The Battle of Gangwana was a military engagement fought between the Kingdom of Marwar and a combined army of the Jaipur Kingdom and the Mughal Empire in 1741. The battle resulted in a peace treaty favorable to Marwar and ended a period of Jaipur domination in present day Rajasthan.
|Battle of Gangwana|
Kingdom of Jaipur|
Kingdom of Bundi
Kingdom of Kota
Kingdom of Karauli
|Rathors of Bhakt Singh|
|Commanders and leaders|
Jai Singh II|
Ummaid Singh Sisodia†
Bhairo Singh Chauhan†
|Bakht Singh Rathor (WIA)|
|1,000 Rathor horsemen|
|Casualties and losses|
|12,000+ killed or wounded||
Following a century of expansion, in the early 1700s the Mughal Empire entered a period of decline. Nader Shah's invasion of the Mughal Empire and the subsequent sack of Deli in 1739 greatly reduced the prestige of the Mughal Emperor Muhammad Shah. Ongoing conflicts with the Maratha Empire further sapped the ability of the Empire to govern itself. This military and political weakness resulted in more authority being given to the Rajas, whom had previously been considered Mughal vassals. Infighting and open warfare between smaller kingdoms soon erupted within the Mughal territories. One of the now empowered Rajas was Jai Singh II of Amber. Starting in 1721 Jai embarked on a campaign of political and military conquest in northern India. Using his reformed army and political will, he annexed or vassalized many smaller Rajas. In 1727 he founded the Kingdom of Jaipur and soon after adopted a policy of intervention towards the domestic affairs of other Rajas. In the early 1700s two brothers of the Rathor Clan, Abhai Singh and Bakht Singh, dominated Marwar. The two brothers emerged victorious from a civil war in 1726 following their murder of their father, during which conflict they had employed Maratha soldiers against their opponents. These actions estranged them from the Mughal government, which was at the time embroiled in a conflict with the Maratha. Bakht Singh, the lord of Nagor, decided in 1739 to force concessions from Bikaner, and called for his brother, then Raja of Marwar and Jodhpur, to assist him. The Raja of Bikaner appealed to Jai Singh for assistance after the Marwar army besieged his capital. Jai Singh sent a letter to Abhai requesting leniency for Bikaner, a request Abhai sharply refuted. Jaipur then threatened to invade Marwar unless hostilities were ended. Jai Singh also bribed Bakht Singh to sign a separate peace with Jaipur, turning him against his brother. Abhai was forced to relent, and signed a treaty according to which.:
- The state of Marwar would pay 1,00,000 Rupees in cash, 25,000 in Jewels and give 3 Elephants to the Mughal Emperor.
- Marwar would pay 20,00,000 Rupees to Jai singh.
- The payment would be done in 4 days. Five barons and Raghunath Bhandari were to remain hostages for it.
- Merta will be handed over to Bhakt Singh.
- Marwar would not obstruct Jai singh in his possessions of the Ajmer subah.
- No prince or baron of Marwar would be allowed to seek private audience with the Mughal emperor without Jai singhs permission.
- Marwar cannot keep foreign relations with the Marathas without the mediation of the Jaipur Raja.
- Abhai Singhs Councillors must be men selected by the Jaipur court.
The peace treaty angered many of the Rathors, with the Rathor nobility claiming, "Our noses have been cut off by the Katchhawas." In 1741 Abhai Singh began to gather his forces at Jodhpur in preparation for a war of revenge against Jaipur. Jai Singh detected these movements and marshaled his army, vassals, and every nearby Mughal garrison to invade Marwar. As the Jaipur army advanced, Bakht Singh arrived at Merta, the forward camp for the Rathor and Marwar army. He entered the Raja's durbar, where he was chastised by his fellow Rathors for betraying them. Bhakt accepted his wrongdoing, and promised to lead his personal cavalry contingent against the oncoming Jaipur.
Battle of Gangwana
Jai Singh and the Jaipur army made camp at Kunchgaon, 11 miles east of Pushkar Lake. Jai positioned a long line of guns in the direction of the Marwar to defend the encampment. The combined army totaled 40000-100000 men from Jaipur and the various states allied with Jai Singh. Bakht's army consisted of 1000 Rathor horsemen under his personal command.
Bakht Singh and his men charged the Jaipur defenses and quickly punched through Jai Singh's gun line. The Rathors rode through the Jaipur army, cutting down thousands of men. The cavalry penetration was so deep that the Rathors burst through the rear of the Jaipur army and began to raid the baggage train. Tents and supplies were burned, and Bakht seized Sitaramji, Jai Singh's personal family idol. The Jaipur army fled in panic, and within 4 hours the Rathors held the field. Sir Jadunath Sarkar quotes that - "the battle front was like tigers upon a flock of sheep". By this point Bakht's force had been severely depleted, with only 70 horsemen still left alive. Bakht himself was wounded by both a bullet and an arrow. The Mughal contingent of Jai's battered army began firing rockets onto the battlefield, forcing the withdraw of the remaining Rathors.
The Jaipur army held the field after the battle at Gangwana, but had been severely demoralized by the attack. One month later (8 July) both sides exchanged captured war loot with each other. The Raja of Udaipur mediated a peace between Marwar and Jaipur later that year.
- Sir Jadunath Sarkar (1992). Fall of the Mughal Empire: 1789–1803. Orient Longman. ISBN 0-86131-749-1.
- Sir Jadunath Sarkar (1994). A History of Jaipur 1503–1938. Orient Longman. ISBN 81-250-0333-9.
- R.K Gupta, S.R Bakshi (2008). Rajasthan Through the Ages, Vol 4, Jaipur Rulers and Administration. Sarup & Sons. ISBN 9788176258418.
- (in en) Rajasthan Through the Ages. Sarup & Sons. 2008-01-01. ISBN 9788176258418. https://books.google.com/books?id=DLQeSBLpUwsC&pg=PA154&lpg=PA154&dq=Battle+of+Gangwana+1741&source=bl&ots=KIHGqLKAp5&sig=isXhTBsCBuH743a2HPzNj8nhRNQ&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjRjJya7sjTAhVBOyYKHdeOCLMQ6AEIKTAB#v=onepage&q=Battle%20of%20Gangwana%201741&f=false.
- A History of Jaipur: c. 1503-1938 by Jadunath Sarkar, p. 200.
- Dalit Literature: Our Response, p. 154.
- Fall Of The Mughal Empire - Vol. I (4th ed.), volume 1, p. 139.
- Gupta, Bakshi pp. 152
- Gupta, Bakshi pp. 152-154
- Gupta, Bakshi pp. 154
- Gupta, Bakshi pp. 154-155
- Gupta, Bakshi pp.155
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