The present Una district until 1st Nov., 1966 was one of the tehsil of the Hoshiarpur district of Punjab. Consequent upon reorganization of Punjab all the hill areas including Una tehsil was transferred to Himachal Pradesh. Eversince, until September, 1972 it continued to remain as tehsil of the then Kangra district. On the 1st September,1972 the Himachal Pradesh Govt. reorganised the then Kangra district into three districts namely Una, Hamirpur and Kangra. Una district consists of two Sub-Divisions(Una and Amb), three Tehsils(Bangana, Amb and Una) and two Sub-Tehsils(Haroli and Bharwain) and is having five Development Blocks(Una, Bangana, Gagret, Amb and Haroli).
It is believed that the present Una district, minus its Eastern side, was formally a part of the erstwhile Kangra State. Click To EnlargeBulk of the present Una district which is otherwise popularly known as Jaswan Dun was ruled by the Katoch family of Kangra. The Jaswan State which occupied a fertile tract in the JASWAN DUN valley of the outer hills of the historical Kangra state was founded by a cadet of the Katoch line about A.D.1170, whose name is said to have been PURAB CHAND. Jaswan was the first off shoot from the parent stem. It is not improbable, however, that the State was originally a fief (Jagir) which became independent in the unsettled times following on the Muhammadan invasions. From Purab Chand to Ummed Singh 27 Rajas in all ruled the Jaswan State.
Not much is known about the JASWAN STATE until the time of AKBAR when it became subject to Mughal rule. But for one or two unsuccessful rebellion it remained loyal to the Mughal empire and assisted the Mughals with contingents as and when required. But with the decline of the Mughal empire and rise of the Sikhs, the Jaswan state came under their dominance and in 1786 Raja Sansar Chand of Kangra acquired paramount power in the hills. So heavy was his hand even upon the off shoots of his own family that they combined against him-Jaswan among them-when the Gurkhas invaded Kangra under Amar Singh Thapa. With the acquisition of Kangra Fort, on the expulsion of the Gurkhas in 1809, JASWAN STATE became subject to Ranjit Singh and in 1815 it was annexed to the Sikh Kingdom. Click To EnlargeIt was in the autumn of that year Maharaja Ranjit Singh summoned all his forces, personal and tributary, to assemble at SIALKOT, unluckily the Rajas of Nurpur and Jaswan failed to obey the summons and a fine fixed beyond their resources was imposed on each. Submitting quietly to his fate Raja Ummed Singh resigned his State and accepted a JAGIR of Rs. 12000 annual value and thus came the end of JASWAN STATE which lasted for probably 600 years.
Jaswan has yet to meet another challenge and taste another adversity before final extinction. In consequence to the treaty of Lahore of 9th March 1846, Hoshiarpur as a part of JALANDHAR DOAB had been annexed to the British Territories. The Raja of Jaswan and other Rajput princes, judging doubtlessly the liberal treatment the Shimla Hill Chiefs had received at the hands of the British Authorities, were under the belief that with the coming of the English the powers sovereignty formerly enjoyed by them would be restored, though no such hopes had ever been held out of them. But discovering that change of masters had not changed their status, all of them sympathized with the Sikh cause during the second Sikh War of 1848 and as such Raja Ummed Singh joined the revolt of the Hill Chief against British authority. John Lawrence then Commissioner of Hoshiarpur attacked the Raja’s forts and razed them to the ground. His possessions were confiscated and he and his son Jai Singh were deported to Almora in Kumaon (Garhwal) in the North-West provinces, where both of them died. Some time later, at the request of Maharaja Gulab Singh of Jammu, Raja Ran Singh, son of Raja Jai Singh, was permitted to return, in order that his son, Raghunath Singh might marry the Maharaja’s grand-daughter.
In the year 1877, at the request of Maharaja Ranbir Singh of Jammu and Kashmir, the British government restored to Raja Ran Singh the Jagir in Jaswan, originally held by Raja Ummed Singh consisting of 21 villages in Jaswan Dun valley and the family garden at Amb, as well as palace buildings of Raja Ummed Singh at Rajpura. Raja Ran Singh died in 1892 and was succeeded by his son Raja Raghunath Singh who also died in 1918. Thereafter, Laxman Singh succeeded him who started residing at Amb. After expiry of Laxman Singh his son Chani Singh is living at Amb.
But before a description is given of KUTHLEHAR STATE, which was situated on the Eastern side of the present Una district a mention of the principality of Bedi’s of Una, is a must. The District Gazetteer of Hoshiarpur (1884) reads :- “Bedi Baba Kaladhari, a descendant of Baba Nanak, crossed over from Dera Baba Nanak (Gurdaspur), early in the last century and after wandering about the Jullundur Doab, for some years, finally settled down at Una, Hoshiarpur, where he attracted a crowd of followers who flocked to hear his eloquent disquisition on the Granth Sahib, a book as difficult of understanding then as in the present day. The Jaswal Raja Ram Singh made himself popular by granting the Bedi the revenue of seventy ghumaons of land”. In Samvat 1860 (1804 A.D.) Raja Ummed Singh gave to Baba Sahib Singh Bedi the whole of the Una Taluka, a grant which was confirmed by Maharaja Ranjit Singh in Samvat 1872 and about the same time he received Nurpur Taluka from Sardar Budh Singh. Later on Maharaja Sher Singh gave Talhatti to Baba Bikrama Singh Bedi and thus the principality of Bedi’s of Una went on flourishing and expanding. And as such, after the annexation of the Jullundur Doab by the British in 1846, Baba Bikrama Singh was one of the few powerful Jagirdars left in the area. He held a jagir worth two lakhs of rupees which included more than a dozen villages granted to him by Maharaja Sher Singh and Maharaja Dalip Singh, besides the well fortified and strong forts of Nurpur Bedian, Gunachaur and Dakhni Serai. The announcement of the British Government to collect and melt all the cannons seized from the local chiefs resulted in a clash between Bikrama Singh Bedi and the British. Outright refusal to surrender the guns at any cost led to dismantling of all the forts and melting of the guns/cannons besides confiscating the jagir as punishment and thereby offering a pension of Rs. 31,212 which was further reduced to an insignificant amount of Rs. 12000. After turning down the offer of reduced pension Baba Bikrama Singh Bedi devoted himself whole heartedly in raising an armed revolt against the Britishers in the hills. It was at this time that the hill Raja of Jaswan and Datarpur also revolted thereby converting the entire Jaswan Dun Valley from Hajipur to Rupar into a trouble spot for the British. Baba Bikrama Singh rushed to reinforce the army of Jaswan Raja Ummed Singh, but unfortunately he was defeated, before Bikrama Singh would join him. Left alone after the defeat of hill Rajas Bikrama Singh thought it advisable to join the forces of Sher Singh. After the historic battles of Chillianwala and Gujrat a meeting of the topmost leaders of the insurrection was held at Rawalpindi and in view of the majority decision, of which he was not a party, Baba Bikrama Singh who also surrendered alongwith others, remained in surveillance at Amritsar till his death in 1863. Nowadays, Baba Sarvjot Singh Bedi is on the holy and saintly gaddi.
Situated in the eastern part of the present Una district, as mentioned earlier, Kuthlehar was the smallest of all the Kangra kingdom in olden times. Click To EnlargeAs it consisted of two provinces-Chauki and Kuthlehar, hence the double name by which the State was generally known. The territory of Kuthlehar has been formed by a break in the continuity of the second or Jaswan Chain of the hills. As this ridge approaches the Sutlej, it suddenly divides into two parallel branches; and the valley between them, with a portion of the enclosing hills, is the pretty State of Kuthlehar. The dynasty is one of considerable antiquity. The progenitor of the family was a Brahmin but on acquiring regal he was recognized as Rajput. Mr. G.C. Barnes states that he came from Sambhal, near Moradabad but the family records trace his descent from a Raja of Poona. About the tenth or eleventh century the then head of the family, named Jas Pal, conquered the taluqas of Talhatti and Kuthlehar and fixed his capital at Kot-Kuthlehar. The two small states of Bhajji and koti in the Simla Hills were said to have been founded, by his second son and grand-son. The clan name is Kuthlehria.
Although the state is not mentioned in the Muhammadan histories of the time yet the ruling family possess sanads granted by the Mughal emperors, addressing them as Rai and recognising their rights as rulers of the tracts Chauki, Kuthlehar, Mankhandi in Nadaun and Talhatti in Hoshiarpur on payment of tribute and under the condition of military service. They enjoyed tranquil possession of their territory all through the Mughal period, but in later times the aggressions of the neighbouring States reduced their country to the present limits of the Kuthlehar taluqa .
In the year 1758 Ghamand Chand who was appointed Governor of the hills by Ahmad Shah Durrani, annexed Chauki, the northern province of the state and in 1786, Sansar Chand seized Kuthlehar and the Raja was completely dispossessed, but during the Gurkha invasion all his territory was restored. From 1809 the state was subject to the Sikhs and in 1825 Maharaja Ranjit Singh determined to annex it laid siege to the strong fort of kotwalbah. The defence was conducted by Raja Narain Pal in person and for two long months the sieage made no progress. Ultimately a promise of a jagir of Rs. 10000 was then made, if the fort was surrendered, to which the Raja agreed.
During the first Sikh War, Raja Narain Pal succeeded in expelling the Sikhs from Kotwalbah and later in consideration of his services, he was awarded a life grant of Rs. 10000 in addition to the jagir of like value which was afterwards confirmed to his heirs in perpetuity, subject to a nazrana of Rs. 1188. He was also allowed three-fourths of the forest income within his jagir. Later on one of the head of the family Raja Brij Mohal Pal was the fifth Viceregal Darbari in Kangra District.
The Punjab Gazetteer of the Hoshiarpur District (1883-84) in its Chapter “The people” makes a mention of Rajput Chaudharis of Ambota and the Brahmins of Takarla in Talhatti under the sub-head Minor families on page 78 while that of “Babhaur family having eight branches with the title of Rai to the head of each” on page 76-77 under the head leading families besides Ranas of Kungrat who being merely a respectable zamindar was enjoying a sufedposhi allowance of Rs. 180. Click To EnlargeSimilarly a mention of Dadwal Rajputs of Pirthipur had been made by Charles Francis Massy in his book CHIEFS AND FAMILIES OF NOTE OF PANJAB (1890), which reads as follows:- “ The early history of this family is as interesting from a mythical point of view as that of Rai family of Babhaur. Both go back to Bhum Chand, the heaven born. But they branched away from each other about twenty generation ago, when Gani Chand son of Raja Megh Chand, came down from the higher mountains and founded the kingdom of Guler, near Gopipur Dera, Kangra, just north of the Hoshiarpur boundary line. His possessions passed to his elder son Makamal Chand. The younger, Sri Data, moved south into the present Dasua Tehsil of Hoshiarpur and there established the small Rajput State of Datarpur, which had an existence of many hundred years. The Rulers were practically independent until the beginning of the present century, when Maharaja Ranjit Singh began to interest himself in their affairs. Raja Gobind Chand, grandfather of the present representative, having failed to obey the Maharaja’s summons to attend at Lahore was deprived of his sovereign powers and reduced to the status of a Jagirdar. On his death in 1818, his son Raja Jagat Chand was allowed a jagir grant of Rs. 4600/- and was in the enjoyment of this income when the Doab became British territory in 1846. The Rajput princes of Kangra had been under the impression that the accession of the English would be marked by the restoration to them of all their ancient rights and privileges, of which they had been shorn by the Sikhs and bitter was their disappointment of finding that the new Rulers were by no means inclined to alter the state of affairs which existed on their taking over the country. The revolt of the Jaswan and Datarpur Rajas and its speedy suppression by Sir John Lawrence has been described in another Chapter. Raja Jagat Chand was made prisoner and deported with his eldest son Devi Chand to Almora, in the North-West provinces. They were allowed a maintenance grant of Rs. 3600/- per annum.
Jagat Chand died in 1877. His son Udham Singh lives in Pirthipur, Tehsil Una, Hoshiarpur, and enjoys a pension of Rs. 600 per annum. His step-mother has a similar allowance, and the widow of his brother Man chand also receives a small pension. Mian Devi Chand died in 1883, leaving two sons. The elder, Suram Chand, is a General in the army of the Maharaja of Jammu. The second son, Raghbir Chand, has office under the Raja of Mandi, who is married to his sister. He is in receipt of a pension of Rs. 420/- per annum from the British Government. Both brothers are connected by marriage with the Raja of Sirmur. Mian Udham Singh is married to a cousin of Rai Hira Chand of Babhaur. He is a provincial Darbari of the Hoshiarpur district. The widows of Mian Devi Chand are in receipt of a maintenance allowance of Rs. 180/- per annum.