135. The most distinguished landholder in the District
is the Maharaja of Jaipur who holds
near Ellichpur (as he does also in
various other parts of India) land granted to his ancestor the
famous general and astronomer Jai Singh by Aurangzeb in
recognition of services in the field. The estate is known as
Jaisingpura and is inam land. The story goes that Aurangzeb
issued a sanad to Jai Singh granting him all the land on
which his army halted for any considerable time, and the
Jaipur family accordingly have such estates scattered all
over India. His Highness of course is an absentee, and the
resident aristocracy of the District falls into four well defined
classes: the Jagirdars and others, chiefly Muhammadans,
connected with former rulers in Ellichpur; the Rajput
chieftains of the Melghat; the Deshmukhs who are mostly
Marathas, and the Deshpandes who are all Brahmans. Besides
these there are a few families of merchants and others who
have become prominent under British Rule. Very few of these
can show anything exciting in their annals or any personage
of historical distinction. The story especially of the ex-pargana
officers is the story of a class and an institution rather than of
great characters or single houses. As a class, they usually
refer their sanads to the time of early Mughal Emperors, and
especially to Aurangzeb; though the offices which they
hold are probably much older. As a class, they weathered
the stormy period of do-amli government, to be placed with the arrival of British Rule on political pensions (rusum,lawazima) in perpetuity; and as a class they are repidly losing, through the excessive subdivision of these pensions, all the importance that, they once possessed.
136. Probably the most substantial as well as the best
known of the Deshmukh families in
the District are those of Daryapur,
Jarud and Ellichpur. The first are Marathas, but claim, as so many leading Maratha families do claim, to have come here from Rajputana ' in the time of Alamgir;' an assertion in which there is nothing very improbable; for in the general upheaval of that Emperor's Maratha wars new men on both sides were bound to come to the front and his armies are sure to have left colonists throughout the Deccan. They received a grant of the Daryapur pargana, which contains 113 villages, in Deshmukhi and quickly became zamindars in addition. At various times they appear to have occupied a position of considerable dignity under both the Nizam's and the Bhonsla's governments, and to have attained at least a partial independence of the local talukdars and Subah officials. Bahadur Rao, their greatest representative, who seems to have held sway early in the 19th century, had the honour of a palanquin at the expense of the Nizam's Government with a guard of 50 soldiers from the same quarter as well as 50 from the Bhonsla; and used to travel in state to Nagpur and Hyderabad to present in person the accounts of his pargana. He built at a cost of about a lakh of rupees the great wada or family seat at Daryapur, which is one of the best houses in the District and contains some very handsome carving. The present head of the family, Bhagwantrao Shankarrao Deshmukh, is his grandson. He has been a Special Magistrate for 28 years and was invested a few years back with second-class powers: he has sat on the District Board ever since its beginning 23 years ago, and in many other ways has helped forward the administration of the
District which he was invited to represent in the Delhi Darbar of 1903. A brother Nagorao is also on the District Board while a third is Tahsildar of Amraoti The family Was formerly one of the Wealthiest in Berar: and though much of its inam land has been made khalsa at successive settlements, and an unfortunate lawsuit not yet finally closed has eaten away its revenues, is still very
well off. One village Sivar Buzurg containing 572 acres 13 gunthas is held on palampat tenure at a fixed tribute of Rs. 321 per annum; the lawazima. amounts to Rs. 848-2-3, and there is khalsa land of 912 acres 7 gunthas paying Rs. 2108-11-9 Government land revenue Bhagwant Rao calculates his total yearly income as being between nineteen and twenty thousand rupees. Hs holds also the Patelki and patwaripan of several villages, but these offices are purely of an honorary nature and the work is done by others.
137. The Ellichpur Deshmukhs are Brahmans and claim
to have obtained their watan before the
establishment of the Mughal rule in Berar having come from Bidar in the time of the Bahmani kings. Probably because their pargana Was the headquarters of the province they never appear to have attained to such power as the Daryapur family, though at least as wealthy. One village is held by them in jagir free of payment; and as they also possess a large amount of khalsa land scattered in; 27 different villages, and a lawazima Which amounts in all to Rs. 4291-11-6 the family may be Said to be in a flourishing; condition in spite of a debt of Rs. 15,000 on one Half of the estate. The property is divided, one share being in the hands of Vyenkat Hanmantrao and the other of Vithal and Harihar,
sons of Madhorao.
138. Like the Daryapur family the Deshmukhs of Jarud
in the Morsi taluk are Marathas and;
claim to have come originally from Udaipur in Rajputana. The present head of the family is, Rao Sahib Anand Rao Tukaram who received his title in
recognition of services rendered during the famine of 1899-1900, and of his habitual liberality to deserving institutions both in his own neighbourhood and elsewhere. He is both Deshmukh and Malik Patel of Jarud receiving a lawazima of Rs. 120 for the former and Rs. 136 for the latter office. He holds land in Berar paying Rs. 4500 a year Government land revenue and in addition is malguzar of two villages in the Katol tahsil of Nagpur and of seven in the Gwalior State. He pays Rs. 175 income tax on sahukari dealings and a share in a cotton gin, and estimates his annual income at not less than a lakh of rupees. The estate is, not unnaturally, free from debt. The Rao Sahib maintains
sadavart—free alms to all that choose to ask—at Jarud and in the famine established a poor-house for 500 people at his own cost. He is chairman of the Warud Bench of Honorary Magistrates and a member of the Taluk Board.
139. Near neighbours of the Jarud Deshmukhs are the Kale family of Warud, who though
they have never held Pargana office may be mentioned here as a Maratha family of standing. They are descended from one Sivaji Rao who came from Satara about the year 1760 at the request of the Bhonsla Raja and settled here. He is said to have taken part in Maratha raids towards Bengal and to have held rank as first class Sirdar in the Nagpur Darbar. Of his two sons Vithalrao the elder settled at Betul in the Central Provinces while the younger Malharrao came to Berar; and the family is proud of having held office as Honorary Magistrates for three generations, Vithalrao, Malharrao, Tukaram and Martandrao, the eldest son and grandson of Malharrao, having all exercised jurisdiction; while Bajirao, a brother of Tukaram, is a member of the District Board. The family is a large one with many branches, but the Berar half of it at least is joint, and holds property both real and personal valued at five lakhs of rupees and bringing in not less than thirty thousand rupees a year. In addition there is a moneylending business managed by Bajirao.
140. Of the Deshpande families there are also several of
considerable position, but few that can lay claim to any historical importance.
That of Anjangaon is descended from
one Vithuji Narayan who settled in Anjangaon and founded
Surji, building the village fort and rampart there in 1697 A.D.
Shamji Deshpande fought valiantly in the wars of the Nizam
and the Marathas and successfully defended his village against
a Pindari raid. Balwantrao was the head of the house at the
time that the representatives of Sindhia and the East India
Company met at Anjangaon, and is said to have exerted himself
in the interests of peace. His services and hospitality were
recognised by both sides and a copy of the treaty presented
to him, but this together with sanads from the Emperor
Aurangzeb and from various Nizams was destroyed in the fight
between the Nawab of Ellichpur's troops and those of the
Munsif of Akot, which took place here in 1850. Of the present
members of the family Yeshwantrao is a Special Magistrate,
as were also his father and grandfather before him, the former
subsequently becoming Tahsildar of Balapur. Raghupatrao,
who is now 58 years of age and is regarded as the head of the
family, has also been for many years a Special Magistrate.
He is a great student of poetry and himself a poet. His lawazima is drawn on his behalf by his son Govind, and
amounts to Rs. 819-13-2. Yeshwantrao draws Rs. 34-6-2 and
a third branch of the family represented by Gayabai widow of
Pralhad has Rs. 727-1-8. No information has been obtained
as to the financial condition of the family except the statement;
that their inam fields were made khalsa in 1863-64 by the
Inam Investigation Officer. They may however be taken to
be fairly well-to-do.
141. But the most important Deshpande family in Berar
is that of Ellichpur whose present head
is Rao Sahib Purushottam Bhagwant,
Like his father, the late Rao Bahadur Bhagwant Rao, the
Rao Sahib is a second class Magistrate and vice-chairman of
the Ellichpur City municipality, a brother Narhar Rao being
also a municipal member. The family is a Brahman one and
claims descent from one Ramaji and his son Naroram who came to this District and settled in it in the reigns of Shah Jahan and Aurangzeb. They received various grants of land and of the Deshpande watan, the earliest being dated A.D. 1656. At the present day the Deshpande's allowance is Rs. 3410-4-9. The estate consists of inam and khalsa lands, and each of the three branches into which the family has been divided enjoys an income of about Rs. 15,000 per annum.
142.A position somewhat similar to that of the Deshmukhs and Deshpandes in the plains was occupied in the Melghat by the
Rajas of the six parganas, Makla, Dhulghat, Jamgarh,
Mohkot, Khatkali and Rupgarh. Living in a poorer
country they have never been quite so wealthy but being
inaccessible they have attained in the past to far greater
independence. Their history is more stirring and the
insertion of a clause in their sanads establishing primogeniture
has given them a chance of stability which the pargana
families of Berar unfortunately lack. All these chiefs claim
to be of Rajput or Chhatri extraction, the Raja of Makla
being descended from a certain Bijairao, the Mohkot Raja
from Gambhirrao and the other four from Garudrao. It is
said that in 1598 three years after the close of the Malwa war,
the Emperor Akbar turned his attention to his new dominions
and called for volunteers to populate the devastated parganas.
Among others the three adventurers just named came forward
and offered to settle the rude tract known as Gangra, the
western and southern parts of the present Melghat taluk.
The Emperor was pleased to accept their services and sent
them forth with the hereditary rank of Rajas, bearing letters
commendatory to the Governor of Malwa, Shabash Khan
Omdad-ul-Mulk enjoining his assistance. Having reached
their destination they set about their work, and to help them
called in the services of a wealthy zamindar named Gondaji.
This man (the Solon of the legend) introduced cultivators and whenfrightened by the pestilential climate they fled back to
theplains, he resorted with great success to the cautery as a
cure for malaria. The work prospered and the Emperor was so satisfied that he granted jagirs to the adventurers in perpetuity, enjoining on them to uphold order and maintain the peace, and generally to do the duties of a good king. We may hope that they obeyed him for their history for nearly three centuries is a complete blank covered only by lists of names and by sanads from Alamgir which expert opinion pronounces forgeries. But the existence of certain metkari tenures along the northern border of Berar (lands held either for the maintenance of police chaukis or as blackmail) together with the undoubted blackmail from the Akola treasury to the Mohkot Raja leave some doubt upon the matter. Certainly their first appearance in authentic history is a sufficiently turbulent one, for in 1809 a family quarrel between Khushal Singh of Makla and his uncle Jait Karn assumed such dimensions that the latter called in the aid first of the Bhonsla Raja and subsequently of the Nawab of Ellichpur, and the whole country was devastated. Eventually however the Raja won the day and obliged his uncle to take refuge in Ellichpur. From about 1812 to 1818 the history of the Melghat is bound up with the history of Sheikh Dulla, a daring Pindari leader. Sheikh Dulla was a young Muhammadan brought into the Melghat as a personal attendant by Khushal Singh but the attractions of the freebooter's life were too much for him and abandoning the service of Khushal Singh he joined a Pindari gang and soon became one of the most daring and elusive of raiders. Being thoroughly at home in the Melghat he found it easy to evade pursuit, and it is not difficult to imagine that the local Raja found the temptation to share in the booty and to connive at his escape irresistible. In 1813, however, his depredations in the neighbourhood of Poona roused the Peshwa to action and a force was despatched to follow him into the Melghat. Sheikh Dulla himself escaped but; Khushal Singh and his brother being suspected of complicity were seized and in 1814 the whole tract was annexed by the Peshwa. The Raja and his brother soon escaped and there ensued a period of war between them and the Peshwa's representative whereby entire parganas are said to have been
depopulated. In 1816 the Peshwa's force was recalled to Poona, but in 1817 Khushal Singh was seized by the Nawab Salabat Khan of Ellichpur, and the Melghat was annexed to Berar under the sovereignty of the Nizam. Khushal Singh died two years after his deposition. Jangu Singh, the heir of Khushal Singh, continued to share in the depredations of Sheikh Dulla upon the Berar valley, till in 1818 the latter met the usual fate of the freebooter and was stabbed to death by an old member of his own gang, who had been sent by some British troops to persuade him to surrender. The information about the position of the Rajas after the annexation in 1814 is very meagre but they appear to have lived the life of outlaws and freebooters till the death of Sheikh Dulla in 1818. Thenceforward they were constantly striving to recover what they had lost by their misconduct. An enquiry into their claims was made in 1840 by Captain Johnston and the Nawab Jani, and a further inquiry in 1867 by the orders of Sir Richard Temple, Resident at Hyderabad, on the occasion of demarcating the forest reserves. It was at this second enquiry that the Rajas' rights were established on the basis on which they have subsisted to this day. Compensation for the loss of forests and forest rights was ordered to them in the shape of annual cash payments; one-third of the estimated profits on forest produce being divided into two shares, one for the Makla Raja who had kept his teak forest in excellent condition and was the greatest loser, one for the other five. In addition the previously vague extent of their jagirs was finally settled, their police stipends fixed by Captain Johnston were raised, and the nazars or presents made them by their feudal dependents were made voluntary. The metkari lands and the blackmail already alluded to were dealt with, the former being made khalsa and the latter abolished; the Raja of Jamgarh also received Rs. 1500 per annum in extinction of the right which had been granted him to receive grazing tax. Particulars of the Rajas' villages and allowances as finally fixed are given in the following page.
Memorandum showing the Jagirs, etc., held by the Melghat Rajas.
Compen- sation on account of Jäglia cess.
Compen- sation on account of Forest dues.
Compen-sation on account of grazing tax.
1. Räjä Khuman Singh of Maklä.
In lieu of the first 3 villages, given up in the State-forest reserve, he has been allowed.
143. In 1870 the Makla Raja was found to have taken up his residence in Ellichpur. Three of
villages, Makla, Punjara and Sumet, had been included in the reserved forest, and owing to the irksome restrictions introduced by the Forest Department the Raja found existence at Makla intolerable. His case was represented to the Government of India and in 1872 he was given the five villages of Kot Chikhli, Nandura, Jamber, Kota, Lawada in lieu of these three villages. On sentimental grounds he was allowed to retain possession of the plateau of Makla, where his ancestral house and magnificent old mango groves were situated
144 No change was made in the position of the Rajas till
1884 when the police arrangements came
under consideration. So long as the
Melghat was confined to the simple
Korku, the somewhat primitive police system maintained by the
Rajas did well enough; but the opening of the tract by roads
attracted traders and moneylenders, and the system broke
down. The personality of the Rajas was in itself enough to
bring the system into disrepute. They took no personal pride
or interest in their position; many of them led dissolute lives
and bore evil reputations. Crime was neither reported nor
detected; there was no adequate security for person or property.
In 1885 three of the Rajas had been deprived of their
jurisdiction, two more had been suspended and only one (the
Raja of Khatkali) was in charge of his range. Matters were
brought to a head by the depredations of Tantia Bhil. Several
dacoities were committed in the Melghat and the Rajas
absolutely failed either through indifference or sympathy to cope
with the situation. A special force of the regular police had
to be posted in Melghat and the local officers were unanimous
in favour of making the change permanent. This was
accordingly done. The Rajas' connection with the police was
terminated and payments made to them on this account ceased.
As an act of grace however such part of the payment as had
been considered to be the personal allowance of the Rajas was
continued to them during their lifetime.
145. The Rajas have always been treated as absolute proprietors of all the land within their
to confer any rights on the tenants. In
1871, when the proposals with regard to the exchange of certain villages with the Makla Raja were submitted, the Government of India enquired what steps were being taken to prevent the existing tenants in the villages surrendered becoming mere tenants-at-will of the Raja; but it was pointed out by the Resident that owing to the shifting nature of the cultivation in the Melghat it was inevitable that in course of time all the tenants would become tenants-at-will and it was urged that, land being plentiful and cultivators few, the Raja's self-interest would prevent his dealing harshly with the tenants. The tenants therefore all hold their land entirely at the will of the Raja and no rights of occupancy or transfer have been granted to them. In 1876 it was decided in consequence of the indebtedness of some of the Rajas to place their holdings on the same footing as a service grant in the plains, to protect them that is to say from alienation and subdivision; and the question of issuing sanads defining the Rajas' rights was raised. Their issue however was delayed, and it was not till 1896 that all the Rajas had received them. The form of sanad
is given below;
[SANAD granted to Raja of in the by
of the Government of India.
son of taluq
District under the authority
I. (1) The Jagir villages of:—
(Name of village or villages)
within the survey annexed specified insubject to
1. Compensa- tion on account of laglia Cess
Aggregating an area guntas in the the District in Berar, boundaries shown boundaries shown upon the map of the (year) on sheet nos:
and also the money the margin, are hereby granted, conditions hereafter stated, to you son of and to your successors in the Raj to the following order of succession so long as any such successors are forthcoming.
acres and taluqs of as laid down within the taluq of allowances'
Compensation on account of Forest dues
Compensation on account of grazing dues
(2) For the purpose of these jagirs and of the allowances for Jaglia cess and forest dues, the order of succession to Raja and all subsequent incumbents shall be as follows:— Namely—that on the death of any incumbent, he shall be succeeded in the enjoyment of these jagirs and of these allowances by such one of the male persons, (if any then in existence) descended by birth or adoption through males only from Raja as would be preferred according to the rules governing the succession to ordinary private property, and that when according to these rules several such persons stand on an equal footing, the law of primogeniture shall apply.
II. This grant is given on the following
conditions, on failure of which it shall be
liable to forfeiture, namely—
(1) That the said jagir and the said allowances, viz. the Jaglia cess and compensation for forest dues, being service grants shall on no account be alienated by the said Raja or his successors either by sale or mortgage or in any other manner without the previous sanction of the Resident in writing.
(2) That the tenure of the grants hereby confirmed shall be entirely dependent on the loyalty to the British Government of the said Raja and his successors.
(3) That in all cases of succession the confirmation of the Resident shall be obtained.
III. That the abkari revenue of all the villages held in jagir by the Raja or his successors shall belong absolutely to Government.
IV. That the jagirdar shall be considered the proprietor of all forest trees and forest produce in the land hereby confirmed to him, subject always to the condition that any timber or other forest produce removed beyond the limits of the jagir shall pay such dues and be subject to such rules as regards transit as the resident may from time to time prescribe.
V. That in the event of Government constructing road or railways within the limits of
the lands hereby confirmed to the jagirdar,
compensation for any land or for forest produce
on such land required for such roads or railways
shall only be payable in respect of land
actually under cultivation at the time the land
is taken up for such purpose or for any in habited village site in whole or in part or any bona fide improvement proved to have been
made at the expense of the jagirdar.
VI. That no transit dues of any description
shall be leviable by the jagirdar.
VII. That the jagirdar shall maintain in
good order and in their proper positions all
the boundary marks of his jagir, and that
if after the granting of this sanad any boundary marks on the ground are found at any
time not to coincide with the position given
to them on the map, it will be incumbent on
the jagirdar for the time being to erect
boundary marks of approved pattern on the
places assigned to them according to the map,
and that on failure to do so after due notice
has been given by the chief revenue authority of the District, it shall be within the
power of the chief revenue authority of the
District to cause the said boundary marks to
be erected and to recover the cost of the
same from the jagirdar in the manner prescribed by law for the recovery of
arrears of land revenue.
Given under my hand
and the seal of my office with the sanction of the Governor- General in
Council, this the of (year to be given in words).
be observed that the title of Raja is used, and therefore definitely recognised by the Government of India. It is not recognized however as conferring any hereditary precedence; and does not even convey the right to a seat in Darbar, only two of the Rajas being at present Darbaris. An exemption in perpetuity from the provisions of the Arms Act has been granted to them with their retinues; and in this respect as well as in the vague social deference customarily paid them their status has been recognised as somewhat higher than that of ordinary jagirdars or deshmukhs. In the event of a dispute as to heirship the jurisdiction of the civil courts would apply but in addition to this the Chief Commissioner's sanction to all successions must be obtained. In spite however of the
very definite recognition which has been accorded them, the present status of the Rajas is not an enviable one. The Pax Britannica has deprived them of the excitements of gang robbery with violence which formerly relieved the tedium of life for so many of their rank; it has even deprived them of their control over the local police. But it has not yet brought the more solid advantages of civilization into their jungle fastnesses. Shut off from the world so long as they continue to live in the home of their fathers, they have nothing to do but to draw the allowances which Government has granted them and manage their small jagirs as best they may; and it is little wonder if the monotony of such an existence is occasionally varied by an incident such as that which
brought one of their number within the grip of the law only a short while past. The most notable occasion in their history is recorded in Meadows Taylor's autobiography. In 1857 they all appeared before that officer and offered their services in keeping out the mutineers from Berar; and the writer records that not one of them failed in the duty for which they had volunteered. Apart from this none of the Rajas have as yet attained to any eminence either in the Melghat or elsewhere, though the late Raja Khuman Singh of Makla and Kot Chikhli appears to have been a man of some dignity and force of character. He was the owner of two very good houses in Chikalda; and it is hoped that his successor at present a minor may receive such a training as will fit him to fill and perhaps to improve on the position that he occupies. The remaining Rajas are all illiterate and their affairs deeply involved. The names and residences of the present Rajas are as follows:—
1. Raja Bharat Singh Khuman Singh of Makla or Kot Chikhli resides at Kot and at Chikalda.
2. Raja Bhoran Singh Tara Singh of Dhulghat has his residence at Ranigowhan.
3. Raja Guman Singh Mangal Singh of Mohkot resides at Salwan.
4. Raja Ratan Singh Lakshman Singh of Jamgarh resides at Raipur.
5. Raja Ratan Singh Beni Singh of Khatkali resides at Mankari.
6. The Rupgarh Raj is now represented only by the two widowed Ranis Lal Kunwar Dhaokal Singh, and Genda Ganpat Singh who are each paid an allowance of Rs. 30 per mensem from the Chikalda sub-treasury.
146. Of the former revenue administration and government
in the remaining seven parganas of the Melghat we have no certain information
though it seems that revenue officials of the Nizam were
stationed in the Melghat, and we may suppose that the Rajas held some vague and indefinite authority over the wild tribes in the parganas nearest to them as well as over their own. The parganas of Narnala and Gawilgarh would naturally be under the sway of the kiledars or military castellans of those fortresses; but in the latter at least as well as in the neighbouring parganas a position of great strength was held by the family now represented by Umrao Singh Ganu Singh. They were patels of some fifty villages and jagirdars of Kalamgana Khurd, but were not as is commonly said kiledars and are in no way related to the kiledar family of Gawilgarh whose present head resides at Bhainsdehi in Betul. There is no definite information forthcoming as to their origin though we may suppose them to have formed part of the original Rajput settlement placed by Aurangzeb in fort Gawil and to have maintained throughout a pure descent uncontaminated by marriage with the jungle tribes. Though not kiledar the representative of the family was one of the defenders of Gawilgarh against the Duke of Wellington, and had held the jagir village of Kalamgana Khurd from time immemorial. The jagir descended without break to his grandson in whose time it was forfeited for his non-appearance before the Inam Commissioner in 1870. In 1889 however it was restored and the land revenue which had been collected in the interval was paid to the jagirdar. The present holder is a Darbari but has no other distinction.
147. In 1896 it was proposed to compensate Ganu
Singh, the jagirdar of Kalamgana, for
(1)the losses sustained by him on his
patelki rights (including rights in mango and mahua produce) in consequence of the inclusion of certain villages in the Chikalda State forest: (2) the losses consequent on the forest produce from his jagir village of Kalamgana having to pay dues at the Melghat forest nakas.
Compensation in the form of land rather than a money annuity was suggested in
the interests of the family, as the experience of the Melghat Rajas had shown
the danger of money grants for which no work was required. Accordingly the two
villages of Dongarkhera. andKalamgana Buzurg, which adjoin the jagir village of Kalamgana, were leased to Ganu Singh at a nominal rent of Rs. 10 per annum for 30 years. On the expiry of the lease which will fall at the close of the year 1925-1926, no compensation for improvements will be claimed, but only permission to remove jagir forest produce from Kalamgana Khurd, free of dues, or in lieu thereof a payment, not exceeding Rs. 100 a year, for such term as Government may levy dues on forest produce removed from the jagir.
148. One of the most interesting survivals of Muhammadan rule in Berar is the provision that has
been made for establishment of the
faith of Islam. As, is well known, that
religion recognises no priesthood in the accepted sense of the
term but entrusts to various classes of laymen the duties
usually performed by priests in other communities. The
maintenance of public worship is the business of the State
and those who conduct it are civil officers of Government.
The Mullah, the Maulvi, the Muezzin have each their role
assigned to them, but the two most important offices are
those of the Kazi and the Khatib. The former is one who
conducts the services in the mosque and at the idgah, both
of which places he is supposed to maintain in repair, performs
the nikah or marriage ceremony, settles points of what may
be called ecclesiastical law, and is the general referee and
arbitrator of his people. For each of his various services he
receives a fee. The Khatib is a more distinctly religious
officer, his duties being confined to preaching the khutba (a
mixture of " Bidding Prayer" and sermon), leading the
devotions of the congregation and distributing alms. He is
also expected to deliver lectures on religious subjects. In
most places the two offices are held by one and the same man,
but where there is a large Muhammadan community they are
separate. In Berar a Kazi serves a circle of Muhammadan
villages, frequently those of a pargana, and both offices enjoy
in addition to the offerings of the faithful service grants of
inam land. These have been given to them under sanads of
various Delhi Emperors and Nizams of Hyderabad; and when British Rule was introduced there was much uncertainty as to the light in which the land so held should be regarded. The Inam Investigation Officers were in favour of treating it as given for personal maintenance; and this view was at first accepted with the consequence that the inam might be divided up as an inheritance, and further on failure of direct heirs of the grantee would revert to the Crown. The law however does not appear ever to have been enforced and on a petition of Saiyad Amjad Husain (see below) to be allowed to succeed his father-in-law Saiyad Madar Baksh in the inams attached to the Kazat of Anjangaon Surji and other places, the Government of India reversed the rule and directed that the fields to an amount calculated to bring in Rs. 300 per annum should be regarded not as personal maintenance but as inamba-shartekhidmat or service grant. They are now therefore treated as endowments attached to the office of Kazi. They cannot be divided and so long as the service for which they are given is performed, and the land is not alienated, they will not be resumed by Government or made khalsa. The service may be personal or by the appointment of a Naib Kazi who acts as a curate-in-charge. In spite of this provision and of the customary dues which they receive, the Kazi families are by no means well-to-do. As might be expected, the two most prominent in the District are those of the Khatib and Kazi of Ellichpur, the former being represented at the present day by Saiyad Azmat Husain and the latter by Saiyad Muhammad Hanifuddin. Saiyad Hanifuddin's family are Husaini Saiyad and claim descent from one Shahabuddin Wali who emigrated from Kantur in the time of the emperor Muhammad Tughlak A.D. 1325-1351 to Daulatabad. In the reign of Aurangzeb his descendant Muhammad Sharifuddin received a grant of the Kazat and Khitabat of Daulatabad and Khuldabad and these offices have remained with his decendants. His grandson of the same name migrated to Ellichpur by reason of a famine; and by the favour of Nizam Ali Khan of Hyderabad in 1182 A.H. (1768 A.D.) obtained the office of Kazi and the title of Khan
under a sanad of Shah Alam. Saiyad Mohiuddin, the grandfather of the present Kazi, was the author of a religious work entitled ' Hidayat ul Anwar.' The multiplication of departments under British Rule has meant that various services such as registration, control of bazars and the like for which in old days the Kazi used to draw fees have passed from his hands; but he still enjoys an inam bringing in Rs. 300 annually; and a total income from all sources of Rs. 1000 by his own calculation. The family of the Khatib is also Husaini Saiyad and claims to have come to Berar with the mythical Shah Abdur Rahman Ghazi in the person of his chief of staff Saiyad Abdul Malik. Having arrived here, however, they settled down to more peaceable occupations and turned from Ghazis to Muezzins and Khatibs of the Royal Mosque, prospering at the hands of various Mughal Emperors and others down to modern times. Saiyad Muhammad Khalil in particular was regarded as a saint and as such invited by Nizam Ali Khan, who ruled in Hyderabad from A.D. 1763-1803, to adopt his son, it being considered a great honour even for a prince's son to be adopted by so holy a man. The same Nizam at the Iduzzoha in 1754 A.D. when acting as Governor of Berar on behalf of his brother invested the Khatib with the Robe of Honour which his descendants still wear at the Idulfitr and Iduzzoha. It consists of a long white gown embroidered with green, a belt similarly embroidered in pink and a sarpech of green worked in silver; and though now much worn with age, must when new have been a wonderfully handsome garment. The late Khatib Khan Bahadur Saiyad Amjad Husain was famous as the author of 'Tarikh Amjadi,' a history of Berar in Persian and of other works both in prose and verse and in addition to being a second class Magistrate was a man of great position in the city. His influence among his own community was such that both Sunnis and Shiahs accepted his leadership, and when he preached would worship in the mosque side by side. His brother Saiyad Muhammad Husain was a YunaniHakim of note. In days when European medicine was less easily obtainable than now, he was frequently consulted by English
officers, and his dispensary received a monthly grant-in-aid from municipal funds. As has been already mentioned, the late Khatib on the death of his father-in-law Saiyad Ghulam Ahmad, otherwise known as Madar Baksh, succeeded to the Kazat of no less than six parganas which had been held by the deceased and to the property attached to them. A long correspondence ensued as the upshot of which a large proportion of the land was allowed to remain inam and was made ' service grant' attached to the office of Kazi. Saiyad Amjad Husain left three sons who have divided the duties but enjoy the inheritance in common, the eldest being Kazi of Anjangaon Surji in addition to the Khitabat and the other two taking the remaining Kazats of their father. The total landed estate of the family is 990 acres 27 gunthas of which 491 acres 3 gunthas are inam land. The income of the family from all sources including a small political pension is estimated by Saiyad Azmat Husain as nine thousand rupees a year and there is no debt. The Khatib is a member of Ellichpur City municipality and a Bench Magistrate.
149. The Nawab family of Ellichpur whose history for the
century preceding the introduction
of British Rule is the history of the
province itself, is now extinct. It is represented however through women by Daud Khan and Yunas Khan sons of Talemand Khan, and these gentlemen still enjoy something of the consideration as well as part of the property belonging to the old family. They are free from debt and have an income of about Rs. 9000 a year arising chiefly from khalsa land. Daud Khan is a member of the municipality and a Bench Magistrate. The family is of Sulemanzai Pathan extraction, and first appears in the Deccan in the reign of Nasirjang (1748-1750), by whom Shadi Khan and Nasib Khan, horse dealers from Jaipur, were appointed to the command first of a hundred then of a thousand lances and were given a jagir in Berar. From mere adventurers they rose to high importance, and from their descendants the governors of Ellichpur were principally chosen. Muhammad Ismail Khan rose to a command of 7000 horse and, having
distinguished himself in the battle of Udgir against the Maratha forces in the year 1760 was appointed in 1762 by Nizam Ali Khan to the Governorship of Berar. A bullet in the thigh during that battle had lamed him for life, and he was allowed the privilege, by no means a common one, of remaining seated in full Darbar. He was also granted by the Nizam a palanquin, a royal fan of yak's tail, a banner, a drum and other honourable distinctions, as well as the jagir of Balapur, his cousin Hayat Khan receiving Daryapur, Karasgaon and other places. As Subahdar, he did much to beautify Ellichpur and in particular founded the fine old palace of the Nawabs, a building which is said to have cost three lakhs of rupees. Its courtyards and halls are now in a very tumble-down State, though some good carving and stone work are still to be seen. Part of it is used to-day as a school and part is inhabited by the present representatives of the family. Ismail Khan also constructed the walls of the city, using, it is said, the materials of Raja Il's Jain temples, and retaining for ten years the whole revenues of his subah for the purpose. Whether as seems probable he actually aimed at an independent principality or as the Nur-ul-Berar has it, the Wazirs Zafar-ud-Daula and Rukn-ud-daula succeeded in poisoning their master's mind against him, the Nizam became suspicious of his old friend and lieutenant. Marching into Berar he took the fort of Amner on the Wardha river from the Bhonsla and advanced against Ellichpur. At Ner Pinglai Rukn-ud-daula was murdered, and at Deori the Nizam halted, the Nawab's forces being only four miles away. Here (still following the vernacular account) Zafar-ud-daula sent a message to Ismail Khan offering to mediate with his sovereign, an offer which was contemptuously rejected. The armies met at Katsura between Ner and Ridhpur, and the Ellichpur forces were routed: the Nawab fighting with his usual gallantry, was slain. It is noteworthy as disposing of the allegations of treachery on the part of Zafar-ud-daula that it was at that officer's mediation that Salabat Khan and Bahlol Khan, the sons of the dead man, were invested with their father's honours and jagirs. The former lived to make himself very useful
to Wellesley, finding supplies for his army and himself fighting with his troops under the General's orders in the campaign against Gawilgarh. He is said to have placed his son Namdar Khan under Wellesley's special protection: as the local historian somewhat enigmatically says ' General Wellesley adopted Namdar Khan and gave him the name of General Duke. The latter on attaining manhood was remarkable for nothing but his spendthrift habits: and with his nephew the direct line of the Nawabs expired in 1846. Portraits are still in existence of Ismail Khan, his son and grandson, which might well serve, so marked is the gradual stultifying of the features, as an illustration to Gibbon's famous words on the rise and decline of oriental dynasties. The present family are descended from a sister of Nawab Ismail Khan. Khan Bahadur Manewar Khan was at the time of the Inam Commission confirmed in his jagirs for his lifetime only: and on the succession again passing through a lady they were resumed and made khalsa; by this tenure accordingly Daud Khan and Yunas Khan at present enjoy them.
150. The three most; important jagirdari families in the
District are those of Saiyad Riyasat
Ali of Asadpur, Saiyad Kasim of Nandgaon Peth and Mir Ahmad Ali of Kharala. Of these Mir Ahmad Ali who is a retired Special Magistrate, has no co-sharers. He estimates his estate at about five lakhs of rupees, his income from land and moneylending at Rs. 25,000 a year and his expenditure at about Rs. 15,000. Including with the jagir, khalsa land which he has himself purchased he is a holder in eighteen villages. His great-grandfather Mir Akram Ali who was the founder of the family received the jagir for military service to the Nizam, and both Akram Ali and his successor Akbar Ali had the title of Khan. Ahmad Ali has two sons Husain Ali and Riyazat Ali who will eventually succeed him. Saiyad Kasim, who lives at Nandgaon Peth, is the head of a family which holds the jagir of four small villages near that place and is also wealthy. The third
jagir, that of which Riyasat Ali is the most prominent representative, was probably in the beginning the largest of the three as the estate of which two villages (Shahpur and Raipur) are now jagir and the rest khalsa lies in both the Daryapur and Ellichpur taluks. It was granted by Nizam Ali Khan Asafjah-us-Sani in the year 1177 Hijri (A.D. 1776) to Mir Wajid Ali, Khan Bahadur for gallantry in battle, but is now very much subdivided, no less than fourteen persons being enumerated as having either shares in or allowances from the estate. Mehdi Ali, Hafiz Ali and Muhammad Ali, who are brothers, hold one half of it and reside in Daryapur taluk; Zulfikr Ali and Riyasat Ali (with the remaining sub-sharers) hold the rest. In all the estate consists of 876 acres 38 gunthas jagir and 3720 acres of khalsa land. The total income is estimated at Rs. 40,000 and the total expenditure at Rs. 25,000. Riyasat Ali jagirdar has a medal of the Royal Humane Society for bravery in saving life from drowning, and both he and Muhammad Ali are Honorary Magistrates. Finally may be mentioned the jagir of Mahuli in Amraoti taluk which was granted (as an exception to the usual practice) by the British Government for conspicuous services during the great Mutiny. The ancestors of the family were jagirdars in Ellichpur and Vaka-i-Nigars in the time of Aurangzeb, but in modern times the founder of their fortune has been Mir Dilawar Husain who took service in the Hyderabad contingent and rose to be Risaldar Major of the 2nd cavalry. In the action at Banda in 1858 his valour won him the Order of Merit and he received also the title of Sirdar Bahadur. He met his death in battle at Chichamba, a village in His Highness the Nizam's Dominions in 1859 while fighting against a band of Arab and Rohilla marauders [See Major Burton's ' History of the Hyderabad Contingent,' page 232,243.] and in the next year the jagir was granted to his two sons in perpetuity or for so long as the British Administration in the H. A. D. shall continue.' Both these sons in their turn entered the army, the younger Mir Akbar Ali becoming a Risaldar and the elder Mir Bakshish Ali a Risaldar Major and like his
father a recipient of the Order of Merit. The present jagirdar Mir Mazhar Ali (a grandson) resides at Hyderabad; and his one son is the sole heir to the estate. The land of the village amounts to 2618 acres 23 gunthas free of all assessment to Government.
151. But perhaps the most influential of the Muhammadan
families is that of the late Nawab Mir Fateh Ali Khan who was a jagirdar in
the Aurangabad District of the Nizam's territory as well as a
large property holder in Akola and Amraoti; in the latter city
he was a Special Magistrate and the recognised leader of the
Muhammadan community. His estate and something of his
influence have descended to his two sons Mir Mehdi Ali
Khan and Mir Turab Ali Khan. The ancestor of the family
was Nawab Mir Najaf Ali Khan Bahadur Mushir-ud-daula
Zulfukar Jang, who came to the Deccan with the first Nizam
and captured the great fort of Asirgarh. Of gentlemen who
have risen to affluence under British Rule may be mentioned
the Honourable Rao Bahadur R. N. Mudholkar and Mr. M. V.
Joshi, the leaders of the local bar, both of whom have large
houses in Amraoti Camp. The former is a well-known authority
on questions connected with the economic development of the
country. The most prominent Marwaris are Fatehlal Saligram
the local head of the great house of Shriram Saligram at
Dattapur and Shrinarayan Rambilas, the proprietor of the firm
of Dhanraj Pokarmal in Amraoti. Both these gentlemen are
Honorary Magistrates; and the latter's family were the first
bankers on a large scale in Berar. Dhanraj Sahu, indeed, the
founder of the family, was murdered by the enraged populace
in 1255 Fasli (A.D. 1845) being suspected of having made a
corner in grain after a-failure of the monsoon. His grandson,
Rao Saheb Rambilas Pokarmal, however, gained his title
for his many public spirited acts; and the family are at
present much respected. Of the village patels one of the
best known is undoubtedly Raibhan of Assegaon who in a
tenure of office extending from 1861 to 1903 (in which year he
relinquished in favour of his son has done much for the
improvement of his village and neighbourhood and has given
several of his family to the service of the State. The Rajput family which holds the patelki of Talegaon Thakur and surrounding villages is also very well-to-do: perhaps its best known member is Thakur Chandrabhan Raoji, Deshmukh and patel of Mojhari. He is a very substantial landed proprietor and gin owner and rendered excellent service in time of famine.