The Rajas of Benares:(1770–1835)Balwant Singh's elder son, Rafa'at wa Awal-i-Martabat Raja Sri Chait Singh Sahib Bahadur, succeeded to the throne as the first Raja of Benares in 1770. Although the Nawab still wished to hold total suzerainty over the zamindari, the British authorities prevailed upon him to recognise Chait Singh as zamindar in 1773. Two years later, the Nawab, by now fed up with British interference, transferred the domain to the Company under the direct control of the Governor-General of India, Warren Hastings. Under the new British terms, Chait Singh was empowered to contribute cavalry and maintenance grants for the Company's sepoy battalions. This, however, the Raja refused to do, and he began to secretly correspond with enemies of the Company in hopes of forcibly breaking the arrangement. Discovered, Chait Singh was stripped of his position and placed under house arrest in September 1781 pending an interview with Hastings. Instead, he killed his unarmed guards, gathered his small forces and escaped, appealing for assistance from local rulers, who did nothing. In skirmishes with the Company forces, Chait Singh's troops were easily defeated, the rebellion crushed and the zamindari confiscated and given over to his nephew Rafa'at wa Awal-i-Martabat Raja Sri Mahipat Narayan Singh Sahib Bahadur on the 14 September 1781. Chait Singh himself fled to Awadh, then to Gwalior, where he was granted a jagir for a while until it was later confiscated. He died in Gwalior on 29 March 1810 in obscurity, leaving three sons. The incident greatly tarnished Hasting's image and capability, leading to his eventual impeachment by the Company.
Chait Singh's nephew, Raja Sri Mahipat Narayan Singh Sahib Bahadur, succeeded his maternal uncle on 14 September 1781 under the terms of the Company, which were that he should serve to dispense justice within his domains and make an annual contribution of 40 lakhs. However, he proved incapable of governing, and on 27 October 1794, under a formal agreement the four sarkars, or revenue districts, held by the Raja were transferred to the direct rule of the Company administration, leaving only the family domains under the rule of the Raja; in return Mahipat Narayan Singh received 1 lakh per year in compensation and any surplus revenue of the sarkars. Mahipat Narayan Singh died barely a year later, and was succeeded by his eldest son, Rafa'at wa Awal-i-Martabat Raja Sri Udit Narayan Singh Sahib Bahadur.
The eldest surviving son of Mahipat Narayan Singh, Udit Narayan Singh Sahib Bahadur (1770-4 April 1835, r. 12 September 1795-4 April 1835) proved even more incapable as an administrator than his father had been. In 1828, he petitioned the Company to annul the 1794 agreement under which the family had lost the sarkars, and to press for their return to family control. However, the Company instead ordered a detailed enquiry into Udit Narayan Singh's personal affairs and his governance of the family domains. Finding them to be grossly mismanaged, the Company confiscated the last remaining lands of the Rajas and placed them under their own control. It would be over five decades before the domains would be restored to the family. Udit Narayan Singh died on 4 April 1835, aged 65, and was succeeded by his nephew, Raja Sri Ishwari Prasad Narayan Singh Sahib Bahadur
PRESENT RULER: HH Maharaja Shri ANANT NARAYAN SINGH, 10th Maharaja of Benares (2000/-)( The Ramnagar Palace, Varanasi - 221001, Uttar Pradesh, India)
born 1963, married HH Maharani Anamika Devi.
PREDECESSORS AND SHORT HISTORY: The Kingdom of Kashi or Benares was founded by Khsetravridha, son of Ayus, of the Somavansa dynasty of Pratishthana. It lost independance in 1194 and was eventually ceded by the Nawab of Oudh to the British in 1775 who recognized Benares as a family dominion. Benares acceded to the status of State in 1911. The ruling family claims descent from the god Shiva and benefited greatly from pilgrimage to Benares. The modern name of Benares is Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh. Mansa Ram, a Gautam Bhumiyar Zamindar of Utaria 1737-1740, received most of the Benares territory from the Governor of Benares 1737, Balwant Singh 1740-1770, Ruler of Utaria (which name was changed to Gangapur), received the territories of Jaunpur, Benares and Chunar from the Sultan of Delhi. Other places that were under the protection of the Maharajas of Benares included, Chandauli, Gyanpur, (site of a large hospital and a school), Chakia, Latifshah (site of the Maharaja's forests and hunting grounds), Mirzapur, Nandeshwar, Mint House and Vindhyachal. Rulers were....
Shri MANSA RAM 1737/1740, married and had issue.
Raja BALWANT SINGH (qv)
Raja BALWANT SINGH 1740/1770, born 1711, the best administrator that the people of the region had known although his administration was constantly hampered by the strained relations existing between him and Shuja-ud-daula of Oudh. In spite of his unwillingness, Balwant Singh was compelled to join Shuja-ud-daula, the Mughal Emperor, Shah Alam, and Mir Kasim in the battle of Buxar which was fought in 1764 against the British, which ended in victory for the British, married (a), Rani Panna Kunwar, married (b), Rani Gulab Kunwar (#2) (sister of Ajaib Singh, died 3rd April 1787), and had issue. He died 19th August 1770.
Raja CHAIT SINGH (qv)
Rajkumar Sujan Singh
Kumari (name unknown), married Shri Durg Vijay Singh, and had issue.
Raja Mahip Narayan Singh (qv)
Raja CHAIT SINGH 1770/1781, (#1) his Raj was declared independent of Oudh in 1775 and made tributary to the British; deposed by them on 16th August 1781. He died 29th March 1810 at Gwalior.
Raja Balwant Singh