History of RajasthanThe history of India dates back almost five thousand years, and Rajasthan plays a crucial and unique role, especially with regard to the development of Indian culture. Its impressive story reaches through a heroic past. Its extravagant splashes of bright hues against the desert landscape and the purity of its dry and sandy reaches, the miniature elegance of its small villages and impeccably maintained forts brings alive the story of the yore. The appearance of its grand forts perched on rocky hills still tell the story of the bravery of its men and the stoic sacrifice of its women, and the chivalrous old world manners of all.
The Rajputs rose to prominence in the 9th and 10th centuries, and were a major force to reckon with medieval India. Passionately attached to their land, family and honour, the Rajputs treated war as a sport, and followed a strong chivalric code of conduct. Myths and legends of their valour, gallantry, sacrifice and courage are legion. There are many heroes among the Rajputs, such as Prithviraj Chauhan, who fought successfully against the invader Muhammad Ghori in the battle of Tarain (1191), although he died on the same battlefield in the following year. Or the great Rana Pratap of Mewar, who defiantly withstood the might of the Mughal, and continued to raid on them even after his defeat. He died in 1597, and his son, Ambar Singh, took over the mantle of opposition to Mughal rule. Rana Pratap was the lone exception, as most of the leading Rajput clans finally married into Mughal royalty and nobility, and went into direct State service of the Mughal Empire. This was chiefly at the behest of the wise and farsighted Mughal emperor, Akbar, who was able to consolidate and expand his empire because of his close ties with the proud Rajputs, the men who made formidable enemies and also steadfast and loyal friends.
At the time of independence on 15th august 1947, Rajasthan was known Rajputana (country of Rajputs). It comprised of 18 Princely States, two chieftains and a British administered province of Ajmer-Merwara besides a few pockets and territories outside its main boundaries.
It took seven stages to form Rajasthan as defined today. In March 1948 the Matsya Union comprising of Alwar, Bharatpur, Dholpur and Karauli was formed. Also in March '48 Banswara, Bundi, Dungarpur, Jhalawar, Kishangarh, Kota, Pratapgarh, Shahpura and Tonk joined the Indian union and formed a part of Rajasthan. In April '48 Udaipur joined the state and the Maharana of Udaipur was made Rajpramukh. Therefore in 1948 the merger of south and southeastern states was almost complete. Still retaining their independence from India were Jaipur and the desert kingdoms of Bikaner, Jodhpur and Jaisalmer. From a security point of view, it was vital to the new Indian Union to ensure that the desert kingdoms were integrated into the new nation. The princes finally agreed to sign the Instrument of Accession, and the kingdoms of Bikaner, Jodhpur, Jaisalmer and Jaipur were merged in March 1949. This time the Maharaja of Jaipur, Man Singh II was made the Rajpramukh of the state and Jaipur became its capital. Later in 1949, the United State of Matsya, comprising the former kingdoms of Bharatpur, Alwar, Karauli and Dholpur, was incorporated into Rajasthan. On January 26th 1950, 18 states of united Rajasthan merged with Sirohi to join the state leaving Abu and Dilwara to remain a part of Greater Bombay and now Gujarat.
In November 1956 under the State Re-organisation Act, 1956 the erstwhile part 'C' State of Ajmer, Abu Road Taluka, former part of princely State Sirohi (which were merged in former Bombay), State and Sunel Tappa region of the former Madhya Bharat merged with Rajasthan and Sirohi sub district of Jhalawar was transferred to Madhya Pradesh. Thus giving the existing boundary Rajasthan. Today with further reorganisation of the states of Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Bihar. Rajasthan has become the largest state of the Indian Republic.
The princes of the former kingdoms were constitutionally granted handsome remuneration in the form of privy purses and privileges to assist them in the discharge of their financial obligations. In1970, Indira Gandhi, who was then the Prime Minister of India, commenced under-takings to discontinue the privy purses, which were abolished in 1971. Many of the former princes still continue to use the title of Maharaja but the title has little else power other than status symbol. Many of the Maharajas still hold their palaces and have converted them into profitable hotel while some have made good in politics. The democratically elected Government runs the state with a Chief Minister as its executive head and the Governor as the head of the state.