24. According to tradition Nagpur was included in the
kingdom of Ajodhya when the divine
Rama ruled over it. The Ramayana
recounts how he traversed the forest of Dandaka, extending
from the Jumna to the Godavari on his Way to the hermitage
of Sutikshna at Ramtek. ' Then [C P.Gazetteer (1870), Introduction, page XLIX, quoting from Muir's Sanskrit Texts.] the Aryan invaders were
represented throughout these Central Forests by a few
isolated hermits, who could not even perform their simple
devotions in freedom from the mockery of the mischievous
savages among whom they dwelt. The picture of their
sufferings, given in the Ramayana, would be almost
pathetic if it were not ludicrous. These shapeless and
ill-looking monsters testify their abominable character by
various cruel and terrific displays. These base-born wretches
implicate the hermits in impure practices, and perpetrate
the greatest outrages. Changing their shapes and hiding
in the thickets adjoining the hermitages, these frightful
beings delight in terrifying the devotees. They cast away
the sacrificial ladles and vessels, they pollute the cooked
oblations, and utterly defile the offerings with blood. These
faithless creatures inject frightful sounds into the ears of
the faithful and austere eremites. At the time of sacrifice
they snatch away the jars, the flowers, the fuel, and the
sacred grass of these sober-minded men.
25. The story of Rama however belongs to the legendary
period of Hindu history, occupying
the same position as Homer. The oldest architectural remains in the District are believed to be
the circles of stones which are found in a number of villages, [See para. 50 Archaeology.] and are attributed by the people to the pastoral Gaolis or Ahirs, A race of Abhiras or herdsmen are mentioned in inscriptions of the fourth century as living in the country round Malwa and Khandesh. In several localities of the Nagpur plain local tradition tells of the dominance of the Gaolis, and some of the names of villages in the District as Gaurala, [Place of cows.] Mendhe Pathar [Jungle with sheep. ]and Mhasepathar [Jungle with buffaloes.] may be derived from their former encampments. Hislop describes the stone circles as follows:-The vestiges of an ancient Scythian race in this part of India are very numerous. They are found chiefly as barrows surrounded by a circle of stones, and as stone boxes, which when complete are styled kistvaens, and when open on one side cromlechs. The kistvaens if not previously disturbed have been found to contain stone coffins and urns [Quoted in Wardha Settlement Report, 1867, page 21.]. If these remains in truth belong to a race of nomadic herdsmen who spread over the country and reduced it to subjection, they may have been immigrants from Central Asia like the Sakas who were living in India at about the same period
[Early History of India by V. A. Smith, page 186.]; these were pastoral nomads of the Central Asian steppes, who were driven southwards by tribes stronger than themselves, and entering India established themselves in the Punjab and at Mathura, Gujarat and Kathiawar. The calendar in common use in the Maratha Districts is named after them and was instituted by a prince of the Sakas in Gujarat in 169 A.D. But whether these Abhiras were the same, as the Gaolis of Nagpur tradition must remain a matter of conjecture.
26. Nagpur probably formed part of the territories of
the Vakataka Rajput kings, whose
dominions included the Satpura
plateau and Berar. Little is known of this dynasty except the
names of ten kings, and the fact that they contracted alliances with other and better-known ruling houses. Their period may have extended from the third to the sixth century and the name of the perhaps semi-mythical hero who founded the dynasty was Vindhya-Sakti.
27. A copper-plate grant has recently been discovered at
Ragholi in the Balaghat District
by Mr. C. E. Low, Deputy Commissioner, and a translation and commentary on this has been published by Mr. Hira Lal, Assistant Gazetteer Superintendent. This grant speaks of a line of kings who possessed the whole of the Vindhya, a name which formerly included the Satpura hills. The plate is undated, but may be held on palaeographic grounds to belong to the eighth century. These kings had, it is stated, made war with the kings of Gujarat, Bengal, Behar and Benares, and had settled in the Vindhya country, making Shri Vardhanpur their capital. Their family name was Shail, which means 'A mountain'. All the names of the kings given in the Ragholi plate end in vardhan and their capital town is spoken of as Shri Vardhanpur. On this ground Mr. Hira
Lal conjectures that Nagardhan near Ramtek, the old form of which was Nandivardhan may have been founded by a king belonging to the dynasty. Nagardhan was a place of importance in ancient times, as is shown by the mention of the Nagapura-Nandivardhana District in the copper-plate grant of 940 A.D., which is referred to subsequently. Local tradition retains some recollection of Hindu kings, who ruled from Nagardhan. Nothing else at all is known, of the Shail kings however, and any theory concerning them must be based on pure conjecture.
28. Nagpur was probably included in the dominions of the
Rashtrakuta kings, whose dynasty dates from about 750 A.D.Copper-plate grants belonging to this dynasty have been found at Multai in Betul and at Deoli in Wardha. The Deoli plate is dated A.D. 940 in the reign of
the king Krishna III; it records the grant of a village named Talapurumshaka in the Nagapura-Nandivardhan District to a Kanarese Brahman. Among the boundaries of the village that was granted there are mentioned-on the south the river Kandana, Kanhana, or Kandava; on the west the village of Mohamagrama; and on the north the village of Vadhrira; and these have been identified by Dr. Bhandarkar with the river Kanhan, the modern Mohgaon in the Chhindwara District, and the modern Berdi in the vicinity of Mohgaon. Thus even at this early period Nagpur gave its name to a District, which included Wardha and the south of Chhindwara. The supremacy of the Rashtrakutas, who have been conjecturally identified with the Rathor Rajputs, lasted for about two centuries and a quarter. During their predominance the Kailasa temple at Ellora was built, the most extensive and sumptuous of the rock-cut shrines, and the period was also remarkable for the bitter rivalry of Hinduism and Jainism, Buddhism being at this period a declining religion in the Deccan [V. A. Smith's Early History of India, page 328.]. In 973 A.D. the Rashtrakuta kings were overthrown by another Rajput dynasty, the Chalukyas of Kalyani.
Apparently, however, the Nagpur country remained under the Rashatrakuta princes, now occupying a subordinate position as feudatories of the Chalukyas. This is indicated by the Sitabaldi stone inscription, dated in the year 1087 A.D. It mentions the name of the Western Chalukya king, and of a Rashtrakuta king Dhadibhandak as his dependent. Rashtrakuta simply means Raj-kul or the royal family and the native name of Maharashtra for Bombay is not improbably derived from this dynasty, Maha being a prefix and meaning great. The family are called Maharashtrakuta in the Sitabaldi inscription.
29. By the end of the 11th century, however, the Nagpur
country appears to have passed out
of the hands of the Rashtrakuta
kings into those of the Pramaras or Ponwars of Malwa.
The Prashasti or stone inscription of Nagpur, dated 1104-05 A.D., mentions one Lakshma Deva who is supposed to have been a viceroy at Nagpur for the Malwa king. [C. P.Gazetteer (1870), Introduction, p. liv. Dr. Kielhorn, however, considers (EpigraphiaIndica, vol. II, part 12, p. 180) that he was himself king of Malwa.] We know also that princes of this line penetrated to Berar and the Godavari and even to the Carnatic in the pursuit of conquest. A century before this, Munja, the seventh Raja of the Pramara line, had sixteen times defeated the western Chalukya king Taila II, but his seventeenth attack failed and Munja, who had crossed the Godavari, Taila's northern boundary, was defeated, captured and executed about 995 A.D [V, A. Smith, p. 317.]. It is possible that the existing Ponwar caste of the Nagpur country who have obviously been settled in the Province for a long period and have abandoned the customs of Rajputs, are a relic of this temporary dominance of the kings of Malwa. According to their own traditions, the first settlement of the Ponwars was at Nandivardhan or Nagardhan, which as has already been seen, was at that time one of the two chief places in the District; and the ancestors of the Ponwars were probably the soldiers of the chieftain who ruled at Nagpur. Not having brought their families with them, they would naturally intermarry with the women of the country, and develop into a separate caste. Mr. Hira Lal, Assistant Gazetteer Superintendent, has recently deciphered an inscription at Ramtek, which goes far to show that Nagpur was included in the territories of the Haihaya Rajput dynasty of Chhattisgarh. His account of it is reproduced. The inscription is a long one of about 80 lines and is engraved in beautiful characters on a coating of black cement fixed on to a stone and having itself the appearance of a stone surface. The Haihayas appear to have used this cement for their inscriptions as a second one engraved in it is to be found at Seorinarayan. The inscription consists for the
most part of a description of the sacred places of the locality,
and the commencement, which gives the genealogy of the
kings, is much mutilated. The names of two kings, Simhana
and Ramchandra, together with the word Yadava Vansa
can however be read. Now a stone inscription of one
Brahmadeva of the Raipur branch of the Haihayas dated
in 1402 A.D. states that Brahmadeva's father was Ramchandra, whose father was Simhana. [Indian Antiquary, Vol. XXII., p. 83.] The same
geneal6gy is given in another inscription of the same king
dated in 1413, and there is thus little doubt that the kings
of the Ramtek inscription were the ancestors of Brahmadeva
and that the Haihaya armies had penetrated to Ramtek in
the 14th century. We know also that the chiefs of Lanji and
Bhandara paid tribute to the Ratanpur branch of the Haihaya
kings in 1114. A. D. [Inscription of Jajalladeva, Ep. Ind., Vol. I., p. 33.] and even in the 7th century Chanda
is believed to have been included in the kingdom of
Mahakosala, the name by which their territories were known.
30. Nothing except conjecture can be stated as to the
history of Nagpur from this time until the rise of Gond kingdom
towards the end of the 16th century. Deogarh, the headquarters of the old Gond dynasty of Chhindwara and Nagpur, is a fortress about 24 miles south-west of Chhindwara, picturesquely situated on a Crest of the hills. For a short period towards the end of its existence, the Deogarh kingdom became of such importance as to overshadow those of Mandla and Chanda and to take first place among the Gond States. Of its earlier history, practically nothing is known, but here, as elsewhere, popular tradition tells of a Gaoli kingdom preceding the Gonds. The Semi-mythical Gond hero, Jatba, who founded the dynasty Was born from a virgin under a bean-plant, and was protected by a cobra, which came and spread its hood over him during the heat of the day, when his mother left him to go
to her work. When he grew up, he went to Deogarh and took service under the twin Gaoli kings, Ransur and Ghansur, whose favour he gained by the feat of lifting the large castle gate off its hinges with his bare hands. He was ordered to slaughter the buffalo at the next Diwali festival, but was distressed as to how he should do this, having no weapon but a wooden cudgel. The goddess Devi, however, appeared to him in a dream, and told him that when the moment came his stick would change into a sword of the finest temper, and that after slaughtering the buffalo he should jump on to the royal elephant, kill the kings, and establish himself in their stead. All this came to pass as the goddess directed. Jatba is said to have built the Deogarh fort and also those of Patansaongi and Nagardhan below the hills. But the existing remains at Deogarh are in the Muhammadan style, and were, no doubt, constructed by Bakht Buland after his visit to Delhi. Mr. Craddock [Nagpur Settlement Report, page 14.] records a local tradition, according to which Deogarh was originally a Gaoli kingdom and was conquered by Sarbasha, a Gond king of Garha. Jatba, known as Ajanbahu Jatbasha, was eighth in descent from the founder of the dynasty, and was so called because of the length of his arms, his hands reaching to his knees. It is said that the Emperor Akbar, in whose reign he ruled, came to Deogarh, and that he himself visited Delhi. The kings before Jatba, whose names are mentioned in the tradition recorded by Mr. Craddock, may probably be dismissed as figments of the fancy of some Brahman chronicler who wished to invest the house of Deogarh with a longer and more dignified pedigree. Jatba himself was only a petty local Zamindar, and was the first authentic member of the line.
31. Bakht Buland was the third or fourth in descent from
Jatba and was reigning in 1700
A.D. This prince went to Delhi and
entered the service of the Emperor Aurangzeb. The story
goes that he performed some signal exploit and gained favour, and that the Emperor induced him to abandon the rites of Bhimsen and to adopt the Muhammadan faith, on which he was acknowledged as Raja of Deogarh under the name of Bakht Buland. Appreciating the spectacle of the civilisation and wealth of the Mughal Empire, he determined to set about the development of his own territories. It was at this time that the Nagpur country received its first great infusion of Hindu cultivators and artificers, who were tempted away by him from their homes with liberal grants of land. Sir Richard Jenkins says of him that 'He employed
indiscriminately Musalmans and Hindus of ability to introduce order and
regularity into his immediate domain. Industrious settlers from all quarters
were attracted to Gondwana, many thousands of villages were founded, and
agriculture, manufactures and even commerce made considerable advances. It may with truth be said that much of the success of the Maratha administration was owing to the ground work established by him. Bakht Buland added to his dominions from those of the Rajas of Chanda and Mandla, and his territories comprised the modern Districts of Chhindwara and Betul, and portions of Nagpur, Seoni, Bhandara and Balaghat. The plateau and plain country were known respectively as Deogarh above and Deogarh below the Ghats. Bakht Buland usually resided in Deogarh, except when absent on military expeditions. But he established the modern city of Nagpur on the site of some hamlets, then known as Rajapur Barsa. At this time the kingdoms of Chanda and Deogarh were attached to the Subah of Berar, and an officer had resided at one
of the hamlets, then existing on the site of the present city of Nagpur, for the purpose of collecting the tribute on the part of the Faujdar of Paunar. Towards the end of Aurangzeb's reign, when the empire was enfeebled by his long wasting wars against the Marathas, Bakht Buland seized his opportunity and plundered the Mughal territory on both sides of the
Wardha. The Muhammadan historian of the Deccan, Kafi Khan, [Elliot's History of India,
Volume VII, page 364.] states that the Emperor on being informed of this conduct of Bakht Buland, ordered that his name, which had the meaning 'Of high fortune' should be changed
to Nigun Bakht or ' Of mean fortune'; and that he also sent Prince Bedar Bakht with a suitable force to punish him. Nothing however is known to have come of this undertaking.
32. The next Raja of Deogarh was Chand Sultan,' who
resideu principally in the country
below the hills, fixing his capital at
Nagpur which he made a walled
town. He continued the liberal policy of his predecessor and under him thewealth
of the country so increased as to make it a desirable acquisition to the great predatory Maratha power already established in Berar. On Chand Sultan's deathin 1739, Wali Shah, an illegitimate son of Bakht Buland, usurped the throne and Chand Sultan's widow invoked the aid of Raghuji Bhonsla of Berar in the interest of her sons Akbar Shah and Burhan Shah. The usurper was put to death and the rightful heirs placed on the throne. Raghuji retired to Berar, having concluded a treaty with them by which he received eleven lakhs of rupees and several Districts on the Wainganga as the price of his assistance, and was appointed the organ of all communications between the Gonds and the Government of Satara.
This was the first direct connection of the Bhonsla family with Nagpur, although
part of Gondwana had been conquered by Kanhoji Bhonsla as early as 1716. But the country was not destined to remain long without Raghuji's interference. Dissensions between the brothers ripened into civil war. In the year 1742, on one occasion, 12,000 Gonds are said to have been massacred in the fort of Patansaongi. In the following year (1743) Raghuji was called in to support the elder brother Burhan Shah. Akbar Shah was driven
into exile and finally poisoned at Hyderabad. Raghuji had
not the heart to give back to the weaker Gond a second timethe country he held within his grasp. He constituted himself Protector, took all real power into his own hands, and making Nagpur his capital, quickly reduced all Deogarh to his own authority. But still he studiously preserved the show of Burhan Shah's dignity; whilst in reality he reduced him to the condition of a dependent, having a fixed share of the revenue, and the empty title of Raja. Burhan Shah's descendants have continued to occupy the position of state pensioners to the present time, and the representative of the family resides at Nagpur with the title of Raja being called Sansthanik.
33. The founder of the Bhonsla family was Mudhoji Patel
of Deor, in the Satara District, from
which place the present representative of the family derives his title of Raja. The correct spelling of the family name is Bhosle and it is derived from Bhosa, a village near Bombay. Mudhoji is said to have been a Silladar or leader of horse under the great Sivaji, and of his 3 sons- Bapuji, Parsoji and Sabaji-Parsoji rendered distinguished military service in the early Maratha wars, and as a reward was entrusted with the right to collect Chauth [The fourth of the revenue claimed by the Marathas.] in Berar. He died in 1709 and was succeeded by his son Kanhoji who was soon displaced by his cousin Raghuji, a grandson of Mudhoji's second son Bapuji. Raghuji was the first and most distinguished of the Bhonsla rulers of Nagpur. He had plundered the country from Berar up to the gates of Allahabad. In 1740 he made a raid on the Carnatic, and immediately afterwards commenced a series of expeditions to Bengal, which terminated after a contest of ten years in the acquisition to the Marathas of Cuttack and the promise of twelve lakhs annually from Ali Vardi Khan as the Chauth of Bengal. In the meantime Raghuji established himself in Nagpur, where he reigned nominally as the representative of the Gond prince from 1743 to
1755. By 1751 he had effected the conquest
of the Deogarh territories, Chanda and Chhattisgarh. Ratanpur, the capital of the Haihayavansi kingdom, capitulated without a blow in 1741 on the advance of the Maratha General, Bhaskar Pant, and four years afterwards, with the deposition of the last Raja, a Rajput dynasty whose annals carried it back to the commencement of the Christian era, ignominiously ended. The fort of Chanda was delivered up to Raghuji by the treachery of a Diwan in 1749 and two years later was finally ceded to him Raghuji died in 1755. The countries under his dominion or paying him tribute may be generally described as extending east and west from the Bay of Bengal to the Ajanta hills and north and south from the Nerbudda to the Godavari. His army was principally composed of horse. His standing force was about 15,000, but was liable to be augmented every year according to the exigencies of the moment. Bold and decisive in action Raghuji was the perfect type of a Maratha leader. He saw in the troubles of others only an opening for his own ambition and did not even require a pretext for plunder and invasion. The reign of Raghuji I. is chiefly important in the history of Nagpur because with him came that great influx of the Kunbis and cognate Maratha tribes which altered the whole face of the country and the administration of the land, as well as the language of the people.
34. Raghuji was succeeded by his son Janoji, though
not without opposition from another
brother Mudhoji. The matter was
referred to Poona; the former was confirmed in the sovereignty of Nagpur, with the title of Sena Sahib Subah, while Chanda and Chhattisgarh were given is an appanage' to Mudhoji. Janoji turned all his attention to settling the territory left him by his father. He and his kingdom sustained no injury by the battle of Panipat, but rather from the terrible losses of the other Maratha princes he became relatively stronger. Soon after this the Nizam, taking advantage of the minority of the Peshwa, Madho Rao, attacked his
territory. Janoji was bought off from an alliance with him by the promise of the Sirdeshmukhi and
full liberty to plunder his brother at Chanda; but though he abandoned the Mughals, he afforded no aid to the Peshwa. The Nizam in that year was successful and dictated peace almost at the gates of Poona in 1762. Next year however, he broke through his territories and gained over Janoji to join him. Together they sacked and burnt Poona. This was not the last
of Janoji's treachery. By the promise of territory yielding 32 lakhs of annual revenue he was induced to betray the Nizam and attack his army in concert with the Peshwa's troops, in consequence of which the Mughals were entirely defeated. The price was paid to Janoji, but the boy Peshwa did not fail to reproach him with his treachery. He detested Janoji already and in 1765 united with the Nizam to avenge the sack of Poona. The confederate armies advanced to Nagpur and burned it and forced the Raja to disgorge the greater part of the price of his former treachery. Two years later Janoji was again in arms against the Peshwa, having joined in the rebellion of Raghoba, uncle, of the Peshwa and the Gaikwar. On this occasion the Peshwa advanced through Berar up to Nagpur, while Janoji having given him the slip, was plundering around Poona. But he was ultimately obliged to sue for peace, which was concluded in April 1769. In this treaty Janoji's dependence on the Peshwa was fully acknowledged. He bound himself to furnish a contingent of 6,000 men and to attend the Peshwa in person whenever, required; to
pay an annual tribute of 5 lakhs of rupees; to enter into no general negotiation with foreign powers and to make no war without the Peshwa's sanction. On his return journey to Nagpur in May 1772 he died at Tuljapur
on the river Godavari. [Sir Richard Jenkins, p. 50 and Grant Duff, Vol. I, p. 697.] During his reign the country of Nagpur except on two occasions had perfect peace within its boundaries. Janoji's name is remembered as the settler of what his father only conquered. In his private life he was easy of access, and most regular in the observance of all duties of state and of religion.
35. After the death of Janoji, before Mudhoji, with his youthful son Raghuji the late king's nephew and heir by adoption, could reach Nagpur, Sabaji, another brother of Janoji, had usurped the government. During the next two years and-a-half a civil war raged, diversified in 1773 by a short reconciliation and joint government, and characterised by repeated desertion of either party by Darya Bai, widow of the late Raja Janoji, who now supported one claimant to the throne and now the other. The closing scene of this contrast was on the battlefield of Panchgaon, six miles south of Nagpur. The fortune of the day had declared for Sabaji, and Mudhoji was being surrounded by his brother's troops. Flushed with the fight and with victory, Sabaji drove his elephant against that
on which his brother was seated, and, called on him to surrender. A pistol shot was the only reply. One brother had slain the other, and gained the undisputed regency on behalf of his son, and the title of Sena Dhurandhar. [Sir Richard Jenkins, p. 51 and Grant Duff, Volume II, p. 36.] Mudhoji at once set about restoring order in the affairs of the state, governing wisely and moderately. In the year 1777 he entered with caution into engagements with the English, who were then preparing to support the claims of Raghoba as Peshwa. He was obliged, however, in order to keep up appearances at Poona to send troops down to Cuttack ostensibly against them. Their march was intentionally delayed, and when they arrived they did not act against the British Government, who were all the time kept informed that this march on Cuttack was a mere pretence. The Regent even assisted the march of Colonel Pearse through his provinces, when a force was being sent from Bengal against Haidar Ali. This display of a conciliatory spirit towards the English happened too at a time when Bengal was denuded
of troops. in 1785 Mandla and the Upper Nerbudda valley were nominally added to the Nagpur dominions by a treaty in which Mudhoji agreed to pay twenty-seven
lakhs of rupees into the Poona treasury.
36. The Regent died in 1788, leaving all the Nagpur state tranquil and
prosperous; conditions which had lasted within the present Nagpur District ever
since the battle of Panchgaon. He left great treasure in cash and in jewels to his family. His son Raghuji, though of age and nominally Raja, had remained during the lifetime of his able father in perfect submission and obedience. He now assumed control of the state. He went to Poona where his titles and dignity were confirmed. He also obtained for his younger brother Vyankaji the father's title of Sena Dhurandhar, with Chanda and Chhattisgarh as an appanage. Chimnaji, the other brother, was to have had Mandla, but he died shortly after Raghuji's return to Nagpur, very suddenly and not without suspicion of foul play. The Raja took up his residence at Nagpur, while his troops were fighting in the Peshwa's army against the Nizam and Tipu of Mysore. He participated in all the advantages gained by the Marathas in these wars, and commanded the right wing of the Peshwa's army at the victory of Khardla. In the year 1796, when the political condition of Western India was much confused, he seized upon Hoshangabad and the lower Nerbudda valley. In the two following years he had gained the forts of Chauragarh, Tezgarh, and Mandla from the Chief of Saugor, as also the fort
of Dhamoni from another Bundela chieftain. In 1797 Yashwant Rao Holkar fled for shelter to Nagpur but found only a prison.
37. The Nagpur kingdom was now at its greatest extent
and included, under Raghuji II, practically the whole of the present
Central Provinces and Berar, besides Orissa, and some of the Chota Nagpur States. The
revenue of these territories was about a crore of rupees. Raghuji's army consisted of 18,000 horse and 25,000 infantry, of which 11,000 were regular battalions, besides 4000 Arabs. His field artillery included about 90 pieces of ordnance. The military force was for the most part raised outside the limits
of the state, the cavalry being recruited from Poona, while besides the Arabs, adventurers from Northern India and Rajputana were largely enlisted in the infantry. Up to 1803 the Maratha administration was on the whole successful. The Bhonslas, at least the first four of them, were military chiefs with the habits of rough soldiers, connected by blood and by constant familiar intercourse with all their principal officers. Descended from the class of cultivators, they ever favoured and fostered that order, and though rapacious were seldom cruel to the people. Of Janoji, the successor of Raghuji I, it is recorded that the king
did not spare himself, being referred to in the smallest as well as the greatest matters of state; nor did any inconvenience or delay to the public service arise from this system, for even when not sitting actually in Darbar the Raja was always accessible to any person who had business to propound to him. Early in the morning he held his Darbar in an open verandah looking on to the street, visible to the people, and accessible to their personal calls for justice and redress of injuries. He sat on his throne with his sword and shield before him and all the ministers and military
chiefs attended and carried on their daily business in his presence. The etiquette of the Court of Nagpur was never burdensome, the Raja receiving a stranger of any rank nearly as his equal, rising to take his salute and embrace him. It is noticeable that under the Marathas no regular judicature existed. The revenue officers could take cognisance of civil and criminal cases, while the headmen of villages had certain minor magisterial powers. In important cases an appeal lay to the Raja, who decided after discussion in open Darbar as on an affair of
38. The reigning prince was far from absolute, and his younger brothers held portions of the kingdom as appanages, withindependent courts, while the near relatives of the family had a voice in all matters of moment. The nobles who had seats in Darbar were known as Mankaris. Some of these were really in the nature of spies upon the Bhonsla prince in the interests of the Peshwa. Of the state functionaries, the Diwan was the principal minister, representing the Raja in all departments; the Farnavis was secretary of the finances, the
Warar Pandya was responsible for the land revenue, the Chitnavis was general, secretary, and the Munshi secretary for foreign affairs. The Sikkanavis was keeper of the king's seal. Such was the affection of the Marathas for the hereditary principle that even these great offices descended in the same families; where the proper incumbent was unfit, the department was-managed by a deputy but he received a portion of the emoluments for his support. The principal military officers were the Sardaftar or Comptroller of army estates [This designation probably refers to the territories allotted for the support of particular garrisons.] and the Mir Bakhshi or Paymaster-General.
The Suhahdals of provinces held military and civil command within their respective local jurisdictions. These officers were
for the most part paid by jagirs or other grants of land on exceptionally favourable terms.
39. During this time the connection of Nagpur with the Bengal Government had
been growing former, and in 1798 Mr. Colebrooke was appointed Resident to the court of Raghuji, but he did not arrive at Nagpur until March 1799. In May 1801 the British Resident, who had vainly endeavoured to enter into a defensive alliance against Sindhia, withdrew from Nagpur, and Sindhia and
Raghuji united together in the year 1803 tooppose the British Government which had now replaced Baji Rao, the Peshwa, after the treaty of Bassein. This they did in accordance with the wishes and secret directions of Baji Rao himself. General Wellesley soon brought the confederates to battle at Assaye. Raghuji left the field at the commencement of the battle; Sindhia's troops bore the brunt of the day and suffered very heavily; but at Argaon, a few weeks after, the Nagpur army under Vyankaji Bhonsla was completely worsted. The fort of Gawilgarh soon after fell to the British. Meanwhile from the Bengal side Colonel Harcourt had won the whole of Raghuji's province of Cuttack. The price of the peace which he now sued for was heavy; nearly one-third of his kingdom was shorn off, comprising East and West Berar, with Balasor and Sambalpur and its dependencies; while lastly the Raja was to receive permanently a Resident at his court at Nagpur, and Mr. Mountstuart Elphinstone was appointed to the post. Before this peace Raghuji's annual revenue had been nearly one crore of rupees, but after the loss of Cuttack and Berar it fell to about sixty lakhs. Before the war he had 18,000 horse, mostly Marathas of the Poona country, and 25,000 infantry, of which 11,000 were of regular battalions; besides these he entertained a body of 4000 Arab mercenaries. His artillery counted ninety guns, but of these thirty-eight were lost at Argaon. His cavalry were also much reduced after that battle, and after the ensuing peace the regular infantry were never replaced.
During the campaign which Raghuji had undertaken with Sindhia, the Nawab of Bhopal had seized
on Hoshangabad. This the Raja recovered in 1807. Sambalpur with its dependencies was restored to him by the English in 1806, but some of the zamindars were opposed to the transfer, and their resistance was not overcome until. 1808. His kingdom now comprised the Nagpur Districts, Chanda, Chhattisgarh with its appanages, Sambalpur, and the Districts on the Nerbudda.
40. From this time Raghuji, nicknamed by his people 'The Big Bania', threw off all
restraint in his unwillingness to show a reduced front to the world. Not only did he rackrent and screw the farming and cultivating classes but he took advantage of the necessities which his own acts had created, to lend them money at high interest. He withheld the pay of his troops, advancing them money on exorbitant terms through his own banking establishments, and when he paid them at last, giving a third in clothes from his own shops at most exaggerated prices. When all other means failed he organised regular house-breaking expeditions against the stores of men whom his spies had reported to be wealthy. He owned whole rows of shops in the bazar and the same spirit of avarice and rapacity pervaded his family and his court. Coarse and vulgar in person, he was jealous of everyone and so prying into the minute details of Government that no one served him heartily.
The Nagpur portion of his dominions now became the scene of frequent contests with the Pindaris and the robber hordes of Amir Khan. For security against these marauders most of the village forts were built, the remains of which stud the whole of the District. Insignificant as they may now appear many of them have been the scenes of struggles where the peasant fought for bare life, all he possessed outside the walls being already lost to him. Old men spoke forty years afterwards of the hard lot of those days, how they sowed in sorrow, with little hope of seeing the harvest, and how, whenever they did reap, they buried the corn at once in the ground. The boldness of these robber bands became so great that in November 1811 they advanced under Amir Khan's leadership up to Nagpur, burned one of the suburbs and only retired when they knew that two British columns were approaching from the Nizam's dominions to drive them back. There is however great reason to believe that many of the bodies of marauders who plundered the country did not belong to the Sindhia Shahi or Holkar Shahi hands of Pindaris, but were portions of the Nagpur army, which, when they could not be paid from the treasury, were allowed in this way to help themselves. The name of Dharmaji Bhonsla, a bastard son of Raghuji II, is well remembered as a leader in these forages. In this sameyear Raghuji bad been trying to conquer Garhakota, the possession of a petty chief near Saugor, but Baptiste, one of Sindhia's generals advanced to its relief, and routed the Nagpur troops. In 1813 the Raja of Nagpur entered into a compact with Sindhia for the conquest and partition of the territories of Bhopal. After besieging the capital for nine months, the confederates had to retire in July 1814, baffled by the energy and heroism of Wazir Muhammad. Raghuji would have renewed his attempt in the following year had not the Bengal Government declared that this could not be permitted. [Sir Richard Jenkins, p. 57.]
41. Raghuji died in March 1816 and was succeeded by his son Parsoji, a man blind, lame and paralysed. Very soon after his accession the new Raja became totally imbecile, and it was necessary to appoint a Regent. Baka Bai, the widow of the deceased Raja, with his nephew Gujapa Dada Gujar, for some time kept possession of the Raja's person and the regency, until with the consent of the Mankaris (Maratha nobles) and the military leaders Mudhoji Bhonsla, the son of the late Raja's younger brother Vyankaji, and next of kin to Parsoji, succeeded in becoming regent. While the issue
was still uncertain and after being installed as Regent Mudhoji, or Appa Sahib as he was generally called, courted the countenance of the new Resident, Mr. Jenkins, and was anxious to get a subsidiary force, for he knew that there was much debt to be cleared off, and that it would, be necessary to reduce the strength of the
army; a measure sure to create much discontent. Accordingly on the 28th of May 1816 a treaty of defensive alliance was signed, by which the British were to maintain six battalions of infantry, with cavalry and artillery, while Parsoji was to pay seven and a half lakhs of rupees annually and to maintain a
contingent of 2000 horse and 2000 infantry for the purposes of the alliance. It
was, however, found in the campaign against the Pindaris in the cold season of that year that the contingent thus furnished by the Raja was useless.
1 January 1817 Appa Sahib went away from the capital under pretence of visiting Chanda on urgent state affairs. A few days after his departure the Raja was found dead in his bed poisoned, as it subsequently proved, by his cousin Appa Sahib. [Grant Duff says he was strangled (Vol. II, p. 529).]
42. Parsoji had no son, begotten or adopted; consequently, Appa Sahib, being the
nearest relative to the deceased in
the male line, ascended the throne before any opposition could be made by Baka Bai and her party. From this time the bearing of Appa Sahib, before so cordial to the British, underwent a speedy change.
The emissaries of the Peshwa won him over to join with their master in his plots and treachery. He also joined in the schemes of Sindhia, and afforded encouragement to the Pindaris, even proceeding so far as to receive into his presence the emissaries of the notorious Chitu, and to confer on them dresses of honour. All this time, however, he was full of protestations before the Resident of good faith and feeling to the English. During the early part of November the conduct of Appa Sahib
was very suspicious. The Nagpur troops, which should have been sent on to the Nerbudda to join in the Pindari campaign, were kept back; there was a force already drawn around the capital of 8000 horse and as many foot; lastly, an active levy of troops from as
far even as Malwa was commenced. The Resident on his part called in the detachment of Colonel
Scott from Nagardhan near Ramtek, and messengers were sent to Colonel Gahan to hurry back from the neighbourhood of Hoshangabad. The news from Poona, of the Peshwa having now openly broken from his engagements with the British, reached Nagpur on the 14th November. [This was the occasion when the battle of Poona between the Peshwa and the British troops took place and in the subsequent operations-the memorable defence of Korygaon. In June 1818 Baji Rao Peshwa gave himself up to Sir John Malcolm in Nimar. His territories were annexed and Bithur near Cawnpore was appointed as his place
of residence, where he remained till his death in 1851. His adopted son Dhondo Pant, whose succession the British Government refused to recognise, was the Nana Sahib of the Mutiny.] On the night of the 24th the Raja informed Mr. Jenkins that the Peshwa had sent him a khilat, with a golden standard, and the high title of Senapati. He intimated his intention of receiving investiture of title and honours in state on the following day, and invited the Resident to be present at the ceremony. Mr. Jenkins remonstrated, stating that as the Peshwa was at that moment in arms against the English, the Raja's public acceptance of these marks of distinction was inconsistent with the terms of his alliance with our Government. On the following day the Raja received the khilat in public Darbar, and afterwards proceeded to his chief camp, beyond Takli, where, in front of his troops, he assumed with every ceremony the dignity of general-in-chief of the armies of the Maratha empire. The next morning an extreme measure, which had been delayed to the utmost was carried out; the brigade under Lieutenant-Colonel Hopeton Scott moved from its lines at Telinkheri
to the Residency, also occupying the double hill of Sitabaldi. This movement was executed only just in time, for a body of Arabs, stationed in a village where now stands the railway station, were only awaiting the final order to secure this position for themselves. Expresses were also sent to call up General Doveton with the second division of the Deccan Army from Berar. The troops with Lieutenant-Colonel Scott were a brigade of two battalions of
Madras Native Infantry, one battalion being of the 20th, the
other of the 24th, both much weakened by sickness. There
were also the Resident's escort, two companies of Native
Infantry, three troops of Bengal Native Cavalry, and four
six-pounders manned by Europeans of the Madras Artillery.
43. The hill of Sitabaldi, standing close over the Residency, consists of two eminences,
joined by a narrow neck of ground,
about 300 yards in length, of considerably lesser elevation than either of the two hills. The whole surface is rock, so that it was impossible in a short time to throw up any entrenchment. Of the two eminences, that to the north is the lesser, but being within musket range of the principal summit, its possession was of vital importance, particularly as on that side the suburbs of the city came close up to its base, and gave cover to the enemy, who throughout the 26th were seen collecting. Three hundred men of the 24th Regiment, under Captain Sadler, were posted on the smaller hill with one gun. The cavalry occupied the enclosures about the Residency just below the lower hill on the west; the remainder of the force, scarcely
800 men, were posted on the larger hill. On the evening of the 26th the battle began by the Arabs, from the village already mentioned, opening fire on the position. The engagement lasted till about 2 o'clock in the morning, when it slackened somewhat on the side of the Marathas. Several times during the night the Arabs had come on, sword in hand, and tried hard to carry the smaller hill, but were repulsed every time, though at the cost of many lives to the defenders. Time after time as the ranks of the 24th Regiment were thinned, help was sent down from the 20th which was posted
on the larger hill. Dawn of the morning on the 27th November saw the English troops holding an isolated position. Eighteen thousand men, of whom nearly one-quarter were Arabs, were drawn up against them, with thirty-six guns, all brought into position during
the past night. The total force of the British at the commencement of the action had been 1800. At 5 o'clock in the morning the few remaining men of the 24th, being utterly exhausted, were withdrawn, their place being taken by the Resident's escort, with orders to confine their defence to the summit of the smaller hill, which had by this time been somewhat strengthened by a breastwork of bags
of grain. Thus they continued to fight till 9 o'clock when the Arabs again charged home Just as they gained the crest, the accidental explosion of a tumbrel caused some confusion among the defenders. The sepoys were overpowered, the lesser hill lost, and the gun. which fell into the enemy's hands, was turned against the greater hill. The brigade had now lost much of their superiority in position; from the nearness of the enemy and the fire of the gun on the lost hill, officers and men began to drop fast. The enemy's cavalry and infantry began to close in from every side and to prepare for a general assault. To add to the perplexity of the moment, the Arabs broke into the huts of our troops, and the shrieks of their wives and children reached the ears of the sepoys, while a body of horse entered the residency compound where the ladies had been placed in a separate house. The three troops of Bengal Cavalry, together with the Madras horsemen of the Resident's escort, had been kept all this while in the enclosures round the Residency. Their commander Captain Fitzgerald, [According to Grant Duffs version of the story, Captain Fitzgerald had repeatedly applied for permission to charge, and was as often prevented by orders from the Commanding Officer; but seeing the impending destruction, he made a last attempt to obtain leave. Colonel Scott's reply was, ' Tell him to charge at his peril'; (or ' at the hazard of his commission').
'If it is only at the hazard of my commission, here goes, 'said the gallant Fitzgerald on receiving this answer and immediately gave the word to advance but the accuracy of this is doubtful.] now formed his men outside the enclosures, and charged the principal body of the enemy's horse.
TheMarathas did not long resist the onset of this little band, but breaking in all directions, abandoned a small battery by which they bad been supported. Captain Fitzgerald pursued them for some distance and then re-forming, charged the battery, took some of the guns, and brought them into the Residency in triumph. The success had been witnessed by all the infantry on the hill; and the men, before drooping from the, fatigue of fifteen hours' fighting, became once more animated. A combined attack of cavalry and infantry on the Arabs was being arranged when another tumbrel on the lesser hill blew up, causing great confusion amongst the enemy. The advantage was seized, and the little hill was in a few moments again in possession of our troops, who pursued the enemy through the Arab village, and spiked two guns beyond it before they returned to their posts. Again the Arabs were rallied, and fresh troops brought up Just as they were ready to advance against the hill, a well-timed charge around the base of it, by a single troop of cavalry under Cornet Smith, took them in the flank, and finally scattered them. The troops from the hill now made a general advance and cleared the ground all about. By noon the enemy's artillery was carried away, and the battle was over. The British lost 367 killed and wounded, including sixteen British officers. Amongst the killed were Mr. Sotheby of the Civil Service, who had been in attendance on the Resident throughout the engagement, Captain Sadler and Lieutenant Grant of the 24th Regiment, Lieutenant Clarke of the 20th Regiment and Doctor Nevam of the Escort.
44. After this humiliating defeat, the Raja hastened to
disavow any connection with the
attack, and to express his regret for
what had occurred. His troops and guns were withdrawn from the Sitabaldi side of the city. During the following days various detachments of troops came to the assistance of the Resident, until the Nagpur force included two regiments of native cavalry, Madras artillery and engineers,
about five battalions of native infantry and eight companies
of the Ist Royals. [Subsequently the 2nd Battalion, Royal Scots (The Lothian Regiment).]
The Regent on the 15th-December demanded the unconditional surrender of the Raja, and the disbandment of his troops. Till four o'clock on the following morning was given or consideration. On the same afternoon all the stores,
baggage, and women were sent to the Sitabaldi hill under guard of the troops who had previously so gallantly defended that position. At dawn on the morning of the 16th the English troops took position, having their left on the Nag Nadi, with the cavalry on their right on the open ground towards Anjni. At nine o'clock Appa Sahib surrendered, but when the British advanced to take possession of the guns, cannonade was opened upon them. The line was in consequence immediately formed and the guns were stormed and taken, with
144 casualties on the British side The action took place over the ground lying between the present jail buildings and the Sakardara gardens, where the Maratha
guns were placed. The Marathas were completely routed and lost their whole camp with forty elephants and 63 guns. The Maratha chiefs who had not surrendered, being deprived of Appa Sahib's authority, lost all control over their scattered
forces which now dispersed about the country. One of his principal officers went off to Sholapur and joined Baji Rao Peshwa. Another with the Arabs retired into the fort and city of Nagpur which still held out.
An attempt was made on the 24th December to obtain possession of the city by storming the Juma Darwaza. [Gateway.] This was not strongly fortified, but was defended by the Arabs posted with matchlocks in small bodies in the houses or each side of it. The gateway was breached by artillery and on the morning of the 24th, during heavy rain, a small storming party attempted to enter it.
The breach was
gained, but the severe fire of the Arabs prevented the party from advancing and they were eventually compelled to retire. Simultaneous attacks were made on the Tulsi Bag and other positions and the former was carried, but the failure to effect a lodgment in the breach rendered it useless to continue the action at other points and eventually the whole of the troops retired with 307 casualties. Lieutenant Bell of the Royal Scots was killed in the breach and two other officers were wounded. General Doveton who was in command of the Forces, desired to await the arrival of a siege train to effect the complete reduction of the city, but on the Arabs agreeing to march out with their property, families and arms, Mr. Jenkins allowed them to do so as the immediate acquisition of the city was important.
45. On the 6th January an engagement was drawn up
reinstating Appa Sahib until the
pleasure of the Governor-General
was known on his agreeing to cede his territories in the Nerbudda valley, and his rights in Berar, Gawilgarh, Surguja and Jashpur, to conduct his affairs according to the advice of the Resident, to give up such forts as might be demanded and to allow of the erection of military works on Sitabaldi. The Governor-General disapproved of the restoration of Appa Sahib to power but decided that the treaty must be confirmed.
The division of General Doveton proceeded westward to help in taking the forts in the territory ceded by Holkar, and in the pursuit of the Peshwa. No sooner had General Doveton's troops left Nagpur than Appa Sahib renewed his intrigues, raised the Gonds, and sent secret instructions to the Killedars or castellans not to surrender the forts, which they were holding, to the English; and finally he applied for assistance to Baji Rao. Even within a day's march of the capital the wild Gonds were burning Makardhokra, Amgaon, and other villages belonging to Baka Bai, the Dowager Queen, the Raja's political opponent. He sentmessages for help to the Peshwa and arranged for his own escape to Chanda. At this time also his participation in the murder of his cousin had become known. Sir R. Jenkins now arrested the Raja, and it was determined that he should be confined for life in Hindustan. He was sent under escort towards Allahabad, but on the road he managed to corrupt his guard, and escaped in the dress of a sepoy. He fled to the Mahadeo hills, where he was joined by Chitu, the last of the Pindari leaders. He ultimately escaped, first to Asirgarh and then to Upper India, and died in Rajputana in 1860.
46. On the final deposition of Appa Sahib a maternal
grandchild of Raghuji II was
adopted by the widows 0f his grandfather. He took the name of Bhonsla, and was recognised as Raja Raghuji III, on the same terms as were granted to Appa Sahib in 1816. A Regency was established, at the head of which was the Baka Bai, widow of the second Raghuji. She had the care of the young Raja's person but the Resident superintended and administered every department of the State through officers appointed by himself. In the year 1830, during the Residentship of
the Honorable R. Cavendish, and four
years after the departure of Sir R. Jenkins from the scene of his labours, the Raja was permitted to assume the actual government. The time of the Raja's minority,
when the country wasadministered by British Officers under the Resident, was long remembered with favour by the people. Nothing occurred to disturb the peace at large during
the nextseventeen years; thecountry was quiet and prosperous; and the security, afforded by a firm and just rule, was a great stimulus to banking and trade. In the year 1848 an impostor named Raghobharti Gosain, pretending to be Appa Sahib, raised an insurrection in Berar, but the disturbance did not extend to Nagpur. Raghuji III died in December 1853 without a child, begotten or adopted. The Marquis of Dalhousie, then Governor-General, declared that the State of Nagpur had lapsed to the Paramount Power. This order was confirmed by the Court of Directors of the late East India Company and by the Crown, and Nagpur became a British Province.
47. From 1853 to 1861 the Dominions of the Bhonslas were administered by a number of
Commissioner of the ' Nagpur Province.' The even course of affairs in that period was broken only by the local events connected with the Mutiny. It is not believed that Nagpur had any communication with the disaffected centres of the Bengal army before the outbreak, but with the first intelligence of the disturbances unrest appeared in the city. The chapatis had indeed been circulated, but here, as in other parts of India, their import was certainly not understood by the bulk of the people, amongst -whom they failed to attract any particular attention. There was noticed, however, about the end of April, on the part of some of the leading Muhammadans of the city, an unwonted opposition to the orders of Government on the subject of extra-mural sepulture. This opposition was met by decisive action; intra-mural Sepulture was prohibited, and the order was obeyed, but not without covert hints that the time for issue of orders by any British Government was not far from its close. The behaviour of the Muhammadans was from this time carefully watched. In May 1857 Mr. Plowden was Commissioner, and Mr. Ellis, [Mr. R. S. Ellis, C. B., afterwards Chief Secretary to the Government of Madras.] Deputy Commissioner, of Nagpur. The troops stationed at Nagpur belonged to the Nagpur irregular force, and consisted of a regiment of irregular cavalry, largely recruited from the local Muhammadans, a battery of artillery, and a
regiment of Hindustani infantry. Kamptee was garrisoned by two regiments of infantry and one of cavalry of the Madras army and two European batteries.
48. Intelligence of the calamities at Meerut and Delhi
arrived at Nagpur before the end of
May; and it seems that immediately
after this a scheme for a rising was concocted in the lines of the regular cavalry, in conjunction with the Muhammadans of the city. Secret nightly meetings in the city had been discovered by Mr. Ellis; and the Scotch Church Missionaries, who had schools and some influence in the city, had given warning that the public mind was much disturbed. The rising was fixed for the night of the 13th of June, when the ascent of a fire-balloon from the city was to have given the signal to the cavalry. But a few hours before the appointed time one squadron of the cavalry received orders to march for Seoni. This disconcerted the plans of the conspirators and a daffadar [Subordinate native officer corresponding to corporal.] was deputed to rouse the infantry. He was at once seized and confined by the first man he addressed, and Mr. Ellis and Mr. Ross, Assistant Commissioner, being informed by the Jail Sub-Inspector of certain suspicious movements in the cavalry lines, repaired to the house of Captain Wood, the Second Officer of the regiment. At Captain Wood's house it was discovered that the regiment were saddling their horses. It was now past ten o'clock at night, and by this time the alarm was general. Mr. Ellis sent the ladies of the station for safety to Kamptee, and troops were summoned from that place. Meantime the arsenal had been cared for by Major Bell, Commissary of Ordnance. Loaded cannons were brought up to command the entrance and approaches, while a small detachment of Madras sepoys proceeded to the Sitabaldi hill, and got all the guns in position. The behaviour of these last was such as to remove any anxiety as to the Madras troops having been tampered with. But at this juncture, until the arrival of troops, from Kamptee, everything depended on the temper of the irregular infantry and artillery. The officer commanding the infantry was
prostrate from wounds received from a tiger; the only other officer of the regiment was away from the station. Accordingly Lieutenant Cumberlege, the Commissioner's Personal Assistant who had previously been with this regiment, proceeded to their lines, and took temporary command. He found that their regiment had fallen in of their own accord on their parade ground, most ready and willing to execute any orders. The battery of artillery, commanded by Captain Playfair, evinced a sprit equally good. Having made sure of these portions of the troops, Mr. Ellis now went down to the city. Everything was found perfectly tranquil. The conspirators must have become aware that the authorities were on the alert, that their co-operators in the cavalry had failed to get the infantry to join, and were now hesitating. The fire balloon was never sent up. The cavalry, when they heard of the fate of their emissary, seem to have lost all heart. They unsaddled their horses and remained quiet. Subsequently they were turned out on foot without their arms, the infantry and the artillery being drawn up in position fronting and flanking them. It was in vain that efforts were made to induce them to name the ring-leaders, or those who had been saddling their horses. The daffadar who had been seized in the infantry lines was tried by court-martial on the next day, and condemned to death. The behaviour of the native officers of the cavalry had been carefully watched, and within a few days evidence was obtained through a loyal Muhammadan gentleman, Tafazzul Husain Khan, by which five of them were convicted of disloyalty. They were hanged from the ramparts of the fort overlooking the city, and with them two leading Muhammadans of Nagpur. The treasure was removed to Sitabaldi fort, and a supply of provisions for three months was thrown into the fort and the arsenal at its foot. The cavalry
were disarmed and till the 30th November the men were kept under surveillance in their own lines. They were
then again armed and moved towards Sambalpur where they performed their duties well. There were no other disturbances in Nagpur and for the manner in which the temporary crisis was met and overcome great credit was due to the Deputy Commissioner, Mr. Ellis. The aged Bhonsla princess, Baka Bai, exerted all her influence on the side of the British and did her utmost by her example to keep the Maratha Districts loyal. The successful issue of the event at Nagpur was of the utmost importance to Southern India. As a leading Maratha State which had been recently annexed, its defection would have served as a beacon of revolt to the Southern Maratha country and to the turbulent subjects in the north of the Nizam's dominions. Towards the close of 1858, Tantia Topi crossed the Nerbudda on a projected raid into the Maratha Districts and some apprehension was felt lest the arrival of the representative of the Peshwa might induce the Marathas to rise in revolt. Columns were sent out to the bank of the Wardha and into the Chhindwara District, and the effect of these dispositions was that Tantia Topi, who had penetrated as far as and burnt Multai, was turned off in an easterly direction, when he was met and defeated by a column from Amraoti and again driven northwards.
49. After the Mutiny the detached position of the Nagpur
Districts and the Saugor and Nerbudda Territories, too remote from
the headquarters of any Local Government to be efficiently administered, led to the determination to form a new Province, which was carried into effect in 1861. With the addition of Berar in 1903 the Central Provinces are not far from representing the Bhonsla kingdom at its greatest extent. It includes Saugor, Damoh and Jubbulpore, the greater part of
which did not belong to the Bhonslas, and is without Sambalpur and Cuttack, which were included in their possessions. A list of the Chief Commissioners of the Central Provinces is annexed.