Rajput: Haihaya, Haihaivansi, Kalachuri

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From The Tribes And Castes Of The Central Provinces Of India

By R. V. Russell

Of The Indian Civil Service

Superintendent Of Ethnography, Central Provinces

Assisted By Rai Bahadur Hira Lal, Extra Assistant Commissioner

Macmillan And Co., Limited, London, 1916.

NOTE 1: The 'Central Provinces' have since been renamed Madhya Pradesh.

NOTE 2: While reading please keep in mind that all articles in this series have been scanned from a book. During scanning some errors are bound to occur. Some letters get garbled. Footnotes get inserted into the main text of the article, interrupting the flow. Readers who spot errors might like to correct them, and shift footnotes gone astray to their rightful place.

Rajput: Haihaya, Haihaivansi, Kalachuri

This wellknown historical clan of the Central Provinces is not included among the thirty-six royal races, and Colonel Tod gives no information about them. The name Haihaya is stated to be a corruption of Ahihaya, which means snakehorse, the legend being that the first ancestor of the clan was the issue of a snake and a mare. Haihaivansi signifies descendants of the horse. Colonel Tod states that the first capital of the Indu or lunar race was at Mahesvati on the Nerbudda, still existing as Maheshwar, and was founded by Sahasra Arjuna of the Haihaya tribe.^ This Arjuna of the thousand arms was one of the Pandava brothers, and it may be noted that the Ratanpur Haihaivansis still have a story of their first ancestor stealing a horse from Arjuna, and a consequent visit of Arjuna and Krishna to Ratanpur for its recovery.

Since the Haihayas also claim descent from a snake and are of the lunar race, it seems not unlikely that they may have belonged to one of the Scythian or Tartar tribes, the Sakas or Yueh-chi, who invaded India shortly after the commencement of the Christian era, as it has been conjectured that the other lunar Rajput clans worshipping or claiming descent from a snake originated from these tribes. The Haihaivansis or Kalachuris became dominant in the Nerbudda valley about the sixth century, their earliest 1 Rajasthdn, i. p. 36.

inscription being dated A.D. 580. Their capital was moved to Tripura or Tewar near Jubbulporc about A.D. 900, and from here they appear to have governed an extensive territory for about 300 years, and were frequently engaged in war with the adjoining kingdoms, the Chandels of Mahoba, the Panwars of Malwa, and the Chalukyas of the south. One king, Gangeyadeva, appears even to have aspired to become the paramount power in northern India, and his sovereignty was recognised in distant Tirhut.

Gangeyadeva was fond of residing at the foot of the holy fig-tree of Prayaga (Allahabad), and eventually found salvation there with his hundred wives. P^rom about A.D. i 100 the power of the Kalachuri or Haihaya princes began to decline, and their last inscription is dated A.D. 11 96. It is probable that they were subverted by the Gond kings of Garha-Mandla, the first of whom, Jadurai, appears to have been in the service of the Kalachuri king, and subsequently with the aid of a dismissed minister to have supplanted his former master.^ The kingdom of the Kalachuri or Haihaya kings was known as Chedi, and, according to Mr. V. A. Smith, corresponded more or less roughly to the present area of the Central Provinces.^

In about the tenth century a member of the reigning family of Tripura was appointed viceroy of some territories in Chhattlsgarh, and two or three generations afterwards his family became practically independent of the parent house, and established their own capital at Ratanpur in Bilaspur District (A.D. 1050).

This state was known as Dakshin or southern Kosala. During the twelfth century its importance rapidly increased, partly no doubt on the ruins of the Jubbulpore kingdom, until the influence of the Ratanpur princes, Ratnadeva II. and Prithwideva II., may be said to have extended from Amarkantak to beyond the Godavari, and from the confines of Berar in the west to ^ The above notice of the Kalachuri tion, p. 390. This, however, does or Haihaya dynasty of Tripura is taken not only refer to the Jubbulpore from the detailed account in they«^- branch, whose territories did not probulpore District Gazetteer, pp. 42-47, • bably include the south and east of the compiled by Mr. A. E. Nelson, C.S., present Central Provinces, but includes and Rai Bahadur Hira Lai. also the country over which the Ratanpur kings subsequently extended - Early History of India, 3rd edi- their separate jurisdiction.

the boundaries of Orissa in the east.^ The Ratanpur kingdom of Chedi or Dakshin Kosala was the only one of the Rajput states in the Central Provinces which escaped subversion by the Gonds, and it enjoyed a comparatively tranquil existence till A.D. 1740, when Ratanpur fell to the Marathas almost without striking . a blow. " The only surviving representative of the Haihayas of Ratanpur," Mr. Wills states,^ " is a quite simple-minded Rajput who lives at Bargaon in Raipur District. He represents the junior or Raipur branch of the family, and holds five villages which were given him revenue-free by the Marathas for his maintenance. The malguzar of Senduras claims descent from the Ratanpur family, but his pretensions are doubtful.

He enjoys no privileges such as those of the Bargaon Thakur, to whom presents are still made when he visits the chiefs who were once subordinate to his ancient house." In the Ballia District of the United Provinces ^ are some Hayobans Rajputs who claim descent from the Ratanpur kings. Chandra Got, a cadet of this house, is said to have migrated northwards in A.D. 850^ and settled in the Saran District on the Ganges, where he waged successful war with the aboriginal Cheros.

Subsequently one of his descendants violated a Brahman woman called Maheni of the house of his Purohit or family priest, who burnt herself to death, and is still locally worshipped. After this tragedy the Hayobans Rajputs left Saran and settled in Ballia. Colonel Tod states that, " A small branch of these ancient Haihayas yet exist in the country of the Nerbudda, near the very top of the valley, at Sohagpur in Baghelkhand, aware of their ancient lineage, and, though {q.\^ in number, are still celebrated for their valour." ^ This Sohagpur must apparently be the Sohagpur tahsll of Rewah, ceded from Mandla after the Mutiny.

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