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Any member of a caste of landowners located mainly in central and northern India. The Rajputs are organized in patrilineal clans and number about 12 million. They regard themselves as descendants or members of the Kshattriya (warrior ruling) class, though in fact they vary greatly in status. After the fall of the Gupta dynasty, invaders and indigenous peoples in northwestern India were probably integrated, the leaders in both groups becoming Kshattriyas. The Rajputs became important politically in the 9th–10th centuries, and for centuries they prevented complete Muslim domination of Hindu India. They eventually accepted Mughal overlordship and, in 1818, British suzerainty.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on Rajput, visit Britannica.com.