Knowledge Corner

Rajasthan is India’s largest state by area (342,239 square kilometres (132,139 sq mi) or 10.4% of India’s total area). It is located on the north-western side of the country, where it comprises most of the wide and inhospitable Thar Desert (also known as the “Rajasthan Desert” and “Great Indian Desert”) and shares a border with the Pakistani provinces of Punjab to the northwest and Sindh to the west, along the Sutlej-Indus river valley. Elsewhere it is bordered by the other Indian states: Punjab to the north; Haryana and Uttar Pradesh to the northeast; Madhya Pradesh to the southeast; and Gujarat to the southwest.
Major features include the ruins of the Indus Valley Civilization at Kalibanga; the Dilwara Temples, a Jain pilgrimage site at Rajasthan’s only hill station, Mount Abu, in the ancient Aravalli mountain range; and, in eastern Rajasthan, the Keoladeo National Park near Bharatpur, a World Heritage Site[5] known for its bird life. Rajasthan is also home to two national tiger reserves, the Ranthambore National Park in Sawai Madhopur and Sariska Tiger Reserve in Alwar.
The state was formed on 30 March 1949 when Rajputana – the name adopted by the British Raj for its dependencies in the region – was merged into the Dominion of India. Its capital and largest city is Jaipur, also known as Pink City, located on the state’s eastern side. Other important cities are Jodhpur, Udaipur, Bikaner, Kota, and Ajmer.

History

The first mention of the name “Rajasthan” appears in James Tod’s 1829 publication Annals and Antiquities of Rajast’han or the Central and Western Rajpoot States of India, while the earliest known record of “Rajputana” as a name for the region is in George Thomas’s 1800 memoir Military Memories. John Keay, in his book India: A History, stated that “Rajputana” was coined by the British in 1829, John Briggs, translating Ferishta’s history of early Islamic India, used the phrase “Rajpoot (Rajput) princes” rather than “Indian princes”.

Ancient

Parts of what is now Rajasthan were partly part of the Vedic Civilisation and Indus Valley Civilization. Kalibangan, in Hanumangarh district, was a major provincial capital of the Indus Valley Civilization.

Matsya, a state of the Vedic civilisation of India, is said to roughly corresponded to the former state of Jaipur in Rajasthan and included the whole of Alwar with portions of Bharatpur. The capital of Matsya was at Viratanagar (modern Bairat), which is said to have been named after its founder king Virata.

Bhargava identifies the two districts of Jhunjhunu and Sikar and parts of Jaipur district along with Haryana districts of Mahendragarh and Rewari as part of Vedic state of Brahmavarta. Bhargava also locates the present day Sahibi River as the Vedic Drishadwati River, which along with Saraswati River formed the borders of the Vedic state of Brahmavarta where Vedic scriptures were composed after the great floods, about 10,000 years ago. Manu and Bhrigu narrated the Manusmriti to a congregation of seers in this area only. Ashrams of Vedic seers Bhrigu and his son Chayvan Rishi, for whom Chyawanprash was formulated, were near Dhosi Hill part of which lies in Dhosi village of Jhunjhunu district of Rajasthan and part lies in Mahendragarh district ofHaryana.

The Western Kshatrapas (405–35 BC), the Saka rulers of the western part of India, were successors to the Indo-Scythians, and were contemporaneous with the Kushans, who ruled the northern part of the Indian subcontinent. The Indo-Scythians invaded the area of Ujjain and established the Saka era (with their calendar), marking the beginning of the long-lived Saka Western Satrapsstate.

Medieval and Early Modern

Historical tribes

Traditionally the Rajputs, Jats, Meenas, Gurjars, Bhils, Rajpurohit, Charans, Yadavs, Bishnois, Sermals, PhulMali (Saini) and other tribes made a great contribution in building the state of Rajasthan. All these tribes suffered great difficulties in protecting their culture and the land. Millions of them were killed trying to protect their land. A number of Gurjars had been exterminated inBhinmal and Ajmer areas fighting with the invaders. Bhils once ruled Kota. Meenas were rulers of Bundi and the Dhundhar region.

Major Rulers

  • Hem Chandra Vikramaditya, the Hindu Emperor, was born in the village of Machheri in Alwar District in 1501. He won 22 battles against Afghans, from Punjab to Bengal including states ofAjmer and Alwar in Rajasthan, and defeated Akbar’s forces twice at Agra and Delhi in 1556 at Battle of Delhi before acceding to the throne of Delhi and establishing the “Hindu Raj” in North India, albeit for a short duration, from Purana Quila in Delhi. Hem Chandra was killed in the battlefield at Second Battle of Panipat fighting against Mughals on 5th Nov. 1556.

Maharana Pratap Singh, legendary sixteenth-centuryRajput ruler of Mewar.

  • Maharana Pratap of Mewar resisted Akbar in the famous Battle of Haldighati (1576) and later operated from hilly areas of his kingdom. The Bhils were Maharana’s main allies during these wars. Most of these attacks were repulsed even though the Mughal forces outnumbered Mewar Rajputs in all the wars fought between them. The Haldighati war was fought between 10,000 Mewaris and a 100,000-strong Mughal force (including many Rajputs like Kachwahas from Dhundhar).
  • Jat king Maharaja Suraj Mal (February 1707 – 25 December 1765) or Sujan Singh was ruler of Bharatpur in Rajasthan. A contemporary historian has described him as “the Plato of the Jat people” and by a modern writer as the “Jat Odysseus”, because of his political sagacity, steady intellect, and clear vision.

Rajput era

Rajput families rose to prominence in the 6th century CE. The Rajputs put up a valiant resistance to the Islamic invasions and protected this land with their warfare and chivalry for more than 500 years. They also resisted Mughal incursions into India and thus contributed to their slower-than-anticipated access to the Indian subcontinent. Later, the Mughals, through skilled warfare, were able to get a firm grip on northern India, including Rajasthan. Mewar led other kingdoms in its resistance to outside rule. Most notably, Rana Sanga fought the Battle of Khanua against Babur, the founder of the Mughal empire.

Over the years, the Mughals began to have internal disputes which greatly distracted them at times. The Mughal Empire continued to weaken, and with the decline of the Mughal Empire in the 18th century,Rajputana came under the suzerainty of the Marathas. The Marathas, who were Hindus from the state of what is now Maharashtra, ruled Rajputana for most of the eighteenth century. The Maratha Empire, which had replaced the Mughal Empire as the overlord of the subcontinent, was finally replaced by the British Empire in 1818.

Following their rapid defeat, the Rajput kings concluded treaties with the British in the early 19th century, accepting British suzerainty and control over their external affairs in return for internal autonomy.

Modern Rajasthan includes most of Rajputana, which comprises the erstwhile nineteen princely states, two chiefships, and the British district of Ajmer-Merwara, Marwar (Jodhpur), Bikaner, Mewar (Chittorgarh), Alwar and Dhundhar (Jaipur) were some of the main Rajput princely states. Bharatpur and Dholpur were Jat princely states whereas Tonk was a princely state under a Muslim Nawab.

Rajasthan’s formerly independent kingdoms created a rich architectural and cultural heritage, seen even today in their numerous forts and palaces (Mahals andHavelis), which are enriched by features of Islamic and Jain architecture.

The development of frescos in Rajasthan is linked with the history of the Marwaris (Jodhpur-pali), who played a crucial role in the economic development of the region. Many wealthy families throughout Indian history have links to Marwar. These include the legendary Birla, Bajaj, Dalmia, and Mittalfamilies.

Geography

The geographic features of Rajasthan are the Thar Desert and the Aravalli Range, which runs through the state from southwest to northeast, almost from one end to the other, for more than 850 kilometres (530 mi). Mount Abu lies at the southwestern end of the range, separated from the main ranges by the West Banas River, although a series of broken ridges continues into Haryana in the direction of Delhi where it can be seen as outcrops in the form of the Raisina Hill and the ridges farther north. About three-fifths of Rajasthan lies northwest of the Aravallis, leaving two-fifths on the east and south direction.

Demographics

Hindi is the official and the most widely spoken language in the state (91% of the population as per the 2001 census), followed by Bhili (5%), Punjabi (2%), and Urdu (1%). See also: List of people from RajasthaAccording to final results of 2011 Census of India, Rajasthan has a total population of 68,548,437. Rajasthan’s population is made up mainly of Hindus, who account for 88.45% of the population. Muslims make up 9.08%, Sikhs 1.27% and Jains 1% of the population. The state of Rajasthan is also populated by Sindhis, who came to Rajasthan from Sindh province (now in Pakistan) during the India-Pakistan separation in 1947.

Skill Test

1. Name the district of Rajasthan has the maximum urban population?
2. Name the only perennial river of Rajasthan?
3. Which city of Rajasthan is famous for the white cement?
4. On which position does Rajasthan come in production of Cement in the country?
5. Name the district of Rajasthan where the Mica mixed hematite iron ore is found?
6. Which is the state bird of Rajasthan?
7. Which of the following places receives the lowest rainfall?
8. Which fort of Jaipur has the largest canon?
9. Oudhek Durg Kokila fort is among which of the following?
10. Name the palace in Jaipur where a kingly family lives in the 21st century?
11. The dance Dhol is originated from which city of Rajasthan?
12. The city of Rajasthan that is also known as the city of whales?
13. What is the capital of Rajasthan?
14. Khetri Nagar is a town in Jhunjhunu district of Rajasthan in India. Khetri Nagar, well known for what?
15. What is the number of districts in Rajasthan?
16. Where in Rajasthan the popular Jaswant animal fair conducted?
17. Which fort in Rajasthan was built to keep an eye on the Amber fort of Jaipur?
18. Rajasthan is ranked in matter of total area?
19. Goat development centre of Rajasthan is situated at?
20. Which district of Rajasthan is the highest in literacy?
21. The headquarters of North-Western Railway situated?
22. The famous Ritual of Gauna is associated with what?
23. Tod-Rock lake of Rajasthan is also known as?