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TECH TALK: Rajasthan Ruminations: A Little History

February 17th, 2004 · No Comments

To understand where Rajasthan is and what can be done, it is necessary to understand some of its history.

RealRajasthan.com: The north-western region of India, which incorporates Rajasthan, remained in early history for the most part independent from the great empires consolidating their hold onthe subcontinent. Buddhism failed to make substantial inroads here; the Mauryan Empire (321-184 BC), whose most renowned emperor Ashoka converted to Buddhism in262 BC, had minimal impact in Rajasthan. However, there are Buddhist caves and stupas (Buddhist shrines) at Jhalawar, in southern Rajasthan. Ancient Hindu scriptural epics make reference to sites in present day Rajasthan. The holy pilgrimage site of Pushkar is mentioned in both the Mahabharata and Ramayma.

India Travel Guide: According to the Hindu Mythology, the Rajputs of Rajasthan were the descendants of the Kshatriyas or warriors of Vedic India. The emergence of the Rajput warrior clans was in the 6th and 7th centuries. Rajputs ancestry can be divided into two: the solar or suryavanshi-those descended from Rama, the hero of the epic Ramayana, and the lunar or chandravanshi, who claimed descent from Krishana, the hero of the epic Mahabharata. Later a third clan was added, the agnikula or fire-born, said to have emerged from the flames of a sacrificial fire on Mt Abu. It has been accepted that the Rajputs were divided into thirty-six races and twenty-one kingdoms. The Rajput clans gave rise to dynasties like Sisodias of Mewar (Udaipur), the Kachwahas of Amber (Jaipur), the Rathors of Marwar (Jodhpur & Bikaner), the Harsa of Kota & Bundi, the Bhattis of Jaisalmer and the Chauhans of Ajmer.

Stig.BizHosting.com: Rajasthan comprised many small kingdoms ruled over by clans who warred constantly for supremacy and individually tried to stem the tide of the Islamic invasions. The clans were all Rajputs, which means sons of kings, and claimed descent from the early Aryan warriors known as the kshatriyas. Internal rivalries prevented any combined defence against foreign invasion and led eventually to their domination by the Muslims. But they retained a measure of independence as allies of the imperial power at Delhi, till the advent of British rule, when they became figureheads. Their states were finally merged with the Republic of India when they voluntarily relinquished their remaining authority in 1947.

RealRajasthan.com: From a security point of view, it was vital to the new Indian Union to ensure that the desert kingdoms, which were contiguous with Pakistan, were integrated into the new nation. The princes finally agreed to sign the Instrument of Accession, and the kingdoms of Bikaner, Jodhpur, Jaisalmer and Jaipur were merged in 1949. The Maharaja of Jaipur, Man SinghII, was invested with the title of rajpramukh. Jaipur became the capital of the new state of Rajasthan. Heera Lal Shastri was installed as the first premier of Rajasthan. Later in 1949, the United State of Matsya, comprising the former kingdoms of Bharatpur, Alwar, Karauli and Dholpur, was incorporated into Rajasthan. As a consequence, Rajasthan became the second largest state m India, exceeded in geographical area only by the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh. Rajasthan attained its current dimensions in November 1956 with the additions of Ajmer-Merwara, Abu Road and a part of Dilwara, originally part of the princely kingdom of Sirohi which had been divided between Gujarat and Rajasthan.

Tomorrow: Trip Impressions


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