Rajasthani society is a blend of predominantly Hindus with sizable minorities of Muslims and Jains. However, regardless of their religious segments, Muslim, Hindu, and Jain Rajasthanismingle with each other socially.
Shaivism and Vaishnavism are followed by majority of the people. However, Shaktism (a Hindu denomination) is also followed in the state with the worship of Goddess Bhavani and her avatars by many people.
Jats are mostly Hindus and Sikhs. Meenas of Rajasthan are rooted in Vedic culture.They worship Bhainroon (Shiva) and Krishna as well as the Durga. The Rajputs are the warriorclass and they generally worship the Sun, Lord Shiva, LordVishnu, and Bhavani (Goddess Durga).
The Gurjars who are guardians of the land from invaders worship the Sun god, God Devnarayan, Lord Vishnu, Lord Shiva, and Goddess Bhavani. Historically, the Gurjars were Sun-worshipers and are devoted to the feet of the Sun god. Marathi Bhakti movement by Mahanubbavis and Virakaripanthis had immense influence on the development of Rajasthani Bhakti movement.
Meerabai was an important figure during Rajasthani Bhakti movement.
Muslims are predominantly Sunnis in Rajasthan. They are mainly Meo, Mirasi, Qaimkhani, Manganiar, Muslim Ranghar, Merat, Sindhi-Sipahi, Rath, and Pathans. With the introduction of Islam, many community members converted to Islam, but still followed their earlier traditions.
Rajasthani Muslims even after their conversion continued to follow the pre-conversion practices including rituals and customs. There is a strong cultural identity among Rajasthanis cutting across religious and caste barriers. Muslim population is roughly 47,88,227, accounting for 8.5% of the total population in Rajasthan.
Buddhism, Christianity and Parsi are also followed by select groups in specific areas of the state. Over time, there has been an increase in the number of followers of Sikh religion. Though Buddhism emerged as a major religion during 321-184 BC in Mauryan Empire, it had no influence in Rajasthan.
For the Mauryan Empire had minimal impact on Rajasthan and its culture. Although Jainism is not very popular in Rajasthan at present, select areas in the state and Gujarat are historically strong centres of Jainism in India.
Caste and village bonding plays an important role in the life of Rajasthanis. The people of Rajasthan form an ethno-linguistic group that is distinct in its language, history, cultural and religious practices. The social structure, literature and art follow a regimented hierarchy that is sacred and can't be violated.
Major sub ethnic groups are Ahirs, Jats, Gurjars, Rajputs, Rajput Mali, Meenas, Bhils, Kalvi, Garasia and Kanjar. The Khatik are widely distributed community in North India. Each Khatik group has its own origin myth.
What they have in common is that they were historically Kshatriyas who were assigned to kill animals in yagas performed by kings. At present, Khatiks have the right to kill animals during 'bali' offerings at Hindu temples.
Due to scarcity of water and lack of adequate medical facilities, the people in western Rajasthan especially in the desert region have to face many problems. The rural children are deprived of quality education as modern school system is yet to make its presence felt in the hinterland. The womenfolk had to walk for hours to fetch a few pots of water.
Their daily household chores force them to do all sort of tough, back-breaking work. In the Thar Desert, rural people – especially women and children – don't not have proper access to medical facilities. The rigid caste system dominates life in rural Rajasthan and families have to strictly abide by the diktats of the local panchayats.
Opium addiction in Rajasthan is also a growing menace as youth fall easy prey to such drug abuse. Moreover, with recurrence of drought, people in Thar Desert have to suffer from a plethora of social problems like crop failure, poverty and social depravity. A number of NGOs and government-aided social networks have been active in rural areas of Rajasthan to create awareness and sensitise the people for a better tomorrow.
Yet challenges persist in remote, rural areas particularly the lack of proper education, access to schools and hospitals. Since girls used to help their mothers in fetching water and other chores, they were not able to study. To ameliorate this deficit in education, NGOs and social groups have opened schoolscloser to their homes.
Youth in rural areas have no choice but to migrate to cities like Jaipur, Udaipur and Jodhpur in search of secure employment.For agriculture is always a risky venture depending on extraneous factors like rain, soil fertility and good support price. Faced with the mass exodus, the rural areas are left with no young people and hence very little productivity takes in the villages of Rajasthan.
Jaipur, the capital of Rajasthan, is also called the Pink City. This beautiful city is a perfect mix of both the urban comforts and pastoral beauty that some people look out for to settle in their life. At one end, the city has a structured transport, high profile societies, modern era malls, wide roads, world trade park, J.L.N. Marg and other urban facilities. While at the other end, there is Old Jaipur full of historical buildings, festivals and rural charm.
One can find a right balance in life without missing out the simplicity of rural life. For some people, Jaipur is the dream city to life as it is clean, green and without any pollution. The people are friendly and it is easy to interact with them to meet your basic needs of life. Royal cities like Jodhpur and Udaipur too hold lot of attractions to outsiders.
But these cities may not guarantee the urban comforts that Jaipur provides to foreigners and Indians alike. There are tier-II and III cities like Jaisalmer, Bikaner, Pushkar, Bhilwara, Bhiwadi, Bharatpur and Alwar which can be visited for sights-seeing and exploration as part of tourist packages.
With the steady of flow of tourists, service sector flourishes in tier-II cities as foreigners are in need of hotels, cottages, restaurants and other amenities for their comfortable stay. Hence, there is scope for creating more jobs in tourist cities like Udaipur and Jodhpur to cater to the needs of outsiders.
The government will have to pitch in with more investment to create social facilities and basic infrastructure for pushing up the global profile of these tourist hot-spots. But at present living there (tier-II cities) permanently may not be conducive to those who had lived in urban clusters and other metros of India. Marwaris flourish in business Marwaris, as the name suggests, is a term for people hailing from the Marwar region in the desert reaches of Rajasthan.
At present, Marwari refers to the Baniya (Vaishya, or trader caste) people from all over Rajasthan. The Marwaris are known for their trading skills and businessmen acumen. They have migrated from Rajasthan and had settled in all parts of India.
Mostly in financing and money-lending business, they are into small enterprises generating wealth and employment in their place of stay. Over the decades, Marwaris have built up a reputation for hard work and perseverance in their chosen field. With an established brand name in business, Marwaris are people one can trust for borrowing money or pledging valuables to avail easy loans from them.