Historical Research on Gondal Princely State of Jadeja Rajputs—
Area-1,023 sq. miles. Population.-161,036.
Gondal is bounded on the north by Nawanagar, Rajkot and the Taluka of Kotda-Sangani; on the east, by the Talukas held by the Kathis; on the south, by Jetpur and other minor Talukas; and on the west, by the native State of Nawanagar.
The Thakore Saheb of Gondal is a Jadeja Rajput and a Bhayad of the rulers of Rajkot. On the death of Vibhaji, the founder of the Rajkot dynasty, his son, Meheramanji, succeeded to the gadi. He had two sons Sahebji and Kumbhoji, of whom the elder, Sahebji, succeeded, on his father’s death, which took place about 1650, to the throne of Rajkot (then Sardhar), while the younger, Kumbhoji, repaired to his maternal home at Gondal.
In 1360 Juma Khan of the Tughlak dynasty, known in Indian history by the name of Mahmud Tughlak, was taken ill, and he is said to have stayed at Gondal for a pretty long period. On his recovery he crossed the Run of Kutch and went into the interior of the province and thence proceeded to Sindh. After that Gondal seems to have remained for some time desolate and uninhabited. When the Mussalmans of the Ghor dynasty held their sway at Junagarh, their chief, Hamir Khan Ghori, appears to have given shelter to a Sultan at Gondal, under whom it is said to have regained its lost prosperity. Again, according to the Mahomedan chronicles, Gondal was a mere paragna under Sorath; while the celebrated author of the Ain-i-Akbari says that it was originally held by the Rajputs of the Vaghela tribe.
As mentioned above, became the founder of the chiefdom of Gondal. Vibhaji, the founder of the Sardhar (now Rajkot) gadi, died in 1635, and was succeeded by Meheramanji. He had two sons, Sahebji and Kumbhoji, by different wives. The mother of Kumbhoji was the daughter of the Chudasama Girasia of Gondal. He had received during his father’s life-time the grant of the villages of Ardoi and Rib. The two brothers were not on good terms, so after the death of their father, Mehe ramanji (1650), Kumbhoji went to his maternal home and drove away his maternal uncle from Gondal. He left behind him two sons, Sagramji and Sangoji, of whom the elder, Sagramji, inherited the patrimony of Gondal, while Sangoji founded the gadi of Kotda-Sangani. Sagramji made considerable additions to the territory he had inherited and selected Gondal for his seat of government. Gondal was a very small village, but from the time that Kumbhoji had taken up his residence there, he had endeavoured to make his capital a flourishing and well-looking town.
Sagramji was succeeded by his son, Haloji. He was the father of the celebrated Kumbhoji II. He conquered from the Desai holders some portion of the Bhayavadar district. After his death, his son, Kumbhoji II., became the lord of Gondal. He turned out to be such an able, efficient and courageous ruler that the whole of Kathiawad trembled at his name. He forcibly took possession of the tenth part of the 700 villages, owning allegiance to the Thakore of Sardhar, who represented the main stock of his family. He also appropriated to himself some villages under the Junagarh and other neighbouring states, and in course of time became a ruler of no mean repute. If the gadi of Gondal had not been graced by this illus trious prince, it is not too much to say that Gondal would not have risen to that pre-eminence which it holds to-day among the Native States of Kathiawad. He had for his contemporaries such eminent personages as Amarji, Diwan of Junagarh, Meheraman, Khawas of Nawanagar, Vakhat sinhji, Thakore of Bhavnagar and Fatteh Mahmud Jamadar of Kutch, but it is no exaggeration to say that Kumbhoji, as a man of courage and resource, stood above them all.
In 1727, Pratapsinhji, the Raj of Halwad, procured the accession of Jam Tamachi to the throne of Nawanagar by the assistance of Sher Bu land Khan, the Mughal Suba of Gujarat, and Babi Salabat Mahmud Khan. The Jam in return gave to the Babi the villages of Chharakhdi, Trakuda and Daiya. The Babi subsequently distributed them among his sons, Sher Jaman Khan and Dilavar Khan, who, in their turn, sold them to Kumbhoji II. of Gondal. When the Arab mercenaries at Junagarh rose into an open revolt for the recovery of their pay, which had fallen into arrears, and con fined the Nawab within the walls of the Uparkot, the district of Dhoraji was written over to Kumbhoji by Shaik Mahmud Zabadichan on behalf of the captive Nawab and he obtained from him a subsidy, from which the Arabs were paid off and satisfied. Again when Mohobat Khan ascended the masnud at Junagarh in 1768 his aunt, Sahiba Sultan Bibi, who was mar ried to Babi Samat Khan of Bantwa, rose against the authority of the Nawab and obtaining the assistance of an Arab Jamadar, named Suleman, and other officers of the State, she succeeded in confining the unfortunate Na wab in the Uparkot, while she issued a proclamation in the name of her
son, Muzaffar Khan, as the future Nawab of Junagarh. It was at this very juncture that Kamal-ud-Din Khan alias Jawan Mard Khan, the Nawab of Radhanpur invaded Junagarh at the head of a large army. The hill-fort proving impregnable, the Nawab raised the siege and lay encamped at a short distance of two miles from the mctropolis. At such a critical moment Kumbhoji II. took compassion on the unfortunate Mohobat Khan, and at once proceeding to Junagarh, prevailed upon the Radhanpur Nawab to quietly return to his capital. He also negotiated with Sahiba Sultan Bibi and obtaining for her son, Muzaffar, the grant of Ranpur, he re instated the deposed Nawab on the throne of Junagarh. The Nawab was then reduced to a penniless condition and Kumbhoji lent him 35.000 Jamshahi Koris and in consideration got the paragna of Upleta, yielding an annual income of 5,000 Koris, written over to him.
Kumbhoji thus obtained the districts of Dhoraji and Upleta from the Nawab of Junagarh, though he always feared that his shrewd minister, Amarji, would not allow him a quiet enjoyment of these acquisitions for a long time. In 1771, the Thakore impressed upon the mind of the Nawab the necessity of removing Amarji from his place, urging that his influence was waxing day by day, and that time would come when he would murder the effete Nawab and usurp the throne of Junagarh. This threat had its desi red effect, for he at once expressed his willingness to get rid of the ambi tious Diwan. Kumbhoji thereupon, obtaining the assistance of a detach ment of the Maratha troops, that had encamped in the neighbourhood, fell all of a sudden on the camp of Amarji Diwan near Malasamdi. Kumbhoji, however, despairing of success, left the Maratha army and fled away with his followers to his own territory.
Kumbhoji was endowed with a brave heart and a resourceful brain; so he thought that as long as Amarji Diwan was alive and held the helm of the Junagarh administration, he would not for long be allowed to enjoy the districts of Dhoraji and Upleta. He, therefore, resolved within himself to work assiduously for the destruction of his rival. When Hamad Khan suc ceeded Mohobat Khan to the throne of Junagarh in 1795, the astute Raj put availed himself of every opportunity to poison the cars of the new Nawab against his faithful minister. Kumbhoji once obtained the assist ance of Meheraman Khawas of Nawanagar and Sultanji, the Rana of Porbandar, and, with a view to destroy the power and influence of Amarji, they with their combined forces marched upon Kutiana and plundered several villages in that district (1782). Amarji boldly marched against them, but was defeated and compelled to return to Junagarh. They storm ed the hill-fort of Devada and plundered the village. Meheraman, Sultanji and Kumbhoji returned to their respective territories of Nawanagar, Por bandar and Gondal. Amarji, to retaliate the many injuries done him, was making preparations for the destruction of Kumbhoji, when in the mean time he was compelled to accompany the Nawab in his expedition against Jhalawad and Gohilwad (1784). The Nawab under the pretext of ill health, wended his way back to Junagarh, though in reality he did not choose to stay long in the company of his ill-fated Diwan. On the way he was met by Kumbhoji, who with great importunity requested Hamad Khan to accept of his hospitality if only for a single night, and brought him over to Gondal. The wily Thakore accorded his guest such a princely reception, and so strongly worked upon the weak Nawab that he at last consented to get rid of Amarji at any risk and by any means. The Thakore, to secure the confidence and co-operation of the Nawab’s personal servants, pleased them with rich presents, and even went to the length of promising the Nawab a gift of 3 lakhs of Koris, on his obtaining the intelligence of Amarji’s murder. When Amarji arrived at Junagarh during the Holi holidays, the Nawab’s mother, in pursuance of a preconcerted plan, invited the Diwan to the palace to have a look at certain ornaments. When the all confiding Diwan, in response to that invitation, was going up the palace, he was surprised on the staircase, and was soon cut to pieces. This nefari ous crime was perpetrated on 6th March 1784.
After the death of Amarji, the ungrateful Nawab expelled his brothers and sons from Junagarh. Kumbhoji could at once perceive that internal dissensions and disorder at the court of Junagarh, would materially weaken its power and influence abroad, while, on the contrary, that would add con siderably to his own strength; and for that reason he invited the survi ors of Amarji’s family to his court, and promised them high and influential places in the State. The Nawab, however, could ill-afford to lose the ser vices of such trusty counsellors, and within a short time he called them back to Junagarh.
In 1788, the Rana of Porbandar invaded the sea-port town of Veraval and conquered it, but the Nawab, obtaining the assistance of Kumbhoji’s. men, besieged it and reconquered it from the hands of the captors. The Nawab in recognition of this signal service granted to Kumbhoji a hereditary sanad in respect of Gondal, Jetalsar, Mali, Majethi, Lath and Bhi mora. Kumbhoji had lent to the Nawab in 1784 the sum of 3 lakhs of Koris, and as the Moslem was unable to repay them in kind, he, in lieu of them, granted to the Thakore the districts of Sarsai and Champarda.
Kumbhoji once more persuaded the Nawab to dismiss the relatives of the late Diwan, Amarji, who were re-employed in Junagarh service, and the Nawab accordingly, in 1793, ordered their houses and property to be con fiscated and placed them all in heavy chains.
When the Jadejas of Halar, espousing the cause of Jasaji of Nawa nagar, flew into an open rebellion to liberate the poor Jam from the sha ckles of his ambitious Diwan, Meheraman Khawas, in 1794, Dajibhai, the prince of Gondal, Meheramanji of Rajkot, Modji of Dhrol and Ranmalji of Khiraara took a leading part in that upheaval.
Kumbhoji had only one son, Sagramji, who had died during his life time, leaving behind two sons, Muluji and Devoji: of these, Muluji succeed ed his grand father, Kumbhoji II, after his death.
Muluji had two sons, Haloji and Dajibhai, and the elder, Haloji, ascend ed the gadi after the death of Muluji, while Dajibhai received a rich appanage. Haloji, however, died after a short reign of one year, and as he had no issue, the vacant cushion was occupied by his brother, Dajibhai. He also expired in 1800 without issue; so his uncle, Devoji, succeeded him. In 1803, when Raghunathji, the Diwan of Junagarh, marched into Jha lawad to levy tribute, Devoji accompanied him in that expedition. When Colonel Walker arrived in Kathiawad in 1807, to permanently fix the amounts of tribute to be annually paid by the different chiefs of the province, the tribute to be paid by Gondal was also settled for ever. The districts, which had been acquired by Kumbhoji II, but which had become desolate owing to the disorder that prevailed after his death, were re populated and restored to their old prosperity during the reign of Devoji.
Devoji died in 1812, leaving behind him four sons, Nathoji, Kanoji, Chandrasinhji and Bhanobhai. The eldest prince, Nathoji, succeeded to the throne, while giras were conferred upon the other brothers. Nathoji reigned for two years, and died in 1814. As he died childless the succes sion fell to his brother, Kanoji. He too dying childless in 1821, Chan drasinhji next ascended the gad
During his reign the Junagarh militia began to plunder and lay waste the adjacent territory, and especially made a dreadful havoc in the district of Dhoraji. They carried their predatory warfare to such an extent that the Thakore was compelled, in 1824, to appeal to the Political Agent to protect him from his foes. A small party of troops was at once des patched to Junagarh, under Captain Blaine, to put a stop to these plunders, and to obtain from the Nawab some compensation for the damage done by his men to the Goudal State. The Nawab was not only forced to restore to the Thakore all the booty that his troops had obtained, but, in addition, he had to pay as a fine to the British Government the sum of 6,85,000 Jumshala Koris.
In 1841, Chandrasinhji breathed his last, leaving behind him no issue, and the guli was next occupied by his younger brother, Bhanobhai. He also after reigning for ten years died in 1851, and was succeeded by his son, Sagramji II.
Sagramji, after a reign extending over nineteen years, died in 1870, and was succeeded by Bhagwantsinhji, the present Thakore Saheb. He was a minor at the time of his father’s death, and the administration of affairs was entrusted by the British Government to an English officer, with the designation of Superintendent. In 1872 this officer was displaced by a special Assistant to the Political Agent, who managed the affairs of Gondal, while from 1878, the management was entrusted to the Joint Ad ministrators.
The Thakore Saheb, after finishing his education at the Rajkumar College, proceeded to Europe in company with Col. Hancock in 1883. He has published his impressions of the voyage in a book called ‘journal of a visit to England, 1883. After a tour of six months he returned to his expital and was then associated with Col. Nutt in the administration of the State. A sound training in the State-craft fitted him for an independent assum ption of the State management, His reply to the address of Col. West, the then Political Agent of Kathiawad, on the occasion of the installation, was pronounced by the Government to be highly creditable,” showing the good feeling and good taste, and his description of his duties as a ruler evinces a sound and clear judgment.” The Thakore Saheb was publicly compliment ed on his successful administration, three years later, by H. E. Lord Reay, in the following terms:
“Thakor Saheb! though you have been only three years on the gadi I believe you have acted up to the pledges you then gave.”
Thakore Saheb Bhagwantsinhji is a Fellow of the Bombay Univer sity and a vice-President of the Deccan Education Society. He again pro ceeded to Europe in 1886, entrusting the management to his trusted Diwan, Mr. Bezanji, to satisfy the love of science that he had imbibed at the College, by attending for a year at the Edinborough University. In appreciation of his “exemplary quest of knowledge” the honorary degree of L. L. D. was conferred on him in 1887. He availed himself of his presence in Scotland in complying with the request to be a member of the deputation of the Kathiawad chiefs that waited on Her Imperial Majesty, on the occasion of the celebration of the Jubilee year of her reign. He was on that aus picious occasion created a Knight Grand Commander of the Indian Empire. He is a joint proprietor of ‘the Bhavnagar, Gondal, Junagarh and Porbandar Railway’ and was prepared to advance the necessary capital to the Nawa nagar State for the construction of the Rajkot, Nawanagar line, but his conditions not being complied with, the negotiation fell through. Good travelling roads, schools, hospitals, resthouses, Post and Telegraph offices, and Courts of justice testify to the immense beneficent work of a prince with such highly cultivated sense of his duty towards his subjects. The Govern ment in a fine appreciative spirit raised the State to the first class. The ill health of his consort necessitated a trip to England for the third time in 1889. Her Highness had an interview with Her most Gracious Majesty, who personally invested her with the Imperial Order of the Crown of India.
For the numerous charities and donations and the abolition of many vexatious taxes, his happy and contented subjects have raised a statue in honor of the Thakore Saheb by voting a public subscription.
Thakore Saheb Sir Bhagwantsinhji enjoys full civil and criminal powers and is entitled to a salute of 11 guns.
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Author- Dhirendra Singh Jadaun
Village-Larhota near Sasni
District-Hatharas ,Uttar Pradesh
Associate Prof in Agriculture
Shahid Captain Ripudaman Singh Govt.College ,Sawai madhopur ‘Rajasthan ,322001.