The Rajas of the Punjab by Lepel H. Griffin/The History of the Fridkot State

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The Rajas of the Punjab

Being The History of the Principal States in the Punjab and their Political relations with the British Government

by Lepel H. Griffin

Printed by the Punjab Printing Company, Limited, Lahore 1870

The History of the Fridkot State

Barar Jat family

Genealogy of the Fridkot rulers

The Burar Jat family of Faridkot has sprung from the Same stock as the Phulkian and Kythal Chiefs, claiming to descend from Burar the seventeenth in descent from Jesal the founder of the Jesalmir State and the reputed ancestor of the Sidhu, Burar and many other Jat clans.

The Burar Jats were thus originally Bhatti Rajputs1 (?) and although, in their own traditions, there is a record of an emigration from Sialkot in the Rechna Doab to the

:1. Bhattis were Jats and not Rajputs as Rajput word did not exist at that period.Laxman Burdak (talk) 12:23, 21 November 2012 (EST)


Malwa many centuries ago, yet it is altogether certain that they never travelled to the north of the Satlej at all, but settled in the country in which they are at present found, on their first emigration from Rajasthan which was synchronous with that of the Phulkian branch of the tribe.

Their country and character

The Burars are the most important Jat tribe in the Firozpur district, where they inhabit the whole of the country of Mari, Mehraj, Muktsar or Mokatsar, Mudki, Buchon, Bhadour, Sultan Khan and Faridkot, holding besides many villages in Pattiala, Nabha and Malod. They are not good agriculturists and, in former days, were a wild and unruly race, addicted to cattle stealing and dacoity, while female infanticide was universally practised and, among the Maharajkian Burars, was only given up in the year 1836, through the exertions of Mr. Clerk, the Political Agent of the British Government.*

Sangar and Bhallan

The Raja of Faridkot is the head of the Burar tribe, and rules a territory 643 squire miles in extent, with a revenue of about Rs. 80,000. Of the ancestor who gave this name to the tribe mention has already been made and Sangar was the next of the family of whom, tradition takes any notice, the founder of Chakran, now a deserted village in the district of Kot Kapura. The story is told that in the reign of the Emperor Akbar, the Muhammadan Bhattis of Sirsa and the Burars quarreled about their boundaries, and both parties went to Dehli to ask the Emperor to adjudicate between them. Bhallan,

* Agent Governor General to Political Agent, 28th April 1890; Political Agent to Agent Governor General, 31st Augast 1836.
† Ante, p. 4.


the son of Sangar, represented the Burar clan, and Mansur, who was supposed to have influence at Court, one of his daughters being in the royal harem, was the champion of the Bhattis. The Emperor gave them an audience in open Durbar, and, as was customary, presented them with turbans and a dress of honour. Mansur at once began to wind the muslin round his head, when Sangar snatched it from him. A scuffle ensued in which the turban was torn in two. The Emperor was amused at the quarrel and said that his decision would correspond with the length of the pieces of muslin which each had managed to retain. On being measured the fragments were found exactly equal in length, and the Bhattiana and Burar boundary was accordingly laid down on a principle of equality, half the disputed country being given to either claimant. This tradition is preserved by the Burars in a well known line—

Bhallan chira phari Akbar ka Darbar.*

The acquisitions of the tribe

In the days of Bhallan the Burars held Kot Kapura, Faridkot, Mari, Mudki and Muktsar, and he was appointed by the Dehli Government Chaudhri or headman of the tribe. On his death, without male issue, Kapura, the son of his brother Lala, succeeded him as Chaudhri. Kapura was born in 1628 and succeeded his uncle in 1643. He was a brave and able man and consolidated the Burar possessions, winning many victories over his neighbours the Bhattis and others.

* Balan tore the turban in Akbar's Darbar.

The Founding of Kot Kapura

He founded Sirianwala, now in ruins, but abandoned it for a new residence Kot Kapura, named after himself and which he is reported to have founded at the suggestion of Bhai Bhagtu a famous Hindu ascetic. This town was peopled by traders and others from Kot Isa Khan, and the reputation which Kapura enjoyed for justice and benevolence induced many emigrants to settle in the new town which soon became a place of considerable importance.

His relations with the Imperial Government - Kapura was a malguzar or tributary of Dehli Empire, and appears to have served it With some fidelity, for when Guru Govind Singh visited him in 1704, and begged for his assistance against the Muhammadans, Kapura refused to help him, possibly believing, with many others at that time, that the cause of the new faith was altogether hopeless.*

His enemy Isa Khan

Isa Khan, the owner of the fort and village of that name, was Kapura's great rival and enemy, and watched his growing importance with the utmost jealousy. The two Chiefs had constant quarrels resulting in much bloodshed, but Isa Khan, finding that he was unable to conquer Kapura by force, determined to subdue him by gentler means, and concluded

* There is however in the Granth of Govind, Hlkayat I : Bet 59: the following Persian couplet.
Na zarra daren rah khatra tarast
Hamah Kaum-i-Burar hukm-i-marast,
the meaning of which is - There is not the slightest danger for thee on this road for the whole Burar race is under my command.
It is very doubtful whether this couplet is not of later origin, and an interpolation into the text of the Graath Sahib. It is quite certain that, in 1704, when the Granth of Govind Singh was written the Burars had not generally embraced Sikhism.

with him an agreement of perpetual friendship. Then, inviting him to his house, he feasted him, in chivalrous fashion, and assassinated him at the close of the banquet.

The Founding of Kot Sukha

The murder avenged

Kapura, who was eighty years old at his death in 1708, left three sons, Sukha, Sajja and Makhu, who determined to avenge their father's murder, and, assembling the clan and obtaining the aid of a strong Imperial force, they attacked Isa Khan, defeated and killed him and plundered his fort.

Sajja, though the second son,* succeeded his father as head of the family, but only survived him twelve years, when his brother Sukha Singh became Chief. He added to his possessions the estates of Rahadatta, Behkbodla, Dharamkot, Karman and Mamdot, and founded the new village of Kot Sukha. To his younger brother, Makhu, the villages Rori and Matta, were assigned from the patrimony, and these are still in the possession of Makhu's descendants.

The death of Sukha and quarrel among his sons -

Sukha died in 1731, aged fifty, leaving three sons, Jodh, Hamir and Vir, who for some time lived together in peace, but at length they quarreled and the two younger wished to divide the estate. To this Jodh, the eldest, would not agree, and Hamir and Vir then asked assistance from some of the Sikh Chiefs then rising to power. Sirdars Jassa Singh Ahluwalia, Kapur Singh Faizullapuria, Jhanda Singh Bhangi

* Sirdar Attar Singh Bhadour, one of the best authorities on early Cis-Satlej history, considers Sukha Singh to have been the second son, and Sajja or Lena Singh the elder. Also that the latter was Chaudhri for only two years, dying in 1710.

and Krora Singh, founder of the misl of that name. These were ready enough to interfere and, crossing the Satlej in force, compelled Jodh to assign the district of Mari Mustafa to Vir, and Faridkot to Hamir, retaining for himself Kot Kapura, with five villages known as the “Kharch Sirdari”, " the excess usually allowed the eldest son, to support the honor of the Chiefship, in families in which the rule of equal partition ordinarily prevails. The confederate Chiefs then induced the brothers to embrace Sikhism, and having caused them to receive the “pahal” or Sikh baptism, re-crossed the river.

Sirdar Hamir Singh of Faridkot

Sirdar Hamir Singh was thus the first independent Chief of Faridkot. His brother Jodh Singh, in 1766, erected a new fort at Kot Kapura and almost rebuilt the town ; but his oppression was so great that the inhabitants left it, and the artizans, who had been renowned for their skill and industry, emigrated to Lahore, Amritsar and Pattiala. With Raja Amar Singh, of this last named State, he was constantly engaged in hostilities ; and, in 1767, the Raja having found at the suggestion of the Chief's brother, a satisfactory pretext for a quarrel, marched to Kot Kapura with a strong force and prepared to invest the fort, when Jodh Singh and his son, advancing too far beyond the walls, fell into an ambuscade laid by the Pattiala troops and was killed, fighting gallantly to the last, his son Jit Singh being mortally wounded.*

Tegh Singh

Jodh Singh was succeeded by his son Tegh Singh who appears to have been a man of very small intelligence. He

* Ante, p. 35—36.


continued the family feud with Pattiala, and avenged his father's death by massacring all the inhabitants, men, women and children of the four Jalal villages who were in the pay of Pattiala and by whom Jodh Singh had been slain. Hamir Singh of Faridkot joined in this expedition, but - shortly afterwards quarreled with his nephew who refused submission to him, and taking him prisoner confined him in the Faridkot fort. The Phulkian Chiefs, however, used all their interest to get him set at liberty, which Hamir Singh only consented to do on condition that he would never leave his town of Kotkapura. The result was the utter disorganization of the estate.

The zamindars, unable to obtain justice, refused to pay revenue, and robbery and violence were everywhere prevalent, while Maha Singh Sarai, brother-in-law of the Pattiala Chief, seized Mudki and eighteen neighbouring villages.

Murder by his sons - The end of Tegh Singh was very tragical He had been for long on the worst of terms with his son Jaggat Singh, who, in 1806, set fire to the house in which his father was residing, and a large quantity of powder having been stored in the vaults beneath, the house was utterly destroyed and the Chief killed by the explosion.

The guilty son did not long enjoy the lands of which he thus became possessed. The next year, 1807, his elder brother, Karam Singh, calling Diwan Mohkam Chand to his assistance, defeated him and took possession of the district, but the Diwan and his master Maharaja Ranjit Singh had


no intention of restoring it to the rightful owner, and Kotkapura the Maharaja kept for himself, giving five Jalal villages to the Raja of Nabha. The villages of Mudki, which Maha Singh had seized, Ranjit Singh also retained, leaving to Maha Singh shares in two only, Patli and Hukumatwala.

In 1824, Jaggat Singh made an attempt to recover the estate and drove the Lahore garrison out of Kotkapura, but he was unable to hold it, and was compelled to surrender it after twenty days. He then endeavoured to make his peace with Lahore, and gave his elder daughter in marriage to Sher Singh, the Maharaja's reputed son ; but the following year, 1825, he died without male issue. The descendants of Karam Singh, the elder brother are still living, but are of no political importance.

The Faridkot branch

It is now necessary to return to the younger branch of Faridkot, represented by Hamir Singh, who, in 1763, received that estate as his share of the patrimony. The town had been founded some time before and named after a celebrated saint, Baba Farid, but Hamir Singh enlarged it, inducing traders and artizans to people it, and built a brick fort for its protection. He had two sons, Dal Singh and Mohr Singh, the former of whom was of an untraceable disposition, and rebelled against his father who suspected that Mohr Singh, the younger brother, was also concerned in the plot. He, accordingly called them both before him to test their temper directed each to fire at the leg of the bed on which he was reclining, with their muskets, or, according to other


accounts, to shoot an arrow at it. Dal Singh fired without hesitation and split the leg of the bed ; but Mohr Singh refused, saying that guns were fired at enemies and not at friends. This conduct so pleased the Chief that he declared Mohr Singh his heir, and banished Dal Singh altogether from Faridkot, assigning for his support the villages of Dhodeki, Malloh and Bhalur.* This selection of Mohr Singh as his successor, created a deadly feud between the brothers, and Mohr Singh besieged his rival in Dhodeki. But the latter managed to hold his own, and, calling to his assistance the Nishanwala Chief, defeated his brother and compelled him to return to Faridkot.

Death of Sirdar Hamir Singh 1782

[Sirdar Hamir Singh died in 1782, and Mohr Singh succeeded him. The new Chief was an incapable, debauched man, and paid no attention to the administration of his estates, several of which, Abuhar, Karmi and Behkbodla were seized by his neighbours. He married a daughter of Sirdar Sobha Singh of Man in Jhind, by whom he had a son Char Singh, or as he is generally known, Charat Singh, and who, accordingly to the almost invariable practice of the family, rebelled against his father. The origin of the quarrel was as follows.

Mohr Singh and his sons

Mohr Singh had another son, Bhupa, born of a Muhammadan concubine, Teji, of whom he was passionately fond ; and this boy had a far larger share of his father's love and attention than the legitimate son, who re-

* According to the Faridkot Chief, Dal Singh was the second son. Mohr Singh the elder ; but this is contradicted by the Bhadour Chief, the Barah Misl and other records, who make Mohr Singh the younger. In 1827, Sirdar Pahar Singh declared primogeniture always had prevailed in the family. This was however a case of disinheritance.


garded his rival with the greatest jealousy and dislike. On one occasion the Chief was setting out on an expedition towards Philor, and told Bhupa to accompany him. The spoiled child refused unless his father allowed him to ride the horse on which his brother always rode and on which he was then mounted. Mohr Singh ordered Charat Singh to dismount and give Bhupa the horse. This insult, though an unintentional one, sank deep into the heart of Charat Singh. He could not endure that he, the legitimate son, should be slighted for the son of a slave girl, and determined on revenge.

Charat Singh

Charat Singh rebelled against his father - With Kalha and Diwan Singh, his advisers, he formed a conspiracy to dethrone his father ; and during Mohr Singh's absence, he surprised the Faridkot fort and put Teji, his father's mistress, to death. Sirdar Mohr Singh, hearing of what had happened, hastily collected a large body of peasants and attempted to recover the fort, but he was repulsed with loss and retired to the village of Pakka, some four miles distant. Here he was surrounded by the troops of his rebel son, and, after a fruitless resistance, was taken prisoner and sent to Sher Singhwala, a village belonging to the father-in-law of Charat Singh, in which he was confined for a considerable time. At length, Sirdar Tara Singh Gheba, a powerful Chief, interfered in his behalf and induced Charat Singh to set him at liberty, although he refused to aid Mohr Singh against his son. After this, Mohr Singh made more than one attempt to recover his authority in Faridkot, but without success, and he died, an exile, in 1798.


The fortunes of Sirdar Charat Singh - Sirdar Charat Singh now considered himself safe from attack and reduced the number of his troops. The Pattiala State, his old enemy, was not likely to attack him, for he had repulsed an attack of the famous Diwan Nanun Mal, Minister of Pattiala, during the minority of Raja Sahib Singh, with some loss, and had acquired a great name for courage. But he had forgotten to number among his enemies his disinherited uncle, Dal Singh, who was only waiting an opportunity to regain his lost possessions, and, in 1804, having collected a small body of followers, he attacked the Faridkot fort by night and obtained possession. Charat Singh was surprised and killed, and his wife and three children, Gulab Singh, Pahar Singh and Sahib Singh, barely escaped with their lives.

Sirdar Dal Singh assassinated -

Sirdar Dal Singh only enjoyed his success for a single month.

The children of the murdered Chief were very young, the eldest being no more than seven years of age : but they had many friends, the most able of whom was their maternal uncle Fouju Singh, one of the Sirdars of Sher Singhwala, and, moreover, Dal Singh was generally hated for his tyranny. A plot to assassinate him was formed, and Fouju Singh, with a few armed men, penetrated at night to the apartment of Dal Singh, where he was sleeping with two or three attendants, and killed him. Then they beat a drum, which was the signal for the friends of the young Gulab Singh to bring him into the fort. There he was declared Chief without opposition, and his uncle Fouju Singh was appointed Diwan or Minister. The affairs of the little State were conducted with tolerable efficiency for some time, until Diwan Mohkam Chand


Mohkam Chand besieges Faridkot

the Lahore General invaded the Cis-Satlej territory in the cold season of 1806-7. He seized Zira, Buria, Mokatsar, Kotkapura and Mari, which had been assigned to Vir, the youngest son of Sukha, but which had fallen into the hands of the brother-in-law of Tara Singh Gheba. The Diwan then marched against Faridkot summoning the garrison to surrender, and, on their refusal, besieged the fort. The garrison trusted more to their position than to their numerical strength. Faridkot was situated in the true desert, and the only water for a besieging army was to be found in a few pools filled with rain water and scattered round the place, and these the besieged filled with the branches of a poisonous shrub, which so affected the water as to give the Lahore troops the most violent purging, and the General had no other resource than to raise the siege. He contrived, however, to exact a tribute of Rs. 7,000 from Fouju Singh, and in his heart resolved to conquer Faridkot on the first favourable opportunity. This opportunity was not long in arriving,* While Mr. Melcalfe, the Agent of the British Government, who had been sent to the Maharaja to conclude a treaty, offensive and defensive, against France, was in his camp, Ranjit Singh of Lahore crossed the Satlej with his whole army, on the 26th September 1808, and marched against Faridkot. He himself halted at Khai, and sent forward an advanced guard to which the fort surrendered without resistance, for the garrison knew that the Maharaja was present in person with the army, and his reputa-

* Ante p. 109.


tion for uninterrupted success was, at this time so great, that he rarely met with direct opposition. A few days afterwards, he himself marched to Faridkot, much elated at finding himself in possession of so fine a fort with so Utile difficulty. Mr. Metcalfe accompanied him, for the Maharaja, under pretense of signing the treaty, drew the British Agent from one place to another, forcing him to be an unwilling spectator of all his Cis-Satlej acquisitions, and although Mr. Metcalfe's diplomacy was much commended by the Government of the day, there can be little doubt that he was outwitted by the Maharaja, who would have been permitted to retain all his conquests to the south of the Satlej had not the policy of the British Government suddenly undergone a change by the removal of all apprehension of a French invasion.*

The estate is given in Jagir to Diwan Mohkam Chand -

Before abandoning the fort, Fouju Singh made as good terms for his nephews as were possible, obtaining a grant of five villages to which they retired. The Phulkian Chiefs each tried to obtain the district of Faridkot from the Maharaja. Pattiala had the best claim, for it had once been subject to her authority ; but Raja Jaswant Singh of Nabha and Raja Bhag Singh of Jhind, both bid high. But Diwan Mohkam Chand, who had set his heart on possessing Faridkot ever since his repulse in 1807, was the fortunate grantee, although he had to pay for it a large nazrana, or fine.

* Mr. C. Metcalfe to Government, 30th September, 1st October, 5th October, 10th October 1808. Raja Sahib Singh of Pattiala to Resident Delhi, 3rd December 1808, Resident Dehli to Captain Close, Acting Resident with Sindiah, 16th Jannary 1809.

The restitution demanded by the British Government - When the British Government demanded from the Maharaja the restitution of all his conquests on the left bank of the Satiej, made during 1808 and 1809, Faridkot was the place he surrendered most unwillingly.

The Maharaja maintains his right to it - To it he pretended to have a special right, firstly, from its being a dependency of Kotkapura, which he had previously conquered; and, secondly, from an alleged promise made by the owners when it was besieged in 1807, that they would, within one month, put themselves under his authority, and that, should they fail to do so, they would consent to undergo any punishment which he might think fit to impose upon them. With regard to the first claim advanced, it is manifest that no right could be maintained on account of any connection between Kotkapura and Faridkot. Ever since the division of the territory among the sons of Sukha, Faridkot had been independent ; more powerful than Kotkapura and in no way subject to it. Even had there been any connection such as that alleged, the Maharaja's case would have been no stronger, for his seizure of Kotkapura, before he had requested the assent of the British Government to the extension of his conquests beyond the Satlej, could not warrant his seizure of Faridkot after he had made such a request.

The second ground on which the Raja based his right was in some degree more valid, except that its truth could not be ascertained, and the conduct of the garrison and the sudden and forced retreat of Diwan Mohkam Chand seemed to contradict it ; nevertheless, the British Envoy consented to refer the claim of Faridkot being an old conquest for the

* Mr. C. Metcalfe to Government, 30th September, 1st October, 5th October, 10th October 1808. Raja Sahib Singh of Pattiala to Resident Delhi, 3rd December 1808, Resident Dehli to Captain Close, Acting Resident with Sindiah, 16th Jannary 1809.


decision of Government. This proposal did not at all please the Maharaja, who told Mr. Metcalfe that he must consult with the Chiefs of his army on the Satlej respecting the propriety of restoring Faridkot. The Envoy replied that he should consider the Maharaja's moving to join his army on the Satlej as a declaration of war and quit his Court accordingly.*

Diwan Mohkam Chand, at this very time, returned from Kangra, where he had been negotiating with Raja Sansar Chand for the expulsion of the Gurkhas ; and took up his position at Philor, commanding the passage of the Satlej at its most important part, opposite the town of Ludhiana. His inclination was for war with the English whom he hated and suspected, and he did not wish his master to surrender Faridkot, which had been made over to him in jagir. His influence, from his experience and ability, were very great with the Maharaja, and it was Mr. Metcalfe's firmness alone which at this time prevented a rupture with the English.

Ranjit Singh at length, and with great unwillingness, gave orders for the evacuation of Faridkot. But Diwan Mohkam Chand evaded compliance as long as possible. He wrote to the Maharaja that a British officer had been appointed to proceed to Faridkot, and that it was intended to occupy the place with a British garrison, and urged his master to suspend his order until such time as he could verify the

* Mr. G. Metcalfe to Secretary to Government, 22ud December 1808 and 12th January 1809.

information sent him.* The British Government had no intention of garrisoning the town, but they had determined that it should be surrendered to its original owners, and it was resolved by the Resident of Dehli to compel the restitution by force of arms.

The hot weather was approaching when the British army could not act in the field without great inconvenience, and the immediate march of troops on Faridkot would hasten its surrender if Ranjit Singh really intended it ; or, in case the evil counsels of Diwan Mohkam Chand should prevail, would only precipitate a contest which would, sooner or later, be inevitable.

Sirdar Gulab Singh

Finally restored - At the last moment, however, the Maharaja shrank from a collision with the stored. English, and, on the 3rd of April, 1809, restored Faridkot to Sirdar Gulab Singh and his brothers.†† All obstacles to the completion of the treaty between Lahore and the British Government were now removed, and it was signed shortly afterwards.

Minority of Gulab Singh - Fouju Singh ably administered the affairs of the State until Gulab Siugh became adult. No further attempts were made by Lahore to obtain possession, and Faridkot was so far distant from the stations of the British Political Agents, and was so insignificant in size and importance, that for many years its very existence seemed almost forgotten.

* Mr. C. Metcalfe to Government, 4th and 22ud March 1809.
† Resident at Dehli to Military Secretary to Commander-in-Cliief, 1st April 1809. Resident Dehli to Government, 5th February 1809. General Ochterlony to Adjutant General, 5th February 1809.
†† Resident at Dehli to Government, 9th April ; General Ochterlooy to Government, 28th March and 5th April 1809.


The Revenue of Faridkot

The revenue of Faridkot was at this time very small and always fluctuating. The country was entirely dependent on rain for cultivation, and this fell in small quantities and some years not at all. Wells were difficult to sink and hardly repaid the labour of making them, as the water was from 90 to 120 feet below the surface. In a favorable season the estate yielded Rs. 14,000 or Rs. 12,000, in a bad season Rs. 6,000, and sometimes nothing whatever. The number of villages in the estate, principally new ones, was about sixty.

Gulab Singh married two wives, one the daughter of Sirdar Jodh Singh Kaleka of Jammu in Pattiala, and the second, the daughter of Sirdar Sher Singh Gil, of Gholia in the Moga district.

The assassination of Gulab Singh

On the 5th of November, 1826, Sirdar Gulab Singh was assassinated while walking outside the town of Faridkot. The persons who were last seen with him before his death were Jaideo, a Jat, and Buhadar a silversmith, and their flight seemed to connect them with the crime. But, if these men were the actual assassins, it was generally believed that the instigators of the crime were Fouju Singh the Manager and Sahib Singh the youngest brother of the Chief. No shadow of evidence could be procured against the former who had served the family faithfully for twenty five years, but the discovery of Sahib Singh's sword as one of those with which his brother met his death, the concealment of life scabbard and his contradictory replies when Captain Murray the Political agent questioned him, were sus-


picious in the extreme ; but, in the absence of all direct proof, he was acquitted.*

Attar Singh

Attar Singh acknowledged Chief - Gulab Singh had left one son, a boy named Attar Singh, nearly four years old, And as custom of primogeniture seemed to prevail in the Faridkot family, this child was acknowledged as Chief by the British Government, the administration of affairs remaining, until he should reach his majority, in the hands of Fouju Singh and Sirdarni Dharam Kour, the widow.

Pahar Singh and Sahib Singh had, during the life-time of their brother, lived with him and enjoyed the estate in common, and it was decided that they were at liberty to remain thus, an undivided family, or, should they desire it, to receive separate jagirs. Another brother of the late Chief, Mehtab Singh, was living, but his mother had been divorced by Sirdar Mohr Singh and he was not entitled to inherit.

The young Chief Attar Singh died suddenly in August 1827. It was generally believed that he had been murdered, for, in this unhappy family, it was the exception and not the rule for death to result from natural causes, but the crime, if such it were, could not be brought home to any individual. The child was of so tender an age that he lived in the women's apartments, and no satisfactory investigation was possible.†† Sirdar Pahar Singh was now the legitimate heir, supposing the right of collateral succession to be

* Captain Murray, to Sir C. Metcalfe, 13th November and 21st December 18126. Mr. E. Brandreth, In his Settlement Report of Firozpur notes that Pahar Singh was suspected of his brother's murder. No such suspicion ever attached to him.
† Investigation at Faridlcot 22nd November 1826. Resident at Dehli to Captain Murray, 4th January 1827.
†† Captain Murray to Resident at Dehli, 2nd September 1827.


admitted, and was acknowledged as such by the British Government, being required to make such provision for his younger brother and sister-in-law as the custom of the family might justify.*

Raja Pahar Singh

Sirdar Pahar Singh, his character and administration - The new Chief was a liberal-minded and able man, and immensely improved his territory, more than doubling the revenue in twenty years. He founded many new villages, and the lightness of the assessment and his reputation for justice and liberality induced large numbers of cultivators to emigrate from Lahore and Pattiala to his territory.

The larger portion of the State was desert when he acquired it, and the journal of Captain Murray written in 1823, describes the country at sun-rise, as presenting the appearance of a vast sea of sandy with no vegetation except Pilu or other desert shrubs which added little to the life of the landscape. But the soil, although sandy, only required water to produce magnificent crops of wheat. In old days a canal from the Satlej had been dug by one Firu Shah from near Dharamkot, half way between Firozpur and Ludhiana, and, passing by Kot Isa Khan at Mudki, had irrigated the country to some distance south of Faridkot, where it was lost in the sand. Sirdar Pahar Singh was not rich enough to make canals, but he dug many wells and induced the peasants to dig others, and set an example

* Resident Dehli to Captain Murray, 6th and 20th September 1827. Captain Murray to Resident Dehli, 16th September I827.
† Traces of this canal are still to be seen. The tradition in the country is that an ancient Chief of Faridkot had a daughter of great beauty whom he declared be would only give to a man who should come to Faridkot riding on a wooden horse. This Firu Shah accomplished by digging a canal and coming to win the beauty in a boat. On his return journey with the lady, he asked her for a needle, which she was unable to give him, and suspecting that she would not prove a good housewife he left her at Mudki on the banks of the canal, where a large mound of earth is supposed to convince the skeptical of the troth of the story.


of moderation and benevolence which might have been followed with great advantage by other and more powerful Chiefs.

His family

Sahib Singh, his second brother, died soon after he assumed the Chiefship; and to Mehtab Singh, the son of Mohr Singh's divorced wife, he gave a village for his maintenance. He married four wives, the first of whom, Chand Kour, was the daughter of Samand Singh Dhalwal of Dina, and became the mother of Wazir Singh the present Raja. His second wife Desu, was the daughter of a Gil zamindar of Mudki, and bore him two sons Dip Singh and Anokh Singh, who both died young. He married the third time, by chaddar dalna, the widow of his brother Sahib Singh ; and lastly Jas Kour, daughter of Rai Singh of Kaleka, in the Pattiala territory.

The first years of Pahar Singh's Chiefship were not by any means peaceful, and, according to the custom of the family, his brother Sahib Singh took up arms against him and gave him so much trouble that the Chief begged for the assistance of English troops to restore order, and, failing to obtain these, was compelled to accept assistance from the Raja of Jhind, although such procedure was highly irregular, one of the conditions of British protection being that no State should interfere in the internal affairs of another.* However, on the death of Sahib Singh, everything went on well and the Sirdar was able to carry out his reforms without any further interruption, excepting occasional quarrels with the

*Mr. F. Hawkins, Agent Resident Dehli to Captain Murray, 22nd September 1829. Captain Murray to Mr. Hawkins, 27th September 1829.


officer of the Lahore Government commanding at Kotkapura, which was only six or seven miles to the south of Faridkot, and which, as the ancestral possession of his family, Pahar Singh would have been very glad to obtain.*

An opportunity for attaining this, the great desire of his heart, at last arrived, and Pahar Singh, like a wise man,seized it without hesitation. When the war with Lahore broke out in 1845, and so many of the Cis-Satlej Chiefs were indifferent or hostile, he attached himself to the English and used his utmost exertions to collect supplies and carriage and furnish guides for the army. On the eve of the battle of Firushahr he may have shown some little vacillation, but that was a critical time, when even the best friends of the English might be excused for a little over caution, and after it was fought, though neither side could claim it as a victory and the position of the English was more critical than ever, he remained loyal and did excellent service, He was rewarded by a grant of half the territory confiscated from the Raja of Nabha, his share, as estimated in 1846, being worth Rs. 35,612 per annum.

The ancestral estate of Kotkapura was restored and he received the title of Raja. In lieu of customs duties, which were abolished, he was allowed Rs. 2,000 a year, and an arrangement was made by which the rent-free holdings in the Kotkapura ilaqua should

* Captain Murray to Resident Dehli, 26th December 1829.
† Report of Colonel Mackeson to Government 27th Jaly 1846, and of Mr. &. Cust 7th March 1846.

lapse to the Raja instead of the British Government, a corresponding reduction being made in the commutation allowance.*

Raja Pahar Singh died in April 1849, in his fiftieth year, and was succeeded by his only surviving son Wazir Singh, then twenty-one years of age.

Raja Wazir Singh

This young man, during the second Sikh war of 1849, served on the side of the English. During the mutiny of 1857, he seized several mutineers and made them over to the English authorities. He placed himself and his troops under the orders of the Deputy Commissioner of Firozpur, and guarded the ferries of the Satlej against the passage of the mutineers.

His troops also served under General Van Cortlandt with credit in Sirsa and elsewhere, and he, in person, with a body of horse and two guns, attacked a notorious rebel. Sham Das, and destroyed his village, For his services during 1857-58, Raja Wazir Singh received the honorary title of "Burar Bans Raja Sahib Buhadar," a khillat of eleven pieces, instead of seven as before, and a salute of eleven guna He waa also exempted from the service of ten sowars which he had been previously obliged to furnish.††

* Report of Sir Henry Lawrence to Government, 18th September 1846; and Government to Sir Henry Lawrence, 17th November 1846. Sanad dated 4th April 1846 from Governor General creating Pahar Singh Raja, and conferring on him a valuable khillat.
† Letters from Deputy Commissioner Firozpnr, 14th, 16th, 20th,and 27th May, 12th July, 7th and 20th August, to Raja Wazir Singh.
†† Commissioner Lahore, to Raja Wazir Singh, 21st August 1858, enclosing letter from Governor General.

His family

[Page-621]: On the 11th March 1862, the right of adoption was granted him, with the annexed Sanad.* His son and heir is Bikrama Singh, born in January 1842, and married to the daughter of Raja Nahar Singh of Balabhgarh. The Raja himself has married four wives, Ind Kour, the daughter of Sham Singh Man of Munsab and mother of Bikrama Singh, the daughters of Basawa Singh of Raipur and Sirdar Gajja Singh of Lahore, and the widow of his brother Anokh Singh who died of cholera in 1845.

* "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, in fulfillment of this desire this Sunnud is given to you to convey to you the assurance, that on failure of natural heirs the British Government will recognise and confirm any adoption of a successor made by yourself or by any future Chief of your State that may be in accordance with Hindoo law and the customs of your race.
"Be assured that nothing shall disturb the engagement thus made to you so long as your house is loyal to the Crown, and faithful to the conditions of the treaties, grants or engagements which record its obligations to the British Government."

End of Chapter:The History of the Fridkot State

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