Raja Tikait Rai

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Maharaja Tikait Rai Bahadur (1760–1808) was the Diwan of Awadh from 1791 - 1796 in the regime of Asaf-u-daula.

He was a Learned Kshatriya from the Hindu Kayastha of a Saksena clan.[1]

Maharaja Tikait Rai commanded the highest positions comparable to that of Raja Newal Rai, among the Hindu Diwans of Asaf-ud-daula. Maharaja Tikait Rai founded the towns of Tikait Nagar, Barabanki district and Tikait Ganj, Raebareli district.[2]

Rise to power[edit]

He was successor of Haidar Beg Khan in the post of acting minister. In his youth he had been employed by Haidar Beg Khan Naishapuri, a military officer under Safdar Jung. Later he became diwan of Khushnazar Ali Khan Khwajasara, "superintendent of the armoury" (darogha-i-zanburkhana) in Shujauddaula's Government. During the ministry of Mukhtaruddaula, Tikait Rai was promoted as a clerk in the civil court and after Mukhtaruddaula's murder was appointed assistant to Mir Hasan, "supervisor of the revenue department" (darogha-i-kachehri). Tikait Rai continued to rise steadily in service and though apparently attached to Hasan Raza Khan, in fact looked up to Haidar Beg for patronage.[1]

He is still remembered for his lavish charities and was known as the Raja Karan [nt 1] of his time. He granted stipends and pensions to many learned men and other deserving people.[nt 2] On the other hand, he had the ill reputation of being an invert, which probably explains his appointment, when he became acting minister, of many inexperienced and incompetent young men to offices of responsibility.[nt 3] In June 1792 Tikait Rai was selected to succeed Haidar Beg because of his long experience in the revenue department and the complete confidence that the late minister had reposed in him.[1]

During Haidar Beg's absence on a mission to Calcutta in 1787 for nine months, Tikait Rai had held the entire charge of the revenue department. He appears to have been a cringing type of man lacking in that dignity of manners which commanded respect and enforced obedience at a time when personal considerations carried great weight. Tikait Rai was also feeble in character and vacillating.[nt 4][1]

Though in name Tikait Rai was Hasan Raza's assistant, he, like Haidar Beg, exercised uncontrolled authority. The two ministers undertook a journey to Calcutta in 1793 to discuss with Shore the question of reforming the administration of Oudh and the means of liquidating the nawab's debts to the Company. After their return the two gradually fell away from each other. The nawab's debts were mounting steadily and Tikait Rai often troubled Asafuddaula about them, sometimes not meeting his demands for money promptly. These things annoyed the nawab from whose favour the acting minister fell till at last in 1210 A.H. (1795–96) Raja Jhao Lal, perhaps the greatest favourite of Asafuddaula, persuaded the nawab to believe that Tikait Rai had embezzled large sums of money.[nt 5] He alleged that the practice of the minister had been to appoint his relatives and favourites to the treasury (e.g. Baijnath, treasurer) to embezzle large sums of money with their help, and to lend this money to the sarkar in the names of various bankers and moneylenders at exorbitant rates of interest.[nt 6] Then he realised from the treasury the interest and sometimes the principal, of which a small portion went to the bankers whose names had been made use of white the greater part went to the minister himself. The nawab appointed Rai Balakram, a minion of Jhao lal, to check up Tikait Rai's accounts, and the result was the reduction of the nawab's debts to the bankers to about a seventh of Tikait Rai's total.[nt 7] How far this reduction was fair and how far the result of Balakram's excessive zeal is not known, but that Tikait Rai's conduct had not been above board is proved from a statement of Cherry, a patron of Tikait Rai, suggesting that the minister delayed in delivering to him the accounts of the sarkar for fear of involving himself and his dependants.[nt 8][1]

The nawab dismissed Tikait Rai and his friends and suggested to Hasan Raza the appointment of Jhao Lal as assistant minister. Hasan Raza, fearing that Jhao Lal being a favourite of the nawab would be too independent of him, induced Cherry to influence the nawab to reinstate Tikait Rai. Thus in May 1796 Tikait Rai was reappointed, but without the charge of the treasury,[nt 9] but within a month both he and Hasan Raza were finally dismissed by the nawab. Cherry's patronage of Tikait Rai seems to have been due more to his dislike of Jhao Lal (in which he was supported by Shore's definite censure [nt 10]) than for any particular admiration for Tikait Rai himself.[nt 11] When Cherry was recalled, Jhao Lal became the principal adviser of Asafuddaula, the offices of diwani and bakhshigari being nominally conferred upon the two reputed sons of the nawab, Wazir AH and Raza Ali.[nt 12][1]

His influence in Court declined during 1794-6. When on 31 March 1796 Asafuddaula had an occasion to meet the commander-in-chief, Sir Robert Abercrombie, at Lucknow, he requested him to secure the governor-general's consent to the dismissal of Tikait Rai and the appointment of Jhao Lal in his place.[nt 13] At the time of Tikait Rai's reappointment with reduced powers in May 1796, Jhao Lal was given the charge of the nawab's household and the headship of the intelligence department.[nt 14] On the final dismissal of Hasan Raza and Tikait Rai in June 1796, Jhao Lal became all powerful.[1]

Famine of 1784-85[edit]

Nawab Asif-ud-daula along with his prime minister Mirza Hasan Raza Khan and deewan Raja Tikait Rai, established a charitable institution (Rifah-e-Aam) which provided relief to thousands. Asif-ud-daula distributed salaries to the people with finance minister Raja Jhau Lal and deewan Raja Tikait Rai .[3]

Welfare construction[edit]

He also constructed many temples, mosques, bridges and dug tanks all over the state, which can still be seen.[2] He also built imambaras to house alams.[4] In Tehsil Bithur, Kanpur there is a Baradari[5] and a bathing quay built of red stone on the banks of Ganges known as Patthar ghat,[6][7] built by Raja Tikait Rai.

In memory[edit]

Raja Tikait Rai Ka Talab - This was built by the Nawabs. It is a pucca talab/tank with a separate bathing ghat for women. It also has the Sitala Mata temple where an annual fair is organized.[8]


  1. ^ A character in the Mahabharata known for his charity and bravery.
  2. ^ Ghulam All, op. cit. 136-7.
  3. ^ AbuTalib,op. cit. 115.
  4. ^ References to Tikait Rai in B.P.C. 15 Jun. 1792 Ives to Cornwallis 6 Jun. ; B.P.C. 1 Aug. 1795 Cherry to Shore ; B.8.C. 10 Apr. 1797 Shore to Speke 5 Apr.
  5. ^ Ghulam All, op. cit. 163 ; Ratan Chand, op. cit. f. 210-11.
  6. ^ Cherry mentions 36 p. c. compound. This charge was true, see B.P.C. 18 Sep. 1795 Cherry to Shore 1 Sep.
  7. ^ Ghulam Ali, op. cit. 153.
  8. ^ B.P.C. 1 Aug. 1795 Cherry to Shore 21 July ; B.P.C. 14 Aug. 1795 GO to Cherry 12 Aug.
  9. ^ Ghulam Ali, op. cit. 153; B.P.C. 26 May 1796 Cherry to GG 9 May.
  10. ^ B.P.C. 26 Jun. 1795.
  11. ^ B.P.C. 20 May 1796 Cherry to Shore 21 July 1795.
  12. ^ B.P.C. 17 Jun. 1796 Cherry to GG 1 Jun.
  13. ^ B.P.C. 16 May 1796.
  14. ^ B.P.C. 20 May 1796 Cherry to Shore 9 May ; nawab-wazir to Realdent 3 May.
  • Repertoire On Wajid Ali Shah & Monuments of Avadh, Avadh Cultural Club, Lucknow, 1974


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