Nahar Singh

Raja Nahar Singh (1823–1858) was a Jat king of the princely state of Ballabhgarh in Faridabad District of Haryana, India. His forefathers were Jats from Tewatia Gotra who had built a fort in Faridabad around 1739. He was involved in the Indian Rebellion of 1857. The small kingdom of Ballabhgarh is only 20 miles from Delhi. His palace is taken over by the government of Haryana under Haryana Tourism.[1] Nahar Singh Stadium in Faridabad is named after him.[2] The Raja Nahar Singh metro station in Violet line is also named after the matyr.[3]

Nahar Singh
Born1823
Died9 January 1858(1858-01-09) (aged 34–35)
MonumentsNahar Singh Stadium, Nahar Singh Mahal
MovementIndian Rebellion of 1857

Early life

Ballabhgarh State was an important princely state founded by Jats of Tewatia clan. Balram Singh Tewatia, who was the brother-in-law of Maharaja Suraj Mal Sinsinwar of Bharatpur State, was the first ruler of Ballabhgarh State, and Nahar Singh was his descendant. Nahar Singh was born to Raja Ram Singh and Rani Basant Kaur at Ballbhgarh on 6 April 1821. His teachers included Pandit Kulkarni and Maulvi Rahman Khan. His father died in 1830, when he was about 9 years old. He was brought up by his uncle Nawal Singh, who took over the responsibility of running the state affairs. Nahar Singh was crowned in 1839.

Secular ruler

He was an able and secular ruler who promoted communal harmony, his letter (31 July 1857) to Mughal Emperor Bahadur Shah Zafar says:

Although I, in my heart, profess the Hindu religion, still I follow the dictates of the Muhammedan leaders and am obedient to the followers of that creed. I have gone so far as to erect a lofty marble mosque within the fort (of Ballabhgarh). I have also made a spacious Idgah.[4]

He even made a gift of 4 villages to his Muslim court musician Umra Khan of Delhi gharana, a gift that included "the village of melody" Samaypur which is currently a locality of Ballabhgarh town (not to be confused with Samaypur in north Delhi).[5] Maharaja Nahar Singh's other court-musicians were famous vocalists Mir Allahbux (known as Ela) and Mir Umrabux (known as Omra), who were the descendants of kalawant Mir Bala.[6]

Anti-British campaign

During the 1857 uprising, under the "Delhi Agency" there were seven princely states, Jhajjar, Farrukhnagar, Ballabhgarh, Loharu, Pataudi and Dujana. The Chiefs of the last two estates remained loyal to the British and others rebelled.[7] The Rajput rulers of Rajasthan also kept out of the rebellion.[8] British forces met with a tough resistance right on the doorstep of the Capital when Nahar Singh, the Jat ruler of Ballabhgarh state, finally halted the British Juggernaut.[9] Nahar refused to extend any help to District Collector William Ford, who was collecting forces to curb the uprising. Nahar actively recruited sepoys of the native infantry or cavalry, who revolted against the British, in services of his Ballbhgarh forces with enhanced pay and promotional ranks. Munshi Jeevan Lal writes, "by 17 July 1857 the Raja had taken into his service 200 troopers who had lately been in the employ of the English." The number continued to swell in the subsequent period. Incidentally, one such sepoy who was granted rank of Naik, appeared as a witness to testify the fact before the British Military Commission, which was established to prosecute Raja Nahar Singh. To further fortify his armed strength, the Raja not only raised new levies but also collected as much as possible latest weaponry and other war material as was revealed from the recovery of large number of horses, bullocks, carts, English rifles and dresses from his fort after the British assaulted it.[10]

He revolted against the British rule, and joined the forces led by Emperor Bahadur Shah. In a letters to Bahadur Shah Zafar dated 22 May and 25 May 1857, Raja Nahar wrote that he had secured the road from Delhi Gate (Delhi) to Bhadrapur (Bharatpur), as well as drove the British away from the parganas of Pali (Rajasthan), Palwal and Fatehpur.[11][12] Raja Nahar Singh of Ballabhgarh supported the Revolutionary Government and faithfully obeyed the instructions issued to him in connection with the maintenance of peace and order, recruitment of forces and collection of funds for the War.[13]

Death

Nahar Singh, the Raja of Ballabgarh was 32 years old when he threw his small army into the fray against the British during the 1857 uprising. Refusing an offer to save himself by acknowledging British supremacy, he was hung in Chandni Chowk on 9 January 1858 and his estate was forfeited.[14] He was charged by the colonial rulers for assisting rebellion with money, provisions and arms and by sending troops to Palwal, for taking it from the British Government in India.[15] British sentenced him to "be hanged by neck until he be dead and further to forfeit all his property and effects of every description."[16] His state was taken over by the British and thus sun set on the Jat state of Ballabhgarh.[15] Gulab Singh Saini, the commander of Raja Nahar's forces led the Ballabhgarh army against British, was the son of Jodha Singh. Gulab was hanged in Chandni Chowk on 9 January 1858 along with Raja Nahar Singh.[17]

Aftermath

After Nahar's property was ceased by British and his estate was abolished. A political pension of Rs. 6,000 a year was settled upon Nahar's heir-apparent and adopted son who was his nephew, Kushal Singh. Kushal left Ballabhgarh for good and sought shelter with his wife's people at Kuchesar.[18] Kushal Singh and his descendants continued to rule the Kuchesar State till 1948 when they were abolished.[19] Kushal's son Giriraj Singh, and his descendants, continued to rule the Kuchesar State with the title of "Rao".[18]

Former Indian Prime Minister Chaudhary Charan Singh's ancestors were the kinsmen Raja Nahar Singh. In order to escape the oppression which the British Government let loose on the Raja's followers, Charan Singh's grandfather "Chaudhry Badam Singh" moved eastward along with his family to a village called Bhatona far beyond the Yamuna in Bulandshahr.[20]

For their participation in 1857 rebellion, three main chiefs of Haryana were tried and hanged at Kotwali in Chandani Chowk of Old Delhi. Nahar Singh, the Raja of Ballabhgarh, was hanged on 9 January 1858. Abdur Rehman, Nawab of Jhajjar, was hanged on 23 January 1858. Ahmad Ali, Nawab of Farrukhnagar, was hanged on 23 January 1858. The Chaudharys and Lambardars of villages who participated in rebellion were also deprived of their land and property, including 368 people of Hisar and Gurugram were hanged or transported for life, and fine was imposed on the people of Thanesar (Rs 2,35,000), Ambala (Rs. 25, 3541) and Rohtak (Rs. 63,000 mostly on Ranghars, Shaikhs and Muslim Kasai).[21]

When the mutiny was suppressed, the Mughal Emperor and other Nawabs were all awarded different types of punishments and ousted from their kingdoms. Before the mutiny, the Indian Army mostly consisted of men from East and South India. After the Mutiny the British began to recruit soldiers from North India.[8]

Legacy

Raja Nahar Singh was a hero of India's First War of Independence (1857), 9 January, the day in 1858 that he was hanged by the British, is celebrated in these parts as Balidan Diwas' (The Day of Sacrifice).[22] "Shaheed Maharaja Nahar Singh Marg" is aroad named him near Wazirpur Depot in Delhi,[23] Nahar Singh Mahal built by his ancestors in Ballabhgarh is also named after him, and India Post issued a postal stamp in his honor.[24]

Raja Nahar Singh Kartik cultural festival is held annually at his 18th century Nahar Singh Mahal palace, since 1996 by the Haryana Tourism, around November during the bright and auspicious autumn month of Kartik as per Vikram Samvat calendar.[14][25]

See also

References

  1. "Raja Nahar Singh Palace". HaryanaTourism. Archived from the original on 28 June 2015. Retrieved 4 July 2015.
  2. "Nahar Singh Stadium". espncricinfo. Retrieved 4 July 2015.
  3. "Raja Nahar Singh Metro Station". uniindia. Retrieved 7 October 2019.
  4. 1971, Cohesion, Volume 2, Page 91.
  5. Bonnie C. Wade, 1984, Khyal: Creativity Within North India's Classical Music Tradition
  6. Amala Dāśaśarmā, 1993, Musicians of India: Past and Present : Gharanas of Hindustani Music and Genealogies
  7. [Madan Gopal, 1977, Sir Chhotu Ram: a political biography, Page 9.
  8. M.K. Singh, 2009, Encyclopaedia Of Indian War Of Independence (1857–1947) (Set Of 19 Vols.)
  9. 1985, Organiser, Volume 37.
  10. [Hari Singh Boparai, 2000, Revolt of 1857 in Punjab and role of the Sikhs, Page 48.
  11. 1859, Accounts and Papers of the House of Commons, Great Britain Parliament House of Commons, Page 32.
  12. Fatehpur in Haryana between Jhajjar and Gurugram on Haryana-Delhi
  13. Syed Moinul Haq, 1968, The Great Revolution of 1857, Page 238.
  14. L. C. Gupta and M. C. Gupta, 2000, Haryana on Road to Modernisation
  15. Vīrasiṃha, their role & contribution to the socio-economic life and polity of north & north-west India, Volume 3, Suraj Mal Memorial Education Society. Centre for Research and Publication.
  16. Kripal Chandra Yadav,1977, The Revolt of 1857 in Haryana, Page 98.
  17. Ranjit Singh Saini, 1999, Post-Pāṇinian systems of Sanskrit grammar, Parimal Publications.
  18. Kailash Nath Katju, Valmiki Katju, Markanday Katju, 2006, Life and Times of Doctor Kailas Nath Katju, Page 222.
  19. Sir Roper Lethbridge, 1893, The Golden Book of India: A Genealogical and Biographical Dictionary, p559.
  20. Charan Singh, 1986, Land Reforms in the U.P. and the Kulaks, Page 1.
  21. Satish Chandra Mittal, 1986, Haryana, a Historical Perspective, p58.
  22. Vinod Mehta, 2006, Delhi and NCR city guide, Outlook Publishing, p443.
  23. 1989, Data India, Page 674.
  24. Nahar Singh legacy, Haryana HSSC GK.
  25. 1998, Rashtriya Sahara, Volume 6, Issues 7–12, Page 126.
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