Complete India Travel Guide

"The People of the Rajasthan reflect the cultural spectrum that scatters its brilliance on the golden tradition of Rajasthan. The People of Rajasthan are sturdy, cheerful and simple folks relatively untouched by the fast pace of modern times."
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People and Culture of Rajasthan

Rajasthani People
Rajasthani People

Nowhere is one likely to find a greater multiplicity of people than in Rajasthan where their roles have evolved according to their assigned social tasks, setting up a tier of castes according to functional lines.

A genealogical study of Rajasthan would, therefore, include the warriors, the priests, the businessmen, the support communities, the tribals, and the nomads.

Rajput - Born to the Sword

The Rajputs form the warrior aristocracy of the state, and though their population, in relation to the original inhabitants of the desert state, may have been far less, it was they who went on to become its elite through their acts of derring-do, and their elaborate rituals of kinship and inter-linked camaraderie.

Brahmins- Praying for their Souls

The Brahmins, who have commandeered the top social rung for themselves in the rest of the country, though no less elevated in Rajasthan, found themselves at a status that was subservient to that of the Rajputs.

The Brahmins served in the royal courts, and worked in departments of administration, though their main task was to adminster the souls of the people they served. They were priests in the temples, and performed the complex rituals.

Business and Trade

In essence, there were two mercantile communities in Rajasthan, the Marwaris and the Jains. The Marwaris arose from the Shekhawati region and served in the courts of different princely states. They came to be referred to as Marwaris when they journeyed along with the armies of Marwar (Jodhpur) to the eastern extremities of the country, where they came to be identified as Marwari traders. The opportunities in the east were enormous, and the Marwaris were able to capitalise on them. Most of the major business and industrialist families, till very recently, have been Marwaris, and they still dominate business in the country.

The Jains enjoyed immense influence in Rajput courts. Since they also had links in Gujarat, and in other pockets of India, and are a closely knit community, they could also migrate from the service of their rulers which, given their credit ratings, would have impacted on their Rajput sovereigns. It was no wonder that they soon usurped a political role for themselves too in the courts.

Muslim Settlers

Principally, the Muslims came to Rajasthan as invaders, and therefore found little to entice them to stay here, though some of the settlers, such as the Kayamkhanis and the Meos, have been associated with agricultural practices, especially in the Shekhawati belt where the Kayamkhani nawabs also wielded considerable influence..

However, there is reason to believe that the majority of the Muslims, and there is a significant population in Rajasthan, were artisans who were simply kidnapped from the various trading caravans, since their skilled services were highly desired in the royal ateliers of the princely kingdoms.


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