A new person in Jodhpur watching over Masuriya hill, a statue of a man riding a horse which is viewable from any area of Jodhpur, a 360-degree panoramic view, will think of – who, what and why? This is Veer Durgadas Rathore Smarak, a memorial of a true hero of the Marwar region who enlighten the whole world with his bravery, patriotism, valour and sacrifices.
The land of Marwar is rich in culture and tradition and also has people respecting it and still conserving it with them. It has seen numerous heroes rise from its land and inspire and enlighten the whole world with their bravery, valour and sacrifices. The sons of this land have never let the heads of the masses down and have often happily sacrificed themselves for the pride of the kingdom. One such son of this land is Veer Durgadas Rathore of Marwar.
He is credited with having saved and preserved the regime of Rathore Dynasty over Marwar following the aftereffects of the death of Jaswant Singh in December 1678.
In his memory, an equestrian statue has been erected through the efforts of Veer Durgadas Smriti Samiti and it’s Chief Patron Maharaja Gaj Singh Ji with the help of Rajasthan Government, elected persons of Jodhpur, Municipal Corporation, Urban Improvement Trust, Marwar Rajput Sabha and People of Marwar. This Statue unveiled by then Prime Minister Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee on October 3, 1998.
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Durgadas Rathore Birth
Durgadas Rathore is a highly regarded Marwari warrior who was born in Salwan Kalan, a small village in Jodhpur on August 13th, 1638 (Shravan Shukla 14, Samwat 1695) in the family of Askaran Rathore, a minister of Jaswant Singh, the ruler of then Marwar.
His fearless and truthful disposition prompted Maharaja Jaswant Singh Ji-I of Marwar Jodhpur to prophesy that this lad will one day be the saviour of Marwar.
Savior of Marwar Dynasty From Clinch of Aurangzeb
Jaswant Singh was a general (Subedar) in Mughal ruler Aurangzeb’s army and was sent to neutralize the revolting Pathans of Kabul on his behalf where he was killed. Aurangzeb always wanted the complete acquisition of the Marwar kingdom and divulge it into the Mughal empire to strengthen it more and ultimately convert into a Muslim state.
Jaswant Singh left no heir to the throne when he was martyred at the battleground (Jamrud) in Afghanistan but both his wives were pregnant at the time. Soon after the Marwar king died, the queens each gave birth to male children. One of those sons is prematurely died, leaving the other son as the sole heir to the throne of Marwar.
Prominent warriors, leaders, and guardians of Marwar dynasty, including Durgadas Rathore, went to Delhi to plead the recognition of the child Ajit Singh as the legitimate heir. But Aurangzeb denied to recognize the child “Ajit Singh” as a legitimate heir and imposed heavy taxes on non-muslims and soon appointed another chieftain- Indra Singh as a puppet ruler of Marwar. He even provided administrative support and military troops, which were able enough to deny any opposition in Marwar for the unpopular new ruler Indra Singh. Aurangzeb tactically offered throne of Jodhpur to Ajit Singh in the future if he was raised in the Muslim faith. This was a part of the Mughal strategy to destroy Hinduism in Marwar.
This was not acceptable to the Rathore delegation, and they decided to rescue Ajit Singh and the queens from Delhi. Durgadas and his trusted lieutenants foiled all attempts of Emperor Aurangzeb to imprison them in Delhi and brought them out of the siege. The infant Ajit Singh was raised in anonymity. Durgadas Rathore continued the struggle with Aurangzeb for many years and none of Aurangzeb’s materialistic rapacity, allurances or force could make Durgadas Rathore bend down.
For 30 years they fought a restless war of independence till Maharaja Ajit Singhji was restored to the Gaddi (throne) of Marwar-Jodhpur. During this period it was Veer Durgadas who concealed and brought up the minor Ajit Singh, rallied the loyalists and shunned all favours from Mughal Court and demonstrated rare qualities as a statesman, General, diplomat and guardian.
The Marwar remained a disturbed state for years following impositions and there were many struggles within the Mughal empire throughout the course of Durgadas’ exile. But when Aurangzeb died in 1707, Durgadas took advantage of the disturbances that followed and seized Jodhpur and proclaimed Ajit Singh as the Maharaja of Jodhpur.
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Durgadas after fulfilling the promise he gave to Jaswant Singh and completing his duties successfully, left Jodhpur willfully and devoted the rest of his life in worship of God at Ujjain. A devotee of Maha Kaleshwar he breathed his last at Ujjain and was cremated on the bank of Shipra on 22nd November 1718 (Magshirsh Shukla 11, 1775) where his Chhatri (canopy) still stands.
Remembrance of Marwar True Hero
Durgadas Rathore’s contribution to Marwar history was not left unnoticed and he was given the title of Mighty, ‘Veer’ Durgadas Rathore by the people. He is an epitome of patriotism, valour, bravery, sacrifice for the motherland and the whole country acknowledges his efforts. The Government of India even issued stamps and coin currency in his honour. The people of Jodhpur still remember their hero and sacrifices he made for the pride of their land.
There is a memorial park “Durgadas Rathore Park” in the city of Jodhpur named after him and the newly constructed multi-level overbridge was also named after him to honour his contributions to Marwar history. Today, the memorial for this exemplary individual, Veer Durgadas Rathore, stands proudly on top of Masooria Hill, the loftiest point in Jodhpur. Veer Durgadas Rathore Memorial Award is given every year on his birth anniversary to people contributing to the welfare of society in fields like education, journalism, law, and order, social service, environment conservation etc.
380th Birth Anniversary Celebration of Veer Durgadas Rathore
This year marks the 380th birth anniversary of Veer Durgadas Rathore and the awards were given on 25th August in the anniversary event in Juna Khedapati Hanuman Temple in Jodhpur. Awards were presented by Veer Durgadas Rathore Memorial Committee. The recipients of this year’s awards are
- Adarsh Vidya Mandir Management Committee for their contribution in the education sector,
- K R Mundiyaar of Rajasthan Patrika for his contribution in Journalism,
- Ayodhya Prasad Gaur for his contribution in Writing and Journalism,
- P.C. Solanki for providing free judicial service for the underprivileged,
- Dhapu Kanwar for her work for women education and empowerment,
- Sharad Purohit for his contributions in environment conservation,
- Ghanshyam Karan Rathore for his works in film direction,
- Naushin Khilji for contribution in Information and technology sector,
- Seema Rathore for conserving traditional dance forms, and
- Raghuveer Singh Panwar for his social service.
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Till today, people in Rajasthan pray: “Maa puut aisa janiyo jaisa Durgadas” (Mother, give birth to a son just like Durgadas). Connect with us for all latest updates also through Facebook. Let us know for any query or comments. Do comment below,