Bhai Udey Singh

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Bhai Udey Singh (b.-d.15 March 1843) was son of Bhai Lal Singh who was son of Desu Singh of Bidar - Jat clan and one of the Punjab Chiefs of Kaithal. Kaithal, earlier spelled as Kythal, town is now a district headquarter in Haryana.

The Kythal family

Lepel H. Griffin states:[1]The Kythal family was of so much importance in the Cis-Satlej States, and their history is so closely connected with that of Pattiala, that a sketch of it is essential here. The genealogy of the family is as follows :—

The genealogy of the Kythal family

The Kythal family have the same origin as the Phulkian. Gurbuksh Singh, the founder of the Chiefship, was the son of Bhai Ramdyal, who had a great reputation as a saint. The son was a fine soldier and an able man, but he had little of the saint about him, and thought more of annexing territory than of religion. He was a great friend of Raja Ala Singh of Pattiala, and they made many expeditions together, and he helped the Raja out of more than one difficulty. The possessions of Gurbuksh Singh were divided among his sons ; but they soon increased them. Desu Singh captured Kythal from some Afghans, Bhikh Baksh Khan and Nihmat Khan, and, with his brother Budha Singh, seized Thanesar, though the town and fort were afterwards taken from them by Sirdar Bhanga Singh, the fiercest and most feared of all the Cis-Satlej chiefs. When Desu Singh died in 1781, Lal Singh was in confinement as a rebel against his father, and Behal Singh, the elder son, did all he could to keep his brother in prison ; but he contrived to escape, killed his elder brother and took possession all the estates of his father, which he much enlarged by new acquisition. Lal Singh was, at the time of the British advance northwards, in 1809, the most powerful Cis-Satlej Chief, after the Raja of Pattiala. He was a very' able man, though utterly untrustworthy, and so violent and unscrupulous that the English authorities had the greatest difficulty in persuading him to maintain

[Page-52]: anything like order. In 1819, the Government allowed him to succeed to the share of the estate held by Mai Bhagbari, the widow of his first cousin Karam Singh. Partab Singh the elder son and then the younger son, Udai succeeded, but on the death of the latter without issue in 1843, the whole of the Kythal estate lapsed to Government, with the exception of that portion which had been acquired by the founder of the family, Bhai Gurbuksh Singh, and to which the collaterals of the Arnowli branch were permitted to succeed.

The Kythal State and its Pattiala frontier AD 1838

Lepel H. Griffin writes:[2] It is now necessary to go back in the history of Pattiala, and allude to its connection with the Kythal State. Bhai Udey Singh, the last Chief, was bedridden for some years before his death and unable to keep his State in order. This indeed he was always too weak and debauched to do ; but, in 1838 and 1839, the disorder and affrays on the Kythal and Pattiala Frontier became so serious, that trade was interrupted, and the peace of the whole country disturbed.*

The disorder which prevailed:

In the time of Bhai Lal Singh the two States had been firm friends, but now they secretly encouraged acts of plunder and aggression on each other's villages prevailed. Bands of armed men, 300 or 400 in number, would openly assemble, cross the border, plunder and burn villages, and kill the inhabitants, till all the smaller villages in the neighbourhood were deserted. This state of things was only partially stopped by a strong remonstrance addressed

* Despatch of Court Directors dated 13th February 1838 to Government of India. Government of India to Agent to Governor General Dehli 28th July 1838.


by the British authorities to the several Chiefs, insisting upon their putting an end to disorder, which not only injured their own territory, but that of the British Government.*

The death of Bhai Udey Singh, March 1843, and the lapse of Kythal territory

Bhai Udey Singh of Kythal died on the 15th of March 1843, and the Chiefship, with territory to the amount of one lakh of rupees per annum, devolved upon Bhai Gulab Singh of Arnowli, while the remaining territory, including Kythal, and worth about 4 lakhs of rupees per annum, escheated to the British Government. To the Rajas of Pattiala, Nabha and Jhind, this lapse was odious. They were connected with the Bhais of Kythal, and they wished to retain the whole of their large possessions in the family ; and they also imagined that the precedent was one which might be, at some future day, employed against themselves.

Phulkian Chiefs prepared to resist the British occupation of Kythal:

The Pattiala Raja had other and more personal motives. Bhai Udey Singh had lent to Ajit Singh, the spendthrift brother of Raja Karam Singh, large sums of money, and he feared that the British Government might exact payment of the bonds from him. He therefore prepared to oppose, as far as was safe, the resumption of the estate ; and his agents, with those of the other Rajas, went to Kythal, where Mr. Greathed had arrived on a special mission to enforce immediate compliance with the demands of Government. The Kythal ministers would not give any definite answer to these demands, and the Envoy addressed the Phulkian

* Mr. S. S. Brown, Magistrate Western Division Delhi Frontier to Agent to Governor General 18th September 1839.
Agent to Governor General to Political Agent Ambala, dated 26th September 1839.


Rajas, desiring them to withdraw their deputies from the Kythal Council, as otherwise they would incur the imputation of supporting the contumacy displayed. At first some disposition was shown to disregard this request ; but, on a serious warning being addressed to the Rajas, they withdrew their special agents and directed those ordinarily in attendance to confine their communications with Kythal to the forms of condolence and to admonitions against disobedience of the orders of Government.*

The result of intrigues:

But their intrigues had already produced sufficient mischief, and, on the 10th April, an insurrection broke out at Kythal, which soon became general and which the force with Mr. Greathed was not strong enough to repress. Reinforcements however quickly arrived, and the town and fort of Kythal were soon in possession of the British. The Maharaja of Pattiala now thought it time to show his loyalty, and, with 1,000 horse and two guns, surrounded the party of

Tog Singh, the leader of the insurgents, who had fled from Kythal and after a short skirmish, in which a few men were killed and wounded on either side, took him prisoner. Several other leaders of less note he also intercepted and captured. With Teg Singh were taken four elephants, two brass guns, one lakh and a half of rupees and a considerable quantity

* Mr. Clerk, Envoy to Court of Lahore to Government of India, 16th March 1843; to Mr. Greathed, I3th March; to Raja of Patiala, 17th, 27th, 30th, March. Mr. Greathed to Envoy to Lahore, 25th, 27th March and 8th April ; to Raja of Pattiala 24th March.


of other property, all of which the Raja forwarded to Mr G. Clerk at Ambala.*

The insurrection was crushed as speedily as it had broken out, but the Rajas were no better pleased than before at seeing the Kythal estate pass out of the hands of the then representative of the family. The British Government had ruled that only the acquisitions of Bhai Gurbaksh Singh, the great grand-father of the chief recently deceased and of his second cousin Gulab Singh, the new claimant, should be inherited by the latter, and the amount of these acquisitions it was most difficult to determine. The Rajas, who alone could give accurate information, at first declared ignorance of the matter; and, at last, only replied in general terms, urging the claims of the nearest of kin or of the widow to the whole of the territory. Their objections were, however, set aside and the case finally settled at the close of 1844.

The beginning of the year 1845 did not find any of the great Sikh Chiefs south of the Satlei well disposed towards the English Government. The disastrous campaign in Afghanistan had produced upon them an effect even more powerful than on the

* Mr. Clerk to Government of India, 11th, 17th and 25th April. To Raja of Pattiala, 11th, 12th and 14th April 1843. Mr. Greathed to Mr. Clerk, 10th April. Raja of Pattiala to Mr. Clerk, 13th, 15th and 16th April 1843.
† Colonel Richmond, Agent to Governor General, to Government of India 14th October 1844. Maharaja of Pattiala to Agent Governor General, 29th September. Secretary to Government North Western Provinces to Major Broadfoot, Agent Governor General 28th December 1844. Court of Dilators’ Despatch, No. 83, dated 25th October



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