SANGRUR was the capital of Jind State and this beautiful city was designed on the pattern of Jaipur with historical buildings, gardens, underground, water system and so much more.
After 1947 and abolishing of the States the heritage of Jind State has been neglected and destroyed and we have lost our iconic buildings The Sangrur Fort, Lady Minto Girls High School, Hermitage Palace and the Deputy Commissioner’s Offices.
After seeing these developments residents of Sangrur decided we needed a voice so that this rampant plunder of our heritage and history is not allowed to continue.
We formed the Sangrur Heritage Preservation Society on 28th January 2014 Vide Registration No 8026 and took up many causes to preserve our buildings.
Raj High School was to be demolished but was stopped in time. Shahi Samadhan has been restored and work on the Dewan Hall etc. are in progress.
Raja Gajpat Singh
HISTORY OF JIND STATE
Jind is an ancient place, named after Jayant, son of Indra the king of heaven. It has witnessed the changing times from the pre-Mahabharata period down the ages till a kingdom was named after it in 18th century AD.
Jind as kingdom was founded by Raja Gajpat Singh of the Phulkian misl, who as part of the Sikh coalition in 1763 AD, had defeated the Afghan governor Zain Khan of Sirhind and received a tract of country as his share, including the districts of Jind, Safidon and parts of Kurukshetra, Panipat and Karnal. He as malguzar of Delhi, got the title of Raja from Emperor Shah Alam in 1772 AD.
Jind was the second largest kingdom of the Phulkian States, the other two being Patiala and Nabha, named after their common ancestor Phul, the Phulkian rulers were originally Yadu Rajputs, whose ancestors had migrated from Jaisalmer. The territories of Jind extended from the river Satluj in the north, upto Gohana, now a town in Rohtak district of Haryana, in the south. The vast area of the kingdom, which was more than twelve and a half hundred square miles now, falls in the states of Haryana and Punjab.
Raja Gajpat Singh (1772-1786 AD) was followed by Rajas Bhag Singh (1786-1819 AD) and Fateh Singh (1819-1822 AD). Raja Fateh Singh’s son, Raja Sangat Singh (1822-1834 AD) shifted the capital from Jind to Sangrur in 1830 AD. Raja Sangat Singh, being a close relative and a favourate of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, often visited Lahore to keep himself updated on the latest developments and politics of that uncertain era.
Sangrur remained the seat of the Government of Jind State from 1830 AD, though the coronation of the rulers continued to be carried out at Jind, because it was considered auspicious to perform the coronation ceremonies in Jind, which had been a holy place from the Mahabharat times.
Raja Sangat Singh died without a male heir, resulting in extinction of the direct line of Jind Chiefs. The question of succession was finally settled in 1837 AD, when Sarup Singh of Bajidpur, a second cousin of the deceased Raja, ascended the throne according to the Hindu law of succession. He ruled upto 1864 AD. During his time, the ilaqa of Dadri was added into Jind State, due to the help rendered by him to the British in the war of 1857 AD in which Dadri had fought against the British forces and were defeated.
He was succeeded by his son Raja Raghbir Singh (1864 – 1887 AD). His son Balbir Singh died during his life time. So, his grandson Maharaja Ranbir Singh (1887-1948 AD), ascended the throne. He was followed by Maharaja Rajbir Singh, after whom the Jind State was merged into Pepsu, which was further merged in the Composite (Joint) Punjab and Indian Union.
Punjab- the land of five rivers-lies in North West India. In the Vedic Era, Punjab was called ‘Sapat Sandu’. Sapat Sandu means the land of seven rivers – the Sandhu, Jhelum, Ravi, Chenab, Beas, Satluj, and Yamuna. The Mughals personalized its name by calling it ‘Punj-Aab or the land of five rivers – excluding Sandhu and Saraswati. Punj means five and Aab means water, so Punjab means land of five rivers. These five rivers that pass through Punjab, originate from the various small lake in the Himalayas. If one was to go across the Punjab starting from Delhi to Afghanistan, the rivers are in this order – Beas, Satluj, Ravi, Chenab and Jhelum. Beas and Satluj merge into one river retaining the name Satluj at Harike near Ferozepur in Punjab, just before crossing the border into West Punjab (Pakistan) and eventually merging into river Indus.
BEAUTIFULLY PLANNED CAPITAL
Maharaja Raghbir Singh, who developed Sangrur into a fascinating and distinctive town was so zealous and spirited that he traveled far and wide for ideas to create an ideal capital. In 1870 AD, he visited Jaipur incognito to study the planning of that beautiful city of India and finally in 1875 AD, he planned and started building his own capital and engaged the best architect S. Ram Singh who had designed Khalsa college Amritsar and many others buildings during his tenure including a block of Buckingham Palace, London.
The town was protected by a broad boundary wall, intersected by four stately gates with strong iron doors fitted with big iron nails. At regular intervals on this, were bastions which accommodated the guards.The town itself was intersected by four main roads, like a chopar, and these roads were broad and partitioned into two parts for incoming and outgoing traffic in order to avoid accidents.
These four main roads ran east-west and north-south with a picturesque fountain at the crossing. On both side of these roads stood symmetrical and uniform market shops.
Along the boundary wall of the city there were beautiful orchards and gardens which were laid out for strollers. These gardens had plenty of fruit trees of a large variety. The fruit of these gardens was of such quality that it was highly priced in the markets of Calcutta and Bombay. Outside each main gate of the town was a temple with a tank filled with fresh water for bathing and swimming purposes. These were Kali-tal, Sunami-tal, Jayanti-tall and Gangasar-tal, which catered to the needs of the citizens and travelers. These tanks were cleaned regularly and punctually by State officials.
The inclusion of Dadri Tehsil had its own impact. The people of Dadri had a distinctive marshal and revolutionary background. Raja Raghbir Singh, who was married in Dadri, made strenuous efforts to reorganize and discipline his army. After 1857 AD, the Britishers were emerging as a paramount power in India. To be in tune with the changing times, Raja Raghbir Singh decided to organize his army on British lines.
Raja Raghbir Singh also started compulsory military training to civilians from all walks of life and on an inspection, the British Governor General was wonder struck to see so many soldiers and civilians employed in uniform. The same person wielded the swords, gun and the pen. They were given inclusive training to be meaningfully employed.
Jind State produced valiant fighters and distinguished commanders and generals like Kahan Singh, Rattan Singh, Gurnam Singh, Natha Singh and General Gulam Bheikh Khan. After the merger of Jind State in Pepsu and then in Punjab, the 1st Jind Infantry became the 13th Battalion of Punjab (Jind). The regiment has a history of 247 years and is a very highly decorated regiment.
SANGRUR THE MODERN CAPITAL
The residents of Sangrur enjoyed the latest amenities in this fascinating capital of Jind, when in many parts of India these were not available. Sangrur had the privilege of having planned drainage and water works at a time, when only cities like Calcutta and Bombay had benefitted from these.
A huge reservoir was constructed at the top of the second storey of the gate of the workshop that had foreign and locally made machinery. Raja Raghbir Singh personally inspected it daily in spite of his administrative responsibilities.
A Clock Tower was constructed in Sangrur with German machinery in 1885 AD. The sound of the bells could be heard at a distance of ten to twelve miles at night. It was a rare object in the 19th century, which kept the citizens well-informed about the time. Those were the days when wrist watches were not available or used by the common man and all activity was planned with the timing of the bells.
DEVELOPMENT OF FINE AND USEFUL ARTS
Fine arts, painting, music, dance, sculpture and architecture flourished in the cis-Satluj region in 18th, 19th and first half of 20th centuries. Poets and writers of various forms of literature received patronage from the rulers.
In the first international exhibition of art and industry held in London in 1851 AD. Exhibits sent from the cis-Satluj region received so much admiration that the Board of Trade in England conferred beautiful medals on their owners. These exhibits included mainly arms, paintings, specimens of calligraphy, illustrated manuscripts, etc. Multifarious industries in textiles, brass-wares, leather and wood work also flourished here. All such ventures received patronage from the rulers and nobility of Patiala, Jind, Nabha, Jhajjar and Dadri. Some artist from the Mughal, Rajasthani and Pahari schools worked at Dadri and Sangrur, besides other places. They produced miniature paintings depicting anecdotes from scriptures and portraits of the royalty and nobility, besides doing painting and designs on walls.
During the state time there was a great effort to promote literature, poetry, music, traditional instruments and concerts were held to promote art and culture. The notable people of distinction were famous poet Mrigendra, Bhai Santokh Singh, Hafizan a famous musician of the Darbar of Raja-I-Rajgan Raghbir Singh of Jind, remarkable poet and sitarist Pandit Manmohan Mishra, Master poet Mahakavi Shambhu Dass and so many others who added grace to the royal state of Jind.
Maharaja Raghbir Singh had in-depth knowledge of classical music and Gurbani, due to this he had named a few villages in the state on Raagas & Raagnis. Eg. Jai Jai Wanti, Ramkali, Bheron, Sri Raag which are named from the Raag Mala the index from Shri Guru Granth Sahib.
The Jind State family were pioneers in field trial and dog shows and they had one of the finest kennels in the world. During the winter season regular events were held which were attended by the Royal families and British Officers.
BUILDING MODERN INFRASTRUCTURE
Majority of the development of the city took place in the early 1900’s with construction of the Darbar Hall, Clock Tower (the landmark of the city), The Lady Minto Ranbir Girls’ School, setting up of a modern hospital, Ranbir Silver Jubilee orphanage, Veterinary hospital, Jind state public library opened in 1930, Ranbir College, The Ranbir Skating Rink, a modern Railway station was established along with the Tehsil complex. The Maharaja had very good relations with the British Government and they were able to carry out various development works in the state during this period.
It may fascinate the readers to know the title bestowed upon the ruler of the Jind State was – Colonel His Highness Farzand-i-Dilbnad (Beloved Son), Rasi-khul-Itikad (Trusted friend), Daulat-i-Inglishia (British Crown) Raja-i-Rajgan (King of kings) Maharaja Sir Ranbir Singh Rajendra Bahadur, K.C.S.I.,G.C.I.E., etc.
His Highness Maharaja Ranbir Singh was made Knight Commander of the most Exalted Star of India (K.C.S.I.) in 1909 on the occasion of the Coronation Durbar in 1911 the hereditary of “Maharaja” was conferred on him.
Jind State respected the residents who practiced their religion and there was great bonhomie and everybody celebrated their festivals together. The rulers ensured building, temples, Masjids and Gurudwaras for the convenience of the people and especially the religious historical monuments were given grants for their up keep and maintenance. The temples included Bhuteshwar Temple Jind, Ganga Sagar, Shri Raj Rajeshwari Temple, Shri Maha Kali Devi and Shri Jayanti Devi temples at Sangrur. Pindara Temple Jind is very ancient and devotees visit these places on special occasion. Gurudwara Sahib, Nankiana Sahib in Sangrur and Guru Teg Bahadur Gurudwara Sahib in Jind and Lakhan Majra Haryana are of historical importance since this was the route travelled by Guru Sahib on his way to Delhi for his martyrdom in 1675.
PRESERVING OUR HERITAGE & CULTURE
The need of the hour today is to preserve our heritage and culture so that these gifts we have received from our ancestors are passed on to the next generation for them to appreciate the grand era and the splendor of the royal state times.
Sangrur the capital of Jind state has lost so many of its landmarks and emblems which included the Royal Fort, Lady Minto Girls’ High School, The administrative Complex, the 4 (four) main Gates (since it was a walled city), and so many other beautiful buildings which have made way for parking lots and other frivolous activity which could have been avoided to retain the identity of the city.
Information in the article is from Mr. V.P.S. Rao’s book “Splendour of Jind’s Capital Sangrur”, Mr. Rajeev Jindal’s book “The Princely State of Jind Revisited and Karanvir Sibia’s book “A life well lived”.
The writer is Chairman of Sangrur Heritage & Preservation Society and Director Sangrur Heritage Literary Festival. To take our cause forward we initiated the Sangrur Heritage and Literary Festival so that we could expand our mission of our literature, culture, customs, language, handicrafts and traditional music.
Due to this initiative we have released many books of unknown authors, poets and given a platform to people with talent from all walks of life.
Do join us in our endevour and let’s take our causes forward and establish Sangrur as the literary capital of North India.