This is a tale of extraordinary survival of a clan over a millennium. The chronicles of the Mertia jagmalots traces their origins to their progenitor Rao Duda of Merta and through him to the Rathore clan of Rajputs. The martial Rajputs, according to many historians, descended from the Scythians who ruled large tracts of northern India in the early centuries of the first millennium A.D.
While it is true that we are all in a sense survivors down from Adam, but to be able to trace a lineage over six hundred years on the basis of historical records puts such survivors in a remarkable category of their own. Tracing the history of one family in the sub-clan assumes historical significance as a study of a microcosm representative of numerous feudatory families across Rajasthan which have braved the vicissitudes of history to survive meaningfully to the present day. The story of one family then becomes the story of every such family with minor variations.
We see how they faced one challenge after another with the changing dynasties and empires in the region and at the central seat of power. We observe how they withstood the hegemonistic ambitions of the regional super powers and the overlordship of the Delhi emperors expressed through their governors at Ajmer. The manner in which they succeeded in fending off the bigger fish in their neighborhood, forever seeking to swallow them or learnt to deal tactfully with the whales from Delhi, emerging remarkably intact into the present times, constitutes the theme of our narrative. Where no trace remained of the great dynasties of the Khiljis, the Tughlaks, the Lodis and even the most glories of them all, the Mughals, all being consigned to history, the fiefs and principalities of Rajputana amazingly survived improbable odds right into independent India. While most did so under the umbrella of the regional overload, the maharaja, those in the vicinity of Ajmer were more remarkable for having managed to do so leviathan and later in the train of yet another that displaced it, the British. The Mertia jagmalots, descendants of jagmal hailing from Merta, are one such family and this book, in the latter half seeks to chronicles their extraordinary career.
In doing so we begin at the beginning, postulating the origins of the Rajputs, then tracing the history of its major clan the Rathores, the circumstances and the manner of their migration to Marwar (Jodhpur), making it the seat of their power. From Marwar we move to Merta where a branch of the Rathore line under Rao Jodha’s brilliant son Duda carved out further territory. We then dwell on Duda’s descendants focusing attention on his grandson jagmal. We pursue the career of his descendants the jagmalots till the conquests of the small principality of Masuda near Ajmer. The remainder of the book dwells on the life and times of the family which held that principality right up to Indian independence.
Their chronicles have been presented in the backdrop of all events occurring in north India at the time, interweaving the career of the family with the changing historical scenarios within the region and beyond at the level of imperial India. We thus see the unfolding of Indian history from the eleventh century to the present day in the context of the role of the Rajput protagonist and finally its one offshoot, the family to which I belong. It is quite an amazing story which would provide the general public an extraordinary perspective of history viewed as it were from often fails to bring out the actual effect of events down at the individual level. Being replete with rare anecdotes the chronicles bring to life sweep of historical events through a most engaging vivid presentation, much like the unfolding of a story.
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