(g)       Climate *

 

(i)        Climatic Divisions and Seasons and Their Duration

 

            The climate of the Bathinda District is, on the whole, dry and is characterized by a very hot summer, a short rainy season and a bracing cold season.  The year may be divided into four seasons.  The cold season from November to March is followed by the summer season which lasts upto the end of June.  The period from July to the middle of September constitutes the south-west monsoon season.  The latter half of September and October may be termed as the post-monsoon season.

 

*    Material supplied by the Additional Director General of Meteorology (Research), Pune

 

 

 

(ii)       Temperature and Humidity

 

            Temperature. – There is a meteorological observatory at Bathinda.  The data of this observatory may be taken as representative of the climate of the district as a whole.  From about the end of March, the temperature increases rapidly till beginning of July.  June is the hottest month having an average daily maximum temperature of about 42ºC and the mean daily minimum about 28ºC.  It is intensely hot during the summer.  Scorching dust-laden winds which blow on many days make the weather very trying.   On individual days, the maximum temperature rises upto about 48ºC.  With the onset of the south-west monsoon by about the end of June or beginning of July, there is an appreciable drop in day temperature.  However, the weather is oppressive due to increased moisture in the air on account of frequent breaks in the monsoon rains.  By about the middle of September, when the monsoon withdraws, both the day and night temperatures begin to decrease.  The drop in the night temperatures even in October is much more than the drop in the day temperature.  It is only after October that both the day and night temperatures begin to decrease rapidly.  January is generally the coldest month with the mean  daily maximum temperature of about 21ºC and the mean daily minimum of about 4ºC.  In the cold season, the district is affected by cold waves in the rear of passing western disturbances and the minimum temperature on such occasions may go down to the freezing point of water or even a degree or two below.

 

            Humidity. – Relative humidities in the mornings throughout the year are more than 50 per cent and during monsoon month about 75 per cent.  Afternoons are comparatively drier.

 

            Table I gives the period averages of temperature and relative humidity during the different months of the year in the Bathinda District :

 

TABLE 1

 

Period Averages of Temperature and Relative Humidity

 

(BATHINDA)

 

Month

Mean Daily

Highest Maximum ever recorded

Lowest Minimum ever recorded

Relative

0830

Humidity

1730*

 

 Max.

ºC

 Min.

ºC

 

ºC

 

                Date

 

ºC

 

           Date

 

%

 

%

 

January

21.2

3.9

27.4

1965 January 18, 19

-3.5

1975 January  4

68

52

February

24.2

8.3

31.8

1960 February 27

-0.9

1964 February 1, 3

66

47

March

29.4

12.6

36.9

1964 March 4 days

4.6

1979 March 8

62

43

April

35.1

18.3

45.4

1979 April 23

8.9

1965 April 2, 3

52

39

May

39.6

22.4

47.4

1981 May 19

14.2

1977 May 4

51

40

June

42.0

27.6

47.4

1978 June 9

17.2

1976 June 14

53

36

July

37.9

27.0

47.6

1972 July 2

18.4

1979 July 4, 5

71

58

August

35.9

25.8

40.7

1960 August 2, 4

19.3

1979 August 9

77

65

September

35.4

23.2

41.5

1980 September 27

16.7

1962 September 30

72

58

October

34.1

16.7

38.7

1961 October 1

7.9

1964 October 31

61

47

November

27.9

9.4

38.4

1965 November 1

0.3

1976 November 18

62

49

December

22.5

4.4

28.9

1977 December 9,11

-0.9

1973 December 23

67

53

Annual

32.1

17.5

 

 

 

 

64

49

 

           *  Hours I.S.T

(iii)      Rainfall

 

            Records of rainfall in the district are available for five stations ranging from 14 to 60 years data.  The details of the rainfall at these stations and for the district as a whole are given in Tables 2 and 3.  The average rainfall in the district is 405.6 mm. About 75 per cent of the annual rainfall in the district is received during the monsoon months of July to September, July being the rainiest month generally.  There is some rain in June and post-monsoon and winter season.  The rainfall in the district in general increases from the south-west towards north-east.  From the available data, it is seen that annual rainfall in the district was highest in 1908 being about 185 per cent of the normal, while in1924 it was lowest, i.e. 9 per cent of the normal.  It will be seen from Table 2 that the annual rainfall in the district was between 200 and 500 mm in 52 years out of 75.

 

            On an average, there are about 20 rainy days (i.e. days with rainfall of 2.5 mm or more) in a year in the district.  This number varies from 14 at Phul to 24 at Bathinda.

 

            The heaviest rainfall in 24 hours recorded at any of the five stations during the available period was 332.7 mm at Mansa on 4 October 1955.

 

(iv)      Atmospheric Pressure and Winds

 

            Cloudiness. – Skies are moderately to heavily clouded during the monsoon season and for the short spells of a day or two during the cold season in association with the passing of western disturbances.  During the rest of the year, the skies are mostly clear or lightly clouded.

 

            Winds. – Winds are generally light.  During the period May to September, winds are mostly from directions between south and west.  In the period, October to March, the morning winds are light and variable, while in the afternoons they are from directions between north-west and north-east.  In April also, the morning winds are light and variable and in the afternoons blow from directions between south-west and north.

 

            Special Weather Phenomena. – Western disturbances affect the district during the cold season when dust or thunderstorms sometimes accompanies by hall occur.  Thunderstorms and more frequently dust storms occur during the hot season.  Rains during the monsoon season is also occasionally associated with thunder.

           

            Tables 4 and 5 give the mean wind speed and frequency of special weather phenomena respectively, for Bathinda.

 

 

 

TABLE

1981-82 Normal And

 

Station

No. of

years of data

 

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

May

Jun

Jul

Aug

 

 

 

Bathinda

Observatory

14 a

9.2

10.4

32.2

5.7

10.1

24.6

116.5

132.5

 

     b

0.1

1.2

1.8

0.9

0.9

1.8

5.5

5.2

 

Bathinda

25  a

13.2

12.6

13.6

5.4

9.3

38.8

140.3

128.2

 

 

      b

1.3

1.3

1.3

0.8

0.9

1.9

6.6

5.2

 

Mansa

19  a

14.3

13.9

11.1

5.3

9.5

34.2

161.9

121.9

 

 

      b

0.9

1.4

0.9

0.4

0.8

1.8

5.3

5.5

 

Phul

16  a

13.0

10.1

4.7

0.9

3.0

23.0

137.2

91.3

 

 

      b

0.8

0.9

0.4

0.1

0.1

1.4

4.5

3.1

 

Nathana

60  a

15.4

13.7

11.0

4.5

4.0

24.7

90.5

90.8

 

 

      b

1.1

1.0

0.8

0.4

0.4

1.5

4.1

4.0

 

Bathinda

District

      a

13.0

13.1

12.7

4.4

7.2

29.1

129.5

112.9

 

 

      b

1.0

1.2

1.0

0.5

0.6

1.7

5.2

4.6

 

 

2

 

1981-82 Extremes of Rainfall in the Bathinda District

 

 

 

Sep

Oct

Nov

Dec

Annual

Highest annual

 rainfall as % of normal year

Lowest ann- ual rainfall as % of normal year

Heaviest rain fall in 24 hours_____

Amount    Date

 (mm)

63.6

4.5

2.7

6.7

409.7

175

64

181.4

1964

 

2.6

0.4

0.4

0.7

22.5

(1975)

(1969)

 

Aug 18

 

78.1

14.5

4.7

5.7

464.4

151

63

256.1

1964

 

3.1

0.5

0.5

0.7

24.1

(1958)

(1965)

 

Aug 18

 

101.2

9.5

1.2

5.7

494.3

181@

44

332.7

1955

 

3.5

0.6

0.2

0.5

21.8

(1955)

(1965)

 

Oct 04

 

40.2

4.2

0.5

8.1

335.2

185

18

151.0

1968

 

1.9

0.3

0.1

0.5

14.1

(1975)

(1961)

 

July 19

 

52.1

9.9

2.1

4.8

323.5

232

11

229.9

1955

 

1.8

0.2

0.1

0.5

15.9

(1908)

(1924)

 

Oct 04

 

67.0

8.5

2.2

6.2

405.6

185

9

 

 

 

2.6

0.4

0.3

0.6

19.7

(1908)

(1924)

 

 

 

 

(a)       Normal rainfall in mm

(b)       Average number of rainy days (days with rain of 2.5 mm or more)

 

*  Based on all available data upto 1980.  Years of occurrence given in brackets

 

@  Date used less than 365 days

 

 

1981-82 TABLE 3

 

Frequency of Annual Rainfall in the District

 

(Data 1901 – 1980) *

 

Range in mm

No. of years

Range in mm

No. of years

 

000-100

 3

401-500

10

 

101

 6

501-600

 7

 

201-300

22

601-700

 4

 

301-400

20

701-800

 3

 

 

 

*   During the period under consideration rainfall data for 5 years, are not available for all the days of the year.

 

TABLE 4

Mean Wind Speed in Kilometers/hours

(BATHINDA)

 

January

February

March

April

May

June

July

August

September

October

November

December

Annual

3.1

4.0

5.1

5.7

5.8

7.0

8.0

5.8

4.1

3.4

2.5

2.9

4.8

 

TABLE 5

Special Weather Phenomena

(BATHINDA)

 

Mean No.

of days with

 

January

February

March

April

May

June

July

August

September

October

November

December

Annual

Thunder

0.3

0.4

1.6

1.0

1.7

1.1

1.6

0.4

0.4

0

0.1

0.4

9.0

Hail

0

0

0.2

0.1

0

0

0

0

0

0.7

0

0

1.0

Dust-storm

0

0

0.1

0.6

1.2

1.3

0.7

0

0

0.2

0

0

1.0

Squall

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Fog

2.0

0

0

0

0

0.3

0

0

0

0

0

0.7

3.0

 

Number of days 2 and above are given in whole numbers

 

 

CHAPTER II

HISTORY

(a)

Ancient Period

(b)

Medieval Period

 

 

Introductory

 

            The district of Bathinda came into existence with the formation of the PEPSU in 1948.  It had its headquarters at Faridkot, which were shifted to Bathinda in 1953.  The district takes its name after its headquarters at Faridkot, which were shifted to Bathinda in 1953.  The district takes its name after its headquarters town Bathinda.  There are different versions about the origin of the name of the town.  According to Khalifa Mohammad Hasan’s History of Patiala, its ancient name was Bikramgarh.  Bathinda is said in the Hindu annals to have been capital of Jai Pal of Hindushahi dynasty which ruled over Punjab during 10th and first quarter of 11th centuries.  Tabarhindh was in all probability the old name of Bathinda.  According to another version, the town is said to have been named after a Rajput ruler Binai Pal and his wazir (minister) Thanda Ram, i.e. from Binai B + Thanda = Bathanda or Bathinda.

           

            The Bathinda District, as on today, comprises a few district administrative units of the erstwhile Phulkian States of Jind, Nabha, Patiala and Faridkot and some parts of Firozpur and Hisar districts which were then with the British rulers.  Thus, the history of the district is traceable through its various constituent parts.

 

(a)       Ancient Period

 

            The ancient history of Bathinda has been traced to the Indus Valley Civilization.  Certain sites explored in the Mansa Subdivision of Bathinda District link it with the sites explored and excavated in Rupnagar District.  This civilization has been called the Indus Valley Civilization, because most of its sites have been found along the Indus.  The Civilization was spread over a vast area and present Bathinda District was part of it.  It is also called the Harappan Culture, because the sites of the ancient culture excavated at Harappa in Pakistan have given ample proof that the Indus Valley Civilization was much developed and advanced.

 

            The sites1 explored in Mansa Subdivision have been classified into Pre-Harappan, Harappan and late Harappan Period.  The conclusions have been drawn from the various types of pottery found from the mounds explored.

 

1     B.B. Lal, S.P. Gupta, Frontiers of Indus Civilization (Delhi, 1984), pp 520, 527

 

            The sites found near the following villages in Mansa Subdivision have been classified into the Pre-Harappan Period, Harappan Period and Late Harappan Period :

 

1981-82 Pre-Harappan Period

 

1.                 Alipur Manoran

2.                 Baglian-de-Theh

3.                 Bare

4.                 Chhoti Mansa

5.                 Dhalewan

6.                 Gurni Kalan

7.                 Hasan Pur

8.                 Hirke

9.                 Lakhmir Wala

10.              Naiwala Theh

 

1981-82 Harappan Period

 

1.                 Alipur Mandran

2.                 Baglian-de-Theh

3.                 Dalewan

4.                 Chhoti Mansa  

5.                 Gurni Kalan

6.                 Hassanpur

7.                 Hirke

8.                 Karanpura

9.                 Lakhmir Wala

10.              Lallian  Wali

11.              Lalu Wala

12.              Ali-Da-Theh

13.              Naiwala Theh

 

1981-82 Late Harappan Period

 

1.                 Alipur Mandran

2.                 Chhoti Mansa

3.                 Ali-Da-Theh

4.                 Bare

5.                 Bhikhi

6.                 Danewala

7.                 Dalewala

8.                 Nehriwala

9.                 Sahnewali

 

The main characteristics of Pre-Harappan culture was that the bricks used by the people were unbaked and smaller than those of the Harappan Period.  They used copper to manufacture their implements and ornaments.

 

The main characteristics of Harappan culture are good town-planning, careful layout of streets, elaborate drainage system, organized municipal Government and on the whole a developed urban life.

 

The late Harappan culture shows unmistakable signs of all-round decadence.  New houses were built and drains laid out in utter violation of the municipal rules.  Kilns were sometimes built in the heart of the town.

 

This urban type of Harappan Civilization was destroyed by Aryans, who were basically a rural tribe.  The appearance of the Aryans on the soil of the Punjab in about B.C. 1500 seems to have coincided with the destruction of  the great Indus cities.  Hordes of these invaders seem to have descended into the Punjab plains from the north-west in several successive waves between B.C. 1500 to 800.  The Punjab in turmoil witnessed, perhaps for the first time a state of fierce and constant warfare for several centuries. The wars between the invading Aryans and the placid pre-Aryans of the land ended in the victory of the Aryans over the non-Aryans.

 

During the Rigvedic Aryan period, Bathinda seems to have been the part of Saptasindhy (seven waters) which became to be known as Panchanada (five rivers) in Mahabharta time.  During the Maurya and Gupta period, the area of the modern Bathinda District was undoubtedly a part of the empire of Mauryas and Guptas.  Hence, the ancient people of Bathinda District enjoyed the blessings of an efficient administration of the Maurya and Gupta Kings.

 

The area of Bathinda District had been under the rule of the Bhattis for a considerable period.  It is believed that in the 3rd  century, Rao Bhatti established the towns of Bathinda and Bhatner in Lakhi Jungle area.  Both these towns were fortified and linked through a tunnel.  Rao Bhatti did his best to habilitate people from outside in this region.  Later on, there arose several conflicts between Bhattis and Barar Rajputs for domination and ultimately the Barars succeeded in capturing Bathinda.

 

(b)       Medieval Period

 

            The Medieval Period of history starts with the Muhammadan invasions of India.  After the fall of powerful empire of Harshvardhan of Thanesar, India became the target of foreign invaders.  The invasion of Sultan Mahmud of Ghazni in the 11th century shook the Indian rulers completely.  At that time, the frontier area of India, including the area of the present Bathinda District was under the rule of Hindushahi rulers.  It is believed that Bathinda was capital of Hindushahi rulers for more than a century.  There is no doubt that the Hindushahi rulers defended this country from the onslaughts of Muhammadan invaders for a considerable period, but they could not stand against the incessant invasions of Mahmud Ghazni.

 

            The decline and decay of the Hindushahi Kingdom, which was the first to bear the brunt of the Turkish onslaught, enabled Mahmud to penetrate into the heart of Hindustan.  First of all, he besieged in 1004 AD the fort of Bathinda which lay on the route from the north-west into the rich Ganga valley.  It was bravely defended by the local rules, named Bijai Rai, but Mahmud’s superior military strength succeeded in capturing it.  All the inhabitants of the place, except those who became converts to Islam, were put to the sword.  A huge booty was captured1.

 

1  A.L. Shrivastava, The Sultanate of Delhi, 711-1526 A.D. (Agra, 1971), pp 55-56

 

            From the conditions of chaos and confusion created by the continuous onslaughts of the Muhammadan invaders and especially those of Mahmud of Ghazni, the Rajputs rose to power after the fall of the Hindushahis in the Punjab.  The Chauhans first ruled in Ajmer, but is appears that by 1164 they had occupied Delhi as well as the entire tracts of territory lying between it and the Satluj.  Sirhind and Bathinda constituted the two most important military stations on the north-western frontiers of the Rajput kingdom.  The  area of Bathinda District was under Chauhan Rajputs and Prithvi Raj Chauhan was an illustrious ruler of this dynasty.  He fortified important towns of his frontier right upto Bathinda in order to  be able to guard against any possible invasion from the north-west.  Muhammad Ghori made  his first attack on the fortress of Bathinda and besieged it in 1189.  Prithvi Raj did not seem to have been ready, and the attack probably was a surprise one.  The garrison was defeated and had to surrender.  Muhammad Ghori stationed his men in the fortress under a Commander, name Zia-ud-din.  When the Sultan was about to return, Prithvi Raj appeared in the vicinity of the fortress to recover it.  A fierce battle was fought in 1191.  Prithvi Raj’s troops attacked the Sultan with vigour and inflicted upon him a terrible defeat.  Muhammad Ghori himself was seriously wounded. He was helped to ride his horse by one of his Khilji officers and was taken away from the field.  Prithvi officers and was taken away from the field.  Prithvi Raj besieged the fortress of Bathinda, but it took him thirteen months to recover it from Zia-ud-din, its commandant.

 

            Prithvi Raj Chauhan was defeated in the second battle of Tarain, which is a landmark in the history of India.  It proved to be a very decisive contest and ensured the ultimate success of Muhammad Ghori against Hindustan.  The Chauhan military power stood completely broken1.

 

1  Ibid, pp 74-75

 

            After the defeat of Prithvi Raj Chauhan in the famous battle of Tarain in 1192, the area of Bathinda came under the rule of the Muhammadans.  Accordingly, Muhammad Ghori was the first Muhammadan ruler of this area who was subsequently succeeded by his most prominent slave, named Qutab-ud-din Aibak who laid the foundations of new dynasty, which is popularly known as the Slave Dynasty.  The period between 1206-1526 is known as ‘The Period of the Sultanate of Delhi’, and the areas of Bathinda District undoubtedly remained under the rule of the Sultans of Delhi.  It is also believed that area of present Bathinda District was part and parcel of the main Delhi Province and the fort of Bathinda had a great strategic position during the Sultanate Period.

 

            Qutab-ud-din Aibak was the first Sultan of Delhi, who ruled from 1206 to 1210.  Illutmish was the nest important Sultan of Delhi who reigned for twenty years.  During his reign, Nazir-ud-din Quabacha, the ruler of the province of Sindh and Multan, had also included Bathinda and adjoining areas in his kingdom.  But Illutmish succeeded in recovering Bathinda and adjoining areas from nazir-ud-din Qabacha1.

 

1 Ibid, p. 101

            After Illutmish, Raziyya who reigned from 1236-1340 was the next important ruler of the Slave Dynasty.  Virtually, she was the first woman ruler of India who possessed adequate sagacity befitting her high status.  But undue favour shown by her to the Abyssanian slave Jalal-ud-din Yaqut, offended the Turkish nobles who revolted.  Moreover, the proud Turkish nobles could not reconcile themselves to the rule of a woman and brought about her downfall in an ignoble manner.

 

            The above causes led to a conspiracy against the queen.  Altunia, Governor of Bathinda, was also an active member of the conspiracy.  He revolted and as soonas Raziyya reached Bathinda to suppress the revolt, some agents of the conspirators killed Yagut, the favourite of the queen.  The queen’s party was thus weakened, and perhaps, she was found in a state of mental confusion.  The conspirators now laid their hands on her and threw her and threw her into prison in April 1240.  She was put into the custody of Altunia, the Governor of Bathinda.  Bahram was proclaimed the Sultan of Delhi.

 

            In the redistribution of offices that took place on the accession of Bahram, Altunia did not get what he had expected.  He, therefore, became disaffected.  He thought of a plan to avenge himself.  In August 1240, he released Raziyya from the prison fort of Bathinda.  He married her and proceeded to Delhi to capture it by force.  But they were defeated by Bahram’s army and compelled to return towards Bathinda.  Their troops had deserted them and near Kaithal, they were murdered by some robbers on 13 October 1240.

 

            The most important slave king was Balban who virtually ruled this country from 1246-1287, for twenty years as Prime Minister of Sultan Nasir-ud-din Mahmus and for 20 years as Sultan of Delhi.  He made his cousin Sher Khan, the Governor of Bathinda and adjoining areas.  Sher Khan was an energetic person who governed with great courage and tact and repulsed many incursions by the Mangols.  As the Governor of the frontier provinces, he had become so powerful and influential that Balban began to consider him as a danger to his personal authority.  In these circumstances, it is believed that Balban had managed to get Sher Khan poisoned.  After Sher Khan, Balban appointed his eldest son Bughra Khan, as the Governor of Bathinda.  He was also an able administrator who successfully defended his area against the Mangol invasions till he died in 1285 while engaged in a fight against the Mangols.

 

            After the Slave Dynasty, the Khilzi Dynasty ruled about 34 years (1288-1321).  Ala-ud-din Khilzi was an important ruler of this dynasty.  After the Khilzis, the Sayyids reigned from 1414-1451.  Sayyid Mubarak Shah was an important rules of this dynasty who reigned from 1421-1434.  During his reign, Shaikh Salim was the Governor of Bathinda who had collected a large treasure and a huge store of grain and provisions in the fort of Bathinda.  After Shaikh Salim’s death, early in 1430, Sultan Mubarak Shah bestowed all his lands on Shaikh Salim’s two sons who did not however, seem to be satisfied with their lot and for ulterior motives incited Faulad, the slave of their late father, to revolt.

 

            At the time of Shaikh Salim’s death, his two sons were in the royal camp.  Faulad was a very greedy man, and he was in charge of the Fort of Bathinda where Shaikh Salim had amassed a large amount of wealth.  Faulad Turkbacha rebelled and confiscated the treasure in July 1430.

 

            It was suspected by Mubarak Shah that the sons of Sheikh Salim had a hand in it and they were imprisoned under the order of the Sultan.  On hearing the news of the insurrection of Faulad, Mubarak Shah at once sent Malik Yusuf and Rai Hansu, the son of Raja Diljit Bhatti, to deal with the rebel, but they failed, as Faulad posing to negotiate for settlement, threw them off their guard and inflicted a crushing defeat on them.  They fled and Faulad Turkbacha pursued them up to Sirsa.  Their cash, goods and tents all fell into the hands of Turkbacha.  At this defeat, Mubarak Shah himself marched against Faulad and ordered Imad-ul-Malik, the Governor of Multan to join the royal forces.  Before the advance of the forces under Mubarak Shah, Zirak Khan, Malik Kalu, Islam Khan and Kamal Khan, who had been ordered to proceed against Faulad, had besieged the fort.  Being hard pressed, Faulad sought for an interview with Imad-ul-Malik and agreed to submit to the Sultan, but he got a secret information that Mubarak Shah was planning to kill him and, therefore, under the fear of his death,  Faulad gave up the idea of negotiations and carried on the struggle against the royalists.  Mubarak Shah became hesitant to take a drastic action because he was informed that Faulad was trying to purchase help from the Governor of Kabul with amassed wealth that he had preserved in the fort.  Mubarak Shah instead of forcing the rebel to surrender by intensifying the pressure on him.  The Sultan ordered Imad-ul-Malik to withdraw to Multan.  Leaving Islam Khan, Kamal Khan and Rai Feroze Bhatti to carry on the investment of the fort of Bathinda, he himself returned to Delhi in November 1480.

 

            Faulad found himself in a tight corner and there was no way out except asking for foreign help with the offer of his vast treasure since he had full apprehensions of being captured by the Sultan.  This interval gave Faulad time to arrange for help from other quarters and he sent his agents to Kabul invoking Shaikh Ali Mughal’s help by promising a large sum of money in return.  Shaikh Ali was much tempted to know all about the vast treasure of Faulad and marched with a large army from Kabul to the rescue of the Turkbacha.

 

            Shaikh Ali plundered and devastated the principalities, particularly of those chiefs who were hostile to Faulad with a view to weakening them.  He reached the fort of Bathinda where Faulad was besieged.  Islam Khan and Kamal Khan left Bathinda, when Shaikh Ali was yet ten miles away.  Faulad came out of the fort and offered the stipulated amount of rupees two lakhs for his timely help, and after this Faulad began to prepare himself for stronger defiance.  The pact of Faulad with Shaikh Ali was a grave danger to the Sultanate of Delhi.

 

Mubarak Shah had ruled for little more than 13 years, under extremely trying circumstances.  The Punjab had been at the mercy of the rebels since his accession.  Jasrat, the Gakhar Chief, Shaikh Ali Mughal, the Governor of Kabul, and Faulad Turkbacha, the Governor of Bathinda were occupying and devastating  one or the other part of the Punjab.  The aims of Jasrat and Turkbacha were evidently to carve out independent kingdoms, but the aim of the Governor of Kabul was simply to fish in troubled waters so as to plunder the people of the Panjab1.

 

1    Bakhshish Singh, Nijjar, Panjab under the Sultans (1000-1526 A.D.)

   (Delhi, 1968), pp 77-79, 85

           

Before the rule of the Mughals, India was ruled by the Lodhi Dynasty from 1451-1526.  During the times of Bahlol Lodhi, the Sidhu-Brars were driven out of Bathinda fort with the help of royal support.  Ibrahim Lodhi was the last ruler of the Lodhi Dynasty from whom Babar snatched power after defeating him in the first battle of Panipat in 1526.  The Barars of the Bathinda District gave much help to Babar for the overthrow of corrupt and inefficient rule of the Lodhis.  As a reward for their services, the area of Lakhi Jungle was given back to Barars by Babar.

 

It is worthwhile to mention here that the area of present Bathinda District was dominated by the Sidhu-Brars.  Like almost all the Jat tribes, the Sidhus are of Rajput origin, and trace their ancestry to Jesal or Jesalji, a Bhatti Rajput, and founder of the state and city of Jesalmer, who was driven from his kingdom by a successful rebellion in 1180, and wandered northwards  where Pirthi Raj was then king of Ajmer and Delhi and the most powerful monarch of Hindustan.  Near Hisar, Jasel determined to settle, and here four sons were born to him, viz. Salvahan, Kalan, Hemhel, and Pem.  The third of these, Hemhel, sacked the town of Hisar, seized a number of villages in its neighbourhood, and overran the country up to the walls of Delhi.  He was driven back by Illutmish, the third Tartar King of Delhi, but was afterwards received into favour and made Governor of the Sirsa and Bathinda country in 1212. He was succeeded by his son Jandra, who was only remarkable as the father of twenty-one sons, from whom as may clans have descended; Batera being the ancestor of the Sidhus, Khiva was the last pure Rajput of the family who first married a Rajputni, but she bore him no children, and he then took the daughter of one Basir, a Jat Zamindar of Neli as a second wife. This marriage was considered a disgrace by his Rajput kinsmen, and Khiwa was ever  afterwards known as ‘Kot’ which signifies in the Punjabi dialect, an alloy of metals, or any inferior and degrading admixture.

Khiwa, however, obtained what he desired an heir; but his first wife, jealous of her rival, bribed the mid-wife to substitute a girl for the boy, whom she took into the jungle and threw into a dry water-course.  Shortly afterwards, a man passing by saw the infant, and having no children of his own, imagined that it had been sent by Heaven to console him, so he took it home and adopted it as his son.  But the mid-wife was compelled to confess her guilt, and, after a long search, the boy was found and restored to his father.  He was named Sidhu, and from him the Sidhu tribe has derived its name.  Brar, a great grandson of Sidhy was the founder of the Brar tribe1.

 

1   L.H. Griffin, Rajas of the Punjab (Patiala, 1970), pp 2-3

 

            When the Emperor Babar invaded India in 1524, Sanghar, the Brar chief of this area, waited on him at Lahore and entered his army with a few followers; but soon afterwards he was killed at the battle of Panipat on 21 April 1526, when Babar defeated Ibrahim Lodhi with great slaughter, and gained the Empire.  This victory did not, however, lead him to forget the services of Sanghar, to whose son Bariam he gave the Chaudhriyat of the waste country to the south-west of Delhi, which office was confirmed to him by Humayun, the son and successor of Babar, in 1554.  He lived for the most part at Neli, the village of Sidhu’s maternal relations, and also rebuilt Bhidowal, which had become deserted.  After his death in 1560, his son Mehraj or Maharaj, by the advice of Guru Hargobind, the sixth of the Sikh prophets, founded the village of Mehraj or Maharaj, naming it after his great grandfather.

 

            From this village, twenty-two others have been peopled, known as the Bais Maharajkian; and the Jagirdars inhabiting them are known as the Kaharajkian Sikhs.

 

            Mohan, with his eldest son Rup Chand, was killed, according to the custom of his family, in a fight with the Bhattis, about the year 1618, and Kala, the next surviving son, succeeded to the Chaudhriyat and the guardianship of his deceased brother’s sons, Phul and Sandhali. Soon after Mohan’s death, Guru Hargobind again visited Bhidowal, and Kala, who had faith in the Guru’s power and blessing, told his nephews that when they should see the saint, they were to place their hands on their stomachs, as if suffering from hunger.  This they did, and Guru Hargobind asking the reason was told by Kala that the boys were starving.   “What”, said the Guru, “matters the hunger of one belly, when these boys shall satisfy the hunger of thousands”.  He then asked the name of the children; and on hearing that of Phul (blossom) he said, “The name shall be a true omen, and he shall bear many blossoms”.

 

            Phul was the second son of Rup Chand, by Mai Umbi, a Jitani or Jat woman.  He was educated by a celebrated fakir named Samerpuri, who taught him the art of feigning death by stopping his breath, an accomplishment which had for him a most tragic result.  In the year 1627, Phul left Mehraj and founded a village five miles distant, which he called after his own name.  He received a firman or deed of grant from the Emperor Shah Jahan, confirming to him the office which had been for so many years held by his family.  The prophecy of Guru Hargobind was ful-filled, and Phul had seven children from who have descended many noble families.  Phul had resorted to the practice of langar (community kitchen) for the people of Lakhi Jungle area and thereby he became very popular.  He also built a fort at Phul in the year about 1654.

 

            From Tiloka, the eldest son of Chaudhri Phul, have descended, as has before been said, the families of Nabha and Jind.  Rama, the ancestor of the Patiala Family, was the second son of Phul.  Tiloka, the eldest son of Phul succeeded to the office of Chaudhary.  The village of Gumti was assigned to Ghanu, Jhandu, and Takhat Mal, the younger sons of  Phul.

 

            The village of Bhai Rupa was founded by Bhai Rup Chand, the devotee of Guru Hargorbind.  This village is situated about 13 km to the north of the town of Phul in Rampura Phul Tahsil of Bathinda District.

 

            Rama or Ram Chand, the ancestor of the Patiala family, is said to have first distinguished himself by attacking and dispersing a large body of marauders who were passing the village of Phul laden with plunder; and obtaining by his success some considerable wealth, he founded the village of Rampur, and began, after the example of the robbers he had despoiled, to attack such of his neighbours as were less powerful than himself.  He made a raid into the Bhatti country, and defeated Hussan Khan, one of the old enemies of his family, with much loss, near the village of Chandal, and carried off much spoil, money, horses, and cattle.  His next victory was over the Muhammadan Chief of kot, whom he defeated after a sharp fight and plundered his camp1.

 

1 Ibid, pp 4-12

 

            Both Tiloka and Rama were the followers of Guru Gobind Singh.  During the battle of Guru with Wazir Khan of Sirhind, Tiloka and Rama helped Guru alongwith their soldiers.  They fought at Anandpur Sahib also stayed for sometime at Damdama Sahib in Bathinda District.  Rama and Tiloka served the Guru with full devotion during his stay at Damdama Sahib.  Here, Guru stayed for quite some time dictating the Adi Granth to a devout Sikh of his, Bhai Mani Singh, and adding to it his father’s hymns and, according to tradition, one verse of his own.  He did so, because, it is said that the original copy was with his cousin, Dhirmal, who refused to part with it, and the Sikhs wanted an edition certified by the Guru.  He also made additions to his own compositions.  Here he was also joined by his wives, Sundri and Sahib Kaur.  When they asked the Guru where the young sons were, the Guru replied, pointing to his followers : “For these thousands, I sacrificed the other four.  So long as these sons of mine are alive, I will not consider the death of my four sons in vain”.1  It is worthwhile to mention here that two elder sons of Guru Gobind Singh, laid down their lives in the battle of Chamkaur Sahib and remaining two younger sons were martyred at Sirhind by Wazir Khan, the Faujdar of Sirhind.

 

1   Dr Gopal Singh, A History of the Sikh People (1469-1978), (New Delhi, 1979), pp 313-314

 

            The Guru according to Dr Ernest Trumpp, made 1,20,000 converts during his stay at Damdama Sahib.  The old glory of Anandpur Sahib, it appears, had returned and Sikhs thronged here from far and near.  Talwandi Sabo is now the headquarters of the Nihangs of the State.  A big fair is held here on Baisakhi day.  Guru also stayed for sometime in the fort of Bathinda.  There is a gurudwara inside the fort in the memory of Guru Gobind Singh.

 

            During the fight of Banda Bahadur with Wazir Khan of Sirhind, the Sidhu Brars of  Bathinda District fought on the side of the forces of Banda Bahadur.

 

            Ala Singh, the son of Rama, was the founder of Patiala State.  He was only twenty-three years of age when his father was murdered in 1714. Ala Singh was a great fighter.  He conquered Barnala and adjoining areas in 1753.  He attacked Bathinda which was in the possession of Sardar Jodh Singh Saboke who gave a tough fight to Ala Singh for three months.  But when Ala Singh succeeded in getting the help of Dal Khalsa, Jodh Singh surrendered.  After conquering Bathinda, Budhlada and adjoining areas were also conquered by Ala Singh.  In this way, the most of the area of present Bathinda District came under rule of Ala Singh of Phul dynasty.

 

            Ala Singh had only one wife Fattoh, the daughter of Chaudhary Khana, a Subhran zamindar of Kauloke in Rampura Phul Tahsil of Bathinda District.  A story was told of her, that at her birth, her mother, disappointed at having a daughter when she had earnestly desired a son, put the new-born child in an earthen vessel and buried it in the ground.  A wandering mendicant of the name of Devi Dass happened to pass, and seeing the mother in tears, inquired the cause of her grief.  She confessed to him what she had done, and the mendicant told her to disinter the child, for of her would be borne a famous race, which should rule all the neighbouring country.  The child was taken out of the ground unhurt, and eventually became the wife of Ala Singh, bearing him three sons, viz. Sardul Singh, Bhumian Singh, Lal Singh, all of whom died in the lifetime of their father.  Sardul Singh, the eldest son, married as his first wife the daughter of a Sirdar at Bhikhe (in Mansa Tahsil of Bathinda District) who became the mother of Maharaja Amar Singh.1

 

1  L.H. Griffen, The Rajas of the Punjab (Patiala, 1970), pp 27-28

 

            Ala Singh consolidated his power by defeating the Bhattis in 1757.  This victory over the Bhattis also increased reputation of Ala Singh.  In the capture of Sirhind by the Sikh confederacy in 1763, Ala Singh played a significant role and that is why Sirhind and Patiala area went to his share.  He made Patiala, the capital of his state.  Ala Singh died in August 1765 at Patiala, and he was succeeded by Amar Singh, his grandson. Thus the most of the area of the Bathinda District came to be ruled by the Phulkian rulers from the headquarters of Patiala. Therefore, the history of the Bathinda District from henceforward gets linked with the history of the Patiala State.

 

            Raja Amar Singh was also a great conqueror who further consolidated and extended the boundary of  Patiala State.  In the year about 1770, he sent a big force to capture the fort of Bathinda from Sukhchen Singh Sabo.  But it was not an easy affair to take possession of this fort as he had no artillery of sufficient power to reduce it.  He was compelled to tire and starve Sukhchen Singh out, and for a whole year the fort was besieged without success till the owner tired of his resistance, proposed to surrender if the Raja would raise the siege and promise him safety.  Amar Singh agreed to this, but before drawing off his troops and returning to Patiala, he insisted that Kapur Singh, son of the Chief, with four or five of his principal officers, should be given to him as hostages.  The siege was then raised, but Sukhchen did not give up the fort, and it was not till four months later that he visited Patiala, accompanied by Sodhi Bharpur Singh, a man whose sanctity was so generally respected by the Sikhs, that Sukhchen thought his company of more value than any safe conduct from the Raja.  Arriving at Patiala, he asked for the release of the hostages, agreeing to remain himself in confinement until the fort was surrendered.  To this the Raja consented, and Kapur Singh, with the other hostages, returned to Bathinda, and at once began to strengthen the defences and increase the garrison.  On hearing this, Raja sent orders to assault the fort without delay, and treated Sukhchen Singh with great severity to the indignation of Sodhi Bharpur Singh, who protested against such treatment of a man who had been persuaded to some to Patiala under his assurance of safety.  At length Sukhchen, weary of his rigorous imprisonment, sent an order to his  son to make over the fort to the Patiala officials, which was done, and Sukhchen released.  This acquisition was made in 1771 and hence most of the area of the present Bathinda District became part of Patiala State.

 

            Soon after the victory of Bathinda, there was the danger of a Maratha attack to the consternation of Amar Singh, who  sent off all his treasure and family jewels to Bathinda, which, lying amidst sandy waste, was not likely to be attacked.  Anyhow, Patiala was not attacked by the Marathas and Raja Amar Singh set out to punish some refractory Zamindars in the neighbourhood of Bathinda.  Raja Amar Singh died in 1781 at the age of thirty five.

 

            Raja Sahib Singh, the new chief of the Patiala State was a child of six years of age.  The affairs of the state were in the hands of Diwan Nanun Mal who was an Aggarwal banian of Sunam.  He was a man of great experience who had served Raja Amar Singh well, both in the council and in the field.

 

            During the time of Sahib Singh, a serious revolt broke out at Bhikhe, in Mansa Tahsil of Bathinda.  Sardar Ala Singh, the brother of Rani Khem Kaur, one of Raja Amar Singh’s widows, seized the town with the aid of zamindars of the neighbourhood, expelling the Patiala Governor, Thaman Singh, from the town and the fort. The Ranis and their relations had, at this time, great power in Patiala.  They all, with the exception of Rani Hukam, hated Naun mal for his efforts to maintain economy and to restrain their extravagance within due bounds; and the Diwan found himself opposed and thwarted in every possible way.  He, however, mustered a large force composed of Patiala, Jind, Nabha, Malerkotla, Bhadaur and Ramgharia troops, and, accompanied by Rani Hukam, marched against Bhikhe and invested the village.  After few days of skirmishing, Ala Singh, seeing further resistance hopeless escaped from Bhikhe by night, and fled to his home at Talwandi, where he was pursued by the Diwan and captured.  He was imprisoned at Patiala for a time, but on the intercession of Sodhi Bahr Singh of Anandpur, a man of great sanctity, he was at length released on payment of a heavy fine, and allowed Dhamon and other villages for his support.

 

            To add to the difficulties of the Patiala administration, the year 1783 was of famine as terrible as any that had ever devastated the northern India.  The previous year had been dry and the harvest poor; but, in 1783, it failed entirely.  The country was depopulated; the peasants abandoning their villages and dying in thousands of disease and want; but little revenue could be collected; the country swarmed with bands of robbers and dacoits, and the state of anarchy was almost inconceivable.  The neighbouring Chiefs began to siege for themselves the Patiala villages and all who dared flout Patiala authority declared themselves independent.  But Diwan Nanun Mal was able to crush all these revolts with an iron hand.1

 

1  Ibid, pp 53-54 and 160

           

            The most important thing that happened during the rule of Raja Sahib Singh was that Patiala State including the most of the area of Bathinda District came under the domination of the British Government as Raja Sahib Singh sought and obtained the protection of the British.  Raja Sahib Singh died on 26 March 1813 and was succeeded by his son Karam Singh.

 

            Raja Karam Singh had to face many problems from the extravagant claims and pretensions of his half-brother Kanwar Ajit Singh who demanded the fort of Bathinda from Karam Singh.  As the fort of Bathinda was the strongest in the Patiala territory, Raja Karam Singh declined the offer.  However, he settled matters with Ajit Singh, giving him less important places.

 

            The Maharajkian Sikhs, settled in about 22 villages around Maharaj in Bathinda District, had formed another constant subject of dispute between the Phulkian Chiefs, Patiala, Nabha and Jind, each claiming supremacy over them. These Jagirdars were of Phulkian origin, and, in 1833, were estimated at between forty to fifty thousand souls, inhabiting twenty-two large villages, the total area of which was about forty thousand acres.

 

            Their customs were peculiar; each individual claimed to be absolutely independent, and neither son nor brother remained in subjugation after he was abe to cultivate his share of the land.  The soil they owned was unirrigated, nevertheless it yielded abundant harvests.  But although no more  than simple agriculturists, the Maharajkians had given up none of their warlike habits.  Each man carried arms, which he never laid aside, even at the plough; for the whole community was of so turbulent a character, that no one was safe from the encroachment of his neighbour.  Such being the case, it may seem strange that these men had been so long able to preserve their independence, were they not always ready to bravery, and warlike habits, caused them to be respected.  They had scarcely any municipal government, and their only law was of equal division of inheritance.

 

            During Muhammadan days, the Maharajkians had paid tribute to Delhi, and when the empire fell, they naturally referred to the neighbouring Chiefs to arbitrate in their disputes; some going to Nabha, some to Jind, and the police and revenue posts on the boundary, were also always ready to send troops into the Maharajkian territory whenever their help was asked.  This state of things led to the usual results.  The Chiefs whose assistance was asked gave it with the sole object of strengthening their own personal influence and power; rival factions called in rival Chiefs, and the people gained very little benefit from the foreign interference; while jealousies and feuds continually increased.  Weary, at last, of perpetual disorder, the Maharajkians solicited the help of the British Government.  The case was a very difficult one to decide: Patiala, Nabha and Jind, each claimed superiority, but to this they had not title, nor cloud they show that, at any time, they had received from the Maharajkians any kind of acknowledgement of such superiority.  But the people were so wild and lawless that some strong hand was necessary to control them.  The idea of divided authority exercised by the three Phulkian houses was felt to be impracticable, and at length the Government decided to make over the villages, for a term of years, to Patiala, as being the strongest and the most likely to keep its troublesome neighbors in order.  Certain conditions were, however, appended to the grant, to which the Maharaja of Patiala would not accede, and persisted in maintaining exclusive rights of unconditional jurisdiction; rights which had been repeatedly denied by the British Government.  The result was that the Maharajkians, in August 1833, were brought under direct British superintendence, and the phulkian Chiefs were warned not to interfere in the affairs of the community, which became peaceful and well-behaved, as soon as the rival influences of Nabha and Patiala ceased to agitate it.

 

            This change in the character of the Maharajkians for the better was very marked, and it was apparent immediately after they had come under British control. No harsh rules or unintelligible procedure were prescribed for them, but simple village courts were formed, in which the elders were to decide upon more disputed cases.  The result was that in a few years the bloodshed and affrays which were before so frequent, became almost unknown, and the confidence of the people in the intentions of the British Government became such that they begged that a thana or police station might be placed in their midst, though they had always refused to admit any such post belonging to the neighbouring Chiefs, and would have resisted such an encroachment to the death.  They gave up almost entirely the practice of female infanticide, which had been before universal.  Their excuse for the prevaience of this crime was singular enough.  When told that it was expressly forbidden in the precepts of their Guru, Gobind Singh, they replied that it had been impossible for them, during the time of anarchy that had prevailed since they had adopted Sikhism, to find leisure to become acquainted with the doctrines of their scripture; and that the first notice that they had ever received of injunction issued some year before by the Rajas of Patiala and Nabha.  They, however, engaged to suppress the crime, and they were both sincere and successful; the punishment of forfeiture of his estate being ordained for any one who should commit it.1

 

1 Ibid, pp 161-163

 

            During the first Anglo-Sikh War in 1845-46, Maharaja Karam Singh of Patiala fought on the side of the British.  He died during this war and his son and successor Maharaja Narinder Singh also helped the British in the Anglo-Sikh War.

 

            During the disturbances of 1857-58, no prince in India showed greater loyalty or rendered more conspicuous service to the British Government than the Maharaja of Patiala.  The Patiala Chief was splendidly rewarded for his services by the British Government.

 

            On 1 November  1861, Maharaja Narinder Singh was invested with the Most Exalted order of the Star of India, at Allahabad; and about the same time, he was appointed a member of the Governor General Council for making laws and regulations.  On 13 November 1862, Maharaja Narinder Singh, the most enlightened ruler of the State, passed away at the age of thirty-nine.

 

            Mahinder Singh was only ten years old at the time of his father’s death.  In May 1870, the Maharaja was nominated a knight of the Most Exalted Order of the State of India.  During his time, Mahindra College of Patiala was established which made significant contribution to the area of present Bathinda District.

 

            After the death of Maharaja Mahinder Singh of Patiala in 1873, Rajinder Singh became the Maharaja of Patiala.  The foundations of Rajindera Hospital, Patiala were laid by him in 1877.  The establishment of the hospital gave some sort of medical relief to the people of Malwa.  In 1881, a railway line from Rajpura to Bathinda was installed.  It added to the facilities of communication to the people of this area.  Maharaja Rajinder Singh passed away in 1900.

 

            Maharaja Bhupinder Singh was the next Maharaja of Patiala state who gave much help to the British during the World War I.  Many young persons were recruited from this area to be sent on the war front.  Maharaja Bhupinder Singh died in 1938 and he was succeeded by his son Yadvindera Singh.  Maharaja Yadvindera Singh gave much military aid to the British during the Second World War.

 

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