صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني

Husainpur Raj.on behalf of Fateh Shahi, and the claim was treated inadmissible. Similar applications were also made in 1816 and 1821 with the same result. In June 1829 the great-grandson of Fateh Shahi brought a regular suit for the recovery of the Raj, and it was dismissed as barred by limitation. A similar claim was again set up in 1848 with the like result.

In 1784 when Fateh Shahi had commenced to quietly settle down, Babu Mahesh Dutt again applied for a Sanad for the zemindary of Husainpur, and the Government wrote in reply to the Committee of Revenue, in their letter dated 2nd November, 1784, saying, that should they think it advisable to invest the petitioner with the zemindary of Husainpur, it should be done on the expressed conditions of his effectu. ally suppressing the depredations of Fateh Shahi, and if possible delivering up his person to Government within the term of one year. At the same time they inserted a clause in his Sanad to the effect that, in the event of his failing in obtaining these ends either from negligence or any other cause, that might be deemed unsatisfactory by Government, upon a report thereof which the Committee was directed to make to Government on the expiration of the current Behar year, he would subject himself to immediate dispossession with the loss of every interest which he might hold in the land in question. (Vide Appendix). When the Government accordingly was about to confer upon Babu Mahesh Dutt Shahi the Husainpur Raj he died in 1785 A.D. It is said that the astrologers having predicted that Babu Mahesh Dutt's lease of life was only for 22 years, his guardian Dhujju Singh hastened to marry him at an early age with the daughter of the Chainpur Babu, in order that he might have an issue to continue his line;' and requested the Babu to send the bride to the bridegroom's house within the year of the marriage, which was contrary to his family custom. The bride's father sent a haughty answer of refusal, whereapon Dhujju Singh had Mahesh Dutt married again at once for the second time to a poor country girl who gave birth to a posthumus child, afterwards Maharaja Chattradhari

[ocr errors]

1 In this marriage of the orphan Mahesh Datt Shahi, the ceremony called "Imli Ghotna," by which the matron of the house, placing the bridegroom on her lap, has to taste a mango leaf chewed by him, was performed by Dhujju Singh's wife. Dhujju Singh's descendants are therefore to some extent looked down by their jealous clansmen who erroneously allege they have lost their caste thereby.

% It is said that when the bride was being taken to the bridegroom's house in a Palki, a big cobra with upraised hood interposed at a place, south of the present Hatwa, and would not let the Palki pass. The astrologers were consulted and they declared this to be an auspicious omen, showing that the bride would be the mother of a mighty ruler who would bring the country ander one umbrella peurat-TTGTT. Hence the Maharaja was so named.

Shahi Bahadur, about two months after Babu Mahesh Dutt's demise On the 21st January, 1791, the Government of Lord Cornwallis on the recommendation of the local authorities conferred on Chattradhari Shahi, the minor son of Mahesh Dutt Shahi, the confiscated estate of Husainpur. But as the grantee was then only five years of age the estate passed under the protection of the Court of Wards, then recently formed, Dhujju Singh continuing to be the guardian of the minor. In 1802 Chattradhari Shahi attained majority and came into actual possession of his zemindaries. He now shifted from Bhurthuhee, where he and his late father lived so long under Dhujju Singh's protection, and founded the present seat of Hutwal where he built his palace and fort surrounded with moats, and granted to Babu Dhujju Singh as jagir the village Hutwa Boojrook (meaning the guardian of Hutwa), which was named after his own capital. But the title of “Maharaja Bahadur" was not conferred on him till 1837, that is, until Fateh Shahi, of whom it may be said

“ He left a name at which the world grew pale,

To paint a moral or adorn a tale'

was no more heard of for several years; for it appears to have been thought that there could not be two Maharajas of Husainpur as long as Fateh Shahi was alive. It was on the 27th February, 1837, that the Government of Lord Auckland conferred on him the title of Maharaja Bahadur with the usual khelat, and the peshkas of Rs. 50,000 paid by him on this occasion was placed at the disposal of the General Committee of Public Instruction to be disposed of in the interest of education. (Vide Appendix).

Maharaja Chattradhari Shahi rendered valuable assistance to the British Government during the Santhal rebellion by placing his resources at the disposal of Government and promptly executing the order of the district authorities. But the most conspicuous services rendered by him to British Government were in the stormy days of the Indian Mutiny of 1857-58. “Throughout the crisis," wrote the Collector and Magistrate of Saran, Mr. Richardson, " the Raja proved himself a staunch ally of the British Government; his loyalty was never for a moment doubted, and from the very outset of the rebellion the whole of his resources

1 Evidently Mr. W. Hoey is wrong in identifying Hutwa with Hastigráma (Journal, A.S.B., Vol. LXIX, Part I, No. 1, Page 80, of 1900). From my personal knowledge I am in a position to say that all that he had heard of the late Raja of Hutwa's enclosing the ground near Sewan Station is a pure myth. The spot was intended for a tenting-ground near the station, as he bad to make a drive of 14 miles from and to Sowan station and Hutwa. No Brabmin had ever spoken to him disparagingly of the spot, nor is his death attributed to his enclosing it.

were placed at the disposal of the authorities in the district for the preservation of peace and order." (Vide Appendix). When the Mutiny broke out in the district of Shahabad and Gorakhpur in June, 1857, the Maharaja, an old man of seventy, at once put himself in communication with the local authorities, engaged a large contingent of armed men with which he guarded all the ghâts and private houses of Government officials, and sometimes fought with the rebels. " The effect of this active measure," as described by the Collector to the Commissioner in the letter dated the 18th March, 1858, “was that whilst the Gorakhpur district was temporarily abandoned to anarchy and rapine, not a village on the Saran side of the boundary became the scene of disorder.” (Vide Appendix). When a large body of mutineers appeared at Subhanpur, near Sewan, the Maharaja assisted the sub-divisional Officer, Mr. Lynch, with horses and men, fought the rebels and gained a signal victory. It is indeed a pity that the historians of the Indian Mutiny, while they have indulged in enumerating petty and minor details, have entirely omitted to make any mention of the service rendered by this Maharaja of Hutwa.

An internal rising forms an episode in Maharaja Chattradhari Shabi's time. A brahmin of Bhore, named Bujhawan Misir, became very powerful, having been aided by the ever-turbuleut Rajputs of the place who are called “Khans." Bujhawan Misir claimed the whole country on the other side of the Jherai river to be his brit (Brahmottar), even the forts of Husainpur. Each time the Maharaja's troops sent to dispossess him were beaten back-in fact Bujhawan Misir held the country in such terror for some time that no one from the Hutwa side could dare cross the Jherai.? At last the Maharaja had to seek the help of the Government, and Bujhawan was dispossessed of the country and killed by the troops of Government. There were also constant fights with the Bettiah Raj about demarcation of boundaries between the two Estates, and thousands of both sides were killed.

1 These matineers had looted the Government treasury and the public offices in Muzaffarpur District, but being repulsed therefrom had proceded to Sewan. On the following morning the troops broke out in open mutiny. Headed by Jarif Khan they robbed the Monghyr Mail and plundered the Collector's house. They then attacked the Treasury and Jail, but the Police and najibs stood to their posts and drove them off, on wbich they decanıped towards Aliganj Sewan."-(Sir J. Kaye's History of the Sepoy War, Vol. III.)

* Thus sang the bard "राजा भैले रजवलौ सिपाही भेले धनौया । स्नड़े ले बुझावन farfare foarte garter 198 “The Raja was reduced to diminutive, and his soldiers were reduced to the position of a cotton-dresser, while Bujhawan Misir fought making the earth tremble ander his feet."

Maharaja Chattradhari Shahi was a great patron of Sanskrit learning. He retained in his Durbar learned pandits from Mithila and Benares, and other places amongst whom, before he became a Sanyasi, was the renowned Ram Niranjan Svami, the greatest Savant of India at that age, who survived even Maharaja Rajendra Pratap Shahi, successor of Maharaja Chattradhari Shahi. He had opened a Sanskrit school in charge of the said Savant, wherein nearly 1,000 students from all parts of India received education and were fed by the Raj. With such veneration was this Sarant held by the Hutwa Maharajas, that the late Maharaja Sir Krishna Pratap Shahi Bahadur had specially indented from France a jewelled Sirpech (aigrette) containing an enamelled image of this Savant, and had named his son and heir, the present Maharaj Kumar, after his monastic nomenclature and had published a beautiful biography.

Maharaja Chattradhari Shahi was an able and excellent administrator. He considerably enlarged his Raj and with it its income. The whole villages on the borders of the Gandak and Gogra now possessed by the Raj he got from the Babus of Pursa on their downfall. He died on the 16th March, 1858, leaving, it is said, behind him about 40 lakhs of Rupees in the treasury, the greater portion of which is said to have been squandered away? by his successor in the great Hutwa case, and the rest invested in the purchase of jewellery of the deposed king of Oudh: The fruit of his Mutiny services was enjoyed by his successor, Maharaja Rajendra Pratap Shahi, who obtained a perpetual jagir in Shahabad district out of the confiscated estates of the rebel Kuar Singh, then yielding an annual rental of Rs. 20,000, having continued to tread in the footsteps of bis great-grandfather, Maharaja Chattradhari Shahi, in rendering valuable assistance to Government in the suppression of the Mutiny. (Vide Appendix).

The two sons of the Maharaja Chattradhari Shahi having died before their father, it was the turn of Maharaj-Kumar Ugra Pratap Shahi, the father of Rajendra Pratap Shahi to succeed; but Maharaja Chattradhari Shahi having left a will and expressed his intention before his death that Rajendra Pratap, the son of Ugra Pratap, was to succeed him, Ugra Pratap Shahi waived his claim in favour of his son who was installed Maharaja in 1858. (Vide Appendix). The two sons of the second son of Maharaja Chattradhari Shahi, Babu Tilakdhari Shahi, and Babu Bir Pratap Shahi, thereupon laid claim for the partition of the Raj on the plea that the estate was an ordinary zemindary. Their suit at first was tried by the District Court of Saran; but Babu Tilak Dhari Shahi withdrew his claim on a compromise, having got by it some vil. lages for his maintenance (Khorish); but Babu Bir Pratap Shahi whose claim was dismissed by the District Court carried it on to the High Court of Calcutta and then to the Privy Council, which settled for good that the Hutwa Raj still, as it was before Maharaja Fateh Shahi's defection, is an impartible Raj, descendible under Kulācā to the eldest son, to the exclusion of all younger brothers who were only to get a maintenance, and fixed Rs. 1,000 as monthly pension for Babu Bir Protap Shahi's maintenance. (Vide the extracts of judgments enclosed.)

1 So extravagant was his successor, Maharaja Rajendra Pratap Shahi, that in his shikar in the Terrai Jungles, where he stayed for six months, his camp equipages consisted of 60 elephants, several big Zemindars related to him, and also many dancing girls-nay even his own Bazar to supply rasads to retinues and campfollowers and equal number of advancing tents (Pesh-khima) for the next stage.

Maharaja Rajendra Pratap Shahi died in 1871, leaving an only minor son of 16, the late Maharaja Sir Krishna Pratap Shahi Bahadur, K.C.I.E., and the Court of Wards took up for the second time the administration of the Hutwa Raj. He attained majority in 1874, and was installed as Maharaja Bahadur in August of that year at Chupra at a grand Durbar by the then Lieutenant-Governor of Bengal, Sir Richard Temple. He received a medal of distinction struck in commemoration of the visit of H.R.H. the Prince of Wales to India in 1874-75, and another in 1877 at the Imperial Assemblage at Delhi on the proclamation of Her Most Gracious Majesty the late Queen Victoria as Empress of India. In 1889 he was created, unsolicited, a Knight Commander of the Exalted Order of the Indian Empire.

When the memorable cow-riot broke out at Basantpur in 1894, the Officiating Lieutenant-Governor, Sir Anthony Macdonald, wired to the Maharaja saying that he depended on him in restoring peace in the district. The Maharaja immediately despatched all his Sowars, Sepoys, and Carbineers to help the Commissioner, Mr. Forbes, stationed there in quelling the riot. In such high esteem was he held by that distinguished officer, Sir Anthony Macdonald, that in one of his letters he wrote to him in the following strain: “There is no nobleman in these provinces whose approbation I value more highly than yours, and very few so high, and there is no one from whom I should be so glad to receive, now and then, an expression of opinion on general topics."

He was allowed by the Government of India, on the recommendation of the then Collector, Mr. Bourdillon (now Sir James Austin Bourdillon, late Officiating Lieutenant-Governor of Bengal), who had remarked that he could safely trust the Maharaja's loyalty and fidelity, to indent sixty muskets with bayonets from England for his retainers in lieu of those old and worn out.

He was a great patron of Sanskrit learning, himself being a very

« السابقةمتابعة »