Friday, 7 February 2014


Ethnographic status

File:Prithvi Raj Chauhan (Edited).jpgDenzil Ibbetson, an administrator of the British Raj, classified the Chauhans as a tribe rather than as a caste. He believed, like Nesfield, that the society of the Northwest Frontier Provinces and Punjab in British India did not permit the rigid imposition of an administratively-defined caste construct as his colleague, H. H. Risley preferred. According to Ibbetson, society in Punjab was less governed by Brahmanical ideas of caste, based on varna, and instead was more open and fluid. Tribes, which he considered to be kin-based groups that dominated small areas, were the dominant feature of rural life. Caste designators, such as Jat and Rajput, were status-based titles to which any tribe that rose to social prominence could lay a claim, and which could be dismissed by their peers if they declined. Susan Bayly, a modern anthropologist, considers him to have had "a high degree of accuracy in his observations of Punjab society ... [I]n his writings we really do see the beginnings of modern, regionally based Indian anthroplogy."[4]


The Chauhans were historically a powerful group in the region now known as Rajasthan. For around 400 years from the 7th century AD their strength in Sambhar was a threat to the power-base of the Guhilots in the south-west of the area, as also was the strength of their fellow Agnivanshi clans.[5] They suffered a set-back in 1192 when their leader, Prithviraj Chauhan, was defeated at the Battle of Tarain but this did not signify their demise.[6]

  Ashoka Maurya 

Chakravatin.JPGAshoka Maurya (304–232 BCE), commonly known as Ashoka and also as Ashoka the Great, was an Indian emperor of the Maurya Dynasty who ruled almost all of the Indian subcontinent from ca. 269 BCE to 232 BCE.[1] One of India's greatest emperors, Ashoka reigned over most of present-day India after a number of military conquests. His empire stretched from the parts of the ancient territories of Khorasan, Sistan and Balochistan (unpartitioned) in what is now Afghanistan and possibly eastern Iran, through the Hindu Kush mountains in Afghanistan, to present-day Bangladesh and the Indian state of Assam in the east, and as far south as northern Kerala and Andhra Pradesh. The empire had Taxila, Ujjain and Pataliputra as its capital.
In about 260 BCE Ashoka waged a bitterly destructive war against the state of Kalinga (modern Odisha).[2] He conquered Kalinga, which none of his ancestors (starting from Chandragupta Maurya) had done. His reign was headquartered in Magadha (present-day Bihar). He embraced Buddhism after witnessing the mass deaths of the Kalinga War, which he himself had waged out of a desire for conquest. "Ashoka reflected on the war in Kalinga, which reportedly had resulted in more than 100,000 deaths and 150,000 deportations."[3] Ashoka converted gradually to Buddhism beginning about 263 BCE at the latest.[2] He was later dedicated to the propagation of Buddhism across Asia, and established monuments marking several significant sites in the life of Gautama Buddha. "Ashoka regarded Buddhism as a doctrine that could serve as a cultural foundation for political unity."[4] Ashoka is now remembered as a philanthropic administrator. In the Kalinga edicts, he addresses his people as his "children", and mentions that as a father he desires their good.