1 a Hindu prince or king in India [syn: rajah]
2 type genus of the family Rajidae [syn: genus Raja]
- Alternative spelling of rajah.
EtymologyFrom a language, cf. kraj.
- Rhymes: -ɑjɑ
- Hyphenation: ra·ja
- ratu (queen)
- ray (a fish)
A Rajah, translated means a Monarch. A Raja (Sanskrit ) is a monarch, or princely ruler from the Kshatriya / Rajput lineages. 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 is an n-stem, with nominative . It is cognate to Latin rēx, 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 Rani (sometimes spelled Ranee), from Sanskrit (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.
Raja is also used as a name by Hindus and Sikhs.
Compound and derived titlesA 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).
Rajas in the Malay worldThe ruler of Perlis (a constitutive peninsular state of federal Malaysia, most colleagues are Sultans; he is one of the electors who designate one of their number as King every five years) is to this day title the Raja of Perlis.
- The White Rajahs of Sarawak in Borneo were James Brooke and his dynasty.
- In the Philippines, various subdivisional princes in Sulu were given the titles Raja or Maharaja. The Raja is also known as Hari in Tagalog dialect.
- 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.
Notes3. 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.
Sources and references
raja in Bulgarian: Раджа
raja in Danish: Raja
raja in German: Raja
raja in Spanish: Rajá
raja in French: Râja
raja in Italian: Raja
raja in Hebrew: רג'ה
raja in Hungarian: Radzsa
raja in Malay (macrolanguage): Raja
raja in Dutch: Radja (titel)
raja in Japanese: ラージャ
raja in Norwegian: Raja
raja in Polish: Radża
raja in Portuguese: Rajá
raja in Russian: Раджа
raja in Tagalog: Raha
raja in Ukrainian: Раджа
raja in Chinese: 拉者