This article has been extracted from
THE IMPERIAL GAZETTEER OF INDIA , 1908.
OXFORD, AT THE CLARENDON PRESS.
Note: National, provincial and district boundaries have changed considerably since 1908. Typically, old states, ‘divisions’ and districts have been broken into smaller units, units, and many tahsils upgraded to districts.Many units have since been renamed. Therefore, this article is being posted mainly for its historical value.
A guaranteed chiefship in Central India, under the Bhopawar Agency, Lying between 22 degree o' and 22 degree 34' N. and 74 degree 18’ and 74 degree 34' E., with an area of 836 square miles. It is situated in the Rath division of Malwa, and was formerly known as Ali, or Ali-mohan, from two forts, Ali and Mohan, ofwhich the latter is now in the chota Udaipur State. Its present name is derived from Ali, and the new capital town of Rajpur. It is bounded on the north by the Panch Mahals District of Bombay; on the south by the Narbada river ; on the west by the Rewa Kantha Agency of Bombay ; and on the east by several Thakurats of the Bhopawar Agency. The countrv is a poor one, intersected by numerous narrow valleys and successive rang of low hills, which are densely covered with jungle. It is watered by the Narbada river and many minor streams, of which the Sukar and Hatni are the most important. The climate is subject to extremes of heat and cold, the temperature ranging between 106 degree and 50 degree The annual rainfall averages about 35 inches.
Nothing very certain is known about the early history of this State. It was founded by one Ude Deo or Anand Deo. He is said to have been a Rathor of the same family as that now ruling in Jodhpur, who, after wandering in this part of the country, finally took up his abode at Ali and founded the fort there in 1437; but the relationship is not admitted by the great Rajputana clan. Anand Deo had two great- grandsons, Gugal Deo and Kesar Deo. Of these, Gugal Deo succeeded to Ali-Rajpur, while Kesar obtained the territory which now forms the Jobat State. In 1818 the State was virtually in the power of a Makrani adventurer known as Musafir Makrani, who was acting as minister to Rana Pratap Singh. On his death, the Makrani managed the State in trust for the Rana's posthumous son, Jaswant Singh. He- was opposed by Kesri Singh, a nephew of the late chief, but the British authorities supported Jaswant Singh, the Makrani being put in as manager during the minority. An engagement was at the same time mediated between him and the Dhar Darbar by which, in lieu of tribute, the sayar (customs) duties in Ali-Rajpur were made over to that State.
This system led to endless disputes between the officials of the two States; and finally an arrangement was effected in 1821, when the Dhar Darbar handed over the pargana of Berasia to British manage- ment, by which the British Government was to pay the Dhar Darbar Hali Rs. 10,000 a year in lieu of tribute, and collect Rs. 11.000 from Ali-Rajpur, all feudal rights on the part of the Dhar State ceasing with this new engagement. From the balance of Rs. 1.000, Rs. 250 is paid towards the up-keep of the Agra-Bombay road police. Jaswant Singh died in 1862, leaving a will by which the State was to be divided between his two sons. The Government, after consulting the neigh- bouring chiefs, set it aside, and the eldest son, Gang Deo, succeeded, suitable provision being made for his younger brother. Gang Deo was deposed for incompetency in 1871, and the younger brother, Rup Deo, succeeded. He died childless in 1881 ; and although no sanad of adoption is held by the chief, the British Government decided to forgo the escheat, and a boy named Bejai Singh was selected from the Sondwa Thakur's family. Opposition was made by Thakur Jit Singh of Phulmal, who also belonged to the ruling family. He raised the Bhils, and pro- ceeded to plunder and raid, but was suppressed by a force of the Malwa Bhil Corps and Central India Horse. Bejai Singh died in 1890, and was succeeded by his cousin Pratap Singh of Sondwa, the present chief, who was educated at the Daly College at Indore. The ruler bears the title of Rana, and is entitled to a salute of 9 guns.
The population of the State has been:(1881) 56,827, (1891) 70,091, and (1901) 50,185, giving a density of 60 persons per square mile. Population decreased by 28 per cent, during the last decade, mainly through the severity of the famine of 1899- 1900 and the sickness which followed it. The number of villages is 307. Animists (mainly Bhilalas and Bhils) number 41,850, or 83 per cent, of the total; Hindus, 6,440, or 13 per cent. ; and Musalmans, 1,735, many of these being Makranis connected with the familyof the former manager of the State. The Canadian Presbyterian Mission has stations at Amkhut, Sardi, and Mendha; but native Christians numbered only 15 in 1901. The chief castes and tribes are Bhilalas, 24,000, or 47 per cent. ; Bhils, 15,800, or 31 per cent.; and Patlias, 2,000. About 64 per cent, of the popu- lation are returned as supported by agriculture, and 21 per cent, by general labour.
The soil is, generally speaking, poor and unproductive, while the Bhilalas and Bhils, who form the majority of the population, are very indifferent agriculturists ; their methods are primitive, and they cultivate little more than is required for their personal requirements. Of the total area, no square miles are cultivated, but only 282 acres are irrigated. Of the remainder, 317 square miles are cultivable and 250 are under forest, the rest being uncultivable waste. Of the cropped area, bajra occupies 20 square miles ; maize, 19 ; jowar, 16 ; and sanwi (sanwan), 11 square miles. Since the famine of 1899-1900, the cultivated area has diminished by 30 per cent.
Trade generally is not in a very flourishing condition, owing to want of good communications. The principal means of communication is the Ratlam-Godhra branch of the Bombay, Baroda, and Central India Railway, of which the Dohad and Bodeli stations are respectively 55 and 50 miles distant from Rajpur. British post offices have been opened at Rajpur, Chandpur, and Bhabra.
The State is divided into five parganas — Bhabra, Rath, Nanpur, Chhaktala, and Chandpur — each under a kamasdar, who is also magis- trate and revenue officer. The chief manages the State with the assistance of a minister, who has the immediate control of the adminis- trative machinery, except that of the medical and forests departments, which are under the Agency Surgeon and Forest officer respectively. In general matters and in civil judicial cases the chief is the final authority. In criminal cases he exercises the powers of a Magistrate of the first class, all cases beyond his jurisdiction being tried by the Political Agent. The British codes are followed as a general guide in the courts.
Up to a recent date, the land revenue was collected in kind, but it is now taken in cash. The total normal revenue is 1 lakh, of which Rs. 43,000 is derived from land, Rs. 10,000 from customs, and Rs. 15,000 from excise. The expenditure on the general administration, including the chief's establishment, is Rs. 33,000 ; on police, Rs. 17,000 ; tribute (paid to Dhar State), Rs. 8,600; and a contribution of Rs. 1,271 is paid towards the maintenance of the Malwa Bhil Corps. The land revenue is assessed on the ' plough ' of land, the rates varying from Rs. 8 to Rs. 19 an acre. The police force consists of 191 men, and a jail is maintained at Rajpur. The State supports seven primary Hindi schools, with 187 pupils. Other institutions include one private English school, and the mission schools at Amkhut Sardi and Mendha. In 1901 only 1.3 per cent, of the population, almost all males, could read and write. Dispensaries have been opened at Rajpur and Bhabra.
The chief place in the State is Ali-Rajpur, better known locally as Rajpur, situated in 22 degree 11’N.and 74° 22' E., 120 miles south-west of Indore ; 9,700 feet above the sea. Population (1901), 3,954. It was made the capital in place of the old capital of All about 1800 by Musafir Makrani, when he was Diwan to Rana Pratap Singh. A State guest- house, a sarai, a school, a public library, a jail, a hospital, and a British post office are situated in the town.