Scindia dynasty

Scindia dynasty

Gwalior has been ruled by the Scindia clan and also has the distinction of having been one of the most developed states of India. Gwalior has a very old and magnificent history as its name is derived from the erstwhile town of Gwalior also known and Gawalier. Gwalior has been ruled by many Rajput dynasties and also by the Mughals. The Scindia dynasty was founded by Ranoji Scindia. However, the association of the Scindias with Gwalior commenced at a time when the Mughals started to lose their prominence due to the rise of the Marathas under the leadership of Shivaji. However, Shivaji’s untimely death passed the power on to the Peshwas which was later grasped by Mahadji Scindia, who was a great statesman and a general. He opposed the English, but later initiated an alliance with them, which brought about a lot of advantages to him in terms of his career and power.

Gwalior was ruled by the Scindias’ up until the independence of India in 1947 with George Jivaji Rao as the Maharaja. However, Gwalior was then merged along with other princely states to form the state of Madhya Pradesh. Later on in 1962, George Jivaji Rao’s widow, Rajmata Vijayraje Scindia became a member of the Lok Sabha. Her son Madhavrao Scindia later went on to become a strong member of the Congress Party and his son Jyotiraditya Scindia is currently a Lok Sabha member with the INC. Rajmata Vijayraje Scindia’s two daughters Vasundhara Raje Scindia and Yashodhara Raje Scindia were also politically inclined and have allied with the BJP.

Mahadji Sindhia

Born on 3rd December 1730 as the fifth and the youngest son of Sardar Ranoji Rao Scindia, Mahadaji Shinde was a lieutenant of the Peshwa and went on to become a Maratha ruler in the state of Gwalior. He was responsible for strengthening the Maratha Empire in North India after the Third Battle of Panipat in 1761. It is believed that Madhavrao I, Nana Fadnavis and Mahadji Shinde were responsible for the comeback of the Maratha Empire. Gwalior slowly became one of the most important states for the Marathas under his leadership. During his reign, the Maratha Empire also became one of the leading military powers in India.

He defeated the Jats of Mathura and Pashtun Rohillas in Rohilkhand and captured Najibabad in 1772–73. He also defeated the British in the First Anglo-Maratha War which led to the Treaty of Salbai in 1782. Later on, the Treaty of Salbai was signed between the Peshwa and the British. Sawai Madhavrao became the Peshwa and Raghunath Rao was given a pension. The territories west of the Yamuna were returned to Shinde and he was asked to come back to Ujjain. He also defeated the Rajput states of Jodhpur and Jaipur through the Battle of Patan and Battle of Merta. He got tributes from Sikh sardars of the cis-Sutlej region as well.

Mahadji became the regent of Mughal affairs and also got the title Amir-ul-Umara in 1784. He was also responsible for limiting the Nizams to south of Deccan. He signed a peace treaty with Tipu Sultan of Mysore in 1792 after which he used his influence to protect Tipu Sultan from the Nizams and the British.

In his later years, there were constant conflicts between Mahadji, Nana Fadnis and Tukoji holkar. However, his control over North Indian territories remained untouched after the Battle of Lakheri. On 12th February 1794 Mahadji died in Wanavdi near Pune due to high fever without an heir. Daulat Rao Scindia succeeded the throne after Mahadji’s death.

Daulatrao Sindhia

Maharaja Daulatrao Scindia, the son of Anandrao, a cousin of Mahadji Shinde, was adopted by the latter as his heir. Daulatrao Scindia shifted the capital from Ujjain to Gwalior. He signed the Treaty of Subsidiary Alliance with Lord Wellesley. After the defeat of the allied Maratha states by the British in the Third Anglo Maratha war of 1818, most of the former Maratha Empire was absorbed by British India. Daulatrao Scindia was forced to accept local autonomy as a princely state within British India and to give up Ajmer to the British in exchange for Shivpuri, Narwar and some parts of Malwa. After the death of Daulatrao,, Maharani Baiza Bai ruled the empire, and protected it from the British power, until the adopted child Jankojirao took charge. Daulatrao Scindia built the Gorkhy Palace and the Temple in Maharaj Bara.

 

Jayajirao Sindhia

Jankojirao died in 1843; and in the absence of an heir, his widow Tara Bai adopted Bhagirath Rao, a son of Hanwant Rao, commonly called Babaji Sindhia. He succeeded under the name of Jayajirao Sindhia, the Mama Sahib being chosen as regent. Tara Bai, however, came under the influence of Dada Khasgiwala, the comptroller of her household, an unscrupulous adventurer who wished to get all power into his own hands. A complicated series of intrigues followed, which it is impossible to unravel. The Dada, however, succeeded in driving Mama Sahib from the state and became minister. He filled all appointments with his relatives, and matters rapidly passed from bad to worse, ending in the assemblage of large bodies of troops who threatened an attack on Sironj, where Mama Sahib was then residing. War was impending in the Punjab, and, as it was essential to secure peace, the British Government decided to interfere. Colonel Sleeman, the Resident, was withdrawn, and the surrender of Dada Khasgiwala was demanded.

Jankojirao Sindhia II

He was born in 1805 as Mugat Rao Scindia, son of Sardar Patloji Rao Scindia, by his wife, the sister of Sardar Krishnaji Rao Kadam (Mama Sahib), sometime Regent of Gwalior.  Daulat Rao Scindia died in Lashkar, Gwalior, on 21 March 1827 without heir (his only son Yuvraj Maharaje Sahib Maharaj Shrimant Madhorao Scindia had died in Gwalior in 1812 with only 8 months) and without having adopted successor. On his death bed he left the State and succession in the hands of the British Government but noting his desire that the widow Baiza Bai was treated with respect or Baiza and listened; Baiza Bai was the Regency of 21 March 1827 to June 17, 1827. He was adopted by Maharani Baiza Bai, and ascended the gadi 18 June 1827.

 

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