Yaduvanshi, Chauhan, Parihar & Tomar Rajput lineages.
  6. The historical Rajput leadership was akin to Mongols, rather than Perso-Arabs and Marathas in their religious policies. They patronized all the religions of their subjects. Thousands of Hindu temples constructed by Rajputs dot North India, and yet they constructed many famous Jain temples. Emperor Jaychandra Gaharwar even constructed Jayapura Buddhist monastery as indicated by his Bodh Gaya inscription. There were even Rajput Sufis , eg Baba Shadi Shaheed, a Chib Katoch rajput. There were Sikh martyrs like Banda Bahadur and Mani Singh Panwar. It is pertinent to note that Gurudwara Bangla Sahib was originally Jaisinghpura Palace in Jaisinghpura (present Connaught Place) when Guru Har Krishan resided here as a guest of Jai Singhji. There were Rajput Bhakti saints like Bhakt Pipaji Khichi and Meerabai Rathore. And yet like the Mongols and their Tengri religion, the Rajputs have had their own ethnic faith – the NathJogi sampraday, to which all Rajput Lokdevtas, Jhujhars and Bhomiyadevs belonged. Unlike Brahminical shankaracharyas, the Rajput NathJogi saints like Lord Ramdeo Tanwar and Gogaji Chauhan are not just revered by subaltern Hindus but also worshipped by local Muslims. Are the Rajputs really willing to reject their inclusive spiritual heritage for a 20th century religio-political imitation of European fascism? Lastly, the Rajputs must also ponder over why they were completely denied any share in the Ram Janmbhoomi Trust.
  7. The Muslims that Rajputs’ forebearers fought were – Turks, Afghans & Barlas Mongols, not Subcontinental people. Rather, from 11th century right upto 1947, the Rajput states were multi-religious and Muslim denizens were as much part of the Hindu Rajputs ‘ lives – regardless of the Rajput King or the Rajput peasant. Almost 18% of the Rajput heritage was recorded to be Muslim in 1931 Census – and Muslim Rajputs often fought and bled alongside their Hindu kins , whether it was the Dogra army in Herat or the Jodhpur Lancers at Haifa in 1918. Even the non-Rajput Muslims remained part & parcel of the lives of the Rajput Royal and Zamindar in a patron-client relationship. And hence were treated as equals at par with others by the Rajput administrators. The modern Rajputs shouldn’t reject theit conviviality for a sectarian ideology. It remains the obligation of the Hindu Rajputs to reject Hindutv, as much as it remains the duty of Muslim Rajputs to reject Islamism.
  8. Centuries of battles with Imperial powers, caused tremendous socioeconomic and political decline of the Rajputs. The Pratihars ruled a majestic empire for 3 centuries, however by 1947 none of the remnant Pratihar Chiefs – the Nagod Royals in Satna district or the Khaneti Royals in Shimla never enjoyed even a third the political clout and wealth that the Gwalior Shindes or Benaras Bhumihar Royals had. The least said about the Parihar rajput commoners, the better.  The fact that the Kshatriyas underwent mass plebianization cannot be rejected, hence the Kshatriyas or Rajputs are a predominantly rural agrarian community like the Jats, Ahirs, Marathas & Kunbis. Yet at the same time , unlike the above groups,they are often clubbed together with urbanized literary & mercantile castes like Brahmins, Khatris, Kayasths and Banias as a General Caste. Hence, the Kshatriyas occupy a very unique position in the chapter of socioeconomic and political struggles. Therefore,the Rajputs cannot really afford to waste their time, energy and focus on a vacuous ideology that offers Rajputs no socioeconomic progress. Shouldn’t the Rajputs actually focus on creating their own Institutions to ensure the social, economic, intellectual and political progress of their people? Shouldn’t they rather focus on reforming their people, replacing the medievalist Brahminical outlook to imbibe modern and progressive mindset?

Why Liberals must embrace Rajputs instead of the Witch-hunt?

VP Singh and Chandrashekhar, were two tall Socialist leaders of Rajput background who stood against Communalism
Vishwanath Pratap Singh and Chandrashekhar, were two tall Socialist leaders of Rajput background who stood against Communalism and for subaltern-politics

While there have been many liberal and socialist personalities of Rajput backgrounds, the Rajput public has remained largely a pariah to the Liberal discourse, which has been inclusive towards Muslims, Sikhs, Jats, Marathas, Ahirs, Brahmins etc. In fact, the Liberal elites’ animosity towards the Rajput public has been more than obvious with the advent of Social media and digital media. The mainstream-media driven campaign to write off historical Rajputs as “defeat specialists” and the overtly cheerful endorsement of the same, by a large number of liberal Celebrities on social-media illustrate that. The depth of this hatred is best gauged when even Academicians invoke feminism to attack the community for the tragedy of Jauhars, although similar war-time measures in other communities only evoke their empathy.  Or, when a JNU scholar brands a Turkic warlord “people’s Kings” on one hand and on the other she accuses the Rajput public of besmirching his great name while simultaneously branding them of being a “rapist community”. Or, when veteran historians single out the community and accuse it of being absent from the freedom struggle, despite names like Ramprasad Bismil [19], Maj Gen Shahanawaz Janjua, Veer Kunwar Singh & Awadh’s Taluqdars etc. Or, movies like Gulaal (2009) caricature the community as secessionist despite it never having had a secessionist past like the Khalistan, ULFA or Islamic separatist movements.

The rationale often given for this bellicose treatment is the presence of communal and anti-social elements in the community. But this cliched argument fails to meet consistency. When did the Liberals take Khalistan, Islamism, ULFA terrorism, Jat atrocities against Dalits and Maratha chauvinism as excuses to treat respective communities as monoliths, pariahs and even foes? At times, this exclusive treatment shifts from bashing the community to trolling and shaming individuals too. Example, recently eminent and influential figures like Ashok Swain, Arfa Khanum Sherwani, Dilip Mandal and even Shekhar Gupta shamed Jadeja for self-identifying as a rajput. While the same is never be extended to  Sikh, Jat, Pathan or Maratha individuals for the same excuse. Even most liberal and progressive Rajput acknowledge that all these narratives and instances do not reflect any liberal ideological or scholarly  intentions but outright casteism and myopic bullying  – firstly, to alienate the Rajputs and polarize the larger public opinion against them; secondly, to psychologically break the Rajputs and demoralize them. This way, the Liberal elites themselves ensure that the Rajput public remains pushed towards the Right. Thus it is reasonable that why the Liberal elites couldn’t win friends in the community in all these decades. However, the question is why the Liberal elites never even sought friends in the community, unlike their icon Akbar, whose “Rajput policy” they recurrently and discursively invoke? Right since, the encounter of gangster Vikas Dubety, the Congress’s brahmin leadership was quick to invent a bogey of “Thakurvadi sarkar” for electoral politics and now every instance of misrule by UP Government, which has as much Brahmins as Thakurs, is now the “jungle raaj by specific community”.

Why do they fail to learn from their own repeated political failures, while they keep on running down the Rajput public for theirs? Whose cause has the Liberal elites’ bigotry towards  the Rajput public actually served? Lastly, they must realize that befriending the diffused yet huge Rajput nation is actually beneficial unlike making them their enemies. Just as the liberals befriended the Sikhs, the Jats, the Muslims and the Marathas, they must befriend the Rajputs like Akbar did, rather than polarizing the latter against them. 

The Liberals must embrace Rajputs for their own political expediency and the Rajputs must embrace the former, for their own social , economic and intellectual progress

REFERENCES:-

  1. Jai Narayan Asopa (1990); A socio-political and economic study, northern India; Prateeksha Publications. 89
  2. Shail Mayaram; Against History, Against State; p. 202
  3. http://www.indianrajputs.com/view/gidhaur
  4. https://www.britannica.com/place/Rohtak
  5. Journal of the Bihar Research Society, Vol. 47-49; p. 350
  6. Smith, Vincent A. (October 1907). Coin of Vyagrahamukha of the Chapa (Gurjara) Dynasty of Bhinmal”; 923–928
  7. Nandini Kapur Sinha; State Formation in Rajasthan; Mewar, p. 37
  8. Peter Mundy, Travels Vol-II; p. 90
  9. Rajesh Kumar; Peasant Unrest And Repression: A Massacre in Neemuchana, Alwar, May 1925; Indian History Congress, pp. 794-798
  10. Prof Shanta Rani Sharma; Origin and Rise of the Imperial Pratihars of Rajasrhan; p. 69 p. 82
  11. Dasaratha Sharma; Early Chauhan Dynasties; p. 69
  12. Cafeteria, rest house inaugurated at Hund Museum Wednesday, 7 January 2009 Nisar Mahmood. THE NEWS. Jang group
  13. A K Majumdar; Chaulukyas of Gujarat; p. 135
  14. Babur Nama; Journal of Emperor Babur; p. 289
  15. DHA Kollf, Naukar Rajput & Sepoy; p. 10
  16. Satish Chandra; Medieval India: From Sultanat to the Mughals Part-II, p. 107
  17. DHA Kollf, Naukar Rajput & Sepoy; p. 13
  18. DHA Kollf, Naukar Rajput & Sepoy; p. 13
  19. https://www.thearyasamaj.org/ramprasadbismil_en

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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