PARTABGARH

The Sisodia Dynasty

BRIEF HISTORY

The Royal House of Partabgarh traces its origin to Rawat Suraj Mal, grandson of Maharana Mokalji of Mewar (Udaipur). His great grandson, Bikaji, left Mewar for the south in 1553, defeated the local Bhil tribes and founded a new state at Kanthal in 1561. Maharawat Shri Hari Singhji cultivated a friendship with the Mughals and received formal recognition of his status and promotion to the title of Maharajadhiraj. Maharawat Partab Singh, Bika's great great great grandson, founded a new capital in 1698 and named it Partabgarh, from whence the state took its name.

Almost from its inception, the new state faced conflict with its more powerful neighbour, Mewar. The latter state assumed a superior status over the other Sisodia states in the region, attempting to exercise hegemony over them several times in the succeeding centuries. Partabgarh, like Dungapur and Banswara, saw repeated invasions from Udaipur. Although the Mewaris were able to exercise their authority from time to time, that authority never lasted longer than the army sent to assert it. More often than not, the Partabgarh ruler would take to the hills with his followers and return once the Udaipur army withdrew. At other times, he would seek help from the Mughal Imperial authorities, and expel the invader. This pattern continued until the second half of the eighteenth century.

A seeming saviour emerged in the form of the Marathas, whom the Partabgarh rulers saw as a permanent means of removing the repeated interference from Udaipur. However, as soon as Udaipur interference ceased, the true nature of Maratha friendship emerged. Their only interest was in extorting money. Huge reparations and tribute payments were extorted from the helpless Partabgarh rulers. Towards the end of the period, the annual payments even ceased to guarantee freedom from sporadic raids. Very often, recalcitrant individual Maratha leaders would lead independent raiding parties who would extort additional sums over and above the regular tribute.

During the early years of the eighteenth century, the rulers of Rajputana began to look to the British as saviours from the Marathas. Maharawat Savant Singhji of Partabgarh was amongst the first of them to repudiate the Marathas and to negotiate a treaty with the HEIC in 1804. To his chagrin, the then Governor-General in Bengal opposed a forward policy and refused to ratify the agreement previously entered into by his agent. It took another fourteen years before this policy changed and a new treaty of friendship and protection concluded in 1818.

Maharawat Savant Singhji reigned for a further twenty-six years, confident that he was finally free from arbitrary raids by his neighbours. He set to work consolidating his position, improving revenue collection and imposing law and order in his domains. However, little progress actually ensued until the reign of his great grandson, Maharawat Shri Udai Singhji. Free from raids and the extortionate demands of the Marathas, state revenues increased significantly, making expenditure on public works possible for the firs time. The first steps towards modernising the state administration and public services began. The first state dispensary opened in 1867, public schools in 1875, the metalled roads built, irrigation dams constructed, the judicial system and the courts reformed. He died in 1890, his two sons having pre-deceased him, and was succeeded by his adopted son.

Maharawat Sir Raghunath Singhji reigned for nearly forty years, during which he oversaw major changes in the political and material welfare of his subjects. One of his first acts on accession was to institute a state council. He continued many of the improvements made by his predecessors, extending education from the primary to the middle level, building a fine hospital, reforming the coinage, the customs and revenue departments, and establishing municipal government for the first time. Alas, although agriculture improved and the population grew, the state still suffered from periodic drought and famine. A sad and common feature in Rajputana for many years to come. Nevertheless, at his death he left a state vastly improved since the beginning of his reign.

Maharawat Shri Sir Ram Singhji II succeeded his grandfather in 1929. His reign witnessed the growth in political awareness throughout India, and increasing demands for self-rule. However, Partabgarh was almost completely unaffected by these developments. Much of the population were tribal Bhils with little interest in politics. During his period, the state saw a flourishing of demand for thewa work, intricate gold filigree work over coloured glass, boosted and popularised by Royal patronage.

CLAN:
Sisodia clan of Rajputs.

SALUTE:
15-guns.

ARMS:
Paly of eight gules and argent, on a pile argent a sun in splendour with eleven rays or. Helmet: Or. Crest: A "trisul" azure on a wreath gules and argent. Supporters: A "cheval" argent dexter and a bull proper sinister. Motto: "Sudh Barkan" (Pure in action) gules on a riband argent. Lambrequins: Gules and argent.

FLAG:
Red and white.

STYLES & TITLES:
The ruling prince: Maharawat Shri (personal name) Singhji Bahadur, Maharawat of Partabgarh, with the style of His Highness.
The consort of the ruling prince: Maharani Ba Shri (personal name) Kunverba Sahiba, with the style of Her Highness.
The Heir Apparent: Shriman Maharajkumar Shri (personal name) Singhji Bahadur, Yuvaraj Sahib of Partabgarh.
The younger sons of the ruling prince: Maharajkumar Shri (personal name) Singhji Sahib.
The daughters of the ruling prince: Maharajkumari (personal name) Devi.
The grandsons of the ruling prince, in the male line: Shri Bhanwarlalji  (personal name) Singhji Sahib.
The granddaughters of the ruling prince, in the male line: Shri Bhanwarlalji (personal name) Sahiba.

ORDERS & DECORATIONS:
None known.

RULES OF SUCCESSION:
Male primogeniture, with the right of adoption by the recognised head of the family, on the failure of natural heirs.

SOURCES:
Chiefs and Leading Families in Rajputana (The Ruling Princes, Chiefs and Leading Personages in Rajputana and Ajmer). Office of the Superintendent of Government Printing, Calcutta, 1894, 1903, 1912, 1916 and 1935.
Alexander Kinloch Forbes. Ras-Mala, Hindu Annals of Western India, with particular reference to Gujarat. Heritage Publishers. New Delhi, 1973.
Memoranda on The Indian States 1940 (Corrected up to the 1st January 1940). Manager of Publication, Government of India, Delhi, 1940.
Mahamahopadhyaya Rai Bahadur Sahitya-Vachaspati Dr Gaurishankar Hirachand Ojha. The History of Rajputana. Vol III, Part III. History of the Partabgarh State. Vedic Yantralaya, Ajmer, 1941.
The Rajputana Gazetteer. Office of the Superintendent of Government Printing, Calcutta, 1879.
The Ruling Princes. Chiefs and Leading Personages in the Western India States Agency, 1st edition. Rajkot, 1928.
The Ruling Princes. Chiefs and Leading Personages in the Western India States Agency, 2nd edition. Manager of Publications, Delhi, 1935.
Thacker's Indian Directory, Thacker's Press & Directories, Ltd., Calcutta 1863-1956.
A. Vadivelu, The Ruling Chiefs, Nobles & Zamindars of India. G.C. Loganadham Bros., Madras, 1915

SPEACIAL ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS:
Father Lawrence Ober, SJ
The late Jeffrey Finestone.
Durgapratapsinh Sisodia.
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