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History Of Rajasthan

The account of human settlement in the princely state of Rajasthan goes back to more than five thousand years. According to history, northern part of Rajasthan formed the main centre of Indus Valley Civilization. Earlier, this region was referred as Gurjaratra as it was ruled and protected by Gurjars. Later on, it came to be known as Rajputana during Muslim period. This land is famous for the bravery, chivalry and courage of Rajput warriors. They are renowned for showing their extraordinary heroic deeds in the field of battle. The interesting tales of erstwhile times are reflected in majestic forts, palaces and other architectural marvels.

Ancient History

Harshvardhan, a famous Indian king ruled this state besides a major portion of the country. He belonged to Haryana’s Vibhuti clan. Rajputs came to power after Harshavardhan passed away. He used “Rajputra” as name for this state. The rulers of this state later on started calling themselves Rajpoot or Rajput. During the period between 3500 BCE and 1750 BCE, major portion of this state was a part of Indus Valley Civilization. The human settlements existence during Harappan times is proved with evidences found during excavation work carried out in Kalibanga located in Northern Rajasthan. This settlement was seen on the banks of a river which later dried up. Many scholars believe that it was River Saraswati. In Bairut also, many historical evidences was found that reflected settlement of Pre-Aryans. Near about 1400 BCE, first Aryan settlement was established in Dhundhar Region.

Kshatriya tribe was referred to as Meena or Matsya, meaning fish. The Indian Vedic Civilization was also referred by the same name. It was located couth to Kuru Kingdom and was alienated from Panchalas kingdom through Yamuna River. This place is believed to have been corresponded with present day Jaipur. Some areas of Bharatpur and Alwar were also part of this civilization. Viratnagar was the capital of Matsya and it derived its name from its creator king, Virata. Kinsmen and brothers of Virata were Meenas. This area was ruled by them up to 11th century.

During 321-184 BCE, Rajasthan was an important part of famous Mauryan Empire. In 4th century, Guptas ruled over his area. In Jhalawar, some Buddhist Stupas and caves have been seen. In 6th century, Gupta Empire gradually declined and this resulted in political turmoil and unrest in Northern regions of the country. Since many chiefs were trying their best to grab power, this was the time of instability.

Later, some semblance of normalcy returned when in 700 CE, Gurjara Pratiharas emerged. This clan was known for its hostility towards Arab invaders. According to chronicles given by Sulaiman, an Arab chronicler, Gurjar Pratiharas army was huge and it stood its ground in 851 CE. Major portion of Rajputana is today a part of Rajasthan in which several Jat, Muslim and Rajput kingdoms are included. In 6th century, Rajputs gained prominence and established Rajputana kingdoms across Northern parts of India.

Modern Period

Until Akbar, a Mughal Emperor started political domination, Rajasthan was never politically united. In essence, a unified region was created by Akbar in Rajasthan. After 1707, the power of Mughals started declining and due to Mughal Empire’s dismemberment, Rajasthan was politically disintegrated. Rajasthan was later penetrated by Marathas and in 1755, Ajmer was occupied by Scindis who was a Maratha General.

In first half of 19th century, treaties were signed by Rajput Kngs with British thereby accepting sovereignty of Britishers in exchange for protection from Marathas and local autonomy. Later Ajmer became British India province due to its strategic location and in pursuance with Mughal traditions. Conversely, other states that were autonomous like Tonk, Dholpur and Bharatpur became a part of Rajputana Agency. Alliance treaties with Rajputana states were concluded in 1817-18 and after that Britishers started their rule on Rajputana.

Post Independence

India became independent in 1947. At that time, there were 19 princely states in Rajasthan, besides Ajmer-Merwara (A province administered by Britishers) and two chieftains. Indian Union was joined by Bundi, Banswara, Jhalawar, Dungarpur, Kota, Kishangarh, tonk and Shahpura in March 1948. These areas formed a significant part of the state. Udaipur also joined this state in April, 1948. Thus, complete merger of southern states and southeastern states took place. Few kingdoms like Jaipur, Jodhpur, Bikaner and Jaisalmer retained their independence. It became essential to integrate these desert cities with the rest of the state from security point of view. Instrument of Accession was finally signed by princes and Jodhpur, Bikaner, Jaipur and Jaisalmer kingdoms were merged with the rest of the nation in March 1949. State Rajparmukh was Man Singh II, Jaipur Maharaja. Thus, Jaipur became the capital of this state.

As per State Reorganization Act, 1956, the erstwhile Ajmer’s part ‘c’, Taluka Abu Road, Sunel Tappa and other regions were transferred to another state, Madhya Pradesh in November, 1956. This way, present day boundary of this state came into being. Earlier, princes and royalties of former kingdoms were given privy purse, that is, a handsome remuneration so that they can discharge their financial obligations. Later this facility and privileges were discontinued by the former Prime Minister of India, Smt Indira Gandhi. Though, Maharaja title is still in use but it has little power. Many of the palaces have been converted into awe-inspiring heritage hotels that are collecting huge profits.

Today, as part of democratic government set up, a chief minister runs the state with assistance from his council of ministers. There are 32 districts in Rajasthan including Pratapgarh which is the latest district. The state has 37,889 villages in 105 sub-divisions, 222 towns and 241 tehsils.

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