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Late Political Agent to the Western Rajput States

Edited with an Introduction and Notes by
Hon. D.Sc. Oxon., B.A., F.R.A.l.
Late of the Indian Civil Service

In Three Volumes
[The Annals were completed in 1829]

Oxford University Press
London Edinburgh Glasgow New York
Toronto Melbourne Bombay
1920 [The edition scanned]

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Feudalism in Rajasthan

It is more than doubtful whether any code of civil or criminal jurisprudence ever existed in any of these principalities ; though it is certain that none is at this day discoverable in their archives. But there is a martial system peculiar to these Rajput States, so extensive in its operation as to embrace every object of society. This is so analogous to the ancient feudal system of Europe, that I have not hesitated to hazard a comparison between them, with reference to a period when the latter was yet imperfect. Long and attentive observa tion enables me to give this outline of a system, of which there exists Uttle written evidence. Curiosity originally, and subse quently a sense of public duty (lest I might be a party to injustice), co-operated in inducing me to make myself fully acquainted with the minutiae of this traditionary theory of government ; and incidents, apparently trivial in themselves, exposed parts of a widely - extended system, which, though now disjointed, still continue to regulate the actions of extensive communities, and lead to the inference, that at one period it must have attained a certain degree of perfection.

Many years have elapsed since I first entertained these opinions, long before any connexion existed between these States and the British Government ; when their geography was little known to us, and their history still less so. At that period I frequently travelled amongst them for amusement, making these objects subservient thereto, and laying the result freely before my Govern ment. I had [130] abundant sources of intelligence to guide me in forming my analogies ; Montesquieu, Hume, Millar, Gibbon 1 : but I sought only general resemblances and lineaments similar to those before me. A more perfect, because more familiar picture, has since appeared by an author,2 who has drawn aside the veil of mystery which covered the subject, owing to its being till then but imperfectly understood. I compared the features of Rajput society with the finished picture of this eloquent writer, and shall be satisfied with having substantiated the claim of these tribes to participation in a system, hitherto deemed to belong exclusively to Europe. I am aware of the danger of hypothesis, and shall advance nothing that I do not accompany by incon testable proofs.

The Tribal System

The leading features of government amongst semi -barbarous hordes or civilized independent tribes must have a considerable resemblance to each other. In the same stages of society, the wants of men must everywhere be similar, and will produce the analogies which are observed to regulate Tatar hordes or German tribes, Caledonian clans, the Rajput Kula (race), or Jareja Bhayyad (brotherhood). All the countries of Europe participated in the system we denominate feudal ; and we can observe it, in various degrees of perfection or deterioration, from the mountains of Caucasus to the Indian Ocean. But it requires a persevering toil, and more discriminat ing judgement than I possess, to recover all these relics of civiliza tion : yet though time, and still more oppression, have veiled the ancient institutions of Mewar, the mystery may be penetrated, and will discover parts of a system worthy of being rescued from oblivion.

Influence of Muhammadans and Mahrattas

Mahratta cunning, engrafted on Muhammadan intolerance, had greatly obscured tliese institutions. The nation itself was passing rapidly away : the remnant which was left had become a matter of calcula tion, and their records and their laws partook of this general decay. The nation may recover ; the physical frame may be renewed ; but the morale of the society must be recast. In this chaos a casual observer sees nothing to attract notice ; the theory of government appears, without any of the dignity which now marks our regular system. Whatever does exist is attributed 1 Miscellaneous Works, vol. iii. 2 Hallam's Middle Ages. to nothing systematic : no fixed principle is discerned, and none is admitted ; it is deemed, a mechanism witliout a plan. This opinion is hasty. Attention to distinctions, though often merely nominal [131], will aid us in discovering the outhnes of a picture which must at some period have been more finished ; when real power, unrestrained by foreign influence, upheld a system, the plan of which was original. It is in these remote regions, so little known to the Western world, and where original manners lie hidden under those of the conquerors, that we may search for the germs of the constitutions of European States.^ A contempt for all that is Asiatic too often marks our countrymen in the East : though at one period on record the taunt might have been reversed.

In remarking the curious coincidence between the habits, notions, and governments of Europe in the Middle Ages, and those of Rajasthan, it is not absolutely necessary we should conclude that one system was borrowed from the other ; each may, in truth, be said to have the patriarchal form for its basis. I have sometimes been inclined to agree with the definition of Gibbon, who styles the system of our ancestors the offspring of chance and barbarism. " Le systeme feodal, assemblage monstriieux de tant de parties que le terns et I'hazard ont reunies, nous offre im objet tres complique : pour I'etudier il faut le decomposer." 2 This I shall attempt.

The form, as before remarked, is truly patriarchal in these 1 It is a higli gratification to be supported by such authority as M. St. Martin, who, in his Discours sur vorigine et vhistoire des Arsacides, thus speaks of the system of government termed feudal, which I contend exists amongst the Rajputs : " On pensc assez generalement que cette sorte de governement qui dominait il y a quelques siecles, et qu'on appelle systeme feodal, etait particuliere a I'Europe, et que c'est dans les forets de la Germanie qu'il faut en chercher I'origine. Cependant, si all heu d'admettre les faits sans les discuter, comme il arrive trop souvent, on examinait un peu cette opinion, eile disparaitrait devant la critique, ou du moins elle se modifierait singuherement ; et Ton verrait que, si c'est des forets de la Germanie que nous avons tire le gouvernement feodal, il ii'en est certainement pas originaire. Si Ton veut comparer I'Europe, telle qu'elle etait au xii" siecle, avec la monarchie fondee en Asie par les Arsacides trois siecles avant notre ere, partout on verra des institutions et des usages pareils. On y trouvera les memes dignites, et jusqu'aux memes titres, etc., etc. Boire, chasser, com battre, faire et dcfaire des rois, c'etaient la les nobles occupations d'un Parthe " {Journal Asiatique, vol. i. p. 65). It is nearly so with the Rajput. 2 Gibbon, Miscell. vol. iii. Du gouvernement feodal. States, where the greater portion of the vassal chiefs, from the highest of the sixteen peers to the holders of a charsa 1 of land, claim affinity in blood to the sovereign.2

The natural seeds are implanted in every soil, but the tree did not gain [132] maturity except in a favoured aspect. The jDcr fection of the system in England is due to the Normans, who brought it from Scandinavia, whither it was probably conveyed by Odin and the Sacasenae, or by anterior migrations, from Asia : which would coincide with Richardson's hypothesis, who con tends that it was introduced from Tatary. Although speculative reasoning forms no part of my plan, yet when I observe analogy on the subject in the customs of the ancient German tribes, the Franks or Gothic races, I shall venture to note them. Of one knowledge must have accompanied the tide of migration from the east : and from higher Asia emerged in the Asi, the Chatti, and the Cimbric Lombard; who spread the system in Scandinavia, Friesland, and Italy.

Origin of Feuds

" It has been very common," says the enlightened historian of the Feudal System in the Middle Ages, " to seek for the origin of feuds, or at least for analogies to them, in the history of various countries ; but though it is of great importance to trace the similarity of customs in different parts of the world, we should guard against seeming analogies, which vanish away when they are closely observed. It is easy to find partial resemblances to the feudal system. The relation of patron and client in the republic of Rome has been deemed to resemble it, as well as the barbarians and veterans who held frontier lands on the tenure of defending them and the frontier ; but they were

1 A ' skin or hyde.' Millar (chap. v. p. 85) defines a ' hyde of land,' the quantity which can be cultivated by a single plough. A charsa, ' skin or hyde ' of land, is as much as one man can water ; and what one can water is equal to what one i)lough can cultivate. If irrigation ever had existence by the founders of the system, we may suppose this the meaning of the term which designated a knights fee. It may have gone westward with emigration. [The English ' hide ' : the amount considered adequate for the support of one free family with its dependants : at an early date defined as being as much land as could be tilled by one plough in a year," has no connexion with ' hide,' ' a skin.' It is O.E. Md, from hitv, hig, ' household." ' Hide,' ' a skin,' is O.E. hyd {New English Diet, ssv.).] 2 Bapji, ' sire,' is the appellation of royalty, and, strange enough, whether to male or female ; while its offsets, which form a numerous branch of vassals, are called babas, ' the infants.' bound not to an individual, but to the state. Such a resemblance of fiefs may be found in the Zamindars of Hindustan and the Timariots of Turke}-. The clans of the Highlanders and Irish followed their chieftain into the field : but their tie was that of imagined kindred and birth, not the spontaneous compact of vassalage." 1

I give this at length to show, that if I still persist in deeming the Rajput system a pure relation of feuds, I have before my eyes the danger of seeming resemblances. But grants, deeds, charters, and traditions, copies of all of which will be found in the Appendix, will establish my opinions. I hope to prove that the tribes in the northern regions of Hindustan did possess the system, and that it was handed down, and still obtains, notwithstanding seven centuries of paramount sway of the Mogul and Pathan dynasties, altogether opposed to them except in this feature of government where there was an original similarity. In some of these States the system remained freer from innovation. It is, however, from Mewar chiefly that I shall deduce my examples, as its internal [133] rule was less influenced by foreign policy, even to the period at which the imperial power of Delhi Avas on the decline.

Evidence from Mewar

As in Europe, for a length of time, traditionary custom was the only regulator of the rights and tenures of this system, varying in each State, and not unfre quently (in its minor details) in the different provinces of one State, according to their mode of acquisition and the description of occupants when required. It is from such circumstances that the variety of tenure and customary law proceeds. To account for this variety, a knowledge of them is requisite ; nor is it until every part of the system is developed that it can be fully under stood. The most trifling cause is discovered to be the parent of some important result. If ever these were embodied into a code (and we are justified in assuming such to have been the case), the varied revolutions which have swept away almost all relics of their history were not likely to spare these. Mention is made of several princes of the house of Mewar who legislated for their country ; but precedents for every occurring case lie scattered in formulas, grants, and traditionary sayings. The inscriptions still existing on stone would alone, if collected, form a body of 4 Hallam's Middle Ages, vol. i. ]i. 200. laws sufficient for an infant community ; and these were always first committed to writing, and registered ere the column was raised. The seven centuries of turmoil and disaster, during which these States were in continual strife with the foe, produced many princes of high intellect as well as valour. Sanga Rana, and his antagonist. Sultan Babur, were revived in their no less celebrated grandsons, the great Akhar and Rana Partap : the son of the latter, Amra, the foe of Jahangir, was a character of whom the proudest nation might be vain.

Evidence from Inscriptions

The pen has recorded, and tradi tion handed down, many isolated fragments of the genius of these Rajput princes, as statesmen and warriors, touching the political division, regulations of the aristocracy, and commercial and agricultural bodies. Sumptuary laws, even, which append to a feudal system, are to be traced in these inscriptions : the annul ling of monopolies and exorbitant taxes ; the regulation of transit duties ; prohibition of profaning sacred days by labour ; im- inunities, privileges, and charters to trades, corporations, and towns ; such as would, in climes more favourable to liberty, have matured into a league, or obtained for these branches a voice in the coimcils of the State. My search for less perishable docu ments than parchment when I found the cabinet of the prince contained them not, was unceasing ; but though the bigoted Muhammadan destroyed [134] most of the traces of civilization within his reach, perseverance was rewarded with a considerable number. They are at least matter of curiosity. They will evince that monopolies and restraints on commerce were well understood in Rajwara, though the doctrines of political economy never gained footing there. The setting up of these engraved tablets or pillars, called Seoras,1 is of the highest antiquity. Every subject commences with invoking the sun and moon as witnesses, and concludes with a denunciation of the severest penalties on those who break the spirit of the imperishable bond. Tablets of an historical nature I have of twelve and fourteen hundred years' antiquity, but of grants of land or privileges about one thousand years is the oldest. Time has destroyed many, but man more. They became more numerous during the last three centuries, when successful struggles against their foes produced new, privileges, granted in order to recall the scattered 1 Sanskrit, Silla. inhabitants. Thus one contains an abolition of the monopoly of tobacco ;1 another, the remission of tax on printed cloths, with permission to the country manufacturers to sell their goods free of duty at the neighbouring towns. To a third, a mercantile city, the abolition of war contributions,2 and the establishment of its internal judicial authority. Nay, even where good manners alone are concerned, the lawgiver appears, and with an amusing simplicity : 3 " From the public feast none shall attempt to carry anything away." " None shall eat after sunset," shows that a Jain obtained the edict. To yoke the bullock or other animal for any work on the sacred Amavas,4 is also declared pimishable. Others contain revocations of vexatious fees to officers of the crown ; "of beds and quilts 5 " ; " the seizure of the carts, imple the sole boon in our own Magna Charta demanded for the husbandman. These and several others, of which copies are annexed, need not be repeated. If even from such memoranda a sufficient number could be collected of each prince's reign up to the olden time, what more could we desire to enable us to judge of the genius of their princes, the wants and habits of the people, their acts and occupations ? The most ancient written customary law of France is a.d. 1088,7 at which time Mewar was in high [135] prosperity ; opposing, at the head of a league far more powerful than France could form for ages after, the progress of revolution and foreign conquest. Ignorance, sloth, and all the vices which wait on and result from continual oppression in a perpetual struggle for existence of ages' duration, gradually diminished the reverence of the inhabitants themselves for these relics of the wisdom of their forefathers. In latter years, they so far forgot the ennobling feeling and respect for ' the stone which told ' their once exalted condition, as to convert the materials of the temple in which many of these stood into places of abode. Thus many a valuable relic is built up in the castles of their barons, or buried in the rubbish of the fallen pile.

1 See Appendix, No. XII. 2 see Appendix, No. XIII. 3 See Appendix, No. XIV. 4 ' Full moon ' (See Appendix, No. XIII.). 5 It is customary, when officers of the Government are detached on service, to exact from the towns where they are sent both bed and board. 6 Seized for public service, and frequently to exact a composition in money. 7 Hallam, vol. i. p. 197.

Books of Grants

We have, however, the books of grants to the chiefs and vassals, and also the grand rent-roll of the country. These are of themselves valuable documents. Could we but obtain those of remoter periods, they would serve as a comment ary on the history of the country, as each contains the detail of every estate, and the stipulated service, in horse and foot, to be performed for it. In later times, when turbulence and disaffec tion went unpunished, it was useless to specify a stipulation of service that was nugatory ; and too often the grants contained but the names of towns and villages, and their value ; or if they had the more general terms of service, none of its details.1 From all these, however, a sufficiency of customary rules could easily be found to form the written law of fiefs in Rajasthan. In France, in the sixteenth century, the variety of these customs amounted to two hundred and eighty-five, of which only sixty 2 were of great importance. The number of consequence in Mewar which have come to my observation is considerable, and the most important will be given in the Appendix. Were the same plan pursued there as in that ordinance which produced the laws of Pays Coutumiers 3 of France, viz. ascertaining those of each district, the materials are ready.

Such a collection would be amusing, particularly if the tradi tionary were added to the engraved laws. They would often appear jejune, and might involve contradictions ; but wc should see the wants of the people ; and if ever our connexion (which God forbid !) should be drawn closer, we could then legislate without offending national customs or religious prejudices. Could this, by any instinctive [136] impulse or external stimulus, be effected by themselves, it would be the era of their emersion from long oppression, and might lead to better notions of government, and consequent happiness to them all.

Noble Origin of the Rajput Race

If we compare the antiquity and illustrious descent of the dynasties which have ruled, and some which continue to rule, the small sovereignties of Rajasthan, with many of celebrity in Europe, superiority will often attach to the Rajput. From the most remote periods we can trace nothing ignoble, nor any vestige of vassal origin. Reduced in

1 Some of these, of old date, I have seen three feet in length. 2 Hallam, vol. i. p. 199. 3 Hallam notices these laws by this technical phrase. power, circumscribed in territory, compelled to yield much of their splendour and many of the dignities of birth, they have not abandoned an iota of the pride and high bearing arismg from a knowledge of their illustrious and regal descent. On this prin ciple the various revolutions in the Rana's family never en croached ; and the mighty Jahangir himself, the Emperor of the Moguls, became, like Caesar, the commentator on the history of the tribe of Sesodia. 1 The potentate of the twenty-two Satrapies of Hind dwells with proud complacency on this Rajput king having made terms with him. He praises heaven, that what his immortal ancestor Babur, the founder of the Mogul dynasty, failed to do, the project in which Hmnayun had also failed, and in which the illustrious Akbar, his father, had but partial success, was reserved for him. It is pleasing to peruse in the comment aries of these conquerors, Babur and Jahangir, their sentiments with regard to these princes. We have the evidence of Sir Thomas Roe, the ambassador of Elizabeth to Jahangir, as to the splendour of this race : it appears throughout their annals and those of their neighbours.

The Rathors of Marwar

The Rathors can boast a splendid pedigree ; and if we cannot trace its source with equal certainty to such a period of antiquity as the Rana's, we can, at all events, show the Rathor monarch wielding the sceptre at Kanauj, at the time the leader of an unknown tribe of the Franks was paving the way towards the foundation of the future kingdom of France. Unwieldy greatness caused the sudden fall of Kanauj in the twelfth century, of which the existing line of Marwar is a renov ated scion .2

The Kachhwahas of Amber

Amber is a branch of the once illustrious and ancient [137] Nishadha. now Narwar, Avhich pro duced the ill-fated prince whose story 3 is so interesting. Revolu tion and conquest compelled them to quit their ancestral abodes. Hindustan was then divided into no more than four great king doms. By Arabian 4 travellers we have a confused picture of 1 Sesodia is the last change of name which the Rana's race has under gone. It was first Suryavansa, then Grahilot or Guhilot, Aharya, and Sesodia. These changes arise from revolutions and local circumstances. 2 [The Rathor dynasty of Kanauj is a myth (Smith, EHI, 385).] 3 Nala and Damayanti. 4 Relations anciemtes des Voyageurs, par Renaudot. these States. But all the minor States, now existing in the west, arose about the period when the feudal system was approaching maturity in France and England. The others are less illustrious, being the descendants of the great vassals of their ancient kings.

The Sesodias of Mewar

Mewar exhibits a marked difference from all the other States in her policy and institutions. She was an old-established dynasty when these renovated scions were in embryo. We can trace the losses of Mewar, but with difficulty her acquisitions ; while it is easy to note the gradual aggrandise ment of Marwar and Amber, and all the minor States. Marwar was composed of many petty States, whose ancient possessions formed an allodial vassalage under the new dynasty. A superior independence of the control of the prince arises from the peculiar ity of the mode of acquisition ; that is, with rights similar to the allodial vassals of the European feudal system.

Pride of Ancestry

The poorest Rajput of this day retains all the pride of ancestry, often his sole inheritance ; he scorns to hold the plough, or to use his lance but on horseback. In these aristocratic ideas he is supported by his reception amongst his superiors, and the respect paid to him by his interiors. The honours and privileges, and the gradations of rank, amongst the vassals of the Rana's house, exhibit a highly artificial and refined state of society. Each of the superior rank is entitled to a banner, kettle-drums preceded by heralds and silver maces, with peculiar gifts and personal honours, in commemoration of some exploit of their ancestors.

Armorial Bearings

The martial Rajputs are not strangers to armorial bearings,1 now so indiscriminately used in Europe.

1 It is generally admitted that armorial bearings were little known till the period of the Crusades, and that they belong to the east. The twelve tribes of Israel were distinguished by the animals on their banners, and the sacred writings frequently allude to the ' Lion of Judah.' The peacock was a favourite armorial emblem of the Rajput warrior ; it is the bird sacred to their Mars (Kumara), as it was to Juno, his mother, in the west. The feather of the peacock decorates the turban of the Rajput and the warrior of the Crusade, adopted from the Hindu through the Saracens. "Le paon a toujours ete I'embleme de la noblesse. Plusieurs chevaliers ornaient leurs casques des plumes de cet oiseau ; un grand nombre de families nobles le portaient dans leur blazon ou sur leur cimier ; quelques uns n'en portaient que la qtieue " (Art. "Armoiric," Diet, de Vancien Regime).

The great banner of Mewar exhibits a golden sun [1 38] on a crimson field ; those of the chiefs bear a dagger. Amber displays the panchranga, or five-coloured flag. The lion rampant on an argent field is extinct with the State of Chanderi.1 In Europe these customs were not introduced till the period of the Crusades, and were copied from the Saracens ; while the use of them amongst the Rajput tribes can be traced to a period anterior to the war of Troy. In the Mahabharat, or great war, twelve hundred years before Christ, we find the hero Bhishma exulting over his trophy, the banner of Arjuna, its field adorned with the figure of the Indian Hanuman.2 These emblems had a religious reference amongst the Hindus, and were taken from their mythology, the origin of all devices.

The Tribal Palladium

Every royal house has its palladium, which is frequently borne to battle at the saddle-bow of the prince. Rao Bhima Hara, of Kotah, lost his life and protecting deity together. The late celebrated Khichi 3 leader, Jai Singh, never took the field without the god before him. ' Victory to Bajrang ' was his signal for the charge so dreaded by the Mahratta, and often has the deity been sprinkled with his blood and that of the foe. Their ancestors, who opposed Alexander, did the same, and carried the image of Hercules (Baldeva) at the head of their array.4


The custom (says Arrian) of presenting banners as an emblem of sovereignty over vassals, also obtained amongst the tribes of the Indus when invaded by Alexander. When he conquered the Saka and tribes east of the Caspian, he divided the provinces amongst the princes of the ancient families, for which they paid homage, engaged to serve with a certain quota of troops, and received from his own hand a banner ; in all of which he followed the customs of the country. But in these we see only the outline of the system; we must descend to more

1 I was the first European who traversed this wild country, in 1807, not without some hazard. It was then independent : about three years after it fell a prey to Sindhia. [Several ancient dynasties used a crest (lanchhana), and a banner (dhvaja) : see the list in BO, i. Part ii. 299.] 2 The monkey-deity. [Known as Bajrang, Skt. vajranga, ' of powerful frame.'] 3 The Khichis are a branch of the Chauhans, and Khiehiwara lies east of Haravati. 4 [Quintus Curtius, viii. 14, 46 ; Arrian, Indika, viii.] modern days to observe it more minutely. A grand picture is drawn of the power of Mewar, when the first grand irruption of the Muhammadans occurred in the first century of their era ; when " a hundred 1 kings, its alUes and dependents, had their thrones raised in Chitor," for its defence and their own individu ally [139], when a new religion, propagated by the sword of con quest, came to enslave these realms. This invasion was by Sind and Makran ; for it was half a century later ere ' the light ' shone from the heights of Pamir ^ on the plains of the Jumna and Ganges,

From the commencement of this religious war in the moun tains westward of the Indus, many ages elapsed ere the ' King of the Faith ' obtained a seat on the throne of Yudhishthira. Chand, the bard, has left us various valuable memorials of this period, applicable to the subject historically as well as to the immediate topic. Visaladeva, the monarch whose name appears on the pillar of victory at Delhi, led an army against the invader, in which, according to the bard, " the banners of eighty-four princes were assembled." The bard describes with great animation the summons sent for this magnificent feudal levy from the heart of Antarbedi,3 to the shores of the western sea, and it coincides with the record of his victory, which most probably this very army obtained for him. But no finer picture of feudal manners exists than the history of Prithwiraja, contained in Chand's poems. It is surprising that this epic should have been allowed so long to sleep neglected : a thorough knowledge of it, and of others of the same character, would open many sources of new knowledge, and enable us to trace many curious and interesting coin cidences.4

1 See Annals of Mewar, and note from D'Anville. 2 The Pamir range is a grand branch of the Indian Caucasus. Chand, the bard, designates them as the " Parbat Pat Pamir," or Pamir Lord of Mountains. From Pahar and Pamir the Greeks may have compounded Paropanisos, in which was situated the most remote of the Alexandrias. [?] 3 The space between the grand rivers Ganges and Jumna, well known as the Duab. 4 Domestic habits and national manners are painted to the life, and no man can well understand the Rajput of yore who does not read these. Those were the days of chivalry and romance, when the assembled princes contended for the hand of the fair, who chose her own lord, and threw to the object of her choice, in full court, the barmala, or garland of marriage. Those were the days which the Rajput yet loves to talk of, when the glance In perusing these tales of the days that are past, we should be induced to conclude that the Kuriltai of the Tatars, the Chaugan of the Rajput, and the Champ de Mars of the Frank, had one common origin.

Influence of Caste

Caste has for ever prevented the inferior classes of society from being incorporated with this haughty noblesse. Only those of jjure blood in both lines can hold fiefs of the crown. The highest may marry the daughter of a Rajput, whose sole [140] possession is a ' skin of land ' : 1 the sovereign himself is not degraded by such alliance. There is no moral blot, and the operation of a law like the Salic would prevent any political evil resulting therefrom. Titles are granted, and even fiefs of office, to ministers and civil servants not Rajputs ; they are, however, but official, and never confer hereditary right. These official fiefs may have originally arisen, here and in Europe, from the same cause ; the want of a circulating medium to pay the offices. The Mantris 2 of Mewar prefer estates to' pecuniary stipend, which gives more consequence in every point of view. All the higher offices as cup-bearer, butler, stewards of the all these are enumerated as ministeralist 3 at the court of Charlemagne in the dark ages of Europe, and of whom we have the duplicates. These are what the author of the Middle Ages designates as " improper feuds.. 4 In Mewar the prince's architect, painter, physician, bard, genealogist, heralds, and all the generation of the foster-brothers, hold lands. Offices are hereditary in this patriarchal government ; their services personal. The title even appends to the family, and if the chance of events deprive them of the substance, they are seldom left destitute. It is not uncommon to see three or four with the title of pardhan or premier.5 of an eye weighed with a sceptre : when three things alone occupied him : his horse, his lance, and his mistress ; for she is but the third in his estima tion, after all : to the two first he owed her. 1 Charsa, a ' hide or skin ' [see p. 156 above]. 2 ' Ministers,' from Mantra, ' mystification ' [' a sacred text, spell ']. 3 It is probably of Teutonic origin, and akin to Mantri, which embraces all the ministers and councillors of loyalty (Hallam, p. 195). [?] 4 Hallam, p. 193. 5 One I know, in whose family the office has remained since the period of Prithvviraja, who transferred his ancestor to the service of the Rana's But before I proceed further in these desultory and general remarks, I shall commence the chief details of the system as described in times past, and, in part, still obtaining in the principality of the Rana of Mewar As its geography and distribution are fully related in their proper place, I must refer the reader to that for a preliminary understanding of its localities.

Estates of Chief and Fiscal Land

The local disposition of the estates was admirably contrived. Bounded on three sides, the south, east, and west, by marauding barbarous tribes of Bhils, Mers, and Minas, the circumference of this circle was subdivided into estates for the chiefs, while the khalisa, or fiscal land, the best and richest, was in the heart of the country, and consequently well protected [141]. It appears doubtful whether the khalisa lands amounted to one-fourth of those distributed in grant to the chiefs. The value of the crown demesne as the nerve and sinew of sovereignty, was well known by the former heads of this house. To obtain any portion thereof was the reward of important ser vices ; to have a grant of a few acres near the capital for a garden was deemed a high favour ; and a village in the amphitheatre or valley, in which the present capital is situated, was the nc plus ultra of recompense. But the lavish folly of the present prince, out of this tract, twenty-five miles in circumference, has not preserved a single village in his khalisa. By this distribution, and by the inroads of the wild tribes in the vicinity, or of Moguls and Mahrattas, the valour of the chiefs were kept in constant play.

The country was partitioned into districts, each containing from fifty to one hundred towns and villages, though sometimes exceeding that proportion. The great number of Chaurasis 1 leads to the conclusion that portions to the amount of eighty four had been the general subdivision. Many of these yet remain : house seven hundred years ago. He is not merely a nominal- hereditary minister, for his uncle actually held the office ; but in consequence of having favoured the views of a pretender to the crown, its active duties are not entrusted to any of the family.

1 The numeral eighty-four. [In the ancient Hmdu kingdoms the full estate was a group of 84 villages, smaller units being called Byahsa, 42, or Ch ubisa, 24 (Baden-Powell, The Village Community, 198, and see a valuable article in Elliot, Supplemental Glossary , 178 ff.] as the ' Chaurasi ' of Jahazpur and of Kumbhalmer : tantaniouut to the old ' hundreds ' of our Saxon ancestry. A circle of posts was distributed, within which the quotas of the chiefs attended, under ' the Faujdar of the Sima ' (vulgo Sim), or conmiander of the border. It was found expedient to appoint from court this lord of the frontier, always accompanied by a portion of the royal insignia, standard, kettle-drums, and heralds, and being genei'ally a civil officer, he united to his military office the administration of justice.1 The higher vassals never attended personally at these posts, but deputed a confidential branch of their family, with the quota required. For the government of the districts there were conjoined a civil and a military officer : the latter generally a vassal of the second rank. Their residence was the chief place of the district, commonly a stronghold.

The division of the chiefs into distinct grades, shows a highly artificial state of society. First class__ We have the Sixteen, whose estates were from hity thousand to one hundred thousand rupees and upwards, of yearly rent. These appear in the [142] presence only on special invitation, upon festivals and solemn ceremonies, and are the hereditary councillors of the crown.2

Second class, from five to fifty thousand rupees. Their duty is to be always in attendance. from these, chiefly, faujdars and military officers are selected. Third class is that of Gol 2 holding lands chiefly under five thousand rupees, though by favour they may exceed this limit. They are generally the holders of separate villages and portions of land, and in former times they were the most useful class to the prince. They always attended on his person, and indeed formed his strength against any combination or opposition of the higher vassals.

Fourth class__

The offsets of the younger branches of the Rana's own family, within a certain period, are called the babas, literally ' infants,' and have appanages bestowed on them. Of 1 Now each chief claims the right of administering justice in his own domain, that is, in civil matters ; but in criminal cases they ought not without the special sanction of the crown. Justice, however, has long been left to work its own way, and the self-constituted tribunals, the pan chayats, sit in judgment in all cases where property is involved. this class are Shahpura and Banera ; too powerful for subjects.1 They hold on none of the terms of the great clans, but consider themselves at the disposal of the prince. These are more within the influence of the crown. Allowing adoption into these houses, except in the case of near kindred, is assuredly an innovation ; they ought to revert to the crown, failing immediate issue, as did the great estate of Bhainsrorgarh, two generations back. From these to the holder of a clutrsa, or hide of land, the peculiarity of tenure and duties of each will form a subject for discussion.

Revenues and Rights of the Crown

I need not here expatiate upon the variety of items which constitute the revenues of the prince, the details of which will appear in their proper place. The land-tax in the khalisa demesne is, of course, the chief source of supply ; the transit duties on commerce and trade, and those of the larger towns and cominercial marts, rank next. In former times more attention was paid to this important branch of in come, and the produce was greater because less shackled. The liberality on the side of the crown was only equalled by the integrity of the merchant, and the extent to which it was carried would imply an almost Utopian degree of perfection in their mutual qualities of liberality and honesty ; the one, perhaps, generating the other. The remark of a merchant recently, on the vexatious train of duties and espionage attending their collection, is not merely figurative : " our ancestors tied their invoice to the horns of the oxen 2 at the first frontier post of customs, and no intermediate questions [143] were put till we passed to the opposite or sold our goods, when it was opened and payment made accordingly ; but now every town has its rights." It will be long ere this degree of confidence is restored on either side ; extensive demand on the one is met by fraud and evasion on the other, though at least one-half of these evils have already been subdued.

Mines and Minerals

The mines were very productive in former times, and yielded several lacs to the princes of Mewar.3 1 [They are heads of the Ranawat sub-tribe. The latter enjoys the right, on succession, of having a sword sent to him with full honours, on receipt of which he goes to Udaipur to be installed (Erskine ii. A. 92).] 2 Oxen and carts are chiefly' used in the Tundas, or caravans, for trans portation of goods in these countries ; camels further to the north. 3 [On the mines of Mewar, see lA, i. 63 f.] The rich tin mines of Jawara produced at one time a considerable proportion of silver. Those of copper are abundant, as is also iron on the now alienated domain on the Chambal ; but lead least of all.1 The marble quarries also added to the revenue ; and where there is such a multiplicity of sources, none are considered too minute to be applied in these necessitous times.


Barar is an indefinite term for taxation, and is con nected with the thing taxed : as ghanim-barar,2 ' war-tax ' ; gliar ginii-barar,3 ' house-tax ' ; hal-barar, ' plough-tax ' ; neota-barar, ' marriage-tax ' ; and others, both of old and new standing. The war-tax was a kind of substitute for the regular mode of levying the rents on the produce of the soil ; which was rendered very difficult during the disturbed period, and did not accord with the wants of the prince. It is also a substitute in those mountainous regions, for the jarib,4 where the produce bears no proportion to the cultivated surface ; sometimes from poverty of soil, but often from the reverse, as in Kumbhalmer, where the choicest crops are produced on the cultivated terraces, and on the sides of its mountains, which abound with springs, yielding the richest canes and cottons, and where experiment has proved that four crops can be raised in the same patch of soil within the year.

The offering on confirmation of estates (or fine on renewal) is now, though a very small, yet still one source of supply ; as is the annual and triennial payment of the quit-rents of the Bhumia chiefs. Fines in composition of offences may also be mentioned : and they might be larger, if more activity were introduced in the detection of offenders [144].

These governments are mild in the execution of the laws ; 1 The privilege of coiniug is a reservation of royalty. No subject is allowed to coin gold or silver, though the Salumbar chief has on sufferance a copper currency. The mint was a considerable source of income, and may be again when confidence is restored and a new currency introduced. The Chitor rupee is now thirty-one per cent inferior to the old Bhilara standard, and there was one struck at the capital even worse, and very nearly as bad as the moneta nigra of Philip the Fair of France, who allowed his vassals the privilege of coining it. [For an account of the past and present coinage of Mewai; see W. W. Webb, Currencies of the Hindu States of Raj puiana, 3 ff.] 2 Enemy. 3 Numbering of houses. 4 A measure of land [usually 55 English yards]. and a heavy fine lias more effect (especially on the hill tribes) than the execution of the offender, who fears death less than the loss of property.


The composition for ' wood and forage ' afforded a considerable supply. When the princes of Mewar were oftener in the tented field than in the palace, combating for their pre servation, it was the duty of every individual to store up wood and forage for the supply of the prince's army. What originated in necessity was converted into an abuse and annual demand. The towns also supplied a certain portion of provisions ; where the prince halted for the day these were levied on the connnunity ; a goat or sheep from the shepherd, milk and flour froin the farmer . The maintenance of these customs is observable in taxes, for the origin of which it is impossible to assign a reason without going into the history of the period ; they scarcely recollect the source of some of these themselves. They are akin to those known under the feudal tenures of France, arising from exactly the same causes, and commuted for money payments ; such as the droit de gisie et de chevauche.1 Many also originated in the perambula tions of these princes to visit their domains ; 2 a black year in the calendar to the chief and the subject. When he honoured the chief by a visit, he had to present horses and arms, and to enter tain his prince, in all which honours the cultivators and merchants had to share. The duties on the sale of spirits, opium, tobacco, and even to a share of the garden-stuff, affords also modes of supply [145].3

Legislative Authority

During the period still called " the good times of Mewar,' the prince, with the aid of his civil council, the four ministers of the crown and their deputies, promulgated all the legislative enactments in which the general rights and wants of the community were involved. In these the martial vassals 1 Hallam, vol. i. p. 232. 2 Hume describes the necessity for our earlier kings inaking these tours to consume the produce, being in kind. So it is in Mewar ; but I fancy the supply was always too easily convertible into circulating medium to be the cause there. 3 See Appendix, No. X. or chiefs had no concern : a wise exclusion, comprehending also their immediate dependents, military, commercial, and agri cultural. Even now, the little that is done in these matters is effected by the civil administration, though the Rajput Pardhans have been too apt to interfere in matters from which they ought always to be kept aloof, being ever more tenacious of tlieir own rights than solicitous for the welfare of the community.


The neglect in the legislation of late years was supplied by the self-constituted tribunals, the useful panchayats, of which enough has been said to render further illustration unnecessary Besides the resident ruler of the district, who was also a judicial functionary, there was, as already stated, a special officer of the government in each frontier thana, or garrison post. He united the triple occupation of embodying the quotas, levying the transit duties, and administering justice, in which he was aided at the chabutra 1 or coiu-t, by assembling the Chauthias or assessors of justice. Each town and village has its chauthia, the members of which are elected by their fellow'-citizens, and remain as long as they conduct themselves impartially in disentangling the intricacies of complaints preferred to them.

They are the aids to the Nagarseth, or chief magistrate, an hereditary office in every large city in Rajasthan. Of this chauthia the Patel and Patwari 2 are generally members. TJie former of these, like the Dasaundhi of the Mahrattas, resembles in his duties the decanus of France and the tithing-man in England. The chauthia and panchayat of these districts are analogous to the assessors of [140] justice called scabini 2 in France, who held the office by election or the concurrence of the people. But these are the special and fixed council of each town ; the general panchayats are formed from the respectable population at large, and were formerly from all classes of society.

The chabutras, or terraces of justice, were always established in the khalisa, or crown demesne. It was deemed a humiliating intrusion if they sat within the bounds of a chief. To ' erect the flag ' within his limits, whether for the formation of defensive posts or the collection of duties, is deemed a gross breach of his 1 Literally ' terrace,' or ' altar.' 2 [Headman and accountant.] 3 They were considered a sort of jury, bearing a close analogy to 4;he judices selecti, who sat with the praetor in the tribunal of Rome (Hallam). privileged independenee, as to establish them within the walls of his residence would be deemed equal to sequestration. It often becomes necessary to see justice enforced on a chief or his de pendent, but it begets eternal disputes and disobedience, till at length they are worried to compliance by rozina.


When delay in these matters, or to the general conunands of the prince, is evinced, an officer or herald is deputed with a party of four, ten, or twenty horse or foot, to the hef of the chief, at whose residence they take up their abode ; and carrying, under the seal, a warrant to furnish them with specified daily {rozina) rations, they live at free quarters till he is quickened into compliance with the commands of the prince. This is the only accelerator of the slow movements of a Rajput chieftaia in these days, whether for his appearance at court or the performance of an act of justice. It is often carried to a harassing excess, and causes much complaint.

In cases regarding the distribution of justice or the internal economy of the chief's estates, the government officers seldom interfere. But of their panchayats I will only remark, that their import amongst the vassals is very comprehensive ; and when they talk of the ' punch,' it means the ' collective wisdom.' In the reply to the remonstrance of the Deogarh vassals,1 the chief promises never to undertake any measure without their delibera tion and sanction.

On all grand occasions where the general peace or tranquillity of the government is threatened, the chiefs form the council of the sovereign. Such subjects are always first discussed in the domestic councils of each chief ; so that when the [147] witenage mot of Mewar was assembled, each had prepared himself by previous discussion, and was fortified by abundance of advice. To be excluded the council of the prince is to be in utter disgrace. These grand divans produce infinite speculation, and the ramifications which form the opinions are extensive. The council of each chief is, in fact, a miniature representation of the sovereign's. The greater sub-vassals, his civil pardhan, the mayor of the household, the purohit,2 the bard, and two or three of the most intelligent citizens, form the minor councils, and all are separately deliberating while the superior court is in discus sion. Thus is collected the wisdom of the magnates of Rajwara. 1 See Appendix, No. III. 2 Family priost.

Military Service

In Mewar, diiriiig the days of her glory and prosperity, fifteen thousand horse, bound by the ties of fidelity and service, followed their prince into the field, all supported by lands held by grant ; from the chief who headed five hundred of his own vassals, to the single horseman.

Knight's Fee or Single Horsemen

A knight's fee in these States varies. For each thousand rupees of annual rent, never less than two, and generally three horsemen were furnished ; and sometimes three horse and three foot soldiers, according to the exigencies of the times when the grant was conferred. The different grants ; appended will show this variety, and furnish additional proof that this, and all similar systems of policy, must be much indebted to chance for the shape they ultimately take. The knight's fee, when William the Conqueror partitioned England into sixty thousand such portions, from each of which a soldier's service was due, was fixed at £20. Each portion furnished its soldier or paid escuage. The knight's fee of Mewar may be said to be two hundred and fifty rupees, or about £30.

Limitations of Service

In Europe, service was so restricted that the monarch had but a precarious authority. He could only calculate upon forty days' annual service from the tenant of a knight's fee. In Rajasthan it is very different : " at home and abroad, service shall be performed when demanded " ; such is the condition of the tenure. For state and show, a portion of the greater vassals 2 reside at the capital for [148] some months, when they have permission to retire to their estates, and are relieved by another portion. On the grand military festival the whole attend for a given time ; and when the prince took the field, the whole assembled at their own charge : but if hostilities carried them beyond the frontier they were allowed certain rations.

Escuage or Scutage

Escuage or scutage, the phrase in Europe to denote the amercement 3 for non-attendance, is also known and exemplified in deeds. Failure from disaffection, turbulence, or pride, brought a heavy fine ; the sequestration of the whole or part of the estate.4 The princes of these States 1 See Appendix, Nos. IV. V. and VI. 2 See Appendix, No. XX. art. 6 ; the treaty between the chiefs and his vassals defining service. 3 Appendix, No. XVI. 4 Both of which I have witnessed. would willingly desire to see escuage more general. All have made this first attempt towards an approximation to a standing army ; but, though the chiefs would make compensation to get rid of some particular service, they are very reluctant to renounce lands, by which alone a fixed force could be maintained. The rapacity of the court would gladly fly to scutages, but in the present impoverished state of the fiefs, such if injudiciously levied would be almost equivalent to resumption ; but this measure is so full of difficulty as to be almost impracticable.

Inefficiency of this Form of Government

Throughout Rajas than the character and welfare of the States depend on that of the the active power to set and keep in motion all these discordant materials ; if he relax, each part separates, and moves in a narrow sphere of its own. Yet will the impulse of one great mind put the machine in regular movement, which shall endure during two or three imbecile successors, if no fresh exterior force be applied to check it. It is a system full of defects ; yet we see them so often balanced by virtues, that Ave are alternately biassed by these counteracting qualities ; loyalty and patriotism, which combine a love of the institutions, religion, and manners of the country, are the counterpoise to systematic evil. In no country has the system ever proved efficient. It has been one of eternal excite ment and irregular action ; inimical to order, and the repose deemed necessary after conflict for recruiting the national strength. The absence of an external foe was but the signal for disorders within, which increased to a terrific height in the feuds of the two great rival factions of Mewar, the clans of [149] Chondawat 1 and Saktawat,2 as the weakness of the prince augmented by the abstraction of his personal domain, and the diminution of the services of the third class of vassals (the Gol), the personal re tainers of the crown ; but when these feuds broke out, even with the enemy at their gates, it required a prince of great nerve and talent to regulate them. Yet is there a redeeming quality in the

1 A clan called after Chonda, eldest son of an ancient Rana, who resigned his birthright. 2 Sakta was the son of Rana Udai Singh, founder of Udayapura, or Udaipur. The feuds of these two clans, like those of the Annagnacs and Bourguignons, " qui couvrirent la France d'un crepe sanglant," have been the destruction of Mewar. It requires but a change of names and places, while reading the one, to understand perfectly the history of the other. system, which, imperfect as it is, could render such perilous circumstances but the impulse to a rivalry of heroism.

Rivalry of the Chondawat and Saktawat Sub-clans

When Jahangir had obtained possession of the palladium of Mewar, the ancient fortress of Chitor, and driven the prince into the wilds and mountains of the west, an opportunity offered to recover some frontier lands in the plains, and the Rana with all his chiefs was assembled for the purpose. But the Saktawats asserted an equal privilege with their rivals to form the vanguard ; 1 a right which their indisputable valour (perhaps superior to that of the other party) rendered not invalid. The Chondawats claimed it as an hereditary privilege, and the sword would have decided the matter but for the tact of the prince. " The harawal to the clan which first enters Untala," was a decision which the Saktawat leader quickly heard ; while the other could no longer plead his right, when such a gauntlet was thrown down for its maintenance. Untala is the frontier fortress in the plains, about eighteen miles east of the capital, and covering the road which leads from it to the more ancient one of Chitor. It is situated on a rising groimd, with a stream flowing beneath its walls, which are of solid masonry, lofty, and with round towers at intervals.2 In the centre was the governor's house, also fortified. One gate only gave admission to this castle.

The clans, always rivals in power, now competitors in glory, their wives and families spectators, on their return, of the meed of enterprise ; the bard [150], who sang the praise of each race at their outset, demanding of each materials for a new wreath, supplied every stimulus that a Rajput could have to exertion. The Saktawats made directly for the gateway, which they reached as the day broke, and took the foe unprepared ; but the walls were soon manned,, and the action commenced. The Chondawats, less skilled in topography, had traversed a swamp, but through which they dashed, fortun ately meeting a guide in a shepherd of Untala. With more foresight than their opponents, they had brought ladders. The 1 Harawal. 2 It is now in ruins, but the towers and part of the walls are still standing. chief led the escalade, but a ball rolled him back amidst his vassals ; it was not his destiny to lead the harawal ! Each party was checked. The Saktawat depended on the elephant he rode, to gain admission by forcing the gate ; but its projecting spikes deterred the animal from applying its strength. His men were falling thick around him, when a shout from the other party made him dread their success. He descended from his seat, placed his body on the spikes, and commanded the driver, on pain of instant death, to propel the elephant against him. The gates gave way, and over the dead body of their chief his clan rushed to the combat ! But even this heroic surrender of his life failed to purchase the honour for his clan. The lifeless corpse of his rival was already in Untala, and this was the event announced by the shout which urged his sacrifice to honour and ambition. When the Chondawat chief fell, the next in rank and kin took the command. He was one of those arrogant, reckless Rajputs, who signalized themselves wherever there was danger, not only against men but tigers, and his common appellation was the Benda Thakur (' mad chief ') of Deogarh. When his leader fell, he rolled the body in his scarf ; then tying it on his back, scaled the wall, and with his lance having cleared the way before him he threw the dead body over the parapet of Untala, shouting, " The vanguard to the Chondawat ! we are first in ! " The shout was echoed by the clan, and the rampart was in their possession nearly at the moment of the entry of the Saktawats. The Moguls fell under their swords : the standard of Mewar was erected in the castle of Untala, but the leading of the vanguard remained with the Chondawats1 [151].

This is not the sole instance of such jealousies being converted 1 An anecdote appended by my friend Anira (the bard of the Sangawats, a powerful division of the Chondawats, whose head is Deogarh, often alluded to, and who alone used to lead two thousand vassals into the field) was well attested. Two Mogul chiefs of note were deeply engaged in a game of chess when the tumult was reported to them. Feeling confident of success, they continued their game ; nor would they desist till the inner castle of this ' donjon keep ' was taken, and they were surrounded by the Rajputs, when they coolly begged they might be allowed to terminate their game. This the enemy granted ; but the loss of their chiefs had steeled their breasts against mercy, and they were afterwards put to death. [Compare the similar case of Ganga; Raja of Mysore, who was surprised, by the treachery of his ministers, while occupied in a game of chess (L. Rice, Mysore Gazeltecr (1897), i. 319.] into a generous and patriotic rivalry ; many others could be adduced throughout the greater principaUties, but especially amongst the brave Rathors of Marwar.

It was a nice point to keep these clans poised against each other ; their feuds were not without utihty, and the tact of the prince frequently turned them to account. One party was certain to be enlisted on the side of the sovereign, and this alone counter balanced the evil tendencies before described. To this day it has been a perpetual struggle for supremacy ; and the epithets of ' loyalist ' and ' traitor ' have been alternating between them for centuries, according to the portion they enjoyed of the prince's favour, and the talents and disposition of the heads of the clans to maintain their predominance at court. The Saktawats are weaker in numbers, but have the reputation of greater bravery and more genius than their rivals. I am inclined, on the whole, to assent to this opinion ; and the very consciousness of this reputation must be a powerful incentive to its preservation.

When all these governments were founded and maintained on the same principle, a system of feuds, doubtless, answered very well ; but it cannot exist with a well-constituted monarchy Where individual will controls the energies of a nation, it must eventually lose its liberties. To preserve their power, the princes of Rajasthan surrendered a portion of theirs to the emperors of Delhi. They made a nominal surrender to him of their kingdoms receiving them back with a sanad, or grant, renewed on each lapse : thereby acknowledging him as lord paramount. They received, on these occasions, the khilat of honour and investiture, consisting of elephants, horses, arms, and jewels ; and to their hereditary title of ' prince ' was added by the emperor, one of dignity, mansab.1 Besides this acknowledgment of supremacy, they offered nazarana 2 and homage, especially on the festival of Nauroz (the new year), engaging to attend the royal presence when required, at the head of a stipulated number of their vassals. The emperor presented them with a royal standard, kettle-drums, and other insignia, which headed the array of each prince. Here we have all the chief incidents of a great feudal sovereignty. Whether the Tatar sovereigns borrowed these customs from their

1 [' Office, prerogative.' For a full account of the Mansab system, see Irvine, Army of the Indian Moghuls, 3 ff.] 2 Fine of relief. princely vassals, or brought them from the highlands of Asia, from the Oxus [152] and Jaxartes, whence, there is little doubt, many of these Sachha Rajputs originated, shall be elsewhere considered.

Akbar's Policy towards the Rajputs

The splendour of such an array, whether in the field or at the palace, can scarcely be con ceived. Though Humayun had gained the services of some of the Rajput princes, their aid was uncertain. It was reserved for his son, the wise and magnanimous Akbar, to induce them to become at once the ornament and support of his throne. The power which he consolidated, and knew so well to wield, was irresistible ; while the beneficence of his disposition, and the wisdom of his policy, maintained what his might conquered. He felt that a constant exhibition of authority would not only be ineffectual but dangerous, and that the surest hold on their fealty and esteern would be the giving them a personal interest in the support of the monarchy.

Alliances between Moguls and Rajputs

Akbar determined to unite the pure Rajput blood to the scarcely less noble stream which flowed from Aghuz Khan, through .lenghiz, Timur, and Babur, to himself, calculating that they would more readily yield obedience to a prince who claimed kindred with them, than to one purely Tatar ; and that, at all events, it would gain the support of their immediate kin, and might in the end become general. In this supposition he did not err. We are less ac quainted with the obstacles which opposed his first success than those he subsequently encountered ; one of which neither he nor his descendants ever overcame in the family of Mewar,'who could never be brought to submit to such alliance.

Amber, the nearest to Delhi and the most exposed, though more open to temptation than to conquest, in its then contracted sphere, was the first to set the example.1 Its Raja Bhagwandas gave his daughter to Humayun ; 2 and subsequently this practice became so common, that some of the most celebrated emperors were the offspring of Rajput princesses. Of these, Salim, called after his accession, Jahangir ; his ill-fated son, Khusru ; Shah

1 [There were earlier instances of alliances between Muhanimadan princes and Hindus. The mother of Firoz Shah, born a.d. 1309, was a Bhatti lady : Khizr Khan married Deval Devi, a Vaghela lady of Gujarat (Elliot-Dowson, iii. 271 f., 545; Elphinstone, 395).] 2 [There is no evidence for this statement (Smith, AJchar, 58, 225).] Jahan ; 1 Kanibakhsh,2 the favourite of his father ; Aurangzeb, and his rebelHous son Akbar, whom his Rajput kin would have placed on the throne had his genius equalled their power, are the most prominent instances. Farruldisiyar, when the empire began to totter, furnislxed the last instance of a Mogul sove reign [153] marrying a Hindu princess,3 the daughter of Raja Ajit Singh, sovereign of Marwar. These Rajput princes became the guardians of the minority of their imperial nephews, and had a direct stake in the empire and in the augmentation of their estates.

Rajputs in the Imperial Service

Of the four hundred and sixteen Mansabdars, or military commanders of Akbar's empire, from leaders of two hundred to ten thousand men, forty-seven were Rajputs, and the aggregate of their quotas amounted to. fifty-three thousand horse : 4 exactly one-tenth of the united Man sabdars of the empire, or five hundred and thirty thousand horse. 5 Of the forty-seven Rajput leaders, there were seventeen whose mansabs were from one thousand to five thousand liorse, and thirty from two hundred to one thousand. The princes of Amber, Marwar, Bikaner, Bundi, Jaisalmer, Bundelkhand, and even Shaikhawati, held mansabs of above one thousand ; but Amber only, being allied to the throne, had the dignity of five thousand.

The Raja Udai Singh of Marwar, surnamed the Fat, chief of 1 The son of the Princess Jodh Bai, whose magnificent tomb still excites admiration at Sikandra, near Agra. 2 'Gift of Love.' [Kambakhsh had a' Hindu wife, Kalyan Kumari, daughter of Amar Chand and sister of Sagat Singh, Zamindar of Manoharpur. Professor Jadunath Sarkar has been unable to trace a Hindu wife of Akbar, son of Aurangzeb.] 3 To this very marriage we owe the origin of our power. When the nuptials were preparing, the emperor fell ill. A mission was at that time at Delhi from Surat, where we traded, of which Mr. Hamilton was the surgeon. He cured the king, and the marriage was completed. In the oriental style, he desired the doctor to name his reward ; but instead of asking anything for himself, he demanded a grant of land for a factory on the Hoogly for his employers. It was accorded, and this was the origin of the greatness of the British empire in the East. Such an act deserved at least a column ; but neither " storied urn nor animated bust " marks the spot where his remains are laid [C. R. Wilson, Early Annals of the English in Bengal, ii. 235, see p. 468 below]. 4 Abu-1 Fazl [Ain, i. 308 ff.]. 5 The infantry, regulars, and mihtia, exceeded 4,000,000. the Rathors, held but the mansab of one thousand, while a scion of his house, Rae Singh of Bilvaner, had four thousand. This is to be accounted for by the dignity being thrust upon the head of that house. The independent princes of Chanderi, Karauh, Datia, with the tributary feudatories of the larger principalities, and members of the Shaikhawat federation, were enrolled on the other grades, from four to seven hundred. Amongst these we find the founder of the Saktawat clan, who, quarrelling with his brother, Rana Partap of Mewar, gave his services to Akbar. In short it became general, and what originated in force or persua sion, was soon coveted from interested motives ; and as nearly all the States submitted in [1.54] time to give queens to the empire, few were left to stigmatize this dereliction from Hindu principle.

Akbar thus gained a double victory, securing the good opinions as well as the swords of these princes in his aid. A judicious perseverance would have rendered the throne of Timur immov able, had not the tolerant principles and beneficence of Akbar, Jahangir, and Shah Jahan been lost sight of by the bigoted and bloodthirsty Aurangzeb ; who, although while he lived his com manding genius wielded the destinies of this immense empire at pleasure, alienated the affections, by insulting the prejudices, of those who had aided in raising the empire to the height on which it stood. This affection withdrawn, and the wealoiess of Farrukhsiyar substituted for the strength of Aurangzeb, it fell and went rapidly to pieces. Predatory warfare and spohation rose on its ruins. The Rajput princes, with a short-sighted policy, at first connived at, and even secretly invited the tumult ; not calculating on its affecting their interests. Each looked to the return of ancient independence, and several reckoned on great accession of power. Old jealousies were not lessened by the part which each had played in the hour of ephemeral greatness ; and the prince of Mewar, who preserved his blood uncontamin ated, though with loss of land, was at once an object of respect and envy to those who had forfeited the first pretensions 1 of a Rajput. It was the only ovation the Sesodia 2 had to boast for centuries of oppression and spoliation, whilst their neighbours

1 See, in the Annals of Mewar, the letter of Rae Singh of Bikaner (who had been compelled to subfnit to this practice), on hearing that Rana Partap's reverses were likely to cause a similar result. It is a. noble production, and gives the character of both. 2 The tribe to which the princes of Mewar belonged. were basking in court favour. The great increase of territory of these princes nearly equalled the power of Mewar, and the dignities thus acquired from the sons of Timur, they naturally wished should appear as distinguished as his ancient title. Hence, while one inscribed on his seal " The exalted in dignity, a prince amongst princes, and king of kiags," 1 the prince of Mewar preserved his royal simplicity in "Maharana Bhima Singh, son of Arsi." But this is digression.

Results of Feudalism

It would be difficult to say what would be the happiest form of government for these States without refer ence to their neighbours. Their own feudal customs would seem to have worked well. The experiment of centuries has secured [155] to them political existence, while successive dynasties of Afghans and Moguls, during eight hundred years, have left but the wreck of splendid names. Were they to become more mon archical, they would have everything to dread from vmchecked despotism, over which even the turbulence of their chiefs is a salutary control.

Were they somewhat more advanced towards prosperity, the crown demesne redeemed from dissipation and sterility, and the chiefs enabled to bring their quotas into play for protection and police, recourse should never be had to bodies of mercenary troops, which practice, if persevered in, will inevitably change their present form of government. This has invariably been the result, in Europe as well as Rajasthan, else why the dread of standing armies ?

Employment of Mercenaries

Escuage is an approximating step. When Charles VII. of France - raised his companies of ordnance, the basis of the first national standing army ever embodied in Europe, a tax called ' taille ' was imposed to pay them, and Guienne rebelled. Kotah is a melancholy instance of subversion of the ancient order of society. Mewar made the experiment from necessity sixty years ago, when rebellion and invasion conjoined ; and a body of Sindis were employed, which completed their disgust, and they fought with each other till almost mutually exterminated, and till all faith in their prince was lost. Jaipur had adopted this custom to a greater extent ; but it was an ill-paid band, neither respected at home nor feared

1 Raj Rajeswara, the title of the prince of Marwar : the prince of Amber, Raj Rajindra. 2 Hallam, vol. i. p. 117. abroad. In Marwar the feudal compact was too strong to tolerate it, till Pathan predatory bands, prowling amidst the ruins of Mogul despotism, were called in to partake in each family broil ; the consequence was the weakening of all, and opening the door to a power stronger than any, to be the arbiter of their fate.

General Duties of the Pattawat, or Vassal Chief of Rajasthan

" The essential principle of a fief was a mutual contract of support and fidelity. Whatever obligations it laid upon the vassal of service to his lord, corresponding duties of protection were im posed by it on the lord towards his vassal. If these were trans gressed on either side, the one forfeited his land, the other his signiory or rights over it." 1 In this is comprehended the very foundation of feudal policy, because in its simplicity we recognize first principles involving mutual preservation. The best [156] commentary on this definition of simple truth will be the senti ments of the Rajputs themselves in two papers : one containing the opinions of the chiefs of Marwar on the reciprocal duties of sovereign and vassal ; 2 the other, those of the sub-vassals of Deogarh, one of the largest fiefs in Rajasthan, of their rights, the infringement of them, and the remedy.3

If, at any former period in the history of Marwar, its prince had thus dared to act, his signiory and rights over it would not have been of great value ; his crown and life would both have been endangered by these turbulent and determined vassals. How much is comprehended in that manly, yet respectful sentence : " If he accepts our services, then he is our prince and leader ; if not, but our equal, and we again his brothers, claimants of and laying claim to the soil." In the remonstrance of the sub-vassals of Deogarh, we have the same sentiments on a reduced scale. In both we have the ties of blood and kindred, connected with and strengthening national policy. If a doubt could exist as to the principle of fiefs being similar in Rajasthan and in Europe, it might be set at rest by the important question long agitated by the feodal lawyers in Europe, " whether the vassal is bound to follow the standard of his lord against his own kindred or against his sovereign " : which in these States is illustrated by a simple and universal proof. If the question were put to a Rajput to whom his service is due, whether to his chief or his sovereign, the

1 Hallam, vol. i. p. 173. 2 See Appendix, No. I. 3 See Appendix, Noa. II. and III. reply would be, Raj ka malik ivuh, pat 1 ka malik yih : ' He is Lhe 'Sovereign of the State, but this is my head' : an ambiguous phrase, but well understood to imply that His own immediate chief is the only authority he regards.

This will appear to militate against the right of remonstrance (as in the case of the vassals of Deogarh), for they look to the crown for protection against injustice ; they annihilate other rights by admitting appeal higher than this. Every class looks out for some resource against oppression. The sovereign is the last applied to on such occasions, with whom the sub-vassal has no bond of connexion. He can receive no favour, nor perform any service, but through his own immediate superior ; and pre sumes not to question (in cases not personal to himself) the pro priety of his chief's actions, adopting implicitly his feelings [157] and resentments. The daily familiar intercourse of life is far too engrossing to allow him to speculate, and with his lord he lives a patriot or dies a traitor. In proof of this, numerous instances could be given of whole clans devoting themselves to the chief against their sovereign ; 2 not from the ties of kindred, for many were aliens to blood ; but from the ties of duty, gratitude, and all that constitutes clannish attachment, superadded to feudal obligation. The sovereign, as before observed, has nothing to do with those vassals not holding directly from the crown ; and those who wish to stand well with their chiefs would be very slow in receiving any honours or favours from the general fountain head. The Deogarh chief sent one of his sub- vassals to court on a mission ; his address and deportment gained him favour, and his consequence was increased by a seat in the presence of his sovereign. When he returned, he found this had lost him the favour of his chief, who was offended, and conceived a jealousy both of his prince and his servant. The distinction paid to the latter was, he said, subversive of his proper authority, and the vassal incurred by his vanity the loss of estimation where alone it was of value.

Obligations of a Vassal

The attempt to define all the obliga tions of a vassal would be endless : they involve all the duties of kindred in addition to those of obedience. To attend the court 1 Pat means ' head,' ' chief.' 2 The death of the chief of Nimaj, in the Annals of Marwar, and Sheogarh Feud, in the Personal Narrative, Vol. II. of his chief ; never to absent himself without leave ; to ride with him a-hunting ; to attend him at the court of his sovereign or to war, and even give himself as a hostage for his release ; these are some of the duties of a vassal.

Feudal Incidents

I shall now proceed to compare the more general obligations of vassals, known under the term of ' Feudal Incidents ' in Europe, and show their existence in Rajasthan. These were six in num.ber : 1. Reliefs ; 2. Fines of alienation ; 3. Escheats ; 4. Aids ; 5. Wardship ; 6. Marriage [158].


The first and most essential mark of a feudal relation exists in all its force and purity here : it is a perpetually recurring mark of the source of the grant, and the solemn renewal of the pledge which originally obtained it. In Mewar it is a virtual and bona fide surrender of the fief and renewal thereof. It is thus defined in European polity : "A relief 1 is a sum of money due from every one of full age taking a fief by descent." It was arbitrary, and the consequent exactions formed a ground of dis content ; nor was the tax fixed till a comparatively recent period.

By Magna Charta reliefs were settled at rates proportionate to the dignity of the holder.2 In France the relief was fixed by the customary laws at one year's revenue.' This last has long been the settled amount of nazarana, or fine of relief, in Mewar.

1 " Plusieurs possesseurs de fiefs, ayant voulu en hisser perpetuellement la propriete a leurs descendans, prirent des arrangemens avec leur Seigneur ; et, outre ce qu'ils donnerent pour faire le marche, lis s'engagerent, eux et leur posterite, a abandonner pendant une annee, all Seigneur, la jouissance entiere du fief, chaque fois que le dit fief changcrait de main. C'est ce qui forma le droit de relief. Quand un gentilhomme avait deroge, il pouvait effaeer cotte tachc moycnnant finances, et ce qu'il payait s'appelait relief, il recevait pour quittance des lettres de relief ou de rehabilitation-" (Art. ' Refief, Diet, de Vane. Eegime). 2 Namely, " the heir or heirs of an earl, for an entire earldom, one hundred pounds ; the heir or heirs of a baron, for an entire barony, one hundred marks ; the heir or heirs of a knight, for a whole knight's fee, one hundred shilhngs at most " (Art. III. Magna Charta). 3 " Le droit de rachat devoit se payer a chaque mutation d'heritier, et La coutume la plus generale i'avait fixe a une annee du revenue " {L'Esprit des Loix, livre xxxi. chap, xxxiii.)

Fine paid on Succession

On the demise of a chief, the prince immediately sends a party, termed the zabti (sequestrator), con sisting of a civil officer and a few soldiers, who take possession of the State in the prince's name. The heir sends his prayer to court to be installed in the property, offering the proper relief. This paid, the chief is invited to repair to the presence, when he performs homage, and makes protestations of service and fealty ; he receives a fresh grant, and the inauguration terminates by the prince girding him with a sword, in the old forms of chivalry. It is an imposing ceremony, performed in a full assembly of the court, and one of the few which has never been relinquished. The fine paid, and the brand buckled to his side, a steed, turban, plume, and dress of honour given to the chief, the investiture 1 is [159] complete ; the sequestrator returns to court, and the chief to his estate, to receive the vows and congratulations of his vassals.2

In this we plainly perceive the original power (whether exer cised or not) of resumption. On this subject more will appear in treating of the duration of grants. The kharg bandhai, or ' binding of the sword,' is also performed when a Rajput is fit to bear arms ; as amongst the ancient German tribes, when they put into the hands of the aspirant for fame a lance. Such are the substitutes for the toga virilis of the young Roman. The Rana himself is thus ordained a knight by the first of his vassals in dignity, the chief of Salumbar.

Renunciation of Beliefs

In the demoralization of all those States, some of the chiefs obtained renimciation of the fine of 1 That symbolic species of investiture denominated ' improper investi ture,' the delivery of a turf, stone, and wand, has its analogies amongst the mountaineers of the Aravalli. The old baron of Badnor, when the Mer villages were reduced, was clamorous about his feudal rights over those wild people. It was but the point of honour. Erom one he had a hare, from another a bullock, and so low as a pair of sticks which they use on the festivals of the Hoh. These marks of vassalage come under the head of ' petite serjanteri ' (petit serjeantry) in the feudal system of Europe (see Art. XLI. of Magna Charta). 2 [" All Rajput Jagirdars, or holders of assigned lands, pay nazarana on the accession of a new Maharana, and on certain other occasions, while most of them pay a fine called Kaid [' imprisonment '] on succeeding to these estates. On the death of a Rajput Jagirdar, his estates immediately revert to the Darbar, and so remain until his son or successor is recognized by the Maharana, when the grant is renewed, and a fresh lease taken " (Erskine ii. A. 71).] relief, which was tantamount to making a grant in perpetuity, and annulling the most overt sign of paramount sovereignty. But these and many other important encroachments were made when little remained of the reality, or when it was obscured by a series of oppressions unexampled in any European State.

It is in Mewar alone, I believe, of all Rajasthan, that these marks of fealty are observable to such an extent. But what is remarked elsewhere upon the fiefs being movable, will support the doctrine of resumption though it might not be practised : a prerogative may exist without its being exercised.

Fine of Alienation

Rajasthan never attained this refine ment indicative of the dismemberment of the system ; so vicious and self-destructive a notion never had existence in these States. Alienation does not belong to a system of fiefs : the lord would never consent to it, but on very peculiar occasions.

In Cutch, amongst the Jareja 1 tribes, sub-vassals may alienate their estates ; but this privilege is dependent on the mode of acquisition. Perhaps the only knowledge we have in Rajasthan of alienation requiring the sanction of the lord paramount, is in donations for pious uses : but this is partial. We see in the re monstrance of the Deogarh vassals the opinion they entertained of their lord's alienation of their sub-fees to strangers, and without the Rana's consent ; which, with a similar train of conduct, pro duced sequestration of his flef till they were reinducted [160].

Tenants of the Crown may Alienate

The agricultural tenants, proprietors of land held of the crown, may alienate their rights upon a small fine, levied merely to mark the transaction. But the tenures of these non-combatants and the holders of fees are entirely distinct, and cannot here be entered on, further than to say that the agriculturist is, or was, the proprietor of the soil ; the chief, solely of the tax levied thereon. But in Europe the alienation of the feuduni paternum was not good without the consent of the kindred in the line of succession.2 This would involve sub-infeudation and frerage, which I shall touch on distinctly, many of the troubles of these countries arising there from.

1 Jareja is the title of the Rajput race in Cutch ; they are descendants of the Yadus, and claim from Krishna. In early ages they inhabited the tracts on the Indus and in Seistan [p. 102 above]. 2 Wright on Tenures, apud Hallam, vol. i. p. 185.

Escheats and Forfeitures

The flefs which were only to descend in hneal succession reverted to the crown on failure of heirs, as they could not be bequeathed by will. This answers equally well for England as for Mewar. I have witnessed escheats of this kind, and foresee more, if the pernicious practice of unlimited adoption do not prevent the Rana from regaining lands, alienated by himself at periods of contention. Forfeitures for crimes must, of course, occur, and these are partial or entire, according to the delinquency.

In Marwar, at this moment, nearly all the representatives of the great fiefs of that country are exiles from their homes : a distant branch of the same family, the prince of Idar, would have adopted a similar line of conduct but for a timely check from the hand of benevolence.1

There is, or rather was, a class of lands in Mewar appended to the crown, of which it bestowed life-rents on men of merit. These were termed Chhorutar, and were given and taken back, as the name implies ; in contradistinction to grants which, though origin ating in good behaviour, not only continued for life but descended in perpetuity. Such places are still so marked in the rent-roll, but they are seldom applied to the proper purpose.


Aids, implying ' free gifts,' or ' benevolences,' as they were termed in a European code, are well known. The barar (war-tax) is well understood in Mewar, and is levied on many occasions for the necessities of the prince or the head of a clan. It is a curious fact, that the dasaundh, or ' tenth,' in Mewar, as in Europe, was the [161] stated sum to be levied in periods of emer gency or danger. On the marriage of the daughters of the prince, a benevolence or contribution was always levied : this varied. A few years ago, when two daughters and a granddaughter were married to the princes of Jaisalmer, Bikaner, and Kishangarh, a schedule of one-sixth, to portion the three, was made out ; but it did not realize above an eighth. In this aid the civil officers of government contribute equally with the others. It is a point of honour with all to see their sovereign's daughters married, and for once the contribution merited the name of benevolence.

1 The Hon. Mr. Elphinstone, Governor of Bombay. As we prevented the spoliation of Idar by the predatory powers, we are but right in seeing that the head does not become the spoliator himself, and make these brave men " wish any change but that which we have given them." But it is not levied solely from the coffers of the rich ; by the chiefs it is exacted of their tenantry of all classes, who, of course, wish such subjects of rejoicing to be of as rare occurrence as possible. " These feudal aids are deserving of our notice as the com mencement of taxation, of which they long answered the purpose, till the craving necessities and covetous policy of kings established for them more durable and onerous burthens." 1

The great chiefs, it may be assumed, were not backward, on like occasions, to follow such examples, but these gifts were more voluntary. Of the details of aids in France we find enumerated, " paying the relief to the suzerain on taking possession of his lands " ; 2 and by Magna Charta our barons could levy them on the following counts : to make the baron's eldest son a knight, to marry his eldest daughter, or to redeem his person from cap tivity. The latter is also one occasion for the demand in all these covmtries. The chief is frequently made prisoner in their preda tory invasions, and carried off as a hostage for the payment of a war contribution. Everything disposable is often got rid of on an occasion of this kind. Cceur de Lion would not have remained so long in the dungeons of Austria had his subjects been Rajputs. In Amber the most extensive benevolence, or barar,3 is on the marriage of the Rajkumar, or heir apparent.


This does exist, to foster the infant vassal during minority ; but often terminating, as in the system of Europe, in the nefarious act of defrauding a helpless infant, to the pecuniary benefit of some court favourite. It is accordingly [1G2] here undertaken occasionally by the head of the clan ; but two strong recent instances brought the dark ages, and the purchase of wardships for the purpose of spoliation, to mind. The first was in the Deogarh chief obtaining by bribe the entire management of the lands of Sangramgarh, on pretence of improving them for the infant, Nahar Singh, whose father was incapacitated by derangement. Nahar was a junior branch of the clan Sangawat, a subdivision of the Chondawat clan, both Sesodias of the Rana's blood. The object, at the time, was to unite them to Deogarh, though he pleaded duty as liead of the clan. His nomination of young Nahar as his own heir gives a colouring of truth to his 1 Hallara. 2 Ducange, apud Hallam. 3 Barar is the generic name for taxation. intentions ; and he succeeded, though there were nearer of kin, who were set aside (at the wish of the vassals of Deogarh and witli the concurrence of the sovereign) as unfit to head them or serve him.

Another instance of the danger of permitting wardships, particularly where the guardian is the superior in clanship and kindred, is exemplified iii the Kalyanpur estate in Mewar. That property had been derived from the crown only two generations back, and was of the annual value of ten thousand rupees. The mother having little interest at court, the Salumbar chief, by bribery and intrigue, upon paying a fine of about one year's rent, ostensibly to guard the infant's rights ; but the falsehood of this motive was soon apparent. There were duties to perform on holding it which were not thought of. It was a frontier post, and a place of rendezvous for the quotas to defend that border from the incursions of the wild tribes of the south-west. The Salumbar chief, being always deficient in the quota for his own estate, was not likely to be very zealous in his muster-roll for his ward's, and complaints were made which threatened a change. The chief of Chawand was talked of as one who would provide for the widow and minor, who could not perform the duties of defence.

The sovereign himself often assumes the guardianship of minors ; but the mother is generally considered the most proper guardian for her infant son. All others may have interests of their own ; she can be actuated by his welfare alone. Custom, therefore, constitutes her the guardian ; and with the assistance of the elders of the family, she rears and educates the young chief till he is fit to be girded with the sword [103].1

The Faujdar, or military manager, who frequently regulates the household as well as the subdivisions of the estate, is seldom of the kin or clan of the chief : a wise regulation, the omission of which has been known to produce, in these maires du palais on a small scale, the same results as will be described in the larger. This officer, and the civil functionary who transacts all the pecuniary concerns of the estate, with the mother and her family, are always considered to be the proper guardians of the minor. ' Blood which could not inherit,' was the requisite for a guardian 1 The charter of Henry I. promises the custody of heirs to the mother or next of kin (Hallam, vol. ii. p. 429). in Europe1 as here ; and when neglected, the results are in both cases the same.


Refinement was too strong on the side of the Rajput to admit this incident, which, with that of wardship (both partial in Europe), illustrated the rapacity ot the feudal aristocracy. Every chief, before he marries, makes it known to his sovereign. It is a compliment which is expected, and is besides attended with some advantage, as the prince invariably confers presents of honour, according to the station of the individual.

No Rajput can marry in his own clan ; and the incident was originated in the Norman institutes, to prevent the vassal marry ing out of his class, or amongst the enemies of his sovereign.^ Thus, setting aside marriage (which even in Europe was only partial and local) and alienation, four of the six chief incidents marking the feudal system are in force in Rajasthan, viz. relief, escheats, aids, and wardships.

Duration of Grants

I shall now endeavour to combine all the knowledge I possess with regard to the objects attained in granting lands, the nature and durability of these grants, whether for life and renewable, or in perpetuity. I speak of the rules as under stood in Mewar. We ought not to expect much system in what was devoid of regularity, even according to the old principles of European feudal law, which, though now reduced to some fixed ])rinciples, originated in, and was governed by, fortuitous cir cumstances ; and after often changing its character, ended in despotism, oligarchy, or democracy.

Classes of Landholders

There are two classes of Rajput landholders in INIewar, though the one greatly exceeds the other in number. One is the Girasia Thakur, or lord ; the other the Bliumia. The Girasia chieftain is he who holds (giras) by grant (pafto) of the [164] prince, for which he performs service with specified quotas at home and abroad, renewable at every lapse, when all the ceremonies of resumption,3 the fine of relief,'4 and the investiture take place.

The Bhumia does not renew his grant, but holds on prescriptive 1 Hallam, vol. i. p. 190. 2 [The rule of tribal exogamy, whatever may be its origin, is much more primitive than the author supposed (Sir J. G. Frazer, Totemism and Exogamy, i. 54 ff.).] 3 Zahii, 'sequestration.' 4 Nazarana. possession. He succeeds without any fine, but pays a small annual quit-rent, and can be called upon for local service in the district which he in.habits for a certain period of time. He is the counterpart of the allodial proprietor of the European system, and the real zamindar of these principalities. Both have the same signification ; from bhum and zamin, ' land ' : the latter is an exotic of Persian origin.


Girasia is from giras, ' a subsistence ' ; literally and familiarly ' a mouthful.' Whether it may have a like origm with the Celtic word gwas,1 said to mean ' a servant,' 2 and whence the word vassal is derived, I shall leave to etymologists to decide, who may trace the resemblance to the girasia, the vassal chieftain of the Rajputs. All the chartularies or pattas 3 commence, " To . . . giras has been ordained."

Whether Resumable

It has always been a subject of doubt whether grants were resumable at pleasure, or without some delinquency imputable to the vassal. Their duration in Europe was, at least, the life of the possessor, when they reverted 4 to the fisc. The whole of the ceremonies in cases of such lapse are decisive on this point in Mewar. The right to resume, therefore, may be presumed to exist ; while the non-practice of it, the formalities of renewal being gone through, may be said to render the right a dead letter. But to prove its existence I need only mention, that so late as the reign of Rana Sangram5 the fiefs of Mewar were actually movable ; and little more than a century and a half has passed since this practice ceased. Thus a Rathor would shift, with family, chattels, and retainers, from the north into the wUds of Chappan ; 6 while the Saktawat relieved would

1 It might not be unworthy of research to trace many words common to the Hindu and the Celt ; or to inquire whether the Kimbri, the Juts or Getae, the Sakasena, the Chatti of the Elbe and Cimbric Chersonese, and the ancient Britons, did not bring their terms with their bards and votes (the Bhats and Bardais) from the highland of Scythia east of the Caspian, which originated the nations common to both, improved beyond the Wolga and the Indus [?]. 2 Hallam, vol. i. 155. [Welsh, Cornish givas, ' a servant.'] 3 Patta, a ' patent ' or ' grant ' ; Pattawat, ' holder of the fief or grant.' 4 Montesquieu, chaps, xxv., liv., xxxi. 5 Ten generations ago. [At present an estate is not liable to confiscation save for some gross pohtical offence (Erskine ii. A. 71).] 6 The mountainous and woody region to the south-west, dividing Mewar from Gujarat. occupy the plains at the foot of the Aravalli ; 1 or a Chondawat would exchange his [165] abode on the banks of the Chambal with a Pramara or Chauhan from the table-mountain, the eastern boundary of Mewar.2

Since these exchanges were occurring, it is evident the fiefs (pattas) were not grants in perpetuity. This is just the state of the benefices in France at an early period, as described by Gibbon, following Montesquieu : " Les benefices etoient amovibles : bien tot ils les rendirent perpetuels, et enfin hereditaires." 3 This is the precise gradation of fiefs in Mewar ; movable, perpetual, and then hereditary. The sons were occasionally permitted to suc ceed their fathers ; 4 an indulgence which easily grew into a right, though the crown had the indubitable reversion. It is not, how ever, impossible that these changes 5 were not of ancient authority, but arose from the policy of the times to prevent infidelity.

We ought to have a high opinion of princes who could produce an effect so powerful on the minds of a proud and turbulent nobility. The son was heir to the title and power over the vassals' personals and movables, and to the allegiance of his father, but to nothing which could endanger that allegiance.

A proper apportioning and mixture of the different clans was another good result to prevent their combinations in powerful families, which gave effect to rebellion, and has tended more than external causes to the ruin which the State of Mewar exhibits.

1 The grand chain dividing the western from the central States of Rajasthan. 2 Such changes were triennial ; and, as I have heard the prince himself say, so interwoven with their customs was this rule that it caused no dis satisfaction ; but of this we may be allowed at least to doubt. It was a perfect check to the imbibing of local attachment ; and the prohibition against erecting forts for refuge or defiance, prevented its growth if acquired. It produced the object intended, obedience to the prince, and unity against the restless Mogul. Perhaps to these institutions it is owing that Mewar alone never was conquered by the kings during the protracted struggle of seven centuries ; though at length worried and worn out, her power expired with theirs, and predatory spohation completed her ruin. 3 Gibbon, Misc. Works, vol. iii. p. 189 ; Sur le systeme feodal surtout en France. 4 Hallam, quoting Gregory of Tours ; the picture drawn in a.d. 595. 5 " Fiefs had partially become hereditary towards the end of the first race : in these days they had not the idea of an ' unalenable fief.' " Montes quieu, vol. ii. p. 431. The historian of the Middle Ages doubts if ever they were resumable at pleasure, unless from delinquency.

Nobility : Introduction of Foreign Stocks

Throughout the various gradations of its nobility, it was the original policy to introduce some who were foreign in country and blood. Chiefs of the Rathor, Chauhan, Pramara, Solanki, and Bhatti tribes were intermingled. Of these several were lineal descendants of the most ancient races of the kings of Delhi and Anhilwara Patan ; 1 and from these, in order to preserve the purity of blood, the princes of Mewar took their wives, when the other princes of Hind assented to [166] the degradation of giving daughters in marriage to the emperors of Delhi. The princes of Mewar never yielded in this point, but preserved their ancient manners amidst all vicissitudes. In like manner did the nobles of the Rana's blood take daughters from the same tribes ; the interest of this foreign race was therefore strongly identified with the general welfare, and on all occasions of internal turmoil and rebellion they invariably supported their prince. But when these wise institutions were overlooked, when the great clans increased and congregated together, and the crown demesne was impover ished by prodigality, rebellions were fostered by Mahratta rapacity, which were little known during the lengthened para mount sway of the kings of Delhi. This foreign admixture will lead us to the discussion of the different kinds of grants : a difference, perhaps, more nominal than real, but exhibiting a distinction so wide as to imply grants resumable and irresum able.

Kala Pattas

It is elsewhere related that two great clans, descendants of the Banas Rae Mall and Udai Singh, and their numerous scions, forming subdivisions with separate titles or patronymics, compose the chief vassalage of this country.


Chondawat and Saktawat are the stock ; the former is subdivided into ten, the latter into about six clans. Rajputs never intermarry with their own kin : the prohibition has no limit ; it extends to the remotest degree. All these clans are resolvable into the generic term of ' the race ' or Kula Sesodia. A Sesodia man and woman cannot unite in wedlock__ all these are therefore of the blood royal ; and the essayists on population would have had a fine field in these quarters a century ago, ere constant misery had thinned the country, to trace the numerous

1 The Nahlwara of D'Anville and the Arabian travellers of the eighth century, the capital of the Balhara kings. progeny of Chonda and Sakta in the Genesis 1 of Mewar. The Bhat's genealogies would still, to a certain extent, afford the same means. Descent gives a strength to the tenure of these tribes which the foreign nobles do not possess ; for although, from all that has been said, it will be evident that a right of reversion and resumption existed (though seldom exercised, and never but in cases of crime), yet the foreigner had not this strength in the soil, even though of twenty generations' duration. The epithet of kala patta, or ' black grant,' attaches to the foreign grant, and is admitted by the holder, from which the kinsman thinks himself exempt. It is virtually a grant resumable ; nor can the pos sessors feel that security which the other widely affiliated aristo cracies afford [167]. When, on a recent occasion, a revision of all the grants took place, the old ones being called in to be renewed under the sign-manual of the reigning prince, the minister himself visited the chief of Salumbar, the head of the Chondawats, at his residence at the capital, for this purpose. Having become possessed of several villages in the confusion of the times, a perusal of the grant would have been the means of detection ; and on being urged to send to his estate for it, he replied, pointing to the palace, " My grant is in the fovmdation of that edifice " : an answer worthy of a descendant of Chonda, then only just of age. The expression marks the spirit which animates this people, and recalls to mind the well-known reply of our own Earl Warenne, on the very same occasion, to the quo warranto of Edward : " By their swords my ancestors obtained this land, and by mine will I maintain it."

Hence it may be pronounced that a grant of an estate is for the life of the holder, with inheritance for his offspring in lineal descent or adoption, with the sanction of the prince, and resum able for crime or incapacity : 2 this reversion and power of resumption being marked by the usual ceremonies on each lapse

1 Janam, ' birth ' ; es, ' lord ' or ' man.' [See p. 24 above.] 2 " La loi des Lombards oppose les benefices a la propriete. Les his toriens, les formules, les codes des differens peuples barbares, tons les monu mens qui nous restent, sont unanimes. Enfin, ceux qui ont ecrit le livre dea fiefs, nous apprennent, que d'abord les Seigneurs purent les oter a leur volonte, qu'ensuite ils les assurerent pour un an, et apres les donnerenfc pour la vie " (L'Esprit des Loix, chap. xvi. livre 30). of the grantee, of sequestration (zabti), of relief (nazarano), of homage and investiture of the heir. Those estates held by foreign nobles differ not in tenure ; though, for the reasons specified, they have not the same grounds of security as the others, in whose welfare the whole body is mterested, feeling the case to be their own : and their interests, certainly, have not been so consulted since the rebellions of S. 1822,1 and subsequent years. Witness the Chauhans of Bedla and Kotharia (in the Udaipur valley), and the Pramar of the plateau of Mewar, all chiefs of the first rank.

The difficulty and danger of resuming an old-established grant 'n these countries are too great to be lightly risked. Though in all these estates there is a mixture of foreign Rajputs, yet the blood of the chief predominates ; and these must have a leader of their own, or be incorporated in the estates of the nearest of kin. This increase might not be desirable for the crown, but the sub-vassals cannot be turned [168] adrift ; a resumption therefore in these countries is widely felt, as it involves many. If crime or incapacity render it necessary, the prince inducts a new head of that blood ; and it is their pride, as well as the prince's interest, that a proper choice should be made. If, as has often occurred, the title be abolished, the sub-vassals retain their sub-infeuda tions, and become attached to the crown.

Many estates were obtained, during periods of external com

his which have been remedied in the late reorganization of Mewar ; where, by retro grading half a century, and bringing matters as near as po'ssible to the period preceding civil dissension, they have advanced at least a century towards order.

Bhumia, the Allodial Proprietor

It is stated in the historical annals of this country that the ancient clans, prior to Sanga Rana,2 had ceased, on the rising greatness of the subsequent new division of clans, to hold the higher grades of rank ; and had, in fact, merged into the general military landed proprietors of this country under the term bhumia, a most expressive and compre hensive name, importing absolute identity with the soil : bhum meaning ' land,' and being far more expressive than the new 1 A.D. 1766. 2 Contemporary and opponent of Sultan Babur. fangled word, unknown to Hindu India, of zamindar, the ' land holder ' of Muhammadan growth. These Bhumias, the scions of the earliest princes, are to be met with in various parts of Mewar ; though only in those of high antiquity, where they were defended from oppression by the rocks and wilds in which they obtained a footing ; as in Kumbhalmer, the wilds of Chappan, or plains of Mandalgarh, long under the kings, and where their agricultural pursuits maintained them.

Their clannish appellations, Kumbhawat, Lunawat, and Ranawat, distinctly show from what stem and when they branched off ; and as they ceased to be of sufficient importance to visit the court on the new and continually extending ramifications, they took to the plough. But while they disdained not to derive a subsistence from labouring as husbandmen, they never abandoned their arms ; and the Bhumia, amid the crags of the alpine Aravalli where he pastures his cattle or cultivates his fields, preserves the erect mien and proud spirit of his ancestors, with more tractability, and less arrogance and folly, than his more [169] courtly but now widely separated brethren, who often make a jest of his in dustrious but less refined qualifications.1 Some of these yet possess entire villages, which are subject to the payment of a small quit-rent : they also constitute a local militia, to be called in by the governor of the district, but for which service they are entitled to rations or peti.2 These, the allodial 3 tenantry of our 1 Many of them taking wives from the degraded but aboriginal races in their neighbouring retreats, have begot a mixed progeny, who, in describing themselves, unite the tribes of father and mother. 2 Literally, ' a belly-full.' 3 Allodial property is defined (Hallam, vol. i. p. 144) as " land which had descended by inheritance, subject to no burthen but public defence. It passed to all the children equally ; in failure of children, to the nearest kindred." Thus it is strictly the Miras or Bhuni of the Rajputs : inheritance, patrimony. In Mewar it is divisible to a certain extent ; but in Cutch, to infinity : and is liable only to local defence. The holder of bhum calls it his Adyapi, i.e. of old, by prescriptive right ; not by written deed. Montes quieu, describing the conversion of allodial estates into fiefs, says, "These lands were held by Romans or Franks (i.e. freemen) not the king's vassals," viz. lands exterior and anterior to the monarchy. We have Rathor, Solanki, and other tribes, now holding bhum in various districts, whose ancestors were conquered by the Sesodias, but left in possession of small portions insufficient to cause jealousy. Some of these may be said to have converted their lands into fiefs, as the Chauhan lord of , who served the Salumbar chief. feudal system, form a considerable body in many districts, armed with matchlock, sword, and shield. In Mandalgarh, when their own interests and the prince's unite (though the rapacity of governors, pupils of the Mahratta and other predatory schools, have disgusted these independents), four thousand Bhumias could be collected. They held and maintained without support the important fortress of that district, during half a century of turmoil, for their prince. Mandalgarh is the largest district of Mewar, and in its three hundred and sixty towns and villages many specimens of ancient usage may be found. The Solanki held largely here in ancient days, and the descendant of the princes of Patau still retains his Bhum and title of Rao.^

Feudal Militia

All this feudal militia pay a quit-rent to the crown, and perform local but limited service on the frontier garrison ; and upon invasion,2 when the Kher is called out, the whole are at the disposal of the prince on furnishing rations only. They assert that they ought not to pay this quit-rent and perform service also ; but this may be doubted, since the sum is so small. To elude it, they often performed service under some powerful chief, where faction or court interest [170] caused it to be winked at. To serve without a patta is the great object of ambition. Ma ka bhum, ' my land,' in their Doric tongue, is a favourite phrase.3

1 Amidst ruins overgrown with forest, I discovered on two tables of stone the genealogical history of this branch, which was of considerable use in elucidating that of Anhilwara, and which corresponded so well with the genealogies of a decayed bard of the family, who travelled the country for a subsistence, that I feel assured they formerly made good use of these marble records. " See Appendix, Nos. XVI. and XVJI. 2 It was intimately acquainted with, and much esteemed, many of these from my friend Paharji (the rock), Ranawat of Amargarh, to the Kumbhawat of Sesoda on the highest point, lord of the jiass of the Aravalli ; and even the mountain hon, Dungar Singh who bore amongst us, from his old raids, the famiHar title of Roderic Dhu. In each situation I have had my tents filled with them ; and it was one of the greatest pleasures I ever experienced, after I had taken my leave of them, perhaps for ever, crossed the frontiers of Mewar, and encamped in the dreary pass between it and Marwar, to find that a body of them had been my guards during the night. This is one of the many pleasing recollections of the past. Fortu nately for our happiness, the mind admits their preponderance over opposite feeUngs. I had much to do in aiding the restoration of their past condition ; leaving, I believe, as few traces of error in the mode as could be expected, where so many conflicting interests were to be reconciled. Circumstances have concurred to produce a resemblance even to the refined fiction of giving up their allodial property to have it conferred as a fief. But in candour it should be stated, that the only instances were caused by the desire of being revenged on the immediate superiors of the vassals. The Rathor chief of Dabla held of his superior, the Raja of Banera, three considerable places included in the grant of Banera. He paid homage, an annual quit-rent, was bound to attend him personally to court, and to furnish thirty-five horse in case of an invasion. During the troubles, though perfectly equal to their performance, he was remiss in all these duties. His chief, with returning peace, desired to enforce the return to ancient customs, and his rights so long withheld ; but the Rathor had ielt the sweets of entire independence, and refused to attend his smnmons. To the warrant he replied, " his head and Dabla were together " ; and he would neither pay the quit-rent nor attend his court. This refractory spirit was reported to the Rana ; and it ended in Dabla being added to the fisc, and the chief's holding the rest as a vassal of the Rana, but only to perform local service. There are many other petty free proprietors on the Banera estate, holding from small portions of land to sinall villages ; but the service is limited and local in order to swell the chief's miniature court. If they accompany him, he must find rations for them and their steeds.

So cherished is this tenure of Bhum, that the greatest chiefs are always solicitous to obtain it, even in the villages wholly dependent on their authority : a decided proof of its durability above common grants. The various modes in which it is ac quired, and the precise technicalities which distinguished its tenure, as well as the privileges attached to it, are fully developed in translations of different deeds on the subject [171].1

Rajas of Banera and Shahpura

We have also, amongst the nobility of Mewar, two who hold the independent title of prince or raja, one of whom is by far too powerful for a subject. These are the Rajas of Banera and Shahpura, both of the blood royal. The ancestor of the first was the twin-brother of Rana Jai Singh ; the other, a Ranawat, branched off from Rana Udai Singh. They have their grants renewed, and receive the khilat of investiture ; but they pay no relief, and are exempt from all but persona] attendance at their prince's court, and the local 1 See Appendix. service of the district in which their estates are situated. They have hitherto paid but Little attention to their duties, but this defect arose out of the times. These lands lying most exposed to the imperial headquarters at Ajmer, they were compelled to bend to circumstances, and the kings were glad to confer rank and honour on such near relations of the Rana's house. He bestowed on them the titles of Raja, and added to the Shahpura chief's patrimony a large estate in Ajmer, which he now holds direct of the British Government, on payment of an annual tribute.

Form and Substance of Grant

To give a proper idea of the variety of items forming these chartularies, I append several 1 which exhibit the rights, privileges, and honours, as well as the sources of income, while they also record the terms on which they are granted. Many royalties have been alienated in modern times by the thoughtless prodigality of the princes ; even the grand mark of vassalage, the fine of relief, has been forgiven to one or two individuals ; portions of transit duties, tolls on ferries, and other seignorial rights ; coining copper currency; exactions of every kind, from the levy of toll for night protection of merchandise and for the repairs of fortifications, to the share of the depredations of the com mon robber, will sufficiently show the demoralization of the country.

Division of Pattas, or Sub-infeudation

Many years ago, when the similarity of the systems first struck my attention, I took one of the grants or pattas of a great vassal of Jaipur, and dis sected it in all its minutiae, with the aid of a very competent authority who had resided as one of the managers of the chief. This document, in which the subdivision of the whole clan is detailed, materially aided me in developing the system [172]. The court and the household economy of a great chieftain is a miniature representation of the sovereign's : the same officers, from the pardhan, or minister, to the cup-bearer (paniyari), as well as the same domestic arrangements. He must have his shish-mahall,-2 his hari-Mahal,3 and his mandir,4 like his prince.

1 See Appendix, Nos. IV., V., VI. 2 Mirror apartments. [To meet the demand for the glass mosaics seen in the palaces of Rajputana, the Panjab, and Burma, the industry of blowing glass globes, silvered inside, came into existence. The globes are broken into fragments, and set in cement (in Burma in laquer), and used to decorate the walls (Watt, C'omm. Prod. 563, 717 f.). There is a Shish Mahall in the Agra Fort.] ^ Gardens on the terrace within the palace. 1 Private temple of worship. He enters the dari-sala, or carpet hall, the minstrel 1 preceding him rehearsing the praises of his family ; and he takes his seat on his throne, while the assembled retainers, marshalled in lines on the right and left, simultaneously exclaim, " Health to our chief ! " which salutation he returns by bowing to all as he passes them. When he is seated, at a given signal they all follow the example, and shield rattles against shield as they wedge into their places.

We have neither the kiss nor individual oaths of fidelity administered. It is sufficient, when a chief succeeds to his patri mony, that his ' an ' 2 is proclaimed within his sim or boundary. Allegiance is as hereditary as the land : "I am your child ; my head and sword are yours, my service is at your command." It is a rare thing for a Rajput to betray his Thakur, while the instances of self-devotion for him are innumerable : many will be seen interspersed in these papers. Base desertion, to their honour be it said, is little known, and known only to be execrated. Fidelity to the chief, Swamidharma, is the climax of all the virtues. The Rajput is taught from his infancy, in the song of the bard, to regard it as the source of honour here, and of happiness here after. The poet Chand abounds with episodes on the duty and beauty of fidelity ; nor does it require a very fervid imagination to picture the affections which such a life is calculated to promote, when the chief is possessed of the qualities to call them forth. At the chase his vassals attend him : in the covert of the forest, the ground their social board, they eat their repast together, from the venison or wild boar furnished by the sport of the day ; nor is the cup neglected. They are familiarly admitted at all times to his presence, and accompany him to the court of their mutual sovereign. In short, they are inseparable.3

Their having retained so much of their ancient manners and customs, during [173] centuries of misery and oppression, is the best evidence that those customs were riveted to their very souls. The Rajput of character is a being of the most acute sensibility ; 1 Dholi. 2 An is the oath of allegiance. Three things in Mewar are royalties a subject cannot meddle with : 1, An, or oath of allegiance ; 2, Dan, or transit dues on commerce ; 3, Khan, or mines of the precious metals. 3 I rather describe what they were, than what they are. Contentions and poverty have weakened their sympathies and affections ; but the mind of philanthropy must hope that they will again become what they have been. where honour is concerned, the most trivial omission is often ignorantly construed into an affront.

Provision for Chief's Relations

In all the large estates the chief must provide for his sons or brothers, according to his means and the number of immediate descendants. In an estate of sixty to eighty thousand rupees of annual rent, the second brother might have a village of three to Ave thousand of rent. This is his patrimony (bapota) : he besides pushes his fortune at the court of his sovereign or abroad. Juniors share in propor tion. These again subdivide, and have their little circle of dependents. Each new family is known by the name of the founder conjoined to that of his father and tribe : Man Megh singhgot Saktawat ; that is, ' Man, family of Megh, tribe Sak tawat.' The subdivisions descend to the lowest denomination.


Charsa, a ' hide of land,' or about sufficient to furnish an equipped cavalier. It is a singular coincidence that the term for the lowest subdivision of land for military service should be the same amongst the Rajputs as in the English system. Besides being similar in name, it nearly corresponds in actual quantity. From the beginning of the Anglo-Saxon government the land was divided into hides, each comprehending what could be cultivated by a single plough.1 Four hides constituted one knight's fee 2 which is stated to be about forty acres. The Charsa may have from twenty-five to thirty bighas ; which are equal the Saxon hide. For what these minor vassals held to be their rights on the great pattawats, the reader is again referred to the letter of protest it may aid his judgement ; and it is curious to observe how nearly the subject of their prayer to the sovereign corresponded with the edict of Conrad of Italy,' in the year 1037, which originated in 1 Millar's Historical View of the English Government, p. 85. [See p. 156 above.] 2 Hume, History of England, Appendix II. vol. ii. p. 291. 3 " 1. That no man should be deprived of his fief, whether held of the emperor or mesne lord, but by the laws of the empire and judgement of his peers. 2. That from such judgeinent the vassal might appeal to his sovereign. 3. That fiefs should be inherited by sons and their children, or in their failure by brothers, provided they were feuda. paterna, such as had descended fi-om the father. 4. That the lord should not alienate the fief of his vassal without his consent.' disagreements between the great lords and their vassals on the subject of sub-infeudations [174].

The extent to which the subdivision before mentioned is carried in some of the Rajput States, is ruinous to the protection and general welfare of the country. It is pursued in some parts till there is actually nothing left sufficiently large to share, or to furnish subsistence for one individual : consequently a great deprivation of services to the State ensues. But this does not prevail so much in the larger principalities as in the isolated tributary Thakurats or lordships scattered over the country ; as amongst the Jarejas of Cutch, the tribes in Kathiawar, and the small independencies of Gujarat bordering on the greater western Rajput States. This error in policy requires to be checked by supreme authority, as it was in England by Magna Charta,1 when the barons of those days took such precautions to secure their own seignorial rights.


The system in these countries of minute sub division of fiefs is termed bhayyad,2 or brotherhood, synonymous to the tenure by frerage of France, but styled only an approxi mation to sub-infeudation.3 " Give me my bat (share)," says the Rajput, when he attains to man's estate, ' the bat of the bhayyad,' the portion of the frerage ; and thus they go on clipping and paring till all are impoverished. The ' customs ' of France 4 preserved the dignities of families and the indivisibility of a feudal homage, without exposing the younger sons of a gentleman to beggary and dependence. It would be a great national benefit if some means could be found to limit this subdivision, but it is an evil difficult of remedy. The divisibility of the Cutch and Kathiawar frerage, carried to the most destructive extent, is pro ductive of litigation, crime, and misery. Where it has proper limits it is useful ; but though the idea of each rood supporting its man is very poetical, it does not and cannot answer in practice. Its limit in Mewar we would not undertake to assert, but the vassals are careful not to let it become too small ; they send the extra numbers to seek their fortunes abroad. In this custom, and the difficulty of finding daejas, or dowers, for their daughters,

1 By the revised statute. Quia emptores, of Edw. I., which forbids it in excess, under penalty of forfeiture (Hallam, vo]. i. p. 184). 2 Bhayyad, ' frerage.' 3 Hallam, vol. i. p. 186. 4 Ibid. we have the two chief causes of infanticide amongst the Rajputs, which horrible practice was not always confined to the female.

The author of the Middle Ages exemplifies ingeniously the advantages of sub-[175]infeudation, by the instance of two persons holding one knight's fee ; and as the lord was entitled to the service of one for forty days, he could commute it for the joint service of the two for twenty days each. He even erects as a maxim on it, that " whatever opposition was made to the rights of sub-infeudation or frerage, would indicate decay in the military character, the living principle of feudal tenure " ; 1 which remark may be just where proper limitation exists, before it reaches that extent when the impoverished vassal would descend to mend his shoes instead of his shield. Primogeniture is the corner-stone of feudality, but this unrestricted sub-infeudation would soon destroy it." It is strong in these States ; its rights were first introduced by the Normans from Scandinavia. But more will appear on this subject and its technicalities, in the personal narrative of the author.


I now proceed to another point of striking resemblance between the systems of the east and west, arising from the unsettled state of society, and the deficiency of paramount protection. It is here called rakhwali,3 or ' pre servation ' ; the salvamenta of Europe.4 To a certain degree it always existed in these States ; but the interminable predatory 1 Hallara, vol. i. p. 186. 2 ' Le droit d'ainesse a cause, pendant I'existence du regime feodal, une multitude de guerres et de proces. Notre histoire nous presente, a chaque page, des cadets reduits a la mendicite, se livrant a toutes sortes de brigan dages pour reparer les torts de la fortune ; des aines, refusant la legitime a leurs freres ; des cadets, assassinant leur aine pour lui succeder, etc." (see article, ' Droit d'ainesse,' Diet, de V Ancien Regime). 2 See Appendix, Nos. VII., VIII., and IX. 3 This is the ' sauvement ou vingtain ' of the French system : there it ceased with the cause. " Les guerres (feudal) cesserent avec le regime feodal, et les paysans n'eurent plus besoin de la protection du Seigneur ; on ne les for pas moins de reparer son chateau, et de lui payer le droit qui se nommait de sauvement ou vingtain " (Art. ' Chateau,' Diet, de V Ancien Regime). warfare of the last half century increased it to so frightful an extent that superior authority was required to redeem the abuses it had occasioned. It originated in the necessity of protection ; and the modes of obtaining it, as well as the compensation [176] when obtained, were various. It often consisted of money or kind on the reaping of each harvest : sometimes in a multi plicity of petty privileges and advantages, but the chief object was to obtain bhwn : and here we have one solution of the con stituted bhumia,1 assimilating, as observed, to the allodial pro prietor. Bhum thus obtained is irrevocable ; and in the eager anxiety for its acquisition we have another decided proof of every other kind of tenure being deemed resumable by the crown. It was not unfrequent that application for protection was made to the nearest chief by the tenants of the fisc ; a course eventually sanctioned by the Government, which could not refuse assent where it could not protect. Here, then, we revert to first principles ; and ' seignorial rights ' may be forfeited, when they cease to yield that which ought to have originated them, viz. benefit to the community. Personal service at stated periods, to aid in the agricultural 2 economy of the protector, was some times stipulated, when the husbandmen were to find implements and cattle,3 and to attend whenever ordered. The protected calls the chief ' patron ' ; and the condition may not unaptly be compared to that of personal commendation,4 like salvamenta, founded on the disturbed state of society. But what originated thus was often continued and multiplied by avarice, and the spirit of rapine, which disgraced the Rajput of the last half century, though he had abundance of apologies for ' scouring the country.' But all salvamenta and other marks of vassalage, obtained during these times of desolation, were annulled in the settlement which took place between the Rana and his chiefs, in A.D. 1818 5 [177].

1 The chief might lose his patta lands, and he would then dwindle down into the bhumia proprietor, which title only lawless force could take from him. See Appendix, No. IX. 2 See Appendix, No. X., Art. II. 3 This species would come under the distinct term of Hydages due by soccage vassals, who in return for protection supply carriages and work (Hume, vol. ii. p. 308). 4 Hallam, vol. i. p. 169. 5 In indulging my curiosity on this subject, 1 collected some hundred

But the crown itself, by some singular proceeding, possesses, or did possess, according to the Patta Bahi, or Book of Grants, considerable salvnmenta right, especially in the districts between the new and ancient capitals, in sums of from twenty to one hundred rupees in separate villages. To such an extent has this rakhwali 1 been carried when pro tection was desired, that whole communities have ventured their liberty, and become, if not slaves, yet nearly approaching the condition of slaves, to the protector. But no common visitation ever leads to an evil of this magnitude. I mention the fact merely to show that it does exist ; and we may infer that the chief, who has become the arbiter of the lives and fortunes of his followers, must have obtained this power by devoting all to their protection. The term thus originated, and probably now (with many others) written for the first time in English letters in this sense, is Basai. engagements, and many of a most singular nature. We see the chieftain stipulating for fees on marriages ; for a dish of the good fare at the wedding feast, which he transfers to a relation of his district if unable to attend him self ; portions of fuel and provender ; and even wherewithal to fill the wassail cup in his days of merriment. The Rajput's rehgious notions are not of so strict a character as to prevent his even exacting his rakhwali dues from the church lands, and the threat of slaughtering the sacred flock of our Indian Apollo has been resorted to, to compel payment when withheld. Nay, by the chiefs it was imposed on things locomotive : on caravans, or Tandas of merchandise, wherever they halted for the day, rakhwali was demanded. Each petty chief through whose district or patch of territory they travelled, made a demand, till commerce was dreadfully shackled ; but it was the only way in which it could be secured. It was astonishing how commerce was carried on at all ; yet did the cloths of Dacca and the shawls of Kashmir pass through all such restraints, and were never more in request. Where there is demand no danger will deter enterprise ; and commerce flourished more when these predatory armies were rolling like waves over the land, than during the succeeding halcyon days of pacification. 1 The method by which the country is brought under this tax is as follows : " When the people are almost ruined by continual robberies and plunders, the leader of the band of thieves, or some friend of his, proposes that, for a sum of money annually paid, he will keep a number of men in arms to protect such a tract of ground, or as many parishes as submit to the contribution. When the terms are agreed upon he ceases to steal, and thereby the contributors are safe : if any one refuse to pay, he is immediately plundered. To colour all this villainy, those concerned in the robberies pay the tax with the rest ; and all the neighbourhood must comply or be undone. This is the case (among others), with the whole low country of the shire of Ross " (Extract from Lord Lovat's Memorial to George I. on the State of the Highlands of Scotland, in a.d. 1724).

Basai, Slavery

Slavery is to be found in successive stages of society of Europe, but we have no parallel in Rajwara (at least in name) to the agricultural serfs and villains of Europe ; nor is there any intermediate term denoting a species of slavery between the Gola 1 of the Hindu chief's household and the free Rajput but the singular one of basai, which must be explained, since it cannot be translated. This class approximates closely to the trihutarii and coloni, perhaps to the servi, of the Salic Franks, " who were cultivators of the earth, and subject to residence upon their master's estate, though not destitute of property or civil rights." 2 Precisely the condition of the cultivator in Haraoti who now tills for a taskmaster the fields he formerly owned, de graded to the name of hali,3 a ploughman. " When small proprietors," says Hallam, " lost their lands by mere rapine, we may believe their liberty was hardly less en dangered." The hali of Haraoti knows the bitter truth of this inference, which applies to the subject immediately before us, [178] the basai. The portion of liberty the latter has parted with, was not originally lost through compulsion on the part of the protector, but from external violence, which made this desperate remedy necessary. Very different from the hali of a serf in con dition but without the patrimony ; compelled to labour for subsistence on the land he once owned ; chained to it by the double tie of debt and strict police ; and if flight were practicable, the impossibility of bettering his condition from the anarchy around would render it unavailing. This is not the practice under the patriarchal native government, which, with all its faults, retains the old links of society, with its redeeming sym pathies ; but springs from a maire du palais, who pursued an unfeeling and mistaken policy towards this class of society till of late years. Mistaken ambition was the origin of the evil ; he saw his error, and remedied it in time to prevent further inischief to the State. This octogenarian ruler, Zalim Singh of Kotah, is too much of a philosopher and politician to let passion over

1 In Persian ghulam, literally ' slave ' ; evidently a word of the same origin with the Hindu gola. [The words have no connexion.] 2 HaUam, vol. i. p. 217. 3 From hal, ' a plough.' Syl is ' a plough ' in Saxon (Turner's Anglo Saxons). The h and s are permutable throughout Rajwara. [The words have no connexion.] In Marwar, Salim Singh is pronounced Halim Hingh. come his interests and reputation ; and we owe to the greatest despot a State ever had the only regular charter which at present exists in Rajasthan, investing a corporate body with the election of their own magistrates and the making of their own laws, sub ject only to confirmation ; with all the privileges which marked in the outset the foundation of the free cities of Europe, and that of boroughs in England.

It is true that, in detached documents, we see the spirit of these institutions existing in Mewar, and it is as much a matter of speculation, whether this wise ruler promulgated this novelty as a trap for good opinions, or from policy and foresight alone : aware, when all around him was improving, from the shackles of restraint being cast aside, that his retention of them must be hurtful to himself. Liberality in this exigence answered the previous purpose of extortion. His system, even then, was good by comparison ; all around was rapine, save in the little oasis kept verdant by his skill, where he permitted no other oppression than his own.

This charter is appended 1 as a curiosity in legislation, being given thirty years ago. Another, for the agriculturists' protec tion, was set up in a.d. 1821. No human being prompted either ; though the latter is modelled from the proceedings in Mewar, and may have been intended, as before observed, to entrap applause. In every district of Haraoti the stone was raised to record this ordinance [179].

Gola — Das (Slaves)

Famine in these regions is the great cause of loss of liberty : thousands were sold in the last great famine. The predatory system of the Pindaris and mountain tribes aided to keep it up. Here, as amongst the Franks, freedom is derived through the mother. The offspring of a goli 2 or dasi must be a slave. Hence the great number of golas in Rajput families, whose illegitimate offspring are still adorned in Mewar, as our Saxon slaves were of old, with a silver ring round the left ankle, instead of the neck. They are well treated, and are often amongst the best of the military retainers ; 3 but are generally esteemed in proportion to the quality of the mother, whether Rajputni, Muslim, or of the degraded tribes : they hold confidential places

1 See Appendix, No. XI. 2 Female slave. 3 See Appendix, No. XIX. about the chiefs of whose blood they are. The great -grand father of the late chief of Deogarh used to appear at court with three hundred galas 1 on horseback in his train, the sons of Rajputs, each with a gold ring round his ankle : men whose lives were his own. This chief could then head two thousand retainers, his own vassals.2

Slavery due to Gambling

Tacitus 3 describes the baneful effects of gambling amongst the German tribes, as involving personal liberty ; their becoming slaves, and being subsequently sold by the winner. The Rajput's passion for gaming, as re marked in the history of the tribes, is strong ; and we can revert to periods long anterior to Tacitus, and perhaps before the woods of Germany were peopled with the worshippers of Tuisto, for the antiquity of this vice amongst the Rajput warriors, presenting a highly interesting picture of its pernicious effects. Yudhishthira having staked and lost the throne of India to Duryodhana, to recover it hazarded the beautiful and virtuous Draupadi. By the loaded dice of his foes she became the goli of the Kaurava, who, triumphing in his pride, would have unveiled her in public ; but the deity presiding over female modesty preserved her from the rude gaze of the assembled host ; the miraculous scarf lengthened as he withdrew it, till tired, he desisted at the instance of superior interposition. Yudhishthira, not satisfied with this, staked twelve years of his personal liberty, and became an exile from the haunts of Kalindi, a wanderer in the wilds skirting the distant ocean [180].

The illegitimate sons of the Rana are called das, literally ' slave ' : they have no rank, though they are liberally provided 1 The reader of Dow's translation of Ferishta [i. 134] may recollect that when Kutbu-d-din was left the viceroy of the conqueror he is made to say : " He gave the country to Gola the son of Pittu Rai." [" He delivered over the country to the Gola, or natural son, of Pithow Ray " (Briggs' trans, i. 128).] Dow mistakes this appellation of the natural brother of the last Hindu sovereign for a proper name. He is mentioned by the bard Ghand in his exploits of Prithwiraja. 2 I have often received the most confidential messages, from chiefs of the highest rank, through these channels. [There are, at the present day, several bastard castes originally composed of the illegitimate children of men of rank, Rajputs, Brahmans, Mahajans, and others. These are now re cruited from the descendants of such persons, and from recently born illegiti mate children (Census Report, Rajputana, 1911, i. 2-i9f.).] 3 Germania, xxiv. for. Basai signifies ' acquired slaveiy ' ; in contradistinction to gola, ' an hereditary slave.' The gola can only marry a goli : the lowest Rajput would refuse his daughter to a son of the Rana of this kind. The basai can redeem 1 his liberty : the gola has no wish to do so, because he could not improve his condition nor overcome his natural defects. To the basai nothing dishonour able attaches : the class retain their employments and caste, and are confined to no occupation, but it must be exercised with the chief's sanction. Individuals reclaimed from captivity, in grati tude have given up their liberty : communities, when this or greater evils threatened, have done the same for protection of their lives, religion, and honour. Instances exist of the popula tion of towns being in this situation. The greater part of the inhabitants of the estate of Bijolli are the basai of its chief, who is of the Pramara tribe : they are his subjects ; the Rana, the paramount lord, has no sort of authority over them. Twelve generations have elapsed since his ancestor conducted this little colony into Mewar, and received the highest honours and a large estate on the plateau of its border, in a most interesting country.2 The only badge denoting the basai is a small tuft of hair on the crown of the head. The term interpreted has nothing harsh in it, meaning ' occupant, dweller, or settler.' The numerous towns in India called Basai have this origin : chiefs abandoning their ancient haunts, and settling 3 with all their retainers and chattels in new abodes. From this, the town of Basai near Tonk (Ram pura), derived its name, when the Solanki prince was compelled to abandon his patrimonial lands in Gujarat ; his subjects of all

1 The das or ' slave ' may hold a fief in Rajasthan, but he never can rise above the condition in which this defect of birth has placed him. " L'affran chissement consistait a sortir de la classe des serfs, par Facquisition d'un fief, ou seulement d'un fonds. La necessite oil s'etaient trouves les seigneurs feodaux de vendre une partie do leurs terres, pour faire leurs equipages des croisades, avait rendu ces acquisitions communes ; mais le fief n'anobhssait qu'a la troisieme generation." Serfs who had twice or thrice been cham pions, or saved the hves of their masters, were also liberated. " Un eveque d'Auxerre declara qu'il n'affranchirait gratuitement, qui que ce soit, s'il navait requ quinze blessurea a son service " (see Article ' Affranchisse ment,' Diet, de Vancien Regime). 2 I could but indistinctly learn whether this migration, and the species of paternity here existing, arose from rescuing them from Tatar invaders, or from the calamity of famine. 3 Basna, ' to settle.' classes accompanying him voluntarily, in preference to sub mitting to foreign rule. Probably the foundation of Bijolli was similar ; though only the name of Basai now attaches to the inhabitants. It is not uncommon [181], in the overflowing of gratitude, to be told, " You may sell me, I am your basai." 1

Private Feuds

Composition.— In a state of society such as these sketches delineate, where all depends on the personal character of the sovereign, , the field for the indulgence of the passions, and especially of that most incident to the uncontrollable

must necessarily be great. Private feuds have tended, with the general distraction of the times, to desolate this country. Some account of their mode of prosecu tion, and the incidents thence arising, cannot fail to throw addi tional light on the manners of society, which during the last half-century were fast receding to a worse than semi-barbarous condition, and, aided by other powerful causes, might have ended in entire annihilation. The period was rapidly advancing, when this fair region of Mewar, the garden of Rajasthan, would have reverted to its primitive sterility. The tiger and the wild boar had already become inmates of the capital, and the bats flitted undisturbed in the palaces of her princes. The ante courts, where the chieftains and their followers assembled to grace their prince's cavalcade, were overgrown with dank shrubs and grass, through which a mere footpath conducted the ' de scendant of a hundred kings ' to the ruins of his capital.

In these principalities the influence of revenge is universal. Not to prosecute a feud is tantamount to an acknowledgement of self-degradation ; and, as in all countries where the laws are insufficient to control individual actions or redress injuries, they have few scruples as to the mode of its gratification. Hence

1 I had the happmess to be the means of releasing from captivity some young chiefs, who had been languishing in Mahratta fetters as hostages for the payment of a war contribution. One of them, a younger brother of the Purawat division, had a mother dying to see him ; but though he might have taken her house in the way, a strong feelng of honour and gratitude made him forgo this anxious visit : "I am your Rajput, your gola, your basai." He was soon sent off to his mother. Such little acts, minghlig with public duty, are a compensation for the many drawbacks of solitude, gloom, and vexation, attending such situations. They are no sinecures or beds of roses— ease, comfort, and health, being all subordinate considera tions. feuds are entailed with the estates from generation to generation. To sheathe the sword till ' a feud is balanced ' (their own idio matic expression), would be a blot never to be effaced from the escutcheon.

In the Hindu word which designates a feud we have another of those striking coincidences in terms to which allusion has already been made : vair is ' a feud,' vairi, ' a foe.' The Saxon term for the composition of a feud, wergild, is familiar to every man. In some of these States the initial vowel is hard, and [182] pronounced bair. In Rajasthan, bair is more common than vair, but throughout the south-west vair only is used. In these we have the original Saxon word war,1 the French guer. The Rajput wergild is land or a daughter to wife. In points of honour the Rajput is centuries in advance of our Saxon forefathers, who had a legislative remedy for every bodily injury, when each finger and toe had its price.2 This might do very well when the injury was committed on a hind, but the Rajput must have blood for blood. The monarch must be powerful who can compel accept ance of the compensation, or mund-kati. 3

The prosecution of a feud is only to be stopped by a process which is next to impracticable ; namely, by the party injured volunteering forgiveness, or the aggressor throwing himself as a suppliant unawares on the clemency of his foe within his own domains : a most trying situation for each to be placed in, yet

1 Gilbert on Tenures, art. " Warranty," p. 169. [Wergild, wer, ' man,' gield, gieldan ; vair is Skt. vtra, ' hero ' ; O.E. wer, O.H.G. werran, ' to embroil,' Fr. guerre.] 2 " The great toe took rank as it should be, and held to double the sum of the others, for which ten scyllinga was the value without the nail, which was thirty scealta to boot" (Turner's Anglo-Saxons, vol. ii. p. 133). 3 Appendix, No. XVIII. The laws of composition were carried to a much greater extent amongst the Hindu nations than even amongst those of the Anglo-Saxons, who might have found in Manu all that was ever written on the subject, from the killing of a Brahman by design to the accid ental murder of a dog. The Brahman is four times the value of the soldier, eight of the merchant, and sixteen times of the Sudra. " If a Brahman kill one of the soldier caste (without mahce), a bull and one thousand cows is the fine of expiation. If he slays a merchant, a bull and one hundred cows is the fine. If a Sudra or lowest class, ten white cows and a bull to the priest is the expiation " [Laivs, xi. 127 ff.]. Manu legislated also for the protection of the brute creation, and if the priest by chance kills a cat, a frog, a dog, a lizard, an owl, or a crow, he must drink nothing but milk for three days and nights, or walk four miles in the night. not unexampled, and revenge in such a case would entail infamy. It was reserved for these degenerate days to produce such an instance.

Amargarh-Shahpura Feud

The Raja of Shahpura, one of the most powerful of the chiefs of Mewar, and of the Rasa's blood, had a feud with the Ranawat chief, the Bhumia proprietor of Amargarh. Ummeda,1 the chief of Shahpura, held two estates : one was the grant of the kings of Delhi, the other of his own sovereign, and each amounting to £10,000 2 of annual rent, besides the duties on commerce. His estate in Mewar was in the district of Mandalgarh, where also lay his antagonist's ; their bounds were in common and some of the lands were intermixed : this led to disputes, threats, and blows, even in the towns of their fathers, between their husbandmen. The Bhumia Dilel was much less powerful ; he was lord of only ten villages, not yielding above £1200 a year ; but they were compact and well managed, and he was [183] popular amongst his brethren, whose swords he could always command. His castle was perched on a rock, and on the towers facing the west (the direction of Shahpura) were mounted some swivels : moreover a belt of forest surrounded it, through which only two or three roads were cut, so that surprise was impossible. Dilel had therefore little, to fear, though his antagonist could bring two thousand of his own followers against him. The feud burned and cooled alternately ; but the Raja's exposed villages enabled Dilel to revenge himself with much inferior means. He carried off the cattle, and sometimes the opulent subjects, of his foe, to his donjon-keep in Amargarh for ransom. Meanwhile the husbandmen of both suffered, and agriculture was neglected, till half the villages held by Ummeda in Mandalgarh became deserted. The Raja had merited this by his arrogance and attempts to humble Dilel, who had deserved more of the sympathies of his neighbours than his rival, whose tenants were tired of the payments of barchi-dohai.3

1 Ummeda, ' hope.' 2 Together £20,000, eqvial to £100,000 of England, if the respective value of the necessaries of life be considered.

3 Barchi is ' a lance.' In these marauding days, when there was a riever in every village, they sallied out to ' run the country,' either to stop the passenger on the highway or the inhabitant of the city. The lance at his breast, he would call out dohai, an invocation of aid. During harvest time barchi-dohai used to be exacted. Unmieda was eccentric, if the term be not too weak to char acterize acts which, in more civilzed regions, would have sub jected him to coercion. He has taken his son and suspended him by the cincture to the pinnacle of his little chapel at Shahpura, and then called on the mother to come and witness the sight. He would make excursions alone on horseback or on a swift camel, and be missing for days. In one of these moods he and his foe Dilel encountered face to face within the bounds of Amar garh. Dilel only saw a chief high in rank at his mercy. With courtesy he saluted him, invited him to his castle, entertained him, and pledged his health and forgiveness in the munawwar piyala : 1 they made merry, and in the cup agreed to extinguish the remembrance of the feud.

Both had been summoned to the court of the sovereign. The Raja proposed that they should go together, and invited him to go by Shahpura. Dilel accordingly saddled his twenty steeds, moved out his equipage, and providing himself with fitting raiment, and funds to maintain him at the capital, accompanied the Raja to receive the return of his hospitality. They ate from the same platter,2 drank of the same cup and enjoyed the song and dance. They even went together to [184] their devotions, oblivion of the past. But scarcely had they crossed the threshold of the chapel, when the head of the chief of Amargarh was rolling on the pavement, and the deity and the altar were sprinkled with his blood ! To this atrocious and unheard-of breach of the laws of hospitality, the Raja added the baseness of the pilferer, seizing on the effects of his now lifeless foe. He is said, also, with all the barbarity and malignity of long-treasured revenge, to have kicked the head with his foot, apostrophising it in the pitiful language of resentment. The son of Dilel, armed for revenge, collected all his adherents, and confusion was again commencing its reign. To prevent this, the Rana compelled restitution of the horses and effects ; and five villages from the estate of the Raja were the mund-kati (wergild) or compensation to the son of Dilel. The rest of the estate of the murderer was eventually sequestrated by the crown.

1 ' Cup of invitation.' {Munawivar, Pers. ' bright, splendid.'] 2 This is a favourite expression, and a mode of indicating great friend ship : ' to eat of the same platter (thali), and drink of the same cup (piyala).'

The feuds of Arja and Sheogarh are elsewhere detailed, and such statements could be multiplied. Avowal of error and demand of forgiveness, with the offer of a daughter in marriage, often stop the progress of a feud, and might answer better than appearing as a suppliant, which requires great delicacy of con trivance.1 Border disputes 2 are most prolific in the production of feuds, and the Rajput lord-marchers have them entailed on them as regularly as their estates. The border chiefs of Jaisalmer and Bikaner carry this to such extent that it often involved both states in hostilities. The vair and its composition in Mandalgarh will, however, suffice for the present to exemplify these things.

Rajput Pardhans or Premiers

It would not be difficult, amongst the Majores Dornus Regiae of these principalities, to find parallels to the M aires du Pahis of France. Inbecility in the chief, whether in the east or west, must have the same conse quences ; and more than one State in India will present us with the joint appearance of the phantom and the substance of royalty. The details of [185] personal attendance at court will be found elsewhere. When not absent on frontier duties, or by permission at their estates, the chiefs resided with their families at the capital ; but a succession of attendants was always secured, to keep up its splendour and perform personal service at the palace. In Mewar, the privileges and exemptions of the higher class are such as to exhibit few of the marks of vassalage observable at other courts. Here it is only on occasion of particular festivals and solemnities that they ever join the prince's cavalcade, or attend at court. If full attendance is required, on the reception of ambassadors, or in discussing matters of general policy, when

1 The Bundi feud with the Rana is still unappeased, since the predecessor of the former slew the Rana's father. It was an indefensible act, and the Bundi prince was most desirous to terminate it. He had no daughter to offer, and hinted a desire to accompany me incog, and thus gain admission to the presence of the Rana. The benevolence and generosity of this prince would have insured him success ; but it was a dehcate matter, and I feared some exposure from any arrogant hot-headed Rajput ere the scene could have been got up. The Raja Bishan Singh of Bundi is since dead [in 1828] ; a brave and frank Rajput ; he has left few worthier behind. His son [Ram Siiigli, 1821-89], yet a minor, promises well. The protective alliance, which is to turn their swords into ploughshares, will prevent their becoming foes ; but they will remain sulky border-neighbours, to the fostering of disputes and the disquiet of the merchant and cultivator. 2 Sim__Kankar. they have a right to hear and advise as the hereditary council (panchayai) of the State, they are summoned by an officer, with the prince s juhar,1 and his request. On grand festivals the great nakkaras, or kettle-drums, beat at three stated times ; the third is the signal for the chief to quit his abode and mount his steed. Amidst all these privileges, when it were almost difficult to distinguish between the prince and his great chiefs, there are occasions well understood by both, which render the superiority of the former apparent : one occurs in the formalities observed on a lapse ; another, when at court in personal service, the chief once a week mounts guard at the palace with his clan. On these occasions the vast distance between them is seen. When the chief arrives in the grand court of the palace with his retainers, he halts under the balcony till intimation is given to the prince, who from thence receives his obeisance and duty. This over, _he retires to the great darikhana, or hall of audience, appropriated for these ceremonies, where carpets are spread for him and his retainers. At meals the prince sends his compliments, requesting the chief's attendance at the rasora 2 or ' feasting hall,' where with other favoured chiefs he partakes of dinner with the prince. He sleeps in the hall of audience, and next morning with the same formalities takes his leave. Again, in the summons to the presence from their estates, instant obedience is requisite. But in this, attention to their rank is studiously shown by ruqa, written by the private secretary, with the sign-manual of the prince attached, and sealed with the private finger-ring. For the inferior grades, the usual seal of state entrusted to the minister is used.

But these are general duties. In all these States some great court favourite [186], from his talents, character, or intrigue, holds the office of premier. His duties are proportioned to his wishes, or the extent of his talents and aml)ition ; but he does not interfere with the civil administration, which has its proper minister. They, however, act together. The Rajput premier is the military minister, with the political government of the

1 A salutation, only sent by a superior to an inferior.

2 The Kitchen is large enough for a fortress, and contains large eating halls. Food for seven hundred of the prince's court is daily dressed. This is not for any of the personal servants of the prince, or female establish ments ; all these are separate. fiefs ; the civil minister is never of this caste. Local customs have given various appellations to this officer. At Udaipur he is called bhanjgarh ; at Jodhpur, pardhan ; at Jaipur (where they have engrafted the term used at the court of Delhi) musahib ; at Kotah, kiladar, and diwan or regent. He becomes a most im portant personage, as dispenser of the favours of the sovereign. Through him chiefly all requests are preferred, this being the surest channel to success. His influence, necessarily, gives him unbounded authority over the military classes, with unlimited power over the inferior officers of the State. With a powerful body of retainers always at his command, it is surprising we have not more frequently our ' mayors of Burgundy and Dagoberts,' 1 our ' Martels and Pepins,' in Rajasthan.

We have our hereditary Rajput premiers in several of these States : but in all the laws of succession are so regulated that they could not usurp the throne of their prince, though they might his functions. When the treaty was formed between Mewar and the British Government, the ambassadors wished to introduce an article of guarantee of the office of pardhan to the family of the chief noble of the country, the Rawat of Salumbar. The fact was, as stated, that the dignity was hereditary in this family ; but though the acquisition was the result of an act of virtue, it had tended much towards the ruin of the country, and to the same cause are to be traced all its rebellions.

The ambassador was one of the elders of the same clan, being the grand uncle of the hereditary pardhan. He had taken a most active share in the political events of the last thirty years, and had often controlled the councils of his prince during this period,

1 Dagobert commended his wife and son Clovis to the trust of Ega, with whom she jointly held the care of the palace. On his death, with the aid of more powerful lords, she chose another mayor. He confirmed their grants for life. They made his situation hereditary ; but which could only have held good from the cfowd of imbeciles who succeeded Clovis, until the descendant of this mayor thrust out his children and seized the crown. This change is a natural consequence of unfitness ; and if we go back to the genealogies (called sacred) of the Hindus, we see there a succession of dynasties forced from their thrones by their ministers. Seven examples are given in the various dynasties of the race of Chandra. (See Genealogical Tables, No. II.) [The above is in some ways inaccurate, but it is unneces sary to correct it, as it is not connected with the question of premiers in Rajputana : see EB, xvii. 938.]


and actually held the post of premier himself when stipulating [187] for his minor relative. With the ascendancy he exercised over the prince, it may be inferred that he had no intention of renouncing it during his lifetime ; and as he was educating his adopted heir to all his notions of authority, and initiating him in the intrigues of office, the guaranteed dignity in the head of his family would have become a nonentity,1 and the Banas would have been governed by the deputies of their mayors. From both those evils the times have relieved the prince. The crimes of Ajit had made his dis missal from office a point of justice, but imbecility and folly will never be without ' mayors.'

When a Rana of Udaijiur leaves the capital, the Salumbar chief is invested with the government of the city and charge of the palace during his absence. By his hands the sovereign is girt with the sword, and from him he receives the mark of inaugu ration on his accession to the throne. He leads, by right, the van in battle ; and in case of the siege of the capital, his post is the surajpol," and the fortress which crowns it, in which this family had a handsome palace, which is now going fast to decay.

It was the predecessor of the present chief of Salumbar who set up a pretender and the standard of rebellion ; but when foreign aid was brought in, he returned to his allegiance and the defence of the capital. Similar sentiments have often been awakened in patriotic breasts, when roused by the interference of foreigners in their internal disputes. The evil entailed on the State by these hereditary offices will appear in its annals.

1 So many sudden deaths had occurred in this family, that the branch in question (Ajit Singh's) were strongly suspected of ' heaping these mortal murders on their crown,' to push their elders from their seats. The father of Padma, the present chief, is said to have been taken off by poison ; and Pahar Singh, one generation anterior, returning grievously wounded from the battle of Ujjain, in which the southrons first swept Mewar, was not per mitted to recover. The mother of the present young chief of the Jhala tribe of the house of Gogunda, in the west, was afraid to trust him from her sight. She is a woman of great strength of mind and excellent character, but too indulgent to an only son. He is a fine bold youth, and, though impatient of control, may be managed. On horseback with his lance, in chase of the wild boar, a more resolute cavaher could not be seen. His mother, when he left the estate alone for court, which he seldom did without her accompanying him, never failed to send me a long letter, beseeching me to guard the welfare of her son. My house was his great resort : he delighted to pull over my books, or go fishing or riding with me. 2 Surya, ' sun ' ; and pol, ' gate.' Poliya, ' a porter.' In Marwar the dignity is hereditary in the house of Awa ; but the last brave chief who held it became the victim of a revenge ful and capricious sovereign1 [188] who was jealous of his ex ploits ; and dying, he bequeathed a curse to his posterity who should again accept the office. It was accordingly transferred to the next in dignity, the house of Asop. The present chief, wisely distrusting the prince whose reign has been a series of turmoils, has kept aloof from court. When the office was jointly held by the chiefs of Nimaj and Pokaran, the tragic end of the former afforded a fine specimen of the prowess and heroism of the Rathor Rajput. In truth, these pardhans of Marwar have always been mill-stones round the necks of their princes ; an evil interwoven in their system when the partition of estates took place amidst the sons of Jodha in the infancy of this State. It was, no doubt, then deemed politic to unite to the interests of the crown so powerful a branch, which when combined could always control the rest ; but this gave too much equality.

The Chief of Pokaran

Deo Singh, the great-grandfather of the Pokaran chief alluded to, used to sleep in the great hall of the palace with five hundred of his clan around him. " The throne of Marwar is in the sheath of my dagger," was the repeated boast of this arrogant chieftain. It may be anticipated that either he or his sovereign would die a violent death. The lord of Pokaran was entrapped, and instant death commanded ; yet with the sword suspended over his head, his undaunted spirit was the same as when seated in the hall, and surrounded by his vassals. " Where, traitor, is now the sheath that holds the fortiuies of Marwar ? " said the prince. The taunt recoiled with bitterness when he loftily replied, " With my son at Pokaran I have left it." No tinae was given for further insult ; his head rolled at the steps of the palace ; but the dagger of Pokaran still haunts the imagina tions of these princes, and many attempts have been made to get possessed of their stronghold on the edge of the desert.2 The narrow escape of the present chief will be related hereafter, with the sacrifice of his friend and coadjutor, the chief of Nimaj.

1 " The cur can bite," the reply of this chief, either personally, or to the jjerson who reported that his sovereign so designated him, was never forgiven. 2 His son, Sabal Singh, followed in his footsteps, till an accidental cannon shot reheved the terrors of the prince.

Premiers in Kotah and Jaisalmer

In Kotah and Jaisalmer the power of the ministers is supreme. We might describe their situation in the words of Montesquieu. " The Pepins kept their princes in a state of imprisonment in the palace, showing them once a year to the people. On this occasion they made such ordinances as were directed [189] by the mayor ; they also answered ambassadors, but the mayor framed the answer." 1

Like those of the Merovingian race, these puppets of royalty in the east are brought forth to the Champ de Mars once a year, at the grand military festival, the Dasahra. On this day, presents provided by the minister are distributed by the prince. Allow ances for every branch of expenditure ? re fixed, nor has the prince the power to exceed them. But at Kotah there is nothing parsi monious, though nothing superfluous. On the festival of the birtn of Krishna, and other similar feasts, the prince likewise appears abroad, attended by all the insignia of royalty. Elephants with standards precede ; lines of infantry and guns are drawn up ; while a numerous cavalcade surrounds his person. The son of the minister sometimes condescends to accompany his prince on horseback ; nor is there anything wanting to magnificence, but the power to control or alter any part of it. This failing, how humiliating to a proud mind, acquainted with the history of his ancestors and unbued with a portion of their spirit, to be thus muzzled, enchained, and rendered a mere pageant of state ! This chain would have been snapped, but that each link has become adamantine from the ties this ruler has formed with the British Government. He has well merited our protection ; though we never contemplated to what extent the maintenance of these ties would involve our own character. But this subject is connected with the history of an individual who yields to none of the many extraordinary men whom India has produced, and who required but a larger theatre to have drawn the attention of the world. His character will be further elucidated in the Annals of Haravati [190].

1 Esprit des Loix, chap. vi. livre 31.


The hereditary principle, which perpetuates in these States their virtues and their vices, is also the grand preservative of their political existence and national manners : it is an imperish able principle, which resists time and innovation : it is this which made the laws of the Medes and Persians, as well as those of the Rajputs, unalterable. A chief of Mewar, like his sovereign, never dies : he disappears to be regenerated. ' Le roi est mart, mve le roi .' ' is a phrase, the precise virtue of which is there well understood. Neither the crown nor the greater fiefs are ever without heirs. Adoption is the preservative of honours and titles ; the great fiefs of Rajasthan can never become extinct.1 But, however valuable this privilege, which the law of custom has made a right, it is often carried to the most hurtful and foolish extent. They have allowed the limit which defined it to be effaced, and each family, of course, maintains a custom, so soothing to vanity, as the prospect of having their names revived in their descendants. This has resulted from the weakness of the prince and the misery of the times. Lands were bestowed liberally which yielded nothing to their master, who, in securing a nominal obedience and servitude, had as much as the times made them worth when given ; but with returning prosperity and old customs, these great errors have become too visible. Adoptions are often made during the life of the incumbent when without prospect of issue. The chief and his wife first agitate the subject in private ; it is then confided to the little council of the fief, and when propin quity and merit unite, they at once petition the prince to confirm their wishes, which are generally acceded to. So many interests are to be consulted on this occasion, that the blind partiality of the chief to any particular object is always counterpoised by the elders of the clan, who jnust have a pride in seeing a proper Tha kur 2 at their head, and who prefer the nearest of kin, to prevent the disputes which would be attendant on neglect in this point [191].

1 [The abandonment of the policy of escheat or lapse, and the recogni tion of the right of adoption were announced by Lord Canning in 1869.] 2 As in Deogarh.

On sudden lapses, the wife is allowed the privilege, in eon junction with those interested in the fief, of nomination, though the case is seldom left unprovided for : there is always a pre sumptive heir to the smallest sub-infeudation of these estates. The wife of the deceased is the guardian of the minority of the adopted.

The Case of Deogarh

The chief of Deogarh, one of the sixteen Omras 1 of Mewar, died without issue. On his death-bed he recommended to his wife and chiefs Nahar Singh for their adop tion. This was the son of the independent chieftain of Sangram garh, already mentioned. There were nearer kin, some of the seventh and eighth degrees, and young Nahar was the eleventh. It was never contemplated that the three last gigantic 2 chieftains of Deogarh would die without issue, or the branches, now claim ants from propinquity, would have been educated to suit the dignity ; but being brought up remote from court, they had been compelled to seek employment where obtainable, or to live on the few acres to which their distant claim of birth restricted them. Two of these, who had but the latter resource to fly to, had become mere boors ; and of two who had sought service abroad by arms, one was a cavalier in the retinue of the prince, and the other a hanger-on about court : both dissipated and unfitted, as the frerage asserted, ' to be the chieftains of two thousand Rajputs, the sons of one father.' 3 Much interest and intrigue were carried on for one of these, and he was supported by the young prince and a faction. Some of the senior Pattawats of Deogarh are men of the highest character, and often lamented the sombre qualities of their chief, which prevented the clan having that interest in the State to which its extent and rank entitled it. While these intrigues were in their infancy, they adopted a decided measure ; they brought home young Nahar from his father's residence, and ' bound round his head the turban of the deceased.' In his name the death of the late chief was announced. It was added, that he hoped to see his friends

1 [Umara, plural of Anilr, ' a chief.'] 2 Gokuldas, the last chief, was one of the finest men I ever beheld in feature and person. He was about six feet six, perfectly erect, and a Hercules in bulk. His father at twenty was much larger, and must have been nearly seven feet high. It is surprising how few of the chiefs of this family died a natural death. It has produced some noble Rajputs. 3 Ek bap ka beta. after the stated days of maiam or mourning ; and he performed all the duties of the son of Deogarh, and lighted the funeral pyre. When these proceedings were reported, the Rana was highly and justly incensed. The late chief had been one of the rebels of S. 1848 ; 1 and though pardon had been [192] granted, yet this revived all the recollection of the past, and he felt inclined to extinguish the name of Sangawat.2

In addition to the common sequestration, he sent an especial one with commands to collect the produce of the harvest then reaping, charging the sub-vassals with the design of overturning his lawful authority. They replied very submissively, and art fully asserted that they had only given a son to Gokuldas, not an heir to Deogarh ; that the sovereign alone could do this, and that they trusted to his nominating one who would be an efificient leader of so many Rajputs in the service of the Rana. They urged the pretensions of young Nahar, at the same time leaving the decision to the sovereign. Their judicious reply was well supported by their ambassador at court, who was the bard of Deogarh, and had recently become, though ex officio, physician to the prince.3 The point was finallj' adjusted, and Nahar was brought to court, and invested with the sword by the hand of the sovereign, and he is now lord of Deogarh Madri, one of the richest and most powerful fiefs 4 of Mewar Madri was the ancient name of the estate ; and Sangramgarh, of which Nahar was the heir, was severed from it, but by some means had reverted to the crown, of which it now holds. The adoption of Nahar by Gokuldas leaves the paternal estate without an immediate heir ; and his actual father being mad, if more distant claims are not admitted, it is probable that Sangramgarh v*^ill eventually revert to the fisc.

1 A.D. 1792. 2 That of the clan of Deogarh. 3 ApoUo [Krishna] is the patron both of physicians and poets ; and though my friend Amra does not disgrace him in either calling, it was his wit, rather than his medical degree, that maintained him at court. He said it was not fitting that the sovereign of the world should be served by clowns or opium-eaters ; and that young Nahar, when educated at court under the Rana's example, would do credit to the country : and what had full as much weight as any of the bard's arguments was, that the fine of relief on the Talwar bandhai (or girding on of the sword) of a lac of rupees, should be immediately forthcoming. 4 Patta. [About 30 miles south of Udaipur city.]


The system of feuds must have attained con siderable maturity amongst the Rajputs, to have left such traces, notwithstanding the desolatioJi that has swe})t the land : but without circumspection these few remaining customs will become a dead letter. Unless we abstain from all internal interference, we must destroy the links which connect the prince and his vassals ; and, in lieu of a system decidedly imperfect, we should leave them none at all, or at least not a system of feuds, the only one they can comprehend. Our friendship has rescued them from exterior foes, and time will restore the rest. With the dignity and [193] establishments of their chiefs, ancient usages will revive ; and nazarana (relief), kharg bandhai (investiture), dasaundh (aids or benevolence, literally ' the tenth '), and other incidents, will cease to be mere ceremonies. The desire of every liberal mind, as well as the professed wish of the British Govern ment, is to aid in their renovation, and this will be best effected by not meddling with what we but imperfectly understand.1

We have nothing to apprehend from the Rajput States if raised to their ancient prosperity. The closest attention to their history proves beyond contradiction that they were never capable of imiting, even for their own preservation : a breath, a scurrilous stanza of a bard, has severed their closest confederacies. No national head exists amongst them as amongst the Mahrattas ; and each chief being master of his own house and followers, they are individually too weak to cause us any alarm.

No feudal government can be dangerous as a neighbour ; for defence it has in all countries been found defective ; and for aggression, totally inefficient. Let there exist between us the most perfect understanding and identity of mterests ; the foun dation-step to which is to lessen or remit the galling, and to us 1 Such interference, when inconsistent with past usage and the genius of the people, will defeat the very best intentions. On the grounds of poHcy and justice, it is alike incumbent on the British Government to secure the maintenance of their present form of government, and not to repair, but to advise the repairs of the fabric, and to let their own artists alone be con sulted. To employ ours would be like adding a Corinthian capital to a column of EUora, or replacing the mutilated statue of Baldeva with a limb from the Hercules Farnese. To have a chain of prosperous independent States on our ozaly exposed frontier, the north-west, attached to us from benefits, and the moral conviction that we do not seek their overthrow, must be a desirable policy. contemptible tribute, now exacted, enfranchise "them from our espionage and agency, and either unlock them altogether from our dangerous embrace, or let the ties between us be such only as would ensure grand results : such as general commercial freedom and protection, with treaties of friendly alliance. Then, if a Tatar or a Russian invasion threatened our eastern empire, fifty thousand Rajputs would be no despicable allies.1

Rajput Loyalty and Patriotism

Let us call to mind what they did when they fought for Aurangzeb : they are still unchanged, if we give them the proper stimulus. Gratitude, honour, and fidelity, are terms which at one time were the foundation of all the virtues of a Rajput. Of the theory of these sentiments he is still enamoured ; but, unfortunately, for his happiness, the times have left him but little scope for the practice [194] of them. Ask a Rajput which is the greatest of crimes ? he will reply, ' gunchhor, ' forgetfulness of favours.'. This is his most powerful term for ingratitude. Gratitude with him embraces every obligation of life, and is inseparable from swamidharma, ' fidelity to his lord.' He who is wanting in these is not deemed fit to live, and is doomed to eternal pains in Pluto's 2 realm hereafter.3

"It was a powerful feeling," says an historian 4 who always identifies his own emotions with his subject, " which could make the bravest of men put up with slights and ill-treatment at the hand of their sovereign, or call forth all the energies of discon tented exertion for one whom they never saw, and in whose char acter there was nothing to esteem. Loyalty has scarcely less tendency to refine and elevate the heart than patriotism itself." That these sentiments were combined, the past history of the Rajputs will show ; 5 and to the strength of these ties do they

1 [The author's prediction has been realized by recent events.] 2 Yamaloka. 3 The gunchhor (ungrateful) and satchhor (violator of his faith) are con signed, by the authority of the bard, to sixty-thousand years' residence in hell. Europeans, in all the pride of mastery, accuse the natives of want of gratitude, and say their language has no word for it. They can only know the namak-haram [' he that is false to his salt '] of the Ganges. Gunchhor is a compound of powerful import, as ingratitude and infidehty are the highest crimes. It means, literally, " abandoner (from chhorna, ' to quit ') of virtue (gun)." 4 Hallam, vol. i. p. 323. 5 Of the effects of loyalty and patriotism combined, we have splendid examples in Hindu history and tradition. A more striking instance could owe their political existence, which has outlived ages of strife. But for these, they would have been converts and vassals to the Tatars, who would still have been enthroned in Delhi. Neglect, oppression, and religious interference, sunk one of the greatest monarchies of the world ; 1 made Sivaji a hero, and converted the peaceful husbandmen of the Kistna and Godavari into a brave but rapacious soldier. We have abundant examples, and I trust need not exclaim with the wise minister of Akbar, " who so happy as to profit by them ? "

The Rajput, with all his turbulence, possesses in an eminent degTee both loyalty and patriotism ; and though he occasionally exhibits his refractory spirit to his [195] father and sovereign,3 we shall see of what he is capable when his country is threatened with dismemberment, from the history of Mewar, and the reign of Ajit Singh of Marwar. In this last we have one of the noblest examples history can afford of unbounded devotion. A prince, whom not a dozen of his subjects had ever seen, who had been concealed from the period of his birth throughout a tedious minority to avoid the snares of a tyrant,4 by the mere magic of a name kept the discordant materials of a great feudal association scarcely be given than in the recent civil distractions at Kotab, where a mercenary army raised and maintained by the Regent, either openly or covertly declared against him, as did the whole feudal body to a man, the moment their yomig prince asserted his subverted claims, and in the cause of their rightful lord abandoned all consideration of self, their families and lands, and with their followers offered their lives to redeem his rights or perish in the attempt. No empty boast, as the conclusion testified. God forbid that we should have more such examples of Rajput devotion to their sense of fidehty to their lords !

1 See statement of its revenues during the last emperor, who had pre served the empire of Delhi united. 2 Abu-1 Fazl uses this expression when moralizing on the fall of Shihabu-d din, king of Ghazni and first established monarch of India, slain by Prith wiraja, the Hindu sovereign of Delhi [Ain, ii. 302]. [Muhammad Ghori, Shihabu-d-din, was murdered on the road to Ghazni by a fanatic of the Mulahidah sect, in March, a.d. 1206 (Tabakat-t-Ndsiri, in Elliot-Dowson ii. 297, 235). According to the less probable account of Ferishta (Briggs, i. 185), he was murdered at Rohtak by a gang of Gakkhars or rather Khok hars (Rose, Glossary, ii. 275).] 3 The Rajput, who possesses but an acre of land, has the proud feeling of common origin with his sovereign, and in styling him bapji (sire), he thinks of him as the common father or representative of the race. What a powerful incentive to action ! 4 Aurangzeb. in subjection, till, able to bear arms, he issued from his conceal ment to head these devoted adherents, and reconquer what they had so long struggled to maintain. So glorious a contest, of twenty years' duration, requires but an historian to immortalize it. Unfortunately we have only the relation of isolated en counters, which, though exhibiting a prodigality of blood and acts of high devotion, are deficient in those minor details which give unity and interest to the whole.

Gallant Services to Empire

Let us take the Rajput char acter from the royal historians themselves, from Akbar, Jahangir, Aurangzeb. The most brilliant conquests of these monarchs were by their Rajput allies ; though the little regard the latter had for opinion alienated the sympathies of a race, who when rightly managed, encountered at command the Afghan amidst the snows of Caucasus, or made the furthest Cheronese tributary to the empire. Assam, where the British arms were recently engaged, and for the issue of which such anxiety was manifested in the metropolis of Britain, was conquered by a Rajput prince,1 whose descendant is now an ally of the British Government.

But Englishmen in the east, as elsewhere, imdervalue every thing not national. They have been accustomed to conquest, not reverses : though it is only by studying the character of those around them that the latter can be avoided and this superiority maintained. Superficial observers imagine that from lengthened predatory spoliation the energy of the Rajput has fled : an idea which is at once erroneous and dangerous. The vices now mani fest from oppression will disappear [196] with the cause, and with reviving prosperity new feelings will be generated, and each national tie and custom be strengthened. The Rajput would glory in putting on his saffron robes 2 to fight for such a land, and for those who disinterestedly laboured to benefit it.

1 Raja Man of Jaipur, who took Arakan, Orissa, and Assam. Raja Jaswant Singh of Marwar retook Kabul for Aurangzeb, and was rewarded by poison. Raja Ram Singh Hara, of Kotah, made several important conquests ; and his grandson, Raja Isari Singh, and his five brothers, were left on one field of battle.

2 When a Rajput is determined to hold out to the last in fighting, he always puts on a robe dyed in saffron. [This was the common practice, saffron being the colour of the bridal robe (Malcolm, Memoir of Central India, 2nd ed. i. 358 ; Grant Duff, Hist, of the Mahrattas, 317 ; Forbes, Easmula, 408).] Let us, then, apply history to its proper use. We need not turn to ancient Rome for illustration of the dangers inseparable from wide dominion and extensive allances. The twenty-two Satrapies of India, the greater part of which are now the appanage of Britain, exhibited, even a century ago, one of the most splendid monarchies history has made known, too extensive for the genius of any single individual effectually to control. Yet was it held together, till encroachment on their rights, and disregard to their habits and religious opinions, alienated the Rajputs, and excited the inhabitants of the south to rise against their Mogul oppressors. ' Then was the throne of Aurangzeb at the mercy of a Brahman, and the grandson ^ of a cultivator in the province of Khandesh held the descendants of Timur pensioners on his bounty ' [197].

1 Sindhia

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