I have been thinking since long to pen down a brief account of my clan- the Sikarwar Rajputs of India.So here is a brief history which may be of some interest to some of you.
The SIKARWARS are a royal warrior clan from Northern India. Their early history is very unknown due to lack of importance in keeping history. The clan name SIKARWAR is derived from SIKAR district of Rajasthan which they ruled for generations. It is included by British historian TOD, amongst the 36 royal races which claim to be descent from LAVA the son of King Ram of Ayodhya.
Sikarwars are known to be a very brave and fierce fighters and were well known to fight unto death but never to surrender. This was one reason for their very low population. In a battle, they formed the “HARAVAL TUKADI” which used to be the first line of offence to face the enemy. According to British historian A.H. Bingley, Sikarwars are among the few races which are considered to be the best fighting soldiers.
SIKARWARS established Vijaypur Sikari in 823 AD when Rana Bhatribhat was the ruler of Mewar in Rajasthan. Rao of Sikar was one of the invitees to Chitor during the coronation of Rana Sangram Singh (later popularly known as Rana Sanga) as mentioned in history books. Sikarwars also built the Agra fort, then known as Ajargarhi fort.
The rular of Sikri during later part of 1400 AD was one JAIRAJ DEV. He had three sons named Kamdev (the eldest), Dham dev and Vikram Pratap Dev, the youngest
KAMDEV:- Kamdev proceeded along with his army towards Madhya Pradesh in South and subjugated the Muslim aborigines called Cheras. He established himself in the area of MORENA, GWALIOR and JHANSI etc. Thus ancestors of SIKARWARS toward Morena etc had migrated much before the arrival Mughals.
DHAM DEV :- He was crowned as the ruler of Sikri in 1504 AD. Rana Sangram Singh (Rana Sanga) who was still the prince of Mewar ( his coronation was in 1505 AD), attended the coronation on behalf of his father Rana Rai Mal. Both Dham Dev and Sangram Singh were known to be very close friends.
VIKRAM DEV:- While DHAM DEV was crowned as Ruler of Sikri, it was Vikram who managed most of the affairs of the state.
A detailed description of a queen from Sikri was given by Bhaduriya Rajputs. RAJA SHALYA DEV (1194-1208 AD) referred to as SELLA DEV by British historians, was an illustrious ruler of his age. Taking advantage of the disorder prevailing in the country during Ghouri Shah’s invasion, Raja Shalya Dev had attacked and plundered Meerut and Farrukhabad. When QUTUBUDDIN AIBAK attacked BHADAURA GARH in 1208, a fierce battle accompanied and great slaughter took place in which SHALYA DEV was slain. It is said that his pregnant wife who was daughter of Rao of SIKRI escaped and with the help of two loyal servants reached Sikri.
BATTLE OF KHANWA also spelled as Kanwah/ Kanhua)
During the battle of Khanwa ( village between Agra-Vijaypur Sikri) which commenced on 17 March,1527 AD, between the confederation of Rajputs lead by Rana Sanga and Mughal invader BABUR, DAM DEV not only joined the confederation but provided complete administrative, logistics & operational support to Sanga. In fact the complete Rajput army of 1.80 lakh stayed in side and around the Sikri fort for more than a month. Each house hold of Sikri rose to the occasion to assist in the stay of the force including in cooking food to compensate shortage of cooks etc. Enough ration was also collected and stocked inside the fort, even before the battle started as Rana had planned to capture Agra.
Earlier Sanga had liberated North India from Afghan ruler, Ibrahim Lodi and was confident of defeating Babur. Unfortunately this could not materialize as Mughals captured Agra with speed. The Rajputs caused many a Mughal casualties during the night battle. This was after the Rajputs had lost during the day. The main reason for this sudden defeat was due to betrayal of one of the close aid, SILHADI (Siladitya), a TOMAR Rajput chieftain of North East Malwa, who held a large contingent of 30,000 men, joined Babur’s camp at the critical moment of the battle.
Rana Sanga was badly wounded and had to be evacuated from the battle field. Thus the command of the Rajput’s withdrawing forces devolved on the shoulder of Dham Dev, which he conducted with fair amount of discipline and control. The wounded Rana Sanga and also the SIKARWAR’S Deity- MATA KAMAKHYA, were loaded on camels and under protection of a group of Rathor Rajput warriors, transported to the safety in the Aravali mountains. Mean while, walls of the Sikri fort were blown out with guns by Babur’s army and finally captured.
The defeat in battle of Khanwa was a major set-back in the history of Rajputs.While this resulted in the advent of Mughal rule in the region, the Rajputs had to disperse far and wide to safe their religion and families from the Babur’s atrocities. Sikarwars in particular, suffered more as the battle of Khanwa was fought in their ruled area and Babur considered Vijaypur Sikri as the main cantonment (Chawani) of the Rajputs confederation army. After the victory, the town of Vijay pur Sikri was also re-named as Fatehpur Sikri by Babur.
“Fatehpur Pukarat Mughals Naam More Nagari ko,
Vijaypur Nagari Aaz Fatehpur Bhayo Ree”
That’s how Vidyadhar, Bard had narrated the re-naming.
BABUR himself, while describing the battle of Khanwa in his Baburnama, had mentioned DHAM DEV RAO at least twice in his book along with that of RANA SANGA, MEDINI RAO, RAO CHANDER SEN, SILHADI (SHILADITYA), MAHMOOD KHAN LODI, HASAN KHAN MEWATI etc.
MIGRATION FROM SIKRI:
Once this major battle was lost by Rajputs, they had no option but to disperse and migrate to safer locations. Their major settlements of Sikarwars had been in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and few in Maharashtra & Gujarat. A detail list of their districts/villages is attached separately.
(Gotra, Kuldev, Kuldevi, Flag)
Gotra-Sankritayan (Those living in Sikarwari region of Agra & Morena district follow Bhardwaj Gotra)
Prawar- Three, viz. Sankrit, Angiras & Aurav
Ved - Yajur Ved, Up Ved- Dhanur
Ved Paad- Dakshin, Shikha- Dakshin, Chand-Anurisp, Branch-Madhyami, Sutra- Katyaan.
Bird-Owl, Kul Devta- Shiv, Kul Devi (Eisht) –Mata Kamakhya.
Flag – Golden red with Bal Surya embossed on it.
Narrating the genealogy of Sikarwars, the bards say that “Brijraj Dev was the son of Naurang Dev, grand son of Anurag Dev and great grand son of Prayag Dev.
It is well known fact that after independence of India, the government and most of the Indian historians never took much interest to find facts about the Rajput history. It was projected as dark period of the Indian history. For them the golden period in India started only with the arrival of Mughals. Obviously this was done intentionally as a result of close proximity of Nehru/Gandhi family with Muslims in some way or other, details of which are already in public domain.
The myth that Mughal emperor Akbar established Fatehpur sikri as his capital and nothing existed before that, has been negated by the very fact that it was Babur who renamed vijaypur Sikri to Fatehpur Sikri. Very few people know that in the year 1999-2000 AD an excavation by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) was conducted at the CHABELI TILA of Sikri which yielded a rich crop of Jain statues- hundreds of them, including the foundation stone of a temple with date. The statues were a thousand years old of Bhagwan ADI NATH, RISHABH NATH, MAHAVIR and Jain Yakshainis - says Swaroop Chandra Jain, the senior leader of the Jain community. The excavation, after two years of work, was suddenly stopped by the government.
DV Sharma, former Superintending archaeologist of the ASI in Agra who supervised the excavations told IANS- ‘’we found scores of damaged statues piled up and with dates and also a manuscript. These are now lying in the guest house of Fatehpur Sikri. They should have gone ahead to engage experts to carry out research on these subjects”.
Sharma further added –Quote “My book of Fatehpur Sikri excavations is there in the ASI library with complete details of the findings which un- mistakenly point to a flourishing trade and pilgrimage centre of both the Jains and the Sikarwars. Akbar built a few structures and modified others that were already there. Who demolished the temples and the statues is a subject which further research alone can establish” unquote.
Talking to IANS, Bhanu Pratap Singh, the author of “JAIN DHARM KA PRAMUKH KENDRA THA FATEHPUR SIKRI” said that “Sikri existed much before Akbar. The excavation has clearly established this fact.” Basing his arguments on the excavations by the ASI Bhanu Pratap Singh further reiterated that the antique pieces, statues and structures, all point to a lost culture and religious site, more than 1,000 year ago.