Monday, November 17, 2008

Banaili Roots to Raj continued-----Society Religion and Culture

Society, Religion and Culture

Kirti Yasya Sa Jeewati (Public work) –
‘Kirti yasya sa jeewati’ this Sanskrit phrase formed a part of Raja Kirtyanand Sinha’s personal emblem. It means ‘he, who has earned fame and popularity lives forever.’ Man is mortal. Only through his deeds of benevolence, charity and sacrifice, he is remembered and praised even after death. In other words man is immortalized by his deeds of public interest. Although this motto was used and followed by Kirtyanand Sinha, I am sure the same would fit in quite appropriately for the entire clan.
Let us begin with Raja Bedanand Sinha Bahadur who gave away 1203 acres of good habitable land on lease to the government for a nominal annual rent of Rs.491 in 1831 to be used as new town area for Purnea. In this way Bedanand helped in moving the township of Purnea to a new suitable location with ample space for government and public offices (where it stands today). The old township existed around the place which is called Purnea city. This old town was situated on a thin strip of land which was sandwiched between river Saura and other marshy lands. It was quite a messy place with very narrow lanes and clusters of houses. With very little sanitation and complete absence of natural drainage and other such facilities, it had been declared unfit for the establishment of the new Collectorate and judicial court. Bedanand had enough foresight to see the prospects of a healthy township on his lands that lay adjacent south-west to the old town and readily offered his help which proved to be most valuable in laying down the foundation of the new township of Purnea. By taking this wise and generous step, he may have lost a good amount of land revenue.
The generous Raja Leelanand became popularly known as ‘Kalikarna’. All his three sons maintained their father’s generosity. Even the next generation followed the footsteps of their grandfather and lived up to the reputation of their old family.
Padmanand Sinha made his contribution to the town of Purnea by acting as the key figure in the construction of the ‘The Victoria Memorial Town Hall’ in the year 1902. By obtaining back from the government, a plot of 5 Bighas of land out of the 1203 acres, which had been settled with the government in 1831 by his Grandfather, he provided its use to the Sub-Committee of the Local Victoria Memorial Fund, of which he was the President.
From the very days of his college education in the Allahabad University, Kirtyanand Sinha began spending his evenings in the company of learned and influential people. While, spending his time under the guardianship of Mr. J.G. Jennings, who later became the vice chancellor of Patna University, Kirtyanand availed the opportunity of making acquaintance with several eminent persons and came to interact with the contemporary Elite of the society. He made influential friends within the Indian aristocracy as well as the English gentry. A typical surge of nationalism, that hit every educated young man of those times, left an indelible mark on the young mind of Kirtyanand. Those were the days of British Supremacy and it was very difficult, or rather suicidal for a scion of a princely estate to express his inner feelings of patriotism. The position of the Zamindars was even worse as their very existence depended on the British Raj. Nevertheless, Kirtyanand developed a strong desire to do something for his country and people. He realized that through proper use of his influence and money towards the development and upliftment of education he could serve his countrymen well. With this aim in mind Kirtyanand started making good use of his influential acquaintances and his paternal legacy. He started in right earnest.
He already had before him, the example of his generous father; and his step-brother. On his return from Allahabad, he expressed his feelings to his brother who, being a true son of a generous father, agreed whole heartedly, to support his brother’s endeavors. To begin with an M.E. School was started at Deorhi Champanagar. This school has the honour of being the first M.E. School to be run by a private body in the district, all the remaining five schools being run by the Government directly.
During the coming years, Kirtyanand Sinha, along with his brother Kalanand Sinha, made such valuable contributions, to the society that their names have become immortalized in the History of Education and other public works.
Before we take a look at the various contributions and related expenditure, we should be aware that in 1910 gold was valued at Rs.22 per Bhari (11.664 Gms). Today, the value of same quality Gold is approximately Rs.6000/- per ten Grams. So the price of Gold is about 318.10 times more, than what it was in 1910. This will give us a more accurate idea of the real value of the contributions made between 1900 and 1940.
Their Major contributions were the following:-
1. Rs.16000/-as annual contribution to T.N.J College Bhagalpur.
2. Rs.3,50,000/- for construction of the T.N.J. College buildings.
3. Rs.25000/- for electrical installation in the College.
4. Rs.1,00,000/- to Benares Hindu University.
5. Rs.25000/- to Patna University for a Chair in Economics and books.
6. A substantial amount to the Bayley Library, Patna.
7. Rs.1,00,000/-to Patna Medical College(Prince of Wales Medical College).
8. Rs. 25,000/- towards construction of a New Town Hall at Bhagalpur.
9. Rs. 2000/-To Gait public library and institute, Patna in 1920.

Some of the other contributions were-
Rs. 4000/-as donation to high School Godda in 1325-26 F.S.
Gift of 1 bigha, 1 katha, 9 dhur of land for the extension of Sultanganj Middle English school in the year 1915.
Rs. 1000/-to Prince of Wales Relief Fund.
Rs. 2000/- to lady Hardinge Memorial Fund.
Rs. 4000/-to Famine Charitable Relief Fund, Bhagalpur.
Rs.10000/- to Indian Relief Fund.
Rs. 10,000/- to Hardinge memorial, Patna.
Rs. 4000/- towards Construction of Bariarpur Dispensary.
Rs. 10,000/-for donation of Motor Ambulances for the War in 1916.
Gift of land for extension of Veterinary Hospital, Malda dated-18-7-1920.
Rs.7000/-to St John’s Ambulance Fund Association till 1324 F.S.
Rs 4000/- for construction of dispensary at Strand Road, Bhagalpur, in 1323 F.S.
The Banaili Raj promoted the cause of scientific agriculture and farming by running two model farms which were established during the times of Manager, Siva Sankar Sahay.
At the time of the formation of Indian Agricultural Society in 1920[1], the Raj took upon its shoulders, the establishment and maintenance of a demonstration farm in which the children of cultivators were imparted practical training in Agriculture.
But the high public spirits of Raja Kirtyanand Sinha was not satisfied by the above-mentioned. He continued to serve the people with his continuous acts of charity and benevolence. Some of his personal contributions were the following:-
Rs15,000/- towards Boys Scout Movement in 1928.
Rs. 5000/- towards construction of living quarters for teaching staff of T. N. J. College on 25.2.1928.
Rs. 8000/- towards Bhagalpur water works on 16.3.25.
Rs. 1000/- for Narga Orphanage at Jamaalpur on 21.1.1923.
Rs. 500/-for Bihar and Orissa Olympic Association on 21.1.24.
Rs.4000/-towards District Charitable Relief Fund, Bhagalpur on 11.5.1920.
Rs. 2000/-for Lady Hardinge Female Medical College, Delhi.
Rs. 500/- for Ramkrishna Mission Building Fund, Bhagalpur in 1926.
Rs. 500/- for Durgacharan M.E. School, Bhagalpur in 1929.
Silver medal to the Student of Zila School Purnea, who stood first in Matriculation, since 1920.
Rs. 200/- to Bihar and Orissa territorial force on 15.10.1925.
Rs.4000/- to British Empire Bihar and Orissa Leprocy
Relief Association, led by the Viceroy in 1925.
Rs. 75/- per month to Poor boys fund of Dharma- Samaj Sanskrit College Muzaffarpur, since 1924.
Rs. 4000/- to Bihar and Orissa Leprosy Relief Fund on 23.3.1925.

After the death of Kalanand Sinha his sons Ramanand and Krishnanand stepped in the shoes of their father. I place below, a list of various public works carried out by them as well as with their joint efforts with Raja Kirtyanand Sinha.
Joint efforts:-
Rs. 1500/- to Kashi Anathalaya Association in 1928.
Rs. 500/- for building the Theosophical Hall at Patna in 1932.
RajBanaili-Tank was presented to the public of Godda in July 1925.
Rs. 4000/- for Construction of Bariarpur Dispensary.
Rs. 5000/-as donation to High School, Godda in 1932 for construction of hostel named Banaili Hostel.
Rs. 3000/- for construction of Lady Doctors’ quarters at Munger.
Rs. 500/-to Banka Dispensary in 1929.

The sons of Late Raja Kalanand made a similar gesture of their generosity by donating Rs. 1500/- to Bihar and Orissa Leprosy Relief Fund in 1925. After the death of Raja Kirtyanand Sinha his worthy son Kumar Shyamanand Sinha followed the footsteps of his father and made several contributions to the society, in the capacity of the Karta of the family of Banaili Champanagar. These were-
Rs. 5000/- to Girls High School Purnea in 1938.
Rs. 10000/- to Bihar pradeshik Hindi Sahityasammelan Patna in 1938 for its building in Patna.
Patronage to All-India Music conference, Allahabad.

Apart from the above noteworthy acts of Public Work, we find a long list of annual donations and subscriptions made in the direction of education and health. These were entered in the registers of Banaili Raj as its regular, recurring expenses amounting to Rs 19, 427/- in 1938-39.
Apart from the above mentioned the Raj gave financial aid to such students who were sent to England for higher studies, through the recommendation of The Bihar Industrial Association. I have come across the subscription list of 1919 which records that Rs.100 was given to each of such candidates. The same list says that a sum of Rs. 110 was given as monthly stipend to 8 maithil students.
The names of Raja Kirtyanand Sinha and Kumar Kalikanand Singh will be remembered for their valuable services towards the establishment of ‘Maithili’ as a recognized language. In 1917-18, with the efforts made by Sir Ashutosh Mukherji, the Vice-chancellor of Calcutta University, and the timely financial support of Kirtyanand Sinha, Maithili along with other fourteen regional languages like Bangla, Tamil, Marathi etc. was sanctioned to be taught in the campus. Soon after, in 1919, Krityanand Sinha and Kalikanand Singh promised to give Rs. 1200/-annually for the establishment of a Lecturer-ship in Maithili in Calcutta University. This lecturership was called “Raja Kirtyanand Sinha Bahadur and Kumar Kalikanand Sinha Lecture” and was establish for a term of 6 years.
But the most important and memorable work of public benefit was the Tej Narayan Banaili College of Bhagalpur. This college was established in 1883 as a M.E school and was raised to a High English school within the first two months. The founder was Babu Tej Narayan Singh who was inspired by Babu Ladli Mohan Ghosh, a medical practitioner in the town of Bhagalpur. The college was raised to the status of second grade in 1887 on the occasion of the diamond jubilee celebration of Queen Victoria and later converted to the first grade in 1890. Two trusts formed in 1883 and 1895 by Tej Narayan Singh and his son Deep Narayan Singh provided for an annual payment of Rs.1800 and 1200 respectively. But the above fund being insufficient, the college was dying away until it was revived by the munificent donations of the 9 annas Banaili Raj. In 1903 the college started to receive liberal donations from Kumar Kalanand Sinha and his brother, Kumar Kirtyanand Sinha, who was the only B.A. among the landed magnates of Bihar. On being approached by the trustees of the college, the brothers created a new trust on a part of their estate for payment of Rs. 16,000 per annum to the college and made a princely donation of 60 acres of land and Rs. 3, 50,000 in cash. During the next few decades, the institution received several big and small donations from the proprietors of Banaili Raj. Many years later, in 1959, the name of the college was changed from Tej Narayan Jubilee College to Tej Narayan Banaili College on account of the princely donations of the Banaili family. During the next year, it was converted into a constituent college of Bhagalpur university.
In the words of P.C Roy Choudhary, “The Banaili Raj has been one of the premier Zamindar families in Bihar not only for the extent of the Estate but also because of the generous patronage the family has given to the cause of Art, Literature and Culture. The Banaili Raj has sponsored a number of educational institutions, libraries, etc; in Bhagalpur district and elsewhere. The Tej Narayan Banaili College in Bhagalpur is an instance. The family has produced several writers in English and Hindi and for some time one of the family members edited a Hindi magazine “Ganga” which was of a high standard .The family has also given liberal donations to various cultural societies and literary writers. Sports have received their particular patronage. Some of the members had encouraged Shikar, Polo and other sports by taking active part in them. Kirtyanand Sinha was a keen Shikari and his books in English on Shikar give us a glimpse of the fast declining wildlife in Bihar. The house has also patronized oriental learning and Culture and has sponsored a number of tols and maktabs.”
The Srinagar Branch of Banaili (Srinagar Raj) has made such valuable contributions towards Hindi and Maithili literature that the names of Sahitya Saroj Kamalanand and his worthy son Kumar Ganganand will be remembered with great reverence for many generations to come. Kumar Ganganand Singh will be especially remembered for his patriotism, his Hindu ideals and services towards the upliftment of education in the province. I have already written about The Srinagar branch and its public spirits in the previous chapters. Here I shall only produce before the readers, what one of the most eminent men of India had to say about Kumar Ganganand Singh.
Speaking highly of Ganganand’s patriotic feelings, Mahatma Gandhi said ‘In patriotism, education and social-sevice, Kumar Ganganand Singh is one, like us’
‘He is a great supporter of Hindu cause and its ideals and has done a lot for the regeneration of the Hindu Society’ wrote Indra Prakash, Editor of ‘Hindu Outlook’.
By spending a major portion of their life and wealth for the benefit of their people and country, the men of Banaili earned something which is indeed very rare in this materialistic world. Even after five decades of the end of the Banaili Raj, They are still remembered for their deeds of charity and Public benefaction. They were truly aware of the meaning of ‘Kirti yasya sa Jivati’when one of them used it on his emblem.

Religion and Faith -
Among the followers of the Shukla-Yajurveda, there exists a certain branch known as Maadhyaandin Shaakhaa. The members of the Banaili family are Brahmins of the above school of thought. In ancient India, there were two sections of Brahmins, the Panch-Dravida and Panch-Gauda. The house of Banaili comes within the community of Maithil Brahmins which is one among the five reputed branches of the Panch-Gauda. They are followers of the Shakti Cult or worshippers of Mother Goddess.
Raj Banaili, as every other Hindu Estate, in the country, had its normal share in patronage towards religion. Even more, as the Rajas were Brahmins.
Like all Maithil Brahmins they worshipped mother goddess Kali with her five sister goddesses, collectively as their chief family deity called Gosown. Other goddesses like Lakshmi, Vishahra and Shitala were also included as family deities. The family god was Dharma. All the above mentioned deities were enshrined in a house within the Garhi. This temple was called the Gosown-ghar or Bhansa-ghar, the latter name deriving from the reason that the same house or temple served the purpose of the royal kitchen.
Every domestic settlement of Banaili was accompanied by a hall of worship. Here, clay idols of Durga were made and worshipped at the Dasehra festival every year. This building was called the Debighara[2] which used to be the central point of festivals during Durga-puja, which was the chief festival and was celebrated with great pomp and show in the Banaili Raj. Not only was this function celebrated at the Garhi but in almost every important Kachahari of the Raj. This tradition of Durga-puja was very old in the family and had been started by Parmanand Chaudhary at Amour-Garh. Besides the Debighara connected with the Deorhies, there were several other Debighara of the Raj. These were situated near Circle-offices and the main Kachaharies of the Estate. Among them were the Debighara of Parsa Haat, kursa-Kanta, Katchhari Balua, Gogri Mirganj, Shyampur, Jamalpur, Kumarsar and Teljhari. The Palace Debighara were at Amour-Garh, Banaili (Sadhuaili), Srinagar, Ramnagar, Banaili Champanagar, Asarganj (Jelalabad) and Garhbanaili.
Another common feature was the Thakurbari. Usually, this was a room with a verandah on one or three sides. It enshrined God Vishnu (in the form of Shaligram stone), Goddess Lakshmi and other Gods of various stone and metals[3]. Normally these Thakurbaries were situated within the Garhi as at old Banaili, Srinagar and Ramnagar. But the Thakurbari at Banaili-Champanagar was situated out side the Garhi. The Thakurbari at Asarganj[4] and Kursa-kanta, also contained stone idols of Radha-krishna. In 1929 the proprietors of 9annas constructed a new Thakurbari on the site of the old one at Baigani and idols of Ram and Sita were enshrined there in.
The oldest temple of the Raj was the Siva and Bhagvati temples at Devaban in Kabkhand Parganna in Nawhatta. They were already dilapidated, when they were repaired by Dular Singha. Extensive repairs of the above temple were taken up once again by the orders of Kirtyanand in 1928. Unfortunately this ancient temple does not exist any more as it was washed away by river Kosi during recent floods. At kosikipur (Kosikapur) in the division of Matiyari in Purnea Dular Singh had built a hall of worship and installed idols of Ram, Lakshman, Sita and Hanuman in the hall. A huge crowd gathered there on the occasion of Ramnawmi.
Kali, being the chief goddess, most of the other temples are claimed by her and her male consort Shiva. The earliest known is the Siva Temple at Amour-Garh. During the period of Raja Leelanand Sinha and his cousin Srinand Singh, several Shiva temples were constructed and renovated. Among them was the Shiva temple of Kursa-kanta and Sundar-math. A temple of Shiva was constructed at the funeral pyre of each of the three widow aunts of Srinanad Singh. Two of them lie adjacent south to the Deorhi at Srinagar and one at Nawhatta in Saharsa. The latter is popularly known as ‘Badaneswar Mahadev’ after the name of ‘Badan Daijee’. There is another Shiv temple at Khattaghat. This is situated on the left of the road from Purnea to Srinagar. Khattaghat was a halting place for the royal entourage of Banaili and Srinagar when it happened to travel to Purnea side. Similarly, Shiva temples were built on the funeral pyre of two of the daughters of Raja Leelanand Sinha. Nityamaya’s temple is called Ujra Math while Mahamaya’s incomplete temple is famous as the Lalka Math. The latter was left incomplete because vultures happened to perch on its walls while being constructed. This was regarded as a bad omen and the construction was abandoned. Both these temples are situated on the western bank of Kari-kosi River at Ramnagar. In the year 1897 (shaka1819), Rani Sitabati constructed a Shiva temple[5] at Deorhi Champnagar. This forms the central portion of the temple complex built by her. On the stone slab on the temple wall it is inscribed:- “In the year 1819 Shaka, Queen-Mother Sitavati, the consort of Maha-Adhiraja Leelanand, constructed this beautiful temple etc”.
Lord Baidyanath at Deoghar was also worshipped as a family god of the Banaili clan. It was customary to place before him the first Paataa (invitation card), to announce the opening of every family celebration and to close it by offering the first Bidaai (parting gift[6]). Raj-Banaili bore the expenses of a band of Sahnai which played for the lord, everyday at dawn and dusk, from the Naubat-khana especially constructed for the purpose by the Raj. It also bore the expenses of a lamp which was kept lighted day and night, near the Shivalinga.
The earliest known Kali temple is at old Banaili (The temple comes within Sadhuaili) and was built by Raja Dular Singha. This temple and the Shiva temple at Khattaghat have very similar round domes. The Kali temple is situated near the Garhi and adjacent right to the Debighara. Even after Old Banaili was deserted and the family moved to Deorhi Ramnagar, the Puja at Sadhuaili continued in the same way and it was managed directly by the Raj office. Later, in 1922, when Kumar Ramanand Sinha settled at Garhbanaili, he expressed his desire to take charge of the said temples at Sadhuaili and to run it on behalf of the Estate. He received Rs.3500/- annually to manage the above temples and the Durga-puja. He, however, shifted the Mela and other festivities to Garh-banaili where he constructed a new Debighara and started another Durga-Puja. Pujas at Sadhuaili continued in an ordinary way.
Following the pattern at Sadhuaili, another Kali temple was built adjacent right to the Debighara at Banaili-Champanagar by Rani Chandeshwari about the year 1870. Rani Parvati Devi had constructed a Kali temple at Benaras and endowed it with considerable properties. But the most famous temple of Kali was built by Rani Chandravati, the daughter-in-law of Padmavati. This is situated in Kachouri-gali-Benaras and is popular as the Shyama-mandir. Padmanand Singh enshrined a beautiful idol of Kali within the Debighara of Ramnagar[7]. Much later in 1936, Kumar Ramanand Sinha constructed a new palace at Garhbanaili and enshrined the divine mother Kali in his private Puja temple within the palace. This was the last temple made by the Banaili Family.
Raja Bedanand Sinha and Raja Leelanand Sinha had constructed Kali temples at Bhour and Salempur. The temple at Bhour received an annuity of Rs.360, while only periodic maintenance was done for the Salempur temple. Raja Leelanand Singh had also constructed a Kali temple at Khagaria called Kalibari[8]. Raja Kirtyanand Sinha formed a religious trust for the maintenance of the Bakulia Kali temple[9] which was constructed by him in 1916-17.
Out of the two temples of Tara, one was made by Rani Padmavati, at Nepali Khapra Mohalla in Benares and the other was constructed by Kumar Nityanand Singh of Taranagar . The left cult in Tantra (Vaam-Marga) was practiced in Nityanand’s temple. The only temple that enshrined a stone idol of Durga was within the Debighara of Banaili Champanagar. This installation was made by Kumar Kalanand Sinha and Kumar Kirtyanand Sinha in the year 1908.
We can form an idea of the commitment of the family towards religion by making a perusal of the Puja subscriptions made by Raj Banaili in the year 1335Fasli (1927-28). The total Cost of annual Durga Puja in the Kachaharies and Mofassils amounted to Rs.1236/14/0.
Kali-puja, in the month of Kartik, Durga-puja in the month of Ashwin and Visahara-Puja on the sankranti day of Sraavan were the main annual Pujas. Other Puja-Festivals like the Nag-Panchmi, Chaturthi-Chandra-Puja, Anant-Chaturdasi, Kojaagaraa, Debotthaan, Basant-Panchmi, chaitra-Navratra and Ramnavami were celebrated according to the custom in Mithila. Another Puja that was very popular in this house was the birthday celebrations of Lord Krishna, called Krishnaastami. Apart from the normal rituals in the Thakurbari, clay idols of the entire family of Krishna were worshipped on this day, to commemorate the birthday of the lord. Rani Jagrama of Srinagar, Rani Sitavati of Banaili Champanagar and Rani Kalavati of Garh-Banaili celebrated this festival with great devotion. Although the Puja at Srinagar, and Garh- Banaili was later discontinued, it is still carried on at Banaili Champanagar by the descendents of Rani Sitavati.
In this way, several ancient Hindu shrines like the Gaureswari temple at Gaur in Maldah, Siv and Bhagwati temples at Devaban and Burhanath temple at Bhagalpur were kept and maintained through the generous patronage of Raj Banaili. In spite of being ardent Hindu worshippers, the Rajas of Banaili were not at all adversely inclined towards Islam and other non-Hindu religions. They joined in the Muharram and Eid celebrations for the sake of their Muslim subjects. Hundreds of Mosques and Mazaars were maintained and protected by Raj Banaili.

Interaction with the Maithil Brahmin Society viz the Shrotriya and Yogya -

Unlike most of the princely families of India the house of Banaili belonged to the Maithil Brahmin community. It did not have the freedom to interact with the other princely estates through marriage. Inter-caste marriages had not come into practice in the way it is accepted today and members of the royal house of Banaili had no choice but to be contented with making matrimonial matches within their own community. Deep-rooted rivalry on political as well as caste-status grounds prevented frequent interaction with the other most prominent Maithil Brahmin family i.e. the Khandwala dynasty of Darbhanga. The royal house of Maldwar fell within the prohibited group because their Gotra was the same as that of Banaili. As a result, most of the matrimonial relations were made with boys and girls who came from the poorer sections of the community.
But utmost care was taken; that these matches were made only with those who were exceedingly rich as far as their caste status was concerned. Relations were made either with the topmost Shrotriya or with the higher sections of the Yogya who ranked the second. Absolutely no social interaction in marriage prevailed with the lower divisions of the Panjibadh or the Jaiwar.
The Shrotriya and yogya maintained their integrity by practicing utmost strictness in intermingling through marriage. The pronounced focus of Banaili towards them sent a clear message of recognition of their genetic superiority which reminded them again and again, that their superior bloodline was much in demand and needed to be saved and preserved.
Before proceeding further, let us take a look at the caste-system prevalent among the Maithil Brahmins of contemporary Mithila. According to Abhaynath Misra,[10] there were 4 categories of Maithil Brahmins, Shrotriya, Yogya, Panji-badh and Jaiwar. After studying the classification of 34 Mools into the 3 sections namely Ayaant, Vaaraant and Madhyama, we find that the first 20 in Ayaant and Vaaraant were held as Shrotriya. Similarly the next 14 in Madhyama were regarded as Panjibadh. Only two Mools namely Surgane and Ekhare were raised from Panjibadh to Shrotriya-ship during later times, and both these instances were a result of Royal families being related to the two Mools. Between the Ayaant and Varaant only Alayee and Baherarhi could not retain their high position and fell in rank.
In the beginning, there was no classification called Yogya. This was created later, to mark such people among the Shrotriya (Ayaant and Vaaraant) who had married among the Panjibadh or Madhyama. To further establish this point of view I place below, some of the top class Yogya families that were in full swing of status during 1875 to 1925. These were-
Pali- Jamdauli- Saraiya, Bettiah
Sodarpur- Kanhauli- Mangrauni
Ghusoute Nagwar of Ram Thakur- Bhattsimari
Khoware- Mahua- Ranitola
Tisaute-kua- Ranti
Mandar-jagaur- Kakror
It can be noticed that all the above houses belonged to the top 20 Mools. There were several instances of marriage relations between the above mentioned houses and the Shrotriya, and these were acceptable to the higher-fold.
Similarly, another class (definitely) existed, consisting of Brahmins who were Shrotriya but had fallen low by marrying out of the 34 Mools. Although this demotion never took place during the earlier years of classification, it became a common feature during the later periods. This category was placed higher than the Jaiwar and was held in high esteem by the Jaiwars because of having a male lineage from the Ayaant and Vaaraant.
Lastly came the Jaiwar, whose Mool was lower than the first 34. It may be noted that approximately 164 Mools[11] exist even today.
So there were-
1) Shrotriya, consisting of Ayaant and Varaant and two elevated Mools of Madhyama.
2) Yogya, consisting of Ayaant and Varaant who had intermarried with Madhyama.
3) Panjibadh, mostly consisting of Madhyama. They intermarried with Yogya and aspired for the latter position. Some of the Panjibadh who continuously maintained relations with the top Yogya were taken into yogya-fold. Eg. Belauche-Sudai of Banu Chhapra in Bettiah and Baliase-Narsam in Ranitola and Salempur.
4) Vanshdhar, Mostly consisting of Shrotriya who had fallen to a position between the Panjibadh and Jaiwar due to having intermarried lower than the Madhyama. They held a position higher than the Jaiwar because of their male lineage from the top 20Mools. E.g. Darihare-Rajanpura, Mandar-Kataiya, Kujilwar-satere, Khandwala-Deswal etc.
5) Jaiwar, who consisted of the remaining 130 Mools. After the establishment of the system of ‘Paainj,’ it was generally accepted that a person without any ‘Paainj’ was a Jaiwar.
Next, let us know about the ‘Shrotriya’, not as a definite section of the Maithil Brahmin society, as is generally understood by the word, but the actual meaning of the term. According to Smriti, the highest manifestation of Brahmanism was called “Shrotriya”.
Man, when born of pure Brahmin parents, is called a Brahmin. He attains the position of a Dwija after going through various Sanskar or rituals. Only after receiving proper and high education, he deserves the title of a Vipra. When a person has all the above three qualifications he attains the exalted position of a “Shrotriya”. In the beginning only the meritorious, were adorned with the title and it was regarded as a personal decoration. A Shrotriya’s son could keep his father’s title and position only if he qualified for it. But with the passage of time the above mentioned qualifications were limited to gratification of the first and second only i.e. the purity of blood and passing through a chain of Brahmanistic rituals. The third but the most important criterion of education and scholarly life was gradually forgotten. Now, one could retain his Shrotriyaship merely on the basis of birth and rituals. In this way the true meaning of the word was preferred to be forgotten by the ones who held the title and subsequently evolved as the highest class of Maithil Brahmin society.
Members of Banaili Raj had always been ardent admirers of Shrotriya and aspired for Shrotriya-ship or at least higher Yogya-ship where they would be acceptable to the higher fold. It was with this aim in mind, that every social move was made by the Rajas and Kumars of Banaili. (including the Srinagar and Amour branch).
I have already mentioned that after the extinction of the ruling house of Pahsara, The house of Banaili came into prominence in the area and filled the void created by the passing away of the former. It, not only wielded political influence but also emerged as the cultural leader of the people of Nashira and adjoining areas. The family of Banaili, which already had its cultural roots in Tirhut, established itself as the chief patron of Brahmin culture which had, since long flourished in the cultural belt of Nashira, under the Shrotriya rulers of Pahsara and Sauriya. In those days most of the Shrotriyas who were recognized as the cultural masters of Mithila, and had their abode within Nashira came in close contact with the House of Banaili and accepted them as their overlord.
Although the jaiwars and Panjibadhs were not acceptable in marriage within the family of Banaili, they were employed in large numbers in the different departments of the Raj, according to their personal capability and skill. The highly respectable post of the Raj-Purohit (head-priest), Jyotishi, Vaidik, Tantrik and Naiyayik were held by members of the above mentioned sections of the Brahmin society. Hundreds of Temple-priests and their assistants who were employed by the Raj, in the various temples, hailed mostly from the Panjibadhs and Jaiwars. Although the post of the Royal Cook was kept aside for a high-born Yogya, rest of the food and grains departments was almost entirely held by the Panjibadh and Jaiwar community. They were also employed as personal assistants, teachers, treasurers and scribes. In this way the entire Brahmin society which flourished in the cultural Province of Nashira and neighboring areas was brought under the influence and over-lordship of Banaili.
The cultural growth of the Brahmins of this region underwent a marked change during the next few decades due to the sincere efforts of Raj Banaili. One of the most noteworthy accomplishments was made by making available to the higher society, the office of the compilers of the Brahmin geneology, the Panjikars. During the period of Chaudhary Parmanand Singh, the unavailability of a capable Panjikar was felt as a serious obstacle in deciding high-caste marriages and thus maintaining the purity of Brahmin lineage. Parmanand Singh made up his mind to find a learned Panjikar and establish him as a permanent resident of Nashira. For this, he sought help from a relative who happened to be closely associated with the clan of the Panjikars. Jaikrisna Jha of Sarisabe- Baghwas who was the husband of Paramanand’s sister (Lukha Dai) had another wife who was the daughter of the famous Panjikar Jhonti Jha. It was through this connection that Panjikar Mitranand alias Jhonti Jha[12] was brought to Rasaarh in Nashira. He was gifted with large landed property and established as a respectable citizen of the region. Later, when Rasaarh became inhabitable due to incessant floods, the family was shifted to Shivnagar. Two other families[13] were also gifted with 14 acres each to enable them to settle down at Shivnagar and provide company to the Panjikar, lest the Panjikar may get weary of the loneliness and return to Tirhut.
This does not imply in any way that the other sections of maithil society, were not received well in the Banaili Raj. Rather, they were always recognized for their individual capabilities. Numerous Kayasthas and Rajputs occupied high positions in the administrative set up of the Raj.
Nearly a century after the Shrotriyas of Nashira were taken back to Tirhut and compelled to live within a fixed area, in order to be recognized by the newly found social over-lordship of Madhav Singh, many Shrotiryas expressed their wish to come within the patronage of Banaili. Around 1933 they approached the proprietors for lands being settled with them within Banaili Raj in order to form a colony of their own, where they could settle down as dwellers. They found lands suitable for their purpose in village Kamrail of Mouza Hakpara (Parganna Utarkhand) within the Elaka of Nawhatta. The proprietors agreed to give 1Bigha of land for residential purpose and 10 bighas of land for cultivation to each Shrotriya who wished to settle down in the Raj. The circle officer of Nawhatta was given instruction to help these new settlers by providing them with bamboos and thatching grass for building their houses free of cost. However, these lands were settled for a period of 3 years at the beginning and would be converted into permanency later. Lands were given only to such candidates whose names were recommended by Babu Ganga nath Jha the eldest son-in-law of Raja Kirtyanand sinha. In this way many Shrotriya families found patronage and protection in Banaili.
I have already said that the proprietors of Banaili Raj left no stone unturned in order to enhance their own social position in the eyes of the high-born of the society. They always aspired to be held at par with the Shrotriya and the Yogya. This led them to establish marital relationship with the higher sections and thus maintain close contacts with the Elite of the society of Tirhut.
When a bride from the Shrotriya or Yogya community was brought to Banaili to be wedded to one of the Princes, she would seldom return to Tirhut even for a casual visit to her parents. Most of these Brides were completely cut off from their motherland for the rest of their lives. Being very young at the time of their marriage they easily adopted the way of life at Banaili and within a short time became more familiar to the people of Banaili than their own folks who often disappointed these young ladies with their simple mannerisms during their frequent visits to Banaili.
But the case of the daughters of Banaili was entirely different as their marriage involved a more strenuous task of the question of the adaptability of the Shrotriya men who came to live at Banaili as the husband of these Daijees. Most of these men were not young. Adaptability to the new ways of life was neither easy for them nor acceptable to their high-caste pride and vanity. Yet they lived in awe of the power and wealth of Banaili. Thus developed a peculiar class of people, consisting of the sons-in-law of Banaili with their families whose existence was an integral part of the Royal House, yet distinctly different from it.
In the eyes of the Shrotriyas, as well as the top class Yogyas, members of the family of Banaili had a very low caste status. Once a Shrotriya boy married a Banaili girl, he was not allowed to interact with his own society. He was neither welcome at home nor was he invited at ceremonies by his close relatives for fear of being ousted from society. He, therefore, preferred to stay with his wife’s family at or near Banaili. Although he continued for some time to make short and secret visits to his home in Tirhut, led by blood and nostalgia, he no longer felt comfortable with his own folks. Above all, he never dared to take his wife to his home, lest she be insulted and turned out by his parents.
On the other hand a princess of Banaili was quite comfortable in her father’s home. She had separate quarters to live in, within the Haveli. Here she enjoyed all the luxuries and comforts, amidst which she had been brought up. She also wielded considerable power (according to her own capabilities) and was held in high esteem by the ladies of the Haveli.
A Daijee was never dependent on her brother or his wife for her finances. Although, she neither had any proprietary interest in her father’s estate nor was she married to a prince, she was always well provided for, by her parents. She owned considerable wealth and property to support her husband, children and herself. The Daijees were always recognized as an important part of the Banaili family and were held as a distinct, though not separate, entity.
All the Rani Sahebas of the Haveli came from respectable Shrotriya and Yogya families with humble backgrounds. They needed to be trained in the manners and etiquette of the aristocracy, before they grew into woman-hood and established themselves as a proprietress of the estate. The Daijees proved to be the best tutors for these young Ranis who looked up to them for guidance and advice and this superiority of the daughters over the daughters-in-law of the family placed them at the helm of all affairs in the Haveli.
I have already written about the daughters of Raja Dular singh, Raja Bedanand Singh and Kumar Rudranand Singh in the earlier chapters. I begin here to write exclusively on the Daijees of the next generations.
All the seven daughters of Raja Leelanand Singh Bahadur were given away in marriage to high-born Shrotriya Brahmins. The eldest Yogmaya was married to Raghuwar Thakur of Khandwala Bhour Mool. This Raghuwar Thakur [14] was a direct descendent of Mahamahopadhya Damodar Thakur, the elder brother of Mahesh Thakur, who was the founder of the khandwala dynasty of Darbhanga. Princess Yogmaya had only one daughter, Rukmini who was married to Shrotiya Tejnath Jha.[15]
Mahamaya Daijee The second daughter of Raja Leelanand was married to Shrotriya Bachharan Mishra[16]. Mahamaya was a favourite of the family. Being just elder to Raja Padmanand Singh, she was very dear to him and wielded considerable influence and power in the court. She accompanied her brother at the Durbar and even at excursions and official tours. It is said that she demanded from her dear brother, to be provided with an equally elaborate entourage when she happened to travel with the Raja. Padmanand, not only pampered her by fulfilling her whimsical wishes but also went to the length of constructing for her a separate palace and Garhi adjacent to his own at Deorhi Ramnagar. Mahamaya had only one child, a daughter named Jhala who was married to Shrotriya Bhai Lal Jha[17] of Deep. Jhala’s only child, Baba was married to Shrotriya Manu Jha [18]of Isahpur. I have specially mentioned this grand daughter of Mahamaya because among the daughters of Banaili, Mahamaya Daijee is the senior most whose direct descendents continued to live with the Banaili family till the abolition of Zamindari in 1952. Baba Dai’s son Radharaman Jha and grand son Rewti Raman Jha later shifted to Shahpur in Saharsa and fixed their abode, at this place.
The third daughter of Raja Leelanand Singh was Nityamaya who was given away in marriage to one of the highest born Shrotriya, Theethar Jha[19] of Darihare- Ratauli Mool of Gangauli. Nityamaya Daijee’s only daughter, Punyavati alias Toori Dai was married to Shrotriya Jhalhan Jha [20] of Rupauli. Unlike others, Toori Dai went to live with her husband at Rupauli in Tirhut. Her’s is the only case where a daughter of Banaili lived with her in-laws within the sphere of Sotipura. Raja Leelanand gave away huge amount of property and wealth to his grand daughter as dowry.
The fourth daughter of Raja Leelanand was Chandramaya alias Maina. Her husband Manohar Jha[21] was a Shrotriya of Mander Singhouli Mool. Maina Dai died issueless.
Kamakhya Dai, the daughter of Leelanand from Rani Chandreshwari was married to Chandidutt Jha,[22] a Shrotriya of Sodarpur-Kanhauli Mool of Ujaan. Kamakhya Daiji went to live with her husband at Karna-garh in Sultangunge, on the banks of Ganga. The Deottar Mahaal, belonging to Rani Chadeswari, devolved upon Kamakhya Daiji, after the death of Chandeswari. The gross income of this Mahaal was Rs. 40000/- and was set aside to look after the religious institutions at Deorhi Champanagar. After inheriting this Mahaal, from her mother, Kamakhya maintained these temples. But she was very short-lived. Soon after giving birth to her first child, (Anantanand Jha) she fell ill and died, leaving behind an infant son, only twelve days old. The baby Anantanand was carried to Bhagalpur and kept under the protection of the Collector. But the boy died after six months and the Atayanama Mahal Estate reverted back to the Banaili Raj.
The second but last daughter of Raja Leelanand was Kirtimaya alias Laxmi or Laxmini (y{kfeuh). Kirtimaya, as per tradition of family was married to Shrotriya Padm Nath Jha[23] of Isahpur. She gave birth to a son named Babu Kedarnath Jha and a daughter, Baba Dai. Baba Dai was also married to a Shrotriya of Naruaar named Nakchhedi Jha[24]. Kedar Nath Jha was born in 1899 and lost his mother within a few weeks of his birth. Although the entire family of Rani Sitawati was very disconsolate after the untimely death of Kirtimaya, a new bride was fetched for Ojhaji Padm Nath Jha from the house of Ghusaute-nagvaar of Samaul[25]so that he could start family life afresh. Padmanath Jha continued to receive recognition as a son-in-law of Rani Sitavati Devi and lived as a family member. He was soon blessed with a son (Raghu Nath Jha alias Balaji) through his second wife.
The youngest daughter of Raja Leelanand through his fourth wife Sitawati was named Dharm-maya alias Jamuna. She was given away in marriage to Shrotriya Shambhunath[26] Jha of Naruar. Theirs was a very happy marriage and they had settled down at Bhagalpur. Unfortunately, Dharm-Maya lost her husband at a very young age and was left with her only child Babu Shaktinath Jha. Later she came to live with her mother and brothers, at Deorhi Champanagar.
Except the last two daughters (of Rani Sitawati) all the daughters of Raja Leelanand had been married in his life time. Apart from a huge quantity of gold and silver ornaments, large landed properties were transferred in their names. Kamakhya Dai was the luckiest of them in matters of wealth as she inherited the Devotter Mahal of her mother. This Mahal was a Zamindari property which yielded an annual income of Rs.40000/-. To the other daughters, various Talukas yielding an annual income of Rs.6000/- each was provided by the Raja.
1. Yog Maya Dai--Bara Singhoul Taluka
Maha Maya Dai------Kedali ,,
Nity Maya Dai--------Chakla ,, (near Mansi)
Maina Dai-----------Shahpur ,,
Mahamaya Dai also had Mokarrari lands in Taluka Shahpur and Guguldih. She also had some Jote lands in Nowhatta and Purnea which were transferred later to Baba Dai, her grand-daughter for maintenance. Baba Dai received a monthly allowance of Rs.100/- till she lived.
Kirtimaya and Dharmamaya were small girls when their father died in 1883. Even at the time of their marriage, they could not get any property from the Raj because of the litigation with Padmanand Singh and also because their brothers were minors till then. Both Kirtimaya and Dharmamaya along with their families lived within their mother’s residential setup. Kirtimaya had an untimely death. Later, a monthly allowance of Rs. 200/- was fixed for Dharmamaya Daiji. However, all her extra ordinary expenses were carried out by her brothers. When her brothers started living separately in 1919, two hundred Bigha of good land was settled with her at Mouja-Rasarh for her maintenance till she lived. Of course she did not have to pay any rent and her allowance continued as before.
Among the daughters of Raja Srinand Singh of the Srinagar branch, the elder Singhesvari Daijee was married to Shrotriya Babu Leelanath Jha[27] of Isahpur and the younger Vishveswari Daijee, sister of Kumar Nityanand Sinha was married to Shrotriya Babu Gosain Misra[28] of Lalgunj.
In those days it was very difficult to find a Shrotriya bride-groom for a Banaili girl. On one side, these Shrotriya bride-grooms wanted to keep their Shrotriya Bloodline intact, by marrying Shrotriya girls and having children by them. On the other hand they could not resist the temptation of wealth and position that awaited them at the doorstep of Banaili, and most of them married these Princesses for financial gains only. None of the above mentioned ladies (Princesses, their daughters and granddaughters) were lucky enough to be the first or only wife of their respective husbands. They were always the junior wife and in many cases even the third[29]. In most of the cases negotiations were made with the father of the bride-groom, who was more than ready to marry his son to the princess of Banaili, but could not openly accept this for fear of being ousted from the Shrotriya society. Therefore a sum of money payable to the groom’s party was finalized, and the boy was brought to Banaili and summarily married to the daughter of one of the Rajas. The bride-groom’s father would make propaganda that the boy had been lifted by the men of Banaili.
Out of the daughters of Padmanand, Hira Daijee died in her ninth year, unwed. Bhawani was married to Shrotriya Janardan Jha [30]of Rupouli, who belonged to Pabauli-bariam Mool. It is told that Princess Bhawani was very beautiful and fair and her match was made with the aged and ugly Janardan only because he happened to be a top class Shrotriya belonging to the Pratham Sreni. She went under shock when she saw the bridegroom at the Lagna-mandap and died soon after. This indeed was a very unfortunate incident where the life of a princess of Banaili was ruthlessly sacrificed, only in hope to raise the family to a higher platform of caste by marrying her off to an ugly and old Shrotriya.
The third daughter of Padmanand Singh was Moti Daijee. She was a fine lady and was as beautiful as her sister Bhawani, if not more. It is said and believed that one could see the red colour through her very fair and delicate skin, when she swallowed the juice of Paan. Moti Daijee was married to Babu Bheknath Misra alias Kallar Misra of Lalganj who was from the house of Sodarpur Sarisab. Their marriage proved to be very successful unlike that of Bhawani. Moti Daijee had a daughter named Tara and three sons Bhimnath, Buddhinath and Raavaneswar.
There is an interesting story related to this marriage. In order to pamper and cajole the new bridegroom, he was asked if he wanted a special gift from the Raja. The shy bridegroom uttered a single word ‘laal’ meaning Ruby. Although Padmanand understood that the boy wanted a Ruby, he ordered each and every item of his marriage gift either to be procured in the red colour or to be painted red in order to humour him. It is said that everything, including the Elephant, horses and the large herd of cattle was painted red before being gifted to him. Of course, every piece of ornament was also studded with Rubies.
Bheknath had already a Shrotriya wife but even before he could bring his bride home after Dwiraagaman, he was married again to the Princess Moti. Moti Daijee was very kind at heart and expressed her sympathies towards her co-wife, whose name incidentally was also Moti.[31] She persuaded her husband to make frequent visits to his first wife and appeased her with rich gifts. Moti was a favorite of her father who gifted her with rich and valuable landed property[32], every time he wanted to show his special affection towards her. But Moti Dai was not close to her mother Padmavati. She had taken her father’s side during the partition of the 7 annas between Padmanand and Chandranand. This led to further deterioration in her relations with Padmavati. The fact that she visited her mother only a few times for a couple of hours before the Shraddh of Chandranand (her only brother) and that she did not stay with her mother even at this mournful occasion but preferred to put up at Shyam Khazanchi’s house near the Railway Station of Bhagalpur, only shows her indifference towards her mother.
Moti Daijee died in the year 1911. After the death of her sister-in-law, Rani Chandravati, the successors of Moti Daijee claimed a right in Chandravati’s estate and succeeded to, two and a half annas out of her 4 annas share in the Banaili Raj.
Interaction with the Shrotriya community became easier during the period of Kalanand and Kirtyanand Sinha. With the passage of time, the social conditions seemed to take a somewhat favourable turn towards Banaili. Probably, due to the numerous new relations that were made with the Shrotriyas, they came in closer contact with the house of Banaili and started appreciating the attention and reverence that was showered upon them. With the growing number of Shrotriyas who came to live at Banaili, the dread of being banished from one’s own society became less threatening to them. These sons-in-law and their close relatives, who came from Tirhut as regular visitors, formed a distinct group in and around the Palace. This gradual bend towards Banaili can be seen in the fact that fresh marriage-relations were made with those Shrotriya families that already had relations with Banaili. Take for example the house of Sodarpuriye-Sarisab of Lalgunj. Pakhia Misra had three sons, Kanhai, Hemnath and Dhirnath. Kanhai was married to Prassanvati Daijee, the daughter of Dular Singh. Later, Hemnath’s two grandsons, Gosain and Kallar were married to Visvesvari and Moti, the daughters of Srinand and Padmanand respectively. At a much later date Dhirnath’s great grandson Viswanath was married to Karpura, the daughter of Kalanand of Banaili. Another example is the house of Parihat sankararhi of Isahpur. Out of the two sons of Manmohan Jha the younger, Leelanath was married to Singhesvari, the daughter of Srinand and the elder, Damoder’s son Padmanath was married to Laxmi the daughter of Leelanand of Banaili. Yet another example is the house of Mander-Singhouli of Isahpur. Feku’s brother Manu was married to Baba, the great grand-daughter of Leelanand and Feku’s son, Ganganath was married to Ganga, the daughter of Kirtyanand of Banaili. By looking at Chart no. 11A, 11B & 11C at the end of the book, one can see several examples of relations between Banaili and the houses of Pabauli-bariyam, Sodarpur-sarisab and Sodarpur-kanhouli.
By 1918 the position became so favourable that the Rajas of Banaili could now afford to pick and choose suitable bridegrooms for their daughters. No longer were they forced to be contented with already married and middle aged husbands for their daughters. While searching a suitable match for his second daughter Saraswati, Raja Kirtyanand had the privilege of a choice between two boys, one from Naruaar [33]and the other from Jhanjharpur. He could afford to reject both and finally chose another boy from Ujaan[34]. It may be noted here that all the six sons-in-law of Raja Kalanand and Raja Kirtyanand were young and good-looking. Above all, they were being married for the first time.
The eldest daughter of Raja Kirtyanand Sinha Bahadur was Rajkumari Jaganmaya alias Ganga. She was married to Shrotriya Babu Ganga Nath Jha[35]. Rajkumari Ganga died issueless at an early age of 32. In spite of being grief-stricken and disconsolate due to her untimely death, her mother Rani Prabhavati, pressed upon Ganga Nath to marry the daughter of Punyadutt Jha[36] of Ujaan and start family life afresh. He had three sons and two daughters by this second marriage and continued to live at Chanka in Purnea and maintained his old connections with Deorhi Champanagar where he and his family was always regarded and kept as the family of Ganga Daijee. A school named Gangadai Sanskrit Vidyalaya at Khokha was opened in her name by her husband. Later this institute was transformed into ‘Ganga-Bhawan Madhya Vidyalaya’. Babu Ganga Nath Jha died in the year 1967 at Isahpur.
Kirtyanand Sinha’s second daughter, Rajkumari Yasomaya alias Saraswati was married to Shrotriya Babu Kesav Dutt Jha who came from the house of Sodarpur-kanhouli of Ujaan[37]. Kesav Dutt was the maternal nephew of Dr.Sir Ganganath Jha of Pahitol. They had no children.
The youngest daughter of Raja Kirtyanand Sinha was Rajkumari Premmaya alias Savitri. She was married to Babu Durganandan Singh of Madhepur Deorhi. Durganandan Singh hailed from the royal house of Darbhanga and was a Daayaad of the Maharaja of Darbhanga. He belonged to Khandwala-bhaur Mool. Savitri Daijee had many children[38].
This marriage was a direct outcome of the long rivalry between the house of Banaili and that of Darbhanga. Story goes that the Maharaja of Darbhanga had criticized the method used by the Raja of Banaili in procuring the bridegroom of Rajkumari Yashomaya alias Saraswati. He said that the Raja of Banaili had fallen into a habit of kidnapping the children of poor Shrotriyas and that he could not dare to touch the rich Shrotriyas as they were mostly related to the Maharaja himself. The Maharaja’s criticism was conveyed to the Raja in such a way that he took it as a challenge from the Maharaja. He decided that his junior son-in-law must belong to the family of the ruling house of Darbhanga. Informers were set in all directions. As soon as the Raja was informed that the elder son of Babu Ganpati singh of Madhepur Deorhi was on his way to Calcutta for higher studies, he deputed his men to influence him. The twenty year old Babu Durganandan Singh was intercepted by the Raja’s men, in the railway carriage in which he was travelling to Calcutta. They successfully lured him into accepting a marriage proposal in the Banaili family. Before the Maharaja could even get a smell of the plot, the ambitious young boy was brought to Banaili Champanagar and summarily married to princess Premmaya alias Savitri.
Among the daughters of Raja Kalanand sinha, the eldest, Rajkumari Bhagirathi was given away in marriage to Shrotriya Radharaman Jha[39] of Ujaan. Babu Radharaman Jha died at an early age, issueless and Bhagirathi Daijee spent her life as a childless widow. Babu Radharaman Jha is still remembered by the small village adjacent to Garh-banaili which was named ‘Radhanagar’, to commemorate his wedding with the Princess.
The second daughter of Kalanand Sinha, Rajkumari Tripura alias Phuhi and the youngest Rajkumari Karpura alias Durga were married to Babu Jaynath Jha of Mahrail[40] and Babu Biswanath Misra [41]of Lalganj. Both were top class Shrotriya.
Among the daughters of Kalanand Sinha and Kirtyanand Sinha, only Ganga and Savitri had made exclusive residential setups away from the Deorhi. Babu Ganga Nath Jha and Ganga Dai had settled down at Chanka near Champanagar, where a small Deorhi was constructed for their residence. Another small Deorhi was constructed for the use of Savitri Daiji at Khajura near Madhepur in Darbhanga. Since Saraswati and Bhagirathi had no children, they preferred to live at Deorhi Champanagar and Krishnagarh with their brothers. Tripura and Karpura lived within the house hold of their mother, Rani Kalavati Devi. Later, Durga Daijee shifted to her husband’s residence which had been made specifically for him, at Garhbanaili while Tripura continued to live in her mother’s palace. Like their aunts, they also, were provided with large landed property[42] and suitable monthly allowances[43].
A son-in-law of Banaili seldom returned home to live there. He stayed with his in laws. He was given a separate house to live in along with a set of servants and attorneys to wait upon him. He also received a handsome allowance from the estate as his monthly pocket money. In short, he lived like a prince, almost. But his position was always inferior to the prince, in title as well as power and position. He was addressed as Ojhaji and the title “Babu” was attached with his name. E.g. Babu Bhekhnath Mishra, Babu Ganga nath Jha.
Often, the son-in-law sought employment under the proprietors. Bhekhnath Mishra worked for his father-in-law Raja Padmanand Singh. Among the sons-in-law of Raja Kirtyanand Sinha, Babu Durganandan Singh, worked as the circle manager at Mallehpur and received a salary of Rs. 200/- per month. Babu Kesav Dutt Jha was P.A. to the General Manager during 1937-38 and received Rs. 200/- per month. Later he was appointed Receiver of the Champanagar Patti (8 annas) and received a handsome pay of Rs.3000/-per month.
The nephews of the Raja of Banaili were brought up like princes. The fact that their parents had no proprietary rights in the estate did not affect, in any way, the education or lifestyle of the sons of the Daijees. Laxshmi Daijee’s son Babu Kedar nath Jha and Jumna Daijee’s son Babu Shakti nath Jha were no exception. Their life style was similar to Kumar Ramanand Sinha and they received similar education and up-bringing. They also received a monthly pocket money of Rs. 50/- each. When they grew up into manhood, were married and started their own families they were provided with a handsome amount of Rs. 12000/- each to start their own career. They were also given Rs. 3000/- each to make their own residential houses. 100 Bighas[44] of good Kaamat land was also settled with each of them.
Babu Kedar Nath Jha alias Sunder Babu settled down at his native village Isahpur while Babu Shakti Nath Jha [45]alias Fuchi Babu preferred to stay with his maternal uncle at Deorhi Champanagar. A separate small Deorhi was constructed for him, adjacent to the palace grounds of Champanagar. They were also provided with all the luxuries of life including Motor-cars[46]. In spite of these separate arrangements, they continued to live mostly at the palace.
While, all daughters of Banaili were married to Shrotriyas, (with the exception of the 2 daughters of Kamalanand Singh) we find, mostly Yogya girls as daughters-in-law up till the generation of Padmanand Singh. I place below a list of Shrotriya brides, since the days of Hazaari Parmanand chaudhary. Out of these, there was only one in Amour, one in Srinagar but ten in Banaili. These, marriage relations, for several generations resulted in a very marked difference in the yaavato parichaya of an Alayebaar baigni man. Yaavato-Parichay is a genealogical list containing the sixteen lines of the ancestors of a person. Eg. The Yaavato parichaya my son, clearly shows a many times promotion than the position held by our ancestor Rambhadra. Of course it is an entirely different matter that the so-called Caste-Status of a person holds practically negligible value in the world of today. With the changing times, social values have been modified to such an extent that the so called Yaavato Parichaya of the olden days has been successfully replaced by the Bio Data of a person which depicts his personal qualifications and merit, giving hardly any importance or place for the conveniently forgotten Yaavatro-Parichay of the by-gone era. In fact the bio-Data of a person is the Yaavato-Parichay of today.
However, the Yaavato-Parichay of a person was a very important factor in deciding the social status of a Brahmin in the days of the Banaili Raj. In course of two centuries, an exorbitant amount of money was spent by the house of Banaili for the upliftment of its Yaavato Parichay through these marriages. This included-
1. Monetary compensation to the Shrotriya and yogya families, against their loss of prestige in the eyes of the system prevalent in Mithila.
2. Maintenance to the family of the bride and close relatives of the bridegroom.
3. Establishment costs of the new house-hold setup of the bridegrooms.
4. Gifts of land to the bridegroom and parents of the bride. A single Shrotriya relation-ship cost the house apprximately Rs. 225000 in case of a bridegroom and Rs. 100000 in case of a bride on an average. Between the period of Parmanand chaudhary and Kirtyanand Sinha there were a total of 31 bridegrooms, (including 7 of Srinagar and 2 of Amour Branch) and 47 brides (including 13 of Srinagar and 4 of Amour branch). One can imagine the amount of wealth spent over the compensation, provision and maintenance given to the related families.
In spite of the continuous, sincere and expensive efforts made to achieve a very high position within the society of the high born Brahmins of Mithila, Banaili failed to reach the level it aspired for. Mainly due to the political interference of the royal house of Darbhanga the Shrotriyas were restrained from giving due credit to the sincerity of the house of Banaili. The Maharajas of Darbhanga (especially before 1930) chose to forget the sincere services of the Rajas of Banaili towards the Shrotriya community. They even chose to ignore the indeed rare friendly gesture of Banaili Raj where a large sum of money payable by the Maharaja was not only forgone and forgiven by Banaili but also converted in an expression of friendliness and respect towards the young indebted Maharaj-Kumar of Darbhanga. (It has already been mentioned that Raja Leelanand Sinha tore away the decree, whereby Maharaj-Kumar Lakshmeswar Singh owed a sum of Rs.8 Lacs to Banaili, and presented it to the Maharaj-Kumar as a parting gift.) The Maharaja could have acted in a favourable way if he had the slightest inclination. By implementing the same method by which every non-Shrotriya was successfully converted into Shrotriyadom before marrying its offspring to the Darbhanga Princes, the Maharaja could have only shown mere appreciation and reciprocation of the friendly gesture of Banaili. The Shrotriyas would, as usual oblige the Maharaja by fulfilling his wish, even half-heartedly.
On the contrary the Maharaja chose the path of socio-political rivalry. He used every available occasion to humiliate and belittle Banaili on social grounds. He created a strong anti-Banaili atmosphere within Soitpuraa and convinced the poor Shrotriyas of the extremely low caste status of Banaili which, we have already seen, was a myth based on bias and prejudice[47]. The Shrotriyas failed to recognize the long list of sacrifices, made through the marriage of several princesses to ugly and old men of their society. Every bit of the huge amount of money spent to cajole the higher fold was forgotten. The patronage and respect showered upon them was brushed aside. It even failed to realize that the very integrity of the society of the Shrotriyas was the result of the reverence and respect that it received From Banaili.
The actions of the Maharajas of Darbhanga had always harmed the pride and integrity of the Shrotriyas. Time and again they compelled the Shrotriya to alter their norms by elevating to Shrotriyadom, every family they chose to marry in. The practice of paying a small sum of 4 annas per day to every Shrotriya who stayed as a Royal guest at Darbhanga turned almost the entire community into a bunch of lethargic individuals who wasted away their literary talents and took to gradual disintegration. The intentions of the Maharaja may have been sincere and pure but the damage done to the Shrotriya community, as a whole was so clear and pronounced that it could be felt by one and all.
On the other hand, Banaili had always shown unfailing reverence towards this group of Brahmins who were the proud descendents of the most learned class of men of Tirhut. In fact they adored these Shrotriyas. Even an uneducated member of their society was received well and treated as a special guest at the court of Banaili. Banaili never tried to interfere with their norms and always faced the lashes of social disrespect with calm and poise.
Although its repeated attempts of social interaction with the Shrotriya and Yogya at matrimony was looked upon as acts of villainy and injustice, it undoubtedly brought the community closer in its counter-attempts to safeguard the rest of high-born from making further relations with the house of Banaili. So in a way Banaili helped the Shrotriya Community even through its so-called villainous deeds!
The only outcome of this social drive which was made with utmost intensity for a couple of centuries was the formation of Parmanand chaudhary Paainj and the improved Yaavato-Parichay of the Banaili men. Naturally, the Rajas were frustrated and felt cheated. As the years rolled by and the twentieth century entered its second quarter, the glory of the Shrotriyas started losing its colour and charm even in the eyes of Banaili which had been till then, its blind follower. With the death of The Rajas of Banaili in the years between 1910 and 1938 the Era of Shrotriya-worship faced a gradual decline in Banaili.
The Kumars of Banaili decided to put an end to the long tradition of facing any further humiliation at the hands of the so called Shrotriyas. They realized that their Princesses were very dear to them and could not be given away to any poor, uneducated and twice-married man simply because he happened to boast of high birth. They could easily foresee the independence of India and the inevitable end of the Zamindari System. Now they turned their heads towards the new generation of promising youngsters who were taking up respectable jobs under the Indian Government. These Brahmin boys offered a more glamorous and respectable life to the new generation of Banaili Daijees in comparison to the Shrotriyas who were still under the clutches of false vanity and Pride.
However, Shrotriya and Yogya brides continued to be preferred as daughters-in-law.

Life and Culture –
The chief annual festival was Durga-puja or Dasmee as it was called in Banaili. This festival was celebrated with great pomp and shows at all the Deorhies of the Banaili clan. Starting with the function called ‘Kalash-sthaapan’ or the installation of the ritualistic vessel, it ran for a full fifteen days and ended on the Kojagara day, five days after the normal culmination called Vijayadashmi. Vijayadashmi however was the main occasion when the entire family celebrated the victory of Goddess Durga over the evil forces. Clay idols of Durga etc were carried in procession to the nearby river or tank for immersion. On this occasion all male members of the royal family appeared in public to join in the procession to say good bye to the Goddess. People gathered in large numbers to watch the princes of Banaili give the initial push to the chariot on which the divinities were to be sent off. Another attraction was the performance of tribal dance and drama by the Adivaasi tribes of the region who gathered in large numbers to celebrate this function at the Deorhi of Banaili. One can make an idea of the grandeur of the festivities and its popularity by the fact that over 3 lacs of people gathered at Banaili Champanagar on the Vijayadashmi day in 1928. In the same year a clay idol of goddess Laxshmi was worshipped on the occasion of Kojagara and Laxshmi Puja was started.
On the occasion of the Durga-Puja, various tournaments like Football, Pony-Races and Wrestling were held in the Mela or Fair. Football was the favourite game, and separate tournaments were played at Sultangunje, Garh-banaili, and Champanagar. The wrestling tournament was attended by accomplished wrestlers from all over the country. Once there was a match between the famous Sukhdev and Adalat Pahalwan at Champanagar. The bout continued for one and a half hours without any result. Neither of the two would recede. It was only after the intervention of Raja Kirtyanand Sinha that the two fighters could be separated. In the year 1933 Arjun singh of Punjab won the bouts by defeating the famous Chand Pehalwan.
In the evening, free shows of Dance, Bioscope, Cinema and Theatre were performed at the Mela for the benefit of the public. These shows continued till the late hours of the night and drew huge crowds from the adjoining as well as distant areas.
The other festivals like Holi and Diwali were also celebrated with great fanfare but at a smaller scale. Every year a Formal annual Durbar was held on the Diwali Day. This was a grand affair and was carried out with great fanfare. On this occasion the Raja sat in durbar along with his male heirs, and received Nazar from his subjects. The Nazar ceremony was a completely formal affair where every subject, including close relatives, offered a piece of gold or silver coin (according to his status) to the Raja, whereby the former proclaimed his faithfulness and unquestioned subordination. It was customary to return the Nazar after touching it as a token of acceptance. The Durbar was attended by all the important people of the estate, like the General Manager, assistant Managers, Circle Managers, the Diwan, close relatives and eminent men among the Raiyats. Although, elaborate Durbars were held on other occasions like Vijayadashmi and Holi, these were of a different and less formal nature where the common man was permitted to come and pay his homage to the Raja.
Eminent singers from all over India visited the durbars of Banaili on the occasion of Holi, Dashehara and marriages. Famous artists like Altaf Hussain Khan of Khurja, Bhisma Deb Chatterjee of Calcutta, and Vishnu Digambar Palushar visited the Durbar of Raja Kirtyanand Sinha. During the period of Kumar Shyamanand Singh, Deorhi Banaili Champanagar became famous for its Music Conferences held on the occasion of Dashehra and Holi. Between 1939 and 1953 almost every leading artist of Indian classical music had given at least one performance at the durbar of Champanagar. Artists of all-India fame like Ustad Faiyaz Khan, Bade Ghulam Ali, Ustad Muzaffer Hussain, Mubarak Ali Khan, Nisaar Hussain Khan, Ustad Bachu khan Saheb, Sursri Kesarbai Kerkar, Sawai Gandharva, Hafiz Ali Khan, Dilip Chand Vedi, Mushtaq Hussain, Bhismadev Chatterjee, Malang Khan (Pakhawaj), Allauddin Khan (Sarod), Mushtaq Ali (Sitar), Bholanath Bhatt, Chinmay Lahiri, Mahaveer Mullick, Jaduveer Mullick and Ramchatur Mallick gave memorable performances at these conferences.
The Durbar of Srinagar, under Raja Srinand Singh, Kumar Nityanand Singh and Sahitya–Saroj Kamalanand Singh was very popular for its festivities at Holi. On these occasions conferences of poets and writers were held.

Modern Amenities and Luxury:-
Deorhies of Banaili (including Srinagar) were well equipped with all the modern amenities such as electricity and telephone. Since 1907, the palace at Deorhi Banaili Champanagar had its own powerhouse where several big and small generators were set up for supplying electricity. A 32 K.V.A. Hornsby Generator set[48]was installed in the year 1907. A steam engine generating set was also in use. An Accumulator set for electricity was put up in 1914. The treasury as well as the outer walls of the Garhi was safeguarded against trespassers with the help of running electricity through naked wires that was set up during the sleeping hours at night.
As early as 1909, a telephone line was in use between Deorhi Champanagar and the Navratan House in Purnea. A branch line was also set up between Deorhi Champanagar and Deorhi Srinagar. A Post and Telegraph Office was established at Banaili Champanangar about the year 1908. By 1912, there was a Telegraph line between Deorhi Srinagar and Deorhi Champanagar.
During the earlier days, horses and Elephants were the chief mode of transport. Most of the long traveling was done through river-route, for which regular fleet of boats and Bajra were kept and maintained by the Raj. For shorter distances a palanquin (Kharkharia) and a Tamdaan was more in use. The latter was an open Palanquin where one could sit on a chair and be carried by four strong men called Kahaar. At formal occasions members of the royal family traveled either in a Howdah which was carried by an elephant, or on a Taamdaan. A few preferred horses which were also used by higher officials for whom it was obligatory to join such formal occasions. Females used palaquins (Palki). At a later period horse carriages like landau, Victoria, Buggy, and traps replaced the horses and elephants for practical transport.
The Rajas of Banaili Raj bought their first car, a Durracg, in December 1906. Next, a 10 H.P. Renault car was purchased in 1909. Some of the other cars that were purchased during the next decades were-
1. Clement Baygard (Four cylinder) in 1910,
2. Delaunnean in 1910,
3. Minerva (double limousine body) in 1911,
4. Ford (Torpedo body) in 1912,
5. Ford (20H.P. semi-Torpedo)
6. Silent-Knight-Minerva (16 H.P.Pheoton body) in 1913,
7. Peugeot (three seated) in 1913,
8. Standard (15H.P. Landau body) in 1913,
9. Hupmobile (15-20H.P. Torpedo)
10. Hotchkiss(15H.P. Torpedo)
11. Berliet,
12. Dodge (15-20H.P. Torpedo)
13. B.S.A.Daimler (12H.P. semi-Torpedo body)
14. B.S.A. Birmingham (12-15H.P.)
15. Standard (20-22H.P. Cabriolet body) in 1917,
16. Ford (20 H.P. semi-torpedo) in 1918,
17. L.Lacis & Co. France (16H.P. Two seater with dickey seat) in 1918
18. Crossley (25.30H.P. Torpedo body) in 1923,
19. Overland (touring body 15H.P.)
20. Vauxhall (14.40H.P. Aluminium body) in 1924,
21. Studebaker (15H.P.Torpedo),
22. Fiat (18H.P. Torpedo) in 1927,
23. Amco (20 H.P. semi-Torpedo) Two cars in 1928,
24. Elcar (19.6H.P.Sedan) in 1929,
25. Standard (15H.P. Torpedo)in 1929,
26. Study-Baker,President 8 (40/120 H.P. Torpedo) in 1929,
27. Crossley, (25H.P. 7 seater, semi-torpedo body, custom built for the Prince of Wales) in 1930,
28. Plymouth,
29. Buick,
30. Roadmaster Buick,
31. Vauxhall 36 (Limousine, custom built),
32. Chevrolet,
33. Pontiac,
34. Hillman,
35. Overland Whippet and
36. Saxon (5-10H.P.Two seater),
Motorboats were purchased as early as 1909. They were used for pleasant drives in the Kosi River and other streams in the neighbouring countryside. In spite of the Houston Everest expedition having taken place from its base camp in Purnea and Raja Kirtyanand Sinha being closely associated with the flying team, Airplanes could not fascinate him enough to buy one. It was only during the second Quarter of the 20Th century that Kumar Jayanand Sinha of Banaili Champanagar owned a Cessna Twin Engine Aeroplane.
After going through the personal correspondences of Raja Kirtyanand Sinha one can notice a considerable volume of Letters, Greeting-Cards and other social correspondence, through which he maintained cordial relations with the other Rajas, Maharajas, and Nobles of the Province as well as many native chiefs of the Country. Among them were-
1) The Maharaja Bahadur of Nepal
2) The Commander-General Jung Bahadur Rana of Nepal
3) (Mohan Shamsher)
4) (Singha Shamsher)
5) (Babur Shamsher)
6) (Kaiser Shamsher)
7) The Maharaja of Bikaner-Sir Ganga Singh
8) The Jam Saheb of Jamnagar and Nawanagar
9) The Maharaja of Giddhour (K.N. Singh)
10) The Maharaja of Dumraon
11) The Maharaja-Kumar of Tikari
12) The Maharaja of Kasim-Bazaar
13) The Maharaja of Burdwan
14) The Maharaja of Hathwa
15) The Maharaja of Koochbehar
16) The Maharaja of Sonbarsa
17) The Maharajadhiraja of Darbhanga
18) The Raja of (Rajbati) Munger- Devkinandan Pd. Singh
19) The Kumar of Dhamna
20) The Raja of Digha-Patia
21) The Raja Bahadur of Rajnagar
22) The Raja Bahadur of Amawaan
23) The Raja of Kanika
24) The Raja of Nazargunj-P.C.Lal and
25) The Raja of Surjpura-Raja Radhikaraman Singh

A detailed record of all personal and official correspondence was maintained within every domestic set-up. Every Deorhi had an office of the private secretary who along with his Clerk and Orderly was paid, directly by the head-office at Bhagalpur.
Maithil guests, relatives and Kutumb were put up at a definite place set aside for the purpose in the Bahri. But a well-equipped Guest house was kept for the exclusive use of European guests.

Palaces and buildings:-
After going through a tour of the Deorhies, one can easily form an opinion that the palaces and buildings of Banaili Raj were built mainly on utilitarian grounds. Even Raja Kirtyanand Sinha confirms this in his book ‘Purnea a Shikar-Land’ He writes on page 3-4
‘Standing on the west bank of the Kari–Kosi, Deorhi Champanagar has rapidly developed into a pretty residence. There is no grandeur, no lavish ornamentation; the place has been built just to suit our requirements, and has been well provided with all the indispensable necessaries of life.’
Kirtyanand’s comment on Champanagar may have been a display of his humbleness and modesty but it is certainly true that the palaces at Banaili Champanagar lack the ‘Lavish Ornamentation’, which was most common in the palaces of the period. The same can be said about Deorhi Ramnagar and Krishnagarh at Sultanganj. Nevertheless, the palaces at Champanagar and Krishnagarh are very imposing and grand as far as their size and expanse is concerned. The palace at Deorhi Srinagar and the new palace built by Kumar Ramanand Sinha at Garh-banaili, have a beautiful Facade with rich ornamental details.
Except Krishnagarh, all the Garhies were surrounded by high walls and had a main entrance from the east called the Singh Darwaza. Krishnagarh was situated on a hillock on the banks of the Ganga which worked as a natural citadel, cutting it off from the rest of the surroundings and providing enough privacy to feel no need for a wall, which would definitely appear as an obstacle in enjoying the picturesque landscape around it.
The Navratan house at Purnea was a grand mansion which was situated within a large compound of 600 bighas. This house was well-equipped with all the modern facilities like Electricity and Telephone. It had a football-field as well as a Race-course cum Polo-ground within its campus. This house was mainly used for the purpose of keeping and entertaining important guests and officials and was renovated and decorated at a grand scale in 1909 for the garden party given in the honour of Mr. Baker, governor of Bihar when he visited Purnea. The decoration was done by Tomlin and co. Calcutta.
Originally a 16 annas property it came to stand in the share of Raja Kirtyanand Sinha after the subsequent partition of immovables among the share-holders.
During the devastating Earthquake of 1934, the Navratan House was damaged badly and had to be demolished. In the same year a new house was constructed at the old site. This new Navratan house was one of the earliest experiments made in the direction of making Earthquake-proof houses with the exclusive use of ‘Alloys and Furrows’. It was constructed by the Concrete Association of India. The foundation was laid by Rajkumar Shyamanand Sinha on 13/7/1934 and was completed with all fittings in 1936. It is said that it cost only 25 thousands to construct this house which was the first of its kind in the Province. Soon after, a Bungalow on Japanese pattern was constructed by the Banaili Raj, at Purnea, as another attempt in the direction of making Earthquake-proof houses. This came to be known as Lal Kothi. Another building which succumbed to the Earth-quake was the palace of Srinagar at Purnea. Though smaller in size, it was built in the same pattern as the Navratan house and was used for similar purposes by the Srinagar Raj.
There were several Palaces and buildings at Bhagalpur[49], it being the headquarters of the Banaili Raj. The oldest was the Adampur Palace of Raja Bedanand Singh, which was later used as the residence of Rani Chandravati. She constructed another house, a modern double-storied mansion within the same compound for her personal use. This house came to be known as ‘Rani Chandravati Kothi’. But the most out-standing building was the Chhowni Kothi at Gola-Ghat. It was situated at the banks of the Ganga and was a very imposing piece of Architecture. The palace of Rani Padmasundari which was situated on a hillock was another beautiful house. The Domahalla house was frequently used for giving garden parties etc to government officials and was not appropriate for private living. Subsequently it was transformed into the manager’s Bunglow. The Sultanganje house, which was a 16 annas property, was later allotted to Kumar Krishnanand Sinha who converted it into a grand residential palace.
Most of these Deorhies, Palaces and Bungalows were built between 1860 and 1936 and reflect the various designs and patterns of architecture that prevailed in Bengal and Bihar during this period.

Tradition and customs –
Social customs were observed, mostly on the line of the Shrotriya community. At functions like Vivaaha (Marriage) and Upanayan (Sacred thread ceremony) the influence of the Shrotriyas was very marked and prominent. In customs like the reception of the bridegroom and his party, the erection of the marriage platform (Vedi), and pre-nuptial rites observed by the bride, where there is a distinct difference between the Shrotriya and Non-Shrotriya, Banaili preferred to adopt the former. Community feasts (Bhoj), continued to be given in the Shrotriya pattern with the only difference that Fish or Mutton was not fed on the Upanayan day and Puri replaced the use of rice on the Dwaadasaah. Since the days of inhabitance of the Shrotriya in the Nashira Parganna their ways had been more or less adopted by the common people. It was due to the personal preference of Banaili that these customs were preserved, patronized and maintained in the region.
Polygamy as well as Child-marriage was prevalent. The average age of boys and girls at their wedding was 16 and 10. It was highly recommended that a girl should be married before puberty. Like the Shrotriya, Banaili-girls were given primary and sometimes secondary education. They were also trained in day to day Mathematics in order to cope in the field of Zamindari-management.
The house of Banaili maintained certain traditions that created an aura of mystique and secrecy in the eyes of the rest of the community. Most of these were related to the Gosown-ghar. Unlike the customs prevailing in most of Mithila the Gosown-ghar was situated outside the ladies quarters. It was situated in the Bahri and was also used as the Royal-Kitchen where food was prepared by trained cooks to cater to the entire establishment of the Raja. Although the Gosown-ghar was the centre of activity and hubbub during cooking hours, utmost care was taken to close the doors of the temple after the last person was fed at night and not open it before sunrise, come what may. During these hours no one was allowed to even venture near the premises. This strict observance and the fact that the deity was enshrined at the western wall of the temple, (unlike the general custom of Mithila) created a mysterious exclusiveness and led the people to believe that the house of Banaili had acquired the special blessings of the Goddess who showered them with her boons during the quiet hours of the night.

[1] By the department of Revenue and Agriculture of the Government of India.
[2] House of the goddess, Hall for the worship of clay idols of Durga etc
[3] Shiva, Parvati, Hanuman, Ram-Sita-Lakshman, Bhairav and Ganesh.
[4] These were later removed by the orders of Kumar Krishnanand Sinha and placed within a small temple inside the Palace of Krishnagarh at Sultanganj.
[5] Siteshwar Mahadev
[6] Dhoti Janou Supari
[7] The stone slab on the entrance of the Kali Mandir dated 1302 Saal, indicates that Ramnagar was renamed as Adyanagar by Padmanand Singh.
[8] Manmohan Chatterjee was the chief priest of the temple in 1932.
[9] Mouja Kistopur was among the chief property of the trust of which the Baba of Asansole, Kalipada Sengupta was the managing trustee as well as the chief Priest.

[10] Shrotriyas of Mithila
[11] By the list provided by Panjikaar Mohan Jha.
[12] Panjikar Jhonti Jha belonged to the house of Pandue-Mahendrapur.
[13] One was the house of Narone-kabai(Ganesh Jha) and the other was that of Baheraarhi-parihat(Tekmani Thakur)
[14] Raghuvar was the son of Bhaiya Thakur and the grandson of Ruchipati Thakur of Rajgram. Jogmaya was the third wife of Raghuvar. His first wife was the daughter of Damodar of Karmahe-behat. Raghuvar had one son named Ghurghur Thakur from this wife. Raghuvar’s second wife was the Daughter of Ram Narayan of Surgan.
[15] Tejnath was the son of Bholanath Jha. He belonged to the house of Narone-pure. Rukmini had one son named Bholanath and a daughter named Khokha. The granddaughter of Matinath of Karmahe-naruwar of Ujaan was married to Bholanath. Bholanath had no children. Khokha was married to Rameswar of Budhware-gangaura of Lalganj. Rameswar’s first wife was the daughter of Nikanand of Darihare-ratoli of Lohna
[16] Bachharan Misra was the son of Gosain Misra and the grandson of Madhupati Misra of Sankorthu. Mahamaya was the third wife of Bachharan. His first wife was the daughter of Pyare Lal Jha of Karmahe-behat of Bittho. His second wife was the daughter of Laxmidhar Jha of Palibaar-mahisi.
[17] Bhailal Jha was the son of Baaon Jha of Deep. He belonged to the mool-Budhwal-Pariaam. Jhala was the second wife of Bhailal. His first wife was the daughter of Shyamnath of Khoware-simarbaar.
[18] Manu Jha Was the grandson of Hridaydutt Jha. He came from the house of Mander-singhauli. Baba Dai was the second wife of Manu.
[19] Theethar was the son of Khagnath and grandson of Kirtinath of Gangauli. He was the elder brother of Garib Jha.
[20] Jhalhan Jha was the son of Chandradutt Jha of Pabauli-Bariaam.
[21] Manohar was the son of Jivdhar Jha and grandson of Bagru Jha of Godhanpur.
[22] Chandidutt was the son of Ganesh dutt Jha. Kamakhya’s stepson was Lekhdutt Jha.
[23] Laksmi was the second wife of Padmanath Jha. Padmanath jha died in 1909. He belonged to Parihat-shankaraari Mool.
[24] Baba Dai was married to Nakchhedi Jha on 11.6.1905.He belonged to Narone-sulhni Mool.
[25] The second wife of Ojha Padmadutt jha was the daughter of Pradyumn Thakur who was the son of Rupnath Thakur.
[26] Jamuna was the second wife of Shambhunath Jha. He came from the house of Narone-Sulhani.
[27] Leelanath came from the house of Parihat-Sankararhi.
[28] Gosain Misra was the son of Manohar Misra and belonged to the house of Sodarpur-Sarisab.
[29] Rajkumari Yogmaya was the third wife of Babu Raghubar Thakur.
Rajkumari Mahamaya was the third wife of Babu Bachharan Misra.
[30] Janardan alias Bates of Rupouli was the son of Dharmanand. Janardan’s first wife was the daughter of Ghananand (granddaughter of Garibanand) of Lohna. Janardan had three sons out of this marriage, Buddhinath, Bhagirath and Ridhinath.
[31] She was my great grand mother(mother of maternal grandmother)
[32] On 30.11.1905, Raja Padmanand Sinha gifted, through a registered deed 476bigha and 14Kattha of land to Moti Daiee.
[33] The son of Madhusudan Jha–Diary of Kirtyanand Sinha.
[34]Keshab dutt Jha was married to Saraswati Daijee on 12.5.1918. A Vyavastha of Rs. 9000/- was given at the sidhant.-Diary of Kirtyanand Sinha.
[35] Babu Ganganath Jha belonged to the house of Maander-Singouli. The marriage was performed on 15.4.1918.
[36] Punyadutt Jha belonged to Sodarpur-kanhauli.
[37] Kesav Dutt Jha was the son of Howla Jha
[38]Savitri’s eldest daughter Kamala was married to Shrotriya Bimlanand Jha of Jhanjharpur-karmaha Mool from Lakhnour. The second daughter Susila was married to Shrotriya Ambikanand Singh Jha of Chanaur Deorhi. He came from the house of Maander-Singouli. Savitri’s youngest daughter Mina was married to Yogya Mrityunjaya Jha of Pandue-mahedrapur of Singhbaar.
[39] Radharaman came from the house of Darihare-ratouli.
[40]Jaynath Jha was a Shrotriya of Narone-pure mool. They had Ten children, Six sons and Four daughters.
[41] Bishwanath Mishra came from Sodarpur-Sarisab Mool of Lalganj. They had three sons and one daughter.
[42] Savitri Daijee owned lands in Khajura, Shakaria Kamrail and Sagram Maujas within the Elaka of Nawhatta[42]. She also had some jot lands at Nandanpur.[42]Extensive Kamat Lands had been gifted jointly to Saraswati and Savitri, at Sar-Khajoria and Hazartanki. Ganga had aKaamat of 200 bighas at Old Banaili .Bhagirathi Tripura and Karpura owned Kamat Lands at Pansain in Bhagalpurand Khokha, Matkoppa and Sarochia in Purnea.

[43] A. Karpura , Tripura and Bhagirathi=175/- per month to each.
B. Bhavani and Moti=300/- per month to each.- as gathered from the
personal notes of Ramanand Singh.
C. Babu Ganganath Jha=100/- per month
[44] Kedarnath Jha had lands in Nowhatta and Shakti nath Jha had lands in Sonapur.
[45] Babu Saktinath Jha’s Daughter Bhairavi, was married to Shrotriya Biswanath Jha, Son of Ram Jha of Isahpur. She was taken to Isahpur immediately after her marriage but died within an year in 1933, at Isahpur.
[46] Kirtyanand Sinha gifted an Overland whippet car to Sunder Babu.-- Diary of Kirtyanand Sinha 1928.
[47] Only recently, a maithil, whose own family had been elevated to Shrotriyadom simply on the grounds of having established matrimonial relations with the Maharaja of Darbhanga, has quoted the name of Raja Kirtyanand Sinha as a Jaiwar, in his book on the Shrotriyas. He has chosen to ignore the fact that the house of Banaili had been elevated to the level of Yogya or at least panjibadh, a few decades before Parmanand Chaudhary Paainj was finally denoted a higher status than Mahadev Jha in 1904. Today, Parmanand Chaudhary ranks as one of the highest Paainj among the Non-Shrotriyas. The same person, while writing about marriages, that have taken place within the prohibited sphere, i.e. Anaadhikaar Vivaaha, has very conveniently depicted examples from Banaili. Again he has been led by prejudice, or he could have easily found an example in his own house of Ekahare. I place the chart of Ekhare (chart no 13, at the end of the book) to prove my point. Both the above examples are only a few among the many, of bias and prejudice, held by the Shrotriyas. Eerie ghost and Jin stories were circulated in Soitpuraa to dissuade the Soits from making marriage relations with Banaili.
[48] It is said that only two sets were imported from England. One was put up at Fort Williams Calcutta and the other, at Deorhi Banaili Champanagar. It ran on crude oil and was fitted with piston-brushes.
[49] Some of the other houses at Bhagalpur were:- Jamtikri house, khairatibagh house, Gole-kothi, Manager’s office, Resala Bungalow, Dallu Babu Kothi, Nazaarat Kothi and Shanti Pd. Mokhtar Kothi.
Some of the other houses were:-
Parwati Babu’s House----Purnea
Pewa’s House---------------Purnea
Chhowni House------------Munger
Anand Bhawan-------------Munger
Halcyon House, The Mall-------------Darjeeling
Banaili House (West Point)-----------Darjeeling
Banaili House, 6 Elysium Row-------Calcutta
Banaili House---------------------------- Benares
Banaili House, Hasan-Imam road---Patna
Banaili House, 24 Clive road---------Allahabad
Banaili House----------------------------Deoghar and
Srinagar Raj House---------------------Munger