Mansa

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Map of Mansa district

Mansa is a city and district in Punjab, India.

Location

Mansa district is roughly triangular in shape, and is bounded on the northwest by Bathinda district, on the northeast by Sangrur district, and on the south by Haryana state. It is situated on the Bathinda-Jind-Delhi railway and the Barnala-Sardulgarh-Sirsa road. The Ghaggar River flows through the Sardulgarh tehsil in the southwestern corner of the district.

Tahsils in Mansa district

Villages in Mansa Tahsil

Aklia, Ali Sher Khurd, Alisher Kalan, Anupgarh, Aspal, Atla Kalan, Atla Khurd, Banawala, Bapiana, Barnala, Behniwal, Bhai Desa, Bhaini Bagha, Bhikhi (NP), Bhopal, Bir Khurd, Burj Dhilwan, Burj Hari, Burj Jhabran, Burj Rathi, Chahlanwala, Chakerian, Dalel Singhwala, Daliawali Urf Gulabgarh, Deluana, Dhalewan, Dhingar, Dullowala, Fafre Bhaike, Gagowal, Gehle, Ghrangne, Gurthari, Hamirgarh Urf Dhaipai, Heron Kalan, Hirewala, Hodla Kalan, Jassarwala, Jawaharke, Joga, Kalho, Karamgarh Urf Autanwali, Khara, Kharak Singhwala, Khiala Kalan, Khiala Khurd, Khilian, Khiwa Kalan, Khiwa Khurd, Khiwadialuwala, Khokhar Kalan, Khokhar Khurd, Kishangarh Urf Pharwahi, Kot Dharmu, Kot Lallu, Kotli Kalan, Kotra, Makha, Makha Chehlan, Malakpur, Man Bibrian, Mansa (M Cl), Mansa Khurd, Matti, Maujian, Maujo Kalan, Maujo Khurd, Mohar Singhwala, Moola Singhwala, Mussa, Nangal Kalan, Nangal Khurd, Narenderpura Urf Baglianwali, Peron, Ralla, Ram Dittawala, Rar, Sadda Singhwala, Saharna, Samaon, Talwandi Akalia, Tamkot, Thuthianwali, Ubha, Uddat Bhagat Ram,

History

The district of Mansa came into existence on 13 April 1992 with its headquarters at Mansa. At that time Mansa was a tahsil of Bathinda District which was earlier a tahsil of Barnala Nizamat of the Patiala Princely State.

The name of the Mansa district derives its name from the historical and religious town Mansa. The town is said to have been founded by Bhai Gurdas, who hailed from village Dhingar now in Mansa District. He is said to have been married at this place among the Dhaliwal Jats. Once he came to his in-laws to take his wife alongwith him, but they refused to send her with him. At this Bhai Gurdas sat in meditation before the house of his in-laws. After some time the parents of the girl agreed to send their daughter with Bhai Gurdas. But he refused to take her with him, stating that he had now renounced the worldly way of life. In his memory a Samadh was constructed where a fair is held every year in month of March-April. People in large number attend the fair and offer ladoos and gur at the Samadh.[1]


Before discussing the history of Mansa District, it is worthwhile to mention here that whole of the area of present Mansa District once fell in the Bathinda District. Thus the history of present Mansa District relates to the history of previous Mansa Tahsil of Bathinda District.

The area of the Mansa District, had been under the rule of the Bhattis for considerable period. It is believed that in the 3rd century, Rao Bhatti established the towns of Bathinda and Bhatner in Lakhi Jungle. Bathinda remained the district headquarters of present area of the Mansa District upto 12 April 1992. Rao Bhatti did his best to habilitate people from outside in this region. Later on there arose several conflicts between Bhattis, Brars and Rajputs for domination and ultimately the Brars succeeded in capturing the area of present Mansa District.[2]

Ancient History

The ancient history of the Mansa district has been traced to the Indus Valley civilization. The archaeological finds at different villages of Mansa district are almost similar to those of Harappa and Mohanjodaro.[3][4]

It is divided into three parts Pre-Harappa, Harappa and Late Harappa.

The sites[5] found near the following villages of the Mansa District have been classified to the period are given below:

Pre-Harappan Period[6] :

1. Alipur Mandran

2. Bare

3. Chhoti Mansa

4. Baglian-de-Theh

5. Dhalewan

6. Gurni Kalan

7. Hassanpur

8. Hirke

9. Lakhmir Wala

10. Naiwala Theh

Harappan Period[7] :

1. Alipur Mandran

2. Baglian-de-Theh

3. Dhalewan

4. Chhoti Mansa

5. Gurni Kalan

6. Hassanpur

7. Hirke

8. Karanpura

9. Lakhmir Wala

10. Lallian Wali

11. Lalu wala

12. Ali-da-Theh

13. Naiwala Theh

Late Harappan Period[8] :

1. Alipur Mandran

2. Chhoti Mansa

3. Ali-de-Theh

4. Bare

5. Bhikhi

6. Danewala

7. Dalewala

8. Nehriwala

9. Sahnewali

The main characteristics of Pre-Harappan culture were that the bricks used by the people were unbaked and smaller than those of the Harappan period. They used copper to manufacture their implements and ornaments.

The main characteristics of the Harappan culture are good town planning, careful layout of streets, elaborate drainage system, organised municipal government and on the whole a developed urban life.

The main characteristics of the Late Harappan culture shows unmistakable signs of all round decadence. New houses were built, drains laid out in utter violation of the municipal rules. Kilns were sometimes built in the heart of the town. ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­

The urban type of Harappan Civilization was destroyed by the Aryans, who were basically a rural tribe. The appearance of the Aryans on the soil of Punjab in about BC 1500 seems to have coincided with the destruction of the great Indus cities. Hordes of these invaders seems to have descended into the Punjab plains from the north-west in several successive waves between BC 1500 and 800. The Punjab in turmoil witnessed perhaps for the first time a state of fierce and constant warfare for several centuries. The wars between the invading Aryans and the placid pre-Aryans of the land ended in the victory of the Aryans over the non-Aryans.

The people of the Indus Valley Civilization had built grand cities and had highly developed cultural life. Cotton and woolen fabrics were in common use, ornaments were worn by both men and women, beautiful pottery was produced and the sculpture technique was well developed. The carpenter, the blacksmith, the goldsmith, the jeweller, the stonecutter and the ivory workers had a flourishing trade. The people of this Civilization followed some organized religion.

From the excavations and explorations of the sites of Indus Valley people, it is apparent that these people had achieved a remarkable degree of proficiency in sanitation and town planning. These ancient people had the amenities of developed city life. The seals available from the various sites of the Indus Valley Civilization give ample proof of its dealing with the ancient civilization of Persia, Mesopotamian and Egypt.

During the Rigvedic Aryans period, the area of the Mansa district to have been the part of Saptasindhu (Seven waters) which became to be known as Panchanada (five rivers) in Mahabharata time. During the Maurya and Gupta period, the area of the present Mansa District was undoubtedly a part of the empire of Mauryas and Guptas. Hence the ancient people of the Mansa District enjoyed the blessing of an efficient administration of the Mauryas and Gupta kings.

Medieval Period[9]

The medieval period of history start with the Muhammadan invasions of India. India became the target of foreign invaders after the fall of powerful empire of Harshvardhan of Thanesar. In the 11th Century, the invasions of Sultan Mahmud of Ghazni, shook the Indian rulers completely. The frontier area of India at that time including the area of present Mansa District was under the rule of Hindushahi ruler. It is believed that the Bathinda was the capital of Hindushahi rulers for more than a century. There is no doubt that the Hindushahi rulers defended this country from the outslaughts of Muhammadan invaders for a considerable period, but they could not stand against the incessant invasions of Mahmud of Ghazni.

The decline and decay of the Hindushahi Kingdom, which was the first to bear the brunt of the Turkish onslaught, enabled Mahmud to penetrate into the heart of Hindustan. First of all, Mahmud besieged the fort of Bathinda including the present area of Mansa District in the year 1004 AD which lay on the route from the northwest into the rich Ganga Valley. Local ruler, named Bijai Rai, but Mahmud’s superior military strength succeeded in capturing it, bravely defended it. All the inhabitants of the place except those who became converts to Islam were put to the sword. A huge booty was captured.[10]

Mahmud seems to have been conscious of the unwieldiness of his empire. Before his death he divided his empire among his sons, Masud and Mahammad but there was no peaceful succession to his throne. Immediately after his death, there was a war of succession between them. Masud gained the upper hand. He defeated his brother, blinded him and throw him into prison. Masud reigned for ten years from 1030 to 1040 and was invested with the title of Sultan by the Khalifa. Though Masud was gifted with great personal valour, he was badly defeated by the Seljuqs in 1040 AD and compelled to flee towards Lahore. The province of Punjab including the area of present day Mansa District had been ruled during the latter days of Mahmud’s reign and through out that of Masud, by deputies. The administration of the province was disorganized by disloyality, selfishness and inefficiency of Muslim officers. Masud was however, ably and loyally served by a Hindu general, named Tilak, who had risen from obscurity to the rank of a minister in the time of his (Masud’s) father. The affairs of Punjab including the present day area of Mansa District inspite of Tilak loyalty and devotion, were not going on well and when Masud fled to Lahore for shelter. His defeat at the hand of the Seljuqs and disorganized his army. His troops mutinied on the way dethroned and handed him over to his blind brother Muhammad, who now crowned himself king. Masud was put to death by the new ruler. A little later, Masud’s son Maudud, organized a party of his own with the help of some prominent nobles. He defeated Mohammad and put him and his son to death.

Maudud was a weak ruler who ruled from 1040 to 1049. On his death there was again a war of succession and one after another, a series of incompetent rules sat upon the throne of Ghazni. The reigns of these weaklings where short and inglorious. Besides the trouble in the Punjab these ruler were, constantly menaced by the rising power of the Seljuqs. The greatest danger to the decadent house of Ghazni, however, came from the principality of Ghur. The family feud between these two ruling houses, namely those of Ghazni and Ghur, developed into conflict which reached a climax in 1155 AD when Ala-ud-din Husain of Ghur invaded Ghazni, subjected it to through plunder and burnt it so completely that he earned the nickname of Jahan Soz, ‘the world Burner’. Ala-ud-din slaughtered the people of Ghazni in thousands and enslaved its women and children. All its building were dug up and destroyed except of tomb of Mahmud. In the fourth quarter of the 12th century AD., the house of Mahmud was extinguished by Shahab-ud-din Muhammad Ghori.

Mahmud annexed the Punjab, whose administration he entrusted to the care of a governor. Mahmud may be said to have been the first Turk who ruled over a province of our country and because the founder of the dynasty.[11]

From the condition of chaos and confusion created by the continuous onslaughts of the Muhammadan invaders and especially those of Mahmud of Ghazni, the Rajputs rose to power after the fall of Hindushahis in the Punjab. The first Rajput ruler who felt the pressure from the invading hordes from Ghur was the Chauhan prince of Ajmer who ruled the territory from Ajmer to Delhi and was therefore responsible for the defence of north-western frontier. The Chauhans had fortified important towns on this frontier right upto Bathinda in order to be able to guard the entrance into Hindustan against any possible invasion from the north-west.

Muhammad of Ghur made his first attack on the fortress of Bathinda and beseiged it in 1189 AD. Prithvi Raj did not seem to have been ready and the attack probably was a surprise one. The garrison was defeated and had to surrender; Muhammad Ghori stationed his men in the fortress under a commander named Zia-ud-din. When the Sultan was about to return, Prithvi Raj appeared in the vicinity of the fortress to recover it . A fierce battle was fought in 1191 in which Mohammad Ghori was seriously wounded and suffered a defeat. Prithvi Raj besieged the fortress of Bathinda.

Prithvi Raj Chauhan was defeated in the second battle of Tarain in 1192, which is a land mark in the history of India. It proved to be a very decisive contest and ensured the ultimate success of Muhammad Ghori against Hindustan. The Chauhan military power stood completely broken. Immediately after his success at Tarain, Muhammad captured Hansi, Sirsa, Samana and the area of Mansa District. As a result of this, the area of Mansa District came under the rule of Muhammad Ghori, who was the first Muhammadan ruler of this area which was subsequently succeeded by his most prominent slave, named Qutab-ud-din Aibak who laid the foundation of new dynasty which is popularly known as the Slave Dynasty. The period between 1206-1526, is known as ' The period of Sultanate of Delhi' and the area of the present Mansa District undoubtedly remained under the rule of the Sultans of Delhi. It is also believed that the area of Mansa District was a part and parcel of main Delhi Province and the fort of Bathinda had a great strategic position during the Sultanate period. In 1193 Aibak captured Delhi from the Tomara ruler on the pretext that the latter harboured hostile design against the Turkish army of occupation. From that year (1193 AD),Delhi became the capital of Muhammad of Ghur’s possessions in India.

Qutab-ud-din Aibak was first Sultan of Delhi who ruled from 1206 to 1210. Iltutmish was the next important Sultan of Delhi who reigned for twenty years. During his reign, Nasir-ud-din Qubachah (Kubachahj), the ruler of the province of Sindhu and Multan, had also included Bathinda, including the area of Mansa District in his kingdom, but Iltutmish succeeded in recovering Bathinda and its adjoining areas from Nasir-ud-din Qubachah. When Iltutmish became king, the Sultanate of Delhi was almost was non existent. He found himself master of Delhi and Badaun and the outlying districts extending from Banaras in the east to the shivalik hills on the west. The Punjab was hostile to him. Qubachah was master of Multan and he extended his kingdom to include Bathinda Kuhrom and Sarasuti.[12]

After Iltutmish, Raziyya who reigned from 1236-1240 was the next important ruler of the Slave Dynasty. Virtually, she was the first women ruler of India who possessed adequate sagacity befitting her high status. But undue favour shown by her to Abyssanian slave Jalal-ud-din Yaqut, offended the Turkish nobles who revolted. More over the proud of the Turkish noble could not reconcile themselves to the rule of a woman and brought about her down fall in an ignoble manner.

A second rebellion was reported when Ikhtiar-ud-din Altunia, the Governor of Bathinda, had rebelled at the instigation of Aitigin and other nobles. When the army, under the command of Altunia, reached Bathinda, Yakut, the paramour of Razia, was murdered and Razia was put into the custody of Altunia, the Governor of Bathinda, Bahram was proclaimed the Sultan of Delhi on 22 April 1239.[13]

Altunia, the Governor of Bathinda married Razia.Soon after, he raised an army especially from the Gakhar-Jats and marched on Delhi to recapture the throne. They were soon joined by Malik-Izz-ud-din Muhammad Salari and Malik Qaraqash. In the meantime Bahram Shah was elevated to the throne, who led his army in the month of September 1240 to check the progress of his opponents. A stubborn battle was fought in which Razia was defeated and fled to Bathinda. Razia did not lose her courage and she recollected her scattered troops and made a second effort to achieve the throne, but she was again defeated on the plains of Kaithal on 24 October 1239. Later Razia and Altunia were murdered by some Hindu robbers on 12 December 1240.[14]

In 1241 Bahram was also imprisoned and put to death by the Mughal forces which reached upto the bank of River Beas in the Punjab. Now Nasir-ud-din Muhammad was crowned as Sultan in June 1246 and Sultan invested all the powers in the hands of Balban, who was the leader of Forty, who raised Nasir-ud-din Muhammad to the throne. Consequently all the key posts of the state, went to the Balban’s relatives.

The most important slave king was Balban who virtually ruled this country from 1266-1287. Balban's cousin Sher Khan awarded the title of Muazam Khan. He was the most renowned men of his age. He possessed all princely qualities. Balban made Sher Khan, the Governor of Bathinda Province. He was also an able administrator who successfully defended his area against the Mangols invasions till he died in 1285 while engaged a fight against the Mangols.

The repeated incursions of the Mughals had much effected the economic prosperity of the Punjab. Tamar Khan, the Mughal wanted to expand his sway towards the interior Punjab including the area of Mansa District. Tamar Khan invaded the province of Lahore at the head of twenty thousand strong horse in 1285. He entered the Sindh-Sagar Doab. The whole country around Dipalpur and Lahore including Mansa District was plundered and the villages were depopulated. The Afghans were mercilessly butchered. Prince Muhammad, the Governor of Province of Lahore, Bathinda and Multan was then at Multan who having heard about these depredations hastened to Lahore and prepared for a vigorous fight.[15]

After the slave Dynasty, the khilzi Dynasty ruled about 34 years (1288-1321). Ala-ud-din Khilzi was an important ruler of this dynasty. After the Khilzi, the Sayyids reigned from 1414-1451. Sayyid Mubarak Shah was an important ruler of this Dynasty who reigned from 1421-1434. During his reign Shaikh Salim was the Governor of Bathinda who had collected a large treasure and huge store of grains. After Shaikh Salim's death in early 1430, Sultan Mubarak Shah bestowed all his lands on Shaikh Salim's two sons who did not however, seem to be satisfied with their lot and for ulterior motives incited Faulad, the slave of their late father, to revolt.

At the time of Shaikh Salim's death, his two sons were in the royal camp. Faulad was very greedy man and he was in charge of the fort of Bathinda (including the present area of Mansa District) where Shaikh Salim's had amassed a large amount of wealth. Faulad Turkbacha rebelled and confiscated the treasure in July 1430.[16]

It was suspected by Mubarak Shah that the sons of Shaikh Salim had a hand in it and they were imprisoned under the order of the Sultan. On hearing the news of the insurrection of Faulad Mubarak Shah at once sent Malik Yusuf and Rai Hansu, the son of Rai Diljit Bhatti, to deal with the rebels but they failed, as Faulad posing to negotiate for settlement, threw them off their guard and inflicted a crushing defeat on them. They fled and Faulad Turkbacha pursued them up to Sirsa. Their cash, goods and tents all fell into the hands of the Turkbacha. At this defeat, Mubarak Shah himself marched against Faulad and ordered Imad-ul-Malik, the Governor of Multan to join the royal forces . Before the advance of the forces under Mubarak Shah, Zirak Khan, Malik Kalu, Islam Khan and Kamal Khan, who had been ordered to

proceed against Faulad, had besieged the fort. Being hard pressed, Faulad sought for an interview with Imad-ul-Malik and agreed to submit to the Sultan, but he got a secret information that Mubarak Shah was adamant to kill him and, therefore, under the fear of his death, Faulad give up the idea of negotiations and carried on the struggle against the royalists. Mubarak Shah became hesitant to take a drastic action because he was informed that Faulad was trying to purchase help from the Governor of Kabul with the amassed wealth that he had preserved in the fort. Mubarak Shah instead of forcing the rebel to surrender by intensifying the pressure on him acted unwisely in slackening the operations against him. The Sultan ordered Imad-ul-Malik to withdraw to Multan. Leaving Islam Khan, Kamal Khan and Rai Feroze Bhatti to carry on the investment of the fort of Bathinda, he himself returned to Delhi in November, 1480.[17]

Faulad found himself in a tight corner and there was no way out except asking for foreign help with the offer of his vast treasure since he had the full apprehensions of being captured by the Sultan. This interval gave Faulad time to arrange for help from other quarters and he sent his agents to Kabul invoking Shaikh Ali Mughal's help by promising a large sum of money in return. Shaikh Ali was much tempted to know all about the vast treasure of Faulad and marched with a large army from Kabul to the rescue of the Turkbacha. In February-March 1431, he arrived on the banks of the Jhelum. Amir Muzaffar and Khajika, the nephew of the Gakhar chief, with a large army from Shorkot, joined him at Talwara. The Talwara was situated opposite to Dipalpur. Passing through Kasur Shaikh Ali crossed the Beas at the ford of Buhi and ravaged the country of Rai Feroze, who was completed to abandon the seize immediately without even informing his other colleagues who were besieging the fort of Bathinda.[18]

Sheikh Ali plundered and devastated the principalities, particularly of those chiefs who were hostile to Faulad with a view to weakening them. He reached the fort of Bathinda where Faulad was besieged, Islam Khan and Kamal Khan left Bathinda, when Shaikh Ali was yet ten miles away. Faulad came out of the fort and offered the stipulated amount of rupees two lakhs for his timely help and after this Faulad began to prepare himself for stronger defiance. Shaikh Ali advanced to Bathinda unopposed and returned through the district of Rai Feroze, devastating all the villages in his way. He crossed the Satluj at Tihara in Ludhiana District. Imad-ul-Malik moved from Multan to Tulamba and hearing of his move, Shaikh Ali returned to Kabul. Imad-ul-Malik did not pursue him because he was ordered by Mubarak Shah to avoid a conflict with Shaikh Ali. This weak policy of Sultan emboldened Shaikh Ali to loot the Punjab again and again.

These events throw much light on the affairs in the Punjab (including the present area of Mansa District) during the Sultan Mubarak Shah's reign. Then Governor of Lahore paid attribute to induce Shaikh-Ali the Governor of Kabul, to retain from molesting Lahore during his retreat. From the reference to the yearly payment of black mail. It is clear that the kingdom had been exposed during its intestine troubles, to the danger of invasion from the direction of Lahore.[19]

Faluad who was a power to be reckoned with in Bathinda had invited powerful foreigners to his aid on payment and has also entrusted his family to his care in order that they might be removed to a place of safety. The critical situation of the Punjab of which Khizr Khan had enjoyed the virtual sovereignty for some time before his establishment on the throne of Delhi had secured it from foreign attacks. The pact of Faulad with Shaikh Ali was a grave danger to the Sultanate of Delhi.[20]

Mubarak Shah had ruled for little more than thirteen years under extremely trying circumstances. He had to face still greater troubles during his reign. He was threatened with danger on all sides. The triple menace of the Gakhars, the Turkbuchas and Sheikh Ali, the Mughal Governor of Kabul, created an alarming situation in the Punjab. The Punjab had been at the mercy of the rebels since his accession. Jasrat the Gakhar chief, Shaikh Ali Mughal Governor of Kabul and Faulad Turkbacha, Governor of Bathinda (Mansa was part of Bathinda area at that time) were occupying and devastating one or the other part of the Punjab. The aim of Jasrat and Turkbacha were evidently to carve out independent kingdom. But the aim of the Governor of Kabul was simply to fish in troubled waters so as to plunder the people of the Punjab.[21]


Faulad Turkbacha, the Governor of Bathinda, was besieged once again by the royal forces under Malik Sarwar-ul-Mulk. Shaikh Ali Mughal advanced to Bathinda for his help. The Sultan immediately sent Imad-ul-Malik to reinforce the besieging army. The reinforcement from Delhi strengthened and emboldened the royal officers and the men who were besieging the fort of Bathinda. But Shaikh Ali continued his march and issued from Shorkot, plundered the village along the banks of Ravi and took a number of prisoners from Sahiwal.The commanders of Lahore garrison, Malik Yusaf, Malik Ismaile and Malik Raja fled before Shaikh Ali, who took possession of the Lahore fort without shedding a drop of blood. He plundered the people of Lahore, deserted the mosques and after leaving a garrison of ten thousand troops marched out to attack Dipalpur, where, Yusaf Ali had taken shelter.

Imad-ul-Mulk was besieging the fort of Bathinda, when he heard about the advance of Shaikh Ali on Yusaf Ali at Dipalpur. He at once sent his brother, Malik Ahmed with a large force to hold Dipalpur. At this reinforcement Shaikh Ali did not attack Dipalpur but took possession of all the towns between Lahore and Dipalpur.

This was the result of promoting incompetent men to the most responsible and high posts by Mubarak Shah. In relinquishing Lahore, Yusaf Ali did not show any talent. He did not deserve the high rank of a Governor of this frontier province, but his appointment to it was due to his father, the Vazir Sarwar-ul-Mulk.

This cowardice and in competency of Yusaf Ali and other officers, who conducted the operation at Lahore had greatly annoyed Sultan Mubarak Shah. Therefore, he marched to Samana where he was joined by Kamal-ud-din and others officers who had been sent to Etawa and Gwalior. In February 1433, the combined forces advanced to Talwandi via Sunam where Imad-ud-Mulk and Islam Khan arrived from Bathinda for consultations. The Sultan instructed the Amirs at Bathinda not to abandon the seige of the fort and he advanced towards the Ravi River.[22]

Before the rule of the Mughals, India was ruled by the Lodhi Dynasty from 1451 to 1526. Behlol Lodhi was consolidating his strength in the Punjab including the area of Mansa District. He extended his influence over the whole of the Punjab. He seized a number of royal district, including the provinces of Dipalpur, Lahore, Samana and Hissar-i-Feroza, paying little head to the protests and admonitions of the Sultan.

In 1451, displacing Ala-ud-din Alam Shah, Behlol ascended the throne at Delhi. During the time of Behlol Lodhi, the Sindhu Brars were driven out of Bathinda's fort with the help of royal support. Ibrahim Lodhi was the last ruler of this Dynasty from whom Babur snatched power after defeating him in the first battle of Panipat. The Brars of Bathinda area (including the area of present Mansa District) gave much help to Babur for the overthrow of corrupt and inefficient rule of the Lodhi. As rewards for their services, the area of Lakhi Jungle was given back to Brars by Babur.

History of founders: Sidhu Brar clan

It is worthwhile to mention here that the area the present Mansa District( formerly part of Bathinda District) was dominated by the Sidhu-Brar. The Sidhu trace their ancestry to Jesal or Jesalji of Bhatti clan and founder of the state and city of Jesalmer, who was driven from his kingdom by successful rebellion in 1180, and wandered north-wards where Prithvi Raj was then king of Ajmer and Delhi and the most powerful monarch of Hindustan. Jesal determined to settle near Hisar, where his four sons were born viz. Salvahan, Kala, Hemhel and Pem. The third of these Hemhel, sacked the town of Hisar, seized a number of villages in its neighborhood and overran the country upto the wall of Delhi. He was driven back Iltutmish the third Tartar King of Delhi, but was afterwards received into favour and made Governor of Sirsa and Bathinda country in 1212, including the area of present Mansa District. He built the town of Hisar. He died in 1214 and was succeeded by his son Jandra, who was only remarkable as the father of twenty-one sons, from whom as many clans have descended; Batera, being the ancester of the Sidhus. Manjalrab, son of Batera, rebelled against the Delhi Government and was captured and beheaded at Jesalmer. He left one son, Undra commonly known as Anand Rai who was the father of Khiwa. Khiwa first married a Rajputni, but she bore him no children and he then took as a second wife, daughter of one Basir, a Jat Zamindar of Neli. This marriage was considered a disgrace by his Rajput Kinsmen and Khiwa was ever afterwards known as 'Kot' which signifies in the Punjabi dialect, an alloy of metals or any inferior and degrading admixture.

Khiwa, however, obtained what he desired as heir, but his first wife, jealous of her rival, bribed the mid-wife to substitute a girl for the boy, whom she took into the jungle and threw into a dry water-course. Shortly afterwards, a man passing by, saw the infant, and having no children of his own imagined that it had been sent by Heaven to console him so he took it home and adopted it as his son. But the mid-wife was unable to keep the secret; the Rajputni wife was compelled to confess her guilt, and after a long search, the boy was found and restored to his father. He was named Sidhu and from him the Sidhu tribe has derived its name. Brar, great grandson of Sidhu was the founder of the Brar tribe.[23]

When the Emperor Babur invaded India in 1524, Sanghar, the Brar chief of Bathinda area (including Mansa District) waited on him at Lahore and entered his army with a few followers, but soon afterwards he was killed at the battle of Panipat on 21 April 1526, when Babur defeated Ibrahim Lodhi with great slaughter and gained the Empire of Delhi. This victory did not, however, lead him to forget the services of Sangher to whose son Bairam, he gave the Chaudhriyat of the waste country to the South-west of Delhi, which office was confirmed to him by Humayun, the son and successor of Babur, in 1554. He lived for the most part at Neli, the village of Sidhu's maternal relations, and also rebuilt Bhidowal, which had become deserted.[24] After his death in 1560, his son Mehraj Commonly known as Maharaj succeeded to the chaudhriyat. Mohan, the grandson of Maharaj, by the advice of Guru Hargobind, the sixth of the Sikh Prophets, founded the village of Mehraj or Maharaj, naming it after his great grandfather.

From this village, twenty two others have been peopled known as Bais Mahrajkian; and the Jagirdars inhabiting them, known as the Maharajkian Sikhs.

Mohan, with his eldest son Rupchand, was killed according to the custom of his family, in fight with the Bhattis about the year 1618, and Kala, the next surviving son, succeeded to the chaudhriyat and the guardianship of his deceased brother's son Phul and Sandhali. The three other sons of Mohan helped to found Mehraj where decendants still live. Soon after Mohan's death, Guru Hargobind again visited Bhidowal and Kala who had faith in the Guru's power and blessing, told his nephew that when they should see the saint, they were to place their hands on their stomach, as if suffering from hunger. This they did and Guru Hargobind asking the reason was told by Kala that the boys were starving "what" said the Guru, “matters the hunger of one belly, when these boys shall satisfy the hunger of thousands.” He then asked the name of the children; and on hearing that of Phul ( blossom), he said "The name shall be a true omen and he shall bear many blossoms"[25]

Phul was the second son of Rupchand by Mai Umbi, a Jitani or Jat woman. He was educated by a celebrated Faqir named Samerpuri, who taught him the art of feigning death by stopping his breath, an accomplishment which had for him a most tragicall result. In the year 1627, Phul left Mehraj and founded a village five miles distant, which he called after his own name. He received a firman or deed of grant from the Emperor, Shah Jahan, confirming to him the office which had been for so many years held by his family. The prophecy of Guru Hargobind was fulfilled and Phul had seven children from whom have descended many noble families.[26]

During the fight of Banda Bahadur with Wazir Khan of Sirhind, the Sidhus–Brars of Bathinda District (Mansa District was a part of this area) fought on the side of the forces of Banda Bahadur.

Ala Singh the son of Rama, was the founder of Patiala State. He was only twenty-three years of age when his father was murdered in 1714. Ala Singh was a great fighter. He conquered Barnala and adjoining area in 1753. He attacked Bathinda which was in the possession of Sardar Jodh Singh Saboke, who gave a tough fight to Ala Singh for three months. But when Ala Singh succeeded in getting the help of Dal Khalsa, Jodh Singh surrendered. After conquering Bathinda, Budhlada (now a tahsil of Mansa District) and adjoining areas were also conquered by Ala Singh. In this way almost whole area of present Mansa District came under the rule of Ala Singh of Phul Dynasty.

Ala Singh had only one wife Fattoh, the daughter of Chaudhary Khana, a Subhran zimindar of Kaleke, (Bathinda District). A story was told of her that at her birth, her mother disappointed at having a daughter when she had earnesty desired a son, put the new born-child in an earthen vessel and buried it in the ground. A wandering mendicant of the name of Devi Dass happened to pass, and seeing the mother in tears, inquired the cause of her grief. She confessed to him what she had done, and the mendicant told her to disinter the child, for of her would be born a famous race, which should rule all the neighbouring country. The child was taken out the ground unhurt and eventually became the wife of Ala Singh, bearing him three sons viz. Sardul Singh, Bhumian Singh and Lal Singh all of whom died in the life time of their father. Sardul Singh, the eldest son, married as his first wife, the daughter of Sirdar at Bhikhe in the Mansa District who became the mother of Maharaja Amar Singh. His second wife was the widow of his cousin Jodh Singh. Sardul Singh died in 1753.[27]

Patiala State:

Ala Singh consolidated his power by defeating the Bhattis in 1757. This victory over the Bhattis also increased reputation of Ala Singh. In the capture of Sirhind by the Sikh confederacy in 1763, Ala Singh played a significant role and that is why Sirhind and Patiala areas went to his share. He made Patiala, the capital of his State. Ala Singh died in August 1765 at Patiala and he was succeeded by Amar Singh, his grandson. Thus, the most of area of the present Mansa District came under the rule of Phulkian Rulers with headquarters at Patiala. Therefore the history of Mansa District from henceforward gets linked with the history of the Patiala State.

Raja Amar Singh was also a great conqueror who further consolidated and extended the boundary of Patiala State. In the year about 1770, he sent a big force to capture the fort (known as Gobindgarh) of Bathinda also from Sukhchen Singh, a Sabo Zamindar of great repute but it was not an easy affair to take possession of this fort as he had no artillery of sufficient power to reduce it. He was compelled to try and starve Sukhchen Singh out, and for a whole year the fort was besieged without success till the owner tired of his resistance, proposed to surrender if the Raja would raise the seize and promise his safety. Amar Singh agreed to this, but before drawing off his troops and returning to Patiala, he insisted that Kapur Singh, son of the chief with four or five of his principal officers, should be given to him as hostages. The siege was then raised but Sukhchen Singh did not give up the fort and it was not till four months later that he visited Patiala, accompanied by Sodhi Bharpur Singh, a man whose sanctity was generally respected by the sikhs, that Sukhchen Singh thought his company of more value than any safe conduct from the Raja. Arriving at Patiala, he asked for the release of the hostages, agreeing to remain himself in confinement until the fort was surrendered. To this the Raja consented and Kapur Singh with the other hostages, returned to Bathinda, and at once began to strengthen the defences and increase the garrison. On the news of this reaching the Raja, he sent ordered to assault the fort without delay and treated Sukhchen Singh with great severity to the indignation of Sodhi Bharpur Singh who protested against such treatment of man who had been persuaded to come to Patiala under his solemn assurance of safety. At length Sukhchen Singh, weary of his rigorous imprisonment, sent an order to his son to make over the fort to the Patiala officials, which was done and Sukhchen Singh was released. This acquisition was made in 1771 and the Bathinda District (including the present area of Mansa) became part of Patiala State.[28]

Soon after this victory, a Mahratta General Janko Rao, marched in the direction of Patiala to the consternation of Amar Singh, who sent off all his treasure and family jewels to Bathinda, which, laying amidst sandy waste, was not likely to be atacked.[29] Anyhow, Patiala was not attacked by the Mahrattas and Raja Amar Singh set out to punish some refractory zimindars in the neighborhood of Bathinda (including the area of present Mansa) District. Raja Amar Singh died at the age of thirty five.

Raja Sahib Singh, the new chief of the Patiala State was a child six years of age. It would have been a hard task for a man, however able, to maintain order in a country so lately conquered inhabited by warlike and independent races, and to ward off the attacks of powerful neighbours rivals. The affairs of the State were in the hands of Diwan Nanun Mal, an Aggarwal bannia of Sunam, was a man of great experience and honesty. He had served Raja Amar Singh well both in the council and in the field.

During the time of Sahib Singh, a serious revolt broke out at Bhikhi (Bhikhe) now in Mansa District. Sardar Ala Singh, the brother of Rani Khem Kaur, one of the Raja Amar Singh's widow, seiged the town with the aid of zamindars of the neighborhood, expelling the Patiala Governor, Thamon Singh from the town and the fort.

The Ranis and their relatives had, at this time, great power in Patiala. They all, with the exception of Rani Hukman, hated Nanun Mal for his efforts to maintain economy and to restrain their extravagance within due bounds, and the Diwan found himself opposed and thwarted in every possible way. He however, mustered a large force composed of Patiala, Jind, Nabha, Malerkotla, Bhadaur and Ramgharia troops, and, accompanied by Rani Hukman, marched against Bhikhi and invested the village. After few days of skirmishing, Ala Singh, seeing further resistance hopeless escaped from Bhikhi by night, and fled to his home at Talwandi, where he was pursued by the Diwan and captured. He was imprisoned at Patiala for a time, but on the intercession of Sodhi Nahr Singh of Anandpur Sahib, a man of great sanctity, he was at length released on payment of a heavy fine, and allowed Dhamon and other villages for his support.[30]

To add to difficulties of the Patiala administration, the year 1783 was one of famine known as the Chalia (forty), the year being, acording to Hindu Computation, (1840 A.V.) as terrible as any that had ever devastated the Northern India. The previous year had been dry and the harvest was poor, but, in 1783, it failed entirely. The country was depopulated, the peasants abandoning their villages and dying in thousands of disease and want, but little revenue could be collected, the country swarmed with bands of robbers and dacoits, and the state of anarchy was almost inconceivable. The neighboring chiefs began to siege for themselves the Patiala villages and all who dared threw off Patiala authority declared themselves independent. But Diwan Nanun Mal did no lose heart. He was able to crush all these revolts with an iron hand.[31]

In 1787, Raja Sahib Singh was married to Rattan Kaur, daughter of Sirdar Ganda Singh Bhangi, who had long been dead, but his grandson Gulab. Singh still held, though with diminished authority, the city of Amritsar and its neighbourhood, and was a powerful chief, and the marriage was performed with proportionate splendour.[32]


British Period:

The most important thing that happened during the rule of Raja Sahib Singh was that Patiala State (including the whole areas of Mansa District) came under the domination of the British government as he sought and obtained the protection of the British. Raja Sahib Singh died on 26 March 1813 and was succeeded by his son Karam Singh. Raja Karam Singh had to face many problems from the extravagant claims and pretensions of his-brother Kanwar Ajit Singh who demanded the fort of Bathinda including the present day Mansa District area from Karam Singh. As the fort of Bathinda was the stronghold in the Patiala territory, Raja Karam Singh declined the offer. However, he settled matters with Ajit Singh, giving him less important places.

The Maharajkian Sikhs had settled in 22 large villages around village Maharaj in Bathinda District to which the present area of Mansa district belongs. The Maharajkian Sikhs had formed another constant subject of dispute between the Phulkian chiefs, Patiala, Nabha and Jind, each claiming supremacy over them. These Jagirdars were of Phulkian origin, and in 1833, were estimated at between forty to fifty thousand souls, inhabiting twenty two large villages, the total area of which was about forty thousand acres.

Their customs were peculiar; each individual claimed to be absolutely independent, and neither son nor brother remained in subjugation after he was able to cultivate his share of the land. The soil they owned was unirrigated, yet it nevertheless yielded abundant harvests. But although no more than simple agriculturists, the Maharajkian had given up none of their warlike habits. Each man carried arms, which he never laid aside, even at the plough, for the whole community was of so turbulent a character, that no one was safe from the encroachment of his neighbour. Such being the case, it may seen strange that these men had been so long able to preserve their independence,were they not always ready to unite against any common enemy, and their strength, bravery and warlike habits, caused them to be respected. They had scarcely any sort of municipal government, and their only laws was of equal division of inheritance.

During Muhammadan days the Maharajkian had paid tribute to Delhi, and when the empire fell, they naturally refered to the neighboring chiefs to arbitrate in their dispute some going to Nabha, some to Jind and others to Patiala. This state of things led to the usual results.The chiefs whose assistance was asked gave it with the sole objects of strengthening their own personal influence and power, rival factions called in rival chiefs, and the people gained very little benefit from the foreign interference, while jealousies and feuds continually increased. Weary, at last, of perpetual disorder the Maharajkian solicited the help of the British Government. The case was a very difficult one to decide Patiala, Nabha and Jind, each claimed superiority, but to this they had no little, nor could they show that, at any time they had received from the Maharajkian any kind of acknowledgement of such superiority. But the people were so wild and lawless that some strong hand was necessary to control them.

In August 1833, the result was that Maharajkians, were brought under direct British Superintendence, and the Phulkian chiefs were warned not to interfere in the affairs of the community, which became peaceful and well-behaved, as soon as the rival influence of Nabha and Patiala ceased to agitate it.[33]

This change in the character of the Maharjkians for the better was very marked, and it was apparent immediately they had come under British control. No harsh rules or unintelligible procedure were prescribed for them, but simple village courts were formed, in which the elders were to decide upon most disputed cases. The result was that in few years the blood shed and affrays which were before so frequent, became almost unknown and the confidence of the people in the intention of the British Government became such that they begged that a thana or police station might be placed in their midst, though they had always refused to admit any such post belonging to the neighbouring Chiefs and would have resisted such as encroachment to the death. They gave up almost entirely the practice of female infanticide, which had been before universal.[34]

During the first Anglo-Sikh war in 1845-46, Maharaja Karam Singh of Patiala fought on the side of the British. He died during this war and his son and successor Maharaja Narinder Singh also helped the British in the Anglo-Sikh war.

During the disturbances of 1857-58, no Prince in India showed greater loyalty or rendered more conspicuous service to the British Government than the Maharaja of Patiala. The Patiala Chief was splendidly rewarded for his services by the British Government.

On 1 November 1861, Maharaja Narinder Singh was invested with the Most Exalted Order of the Star of India at Allahabad; and about the same time, he was appointed a member of the Governor General Council for making laws and regulations on 13 November 1862, Maharaja Narinder Singh the most enlightened ruler of the State, passed away at the age of thirty nine.

Mohinder Singh was only ten years old at the time of his father’s death. In May 1870, the Maharaja was nominated a Knight of the Most Exalted Order of the Star of India. During his time, Mohindra College of Patiala was established which made significant contribution to the spread of education in Malwa area which included the area of present Mansa District.

After the death of Maharaja Mohinder Singh of Patiala in 1873, Rajinder Singh be came the Maharaja of Patiala. The foundation of Rajindra Hospital, Patiala were laid by him in 1877. The establishment of the Hospital gave some sort of medical relief to the people of Malwa. In 1881, a railway line from Rajpura to Bathinda was installed. It added to the facilities of communication to the people of this area. Maharaja Rajinder Singh passed away in 1900.

Maharaja Bhupinder Singh was the next Maharaja of Patiala State who gave much help to the British during the World War-I. Many young persons were recruited from this area to be sent on the war front. Maharaja Bhupinder Singh died in 1938 and he was succeeded by his son Yadvindra Singh. Maharaja Yadvindra Singh gave much military aid to the British during the Second World War.

Notable persons

External links

Reference

  1. B.B. Lal and S.P. Gupta. www.punjabrevenue.nic.in
  2. B.B. Lal and S.P. Gupta. www.punjabrevenue.nic.in
  3. Lal, B.B; Gupta, S.P. (1984) [1981-82]. Frontier of Indus Valley Civilization. Delhi.
  4. B.B. Lal and S.P. Gupta. www.punjabrevenue.nic.in
  5. B.B. Lal, S.P.Gupta, Frontier of Indus Civilization (Delhi 1984) pp.520-527
  6. B.B. Lal and S.P. Gupta. www.punjabrevenue.nic.in
  7. B.B. Lal and S.P. Gupta. www.punjabrevenue.nic.in
  8. B.B. Lal and S.P. Gupta. www.punjabrevenue.nic.in
  9. B.B. Lal and S.P. Gupta. www.punjabrevenue.nic.in
  10. A.L.Shrivastava, The Sultanate of Delhi, 711-1526(Agra, 1971)pp 55-56
  11. Ibid., pp. 62-63
  12. Ibid., p 95
  13. Punjab under the Sultan (1000-1526 A.D) by Bakhshish Singh Nijjar (Delhi, 1968) p 39
  14. Ibid., pp. 39-40
  15. Ibid., p.43
  16. Ibid., p.77
  17. Ibid., pp. 77-78
  18. Ibid., pp. 78-79
  19. Ibid., p 79
  20. Ibid., p.80
  21. Ibid., pp. 85 and 89
  22. Ibid., pp. 83-84
  23. The Rajas of the Punjab by Lepel H. Griffin/The History of the Patiala State, pp. 2-3
  24. Ibid., pp. 4-5
  25. Ibid., p. 6
  26. Ibid., pp. 6-7
  27. The Rajas of the Punjab by Lepel H. Griffin/The History of the Patiala State, pp. 27-28
  28. Ibid., pp. 34-36
  29. Ibid., p.36
  30. Ibid., pp. 52-53
  31. Ibid.,p.54
  32. Ibid.,p. 58
  33. Ibid., pp. 160-162
  34. Ibid., p.163

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