Kshatriyas are the only rural agrarian community in the rubric Brahmin-Savarn and that puts rajputs at a double disadvantage. Firstly, while the rest of brahmin-savarns are over-represented in media, academia, cinema and govt jobs, the rajputs are under-represented in each ; each of the brahmin-savarns are urban mercentile or literary groups unlike rajputs who were chiefly rural clan-retainers and sepoys. Thus the rajput-deprivation is obscured by brahmin-savarn over-representation. The second disadvantage faced by rajputs is that, since independence these very brahmin-savarn elites have exploited media, cinema and even academia to shift focus from their own tangible privileges to the apparent rajput privileges
“Rajputs are the only community that gets accused of Hegemony, despite underrepresentation in media, academia, cinema, government jobs and facing consequent voicelessness. Ironically, those who accused the community of “Thakurvad” via media, are from communities that enjoy pronounced clout in each of the above.”
They control our history, they control our story, they control discourse on our socio-economic present, they trample our independent voice and strongly desire to control our self-perception. Yet after all this, they accuse us as the "all-powerful privileged"
The last few years has seen a constant rise of anti-kshatriya mobilization in Indian society, constantly fed by the very same lobby which plays lip-service to liberalism and secularism in this country. Their narrative is often complemented with rampages on Kshatriya history, which is now peddled very openly among the masses.
At the forefront of this systematic alienation of the Rajput community, are media outlets like Scroll.in and Print.in , which under the garb of anti-Hindutv liberal media, promote caste hatred against the Kshatriyas.
The ‘maratha’ owned Scroll.in published and successfully established narratives (all peddled by Brahmin elites) on Rajput history. They “reduced Rajput women to Mughal harems” and wrote-off Rajput ethnomilitary-history with the label of “defeat-specialist”. They also attempted establishing Rajputs as the super-privileged bad people who unjustly besmirched a “people’s Emperor”. One could see a steady narrative-building aimed at targeting the 5-6 crore Rajputs, even to the extent of sacrificing History to mobilize public disgust against rajputs.
While these narratives, like “defeat-specialist” and “beti-givers”, made the Rajput public sociopolitically redundant, the narrative of “Thakurvad” run by Shekhar Gupta and the Congress political-class put the final nail in the coffin as they mobilised public-outrage against Rajputs across the nation.
The Print.in recently published an article titled “Who are Thakurs of UP and why are they powerful? Answers are key to understanding Hathras” projecting the whole community as a band of rapists. The article written by Saniya Dhingra (Khatri) takes biased references and facts deliberately distorted in order to fit into the narrative. In this article, we will try to understand the different narratives that are imposed upon Rajputs today by these media organizations.
The article starts with the expression of the Bahubal of Thakurs throughout UP, this is when the article was solely focused on the incident that happened in Hathras. The author very conveniently ignores the point that the accused in Hathras case are neither Bahubali nor are financially well off. In fact, some of them worked on a dairy farm on a monthly wage of Rs. 8,000/- at a place 25 km away from their homes. In one of the video interviews of the accused’s father who was working at his farmland, explained how he wants to stay at home at this depressing time, but is unable to do so, as he won’t be able to feed his family unless he works every day.
The picture shown above is of the majestic Haveli of one of the accused in Hathras case: The Bahubali Thakurs of Hathras.
Next, she tries explaining the clout of Rajputs in political society through a shoddy analysis. She prepares a list of UP CMs in the past, but very conveniently only covers the list of the first 42 years i.e until 1989, through this she tries to draw a conclusion that Rajputs have been in power for a considerable time, holding the post 3 times as state heads among 14 chief ministers till 1989. What she didn’t mention is the duration of their chief ministership i.e. only 5 years in a period of 42 years (VP Singh was CM for 2 yrs, Vir Bahadur Singh was for 3 Yrs & TN Singh for just 6 months). While Rajput CMs ruled a mere 10 years, the Brahmin CMs held the position for 32 long years. She also doesn’t mention that in the next 30 yrs, after 1989, 26 yrs have been ruled by Ahirs & Jatav in UP. Clearly, Rajput being the dominant power in UP Politics is another propaganda to alienate society and invoke a feeling of resentment among the Non-Rajputs against the Rajput community. Read: Dominance theory: It’s Brahmins and OBCs, not Thakurs, in UP politics since independence
What’s amazing is that, next in that article Rajputs are accused of something that they were never good at the Bahi Khata Business. Historically Rajputs have never been involved in the Bahi-Khata business, this has been the occupational history of Mr. Shekhar Gupta’s (Founder of Print India) ancestors & even if it is true why is it projected as a sin in this article? Are they trying to say that Rajputs shouldn’t enter this field and this should be exclusively reserved for Mr. Gupta’s community?
What the article mentions next, can go down in history as one of the best examples of Yellow Journalism and How Propaganda journalism can be distant from reality, best explained by Print media & Sanya Dhingra, even seasoned journalists like Mr, Gupta resorting to such fallacies best describes the extent to which people can go in order to run the smear campaign against a community. Here she says that Thakurs have been so essential and dominant in UP that Mayawati & Congress never dared to say anything against Thakurs. Even a rookie in the field of the political history of UP can tell you that Mayawati’s whole political career started as an Anti-Rajput campaign and she only gave the slogan:
“Tilak, Tarazu aur Talvar inko Maaro Jootey Char”
Tilak signifying Brahmins, Tarazu Signifying Vaishyas, and Talvar signifying Kshatriyas.
As far as Congress is concerned, their whole politics has revolved around mobilising Anti-Rajput sentiments, maybe she is unaware of Jai Narayan Vyas’s style of politics mobilized the common public against the Rajput Kings and often the violence that erupted after his initiation was not only limited to the feudal lords but often resulted in the torching of houses of common Rajputs. The seeds sowed by Jai Narayan Vyas in pre-independent India against the Rajputs is still reaping it effects even after 70 yrs of Independence - the torching of Rajput houses by Jat mobs in Samrau village, is an example. Congress’s politics has always been openly Anti-Rajput — First they removed privy purses that financially crippled Royal rajputs from funding education and welfare for less-privileged Rajputs; later she imprisoned Maharani Gayatri Devi as an insult to the rajput public;introduced ceiling act and statewide arrests of Rajput youth after the introduction of the act in 1960s; the destruction of Jaigarh Fort to even the current Rajasthan Congress government’s policy of unnecessary intervention of slanderous content in Rajput history on the initiation of its Jat education minister Govind Dotasra has been a well-known fact and a matter of resentment among the community in Rajasthan.
Rahul Gandhi, who otherwise a “proud Shivbhakt Kashmir Brahmin”, who keeps mum when perpetrators are from other communities specifically targets and singles out an entire community , that speaks volumes about the policies of Congress and the systematic alienation pitiful condition of Rajputs in India.
Next, views of a person named SP Singh are used as gospel of truth who tried to caricature how the whole Rajput community is violent in their behavior. He mentions that Brahmins & Ahirs are also violent but the medal of honor is specifically reserved for the Rajput, as obviously, the narrative needs to be set. No mention of deeds of Jats/Gujjars during the reservation agitation in Haryana/Rajasthan for obvious reasons.
Many a times when we target an individual or a community blindly, we end up making so many negative remarks that they even mutually contradict.
As the article nears its end, it deteriorates, from a propaganda piece to a hilarious commentary. Dhingra mentions that Rajputs had the largest number of Kingdoms in pre-independent India, & further goes on to prove that only Royal Rajputs have found a place in politics & the 'Psyche of Revenge’ among the Rajputs is due to the loss of power. Clearly, stereotyping 5-6 crore Rajputs as Royal elites is a hilarious statement, and illustrates how the staff at Print lack even the most basic socio-political and historical understanding of this country.
At the time of independence there were around 560 princely states in India, out of which around 300 were ruled by Rajputs, but it is really hard to believe or even imagine that all those families of 5-6 crore Rajputs held Royal estates at the time of independence. In fact, the majority of Rajput families at the time of independence or even today are involved in agrarian activities, which the print itself mentions at some point in their article. One really needs to be high on hatred to ignore the presence of commoners like Chandrashekhar, VK Singh (about whom Mr. Gupta or then infamously called Mr. Coupta wrote a fake story), Rajnath Singh, Rajyavardhan Rathore, Manish Sisodia, Atishi Marlena , Gajendra Shekhawat etc.
Moreover, most former Rajput Royals are foreign-educated. While the Bhadauria prince of Bah is a Cambridge Historian, the Chandel head of Bilaspur is a Physicist teaching at Trinity College. Given their education and better social & political capital, had they ever led any Rajput-centric movement (eg Karni Sena) out of frustrationwould these movements ever lack Soft-power, a strong Media-PR and even basic bureaucratic support. Only an analytically deficient mind would accuse these Upper-class and even Upper-middle-class Rajputs of staging Karni Sena type movements despite the self-evident poor PR and poorly unorganised nature of the Rajput movements (mostly led by lower-middle-classes) — a conspiracy theory that Brahmin-Bania mediapersons like Dhingra & Gupta have been peddling since the AntiPadmavat protests. This is how they misuse their hegemony in media-spaces to both crush others’ voices and mobilise public against others. Furthermore, it not just exposes both Dhingra & Gupta’s deep-seated caste-hatred against Rajputs but also highlights that how undue hegemony of certain castes in media results in mainstream media being relegated to a forum for Identity-politics - of which thePrint.in & Scroll.in are fine examples.
The article ends with the above notion without a single mention of the fact, that the only Rajput Royal who became PM was the same person who introduced the reservation for Backward classes. Further, neither Chandrashekhar nor VP Singh ever did Rajput politics and were leaders of common masses, something that yellow journalism want to ignore these days.
We rarely expect an apology from these organizations who work on agenda, but it’s for the Rajput community to understand their marginalized place in the system and the extent to which the system an go for their systematic destruction.
The “Thakurvad” Circus
(1) The Hathras crime was aggressively exploited by a section of Brahmin elites (especially from east UP) for PR-campaign. Similarly, Brahmin politicians and Brahmin journalists used it to mobilize public outrage against Kshatriya community, citing “Thakurvad”. Even “Thakurvad” narrative ,that surfaced nationally post the fake-encounter of gangster Vikas Dubey (a Brahmin), has its origins with journalist Brajesh Mishra (east UP brahmin), who tweets at brajeshlive.
(2) Even many of us, who agree that the Yogi Govt. must be held accountable for its many lapses, cannot deny that the incident saw much flimsy reporting appropos of caste-vultures. For eg. many Journalists (predominantly Brahmins) were quick to record and propagate Pandit Pankaj Dhabraiyya (a Brahmin) as “Thakur leader”. And his statements were projected by them as official stance of pan-Indian Kshatriya community.
(3) Although the “Thakurvad” narrative had a very elite Brahmin origin; soon journalists and politicians from Jat to Ashraf communities joined the chorus, spewing hatred and mobilising public-hate against the Rajput people.
Quickly, the intent changed from justice for the Dalit family to vindictive politics against the Rajput community.
Its openbook how history writing or reportage on current events is done with respect to Rajputs.
History is written cherrypicking examples or reinterpreting to evoke shame/guilt among rajputs & mobilise public disgust for rajputs while rajput accomplishments are explained away. This treatment is extended to reportage on our current events too.
A Rajput contribution sees it’s rajput origins denied.A Rajput achievers’ rajput identity often gets explained away.
However,crime by a rajput criminal is viewed as explicitly Rajput & used against larger Rajput people.
A small example is this article by Kacha Ilaiah, wherein he tries dislodging both Vishwanath Pratap Gaharwar & Chandrashekhar Solaki from the Rajput community despite the fact that the duo enjoyed a great followership among Rajput farmers. While at the same time he identifies Kangana Ranaut and Yogi Adityanath as explicitly Rajput, even imposing the oft-used political lie that “Yogi has united Kshatriyas”, however without corroborating it.
The “professor” forgets that VPS Gaharwar was leader of the AJGR movement and thus identified with the Rajput public. On the contrary, Yogi Adotyanath neither has made his clan public nor attended Rajput organizations. Hence such statements warrant strong evidence.
Ecosystem’s alleged obsession with Identity of Criminals : A Comparison
Let’s analyze the ecosystem’s reaction to crimes of different origins. On September 252020, Dalit advocate Devji Maheshwari was murdered by a Brahmin man in Rapar town of Gujarat. Four Gujjar men gangraped a Dalit woman in Alwar in April 2019. Neither the Badaun gangrape-murders of 2014 didn’t see a public-mobilisation against Ahir community, nor the Bhagana and Murthal rapes cause Journalists and Politicians to mobilize public outrage targeting the Jat community. Furthermore, there was even no reporting on the Siwan murder of a Muslim girl by her estranged Ahir lover until Bihar elections were over, citing that it would cause public-enmity
However, here our non-Rajput liberals were quick to react exactly in the same way as BJP’s communal leaders react to crimes by Muslim criminals. This disparity can be rationally explained by the electoral concerns of the democratic politics. Each of the above communities is demographically concentrated and hence electorally valuable - whether BJP or Congress. However, Rajputs despite being North India’s largest community are largely scattered and lacks any organized pan-Indian caste-mobilisation.
Anyways, the Rajputs could have defeated their purpose of manufacturing public-animosity against the community, if educated and elite-class Rajputs came together condemning the incident. Unfortunately, when was the last time that well-informed liberal Rajputs even came together under a civilian leadership ---- after all it is because Elite-class educated and middle-class Rajputs abstain from civil-society activism, that the community is identified by a band of ruffians like Makrana, Gogamedi or Amu.
Ramifications - Kshatriyas as “Homo Sacer”
In fact, establishing Kshatriyas as Homo-sacer often accompanies intentional blacking out by Mainstream media, when a Santosh Singh is lynched in Banka or during Madhubani Massacre, where almost all male members of the Nikumbh family are wiped-out
As far as the Dominance of Rajputs is concerned, the developments post Hathras case only well exposed the privileges (or lack of it) that Rajputs enjoy with respect to urbanized Brahmin-Savarn castes on one hand and landed OBCs on the other.
Hence just as they reduced our history to a pile of polemic while still complaining that our history is overstated only to justify further vandalism.
Similarly, they also manipulate our present socio-economic realities, our voice, our story & even our self-perception. After all this they accuse us that we are very “privileged”. Their manipulation of even our lived tangible realities can be gauged from these two examples:- (1) they accuse us of “Thakurvad” or “hegemony” despite the fact that we are so under-represented in major institutions of public influence that we are rendered voiceless on our own issues. (2) It is also a very well-known fact that Rajputs were predominantly peasant-clan-retainers, yet despite the very obvious nature of this knowledge, they project the Rajputs to be an exclusive class of Zamindars and Royals.
This is also gaslighting an entire community into insanity.
Although they control all media-houses and most journalists in those are also their castemen; they control both rightwing and leftwing national politics, they control the film industry and enjoy clout in bureaucracy, they enjoy unquestionable hegemony in all academic institutions to the extent that they even control public discourse on Rajputs; they invoke medieval hegemony of Rajput tribes both to keep the Rajputs alienated and to divert public attention from their present hegemony Both literature and film industry have been exploited by them to this end.
The blunder of completely replacing class struggles with race/caste in West & wannabe West (India) has benefited the likes of Gupta, Dhingra or Roychowdhury who ironically earn virtue points by targeting the weaker - there is no denying that the Rajputs were always socioecnomically weaker than the urban-based Savarn castes.
The strong desire among Savarns to hype Rajput privileges and even distort their socioeconomic picture in discussions has existed across decades (check on Bollywood). This is rooted in their objective to caricature Rajputs as the “all-powerful-class” to focus public outrage on the former and to divert attention from their own privileges.
Through this article, we explored how the media outlets in this country target the Kshatriya community with distortions and fabrications.
Dearth of well-established & good Rajput historians, clubbed with lack of any funding has only resulted in Rajput history being reduced to a pile of polemics and aggressive appropriations
Similarly, dearth of independent-thinking Rajput journalists and social scientists meant that not just the current Socio-economic issues of Rajputs but even our socioeconomic realities are distorted by non-Rajput opinion-makers who go onto mislead us even from solutions.
In today’s context not much will change unless a mainstream middle-class leadership from the community, that is both knowledgeable and sensitive to sociopolitical trends rises, takes up the initiative in its own hands and writes as well as speaks on the community’s present. We do not need Anachronistic bigots and fanatics who mislead the community on its priorities rather which works on the socio-political concerns of the community. We need sensitive mainstream and yet self-aware Rajputs who know the laws of the land can articulate with sensitivity and as well those who do grassroots work.