History of Rajasthan

An older name of Rajasthan is Rajputana -the land of the Rajputs. Although there are many other racial groups in the state, the martial Rajputs have dominated its history through the centuries. They trace their descent to the royal dynasties mentioned in the Ramayana and the Mahabharata. The Sisodias, the Rathors and the Kachchwahas belong to the Solar line; the Bhatis and the tanwars come from the Lunar line. The Solankis, the Parmars, the Pralihars and the Chauhans are said to have originated from a Yajna (a sacrificial fire). The story of Rajasthan is the story of chivalry and bravery. In the 12th century the Rajput princes fought and checked the Muslim invasions for long. Ultimately although they submitted themselves to the Delhi Sultanate, they never relished it. In 1526 came Babur, the founder of the Mughal rule. Sangram Singh of Mewar defied him. It is his defeat in the battle of Khanua that made it possible for the Mughals to subdue Rajputana and thereby the rest of India. However, it was not until Akbar initiated his policy of friendship and skilful diplomacy that the Mughals could really claim Rajputana with confidence. Even then Mewar valiantly resisted till the time of Jahangir. Trouble started again because of the religious intolerance of Aurangzeb. Thereafter, although the Mughal power declined, Rajputana could not enjoy freedom and stability due to attacks from the Maratha powers. That made it easy for the ambitious British to step in as the protector of the princely states of Rajasthan, 20 in all, and annexed them. The princes allowed the merger of their states into the Union of India on the nation's achieving freedom.

History of Rajasthan dates back the prehistoric times. There is evidence to show that not only eastern parts comprising Udaipur, Kota, Bundi, Jaipur, Alwar and Bharatpur, but even Jodhpur and Bikaner, the former on the border of Thar proper and the latter in the heart of the desert, were populated by Indian tribes from 5th century onwards and Bikaner could support a flourishing riverian civilization as early as 3000-500 B.C. on the banks of the ancient Saraswati of the modern Hakra or Ghaggar. That, parts of Rajasthan were inhabited from earliest period of man’s existence, is agreed to by the archaeologists and historians. Bikaner in the north, Jodhpur in the centre and Jaisalmer and Lodurva in the west were really oasis of civilization in the arid expanse of sand and prosperous towns like Nagari near Chittorgarh, Nagar near Uniara, Pushkar near Ajmer and Sambhar, Rairh and Bairath (Virat) near Jaipur flourished during early historical period from 300 B.C. to 400 A.D.

Rajasthan as it is today has never at one time been administratively under one authority. Historically, the integrated units have a past which it as ancient as it is varied. The present Bikaner area and northern parts of Jodhpur are identified with “Jangal-Desha” of the Mahabharat with its capital at Ahichatrapur, today’s Nagaur. This very area later on enlarged into ‘Sapadlaksha’ with its capital at Sakambhari or Sambhar. The Mahabharat speaks of the “Jangal-Desha” as comprised in the Kuru Kingdom, while ‘Matsya’ parts of Alwar, Jaipur and Bharatpur—was counted as an ally. A clearer historical picture of Rajasthan begins to emerge from the age of the Mauryas. Two inscriptions of Ashoka have been found at Bairath in Jaipur district and there is enough material to show that Chittorgarh was ruled by the Mauryas for a fairly long time. An inscription found at Kanswa near Kota suggests that they held their sway in that part also.

Since 400 A.D. to 1200 A.D. and afterwards there was a mass migrations of tribes and the ancient kingdoms of the Rajput clans came into being more rapidly after the Muslim invasions. But although the Rajput princes had been governing their respective territories for a considerable period, conditions were far from settled all the time. An older name of Rajasthan is Rajputana -the land of the Rajputs. Although there are many other racial groups in the state, the martial Rajputs have dominated its history through the centuries. They trace their descent to the royal dynasties mentioned in the Ramayana and the Mahabharata. The Sisodias, the Rathors and the Kachchwahas belong to the Solar line; the Bhatis and the Tanwars come from the Lunar line. The Solankis, the Parmars, the Pralihars and the Chauhans are said to have originated from a Yajna (a sacrificial fire). Often there were feuds and disputes among the different clans and law and order suffered further when incessant wars were waged against the Mohammedans. The first contacts of the Muslims with Rajasthan were through Sindh in the late ninth or early tenth centuries when the Rajputs—the Gahlots, the Chauhans, the Rathores, the Kachwahas, the Bhaties and the Parmars had all found their respective kingdoms by annihilating the local tribes.

By the 13th century, the Chauhans gained much power and glory, their domains extending as far as Delhi. The year 1193 A.D. was an epoch-making year not only in the history of Rajasthan, but of the whole of India. During this year, the Chauhan King Prithviraj was defeated and killed by Shamsuddin Muhammed Gori and both Delhi and Ajmer were lost by the Rajputs. The various ruling clans, however, continued to make history through their resistance to the changing Muslim dynasties at Delhi and the exploits of the heroes of Mewar, the Rathores and the Hada Chauhans form some of the most luminous chapters of India's history. The story of Rajasthan is the story of chivalry and bravery. In the 12th century the Rajput princes fought and checked the Muslim invasions for long. Ultimately although they submitted themselves to the Delhi Sultanate, they never relished it. In 1526 came Babur, the founder of the Mughal rule. Sangram Singh of Mewar defied him. It is his defeat in the battle of Khanua near Fatehpur Sikri that made it possible for the Mughal to subdue Rajputana and thereby the rest of India. Gradually all Rajasthan barring Mewar acknowledged Mughal suzerainty when Akbar occupied the imperial throne. Under Akbar’s rule, Rajput civilization and ways of life were influenced by the imperial court and its sophisticated fashions. The blending of these two cultures was manifest in both Mughal and Rajput architecture, painting and court life to their common benefit. However, this stability so essential for sustaining a prosperous economic and cultural life was not to stay under the last of the Mughal and during the break-up of the Mughal monarchy, almost chaotic conditions prevailed partly due to the intrigues and strife let loose at the Rajput courts and partly due to the inability and weakness of the rulers who had turned to a life of ease and pleasure. Trouble started again because of the religious intolerance of Aurangzeb. Thereafter, although the Mughal power declined, Rajputana could not enjoy freedom and stability due to attacks from the Maratha powers. That made it easy for the ambitious British to step in as the protector of the princely states of Rajasthan, 20 in all, and annexed them.

The establishment of British rule by 1818 A.D. when, the British East India Company had concluded treaties with all the states of Rajasthan, restored peace and order to Rajasthan. It had been the history of the clans that ruled over their respective territories in their own right. Whatever records are available are a narrative of the heroic deeds of the ruling chiefs and the nobility and their varied achievements in the days of feudal glory and greatness, of knightly honour, adventure and romance.

Rajasthan during British Rule: It is, however, an acknowledged fact that the history of Rajasthan is a record of recklessness and disunion of Rajputs. It was this characteristic that led them to acknowledge the suzerainty of the Mughal and when this central power broke up, the feudal anarchy was at its peak in Rajasthan, bringing in degeneration in all fields. The chaotic conditions that prevailed then invited and facilitated British interference and when the new power finally established itself as the paramount power, even the proudest of the Rajput states looked upon and accepted it. Under Pax Britannica, the ruling princess of Rajasthan or the various states in the Rajputana Agency, enjoyed independence and lull powers in respect of internal administration, the revenues of the state were expended at their personal pleasure on themselves, their relations and favourites.

This despotic and feudal rule was further strengthened by the Jagir system which the British Government protected from undue interference by the rulers and enabled the jagirdars to rule in their petty estates as freely and arbitrarily as the princes. The result was that the people suffered from double bondage in the areas known as jagirs, and the state could not keep pace with the progress of development taking place in the then British Indian provinces. Natural calamities, the most frequent being the famine resulting from failure of monsoon, added to the backwardness of the area as the princely states, isolated as they were in their resources, could not launch any major scheme to mitigate the suffering and ensure the future well-being of the people. Barring a few more important states, no administrative system could be built up and the standard of social services remained very low in a large the State.

National Movement in Rajasthan: The people were not altogether indifferent to the conditions then prevailing. The national movement gaining strength in British India began to stir Rajasthan also after the partition of Bengal. The Arjun Lal Sethi of Jaipur, Thakur Keshri Singh Barhat of Shapura, Rao Gopal Singh of Kharwa and Damodur Das Rathi of Beawar did pioneering work to build the national movement in their respective areas. Ajmer became the centre of patriots and gained much importance during the non-Cooperation Movement of 1921 and the Civil Disobedience Movement of 1930-32. The first political agitation launched in a princely state was that of Bijolia in Mewar led by Vijai Singh Pathik. The cultivators of this area refused to pay lag-bags—indiscriminate cesses—and their Satyagrah was finally crowned with success. This inspired the whole of Rajasthan and grievances again feudal exploitation and curbs on civil liberties were voiced in on organized way in Bundi, Sirohi, Jaipur, Jodhpur and other states. Praja Mandals were formed in the various .States and they became the organs to voice people’s political aspirations.

These attempts were followed by repression and police atrocities. In 1925 a whole village of 350 houses in Alwar was net on fire and about 100 people shot dead. Balmukund Bissa of Jodhpur, Sagar Mai Gopa of Jaisalmer and Ramesh Swami of Bharatpur became martyrs and hundreds were jailed for defying the authorities. The year 1942 brought in a fresh wave of agitations in many states. In 1947 the All India States’ Peoples Conference met for the first time in a princely state. This session, held at Udaipur under the presidentship of Jawahar Lai Nehru, aroused new hopes of freedom and Self-Government among the people of Rajasthan.

Independence and Formation of Rajasthan: With the advent of independence on 15th August, 1947, there began that peaceful and bloodless revolution by which the late Sardar Patel accomplished the integration of the 563 odd jagirs into administratively viable and homogenous units within a very short span of time. Rajasthan as it is today, in the result of this process of integration and amalgamation achieved in different stages. The Matsya Union comprising four states, namely, Aiwar, Bharatpur, Dholpur and Karauli was inaugurated on March 18, 1948 by N.V. Gadgil, the then Union Minister for Works, Mines and Power. A week later he also inaugurated the first Rajasthan Union comprising Banswara, Bundi, Dungarpur, Jhalawar, Kishangarh, Shahpura and Tonk. Within three days of the inception of this new state, the Maharana of Udaipur agreed to the merger of his state into the Union.

Thus the new Rajasthan Union with Udaipur as its capital came into being on April, 18, 1948, and was inaugurated by Prime Minister Jawahar Lai Nehru. The four bigger States, viz, Jaipur, Jodhpur, Bikaner and Jaisalmer, which had so far remained aloof, also joined the Rajasthan Union in March, 1949. This led to the formation of Greater Rajasthan which was inaugurated by Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel on March 30, 1949.

The administration of Matsya Union was transferred to Rajasthan on May 15th,1949. Sirohi State was split in January, 1950, Abu and Dilwara Talukas having been transferred to Mumbai and the rest merged with Rajasthan. This caused widespread resentment in Rajasthan, but six years later, on November 1,1956, Ajmer, the centrally administered Part C State, Abu, a part of the MumbaiBombay State and Sunel Tappa of the Bhanputa Tehsil of Mandsore district of former Madhya Bharat were integrated with Rajasthan following the recommendation of the States Reorganization Commission. The subdivision of Sirohi was taken away from Rajasthan and included in the new state Madhya Pradesh. The present state of Rajasthan is, therefore, a combination of some 22 princely states, big and small, and the centrally administered area of Ajmer.

The Annals of Covenanting States: Since the history of Rajasthan up to the date the rulers of the erstwhile states signed the covenant of merger and integration, has been the history of these states, it would be relevant to recall some important facts about them.

Alwar: Founded in 1775 by Rao Pratap Singh Naruka, state of Alwar was carved out by the Lalawats, a branch of the Kachwahas. The state became famous during the reign of Maharaja Jai Singh whose ideas on the shape of things to come in India annoyed the British at the 1931 Round-Table Conference. Political activity in this small state began in 1925 when the Biswedars opposed the Maharaja and some 100 people were killed by machinegun fire in Nimuchana village. The Alwar Praja Mandal agitated for frill responsible Government, in 1946 and this led to many arrests and police atrocities. In 1947, the ruler made a declaration to include three popular ministers in the State Council, but the Praja Mandal did not accept it. The State was later merged with Matsya Union in 1948.

Bharatpur: Bharatpur was founded by Raja Surajmal, a Sinsinwar Jat in 1733. The State gained much celebrity throughout India for withstanding the British siege laid by Lord Lake in 1805 to the capital. It was only in 1826 that the British army entered Bharatpur for the first time. Owing to the direct administration of the British political Agent, civil liberties were strictly$enied to the people ever since Maharaja Ram Singh was made to abdicate in 1900. The Praja Mandal was founded in 1939 but it could be registered only after nine months’ Satyagrah. The biggest agitation launched by the Praja Mandal was in 1947 when Ramesh Swami, a Satyagrahi, was killed and many injured. In 1948, Bharatpur became a part of the Matsya Union.

Dholpur: This state traced its history from the 11th Century. The Maharaj Rana of Dholpur signed a treaty with the British in 1779. The late Maharaj Rana Udai Bhan Singh was, for sometime, the Vice-Chancellor of the Chamber of Princes.

Karauli: The Yadava Rajas of Karuli trace their descent from Lord Krishan and claim to have once ruled over the entire Braj country. The State entered into British alliance in 1817.

Banswara: The feudal Srtate of Banswara was created out of Dungarpur about 1518 A.D. Maharawal Jagmal was the founder. Maharawal Prithvi Singh merged the State with former Rajasthan Union.

Bundi: In 1242 A.D. Desraj a Hara Chauhan, captured Bundi from the Minas and founded the State which made a name for itself in the 15th Century for the stubborn and gallant fight it put against Mewar. The war-like Haras of Bundi were among the most loyal and dauntless supporters of their Moghul allies in the 16th and 17th centuries. Maharao Chatrasal sided with Dara Shikoh in the war of succession among Shahjahan’s sons and died in the battle of Dorai.

Dungarpur: Ruled by the Sisodia Rajputs, a junior branch of the Mewar royal family, the hills state of Dungarpur had an area of 1,460 sq. miles. Political awakening in this state was the result of the various activities of the Bhil Sewa Mandal. The Dungarpur Praja Mandal was established through the efforts of Bhogi Lai Pandya and other workers. There was a popular Ministry for a short period before the state was merged with former Rajasthan Union.

Jhalawar: The State of Jhalawar was created out of territory of Kota State in 1899A.D. for the descendants of Zalim Singh Jhala, the Regent of Kota. The Maharaj-Rana of Jhalawar had announced the setting up of a Constitution Drafting Body in 1947, but the State joined former Rajasthan in Match, 1948.

Kishangarh: This state was founded in 1596 AD. by Kishan Singh, younger son of Maharaja Udai Singh of Jodhpur.

Kota: Madho Singh, younger son of Maharao Ratan Singh of Bundi, gained independent possession of Kota and the neighbouring areas through the favours of Jahangir in 1625 A.D. In due course, this state outgrew the parent state of Bundi. The credit for building the nationalist movement in Kota goes to Abhinna Hari and his comrades. They launched a mass movement in 1946-47. In March, 1948 Kota became the capital and its Maharao, the Rajpramukh of Rajasthan. Only two months later the Rajasthan Union comprising Kota and other states was inaugurated at Udaipur.

Mewar (Udaipur): The rulers of Mewar of Udaipur claim the noblest descent and most ancient lineage not only among the ruler of Rajasthan but of the whole of India. Many an illustrious name that illumine in the history of Rajasthan, were the rulers of Mewar. The family traces its origin from Bappa Rawal who conquered Chittorgarh by the close of 734 A.D. Ever since the Muslims began to rise, the Maharanas of Mewar always placed themselves in the front line as defenders of faith and the heroic tales of Rana Kumbha, Rana Hamir, Rana Sanga, Maharana Pratap and Raj Singh are common throughout India. Mewar made history again in 1918 when the first ever non-violent agitation in Rajasthan was launched by the cultivators of Bijolia. The Kisans of Begun followed them. In 1921 the Bhila rose against the arbitrary cesses and taxes of the Jagirdars and the Government of Mewar under the late Moti Lal Tejawat. Tejawat was sentenced to seven years imprisonment but ultimately, the state had to withdraw many of the cesses. The Mewar Praja Mandal was founded in 1938 and was declared unlawful. The year 1942 brought in fresh trouble, but all the arrested workers were released soon after. In 1947, Government employees struck work demanding reasonable pay and police had to retort to firing to disperse a crowd. The State acceded to Indian Union soon after independence and merged itself into former Rajasthan in May, 1948.

Partabgarh: This small state also belonged to a junior branch of the Mewar family.

Shahpura: The tiny feudal state of Shahpura is known for the initiative and drive it showed in delegating power to a popular Government headed by Gokul Lal Asawa in 1947 AD. A Constituent Assembly was also set up and given all powers to draft a constitution. The state, however, joined the Rajasthan Union in 1948.

Tonk: Like Jhalawar, Tonk was a new state created by the British in a bid to restore peace and order in Rajasthan. The area was granted to Amir Khan, the Pindari leader, with the consideration that he would disband his free-booters.

Jaipur: The Kachhwaha state of Amber—Jaipur is known in history as staunch supporter and ally of the Mughal regime. Akbar’s famous General Raja Man Singh, fought and won many a battle for his Imperial Master. Mirza Raja Jai Singh and Sawai Jai Singh were equally noted for their military powers and diplomatic skill in the affairs of the Mughal Empire. The latter is remembered as a mathematician astronomer and town-planner. Political awakening in Jaipur dates back to the days of minority of the last Maharaja. The Praja Mandal was founded in 1931, but its first regular annual session was held in 1938 with the late Seth Jamna Lal Bajaj in the chair. In 1938, the Praja Mandal launched a mass movement against the curbs on the civil liberties of the people and to give vent to the demand of responsible government, under the aegis of the Maharaja. Jamna Lal Bajaj, Hira Lal Shashtri and others were arrested and detained. The state, however, had to come to terms with the Praja Mandal. Then the farmers agitated in Shekhawati. The Jaipur Legislative Council composed of 51 members, a majority of them elected, resolved to have full responsible government in the state in 1946. The first non-official minister to be appointed in any state in Rajputana was sworn in as a member of the Jaipur Cabinet in 1946. In March, 1948, Jaipur had an interim government responsible to the state legislature. The state joined Greater Rajasthan in March, 1949 when Jaipur became the capital and its Maharaja the Rajpramukh of the new state.

Jaisalmer: Situated deep in the Thar desert, Jaisalmer has a common border with Pakistan. The state traced its origin from Maharawal Jaisal, who founded Jaisalmer in 1212 A. D. The state concluded a treaty of alliance with the British in 1818. Jaisalmer political struggle since 1921 was marked with repression and police atrocities. The late Sagarmal Gopa became a martyr under suspicious circumstances in Jaisalmer Jail.

Bikaner: The northern-most desert state of Bikaner belonged to the junior branch of Rathores of Jodhpur. Like Jaipur, Bikaner was an active and powerful ally of the Mughal. The state acquired much fame and prosperity during the reign of Maharaja Ganga Singh, famous as the founder of the Chamber of Princes—co-sponsor of the first parliamentary reforms in British India. He led Bikaner from mediaeval to the modem era. Political movement in Bikaner began during Maharaja Ganga Singh's reign and Mahant Gopal Das, Khubram Saraf and others had to undergo prolonged trials and protracted sentence of imprisonment for treason. In 1942, Raghuvar Dayal Goyal and some of his friends founded the Praja Parishad and in 1945, cultivators of Dudhwa Khara rose in protest against Jagirdars’ atrocities. Hundreds of peasants courted arrest and many were injured in police lathicharges and firing. Early in 1948, the late Maharaja Sardul Singh accepted to have an interim government, with equal number of official and non-official members. The state joined Greater Rajasthan in 1949.

Jodhpur: Commonly known as Marwar, Jodhpur was the largest princely state to merge with Rajasthan. It had an area of 36,021 sq. miles. Although the Rathores had come in this part of the country and made a conquest of Mandore in 1434, it was Rao Jodha (1453-88) who consolidated the state. Rao Maldeo (1531-1562) was one of the most powerful rulers of his time and Maharaja Jaswant Singh I (1638-1678) was a great general under Shahjehan. Political awakening in Jodhpur originated with Marwar Sewa Sangh in 1920. Later Marwar Hitkarini Sabha was founded and the late Jai Narain Vyas became its secretary. In 1938, the Marwar Lok Parishad was founded and it fought vigorously and almost ceaselessly for the people's causes from 1940 to 1945. Police atrocities particularly in jails, were at their worst and many workers went on hunger-strike. Balmukund Bisa died as a result of these atrocities. In 1947, Jai Narain Vyas became Chief Minister of the state, but the cabinet could be reorganized only in September, 1948. The state joined Rajasthan in 1949.

Sirohi: The small feudal state of Sirohi was ruled by Deora Chauhans. It possessed Mount Abu, the only hill station of Rajasthan. The political movement in the state was organized and led from the very beginning by Gokul Bhai Bhatt who later led the Sarvodaya movement. The three other estates which merged in Rajasthan were Lava, Kushalgarh and Nimrana.

Rajasthan Tour Packages

Vibrant Rajasthan with Taj Mahal Group Tour

Vibrant Rajasthan with Taj Mahal Group Tour

7 Nights / 8 Days
Destination : Delhi – Shekhawati –Bikaner – Jodhpur- Khejarla – Pushkar – Jaipur – Agra

Rajasthan with Taj Mahal Tour

Rajasthan with Taj Mahal Tour

15 Nights / 16 Days
Destination : Delhi-Agra-Fatephur Sikri-Jaipur-Ranthambore-Bundi-Udaipur-Jojawar-Narlai -Manvar-Jodhpur-Pushkar

Real Rajasthan India Tour

Real Rajasthan India Tour

14 Nights / 15 Days
Destination : Delhi-Agra-Jaipur-Pushkar-Udaipur-Jodhpur-Jaisalmer-Bikaner-Mandawa

Rajasthan Shopping Tour

Rajasthan Shopping Tour

18 Nights / 19 Days
Destination : Delhi - Agra - Jaipur - Pushkar - Kota - Bundi - Chittaurgarh - Bijaipur - Udaipur - Jodhpur - Jaisalmer - Bikaner - Mandawa

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