History of the Jats/Chapter X

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History of the Jats

Ram Sarup Joon

1967 (Eng Tr by Lieutenant Colonel Dal Singh)

Printed at the Jaitly Printing Press, 147, Lajpat Rai Market,Delhi-6

Chapter X: Rise of Jats against Aurangzeb and establishment of Jat states

Emperor Aurangzeb's ambition

Emperor Aurangzeb was conscious of the density of Jat population in the Indo-Gangetic plain surrounding his Capital Delhi. It was his ambition to convert these brave and industrious people to Muslim religion and thus strengthen the Muslim rule in India. In his autobiography he has recorded his views that this task could only be completed by coercion and continuous pressure on the Jat community, but he failed. This was mainly because the whole Jat population was socio-politically knitted into Khaps in an orderly manner and could easily rise as one man against any oppression when their reputation and honour was at stake. Further they, had the courage and power of resistance.

The Battle Of Tilpat

To implement his oppressive policy towards the Jats, Aurangzeb appointed the fanatic Chief Murshid Ali Khan as ruler of Mathura and Abdul Ghani Khan as Subedar of Agra. Abdul Ghani Khan concentrated on looting the Hindus and demolishing of temples. Murshid Ali started roaming the villages in quest of pretty women. With a Muslim patrol all disguised as Hindus, he went to a fair at Mathura, Spotting

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some beautiful Hindu girls, he carried them by force to the boats waiting on the banks of River Jamuna, raped them and then transported them to the Moghul Court at Delhi. When this act came to be known, the Jats Khaps of Agra got together A leader Gokal Singh unfurled his turban as an improvised banner and 20,000 Jats volunteered in the field of Tilpat situated 12 miles from Delhi near Okhla.

Gokala sent a messenger to Aurangzeb that Jats were ready for battle against the Moghul forces, which should be sent forth with for the final decision. Aurangzeb replied through the messenger that their stand against the royal army would be disastrous and they should return to their homes, their grievances would be redressed and due compensation paid. Jats were too hurt to care for the compensation. Gokal Singh sent the reply

'Lost reputation can not be compensated so easily'. Jats have had enough of your rule, therefore they have come for a decision. Come Forward'.

Aurangzeb ordered a huge army under the command of Chiefs Syed Hasan Ali and Jehan Khan with implicit instructions to crush the obstinate Jats. The king himself rode in the 'howdaha' of an elephant in personal command of heavy artillery. A bloody battle ensued, in which a large number of casualties occurred on both sides. The artillery fire scattered the Jats. Gokal Singh, was captured, taken to Agra and mercilessly hatched limb by limb. The Jats dispersed but continued raiding royal pargnas around Tilpat.

The death of Gokal Singh roused the spirit of the Jats, who pledged to continue their struggle. One leader after another came to the fore till the Moghul rule came to an end.

Faujdar Raja Ram (1686 - 1688 A.D.)

Faujdar Raja Ram who belonged to Village Sinsini (Bharatpur) came to the forefront as a Jat leader

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15 years after the death of Gokal Singh. He made an alliance with another Jat leader Ram Chehra of Sagaryas.

With mutual co-operation they recruited and organised a well disciplined army trained in modern warfare and equipped with modern weapons. A fort was constructed by him at a place near Sansani. On completion of these basic requirements, Raja Ram started raiding the royal treasuries and caravans. He organised a net work of out posts in such a manner that no royal convoy could pass unchallenged. Once he laid siege of Agra with the intention of destroying the Mausoleum of Akbar. He did not, however, achieve his aim because of the valiant action of Abdul Fazal, Commander of Moghul forces in Sikandra at Agra. Once the Jats attacked the camp of Khan Bahadur near Dholpur, killed his son-in-law and 80 soldiers and carried away a large number of horses, carts and muslim women. Aurangzeb was very much perturbed with these activities but he was fully occupied with Marathas in Deccan at that time. In 1686 he sent an army under Zafar Jung Kokaltash to crush the Jats which was badly beaten back Again in 1687 more troops were sent for a similar campaign under Bidar Bakht, the eldest son of Prince Azam, assisted by Khan Jehan. But this force also failed to achieve results.

Raja Ram attacked the camp of Mir Ibrahim alias Mahabat Khan and killed or wounded 190 soldiers. Thereafter he advanced towards the Punjab and lay encamped on the banks of the River Jamuna. He attacked the mausoleum of Akbar, plundered it and defeated Shaista Khan, the Governor of Agra. Bidar Kakht retreated without fighting. Raja Ram was killed in the battle while helping Chauhan rulers against Sekhawats, who had the support of the Moghuls. He had infused a new spirit in the Jats within two years of his leadership which proved valuable for further struggles against, the rule of the proud and fanatic Aurangzeb. Faujdar Raja Ram can easily be compared with Shiva Ji. While Shivaji was helped by the mountainous features in the area of

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operation, Raja Ram fought the Moghuls in the plains which favoured larger armies.

Faujdar Bhaja Singh (1688-1691 A.D.)

After the death of Raja Ram his father Bhaja Singh became the leader of Jat confederacy and continued plundering and narrating the Moghuls.

Aurangzeb appointed Raja Bishan Singh, grandsons of Mirza Raja Sawai Jai Singh, the Governor of Mathura and promised him of Jagir of Sinsini. Raja Bishan Singh was very loyal to the Moghuls and took an oath to destroy the fort of Fauzdar Bhaja Singh. Prince Bidar Bakht launched an attack on Sansani. His troops could not advance through the thick undergrowth surrounding the fort. The attack got halted and Bidar Bakht laid siege. It took them four months to close in with the walls of the fort. During this period the royal troops were constantly harassed by Jat rallies particularly against their lines of communication. Finally they managed to place a charge against the gate. The Jats had foreseen this and had buttressed the walls and gates with stones and earth work. The charge exploded out wards and inflicted casualties in the Moghul Army. In 1590, with another effort the wall was breached and ultimately the fort was captured. The Jats in this encounter took a toll of 200 Moghuls and 700 Rajputs. They lost the fort only after fighting to the last man and last round. Bhaja Singh retired to the fortress of Sogaryas. It is said that in 1691 Raja Bishan Singh entered surreptitiously into the fortress of Sogaryas, when its gates were open for supplies and succeeded in capturing and killing Bhaja Singh with his 500 followers, thus keeping his word to his masters, the Moghuls.

Faujdar Churaman (1695-1121 A.D.)

After the death of Bhaja Singh, his grandson Churaman (son of the younger brother of Raja Ram

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assumed the leadership of the Jats. He was brave, and perseverance, and soon consolidated his strength. He raised an Army of 500 Cavalry and 1,000 Infantry, and with the alliance of Chief Nand Ram of Hathras and Mursan started attacking royal treasuries and Parganas. Churaman established his Headquarters-in a fort which he constructed in the marshy Jungles with impregnable mud walls and deep motes. This fort was latter called Bharatpur. Jats came readily to his army which soon expanded to 12,000. He preferred to collect arms rather than money. The movement of royal caravan was practically stopped within his territory. In 1704, he regained the fort of Sinsini from the Moguls. When a war was going on between Bahadur Shah and Azam, the two sons of Aurangzeb, Churaman plundered both the armies near Samugarh. Later, Bahadur Shah, who emerged victorious offered to appoint him Sardar of 500 horsemen, and 1,000 footmen to win over his support. This lure, however, did not work with Churaman and he remained independent. The declining power of Moghul Empire enabled Sardar Churaman to extend his influence upto River Chambal. He had always an eye on the throne of Delhi. Once he came close to it under the pretext of helping Jahandar Shah and then plundered him near Agra. This act of Sardar Churaman annoyed Farukh Siyar. Churaman was persuaded to seek apology at the instance of Chelaram, the Governor of Agra and Shamsuddin. He presented himself in the royal court but as the entire force of Jats was at the back of Churaman the king did not consider it prudent to punish him. Instead, to win his favour he was granted permission to collect taxes on the road from Delhi to Chambal. This liberal concession from the Emperor made Churaman the undisputed ruler of the territory. This was not liked by the Rajputs who inspite of their services to the king found a Jat winning favour. Sawai Raja Jai Singh received large funds from the Moghul courts and with the support of Bhim Singh Hada, of Kotah, Gaj Raj Singh Rathore of Mewar, and Budh Singh Hada

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of Bundi, besieged the fort of Thun in 1716. Mohakam Singh son of Churaman and his nephew Roop Singh, put up a stiff resistance to the forces of Jai Singh with the help of other Jats.

Later, Sardar Abus Samad came from Lahore to help Jai Singh. He was a rival of Syed Abdullah and the Syed could not tolerate his success.

Therefore, he corresponded with Churaman and persuaded him to pay Rs 36 Lakhs. The Jats vacated the fort of Thoon but it was not considered a victory for either of the two parties. Churaman became a trusted friend of the Syed Brothers. After the death of Farusksiyar he joined hands with Syed Hussain Ali, and besieged Neku Shah in the fort of Agra. Hussain Ali promised to give him the title of Raja but before fulfilling his promise, he died. In 1726, Syed Abdullah declared war against Mohammed Shah and Churaman helped him by attacking and plundering the camp of the latter. Thereafter, he considered himself a full independent ruler.

It was an irony of fate that Sardar Churaman remained mostly engaged with outsiders and forgot to keep his house in order. There arose some difference between him and his nephew Badan Singh. Sardar Churaman imprisoned Badan Singh. Annoyed with this treatment, Badan Singh joined Raja Jai Singh against his uncle. Churaman became disgusted with these family tangles and committed suicide by taking poison.

The death of Churaman left a void in the Jat echelons. Raja Jai Singh exploited this, besieged the sons of Churaman with 14,000 troops and captured Churaman's fort. It is said that the fort was captured after 2 moths siege only after Badan Singh divulged the vulnerability of the fort to Raja Jai Singh. The sons of Churaman left the place and took shelter with Raja Ajit Singh of Bundi.

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Thakur Badan Singh

As already mentioned, Thakur Badan Singh had conspired against his uncle Churaman and helped Raja Jai Singh in subjugating Jats. Consequently the title of Thakur was conferred upon Badan Singh by Raja Jai Singh and he was placed on the throne as a successor to Churaman. Badan Singh was an opportunist and after getting the power, did not remain loyal to Raja Jai Singh. He started consolidating his power and soon got rid of the domination of Jaipur and Ajmer. With the alliance of the Minas of Mewat, he started hostilities against Jaipur state. Raja Jai Singh found himself in a perilous situation due to Badan Singh's regular harassment. He tried to appease Badan Singh by giving him a Jagir with an annual income of 18 Lakhs. Thakur Badan Singh ardor cooled down and he constructed a fort at Vaer with this remuneration. At this time Nadir Shah invaded the Moghuls. Badan Singh exploited the opportunity and occupied several Moghul forts. He strengthened diplomatic relations with the Rathore Rajas. Abhai Singh and Ajit Singh, of Bundi who gave him the title of Brij Raj. The title was recognised by all the Rajas of that area.

Raja Suraj Mal

After the death of Raja Jai Singh, Suraj Mal got the title of Raja through the ceremony of 'Rajsu Yagya'. He had a dominating personality and proved to be an excellent leader. The songs of his glory still resound in the remotest corners of Jat villages

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People hear with deep interest the deep of their esteemed Raja through local bards (jogis). With great enthusiasm he began to extend his kingdom. He was a powerful Raja, yet he was a paragon of simplicity. He discarded his royal regalia and always remained attired in the ordinary Brij dress and spoke the language of the people. During his reign, he achieved all round fame and in the Moghul Durbar, he was compared with Asafjah Bahadur of Hyderabad. He had an inherent desire to capture the throne of Delhi, but could not achieve it because of the Rajput support enjoyed by the Moghuls.

He, however, attacked Jaipur and amply demonstrated his strength. The death of Raja Jai Singh led to a struggle of succession to the throne of Jaipur. The eldest son, and heir was Kanwar Ishwari Singh. The second son was Kanwar Madhi Singh, he was proud of his strength and the strength of his maternal uncle belonging to Sisodia dynasty. He wanted to seize the throne forcibly. He collected a large number of troops and sought the help of Madav Rao Holkar, Ganga Dhar Tantia, Rana of Mewar, Rathores of Jodhpur and Hadas of Kotah.

Ishwari Singh had only one supporter, Raja Surajmal. On 20 Aug 1749, a clash took place at Bagru. On the first day it was an Artillery battle. On the second day due to the death of Shiv Singh Bahadur, Ishwari Singh's forces were greatly demoralized. On the third day Ishwari Singh lost heart, handed over the command of his troops to Raja Suraj Mal and retired from the battle field. Ganga Dhar Tantia raided the artillery, butchered all gunners and spiked the guns. Raja Surajmal counter attacked the Marathas so furiously, that within two hours Ganga Dhar Tantia's forces started running like rabbits and finally deserted the battle field. Raja Suraj Mal chased them for a long distance and with his own sword killed 50 persons and wounded 198. Darkness alone saved the situation for Ganga Dhar Tantia. On the fourth decisive day of battle, Madho Singh accepted defeat and retired to his maternal grand father's state of Chittor.

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Raja Suraj Mal proved a fierce foe to the Moghuls as well, Moghuls tried to capture Bharatpur. The Moghul Chief Sadat Khan marched from Delhi, on the pretext of advancing against Ram Singh Marwari, but cunningly captured one of the out posts of Bharatpur. He started a rumour that Suraj Mal was defeated. When Suraj Mal got news of the Moghul troops in his territory he attacked them and dispersed them pell-mell. The next day he besieged the Moghul Camp. After a siege of three days, Sadat Khan escaped from the Camp at night. He apologized, made peace and left Bharatpur. In 1729 Raja Suraj Mal gave shelter to Chaudhari Charandas of Ballabhgarh, who had sent to his well deserved death ,Murtaza Khan, the Governor of Faridabad. A royal Firman was issued from the Moghul Court that Charan Dass, should be handed over for trial. Raja Suraj Mal ignored the royal orders regardless of the consequences. The Rohilla Nawab who was a friend of Raja Suraj Mal, warned the Grand Wazier Safdar Jang, that the Moghuls would not be successful against the Jats. This advice was accepted by the Moghuls, who took no further action. Gradually the relations between Moghuls and Suraj Mal improved and Suraj Mal succeeded in getting Faridabad as a Jagir for Charan Dass. After some time, there arose some differences between the Emperor and Grand Wazir Safdar Jang. Safdar Jang was relieved of the appointment of Grand Wazir and he took shelter with Suraj Mal. On his instigation, Raja Suraj Mal attacked Delhi. The Royal treasuries were plundered under the noses of the Moguls. The Emperor of Delhi reconciled with Raja Suraj Mal with the mediation of Raja Madho Singh, and restored Safdar Jang as Grand Wazir. This annoyed Ghazi Uddin, the nephew of the Emperor, who he became an enemy of Raja Suraj Mal.

With continuous propaganda and winning over

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some nobles, Ghazi Uddin again succeeded in overthrowing Safdar Jang and became Grand Wazir in his place. He then planned to take revenge from Raja Suraj Mal.

In 1754, with the support of Raguhunath Rao Maratha, he marched towards Bharatpur and besieged the fort. After a seige of three months, the Jats made up their mind to perform 'Johar' came out and fought to the last man.

The wise Rani Kishori, however, counseled diplomacy in preference to this desperate act. She sent a turban and three leaves of Bel to Jiyaji Rao Maratha. The symbolic implication of this gift was well understood by the Maratha Chief and this created a sensation in the Maratha Gamp.

They prepared to fulfill their obligations towards Rani Kishori. This led to a suspicion amongst Mughals that Raja Suraj Mal had conspired with Marathas and that is why they could not capture the fort. Ghazi Uddin requested the Emperor to send heavy artillery. Suraj Mal had anticipated this reaction, and had got a message through to the Emperor that Ghazi Uddin had evil motives against him, and he should not part with the artillery in his own interest.

The emperor got suspicious, gave orders at once against the movement of artillery out of Delhi, and hurriedly proceeded to Aligarh to get additional recruitment for his army to guard against Ghazi Uddin. Ghazi Uddin had perforce to retire from Bharatpur.

Ahmed Shah Abdali

After the death of Shah Alamgir II, there were two rival nobles at the Delhi court, Ghazi Uddin and Nazibudaulah. Some dissident courtiers invited Ahmed Shah Abdali from Kabul to counter Ghazi Uddin. With the help of these accomplices, Ahmed Shah Abdali succeeded in removing Ghazi Uddin from Wazarat, and obtained one crore of rupees as indemnity. On 29th June 1757 Ahmed Shah Abdali sat on throne of Delhi and issued coins in his name. Ghazi Uddin with his friends sought asylum at Bharatpur.

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Ahmed Shah Abdali wrote to Raja Suraj Mal to pay a fire of Rs one crore or he ready for war. Raja Suraj Mal accepted the challenge. He sent his son Jawahar Singh on a flank to Balabgarh and himself attacked the forces of Abdali when they were yet busy in preparations for the action.

On 12 Feb 1757, Durrani's forces created havoc in Bharatpur and massacred, a large number of innocent people. Though the Jats had suffered heavy casualties, Durrani dared not proceed to attack Deeg and Bharatpur. Due to this heavy bloodshed Cholera broke out in Durrani's forces and they had to leave the Jat territory. Suraj Mal preferred to face all these troubles than to give up one who had sought his protection.

Battle Of Panipat

The political aim of Ahmed Shah Abdali was to create differences between Hindus and Muslims and thereby strengthen the Delhi throne. To some extent he succeeded in his evil designs. With this ignoble policy, a country wide resentment spread amongst Hindus. By this time the Marathas had got sufficient power in Deccan. They became champion of the people's cause and decided to have a pitched battle with Abdali. They rushed messengers to all Hindu rulers and asked them to unite and support Marathas for the common cause of defending the religion. It is a pity, that the Rajput rulers did not respond favorably and gave an evasive reply. However, the daring Jat Ruler Raja Suraj Mal volunteered readily with his formidable Jats force.

On the other side all the Muslims rulers in India, united to support Ahmed Shah Abdali. Ahmed Shah cunningly invited Ghazi Uddin with the assurances that he would reinstate him as Grand Wazir. Suraj Mal permitted Ghazi Uddin to return to Abdali, but he was so heavily indebted to the Jats, that he categorically rejected Abdali's invitation.

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An operational conference was held at Agra to discuss the plans for the battle against Abdali. Suraj Mal was a tactician of high caliber. He appreciated that the enemy had superior forces. The only way in which Marathas could win was by organizing their forces into highly mobile hard hitting groups. He suggested that they should shed their heavy baggage and their families and send them across River Chambal to the fort of Deeg for safety. He also advised that they should avoid pitched battle, conduct guerilla warfare and continue harassing and delaying the enemy till the on-set of the rainy season. By this time Abdali's forces which were not accustomed to hard life would get demoralized and worn out. Then the Marathas should attack, and neutralize the enemy forces. These tactics of Raja Suraj Mal were very much appreciated by all the Maratha Chiefs except (Sadashiv) Raghunath Rao Bhau, who considered the adoption of these tactics to be below his dignity. He bluntly told Suraj Mal that the Marathas did not need help or guidance from any quarter for the battle of Panipat. Inspite of this Raja Suraj Mal remained in support with Ghazi Uddin and 18,000 troops. In July 1760, Marathas occupied Delhi, Ghazi Uddin was appointed Wazir and a prince of Moghul dynasty was placed on the throne of Delhi. But soon after, much against the wishes of Raja Suraj Mal, the Marathas removed Ghazi Uddin from Wazarat and appointed a Mahratta in his place.

They ordered the golden ceiling of Diwan-e-Am to be removed. Raja Suraj Mal, disapproved of this action and told them that being a thing of beauty it should not be destroyed. He offered to pay a sum of Rs Five lakhs to Marathas, provided they spared the historical monument but Marathas did not desist from doing so and ultimately they got gold worth Rs 3 lakhs only out of it.

The patience of Suraj Mal got exhausted by these

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ravages and the insulting behavior of Bhau. He left for Bharatpur without informing anyone. Raja Suraj Mal, now had two enemies, and obviously he was required to fight whoever came out victorious.

The Marathas were badly defeated at the Battle of Panipat. A large number of them were butchered, their treasury was looted, their woman molested and they fled away from the battlefield helter-skelter, worn and weary, naked and hungry, the Maratha soldiers entered the territory of Raja Suraj Mal. He looked after them, gave them food and clothes and finally bid them farewell after giving one rupee and one seer of gram to each for their home journey. A sum of Rs 10 lakhs was spent by Raja Suraj Mal on this occasion.

The Battle Of Farukh Nagar And Delhi

Suraj Mal always coveted the fertile lands of Haryana. Coincidence provided him with a suitable excuse. In July 1763, Nawab Masawi Khan of Farukhnagar, with a party, went out for hunting in his territory, near Village Surahti in Tehsil Jhajjar. He chanced to see a Jat girl who, with a group of girls, was cutting grass. The Nawab got instantly emotional by the beauty of the girl. When he asked for the name she rudely ticked him off. That further aggravated the vanity of the Nawab. He summoned her father and asked for her hand in marriage. The father asked for time before he could give his consent.

In the meantime he called the Panchayat and left the decision to them. The marriage was not acceptable to the Panchayat. They were in a quandary, acceptance was dishonorable, to refuse was hazardous. Emissaries were sent to Bharatpur. Suraj Mal, however declined to help giving the excuse that the village was not in his jurisdiction, the Nawab was

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their ruler and he had the support of the Emperor. The Panchayat was disappointed. However the elder Kanwar (prince) Jawahar Singh promised to help and advised them to fix the date of marriage during the dark phase of the moon and let him know the date. On the appointed night, while the Nawab and his army were busy in merry-making, Jawahar Singh crept up to the fort in darkness with 200 volunteers. He killed a large number of them and then laid siege to the fort. At the same time, he sent a fast camel rider to Bharatpur. On hearing the news, Suraj Mal proceeded to Farukh Nagar and reinforced Jawahar Singh.

The author of "Ibrat Nama" writes that after a siege of two months, the Nawab opened the gate of the fort and surrendered. He was sent to Bharatpur. Suraj Mal then advanced towards Bhadurgarh. At the time Najib Uddaula, the grand vazir of Delhi was awaiting the return of Ahmad Shah Abdali who was having a sojourn with the Nawab of Oudh, probably in fear of Najib Uddaula. Suraj Mal besieged Delhi and demanded the area around Delhi. Simultaneously, he had sent Kanwar Nahar Singh across the Jamuna to keep an eye on the Rohillas and prevent them from joining the forces atDelhi.

On the 24th of December, 12,000 troops of the Royal Army came out engaged in battle with Suraj Mal's Army which numbered 6,000. The enemy suffered 1,000 casualties. But Suraj Mal was also killed in the encounter. His army recovered his headless body and retired to Bharatpur.

Sawai Maharaja Jawahar Singh-Bharat Indra

Maharaja Jawahar Singh was extravagant, willful, ambitious and energetic. He could never get on well with his father. Suraj Mal always felt that he would be responsible for bringing about the end of the Jat Kingdom. That is why he wanted his younger son Nahar Singh to be his successor. This created a big

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problem for all his nobles. At the time of Raja Suraj Mal's death Jawahar Singh was in Farukhnagar. Raja Suraj Mal's nobles placed Nahar Singh on the throne. On hearing this news Jawahar Singh lost his temper and sent a letter to Bharatpur expressing how painful it was that while the dead body of his father Suraj Mal was restless for his head, his sons were quarrelling among themselves for the throne. Jawahar Singh announced that he would soon return to Bharatpur and would contend for the throne only after taking revenge for his fathers head.

By the time he reached Bharatpur, the news had spread that Jawahar Singh took shelter with the Raja of Karauli. Bal Ram brother in-law of Raja Suraj Mal the commander of Bharatpur forces, closed the gates of Bharatpur fort and prepared for war against Jawahar Singh. Ultimately, however, he accepted Jawahar Singh's claim to the throne.

In October 1764, Jawahar Singh marched against Delhi with 100 guns 60,000 soldiers of his own, 25,000 Maratha soldiers of Holkar and 15,000 Sikh soldiers.

After a siege of several months Najibuddin appealed for peace. But Jawahar Singh was determined to take revenge for his father, by severing the head of Najibuddaulah. After several days, some Rohilla leaders came to the camp of Jawahar Singh with Zubita Khan who sought the intervention of Maharaja Holkar. Holkar tried to persuade Jawahar Singh to make peace on the condition that the hand of a Moghul Princess would be given to him in marriage and the whole expenditure for war would be paid by Najibuddaulah. Jawahar Singh accepted this offer and returned to Bharatpur.

In February 1765 a treaty was signed on payment of Rs. 60 Lakhs as war indemnity and the hand of & Moghul Princess, who was later married to a Frenchman, Captain Samru. In this treaty Holkar had accepted a bribe from

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Najibuddaulah and acted treacherously towards Jawahar Singh. When these things became known to Jawahar Singh relations between him and Holkar became strained.

Maharaja Sawai Jawahar Singh ascended the throne of Bharatpur with the title of Bharat Indra. He punished all those courtiers who had opposed his succession to the throne. Nahar Singh fought a war against him with the help of Karauli and the Marathas, but was defeated. Jawahar Singh helped the Raja of Dholpur to be independent of the Marathas. He also made alliances with the East India company against the Maratha Leader, Raghunath Rao. He had his maternal uncle Balram murdered. Raja Suraj Mal had been maintaining superficially friendly relations with Raja Madho Singh of Jaipur, inspite of his having a born foe of the Bharatpur 'Raj'. Jawahar Singh, did not approve of it. After the death of Nahar Singh, his wife and his children were called back by Jawahar Singh from Jaipur to Bharatpur, but Madho Singh refused to send them.

In reply, Jawahar Singh gave shelter to Pratap Singh, a rebel Sardar of Jaipur, and demanded Pargana Kama of Jaipur which was adjacent to Bharatpur. He further annoyed Madho Singh by adopting the title of Sawai, which was the title adopted by Madho Singh's father, Raja Jai Singh only.

The Pushkar episode

Maharani Kishori, wife of Maharaja Suraj Mal, who had adopted Jawahar Singh, was adept at political intrigues. She was pained to see that Jawahar Singh was not adopting a favourable policy towards the members of the family and the nobles. She knew that he could be controlled only by keeping him engaged in warfare. She also knew that the Rajputs could never tolerate this abrupt rise of Jat rule and would always resist the latter's efforts to gain power. The solution for both the problems lay in war. Kishori

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expressed her desire to her proud son that she wanted to go for a sacred bath at Pushkar. Jawahar Singh pointed out that Pushkar was situated in the territory of his eternal and deadly foe, Raja Madho Singh, who would not tolerate her arrival at Pushkar with a large retinue, and advised her that if at all she was keen to go for Pushkar bath, she would go with only a few followers and Rupa Ram the Purohit. The Rani retorted by saying that she was the mother of Jawahar Singh, and the Rani of Suraj Mal and taking a bath like Marwari women would hurt her pride, and that she would like to take her bath along with the Rajput Ranis there. She would also like to give away alms surpassing the Rajput Ranis. She said, she did not understand why the Jats should be afraid of the Rajputs any longer. Jawahar Singh knew well that this would lead to warfare and bloodshed.

Jawahar Singh made the big mistake of leaving Pratap Singh the rebel of Jaipur, for the defence of Bharatpur. He considered Partap Singh to be a reliable man, but in this he was deceived.

Jawahar Singh marched to Pushkar with 60,000 Cavalry, 1 lakh Infantry and 200 guns. With fluttering banners and beating drums they entered Jaipur territory and set up a impressive camp in the sandy plains of Pushkar.

Rani Kishori was weighed in gold which was given in charity. The other Ranis who had come on this occasion felt humiliated because they were not in a position to match the charity of Rani Kishori. The Rajput vanity was hurt. Pratap Singh, who was left as the guardian of Bharatpur in the absence of Jawahar Singh, also came to know of this. He left Bharatpur undefended, and joined the camp of Madho Singh. Pratap Singh instigated Madho Singh against Jawahar Singh. All the Rajput rulers assembled at Pushkar and held a conference in which no Jat rulers were invited. Raja Madho Singh said in this conference that the Jat ruler had injured the vanity of all the Rajputs.

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It was here that a witty Marwari, Raja Vijay Singh pointed out that after all the Jats were also Hindus and if they donated liberally on this auspicious occasion according to their financial position, it must not be taken as humiliation by Rajputs. Madho Singh, however, rejected this advice and appealed for war. The decision of this conference soon reached Jawahar Singh. He was expecting it. Madho Singh laid on ambush in a valley to intercept Jawahar Singh on his return. Jawahar Singh had anticipated this and took the alternative route via Turna Wati, which was a bottle-neck surrounded by hills. The column of troops with cavalry and artillery was marching under the leadership of Captain Samru. The palanquins of the Ranis were escorted by Jawahar Singh in the rear of the column. All of a sudden they were attacked by Rajputs from three sides. It was a fierce battle, in which the Rajputs suffered great losses. In the battle, it was found that only 11 tender aged members were left in the family of Raja Madho Singh. The rest lost their lives. It is said that 25,000 casualties occurred in this battle. Jawahar Singh reached Bharatpur. Both of Jats and Rajputs claimed themselves victorious in this battle, but apparently the loss did not have not much of a repercussion on the strength of Jats, whereas Madho Singh had to suffer such a severe blow that his power never recovered. Later Jawahar Singh was killed by some unknown person while he was out on hunting.

Raja Ranjit Singh : Successor of Jawahar Singh

Jawahar Singh had no son, hence he was succeeded by his incapable, licentious and luxuriant brother Rattan Singh. Rattan Singh was ultimately killed by a juggler at Mathura. His son Kehri Singh died of smallpox in childhood. In the absence of any capable and powerful ruler, the inevitable result was a civil war and maladministration within the state. Conflict arose between two brothers of Jawahar Singh, i.e. Nawal Singh and Ranjit Singh. Nawal Singh was having

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indifferent health and he finally died thereby clearing the way for Ranjit Singh to ascend the throne of Bharatpur. These internal dissensions caused to the economic condition of the state to deteriorate.

During this period the seven years War between France and England was taking place on. France was flourishing under the leadership of Napoleon Bonaparte who was thinking of colonising India. The British were also trying to do the same through East India Company. The French Governor of Pondicherry approached Captains Samru and Madek to resign their services with the Jats who were considered friends of British. According to the instructions from their Government, both the reliable and trustworthy commanders of Jats Force had to leave them, and take up their new assignment at Delhi under the Moghul Emperor.

Taking advantage of their intimate knowledge of the weakness of Bharatpur State, Mirza Nazaf attacked Bharatpur and defeated Ranjit Singh at Hathras. Ranjit Singh was exiled from the State and Rani Kishori was left with the territory of Kumbher having an yearly income of Rs. 7 Lakhs. But after the death of Mirza, the Moghuls in defiance of his decision attempted to capture Kumbher also. Ranjit Singh during his period of exile consolidated his strength, rallied against the Moghuls, gave them a crushing defeat and returned to Bharatpur victoriously. He not only regained his lost territory but also annexed some Moghul territory. He was supported by Marathas on the condition of Chauth (1/4 of war benefits). He tended his diplomatic relation with the East India Company and also gained some more territory resulting in further amelioration of his position. After acquiring sufficient power, he discontinued the grant of Chauth to Marathas which resulted in strained relations between Marathas and Jats.

In 1802, in the war between the British and the Marathas, the latter were badly vanquished by the

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foreign forces under command of Lord Lake. The troops of Marathas under Yashwant Rao Holker fled away from the battle field and were chased by the British forces.

They tried to seek shelter with Patiala, Jind and other states, but none of these rulers had the courage to keep them in realisation of the consequences when the British forces were advancing with unabated vigour. Reluctantly the Marathas appealed to Bharatpur. The Jats greeted them with open arms. The Jats would not give up their traditional hospitality and courtesy even at the cost of their lives. Lord Lake advanced on Bharatpur inspite of the combined forces of Jats and Marathas. Due to heavy pressure from the enemy, the Jats had to evacuate Deeg for better defensive positions.

The Siege Of Bharatpur

Then began the siege of Bharatpur. Lord Lake in an effort to cause disunity, reminded Raja Ranjit Singh of the forgotten enmity with Marathas and his treaty with the British. But Ranjit Singh was a man of his words. He straight-away refused to surrender Holkar and took up the gauntlet thrown by the British Army with the opening of heavy Artillery fire.

On 7th Jan. 1805 Lord Lake explored every possible avenue to penetrate the fort. A large number of British Officers and soldiers were killed in this action, the supply of rations and ammunition ran short and they failed in capturing the fort. They employed 5 inch and 7 inch guns but these did not make much impression on the thick mud walls. After two days, they succeeded in creating a break in the Southern Wall and the fort was charged by four Indian units and 1,500 British troops. The Jats repulsed this attack after inflicting heavy casualties. Colonel Maitland and 400 troops were killed. The British advanced for the third time and attacked the fort under the covering fire of heavy Artillery. The troops bravely crossed the mote and tried to scale the walls of the fort. As they came up the Jats kept killing them till the mote was filled with dead bodies, General Smith and Col Meeker,

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commanders of the British troops requested Lord Lake to sign a peace treaty with Jats but he did not consider it appropriate in the hope of getting fresh reinforcements from Bombay. The confederacy of Yashwant Rao Holkar, Amir Khan, Nawab of Rohilla and Ranjit Singh decided to teach a lesson to the foreigners.

They came out of the fort and started an open battle inflicting heavy casualties on the enemy. The British launched a fierce attack on 11 Jan 1805 but again they were beaten back leaving behind 250 dead and 700 wounded. Lord Lake still insisted that bharatpur must be captured, otherwise it would be a disgrace to them. Fresh reinforcements arrived in the meantime from Madras and Bombay and fierce attacks were renewed. When British troops started scaling the walls of the fort, huge boulders were hurled on their heads and when they were in the mote. Inspite of all this some British soldiers succeeded in scaling the walls and a hand to hand fight ensued. Thus after suffering a loss of 1,000 soldiers, the British were forced to withdraw. About 3,000 had been killed and several thousand were injured by this time. The Jats opened artillery fire on the withdrawing enemy.

Lord Lake offered to have a peace treaty. Ranjit Singh was not keen to continue this war and agreed to the terms. The Jat ruler promised not to engage a European officer in his Army. One son of the ruler was to be on the staff of the Viceroy. The siege was lifted.

Reports mention that Jat Gunners in the fort of Deeg did not give up firing till their bodies were pierced like sieves with bayonets.

The third invasion was launched under Colonel Owen. The 73 British Regiment refused to attack. As Indian Regiment attacked most of them were killed by the Jats. The British soldiers were ordered to fall

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in on parade and were badly humiliated.

All these details are given in "War and Sports of Indian and an Officers Diary" by June Western page 384.

On the occasion of the fourth invasion Raja Ranjit Singh was making a round of the fort with a wooden staff in his hand and encouraging his soldiers to fight on. "Brethern, it is your fort".

Each Jat soldier, would grab two soldiers and jump down from the fort ramparts.

The soldiers requested him to stay in the Command post but he refused remarking that bullets could strike only these for whom they were destined. Sergeant Ship writes that he fired at a Jat soldier six times from a distance of 60 yards but he never bowed his head or took shelter. An enemy soldier succeeded in planting the British flag on the fort wall. The Jats did not kill him but gave him shoe-beating and then threw him down in the mote along with his banner. The British guns became out of order due to excessive firing.

According to Colonel Nicholson in his book 'Native States of India' the policy adopted by Rajas of Bharatpur resulted in great financial loss to the Jats, but it earned name and fame for them. Ranjit Singh was followed by Randhir Singh, Baldev Singh, Balwant Singh, Yashwant Singh, Ram Singh, Srikrishan Singh and Brijendra Singh.

The fort of Bharatpur is the only fort which was never physically captured by the British.

Raja Brijender Singh succeeded the throne after the death of Maharaja Shri Krishna Singh and tried his utmost to root out the evils of the administration. The period between 1947 to 1950 was not an easy one and every thing was in disorder.

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In the meantime, however, the state merged with the Indian Union.

Ruling Dynasty Of Dholpur

This dynasty is associated with Vir Bhadra, the founder of the Puru Dynasty, who was responsible for beheading King Daksha. In the year 952 Vikram Samvat era they left Narnaul and came to Viratnagar. Raja Jaya Deo was one of the subordinate rulers under Anangpal Tanwar(Tomar). He was responsible for the defeat and demise of the Muslim invader Ghaus Mohd for which he got a suitable reward. Raja Jayadeo's son Palansi Rao was among the forces of Prithvi Raj. He brought Sanyogita from Kanauj. When Delhi was occupied by Mohammed Ghori, these sons of Raja Jaya Deo became rebels and robbed some begums going to Ajmer. Virat Nagar was occupied by the Muslim ruler and Rani Kaumudi with her young son Brahma Deo took shelter with Jat ruler Vijaya Pal of Bayana who considered her as his Dharma-Sister and gave her a Jagir worth annual income of Rs 2 Lakhs. The Muslim ruler thereupon attacked Bayana. After some time the sons of Raja Ram Deo quarrelled with the ruler of Bayana and were therefore expelled with 700 followers who came and settled down in Jatati in Agra. There they had a skirmish with the Muslim Governor of Agra, Munir Maidnat and 400 of their followers were killed. For three generations they lived in a village called Bachor in the Chambal basin. Ultimately Raja Man Singh of Gwalior got a Tin-Hazari and for Rana Lasan Deo and his son Saghan Deo in the court of Alauddin. They got a Jagir at Virat Nagar and Lasan Dec's brother Viran Deo got a Jagir at Gohad which remained in their hands till the downfall of Moghuls. In 1781 the Marathas took possession of the Jagir, and for 15 years the people of his dynasty were again homeless. In 1803 Lord Lake and Wellesley reinstated them on the throne of Gohad. After the death of Rana Kirat Singh, Rana Bhagwan Singh ruled upto 1873,

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Rana Nihal Singh from 1873 to 1901, and Rana Ram Singh from 1901 to 1911.

Ruling Dynasty Tewathya Of Ballabhgarh

Chaudhary Gopal Singh of Sihi began to raid the Moghul territory. Combining with the Gujars he killed the Rajput Chaudhary, The Moghul Governor of Faridabad recognised him as the Chaudhary, but after some time he stopped payment of the revenue to the Royal Treasury, and Chaudhary Charan Das was arrested. His son, Bal Ram made solemn promises to deposit the revenue and had his father released.

But he failed to arrange for the money. Father and son killed Murtaza Khan, the Governor of the Pargana, and took shelter with Raja Suraj Mal, and married his daughter to him. Through his help they sought pardon from Delhi Durbar and finally Bal Ram was reinstated as the Ruler of Ballabgarh.

He was a brave soldier in the forces of Raja Suraj Mal. The last ruler of this dynasty was hanged by the British in 1857.

Thenwa dynasty of Mursan

Chaudhary Nand Ram, holder of 87 villages, was among the followers of Churaman. During the time of Aurangzeb he was given high appointment in the police, Wazir Sadat Khan gave the title of Raja to Bhup Singh and reinstated him in his state. Finally this state was divided into various parts.

Dalal dynasty of Kuchesar

Four brothers belonging to this dynasty, Bahal Singh, Jag Ram, Jit Mal and Gurwa, came and settled down in Kuchesar from Mandothi of Rohtak District. They were enthusiastic. Gurwa occupied Chandausi pargana and his descendants settled down there.

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Chatur Singh, grand son of Bahai Singh, occupied some villages in Chatsana paragana. His sons Mangani Ram and Ram Dhan, were very brave. They joined the Army of Jawahar Singh and accomplished great feats of bravery in the battle of Delhi. After the retreat of Jawahar Singh, Wazir Najibuddulph granted them a Jagir of nine Parganas and made them his allies. In 1772 Siyab Khan, on a complaint from the merchants of Saukri, destroyed the forts of Kuchesar, Siyana and Sakrati and arrested them. In 1782 they again became masters of Kuchesar and in 1790 Shah Alam granted them a Jagir with an annual income of Rs. 4 Lakhs in Puth Thana, Farida and Saidpur.

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Editor's Note - Ram Sarup Joon served in the British Indian army in World war one. He saw the events leading upto the second war, and the partition of India. When he left the army he wrote his book in 1938 in Urdu which was revised an English version was released in 1967. This chapter contains events he himself lived through and provide a unique perspective - of the British duplicity, the Hindu Muslim divide, the Indian National Congress's shortsightedness.


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