Jai Singh II of Amber

Jai Singh II of Amber

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Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh (November 3, 1688 – September 21, 1743) was ruler of the kingdom of Amber (later called Jaipur
Jaipur
Jaipur , also popularly known as the Pink City, is the capital and largest city of the Indian state of Rajasthan. Founded on 18 November 1727 by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II, the ruler of Amber, the city today has a population of more than 3.1 million....

). He was born at Amber, the capital of the Kachwaha
Kachwaha
Kachwaha are a Suryavanshi Kshatriya clan who ruled a number of kingdoms and princely states in India such as Alwar, Maihar, Talcher, while the largest kingdom was Jaipur which was founded by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II in 1727...

s. He became ruler of Amber at the age of 11 after his father Maharaja
Maharaja
Mahārāja is a Sanskrit title for a "great king" or "high king". The female equivalent title Maharani denotes either the wife of a Maharaja or, in states where that was customary, a woman ruling in her own right. The widow of a Maharaja is known as a Rajamata...

 Bishan Singh
Bishan Singh
Raja Bishan Singh was the grandson of Raja Ram Singh I and was ruler of Amber, and head of the Kachwaha Rajput clan, from 1688 to 1699.- Accession :...

 died on 31 December 1699. On 21 April 1721, the Mughal
Mughal Empire
The Mughal Empire ,‎ or Mogul Empire in traditional English usage, was an imperial power from the Indian Subcontinent. The Mughal emperors were descendants of the Timurids...

 emperor Muhammad Shah
Muhammad Shah
Muhammad Shah also known as Roshan Akhtar, was a Mughal emperor of India between 1719 and 1748. He was son of Khujista Akhtar Jahan Shah, the fourth son of Bahadur Shah I. Ascending the throne at 17 with the help of the Sayyid Brothers, he later got rid of them with the help of Nizam-ul-Mulk Chin...

 bestowed upon him the title of Saramad-i-Rajaha-i-Hind and on 2 June 1723, the emperor further bestowed him the titles of Raj Rajeshvar, Shri Rajadhiraj and Maharaja Sawai. "Sawai" means one and a quarter times superior to his contemporaries. This titles adorn his descendants even to this date. He had a great interest in mathematics, architecture and astronomy.

The situation on his accession


When Sawai Jai Singh sat on the ancestral throne at Amber, he had barely enough resources to pay for the support of 1000 cavalry—this abysmal situation had arisen in the past 32 years, coinciding with the reign of the Mughal
Mughal Empire
The Mughal Empire ,‎ or Mogul Empire in traditional English usage, was an imperial power from the Indian Subcontinent. The Mughal emperors were descendants of the Timurids...

 Emperor Aurangzeb
Aurangzeb
Abul Muzaffar Muhy-ud-Din Muhammad Aurangzeb Alamgir , more commonly known as Aurangzeb or by his chosen imperial title Alamgir , was the sixth Mughal Emperor of India, whose reign lasted from 1658 until his death in 1707.Badshah Aurangzeb, having ruled most of the Indian subcontinent for nearly...

. The Jaipur Rajas had always preferred diplomacy to arms in their dealings with the Mughals, since their kingdom was located so close to the Mughal power centers of Delhi
Delhi
Delhi , officially National Capital Territory of Delhi , is the largest metropolis by area and the second-largest by population in India, next to Mumbai. It is the eighth largest metropolis in the world by population with 16,753,265 inhabitants in the Territory at the 2011 Census...

 and Agra
Agra
Agra a.k.a. Akbarabad is a city on the banks of the river Yamuna in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh, India, west of state capital, Lucknow and south from national capital New Delhi. With a population of 1,686,976 , it is one of the most populous cities in Uttar Pradesh and the 19th most...

. Under Aurangzeb, successive Kachawaha Rajas from the time of Ramsingh I
Ramsingh I
Mirza Raja Ram Singh I was the elder son Mirza Raja Jai Singh I and was ruler of Amber, and head of the Kachwaha Rajput clan, from 1667 to 1688.- Career as prince :...

 were actually deprived of their rank and pay despite years of close alliance with the Emperors of Delhi. Two of their chiefs, Jai Singh I
Jai Singh I
Mirza Raja Jai Singh was a senior general of the Mughal Empire and a ruler of the kingdom of Amber . His father was Maha Singh the Raja of Garha, and his mother was Damayanti, a princess of Mewar.The great Raja Man Singh of Amber had several sons, the most capable of whom were the eldest Jagat...

 and Kunwar Kishan Singh, died in mysterious circumstances while campaigning in the Deccan.

Six months after his accession, Jai Singh was ordered by Aurangzeb to serve in his ruinous Deccan Wars. But there was a delay of about one year in his responding to the call. One of the reason for this was that he was ordered to recruit a large force, in excess of the contingent required by his mansab. He also had to conclude his marriage with the daughter of Udit Singh, the nephew of Raja Uttam Ram Gaur of Sheopur in March, 1701. Jai Singh reached Burhanpur on August 3, 1701 but he could not proceed further due to heavy rains. On September 13, 1701 an additional cut in his rank (by 500) and pay was made. His feat of arms at the siege of Khelna (1702) was rewarded by the mere restoration of his earlier rank and the title of Sawai (Sawai-meaning one and a quarter, i.e. more capable than one man). When Aurangzeb’s grandson Bidar Bakht deputed Sawai Jai Singh to govern the province of Malwa (1704), Aurangzeb angrily revoked this appointment as jaiz nist (invalid or opposed to Islam).

Dealings with the later Mughals


The death of Aurangzeb (1707) at first only increased Jai Singh’s troubles. His patrons Bidar Bakht and his father Azam were on the losing side in the Mughal war of succession—the victorious Bahadur Shah
Bahadur Shah
Bahadur Shah may refer to*Bahadur Shah of Gujarat *Bahadur Shah I , Mughal Emperor*Bahadur Shah II , the last Mughal Emperor and final ruler of the Timurid dynasty...

 continued Aurangzeb’s hostile and bigoted policy towards the Rajputs by attempting to occupy their lands. Sawai Jai Singh formed an alliance with the Rajput states of Mewar
Mewar
Mewar is a region of south-central Rajasthan state in western India. It includes the present-day districts of Pratapgarh, Bhilwara, Chittorgarh, Rajsamand, Udaipur, Dungarpur, Banswara and some of the part of Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh. The region was for centuries a Rajput kingdom that later...

 (matrimonially) and Marwar
Marwar
Marwar is a region of southwestern Rajasthan state in western India. It lies partly in the Thar Desert. In Rajasthani dialect "wad" means a particular area. The word Marwar is derived from Sanskrit word 'Maruwat'. English translation of the word is 'The region of desert'., The Imperial Gazetteer...

, which defeated and expelled the Mughals from Rajputana. Aurangzeb’s rule of excluding Rajputs from the administration was now abandoned by the later Mughals—Jai Singh was appointed to govern the important provinces of Agra
Agra
Agra a.k.a. Akbarabad is a city on the banks of the river Yamuna in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh, India, west of state capital, Lucknow and south from national capital New Delhi. With a population of 1,686,976 , it is one of the most populous cities in Uttar Pradesh and the 19th most...

 and Malwa. In Agra he came into conflict with the sturdy Jat
Jat people
The Jat people are a community of traditionally non-elite tillers and herders in Northern India and Pakistan. Originally pastoralists in the lower Indus river-valley of Sindh, Jats migrated north into the Punjab region in late medieval times, and subsequently into the Delhi Territory,...

 peasantry.

Formation of Bharatpur state


The Jats, like other Hindu
Hindu
Hindu refers to an identity associated with the philosophical, religious and cultural systems that are indigenous to the Indian subcontinent. As used in the Constitution of India, the word "Hindu" is also attributed to all persons professing any Indian religion...

s and Sikh
Sikh
A Sikh is a follower of Sikhism. It primarily originated in the 15th century in the Punjab region of South Asia. The term "Sikh" has its origin in Sanskrit term शिष्य , meaning "disciple, student" or शिक्ष , meaning "instruction"...

s, had been provoked into rebellion by the bigoted policies of Aurangzeb and the harshness of his local Muslim
Muslim
A Muslim, also spelled Moslem, is an adherent of Islam, a monotheistic, Abrahamic religion based on the Quran, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God as revealed to prophet Muhammad. "Muslim" is the Arabic term for "submitter" .Muslims believe that God is one and incomparable...

 governors. While Aurangzeb was sinking deeper into the morass of his Deccan Wars, the Jats successfully overthrew the Mughal maladministration in Agra province. But in later years some Jat war bands began attacking and plundering civilians——their chief Churaman
Churaman
Marharajah Churaman was Zamindar of Sinsini and the real founder of Jat state of Bharatpur in Rajasthan, India. He was son of Bhajja Singh and younger brother of Raja Ram Jat. He was the first unanimously elected leader of Jats in 1695...

 even sent 6000 of his soldiers to aid the later Mughals in their wars against the Rajput
Rajput
A Rajput is a member of one of the patrilineal clans of western, central, northern India and in some parts of Pakistan. Rajputs are descendants of one of the major ruling warrior classes in the Indian subcontinent, particularly North India...

 alliance (1708–10). Sawai Jai Singh could not tolerate such disturbances in his province and he attacked the Jat stronghold of Thun in 1722. Churaman’s nephew Badan Singh
Badan Singh
Marharajah Badan Singh was the formal founder of the princely state of Bharatpur. He was nephew of Churaman.He was born in Jat family. After the death of Churaman on 22 September 1721 there were family disputes between Badan Singh and Mohkam, son of Churaman. Badan Singh aligned with Jai Singh II...

 came over to Jai Singh and provided him with vital information on the weak points of Thun. After its conquest Jai Singh captured and demolished other smaller forts and successfully dispersed all the Jat war-bands. Sawai Jai Singh appointed Badan Singh as his local deputy and gave him the title of Braj-raj (ruler of the Mathura country) to give him respectability among the Jats. With his overlord’s permission, Badan Singh constructed several new forts, one of which named Bharatpur
Bharatpur, India
Bharatpur is a city in the Indian state of Rajasthan. It was founded by Maharaja Suraj Mal in 1733. Located in the Brij region, Bharatpur was once an impregnable, well-planned and well-fortified city, and the capital of Jat kingdom ruled by Sinsinwar Maharajas.The trio of Bharatpur, Deeg and...

 became the future capital of the Jat state. The common Jats were pacified from the fact of a Hindu being their governor and his deputy being one of their own chiefs. With the leadership of Badan Singh and the wise policy of Sawai Jai Singh, the Jats emerged from being mere village fighters to having a recognized state of their own.

Sawai Jai Singh and the Marathas


The Kachwaha
Kachwaha
Kachwaha are a Suryavanshi Kshatriya clan who ruled a number of kingdoms and princely states in India such as Alwar, Maihar, Talcher, while the largest kingdom was Jaipur which was founded by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II in 1727...

 ruler was appointed to govern Malwa three times between 1714 and 1737. In Jai Singh's first viceroyalty (subahdar) of Malwa (1714–1717), isolated Maratha war-bands that entered the province from the south (Deccan) were constantly defeated and repulsed by Jai Singh.
In 1728, Peshwa Baji Rao defeated the Nizam
Nizam
Nizam-ul-Mulk of Hyderabad popularly known as Nizams of Hyderabad was a former monarchy of the Hyderabad State, now in the states of Andhra Pradesh , Karnataka , and Maharashtra in India...

 of Hyderabad
Hyderabad State
-After Indian independence :When India gained independence in 1947 and Pakistan came into existence in 1947, the British left the local rulers of the princely states the choice of whether to join one of the new dominions or to remain independent...

, part of the Mughal Deccan (treaty of Sheogaon, February 1728). With an agreement from Baji Rao to spare the Nizam’s own domains, the Nizam allowed the Marathas a free passage through Berar
Berar Subah
-Origin of name:According to the Ain-i-Akbari, the original name of Berar was Waradatat .-History:Before the Mughal occupation, Berar was part of the Nizam Shahi sultanate of Ahmadnagar. It was ceded to the emperor Akbar by Chand Bibi in 1596, unable to stand against the imperial forces led by...

 and Khandesh
Khandesh
Khandesh is a region of central India, which forms the northwestern portion of Maharashtra state.Khandesh was the terminal territorial part under the rule of Mughals. The Start of Deccan region demarcated by the boundary of Khandesh....

, the gateway into Hindustan
Hindustan
Hindustan or Indostan, literal translation "Land of River Sindhu ", is one of the popular names of South Asia. It can also mean "the land of the Hindus"...

. The Marathas were then able to plant a permanent camp beyond the southern frontier of Malwa. Following the victory of the Peshwa
Peshwa
A Peshwa is the titular equivalent of a modern Prime Minister. Emporer Shivaji created the Peshwa designation in order to more effectively delegate administrative duties during the growth of the Maratha Empire. Prior to 1749, Peshwas held office for 8-9 years and controlled the Maratha army...

’s brother, Chimaji Appa, over the governor of Malwa Girdhar Bahadur on 29 November 1728, the Marathas were able to convulse much of the country beyond the Southern borders of the Narmada
Narmada River
The Narmada , also called Rewa is a river in central India and the fifth largest river in the Indian subcontinent. It is the third largest river that completely flows within India after Ganges and Godavari...

.

Upon Sawai Jai Singh’s second appointment to Malwa (1729–1730), as a far-sighted statesmen, Jai Singh was able to perceive a complete change in the political situation, during the twelve years which had passed since his first viceroyalty there. Imperial power had by then been crippled by the rebellion
Rebellion
Rebellion, uprising or insurrection, is a refusal of obedience or order. It may, therefore, be seen as encompassing a range of behaviors aimed at destroying or replacing an established authority such as a government or a head of state...

 of the Nizam of Hyderabad as well as the ability of Peshwa Baji Rao to stabilize the internal situation of the Marathas, which resulted in their occupation of Gujarat and an immense increase of their forces.
Nonetheless, in the name of the friendship between their royal ancestors, Sawai Jai Singh II, was able to appeal to Shahu to restore to the imperialist, the great fortress of Mandu
Mandu
Mandu or Mandavgad is a ruined city in the Dhar district in the Malwa region of western Madhya Pradesh state, central India. The distance between Dhar & Mandu is about 35 km. In the 11th century, Mandu was the sub division of the Tarangagadh or Taranga kingdom...

 which the Marathas had occupied a few weeks earlier (order date 19 March 1730). By May, Jai Singh was recalled back to Rajputana
Rajputana
Rājputāna was the pre-1949 name of the present-day Indian state of Rājasthān, the largest state of the Republic of India in terms of area. George Thomas was the first in 1800 A.D., to term this region as Rajputana...

 to attend more pressing matters, which thus resulted in his two years disassociation from Malwa.

In 1732, Jai Singh was for the last time, appointed Subahdar of Malwa (1732–1737), during which time he advocated Muhammad Shah
Muhammad Shah
Muhammad Shah also known as Roshan Akhtar, was a Mughal emperor of India between 1719 and 1748. He was son of Khujista Akhtar Jahan Shah, the fourth son of Bahadur Shah I. Ascending the throne at 17 with the help of the Sayyid Brothers, he later got rid of them with the help of Nizam-ul-Mulk Chin...

, to compromise with the Marathas under Shahu, whom greatly remembered the kindness and relationship between the late Mirza Raja (Jai Singh I
Jai Singh I
Mirza Raja Jai Singh was a senior general of the Mughal Empire and a ruler of the kingdom of Amber . His father was Maha Singh the Raja of Garha, and his mother was Damayanti, a princess of Mewar.The great Raja Man Singh of Amber had several sons, the most capable of whom were the eldest Jagat...

) and his own grandfather, Shivaji.
For this sensible advice, coupled with anti-Jai Singh rhetoric at the Mughal court at Delhi, as well as Muhammad Shah’s inability to assert his own will
Will (philosophy)
Will, in philosophical discussions, consonant with a common English usage, refers to a property of the mind, and an attribute of acts intentionally performed. Actions made according to a person's will are called "willing" or "voluntary" and sometimes pejoratively "willful"...

, Jai Singh was removed from his post while the Mughals decided on war. In this regard, Sawai Jai Singh II was practically the last subahdar of Malwa, as Nizam-ul-Mulk Asaf Jah, who replaced him in 1737, met with most discomfiting failure at the hands of the Peshwa, resulting with the ceding of the whole of Malwa to the Marathas (Treaty of Duraha, Saturday 7 January 1738).

Exploiting the decadence of the Delhi government
Government
Government refers to the legislators, administrators, and arbitrators in the administrative bureaucracy who control a state at a given time, and to the system of government by which they are organized...

, the Persian
Persian people
The Persian people are part of the Iranian peoples who speak the modern Persian language and closely akin Iranian dialects and languages. The origin of the ethnic Iranian/Persian peoples are traced to the Ancient Iranian peoples, who were part of the ancient Indo-Iranians and themselves part of...

 raider Nadir Shah defeated the Mughals at Karnal
Karnal
Karnal is an important city and the headquarters of Karnal District in the Indian state of Haryana.Karnal is said to have been founded by the Kauravas in the Mahabharata era for the king Karna, a mythological hero and a key figure in the epic tale...

 (13 February 1739) and finally sacked Delhi
Delhi
Delhi , officially National Capital Territory of Delhi , is the largest metropolis by area and the second-largest by population in India, next to Mumbai. It is the eighth largest metropolis in the world by population with 16,753,265 inhabitants in the Territory at the 2011 Census...

 (11 March, same year). Through this period of turmoil Jai Singh remained in his own state—but he was not idle. Foreseeing the troubled time ahead, Sawai Jai Singh II, initiated a program of extensive fortification
Fortification
Fortifications are military constructions and buildings designed for defence in warfare and military bases. Humans have constructed defensive works for many thousands of years, in a variety of increasingly complex designs...

 within the thikanas under Jaipur, to this date, most of the later fortifications abound the former Jaipur state, are attributed to the reign of Sawai Jai Singh II.

Sawai Jai Singh’s armed forces and his ambitions in Rajputana


Jai Singh increased the size of his ancestral kingdom by annexing lands from the Mughals and rebel chieftains—sometimes by paying money and sometimes through war. The most substantial acquisition was of Shekhawati
Shekhawati
Shekhawati is a semi-arid historical region located in the northeast part of Rajasthan, India got its name from Shekhawat Rajputs....

, which also gave Jai Singh the most able recruits for his fast expanding army.

According to an estimate by Jadunath Sarkar; Jai Singh's regular army did not exceed 40,000 men, which would have cost about 60 lakhs a year, but his strength lay in the large number of artillery
Artillery
Originally applied to any group of infantry primarily armed with projectile weapons, artillery has over time become limited in meaning to refer only to those engines of war that operate by projection of munitions far beyond the range of effect of personal weapons...

 and copious supply of munitions which he was careful to maintain and his rule of arming his foot with matchlock
Matchlock
The matchlock was the first mechanism, or "lock" invented to facilitate the firing of a hand-held firearm. This design removed the need to lower by hand a lit match into the weapon's flash pan and made it possible to have both hands free to keep a firm grip on the weapon at the moment of firing,...

s instead of the traditional Rajput
Rajput
A Rajput is a member of one of the patrilineal clans of western, central, northern India and in some parts of Pakistan. Rajputs are descendants of one of the major ruling warrior classes in the Indian subcontinent, particularly North India...

 sword
Sword
A sword is a bladed weapon used primarily for cutting or thrusting. The precise definition of the term varies with the historical epoch or the geographical region under consideration...

 and shield
Shield
A shield is a type of personal armor, meant to intercept attacks, either by stopping projectiles such as arrows or redirecting a hit from a sword, mace or battle axe to the side of the shield-bearer....

- He had the wisdom to recognize early the change which firearms had introduced in Indian warfare and to prepare for himself for the new war by raising the fire-power of his army to the maximum, he thus anticipated the success of later Indian rulers like Mirza Najaf Khan
Mirza Najaf Khan
Mirza Najaf Khan was a Persian adventurer in the court of Mughal emperor Shah Alam II. He had royal lineage, having been a Safavi prince, when that dynasty was deposed by Nader Shah in 1735. He came to India around 1740 and may even have come a year earlier with the Afsharids. His sister married...

, Mahadji Sindhia and Tipu Sultan
Tipu Sultan
Tipu Sultan , also known as the Tiger of Mysore, was the de facto ruler of the Kingdom of Mysore. He was the son of Hyder Ali, at that time an officer in the Mysorean army, and his second wife, Fatima or Fakhr-un-Nissa...

. Sawai Jai Singh's experimental weapon, the Jaivana which he created prior to the shift of his capital to Jaipur, remains the largest wheeled cannon
Cannon
A cannon is any piece of artillery that uses gunpowder or other usually explosive-based propellents to launch a projectile. Cannon vary in caliber, range, mobility, rate of fire, angle of fire, and firepower; different forms of cannon combine and balance these attributes in varying degrees,...

 in the world. In 1732, Sawai Jai Singh, as governor of Malwa undertook, to maintain 30,000 soldiers, in equal proportions of horsemen and foot-musketeers. These did not include his contingents in the Subahs of Agra
Agra
Agra a.k.a. Akbarabad is a city on the banks of the river Yamuna in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh, India, west of state capital, Lucknow and south from national capital New Delhi. With a population of 1,686,976 , it is one of the most populous cities in Uttar Pradesh and the 19th most...

 and Ajmer
Ajmer
Ajmer , formerly written as Ajmere, is a city in Ajmer District in Rajasthan state in India. Ajmer has a population of around 800,000 , and is located west of the Rajasthan state capital Jaipur, 200 km from Jodhpur, 274 km from Udaipur, 439 km from Jaisalmer, and 391 km from...

 and in his own dominions and fort garrisons.

The armed strength of Jai Singh had always made him, the most formidable ruler in Northern India and all the other Raja
Raja
Raja is an Indian term for a monarch, or princely ruler of the Kshatriya varna...

s looked up to him for protection and the promotion of their interests at the Imperial
Empire
The term empire derives from the Latin imperium . Politically, an empire is a geographically extensive group of states and peoples united and ruled either by a monarch or an oligarchy....

 court.The fast-spreading Maratha
Maratha
The Maratha are an Indian caste, predominantly in the state of Maharashtra. The term Marāthā has three related usages: within the Marathi speaking region it describes the dominant Maratha caste; outside Maharashtra it can refer to the entire regional population of Marathi-speaking people;...

 dominion and their raids into the north had caused alarm among the Rajput chiefs—Jai Singh called a conference of Rajput rulers at Hurda
Hurda
- External links :**...

 (1734) to deal with this peril but nothing came of this meeting. In 1736 Peshwa Baji Rao imposed tribute on the Kingdom of Mewar
Mewar
Mewar is a region of south-central Rajasthan state in western India. It includes the present-day districts of Pratapgarh, Bhilwara, Chittorgarh, Rajsamand, Udaipur, Dungarpur, Banswara and some of the part of Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh. The region was for centuries a Rajput kingdom that later...

. To thwart further Maratha domination Sawai Jai Singh planned a local hegemony, to form under the leadership of Jaipur, a political union in Rajputana. He first annexed Bundi
Bundi
Bundi is a city and a municipality of approximately 88,000 inhabitants in the Hadoti region of Rajasthan state in northwest India. It is of particular architectural note for its ornate forts, palaces, and stepwell reservoirs known as baoris...

 and Rampura
Rampura
Rampura can refer to the following locations in India:* Rampura, Neemuch - a town in Madhya Pradesh* Rampura, Jalaun - a town in Uttar Pradesh* Rampura Phul - a town in Bathinda district of Punjab...

 in the Malwa plateau, made a matrimonial alliance with Mewar, and intervened in the affairs of the Rathor
Rathor
Rathor may refer to:* Rathore or Rathor, a Suryavanshi Rajput clan of India and Pakistan* Rathor, Pakistan...

s of Bikaner and Jodhpur
Jodhpur
Jodhpur , is the second largest city in the Indian state of Rajasthan. It is located west from the state capital, Jaipur and from the city of Ajmer. It was formerly the seat of a princely state of the same name, the capital of the kingdom known as Marwar...

. These half-successful attempts only stiffened the backs of the other Rajput clans who turned to the very same Marathas for aid, and consequently hastened their domination over Rajasthan! After Sawai Jai Singh’s death in 1743 (he was cremated at the Royal Crematorium at Gaitore in the north of Jaipur), these troubles were inherited by his less capable son Ishwari Singh.

Social and cultural achievements


Sawai Jai Singh was the first Hindu ruler in centuries to perform the ancient Vedic
Historical Vedic religion
The religion of the Vedic period is a historical predecessor of Hinduism. Its liturgy is reflected in the mantra portion of the four Vedas, which are compiled in Sanskrit. The religious practices centered on a clergy administering rites...

 ceremonies like the Ashwamedha (1716) sacrifices — and the Vajapeya (1734) on both occasions vast amounts were distributed in charity
Charity (practice)
The practice of charity means the voluntary giving of help to those in need who are not related to the giver.- Etymology :The word "charity" entered the English language through the Old French word "charité" which was derived from the Latin "caritas".Originally in Latin the word caritas meant...

. Being initiated in the Nimbarka Sampradaya
Nimbarka Sampradaya
The Nimbarka Sampradaya , also known as the Hamsa Sampradāya, Kumāra Sampradāya, ' and Sanakādi Sampradāya, is one of the four authorised Sampradāyas as according to the Padma , one of the eighteen main...

 of the Vaishnav religion, he also promoted Sanskrit
Sanskrit
Sanskrit , is a historical Indo-Aryan language and the primary liturgical language of Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism.Buddhism: besides Pali, see Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit Today, it is listed as one of the 22 scheduled languages of India and is an official language of the state of Uttarakhand...

 learning and initiated reforms in Hindu
Hindu
Hindu refers to an identity associated with the philosophical, religious and cultural systems that are indigenous to the Indian subcontinent. As used in the Constitution of India, the word "Hindu" is also attributed to all persons professing any Indian religion...

 society
Society
A society, or a human society, is a group of people related to each other through persistent relations, or a large social grouping sharing the same geographical or virtual territory, subject to the same political authority and dominant cultural expectations...

 like the abolition of Sati
Sati (practice)
For other uses, see Sati .Satī was a religious funeral practice among some Indian communities in which a recently widowed woman either voluntarily or by use of force and coercion would have immolated herself on her husband’s funeral pyre...

 and curbing the wasteful expenditures in Rajput
Rajput
A Rajput is a member of one of the patrilineal clans of western, central, northern India and in some parts of Pakistan. Rajputs are descendants of one of the major ruling warrior classes in the Indian subcontinent, particularly North India...

 wedding
Wedding
A wedding is the ceremony in which two people are united in marriage or a similar institution. Wedding traditions and customs vary greatly between cultures, ethnic groups, religions, countries, and social classes...

s. It was at Jai Singh’s insistence that the hated jaziya tax
Tax
To tax is to impose a financial charge or other levy upon a taxpayer by a state or the functional equivalent of a state such that failure to pay is punishable by law. Taxes are also imposed by many subnational entities...

, imposed on the Hindu
Hindu
Hindu refers to an identity associated with the philosophical, religious and cultural systems that are indigenous to the Indian subcontinent. As used in the Constitution of India, the word "Hindu" is also attributed to all persons professing any Indian religion...

 population
Population
A population is all the organisms that both belong to the same group or species and live in the same geographical area. The area that is used to define a sexual population is such that inter-breeding is possible between any pair within the area and more probable than cross-breeding with individuals...

 by Aurangzeb (1679), was finally abolished by the Emperor
Emperor
An emperor is a monarch, usually the sovereign ruler of an empire or another type of imperial realm. Empress, the female equivalent, may indicate an emperor's wife or a woman who rules in her own right...

 Muhammad Shah
Muhammad Shah
Muhammad Shah also known as Roshan Akhtar, was a Mughal emperor of India between 1719 and 1748. He was son of Khujista Akhtar Jahan Shah, the fourth son of Bahadur Shah I. Ascending the throne at 17 with the help of the Sayyid Brothers, he later got rid of them with the help of Nizam-ul-Mulk Chin...

 in 1720. In 1728 Jai Singh prevailed on him to also withdraw the pilgrimage
Pilgrimage
A pilgrimage is a journey or search of great moral or spiritual significance. Typically, it is a journey to a shrine or other location of importance to a person's beliefs and faith...

 tax
Tax
To tax is to impose a financial charge or other levy upon a taxpayer by a state or the functional equivalent of a state such that failure to pay is punishable by law. Taxes are also imposed by many subnational entities...

 on Hindus at Gaya
Gaya, India
Gaya is the second largest city of Bihar, India, and it is also the headquarters of Gaya District.Gaya is 100 kilometers south of Patna, the capital city of Bihar. Situated on the banks of Falgu River , it is a place sanctified by both the Hindu and the Buddhist religions...

.

In 1719, he was witness to a noisy discussion in the court of Mughal Emperor Muhammad Shah
Muhammad Shah
Muhammad Shah also known as Roshan Akhtar, was a Mughal emperor of India between 1719 and 1748. He was son of Khujista Akhtar Jahan Shah, the fourth son of Bahadur Shah I. Ascending the throne at 17 with the help of the Sayyid Brothers, he later got rid of them with the help of Nizam-ul-Mulk Chin...

. The heated debate regarded how to make astronomical calculations to determine an auspicious date when the emperor could start a journey. This discussion led Jai Singh to think that the nation needed to be educated on the subject of astronomy
Astronomy
Astronomy is a natural science that deals with the study of celestial objects and phenomena that originate outside the atmosphere of Earth...

. It is surprising that in the midst of local wars, foreign invasions, and consequent turmoil, Sawai Jai Singh found time and energy to build astronomical observatories.


No less than five massive structures were built at Delhi, Mathura (in his Agra province), Benares, Ujjain
Ujjain
Ujjain , is an ancient city of Malwa region in central India, on the eastern bank of the Kshipra River , today part of the state of Madhya Pradesh. It is the administrative centre of Ujjain District and Ujjain Division.In ancient times the city was called Ujjayini...

 (capital of his Malwa province), and his own capital of Jaipur.
In all of these only the one at Jaipur is working. Relying primarily on Hindu astronomy, these buildings were used to accurately predict eclipses and other astronomical events. The observational techniques and instruments used in his observatories were also superior to those used by the European Jesuit astronomers he invited to his observatories. Termed as the Jantar Mantar they consisted of the Ram Yantra (a cylindrical building with an open top and a pillar in its center), the Jai Prakash (a concave hemisphere), the Samrat Yantra (a huge equinoctial dial), the Digamsha Yantra (a pillar surrounded by two circular walls), and the Narivalaya Yantra (a cylindrical dial).

Jai Singh's greatest achievement was the construction of Jaipur
Jaipur
Jaipur , also popularly known as the Pink City, is the capital and largest city of the Indian state of Rajasthan. Founded on 18 November 1727 by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II, the ruler of Amber, the city today has a population of more than 3.1 million....

 city (known originally as Jainagara (in Sanskrit, as the 'city of victory' and later as the 'pink city' by the British by the early 20th century), the planned city, later became the capital as the Indian state of Rajasthan. Construction of the new capital began as early as 1725 although it was in 1727 that the foundation stone was ceremonially laid, and by 1733 Jaipur officially replaced Amber as capital of the Kachawahas. Built on the ancient Hindu grid pattern, found in the archaeological ruins of 3000 BCE, it was designed by the Brahmin
Brahmin
Brahmin Brahman, Brahma and Brahmin.Brahman, Brahmin and Brahma have different meanings. Brahman refers to the Supreme Self...

 Vidyadhar who was educated in the ancient Sanskrit manuals (silpa-sutras) on city-planning and architecture. Merchants from all over India settled down in the relative safety of this rich city, protected by thick walls, and a garrison of 17,000 supported by adequate artillery.

The rajah also translated works by people like John Napier
John Napier
John Napier of Merchiston – also signed as Neper, Nepair – named Marvellous Merchiston, was a Scottish mathematician, physicist, astronomer & astrologer, and also the 8th Laird of Merchistoun. He was the son of Sir Archibald Napier of Merchiston. John Napier is most renowned as the discoverer...

. For these multiple achievements Sawai Jai Singh II is remembered even to this date, as the most enlightened king of 18th Century India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

. These days Jai Singh's observatories at Jaipur, Varanasi, and Ujjain are functional. Only the one at Delhi is not functional and that at Mathura disappeared long time ago.

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