Rai Rajeshwar Bali of Daryabad

Rai Rajeshwar Bali (1889-1944) was the Taluqdar of Daryabad, which is a princely state in North India and falls in the state of Uttar Pradesh (United Provinces). Dr. Rai Rajeshwar Bali was an intellectual reformist. During his lifetime he was not only the head of the Taluqdar association of oudh but also the education minister of UP from 1924 to 1928. His main contributions were the passage of the Agra University act, the creation of Bhatkhande College of Hindustani Music and the establishment of Montessori system of education in India. He was also one of the founding members of Colvin Taluqdars' College and during his time as education minister made the school open for the public.

Dr Rai Rajeshwar Bali was instrumental in bringing the Hindustani classical music which was earlier confined to temples, to the public when he opened one of the first music colleges of India called the Bhatkhande College of Hindustani Music in Lucknow. For this he invited Pundit V. N. Bhatkhande to his court and requested him to write the grammar of Hindustani Classical Music. Dr Rai Rajeshwar Bali was also an avid Krishna Bhakt and his Phag and Panje are still recited in Vrindavan, the lila sthal of Bhagwan Krishna.

Dr Rai Rajeshwar Bali was succeeded by his eldest son Rai Dinanath Bali and the princely state is presently represented by Rai Harshvardhan Bali.

Ruling Bali Lineage of Daryabad

The known history of the Taluqdars of Rampur Daryabad estate of district Barabanki, Uttar pradesh, India can be traced back to the times of Shershah Suri, when in an attack by Bhad tribe led the massacre of all the family members of ruling Taluqdar family of Prithuraj near their abode at Mehemdabad in the estate. The pregnant wife of Prithuraj somehow escaped from the clutches of the tribals by hiding in the hollow of a Neem tree. After the massacre, the tribals had left, and a saintly Brahmin spotted her and took her to his home, where she was taken care of by his family. The widow of Prithuraj gave birth to a male child who was given the name of Neema Rai by the Brahmin, since he was saved by the Neem tree.

Neema Rai was brought up by Brahmin and on attaining maturity was taken to the court of Akhbar at Delhi. The emperor granted Rampur Daryabad estate back to Neema Rai. In those times the family lived in Mehemdabad, a place some fifteen kilometer away from their present place in Daryabad. A few generations later the family shifted to Mathuranagar three Kilometer away from Daryabad where there used to be the Kachehri (court).The seventh descendant of Neema Rai, Sheetla Prasad shifted to Daryabad leaving the other family members in Mathuranagar. At Daryabad after the blessings of a great saint this issueless ruler gave birth to three sons named by the Raj-guru as Suraj Bali, Pratap Bali and Anant Bali and from here on the family is known as 'Bali family'.

Suraj Bali was succeeded by his only son Rai Abhiram Bali who ruled the estate at the time of the Sepoy Mutinee of 1857.The uprising was one of the earliest in the province and in the country. At that time Daryabad was the district headquarters. On 9th June, 1857 under the guidance of Rai Abhiram Bali the British treasury of about Rupees 3 lakhs was looted and the commander of the fifth Awadh Irregular Infantry Capt. W.H. Hawes was made to surrender his arms and imprisoned. Later, when the revolt was crushed, the entire Bali family had to move to Kamiar, and returned only after the things settled down.

In the year 1878 the Lt. Governor of Oudh and the Chief Commissioner of the province began forming a body of Taluqdars, called the British India Association. At the time it was decreed that only one member from each Taluqa would be an association member and hence Rai Abhiram Bali with 31 villages and annual revenue of Rupees 25,601, Annas 13 and nine paisa, was recognised as Taluqdar of Rampur Daryabad Taluq with darbar number 120 to him. It was also established that the successor of the Taluqdar would be no one else but the eldest son.

After passing away of Rai Abhiram Bali his eldest son Rai Maharaj Bali became the Taluqdar followed by Rai Narain Bali who unfortunately did not live long and died in 1899 His son Taluqdar Rai Rajeshwar Bali (born in 1889) was a minor and the estate was therefore run by his uncle Rai Bahadur Chandrahar Bali on his behalf.

Rai Rajeshwar Bali took over the reins from his uncle after completing his B.A. in 1911 and went on to begun, without a doubt the brightest star of Bali family. He was elected to the UP legislative assembly in 1920 and represented the Non-Muslim rural constituency of Barabanki district. He held the office of Minister in U.P. government between July 1924 and June 1928 holding the port folio of Education, Medical Relief & Public Health and Local Self Government. Working under the constraint of diarchal system, Rai Rajeshwar Bali did outstanding service to the province. He was able to implement many reforms in education through a primary education act, got the Agra University Act enacted, established a Board of Indian Medicine, giving recognition to Ayurvedic and Unani system of medicine, promulgated health schemes to check epidemics. He established an art gallery in Lucknow and held the first All India art exhibition in the art gallery. In March 1927 he established the Hindustani Academy in Allahabad to promote the vernacular languages. His greatest achievement is considered the establishment of Marris College of Hindustani Music in Lucknow in September 1926. This was preceded by three highly successful all India music conferences in which he did a miraculous job of bringing on one platform the greatest singers of the time from many different Gharanas.

He was among the rarest of Indians to whom the ruling British Governor (Moody) had to tender a written apology on the instructions of the British Parliament.

Rai Rajeshwar Bali was a saint by his simplicity and a bhakt of the highest order of Sri Bihariji. He composed numerous poems and plays of the highest spiritual and devotional expression in Hindi and Brij Bhashas. Many of his plays like Sri Krishna Janma and Rukmini Mangal were enacted on stage by local talent hand picked by him and attended by dignitaries such as Pandit Govind Ballabh Pant and Dr. Sampoornand.

Rai Rajeshwar Bali built a palace in Daryabad in the finest Hindustani Architectural style. He encouraged his family members to develop their talent in Hindustani Music. His wife Rani Sushila Bali composed tunes for several of his poems and cousin Rai Surendra Nath Bali was a prominent music composer. Another of his uncles Rai Umanath Bali, who was younger to him was given charge of the arrangements and correspondence regarding the music college. Rai Umanath Bali took over as the vice chancellor of the college after the death of Rai Rajeshwar Bali in 1944. After independence the prime minister of India Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru disclosed to Sri Mahesh Chandra, a senior journalist a leading daily The Statesman that he and other prominent Congressmen had Rai Rajeshwar Bali’s name in mind for the first President of India.

Rai Dina Nath Bali, the eldest of the five sons of Rai Rajeshwar Bali took over the Taluqdari in 1944. By that time, the old order was changing rapidly and the air of independence had the expectations of Zamindari abolition. At the time of abolition the estate was left with meager resources to feed and look after the large Bali family. Family settlement was made between “the first party” Rai Dina Nath Bali Taluqdar, the proprietor and owner of Rampur Daryabad Estate and the “second party” comprising all the following family members Rai Umanath Bali s/o Rai Mahadeo Bali; Rai Somnath Bali s/o Rai Mahadeo Bali; Rai Bisheshwar Bali s/o Rai Narain Bali; Rai Deoraj Bali s/o Rai Kedar Nath Bali; Rai Surendra Nath Bali s/o Rai Chandrahar Bali; Rai Laxmi Nath Bali; and Rai Sitanath Bali s/o Rai Amarnath Bali.

According to this settlement “the first party” Taluqdar Rai Dina Nath Bali agreed to grant some properties, and agricultural land to “the second party”, “without admitting any right of the second party to any interest in the corpus or the profile of the Rampur Daryabad Estate or its appurtenance or any other property in the procession of the first party”. The above properties and land were granted to “the second party” on the condition that the estate will no longer provide any other maintenance to “the second party”.

After the death of Rai Dina Nath Bali in 1974 Rai Harsh Vardhan Bali owns the Taluqdari till date. The land, ponds and other properties inside the town area of Daryabad are still in the names of three sons of Rai Dinanath Bali - Rai Harsha Vardhan Bali, Anand Vardhan Bali and Yesho Vardhan Bali as the Zamindari of towns are still not abolished in Uttar Pradesh.

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