Thakur Deshraj (1903–1970) was a social worker, journalist, nationalist, freedom fighter and author of many books. He was from Rajasthan state in India. He was revenue minister in the princely state of Bharatpur.
Jat Prajapati Maha-Yagya 1934
After successful Jhunjhunu adhiveshan in 1932, a deputation of Jats from Sikar district, under the leadership of Prithvi Singh Gothra met Thakur Deshraj and requested him to do a similar adhiveshan in Sikar also. After long discussions Thakur Deshraj proposed to have a yagya at Sikar. A meeting for discussing this issue was called in Palthana village in October 1933. This was attended by all activists from Shekhawati and one member was invited from each family in Sikar district. About 5000 people gathered in the meeting. The Sikar thikana wanted to make this meeting a failure. For this, the thikanedar sent hundreds of handcuffs loaded on camels along with the police force to terrorize the people taking part in the meeting. Thakur Deshraj addressed the people that
these handcuffs would get you independence. If you are afraid of these you would never get freed. We have gathered here for a religious purpose and we will complete.
These words energised the audience to continue their struggle with the Jagirdars. A resolution was passed to conduct a seven-day "Jat Prajapat Mahayagya" (Prayer ceremony for the Lord of Universe) in Sikar on the next basant in 1934, to spread the principles of Arya Samaj and create awakening in Shekhawati.
Expulsion from Jaipur State
Deshraj was expelled from Jaipur State by the Jaipur Sarkar on 10 April 1935 due to which he could not guide the farmers of Shekhawati any more. After this in 1938 he joined Bharatpur Rajya Praja Mandal, Zamindar Kisan Sabha, Braj-jaya Pratinidhi Sabha. He joined Bharatpur state cabinet also as revenue minister. After Independence he left politics and concentrated on Jat history.
Deshraj is author of the book on the History of the Jats in Hindi, Jat-Itihasa (Hindi: जाट इतिहास) published in 1934. He also published local newspapers to promote the farmers to fight for their rights and awakened them to realize the self-respect. He started a newspaper named Rajasthan Sandesh in 1931 for this purpose. He published a series of articles in Jatveer on the acts of oppression on farmers, which awakened them. Later Jatveer paper was also published from Jhunjhunu. The paper Ganesh was published by him from Agra. Deshraj along with Tarkeshwar Sharma circulated hand written newspaper called ‘Gram Samachar’ started in 1929. Later he also published newspaper Kisan. All these papers created a revolutionary change in the farmers. He published History of Jats of Marwar in 1954 and 'Sikh Itihas' in 1954.
As a journalist he wrote about the oppressive measures of the Jagirdars in Shekhawati region in Rajasthan and the Nawabs of Loharu in Haryana. His voice through these news papers reached up to House of Commons of the United Kingdom. Questions were asked in the House of Commons about excesses by Jagirdars on farmers of Shekhawati.
- Dr Pema Ram & Dr Vikramaditya Chaudhary, Jaton ki Gauravgatha (जाटों की गौरवगाथा), 2004, Publisher - Rajasthani Granthagar, Jodhpur, p. 145
- Dr Pema Ram & Dr Vikramaditya Chaudhary, Jaton ki Gauravgatha (जाटों की गौरवगाथा), 2004, Publisher - Rajasthani Granthagar, Jodhpur, p. 146
- Dr Pema Ram:Shekhawati Kisan Andolan Ka Itihas, Sri Ganesh Sewa Samiti, Jasnagar, District Nagaur - 341518, First Edition 1990, p. 78
- Dr Pema Ram & Dr Vikramaditya Chaudhary, Jaton ki Gauravgatha), 2004, Publisher - Rajasthani Granthagar, Jodhpur, p.154
- Dr Pema Ram & Dr Vikramaditya Chaudhary, Jaton ki Gauravgatha, 2004, Publisher - Rajasthani Granthagar, Jodhpur, p. 154
- Harbhan Singh Jinda: Thakur Deshraj, Rajasthan men Swatantrata Sangram ke Amar Purodha, Rajasthan Hindi Granth Akadami, 2003, pp.35-36
- Robert W. Stern: The cat and the lion: Jaipur State in the British Raj, pp.281-283
- Dr Gyan Prakash Pilania: Shekhawati Kisan Andolan ke Prernakunj – Thakur Deshraj, Jat Samaj, Agra, June 2005
- Jat Samaj: Agra, August 1991
- Dr Mahendra Singh Arya: Jat Gotra Shabdavali, Jaypal Agencies Agra,
- Thakur Deshraj: Jat Itihas (Hindi), Maharaja Suraj Mal Smarak Shiksha Sansthan, Delhi, 1934, 2nd edition 1992.