Roh Desh and the Yadavas

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4. Roh Desh and the Yadavas:


                In remote ages the various communities from the Caspian Sea to the Ganges were members of grand family having a common language and common Faith. A study of the Puranas and Manu Sahinta affords abundant evidence of an intimate intercourse between the countries from the Oxus to the Ganges. But as time passed on the people living in Sacadhpur, though akin in race and culture to those in India, became known as Mlechhas or Barbarians, because they ceased to recognize Brahims. To this land beyond India migrated the Yadu tribe of Shri Krishna. A Prince by the name Raj was born in this clan, and his son Gaj rose to be a powerful and famous warrior. It was he who erected a fort and called if Gajni. Soon after, however, he met a defeat at the hands of the Kings of Khorasan.


              This Raja Gaj had a son of remarkable ablity. He left Afghanistan and came to Punjab where he laid the foundation of a city which he called after his name as Salbahanpur. He conquered the Punjab. Salbahan had fifteen sons, all of whom rose to be mighty warriors and extended the sway of their clan. Salbahan took revenge of defeat Jallal. He appointed his son Balunda as Viceroy of Gujni and returned to Punjab where he breathed his last soon after. Balund succeeded his father to the throne. Danger from the Turks, however, soon loomed large and lands round about Gujni fell into Muslim hands once again.


              Balund had seven sons, of whom Bhupat had a son named Chakito, whose desendants formed into a tribe known after him as “Chakito” (or Chagitai). Chakito was the viceroy of Gujni and married the daughter of a Muslim from the Uzbeek race and also embranced Islam . He then become the master of Balkh to the Punjab. From him also descended the tribe known as Chakito Moghuls. The descendants of another son of Balund increased in number , but all of them become Muslims. Colonel  Tod in a foot note in his history states that some of the Afghan tribes are not the descendants of Joesph. The great division of the Afgahans called Euzofze (or the sons of Joseph), whose original home was Kabul and Gazni, retain the name of Jadon, the vulgar Yadu. They still occupya position in the hill tracts easr of the Indus which had been conquerd by the sons of Blund.

              The Rohilla Afghans who entered India in the Seventeenth Century and after, were mostly from the Eusafzai tribe. The Rohilla Rajputs have also calim to belong to Yadavcln, and originally came from Afghanistan or Roh Desh.


Ghazni and the rule of the Surya vanshi Kshtriyas and Bappa Rawal:


               Maha Padma Nanda of Magadha was a great military genius. He waged war against the Kshatriya familes od old and exterminated the rule of Akshvaks and forcing the Surya Princes Kanak Sen to migrate into the Punjab, where, he founded Loh Kot which lateron came to be known as Lahore. Some time afterwards  Kanak Sen migrated to Birnagar in Sauarstra  and set up as small kingdom. This event happened in A.D.144. Four generationslater Vijapur was founede. Kanak Sen and his descendants, however. Could not acquire sovereignty. They appeared to have been Senapatis or sub-lords under the Guptas. After the fall of the Guptas, these princes made themselves independent, but for some time to come they continued to call themseveles Senapatis. Sen I

           Then arose one prince Goha Sen (539-569) . A desecendant of this Prince was Druha Sen II., who was a contemporary of Harsha and who had been subduled by him. But Harsha allowed him to retain his kingdom and gave away his daughter to him in marriage.


            Years rolled on and the descendants of Kanak Sen continued to rule Vallabhipur and it was in the year 766 that its last ruler Sitaditya was on the throne. Colonel Tod, on the authority of the bardic traditions, regards Guha as the founder of the Gehlot clan of the Rajputs. But Dr. Majumdhar places him in the second half of the 6th Century A.D.


             In this famous dynasty was also born that great warrior known by the name Bapa Rawal, who played a prominent and heroic role in saving Chitor and stemming the tide of muslim advance in India. Bapa was the son of Naga Dil, who had lost his life at the hands of a Bhil (nomed tribe), when Bapa was only three years old. The early life of Bapa was full of troubles. He was surrounded by enemeies and it was only through the wisdom and motherly care of Brahim woman that he could survive. Later, a Bhil took charge of him and brought him up. It is perhaps better to quote her what Colonel Tod says about this in his “Annals of Rajasthan” Volume 1: pages 182-3.:-


               “Tradition has preserved numerous details of Bappa’s (Bappa is not a proper name, it signifies merely a child. He is frequently styled “syeel”, and in inscriptions “Syeel Ahdes”, ‘the mountain lord’) infancy, which resembles the adventures of every hero or founder of a race. The young prince attended the sacred kine, an occupation which was honourable even to the ‘children of the Sun; and which they still pursue: possibly a remnant of their “primitive Scythic habits”. The pranks of the royals heperd are the theme of many a tale. On the JUDJHOOLNI, when swinging is the amusement of the youth of both sexes, the daughter of the Solanki chief Nagda and the village maidens had gone to the groves to enjoy this festivity, but they were unprovided with ropes. Bappa happened to be at hand, and was called by the Rajpoot damsels to forward their support.


                 He promises to procure a rope if they would first have a game at marriage. One frolic was as good as another, and the scarf of the Solanki was united to the garments of Bappa, the whole of the village lassies joining hands with his as the connecting link, and thus they performed the mystical number of revolutions round an aged tree. This frolic caused his flight from Nagda, and originated his greatness, but at the same time burdened him with all these damsels, and hence a hererogenous issue, whose descendants still ascribe their origin to the prank of Bappa round the old mangotree of Nagda.”


             “A suitable offer being shortly after made for the young Solankini’s hand, the family priest of the bridegroom whose duty it was, by his knowledge of palmistry, to investigate the fortunes of the bride, discovered that she was already married : intelligence which threw the family into the greatest consternation. Thought Bappa’s power over his brother shepherds was too strong to create any dread of disclosure as to his being the principal in this affair, yet was it “ too much to except that a secret, in which no less than six hundred of the daughters of Eve were concerned, could remain such ? Bappa’s mode of swearing his companions to secrecy is preserved……. The Solanki chief, however, heard that Bappa was the offender, who, reciveing from his faithful scouts intimation of his danger, sought refuge in one of the retreats which abound in these mountains, and which in aftertimes proved the preservation of his race. The companions of his flight were two Bhils: one of Oondree in the valley of the present capital, the other of Solanki descent, from Oguna Panora, in the western wilds. Their names, Baleo and Dewa, have been handed down with Bappas: and the former had the honour of drawing the teeka of soverignity with his own blood on the forehead of the prince, on the occasion of his taking the crown from the Mori.”


               “It is pleasing to trace, through a series of age, the knowledge of a custom still ‘honoured in the observance’ The descendants of Baleo of Oguna and the Oondree Bhil still claim the privileage of performing the teeka on the inauguration of the descendants of Bappa.”


                Colonel Tod further states on page184 of the history :-

                 “Bappa, who was the founder of a line of a ‘hundred kings’, feared as a monarch, adored as more than mortal, and, according to the legend, ‘still living (Chenjiva)’, deserves to have “the source of his preeminent fortune disclosed, which, in Marwar, it were sacrilege to doubt. While he pastured the sacred kine in the valleys of Nagindra, the princely shepherd was suspected of appropriating the milk of a favourite cow to his own use. He was distrusted and watched, and although indignant, the youth admitted that they had reason to suspect him, from the habitual dryness of the brown cow when she entered the pens at even-(Gaodaluk, the time when the cows come home). He watched and traced her to a narrow dell, when he beheld the udder spontaneously pouring its stores amidst the shrubs. Under a thicket of cane a hermit was reponsing in a state of abstraction, from which the impetuosity of the shepherd soon roused him. The mystery was reealed in the phallic symbol of the ‘great God’, which daily received the lacteal shower, and raised such doubts of the veracity of Bappa………


            “Bappa related to the sage all knew of himself, receiveing his blessings, and retired: but he went daily to visit him, to wash his feet, carry milk to him, and gather such wild flowers as were acceptable offerings to the deity. In return he received lessons of maorality, and was initiated into the mysterious rites of Siva: and at length he was invested with the triple cordon of faith (teen puwa zinar) by  the hands of the sage, who became his spiritual guide and bestowed on his pupil the title of “Regent (Dewan) of Ekitnga.”……..he (Bappa) met with another hermit in the forest of the Tiger Mount, the famed Goruknath, who presented to him the doubleedged sword, which, with the proper incantation, could ‘sever rocks.’ With this he opened the road to fortune leading to the throne of Chetore.”


              “Chetore was at this period held by the Mori prince of the pramar race, the ancient lords of Malwa, then paramount sovereigns of Hindustan: but whether this city was then the chief  seat of power is not known. Various public works, reservoirs, and bastions, yet retain the name of this race.”


               “Bappa’s connection with Mori Bappa’s mother was a pramar, probably from Aboo or Chandrawati, near to Edur; and consequently Bappa was nephew of every pramar in existenceobtained him a good reception; he was enrolled amongst thesamunts or leaders, and suitable estate conferred upon him. The inscription of the Mori prince’s reign, so often alluded to, affords a good idea of his power, and of the feudal manners of his court. He was surrounded by a numerous nobility, holding estates on the tenture of military service, but whom he had disgusted by his neglect, and whose jealousy he had provoked by the superior regard shown to Bappa. A foreign foe appearing at this time, instead of obeying the summons to attend, they threw up their grants, and tauntingly desired him to call on his favourite.”


             “Bappa undertook the conduct of the war, and the chiefs, though dispossessed of their estates, accompanied him from a feeling of shame. The foe was defeated and driven out of the country; but instead of returning to Cheetore, Bappa continued his course to the ancient seat of his family, Gajni, expelled the ‘barbarian’ calledSelim, placed on the throne a chief of the Chawura tribe and returned with the discontended nobles. Bappa, on this occasion, is said to have married the daughter  of his enemy, The nobles quitted Cheetore, leaving their defiance with their prince. In vain were the spiritual preceptor (Gooru) and fosterbrother (Dabhe) sent as ambassadors; their only reply was that as they had ‘eaten his salt’, they would forbear their vengeance for twelve months, The noble department of Bappa won their esteem, and they transferred to him their service and homage. With the temptation of a crown, the gratitude of the Grohilote was given to the winds. On return they assaulted and carried Cheetore, and in the words of chronicle, “Bappa took Cheetore from the Mori and became himself the Mor (Crown) of the land”. He obtained by universal consent the title of  “Sun of the Hindus (Hindua Sooraj), preceptor of princes (Raj Gooru), and universal lord (Chukwa).”


              “He had a numerous progency, some of whom returned to their ancient seats in Saurastra, whose descendants were powerful chieftains in that tract so late as Akbar’s reign. Five sons went to Marwar and the ancient Gohils ‘of the land of Kheir’, expelled and driven to Gohilwal, have lost sight of their ancestry and by a singular fatality are in possession of the wreck of “Balabhipoora, ignortant of its history and their connection with it, mixing with Arabs and following marine and mercantile pursuits; and office of the bard having fallen into disrepute, they cannot trace their forefathers beyond kheirdhur.”


                 “The close of Bappa’s career is the strangest part of the legend and which it might be expected they would be solititos to suppress. Advanced in years, he abdoned his children and his country, carried his arms west to Korasan, and there established himself and married new wives from among the ‘barbarians’ by whom he had numerous offspring.”


                 Bappa had reached the patriarchal age of one hundred when he died. An old volume of historical anecdotes, belonging to the chief of Dailwara, states that he became an ascetic at the foot of Meru, where he was buried alive after having overcome all the kings of west, as in Ispahan, Kandahar, Kashmere, Irak, Iran, Tooran, and Cafferisthan; all of whose daughters he married, and by whom he had one hundred and thirty sons, called the Nosheyra Pathans. Each of these founded a tribe, bearing the name of the mother. His hindu children were ninetyeight in number, and were called Agnioopasi Sooryavansi, or ‘sunborn fireworshippers’. The chronicles also record that (in like manner as did the subject of the Bactrian king Menander, though from a different motive) the subjects of  Bappa quarreled for the disposal of his remains. The Hindu wished the “fire to consume them; the barbarian to commit them to earth; but on raising the pall while the dispute was raging, innumerable flowers of the lotus were found in the place of the remains of morality. These were conveyed and planted in the lake. This is precisely what is related of te end of the Persian Noshirwan.”


                 In connection with the death of Bappa in the land of the Muslims, Colonel Tod in a footnote on page 186 of his history states: “The reigning prince told the author that there was no doubt of Bappa having ended his days among ‘the Toorks’: a term now applied to all Mahomedans by the Hindu, but at that time confined to the inhabitants of Toorushka of the Poorans, and the Takshac of early inscriptions,”


                 From this account we may conclude :-

(i)                                    That Bappa and his ancestors had a dominion over Ghazni;

(ii)                                  That Bappa had conquered Afghanistan and other lands;

(iii)                                 That Bappa had with him his Hindu children who accompanied him in that expedition; and

(iv)                                That in Ghazni his descendants grew in number and were challenged by Muslims about the manner in which his body was to be disposed of when he was dead.


Rai Bhim Raj in his work “Rohilla Kshatriya Jati Nirnaya” states that Bappa had numerous children and also makesa mention of sixteen from whom sprang up sixteen Gotras found among the Rohilla Rajputs such as Gaddon Nachharak, Sanamar, Sanoeh, Sanadh, Sanjha, Vanshut, Tatwal, Kupat, Musal, Newal, Charakhwal, Nepali, Pataliya, Garg, Panisuff and Pichhar. It was nowhere been stated by Bhim Raj, however, that Bappa had been accompanied by any one of these sixteen sons of Afghanistan when he invaded that country. But it may be assumed that the great hero did have with him some of these sixteen sons along with others whose number Colonel Tod has stated as ninetyeight, and some of whom must must have quarreled with the Muslims over the disposal of his remains after his death referred to in the previous paragraph.


Moreover , some of the Rollia  Rajputs also claim that their forefathers were from amongst the Gelhlots of Ghazni who had returned to India to assist their kinsman, the heroic Khuman Rawal, when  his territory of Chitor was invaded by Almamum, the son of Harun-Rashid.


In this connection we quote Colonal Tod again, who states at page 202 of his history: “Let us now proceed to nexterruption of the Islamite invaders in the region of khoman from A.D. 812-836. Though this leader of this attack is styled ‘Mahmood Khorasan Put’ it is evident from the catalogue of Hindu Princes who came to defend Chitor, tha t is ‘Lord of Khorasan’ was atleast two centuries before the son of subaktagin; and as the period is in perfect accord with the partition of the Caliphat by Haroon amongst his sons, we can have no hestitation in assigning such invasion to Mohmood, to whose share was allotted Khorasan, Shind and the Indian dependencies.”


Colonel Tod further states that the names of the clans which had come to the rescue of Khuman against the Muslim invader. “Gehlodes arrived from Ghazni or Gajni, The tanks of Asir, the Chohans of Nador, Chalukyas from Reshgarh and other tribes to the rescue of Chitor.”


The above clearly establishes the fact that for the defence of Chitor had come the Tanks of Asirgarh and Gehlots of Ghazni. The Gehlots referred to could not have been other than the descendants of Bappa, who had settled down in Afghanistan;  and a tradition among some Rohilla Families still persists that the Gehlots of Ghazni were lede by Kupat Rawal, a military leader, whose exploits against the Muslims made hm so renowned at the time that the clan named after him as Karpat came to be counted among the thirtysix royal houses.