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Dewas is a district of Madhya Pradesh, on the west-central part of the state. It is situated on the Malwa Plateau. The geographical boundaries are Ujjain district to the north, Khandwa (formerly East Nimar) district to the south, Indore district to the west and Sehore district to the east. To the northeast is found the district of Shahjapur while Hoshangabad district is to the southeast. Lastly, to the southwest is Khargone, formerly West Nimar. The district has a total area of 7,020 square kilometers and its population is at 1,306,617 according to the 2001 census. This represents a 26% increase in population since 1991. The district’s administrative headquarters is the town of Dewas. Dewas district is part of Madhya Pradesh’s Ujjain Division.
The name of the district is thought to have originated from two traditions. One states that the name is derived from the hill which is located near the city. The hill’s name is Chamunda, but it was also called Devi Vaishini or Goddess’ Residence because of an image of the deity Devi Chamunda that is cut in a rocky wall of the cave. From this, the name Dewas (dev-vas) seems to have been derived. The other tradition states that the name came from the founder of the village, Dewasa Bania.
Whatever the origin, Dewas was originally the capital of two princely states in the Malwa political charge of the Central India Agency. This state was originally founded during the first half of the 18th century by two brothers, Tukaji Rao (the senior) and Jivaji Rao (the junior). They were from the Pawar clan of the Marathas dynasty, who came to Malwa with the Maratha Peshwa at that time, Baji Rao. The territory was divided among the brothers and their descendants followed suit, ruling as seniors and juniors. In effect, there were two distinct rulerships with separate administrations, independently acting on most matters, but sharing the same capital town of Dewas. They were so intimately entangled that in the capital town, the two sides of the main street were under different administration, with different arrangements for water systems and lighting.
When India achieved independence in 1947, the state of Madhya Bharat was created a year after and both Rajas of Dewa acceded to the India, forming one district that is Dewa. When the states got reorganized on November 1, 1956, Madhya Bharat got merged with the other territories to form the new state of Madhya Pradesh and Dewa became one of its districts.
Dewas is mainly known for its colorful and cultural environment. The major cultural activities are called “Malvi Songs”. Folk songs are also very popular, especially on occasions of marriage, festivals and local fairs. as for industries, the district is engaged in the manufacturing of textile chemicals, automotive and railway gears, LPG cylinders and polypropylene gas, among others. The M.P. State Handicraft Development Corporation is a prime source of employment for the people in the district. They mainly produce carpets, sofa set covers and seat covers, among others.