Rajasthan is located in western India and it is the largest state by area. It shares a border with Punjab to the north; Haryana and Uttar Pradesh to the northwest; Madhya Pradesh to the southeast, and Gujarat to the southwest. The state of Rajasthan was formed in 1949 when Rajputana – a name adopted the British Raj – was merged into the Dominion of India. Rajasthan is divided into 33 districts within seven divisions; the capital is Jaipur.
The majority of the population in Rajasthan follows Hinduism (around 88%), followed by Islam (9%). Other religions that are practiced include Christianity, Jainism, Sikhism, and Buddhism. Out of the total population in the state, less than half (around 24%) live in urban regions. According to the 2011 census, the urban population increased by 25% in ten years. The average literacy rate in Rajasthan in the urban regions stood at close to 80%, in which males were 87.91% literate and females stood at 63.81%.
The economy of Rajasthan is primarily agricultural based. Other key industries includes tourism, cement, IT, ceramics, handicrafts, and steel. The gross state domestic product, or GSDP, of Rajasthan grew at a compound annual growth rate of 12.83% over 2004-05 to 2014-15. From April 2000 to September 2015, Rajasthan attracted a cumulative foreign direct investment of around $1.28 billion. The state has enormous potential in the areas of wind power and renewable energy – Rajasthan Renewable Energy Corporation Ltd. has been actively promoting solar energy and biomass projects.
Rajasthan’s political scene is dominated by two parties – the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Indian National Congress. The current government is run by the BJP. The governor of the state is Kaylan Singh and the chief minister is Vasundhara Raje. The state has a bicameral legislature – the Vidhan Sabha (Legislative Assembly) and the Vidhan Parishad (the Legislative Council). There are a total of 200 assembly constituents in the state, which are represented by the Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLA). The Governor is the titular head of the state, appointed by the President of India; the Chief Minister is the executive head of the government.
A History of Rajasthan by Rima Hooja
Royal Rajasthan by Kayita Rani
Rajasthan: An Oral history – Conversations with Komal Kothari by Rustom Bharaucha