|Regions with significant populations|
|Punjabi • Sindhi • Seraiki • Urdu • Rajasthani • Gujarati • Hindi • Marwari • English|
|Related ethnic groups|
|Indo-Aryan people • Rajputs • Ranghar • Punjabi Rajputs • Sindhi Rajputs • Pahari Rajputs • Muslim Dogras|
Conversion to Islam
Many Rajput clans were converted to Islam during the early 12th century and were given the title of Shaikh (elder of the tribe) by the Arab or Mirza by the Mughal rulers. Rajputs converted to Islam due to many reasons including physical or economic duress,[full citation needed] pragmatism and patronage such as social mobility among the Muslim ruling elite or for relief from Jazia taxes for being a non-Muslim ( Dhimmi ),[full citation needed] as a socio-cultural process of diffusion and integration over an extended period of time into the sphere of the dominant Muslim civilization and global polity at large. whereas some conversions also took place for political reasons. The Delhi Sultanate and later Mughal dynasty encouraged the martial Malik Rajput clans to convert to Islam. Conversions to Islam continued into the 19th century period of the British Raj.
The fact of subsequent conversion to other faiths, did not deprive them of this heritage; just as the Greeks, after their conversion to Christianity, did not lose pride in the mighty achievements of their ancestors, of the Italians in the great days of the Roman Republic and early empire... Christians, Jews, Parsees, Moslems. Indian converts to these religions never ceased to be Indian on account of a change of their faith ...
Recent conversions and ethos
By and large, the only converts who keep the prescriptions of the [Islamic] Faith intact are the Muslim Rajputs.
An example of the criticism occurred in Rajgarh during the viceroyalty of John Lawrence between 1858-69. At that time, the ruling Rajput chief of Rajgarh began to follow Islamic traditions, infuriating his Hindu peers to such an extent that he chose to abdicate the royal throne. A subsequent inquiry determined that he had been a good ruler and that his subjects had been satisfied with his rule. A year later, the former ruler declared the Kalima (Muslim affirmation of embracing Islam) and renounced the Hindu faith. This case established for the British Raj the precedent that no leader or ruler can be replaced simply because of his change of creed. Regardless of the feelings of his peers, it was the quality of his rule that mattered.
There is also recorded instances of recent conversions of Rajputs to Islam in Western Uttar Pradesh, Khurja tahsil of Bulanshahr.
But despite the difference in faith, where the question has arisen of common Rajput honour, there have been instances where both Muslim and Hindu Rajputs have united together against threats from external ethnic groups.
Beliefs and customs
Being recent converts to Islam from a culturally Rajput background, there was very little difference between Rajasthani and Uttar Pradeshi Hindu and Muslim Rajputs (outside of religious practices). Hence up until recently, marriages between Muslim and Hindu Rajputs also took place.
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- der Veer, pg 27-29
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