Some Gautam Rajputs fought for Sher Shah Suri (otherwise known as Sher Khan) against Humayun in the 16th century. Later, some of the community were awarded zamindaris by the Mughal emperor Jahangir, an example of which was the family settled in Azamgarh that took the title of Raja from around 1609. By the time of Aurangzeb's reign, the Gautams had gained enough strength to field armed contingents including artillery, horse cavalry and elephants and made incursions against the neighboring zamindars of Gorakhpur. One late 17th-century Gautam chief from the Azamgarh area, named Bikramajit Singh, converted to Islam after Aurangzeb threatened that he would otherwise be executed. His sons and descendants went on to found communities, establish markets and construct improvements such as a canal connecting the Tons River with the Kol.
In the case of one Gautam Rajput family, from Nagar, the decision by the British East India Company to dispossess them in favour of another landholder was the cause of them joining in the Indian rebellion of 1857. Prior to that rebellion, some Gautam communities, in common with other groups that once held high status and power, were practitioners of female infanticide. This was in part a result of British policies that led to declining socio-economic fortunes and thus a reduction in their ability to construct favourable marriage alliances.
Today, some Gautam Rajputs, who also refer to themselves as Gautam Thakurs, are Muslim and others are Hindus. However, their social and religious customs blur the lines that might usually be expected to exist between different religious communities in India. Indeed, their common identity as Rajputs often over-rides their differences in religion and they can be found participating in each other's customs and rituals.
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