Annals of Amber
|Wikified by:Laxman Burdak, IFS (Retd.), Jaipur|
- 1 Abstract of Chapter I
- 2 Etymology of Dhoondar
- 3 Origin of the Cutchwahas
- 4 The treachery of Dhola Rae to Meenas
- 5 Dhola Rae killed in war with Meenas
- 6 Malesi and his Kushwaha successors
- 7 Raja Man Singh
- 8 Jodha Bai helps Jaising to raise to the throne of Amber
- 9 Abstract of Chapter III
- 10 The Jats of Bharatpur
- 11 Formation of Macheri state
- 12 Abstract of Chapter V
- 13 Origin of the Shekhawati federation
- 14 Shekhji originator of Shekhawats
- 15 Sons of Raisal
- 16 Jatni's opinion to Birsingdeo
- 17 The temple of Khandela destroyed by Aurangzeb
- 18 Khandela partitioned
- 19 Rising of Jat power
Abstract of Chapter I
[p.318]:Designations given by Europeans to the principalities of Rajpootana — Dhoondar known by the name of its capitals. Amber or Jeipoor — The country of the Cutchwahas an aggregate of conquests by the race so called. — Etymology of Dhoondar. — Origin of the Cutchwahas — Raja Nal founds Nurwar — Dhola Roe expelled, and founds Dhoondar — Romantic legend of Dhola Rae — His treachery to his benefactor, the Meena lord of Khogong — Marries a daughter of a Birgoojur chief and becomes his heir. — Augments his territories, and transfers his government to Ramgurh — Marries a daughter of the prince of Ajmer — Is killed in battle with the Meenas — His son Kankul conquers Dhoondar — Maidul Rae conquers Amber, and other places, — Conquest of Hoondeo — Of Koontul — Accession of Pujoon — Reflections on the aboriginal tribes of this period — The Meena race, — Pujoon marries the sister of Pirthi Raj of Dehli — His military prowess, — Is killed at the rape of the princess of Cannauj — Malesi succeeds, — His successors. — Pirthi Raj creates the Bara-kot - ? or twelve great fiefs of Amber — He is assassinated — Baharmull — The first to fight on the Mahomedan power — Rhaguwandas the first Rajpoot to give his daughter to the imperial house, — His daughter marries Jehangir and gives birth to Khoosroo, — Accession of Maun Sing — His power, intrigues, and death — Rao Bhao Maha, — Mirza Raja Jey Sing, brother of Raja Maun, succeeds — Repairs the disgraces of his two predecessors, and renders immense services to the empire, — Is poisoned by his son, — Ram Sing — Bishen Sing.
By some conventional process, Europeans in India have adopted the habit of designating the principalities of Rajpootana by the names
- 1 This account of the Amber or Jeipoor state, is nearly what I communicated to the Marquis of Hasting in 1814-15. Amidst the multiplicity of objects which subsequently engaged my attention, I had deemed myself absolved from the necessity of enlarging upon it, trusting that a more competent pen would have superseded this Essay, there having been several political authorities at that court since it was written. Being, however, unaware that anything has been done to develope its historical resources, which are more abundant than those of any other court of India, I think it right not to suppress this sketch, however imperfect.
[p.319]: of their respective capitals, instead of those of the countries. Thus Marwar and Mewar are recognised under the titles of their chief cities, Jodpoor and Oodipoor ; Kotah and Boondi are denominations indiscriminately applied to Haravati, the general term of the region, which is rarely mentioned ; and Dhoondar is hardly known by that denomination to Europeans, who refer to the state only by the names of its capitals. Amber or Jeipoor, the last of which is now universally used to designate the region inhabited by the Cutchwahas.
Etymology of Dhoondar
Like all the other Rajpoot states, the country of the Cutchwahas is an assemblage of communities, the territories of which have been wrested from the aboriginal tribes, or from independent chieftains, at various periods ; and therefore the term Dhoondar, which was only one of their earliest acquisitions, had scarcely a title to impose its name upon the aggregate. The etymology of Dhoondar is from a once celebrated sacrificial mount (dhooond) on the western frontier, near Kalik Jobnair.1
Origin of the Cutchwahas
The Cutchwaha or Cutchwa race claims descent from Cush, the second son of Rama, King of Koshula, whose capital was Ayodhia, the modern Oude. Cush, or some of his immediate offspring, is said to have migrated from the parental abode, and erected the celebrated castle of Rhotas, or Rohitas.2 on the Soane, whence, in the lapse of several generations, another distinguished scion, Raja Nal, migrated westward, and in S. 351, or A.D. 295, founded the kingdom and city of Nurwar, or classically, Nishida.3 Some of the traditional chronicles record intermediate places of domicile prior to the erection of
- 1 The traditional history of the Chohans asserts, that this mount was the place of penance (tapisya) of their famed king Beesildeo of Ajmer, who, for his oppression of his subjects, was transformed into a Rakus, or Vernon, in which condition he continued the evil work of his former existence, ' devouring his sabjects' (as literally expressed), until a grand-child offered himself as a victim to appease his insatiable appetite. The language of innocent affection made its way to the heart of the Rakus, who recognized his offspring, and winged his flight to the Jumna. It might be worth while to excavate the dhoond of the transformed Chohan king, which I have some notion will prove to be his sepulchre.
- 2 Were this celebrated abode searched for inscriptions, they might throw light on the history of the descendants of Rama.
- 3 Prefixed to a descriptive sketch of the city of Nurwar (which I may append), the year S. 351 is given for its foundation by Raja Nal, but whether Obtained from an inscription or historical legend, I know not It, however, corroborates, in a remarkable manner, the number of descents from Nal to Dhola Rae viz., thirty-three, which, calculated according to the best data (see VoL I, p. 49), at twenty-two years to a reign, will make 726 years, which subtracted from 1023, the era of Dhola Rae's migration, leaves 297, a difference Off only fifty-four years between the computed and settled eras ; and if we allowed only twenty-one years to a reign, instead of twenty-two, as proposed in all long lines above twenty-five generations, the difference would be trifling.
- We may thus. without hesitation, adopt the date 351, or A.D. 295, for the period of Raja Nal, whose history is one of the grand sources of delight to the bards of Rajpootuia. The poem rehearsing his adventures under the title of Nal and Dunyantu (fam. Nal-Dummun), was translated into Persian at Akber'a command, by Fiezi, brother of Abulfazil, and has since been made known to the admirers of Sanscrit literature by Professor Bopp of Berlin.
[p.320]: this famed city : first, the town of Lahar, in the heart of a tract yet named Cutchwagar, or region (gar) of the Cutchwahas ; and secondly, that of Gwalior. Be this as it may, the descendants of Raja Nal adopted the affix of Pal (which appears to be the distinguishing epithet of all the early Rajpoot tribes), until Sora Sing (thirty-third in descent from Nal), whose son, Dhola Rae, was expelled the paternal abode, and in S. 1023, A.D. 967, laid the foundation of the state of Dhoondar.
A family, which traces its lineage from Rama of Koshula, Nala of Nishida, and Dhola the lover of Maroni, may be allowed 'the boast of heraldiy :' and in remembrance of this descent, the Cushites of India celebrate with great solemnity 'the annual feast of the sun'. on which occasion a stately car, called the chariot of the sun (Surya ratha), drawn by eight horses, is brought from the temple, and the descendant of Ramesa, ascending therein, perambulates his capital.
The treachery of Dhola Rae to Meenas
A case of simple usurpation originated the Cutchwaha state of Amber ; but it would be contrary to precedent if this event were untinged with romance. As the episode, while it does not violate probability, illustrates the condition of the aboriginal tribes, we do not exclude the tradition. On the death of Sora Sing, prince of Nurwar, his brother usurped the government, depriving the infant, Dhola Rae, of his inheritance. His mother, clothing herself in mean apparel, put the infant in a basket, which she placed on her head, and travelled westward until she reached the town of Khogong (within five miles of the modern Jeipoor), then inhabited by the Meenas. Distressed with hunger and fatigue, she had placed her precious burthen on the ground, and was plucking some wild berries, when she observed a hooded serpent rearing its form over the basket. She uttered a shriek, which attracted an itinerant Brahmin, who told her to be under no alarm, but rather to rejoice at this certain indication of future greatness in the boy. But the emaciated parent of the founder of Amber replied, " What may be in futurity I have not, while I am sinking with hunger ;" on which the Brahmin put her in the way to Khogong, where he said her necessities would be relieved. Taking up the basket, she reached the town, which was encircled by hills, and accosting a female, who happened to be a slave of the Meena chieftain, begged any menial employment for food. By direction of the Meena Rani, she was entertained with the slaves. One day she was ordered to prepare dinner, of which Ralunsi, the Meena Raja, partook, and found it so superior to his usual fare, that he sent for the cook, who related her story. As soon as the Meena chief discovered the rank of the illustrious fugitive, he adopted her as his sister, and Dhola Rae as his nephew. When the boy had attained the age of Rajpoot manhood (fourteen), he was sent to Dehli,1 with the tribute of Khogong, to attend instead of the Meena. The young Cutchwaha remained there five years, when he conceived the idea of usurping his benefactor's authority. Having
- 1. The Tuar tribe were then supreme lords of India.
[p.321]: consulted the Meena dhadhi1 or bard, as to the best means of executing his plan, he recommended him to take advantage of the festival of the Dewali, when it is customary to perform the ablutions en masse, in a tank. Having brought a few of his Rajpoot brethren from Dehli, he accomplished his object, filling the reservoirs in which the Meenas bathed with their dead bodies. The treacherous bard did not escape ; Dhola Rae put him to death with his own hand, observing, " he who had proved unfaithful to one master, could not be trusted by another." He then took possession of Khogong. Soon after, he repaired to Deosah, a castle and district ruled by an independent chief of the Birgoojur tribe of Rajpoots, whose daughter he demanded in marriage. " How can this be," said the Birgoojur, " when we are both Suryavansi, and one hundred generations have not yet separated us ?"2 But being convinced that the necessary number of descents had intervened, the nuptials took place, and as the Birgoojur had no male issue, he resigned his power to his son-in-law. With the additional means thus at his disposal, Dhola determined to subjugate the Seroh tribe of Meenas, whose chief, Rao Natto, dwelt at Mauch. Again he was victorious, and deeming his new conquest better adapted for a residence than Khogong, he transferred his infant government thither, changing the name of Mauch, in honour of his great ancestor, to Ramgurh.
Dhola Rae killed in war with Meenas
Dhola subsequently married the daughter of the prince of Ajmer, whose name was Maroni. Returning on one occasion with her from visiting the shrine of Jumwahi Mata, the whole force of the Meenas of that region assembled, to the number of eleven thousand, to oppose his passage through their country. Dhola gave them battle : but after slaying vast numbers of his foes, he was himself killed, and his followers fled. Maroni escaped, and bore a posthumous child, who was named Kankul, and who conquered the country of Dhoondar. His son, Maidul Rao, made a conquest of Amber from the Soosawut Meenas, the residence of their chief, named Bhatto, who had the title of Rao, and was head of the Meena confederation. He also subdued the Nandla Meenas, and added the district of Gatoor-Gatti to his territory.
Conquest of Hoondeo: Hoondeo succeeded, and, like his predecessors, continued the warfare against the Meenas. He was succeeded by Koontul, whose sway extended over all the hill tribes round his capital. Having determined to proceed to Bhutwar, where a Chohan prince resided, in order to marry his daughter, his Meena subjects, remembering the
- 1 Dhadi, dholi, Dhom, Jaega, are all terms for the bards or minstrels of the Meena tribes.
- The Birgoojur tribe claims descent from Lava or Lao, the elder son of Rama. As they trace fifty-six descents from Rama to Vicrama, and thirty-three from Raja Nala to Dhola Rae, we have only to calculate the number of generations between Vicrama and Nal, to ascertain whether Dhola's genealogist went on good grounds. It was in S. 351 that Raja Nal erected Nurwar, which, at twenty-two years to a reign, gives sixteen to be added to fifty-six, and this added to thirty-three, is equal to one hundred and five generations from Rama to Dhola Rae.
pp.322-323 : Not taken
[p,324]: disputed for the hero. Whole lines of the northmen strew the pltin: many a head did Mahadeo add to his chapter. When Pujoon and Govind fell, one watch of the day remained. To rescue his kin cam Palhan, like a tiger loosed from his chain. The array of Kanauj fell back ; the cloud-like host of Jeichund turned its head. The brother of Pujoon, with his son, performed deeds like Carna : but both fell in the field, and gained the secret of the sun, whose chariot advanced to conduct them to his mansion.
"Ganga shrunk with affright, the moon quivered, the Digptk howled at their posts : checked was the advance of Canouj, and in the pause the Coorma performed the last rites to his sire (Pujoon) who broke in pieces the shields of Jeichund. Pujoon was a bechlor to his lord, and numerous his gifts of the steel to the heroes of Canouj : not even by the bard can his deeds be described. He placed his feet on the head of Shesnag, he made a waste of the forest of men, nor dared the sons of the mighty approach him. As Pujoon fell, he exclaimed, 'one hundred years are the limit of man's life, of which fifty are lost in night, and half this in childhood; but the Almighty taught me to wield the brand.' As he spoke, even in the arms of Yama, he beheld the arm of his boy playing on the head of the foeman. His painting soul was satisfied : seven words from the sword had Malesi received, whose steed was covered with wounds : mighty were the deeds performed by the son of Pujoon."
Malesi and his Kushwaha successors
This Malesi, in whose praise the bard of Pirthi Raj is so lavish succeeded (according to the chronicle) his father Pujoon in the Raj of Amber. There is little said of him in the transcript in my possession. There are, however, abundance of traditional couplets to prove that the successors of Pujoon were not wanting in the chief duties of the Rajpoot, the exercise of his sword. One of these mentions his having gained a victory at Rootrahi over the prince of Mandoo.2
:1 The chaplet of the god of war is of skulls ; his drinking cup a semi cranium.
- 2 I give this chiefly for the concluding couplet, to see how the Rajpoots applied the word Khoten to the lands beyond Cabul, where the great Raja Maun commanded as Akber's lieutenant :
- Palhun, Pujoon jeete
- Mahoba Cannuj lurri
- Mandoo Malen jeete,
- Rar Rootrahi ca
- Raj Bhaqvandas jeete,
- Moiwisi lur
- Raja Maun Sing jeete,
- Khotein fouj doobahi
- Palhun and Pujoon were victorious ;
- Fought at Mahoba and Canouj ;
- Malesi conquered Mandoo ;
- In the battle of Rootrahi,
- Raja Bhagwandas vanquished.
- In the Mowasi (fastnesses, probably, of Mewat),
- Raja Maun Sing was victorious ;
- Subjugating the army of Khoten.
[p.325]: We shall pass over the intermediate princes from Malesi to Pirthi Raj, the eleventh in descent, with a bare enumeration of their names: viz., Malesi, Beejul, Rajdeo, Keelun, Kontul, Joonsi, Oodikurn, Nursing, Bunbeer, Oodharun, Chandrasen, Pirthi Raj.
Pirthi Raj had seventeen sons, twelve of whom reached man's estate. To them and their successors in perpetuity he assigned appanages, styled the bara kotri, or ' twelve chambers' of the Cutchwaha house. The portion of each was necessarily very limited; some of the descendants of this hereditary aristocracy now hold estates equal in magnitude to the principality itself at that period. Previous, however, to this perpetual settlement of Cutchwaha fiefs, and indeed intermediately between Malesi and Pirthi Raj, a disjunction of the junior branches of the royal family took place, which led to the foundation of a power for a long time exceeding in magnitude the parent state. This was in the time of Oodikum, whose son Baloji, left his father's house, and obtained the town and small district of Amrutsir, which in time devolved on his grandson Shekhji, and became the nucleus of an extensive and singular confederation, known by the name of the founder, Shekhavati, at this day eovering an area of nearly ten thousand square miles. As this subject will be discussed in its proper place, we shall no longer dwell on it, but proceed with the posterity of Pirthi Raj, amongst the few incidents of whose life, is mentioned his meritorious pilgrimage to Dewul1 near the mouth of the Indus. But even this could not save him from foul assassination, and the assassin was his own son, Bheem, "whose countenance (says the chronicle) was that of a demon," The record is obscure, but it would appear that one parricide was punished by another, and that Aiskurn, the son of Bheem, was instigated by his brethren to put their father to death, and " to expiate the crime by pilgrimage."2 In one list, both these monsters are enumerated amongst the "anointed" of Amber, but they are generally omitted in the genealogical chain, doubtless from a feeling of disgust.
Baharmull was the first prince of Amber who paid homage to the Mahomedan power. He attended the fortunes of Baber, and received from Hemayoon (previous to the Pat'han usurpation) the munsub of five thousand as Raja of Amber.
Bhagwandas, son of Baharmull, became still more intimately allied with the Mogul dynasty. He was the friend of Akbar, who saw the full value of attaching such men to his throne. By what arts or influence he overcame the scruples of the Cutchwaha Rajpoot we know not, unless by appealing to his avarice or ambition ; but the
- 1 'The temple ;' the Debeil of the Mahomedan tribes : the Riypoot seat of power of the Rijas of Sinde, when attacked by the caliphs of Bagdad.
- 2 The chronicle says of this Aiskurn, that on his return, the king (Baber or Hemayoon), gave him the title of Raja of Nurwar. These states have continued occasionally to furnish representatives, on the extinction of the line of either. A very conspicuous instance of this occurred on the death of Raja Juggut Sing, the last prince of Amber, who dying without issue, an intrigue was set on foot,
[p.326]: name of Bhagwandas is execrated as the first who sullied Rajpoot purity by matrimonial alliance with the Islamite. His daugter espoused Prince Selim, afterwards Jehangir, and the fruit of the marriage was the unfortunate Khoosroo.1
Raja Man Singh
Maun Sing, nephew2 and successor of Bhagwandas, was the most brilliant character of Akber's court. As the emperor's lieutenant, he was entrusted with the most arduous duties, and added conquests to the empire from Khoten to the ocean. Orissa was subjugated by him;3 Assam humbled and made tributary, and Cabul maintained in her allegiance. He held in succession the governments of Bengal and Behar,4 the Dekhan and Cabul. Raja Maun soon proved to Akber that his policy of strengthening his throne by Rajpoot alliances was not without hazard ; these alliances introducing a direct influence in the state, which frequently thwarted the views of the sovereign. So powerful was it, that even Akber, in the zenith of his power, saw no other method of diminishing its force, than the execrable but common expedient of Asiatic despots — poison : it has been already related how the Emperor's attempt recoiled upon him to his destruction.5
Akber was on his death-bed when Raja Maun commenced an intrigue to alter the succession in favour of his nephew, Prince Khoosroo, and it was probably in this predicament that the monarch had recourse to the only safe policy, that of seeing the crown fixed on the head of Selim, afterwards Jehangir. The conspiracy for the time was quashed, and Raja Maun was sent to the government of Bengal ; but it broke out again, and ended in the perpetual impii-
- 1. It is pleasing to find almost all these outlines of Rajpoot historjr confirmed by Mahomedan writers. It was in A.H. 993 (A.D. 1586) that this marriage took place. Three generations of Cutchwahas, viz,, Bhagwandas. his adopted son Raja Maun, and grandson, were all serving in the imperial army with great distinction at this time. Raja Maun, though styled kunwar, or heir apparent, is made the most conspicuous. He quelled a rebellion headed by emperor's brother, and while Bhagwandas commanded under a prince of blood against Cashmere, Maun Sing overcame an insurrection of the Afghans at Khyber ; and his son was made viceroy of Cabul — see Briggs Ferishta Vol. II, p. 258, et seq.
- 2. Bhagwandas had three brothers, Soorut Sing, Madoo Sing, and Juggut Sing ; Maun Sins was son of the last.
- 3 Ferishta confirms this, saying he sent one hundred and twenty elephants to the king on this occasion. — Briggs' Ferishta, Vol. II p. 268.
- 4 Ferishta confirms this likewise. According to this historian, it was while Maun was yet only koonwar, or heir apparent, that he was invested with the governments of " Behar, Hajipoor, and Patna," the same year (A.D. 1589) that his uncle Bhagwandas died, and that following the birth of prince Khoosroo by the daughter of the Cutchwaha prince, an event celebrated (says Ferishta) with great rejoicings. See Briggs' Ferishta, Vol. II, p. 261. Col Briggs has allowed the similarity of the names Khoosroo and Khoorum to betray him into a slight error, in a note on the former prince. It was- not Khoosroo, but Khoorum, who succeeded his father Jehangir, and was father to the monster Arungzeb, (note, p. 261). Khoosroo was put to death by Khoorom, afterwards Shah Jehan.
- 5 Annals of Rajasthan, Vol I, p. 296.
[p.327]:sonment of Khoosroo,1 and a dreadful death to his adherents. Raja Maun was too wise to identify himself with the rebellion, though he stimulated his nephew, and he was too powerful to be openly punished, being at the head of twenty thousand Rajpoots; but the native chronicle mentions that he was amerced by Jehangir in the incredible sum of ten crores, or millions sterling. According to the Mahomedan historian, Raja Maun died in Bengal,2 A.H. 1024, (A.D. 1615) ; while the chronicle says he was slain in an expedition against the Khilji tribe in the north, two years later.3
Rao Bhao Sing succeeded his father, and was invested by the Emperor with the Punj-hazari, or dimity of a legionary chief of five thousand. He was of weak intellect, and ruled a few years without distinction. He died in AH. 1030 of excessive drinking.
Maha succeeded, and in like manner died from dissipated habits. These unworthy successors of Raja Maun allowed the princes of Jodpoor to take the lead at the imperial court.
Jodha Bai helps Jaising to raise to the throne of Amber
At the instigation of the celebrated Joda Bae (daughter of Rae Sing of Bikaner), the Rajpootni wife of Jahangir, Jey Sing, grandson of Juggut Sing (brother of Maun), was raised to the throne of Amber, to the no small jealousy, says the chronicle, of the favourite queen, Noor Jehan. It relates that the succession was settled by the Emperor and the Rajpootni in a conference at the balcony of the seraglio, where the Emperor saluted the youth below as Raja of Amber, and commanded him to make his salaam to Joda Bae, as the source of this honour. But the customs of Rajwarra could not be broken : it was contrary to etiquette for a Rajpoot chief to salaam, and he replied : " I will do this to any lady of your majesty's family, but not to Joda Bae ;" upon which she good-naturedly laughed, and called out, "It matters not ; I give you the raj of Amber."
Jey Sing, the Mirza Raja, the title by which he is best known, restored by his conduct the renown of the Cutchwaha name, which had been tarnished by the two unworthy successors of Raja Maun. He performed great services to the empire during the reign of Aurangzeb, who bestowed upon him the munsub of six thousand. He made prisoner the celebrated Sevaji, whom he conveyed to court, and afterwards, on finding that his pledge of safety was likely to be broken, was accessory to his liberation. But this instance of magnanimity was more than counterbalanced by his treachery to Dara, in the war of succession, which crushed the hopes of that brave prince. These acts, and their consequences, produced an unconquerable haughtiness of demeanour, which determined the tyrannical Arungzeb to destroy him. The chronicle says he had twenty-two thousand cavalry at his disposal, and twenty-two great vassal chiefs.
- 1 He was afterwards assassinated by order of Shah Jehan. See Dow's
Ferishta, Vol. III Chap. I, p. 63.
- 2 Dow, Yol III, p. 46 ; the chronicle says in S. 1699, or A.D. 1613.
- 3 An account of the life of Raja Maun would fill a volume ; there are ample materials at Jeipoor.
Abstract of Chapter III
[p.340]: The Rajpoot league — Aggrandizement of Amber.— Esuri Sing succeeds — Intestine troubles produced by polygamy — Madhu Sing — The Jats — Their Rajas — Violation of the Amber territory by the Jats — Battle — Rise of Macherri. — Decline of the Cutchwaha power after the death of Madho Sing - Pirthi Sing — Pertap Sing — Intrigues at his court — The stratagems of Khooshialiram, and the Macherri chief — Death of Feeroz the feelbaan, paramour of the Pat-Rani — Broils with the Mahrattas — Pertap attains majority, and gains the victory of Tonga — His difficulties — Exactions of the Mahrattas — Juggut Sing — His follies and despicable character — Makes Ras-caphoor, his concubine, queen of half Amber — Project to depose him prevented by a timely sacrifice. — Mohun Sing elected his successor.
The league formed at this time by the three chief powers of Raj- pootana has already been noticed in the annals of Mewar. It was one of self-preservation ; and while the Rahtores added to Marwar from Guzzerat, the Cutchwahas consolidated all the districts in their neighbourhood under Amber. The Shekhavati federation was compelled to become tributary, and but for the rise of the Jats, the state of Jeipoor would have extended from the lake of Sambhur to the Jumna.
Kesuri Sing succeeded to a well-defined territory, heaps of treasure, an efficient ministry, and a good army ; but the seeds of destruction lurked in the social edifice so lately raised, and polygamy was again the immediate agent.
Kesuri Sing was the successor of Jey Sing, according to the fixed laws of primogeniture ; but Madho Sing, a younger son, born of a princess of Mewar, possessed conventional rights which vitiated those of birth. These have already been discussed, as well as their disastrous issue to the unfortunate Kesuri Sing, who was not calculated for the times, being totally deficient in that nervous energy of character, without which a Rajpoot prince can enforce no respect. His conduct on the Abdalli invasion admitted the construction of cowardice, though his retreat from the field of battle, when the commander-in-chief, Kumurodin Khan, was killed, might have been ascribed to political motives, were it not recorded that his own wife received him with gibes and reproaches. There is every appearance of Jey Sing having repented of his engagement on obtaining the hand of the Seesodia princess, namely, that her issue should succeed, as he had in his life-time given an appanage unusually large to Madhu Sing, viz., the four pergunnahs of Tonk, Rampoora, Phaggi, and Malpoora. The Rana also, who supported his nephew's claims, assigned to him the rich fief of Rampoora Bhanpoora in Mewar, which as well as Tonk Rampoora, constituting a petty sovereignty, were, with eighty-four lacs (£840,000 sterling), eventually made over to Holcar for supporting his claims to the 'cushion' of Jeipoor. The consequence of this barbarous intervention in the international quarrels of the Rajpoots annihilated
[p.341]: the certain prosect they had of national independence, on the breaking up of the empire, and subjected them to a thraldom still more degrading, from which a chance of redemption is now offered to them.
Madhu Sing, on his accession, displayed great vigour of mind, and though faithful to his engagements, he soon shewed the Mahrattas he would admit of no protracted interference in his affairs ; and had not the rising power of the Jats distracted his attention and divided his resources, he would, had his life been prolonged, in conjunction with the Rahtores, have completely humbled their power. But this Dear enemy embarrassed all his plans. Although the history of the Jits is now well known, it may not be impertinent shortly to commemorate the rise of a power, which, from a rustic condition, in little more than half a century was able to baffle the armies of Britain, led by the most popular commander it ever had in the East ; for till the siege of Bhurtpore the name of Lake was always coupled with victory.
The Jats of Bharatpur
The Jats1 are a branch of the great Getic race, of which enough has been said in various parts of this work. Though reduced from the rank they once had amongst the ' thirty-six royal races,' they appear never to have renounced the love of independence, which they contested with Cyrus in their original haunts in Sogdiana. The name of the Cincinnatus of the Jats, who abandoned his plough to bad his countrymen against their tyrants, was Chooramun. Taking advantage of the sanguinary civil wars amongst the successors of Aurangzeb, they erected petty castles in the villages (whose lands they cultivated) of Thoon and Sinsini, and soon obtained the distinction of kuzzaks, or 'robbers,' a title which they were not slow to merit, by their inroads as far as the royal abode of Ferochsar. The Syeda, then in power, commanded Jey Sing of Amber to attack them in their strong-holds, and Thoon and Sinsini were simultaneously invested. But the Jats, even in the very infancy of their power, evinced the same obstinate skill in defending mud walls, which in later times gained them so much celebrity. The royal astronomer of Amber was foiled, and after twelve months of toil, was ingloriously compelled to raise both sieges.
Not long after this event, Buddun Sing, the younger brother of Chooramun, and a joint proprietor of the land, was for some misconduct placed in restraint, and had remained so for some years, when, through the intercession of Jey Sing and the guarantee of the other Bhomia Jats, he was liberated. His first act was to fly to Amber, and to bring its prince, at the head of an army, to invest Thoon, which, after a gallant defence of six months, surrendered and was razed to the ground. Chooramun and his son, Mohkum Sing,
- 1 It has been seen how the Yadu-Bhatti princes, when they fell from their Rajpoots, assumed that of Jits, or Jats, who are assuredly a mixture of Baipeotaod Yuti, Jit, or Gete races. Seep. 204.
Buddun Sing had a numerous progeny, and four of his sons obtained notoriety, viz., Soorajmull, Subharam, Pertap Sing, and Beernarain. Buddun Sing subjected several of the royal districts to his authority. He abdicated his power in favour of his elder son, Soorajmull, having in the first instance assigned the district of Wayr, on which he had constructed a fort, to his son Pertap.
Soorajmull inherited all the turbulence and energy requisite to carry on the plans of his predecessors. His first act was to dispossess a relative, named Kaima, of the castle of Bhurtpoor, afterwards the celebrated capital of the jats. In the year S. 1820 (A.D. 1764), Soorajmull carried his audacity so far as to make an attempt upon the imperial city ; but here his career was cut short by a party of Baloch horse, who slew him while enjoying the chase. He had five sons, viz., Jowahir Sing, Ruttun Sing, Newul Sing, Nahur Sing, Rinjeet Sing, and also an adopted son, named Hurdeo Buksh, picked up while hunting. Of these five sons, the first two were by a wife of the Koormi1 tribe ; the third was by a wife of the Malin, or horticultural class ; while the others were by Jatni's, or women of his own race.
Jowahir Sing, who succeeded, was the contemporary of Raja Madhu Sing, whose reign in Jeipoor we have just reached ; and to the Jats determination to measure swords with him were owing, not only the frustration of his schemes for humbling the Mahratta, but the dismemberment of the country by the defection of the chief of Macherri. Jowahir Sing, in A.H. 1182, having in vain solicited the district of Kamona, manifested his resentment by instantly marching through the Jeipoor territories to the sacred lake of Pushkur, without any previous intimation. He there met Raja Beejy Sing of Marwar, who, in spite of his Jat origin, condescended to " exchange turbans," the sign of friendship and fraternal adoption. At this period, Madhu Sing's health was on the decline, and his counsels were guided by two brothers, named Hursae and Goorsae, who represented the insulting conduct of the Jat and required instructions. They were commanded to address him a letter warning him not to return through the territories of Amber, and the chiefs were desired to assemble their retainers in order to punish a repetition of the insult. But the Jat, who had determined to abide the consequences, paid no regard to the letter, and returned homewards by the same route. This was a justifiable ground of quarrel, and the united Kotribunds marched to the encounter, to maintain the pretensions of their equestrian order against the plebeian Jat. A desperate conflict ensued, which, though it terminated in favour of the Cutchwahas,
- 1 The Koormi (the Koolmbi of the Dekhan) is perhaps the most munerous, next to the Jats, of all the agricultural classes.
Formation of Macheri state
This battle was the indirect cause of the formation of Macherri into an independent state, which a few words will explain Pertap Sing, of the Narooka clan, held the fief of Macherri ; for some fault he was banished the country by Madhu Sing, and fled to Jowahir Sing, from whom he obtained sirna (sanctuary), and lands for his maintenance. The ex-chieftain of Macherri had, as conductors of his household affairs and his agents at court, two celebrated men, Khooshialiram2 and Nundram, who now shared his exile amongst the Jats. Though enjoying protection and hospitality at Bhurtpoor, they did not the less feel the national insult, in that the Jat should dare thus unceremoniously to traverse their country. Whether the chief saw in this juncture an opening for reconciliation with his liege lord, or that a pure spirit of patriotism alone influenced him, he abandoned the place of refuge, and ranged himself at his old post, under the- standard of Amber, on the eve of the battle, to the gaining of which he contributed not a little. For this opportune act of loyalty his past errors were forgiven, and Madhu Sing, who only sarvived that battle four days, restored him to his favour and his fief of Macherri.
Madho Sing died of a dysentery, after a rule of seventeen years. Had he been spared, in all human probability he would have repaired the injurious effects of the contest which gave him the gadi of Amber ; but a minority, and its accustomed anarchy, made his death the point from which the Cutchwaha power declined. He built several cities, of which that called after him Madhupoor, near the celebrated fortress of Rinthumbor, the most secure of the commercial cities of Rajwarra, is the most remarkable. He inherited no small portion of his father's love of science, which continued to make Jeipoor the resort of learned men, so as to eclipse even the sacred.
Pirthi Sing II, a minor, succeeded, under the guardianship of the mother of his younger brother, Pertap. The queen-regent, a Chonda-
- 1 Having given a slight sketch of the origin of the Jats, I may here conclude it. Rattan Sing, the brother of Jowahir, succeeded him. He was assassinated by a Gosain Brahmin from Bindrabund, who had undertaken to teach the Jat prince the transmutation of metals, and had obtained considerable sums on pretence of preparing the process. Finding the day arrive on which he was to commence operation, and which would reveal his imposture, he had no way of escape but by applying the knife to his dupe. Kesuri Sing, an infant, succeeded under the guardianship of his uncle, Newul Sing. Runjeet Sing succeeded him, a name renowned for the defence of Bhurtpoor against Lord Lake. He died A.D. 1815, and was succeeded by the eldest of four sons, viz. Rundheer Sing, Baldeo Sing, Hurdeo Sing, and Luchmun Sing. The infant son of Rondheer succeeded, under the tutelage of his uncle, to remove whom the British army destroyed Bhurtpoor, which plundered it of its wealth, both public and private.
- 2 Father of two men scarcely less celebrated than himself, Chutturbhoj and Deolut Ram.
[p.344]: wutni, was of an ambitious and resolute character, but degraded by her paramour, Feeroz, a Feelban, or ' elephant-driver' whom she made member of her council, which disgusted the chiefs, who alienated themselves from court and remained at their estates. Determined, however, to dispense with their aid, she entertained a mercenary army under the celebrated Umbaji, with which she enforced the collection of the revenue. Arut Ram was at this period the Dewan, or prime minister, and Khooshialiram Bora, a name afterwards conspicuous in the politics of this court, was associated in the ministry. But though these men were of the highest order of talent, their influence was neutralized by that of the Feelban, who controlled both the regent Rani and the state. Matters remained in this humiliating posture during nine years, when Pirthi Sing died through a fall from his horse, though not without suspicions that a dose of poison accelerated the vacancy of the gadi, which the Rani desired to see occupied by her own son. The scandalous chronicle of that day is by no means tender of the reputation of Madhu Sing's widow. Having a direct interest in the death of Pirthi Sing, the laws of common sense were violated in appointing her guardian, notwithstanding her claims as Pat Rani, or chief queen of the deceased. Pirthi Sing, though he never emerged from the trammels of minority and the tutelage of the Chondawatni, yet contracted two marriages, one with Bikaner, the other with Kishengurh. By the latter he had a son, Maun Sing. Every court in Rajpootana has its Pretender, and young Maun was long the bugbear to the court of Amber. He was removed secretly, on his father's death, to the maternal roof at Kishengurh ; but as this did not offer sufficient security, he was sent to Sindia's camp, and has ever since lived on the bounty of the Mahratta chief at Gwalior.1
Pertap Sing was immediately placed upon the gadi by the queen- regent, his mother, and her council, consisting of the Feelban, and Khooshialiram, who had now received the title of Raja, and the rank of prime minister. He employed the power thus obtained to supplant his rival Feeroz, and the means he adopted established the independence of his old master, the chief of Macherri. This chief was the only one of note who absented himself from the ceremony of the installation of his sovereign. He was countenanced by the minister, whose plan to get rid of his rival was to create as much a confusion as possible. In order that distress might reach the court, he gave private instructions that the zemindars should withhold
- 1 Two or three times he had a chance of being placed on the gadi (vide letter of Resident with Sindia to Government, 27th March 1812), which assumedly ought to be his : once, about 1810, when the nobles of Jeipoor were disgusted with the libertine Juggut Sing ; and again, upon the death of this dissolute prince, in 1820. The last occasion presented a fit occasion for his accession ; but the British Govemment were then the arbitrators, and I doubt much if his claims were disclosed to it, or understood by those who had the decision of the question, which nearly terminated in a civil war.
[p.345]: their payments ; but these minor stratagems would have been unavailing, had he not associated in his schemes the last remnants of power about the Mogul throne. Nujif Khan was at this time the imperial commander, who, aided by the Mahrattas, proceeded to expel the Jats from the city of Agra. He then attacked them in their strong-hold of Bhurtpoor. Newul Sing was then the chief of the Jats. The Macherri chief saw in the last act of expiring vigour of the imperialists an opening for the furtherance of his views, and he united his troops to those of Nujif Khan. This timely succour, and his subsequent aid in defeating the Jats, obtained for him the title of Rao Raja, and a sunnud for Macherri, to hold direct of the crown. Khooshialiram, who, it is said, chalked out this course, made his old master's success the basis of his own operations to supplant the Feelban. Affecting the same zeal that he recommended to the chief of Macherri, he volunteered to join the imperial standard with all the forces of Amber. The queen-regent did not oppose the Bhora's plan, but determined out of it still higher to exalt her favourite : she put him at the head of the force, which post the minister had intended for himself. This exaltation proved his ruin.
Feeroz, in command of the Amber army, met the Rao Raja of Macherri on equal terms in the tent of the imperial commander. Foiled in these schemes of attaining the sole control of affairs, through the measure adopted, the Macheri chief, at the instigation of his associate, resolved to accomplish his objects by less justifiable means. He sought the friendship of the Feelban, and so successfully ingratiated himself in his confidence as to administer a dose of poison to him, and in conjunction with the Bhora succeeded to the charge of the government of Amber. The regent-queen soon followed the Feelban, and Raja Pertap was yet too young to guide the state vessel without aid. The Rao Raja and the Bhora, alike ambitious, soon quarrelled, and a division of the imperialists, under the celebrated Hamadan Khan, was called in by the Bhora. Then followed those interminable broils which brought in the Mahrattas. Leagues were formed with them against the imperialists one day, and dissolved the next ; and this went on until the majority of Pertap, who determined to extricate himself from bondage, and formed that league, elsewhere mentioned, which ended in the glorious victory of Tonga, and for a time the expulsion of all their enemies, whether imperial or Mahrattas.
To give a full narrative of the events of this reign, would be to recount the history of the empire in its expiring moments. Through- out the twenty-five years' rule of Pertap, he and his country underwent many vicissitudes. He was a gallant prince, and not deficient in judgment; but neither gallantry nor prudence could successfully apply the resources of his petty state against its numerous predatory foes and its internal dissensions. The defection of Macherri was a serious blow to Jeipoor, and the necessary subsidies soon lighted the hoards accumulated by his predecessors. Two payments to the Mahrattas took away eighty lacs of rupees (£800,000); yet
Abstract of Chapter V
[p.357]: Origin of the -Shekhavati federation — Its constitution - Descent of the chiefs from Baloji of Amber - Mokulji - Miraculous birth of his son - Shekhjii - Aggrandizes his territory - Raemul - Sooja - Raesil - His heroism-Obtains tyrants from Akber — Gets possession of Khundaila and Oodipoor — His exploits nd character-Ghirdhurji - Is cut off by assassination - Dwarcadas - His extraordinary feat with a lion - Falls by Khan Jehan Lodi - Birsingdeo — His authority usurped by his son -Buhadoor Sing - Arungzeb directs the demolition of the temple of Khundaila— Buhadoor deserts his capital— Sujaun Sing Raesilote flies to its defence -He is slain, the temple razed, andthe city garrisoned - Kesuri - Partition of the territory between Kesuri and Fntteh Sing — Futteh Sing assassinated — Kesuri resists the regal authority - Is deserted in the field and slain - His son Oodi Sing taken to Ajmer — Khundaila retaken, and restored to Oodi Sing, who is liberated — He resolves to punish the Munohurpoor chief - Is baffled by that chief's intrigues - Is besieged by Jey Sing of Amber - Khundaila becomes tributary to Amber.
WE proceed to sketch the history of the Shekhawut confederation, which, springing from the redundant feudality of Amber, through the influence of age and circumstances, has attained a power and consideration almost equalling that of the parent state; and although it possesses neither written laws, a permanent congress, nor any visible or recognised head, subsists by a sense of common interest. It must not be supposed, however, that no system of policy is to be found in this confederation, because the springs are not always visible or in action; the moment any common or individual interest is menaced, the grand council of the Barons of Shekhavati assembles at Oodipoor to decide the course of action to be pursued.
Origin of the Shekhawati federation
The Shekhawut chieftains are descended from Baloji, the third son of Raia Oodikurn, who succeeded to the throne of Amber in S. 1445. A.D. At this period, if we look back to the political state of society we find that nearly the whole of the tracts, which now obey the Shekhavati federation were parceled out amongst numerous chieftains of the Chohan or Tuar tribes,1 the descendants of the ancient Hindu emperors of Dehli, who evinced no more submission than the sword and their Islamite successors exacted from them.
:1 The lovers of antiquity have only to make the search to find an abundant harvest, throughout all these countries, of ancient capitals and cities, whose names are hardly known even to the modern inhabitants. Of the ancient Rajore I have already spoken, and I now draw the attention of my countrymen to Abhanair, which boasts a very remote antiquity ; and from an old stanza, we might imagine that its princes were connected with the Kaian dynasty of Persia. I copied it, some twenty years ago, from an itinerant bard, who had
[p.358]: Baloji, who was the actual founder of the numerous families now designated by the more distinguished name of Shekhji, his grandson, obtained as an appanage the district of Amrutsir, but whether by his own prowess or by other means, is not mentioned.
He had three sons ; Mokulji, Khemraj, and Kharud.
The third had a son called Kumun, whose descendants were styled Kumawut, but are now early extinct.
an imperfect knowledge of it himself, and I have doubtless made it more so, but it is still sufficiently intelligible to point at a remarkable coincidence :
- Raja Chund ca Ahhanair,
- Beea Sanjog, ayo Girnair (Girnar)
- Dekh bharat, leo bulae
- Keo bidut, mun begsae,
- Beao Sanjog, Permala burre
- Kos sath so, mun chit d'harre ;
- Tu beti Kaicum ca
- Nam Permala (a) ho
- Lekha hooa kurtar ko
- Eea jana sarb ko.
This is a fragment of a long poem relative to the rivalry of Raja Chund of Abhanair, and Raja Soorsen of Indrapoori, who was betrothed to Permal daughter of Kaicum, and had gone to Girnair, or Girnar, to espouse her, when the Abhanair prince abducted her. Raja Soorsen of Indrapoori (Delhli), if that ancestor of the Suraseni, and founder of Soorpoori, existed probably twelve hundred years before Christ. That sun- worshippers had established themselves in the peninsula of Saurashtra, (whose capital was Junagurh-Girnar), its appellation, in the days of the Greeks of Bactria, as now, proves : (see Strabo; Justin, &c,) but whether Kaicum, the father of Permala, is the Caicumaras Ferdoosi, we shall not stop to inquire. The connection between this and Persia was intimate in later times, so as even to give rise to the that the Ranas of Mewar were descended from the Sassanian kings. It was good fortune to discover Soorpoori on the Jumna, the residence of the rival of Chund of Abhanair, which city I leave to some one imbued with similar taste to visit, and merely add, he will find there an inscription in a coond or fountain dedicated to the Sun. The distance however, seven hundred coss (kos sathso) whether from Indrapoori or Abhanair, to Girnar, even admitting them to to be gao coss, would be too much. I believe this would make it hundred miles, and certainly, as the crow flies, it is not seven hundred. Interwoven with the story there is much about Raja Chambha, prince of Jajnuggur, a city of great antiquity in Orissa, and containing some of the finest specimens of sculpture I ever saw. There is also mention of a Riga Saer, (qu. Sahir or Sehris of Arore) of Perman. In 1804, I passed through Jajnuggru, after the conquest of the province of Cuttack, with my regiment. At Jajnuggur, my earliest friend, the late Captain Bellet Sealy, employed his pencil for sevaral days with the sculptured remains. These drawings were sent to the authorities at Calcutta : perhaps this notice may rescue from oblivion the remains of Jajnuggur, and of my deceased friend's talent, for Captain Bellet Sealy was as ornament equally to private life and to his profession. He fell a victim to the fever contracted in the Nepal war. The ruins of Abhanair are on the Banganga, three coss east of Lalsont.
(a) Peri-mala, means Fairy garland.
Shekhji originator of Shekhawats
[p.359]: Mokul had a son who was named Shekhji, in compliment to a miracle-working Islamite saint, to whose prayers the childless chief was indebted for a son destined to be the patriarch of a numerous race, occupying, under the term Shekhawut, an important portion of the surface of Rajpootana, Shekh Boorhan was the name of this saint, whose shrine (still existing) was about six miles from Achrole, and fourteen from the residence of Mokul. As the period of time was shortly after Timoor's invasion, it is not unlikely he was a pious missionary, who remained behind for the conversion of the warlike but tolerant Rajpoot, with whom, even if he should fail in his purpose, he was certain of protection and hospitality.
The Shekh in one of his peregrinations had reached the confines of Amrutsir, and was passing over an extensive meadow, in which was Mokulji. The Mangta (mendicant) approached with the usual salutation, " Have you anything for me ? " " Whatever you please to have, Babaji (sire)," was the courteous reply. The request was limited to a draught of milk, and if our faith were equal to the Shekhawut's, we should believe that Shekh Boorhan drew a copious stream from the exhausted udder of a female buffalo. This was sufficient to convince the old chief that the Shekh could work other miracles ; and he prayed that, through his means, he might no longer be childless. In due time he had an heir, who, according to the injunctions of Boorhan, was styled, after his own tribe, Shekh.
He directed that he should wear the buddea,1 which, when laid aside, was to be suspended at the saint's durgah; and further, that he should assume the blue tunic and cap, abstain from hog's flesh, and eat no meat "in which the blood remained." He also ordained that at the birth of every Shekhawut male infant a goat should be sacrificed, the Kulma (Islamite creed) read, and the child sprinkled with the blood. Although four centuries have passed away since these obligations were contracted by Mokul, they are still religiously maintained by the little nation of his descendants, occupying a space of ten thousand square miles. The wild hog, which, according to immemorial usage, should be eaten once a year by every Rajpoot, is rarely even hunted by a Shekhawut; and though they have relaxed in that ordinance, which commanded the suspension of the buddeas at the shrine of Boorhan, still each infant wears them, as well as the blue tunic and cap, for two years after his birth ; and a still greater mark of respect to the memory of the-saint is evinced in the blue pennon which surmounts the yellow banner, or national flag, of the Shekhawuts. It is even gravely asserted, that those who, from indolence, distance, or less justifiable motives, have neglected the least important injunction, that of depositing the initiatory strings or buddeas, have never prospered. But a still stronger proof is furnished of the credulity, the toleration, and yet immutability of the Rajpoot character, in the fact, that, although Amrutsir.2 and the
- 1 Strings, or threads, worn crossways by Mahomedan children.
- 2 The town of Amrutsir and forty-five villages are still left to the Munohurpoor branch.
[p.360]: lands around the durgah, are annexed to the fisc of Amber, yet the shrine of Shekh Boorhan continues a sirna (sanctuary), while lands are assigned to almost a hundred families, the descendants of the saint, who reside in the adjacent town of Talla.
Shekhji, when he attained man's estate, greatly augmented the territory left by his father, and had consolidated three hundred and sixty villages under his sway, by conquest from his neighbours, when his reputation and power attracted the jealous notice of the lord paramount of Amber.
He was attacked ; but by the aid of the Punnee Pat'hans1 he successfully withstood the reiterated assaults of his suzerain. Up to this period, they had acknowledged the Amber princes as liege lords, and in token of alliance paid as tribute all the colts reared on the original estate.2 A dispute on this point was the ostensible cause (though subordinate to their rapid prosperity), which occasioned a total separation of the Shekhawut colonies from the parent state, until the reign of Sowae Jey Sing, who, with his means as lieutenant of the empire, compelled homage, submission, and pecuniary relief from them.
Shekhji left a well-established authority to his son, Raemul, of whom nothing is recorded.
Raemul was followed by Sooja, who had three sons, namely, Noonkurn, Raesil, and Gopal.
The elder succeeded to the patrimony of Amrutsir and its three hundred and sixty townships, while to his brothers, the fiefs of Lambi and Jharli were respectively assigned. With the second brother, Raesil, the fortunes of the Shekhawuts made a rapid stride, from an occurrence in which the Rajpoot appears in the position we desire to see him occupy.
Noonkurn, the chief of the Shekhawuts, had a minister named Devidas, of the banya or mercantile caste, and, like thousands of that caste, energetic, shrewd, and intelligent. He one day held an argument with his lord (which 'the result proves he maintained with independence), that " genius with good fortune was the first gift of heaven, and to be far more prized than a man's mere inheritance." Noonkurn warmly disputed the point, which ended by his telling the minister he might go to Lambi and make experiment of the truth of-his argument on his brother Raesil. Devidas lost no time, on this polite dismissal from his office, in proceeding with his family and property to Lambi. He was
- 1. The Punnees are a tribe of Doorannees, regarding whom Mr. Elphinstone's account of Cabul may be consulted. In after times, there was a chieftain of this tribe so celebrated for his generosity and hospitality, that his name has become proverbial:
- Bunne, to, bunne
- Nuhyn, Daod Khan Punne;
- that is, if they failed elsewhere, there was always Daod Khan in reserve. His gallant bearing, and death in Ferochser's reign, are related in Scotts excellent `History of the Dekhan'.
- 2 This will recall to the reader's recollection a similar custom in the ancient Persian empire, where the tribute of the distant Satrapies was of the same kind.Armenia, according to Herodotus, alone gave an annual tribute of twenty thousand colts.
[p.361]: received with the usual hospitality ; but soon discovered that Raesil's means were too confined to bear an additional burden, and that the field was too restricted to enable him to demonstrate the truth of the argument which lost him his place. He made known his determination to proceed to the imperial city, and advised Raesil to accompany him, and try his luck at court.
Raesil who was valiant and not without ambition, could only equip twenty horse, with which he arrived at Dehli just as an army was forming to oppose one of those Afghan invasions, so common at ,that period. In the action which ensued, Raesil had the good fortune to distinguish himself by cutting down a leader of the enemy, in the presence of the imperial general, which had a decided influence on the event of the day. inquiries were made for the brave unknown, who had performed this heroic deed ; but as, for reasons which will be perceived, he kept aloof from the quarters of his country men, the argument of Devidas would never have been illustrated, had not the imperial commander determined to seek out and reward merit. He ordered a grand `zeafut', or ' entertainment' to be prepared for the chiefs of every grade in the army, who were commanded afterwards to pay their respects to the general. As soon as Raesil appeared, he was recognised as the individual of whom they were in search.
His name and family being disclosed, his brother, Noonkurn, who was serving with his quota, was called, whose anger was peremptorily expressed at his presuming to appear at court without his permission : but this ebullition of jealousy was of little avail. Raesil was at once introduced to the great Akber, who bestowed upon him the title of Raesil Durbari,1 and a more substantial mark of royal favour, in a grant of the districts of Rewasso and Khasulli, then belonging to the Chundaila Rajpoots. This was but the opening of Raesil's career, for scarcely had he settled his new possessions, when he was recalled to court to take part in an expedition against Bhutnair. Fresh services obtained new favours, and he received a grant of Khundaila and Oodipoor, then belonging to the Nurbhan Rajpoots, who disdained to pay allegiance to the empire, and gave themselves up to unlicensed rapine.
Raesil finding it would be a work of difficulty to expel the brave Nurbhans from their ancient bapota (patrimony), had recourse to stratagem to effect his object. Previous to the expedition to Bhutnair, Raesil had espoused the daughter of the chief of Khundaila, and it is related that a casual expression, dropped on that occasion, suggested his desire to obtain it for himself. Being dissatisfied with the dower (daeja) given with his bride, he, with no commendable taste, pertinaciously insisted upon an increase ; upon which the Nurbhan chief, losing patience, hastily replied,
- " We have nothing
- 1 It is always agreeable to find the truth of these simple annals corroborated in the historical remains of the conquerors of the Rajpoots. The name of Raesil Durbari will be found, in the Ayeen Akberri, amongst the munsubdars of twelve hundred and fifty horse ; a rank of high importance, being equivalent to that conferred on the sons of potent Rajas.
- [p.362]: else to give, unless you take the stones of the hill."
The attendant Sooguni (augur), immediately turning to Raesil, said, in an undertone,
- " Tie a knot on the skirt of your garment in remembrance of this."
An expression like this from a prophetic tongue gave birth to the wish to be lord of Khundaila ; while his services to the king, and the imbecility of its Nurbhan possessor, conspired to fulfill it. Watching his opportunity, he marched against the place, and being in all probability supported by his liege lord, it was abandoned without defence, and the inhabitants tendered their submission to him. Henceforth, Khundaila was esteemed the principal city of the Shekhawut confederation ; and the descendants of Raesil, using his name as a patronymic, are styled Raesilote, occupying all southern Shekhavati ; while another branch of later origin, called Sadhani, holds the northern tracts. Immediately after the occupation of Khundaila, Raesil obtained possession of Oodipoor, formerly called Kasoombi, also belonging to the Nurbhans.1
Raesil accompanied his proper liege lord, the great Raja Maun of Amber, against the heroic Rana Pertap of Mewar. He was also in the expedition to Cabul, against the Afghans of Cohistan, in all of which enterprises he obtained fresh distinctions. Regarding his death, there is no record ; but his history is another illustration of the Rajpoot character, whilst it confirms the position of the Banya, that
- " genius and good fortune are far superior to inheritance."
Sons of Raisal
Raesil, at his death, had a compact and well-managed territory, out of which he assigned appanages to his seven sons, from whom are descended the various families, who, with relative distinctive patronymics, Bhojanis, Sadhanis, Larkhanis, Taj-khanis, Pursrampotas, Hurrampotas, are recognised throughout Rajwarra by the generic name of Shekhawut.
- 2. Larkhan . . Kachriawas.
- 4. Tirmul Rao . . Kasulli and eighty-four villages.
- 5. Pursram . . Bae.
- 6. Hur-ramji . . Moondurri.
- 7. Taj-khan . . No appanage.
We shall not break the thread of the narrative of the elder branch of Khundaila, " chief of the sons of Shekhji," to treat of the junior line, though the issue of Bhojraj have eclipsed, both in population and property, the senior descendants of Raesil.
Girdhur-ji succeeded to the prowess, the energy, and the estates of his father, and for a gallant action obtained from the emperor the
:1 The Nurbhan is a sach'ha, or ramification of the Chohan race. They had long held possession of these regions, of which Kais, or Kasoombi, now Oodipoor, was the capital, the city where the grand council of the confederation always meets on great occasions. This may throw light on the Cusoombee mentioned on the triumphal pillar at Dehli; the Nurbhan capital is more likely to be the town alluded to, than Cusoombee on the Ganges.
[p.363]. title of Raja of Khundaila. At this period, the empire was in a most disordered state, and the mountainous region, called Mewat, was inhabited by a daring and ferocious banditti, called Mewohs, who pillaged in gangs even to the gates of the capital. The task of taking, dead or alive, the leader of this banditti, was assigned to the chief of Khundaila, who performed it with signal gallantry and success. Aware that, by the display of superior force, his enemy would remain in his lurking places, Girdhur put himself on terms of equality with his foe, and with a small but select band hunted the Mewatti leader down, and in the end slew him in single combat. The career of Girdhur, short as it was brilliant, was terminated by assassination while bathing in the Jumna. The anecdote is descriptive of the difference of manners between the rustic Rajpoot and the debauched retainer of the court.
One of the Khundaila chief's men was waiting, in a blacksmith's shop, while his sword was repaired and sharpened. A Mooslem, passing by, thought he might have his jest with the unpolished Rajpoot, and after asking some impertinent questions, and laughing at the unintelligible replies in the Bakha of Rajwarra, slipped a heated cinder in the turban of the soldier : the insult was borne with great coolness, which increased the mirth of the Mussulman, and at length the turban took fire. The sword was then ready, and the Thakoor, after feeling the edge, with one blow laid the jester's head at his feet. He belonged to one of the chief nobles of the court, who immediately led his retainers to the Khundaila chief's quarters, and thence to where he was performing his religious ablutions in the Jumna,' and whilst engaged in which act, unarmed and almost unattended, basely murdered him. Girdhur left several children, Dwarca-das, his eldest son, succeeded, and soon after his accession nearly fell a victim to the jealousy of the Munohurpoor chief, the representative of the elder branch of the family, being the lineal descendant of Noonkurn. The emperor had caught a lion in the toils, and gave out a grand hunt, when the Munohurpoor chief observed that his relative, the Raesilote, who was a votary of Nahr-Singh, was the proper person to engage the king of the forest. Dwarca-das saw through his relative's treachery, but cheerfully accepted the proposal. Having bathed and prayed, to the astonishment of the king and court, he entered the arena unarmed, with a brazen platter containing the various articles used in pooja (worship), as grains of rice, curds, and sandal ointment, and going directly up to the monster, made the tilac on his forehead, put a chaplet round his neck, and prostrated himself in the usual attitude of adoration before the lion ; when, to the amazement of the spectators, the noble beast came gently up, and with his tongue repeatedly licked his face, permitting him to retire without the least indication of anger. The emperor, who concluded that his subject must " wear a charmed life," desired the Khundaila chief to make any request, with the assurance of compliance , when he received a delicate reproof, in the desire
[p.364]: " that his majesty would never place another person in the same predicament from which he had happily escaped."
Dwarca-das was slain by the greatest hero of the age in which he lived, the celebrated Khan Jehan Lodi, who, according to the legends of the Shekhawuts, also fell by the hand of their lord ; and they throw an air of romance upon the transaction, which would grace the annals of chivalry in any age or country. Khan Jehan and the chieftain of Khundaila were sworn friends, and when nothing but the life of the gallant Lodi would satisfy the king, Dwarca gave timely notice to his friend of the hateful task imposed upon him, advising either submission or flight. His fate, which forms one of the most interesting episodes in Ferishta's history, involved that of the Shekhawut chief.
He was succeeded by his son, Birsingdeo, who served with his contingent in the conquest of the Dekhan, and was made governor of Pernalla, which he had materially assisted in reducing. The Khundaila annalist is desirous to make it appear that his service was independent of his liege lord of Amber ; but the probability is that he was under the immediate command of the Mirza Raja Jey Sing, at that period the most distinguished general of his nation or of the court.
Jatni's opinion to Birsingdeo
Birsingdeo had seven sons, of whom the heir-apparent, Bahadoor Sing, remained at Khundaila ; while estates were assigned to his brothers, namely, Amur Sing, Siam Sing, Jugdeo, Bhopal Sing, Mokri Sing, and Paim Sing, who all increased the stock of Raesilotes. While the Raja was performing his duties in the Dekhan, intelligence reached him that his son at home had usurped his title and authority ; upon which, with only four horsemen, he left the army for his capital. When within two coss of Khundaila, he alighted at the house of a Jatni, of whom he requested refreshment, and begged especial care of his wearied steed, lest he should be stolen ; to which she sharply replied,
- "Is not Bahadoor Sing ruler here ? You may leave gold in the highway, and no one dare touch it."
The old chieftain was so delighted with this testimony to his son's discharge of a prince's duties, that, without disclosing himself or his suspicions, he immediately returned to the Dekhan, where he died.
Buhadoor Sing succeeded, and on his father's death repaired to the armies in the south, commanded by Aurungzeb in person. Being insulted by a Mooslem chief bearing the same name with himself, and obtaining no redress from the bigoted prince, he left the army in disgust, upon which his name was erased from the list of munsubdars.
The temple of Khandela destroyed by Aurangzeb
It was at this time the tyrant issued his mandate for the capitation-tax on all his Hindu subjects and for the destruction of their temples.1
- 1 The numerous rained shrines and mutilated statues in every town and village, still attest the zeal with which the bigot's orders were obeyed ; nor is there an image of any antiquity with an entire set of features (except in spots impervious to his myrmidons), from Lahore to Cape Comorin. Omkarji, whose temple is on a small island of the Nerbudda. alone, it is said, supported his dignity in the indiscriminate attack on the deities of Hind. "If they are sods said the tyrannical but witty iconoclast), let them evince their power, and by some miracle resist my commands." Omkarji received the first blow on his head, as if embued with mortal feeling, for the blood gashed from his nose and mouth, which prevented a repetition of the injury ! This sensibility, though without the power of avenging himself, made Omkar's shrine doubly respected, and it continues to be one of the best frequented and most venerated in these regions.
[p.365]: To the personal enemy of the Shekhawut was entrusted the two fold duty of exacting tribute, and the demolition of the temple the ornament of Khundaila, whose chief, degrading the name of Bahadoor (warrior) abandoned his capital; and the royal army had arrived within two coos without the appearance of opposition. The news spread over the lands of the confederacy, that Bahadoor had fled from Khundaila and that the Toork was bent on the destruction of its shrines. It reached the ear of Shujaun Sing, the chieftain of Chapowlee, a descendant of Bhojraj the second son of Raesil. Embued with all the spirit of this hero the brave Bhojani resolved to devote himself to the protection of the temple or perish, in its defence. At the moment the tidings reached him , he was solemnizing his nuptials on the Marwar frontier. Hastening home with his bride left her with his mother, and bade both a solemn farewell.
In vain his kindred, collecting round him, dissuaded him from his design, urging that It was Bahadoor Sing's affair, not his. " Am not I," he said also of Raesil's stock, and can I allow the Toork to destroy the dwelling of the Thakoor (lord), and not attempt to save it ? Would this be acting the part of a Rajpoot ? " As their entreaties were vain, they, to the number of sixty, resolved to accompany him, and share his fate. They were joined by a party of Bahadoor's adherents, and succeeded in entering Khundaila.
The imperial commander, to whom this unlooked-for opposition was Reported, well aware of what a Rajpoot is capable when excited to action, And perhaps moved by a generous feeling at seeing a handful of men oppose an army, requested that two of their number might be deputed to his camp to confer with him. He told them, that notwithstanding it was the king's command that he should raze the temple to the ground, he would be satisfied (if accompanied by proper submission) with taking off the kullus, or golden ball winch surmounted its pinnacle. They endeavoured to dissuade him ; offered money to the utmost possible amount of their means , but the answer was "The kullus must come down." One of these noble delegates, no longer able to contain himself, exclaimed. " Break down the kullus" as with some moist clay at his feet he moulded a ball, which he placed on a little mound before him ; and drawing his sword, repeated 'Break down the kullus' ! I dare you even to break this ball of clay'.
The intrepidity of this action gained the applause even of the foe had safe conduct to rejoin their brethren, and prepare them for the worst.
At this time Khundaila had no fortifications ; there was, however,
[p.366]: a gateway ,half way up the hill in the route of ascent, which led to the place of residence of its chieftains, adjoining which was the temple. One party was stationed in the gateway, while Shujaun reserved for himself the defence of the temple, in which he took post with his kinsmen. When the mercenaries of the tyrant advanced, the defenders of the gateway, after dealing many a distant death, marched upon them sword in hand, and perished. When they pushed on to the chief object of attack, the band issued forth in small detached parties, having first made their obeisances to the image, and carried destruction along with them. Shujaun was the last who fell. The temple was levelled to the earth, the idol being in pieces, and the fragments thrown into the foundation of a mosque erected on it's ruins. There is hardly a town of note in Rajwarra that has not to relate a similar tale of desperate valour in the defence of their household gods against the iniquitous and impolitic Aurangzeb. Khundaila received a royal garrison ; but the old officers, both territorial and financial, were retained by the conqueror.
Buhadoor Sing continued to reside in an adjacent township, and through his Dewan obtained a certain share of the crops and transit duties, namely, a seer out of every maund of the former, and one pice in every rupee of the latter. In process of time the family residence and gardens were given up to him, and when the Syeds obtained power he regained his country, though a garrison of the royal troops was retained, whose expenses he paid. He left three sons, namely, Kesuri Sing, Futteh Sing, and Oodi Sing.
Kesuri, solicitous to hold his lands on the same terms as his ancestors, namely, service to the lord-paramount, assembled his adherents, and with bis second brother, Futteh Sing, departed for the imperial camp, to proffer his service. The Munohurpoor chief, the elder branch of the family, was in the royal camp, and having regained his lost consequence by the depression of Khundaila, was by no means willing again to part with it. He intrigued with the second brother, Futteh Sing, to whom he proposed a division of the lands; the latter lent himself to the intrigue, and the Dewan, seeing that a family quarrel would involve the destruction of them all, repaired to Khundaila, and through the mother, a Gor Rajpootni, he advocated the partition. A census was accordingly made of the population, and a measurement of the lands, of which two portions were assigned to Futteh Sing, and the three remaining to the Raja. The town itself was partitioned in the same manner. Henceforth, the brothers held no intercourse with each other, and Kesuri preferred Kaotah as his residence, though whenever he came to Khundaila, Futteh Sing withdrew. Things remained in this state until the Dewan prompted his master to get rid of the agreement which had secured the ascendancy of, Munohurpoor in the Shekhawut federation, by destroying his brother. The Dewan arranged a friendly meeting at Kaotah for the avowed purpose of reconciliation, when Futteh Sing fell a victim to assassination ; but the instigator
[p.367]: to the crime met his proper reward, for a splinter of the sword which slew Futteh Sing entered his neck, and was the occasion of his death.
Kesuri Sing, having thus recovered all his lost authority, from the contentions at court conceived he might refuse the tribute of Rewasso, hitherto paid to the Ajmer treasury, while that of Khundaila went to Narnol. Syed Abdoolla, then Vizier, found leisure to recent, this insult and sent a force against Khundaila. Every Raesilote in the country assembled to resist the Toork, and even his foe of Munohurpoor sent his quota, led by the dhabhae (foster-brother), to aid the national cause. Thus strengthened, Kesuri determined to oppose the royal forces hand to hand in the plain, and the rival armies encountered at the border town of Deolee. While victory manifested a wish to side with the confederated Shekhawuts, the old jealousies of Munohurpoor revived, and he withdrew his quota from the field, at the same moment that the Kasulli chief, on whom much depended, was slain. To crown these misfortunes, the Larkhani chief of Danta, basely deeming this an opportunity to consult his own interest, abandoned the field, to take possession of Rewasso.
The ' lion ' of Khundaila (Kesuri), observing these defections, when the shout of " Jy ! jy ! " (victory, victory), already rang in his ears, could not help exclaiming, in the bitterness of despair, " Had Futteh Sing been here, he would not have deserted me." He disdained, however, to give way, and prepared to meet his fate like a true Raesilote. Sending to where the battle yet raged for his youngest brother, Oodi Sing, he urged him to save himself ; but the young Rajpoot scorned obedience to such a behest, until Kesuri made known his determination not to quit the field, adding that if he also were slain, there would be an end of his line. ' Others joined their persuasions, and even attempted to turn Kesuri from his purpose. " No," replied the chief, -" I have no desire for life ; two black deeds press upon me ; the murder of my brother, and the curse of the Charuns of Bikaner, whom I neglected at the distribution of the nuptial gifts. I will not add a third by dastardly flight." As Oodi Sing reluctantly obeyed, while the swords rung around him, Kesuri made a hasty sacrifice to Awinimata (mother earth), of which flesh, blood, and earth are the ingredients.
He cut pieces from his own body, but as scarcely any blood flowed, his own uncle, Mokum Sing of Allodah, parted with some of his, for so grand an obligation as the retention of Khundaila. Mixing his own flesh, and his uncle's blood, with a portion of his own sandy soil, he formed small balls in dan (gift), for the maintenance of the land to his posterity. The Dhomb (bard), who repeated the incantations, pronounced the sacrifice accepted, and that seven generations of his line should rule in Khundaila.1 The brave Kesuri was slain, the
- 1 The fifth, as will be seen hereafter, has been expelled, and
authority usurped by the Kasulli branch of the family, and unless some fortunate change should occur, the devotion of Kesuri was useless, and the prophecy must fall to the ground.
[p.368]: town taken, and Oodi Sing carried to Ajmer, where he remained three years in captivity. At this time, the chiefs of Oodipoor and Kasulli determined to cut off the royal garrison in Khundaila ; but apprehensive of the danger it might occasion to their chief, they sent a special messenger to Ajmer, to acquaint the viceroy of their scheme, previous to its execution, to prevent his being implicated. Khundaila was surprised, and Deonath and three hundred Toorks put to the sword.
The viceroy, desirous to recover the place, consulted his prisoner, who offered to reinstate him if he granted him liberty. The Nawab demanded a hostage, but the young Rajpoot said he knew of none but his own mother, who willingly became the pledge for her son. He fulfilled his agreement, and the viceroy was so pleased with his frank and loyal conduct, that on paying a large nuzzerana, he restored him to his capital.
Oodi Sing's first act was to assemble his brethren, in order to punish Munohurpoor, whose treachery had caused them so much misery. The foster-brother, who commanded on that occasion, was again entrusted with the command ; but he fled after a sharp encounter, and Munohurpoor was invested. Seeing he had no chance of salvation, he had again recourse to chal (stratagem). There were two feudatories of Noonkurn's line, joint holders of Khajrolli, who had long been at variance with Deep Sing of Kasulli, the principal adviser of the young Raja of Khundaila. They were gained over to the purpose of the Munohurpoor chief, who sent them with a private message to Deep Sing, that no sooner should Munohurpoor fall than he would be deprived of Kasulli. These treacherous proceedings were but too common amongst " the sons of Shekhji." Deep Sing fell into the snare, and at break of day, when the trumpets sounded for the assault, the drums of the Kasulli chief were heard in full march to his estate. Oodi Sing, thus deprived of his revenge, followed Deep Sing, who, aware of his inability to cope with his immediate chief, fled for succour to Jeipoor, and Kasulli fell a sacrifice to the artifices which preserved Munohurpoor. The great Jey Sing then ruled Amber ; he received the suppliant chief, and promised him ample redress, on his swearing to become his vassal and tributary. Deep Sing swore allegiance to the gadi of Jey Sing, and signed a tributary engagement of four thousand rupees annually !
Thus recommenced the supremacy of Amber over the confederated Shekhawuts, which had been thrown off ever since the dispute regarding the colts of Amrutsir, the ancient mark of homage, when " the sons of Shekhji " consisted only of a few hundred armed men. Shortly after this transaction, Jey Sing proceeded to the Ganges to fulfil certain rites upon an eclipse, and while performing his ablutions in the sacred stream, and the gifts for distribution to the priests being collected on the bank, he inquired "who was present to receive dan that day?" The Kasulli chief, spreading out the skirt of his garment, replied, he was an applicant. Such dan (gifts) being only
[p.369]: given to mangtas, or mendicants, in which class they put priests, poets, and the poor, the Raja asked, laughing, " What is your desire, T'hakoor ? " To which Deep Sing replied, that through his intercession the son of Futteh Sing might obtain his father's share of Khundaila; which request was complied with.
Rising of Jat power
This occurrence was in A.D. 1716, when the Jats were rising into power, and when all the minor Rajas served with their contingents under the great Jey Sing, as lieutenant of the emperor. Along with the princes of Kerowli, Bhadorea, Sheopoor, and many others of the third rank, was Oodi Sing of Khundaila. During the siege of Thoon, the Shekhawut chief was reprimanded for neglect of duty, and although he owed a double allegiance to Jey Sing, as his natural liege lord and lieutenant of the king, he would not brook the censure from one of his own race, and indignantly withdrew from the siege. Chooramun the Jat, having contrived to make his peace with the Syed vizier, when Thoon was upon the eve of surrender, and Oodi Sing being implicated in this intrigue, Jey Sing, who was mortified at an occurrence which prevented the gratification of a long-cherished , resentment against the upstart Jats, determined that the Khundaila chief should suffer for his audacity. Attended by the imperialists under Bazeed Khan, and all his home clans, he laid siege to the citadel called Oodigurh. Oodi Sing held out a month in this castle he had constructed and called by his own name, when his resources failing, he fled to Nuroo in Marwar, and his son, Sowae Sing, presented the keys, throwing himself on the clemency of the conqueror. He was well received, and pardoned on condition of becoming tributary to Amber. He followed the example of the Kasulli chief, and signed an engagement to pay annually one lakh of rupees. From this a deduction, of fifteen thousand was subsequently made. and in time being reduced twenty thousand more, sixty-five thousand continued to be the tribute of Khundaila, until the decay of both the parent state and its scion, when the weakness of the former, and the merciless outrages of the predatory powers, Pathan and Mahratta, rendered its amount uncertain and difficult to realize. Moreover, recalling his promise to Deep Sing, he restored the division of the lands as existing prior to the murder of Futteh Sing, namely, three shares to Sowae Sing, with the title of chief of the Shekhawuts, and two to Dheer Sing, son of Futteh Sing.
The young cousin chieftains, now joint-holders of Khundaila, attended their liege lord with their contingent; and Oodi Sing, taking advantage of their absence, with the aid of a band of outlawed Larkhanis, surprised and took Khundaila. Attended by the Jeipoor troops, the son performed the dutiful task of expelling his father from his inheritance, who again fled to Nuroo, where he resided upon a pension of five rupees a day. given by his son, until his death. He, however, outlived Sowae Sing, who left three sons : Bindrabun, who succeeded to Khundaila; Simboo, who had the appanage of Ranolli ; and Koosul, having that of Piperolli: