Maratha control in 1760 (yellow), without its vassals.
Robert Vane Russell, an untrained ethnologist of the British Raj
period, basing his research largely on
Vedic literature, wrote that the Marathas are subdivided into 96 different clans, known as the 96 Kuli Marathas or Shahānnau Kule The general body of lists are often at great variance with each other.
1 History 2 Internal diaspora 3 Varna status 4 Political participation 5 Military service 6 See also 7 Footnotes 8 References 9 Further reading
Maratha helmet with curved back.
Maratha Armour from Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg, Russia.
Maratha Empire The term "Maratha" originally referred to the speakers of the Marathi language. In the 17th century, it emerged as a designation for soldiers serving in the armies of Deccan sultanates
Deccan sultanates (and later Shivaji). A number of Maratha
Maratha warriors, including Shivaji's father, Shahaji, originally served in those Muslim armies. By the mid-1660s, Shivaji
Shivaji had established an independent Maratha
Maratha kingdom. After Shivaji's death, Marathas fought under his sons and defeated Aurangzeb in the war of 27 years. It was further expanded into a vast empire by the Maratha Confederacy
Maratha Confederacy including Peshwas, stretching from central India in the south, to Peshawar (in modern-day Pakistan) on the Afghanistan border in the north, and with expeditions to Bengal in the east. By the 19th century, the empire had become a confederacy of individual states controlled by Maratha
Maratha chiefs such as Gaekwads of Baroda, the Holkars of Indore, the Scindias of Gwalior, the Puars of Dhar and Dewas, and Bhonsles of Nagpur. The Confederacy remained the pre-eminent power in India until their defeat by the British East India Company
British East India Company in the Third Anglo- Maratha
Maratha War (1817–1818).[page needed] By 19th century, the term Maratha
Maratha had several interpretations in the British administrative records. In the Thane District
Thane District Gazetteer of 1882, the term was used to denote elite layers within various castes: for example, "Maratha-Agri" within Agri caste, "Maratha-Koli" within Koli caste
Koli caste and so on. In the Pune District, the words Kunbi
Kunbi and Maratha
Maratha had become synonymous, giving rise to the Maratha- Kunbi
Kunbi caste complex. The Pune District Gazetteer of 1882 divided the Kunbis into two classes: Marathas and other Kunbis. The 1901 census listed three groups within the Maratha- Kunbi
Kunbi caste complex: "Marathas proper", " Maratha
Maratha Kunbis" and Konkan Maratha. According to Steele, in the early 19th century, Kunbis, who were agriculturists and the Marathas who claimed Rajput descent and Kshatriya
Kshatriya status - were distinguished by their customs related to widow remarriage. The Kunbis allowed it and the higher status Marathas prohibited it. However, there is no statistical evidence for this. The Maratha
Maratha population was more than 31% in Western Maharashtra
Maharashtra and the Kunbi
Kunbi was 7%, whereas the upper castes - Brahmins, Saraswats, Prabhus(CKPs, Pathare Prabhus) were only about 4% of the population. The Other Backward Class population (other than the Kunbi) was 27% while the population of the Mahars was 8%. Gradually, the term Maratha
Maratha came to denote an endogamous caste. From 1900 onwards, the Satyashodhak Samaj movement defined the Marathas as a broader social category of non- Brahmin
Brahmin groups. These non-Brahmins gained prominence in Indian National Congress
Indian National Congress during the Indian independence movement. In independent India, these Marathas became the dominant political force in the newly-formed state of Maharashtra. The caste hierarchy in Maharashtra
Maharashtra is led by the Brahmins - Deshasthas, Chitpawans, Karhades, Saraswats and the CKPs. The Maratha are ranked lower than the Pathare Prabhus, CKPs, Brahmins etc. in the caste hierarchy but are considered higher than the Kunbi
Kunbi , backward castes and castes that were considered ritually impure. Internal diaspora
Arms of Maratha
Leaving for the Hunt, Gwalior, Edwin Lord Weeks, 1887
The empire also resulted in the voluntary relocation of substantial
Maratha and other Marathi-speaking people outside Maharashtra, and across a big part of India. Today several small but significant communities descended from these emigrants live in the north, south and west of India. These descendant communities tend often to speak the local languages, although many also speak Marathi in addition. Notable Maratha
Maratha families outside Maharashtra
Maharashtra include Bhonsle
Bhonsle of Tanjore, Scindia
Scindia of Gwalior, Gaekwad
Gaekwad of Baroda, Holkar
Holkar of Indore, Puar of Dewas and Dhar, Ghorpade of Mudhol. Varna status The varna of the Maratha
Maratha is a contested issue, with arguments for their being of the Kshatriya
Kshatriya (warrior) varna, and others for their being of Shudra
Shudra origins. This issue was the subject of antagonism between the Brahmins and Marathas, dating back to the time of Pratap Singh, but by the late 19th century moderate Brahmins were keen to ally with the influential Marathas of Bombay in the interests of Indian independence from Britain. These Brahmins supported the Maratha claim to Kshatriya
Kshatriya status, but their success in this political alliance was sporadic and fell apart entirely following independence in 1947. As late as the turn of 20th century, the Brahmin
Brahmin priests of Shahu, the Maratha
Maratha ruler of Kolhapur refused to use Vedic
Vedic mantras and would not take a bath before chanting, on the grounds that even the leading Marathas such as Shahu and his family belonged to the Shudra
Shudra varna. This opinion about the Shudra
Shudra varna was supported by Brahmin
Brahmin Councils in Maharashtra
Maharashtra and they stuck to their opinion even when they (the Brahmins) were threatened with the loss of land and property. This led to Shahu supporting Satyashodhak Samaj as well as campaigning for the rights of the Maratha
Maratha community. He soon became the leader of the non- Brahmin
Brahmin movement and united the Marathas under his banner. In the 21st century, the Government of Maharashtra
Maharashtra cited historical incidents for the claim of Shudra
Shudra status of prominent Maratha
Maratha families to form a case for reservation for the Marathas in the state. Political participation The 1919 Montagu–Chelmsford Reforms
Montagu–Chelmsford Reforms of the British colonial government called for caste based representation in legislative council.In anticipation a Maratha
Maratha league party was formed. The league and other groups came together to form the non-Brahmins party in the Marathi speaking areas in the early 1920s under the leadership of Maratha
Maratha leaders Keshavrao Jedhe and Baburao javalkar.Their early goals in that period were capturing the Ganpati and Shivaji
Shivaji festivals from Brahmin
Brahmin domination. They combined nationalism with anti-casteism as the party's aims.Later on in the 1930s, Jedhe merged the non- Brahmin
Brahmin party with the Congress party and changed the Congress party in the Maharashtra
Maharashtra region from an upper-caste dominated body to a more broadly based but Maratha-dominated party..Apart from Jedhe,most Congress leaders from the Maratha
Maratha / Kunbi
Kunbi community remained aloof from the Samyukta Maharashtra
Maharashtra campaign of the 1950s.However,they have dominated the state politics of Maharashtra
Maharashtra since its inception in 1960. The INC was the preferred party of the Maratha/ Kunbi
Kunbi community in the early days of Maharashtra
Maharashtra and the party was long without a major challenger, and enjoyed overwhelming support from the Maratha dominated sugar co-operatives and thousands of other cooperative organizations involved in the rural agricultural economy of the state such as marketing of dairy and vegetable produce, credit unions etc. The domination by Marathas of the cooperative institutions and with it the rural economic power allowed the community to control politics from the village level up to the Assembly and Lok Sabha
Lok Sabha seats.Since the 1980s, this group has also been active in setting up private educational institutions. Major past political figures of Congress party from Maharashtra
Maharashtra such as Keshavrao Jedhe, Yashwantrao Chavan, Shankarrao Chavan
Shankarrao Chavan and Vilasrao Deshmukh
Vilasrao Deshmukh have been from this group. Sharad Pawar, who had been a towering figure in Maharashtrian and national politics, belongs to this group. The state has had many Maratha
Maratha government ministers and officials, as well as in local municipal commissions, and panchayats. Marathas comprise around 32 per cent of the state population. 10 out of 16 chief ministers of Maharashtra
Maharashtra hailed from the Maratha
Maratha community as of 2012. The rise of the Hindu Nationalist Shiv Sena
Shiv Sena and Bharatiya Janata Party in recent years have not dented Maratha
Maratha representation in Maharashtra Legislative assembly. Military service Beginning early in the 20th century, the British categorized Maratha as a "martial race". Earlier listings of martial races had often excluded them, with Lord Roberts, commander-in-chief of the Indian Army 1885–1893, stating the need to substitute "more warlike and hardy races for the Hindusthani sepoys of Bengal, the Tamils and Telugus of Madras and the so-called Marathas of Bombay." Historian Sikata Banerjee notes a dissonance in British military opinions of the Maratha, wherein the British portrayed them as both "formidable opponents" and yet not "properly qualified" for fighting, criticising the Maratha
Maratha guerrilla tactics as an improper way of war. Banerjee cites an 1859 statement as emblematic of this disparity:
There is something noble in the carriage of an ordinary Rajput, and something vulgar in that of the most distinguished Mahratta. The Rajput is the most worthy antagonist, the Mahratta the most formidable enemy.
Maratha Light Infantry
Maratha Light Infantry regiment is one of the "oldest and most renowned" regiments of the Indian Army. Its First Battalion, also known as the Jangi Paltan ("Warrior Platoon"), traces its origins to 1768 as part of the Bombay Sepoys. The battle cry of Maratha Light Infantry
Maratha Light Infantry is Bol Shri Chattrapati Shivaji
Shivaji Maharaj ki Jai! ("Hail Victory to Emperor Shivaji!") in tribute to the Maratha
Maratha sovereign and their motto is Shatrujeet (victory over enemy). See also
^ The cited source is ambiguous as to what group of people it is
referring to when it states "Marathas are people of India, famed in
history as yeoman warriors and champions of Hinduism". It is not clear
Maratha means Marathi people
Marathi people in this context or the people belonging to Maratha
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v t e
Ethnic groups, social groups and tribes of
Goa and the Konkan region
Karhade Padye Bhatt Prabhu
Konkan Maratha Konkanastha Maratha
Gauda and Kunbi
Mahar (Mhar) Siddis of Karnataka
Goan Catholics Karwari Catholics Mangalorean Catholics East Indians
Goan Muslims Konkani Muslims Nawayath
Caste system in Goa Goans Ko