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The Mair Rajputs Today

The Mair Rajputs Today

The Mair Rajputs today are mostly found in northwest India, in the states of Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, and Rajasthan. The capital city of Delhi also contains a sizable number of Mair Rajputs.

Many Mairs are goldsmiths today because that is recognized as the traditional occupation. If we go back about one hundred years or so, most but not all Mairs were goldsmiths by profession. Several centuries ago, Mairs probably were not goldsmiths. However, due to the ignorance of their origins, Mairs have eventually come to be classed under goldsmiths. Even though to this day Mairs still claim a Rajput heritage, Mair Rajputs in modern texts are recognized as a category of goldsmiths, or sunars (sonars, suniarai).

Blunt wrote in his 1969 book that even though Mair Sonars claim a Kshatriya (Rajput) descent, "none of these claims have so far been satisfactorily proved" (211). However, he adds that "the Sonar is an occupational caste of high antiquity, and some of its subcastes may very well be of Kshatriya descent; for since the guild of goldsmiths must have been of high position and repute, it would be one of those that Kshatriyas would be most likely to join" (211). The [Kshatriya/Rajput] claim of Mair and Tank Sonars is of old standing in the Punjab, going back to 1901 (228). The research on this home page provides a strong case for Mairs to be listed as a Rajput tribe.

The Western convention of a first, middle, and last name has wreaked havoc on identifying common ancestors amongst Indians. Before the British, Indians had used their "first name" and "middle name." The Western convention of the last name was not necessary because most people in the villages had distinct names.

When Indian families started writing "last names," they had several alternatives from which to choose. For example, some Mair Rajputs chose to use their gothra (family name) as their last name. Others chose to use "Rajput" or "Mair." Still others chose "Verma" or "Singh." Another last name that is used is "Chauhan." Even though most Mairs believe or have heard that there is some connection between the Mair Rajputs and Chauhan Rajputs, no Mair has been able to supply me with concrete details. However, the possibility of a Mair/Chauhan link is described in other links on this home page.

The most common last name among Mairs is "Verma." It is a general last name that is used by people primarily from northern India and by people of many different states, tribes, castes, and gothras. As a surname, Verma does not give much information about a person's origins. Verma (Varma), meaning "shield," is a word of central Asian origin and was originally a surname for warriors (Walker 119). For example, Nar Verma and Jasu Verma were two Rajput princes during the tenth and eleventh centuries. There were also some Mair (Meda) kings whose names ended with Verma.

Contact the author: Rajesh Verma
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