I have great pleasure in writing a few words about the HISTORY OF THE HOUSE OF DIGGI written by the eminent historian Late Professor Kalika Ranjan Qanungo in 1963, now edited by Dr. Shyam Singh Ratnawat. The presence of the manu-script was known to many and a copy of the same was available in the Natnagar Shodha Sansthan, Sitamau, of Maharajkumar Dr. Raghubir Singh, who, like Dr. Qanungo, had worked on his thesis under the strict guidance of Sir Jadunath Sarkar.
Few, however, knew that the Thikana records of Diggi were so rich and important. These documents so carefully preserved by the successive chiefs of Diggi, a major Thikana of Amber-Jaipur State, truly put forth the traces of thoughts, actions and activities of the people of those times, and provide typical facts for creating an authentic history. Professor Qanungo very thoroughly examined these papers and used them in writing this history of the House of Diggi. Even a cursory glance of the work shows that the records throw a flood of light on the working of the feudal system in Rajasthan which had been withstanding all kinds of turmoil for centuries, the invidious policies of Emperor Aurangzeb, and the ordeal which Maharaja Ram Singhji and his grand son, Bishan Singhji, had to undergo in the extreme North-West. The signal services rendered by Thakur Hari Singhji Khangarwat of Lamba to the Amber rulers, the Court politics in Amber, and the atmosphere of suspicion and mistrust which marked the relationship between the Mughal Government and the Rajput states is another important feature exposed in this history. In fact, Aurangzeb had never forgiven Ram Singhji and continued to suspect his hand in Sivaji's escape from Agra. It was for this reason that he kept the Maharaja for a major part of his life, either in the North-West or in Assam.
After the death of Mirza Raja Jai Singh in 1667, Amber passed through one of the most perilous periods for her long history and it was during this period that Thakur Hari Singhji of Lamba and other chiefs of Amber, spared no sacrifice, for the safety and preserva-tion of the Kachhwaha state of Amber and the rives of her rulers.
On the whole, the reports preserved in the Diggi Archives which Professor Qanungo made as the basis of his work, and from which he has quoted extensively, illuminate many dark corners in the history of the Mughal empire in general and the history of Amber state and the estate of Diggi in particular. Dr. Shyam Singh Ratna-wat has edited this work with great care and assiduity and deserves appreciation for his scholarly labours. By doing so he has borne the torch well and shown his acumen to carry forward the useful activities of the Centre started by Prof. G.N. Sharma, founder Director of the Centre.
Importance of the work is further enhanced with the scholarly preface written by Prof. V.S. Bhatnagar whose erudition in the world of historical studies and researches is well known. I will also like to add that late Thakuran Narain Singhji of Diggi put the scholarly world under great obligation by providing Dr. Ratnawat all the facilities, in consulting the MSS and records of the Thikana for publishing this work. I have no doubt that the work will long continue to remain a tribute to Professor Qanungo's scholarship and the enlightened approach of the late Thakur Sahib Narain Singhji of Diggi.
History is a written account in the form of a faithful narrative of facts brought by the members of the great human family. In case of kingdoms and empires such facts are related with wars and political affairs together with other inter-related events These facts are usually individual, typical and collective. Individual facts are of the greatest importance for historians, for these are about men whose characters and positions had influenced the realm in which they lived. A methodical historian would try his best to consult and verify the essential family accounts as supporting documents to construct a faithful history out of it. Family histories of individuals are authentic evidences in such cases. Such accounts can be available in National and State Archives or in private collections of the Thikanas, and private collections
The late professor K.R. Qanungo, the celebrated historian and a worthy disciple of Sir Jadunath Sarkar, the doyen of Indian historians, had therefore contacted the then Chief of Diggi, the late Thakuran* Sangramsinghji for permission to consult his Thikana records.
Thakuran Sangramsinghji willingly assigned the task of writing this history and made available to him the Archival papers of his Thikana. Dr. Qanungo had completed this task in 1963. Thalmun Sahib had also taken a solemn promise from him that he would not copy the documents or publish them as Dr. Qanungo himself mentions it in his book, Studies in Rajptt History on P. III However, a few months before Th Narainsinghji of Diggi passed away in Feb. 1996, he very kindly entrusted to me the task of editing the typed Mss. and publish it with necessary additional notes.
Dr. Qanungo, on his part, made a thorough study and use of these papers and knitted out a faithful history of the Khangarot House of Diggi. In his work he has impartially dealt with the careers of the Amber rulers and the distinguished nobles who were born in the chiva-lrous Khangarot clan of the Kachhawahas. It is obvious that the members of this clan played a notable role in maintaining the state and the House of the rulers of Amber and Jaipur.
Dr. Qanungo has not hesitated in exposing the perverse and cryptic policy of Emperor Aurangzeb and his Muslim Amirs and grandees who always tried to make a game out of the unflinching devotion of the gallant Rajputs. According to him, Aurangzeb had adopted an intolerant religious policy towards the Hindus and had less concern for law and justice than for maintaining anyhow a "Sharam-i-Chaghtai" (honour of Chaghtais). Dr. Qanungo explicitly explains that the Rajputs were the most reliable element in the Mughal contingents while the Turanis and Khurasanis were clever soldiers and did not throw away their lives easily in an unutterable position. The Rajputs were reckless and deathloving (p. 37).
Dr. Qanungo's comments on Aurangzeb's bigoted outlook, political machinations and perverse values tainted by Islamic ortho doxy are varied and copious, but based on irrefutable historical evidence. Some of these comments will go a long way to check the ignoble attempt being made now to portray Aurangzeb as a secular ruler who was guided by national interests to check fissiparous tendencies which were likely to weaken a strong and stable India. Commenting on his antipathy towards the Rajputs, he writes : "Aurangzeb, always a hard nut to crack, had hardened still more by his antipathy to the Rajput princes who were in his eyes so many citadels of infidelity in a Muslim state." (p. 39).
Dr. Qanungo charges Aurangzeb of ulterior motives in his policy towards Amber. He observes : "Aurangzeb had been since his accession intriguing for the extinction of every Rajput house and the, transformation of Hindustan into a paradize for Islam. Had he succeeded in getting the heir of Ram Singhji in his grip in the South, Amber would have shared the fate of Marwar. In the event of any mishap to Bishan Singhji, Auranzeb would have surely taken the advantage of a disputed succession to Amber Raj by setting the grandsons of Kirat Singh (younger brother of Ram Singhji) against the elder branch of the ruling house." (pp. 40-41).
On Aurangzeb's disgraceful orthodoxy, Dr. Qanungo is quite candid. He writes : "Conversion into Islam (becoming a Musalman) was an easy road for Hindu culprits to escape (from all offences) kept open by the pious Emperor." (p. 52).
Some of his other significant and revealing observations are as under ;-
"The hand of the Waqia Nigar of Agra was cut off for writing that Maharaja Jaswant Singh, like the Sun, shone among the rulers." (p. 61 fn. No. 8).
"It was Aurangzeb's policy with the four Rajput chiefs who still remained loyal to him to slap them on the face with his right hand and pat them on the back with the left simultaneouly for getting more work out of them." (p. 78).
"The Muslim troops could not be sent to a dangerous job without a contingent of Rajputs because the Emperor used to scrutinize closely, in the despatches, the ratio of casualties between the Rajputs and the auxiliary troops of Muslim mansabdars." (p. 81).
"The Raja (Bishen Singhji) received nothing but threat and harsh words from the Emperor." (p. 82).
"Emperor Aurangzeb had his third eye (The Khufia-nawis) upon all scenes to watch the whole affairs pertaining to the Rajput generals in a way that they could never suspect it." (p. 91).
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