"The Sainis trace their origin to a Rajput clan who came from their original home near Muttra [sic] on the Jumna, south of Delhi, in defence of Hindus against the first Muhammadan invasions."
- The land of the five rivers; an economic history of the Punjab from the earliest times to the year of grace 1890, pp 100, Hugh Kennedy Trevaskis, [London] Oxford University press, 1928
Saini Online is an online journal and collaborative research project of serious academic scholars interested in exploring the textual sources and framing academic hypotheses about the history of once famed Surasena branch of Yadu Rajputs, whence Sainis of Punjab and neighboring region claim descent. This is not a community based social networking website and does not seek to promote or encourage caste or community based affiliations.
The main objective of this website is to reconstruct a narrative of the history of Saini community of Punjab by employing academic grade textual sources. Where those textual sources appear ambiguous, disjointed or lost hypotheses will be proposed in a theoretical framework grounded within the accepted methodological approaches of historiography.
More than one group has attempted either to co-opt or to misrepresent Saini identity. To the extent these co-options and misrepresentations have been the result of popular ignorance or paucity of textual sources, this online journal seeks to correct them by referring to scholarly sources and deconstructing the illogic and popular myth giving them life.
Saini history is inextricably intertwined with the history of both of these groups. Hence some commentary on the history and ethnography of these groups is unavoidable as a part of this project. Sainis of Punjab claim Rajput kshatriya ancestry from the famed Surasenas (Shoorsaini in Prakrit) of Mathura and at the same time have also been absorbed into the Sikh history, polity and identity in a substantial manner. Therefore, this website would tangentially comment on the history of both of these martial as well as agricultural groups, although always from a perspective specific to Saini history and cultural experience.
Although Sainis of Punjab are far from a group that can be termed subaltern in any authentic manner in socio-economic terms but they are at a numerical disadvandage within the classes , namely Sikh and Rajputs, in which their distinct historical and social experience has taken shape over saveral centuries.
Within contemporary Rajput representation structure, the historical discourse is dominated largely by the Rajput tribes of Rajputana which had managed to cling to power through compromises deemed unacceptable by certain others and were found to be in power in the middle of the 19th century when the British colonialists began to document the histories of sub continental ethnic groups in a manner that had some semblance of academic rigour and objectivity.
Within the contemporary Sikh representation structure, the historical discourse has come to be dominated , since the early twentieth century , by the predominant influence of a single ethnic group. This has resulted due to a multitude of factors, including, but not limited to, the overwhelming numerical superiority of this group over any other Sikh group, and, owing to the same factor, Western historians like McLeod choosing in some way to look at Sikhism merely as a phase of evolving history and politics of identity of this group rather than as a movement deeply inspired by a perennial well spring of Indian spirituality and military thought which was shared by many other Indian ethnic groups before the identity of this social group registered its presence in the sub continental history in any significant manner. Consequently, the narratives of other groups within Sikhism, who are now in a numerical minority, like those of Khatris, Rajputs , Mohyals, Dogras, Sansis, Labanas, Kambojs, Ramgarhias, etc , can now safely be termed as subaltern from an academic and social representation perspective, even though some of these groups were historically either at par or super-ordinate to this numerically dominant group in the historical social structure.
Commentaries and contributions are welcome from all individuals with scholarly interest, irrespective of their caste, creed, or nationality, so long as these contributions are grounded in authentic and verifiable historical texts and are expressed in a civil and dispassionate manner.
The content of this website remains subservient to the most arduous academic scrutiny and stays open and sensitive to all serious challenges of scholarly nature which are properly grounded in references and citations from reliable sources.
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A Sikh Cavalryman from Bengal Lancers
"Men of this tribe not seldom take service especially in cavalry."
-Final report of the revised settlement of the Jullundur District in the Punjab, pp 84, W.E. Purser, BCS, THE "CIVIL AND MILITARY GAZETTE" PRESS, Contractors to the Punjab Government, Lahore, 1892
A Historical Illustarion of Sikh Farmer of 19th century
Traditional Akali Soldiers of 19th century