Desu Singh

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Desu Singh (Bhai Desu Singh) (b.-d.1781) of Bidar - Jat clan was Punjab Chief, the Jat gotra Buria started from their ancestral kingdom named Budia.

The Kythal family

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.

History

Modern Kaithal was founded by descendants of Desu Singh. In 1767 Kaithal fell into the hands of the Sikh chieftain, Bhai Desu Singh, whose descendants, the Bhais of Kaithal, ranked among the most powerful Cis-Satlej states. Their territories lapsed to the British in 1843.

The new minister at Dehli and his campaign AD 1779

Lepel H. Griffin writes: [1] Nawab Majd-ud-doulah Abd-ul-ahd was now minister at Delhi. He was an ambitious and covetous man and was not destitute of ability ; but he had little courage, and it was audacity alone which, in the last days of the Empire, could command success. He determined, however, to make an effort to recover the Malwa country from the Sikhs, and set out from Dehli, in November 1779, with a considerable force and accompanied by Prince Farkhunda Bakht. He reached Karnal without meeting any resistance and here was joined by Sirdar Bhagel Singh Krora Singhia ; * Sahib Singh Khundawala and Karam Singh Shahid. The envoys of Bhai Desu Singh Kythal had accompanied the Nawab from Dehli, and there is little doubt that this Chief hoped, by early submission, to gain the favor of the Imperial party and obtain an advantage over his rival, Amar Singh of


[Page-51]: Pattiala, whom he would have been delighted to crush. But in this he was totally disappointed. The Nawab much wished to reconquer the Malwa territory, but he wanted more; and Bhai Desu Singh was reputed to be rich.

Bhai Desu Singh fined

On a charge of not having paid his arrears of revenue he was seized, and four lakhs of rupees were demanded from him as a fine. Of this he contrived to pay three lakhs ; and for the payment of the balance, he gave his son Lai Singh as a hostage. [Page-51]


And the Nawab makes a hasty retreat: His only thought was of retreat, and, according to Sikh tradition, he gave the Chiefs, by the interested advice of Bhagel Singh Krora Singhia, the greater portion [Page-52] of the three lakhs of rupees which he had extracted from Bhai Desu Singh, on their agreeing not to molest his retreat. The Muhammadans say, on the other hand, that the Sikhs bribed the Nawab to retire, and this is perhaps more probable. At any rate, Bhai Lal Singh, the son of Bhai Desu Singh, was carried a prisoner to Dehli and there tortured as his father had not paid the balance of the tribute claimed from him. [Page-53]

References


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