Rajasthan, the ‘Land of Kings’ is widely known for its incredible diversity. This state is the largest of the 28 states in India. It is home to different communities of Rajasthan that thrive together.
The history of Rajasthan dates back to the Indus Valley Civilization. The Bhils and Meena tribal communities were one of the first inhabitants of Rajasthan in ancient times. The origin of Rajput kingdoms of Rajasthan like Chauhans, Rathores, Pratihars, Ajmer and Guhilot was around the medieval period in the 9th century. It was a time when the Rajput dynasty took over Rajasthan.
Today, Rajasthan is divided into various cities of rich culture, remarkable heritage, unique traditions and diverse cuisine. There are various communities and sub-communities in the state. Let us look at the diversified communities of this imperial Indian state a little in detail.
Firstly, the origin of Rajputs are due to the mixing of Shudras and other tribal clans. After India’s independence in 1947, Rajput emperors from 22 different states integrated into Rajasthan around 1950.
Rajput is one of the most prominent communities in Rajasthan to date. Although they constitute just about 9% of the total population of Rajasthan. The state is widely popular for the Rajput community derives its name from them. As for their occupation, Rajputs are mainly landlords, businessmen or soldiers/warriors, some even focus on agriculture. The Rajput paintings are quite popular today due to their distinctive style. String puppet shows are among the prominent and special Rajput folk traditions.
Jats migrated to Rajasthan and several other parts of India between the 17th and 18th centuries. They are then among the most distinguished agricultural communities in India. They constitute 12 to 15% of the total population of Rajasthan.
Jats are also considered as strongest in strength. They served the military for a long time. They also participated in World War I and II. Marwar, Mewar and Bikaner were to house a high Jat density in Rajasthan. Jat men’s dresses comprise of dhoti, shirt, jooties and a turban while women wear ghagri, angia and jooties. Churma, baati, lapsi and gulgule are the common food of jats.
Thirdly, Brahmans are the highest caste in Rajasthan and form a majority of the population of the state constituting over 12.5%. They are divided into subcategories. For example Mahajans – known for trades, Vyas – known as priests, Aboti – temple servants, Saraswats, Bhutia and Paliwals. A vast majority of Brahmans also follow priesthood and consume only vegetarian cuisine.
Meena means ‘fish’ in Sanskrit. This tribe also claims to be descendants of the Matsya Avatar (known as fish incarnation). Meenas were then among the first communities of Rajasthan to settle in the state. There were multiple Meena kingdoms in the state before the rise of Rajputs in the medieval period. Meenas constitute 7% of the overall population of Rajasthan. They mostly populated near Jaipur.
The Meena tribe is divided into various sub-communities like Hela, Bamna, Damore and Ahari. Meenas have contributed widely to the Rajasthani folk culture with their folk songs and dances.
Also see: 5 Unexplored Villages Of Rajasthan
Bhil is also the largest tribe in Rajasthan mainly in Banswara in Udaipur. In earlier times, they were great archers who hunted animals for consumption. Today, you can find Bhils doing various jobs like farming and woodcutting.
The major festival Bhils celebrate is Holi and the Baneshwar fair. Bhils are also popularly known for their noteworthy Ghoomar Dance that is extensively part of their culture and has now gained international cognizance.
Vaishya is one of the castes of the Marwari Bania community. They have excellent trading techniques and skills. This trading community also includes various communities like Maheshwari, Agarwals, Seraogis and Khandelwal that are primarily based in Jaipur and Alwar. Marwaris or Vaishyas migrated to Rajasthan around the end of the 17th century when they worked for Mughals as their financiers.
The cuisine of Vaishyas is pure vegetarian and includes items like gatte ki kadhi and Rajasthani thali.
Chhipa community was originally in Nagaur in Rajasthan. They later settled in areas of Gujarat and Rajasthan. The word Chhipa in the Gujarati language means print. The skill of Block Printing was introduced in Jaipur by these artisans. They are predominantly in Bagru village. Printing blocks is an art and takes a lot of time as the design is first drawn and then carved on wood. After that, it is dipped in color and stamped across the piece of fabric repeatedly to give the fabric a distinctive look. Block printing is the prime source of livelihood for many small villages of Rajasthan.
Banjaras are the nomadic tribes that originated from the Mewar region of Rajasthan. According to historic evidence, Banjaras were in the transportation of goods and trade. Gor Banjaras among the Banjara tribe follow divergent practices and speak different languages and have different food habits. They are also recognized for their peculiar dressing style, ornaments and body tattoos.
The Banjara tribe of Rajasthan has contributed vastly to Rajasthani folk music. Their art varies widely and ranges from dancing and singing to embroidery, painting and tattooing.
In conclusion, this is how vast and exceptional the communities of Rajasthan are. Every community differs from the other widely, yet the unity and contribution of each community are equal towards the prosperity of Rajasthan.
Also read: 4 Popular Folktales Of Rajasthan
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