History of the Jats:Dr Kanungo/The Jat Risings During Aurangzeb’s Reign

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History of the Jats

Contribution to the History of Northern India (Upto the Death of Mirza Najaf Khan, 1782)

By Kalika Ranjan Qanungo. Edited and annotated by Vir Singh. Delhi, Originals, 2003, ISBN 81-7536-299-5.

Appendix C

The Jat Risings During Aurangzeb’s Reign

[Page 200] Professor Jadunath Sarkar has recently secured from the Jaipur State archives copies of many hundreds of official letters and news sheets (akhbarat-i-darbar-i-muala) sent to Rajas Bishan Singh and Sawai Jai Singh by their agents at the imperial Court. These came to hand after my History had been printed, and hence I can give here only a brief summary of the new facts thus brought to light about the activity of the Jat rebels during the last two decades of the reign of Aurangzeb.

In these letters, the audacious Jats are invariably designated Jat-i-badzat (the Jat of evil breed). This clearly indicates the impotent fury of the Mughal Government, which knew not how to suppress them. The sphere of the marauding activity of the Jats, as these letters illustrate, extended from Mathura to the border of Jaipur, and from the hills of Mewat to the bank of the Chambal. Peace and order fled from this region. The roads became so unsafe that Rs. 200 used to be demanded as escort-hire for accompanying a caravan only from Agra to Dholpur. Merchants and wayfarers could travel only under passes bought for a heavy price from the free booting Jat leaders. Among the strongholds of the Jats in that period Sinsini, Sogar, Sonkh, and Wair are often mentioned.

The Mughal administration, we find again and again, was hopelessly corrupt; local officials and soldiers alike connived at the rebellious activity of the Jats and even entered into collusion with them for sharing the plunder of their own master's subjects. One example may be given here from a news-letter: Fazil Khan, an officer posted at Agra,

[Page 201]] was ordered to escort some imperial treasure to the Chambal. He gave secret notice of his journey to the Jats, who replied that their ammunition had run short. Fazil Khan then secretly sent them a supply of it, and the pre-arranged highway robbery of the treasure was carried out as per plan.

The burning of Akbar's bones

On 28th March 1688, Mir Ahmad, the custodian of the tomb of Akbar, reported to the Emperor that at night a party of Rajaram's men had fallen upon the tomb and carried off its carpets, vessels, lamps and other decorations. Another report was to the effect that Rajaram had sacked eight villages assigned for the support of Shah Jahan's tomb near Agra.

The extant news-letters do not mention the burning of Akbar's bones by the Jat rebels, for which the only authority hitherto known is Manucci. But Aurangzeb's inexorable wrath towards the Jats and his repeated orders for the general massacre of the Jat people, which these letters mention again and again, lend support to the belief that the current rumour about the burning of Akbar's bones was probably based on truth.

Several letters' to Bishan Singh (Raja of Jaipur) from his Court agent Kesho Rai tell us of the Emperor's constant anxiety at the growing menace of the Jat rising and his impatience at the delay of Bishan Singh in taking the field against them. The Raja was repeatedly told that he would be most highly rewarded if he could subdue the Jats and capture Sinsini before the arrival of Prince Bidar Bakht for the same purpose. But he delayed. At last he joined his forces with those of the prince and laid siege to Sinsini. Bidar Bakht having been soon afterwards recalled,[XXXIl] Bishan Singh was left in supreme command of the Jat expedition. The Jaipur general Hari Singh conducted the siege of Sinsini and carried on punitive operations. In one encounter with the rebels, Hari Singh was severely wounded, and a rumour even spread that he had been killed. The Jats, probably under pressure of scarcity within the walls, secretly evacuated Sinsini and the Jaipur troops occupied it after a show of

XXXII. Bedar Bakht left for Deccan in March 1690 after the fall of Sinsini (Jan 1690). K.R.Qanungo, History of the house of Diggi, 64,77. - Ed

[Page 202] assault! This was the version of the affair that reached Aurangzeb, and naturally he refused to give any reward to Bishan Smgh. The Jaipur agent at the imperial Court tried hard to contradict this news as a malicious fabrication of his master's enemies, and at the same time wrote to Bishan Singh to placate the local waqianavis with rich bribes and induce him to magnify the heroic services of the Jaipur troops!

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