The Jodhpur Story

Learning from a farmer’s wife

The farmer’s wife smilingly placed a bowl of kheech, a millet porridge topped with butter in front of the hungry stranger.  The famished man reached longingly for the buttery portion at the centre and immediately recoiled, having seared his fingers!  The Jatni, beside him laughed and exclaimed “Brother, you are as stupid as that Rathore Prince Jodha”.  Stunned, Jodha realized he had not been recognized and innocently asked why so?  Promptly she answered “Jodha concentrates on Mandore and seeks not the surrounding country:  Just as you reached for the centre ignoring the edges.  Everyone knows that Mandore is Marwar’s strongest fort. Jodha should begin by conquering the lands around Mandore, just you, my brother, must begin eating slowly from the edge! Then Jodha’s prize shall be Mandore and yours the butter!”

A chastised Jodha left the next morning. Fresh offensives were launched on the lands surrounding Mandore. By 1435 the Rathores consolidated and attacked Mandore re-gaining it. In control of Marwar, Jodha turned his attention to Mewar to avenge the murder of his father. Audaciously, he burnt down the gates of Chittor and stormed it. In 1458, Jodha was anointed the fifteenth Rathore ruler by his own elder brother Akhairaj, who abdicated.

Akhairaj moved east to the district of Sojat and settled in the village of Bagri.  Rulers of Jodhpur have not forgotten this sacrifice. To date, it is the Thakur of Bagri who anoints the Maharaja of Jodhpur. In turn he is given the village of Bagri.  A further incident took place when the eighteenth ruler was anointed.  Shuja, the seventeenth ruler’s son died and he named his grandson Biram as the heir. When Shuja died the Thakurs arrived at Meherangarh to make Biram king. While waiting, the Thakur of Bagri, Akhairaj’s son, requested some food from Biram’s mother. Fancying herself ‘Rajmata’, king-mother she replied haughtily, “I Thakurji, am not your cook”.  Instead, Ganga, Shuja’s younger grandson’s mother quickly prepared a lavish spread for the infuriated Thakurs. So, they decided to proclaim her son Ganga the Maharaja of Marwar.  Then it became imperative to perform the Raj Tilak quickly. Not waiting for ‘kumkum’ the Thakur of Bagri nicked his thumb with his sword and anointed Ganga’s forehead with his blood, commencing a tradition that still endures.

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