Hindu warrior overview: Dedicated Hindu warriors from Kshatriya or other jaatis faced invasions on behalf of all Hindu society as an inbuilt defence system in a Dharmik framework. We had studied some other inbuilt systems of Dharma that lent defence to Hindu society in the event of invasions in previous blogs…. systems like, (i) the deep ingraining of fitness and exercise among Hindu male youth through Vyayamshala Akhadas, with Dharmik exercise forms like Soorya Namaskar before images of Hanuman or Balabhadra… (ii) the worship of equipment and weapons by invoking Devi Maa, Vishwakarma or Hanuman…. (iii) the Sadhu Akhadas… (iv) and, various martial art forms Hindu society nurtured across provinces… This blog takes us to an overview of specific communities of Hindus who provided defence to the Hindu nation.
INDIA, A DECENTRALISED FEDERATION OF PROVINCES OR KINGDOMS, UNITED BY DHARMA AND RAKTA
The Chakravartin or its functional equivalent…
India was a Dharmik federation of decentralised kingdoms or republics which threw up a Chakravartin (an aggregator emperor) from time to time, who provided an umbrella that covered all constituents and vassals under one rule; this mechanism set into motion not only within peacetime but also when faced with invasions (example, Ikshwakus after defeating Lanka, Yudhisthir after defeating Kauravas, Mauryas after subduing Greeks, Marathas after subjugating Delhi-Agra Mughals,… ), uniting all provinces or at least a vast majority of provinces, even when the formality of an Ashwamedha was not always conducted.
Samrat Vikramaditya, the most famous of Chakravartins of the post-Buddha-Mahaveer period
Decentralisation of defence – unity and disunity:
Yet, decentralisation allowed each province to flourish with geo-agro-ecological variations in terrain, diet and crops, seasons and agroforestry, with the unifying super rule never smothering away diversity. Even weaponry of Hindus has had geo-historical and geo-cultural inputs.
Proximity to invader border tribes also generated fierce self-defending propensities in ancient India’s provinces (example- PanchaNad’s proximity to Central Asian tribes made Panchanad / Punjab people warlike).
Yet, these seemingly disparate provinces remained connected by cultural-Dharmik-consanguine unity (even when people married within varNa, they still did marry across provinces). So a Bihari Chandragupta went to PanchaNad and Pakhtunistan to deal with a Greek occupant, Governor Seleucus; a Marathi army crossed the Sindhu to plant the saffron atop Atock Fort; Hindu Odia ruler Langula Narasimha would keep uniting Bengal’s Southwestern districts into his Hindu kingdom from Nawab Muslim rule; the Vijayanagara Hindu kingdom – based at the region where Telangana meets Karnataka – crossed swords with Bahmani Muslim armies in Maharashtra.
Meanwhile, the very decentralisation of India which first seemed to allow Islam to ‘easily’ capture or subjugate provinces one by one, soon proved to be too heterogenous a mix of provinces to be administered as one monolithic kingdom, allowing breathing time for provinces (with all component jaatis) to rise up against Islamic occupation or proselytisation.
The problem of decentralisation was also that invasions still had to be faced rather individually, with little to no immediate succor from neighbours. When Islamic and Colonial invasions came, they were thus faced in a decentralised way (each kingdom on its own), with some neighbourly succor, till larger Hindu aggregates like the centralising Maratha confederacy or the Sikh empire arose… So, Hindu Zabul had to wither into Islamic occupation from the time of Qasim and was never liberated, and the Hindu kingdoms of Tamizh Nadu or Odra-Magadha had not gone to liberate land penetrated by a Subuktagin or a Ghazni.
Diversity in defence structures: Forts and geo-cultural warfare trends across India:
Hindus were prolific builders, who built not just Mandirs and palaces but also sabhagruhas and administrative buildings. How then could they be laggards in case of construction of forts? Hindus have been building forts for millennia. There are forts in the sea, on land atop hills and peaks, on flat terrain, on river islands / shores, in forests, in the Himalayas, in the Sahyadris, in the jungles of central India, in the desert sands of Jaisalmer, terracotta embankments in deltaic ancient Bengal or Assam and in literally all types of terrain. In fort names, suffixes like –gad / -gadh / -garh are used in Northern India and in Maharashtra, while the suffix –kota is sometimes used in regions south of Maharashtra (BagalKot – Karnataka, NedumKotta- Kerala, etc.) though there may not be forts standing there today.
Forts provided solid defence and fronts to hold on to, or to strategically lose to be regained back later; battles etched into Hindu history and memory have been fought in the siege of forts. Chanakya has written about them in Arthashastra, and ballads have composed odes to the glory of fort and warrior. But the contexts of Rajput, Vijayanagara and Maratha history provide the loftiest contribution to oral historical rendition in popular poetry and memory.
Also, the contribution of the Vishwakarmaas in Hindu cultural, political and national construction is unparalleled, themselves also a jaati with a glorious tradition.
Geo-culturally, Hindus have adapted to warfare conditions. Basaltic stone castles in peninsular India, sandstone in western Rajasthan, the peculiar Himalayan-stone and timber assemblies of Himalayan states, the sea naval capabilities of Odisha or Carnatic kingdoms, the river warfare specialisation of the Ahoms, the horseback guerrilla warfare of Marathas under Shivaji, Sambhaji, Rajaram and Tarabai… there is no dearth of variations but no compromise in resistance.
This subject is a theme for a separate discussion and HinduCause will attempt collation of data on Hindu fort culture, in a later blog.
WARRIOR LINES OF DEFENCE: NOT JUST A VARNA DEDICATED TOWARDS DEFENCE BUT ALSO NEWER JAATIS OF DEFENCE:
Role of jaatis vis-à-vis defence: The Kshatriya varNa and other jaatis:
For the security of India and Hindu society, there existed the Kshatriyas, as the very first line of defence right within the Dharma framework; but India is full of jaatis and there evolved numerous other warrior classes. So, while Kshatriyas remain a component integral to Hindu society and classically the first front of physical defence, non-Kshatriya classes and jaatis, like the Brahmans, Vaishyas, tribals, Jains, shoodras, Sikhs and shepherds have also participated in physical battle for the security of overall Hindus and their heritage. Some such classes of warriors of Dharma and of India, often got organised into new jaatis of a hereditary and / or endogamous community nature, and became warrior guilds.
This evolution of Hindu society has worked splendidly and how well such jaatis have contributed to defence is a story waiting to be fully told. Within Hindu society, while reverence for weapon worship is observed by nearly all jaatis, even those who never wielded weapons. But having specific jaatis of warriors ensured that the security of a kingdom in particular and the whole Hindu nation in general, was not ignored.
As historian Lal writes, over centuries, Kshatriyas losing their kingdom and original place of rule became backward classes (even tribal Thakurs) and Shoodras became warriors, getting accepted as Kshatriyas by pre-existing Kshatriyas through political and matrimonial alliance and rights to eat together, and Brahman coaching into classical Hindu arts and shaastras. Yet, despite varNa mobility and acceptance, shoodras as shoodras themselves have indeed always been stout defenders of Hindu society,, till they were very recently swayed by an atmosphere of colonisation, separatism, flippant hedonistic influence and pro-Abrahamic or Marxist politics. Even today, DevaSthans or DeviSthans in Pakistan facing threats and intimidations all the time are looked after by Hindus who aren’t Kshatriya or Brahman but of the so-called depressed classes.
Thus Hindu society developed more internal mechanisms to face Islam in the battlefield – entire provinces rising up; jaatis not associated with warfare taking up warfare as a profession or pursuit; etc. – with concomitant intellectual resistance and societal engineering.
The ‘Warrior Hindu’ institution of national and social security: Part of, and not external to society:
To Hindu society, warrior jaatis are both inbuilt defence (as they stemmed from Hindu society) and deep integral culture (where respecting both weapons and warriors is culture and part of everybody’s common culture). There was also generation of warriors spanning all provinces and communities. Due to this inbuilt nature, even while some other accretions like casteism and puritanism sometimes stunted the flowering of these systems, overall, our powerful Hindu warrior guilds, our battle lines of defence and mechanisms of counterattack stood up to face brutal military invasions from Islam or from colonial invader Christian nations of Europe. So Hindus never surrendered without a fight, always historically won back all that was lost, and someday shall certainly win back not just glory, but also segments of population and territory currently lost to Hindudom.
The lines of Hindu defence across time and space: the historical decentralised trends and geo-cultural evolution in Hindu military resistance: (these points are discussed in some detail further)
1. The two jaatis who were the first two fronts of Hindu defence and Islamic / Colonial machinations: The Kshatriya and the Brahman;
2. Other jaatis: Shepherds, tribals, etc. also took up arms to face invaders: Such jaatis splendidly maintained the line of Hindu defence to complement or support the Kshatriya and built Mandirs, started royal houses and made sacrifices for Dharma;
3. Entire provinces: Where entire provinces with all their component Hindu jaatis became warriors. The provinces would include regions at the frontiers and extremities of India as also the middle provinces which stood in the way of invaders;
4. Where even women stepped in…
Within this series of blogs by HinduCause on Hindu defence and security, this particular blog provides an overview of how different varNas and jaatis of Hindus became warriors to face Islamic and colonial forces of European Christian nations which invaded India along the lines of defence mentioned above.
OVERVIEW OF WARRIOR COMPONENTS OF SANATAN DHARMIK SOCIETY
- The official unit of warriors: The Kshatriya varNa: This integral component of Hindu defence is the dedicated and endogamous martial guild, the first line of defence meant to provide defence of fort and kingdom, king and subjects, temples and devotees, cows and territory, and indeed, all of Dharma; it was also meant to launch an offensive. The king was considered Kshatriya, and so were his warriors. Within the Kshatriya varNa many jaatis abound, one of which is the Rajput jaati, the quintessential Kshatriya… Rajputs have a deep culture of being earnest Dharma warriors, and hence they are an institution of Hindu society.
But whenever the Kshatriya varNa needed help, was overwhelmed by the magnitude of enemy attack, badly weakened or too dispersed (after Haldighati, the Rajputs indeed faced their lowest ebb) or, unfortunately, got decimated with continuous war, the other varnas also stepped in to protect Dharma.
2. The next unit that stepped in for leadership in battle and for administration: The Brahmans:
It is a general perception that Brahmans only provided intellectual and aadhyaatmik vigour, and some diplomatic and educational / ritualistic inputs, but themselves needed protection as they left the security of the kingdom to other varnas, particularly the Kshatriyas. This is only half correct. It is an equally ancient tradition that Brahmans weren’t just the ones protected but also the ones that protected, as many a Brahman stepped in for active, robust participation in the actual physical battlefront when Kshatriyas had already sacrificed themselves, or were overwhelmed or outnumbered by enemy forces. Brahmans were also rulers or regents, whether at a small feudal level or at the level of a vast Dharmik empire. Examples:
(i) Royal Brahman dynasties of Northwest Bharatvarsha ruling Sindh and in the Kabul-Zabul Shahis who faced the first brunt of Islamic invasions;
(ii) the Bhumihar Brahman coalition which emerged after the Delhi Sultanate entrenched itself;
(iii) Maharashtrian Brahmans (including Chitpawans) who also protected states far from Maharashtra; etc.
(iv) Mohyal Punjabi Brahmans; etc.
3. When entire provinces which would rise up, throwing up warriors leading the Hindu war of Independence and providing the mainstream or intermediate lines of defence-
On facing relentless invasions, sometimes the entire province – with all its component jaatis – developed its own martial potential to the fullest, cultivating a culture within the Dharmik framework, to enter the armed forces regardless of one’s jaati or varNa. Examples:
(i) Vijayanagara and later, (ii) Maharashtra which became cockpits of war, first containing and sustaining, Islamic onslaught or colonial incursions and then successfully reversing the outcome of war from Islamic conquest to Hindu conquest (Atak, Delhi, Sultanates being conquered or subordinated) or containing colonials (Portuguese, French) / even defeating the colonials (Dutch);
Provinces in the natural geographical borders or political frontiers of Akhanda Bharat also rose to face invaders which had to provide the last line of defence for Sanatan Dharma, as them being run over would mean the achievement of the objective of anti-Hindu invasions, yet they held forth- Examples:
(i) Assam which stopped Mughal inroads completely when Bengal was occupied and Odisha spent;
(ii) Kerala which stopped the wave of Islamisation after Mysore and Telangana were occupied and after Tamil Pandya power (including the once-famed Tamil naval prowes) was battered; or,
(iii) The Himalayan hill states of Hindu rulers: After the Gangetic plains were devastated and after upright Rajputs got dispersed post Haldighati , Hindu hill kingdoms and small or big Hindu princely states sprung up across Nepal, in the Pahadi states and in Jammu. Of these, the Nepal kingdom was the largest till a Jammu and Kashmir became one, larger kingdom of the Dogras.
4. When women stepped in: India has a long list of Dharmik Stree Yoddhaas. This is best understood as a subject worth a separate researched and updated blog. It would suffice to say that the list of women participating is very long, spanning all provinces.
To name just a few examples, we had the Queen of King Daher (Sindh); Kurram Devi and Nayaki Devi (Gujarat); Maharani Jind Kaur (Sikh empress); ‘Veerangana’ Mula Gabharu (Ahom state); Keladi Chennamma, Kittur Chennamma, Onake Obavva and Rani Obakka Chowta (of Karnataka including Thulu Nadu); Jijabai, Tarabai and Lakshmibai (Marathi); Rani Gaidinliu (Naga Hindu queen); Rani Velu Nachiyar (Sivaganga, Tamil Nadu); Rudrammadevi (Kakatiyas, Telangana); Karnavati Devi (Garhwal); Rani Avantibai Lodhi (MP); etc.
5. When other jaatis like the nomadic animal herders stepped in- Shepherd, goatherd and cowherd communities of various jaatis (Yadavs, Ahirs, Gurjars, Gawallis, Paals, Dhangars, Siddi-Llingayats, etc.) have all defended Hindu society; some amongst them like Bappa Rawal and Ailyabai Holkar have been Shiva Bhaktaas too. Some of them rose to become kings, established royal dynasties, minted coins, had patronized the construction of Mandirs as well as arts, and deepened culture; but, above all, when it came to defending Hindu society and territory in war, the shepherd Hindus were a fearsome lot. It is due to the shepherd class Shivabhakta rulers that a number of riverside ghats and Mandirs of Shiva have been renovated.
6. When and forest dwellers / tribals (the janajaatis) stepped in: Tribals and communities of forest dwellers (jana-jaatis) as a class also launched attacks or stepped in to help other non-tribal classes against the Islamic invaders, Christian missionaries and colonial armies themselves; tribals have also been known to establish their own kingdoms and achieve Kshatriya status.
(i) Bhils under Mewad Ranas against the Mughals;
(ii) Gonds under Rani Durgavati against the British;
(iii) Kurinjia tribals under Pazhasi Raja in Kerala against the British;
(iv) Tribals of Chhotanagpur and the general regions around Jharkhand: Kandh, Ho, Santhal, Kol and Munda tribe revolts (with the Munda revolt under Birsa Munda being the most known) against the British, against the Church and against the oppressive landlords sponsored by the British;
(v) The Ramoshi tribe first under their own leader Umaji Naik and again later, under Vasudev Balwant Phadke against the British(Maharashtra);
(vi) Tribals of Nepal and other Himalayan states against Islamic incursions and later against British forces;
(vii) Tribes of Meghalaya against the British;
(viii) Rampa revolt (coastal Andhra); etc.
7. When the Vaishyas and Shoodras stepped in:
Vaishyas have also participated in war, particularly in case of Jain vaishyas who had bands of warriors, all vaishya, for self-defence, and even Jains have stepped in for battle. Not to forget the Shoodras who provided the corpus of society and even armies. This can be a theme for a separate blog as it has lots of inputs, like the case of Jain warriors against Mughal armies, kings ascribed to the Shoodra varNa facing invasions, etc.
King Hemu (Samrat Hemchandra Vikramaditya) could be either Gaur Brahman or Vaishya, but he was from Rewadi, Haryana. IN ANY CASE, WHATEVER HIS JAATI, HINDUS ARE PROUD OF HIM.
Read: Vaishyas claim King Hemu who had captured Delhi and restored Hindu rule in Delhi for a while (before he was killed by Akbar’s forces in the Second battle of Panipat) – was a Vaishya and not a Brahman. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Vaishyas-unhappy-over-exclusion-of-their-hero/articleshow/2790381.cms
8. When Sadhus and Sanyasis stepped in or new guilds got created-
Even the ascetic class (sadhus and sanyasis) which was meant to remain as a recluse in the periphery of mainstream society practising austerities and providing aadhyaatmik guidance, would participate in war. Examples:
(i) The Naga Sadhus defending Mathura against the marauding Afghans;
(ii) The Sanyasi revolts of the 1770s;
Note: Sikhs as a new guild against Islamic forces; the special sub-unit of Kuka Sikhs which protected cows and was not drawn into Khalsa separatism that was stoked by willful British influence; etc.
Yet, though women including royal womenfolk and noblemen’s wives, tribals and shoodras, and as per circumstances, all jaatis of entire provinces, stepped into the physical war effort, the ‘daayittva’ or the primary responsibility of defence was on the Kshatriya varNa, followed by the Brahmans.
WHY STUDY JAATIS OF WARRIOR HINDUS?
1. To uphold national pride, protect identity and prevent derailment of the Grand Narrative: In the breaking India plan, jaatis are being turned against each other and facts are getting distorted. Correction is necessary and due credit must be given to those jaatis who sacrificed their utmost. Every jaati, every province has contributed; we accept all that into one grand Hindu narrative. Jaati pride can also lead to pan-Hindu self-esteem.
2. To understand how warrior jaatis were bound by Dharma: Kshatriyas, in fact, were an endogamous group, a jaati, of dedicated professional warriors bound by rules of Dharma, an institution unto itself.
3. To study how the Kshatriya Institution’s defence of Hindu society different from defence structures in other older world societies
4. To checkmate insipid Ahimsa, to correctly define what Shakti should mean and where actually Ahimsa should be applied: Studying Ahimsa (restraint) and Shakti (including weapon reverence) is needed to restore Dharmik and ecological balance.
Let us discuss these intentions further…
1. To uphold national pride, protect identity and prevent derailment of the Grand Narrative:
Kshatriya pride, or rather, warrior Hindu pride, is part and parcel of total Hindu pride. If they protected their Hindu society in the past, Hindu society has to protect the identity and pride of their warrior classes. Today, ancient jaatis of warriors like the Rajputs are facing insulting mockery in films and novels in the name of creativity. Islamic invaders are being presented as great warriors and being glorified by heroes being typecast in their roles.
Any digressions from Dharmik behaviour by some individuals in the Kshatriya class, like by siding with the Islamic ruler in war, is being typecast as nothing new, but non-cohesiveness typical of Hindus. Exceptions of treachery by some Hindus of some jaati are getting touted as normal to such a jaati, as if that entire warrior jaati’s history produced only sycophants of invaders and no one upright, with all greatness and valour being attributed only to a Mughal or a Tipu Sultan.
Hindus are damned if they unite but non-unity is presented as the bane of Hindu existence, even while instances of Muslims he;ping Hindu rulelrs against a greater Muslim power, are over-highllighted. So the involvement of Hindu Bhils under Rana Punja along with Maharana Pratap must be highlighted in the backdrop of Haldighati.
While all Rajput houses did not cede their daughters to Mughals like the Jaipur Kachhwahas did, the mainstream and Secularist media would love to paint the picture that every Rajput house did so. Tomorrow, there could be an interpolation that even the Mewad house did so! This potential distortion must be corrected.
The real agenda is to distort the evident underlying historical truth that Hindus across India resisted Islam or Christianity, showed similarity in patters of resistance spanning centuries and were upright. The agenda behind insulting jaatis and downplaying valiant resistance to invasions is to preach propaganda that Hindus only sided with invaders, and “therefore never had a concept of being one nation, are therefore unfit to be granted identity of national status”, to prepare groundwork for changing the identity of Indians: Hindus were to be compulsory mixed with converts under constitutional nationalism or territorial nationalism or composite nationalism even if that broke up India.
Hindu resistance is incompletely understood without studying warrior jaatis as an integral institution. This structure of jaatis of warriors has now got to be recreated from pieces, as the need of time, so we need to study warrior behaviour in India with respect; we must commemorate the force of the righteous.
The only way to prevent distortion is to uncover and discover lost examples of pan-jaati resistance and unity amongst jaatis against common enemies and by stressing on aspects of Hindu bravery that are fast eing lost to the younger generation degenerating into tech geeks and nothing more.
2. To understand how warrior jaatis were bound by Dharma:
Kshatriyas, in fact, were an endogamous group, a jaati, of dedicated professional warriors bound by rules of Dharma, an institution unto itself. A warrior pursuit for anyone with aptitude allowed uptake of Kshatriya status if there is varNa mobility. But, over time, some of these warrior jaatis became specific endogamous guilds of ‘warrior jaatis’ passing necessary skills down to later generations and became a jaati of warriors, even without varNa mobility (where the warriors become an endogamous guild of professional warriors – hence a “warrior jaati”). The warrior had to do both: one, abide by a certain code of conduct and two, provide defence to Hindu society spanning generations. Inbuilt as integral parts of total society, warrior jaatis faced invasions on behalf of the general masses in society they belonged to, provided flanks for defence and offence, and offered societal protection.
Boys born into any such warrior jaati were automatically groomed towards possession of horses and weapons, skill development at using those weapons, physical strength, Dharmik chivalrous attitudes, horse-worthiness and participating in battle when old enough. While participating in agriculture during peacetime, the jaati practised warfare and kept fit, maintained weapons and horses, and rose to defence even when outnumbered – simply out of a sense of duty, to maintain a glorious heritage of what their ancestors and other jaati brethren did: to resist invaders, to protect Dharma, to protect the vulnerable.
But what was also different about such Dharmik warriors is the checks and balances to warrior behaviour becoming unruly. Warriors were cultivated mostly under aadhyaatmik guidance, to curtail misapplication of physical skills and political strength for personal gain, national harm and society’s exploitation. Well-trained Kshatriyas could release their ‘fire’ in some situation to attack an enemy, yet again restrain themselves with cultivated self-control when called by seers, sages, monks, preceptors or pontiffs.
All of this was a part of regular culture in Hindusthan right up to 1857, after which the British dismantled it.
3. To study how the Kshatriya Institution’s defence of Hindu society was different from defence structures in other older world societies:
Very few other societies had a particular such inbuilt integral component and system: guilds of warriors that were specialized to both protect and attack – but which were also hereditary, endogamous or both, where weapon training, courage and martial skills were cultivated as a pursuit, not just as a vocation. The Dharmik warrior jaatis weren’t mercenaries on hire; they weren’t mere sporadic spontaneous volunteers; nor were they just conscripts from compulsory enlistment from general society. Instead, they were a hereditary vocation and part of society, endorsed in status by privileged training and with a certain rank accepted by all other classes.
The Royalty and Nobility (the ‘Rajanya’) would be born from this class. Sometimes, classical Hindu society could have a ruler from a non-Kshatriya jaati; but even such a ruler was a ruler only because he was first a proven warrior in the battlefield with some special aptitude added; and eventually, the new dynasty could sometimes be internalised into the pre-existing Kshatriyas.
Kshatriyas were accorded respect even when not Rajanya, even when practicing agriculture as in peacetime, by all Hindu society, including the Brahman varNa. Kshatriya culture was integral to Hindu culture: Hindu culture was incomplete without Kshatriyahood and Kshatriyas weren’t Kshatriyas without first being a Dharmik PraVarga. Token rituals in Dharma incorporated the input by the village headman as an equivalent of the king even when princely states were dissolved.
The Pontifical Swiss Guard of the Vatican is a specialized guild which is not hereditary and is outsourced from Catholic Swiss nationals; orders like the Knights Templar rose and dissolved; but the Italian mafia (an A-Dharmik structure) has remained because it has some heredity in its structure.
Countries like China and Israel have conscription; but that too cannot create a jaati or varNa, while creating battle readiness.
The closest we have to the Kshatriya is the Samurai warrior jaati of Japan which is also an Eastern civilisation deeply influenced by Hindu Dharma; world history offers very few such surviving examples.
Respect for Weapon and Warrior:
In Secularist India the citizenry treats military men with indifference or apathy on most occasions and instead swoons over celebs; the State (for politics of minority appeasement) disregards the security of the very troops that protect our sovereignty; and, the intellectuals care for separatists and not soldiers. But the classical Hindu State, be it a Hindu Republic (GanaRaajya) or Hindu Monarchy (Raajya), always respected the weapon and warrior who kept our freedom intact. These Hindu systems of national security cultivated pride in weapon possession rather than abhorrence and shame; they institutionalized weapon reverence into ritual weapon worship; they upheld honour for warriors and weapons.
Weapon honour was not just a token act done mentally and sporadically but was systemic deep culture. Weapon worship, a still-prevalent ancient Hindu custom, was systematic ritual prescribed scripturally. Even today, across India, weapons are used, revered and even worshipped on festival occasions.
The tradition of weapon training, weapon possession and maintenance, weapon awareness with regular practice, weapon worship and sanctity and the enshrining of the worship of weapons conferred a respectable status and identity to the weapon possessor and the warrior guild.
4. To checkmate insipid Ahimsa and to protect what needs protection: Studying Ahimsa (restraint) and Shakti (including weapon reverence) to restore Dharmik and ecological balance:
Warriors who provide defence, and the abilities to launch an offensive need a placement in a new world order. Military qualities need to be both nurtured and controlled, but Ahimsa as a value system which provides checks and balances in the exercise of that force also needs to be reinterpreted. If we talk about defence and security, we have to consider these bipolar aspects of weapon usage and righteous force, versus non-violence. This balance came from Dharma. Ironically, India after Gandhi has reversed this by substituting violence with non-violence and vice versa.
Both the Indian State and the Indian society / citizenry today are a far cry from ancient classical times – applying force and violence not against criminals and terrorists but against Mother Nature, Mother Earth (river damming, destruction of forests, human-triggered extinction of biodiversity for showcase development, etc.) where humans are supposed to act with non-violence, by exhibiting violence without restraint. But there are very few warriors who are forthcoming, to protect the land, forests, rivers, soil and habitats; or, to safeguard the interests of poor farmers; or, to save the country from corporate colonisation without subscribing to Cultural Marxism.
This is in complete contravention to tenets laid down in scriptures such as the Atharvaveda, Jain Agamas and Buddhist canon, to name a few. And this use of force is not being a Kshatriya or warrior, but a destructive force.
On the other hand, at the same time, the Indian State and peacenik Ahimsick Hindus in general apply non-violence towards the aatataayi forces by mollycoddling terrorist-supporting NGOs / intellectuals / mediapersons, or by being unduly soft on separatist communities or inimical nations, when in fact, one needs to be resolutely firm with zero tolerance. This is a spurious interpretation and projection of the word Ahimsa, whether Jain, Vaidik or Buddhist.
The misapplication of the speed-breaker of Ahimsa and the distortion of the meaning of Ahimsa together lead to situations which leave the whole country vulnerable to break up, and this is as dangerous as unbridled violence like terrorism and crime. Both are excesses in society today.
All this requires a study of Ahimsa in conjunction with agroecological LokDharma and tackling the menace of Abrahamism and Communism. The meaning of Ahimsa should be restored: as pursuing an agroecological LokDharma with dialogue open for conflict resolution, protection of biodiversity and of sentient earthlings. The meaning of Shakti (Shakti Sadhana) should be restored too: as defence preparedness (with actual offence in battlefield) and zero tolerance towards the terrorist, enemy, antinational or criminal (who should never be spared). The balance between Shakti Use and Ahimsa can be through a correct pragmatic interpretation (or rather, re-presentation) of Kautilyan ArthaShastra.
FUTURE UPCOMING BLOGS ON THIS SUBJECT, BY HINDUCAUSE:
A short sketchy overview of Hindu warrior jaatis: martial classes / warrior jaatis of Hindus:
Rajputs are the archetypical Kshatriya of northern India. Hindu Dharma survived due to various sacrifices, and at least through the crucial phase of 1000 CE to 1450 CE, Rajputs slowed down the maniacal armies of Muslim invaders; this mantle was later taken up by peninsular and eastern Indian jaatis of Hindus. Rajput culture is Hindu culture and Hindu heritage is incomplete without Rajput culture. Rajputs like Rana Pratap who have abided by Dharma are respected by every upright Hindu, but not Rajputs who acquiesced to or capitulated towards Mughal or other Muslim rulers.
Numerous non-Rajput jaatis are also Kshatriya by varNa quality, claim or recognition and acceptance. And many jaatis cannot fit into varnas, yet are warlike and martial.
Martially active Hindu provincial behaviour:
Sometimes entire provinces with all their jaatis show warlike qualities. Such provincial identities are of a warrior, and we may refer to such provincial identities as a flank of defence of society. So while the different varNas and jaatis of the province were all not hereditary warriors or mutually exogamous the provincial identity was strong to render a jaati title to them. Eg. The Punjabi, the Marathi.
We may refer to all these as martial classes, warrior jaatis or military castes. Some of these jaatis are very ancient and still carry on their tradition; the jaati names of some of these warrior classes are eponymous names of regiments in the Indian Army today. HinduCause has tried to present an overview of pan-jaati provincial warlike behaviour.
An incomlete list of various Hindu warrior classes from all across India:
The warrior classes across India respect and worship their own particular and peculiar weapons, which have a deep geocultural evolution. These warrior classes include Kshatriyas but are not limited to Kshatriyas. Warrior classes representative of the Hindu martial spirit from across Bharatkhanda roughly coincide with some Indian Army regiments today.
A non-exhaustive list of weapon-revering and weapon-respecting Hindu jaatis who can fight a battle, spanning all the four varnas and all the jaatis of Hindus would include but is not limited to:
- Rajputs / Thakurs of Northern and Western India who worship the sword;
- Dogras of Jammu, Pahadis of Garhwal, Kumaon and Himachal Pradesh;
- The valiant Jats;
- Even the Kayasthas;
- The Nepalis (Gorkhas and other);
- The numerous tribal groupings in India’s hinterland;
- The jaatis of Northeast India (Eg. the famous Ahoms of North East India);
- Many Brahman jaatis with martial qualities (Parshuramic Gunas) like Maharashtrian Brahmins, Mohiyal Punjabi Brahmins and the Purbhaiyya and Bhumihaar Brahmin jaatis of the Gangetic belt;
- The numerous Hindu warrior jaatis of Maharashtra including the Maratha Kshatriyas, Dhangars, Mahars, Bhandaris, Kayasthas, Pathare Prabhus and Kunbis of Maharashtra (besides Marathi Brahmins mentioned above);
- Telugu Rajus, Kammas, Naidus, Reddys, and others one may have forgotten to mention;
- Nairs and the class of Varma Malayali Keralite Kshatriyas;
- Bunts and Kodagus (Coorgis) of Karnataka;
- Mudaliars, Thevars, Nadars and other brave jaatis of Tamil Nadu;
- Sikhs too, who have their Kripan;
- Many jaatis who are now relegated to an OBC status, but who had an elevated Kshatriya past.
Disclaimer: The blog writer may be pardoned for forgetting to include many other such Hindu jaatis due to lack of knowledge, constraints of space and limitation of resources for further research. The purpose of this blog is to show how Hindu warrior jaatis contributed to military defence in all regions of Akhanda Bharat. This is not a blog meant to cast aspersions on any one jaati, or to demean any jaati before another, to insult a jaati by purposeful omission or to stoke casteist pride or provincial separatism. This blog intends to make pan-jaati inputs in defence part of a common, all-Hindu history.
Since there were so many warrior jaatis and warrior provinces in undivided India, some specific jaatis and provinces would be dealt with in detail in later blogs. They would be followed by another blog which deals with the failings of these warrior jaatis, the disarmament of Hindus, the disruptive incoherent application of Ahimsa by Gandhi, Savarkar’s proposition of measured Himsa towards enemies as the antidote, Hindu rearmament and the rekindling of a Dharmik military culture as the last blog in the series of Hindu defence systems.
SOME SUGGESTED READING: List includes some books not fully written from the Hindutva POV
1. Hindu Pad-Padashahi – Vinayak Damodar Savarkar
Image courtesies at: https://blog.sami-aldeeb.com/2018/03/18/islamic-invasion-of-india-the-greatest-genocide-in-history/ https://www.pgurus.com/real-indian-history-part-7/ https://afghanhindu.wordpress.com/2007/11/13/hindu-shahis/
2. Military History of India – Sir Jadunath Sarkar Orient Longman, 19603.
3. Heroic Hindu Resistance to Muslim Invaders (636 AD to 1206 AD)- Sita Ram Goel Voice of India, New Delhi http://bharatvani.org/books/hhrmi/
4. Dr. Koenraad Elst discusses the myth of Hindu cowardice http://www.hinduhumanrights.info/dr-koenraad-elst-discusses-the-myths-of-hindu-cowardice/
5. Martial races of undivided India – Vidya Prakash Tyagi – 2009, Kalpaz Publicatiuons, New Delhi https://books.google.co.in/books?id=vRwS6FmS2g0C&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_ge_summary_r&cad=0#v=onepage&q&f=false
6. Hinduism and the ethics of warfare in South Asia: From antiquity to the present – Kaushik Roy
A good review on the book, by Jaideep Prabhu, may be read at https://jaideepprabhu.org/2016/01/02/the-hindu-art-of-war/
7. How Sher Singh Rana brought back the remains of Pruthviraj Chauhan This braveheart brought back the remains of Pruthviraj Chauhan from Afghanistan back to India.