Maratha History: Origin of Marathas
Who Are Marathas?
The origin of the word Maratha is in the ancient Prakrit word `Marhatta'. That is a geographical term, which was used for all the people of Maharashtra. (Ancient Maharashtra was geographically bigger one than today's Maharashtra, consisting almost all the parts of Deccan). But later the word was being used for all the warrior people of Maharashtra.
King Shivaji, the great warrior of Deccan, gave an opportunity to fight against enemy to all the people, irrespective of their religion and caste. For him, everybody was a Maratha, who was helping him in his freedom struggle. So for him all his soldiers, including his Muslim soldiers (Who were in large numbers in his navy and artillery) were Marathas. If you check school leaving certificates of persons older than eighty years, you will find the words like Maratha Sutar, Maratha Parit, Maratha Lohar etc. on it. Now the word Maratha is replaced by the word Hindu.
It should be noted that Peshavas, who were Chitpavan Bramhins by caste, were also known as Marathas. The Muslim Queen of Ahmednagar Chandbibi was also known as a Maratha.
Later, Bramhins avoided to call themselves as Maratha and eventually stopped.Today in Maharashtra, a specific community who is politically strong, calls itself as Maratha. The community has 96 clans. Most of the clans are newer (which did not exist before King Shivaji) and only few clans are ancient which I would like to note here: Yadav/Jadhav, Morey, Kadam (Kadamb), Salunkhe, Rathod, Chavan, Shinde, Shelar, Sawant, Pawar, Kalchuri, Sisodia etc.
The cultivators of Maharashtra were known as Kunabis, most of whom started to call themselves as Marathas in early 20th century. This increased the number of Maratha population rapidly in Maharshtra. So they became politically stronger. Today Marthas are divided in several groups namely Deshmukhs, 96 Kulis, Common Marathas, Kadus and Kunabis. They do not intermarry. There are geographical divisions also and they generally do not marry outside their region. (Like a Maratha of Sangli district marries with the maratha of the surrounding districts of Satara and Kolhapur but not with the Marathas of Pune district. Which is just 110 Km. from Satara).
It is said that when a Kunabi becomes stronger, he becomes a Maratha, when a Maratha becomes stronger he becomes a Patil, When a Patil becomes stronger he becomes a Deshmukh.
Deshmukh was the highest Designation, like District Collector of present day, while Patil was the chief of a village. Deshmukh is like Desai of Gujarat and Karnataka, and Patil is like Choudhari of North India, Patel of Gujarat and Gouda of Karnataka.
- 96 Clans of Maratha Community
Maratha is an Endogamous Group and has 96 Main Clans in the community. Each Clan has 100 to 250 sub clans. These clans and sub clans are used as surnames.....A brief write up Maratha Clans
- The Khatri Community of India
Khatri is a prominent community of India, dominant in various walks of life. Here is a wide ranging information on the achievements by individuals of this community.
- The Structure of Jain Community
Like the religion, the followers of Jainism are also misunderstood. Most of the people think that followers of Jainism are mostly business people, and that too from Gujarat and Rajasthan, two states of western India. This article tells you about ethn
- Southern origin of some Rajput clans
There is a trend in some clans of Maratha community of Deccan that they are descendents of Rajputs from Rajsthan. But in fact, many of the Rajput Clans like Solanki, Rathod etc were originated from Deccan. It is interesting to know that some clans of
- Rajput History: Rajputs and Jainism
There is a close relation between Rajputs and Jainism. Many Rajput dynasties were followers and supporters this faith. That is why Jainism get flourished In Rajput era. On the other hand, most of the Jains from Rajputana are of Rajput origin.
- Rare Paintings of Shivaji Maharaj
Rare paintings of Chhtrapati Shivaji Maharaj, a great warrior of medieval India
- Bhama Shah: Trusted Lieutenant of Maharana Pratap
Bhama Shah was Prime Minister and a brave General of Maharana Pratap.This is a short biography of this great General.
- Fort Builder Shilahar King Raja Bhoj II
The most famous King of Kolhapur Shilahars was Raja Bhoj II, who was the last king of this dynasty. He was brave and religious. He was follower of Jainism and a pupil of Acharya Maghanandi, a Jain ascetic. He is well known as the builder of 15 forts
- Ancient India Timeline 7000 B.C.E. to 550 C.E.
Chronology of Ancient Indian History 6000 B.C.E. to 500 C.E.
More by this Author
Humans are migrating here and there from ancient times. The migrations were due to natural disasters in their region like droughts & famines, floods, earthquakes etc. and also because of the problems created by...
Like the religion, the followers of Jainism are also misunderstood. Most of the people think that followers of Jainism are mostly business people, and that too from Gujarat and Rajasthan, two states of western...
Marriage bureau is a popular concept in India. Running a marriage bureau is a good source of income. Many marriage bureaus in cities like Mumbai, Delhi, Pune, Bangalore etc. are charging Rs. 1000 to 5000. In special...