Jharia Raj / Jharia Estate was a Zamindari estate in[1] British India, located at Jharia in Bihar province of the Bengal Presidency.[2][3][4]

The present Jharia house is an offshoot of Palganj in Hazaribagh and was formerly established at Katrasgarh.[5] Even today the ancestral house cum fort of Jharia Raj family stands at Katras.[5] As per family history, the zamindars were originally from Rewa in Central India and established their kingdom in the area around Jharia in year 1763.[6] In 1864 the Jainagar estate was bought by the Jharia estate.[7] The village of Katras contains the residence of the zamindar, which according to tradition was formerly the head-quarters of the Jharia Raj before this was split up into the separate houses of Katras, Jharia and Nawagarh.[8] It became one of the richest zamindari estates of Bengal Presidency after the coal was discovered in the lands underneath and mining started in decade of 1890 in the area.[2][3][4]

Among the notable zamindars of Jharia Raj were, Raja Durga Prasad Singh who inherited estate in 1850s when he was still a minor. Durga died in 1916, who was succeeded by Raja Shiva Prasad Singh. Shiva Prasad died in January 1947 and his eldest son, Shri Kali Prasad Singh became the last Raja of Zharia till the zamindari was abolished in 1952.[9]

The major coal mining areas were in the five big estates - Jharia Raj, Nawagarh Raj, Katrasgarh Raj, Tundi Raj and Pandra Raj, which covered the entire area between the Damodar and Barakar rivers in what was then Manbhum district, which later became Dhanbad district.[10]

The Jharia Raj area was first surveyed and mapped by T.W.H. Hughes in 1866, and in 1890 by T. H. Ward who estimated 804 million tons of good coal reserve.[11] Earlier, in 1858 Messrs. Borrodaile and Co. had applied for a lease for the whole of Jharia estate. The Estate or Raj was at that time under the Court of Wards for a lease to mine coal in the Jharia estate was not granted. The first lease were not given before 1890. In 1895, Dhanbad, Jharia, Katras, Kusunda and Patherdih were connected by railway lines via Asansol to Calcutta and this considerably helped mining industry of this area to take off in a big scale. With the railways came the Gujarati people as an expert railway contractor with an experience of railway construction work at Thane. They met the then Raja of Jharia and purchased some land having underneath a vast wealth in the shape of coals on lease.[12][13] Among, them the pioneer Indian was Khora Ramji, which was also acknowledged by British gazetteer.[9] By early 1900s there were several coal mines operating in Jharia coalfields belt, which was now connected to Calcutta by a train link and the Jharia Raj began to prosper with the income coming from royalties and migrant population and Jharia becoming a major coal mining hub and business center in rival to Ranigunj coal region.[9] There was intense competition between mine owners of the major coalfields, Jharia and Raniganj[14] and by 1907 Jharia was yielding half of India's output. One of its oldest mines was Khas Jharia[15] owned by Khora Ramji.[9][16]

The Jharia Raj was part of Manbhum district, the headquarters of which was Bangsoorna later shifted to Govindpur. In 1904 it was decided by Sir Andrew Fraser, the Lt. Governor of Bengal that the headquarters of the subdivision should be transferred from Govindpur to Dhanbad. The actual transfer, however, took place on 27 June 1908.[17][18] With the transfer of headquarters at Dhanbad various amenities were provided, which attracted people to habitate in the Raj.[12]

Among the legacy and monuments, which stand today at Jharia - Dhanbad are Jharia Raj High School - the oldest school of the region founded in 1866,[19] Raja Shiva Prasad College - founded in 1951 by Raja Kali Prasad Singh in memory of his father,[20] Raja Talab - a huge water tank, which is now being conserved - which was built by Raja Durga Prasad Singh in 1912-13 to fulfill water needs of its population.[2][3][4] Further, as late in 1985, Raja Kali Prasad Singh was instrumental in starting Kids Garden Secondary School at Jharia.[21]

Also the traditional Durga Puja started by the royal family in 1861[22] is still an attraction of the town, which takes place at old fort - the Purana Rajgarh, the ancestral palace of the family.[6] The puja is performed at three places — at the temple near the old fort, the temple at the new fort and at Shira Ghar, the place where the kuldevta and the weapons of the royal family are kept.[6]

Lt. Raja Shiv Prasad Singh married Lt. Rani Mandakini Devi and had five sons - Raja Kali Prasad Singh, Lt.Tara Prasad Singh, Lt. Shyama Prasad Singh, Lt. Uma Prasad Singh, Lt. Rama Prasad Singh. Lt. Kali Prasad Singh had two sons - Srimant Maheshwar Prasad Singh ( issue less) and Srimant Bishweshwar Prasad Singh. Has two Daughters Rajkumari Sada Rajlakshmi Singh and Rajkumari Sudarshana Rajlakshmi Singh. Lt Tara Prasad Singh has two sons - Mr. Jai Prasad Singh and Mr. Sanjay Prasad Singh. Lt. Shyama Prasad Singh has two sons - Mr. Ajit Prasad Singh, Mr. Sujit Prasad Singh, Mr. Ranjit Prasad Singh. Lt. Uma Prasad Singh - Mr. Prasenjit Prasad Singh and Mr. Subhajit Prasad Singh and a daughter Mrs. Jayshree Singh, who is married to the Shahdeo famliy of Palkot Lt. Rama Prasad Singh has two sons - Mr. Rajesh Prasad Singh and Mr. Rakesh Prasad Singh.[23]

Raja Kali Prasad Singh tried his hands in politics and contested in the elections of 1952 and won from Sindri constituency for the first time . Although, he was an influential person and held major clout in the area, which was once his Raj but he was in his home constituency defeated by Purushottam K. Chauhan, a popular freedom fighter, coal miner and labor leader from Dhanbad.[9][24][25] [26] However, he won from Baliapur near Sindri on Jharkhand Party ticket.[27] The family never contested elections ever since but continue to have a strong clout and influence in area even now. Currently, Madhavi Singh, wife of Jharia royal family scion Sujit Prasad Singh, is politically active.[2] Also, daughter in law of Raja Kali Prasad Singh, Snehalata Kumari Devi, wife of Raja Bishweshwar Prasad Singh is active in politics. She is the General Secretary of BJP (Orissa) Sambalpur.

References

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  1. ^ "First family out of mayoral poll - OBC candidates eye Dhanbad top chair". The Telegraph Calcutta. 30 April 2015. Archived from the original on 20 July 2015. Retrieved 6 March 2016.
  2. ^ a b c d "Royal bahu steps out Madhavi eyes Jharia mileage". The Telegraph, Calcutta. 22 April 2014. Archived from the original on 6 March 2016. Retrieved 4 March 2016.
  3. ^ a b c "Jharia's Raja Talab to be restored to its former glory". Pradesh 18. com. 18 October 2014. Retrieved 4 March 2016.
  4. ^ a b c "Jharia's royal five - Devi brings alive Coal Belt's history". The Telegraph, Calcutta. 30 September 2014. Archived from the original on 3 December 2014. Retrieved 4 March 2016.
  5. ^ a b Bihar district gazetteers - Volume 12 - Page 706
  6. ^ a b c "Jharia royals ready for Durga Puja - Started in 1800s, funds crunch forces toned down festivities". The Telegraph Calcutta. 24 September 2010. Archived from the original on 31 December 2016. Retrieved 5 March 2016.
  7. ^ Bulletin of Quantitative and Computer Methods in South Asian Studies, Issue 2 by School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, 1974 pg;25
  8. ^ Bengal district gazetteers - Volume 30, Part 1 - Page 275, Bengal India, 1911
  9. ^ a b c d e Diary of Golden Days in Jharia - – A Memoir & History of Gurjar Kashtriya Samaj of Kutch in Coalfields of Jharia – written by Natwarlal Devram Jethwa compiled by Raja Pawan Jethwa of Calcutta - 1998 pp: iv, 41
  10. ^ Economy, society & politics in modern India - Page 97 by D. N. Panigrahi, Nehru Memorial Museum and Library - 1985
  11. ^ Indian Journal of History of Science - Volumes 17-18 - Page 386
  12. ^ a b Town Survey Report: Bihar, Dhanbad - Page 22
  13. ^ Coal Industry in India: An Historical and Analytical Account by Ghosh, Amiya B - 1977
  14. ^ History of Technology in India - Volume 3 - Page 428 by A. K. Bag - 2001
  15. ^ Marcel van der Linden (13 May 1997). Peripheral Labour: Studies in the History of Partial Proletarianization. Cambridge University Press. p. 83. ISBN 978-0-521-58900-0.
  16. ^ [1] The Jharia underground fire still raging first came to notice in November 1930 with subsidence at Seth Khora Ramji's Khas Jharia Colliery(Page 159). He was told that Seth Khora Ramji, whose mines lay underneath Jharia, had chosen to live in his house, which also collapsed in subsidance(Page 160). 'The politics of labour under late colonialism:workers, unions, and the state in Chota Nagpur, 1928–1939 by Dilip Simeon.'
  17. ^ Rural development administration in India - Page 11 by Shashi Kumar Jha - 1988
  18. ^ Dhanbad 1966 by India. Superintendent of Census Operations, Bihar
  19. ^ "New site for oldest school". The Telegraph Calcutta. 8 October 2015. Archived from the original on 13 October 2015. Retrieved 6 March 2016.
  20. ^ History Raja Shiva Prasad College
  21. ^ Kids Garden School
  22. ^ "Neglect shrinks royal pond - Dry Raja Talab raises Durga ritual concerns". 26 September 2015. Archived from the original on 11 October 2015. Retrieved 6 March 2016.
  23. ^ "Jharia Raj – The Royal Family of Jharia". Mr.Dreamer's Blog. Retrieved 9 August 2022.
  24. ^ India, a reference annual. Publications Division, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Government of India. 1958. p. 431.
  25. ^ "Dhanbad :List of MLA's from 1952 to 1972". Dhanbad District Official Website. Retrieved 22 June 2012.
  26. ^ Legislatures and Indian democracy: a procedural study of questions in Bihar Legislative Assembly, 1952–62
  27. ^ India: A Reference Annual. Publications Division, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Government of India. 1954. p. 369. Retrieved 21 June 2017.