Tonk State

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This article is about the Princely State of Tonk. For the city of Tonk, see Tonk, India. For the district of Tonk, see Tonk district.
Tonk State
टोंक रियासत/ ٹونک ریاست
Princely State of British India
Flag Coat of arms
Flag Coat of arms
Location of Tonk
Tonk State in the Imperial Gazetteer of India
 •  Established 1806
 •  Independence of India 1949
 •  1931 6,512 km2 (2,514 sq mi)
 •  1931 317,360 
Density 48.7 /km2  (126.2 /sq mi)
Today part of Rajasthan, India
Public Domain This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. 

Tonk was a Princely State of India at the time of the British Raj. The town of Tonk, which was the capital of the state, had a population of 38,759 in 1901. The town was surrounded by a wall and boasted a mud fort. It had a high school, the Walter hospital for women, under a matron, and a separate hospital for men. It has a bridge on river Banas. Only Muslim princely state of Rajasthan.


The state was formed of several enclaves located in an area covered by the alluvium of the Bands, and from this a few rocky hills composed of schists of the Aravalli Range protrude, together with scattered outliers of the Alwar quartzites. Nimbahera is for the most part covered by shales, lime- stone, and sandstone belonging to the Lower Vindhyan group, while the Central India districts lie in the Deccan trap area, and present all the features common to that formation.

Besides the usual small game, antelope or ravine deer, and nilgai (Boselaphus tragocamelus) used to be common in the plains, and leopards, sambar deer (Cervus unicolor), and wild hog were found in many of the hills. Formerly an occasional tiger was met with in the south-east of Aligarh, the north-east- of Nimbahera, and parts of Pirawa and Sironj.

The total area of the princely state was 2553 sq. mi, with a total population in 1901 of 273,201. By treaty Tonk became a British protectorate in 1817. Following the Independence of India, Tonk acceded to the newly independent Indian Union on 7 April 1949. It was located in the region bordering present-day Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh states that is now the Tonk district.


The founder of the state was Nawab Muhammad Amir Khan (1769-1834), an adventurer and military leader of pashtun descent. In 1817, upon submitting to the British East India Company, he kept his territory of Tonk and received the title of Nawab.[1] While retaining internal autonomy and remaining outside British India, the state came under the supervision of the Rajputana Agency and consisted of six isolated districts. Three of these were under the Rajputana Agency, namely, Tonk, Aligarh (formerly Rampura) and Nimbahera. The other three, Chhabra, Pirawa and Sironj were in the Central India Agency. The Haraoti-Tonk Agency, with headquarters at Deoli, dealt with the states of Tonk and Bundi, as well as with the state of Shahpura.[2]

The ruling family were Pathans or Afghans of the Buner tribe. In the reign of Muhammad Shah, one Taleh Khan left his home in the Buner country and took service in Rohilkhand with Ali Muhammad Khan, a Rohilla of distinction. His History. son, Haiyat Khan, became possessed of some landed property in Moradabad, and to him in 1768 was born Amir Khan, the founder of this State. Beginning life as a petty mercenary leader, he rose in 1798 to be the commander of a large army in the service of Jaswant Rao Holkar, and was employed in the campaigns against Sindhia, the Peshwa, and the British, and in assisting to levy the contributions exacted from Rajputana and Malwa. It was one of the terms of the union between Amir Khan and Holkar that they should share equally in all future plunder and conquest, and accordingly in 1798 Amir Khan received the district of Sironj. To this Tonk and Pirawa were added in 18o6, Nimbahera in 18o9, and Chhabra in 1816. On the entrance of the British into Malwa, Amir Khan made overtures to be admitted to protection; but the conditions he proposed were too extravagant to be acceded to. He received, however, the offer of a guarantee of all the lands he held under grants from Holkar, on condition of his abandoning the predatory system, disbanding his army of fifty-two battalions of disciplined infantry and a numerous body of Pathan cavalry, and surrendering his artillery, with the exception: of forty guns, to the British at a valuation. His request to be con- firmed in lands obtained from different Rajput States under every circumstance of violence and extortion was positively rejected. To these terms Amir Khan agreed, and they were embodied in a treaty in November, 1817. To the territories thus guaranteed (the five districts above mentioned) the fort and pargana of Rampura, now called ALIGARH, were added by the British Government as a free grant, and a loan of 3 lakhs; afterwards converted into a gift, was made to him.

A former minister of Tonk state, Sahibzada Obeidullah Khan, was deputed on political duty to Peshawar during the Tirah campaign of 1897.

In 1899-1900, the state suffered much distress due to drought. The princely state enjoyed an estimated revenue of £77,000; however, no tribute was payable to the government of British India. Grain, cotton, opium and hides were the chief products and exports of the state. Two of the outlying tracts of the state were served by two different railways.

Nawab Sir Muhammad Ibrahim Ali Khan GCIE (ruled 1867-1930) was one of few chiefs to attend both Lord Lytton's Durbar in 1877 and the Delhi Durbar of 1903 as ruler.

In 1947, on the Partition of India whereby India and Pakistan gained independence, the Nawab of Tonk decided to accede to the Union of India. Subsequently, most of the area of the state of Tonk was integrated into the Rajasthan state, while some of its eastern enclaves became part of Madhya Pradesh.

The foundation of the principality of Tonk led to the creation of a large Rajasthani Pathan community.


The rulers of the state, the Salarzai Nawabs of Tonk belonged to a Pashtun Tarkani tribe. They were entitled to a 17-gun salute by the British authorities.[3] The last ruler, Nawab Muhammad Ismaail Ali Khan, has no issue


  • Muhammad Amir Khan 1806 - 1834
  • Muhammad Wazir Khan 1834 - 1864
  • Nawab Muhammad Ali Khan 1864 - 1867
  • Nawab Muhammad Ibrahim Ali Khan 1867 - 23 June 1930
  • Nawab Muhammad Sa'adat Ali Khan 23 June 1930 – 31 May 1947
  • Nawab Muhammad Faruq Ali Khan 1947 - 1948
  • Nawab Muhammad Ismail Ali Khan 1948 - 1974

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Princely States of India
  2. ^ Imperial Gazetteer of India vol. IV (1907), The Indian Empire, Administrative, Published under the authority of His Majesty's Secretary of State for India in Council, Oxford at the Clarendon Press. Pp. xxx, 1 map, 552
  3. ^ Tonk Princely State - (17 gun salute)

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 26°10′N 75°47′E / 26.17°N 75.78°E / 26.17; 75.78