Raja Bharpur Singh
- 1 Ancestors of Bharpur Singh
- 2 Raja Bharpur Singh
- 3 The mutiny of 1857
- 4 The conduct and services of Raja Bharpur Singh
- 5 The rewards recommended for his services
- 6 The right of adoption and capital punishment conferred
- 7 The Sanad of 1860
- 8 The Viceroy’s address to the Raja
- 9 His expression of thanks to her Majesty the Queen
- 10 Reforms inaugurated by Raja Bharpur Singh
- 11 His character and intelligence
- 12 Nominated a Member of Legislative Council by Lord Elgin
- 13 His illness
- 14 The heir to Nabha throne
- 15 The installation of Raja Bhagwan Singh, AD 1864
- 16 The death of Raja Bharpur Singh by Poisson, disproved
- 17 राजा भरपूरसिंह
- 18 References
Ancestors of Bharpur Singh
Tiloka had two sons namely, 1. Gurudutta 2. Sukh Chain. Sukh Chain's descendants ruled Jind state. Gurudatta's descendants ruled Nabha state. Gurudatta's only son was Surat Singh. Surat Singh died in 1742 prior to Gurudatta in 1744.
Surat Singh had two sons 1. Hamir Singh (1755-1783 ) and 2. Kapur Singh.
Raja Devendra Singh had two sons namely, 1. Raja Bharpur Singh and 2. Raja Bhagwan Singh. Raja Bharpur Singh died in 1863 prior to Raja Devendra Singh. Raja Bhagwan Singh ruled from 1864-1871. He had no son, so he adopted Raja Hira Singh (1871-1911).
Raja Bharpur Singh
Raja Bharpur Singh was 4th Raja of Nabha 1846/1863, born 4th October 1840, he replaced his father, on the gadi in January 1847, during his minority, the state affairs were managed by his grandmother, Rani Chand Kaur, he was an enlightened ruler and a devout Sikh, he provided help to the British during the mutiny of 1857 and was rewarded with the grant of the divisions of Bawal and Kanti, he was granted the right of adoption, the power of life and death over his subjects and the promise of non-interference by the British in the internal affairs of his state, he was nominated a member of the Viceroy`s Council in September 1863, but died sp shortly afterwards on 9th November 1863 at Nabha.
The mutiny of 1857
Lepel H. Griffin writes: Raja Bharpur Singh attained his majority a few months after the breaking out of the mutiny of 1857, At this critical time he acted with the utmost loyalty and intelligence, and his services were as distinguished as those of the other Phulkian Chiefs.
The conduct and services of Raja Bharpur Singh
At the commencement of the mutiny the the Raja was directed to hold himself in readiness for service, and, on the 17th of May, was placed in charge of the important station of Ludhiana, which he occupied with 350 horse, 450 foot, and 2 guns, remaining there for six months, and, during his occasional absences, leaving his brother in command. He furnished an escort of 300 men for the siege train ordered from Philor to accompany the Commander-in-Chief to Dehli. The Nusseri battalion had been appointed for this duty, but they refused to march, and Nabha troops were alone available for
* Voluminous vernacular records of 1834, 1841, 1844. W. Wjnyard, Esq., to Commissioner Cis-Satlej States, No. 420, dated 9th September 1848, enclosing report of R. U. Greathed, Esq., of the 6th September. H. Davidson, Esq..Settlement Officer, to Commissioner Cis-Satlej States, No. 344, dated 7th November 1851.
the duty. When the Jalandhar mutineers reached Philor, the Deputy Commissioner took a detachment of 150 Nabha troops, and, destroying the bridge, opposed the passage of the enemy. The troops behaved well, a great number of the mutineers were killed, and several of the Nabha men were killed and wounded.
Raja Bharpur Singh was anxious himself to march to Dehli at the head of his troops, as the Raja of Jhind had done. This was not allowed. He was very young, and such service was more onerous than could be fairly asked from him. A detachment, however, of his force, about 300 in number, did good service at Dehli under Sirdar Didar Singh, throughout the siege.
In addition to this, the Raja enlisted many hundred new troops ; he furnished supplies and carriage ; arrested mutineers marching through his State ; and performed every service required of him with the utmost loyalty and good- will. At a time when money was urgently wanted, he advanced to Government a loan of two and a half lakhs of rupees.*
The rewards recommended for his services
The Commissioner of the Cis-Satlej States, after the disturbances were over, recommended that the following rewards should be conferred upon the Raja : —
- (1). A grant of territory taken from the Ludhiana or Firozpur districts and not exceeding in value Rs. 30,000 per annum, to be given to him and his male heirs in perpetuity.
- (2). That his khillat from the Governor General should be increased from seven pieces to fifteen,
* Commissioner Cis-Satlej States, No. 69, dated 4th March 1858. With statement of services of the Raja of Nabha.
- to place him on the same footing as the Raja of Jhind.
- (3). That he should be received with a salute of nine guns on visiting any of the large military stations, or at the Durbar of the Governor General.
- (4). That his visit to the Governor General should be returned by the Foreign Secretary.
The Government, however, on further consideration, bestowed upon Raja Bharpur Singh rewards far more valuable than those originally proposed. The divisions of Bawal and Kanti, in the confiscated Jhajjar territory, were made over to him, worth Rs. 1,06,000 per annum, on condition of good behaviour and service, military and political, in times of general danger and disturbance. His khillat was increased from seven to fifteen pieces ; a salute of eleven guns was granted him ; his visit to the Governor General was directed to be returned by the Foreign Secretary, and his honorary titles were increased. *
The right of adoption and capital punishment conferred
In addition to these honors, there were conferred upon him those privileges which he, in common with his kinsmen of Pattiala and Jhind, had asked from Government in their Paper of Requests in 1858 : the power of life and death ; the right of adoption ; and the promise of non-interference of the British Government in the domestic affairs of the family and the internal management of the State, t
* Government Panjab to Government of India, No. 135 of 12th March and 202 of ISth April 1858. Government of India to Government Punjab, No. 1549 A, dated 2nd Jane, and to Raja of Nabha of the same date.
t Paper of requests submitted by the three Phulkian Chiefs For details vide, Pattiala History. Commissioner Cis-Satlej States, to Government Panjab, No. 149, dated 20th May 1858. Government Panjab to Government of India, No. 104, dated 16th Jane. Government of India to Government Panjab, No. 3047, dated 25 May 1859. Secretary of State Government of India, No. 64, dated 1st December 1859.
The Sanad of 1860
A Sanad was granted to Raja Bharpur Singh, in May 1860, confirming to him his estates ancestral and acquired, and conferring independent powers and privileges, similar to those granted to the Chiefs of Pattiala and Jhind. The right of adoption which had been so earnestly desired by all these Chiefs was included in this Sanad.*
The Durbar of 1860:
On the 18th of January I860, Lord Canning, Viceroy and Governor General, held a Durbar at Ambala, at which
* Translation of the sanad given to the Rajah of Nabha, His Excellency the Viceroy and Governor General
Simla, 5th May 1860.
Since the establishment of British supremacy in India, the present Rajah of Nabha and his ancestor, Raja Jaswant Singh, have given various proofs of their loyalty to the British Government. More recently, the present Chief of Nabha has surpassed the former achievements of his race, by the constancy and courage he evinced during the mutiny of 1857-58. In memory of this unswerving and conspicuous loyalty, His Excellency the Viceroy and Governor General of India has conferred additional honors and territory upon the Rajah for himself and his heirs for-ever, and has graciously acceded to the Rajah’s desire to receive a Sanad or Grant under the hand and seal of the Viceroy, guaranteeing to the Rajah the free and unreserved possession of his ancestral territories, as well as of those tracts bestowed on the Rajah by the British Government.
Clause 1.— The Rajah and his heirs for ever will exercise full sovereignty over his ancestral and acquired dominions, aocording to the annexed list. All the rights, privileges, and prerogatives which the Rajah enjoys in his hereditary territories, he will equally enjoy in his acquired territories. All feudatories and dependants of every degree, will be bound to render obedience to him throughout his dominions.
Clause 2. Except as provided in Clause 3, the British Government will never demand from the Rajah, or any of his successors, or from any of his feudatories, relations or dependants, any tribute on account of revenue, service, or any other plea.
Clause 3. The British Government cordially desire to see the noble house of Nabha perpetuated, and in this spirit confers upon the Rajah and his heirs for ever, whenever male issue may fail, the right of adopting a successor from among the descendants of the Phoolkeean family. If, however, at tiny time the Rajah of Nabha should die without male issue, and without adopting a successor, it will still be open to the Maharaja of Pattiala and the Rajah of Jheend, in concert with the commissioner or Political Agent of the British Government, to select a successor from among the Phoolkeean family ; but in that case a nazuranah or fine equal to one-third of the gross annual revenue of the Nabha State shall be paid to the British Government.
all the Cis-Satlej Chiefs were present, and addressed the Raja of Nabha in the following terms : —
The Viceroy’s address to the Raja
“Raja of Nabha —
" You have been equally forward and equally earnest, with other Chiefs of your ancient race, in your support of the authority of the British Government. Clause 4. — In 1847 the British Government empowered the Rajah to inflict capital punishment after reference to the Commissioner. It now removes the restriction imposed by this reference, and invests the Rajah with absolute power of life and death over his own subjects. With regard to British subjects committing crime, and apprehended in his territory, the Rajah will be guided by the rules contained in the Despatch of the Honorable Court of Directors, to the Madras Government, No. 3 dated 1st June 1836. The Rajah will exert himself to execute justice and to promote the happiness and welfare of his people. He engages to prohibit Suttee, Slavery, and Female Infanticide throughout his territories, and to punish with the utmost rigor those who are found guilty of any of these crimes.
Clause 5. The Rajah will never fail in his loyalty and devotion to the Sovereign of Great Britain.
Clause 6. If any force hostile to the British Government should appear in this neighbourhood, the Rajah will co-operate with the British Government and oppose the enemy. He will exert himself to the utmost of his resources, in providing carriage and supplies for the British Troops, according to requisitions be may receive.
Clause 7. The British Government will not received any complaints from any of the subjects of the Rajah, whether maafeedars, jageerdars, relatives, dependents, servants or other classes.
Clause 8. The British Government will respect the household and family arrangements of the Rajah, and abstain from any interference therein.
Clause 9. The Rajah, as heretofore, will furnish, at current rates through the agency of his own officers, the necessary materials required for the construction of railroads, railway stations and imperial roads and bridges. He will also freely give the land required for the construction of railroads and imperial lines of road.
Clause 10. The Rajah and his successors, &c., will always pursue the same course of fidelity and devotion to the British Government, and the Government will always be ready to uphold the honor and dignity of the Rajah and his house. Schedule of the Territories belonging to the Rajah of Nabha.
- Pergunnah Nabha Khas.
- „ Umloh.
- „ Bhadsun.
- „ Kapurgurh.
- „ Dhunowla.
- „ Phool with Dyalpoora.
- „ Jeylokee.
- ,, Sotbuddee.
“ The assistance which you gave to the Queen's army in the transport of its heavy artillery from the Satlej to Dehli was a signal and valuable service.
“Your loyalty and zeal have, as in the case of your fellow Chiefs, been marked by rewards and honor, which will assure you of the high esteem in which your conduct is held by the Government.
" Additions have been made to your possessions, and the grant will be formally confirmed to yourself and your descendants. If these should fail you, your adoption of an heir from amongst the members of the Phulkian house will be gladly recognized.
" It is the desire of the Queen's Government that the power and dignity of your loyal family should endure and flourish." *
Share of Bhaee Roopa, with right of jurisdiction, and right over all subordinate rent free holders residing therein.
Feudatories and Tributaries.
The Sikhs of Sonthee.
The Sikhs of Ram Dass Boongguanwalla.
Sodh Kurreea Goomteewalla.
* Government notification, No. 122, A. dated Ambala, 20th January 1860. A Sanad of adoption was granted, conferring the right supplementary to the general Sanad of I860.
To Furzund Arujmund Ekeedut Pyebund Dowlut-i-Englisha Burarbinu Surmour Rajah Bhurpore Sing Mohender Bahadoor of Nabha,
Dated 5th March 1862.
Her Majesty being desirous that the Governments of the several Princes and Chiefs of India who now govern their own territories should be perpetuated, and that the representation and dignity of their houses should be continued, I hereby, in fulfillment of this desire, repeat to you the assurance which I communicated to you in the Sunud under my signature, dated 5th May 1860, that on failure of natural heirs, your adoption of an heir from amongst the members of the Phoolkeean house will be gladly recognized and confirmed; and that if at any time the Rajah of Nabha should die without male issue, and without adopting a successor, it will still be open to the Maharaja of Pattialla and the Rajah of Jhind in concert with the Commissioner or Political Agent of the British Government, to select a successor from among the Phoolkeean family,
His expression of thanks to her Majesty the Queen
The rewards and honors bestowed upon the young Raja of Nabha were well deserved. His loyalty, was hearty and genuine, and his gratitude for the generous recognition of his services by the British Government was sincere. As this tune he forwarded an address to Her Majesty the Queen, a translation of which may be recorded here as a specimen of oriental complimentary composition.
“To the sublime presence— brilliant with grace and light — the fountain of munificence and honor — Lord of the Universe — famous as Alexander — puissant as Jamsher - the Queen of England (may her Empire endure for ever.)
" Your lowly petitioner,Bharpur Singh, placing the sign of humility on the forehead of sub-mission, and bending his head in dutiful obeisance, ventures to present this humble address.
" At a joyful time when the hearts of men were refreshed and gladdened by the mercy of God, and like a meadow were made green and succulent by the bounteous rain of heaven, the key that unfolds the desired treasure of your tributaries arrived in the charge of your Majesty's gracious Proclamation, accompanied by a letter from his Excellency, lofty in rank, pure in spirit, the Kight Honorable the Governor General, and spread a grateful shade over
but in that case a Nuzzaranah or fine equal to one-third of the gross annual revenue of the Nabha State shall be paid to the British Government.
Be assured that nothing shall disturb the engagement thus made to you so long as your house is loyal to the Grown and faithful to the conditions of the Treaties, grants pr engagements which record obligations to the British Government.
" your petitioner. Your servant was overwhelmed with the mighty honor this missive conferred, and his heart was overjoyed at the pearls of grace which every sentence disposed, and especially with your Majesty’s gracious assurances to the Princes and Chiefs of India, that your Majesty would secure the foundations of their power, and confirm all treaties and obligations made by the Honorable East India Company, and also respect, with generous magnanimity, the rights, privileges, and ancient customs of the natives of this country. Your petitioner, and his ancestors before him, have always been steady in their loyalty to a Government whose fame is as wide as the heavens above. In commemoration of the happy news, your servant to show his boundless joy, convened a Special Durbar, and having collected all the Ministers and servants of the State, as well as the rich and poor, he announced the gracious terms of the proclamation to all present in an audible voice ; constellations of fireworks were let off, and the streets of the City were illuminated, and your servant's people were intoxicated with happiness and joy. How great is the goodness of God, and how great is the favour of your Majesty : such was the thought and exclamation of every one at the Durbar, who, on hearing the gracious words of the Proclamation, broke forth in praises of the Almighty and of His servant the Queen. As God in His wrath had afflicted the people of this country and crushed them in the press of calamity by raising up rebels and traitors, so now by means of Your Majesty's gracious demercy he has restored them to peace and favor. The whole population unites its voice in one hymn of thanksgiving, among the foremost in gratitude
" are the Princes of India. Your petitioner has always clung to the skirts of Your Majesty's protection, and is well assured that his interests will improve as the fortune and wealth of the British Empire advance. With these reflections your servant blows the trumpet of congratulation on your Majesty's accession with a loud and cheerful blast. If every hair of his body was turned into a tongue, he could never finish the peal of praise at Your Majesty's fixed intention to uphold ancient treaties. Your petitioner's ancestors placed themselves under British protection in 1808, and from that time they have never swerved from their loyalty, and have found their reward in ever-increasing treasures of honor and favor. Their fidelity to the State has been proved and confirmed by the letters of Lord Lake and other eminent English officers. Your petitioner will follow reverently in their steps, being assured that his prosperity, both present and future, is inseparably bound up with that of the British Empire. Finally, may God Almighty destroy your Majesty's enemies, as the sun rising with the day drives beasts of prey to their noisome dens : and may the Star of your Empire be always in the ascendant, diffusing light over the world, the symbol of victory,"*
The Nabha loan paid off by a grant of confiscated territory:
It will be remembered that the Raja of Nabha had, at the commencement of the mutinies, given a loan of 2-1/2 lakh of rupees to the Government. In addition to this there remained due to Nabha seven lakhs, from the 5 per cent loan of 1848, making a total of nine and a half lakhs. When Raja Bharpur
* This letter was answered by the Secretary of State by command of Per Majesty, 30th September 1859. The Maharaja of Pattiala and the Raja of Jhind who had also addressed Per Majesty, received, at the same time, most gracious replies.
Singh and the Maharaja of Pattiala understood that the British Government was not anxious to retain the Pargannahs of Kanoudh and Budwanah, forming part of the confiscated territory of Jhajjar, they applied for it to be given to them, at 20 years purchase, proportional to the amount of their respective loans. The proposal was agreed to, and Kanoudh villages, worth about Rs. 48,000 per annum, were given to the Raja of Nabha on the same terms as the ancestral and acquired lauds had been confirmed to him a short time before.*
Twenty years purchase of these villages amounted to about Rs. 10,000 in excess of what was due to the Raja, but the surplus was deducted from the interest still due to him. t
*Translation of a Sunud or Grant of portions of the Pergunnahs of Kunoudk and Booehoanah, District Jhujjar, bestowed on the Rajah of Nabha hy His Excellency Earl Cannings G. C. B. Viceroy and Governor General of India,
Preamble: Whereas the devotion and loyalty of the Rajah of Nabha and of his ancestor, Raja Jaswant Singh, have always been conspicuous since the establishment of British supremacy in India. His Excellency the Viceroy and Governor General being desirous of marking his high appreciation of these qualities, has been pleased to bestow upon the Rajah portions of Pergunuahs Kanoudh and Boodwanah, of the District of Jhujjur, containing forty two (42) villages, according to a Vernacular list annexed, assessed at a yearly revenue of forty seven thousand five hundred and twenty five (Rs. 47,535), and to accept from the Rajah a Nuzzuranah of nine lakhs fifty thousand and five hundred (Rs. 9,50,500). It is accordingly ordained as follows < —
Article 1.— 'The territories above mentioned are conferred upon the Rajah of Nabha and his heirs for ever.
Article 2. — The Rajah and his successors will exercise the same rights, privileges and prerogatives in these newly acquired territories as he at present enjoys in his ancestral possessions, according to the terms of the Sunnud, dated 5th May 1860, and signed by his Excellency Earl Canning, Viceroy and Governor General of India.
Article 3.— The Rajah and his successors will continue to maintain the same loyal relations with the British Government, and to fulfill the same obligations with regard to this newly acquired territory, as were imposed on him by the terms of the Sunnud, dated 5th May 1860, relating to the Rajah’s ancestral possessions.
t Commissioner Cis-Satlej States to Government Punjab, No. 87 dated 23rd May 1860.
Reforms inaugurated by Raja Bharpur Singh
Raja Bharpur Singh, on obtaining his majority, evinced great earnestness in improving the character of his administration. Early in 1859, the Agent of the lieutenant Governor had made an investigation which resulted in the dismissal of some of his ministers. This beginning the Raja followed up by many reforms, undertaken at the suggestion of the Maharaja of Pattiala or the Commissioner of Ambala. It had been the policy of the Raja's advisers to estrange him from the Maharaja of Pattiala, who, being a Prince of ability and related to Nabha by blood, would be likely to give him good advice and discourage their intrigues ; but Raja Bharpur Singh was intelligent enough to perceive that his interest was bound up with that of the Maharaja, and he maintained a friendship with him only terminated by death.*
His character and intelligence
The evils which result from minorities in the Native States have been noticed in the history of the Jhind State : t Raja Bharpur Singh was a remarkable exception to what is unfortunately a very general rule. The excellence of his disposition and his natural intelligence were such as to enable him to resist the deteriorating influences which surrounded him, and he gave promise of being one of the most liberal Princes in Northern India. A taste for learning is rare among the Sikhs, but the Raja was
Government Panjab to Commissioner No. 806, 947 dated 2nd July, and 2nd of August. Government of India to Government Punjab, No. 1977 dated 14th June 1860. Commissioner Cis-Satlej States to Government Punjab, No; 187 dated 22nd September 1860;
t Ante, p. 860
of a studious disposition. He had thoroughly mastered the Indian vernaculars and studied English three or four hours a day, whenever the duties connected with the administration of his State allowed him leisure. The rules drawn up for disposition of his time:
The work of all Departments he supervised himself, and a private memorandum, drawn up in English and containing rules for the disposition of his time, was a very remarkable document, showing how earnestly he was resolved to neglect no opportunity for self-improvement and to govern for the good of his people. It concluded with these words : —
" In conclusion, I invoke a blessing from the Almighty, and from the Durbar Sri Suth Gurdial, to preserve me steadfast in the discharge of these my duties, and to enable me so to pass my life, that, under the Almighty's shadow and protection, I may live to his glory, and be a blessing to others.”
Nominated a Member of Legislative Council by Lord Elgin
In September 1863, Lord Elgin, the Viceroy, offered Raja Bharpur Singh a seat in the Legislative Council : the honor of the Star of India having been assigned to the Raja of Jhind-. This honor was gratefully accepted by Bharpur Singh, who looked forward with great pleasure to his visit to Calcutta in the following January. But the Raja was destined never to take his seat in Council.
From June 1863, he had suffered severely from fever. His illness was, in the first instance, brought on by fatigue and excitement at an entertainment, given by his aunt, Sirdarni Mehtab Kour, widow of Sirdar Arjan Singh, Rangar Nanglia, on the occasion of the
marriage of her son Attar Singh. This entertainment took place on the 23rd of June, and the Raja, after his return, was attacked with fever which he was unable to shake off for nearly two months, when his physician, knowing his inveterate dislike to quinine, contrived to conceal this medicine in pills, and administer it to his patient, who became entirely convalescent and took the bath of health, in accordance with Hindu custom. That same day the Raja's illness returned more severely than ever. He had taken unusual exercise on the day in question ; had walked to the Gurdhwdra four hundred yards distant, and from his house to the top of the castle, a building of great height, and had changed his sleeping apartment, of the heat of which he complained. At night the fever returned and never again left him. From a remittent character with ague, it became continual and acute. The great natural delicacy of his constitution and his nervous temperament increased the difficulty of treatment, and his illness became a rapid decline from which he died on the 9th of November.*
The heir to Nabha throne
Raja Bharpur Singh left no son, and it was for the other Phulkian Rajas, in concert with the Political Agent of Ambala, to select a successor from among the members of the Phulkian family, in accordance with the terms of the Sanads of 1860 and 1862.
* Agent to Lieutenant Governor Cis-Satlej States, No. A. dated 10th November 1863, to Government Punjab. Government Punjab to Agent, No. 820, dated 23rd November 1863. Dispositions taken at Nabha of Ghulam Murtaza, Physician to the Maharaja of Pattiala, and Muhammad Baksh, Physician to the Raja of Nabha.
The documents provided that should the Chief die without male issue and without adopting a successor, a fine,
or nazzrana, of one-third of the gross annual revenue of the State should be levied en the next succession. The Phulkian Chief desired to save Nabha from the payment of this fine, and the Maharaja of Pattiala and the Raja of Jhind, on being addressed by the Political Agent, Sir Herbert Edwardes, on the subject of the succession, wrote replies precisely similar in character, to the effect that the proper, heir was Prince Bhagwan Singh, the younger brother of the late Raja; that it was well known that Raja Bharpur Singh, having no children, had always recognised his brother as his heir and had always treated him with the greatest confidence and affection ; that on the night of the Raja's death, according to the statement of the Nabha officials, he sent for his brother, and, in full possession of his senses, confirmed the Prince as his successor, exhorted him to follow his example of loyalty to the British Government ; to carry on the administration of the State for the good of the people, and to heed the counsels of the trusted officials, whom, moreover, he commanded to obey and serve his brother as they had served him.
This confirmation the Phulkian Rajas stated they considered as proof that Bhagan Singh had been regularly adopted ; that the intention of the Raja, previous to his illness, that his brother should succeed him was acknowledged, and that, under the circumstances, it would be in accordance with the dignity of the British Government to consider the
Prince as the regularly adopted Successor and to waive the right to the fine conferred by the third clause of the treaty of 1860.
The request to excuse nazrana was irrational:
The request of the Chief, though prompted by kindly feeling towards Nabha, and possibly by a hope that their good offices would be, at some future time, returned under similar circumstances, was nevertheless absurd. The British Government had yielded everything to the Phulkian Chiefs except the right, as paramount and sovereign, to a fine in case of death without heirs or without adopting a successor. No Government in the world has ever been so generous before to its feudatories ; but the concessions granted only induced the Chiefs to endeavour to evade compliance with the only condition by which they were still bound.
The story of the acknowledgment of the Prince, Bhagwan previous to tho Raja's last illness, was a pleasing fiction. Raja Bharpur Singh a very young man and there was every reason to hope that he would have children of his own to succeed him; at any rate, the adoption or acknowledgment of his brother as heir had never been notified to the Political Agent or to Government, and, consequently, had not received such confirmation and recognition on the part of the British Government, as, under the terms of the sanad of the 5th of March 1862, were necessary to its validity.*
* Letters of the Maharaja of Pattiala and Raja of Jhind to Sir Herbert Ed wardes, dated 12th December 1863. Commissioner Cis-Satlej States to Government Punjab, No. 309, dated 16th December 1863. Government Punjab to Government of India, No. 478, dated 19th December 1863.
The story of the death-bed scene ; the confirmation of the succession to his brother ; and the commitment of the officials and the State to his care, was a pure fiction, invented by the Nabha officials to save their State from payment of the fine. The Prince was present certainly for a short time while his brother was dying, but no conversation whatever passed between them nor was a word spoken to the officials regarding the succession.*
The Government allow Bhagwan Singh’s claim, but deny his adoption:
In the opinion of the Phulkian Rajas that Prince Bhagwan Singh should succeed his brother the Government entirely concurred. But they rejected altogether the assumption that the nomination of Bhagwan Singh as heir, was in any sense an adoption, and the claim to exemption from payment of Nazrana, as one of right, consequent on that alleged adoption. The construction of the Sanad of the 5th of May 1860 was perfectly clear, and the State was liable to the payment of Nazrana — " if at any time the Raja of Nabha should die without male
* There was no means of proving this statement false at the time ; but, the following year, an investigation was conducted at Nabha. regarding the death of Raja Bharpur Singh. The depositions of every one connected with the Court, of opposite parties, were taken, but there is no mention whatever of the circumstances detailed in the letters of the Maharaja and Raja of Jhind, although, every word spoken, and the minutest details connected with the Raja’s death were all scrupulously recorded. The following are extracts from the depositions bearing on the only interview the Prince had with his brother on the night of his death.
Sirdar Gurbaksk Singh, Prime Minister-“All time the Raja complained of no pain, but complained of being very dry in the throat. I thought it necessary to have him removed to the lower storey. He was carried down, and offered an elephant and other offerings. Raja Bhagwan Singh and Behali Mal, Munshi Narayan Singh and Mahammad Husaain Khan, then came on being summoned. I saw no one else. No one expected the event. It was at night, and only a few could attend, the Mai Sahiba, his mother, then asked to come. At first he objected, as she would weep and distress him ; but she came at last, and every one went out and left them alone. The Mai Sahiba remained with her son about half an hour. The present Raja was not present at the in-
" issue, and without adopting a successor”. Prince Bhagwan Singh was, it is true, the legitimate successor of his brother, but this right did not in any way lessen the obligation which the late Raja imposed upon the Nabha State to pay a fine under certain circumstances, and in return for the privilege of adoption which the British Government conferred upon him, but which he failed to exercise.
The installation of Raja Bhagwan Singh, AD 1864
The payment of the Nazrana was consequently demanded, * and the installation of the new Chief took place on the 17th of February 1864, in presence
" terview, he was in another room. Bhagwan Singh had no private interview with his brother before the latter’s death ; but he was with us. The brothers did not speak to each other. When told the Kour Sahib (Bhagwan Singh) was there, he said "well; let him comfort himself (tasalli rakha) and he Bhagwan Singh was crying or shedding tears”. After this nothing more passed, and the Raja soon became insensible.
Jiun Singh, Nafar or House servant: - " They took him (the Raja) down stairs. I went to inform the Kour Sahib (Bhagwan Singh) and he came and met his brother coming down etairs. He got worse every moment. I went to the Mai Sahiba’s ante-chamber (deorhi) and gave the news, she came to her son. After she left he became worse: he was senseless for two hours before death."
Bukshish Singh, Servant of the Raja,-“ They brought him (the Raja) down at about midnight, but I don’t recollect. The Kour Sahib met us at the bottom of the stairs. He remained in the Janpan in which he was brought down. He did not speak to the Kour Sahib, who was crying : and people put him aside lest he should disturb the Raja."
Many other depositions might be quoted containing proof, direct or implied, that the Raja held no conversation with his brother at all on the night of his death ; that the question of the succession was not even mentioned ; and that the story of the Nabha ministers, related to the Maharaja of Pattiala of the Raja of Jhind, and repeated in their letters, was a fiction from beginning to end. Sirdar Gurbaksh Singh, the Prime Minister, and Manowar Ali Khan, another Minister, calling on the Political Agent on the 17th December, repeated to him the story of the Raja formally nominating his brother on the night of his death in the presence of the Ministers ; but at the subsequent investigation at Nabba, the account of Gurbaksh Singh was quite different, as has been shown, while it is certain that Manowar Ali Khan was never present at all on the night of the Raja’s death.
* Commissioner Cis-Satlej States to Government Punjab, No. 312 dated 17th December 1863. Government Punjab to Government of India, No. 480 dated 21st December 1868. Government of India to Government Punjab, No. 54 dated 15th January 1864.
The death of Raja Bharpur Singh by Poisson, disproved
With regard to Raja Bharpur Singh, the story of death from poison was shown beyond all doubt to be absolutely without foundation.
No insinuation is more commonly made in Native States than that the death of a Chief is due to poison ; for the simple reason that the charge is most difficult to disprove. With Hindus, cremation follows shortly after death, and however grave the suspicions of foul play that might exist, a postmortem examination would be objected to by the whole Durbar on religious grounds ; so that the danger of detection which is, in the present state chemical science, almost certain for European poisoners, if suspicion of foul play be once
Aroused, has little weight among Hindus. This consideration, Which might be supposed to make crime more safe, also encourages false and malicious accusations, which a great part of the world would believe to be true simply because it was impossible to prove them false. The charge of the poisoning of a Chief is, moreover, one which can be used with fatal effect against any party which may be supposed to have an interest in the Chief's, death. Even if unsupported by a shadow of evidence And opposed to all the probabilities of the case, the charge still has its effect. It clings to those against whom it is made, and benefits those who are unscrupulous enough to make it. These considerations will explain the frequency of the charge in Native States ; but there is no reason whatever: to believe that the crime is one frequently perpetrated. On the contrary, it would be easy to adduce instances in which the charge has been loudly asserted, while it has been known to be absolutely without foundation, the cause of death being undoubted and certain.
Raja Bharpur Singh died of natural causes:
In the case of Raja Bharpur Singh there is no manner of doubt whatever that he died from natural cause alone; consumption, induced by great natural delicacy of constitution and a long and wearing illness, and the story of poison may be pronounced an unmitigated falsehood, unsupported by a particle of evidence. The symptoms which were noticed at the death of the Raja forbid absolutely the supposition that he died from the effects of arsenic, which was the poison the accusers declared had been used. But there is also no doubt that Raja Bharpur Singh, who was of a very superstitious dis-
position, was worked upon by some of those about him to believe that he was suffering from the magical arts of Sirdarni Mohtab Kour and others. The part which magic plays in the investigation at Nabha is a very important one. The belief in the power of magic is universal in India, and the idea that he was the object of unholy arts, may, probably enough, have had a very injurious influence upon a man so nervous and excitable as Bharpur Singh. The imagination has much to do with the health or illness of persons of a highly susceptible temperament, and it would be rash to assert that the belief that he had been bewitched did not have a most unfavorable influence on the recovery of the Raja; but the idea of poison must be altogether rejected.
The instigator of Mehtab Kaur’s murder:
With regard to the murder of Sirdarni Mehtab thore was little doubt that Gurbaksh Singh had been the instigator of the murder, and that other members of the Court had either actively assisted or had been cognizant of the crime. He appears to have believed, with the Baja, that the magical arts of Mehtab Kour had caused the illness and death of Bharpur Singh, and determined to avenge both it and some private grievances of his own against the lady, who was of a notoriously bad character. He was responsible for the release, in an informal manner and before the term of his sentence had expired, of the murderer Mehtaba, and his turning upon his rivals and enemies in the State and endeavouring to implicate them in the double crime of the murder of the Raja and Mehtab Kour was not only natural, but what might have been predicted with almost absolute certainty beforehand
The Government of the Punjab and the Government of India considered the conclusions at which the Nabha Commission had arrived to be correct, and directed the prosecution of Mehtaba for murder, and of Sirdar Gurbaksh Singh for instigating the same.
Mehtaba, the murderer sentenced to death:
The former was tried, convicted, and sentenced to death, though this was later commuted to transportation for life. Sirdar Gurbaksh Singh was placed before the Magistrate of Ludhiana, on the 25th of July 1865, on the charge of having abetted the murder of Sirdarni Mehtab Kour, and, after an investigation which lasted seven days, was committed to take his trial before the Sessions Judge of Ambala.
Sirdar Gurbaksh Singh acquitted:
The trial commenced on the 5th of September and closed on the 18th, when Sirdar Gurbaksh Singh was acquitted. This result was only to be expected. The great length of time that had elapsed since the commission of the crime; the doubtful nature, from a judicial point of view, of much of the evidence ; the position and influence of Sirdar Gurbaksh Singh and his friends and relatives, combined to render his conviction all but impossible.
The Indian and Home Governments found, however, no reason to doubt the correctness of the conclusions of the Court of Enquiry. Sirdar Gurbaksh Singh, Ausaf Ali, Minister of Justice, and Bulwant Singh, step-son of the murdered Mehtab Kour, were banished from Nabha territory ; and Raja Bhagwan Singh, acquitted of all complicity in the crimes which had been attributed to or committed by his intriguing officials, was restored to his posi-
tion among the Princes of India which he had temporarily lost, while charges so grave were under investigation.
These painful cases, which formed the subject of both political and judicial enquiry, have been recorded as briefly as possible, with the desire to wound as little as possible the feelings of persons, however innocent, who were implicated in them ; but it would have been an injustice both to the present Raja of Nabha and to his Court to have failed to notice what may be called the most remarkable enquiry which has taken place in the Cis-Satlej States since their connection with the British Government, seeing that the investigation entirely exculpated the Raja, while the infamous charges advanced recoiled upon those who first gave them existence.*
* It cannot be said that the investigation at Nabha arrived at the whole truth of the story connected with the murder of Sirdarni Mehtab Konr. The intrigues, the plots, and counterplots which were then discovered, implicating, in a greater or less degree, almost every one at the Nabha Court, would fill a volume; and all the motives for the murder, and the persons concerned in it or cognizant, of it, will never be known in this world. But that the conclusions reached may be accepted as generally correct, may safely be inferred. The writer of the present work, then Personal Assistant to the Judicial Commissioner of the Punjab, was deputed to Nabha to assist Major Cracroft in the investigation of the case. He can testify to the painful care and minuteness of the enquiry. Every possible hypothesis was examined, and nothing but the conclusion at which the Commission arrived would agree with the evidence recorded, and with the probabilities of the case. The acquittal of Gurbaksh Singh, in a Judicial trial, was expected, and was, indeed, unavoidable. But nothing in that trial in the smallest degree shook the correctness of the conclusion of the Commission of Enquiry. If those conclusions were wrong, then Sirdarni Mehtab Kour was never murdered at all : that the Government of the Punjab, the Government of India and the Secretary of State accepted those conclusions as correct, after most careful consideration, is at least a guarantee that they were reasonable.
With Sirdar Gurbaksh Singh it was impossible not to feel some sympathy. He was a very fine specimen of an old Sikh gentleman, with commanding presence and Irreproachable manners ; and although his previous history shows him to have been both avaricious and greedy of power ; yet he had undoubtedly a strong affection for Raja Bharpur Singh, and his actions, however reprehensible or criminal, were prompted
राजा भरपूरसिंह - राजा देवेन्द्रसिंह के अधिकार च्युत होते ही सन् 1847 जनवरी में भरपूरसिंह गद्दी पर बैठे। इनकी दादी रानी चन्दकौर बड़ी होशियार थीं। उन्हीं पर इनकी देखरेख का भार था। यह शासन-प्रबन्ध में भी सहयोग रखती थीं। तीन और सज्जन राज्य के पुराने कार्यकर्त्ता सरदार गुरुबख्शसिंह, फतेहसिंह और बहालीमल - कौंसिल के सदस्य चुने गए, जिनमें से कर्नल मेकसन ने सरदार गुरबख्शसिंह को कौंसिल का अध्यक्ष नियुक्त किया।
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गुरुबख्शसिंह ने अपने पद का दुरुपयोग किया। कहते हैं उसने थोड़े समय में स्वयं को धनाढ्य बना लेना चाहा और अधिकतर वह सफल भी हुआ। बड़े-बड़े पदों पर उसने अपने कुटुम्बी-सम्बन्धी नियत किए। इसका फल यह हुआ कि योग्य-अयोग्य का कोई खयाल न किया गया, जिससे प्रजा में असन्तोष फैला और गुरुबख्शसिंह की शिकायतें होने लगीं। जहां होने पर उस पर लगाये हुए दोषों का समर्थन हुआ, फलतः वह अध्यक्ष पद से पृथक् कर दिया गया और उसके स्थान पर मुन्शी साहबसिंह को नियुक्त किया गया।
सन् 1857 के गदर में भरपूरसिंह ने भी सरकार की भरपूर सहायता की। वे गदर आरम्भ होने के कुछ काल बाद स्वयं सनावलोग गए थे। वहां उन्होंने बड़ी बहादुरी का काम किया था और जब राजा साहब को लुधियाना की रक्षा का भार सौंपा गया था तो वहां भी साढ़े तीन सौ सवार और चार सौ पैदल एवं दो तोपों के साथ 6 महीने तक अधिकार किए हुए उपस्थित रहे। अगर बीच में उन्हें कहीं जाने की आवश्यकता भी हुई तो अपने भाई को अपने स्थान पर छोडकर जाते। कमाण्डर-इन-चीफ के साथ जो फौज देहली जानी निश्चित हुई थी उसके इन्कार कर देने पर नाभा की ही फौज के एक सौ सवार उनके साथ गए और उन्होंने बड़ी बहादुरी के हाथ दिखाये। राजा साहब ने इस बात की भी इच्छा की थी कि वह स्वयं देहली पहुंच जाएं, परन्तु सरकार ने नाभा की एक दस्ता फौज को ही वहां पहुंचना स्वीकार किया और राजा साहब की इच्छा के लिए उन्हें धन्यवाद दिया। नाभा की फौज ने वहां पहुंचकर भी बहुत काम दिया। राजा साहब ने भर्ती करने और रसद भेजने की सहायता पहुंचाई और ढ़ाई लाख रुपया बतौर ऋण भी दिया।
गदर के पश्चात् सरकार ने राजा साहब नाभा को अन्य राजाओं की तरह इनामात दिए। परगना झज्झर में से जिला बावल एवं कांटी जिनकी वार्षिक आय करीब एक लाख छः हजार की थी, इस शर्त पर दिए कि वह गदर वगैरा के जमाने में सरकार की सहायता करें। राजा साहब की खिलअतों की संख्या सात से पन्द्रह और तोपों की बढ़ाकर ग्यारह कर दी गई। इनके अलावा उन अधिकारों की स्वीकारी भी हुई जो जींद, पटियाला रियासतों को मिल चुके थे अर्थात् फांसी की सजा तक के अधिकार व उनके निजी मामलों में सरकार किसी तरह का हस्तक्षेप न करे। मई सन् 1860 में सरकार ने एक सनद भी दी जैसा कि जींद, पटियाला सभी को प्राप्त हुई थी, जिसके अनुसार उनके मौरूसी हक हमेशा के लिए मान लिए गए।
जनवरी सन् 1860 ई० को वाइसराय लार्ड रीडिंग ने अम्बाला में जो दरबार किया था, उसमें राजा साहब भी उपस्थित हुए। वायसराय ने राजा साहब नाभा और उनकी फौज द्वारा सेवाओं की बड़ी तारीफ की और बतलाया कि सरकार की
जाट इतिहास:ठाकुर देशराज, पृष्ठान्त-506
दृष्टि में अन्य सरदारों द्वारा हुई सहायता से आपकी सहायता किसी कदर भी कम नहीं है। आपको जो इलाका दिया गया है, उस पर आपकी सन्तान का हमेशा अधिकार रहेगा और किसी राजा की निःसन्तान मृत्यु हो जाने पर खानदान फूल में से रियासत का अधिकारी मान लिया जाएगा। सरकार की हार्दिक इच्छा है कि आपकी रियासत उन्नतिशील हो।
राजा भरपूरसिंह ने भी इसके बदले में कृतज्ञता प्रकट की और एक लिखित भाषण दिया जिसमें सरकार के प्रति अपनी मित्रता और उन्नति की मनोकामना प्रकट की थी।
राजा साहब ने 2 लाख रुपया तो गदर पर ही ऋण दिया था और इसके सिवाय सात लाख रुपया सन् 1848 में 5 रुपया सैंकड़ा सूद पर सरकार ने नाभा से लिए थे। इस तरह कुल असल रुपया 9 लाख होता था। जब महाराज देवेन्द्रसिंह को ज्ञात हुआ कि सरकार कानोड व बुडवाना नहीं रखना चाहती है तो उन्होंने उसके लिए प्रार्थना की कि 20 वर्ष के लिए कर्जे के बदले कानोड उन्हें दे दी जाए। सरकार ने इसे स्वीकार कर लिया और जो रुपया हिसाब से अधिक होता था, वह पहले ऋण के सूद में जमा समझ लेने के लिए तय कर दिया गया।
अब राजा साहब ने अपने रियासत के प्रबन्ध की तरफ बहुत ध्यान दिया। सन् 1859 ई० के आरम्भ में एजेण्ट गवर्नर ने तहकीकात की थी जिसका फल यह हुआ कि कई अहलकार निकाले गए। इसके पश्चात् राजा साहब महाराज पटियाला व कमिश्नर अम्बाला की सलाह लेते रहे।
राजा साहब भरपूरसिंह का चाल-चलन आदर्श था। अन्य रईसों की भांति वे ऐयासी से बहुत दूर रहते थे। वे बड़े बुद्धिमान् और उर्वर दिमाग के व्यक्ति थे। यही कारण था कि वह बुरे व्यक्तियों की संगति व सलाह से बचे रहे। कई राज के कार्यकर्त्ताओं की इच्छा थी कि राजा साहब पटियाला और उनमें मनोमालिन्य हो जाए जिससे वे उसका भरपूर लाभ उठा सकें। चूंकि वह समझते थे कि राजा साहब पटियाला से उन्हें उचित सलाहें मिलती हैं जिससे उनके मनसूबों का पूरा होना असम्भव है। पर राजा भरपूरसिंह यह सब समझते थे। उनके जैसे बुद्धिमान को डिगा लेना आसान न था। वे देशी भाषाओं में तो निपुण थे ही, पर समय निकाल कर 3-4 घंटे अंग्रेजी का अभ्यास किया करते थे।
जून सन् 1863 में राजा साहब सख्त बीमार हुए। उन्हें बड़े जोर से बुखार आना शुरू हुआ जो करीब 2 महीने तक उपचार करने से दूर हुआ। पर महाराज ने धार्मिक भाव से गुरुद्वारा तक जो 400 गज है, अस्वस्थता की हालत में ही पैदल यात्रा की थी और कुछ समय बाद जोर पकड़ लिया, जिससे नवीं नवम्बर 1863 को उनकी मृत्यु हो गई।
राजा भरपूरसिंह के कोई सन्तान न थी, इसलिए सरकार ने राजा साहब जींद
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और पटियाला से राज्याधिकारी के सम्बन्ध में राय मांगी। दोनों रईसों ने वास्तविक राय जो हो सकती थी, भेजी। उन्होंने लिखा था कि यह बात सभी को ज्ञात है कि राजा साहब हमेशा अपने भाई कुंवर भगवानसिंह को बतौर वारिस मानते थे और उनका बड़ा आदर करते थे। उनके व्यवहार और मृत्यु के समय उनकी मौखिक वसीयत के अनुसार भी कुंवर भगवानसिंह का वारिस होना न्यायोचित है। राजा साहब ने मृत्यु के थोड़े समय पहले ही भगवानसिंह को आदेश किया था - रियासत का प्रबन्ध उत्तमता से नम्रता-पूर्वक करना और सरकार अंग्रेजी का खैरख्वाह बने रहना। रियासतों के अहलकारों से राजा साहब ने कहा था कि - जिस तरह मेरे साथ तुम लोगों ने ईमानदारी और प्रेम-पूर्ण व्यवहार किया है, मेरे भाई के साथ भी वैसे ही पेश आना।
इस आशय की राय पाकर भी सरकार ने इसे स्वीकार न किया। भरपूरसिंह अपने भाई को अपना वारिस बना गए, यह बात कहानी की तरह गढ़ी हुई कही गई।
- [http://members.iinet.net.au/~royalty/ips/n/nabha.html Nabha (princely) state]
- The Rajas of the Punjab by Lepel H. Griffin/The History of the Nabha State, pp. 464-
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