History of the *Bijnor* Rebellion (1858)
CHAPTER V -- The Appearance of the Muhammadi Flag
1) The Faithlessness of the Allies of Ram Dayal Singh, and the Killing of the Muslims
The villagers and Banjaras who were with Ram Dayal Singh considered that this agreement conflicted with their interest in loot. The villainous Bishnois incited them still more, so that they were united to burn Nagina. Sedhmal, cashier of the tahsil office, was present there at the time. He told me that he had heard with his own ears Ram Dayal Singh admonish them, but they would not listen. In the end, these rogues began to fire jezails from the fortress of the tahsil while some looters entered the sutlers' serai to burn it down, and began to loot shops in the bazaar. The jezail was fired on the house of Imam ud-din Zamindar. The door was set alight and the house looted. Wherever these rogues got the upper hand, looting and slaughter followed. The wicked Bishnois also joined with them.
Between 50 and 60 Muslims were killed. The Muslims then emerged from their houses, weapons in hand, and began to kill. Then a real battle was fought. Between 200 to 500 Hindu looters were killed. The Muslims penetrated the fortress. Ram Dayal Singh fled to hide in the serai of the Bishnois. All the villagers banded together to attack the house of Maulvi Muhammad Ali, who was well known as a rich man; Mir Turab Ali Tahisldar was staying there. They piled trash near the door in order to set it alight, and killed Hakim Imam Ali, maternal uncle of Maulvi Muhammad Ali. They fired muskets from the top of the roof of Maulvi Muhammad Ali's house. The people of Nagina who had penetrated into the tahsil office came to Maulvi Muhammad Ali's place. Then the villagers ran away, and Ram Dayal Singh was defeated. In this struggle, the villagers' will to fight was broken.
2) Gathering in Najibabad after the Killing of Muslims; the Muhammadi Flag Appears
This news was constantly being relayed to Najibabad. At the time that the Hindus were killing the Muslims, some men had come to Najibabad shouting that the Hindus had killed Muslims and dishonored their women. The Nawab took clever advantage of this development to group his forces. He told the people: "Look what the Hindus have done to the Muslims: all the Muslims ought to come together to kill the Hindus." Ahmad Allah Khan also made use of such slogans. He took out his artillery, sent his army, and also raised the Muhammadi flag on August 22, 1857 A.D., Muharram 1, 1274 A.H., at Jalalabad near Najibabad. A large force came together, since many Muslims were ready to fight a religious war to kill the Hindus.
On the same day, news reached Bijnor that Ram Dayal Singh had been defeated at Nagina. Budh Singh; the Chaudhri of this city; the Rais of Haldaur and his men; and Chaudhri Partab Singh with his men, artillery, and the jezail -- all of whom were present in Bijnor -- left together at once for Nagina. They arrived there at dusk. In Nagina, people were aware that Chaudhri Budh Singh had come with thousands of men and with artillery to attack the city. That night the Muslims of Nagina wanted to flee; women and children left on foot. They were robbed enroute, and even women were wounded. Persons of very high social status were disgraced. Bishnois were the main perpetrators and the cause of these evils that were done to the Muslim men and women. Sayyid Turab Ali Tahsildar later told us that the disgrace and hardship born by Mauvi Muhammad Ali, by the women and children of respectable Muslims, and by himself, were such that they could not be described.
3) The Bishnois' Second Attack on Nagina, and Chaudhri Budh Singh's Opposition
Chaudhri Budh Singh of Haldaur reached Nagina in the morning of August 23, 1857, with the intention of restoring peace by a settlement. Pradhan Kunwar Sain, Bhup Singh, and Sheikh Najaf Ali were negotiating together when suddenly Bishnois and many villagers began to attack Maulvi Muhammad Ali's house in order to loot it. Again bullets began to fly. Chaudhri Budh Singh made a great personal effort to bring this attack to a halt. He condemned the Bishnois roundly. He asked the people of Nagina for the artillery casting-mold, which was in the Bishnoi quarter; they replied that he could take it away, since it meant nothing to them. This particular matter, then, was settled peacefully.
At one o'clock Ram Dayal Singh and Moti Singh came to Maulvi Muhammad Ali to ask pardon for the excesses of the Bishnois and their own helplessness. At this time Chaudhri Budh Singh called Sayyid Turab Ali Tahsildar and Maulvi Muhammad Ali to come to him without arms; they went together, accompanied by Ram Dayal Singh. He gave them satisfaction, and closed with a plea that they should try to keep the peace among themselves; Sayyid Turab Ali and Maulvi Mohammad Ali were able to convince the Muslims to accept this plea; and thus, there was peace in Nagina. Chaudhri Budh Singh and Ram Dayal Singh departed for Haldaur with the casting-mold of the artillery piece.
4) Attack and Burning of Sawaheri by Ahmad Allah Khan
This event occurred in Nagina on August 23, 1857. Meanwhile in Najibabad the soldiers and sowars of the Nawab had been mobilized. Many Muslims, including weavers and all the peddlers of Sawaheri, whom the Hindus had been exploiting, came together near Jalalabad under the Muhammadi flag. A very large army of men was assembled about Ahmad Allah Khan, when news came of the defeat of Ram Dayal Singh at Nagina. Taking this news as a good omen, Ahmad Allah Khan launched his own attack against Sawaheri. There were only a few men present in Sawaheri out of the army that had once assembled there. Some had gone to Nagina for loot, while others had fled upon hearing of Ram Dayal Singh's defeat. Only a handful of men and two jezails were present to put up some slight resistance when Ahmad Allah Khan, Shafi Allah Khan, and Mareh surrounded Sawaheri. The villagers fled en masse, and the two jezails were taken. The invaders set Sawaheri on fire and burned it down. Meanwhile, in Bijnor news was being received regularly that the Nawab was about to attack the city; his men actually did advance a few miles toward Bijnor.
5) The Situation in Bijnor when Sawaheri was Set on Fire
There was no army of men in Bijnor. Only Chaudhri Randhir Singh was on hand, with one piece of artillery and some 50 to 60 men who had been hired to dig trenches in the streets of Sawaheri. Chaudhris Jodh Singh and Nain Singh were also present. Although plans were afoot to mobilize men, not even one man had come; and all those in Bijnor could feel the ground slip from beneath their feet. By prearrangement, Chaudhri Jodh Singh galloped off from the trenches to reach home to his family, while Chaudhri Nain Singh sent trusted men to his palace to have all needed things ready at a moment's notice. Chaudhri Randhir Singh also intended to leave for Haldaur; he sent his artillery piece there.
The Deputy Sahib and I, the Sadr Amin, together closed the Tahsil office. We armed ourselves, as well as the handful of men who were there to prepare for Ahmad Allah Khan's coming to Bijnor; we would fight to the death. As a matter of precaution we burned the letters and papers from the Government, including copies of our own reports that were on hand. The whole city was in panic. Many people encamped on the banks of the Ganga or in the two streams. A great hubbub arose in the city.
6) Departure of Deputy Sahib and Sadr Amin for Haldaur
The Muslims of Bijnor came together at this time to tell Chaudhri Randhir Singh that the town would be looted if he should leave. They asked him to take his usual place in the trenches, on the assurance that they would support him. Chaudhri Randhir Singh accepted this support. He went to the trenches and brought back his artillery. Chaudhri Jodh Singh also came. The three Chaudhris, their men, and the Muslims of Bijnor stayed on the line of entrenchment until evening; but Ahmad Allah Khan did not come that day. He encamped at Basikotla.
Chaudhri Randhir Singh told us that night that he did not propose to
stay in Bijnor; that the Chaudhris of Bijnor were also about to leave;
that it would not be wise for us to stay on, that we also should go to
Haldaur that very night. The Deputy Sahib and myself, the Sadr Amin, set
out of Bijnor in the dead of night to arrive in Haldaur at dawn on August
24, 1857. Chaudhri Budh Singh had reached there just a short while before.
He gave us an interview. Chaudhri Partab Singh had brought from Tajpur
all the sums of money requested by the Commissioner; the Rs. 5,000 collected
as detailed below, was thereupon sent to Nainital through Raja Sahib Kashipur:
7) Killing of Bishnois of Nagina by Ahmad Allah Khan and Destruction of their Serai
Chaudhri Budh Singh left Haldaur towards daybreak on August 24, 1857. He aimed to bring Chaudhri Randhir Singh to Haldaur. At this same time Ahmad Allah Khan was told that Nagina was being evacuated. All the Muslims -- that is, all those who were with him to commit violence under the Muhammadi flag - were primarily interested in taking revenge on the Bishnois of Nagina, the Hindus who had committed excesses in Ram Dayal Singh's time against the Muslims and their honor. For this reason, Ahmad Allah Khan deferred going to Bijnor, and chose instead to set out for Nagina. Arriving there at two o'clock, he made his first concern the despoliation of the serai of the Bishnois. Shaikh Najaf Ali, landlord of Nagina, opposed this aim. Mendhu Khan, son of Nathu Khan, abused Shaikh Najaf Ali, and raised his musket to shoot him down. Others intervened at this point, when news came that the Bishnois had killed a trooper and two foot soldiers in their serai. An artillery piece was then fired at their serai, to open a general command of the place, and all the Bishnois fled with their wives and children; five or six were also killed.
Looters carried on at the sarai to their heart's content for two whole days, during which the homes and solidly-built buildings of the Bishnois were all, without exception, set on fire. It is well-known that 52 Bishnois were killed in all the battles and skirmishes. Ahmad Allah Khan also gave an order to seize, and kill at sight, Sayyid Turab Ali Tahsildar. Men were sent off to hunt him down; but Muhammed Ali, landlord of Nagina, succeeded in hiding him. Maulvi Muhammad Ali and Mir Ashraf Ali used all kinds of flattery in order to intercede for Sayyid Turab Ali as a "poor foreigner" who was entitled to protection. They managed to save his life, mainly because Ahmad Allah Khan and company were all Pathans, who look with disfavor on the killing of a Sayyid. Maulvi Muhammad Ali, however, had to put up security for his availability and good conduct; and a guard was also stationed at the door of the Maulvi's house. Ahmad Allah Khan encamped in Nagina with his companions and army until the 25th.
8) The First Fight at Haldaur, the Chaudhris' Defeat, and the Burning of Haldaur
Shafi Allah Khan, Ahmad Allah Khan, and Mareh all marched in the direction of Nihtaur in order to attack Haldaur. In great splendor; drums beating and flags flying; with all their men, two pieces of artillery, and some jezails, Chaudhri Randhir Singh and Chaudhri Budh Singh went out to offer resistance. Ahmad Allah Khan, Shafi Allah Khan, and Mareh attacked with their army from the direction of Nihtaur. The two sides met at the Ban River between the villages of Jhiroti and Begrajpur. Two pieces of artillery were fired from the Chaudhris' side. The Nawab's troopers attacked; the villagers, massed in throngs about the Chaudhris, ran away; and the battle was lost.
Ditches and mounds had been dug beforehand around Haldaur; road blocks and entrenchments had also been prepared around the city. The defeated Chaudhris entered Haldaur with their two artillery pieces. They placed their artillery on the line of entrenchment and opened fire behind the protection of the mounds. In spite of the narrow openings and the seemingly impregnable barriers, a few troopers from the Government regiments who had joined the Nawab's army successfully attacked the trenches and penetrated inside. Between 50 and 60 of the Chaudhris' men were killed; among them was Gobind Singh, a land agent of Chaudhri Partab Singh, who fell fighting bravely in this affray at the barriers.
The Chaudhris gave up the trenches, to retreat with the guns to their mansions; the sowas took after them. The Chaudhris reached their place safely, but on the way lost two pieces which had belonged to the very fine Government magazine and which Lord Lake, the English Commander-in-Chief, later presented to Nawab Ahmad Bakhsh Khan Bahadur, Wali of Ferozepur, and which Chaudhri Sahib of Haldaur then later bought at the auction of the effects of Shams ud-din Khan. The pieces were seized and taken outside the entrenchments of Haldaur. An ancestral piece of artillery made of iron, called Kara Khan, that had belonged to the Chaudhri Sahib, was raised from its axle on the entrenchment by a few villagers and carried along to his mansion. The door was barred, each person awaiting the Nawab's coming, while those who were inside looked for their own death. The artillerymen of the Nawab set up a piece to open fire from the eastern side of a building opposite to where Deputy Sahib and myself were staying. Despite the large size of the building that was their target, the artillerymen were such "masters" of their art that they failed to make even a single hit. The Nawab's troopers who had penetrated into the city withdrew with two artillery pieces to re-form their ranks outside the ditch and mounds of Haldaur.
It can be said with certainty that Haldaur was clear of all the Nawab's men at this moment; yet suddenly the buildings of Haldaur began to burn fiercely. No doubt the cloth printers and confectioners, who were all Muslim residents of Haldaur, had set these buildings belonging to Hindus on fire. There was a long history of bad blood between the Chaudhris and them about house rentals, the building of a mosque, and other matters. This rancor was so profound that all the buildings of the Hindus were ablaze in a short while; there were 10 to 12 Hindu fatalities, in addition.
The fire was so big everywhere inside Haldaur that all movement ceased on the road, and the Nawab's army stayed outside, without entering the city to claim their victory. When Ahmad Allah Khan realized that the conflagration would continue to burn for several days, he decided to leave with his entire army to encamp at Jhalu. Enroute he burned down the village of Pheriyapur. At this time, he learned that Bijnor was entirely empty; he decided to take up residence there. Accompanied by sowars and foot soldiers, he entered Bijnor at 10 o'clock that night. In all, he had an army of between 2,500 and 3,000 men with him.
Chaudhri Jodh Singh had been watching the spectacle of the fighting at Haldaur from a distance of about five miles. When he knew for certain that Haldaur had been lost and was on fire, he returned to Bijnor to relate the circumstances to Chaudhri Nain Singh. Taking their family members, the Chaudhris abandoned Bijnor to cross the Ganges by boat. On reaching Bijnor, Ahmad Allah Khan looked everywhere but could not find them.
Having taken Haldaur, Ahmad Allah Khan and Mareh decided to attack Tajpur. They proclaimed in Nihtaur that Haldaur and Tajpur might be freely looted. Chaudhri Partab Singh also became alarmed, on hearing news of the defeat at Haldaur and the death of Gobind Singh, his agent. He knew that his end might come at any time. Within the hour, he left Tajpur for Kant. Thus, Tajpur was deserted; if Ahmad Allah Khan had sent his army there, he could have taken Tajpur that very hour.
9) Massacre of Muslims in Haldaur
There was great joy in Haldaur at the departure of Ahmad Allah Khan. People's spirits revived sufficiently for them to pass the night somehow or other. The men who fled with the Chaudhris even came back that night. A crowd of men from Pheona also came, so that there was again an assembly of some 3,000 men in Haldaur. On Friday 28 August 1857 A.D., 7th of Muharram 1274 A.H., the Hindu landlords barred all the exits before sunrise and caused to be slaughtered to the last man all the Muslim confectioners, cloth printers, potters, etc. who could be found. Many women were seized and imprisoned; some were even killed by accident. Some wounded men, women, and children reached Chandpur after fleeing all the way. The villainous and infamous confectioners and cloth printers, who had probably instigated the violence in Haldaur and set the city on fire, were the ones who had gotten away earlier, unscathed and with their families, at the time when Ahmad Allah Khan had left. The victims, then, were those who had stayed on in Haldaur because they had thought themselves without blame.
The massacre continued unabated until evening. All Muslim houses were burnt down, and many Hindu houses in their midst were unintentionally burned down too. The situation in Haldaur was such that save for two stoutlybuilt mansions, not a single house was spared from plunder and fire. Not a single bit of straw remained in Haldaur. A bird in search of some straw for its nest at that time could not have borrowed even a tiny bit in Haldaur.
The Hindus were so bitter against the Muslims that they even killed men who just happened to have come to the city purely by chance. Shouting with all their might, the villagers minced no words about what should happen to the Deputy Sahib and myself; although we were guests of the Hindu landlords, it seemed we ought to be killed, because we were Muslims. Chaudhri Randhir Singh protected us to the utmost. He admonished us through his messenger to lock ourselves in, including our servants, whom we were not to allow out on any account. Any infraction of this advice, he warned, could mean our deaths. We were on this account in hard straits for water and food for three days in Haldaur.
10) The Deputy Sahib and Sadr Amin Leave Haldaur; and an Attack on them in Pilana and Chandpur
We now recognized that we could not stay on in Haldaur; there was not a single place in the whole District where we could stay. Circumstances thus forced us to abandon the District. We spent the day of the 29th in Haldaur as best we could. We left on foot at 10 o'clock at night to make our way by road with extreme difficulty and hardship. At first light of dawn our party, which included Deputy Sahib, Mathura Das, and Banke Rae the Treasurer, reached the outskirts of the village of Pachniyan. We learned that a large band of men were waiting here to rob and kill us, so we had to change our route to take the Pilana road.
As we reached the outskirts of Pilana, we saw a crowd of 2,000 armed peasants running to rob and kill us. One Bakhsh Singh, the Pradhan of village Pilana, recognized the Deputy Sahib and myself. He stopped the peasants and, acting as our protector, took us through the entire village to its other boundary. When we reached village Khirki, the landowners there did their best to comfort us. Milk and water were offered, and we were shown due deference. Some men from this place accompanied us to make sure we got to Chandpur.
Even more serious trouble was in store for us in Chandpur. We were spotted, as we approached the gate, by blackguard Muslims of the town. An uproar broke out suddenly in the Batia Para quarter. Hundreds of men armed with swords, clubs, pistols, and muskets emerged to attack us. Our lives were already forfeit when suddenly Sadiq Ali, Rais of Chandpur, appeared to help us. With the aid of his relatives and servants he was able to stop the miscreants. Many other men of Chandpur came out to help us too. Their combined forces saved us from the hands of those villains. Mir Sadiq Ali took us into his own house, where we were able to rest, and the next day he personally accompanied us to village Chichola. We went to Bichraon; from there we sent a detailed account of our story to the Government authorities. After a few days rest there due to illness, the Deputy Sahib left by way of Khorja to look after his family; I, the Sadr Amin, went straight to present myself at Meerut, where the high officers were staying.
11) Reasons for Fresh Violence in the District
The administration of the District was in our hands when this violence occurred. I would therefore regard it as extremely improper if I failed to take up the question of why violence was able to spread so quickly in the District. It was clear in my mind at the time that this kind of violence would inevitably happen sooner or later if the Government army should fail to appear. The only explanation for the suddenness with which it happened was the strife at Nagina. There should be no doubt that the receipt of the orders and letters to the Rais-es from the English authorities, as before related, had implanted a fear of Government in everyone's heart. The notices and proclamations that we had put up everywhere, including Najibabad itself, and the coming of Mr. George Palmer as far as Dhampura -- both these together made everyone believe that the Government army and authorities would soon be coming to the District.
Furthermore, when we took over charge of the District, the Muslims believed that the Hindus would not be allowed to repeat the mischief they had committed after the victories of Sherkot and Bijnor, nor would the Muslims be able to commit excesses against Hindus. In the same way that the courts were functioning, just so would the District go on in its old way. We yearned for events to take this course. In truth, however, we were helpless. The people who were ready to help us were the ones who were not under our authority, but acted in this helpful way merely because they themselves wanted to. Those who listened to our views obeyed only to the extent that they had made a mental commitment beforehand. Those who happened to be our helpers, or under the authority of people who were directly helping us -- they too did not obey those to whom they were supposed to be subordinate. We remained apart. Those events in the District that were about to take place, against our wishes, and directly contrary to our views -- these events we had no power to stop.
We well understood that the casting-mold of the artillery piece would lead to mischief in Nagina; but at the time the idea did not occur to us to put a claim on it, since it was useless just now and could harm nobody. Its ability to cause harm as a weapon was a matter for future anticipation. Take, for example, the people who had gone to take Nagina. When the Rais-es of Nagina had sent off the soldiers and men to Najibabad, Ram Dayal Singh's stay at Puraini was improper and a cause of mischief. Ram Dayal Singh ought to have come back at once: we had sent the Police Inspector of Nagina, and also called Maulvi Qadir Ali Tahsildar, in order to send him to Nagina. But we could exercise control only through the agency of the Rais-es; although we ordered that Ram Dayal Singh should be called back, it is sad to note that the hearts of our helpers had decided from the start not to carry out our word.
The Bishnois of Nagina, who have a long history as a fractious and headstrong breed, became the cause of even greater breaches of the peace; they incited disorder in Nagina. The Muslims saw that the Hindu chiefs and rulers were able to rule as before and do as they pleased -- even killing Muslims, as occurred in Nagina. Most people had gone to Najibabad. The Nawab saw that the eyes of all were fixed on him. He raised the Muhammadi flag; at once violence was set afoot, and religious war was established in the District.
The basic reason for the disaster which overtook us in Chandpur was our known pro-Government position and our assumption of the District administration. But the widespread disturbance in Chandpur became particularly intense as the rioters shouted with all their might that we did not deserve to live, because we had plotted with the Chaudhris to have the Muslims of Nagina killed and their women and daughters dishonored, and because we had Muslims in Haldaur slaughtered before our very eyes. We were hearing all this when the confectioners and cloth printers of Haldaur -- the wounded who had saved themselves by flight -- reached Chandpur just before us. More people were becoming angry on seeing their plight, as we innocent ones came on the scene there unexpectedly. Intelligent people understood that we had not done these things, but the ignorant did not accept their guidance. If all had done what we wanted them to do, the District would have stood fast until either the Government army had arrived or until the people had lost all hope of its ever coming.
12) The Second Battle of Haldaur, and the Defeat of the Chaudhris
After our departure, the Chaudhris of Haldaur again began to think of regrouping their forces. They became busy putting up protective works before their mansions. Men again crowded into Haldaur, while Ahmad Allah Khan and Mareh stayed on at Bijnor. On Sunday August 31, l857, Muharram 9, 1274 A.H., Ahmad Allah Khan and Mareh attacked Haldaur a second time. They took with them (in order at first to offer peace and a compromise) Suti Jami'at Singh, Rais of Bijnor, and Lala Khub Chand, Vakil of the Sadr Amin's court, Bijnor, who had once been an agent of the Chaudhris of Haldaur. The army of Ahmad Allah Khan set out for Haldaur. As Chaudhri Partab Singh went from Tajpur by way of Kant, the people there sent some of their men and an artillery piece to Tajpur to protect his residence where they stayed. Accordingly, a separate group left Tajpur with Narayan Sahay and that artillery piece to support the Chaudhris of Haldaur. They dug a line of entrenchment in a garden close to Haldaur.
Ahmad Allah Khan stopped his army near Haldaur at the sandy soil of Baldia; from there the two negotiators went to the Chaudhris. A settlement could not be worked out. As their return was delayed, Ahmad Allah Khan surrounded the Haldaur group and, putting its men to flight, seized the artillery piece from Kant. The battle started in earnest the moment Suti Jami'at Singh and Lala Khub Chand left Haldaur. The men of the Chaudhris were beseiged in the mansion, from where they opened musket fire. The artillerymen of Ahmad Allah Khan fired from several directions, bur failed to break the walls of the palace. Their small arms could do nothing at this point. The artillery fire was kept up for some time further. Some men of Ahmad Allah Khan were killed as they were about to attack the gate of the mansion.
Ahmad Allah Khan decided to leave and march toward Nihtaur, where he encamped. He stayed there for a second day -- that is, August 31, l857, Muharram 10, 1274 A.H. On September 1, he marched from Nihtaur toward Bijnor. Enroute he came upon village Nangal, where at the time of the Sherkot fight several soldiers of the Nawab had been killed. Nangal was looted and set on fire; many of its men were slaughtered. Chaudhri Budh Singh and Chaudhri Maharaj Singh feared to keep their families any longer in Haldaur; they all left for Pheona, while Chaudhri Randhir Singh continued to stay on alone in Haldaur. After placing their families in Pheona, Chaudhri Budh Singh returned to Haldaur and Chaudhri Maharaj Singh went to Tajpur. He called Chaudhri Partab Singh from Kant. After discussions, the two departed for Haldaur. The next day Chaudhri Partab Singh came to Tajpur.
13) Jalal-ud-din Khan as Manager; and the Proposal for a Compromise with the Chaudhris
After this battle, the entire District slipped easily under Nawab Mahmud Khan's control. His advisors now took up administrative questions. They decided to reach a compromise with the Chaudhris and to name Jalal ud-din Khan as Deputy Nawab with plenipotentiary powers. Jalal ud-din Khan was appointed to this post because the Chaudhris were so angry with Ahmad Allah Khan that they could not deal with him as the Nawab's representative. Another reason was the urgent need for money at this period. Ahmad Allah Khan could get money only with great difficulty, but Jalal ud-din Khan was generally regarded as trustworthy. They thought that with him as plenipotentiary, it would even be easier to borrow money. The warrant for his authority as plenipotentiary was then drafted, and the initial exchanges for a compromise were undertaken. Sa'd Allah Khan, the Munsif at Amroha, wrote letters to the Chaudhris for this purpose. In this letter, he promised there would be a general settlement achieved through him, after the agreement for his full powers had been written. The letter which he wrote to the Chaudhris on this subject is reproduced in full.
14) Copy of Sa'd Allah Khan's letter addressed to Chaudhris Randhir Singh, Budh Singh, and Maharaj Singh; undated
Dear and kind Chaudhri Sahibs! May God keep you. I crave a pleasant visit with you, and desire nothing more at all. I desire no more than friendship. Praise be to God.15) Delay in Naming Jalal ud-din Khan
This arrangement was brought to a halt because it angered Ahmad Allah Khan. He got all the officers to side with him. The army officers promised Ahmad Allah Khan that they were with him, and that they would support him if Mahmud Khan excluded him. The arrangement was perforced suspended; and a council was named to resolve the dispute, so that whatever arrangements for the District were decided on would stand as the work of this council. The order written by Mahmud Khan on this question is reproduced in full at this point:
An order at the court of Amir-ud-Daulah, Ziya ul-mulk Zawi ul-Qadir Nawab Mahmud Khan Bahadur Muzaffar Jang, on September 13, 1857. Because of the prevailing anarchy in the District, I have named as my general representatives Muhammad Ahmad Allah Khan, Muhammad Ahmad Yar Khan, Muhammad Shafi Allah Khan, Akhundzada Abdur Rahman, and Sayyid Ahmad Shah. Since the entire administration has been entrusted to these gentlemen, it is necessary that all administrative affairs -- whether orders, letters, news and intelligence, or any matter relating to the courts of justice -- should be issued, without hindrance, on the advice and council of the above-mentioned gentlemen, it being proposed that orders should appear as having been presented to me and unanimously approved by them; it is very proper at this time that an order to sanction this proposal be signed by me. It is therefore ordered that: all proposals that may be issued by these gentlemen should be unanimously approved by them, and sent for me for signature and the issuance of the order. Opposition against any matter agreed to by them will not be tolerated from anyone. A copy for information of this order may be sent to these five gentlemen; the original will be kept in the record-offices.Mahmud Khan and Ahmad Allah Khan had new seals made at this time, for the Collectorate and for the Criminal Court. On these seals the words Allah Malik al-Samwat wa al-Ardh [God is the king of Heaven and Earth] were engraved and the Hijira year was written instead of the Christian year. Only on the first of the new seals were the words "Bijnor District" left off and the words "Under Government of Najibabad" engraved in their place.
16) Sa'd Allah Khan's Agreement
Since Jalal ud-Din Khan's full powers were suspended as a result of the naming of this Council, Sa'd Allah Khan could no longer speak with his former authority. He still persisted in his attempts to bring about a settlement with the Chaudhris. Sa'd Allah Khan went to them in Nihtaur as a friendly gesture. Despite his summoning them, not one of the Chaudhris came to meet him. Sa'd Allah Khan had to return empty-handed to Nagina on September 6, 1857.
17) The Battle of Pamrawali, and the Defeat of the Chaudhris
Chaudhri Budh Singh and Chaudhri Maharaj Singh decided to fight the Nawab once more. They wrote letters to the brotherhoods and asked Chaudhri Partab Singh for help too. They mobilized at the village of Pheona. Those who assembled included the Chaudhris of Kant; Narayan Sahai, who came with a jezail from Chaudhri Partab Singh; Gulab Singh of Cherkosi; some zamindars of Pheona; and the other village supporters of Chaudhri Budh Singh Sahib. When this mobilization was completed, they set out to attack Najibabad. Upon getting word of their advance, Ahmad Allah Khan sent some men, under the command of Shafi Allah Khan, from Nagina and from Kiratpur. The Chaudhris came with their men to the nearby village of Purawah, where the battle began. It proved to be a small affair. The villagers all ran away, and the Chaudhris were defeated on the field. The Nawab's army seized an ancestral artillery piece called Kara Khan, which belonged to the Chaudhris of Haldaur; two jezails; and two shields. Chaudhri Budh Singh and Maharaj Singh reached Pheona by way of Haldaur. This victory made Shafi Allah Khan famous. He won the title of "Bahadur" [brave one]; he also began to be called The Brave General. Accordingly, this title of his is seen in most of the documents.
18) Another Peace Message to the Chaudhris
After this battle Ahmad Allah Khan and the Nawabi advisors realized that they had to either reach a firm compromise with the Chaudhris, or else extirpate them altogether as an element which would always be a source of concern. The Chaudhris too wanted to end the violence. They also sent peace messages and letters from their side to the effect that they could not present themselves in person out of fear for their lives and honor. Even though the Nawab was offering them satisfaction they still were at a loss, they observed, nor had their feeling of confidence been restored. A full copy of the letter that Sa'd Allah Khan sent to Chaudhri Partab Singh in this matter on September 22, 1857 is reproduced at this point:
Copy of letter of Sa'd Allah Khan to Chaudhri Partab Singh, Rais of Tajpur, about a settlement:
Dear Chaudhri Sahib: Your letter came and its contents are understood. We know that times are bad for you. Otherwise, how could you say that you suspect me, who look upon you as my own son? When your talk is so completely outside my grasp, what remedy can I propose? You really ought to come to see me at Nagina, free from any sense of fear. Remove all fear from your mind. If you will not come to me, then devise some better plan. If you permit these subterfuges, then you will be ruined and destroyed. Be well advised and come without fear. What is there to fear when you know me as your patron? It is much better when you never, never have the least fear. So, this very night, set out and come to me. Your distress is a cause of great concern to me. Allah, my God, if I regard you as less worthy than Muhammad Ismail Khan, then God knows this and you do too. Finis. First Sifar 1274 H.19) Departure of Ghazanafar Ali Khan to Nihtaur and his Meeting with Chaudhri Randhir Singh
A peace message was also sent through Sa'd Allah Khan to Chaudhri Partab Singh, while Nathu Khan met Chaudhri Umrao Singh, Rais of Sherkot, to discuss a settlement. Ghazanafar Ali Khan -- the elder son of Mahmud Khan -- and Mareh departed from Nihtaur with a large army, to force the Chaudhris of Haldaur to choose between coming in to pay their respects or witnessing the second destruction of their town. A message was sent to Chaudhri Randhir Singh through Jai Raj Singh of Puraini and Lekh Raj Singh of Nihtaur. On September 25, 1857 he came to Nihtaur, where he met Ghazanafar Ali Khan and gave as his offering a dagger and Rs. 50; while Ghazanafar Ali Khan gave him a pair of shawls as a ceremonial robe of honor. Ghazanafar Ali Khan told Chaudhri Randhir Singh to present Chaudhri Budh Singh and Chaudhri Maharaj Singh to him. Chaudhri Randhir Singh promised to call them.
Then, after this meeting, he left for Haldaur; Yaqub Ali Khan of Rampur, Ghazanafar Ali Khan, and Man Singh -- brother of Lekh Raj Singh -- accompanied him to Haldaur, in order to bring in Chaudhri Budh Singh and Maharaj Singh. After Haldaur, they went to further to the village of Pheona, in order to catch up with the Chaudhris. However, Chaudhris Budh Singh and Maharaj Singh did not come to this proposed meeting. They temporized by various artful devices, and instead crossed the Ganges soon afterward to go to the English authorities.
In the end, it was agreed through correspondence that Chaudhri Partab Singh, Rais of Tajpur, should come to Puraini village; from there he would return to Tajpur after an oral interview with Sa'd Allah Khan. Chaudhri Partab Singh and Sa'd Allah Khan met in Puraini. Sa'd Allah Khan took Chaudhri Partab Singh by the hand and seated him on an elephant, to take him to Nagina. Chaudhri Umrao Singh, Rais of Sherkot, also came to Nagina to meet Sa'd Allah Khan. When Mahmud Khan learned that the two Chaudhris were in Nagina, he wrote to Sa'd Allah Khan that they should be brought to Najibabad. This was done, and their interview with Mahmud Khan took place on September 26. The two Chaudhris gave him some gold coins as a token of their homage, and Mahmud Khan gave them ceremonial robes and dismissed them on the next day.
20) Massacre of Hindus in Sherkot
When Chaudhri Umrao Singh set out from Sherkot to go to Nagina, Ghazanafar Ali Khan and Mareh marched from Nihtaur to Sherkot on September 26, for the purpose of killing the Hindus there. The Hindus of Sherkot wanted to run away. Burhan ud-din Qazi of Sherkot summoned the Patwaris [village accountants], who were of the Bania caste, to his house, in order to assemble them in one place. The crowd that was gathered at his door at this time raised a big outcry. The Qazi drove out all those who were staying in his house for protection. They were attacked right in front of his door. Thirty-one men -- Patwaris, Brahmins, and Bhats -- were unjustly and griveously butchered; twenty-nine were killed outright, while two men escaped wounded. From this time on, the fear of the wretch Mareh became overpowering, especially for the Hindus, whose hearts were so oppressed they began to tremble and shiver wherever his army appeared.
Mareh became more formidable after these events. A dispute arose in the family of Mahmud Khan over the division of the country. Mareh won Ghazanafar Ali Khan over to his side. He wanted to dispossess Ahmad Allah Khan completely. Tension lasted several days, until a compromise was reached along the following lines: Mahmud Khan would receive Rs. 12,000 in cash each month; the Tahsils [sub-districts] of Nagina, Dhampur, and Chandpur would go to Mareh Khan and Ghazanafar Ali Khan; and the Tahsils of Najibabad and Bijnor would go to Ahmad Allah Khan. Ghazanafar Ali Khan and Mareh were to give Rs. 8,000 per month to Mahmud Khan and Rs. 4,000 per month to Ahmad Allah Khan. This arrangement lasted for only a short while.
21) The Commissioner Sahib Helps Chaudhri Budh Singh, and Sends him back to the District
Chaudhri Budh Singh and Chaudhri Maharaj Singh were present near the authorities in Meerut. They repeatedly asked the Commissioner of Meerut for a small amount of help, so that they might again fight Mahmud Khan to drive him out of the District. They gave assurance that they could still rally their brotherhoods in large numbers. The Commissioner hesitated, but in the end acceded to their repeated requests. He arranged for some men from Lala Gorsahay, Nazir of Hasanpur, and from Gulab Singh, Rais of Kotesar. Orders were also sent to all the Rais-es of the District that nobody was to help Mahmud Khan, on pain of being declared criminals. This entire plan was worked out on October 17, 1857, at which time orders were sent. The Chaudhris were given permission to leave Meerut. A copy of the order is reproduced in full at this point:
Copy of the order from Edward Philip Williams, Commissioner of Meerut, to all the Rais-es of District Bijnor:
Chaudhri Budh Singh, Taluqdar of Haldaur, and Nazir Gorsahay, Nazim of Hasanpur, are appointed, together with the forces of Rao Gulab Singh, Rais of Kotesar, to repel and expel Nawab Mahmud Khan, Jalal ud-din Khan, Azmat Allah Khan, Ahmad Allah Khan, Shafi Allah Khan, Mareh, etc. This order is sent to you so that your people -- whether relative, servant, or resident of your city -- will not shelter, aid, or serve the aforementioned rebels. If they do so, then you will be considered guilty; and all of your moveable property, land., etc. will be taken by the Government, and a heavy punishment will be inflicted on you. Your residence will be treated like the dwelling of the rebels of Mala Garh and Thana Bhawan.After this correspondence had been written, the two Chaudhris crossed by the ghat at Gadh Muktesar to reach Nagina, where they mobilized the armies of Rao Gulab Singh, Rais of Kotesar, and Nazir Gorsahay, Nazim of Hasanpur, before going to Dhanwara. From there they dispatched all the orders of the Sahib Commissioner Bahadur to the aforementioned Rais-es, and to Chaudhri Partab Singh, Rais of Tajpur, so that he might in turn transmit it to all those in the District who were the addressees.
Chaudhri Partab Singh was due to send more money to Nainital in this period. The sum which he sent on October 19, 1857 included: from Chaudhri Partab Singh himself, Rs. 2,000; from Ummed Singh and Sita Ram, Chaudhris of Ratangarh: Rs. 4,000.
By the hand of his own men, Chaudhri Partab Singh sent the order of Government to all the Rais-es, so that they received it on October 28, 1857. Chaudhri Partab Singh arranged rations for his army's stay at Dhanwara. At this time he also prepared for action an artillery piece which he had had made. Because of the growing tension, Chaudhri Umrao Singh, Rais of Sherkot, considered it no longer wise to stay there. He left Sherkot for Kashipur on this very day.
22) Ahmad Allah Khan and Mareh Mobilize at Chandpur to Fight Chaudhri Budh Singh
As soon as Mareh Khan heard of the attack of the Chaudhris of Haldaur, he marched to Chandpur with his army. Shafi Allah Khan and Ahmad Allah Khan mobilized a large force at Chandpur. Ahmad Allah Khan sent letters to the Rais-es ordering them to join his men, but no one came. On the Muslim side, there was the anxiety of anticipating that the battle might have a disastrous end; all the Muslims in the District knew for certain that they would experience the full measure of force and violence from the Hindus, in case the latter should win. All the Rais-es, for their part, greatly feared the Government's orders which they had received. Therefore except for the 8,000-9,000 paid servants of the Nawab, no one else participated on his side. The same was true on the Chaudhris' side; they too were not able to mobilize a large force. On this side there was concern that if the Nawab should win, the Hindus would experience the full measure of Muslim injustice. With all this, if Nazir Gorsahay had attacked, a way would have opened up for the rebels of Bijnor to attack Moradabad District, Dhanwara, etc. In any event, the ranks mobilized by the Chaudhris at Dhanwara could not advance; they scattered instead. The Chaudhris returned from there.
23) The Third Fight at Haldaur; the Arrest of Chaudhri Randhir Singh
Ahmad Allah Khan, Shafi Allah Khan, and Mareh now recognized that they could never be absolute masters of the country while Haldaur's foundations stood. They therefore attacked Haldaur from Chandpur.
Chaudhri Randhir Singh was present in Haldaur with some men, when he heard that Ahmad Allah Khan's army was coming to attack. He was trapped in his mansion. Ahmad Allah Khan's army surrounded the place. There were some artillery exchanges and casualties. That night Chaudhri Randhir Singh gave his closest supporters permission to escape and save themselves. Most of them got away. In the morning of November 3, 1857 the army of Ahmad Allah Khan entered the mansion and captured Chaudhri Randhir Singh. Ram Dayal Singh's "brother," born of his paternal aunt, and some five or six other relatives of Randhir Singh were killed. Chaudhri Randhir Singh was put in irons and taken to Najibabad by way of Nagina, where he was interned in a house. All the articles found in Haldaur were looted; the houses of the Chaudhris there were set on fire, and the town was left an absolute waste.
When Ahmad Allah Khan and Mareh had left Chandpur for Haldaur -- that is, on November 2, 1857 -- Mareh Khan at the same time wrote a letter to Chaudhri Partab Singh saying that rations should be got ready since "my army will soon enter Tajpur." At the same time as he received this letter, Chaudhri Partab Singh also received news of the defeat at Haldaur and the arrest of Chaudhri Randhir Singh. He realized that this would soon be his own fate. He prepared to leave. He set out from Tajpur on November 5, 1857, reaching Gadh Muktesar on November 7. A copy of Mareh Khan's letter is reproduced at this point:
Chaudhri Sahib Partab Singh, kind and compassionate to his sincere friends! Greetings! It is the plan of my army to move toward Tajpur. It is desirable that you, mobilizing your resources, should make arrangements to provide necessary provisions for the army so that no soldier suffers from any inconvenience.Mahmud Khan and his allies were no longer worried after this battle. They were now free of all anxiety about the Chaudhris, and they immersed themselves in sensual pleasures. The rebels on the other side of the Ganges could see no better place of refuge than Bijnor, so Dalil Singh, Qadam Singh Gujar, Raza Hasan called Chattan, and Inayat Ali Khan, Qazi of Thana Bhawan, came there with their companions and allies. The rebels of Bijnor gave them sanctuary. Mirza Altaf, Mirza Haji, and Mirza Mubarak Shah -- all fugitive Princes from Delhi -- also came to this District. Mahmud Khan and Mareh were foremost in showing them respect and honor.
These rebels stirred up new violence. They enticed the Bijnor leaders into crossing the Ganges to raid and spread rebellion in Muzaffarnagar and Saharanpur. These fools fell in with such schemes and decided to cross the river. This they did on several occasions, damaging some government posts. Raza Hasan called Chattan, a resident of village Serai, District Muzaffarnagar, crossed the Ganges with 50 men. He set fire to the post at Dhanpura and killed 4 peons and captured 2 mares. From there he marched to Ganj Askin. Sardar Khan, resident of Thakadawara, and Dalil Singh Gujar crossed at Nangal with many Gujars to fight with a Government picket and steal some horses. These Gujars and some rebels from the other side of the river crossed at Rawali Ghat to loot the post at Allahabad and the police station at Bhukarheri. Inayat Ali Khan, Qazi of Khera, attacked the post at Mujahidpur, where he captured two Hindu peons. One he killed; the other he "converted" to Islam. In the same way Qazi Inayat Ali and Dalil Singh Gujar and Raza Hasan called Chettan, accompanied by two artillery pieces and 2,000 men, attacked Miranpur, where they looted the police station and some shops. They also killed some men and proclaimed by beat of drums the name of Mahmud Khan before running off to come back.
24) First Armed Robbery at Kankha1; the Capture of the Telegraph Agent
The rebels were encouraged by these events. Shafi Allah Khan decided to attack Roorkee. Several officers were named for this adventure: Najaf Khan, a resident of Najibabad, was appointed an army officer with full authority. The subordinate officers were Jangbaz Khan, a former peon at the kotwali Jawalapur, who afterwards stayed at Kawal; Kifayat Allah Khan, resident of Najibabad, who was formerly a compounder in the Roorkee dispensary, and later worked in Mr. Reid's office for Rs. 15 a month. Umar Khan Risaldar and Ali Bahadur Khan were appointed subordinate officers. On January 7, 1858 this army of sowars and foot soldiers crossed the Ganges at a ford to march along the Daram Canal to Miapur, where they attacked the Government post. They let loose five horses that belonged to six canal sowars who were stationed at the outpost, and they burned down the post. They arrested these five sowars: Tajmal Husain Khan. resident of Manglore; Tafazzal Husain, sowar and resident of Manglore; Nadir Ali, resident of Mandawar; Haidar Ali, resident of Purqazi; and Ganesh Singh, from the eastern parts. Nabi Bakhsh, a trooper, a resident of Roorkee, was also arrested, but slipped away by some clever ruse. Later they hunted for more Government employees.
At the warehouse of Miapur they arrested one Kirani Sahib -- the electric telegraph agent -- and Maula Mistri. Hollis Tyndale and fifteen red-hatted diggers were all seized, and both bungalows belonging to Captain Reid were set on fire. Maula Bakhsh and Muhammad Hasan, watchmen, were also seized, but managed to escape by some clever ruse. Next they went to Kankhal, where they broke the telegraph line, proclaimed Mahmud Khan's name, and gave security to the inhabitants. Then they went to Hardwar, where they also proclaimed Mahmud Khan's name. At 11 AM they arrived at village Anji on this side of the Ganges, where more of their men were encamped.
25) English Order to March on Kankhal
At 3 PM the news of these events reached Roorkee; from there it was relayed to Manglore, where some Government troops were stationed. That night the English army and officers marched. The officers and men described below reached Miapur at dawn on January 8, 1858.
Brigadier Major BarriganAt this time, Mr. Melville Sahib Bahadur and Thompson Sahib Bahadur, taking along four troopers and Khadim Ali, Jamadar of the Canal House and a resident of Mandawar, proceeded in the marshes to a point opposite the ghat at Chandi where a mendicant from across the river told them the enemy was encamped at the village of Ajni. Taking him along, they proceeded to a point opposite the ghat at Ajni where the rebels formed ranks. The English were seeing all this from a standing position. The rebels fired across the river at them with muskets, which made the English laugh. The English soon returned to their tents. They had made a little progress along the shore when the rebels fired an artillery piece at them. The shell fell near the English in the sand.
26) The Second Armed Robbery at Kankhal, and the Killing of the Rebels
On January 9, 1858 at 12 o'clock Shiv Parshad, the Native Canal Agent, gave the alarm that the Nawab's army was again making a crossing. The English officers sounded the alarm, while Mr. Drayman took a position on the Daram Canal to make an observation with his telescope. He confirmed that the rebel army was actually crossing. Some had already come over, while others were still walking through the ford on foot. The fools were coming with the aim of establishing themselves at Kankhal. They had flour, field utensils, and sheets and bedding.
In confirming this development, Captain Draymond at once opened the canal gate to release its waters into the Ganges, while Mr. Philip left for Kankhal on orders. These shrewd tactics of Captain Draymond were worthy of much praise. In truth, by this cleverness the enemy were caught in the talons of death; a wave of water, cutting like the sharpness of a sword, put an end to them. The leader of the army that made the crossing was Shafi Allah Khan, nephew of Mahmud Khan. Also participating were Abdur Rahman Khan, Abdullah Khan, and those who had crossed before. Altogether there were about 1,000 men -- both foot and horse - and three elephants, on one of which Shafi Allah Khan was mounted. Three pieces of artillery had crossed the blue channel. Out of them all about 400 to 450 men, both foot and horse, had crossed at Daram to reach Dajya near Kankhal; the others were still in the water.
In short, these people had not yet reached Kankhal when the English offered resistance and set up their line of retrenchment for their artillery at the large building called Akariwala. The rebels fired a musket volley and their artillery, while the Government army waited to fire their cannons until the rebels came closer. Scores of men fell and were killed. The rebels turned and fled. The Government army at once went in pursuit of them. Picking off men with their muskets, they killed all those who had crossed at Daram, all those who were still in the middle of the water, and all those who were standing on the shore opposite Daram. In addition, scores of men drowned in the water near Daram, which had been deepened by the release of canal waters. Dajya was retaken from the foe.
Captain Barrigan showed great bravery in this particular battle. Alone on his horse, he came behind Shafi Allah Khan's elephant to fire his musket. Kifayat Allah Khan, who was seated in.the back seat of the howdah, was hit and killed. On the second shot, Captain Barrigan's weapon misfired and Shafi Allah Khan got away. The captured material included a great deal of arms, a keg of ammunition that had fallen from an elephant, and the horses of the fallen sowars. The best of sovereign governments had the victory. About 400 men on the rebel side fell in this battle. Hasan Raza Khan was decapitated while lying wounded and bareheaded on the sand at Daram. Not even the cockade of any Government person was hit. The rest of the rebels, who were on the blue channel side, got away with their artillery pieces. Shiv Parshad, Native Canal Agent, received a reward of Rs. 100 for the speed with which he had given the alarm.
27) The Rebels Totter; and a Proposal to Exempt Lands from Taxes
The entire rebel army fell into a panic on receiving news of this defeat. At once they gave up their plans to make further crossings. Each of the rebels began to busy himself with looking after the portion of the District that had fallen to his lot when the country was parcelled out. The Delhi Princes and the rebel soldiers who had thronged to the District began to scatter to Bareilly under one pretext or another. Ahmad Allah Khan thought the time was opportune to win over the general public to his cause. It is well known that the land grantees had a serious grievance with the Supreme Government because of its seizure of rent-free lands. Ahmad Allah Khan considered that this would give him a chance to gain support in the District. On January 18, 1858 he ordered that rent-free lands seized under the British should be released. An order was sent to the tahsildars that the list of grantees in the English period should be submitted as a preliminary to revalidating their exemptions. The order which he sent on this question is reproduced at this point.
"As this country has come under my control and disposal with the aid of God, and by the grace of.God may it remain so forever, we wish that those rentfree lands that were seized and assessed for revenue in the English period should be rehabilitated and rent-free for both the lands and their owners. It is also the special wish of this friend of the poor that land-tax should not be levied on such lands, beginning with this current year. You are informed in writing, under authority of today's proceeding, that you are to notify all the grantees that each person should submit to my court in the regular way his petition for exemption, detailed as to number of parcels, assessment, and name of village. On investigation, they will be treated as rent-free lands and released."28) The Collector Sahib Transferred to Roorkee
A letter No. 850 dated February 15, 1858 from Sahib the Secretary to
Government was received in Meerut by Sahib the Collector Bahadur, District
Bijnor. The letter ordered him to leave for Roorkee with his staff, as
the mobilization of the Rohilkhand Army was to take place there. Mr. Alexander
Shakespeare, Collector and Magistrate, District Bijnor; and George Palmer,
Joint Magistrate, District Bijnor, then came to Bijnor. The other staff
and landlords of the District who were across the river reached Roorkee
on the different days noted below:
29) Mahmud Khan's New Division of the Country, and Naming of the Heir-apparent
Here, on this side, mobilization of the Rohilkhand Army was in progress, while in Bijnor the fools, regarding themselves as the lords of creation, were busy dividing up the country and making arrangements for an heir-apparent. Mahmud Khan had thought that the division that had already taken place would assure control over land revenue administration at Nagina, Dhampur, and Chandpur for Ghazanfar Ali Khan, his son. Contrary to these expectations, however, Mareh Khan kept control over these places in his own hands, and dispossessed all others. Out of this question developed a new dispute, which the rebels settled by bringing into force a new system of administration at a meeting in Najibabad. The settlement issued to this effect is reproduced in full at this point. Although it is undated, it was later learned, after investigation, that the order was drafted on February 22, 1858, when all the rebels were met in council to resolve the dispute. Sayyid Turab Ali Tahsildar, who was in the grip of rebels in Nagina, got away with the aid of Maulvi Muhammad Ali and Mir Ashraf Ali, Rais-es of Nagina. These two were supporters of the Government to the end.
30) Order at the Council of Amir ud-Daulah Ziya ul-Mulk Zawiy al-qadir Nawab Muhammad Mahmud Khan Bahadur Muzaffar Jang, drafted
It is urgent today that we arrange for the financial and proprietary administration of the District Najibabad, because we have given the powers that were ours to Muhammad Ahmad Allah Khan. These powers may be explained by saying that Ahmad Allah Khan has the authority to issue, on his own, orders for arrest and reinstatement in the civil and criminal courts and also in the army. On this account, there is accordingly fixed for his privy purse the sum of Rs. 8,000 -- a sum which is to cover the families of Nawab Muhammad Kalu Khan and the late Nawab Malhu Khan, and also his personal servants.31) Announcement of Release of Lands Seized in the Government's Time
When Mahmud Khan was informed about the gathering of the army at Roorkee, he wanted to incite the people of the District to rally to his side in the coming struggle. With this aim, he issued an order on February 23, 1858 that the taxes on rent-free lands formerly seized by the Government would be reduced by one-half, while the entire assessment would be remitted to those grantees who joined him in crossing the Ganges to oppose the English. It is clear that this announcement made no impression on the District because quite soon -- that is, on March 4, 1858 -- a second announcement on the full remission of land tax was released. In our opinion, even that did not draw the people of this District to oppose the Government, with the exception of those who were servants of Nawab Mahmud Khan; and even among them many drew back and ran away. We reproduce in full the announcement of March 4, which also contains the first announcement in the following words:
Public notice of the Cutcherry of the Civil Court of District Najibabad at the Council of Muhammad Ahmad Allah Khan Sahib on March 4, 1858:
Proceedings Dated February 23, 1858 at Council of Nawab Mahmud Khan Sahib Bahadur. In summary term it was formerly announced for general information that a remission of half of assessment due on rent-free lands would be made. For remission of the other half of assessment due, it is ordered that those grantees who will join the army across the Ganges to kill the infidels and who are given a certificate to confirm their presence will be entitled to this remission. If they are killed, then their heirs will be exempt. Out of pity for the poverty of the grantees, it was thought proper that all remissions should be full remissions, that a listing should be required from each tahsil of all the grantees with details as to the remitted parcels and the names of the grantees, and that from each grantee a stipulation should be taken in accordance with his status that he would furnish men-at-arms to keep the army when needed by the government. This announcement is made for general information, so that those grantees who are to make a claim for remission may, within the space of 15 days, report their presence at my Court, where the army will be. An order for remission of revenue will be issued at that time, if justified, after an investigation that follows the aforesaid sequence.After this announcement, Ahmad Allah Khan and his advisors posted several detachments in the different places where they thought the Government might cross. There were constant changes between one place and another; but when the Government army crossed into the District, the army present there in various places was distributed as detailed herewith. I cannot say that these details are fully accurate, but they are presented on the basis of the investigation that was possible in the circumstances. (See table below.)
32) General Jones Reaches Roorkee
Nawab Mahmud Khan had devised many means to block the roads in Bijnor during the interval when the Government army had been mobilized in Roorkee on the Meerut side of the river. Suddenly, on April 13, 1858, General Jones came to Roorkee, having been named Commander with the title of Major General. He ordered Major Churchill to go to Kankhal to protect the bridge, which was now ready for use. Major Ismail was ordered to take the big artillery pieces and other war equipment to Nangal Ghat as a diversion, to make the enemy think he intended to cross the river on foot.
Captain Draymond, Chief Engineering Officer, and Captain Brownlow, Engineer, crossed the Ganges at Shisham Ghat near village Kankhal on April 4, 1858 at 8 o'clock, with two artillery pieces loaded on elephants and supported by a company each of Europeans and Sikhs. They set up a line of entrenchment, but met with no resistance. About 200 men who were stationed there ran away. The boat bridge was fully ready on the 15th. The army marched out of Roorkee on this date to camp at the river near the bridge. On the 16th the entire army remained encamped at the place while the artillery, the Multan Squadron, the Cook's battalion crossed the river.
Major Ismail advanced from the Ganges on this date to bring the enemy
under fire, and to return again to camp.