Kshatriya (क्षत्रिय) is the title of the princely military order in the Vedic society. They are the warrior and ruling caste in the varna system.
Kṣatriya (क्षत्रिय) is derived from Sanskrit word kṣatra (क्षत्र). The word means the protector of land. They are supposed to uphold the code of honour, bravery and loyalty. Everyone in the military and governing hierarchy from king to village chief and from general to foot-soldier is a kshatriya. In ancient Hindu society, a person's aptitude ('guna'), conduct ('karma') and nature ('swabhava') were considered to assign his occupation. In the early Vedic civilization, the warrior caste was called Rājanya & Kshatriya. The former was an adjectival form of Rājan "ruler, king" from a root Rāj "to rule", cognate to the Latin Rex "king" and the German Reich "empire".
Panini on Kshatriya
V. S. Agrawala writes that Panini mentions Kshatriya caste in connection with Gotras, Janapadas and Sanghas. For example the Kuru Gotra appeared both in Brahmanas (IV.1.151) and Kshatriyas (IV.1.172). If the father was a Brahmana, he and his young (yuvan) son were both called Kauravya but if Kshatriya they would be Kauravya and Kauravyāyaṇi (II.4.58, Kashika).
Andhaka and Vrishni were Kshatriya Gotras. As to Kshatriyas associated with the janapadas, they as original founders gave their name to the region where they settled down (IV.1.168), the ruling families being designated as janapadins (IV.3.100); e.g. Panchala country named after Panchala Kshatriyas; similarly Dardistan from Darads, Johiyawar (Bahawalpur) from Yaudheyas; Malwa (in Ferozpur-Ludhiana) from ancient Malavas (now called Malavais). Panini especially mentions the Vahika Sangha (V.3.114), some dominated by Brahmans as ruling caste (Gopalavas), others by Rājanyas and called Rājanyaka (IV.2.53), most likely referring to Ranas of Hill states. The majority were Kshatriya sanghas, as Kshudrakas, Malavas (V.3.114, Kashika), Vṛikas (V.3.115), Yaudheyas (V.3.117). Distinguished Kshatriya heroes had become objects of religious bhakti (IV.3.99) before Panini time, referring to the popular cult of hero worship.
Rājanya - In the Samhitas Rājanya is a synonymous term with Kshatriya. Panini had retained the old sense of the word in sutra (IV.2.39), where as he has used it in a new constitutional significance in sutra VI.2.34 (Rajanya-bahuvachana-dvandve Andhaka- Vrishnishu), where as Kashika defines Rājanya as a member of such families in Kshatriya tribe as were consecrated to rulership (abhishikta-vaṁśya kshatriya)
Types of Kshatriyas
In modern India, caste is inherited. Most of the Kshatriya communities claim descent from Surya, Chandra, or Agni. The Surya descendants claim descent from Rama and the Chandra descendants claim Krishna as an ancestor. This is based on the writings of the Rig Veda and other Puranas. The vanshas develope according to the system of worship. Accordingly following categories of Kshatriyas exist in India.
These Kshatriya communities claim descent from Surya. One of sons of Brahma was Mārīcha, whose grandson was vivasvān, from whom started Suryavansha.
These Kshatriya communities claim descent from Chandra. One of Brahma's son was Ādī, whose son was Chandra (Soma), from whom started Chandravansh.
These Kshatriya communities claim descent from Agni.
Chandravanshi King Ayu had a king named Elakha in nineth generation, whose son was Nagas, from whom started Nagavansh. Prajapati Daksha's daughter was Sarma, who was wife of Suryavanshi king Kashyapa, who gave birth to son of Naga clan from whom started the Nagavansh.
Jats are kshatriyas
As per standards of Vedic Kshatriyas, Jats are the true Aryan belonging to Kshatriya varna. The Indo-Aryan origin of Jats has been advocated on the basis of ethnological, physical and linguistic standards by many historians like Ernest Binfield Havell, Kalika Ranjan Qanungo, Chintaman Vinayak Vaidya, Sir Herbert Risley, Thakur Deshraj, Mangal Sen Jindal etc.
- V. S. Agrawala: India as Known to Panini, 1953, p. 76
- Havell, Ernest Binfield (1918). The history of Aryan rule in India. Harrap. p. 32.
- Kalika Ranjan Qanungo: History of the Jats
- Chintaman Vinayak Vaidya: History of Medieval Hindu India
- Sir Herbert Risley: The People of India
- Thakur Deshraj: Jat Itihasa
- Jindal, Mangal Sen (1992). History of origin of some clans in India, with special reference to Jats. Sarup & Sons. ISBN 8185431086, 9788185431086.