Bheem, hero of the Mahabharata: see BHIM.
Bheem Godi (Chittorgarh landmark): see BHIM GODI.
Bheem Singh: see all entries BHIM SINGH.
bhels, (Hindi) rough boats used by tribals. See JAISAMAND LAKE.
Bhensrorgarh: see BHAINSRORGARH.
Bhert Patt I, Rawal, eleventh ruler of the Mewar Dynasty (r. 793-813), often shown as Bharatri Batt; succeeded Rawal MATTAT; ruled for twenty years from Chittor. Little is known of his reign. His son, SINHA, succeeded him.
Bhert Patt II, Rawal, sixteenth ruler of the Mewar Dynasty (r. 942-943), often shown as Bharatri (or Bhartri) Batt; succeeded Rawal KHUMAN III. His reign lasted only one year and he was the last king to rule from Chittor until Rawal JAITRA SINGH (1213-1253). It was Bhert Patt II who probably ended the allegiance to the Paramaras (Gurjara-Pratiharas) from whom Bappa Rawal took Chittor. He is described in an inscription as the ornament of the three worlds, which adds that he married a princess named Mahalakshmi of the Rashtrakuta dynasty. His son, ALLAT, succeeded him.
Bheru Singh, Prince, son of Bagh Singh of KARJALI; adopted Daulat Singh, son of Shiv Singh of Shivrati.
Bhichor, a Mewar district that became a Maratha possession, given by SINDHIA to HOLKAR.
Bhil archers, Legend of the. In legendary times, King Dhritrastra deemed that young men, in particular his sons, should be trained to bear arms; so he searched far and wide for a teacher who was a warrior, a pious and lofty-minded scholar, and a lover of truth. He found Drona, the brave and god-adoring son of the Brahman, Bharadwaja (Drona had no earthly mother: Bharadwaja and a beautiful nymph sired him.) Drona was pleased to have care of the princes, and to give them instruction worthy of their rank and martial origin. He went to the city of Hastinapur, where Dhritrastra made him welcome. He became the family priest and the princes' instructor. Before long the young men were accomplished warriors, imbued with wisdom and goodness. Drona's fame as a teacher spread far and wide and the sons of many rajas and warriors hastened to Hastinapur to be instructed by him. All were welcome save one, the son of the Raja of the robber BHILS. The young Bhil prince pleaded that he might be trained as an archer, but to no avail. Drona said: "Aren't the Bhils highwaymen and cattle thieves? Indeed, it would be a sin to teach one of them great knowledge in the use of weapons."
When he heard these words, the Bhil raja's son was grief-stricken, and returned home. However, resolved to become an accomplished warrior, he fashioned a clay image of the great warrior Drona. He worshipped it, and practised with the bow in front of it, until he finally gained fame as an archer. One day Drona went forth with the princes to hunt in the Bhil kingdom. Their dog ran through the woods, where it saw the dark son of the Raja and barked at him. Desiring to display his skill, the young man shot seven arrows into the dog's mouth. Whining and bleeding, the animal returned thus to the princes. They searched for the greatly-skilled archer and found him busy with his bow. They asked, "Who are you?" The Bhil answered, "I am a pupil of Drona."
When Drona arrived, the young Bhil kissed his feet. Drona said, "If you are my pupil, I must receive my reward." The young man replied, "Command me, and I will give you whatever you desire." There was a moment's pause, before Drona said, "I should like to have the thumb of your right hand." The faithful Bhil prince did not hesitate to obey. He severed his right thumb and gave it to Drona. After the young man's wound had healed, he began to draw his bow with his middle fingers, but found he had lost his skill. Nevertheless, the other Bhil warriors who trained in archery followed the prince's example and drew the bow with their middle fingers, and the custom prevailed amongst the tribe.
Bhil Corps: see MEWAR BHIL CORPS.
Bhils, a tribal race of Mewar; descendants of the original inhabitants of India, including the Minas, Meras, Gonds, Abhiras, and Gujars that also inhabit the hills and forests of the Vindhya, Malwa and the northwestern Deccan. Around 1500 BC, although Aryan conquerors from the north gradually spread throughout the subcontinent, the native Indians managed to maintain their ancient lifestyle. Typical Bhils are small, dark, and broad-nosed. Called sons of the earth and children of the forest, Bhils were the free lords of the jungle, the original owners of the soil, and though they practised rites and followed customs repulsive to orthodox Hindus, they did not share in the impurity of other tribals. They tended flocks and cultivated crops. Famous for their skill in archery, the bow and arrow (and occasionally swords), were their arms. Their language, consisting of numerous dialects, and their religion differed from the invaders, however they adopted many of the customs and popular mythologies of their conquerors. It was with these Bhil jungle-dwellers of Central India that the Rajputs established what were to become their most enduring alliances. Although the Rajputs had been classified into the various castes, nevertheless they maintained that all men are equal, that Manav (Sanskrit for Mankind) is One, and this noble belief crossed all thresholds, particularly in their special bonding with the Bhils. When the Rajputs migrated to (and indeed took over) the territory that was to become Mewar, they quickly recognised the value of these locals and that interdependence would be essential for survival. A Rajput would always take food and water from a Bhil's hands and would refer to him as a bhaibund (brother-in-arms). Bhils eventually played leading roles as guards, keepers of state treasure and, most prominently of all, as hunters, because shikar (hunting) was their domain. Any occasion when Rajput nobles went off on shikar the Bhils accompanied them. Throughout the ensuing centuries, the close association between this fierce indigenous race and this particular royal bloodline was to prove invaluable in times of trouble. The Bhils were believed to be able to control or appease the local spirits, and they passed on their knowledge to the Rajputs whom they accepted as their lords.
A special relationship existed in Mewar with descendants of the Bhil aborigines. On many occasions the Bhils furnished the princes of Mewar with many bowmen, supplied them with provisions, or guarded the safety of their families when the Mewar warriors went off to battle. As mentioned, the relationship was based on equality. There was no adherence to the caste tenets of high and low birth, superiority and inferiority. A young Bhil playmate of GUHIL, who founded the GUHILOTS, forerunner of the Mewar Dynasty, inaugurated him as a chief by smearing his forehead with blood drawn from the thumb or finger. This form of the blood covenant appears among many native tribes (for instance, the ritual of 'blood brothers' among American Indians). Also, when Kalbhoj (i.e., BAPPA RAWAL) was a youth sowing his wild oats, he had occasion to flee from an irate father of a young maiden. His companions on this flight were two Bhils of the Idar district. Their names were Balco and Dewa from the village of Pai, about 10 km. from modern Udaipur. They also accompanied him when he went to Chittor. After he had taken Chittor, Bappa recognised their friendship and support by conferring a special honour upon them at his coronation, a custom based on the legendary incident between Guhil and his Bhil friend. Balco had the honour of drawing the TIKA of sovereignty with his own blood on the prince's forehead. The tradition was retained at subsequent coronations of a Mewar prince until Maharana JAGAT SINGH in 1790. An honoured Bhil chief made the tika of blood from an incision in the thumb; another took the prince by the arm and sat him on the throne, while another held a salver of spices and sacred grains of rice. The Rajputs encouraged healthy relationships between themselves and the tribals. Nowhere is this more evident than today among the various staffs of the HRH GROUP of Hotels, where Rajputs and Bhils work side by side. More particularly, this special brotherhood is reflected in the Mewar coat-of-arms: a Mewar Rajput warrior and a Bhil warrior stand either side of a shield beneath the famous Sun God symbol. See also BHIL ARCHERS, LEGEND OF.
Bhim (Bheem), the hero of the legendary Hindu epic, the Mahabharata who allegedly built the ancient fortress of CHITTORGARH. In Hindu mythology, he was the second ruler of the PANDAVAS.
Bhim, a Paramara Rajput king of the Maurya dynasty who ruled CHITTORGARH before MAAN MORI, from whom BAPPA RAWAL took the fort. He is thought to have built the fort's northern reservoir, now known as BHIMLAT KUND.
Bhim Godi (Bheem Godi), a landmark in Chittorgarh where BHIM, the hero of the Mahabharata, supposedly rested his knee, leaving a large indent in the ground, which was used as a reservoir. See CHITTORGARH, FORT.
Bhim Singh. Apart from Maharana Bhim Singh, there were several leading members of clans who had this name. They came from Banera (Sisodia); Bhainsrorgarh (Choondawat); Nimri (Machecha Rathore); Pipalya (Saktawat); Salumbar (Choondawat); Sardargarh (Dodia Rajput), and Shahpura (Sisodia). Others include: 1. Bhim Singh Dodia, one of the Mewar nobles who took part in Maharana PRATAP SINGH's war council at Gogunda (1576) prior to the Battle of HALDIGHATI; 2. Kunwar Bhim Singh, son of Nath Singh of BAGORE, the brother of Maharana JAGAT SINGH I (1628-1652); his son was Shivdan Singh; and 3. Rana Bhim Singh of Sisoda; son of Bhuwan Singh; his son was Jai Singh of Sisoda.
Kunwar Bhim Singh of Banera was the fourth son of Maharana RAJ SINGH (1653-1680). When Mughal emperor AURANGZEB attacked Mewar, Maharana Raj Singh and his sons led the kingdom's armies. Both Mewar and the Mughals enjoyed victories and suffered defeats. The onslaught reached the very gates of Udaipur, but the Mughals finally retreated, especially after Prince Bhim Singh soundly defeated Aurangzeb's son, Prince Akbar. The Mughal prince fled to Persia in disgrace, and the emperor withdrew his army from Rajputana to attend to problems in other areas. (For the full story see RAJ SINGH I vs. AURANGZEB.) Finally, Bhim Singh quit Udaipur and journeyed to the town of Banera (in between Bhilwara and Shahpura) ruled by Bahadur Shah, where he was received warmly. Bahadur Shah conferred a mansab upon him, and made him the leader of three thousand five hundred horsemen with fifty-two districts under his control. Forever seeking adventure, as he had wished, Bhim became celebrated for his strength and active nature, particularly (being a true Rajput) for his acrobatic feats as a horseman. In Bahadur Shah's service, his contingent went to war once more against the Imperial Mughal army, which took him on a campaign west of the Indus River. It was there, one morning, while pursuing his death-defying sport, that he spurred his horse towards a wide-spreading tree. As he galloped beneath it, he leapt from his saddle and grabbed a low branch. Usually, he would suspend himself there for some moments before swinging to the ground, to the applause of his admiring cohorts. On this occasion, however, his grasp failed, and he plunged headlong to the ground, dislocating his spine. He died, in great pain a few hours later.
Bhim Singh, Maharana (b. March 10, 1768-d. March 30, 1828), sixty-seventh ruler of the Mewar Dynasty (r. January 7, 1778-1828), the fourth minor in forty years who inherited Mewar. He was 10 years of age on his succession and remained under the tenacious supervision of his mother, Rajmata SARDAR KUNWAR JHALI, long after his minority had expired. Court factions and intrigue forever influenced him. Bhim Singh ruled for fifty years but the first forty saw the State sadly weakened and impoverished by conflict between the Mewar clans as well as against the MARATHAS, who invaded and settled in Mewar and many areas of North India. In 1791, the Maratha leader, SINDHIA, sent a strong force into Mewar under an able and ambitious general called Ambaji, who remained for about eight years, taking the State's revenues and amassing huge wealth. As the representative of the powerful Sindhia, he became virtually the unopposed ruler of Mewar. However, under his protection, he suppressed internal feuds and exterior aggression, giving to Mewar some degree of tranquillity. But the State was debilitated as, gradually, starving inhabitants deserted its towns. Left uncultivated, the countryside became a wilderness; and Maharana Bhim Singh himself was reduced to poverty. (He even had to borrow money from the ruler of Kota to cover the expenses of one of his weddings.) Meanwhile, the British Government in India, who had taken over from the disgraced British East India Company, realising that the Maratha problem was now theirs as well, moved in. After a series of battles, the so-called MARATHA WARS, they drove the Marathas out of North India and back to their homeland.
In 1818, Mewar and all States of Rajputana signed treaties with the British who promised them protection and new administration to help them rebuild their financially destitute kingdoms. To achieve this, and to keep an eye on progress, the British put their own Agents or Residents in all capitals. Mewar signed its treaty on January 13, 1818. Political officers were sent in to represent the British Raj, Col. James TOD being the first Agent to reside at the Maharana's Court. In return for the promise of assistance with rehabilitation, Maharana Bhim Singh agreed to abstain from political correspondence with rulers of other States, to submit disputes to arbitration of the British Government, and to surrender one quarter of the state's revenue as tribute for five years, the contribution to be increased to three-eighths thereafter in perpetuity. Tod's appointment as British Agent was fortuitous. He had respect and admiration for those he was sent to serve, a civil servant in every sense of the term. (Actually, Tod was first introduced to Maharana Bhim Singh in 1796. At the time he was a cadet civil servant attached to the East India Company's ambassador to the court of the Maratha, Daulat Rao Sindhia.) Tod found a State that had reverted, politically, to feudal conditions, with a weak ruler and disaffected noblemen, some reduced to beggars by predators. He came to know Bhim Singh personally: "He was inefficient and averse to business. Vain shows, frivolous amusements and an irregular liberty alone occupied him. He had little steadiness of purpose and was particularly a prey to female influence (the dominating Queen Mother) ... his judgment was good, but he seldom followed its dictates; in short, he was adept in theory, and a novice in practice."
Despite his personal feelings, Tod never forced his way into the palace or overrode his authority, always waiting to be invited to advise and to participate in the restoration of the Kingdom through conferences and joint action. Cleverly, yet diplomatically, Tod made it clear to his superiors that Bhim Singh was lazy, and left all decisions of state to others. Nevertheless, the politically naive Maharana welcomed both Tod and the treaty with undisguised relief. As Udaipur was a longtime victim of apathy and anarchy, Tod knew that his role would need to be more than advisory and set about reorganising the State's economy and within two years had doubled its revenue. For a time, he was really the de facto ruler of Mewar.
Bhim Singh had numerous offspring (some scholars claim ninety-five sons, others, one hundred, but it was a great many). However, it is his daughter, the tragic KRISHNA KUMARI who is chiefly remembered. On the credit side, Mewar painting continued to flourish under Bhim Singh, whose foremost court artist was Chokha. And he had the famous Sun Window installed in the City Palace. It was here that the Maharanas were expected to "show themselves" in troubled times to encourage the people and "to shed light in place of the hidden sun". Maharana Bhim Singh died in 1828 at the age of 60. By then the state had fallen alarmingly into arrears in its payment of tribute to the British. Matters grew worse under his son and successor, Maharana JAWAN SINGH. As an epitaph to this misguided and weak ruler, we return to Tod, from his ANNALS AND ANTIQUITIES OF RAJASTHAN: "Having learnt neither humility from affliction nor wisdom from poverty, he held fast by his faults and weakness to his death".
Bhimal, a village 80 km. southwest of Chittor (40 km. northeast of modern Udaipur), between MAVLI and NAHARA MAGRA, where the reaffirmation of an astrological prediction during a meeting between Crown Prince Prithvi Raj and the then-Kunwar Sangram Singh, exploded into bloodshed. (In legend, however, this meeting, and resultant fight, took place in a cave on Nahara Magra, also known as 'Tiger Mount'.) Today, no doubt as it has always been, Bhimal village is a sparsely settled area where local farmers grow their meagre crops, mainly maize (corn), and tend their few cattle. In the early 1500s, it was the home of a handful of CHARANS, one lady in particular being a renowned teller of fortunes. To settle the argument as to who would be the next ruler of Mewar, Crown Prince Prithvi Raj and his younger brother, Sangram Singh (Sanga) visited the lady. Her prophecy sparked a fierce hand-to-hand battle between the brothers, and changed the course of Mewar history (see SANGA AND PRITHVI RAJ). (When the author visited Bhimal in September 2001, an old farmer confirmed that Charans had, indeed, lived there long ago, but all had moved out and never returned.)
Bhimlat Kund (tank, reservoir), in the northern sector of Chittorgarh; according to legend it is said the mighty Bhim, Pandava hero of the Mahabharata dashed his foot in despair while building the fort. According to TOD, Bhim of the Maurya Dynasty ruled over Chittor before Maan Maurya (Mori); quite possibly he constructed this reservoir.
Bhimsi, an employee of the Rawat Devi Singh of Begun during the reign of Maharana Sangram Singh II (1710-1734); he was a kothari (stores keeper) from the Bania community, whose duty it was to weigh the grain and other feed from the kothars (grain and other stores). Once, when the Maharana put out a call for his chiefs to assist him in a battle, Rawat Devi Singh was unable to go personally and sent Bhimsi with his force to fight for the Maharana. On seeing a Bania leading the small Begun force, the other nobles laughed at him, saying, "Bhimsi, it's the battlefield you'll attend, not the weighing of cornflour." To which Bhimsi replied enigmatically, "But watch when I weigh the cornflour with both hands." When the battle started, they saw Bhimsi on his horse, a sword in each hand, killing the enemy mercilessly. Proudly, the brave and gallant kothari died a warrior's death.
Bhindar (Bhinder), a town 85 km. east-northeast of Udaipur; ancestral capital of the SAKTAWAT clan, descendants of Maharana Pratap Singh I's younger brother, Sakta (Shakti) Singh. Their title is 'Maharaj'. Following serious differences with his father, Maharana Udai Singh II, Sakta went to Dhaulpur where he proffered his services to Mughal Emperor Akbar. Later, when Sakta came to learn of Akbar's plans to attack Chittor, he feared disgrace, that the people of Mewar would blame him for motivating the Emperor. Sakta returned to Mewar and informed his father of the Emperor's intentions. Sakta's third son, Ballu died a grisly death in the ongoing civil war in Mewar. When Maharana Udai Singh's forces attacked the fort of Untala, Ballu stood against the spikes of the main gate and defied the mahout of one of the elephants to charge him. The mahout obliged; Ballu was crushed to death; and the gates were smashed, allowing the Maharana to conquer the fortress. Despite the past antagonism, the head of the Saktawats rendered services to the House of Mewar from time to time.
Genealogy: Sakta (Shakti) Singh; Bhan; Puranmal; Sabal Singh; Mokham Singh I; Amar Singh; Jait Singh; Umaid Singh; Kushal Singh; Mokham Singh II; Jorawar Singh; Hammir Singh; Madan Singh; Kesri Singh; Madhav Singh; Bhupal Singh; Man Singh; Bhairon Singh; Randhir Singh.