This time some quick copy paste business. Grabbed the entire history of the rulers of Sawantwadi. Sawantwadi, because, it is near to my native place. So here it goes.
AMONG the materials for the early history of the Konkan, the inscriptions that belong specially to Savantvadi and its immediate neighbourhood show that during the sixth, seventh, and eighth centuries, the Chalukyas ruled over Savantvadi. [The Chalukya inscriptions are, the grant of the Kochra village by Pulikesi I., probably about the middle of the sixth century (Bom. Gov. Sel. X., New Series, 233); (2) the grant of the village of Kundivatak by Mangal, the second son of Pulikesi, probably about 580 (Ind. Ant. VII. 163; Bom. Gov. Sel. X. 195); (3) a grant, probably about the beginning of the seventh century, by the Queen Consort of Chandraditya, the elder brother of Vikramaditya I. (Ind. Ant. VII. 163 and VIII, 45, Bom. Gov. Sel. X. 183); (4) a grant dated 705 (S.627), by Vijayaditya, the son of Vinayaditya (Bom. Gov. Sel. X. 206).] In the tenth century (933, S. 855), the rulers were Yadavs. [The inscription is a metal plate grant by the Yadav prince, Govind Raj, of the village of Lohugram in the district of Rampur (Bom. Gov. Sel. X.249). The village and district named have not been identified. According to Jervis konkan, 81), in the twelfth century the Desai of Savantvadi, the most northern of the Paligar chiefs, overran the whole of the Konkan.] In the thirteenth century (1261), the Chalukyas, ruling from Kalyan, were again in power. [Bom. Gov. Sel. X. 250.] At the close of the fourteenth century (1391), Vadi was under an officer of the Vijayanagar dynasty, whose head-quarters were at Goa,[Bom. Gov. Sel. X. 251. The grant was of the village of Kochra within Savant-vadi limits. According to Jervis (Konkan, 63), in 1347, all except the south districts of Phonda, Maneri, Pedna, Dicholi, and Sankhli were nominally under the Behuaris (1347 -1512). The extreme south was under Vijayanagar.] and about the middle of the fifteenth (1436), it formed part of the territory of a powerful local Brahman dynasty. [Ditto, 298. A king of Savantvadi, a very learned Jain, is mixed up with a Belgaum legend (Ind. Ant. IV. 140). The story gives no clue to the probable date.]
Bijapur Rule, 1500-1627.
On the establishment of their power at the close of the fifteenth century, Savantvadi became part of the territory of the Bijapur kings. Under a chief styled the Desal of Kudal, the district was distributed among five divisions, parganas, [The five divisions were, Phonda, Maneri, Pedna, Dicholi, and Sankhli.] two extra divisions, karyats, [The two extra divisions, karyats, were Narur and Patgaon.] one sub-division, vilayat, [The sub-division, vilayat, was Banda.] twelve petty divisions, tarafs, [Of the twelve petty divisions, tarafs, three, Manohar, Talavda, and Mangaon were in Vadi; two, Ajgaon and Santarda in Banda; four, Pit, Haveli, Kalsuli, and Bordav in Kudal; and three, Maland, Varad, and Masura in the territory transferred to the British Government in 1812-13.] and one port. [The port was Venarla.]
Mang Savant, 1554.
About the middle of the sixteenth century (1554), one Mang Savant, revolting from Bijapur, tried to establish himself as an independent chief. Making Hodavda, a small village six miles from Vadi, his head-quarters, Mang Savant defeated the Bijapur troops sent against him, and till his death maintained his independence. So great a name did he gain for courage and skill, that on his death he was deified, and his shrine, math, is still to be seen at Hodavda. Mang’s successors, unable to maintain their independence, again became feudatories of the Bijapur kings
On the decline of Bijapur power in the early years of the seventeenth century (1627), Phond Savant’s son Khem Savant, who held part of the Vadi country in grant, jaghir, made himself independent.
In 1640, Khem was succeeded by his son Som Savant, who, after ruling for eighteen months, was succeeded by his brother Lakham Savant.
This chief, in a predatory incursion, made captive the Kudal Desai, [From this time till in about 1670 they made Vadi their head-quarters, the Savants were styled chiefs of Kudal.] put him to’ death, and seized his lands. [According to the Hindu codes, Brahman murder being a very honour crime, the present ruling family has been, ever since the Kudal Desai’s death, considered obnoxious to the vengeance of the spirit of the murdered Desai. As the Desai’s spirit is particularly excited by the use of the Kudal seal, the Savants have always employed a Brahman to seal their state papers. Bom. Gov. Sel. X. 154.] Shortly after, when Shivaji’s power seemed in the ascendant (1650), Lakham Savant tendered him his allegiance, and was confirmed as Sar Desai of the whole south Konkan. In a second treaty (1659) it was settled that one-half of the revenue should belong to Shivaji and be collected by his agents, and the other half, exclusive of his rights as deshmukh, should remain to Lakham. Under the terms of this treaty Lakham became bound to garrison the forts and to keep a body of 3000 infantry ready for service. Repenting of this alliance and not abiding by the terms of the treaty, [Grant Duff, 75, 76.] Lakham renewed his allegiance to Bijapur. In May 1660, Baji Phasalkar, one of Shivaji’s earliest followers, fought a drawn battle with the Vadi commander Kay Savant, in which both were slain. [Grant Duff, 81.] In 1662, Shivaji defeated Lakham’s army, overran Vadi, and forced the chief to throw himself on his mercy. [Grant Duff, 84.] From political and family motives, for the Savants like himself belonged to the Bhonsla family, Shivaji reinstated Lakham under promise that he would always live at Kudal, neither build nor repair forts, and entertain no large body of troops.
Dying in 1665, Lakham was succeeded by his brother Phond Savant, who, after ruling for ten years, was (1675) succeeded by his son Khem Savant. This chief by helping the Moghals in their struggles with Shivaji, and making frequent raids across the Goa frontier, considerably increased his territory. Afterwards (1707), supporting Shivaji’s grandson Shahu in his contest with the Kolhapur chief, he was continued in his possessions. About this time he is described as a soldier of fortune, with 7000 or 8000 men and two pirate grabs, fighting for the chief who paid him best. [Hamilton’s New Account, I. 208.]
Dying in 1709 without male issue, Khem was succeeded by his nephew Phond Savant. Though a lover of peace Phond Savant’s rule was much disturbed by land wars with Kolhapur and Goa, and by sea fights with Angria.
British. Treaty, 1730.
In 1730, so much did their commerce suffer from Angria’s attacks, that the British Government formed an offensive and defensive alliance with the Savants. [He is styled Ponde Saunt Sar Desai of Kudal. Aitchison’s Treaties, IV. 439.] They agreed that neither should attack the ships of the other; that British weeks should receive all aid and assistance; that their ports should be open and free to each other for trade; that they should join to attack the sons of Kanhoji Angria; and that the British should supply the Sar Desai with warlike stores and artillery. [The treaty is given in full in Aitchison’s Treaties, IV, 439-440.] About this time (1730), Nag Savant, Phond Savant’s second son, taking the Hera and Chandgad [The Chandgad district was afterwards lost.] districts above the Sahyadris, established a post at Chandgad, and built the fort of Gandharvagad. Phond Savant’s latter years were full of troubles. His eldest son Nar Savant rebelled and was slain in a skirmish. And so keenly did Phond Savant feel his son’s death, that appointing his young grandson Ramchandra Savant his heir, he retired into private life and died in 1737.
During Ramchandra’s minority, the state was managed by his uncle Jayram Savant, a man of great strength and courage.
Jayram Regent, 1737-1753.
In spite of his good equalities, Jayram Savant’s management was at first unsuccessful. Angria took Bhagvantgad and Bharatgad, crossed the Kudal river, defeated him at Bambardi, captured Shivram Savant his brother, and compelled the Vadi state to cede two-fifths of the Salshi revenue. At the same time the Portuguese seized five of the southern districts, together with the fort of Yashvantgad. Jayram’s reverses did not last long. In 1745 the five districts were recovered, and for a time Bardes also was taken. Three years later (1748), Tulaji Angria was defeated with heavy loss at Kudal,[In remembrance of this victory his state kettledrum, nobat, is still beaten in the palace at Vadi.] pursued as far as Sangva near Ratnagiri, and his country laid waste. Bharatgad and the districts between the Kudal and the Garnar rivers were recovered, and a third raid of Angria’s was successfully beaten off. Shortly after, Jayram quarrelled with his nephew, and retiring in disgust to Kudal, died there in 1753.
Two years later (1755), his nephew Ramchandra died, and was succeeded by his son Khem Savant the Great. In 1763, Khem married Lakshmibai, daughter of Jayaji Sindia and half sister of Mahadaji Sindia, and through their influence received from the Emperor of Delhi the title of Raje Bahadur. [According to Grant Duff (40), the Savants got this title from the Bijapur kings, in whose wars against the Portuguese they distinguished themselves as command era of infantry.] About this time British commerce suffered severely from the attacks of Vadi and Kolhapur pirates.
British Treaty 1765.
In 1765 (7th April), an expedition under Major Gordon and Captain Watson of the Bombay Marine, captured the fort of Yashvantgad or Redi, and changed its name to Fort Augustus. Khem Savant, ‘the Bhonsla,’ agreed, on receiving back Redi fort, to cede the lands between the Karli and Salshi rivers, from the sea to the Sahyadris; to pay £10,000 (Rs. 1,00,000) for war expenses; to let British merchants pass freely; to keep no navy; and in the event of a war with the Marathas, to help the British. [Aitchison’s Treaties, IV. 440.] This treaty was broken almost as soon as it was signed, and next year (1766) the Bombay Government sent Mr. Mostyn to make a fresh settlement. A second treaty was concluded, which, among other terms, bound the chief to furnish two hostages, and to cede the fort of Vengurla to the British for thirteen years, or during such further time as the war indemnity amounting to £20,000 (Rs. 2,00,000) remained unpaid. [Aitchison’s Treaties, IV. 443.] Soon after the treaty was concluded the hostages escaped; and the Vadi chief successfully frustrated all attempts to collect the Vengurla revenue. In 1780, at the end of the thirteen years, the Vadi government demanded Vengurla, and on its being refused, the fort was attacked and taken. Two years before (1778), the Kolhapur chief, envious of Khem Savant’s honours and independence, overran the state; captured the fort of Gandharvagad; and forced from Khem Savant the cession of one-third of the Maland and Varad revenue, and of a fixed yearly sum from Pat and Haveli. Shortly after (1783), through the influence of Sindia, the Delhi Emperor granted the Vadi chief the peacock’s feather, the symbol of independence. Enraged at this further advancement, the Kolhapur chief sending an army against Vadi, assaulted, but failed to take the post of Akeri.
War with Kolhapur, 1776-1787.
Three years later (1787), another attack from Kolhapur was more successful. The forts of Narsinggad, Nivti, and Vengurla fell, and to save it, Sidhgad had to be made over to Madhavrav Peshwa. Getting help from the Portuguese, for which he had to pay by the cession of the Phonda district, Khem Savant drove back the Kolhapur troops, and recovered Nivti and Vengurla. In 1793, the Peshwa restored Sidhgad, and about the same time, through Sindia’s influence, Kolhapur gave back the fort of Bharatgad. Further reverses were in store for Khem Savant.
The Portuguese, 1803.
In 1803, the Portuguese overran and permanently annexed the districts of Dicholi, Sankli, Pedna, and Phonda. On Khem Savant’s death in 1803, as he left no male heir, [Grant Duff (244) says that he had only one son by his third wife Devibai.] the succession was disputed by his two cousins, Som and Shriram Savant. Open hostilities went on for about a year, when (1804) Som Savant and all his sons, except Phond Savant, were blockaded at Vadi, and the fort catching fire, perished in the flames. Phond Savant, the surviving son, unable to cope with Shriram Savant, retired to Kolhapur. Here he was treated with much respect, and with the help of a body of Kolhapur troops, seized the town of Kudal and laid the country waste. On this the regent Lakshmibai, one of Khem Savant’s widows, agreed that Phond Savant should return to Vadi and be restored restored to his father’s rights. On his return Phond Savant had so much influence with Lakshmibai, that Shriram Savant, after securing Hanmantgad and Banda for his two illegitimate sons, was forced to leave Vadi. Two years later (1805), defeating a joint attack by Phond Savant and Durgabai, Shriram Savant entered Vadi in triumph, imprisoned his opponents, and forced Lakshmibai to adopt his son Ramchandra as chief. Shriram Savant died in 1806.
After his death the Kolhapur chief, seeing the distracted state of Vadi, attacked and carried the forts of Bharatgad and Nivti, and established the port of Nandugad. In 1807, Phond Savant, who, since 1805, had taken refuge at Kudal, returned to Vadi. The government directed by Ramchandrarav, Durgabai’s brother, carried on incursions to the gates of Malvan, laid in ashes the village at the Malvan pass, and recovered the forts of Yashvantgad and Nivti. To repel these depredations the Kolhapur chief took the field in person, defeated the Vadi army at Chaukuli, and blockaded the capital. In 1808, the Vadi government called in the aid of Appa Desai Nepanikar, who sent a force to raise the siege of Vadi, and by invading Kolhapur, forced the chief to retire. On his withdrawal, the Nepani general took possession of the whole Vadi territory, placed Lakshimibai and her adopted son under surveillance, and took the forts of Yashvantgad, Vengurla, and Nivti. Still Phond Savant by no means gave up hopes of recovering his power.
Conspiring with Lakshmibai and Durgabai, he procured the murder of the young chief, and shortly after, by ill-treatment, caused the death of Lakshmibai, and rejecting Durgabai’s claims to be regent, attacked and defeated the Nepani army, and established himself as ruler. During these years of disorder the Vadi ports again swarmed with pirates. So severely did British commerce suffer, that in 1812 (October 3), Phond Savant was forced to enter-into a treaty, ceding Vengurla fort to the British and engaging to give up all his vessels of war. [Supplementary articles, absolutely ceding Redi and Nivti, abstaining from hostilities with other states, and submitting all disputes to the arbitration of the British Government, which in return guaranteed the chief’s possessions against all foreign powers, were intended to be inserted. But as these terms were thought to interfere with the Peshwa’s authority over Vadi, they were abandoned. Aitchison’s Treaties, IV. 436, 447.]
Soon after the conclusion of this treaty, Phond Savant died and as his son Khem Savant or Bapu Saheb was a minor, Durgabai was appointed regent.
Durgabai Regent, 1812-1819.
In 1813, Durgabai seized the forts of Bharatgad and Narsinggad, which some few years before had been wrested from Vadi by Kolhapur. The British had, meanwhile, guaranteed to defend Kolhapur territory against all attacks, and as Durgabai obstinately refused to give up the forts, a British force under Colonel Dowse recaptured them and restored them to Kolhapur. In consequence of Durgabai’s refusal to cede the Kolhapur forts and to exchange some districts north of the Kudal river for the lands. held by the British south of that river, war was declared and the districts of Varad and Maland seized. At this time the widow of Shriram Savant caused fresh troubles by putting forward a person who claimed to be Ramchandra Savant, who, she alleged, had not been murdered in 1807. Her cause found many supporters who moved about the country plundering on their own account. Such mischief did they do that many of the people, leaving their homes, sought safety in British and Portuguese territory. [Hamilton’s Des. of Hindustan, II. 21.] Durgabai, now brought to great straits, offered to adjust all causes of quarrel, if the British Government would interfere on her behalf. Her proposals were declined. But even without British help her party were again successful, and order was for a time restored. In 1817, in consequence of a Portuguese raid into Usap, the Portuguese fort of Tirakol was plundered. In revenge the Portuguese attacked Redi, but after a fruitless siege of twenty-seven days, were forced to withdraw. About this time the Vadi nobles who held the forts of Banda, Nivti, and Redi, became unmanageable, set the chief’s authority at naught and plundered in all directions, including the surrounding British territories.
British Treaty, 1819.
During the final British war with the Peshwa (1817), Durgabai threatened to invade British territory, and tried her best to aid the Peshwa’s cause. Even after the Peshwa’s overthrow her raids into British territory did not cease. War against Savantvadi could be put off no longer, and in 1819, a British force, under Sir W. Grant Keir, took the forts of Yashvantgad and Nivti. At this time Durgabai died, and the regency was divided between the two surviving widows of Khem Savant III. The new regents gladly accepted the British terms. A treaty was concluded in which the British promised to protect Savantvadi, and the regency acknowledged British supremacy, agreed to abstain from political intercourse with other states, to deliver to the British Government persons guilty of offences in British territory, to cede the whole line of sea coast from the Karli river to Portuguese boundaries, and to receive British troops into Savantvadi. [Aitchison’s Treaties, IV. 436, 448.]
In 1820, Captain Hutchison was appointed Political Agent, and except Redi and Nivti, the whole district ceded in 1815 was restored to Vadi. [Aitchison’s Treaties, IV. 450.] In the same year the Political Agent settled a dispute with Kolhapur about the Manohar division, deciding that ownership vested in the Vadi chief, and fixing the Kolhapur claims to share in the revenue. [Aitchison’s Treaties, IV. 451, 455.] In the latter part of 1820, the Agency was transferred to the Ratnagiri Judge, from whom, in 1822, it went to the Collector. In 1822, it was settled that the Kolhapur chief, instead of making collections from different parts of the state, should receive a yearly sum of £783 (Rs. 7830). In 1822, the regency was abolished and Khem Savant was installed. He soon showed himself weak and incompetent, unable to check, his turbulent followers or fulfil his engagements with Kolhapur.
British Aid, 1830.
In 1830, and again in 1832, a British force had to be called in to put down rebellions caused by the chief’s oppression and injustice. On the second occasion, Khem Savant was required to execute a treaty by which he bound himself not to remove his minister without the sanction of the British Government; to adopt such measures of reform as the British Government might approve; and to pay the cost of any troops required for the settlement of his affairs. [Aitchison’ Treaties, IV. 437, 455.] Even with British help, Khem Savant was unable to keep order. His nobles were practically independent, and in 1836, broke into a revolt to put down which British troops had again to be called in. In this year (1836) the customs leviable on the military road from Vengurla to the Ram pass were transferred to the British, and two years later (1838) transit duties were abolished and the whole of the Vadi customs made the property of the British Government. Meanwhile Khem Savant’s affairs went; from bad to worse. His carelessness and misrule provoked another outbreak. The British were called in, and deposing Khem Savant, took the management of the state into their own hands. [Aitchison’s Treaties, IV. 456, 458.]
British Management, 1838.
A Political Superintendent was appointed and a military force known as the Savantvadi Local Corps, under the command of British officers and maintained at the expense of the state, was organized. The turbulent nobles several times rebelled. In 1839, some malcontent state servants, losers by reductions in public expenditure, went to Goa, and from Goa twice invaded Vadi. succeeding on one occasion in surprising Vadi fort and carrying off the chief and his family. These disturbances were soon repressed, and order was established, grievances redressed, and public expenditure curtailed. So successful was the management that before long the British troops were entirely withdrawn.
Order and progress lasted for a few years only. In 1844, the Political Superintendent heard from Belgaum that a serious disturbance had broken out in Kolhapur. Measures were taken to prevent the insurgents from tampering with Vadi malcontents, and to watch the people of Manohar fort who were suspected of being ready to join the disturbance. In spite of these precautions, the people of Manohar openly espoused the rebel cause, made raids into the country round, burnt houses and villages, and. had a skirmish with the Savantvadi Local Corps. A detachment under Major Benbow, sent against the insurgents at Manohar, was threatened on all sides by a large body of rebels. The enemy’s strength increased; the insurgents attacked the village of Dukanvadi, carried off a large quantity of grain, and threatened the people with violence. As disorder was now widespread, help was sought from Lieutenant-Colonel Outram, then on special duty at Kolhapur, and a detachment of four companies of the Xth Regiment N. I. was sent to Vadi. They were met by a body of insurgents in the Akeri pass, and after a few days’ skirmishing, succeeded in driving them out. [Service Record of Xth Regt. N. I. 13.] Phond Savant, one of the leading nobles, a man highly respected by the British Government, with his eight sons, joined the rebel cause. His example was followed by Anna Saheb the heir apparent, who, joining the rebel camp under a salute of guns, began to issue orders, and in spite of the efforts of the British officers, succeeded in collecting revenue from the villages round. [The secret cause of Anna Saheb’s joining the rebels was Jankibai, youngest wife of Phond Savant. Her object was to get Anna Saheb to commit himself, and thus clear the way for her son’s succession to the chiefship.] Emboldened by their success, the rebels marched against the capital but were soon dispersed. They next tried, but without success, to win over the native officers of the Tenth Regiment. So far the efforts to put down the revolt had failed. In 1845, the whole country was in disorder, even close to military forts there was no security of person or property.
The wild wooded character of the country made the arrest of offenders most difficult. Martial law was proclaimed, and three strong detachments, one of them under Colonel Outram, were stationed in different parts of the district. In spite of these vigorous measures, the insurrection for a time made head. In Malvan, Subhana Nikam, a notorious leader, escaping from Belgaum, raised a revolt; in the north, Daji Lakshman, a personal servant of Anna Saheb’s, headed a party of insurgents, collected the rents, and sent emissaries to realise the revenue even in the British districts of Varad and Pendur; and in the east, on the Ram pass road, one Har Savant Dingnekar, heading the discontented Desais of Usap and Havelkar, threatened the Bhedshi outpost. These successes did not last long. Near Rangna fort a detachment of troops surprised and routed a body of insurgents; at Patia the rebels met with another severe reverse; and Colonel Outram, attacking and taking Manohar fort, closely pursued the insurgents into Portuguese territory. The spirit of the revolt was broken. The common people, on promise of pardon, deserted in numbers and returned to their homes, and the leaders sought safety within Portuguese limits. Several applications were made to the Goa government to prevent the rebels from taking shelter in their territory. But the government refused to give them up. At last, in 1847, ninety-two of the fugitives joined in petitioning the Bombay Government, to grant them a pardon and allow them to return to their homes. In 1848, on the recommendation of the Political Superintendent, about forty-five of the rebels, among them Anna Saheb, the Usap and Havelkar Desais, and four sons and a grandson of Phond Savant were, on furnishing good conduct security, allowed to return. All Anna Saheb’s claims on the Vadi state were declared forfeited. He was settled at Vadi with a monthly pension of £10 (Rs. 100), and shortly after the sons and grandson of Phond Savant were each allowed a monthly pittance of 10s. (Rs. 5).
In 1850, when order was restored, the Court of Directors decided that though the conduct of the Vadi chief justified the British Government in annexing his dominions, he and his family should be supported by a fixed allowance, and that for a time the management should remain in British hands. During the Mutinies (1857),the chief and his son, Phond Savant or Anna Saheb, showed themselves loyal to the British Government. But the rebel noble Phond Savant and those of his sons who were not included in the amnesty, and who were in Goa under surveillance, caused disturbances all along the forest country from Savantvadi to Kanara. They attacked several of the Belgaum villages and burnt custom houses.
In 1861, on condition of paying £55,000 (Rs. 5,50,000), the charges of the 1844 revolt, [In 1862, the debt amounting to about £55,000 (Rs. 5,50,000), was paid off.] and a succession fee of one year’s revenue, and of promising to protect his subjects and meet the expense of a British Resident and his establishment, Phond Savant or Anna Saheb was pardoned and recognised as heir.
In 1867, on the death of his father, Phond Savant succeeded. [The prescribed present, nazarana, was levied from him.] His feeble character and fondness for opium made it unsafe to trust him with power. To prevent mismangement, he was required to accept the scheme of administration introduced by the British Government, to refrain, except with the previous sanction of the paramount power, from making any organic changes, and to submit for approval the name of any one whom he wished to appoint minister.
In 1869, before these terms were formally concluded, Phond Savant died, leaving the present chief Raghunath Savant a child six years old. During his minority the administration has been in the hands of the British Government. In 1877, the young chief, who had before been studying with the Kolhapur Raja, was sent to the Rajkumar College at Rajkot. In the same year (1877), Savantvadi was included among the minor states of the Bombay Presidency that were placed under the control of the Commissioner of the Southern Division. The appointment of a judicial assistant was made permanent, and the post of native assistant, daftardar, was abolished and his duties transferred to a minister, karbhari, whose office was revived. In 1878, the young Sar Desai received in full Darbar the Delhi banner sent by the Viceroy in commemoration of the assumption of the title of Empress of India. In 1879, he was married to the daughter of the late Khanderav Gaikwar of Baroda.
The chief, a Hindu of the Maratha caste, is entitled to a salute of nine guns. The family have a patent allowing adoption, and in point of succession follow the rule of primogeniture. Besides an infantry corps 436 strong, he maintains three guns and twenty horsemen.