The Bhatis in Kuchela – Origins

Badwaji, a clan of family historians, still live in Rajasthan. One Devi Singh from this clan, visits Kuchela intermittently. The documented records in his family’s possession show the family tree of the Bhati Jadauns of Kuchela, as direct descendants of the Bhati Jadaun chiefs of Jaisalmer. The name of HAPU SINGH features in their chronicles as the earliest in their lineage. Records show that two princes left Jaisalmer to find a better fortune for themselves. The duo set forth, due EAST and came to the banks of the River Yamuna where they set up camp and began a ritual of bathing and chanting hymns. Unfortunately, Emperor Akbar had decreed that only his favorite court singer Tansen would be allowed to sing in his kingdom. Having caught these princes and their entourage, in the process of chanting hymns; some royal soldiers arrested them and threw them in prison. The two princes languished in Mughal Jail untill their families appealed to (Baijnath)Baiju Bawra for help. Baiju, who had just won the king’s favour after defeating Tansen in a singing duel, took a promise from the king to allow everyone in his kingdom to sing freely and to release all those who had been jailed for this ‘crime’. Akbar the Great agreed readily.

The princes were set free, but only after they attended a customary, farewell, formal, meal with the Royal Jail Guard. While one prince ate their food, the other feigned illness and refused to eat. Nevertheless, the two were set free. To settle down permanently, they moved further East and came to the Indo-Gangetic Plains or what is now known as, Uttar Pradesh or the erstwhile, Northern Province. A reconnaissance party of Brahmins was sent ahead. They reported back with a doctored feedback. They said that Javapur was a good place to settle but was very small; just as small as the size of a grain of barley or ‘Jaw’ and was barely enough to meet the Brahmin’s needs. Kosma, on the other hand and true to its name, was large enough for the Rajput princes as it was spread over many a Kos. A Kos was equal to two statute miles. These gullible princes, took the word of the Brahmins for granted, as usual. They settled down at Kosma. The Brahmins instead, settled down at Javapur. One day, while at Kosma, the wives of the two princes, fought bitterly. One accused the other of having converted to Islam by virtue of having formally dined with Muslims of the Royal Prison Guard!! Consequently, the prince who had not so dined, grew wary and migrated along with his family, to a place approximately 50 kilometers away, called Kuchela. The name Kuchela is used for Sudama, who was the colleague of Lord Krishna. ‘Ku’ means bad, ‘chela’ means student. This family bought land and became the modern day Zamindars and feudal lords of the place. Thus was born Kuchela, the village complex.

The family of the other brother, who stayed on at Kosma, adopted Islam as a religion. They still follow traditional family rituals of the Bhati Jadaun. They have since, bred into a unique community, with an identity of their own. They are the original settlers of Kosma and can still be found there. They still attend functions of their estranged Bhati Jadaun brotheren, when invited on reciprocal basis. The Bhati Jadaun family of Kuchela, initially owned 12½ villages. That is why the entire Kunba is known to comprise ‘Saade Barah Gaon’ or ‘Twelve and a Half Villages’ and no family dispute can be considered as ‘settled’ unless representatives of all 12½ villages attend the proceedings. The concept of formal dining (Puree) is still prevalent among them. The meal lasts for several days. Anyone who is excommunicated from the community is not invited until a meeting of representatives from all 12½ villages pardons them. The act of excommunication is known as ‘Chhekna’. It is the most ignoble of all punishments and all social interaction is inter woven around it.