JODHPUR, or Marwar, a native state of India, in the Rajputana agency. Area, 34,963 sq. m. Pop. (1901), 1,935,565, showing a decrease of 23% in the decade, due to the results of famine. Estimated revenue, £373,600; tribute, £14,000. The general aspect of the country is that of a sandy plain, divided into two unequal parts by the river Luni, and dotted with picturesque conical hills, attaining in places an elevation of 3000 ft. The river Luni is the principal feature in the physical aspects of Jodhpur. One of its head-streams rises in the sacred lake of Pushkar in Ajmere, and the main river flows through Jodhpur in a south-westerly direction till it is finally lost in the marshy ground at the head of the Runn of Cutch. It is fed by numerous tributaries and occasionally overflows its banks, fine crops of wheat and barley being grown on the saturated soil. Its water is, as a rule, saline or brackish, but comparatively sweet water is obtained from wells sunk at a distance of 20 or 30 yds. from the river bank. The famous salt-lake of Sambhar is situated on the borders of Jodhpur and Jaipur, and two smaller lakes of the same description lie within the limits of the state, from which large quantities of salt are extracted. Marble is mined in the north of the state and along the south-east border.
The population consists of Rathor Rajputs (who form the ruling class), Brahmans, Charans, Bhats, Mahajans or traders, and Fats. The Charans, a sacred race, hold large religious grants of land, and enjoy peculiar immunities as traders in local produce. The Bhats are by profession genealogists, but also engage in trade. Marwari traders are an enterprising class to be found throughout the length and breadth of India.
The principal crops are millets and pulses, but wheat and barley are largely produced in the fertile tract watered by the Luni river. The manufactures comprise leather boxes and brass utensils; and turbans and scarfs and a description of embroidered silk knotted thread are specialities of the country.
The Maharaja belongs to the Rathor clan of Rajputs. The family chronicles relate that after the downfall of the Rathor dynasty of Kanauj in 1194, Sivaji, the grandson of Jai Chand, the last king of Kanauj, entered Marwar on a pilgrimage to Dwarka, and on halting at the town of Pali he and his followers settled there to protect the Brahman community from the constant raids of marauding bands. The Rathor chief thus laid the foundation of the state, but it was not till the time of Rao Chanda, the tenth in succession from Sivaji, that Marwar was actually conquered. His grandson Jodha founded the city of Jodhpur, which he made his capital. In 1561 the country was invaded by Akbar, and the chief was forced to submit, and to send his son as a mark of homage to take service under the Mogul emperor. When this son Udai Singh succeeded to the chiefship, he gave his sister Jodhbai in marriage to Akbar, and was rewarded by the restoration of most of his former possessions. Udai Singh's son, Gaj Singh, held high service under Akbar, and conducted successful expeditions in Gujarat and the Deccan. The bigoted and intolerant Aurangzeb invaded Marwar in 1679, plundered Jodhpur, sacked all the large towns, and commanded the conversion of the Rathors to Mahommedanism. This cemented all the Rajput clans into a bond of union, and a triple alliance was formed by the three states of Jodhpur, Udaipur and Jaipur, to throw off the Mahommedan yoke. One of the conditions of this alliance was that the chiefs of Jodhpur and Jaipur should regain the privilege of marriage with the Udaipur family, which they had forfeited by contracting alliances with the Mogul emperors, on the understanding that the offspring of Udaipur princesses should succeed to the state in preference to all other children. The quarrels arising from this stipulation lasted through many generations, and led to the invitation of Mahratta help from the rival aspirants to power, and finally to the subjection of all the Rajput states to the Mahrattas. Jodhpur was conquered by Sindhia, who levied a tribute of £60,000, and took from it the fort and town of Ajmere. Internecine disputes and succession wars disturbed the peace of the early years of the century, until in January 1818 Jodhpur was taken under British protection. In 1839 the misgovernment of the raja led to an insurrection which compelled the interference of the British. In 1843, the chief having died without a son, and without having adopted an heir, the nobles and state officials were left to select a successor from the nearest of kin. Their choice fell upon Raja Takht Sinh, chief of Ahmednagar. This chief, who did good service during the Mutiny, died in 1873. Maharaja Jaswant Singh, who died in 1896, was a very enlightened ruler. His brother, Sir Pertab Singh (q.v.), conducted the administration until his nephew, Sardar Singh, came of age in 1898. The imperial service cavalry formed part of the reserve brigade during the Tirah campaign.
The state maintains a railway running to Bikanir, and there is also a branch railway into Sind. Gold, silver and copper money is coined. The state emblems are a jhar or sprig of seven branches and a khanda or sword. Jodhpur practically escaped the plague, but it suffered more severely than any other part of Rajputana from the famine of 1899-1900. In February 1900 more than 110,000 persons were in receipt of famine relief.
The city of Jodhpur is 64 m. by rail N.W. of Marwar junction, on the Rajputana railway. Pop. (1901), 60,437. It was built by Rao Jodha in 1459, and from that time has been the seat of government. It is surrounded by a strong wall nearly 6 m. in extent, with seventy gates. The fort, which stands on an isolated rock, contains the maharaja's palace, a large and handsome building, completely covering the crest of the hill on which it stands, and overlooking the city, which lies several hundred feet below. The city contains palaces of the maharaja, and town residences of the thakurs or nobles, besides numerous fine temples and tanks. Building stone is plentiful and close at hand, and the architecture is solid and handsome. Three miles north of Jodhpur are the ruins of Mandor, the site of the ancient capital of the Parihar princes of Marwar, before its conquest by the Rathors. Mills for grinding flour and crushing grain have been constructed for the imperial service troops. The Jaswant college is affiliated to the B.A. standard of the Allahabad university. To the Hewson hospital a wing for eye diseases was added in 1898, and the Jaswant hospital for women is under an English lady doctor.
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