In Search Of My Roots In Bihar


MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA                 JUNE 17 , 2011                      11.55 P. M.

This blog is personal in nature , definitely very personal . People who generally visit my blog space , are not going to find it very interesting. But I am writing it for the posterity , for the future generations of my family. Youngsters of my family should know about our roots and traditions and should get familiar with the family history and the place of our ancestors, even if it is through the photos.

Map of Sultanpur District of U.P.showing Amethi

Map of Sultanpur District of U.P.showing Amethi

We originally hail from Amethi, Sultanpur , a district in Uttar Pradesh. then known as United Provinces of Agra & Awadh. We were Raj Guru of a particular clan of Thakur chieftains of Amethi, known as Amethiya Rajputs. Few centuries ago during British era , a branch of Amethiya Rajputs , in search of greener pastures , left their native place Amethi and came and settled in Sohagara village in the erstwhile Saran district of Bihar. This district is now known as Siwan and is situated on the banks of Ghaghara river a.k.a. Chhoti Gandak.

Map of Siwan District of Bihar showing Sohagara Village

Map of Siwan District of Bihar showing Guthani Block of Sohagara Village

[ On the South-Western corner of the map is Guthani Block. Sohagara and Bishunpura villages come under the jurisdiction of Guthani Block  and are situated on the banks of Ghaghara ( Chhoti Gandak ) , where borders of Bihar end and borders of Uttar Pradesh begin. ]

Amethiya Rajputs bought land in Sohagara and settled there. Later on , a branch of their Raj Gurus also followed them and came and settled in Sohagara. They also bought large swath of land and properties and made Sohagara their home , completely forgetting Amethi of Sultanpur district.

Main Road of Sohagara

Main Road of Sohagara Village , still pristine

Another Road of Sohagara Village

Another Road of Sohagara Village

[ I clicked these two photographs when I visited Sohagara recently .  These two village roads are still pristine and primitive .]

Chhoti Gandak River- Sohagara is on the right of the river

Chhoti Gandak River- Sohagara is on the right of the river

[ My wife is partly seen in this photo in yellow sari , taking water from the river before worshipping our family deity ]

I don’t know how many centuries had gone since my forefathers came and settled in Sohagara. How many wet monsoons came and drenched them , how many thunder and lightning frightened them in dark nights, how many grey , dreary and dull winters came , tormented them and then went away , how many scorching summer greeted my forefathers with all the furies …. I don’t know but I know for sure that they survived in their new adopted land. Far away from Amethi , my ancestors made Sohagara their home and gradually prospered.

This Brich House is being made , Where my Ancestral House used to be before1875

This Brick House is being made , Where my Ancestral House used to be before1873

This Brich House is being made , Where my Ancestral House used to be before1875

This Brick House is being made , Where my Ancestral House used to be before 1873

[ Two photographs , which are given here , show a house under construction . This house is being constructed on the plot of land , where my ancestral house stood once. My forefathers lived in that house , which was made of mud and tiles. ]

We trace our known family history from Ram Charitra Chaturvedi. He was my great-great-grandfather. He was the person who left Sohagara with his two grown up sons, Shrikrishna Chaturvedi and Raghunandan Chaturvedi , came to Sonbarasa in the erstwhile Gorakhpur district of Uttar Pradesh and settled there. This part of Gorakhpur district is now known as Deoria. Of his two sons , the elder one , Shrikrishna Chaturvedi was my great-grandfather.

This incident of leaving Sohagara happened in 1873. So once again my family came to Uttar Pradesh. From Amethi of Uttar Pradesh to Sohagara of Bihar and then again to Deoria of Uttar Pradesh, it was like completing a full circle. But leaving one’s place is not an easy thing for anyone. So what was the cause of this migration ?

Our family tradition says that Sohagara was frequently attacked and plundered by some nomadic tribes. Those aggressive and barbarous nomads used to burn crops and loot the valuables. My forefathers , to eliminate the tyranny once and forever, fought them once and in the ensuing battle which was fought with lathis , spears and trident , a pregnant tribal woman got killed. Before her death, she cursed our forefathers that the clan of Chaturvedis would never prosper in Sohagara. After that fight and their subsequent defeat , nomadic tribes left Sohagara . They never returned. But King of Majhauli , who was the tax-collector and owner of the village , wanted to punish my forefathers for the killing of the tribal woman. So my great-great-grandfather , after consulting his well-wishers and after giving due consideration to all the pros and cons, left Sohagara in 1875 for good and made Sonbarasa his new home in Deoria district.

Map of Deoria District of U.P. showing Salempur where our Village Sonbarsa is located

Map of Deoria District of U.P. showing Salempur where our Village Sonbarsa is located

Thought they left the Sohagara village and started living in Sonbarsa, they still kept their agricultural land in Sohagara and even bought agricultural land in another nearby village Bishunpura. Our family members used to go there and used to manage the agricultural property. This happened till my time , precisely till 1989 , before I left Deoria and came and settled in Mumbai. There after my visits dwindled.

My land in Bishunpura Village of Bihar , village is being seen in the foreground

My land in Bishunpura Village of Bihar , village is being seen in the foreground

My land in Bishunpura village in Bihar, village is seen in the foreground

My land in Bishunpura village in Bihar, village is seen in the foreground

I visited Sohagara this year , in June 2011 after a gap of almost 15 years. Vast swath of agricultural land , which was maintained and held by us till 2000 , have been sold. Sohagara and Bishunpura , both the villages , were managed by my family even after Ran Charitra Chaturvedi’s migration from the village in 1873 , But alas ! everything was disposed off during my tenure . I am not blaming anyone . I was also part of the sin and crime. We started selling the property at the time of my younger sister Neelima’s marriage in 1993 and within 7 years everything was sold off.

Ancestral property is like heritage and we are supposed to be only the trustees and not the owners of that property. As our forefathers bequeathed the property to us , it is one’s pious duty to maintain that property and bequeath it to their progeny. From 1873 to 2000 , these villages were maintained for almost 127 years and now they are gone and gone forever. My great-grandfather Shrikrishna Chaturvedi , my grandfather Kunj Bihari Chaturvedi and my father Lakshmi Kant Chatuevedi took every care to maintain these villages. But today , after 138 years of the migration of my great-great-grandfather, as I write this blog after visiting Sohagara , I am sorry to say that I was unable to maintain and take care of this heritage. I betrayed my ancestor’s trust and faith . I don’t know what would I say to them when I will face them after my death ? How would I face them , when I will meet them after my death ?

The house in the photo , is the residence of Ram Nageena Singh , a burly scion of Amethiya Rajputs who came and settled here. For four generations of my ancestors this house served as the residence cum administrative headquarters. After almost a century , it still stands there calmly and bears silent testimony of my forefather’s toil , strife and difficulties , which they faced while maintaining these lands. I have spent many days and nights in this house , when I used to visit these villages during Summer. Some times my stay was for a week or even for a fortnight at a stretch.

House of Ram Nageena Singh at Sohagara , Purab Patti

House of Ram Nageena Singh at Sohagara , Purab Patti

Sohagara is a beautiful village. It is still quite primitive and pristine . It has grand Shiva temple , believed to have been built by demon king Banasur.

Shiva Temple of Sohagara built by Demon King Banasur

Shiva Temple of Sohagara built by Demon King Banasur

The Lingam in Sanctum Sanctorum , My Wife & Sister paying Obeisance

The Lingam in Sanctum Sanctorum , My Wife & Sister paying Obeisance

Apart from this Shiva temple , Sohagara also has a ramshackle temple of my family deity. Family tradition says that a lady of my family committed Sati after the death of her husband. Later on in her memory a temple was built on the same spot where funeral pyre was lit . I don’t know who will visit these temples after my death. May be my family deity will wait endlessly and that too in vain for my future generations to come and pay obeisance. Who knows what will happen ? May be her temple will be forgotten in future . May be none from my family will visit her . May be this dilapidated place will succumb to the vagaries of nature’s fury and in some distant future will completely vanish from the earth. Or may be rampaging waters of Ghaghara will change its course and engulf the place during some monsoons and there will be no trace of even the very place. No one knows .

Loss of Sohagara is painful . It is not only loss of property but it is loss of a whole tradition , loss of our clan’s history and family folklore .

Ramshackle Temple of my Family Deity , My Wife & Sister at the left

Ramshackle Temple of my Family Deity , My Wife & Sister at the left

Ramshackle Temple of my Family Deity Kul Devi , my wife is inside

Ramshackle Temple of my Family Deity Kul Devi , my wife is inside

Me & My Wife in front of Ramshackle Temple of my Family Deity , Kul Devi

Me & My Wife in front of Ramshackle Temple of my Family Deity , Kul Devi

I started writing this blog after my Sohagara visit , when I was still in Deoria. I could not complete it because of my hectic schedules. Then I returned to Mumbai. As I was returning to Mumbai after 15 days , my schedules went haywire and I couldn’t complete the blog . I am finally completing it today and posting it on my blog space.

VIDUR

MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA

www.vidur.co.in

www.vidurfilms.com

www.twitter.com/VidurChaturvedi

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7 Responses

  1. Journey of your family is really very interesting. Our villege Sohagara is prosper enough to produce great people like you. Land of Sohagara is blessed and cared by Our lord God Shiva. Whenever I read any article regarding my villege I want to say THANKs to God that he gave me birth there where this type of people were born and created history in there lives. I feel very very special to see it. I wish that all your reamaining dreams comes true soon. On the behalf of priest of Sohagara Temple and citizen of Sohagara I will pray for you.
    Thank u Sir.

    Like

  2. Thanks a lot my friend for your nice words and prayers . Sohagara will always be special to me because it is village of my family .

    Like

  3. You are always welcome sir 🙂

    Like

  4. mrs seerajie sukhlal

    Like

  5. i am looking for my nanna’s father he came from sultanpur vaishali bihar to trinidad and tobago in the first boat his name was mr geerauw he was famous for singing biraha

    Like

    • Hi Mrs. Seerajie Sukhla ,

      So nice to hear from you . I live in Mumbai and it is far away from Bihar . I go to Bihar every year in May / June . When I go there this year , will try to get information about your maternal great grandfather . Hope I will succeed .

      Regards !

      Like

  6. It’s the best time to make some plans for the future
    and it is time to be happy. I have read this post and if I could I wish to suggest you some interesting things or suggestions.
    Perhaps you could write next articles referring to this
    article. I wish to read even more things about it!

    Like

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