Rajasthan is one of the most colorful, vibrant and a state which is deeply rooted in its dynamic past. This northern state of India has served as home to a number of different princely states and rulers which can clearly be experienced through its architectural style design and well-preserved culture and traditions. Currently, Rajasthan is home to a number of groups, tribes, and sub-tribes along with being one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. But what was Rajasthan before it became what it is today? Read on to find out more about this massively endearing state that will leave you awestruck.
A brief history of Rajasthan tells us that its timeline can be traced successfully back to thousands of years ago when it served as the destination for the development of the Indus valley civilization. By the early medieval era, the region saw a rise of the Mughal Empire which was done successfully by establishing alliances with the Rajput rulers who were already here. The Mughal Rule was ended during the 18th century with the establishment of the rule by the British Empire. This was also done by creating alliances with the princely states here which was later on integrated with the rest of India by independence.
According to various sources and archaeological findings in Bundi and Bhilwara the original history of Rajasthan can be dated back to 5,000 to 2,00,000 years ago. The ancient civilized history can also be traced back to the regions of Sikar and Jhunjhunu along with a couple of regions that falls under the district of Jaipur and the state of Haryana. Different parts of Rajasthan has been recognized as the location for where Indus valley civilization is said to have developed along with the excavations found in Kalibanga in the northern Rajasthan region.
Later on with the development of societies the Gurjar and Pratihara Empire ruled Rajasthan and kept it safe from the Arab invaders during the 8th and 11th century. This was one of the most successful accomplishments achieved by this empire. It was this empire’s army that is credited with barring the intrusion of the Arabs beyond the regions of Sindh. The first battle of tarain fought in 1191 was won by Prithviraj Chauhan against the forces of Muhammad Ghori. However, Chauhan was then defeated in the 2nd battle of tarain a year later in 1192. With this defeat, a chunk of Rajasthan came under the Muslim rule. By the 13th century, Mewar was the most powerful and prominent state of Rajasthan. Although the Rajputs worked hard in keeping the Muslim invaders away from Rajasthan but later on they became subservient to the Delhi sultanate rule. The Ranas of Mewar led successful resistances against the tughlaq dynasty rule and recovered a massive part of Rajasthan. Rana Sanga a powerful Rajasthani ruler is continued with continually defeating the invaders during the time of the expansion of the Lodi Empire. After his death, nobody was powerful or capable enough to defend the expansionist attitude of the Mughal Empire.
Early Modern History
The early modern history of Rajasthan is traced back to the time of the Mughal conquests in Rajasthan. Mughal emperor Akbar during the 16th century expanded his empire into Rajputana by laying siege into the region of Chittor and defeating the king of Mewar in 1568. During this time a siege of Ranthambore also took place which was initially in security. Akbar further expanded his empire by creating marriage alliances with the Rajut rulers and gaining their trust. Akbar himself married the daughter of the Rajasthani ruler i.e. Jodha Bai and maintained good relations with them by offering high positions in his office. However several rulers of Rajasthan like Mewar and Marwar did not accept this supremacy and were at constant conflict with him. During the battle of Haldighati, his army was met with Akbar’s forces where he was badly injured and finally defeated. Mughal influence can be observed in Rajasthan through their paintings and architecture.
British Colonial Period in Rajasthan
With the arrival of the British rule in Rajasthan, it eventually led to the administrative designation of cultural, geographical and economically diverse regions that at one time had never shared a common identity politically. This diversification fell under the name of the Rajputana agency. This agency lasted till 1949 and worked as an identifier till it was renamed as Rajasthan.
As the British rule in Rajasthan established stronger control alliances were formed y their end with the already existing princely states a chiefly entities which were during the 19th century. The local rulers accepted British sovereignty in exchange for local autonomy and Maratha protection. This was done keeping in mind the age-old Mughal traditions that has been followed over the years and also due to its strategic positioning of the region of Ajmer. In the year 1817-1818, the British government concluded all the treaties regarding the alliances with almost all the states of Rajasthan which marked the commencement of British rule in Rajasthan.
Post Independence History
The current state of Rajasthan took shape in 7 different stages. It was in 1948 that different parts of Rajasthan came together as one which were Kota, Pratapgarh, Dungarpur, Kishangarh, Banswara, etc. by 1949 the remainder of the states of Rajasthan agreed together to sign the instrument of accession. The princes of the former royalty were granted a good amount of remuneration constitutionally and various privileges as privy purses which helped them in discharging them from their duty and obligations. In 1970 when Indira Gandhi was serving as the prime minister of India she abolished the privy purses by abolishing them by 1971. The bygone princes used the word Maharaj which had no value and was only seen as a status symbol. Finally, a democratically elected government runs the state with 33 districts, 222 towns, 105 subdivisions, around 38,000 different villages and 241 tehsils.