The princely state of Jhabua was a guaranteed chiefship under the Bhoplwar Agency, Central India during the British Raj. It was bounded on the north by Kushalgarh State in the Rajputaua Agency, on the south by Jobat State, on the east by Ali-Raipur and Dhar, and on the west by the Pauch Mahals District of Bombay. The State lay wholly in the mountainous region of Malwa known as Rath which constituted of the western boundary of the Malwa plateau, and later became a part of the Malwa Agency in 1927.

After India's independence in 1947, Jhabua's last ruler signed the accession to the Indian Union on 15 June 1948, and Jhabua became part of the newly created Madhya Bharat state, which in 1956 was merged into Madhya Pradesh.

Jhabua takes its name from a chief town founded in the sixteenth century by a notorious freebooter Jhabbu Naik of the Labhana caste. The rulers of this state descended from Bir Singh, fifth son of Jodha who was the founder of Jodhpur in Rajputana. This branch of family rose to favor at Delhi and acquired Badnawar in Malwa in fief in 1584. Kesho Das, son of Bhiman Singh who then held Badnawar, was attached to the retinue of Prince Salim who on his accession as Emperor Jahangir employed him to subdue the turbulent freebooters infesting the south-western districts of Malwa. After suppression of these gangs, Kesho Das obtained possession of their lands. In 1607 he was invested with the insignia of nobility by the Emperor, but died the same year. was possibly poisoned by his son and heir.

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