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Rajpiitana

rajput, jat, country, rajputs, raja, aurangzeb and square

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RAJPIITANA, a region to the west of Hindustan, is chiefly ruled by feudatory princes, mostly of Rajput descent. These have twenty states, with an area of 129,750 square miles, and a population of 10,102,049. The British portion, consisting of Ajmir and Merwara, has an area of 2710 Square miles, and a population of 460,722, the totals being in area 132,460 square miles, and population 10,729,114, or 80.9 to the square mile. The country is little productive; one part of it, indeed, Marwar, embracing the Indian desert, takes its name from Mri, death ; and the people mostly consist of races who have been driven from the more open plains, and found shelter in this inhospitable region.

Rajputana lies in the centre of a circuit all round the edge of the more compact mass of the Jat people,—from the Salt Range, through the Northern Panjab and adjoining hills, to Rohil khand, Oudh, and the Centre Doab, thence by Bundelkhand, through Sindia's territory, Malwa, Mewar, Gujerat, and Kattyawar, into Lower Sind. They are not found in any number to the north of the Salt Range, nor are they in any of the hill country west of the Jhelum. A large proportion of the Rajputs scattered about the Eastern Panjab, Cis-Sutlej territory, and Dehli districts, are now Muhammadans, as are occasional Rajput villages all over Hindustan, and a good many Rajput rajas, their conversion having been influenced by the Moghul emperors. But east of Dehli, con version is quite the exception. A small Rajput tribe, called Jan-jua, now Muhammadans, is, how ever, found about the Salt Range.

The North-Eastern Panjab and Cis-Sutlej dis tricts seem to have first been a Brahman, then a Rajput country, and subsequently advanced upon by the Jat. The Jat country is just such as would be occupied by a large stream of people issuing through the Bolan pass, in lat. 28° or 30° N., and the Rajputs are ranged in a semicircular form around the eastern and northern and south edge of the Jat area, the mass of them occupying the richer valley of the Ganges. Mr. Campbell's con jecture is that the Rajput are an earlier wave from the same source as the Jat, who came in by the same route, have advanced farther, 'and been completely Hinduized ; while the Jat have come in behind them.

From Mahmud to Aurangzeb, the Indian con querors were contented with the nominal subjection of the hardy Rajput tribes of Rajputana, among whom military enthusiasm, grafted on religious principles, was added to strength and agility of body. Sir John Malcolm, writing of them, remarks that it. was not easy to subdue Rajputs. Such men, though broken by their own dissensions, before and after the Muhammadan conquest, into a thousand petty states, almost every one of which was an object of contest between brothers, yet still every individual was a soldier who preferred death to disgrace, and though ready to be the servant, scorned to be the slave of any monarch upon earth.

Akbar allied himself with the Rajput royal houses, and for a hundred years, high civil and military posts were bestowed on them. The most brilliant conquests of Akbar, Jahangir, and Aurangzeb were by their Rajput allies. But the Rajputs were alienated from the Moghul family by the bigoted conduct of the emperor Aurang zeb, who reimposed the poll tax on Hindus which Akbar had abolished, and by his destroying Hindu temples everywhere. Aurangzeb alien ated the sympathies of a race who, when rightly managed, had encountered at command the Afghan amidst the snows of Caucasus, and made the furthest Chersonese tributary to the empire of Assam. Raja Mann of Jeypore took Arakan, Orissa, and Assam. Raja Jeswunt Singh of Mar war retook Kabul for Aurangzeb, and was rewarded by poison. Raja Ram Singh Hara of Kotah made several important conquests, and his grandson Raja Eswari Singh and his five brothers were left on one field of battle.

The love of country and the passion for possess ing land are strong throughout Rajputana. While there is a hope of existence, the cultivator clings to the bapota ; and in Harauti this amor patrise is so invincible, that, to use their homely phrase, ' he would rather fill his part in slavery there, than live in luxury abroad. There are, however, amongst the Rajputs 84 mercantile tribes.

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