MALWA, in Central India, is a region bounded on the north by Hindustan proper, east by Bun delkhand, south by the Dekhan (Dakshiu), and west by Rajputana. It is an upland region, with many fertile valleys, included within the main rivers of the Ganges, the Sone, the Chambal, and the Nerbadda. In pre-historic times, the capital was at the ancient city of Ujjain asso ciated in Hindu legend with Vikramaditya, a great king, the date of whose accession (B.c. 57) has given the Samvat era to all India.
The ancient rajas of Malwa are known from the writings of Abul Fazl, whose information is supposed to have been furnished from Jain authorities. It would appear that in an early age Mahahmah • founded a tire temple, which was destroyed by Buddhists, but restored in B.C. 840 by Dhanji (Dhananjaya), a name of Arjun, about 785 before Vikramaditya. Between A.D. 866 and A.D: 1390, the country repeatedly changed hands from Hindu to Muhammadan sovereigns from the time that, in 866, Maldeva was con quered by Shaikh Shah, father of Ala-ud-Din, to 1390, when Dilawar Khan Ghori, viceroy of Malwa, assumed sovereignty. Malwa was added to the Dehli empire by Humayun, before his flight, but the Mahrattas have since been its dominant possessors.
At the close of the war (1817-1818), the districts in Central India and Malwa were left in a disorganized state, the Mahratta chiefs had parcelled out amongst themselves the posses sions of the Rajput chiefs, and the smaller states were all subject to Sindia, Holkar, or The Puar, and sometimes to all three. Many of the smaller chiefs had been driven from their possessions, and had sought refuge in the jungles and mountains, where they robbed or levied tankhah or black mail from the larger states.
Under an engagement mediated by Sir John Malcolm in 1819 between Purbut Singh, of Rutlam, and Dowlat Rao Sindia, the former agreed to• pay an annual tribute of Salim Sabi rupees 84,000, while Sindia undertook never to send any troops into the country, or to inter fere in any way In the ihternal administration or succession. This tribute was assigned under the treaty of 1844 with Sindia, in part payment of the Gwalior Contingent. It is now paid to the British Government under the treaty of 1860.
The raja of Rutlam is considered the principal Rajput leader iu Western Malwa, and in conse quence receives a voluntary allegiance and assist ance if called for from the neighbouring Rajput chiefs. Raja Bulwunt Singh rendered good service during the mutinies, in recognition of which his successor, Bhyru Singh, received a dress of honour value Rs. 3000, and the thanks of Government. The military establishment of the raja of Rutlam consists of 500 sepoys. The revenue from all sources is estimated at Rs. 3,64,064, and the population at 94,839. The town of Rutlam is the principal opium mart in Western Malwa. The area of Rutlam is about 500 square miles. Sillana pays an annual tribute of Rs. 42,000, under the same conditions as Rutlam. The tribute is paid to the British Government under the treaty with Sindia of 12th December 1860, having been assigned in 1844 in part payment of the Gwalior Contingent. The revenue of Sillana is estimated at Rs. '2,49,000, the population at 88,978, and the area at about 103 square miles. Seetamhow, like Sillana, was once a part of Rutlam, but separated from it A.D. 1660, on the death of Ham Singh, raja of Rutlam. A tribute of Rs. 60,000 from this state was guaranteed to Sindia by an agreement mediated by Sir John Malcolm in 1820. The total revenue of Seetamhow is about Rs. 1,50,000, and the population about 20,000. In consequence of repeated representations from the raja, Rs. 5000 of the annual tribute were remitted in 1860 by Siudia of his own free will, on the occa sion of the raja's son waiting on him at Gwalior. The raja of Seetamhow remained faithful to the British Government during the mutiny of 1857, and received a dress of honour of Rs. 2000. The raja keeps up a military force of 40 horse and 200 foot.
Malwa and Gwalior are great centres of trade. In Malwa, the towns of Indore, Bhopal, Ujjain, Mundipore, Rutlam, Dhar, Jowra, Augur, Ne much, Shoojawulpur, and Bhilsa are the principal marts. The opium exported from Malwa is about 17,000 chests.—Thomas' Prinsep, p. 259 ; Orme ; Malcolm's Central India, i. p. 67; Treaties, En and Sunnuds, p. 364.