Khanzada Caste: The Bachgoti

In this post I will look at Bachgoti clan of the Khanzadas of the Awadh region of eastern Uttar Pradesh. The reader is requested look at my posts on the Ahbans and Bhale Sultans, which give some background to the history of the Khanzada of Awadh. The Bachgoti were first to acquire the name Khanzada, which now used by all the clans that claim descent from Rajputs or Thakurs of Awadh, who have converted to Islam. The Bachgoti played an important role in the late middle ages and early modern history of Awadh. They were at one time substantial landowners, but with the carrying out of land reform by the government of India after independence in 1947, they lost many of their larger estates.

 

Origin

The Bachgotis and their branches such as their branch Rajkumars, were substantial landowners in the Awadh region throughout late middle ages up to the end of British rule in 1947. According to clan traditions, in 1248, during the reign of Nasir-ud-din Mahmud, their ancestor Bariar Singh, a Chauhan, fled from his home and established himself first in the village of Jamnawan and afterwards in Bhadaiyan in what is now Sultanpur District of Uttar Pradesh. There are conflicting opinions as to where he was born; some say it was Sambhal, others Mainpuri, the undoubted home of the Chauhans, while according to the late 19th Century colonial scholar Sir H. Elliot opined that it was Sambhar in Ajmer. According to William Crook, after the fall of Prithvi Raja of Delhi the Chauhans were especially singled out for extermination by the Muslim conquerors, and this may be a reason for Bariar Singh’s migration. This Bariar Singh claimed direct descent from Chahir Deo, the brother of Prithvi Rajah, the last Chauhan ruler of India.

 

In another account of the Bachgoti origin story, the father of Bariar Singh, who had already twenty-two sons, decided to take a young bride, who stipulated that her son, if she bore him offspring, should be heir. When a son was born, the other twenty-two brothers dispersed, and Bariar Singh came to eastern Awadh. This story goes on to say that he joined the imperial forces of Alaudin Khilji, and for his assistance in overthrowing the Bhars he was given the conquered country of the Bhar Raja Dhim Sen. What we can make of these origin stories is that Bariar singh was a Chauhan, who may have come from the territory round Delhi to Awadh, and overthrew the Bhars, like many other Rajput adventurers.

 

Bariar Singh had four sons, known by the names of Ghunghe, Asal, Ghatam Deo, and Raj Sah. The last named is said to have been by a second wife, the daughter of Raja Man Singh of Jaipur, and to have succeeded to throne, as opposed to his elder brothers. From these four have sprung the various Bachgoti taluqdari families. In my article on the Ahbans, I have looked at the status and origin of the taluqdari families of Awadh. Each of the four brothers is said to have received land in what is now Sultanpur, Ambedkar Nagar and Faizabad districts. Asal is said to have received the pargana called by his name, and from him are descended the present bhaiychara communities of that tract. Ghunghe was given Chanda, which was held in part by his descendants including the taluqdars of Garabpur, Rampur, and Partabpur until independence in 1947. Ghatam Deo received Bahra and Mahrupur in the Partabgarh district, while from Raj Sah, the heir, come the taluqdars of Dhadaiyan, Dera, Hasanpur, Kurwar, Nanamau, Meopur, and Damodra.

 

We now come to the story of the Khanzadas, all of whom claim descent from Raj Sah. Raj Sah is said to have had three sons, lshri Singh, Chakrasen Singh, and Rup Chand. The Khanzada families are descendants of Rup Singh, the second son of Raj Sah. His son, Jura Rai, had two sons, Jai Chand and Pirthipal Singh, from whom are descended the great Khanzada families and the Rajas of Kurwar. Tilok Chand, the son of Jai Chand, was a contemporary of Babar and was captured by the Mughal. He is said to have converted to Islam, taking the name Tatar Khan, and received the title of Khan-i-Azam, meaning the greatest among the khans. One of his sons, Fateh Sah, was born before his fathers conversion and retained the name of Bachgoti; his descendants still hold the Dhamaur estate. The other son, Bazid Khan, was brought up as a Muslim, styling himself Khanzada. Over time other families of convert Rajput ancestry have also adopted the name khanzada, such as the Ahbans, Bisen, Bhale Sultans, Bhatti and Gautams.

The Maniarpur Khanzadas

Khankhanan Khan, fifth in descent from Tatar Khan, had two wives. By the first marriage he had issue, Bahadur Khan, the father of Ismail Khan; and by the second, Hayat Khan and Dalel Khan. According to the author of colonial gazetteer of Sultanpur District, the Maniarpur estat was founded as such:

“they received the Maniarpur estate of 109 villages as their share, but it would appear that they never obtained the claim that they asserted. It is known that Hayat Khan quarrelled with Zabardast Khan, the son of Ismail Khan, and was killed by him, so that the whole property remained in the hands of the elder branch. Hayat. Khan left six sons, Darya Khan and five others. Shortly after his death, Darya Khan and one or two of his brothers went by night to Hasanpur, and stole quietly into the fort to find Zabardast Khan alone and fast asleep. On finding him thus in their power, they desisted from the intended murder, but took his turban, sword, and shoes and left their own instead. When he awoke in the morning, Zabardast Khan recognised the position, and being deeply moved by their generous forbearance set off for Maniarpur to make peace unattended. Darya Khan fled on his approach, but Zabardast Khan secured an interview with Hayat Khan’s widow, and thus effected a reconciliation. Darya Khan took up his residence at Hasanpur and was entrusted with the management of the whole estate: and at the same time, in conjunction with his brothers, received a grant of eleven villages for his support.”

Whether this story is entirely true is not certain. What is clear, though is that there was internecine conflict between the various branches of the Khanzada family. The 109 villages formed the nucleus of the present Maniarpur taluqa. During the rule of Darya Khan, they received considerable additions, by taking advantage of his influential position to ,enlarge his boundaries whenever the opportunity occurred; but at his death, which happened about 1743 .A.D., a division of the estate took place among his sons and brothers, and the separate properties created were too small to be important. However, the majority of them were re-united by Roshan Zaman Khan. Roshan Zaman Khan died in 1818; and was followed by his brother, Basawan Khan, who survived him but two or three years.

The taluqa consisted of the estates of Maniarpur and Pali in Sultanpur district, comprising 72 villages and five pattis, and three villages and one patti in Faizabad. The present Rajah is Sarfaraz Husain.

 

Gangeo Khanzadas

The third Khanzada family of taluqdars was that of Gangeo, which was a cadet branch of the Hasanpur family. It was founded by Wazir Khan, a cadet of the main branch of Hasanpur, and was then passed on to Jahangir Bakhsh. The taluqa consisted of 18 villages and four pattis in the Baraunsa and Miranpur parganas, known as the Gangeo and Bahmarpur estates, and Samdabad Shahpur, a property of five villages in Faizabad. The current Rajah is Tafazzul Hussain Khan

 Meopur Baregaon Estate in Faizabad

In neighbouring Faizabad District was the estate of Meopur Baregaon. According to their origin story, Umresh Singh the son of Sarabdawan Singh, obtained as his share the taluqa known as Meopur Baragaon. This then passed to his elder brother was Jagdeo Singh, who became a Muslim under the name of Husain Ali. He then abdicated his property in favour of Umresh Singh and moved to Faizabad city, where he lived in receipt of an allowance of Rupees 4,000 a year from the estate. The property originally consisted of 38 villages in Surhurpur, all acquired since the beginning of the nineteenth century. It disappeared, however, soon after the first regular settlement, for the whole estate was sold by a decree of the civil court in 1875. The villages constituting this taluqa at the time of sale lay in Akbarpur, Majhaura and Surhurpur, the village of Baragaon from which it derived its name being in the last-mentioned pargana. It consisted in all of 21 villages and three pattis in this district, and was It consisted in all of 21 villages and three pattis in this district, and was sold village by village, the principal purchasers being Khattris. The family however remains settled in Faizabad.

 Distribution

The Bachgoti Khanzada are found mainly in the districts of Ambedkar Nagar (Tanda), Faizabad and Sultanpur. They are Sunni Muslims, except the taluqdar families, but incorporate many folk beliefs. The Bachgoti speak both Awadhi and Urdu.

 

 

 

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