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Imperial Impact on Rajputana: The Case of Alwar, 1775–1850

  • Edward S. Haynes (a1)

One of the functions of any imperial system is to stabilize the subordinate political structures over which it exercises suzerainty. Without such a role for the central authority, control of local politics becomes impossible and, without such centralization, the stability of the entire empire is threatened. This policy has often acted to support or maintain local socio-economic relationships which, in the absence of overarching centralization, would show greater instability and flux. The precise nature of these relations can best be seen in an examination of the interregnum period between the decline of one imperial power and the imposition of a new generation of centralized stability.

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1 Powlett P. W., Gazetteer of Ulwur (London, 1878), p. 13;Gehelōt Jagdīshsingh, Rājpūtāne kā itihās, Vol. 3, Jeypur wa Alwar rājyōn kā itihās (Jodhpur, 1966), pp. 60, 252–3;Chanpawat Futeh Singh, A Brief History of Jeypore (Agra, 1899), pp. 1819. Powlett suggests that Bar Singh was excluded because of a quarrel with his father over who would get a particular woman. Throughout, the names Amber and Jaipur are both used; Amber is the earlier name, although less recognizable today.

2 Powlett , Gazetteer, pp. 120–1.

3 One bīghā (in Alwar) equals ¼ hectare or approximately ⅝ acre. See Ibid., pp. 13–15. See also Maps I and II of this essay. The total area of Alwar State was approximately 1,209,600 bīghās.

4 Ibid., pp. 120–1.

5 For more information on the Meos and Mewat, see Aggarwal Pratap C., Caste, Region and Power: An Indian Case Study (New Delhi, 1971), and Amir-Ali Hashim, The Meos of Mewat: Old Neighbors of New Delhi (New Delhi, 1970). For a map of this entire area, see Map I of this essay.

6 Rao M. S. A., ‘Rewari Kingdom and the Mughal Empire,’ Realm and Region in Traditional India (ed. Fox Richard G.; Monograph Number Fourteen, Duke University Program in Comparative Studies on Southern Asia: Durham, 1977), pp. 7989.

7 Powlett , Gazetteer, pp. 115;Jennings R. H., A Short Account of the Alwar State, 1899 (rev. edn, Alwar, 1899), p. 2;Jarrett H. S. (trans.), ‘Ain-i-Akbari of Abul Fazl-i‘Allami, Vol. 2, A Gazetteer and Administrative Manual of Akbar's Empire and Past History of India (2nd edn, Calcutta, 1949), p. 202.

8 Powlett , Gazetteer, pp. 1415;India, Foreign Department, Chiefs and Leading Families of Rajputana (Calcutta, 1894), p. 82.

9 Gehelōt , Rājpūtanē kā itihäs, 3: 225;Faulkner Alex S., An Historical Sketch of the Naruka State of Ulwar in Rajputana (Calcutta, 1895), p. 10;Powlett , Gazetteer, p. 15.

10 Shymaldās, Vir Vinōd, pp. 1377–78, quoted in Gehelōt , Rājpūtānē kā itihās, 3:255;Sharma M. L., History of Jaipur State (Jaipur, 1969), p. 189;Tod James, Annals and Antiquities of Rajasthan, or the Central and Western Rajput States of India (ed. Crooke William, 3 vols, London, 1920), 3:1360.

11 Gehelōt, Rājpūtānē kā itihās, 3: 255–56, Sarkar Jadunath, Fall of the Mughal Empire (4 vols, Calcutta, 1950), 3: 116, 232;India (Republic), Rajasthan, Rajasthan District Gazetteers, Vol. 6, Alwar (comp. Maya Ram: Jaipur, 1968), p. 61.

12 Tod , Annals and Antiquities, 3: 1361–2.

13 Sarkar , Fall of the Mughal Empire, 3: 232.

14 Lyall Alfred C., Asiatic Studies: Religious and Social (London, 1884), p. 218. This chapter, The Rajput States of India’ was originally published anonymously in Edinburgh Review, 144 (1876): 169203. The entire issue of Kachhawaha lineage dynamics and of Rajput lineage formation lies outside the scope of this present essay, but might well be examined with an eye to Maurice Freedman's research on lineage formation and political participation in China, especially his Lineage Organization in Southeastern China (London, 1958), and Chinese Lineage and Society: Fukien and Kwangtung (London, 1966).

15 Sharma , Jaipur, pp. 188–91;Sarkar , Fall of the Mughal Empire, 3: 225.

16 Faulkner , Ulwar, pp. 16–18; Powlett , Gazetteer, p. 16;Gehelōt , Rājpūtāne kā itihās, 3: 267–8;Sharma , Jaipur, p. 190. Hereafter, Macheri and Alwar are used as synonyms for the state established by Pratap Singh Naruka; Macheri is the earlier name. A distinction, however, should be made between the state and city of Alwar. Throughout, information on the Naruka jāgīrs of Alwar has been drawn from Alwar (Rajputana), Jagir History showing Naruka Clan of His Highness' Government, Alwar (Alwar, 1932).

17 Ṭan is a measure of the value of a grant at the time of award; one ṭan equals approximately six annas (⅜ rupee). In the sānads awarding the jāgīrs, the value of the land at the time is expressed in terms of ṭan and represents the revenue lost to the state by the award of the jāgīr, which would then not pay taxes, but rather supply troops. Thus, ṭan can be used as a rough measure of the value of the jāgīrs. See Map III for the various jāgīrs. This map indicates only jāgīrs awarded to Naruka Rajputs and ignores other jāgīrs and land held under other tenurial systems.

18 Mean area 4,431 bighās, mean cultivated area 3,691 bīghās, mean ṭan 10,887.

19 Pratap Singh granted jāgīrs, as follows: Para thikānā, 2; Khora thikānā, Palwa thikānā, 2; non-bārah kōtri, 2. Only Khora ṭhikānā had held a jāgīrs in Narukhand before 1775. Five jāgīrs were near Rajgarh, 3 near Alwar, and 1 near Lachmangarh. For the distribution of jāgīrs by area and era, see Map III.

20 [Lyall ], ‘The Rajput States of India,’ p. 172. A slightly revised version is in Lyall, Asiatic Studies, pp. 207–8.

21 Fox Richard G., Kin, Clan, Raja and Rule: State-Hinterland Relations in Preindustrial India (Berkeley, 1971), p. 80.

22 Ibid., pp. 91–7.

23 To avoid probable confusion, Pratap Singh (Alwar/Macheri) has been referred to as Pratap Singh Naruka or simply as Pratap Singh, whereas Pratab Singh (Jaipur) has been called Sewai Pratab Singh or Pratab Singh. In actuality, the names are the same (Pratāp Singh), but this would be too confusing.

24 Tod , Annals and Antiquities, 3: 1361–2.

25 Sarkar , Fall of the Mughal Empire, 3: 116.

26 Tikkiwal H. C., Jaipur and the Later Mughals (Jaipur, 1974), pp. 144–6;Sarkar , Fall of the Mughal Empire, 3: 118–19;Gehelōt , Rājpūtānē kā itihās, 3: 258.

27 Sharma , Jaipur, p. 194.

28 Ibid.; Tikkiwal, Jaipur and the Later Mughals, pp. 146–7; Sarkar , Fall of the Mughal Empire, 3: 119–20.

29 Tikkiwal , Jaipur and the Later Mughals, pp. 147–52;Sarkar , Fall of the Mughal Empire, 3: 120–1;Sharma , Jaipur, pp. 190–1;Tod , Annals and Antiquities, 3: 1362–3.

30 This has been argued, for example, by Cohn Bernard S., ‘Political Systems in Eighteenth Century India: The Banaras Region,’ Journal of the American Oriental Society, 82 (1959), 313.

31 Sarkar , Fall of the Mughal Empire, 3: 125–31, 233.

32 Sharma , Jaipur, pp. 196–7; Tikkiwal, Jaipur and the Later Mughals, pp. 156–62.

33 Saxena R. K., Maratha Relations with the Major States of Rajputana (1761–1818 A.D.) (New Delhi, 1973), pp. 97130;Sharma , Jaipur, pp. 198–9; Tikkiwal , Jaipur and the Later Mughals, pp. 164–78;Banerjee Anil Chandra, Rajput Studies (Calcutta, 1944), pp. 205–6.

34 Sharma , Jaipur, p. 199; Tikkiwal , Jaipur and the Later Mughals, pp. 178–9.

35 Bhattacharyya Sukhumar, The Rajput States and the East India Company from the Close of the 18th Century to 1820 (New Delhi, 1972), p. 23.

36 Powlett , Gazetteer, p. 19;Gehelōt , Rājpūtāne kā itihās, 3: 264.

37 Forty-three percent of the total Alwar Naruka jāgīrdārs were awared their jāgīrs during the reign of Bakhtawar Singh. Seventy percent of his grants were in Thana Ghazi or Bansur tehsīls (which border Jaipur) or in the Naruka heartland of Alwar and Rajgarh tehsīls. See Map III of this essay.

38 India, Foreign Department, A Collection of Treaties, Engagements and Sanads: Relating to India and Neighbouring Countries, Vol. 3, The Treaties &c., Relating to the States of Rajputana (comp. C. U. Aitcheson: Calcutta, 1932), pp. 400–1. See also Banerjee A. C., The Rajput States and the East India Company (Calcutta, 1951), p. 411.

39 India, Foreign Department, Treaties, Engagements and Sanads, 3: 401–2;Powlett , Gazetteer, pp. 1920. See Map II.

40 Panikkar K. N., British Diplomacy in North India: A Study of the Delhi Residency, 1803–1857 (New Delhi, 1968), pp. 44–5;Bhattacharyya , Rajput States and East India Company, pp. 80–1.

41 India, Foreign Department, Treaties, Engagements and Sanads, 3: 402.See also Panikkar , British Diplomacy, p. 47;Maheshwary Sudarshan Chandra, ‘British Relations with the States of Rajputana (1815–1835)’ (Ph.D. dissertation, University of Rajasthan; Jaipur, 1963), pp. 51–2.

42 Panikkar , British Diplomacy, pp. 45–7; Powlett , Gazetteer, p. 20.

43 India, Foreign Department, Report on the Political Administration of the Rajpootana States, 1871–72, No. C in Selections from the Records of the Government of India, Foreign Department (Calcutta, 1872), p. 177;Powlett , Gazetteer, p. 20;Gehelōt , Rājpūtānē kā itihās, 3: 268–9.

44 Maheshwary , ‘British Relations,’ pp. 180–1; Powlett , Gazetteer, p. 21.

45 Maheshwary , ‘British Relations,’ pp. 183–7; Powlett , Gazetteer, p. 21.

46 India, Foreign Department, Treaties, Engagements and Sanads, 3: 403. See Map IV of this essay.

47 Asst. AGGR to AGGR, Alwar, November 18, 1859, Part A Progs, October 1860, 22.

48 Petition, Prithee Singh, Raja of Nimrana, to AGGR, Nimrana, July 1840, FC, August 24, 1840, 27.

49 ‘Bhaswar to Ajmere: Lt. Col. A. Lockett's Narrative of a journey from Buswar in Bhurtpore territory to a part in the North-West States (Ajmer), April-June 1831,’ Foreign Department Miscellaneous Series, No. 272, National Archives of India, New Delhi, p. 30.

50 Ibid., pp. 29–31, and Powlett, Gazetteer, pp. 21–2. This provides an interesting parallel to the similar policies of ‘hamletization’ carried out by the United States in Vietnam.

51 ‘Bhaswar to Ajmere,’ Foreign Department Miscellaneous Series, No. 272, pp. 31–3.

52 Malcolm John, A Memoir of Central India, Including Malwa, and Adjoining Provinces (2 vols: London, 1823), I: 549–50.

53 Report by Sutherland on the administration and conditions of Alwar, March 1842, RA, 16-Alwar (18421849), D I. See also Powlett , Gazetteer, pp. 22, 92.

54 AGGR to FSGoI, Camp near Dig, March 5, 1842, FC, March 30, 1842, 165.

55 See a description of this process in [Lyall], ‘Rajput States,’ p. 194.

56 AGGR to Resident at Delhi, September 26, 1831, in ‘Delhi and Alwar: Copies of correspondence with the Resident at Delhi and the Agent at Ajmer concerning Alwar's intrigue with Jaipur and his hostility toward certain other chiefs, May 1831–December 1832,’ Foreign Department Miscellaneous Series. No. 279, pp. 126–7;India, Foreign Department, Treaties, Engagements and Sanads, 3: 400.

57 Note by Asst. AGGR on Alwar-Tijara relations, ca. June 1840, FC, August 17, 1840, 23.

58 AGGR to Secretary to Government, North-Western Provinces, March 17, 1843 in [India, Rajputana Agency], Papers relating to the Ruparel Dispute Between Alwar and Bharatpur States, Rajputana (Ajmer, 1903), p. 29.

59 Khureeta, Pirthi Singh Chauhan and sixteen other Tijara state officials to AGGR, Tijara, January 22, 1845, and FSGoI to AGGR, Ft. William, February 28, 1845, both in RA, 18-Alwar (1845), Ds 1 and 3.

60 Asst. AGGR to AGGR, Alwar, November 18, 1859, Part A Progs, October 1860, 22.

61 RA, 75-General-I (1846, 1853, 1859). Alwar's answers are D 34.

62 RA, 18-General (1870).

63 FC, December 30, 1848, 328.

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