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Rajasthan - History

The history of the Indian state of Rajasthan can be classified into three parts owing to the different epochs- Ancient, Medieval and Modern.

Rajasthan's history is very old and goes back to 3000 BC. The mythological origin of this gigantic land is related to the famous myth of Ram, the seventh incarnation of Lord Vishnu. Rajasthan has always been known as the land of chivalry and the brave deeds of its warriors heroes, like Maharana Pratap are part of the historical and semi-historical collection of stories.

From the ancient period, Rajasthan's civilisation is still preserved in Kalibangan, a town on the banks of the Ghaggar River of Hanumangarh district, Bikaner. Thar Desert has existence of Indus Valley Civillization and the remnants of the pre-Harappan and Harappan settlements.Realm of Kalibangan has many archaeological evidences which show that Rajasthan had once been an important centre of the ceramic industry.The paintings on the ancient pottery bear close resemblance to the Harappan designs. Contemporary pottery of Rajasthan has a distinct influence of the Indus Valley ceramic industry and related handicrafts. Indus Valley Civillization flourished on the banks of Saraswatiriver. Transformation of this land took place after the mighty river changed its course and finally dried up due to the immensity of the encroaching desert. The land silently slipped into Thar desert with whole civillisation buried in it.

The first batch of Aryans who came to India settled in the region of Dundhmer and the first inhabitants of this area were the Bhils and the Minas. Rajasthan was a part of several republics. It was a part of the Mauryan Empire. Other major republics that dominated this region include the Malavas, Arjunyas, Yaudhyas, Kushans, Saka Satraps, Guptas and Hunas.

Rajput clans emerged and held their sway over different parts of Rajasthan from about 700 AD. The Rajput clans ascendancy in Indian history was during the period from the eighth to the twelfth century AD. The earliest Rajput dynasty that emerged around 700 AD was the Gurjara and Partiharas and since then Rajasthan was known as Rajputana (the land of the Rajputs). Soon, the Rajput clan gained supremacy and the Rajputs were divided into 36 royal clans and 21 dynasties. The armed conflicts and the struggle for supremacy among the Parmars, Chalukyas, and Chauhans resulted in a lot of bloodshed.

Bappa Rawal, born in 713 AD to Prince Kalbhoj, was the 8th ruler of the Guhilot dynasty. He founded the state of Mewar. The king was famous for his strong pride in his "Dharma", culture, and courage for defeating Arabian invaders. He started as a ruler of a small principality in Nagahrad (Nagda), and extended his rulership up to Chittor.In the 8th century Arab Muslims started attacking India. Bappa united the smaller states of Ajmer and Jaisalmer to stop the attacks. Bappa Rawal fought and defeated the Arabs in the country.

The Pratihars ruled Rajasthan and most of northern India during 750-1000 AD. Between 1000-1200 AD, Rajasthan witnessed the struggle for supremacy between Chalukyas, Parmars and Chauhans. The Chauhan dynasty dominated Rajput affairs from seventh century onwards and they became the rulers of the state from 12th century. Prithvi Raj Chauhan was born in the year 1149. Prithviraj Chauhan was a king of the Rajput dynasty, who ruled a kingdom in northern India during the later half of the 12th century.Prithviraj Chauhan was the second last Hindu king to sit upon the throne of Delhi. He succeeded to the throne in 1169 CE at the age of 20, and ruled from the twin capitals of Ajmer and Delhi. Chauhan defeated the Muslim ruler Shahabuddin Muhammad Ghori in the First Battle but set him free as a gesture of mercy. In second attack by Ghori, Chauhan was defeated and captured. Ghori took Chauhan to Ghazni and killed him ending an era of sheer bravery and courage.

After Chauhans, the Guhilots of Mewar controlled the destiny. Around 1200 AD a part of Rajasthan came under Muslim rulers. The principal centers of their powers were Nagaur and Ajmer. Ranthambore was also under their suzerainty. At the beginning of the 13th century AD, the most prominent and powerful state of Rajasthan was Mewar.

In the medieval era, the major regions of the state such as Nagaur, Ajmer and Ranthambhore became a part of the Mughal empire, which was headed by Akbar. Rajasthan had never been united politically until its domination by Mughal Emperor - Akbar. Akbar created a unified province of Rajasthan.

The most famous Rajput warriors of this era were Rana Uday Singh, his son Rana Pratap, Bhappa Rawal, Rana Kumbha and Prithviraj Chauhan. Rana Kumbha was the ruler of Mewar, (a state in western India), between 1433 and 1468 AD. Rana Kumbha belonged to Sisodia clan. Kumbha was son of Rana Mokal. Rana Kumbha was famous for his bravery. Rana Kumbha decided to construct of an imposing, 37 meter high, 9 stories Victory Tower at Chittor. This famous tower was named as "Vijay Stambha" andwas completed in the year 1458.

Rana Sanga was born in the year 1484. Rana Sanga is also known as Maharana Sangram Singh. He was the Rajput ruler of Mewar. He ruled between 1509 and 1527. He brought Mewar to the peak of its prosperity and prominence, establishing it as the premier Rajput state. Sanga regularly attacked Afghans under Lodi at Khatoli (Gwalior) in 1517-18.

Maharana Pratap (9 May 1540 29 January 1597) was the ruler of Mewar, a region in north-western India. Pratap was son of Maharani Jayantabai and King Udai Singh II founder of Udaipur. Maharana Pratap belonged to the Sisodia clan of Rajputs. Maharana Pratap Singh is widely regarded as a fearless warrior and ingenious strategist, who successfully fought the Mughals and safeguarded his people until his death. He is hailed as an inspirational figure for exemplifying gallantry and resourcefulness. Udaipur remained the capital of Mewar after fall of Chittor until its accession in independent India.

Another Rajput brave king was Amar Singh Rathore (11 December 1613 - 25 July 1644), who was famous as a Rajput nobleman affiliated with the royal house of Marwar, and a courtier of the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in seventeenth-century India. When he was disinherited by his family, he entered the Mughals' service. His legendary bravery resulted in his elevation to a high rank in the imperial nobility and he was appointed as the"Subedar" of Nagaur. He served Mughals there at Agra for a short period after being denied his right of inheritance at Nagaur in Rajasthan. He was the famous fighter who jumped from Agra Fort with his horse.

With the end of the Mughal regime in 1707, the Marathas gained supremacy and captured Ajmer in 1775. The political disintegration of Rajasthan was caused by the dismemberment of the Mughal Empire. The Marathas penetrated Rajasthan upon the decline of the Mughal Empire. In 1755 they occupied Ajmer. The beginning of the 19th Century was marked by the onslaught of the Pindaris. The Maratha ascendancy ended in the late 17th century with the arrival of British.

Besides Mewar, the other historically prominent states were Marwar, Jaipur, Bundi, Kota, Bharatpur and Alwar. All these state accepted the British Treaty of Subordinate Alliance in 1818 protecting the interest of princes. After the revolt of 1857, the people united themselves under the leadership of Mahatma Gandhi to contribute to the freedom movement. With the introduction of provincial autonomy in 1935 in British India, agitation for civil liberties and political rights become stronger in Rajasthan. Soon after independence, Sardar Patel began the great merger movement and in quick succession a number of unions of states, with their Rajpramukhs, were formed here. First came the Matsya Union located in Bharatpur region (1948) consisting a fraction of the states. Slowly and gradually the other states had joined the Indian Union and in 1958 the present State of Rajasthan formally came into being.

A cluster of Princely States with an oasis known as Ajmer-Merwara, a British India Territory, was given geographical expression as Rajputana. These Twenty and odd Rajputana States before 20th Century AD were dynastic and the Rulers were the fountain head of all Executive, Legislative and Judicial Authority in the States. As soon as the country got freedom from British Imperialism, the process of integration of the princely States to form bigger units was initiated.

The present state of Rajasthan was formed in 1956. The State of Rajasthan was formed during the period March 17, 1948 and January 25, 1950 by integration of 19 Princely States. The Union of Rajasthan was inaugurated at Jaipur by Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel on March 30, 1949. At that time Jaipur, Jodhpur, Udaipur, Bikaner and Kota were the leading states with more or less British style of Administrative set up. They had their own High Courts with a subordinate judicial system. Before inauguration of the new State, a committee consisting of Shri B.R.Patel, the then Chief Secretary to the Government of PEPSU, Lt. Col. T.C.Puri, Director of Health Service and Shri S.P.Sinha, Superintending Engineer, CPWD, was constituted to resolve the issues relating to location of the capital and the seat of the High Court. The committee submitted its report on March 27, 1949 with a recommendation that Jaipur should be made capital of the new State and the High Court should be located at Jodhpur.

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Page last modified: 26-02-2018 18:54:29 ZULU