How to limit the number of shards per node in es version 1.7 or lower?

I am planning to use cluster.routing.allocation.total_shards_per_node option to limit the shards per node. But this setting is available only from version 2.0 [as per the document].

my current version is 1.3.4. I can upgrade till 1.7 but not 2.0 because it has lot of breaking changes.

Is there any workaround to achieve this functionality in version 1.3 to 1.7 ?
Any suggestions would be really helpful.