Historical Figures

Kesari Singh Barath on the path of social reform

Religion Reformation

Thakur Kesari Singh was a great admirer of Hinduism. He believed that Hinduism makes man a true human being and leads him on the path of duty. That is why he took interest in the work of propagating religion throughout his life. He was an active worker of Bharat Dharma Mahamandal. He accepted Swami Gyananand of Bharat Dharma Mahamandal (Kashi) as his Guru. Swami Gyananand himself was a disguised revolutionary and was in favor of armed action against the British. Swami Gyananand also had a great influence on the kings, maharajas and feudatories of Rajputana and Central India. Contact with them helped Kesari Singh to increase his influence over the kings and feudatories of Rajputana. In AD 1902, Swami Gyananand sent Thakur Kesari Singh as the representative of the Mandal and sent it to Calcutta to remove the crisis of the Mahamandal. After persuading and extinguishing Maharaja Darbhanga, he prepared again to remain on the head of the Mahamandal.

Efforts to make Kshatriya caste proud

Thakur Kesari Singh started enthusiastically participating in the work of caste and social reforms at the age of 18-19 years. He was an intense student of history. He had great faith and belief in relation to the role of the Kshatriya caste in Indian history. He was of the view that if the people of the Kshatriya caste are taken out of the pit of social decline and they are made aware of their caste pride and national responsibility, then the history of the country can be changed. That is why he started the work of awareness and organization against social evils, malpractices and stereotypes. He tried to fill the national spirit among the kings and vassals of Rajasthan and reminded them of their glorious past.

Cheavni Ra Chungtia

In February 1903, Lord Curzon, the then Viceroy of India, organized a huge court of Indian monarchs in Delhi on the occasion of the accession of Edward VII. All the kings of Rajasthan gave their consent to participate in this conference. On the basis of the treaty made in AD 1818, Maharana Fatah Singh of Mewar refused to participate in this conference. On this the British threatened to remove him from the throne of Mewar. Finally, on certain conditions, Maharana Fateh Singh agreed to participate in the conference. When Maharana left for Delhi to participate in the conference, some people felt bad about it and decided to oppose Maharana's tendency to accept British subjugation and to attend Delhi court in a humiliating manner. Some chieftains gathered and requested Barath Kesari Singh to find a solution to this problem.

Dr. Kanhaiyalal Rajpurohit has given a very interesting description of this incident - 'Seeing no option, Maharana accepted to attend the Delhi Durbar on certain conditions. Rajasthan was stunned by this news. This was the main topic of discussion on the Haveli of Jobner Thakur Karan Singh situated on the way to Bhind in Jaipur. There, the same consultation was being held between Karan Singh, Kesari Singh Barah and Rao Umrao Singh on how to protect the honor of Indians. Unable to reach any specific conclusion, these three men reached the Malsisar ki Haveli located outside the Chandpole door. Malsisar Thakur Bhur Singh was there in consultation with Rao Gopal Singh Kharwa, Harisingh Ladkhani and Sajjan Singh Khandela on this subject. There it was decided that since the Maharana of Mewar has been leading the Indian freedom struggle for a long time, his visit to the Delhi court should be stopped somehow. This will give strength to the dormant freedom consciousness of Indians and challenge the lofty white power.

Rao Gopal Singh suggested that in such critical times in the history of Rajasthan, the barons have given the right direction through their eloquent speech. So Kesari Singh was entrusted with this task. Showing the miracle of his poetic talent, he composed thirteen Sorathas at the same time. Hearing these couplets, all the people present there were very impressed. He was of the opinion that these Sorathes are so influential that if they are conveyed to Maharana, Maharana will give up the idea of ​​attending Delhi Durbar. Rao Gopal Singh Kharwa took the responsibility of reaching these couplets written by the title Chetwani Ra Chungtia to Maharana. ……… what were the couplets, there were arrows chiming in the air that pierced the heart of Maharana.

When Gopal Singh Kharwa took these Sorthas and went to give them to Maharana, Maharana's train had left Udaipur, so these Sorthes were noticed at Nasirabad railway station. In this regard, the well-known revolutionary Gopal Singh Kharwa has written in one of his letters to his nephew Khet Singh – 'Barahath Kesarisinhji, a devotee of Kshattra Shakti, was sent in the service of Maharana Saheb by making a couplet. Unn Bagat Maharana Saheb has left for Udaipur by special train. This couplet was seen at the station of Nasirabad in the sight of Mr. Darbar, then they have to tell that if this couplet was found in Udaipur itself, then I would not have left for Delhi, but now after reaching Delhi, consider it. Whatever Maharana Saheb has done after reaching Delhi or shown to the world is a famous thing. That is, Maharana Saheb did not come to the court. Jin Bagat Maharaja, Nawab and Amrawan Sun Bharya Look at the empty chair of Lord Curzon Maharana Saheb, the representative of the emperor in the court, while the altar of freedom carrying the special Maharana Saheb of Udaipur state is running towards Chittor.'

It is believed that Maharana Fatah Singh reached Delhi due to the pressure of the British rule and the effect of the polluted environment of the country, but the warnings written by Kesari Singh Barahat and presented by Gopal Singh Kharwa had such a profound effect on Maharana that Maharana went to Delhi. became ill and did not attend the Delhi Durbar organized by Lord Curzon. Maharana sent his Diwan to Curzon's court as a formality. This was a massive defiance of the British government but she was left with a sip of blood.

Dr. Kanhaiyalal Rajpurohit has mentioned the developments in Delhi in these words- 'This rebuke of words forced Maharana to think deeply. They were in this turmoil in their Delhi camp as to what to do? In the meantime, Thakur Narayan Singh of Kanota and Alwar Naresh Jai Singh reached Maharana's camp in secret disguise with him. Giving details of the events in Jaipur, he said that if you want to go to Udaipur by horse, then at this time we have made such arrangements according to which Alwar state will be arranged from Delhi to Baswa. Jaipur State from Baswa to Jahazpur and Rao Gopal Singh Kharwa from Jahazpur to Chittor. The horse will be ready at every mile. Sir Pratap of Jodhpur will handle all the arrangements in Delhi. The determination got strength. Maharana decided not to go to Delhi Durbar and his information was given to the concerned persons. Arrangements were made to return the special train to Udaipur.

Amar Singh, son of Thakur Narayan Singh Kanota, had come in those days as an Imperial Cadet to attend the Delhi Durbar. He has given full details of this incident in his diary. According to this diary, Amar Singh woke up Sir Pratap at midnight and gave his father's message that Maharana would die but would not go to the court. Sir Pratap informed the Viceroy's secretary Lawrence at the same time. Explaining the situation, he also warned him that if undue pressure was put on Maharana and retaliatory action was taken, the matter would get worse. In Delhi the bodies of all the kings including Lashkar are halted and their sympathies are with Maharana. On getting information from the secretary, Curzon sensed the situation and accepted the treaty with remorse.

Dr. Kanhaiyalal Rajpurohit writes- 'At the time when Delhi's court was being held, the chair of the Maharana of Mewar was lying vacant. Maharana's special train was moving towards Udaipur. Curzon was left with a sip of blood. This was a blow to the Indian self-respect on the imperialist conceit. Kesari Singh's poignant deliverances had performed this miracle. The warning Ra Chungtya was actually the call of the soul of Rajasthan which was not possible to ignore.'

Newspapers published big headlines about Maharana's return in this way. Evaluating the impact of Chetavani Ra Chungtya, the well-known historian Shri Raghubir Singh Gehlot has written- '……… Not found there, but this ever-increasing anger and opposition finally broke out in the speech of Barahath Kesari Singh and according to the tradition accepted by Maharana Jawan Singh, Shambhu Singh and Sajjan Singh, his successor Maharana Fateh Singh celebrated the accession of Emperor Edward on the call of Lord Curzon. When he left for Delhi after accepting very reluctantly to attend the Delhi court, Barahath did not stay with Kesari Singh, he even took the warning of the chief revered Hindu Suraj among the Rajput kings and a roaring shout. He asked that descendant of Pratap and Raj Singh. This warning awakened the dormant pride of Fateh Singh. Even after reaching Delhi, he did not go to the court; There his chair remained empty. Seeing the empty space where Lord Curzon took deep breaths, the saga of that empty chair gave a wave of new hope and enthusiasm to the whole of Rajasthan. The exact historical significance and political impact of this unexpected unbelievable event of AD 1903 has not yet been assessed. Lord Curzon did not dare to listen to Maharana Fateh Singh, even after this shocking disregard, due to which a feeling of reaction began to arise in the hearts of the Rajasthani kings against the harsh rule of the British. A new courage was infused in ordinary public society too.

Research work on the nature of letters

In AD 1903, Kesari Singh started research work on the form of alphabets. This in itself was an innovative plan.

Hostel for Rajput and Baran students

Around AD 1904, Kesari Singh started opening hostels for the Rajput and Baran students of Rajputana. His plan also contained the seeds of social and political revolution. This was the reason that in these hostels the youth were educated about national consciousness and revolution. Revolutionary ideas against foreign power were also propagated among the parents of the students coming to the hostels. For this reason, the task of running these hostels was entrusted to people with revolutionary ideas.

Plans to establish Kshatriya College in Ajmer

The college established by Lord Mayo in Ajmer was functioning since AD ​​1875 (it was actually a school and not a college). In this college, the Rajput kings and princes were educated with the aim of making the British royalist rulers. In AD 1904, Kesari Singh planned to establish a separate Kshatriya college in Ajmer in which the children of ordinary Rajput families could be educated to become patriotic subjects. He was greatly influenced by the National College of Calcutta, whose principal was Aurobindo Ghosh. Many prominent intellectuals of Rajasthan also joined him in this plan. In the same year, in the session of the Kshatriya Mahasabha held in Ajmer, the proposal to establish a Kshatriya college was passed and a committee was formed for it. Kesari Singh made a lot of efforts to implement this plan, but due to pressure, fear, and pride, he did not get support from the kings and feudatories of Rajputana.

Active contribution to Rajput Hitkarini Sabha

Kesari Singh made social reform and education a medium with a view to blowing the conch of awakening among the Kshatriyas. He did propaganda and organization related work against various types of social evils and malpractices prevalent in the Kshatriya society like polygamy, vaccine system, child marriage, slavery, marriage and wastage on death etc. For this work, he made Walter's Rajput Hitkarini Sabha his platform. This assembly was established in AD 1880 under the chairmanship of Colonel Walter, the then Agent to the Governor General in Rajputana with the efforts of Kaviraja Shyamaldas, whose branches were in almost all the states of Rajputana. Annual meetings of this assembly were held in which resolutions were passed but no action was taken on them. Kesari Singh activated the Kota branch of this assembly and through it tried to make its central leadership effective.

In AD 1905, Kesari Singh Barahath gave a poignant speech on caste upliftment in the convention of Kota branch of Rajputra Hitkarini Sabha. While attacking the degraded and pathetic condition of the Kshatriyas, he said- 'No person or caste ever gets a permit to rule from the house of God. Everything is a game of power. Hegemony is in power. The world is a worshiper of power. शक्ति अपने सच्चे भक्त ही की भुजाओं में रहती है। वह उसी की बन जाती है और साथ में संसार को भी उसी का बनाती है। आपके पूर्वज भी शक्ति के अभेद भक्त थे, पूर्ण शक्ति सम्पन्न थे। शक्ति उन्हीं की हो चुकी थी ……… किंतु प्रमाद से शक्ति चली जाती है। शक्ति का वह चिर स्थान आज उजाड़ है।’

इसी सम्मेलन में उन्होंने राजपुत्र हितकारिणी सभा को अंग्रेजों के प्रभाव से मुक्त करने के लिये प्रस्ताव रखा कि उसका स्थायी अध्यक्ष अंग्रेज ए.जी.जी. नहीं रहे और उसके स्थान पर राजपूत नरेश हों जो प्रतिवर्ष बदलते रहें। उन्होंने सभा की कार्यवाही को हिन्दी में चलाने तथा विद्या प्रचार का कार्य मुख्य रूप से हाथ में लेने पर जोर दिया। यह ध्यान देने वाली बात है कि राजपूताना के समस्त राज्यों के प्रतिनिधि जहाँ एक स्वर से वॉल्टर को राजपुत्र हितकारिणी सभा का अध्यक्ष बनाये रखने के लिये उसके कार्यकाल में वृद्धि की मांग करते थे, वहीं ठाकुर केसरीसिंह केवल अकेले ऐसे व्यक्ति थे जो वॉल्टर के स्थान पर किसी भारतीय को इस सभा का अध्यक्ष बनाना चाहते थे। क्योंकि वे समझ गये थे कि वॉल्टर का उद्देश्य इस सभा के माध्यम से ए.जी.जी. के पद पर अपना कार्यकाल बढ़वाना मात्र है न कि क्षत्रिय समाज में व्याप्त कमजोरियों और कुरीतियों को दूर करना।

टीका प्रथा का विरोध

ई.1905 से 1913 के दौरान केसरीसिंह ने राजपूताने के ए.जी.जी. तथा राजपूताने की जोधपुर, बीकानेर, आदि रियासतों में उच्च पदों पर आसीन क्षत्रिय जाति के अधिकारियों, जागीरदारों आदि को जातीय सुधार हेतु तथा टीका प्रथा जैसी विनाशक रूढ़ियों की समाप्ति के लिये मिलकर प्रयास करने पर मनाने का प्रयास किया। उन्होंने टीका प्रथा की उत्पत्ति के कारणों एवं उसके दुष्प्रभावों पर हिन्दी एवं अंग्रेजी में एक विस्तृत लेख तैयार कर ए.जी.जी. को भेजा तथा हितकारिणी सभा के माध्यम से इस कुप्रथा को रोकने के लिये कार्यवाही करने पर बार-बार जोर दिया।

तकनीकी शिक्षा की योजना

ई. 1908 में केसरीसिंह ने ‘राजपूताना एण्ड सैन्ट्रल इन्डिया एज्यूकेशनल एसोसियेशन फॉर टेक्नीकल एज्यूकेशन’ की रूपरेखा तैयार की जिसके द्वारा इस प्रदेश से तकनीकी शिक्षा प्राप्त करने हेतु विद्यार्थियों को जापान भेजने की व्यवस्था की जा सके। इस योजना के पीछे उद्देश्य यह था कि एसोसियेशन के खर्चे पर भारतीय विद्यार्थी उच्च शिक्षा की प्राप्ति के लिये इंगलैण्ड जाने के बजाय स्वतन्त्र और उन्नतिशील देश जापान भेजे जायें और वे वहाँ से लौट कर देश की वैज्ञानिक व तकनीकी उन्नति करने तथा भारत को उद्योगी एवं स्वतन्त्र राष्ट्र बनाने में सहायक सिद्ध हों।

गेम लॉ फॉर इण्डिया का विरोध

ई.1909-10 में ब्रिटिश सरकार ने हिन्दुस्तान के लिये सरकार का कानून (गेम लॉ फॉर इण्डिया) लागू किया। यह कानून परोक्ष रूप से भारतवासियों से शस्त्र आदि रखने की बची-खुची आजादी छीन लेने का षड़यंत्र था। केसरीसिंह ने खूले रूप से इसका विरोध किया और राजपूताने के सभी राजाओं को इस कानून को अस्वीकार करने के लिये आग्रह किया। उन्होंने अपने पत्र में लिखा कि इसके द्वारा शस्त्र स्वतन्त्रता पर लाइसेन्स का अंकुश रखकर परोक्ष रीति से आर्म्स एक्ट लागू किया जा रहा है, जिसके परिणाम पश्चिमी राज्यों के लिये आत्मघाती होंगे और अब तक नाम मात्र के लिये बची बचाई कुलदेवी स्वतंत्रता को सदा के लिये तिलांजलि दे दी जायेगी।

क्षात्र शिक्षा परिषद की योजना

ई.1911 में केसरीसिंह ने क्षात्र परिषद की योजना बनाई तथा क्षत्रिय जाति के नाम एक अपील जारी की जिसमें क्षत्रिय जाति के पुनरुद्धार का आह्वान करते हुए क्षत्रिय बालकों के लिये ऐसी शिक्षा पद्धति प्रारम्भ करने को कहा गया जिससे सर्वसाधारण राजपूतों को सुशिक्षित, सुशील, सदाचारी एवं सच्चा क्षत्रिय बनाया जा सके। इस योजना में प्राथमिक शिक्षा को प्रधानता देते हुए उसको इतनी सुलभ, सस्ती और विस्तृत बनाने का प्रयास किया गया कि जिसका लाभ गरीब से गरीब राजपूत उठा सके। इसके लिये स्थानीय और प्रांतीय छात्रालयों की स्थापना का प्रस्ताव किया गया।

यह अपील इतनी मार्मिक थी कि बंगाल के देशभक्तों ने कहा कि यह अपील सिफ क्षत्रिय जाति के लिये न होकर सम्पूर्ण भारतीय जाति के नाम निकालनी चाहिये थी। ब्रिटिश सरकार ने इसमें राजद्रोह के बीज देखे। उसके अनुसार क्षात्र परिषद का उद्देश्य सशस्त्र क्रांति की शिक्षा देना था। केसरीसिंह ने यह अपील जोधपुर की राजकीय प्रेस में छपवाई थी। ब्रिटिश सकरार को इसका पता लगने पर जोधपुर महाराजा तथा उनके प्रधानमंत्री लेफ्टीनेंट जनरल सर महाराजा प्रतापसिंह संकट में पड़ गये। उन्होंने घबराकर केसरीसिंह के विरुद्ध ब्रिटिश सरकार को सहयोग दिया।

इस योजना को सफल करने के लिये केसरीसिंह ने राजपूताना के समस्त राजपूत नरेशों, श्रीमंतों, जागीरदारों आदि से पत्र व्यवहार शुरू कर दिया। एक प्रकार से इस योजना की क्रियान्विति में ही अपना जीवन समर्पित कर देने के विचार से उन्होंने कोटा महाराव को अपनी सेवा से मुक्त करने का पत्र दिया। उनकी योजना थी कि स्थान-स्थान पर जाकर धन एकत्र किया जाये और इस योजना को सफल बनाया जाये किंतु इससे पहले कि केसरीसिंह इस योजना को क्रियान्वित करते, वे 31 मार्च 1914 को ब्रिटिश सरकार का तख्ता उलटने के राजनैतिक षड़यंत्र के मुकदमे में शाहपुरा में गिरफ्तार कर लिये गये।

ब्र. धर्मव्रत ने लिखा है- ‘उन्होंने ई. 1911 में राजपूत जाति की सेवा में अपील निकाली। जिसके निकलते ही भारत की नौकरशाही चौकन्नी हो उठी। केसरीसिंहजी शिक्षा और संगठन का कार्य करते थे। वे स्वतंत्र क्षात्र शिक्षा और क्षात्र शिक्षा परिषद चलाते थे, जिसका ढांचा बड़ा मजबूत था। इसे डिगाया नहीं जा सकता था क्योंकि स्वजाति हित से प्रेरित होकर राजपूताना और मध्य भारत के नरेश एवं बड़े-बड़े सरदार उसमें सम्मिलित थे।’