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Scindia dynasty (anglicized from Shinde and also spelled popularly as Shinde in Maharashtra), is a Hindu Maratha dynasty of Kunbi origin that ruled the erstwhile State of Gwalior. It had the patel-ship of Kumberkerrab in Wai. It was founded by Ranoji Scindia, who started as a personal servant of the Peshwa Bajirao I.[1][2][3][4] Ranoji and his descendents along with their rivals the Holkars, played a leading role during the Maratha ascendency in North india during the 18th century. The Gwalior state was a princely state under the British Raj during the 19th and the 20th centuries. After India's independence in 1947, several members of the Sindhia family went on to join Indian politics.


Maratha Sardar Ranoji Scindia

The Scindia dynasty was founded by Ranoji Scindia, a Kunbi personal servant of Bajirao I Peshwa.[1][2][3][4] Ranoji prospered early under Bajirao because of the favorable circumstances created by the appointment of Bajirao as the Peshwa at the age of twenty.This had evoked jealousy from senior officials like Anant Ram Sumant, Shripatrao Pant Pratinidhi, Khanderao Dabhade and Kanhoji Bhosle.This led Baji Rao to promote as commanders of his troops, talented young men who were barely out of teens such as Malhar Rao Holkar, the Pawar brothers, Pilaji Jadhav,Fateh Singh Bhosle and of course, Ranoji.None of these men belonged to families that held hereditary Deshmukhi rights under earlier rulers such as the Deccan Sultanates.[5][6] The Shindes or Scindias had served as shiledars (cavalrymen) under the Bahmani Sultanate and played an important role in the state of affairs and held Patilki of Kumberkerrab.[7][3]

Origin and historyEdit

The Maharaja of Gwalior Before His Palace


According to records of British period there are several anecdotes about origin of Scindhias ,specially Sir John Malcolm's record illustrates that:

Scindhia hailed from cultivator caste Kunbi like Holkars who were of Dhangar origin.In ritual status they were regarded as Shudra.The founder of Scindhia dynasty ""Ranoji"" was in service of Peshwa Bajirao. One day Bajirao came out of his camp and Showed his servant(Ranoji) sleeping with his sleepers.He was so impressed with faithfulness of his servant that he promoted him to his bodyguard .[8]

Stewart Gordon, also agrees to the cultivator,etc. origin of other Marathas as well.[9]

Maratha PeriodEdit

Shinde Chhatri, Wanawdi, Pune: A memorial dedicated to Mahadji Shinde

The Scindia dynasty was founded by Ranoji Scindia, who was the son of Jankojirao Scindia, the Patil of Kanherkhed, a village in Satara District, Maharashtra.[10] Peshwa Baji Rao's career saw the strengthening of the Maratha Empire. Ranoji was in charge of the Maratha conquests in Malwa in 1726. Ranoji established his capital at Ujjain in 1731. His successors included Jayajirao, Jyotibarao, Dattajirao, Jankojirao, Mahadji Shinde and Daulatrao Scindia.The Scindias became a major regional power in the latter half of the 18th century, and figured prominently in the three Anglo-Maratha Wars.They held sway over many of the Rajput states, and conquered north India. In 1818, after accepting the terms of a subsidiary alliance with the British, the family shifted their base from Ujjain to The Gwalior.

Rulers of Gwalior state under the BritishEdit

After the defeat of the allied Maratha states by the British in the Third Anglo-Maratha War of 1818, Daulatrao Shinde was forced to accept local autonomy as a princely state within British-occupied India and to give up Ajmer to the British. After the death of Daulatrao, Maharani Baiza Bai ruled the empire, saving it from the British power, till the adopted child Jankoji Rao took over the charge. Jankoji died in 1843, and his widow Tarabai Raje Scindia successfully maintained the position and adopted a child from close lineage named Jayajirao.

Accession of Gwalior state into Independent IndiaEdit

The Scindia family ruled Gwalior until India's independence from the United Kingdom in 1947, when the Maharaja Jivajirao Scindia acceded to the Government of India. Gwalior was merged with a number of other princely states to become the new Indian state of Madhya Bharat. George Jivajirao served as the state's rajpramukh, or appointed governor, from 28 May 1948 to 31 October 1956, when Madhya Bharat was merged into Madhya Pradesh.

Political careers of family membersEdit

In 1962, Vijayraje Scindia, the widow of Maharaja Jiwajirao, was elected to the Lok Sabha, beginning the family's career in electoral politics.[11] She was first a member of the Congress Party, and later became an influential member of the Bharatiya Janata Party. Her son Madhavrao Scindia was elected to the Lok Sabha in 1971 representing the Jansangh Party, he joined Congress in 1980 and served until his death in 2001. His son, Jyotiraditya Scindia, joined the Congress Party and was elected to the seat formerly held by his father in 2004. He later joined the Bharatiya Janata Party on 11 March 2020.

Vijayaraje's daughters have supported the Bharatiya Janata Party. Vasundhara Raje Scindia contested and won five parliamentary elections from Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan. Under the Vajpayee government from 1998 onwards, Vasundhara was in charge of several different ministries. In 2003 she led the Bharatiya Janata Party to its largest majority in Rajasthan, and became the state's Chief Minister.[12] In 2013 again, she led Bharatiya Janata Party to a thumping win in the state of Rajasthan, winning over 160 out of the 200 seats in the assembly elections. Her other daughter, Yashodhara Raje Scindia, contested assembly elections from Shivpuri in Madhya Pradesh and won in 1998, 2003 and 2013 and also lok sabha 2004, 2009 from Gwalior. Upon the BJP's win in the state, she became the state's Minister for Tourism, Sports and Youth Affairs. Vasundhara's son Dushyant Singh entered the Lok Sabha in 2004 from Rajasthan.[13]

Shinde Maharajas of Ujjain and GwaliorEdit

Mahadaji Shinde was instrumental in resurrecting Maratha power in North India after the Battle of Panipat in 1761[14]
  • Ranoji Rao Shinde (1731 – 19 July 1745). Died 19 July 1745.
  • Jayappa Rao Shinde (1745 – 25 July 1755). Born c. 1720, died 25 July 1755.
  • Jankoji Rao Scindia I (25 July 1755 – 15 January 1761). Born in 1745. died 15 January 1761.
  • Dattaji Rao Scindia (Regent 1755 – 10 January 1760). Died 10 January 1760.
  • Vacant 15 January 1761 – 25 November 1763
  • Kadarji Rao Scindia (25 November 1763 – 10 July 1764) Died ?.
  • Manaji Rao Scindia (10 July 1764 – 18 January 1768) Died ?.
  • Mahadaji Scindia (18 January 1768 – 12 February 1794). Born 3 December 1730, died 12 February 1794.
  • Daulat Rao Shinde (12 February 1794 – 21 March 1827). Born 1779, died 21 March 1827.
  • Jankoji Rao Scindia II (18 June 1827 – 7 February 1843). Born 1805, died 7 February 1843.
  • Jayaji Rao Scindia (7 February 1843 – 20 June 1886). Born 19 January 1835, died 20 June 1886.
  • Madho Rao Scindia (20 June 1886 – 5 June 1925). Born 20 October 1876, died 5 June 1925.
  • Jivajirao Scindia (Maharaja 5 June 1925 – 15 August 1947, Rajpramukh 28 May 1948 – 31 October 1956. Last Maharaja, later Rajpramukh) Born 26 June 1916, died 16 July 1961.
  • Madhavrao Scindia (1961-1971) The Last Maharaja, before the abolishment of monarchy in 1971.


  1. ^ a b Ainslie Thomas Embree (1988). Encyclopedia of Asian history. Scribner. p. 14. ISBN 978-0-684-18899-7. Ranoji Scindia (d. 1750), the founder of Gwalior state, started his political career reputedly as a slipper-bearer at the court of the peshwa, or prime minister, of the Marathas, but soon rose to high office.
  2. ^ a b K. V. Krishna Ayyar (1999). The Zamorins of Calicut: From the Earliest Times Down to A.D. 1806. Publication Division, University of Calicut. ISBN 978-81-7748-000-9. The carrying of the Pallimaradi before the Zamorin on public occasions might have been due to the same reason as the carrying of a pair of golden slippers before Scindia , whose ancestor was the slipper - bearer of Peshwa Baji Rao - to show his respect for his original humble office which was the cause of his subsequent success
  3. ^ a b c Satish Chandra (2003). Essays on Medieval Indian History. Oxford University Press. p. 93. ISBN 978-0-19-566336-5. The Sindhias, it is well-known, were drawn from a Kunbi family which had the hereditary patel-ship of Kumberkerrab in the district of Wai. The origins of the Holkar were even more humble: they belonged to the caste of goat-herds (dungar), the family holding zamindari rights in the village of Hal.
  4. ^ a b Romila Thapar (1994). "Seminar - Issues 417-424": 59. Many peasant caste men who distinguished themselves in battle or otherwise served the ruler became Marathas . Witness the first Holkar who was a shepherd and the first Scindia who was a Kunbi personal servant of the Peshwa Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  5. ^ Gordon, Stewart (2007). The Marathas 1600–1818. Cambridge [u.a.]: Cambridge University Press. pp. 117–121. ISBN 978-0521033169.
  6. ^ Sardesai, Govind Sakharam (1946). New History of the Marathas: The expansion of the Maratha power, 1707-1772. Phoenix Publications. pp. 65, 69.
  7. ^ Richard M. Eaton (19 December 2005). A social history of the Deccan, 1300-1761: eight Indian lives. Cambridge University Press. pp. 188–. ISBN 978-0-521-25484-7. Retrieved 16 July 2011.
  8. ^ Ramusack, Barbara N. (2004). The Indian Princes and their States. The New Cambridge History of India. Cambridge University Press. p. 35&36. ISBN 9781139449083.
  9. ^ Stewart Gordon (16 September 1993). The Marathas 1600-1818. Cambridge University Press. pp. 15–. ISBN 978-0-521-26883-7. Looking backward from ample material on the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, we know that Maratha as a category of caste represents the amalgamation of families from several castes - Kunbi, Lohar, Sutar, Bhandari, Thakar, and even Dhangars (shepherds) – which existed in the seventeenth century and, indeed, exist as castes in Maharashtra today. What differentiated, for example, "Maratha" from "Kunbi"? It was precisely the martial tradition, of which they were proud, and the rights (watans and inams) they gained from military service. It was these rights which differentiated them from the ordinary cultivator, ironworkers and tailors, especially at the local level
  10. ^ N. G. Rathod (1994). The Great Maratha Mahadaji Scindia. Sarup & Sons. p. 1. ISBN 978-81-85431-52-9.
  11. ^ "Vijaya Raje Scindia". Archived from the original on 11 February 2007. Retrieved 4 December 2006.
  12. ^ Life and Career - Vasundhara Raje
  13. ^ "Dushyant Singh wins". NDTV.
  14. ^ N. G. Rathod (1994). The Great Maratha Mahadaji Scindia. Sarup & Sons. p. 8. ISBN 978-81-85431-52-9.

Further readingEdit

External linksEdit

  Media related to Scindia at Wikimedia Commons