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Rathore – Sisodia Alliance and Achievements of Raj Singh in Mewar

The confrontation of Raj Singh with the Mughals began from 1679. In that year Aurangzeb reimposed Jaziya tax on the Hindus on the 2nd April,1679, which according to Dr. Ojha, evoked a vigorous protest later from Raj Singh. Historians are not unanimous over the name of the real author of this protest letter. Whosoever may be the author but his fact is clear that the relation on Raj Singh with Aurangzed further worsened. Rather problem led to the war with the Mughals. This problem grew with the death of Jaswant Singh at Jamrud in December 1678. At the time of his death Jaswant Singh had no issue. So aurangzeb ordered the annexation of Marwar, and himself proceeded to Ajmer to supervise the situation. On 19th February, two posthumous sons were born to Jaswant Singh, one of them died soon after his birth and other lived, who was known as Ajit Singh. Unmindful of the birth of a successor, Aurangzeb continued with his policy of converting Marwar into Khalsa. Naturally it caused great resentment in Rathor principality. Aurangzeb’s attempt to bring up Ajit Singh as a Muhammadan in the royal harem further worsened the situation. Durga Das and other Rathore sardars succeeded in taking newly born – baby to Marwar safely. Now came the problem of Ajit’s security. Raj Singh was the only ruler who could provide the shelter. So according to Raj Ratnakar and Raj Vilas his help was sought. The Rana must have been in a dilemma. To reuse to give shelter was against the Rajput tradition. On the other hand if he gave protection, it would amount to an act of hostility against the Mugals. But for Raj Singh upholding of Rajput tradition was more important then any fear of war. There ware several other considerations also. Firstly, Ajit was closely related to Raj Singh. Secondly, the borders of Mewar and Marwar were contiguous and the establishment to the Mughal authority in Marwar could as wee create security problem of Mewar. Inspired by these considerations, he not only agreed to keep Ajit in his state but also conferred upon his 12 villages along with Kelwa for his maintenance. It was quite evident to the Rajputs that war with the Mughals was inevitable, hence they (Mewar and Marwar) also entered into a military pact, according to which, it was agreed that (1) Raj Singh will help Ajit to regain his patrimony, (2) Both side will fight the Mughal invasion jointly.

In this way Rathore – Sisodia alliance came into existence. This alliance is of great historical significance. Thus for the first time after the battle of Khanwa a confederacy was formed in Rajasthan. Thus once again Mewar was leading the united Rathor – Sisodias against the Mughals. Both the clans were the most powerful in Rajasthan. The policy of religious prosecution had already been causing much resentment amongst Sikhs, Jats and Satnamis. This still made situation easier for allies to face the Mughal. This alliance was a very serious challenge for the empire. Aurangzeb was also reluctant to stake his military reputation. His desire was to settle the problem by negotiation. He sent one after another letters to Raj Singh asking him to hand over Ajit to him. But the Maharana was completely committed for the safety of the prince, hence he ignored the messages. Now confrontation was the only way left for Aurangzeb. Both sides started preparation for the coming struggle. It was the question of survival for them.

The way in which the allied fought with the Mughals goes to prove Raj Singh as a great military leader. A plan was developed and executed with great diplomatic skill. It affected the Mughal morale to such an extent that the alliance could win over Akbar, son of Aurangzeb, to their side. Thus “Mewar and Marwar”, says S.R. Sharma” alliance almost shook the throne of the emperor and led to the only princely rebellion in Mughal history inspired by out side interests. But, unfortunately, in the meanwhile Raj Singh died on October 12, 1680. It gave altogether a new turn to the events. If Raj Singh had lived for a few months more beyond 1680, the rebellion of Akbar could have been the beginning of a new history of India, but his successor Jai Singh was incapable of working out any great idea. Tired of war, he signed the peace treaty with the Mughals in 1681, without consulting the ally. Raj Singh sat on the throne in a very difficult situation but by his political foresightedness, fearlessness and realistic policy he raised the stats of Mewar to a great extent. Although in Rajasthan the powerful rulers like Mirza Raja Jai Singh and Jaswant Singh were his contemporaries but whether it was the case of Charumati’s marriage or the problem of Aurangzeb’s intolerant policy, it was towards Raj Singh that whole of India looked. He raised the morale of the people. He revolutionized the entire system of warfare – he did not neglect the economic prosperity of the state which was the surest road to be powerful politically. He constructed several dams and tanks. “it is doubtful”, says S.R. Sharma,” whether any medieval ruler of India had spent such a large amount of money for purposes of public welfare, not even the greatest of the Grand Mughals. Certainly not one of them had spent such a large proportion of his resources for such a beneficial purpose.” Raj Singh’s reign has been rightly described as the golden period in the history of Mewar. In his age all round development took place. It was a period of creative activities.

Cultural Achievements

Raj Singh was not only an able administrator, accomplished diplomat and fearless general but also a patron of art and literature. During his reign great progress was made in the cultural field. He himself a poet. A ‘Chhapaya’ (six – line stanza) composed by him is extant. He was also a patron of men of letters and artists. The literature of his age is available in Sanskrit, Dingal and Pingal. The Sanskrit books of this period fall under tow categories: (1) Works of the scribes who made copies of ancient books like Vedias, Puranas, the Upanishads, the Ramayana and the Mahabharata. Purohit Garib Das has made great contribution through getting the ancient works copied. He was himself a learned pandit Besides him. Ran Chood, Ram Rai etc., also got the ancient works copied. (2) Secondly, in the age of Raj Singh, several learned men also produced original literature in Sanskrit, chief among them is Ran Chhod Bhatt whose work ‘Rajprashasti’ composed as per the wish of Raj Singh deserves mention. The Whole work, after it was incised on 25 large marble slabs, was fixed in the niches in the walls of the Nauchauki Ghati of the Rajsamundra. The slabs are of black stone, each measuring 3 feet and 20 feet. The epic which is historical in nature is in 24 cantps. The history of Mewar has been described since earliest times in this work.

However, the history of Raj Singh is authentic. Along with the political history, this epic contain a good description of social, economic and cultural condition of 17th century. Its language is chaste and its style suits the subject. There are two other works of Ranchod Bhatt which fall under the category of eulogies. The first is placed on Indra Sarover dam and the other on Trimurty Baoli. Besides these, Bhatt also wrote ‘Amar Kavya’ which contains the description of the rulers of Mewar from the earliest times to Raj Singh. It is smaller in size than Rajprashasti but superior to it in poetic qualities. Its language is more chaste and style better organized and subject matter more exhaustive. The poet Sada Shiva was also under the patronage of Raj Singh. He composed the important work of Ranchhod Bhatt from the point of view of language. Jagannath Paliwal also wrote ‘Rajabhishek Paddhati’ a work which, deals with the coronation of Maharana Raj Singh. It includes a discussion on the significance of the coronation and is supported with relevant material taken from Brahmanas and Puranas, valmiki Ramayan, Yajur Veda, Sama Veda etc. It was completed on Magh Sudi Pumima, V.S. 1709. The author of Raj Singh Prabhaa Varman, Lal Bhatt was a contemporary of Raj Singh. The work has102 verses and of very little historical importance, but the noble virtues of Raj Singh have been described in hyperbolic terms. Mukan Kshotari also wrote a poetic work called ‘Raj Singhasan’.

Besides Sanskrit, several works were written in Dingal and Pingal, chief among them being Raj Vilas of Man who was a Jain yati. The narrative divided into 18 cantos, is historical which covers the period from Bappa Rawal to the last three years of Raj Singh. According to Moti Lal Menaria, the work is full of literary excellence and the portions dealing with the army, battles and battle – fields are especially impressive. Besides these, Girdhar Das wrote ‘Sagat Raso’ Rao Kishore Das wrote ‘Raj Prakash’ and Rao Kalyan Das ‘Gun Govind’.

Architecture and Painting

Along with literature, art and architecture also progressed in this age. Raj Samundra is wonderful example of architecture. The reservoir is five kms. by two kms. The dam across it is famous as Nauchauki because on each of the three large platforms below the dam there are three roofed mandaps (pavellions) which total nine. The mandaps resembles those generally constructed over cenotaphs over cenotaphs. The dams have been so constructed in groups of three so that they might appear striking. But unlike the construction of the projected portion, the mark of Hindu style is obvious. Nevertheless these mandaps are the first of their type in the history of Rajasthan Architecture. Later this style became more and more popular and some of its examples can be seen in palaces, in lake Pichola, and Mohan Mandir. There is a beautiful carving work on the pillars and ceilings of these and figures of birds, animals and women are very attractive. The carvings project beautiful picture of contemporary social, political, economic and cultural life. Raj Singh also construct several tanks besides Rajsamundra. Several palaces and temples were constructed which include Sarva Ritu Palace, Gardens and temple of Amba Mata. His minister Daya Das constructed a marble Jain temple of Adinath on a hill near Rajsamundra.

From the point of view of painting, 17th century is important in Mewar. The art was well developed during the reign of Raj Singh and his father Jagat Singh. A lot of painting work was done at Udaipur in this age. The aim of these paintings was to depict myths, Puranic customs and the display of valour. Instead of 16th century characteristic of coarseness and rusticity, the art of painting in Raj Singh’s time reflects a sort of finish and maturity. The Nathdwara style originated at this time. Raj Singh patronized music also as he had done painting. In this way the achievements of Raj Singh in political as well cultural fields are significant.



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