With the disintegration of the Mughal Empire power vacuum was created at the centre in India. The Rajput and Maratha powers were in a position to take advantage of the situation and take the centre stage. But both the powers miserably failed to fill the power vacuum. This gave a chance again to a foreign power to take advantage and fill the political void. The East India Company found an opportunity to step in to captures political power in India. This book presents an objective assessment of the circumstances leading to this phenomenon. This work gives evidences in proof of its assertion that the Marathas and the Rajputs did not possess leadership which could take stock of the situation and make moves for united effort to replace the Mughal power. More over there was lack of unity among the Marathas and Rajput themselves. Various states of Rajputana could not overcome their self interests. Among the Marathas the leadership of Peshwa was only nominal and various power centers emerged which did not have the sagacity to act in unison. An effort has been made in this work to analyze the steps which if taken would have brought about unity and change the course of history, although this is matter of the realm of ifs and buts of history.
About the Author
Prof. K.S. Gupta was born in Barreda, Bhilwara district, on April 27, 1932. He did his M.A. in 1955, LL.B. in 1956 and Ph.d. in 1961. He was selected for Higher Education service of Government Rajasthan in 1957 and as a lecturer in the M.L.S. University in 1965.He retired from also University in 1992 as Professor and head of History Department. After his retirement he remained visiting professor in Dr. Harisingh Gaud University Sagar and Rajasthan Vidyapeeth Udaipur. He was also remained Senior Fellow of the Indian Council of Historical Research, New Delhi.
Professor Gupta is a prolific writer. He has authored 14 historical works which have earned recognition from historians. He has aIso contributed over 50 research papers in various journals and magazines. He has also presented research papers in more than 60 Seminars and conferences. He has also presided over sessions dealing with Medieval history in the Panjabi History Congress Patiala and Rajasthan History Congress Jodhpur. 41 candidates have completed their research work for the award of Ph.D. degree under his supervision. Maharana Mewar Foundation Udaipur has honoured by bestowing prestigious Kumbha award. Mewad Adhyayan "am Vikas Sans than, Bhilwada gave Mewar ward to him. Gujarat Sahitya Sangam honoured by Gaurishankar Ojha award. He as also awarded Rajendra Mohan Bhatnagar Snriti Puraskar. Professor Gupta holds important positions in various organizations: Pesident Virshiromani Maharana Pratap Samiti, Udaipur.
The country of Me war from the beginning from say mid Sixth century had been a land of undaunted heroes, who preferred honour to disgraceful case and comfort, and who sacrificed their at to keep their heads erect From the 6th century to the beginning of the 18th century the annals of Mewar form a record of continuous glory full of great victories and sometimes even greater defeats. During the Mughal hegemony the Hindus of India looked up to Mewar for saving the honour of their land and the temples of their gods and Chittor had come to be regarded as the capital of Hindu India. A longdrawn struggle for about one thousand years involved tremendous losses to the is great region which denuded it of its patriotic heroes and unconquerable spirits.
When the Marathas appeared on the political horizon, Mewar was only bent and broken and its rulers had been reduced to the position of just symbols of by-gone chivalry and gallantry. Besides, they were used only to two forms of war fares-pitched battles or eluding the pursuits of enemy by hiding in the hills which formed the natural defences of Mewar. But the Marathas had perfected the methods so skilfully that no power in India could effectively stand against them. Their success lay in the light and the rapid movements of their cavalry and in running away immediately after striking. Mewar was no match for these ways of warfare. Its rulers had to bow before the storm. From the beginning of the eighteenth century to the beginning of the nineteenth century the history of Me war is a record of the tragic defeats and humiliations which followed each other in quick succession. That Mewar survived recurring and destructive onslaughts of the Marathas was due to the appearanc ance of new conquerors from the West. The British East India Company took the state under its protection thereby enabling it to enjoy a fresh lease of life for another one century and a quarter.
Whatever might have been the Objects of the Maratha expansion there is no doubt that their penetration into Rajasthan and their domination of Mewar was a great calamity. As their power grew and states after states lay prostrate before them, plunder, rapine, and ravages became the order of the day.
The story of such devastation is unfolded in the following pages and is based largely on original material which has not been so far utilized.
I owe deep gratitude to Dr. M. L. Sharma who not only acted as a guide for me but also helped me as the Hon. Director of Rajasthan State Archives. Without his supervision and guidance I would not have been able to complete the work. ] am also extremely grateful to Maharaj Kumar, Dr. Raghubir Singh of Sitamau, who generously granted me free access to his library and offered many valuable suggestions. ] must express my thanks to late Rajadhiraj Amar Singh of Ban era for offering all kinds off acilities to me in his Archives. Thanks are also due to late Shri Ravi Shanker Derashri, Bar-at-Law, for allowing me an access to his personal collection and records of Raghogarh. I must also express my deep sense of gratitude to late Shri Nathu Lal Vyas for permitting me to consult his collections, viz., (i) Kanod letters, (ii) Delwara letters. (iii) Mandalgarh Collections, (vi) Confidential Office records, Udaipur.
I am also indebted to Mis. Ram Chandra Bhalerao of Gwalior, Bakhtawar Mal Kothari, Narayan Lal Purohit and Champa Lal Mantri of Salumber who were kind enough to permit me to take extracts from the records in their private custody. I cannot forget my debt to my uncles Shri Roop Lalji Gupta, Advocate, and Dr. S. L. Baldwa for their constant help and encouragement. I am grateful to Dr. B. L. Maheshwari of the Administrative Staff College, Hyderabad, and Shri P. C. Maloo of University of Udaipur who took pains in going through the MSS, of- fered invaluable suggestions. My thanks are also due to Mis. S. Chand & Co. (Pvt.) Ltd., New Delhi, for having published the work in time.
The ancient land of Mewer known as Medpat in Sanskrit works' has passed through various phases of history. The famous Shibigana and ancient city of Madhyamika were also situated in Mewer. The boundaries of Mewer kingdom have varied from time to time. during the period when its power and prosperity were at its highest, the Mewer state extended up to Bayana in the north-east, Rewakantha in the south, and Malwa in the south-cast. But as a result of repeated external invasions the boundaries of Mewer had shrunk and before integration it was situated between 23.48° to 25.58° north latitude and 73.1 ° to 75.49° longitude. Its area was then 12,691 square miles. Today the Mewer region comprises four districts Bhilwara, Udaipur, Rajsamand and part of Chitter' It is bound by Ajmer in the north, Jodhpur and Sirohi in the west, Dungarpur, Banswara and Pratapgarh states areas in the south and Jawad, Nimach and Nimbahera pargana and Bundi and Kota districts in the east. The Aravali hills bound the area in the south-western direction and thus serve as a natural frontier of the region. The territory of Mewar in its south-west corner constitutes a long narrow strip of land covered with thick forests and rugged valleys. The success of the Ranas in defending their homeland against the enemy during the Mughal days was largely due to the resources and richness of this region. The north-eastern part of the State is plain and fertile and produces rich harvests of all kinds.
Mewar is rich in minerals. Most important of them are lead, zinc, iron. mica, sand-stone and marble.' Manufactures consist of swords, daggers, embroidery, ivory and wooden bangles and cotton cloth printed in gold and silver at Udaipur, tinned utensils at Ehilwara and stone toys and images at Rakhab Day.
Several small rivers, namely, Banas, Khari, Kothari flow through the territory of Mewar and add to the fertility of its soil.
Mewar is a beautiful land of lakes. Jaisamudra, situated 50 Km. south-east of Udaipur, Udai Sagar, 10 Km. east of Udaipur and Raj Samudra 50 Km. north of Udaipur near Kankroli add to the natural beauty of the land.
The geographical environment of the state greatly influenced the character of the people and infused a spirit of spartan simplicity and valour in the inhabitants of the land. The Aravali hills along with the adjoining hilly tracts and valleys provide a natural frontier to the State in the northwestern direction and made it possible for the people of this heroic land to withstand the recurring aggressions of the Muslim imperialists from time to time.
Its population in the year 1901 was 1,01,88,05 out of which more than 76% were Hindus" Though Rajputs form only 9% of the population, they constitute the most important element in it. Here they have developed into a clan of warriors imbued with a spirit of self-reliance, courage, perseverance and pride in the dignity of their race. Equally important are the Bhils in the population of this land. They are the single largest group in Mewar which accounts for 11%7 of the total population. Though extremely poor, they are hard-working and hospitable. They were one of the important bulwarks of the ruling family of Me war for centuries. Their main occupation is agriculture, hunting, cattle keeping and wood cutting. They stood with the Raiputs for the freedom of the motherland against external aggressions. In the State emblem of Udaipur a Rajput and a Bhil have been put on either side of the crest which signifies the importance of the Bhils equal to that of the Rajput.
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