INDORE, a native state of India in the central India agency, comprising the dominions of the Maharaja Holkar. Its area, exclusive of guaranteed holdings on which it has claims, is 9500 sq. m. and the population in 1901 was 850,690, showing a decrease of 23% in the decade, owing to the results of famine. As in the case of most states in central India the territory is not homogeneous, but distributed over several political charges. It has portions in four out of the seven charges of central India, and in one small portion in the Rajputana agency. The Vindhya range traverses the S. division of the state in a direction from east to west, a small part of the territory lying to the north of the mountains, but by much the larger part to the south. The latter is a portion of the valley of the Nerbudda, and is bounded on the south by the Satpura hills. Basalt and other volcanic formations predominate in both ranges, although there is also much sandstone. The Nerbudda flows through the state; and the valley at Mandlesar, in the central part, is between 600 and 700 ft. above the sea. The revenue is estimated at £350,000. The metre gauge railway from Khandwa to Mhow and Indore city, continued to Neemuch and Ajmere, was constructed in 1876.
The state had its origin in an assignment of lands made early in the 18th century to Malhar Rao Holkar, who held a command in the army of the Mahratta Peshwa. Of the Dhangar or shepherd caste, he was born in 1694 at the village of Hol near Poona, and from this circumstance the family derives its surname of Holkar. Before his death in 1766 Malhar Rao had added to his assignment large territorial possessions acquired by his armed power during the confusion of the period. By the end of that century the rulership had passed to another leader of the same clan, Tukoji Holkar, whose son, Jaswant Rao, took an important part in the contest for predominance in the Mahratta confederation. He did not, however, join the combined army of Sindha and the raja of Berar in their war against the British in 1803, though after its termination he provoked hostilities which led to his complete discomfiture. At first he defeated a British force that had marched against him under Colonel Monson; but when he made an inroad into British territory he was completely defeated by Lord Lake, and compelled to sign a treaty which deprived him of a large portion of his possessions. After his death his favourite mistress, Tulsi Bai, assumed the regency, until in 1817 she was murdered by the military commanders of the Indore troops, who declared for the peshwa on his rupture with the British government. After their defeat at Mehidpur in 1818, the state submitted by treaty to the loss of more territory, transferred to the British government its suzerainty over a number of minor tributary states, and acknowledged the British protectorate. For many years afterwards the administration of the Holkar princes was troubled by intestine quarrels, misrule and dynastic contentions, necessitating the frequent interposition of British authority; and in 1857 the army, breaking away from the chief’s control, besieged the British residency, and took advantage of the mutiny of the Bengal sepoys to spread disorder over that part of central India. The country was pacified after some fighting. In 1899 a British resident was appointed to Indore, which had formerly been directly under the agent to the governor-general in central India. At the same time a change was made in the system of administration, which was from that date carried on by a council. In 1903 the Maharaja, Shivaji Rao Holkar, G.C.S.I., abdicated in favour of his son Tukoji Rao, a boy of twelve, and died in 1908.
The City of Indore is situated 1738 ft. above the sea, on the river Saraswati, near its junction with the Khan. Pop. (1901) 86,686. These figures do not include the tract assigned to the resident, known as “the camp” (pop. 11,118), which is under British administration. The city is one of the most important trading centres in central India.
Indore Residency, a political charge in central India, is not co-extensive with the state, though it includes all of it except some outlying tracts. Area, 8960 sq. m.; pop. (1901) 833,410. (J. S. Co.)