War on Symbols: Battle of Prithviraj Chauhan

Whose Prithviraj is he anyway? From the very day—September 19, 2019, the production of the Akshay Kumar-starrer and Yash Raj Films was announced until the day it released in cinemas—on June 3—a battle royal in the mythological 12th century is underway. Had been. Raja of the Chamhana or Chauhan dynasty, whose second battle of Tarain in 1192 AD was celebrated as Sanyogita, daughter of the enemy, Jaichand of Kannauj—as much for his valor as for his courage to go away with the portrayal of the warrior king in the film directed by Chandraprakash Dwivedi. is celebrated only Emperor PrithvirajIt has been used by sections of Rajput and Gurjar communities and for various reasons.

Whose Prithviraj is he anyway? From the very day—September 19, 2019, the production of the Akshay Kumar-starrer and Yash Raj Films was announced until the day it released in cinemas—on June 3—a battle royal in the mythological 12th century is underway. Had been. Raja of the Chamhana or Chauhan dynasty, whose second battle of Tarain in 1192 AD was celebrated as Sanyogita, daughter of the enemy, Jaichand of Kannauj—as much for his valor as for his courage to go away with the portrayal of the warrior king in the film directed by Chandraprakash Dwivedi. is celebrated only Emperor PrithvirajIt has been used by sections of Rajput and Gurjar communities and for various reasons.

Akshay Kumar in Samrat Prithviraj (2022)

The Shree Rajput Karni Sena, the self-styled protector of all things Rajput, was the first to defy not only the character of the film but a saga of romance over heroism—but with its very name. Plain Prithviraj was a disgrace, Emperor Prithviraj, As the film was later renamed, it was more appropriate to his icon’s stature. He made the producers of Jodha Akbar And Padmavati bowing to the Rajput will; In March 2020, under the leadership of National President Mahipal Singh Makrana, the army once again fought for the Rajputs and marched towards Jamwa Ramgarh, where the shooting of the film had begun. Once there, a familiar script played out: uproar, sloganeering and vandalism.

However, the retaliation came from the second quarter. It appeared surreptitiously on Twitter one day—May 7, 2021, to be exact— in the guise of the hashtag, #GurjaemperorPrithviraj Chauhan. The fire returned only a few hours later, with the hashtag #RajputtemperorPrithvirajChouhan. And thus a new battleground has opened on social media – Gurjar vs Rajput.

Long lit in the textbooks of Indian history as a brave Rajput warrior whose legendary exploits became the stuff of epic poetry, be it the Sanskrit work of Kashmiri poet-historian Jayanaka. prithvirajvijayammahakavyam or the moon Prithviraj Raso Count of Colonel James Todd on the legacy of the ‘last great Hindu emperor’, whose vastness of kingdom lay in its name, has prompted the Gujjars to write this belated claim in Brajbhasha several centuries later. Or a quarter of a million villages? The education, if one is to be known, is by Gurjar historian Jitesh Gurjar, who is associated with the Veer Gurjar Mahasabha and has been leading the fight to reclaim the legacy of Rai Pithora, as Prithviraj III was also called. “When a community begins to read and educate itself,” he says, “it realizes that its past was very glorious but was distorted or not presented correctly. The community then tries to rectify the wrong portrayal. begins to assert himself, which the Gujjars are doing now.”

To substantiate his claim, Jitesh cites the epic of Jayanaka, most likely between the First and Second Battle of Tarain, which uses the word Gurjaradipati for Someshwar, the father of Prithviraj. If the father was a Gurjar, wouldn’t the son also be a Gurjar? He also refers to Bardai Rasociting the verse ‘Gurjar Ahir as caste doi, tin lil lok khater na koi’ To claim that the poet is here using Gurjar for caste and not for the region the community is said to represent.

Raso, whose historicity and scholarship remains uncertain and is believed to have been written 500 years after Prithviraj’s actual reign, as Cynthia Talbot, a history professor at the University of Texas at Austin, noted in her 2016 book, last hindu emperorIn , the Chauhans are depicted as one of the four Rajput Agnivanshi clans – the other three being the Pratiharas, the Paramaras and the Chalukyas – who are born out of Yagya. This is a view echoed in later texts. However, Jayanaka told the legend of Prithviraj, the Chauhans were Suryavanshis, or descendants of Surya. However, the lineage tree drawn in early 12th-century inscriptions at Sewri shows no connection between the Chauhans and the Suryavanshas; Rather they are shown as the children of Indra.

A third view portrays the Chahamanas as brahmins. Veteran historian Dr Dashrath Sharma in his 1959 book, Early Chauhan Dynasty, refers to the 1170 CE Bijolia inscription of ‘Chhamano’, which speaks of ‘Vipra Srivatsagotrebhuta’, suggesting a Brahmin origin. A branch of the Chauhans, the Kayamkhani, are called Islamic converts. late 17th century text kayam khan raso By Niyamat Khan Kayamkhani, the Chauhans are also spoken of as Brahmins. But there is nothing else to substantiate the claim.

The origin story of the Chauhans takes a completely different turn in the story of Colonel Tod. History and Antiquities of Rajasthan, According to him the Chauhans were Scythians who came to India from Central Asia. But then Colonel Todd’s compulsions were completely different. The portrayal of all the Kshatriya dynasties of Rajasthan as foreign invaders was a narrative that suited the project of British colonialism.

But what about the 21st century battle over Prithviraj Chauhan? Responding to Jitesh Gurjar’s claim that Prithviraj was a Gurjar because his father was called Gurjardhipati, Virendra Singh Rathore, an IT professional from Rajasthan, wrote Prithviraj Chauhan: A Light on the Mist in History, Says: “Someshwara’s maternal grandmother was in Patan, Gujarat. The word Gurjareshwar or Gurjaradipati is used for Jaisingh Siddharaj, the maternal grandfather of Someshwara.

Mahavir Singh Sarwadi, convener of the Kshatriya Yuva Sangh, says, “The word Gurjar was used for a specific place. Ravana was called Lankadhipati, but that does not mean that his caste was Lanka. Southern Rajasthan and northern Gujarat were then called Gurjara Desh or Gurjarat, and Gurjaradipati was the word for the king of that country. The castes originating from these parts like Gurjar Gaur Brahmins or Gurjar Pratihara Rajputs still use Gurjar as their name. Not letting specifics stand in the way of his argument, Jitesh Gurjar says, “There was a tradition of naming places after ruling dynasties till the medieval period. For example, Rajasthan was originally called Rajputana because it was ruled by Rajputs. Accordingly, Gujarat was called Gurjar Desh as it was ruled by the Gurjars. And the Chauhans are said to have been Pratihara jagirdars, who migrated from Gujarat to Rajasthan, who later gained territory and influence.

Meanwhile, there is little consensus about the origin of the Gujjars themselves. Colonial historian Vincent Arthur Smith in his Early History of India Describes blood relations with the Huns. Others believe that they were residents of Georgia, who crossed Central Asia, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan and the Khyber Pass to reach Gujarat in about the 5th and 6th centuries CE. Still others consider them indigenous to the subcontinent. Some claimed Brahmin ancestry, others Kshatriya or Rajput through the process of sanskritisation. There are Gujjars in India’s Muslims, Sikhs, Christians and perhaps even Buddhists. At present, they are mostly concentrated in northern India, in Jammu and Kashmir and in the states of Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Delhi, Rajasthan, Gujarat and Maharashtra. They may be upper caste in one area, and OBC in another.

However, whether a Gurjar or Rajput king, Prithviraj Chauhan remains an interesting character in Indian history and a prominent figure in the national iconography alongside greats such as Rana Pratap and Shivaji. Emperor PrithvirajHowever, it seems to have run into trouble at the box office. After a disappointing start, on Day 5, reports say, some shows in the film also had to be canceled due to lack of audience.

disputed legacy


Other historical figures claimed by more than one community


Emperor Ashoka , Kshatriya or Kushwaha?



On the 3rd century BC ruler’s birth anniversary, the BJP entrusted the Kushwaha leader Samrat Choudhary with the responsibility of organizing a grand celebration at his birthplace at Pataliputra in modern Patna. Uttar Pradesh Deputy CM Keshav Prasad Maurya was a special invitee because apart from being Kushwaha, he also has Mauryas in his name. Another Maurya leader, Keshav Dev also celebrated the occasion with great enthusiasm in UP. “Ashoka was a king, so he was called a Kshatriya,” he says. “But we are from the same lineage. After cultivating our place in the varna system changed”



Raja Suhail Dev , Pasi vs Rajbhar



The Maharaja Suhail Dev Seva Samiti claimed that Raja was a Pasi in 2001. Rajbhar, on the other hand, cited the Mirat-i-Masoodi, Abdur Rahman Chishti’s biography of Mahmud Ghazni, to claim that Suhail Dev belonged to the Bhartharu community. Laying the foundation stone of a statue, a postage stamp and then a medical college in the name of the warrior, BJP is doing all this to attract Pasi and Rajbhar votes



Rana Punja , Rajput or Bhil?



The Bhils say that he was born in Meerpur near modern Udaipur in Rajasthan. The Rajputs say that Rana Punja, who fought alongside Maharana Pratap, is a descendant of the Bhojwat Solanki Rajputs. Over the years, an idol war has broken out in southern Rajasthan, with the Indian Tribal Party, the political front of the Bhil family, insisting that any reference to the king refers to Rana Punja Bhil.

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