Jats in Western India, Ahirs of Gangetic plains & Gujjars of NCR, are a politically hegemonic communities and literally local satraps (feudals) of Brahmin-Khatri collective hegemony.
With their concentrated population & political leeway provided by both hindutvadi brahmins & left-liberal brahmins, they have had an insurmountable power to not just shape government policies and public perception in their favour, but also systematically destroy other communities.
We will take example of Jats, here.
Since, 1980s under the leadership of Charan Singh and other Jat politicians, the Jat elites began a mass-propaganda through films & media, portraying themselves as the “good poor oppressed folks” and the Kshatriya as an “all-powerful privileged.”
With the help of Brahmin & Khatri Elites, they created systematic hatred against the Kshatriya community, turning public perception against the Kshatriyas, who since independence have lacked any modern political leadership.
Funded by Jat politician Dr Vijay Poonia , Jat actors like Dharmendra Deol made movies like Ghulami & Bantwara, creating a positive image for the Jat community and building an oppressive image of the Kshatriya community. Gradually, in the Socialist days, the Jat became face of “kisaan” & the Kshatriya became “feudal/samant”.
This way they invizibilised the Kshatriya peasant-masses, the clan retainer majority.
And this they also invizibilised the Jat Zamindar, who rose to prominence in Mughal era & is clubbed with Jat masses.
So viscious has been this propaganda,covering three generations, that “feudal” “zamindar” has been used as synonyms for the Kshatriya samaj.
Jat royalty of Bharatpur demanding reservation for Jats of Bharatpur, claiming historical oppression & shudra status
However, the Jat actions haven’t been limited to just malicious propaganda against the Kshatriya samaj, but also extends to fighting legal battles to deny poor Kshatriya subcastes any benefit from Government welfare policies, of which they are the most dominant beneficiaries.
Eg Udaram Jat, resident of Jodhpur’s Khudi Bhaktasani Housing Board alongwith Jat MLA Hanuman Beniwal filed a case against the provision of OBC reservation to natarayat Rajputs, a Rajput subcaste of landless origin.
Hence, alongwith Brahmin-Khatri Elites in media & cinema, the Jat Elites were central to social & economic pulverisation of the Kshatriya masses. The Kshatriyas lost their community heritages ie Forts, Jantar Mantars; their recruitment in armies/batallions raised by his Clan chief was curtailed resulting in unemployment.
He was discriminated against by Brahmin & Khatri policy makers & those holding important positions in major Educational institutions.
Gradually, from 1980s, the entire country was made to turn against him and a retributive idea was consciously embedded in public consciousness that Rajputs don’t deserve any Rights.
Today, as on Jun 2021, the Rajasthan State party heads of all major parties are Jats – Congress’s Govind Dotasra, BJP’s Satish Poonia, CPM’s Amaram, RLD’s Hanuman Beniwal.
Jats enjoy hegemonic clout in bureaucracy (both state & national) and have developed a strong media presence.
Kshatriyas have been systematically decimated with the help of Brahmins & Khatri Elites.
However, with Jat socio-economic prosperity and organized destruction of Kshatriya people, and pampered by all political forces – RSS, Congress & Bahujan-Obc organizations (like BAMCEF) has started another politics that completely contradicts the previous politics.
Now we are told, that the Kshatriyas are actually Shudras who became Kshatriyas in the 16th century due to intermarriages with Mughals. This line of thought with genesis in Dirk H Kollf’s Naukar Rajput Sepoy and further enforced by RSS-patronised Cynthia Talbot in "Prithviraj Chauhan: The Last Hindu Emperor".
Although, neither of the two provide any references or strong cogent arguments, the flippant statements are endorsed by claiming that it is research-based. However, till now neither had the transparency to let Rajput intellectuals (the community they target) from scrutinizing their "research’.
Their statements, owing to publication in Big housrs, have been copied by sundry brahmin-khatri writers , academicians and forms the basis of Jat, Gujjar, Ahir claims that preMughal Chauhans, Tomars, Parmars, Yadavs etc were from their communities and the Rajput people of the corresponding clans are just impostors who traded their women to Mughals.
It is claimed by both Arya Samaj and RSS on one hand and “left-liberal” academicians that Rajputs have no connection with Kshatriyas and that Jat, Gujjar and Ahir are the actual Kshatriyas.
On face, these claims may seem facetious but their endorsement by Big journalists like Dilip Mandal, academicians like Shail Mayaram and Tanuja Kothiyal Tiwari apart from Talbot gives these claims validation.
As has been repeatedly highlighted that Rajputs have no right to speak, write and publish their own stories, we have no option but to remain silent in the Indian State, of which we were never counted as citizens in reality (our citizenship is only limited to papers). Our past is vandalised, our present gaslighted and our identity redefined to suit objectives of the ruling castes ie Brahmin, Khatri, feudal OBCs.
The reason is systematic Socioeconomic destruction, organized caricaturing & defacing their identity. These factors silenced the mainstream Elites of the community and in turn fueled aloenation - like a viscious cycle.
However what the landed OBCs achieved was not without institutional support of Brahmins, Banias & Khatri mediapersons and intellectuals.
Central to this pulverizing is a propaganda that caricatures Rajputs as a fluid Social class of Zamindars & not a clan-kinship group as it is understood in non-polemical literature on the community
This has been the case, whether from khatri Sanya Dhingra’s article on ThePrint.in crying Thakurvad, or from Cynthia Talbots’ work.
How this institutionalised propaganda was used to harm the rajputs, let’s have a look.
If we speak of (Brahmin-Khatri) Congress’s Socialism it was targeted at taking lands from Rajput zamindars and handing it over to poor from other castes like Jats or Gujjars, who were also beneficiaries of their own Zamindars.
There was little action on Brahmin Zamindars & Khatri businessmen however. That was economic pulverisation.
Thus with socioeconomic structure of Kshatriyas invizibilised and with the ordinary rajput clan-retainer equated to Zamindars the Bhoodan movement, was the first economic blow to Rajput masses, who didn’t benefit from it at all.
Infact, public perception on Rajputs were built (via films & literature etc) & hence government policies on Rajputs were formulated based on this definition.
This chart shows who actually controls discourse on Rajput people, their past as well as present. And the fact that Rajputs are seen as unqualified to write and publish their own stories As a result it remains one-sided hateful propaganda with no option for nuances.
With socioeconomic destruction and covert discrimination in jobs and education by Brahmins & Khatris, Rajputs have little presence in media, cinema and academia which are rampantly misused by Brahmin and Khatri elites to belittle Rajputs and vilify them.
We are made to believe that while communities like Brahmin, Jat, Ahir have origins in antiquity and that each predates the Rajput identity despite no evidence. At the same time the Rajputs are deemed as a later group for want of evidence. Notice the inherent double-speak in this political exercise.
Initially, while raising doubts over any connection between Rajput & Kshatriya, the Rajput origins were shifted to the 6th century. We were connected to Huns and Scythians sans strong evidence and blamed for destruction of Buddhism, sans evidence. However all early Inscriptions of the Rajput tribes call themselves Kshatriyas and the domicile of Rajput tribes extended from Sindh to Bihar even in those days.
Then Prof BD Chattopadhyay (a Bengali Brahmin) shifted Rajput origins to 12th century based upon the preponderant usage of the term “rajput” in Rajasthan from this era. However, he slipped Rajputs outside Rajasthan and also obfuscated the fact that each Rajasthani Rajput clan (under their present names) already existed since 6th century and had extensive matrimonial ties with eachother.
As per him, the clan was inconsequential and Rajput was a fluid title, hence the community was a fluid Social class of Zamindars. However, if Rajput community was indeed just a social class of Zamindars, what explains Peter Mundy’s description of ordinary Bhadauria Chauhan clan-retainers? What explains the fact that majority of Rajput clan-retainers were peasants & owned livestock until independence?
Similarly, Dirk H Kollf (a “left-liberal”) redefined Rajputs as a social class of medieval military entrepreneurs of diverse caste-origins. However, he never answered why Pathan, Jat, Koli, Gujjar, Brahmin military entrepreneurs maintained their identities. He complaints about lack of references to study Rajput tribes, but is quick enough to make statements that he neither corroborates nor puts up cogent arguments. Bhadauriya Chauhans are declared Pasis, because they employed Pasis in their armies. Kayamkhanis are declared Turkbachas without any evidence or strong irrefutable argument, while their connection with Chayal Chauhans (traditionally accepted by both Kayamkhanis & local rajputs) is dismissed for want of evidence. Similarly, he declared Ujjainiya Parmars as Chero because the latter occupied the region initially under Chero hegemony. He merely rejects Ujjainiya & Parmar connection because their first self-written History starts from 17th century. However he neither explains that if Ujjainiyas were not Parmars, why were they named Ujjainiya (under Parmar dominance until 14th century) in the first place nor he explains how Chero kings of neighborhing Palamu retained their identity; if becoming a king itself made one a Rajput.
Similarly, we are made to believe that Kachwahas & Kacchapghatas are different because the last Kacchapghata chief of Gwalior & the first Kachwaha chief of Dausa had different names. Did Rajput clans constitute a single family or leadership? Isn’t Rajput clan collection of hundreds of families & individuals? Was the last ruler of Jaipur & his family the only Kachwahas? Kachwaha subclans inhabit the entire tract connecting Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar of Punjab to Gwalior.
In an uncorroborated essay lacking any cogent argument, Farhana Ibrahim declares that Jadejas were Muslim pastoralists who underwent "Rajputisation’. She doesn’t provide any evidence that they were Muslims, but imposes her narrative as a truism. She also fails to provide evidence to reject collective tradition of Muslim Samas & Hindu Jadejas - that they were Hindu Rajputs. She invokes a flimsy argument that Jadejas were “rajputised” in 12th century by marrying Sodha Parmar women. She doesn’t explain that why rajputs marrying other rajputs was so unusual as per her that it was a strong proof that one of the entities was non-Rajput. She also doesn’t explain that why non-rajputs marrying rajputs didn’t become rajputs. In fact, her flimsy and uncorroborated assertion is contradicted by the fact that even after-conversion Samas are counted Rajputs in their local regions. It is also contradicted by the fact that both even the Sama oral history considers them as Hindu-converts, with Hindu-Muslim syncretic tradition — an aspect completely absent in original Muslims.
Finally, Cynthia Talbot declares that Rajput identity evolved only in the 16th century by inter-marriages with the Mughals. However she obfuscates & dodges a few questions: (1) Did all Rajputs intermarry Mughals? What of Banafars, Johiyas, Bais etc.
(2) Did Rajput royals alone contract marriages with Mughals? Who were Akbari Jats, Jahangari Jats, Shah Jahani Jats and why didn’t they become Rajputs? Why didn’t Ahoms & Marathas become Rajputs by intermarrying with Mughals & Muslim ruling class? Talbot remains silent on majority of Rajput clans that either lost Statehood or lived on margins of the Timurid power.
Even Tanuja Kothiyal Tiwar of Ambedkar University, Delhi declares that Rajputs have origins in pastoral communities. Her argument: Pabuji lore, where Pabuji Rathore was engaged in pastoral activity and died defending livestock. In her obscurantist stance, she forgets that Rajput is a clan-kinship group & not a single social class and that Rajputs of a clan belonged to various social strata like any community. She also skips mention of various Rashtrakut Inscriptions in South Marwar from 9th century and Rashtrakut (Rathore) relationship with various other Rajput clans. A Rajput engaging in pastoral activity doesn’t hint that rajputs have origins in pastoral communities, just as presence of Rajput zamindar doesn’t mean that all Rajputs were Zamindars.
However, while writing on the Rajput present, Prof Kothiyal stereotypes Rajputs as “haveli owners” “vista owners”.
Richard Eaton declares a Mongol refugee in Jalore Rajput, because he died fighting the Rajput way. Is there a specific Rajput way of death or Rajput way of fighting?
It is this shoddy scholarship backed by major Institutions and big publication houses, that has lately invigorated the desire of landed OBCs to claim preMughal history of same Rajput clans as their own.
Today, both RSS & landed OBCs find excuses in this spurious literature to change identities of preMughal Rajput figures and personalities.
No community’s identity and origins is subjected to such political circus, that the Brahmins like Bhandarkar, Chattopadhyay , Ramya Sreenivasan or Kothiyal have subjected Rajput identity and origins to.
This is how even our collective identity is defaced and we are Institutionally humiliated.
Check movies & OTP platforms from Lantern, Family Man, Article 15, the good guy is a brahmin or a Khatri, the bad guys are Thakurs/Rajputs. In fact Anurag Kashyap’s Gulaal (2009) foisted a fictitious secessionist image on Rajputs. Caricaturing rajputs as feudal minded and revanchist, it can be rightly interpreted that the aim of the movie was to stymie any Rajput civilian movement questioning status-quo, and (beforehand) cancel any such attempt to mobilise as debauched, parochial & anti-democratic. Thus rajputs are expected to not even protest their institutionalised oppression.
Demagogues exist across communities, however it is only among the rajputs that demagogues are used to stereotype the Kshatriya samaj, using mainstream media and literature.
So viscious is this propaganda, that when Ravindra Jadeja calls himself “rajputboy”, it riles Brahmin-Khatris, landed OBCs, Muslim Ashrafs who respond by demeaning the entire Rajput community, including its women.
However, they hypocritically dub entire regions as Jatland to appease landed OBCs.
The same people have no issues with celebrating their own Pathan identity, Jat identity, Khatri identities.
Invoking this definition of Rajputs as an open Social class of Zamindars, Ruchika Sharma (another brahmin at the premier institution JNU) justified Khilji’s massacre of Rajputs as a retributive form of social justice and a socialist venture.
Hence, while Brahmin journalists can speak up for their people’s rights as well as spew caste-hatred against Rajput community, their Rajput counterparts are expected to silently take punches.
Furthermore, brahmin khatri hegemony across mainstream media, from RSS to Congress and CPM, across DU, JNU, BHU etc is meritorious and normal. It is Rajput dominance in a particular agricultural College which is evidence of “Thakur tyrany”, and must be used to target the Rajput people.
It is outrightly seen as taboo and bigotted for a Rajput politician or intellectual to speak for Rajput people.
Afterall, if merely identifying as a rajputboy can get you trolled, it remains a risk speaking up for your people - a risk that even involves destruction of career by Brahmin-Khatri bosses and now even Jat-Ahir bosses. Owing to this personal and professional risk, Rajput politicians, writers & intellectuals stay silent.