There are wonderful things about the British era in Barwa
By: Dr. Satyavan Saurabh
South-West Haryana has a vast expanse of arid countryside, adjoining the sandy areas of northern Rajasthan, where a prosperous village called Barwa is situated. It is 25 km south of Hisar on the Rajgarh-Bikaner state highway.
It was natural to start the tour from Garh to Barwa, which is called Thakur’s Garhi (a fort) in the village. Thakur Brijbhushan Singh, 65, is a fief of the owners of the Garhi. An ancestor of Thakur Bagh Singh Tanwar, who was Brijbhushan Singh’s grandfather, came from Jeetpura village in Rajputana 600 years ago to carve out the wealth of this village for himself and his ties. Incidentally, the Tanwar branch of the Rajputs had firmly established themselves in several villages around the city of Bhiwani. As a result, Bhiwani became the head of the Tanwar Khap i.e. a group of villages. In the medieval period, the Tanwar Rajputs, overthrown by the political turmoil of the time when Muslim invaders were in the process of capturing this land and establishing their supremacy, migrated from Haryana and the hilly regions to Himachal Pradesh. However, during the Mughal period, the Tanwar Rajputs traded peacefully in their villages around Bhiwani. The village of Barwa, with a population of about 15,000, is now a part of the Bhiwani district.
The ancestors of Bagh Singh Tanwar, who settled in huts around a large natural pond filled with rainwater, occupied 14,000 bighas of land in the village. As a result, as fate would have it, much of the land was transferred to their descendants and other communities in the village. The existing Garhi, a massive monument of a medieval style, also called Branca Bhawan, is situated in the north-west of the village on the bank of a large pond called Ramsar, which was built in 1938, according to the old people of the village Due to failure of monsoon one year, crops could not be grown that year. Hence, Bagh Singh thought of involving his relatives in the construction of the Garhi and found fruitful employment. Built in the traditional architectural style on a dune, the fort still has a large and strong wooden gate with iron plates and spokes. Several spacious rooms for housing and public appearance, in addition to a row of several quarters for storing straw and grain, were provided by the builders.
High-rise Havelis, beautiful paintings, doors decorated with subtle patterns, pond-like reservoir, elephant-house, strong wall of the treasure house, the main solid door in the form of armor and do not know what. These Havelis create deep curiosity in the mind. Those who made them spent their ages here. Their graves were built here after their death. We are talking about the village of Barwa, a subdivision located on the national highway.
‘Chandro’ came on the storm
The well located in the south was built by the other set here, Tarachand and Hanuman. The sons of Seth Hanuman and Tarachand built an attractive four-pillared well at Rashada Johad of the village. Some scenes of the famous Haryanvi film Chandraval and Bairi were filmed around this. Cars and chariots of the British era are still present in the Havelis. The historical, cultural, and religious heritages existing here are telling the history of the village. There is no direct proof of the age of the Havelis but, indeed, it dates back to the Second World War.
British-era carriage and chariot
There are a dozen Havelis in Barwa. Among these, the Havelis of Seth Parshuram are very famous. Artisans were called from Pilani to get them made. Cars and chariots of the British era are still present in the Havelis. More interesting than the Havelis, the history of the wells and ponds here is also there. In ancient times there was a small kutcha pond at this place. Often Seth Parashuram’s sister Kesar used to eat cow dung here, which was indecent for him. Hearing the taunts of the people, he got a historic pond constructed instead of the raw pond, which is now identified as Kesar Johad. Some scenes of the famous Haryanvi film Chandraval and Bairi were filmed around this. In ancient times there was a small kutcha pond at this place. Often Seth Parashuram’s sister Kesar used to eat cow dung here, which was indecent for him. In addition to the big Havelis of Seth in Badwa village of Bhiwani district, many such depictions have been found in ponds, wells, Havelis, Bohras, Dharamshala, chhatris, etc. These paintings were found to have features similar to those of Rajasthan.
Kesar pond was built by Seth Parashuram-
This pond was built by Seth Parashuram in memory of his sister, it is said that Seth Parashuram got the saffron pond constructed here, which has been a major attraction for travelers. It is said that Parashurama’s sister used to eat cow dung. It was a matter of shame for the Seth family and people often taunted them for such a small act, then Seth got the pond present here paved and named it Kesar Talab. This pond was used for daily activities. It has a deep water tank in which unhappy women jumped and gave their lives, hence it is also called Mukti Dham. The people here also call it Agar. There are domes/chhatris on the roof above the banks of this pond, in which Radha Krishna’s Rasleela is prominently depicted through paintings. In these, Radha Krishna is dancing in a circle holding each other’s hands and behind them, the figures of musical instruments are depicted like dholak, grade, flute, harmonium, shehnai, etc. And it’s probably porting some function. The paintings have dynamism and rhythm. Reddish brown color has been used.
Shri Krishna is shown in blue color while Radha’s complexion is shown as fair. Animal birds are shown behind these figures, including peacocks, parrots, birds, etc. Red, yellow, and blue colors have been used in this. The center of the dome has circular geometric ornamentation. The shapes of the domes are shown in motion and equal proportion. He has a small stature and a round face. With time, today their colors have faded, but the flowers in the center still hold their past.
Seth Hukum Chand Lala Sohan Lal Ki Haveli-
This mansion is about one and a half hundred years old today, at the main entrance of which a strong elephant is shown in a well-equipped and dynamic state. The back of this elephant is a quadrilateral geometric design cloth and a wooden saddle has been decorated on it, in which the king and queen are facing each other and the servant is carrying the chawar behind. In this, the king is expressing his love by giving flowers to the queen. A square geometric-shaped cap has been placed on the saffron elephant which is enhancing its beauty. Apart from this, there is a religious picture on the wall where Vishnu Ji is seated on his ride with Lakshmi and in the second picture, Sherawali Mata is seated on her ride. Apart from this, the picture here is showing the love meeting of Radha Rani. The elephant is depicted more in the Kota style.
Seth Laxmichand’s Kathara-
Inside Laxmi Chand’s Katra in Barwa, kings-maharajas and gods and goddesses are depicted together on the ceiling. This picture from the left side is shown the ride of Radha Rani who is on the chariot and some women walking behind the chariot who appear to be her servants. A horseman is carrying the state mark in one hand and the other horseman following behind who is the bodyguard of the Maharaja and is ensuring security. Krishna making Radha’s peak – In this picture, Shri Krishna Ji is seated on a chair and Radha is sitting on the pedestal. Shri Krishna is kneading Radha’s braid and Radhika is holding a mirror in her hand. Radha’s face is visible in the mirror. The local influence is seen in this picture from the chair and the turn shown in this picture and Rajasthani influence is visible from the dress.
In this way, the paintings of the painter reflect the then influences which he saw and painted at that time. In this picture, the eyes are shaped like a fish, and the Mughal influence is seen in the depiction with the crest and the crown. The background is pale yellow and the body is shown to be slender and tall, while the hair is short in proportion to the body. On the other hand, the ride of deities is coming from right to leave, in which all the deities are sitting on their respective vehicles and it seems as if the king and queen are coming on their chariot to welcome the deities. In these paintings, elephants, horses, etc. have been decorated very well. Their background is yellow and colors like blue, yellow, green, brown, etc. have been used in the paintings. Looking at the clothes and ornaments of the paintings, Mughal and Rajasthani influence appears on them.
Lala Lakram Phoolchand’s Haveli-
This haveli is about 160 years old, the upper part of the verandah wall of this haveli depicts the soldier. In this, a person is riding on a horse and three soldiers are running back and forth in a row and five soldiers are running parallel. Its background is yellow. This soldier seems to be in full swing.
Haveli of Tularam Lala Dungarmal-
This mansion remains from today, about 100 years ago. On its outer wall, a railway engine is shown with coaches. The engine color is black and the coaches are painted blue. A lattice has been made in the upper part of the window of the train in which passengers are shown and smoke is coming out of the engine. A natural view is also shown behind the trains. On the other hand, the driver of Laxmichand is driving the train in Katra, which is very attractive, in which 13 coaches and one engine are shown. Passengers are also depicted in this car and
Outside it stands a man with a flag in his hand, acting as an indicator for the vehicle.
Seeing this, it seems that this picture has been painted of the first train run by the British in India in the 19th century. This picture is explaining the living arrangement of that time. Postman’s picture – Here a picture of a postman is painted on a wall and there seems to be something written on it in the English language, which is the effect of this style. having effect. Seeing clothes, shoes, etc. further reinforces the influence of company style on these.
Yashoda Krishna’s picture- In this picture, Yashoda Maiya is holding Shri Krishna in her lap and it is depicting motherhood. In this picture the face is small while the body is strong, the eyes are almond-like and the face is round and the eyebrows are thick. The head is covered with a kerchief, which shows the Mughal influence. If we look at the clothes, the Rajasthani influence is visible from the clothes.
Picture of Krishna and Kaliya Nag- In the picture, Shri Krishna is shown performing his pastimes on a snake.
Shri Krishna is playing the flute and both his and the snake goddesses are standing in a special posture, the lower part of which is shown in the form of a snake and from the top in the form of Nag Devi. That is, Ardh is present in the form of Nageshwari, who is standing in the state of pleading with folded hands facing Shri Krishna. In this picture, a spectacle is depicted in the shape of faces. Eyes are like Pisces which is in Jaipur style.
The influence of Nathdwara’s style is prominently shown in the whole painting.
The Picture of Saraswati Devi sitting on a swan- In this picture, Saraswati Devi is seated on a swan and there is a garland in the mouth of the swan, here a spectacled face is shown in a painted state. A strand of hair of Saraswati Maa is lying on her face near her ear. Saraswati Maa holds a book in one hand and flowers in the other hand which is painted in green color. In this picture, the woman behind looks like a chanwar jhula. It seems to have a mixture of both Rajasthani and Mughal influences.
The painter has made a distinction within the images according to his understanding. According to Hindu myth, Goddess Saraswati is considered the goddess of learning and culture. Saraswati is mentioned in the Rigveda as a holy river. Saraswati is shown as a swan. The images of Goddess Saraswati are available to us in the form of murals in the buildings and residential buildings built at many Hindu places of faith in Haryana.
construction of mansions
Artistry in murals, murals were found on many old Havelis in villages falling under the Bhiwani district, the construction of these Havelis is believed to be about 100-150 years ago. These Havelis have been built by the masons of the potter caste with lakeshore bricks. Lime was used for wall decoration. Thousands of murals were found on these Havelis. In these paintings, events related to mythological subjects, Mahabharata, Ramayana, Radha Krishna Leela, animal birds, social activities, and other mythological stories have been depicted prominently. Apart from this, the glory stories of the kings of that period were beautifully depicted. Not only important events, episodes, characters, etc. characters of Leela were depicted through these pictures. He worshiped Radha Krishna in abundance and Ganesha with Riddhi Siddhi.
Pictured at the entrance of the door or in the middle of the todos outside the mansions. The main subjects of Patna and Company style were portraits of people, animals, and birds, and portraits of ordinary people, mainly elephants, and horses or their riders were marked in animals.
influence of styles
The influence of the Shekhawati style is visible in these paintings and they are not untouched by the Mughal style because the influence of the Mughal style has been in the surrounding areas of Delhi, it has expanded greatly in the surrounding areas. But despite this, the traditional style is also dominated here. Somewhere in these pictures, there seems to be a dominance of efficiency and sometimes there is a lack. But still, it has been able to express its expressions. Their quality and subject matter have been impressive. Today, due to lack of care, lack of care and not using them properly, many paintings have been destroyed from these Havelis or the layer of smoke has accumulated and due to this the paintings have lost the brightness of the colors but are present on the inner walls. The paintings are preserved in their original condition due to being saved from the sun and rain.
Who established Barwa village?
Thakur Bagh Singh Tanwar, who settled the village of Barwa, belonged to the Rajput clan, probably because the Chitre who painted the Havelis of this village came from the Rajput region. The influence of Rajputana traditions and their lifestyle is visible in these paintings. The influence of Rajput and royal clothes is visible in the paintings of the Havelis. The princes used to keep animals like a parrot, elephants, horses, camels, etc. as pets, and probably for this reason they used to paint them in the form of murals. For these dance postures were very suitable, foot postures also have a special place in the paintings of Ajanta.
Many Seth people built Havelis to show their splendour, and social prestige and depictions were made on those Havelis which seem to be somewhat different from the traditional figures and paintings present there. The Thakur ki Haveli in Barwa village (the village citadel) was built by Muslim artisans around 1910 AD, so the paintings here probably reflect the influence of the Mughal style. During that time, various body parts and landscapes were used in a folk style. The proportions etc. were not taken care of, the pictures have also been made symbolic and natural scenes are shown in the pictures.
efforts to preserve the heritage
This writer, has written to the government many times about the maintenance of the Havelis. For the last two decades, he has been writing articles on the valuable cultural heritage of the village, but so far neither the government nor the ancestral owners of these Havelis have taken any positive steps for their maintenance. It is also reported that in Kurukshetra, the officials of the heritage department of the university are in constant touch with them as to when their ancestral owners agree to save them so that they can be kept in the museum officially so that the coming generations can see them.
The writer is a Research Scholar, Poet, Independent Journalist, columnist and All India Radio/ TV Panellist.