Complete information on the political, social and cultural Life under the Rajputs

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Political Organization:

1. There was no political unity in the country and the whole of northern India was divided into independent kingdoms held by different clans.

2. The political organization of the Rajaputs was based on the feudalsystem, i.e,land grants were given to officers in place of salaries. This system proved to be quite flawed, for the king had no direct control over the revenue. The kingdom was thus divided into many small principalities that did not even unite at the time of national danger.

3. The Rajput army comprised the infantry, cavalry and elephants. The Rajputs had very high moral standards of welfare. They never attacked an unarmed enemy and did not practice deceit or treachery in any battle.

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4. The Rajputs were very proud of their clans and owed loyalty only to their own chief. This led to mutual rivalries amongst different clans. This,divided the otherwise brave Rajputs and they fell an easy prey to the Muslim invaders.

5. The Rajputs had a great passion for fighting. This led to a waste of manpower and resources.

6. The administration of the Rajputs was, however, appreciable. Land revenue, which formed the main sources of income, accounted for one-tenth of the total produce. Taxes were light and the general life of the people was prosperous.

Society and Customs:

1. The Rajputs had many virtues. They were very generous and hospitable. They were kind and forgiving even to their enemies.

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2. Women were highly respected but were considered inferior to men. The men staked their lives to save their honor and respect. A woman was given the right to choose her husband in a swayamvara. There was no purdah system. Polygamy was prevalent but the birth of a daughter was not considered auspicious and many Rajputs killed the new- born female child. The women were very devoted to their husbands and willingly performed sati and jaubar.

3. The cast system became very rigid and complex. A number of new castes and sub-caste came into being. The Brahmins and the kshatriyas commanded great respect while the vaishyas and the shudras were considered low castes.

4. The kings and the nobles led a luxurious life. There was no dearth of wealth and often the Rajputs led easy-going lives.

Religion:

1. The three main religions that flourished during this period were Jainism, Buddhism and Hinduism. Jainism and Buddhism were, however, not as popular as Hinduism, since the Rajput rulers were Hindus themselves.

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2. The worship of Vishnu and his incarnations was very popular. Shiva and Shakty or goddess Durga and Kali were commonly worshipped.

3. The Rajput kings built many temples dedicated to the Hindu gods and goddesses.

4. The Rajput women were very religious and spent most of their time studying the religious texts.

5. Hindu reformers like Kumaril Bhatt and Adi Shankaracharaya received Hinduism. Jainism and Buddhism thus declined.

Education and Literature:

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The Rajput rulers were patrons of art and literature. They promoted learning and education. Education was, however, confined mostly to the Brahmins and the upper caste Hindus. The main subjects studied were the Vedas and grammar.

The Rajput rulers gave financial grants of money to the universities of Nalanda and Vikramshila.

The Rajput kings were great patrons of literature. They patronized many poets, scholars, bards, etc., in their courts. Some Rajput kings like Raja Munja and Raja Bhoja were themselves gifted poets and dramatists. Many famous works on poetry, grammar, astronomy, literature, drama, romance and history were compiled during the period of the Rajputs. Some of these notable works are jaideva’s Gita Govinda and Krishna, Bana’s Harsha Charitra and Kadambari and Somadeva’s Katha Saritsagar, which is a popular work in Sanskrit.

Kalkhan’s Rajtarangini and Prithiviraj Raso by Chand Bardai are works of historical litreture. This period is also saw the revival of Sanskrit. But Sanskrit was not the languages known as apabhramsa developed. This laid the foundation of vernacular languages like Marathi, Gujarati, Bengali, Hindi, etc.

Architecture:

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The Rajputs were great builders and spent lavishly on building forts, palaces and temples. Temple building reached its zenith during this period. The most famous temples built by the Rajputs are at Khajuraho, puri and Mt. Abu. Some of the important temples of the Oriyan style are the Lingaraja temple of Bhubaneswar, Jagannath temple at Puri and the Sun temple at Konark. The Solankis of Gujarat erected a group of Jain temples at Mt. Abu. These are the famous Dilwara temples. They are made of white marble and show excellent workmanship.

The Rajput kings laid the foundations of many cities like Jaipur, Jodhpur, Jaisalmer, Bikaner, etc., and adorned them with beautiful palaces and forts. The victory tower in the fort of Chittor and the Lake palace at Udaipur are shining examples of Rajput architecture.

Paintings:

The Rajput paintings can be classified into two schools-the Rajasthani and the Pahari schools of painting. The themes of the paintaings were greatly influenced by the Bhakti cult and mostly depict scenes from the Ramayan and Mahabharata and Radha and Krishna in various moods. The technique of both the schools is the same and both have made use of bright colors to depict scenes from the lives of the common people.

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