Maratha clan system

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Flag of the Maratha Empire

The jaati name "Maratha" came in use during British rule as British identified a group of clans in India, specifically Maharashtra region. The The Ruling class kunbi clan system (also referred in modern days as Shahaannav Kuli, 96 Kuli or 96K) refers to the network of families and essentially their surnames, within the Kunbi, Dhangar and Kshatriya culture of India. The Marathas are primarily reside in the Indian states of Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Karnataka, Goa and Tamil Nadu.[1] Various lists have been compiled, purporting to list the 96 clans, but these lists are often at great variance with each other.[2]

Origin of clan system[edit]

The list of main clans and their sub-clans or lines tended to differ from time to time, and by book to book. A commonly-accepted 96 clan list includes 24 suryavanshi clans, 24 chandravanshi clans, 24 bramhavanshi clans and 24 Nagavanshi clans. Past political conditions were harsh and chaotic. Name changes occurred for many reasons. People changed their name to shield themselves from military conflicts, or from religious, political, caste persecution and discrimination. Others did so to hide from a criminal past. Some people chose to go underground, or migrated to a different region and changed their name in the process. Evidence suggests[citation needed] that some people or an entire clan changed their name but did not change their caste when they migrated to a new region or came under another government. It is a difficult process to identify and prepare clans lines that are completely correct and some Maratha surnames and clans are missing from this list. The list in this article is roughly based on one created by the scholar Vyasa rishi with the help of other rishis such as Vamdev, Shuk and others. They established that the Great Maratha clans are descendants of all 56 Royal Houses of India. According to Arya, the Hindu religion in India was divided into 56 sub nations. The Mahabharata War was destructive and left these nations in general disarray.[citation needed] This was the start of the Kaliyuga age. In order to keep the religion alive, the rishis linked the Kshatriya, warriors, and Royal houses with a strong bond by creating the Maratha Clan System from the 56 royal houses of India. Before the 12th century there was no difference between southern Kshatriya (Marathas) and northern Kshatriya (Rajputs). The first Rajput clan list was prepared in 12th century and the difference was set. Intermarrying and other Kshatriya traditions were stopped.


The list of ninety-six clans is divided into five ranked tiers, the highest of which contains the five primary Maratha clans.[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Maratha (people)". Encyclopedia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. 2009. 
  2. ^ Rosalind O'Hanlon (22 August 2002). Caste, Conflict and Ideology: Mahatma Jotirao Phule and Low Caste Protest in Nineteenth-Century Western India. Cambridge University Press. pp. 17–. ISBN 9780521523080. Retrieved 13 May 2011. 
  3. ^ Louis Dumont (1980). Homo hierarchicus: the caste system and its implications. University of Chicago Press. pp. 121–. ISBN 9780226169637. Retrieved 13 May 2011.