Tuesday 29 October 2013

When Sarjapur was a Jagir

It is the emerging IT and real estate hub of Bangalore. Once known as a small village coming in Anekal taluk, it was a forgotten outpost of history till a decade ago.
Today, this village boasts of hosting several IT majors and it has been seeing a booming real estate market, all thanks to the innumerable IT and BT companies that dot the place.
Located south east of Bangalore, it is now being spoken of as the place where WIPRO is housing its world class university and Infosys is setting up a special economic zone (SEZ).
The SEZ and university makes good sense as this area is well connected to other IT hotspots such as Whitefield, Electronic City, Bommanahalli, Bommasandra, Marathahalli, Silk Board Junction, Anekal, Koramangala, Madiwala and Outer Ring Road.
This is Sarjapur, which was once a sleepy village. It is emerging as a fast growing IT hub and the Aziz Premji Foundation plans to acquire 50 acres here to set up a university. Similarly, Infosys has purchased 202 acres to set up a SEZ exclusively for IT.
Though Sarjapur is seeing a boom now, very few know that it was once a jagir granted by the Mughals and that this Jagirship continued  for more than a century.   
Sarjapur till 1873 was also the headquarters of the taluk by the same name. Sarjapur, till the beginning of the 21st century, was mostly rural in character and it was a place where a fair or jatre was held every Sunday.
The fair was popular and people from Sarjapur and surrounding villages and even Anekal came here to buy and sell goods. The fair gave an opportunity to local farmers and growers to display and sell their commodities and small time traders to sell their goods.
The fair disappeared once Sarjapur was swallowed by in the throes of urbanisation. However, the conduct of the fair can be gauged if one were to visit the Madivala fair which is held even today.        
Coming back to Sarjapur,  it was a small trading centre and its importance lay in the fact that it bordered Bangalore on one side eighteen villages on the other three sides.
Sarjapur had access to all these eighteens villages and obviously it was the biggest of them all in population.
Sarjapur was known for the manufacture of cotton, clothes, carpets and tapes. Muslins of the finest quality were woven here and sold in Bangalore and other places. The Sarjapur Muslin was well-known in and around Bangalore and it was in great demand.
The Sarjapur products were sold in the petes of Bangalore and the Muslin competed with similar products from Doddaballapur. If Doddaballapur was known for sarees, Sarjapur was known for its clothes and cotton. Today, neither are manufactured in Sarjapur.  
Sarjapur was a jagir along with 18 other surrounding villages. The first mention of the jagir of Sarjapur goes back to the time of the Mughals.
The Mughals invaded Bangalore and took over the fort of Bangalore under the Mughal Emperor, Aurangzeb, sometime in 1686. The Mughal General, Khasim Khan, wrested Bangalore and its surroundings from the Marathas and in 1689 leased Bangalore to the Wodeyars of Mysore.
In the meantime, the Mughals appear to have leased Sarjapur as a jagir. Their main condition was that the jagirdar train and station troops to help the Mughal Emperor in tines of war. This condition appears statesmanlike as the Mughals were constantly battling the Marathas all over the Deccan (South India).
The Mughals had also brought an end to the Adil Shahis of Bijapur in 1686 and the Qutb Shahs of Golconda in 1689. With both these Muslim Kingdoms annexed by the Mughals, the Marathas came in direct conflict with the Mughal Emperor, Aurangzeb.
Emperor Aurangzeb realised that the Hindu kingdom of Wodeyars was just a little more than a hundred kilometers from Bangalore. His General, Kasim Khan, gave away Bangalore to the Wodeyars but kept Sira and Sarjapur as Mughal provinces. While Sira, near Tumkur, became a regular Mughal province, Sarjapur was given as a Jagir. However, both Sira and Sarjapur were part of the Mughal province in the south.
The jagir of Sira and also Sarjapur was confirmed b successive rulers. While Sira finally fell to Hyder Ali, he allowed the jagir of Sarjapur to continue. This even as Hyder Ali took Bangalore from the Marathas.
B.L. Rice, in his gazetteer, speaks of having seen the documents confirming and reconfirming the Sarjapur Jagir.
The first grant is in Persian and it is by Dilawar Khan, the Mughal Subedar of Sira province. The grant is in the name of the Mughal Emperor and the Mughal Emperor is called as Alamgir Padshah i Ghazi.
Then comes the grant of the jagir by Madhava Rao, a minister of the Peshwas of  Pune. This grant is in Marathi. This document bears the inscription, Raja Ram Narapati, Harsha Nishan Madhav Rao Ballal Pradhan.
The next confirmation of the grant is by Hyder Ali. This paper has the signature of Hyder Ali and it is also in Marathi. It is signed as Fatte Haider. Then comes the grant by Lord Cornwallis and it is sealed with the Persian word Salar E Inglistan. It is initialed at the back as “GFC”.
Then comes the grant by Captain Cherry and this too is in Persian. It says the seal is by George Fredrick Cherry, Khayim Jang, fidvi E Kampani Angresi Bahadur.
The last grant of the jagir is by Captain Reed in 1791 and it is in Persian. The seal says Alexander Reed Bahadur. The grants were finally cancelled by Dewan Purnaiah when he found that the Jagardir of Sarjapur wanted to sell the jagir.
Purnaiah bought out the Jahagirdar, After that there was no jagir or Jahagirdar. The Sarjapur province was merged with the Mysore Kingdom and it soon lost all its former glory and by the turn of the century it was just a small village.
Today, Sarjapur is on another incline. Modernisation and development is going hand in hand and the area is seeing a boom in the real estate sector. IT and BT companies are setting shop in Sarjapur. Connectivity to and from Sarjapur has improved by leaps and bounds. Alas, the march of modernity has ensured that all relics of the past, barring a few temples, have vanished without a trace. This is the price one has to pay for growing urbanization and development. 


  1. Hi!
    I've been looking for information on Sarjapur village and the areas around for a while as its part of the local geography / history content in class 4 where i teach.
    your blog was very helpful!!! thank you
    would it be possible for you to share any more information on the area you may have uncovered during your research please