The History of India: 1600s: Heera Raja and The Nagvanshis of Chotanagpur The History of India: 1600s: Heera Raja and The Nagvanshis of Chotanagpur

Friday, March 16, 2012

1600s: Heera Raja and The Nagvanshis of Chotanagpur


Excerpts and Adaptations from the Book: The Nagvanshis of Chotanagpur, by Dr Sudha Sinha (Reader, Ranchi College, Ranchi University).

The Nagvanshis were the rulers of Chotanagpur since the beginning of the Christian era. The first Nagvanshi ruler was Phani Mukut Rai born in 64 AD. He was the adopted son of Madra Munda, the Partha Raja of Sutiambe. It is said that when Phani Mukut Rai was found near a tank as a newborn, a hooded kobra (Nag) was protecting him. Perhaps this was the reason why he and his successors were called the Nagvanshis. Phani Mukut Rai ruled from 83AD to 162 AD. Till date, four Nagvanshavalis are available that prove that the Nagvanshis ruled over Chotanagpur plateau in India for close to two thousand years, from the 1st century to 1951 when the Zamindari was abolished. (This would put the Nagvanshis among the top dynasties that ruled the longest in the world, which include the Dulo clan in Bulgaria, The Imperial House of Japan and Hong Bang dynasty of Korea).

Till the reign of Akbar, Chotanagpur had not come under the suzerainty of the Mughals and the Nagvanshi rulers had been ruling over this region as independent rulers. Akabar was informed of a rebel Afghan sardar, Junaid Kararani, was taking shelter in Chotanagpur. Besides, the emperor also got information of diamonds being found in this area. Consequently, Akbar ordered Shahbaz Khan Turbani to attack Kokhra (the then seat of Nagvanshi kings and capital of Chotanagpur). At that time Raja Madhu Singh, the 42nd Nagvanshi king was ruling at Kokhra. Consequently Kokhra was subdued by the armies of Akbar and a sum of rupees six thousand was fixed as its annual revenues payable to the Mughals.

By the advent of the reign of Jahangir, Nagvanshi Raja Durjan Sal had come to power in Chotanagpur. He refused to pay the rent fixed by the Emperor Akbar. Jahangir ordered Ibrahim Khan (governor of Bihar) to attack Kokhra. The details of this invasion are mentioned in Jahangir’s memoirs, Tuzuk-i-Jahangiri. There was also another reason behind the invasion. This was the acquisition of the diamonds found in the bed of the river Sankh in the region. Due to its diamonds Chotanagpur was also known as Heera Nagpur and its Raja Durjan Sal, being an expert of diamonds, was known as Heera Raja among the people. Thus to subdue the Raja of Chotanagpur and to acquire valuable diamonds, Jahangir decided to invade Chotanagpur.

On getting orders from the emperor, Ibrahim Khan marched against Kokhra in 1615 AD. He entered the Nagvanshi territories easily with the help of his guides. The Nagvanshi Raja Durjan Sal found himself beleaguered himself within the hills and vales. He fled and was at last found in a cave with some of his family members. He was arrested and all diamonds which were in the possession of Durjan Sal and his family were captured by Ibrahim Khan. Twenty four elephants also fell into the hands of Ibrahim Khan. After this, Kokhara was subdued and the diamonds found there were sent to the Imperial court. After his defeat and arrest, Durjan Sal offered as ransom jewels, gold and silver to the value of crores of rupees, but Ibrahim Khan did not release him and took him as a captive to Patna. From there he was sent to the Imperial court and subsequently imprisoned in the fort of Gwalior.

According to Nagvanshi traditions and Col. Dalton, Raja Durjan Sal’s confinement lasted twelve years. Ultimately, the very diamonds which had caused the misfortune of Durjan Sal secured him his release and former prosperity. It so happened that from some place, two very large diamonds were brought to Emperor Jahangir’s court. A doubt arose in the mind of the Emperor over the genuineness of one of them. As no one in his court was able to confirm or relieve his suspicion, the Heera Raja was brought to the Imperial court from his incarceration. When the two diamonds were brought before him, he without any hesitation pointed out the fake one. To prove it to the court and the Emperor, he requested two rams to be brought to the court. He then tied the two diamonds on the horns of the two rams and made them fight each other. As a result of the fight, the fake diamond shattered but there was no scratch on the pure one. The Emperor was so impressed and pleased with Durjan Sal that he not only released him but also restored the prosperity taken from him in addition to his kingdom.

The generous Durjan Sal further begged the Emperor to release the other Rajas who had been his companions in prison and his prayer was granted. Being pleased with Durjan Sal, Jahangir conferred the title of ‘Shah’ on the Kokhra ruler. On his return to Chotanagpur, Durjan Sal assumed the title of Maharaja and changed his surname. Most probably from that time ‘Shah’ was added with the names of the Nagvanshi kings. The reign of Durjan Sal lasted for about thirteen years. He died in 1639 or 1640 AD.

14 comments:

  1. hmm good story.. i am very fond of reading hisory of nagvanshi because i aslso belong to nagvanshi rajput family........

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    1. Give me any proof about to
      Nagbanshi dynasty or freedom fighter details

      Rajesh nagbanshi
      9832968906

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  2. this not story but truth you fool.

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  3. I belong to Rajput caste in Una district of Himachal Pradesh. As per records maintained at Haridwar, Kurukshetra and Pehowa (Haryana) or Vansha is recorded as Takshak, subcaste as Bhadiar, Gotra Kaushal and we are also known as Takhi Bhadiar. Our Kul devi is Mansa Devi, the sister of Takshaka. As per tradition, we are said to have come from the south and our king is reported to be Har Har Dev or Hari Har Dev, about 1000 years back. It is not known from which southern state of India we have come from, to the present district of Una and earlier it was district Hosiarpur in the state of Punjab. Can anybody help?

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  4. The correct word before Vansha is Our instead of or. Sorry for that.

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  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  6. i have heard this also from my grandfather maharaja c.s.n. shahdeo in ratu palace ranchi maharaja DURJAN shah was a great johari in mughal era

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    1. Wow, that sounds Kingsome. Grandson of a Maharaja. India really has a Golden Past.

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    2. Wow, that sounds Kingsome. Grandson of a Maharaja. India really has a Golden Past.

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  7. Ashoka was Nagvanshi and Nagvanshi were Buddhists.
    the Brahmnical foundation of Anadi i.e. we first. This is a clue given to the Intellectuals of the movement of Social Transformation, economic emancipation, cultural change and cultural control. Bahujan vision would be giving many more 'clues' in future for action. is a must for understanding and firmly grounding ourselves, and . Tracing our " i.e. to the interpretation of find the " within the origin of 4 varnas. But for those who want to create their history,Post-Vedic history
    Babasaheb Dr. Ambedkar has categorically brought out the political history of the Mauryas as Nagvanshis in 'The Triumph of Brahmanism: Regicide or the birth of counter-Revolution', chapter 11, Revolution and counter-Revolution (Ref. BAWS, Vol. 3 P. 267-268). To quote Babasaheb :

    “Let me therefore briefly recount the salient facts of Indian history. For it is important that everyone who was able to understand the history of India must know that it is nothing but the history of struggle for supremacy between Brahmanism and Buddhism.

    The Aryans have left very little their political achievements for history to speak of. The political history of India begins with the rise of a non-Aryan people called Nagas, who were a powerful people, whom the Aryans were unable to conquer, with whom the Aryans had to make peace, and whom the Aryans were compelled to recognise as their equals. Whatever "fame and glory" India achieved in ancient times in the political field, the credit for it goes entirely to the Non-Aryan Nagas. It is they who made India great and glorious in the annals of the world.
    The first landmark in India's political history is the emergence of the Kingdom of Magadha in Bihar in the year 642 B.C. The founder of the kingdom of Magadha is known by the name of Sisunag and belonged to the non-Aryan race of Nagas. From the small beginning made by Sisunag, this kingdom of Magadha grew in its extent under the capable rulers of this sisunag dynasty. Under Bimbisara the Fifth ruler of this dynasty the kingdom grew into an Empire and came to be as the Empire of Magadha. The Sisunag dynasty continued to rule the kingdom till 413 B.C. In that year the reigning Emperor of Susunag Dynasty Mahananda was killed by an adventurer called Nanda. Nanda usurped the throne of Magadha and founded the Nanda Dynasty. This Nanda Dynasty ruled over the empire of Magdha upto 322 B.C. The last Nanda king was deposed by Chandragupta who founded the Maurya Dynasty. Chandragupta was related to the family of the last ruling emperor of the sisunag Dynasty so that it may be said that the revolution effected by Chandragupta was really a resoration of the Naga Empire of Magadha.

    The Mauryas by their conquests enormously extended the boundaries of this empire of Magdha which they inherited. So vast became the growth of this Empire under Ashoka, the Empire began to be known by another name. It was called the Maurya Empire or the Empire of Ashoka. (ref. : BAWS Vol. 3, P. 267-268, Mah. Govt. Pub.)

    Here, Dr.Babasaheb Ambedkar categorically proves the Mauryas and Ashoka as Nagvanshi. Thus the chronology of Nagvanshi non-Aryan rule

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    1. The ruins of the temples in Navratangarh (Doisa) (Sisai block, Gumla), traditional abode of the Nagvanshi Rajas of Chotanagpur, does not suggest any Buddhist link.

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    2. brother what you said that is mention only on the book which was written by Dr Ambedkar on the other hand Nagvanshis are mention in purans as aryas Kings which is genealogically proven, According to another view Nagvanshi is the sub group of Suryavanshi

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  8. please tell me, all the gotra of nagvanshi...................

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  9. Hello, I am doing some research on this topic. This may sound a bit stupid but I just need some confirmation. The place of 'Kokhara' that has been mentioned in this excerpt is it the same as Kukara which was what Jharkhand was called before the Britishers took over India?

    Your help will be much appreciated. Thanks

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