History of Sitamau State

Sitamau is located on Southwestern plateau of Malwa between 23º 48’’ and 24º 14’’ North latitude and 75º 17’’ and 75º 36’’ East longitude. It is situated 1700 feet above the mean sea level. The area of Sitamau was 350 square miles. Its boundaries touched former Indore and Gwalior States in North, Jhalawar in East, Gwalior in West and Dewas in South-West.

At time of its establishment, the area of Sitamau State was almost equal to Ratlam State. In this State (Sitamau), the parganas (former administrative unit) of Nahargarh and Titrod were also included.

After some time Mughal Emperor Farrukhsiyar gave Aalot pargana too as Jagir (territory) to Keshavdas. But after Keshavdas, during the reign of his successor ruler GajSinh, the pargana of Aalot and during the reign of Raja FatehSinh, the pargana of Nahargarh were taken over by Panwars of Dewas and Scindias respectively and thus the limits of the State became comparatively constricted. If we look at the earlier eastern boundary of Sitamau State then this State touched the boundaries of five other States. To the north of this State was that part of Jawra State which is presently terme Malhargarh tehsil, at North-East was Garoth district of Holkar State, which is presently the Garoth tehsil, at South were Jawra and Dewas Senior States, at East the Jhalawar State of Rajputana and at West Mandsaur district of Gwalior State.

At present, Garoth and Malhargarh tehsils lie to its north, at south is Ratlam district, at east is Suwasra tehsil and Jhalawar district (Rajasthan) while at west is Mandsaur tehsil.

In the second half of 15th century, a Meena Sardar (chieftain) called Sata established a settlement on the hillock here, which later was known as Sitamau after the Meena chieftain Sata. For about a century, Meenas ruled the settlement. After sone time, a group of Gajmalot Rathours from Loutra in Idar State, led by Jujhar Sinh came towards Malwa and settled at Kheda near Sitamau. After Jujhar Sinh, Dhauji, Udaykaran and Nagji led this group. In 1549 AD, Nagji killed Meena Chieftains Lala Tora and Kanha and took control of Sitamau.

During reign of Mughal Emperor Akbar, subas (administrative unit) were created as part of administrative reforms. Then Sitamau as part of Malwa Suba was included under Titrod Mahal of Mandsaur Government. Maheshdas, son of Dalpat – the fourth son of `Mota Raja’ Udai Sinh (Jodhpur), was Mansabdar (imperial officer) of Mughal Emperor Shahjehan. Shahjehan gifted Jalour pargana to Maheshdas in 1642 as jagir. Ratan Sinh was the successor of Maheshdas. As the income from Jalour pargana was poor, Shahjehan gifted Ratlam pargana to Ratan Sinh. Ram Sinh succeeded Ratan Sinh and Shiv Sinh succeeded Ram Sinh. As Ram Sinh died without any progeny, his stepbrother Keshavdas became the ruler of Ratlam after his death.

As result of excesses owing to the fundamentalist policies of Aurangzeb, officials of Keshavdas killed Mughal officer Amin-e-Jazia Nasiruddin in 1694. Following this, Aurangzeb confiscated Ratlam pargana. On August 18, 1694 AD, the relatives of Keshavdas left Ratlam. They spent the year 1695 in difficulty in various places and then decided to stay in Sitamau and consequently settled there on January 14, 1696 AD.

Keshavdas was in south at that time and still continued to sincerely serve the Emperor. In 1696 AD, the fortunes of Keshavdas changed again and his mansab was increased to `panch sadi jaat do sau sawar’. At that time he had received some villages of Dhar pargana as per the mansab and also the pargana of Nahargarh as jagir. Even after receiving Nahargarh, Keshavdas kept his family at Sitamau . On September 3, 1696 AD, on recommendation of ManSinh Rathour, two hundred more horsemen were added to the mansab of Keshavdas, but no final decision was taken on villages given for it, because at that time some lackadaisical attitude had seeped into the royal administration. Keshavdas received the villages around Sitamau as jagir only in January 1699 AD.

In 1699 AD itself, the mansab of Keshavdas was further increased by `ek sadi jaat aur ek sau sawar’. Maharajkumar Dr Raghubir Sinh has written that `during last 50 years, the contemporary importance of Sitamau had increased’. But still, the center of pargana was known as Titrod pargana. Then Keshavdas started making efforts to get Titrod pargana. He became successful on October 31, 1701 and Aurangazeb handed over the Titrod pargana to him. Keshavdas then made Sitamau as center of his jagir instead of Titrod and in this way, a new Rathore State of Sitamau was established in Malwa.

Keshavdas passed away in New Delhi while being in royal service. The elder son of Keshavdas, Bakhat Sinh had died without leaving any progeny during the life of Keshavdas. Then the younger son of Keshavdas, Gaj Sinh, became the ruler of Sitamau. Gaj Sinh ruled for about 18 years and when he passed away in 1752 AD, his son Fateh Sinh became the ruler of Sitamau. During the reign of Fateh Sinh, the terror of Marathas had increased in Sitamau and this forced Fateh Sinh to set up his emergency-time capital at Laduna – 3 km south of Sitamau. Fateh Sinh got coin minted in his name in 1787 and these coins remained in circulation in Sitamau for 100 years. Fateh Sinh passed away at Laduna Garh in 1802 AD. Upon his death, his elder son Raj Sinh became the ruler of Sitamau. During the initial years of reign of Raj Sinh, the menace of Marathas had further increased. It was because of this that in year 1820 AD, by the intervention of Sir John Malcolm, decision was taken to pay yearly tax of Rs 60000 to the Scindias under the British domain. Following this, the rule of Raj Sinh over Sitamau was finally accepted and as peace returned to Sitamau, Raj Sinh shifted his capital back to Sitamau from Laduna.

In 1867 AD, Raja Raj Sinh passed away. Raj Sinh had two sons – Ratan Sinh and Abhay Sinh. Abhay Sinh had passed away at the age of 20 years. Maharajkumar Ratan Sinh was born on April 11, 1808. He was a prince with many talents. Along with academics, he was also interested in hunting. He had knowledge of Urdu, Hindi, Braj, Sanskrit, Dingal and other languages. Seeking inspiration from his father Raja Raj Sinh and teacher Guru Swarupdas, he had started penning poetry in various languages under the pen-name `Natnagar’. He also wrote books titled `Natnagar Vinod’ and `Diwan-e-Usshak’ and also collected volumes of poetry. He was also interested in music and instrumental art apart from horse riding. He also wrote ‘Ashwa Vichar’ giving description of special characteristics and temprament of horses.

Sitamau saw several ups and downs during the reign of Raja Raj Sinh. But after peace prevailed, he got a lot of construction work done in Sitamau and Laduna Garh. Along side; his relatives and the subjects of Sitamau also undertook a lot of construction work.

Sitamau could not remain unaffected by the flame of revolt that spread around Malwa. Historian Dr Raghuvir Sinh held that Sitamau didn’t fall on any national highway or even a regional route but the subjects were happy with the ruler Raja Raj Sinh (1802-1867) and the prince Rajkumar Ratan Sinh ‘Natnagar’, which is illustrated by the fact that the state remained peaceful and the rebellion had no direct effect on the internal affairs of the princely state.

A band of rebel horsemen from Mahidpur reached Sitamau on June 12, 1857. They were intent on rioting. This led to panic among the residents. Raja Raj Sinh was not in a position to forcefully take on the rebels and gave away Rs 28,000 to them to leave the state without any disturbance.

Raj Sinh though saved the state from trouble but the British officials got the information, which is apparent from Wazir Beg’s letter that expresses anger over why there was no attempt to fight with the rebels.

Due to Raja Raj Sinh’s policy, Sitamau escaped the plundering but due to the situation in Mandsaur and Neemuch, the situation remained fluid here also. Urban area was predominantly Muslim and it was apprehended that the state’s security personnel that chiefly comprised of Pathan, Arab, Afghan, Rohilla, Vilayati and Makrani soldiers could get aroused in the name of jihad and join the rebel forces.

Militarily and financially, Sitamau was not in a too strong situation. Raja Raj Sinh was caught in a difficult situation. On one hand, the rebel forces were putting pressure on him to extend help while he was consistently also receiving orders of the British offiers to crush the rebels.

Postal Address

Shree Natnagar Shodh Samsthan,

Sitamau, Madhya Pradesh, India -458990

Phone :   +91-7426-207473, 222910

Fax :   +91-7426-222910

E-mail :   shreenatnagar@yahoo.co.in

How to Reach

   Shri Natnagar Shodh-Samsthan is situated on Raghubir Sinh Marg in the Sitamau city.

   Sitamau is 30 km. away from Mandsaur District.

    The Samsthan has an easy approach by Road and Rail.

    The nearest Railway Stations are Suwasara, Shamgarh and Mandsaur.

    Road transport buses run frequently from Suwasara, Shamgarh and Mandsaur to SITAMAU.

    Nearest Airports are Udaipur & Indore.

From Sitamau

Suwasara - 32km. Shamgarh -45 Km

Mandsaur - 30Km

Udaipur to Sitamau - 230 Km.

Indore to Sitamau - 254 Km.