History of RampuraRetrieved from Wiki-pedia Rampura Neemuch ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rampura,_Neemuch )
Reproduced from original contribution by Rajyashree Tripathi
Please note that based on recent material this material is being revised by the original author. Once the updated info is available we will modify the contents of the page. The martial will be part of a book soon to be published by Dr. Rajyashree Tripathi.)
A picturesque quaint little place nestled in the Aravalis, Rampura now is only a faint reminder of its past glory. Once a buzzing town, it witnessed many a battles and confrontations between the Rajputs, Marathas, Mughals and British forces. It is located on the west side of the Chambal River. Its location – providing a direct short cut from Malwa to Rajputana, through the Mukundara Pass -- had made Rampura strategically important to all those with territorial ambitions, and, consequently, a political shuttle cock.
It hosts an old palace, seven lakes, various Hindu and Jain temples, and hundreds of ruins. Numerous inscriptions in various temple walls silently sing the hymns of the lost glory of Rampura. The Chandrawats– an off-shoot of the Mewar's Sisodias – ruled the paragana (district) of Rampura, and held the title of “Rao.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mewar
Rampura takes its name from a Bhil warrior. The town was established around the 8th century by the Rajputs after defeating the Bhil fief, Rama. The legend is that Rama, who lived on one of the islands in the Chambal, valiantly fought the marching Rajput forces to defend his people and his territory. Even after being decapitated, his torso, with swords in both hands, kept fighting the invading forces until it fell at Shankhoddhar (submerged under the waters of Chambal since the late 1950s after the construction of Gandhi Sagar Dam), where an annual fair was held since then. Scattered throughout the town are numerous shrines to the Bhil deities or lost warriors, called Chhappan Bap Ji– literally meaning the “Honorable Fifty-six,” perhaps as a reference to each troop of 56 stationed at various locations to defend the original settlement.
The occupying outsiders soon made this place as their home.
The fertile soil and abundance of water made life great. The
hills offered the protection. The rivers offered a way to trade
but also sort of protection. No one dared cross a swollen
Chambal during the monsoons. Rampura served sort of a quick
gateway to Rajputana, to Ujjain, to Dhar. However, the strategic
location of Rampura. which made it a choice territory to occupy
also became one of the main causes of its ruin.
For centuries, Rampura remained a prosperous Mandi-- central distribution place of grains and harvest. It was also known for its fine weavers, and the small-blade kitchen knife (not to be confused with the long-blade gravity knife popularly known as the "Rampuri knife" from Rampur, UP.) http://www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rampuri. The one-time famous Rampura weavers are long gone but the knife– asset to any kitchen– is still available in the local bazaar.
It is said that sometime between the late 1200s and early 1300s,Ala ud din Khilji passed through Rampura, and briefly camped at “Patar-Sa-Ka-Khet” or “Padshah-Ka-Khet.” literally translating as “the Emperor’s Farm.” During one of the islamic invasions, the adjoining “Padshahi BaoDi” or the four-walled water reservoir, with entrance steps, is said to have been built on an ancient temple grounds using the temple material for its construction. http://www.search.com/reference/Islamic_conquest_of_the_Indian_subcontinent (Look under Madhya Pradesh/Mandsaur District because until the mid-1990s, Rampura used to be in the Mandsaur District.)
In the late 1500's the Mughal Emperor Akbar http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Akbar made Rampura an independent principality after capturing it as a part of the Mewar territory. Until 1660, Rampura remained under the Mewar Maharana, who paid annual tribute to the Mughals. For a brief period the Rampura rulers served the Mughal army, and for a while the district enjoyed peace and tranquillity.
In 1689, during the times of the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb, great-grandson of Akbar, a dispute began in Rampura with the succession of Rao Gopal Singh Chandrawat. As history would witness, this family feud ultimately became the cause of the break-up of an independent state. In 1698, while Gopal Singh Chandrawat was serving Prince Bidar Bakht (grandson of Emperor Aurangzeb), in Deccan, his son, Ratan Singh, took over control. Gopal Singh appealed to the Emperor, who paid no heed. At the instigation of Malwa Governor, Mukhtiyar Khan, Ratan Singh converted to Islam, took the name Islam Khan, thereupon he was formally gifted the district of Rampura, and he subsequently re-named the town of Rampura as Islampura-- a name that fortunately never took on. In June 1700, Gopal Singh abandoned the imperial forces, and returned from Deccan to Rampura, helped by Bhim Singh, son of Rao Ram Singh Hada (or Hara), of Kota. On June 10, 1700, Emperor Aurangzeb, stepped in to put an end to the revolt, and directed Prince Bidar Bakht to immediately go to Rampura; who ignored the orders but sent the governor of Malwa to intervene. In June 1701, Mukhtiyar Khan, son of Iftikhar Khan, Governor of Malwa, marched into Rampura to capture Gopal Singh, who fled to Mewar. In February 1701 at Maharana Sangram Singh of Mewar’s instigation, Udaibhan Saktawat (of Malka Bajna) gave Gopal Singh shelter and helped with money. In December 1702, Abu Mansar Khan, the Governor of Malwa, was informed by Ratan Singh and Kirti Singh (son of Rawat Pratap Singh of Deolia/Pratapgarh) that Maharana Sangram Singh’s forces had marched into the territories of Rampura. In 1703, Gopal Singh submitted to emperor Aurangzeb and was pardoned, and restored to his mansab, He was appointed Fauzidar in Hyderabad. In 1705, Gopal Singh lost his position and was short of money. Desperate yet hoping to re-claim Rampura, in January 1706, he joined the Marathas and asked for their assistance to enter Rampura through Dhar/Mandav region http://gyandoot.nic.in/dhar_district/history.html . However, this attempt failed as Bidar Bakht had already reached Badnagar. Pledging loyalty to the Marathas, in March of that year, when the maratha forces attacked Gujrat, Gopal Singh was with them.
Rampura briefly enjoyed a couple of years of peace. In November 1705, Ratan Singh, who was with the imperial forces, left the army without permission and went to Ujjain, wherefrom he returned to Rampura. He started writing conciliatory letters to Maharana. Maharana’s response was less than lukewarm. In February 1706, Ratan Singh once again pledged his loyalty to Maharana. However, Maharana was anxious to regain control of Rampura– his lost province– for himself. In fact, as seen later, the district (pargana) of Rampura would be formally gifted to Prince Madho Singh, infant son of Maharaja Jai Singh of Amber/Jaipur, by his wife, a Mewar princess. In the 1704 Jai Singh was appointed by Prince Bidar Bakht as the Governor of Malwa. Jai Singh, who had previously continued to manage the Rampura affairs for the Maharana on behalf of Prince Madho Singh (as the latter’s inheritance). Thus for a while, for all practical purposes, Rampura was “governed” more as a Amber/Jaipur territory than that of Mewar.
In 1706, Gopal Singh sought help of the Marathas and thought of entering Malwa through the Mukundara Pass. Aurangzeb had died in 1707 and Farukhsiyar had either killed or defeated his brothers and claimed the Mughal throne. Subsequently, Gopal Singh and Maratha forces reached Gujrat. On August 28, 1709, the forces of Maharana attacked, but Ratan Singh repulsed the attack and was rewarded by emperor Farukhsiyar for his victory. After this Maharana did not want to help Gopal Singh.
Much encouraged, Ratan Singh, attacked and conquered Ujjain, and began entertaining greater territorial ambitions. The new Malwa Governor, Amanat Khan, warned Ratan Singh, but to no avail. At a battle in Sarangpur, Ratan Singh defeated Rahim Beg, a sidekick of Amanat Khan, causing the latter to march with his forces to attack Ratan Singh. Aided by his Rohilla chum Muhammad, Ratan Singh fought the imperial army in the battle at Sunera, about 10 miles south-west of Sarangpur. Ratan Singh was killed. The year was late 1712. Amanat Khan reached Rampura where all of Ratan Singh’s allies, including his harem, surrendered. Pleased with this victory, Emperor Jahandar Shah decorated the Khan with the title “Shahmat Khan.”
Taking advantage of his son’s death, on January 24, 1715, Gopal Singh re-captured Rampura with the help of Mewar army. However, Maharana only gave him a part of the original Rampura state and kept the most of the district for himself. On September 16, 1717, Emperor Farukhsiyar granted pargana of Rampura to Maharana Sangram Singh of Mewar. Durgadas Rathore http://www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Durgadas_Rathore ,who after Aurangzeb's death had freed Jodhpur from the Mughals, and successfully installed Prince Ajit Singh to the Marwar throne, did not get along with the latter, left Marwar and took charge of the newly re-acquired district of Rampura for Maharana. Durgadas died at Rampura in 1718, and his funeral rites were performed on the banks of the Shipra where a chhatri (cenotaph) was built to consecrate his memory. This beautiful structure, built in the Rajput style of architecture, houses a statue of Durgadas which crumbled down. http://rajputindia.com/resources/showarticle.asp?JournalID=413
In August 1719, an agreement was signed by Gopal Singh and his grandson Sangram Singh, which reduced Rampura, a full-fledged state, into a zamindari, paying a tribute and obedience to the Maharana. However, Sangram Singh became quite unruly. He also got in a dispute with the Kota ruler, Durjan Sal, and approached the Mughal Emperor for help. However, none was received, and on his way back to Rampura, Sangram Singh was killed. His brother, Badan Singh, succeeded him. This, and few other storms brewing would shape the destiny of Malwa in a broader sense, and, therefore, of Rampura.
On February 20, 1719, Nizam Rafi-ud-Darazat was appointed Governor of Malwa. In May of that year, he reached Ujjain. However, less than a year later he was ordered to return to Delhi. On his way, he reached Mandsaur on April 13th, and passed through Rampura to travel up to Mukundara Pass, but changed his mind and returned to Ujjain ignoring the imperial orders. On June 19, 1720, the imperial forces were badly beaten and Nizam and his Maratha allies chased them and mercilessly looted them. With Malwa under his territory, Nizam had already returned to south on April 28th of that year. On August 30, 1722, Raja Girdhar Bahadur, a nephew of Allahabad ruler Raja Chhabile Ram, was appointed the Governor of Malwa. He held that post until May 15, 1723. For the Emperor, he continued to make several unsuccessful attempts to re-capture Rampura.
During the rainy season of 1722, Bajirao Peshwa http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peshwa decided to attack Malwa. On January 18, 1723, he set out. On February 10th, he reached a place called Gardavad, near Dhar. Crossing the river Mahi, he reached Badkasha (present-day Bolasa in Jhabua district), and decided to camp out and wait for the Nizam who was on his way from Delhi to Gujrat. On February 13th the Nizam and Peshwa met and negotiated terms and reached a certain understanding that affected the events about to unfold. The two traveled together up to Raipuria, and after a 2-day halt, Peshwa returned to Badkasha on his way to Khandesh after crossing river Narmada on February 25th. Peshwa again crossed Narmada near Hoshangabad, and on March 18th and re-entered Malwa. After wandering for a couple of weeks, on April 5th, he headed south. By now, the Nizam was headed back to Delhi. For almost a decade during this period, Rampura remained turbulent.
On May 15, 1723, Raja Girdhar Bahadur was dismissed as Governor of Malwa, only to be re-appointed on June 2, 1725. Although the circumstances of his dismissal are not clear nor any record of the negotiations leading to his re-appointment are known to exist, a document, dated August 8, 1725, states that “...if Mohakam Singh does not accept appointment as Governor of Malwa, Girdhar Bahadur will be summoned at the Imperial court...” (Page 172 of Malwa in Transition....” His second tenure would last until November 29, 1728, when in a battle at Amjhera with the Marathas, both Girdhar Bahadur and his nephew Daya Bahadur were killed. The winning Maratha army happily looted the imperial goods, as well confiscated their artillery and ammunition.
With Girdhar Bahadur’s death, the last hope of imperial stronghold in Malwa became extinct. Rampura for a while enjoyed being a part of the Mewar territory. On March 26, 1729, at Jai Sigh’s repeated pleading, Maharana gifted the district of Rampura to the former’s infant son Prince Madho Singh, with Jai Singh’s assurance that much like 16 other subordinate territorial heads, Madho Sigh, when he came of age and became Jaipur ruler (instead of his elder half-brother Ishwari Singh), would also remain loyal to Mewar.
In 1734 Jai Singh openly annexed Rampura (along with Bundi) for the purpose (or under the pretext) of stopping the advancing Maratha forces into Rajputana. In 1734 a large army was sent from Delhi under Khan-e-Dauran, joined by Rajput armies from Jaipur, Jodhpur, and Kota all in an attempt to expel the Marathas from North India. This huge army was encircled by the cavalry of Malhar Holkar and Ranoji Sindhia at Rampura and stopped in its tracks for 8 days.
On September 21, 1743, Jai Singh died, following which succession dispute began between heir apparent Ishwari Singh and Prince Madho Singh. According to a 1708 treaty between Mewar and Jaipur, the Jaipur throne was to be of Jai Singh's son by his wife, a Mewar princess. Madho Singh, who was born in 1728 was considered to be that claimant albeit defying the conventional succession laws and rights. In 1743, Ishwari Singh was coronated and recognized as the Jaipur ruler by the Mughal emperor. In 1750, Madho Singh, with the help of Malhar Rao Holkar's army, defeated Ishwari Singh, and on December 29th claimed the Jaipur throne for himself. Ishwari Singh committed suicide rather than be humiliated at the hands of Holkar. In exchange for the assistance given to Madho Singh in his contest for the Jaipur throne with Ishwari Singh, Madho Singh offered Holkar Ranthambore and the surrounding territory. However, Malhar Rao wanted 1/4th of the Jaipur revenue. In retaliation, on January 10, 1751, at Madho Singh's orders, all Marathas present in Jaipur city were killed; however, he managed to convince both Sindhia and Holkar of his innocence. Thus, Rampura officially became a part of the Jaipur territory, and remained so until 1757. On or about April 12, 1757, as a result of much pestering over the years, Malhar Rao Holkar finally received Rampura, Bhanpura and Tonk, and two other districts, but not without initial threats from both sides followed by serious negotiations.
Rampura, willingly or otherwise, continued to play a host to many. In 1804, as a result of a strategic blunder that followed with a lot of finger pointing in all directions, Lt. Colonel William Monson and his army were stopped by a flooded Chambal, and from late July through August 30th ended up spending time in Rampura before retreating. http://www.napoleon-series.org/military/battles/c_monson.html Maratha-British confrontations continued over the years, with the Holkars maintaining control over Rampura. The last big loss the marathas suffered was at Mahidpur on 21st December 1817. Subsequently, under the Treaty of Mandsaur, on 6th January 1818, Rampura, much like the rest of the Holkar State, became a part of the British territory.
In the following years, peace had still not been fully restored in the Rampura district. After the Mandsaur Treaty in 1818, Holkar had lost most of his possessions, and it was only in 1856, in consideration of Rs. 16,000/-, and exchange for construction of a bridge over Gohi River, Holkar got back the Sendhwa fort. The region, however, experienced no peace or relief. As recorded in the official documents of the Central Malwa Agency http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Central_India_Agency -Indore, the anarchy and confusion that prevailed in Holkar's territories previous to the conclusion of the Mandsaur Treaty had completely ruined the finances of the region. Holkar's minister Tantia Jogh set out to effect this recovery. It is reported that, in 1819, two insurrections broke in spite of formation of the Mahidpur Contingent and posting of a body of about 500 cavalry. These insurrections only added greatly to the challenges that Jogh was already facing. One was an imposter personating Malhar Rao Holkar and another Hari Rao a cousin of the Maharaja. By the time these were put to rest-- literally-- serious conflicts arose at the Rampura borders. The time was around 1821, and the troublemakers were the Thakur of Bhatkheri and his cronies. As a punishment, a part of the Bhatkheri Thakur’s' Jagir was confiscated and another of the leading insurgents, Bhairur Singh, delivered himself. Towards the end of 1822, it became necessary to employ a detachment of the British troops at Barkhera. As also reported in the official records of the Central Malwa Agency-Indore, in 1826, British made an agreement with Holkar, the states of Dhar and Dewas, as well as others in Malwa securing the British the exclusive right to purchase opium grown in Malwa. However, this did not work and in 1829, the monopoly was abandoned. Instead, a transit duty was levied upon the opium in its passage through the British territories to the seacoast.
Rampura, a war-raged region for almost 1000 years, which had not seen much relief-- economic or otherwise-- finally got some on 9th May 1930, when Maharaja Yashwant Rao Holkar, II, wrote off large amount of debts on the Rampura-Bhanpura territory. In his coronation speech, the young Maharaja said:“I am fully conscious of the grave responsibility that now devolves upon me as the Ruler of my State. The welfare of the agriculturists of my State shall be my special care for, I feel at the present stage of our economic development, a sound agricultural system must form the broad foundation. I, also, recognize that my own prosperity will rest upon the prosperity of my people.....It is my earnest desire that every effort should be made to provide adequate funds for the development of those nation-building departments, which can foster the social happiness of my people. I have therefore decided that for the present, my Civil List shall be limited to 11 per cent, of the income of my State; while I hope, if further experience justifies such a step, to be able in the future to reduce my budget to an even lower percentage of the whole...To relieve the burden on the cultivators, than whom no class is dearer to me, I shall sanction the remission of all arrears of revenue and cases up to the end of the last resettlement, thus foregoing a sum of about 13 lakhs of rupees. Realizing that the welfare of my State is closely bound up with the welfare of my Jagirdars, I shall order the remission of arrears of Tanka amounting to one lakh and eighty seven thousand rupees outstanding against the Rampura -Bhanpura district. Further, there is a heavy sum outstanding in the books of the old Accounts Department. Although a large part of this sum may be irrecoverable, yet I feel that its retention in the books of account operates as a burden on those against whose names the dues now stand. To relieve them of this burden I have decided that these arrears to the extent of 24 lakhs of rupees should now be written off." http://www.geocities.com/naneria/holkar.html
- A History of Jaipur by Sir Jadunath Sarkar
- Malwa in Transition - A century of Anarchy by Maharaj Kumar Raghubir Singh of Sitamau (Bombay, 1936), with foreword by Sir Jadunath Sarkar.
- Annals and Antiquities of Rajasthan by Lt. Colonel James Tod (3 volumes, published 1829-1832)