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More Rajput Clues

More Rajput Clues

Chattopadhyaya in his book explored the process of "Rajputization." This was a gradual evolution of several tribes into political dominance in a given area of Rajasthan. Citing Yadava's Society and Culture in Northern India, he mentioned the "Medas who are considered to have reached the Rajput status from a tribal background" (63). Another tribal group to eventually be considered Rajputs were the Huns.

Several clues are to be found in a 1996 listing of Indian tribes. The "Merh" are listed as a subgroup of goldsmiths in Rajasthan along with the "Mair Rajputs" of Punjab (Singh 1787). The Doondari, Marwari, and Rajputana are groups of goldsmiths living in Delhi (1787-88). Doondar, Marwar, and Rajputana are all part of present-day Rajasthan. The Gehlot (Sisodia) Rajputs and Bhalla Rajputs are listed as allied clans to the goldsmiths, and hence, the Mair Rajputs (1788).

Under the heading of "Merh Sonars" in Madhya Pradesh, the most common surnames are Chandravanshi, Chauhan, Dahiya, Pawar, Rathor, and Suryavanshi, and a group of the goldsmiths is called Ajmerji (Singh 1789). The first six are Rajput names and the last one, Ajmerji, refers to the Rajasthani city of Ajmer. It is another hint to the Merh Sonars' origins lying in Ajmer. Finally, it is a logical conclusion to relate the Merh Sonars of Madhya Pradesh to the Mair Rajputs of Punjab.

Yet another source offers more evidence of the Mairs being politically dominant. A Mair (Meda) dynasty ruled the town of Ramgarh, which is about 67 kilometers east of Kota in Rajasthan, from the ninth or tenth centuries (Jain 439). Jain mentioned the kings Malaya Verma and Trisasa Varma as being of the Meda dynasty.

Other Issues

Although several Mair Rajput gothras may have Bhatti Rajput origins, I did not find nearly as many claims to Chauhan Rajput origins. It may be that some gothras are Chauhan branches but by many marriages between the Bhattis and Chauhans, the Chauhan origins have become obscured. A second more plausible explanation would be that many Mair Rajputs who were actually Chauhans listed themselves as Bhattis in the 1901 claims that were made. Many people tended to confuse different Rajput tribes with one another in the British censuses. Ibbetson also offers a helpful answer to this puzzling issue: "...the term Bhatti is commonly applied to any...Rajput from the direction [south] of the Satluj [River]" (145). Therefore, Mairs in Punjab who were originally associated with the Chauhans may have come to call themselves Bhattis because they had come from south of the Satluj River.

Secondly, from the 1901 claims, it does not seem that the Mair Rajputs are descended from one common ancestor. From Tod's account of the Rajasthan Mairs, one can conclude that those clans who had married with the Bhattis and Chauhans may have left the region at the same time and eventually settled in Punjab. Unfortunately, these questions cannot be answered conclusively. Only time and further effort will tell which theory is true.

Contact the author: Rajesh Verma
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