1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Banswara

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BANSWARA (literally "the forest country"), a rajput feudatory state in Rajputana, India. It borders on Gujarat and is bounded on the N. by the native states of Dungarpur and Udaipur or Mewar; on the N.E. and E. by Partabgarh; on the S. by the dominions of Holkar and the state of Jabua and on the W. by the state of Rewa Kantha. Banswara state is about 45 m. in length from N. to S., and 33 m. in breadth from E. to W., and has an area of 1946 sq. m. The population in 1901 was 165,350. The Mahi is the only river in the state and great scarcity of water occurs in the dry season. The Banswara chief belongs to the family of Udaipur. During the vigour of the Delhi empire Banswara formed one of its dependencies; on its decline the state passed under the Mahrattas. Wearied out by their oppressions, its chief in 1812 petitioned for English protection, on the condition of his state becoming tributary on the expulsion of the Mahrattas. The treaty of 1818 gave effect to this arrangement, Britain guaranteeing the prince against external enemies and refractory chiefs; he, on his part, pledging himself to be guided by her representative in the administration of his state. The chief is assisted in the administration by a hamdar or minister. The estimated gross revenue is £17,000 and the tribute £2500. The custom of suttee, or widow-burning, has long been abolished in the state, but the people retain all their superstitions regarding witches and sorcery; and as late as 1870, a Bhil woman, about eighty years old, was swung to death at Kushalgarh on an accusation of witchcraft. The perpetrators of the crime were sentenced to five years' rigorous imprisonment, but they had the sympathy of the people on their side. The chief town is Banswara, situated about 8 m. W. of the Mahi river, surrounded by an old disused rampart and adorned by various Hindu temples, with the battlements of the chief's palace overlooking it. Its population in 1901 was 7038. The petty state of Kushalgarh is feudatory to Banswara.