Phulkian sardars

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The Phulkian States in a 1911 map of Punjab.

The Phulkian (or Phoolkian) sardars were Jat Sikh monarchs and aristocrats of the Punjab in India tracing their genealogy from the 12th century King of Jaisalmer, Rawal Jaisal and Yadu Bhatti Rajput of the Chandra Vanshi clan.

Eponym: The Phulkian States[edit]

The Phulka family had descended from the eponymous group, the Phul Brar,from whom descended the rulers of Patiala, Jind, Nabha as well as the chiefs of Bhadaur, Malaudh and Badrukhan and the Sardars of Juindan, Laudhgarh, Dyalpura, Rampura and Kot Duna. The early progenitors of the Phulka House were scions of the Rajput family of Jaisalmer who left their desert homes around the time of Rai Pithora and established themselves in Hisar, Sirsa and Bhatner. Maharaja Ala Singh of Patiala descended from Phul and to his genius must be ascribed the remarkable and rapid rise of the family in the first stages of its history.[1]

Common founder[edit]

Phul, a Sidhu Brar was the founder of this family.[citation needed] Phul's eldest son Tiloka was the ancestor of the Nabha, Jind and Badrukhan royal families and his second son Rama sired six sons and out of Dunna, Ala Singh and Bakhta sprang the princely states of Bhadaur, Patiala and Malaudh which were the most important of the Cis-Satluj States belonging to Phulkian Misl. Collaterally, the descendants of Phul were connected with the rulers of Faridkot, the extinct Kaithal family, and the feudatories of Arnauli, Jhumba, Saddhuwal, and, north of the Sutlej, Attari. These numerous branches of a vigorous stock belonged to the great Sidhu-Brar tribe, the most powerful Jat clan south of the Sutlej .[2]

Maharawal Jaisal to Phul[edit]

Maharawal Jaisal, having founded the State of Jaisalmer in 1156 AD, was driven from his kingdom by a rebellion and took refuge with Prithvi Raj Chauhan, the last Hindu King of Delhi, and later settled near Hissar.[3] Hemhel, his son, sacked that town and overran the country up to Delhi but was repulsed by Shams-ud-din Altamash. Subsequently, in 1212, that ruler made him governor of Sirsa and Bhatinda. But his great-grandson Mangal Rao, having rebelled against the Muhammadan sovereign of Delhi, was beheaded at Jaisalmer. His grandson, Khiwa, sank to the status of a Jat by contracting a marriage with a woman of that class; and though the great Siddhu-Barar tribe in the following centuries spread itself far and wide over the Malwa country beyond the Sutlej, the descendants of Khiwa fell into poverty and obscurity, until one of them, Sanghar, entered the service of the emperor Babur with a few followers. Sanghar himself fell at First Battle of Panipat in 1526 AD when Babur defeated Ibrahim Lodhi; but the Mughal emperor rewarded his devotion by granting his son Baryam the chaudhriyat or intendancy of the waste country south-west of Delhi and thus restored the fortunes of the family. The grant was confirmed by Humayun; but in 1560 Baryam fell fighting against the Muhammadan Bhattis, at once the kinsmen and hereditary foes of the Siddhu tribe. Baryam was succeeded as chaudhry by his son Mahraj and his grandson Mohan who were both engaged in constant warfare with the Bhattis, until Mohan was compelled to flee to Hansi and Hissar, whence he returned with a considerable force of his tribesmen, defeated the Bhattis at Bhedowal, and on the advice of the Sikh Guru Har Gobind founded Mahraj in Ferozepore District. But the contest with the Bhattis was soon renewed, and Mohan and his son Rup Chand were killed by them in a skirmish about 1618. His second son Kala succeeded to the chaudhriyat and became the guardian of Phul and Sandali, the sons of Rup Chand.[citation needed]

Blessed by the gurus[edit]

Phul along with his brother Sandali became orphans in 1618 AD and both were taken under the wings of their uncle Chaudhary Kala who founded Mehraj on the advice of the sixth Guru Hargobind . They both visited Guru Hargobind as youngsters, it is said that their uncle told them to rap their bellies to indicate to the guru the poverty and hunger they were enduring. On being told his name was Phul which means flower, the Guru Hargobind said, “ The name shall be a True Omen, and he shall bear many blossoms .” The guru blessed Phul and is said to have told him that he would make a king.[4] When Shah Jehan’s army attacked the guru in 1635 at Lehra near Mehraj, Kala along with his clan sided firmly with him. The guru ended victorious. A happy Guru Har Gobind asked Kala to fence as much land he wanted to. By evening, Kala had marked twenty-two villages and put his fence (Morhi) into the ground. The Bhullar Jats, who considered themselves to be the original dwellers and owners of this area removed his fence and threw it into a well. When Kala complained against this to the guru, he remarked: "Bhai Kala, your roots have reached to the other world." Hence, Kala founded a village and named it as Mehraj.

The Guru Har Rai had blessed him thus: You feel’eth hunger now, worry no more...your house shall be a very big Charity House ....donating and feeding many…….the horses of you Armies shall graze in grasslands spanning the area between the Yamuna and Sutlej and the prophecy of the guru was fulfilled.[5]

The sons of Phul, Tilok Singh and Ram Singh were blessed with Khande da Pahul by Guru Gobind Singh himself at Damdama Sahib. Guru Gobind Singh in a Hukamnama (royal edict) addressed to the two sons of Phul, Rama and Tiloka on 2 August 1696, called upon them for aid in his fight with the Hill rajas proclaiming " tera ghar mera asey " meaning Your House is My Own bestowing special status on the House of Phul.[6] It is said that it is because of this blessing from Guru Sahib that the other 11 Misls never attacked the Phulkian states despite some provocations. They were blessed with the Apaar kirpa of Guru Gobind Singh evidence of which can be seen in the Patiala Hukumnama (edict) sent by Guru Sahib in 1696 AD.[citation needed] Its translation into English reads:

There is one God. The Guru is great. It is the order of the Guru. Bhai Rama and Bhai Tiloka, the Guru will protect all. You are required to come with your contingent. I am much pleased with you. Your house is my own. On seeing this letter you should come in my presence. Your house is my refuge. You should come to me immediately.On seeing this letter you should arrive with horsemen. You must come. A Sirpau (robe of honour or Jorra) for you is being sent . Keep it with you. Bhadson 2 Samat 1653 Bikrami.

This was the initiation of the prestigious Sikh Sirpau or Siropa, as it is popularly known. Bhai Tiloka and Bhai Rama had been the most ardent devotees of Guru Gobind Singh and had won Guruji's favour by showing extraordinary valour in battles and were baptised by Guruji himself at Damdama Sahib.

Sons of Phul[edit]

Phul Brar left six sons, of whom Tiloka was the eldest, and from him are descended the families of Jind and Nabha.[7] From Rama, the second son, sprang the greatest of the Phulkian houses, that of Patiala besides Bhadaur, Kot duna and Malaudh .[8] In 1627 Phul founded and gave his name to a village which was an important town in the State of Nabha. His two eldest sons founded Bhai Rupa while Rama also built Rampur. The last named successfully raided the Bhattis and other enemies of his line. He then obtained from the Muhammadan governor of Sirhind the intendancy of the Jangal tract. The other four sons succeeded to only a small share of their father's possessions.Bir Singh laid foundation stone of Village Bangi Rughu near Talwandi Sabo in district bathinda in memory of his grandfather Raghu of Jiundan. Rawal Jaisal's third Prince was Mokal whose son was Hansraj or Hans the Phulkian Sardars Sidhu-Brar bans are their heirs.[9]

Phulkian states[edit]

The Phulkian Sardars had always been on the right side of the Mughal government in Delhi. Patiala, Jind, and Nabha[10] received royal titles from the declining Mughal power. They came under the loose domination of the new military machine of Mahadji Sindhia and later under the British who took Delhi in 1803. Phulkian sardars approached the British government for seeking protection against the rising power of Maharaja Ranjit Singh. Although Ranjit Singh was very moderate towards the Phulkian rajas, in due course, with his rising power, they became suspicious of his designs and hence sought British protection. Accordingly, the leaders of the Cis-Satluj Sikh states, including the rulers of Patiala, Nabha and Jind, sought the protection of British. This was agreed in return for a pledge of their loyalty to the protectors and ultimately lead to Ranjit Singh having to sign the Treaty of Amritsar on 25 April 1809, which prevented him from expanding his territories south of the Sutlej river.[11] Under the British Empire, honours or rewards bestowed on the native princes of India,[12] grants were made to the maharaja of Patiala and the rajas of Jind and Nabha consisting of, first, a sunnud from the Governor General confirming to him and his heirs forever his possessions and all the privileges attached to them and secondly, the recognition of his right, in failure of direct heirs, to adopt a successor from the Phulka family.[13] This right of adoption was granted to the Chiefs of Patiala, Jind, and Nabha in 1860, together with the further concession that, in the event of the chief of any one state dying without male issue and without adopting a successor, the chiefs of the other two, in concert with the political agent, could choose a successor from among the Phulkian family. Succession in those cases was subject to the payment to the British government of a nazarana or fine equal to one-third of the gross revenue of the state. The political agent for the Phulkian states and Bahawalpur was at Patiala.[citation needed]

Eleven of the descendants of Phul of the Phulkian family in the Cis-Sutlej States who had rank, position and were entitled seats to attend the durbars of the Viceroy 1864-1885 were:

  1. Maharaja Mahindar Singh, Patiala;
  2. Raja Raghbir Singh, Jind;
  3. Raja Bhagwan Singh, Nabha;
  4. Sardar Sir Attar Singh, Bhadour;
  5. Sardar Kehr Singh, Bhadour;
  6. Sardar Achhal Singh, Bhadour;
  7. Sardar Uttam Singh Rampuria, Malaud;
  8. Sardar Mit Singh, Malaudh;
  9. Sardar Hakikat Singh,Ber, Malaud;
  10. Sardar Diwan Singh and
  11. Sardar Hira Singh, Badrukhan.

The Bhadour chiefs sat in durbar as feudatories of Pattiala; the Badrukhan chiefs of Jhind, and the Malaudh sirdars as British Jagirdar chiefs.[citation needed]


  1. ^ Indian States: A Biographical, Historical, and Administrative Survey By Somerset Playne, R. V. Solomon, J. W. Bond pp.230
  2. ^ History of the Sikhs from the Origin of the Nation to the Battles of the Sutlej Chap.V pp.116 Phulkias By Joseph Davey Cunningham, H. L. O.
  3. ^ A Glossary of the Tribes and Castes of the Punjab and North-West Frontier pp.421 By H.A. Rose, IBBETSON, Maclagan
  4. ^ All about Sikhs
  5. ^ The Great Gurus of the Sikhs pp. 226 O.P.Ralhan
  6. ^ History of the Sikh Gurus
  7. ^ Latif, S.M., History of the Punjab
  8. ^ A collection of treaties, engagements, and sunnuds, relating to India By India Foreign and Political Dept, Charles pp.274
  9. ^ As per the book "Bhati Rajputo Ka Gauravmaye Itihaas" by Hukam Singh Bhati
  10. ^ Merriam-Webster's Geographical Dictionary By Inc Merriam-Webster pp.929
  11. ^ Gazetteer SANGRUR Chapter II History British Period (First Edition 1980)
  12. ^ Extracts of Correspondence Lord Lyveden 1860 (77)
  13. ^ Annals of British Legislation: a Classified and Analysed Summary...Leone Levi

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