How Rajasthan Got Its Name
The process of acquisition of Bank of Rajasthan by ICICI would be the third major acquisition of banks in the state of Rajasthan. Prior to the acquisition of Bank of Rajasthan, the State Bank of Bikaner and State Bank of Jaipur that were owned and controlled by the former Maharajas were done and they were merged with the State Bank of India and remained its subsidiary banks. The mergers of a number of banks owned by the royalties like Bank of Hyderabad, Bank of Saurashtra, Bank of Indore, Bank of Patiala, Bank of Travancore were all effected after the independence and they became subsidiary of the SBI.
The Bank of Rajasthan Ltd was established at Udaipur, on the auspicious day of Akshya Tritiya on May 8, 1943. The credit for the birth of the Bank goes to, the then Finance Minister of the erstwhile Mewar government, late Rai Bahadur PC Chatterji, who persuaded the Mansingka brothers of Bhilwara, who were in mining business for establishing a joint stock bank with its registered office at Udaipur.
The bank was established with an initial capital of Rs 10 lacs. The late Seth Govind Ram Seksaria, an eminent industrialist, was the founder chairman. The first board of directors comprised such men of eminence as Rai Bahadur Seth Rameshwarlal Duduwala, Seth Subhhag Mal Lodha besides the Mansighka brothers, Seth Pusa Lal Mansighka and Seth Damodar Lal Mansighka. The other members of the board were Major Rajadhiraj Amar Singh of Banera and the then accountant general of Mewar, Rai Bahadur lala Sukhdayal.
In line with the contemporary practice of naming the bank after the location or princely state, the suggested names for the bank were Bank of Mewar State or Bank of Udaipur. The promoters, particularly Rai Bahadur PC Chatterji being very clear in his vision, expressed the view that the word “Rajasthan” will be more advantageous in future for expanding activities in other princely states since. Chatterji suggested that the state of Rajputana were ruled by several Rajas and Maharajas, so a new word Rajasthan should be coined and the bank be named as Bank of Rajasthan. The promoters were of the firm view that some day when the country attains freedom and a new Constitution comes into force under the new Constitution grouping
of the then local princely states was expected under one umbrella. Chatterji was a man with foresight, as now is history, the individual princely states were merged under the final name for the state—Rajasthan. The naming of the bank, The Bank of Rajasthan Ltd, that was set up in pre-Independence India in 1943 glaringly reflected the foresight of the promoters.
After the Independence in the historic meeting on January 14,1949, a meeting was held at the initiative of the late ruler of Udaipur Maharana Bhupal Singh which was presided by Home Minister Vallabhbhai Patel. It was in this meeting that the idea of naming the erstwhile Rajputana state as Rajasthan was suggested by the Maharana. The example of Bank of Rajasthan Ltd was quoted and it was said that when the bank was formed the word Rajasthan was given to the new bank as the state was ruled by rajas and maharajas.
It took seven stages to form Rajasthan as defined today. In March 1948 the Matsya Union comprising of Alwar, Bharatpur, Dholpur and Karauli was formed. Also in March 1948 Banswara, Bundi, Dungarpur, Jhalawar, Kishangarh, Kota, Pratapgarh, Shahpura and Tonk joined the Indian union and formed a part of Rajasthan. In April 1948 Udaipur joined the state and the Maharana of Udaipur was made rajpramukh. Therefore in 1948 the merger of south and south-eastern states was almost complete. Still retaining their independence from India were Jaipur and the desert kingdoms of Bikaner, Jodhpur and Jaisalmer. From a security point of view, it was vital to the new Indian Union to ensure that the desert kingdoms were integrated into the new nation. The princes finally agreed to sign the Instrument of Accession, and the kingdoms of Bikaner, Jodhpur, Jaisalmer and Jaipur were merged in March 1949. This time the Maharaja of Jaipur, Man Singh II was made the Rajpramukh of the state and Jaipur became its capital. Later in 1949, the United State of Matsya, comprising the former kingdoms of Bharatpur, Alwar, Karauli and Dholpur, was incorporated into Rajasthan. On January 26, 1950, 18 states of united Rajasthan merged with Sirohi to join the state leaving Abu and Dilwara to remain a part of Greater Bombay and now Gujarat.
In November 1956 under the State Re-organisation Act, 1956 the erstwhile part ‘C’ State of Ajmer, Abu Road Taluka, former part of princely State Sirohi (which were merged in former Bombay), State and Sunel Tappa region of the former Madhya Bharat merged with Rajasthan and Sirohi sub district of Jhalawar was transferred to Madhya Pradesh. Thus giving the existing boundary Rajasthan. Today with further reorganisation of the states of Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Bihar. Rajasthan has become the largest state of the Indian Republic.
But Bank of Rajasthan with a bigger entity like ICICI would mean the erstwhile Bank of Rajasthan would be known as ICICI Bank and not Bank of Rajasthan anymore. But it would remain in history that a bank promoted by visionaries helped the desert state find its new name.
By Prakash Bhandari