Historical Research on Lunar Race Yaduvanshi Bhatti Rajput of Jaisalmer State in Rajasthan—-
Bhatti ( Sanskrit , bhatta , “Lord “) A Rajput sept.Of the Punjab branch Mr.Ibbetson ( Punjab Ethnography ,section 448 ) writes —“Bhatti , the Punjab form of the Rajputana word Bhati , is the title of the great modern representatives of the ancient Yaduvansi Royal Rajput family , descendants of Krishna , and therefore of Lunar race.
The state of Jaisalmer came into being around the eleventh century on the north-
western horizon of India’s landscape. It was founded by the Yaduvanshi Bhati Rajput
Kings. Since then, it continued to be a sovereign state till the independence of India (1). Its
geographical location has been that of a frontier state. It always had to play the role of a
battlefield or a market-bridge between the Middle Asia and the rest of India. It was
acclaimed with the title of “Defending Door on the Northern Front” because of its
responsibility to prevent Muslim invaders through the desert route.
The rulers of Jaisalmer belonged to Yadu or Jadon clan of Rajputs who claimed
descent from Lord Krishna (2). It is said that after the death of Lord Krishna, when the
power of Yadavas declined at Dwaraka, some Yadava families proceeding beyond Indus
settled in Afghanistan. But, due to constant attacks of various nomadic tribes, the
Yadavas could not retain the vast kingdom of Afghanistan and a process of their
migration towards India started (3) .In this process, one of their ancestors was one Bhati,
acclaimed as a great warrior, who conquered large lands. His successors, taking the
patronymic appellation, came to be known as Jadon Bhati. They conquered tracts in the
desert and established themselves, first at Tanot, then at Derawar and later, at Lodorva (4) .Jaisal, one of the successors of Maharawal Deoraj, finding Lodorva strategically insecure,
laid the foundation of the fort and the city of Jaisalmer in 1156 A.D. The principality,
thenceforth, came to be known as Jaisalmer (5) .The upcoming rulers who followed
Maharawal Jaisal were warlike, and constantly engaged in battles and raids. So Alla-
uddin Khilzi, the Sultan of Delhi, on two times, in 1294 and 1295 A.D, sent against them
imperial army troops, which captured and sacked the Jaisalmer fort and city. Therefore,
for sometime Jaisalmer remained completely deserted. In the 16th century, the Bhatis of
Jaisalmer formed an alliance with the Amirs of Sindh against the Rathores of Jodhpur,
and gave the latter much trouble ( 6) .The twenty-fifth ruler in descent from Jaisal was Maharawal Sabal Singh (1650 to
1660 A.D.), who was the first Jaisalmer ruler to acknowledge the supremacy of the Delhi
Emperor, Shah Jehan (7 ) .During his reign, the territories of Jaisalmer extended to the
banks of Sutlej in the north, to the borders of Indus in the west, to the outskirts of Marwar
in the east. The Thakur of Pohkaran, now the chief noble of Marwar, was then under the
Jaisalmer raj. A year before his death (1659-60 A.D.), Maharawal Sabal Singh launched
the independent copper coins, known as ‘Dodia’ which consumed paractically till
Jaisalmer was amalgamated in Indian Republic. The value of ‘Dodias’ per one rupee
continued to differ from time to time ( 8) .
Sabal Singh was succeeded by his son Amer Singh (1660 to 1701 A.D.), a wise
and a valiant prince, who defeated an army sent against him by Anup Singh of Bikaner.
His two main innovative reforms were minting of state currency, and establishing a
system of measuring and weighing. He made changes in the silver currency of the state
under which a silver coin weighed one tola and such sixty-five coins would make one
seer of weight according to the new standards set. This was in vogue in Jaisalmer and up
to Rohri in Sindh ( 9 ).
After the death of Maharawal Amer Singh, Jaswant Singh (1701 to 1707), his21
eldest son was placed on Jaisalmer gaddi in 1701 A.D. He was not powerful like his
father. During his reign, the Bikaner ruler recaptured Pughal from Jaisalmer. An
incidence of the time will illustrate the current economic condition of the Jaisalmer state.
Kumar Jagat Singh (Maharawal Jaswant Singh’s eldest son) was married with Surya
Kuwar, the daughter of Maharana Jai Singh of Mewar. During the course of marriage
ceremony, Maharana Jai Singh narrated that the bridegroom was obviously handsome,
but his family had no money. On hearing this Pardhan said that it was incorrect. He said
that if Maharana desired, he might collect money from anybody in the state. Accordingly,
he wrote a darshani hundi of 2 lacs rupees drawn on Paliwal of village Kuldhara near
Jaisalmer and obtained the said amount. After that, Maharana was delighted in wonder
thinking that when the subject of the state was so prosperous, the state must be
unbelievably rich ( 10 ). Not much is known about the relationship of Jaswant Singh with the
Mughal Empire. It appears that by this time, they had achieved more autonomy because
of the downfall of Mughal Empire.
After the death of Maharawal Jaswant Singh, Budh Singh (1707 to 1721 A.D), his
grandson (Jagat Singh’s eldest son) was placed on Jaisalmer gaddi in 1707 A.D. Because,
Jaswant Singh’s eldest son and successor, Jagat Singh had committed suicide while his
father was alive ( 11 ). Maharawal Budh Singh was a weak ruler, and thus, lost a great
portion of his dominions before his death. Maharawal Budh Singh was killed by Tej
Singh, Jaswant Singh’s younger brother. After killing his nephew, Tej Singh appointed
himself as the ruler of Jaisalmer in 1721. But he could not enjoy a long reign. Hari Singh,
one of the chiefs of Jaisalmer, was then in Mughal services in Sindh. He came to
Jaisalmer and killed Maharawal Tej Singh in 1722 A.D. He wanted to appoint Akai
Singh, the second son of Jagat Singh and younger brother of Budh Singh, on the throne.
On Maharawal Tej Singh’s death, his minor son Swai Singh was nominated as the ruler.
But Budh Singh’s younger brother Akai Singh, forcibly removed Sawai Singh (3 year
old) in 1722 A.D. The period of Budh Singh to Swai Singh remained controversial and
most of the territories adjoining Sindh, Bahawalpur and Badmer were snatched away by
the adjoining rulers (12 ).
Maharawal Akai Singh (1722 to 1761 A.D.) occupied the throne of Jaisalmer in22
1722 A.D. This time the chief of Pughal, Bikampur and Barasalpur, who had become the
vassals of Bikaner state again owed their allegiance to the Jaisalmer ruler. The Bikaner
ruler was then busy in the affairs of the civil war of Jodhpur, and could not send
sufficient army to assist these areas. Therefore, these areas were recaptured by Jaisalmer
ruler from Bikaner (13 ). But Maharawal Akai Singh tried to maintain good relations with
the ruler of Marwar and extended all help to him when required. He married his daughter
to Maharaja Vijay Singh’s son Fateh Singh. The forces having 2000 horses sent by
Maharawal Akai Singh to assist Vijay Singh fought against the Marathas in the battle of
Mundwa (14 ).
This was a period of economic reforms. Till this time, a fixed amount taxation
system was not in vogue. The annual taxation rate for the entire merchant class including
Paliwal, Maheshwari, Sahukar, etc. was determined. The clan of Sanchora Joshi
merchants was invited from Barmer; and they were domiciled in Lodrava and Tehia to
take up export and import trade for which they were famous ( 15 ).
Maharawal Akai Singh established an independent state mint in Jaisalmer in 1756
A.D with the permission of Mughal Emperor Alamgir II (1754-1759 A.D.) (16 ). Earlier,
silver coins were to be ordered from the Shahi Taksal; and this used to be cumbersome
and expensive. Coins of 2, 4 and 8 Annas, and silver coins of 1 rupee were now minted
locally and that provided a great help to local merchants by their easy availability ( 17) .
Minting of coins provided additional income to the state also. The specialists for
this work were Sonis of Nathani Gotra from Jasaul. They were invited by Akai Singh.
Their descendants continue to live here even now. The permission to establish an
independent mint was given by Badshah Shah Alam to Mool Raj, the successor of Akai
Singh. In this way, minting of coins for circulation in the state by the Jaisalmer rulers
since the time of Sabal Singh shows, on the one side, the increasing authority gained by
the state and on the other hand, the decreasing hold of the Mughal Empire
administration (18 ).
Equitable taxation system, circulation of common currency and standardization of
weights and measures were not all. Strict penal code was introduced in Maharawal Akai Singh regime. Even stealing a goat would be considered a serious offence; and it would
be subject to a very tough punishment ( 19) .
The state witnessed good prosperity. The opium trade with China and Afghanistan
had increased the prosperous conditions of the state. Oswals imported opium from
Malwa, and through Jaisalmer route they exported the same to central Asia and China. A
good number of traders and merchants engaged in this trade had amassed good wealth.
The Jaisalmer Gazel (1765 A.D.) describes the presence of several outside traders in
Jaisalmer town ( 20). The various reforms introduced by him made the state loan free. At the
time of Maharawal Akai Singh’s death, the Maharawal left 25 lacs gold coins in cash in
the state treasury.
After the death of Maharawal Akai Singh, Mool Raj (1761 to 1781 A.D.), his
eldest son was placed on Jaisalmer gaddi in 1761 A.D. There was an atmosphere of
disturbance all around in Sindh and western Rajasthan (21). The shortcomings in the
defence of Jaisalmer state were obvious. Though Akai Singh constructed several forts,
yet they were within 30 kilometre radius of the city rather than on borders. His defence
tactics had not succeeded. Besides, Mool Raj was a weak ruler, and thus, lost a great
portion of his dominions to Bikaner (1780 A.D.), Jodhpur (1782 A.D.), Bahawalpur and
Sindh (1790 A.D.).
By the beginning of 19th century, the peace and the political administration in
entire Rajasthan was in virtual chaos. Except the remote desert land of Jaisalmer and
Bikaner, most other states were reeling under the attacks and invasions of Marathas. By
this time, the East India Company had also become stronger and more powerful than
Marathas. In a situation like this, most rulers of Rajasthan were willing to tie up with the
company to get rid of Maratha atrocities ( 22 ).While Jaisalmer had no fear from Marathas
but was always in a suspense about the attack and grab policy of the neighbours, and its
own internal clashes. Jaisalmer used to be really desperate at times. The state had
exceedingly shrunk during the regime of Mahamaharawal Mool Raj II and it had become
incompetent to face outside aggression. Thus, the Mahamaharawal and his counsellors
conferred and held the view that it would be better to accept the dominance of the
Company rather than that of the Mughal Empire. Finally, Jaisalmeracknowledged the
supremacy of British power on 12th December, 1818 A.D. with a treaty ( 23 ). By this treaty,
the gaddi was secured to the heirs of Mahamaharawal Mool Raj. Jaisalmer was the last
state in Rajputana to receive the protection of the British government.
1- Somani, R.V., History of Jaisalmer, Panchsheel Parkashan, Jaipur, 1990, p. 14.
2-Erskine, Imperial Gazetteers of India, Op. cit., p. 208.
3- Tod., Op. cit., Vol. II, pp. 1169-72.
4- Sehgal, K.K., Rajasthan District Gazetteers, Jaisalmer, Jaipur, 1973, p. 31.37
5- Sharma, G.N., Social Life in Medieval Rajasthan (1500-1800 A.D.), Agra, 1968, p. 49.
6- Archibald Adams, A Medico-Topographical and General Account of Marwar,
Sirohi and Jaisalmer, Second edition, London, 1900, p. 70.
7- Jaisal, H.B. Maheshwari, Jaisalmer: Comprehensive History of Jaisalmer, The
Heritage, Gwalior, 2009, p. 63.
Ibid., p. 64.
9- Somani, History of Jaisalmer, Op. cit., p. 69.
10- Jaisalmer Tawarikh, Op. cit., p. 68.
11- Somani, History of Jaisalmer, Op. cit., p. 70.
12- Jaisal, Jaisalmer: Comprehensive History of Jaisalmer, Op. cit., p. 68.
13- Ojha, G.H., Bikaner Rajya Ka Itihas, Vol. I, Op. cit., p. 329.
Jaisalmer Tawarikh, Op. cit., pp. 24-29.
16- Webb, W.W., The Currencies of the Hindu States of Rajputana, Op. cit., p. 104.
17- Ojha, G.H., Bikaner Rajya Ka Itihas, Vol. I, Op. cit., p. 333.
18- Web, Op. cit., p. 104.
19- Jaisal, Jaisalmer: Comprehensive History of Jaisalmer, Op. cit., p. 73.
20- Jaisalmer Gazel Verses, pp. 72-84.
21- Somani, R.V., The History of Sindh up to 1843, Allahabad, 1943, p.23.
22- Mathur, R.M., Rajput States and East India Company, Munshiram Manoharlal,
New Delhi, 1978, pp. 37-38.
23- Adams, Archibalad, The Western Rajputana States, Op. cit., p. 71.
Author -Dr Dhirendra Singh Jadaun
Village-Larhota , near Sasni
District -Hathras ,Uttar Pradesh
Associate Prof of Agric .Soil Sci.
Shahid Captain Ripudman Singh Govt .College , Sawaimadhopur ,Rajasthan , 322001