Members of the Raika or Devasi are a Indian community mainly found In the states of Rajasthan , punjab , haryana ,uttarakhand and gujrath they are also found in nepal , pakisthan and afganisthan, they are pastoralists.
The raikas are also known by other names such as Desai, Raibari Dewasi, Hiravanshi, Rebari, Rebadi and Rayka or Raika and also Maldhari.
Raikas have lived in different parts of India for a millennia. The Raikas are comparatively a very recent migrant . Although their main deity of woship is lord krishna , they claim their origin from lord Shiva , the word devasi came from the sanskrit word devashish (mercy of the lord )the Raikas of uttarakhand were the rulers of doti kingdom, Kings of Doti were called Raikas (also Rainka Maharaj). Later on Raikas, after defeating the Khas Malla of Karnali Zone, were able to establish a strong Raikas Kingdom in Far Western Region and Kumaun which was Doti. So far, the historical evidences of following Raikas have been discovered:
Niranjan Malla Dev (Founder of Doti Kingdom) Nagi Malla (1238) Ripu Malla (1279) Nirai Pal (1353): maybe of Askot his historical evidence of 1354 A.D has been found in Almora too Nag Malla (1384) Dhir Malla (1400) Ripu Malla (1410) Anand Malla (1430) Balinarayan Malla: not known Sansar Malla (1442) Kalyan Malla (1443) Suratan Malla (1478) Kriti Malla (1482) Prithivi Malla (1488) Medini Jay Malla (1512) Ashok Malla (1517) Raj Malla (1539) Arjun Malla/Sahi: not known but he was ruling Sira as Malla and Doti as Shahi Bhupati Malla/Shahi (1558) Sagaram Shahi (1567) Hari Malla/Shahi (1581): last Raikas King of Sira and adjoining part of Nepal Rudra Shahi (1630) Vikram Shahi (1642) Mandhata Shahi (1671) Raghunath Shahi (1690) Hari Shahi (1720) Hrishna Shahi (1760) Deep Shah (1785), Prithivi pati Shah 1790: he had fought against Nepali Ruler (Gorkhali Ruler) with British in 1814 A.D.
culture and society
The raikas are mostly Hindus and they are ardent devotees of lord Krishna and lord Shiva , they are called gwals (cowherd ), due to their occupation they are categorised as vaishya under the hindu varnashrama system , raikas have more number of cows than any other community , some families own as much as 1000 cows ,The traditional Raikas are mainly occupied in the dairy industry ,The Raikas are subdivided into numerous clans, some of which overlap with other groups. they are further divided into thwo groups , maru and godwad , altough both are raikas but they are complete different sects , they both have got nothing to do with each other but sharing surname
In addition to the conventional Sarva Khap Panchayat, there are regional Mahasabhas to organize and safeguard the interests of the community, which held its meeting at regional and national levels to take stock of their activities and devise practical ways and means for the amelioration of the community