Marwari people from Rajasthan are not only famous in India but around the world. Rajasthan, apart from being the largest state in India in terms of area, is a region rich in history, tales and culture. It is a land of Kings and Queens with its roots laying deep into its golden culture. Generally, people from Rajasthan are known as Marwari. Do really, all people of Rajasthan are Marwaris?
Rajasthan, before its origin as an Indian state, which was after the independence of India, was mainly divided into four main kingdoms or regions which were the Marwar, the Mewar, the Hadoti and the Shekhawati along with some other small princely states. Almost all the kingdoms were ruled by the Rajput rulers. The literal meaning of word ‘Rajput’ is ‘the heir or son of the kingdom’ and not ‘son of the kings’ as is a general perception.
The Marwar is a region south-west of present-day Rajasthan state. It lies partly in the Thar desert. The region includes the present-day districts of Barmer, Jalore, Jodhpur, Nagaur, Pali, and parts of Sikar. The capital of ancient Marwar kingdom was Jodhpur.
The Mewar is a region of south-central Rajasthan state. It includes the present-day districts of Bhilwara, Chittorgarh, Rajsamand, Udaipur, Kumbhalgarh, Pirawa Tehsil of Jhalawar District of Rajasthan, Neemuch, and Mandsaur of Madhya Pradesh and some parts of Gujarat. Chittorgarh acted as the main capital of the Mewar kingdom with Kumbhalgarh and Udaipur also as strong centers of power over various parts of the historical timeline of the region.
The Shekhawati region basically comprises the northeast part of Rajasthan state, which includes districts like Sikar, Jhunjhunu, Churu and a part of Nagaur and Jaipur. It was established by Rao Shekha with Amarsar and Fatehpur as its capital along the various points on the timeline. The Shekhawati kingdom was ruled by the Shekhawat clan rulers of Rajputs.
All the three prominent regions and almost all the other regions of the Rajasthan state were ruled by the Rajput rulers. These regions held immense power and feature unique to themselves and although similar to each other in tradition, were very contrasting to each other. Amongst these three, the Marwar region and the Mewar region were basically the main powerhouses and shared a salty relationship among themselves.
The Marwar kingdom was dominated by the Rathore clan of Rajputs and the people of Marwar were known as Marwaris and they spoke in Marwari dialect mainly. The Marwari rulers were efficient administrators and fine businessmen. Trade and commerce flourished under their rule and the kingdom was financially very stable despite the fact that the kingdom was mainly located in the Thar desert and lacked the abundance of basic resources like water, greenery and minerals.
Jodhpur state was the capital of Marwar and was the hub of business, trade, prosperity, and financial and architectural riches in the region. The Bania ethnic community prominently comprising Maheshwaris, Agarwals, Khandelwals and Oswals, the mostly traders were the pillars of Marwari financial prowess.
The Mewar kingdom, on the other hand, was founded and dominated and ruled by the Sisodia dynasty who were the Sisodia clan of Rajputs. The people of Mewar were known as Mewaris and they spoke in Mewari dialect. The Mewari Rajputs were known to be fearsome and proud warriors, strongly attached to their motherland and committed to sacrificing anything to protect their motherland and its people.
The Mewar kingdom produced rulers and leaders like Rana Sangha, Rana Kumbha, Maharana Pratap and many more who were penned down in the history books as one of the greatest warriors in the country. The Mewari Rajputs considered themselves to be protectors of the realm rather than rulers and servers of their deity, that is Shri Ekling Ji, who is said to be an avatar of Lord Shiva.
So basically, the Rajasthanis are a broad union set of Marwari and Mewari people who came under the same umbrella after independence and formed the proud state of Rajasthan. Both these communities have their own separate histories, different dialects, their own historical growth timelines, their own separate struggles and their own ideology.
Undermining that rich history and not acknowledging it would be a matter of great injustice to all the ancestors of respective communities. However, their glorifying history looks to be very well preserved in the hearts of local people as well as the successors of the kingdoms which are yet regarded as respectable figures and Kings and Queens in their respective regions till date.
Conclusively, all Marwaris and Mewaris are essentially Rajasthanis but not all Rajasthanis are necessarily Marwaris.