The Jats - Their Role in the Mughal Empire/Chapter II

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The Jats - Their Role in the Mughal Empire

The book by Dr Girish Chandra Dwivedi, Edited by Dr Vir Singh 2003.

Publisher - M/S Originals (an imprint of low priced publications), A-6, Nimri commercial Centre, Near Ashok Vihar, Phase-IV, Delhi-110052. ISBN 81-88629-08-1 (H.B.) & ISBN 81-88629-11-1 (P.B.)

The full text of this chapter has been converted into Wiki format by Laxman Burdak लक्ष्मण बुरड़क

The Breakdown of Mughal Administration and the Fresh Jat Eruptions (1680-1707)

Chapter II :Breakdown of Mughal Administration and the Fresh Jat Eruptions (1680-1707)

The decade following Gokul's rebellion corresponded with the period of a strong Mughal government. Aurangzeb with the bulk of his forces was present in the north. The vast resources of the Mughal Empire were as yet free from that great strain to which they were subjected later on (the second half of Aurangzeb's reign). The chivalrous Rajputs were not yet alienated from the Emperor and were adding to his strength. Some rebellions and wars did occur in these years that distracted the attention of the government, but the Emperor generally succeeded in tiding over the difficulties. The Satnamis were repressed into silence. Guru Tegh Bahadur was captured and killed and the situation in the Panjab was brought under control for the time being. Force and diplomacy worked together in improving the Mughal position against the intractable Afghans. The Bundela leader, Chhatrasal, could not be contained, his defiance had yet to assume serious proportions. The Mughal arms suffered a rebuff at the hands of Shivaji, the developments in the south were not serious enough to produced any effect upon the north or the fate of the Mughal Empire in general. Likewise, the failure of the imperialists in establishing permanent roots in the Assam 1 against the Ahoms did not reflect upon the general situation in the Empire. Thus, Aurangzeb was generally successful in dealing with all of his possible enemies.

However, this period of effective control over the olitical affairs in the north also witnessed his growing religious persecution. Temple destruction went on briskly in the Empire, the Hindus were excluded from the public offices and the much hated Jizya was reimposed. Such steps cause increasing bitterness among the non-Muslims and tended them to rebellion. Apparently, the policy of Aurangzeb was preparing abackground for the impending storm in the north.

The Jats, though simmering with discontent, were constrained to remain quiet during these ten years.It is not difficult to trace the reasons

1. For details of the above developments see Sarkar, Aurangzib, III, 4, 183-191, 228-244, 298-301, 313-314, Y. 395ff.

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for their general passivity. The bitter memory of their ruthless supression by the imperialists had yet not faded completely from their minds. They must have been deterred also by Emperor's general success against his enemies. Then again, it is also likely that the Jats as yet were not able to make good their heavy loss, suffered during the preceding encounter with the Mughals. Finally, they were perhaps disinclined to repeat tile folly of a rash collusion with the Emperor, more so at a time ,when he had northern India tightly under his grip.

The Jats were obviously looking for a suitable opportunity. This was provided by Aurangzeb's departure from the north and his subsequent involvement in the unending Deccan Wars. 2 The time rolled on and yet the Emperor with his best lieutenants and the bulk of his army remained involved in the distant south. This began to wear out the revenue, the army, and the prestige of the Mughal arms as well. The north, inwardly agitating owing to the policies of Aurangzeb, was left in the hands of mediocre officers. With depleted strength, they found it increasingly difficult to cope with the widespread unrest among the people. All this worked to shatter the administrative framework. A mighty wave of rebellion swept through Rajputana, Agra, Bundelkhand, the Punjab, Malwa, Bihar and the extreme north-west.3

The brief spell of an uneasy clam prevailing among the Jats was broken in the early eighties, when they rose in arms again. Its leaders changed, tactics varied and its fortunes fluctuated but the revoit once restarted was henceforth a continuous process, ultimately resulting in the overthrow of the Mughal authority in the suba of Agra and the establisnment of Bharatpur State.

Rise of Brij Raj

The first leader of whom we are informed was Brij Raj of Sinsini (16 miles north-west of Bharatpur).4 In all likelihood, it was this Brij Raj whom Manucci refers to as the leader, "oldest in age and the greatest in authority", of the peasants of Agra. Who raising their heads had withheld revenue due to the imperial treasury.5 In order to force these villagers to pay, Aurangzeb sent Multafat Khan, the faujdar of the environs of Agra, with a strong force. Multafat Khan attcked a village, where the rebels had rallied together. Their leadr first assured the Khan but later incited his people against him. "Resolved to die rather than pay revenue", they came out and fought with

2. Storia, II, 300, Roznamcha, 133, Memoires des Jats 10: M.U., I. 437.

3. For details see Sarkar, Alurangzeb.V, 359ff.

4. Imperial Gazetteer; VIII, 75. It spells his name as "Brijh" which is a mistake for Brj Raj. who was the son of Khan Chand. See Sudan, Sujan Charitra (Kashi ed.), Ganga Singh, op.cit. 47, U.N. Sharma, ltihas, I, 100f.

5. Storia, II, 209.

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such desperation that the force the faujdar was routed; After humiliating him they set free Multafat Khan who succumbed to his wounds on 26th June, 1681 (19th Jamadi II,1092 A.H.) 6

Brij Raj also plundered passers-by and convoys on the roads. In 1682, a Mughal contingent pursued him upto his stronghold, Sinsini, Which was put to Siege. The Jat chief somehow succeeded in sending away his women from the fortress but was himself killed alongwith his son, Bhao Singh, while defending it. IV Sinsini fell into the hands of the enemy. Having fled from Sinsini the family of Brij Raj sought safety in a small and obscure mud fort (5 miles from Bayana) . Here one of the wives of Bhao Singh gave birth to a poststhumous son, named Badan Singh. It is after the name of this personage that the garhi is still known as Badangarhi. 7

Rise of Raja Ram Jat (c. 1682-1688)

Raja Ram, Bharatpur

The next chief of whom we hear is the famous Raja Ram Jat of Sinsini. 8He was the son of Bhagwat alias Bhajja Singh, the brother of Brij Raj.9 The absence of Aurangzeb and his best troops from the north the sloth, and weakness of the local officers provided Raja Ram the opportune moment. 10 Obviously, there was little prospect of that counterblast of the Mughals which had disappointed the Jats in 1669-1670. The changed political situation around seemed to ensure for them a fair amount of success in their refractory course.

Raja Ram displayed a capacity to learn from the past and an insight into the exigencies of the present. He could infer from Gokul's example that lack of training and proper equipment, pitched contest against the powerful Mughal army and weak Jat defences were the precise reasons of the jat debacle in 1669-1670. His reorganisations bears testimony to it that he tried to remove these glaring defects. He knew that the gallant Jats could give an impressive account of the selves under one leader. With this end in view he allied his Sinsinwara clansmen with the Sogaria

6. Ibid., 209-210; Maasir, 209; M.U., II, 282.

IV. Also, Odier, 3/25; Waqa Rajasthan, 2/45; Gokal Chandra Dixit, Brajendra Vansh Bhaskar, 18; Sahyog March 15, 1945; Jat Jagat cited by U.N. Sharma, Itihas, I, 186, f.n.28.-Editor.

7. Odier Settlement Report, Bharatpur; referred to by Ganga Singh, op.cit., 47-48; Somnath, Dirgh Nagar Vaman, (Kashi Nagari Pracharini, Hindi Ms.) 3, Ras Peeushnidhi. and Madhav Vinod in Somnath Granthawali (ed. by Sudhakar Pande.'Kashi, 1971 A.D.), 3, and 318, presents an exaggerated picture of the qualities of Bhao Singh.

8. Maasir, 311; Fatuhat (Pers. Ms.), 131 b; Memoires des Jats (Fr. Ms.), 9.

9. Sujan, 5; Ganga Smgh, op.cil., 32 and 48; U.N. Sharma, ltihas, I, 100f.

10. Storia, II, 300; Roznamcha (Pers. Ms.) 133-134; M.U. 1,437; Memoires des Jats (Fr. Ms.), 9.

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Jats under Ramachehara, who possessed the castle of Sogar 11 (4 miles south-east of Bharatpur). He fraternised with the Jats of Sidgiri region12 (Bayana, Rupbasaia). He also befriended the Jats of Ranthambhor against the Amber ruler, Ram Singh. 12a On the basis of the contemporary despatches it can unmistakably be deduced that Raja Ram proved a weat rallying point and a great number of the Jats were united under his leadership.13 Next, he began to organise his followers from the military point of view. He gave them military training and equipped them with fire-arms. He organised them into regiments placed under different captains. simultaneously, he impressed upon the self-willed and freedom loving Jats, the necessity of remaining disciplined and obeying their captains. Thus he imparted to them the semblance of a regular army. 14He gave similar attention to the strengthening of his defence, for he must have seen how Tilpat was easily stormed for lack of proper defence and thus sealing the fate of the Jat rising under Gokul. Raja Ram, therefore, built his forts in dense deep Jungles and surrounded them with mud ramparts. The forest-infested environs and the mud walls rendered them stronger15 than was the chief stronghold of Gokul. These forts served as bases for operations and refuge as also places for dumping the booty. As is apparent from his tactics, Raja Ram stuck to the traditional mode of the Jat warfare, popularly known as 'Dhar' (Guerilla) system. All through he avoided positional warfare with the Mughals and confined himself to sudden and intrepid attacks. This ensured him maximum benefit with minimum loss. 16 As would be seen in the following pages; these changes proved beneficial and gradually contributed to the success of the Jat rebellion.

Having thus prepared himself, Raja Ram began to organise raids in the countryside of the Suba of Agra. The Jats hovered on the roads and plundered the carvans and the travelers. The Subadar of Agra, Safi Khan was virtually besieged in the Agra fort. Along with the other rebels the Narukas, the Panwars,'the Gujars and the Mevs-they practically closed the roads for normal traffic betweenDholpur and Delhi , and Agra and Ajmer via Hindaun and Bayana. How deep was the consternation created by

11. Memoires des Jats (Fr. Ms.), 9, 10.

12. Vanshbhaskara, 2886.

12a.Ram Pande,Bharatpur, 8, 10.

13. Infra, See Ch. II, Estimate of Raja Ram.

14. Qanungo, Jats, 40; U.N. Sharma (ltihas, I, 104-105) claims that Aurangzeb summoned Raja Ram to Delhi, where he was properly received and was granted "the gaddi of Mathura and a jagir consisting of 575 villages". He, however, cites no contemporary authority in support of it.

15. Memoires des Jats (Fr. Ms.) 10, also footnote 11.

16. Ibid., 9-10.

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the insurgents would be clear by one instance that in an important place like Mathura no place except Jama Mosque was deemed safe. 17 Raja Ram also tried to ransack Akbar's mausoleum at Sikandara. But his attempt was foiled by the local faujdar, Mir Abul Fazl. He confronted the rebels at a place, 10 mdes from Sikandara. The faujdar, succeeded in repulsing them, though in the process, he was seriously wounded and a number of his troops also perished. Raja Ram also suffered heavy casualties. Aurangzeb rewarded the faujdar with the title of Iltifat Khan increasing his Mansab by 200 sawars. Unsuccessful at Sikandara, Raja Ram then fell upon Shikarpur and grabbed rich booty from the place. Therefrom, he retired towards Ratanpur. 18

Raja Ram's mischief and disturbances went increasing.19 This worried the Emperor. On 3rd May, 1686 (19th Jamdai II, 1097 A.H.), he appointed Khan-i-Jahan Bahadur Zafarjang, Kokaltash in order to punish the rebels. Despite his strenuous efforts however Khan-i-Jahan failed to capture any of the Jat strongholds or to punish the people.20 Therefore, he ordere his son, Muhammad Azam, to proceed against the Jats. But he had only reached Burhanpur (July, 1687) when more pressing needs of Golconda compelled Aurangzeb to recall the Prince. Thereafter, Bidar Bakht was sent (December, 1687) to assume supreme command in the Jatwar, while Khan-i-Jahan was to act as his deputy.21

Meanwhile, Raja Ram showed greater audacity. He fell upon the Mughal commander, Aghar Khan. The Khan with his retinue was enroute from Kabul to Bijapur when the Jats attacked him near Dholpur and fled away capturing many bullocks, carts, horses and women. The general gave them a hot chase but was killed in the ensuing skirmish along with his son-in-law and 80 other men. Two hundred Jats were killed in this action.22 The psychological gain from this

17 Faluhat (Pers. Ms.), 131 b, 132b; Storia, II, 300; Roznamcha (Pers. Ms.), 134: Memoires des Jats (Fr. Ms.), 10-11; M. U., I, 437; Qanungo, 'Some Sidelights on the Career of Raja Bishan Singh Kachhawaha of Amber', Proceedings of Indian History Congress, 1948, XI.

18. Fatuhat (Pers. Ms.), 131b-132b.

19. Ibid, 132b.

20. Maasir, 274; Fatuhat (Pers. Ms.), 132b; Roznamcha (Pers. Ms.), 133; Muntakhab-ul-Lubab, II by Khafi Khan (Bib. Ind. Series). 395; Kamwar (Pers. Ms.), II, 223; M.U, 1,437; Memoires des Jats (Fr. Ms.), 10. According to Abul Fazl Mamuri, Aurangzeb sent Khan-i-Jahan "Ostensibly in order to crush the Jats but really to rid the Deccan of his presence", as he was "suspected of being friendly with the Marathas". Vide Tarikh-i-Aurangzeb, referred to by M.A. Ali, The Mughal Nobility under Aurangzeb, 103-104.

21. Maasir. 298-299. 311; Roznamcha (Pers. Ms.), 133; K.K. II,.395; Kamwar (Pers. Ms.), II,231; M.U, I,437-438.

22. Fatuhat (Pers. Ms.), 164b; K.K. (II. 395) adds that Aghar Khan succeeded in rescuing his women, but was shot dead while besieging a fortalice; M.U, I, 155; Sarkar, Aurangzib, V, 297-298.

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audacious act was much more than the material one. Their success in killing and routing the reputed suppressor of the frontier Afghans must have whetted the audacity of the Jats. They carried their depredations further. Early m 1668, Raja Ram attacked Mahabat Khan who on his way to Lahore was encamped near Sikandara. A fierce fight ensued in which Raja Ram was finally overpowered and driven back after losing 400 men. The casualties on the other side included 150 dead and 40 wounded.23

After a short while, Raja Ram reappeared at Sikandara and taking advantage of the delay in coming of Shaista Khan, the governorrdesignate of Agra, he attacked and plundered Akbar's mausoleum. The Jat leader carried away the precious articles of gold and silver, carpets, lamps etc. and destroyed what he could not carry. According to Manucci the Jats dragged out the bones of Akbar, threw them angrily into fire and burnt them. Muhammad Baqa (the Naib of Khan-i-Jahan) who was then at Agra, did nothing to frustrate the rebels. As a punisliment, therefore, his mansab was reducted by 500 and that of Khan-i-Jahan by 1000 sawars.24 The Jats also ransacKed the villages, set aside for the support of Taj Mahal. Some Jats ravaged the environs of Khurja, while the others captured the local Mughal officers at Palwal .25

One noteworthy fact is that the local Mughal officials and soldiers in general, winked at the disobedience of the Jats and even secretly entered into collusion with them to share the booty rabbed by them.26 It is also to be noted that Muhammad Baqa, the deputy of Khan-i-Jahan at Agra, had remamed inactive while Raja Ram robbed Akbar's tomb. This exasperated Aurangzeb and he reduced the deputy's Mansab by 500 and that of Khan-i-Jahan by 1000 sawars. 27 Meanwhile, the daring and audacity of Jats alarmed Aurangzeb and he ordered Raja Ram Singh (Who was at Kabul) to chastise Raja Ram. But due to his sudden death the Raja could not resume his charge.28

Raja Ram, on the other hand, persisted with his refractory activities. His strength and resources now began to attract the attentIon of others.

23. Fatuhat (Pers. Ms.), 132a.132b.

24. Storia, II, 300; Fatuhat (Pers. Ms.), 132b-I33a.

25. Pande, Bharatpur, 7.

26. To give one instance, Fazil Khan, a Mughal official at Agra, was ordered to escort the royal treasure to the river Chambal. He, however, secretly Informed the Jats about it and on demand even supplied them with ammunition. Thereafter, the said treasure was plundered according to the pre-meditated scheme. Qanungo. Jats, 342; Jaipur Records (Sarkar's collection, R.S.L. Sitamau transcriptions) number of pages cited here. VII, 335; cf. Memoires des Jats (Fr. Ms.), II.

27. Fatuhat (Pers. Ms.) 132b-I33a.

28. Ibid, 133a.

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During these days the existing feud between the Chauhans and the Shekhawat Rajputs over disputed land in Bagtharia (22 miles nort-east of Alwar) and some other parganas had erupted into an open war. The Chauhans appealed to Raja Ram for help, while the Shekhawats implored the help of Murtaza Khan, the Mughal faujdar of Mewat. Bidar Bakht, Rao Raja Anirudh Singh of Bundi and Maharao Kishor Singh Hada joined the faujdar and the Shekhawats. A severe battle was fought near Bijal. Opposite Raja Ram was the Hada Chief upon whom he inflicted a crushing defeat. Anirudh Singh himself could not stand before the Jat on set. He became nervous and fled along wltli his troops. When the Battle was in its full fury the gallant Raja Ram led a fierce charge against the centre, consisting of the Mughals. Meanwhile, a Mughal musketeer, who had hidden himself in a tree, fired Raja Ram at his chest. He fell down from his horse and died immediately (Wednesday, 4th July, 1688- 15th Ramzan, 1099 A.H.). His fall signalled the defeat of the Chauhans. Raja Ram's head was severed from the body and later on presented to Aurangzeb in the Deccan (5th September- 9th Zi~Qada, l099 A.H.). Ramchehara was captured alive in this battle. He was subsequently beheaded and his head was publically exposed at Agra.29

Estimate of Raja Ram

Thus perished Raja Ram. As a leader of men and as a soldier, organiser and tactician, he was certainly more capable than any other preceding Jat Chief. His influence upon the contemporary history has not been properly assessed so far. It was he and not Churaman II who, first of all, endeavoured to transform his warrior followers into more or less disciplined troopers. The number of his regulars could not have been big but the credit of laying the foundation of a regular army, equipped with firearms must be given to him. Then again, he highlighted the efficacy of the guerilla tactics and proper defences by building the mud fortresses in dense Jungles. It is apparent that his dashing attacks in the presence of larger Mughal forces not only restored the shaken morale of his people but also infused in them a vigour that enabled them to withstand temporary reverses later on.

Raja Ram aimed at, and succeeded also in forging, a joint front of his brethren, as Churaman also did later on. But whereas Churaman through his indiscretion failed to preserve that unity, Raja Ram, through his tact and resourcefulness, maintained it. Disunity among the Jats did raise

29. Ibid., 134a-135a; J. Records. XII, 1,7; Maasir. 311-312; MU, I,438, cf. Kamwar (Pers Ms.), II. 231; Memoires des Jats (Fr. Ms., I11 - 12) says that Raja Ram succumbed to his wounds, sustained while being pursued: M.L. Sharma Kota Rajya Ka ltihas, 207-209.

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its head after his death, but it was not due to his policy but due to the disappearance of his rallying personality. A contemporary report (8th August, 1688-20th Shawwal, 1099 A.H.) about this disturbed period testified to it30. From this standpoint it would appear that as a leader of his people Raja Ram possessed better talents than Churaman. Raja Ram had deeper penetration into the individualistic and clan-conscious temperament of the Jats. If his dealings with the Sogaria and Ranthambhore Jats are a pointer, Raja Ram gave due deference to them and tried to strengthen his leadership, by winning their gratitude and reposing confidence in them. It is true that Churaman II achieved far greater success than Raja Ram, who owing to his untimely death could not carry his policy and work to its logical conclusion. His mission was still in the offing. Yet, he should not be deprived of due credit for laying down certain policies which facilitated the task of his successors including Churaman. At least the fortune that he amassed proved to be of immediate and definite help to them.31 There is a little room for suspicion that by his stress upon a common leadership, the unity of various Jat clans, a regular force and a modified strategy for the Jat defence, Raja Ram gave a new and useful direction to the Jat affairs. It would not be off the mark to point out that, had Raja Ram lived longer, he might have taken winds out of Churaman's sails. Hence, there is insufficient ground to support the view32 that Raja Ram's work left no trace behind.

The steps undertaken by Raja Ram leave an impression that he wanted to throw off the Mughal yoke and he entertained the dream of regional independence. His premature end, coupled with the relentless pressure of the imperialists later, shattered such political ambitions for the present. Yet it is apparent that the measure of success that Raja Ram achieved during his life-time and the legacy that he bequeathed to the posterity proved in a corresponding degree detrimental to the interests of the Mughal Empire. So long as he was alive, he openly repudiated and practically eclipsed the Mughal authority in a big part of the suba of Agra. He held lawless sway over an area stretching from Delhi to the Chambal. His bands intermittently indulged in predatory activities. The Mughal officers failed to contain them. So great was the dread exercised by him that the contemporary opinion rated the feat of killing of Raja Ram alone as equivalent to the capture of Sinsini and killing of the Jats.33 The perturbed Aurangzeb deputed one general after the other,

30.J. Records. Sarkar's coll. (Pers. Ms.), XII, 3. 7: Raghubir Singh in Brij. 166.

31. Memolres des Jats (Fr. Ms.), 9.

32. Sarkar, Fall of the Mughal Empire, II (Calcutta: 1934), 426 33.J. Records, Sarkar's call. (rers. Ms.), XII, 3.

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to crush him and his Jats but to no avail. Even Bidar Bakht with his big forces was in effective against the recalcitrants.

It is obvious that his persistent defiance often resulting in an utter rout of the reputed generals like Aghar Khan or in the object helplessness of great commanders like Khan-i-Jahan seriously undermined the prestige of the Mughal arms, so well established by Hasan Ali Khan in 1669-70. Though, taking advantage of the dissensions caused by Raja Ram's death, the imperialists temporarily repressed the Jats, the former awe and respect for the Mughal arms could not be restored and they resumed their offensive soon afterwards under Churaman.

It needs no stress that their successful defiance encouraged other insurgents also. The royal highway passing through Delhi and Agra had been completely blocked by the Jat rebels. At a time when Aurangzeb was engrossed in unending Deccan wars, this blockade was bound to cause him deep anxieties.34

Raja Ram's rebellion, besides making the political and military situation in the suba of Agra, also had its repercussions on the financial condition. There were areas wherefrom no revenue collection had been made for some time. To give one instance, we learn from a letter to Bishan Singh that, owing to the disturbance created by the Jats, the mahals of koland Islamabad had been "ruined" and no revenue could reach the exchequer from them.35 There is ground to suppose that more or less the same situation prevailed in other parts affected by the Jat rebellion. We do not have records to check the exact financial loss to the Mughals. Even if it did not materially affect them it must have been a source of concern to them. The loss to individual wayfarers must have been indeed severe as they generally lacked military protection.

It would not be inappropriate here to consider one aspect of the Jat revolt under Raja Ram as also other Jat leaders. In the wake of their military activities, Raja Ram and his bands perpetrated loot and plunder on the royal highways and in the countryside. Plunder assured enrichment in an easier and faster way. No doubt, this fact played its part in tempting people to the lawless course.36 Notwithstanding, the point of plunder in the Jat movement cannot be magnified. To conclude that it was the sole motivating factor or booty as such was its ultimate goal, is to oversimplify the facts of the situation.37 The harshness and

34. Memoires des Jats (Fr. Ms.), 11.

35.J. Records, Sarkar's coli, (Pefs. Ms.), IX, 58-59, also 375; Qanungo, 'Bishan Singh', Proc. IHC., XI, 171.

36. Memolres des Jats (Fr. Ms.), 9.

37. Satish Chandra, Parties and Politics at the Mughal Court, 1707-1740 (Aligarh: 1959), Introduction, 34. Habib, op.cit., 341.

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exactions of the local officers and the robbely by their neighbours, Gujars and the like, also goaded the Jats into a predatory life. Likewise, the terrible retaliation by the Mughals in 1670 must have tended them to the same direction. The Jats had seen their houses and religious places being demolished, their properfy plundered, their women molested and males tortured by the Mughal soldiers. Stubborn and war like as they were, they could not accept all this meekly.So When they got their opportunity they paid their enemies the same coin. Further, the inadequate measures for safety of the war materials and royal treasure sent to the Deccan through the Brj country offered them a natural temptetion for plunder.37a Finally, with limited means at their disposal the Jat chiefs, political ambitions uncrerstandably channelized in sudden and intrepid attacks, which besides enriching their material resources, also served to weaken the imperial authority. Thus it would appear that the predatory activities of the Jats were more circumstantial than instinctive and were emproyed by their leaders largely to serve as a means to an end rather than to e an end in themselves.

Imperial operations and the fitful activities of the Jats (1688-1695)

The unity among the Jats that Raja Ram was able to build up, seemed to crumble down after his death. 38 We do not come across any capable supreme leader among them during the interregnum between his death and the ascendancy of Churaman. The contemporary news-reports, which throw a flood of light on this period, refer to several petty Jat leaders springing up and creating disturbances in different quarters.

Besides the exit of Raja Ram’s towering personality, two other probabilities may be suggested for the Jat activities being fitful in the period. First, as we shall see, the imperialists, especially Bishan Singh’s forces operated vigorously against the insurgents from 1688 to 1695. They were at work throughout besieging the forts and fighting the rebels in different directions in the province of Agra. This increased pressure compelled the rebels to operate in nooks and corners. Secondly, the absence of a competent and inspiring leadership also tended to scatter their movements.

Choosing a successor capable of accomplishing the unfinished work of Raja Ram was not so easy. Brij Raj, Bhao Singh and Raja Ram’s associate Ram Chehra had perished. Fateh Singh 39 the son of Raja

37a. Raghubir Singh in Brij. 164

38.J. Records, Sarkar's coll. (Pers. Ms.), XlI, 7, 3

39.J. Records, Sarkar's coll. (Pers. Ms.), IX, 356, Ahkam (Pers. Ms) II.206a

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Ram does not appear to have to have been a promising youth. Amidst the circumstances, Raja Ram’s aged father, Bhajja Singh of Sinsini assumed the leadership of the Jats. 40, while Raja Ram’s other son, Jorawar Singh took up as his deputy . 41But it can be reasonably inferred on the basis of the Vakil reports 42 that the successor of Raja Ram lacked his efficiency and resourcefulness. He could not carry on Raja Ram’s policy of uniting the Jats under one leadership. It caused a setback to the newly emerging forces of unity and gradually the deep rooted clan feeling reasserted itself. Several petty leaders heading one clan or the other sprang up. One noteworthy feature of the coming years is that the repression of the Jats and their lawlessness continued side by side. When the imperial arms turned towards one direction they created turbulence in the other. When chastised , they fled to renew the disturbances elsewhere. This state of affairs generally persisted till 1695.

Bishan Singh’s operations against the Jats

It has been mentioned above that Aurangzeb had appointed Raja Ram Singh to undertake the Jat war. But he died. Thereafter, Bishan Singh endeavoured through his Vakil to procure from the Emperor his patrimony, the faijdarship of Mathura and the charge to uproot the Jats.43 Bishan Singh gave an undertaking to the Emperor to crush the Jat recalcitrants and capture their main stronghold, Sinsini. Aurangzeb agreed and bestowed upon the Rajput Prince the title of Raja, the tika of Amber, a khilat and mansab of 2000/2000 do aspah. The emperor appointed him (30th April, 1688-9th Rajab, 1099 AH.) faujdar of Mathura with repeated orders for the "general massacre" of the Jats. He was also granted the zamindari of Sinsini and other Jat mahals and was promised further promotion and grant if he succeeded in his task. The Emperor also issued an oral order (to the Amber vakil Kesho Rai) to the effeet that the foremost duty of Bishan Singh was the-"extirpation of Jat-i-badzat (the Jat of evil breed)" .44

Bishan Singh's keenness for his new job cannot be explained merely on the ground of his longing for earning distinction and a high mansab

40. William Irvine, Later Mugals. I, 322; Qanungo, Jats 43,: Ganga Singh. op.cit.. 55; Dr. Pande (Bharapur. 10) claims that Fateh Singh succeeded Raja Ram as overall leader. This does not appear to have been the case. The testimony of Kamwar Khan (Kamwar. II, 231) leads us to infer that Fateh Singh became the leader after the fall of Sinsini and the arrest of Jorawar Singh.

41. Akhbarat (J. Records), 19 Rabi-us-sani; Kamwar (Pers. Ms.II, 231) thinks that Jorawar was the brother of Raja Ram. Also see Ganga Singh, op. cit. , 55

42. J Records, Sarkars's coll (Pers. Ms.), XII, 7.

43 J Records, Sarkars's coli. (Pers NIs.), VII, 276, 314.

44. Ibid, VII, 314-315 also 103, 107,317,320, IX, 370, 341, XII, 1-5.7-8, II. J. Records. Sitamau coll (Pers Ms) I, 7-8, Fatuhat (Pers Ms.) 133a: Qanungo, 'Blshan Singh', Proc. IHC , XI, 170, 171.

The Jats - Their Role in the Mughal Empire:End of Page 41

like his father and grandfather.45 Other factors also lay underneath it. Enmity with the Jats he had inherited from his predecessor, Ram Singh and he must have been anxious to settle the old score. Moreover, the Jats had already penetrated into and seized some land belon ing to him. Their expansion was detrimental to the socio-economic interests of the Rajputs. Therefore, Bishan Singh did not relish the Jat ascendancy on the borders of his state. Lastly, the Raja was seeing in this enterprise an opportunity of extending his territorial possessions also.46

On the other side, Aurangzeb's choice of the Raja for the onerous task was an exquisite piece of his political craft and shrewdness. The Emperor, perceived in Bishan Singh's eagerness a possible chance of the destruction of the Jat miscreants. By picking him Aurangzeb placed a mighty thorn in the side of the Jats and sharpened the feud between the Kachhawahas and the Jats. For more than three decades (until the installation of Badan Singh) the heaviest blows to the infant Jat power were inflcted by Amber house. There was yet another aspect of the Emperor's decision. In view of his designs over Amber,47 it is not improbable that the weakening of the Kachhawaha power was the other cherished desire which Aurangzeb hoped to fulfil out of Bishan Singh's present assignment. In any case, if the struggle continued for some time as would not have seemed unlikely, it would open a new front of confrontation for the two concerned and thus drain out much of their energy. Thus, Aurangzeb was attempting to play off two strong neighbours against each other.

To pick up the thread of our narrative, Bishan Singh, though appointed in the life time of Raja Ram to 'kill or capture' him, delayed operations even after his death. This delay displeased the Emperor and Bishan Singh's Court Vakil, Kesho Rai had time and again to face angry enquiries at the court. We have several letters addressed to Bishan Singh wherein the Raja is repeatedly asked to undertake at once the assigned task and subjugate the Jats and capture Sinsini before the arrival of Bidar Bakht with the same intention and thereby win the Emperor's favour, honour and wide acclaim. Yet, the Raja delayed the operations to the embarrassment of his Vakil.48 At last Bishan Singh arrived at Mathura (August, 1688). His presence on the scene with 10,000 cavalry and 20,000 infantry infused a new life in the punitive operations. The death of

45. Contra see Sarkar, Aurangzib, V, 300; Qanungo, Jats, 43.

46. Pande, Bharatpur. 10: U.N. Sharma, Itihas, I, 126.

47. Qanungo, 'Bishan Singh', Proc. I.H.C, XI, 169 and 170; U.N. Sharma, Itihas, I, 118f., 127f.

48.J. Records, Sarkars's coll. (Pers. Ms.), VII, 107-109, XII, 1-3,5,8, 10.

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Raja Ram had greatly eased the difficult task of the imperialists.49 It is interesting to learn from a contemporary report that some of the Jats sued for the royal favour through the Amir-ul-Umra. 50 The Mughals took full advantage of such dissensions among the enemies.

In September, 1688, Bidar Bakht laid siege to Sonkh (a fortress on way to Sinsini from Mathura). A section of the Jats assembled near Gokul tried to create a diversion there and thereby relieve the Mughal pressure on Sonkh. However, Hari Singh, the general of Bishan Singh defeated the rebels inflicting heavy losses. Sonkh finally fell after a siege of four months.51

Sinsini, the chief stronghold of the rebels, had long been the main target of the Mughals. But operations in its thick environs severely taxed them. In 1689, Bidar Bakht's troops, that had been sent to besiege it, were themselves besieged. The Jats obstructed the supplies of the enemy and the Raja was required to exert for the continued supply of provisions to the Prince,52 Bishan Singh had engaged a body of the Jats under Partap and placed it in his vanguard. But while he proceeded to join the Prince at Sinsini, Partap defected him and joined his brethren. Though Bishan Singh meant to break off one bone by striking it against the other, such developments annoyed Bidar Bakht and he lodged false complaints that the Raja was in secret collusion with the Jats.vThe Amber agent had to remind the Raja to put up utmost exertions and to appoint one resourceful Vakil in the Prince's retinue to please him.53 In fact, throughout his Jat campaign Bishan Singh had to fight on two fronts, against the Jats as also against his Court opponents who were

49.J. Records, Sarkars's coll. (Pers. Ms.), 3; Qanungo, 'Bishan Singh', proc. I.H.C, XI, 171; Fatuhat (Pers. Ms.), 136a

50.J. Records. Sarkars's coll. (Pers. Ms.), VII, 343, 344.

51. Qanungo, Diggi, 53, 79, 80 quoted by U.N. Sharma, Itihas, I, 129, 130; Qanungo. 'Bishan Singh', Proc. I.H.C. XI, 171.

52.J. Records, Sarkars's coll. (Pers. Ms.), VII, 353-354.

V. G. C. Dwivedi confuses Pratap Jat with Pratap Singh Naruka (other than Rao Pratap Singh Naruka founder of Alwar state). According to contemporary Persian day-to-day reports of the Diggi House, the account given here is related to Pratap Singh Naruka, Zamindar of Barahi in the Pargana of Baroda. He was a notorious rebel in Kama-Pahari-Mewat region. He allied to the Jat rebels. Mughal court issued urgent orders to Bidar Bakht and Bishan Singh to crush him. But Bishan's general Hari Singh won over Pratap Naruka to the imperial side and made him the commander of Kachhwaha army at the time of the siege of Sinsini. Prince Bidar Bakht made it a grievance to Bishan Singh that he brought the bandit chief Pratap Singh Naruka to the imperial camp as the commander of the van of his army. After the fall of Sinsini we see his son engaged in lawless activities again. Thus we do not find any Pratap Jat who was heading a body of the Jats against Sinsini. K.R. Qanungo, History of the House of Diggi, 57, 71-73, 90; also Sheet No. 61.-Editor.

53. Ibid., VII, 337-340, XII, 5-6.

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Pages 44-45

fabricating stories about him. But remaining unperturbed, he cooperated with Bidar Bakht.

Meanwhile, the Jat through their guerilla tactics, continued to harass the imperialists. They frequently surprised the enemy camp and cut off the grain convoys and water carrying parties. This resulted in the scarcity of food and fodder. Prices rose very high. Animals died in large numbers and soldiers lay prostrated with hunger. But the besiegers kept up spirits. At last after four months of untold sufferings they succeeded in carrymg their trenches to the main gate of the fortress. Having cleared the jungle around, they tightened the siege, mounted guns on raised platforms and laid mines. The Jats, however, foiled their first attempt. Getting intelligence of the whole things, their garrison blocked the opposite side of the mine with mud and stones. Hence, instead of blowing the wall, the mine, when fired, drove back, killing many of the artillerymen and the supervising Mughal officers. Then, another mine was laid under the wall in a months time. It was fired successfully, blowing a portion of the wall and the defenders atop.

The Mughal-Rajput combine assaulted the fort (end of January, 1690) after 3 hours of fierce fighting. The determined Jats sold their lives dearly. One thousand five hundred of them perished or were wounded, while on the other side 200 Mughals and 700 Rajputs were killed or wounded. Of the remaining defenders, some were captured (along with Jorawar Singh and killed while the others fled. The emperor learnt of the fall of Sinsini on 15th February, 1690 (16th Jamadi I,1101 A.H.) from the letters of the newswriters.54 The fall of Sinsini fulfilled the cherished desire of both the Mughals and Bishan Singh. On the other hand it obviously caused a great setback to the Jats. Among the notables Fateh Singh of Sinsini and Churaman managed to escape. 55 It is quite probable that with the end of Jorawar Singh of Sinsini, that Jat fugitives rallied under them. But at a time when the jubilant imperialists were keeping up pressure and the hard pressed Jats were being chased from one place to the other, it is unlikely that either of them was able to consolidate his position to be justly called the overall leader of the then scattered Jats.56 At best, they actually headed only a faction of the Jats during these days.

We learn from an arzi of Kesho Rai (2nd April, 1690 3rd Rajab, 1101 A.H.) that the Emperor ordered the Prince and the Raja to make

54 Fatuhat, 136a-137a; Maasir, 334 (differing in details); cf. Kamwar, II, 231; Ganga Singh, op.cit., 58; Jorawar Singh, his wife and children having been imprisoned were first taken to Mathura and finally presented to Aurangzeb in the Deccan. They were brutally slain and their limbs thrown to dogs. Qanungo, Diggi, 97, quoted by U.N. Sharma, Itihas, I, 142, also see 139ff.

55. J. Records, Sarkars's call, IX, 356.

56 Raghubir Smgh in Brij, 165, Ganga Smgh, op.cit., 60.

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all possible efforts to slay the Jat rebels and to capture the rest of their fortresses.57 Early in 169058, Hari Singh had been ordered to march against the powerful Jat chief, Amar Singh, who owned two forts, Khair (16 miles north-west of Aligarh) and Ranth (8 miles east of Khair). After a prolonged fight, Hari Singh succeeded in capturing these forts and expelling Amar Singh. The latter sought shelter with another powerful Jat leader, Nanda Jat, who was supreme in a tract stretching form Hathras and Mursan to Mahaban. Amar Singh's two prominent sardars, Birju and Taula who had gone into hiding in Arnia near Khurja, were arrested later on.59

Jats fortified the garhis

On the other side of the Yamuna, the Jat rebels had flocked to and fortified various garhis, Sogar, Awar, Kasot, Sonkh, Pingora, Sewar, Dahara, Chakora, Undera, Bachhamadi, Chiksana, Ratanpur, Bhatawali and others. Besides the prominent Fateh Singh, Churaman and Nanda Jat, the other rebel leaders were Partap, Durga, Balram Jat, Jagman, Banarasi, Bansahana, Lodha, Bukna and Maujia.60 As and when they got opportunity they indulged in lawless activities. To give a few examples, at this time (1690)

  • Partap and Durga were creating trouble around Malpura, whose zamindari was granted to Hari Singh.61
  • Balram Jat having fled (c. November, 1690) from the Raja's camp made a fort in Mauza Samuna (in parganah Ibrahimabad) his abode and ravaged the nearby mahals. He expelled the local mutsaddis and established his sway over them.62
  • Churaman made Rasulpur his base and raided the adjacent territory, while
  • Fateh Singh operated from the fort of Pingora (14 miles south-west of Bharatpur).63

The reports of such renewed depredations and Bishan Singh's delay in repressing the rebels infuriated Aurangzeb. He reprimanded the Raja and reduced his mansabby 500 zats and 1,000 sawars (1690).64

However, Bishan Singh did not lose heart. Combining diplomacy with valour, the Raja and his general, Hari Singh continued their fight against the Jats.

In January, 1691, Bishan Singh sent Hari Singh to attack Awar and he himself moved towards Sonkh. On 21st May 1691, the Kachhwahas captured Sogar with a surprise attack. Achala and Rustam Sogaria were

57.J. Records, Sarkars's coll., IX, 198-199.

58. U.N. Sharma, Itihas, I, 144.

59. Qanungo, 'Bishan Singh' Proc. I.H.C., Xl, 171

60.J. Records, Sarkars's coll. (Pers. Ms.), IX, 42, 356, and 330 (Hindi Letter): VII, 337 Sitamau coll., I, 9; Qanungo, 'Bishan Singh', Proc. I.H.C., XI, 172.

61. J. Records, Sitamau coll. (Pers. Ms.), I, 9.

62. J Records, Sarkars's call. (Pers. Ms.), 1,9, Sarkar's Call. IX, 42-44.

63. Ganga Singh, op.cit.. 60; Pande, Bharatpr. 11

64. Qanungo. 'Bishan Singh'. Proc. I.H.C, XI. 172

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Pages 46-47

stayed at Sogar. This place was surrounded by small garhis of Sonkh, Awar, Rarah, Sewar, Noh and Dahra. These were situated in impenetrable jungles. The Rajputs cleared the jungles and put several villages on fire. But the Jats held on. One day the Rajputs fell upon Sogar at a time when its gate was kept open for admitting provisions. Disguising themselves as labourers, some Rajput soldiers entered the fortress, while ten main troops arrayed outside the gate. Then they killed all those who opposed them. Five Hundred rebels were captured. The news of the fall of the garhi was sent to the Emperor along with its golden key. 65

Bidar Bakht was subsequently recalled to the Deccan (Decemberr1691).66 Bishan Singh, however, stayed behind to carryon the work of suppressing the Jats. After Sogar, the Kachhawahas attacked Awar which was defended by Raja Ram and Alia. The siege here dragged on for ten months. Hari Singh had to be vigilant on ten sides. First, he had to cope with those rebels who emerging from the nearby garhis, surprised the besiegers. At the same time he had to confront their roving bands also. Inspite ofthese difficulties the Rajputs succeeded in capturing the garhi in February, 1692.67

The capture of these main strongholds did not materially improve the situation. The Jat rebels remained active throughout. Kanha Naruka, Ram Singh Pawar, Sheo Singh Pawar and Harkishan Chauhan co-operated with them. Troubles now stirred up in the Hindaun-Bayana region. The Jat and Rajput insurgents harassed the local karories and amils and exacted the revenue from the people. Maasir-i-Alamgiri tells us that Kamal-ud-Din Khan, the faujdar of Hindaun-Bayana tried to chastise the rebels in that quarter. In lieu of his services the Emperor increased his mansab by 500 zat (30th November, 1692).68

Kasot (7 miles to the north of Sogar) and Pingora (14 miles to the south-west of Bharatpur) were the next targets of the Kachhwahas. Around September, 1692, they captured Kasot. However, they experienced greater hardships in wresting Pingora from Fateh Singh (early in October) who fled to Sonkh Gujar. In view of its strategic position the castle of Pingora was not demolished. Instead the Kachhwahas chose to encamp there.69 The faujdari of Hindaun and Bayana was granted to Bishan Singh (August, 1692). Subsequently, on 10th December his mansab was increased by

65. The letter of Kesho Rao, 20th Jan, 1691; Fatuhat (Pers. Ms.) 137a-137b. It is, however, wrong in stating that Sogar was captured only a day after Sinsini; Maasir. 340; Kamwar (Pers. Ms.), II, 237; U.N. Sharma, Itihas, I,48, 150, 151, 152.

66. Maasir, 344.

67. Qanungo, Diggi, 102-105; U.N. Sharma, Itihas, I, 156f.

68. Akhbarat (J. Records), IX, 345; Maasir, 351; Qanungo, Diggi, 102,106.

69. Ibid., Qanungo, Diggi, 105.

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500 Sawar and he was made the faujdar of Bhusawar also. As is evident from Aurangzeb's repeated orders, the obvious purpose of these new assignments and promotion was that the Raja should exert utmost for the extirpation of the rebels. However, side by side, his opponents, the Amir-ul-Umra, Kamal-ud-Din and others were busy maligning him. It was wrongly reported that the Raja was unwilling to suppress the rebels and capture their forts, that he shared one third of the booty of the plunderers and that Jagman, Fateh Singh and Churaman had resettled in their original homes. Though Bishan Singh refused such allegations, lt annoyed the Emperor and he threatened to reduce his (Raja's) mansab. Thus Aurangzeb made the Raja confront the Jats "sometime by cajolery and more often by threats."70

To resume, during the siege of Pingora the Jats, who had assembled at Bhatavali (10 miles to the north of Pingora), harassed the Rajputs. VI Retaing their base there, they intended to obstruct the march of the Kachhawahas to the important castle of Sonkh. In the middle of December, 1692 Bishan Singh despatched a section of his army to Kathumar area, and he himself moved towards Bhatavali. A severe action took place near Sonkh Gujar (10 miles to the north west of Bhatavali) between Hari Singh and the rebels led by Fateh Singh and Churaman. In the end, the Jat chieftains fled towards Bayana and Rupbas. The RajputVI general then directed an assault on Sonkh, which he caputured on 9th January, 1693. The Kachhwahas followed up this success by easily wrestmg the garhis of Raises (12 miles to the south of Sonkh) and Bhatavali (in February) from the Jats, Barora (l9th April) from thelr associates the Narukas, and Garhi Kesra (in June) from the Chauhans. Durmg the next six months the Raja's forces remained busy subdumg the Panwars and Jat rebels and capturing their small garhis Jharoti (6 miles to north-west of Bhusawar), Barah (10 miles to east-west of Jharorti), Saidpur Khairora (7 miles to south-east of Bhusawar), Mahua, Matan, Mahun etc. Meanwhile, some miscreants had gathered at Rarah (7 miles to north-east of Bharatpur). Gaj Singh attacked and captured it (September, 1693), though the defenders escaped.71 There was, however, no rest for Bishan Singh. Pressed ill one area, the rebel chieftais, Churaman, Ani Ram and others now raised their heads in the south-western region of Agra. Chaikora (8 miles to the south of Sikri),

70. Qanungo, 'Bishan Singh', Proc. I.H.C., XI, 172; Meghraj to Bishan Singh 28 January 1693, Also J. Records, IX, 356-357. '

VI. Rajput means 'Kachhawahas' at both places because other Rajput clans-Naruka Pawar and Chauhan were with the Jats and Rathor were also against Kachhawahas: Thus one clan cannot represent the whole body of the Rajputs.-Editor.

71. Akbarat, IX; Qanungo, Diggi, 106-108, 110-113, 116-123.

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Pages 48-49

the castle of Maujea Jat, served as the base for their renewed activities. Bishan Singh, therefore, decided to besiege this garhi. But the Jat leaders had slipped away before he could do so. Hari Singh pursued them upto Sainpur but he failed to catch them. The Jat leaders, crossing the Parvati river, sought refuge in Ratanpur and Intai. Meanwhile seeing the concentration of the imperialists at Chaikora the local Jat Sardars retreated to Sarsoda (7 miles to the south-west of Chaikora) and resumed lawlessness in its environs. Hari Singh overpowered them in two encounters making five hundred of them captives including Alia's son Nand Ram (in the third week of March 1694). All of them were mercilessly slain on the road, to serve as a deterrent for the other insurgents. On 14th April, the Rajputs decamping from Chaikora shifted to the castle of Khorsa (4 miles to the west of Khanua). A fierce engagement took place there in which the rebels were fmally pushed back. The Rajputs then assaulted the garhi. Subsequently they remained busy chastising the Jats but their leaders slipped to the garhis of Bachhamadi (4 miles to the east of Bharatpur) , Undera (3 miles to the east of Bachhamadi) and Chiksana (1 mile to the south of Undera) situated in the deep jungles. Hari Singh rushed to the area and circled. He finally converged on Chiksana (c. May). A bloody encounter occurred there in which the Jat womenVII also displayed their reckless courage in the battle field. However, the Rajputs ultimately prevailed over the rebels. Both sides sustained heavy losses. Numberous Jats were captured and later slain on Agra-Bharatpur road. But the ring leaders eluded Bishan Singh once more.72

The Jadon castle of Ratanpur (4 miles to the south-west of Sir, Mathura) situated amidst hillocks and dense forest, north of the Chambal rankled in the minds of the imperialists. Most of the prominent Jat chieftains expelled from their castles (Churaman, Aniram and others from Sinsini; Lodha, Bukna and others from Sogar; Nand Ram, Alia Vijai Ram etc. from Awar; Jagman, Banarasi from Sonkh; Maujia and others from Chaikora) had flocked there. Discussions about the plan to arrest them were held with Raja Kalyan Singh Bhadauria (in whose faujdari lay the region of Ratanpur). It was decided that the imperialists should march to Ratanpur via. Bayana. But the Jat, Jadon and Gujar rebels getting an inkling of their plan, gathered at Bargaon (3 miles to the west of Jagnair) to engage the advancing imperialists and at the same time to cut off their supplies and create troubles in the rear. Postponing the original

VII. The leader of these women was Longshree, B.S. Bhargava, Rajputana Ka Itihas, 118-119 cited by, Ganga Singh, Itihas, p. 39.-Editor.

72. Akbarat, IX; Diggi, 125, 127-129, 132-134; U.N. Sharma, Itihas, 167-173.

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plan Hari Singh attacked and overpowered the rebels at Bargaon and its enirons (in May 1694). A fierce fight took place at Richhua (2nd week of May) in which over two thousand Jats fell fighting bravely. There after the kachhawaha troops attacked Ratanpur (1st week of June). Following an action the castle fell, but the rebail chieftain fled crossing chambal and thus dodged the Raja again. 73

Meanwhile, the troubles had been brewing up in the trans-Yamun pargtnas of Mahaban Jalesar and Sadabad. Nand Ram Jat had built a strong fort at Jawara (2 miles to north-east of Mursan) and surrounded it with a network of small garhis, Kihrari (6 miles to the north of Mahaban), Jagsana (2 miles to the north of Kihrari) etc. Fraternizing with the Nohbar Jats of Noh (6 miles to the nort-east of Jalesar) he plundered the above parganas and created lawlessness there. The emperor ordered Bishan Singh and Hari Singh to crush Nanda and other Jat miscreants. The Raja, however, submitted that in the event of Itiqad Khan retaining the faujdari of Mahaban the responsibility of the rebails rested with the Khan and not with him. but these procrastinations proved futile. The Kachhawaha troops crossed the Yamuna and capturing Anore garhi Kihara and other garhis laid seige to Jawara (1st week of March 1695) hari Singh , was, however, killed (5th April) while leading an assault. Thereupon Bishan Singh assumed command and through the efforts of GaJ Singh, Jawara was captured (2nd week of May) but Nanda's sons escaped. 74. VIII

By now the incessant chase of the intractable Jats had completely worn out Bishan Singh. He found himself "at sea with the Jats"75, now that his brave general, Hari Singh had also died. Few would deny that from the view point of actual results, the Jat war proved to be a miniature of Aurangzeb's war against the Marathas. "General massacre" and "extirpation" of the Jat rebels were the avowed objectives with which the imperialists had waged a seven year long strenuous warfare against them.They covered a big area, stretching from Mewat to the Chambal and from Hathras to the borders of Jaipur, in course of their operations. In the process they, no doubt, captured 52IXrebel strongholds slew or drove away thousands of the rebels from them and imposed a curb on

73. Akhbarat, U.N. Sharma, Itihas, 172-176; Qanungo, 'Bishan Singh', Proc. I.H.C.

74. Meghraj to Bishan Singh 30 January 1695; Qanungo, Diggi 140-147,157 'Bishan Singh', I.H.C. XI, 172 UN Sharma, itihas, 176-179 65, Qalnungo, Diggi, 140-147, 157;

VIII. Also Itihas, 130, 136-139, 143-145.-Editor

75. Qanungo, 'Bishan Singh' Proc I.H.C. XI, 172, cf. Roznamcha (Pers. Ms.), 134; Shah, 2. ,. . .

IX. K.R. Qanungo mentions 50 garhis, History of the House of Diggi, 122 .-Editor.

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Pages 50-51

their activities. Nevertheless, as in the case of the Marathas in the south, the daring of the Jats could not be suppressed.76Let alone their whole body, even all the Jat leaders could not be exterminated· Manucci hits the truth when he says that the imperialists merely succeeded In making the Jats retreat.77 Even this success was of a precarious nature. Overpowered in one quarter, the rebels would rally forth in the other to resume their lawless activities. The rebels were possessed of an irrepressible spirit and the collusion of the local zamindars and their agents 78 further emboldened them in their nefarious course. This hide and seek which continued for the better part of these seven years, eventually overwhelmed Bishan Singh. Undeniably, he scored greater success than most of the other imperial generals had. But this proved only a partial one and even that he could not achieve without greatly impairing his forces and "ruining the laad" . 79. x. The Jat war must. have disillusioned the ambitious Amber Raja. As Its upshot, the existing feud between Amber House and the Jats must have been sharpened.

Because the Jat depredations80 as also the long-drawn-out military operations, several areas were rendered desolate. This coupled with the frequent interference by the rebels, adversely reacted on the proceeds to the imperial treasury. We have contemporary evidence to show that there were certain mahals where from at one time or the other, not a single dime could be realized for the exchequer.81

The Emperor had reasons to be worried over the pernicious developments so close to the capital. The contemporary despatches show his pre-occupation with the Jat problem. The fact that the Jats had remained unsubdued even after long exertions added to his predicament. At last he was forced to depute (9th May, 1695) no less a personage than Prince Shah Alam himself to cope with the situation.82.X1

76. Roznamcha (Pers. Ms.), 134; U.N Sharma, Itihas, 182; cf. M.U., I, 438; Shah, 2.

77. Storia, 11, 301; Memoires des Jats, (Fr. Ms.) 12. Its author, however, makes (at the same place) a contradictory and evidently misleading statement that a long period of peace and order followed the death of Raja Ram Jat.

78.J. Records. Sarkar's coll. (Pers. Ms.) XII, 113, VII, 335.

79. Storia, 11, 301; Bishan Singh incurred a huge debt of 50 lakhs due to the Jat war, Vide U.N. Sharma, Itihas, I, 177.

X. See also Qanungo, History of the House of Diggi, I111.-Editor.

80.J. Records, Sarkar's coll. (Pers. Ms.), IX, 58,241,340,342, VII, 85.

81. Ibid., IX, 42-43,58,241,342,362,375.

82. Maasir, 372-373; M.U., 1,438. .

XI Raja Ram Singh and his minor grand-son Bishan Singh were appointed to a dangerous command for keeping the Kheber Road safe and open for the imperialist. After the death of Raja Ram Singh in 1688 at Kohat in Kabul, Bishan Singh was transfercd to Mathura on the condition to crush the Jats. On his failure Bishan Singh was again sent back to previous command where he died on 19th December 1699 A. D. in Darband in Kabul. K.R. Qanungo, The History of the House of Diggi, 25, 29,43, 122.-Editor.

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Rise of Churaman II


It stands to reason to believe that the rebuff sustained by the Jats reacted the future prospects of Fateh Singh, who otherwise being the son and heir of the distinguished Raja Ram, must have enjoyed a unique position among his clansmen. Obviously, failure was anathema in the eyes of the Jats, who measured the efficacy and ability of a leader in terms of his success. It could hardly be otherwise in a society wherein the bonds of political attachment to a superior leader were still to be strengthened. Thus, getting sceptical about his capabilities the Jats discarded Fateh Singh83 in favour of Raja Ram's cousin, Churaman II, 84 who was unquestionably more capable than Fateh Singh. We learn from Ahkam-i-Alamgiri that Fateh Singh later fell somehow into the hands of the Mughals. At first kept at Lahore, he was afterwards taken to Agra. Aurangzeb seduced him to embrace Islam by promising to set him free and also to reward him with a suitable mansab. Failing that, Fateh Singh was ordered to be vigilantly kept in prison as before.85 We have already noted that Bhao Singh86 had died earlier and Jorawar Singh was killed after the fall of Sinsini (1691). The aged Bhajja Singh also seems to have perished. The disappearance of these prominent Sinsinwaras from the scene must have also faciliated the emeregnce of Churaman II as the supreme leader.

83. Muttra Gazetteer (Drake-Brockman: 191 I), 197; Also Ganga Singh, op.cil., p. 64.

84. Till now, only one Jat chief by the name of Churaman was known to us. Fransoo, in his invaluable Persian account to the Bharatpur ruling family, Tawarikh-i-Hunud 14b (my personal Micro Film copy made from the original in British Museum, London Pers Add. 19, 501) which he based, among others, on the reliable testimony of the Persian Munshis of the Jat Court, throws new light in this direction. While giving the geneaology of the Sinsinwara Jat chiefs, this foreigner indicates that there had been two leaders bearing one and the same name of Churaman. The Churaman with whom we have been familiar so far, was the fifth in order of descent from his first name sake i.e. Churaman I, who was the son of Rathpal. Fransoo specifies that Churaman II was one of the sons of Bhunta (?) seems to be a slip for Brij Raj). The other son mentioned by him is Bhao Singh, the father of Rup Singh and Badan Singh.

It is commonly acknowledged that Raja Ram and Churaman (Precisely Churaman II) were brothers (See J. Records, Sarkar's coll. IX, 356; Fatuhat. 135b; Sarkar, Aurangzib, V, 302; Qanungo, Jats, 45; Pande, Bharatpur, 11). Yet Fransoo does not include Raja Ram among the brothers of Churaman. In fact he is silent about this Raja Ram. This omission seems extremely significant and indirectly supports the belief that Raja Ram and Churaman II were not real brothers but cousins; the former being the son of Bhajja Singh, while the latter that of Brij Raj. Both Bhajja and Brij, are uncritically believed to be one and the same man by Dr. Pande (Bharatpur, 5). Actually they were the sons of Khan Chand, See Ganga Singh, Itihas, 32-33; Gokul Chandra Dikshit, Brijendra Vansha Bhaskar, 6 .

85. Ahkam (Pers. Ms.), II, 206a-206b. Afterwards, he was set free, for his name figures in the early activities of Badan Singh.

86. Wendel, Memoires des Jats, (Fr. Ms., 12) makes Bhao Singh live on even after 1707. This is wrong. Had he been alive all these years, the local news reporters and the Amber agents must have taken note of him also along with the other Jat leaders.

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The departure of Shah Alam and Bishan Singh from the province of Agra in 1696,87 obviously proved the opportune moment to Churaman to makeup the losses, consolidate his position and carry forward the work of Raja Ram. Bold, practical, unscrupulous and rapacious, Churaman II possessed a good capacity for organisation and for making clever use of his opportunities which he was lucky to enjoy almost throughout his career.88 About his early career it is said that he engaged 500 horsemen and 1,000 footmen. Nanda Jat, the father of Bhure Singh and grand father of Daya Ram, Joined him with 100 men.89 The Mewatis under Bayzid khan, the Khuntelas of Sonkh , the Sogarias under Khem Karan and Bargujars under Hathi Singh Of Dahana also joined him. 90Churaman robbed the wayfarers and carvans on the royal highways. He strengthened his bands with musketeers and cavalry. Step by step the number of his followers increased to 14,000.91 Meanwhile, as a number of the Jat castles had been occupied or demolished by the imperialists, Churaman built new forts in the impenetrable jungles, for the purposes of defence and preservation of booty. In it he was aided by the hidden wealth of his ancestors including Raja Ram92 Among the new forts he built a formidable one at Thun (11 miles to the west of Deeg) in a low marshy and thickly wooded tract. According to Shivdas, Thun was surrounded by so thick a jungle of thorny bushes that even the birds found it difficut to pass thuough it. Its rampart was as high as 'heaven', while the moat around was so deep that water burst from the bottom.93

Side by side his predatory activities went on unabated. He plundered first, the countryside of Agra and then Kota, Bundi, Hindaun and bayana .94 he seized the wealth and places of the weaker ones. Attending to his job with "great perfection", Churaman rose higher and higher and gradually became most redoubtable in his neighbourhood.95

87. Maasir, 382.

88. For full details See, Ch. IV. Character and estimate of Rao Churaman II; Also Qanungo, Jats, 45-46.

89. Imad-us-Saadat by Ghulam Ali Khan Naqawi (Gaekwad Library, B.H.U, Ms.) 83.

90. Akhbarat Muhammad Shah's reign (R.S.L. Sitamau transcript) XXIII, 82; Shahnama Munawwar Kalam by Shivdas Lakhanavi (ed. by S.H. Askari, Patna, 1968) 16, 17 and 84; Iqbalnama, Anon. (English trans. by S.H. Askari.) Pages from his typed transcript cited. 23 and 24; Ganga Singh, op.cit., 69, U.N. Sharma, Itihas, 197.

91. Imad (Pers. Ms.), 83; Memoires des Jats (Fr. Ms.), 12.

92. Memoires des Jats (Fr. Ms.), 12.

93. Shlvdas, 19; Iqbal, 23; Memories des Jats (Fr. Ms.), 14.

94. Memories des Jats (Fr. Ms.), 13; Imad (Pers. Ms.), 83; Also Ganga Singh, op.cil., 69.

95. Memories des Jats (Fr. Ms.), 14.

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It is needless to emphasize that the loss of Sinsini, the ancestral place96 of those, who were providing leadership to the Jat fratemty, rankled in the Jat bosom. About the year 1704 Churaman recaptured Sinsini from the Mughals, though not by the might of his sword but by gold. Accepting substantial amount from the Jats, Devi Singh, the fort commandant, handed over Sinsini to them. The Jats seized all the imperial effects including two big guns, eighteen rahkalahs, stores of lead and gunpowder and other articles.97 Obviously, the loss of Sinsini was as distressing to the Mughals as its re-occupation was heartenmg to the Jats. Mirza Muhammad says that Churaman re-occupied all those forts which had earlier been lost to the Mughals.98

This flare up grieved Aurangzeb. What must have added to his worries was the fact that the royal treasure amountmg to rupees 30 lakhs (realize from Bengal and other places) lay accumulated at Agra and it had to be sent safely to the Deccan.99 Deeply censuring the nazim of Agra for his manifest carelessness, the Emperor repeatedly ordered him to put up utmost exertions to immediately re-capture Sinsini, "extinguish the fire of rebelhon and plunder" and "eradicate the name and vestige" of the Jats rebels from the land. 100 Mukhtar Khan the nazim of Agra had given an undertaking (22nd Zil Hijja?) to the Emperor "to annihilate" the Jats within two years, if he was granted rupees ten lakhs for recruiting additional troops, 1500 sawars (at the monthy salary of rupees 25 per sawar and 2,000 footmen (at the monthly allowance of rupees 4 per footmen) Tor the purpose.101Mukhtar Khan was advanced rupees one lakh from the Agra treasury. The faujdars of the suba of Agra and Delhi along with 5,500 sawars were deputed for crushing the Jats.102

The imperialists laid siege to Sinsini in 1705. But it proved arduous again and dragged on. The surprise attacks of the Jats coupled with the rains impeded its progress. The Jats completely destroyed three of the

96. Tawarikh-i-Hunud (Pers. Ms.), 13b-14a; Dikshit (op.cit. 17-18) and U.N. Sharma (Itihas, 185-186) think that Brij Raj assuming the leadership, had recovered Sinsini but he later died alongwith Bhao Singh while defending it against the Mughals and that afterwards old Bhajja Singh tried to recapture it but failed and subsequently died out of this shock in 1702. This, however, looks doubtful. The reality is that Brij Raj had died before Raja Ram's assumption of the Jat leadership. As for Bhajja, the father of Raja Ram, even if he was not dead by now, he must have grown too old to withstand the rigours of warfare.

97. Ahkam (Pers. Ms.), I, 7b, 67b, 73b, II, 203a, 205b.

98. Roznamcha (Pers. Ms.), 134.

99. Ahkam (Pers. Ms.), I, 36b, II, 204b.

100. Ibid., II, 203b, 204a, 205b, also I, 69a, 73a. 101 Ahkam (Pers. Ms.), I, 69b, II, 203b.

102. Ibid., I, 78b, II, 203, 204a, 204b.

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five big Mughal cannons deployed to storm the fort and rendered another unworkable by inserting an iron bar inside the barrel. All these days they continued to be supplied with provisions from outside. 103 The nazim initiall found himself helpless against the tenacious Jats.104 Aurangzeb had earlier commanded the experienced Bidar Bakht to proceed on to the scene and take revenge from the Jats for their misdeeds. Besides those mentioned above, the Prince was ordered to take with him Kalyan Singh Bhadauria and Jai Singh of Amber. But due to his illness and other pre-occupations Bidar Bakht could not depart and had to stay in Malwa during the rainy season. 105

Mukhtar Khan, however, clung on to his business and on 9th October 1705 (2nd Rajab, 1117 A.H.), he succeeded in reducing Sinsini. The news of the fall of the fortalice alongwith its golden key was sent to the Emperor. In reward for his services Mukhtar Khan got an addition of 500 zat to his existing rank. 106 The Prince was now ordered to cancel his departure. Mirza Muhammad adds that the nazim recaptured other forts also from the hands of Churaman.107

What a glaring contrast in the situation! No Jat power worth the name existed when Aurangzeb had ascended the throne, but by the time of his death, the Jat power, if not the Jat state, had certairtly come into existence. The Jats, fundamentally agriculturists, were converted into unpacifed and unsubdued foes of the Mughal authority, ready to wrest any advantage that the troubled times might offer to them. Such a change in the attitude of a people whose one prominent section under Hathi Singh Jat helped Aurangzeb at a critical stage on his march to contest the Crown of Hindustan,108 must have added to the agony of his last days.

103. Ibid., I, 36a, 77b-78a, also 72b, II, 20 I b, 203 b, 204a.

104. Ibid., I, 77a.

105. Ibid., I, 7, 23b, 69a, 70a, 74b, 75b, 77 a, 78b. 87b; Also J. Records. Sitamau coll. (Pers. Ms.), I, 22, 23 and 25. Parichit Rai to Jai Singh, 15 Rajab year 49

106. Maasir, 498; Akham (Pers. Ms.), 1,79a, J. Records, Sitamau coll. (Pers. Ms.), I,27; Kumbh Karan to Jai Singh in 1705 (1117 A.H.).

107. Roznamcha (Pers. Ms.), 134.

108. Ishwar Das (Fatuhat, Pers. Ms., 23a) relates that when Prince Aurangzeb, on his way to oppose Dara, came to the fords of the chambal, he found them barred by the opposite entrenchment. He was ignorant about other ferries, while the waters were deep. This perturbed Aurangzeb. At this critical juncture Hathi Singh Jat, the zamindar of Gohad, came forward to lead his troops to a neglected ford (Kanira), where from Aurangzeb crossed the Chambal. Though by itself and small incident, it in one stroke turned the scales against Dara. He had to hurry up for the Capital, leaving heavy artillery behind which greatly weakened his position.

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