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Rajput: The name is derived from Sanskrit raja-putra: "son of a king", any of about 12,000,000 landowners organized in patrilineal clans and located mainly in central and northern India, Rajputana is also called RAJWAR. The name means "land of the Rajputs.

The Sanskrit word Rajputra is found in the Vedas, the Ramayana, and the Mahabharata. It has been used by Panini. The word Kshatriya was initially used for the community of warriors and rulers. After the passage of much time there were many Kshatriyas. Some of them left their traditional occupation. Some were still rulers and warriors. As a custom these kings married only with the daughters of kings. They were abundant in India. It is very clear from the Puranas, Ramayana, Mahabharata, Prithviraj Raso, Akbarnama, and present genealogy that they intermarried with the royal families only. The rule of primogeniture allowed only the eldest male offspring of a king to succeed him. The rest were known as Rajputras. The word Rajput is claimed to be a corruption of Rajputra. Gradually it became a jati within the Kshatriya or warrior caste, however the Rajputs are often considered the elite of the Kshatriyas - at least by their own members.

The traditional occupations of the Rajputs is military service and at times agriculture. However, due to their natural ability in warfare and their discipline, this would give them opportunities to rise through the ranks and eventually become rulers or at least hold high positions in office.

The concept of the Raja-putra, or "son of a king," is mentioned in Vedic literature. Rajput, a shortened version of Raja-putra, is a name that has come to be associated with specific clans that would gain political importance in a given region. Because of the fluid social structure in early medieval India, a tribe could gain or lose its status based on its political importance, its occupation, and its survival or extinction. Many tribes over the course of time became extinct because of war, or relocated to another location and changed their names. Traditionally, 36 "royal races," or raj-kul, were known as Rajputs.

The term Rajputra was first used by Harshavardhan (606-648 AD) of Kannauj.

There is misconception that Rajputs are migrants to India from Central Asia who mingled with the aboriginal tribes and were given Kshatriya, or warrior status by the priests, however this view is not supported by the archaeological evidence that has come to light in the past century.[citation needed] ( Also see Death of the Aryan Invasion Theory)

During the rule of the British, Lieutenant Colonel James Tod visited Rajasthan and attempted to write a definitive list of the 36 Rajput tribes. However, everyone that he spoke to gave him varying lists of tribes. It can thus be concluded that a tribe that had furnished warriors or was politically dominant in a particular region can justly call itself a Rajput tribe.

Rajput constitute one of the major Hindu Kshatriya groups from India. They claim descent from ancient royal warrior dynasties of Kshatriyas. They are identified with the word "Rajanya" found in ancient Indian literature and trace their roots to Rajputana. In ancient times the son of a king was referred as to Rajput- Raja-putra. The Rajputs are comprised of many different clans.

From ancient times they were known for their valor and chivalry in battle. They are considered to be formidable warriors even to this day. It is common to find many of them serving in the Indian Armed Forces. In current days Rajasthan , Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Uttrakhand and Himachal Pradesh are home to most of the Rajputs. Lord Rama of the Hindu Pantheon was a Kshatriya of the Raghuvanshi or Suryavanshi clan which is said to continue to this day in the royal descent of the Udaipur and Jaipur royals. The Rajputs ruled more than four hundred of the estimated six hundred princely states at the time of India's independence. From those princely states, 121 were Salute states in which Rajputs ruled 81 of them at the time of India's independence. The Rajputs were classified as a martial race by the British colonial government and recruited for the military establishment during the subcontinent's colonial period

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