Bettiah Raj

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Bettiah Raj
Zamindari of British India
1659–1952
History
 •  Established 1659
 •  Abolition of the estate 1 July 1952
Area 4,724 km2 (1,824 sq mi)

Bettiah Raj was the second-largest zamindari estate in the region of India now known as Bihar. It accrued land revenue rentals of 2 million rupees per annum belonging to Bhumihar Brahmins.[1]

History[edit]

Gangeswar Dev , a Brahmin of jaitharia clan , popularly known as Jaitherias, now a sect of Bhumihars.[2]

In 1765, when the East India Company acquired the Diwani Bettiah Raj held the largest territory under its jurisdiction.[3] It consisted of all of Champaran except for a small portion held by the Ram Nagar Raj (also held by Bhumihar Brahmins).[3] Bettiah Raj also came into being as a result of mallikana chaudharai and quanungoi, the connection with the revenue administration building on local dominance and the capability of controlling and protecting hundreds of villages.[3] Internal disputes and family quarrels divided the Raj in course of time.[3] Madhuban Raj was created as a consequence.[3]

But Bettiah Raj was the oldest in the region and had also been a branch of Raj Riyasat Sirkar of Champaran since the 16th century (the time of Shah Jahan) when the raja of Bettiah was Ugrasen Singh.[3] Both the Madhuban Raj and Ram nagar estates had broken off from Bettiah Raj.[3] even then making it the largest zamindari in Bihar.

The last zamindar was Harendra Kishore Singh, who was born in 1854 and succeeded his father, Rajendra Kishore Singh in 1883. In 1884, he received the title of Maharaja Bahadur as a personal distinction and a Khilat and a sanad from the Lieutenant Governor of Bengal, Sir Augustus Rivers Thompson. He was created a Knight Commander of the Most Eminent Order of the Indian Empire on 1 March 1889. He was appointed a member of the Legislative Council of Bengal in January 1891. He was also a member of The Asiatic Society[4] He was the last ruler of Bettiah Raj.

Maharaja Sir Harendra Kishore Singh Bahadur died issueless on 26 March 1893 leaving behind him two widows, Maharani Sheo Ratna Kuer and Maharani Janki Kuer. Maharani Sheo Ratna Kuer who succeeded to the estate of Maharaja Harendra Kishore Singh on his death as his senior widow died on 24 March 1896 and on her death Maharani Janki Kuer became entitled to the possession of the estate. Since it was found that Maharani Janki Kuer was not able to administer the estate, its management was taken over by the Court of Wards, Bihar in 1897. Maharani Janki Kuer who was a limited holder of the estate died on 27 November 1954.[5]

The Bettiah Raj forests were managed for timber production. Bihar state government took over management of the Bettiah Raj forests in 1953 and 1954 under the Bihar Private Protected Forests Act (1947). Valmiki National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary include portion of the former Bettiah Raj estate.[6]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Yang, Anand A. (1999). Bazaar India: Markets, Society, and the Colonial State in Bihar. University of California Press. p. 69. ISBN 978-0-520-21100-1. 
  2. ^ Raizada Harichand Vaid, Gulshane Mohyali, Part I, p. 53 and Part II, pp. 134–135.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Ram, Bindeshwar (1998). Land and society in India: agrarian relations in colonial North Bihar. Orient Blackswan. ISBN 978-81-250-0643-5. 
  4. ^ "Full text of "Proceedings of the Asiatic Society of Bengal"". Archive.org. Retrieved 18 August 2013. 
  5. ^ Lethbridge, Sir Roper (2005). The golden book of India: a genealogical and biographical dictionary of the ruling princes, chiefs, nobles, and other personages, titled or decorated of the Indian empire. Aakar Books. p. 584. ISBN 978-81-87879-54-1. 
  6. ^ "Valmiki Sanctuary", Bihar Environment and Forest Department. Accessed 27 September 2014