Go to Previous Page Go to Next Page




Book on Sadh Satnami written by Shri Vijay Phool sadh


About Satnami on the internet "Narnaul History" site


Identifying the Satnam: Hindu Satnamis, Indian Christians, and Dalit Religion in Colonial Chhattisgarh, India, 1868-1947

l. Abul Fazl, Akbar-nama, (Eng. Tr. Boveridge). 1912, 'VD1. 11, p. 64.

2. Ibid., p. 65.

3. Abul Fazl, Ain-i-Akbarl (Eng. Tr. H.S. Jarret), 1949, Vol. 11, pp. 291-310.

The administrative machinery that controlled the villages, mahals and sarkars was almost of the same type as was found in this region in the time of Sher Shah.

This administrative set up remained intact during the reigns of 'Akbar's successors--Jahangir (1605-1627), Shahjahan (1627-1658), and Aurangzeb (1658-1707). There was peace and tranquillity all around except of course in the reign of the last named king. His economic exploitation and religious harassment led the Satnamis of Narnaul to challenge his authority.

The Satnamis were a peaceful sect believing in the unity of God, mostly employed in agriculture. They were honest, industrious and formed a brotherhood calling themselves Satnamis, Satnam means good name by good work. They do not beleive in idol worship.

In 1672, a petty quarrel near Narnaul between a Satnami cultivator and a Mughal foot-soldier of the local revenue collector led to the rebellion. The high-handedness of the soldier was too much for them to bear and the, Wrangling soon developed into a religious war against the Mughals. The Satnamis defeated the imperialists on several occasions and took possession of the town and district of Narnaul. When these alarming news reached the emperor, he sent there a large force under Radanaz Khan, equipped with artillery. The Satnamis fought with courage and determination but could not succeed against the well-organised and well-equipped Mughal force. Two thousand men of this sect fell fighting on the field and many of them were killed during the pursuit. The rebellion was thus crushed and the affected areas brought under control.1

After Aurangzeb's death (1707), the position changed drastically. The mountebanks and imbeciles who sat on the Mughal throne after the last of the great Mughals, failed to check the forces of chaos and confusion that were let loose at that time. In consequence, the people became disorderly all around and refused to pay revenue. Their villages which were nothing short of fortresses surrounded by mud walls could only be reduced by artillery and huge force which the local authority could not always muster.

This situation further worsened when Nadir Shah launched a fierce attack on India in 1739. Nadir was checked at Karnal, where a fierce battle was fought. Balkrishan, the Rao of Rewari, who fought heroically at the head of an army of 5,000 strong, was killed in this battle. Nadir, the victor, praised the late Rao's heroic deeds.



Satnami revolt is an offshoot of this revolution. However Islamic fundamentalists goaded by Brahmins, who had established blood relations with Mughals by now, made the state so blood thirsty that it put down not only the Satnami movement mercilessly but put to death many Sufis. Starting from Guru Arjun Dev, Guru Teg Bahadur, Guru Govind Singh sons and numerous Sikhs became sacrificial goats in the hands of Brahmins who had started leading the Mughal state itself by the nose.

Muslim respect for Kabir & Nanak: The many uprisings speaks volumes of the changes it brought about in the cultural milieu of India. It raised it to such a level that religious approach of Radical Bhagats left no place for Hindu-Muslim rift. It is a well known fact that Kabir and the Sikh gurus had equally respectable images among both Muslim and Hindus. When Kabir and later Guru Nanak died, both Hindus and Muslims put forward their claims for their mortal remains.

**********

Life history of Guru Ghasidas Chaattisgarh Satnami
To know the background abour Guru Ghasidas the originator of Satnami Movement at Chhattisgarh read 'life history.pdf file above .


1. Sadh Satnami      2. Book on Sadh Satnami written by Vijay Phool sadh Satnami
To know the background abour Sadh Satnami of Narnaul Branch please read 'sadh Satnami.pdf file above .

sadh sammelan at kurukshetra sadh sammelansadh sammelan sadh sammelan at kurukshetra   sadh sammelan
Another Narnaul history about Satnami Sect

To assemble all that has been contributed by Satnami sect to this humanity

in our past & present.


This splendid journey begins, in the annals of history in the early 16th century i.e. 1527 AD, when RAO HUKUM DEV SINGH, an aristocratic Yadav noble of Rao family, laid the foundation of the Rao dynasty & established the throne over this valiant piece of land viz. Ahirwada* Riyasat (Kingdom), as the first ruler of Rao's & made his headquarters at Narnaul.

Ahir is a mispronounced word of ancient language Sanskrit root Abhira meaning fearless.

* Apart from Narnaul, Rewari ^^ & Kanaud ** (now Mahendragarh***) were also kingdom's vital cities & served as one of the basic administrative units viz. Jagirs (Now in Haryana province of India).

^ NARNAUL is 135 Kilometres from Delhi. It's an ancient town but its origin and ancient name are shrouded in mystery. According to mythology & legend Narnaul town is a contemporary to the ancient Hastinapur kingdom. During early-vedhic period, it was known as Nar Rashtra. It is narrated in the Mahabharta (Later-vedhic Epic period) that enroute to the Chambal Valley from Hastinapur, the youngest Pandava brother, Sahdev, gained control over this town.
According to another tale the town was founded after clearing dense forests abounding with lions. Hence it came to be known as Nahar-naul (the fear of lions) or Nahar-haul (abode of lions) and gradually came to be known as Narnaul. Some people say that while digging the foundation of this town a nag (serpent) and a naol (mongoose) came out fighting. The people named the town as Nagnaol after this incident and later on it came to be known as Narnaul.
According to yet another legend, Raja Laun of Bikaner who got this town built named it after the name of his wife, Narlaun. A Sanskrit inscription of 18th-19th century from Narnaul gives its ancient name as Nandigrama.

** KANAUD took its name from the Kanaudia group of Brahmans, who were facilited in there settlements here by RAO HUKUM DEV. It's traditionally driven from the name of Kanaudia's who started living here during approx. 1530's.

*** Kanaud was renamed as MAHENDRAGARH in 1861 by Narinder Singh, the then ruler of the princely state of Patiala, in honour of his son, Mohinder Singh and it thus became MAHENDRAGARH NIZAMAT.

Rao Hukum Dev founded & facilitated the settlements in Kanaud** (now Mahendragarh***); alongwith his youngest brother, legendry RAO RUDA SINGH, who formed the jungle-jagir of Rewari^^ in 1555.

The Rao's reigned Ahirwada for next eleven generations i.e. 330 years i.e. till 1857 and witnessed the rise & fall of the Sikh, Rajput, Maratha & Moughal dynasties, till RAO MOHAN PRATAP SINGH, his son RAO DALCHAND & his cousin RAO TULARAM, fought the imperialistic tendencies of British & their hegemonistic colonization of the nation (India), the first war of Indian Independence, 1857, & were later forced to migrate safely in secrecy.

The modern period of our ancestry, five generations after RAO DALCHAND SINGH (1857 till date) i.e. 145 years on the magnitude of time, is the one full of oblivion, selfless work & full of struggle.


RAO DYNASTY
(AHIR RULE FROM 1527 to 1857)
YADAV RULE OF 330 YEARS


RAO HUKUM DEV SINGH ^^^^^^ [1527-1565] --------------------------------- RAO RUDA SINGH ~~ [1565-1603] *************************************************************
**************************************************************** I ********************************************************
***************************************************************RAO RAM SINGH I (RAMOJI) ~~~ [1603-1618]********************************************************
**************************************************************** I ********************************************************
****************************************************************RAO SHAHBAZ SINGH ` [1618-1659]********************************************************
**************************************************************** I ********************************************************
******************************************************************RAO NANDRAM SINGH ******[1659-1713] Satnami Revolution --------------------------- RAO MANN SINGH [1713-1720]
******** I
**************************************************************** RAO BALKISHAN SINGH ~~~~~~ [1720-1739] ------------ RAO 'BAHADUR' GUJARMAL SINGH `` [1739-1750]
*********************************************************************************************************************** I ****
******************************************************************************************************************** RAO BHAWANI SINGH (^1) [1750-1758]
********************************************************************************************************************** I **
*********************************************************************************************************************** RAO RAM SINGH II [1758-1785]
********************************************************************************************************************** I **
*********************************************************************************************************************** RAO HIRA SINGH (^2) [1785-1788]
********************************************************************************************************************** I **
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
I* *****************************************************************I* ******************************************************* I
RAO SAMAR PRATAP SINGH (^3a)88******************************** RAO TEJ SINGH (^3b)************************************** RAO BAKBASH SINGH
I* **************************8*******8******************************I *********************************************************
RAO MOHAN PRATAP SINGH (^4a)****RAO PURAN SINGH (^4b) ------------ RAO NATTHURAM SINGH (^4c) ------------------ RAO JAHAWAR SINGH*********
I* *********************************I* **************************************I *********** ******** ******************************
RAO DALCHAND PRATAP SINGH (^5a)****RAO TULARAM SINGH (^5b) *************RAO GOPALDEV SINGH (^5c)*********************** ********************************


^^^^^^ RAO HUKUMDEV SINGH remained out of rule from 1540 to 1556 when Sher Shah Suri came to the Delhi throne & later Sher Shah s' son Islam Shah & grand son Adil Shah ruled Delhi. It was after the 2nd battle of Panipat, when Akbar-the-great defeated Rao Hemchandra (Hemu) that Rao Hukum Dev could return. All these years he remained in exile.

Sher Shah was born at Narnaul in 1486 at a small village Hired Simla (Simli). Sher Shah had immense liking and love for the land of his birth. Ibrahim Khan Suri, grand father of Sher Shah Suri, ruled Narnaul as a Jagir under Bahlol Lodi & Ibrahim Lodis' rule. (Source : K.R. Qanungo, Sher Shah and His Times.)

In 1555 Humayun came to power for an year, it was now when RAO RUDA SINGH formed the jungle-jagir of Rewari. But soon next year in 1556 Humayun was out again.

At this juncture in 1556, a remarkable local noble appeared on the scene. He was Rao Hemchandra (popularly called Hemu), a resident of Rewari. He had a very humble origin, but by dint of his ability and sheer strength of character, he rose up to lofty heights.

~~ RAO RUDA SINGH was also a noble of Emperor Humayuns' , Shahjahans' & Akbar-the-greats' Court.

~~~ RAMOJI's sister Rupali was married to a Yadav Maratha Jagirdar Jadhav Rao, who had descent from ancient Yadav kingdom of South India Deogiri. Jadhav Rao & Rupali gave birth to Jijabai - legendary Maratha King Chatrapati Shivajis' mother.

****** In 1672, RAO NANDRAM SINGH revolted against Emperor Aurenzeb due to Satnami rebellion. As Ahirwada practiced devotionalism, opposed the fanatic ways of Aurenzeb. His economic exploitation and religious harassment led the Raos of Narnaul to challenge his authority. This led to Satnami rebellion. The Satnamis fought with courage and determination but could not succeed against the well-organised and well-equipped Mughal force. Two thousand men of this sect fell fighting on the field and many of them were killed during the pursuit. Satnami sect was true lover of humanity believes on casteless society and they could not tolerate any kind of exploitation by any one, including Emperor.
Thus from now onwards Ahirwada compulsorily had conscription as its state policy. He also founded Dharuhera. The robber Hathi Singh was taken into service by the famous chief of Bharatpur, and Hathi Singh's rising power was intolerable to Nand Ram and his brother Man Singh. The latter, in collaboration with his brother, secretly put the notorious dacoit to death at Agra, and thus avenged the death of his father. Nand Ram died in 1713. He was succeeded by his eldest son Balkishan.
IT APPEARS THAT YADAVS WERE INCLINED TOWARDS SATNAM MOVEMENT
~~~~~~ RAO BALKISHAN SINGH fell in the battle of Karnal on in 1739 while fighting against Nadir Shah. Emperor Muhammad Shah was so much impressed with the Rao's bravery and heroism that on Nadir's departure he granted to Balkishan's brother Gujar Mal the title of Rao 'Bahadur' and Commander of five thousand. His territories were largely increased by the addition of Hisar, Jhajjar, Dadri, Hansi & Hisar.

`` RAO 'BAHADUR' GUJARMAL checked Nadir Shah at Karnal as commander-in-chief of Rao Balkishan when he launched a fierce attack on India in 1739. A fierce battle was fought here. Balkrishan, the Rao of Rewari, who fought heroically at the head of an army of 5,000 strong, was killed in this battle. Nadir, the victor, praised the late Rao's heroic deeds. ^1) RAO BHAWANI SINGH was lazy and careless fellow. In consequence, his estates began to dwindle rapidly. Baluch Nawab of Farrukhnagar, the Nawab of Jhajar and the Raja of Jaipur encroached upon his territory. Bhawani Singh was killed in 1758 by his own manager Tulsi Ram, who in turn was done away with shortly afterwards. Tulsi Ram`s son Mittar Sain succeeded to the post of the manager under the next chief Rao Ram Singh II.

^2) RAO HIRA SINGH hosted the famous Maratha general, Mahadji Sindhia stayed at Rewari in 1787.He was a worthless fellow & helped him to retain Rewari.

^3a)
& (^3b) RAO TEJ SINGH now controlled Ahirwada & increased its boundaries by controling Tauru, Sohna, Nuh, Hodal, Bhora, Palwal, Tapukara, Kot Kasimi Pataudi and Bawal.

Lord Lake defeated Daulat Rao Sindhia in September, 1803 and captured Delhi and a large part of the territory lying between the river Yamuna Vally the Ghaggar. Thus, Narnaul, Kanaud & Rewari and the whole estate (Ahirwada) of Rao Samar Pratap Singh & Rao Tej Singh was forcibly taken possession of by the British East India Company. In 1808-09, all these villages were settled by Fraser, the Magistrate of Delhi. Rao Samar & Rao Tej Singh died in 1816 & 1823 respectively. Samar Pratap Singh was succeeded by RAO MOHAN PRATAP SINGH (^4a). Tej Singh s' property was divided among his three sons, RAO PURAN SINGH(^4b), RAO NATTHU RAM (^4c) and Rao Jawahar Singh. The youngest brother Jawahar Singh died childless and his estate was equally divided between remaining brothers, Puran Singh and Nathu Ram. On their death their estates were inherited by their respective sons RAO TULA RAM (^5b) and RAO GOPAL DEV (^5c). RAO DALCHAND PRATAP (^5a) was the commander-in-chief of Rao Mohan Pratap Singh & Rao Gopal Dev that of Rao Tularam. Raos' staked everything and played a significant role in throwing off the British, in 1857. This as noted below, cost them their kingdom.

The British' rule of about half a century from 1803 to 1857, produced a great deal of discontent and disaffection among almost every section of the society in Ahirwada & especially the Rao rulers. The Sepoy Mutiny on 10th 'May, 1857 at Ambala and Meerut sparked the revolt from Ahirwada as well. These activities pleased Emperor Bahadur Shah II (Zafar) & he supported the Raos'. Raos' in turn sent their military to join the revolteers at Delhi, Meerut & Ambala. But with the end of the revolt & arrest of Emperor Zafar, when Delhi fell to British on September 20 1857, the fierce

**********


A study on Satnami Community as a sect : ( collection from internet site)

The dissertation, an historical ethnography, critically assesses the encounter of a sectarian dalit (untouchable) Hindu community, the Satnamis, with evangelical Christianity in the late colonial period, and puts forth the argument that in this dialogic interaction a Satnami-Christian identity emerged, distinct from both that of the Satnamis and their evangelical interlocutors. On the one hand, the transformations wrought in the Satnami-Christian community were overwhelmingly the result of contact with a heterogenetic religion (Christianity), a religion made attractive by, among other things, its putative association with colonial structures of power and wealth, and with the aura of novel and potent sources of authority (e.g., "reason," science, and literacy). On the other hand, the trajectory of these transformations was orthogenetically altered; that is, the transformations were conditioned in appreciable and significant ways by pre-existing Satnami structures of thought, belief, and behavior, by the community's unique set of hopes and dreams, by its methods of determining "truth" and "falsity," and by its "history" and "tradition."

The interdisciplinary study relies most heavily on the methods and theories of anthropology, history, postcolonial studies, and subaltern studies. It also builds upon emerging scholarship on identity, power, and gender. In order to analyze and describe the development of a distinct Satnami-Christian communal consciousness, the dissertation draws from British and missionary sources (both published and archival), texts translated from Hindi and Chhattisgarhi, and oral histories collected from residents of the region during an intense period of fieldwork. The study attempts to honor all perspectives by focusing not on history, but on the perception of history, and strives to hear the voices of the subaltern above the din of western voices which framed, filtered, and interpreted them. A defense of the dissertation is currently scheduled for December 2004.

"The central argument of the book concerns the formation of the Satnami sect, the transformation of the Satnami sect into a Satnami caste, the internal organization of the Satnami caste, and its relationships with other castes.

"This study primarily focuses on the structural changes leading to social separatism. The approach adopted is a historical-cultural-structural approach, and a satisfactory conceptual process is found in the notion of 'caste substantialization' for the study and analysis of caste dynamism. Caste substantialization is a process by which castes separate, distinguish and isolate themselves from each other and from the caste structure. Castes whose definition and identity depended on their relationships with other castes within a structural whole take on substance, i.e., independence and individuality by becoming discrete entities of a substantial whole. Building on Dumont's structural scheme, the author proposes an alternative conceptualization of the caste system, in contemporary India, as a substantial whole.

**********



Beaware of views created on internet

Satnami's were the most important community of Chhattisgarh in circa 1820. With the 'Dharmachakraparivartan' of Guru Ghasidas, they became hardworking agriculturist. They worked so hard that today they acquire 1/4th of agricultural land of Chhattisgarh. Around 1820, Chhattisgarh went through a revolution started by Guru Ghasi Das and its people became aware of their rights. Before this they had tolerated immense pain and had become ultra-tolerant. Guru Ghasi Das discarded the theory of tolerance and organized people against Samants. The samantwadi system was broken into pieces and a new panth was discovered, which can be called 'Ekeshwarwad' but condemned idol worship.

So far, the upper caste people hypnotized Satnamis, that they are bad. Guru Ghasi Das broke this hypnotism and brought them parallel to any upper caste. By his efforts satnamis became very powerful among Gram Pramukhs' and agriculturist of Chhattisgarh. Despite being opposed by upper caste and Samants, Satnamis started learning everything, they became hardworking and aware of their rights.

Once Agnue said, " the character of Chhattisgarhi people seems to be better than the people of other areas of India. There are no crimes, specially murder and theft. On the whole people of Chhattisgarh are honest. People are not used to big crimes. Criminals have a habit of confessing their crimes without hesitation. People of Chhattisgarh are more inclined towards truth than people of any other area in India."

Perhaps because of Guru Ghasidas people got inspired with satnam.

During Maratha & British rule there was no support from state for education. Level of education was going down day by day. The only meaning of educated was to be able to read, write and understand accounts. Lower caste people were not allowed to study. That is why Ghasidas was uneducated.

Whenever everything went beyond people's control, they took help of ojhas, who misguided them to be superstitious. People of Chhattisgarh were quite innocent. Moreover Chhattisgarh was surrounded by hills and its natives didn't have much interaction with the rest of the world. Every hill had a god and every river had a soul. On the whole, Chhattisgarh was a victim of superstition and illiteracy

They didn't even know that most of diseases spread because of polluted water.

Before Guru Ghasidas was an area of superstition and lawlessness and because of his efforts it became 'bowl of rice'. All these changes were because of Guru Ghasidas. Guru Ghasidas was born in 1756, just before the death of last Kalchuri ruler Mohan Singh, who had betrayed Chhattisgarh state by helping Marathas in acquiring the state. This proves that darkness is bound to fade with the sunrise. This also denotes the bright future of Chhattisgarh state.

When we talk about Guru Ghaisdas.It is necessary to mention the political, social and religious scenario of Chhattisgarh, which inspired Guru Ghasidas to go for a revolution and establish a "Panth" called SATNAM PANTH.

When Guru Ghasi Das was born, the central administration of Chhattisgarh was so weak that tribal Zamindars had declared themselves independent and started fighting with each other. That is why they could not survive the Maratha attacks after 1740. When Guru Ghasi Das was growing Marathas had acquired almost the whole Chhattisgarh. They were brutal and quite notorious in Chhattisgarh. Instead of deputing a good subedar, Marathas established a thekedari system. Thekedars were supposed to send as much wealth as they can to Nagpur. After sometime Chhattisgarh people became so poor that system of coins became obsolete.

Marathas ruled Chhattisgarh for 30 years. During this period Guru Ghasi Das was going through immense pain in his old age. And in this age of lawlessness, Guru Ghasi Das decided to give challenge to Marathas by creating awareness about human rights in the people of Chhattisgarh.

Meanwhile the political scenario changed a lot. In 1817, British compelled Peshwa to sign on the second treaty. According to which they had each and every right to interfere in the affairs of Chhattisgarh. During their rule, British looted immense wealth from chhattisgarh and sent it to Britain. For example soldiers of Agnue attacked Dongargarh and looted the whole treasury. They burnt not only Binjhwar Naresh but his Zamindari too. Guru Ghasidas was from this Zamindari only. A British called 'Meek' bought the whole Zamindari. British killed the whole family of Gond Raja. From 1st may 1828, Agnue opened up the doors of Chhattisgarh for colonialism. This is why the intensity of Guru Ghasi Das's revolution is more prominent between 1820 and 1830.

British ruler wanted to Ghasidas's revolution to be in favour of low caste people. But Ghasidas was a genius and he knew that without homogeneity (symmetry) Chhattisgarh can't be organized. That is why Guru Ghasi Das is called the messiah of whole Chhattisgarh. He started an intellectual war against capitalism and colonialism. By the third decade of 19th century Guru Ghasi Das's movement became so intense that British had to leave and desi-shashan was restored between 1830-50.

Satnami's were the most important community of Chhattisgarh. With the 'Dharmachakraparivartan' of Guru Ghasidas, they quit the 'heenshilp' and became hardworking agriculturist. They worked so hard that today they acquire 1/4th of agricultural land of Chhattisgarh. Around 1820, Chhattisgarh went through a revolution started by Guru Ghasi Das and its people became aware of their rights. Before this they had tolerated immense pain and had become ultra-tolerant. Guru Ghasi Das discarded the theory of tolerance and organized people against Samants. The samantwadi system was broken into pieces and a new panth was discovered, which can be called 'Ekeshwarwad'.

So far, the upper caste people hypnotized Satnamis, that they are bad. Guru Ghasi Das broke this hypnotism and brought them parallel to any upper caste. By his efforts satnamis became very powerful among Gram Pramukhs' and agriculturists of Chhattisgarh. Despite being opposed by upper caste and Samants, Satnamis started learning everything, they became hardworking and aware of their rights.

REPEAT : Once agian Agnue said, the character of Chhattisgarhi (Satnami) people seems to be better than the people of other areas of India. There are no crimes, specially murder and theft. On the whole people of Chhattisgarh are honest. People are not used to big crimes. Criminals have a habit of confessing their crimes without hesitation. People of Chhattisgarh are more inclined towards truth than people of any other area in India."This has happened mainly due to Guru GHASIDAS and BALAKDAS.

Perhaps because of Guru Ghasi Das people got inspired with satnam.

During Maratha & British rule there was no support from state for education. Level of education was going down day by day. The only meaning of educated was to be able to read, write and understand accounts. Lower caste people were not allowed for education. That is why Ghasidas was uneducated.

Whenever everything went beyond people's control, they took help of ojhas, who misguided them to be superstitious. People of Chhattisgarh were quite innocent. Moreover Chhattisgarh was surrounded by hills and its natives didn't have much interaction with the rest of the world. Every hill had a god and every river had a soul. On the whole, Chhattisgarh was a victim of superstition and illiteracy

They didn't even know that most of diseases spread because of polluted water.

Before Guru Ghasidas, Chhattisgarh was an area of superstition and lawlessness and because of his efforts it became 'bowl of rice'. All these changes were because of Guru Ghasidas.

In just one decade (1820-1830), common man went through a revolution and general population became aware of their rights and started fighting for it.



Encyclopaedia of Backward Castes/M.L. Mathur. Delhi, Kalpaz Pub., 2004, 4 volumes, 1166 p., $130 (set). ISBN 81-7835-069-6.

Contents: Vol. I. Reservation: Preface. Introduction.

1. The origin and rationale behind reservation.

2. Reservation: historical background.

3. Reservational justice to backward castes: some issues.

4. Reservation policy for backward castes: problems.

5. Reservational justice: problems and solutions.

6. Social justice, constitution and law. Index.

Vol. II. Commissions: Introduction.

1. Pre-independence backward classes movement in states.

2. Backward classes commissions in various states.

3. Kaka Kalelkar Commission.

4. Mandal Commission. Appendices. Index.

Vol. III. Mandal, Media and Aftermath: Introduction.

1. Implementing the Mandal Commission report: compulsion and causes.

2. Mandal and media: views of cross sections of society.

3. Agitations. Index.


**********

Vol. IV. Judgements: Before and After Mandal Judgement: Introduction.

1. Reservation policy: judicial pronouncements.

2. Summary of cases under Article 15 (4) of constitution for reservation in educational institutions.

3. Protective discrimination under Article 15 (4): analysis of Supreme Court and High Court decisions.

4. Summary of cases under Article 16 (4) of constitution for reservation in employment.

5. Analysis of the constitution assembly debates leading to the inclusion of Articles 16 (4), 46 and 340.

6. Mandal Judgement.

7. Post Mandal Judgement: affirmative action. Annexures. Selected bibliography. Index.

"The present work on Backward Castes critically examined and analyzed history of reservation policies and programmes for backward castes from the beginning in different states, recommendations given by various committees and commissions etc. The book also focused on after effects of announcement of Mandal recommendations and development after Mandal Judgement (1992). The following are the highlights of the book.

The Volume I discusses reservation concerning the origin and rational behind its history, problems faced by backward castes in getting recognition for the purpose of reservation for a long period before and after independence.

The Volume II discusses the recommendations made by various committees and commissions in states and two important commissions set up by government after independence.

Volume III examines compulsions under which the National Front Government announced 27 per cent reservation for other backward classes and compiled views of cross sections of people such as lawyers, jurists, journalists and socialscientists etc.

Volume IV discusses that the Backward Castes have been striving hard to get reservation benefit in education under Article 15 [4] and in employment under Article 16 [4] of the Constitution of India for which they had to seek interventions in different High Courts and the Supreme Court of India." (jacket)


**********

Chhattisgarh Rediscovered (Vedantic Approaches to Folklore)/H.L. Shukla. 1995, ix, 331 p., 14 plates, maps,

Contents: Preface.

1. Introduction.

2. Semotic break: the process of Adharottara in Chhattigarh.

3. Guru Ghasidasa and Satnam-Pantha.

4. The semiotics of Satnam.

5. The model of Jait Khambha.

6. Satnam paradigm of Satloka.

7. Satnami speech behaviour.

8. The forest of symbols.

9. The forest-songs.

10. Panthi: the sectarian dance and song.

Appendices

1. P. Vans Agnew: a report on the Subah or province of Chhattisgarh.

2. 2. E.M. Gordon: some notes concerning the people of Mungeli tehsil, Bilaspur district.

3. 3. Charles Grant: the gazetteer of central provinces.

4. 4. P.N. Bose: Chhattisgarh: notes on its tribes, sects and castes. Glossary of Chhattisgarhi terms. Bibliography. Index.

"This book is an invitation to scholars to rediscover the past glory of Chhattisgarh--a little known but fascinating part of middle India. The purpose of this book is to present a new method to explore the 'hidden' meaning in the oral tradition of Chhattisgarh.

"The book then presents a semiotic approach to the oral history of Chhattisgarh. It is the history from the bottom which betrays the anguish of a community, and demands the shaping of a just and realistic future for the under-privileged and outcasts in Indian society

"It is the use of mythology to present history. A new history has been filtered from the mythical data of Chattisgarh. Mythical thoughts of Guru Ghasidas mediate the gaps between continuity and change, thereby authenticating the idea of 'total history' of Chhattisgarh.

"The book expresses both the tradition and the actual. It is a combination of intra-cultural (Sastra and Loka) and intercultural relations: therefore intertextalism is connected not only with historic texts but also with folkgenre. It may thus give a broader dimension to the present-day realities and past happenings. It is hoped that the book will be a cause for collective action. It is also hoped that freedom and human dignity will continue to be the central concern of all the works of history." (jacket)

**********


[H.L. Shukla also wrote Tribal Heritage of Madhya Pradesh, History of People of Bastar and Semiotic Indica.]

Social Separatism : Scheduled Castes and the Caste System/Gnana Prakasam. New Delhi, Rawat, 1998, 318 p., ISBN 81-7033-440-7.

Contents: Preface.

1. Introduction.

2. The Satnami movement in Chhattisgarh.

3. Satnami structure and culture.

4. Satnamis and non-Satnamis.

5. Conclusion: the changing status of Satnamis. Appendices. Glossary. Bibliography. Index.

"The central argument of the book concerns the formation of the Satnami sect, the transformation of the sect into a caste, the internal organization of the Satnami caste, and its relationships with other castes.

"This study primarily focuses on the structural changes leading to social separatism. The approach adopted is a historical-cultural-structural approach, and a satisfactory conceptual process is found in the notion of 'caste substantialization' for the study and analysis of caste dynamism.

Caste substantialization is a process by which castes separate, distinguish and isolate themselves from each other and from the caste structure. Castes whose definition and identity depended on their relationships with other castes within a structural whole take on substance, i.e., independence and individuality by becoming discrete entities of a substantial whole. Building on Dumont's structural scheme, the author proposes an alternative conceptualization of the caste system, in contemporary India, as a substantial whole.

"The process of substantialization has a universal application in India, and hence, this book will be of great help to students and social scientists of Indian society, especially those who are interested in scientific studies of particular castes and of their theoretical relationship to the caste system." (jacket) No. 22109


**********

From - Bhumkal in Bastar (1910) on internet

Guru Ghasidas according to believers of the Satnami panth was born on 18th December 1756 and died at the age of eighty in 1836. He was born in village Girodhpuri in Raipur district in a dalit family. Ghasidas was born in a socio-political milieu of misrule, loot and plunder. The Marath the local had started behaving as Kings. Ghasidas underwent the exploitative experiences specific to Dalit, Adivasis and Backward communities, which helped him the hierarchical and exploitative nature of social dynamics in a caste-ridden society. From an early age, he started rejecting social inequity and to understand the problems faced by his community and to find solutions, he traveled extensively throughout Chhattisgarh. He advocated for equal rights for all the depressed communities of Chhattisgarh.

The 150 year history of protests and rebellion in Bastar culminated in the Bhumkal rebellion of 1910. This rebellion was widespread affecting more than half of the parganas of Bastar. Bhumkal rebellion was inspired by Guru Ghasidas Satnam movement in Chhattisgarh. It symbolized the struggle of tribals against an alien rule attempting to remould the tribal pattern of life. The rebellion was ultimately crushed by strong armies of the British. After the crushing of the rebellion, the local tribals and supporters of the rebellion were subjected to severe abuse. However, the post Bhumkal British policy in Bastar was forced to be more sensitive to the tribals and their traditional way of life.

There were several precipitating factors for the rebellion of Bhumkal. One of the important reasons was the British enforced degradation of the Bastar King, who according to the tribals was an incarnation of God. This led to unrest among the people; even the local elites resented it. In 1908 Panda Baijnat was appointed the Diwan of Bastar, contrary to the tradition of Bastar, where usually a member of the royal family officiated as Diwan. He attempted to completely remodel the administrative structure and the socio-economic order of Bastar. These redical changes were to be implemented without undertaking any groundwork at the societal level.

Several other policies of the state at that time proved extremely oppressive for the tribals of the region and became focal points of the Bhumkal rebellion. Extensive forest areas were declared reserved forests; resulting in the tribals feeling that their inalienable right over forests has been subverted. Due to the excessive revenue demands of the colonial rule, several tribal villages were given on lease to thekedars who adopted extremely oppressive means to collect revenues from the tribals. The monopoly on liquor brewing also was a causal factor for the Bhumkal rebellion. The tribals considered liquor as prasad of Gods, and the order banning liquor brewing, amounted to interference in their religious affairs to them.

The tribals also felt that education imparted in schools would alienate the young from their own culture so were opposed to the education policy. The excesses of the intolerant police were another reason for the tribal uprising. Finally, the increasing usage of begar pratha by the officials set the stage for Bhumkal rebellion. Begar (?) from the local tribals was now demanded by not only forest and revenue officials but also by the police and the schoolmasters. All these working together in Bastar became too oppressive for the tribals and they revolted against alien rule and intrusion.

The leaders of the Bhumkal movement were part of the ruling elites displaced by the British Lal Kalendra Singh was the leader of Bhumkal movement coordinating and organising the rebellion from behind the scenes. Rani Subaran Singh, Kunwar Bhadur Singh etc have also played an important role. The rebellion was led by the charismatic Gundadhur who is still a legend in Bastar. Unfortunately his due place in the history of central india is not recognised. Despite the charismatic leadership of Gundadhur the rebellion was not systematically and strategically planned, which became a critical factor for its defeat. The rebellion did not grow from one region to another nor did the leadership attempt to consolidate control over their areas of influence. Lack of investment (material and strategic) in arms also became a limitation.

During the rebellion on 7 February Rani Subaran Kunwar declared that the British rule on Bastar has been abolished and Muria rule will be re-established. This declaration sums up the Bhumkal rebellion and the protests of Bastar . It articulates the assertion of the tribals to weed out alien rule and protect their traditional tribal way of life.



**********

UNTOUCHABLE PASTS: Religion, Identity and Power Among a Central Indian Community, 1780-1850 by Saurabh Dube. Vistaar Publications, New Delhi, 2001.

UNTOUCHABLE Pasts is an account of the formation and history of the satnami community in Chhattisgarh. It is also about the varied meanings of Hinduism seen from a lower caste perspective, and the meaning of caste when it simultaneously serves to define religious belief or sect.

The most objectionable part is about caste of Guru Ghasidas, as such Mr. Saurabh Dube a caste headed Brahmin Boy having a little knowledge wrote as below. Guru Ghasidas was as rich as land lord of 3000 acres aggricultural land in four villages in Telasi, Bhandar, Chatua and Borsara.This is our web site view to clear the doubt raised by Brahmin writers.

The first chapter, replete with terms that are currently fashionable to describe the making of identities - e.g. 'negotiate, construct, fashion, redefine, transact, configure, appropriate, reproduce, contest' - this is an excellent book. Dube's fine-grained ethnographic history deserves to be widely read.

Nandini Sundar: Satnampanth was founded in the early 19th century by Guru Ghasidas of Girod village. Although the vast majority of satnamis were drawn from the chamar caste (traditionally leatherworkers, but also agriculturists) making the name satnami virtually synonymous with the caste, it was also open to other castes. Conversely, not all chamars joined Satnampanth.

Dube's account opens with a discussion of the Maratha revenue system and the institutionalization of the gaontia and malguzari system. Gaontias were charged with the responsibility of conveying a fixed revenue and it was therefore in their interest to settle new villages or extend old ones in order to increase their own revenues.

An important feature of the agrarian system was the institution of lakhabata or the periodic redistribution of land. In the hands of upper caste gaontias, lakhabata could mean the dispossession of chamars from fertile lands, while when practiced within a satnami village, it could be an effective tool to maintain egalitarian relations.

It was in this context of Maratha discrimination towards lower castes, growing brahminical dominance and adverse changes in the revenue system that Satnampanth - which simultaneously challenged the ritual and economic power of the upper castes -was established. Chapter four continues with an account of the agrarian context within which satnamis lived, the demands for begar (forced labour) and women by the gaontias and government officials.

While Satnampanth rejected Hindu gods, temples and priests in favour of one true formless god or Satnam, access to whom was to be mediated by the Guru, it also functioned within the ritual hierarchy of purity and pollution - for instance, in its eschewing of meat, liquor and tobacco as impure, and its rejection of the traditional caste occupation of leather work.

At the same time, the continued discrimination the satnamis faced - e.g. in the refusal by other service castes like barbers and washermen to work for them - was 'turned into designs of assertion' through the creation of an organizational structure that meant that they were more or less self-sufficient. In addition to the Guru at the head of the panth, there were mahants who regulated community action over a specified region (ranging from 5 to 500 villages), a diwan who accompanied and advised the Guru on his visits to his flock (visits known as ramat), a bhandari who was the representative of the Guru in the village and acted as priest and a sathidar, who performed service functions for the satnamis akin to those performed by the barber for other castes.

The satnamis were further distinguished by certain symbolic markers, such as a kanthi (wooden beads) and later, the janeu (sacred thread). Satnami villages also ran a white flag.

Satnami myths, songs and dances (panthi geet, panthi naach) primarily centred around the Gurus, but even as they created their own cosmology, they drew upon existing local beliefs - e.g. in Dulha deo - and Hindu mythology - e.g. stories of Draupadi and the Pandavs which were characteristically transformed or subverted with local meanings. Dube shows how this same strategy was deployed by the Church in the 1930s, whereby Christ was substituted for the true formless God or Satnam, while retaining the structure of satnami bhajans.

One would have liked much more on satnami encounters with Missions both in the late 19th and early 20th centuries than Dube currently has on offer, but perhaps that is another project. What is particularly interesting, however, especially in the light of the Hindu Right's current project to appropriate mar ginal communities into its fold, is the discussion of Hinduised reform projects, e.g. those instituted by Baba Ramachandra and the Satnami Mahasabha, through boarding houses and the framing of 'satnami law' in collaboration with the colonial legal order. Dube's account of conflicts and divisions over the Guru Gaddi and the myths surrounding these conflicts is fascinating, as is his discussion of how women's identity, sexuality and rights to property figured in these myths.



**********