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arrest of Fateh Shahi and not to collect revenue for the Nawab, at once returned to Baragaon with his detachment in disgust. He, however, found that rebel's position so strong that he wrote to the Provincial Council of Patna that to ensure success, he must have a greater force than that which he then commanded, and also a gun. The season of the year was then too far advanced to despatch a military force for a fresh attempt to seize Fateh Shahi; but Lieutenant Hardinge was instructed to surprise him if possible, and to issue a proclamation offering a reward of Rs. 10,000 to any person who should either apprehend him or point out the place of his residence. In the meantime the Nawab of Oudh was written to, to farm out the portion of Husainpur zemindary comprised in his dominions on a fair and equitable adjustment of rent to the farmer with whom the rest of the zemindary situated in the British Territory had been settled; and Captain Coxe, then commanding a battalion at Bagaha, was instructed to hold himself ready to march with his battalion to Gorakhpur and to use his utmost endeavours in conjunction with the Nawab's force, both to apprehend Fateh Shahi and to put the farmer in possession of the Husainpur zemindary.
Nothing, however, appears to have been done, as the English, Government, soon after, was embarassed on all sides by the rebellion of Raja Chait Singh of Benares (16th August, 1781), which spread a regular conflagration in Behar, or more strictly, in the countries between Allahabad to Monghyr. In Behar there was a regular concentration of troops to harass the English. The revolt of Chait Singh burst suddenly on the officials of Behar, and Mr. Ross, the Revenue Chief at the head of the Executive Administration of Patna, wrote to the Council at Calcutta on the 20th August, 1781, that "since the revolt of Raja Chait Singh on the 16th instant, every communication by Dak had been cut off from thence to Benares, and so well had he (Chait Singh) concerted measures that Mr. Ross could obtain no intelligence whatever from that quarter." On the 29th August, Mr. Grome, the Collector of Saran, wrote to inform Mr. Ross that Riza Kuli Khan the amil of Sasseram was at that time with Raja Chait Singh, and many of the inhabitants of that district, particularly the Ujain Rajputs, were sincerely attached to him, and that one Bunyad Singh, who belonged to Chaitnpore and afterwards became a Mahomedan, was with 150 horses and 500 armed Sepoys on his way to Ramnagar to join Riza Kuli Khan. A letter dated the 6th October, 1781, from Mr. Ross to Major Hardy, Commanding the Patna Militia, shows that Fateh Shahi was still giving trouble in Saran at that period with several zemindars and others in the jurisdiction of the Revenue Chief of Patna, and had armed and clothed his dependants in the military accoutrements of the Company;
and Major Hardy was accordingly directed to seize all people "so dressed in masquerade." The letter of Mr. Ross to the Council at Calcutta above alluded to goes on to say that he had despatched private messengers to Mr. Middleton at Lucknow, Colonel Hannay in the Gorakhpur country, Colonel James Morgan commanding the brigade at Cawnpore, and Captain Williams bordering on the Banga and Sircar Saran districts to apprise them of these events. Along with this letter was an extract from a private letter from Captain Nokes, commanding a battalion in Major Moses Crawford's regiment at Buxar, on its march to Benares dated the 25th August, 1781, addressed to Captain Haukesly Hall at Dinapore which stated that the country between the river Karamnasa and Benares was lined with troops against whom it was madness to proceed with a force less than four battalions and as many guns, and that the companies of Popham's regiment that was left at Mirzapore and had attempted to join the Sikhs that had returned to Chunar with Mr. Hastings, had suffered an astonishing loss. They were intercepted in a narrow passage in some of the streets of that town and were butchered in a most inhuman manner. Captain Mayafee, of the artillery, was beheaded and his head was carried about the town as a trophy. This gentleman had also the company of Frenchmen that Sir Eyre Coote brought from Madras, consisting of 100 men, who were also miserably hacked to pieces, and only 14 of them escaped to Chunar. Five other artillery officers were killed and wounded with Captain Mayafee and to complete their misfortune, Captain Maxwell and his battalion were in great danger as parties of men were lying in wait to intercept his passage at the ghats of Gogra. The letter further stated that "a number of Dandies (rowers) of the Governor's fleet that arrived that day, gave an account of several of their brethren being tied together and chucked in the river and drowned and others cut to pieces. The murder of the English soldiers was retaliated with vengeance; for we find Major Moses Crawford commanding the 28th regiment of Sepoys, writing from Camp Dildarnagar: "The roads on all quarters are stopped, and harkaras going between this and Ramnagar can only travel in the night and conceal themselves in the day, and even then they are sometimes obliged to show a light pair of heels for their escape. You will have observed that Popham in a sally among the enemy some nights ago possessed himself of four guns and that many of Raja Chait Singh's followers are relinquishing his cause. This I heard from Popham's harkara. It is uncertain whether this will reach you, as it must pass through a very large jungle which is filled with a crowd of rascals who make a point of intercepting our correspondence as much as they can. I have just sent off a party to burn one of their villages in this neigh
bourhood, in terrorem to the rest. We have plenty of provisions of all sorts and commonly get it for the trouble of taking it from deserted villages, or of those who are disaffected to us, which villages we always burn."
At Aurangabad Raja Narain Singh of Siris and Cutumba had collected a large body of matchlock men and joined Chait Singh's faujdar, Bechu Singh, at Marahab, with a force estimated at 15,000 strong, and in order to resist progress of Major James Crawford's regiment which marched from Chetra to effect a junction with Major Moses Crawford at Buxar, who was directed by the Governor-General to take post in the vicinity of Bijugarh to intercept Chait Singh's troops at Ramnagar, Narain Singh posted himself at the foot of the pass of Argoor with 1,500 matchlock men intending to dispute the passage of the troops. Major Crawford hearing of this arrangement quitted Argoor and made for Cowreah pass which he occupied, and pushed his way without molestation over the hills to Bijugarh. Narain Singh was afterwards arrested and prosecuted for rebellion and murder of one Byroo Singh, an inferior zemindar under him, and was sent to Dacca as a State prisoner.
Raja Akbar Ali Khan of Nurhat. and Samoy was confiued at Patna for owing heavy arrears. On the breaking out of Chait Singh's rebellion he made his escape and raised a body of 5,000 matchlock men and commenced plundering the country. On the 13th October, 1781, Ensign Downes, of Militia, was sent to quell the insurrection and to capture the rebel, but he speedily found his force of one company insufficient for the purpose, as the Raja had taken a strong position in the Gumeah pass to resist the advance of the troops. Accordingly two companies of soldiers under Captain Powell were despatched from Dinapore, who after a hard struggle on the 22nd October, occupied a hill which commanded the enemy's position. The rebel was driven out of the pass with signal loss and chased into the Kharackpur hills in the jurisdiction of Mr. Cleveland who was requested to 'seize him. Apparently afterwards the rebellion of Akbar Ali was condoned.
Such being the troubled times in Behar, and the North-West, it was impossible for Maharaja Fateh Shahi to keep quiet and not to avail of this opportunity. In forwarding the petition of Maharaja Kalyan Singh, of Patna, and his Naib Raja Kheali Ram-persons with whom the whole of Subah Behar was settled by the Governor-General in April, 1781, under the title of Dewan of the company-to the Governor-General at Chunargarh on the 30th August, Mr. Ross wrote: "Fateh Shahi had been induced from the present aspect of things to enter Husainpur, but Mr. Grome, the Collector of that district, had taken the most effec tual measures to prevent him from penetrating any great length in the
district." Fateh Shahi's action at this moment has been well described in the annexed petition of the sons of Babu Dhujju Singh (of whom we shall presently speak) forwarded to Mr. Thomas Graham, Acting President and Member of the Board of Revenue, Fort William, by the Acting Collector, of Saran, with his letter of 11th July, 1805. In it we find that, “in 1189 F.S. (1781 A.D.) when the Governor-General was at Benares to punish the rebel Raja Chait Singh he had ordered the different divisions of the army including the battalion stationed at Baragaon in Pergunah Kalyanpur Kowadi to join him at that place. Raja Fateh Shahi availing himself of the opportunity offerred by their absence, came with Ajeet Mull and other zemindars from Gorakhpur with a body of 20,000 men to Baragaon and attacked and plundered the station. Mr. Grome, the Collector of the district, on receipt of this intelligence wrote a parwanah to Dhujju Singh desiring him to join the tehsildar and afford his assistance in driving Maharaja Fateh Shahi beyond the boundary of the company's provinces. Dhujju Singh immediately called his adherents amounting to about one thousand men, and after unremitting exertions for eighteen days succeeded in defeating Fateh Shahi in battle, and at length obliged him to retreat to the jungles with the loss of many hundreds of the people who fell in different engagements. Dhujju Singh and his sons were also severely wounded when Major Lucas with a reinforcement of regular troops came to his assistance and uniting his forces with those of Dhujju Singh, whom for their gallant conduct he honoured by giving the lead in action, soon after drove Fateh Shahi out of the District. That gentleman reported to the Government the zeal and meritorious behaviour of Dhujju Singh, and the GovernorGeneral was pleased to send for Dhujju Singh to Benares, bestowed on him a khelat of gold cloth and the usual habitments with many other distinguished marks of his favour, and promised that when the GovernorGeneral would return to Patna he would dismiss him with further honorary rewards, and at the same time ordering the Dewan, Canto Babu, to furnish whatever he might require for his expenses. The GovernorGeneral then went to Bijugarh, and when he returned from thence to Calcutta, Dhujju Singh intended to have gone with him, but owing to the wounds he had received in the battles he was unable to do so. When the Governor-General reached Calcutta he issued orders to Mr. Grome directing him to pay a pension of Rs. 200 per month for the maiutenance of Dhujju Singh and the widows and orphans of those killed or wounded in the fight.”
1 There still exist at Baragaon the tombs of the European officers killed in this fight. There is no tablet on them denoting their names.
The rebellion of Chait Singh was quelled, peace and tranquility restored, and yet we find till 1785 Fateh Shahi at large, the terror of the surrounding countries and the source of troubles to British Government, and the local authorities were afraid to grant the Raj to the next heir, Babu Mahesh Dutt Shahi, the son of Basant Shahi, lest he should obstruct the collections and repeat towards the son the same atrocities which he had perpetrated on the father.
Before ascending the funeral pyre with her husband's head on her lap, the wife of Basant Shahi entrusted her only minor son to the care of Babu Dhujju Singh, of Bhurthoohi, a Rajput feudal lord of great influence under the Husainpur Raj, and he served as guardian of the minor with fidelity proverbial to his race. He saw the best way to secure the interest of his ward was to carry out loyally the wishes of the British Government and set his face against the murderer of his father. With this view he expended all that he was worth and borrowed to the full extent of his credit, in raising a body of troops. With these men and Mahesh Dutt Shahi by his side, he was night and day with Captain. Coxe traversing the woods in pursuit of Fateh Shahi, and earned the good-will of the local authorities for himself and his master. The Revenue Council of Patna in their letter to the Governor-General in Council, dated 17th April, 1778, recommended, that "Fateh Shahi should be declared to have forfeited his zemindary, and that it should be bestowed on the young Mahesh Dutt Shahi, and that some villages should be added to the taluka of Dhujju Singh who should be declared the Dewan." To this recommendation the Governor-General in Council wrote in reply: "We have attentively considered your recommendations of Mahesh Dutt and Dhujju Singh but do not think it proper at this time to comply with them. You may inform them that, when, with their assistance, we shall have apprehended the person of Fateh Shahi, we shall pay proper attention to their pretentions and services.” (Vide Appendix).
With the return of a settled state of things in 1785, Fateh Shahi though still at large, and in the enjoyment of that portion of his zemindaries which was situated in the district of Gorakhpur in the dominions of the Nawab of Oudh, left off his predatory life and peacefully settled himself down, perhaps finding in despair all his attempts to gain independence only to prove futile. He became in 1808 a fakir after leading the life of a Robin Hood continuously for 18 years and a retired life for 24 years. It was the constant endeavours of his sons to regain the goodwill of the British authorities in order to recover their lost patrimony. In 1790 the youngest son petitioned before Mr. Montgomerie, the Settlement Officer of Saran, to be allowed to settle for the revenue of the J. I, 25