Of Rulers and Rajwares of Duggar

Ashok Sharma

Name of the Book: Duggar De Rajware
Writer: Prof. Shiv Nirmohi
Publisher: Akshay Prakashan, Ansari Road New Delhi
Language: Dogri
Year of Publication:2023
Price: Rs 300.00

‘Duggar ke Rajware’ is a historical book from the pen of the prolific writer and Padma Shree Awardee, Prof. Shiv Nirmohi. The book deals with the rulers or Rajwares of various parts of Duggar from the 10th to the 18th century.According to the writer,in those times, some ‘Rajwares’ ruled areas as large as a present District while others had, under their control, area of just a present Tehsil . Some others had just 20 or less villages under them.The Rajwara was called ‘Raja’ in some ‘regions’ and ‘ Rana’, ‘Rao’ and ‘Mian Ji’ in other regions.The palace where the ruler lived was called ‘Banglu’ and he had some soldiers under him who lived in a fort which was called ‘Kot’.The ruler’s dress used to be different from the dress of his subjects.He could wear a Pagri but not a crown.The ruler’s commander in chief was known as ‘Kotpal’ and his Minister was called ‘Kotwal.’ Kalhana’s Rajatrangini mentions that about 20 small principalities ( Rajwaras) existed in the Duggar region in the 10th Century AD.These included Bahusthali, Babbapur, Ballapur, Jashat, Kashtwar, Bhadravkash, Parnotas, Rajapuri, Kalinjer, Bartul, Neelpur, Vishalta and Lohar Kot. During the Muslim Rule in the northern India, many people belonging to ruling families, after being defeated by other kings or due to other reasons migrated to hilly regions. In due course of time, they defeated the native rulers and established their own rule in different parts of Duggar.
The book under review consists of five chapters in all. In the first chapter,the writer has defined ‘ Rajwara’- its definition, the name of its ruler, his position or status in the society, the no of villages in a Rajwara, the no of officials and soldiers under him etc. The second chapter deals with the names of the Rajwares ( rulers) of Durgar in the region between River Tawi and Chanderbhaga. In this region, a total of 79 Rajwares ruled and the Rajwara of Jammu was considered to be the Chief of this region.
’22 Raj Pahar De,Vich Jammuan Sardar’
These Rajwares had migrated from Ayodhya, Rajasthan, Takshila etc. The Rajwara of Jammu was called Jamwal and those who ruled Billawar, Basohli, Bhaderwah etc were known as ‘Pal’.They had migrated from Takshila. The third chapter describes the Rajwares of Akhnoor and Chimbhal which were 13 in number and who were known as Chib, Bhau, Panwar etc.
The fourth chapter deals with the region of Abhisar which includes the present Poonch and Rajouri. 22 Rajwares whose rulers were Jaral, Gujjar, Soodan, Khokhar etc ruled this region, prominent of whom were Azimgarh, Rajouri, Thana Mandi, Balakot, Mendhar, Sudhonti, Mangla, Poonch etc.All these rulers were Hindus but converted to Islam during the Muslim rule,yet they did not give up their Hindu customs and traditions.Even Jahangir,in his autobiography ‘Tuzaki Jahangiri’ has written that ‘their names are Muslim but they lifestyle is like Hindus’The concluding chapter deals with the rulers of Himvat or the region of Chenab Valley. About 42rulers ruled this region mainly inBhaderwah, Kishtwar, Bhalesh, Paddar, Marwa, Paristan, Siraj, Nagseni, Raj Mandal, Sheetalgarh, Chanderkot etc. According to Rajatarangini,this region was under the rule of Khas and Nagas but later got divided into small Rajwares.The small rulers were known as ‘Rana’ and the great rulers were known as ‘Raja’.During the Mughal rule, the rulers of Kishtwar, Marwa, Ding Battal etc adopted Islam while the others remained connected to their culture and traditions.Many clans from the other regions came and established their own Rajwares.The credit goes to Maharaja Gulab Singh that he merged all these rulers to establish Dogra rule in the whole region of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh and extended his rule upto Western Tibet.
This book is new addition to the long list of books on Dogra Culture and heritage authored by the prolific writer, eminent historian and Padma Shri awardee Prof. Shiv Nirmohi and includes rare information unknown and unheard to many Dogras. Therefore, this handy book with useful information needs to be stocked in each and every library so that people, especially Dogras may have a glimpse how Duggar was being ruled in the days of the yore.