British Rule in Chhattisgarh
Brief introduction about the various rulers before the British:
Chhattisgarh, a 21st century State, came into being on November 1, 2000. Chhattisgarh is a young and a new state but the reference of this state can be traced in ancient texts, and inscriptions. In ancient times Chhattisgarh was known as DakshinKosala and its mythological history goes back as far back as the Mahabarata and the Ramayana. According to a legendary, Lord Rama had spent some time here when he was on his 14 years exile. The unbroken history of Chhattisgarh or of South Kosala can be traced back to fourth century AD.
Besides the anonymous past, the known history of Chhattisgarh stretches back to the 4th century AD. The kingdoms, like that of the Sarabhpurias, Panduvanshi, Somvanshi, Kalchuri, and Nagvanshi, reigned the land during the 6th-12th centuries. Earlier Known as South Kosala, Chhattisgarh came to be known as Gondwana in the medieval period. Later it became part of the realm of the Kalchuris, who dominated the region until the late-18th century AD. The Muslim raconteurs, of the 14th century AD, have explained in detail about the dynasties, which ruled over the county.
Somewhere around the 16th century, Chhattisgarh was swayed by the Mughals and then, by the Marathas. By the year 1758, the entire region came under the territory of the Marathas, who harshly ransacked its natural resources. Actually the term ‘Chhattisgarh’ was popularized during the times of Marathas. In 1795, the term was utilized for the first time in an official document. In the early 19th century, the British entered and subsumed most of the territory into the Central Province. Past 1854, the British managed the region like a deputy commissionership with its control centre at Raipur.
About the history of the region the famous historian C.W.Wills writes, ‘in the 10th century AD a powerful Rajput family ruled at Tripuri near Jabalpur, Issuing from this kingdom of Chedi (also known as Kalchuri dynasty) a scion of the royal house by the name Kalingraja, settled about the year 1000AD, at Tuman, Bilaspur a site at present marked only by a few ruins in the north east of the erstwhile Laphazamidari of the Bilaspur district. His grandson Ratanraja founded Ratanpur which continued as the capital of a large part of the country now known as Chhattisgarh.
This Rajput family called themselves the Haihaya dynasty.
This dynasty continued ruling Chhattisgarh for six centuries about the 14th century it split into parts, the elder branch continued at Ratanpur, while the younger settled in semi-independent state at Raipur. At the end of 16th century it acknowledged the suzerainty of the Mughals, In Bastar, in the middle ages, Chalukya dynasty established its rule. The first Chalukya ruler was Annmdev, who established the dynasty in Bastar in 1320.
The Marathas attacked Chhattisgarh in 1741 and destroyed the Haihaya power. In 1745 AD after conquering the region, they deposed Raghunathsinghji, the last surviving member of the Ratanpur house.
In 1758, the Maraths finally annexed Chhattisgarh, it came directly under Maratha rule andBimbajiBhonsle, was appointed the rule. After death of BimbajiBhonsle, the Marathas adopted the Suba system.
The Maratha rule was a period of unrest and misrule. There was large-scale loot and plunder by the Maratha army. The Maratha officials were openly surrendering the interests of the region to the British. As a result of this, the region became extremely poor and the people began resenting the Maratha rule. Only the Gonds continued to resist and challenge the advances of the Marathas and this led to several conflicts and much animosity between the Gonds and the Marathas (Captain Blunt, 1975). The Pindaris also attacked and plundered the region in the beginning of the Nineteenth Century.
British Rule in Chhattisgarh:
In 1818 Chhattisgarh came under some sort of British control for the first time. In 1854, when the province of Nagpur lapsed to the British government, Chhattisgarh was formed into a deputy commissionership with its headquarters at Raipur. British ruled the Chhattisgarh from 1845 to 1947.
Historian C.W. Wills, writing about Chhattisgarh says, “Chhattisgarh presents the remarkable picture of a Hindu government continuing till modern times outside the sphere of direct Mohammedan control”.
The British made certain changes in the administrative and revenue systems of Chhattisgarh, which adversely affected the people of Chhattisgarh. The intrusion of the British was resisted strongly in Bastar by the tribals and the Halba rebellion which lasted nearly five year (1774-1779) was the first documented rebellion against the British and Marathas in Bastar.
The First war of independence in 1857 was spearheaded in Chhattisgarh by VirNarain Singh who was a benevolent jamindar of Sonakhan. The British arrested him in 1856 for looting a trader’s grain stocks and distributing it amongst the poor in a severe famine year. In 1857 with the help of the solders of the British Army at Raipur, VirNarain Singh escaped from prison. He reached Sonakhan and formed an army of 500 men. Under the leadership of Smith, a powerful British army was dispatched to crush the Sonakhan army. The British succeeded after a prolonged battle and VirNarain Singh was arrested and later hanged on the 10th December, 1857. He became the first martyr from Chhattisgarh in the War of Independence.
VirNarain Singh’s martyrdom has been resurrected in the 1980’s and he has become a potent symbol of Chhattisgarhi pride.
In 1904, the British restructured the region, wherein the estates of Surguja were added while Sambalpur was transferred to Orissa. In 1924, the initial demand for a separate state was raised by the Raipur Congress Unit at the meeting of the Raipur District Congress.
Without any outcome of the protest, Chhattisgarh got independence from the British like the entire country, but as the part of Madhya Pradesh. It was comprehended that the region was culturally and historically different from M.P.; it must get special recognition of its own. After independence, in 1955, the demand for a separate state recurred in the Nagpur Assembly though it didn’t materialize. At last, on 1st November 2000, Chhattisgarh was constituted as the 26th state of India. Here history from the beginning to the end can be summarized in the chart below
Important Dates in the History of British Rule in Chhattisgarh State during British Period
- Establishment of Kalchuri regime at Tummar ————— Nearly 875 AD
- Establishment of Kalchuri regime at Ratanpur ————Nearly 1050 AD
- Establishment of Kalchuri regime atKhallari ————– Nearly 1369 AD
- Establishment of Kalchuri regime at Raipur —————-Nearly 1410 AD
- Maratha’s attack on Chhattisgarh —————————– 1741AD
- Regime of BimbjiBhonsle ————————————–1758 – 87AD
- Establishment of Subaregime in Chhattisgarh———–1787 – 1818 AD
- Death of Raghuji IInd Bhonsle ruler—————————1816 AD
- Subsidiary alliance between Bhonsle Rulers and Britishers—1816 AD
- Death of Parsonjee Bhonsle ————————————1817 AD
- Accession to the throne of Appa Sahib———————1817 AD
- Tilte to Sena Sahib to Appa Sahib—————————–1817 AD
- Battle of SitaBaldi ————————————————-1817 AD
- Impriosnment of Appa Sahib By Britishers——————1818 AD
- Ascending to throne by minor RaghujiIIrd —————— 1818 AD
- Establishment of British Control in Chhattisgarh ———–1818 AD
- Appointment of Cap. Edmand, the British Supervisior —-1818- 30 AD
- Period of British Supervisor Major Eganu ———————-1818-25 AD
- Raipur as the capital of Chhattisgarh—————————–1818 AD
- Visit of Resident of Jainkins in Chhattisgarh——————-1820 AD
- Period of British Supervisor Mr.Sadees————————–1826-28 AD
- Alliance of British with Bhonsle ————————————-1826 AD
- British Supervisior Wilkins and Craford ————————–1828-30 AD
- Second alliance of British – Bhonsle ————————— 1829 AD
- Again the Bhonsle rule in Chhattisgarh ————————- 1830 -53 AD
- Death of Raghujee III ————————————————-1853 AD
- Merger of Nagpur state in British empire————————–1854 AD
- Prohibition of circulation of Nagpur coins————————-1855 AD
- Charles C. Elliot, the first deputy commissioner of Chhattisgarh—1855 AD