University of Delhi
In the last few decades there has been an outpouring of literature on medieval Rajasthan in general and the Amber/Jaipur state in particular. Most of these scholars have largely focused on the agrarian economy and revenue administration. However, some scholars have paid attention to the process of state formation. Though some research has been done on the impact of Maratha incursions into Rajasthan during the late eighteenth century, the focus is largely on the issue of extraction of tribute from the Rajput states by the Marathas. In this paper an attempt has been made to discuss and analyse the multi-dimensional consequences of the Maratha incursions on the economy and society of Jaipur state.
It is a truism to say that the moribund Mughal Empire was inherited by powerful Mughal nobles who carved out the ‘successor states’ such as the Nawabis of Awadh and Bengal and the Nizamat of Hyderabad. There were others such as Marathas, Jats and Sikhs who revolted against the Mughal Empire and made fortunes. Similarly, the Rajput Rajas of Jodhpur and Jaipur also expanded there territories by occupying Mughal parganas during the eighteenth century. Out of all these post-Mughal states the Marathas expanded their control on vast territories of the erstwhile Mughal Empire. The Marathas made northward expansion from 1720 onwards under the leadership of Peshwa Baji Rao I. By 1740 the Marathas had established their hold on suba Malwa through a ‘process of slow conquest’. Clearly, the Marathas had reached close to the border of Rajasthan where they began to make inroads subsequently.
After the death of Sawai Jai Singh in 1743, the Jaipur state entered into a phase of political instability marked by succession disputes and problems caused by successive rulers who were minors. The Rajputs formally began to invite the Marathas for the settlement of their succession disputes. The war of succession between Ishwari Singh, the elder son of Sawai Jai Singh...