Ancient History Part I The oldest vestiges of Habitation in the Nagpur District are furnished by dolmens and other sepulchral monuments which can be noticed within a radius of about 48, 280 km. (thirty miles) round Nagpur in the vicinity of the villages of Kora di, Kohala, Jana pani, Nid hoa, Borganv, Va thora, Vadganv, Savarganv, Hingani etc. Some of these were opened first by Pearson and then by Hislop but their detailed reports are not available. They require to be excavated and studied scientifically. Hislop describes them as follows: “They are found chiefly as barrows surrounded by a circle of stones, and as stone boxes, which when complete are styled kistvaens, and when open on one side, cromlechs. The kistvaens, if not previously disturbed, have been found to contain stone coffins and urns.” Such sepulchral monuments are generally found to contain copper and bronze weapons, tools and earthen vessels.
Some scholars find in these copper and bronze objects traces of the migration route of the Vedic Aryans. This culture is supposed to be later than that of the Indus Valley, of which no traces have yet been noticed in Vidarbha. With the advent of the Aryans we get more light on the past history of this region. It was then covered by a thick jungle. Agastya was the first Aryan who crossed the Vindhya and fixed his hermitage on the bank of the Godavari. This memorable event is commemorated in the mythological story which represents Vindhya as blending before his guru Agastya when the latter approached him.
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The sage asked the mountain to remain in that condition until he returned from the south, which he never did. Agastya was followed by several other sages who They were constantly harassed by the original inhabitants who established their hermitages in different regions of the south. They were constantly harassed by the original inhabitants who are called Raksasas in the Ramayana. ” These shapeless and ill-looking monsters testify their abominable character by various cruel and terrific displays. They implicate the hermits in impure practices and perpetrate the greatest outrages.
Changing their shapes and hiding in the thickets adjoining the hermitages, these frightful beings delight in terrifying the devotees. They cast away the sacrificial landless and vessels; They pollute the cooked oblations, and utterly defile the offerings with blood. These faithless creatures inject frightful sounds into the ears of the faithful and austere hermits. At the time of the sacrifice they snatch away the jars, the flowers, the fuel and the sacred grass of these sober-minded man.” In course of time a large kingdom was founded in this region by king Vidarbha, the son of Rsabhadeva. His capital was Kindinapura in The Amravati district, which is still known by its ancient name. The country came to be known as Vidarbha Lopamudra.
He is ‘the Seer’ of some hymns of the Rgveda. His wife Lopamudra is also mentioned in Rgveda I 179, 4, though Vidarbha is not named therein. The country became will-known in the age of the Brahmanas and the Upanishads. Bhima, who is called Vidarbha (i. e.
the King of Vidarbha), is mentioned in the Aitareya Brahmana (VII, 34) as having received instruction regarding the substitute for soma juice. The Brhadaranyaka Upnisad mentions the sage Kaundinya of Vidarbha. Among those who asked questions about philosophical matters in the Prasnopanisad, there was one named Bhargava from Vidarbha. The Ramayana in the Uttarakanda states the story of king Danda in whose time Vidarbha was devastated by a violent dusssst-storm. Danda was the son of Iksvaku and grandson of Manu. He ruled over the country between the Vindhya and Saivala mountains from his capital Madhu manta.
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He led a voluptuous life and once upon a time violated the daughter of the sage Bhargava. The sage, then cursed the king that his whole kingdom would be devastated by a terrible dust-storm. The whole country between Vindhya and Saivala extending over a thousand yojanas was consequently turned into a great forest which since then came to be known as Dandakaranya. It was in this forest that the Sudra sage Sambuka was practising austerities. As this was an irreligious act according to the notions of those days. Rama beheaded him and revived the life of a Brahmana boy who had died prematurely.
That the Nagpur region was included in the Dandaka forest is shown by the tradition which states that sambuka was practising austerities on the hill near Ramtek, about 45. 062 km (28 miles) from Nagpur. The site is still shown on that hill and is marked by the temple of Dhumresvara. This tradition is at least seven hundred years old, for it is mentioned in the stone inscription of the reign of the Yadava king Ramachandra fixed into the front wall of the garbhagrha of the temple of Laksmana on the hill of Ramtek. The Ramayana, the Mahabharata and the Puranas mention several sacred rivers of Vidarbha such as the Payosni (P urna), Varada (Wardha) and the Vena (Wainganga) and name many holy places situated on their banks. The royal house of Vidarbha was matrimonially connected with several princely families of North India.
The Vidarbha princesses Damayanti, Indu mati and Rukmini, who married Nala, Aja and Krishna, respectively, are well-known in Indian literature. Several great Sanskrit and Marathi poets from Kalidasa onwards have drawn the themes of their works from their romantic lives. Ancient History Part II As stated below, the region round Nagpur was flourishing in the early centuries of the Christian era, but the name of Nagpur is noticed for the fist time in a record of the tenth century A. D. A copper-plate inscription of the Rastrakuta king Krishna III dated in the Saka berar 862 (A. D 940), discovered at Deva ji in the Wardha district, records the grant of a village situated in the visaya (district) of Nagpur-Nandivardhana.
Nandivardhana, which was will-known as an ancient capital of the Vakatakas, is now represented by the village Nandardhan, about three miles from Ramtek. Nagpur, which was situated near it, may have marked the original site of the modern town of that name. Tradition, however, gives the credit for settling the town of Nagpur to the Gond king Bakht Bulanda of Devagad. He is said to have included in the new town twelve hamlets, laid streets and erected a wall for its protection. It is not unlikely that Bakht Bulanda chose to call the new town by the name of Nagpur since it was associated with the place from ancient time. Coming to historical times, we find that the country was included in the empire of the great Ashoka.
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The thirteenth rock edict of that great Emperor mentions the Bhojas as the people who follow his religious teachings. The royal family of Bhoja was ruling over vidarbha in ancient times. Since then the peo named Bhoja kata (modern Bhatkuli in the Amravati district) is mentioned in a great of the Vakatakas. An inscription probably issued by the Dharmamahamatra placed by Asoka in charge of Vidarbha, has been found at Devatek in the Chanda district.
It records an order promulgated by the Dharmamahamatra interdicting the capture and slaughter of animals. It is dated in the fourteenth regnal year, evidently of Ashoka. After the overthrow of the Maurya dynasty in circa B. C. 184, the imperial throne in Pataliputra (Patna) was occupied by the Senapati Pusyamitra, the founder of the Sung a dynasty.
His son Agnimitra was appointed Viceroy of Malva and ruled from Vidisa, modern Besnagar, a small village near Bhilsa. Vidarbha, which had seceded from the Maurya Empire during the reign of one of the weak successors of Asoka was then ruled by Yajnasena. He imprisoned his cousin Madhavasena, Who was a rival claimant for the throne. The sister of Madhavasena escaped to Malva and got admission as a hand-maid under the name of Malavika to the royal palace.
Agnimitra. Who had espoused the cause of Madhavasena and sent an army against the king of Vidarbha, fell in love with Malavika and married her. The Malava army defeated the king of vidarbha and released Madhavasena. Agnimitra then divided the country of Vidarbha between the two cousins, each ruling on one side of the Varada (modern Wardha) Eastern Vidarbha thus comprised Wardha, Nagpur, Bhandara, Chanda, Seoni, Chindvada and Balaghat districts.
It was bounded on the east by the country of Daks ina Kosala (Chattisgad).
From the Mahabharata also we learn that the province of Venakata bordered on that of Kosala. The story of Malavika forms the plot of the play Malavikagnimitra of the great Sanskrit poet Kalidasa. Kalidasa does not state to what royal family Yajnasena and Madhavasena belonged and these names do not occur anywhere else. Still it is possible to conjecture that they may have been feudatories of the Satavahanas. From the Hathigumpha inscription at Udayagiri near Bhuvanesvar, we learn that Kharavela, the king of Kalinga, who was a contemporary of Pusyamitra, sent an army to the western region not minding Satakarni.
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The latter evidently belonged to the Satavahana dynasty as the name occurs often in that family. Kharavela’s army is said to have penetrated up to the river kanhabenna and struck terror in the hearts of the people of Rsika. The Kanhabenna is the river Kansan which flows about 10 miles from nagpur. Kharavela’s army, therefore, invaded Vidarbha. He knew that as the ruler of Vidarbha was a feudatory of king Satakarni, the latter would rush to his aid when Vidarbha was thus invaded, the people of Rsika (Khandes) which bordered Vidarbha on the west, were naturally terror-strike.
No actual engagement seems however to have taken place and the army retreated to Kalinga perhaps at the approach of the Satavahana forces. Ancient History Part III The Satavahanas, who are called Andhras in the Puranas, held Vidarbha for four centuries and a half from circa B. C. 200 to A. D 250. Their earliest inscriptions, however, which record their performance of Vedic sacrifices and magnificent gifts to Brahmanas are found in the Poona and Nasik districts.
Towards the close of the fist century A. D they were ousted by the Saka Satraps from Western Maharastra. They then seem to have found shelter in Vidarbha. No inscriptions of the Satavahanas have indeed been found in Vidarbha, but in one of the Nasik inscriptions Gautamiputra Satakarni, who later on exterminated the Sakas and re-occupied Western Maharastra, is called Benakatakasvami, the lord of Benakataka. No satisfactory explanation of This expression was possible until the discovery of the Tiro di plates of the Vakataka king Pravarasena II.
As shown below, these plates record the grant of a village in the Benakata, which must have comprised the territory on both the banks of the Benn a or the Wainganga, now included in the Balaghat and Bhandara districts. Gautamiputra was, therefore, ruling over the country of Benakata (or Venakata), before he reconquered Western Maharastra from the Saka Satrap Nabhapana. Gautamiputra was a very powerful king whose kingdom extended from the Arabian Sea to the Bay of Bengal and comprised even Malva, Kathiavad and parts of Rajputana in the north. His son Pulumavi was similarly the undisputed master of the whole Deccan. Yajnasri also, a later descendant of the family, retained his old over the whole territory as his inscriptions and coins have been found in the Thana district in the west and the Krishna district in the east. Two hoards of Satavahana coins have been found in Vidarbha, one in the Brahma puri tahsil of the Chanda district and the other at Tar hala in the Mangu l tahsil of the Akola district.
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The latter hoard, which was discovered in 1939, contains coins of as many as eleven kings. Beginning from Gautamiputra Satakarni. Some of them such as (Gautamiputra) Satakarni, Pulumavi, Siva sri Pulumavi, Yajnasri Satakarni and Vijaya Satakarni are mentioned in the Puranas, while some others such as Kumba Satakarni, Karn a Satakarni and saka Satakarni are not known from any other source. This hoard shows that the Satavahanas retained their hold over Vidarbha to the last. The Satavahanas were liberal patrons of learning and religion. As stated above, the early kings performed Vedic sacrifices and lavished gifts on the Brahmanas.
Gautamiputra, Pulumavi and Yajnasri excavated caves and donated villages to provide for the maintenance, clothing and medicine of Buddhist monks. They also patronized Prakrit literature. The Sattasai, an anthology of 700 Prakrit verses, is, by tradition ascribed to Hala of the Satavahana dynasty. About A.
D 250 the Satavahanas were supplanted by the Vakatakas in Vidarbha. This dynasty was founded by a Brahmana named Vindhyasakti I, who is mentioned in the Puranas as well as in an inscription in Care XVI at Ajintha. The Puranas mention Vindhyasakti, the founder of the dynasty, as a ruler of Vidisa (modern Bhilsa near Bhopal).
His son Pravarasena I ruled over an extensive part of the Deccan. He performed several Vedic sacrifices including four asvamedhas and assumed the title of Sam rat (Universal Emperor).
According to the Puranas he had his capital at Purina which was situated at the foot of the Rks avat or Satapuda mountain. He had four sons among whom his empire was divided after his death. Two of these are known from inscriptions. The eldest son Gautamiputra had predeceased him. His son Rudrasena I held the northern parts of Vidarbha and ruled from Nandivardhana, modern Nandardhan, near Ramtek. He had powerful support of the king Bhava-naga of the Bharasiva dynasty who-ruled at Padmavati near Gwalior who was his maternal grandfather.
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Rudrasena was a fervent devotee of Mahabhairaya. He has left an inscription incised on the aforementioned slab of stone found at Devatek, which contains as mutilated edict of the Dharmamahamatra of Asoka. It records his construction of a Dharmasthana (temple).
Ancient History Part IV Rudrasena (I) was followed by his son Prthivisena (I), who ruled for a long time and brought peace and contentment to his people, During his reign this branch of the Vakatakas became matrimonially connected with the illustrious Gupta family of north India. Chandragupta II – Vikarmaditya – married his daughter Prabhavatigupta II to Prthivisena I’s son, Rudrasena II, Probably Western Ksatrapas. Rudrasena II died soon after accession, leaving behind two sons Divakarasena and Damodarasena alias Pravarasena II.
As neither of them had come of age, Prabhavatigupta ruled as regent for the elder son Divakarasena for at least thirteen years. She seems to have been helped in the government of the kingdom by military and civil officers sent by her father Chandragupta II. One of these was the great Sanskrit poet Kalidasa, who, while residing at the Vakataka capital Nandivardhana, must have visited Ramagiri (modern Ramtek), where the theme of his excellent lyric Meghaduta suggested itself to him. Prabhavatigupta has left us two copper-plate inscriptions. The earlier of them, though discovered in distant Poona, originally belonged to Vidarbha. It was issued from the then Vakataka capital Nandivardhana and records the dowager queen’s grant of the village Dang una (modern Hinganghat) to a Brahmana after offering it to the feet of the Bhagavat (i.
e. , Ramachandra) on Karina suk la dvadasi evidently at the time of Paran e after observing a fast on the previous day of the Prabodhini Ekadasi Some of the boundary villages can still be traced in the vicinity of Hinganghat. Divakarasena also seems to have died when quite young. He was succeeded by his brother Damodarasena, who on accession assumed the Pravarasena of his illustrious ancestor.
He had a long reign of thirty years and was known for his learning and liberality. More than a dozen land-grants made by him have come to light. One of them which was made at the instance of his mother Prabhavatigupta in the nineteenth regnal year is noteworthy. The plates recording it were issued from the feet of Ramagirisvamin (i.
e. , God Ramachandra on the hill of Ramagiri) and record the grant which the queen-mother made as on the previous occasion, viz. , after observing a fast on the Probodhini Ekadasi. Pravarasena II founded a new city which the named Pravarapura, where he shifted his capital some time after his eleventh regnal year.
Some of his later land-grants were made at the new capital. He built there a magnificent temple of Ramachandra evidently at the instance of his mother who was a devout worshipper of Visnu. Some of the sculptures used to decorate this temple have recently been discovered at Pavnar on the bank of the Dham, 9. 656 km.
(6 miles) from Wardha, and have thus led to the identification of Pravrapura with Pavnar. Pravarasena II is the reputed author of the Setubandha, a Prakrit kavya in glorification of Ramachandra. This work has been greatly praised by Sanskrit poets and rhetoricians. According to a tradition recorded by a commentator of this work, it was composed by Kalidasa who ascribed it to Pravarasena. Pravarasena is also known from some Prakrit gathas which were later interpolated in the Sattasai. Pravarasena II was succeeded by his son Narendrasena, during whose reign Vidarbha was invaded by the Nala king Bhavadatta varman.
The latter penetrated as far as the Nagpur district and even occupied Nandivardhana, the erstwhile Vakataka capital. The Rddhapur plates record the grant which Bhavadatta had made while on a pilgrimage to Pray aga. The plates were issued from Nandivardhana which was evidently his capital at the time. In this emergency the Vakatakas has to shift their capital again. They moved it to Padmapura, modern Padampur near Amganv in the Bhandara district. A fragmentary inscription which was proposed to be issued from Padmapura has been discovered at the village of Moh alla in the Durg district.
Ancient History Part V The Nala could not retain their hold over Vidarbha for a long time. They were ousted by Narendrasena’s son Prthivisena II, who carried the war into the enemy’s territory and burnt and devastated their capital Pus kari which was situated in the B astar State. Parthivesena II, taking advantage of the weakening of Gupta power, carried his arms to the north of the Narmada, Inscriptions of his feudatory Vyaghradeva have been found in the former Aja igad and jason States. This elder branch of the Vakataka family came to an end about AD 490. The territory round Nagpur was thereafter included in the dominion of the other or Vatsagulma branch. The Vatsagulma branch was founded by Sarvasena, an younger son of Pravarasena I.
It is also known to have produced some brave and learned princes. Sarvasena. The fonder of this branch, is well-known as the author Prakrit kavya called Hari vijaya, which has received unstinted praise from several eminent theoreticians. The last known king of this branch extending from the Arabian Sea to the bay of Bengal and from Malva to the Tungabhadra.
The Vakatakas were patrons of art and literature. In their age the Vaidarbhi rit i came to be regarded as the best style of poetry as several excellent works were then produced in Vidarbha. Three of the caves at Ajanta, viz. , the two Vihar a caves XVI and XVII and the Cait ya Cave XIX were excavated and decorated with paintings in the time of Hari sena. Several temples of Hindu gods and goddesses were also built. The ruins of one of them have come to light at Pavnar.
Others are known from references in copper-plate grants. The Vakataka disappear from the stage of history about AD 550. When their place is taken by the Kalacuris of Mahismati, modern Mahe svar in Central India. They also had a large empire extending from Konkan in the west to Vidarbha in the east and from Malava in the north to the Krishna in the south. The founder of the dynasty was Karsnaraja, whose coins have been found in the Amravati and Be tul districts. He was a devout worshipper of Mahesvara (Siva).
That Vidarbha was included in Svamiraja dated in the Kalacuri year 322 (AD 573).
These plates were issued from Nandivardhana which seems to have maintained its importance even after the downfall of the Vakatakas. Svamiraja probably belonged to the Rastrakuta family. About AD 620 the Kalacuri king Buddha raja the grandson of Krishna raja was defeated by Pulake sin II of the Early Chalukyas dynasty, who thereafter became the lord of three Maharashtras comprising 99, 000 villages.
One of these Maharashtras was undoubtedly Vidarbha. The Rastrakutas, who were previously feudatories of the Kalacuris, transferred their allegiance to the Chalukyas and, like the latter, began to date their records in the Saka era. Two grants of this feudatory Rastrakuta family have been discovered in Vidarbha-one dated Saka 615 was found at Akola and the other dated Saka 631 was discovered at Multi. They give the following genealogy: – Durga raja || Govinda raja || Svamikaraja || Nanna raja alias Ayuddhsura (known dates A. D.
693 and 713) Ancient History Part VI About the middle of the eighth century A. D. the Early Chalukyas were overthrown by the Rastrakutas. No inscriptions of the Early Chalukyas have been found in Vidarbha, but their successors the Rastrakutas have left several records. The earliest of them is the copper-plate inscription of Krishna I discovered at Bhandak and dated in the Saka year 694 (A.
It records the grant of the village Nagana to a temple of the Sun in Udumbaramanti, modern Rani Amravati in the Yavatmal district. Thereafter several grants of his grandson Govinda III have been found in the Akola and Amravati districts of Vidarbha. The Rastrakutas of Manyakheta and the Kalacuris of Tripuri were matrimonially connected and their relations were generally friendly.
But in the reign of Govinda IV, they became strained. The Kalacuri king Yuvarajadeva I espoused the cause of his son-in-low Bad diga-Amoghavarsha III, the uncle of Govinda IV and fought on the bank of the Payosni (Puna) 16. 093 km. (10 miles) from Achalpura, between the Kalacuri and Rastrakuta forces, in which the former became victorious. This event is Rajasekhara, which was staged at Tripuri in jubilation of this victory.
The next Rastrakuta record in Vidarbha is the aforementioned De vali copper-plate grant of the reign of Baddhiga’s son Krishna III, which mentions the visaya of Naga pura-Nand i-vardhana. The Rastrakuta were succeeded by the Later Chalukyas of Kalyani. Only one inscription of this family has been found in Vidarbha. It is the so-called Sitabuldi stone inscription of the time of Vikramaditya VI. From the account of Vinaya krav. Aurangabad kar this record seems to have originally belonged to the Vindhya sana hill at Bhandak.
It is dated the Saka year 1008 (A. D. 1087) and registers the grant of some nivartanas of land, for the grazing of cattle, made by a dependant of a feudatory named Dhadibhandaka. Another inscription of Vikramaditya’s reign was recently discovered at Dongarganv in the Yavatmal district. It sheds interesting light on the history of the Paramara dynasty. It shows that Jagaddeva, the youngest son of Uday aditya, the brother of Bhoja, left Malva and sought service with Vikramaditya VI, who welcomed him and placed him in charge of some portion of Western Vidarbha.
This inscription is dated in the Saka year 1034 (A. D. 1112).
Though western Vidarbha was thus occupied by the Later Chalukyas, the Paramara of Dhar raided and occupied some portion of eastern Vidarbha.
A large stone inscription now deposited in the Nagpur Museum, which originally seems to have belonged to Bhandak in the Chanda district, traces the genealogy of the Paramara Prince Nara varman from Vairisimha. It is dated in the Vikram a year 1161 corresponding to A. D. 1104-05, and records the grant of two villages to a temple which was probably situated at Bhandak; for some of the places mentioned in it can be identified in its vicinity. Thus Mokhalipataka is probably Mokhar, 80. 47 km.
(50 miles) west of Bhandak. Vyapura, the name of the mandala in which it was situated, may be represented by Vurganv 48. 280 km. (30 miles) from Mokhar. After the downfall of the Vakatakas, there was no imperial family ruling in Vidarbha.
The centre of political power shifted successively to Mahismati, Badami, Manyakheta and Kalyani. Men of learning who could not get royal patronage in Vidarbha, had to seek it elsewhere. Bhavabhuti, who ranks next to Kalidasa in Sanskrit literature, was a native of Vidarbha. In the prologue of his play Mahaviracharita he tells us that his ancestors live in Padmapura in Vidarbha. As stated above, this place with the village Padampur in the Bhandara district. With the downfall of the eighth century when Bhavabhuti flourished there was no great king ruling in Vidarbha.
Bhavabhuti had India, and had to get his plays staged at the fair of Kalapriyanatha (the Sun-God at Kali).
Later, he obtained royal patronage at the court of Yasovarman of Kanauj. Rajasekhara, another great son of Vidarbha, was probably born at Vatsagulma, (modern V asim), which he has glorified in his Kavyamimamsa as the pleasure-resort of the god of the god of love. He had his ancestors Akalajalada, Tara la and Sur ananda has to leave their home country of Vidarbha and to seek patronage at the court of the Bala ramayana, the Balabharata and the Karpuramanjiri, were put on the boards at Kanauj under the patronage of the Gurjaras Pratiharas.
Later, when the glory of the Pratiharas declined as sakhara seems to have returned to Tripuri in the train of the victorious conqueror. There his last play Viddhasalabhanjika was staged in jubilation at the victory of Yuvarajadeva over a confederacy of Southern kings led by Govinda IV in the battle of the Payson i. Another great poet of Vidarbha who had to go abroad in search of royal patronage is Trivikramabhatt, the author of the Nalacampu, in which he has given us a graphic description of several towns, holy paces and rivers of Vidarbha. He flourished at the court of the Rastrakuta king Indra III and is known to have drafted the two sets of Bagumra plates of that king, dated Saka 816. Ancient History Part VII In the last quarter of the twelfth century A.
D. the Yadavas of Devagiri came into prominence. They had been ruling over Seunadesa in an earlier period as feudatories of the Later Chalukyas, but Bhillama, the son of Mallugi, declared his independence and soon made himself master of the whole territory north of the Krishna. He then founded the city of Devagiri, which the made his capital. His son Jaitrapala killed Rudra deva of the Kakatiya whom he had put into prison. Under Jaitrapala’s son Singhana the power of the family greatly increased.
He annexed the Kolhapur kingdom after defeating the Silahara king Bhoja in 1212. A. D. The first inscription of the Yadavas found in Vidarbha belongs to the reign of Singhana. It is dated in the Saka year 1133 and records the erection of a to rana at Ambadaries of Singhana were won for him by his Senapati Kholesvara who hailed from Vidarbha.
He defeated Lakmideva, the ruler of Bhambhagiri (modern B hamer in Khandes), Paramara of Malva, and devastated the capital of the Hoyasalas. He even pressed as far as Varanasi in the north where he put Rama pala to flight. Kholesvara constructed several temples in Vidarbha and also established agra haras on the blanks of the Payosni and the Varada. The former agra hara is still extant under the name of the village Kholapur in the Amravati district. Singhana was succeeded by his grandson Krishna, whose inscription has been found in the temple of Khandesvara on a hillock on the outskirts of the village Nandganv in the Amravati district. It is dated in the Saka year 1177 (A.
D. 1245-55) and records the donations of some gadyanakas for the offerings of flowers at the temple of Khandesvara. After Karsna’s death, the throne was occupied by his brother mahadeva superseding the claims of the former’s son Ramachandra. Mahadeva annexed Konkan to his kingdom after defeating Somes vara of the Silahara dynasty. He left the throne to his son Amana, but the latter was soon deposed by Ramachandra, who captured the impregnable fort of Devagiri by means of a coup d’etat. He is the last of the independent Hindu Kings of Devagiri.
He won several victories and in a grant of his minister Purusottama he is said to have driven out the Muhammedans from Varanasi and built a golden temple there, which he dedicated to Visnu. A fragmentary inscription of his time is built into the front wall of the temple of Laksmana on the hill at Ramtek. In the first half of it, it describes the exploits of Ramachandra’s ancestors from Singhana onwards while in the second half it describes the temples, wells and tirthas on and in the vicinity of the hill which it names as Ramagiri. The object of the inscription seems to have been to record the repairs done to the temple of Laksmana by Raghavan, the minister of Ramachandra. Another inscription of Ramachandra’s reign was found at Lanai in the Balaghat district.
It is fragmentary and has not yet been deciphered. In A. D. 1204 Ala-ud-din Khilji invaded the kingdom of Ramachandra and suddenly appeared before the gates of Devagiri. Ramachandra was taken unawares and could not hold out long.
He had to pay a large ransom to the Muslim conqueror. He continued, however, to rule till A. D. 1310 at leat; for a copper-plate grant which his minister Purusottama made is dated in the Saka year 1232. He was then defeated and slain by Malik Kafur.
Some time thereafter Harapaladeva, the son-in-law of Ramachandra, raised an insurrection and drove away the Muhammedans, but his success was short-lived. The Hindu Kingdom of Devagiri thus came to an end in A. D. 1318. Like their illustrious predecessors, the Yadavas also extended liberal patronage to art and literature. During their age a peculiar style of architecture called Hemadpanti after Hemadri or Hemadpanti, a minister of Mahadeva and Ramachandra, came into vogue.
Temples built in this style have been found in all the districts of Vidarbha. In the Nagpur district they exist at Adas a. Amphora, Bhuganv, Darsevani, S avner, Ramtek and some other palaces. Several learned scholars flourished at their court. Among those who hailed from Vidarbha, Hemadri was the foremost. During the reign of Mahadeva he held the post of Srikaranadhipa or Head of the Secretariat.
He has appointed Minister and Head of the Elephant Force by Ramachandra. He was as brave as he was learned an liberal. He conquered and annexed to the Yadava kingdom the eastern part of Vidarbha called J hadi-mandala, Hemadri is well known as the author of the Chaturvargacintamani comprising five parts, (1) Vrata khanda, (2) Dana khanda, (3) Tirthakhanda, (4) Moksakhanda, and (5) Parisesakhanda. Of these the third and fourth Khandes have not yet come to light. Hemadri’s work is held in great esteem and has been drawn upon by later writers on Dharmasastra. Hemadri wrote on other subjects as will.
He is the author of a commentary on Saunaka’s Pranavakalpa and also of a Sraddhakalpa in which he follows Katya yana. His Ayurvedarasayana, a commentary on Vagbhata’s Astangahrdaya, and Kaivalyadipika, a gloss of Bopadeva’s Muktaphala are also well known. Hemadri extended liberal patronage to learned men. Among his proteges the most famous was Bopadeva. He was a native of the village Veda pada (modern Be dod) on the bank of the Wardha in the Adil abad district of the former Hyderabad State. Bopadeva is said to have composed ten works on Sanskrit grammer, nin on medicine, one for the determination of the ti this, three on poetics and an equal number for the elucidation of the Bhagavata doctrine.
Only eight of these are now extant. The Mugdhabodaha, his work on Sanskrit grammar is very popular in Bengal. Marathi literature also flourished in the age of the Yadavas. Chakradhara, who propagated the Mahanubhava cult in that age, used Marathi as the medium of his religious teachings.
Following his example. Several of his followers composed literary works in Marathi. They are counted among the first works of Marathi literature. Mukundaraja, the author of the vedantic works Vivekasindhu and Paramamrta, And Jnanesvara, the celebrated author of the Bhavarthadipika, a commentary on the Bhagavad gita are the most illustrious writers of that age.
The Interregnum The fall of the Yadavas of Devagiri marks a turning point not only in the history of the Deccan but also in that of the Peninsular India. Their fall facilitated Islam’s penetration deep into the South. The Yadavas dominated the Deccan politics in the thirteenth century. They claimed descent from Y adu of P uranic fame. Dridhaprahara was the first member of the family to attain some distinction in about 860 AD His successor founded the city of Seunapur probably modern Sinner in the Nasik district. Later in the struggle between the Rastrakutas and the Chalukyas, the Yadava King Bhillama II took the side of latter.
He also participated in the overthrow of the Paramara King Munja. For this help the Rastrakuta King granted Ahmadnagar district to Bhillama. Bhillama assumed the title Vijayabharana – Ornament of Victory – for himself. It was Bhillama V who for the first time assumed imperial titles for his dynasty in about 1187 A.
D. He gained victories after victories but in the end met with a tremendous set-back in after victories but in the end met with tremendous set-back in the struggle to maintain a hold over the Doab region between the Krsna and the Tungabhadra. In this struggle he was pitched against the Hoyasala King Balla la II on the battlefield of Soratur near Dhar var. The famous Yadava general Jaitrapala lost his life while fighting against the Hoyasala King. This event took place towards the end of 1191 AD It is to the credit of Bhillama V that he consolidated the Yadava rule over Maharashtra, carried successful inroads into Malva and Gujarat and occupied the whole of the Raipur Doab. The sorrowful defeat of Soratur was avenged by Singhana Yadava (C 1210 to 1247).
The Yadava empire reached its meridian under this most able ruler. In the struggle for the hegemony of the Deccan Singhana was successful over this rivals the Hoyasalas to his north. Roughly his territory extended to the south of the line joining Nagpur and Broad and was limited by the line connecting Girisappa and Karn ul. According to Hemadri the minister of Mahadeva Yadava and the inventor of the temple architecture known as Hemadpanti style, Singhana’s empire included the Chattisgad area. Some of the inscriptions claim that the kings of Mathura and Kashi felt the power of Singhana and one of his generals defeated a Muslim ruler.
They also state that either King Singhana himself of his generals Kholesvara, Rama or Birana defeated the kings of Sindh. Rohilkhand, Bengal, Bihar, Kerala and Panda. All these high claims for Singhana appear to be more imaginary than real in the absence of independent and trustworthy evidence. However, it is significant to note that the arm of the Yadava power under Singhana had reached as far as Nagpur in its eastward expansion. Ramachandra Yadava (1227-1311) extended his sway over Vajra kar (probably Vairagad, eighty miles north east of Nagpur. He then marched northward and took Tripuri near Jabalpur.
From here he proceeded to Benares and restored it to Hindu rule. This event must have taken place after the death of Balb an in AD 1286 and prior to the accession of Jalal-ud-din Khilji, when the hold of Islam over the outlying provinces was slack. This is evidenced by the famous Purushottamapuri plates of Ramachandra. The eastern border of the Yadava kingdom under Ramachandra extended beyond the Wardha river, the traditional boundary line of Berar. Hemadri probably took a leading part in the conquest of Nagpur, Bhandara and Chanda beyond the Wardha river.
Nagpur, Bhandara and Chanda comprised the Jhadimandala i. e. , the wooded territory. From the Lilacaritra i. e. , the biography of the saint Chakradhara it seems that the Jhadimandala where he wandered was not far off from Acalapur i.
e. , Ellicpur. Thus we gather from the Ramtek inscription and the Lilacharitra that the district of Nagpur was at one time under the Yadavas of Devagiri. It formed part of the thickly wooded country-Jhadimandala.
It is quite natural that the region to the east of the Wardha river should be thickly wooded as it has had better rainfall than the region to its west. Nagpur under the Yadavas does not seem to have attained any political importance, like the western wing of the Yadava Kingdom. By 1292 AD the Yadava power was at the height of its glory. It, however, began to decline fast when Devagiri was invaded by Ala-ud-din Khilji in 1294.
Ramachandra Yadava was taken by surprise and completely defeated. He purchased peace by offering vast quantity of gold, the revenue of Ellicpur as annual tribute and one of his daughters to the victor. Ala-ud-din. The pride of the Yadavas was humbled. Shankara deva, the son of Ramachandra, tried in vain to regain the lost independence. He was easily defeated by Malik Kafur the distinguished general of Ala-ud-din.
The last ruler of the Yadavas Harapaladeva, was defeated and killed in 1318 A. D. by Qu tub-ud-din Mubarak sah. By this defeat Maharashtra passed into the hands of the Muslim rulers and Devagiri became a center of Islamic culture.
The Mediaeval Period Part I From the fall of the Yadavas till the entry of the Moghals in Gondavana, the Gond Rajas were more or less free from any political domination. Even during the hey-day of the Yadavas, it seems that they were never completely subjugated as their habitat was in the fastness of hills and forest. Gondavana roughly includes the area bound by the line running from Jabalpur to Telangana, North to South, and from West to East by the line joining the Satapuda hills and the Chattisgad region. The Gonds are mainly divided into the Raja Gonds and the Khat oles. The formers consider themselves as Rajputs or Kshatriyas. The principal Gondi kingdoms in the Gondvana area had their seats at Gadha, Mandla, Devagad, Chandrapur or Chanda and khedrala, on the northern sloped of the Satapuda.
Besides there were petty Gond nails in the Mel ghat styling themselves as Rajas. Of these kingdoms Gadha is noted in history because of its brave Rani Durgavati. The ambitious Moghal Emperor, Akbar, Appointed Khvaja Abdul-Majid as the Governor of Kara conferring upon him the title of A saf Khan. One of his valuable services was the conquest of Gadha ruled by Rani Durgavati. The Rani fought valorously against heavy odds and when helpless killed herself in order to escape the disgrace she would have been put to if taken a captive. Gadha had given no provocation to Akbar.
Its conquest was an act of imperial aggression, pure and simple. This historic incident is described in Tarik h-i-Alf i. After the Ram’s death her son Bir narayan resisted from the fort of Cauragad till the fell fighting. The kingdom of Gadha was offered to Chandra sah as the Moghal vassal. During the reign of sah Jahan the unfortunate ruler of Gadha, Hirde sah was attacked by Raja Pa had Sing Bun dela. Hirde sah shifted his capital to Mandla.
His successors fought among themselves inviting alternately Aurangzeb and the Marathas for help to put down the rival party. With the rise of Raguji Bhosle these kingdoms lost their independence and were reduced to the status of vassals. The Gond rulers of Devagad are directly related with the history of Nagpur. With the history of Nagpur. With the loss of independence of Gadha and Mandla, Devagad, too, was destined to go the same way. The Devagad house hailed from Harayagad, but shifted its seat to Devagad under its founder Jatba.
Originally Devagad was a feudal state under Gadha. However, when the latter passed under the Moghal rule, Devagad automatically became part of the moghal territory. According to the Ain-i-Akbar when Akbar was the Emperor, Jatba, the ruler of Devagad, possessed two thousand horses, fifty thousand foot-soldiers and a hundred elephants… Jatba extended his kingdom as far as Nagpur and constructed there a fort as an outpost. The descendants of this family are yet known as “Kille vale Raja” in Nagpur. The Mediaeval Period Part II According to a local Gondi tradition recorded by Craddock in the old edition of Nagpur Gazetteer, Devagad was originally a Ga vali Kingdom conquered later by Sarabasa a Gond king of Gadha.
Jatba was the eighth descendant from Sarabasa. Historical it is Jatba who merits our attention and not his predecessors whose account is shrouded in legends. By about 1600 A. D.
Koka sah, the son of Jatba, succeeded to the gadi. For the non-payment of tribute to the imperial treasury Sah Jahan ordered Khan Dauran to raid Devagad territory. In 1637 A. D. Khan Dauran laid siege to the fort of Bagpur and blew off its bastions. Koka Sah hastened to Bagpur from Devagad and purchased peace by paying one and a half lakh of rupees and hundred and seventy elephants.
Bagpur fort was restored to Koka Sah. Later, during the reign of Sah jahan Devagad was raided twice, once by Sah Naval and next by Aurangzeb as the Governor of the Deccan, with a view to extract its wealth. But poor Devagad was like a cow which had gone dry due to constant milking without proper feeding. Koka Sah was succeeded by Bakht Sah or Bakht Buland the most distinguished ruler of the Devagad house. Bakht Buland was driven out of Devagad in the war of succession by his brothers.
He appealed to Aurangzeb for help. Aurangzeb. A staunch Sunni, agreed to help on the condition that Bakht should embrace Islam. Helpless Bakht became a Musalman with the understanding that he would dine with Muslims but would continue to take brides from among the Gonds. Aaaaurangzeb accepted this compromise and with the military assistance offered by him Bakht Buland regained his lost gadi. The descendants of Bakht continue to have marital relations with the Raja Gonds.
They, however, performed their marriage ceremony according to the Hindu rites followed by those of th Is laic. Elastic Hindu religion has never taken serious note of such lapses but has given them a place within its fold. Bakht Buland was a capable ruler. He extended his kingdom reaching up to the borders of Berar from north and east. He founded the city of Nagpur by joining the twelve small hamlets formerly known as Raja pur Bars a or Bar asta. He constructed roads, divided the city into wards and created a strong wall around as a protective measure.
Part of old Bagpur is even today known as Burhan Sah’s Killa named after the last deposed king of this house. Bakht Buland died in about 1706 A. D. His kingdom included the present district of Chindvada and Bait ul and some portions of Bagpur, Sivani, Bhandara and Balaghat. During the declining days of the Moghal empire Bakht Bul; and raided the territory on both ther banks of Wardha and drew upon himself the disfavour of Aaaaurangzeb. Aurangzeb thereupon ordered that the title Bakht Buland meaning of high fortune should be changed to Nig un Bakht of mean fortune.
Nothing is known of the army sent to punish Bakht. Nagpur attained importance under Chand Sultan, the son and successor of Bakht. Taking advantage of the fast collapsing Moghal empire after Auranbzeb’s death, Chand sultan caaaptured Pavnar in Berar, an important military station. It remained under him for more than twenty years.
After Chand Sultan’s death in 1738, his illegitimate son Wali Sah put to death Bahadur Sah, the legitimate heir and occupied the gadi. The younger brother of Bahadur Sah, Akbar and Burhan being teen-agers, their mother Rani Ratankuvar, the dowager, appealed to Raguji Bhosle for help. This was a welcome opportunity for young Raghuji who was aspiring for power. At the request of the queen he promptly moved from Bham, his headquarters, defeated Wali and took him a captive.
He then moved to Devagad and installed Burhan Sah on his ancestral throne. In recognition of his timely help Rani Ratankuvar gave Raghuji one-third of her kingdom. Later, when the two brother Akbar and Burhan quarrelled with each othe, the latter asked for Raghuji help. Raghuji exploited the family dispute to his full advantage and became the de facto ruler of the Gond kingdom of Devagad. At present Jatba’s tomb and some foundations of buildings are the only remains among the ruins of Devagad fort. The Gondi house of Chandrapur or Chanda like that of Devagad was destined to fall a prey to its powerful neighbour Raghuji Bhosle.
This house originally hailed from sir pur on the west bank of Wardha. About 895 AD Bhima Ballad is said to have founded the kingdom. Relevant details of Chandrapur are given under Raghuji’s exploits in the following pages. According to Sir Richard Jenkins much of the credit for the development of agriculture, industry and commerce in Gondavana and Nagpur goes to Bakht Buland.
He brought industrious settlers into his domain by offering them liberal land grants. The superstructure of the Maratha administration erected by the Bhosles stood on the ground work prepared by Bakht Buland. With due regard for the work done by the Gonds, for their bravery and simple virtue, it must be admitted that they remained in the backwaters of civilization. The Mediaeval Period Part III The administrative system obtaining in Nagpur and the territory to its east during the Gondi period was semi-feudal. Nagpur proper then formed part of Devagad below the ghats. The Raja Gonds ruled the tract known as Gondavana, and Nagpur formed part of it till it was conquered by Raghuji Bhosle.
The whole country under the Raja Gonds was distributed among a number of subordinate local chiefs known as Rajas, Rais and Thakurs. These subordinate chiefs exercised considerable power within their jurisdiction but recognised the authority of the Maharaja of Devagad in a general manner. From Abul Fazal’s account of the Gadha-Katanga Gondi kingdom one gathers that a number of paraganas in the area were held by the Rajas. Obviously, such paraganas in the days of abul Fazal yet retained the traces of the Gondi administration. The system of administration by subordinate chiefs existed in the Gondavana till the Marathas overran it. Those areas of Gondavana which remained unaffected by either the Moghal or Marathas influence naturally retained their semi-feudal characteristics peculiar to the Gonds.
The government of Damon, for instance, was entirely feudal, unaffected as it was by foreign influence for a long time. This country was divided into a number of chief ships each having the headman of the clan who enjoyed the entire revenue and rendered military service to the Government whenever called upon to do so. The chief in addition had to pay an annual tribute of a jar of butter or one or two bamboo walking-sticks or the like. Similarly, the Gondi administrative system in the Narsingpur district was almost exclusively feudal.
The district was divided among the feudatory chiefs who were bound to attend upon the overlord at the capital with a stipulated number of troops but were not required to pay revenue in money. In the chattisgad area there existed greater chiefs and smaller chiefs prior to its conquest by the Bhosles. In Harrai in the Chindavada district where Gondi administration continued for a long time, the tribute (taki li) was settled in chiron ji-nuts and honey. Some useful details of Gondi administration in the Devagad above the ghats are presented here for, what was existing there was most probably obtaining in the Devagad below the ghats i.
e. , the Nagpur area in the pre-Bhosle period. The local chiefs called Thakurs took cognizance of petty crimes and offences in their area. They could levy fines and confiscate the property of the offenders. For good Government the Thakurs were to protect the travelers passing through their country and were responsible for any harm done to then within their jurisdiction. Further they were not to punish any person with death or mutilation or imprisonment beyond a certain number of day without reference to the Government.
Petty offences such as abusing, beating stealing were decided according to the customary rules. Adultery, rape, fornication, disputes about marriage, breach of observance of caste rules, etc. were styled according to the laws of the caste. Dispute between two Thakurs was to be judged by the overlord. Thus, within his own area the position of the Thakur was very strong. He was the head of the local minor clan.
Captain of the local levies and the representative of the authority of the Raja of Harrai immediately above him, and finally of the Maharaja of Devagad. A comparatively small domain was held, by the Maharaja, the surrounding area being under the local chiefs known as the Rais or Rajas. They were in complete subjugation to the maharaja according to his military strength. They attended him with levies of local troops and definitely paid much more than a jar of butter or bamboo sticks. They had a fre hand in internal matters.
The major part of the estate was under the Thakurs who made contributions in cash and kind according t their means and provided a quota of troops for their service of the Raja. This structure of the kingdom of the Raja Gonds of Gadha and devagad, though common, was subject to modifications elsewhere. The Mediaeval Period Part IV One of the striking features of Gondvana administration was the absence of hereditary officers like Deshmukhs and the Deshpandes so common in Berar. The only hereditary officer in Gadha-Mandla was the registrar or accountant called beohar or sometimes gum asta who was always a kayasth a. Beohar is quite likely the corrupt form of the Sanskrit word uyayahara. In the semi-feudal semi-tribal Governments these hereditary officers were absent.
In devagad and Chanda, the original basis of Government is the same as in Gondvana. The Rajas were little more than feudal superiors of a number of petty chiefs. Their dependants contributed to them military service. The Rajas like other feudatories possessed a territorial domain in which they exercised direct authority. With regard to the land revenue system of Devagad i. e.
, Bagpur and Chanda there were officers known as Deshmukhs, Deshpandes, Hudars, Muharirs and Waradpandes. The Marathas soon after the occupation of Devagad and Chanda removed the Deshmukhs and the Deshpandes, and changed the name Hudars to Kamavisdar-general manager, and Muhair or accountant to Phadnavis. They however, retained the office of the Waradpande who had his deputies all over the country to keep the account of actual cultivation. Occupancy and rents of lands. The office of the Primi under the Gonds corresponded to that of the Phadnavis of the Marathas. This highly centralized administration through the Deshmukhs, Deshpandes, Hudars etc.
, in the Gondavana appears an anomaly. It was certainly common in Berar. But its presence in some parts of devagad Kingdom would mean that it was found there by the Gond Rajas already existing when they conquered it. In other words.
The system of administration by Deshmukhs and Deshpandes in some parts of Gondavana i. e. , Devagad was remnant of the previous khalsa or central ise system and was continued by the Gond when they conquered it. The Marathas, when they conquered the Gondi kingdoms of Devagad and Chanda, therefore, found in some parts the administration by Deshmukhs and Deshpandes not in fact indigenous to Gondavana. It may be noted here that in Devagad above the ghats the real home of the Devagad Maharajas which forms part of the present Chindavada district, administration by Deshmukhs and Deshpandes was unknown. Again, as late as 1801 A.
D. the pathan jagirdar of sivani (seoni) maintained a feudal state owing allegiance to the Bhosles of Nagpur as his overlord. The Maratha Period Origin & Rise The Bhosle family is counted among the royal or Ksatriya clans of the Marathas. The Bhosle house to which Chatrapati Sivaji, the founder of Maratha Kingdom belonged, hailed from Versl near Baulatabad. The Bhosle of Nagpur are known as Hinganikar as one of their ancestors who was probably a contemporary of Maloti, the grandfather of Chatrapati Sivaji, rehabilitated the village Beradi near Hingani in the present district of Poona, the two brothers Mudhoji and Rupaji of Hingani-Beradi were contemporaries of Sahaji Bhosle the father of Sivaji.
Like Chatrapati Bhosle house, the Nagpur Bhosle family, too, considers that it descended from the Sisodia Rajputs of Udaipur. It is quite possible that some Ksatriya clans of the Rajputs came down to the Maratha country form the north during the long ascendancy of the Muslims. Nevertheless, it is a historical fact that there were Ksatriya families in the Maratha country like the Rastrakutas, the Chalukyas and the Yadavas, who had no relationship with the Rajputs of the north. The family tree in the bakhar of the Bhosle of Nagpur denotes ancestors who were common to this house and also to the Bhosle house of the Chatrapatis.
The Bhosles of Nagpur and the Chatrapati house belonged to the same Kshatriya clan. However, there is no independent historical evidence to establish common ancestry between the two families in the few generations preceding Chatrapati Sivaji. The account in the bakhar of the Bhosle of Nagpur, therefore, has to be taken with a grain of salt, In the biography of Chatrapati Sambhaji by Mahar Ram rav Cit anis it is stated that after the death of Sivaji his obsequies were performed by Sabaji Bhosle, as Sambhaji the eldest son, was in confinement of the fort of Panha la. But james Grant Duff in his “A History of the Marathas” vol. I. P.
243, says that Sivaji’s funeral rites were performed by one ‘Shah jee Bhonslay’ (Sahaji Bhosle).
There is no unanimity among contemporary writers about the person performing Sivaji’s funeral rites. If however, Sabaji Bhosle performed the obsequies there is every possibility that this Bhosle the ancestor of the famous Raghuji Bhosle of Nagpur was a known blood relation of the Chatrapatis. At the time of Sahu Chatrapati’s home coming when Tara bai and her partisans purposely cast doubt about Sahu being the grandson of Sivaji, it was Parasoji of the Nagpur Bhosle house who dined with Sahu and dispelled the doubt. Then again during the last years of Sahu’s reign it was strongly rumoured that he would select an heir to the a GADI of Satara from the Bhosle of Nagpur as he had no son.
Later, the English offered to seat one of the Bhosle’s of Nagpur on the Gadi of Satara. All these events indicate the possibility of a common ancestor of the Bhosles of Satara and Nagpur through direct historical evidence is not yet forthcoming to establish the fact. The two Bhosle brothers Mudhoji and Rupaji were contemporaries of Sahaji Bhosle and were noted roving soldiers. Rupaji it seems was residing at Bham in the district of Yavatmal where he had a JAGIR. He was childless. Of the sons of Mudhoji, Parasoji and Sabaji stayed with their uncle at Bham and served in the army of Chatrapati Sivaji.
The Maratha Period Parasoji Bhosle Parasoji seems to have gained some distinction by his inroads int o the territories of Berar and Gondavana during the reign of Sivaji. He exacted tribute from these regions. After Sambhaji’s death when Rajaram succeeded to the throne of the Chatrapati, parasoji rendered him valuable help. In appreciation of his service Rajaram honoured parasoji by presenting him robes, JARPATAKA and the title of ‘s senasaheb Subha’. Gondavana, Devagad. Chanda and Berar from where he had exacted tribute were given to his charge’.
Parasoji was the first of the Bhosles of Nagpur to have received this honorific title. This grant was made of 1699 A. D.” When Sahu was released by the Moghals, Parasoji was the first of the Maratha nobles to join him. Parasoji dined with Sahu in the same dish to dispel the doubt of the latter’s royal descent. In 1707 Sahu conferred on Parasoji the title of ‘s ena Sahib Subha’ and issued a sand granting him and his successors in perpetuity ‘mokasa’ of the following places; – 1.
Prant Rita pur and Sarkar Gavel, Prant Berar, Prant Devagad, Chanda and Gondavana 2. Malalwise details of Ana gondi, Berar, etc; – Sarkar Mahals Gavel 46 Nar nala 37 Mahur 19 Kheda le 21 Pavnar 5 Kalam b 19 Total 147 So far, for the grant of 147 mahals from the six Sarkar, there is no documentary evidence. Parasoji the first Senasaheb Subha died at Khed at the confluence of the rivers Krsna and Venn a in 1709, on his homeward journey from Satara. The Maratha Period Kanhoji Bhosle Parasoji was succeeded by his son Kanhoji.
Chatrapati Sahu granted Kanhoji is hereditary title and also some land at Khed for the maintenance of his father’s memorial – Darla was taken by Kanhoji and he made Bham headquarters. In the struggle between the Say yad brothers and Nizam-ul-milk for the control of the Delhi affairs, the former received the support of Sahu. Sahu sent Bajirav Pesva and Kanhoji Bhosle against the Nizam. In the battle of Balapur fought of 10 th August 1720, the Nizam came out victorious. Many Marathas lost their lives.
In the battle of Sarkar-Kheda, 1724, Kanhoji Bhosle offered to help Mubarji Khan against the Nizam, but Mubarji impudently refused it. Kanhoji was a religious minded orthodox Maratha nobleman. It is said that he accepted food prepared by Brahmans alone. The religious bent of his mind was probably due to his having no son. He performed sacrifices, religious rites and observed fasts so that he should be blessed by God with a son. Kanhoji soon got a son whom he named Rupaji.
Kanhoji it seems was hot tempered. He could not carry on well either with the Chatrapati or the pesva. When called by the Chatrapati to explain the causes of his failure to pay the dues int o the 3 treasury, Kanhoji could neither pay the dues nor explain the accounts. The fact seems to be that he was not prepared to brook control with Sahu. As the relations worsened, Kanhoji on 23 rd August 1725, decamped from Satara and hastened to the Nizam for asylum. The Nizam, however, did not back Kanhoji as Sahu reminded him that such an act was against the treaty entered into between them, when all attempt at rapprochement failed, sahu set Raghuji Bhosle against Kanhoji.
Raghuji had been asking Kanhoji, his uncle, for his share in the ancestral Jagir. This had naturally strained the relations between the nephew and the uncle. Chatrapati Sahu in setting the nephew against the uncle exploited the family feud to his own advantage. After making the necessary preparation Raghuji marched in 1728 from Satara against his uncle. Sahu granted him the Mokasa of Devur near Wai. For this grant the Bhosle of Nagpur were also styled as the Rajas of Devur.
Raghuji received the robes to Senasaheb Subha, sands for Berar and Gondavana, and the right to extend the levy of Cau thai to Chattisgad. Patna, Allahabad and Makasudabad (Bengal).
Raghuji entered Berar via Aurangabad. Near Jalan a S amser Bahaddar Atole objected to Raghuji’s taking the army through his territory as the old route passed through Nand ed and Asti. Raghuji avoided an encounter with Atole and encamped at Balapur after crossing the Lakhanvada ghats. From Balapur Raghuji sent his armed men all over the Berar and collected tributes.
Suj ayat Khan Pathan of Akola serving under the Nav abs of Ellicpur was easily defeated by Raghuji and hi territory subjugated. Thus, after establishing his rule over a greater part of Berar, Raghuji proceeded towards Bham, the headquarters of his uncle, in 1730 A. D. the small fortress at Bham was besieged by Raghuji’s Army. He was joined by his other uncle Ranoji.
Finding himself in a difficult situation Kanhoji escaped from Bham and ran for safety towards Mahur. He was hotly chased by Raghuji and Ranoji and overtaken near manda r (rani).
In the skirmish that took place. Kanhoji was defeated and taken a prisoner. Kanhoji, the second Senasaheb Subha, spent the remaining part of his life as a prisoner at Satara. At one time Kanhoji was an enterprising officer of Sahu.
He made some conquests in Gondavana and led an incursion into Kata k, laying the foundation of Maratha expansion eastward. His proposals that he should be allowed to maintain 200 horse, and Akola and Balapur in Pay Ghat should be restored to him, were not accepted. All was lost, once he lost the favour of Sahu. The end of Kanhoji’s new opportunities in Berar, Nagpur and the region beyond to the east. The Maratha Period Raghuji Bhosle By suppressing the recalcitrant Kanhoji, Raghuji gained the fov our of Chatrapati Sahu. As already observed Sahu conferred on him the title of Senasaheb Subha and the right to collect cau than from Berar, Gondavana, Chattisgad, Allahabad, makasudabad (BengaL) and Patna.
According to Grant Duff on the occasion of granting these rights Raghuji gave a bond which stated: 3. That he would maintain a body of 5, 000 horse for the service of the State, 4. Pay an annual sum of Rs. 9 lacs, 5. Pay half of the tribute, prizes, property and other contributions excluding the Ghasdana, 6. Raise 10, 000 horse when required and accompany the Pesva or proceed to any lace he might be ordered.
These terms of the bond are important in determining Chatrapati-Raghuji and Pesva – Raghuji relations. Details of Raghuji’s early life are not available. It seems that shortly after his birth his father Bimbaji died and he was brought up by his mother Kasi bai and grandmother. Bayabai at Pandavavadi near Wai (District Satara).
The child, it is said, was born by the grace of one Ramajipant Kolhatkar, a pious devotee of Rama and was, therefore, named Raghuji. There seems to be much truth in this story. Raghuji was a devotee of God Rama though the family deity was Mahadeva. He installed the new idol of Rama at Ramtek and was responsible for reviving the religious importance of this ancient place. In this letter-head he incorporated the word ‘s itakanta’ meaning, the Lord of Sita in honour of his favourite God Rama. When Raghuji attained manhood he served in the army of his uncle Ranoji.
Later he was with his other uncle Kanhoji at Bham. Raghuji did not fare well with Kanhoji and entered the services of Cand Sultan of Devagad. For some time he was also with the Naval of Ellicpur. Finally Raghuji decided to serve Chatrapati Sahu at Satara.
During his stay there he was asked to accompany Fateh singh Bhosle to the Karnatak where he distinguished himself as a capable soldier. When Raghuji’s qualities as a soldier and leader of men came to the notice of sahu, he appointed him against the disobedient Kanhoji. In the early part of his career Raghuji appears to have been a freelance soldier, shifting his loyalty from his uncle to the weak Gond Rajas. This was rather than the time-honoured expedient resorted to by many an ambitious soldier. Raghuji was not slow to grasp the political situation prevailing in the area form the distant Karnatak to Gondavana and finally threw his lot with Sahu. Who was by then a well-settled Chatrapati.
This was indeed a wise decision which benefited Raghuji as also the Maratha expansion. After consolidating his position at Bham in Berar, Raghuji turned his attention to the Gond Kingdoms of Devagad, Gadha-Mandla, Chanda and Chattisgad. Internal dissensions in these Kingdoms and their wars with other States were the occasions availed of by Raghuji for establishing his sway over them. In 1739-1740 Raghuji was sent to Karnatak by Sahu. Raghuji distinguished himself in this expedition. Returning from Karnatak he made the necessary arrangement for the invasion of Bengal and dispatched a large army under the command of his General Bhaskar pant.
Bengal invasion engaged Raghuji’s attention for ten years. From 1741 to 1751 A. D. the net gain was the province of Orissa. It was during these years that the historic dispute between Raghuji Bhosle and Balaji arose when their in the east clashed. Thus, broadly the chronological sequence of Raghuji’s major exploits is: .
Securing Berar by defeating his uncle Kanhoji. Extending his sway over the Gond Kingdoms; . Karnatak expedition; and. Incursions and incursions into Bengal.