Monday, 5 January 2015

Fall from glory to disgrace - Raja Chait Singh of Benaras!!

Warren Hastings.www.executedtoday.com
Raja Sri Chait Singh's  father Balwant Singh, was merely an Amil, or farmer and collector of the revenues, for Shuja-ud-Daulah, the Nawob Wazir of Oudh (Ayodhya or Varanasi). Upon the death of his father, Chait Singh was confirmed in the office of collector for the Wazir, and he paid 200,000 pounds as a gift or Nuzzeranah, and an additional rent of 30,000 pounds per annum. 

As his father was no more than an Amil,  he succeeded only to his rights, perks and titles. But by a  Sanad granted to him by the Nawab Shuja-ud-Daulah in September 1773 AD, on the recommendation of Warren Hastings, he acquired a legal title to property in the land, and was promoted from the office of Amil to the rank of Zamindar.

The King of Oudh, Suja-ud-Daulah died in 1775 AD, and Warren Hastings, then Governor-General, after the death of an old ally of the British firmly decided to extend British dominion and power and this resulted in a new  treaty in May,1775 ratified between his son and successor, Asaf-ud-Daulah. According to the new treaty  Benares  was ceded to the East India Company, and Raja  Chait Sing became a vassal of the British. Thus five years after the death of  Balwant Singh, the Governor General and Council of Bengal obtained the sovereignty paramount of the province of Benares. On the transfer of this sovereignty, the Governor and Council proposed a new grant to Chait Singh, confirming his former privileges,besides, the sovereign rights of the Mint, and the powers of criminal justice with regard to life and death. He was then officially  recognized by the Company as one of their Zamindars of the British empire in India.

In 1778, Hastings (then Governor General) felt compelled to make  a huge  demand of five lack rupees on Raja Chait Singh. In July, 1778 in his letter to Chait Singh, Warren Hastings mentioned, "War having been declared between the Courts of Great Britain and France, by the former on the 18th March ... I am to request of you, in my own name and that of the Board, as a subject of the Company, bound to promote their interest on every occasion, to contribute your share of the burden of the present war." The fact is that the Zamindars paid as much to Government as their lands could afford. A second year's contribution of five lakhs (£ 50,000) was demanded from Chait Singh, then a third year's contribution of five lakhs, and then a fourth year's contribution, besides expenses of troops. Chait Singh had to pay above fifty lacks which was far above his revenue,  whereas his rent was not even twenty-four lacks. He refused to comply with the request of additional contribution  for   maintenance  of cavalry, battalions of sepoys, etc and began corresponding with the company's enemies.

Shivala Ghat: In September, 1781 AD Hastings came to Benaras  mainly for the purpose of collecting fine levied uoon him and additional dues from Chait Singh on behalf of the East India Company. Hastings sent a couple of hundred native soldiers, sepoys under command of three young English lieutenants. The Raja submitted without a word. Chait Singh was stripped of his position and placed under house arrest, pending an interview with Hastings. The arrest enraged Chait Singh's people, and all Benaras came storming about the palace and threatening vengeance. The mob broke into the fort and massacred the helpless soldiers and their officers.  In the mele that followed,  Chait Singh escaped from the building by climbing down to the river from a small window  with the help of his loyals who jerry- rigged a rope from  their turbans. Ultimately Chait Singh's troops were easily defeated. Now the zamindari  rights were  transferred  to his nephew Raja Sri Mahip Narayan Singh on 14th September,1781. Chait Singh himself fled to Awadh, then to Gwalior, where he was granted a jagir for a while until it was later confiscated. He died in Gwalior on 29th March,1810 in obscurity, leaving three sons. This

Balwant singh, father of Chait Singh adhikaranjanmarxist.blogspot.c
incident greatly damaged Hasting's image and capability, leading to his eventual impeachment by the Company.

It is a sad  story of a zamindar who was kicked 

from all sides by the British rulers with their overwhelming powers. What a poor soul! That an unexpected  sudden fall from glory to disgrace for a man who had been at the summit of luxurious life for some time is just awful.

Ref:
http://murshidabad.net/g