Jashpur – A Retrospective Overview
Jashpur was a princely State before independence. The history of the region is quite vague. Local here say evidences suggest that there was a Dom dynasty ruling the area by the middle of 18th century. The last Dom ruler Raibhan was defeated and killed by the founder of the present Jashpur State Sujan Rai. It is said that Banswada, a smaller State in old Rajputana Province, was the native place of Sujan Rai’s a castors. They established their rule and Kingdom in Sonpur. Sujan Rai, being the eldest son of the Suryavanshi King, was on a hunting expedition in deep forest, his father (King) died. In view of the tradition and requirement of the occasion his younger brother was coronate, as the Throne of King could not be kept unoccupied, even for a while. On return from hunting expedition, Sujan Rai was offered and requested to take over the charge of the Throne. But he preferred to be a Sangasi and took to the forest. Wandering about he reached Khudia, the capital camp of the Dom kingdom. There he found that the subjects were unhappy and dissatisfied with the Dom Raja Raibhan and were on the verge of revolt. Sujan Rai led the popular uprising, defeated the Dom Raja in a battle. Now, Sujan Rai became the King and a new State ‘Jashpur’ was founded by him. Today’s Jashpur Royal family belongs to that dynasty.
In earlier years, the Jashpur king accepted the paramountey of Bhonsle’s of Nagpur and continued offering 21 buffalos as a mark of respect and obeyance to the paramount. During Mudhaji Bhonsle’s regime, in 1818, Jashpur State was brought under Sarguja State for the purpose of efficient administration. However, till 1950, Jashpur was included as a princely State among Chhotanagpur States, administered by the Bengal Government. This arrangement continued till 1947-48. Jashpur remained a part of Chhotanagpur commissionery from 1948 to October 10, 1956. On November 1, 1956 when Madhya Pradesh was organized as a new State under union of India, Jashpur became a part of it. Till May 25, 1998 this region remained a part of Raigarh District. Owing to extensive area of several districts in Madhya Pradesh, a district reorganization commission, headed by Justice G.K. Dubey, was constituted by the then Chief Minister Mr. Arjun Singh in 1982. The commission submitted its report in 1989. In 1992, the Chief Minister of M.P. Mr. Sundarlal Patwa declared the constitution of 16 new districts in the State, Jashpur being one of them. On account of judicial interests they said declaration could not be executed at that time. Bowing to the people’s aspirations, Mr. Digvijay Singh, the Chief Minister of M.P., declared the creation of 16 districts on May 22, 1998. In a public ceremony the Minister-in-Charge of the district Mr. Chanesh Ram Rathia formally announced the creation of Jashpur District. On May 25, 1998 Mr. Ramanand Shukla took over the charge of collector of this newly constituted district. On organization of Chhattisgarh as a new State, Jashpur is a part of this province.
Situated in the north-east of Chhattisgarh, Jashpur is rich with dense forest and green flora. Northern region of the district has a long series of hills and mountains, sometimes running parallel to each other or cress-crossing somewhere. Lush green terrain and valleys present elegant natural beauty. Having an average altitude from 2500 to 3500 meters above sea-level, the district is situated between 220 17’ N to 230 15’ N latitude and to 830 30’ E to ——‘ E longitude. It is surrounded by Gumla district of Jharkhand in the east, Sarguja in the west, some parts of Jharkhand and Sarguja in the north and the districts of Raigarh and Sundargarh (Orissa) in the south.
Having an area of 5339.78 sq. Km. Jashpur District has a population of about 739780 as per 2001 census Gender wise there are 370287 males and 369493 females. 03.35 percent of the state population lives here. The density of population is 127 persons per sq.km. 96% of the population is rural.
Jashpur, located on the western extension of Chhotanagpur Plateau, forms the north-east region of Chhattisgarh province. Deep, dense and extensive forests, a number of Streams and rivers originate, flow and supplement heavenly beauty to the country. In the past, the region was known as Yashpur, and later Jagdishpur and at present it is Jashpur.
An overview of the history shows specific features of the region. The civilization and cultural heritage are the total sum of man’s efforts and contributing impacts of natural surroundings. The topography and the soil of Jashpur contain rich bio-diversity, enough mineral deposits, well distributed drainage system, cool climate and honest, hardworking, peace loving work force. Nature has given everything generously. The people of the land express their gratitude to the nature with their contended attitude.
Khudia Rani and Gondwana Mahadev, the two archaeological sites, stand as witness to the fact that the region had been fertile for the development of civilization. Some forgotten and less known miraculous legends have also been recorded. Sculpture was a well developed art. An investigation into the history of the land reveals a rich and colorful tradition and culture of the people. It is the identifying distinction of the district.
Archaeological sites are significant in appreciation of history. In 18th century, Jashpur was among 14 princely States of Chhattisgarh, placed under Sarguja group. However, till 1905 it was under the administration of Chhotanagpur commissioner. It is painful to note that neither during royal regime nor there after any archaeological or historical Study and exploration was ever undertaken. A number of smaller mud-forts scattered around still wait for their scientific exploration. The prevailing mystery, if uncovered, could relate the archeological sites with the pre historic period of the country.
Jashpur region has been rich and prosperous with archaeological assets. However, excepting recent history of the princely State, no facts or figures, worth mentioning, are available. Some glimpses of the ancient past could be seen in the two literary works. “The Chhattisgarh feudatory States Gazettier” published in 1909 and written by EMD Brett and ‘Jharkhand Jhankar’ a work for literature by Deewan of Kanker Raghuvir Prasad, do mention some facts about the history of Jashpur. No other source has been found so far. Scattered around various parts of the region, one can find remains of idols, statues, and ancient places of worship in their dilapidated state. No sculptures, carvings scripts or paintings to provide information about the places of archeological importance are available.
In the cause of survey many elders and senior citizens were inter viewed in this respect. But the facts and descriptions stated by them appear to be fictitious and mysterious, hence difficult to believe.
The beliefs and customs of the local tribe are quite unique. In the course of time there might have been variations and alterations but they have preserved their heritage in the form of ever continuing tradition based on verbal history.
To sum up, it could be said that there would have been a well developed prosperous civilization flourishing in Jashpur region. A careful scientific study and exploration could open up an exciting page of untraced history, imparting it uniqueness and meaning fullness.