Page:EB1911 - Volume 22.djvu/882

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page needs to be proofread.
865
RAJA—RAJPUT

RAJA, the Hindu title for a chief, or prince, derived from the same root as the Latin rex. Other forms are rao, rana and rawal, while chiefs of high rank are styled maharaja, maharao and maharana. The Hindustani form is rai, and the title of the Hindu emperor of Vijayanagar in S. India was raya. It is not confined to the rulers of native states, being conferred by the British government on Hindu subjects, sometimes as an hereditary distinction. In the form of rao it appears as a suffix to the names of most Mahrattas, and to the names of Kanarese Brahmans.


RAJAHMUNDRY, or Rajamahendri, a town of British India, in the Godavari district of Madras. Pop. (1901) 36,408. It stands on the left bank of the river Godavari, at the head of the delta, 360 m. N. of Madras, and has a station on the East Coast railway, which is here carried across the river by a bridge of 56 spans. The government college is one of the four provincial schools established in 1853. There are also a training college and high school. Carpets, rugs and wooden wares are manufactured.

Tradition divides the merit of founding Rajahmundry between the Orissa and Chalukya princes. In 1470 it was wrested from Orissa by the Mahommedans, but early in the 16th century it was retaken by Krishna Raja. It continued under Hindu rule till 1572, when it yielded to the Moslems of the Deccan under Rafat Khan. It passed into the possession of the French in 1753, but they were driven out by the British under Colonel Forde in 1758.


RAJASTHANI (properly Rājasthānī, the language of Rajasthan of Rajputana), an Indo-Aryan vernacular closely related to Gujarati (q.v.). It is spoken in Rajputana and the adjoining parts of central India, and has several dialects the principal of which are Jaipuri, Mārwāri, Mēwatī and Mālvī. Harauti, an important variety of Jaipuri, is spoken in the states of Kota and Bundi. Carey, the well-known Serampiir missionary, paid great attention to Rajasthani in the early part of the 19th century, translating the New Testament into no fewer than six dialects, viz. Hāṛautī, Ujaini (i.e. Mālvī), Udaipurī (a form of Mārwāṛī), Mārwāṛī proper, Jaipurī proper and Bīkānērī (another form of Mārwāṛī). In 1901 the total number of speakers of Rajasthani was 10,917,712.  (G. A. Gr.) 


RAJGARH, a native state of central India, in the Bhopal agency. Area, 940 sq. m. Pop. (1901) 88,376, showing a decrease of 26% in the decade, due to the results of famine. Estimated revenue, £33,000; tribute (to Sindhia), £3640 The chief, whose title is rawat, is a Rajput of the Umat clan. Grain and opium are the principal articles of trade. The town of Rajgarh, which is surrounded by a battlemented wall, had a population of 5399 in 1901.


RAJKOT, India, capital of a native state in Bombay, and headquarters of the political agent for Kathiawar. Pop. (1901) 36,151. It is situated in the middle of the peninsula of Kathiawar, and is the centre of the railway system. There is a military cantonment. The Rajkumar college, for the education of the sons of chiefs on the lines of an English public school, has achieved great success. Besides the high school there are training colleges for masters and mistresses. The Rasulkhanji hospital has a department for women, opened in 1897. All these institutions are maintained at the joint expense of the chiefs of Kathiawar. The state of Rajkot, which is a branch of Nawanagar, has an area of 282 sq. m. Pop. (1901) 49,795. Estimated revenue, £20,000.


RAJMAHAL, a former capital of Bengal, India, now a village in the district of the Santal Parganas, situated on the right bank of the Ganges, where that river makes a turn to the south. Pop. (1901) 2047. It was chosen for his residence by Man Singh, Akbar’s Rajput general in 1592, but the capital of the province was shortly afterwards transferred to Dacca. It contains many palaces and mosques, now in ruins and overgrown with jungle. It has a station on the loop line of the East Indian railway, but trade has declined since the Ganges abandoned its old bed; and Sahibganj has taken its place. Rajmahal has given its name to a range of hills, almost the only hills in Bengal proper, which here come down close to the bank of the Ganges. They cover a total area of 1366 sq. m;, and their height never exceeds 2000 ft. They are inhabited by an aboriginal race, known as Paharias or “hill-men,” of whom two tribes may be distinguished: the Male Sauria Paharias and the Mal Paharias; total pop. (1901) 73,000. The former, if not the latter also, are closely akin to the larger tribe of Oraons. Their language, known as Malto, of the Dravidian family, was spoken by 60,777 persons in 1901. The Paharias have contributed an element to the administrative history of Bengal. Augustus Clevland, a civilian who died in '1784 and whose name is still honoured, was the first who succeeded in winning their confidence and recruiting- among them a corps of hill-rangers. The methods that he adopted are the foundation of the “non regulation ” system, established in 1796; and the hiils were exempted from the permanent settlement. The Santals, a different aboriginal race, have since immigrated in large numbers into the Daman-i-koh, or “ skirts of the hills ”; but the Paharias alone occupy the plateaux on the top, where they are permitted to practise the privilege of shifting cultivation, which renders scientific forestry impossible. The approach from the plains below to each plateau is guarded by a steep ladder of boulders.

See E. W. Dalton, Descriptive Ethnology of Bengal (Calcutta, 1872); F. B. Bradley-Birt, The Story of an Indian Upland (1905).


RAJPIPLA, a native state of India, in the Rewa Kantha agency, Bombay, occupying a hilly tract between the rivers Nerbudda and Tapti; area, 1517 sq. m. Pop. (1901) 117,175, showing a decrease of 32% in the decade, due to the results of famine; estimated revenue, £60,000; tribute (to the Gaekwar of Baroda), £3000 The chief, whose title is maharana, is a Gohel Rajput, of the same family as the thakor saheb of Bhaunagar. A light railway, constructed at the cost of the state, connects Nandod with Anklesvar in Broach district. The old fort of Rajpipla, in the hills, is now deserted. The modern capital is Nandod, situated on the river Karjan, 32 m. from Surat. Pop. (1901) 11,236. .


RAJPUT, a race of India, not confined to Rajputana, but spread over the N. of the country. According to the census of 1901 there were 9,712,156 Rajputs in all India, of whom only 620,229 lived in Rajputana. The great majority adhere to the Hindu religion, but 1,875,387 are entered as Mahommedans. The Rajputs form the fighting, landowning and ruling caste. They claim to be the modern representatives of the Kshatriyas of ancient tradition; but their early history is obscure, and recent research supports the view that they include descendants of more than one wave of immigrant invaders. Linguistic evidence supports 'tradition in proving that their unity was broken up by the Mahommedan conquest, for the inhabitants of the Himalayan valleys still speak a language akin to those of Rajputana proper, though separated from them by the wide Gangetic valley.

The Rajputs are fine, brave men, and retain the feudal instinct strongly developed. Pride of blood is their chief characteristic, and they are most punctilious on all points of etiquette. The tradition of common ancestry permits a poor Rajput yeoman to consider himself as Well born as any powerful landholder of his clan, and superior to any high official of the professional classes. No race in India can boast of finer feats of arms or brighter deeds of chivalry, and they form one of the main recruiting helds for the Indian army of to-day. They consider any occupation other. than that of arms or government derogatory to their dignity, and consequently during the long period of peace which has followed the establishment of the British rule in India they have been content to stay idle at home instead of taking up any of the other professions in which they might have come to the front. Those who are not zamindars have, therefore, rather dropped behind in the modern struggle for existence. As cultivators they are lazy and indifferent, and they prefer pastoral to agricultural pursuits. Looking upon all manual labour as humiliating, none but the poorest class of Rajput will himself hold the plough.