Coat of arms
|-||merged into India||1948|
Cutch or (Kutch / Kachchh) was an Indian princely state, (its territories covering the present Kutch region of Gujarat) situated on the north of the Gulf of Kutch having its Northern boundary with Sindh. It was ruled by the Jadeja dynasty from its formation in 1147 until 1948 when it seceded to newly formed, India. The district is now known as Kutch. It had an area of 17,616 square miles (45,630 km2) and a population estimated at 4,88,022 in 1901. Its rulers were Jadeja Rajput of Samma tribe, who had migrated from Sindh into Kutch in late 12th century. In British Raj they were entitled to a 17-gun salute. The title of Rulers was earlier Jam, which during British Raj changed to Maharao made hereditary from 1 Jan 1918. The state flag was a rectangular red flag with a white elephant, near and facing the hoist with image of Bhujia Fort and words BHOOJ inscribed above it in a white ribbon. Also the motto: Courage and Confidence written below in a white ribbon inside the flag. During the British Raj, the state was part of the Cutch Agency and later Western India States Agency, within the Bombay Presidency. The rulers maintained an army of 354 cavalry, 1412 infantry and 164 guns.
The predecessor state known as Kingdom of Kutch, was founded about 1147, by Lakho Jadani, who was from Samma tribe and arrived from Sindh. He was adapted by Jam Jada and hence known as Lakho Jadani. He ruled Eastern Cutch from years 1147−1175 from a new capital, which he named after his twin brother Lakhiar as Lakhiarviro ( near present day Nakhatrana). Before that Eastern Cutch was ruled by Chawda dynasty, whose last noted ruler was Waghum Chawda. Central & Wastern Kutch was under control of different tribes like Kathi, Solanki and Waghela at that time. After the death of Raydhan Ratto in 1215 his territories were divided between his four sons. Othaji, Dedaji, Hothiji and Gajanji and they were given the territories of Lakhirviro, Kanthkot, Gajod and Bara respectively in Kutch.
As Othaji was the eldest he ascended to the head throne of Lakhirviro and the rest became a part of Bhayyat or the Brotherhood in federal system. However, the internal rivalry between them escalated over the generations and until they merged in two groups of Othaji and Gajanji of Bara.
The first incident among these which changed the history of Kutch was the murder of Jam Hamirji of Lakhiarviro, chief of eldest branch of Jadeja and descendant of Othaji, by Jam Rawal of Bara. It is believed that Jam Rawal attributed the murder of his father Jam Lakhaji to Hamirji, as he was killed within the territory of Lakhiarviro by Deda Tamiachi upon instigation of Hamirji. Jam Rawal, in revenge treacherously killed his elder brother Rao Hamirji, (father of Khengarji) and ruled Cutch for more than two decades till Khenagrji I, reconquered Cutch from him, when he grew up. Jam Rawal escaped out of Cutch and founded the Nawanagar as per advice given by Ashapura Mata in a dream to him. Later his descendants branched out to form the state of Rajkot, Gondal and Dhrol. The Genealogy is still maintained today, by the Barots of respective Jadeja Branches and every single person in Jadeja clan can trace their ancestry through to Jam Rato Raydhun of Cutch.
Lakhiarviro remained capital of Cutch since its foundation in 1147 till the time of Jam Rawal in 1548.
|Lakho Jadani||AD 1147|
|Ratto Rayadhan||AD 1175|
|Rao Gaoji||AD 1255|
|Rao Vehanji||AD 1285|
|Rao Mulvaji||AD 1321|
|Rao Kaiyaji||AD 1386|
|Rao Amarji||AD 1406|
|Rao Bhhemji||AD 1429|
|Rao Hamirji||AD 1472|
|Jam Rawal||AD 1524|
Khengarji I, is noted as the founder of Cutch State, who united Eastern Central and Western Cutch into one dominion, which before him was ruled partially by other Rajput tribes apart from the Jadejas. Khenagarji I was given fiefdom of Morbi and an army by Sultan Mahmud Begada of Ahmedabad, whose life he had saved from a lion. Khengarji waged a war for several years till he re-conquered Cutch from Jam Rawal and integrated Cutch into one large dominion in 1549. Jam Rawal had to escape out of Cutch to save his life. Khengarji I was crowned at Rapar but later shifted his capital from to Bhuj, a city established by his father Rao Hamirji in 1510. Khengarji also founded the port city of Mandavi.
|Rao Khengarji I ||AD 1548|
|Rao Bharmalji||AD 1585|
|Rao Bhojrajji||AD 1631|
|Rao Khengarji II||AD 1645|
|Rao Tamachiji||AD 1654|
|Rao Raydhunji||AD 1665|
After the demise of Rao Raydhunji in 1698, the regularity of succession was again deviated, Raydhunji had three sons, Ravaji, Nagulji and Pragji.Ravaji the eldest son was murdered by Sodha Rajputs, his second brother Nagulji had died of natural causes before, both the brothers,however had left sons, who by right were entitled to succeed the throne of Kutch, but as they were young, Pragji, the third son of Rao Raydhunji eventually usurped the throne of Cutch and became Maharao Pragmulji I.
Kayanji, the eldest son of murdered Ravaji escaped and established himself at Morvi, which before that formed part of Kingdom of Kutch. Kayanji made Morvi independent of Cutch and from there he tried unsuccessfully many a times to regain his rightful throne of Cutch. The descendants of Kanyoji Jadeja thus settled in Morvi and were called Kaynani.
|1698 – 1715||Pragmalji I (b. 16... - d. 1715)|
|1715 – 1719||Godaji I (b. 16... - d. 1719)|
|1719 – 1752||Daishalji I (b. ... - d. 1752)|
|1741 – 1752||Lakhpatji (regent) (b. 1717 - d. 1761)|
|1752 – 1761||Lakhpatji (b. 1717 - d. 1761)|
|1761 – 1778||Godaji II (b. 1734 - d. 1778)|
|1778 – 1786||Rayadhan III (1st time) (b. 1763 - d. 1813)|
|1786 – 1801||Prithvirajsinhji (b. 17... - d. 1801)|
|1786 − 5 October 1813||Fateh Mohammad (regent)|
|5 October 1813 − 30 Oct 1813||Rayadhan III (2nd time)|
|30 October 1813 – 6 November 1814||Hosayn Miyan (regent)|
|November 6, 1814 − March 25, 1819||Bharmalji II (b. 1798 - d. 1846)|
|March 25, 1819 − July 26, 1860||Daishalji II (b. 1814 - d. 1860)|
|July 26, 1860 − December 19, 1875||Pragmalji II (b. 1839 - d. 1875)|
|December 19, 1875 − January 15, 1942||Khengarji III (b. 1866 - d. 1942)|
|January 15, 1942 − February 26, 1948||Vijayaraji (b. 1885 - d. 1948)|
|February 26, 1948 − June -01, 1948||Madansinhji|
Bhuj was later fortified by Bhujia Fort under reign of Rao Godaji (1715−19). The major work and completion of fort was done during the rule of his son, Maharao Deshalji I (1718–1741). In 1719 during reign of Deshalji I, Sher Buland Khan, who was Mughal Viceroy of Gujarat invaded Kutch. The army of Kutch was in a precarious condition, when a group of Naga Bawas joined them and Mughal army was defeated.
Deshalji was succeeded by his son Rao Lakhpatji (1741−61), who appointed Ram Singh Malam, to build the famous Aina Mahal. Ram Singh Malam also started a glass and ceramic factory near Madhapar. Thus one of the earliest industry in history of India was founded in Cutch. During reign of Lakhpatji maritime business of Cutch flourished and it was during his regime the Cutch issued its own currency - Kutch kori, which remained valid even during British Raj till 1948, when they were abolished by independent India.
Later, during the rule of Rao Godaji II (1761−1778) the Jadeja dynasty faced its biggest defeat at hands of Mian Ghulam Shah Kalhoro of Sindh, who attacked Cutch twice once in 1763-64, (when hundreds of Kutchi people died at Battle of Zora) and again in 1765. Godaji had to make a truce with him after losing several territories. Later in 1770, a daughter of his cousin Wesuji was married to the Mian Kalhoro and the marriage was celebrated with great pomp and splendor on both the sides. In consideration of this relationship, the towns of Busta Bandar and Lakhpt Bandar and others territories that had been conquered by the Mián Kalhoro, were returned to the Rao of Cutch.
His successor, Rao Rayadhan III (1778−86) became a religious fanatic and began forcibly converting all its pupils to Islam. At that time Rao Raydhan was curtailed when in 1785, Anjar’s Meghji Seth lead the revolt and the chief of armies Jamadar Dosalven and Jamadar Fateh Mohamad also joined him showing their pure integrity and loyalty to secularism were responsible for this bloodless coup. Rao Raydhan was put under house arrest and the Kingdom was ruled under a council of the twelve brothers. Cutch became a democracy for several decades with king acting only as a titular head. It was ruled by a council of twelve brothers, which was a congregation of power. It consisted of three members of the brothers from Jadeja ruler's family, three Mahajans (rich& influential moneylender or businessman from Hindu & Jain communities), three members from Muslim community, one member from Miyana community, one member of Gara Sadar, one member of the army and like this there were twelve members. Jamadar Fateh Mohammad was made ruler by these council known as Bar Bhayat ni Jammat, who ably ruled Cutch from 1786−1813. After his death Rao Raydhan was again made a King by the council for a month but was replaced by Hosayn Miyan, as Rao had still not changed his ways. Hosayn Miyan ruled from 1813−1814 and later Bharmalji II, eldest son of Rao Raydhan was made ruler in 1814 by Bar Bhayat ni Jaamat keeping the army under control of Hosayn Miyan.
On December 15, 1815, the army of Kingdom of Kutch was defeated near Bhadreswar, Kutch by the combined armies of British and Gaekwads of Baroda State. The armies of British led by Colonel East and army of Cutch led by a commander, Hosayn Miyan met near Bahdreshwar. The British army was behind the famous Bhadreswar Jain Temple and temple was coming in between them. Husain Miya respected the sanctity of temple and he did not fire on British, fearing temples might be damaged and as such doors were laid open for British Army. The nearest major fortified town of Anjar, Port of Tuna & District of Anjar thus came under British occupation on December 25, 1815. This led to negotiations between rulers of Kutch and British. The Jadeja rulers of Kutch accepted the suzerainty of British in 1819 and Captain James Meckmardo was posted as British Political Resident stationed at Bhuj. The Anjar District, however, remained under direct occupation of British forces for seven years till December 25, 1822, when it was territory reverted to Princely State of Cutch by way on agreement.
After the victory the British deposed the ruling king Jam Bharmulji II and his son Deshalji II, a minor was made the ruler of Cutch State. During his minority the affairs of the State were managed by Council of Regency, which was composed of Jadeja chiefs and headed by Captain MacMurdo.
During his reign Kutch suffered a severe earthquake in 1819 followed by severe famine in 1823, 1825 & 1832. Further, Kutch was attacked by marauding band from Sindh. Deshalji although 18 years of age took the management of law in his own hands and defeated aggressor from Sindh. His reign saw maritime trade with Africa, Oman and especially Zanzibar improve significantly. Slowly and steadily the industrialization in Cutch got a set back which was started by Lakhpatji and Godji. He was succeeded by his son Pragmalji II in 1860.
During later half of the 19th century and first half of the 20th century state progressed under leadership of Pragmalji II and his successor Khengarji III. The educational, judiciary and administrative reforms, which were started by Pragmulji II, were carried further by Khengarji III, who also laid foundation of Cutch State Railway, Kandla port and many schools. Khengarji III was the longest ruling king of Cutch. Khengarji also served as Aide-De-Campe to Queen Victoria for some years. Under him state was elevated to status of 17-gun salute state and title of rulers of Cutch also was elevated as Maharao.
Khengarji III was succeeded by his son Vijayaraji in 1942 and ruled for few years till India became independent. During reign of Vijayaraji the Kutch High Court was instituted, village councils were elected and irrigation facilities were expanded greatly and agricultural development in the state during short span of six years of his rule. He took keen interest in irrigation matter and it was during his reign the famous Vijaysagar reservoir was built together with another 22 dams in six years. Also in his reign Cutch became the third princely state after Hyderabad and Travancore to start its own bus transport services beginning in year 1945.
Cutch was the first princely state to accede to India and in 1947, upon independence of India on 16 August 1947. Even though Sri Vijayraji was away for medical treatment at London, upon his order Yuvraj Sri Madansinhji, on behalf of his father, signed the Instrument of Accession of Kutch, on 16 August 1947, in his capacity as attorney of Maharao of Kutch. Later, Madansinhji acceded the throne, upon death of his father Vijayaraji on 26 January 1948 and became the last Maharao of Cutch, for a short period of time till 4 May 1948, when the administration of Princely State of Cutch was completely merged in to Union of India.
The princely State of Cutch upon merger into India, was made a separate centrally administered Class-C state by the name Kutch State in 1948.
The Jadeja rulers of Cutch, were truly secular and all Hindus, Muslims, Jains and other sub-sects were free to observe their rituals and rights and all of them prospered under their reign. Even their army and ministry was of secular nature and people of all castes and creed were inducted into it on basis of their quality and qualifications rather than on basis of caste or religion.
However, the Jadejas, themselves were followers of Hinduism and worshiped Ashapura Mata, who is the kuldevi of Jadeja clan and also the State deity. The main temple of goddess is located at Mata no Madh.
Demographics and economy
There were eight main towns in the State − Bhuj, Mandavi, Anjar, Mundra, Naliya, Jakhau, Bhachau and Rapar and 937 villages. Apart from it there were other port towns of Tuna, Lakhpat, Sandhan, Sindri, Bhadreshwar on its coast-line, which boosted the maritime trade, the main revenue earner of State. There are also other towns like Tera, Kothara, Bara, Kanthkot, which were overlooked by Bhayaat (brothers) of the Kings as their jagirs.
The various Kutchi community were known for their trades with Muscat, Mombasa, Mzizima, Zanzibar, and others, and also for their shipbuilding skills. Kandla was developed by Khengarji III in 1930 as a new port. Cutch State Railway was also laid during his reign, during years 1900-1908, which connected main towns like Bhuj, Anjar, Bachau to port of Tuna and Kandla. The railways enhanced business a lot as it paved way for movement of goods and passenger.
Hindus numbered around 3 lakhs, Mohammedans around 1.1 lakhs and Jains were 0.7 lakhs in population as per 1901 census. About 9% of population were Rajputs and Brahmins & other Hindu caste formed another 24% of population of State. The most common language spoken was Kutchi language and Gujarati language. Gujarati was language used in writings and courts & documents.
Lakhpatji : r - 1741-1761.
Deshalji II : r -1819-1960.
Pragmalji II : r-1860-1875.
Khengarji III : r-1875-1942.
Pragmulji III : current titular head
- Imperial Gazetteer 2 of India, Volumen 11,. 1908. pp. 75–80.
- Princely states of India: a guide to chronology and rulers - Page 54
- Kutch rulers
- The Land of 'Ranji' and 'Duleep', by Charles A. Kincaid by Charles Augustus Kincaid. William Blackwood & Sons, Limited. 1931. pp. 11–15.
- The Paramount Power and the Princely States of India, 1858-1881 - Page 287
- Gujarat State Gazetteer - Volume 1 - Page 275-276
- Gazetteer of the Bombay Presidency: Cutch, Pálanpur, and Mahi Kántha - Page 149
- Glimpse of Anjar, Kutch
-  Bhuj:art, architecture, history.
- Jadeja Rulers of Kutch : Deshalji II (1814-1860)
- Kutch State : Maharao DESALJI BHARMALJI II (Daishalji) 1819/1860
- The presence of a glass factory and good breed of horses led Maharao Deshalji II (1819-1960) to maritime long distance trade with Zanzibar and most of all with Sultan of Oman. Makran, Oman, and Zanzibar: three-terminal cultural corridor in the western By Beatrice Nicolini, Penelope-Jane Watson.
- The Politics and Poetics of Water: The Naturalisation of Scarcity in Western ... By Lyla Mehta. 2005. p. 87,88.
- State Transport Undertakings: Structure, Growth and Performance by P. Jagdish Gandhi - 1998- Page 37.|Hyderabad (1932) and Travancore (1938) which owned State enterprises, operated fleets of passenger buses. The small State of Kutch joined then in 1945.
-  NTERNATIONAL LAW REPORTS VOLUME 50