Rajasthan is home to many a tribes who have very interesting history of origin, customs and social practices. So much so that even today they are fart distinct from the ‘civilised’ society around them. While a few tribes are medieval in their origin, mainly due to events in history, there are a few who date their origin back to one of the oldest prehistoric civilisations in world viz. the Indus valley civilisation.
From the beginning of man’s presence in the area that is now called Rajasthan, till around 1400 BC, the Bhil and Mina tribes roamed and ruled the land. The Aryan invasion, represented by horse drawn chariots and superior bows and arrows, seems to have tyrannised tribal migration to the south and the east.
Pushed into the natural hideout forests and the ancient and craggy Aravalli ranges, the Bhil and the Mina tribes survived more easily. The northern, nomadic ethnic intrusions continued into Rajasthan. They were respected by the Sakas, Kusanas, Abhiras, Hunas and others. Quite a large number of these invaders are now covered by the blanket term Rajput whose royal lineage stood upon the ruins of the Gurjara (Pratihara Empire). All too naturally, the warrior- invaders fitted the Aryan material caste of Kshatriyas which in time came to be divided into 36 Rajputs clans.
The camouflaged existence of Rajasthan’s original inhabitants certainly isolated them from the main stream, keeping them unaware of the changes. Today, they may be considered a backward people but that does not, in anyway, call for any pejorative interpretations of their primitivism.
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