In the news: Rajasthan’s formation tale

Rajasthan Day is observed on March 30, the day the state was formed by the union of 22 sovereign states and chiefships. Rajasthan’s origin tale is fascinating.

Rajasthan’s formation

  • Rajasthan was almost entirely confined within the Rajputana Agency, a British Indian Empire political office, at the time of independence.
  • Rajputana Agency was made up of 22 princely states and domains.
  • Less than 22 months after independence, all 22 states had merged to create India’s largest state.
  • However, changes to the boundaries were made following the State Reorganisation Act (1956), giving Rajasthan its current form.

Princely States’ Challenges

(1) Rajputana Agency

  • The Rajputana Agency covered approximately 330,330 square kilometers, with an agent reporting to the Governor-General and living in Mount Abu.
  • With the exception of Tonk, all of the princely states and estates in the agency (22 in total) were governed by Hindu rulers. (which had a Muslim ruler).

(2) The Matsya Union

  • The States Ministry thought that four princely states on the eastern edge of the erstwhile Rajputana Agency – Alwar, Bharatpur, Dholpur, and Karauli – shared “natural, racial, and economic affinities.”
  • On March 18, 1948, the Matsya Union was established.

(3) Rajasthan Union in South-East Rajputana

  • Ten princely states, the largest of which was Udaipur (also known as Mewar), wished to form a union.
  • An proposal to merge these into Madhya Bharat was also floated but never materialised.
  • The Maharana of Udaipur, Bhupal Singh Bahadur, presented another idea to merge these states into the much larger Udaipur.
  • The other princely nations, however, were not pleased. As a result, on March 25, 1948, the Rajasthan Union was formed by the joining of the nine other states.
  • Udaipur chose to join this union three days after it was formed.

(4) Greater Rajasthan

  • The four largest princely states stayed independent: Jaipur, Jodhpur, Bikaner, and Jaisalmer.
  • Patel supported a merger of all four states into the newly created Rajasthan Union.
  • Patel formally inaugurated Greater Rajasthan on March 30, 1949, which is still celebrated as Rajasthan Day.

Modifications by the State Reorganisation Commission

  • In response to demands for states based on linguistic lines, the State Reorganisation Commission (SRC) was formed in 1953 to propose new state boundaries to the government.
  • The recommendations of the SRC were enacted, with some modifications, in the State Reorganisation Act of November 1, 1956.
  • This resulted in some small changes for Rajasthan, including the incorporation of Ajmer as a district within the state, owing to its linguistic, cultural, and geographical ties to the state.
  • After being sliced and included in the Bombay State, Abu Road Taluk, a taluk of the Sirohi district of southern Rajasthan, was also incorporated into Rajasthan.
  • Due to administrative considerations, the enclave of Sunel in Rajasthan’s southeastern edge was exchanged for the enclave of Sironj.

@the end

  • Overall, Rajasthan was formed through a complicated process of merger and integration of different princely states and chiefships.
  • Rajasthan is now India’s largest state in terms of land size, covering 342,239 square kilometers, and is renowned for its rich cultural heritage, majestic forts and palaces, vibrant festivals, and diverse cuisine, which draw visitors from all over the world.
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