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For other uses, see Raja and Rajah .

Raja (also spelled Rajah, from Sanskrit , nominative ) is the Hindustani term for a monarch, or princely ruler of the Kshatriya varna. The female form, the word for "queen", mainly used for a Raja's wife, is Rani (sometimes spelled Ranee), from Sanskrit .

The title has a long history in the Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia, being attested from the Rigveda, where a is a tribal chief, see for example the ( ), the "battle of ten kings".

Sanskrit is cognate to Latin rēx (genitive rēgis), Gaulish rīx etc., originally denoting tribal chiefs or heads of small 'city states'. It is ultimately derived from a PIE , a vrddhi formation to the root "to straighten, to order, to rule". The Sanskrit n-stem is secondary in the male title, apparently adapted from the female counterpart which also has an -n- suffix in related languages, compare Old Irish rígain and Latin regina. Cognates of the word Raja in other Indo-European languages include English reign and German reich.

Rather common variants in Hindi, used for the same royal rank in parts of India include Rana, Rao, Raol, Rawal and Rawat.

Raja, the lower title Thakore and many variations, compounds and derivations including either of these were used in and around South Asia by most Hindu, Muslim and some Buddhist and Sikh rulers, while Muslims also used Nawab or Sultan, and still is commonly used in Indiamarker. In Pakistanmarker, Raja is still used by many Muslim Rajput clans as hereditary titles. Raja is also used as a given name by Hindus and Sikhs.

Rajas in the Malay world

  • The ruler of the state of Perlismarker, Malaysiamarker 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.

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

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Sources and references

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