Scindia (anglicized from Shinde) and also spelled as Scindhia, Sindhia, Sindia, is a Hindu Maratha dynasty that ruled the Gwalior State. The Gwalior state was a part of the Maratha Confederacy in the 18th and 19th centuries, and a princely state of the colonial British government during the 19th and the 20th centuries. After India’s independence in 1947, the members of the Scindia family became politicians.
The Scindia family of Kanherkhed originally served as shiledars (cavalrymen) under the Bahmani Sultanate. They later served the Peshwa(Prime minister of Chhatrapati Maharaj of Satara).
The Scindia dynasty was founded by Ranoji Scindia, who was the son of Jankojirao Scindia, the Deshmukh of Kanherkhed, a village in Satara District, Maharashtra. Peshwa Baji Rao’s career saw the strengthening of the Maratha Empire. Ranoji was in charge of the Maratha conquest 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 Scindhia state of Gwalior 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.
After the defeat of the allied Maratha states by the British in the Third Anglo-Maratha War of 1818, Daulatrao Scindia was forced to accept local autonomy as a princely state within British 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, until 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.
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.
In 1962, Rajmata Vijayraje Scindia, the widow of Maharaja Jiwajirao, was elected to the Lok Sabha, beginning the family’s career in electoral politics. 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 Congress Party and served until his death in 2001. His son, Jyotiraditya Scindia, also in the Congress Party, was elected to the seat formerly held by his father in 2004.
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. 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 Lokshabha 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.
Brief History of the Scindias of Gwalior
Shrimant Ranoji Scindia (1731-45) CE
Ranoji Scindia is considered by all accounts as the founder of the present house of Gwalior. He was a personal aide to the Peshwa Balaji Baji Rao but rose rapidly in his favor by his soldierly qualities. In 1726 he along with Malhar Rao Holkar and Udaji Pawar was given the right to collect Sardeshmuk in the Malwa districts and Ujjain became the capital of dominions of Ranoji Scindia. Ranoji Rao’s sons were Jayapa, Dattaji, Jotiba, Tukoji, and Mahadji.
Shrimant Mahadji Scindia (1761-94) CE
Mahadji Scindia the last surviving male member of the line of Ranoji, was heavily wounded in the battle of Panipat. Mahadji Scindia took a leading part in many campaigns; for instance against Jats of Bharatpur and Rohillas and consolidated his powers. Mahadji Scindia realized the advantages of a European trained army over the native ones and this was made possible with the genius of the French Commander Benoit de
Boigne who had now joined the services of Mahadji Scindia. In 1784 Shah Alam sought Mahadji Scindia’s help and he joined the Emperor with a large force and restored the Emperor to full sovereignty after the latter was relegated to the position of a puppet by Afrasiab Khan the Minister at the court. Soon enough Afrasiab was murdered and Shah Alam conferred the title of Vakil-ul-mutlaq on Mahadji making him virtually the master of the Mughal dominions.
In 1788, Mahadji again had to intervene in Delhi when the court of Mughals fell to a Rohilla adventurer Ghulam Kadir and Shah Alam was imprisoned and blinded. Mahadji Scindia restored the throne to Shah Alam and in return for his services the emperor conferred on him the dignities of Vakil-ul-mutlaq and Naib-vakil, also the order of Mahi Maratib was conferred on him. Mahadji Scindia died in 1794 in Poona.
Shrimant Daulat Rao Scindia (1794-1827) CE
Daulat Rao Scindia succeeded to the throne at the young age of 15. In 1810 Daulat Rao pitched his standing camp near Gwalior at a place which henceforth became known as Lashkar and became the new chief town superseding the former capital of Ujjain. On March 21, 1827, Daulat Rao died at the age of forty-eight.
He had not named his successor and hence a boy named Mugat Rao belonging to another branch of the family was adopted and succeeded as Jankoji Rao Scindia on June 27, 1827. The Regency was entrusted to Baiza Bai the widow of Daulat Rao. Jankoji Rao died on 7th February 1843. A young boy of eight years of age named Bhagirath Rao was adopted and named Jayaji Rao Scindia.
Shrimant Jayaji Rao Scindia (1843-86) CE
Jayaji Rao was still very young when the 1857 revolt broke out. In 1861 Jayaji Rao has conferred a G.C.S.I and in 1877 he was granted a personal salute of 21 guns and made a Councilor of the Empress and later on became a G.C.B. and C.I.E.
Maharaja Jayaji Rao died on 20th June 1886 and was succeeded by his son
Madhav Rao Scindia I a boy of ten years of age. A council of Regency was appointed which conducted the affairs of the State until 1894 when the Maharaja was granted powers. The Maharaja became G.C.S. I. in 1895 and in 1901 Aide-de-Camp to the King-Emperor.
The marriage of Madhav Rao Scindia I with Maharani Chinkoo Raje, daughter of Madho Rao Mohite was solemnized in 1891. The sisters of Madhav Rao Scindia I were Tara Raje, Gunwanta Raje, and Mannu Raje
Madhav Rao Scindia I
He is known as the ‘Father of modern Gwalior’ and did a great deal to encourage the development of modern industry and improve farming methods. He was also enlightened enough to introduce the democratic government to Gwalior for e.g. the directly elected Municipal councils in 1903, the Panchayati system of government in 1907.
He is the author of ‘Policy Darbar’ an authoritative work on administration.
He died in Paris in 1925 while on his way to England and was succeeded by his young son George Jiwaji Rao Scindia on 27th September 1925.
Shrimant Jiwaji Rao Scindia (1925-61)CE
Jiwaji Rao Scindia was born in 1916 and succeeded his father in 1925. He ruled up to 1947 as the last ruler of Gwalior state and up to 1956 as a Raj Pramukh or the head of Madhya Bharat Government. He was instrumental in furthering the good work pioneered by his father and brought in administrative reforms to strengthen the revenue, judicial, education, and planning in the state
leading to its all round prosperity. In 1941 the marriage between Maharaja George Jiwaji Rao Scindia and Lekha Divyeshwari Devi (renamed as Vijayaraje Scindia) was solemnized. He died in 1961. He lived up to his death in Nau Talav Palace (present Usha Kiran Palace), Gwalior.
Shrimant Madhav Rao Scindia II
Shrimant Madhav Rao Scindia was born to the last ruling Maharaja of Gwalior, Jiwaji Rao Scindia. He was educated at the Scindia School, endowed by his family in Gwalior, Winchester School and then at Oxford University. After India’s independence in 1947, his father acceded to the Indian government and the kingdom of Gwalior became part of the new state of Madhya Bharat, which is in 1956 was merged into Madhya Pradesh.
He followed the political tradition laid down by his mother Rajmata Vijayraje Scindia, who was elected to the Lok Sabha (Lower house in the Indian Parliament) in 1971. A charismatic leader & nine-term member of the Lok Sabha, Madhavrao Scindia never lost an election since 1971, when he won for the first time from Guna at the age of 26. He contested as an independent with the support of the Jan Sangh, a party that his family had for long patronized. In 1977, he switched to the Congress Party despite resistance from his larger family and won the seat a second time. In order to avoid a direct contest with his mother, he ran from the neighboring constituency of Guna. But in 1984, he was nominated the Congress candidate in Gwalior as a last-minute maneuver to defeat the Bharatiya Janata Party’s Atal Behari Vajpayee and won by a massive margin. Since then he contested from either Gwalior or Guna and won on each occasion.
The 1984 election brought Scindia his first experience as a Minister. He made his mark as an excellent administrator during his stint as Railways Minister in the Rajiv Gandhi Ministry. He is credited with the modernization and computerization of Indian Railways and with maintaining the most cordial and professional relationship with his managerial cadres.
He was also the Minister for Civil Aviation but resigned in 1992. Shrimant Madhav Rao Scindia was later reinducted into the Cabinet in 1995 as Minister for Human Resource Development. He is also accredited with setting up of Indian Institute of Information Technology and Management (IIITM) at Gwalior as an institution of repute, which got renamed after Shri Atal Behari Vajpayee as ABV-IIITM. Scindia’s political role and influence within the Congress party grew rapidly and he was seen as a potential Prime Ministerial candidate. His tragic demise in what was reported as a plane “crash” demolished many hopes. His son, Jyotiraditya Scindia was formerly a Member of Parliament to the seat that he held. He was formerly a minister in Dr.Manmohan Singh government as Minister of State, Ministry of Commerce and Industry. His daughter Chitrangada Raje Singh is married to the Crown Prince of Kashmir. He was the President of the Board of Control for Cricket in India from 1990 to 1993.
Shrimant Jyotiraditya Madhav Rao Scindia (2001-present)
Shrimant Jyotiraditya M Scindia was born on 1st January 1971 in Mumbai to Shrimant Madhavrao Scindia and Shrimant Madhavi Raje Scindia. He studied at Campion School, Mumbai before going on to The Doon School in Dehradun. He received a B.A. in Economics in 1993 from Harvard University in the United States and an M.B.A. in 2001 from the
Stanford Graduate School of Business, United States. He worked as an investment banker for Merrill Lynch and Morgan Stanley and also gained some development experience working as an intern with the UN Economic Development Cell. He, in fact, has the distinction of being the only undergraduate intern there. He was elected to the Lok Sabha (Lower House of the Indian Parliament) in February 2002 from Guna District – formerly represented by his father. He was re-elected to the 14th Lok Sabha when he won the elections in May 2004. He retained the seat in the 2009 general elections and was inducted in the Cabinet for the first time as Union Minister of State for Commerce & Industry Government of India. He was re-elected in 2014 from the same constituency of Guna’. He is married to Priyadarshini Raje Gaekwad of Baroda and has two children, Yuvraj Maharyaman Scindia (born in 1995) and Ananya Raje Scindia (born in 2002).
Yuvraj Shrimant Mahanaaryaman Scindia