Raja

Raja

[rah-juh]
Rao, Raja, 1909-2006, Indian novelist, Hassan, Mysore (now in Karnataka), as Raja. Rao took his surname as an adult, and was educated in India and France and for many years divided his time among India, Europe, and the United States. From 1966 to 1980 he was professor of philosophy at the Univ. of Texas at Austin. His novels are considered to be among the finest Indian works written in English. The first, Kanthapura (1938), describes the daily life of Indian villages during a revolt against an overbearing plantation owner. Rao's commitment to Gandhian nonviolence is clearly revealed in his description of the peasants' conversion to the principle of civil disobedience. The Serpent and the Rope (1960) is a semiautobiographical account of a marriage between intellectuals that is destroyed by philosophical discord. His metaphysical novel The Cat and Shakespeare (1965) is a tale of individual destiny. In Comrade Kirillov (1976) he examines the political complexities of Indian liberalism, and in The Chessmaster and His Moves (1988) he treats the quest for identity in various cultural contexts. Rao's works are profoundly serious, reflecting his abiding concern with the potential clashes between pragmatism and ideals. He published two collections of short stories, The Cow of the Barricades and Other Stories (1947) and The Policeman and the Rose (1978), and several works of nonfiction, including a biography of Gandhi (1998).

See studies by M. K. Naik (1972), K. K. Sharma, ed. (1980), P. Sharrad (1987), S. A. Narayan (1988), N. Nanda (1992), E. Dey (1997), A. S. Rao (1999), R. Ramachandra, ed. (2000), R. Mittapalli and P. P. Piciucco, ed. (2001), and M. Sachdey (2006).

For other uses, see Raja (disambiguation) and Rajah (disambiguation).

A Raja (Sanskrit राजा (rājā), also spelled Rajah) is a monarch, or princely ruler of the Kshatriya varna.

The title has a long history in the Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia, being attested from the Rigveda. It can also be used as a name for non-royal Indians.

Sanskrit word rājā cognate to Latin rēgis, the Gaulish rīx etc. (originally denoting tribal chiefs or heads of small 'city states'), ultimately a vrddhi derivation from a PIE root '' "to straighten, to order, to rule".

Rather common variants in Hindi, used for the same royal rank in (parts of) India include Rana, Rao, Raol, Rawal and Rawat. The female form, queen, mainly used for a Raja's wife, is रानि (rāni) (sometimes spelled Ranee), from Sanskrit राज्ञी (rājñī) (compare Old Irish rígain) or Thai Rajanee (Queen).

Raja, the lower title Thakore and many variations, compounds and derivations including either of these were used in and around India by most Hindu Muslim and some Buddhist and Sikh rulers, while Muslims also used Nawab or Sultan, and still is commonly used in India.

However in Pakistan, Raja is still used by many Muslim Rajput clans as hereditary titles.

Raja is also used as a name by Hindus and Sikhs.

Compound and derived titles

A considerable number of princely styles, used by rulers, their families and/or even enobled courtiers, include the title/root Raja:

  • Rao Raja, a juxtaposition of two equivalent titles, was used by the rulers of Bundi until they were awarded the higher title of Maharao Raja.
  • Raja Bahadur is a typical Mughal compound, as the adjective Bahadur 'valourous' always raises one rank in the imperial court protocol; in the specific hierarchy among the (en)noble(d) Hindu retainers at the court of the Muslim Nizam of Hyderabad, it was the equivalent of the rank Nawab for Muslim members of the retinue.
  • Maharaja and equivalent compound of variants on Raja with the prefix Maha- 'Great' (e.g. Maharana, Maharawal) mean Great King; the word originally denoted a Raja who had conquered other Rajas, thus becoming a great ruler, but was soon adopted or awarded by the paramount ruler of India (Mughal or British) as a hollow style too, causing too massive title inflation and devaluation to remain a truly high distinction.
  • Raja Perumal means godly king - supposed to be the greatest title assigned to an Indian king. Legacy has it that kings with the title have time and time again defeated acts of denigration by Parama, the jealous warmonger.
  • Rajadhiraja means King of Kings; again, through title devaluation this is less prestigious then the equivalents in most linguistic families.
  • in South India, the title of the Samrat (Hindu 'emperor') of Vijayanagar was Raya instead of (Maha)Raja.
  • A number of medieval rulers in Southeast Asia used variants such as the devotional titles Buddharaja and Devaraja or the geographically specific Lingaraja.
  • Uparaja (with its own variations and derivations; can mean viceroy or other high dynastic ranks).
  • Racha Khan (Raja Khan) the common title for the King of Thailand (see also 'Khan')

Rajas in the Malay world

  • The ruler of the state of Perlis, Malaysia is titled the Raja of Perlis. Most of the other state rulers are titled Sultans. Nevertheless, the Raja has equal status with the other rulers and is one of the electors who designate one of their number as the Yang di-Pertuan Agong every five years.
  • The White Rajahs of Sarawak in Borneo were James Brooke and his dynasty.
  • In the Philippines, Vicentine diarist Antonio Pigafetta relates in his account of the first circumnavigation that when Fernão de Magalhães (Ferdinand Magellan) reached on March 28, 1521 the island-port of Mazaua in Mindanao("masawa" is a Butuanon word meaning "brightly lit") he was met by Raia Siaiu, king of Mazaua, and Raia Calambu, king of Butuan. Magalhães/Magellan entered into the first recorded blood compact (cassi cassi was the Malayan term Magellan used) with Raia Siaiu. When the Spanish fleet, led by Miguel Lopez de Legaspi, arrived in Manila, they were met by Rajah Sulaiman. This indicates that Pre-Hispanic Manila probably had the same social structure as Indonesia. In Mindanao, various subdivisional princes in Sulu were given the titles Raja or Maharaja.

  • Various traditional princely states in Indonesia still style their ruler Raja, or did so until their abolition after which the title became hollow, e.g. Buleleng on Bali.

Notes

3. In the book "One Grain of Rice" by Demi ISBN 0-590-93998X there are two main characters. One is the Raja and the other is a peasant girl called Rani. The book demonstrates the power of doubling where Rani asks to be rewarded by receiving a grain of rice on the first day and doubling each day for thirty days.

See also

Sources and references

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