Khengarji III

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Maharao Shri Khengarji III of Cutch

Maharajadhiraj Mirza Maharao Sri Sir Khengarji III Sawai Bahadur, GCSI, GCIE (23 August 1866 – 15 January 1942) was a progressive and one of the longest ruling monarchs of world and also longest ruling king of the Princely State of Cutch from 1875 to 1942.[1][2][3]

Life-sketch[edit]

He ascended the throne in 1875 after his father Maharao Shri Pragmalji II of Kutch died on 19 December 1875. He ascended the throne on 3 January 1876 and reigned under a Council of Regency until he came of age, 11 August 1884 and was invested with full ruling powers, 14 November 1884.[3] In 1892, during his reign Cutch was raised to 17-gun salute.

At the pinnacle of the Jadeja clan of Rajputs, he advanced his state drastically over the sixty-six years of his reign, modernizing it and bringing it forth into the 20th century. During the latter part of Queen Victoria's reign, Sir Khengarji came to be appointed as an aide de camp to the Queen-Empress in her declining years, which excited some jealousy amongst the officials of the Government of India. He often traveled abroad to Europe, and was noted for his personal relations with the members of the ruling houses there. Khengarji III was one of the very few Indian monarchs to attend all three Delhi Durbars - in 1877,1903 and 1911. He was raised to the hereditary titles of Sawai Bahadur on 2 March 1885 and Maharao on 1 January 1918 by British. In 1919, he was granted a local salute of 19-guns, and represented India at a League of Nations conference in Geneva in 1921.[3] and also attended the Imperial Conference in London 1921.[3] In year 1921 he also held the post of Vice-President of British Empire League.[3] He was granted the Freedom of the Cities of London and Bath in 1921. Sir Khengarji died in 1942, aged 75, and was succeeded by his son Vijayaraji.[3][4]

Some of the highlights of his reign and attributes :-

  1. Giving finishing touches to Prag Mahal in 1878-79, which was commissioned by his father Maharao Pragmalji in 1865-66.
  2. The Fergusson Museum, now known as the Kutch Museum, was founded by him in 1877 AD to house the numerous wedding gifts he received. It is the oldest museum in Gujarat.[5]
  3. He was one of the early Indian members of the Bombay Natural History Society.[6]
  4. Promotion of Cutch State Railway, a narrow gauge line owned & managed by Princely State of Cutch. The laying of railway tracks between Tuna Port and Anjar started in 1900-01. Ostensibly the inaugural train carried the baraat (marriage entourage) of Yuvraj Vijayrajji. First train ran in year 1905. The line was extended to Bhuj from Anjar in 1908 and later to Bhimasar, Bhachau & Kandla.[7][8]
  5. Ordered renovation of Suralbhit Jadeshwar Temple near Bhuj in 1914. Renovation work done by Mistris of Madhapar[9]
  6. Construction of Vijay Vilas Palace for his son & Yuvraj Vijayaraji at Mandvi in 1920 completed in 1929.
  7. Construction of Cutch Castle near Opera House at Bombay during decade of 1920 at behest & under supervision of Rai Bahadur Jagmal Raja Chauhan of Nagor.[10][11]
  8. Sanctioned the Haji Pir (near Nara) Dargah complex in the Rann.
  9. Introduced Kutch into the electricity, automobile and aviation era, but preferred to keep his personal apartment at the Pragmahal Palace non-electrified.
  10. In 1930 he personally identified & selected the location for new port of Kandla.[12][13] The Cutch State Railway lines were extended from Anjar to Kandla.[8][10]
  11. Opening up of various state funded Schools & educational institutions, like Sanskrit Pathshala, Alfred High School, Library in Princely State of Kutch.[14]
  12. Built public Hospitals at Bhuj and Mandvi.
  13. Commissioned in 1940 Darya Mahal, his monumental residence at Napsean Sea Road in Mumbai.[15][16]
  14. Construction of Khengar Sagar dam at Chhasra over River Bhukhi in 1937[17][18]
  15. Throughout 66 years of his reign kept inflation in tight check.
  16. Interacted with Indian stalwarts, Swami Vivekanand, Mahatma Gandhi, Dadabhoy Naoroji.
  17. Rare occurrence - saw five generation of Maharaos from Pragmulji II to Pragmulji III.
  18. Acknowledged as one of the finest rifle shots of his times.
  19. Keen judge of horses.

Monuments[edit]

  1. Much after independence Khengar Park was established in Bhuj perpetuating his memory.
  2. Present Maharao Pragmulji III was instrumental to put up his bust at the main office Port Trust of New Kandla, Kandla, a port founded by him in 1930.
  3. A square has been named after him as Maharao Khengarji Chowk on Anjar - Adipur Road, where his bust is also placed.
  4. Khengar Sagar Dam near Mundra is named after him.[19]
Maharao Khengarji III : a rare photo
A young King Khengarji III with his kill

Titles[edit]

[3]

  • 1866-1875: Maharajkumar Shri Khengarji Pragmulji, Yuvraj Sahib of Kutch
  • 1875-1877: His Highness Maharajadhiraj Mirza Rao Shri Khengarji III Sahib Bahadur, Rao of Kutch
  • 1877-1885: His Highness Maharajadhiraj Mirza Rao Shri Khengarji III Sahib Bahadur, Rao of Kutch
  • 1885-1887: His Highness Maharajadhiraj Mirza Rao Shri Khengarji III Sawai Bahadur, Rao of Kutch
  • 1887-1917: His Highness Maharajadhiraj Mirza Rao Shri Sir Khengarji III Sawai Bahadur, Rao of Kutch, GCIE
  • 1917-1918: His Highness Maharajadhiraj Mirza Rao Shri Sir Khengarji III Sawai Bahadur, Rao of Kutch, GCSI, GCIE
  • 1918-1929: His Highness Maharajadhiraj Mirza Maharao Shri Sir Khengarji III Sawai Bahadur, Maharao of Kutch, GCSI, GCIE
  • 1929-1942: Colonel His Highness Maharajadhiraj Mirza Maharao Shri Sir Khengarji III Sawai Bahadur, Maharao of Kutch, GCSI, GCIE

Honours[edit]

[3]

Political Office[edit]

Khengarji III
Born: 23 August 1883 Died: 15 January 1942
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Pragmalji II
Maharaja of Kutch
1975-1942
Succeeded by
Vijayaraji

References[edit]

  1. ^ Kutch
  2. ^ Jadeja rulers of Kutch
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h Cutch
  4. ^ [1] The Vedanta kesari, Volume 80.
  5. ^ Bhuj
  6. ^ Khachar, Lavkumar (2008). "Obituary. Himmatsinhji October 9, 1928 to February 22, 2008". J. Bombay Nat. Hist. Soc. 105 (1): 86.
  7. ^ Hughes, Hugh 1994 Indian Locomotives Pt. 3, Narrow Gauge 1863-1940. Continental Railway Circle.
  8. ^ a b Nanji Bapa Ni Nondh-pothi, 1999 Pg. 90 Cutch State Railway Contracts done by Kutch Gurjar Kshatriya or Mistris of Kutch : Details : Tuna to Anjar in 1900-01 (lines opened in 1905), Anjar to Bhuj in 1901-02 lines opened in 1908), Bhuj to Bhachau in 1915 (line opened in 1918), Varsamedi to Kandla in 1930 (lines opened in 1932) with names of Mistri Contractors.
  9. ^ Madhapar History. Madhapar founded by Madha Kanji Solanki. Suralbhit & Jadeshwar Madhadev Temple built by Mistris of Kutch. Patel Community : Kutch PDF.
  10. ^ a b Kutch Gurjar Kshatriya Community : A brief History & Glory: by Raja Pawan Jethwa. (2007) Calcutta.
  11. ^ Article on life and works of Jagmal Raja Chauhan of Nagor published in Kutch Darpan Magazine,August 2009
  12. ^ Then in 1930, Maharao Khengarji III of Kutch opened new port at Kandla. Sovereignty, power, control: politics in the State of Western India, 1916-1947 By John McLeod.
  13. ^ In recent times Kandla was developed as modern port begun by Maharao Khengarji III. Gujarat–Daman–Diu: A Travel Guide By Ward
  14. ^ [2] Gujarat by Smt. Hiralaxmi Navanitbhai Shah Dhanya Gurjari Kendra
  15. ^ The 1930s was a period when members of the former princely states were building homes in Mumbai. It was only natural that they chose the prevalent style of the time. Darya Mahal, the home of the Maharao of Kutch, the Wankaner House of the erstwhile Wankaner state, and Dhanraj Mahal of the Maharaja of Dhanrajgir are a few examples of this style
  16. ^ Dariya Mahal. The palace belonged to the Maharao of Kutch. A family of Marwari industrialists bought the palace and its grounds; they chopped down the trees on the land, cleared the antiques out of the palace..
  17. ^ Land and People of Indian States and Union Territories: In 36 ..., Volume 8 edited by S. C. Bhatt, Gopal K. Bhargava. 2006. p. 362. 
  18. ^ The Black Hills: Kutch in History and Legend: a Study in ...by Laurence Frederic Rushbrook Williams - 1958 - Page 18
  19. ^ "The best day of year for Kutch,water worries are over, Hamirsar, Khengarsagar overflow". Desh Gujarat. 27 September 2013. Retrieved 5 March 2014.