Roots to Raj
“I bow to my ancestors who are the very
manifestation of happiness and love,
who forgive my mistakes, who shower
happiness upon me and from whom
I’ve received this rare human body
for the fulfillment of Dharma,”
A guideline for the readers:-
While the entire book is about the evolution and gradual development of the Panjee-system of Mithila, and how the implications of this social system influenced the house of Banaili and vice versa, the following chapters of the book are recommended for those who may be primarily interested to read about the Panjee system.
1 The beginning,
2 Wealth and Power,
and the sub-chapters named “society” and “Interaction with the Maithil Brahmin Soceity” within the chapters-“5 Dynasty” and “6 Soceity religion and Culture”.
The rest of the book is about the Banaili Raj and its various aspects.
2 Wealth and Power
The Amaur Branch:-
Dharmakarmaavataar Mahograpratap Raja Dular Singh Chaudhary
Raja Bedanand Sinha Bahadur
Kalikarnaavataar Mahodar Raja Leelanand Singha Bahadur
Deorhi Ramnagar (Adyanagar) :-
Parmodaar Raja Padmanand Singh Bahadur
Rani Chandravati Devi
Deorhi Banaili Champanagar:-
Rani Sitavati Devi of Kushkapur
Kalanand and Kirtyanand (The Nine Annas)
Raja Kalanand Sinha Bahadur
Honourable Raja Kirtyanand Sinha Bahadur
Kumar sahibs of Deorhi- Banaili Champanagar-
Sangeet Bhaskar Kumar Shyamanand Singh Bahadur and others
Deorhi Garh-Banaili :-
Kumar Ramanand Sinha Bahadur
Deorhi Krishnagarh :-
Kumar Krishnanand Sinha Bahadur
Srinagar Raj (Branch) :-
Kumar Rudranand Singh
Kumar Srinand Singh
Kumar Nityanand Singh
Abhinavbhoj Kavikulchandra sahityasaroj Raja Kamlanand Singh
Kumar Kalikanand Singh
Viswavidya-Vachaspati Mahopaddhyaya Kumar Ganganand SIngh
6 Society, Religion and Culture
Kirti-yasya-sa-jivati (Public Work)
Religion and Faith
Interaction with the Maithil Brahmin society
Life and Culture:-
Modern Amenities and Luxury
Palaces and Buildings
Tradition and customs
7 The Banaili Raj
History of Revenue Administration
The Estate and its Management
Income & Expenditure
Managers and Management
Relations with Raiyats
C Introduction to Genealogical Charts
D Genealogical Charts
1. The Beginning
In 1248 Shaka [1326 AD], in Tirhut or Mithila, under the Kingship of Harisingh Deva, a directory of all the good Brahmins was compiled. This compilation was called Panjee-Prabandh. Through this we come to know about the old Tirhut of the Maithil Brahmins.
A particular family was deputed by Harisingh deva, to investigate, or look for details of lineage of eminent Brahmins. They were called Panjikaars or Registrars of marriage. Every Brahmin tried to trace his lineage, back to as many generations, as was known to him, with details of marriages into other families, and every personal distinction of a forefather. This list was submitted to the Panjikaar, who entered the given information into a register, after verifying it for correctness, thus giving shape to a directory. This system of compilation and registration was called Harisingh Deviya Panjee Prabandh, in remembrance of the King who initiated it.
After the initial compilation of Panjee-prabandh, five stratas of Brahmins were formed. Ayaant, Vaaraant, Maddhyamaa, Bhrashtaa, and Atibhrashtaa The first three strata consisted of 34 Mool, or groups of Brahmins.
By a group, we mean—Brahmins having a common ancient abode or origin. Brahmins of each Mool or group, mostly, had a common family and forefather. They originally lived at one place, and in subsequent generations, drifted towards other places. Mool was the name of the common ancestral abode of ancient times and the Graam was the branch, i.e. the common ancestral abode of less ancient times. When we say that one’s Mool is Sodarpuriye-sarisab, we mean that Sodarpur is the Mool and Sarisab is the Graam. Similarly when we say that one’s Mool is Alayebaar-Baar, we mean that Alayee is the Mool and Baar is the Graam. This person’s oldest abode was at Alayee but during later years his ancestors shifted and stayed at Baar. Therefore Baar is a branch of Alayee.
Thus, with the passage of time many branches and sub-branches of the same Mool cropped up and were all entered in the registers of the Panjikaars.
The first three strata were decided on the number of good marriages within a family, personal distinction, and abstinence from marriage within the prohibited bloodline. A good Brahmin was allowed to marry a girl who was—
Not of the same Gotra,
More than 6 generations away from any ancestor on the paternal side and more than 5 generations away from any ancestor on the maternal side,
Not an offspring of any grandfather, paternal or maternal.
Not a Sapinda of one’s mother, and
Not an offspring of the brother of one’s step-mother.
Such men who could give details of their 16 blood descents or Kul, and had married within the prescribed limits were called Avadaat, meaning pure by birth.
With time, many branches and sub- branches of a Mool belonging to the above mentioned three strata became insignificant because of intermarrying into lower strata, thus falling from their status. Once, having become insignificant, they were rarely kept for registration.
The Roots of Banaili –
‘Banaili’ is the name of a village in the district of Purnea in Bihar, which flourished during the first half of the nineteenth century. This ‘Banaili’ was the residential capital of an illustrious dynasty, which not only owned an extensive and vast Zamindari estate but also established itself as a social, economic and cultural architect of contemporary Mithila and Bihar.
The name Banaili was adopted as the name of their estate as well as family. The estate commonly known as ‘Banaili-Raj’ comprised of vast Zamindari properties scattered within the old districts of Purnea, Saharsa, Bhagalpur, Munger, Chhotanagpur, Darbhanga, Dinajpur and Maldah in Bihar and Bengal. In area, it had the honour of being one of the largest zamindari estates of the province and was popular as ‘the Raj that owned 52 Pahaar (hills) and 52 Dhaar (lakes).’
But when we talk of the Banaili clan as a family, we are led back to the Mithila of the first millennium A.D. where we can trace the roots of the bloodline. In terms of the social system of Mithila that is still prevalent today and is known as ‘The Harisingh Deviya’, the bloodline of the Banaili family is registered as Alayebaar-baigni. Although the term Alayebaar-baigni means that Alayee was the original home of the clan and it had shifted to Baigni at a later period, one learns of many more habitats that were made and deserted by the nomadic clan before it reached and settled at Banaili. So if we add the names of all the villages where the family had dwelt one after the other, the Mool Alayebaar-Baigni will stand altered as “Alayebaar-Baar-Usrouli-Baigni-Amour-Banaili”.
At the time of the initiation of the Panjee-prabandh, it was found, verified and entered by the Panjikaar, that many branches of learned Brahmins who were Panch Pravar and Vatsa Gotriya, and belonged to the Madhyandin branch of Shukla Yajurvediya group, came up with a common introduction. All these eighteen branches claimed to have a common ancient abode. They claimed to have lived in a village named Alayee.
When the eighteen branches were taken up for compilation, it was found that each branch had a different Beejee Purush. This was enough to establish the fact that at the time of the Panjee-prabandh, the Alayee Mool had already branched and sub-branched so many times that it was difficult to find a common ancestor. There is no doubt that the Village Alayee, had a very ancient origin and, The Mool Alayee had a very vast expanse.
Later, out of the eighteen branches of Alayee, only the first five, branched and sub-branched. The rest became insignificant. These five were Baar Alayee, Godhouli Alayee, Susailaa Alayee, Garh Alayee, and Dodanta Alayee.
Now to sum up, by Baar Alayee we mean, a group of Shukla Yajurvediya Maadhyandin, Panch Pravara Vatsa-Gotriya Brahmins who originally lived at Alayee, but later branched and moved to village-Baar, where they lived at the time of the Panjee-Prabandh. Many centuries later, the clan of Banaili evolved as one of the sub-branches of Baar-Alayee.
Pandit Ramanath jha, in his book Alayee Kul Prakash, has written that he had traced a village called Adayee, Which he is quite sure, is the old Alayee. This village is situated eight miles west of Darbhanga town. It is bound on the east by village-Rampur-dih, on the west by village-Harpur and the adjacent district of Muzaffarpur, on the south by villages-Sarbaar and Rasulpur, and on the north by Basauli and Simri. He feels that with passage of time, the name Alayee has been distorted into Adayee.
He further elaborates that very near to Adayee is the village Panichobha. This village existed at the time of the Panjee-Prabandh and was an abode of learned Brahmins. There is also a Mool by the name Panichobha. Close by is village Bastbaar, where a branch of Naraune Mool, lived 200 years before the compilation. Groups of learned Brahmins may have lived (flocked together) in neighboring villages. It is very probable that Adayee is the old Alayee.
Here I take the liberty of making a few suggestions of my own. The two villages of modern Darbhanga district, Bast-baar and Singh-baar seem to be an extension of the old village Baar. Either of the two prominent villages of today, may have been the Baar of yester-years. While reading the Panjee, we find that at a certain stage, some members of Baar Alayee, changed their abode and went back to Alayee. Some inmates may have shifted to Adayee, near by, which was, till then, being called Alayee (undistorted). Going back to the old homestead at Alayee is quite probable. Adayee, Bastbaar, Singhbaar and Panichobh are all near to each other, easy enough to migrate to and come back. So I feel that either of the two Baars, may be the old Baad. Also, that Adayee is either the old Alayee, or the new place, which may have been named Alayee, in nostalgic remembrance.
Moreover, the Oinwaarrulers lived quite near to these villages, at Oinee, close enough to wield their influence and shower their patronage to the house of Baar Alayee, as we shall see later.
The master compilers of Panjee-prabandh, the Acharyas, placed Alayee as one of the twenty Mools of the higher strata. Ayaant consisted of thirteen Mools and Baaraant of seven Mools, thus making twenty. Raghudev Jha (The oldest known Panjikaar) who gives reference of a former Panjikaar, Mangaldhar Mishra and Vishwachakra-Sampradaaya writes-
“Gangauli cha Kujauli cha Pabauli twalayee tathaa
Baheraarhi Sankaraarhi Paali panjyaantu Shrotriyaah”
Thus it is written clearly in Panjee-Prabandh that Alayee was a top class Shrotriya Mool. The branch that is declared as Shrotriya is the Baar Alayee and its Beeji Purush is Gangadhar Upadhyaya. Gangadhar is mentioned as Baar-vaasi (resident of Baar) in the Panjee- prabandh.
Here, let us first know about the word ‘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 Brahminism was called “Shrotriya”.
“Janmanaa braahmano gyeyah sanskaaraad dwija-uchchyatay
Vidyayaa yaati vipratwam tribhih shrotriya uchchyatay”
Man, when born of pure Brahmin parents, is called a Brahmin. He attains the position of a Dwija after going through various Sanskar or sanctifying 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 Brahministic 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.
So, when we say that Alayee was a Shrotriya Mool we mean that Alayee had already evolved as a Shrotriya division having fulfilled all the three requirements that have been mentioned and discussed above.
Thus we can begin that Mahamahopadhyaya Pandit Gangadhar Upadhyaya an Avadaat Shrotriya Brahmin who lived in Baar in Tirhut, is the oldest known ancestor of the Banaili line.
This Baar branch of Alayee Mool or group, which later sub-branched into eighteen parts and spread out in nine villages, had been entered, as having only two households at the time of the compilation. One was of Rameshwar, who lived with his stepbrother and cousins, and the other was that of Gay Sharma, a Daayaad of Rameshwar.
Mahamahopadhyaya Rameshwar Jha was the Karta of his household as the elder member. Ramanath Jha places his birth at 1278 A.D., even earlier. After going through much research, I take the second option and place his birth around 1265 A.D. We can place Gangadhar’s birth to be around 1050A.D. Gangadhar lived at Baar. So we can easily place the existence of Alayee to be another 200 years ago i.e. 850 A.D.
Mahamahopadhyaya Pandit Gangadhar Upadhyaya (Jha)
Earlier records not being available, he is the senior most ancestor of the House of Banaili. He lived in a place called Baar. The title of Mahamahopadhyaya means that he was a great master of Indian Philosophy. His second title is that of Pandit. We find this title being used, only for a few other persons in the Panjee-prabandh. What this meant in those days is not known. But this title is rare, no doubt. Definitely, it denotes some special and rare quality. According to Ramanath Jha, a Pandit was one who had acquired Parmarth-gyan and was a man of great knowledge and wisdom. Gangadhar was a Shrotriya, one of the highest bred Brahmins of Tirhut. He is confirmed as a Shrotriya by the Shloka of Raghudeva Jha. Gangadhar may have been born around 1050A.D. He had only one son, named Bharat.
Bharat Upadhyaya (Jha)
Bharat Jha may have been born around 1090 A.D., about 230 years prior to the starting of Panjee-prabandh. Very little information is available about him except that he was a Shrotriya and had four sons, namely Sheetay, Padmapaani, Haau and Vardhamaan. But Bharat Jha had another importance. He happens to be an ancestor of, not only Banaili, but also two other ruling families of Tirhut. His offspring in the eleventh generation was, the great Samroo Rai, founder of the ruling houses of Pahsara and Sauriya, of the ‘Surgane Lowaam’ dynasty of Purnea. Bharat Jha was also an ancestor of the famous ‘Khandwala’ dynasty of Darbhanga. His offspring in the twelfth generation was Mahesh Thakur, founder of the Khandwala house of Darbhanga. Thus, Bharat Jha fathered all the three ruling families of Mithila.
The second son of Bharat Jha, was Padmapaani Jha who was better known as Paddum Jha. He may have been born around 1136 A.D. He had only one child, a son, Kamalpaani.
Fourth from the Beeji-purush Gangadhar, kamalpaani may have been born around 1179A.D. His wife belonged to the Patauna branch of the great, learned house of Khowwaal. Khowwaal Mool was one of the top class Mools of those times, an Ayaant Mool. She was the daughter of Mahamahopadhyaya Naypaani. Kamalpaani had four sons, Ratneswar, Vatseswar, Deveswar and Jeeveswar.
Being born around 1222 A.D. Vatseshwar maintained his Shrotriya-ship to the full.
He married twice and had one son from each wife. Vatseshwar’s second wife was the daughter of Shyam Kanth. She came from the great house of Maander. They had one son, Veereshwar.
Ramlochan Choudhary, the founder of the ruling house of Rajour (Maldwar), was a descendent of Vatseshwar Jha, thirteen generations down the line from him
His first wife was the daughter of Diwakar of Tatail Pandua Mool. The famous Gonu Jha (Dhurta Raj Mahopaddhyay Gondu) was the maternal uncle of his first wife. She gave birth to one son, Rameshwar.
By this time members of the Baar Alayee group started to drift away. Kamalpaani’s grand sons shifted to the old Alayee or a new place, which they called Alayee. Veereshwar’s grand sons shifted to Behta and Dhamdiha.
Ramanath Jha writes that Vatseshwar had very qualified children, who inter-married with high bred families, thus giving a lot of prestige to their own family. The sons of Vatseshwar were true Shrotriyas.
Mahamahopadhyaya Rameshwar Jha
Better known as Ram Jha, Rameshwar was born near about 1265A.D. Pt. Parmeshwar Jha of Mithila Tatva-vimarsh and Pt. Ramanath Jha of Alayee-kul-Prakash, both confirm that panjee-pradandh was started in 1326-27. Ramanath Jha adds that, at the initiation of Panjee-pradandh, Rameshwar was the Karta or senior most member of his joint house-hold, where he resided with his stepbrother and cousins. This leads us to establish that Mahamahopadhyaya Rameshwar may have been born around 1265A.D. He could easily be seventy years old in 1326-27, being the senior most member of his family.
Ramanath Jha calls him a Prajapati. Prajapati means, a man, who has many children, and many grandchildren who have multiplied greatly down the generations, a man with a huge number of descendents. Truly Ram Jha was a Prajapati. His descendents can be seen everywhere among the Maithil Brahmins. Almost every family of good Brahmins of Mithila is found to have descended from him, in more than one way.
He was a great man, a Shrotriya, pure by birth, Avadaat, and with a very rich academic career. He was extremely learned, as is clear from his title of Mahamahopadhyaya. This means that he was a professor of philosophy. Many of his sons, grandsons and great-grandsons were decorated with the title of Mahopadhyaya or Mahamahopadhyaya. It seems as if they had acquired the sole rights to worship the goddess of learning- ‘Saraswati’. She showered her exclusive blessings on to them.
Rameshwar has been compared with (1) Mahamahopadhyaya Vishwanath of Sodarpur who fathered fourteen branches of Sodarpur Mool. His descendents were Pakshadhar Mishra and the great Ayaachi Mishra.
Another comparison is made with (2) Mahamahopadhyaya Vateshwar of Maander Mool. He was the ancestor of 19 branches of Maander. The famous Naiyayika Yagyapati Upadhyaya was his great grand son.
These two comparisons are made with Ram Jha due to several similarities. All these three men were high born Shrotriya-Brahmins, pure in birth and extremely learned. Their children cover up almost all the high born families of present Mithila. There is hardly a well-reputed family, which is not in the line of their blood descent.
Indeed it was due to the high intellect and academics of the above mentioned men, (Rameshwar, Vishwanath and Vateshwar) and their children that ‘Mithila’ gained respect and praise all over India.
Rameshwar Jha was a true Avadaat Brahmin, by birth and behavior. He was given a place along with the highest of the Brahmins. He had a superb introduction in the Panjee, was inter-related with the highest bred, had a very special career of a master and professor of philosophy and an enchanting personality which placed him as an ideal Brahmin of Tirhut.
Rameshwar was married to Lakhima Devi, the daughter of Ratikar of Darihara Mataown. He had eight children, five daughters and three sons.
In those days of the Panjee-prabandh, social status of a learned Brahmin was elevated or maintained when he, inter-related (in marriage) with other learned Brahmin families of high repute.
All the five daughters of Rameshwar were given away into families of very high repute. They were married into Maander, Sankaraarhi, Maander, Baliaas and Maander respectively.
Out of the three sons of Rameshwar, the elder two were Mahamahopadhyaya and the youngest was a Mahopadhyaya as well as a Mishra ( Nayyaayik and Meemaansak).
Here it may also be noted that the great grand son of the grand daughter of Rameshwar of Baar Alayee was Mahesh thakur, the founder of Raj Darbhanga, sixth in generation from Ram Jha.
After going through the genealogical chart of the descendents of Mahamhopadhyaya Rameshwar, one finds that besides the Mahamahopadhyaya Rameshwar himself, there are about 40 more, Mishras, Sadupadhyayas, Mahopadhyayas and Mahamahopadhyayas. In the direct line of descent, we find two Mishras, one Vidushi and about thirty Mahamaho and Maha-upadhyayas. Among men who have married the female descendents there are another ten. Among princes who are blood descendents (leaving aside princes of Banaili) are Mahesh Thakur and Subhankar Thakur of ‘Khandwala’ dynasty and Samru Rai of Surgan dynasty. There are many Dharmadhikarniks (ie chief justice), three among direct descendents and one son-in-law of the family (Dharmadhikarnik Vidyapati of Ekahraa). Apart from the above mentioned, we also find several, learned, influential and powerful relatives. Among them were many princes, Ministers, Dharmadhikarniks and more than a dozen Upadhyayas (sad, Maha and Mahamaho).
This family had close family contacts with the rulers of the ‘Oinwaar’ dynasty. Kings like Ganeshswar, Bhaveshswar and Shiv Singh, ministers like Saandhivigrahik Ganeshswar, Mahamahattak Bhogheeswar and Rajvallabh Guniswar, and judges like Dharmadhikarnik Vardhaman were closely associated. One can very well imagine the immense influence and power that would have been wielded by the descendents of Rameshwar Jha.
At the same time, one can imagine the constant flow of knowledge and wisdom, which must have created an atmosphere, rich in philosophy and literature. Men like Mahamahopadhyaya Vateswar of Maander Rajaur, Mahamahopadhyaya Vishwanath Mishra of Sodarpur, and ParamGuru Vachaspati Mishra were close relatives, where as Mahamahopadhyaya Dharmadhikarnik Gadadhar, Mahamaho-padhyaya Mahesh Thakur, Mahamahopadhyaya Yagyapati of Maander Rajour, Maithil Vidwanmukut-Mani Mahamaho-padhyaya Pakshadhar Mishra, Mahamahopadhyaya Suchikar Upadhyaya of Kujauli Bhakhrouli, Mahamahopadhyaya Rudradhar of Varshkritya fame and Dhakka Kavi Ganpati Mishra were family.
Mahamahopadhyaya Graheshwar Jha
Graheshwar was the eldest son of Rameshwar Jha. His birth may be placed at about 1300 A.D. Graheshwar was married to the daughter of Dharaditya of Belaunch Mool. Among the four sons of Graheshwar (namely Gadadhar, Ratnadhar, Buddhidhar and Sudhadhar) the eldest, attained the prestigious status of a Dharmadhikarnik (chief justice) of the Oinwaar State of Tirhut. He was also a Mahamaho-padhyaya. The youngest, was a Mahamahopadhyaya and a Mishra.
By this time once again the family started to move to other places. Sudhadhar and Gadadhar lived at Usrouli. Children of the second and third wife of Gadadhar moved to Baigni. Buddhidhar too, lived at Baigni. The second son Ratnadhar is written as an inhabitant of Brahmapur where as his son Shiv Dutta shifted to Ajanta. One grand son of Ratnadhar went to stay at Usrouli.
 Harisingh Deva was a ruler of the Karnat Dynasty.
 Such details, called Samuha-Lekhya were maintained by every Family of repute.
 Aeyaant:-Kharorae(Khandwalaa),Khowaarae(Khowaal),Budhwaarae(Budhwaal), Madrae(Maander), Dariharae(Darihara), Ghusotae(ghusowt), Tisotae(tisowt), Naronae(Narown), Karmahae(Karmahaa), Babhaniyaamae(Babhaniaam), Sarisabae(Sarisab), Sodarpuriae(sodarpur)=13
Gangolibaar(Gangowli), Pagulbaar(Pabauli), Kujilbaar(Kujauli), Alaebaar(Alayee), Bahirbaar(Baheraarhi), Sakarbaar(Sankaraarhi), Palibaar(Paalee)=7
Dighbae(Deegho,Deerghosh), Belauchae(Belaunch), Ekharae(Ekharaa), Panichobhae(Panichobh), Baliasae(Baliaas), Jajibaarae(Jajiwaal), Takwaarae(Tankwaal), Paduae(Panduaa), Shakunae(Shakaunaa), Surganae(Surgan), Satlakhae(Satlakhaa), Uchitbaar(Uchiti), Biswaarae(Bisfi), Jaalae(Jallaki)=14
 Information gathered through Panjikaar Mohan Jha (Vidyanand Jha).
Out of the 16 lines of descent, I am placing the first half consisting of 8 from the father’s side. Similar 8 lines from the mother constitute the other half.
1. Paternal grandfather of father’s paternal grandfather.
2. Maternal grandfather of father’s paternal grandfather.
3. Paternal grandfather of father’s paternal grandmother.
4. Maternal grandfather of father’s paternal grandmother.
5. Paternal grandfather of father’s maternal grandfather.
6. Maternal grandfather of father’s maternal grandfather.
7. Paternal grandfather of father’s maternal grandmother.
8. Maternal grandfather of father’s maternal grandmother.
School of thought led by the following five Rishi :- Aurwa, Chyavan, Bhaargava, Jaamdagni and Aaplavaan.
 Brahmins of Panch-pravar and Vatsa –Gotra who follow the school of thought propagated by the Maadhyaandin branch of Shukla-Yajurveda
 The oldest known ancestor of a Mool or branch of a Mool is called the Beejee Purush of the Mool or Shakha respectively.
 The Oinwaar dynasty ruled contemporary Tirhut.
 Generally there are four categories of Maithil Brahmins. They are Shrotriya, Yogya, Panjeebaddh and Jaywaar.
 Panjee-prabandh is often short named as Panjee