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Amagarh Fort: Rajasthan

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  • 31 Jul 2021
  • 4 min read

Why in News

Amagarh Fort of Jaipur, Rajasthan is at the centre of a conflict between the tribal Meena community and local Hindu groups.

  • Members of the Meena community say the Amagarh Fort was built by a Meena ruler predating Rajput rule in Jaipur, and has been their holy site for centuries.
  • They accused Hindu groups of trying to appropriate tribal symbols into the Hindutva fold, and of changing the name of Amba Mata to Ambika Bhawani.

Meena Community

  • The Meenas, also known as the Meos, or Mewati, are a tribe and caste inhabiting parts of western and northern India.
  • According to Meena tradition, the Meenas ruled most of what is now eastern Rajasthan, an area they referred to as "mind-esh" (country of the Meenas). They subsequently were replaced by Rajput clans, the most recent being the Kachhwaha Rajputs who founded the state of Amber, later known as Jaipur.
  • The community has substantial clout in Rajasthan. Of the 25 Assembly seats (out of 200) reserved for Scheduled Tribes (ST), most are represented by Meena MLAs.
    • The community is also well represented in the bureaucracy. According to Census 2011, STs constitute 13.48% of the state’s population.
    • Due to a scattered population across the state, the community can influence election outcomes in unreserved seats, too.

Key Points

  • About:
    • The present form of the Amagarh Fort was given in the 18th century by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II, founder of Jaipur.
    • It has always been believed that there was some construction at the place before Jai Singh II built the fort.
    • Prior to Rajput rule by the Kachhwaha dynasty, Jaipur and its nearby regions were ruled by Meenas, who had political control.
    • And as claimed by the Meena’s the fort was built by a Meena Sardar from the Nadla gotra, now known as Badgoti Meenas.
      • Sardars from the Meena community ruled large parts of Rajasthan till around 1100 AD.
  • Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II (1693-1744):
    • He was a great warrior and astronomer. He came to power at the age of II on the death of his father Maharaja Bishan Singh.
    • He was feudatory of the Mughals and Aurangazab conferred the title of Sawai to Jai Singh, meaning one and a quarter, a title that all of Jai Singh’s descendants kept.
    • He was trained by the best teachers and scholars in art, science, philosophy and military affairs.
    • Jai Sing’s lineage can be traced back to the Kucchwaha Rajput clan who came to power in the 12th century.
    • He built Astronomy Observatories at Delhi, Jaipur, Varanasi, Ujjain and Mathura known as the Jantar Mantar.

Source: IE

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