Starting in the 5th century, there was a massive attack by the White Huns in what is now northern and northwestern India and Pakistan. About a century later the reigning Hindu-based Gupta Empire broke up, leaving the Subcontinent vulnerable to Muslim invaders from the north. As time went on, invaders took over land and integrated with the settled peoples of this region. Tribal leaders, especially those involved with defense, were accepted as Kshatriya, the second highest varna (major type of castes) in Hindu society, while their followers became the fourth and lowest varna. Priests became the Brahmins, the highest of the four varnas.
The Rajputs, who were part of the Kshatriya varna, became politically important in the seventh century. From around 800 AD Rajput dynasties ruled northern India. Petty Rajput kingdoms were the main obstacle for Muslim domination of the Hindu subcontinent. For more than 500 years Rajputs were the warriors who defended kingdoms from invaders and conquered others. When possible, Rajputs settled down, became nobles, and enjoyed the lives of landed gentry.
From the beginning, Rajputs had their subgroups, many of which ruled different areas. The Chauhan Rajputs ruled some parts of northern India in the 1100s.
Over a period of a couple hundred years, invaders penetrated the Rajput wall that protected the Subcontinent. Some Rajput subgroups converted to Islam during this time. The British Raj took over the Islamic Moghul Empire in South Asia. During their rule, which ended in 1947, the British recruited Rajputs into their military units. By the 1930s the Indian census stopped noting that someone is Rajput, so Rajput lineage has been less clear ever since.
In the early 1970s, Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi abolished Rajput titles and property rights. The Rajputs have kept alive their proud history of conquest, bravery and military might, but they often don't have the wealth they once enjoyed.
What Are Their Lives Like?
Today Chauhan Rajputs often work as village watchmen and laborers. Others are in the Indian military just like their ancestors. They can also be small shops and businesses owners. Chauhan is one of the Rajput subgroups that might own impressive hotels in Rajasthan.
The Chauhan Rajputs have their own unique customs. Most of their names come from the names of plants and animals.
Chauhan Rajputs try to marry their daughters into clans of higher rank than their own. The Rajput clans in Rajasthan have the highest status, so families want their daughters to marry men from that state. Unfortunately, Rajputs often marry their daughters off while they are very young.
What Are Their Beliefs?
Hinduism is a flexible religion that allows for many forms of worship. Communities often have their own gods and traditions that would be unfamiliar to Hindu clergy in other parts of India. The Chauhan Rajputs offer examples of this. When they face problems, Chauhan Rajputs make an object out of flour and worship it. They have their own patron gods to turn to for protection.
As Rajputs the Chauhan usually worship Shiva (the destroyer), Surya (the sun god), and Durga (the mother goddess). They sacrifice goats when they make a vow to Durga. They celebrate Dasahara, a festival dedicated to Durga. During this festival they sacrifice a buffalo to celebrate this goddess' victory over a buffalo demon.
What Are Their Needs?
Rajputs presently are going through something of an identity crisis. Many are trying to fill this need through self-realization and self-awareness. To find spiritual answers, they often turn to gurus, who are Hindu experts in spirituality.
Pray for Chauhan Rajput communities to find their identity in Jesus Christ.
Pray Chauhan Rajputs will crave becoming part of God's royal family.
Pray for Chauhan Rajput family leaders to embrace the guidance and lordship of Jesus.
Pray the Lord will give Chauhan Rajput leaders spiritual hunger, then satisfy that hunger with Christ.
Pray for a disciple making movement among every Rajput community.
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