Historical Research on Yaduvanshi Bhatti Rajputs of Jaisalmer State —

Historical Research on Yaduvanshi Bhatti Rajputs of Jaisalmer —

Area-16,447 sq. miles Revenue-158,000 rupees.

The rulers of Jaisalmer are Rajputs of the Bhatti tribe, a branch derived from the celebrated Yadu stock. In the family of Shri Adys Narayan, ten degrees removed from him, there flourished one Yadu, whose decendants attained the cognomen of Yadavas. Shri Krishna the incarnation of God Vishnu, was forty fourth in descent from Yadu and ruled at the famous city of Dwarka. His exploits were so great that his contemporaries worshipped him as a demi-god, and in all parts of the country he is to this day revered as a deity. The son of Shri Krishna, by his wife Jambuvanti, married Rama, the daughter of Kaubhand, who was the prime minister of Banasur, the warrior King of Misar (Egypt). The marriage was blessed with a male offspring who was named Ushnika At the time of the general destruction of the Yadavas, known in the Purans by the name of Ful westhali, Ushnika was at his maternal home at Shonitpur, the capital of Egypt, and had thus escaped the catastrophe. After the death of Banasur, Kaubhand became the lord of Egypt, while he was in his turn succeeded by Ushnika. Devendra flourished in that family seventy-nine degrees removed from Ushnika. He had four sons, of whom the eldest, Aspat (Ugrasen), Gajapat , Bhupat and Narpat .Third son Bhupat obtained possess ion of certain territories between Marwal and Sindh, and became the founder of the Bhatti tribe.

As mentioned above  His descendants migrated and settled in some of the districts lying between the provinces of Marwad and Sindh. Bhupat originally resided at Gizni, but on being expelled from that place by the chief of Khorasan he and hie aloneman migrated to the Punish whore that dwelt in larma numhom at the town of Salbhana (probably the present Lahore), but were turned out from that place too, by the powerful king of Khorasan. Proceeding to wards the great Run they formed connubial relations with the Rajput chief of Umerkot in Sindh, as also with the Sonigara Rajput chief of Jhalore. They erected the fortress of Tanot in the midst of the desert (Run) and made it their principal seat of government. The neighbouring free-booters instantly besieged this new fort, and effecting a breach in the walls they entered it, demolished the citadel, and ruthlessly massacred all the Bhattis that had taken refuge within its walls. Rawal Devraj and his clansmen escaped that general massacre and flying to other safer regions, they raised another stronghold which they named, after their chief Dev Rawal.’ Devraj was a brave and daring prince. He besieged and conquered Lodarva, the principal town of the Lodra Rajputs, and shifted there for a time with his associates.

After the death of Devraj, the gadi was occupied by Mudhji, Wachuji, Dusaji, Bijaya Raj, Buj Deo and Jaisal respectively. The last of these was sixth in descent from Devraj. Perceiving that the fort of Dev Rawal was not well situated from a military point of view, he in 1156 raised another stronghold at a distance of ten miles from the old one and named it after him Jaisalmer. It still continues to be the capital city of his descendants.

Rawal Jaisal dying in 1168, was succeeded by his son Salvahan. He was also a daring warrior, but actuated by ambition, his son Bijal usurped the gadi during his absence from home. Salvhan fell while fighting against the Beloochis, and his son Bijal too expired in 1200. Bijal was succeeded by his uncle Kalyan Sinh. He invaded the Beloochis, com pletely routed them and thus adequately avenged the death of his heroic brother. Kalyan Sinh dying in 1219 was succeeded by Chachik Deo. He was like his ancestors a brave prince, and with a firm hand put down the risings of the surrounding wild tribes.

After Chachik Deo’s death in 1251, his grand-son Karan ascended the throne. Conspicuous in bravery the Rawal dicl in 1279. The gadi was next occupied by Lakhudh Sen. Though kind-hearted he was superstitious to a fault. He attributed the nocturnal cries of jackals in the adjoining woods to the severity of cold, and ordering quilts to be made for their use he caused these to be placed at the mouths of their holes; and yet their cries did not cease. He then got decent dwellings built forthem. Indulging in such foolish freaks he ruled for four years and dying in 1283 was succeeded by Pompal. During his reign the relations be tween him and his Bhayads and Sardars were strained to such an extent that the latter rising against him en masse deposed him and placed Jetsi, the brother of the late Rawal Karan, on the throne.

Jetsi reigned for 18 years. He had the audacity to plunder the grand-son of the great Emperor, Alla-ud-Din, whereupon the Imperial troops beleagured the citadel of Jaisalmer in 1295. The siege lasted for 8 years. In a fight with the Mussalmans, the Rawal foll and the command and throne next devolved upon his son Mulraj. At the time of his accession the royal grenadiers had opened a fearful cannonading against the citadel, but the defending garrison were more than a match for them, and by firing in return equally effective salvos the Mussal mans were beaten back. The besiegers instead of losing heart grew more desperate than ever, and the Rajputs though they male several destruct ive sallies upon the opposing troops, could not served in raising the siege. At last the besieged. finding their provisions and ammunition well-uigh exhausted, boldly determined to put on the saffron robe in accordance with their traditional mode of warfare. They first of all raised funeral pyres within the walls of the castle and consigued to flames their dearest wives and daughters to save them from pollution that might be caused by the profane touch of the infidels. Those who did not resort to this mode of destruction, mowed down their darlings with their own swords. It is said that no less than 24,000 devoted Rajputanis were thus sacrificed to preserve unsullied the fame of Kshatriya sanctity and chastity.

The male members, resolutely prepared for the same fate, and actuated hy a strange superstition of meeting in paradise their beloved consorts and daughters who had recently perished in the flames, performed the customary ablution in honor of the dead, put on saffron robes, threw open the gates of the city and with blood shot eyes pounced upon their foes, with drawn sabres in their hands. The contest grew furious. Sounds of horn pipes, kettle drums and bugles were heard on all sides. Cries of strike,’ ‘kill’ filled the air, and with every cry the head of a Mussalman was seen rolling on the ground. The carnage was immense. The number of the Mussalmans in slain and wounded was very great, while the Rajputs were cut down almost to a man. Puols of blood flowed kncc-deep, and the battle field presented a ghastly spectacle of indiscriminate destruction of humanity. Rawal Mulraj fell down pierced by an arrow, but instantly gaining ground he severed the heads of many a Mahomedan before his tottering frame lay prostrate on the field. It is said that though his head was cut off, his head-less truuk, sword-in-hand, faught valiantly before the gate of Jaisalmer.

The two nephews of Mulraj, Garsi and Kehar, and the Rajput Sardars under the command of Prince Devraj (who was killed), were the only persons spared to recount the tale of woe and grief to posterity. The Royal troups hell the ruins of Jaisalmer in their possession for two years, but at last abandoning it they retired to Delhi. On the Mahomedans evacuating Jaisalmer, the old dilapidated ruins were occupied by the Rathods of Mehwo. Shortly after Dudo, the son of Jesar, in the line of the late Rawal Mulraj, who had even in exile assumed the title of the Lord of the Bhattis, marched upon Jaisalmer and expelling the Rathods obtained possession of the old capital and began to ule there in peace.

 

Rawal Dudo was an enterprising prince, who drove into domalmer some of the Emperor’s horses. This act of indignity aroused a anger T of Alla-ud-Din who again ordered his troops to march upon Ja Imer. The scene of sacrificing the Rajput females, and the males putting on the saffron rohe was repeated with the same fatal result (1306).

As mentioned above, the two nephews of Mulraj had escaped general destruction during the first campaign. They were, however, made captives and taken to the presence of the Emperor. At Delhi, they were retained as courtiers and in that sphere, they secured the confidence of the Emperor, who allowed Garsi, the elder of the two, to return to Jaisalmer and there set up a new principality on the wrecks of the old one, by gathering to gether his dispersed clansmen. Garsi called to his assistance his friend and relation Jaginal, the chief of Mehwo, and through his good offices succeeded in re-consolidating his ruined patrimony at Jaisalmer. His resources enabled hin to maintain a force barely sufficient to keep down local disturbances, which were numerous in those troublous times. The relations of Dudo could not brook to see a creature of the Emperor set up on the throne of Jaisalmer, and they invaded the capital and slew Garsi.

After the death of Garsi, his brother Kehar ascended the throne. At the time of his accession an arrangement was made with the widow of Garsi by which it was agreed to continue the line of succession in the family of Hamir, grand-son of Rawal Mulraj. Accordingly, after the death of Kehar the Jaisalmer gudi was successively occupied by Kai Mal, Chachik Deo II., Bersi, Jait, Nunkaran, Bhim and Manohar Das.

Manohar Das was the brother of his predecessor Bhim, who smoothen ed his way to the gadi by slaying his nephew. Manohar Das dying with out issue was succeeded by Sabal Sinh, a descendant of Nunkaran. During his reign the territories of Jaisalmer extended to the banks of the Sutlaj in the north, to the borders of the Indus in the west, to the out skirts of Marword in the south and in the east to the boundaries of Bikaner and Marwad. The estate of ‘okun, now forming part of Marwad, was then under the sway of Jaisalmer It was granted by the ruling Chief to a vassal of the Raja of Marwal in consideration of the valuable services rendered by him to the State of Jaisalmer.

Sabal Sinh was succeeded by his son Amar Sinh, a wise and a valiant prince. In his time Anup Sinh of Bikaner led an invasion against Jaisalmer. Amar Sinh offered him a strong resistance and in a fierce battle defeated and routed the enemy. The predatory bands, in festing and devastating the country round, were also dispersed and destroy ed by this brave Prince. During the out-lawry of Ajit Sinh, the Imperial troops were ordered to march against Marwad and reduce to submission the regions of the recusant Chief. While the Royal Suba, Khawaja Sal, was securely stationed at Mandor, Amar Sinh fell upon his camp, and routed the whole army, killing nearly 1,000 Mussalman soldiers near Bagri. This engagement cost the brave Amar the lives of two of his most daring associates, Ram Sinh and Samat Sinh.

Jaswant Sinh was installed on the paternal gadi after the death of Amar Sinh in 1702. He was neither wise nor valiant, and was unable to preserve his dominions from the ravages of his enemies. The Rathods conquered the districts of Pungal, Barmar and Fildi to-gether with several other towns. In the north, a considerable portion of his territories fell into the hands of an Afghan adventurer, Daud Khan, a Sardar at the court of Shikarpur in Sindh.
After his demise, a contest for succession arose between his brothers and his son Akhe Sinh. After several engagements on both sides; the rivals were reconciled, and by virtue of a treaty concluded in 1722, Akhe Sinh was confirmed on the throne of Jaisalmer. The new Chief was not a whit better than his father. He also on account of his weakness lost a great portion of his dominions. Bahwal Khan, the founder of the princi pality of Bahwalpur subjugated the districts of Devrawal and Khadal then owning allegiance to Jaisalmer. Deviawal. as mentioned above, was the ancient capital of this chief dom.

Akhe Sinh dying in 1762, was succeeded by Muhraj. The reins of government were in his time held by one of his favourites, Sarup Sinh. He by his evil advice created a feeling of distrust between the reigning Chief and his own sn Raya Sinh and other courtiers. The whole admini stration was rotten to the core, and the State was brought to the verge of destruction, from which it was saved by Raya Sinh, who in the presence of his father severed the head of his favourite. Mulraj instated Salam Sinh, the son of Sarup Sinh in the place of his chief adviser. This brought on the crisis. Complaints of maladministration increasing every day, the leading no bles of the realm determined upon deposing Mulraj and placing his son Raya Sinh on the throne. Actuated by filial devotion, the young prince without acceeding to the wishes of his vassals left for good his father’s court. Salam Sinh, strenthened by the withdrawal of Raya Sinh, began to abuse the supreme authority vested in him by acts of uncommon cruelty and oppression. Ferocious as a tiger, and venomous as a snake, he made the people groan under his tyranny. He despatched hired assassins to kill Raya Sinh who was wandering in neighbouring territories, but his life was saved by the timely intercession of one of his nobles. Baffled in his design, the wicked Diwan did not sit silent. He succeeded in discovering the secret abode of Raya Sinh who was staying there with his wife and brother, and setting it on fire consumed its helpless occupants: The other members of the prince’s family were im prisoned in the fort of Ramgarh, where they were mercilessly massaered in cold blood. The weak and infatuated Mulraj beheld the total wreck of his own family with the most dastardly indifference. The scheming Salam Sinh next directed his blood-thirsty eyes towards the other surviving sons and grand-sons of his benefactor. Gaj Sinh, one of the grand-sons of Mulraj. was in good odour with the wily Diwan, but the rest of his
children learning the evil design of Salam fled from Jaisalmer and escaped the pangs of cruel death in lonely prisons.

Rawal Mulraj died in 1820, and was succeeded by his grand-son Gaj Sinh. He was not unaware of the many foul and wicked deeds of Salamı Sinh, and was constantly in dread of his formidable Diwan. He was for a time a mere tool in the hands of his minister, who now began to lay waste the south-westerly portion of the territories of Bikaner. This act of aggression on the part of the Rawal of Jaisalmer roused the anger of the ruling Chief of Bikaner, and a cloud of war appeared on the horizon which was happily dispersed in a very short time. Salam Sinh levied addi tional imposts on the lands of the feudal aristocracy, and frightened the Jagirdars into submission by constantly urging that he had the approval of the British Government in all his actions. Gaj Sinh could not long brook such an impudence on the part of his minister, and once boldly asked him to settle all disputes with the feudatory chiefs: but Salam Sinh was inexorable. Rawal Gaj Sinh then made up his mind to adopt extreme measures and determined to get rid of Salam by instigating some person to treacherously murder him. The wily Salam soon learnt his fate and sending away his wife and children to his Inani village, he remained at Jaisalmer always on his guard against the impending peril. He however died in the same year, 1824, and the subjects of Jaisalmer were happily de livered from the oppression of a despicable tyrant. He had before his death obtained an agreement from Rawal Gaj Sinh by which the post of the prime minister of Jaisalmer was made hereditary in his family. The Diwanship was conferred on the eldest son of Salam Sinh, but a younger son born of his favourite wife was also associated with his elder brother in the work of carrying on the government. The new Diwan, suspecting criminal intimacy between his stop-mother and a menial of his late father, assassinated the widow who had fouled the bed of her deceased lord. Gj Sinh ordered the culprit to be apprehended and loaded with heavy chains, but his partisans rose en masse against the Chief for his deliverance. The Rawal had to seek support from the British Government and a contingent was sent which instantly put down the rising. Gaj Sinh from that day became the unfettered monarch of all his domains and conducted the government with great tact and prudence.

In 1828, Ratan Sinh was reigning at Bikaner During his reign certain tribes inhabiting those regions of Jaisalmer which lie on the borders of Bikaner carried on plundering excursions in the very heart of the Bikaner dominions. Ratan Sinh marched in person to van quish those lawless mobs and proceeded as far as the gates of Jaisalmer. Rawal Gaj Sinh at the head of his troops went out to give him a warm reception. The Maharaja of Marwad espoused the cause of Jaisalmer, while the army of Jaipur was arrayed on the side of Bikaner. The leading chiefs of Rajputana appeared determined to resort to the old method of settling their differences by sword, but the Paramount Power in tervened and prevented the destruction of innumerable lives and valuable property. Rana Jawan Sinh of Mewad was appointed arbitrator with full powers to settle all disputes between the contending chiefs. The states of Bikaner and Jaisalmer which were at variance for years past, were from that date reconciled to each other.

During the war with the Amirs of Sindh in 1838-9, Rawal Gaj Sinh supplied camels to the British Government for transporting their army to Sindh. After the conquest of Sindh in 1844 the forts of Sha garh, Garsia and Gatuda, which were once under the sway of the Chief of Jaisalmer, but were conquered from him by the Amirs, were re covered from the Amir, Ali Murad, and restore to Gaj Sinh in recogni tion of his loyalty to the British Raj.

Rawal Gaj Sinh died in 1846 without issue. His widow adopted Ranjit Sinh, the son of Thakore Keshari Sinh, a member of the reigning family, and placed him on the throne. In 1862, a Sanad was granted by the Supreme Government by which the Chiefs of Jaisalmer were em powered, in the absence of a male offspring, to adopt a son and heir without the payment of any royalty to the Paramount Power. Ranjit Sinh died in 1864 without leaving any male offspring. He had, how ever, one younger brother named Vairi Sal who expressed his unwilling ness to wear the crown of Jaisalmer. He based his aversion on the ground that the territories of Jaisalmer consisted mainly of sandy deserts which yielded no revenues, and what small income was obtained from the fertile regions was all exhausted in preserving order throughout the extensive province, without leaving any surplus towards maintaining the regal splendour of the sovereign. The British Government and the Dowager queen attached no weight to the childish argument of Vairi Sal, and without determining on any other successor, entrusted the reins of government to Keshari Sinh, the father of Vairi Sal.In course of time the scruples of Vairi Sal were got over and he was installed on the gadi of Jaisalmer by the Agent to H. E. the Viceroy for the Native States of Rajputan. He was then only 16 years old, and the management was retained in the hands of his father, Keshari Sinh.

Maha Rawal Vairi Sal after reigning for 27 years died in the year 1891, and was succeeded by the young prince Shali Vahan, the present Chief of Jaisalmer. He is still a minor and the government is carried on by a Council of Regency under the supervision of a British officer.

The Maha Rawal of Jaisalmer enjoys full civil and criminal powers and is entitled to a salute of 15 guns.
Author- Dhirendra Singh Jadaun
Associate Prof in Agriculture
Shahid Captain Ripudaman Singh Govt.College ,Sawai madhopur, Rajasthan.

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