Wednesday, June 21, 2017

India - Princely state - Tonk State Article



Tonk State
टोंक रियासत/ ٹونک ریاست


Maratha Empire            1806 – 1949      →      Republic of India


Coat of arms

Tonk was a Princely State of India at the time of the British Raj. The town of Tonk, which was the capital of the state, had a population of 38,759 in 1901. The town was surrounded by a wall and boasted a mud fort. It had a high school, the Walter hospital for women, under a matron, and a separate hospital for men. It has a bridge on river Banas. Originally established under the suzerainty of the Maratha Confederacy in 1806, it was the only princely state of Rajasthan with a Muslim ruling dynasty.

Tonk State in the Imperial Gazetteer of India

The state was formed of several enclaves located in an area covered by the alluvium of the Bands, and from this a few rocky hills composed of schists of the Aravalli Range protrude, together with scattered outliers of the Alwar quartzites. Nimbahera is for the most part covered by shales, lime- stone, and sandstone belonging to the Lower Vindhyan group, while the Central India districts lie in the Deccan trap area, and present all the features common to that formation.

Besides the usual small game, antelope or ravine deer, and nilgai (Boselaphus tragocamelus) used to be common in the plains, and leopards, sambar deer(Cervus unicolor), and wild hog were found in many of the hills. Formerly an occasional tiger was met in the south-east of Aligarh, the north-east- of Nimbahera, and parts of Pirawa and Sironj.

The total area of the princely state was 2553 sq. mi, with a total population in 1901 of 273,201. By treaty Tonk became a British protectorate in 1817. Following the Independence of India, Tonk acceded to the newly independent Indian Union on 7 April 1949. It was located in the region bordering present-day Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh states that is now the Tonk district.

The founder of the state was Nawab Muhammad Amir Khan (1769-1834), an adventurer and military leader of Pashtun descent from Afghanistan. Amir Khan rose to be a military commander in the service of Yashwantrao Holkar of the Maratha Empire in 1798. In 1806, Khan received the state of Tonk from Yashwantrao Holkar. In 1817, after the Third Anglo-Maratha War, Amir Khan submitted to the British British East India Company, he kept his territory of Tonk and received the title of Nawab. While retaining internal autonomy and remaining outside British India, the state came under the supervision of the Rajputana Agency and consisted of six isolated districts. Three of these were under the Rajputana Agency, namely, Tonk, Aligarh (formerly Rampura) and Nimbahera. The other three, Chhabra, Pirawa and Sironj were in the Central India Agency. The Haraoti-Tonk Agency, with headquarters at Deoli, dealt with the states of Tonk and Bundi, as well as with the state of Shahpura.

A former minister of Tonk state, Sahibzada Obeidullah Khan, was deputed on political duty to Peshawar during the Tirah campaign of 1897.

In 1899-1900, the state suffered much distress due to drought. The princely state enjoyed an estimated revenue of £77,000; however, no tribute was payable to the government of British India. Grain, cotton, opium and hides were the chief products and exports of the state. Two of the outlying tracts of the state were served by two different railways.

Nawab Sir Muhammad Ibrahim Ali Khan GCIE (ruled 1867-1930) was one of few chiefs to attend both Lord Lytton's Durbar in 1877 and the Delhi Durbar of 1903 as ruler.

In 1947, on the Partition of India whereby India and Pakistan gained independence, the Nawab of Tonk decided to accede to the Union of India. Subsequently, most of the area of the state of Tonk was integrated into the Rajasthan state, while some of its eastern enclaves became part of Madhya Pradesh.

The foundation of the principality of Tonk led to the creation of a large Rajasthani Pathan community.


The rulers of the state, the Salarzai Nawabs of Tonk belonged to a Pashtun Tarkani tribe. They were entitled to a 17-gun salute by the British authorities. The last ruler, Nawab Muhammad Ismaail Ali Khan, has no issue.


  • Muhammad Amir Khan (1806 – 1834)
  • Muhammad Wazir Khan (1834 – 1864)
  • Nawab Muhammad Ali Khan (1864 – 1867)
  • Nawab Muhammad Ibrahim Ali Khan (1867 – 23 June 1930)
  • Nawab Muhammad Sa'adat Ali Khan (23 June 1930 – 31 May 1947)
  • Nawab Muhammad Faruq Ali Khan (1947 – 1948)
  • Nawab Muhammad Ismail Ali Khan (1948, no issue)

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