Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Gurjara communities

Many communities have emerged from Gurjara Bhoomi and have taken the cognomen Gurjara. Communities like the Gurjar Kshatriyas, Gurjar Vanias, Gurjar Jains, and Gurjar Oswals, all live in the state of Gujarat and speak the Gujarati language. The other distinctive feature for these communities is the smallness of their numbers in the population of Gujarat. The Gurjar Oswals trace their origin to the Rajasthani town of Osian, which we know was an important religious center under the Imperial Pratiharas as well as the Mandor Pratiharas, and which contains the earliest specimens of the Maru-Gurjara style of architecture.

The Gurjar Jains and Gurjar Vanias are largely found in Kutch and claim a Rajasthani Rajput ancestry. The Gurjar Kshatriyas are mostly craftsmen and artisans who again trace their ancestry to Rajasthan, and claim to have originally been Rajputs. They too are located primarily in Kutch and Saurashtra. The ancient province of Gurjara was confined to southwest Rajasthan; it did not include the virtual island of Kutch or the peninsula of Saurashtra. That is why communities migrating from southwest Rajasthan into these latter regions would keep the cognomen of "gurjara".

Even more interesting, these communities have nothing else in common among them, neither customs nor social mores which again proves that they did not have a common tribal origin but came from the same land called Gurjara.

As opposed to these minuscule communities, we have the large population of pastoral Gujjars, mostly found outside of the old Gurjara province. During British rule, the colonial historians manufactured a hypothesis to explain this dichotomy among the communities bearing the cognomen Gurjara. Namely that all these were probably part of an invading "horde" following different professions like trade, craftsmanship, finance, etc!

They couldn't be bothered about providing any explanation to the obvious follow up to this fantastic new assumption: if these different communities were all part of the invading horde, why don't we find them anywhere in places where the alleged horde allegedly settled in greatest numbers: namely Punjab and the northwest, J&K, western Uttar Pradesh, and east Rajasthan? Why are they all found only in Gujarat? The location and numbers of these communities all prove beyond any doubt that they take their name from Gurjara, which was the name of a province in ancient times.