Thursday, June 2, 2011

Its time to tell that tale ... for my descendents

Why is this even important?

Because one day my children will ask me.. "Father, who are we?". I better have an answer ready, or they will always be uncomfortable with their identity. A good father is who thinks 10 years ahead of time for the betterment of the future generation. As an adolescent, I was also curious about our origin, so I started researching all about our clan - Mairh Kshtriyas or Rajputs.

I am 33 now, so I sure owe my future generation this key piece of knowledge, without which, they might always feel incomplete. What I have found has been a good corroboration of what I have always felt in my bones: we are a warrior class and hold honor, courage and truthful conduct in the highest regard. For example, I cannot tolerate a false allegation and will fight till its nullified. I also like to honor my words. These are the true qualities of a Kshtriya.

What's our origin?

In Sanskrit, the word Kshatriya is derived from kshetra, meaning roof or umbrella. It is also related to the Old Persian words that mean realm, power, royal or emperor; New Persian words that mean emperor, city, or realm; Thai word that means king or Malay word that mean knight or warrior Mair Kshatriyas: Descendent of warrior Kshatriya tribe that once lived on hills and mountains around Ajmer in Rajasthan.

I have always heard from our ancestors that we came from a place called Mairh in Rajasthan. I happened to live in Nasirabad Cantt as a child when my father was posted there as the Commanding Officer, but little did I know that my ancestors had also lived somewhere nearby.

Mairh Rajputs are the descendants of Maharaj Ajmeedh, who founded the city of Ajmer. Maharaj Ajmeedh himself was very accomplished in fine crafts of jewelry ornaments and employed many such artisans in his Kingdom.

We are Suryavanshis and our Kul Devi is Shakubhamri Devi. As per, Shakumbhari Devi is also the tutelary Goddess of Pundir, Chauhan and Rohilla Rajputs. Interestingly, the Kul Devi of my friend Sandeep Bhardwaj (Brahmin), who is from Jaipur, is also Shakumbhari Devi.

We are vegetarians (many people are surprised at this, but Shakumbhari Devi was vegetarian and propounded vegetarianism for a 100 years, so once you know the legend and put two and two together, its not so surprising at all. In fact, I have met a lot of vegetarian Rajputs -- one of them was named Girija Raghav, who was also a suryavanshi).

Our family's gotra is Rajrana (a verbal distortion is Rajrania) and mother's is Udawat (which is a common Gotra in Rathors). To this day, the authentic ruling descendants of Rajput clans are prefixed with Raj Rana. My grand mother's (Shrimati Bishan Devi's) gotra was Kaushal.

My Great Grandfather

In our previous generation, I know that my great grandfather (Shri Ram Swaroop Verma) was a one of the chieftans of Khatauli, a village in Uttar Pradesh, India. He was a Jamindar or Talukedar in the british era and had 2-4 fields. Some other surnames that our family has had are: Rana, Mairh, Saraf, Singh, Rajan.

More digging with my Tauji

One day when I visited Lucknow, I requested my Tau ji (who had been the Chief Medical Officer of Nainital District) to make time for me and tell me more about our lineage. His revelations were very interesting and deserve mentioning.

  • Shakumbari Devi is essentially a form of Durga mata and she is worshipped as the Goddess of War. Her mantra is || ॐ एं ह्रीम श्रीं  शकुभ्मरी देवियोह नमः  ||  
  • He even mentioned that one of our ancestors who lived in the past 100 years used to wear a janaeu, the sacred set of three threads worn by Dwij-jaatis in India (Brahmins, Kshtriya and Vaishyas. But mostly now, its worn by the Brahmin families. Dwij means twice born -- Dwi Jaayate iti Dwijah -- The first birth is seminal birth and the second birth is the spiritual birth when the child is led to an acharya for Ved-Adhyayan).
  • Our origin is from these Ranas : Father of Rana Sanga, Rana Sanga, Maharana Pratap, Rana Beni Madhav, Udaipur Singh, Beer Singh (born of Sundarbai)
  • One of our relatives was Gokul Prasad Rana - a thumb and finger specialist doctor
  • Family Tree: My first great grandmother (Prasangi pardadi ji) died of an epidemic, so my great grandfather remarried. Prasangi pardadi ji begetted Jaswant Singh, Inder Singh (my grandfather), Jagdish (who beget Shambhu and Jeeto Devi Rajan), Lakshmi Buaji (She lives in Sector H, Kanpur). Bhugni pardadi ji beget Ramesh Chachaji, Gopal Verma (who worked for the Indian Air Force), Shyam and Jaya Narayan
  • Our lineage is recorded in book called Birda Bali. I need to find that book someday.

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