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Rajas of Samasthans

In the The origin of the Rajas of Hindu Samasthans in the Nizam’s Dominion goes back to the time of the ancient Hindu kingdom of Warangal. They were mostly Zamindars and military chiefs who established their authority over the surrounding territories. They were known as Paligars and their territories, Palayams.They took an active part in the victorious expeditions of the kings. As military chiefs they survived during the Vijayanagar Empire.

Later, under the Bijapur rulers and the Qutb Shahi kings they became prominent but their territories became part of one large kingdom. Under the latter kings these chiefs were known as Mokasadars or Faujdars. After the conquest of the Deccan by Aurangzeb in 1687 there were a large number of such zamindars throughout the Dominion but most of them could not find regular military service in the Mughal army.

They were therefore revenue-paying zamindars or landlords. During the Asaf Jahi rule also they paid revenue or tribute to the Nizam according to the size of their estate. Whenever there was war the Nizams took military assistance from the Rajas of the Samasthans. This military assistance was by and large optional, except in the case of the Raja of Gadwal. In course of time the stronger and bigger chiefs survived as Rajas of Samasthans and the rest of the zamindars were reduced to the status of Deshmukhs and Sirdehmukhs, particularly after the Zilabandi of Salar Jung I when revenue administration was reorganised. Hence most of the zamindars lost their Samasthans or authority which they exercised over six centuries.

There were about sixteen Samasthans which survived till Independence. Some of the important Samasthans were Wanaparthi, Gadwal, Jetprole, Amarchinta, Palvancha, Gopalpet, Gurugunta and Anagundi. The Rajas of Samasthans enjoyed a high position in the Nizam’s Dominion and acknowledged the sovereignty of the Nizam. Most of them were included in the nobility and were granted mansab’, and titles of Rajas, Maharajas etc.

Some of them were allowed to mint their own coins and print stamps to raise revenue. Most of the Samasthans exercised both criminal and civil jurisdiction over their own subjects but the rules and practice slightly differed. The Rajas of the Samasthans were progressive and managed the administration well.

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