to a mythological legend, Ram, during his Vanvas stayed in Dakshin Kosala. Which
is modern day Chhattisgarh. The unbroken history of Chhattisgarh or of South
Kosala can be traced back to fourth century AD and its mythological history
goes back as far back as the Mahabarata and the Ramayana. About the history
of the region the famous historian C.W.Wills writes, 'in the 10th century AD
a powerful Rajput family ruled at Tripuri near Jabalpur, Issuing from this kingdom
of Chedi (also known as Kalchuri dynasty) a scion of the royal house by the
name Kalingraja, settled about the year 1000AD, at Tuman, a site at present
marked only by a few ruins in the north east of the erstwhile Laphazamidari
of The Bilaspur district. His grandson Ratanraja founded Ratanpur Which continued
as the capital of a large part of the country now known as Chhattisgarh. This
Rajput family called themselves the Haihaya dyanasty. This dynasty continued
ruling Chhattisgarh for six centuries about the 14th century it split into parts,
the elder branch continued at Ratanpur, while the younger settled in semi-independent
state at Raipur. At the end of 16th century it acknowledged the suzerainty of
the Mughals, in Bastar, in the middle ages, Chalukya dynasty established its
rule. The first Chalukya ruler was Annmdev, who established the dynasty in Bastar
in 1320 .
The Marathas attacked Chhattisgarh in 1741 and destroyed the Haihaya power.
in 1745 AD after conquering the region, they deposed Raghunathsinghji, the last
surviving member of the Ratanpur house. in 1758, the Maraths finally annexed
Chhattisgarh, it came directly under Maratha rule and Bimbaji Bhonsle, was appointed
the rule. After death of Bimbaji Bhonsle, the Marathas adopted the Suba system.
The Maratha rule was a period of unrest and misrule. There was large-scale loot
and plunder by the Maratha army. The Maratha officials were openly surrendering
the interests of the region to the British. As a result of this, the region
became extremely poor and the people began resenting the Maratha rule. Only
the Gonds continued to resist and challenge the advances of the Marathas and
this led to several conflicts and much animosity between the Gonds and the Marathas
(Captain Blunt, 1975). The Pindaris also attacked and plundered the region in
the beginning of the Nineteenth Century.
1818 Chhattisgarh came under some sort of British control for the first time.
in 1854, when the province of Nagpur lapsed to the British government, Chhattisgarh
was formed into a deputy commissionership with its headquarters at Raipur. Historian
C.W. Wills, writing about Chhattisgarh says, Chhattisgarh presents the remarkable
picture of a Hindu government continuing till modern times outside the sphere
of direct Mohammedancontrol. The British made certain changes in the administrative
and revenue systems of Chhattisgarh, which adversely affected the people of
Chhattisgarh. The intrusion of the British was resisted strongly in Bastar by
the tribals and the Halba rebellion which lasted nearly five year (1774-1779)
was the first documented rebellion against the British and Marathas in Bastar.
The First war of independence in 1857 was spearheaded in Chhattisgarh by Vir
Narain Singh who was a benevolent jamindar of Sonakhan. The British arrested
him in 1856 for looting a trader's grain stocks and distributing it amongst
the poor in a severe famine year. in 1857 with the help of the solders of the
British Army at Raipur, Vir Narain Singh escaped form prison. He reached Sonakhan
and formed an army of 500 men. Under the leadership of Smith, a powerful British
army was dispatched to crush the Sonakhan army. The British succeeded after
a prolonged battle and Vir Narain Singh was arrested and later hanged on the
10th December, 1857. He became the first martyr from Chhattisgarh in the War
of independence. Vir Narain Singh's martyrdom has been resurrected in the 1980's
and he has become a potent symbol of Chhattisgarhi pride.
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