|Historical Region of North India|
|Flag of 19th c.|
|State established:||6th c.|
|Dynasties|| Parihar (Pratihara) (till 13th c.)|
|Historical capitals||Mandore, Jodhpur|
Marwar (Hindi:मारवाड़) (also called Jodhpur region) is a region of southwestern Rajasthan state in 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 death'. , Imperial Gazetteer of India, v. 17, p. 213 defines Marwar as curruption of Maru-wār, classically Marusthala or Marusthan, also called Marudesa, whence is derived the unintelligible Mardes of the early Muhamadan writers. The word means the 'region of death' and hence is applied to desert.
Region includes the present-day districts of Barmer, Jalor, 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 Sind, and on the west by Jaisalmer region.
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 10-40cms. 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 numerous 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 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 also 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 at will. This added to the lack of water in such an arid region, means that the villagers of the area often find themselves migrating on foot across hundreds of miles towards neighboring states in search of water.
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, and 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 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, and Rao Malladeva (ruled 1532-1584) was forced to submit, and to send his son as a mark of homage to take service under the Mughal emperor. When this son Udai Singh succeeded to the throne in 1584,
The Mughal emperor Aurangzeb, who was far less tolerant of Hinduism than his predecessors, invaded Marwar in 1679, plundered Jodhpur, sacked all the large towns, and commanded the conversion of the Rathors to Islam. This cemented all the Rajput clans into a bond of union, and a triple alliance was formed by the three 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, and 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 northwest by Jaipur state, on the west by the British province of Ajmer, on the southwest by Mewar (Udaipur) state, on the south by Sirohi state and the Banas Kantha Agency of Bombay Presidency, on the southeast 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 Pertab 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 persons 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.
In the Marwar state there was a Jagirdari system of governance before independence. The right to ownership of land was available to higher castes i.e., Brahmans, Rajpurohits, Rajputs and Mahajans. Brahmans were associated with priestly and religious professions, as also with education & Rajpurohit / Purohit Brahmins acted as Rajpurohit of Royal Family, while Rajputs were owners of the land. Mahajans were associated with Trading & money lending. Other castes inhabiting Marwar were Jat, Gurjar, Rajput Mali, Sirvi, Kalbi, Nai, Darji, Suthar, Meghwal, Chamar, Lohar, Naik, Bhil, ghanchi, etc. Among these castes, the Jat, Gurjar, Rajput Mali, Sirvi, Kalbi and some others were engaged in cultivation of land and animal husbandry.
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.
“Every thing that the Kisan had, never treated as his own. In Jagir areas all cultivators were really landless. There was no tenancy law and one could be thrown away from the land one cultivated at the pleasure of Jagirdar, his "malik". In most of the Jagirs a Jagirdar would in the first instance be taking fifty percent of the produce. This would be taken by actual division of the produce on the thrashing floor or by appraisal of the standing crop (kunta). Then over and above the share of the produce the Kisan had to pay numerous "lags" or cesses.
Together 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 the years 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 then fodder for his mount had to be supplied. Then there was "begar" that is 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.
Shri Kan Singh Parihar played a great role in drafting and enactment of Marwar Tenancy Act. 1949 and Marwar Land Revenue Act. 1949. Shri 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. Dabda or Dabra (डाबड़ा) village in Didwana tehsil of Nagaur district in Rajasthan became historically important for Dabda Kand (Dabra scandal) in 1947 during the agitation for abolition of Jagirs in Rajasthan.
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 form 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 not only free labour but also 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.
A glance at the ‘Census Report of Marwar (Jodhpur State) for 1941’ , would make one aware of the size of the Jat community in the State. The total population of the State was 25,55,904 out of which 3,54,342 or approximately 14% were Jats. In the Jat belt extending from Mallani paragana (present Barmer District bordering Sindh province), Jodhpur paragana (Jodhpur district) Merta, Nagaur, Didwana and Parabatsar paraganas (present Nagaur district) the Jats formed nearly 30% of the total population, not an insignificant proportion by any standard. Their capacity to create trouble in the State can, therefore, be easily visualized. If the Jats of Punjab formed the crux of the Pakistan problem, the Jat community in Marwar (Jodhpur State) was no less the crux of problem in Marwar in the even the Maharaja acceded to Pakistan. As in Punjab in Marwar in the event of the Maharaja acceded to Pakistan. As in Punjab here also the question posed was, ‘Would this robust community meekly’ accept the accession of Jodhpur State to Pakistan? They would certainly resist it by force. This fact is also borne out by the advice rendered by Lord Mountbatten to the Maharaja that were he to do so serious communal trouble in the state would be the inevitable consequence. V.P. Menon has quoted in the his book “ the integration of Indian States" that The community which could create trouble was none other than the Jat community which would have resisted this decision by force.
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 on going Kisan agitation finally culminated in what is known as “Dabra Kand’ a veritable Jallianwalla Bagh.
The peasant movement which was being orgainsed by the Marwar Kisan Sabha and the Marwar Lok Parishad jointly was a parallel movement to that of the national movement going on in British India whose aims were common i.e. to free the country form foreign rule. To mobilize the peasants, meetings under the joint auspices of Marwar Lok Parishad and Marwar Kisan Sabha were held at various place in the Jat belt and such meeting was fixed at village Dabra in Nagaur district for 13th March 1947. The Jagirdars got together in a bid to crush the political awakening among the Kisan and the black deed at Dabra was planned. In this the Jagirdars had the blessings and active support of the Maharaja. The Kisan Sammelan was to have been addressed jointly by leaders of Marwar Lok Parishad and Kisan Sabha. The jagirdars had collected nearly a thousand Rajputs of the surrounding area and had begun massive preparations three day in advance of the Kisan gathering to teach a lasting and final lesson to the agitating peasantry and the Jats in particular. The Jat troops of Jodhpur Sardar infantry, who were on leave at that time having returned from Hongkong, participated in large number in this gathering. As soon as the peasants started congregating on the morning of 13th March, 1947 they were attacked by the Jagirdars and their henchmen wielding guns and swords. These armed ruffians started to terrorize the village, ransacking and putting fire to the thatched huts. In this premeditated and murderous attack five Kisans, four of them Jats were killed. Among the killed, three Jats were soldiers from Jodhpur Sardar infantry namely Rugha Ram, Ramu Ram and Panna Ram, Subedar Kisan Ram and Sepoy Bodu Ram both of Sardar infantry were among the grievously injured. Subedar Kishna Ram was blinded during this attack while protecting the defenseless villagers. Bodu Ram had both his arms broken. Sarvashri Mathurdas Mathur, Dwarkadas Purohit , Chhagan Raj Chopasniwala, Kishan Lal Shah of the Lok Parishad and Narsinh Kachhwaha of the Kisan Sabha received grave and serious injuries. They were dragged into the Jagirdar’s Kot (Fort) and were left there for dead. Even women were not spared and many of them received grievous injuries. Smt. Tulsi had her legs cut off by sword blows and Smt. Kesar also received grave injuries. The State civil and police authorities swung into action and registered cases of rioting, rebellious conduct and murderous assault against the unarmed and peaceful but gravely injured victims and prosecuted them.
It was also commonly held that this black deed known as ‘ Dabra Kand’ had been carried out with the blessings of the Maharaja. This has been narrated poignantly by Shri Ram Kisen Kalla in his book “ Dabra Ki Kahani, Usi Ki Jabani’ (Hindi). A martyrs’ column has been erected in the village upon which names of those killed have been inscribed. Sobhag Mathur in his book “ Struggle for Responsible Government in Marwar” writes: “The Dabda Kand was one of the blackest deeds of Marwar feudalism”. This black deed had evoked widespread protest both in the press and in public. The weekly paper “Praja Sewak” of Jodhpur condemned it in unequivocal language. The Bombay weekly ‘vandematram’ while holding the Maharaja responsible for this tragedy declared, “it will shake the foundation of his throne.” ‘Janambhumi’ another Bombay weekly said, ‘The blood spilled in Dabra will grow into the plant of freedom in which the Rajas and Nawabs will have no place’. ‘the Lokvani’ of Jaipur described the tragedy at Dabra as “ Sensational and an armed attack on non violent persons as disgrace to mankind.” The Regional Committee of the All India States peoples Conference for Rajputana adopted a resolution against jagirdari repression, condemned the “Dabra Kand” and blamed the Maharaja and his Government”. The Dabra Kand was a veritable Jallanwalla Bagh and indeed proved to be a watershed in the peasant agitation in Jodhpur State.
TOP THIKANA OF MARWAR - There were 12 (twelve) Sirayats (top Thikana's) of Marwar. Nimaj, Pokhran, Asop, Agewa, Ras, Raipur, Bhadrajun, Rian, Alianawas, Kerwada, Ghanerao and Kuchaman.
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 by the Congress high command with the result that the Jagirs were soon abolished. A tenancy law was passed and the cultivating farmers were made the owners of the land.
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