|Historical Region of North India
|State established:||6th century|
|Dynasties||(Gurjara Pratihara) (till 13th century)
|Historical capitals||Mandore, Jodhpur|
Marwar (Hindi: मारवाड़) (also called Jodhpur region) is a region of southwestern Rajasthan state in North Western India. It lies partly in the Thar Desert. In Rajasthani dialect "wad" means a particular area. The word Marwar is derived from Sanskrit word 'Maruwat'. English translation of the word is 'the region of desert.'
The region includes the present-day districts of Barmer, Jalore, Lakshman Nagar, Jodhpur, Nagaur, and Pali. It is bounded on the north by Jangladesh region, on the northeast by Dhundhar, on the east by Ajmer, on the southeast by Mewar, on the south by Godwar, on the southwest by Sindh, and on the west by Jaisalmer region.
In 1901 the region (Jodhpur state) had an area of 90,554 km2 (34,963 sq mi).
Marwar is a sandy plain lying northwest of the Aravalli Range, which runs southwest-northeast through Rajasthan state. The Aravallis wring much of the moisture from the southwest monsoon, which provides most of India's rainfall. Annual rainfall is low, ranging from 10cm to 40cm. Temperatures range from 48 to 50 degrees Celsius in the summer, to below freezing point in winter. The northwestern thorn scrub forests lie next to the Aravalli Range, while the rest of the region lies in the Thar Desert.
The Luni River is the principal feature of the Marwar plains. It originates in the sacred Pushkar Lake of Ajmer District, and the main river flows through Marwar in a south-westerly direction until it finally disappears into the seasonal wetland of the Rann of Kutch in Gujarat. It is fed by tributaries that flow from the Aravallis. Irrigation from the river, and from wells near the river, support crops of wheat and barley.
The sandy tracts of Thar Desert in western Marwar [Maru Pradesh] are characterized by a harsh physical geography and a fragile ecology. High wind velocity, shifting sand dunes and very deep and saline water sources pose a challenge to sustained human habitation in the Thar.
The area is prone to devastating droughts. The Thar Desert is one of the most inhospitable landscapes on earth. Apart from the huge distances between hamlets and settlements here, the landscape is constantly shifting with the sand, as wind and sandstorms re-arrange the landscape. This, added to the lack of water in such an arid region, means that the villagers often find themselves migrating on foot across hundreds of miles towards neighboring states in search of water.
Hieun Tsang described a kingdom in Rajasthan which he calls Ku-cha-lo (or Gurjara) largely because the whole of the marwar area of rajasthan was more or less identified with the Gurjars, as early as the 6th or 7th century. The Gurjara Pratihara established a kingdom in Marwar in the 6th century, with a capital at Mandore, 9 km from present-day Jodhpur. The ruined city of Osian or Ossian, 65 km from Jodhpur, was an important religious centre of the Pratihara period. The royal Rathore family of Jodhpur claim descent from the famous Rashtrakuta dynasty. On the fall of the Rashtrakuta dynasty they migrated north to Kannauj in Uttar Pradesh.
The Jodhpur state was founded in the 13th century by the Rathore clan of Rajputs, who claim descent from the Gahadvala kings of Kannauj. After the sacking of Kannauj by Muhammad of Ghor in 1194, and its capture by the Delhi Sultanate in the early 13th century, the Rathores fled west. The Rathore family chronicles relate that Siyaji, grandson of Jai Chandra, the last Gahadvala king of Kannauj, came to Marwar on a pilgrimage to Dwarka in Gujarat. On halting at the town of Pali he and his followers settled there to protect the Brahmin community from the raids of marauding bands. Rao (king) Chanda, tenth in succession from Siyaji, finally wrested control of Marwar from the Gurjara Pratiharas. The city of Jodhpur, capital of the Rathor state and now a district administrative centre, was founded in 1459 by Rao Chanda's successor Rao Jodha.
In 1561 the kingdom was invaded by the Mughal emperor Akbar. Rao Malladeva (ruled 1532–1562) was forced to submit and to send his son Udai Singh as a mark of homage to take service under the Mughal emperor. After the death of his son Chandrasen in 1581, Marwar was brought under direct Mughal administration and remained so till 1583, when Udai Singh ascended to the throne.
In 1679 CE, when Maharaja Jaswant Singh whom Emperor Aurangzeb had posted at Jamrud at the mouth of the Khyber Pass, died at that place, leaving no son to succeed him; his widowed Ranis (Queens) at Lahore gave birth to two sons. One died and the other survived to secure the throne of Marwar and to stir up the sentiments of his co-religionists against the Muslim Monarch. The family of the late Raja had left Jamrud without the permission of the emperor and killed an officer at Attock when asked to produce a passport. This was a sufficient ground for incorporating Marwar in the Mughal Empire, or reducing it to a state of dependency under a capable ruler. So the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb invaded Marwar in 1679.
It backfired as all the Rajput clans united. A triple alliance was formed by the states of Jodhpur, Udaipur (Mewar) and Jaipur to throw off the Mughal yoke. One of the conditions of this alliance was that the rulers of Jodhpur and Jaipur should regain the privilege of marriage with the ruling Sesodia dynasty of Mewar, which they had forfeited by contracting alliances with the Mughal emperors, on the understanding that the offspring of Sesodia princesses should succeed to the state in preference to all other children. The quarrels arising from this stipulation lasted through many generations. It led to the invitation of Maratha help from the rival aspirants to power and, finally, to the subjection of all the Rajput states to the Marathas. Jodhpur was conquered by Sindhia, who levied a tribute of 60,000 rupees, and took from it the fort and town of Ajmer.
Internecine disputes and succession wars disturbed the peace of the early years of the century, until in January 1818 Jodhpur was brought under British control. Jodhpur became a princely state in the Rajputana Agency of British India.
The state was bounded on the north by Bikaner state, on the northeast by Jaipur state, on the west by the British province of Ajmer, on the southeast by Mewar (Udaipur) state, on the south by Sirohi state and the Banas Kantha Agency of Bombay Presidency, on the southwest by Sind Province, and on the west by Jaisalmer state. The Rathore Maharaja was the head of state, with an aristocracy of Jagirdars, Jamidars and Thakurs. There were 22 parganas and 4500 villages in the state.
In 1839 the British intervened to quell an insurrection. In 1843, when Maharaja Man Singh (ruled 1803–1843) died without a son and without having adopted an heir. The nobles and state officials were left to select a successor from the nearest of kin. Their choice fell upon Raja Takht Singh of Ahmednagar. Maharaja Takht Singh, who supported the British during the Revolt of 1857, died in 1873. His successor, Maharaja Jaswant Singh II, who died in 1896, was a very enlightened ruler. His brother, Sir Pratap Singh, conducted the administration until his nephew, Sardar Singh, came of age in 1898. Maharaja Sardar Singh ruled until 1911. The imperial service cavalry formed part of the reserve brigade during the Tirah campaign.
Marwar suffered more severely than any other part of Rajputana from the famine of 1899–1900. In February 1900 more than 110,000 people were in receipt of famine relief. The kingdom had a population of 1,935,565 in 1901, a 23% decline from the 1891, largely due to the results of the famine.
Its ruler, the Maharaja of Jodhpur, expressed a wish to join the Dominion of Pakistan but Lord Mountbatten warned him that his subjects were mostly Hindus and his accession to Pakistan would create problems. As a result Jodhpur, too, acceded to India.
Farmers of Marwar
The rural areas of Marwar region are dominated by farming communities. The farmers of the Marwar region are considered to be the most simple in the state of Rajasthan. The Rajput community who were the Jagirdars before independence is dominant and have stronghold in this region but they are not good farmers. The other dominant farmer community in the rural areas of Marwar is Jat who have been the chief source of income for the whole of Rajputana. The Brahmins and Harijans also play important role in the area. The farmers of the region have done great struggle to come to the present status.
Though the position of Kisan (farmer) in what was Khalsa (under the direct control of the state) was better in comparison to a Kisan of the Jagir areas, he was only a little above a beast of burden.
With the share of the produce known as "Hasil" these cesses meant that the Kisans had to part with more than eighty percent of their produce. The findings of the Sukhdeonarain Committee in 1940–42 bear this out. If a Kisan had to marry his daughter he had to pay "Chavri Lag"; if he held a dinner then a "Kansa Lag"; if members of the family separated then "Dhunwa Lag" and so on. If the Jagirdar had a guest, fodder for his mount had to be supplied. Then there was "begar" (forced labour), for tilling the personal lands of the Jagirdar. The homestead in which the Kisan lived in the Abadi had to be vacated in case he ceased cultivating the land. He could not alienate the plot to anyone.”
Then the bigger Jagirdars had judicial powers including magisterial powers. Further they had their own police force besides the revenue staff. This enabled them to keep their stronghold on the farmers. Over and above this policy of divide and rule was fully practiced. By offering the temptation of giving better land for cultivation one farmer would be set against another. There were no schools worth the name in rural areas and the masses were steeped in ignorance.
Kan Singh Parihar played a great role in drafting and enactment of Marwar Tenancy Act. 1949 and Marwar Land Revenue Act. 1949. Parihar's idea of fixing all tenants in cultivatory possession as Khatedars thus making all of them almost the proprietors of all their fields, wells etc. without paying any premium or compensation and further being relieved from paying any lag bag (Cesses) etc.. This Marwar Tenancy Act. 1949 and Marwar Land Revenue Act. 1949 became a role model for the Rajasthan Assembly in 1955 and similar laws were passed based on these Acts thus the farmers of Rajasthan greatly benefited due to these laws.
The Jats in Bikaner, Jaipur and Jodhpur States were always a formidable factor. The Jat community was the most numerous and largest single community in the Princely States of Bikaner, Jaipur and Jodhpur. The Maharajas, minor estates holders (feudatory) and their Kinsmen (the jagirdars) oppressed and suppressed the Jat Kisans in various manners forcing them to carry out agitations. Unfortunately the Imperial power (British) were always there to provide them much needed support. In the Shekhawati area of Sikar, Khetri, Nawalgarh, Dundlod, Bissau etc. the Jat Kisans carried out prolonged agitations against the feudal oppression from 1922 to 1930, 1930 to 1938 and from 1938 to 1947. The feudal lords grudgingly yielded and some concessions were wrested from them. The worst was exploitation in the name of “Begar” under which the Jat Kisan had to render free services by way of these feudal lords. They had to provide free labour and their bullocks and carts too to their feudal lords. In Jodhpur State 84% of the kind was parceled out in Jagirs (feudal land lords) most of whom were Kinsmen of the Maharaja. Several of them held revenue and magisterial powers over their peasants against which there was no appeal.
The Marwar Kisan Sabha was organised to ventilate grievances of the predominant Jat Kisans. The Marwar Kisan Sabha held its annual session in 1943 where Chowdhary Sir Chhotu Ram then Revenue Minister in Punjab, was invited as the Chief Guest. The Main Resolution among others that was settlement operations in the Jagir areas which was vehemently opposed by the leading Jagirdars. The ongoing Kisan agitation finally culminated in what is known as “Dabra Kand’ a veritable Jallianwalla Bagh.
Abolition of Jagirs
The oppression of the public by traditional Samants (chiefs) and Jagirdars (feudatories) of Marwar state made their life difficult, which led to a class war. In urban areas, Jaynarayan Vyas started agitation against oppression, under the banner of "Marwar Lok Parishad" founded on 16 May 1938. This movement was supported by National Congress. Those who played important role in "Marwar Lok Parishad" were Shiv Dayal Dave and Jorawar Singh Oswal of Nagaur, Kishanlal Shah of Nawa, Manak Chand Kothari, Balkrishn Sarda and Sari Mal of Kuchaman, Tulsiram of Didwana, Srikishan Pandit of Kolia and Sukhdev Dipankar of Ladnu. rakhi jojawar krishnapal chouhan
Rural masses of Marwar were united by Kisan Kesari-Baldev Ram Mirdha under the banner of "Marwar Kisan Sabha" founded in 1940. After the formation of Rajasthan, Baldev Ram Mirdha who had by then retired from Government service formed the "Rajathan Kisan Sabha" and unified the Kisans of Rajasthan under its banner. He was its first president. Since the broad objectives of the Kisan Sabha and the congress were identical the congress leaders approached Baldev Ram Mirdha to unite the Rajasthan Kisan Sabha with the Congress. Baldev Ram Mirdha was a visionary and he realized that the two could not and should not remain separate. Therefore, he just made one demand from the national leaders that the Jagirs be abolished forthwith in Rajasthan. This was agreed to.
Marwar is known for its Marwari horse.
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- Rosemary Crill Marwar Paintings: A History of the Jodhpur Style, India Book House, Mumbai, 1999 ISBN 81-7508-139-2
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- Illan Cooper: "What is in a name", Marwar: A chronicle of Marwari History and Achievement, Arpan Publications, Mumbai, 1996
- Illan Cooper: "A painted History", Marwar: A chronicle of Marwari History and Achievement, Arpan Publications, Mumbai, 1996
- Dr. Natthan Singh: Jat-Itihas, Jat-Samaj Kalyan-Parishad, Gwalior, 2004
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