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

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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.

Chapter III - The Decline of the Mughal Empire and the Rise of the Jat Power (1707-1720)

Churaman (r.1695 – 1721)

[p.55]: The Jat power under the leadership of Churaman II took a big leap forward during the rule of the imbecile successors of Aurangzeb. It is outside our scope to dwell in detail upon the events of the Empire in the succeeding decades. However, it would be worthwhile to keep in view the broad facts and trends of the period which formed the background of the rapid advance of the Jats.

The Decline Of The Mughal Empire

Aurangzeb's policy and conduct rudely shook the foundations of the Empire. He left behind a host of serious problems for his weak successors to deal with people highly agitated. As an upshot of his Deccan warfare, the general administration was weakened and the state of finances also became chaotic. The crisis in the jagirdari system and the degeneration of the nobility were yet other problems bequeathed by him to his weak successors.1

His immediate successor, Bahadur Shah, though abler than those that followed him could not check the worsening situation. After him started a chain of indolent, dissolute and incompetent rulers, incapable of evoking either respect or fear.2

To make matters worse, scramble for power and jagirs, personal affiliations with one or the other contestants for the Crown and ethnic and religious considerations combinedly worked to accentuate discord, and factionalism in the ranks of the Mughal nobility. The Emperor, often aligned with some faction, ceased to be a unifying force and fomented secret plots instead. By the end of Aurangzeb's reign two rival factions had emerged; the first consisted of Asad Khan and Zulfiqar Khan, while

1. For details see Sarkar, Aurangzib, V, 436ff; Satish Chandra, Parties and Politics, Introduction, also 22.

2. For details see Satish Chandra, Parties and Politics, 22-23, 56-60; Irvine, Later Mughals, I, 136-140, 241 and 396.

[p.56]: the other comprised of Firoz Jang, Chin Qillich, Hamid Khan and others. Both these groups although at cross purposes with each other, nurtured common grudge over their exclusion by Bahadur Shah from the Wizarat-an office which gradually became the focal point of the Court-politics. Having won the Crown for Jahandar Shah, Zulfiqar Khan acquired that coveted office, and in the process real power, to the resentment of the other aspirants. He endeavoured to conciliate the Marathas, Rajputs and the Jats and thereby "bridge the gulf' between them and the Empire. But soon the Sayyid brothers supplanted him. Factional politics dominated the reign of Farrukh Siyar. The Emperor and his sycophants hatched plots to get rid of the dominating Sayyids, while the latter attempted to retain their supremacy. The Sayyids courted the friendship of the powerful Hindu elements including the Jats in order to retain power as also to earn their goodwill and thereby rejuvenate the Empire. Farrukh Siyar's murder and the pro-Hindu policies offered a pretext to their rivals to construe the Sayyid's acts as being dangerous for the monarchy, Islam and all the nobles. Soon they were overthrown. But this brought no change in the basic issues and the general situation. The administrative condition went from bad to worse. Bankruptcy stared in the face of the government. The jagirdari system headed for a crash, endangering the whole edifice of the mansabdari system.3

The break-down of the imperial authority and the resultant chaos paved the way for, and in turn was accentuated by, the foreign invasions and internal aggression. The centrifugal forces, active since the times of Aurangzeb, received fresh stimulus. To give a few glaring examples, Chhatrasal, flagrantly defying the Mughal authority, seized the royal lands. The Sikhs under Banda rose in arms and ravaged a large tract around Sirhind. The Marathas, through their persistent incursions affecting a very wide area violently shook the roots of the Mughal Empire.4 Some imperial governors the Nizam, Murshid Quli Khan, Saadat Khan and Abdus Samad-themselves contributed to the dismemberment of the Empire by carrying out their separate kingdoms.5 Others were not slow in emulating the examples set by the Mughal grandees. Two adjacent centres of the Afghan power came to the forefront, the first was of the Bangash Pathans at Farrukhabad and the other of the Rohilla in Katehar. The Rajputs also exploited the imperial weakness to expand their territories. Jai Singh Sawai entertained the ambition of

3. For details see Satish Chandra, Parties and Politics, 57-60, 79-84, 116, 117, 174-176 and 256; Irvine, Later Mughals, I. 138-139, 334-336: II. 131-132 and 134.

4. For details see Irvine, Later Mughals, I,93-121,307-320, II, 163-167, 170- 185 and 229ff.

5. Sarkar, Fall, I, 42, 181-182.

[p.57]: bringing under his domination the region from the Sambhar lake to Agra and thence to the Narmada. Though this could mot materialize; he made worthwhile addition to his patrimony all the same. Similarly the Jodhpur Rajas cast covetous glances upon their neighbouring lands. They eventually annexed some areas lying in the Mughal suba of Gujrat.6 Petty chiefs were busy in capitalizing the impotence of the Mughal government. Ashub apyly remarks "every zamindar became a Raja and every Raja a Maharaja".7 The Mugha emperors, on the other hands, were reduced to mere figureheads, and their Empire, destitute of its former virility, grandeur and extent, was fast heading towards its doom. It was this state of affairs amidst which Churaman II and his successors shaped their policy and conduct, which we shall examine below.

Precarious Detente Between The Mughals And The Jats

The Mughal-Jat relations entered into a new stage after the death of Aurangzeb. Until then both the government and the Jats had displayed inveterate hostility and repugnance towards each other. After Aurangzeb the changing circumstances obliged both sides to dilute their former intransigence. Consequently, for the first time during the Mughal rule, the Jats came to be actively and directly associated with the imperial affairs. This was destined to have considerable repercussion especially upon the history of the Jats.

Expediency and political sagacity induced the Mughals to placate the Jat chief, Churaman II. The geographical proximity of the Jat country and their growing military importance made the Jat support worth obtaining both tor the contestants of the imperial Crown and the factional leaders of the Mughal Court. Conviction also tended the Mughals in the same direction. The Mughal government after 1707 generally pursued a lenient policy, shunning the sternness and inflexibility of the days of Aurangzeb. This reversal of the policy was a welcome relief to the Jats. It held out prospects of the growth of their infant power. The astute Churaman perhaps calculated that a display of loyalty to the throne would allay the Mughal suspicions and provide him opportunities to strengthen his position. The hope of winning rewards inclined him to join one or the other claimant to the Mughal throne or the powerful nobles. His participation in the imperial affairs must have been equally motivated by his rapacious habits. Plunder and

6. For details see Sarkar, Fall, I, 42, 181ff. Raghubir Singh, Malwa Main Yugantar Purva Kal (Indore: 1938), 199; Satish Chandra, Parties and Politics, 186-187.

7. Ashub quoted by Satish Chandra, op.cit., 187; Also Siyar-ul-Mutakherin, trans. John Briggs (London: 1832) I, 208.

[p.58]: booty were too alluring for him to remain indifferent to the imperial wars in his neighbourhood. Self-aggrandisement, therefore, remained the keynote of Churaman's relations with the Mughal government as before, when he had been its sworn enemy. Thus it may safely be said that more under the pressure of the circumstances than by deliberate policy both the Mughal government and the Jats were obliged to soften their attitude towards each other.

The death of Aurangzeb in l707 caused a deadly contest between Muazzam and Azam for the Crown of Hindustan. The rivals faced each other in the battlefield of Jajau. Mirza Muhammad tells us that Bahadur Shah, in an attempt to muster up as big an army as possible, despatched assuasive messages to Churaman, asking him to present himself with his force. Responding to the royal summons, Churaman came with two to three thousand sawars and waited on Bahadur Shah8. This version of Mirza Muhammad dispels the impression that Churaman went to Jajau of his own "to pillage the vanquished."9 The audacious Jat, however, did not forget to turn the discomfiture of the enemy to his advantage. In the thick of the fight he slipped away and vigorously plundered AZam's baggage. Finally he departed grabbing goods, cattle, treasure and precious jewels.10 It seems that Churaman taking advantage of the situation following Jajau, recaptured Sinsini and resumed depredations around Mathura on the Delhi-Agra Road. As a result the traffic on the road was completely stopped for two months and hundreds of travellers including the wife of Amin-ud-din Sambhali got stranded. In August 1707, troops were sent to chastise the Jat plunderers.11 The Wazir, Munim Khan, however found it expedient to ignore his misdeeds. He once again called and on 16th September presented Churaman before the mperor. Bahadur Shah conferred upon him the mansab of 1500 zat and 500 sawar and entrusted to him the charge of the road between Delhi and Agra.12

The year 1707, particularly marked an epoch in the early career of Churaman. In its wake, it brought to him honour power an Immense riches, such as "his predecessors had not acquired (even) in a lifetime."13 It secured for him admission to the proud ranks of the Imperial

8. Roznamcha (Pers. Ms.), 134 f.

9. Contra see Irvine, Later Mughals, I, 322; Qanungo, Jats, 48; Pan de, Bharatpur, 13, U.N. Sharma, Itihas, I. 200.

10. Roznamcha, 135, Bahadur Shah Nama, 164; K.K.II, 668; M. U. I, 438.

11. Akhbarat, 13 August, 1707; Dastur-ul-insha quoted by Irvine, Later Mughals. I, 321, footnote; Memoires des Jats, 13.

12. Roznamcha (Pers, Ms.), 135; Bahadur Shah Nama, 164; K.K. II" 668-669, 776; M. U, I, 438.

13. M.U., I,438; Also Majma-ul-Akhbar in Elliot, VIII, 360. R. Pande (op.cit., 14) is wrong in his statement that Churaman was given the charge from Delhi to Chambal.

[p.59]: mansabdars. A confirmed rebel was suddenly exalted to the zenith of a Mughal peer, offically entrusted- with the charge of a part of the imperial highway. It obviously enhanced his image among the local people who must have rallied round him in greater numbers. In the changed situation Churaman revised his tactics. Partly moved by the conciliatory attitude of the new administration and partly by his own keenness to have more opportunities for advancement, he chose to display loyalty to Bahadur Shah.14 However, loyalty with him was more a matter of convenience than of conviction. Thus, he would help the Mughal government but at the same time incite his people to connive at the lawless course. Probably, getting a hint from him the Jats had refortified Sinsini. Bahadur Shah, therefore, sent Raza Bahadur to reduce It. On 2nd December, 1707, a bitter fight ensued in which 1,000 Jat were killed. Raza Bahadur demolished the fortress, seizing then carts worth of weapons from the vanquished.15

Churaman Helps The Government

In keeping with his new policy, Churaman apparently chose to be passive on the Sinsini affair. Similarly, in the next few years, he applied a restraint on his predatory habits, though local malefactors sometimes indulged in plundering on the roads.16 Mirza Mhuhammad emphatically adds that henceforward till the defeat of Jahandar Shah (i.e. from-September, 1707 to January, 1713) he devoted himself to the Imperial service and did not permit any obstructions on the road.17 Early in 1708, he helped the local naib faujdar, Rahim-ul-la Khan, in suppressing the local Afghan rebels. Having attacked the village of Thiravali (5 miles to the east of OL) he accompanied the Khan in an expedition against the Billochi rebels of Shergarh (20 miles to the north of Mathura). They resisted the invaders for three days but ultimately turned their backs, promising to make over a property worth two thousands to the Jat. This further enhanced his image as a powerful chief. Little wonder, therefore, that greater reconition awaited Churaman. In July, 1708, Jai Singh had occupied Amber, expelling the local faujdar, Sayyid Hussain Khan. There upon Bahadur Shah sent re-inforcements to him for recovering

14. K.R. Qanungo's view (Jats, 48) that Churaman remained faithful for fear of Bahadur Shah's government being "fairly strong", is untenable. It was unquestionably weaker than the preceding one and even that failed to make Churaman faithful to the Mughals.

15. Irvine, Later Mughals, I, 322.

16 lbid., 32 I, footnote.

16. Roznamcha, 135. Wendel's assertion (Memoires des Jats, 13) about his constant and wide spread disorders in Bahadur Shah's reign cannot be accepted in face of Mirza Muhammad's opinion to the contrary.

[p.60]: that place. In this context Hussain Khan sought the help ofth~e redoubtable Churaman. The Khan sent him money to recruit troops for the purpose. The Jat leader responded and collecting a big force, moved to Narnaul where Hussain Khan had been living ever since his expulsion. About the same time (i. e. the end of September) Jai Singh appealed to Churaman to detach himself from the Sayyid and thereby co-operate with him (the Raja) against the Mughals, who were out to destroy the Hindus. In return, the Raja assured him to expel his opponent, Jaitra Singh,from the pargana of Kaithwada. Churaman, thereafter, diserted the Sayyid. However, this was not necessarily due to his "veneration for the Hindu sentiments."18 It is also to be borne in mind that he had already recruited a big force of his own out of the Mughal resources. Besides, he had got Jai Singh's assurance about Kaithwara and taking advantage of it he eventually (in November, 1708) wrested that place from Jaltra Singh. Thus, once his interest appeared to have been served, the clever Jat thought it foolish to burn his fingers unnecessarily the impending Rajput war. More so, it was sure to annoy Jai Singh and in turn endanger his prospects at Kaithwada. Thus, what he precisely did was that on some pretext he withdrew, leaving Hussain Khan to his own fate. Later, he sent a very humble message to Jai Singh calling himself the Raja's "own servant", he intimated that he wished to see him (Jai Singh) personally and that he never desired to oppose him. Further he assured Jai Singh of his 'services' to do the needful in the Mathura region.19 This episode incidentally, depicts Churaman at his real self.

From Sayyid Hussain Khan's camp Churaman proceeded to Kama, where Raza Bahadur, the local faujdar was preparing to fight the local Rajput zamindar, Ajit Singh. The latter withholding the payment of revenue had expelled the local officers and openly challenged the Mughal authority in that area. His turbulent ways caused worry to both the focal faujdar as well as to the ambitious Churaman, whose chief stronghold, Thun, lay so close to Kama. Hence, both these united and with a big force (about 18,000) attacked Ajit Singh who confronted the enemy with about 10,000 horses and gunners. A bitter fight ensued near Kama in which the Rajput artillery played a major role in repulsing the Jats and Mughals. Te jubilant reebels pursued their enemies up to Khoh (about 8 miles to the south). After three days (i.e. 7th October, 1709) they rallied again and then charged the Rajputs. The Mughal-Jat

18. U.N. Sharma (Itihas, I, 217) infers it.

19. Jaitra Singh (of Kaithwada)-Jai Singh; Kishan Singh and Zalim Singh-Jai Singh-Jai Singh, Phalgun Badi 2 Samvat 1765, both quoted by Bhatnagar, Sawai Jai Singh, 41, also see (for details of Husain Khan's struggle with the Rajputs) 38 ff; Irvine, Later Mughals, I, 67ff.

[p.61]: combine initially appeared to gain advantage. But the Rajputs, fighting gallantly re-emerged victorious in the end. Many on both sides were killed and wounded. Raza Bahadur was also killed. Churaman and his men, who had been surrounded by the Rajputs towards the end, sallied out against the besiegers. He, however, received wounds from a sword cut delivered by a Rajput soldier, while he was on his way to Thun.20

About two months later, (December 1708) Churaman with 6,000 horses joined Mir Khan, the faujdar of Narnaul and passing through Sonkh-Sonkhari, attacked the rebel Rajputs. Jai Singh Naruka of Jawali, offered them a stiff resistance.21

It is said that Chura's brother Ati Ram, who was a friend of the Naruka, mediated a settlement between Churaman and the Naruka and hence, further operations were given up.22

Hereafter, there is a gap of about twenty one months (January, 1709- October 1710) In our information of Churaman's movements. Perhaps these days he was silently busy in expanding and consolidating his hold. Sometime in October, 1710, possibly on being summoned he presented himself to Bahadur Shah (ca. October, 1710) somewhere near Delhi,23 when the Emperor was on his march against Banda. He was placed under Muhammad Amin Khan, who had been ordered to capture Sarhind. Subsequently, serving the Wazir faithfully, he took part in the campaigns at Sandhaura and Lohagarh.24 The Wazir, who had shown his favours, died in February, 1711 and this exposed him to the pressures of the Court. We learn from the Akhbarat that the fortress at Halena being built by his brother, Ati Ram, would be demolished.25 It is not clear whether or not this was carried out, Churaman, however, moved on with the Emperor to Lahore.

21. Akhbarat, Kartik Sudi 5, Samvat, 1765 (7 October, 1708) quoted by U.N. Sharma, Itihas, I, 215, 212-215; Kamwar, II, 31'5.

21. M.L. Sharma, Jaipur, 138.

22. U.N. Sharma, Itihas, I, 217. He, however, cited no authority in his support.

23. There is some confusion with regard to the date and place of Churaman's arrival of the imperial camp. Irvine (Later Mughals, I,323 and 106) and following him U.N. Sharma (Itihas, 222) make Churaman join the Emperor both at Ajmer and near Delhi. His having gone opposite to such a distant place as Ajmer looks against the fitness of things. That Churaman, having joined at Ajmer, later left and rejoined near Delhi, has not been, indicated by them either. Hence, his joining at Ajmer looks doubtful. Maasir-ul-Umra, though a later source, states (I, 438) that Churaman joined when "the line of march passed near their (The Jat's) houses." This impliedly supports our view that he joined the Emperor somewhere near Delhi. Qanungo (Jats, 48) and R. Pande (op.cit., 14f.) altogether ignore this issue.

24. K.K. II, 669 and 670; M. U., I, 438; Irvine, Later Mughals. I, 323; R. Pande (op.cit., 15, footnote I) cited Mirza Muhammad as his lone original authority for Churaman's participation in the Sikh expedition But Mirza Muhammad makes no statement supporting it.

25. Akhabarat, 24 July, 1711.

[p.62]: In the battle of Lahore (March, 1712) consequent upon the death of Bahadur Shah, the Jat leader sided with Azim-ush-Shah. Therein he looked after the supplies to the Prince's camp. Churaman and the banjaras had promised to maintain regular supplies. He carried out his pledge faithfully and the Prince looked satisfied. However, largely due to his conceit and evasive tactics Azim-ush-shan was defeated and killed. Thereafter, plundering the Camp, Churaman, apparently made his way home. Providence smiled over him again. Though the contestant whom he had joined, lost the race for the Crown, he was pardoned by the victor, Jahandar Shah. Probably through the intercession of the new Wazrr, Zulifqar Khan, whose pro-Hindu leanins were evident he was presented a khilat and re-instated in his mansab.26 This leniency reflected the general policy of Jahandar Shah's government.We know that soon after Jahandar's coronation, Farrukh Siyar had also proclaimed himself Emperor of Patna. Impliedly it meant that the war of succession was not really over yet. Side by side, the new Wazir too had his opponent at the Court. Both the Emperor and the Wazir, thus stood in need of help among others of the Hindu elements also. Besides, their co-operation was deemed necessary to strengthen the declining Empire also. Hence, compulsion and policy induced the government to be considerate towards the redoubted Churaman who had grown into "the de facto ruler" of the entire region stretching from Delhi to the Chambal.27

The Emperor sent order to Churaman and several Rajput Rajas to join Prince Azi-ud-Din, who had been deputed to Agra to watch the movements of Farrukh Siyar. But all of them procrastinated. Azi-ud- Din was subsequently defeated at Khajuha (November,1712). This alarmed Jahandar Shah. Early in December, making fulsome promises he sent a farman to Churaman to reach Agra with his men against Farukh Siyar. Churaman came with a big force and fought on the side of the Emperor at the battle of Agra (January 1713). But once his cause appeared to have been lost, the audacious Jat felt no qualms of conscience in plundering the rear of his professed master. He went back to Thun carrying treasures, many elephants and camels togeher with their baggage. He did not spare the camp of the victor either. The Jats so thoroughly looted it that Farrukh Siyar could not find anything better than a filthy screen and a small wooden platform to sit on, while receiving the homage of his officials.28

26. Murtaza Hussain, Hadiqat-ul-Aqalim (Nawal Kishore ed.), 129; S. Chandra, Parties and Polities, 76, 122; Irvine, Later Mughals, I, 167.

27. Memoires des Jats, 13; Qanungo, Jats, 49; Irvine, Later Mughals, I, 322.

28. Akhbarat, 29 October, 29 November, 2 December, 1712; Roznamcha, 1351 Jahandar Nama and Mirat-i-Waridat, quoted by Irvine, Later Mughals, I, 232, 234, 244 and 223. Also K.K., II, 776; cf. Qanungo, Jats, 49; cf Memoires des Jats, 13.

Involvement In The Court Politics

[p.63]: The high-handedness and the daring of Churaman looked dangerous to and justly infuriated Farrukh Siyar.29 Early in his reign, he appointed Raja Chhabela Ram, his personal adherent and a brave soldier, as the governor of Agra, his birth place. The Emperor ordered him to proceed at once beyond the Yamuna and crush the Jats, leaving Raja Girdhar Bahadur in charge of the suba of Allahabad. Raja Mohkam Singh and Gandhar Singh were placed under him.30 The Raja, however, delayed in taking the field against the Jats. Meanwhile, the latter persisted with their widespread depredations, even though Farrukh Siyar was fully secure on the throne. Becoming conscious of his power, Churaman's pride crossed all bounds and he showed scant regard to the local officials. By employing tricks he as usual evaded paying the peshkash. His bands plundered the way farers, sparing not even the royal peshkhana, if it had not troops to guard it.31 It is evident that his motives in doing all this were to detract Chhabela Ram from his job and thus gain time to strengthen himself and also to extract more concessions from the government. The task before the Raja was difficult indeed. Inspite of it, he addressed himself to it in an earnest way. He mustered additional forces1nd gave a months' salary in advance to enthuse the soldiers. His subsequent efforts against the recalcitrants showed some results. At least in some areas (such as Fatehpur Sikri), he succeeded in suppressing them and bringing the situation under control. Traffic on the nearby roads was also restored.32 It seems that side by side, by promising to procure them mansabs, the Raja tried to win over some of the powerful associates of Churaman to his side. However his plans did not come off and he increasingly found it difficult to cope with the Jats. In fact, he had to fight on two fronts, the one against the Jats and the other against his Court opponents (the Sayyids) who were secretly patting Churaman and other chiefs.33 Apparently pressed by the Raja, Churaman and his close relations begged the Emperor's pardon through the Raja's opponents though they didn't agree to demolish their garhis. Chhabela Ram's enemies on one hand, pleaded for Churaman and on the other accused the Raja of 'idleness' in suppressing him.34 This coupled with

29. Ajaib-ul-Afaq (R.S.L. Ms.), 56; Also Memoires des Jats, 14.

30. Ajaib, 37,56 and 82; Roznamcha, 135 and 51; Kamwar, II, 391, 395.

31. Ajaib, 55-56, 59, 82, 123; Memoires des Jats, 13.

32. Ajaib, 55, 56,60, 123.

33. We come across an interesting disclosure that Churaman was secretly presented with a horse and a few cloth rolls by some official. Vide Ajaib,I22; Also see Satish Chandra, Parties and Politics, 123.

34. Ajaib, 123, 124 and 55, 58.

[p.64]: the talk of his transfer pained Chhabela Ram and he wrote to the Emperor, "I am pleaded over His Maesty's desire of my transfer. This would be my good fortune, If His Majesty thinks like that. The person, who dares to accomplish the difficult task of suppressing Churaman Jat, may be granted an imperial farman so that he might extirpate him. However, it must be enquired from him as to how long will he take (to accomplish the task)? This will automatically reveal his boastfulness." The Raja added "whosoever is appointed to fulfill this task (of uprooting Churaman), shall himself fail in his efforts."35

Chhabela Ram hit the truth, for, despite his long exertions of four months, he himself failerl in suppressing Churaman mainly because of "the obstacles" placed by the Wazir and the Mir Bakshi. Chhabela Ram was, therefore, replaced by a willing Khan-i-Dauran, also a native of Agra, as the governor of that province.36 Chhabela Ram's struggle against the Jats brings certain facts to the forefront, which deserve our attention. For the first time, disharmony over the Jat problem was reflected in the Mughal government. The Wazir and the Mir Bakshi, both topmost officials, were secretly patting Churaman, while the Emperor determined to subdue him. It was a strange development as no inner conflict with regard to the attitude towards the Jats had hitherto been visible at the highest level. The Sayyid's secret encouragement to Churaman at this stage may properly be appreciated in the light of their early differences with Farrukh Siyar and their opposition to Chhabela Ram. It would be relevant to mention here that in the very first month of his reign, differences sprang-up between the fickle minded Farrukh Siyar and the Sayyids. The appointment of Chhabela Ram as the diwan of the khalisa without the consent of the Wazir, Abdullah Khan, accentuated them further. Chhabela Ram secretly made complaints against the Sayyids. They, therefore, "retaliated by secretly supporting" Churaman against him.37 Their present role must have impressed upon the Jat leader that he could look forward to them for protection and also for realizing his personal ambitions. On the other side, it seems probable that in Churaman the Sayyids saw a useful ally and by their underhand dealings, proving helpful to the Jat, they were the first to take steps to allure him to their side. It is, then, from this stage, that the genesis of the Sayyid-Jat alliance and the Jat problem becoming one of the crucial issues of the factional politics at the Mughal Court, may reasonably be traced.

35. Ibid., 57 and 58.

36. Roznamcha, 135-136,51; Also, Kamwar, II, 400.

37. Satish Chandra, Letters of a King-Maker of the Eighteenth Century, 28, footnote, I. It is interesting to note that the Sayyids burst into joy when they got the news of the death of Chhabela Ram (October, 1719). See Kamwar II, 455.

[p.65]: The new governor of Agra, Khan-i-Dauran, knew that to crush Churaman by force of arms was an extremely difficult task. By temperament also he was more a man of diplomacy than of war.38 Hence, he sought recourse to conciliation and diplomacy rather than force in dealing with the Jat problem. He sent several letters to Churaman asking him to present himself before the Emperor. Churaman agreed and on 25th September, 1713 (16th Ramzan, 1125 A.H.), arrived at Barahpula. Raja Bahadur Rathora, son of Azimush-Shan's maternal uncle, was sent to receive him. On 20th October, he marched in at the head of 3000 to 4000 sawars . Khan-i-Dauran advanced in person to receive and conduct him to Diwan-i-Khas. The Jat leader presented 21 mohars and two horses to the Emperor. Farrukh Siyar granted him the title of 'Rao Bahadur Khan' along with a khilat and an elephant. His mansab was also increased. Three others (presumably including Khem Karan Sogaria) accompanying him, were also given the khilats. The charge of the royal highway from Barahpula (Delhi) to the Chambal was given to Churaman.39 It is said that at the request of the Mir Bakhshi he was also granted five parganas, Baroda Meo (Nagar), Kathumar, Akhaigrgarh (Nadbai), Au and Helak, as jagir. Khem Karan Jat was given the title of "Bahadur Khan" and assigned the jagir consisting of the parganas Rupbas, Bharatpur, Malah, Aghapur, Barah and Ikran.40

Criticizing the royal favours, the author of Roznamcha observes, "the disobedient and quarrelsome" Churaman was "thus flattered". The emperor, however, was mistaken, if by showing these favours, he expected that Jat to mend his ways. Soon Churaman exploited his position to usurb the imperial territories and strengthen his power. The Mewatis and other local people and the zamindari veered round him and his authority and control became exceedingly strong. Grievous complaints were made to the emperor that he harshly

38. Roznamcha, 136. Siyar quoted by Satish Chandra, Parties and Politics, 211- 212, footnote.

39. Akhbarat, 11, 15, Ramzan (20, 24 September), II, Shawwal (20 October); Roznamcha, 136; Kamwar, II, 399; Irvine, Later Mughals, I,223; Satish Chandra, Parties and Politics, 123; U.N. Sharma, Itihas, 237-239.

40. Muttra Gazetteer, 197; cf. Tarikh-i-Bharatpur, 4a; Baldeo Singh, Tawarikh-i-Bharatpur, 18 and others quoted by U.N. Sharma, Itihas, 239, 243. Quoting Deshraj, Jat Itihas, 568, 556, 557 as his principal source U.N. Sharma (Itihas, 242-243) concludes that on the appeals of Churaman the Sayyids procured the jagir of Tuksan, Sara, Simdhari, Chhotua, Kotapatti etc. for Thenua Jat chief Bhure Singh. He also believes in that Khuntaile Jat chieftains (Hathi Singh of Sonkh, Fauda Singh of Arig and Sita Ram of Pathena) were given the titles of 'Faujdar', jagirs and lands on ijara. He claims further that the other kith and kins of Churaman received numerous villages and pattis on ijara.

[p.66]: exacted the road dues (rahdari)41 and meddled with the affairs of the rightful jagir-holders. Thus he advised the zamindars of pargana Sahar not to pay their dues to the jagirdars. According to another report (of March 1716), he exacted as nazrana rupees two each from all the mansabdars and zamindars of pargana Thun. His followers infested the roads, waylaid the carvans and the passers-by and ravaged the jagir and khalisa, spreading rain and insecurity upto the Capital. To cite a few instances, in June-July 1715, the reports reached that he plundered the villages of the parganas of Kama, Sahar, Fatehpur Sikri, Mewat and Agra. Later on in October, his bands looted the vi1lages o Wati and Dhulhera in the parganas of Mathura and Sikri, threatenmg the latter in the process. In MarCh, 1716, Churaman frustrated Izzat Khan, the faujdar of Mewat, in his effort to restore order in that quarter. Moreover, he secretly manufactured arms and ammunition and fortified his garhis including Thun42 In all probability, Wendel's undated statement that Churaman "plundered several ministers of the Court" and "attacked .. the revenue sent from the provinces", refers to this period.43

Jai Singh's Jat Expedition: Siege Of Thun (September 1716 - May 1718)

The reports of Churaman's increasing turbulence enraged the Emperor and he once more resolved to extirpate" him. But to find out a 'valiant' person, capable enough to undertake this arduous task, was a real problem for him.44 At last he turned his thoughts to Sawal Jai Singh, who himself bore a grudge against the Jats. It may be recollected that a hereditary feud existed between the Jaipur ruler and Churaman and his followers.

The latter offered renewed provocation to the Raja by despoiling some parts of his own state as well.45 In September 1715, Farrukh Siyar ordered Jai Singh to present himself at the Court from Malwa. At length to the response to the repeated and urgent summons, he turned up on 25th May 1716 and undertook to "the great pleasure" of the emperor, the responsibility of leading the Jat expedition.46

41. It should, however, be borne in mind here that not only in his but in others cases as well, 'rahdari', a government charge in certain areas, had become a common instrument of oppression for the merchants and wayfarers. See Zahir-ud-Din Malik, Muhammad Shah (unpublished thesis) 247.

42. Roznamcha, 136; Akhbarat, 14, 16, April, 20, 28 June, 18 July, 16 October, 2 November, 1715, 16,20,29 March 1716; Shivdas, 16.17, 18; Iqbal, 22,23,24; Memoires des Jats, 14; M.U.I, 439; Qanungo, Jats, 51; Irvine, Later Mughals, I, 321, footnote, 323; U.N. Sharma. (Itihas, 244-248) at places appears to be apologetic about Churaman's depredations.

43. Memoires des Jats, 13.

44. Roznamcha 136.

45. Memoires des Jats, 14; U.N. Sharma (Itihas, 250), however, thinks that Churaman had offered no provocation to Jai Singh ever since 1708.

46. Kamwar, II, 417, 418; Roznamcha, 136. Irvine, Later Mughals, I, 324.

[p.67]: We may pause here to take note of an underlying aspect of the present expedition. That Churaman's contumacy and lawlessness offered immediate and main provocation to the Emperor, is quite obvious and needs no elucidation. Yet, this alone is not sufficient to explain the Emperor's decision. To an appreciable degree it was linked with the Court politics. The estrangement between the Emperor and his Wazir, the Sayyids went on increasing and Farrukh Siyar attempted to get rid of his domineering ministers, while the latter endeavoured to retain and strengthen their hold by winning more adherents. It is significant to note that the Emperor did not consult the Wazir about Churaman's affairs. Nor did he make any hint to him about his desire to despatch Jai Singh against him.47 This a revealing fact of the situation, pointing to the prior emergence of an understanding between the Sayyids and Churaman. It may partly account for Jai Singh's delay in complying with the repeated royal orders, even when his heart was inwardly set at the destruction of the Jats. Churaman's affairs assuming a factional nature, Jai Singh wanted to avoid, as far as possible, being entangled in the Court rivalries. Apparently, Farrukh Siyar wished to attain three objects simultaneously to destroy Churaman, to deprive the Sayyids of a strong partisan and to win over Jai Singh to his side, by holding out to him the bait of command in the Jat war.48

Early in September, 1716, the Emperor gave formal orders to Raja Jai Singh to proceed against the Jats.49 Maharao Bhim Singh Hada of Kota, Budh Singh of Bundi; Gaj Singh Kachhwaha of Narwar, Chhatrasal Bundela, Durgadas Rathore, Rao Indra Singh and others were ordered to join Jai Singh. The latter was resented with a splendid khilat and an elephant. He was also given rupees 40 lakhs to meet the expenses. At this time Sanjar Khan and Shamsher Khan were sent in advance with 1,000 Walashahi troops to Palwal (36 miles south to Delhi) for the purpose of keeping communications open and providing convoys from that place to Hodal on one slide and to Faridabad on the other.50 On 15th September (9th Shawwal), Jai Singh started on the auspicious day of Dashehra.51 Jai Singh commanded a big army consisting of about 50,000 cavalry and more of infantry.52 Promising to procure for him a mansab, the Raja

47. Roznamcha, 175-176.

48. Salish Chandra, Parties and Politics, 123; Pande, Bharatpur, 16 and 17.

49. Roznamcha, 137; Ahwal-i-Salatin-i-Mutakherin, Anon. (R.S.L. Ms.) 59, Siyar, I, 139; Memoires des Jats, 14.

50. Shivdas, 16; Iqbal, 22-23; Ahwal, 59: Siyar, I, 139. V.S. Bhatnagar, Jai Singh, 77

51. Roznamcha, 137; Shivadas, 16; Iqbal, 23; Ahwal 59; K.K., II 776; Memoires des Jats, 14; Siyar, I, 139; M.U. I,439; Majma-ul-Akhbar in Elliot, VIII, 360.

52. Shivdas. 16 and 25; Iqbal, 23; Memoires des Jats, 14 says that the big numbers gave the impression as if Jai Singh "was going to conquer a whole kingdom."

[p.68]: won over Bayzid Khan Mewati " a trusted follower of Churaman" and paced him to lead his vanguard.53

On getting the news of the Raja's coming, Churaman dispersed guerilla contingents under his son, Mohkam Singh, and his nephews, Badan Singh and Rup Singh to harass and intercept the invaders. When Jai Singh reached near Kama (14 miles south of Deeg, 24 miles south-west of Thun), Badan Singh, taking 2,000 horses, surprised Bayzid Khan, on 15th October, 1716. Bazid was wounded in the fight. But Badan Singh had to fall back after the arrival of Rajput re-inforcements. Ja1 Singh fixed his base camp at Kama. A few days later (end of October), he occupied Radhakund (4 miles, north of Gowardhan) and prepared to press the enemy on two sides.54 As Jai Singh moved on, the local Jat population, evacuating their dwellings, scattered to other places or repaired to Thun, where Churaman lay "determined to defend himself to the 1ast."55 The fort of Thun, with its lofty ramparts, a very deep ditch and thickly wooded environs, was rendered fairly strong. Churaman had stored provisions sufficient for several if not altogether 20 years. On the eve of the siege he asked the merchants to evacuate Thun leaving their goods and property behind. He assured them of compensation if he emerged victorious.56 Besides his own warrior tribesmen, Churaman had about 12,000 professional sanyasi fighters in his stronghold.He also employed many Afghans of Shahjahanpur and Bareilly at three rupees per day. This apart, he enjoyed the support of the local people including the Mewatis.57 who were ready to harass the imperialists through guerilla tactics.

In the second week of November, 1716, the imperialists moved closer to Thun. On 9th instant, Rup Singh with 2,000 horses fell upon the advance guards of the Raja. A severe action ensued near Thun in which Rup Singh was wounded and his brother Ani Ram fell, fighting bravely. The same day, Jai Singh fixed his camp near Thun and began efforts to-besiege the forts.58

Broadly Jai Singh's problem was two fold; first, he had to steer his way through the impregnable and thorny jungles to Thun to invest it

53. Shivdas, 17; Iqbal, 24.

54. Akhbarat, 16, 18, 19,29,27 October, 1716.

55. Memoires des Jats. 14-15.

56, Shivdas, 19-20 and Iqbal. 26-27, assert that it was not Churaman but Jai Singh who asked the traders to move away from them. This looks funny. The truth is rather the other way round. Vide Irvine, Later Mughals, I,324; Qanungo, Jats, 52.

57. Shivdas, 16, 17, 18; Iqbal, 23, 24; Akhbarat, 20 October, 1716; Satish Chandra, Parties and Politics, 124.

58 Akhbarat, 9, 21 November, 1716, Kamwar, 11, 418.

[p.69]: effectively, secondly, at the same time he had to cope with the surprise attacks of the Jats. The task was indeed a difficult one, but remaining unperturbed, the Raja put up great exertions from the very beginning. He began to clear the jungles and make trenches, sabats and posts to Station his selected troops.59 But the Jats taking shelter in the Jungles and nearby garhis often engaged and harassed the assailants. Thus,Muhkam Singh attacked the Raja's forces near Bahaj (Bahore, 9 miles west of Gowardhan) and after a little fight, drove them back. Again on 11th December, 1716, was reported another fierce contest at Thun, in which the Raja overpowered the Jats.60 But the overall progress was very slow, which irritated the Emperor. On 13th March, 1717, he wrote disapprovingly that though seven months had elapsed since the Raja's appointment, Thun had not been "invested (even) from one side, to speak of its conquest.... the Jats come out under its (jungle's) shelter and attack the royal army."61 He ordered the Raja to make vigorous efforts to reduce Thun and Deeg. To speed up the process, before the onset of the monsoon (May-June, 1717) a large (said to throw a ball weighing a Shahjahan maund) and 84 smaller cannons were sent to Jai Singh at Thun from Delhi through the deputy Governor of Agra, Nusrat Yar Khan. In addition 300 maunds of gunpowder, 150 maunds of lead and 500 rockets were ordered to be sent from Agra. About the same time, following the orders, Abdus Samad Khan, the governor of Lahore and Sayyid Khan-i-Jahan, the governor of Ajmer, reached Delhi. However, the idea of sending Abdus Samad was dropped and Khan-i-Jahan, the maternal uncle of the Sayyids,was ordered to go to Thun, outwardly to help but really to frustrate Jal Singh,as his subsequent actions prove.62

The overall situation, however, did not materially change with the arrival of the fresh enforcements. Jai Singh could suppress neither the tenacious defenders nor the audacious robbers. Gallant Rup Singh and Muhkam Singh with their guerilla forces continued to resist successfully, the assailants. In the second week of December, 1717, the Rajputs attacked (Bhusawar, south of Thun), then defended by Chura's brother, Ati Ram. Rup Singh and Muhkam Singh, leading succour fought desperately but were overpowered. The Jats, then, fell back to Jharsauli to offer resistance to the south of Thun. In such continual fighting both sides 'suffered heavy losses'. Inspite of the presence of the Raja's army,

59. Shivdas, 17; Iqbal, 23; Roznamcha, 175; Ahwal, 59.

60. Akhbarat , 17,21 November 1716; Karnwar, II, 418; U.N, Sharma, ltihas, 258ff.

61. J. Records (Add. Pers. II, (43) quoted in Parties and Politics, 124-125.

62. Kamwar, II, 418, 421; Shivdas, !7-18; Roznamcha, 137: Iqbal 24; Ahwal, 59; Siyar, I, 139, M,l/., 1.439; !.,. K 1I1. 777) says that Khan-i-Jahan lay inactive for a few months outside thl. ("PH,'! Also UN. Sharma, Itihas, I, 260-261.

[p.70]: the roads and the countryside were also not cleared of the plunderers. To cite one instance, a group of the Jat and the Mewati freebooters attacked a merchant carvan near Hodal and carried away merchandise worth rupees 20 lakhs.63

The siege had now dragged on for eighteen months with little prospect of an imminent success. Thick jungles, frequent surprise attacks of the Jats, hostility of "the local population, secret encouragement to the Jats from the Court and dearness of the supplies caused by the famine64 presented impediments in the way of Jai Singh. In November, 1717, he was replaced b Muhammad Amin Khan as the governor of Malwa. This affected his resources at a time when he from his own pocket was spending a lot in the Jat campaign. Hence, this added further to his difficulties. Earlier in January, 1718, he submitted to the Emperor that he humbled the enemy in most of the encounters, but the incitement and encouragement from "the persons close to His Majesty" emboldened the Jats. Owing to it, the Raja confessed, his campaigning had borne no fruits.65 To some extent Jai Singh was correct, for we learn that at the instance of the Wazir, Abdullah Khan, Khan-i-Jahan espoused the cause of Churaman, secretly supplying him with provisions and gunpowder.66 Yet the proonged warfare began to tell upon the resources of Churaman. Getting straitened, the Jat chief made overtures to Abdullah Khan through his agent at Delhi, offering to pay 50 lakhs, 30 lakhs as peshkash and 20 lakhs as present to the Wazir."

On the other side, Farrukh Siyar was under the impression that the Raja would speedily crush the Jats, but his failure even after the lapse of such a long time, "displeased" him. Meanwhile, Abdullha Khan also kept harping on the failure of the Raja. He represented in a taunting manner, that "extirpation of Churaman was beyond the capacity and strength of the Raja" (Jai Singh).68 He reminded the Emperor that a year and a half had passed by and a huge amount of money, (two

63. Shivdas, 17-18; Iqbal, 23, 25; Akhbarat, 5, 6, l) Muhrram, as quoted by U.N. Sharma Itihas, I, 267; Also KK 11, 777; Ahwal, 59; Siyar, I, 139.

64. Shivdas, 16, 18; Iqbal, 23-26; Roznamcha, 175.

65. Kamwar, 11, 425.

66. Roznamcha, 176 and 175.

67. Shivdas, 20, 25; Iqbal, 27. Both these, however, give the impression that it was with this offer that Churarnan won over a disinterested Abdullah Khan to his side. It does not appear convincing. At best their version may be taken to mean that following this (offer, Abdullah took greater interest in his case. Also see KK II, 777; Ahwal, 59 Siyar, I, 139; M. U, 1, 439; Majmaul-Akhbar (in Elliot VIII, 360-361) confuses Abdullah Khan with Husain Ali.

68. Roznamcha, 176.

[p.71]: crores) had already been spent and that the monthly expenses of Jai Singh were very heavy. Yet, "upto the time nothing has been concluded, and God alone knows when it (the Raja's campaign) would come to an end". Further, the Wazir informed that through his agent Churaman had begged pardon and offered to present himself before the Emperor along with his wife, sons and nephews and to pay 30 lakhs as peshkash.69 This, however, was not enough to relent the Emperor. In addition, he insisted for an assurance from Churaman that Thun and Deeg would be defortified and they would never be repaired and that he along with his sons and nephews would serve the Emperor elsewhere in the province of Agra. At length the helpless Emperor yielded, though still unwillingly, to the Wazir's suggestion. In March 1718, pardoning Churaman, he ordered for the termination of the Jat campaign.70 On behalf of the Emperor, Abdullah Khan wrote to Khan-i-Jahan to "console" Churaman and, giving him his "word" and protecting his (Chura's) property, conduct him safely to the Court along with his sons, brother and nephews.71 It is striking to note that in keeping with Churaman's specific request72 Jai Singh, the first man on the spot, was excluded from the peace-negotiations, which were carried through Khan-i-Jahan. A separate flattering farman was sent to the Raja, appreciating his exertions, but asking him, at the same time, to stop hostilities at once as "promise and written agreement" had been sent to Churaman following his overtures.73 These underhand developments greatly hurt the Raja, now that he believed that success was within his grasp. But he obeyed the orders and suspended the fighting.74 Khan-i-Jahan comforted Churaman. The latter presented to the Sayyid and the Raja two horses each of Iraqi and Arabian breed. Churaman took Khan-i-Jahan inside his fort and showed him the provisions and war material in his stores.

Subsequently, the Jat chief set out in the Sayyid's company with his Sons, brother and nephews for the Court.75 Reaching Delhi on 31 st March,

69. Shivdas, 20 and 25; Iqbal, 27; Roznamcha, 137, 176; Satish Chandra, Parties and Politics, 125.

70. Farman, March, 1718 and Farman, Kapatdwara, 185, quoted by Y.S. Bhatnagar, Jai Singh, 80.

71. The copy of the farman in Shivdas, 21 and 20; Iqbal, 28 and 27; Roznamcha, 176; Also KK, 11, 777; Ahwal, 59.

72. See Ahwal, 59; Siyar, I, 139.

73. The substance of the farman is given by Shivdas, 21-22 also 20: Iqbal, 28-29 also 27; Roznamcha, 176.

74. Shivdas, 22; Roznamcha, 176; Iqbal, 29; Also KK., II, 777; Ahwal, 59; Siyar, 1, 140. The first part of the description of this siege in Memoires des Jats, 15 is accurate in so far as it clearly puts that in the reign of Farrukh Siyar. But it mistakes its end with the second and successful siege of Thun.

75. Shivadas, 22; Iqbal, 29.

[p.72]: 1718 (10th Jamadi I, 1130 A.H.), Churaman directly went to the Wazir and took up his residence close to his palace. This friendliness between them afflicted the heart of the Emperor and "strengthened the roots of (his) discord (with the Wazir)".76 On 9th April, 1718 (l9th Jamadi I) Churaman was formally presented to the Emperor by the Wazlr, Abdullah Khan. Churaman presented 1,000 asharfis, while his son, Muhkam Singh and two nephews, Rup Singh and probably Badan Singh presented 500 asharfis each. They were favoured with special khilats and horses. Other associates of the Jat chief were given ordinary khilats.77 Wendel asserts that Churaman received from the Emperor the title of 'Fateh Sihgh' with the appointments like the small Rajas.78 The terms of the treaty were finalised through Abdullah Khan. On 20th April, the Wazir submitted to the Emperor that a peshkash of 50 lakhs in cash and goods fixed up on Churaman to be paid in successive installments. Farrukh Siyar gave his approval.79

However, both the Emperor and Jai Singh were inwardly raging at the course of events. In May, 1721, Jai Singh made one feeble attempt to settle his score with Churaman. He "pressurized" him to pay the peshkash and to surrender other forts. Moving a step further, Farrukh Siyar ordered for their speedy conquest.80 Little did he realize that under the circumstances the prospects of the conquest of the Jat forts had not increased. Meanwhile, Churaman had managed to pay 30 lakhs to the imperial treasury.81 At length Jai Singh, withdrawing his forces from Thun, returned to the Court on 19th May (29 Jamadi II) 1718. Next Month, he presented to the Emperor, the keys of the Jat forts of Thun and Jharsauli,82 although as the subsequent events show, this surrender was effective on paper only.

Consequence Of Jai Singh's Expedition

Jai Singh's Jat campaign was an event of considerable importance. The fact that Churaman had withstood his vigorous military pressure,

76 Kamwar, II, 426-427; Ahwal, 59; Siyar, I, 140; Also see KK, Il, 777.

77 Kamwar, II, 427; Roznamcha, 178 and 137; Shivdas 22 and 25; Iqbal, 30; Also Shah, 2. U.N. Sharma, (Itihas, I, 271) claims that the mansab of Churaman was increased, and the "high and decorative medal of Omra" was also granted to him.

78. Memoires des Jats, 84.

79. Kamwar, II, 427. Satish Chandra (Parties and Politics, 125) and following him Dr. Pande (Bharatpur, 21) say that Churaman surrendered Deeg etc. As the subsequent narrative would reveal, this surrender was effective on paper only.

80. Farman, Kapatdwara 18/185; quoted by UN. Sharma, Itihas, I, 272

81. Shivdas, 25-26, quoting Kamwar, Sharma (loc cit, 272) mentions that Churaman paid 50 lakhs, So far as we are able to infer Kamwar merely states about amount having been fixed up on Churaman.

82. Kamwar, II, 427' Farman Kapatdwara, 19/163, quoted by Sharma. 10;:. cit 272 Also. Roznamcha, 179; Shivdas, 23; Iqbal 30, KK II, 777.

[p.73]: made him "renowned".83 Besides, it affected the factional politics at the imperial Court. Precisely, Churaman's affair worsened the already strained relations between the Emperor and the Sayyids and soon became the "main subject" of their dissension. Visibly annoyed, Farrukh Siyar refused to Churaman to grant audience a second time.84 The Emperor's rupture with the Wazir became open especially following Jai Singh's claim that but for Abdullah Khan's tendentious support Churaman would have been either arrested or forced to flee into the jungle, in another month's time.85 Shivdas tells us that the Emperor, being induced by his sycophants, ordered Abdullah Khan to deliver "the mischief fornentor" Churaman and Ratan Chand to the government. But the Wazir refused saying that if he so desired, Churaman could be sent back to his home. This "infuriated" the Emperor and he began to think of "seizing and killing" the Wazir." This incident played its own part in the Immediate recall of Hussain Ali by Abdullah Khan from the south87 and subsequent deposition of Farrukh Siyar.

Jat war also deepened ill-will between the Sayyids and Jai Singh88 and inspite of his reluctance eventually embroiled the Raja in the Court-politics. Incensed at Abdullah Khan's intrigues which prevented him from reaping the fruits of his labour, the Raja hereafter became an implacable foe of the Sayyids. On the other hand, their common grudge against the Sayyids helped to bring Farrukh Siyar and Jai Singh closer. It is noteworthy that when every other important noble crossed over to the side of the Sayyids, Jai Singh stood off and refused to toe their line until the end.89

The present episode also sharpened the hereditary feud between the Jaipur house and the Jat chiefs. Strengthened with the Sayyids support, Churaman not only thwarted the Raja's military efforts but made him swallow diplomatic humiliation. The dual rebuff must have left the Raja burning with the fire of revenge. As for Churaman, Jai Singh's ardour for the Jat war gave another proof of the hostility of the Amber Rajas towards the emergence of the Jat power. This led him to develop close relations with Raja Ajit Singh, who assured him of security against Jai Singh.90

83. Memoires des Jats, 16.

84. KK II,777; Ahwal, 59; Siyar, I, 140 and 138; M.U., I,439.

85. Roznamcha, 194; Also Siyar, I, 140; Irvine, Later Mughals, I, 337, 345.

86. Shivdas, 24; Iqbal, 31; Roznamcha, 194.

87. Abdullah Khan wrote a letter to his brother, dwelling upon the serious developments over the affairs of Churaman and Ratan Chand. Shivdas, 25-26, Iqbal, 32-34

88. Roznamcha, 175-176, 228

89. Irvine, Later Mughals. I, 371.

90. M. Mitra, Ajit Singh, 250 (quoting Qaiyo, Hist Ess, 60, 63): Qanungo, Jats, 57.

[p.74]: The astute Jat thus attempted to counteract the hostility of one Rajput Raja with the friendship of the other.

Lastly, Jai Singh's expedition brought Churaman closer to the Sayyid brothers who saw in him "a new and useful partner" to their cause.91 Their lenient policy towards the powerful Hindu elements facilitated such a development. It is to be noted, however, that hitherto the Sayyids' role in the Jat affairs was more in the nature of harming their opponents than protecting the Jats. But the process was now reversed in so far as Abdullah Khan, besides maneuvering to help Churaman with materials, manipulated for him almost on favourable terms in a situation more difficult than in the past. Personal gratitude and self-interest, thus, actuated him to strengthen "the chain of unity and concord" with the Sayyids.92 He became one of their closest adherents and allies93 and in the process attained greater honours and fame. We know, that, besides retaining power, the Sayyids, through their friendship with the local powers, aimed at making the State broad based.94 Judging from this stand point, Churaman's association with the Wazir and the Mir Bakshi imparted a new though spurious significance to his activities. Besides his alliance with those who held the reigns of the government, impliedly meant that for all practical purposes he had ceased to bear a rebel in the eyes of the Mughal government.

There is, however, the other side of the picture also. The way an established rebel (the Jat) was admitted to the royal favours against the will of the Emperor bore ill for the already declining Mughal authority.95 While it sustained Churaman in his contumacious course,96 it obviously left an ominous precedent also for likeminded people. Moreover, the Jat war cost the imperialists much in terms of money, material and time and yet the power of Churaman could not be crushed. In addition, the absence of Jai Singh during these two years from Malwa gave suitable opportunity to the Marathas to realize chauth and establish their hold in the province.97

Churaman As The Ally Of The Wazir And The Mir Bakshi

Henceforward, the history of Churaman was merged with the history of the Sayyid brothers. He either, stayed with them or reported himself

91. Jonathan Scott, Ferishta's History of the Deccan, London: 1794, KK, II, Part Y, 150.

92. M.U, I, 439.

93. Sahifa-i-Iqbal (Aligarh University Hist. Dept. Library Ms.) 4a; Shivdas, 76 and 90; Memoires des Jats, 84, Siyar, I, 271; M. U, I, 439; Qanungo, Jats, 53, 54.

94. Satish Chandra, Parties and Politics, 128-129.

95. Shah, 2.

96. Majma-ul-Akhbar, in Elliot, VIII, 361.

97. KK, II, 781; Selections from the Peshwas' Dafter ed. by G.S. Sardesai, XXX, 17a, 17b.

[p.75]: at their first call, and actively participated in most of the activities of his benefactors. Churaman's affair, as noted above, increased the strife between Farrukh Siyar and Abdullah Khan. Fearing assassination, the Wazir ceased to move out and also gave up attending the Court. He also summoned his brother, Husain Ali, from the Deccan. The latter's approach terrified Farrukh Siyar into conciliating Abdullah Khan. The Emperor paid him a visit and exchanged vows and promises. The next day (9th December, 1718) Abdullah Khan appeared at the Court and made the customary offerings. But all this gave a false covering to their mutual enmity." That very afternoon the imperial gunners under Tika (or Bika) Hazarai clashed with the soldiers of Churaman and Ajit Singh, resulting in casualties on both sides. Abdullah Khan's mansion slightly escaped being attacked. Only the coming-on of night stopped the fight after three hours. The next morning Ghazi-ud-Din Khan (the Mir Atish), Said Quli Khan Qul and Sayyid Najm-ud-Din Ali Khan intervened and pacified the opponents, Farrukh Siyar sent Zafar Khan to offer apologies to Ajit Singh.99 During these stormy days Farrukh Siyar made a bid both to pacify his powerful foes and to grant further favours to his supporters. The latter included Jai Singh, who was angry with Abdullah Khan, for his role in the matter of Churaman. For fear of the Wazir, however, the Emperor hesitated to reward Jai Singh. He, therefore, first tried a reconciliation between the Wazir and the Raja and thus, sent Zafar Khan to persuade Jai Singh to see Abdullah Khan (30th December, 1718). He agreed and paid a visit to the Wazir. Soon after the Wazir and then the Emperor himself paid visits to the Raja (5th, 6th January 1719). Yet, there was hardly any improvement in their mutual relations.100

In the following days the events headed fast towards the deposition of Farrukh Siyar (February, 1719), in which Churaman helped his benefactors. The Sayyids with their associates including the Jats took possession of the fort and the palace. In sheer desperation the Emperor unsuccessfully implored Ajit Singh to help him escape through the unoccupied eastern side of the Delhi fort facing the Yamuna. When Abdullah Khan heard of it he entrusted the charge of guarding that crucial place to his confidant, Churaman, so that none would escape. The Jat chief with his relations and troops took position there and devotedly executed his task. He got hold of the keys of all the gates including those of the palace. When Itiqad Khan advised against

98. Kamwar, II, 433; Roznamcha, 219, 237-238.

99. Roznamcha, 219; Kamwar, II, 433; K K, II, 800. Both K.R. Qanungo and Ram Pan de, have- somehow missed this incident.

100. Roznamcha, 227-228; Irvine, Later Mughals, I, 364-365.

[p.76]: surrendering the keys to Farrukh Siyar, he pleaded his helplessness in the matter. Scolding Itiqad for his present misfortune, Farrukh Siyar expelled him from Diwan-i-Khas and he hid himself in the harem. Soon after, he was dethroned, blinded and imprisoned to make room for the Sayyids' creature, Rafi-ud- Darjat.101

A couple of months later, Churaman rendered yeoman service to Hussain Ali Khan during the latter's siege of the Agra fort, following the enthronement of a rival Emperor, Neku Siyar, by Mitra Sen Nagar and the fort garrison (8th May, 1719). This rebellion posed a serious challenge to the dominance of the Sayyids. The rebels expected help from Jai Singh, Chhabela Ram and Nizam-i-Mulk. Anticipating danger, Ghairat Khan, the new governor of Agra, and Samandar Khan, the commandant designate of Agra fort, were earlier hurried off to Agra. They were, however, opposed by the rebels. Getting this news the Sayyids immediately despatched Churaman, Raja Bhim Singh and others to re-inforce Ghairat Khan.102 Later, Husain Ali himself marched from Delhi reaching Agra early in July. About this time Churaman was given the charge of the imperial highway between Barahpula (Delhi) and Gwalior.103 The Jat chief rushed to Agra with Govind Singh Jat and the sons of Nanda Jat. During the siege, he maintained his position at an entrenchment near the fort on the side of the Yamuna. He entered into negotiations with the hardpressed besieged and devised his own mode of conduct. The fort garrison took him and his namesake, Churaman Hazari (in the service of Hussain Ali), inside the fort, where, on a pot of the Ganga water, a solemn oath was taken about Prince Neku Siyar and his nephew Mirza Asghari being made over to the Jat chief along with a cash amount of rupees 50 lakhs. The princes and the amount were to be taken to the country of Raja Jai Singh. However, Churaman took the Prince and

101. Roznamcha, 243-246; Shivdas, 37 and 38; Kamwar, II, 438-441; Jqbal, 47-49; KK, II, 813, 814-816; Memoires des Jats, 84 adds that Churaman and Ajit Singh captured much booty on this occasion. R. Pan de's iBharatpur, 22) description of Churaman's doings in 1719 is misleading. U.N. Sharma (Itihas, 278) citing Umara-i-Hunud concludes that Churaman held one hand and Ajit Singh the other while enthroning Rafi-ud-Darjat. This cannot be accepted in view of the several other weightier sources and modern scholars Irvine (op.cit. I, 389), M. Mitra (Ajil Singh, 209) etc. referring instead to Abdullah Khan having done so. Likewise, he makes a doubtful claim that the Jats sided with the Marathas in the clashes on 18th February. To the best of our information they did not do so. Even irvine (op.cit I, 382ft) who reproduces the incident so minutely, nowhere mentions Jats here. Sharma displays a tendency to uncntically relate, at places too prominently, the Jats with the contemporary events.

102. KK II, 823-828; Memoires des Jats, 84; Shivdas, 39ff; Iqbal, 50ff.

103. Kam Raj. Ibratnama, 68a, quoted by Irvine, Later Mughals, I, 413 f.n., also 422; Satish Chandra, Parties and Politics, 150.

[p.77]: the gold to Husain Ali Khan, who kept the former in his custody but gave them money, an elephant, a special khilat and a mansab of 5,000 to the Jat.104 After this the two Churamans entered into a compact with the Buxaria Hazaris to open the gates of the fort. Churaman Jat allowed the families of the Buxarias to come out safely as per agreement. On 2nd August, 1719 both the fort and Neku Siyar were captured by Husain Ali.105

Shortly afterwards, the Emperor, Rafi-ud-Daulah, followed his predecessor to the grave and the Sayyids now enthroned Prince Roshan Akhtar (Muhammad Shah) in their camp at Bidyapru (6 miles north of Fatehpur Sikri). Two days later, (20th September, 1719) Churaman waited upon the new Emperor and made an offer of 9 mohurs to him.106 In return the Jat chief received a special khilat.107

In September, 1720, Churaman deputed his son,108 Muhkam Singh to join Husain Ali Khan on his march towards the Deccan against Nizam-uI-Mulk. About this time (c. August, 1720), in appreciation of his valuable services, Husain Ali promised to Churaman to procure for him the title of Raja109 after his return from the Deccan. However, when the army reached near Toda Bhim Husain Ali fell (28th September) to a conspiracy hatched by his adversaries.110 His chief adherents, including Muhkam were captured. Despaired of his life the Jat offered to embrace Islam. But Muhammad Shah did not think it prudent to accept it. Instead he gave him a Khilat and allowed him to go home.111 The clamency shown to Muhkam Singh stands in deep contrast to the disgraceful treatment meted out to certain other supporters of the Sayyids.112 This gesture of the Emperor was apparently intended to win over Churaman to his side. With the same purpose promises of great favours were also made to him. The circumstances having changed, Churaman himself found it expedient for the present to submit to the Emperor.113 He led the return march of

104. Shivdas, 44; Iqbal, 56; Memoires des Jats, 84 says that the Prince in question was Ali Zafar, the brother of Neku Siyar. An ealier authority Kamwar, II, 449 also says that the Prince was his brother; KK, II, 836; cf Later Mughals, i, 424-425,414.

105. Shivdas, 44; Iqbal, 56; Kamwar, II, 449-450.

106. Kamwar , II, 451, 453-454; Claiming to have followed this authority Dr. Pande (Bharatpur, 22) states that the Jat offered five Mohurs through Ghairat Khan. In fact, it was Ghulam Ali who offered the present that day.

107. Kamwar; 11454.

108. See Shivdas, 72 and 67; MU., I, 439.

109. Irvine, Later Mughals, 11,214; Following him, Qanungo, Jats, 55.

110. Shivdas, 70; Kamwar, II, 471; KK., II, 904; Iqbal, 79-80; For details see Irvine, Later Mughals, II, 51 ff.

111. Shivdas, 72.

112. Ibid., Also KK, II, 909.

113. Shivdas, 76; Ahwal, 105; Irvine, Later Mughals II,68

[p.78]: the Mughal army northwards towards the Yamuna. He prevailed upon the Emperor to abandon his scheduled route, running through his zamindari. Instead, he took the army across the territory of his foe, Jai Singh,114 later (October), Khem Karan Sogaria, a powerful Jat chieftain, joined the imperial cavalcade near Barsana. He was placed in the rearguard.115 Incidentally, it may be inferred from Muhammad Qasim's account that Khema Jat had strained relations with the Sayyids at least for over a year. This may account for their despatching Dilawar Ali Khan to reduce Fatehpur, a fort held by Khema, during Husain Ali's siege of Agra.116 It is not clear how far this incident influenced Khema's present decision.

Meanwhile, Abdullah Khan, having heard of the tragic end of his brother, resumed his march to Delhi. The Jat and the Mewati plunderers harassed him as he marched on to Faridabad. He enlisted fresh troops and thereafter, taking Muhammad Ibrahim, the rival Emperor, with him, he marched to Bilochpur to confront Muhammad Shah.118 In response to the Sayyids secret letters Churaman and many other followers of the Sayyid, deserted Muhammad Shah and joined him before the battle.119

Churaman's motives in rejoining Abdullah Khan have not always been judged very fairly. There is not enough ground to suspect his "devotion and gratitude" to the Sayyid.120 Acknowledging in unequivocal terms his deep gratitude and indebtedness to the munificence of the Sayyids, Churaman himself confessed before Muhammad Amin Khan (in Muhammad Shah's camp) that they, "have conferred on me such benefits that if I had a thousand lives and a thousand times my wealth, I would have offered up all, including my family and children on their behalf.sup>121 Irvine believes that his decision was based on the argument that in case of Abdullah Khan's defeat, pardon could be more easily secured from Muhammad Shah than on the contrary.122 There is an inherent contradiction in this contention. There was better scope of an easier pardon from Abdullah Khan, who had all along upheld pro-Jat and pro-Hindustani policies, than from his Mughal opponents, the main reason of whose rallying against the Sayyids was the latter's pursuance ofthe above policies. 123 The fact that Churaman refrained from going straightaway to his patron after the

114. Shivdas, 76.

115. Shivdas, 86-87.

116. Qasim's Ibratnama, 283, referred to in Later Mughals, I, 429.

117. Kamwar, II, 471; Also Shivdas, 80; Iqbal, 80.

118. Shivdas, 82ff., KK, II, 914-918; Kamwar, II, 471; Iqbal, 85, 87-88; Ahwal, 104.

119. Shivdas, 92,87 and 90; KK, II, 919; Iqbal, 88; Ahwal, 104.

120. Contra see Qanungo, Jats, 56.

121. Qasim quoted in Later Mughals, II, 68.

122. Irvine, Later Mughals, II, 81.

123. supra, p. 74.

[p.79]: murder of Hussain Ali is not difficult to explain. The fear arising from the presence of the huge enemy forces at the back of his territory, their scheduled march on the route passing through it, and the uncertainty of the movements of Abdullah Khan, dissuaded him from such course. It is clear that amidst the circumstances, only a person unmindful of the realities could have committed the indiscreet folly of providing added provocation to the imperialists.124 As it was, Churaman took the most expedient step. In joining Muhammad Shah, he not only cleverly disarmed his suspicions but also managed to safeguard his taaluqas from being molested by the Mughal army, which should have been the case had Churaman done otherwise. In the process he availed himself of the opportunity to unite with his patron, Abdullah Khan. Thus it would appear that Churaman's presence in the royal camp was a temporary device to avert a possible danger. All this leave little scope to suspect his loyalty to the Sayyid. As we shall see, he clung to him until his ca use was irredeemably lost.

While coming over to Abdullah Khan along with his brother and son, Churaman carried off three elephants and some camels to present to the Sayyid. But be returned him two elephants and camels as gifts.125 The author of Iqbalnama, who was present in the battle of Hasanpur (2-3, November, 1720,13-14 Muharram) narrates: he (Churaman) gave the advice (to Abdullah Khan) against the expediency of commencing the fight that day (13th Muharram, 1131 A.H.). He talked much about stopping the rot impressed upon Sayyid Abdullah Khan that he would harass the opposite army by hundred kinds of deceit and tricks and highway robbery and would make difficult task easy. But his suggestion was not accepted.126 Abdullah Khan, however, "deputed" Churaman's troops, riding swift mares, to hover in the rear of Muhammad Shah's camp. Killing many enemy soldiers, Churaman with a contingent of 200 musketeers fought his way into the camp from the west. But Raja Raj Bahadur of Kishangarh, Raja Gopal Singh Bhadauria and others pushed him back. Some of the Jats fell on the south and grabbed a part of the baggage. Zafar Khan, Muzaffar Khan and Muhammad Khan Bangash confronted them and forced them back again. The Jats then attacked Mir Mushrif and Alwi Khan Tarin of Lucknow on the east but were repulsed after a fight. Their raids created great confusion and many camp followers and traders in "sheer panic" jumped in the nearby Yamuna. The Jats commanded as its western bank and whosoever fled

124. cf. Qanungo, Jats, 55.

125. KK, II, 919; Ahwal; 104, 105; MU, I, 439; Scott, Dekkam, II; 180.

126. Iqbal, 88.

[p.80]: to that side did not escape being plundered. Persisting with his unexpected attacks, Churaman laid his hands on many baggage packed bullocks and camels grazing on the sandy mound on the river side. At one stage he passed by Muhammad Shah, who himself shot four arrows at Churaman and despatched a strong force against him. Meanwhile, Abdullah Khan, despite heavy desertions from his side, fought gallantly, but was wounded and imprisoned. Mughal soldiers started plundering the camp of the Sayyid. Churaman also joined them. In the end he went back to his country, grabbing a rich booty which included 1,000 bullocks and many camels loaded with goods and the records of the imperial Almoner's department.127

127. Iqbal. 95-96; Shivdas, 90-91 and 92; Kamwar, 11,471-472; K.K., II, 930-931; Ahwal, 105 and 109; Tarikh-i-Hind (by Rustam Ali, R.S.L. Sitamau Ms.) 488-489; Siyar, 1,271-273; Memoires des Jats, 84; M.u., I, 439-440; Irvine, Later Mughals, II, 85ff.

Chapter III - The Decline of the Mughal Empire and the Rise of the Jat Power (1707-1720)

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