Kshatriya (Devanagari: क्षत्रिय; Gujarati: ક્ષત્રિય; Gurmukhi: ਖੱਤਰੀ; from Sanskrit kṣatra, "rule, authority") is one of the four varna (social orders) of the Hindu society. The Sanskrit term kṣatriyaḥ is used in the context of Vedic society wherein members were organised into four classes: kshatriya, brahmin, vaishya and shudra.[1] As per the caste system, after Brahmin, Kshatriya is regarded as the second highest caste. Traditionally, the kshatriya constituted the ruling and military class. Their role was to protect their interests by fighting in wartime and governing in peacetime.


Early Rigvedic tribal chiefdom

The administrative machinery in the Rig Vedic period was headed by a tribal chief called Rajan whose position was not hereditary. The king was elected in a tribal assembly, which included women, called Samiti. The Rajan protected the tribe and cattle; was assisted by a priest; and did not maintain a standing army, though in the later period the rulership appears to have risen as a class. The concept of fourfold varna system was non-existent.[2]

Later Vedic period

The hymn Purusha Sukta to the Rigveda describes the mythical history of the four varna. Some scholars consider the Purusha Sukta to be a late interpolation into the Rigveda based on the neological character of the composition, as compared to the more archaic style of the vedic literature. Since not all Indians were fully regulated under the varna in the vedic society,[3] the Purusha Sukta was supposedly composed in order to secure vedic sanction for the heredity caste scheme. An alternate explanation is that the word 'Shudra' does not occur anywhere else in the Rig-veda except the Purusha Sukta, leading some scholars to believe the Purusha Sukta was a composition of the later Rig-vedic period itself to denote, legitimise and sanctify an oppressive and exploitative class structure that had already come into existence then.[4]

Although the Purusha Sukta uses the term rajanya, not kshatriya, it is considered the first instance in the Vedic texts that now remained where four social classes are mentioned for the first time together.[5] Usage of the term Rajanya possibly indicates the 'kinsmen of the rajan' (i.e., kinsmen of the ruler) had emerged as a distinct social group then,[5] such that by the end of the vedic period, the term rajanya was replaced by kshatriya; where rajanya stresses kinship with the rajan and kshatriya denotes power over a specific domain.[5] The term rajanya unlike the word kshatriya essentially denoted the status within a lineage. Whereas kshatra, means "ruling; one of the ruling order".[6]

Gautama Buddha was born into a kshatriya Shakya family.[7]

Jaiswal points out the term Brahman rarely occurs in the Rig-veda with the exception of the Purusha Sukta and may not have been used for the priestly class.[5] Based on the authority of Panini, Patanjali, Katyayana and the Mahabharata, Jayaswal believes that Rajanya was the name of political people and that the Rajanyas were, therefore, a democracy (with an elected ruler).[8] Some examples were the Andhaka and Vrsni Rajanyas who followed the system of elected rulers.[5] Ram Sharan Sharma details how the central chief was elected by various clan chiefs or lineage chiefs with increasing polarisation between the rajanya (aristocracy helping the ruler) and the vis (peasants) leading to a distinction between the chiefs as a separate class (raja, rajanya, kshatra, kshatriya) on one hand and vis (clan peasantry) on the other hand.[9]

The term kshatriya comes from kshatra and implies temporal authority and power which was based less on being a successful leader in battle and more on the tangible power of laying claim to sovereignty over a territory, and symbolising ownership over clan lands. This later gave rise to the idea of kingship.[10] The Srimad Bhagavata Gita has the following quoted lines by Sri Krishna:

शौर्यं तेजो धृतिर्दाक्ष्यं युध्दे चाप्यपलायनम् ।
दानमीश्वरभावश्च क्षात्रं कर्म स्वभावजम् ॥१८-४३ ॥

Kshatriya never flees from the war, he shows bravery, skill, chivalry and patience in the face of war. Donation to the society and protecting citizens (Kshatra duty) are the norms of a Kshatriya.

In the period of the Brahmanas (800 BCE to 700 BCE) there was ambiguity in the position of the varna. In the Panchavimsha Brahmana (13,4,7), the Rajanya are placed first, followed by Brahmana then Vaishya. In Shatapatha Brahmana, the Kshatriya are placed second. In Shatapatha Brahmana the order is—Brahmana, Vaishya, Rajanya, Shudra. The order of the brahmanical tradition—Brahmana, Kshatriya, Vaishya, Shudra—became fixed from the time of dharmasutras (450 BCE to 100 BCE).[11] The kshatriya were often considered pre-eminent in Buddhist circles.[12] Even among Hindu societies they were sometimes at rivalry with the Brahmins, but they generally acknowledged the superiority of the priestly class.[12]


In rituals, the nyagrodha (Ficus indica or India fig or banyan tree) danda, or staff, is assigned to the kshatriya class, along with a mantra, intended to impart physical vitality or 'ojas'.[13]


The Vedas do not mention kshatriya (or varma) of any vansha (lineage). The lineages of the Itihasa-Purana tradition[14] are: Suryavanshi (solar line);[14] and Chandravanshi or Somavanshi (lunar line).[14]

There are other lineages, such as the Agnivanshi, in which an eponymous ancestor rises out of Agni (fire),[14] and Nagavanshi (snake-born), claiming descent from the Nāgas. The Nagavanshi, not attested in the Itihasa-Purana tradition, were Naga tribes whose origin can be found in scriptures.[15]

See also


  1. ^ Bujor Avari (2007). India: The Ancient Past: A History of the Indian Sub-Continent from c. 7000 BC to AD 1200, p. 89
  2. ^ Sharma, Ram Sharan (2005). India's ancient past. the University of Michigan: Oxford University Press. pp. 110–112. ISBN 9780195667141.
  3. ^ David Kean (2007). Caste-based Discrimination in International Human Rights Law, p. 26. Ashgate Publishing Ltd.
  4. ^ Jayantanuja Bandyopadhyaya (2007). Class and Religion in Ancient India, pp. 37–47. Anthem Press.
  5. ^ a b c d e Kumkum Roy (2011). Insights and Interventions: Essays in Honour of Uma Chakravarti, p. 148. Primus Books.
  6. ^ Turner, Sir Ralph Lilley; Dorothy Rivers Turner (January 2006) [1962]. A Comparative Dictionary of the Indo-Aryan Languages (Accompanied by three supplementary volumes: indexes, compiled by Dorothy Rivers Turner: 1969. – Phonetic analysis: 1971. – Addenda et corrigenda: 1985. ed.). London: Oxford University Press. pp. 189–190. Retrieved 23 October 2011.
  7. ^ "Life of Buddha: Queen Maha Maya's Dream (Part 1)". www.buddhanet.net. Retrieved 2018-10-12.
  8. ^ Radhakrishna Choudhary (1964). The Vrātyas in Ancient India, Volume 38 of Chowkhamba Sanskrit studies, p. 125. Sanskrit Series Office.
  9. ^ Ram Sharan Sharma (1991). Aspects of Political Ideas and Institutions in Ancient India, p. 172. Motilal Banarsidass Publications.
  10. ^ Reddy (2005). General Studies History 4 Upsc. Tata McGraw-Hill Education. pp. 78, 79, 33, 80, 27, 123. ISBN 9780070604476.
  11. ^ Upinder Singh (2008). A History of Ancient and Early Medieval India: From the Stone Age to the 12th Century, p. 202. Pearson Education India.
  12. ^ a b Jeanne Auboyer (1965). Daily Life in Ancient India. Phoenix Press. pp. 26–27. ISBN 1-84212-591-5.
  13. ^ Brian K. Smith. Reflections on Resemblance, Ritual, and Religion, Motilal Banarsidass Publishe, 1998
  14. ^ a b c d Indian History: Ancient and medieval, p. 22. Volume 1 of Indian History, Encyclopædia Britannica (India) Pvt. Ltd, 2003.
  15. ^ Omacanda Hāṇḍā. Naga Cults and Traditions in the Western Himalaya, p. 251. [1]

Further reading

  • Ramesh Chandra Majumdar, Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan. History and Culture of Indian People, The Vedic Age. Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, 1996. pp. 313–314

Ahir or Aheer is an ethnic group, some members of which identify as being of the Indian Yadav community because they consider the two terms to be synonymous. The Ahirs are variously described as a caste, a clan, a community, a race and a tribe.

The traditional occupation of Ahirs is cow-herding and agriculture. They are found throughout India but are particularly concentrated in the northern areas. They are known by numerous other names, including Gaoli, Ghosi in the north. Some in the Bundelkhand region of Uttar Pradesh are known as Dauwa. In Gujarat, they are also known as Ahad and Aiydr.

Bagdi caste

The Bagdis are indigenous people descended from people with Dravidian links found in the Indian state of West Bengal and Bangladesh. The Bagdis are populous in Bankura, Birbhum and other districts in the western fringe of West Bengal. They speak Bengali.The Bagdis numbered 2,740,385 in West Bengal in the 2001 Indian census and were 14.9 per cent of the scheduled caste population of West Bengal. 47.7 per cent of the Bagdis were literate – 60.4 per cent males and 34.8 per cent females were literate.The Bagdis were one of the most prominent warrior clans in old India. During the British rule in India, many bands of Bagdis were involved in criminal activities and as a result, they were declared as criminal tribes by the British.


In the Hindu varna system, Brahmakshatriya or Murdhabhishikta may refer to people who have a Brahmin father and a Kshatriya mother; or to a Brahmin who pursues royalty, and hence concurrently adopts the Kshatriya varna or those Kshatriya who had adopted Brahmin varna because of Shree Parsuram. According to Manusmriti, such people are treated equal to Brahmins. Parasurama is a classical example of a Brahmakshatriya.In Kerala, only the sons of a Nambuthiri father and a Kshatriya mother were recognised as Brahmakshatriya by the Nambuthiri Brahmins, while the son of a Brahmakshatriya father and a Brahmakshatriya mother was regarded as non-Kshatriya.

Gurjar Kshatriya Kadia

Gurjar Kshatriya Kadia/ Gurjar Kadia/ Gujjar Kadia also known as Kadia Kshatriya are a minority Hindu and Socially and Educationally Backward Classes community in Gujarat and Other Backward Class community in Maharashtra. They are artisan community, occupation is masonry work and are related to larger ethnic community of Kadias.


According to the Hindu epic Mahabharata, Jarasandha (Sanskrit: जरासन्ध) was a very powerful king of Magadha. He was a descendant of King Brihadratha, the founder of the Barhadratha dynasty of Magadha.He was a great senapati. he was also known as magdha samrat Jarasandh. He is worshipped as mool-purusha (lineal descent) of Rawani Kshatriya clan, Chandravanshi

Kshatriya. According to Vayu Purana, the descendants of Brihadratha ( Jarasandha's Father) ruled magadha for 2600 years followed by Haryanka dynasty.

Kathi Darbar

The Kathi Darbar is a caste found in the peninsular Kathiawar (now called Saurashtra) region of Gujarat, western India.


The Koliyas were Kshatriya of the Adicca (Iksvaku) clan of the Solar Dynasty from the Indian subcontinent, during the time of Gautama Buddha. The family members of these two royal families married only among themselves. Both clans were very proud of the purity of their royal blood and had practised this tradition of inter-marriage since ancient times. For example, Suddhodana's paternal aunt was married to the Koliyan ruler Añjana. Their daughters, Mahamaya and Mahapajapati Gotami, were married to Śuddhodana, the chief of the Sakyans. Similarly, Yashodhara, daughter of Suppabuddha, who was Añjana’s son, was married to the Sakyan prince, Gautama Buddha. Thus, the two royal families were related by marriage bonds between maternal and paternal cousins since ancient times. In spite of such close blood-ties, there would be occasional rifts between the two royal families, which sometimes turned into open hostility.


Kurmi is a Hindu agricultural caste of India.

Kutch Gurjar Kshatriya

Kutch Gurjar Kshatriya (also known as Mistri or Mestri) are a minority Hindu and one of the Socially and Educationally rich community of Gujarat in India, whom claim to be Kshatriyas. They are an artisan community related with Kadia works.They are also known as the Mistri a.k.a. Mistris of Kutch.

List of the named Buddhas

In countries where Theravāda Buddhism is practiced by the majority of people, such as Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Laos, Burma, Thailand, it is customary for Buddhists to hold elaborate festivals, especially during the fair weather season, paying homage to the 28 Buddhas described in the Buddhavamsa. The Buddhavamsa is a text which describes the life of Gautama Buddha and the 27 Buddhas who preceded him. The Buddhavamsa is part of the Khuddaka Nikāya, which in turn is part of the Sutta Piṭaka. The Sutta Piṭaka is one of three main sections of the Pāli Canon of Theravāda Buddhism.

The first three of these Buddhas—Taṇhaṅkara, Medhaṅkara, and Saraṇaṅkara—lived before the time of Dīpankara Buddha. The fourth Buddha, Dīpankara, is especially important, as he was the Buddha who gave niyatha vivarana (prediction of future Buddhahood) to the Brahmin youth who would in the distant future become the bodhisattva Gautama Buddha. After Dīpankara, 23 more noble people (ariya-puggala) would attain enlightenment before Gautama, the historical Buddha.

Many Buddhists also pay homage to the future (and 29th) Buddha, Maitreya. According to Buddhist scripture, Maitreya will be a successor of Gautama who will appear on Earth, achieve complete enlightenment, and teach the pure Dharma. The prophecy of the arrival of Maitreya is found in the canonical literature of all Buddhist sects (Theravada, Mahayana, and Vajrayana), and is accepted by most Buddhists as a statement about an event that will take place when the Dharma will have been forgotten on Jambudvipa (the terrestrial realm, where ordinary human beings live).

Lunar dynasty

According to Hindu mythology, the Lunar dynasty is one of the four principal houses of the Kshatriya varna, or warrior–ruling caste. This legendary dynasty was said to be descended from moon-related deities (Soma or Chandra).According to the Mahabharata, the dynasty's progenitor Ila ruled from Prayag, while his son Shashabindu ruled in the country of Bahli.The great sage Vishvamitra the son of king Gadhi of Kanyakubja dynasty was a descendant of Amavasu, the son of Pururava of Chandravansha clan.Ila's descendants, the Ailas (also known as Chandravansha), were a dynasty of kings of ancient India. Pururavas, the son of Budha was the founder of this dynasty. .

Mair caste

The Mair are a community traditionally found in northern India.

Maratha clan system

The Maratha clan system (also referred to as Shahannava Kuli Marathas, 96 Kuli Marathas or 96K) refers to the network of families and essentially their surnames, within the Maratha culture of India. The Marathas primarily reside in the Indian state of Maharashtra, with smaller regional populations in other states. Various lists have been compiled, purporting to list the 96 "true Maratha" clans, but these lists vary greatly and are disputed. The list of ninety-six clans is divided into five ranked tiers, the highest of which contains the five primary Maratha clans.


Parashurama (Sanskrit: परशुराम, IAST: Paraśurāma, lit. Rama with an axe) is the sixth avatar of Vishnu in Hinduism. Born as a brahmin, Parshuram carried traits of a Kshatriya and is often regarded as a Brahmin-Kshatriya. He carried a number of Kshatriya traits, which included aggression, warfare and valor; also, serenity, prudence and patience. He, along with only Hanuman and Indrajit, is considered to be one of the very few Atimaharathi warriors ever born on Earth. Like other incarnations of Vishnu, he was foretold to appear at a time when overwhelming evil prevailed on earth. The Kshatriya class, with weapons and power, had begun to abuse their power, take what belonged to others by force and tyrannize people. Parashurama corrects the cosmic equilibrium by destroying these Kshatriya warriors.He is also referred to as Rama Jamadagnya, Rama Bhargava and Veerarama in some Hindu texts.

He is worshipped as the mool (primordial) purusha by Niyogi Bhumihar Brahmin, Chitpavan Brahmin, Tyagi, Mohyals, Anavil and Nambudiri Brahmin communities.


The Raju are a Telugu caste found mostly in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh.

Samantha Kshatriya

The Samantha Kshatriya are a community of Kerala, India, who were historically ruling elites and feudal land owners in the Kingdom of Cochin and Kingdom of Travancore as well as the Malabar. They formed a part of the Samantan Nair clan. Their residences are still called Swaroopams or Kottaram or Kovilakams, all of which mean palace in Malayalam. Members of this community hold the titles like Thampuran and Varma. They traditionally did not wear a sacred thread. Unlike most Kshatriyas (warriors) found in India, Samantha Kshatriyas rarely took part in warfare, relying instead on Kiryathil Nairs and Illathu Nairs to command armies. The Samantha Kshatriya also followed a matrilineal system of inheritance known as Marumakkathayam.


Suryavansha (Suryavam(n)sham or Solar Dynasty) is a historical dynasty of ancient India. The term Suryavanshi refers to a person belonging to the Suryvansha dynasty. Raghuvanshi is an offshoot of the Suryavanshi clan. Rajput is Suryavanshi and some Rajput is Chandravanshi


Taunk (Tank, Taunque, Tak or Takshak) is an Indian community distributed in the districts of Jodhpur, Udaipur, and Tonk.


The Vanniyar, also spelled Vanniya, who were once known as the Palli, are a community or jāti found in Southern India.

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