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Castes of India
'Bais'
Classification Rajput - Kshatriya
Religions Hinduism, Islam, Sikhism and Buddhism
Language Sanskrit, Hindi, Punjabi, Urdu,Awadhi and most Lahnda languages
Populated States Punjab region, Kashmir and Oudh
Rajput Clan: Bais
Vansh Nagvanshi
Descended from: Rishi Gotra: Bharadwaj
Branches: Divided into 360 sub-divisions of which the most important are: Tilokchandi: (Rao, Raja, Sainbaisi, Naihastha, Chotbhaiya, Gudaraha, Madhour), Kath Bais, Tilsari, Chak Bais, Nanwag, Bach, Parsariya, Bijhonia, Bhetkariya, Gargbansi
Ruled in Oudh, Mangi Pattan, Dekhan, Lucknow, Kashmir (All), Shalikot (Sialkot), Harsha's Empire, Tanda, Malwa, Nahrwala, Mahrat, Dakhin, Birar, Bengal, Kasmanda, Sitapur district, Orissa
Princely states: Oudh
Lucknow
Shalikot (Sialkot)
Surnames: Bhains, Bais, Baniya, Basade, Baruliya, Badhelia, Basade, Kataha, Rao, Khathabains, Tilokchandi

The Bais Rajput, (also commonly known as: Bhains Rajput in certain regions), are a very powerful and ancient Rajput clan compromising of the wealthy, warriors, entrepreneurs and Zimindar (land owners).

The Bais Rajput are one of the Chattis Rajkul - 36 Royal Rajput lineages[1][2] and also a clan of the 108 ancient Dhangar clans.[3][4][5][6][7]

The Bais Rajput have left a strong stamp in South Asian history, paving it with its empires helping the spread of the clan all over the northern half of South Asia. The Bais Rajput can be found pretty much anywhere in parts of north Pakistan and India including many of the most remote parts of Kashmir.

The Bais Rajput are renowned as warriors and the ability to maintain dominion over many of their empires. Their eminent reputation was earned by many of their kings and leaders that ruled over northern India for centuries under empires, kingdoms and ownership of mass land amongst the clan.

The Bais pride themselves in being the most enterprising, the wealthiest, the best housed, and the best dressed people in Oudh.

— From An Ethnographical Hand-book for the N.-W. Provinces and Oudh - Page 138 by William Crooke - Anthropology - 1890[8]

Best dressed and housed people of southern Oudh...

— From Rulers, Townsmen and Bazaars By C. A. Bayly [9]

Contents

Etymology

"Bais Rajput" (IPA': bʰaːiɲs ‘rɑːɗpʒʊt or bʰaːis ‘rɑːɗpʒʊt), (Sanskrit: बऐञस रआजपऊथॠअ), (Hindi: बैंस राजपूत), (Urdu: راجپوت بھینس) means "one who occupies the soil" [10] meaning owners of mass land (Zimindar). The clans name originates from Sanskrit and also is phonetically translated as Bhains from Sanskrit to the English. The pronunciation of the clan name: Bhains is mostly used widley to the west of northern South Asia while the Hindi pronunciation Bais is more commonly used in eastern and central areas.

The original ancient pronunciation was Bhaiñs or Baiñs with the nasally pronounced 'n'.[11] As with most words, over centuries the name was subject to distortion via pronunciation and accent and so today, in the area of Oudh the pronunciation has found its was to be pronounced with out the nasally pronounced 'n'. Evidence for this can be seen in the ancient texts such as Dhangar texts and texts from the time of Harshavardhana which were written along time before the Bais Rajputs gradually adopted the pronunciation of Bais.

The pronunciation and phonetic spelling Bais was coined around after the takeover of Oudh and is predominantly used in north western India and some parts of the Punjab in both India & Pakistan. It was accepted as the official pronunciation in Hindi and the official pronunciation and spelling in English by the British observers because it was how it was mainly pronounced in Baiswara were the observers discovered the Bais Rajputs.

Pronunciation

Pronounced & spelt (officially): Languages:
Bais Rajput Hindi, Urdu, English
Bhains Rajput Sanskrit, Punjabi & Persian

Also spelt:

The word Bhains is pronounced with a silent n in between the i and the s and also a light h before the b making the pronounced original Sanskrit transliterated spelling 'Bhains'. The official spelling though is: "Bais". It is not pronounced anything like the word base, rather the a and i phonetically would be replaced with an: e making it pronounced much more like: "Bes". Please see IPA spelling for further detail in pronunciation.

History and origin

Area of where the Bais Rajput reside in South Asia. The darker the red, the denser the population of Bais Rajputs per sq/km.

The Bais Rajputs are considered to be Suryavanshi. They are an ancient Hindu warrior caste. Their eponymous ancestor was Gautamiputra Satakarni also known as Shalivahana, the king of Shalikot presently known as Sialkot in Pakistan. Shalivahana is the mythic son of a snake who conquered the great Raja Vikramaditya of Ujjain in 55 AD and established his own area. The clan claims to have come from Manji Paithan in the Dekhan in 78 AD when Shalivahana was king.[10] This was the Saka era and Shalivahana was the leader of the Saka nomads who invaded Gujarat on two occasions before and shortly after the beginning of the Christian era.[10] It makes sense for Shesh-Vansh to be called Suryavanshi because they are descendants of Lakshman Ji, brother of Sri Rama, who is believed to be an avtar of Sheshnag.

The Bais Rajput come in the list of castes in the super caste known as the Dhangar Rajput, formed by wealthy Kshatriyas who moved to the regions of The Hill States of Punjab and Azad Kashmir and settled there.

The Bais Rajputs are now a numerous clan and have given their name to an extensive district Baiswada in the Doab, the land between the Ganga and Yamuna. They are found all over the Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. Muslim Bais of Awadh are referred to as Khanzada [10]

Bais Rajput means 'one who occupies the soil' [10] meaning owners of mass lands, making them wealthy as well as warriors.

The Bais Rajput come under the list of the super Rajput caste: the 'Dhangar' meaning 'who is wealthy'. These Dhangar Rajput Kshatriyas, during times of hardship, migrated from origins in the Indian state of Maharashtra to hills and forests in The Hill States of Punjab and Azad Kashmir[3]

The Ain-i-Akbari describes them as being a proud, refractory and domineering race of Rajputs, living in the Basim Sircar and, with numerous armed forces, occupying the forts and controlling the surrounding districts.[12][13][14]

Proud, refractory and domineering race of Rajputs, living in the Basim Sircar and, with numerous armed forces, occupying the forts and controlling the surrounding districts.

— From Ain-i-Akbari [15][16][17]

As listed in the list of Dhangar clans in India[3][4][5][18]:

  • Note: In the text Bais is spelt in ancient pronunciation spelling Bhains

Bhains:

Lineage(Vansh): Suryavanshi

Kul Gotra: Bhains

Rishi Gotra: Bharadwaj

Surnames:

  • Bhains (Baniya),
  • Baruliya (Badheliya),
  • Basade (Bhainsale),
  • Kati (Kataha),
  • Katheriya,
  • Kathabhains,
  • Tilokchandi

Bais are considered also to be Nagvanshi. Baiswara is group of 365 villages comprising mostly Bais clansmen. King of Thanesar Harshvardhan united the whole nation and chose his capital as Kannauj.

Reputation

The Bais Rajput, over centuries, have gained a reputation in many positions such as: on the battle field, in wealth and in the modern day and age: in sports.

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On the battlefield

It is well known that the Rajputs are renowned for their warfare but some are more so then others; the Bais Rajput fit directly into that category. Since the beginning of the Rajput era to the days of the British Raj, the Bais Rajput fought extensively in many wars for their own cause and the cause of their allies. This can be seen clearly in historical evidence such as during the time of the Bais Rajput king Harsha and his empire for which many battles with the Gupta empire were fought and won, in the taking over of Oudh and certain parts of northern India from the Bhars, in the rise of the Mughals and the days of the Colonial India.

At the time of the Mughals the Bais Rajput were given a special title to honour their warlike and brave nature they were named the Bhale Sultan meaning Lords of the spear.[19]

The reputation of the clan can be estimated by analysing historical references. According to tribal tradition in Sultanpur about half a millennia ago Rae Barar, the son of Amba Rae, brother of the then Raja of Morarmau, commanded a troop of cavalry entirely from the Bais Rajput clan, in the imperial service and was deputed to exterminate the troublesome Bhars, (whom the Bais Rajput had already defeated to gain Oudh), in the Isauli Pargana. Having accomplished his mission he returned to Delhi and presented himself at the head of his troop before the Emperor, who, struck with their manly bearing, exclaimed "Ao, Bhale Sultan!": "Come, spears of the Sultan!".[19][20][21] During the days of the British Raj the Bais Rajput became particularly famous for their skills in tank building for the use of their own armies. Their Rajas and aristorats were recorded building tanks around 1730 and again in 1780.[22]

In the 1800s a ban was imposed on all Bais Rajputs in participating in any warfare for any cause other than the cause of the Bais Rajputs themselves.

At the time of Tilokchand, the eponymous hero of the Bais Rajputs the Bais Rajput were at a peak or Arooj. They were brought to the limelight in many different ways, mainly in power.

...an exceptionally powerful set of local kingships emerged from the time of the legendary Raja Tilok Chand in the 13th century....

— From Rulers, Townsmen and Bazaars By C. A. Bayly [23]

The Bais Rajput also played a major part in the Indian Mutiny of 1857 fighting on both sides.

Wealth

The Bais Rajput (in some cases to this day) are a very wealthy tribe in terms of how they dressed, ate, their homes and the money and land to their name. This was due to them being Zimindar and also mainly due to them being experienced entrepreneurs. The Bais Rajput had a strong hold of the economic situation of India throughout history. When times were hard they would turn to trade making them skilled merchants and extremely rich. They excelled in the trade of anything that they could get their hands on. Anything that was worth trading and would bring pleasing profits the Bais Rajputs were prepared to trade. When war was not afoot the Bais Rajputs looked towards trade as side occupation to their noble identity.

'Traded various goods as varied as ‘elephants from Tipperah and shawls from Cashmere’

— From Rulers, Townsmen and Bazaars By C. A. Bayly [24]

Not only did the Bais Rajput trade, but the economy of the northern half of modern day India and the west of modern day Pakistan played in the hands of the Bais Rajput. The Bais Rajputs also accomplished a reputation in finance. They were well known money lenders. Because they had the money to lend, they would lend the money almmost becoming a banking system in the areas they were dominant.

Influence on the growth of money economy around the 1830s by money lending

— From Rulers, Townsmen and Bazaars By C. A. Bayly [25]

The Bais Rajput became so rich at a time it is recorded that each Bais Rajput held Lakhs (Hundreds of thousands) of rupees a piece which could buy them nearly anything. To hold this amount of money you would have to have been extremely rich.

Rich local Bais Rajput money lenders held Lakhs of rupees apiece

— From Rulers, Townsmen and Bazaars By C. A. Bayly [26]

This wealth caused the Bais Rajput to become the "best dressed and housed people"[27] in the areas they resided. This had an influence on the areas of Baiswara and beyond as recorded the whole area between Baiswara and Fyzabad was:

...prospered and well cultivated

— From Butter, Southern Districts, p39–42 [28]

Once the Bais Rajput had gained respect in the financial world it didn't stop. Luck stroke for the Bais Rajputs and they became richer and richer making them richer than the average Rajput clans.

By 1830s the Bais Rajput gave evidence of several generations of increased prosperity.

— From Rulers, Townsmen and Bazaars By C. A. Bayly [29]

Zimindar

The Bais Rajput clan's identity is based on them being the ones who occupy the soil. They are very dominant zimindar in the areas that they reside. A zimindar is he who owns extreme masses of land, a classic estimate would be "as far as the eyes can see".

In these masses of lands many towns were erected but there still remained vast amounts of lands wasteful as they were not being used for any cause. The Bais Rajputs then decided in making money from these lands by agriculture. They hired many farmers to work the lands and produced profits adding to their already rich positions in wealth.

A good example of agricultural intensification is to be found in the land of the Bias Rajputs.

— From Rulers, Townsmen and Bazaars By C. A. Bayly [30]

The Bais Rajputs unusually famous for well building.[31] They ordered the building of many wells that are being used still to the present day all over South Asia especially in areas of Oudh, Lucknow and the villages around Mangla Dam.

Politics

Bais Rajputs play a part in politics around the world. They play a major part in politics in Azad Kashmir, Pakistani Punjab and India but it does not stop there. Wherever the Bais Rajput have migrated out of Southern Asia they have had an influence in politics on a local and official level such as in Canada and the United Kingdom.

A notable Indian Bais Rajput politician would be Ramesh Bais.

Sports

Sports is another sector in which the Bais Rajput have excelled, particularly in the sport of Field Hockey producing many Olympic champions in the sport, namely the hockey legend: Dhyan Chand.

Dhyan Chand, a Bais Rajput Field Hockey legend. Dhyan Chand was given the title 'Hockey Wizard' by many of his fans. India has failed to again produced such a great undisputed master of any sport.

Dhyan Chand was not the last of the sports personalities to début with Gold medals in the Olympics. The list carried on and most of them were the close relatives or family of Dhyan Chand, such as his brother Roop Singh Bais and many more.

Culture

The Bais Rajput have a variety of custom and have a rich culture. Over the years the Bais Rajput have distinguished themselves greatly through many weird and unusual customs and parts of their culture. They are very superstitious and many would say that their customs were pointless, however the Bais Rajputs would argue they are symbols of their culture and have derived from Hindu mythology.

Customs

The customs in the clan are seen as very strange to those from outside of the clan but its clansmen are used to such traditions.

Their tribal totem or symbol is the cobra. They perpetuate the tradition of a serpent origin, and assert that no snake has or even can destroy one of the clan; for the same reason no Bais Rajput will even kill a cobra. Bais Rajput females can never wear cotton of any colour but white and above their feet and ankles their ornaments must be made of gold.[8] The women wear one long cloth, which is fastened round their wastes around the middle, the lower folds covering the lower portions of the person, and the upper parts being thrown over the shoulder.[10][32][33]

Amongst the Bais Rajput neither man nor woman, rich or poor, will put a hand to cultivation or labour of any sort.[10][34][35] The Bais Rajputs divide their inheritance according to a system of primogeniture by which the three elder sons receive larger shares.[32][36]

The Bais Rajput live in groups of villages named Baiswara, where Bais Rajput have ever migrated they have also formed such coalition of villages, namely the move to The Hills States of Punjab and Azad Kashmir. Baiswara are easily recognisable as most villages prize the name 'Bais' in the name of their village for example: Shere Bhainsi (Kashmir), Pind Bhainso (Pakistan) or Bais Godam (India).

The 'Bais' 'Rajput' clan never kill snakes, which they hold in great reverence. The Baise believe that no snake has destroyed, or ever can destroy, one of the clan. They seem to take no precautions against snake bite except hanging a vessel of water at the head of the sufferer, with a small tube at the bottom, from which the water is poured on his head for as long as he can bear it. So important is the snake to the Bais that the cobra forms part of the clan's flag.

Criteria for marriage

Give daughters to: Take wives from:
Chauhan Amethiya
Rathor Bisen
Kachwaha Bachhgoti
Baghel Chandel
Katiyar Dikhit
Tonwar Raghubansi
Parihar Gahlot
Sengar Gautam
Dikhit Kalhans
Gaharwar
Pundir or Pundhir
Khichar
Raikwar
Kanhpuriya
Janwar
Karchuliya

Bais Rajput or Jat?

Confusingly, there is a tribe of Jats that go by the same name of the Bais Rajputs: the Bains Jats. This leads to the belief that either the Bais Rajput are a Jat tribe or the Bains (are a Rajput tribe; both of the latter are false.

The Bains (Jat) claim ancestry from the Bais Rajputs and so assume to be Rajputs and of the 36 Royal Rajput clans but there is no evidence to support the claim.

The Jat caste is a completely different caste to the Rajputs, yet the possibility that the Bains (Jat) are descendants of the Bais Rajput could, in fact, be true; as according to the: Final report of revised settlement, Hoshiarpur district, 1879-84 - By J. A. L. Montgomery, the Jat are amongst the inferior tribes to the Rajputs which are the descendants of the Rajputs as they are 'fallen' Rajputs due to their widening of marriages with other lower castes in the cast system.[37] This ideology is proven incorrect by genetic research proving Rajputs and Jats have a completely different DNA genetic structure and so share very little in common through ancestry.(Give reference to this information and comment or delete it).

Other history books also support the claims of the Bains (Jat) by stating that the Bains (Jat) along with the Janjua (Jat) have more 'specific' claims to ancestry to Rajputs than other Jats. Some Bains (Jat) even claim ancestry form the Janjua Rajput tribes [38] which supports the notion that such Jat tribes claiming ancestry from Rajputs do so in order to increase their ranks in the caste system.

Nonetheless, the Bains (Jat) and the Bais Rajput today share nothing much in common except a few claims of relativity to each other.

Notable Bais Rajputs

A portrait of the Sikh Indian freedom figher, Mardan Singh was a Bais Rajput.

Royalty

  • Tilokchand - Hindu Indian King & eponymous hero of the Bais Rajput
  • Chandrika Bux Singh - Hindu Indian King and Freedom Fighter
  • Babu Rao Ram Bux Singh - Hindu Indian Freedom fighter
  • Prabhakar Vardhan - Indian King of northern South Asia
  • Harshavardhana - Bhuddist Indian Emperor of northern India
  • Rajyavardhan - Indian King of Thanesar
  • Prabhakar Vardhan - Hindu Indian Emperor
  • Rajya Vardhan - Hindu India King of Thaneser
  • Raja Abhay Chand - Hindu Indian King of Bais dynasty
  • Anand Deo Rajput - Hindu Indian King of Malwa, Nahrwala, Mahrat, Dakhin and Birar.[39]
  • Salim Khan - Muslim Indian King of Bengal[39]
  • Isa Khan - Muslim Indian King of Bengal[39]
  • Chief justice raheem dad khan - first chief justice of azad kashmir.also belong to bains rajput faimly
  • Thakur Baljeet Singh-Indian King Of Patliputra(Bhojpur)

Sports

Leaders and politicians

  • Mardan Singh - Sikh Indian Bais Rajput leader
  • Arman Singh - Sikh Indian Bais Rajput leader
  • Ramesh Bais - Hindu Indian political activist
  • Ram Lallu Bais - Hindu Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP
  • Jagbali Prasad Bais - Hindu BSP MP

Media and entertainment

  • Anjhula Singh Bais - Indian supermodel & actress

Bais Rajput and religion

In the modern day and age the clan consists of two major religious groups: Hindus and Muslims. There are also Sikh and Buddhist Bais Rajput but this is a minority in comparison to the latter two.

The Bais Rajput started of as Hindus as did all in when the cast system came into place a very long time ago in India. Even so today there are very many Hindu Bais Rajput as over half Bais Rajput are Hindu. Directing from the lineage of the Kshatriyas the Bais Rajput claim to be descendent of many Hindu gods.

As Islam spread over India quite a few areas in the dynasty of the Bais Rajput converted in the 14th and 15th century and still to this day remain Muslims. Also with the move of many to the Hill States of Punjab and Azad Kashmir most if not all converted to Islam as Islam was the dominant religion in the area. With the coming of the Mughals the many Bais Rajputs also accepted the invitation from Islam.

Some Muslim Bais Rajput Thakurs experience problems in expressing their Thakur identity following the religion of Islam as it does not allow one to be self extravagant and flamboyant in acts. They form part of the larger Khanzada community in Awadh.[40]

There have been prominent Sikh Bais Rajput and most Sikh Bais Rajput reside in the state if Punjab, India. The Buddhist aslso had influence on many Bais Rajputs such as Harsha, there are very few if any Buddhist Bais Rajputs. Other religions also include: Animists and followers of the Bahá'í faith.

International community

Many Bais Rajputs live in countries other than India and Pakistan such as the United Kingdom, Canada and America.

See also

External links

References

  1. ^ Kumarpala Charita of Jayasimha
  2. ^ Prithviraj Raso of Chandbardai
  3. ^ a b c Dhangar Samaj Prachin Eitihas va Kul Gotra, Ganpatrao Kolekar, 1992.(Marathi)
  4. ^ a b Dhangar samajachi gotre, Ganpatrao Kolekar, 1981 (Marathi)
  5. ^ a b Hamara Samaj, Bharat ke Meshpal, 1973 (Hindi)
  6. ^ Holkaron Ka Eithihas, Madhusudanrao Holkar(Hindi), 2000
  7. ^ The primary source of information is also from the Mendjogis (Genealogist), who keep the record of Dhangar families.
  8. ^ a b An Ethnographical Hand-book for the N.-W. Provinces and Oudh - Page 138 by William Crooke - Anthropology - 1890
  9. ^ Rulers, Townsmen and Bazaars By C. A. Bayly
  10. ^ a b c d e f g Crooke, William (1896). The Tribes and Castes of the North-western Provinces and Oudh. Calcutta, Office of the Superintendent of Government Printing. ISBN 81-206-1210-8.
  11. ^ Report of a Tour in Eastern Rajputana in 1871-72 and 1872-73 By A. C. L. Carlleyle, Alexander Cunningham
  12. ^ The The Castes and Tribes of H.E.H. the Nizam's Dominions By Syed Siraj ul Hassan
  13. ^ The Tribes and Castes of Bombay By Reginald Edward Enthoven
  14. ^ Rajputs and Dhangars have same or common Gotras
  15. ^ The The Castes and Tribes of H.E.H. the Nizam's Dominions By Syed Siraj ul Hassan
  16. ^ The Tribes and Castes of Bombay By Reginald Edward Enthoven
  17. ^ Rajputs and Dhangars have same or common Gotras
  18. ^ Holkaron Ka Eithihas, Madhusudanrao Holkar(Hindi), 2000
  19. ^ a b Settlement Report, 179, sqq.
  20. ^ The Tribes and Castes of the North-western Provinces and Oudh by William Crooke - 1896
  21. ^ Report on the settlement of the land revenue of the Sultánpur district ... - Page 179 by A F. Millett - 1873
  22. ^ Rulers, Townsmen and Bazaars By C. A. Bayly
  23. ^ Rulers, Townsmen and Bazaars By C. A. Bayly
  24. ^ Rulers, Townsmen and Bazaars By C. A. Bayly
  25. ^ Rulers, Townsmen and Bazaars By C. A. Bayly
  26. ^ Rulers, Townsmen and Bazaars By C. A. Bayly
  27. ^ Rulers, Townsmen and Bazaars By C. A. Bayly
  28. ^ Rulers, Townsmen and Bazaars By C. A. Bayly
  29. ^ Rulers, Townsmen and Bazaars By C. A. Bayly
  30. ^ Rulers, Townsmen and Bazaars By C. A. Bayly
  31. ^ Rulers, Townsmen and Bazaars By C. A. Bayly
  32. ^ a b Of the sept in Rae Bareli
  33. ^ REPORT OF THE SETTLEMENT OPERATIONS OF THE RA'I BARELI DISTRICT. Published by , 1872 Original from Oxford University
  34. ^ The Peasant Armed: The Indian Revolt of 1857 By Eric Stokes, Christopher Alan Bayly Edition: illustrated Published by Clarendon Press, 1986 Original from the University of Michigan ISBN 0198215703, 9780198215707 261 pages
  35. ^ REPORT OF THE SETTLEMENT OPERATIONS OF THE RA'I BARELI DISTRICT. Published by , 1872 Original from Oxford University
  36. ^ The Tribes and Castes of the North-western Provinces and Oudh by William Crooke - 1896
  37. ^ Final report of revised settlement, Hoshiarpur district, 1879-84 - By J. A. L. Montgomery
  38. ^ Sikhs By A. H. Bingley
  39. ^ a b c The History of India-Vol VI
  40. ^ The times of India, The Muslim Rajputs of UP, 8 Jul 2007, 0135 hrs IST, Atul Sethi, TNN

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