Abhai Singh of Marwar

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Maharaja Abhai Singh Rathore
Maharaja of Marwar
Abhai Singh.jpg
Tenure24 June 1724 – 18 June 1749
Coronation17 July 1724, Delhi
Born7 November 1702
Meherangarh, Jodhpur
Died18 June 1749(1749-06-18) (aged 46)
Ajmer
HouseRathore
FatherAjit Singh
ReligionHinduism

Maharaja Abhai Singh Rathore (7 November 1702 – 18 June 1749) was the Raja of the Kingdom of Marwar from June 24th, 1724 to his death on June 18th, 1749.[1][2]

Coronation[edit]

The Six Sons of Maharaja Ajit Singh of Jodhpur on a Visit

Abhai Singh was crowned on the death of his father Maharaja Ajit Singh who himself was killed by a conspiracy of Abhai Singh and Bakht Singh. He was nonetheless as fearless as his father.

Khejarli Massacre[edit]

In 1726, Maharaja Abhai Singh of Marwar granted the estate of Khejarli to Thakur Surat Singh, who became the first 'Thakur of Khejarli'.

In 1730, under his order, a minister Giridhar Bhandari, led a royal party to the Khejarli village to cut down Khejari trees.

A local woman called Amrita Devi Bishnoi protested against the tree-cutting because such acts were prohibited by the Bishnoi's religion. The feudal party said that they would only stop if she paid them a bribe, which she refused since she saw it as ignominious and an insult to her faith. She said that she would rather give away her life to save the trees. She and her three daughters (Asu, Ratni and Bhagu) were then killed by the party.[3]

News of the deaths spread and summons to a meeting was sent to 84 Bishnoi villages. The meeting determined that one Bishnoi volunteer would sacrifice their life for every tree that was cut down. Older people began hugging the trees that were intended to be cut and many were killed.[3]

These efforts failed to have the desired impact and Bhandari claimed that the Bishnois were sacrificing ageing people whom they no longer saw as useful to society. In response to this, young men, women and children began to follow the example of the old. 363 Bishnois died in the incident.[3]

The development shocked the tree-felling party. The group left for Jodhpur with their mission unfulfilled and the Maharaja Abhai Singh of Marwar subsequently ordered that no more trees should be felled.[3][4][5]

March against Sarbuland Khan of Ahmedabad[edit]

In 1730, due to a taxation dispute with Sarbuland Khan, Abhai Singh led his men towards Ahmedabad.[6] On his way to Ahmedabad, Abhai first met the Jaipur prince at Pushkar. After defeating Sarbuland, Abhai Singh took the route to Jalore whose king (Thakur) presented his daughter in marriage to Abhai Singh, Ram Singh was scion born of this wedlock.[7]

Battle of Ahmedabad against Sarbuland Khan & Role of Kesari Singh Akherajot[edit]

Sarbuland's plans of defence are minutely detailed.[8] At each gate, he posted two thousand men and five guns manned by Europeans of whom he had a body of musketeers around his person. The cannonade had been kept up for three days on both sides due to which Sarbuland's son was killed. At length, Bakht Singh led the storm when all the ots and awaits performed prodigies of valour:

The Rajpurohit Akherajot warrior Kesari Singh Akherajot[9] (Rajguru of Marwar) of Khedapa and Jai Singh Jatiyawas, sons of 'Paatshah' Akheraj Singh Ji Rajpurohit of Tinwari Marwar were the first to lose their lives. Both the sons of Kesari Singh Ji - Pratap Singh and Anop Singh were also a part of the war. Kesari Singh having decided to perform Saka, was in the foremost row and went in the war with swords in both hands and no shield. Hindu devotees view this as Kesari Singh emulating the Hindu deity Hanuman. Kesari is said to have ferociously slain his enemies with both hands as seen in person by the poet Karnidaan on the battlefield, mentioning the view to be completely awe-inspiring and one of its kind. He seemed to be unstoppable and a shivering nightmare for the enemies. Although he already turned the tide of the battle towards victory, he couldn't watch it himself as fate had it- dying as a result of his frenzied charge.

On this day, when the best blood of Rajputana was shed on the walls of Ahmedabad, both the princely brothers had their share in the play of swords and each slew more than one leader of note, Amra who had so often defended Ajmer slew five chiefs of the grades of two and three thousand horse.[10]

Hari Singh beheaded the Badshah of Ahmedabad. He was a great devotee of Lokdevta Pabuji Rathore. And it is said that it was all the miracle of Pabuji Rathore that Hari was able to behead Sher Vallabh. Hari was worshipping Pabuji Rathore at a small temple near Dechu in Sagran village (at present) where only a small sculpture of Pabuji Rathore is placed. He used to worship Pabuji Rathore every day in the morning. People of Dechu and descendants of Hari believe that it was as the blessings of Pabuji Rathore, so Hari fought the war. Hari (he was Thakur of Dechu) was a great warrior of his time and played a crucial role in winning the war for Jodhpur.

One hundred and twenty of Abhai Singh's chieftains of note with five hundred horses were slain. Abhai Singh of Marwar now ruled over the seventeen thousand towns of Gujarat and the nine thousand of Marwar besides one thousand elsewhere. The princes of Idar, Bhuj, Parkar, Sind, Sirohi, the Chalukya Ran of Fatehpur, Jhunjunu, Nagor, Dungarpur, Banswara, Lunawara and Halwad every morning bowed their heads to Abhai Singh, Thus in the enlightened half of the moon on the victorious tenth VS 1787 / AD 1731 the day on which Ramachandra captured Lanka the war against Sarbuland an Omrah lord of twelve thousand was concluded.[11]

The various cadet branches of the Rathore clan lost several important leaders. The Champawats bore the brunt and lost Karan of Pali, Kishan Singh of Sandri, Gordhan of Jalor and Kalyan. The Kumpawats lost also several leaders of clans as Narsingh, Surtaan Singh, the Padma son of Durjan. The Jodha tribe lost three leaders namely Hayatmall, Ghuman and Jogidas. The brave Mertias also lost three, Bhum Singh, Kushal Singh and Gulab, son of Hathi. The other chieftains - the Jadons, the Sonigiras the Dhondals and Khichis had many brave men carried to Bhanuloka and even bards and purohits were amongst the slain.[12]

Battle of Gangwana, and valour shown by Rajpurohits of Desalsar[edit]

Abhai Singh wanted to take over Bikaner, and this was not what his brother Bhakt Singh wanted, since Bikaner was also a Rathore state, thus a collateral branch who would serve Marwar in times of peril, but Abhai Singh sent a large party of troops to Bikaner which were almost successful. The troops of Marwar surrounded the fort of Bikaner, consisting of Maharaja Zorawar Singh of Bikaner and his sons. Zorawar Singh sent a letter to his army general, Jagraam Singh Rajpurohit of Desalsar, who was in his village during that duration. After receiving a letter from the royal family, he soon marched diagonally to Bikaner and reached on the auspicious day of Holi, and declared war against the army of Marwar. Bakhth schemed with Vidyadhar, a minister with Jai Singh of Amber and the result was that Amber marched against Marwar. After getting the news, Abhai Singh recalled his troops. So, there started a panic between the army and Jagraam with his mates and sons killed majority of the army personnel and. During this battle, Jagraam Singh got hit by an arrow in his stomach, but he fought till his last breath, and when troops of Marwar ran back to Nagaur that time a part of Marwar, he came back to Zorawar Singh and declared the victory of Bikaner over Marwar. By seeing his valour, Maharaja Zorawar Singh ran to him and hugged the man who saved the kingdom, its pride and heritage and his family, but Jagraam lost his breath on the shoulder of his maharaja. Maharaja Zorawar Singh ordered to build a Cenotaph (chhatri) where his friend took his last breath but after some discussion, a cenotaph (chhatri) was built near the residential palace of maharaja in Junagarh fort, so that he can watch it every day and a village was gifted to his son Devkaran, which was later called Rasisar. At Battle of Gangwana, it was left to Bhakt Singh to save Rathore's grace and he did so with only 1,000 Rathores against an army of 100,000 Mughals and Rajputs. Relations were later restored.

Ram Singh succeeds[edit]

His son Maharaja Ram Singh succeeded him but was soon deposed by his uncle Bhakt Singh.

Preceded by
Raja Indra Singh
Maharaja of the Marwar
24 June 1724 – 18 June 1749
Succeeded by
Ram Singh of Marwar

References[edit]

  1. ^ N.S. Bhati, Studies in Marwar History, page 6
  2. ^ R.K. Gupta, S.R. Bakshi, "Studies In Indian History: Rajasthan Through The Ages The Heritage Of Rajputs", Page 302
  3. ^ a b c d "Bishnoi villagers sacrifice lives to save trees, 1730 | Global Nonviolent Action Database". nvdatabase.swarthmore.edu. Retrieved 20 August 2017.
  4. ^ "The Bishnois". edugreen.teri.res.in. Retrieved 20 August 2017.
  5. ^ Sharma, B. K.; Kulshreshtha, Seema; Rahmani, Asad R. (14 September 2013). Faunal Heritage of Rajasthan, India: General Background and Ecology of Vertebrates. Springer Science & Business Media. ISBN 9781461408000.
  6. ^ Google Books 2015, pp. 256–257.
  7. ^ R.K. Gupta, S.R. Bakshi, "Studies In Indian History: Rajasthan Through The Ages The Heritage Of Rajputs", Page 345
  8. ^ Dr. Prahalad Singh Rajpurohit, ”Veer Kesari Singh Rajpurohit ka JASPRAKASH”
  9. ^ Dr. Prahalad Singh Rajpurohit, ”Veer Kesari Singh Rajpurohit ka JASPRAKASH”
  10. ^ Visheshwar Sarup Bhargava,"Marwar and the Mughal emperors (A. D. 1526–1748)", page 153
  11. ^ Visheshwar Sarup Bhargava,"Marwar and the Mughal emperors (A. D. 1526–1748)", page 143
  12. ^ Visheshwar Sarup Bhargava,"Marwar and the Mughal emperors (A. D. 1526–1748)", page 139

External links[edit]