Friday, March 26, 2021



I have a visitor yesterday, a Muslim Darbar from Dasada, Surendranagar. Darbar, generally a term used for Rajputs in Gujarat, therefore, Darbar and Rajput are synonyms. But when I heard the word Muslim Darbar, I was surprised. There were Patel/Desai Darbars. The area of Dasada, Patadi, Bazana, Jenabad, etc, had Darbar system of native kingdoms. Before independence, there were 200 plus princely states in Gujarat and the sub-states were many. They were called Darbars. To differentiate, the Rajputs had started using the word, “Bapu”. Bapu (the giver) and Bapadu (the taker) was the culture of the States.

The word darbar/durbar has Persian origin, a term used for a Court, where people approach for demands or petitions. The meeting room where the King and his advisers sat to take important decisions or to resolve important issues was called a Darbar, and persons who had right to sit in Darbar were called Darbaris. The Chiefs were the Darbars. Later the word was used for ceremonial gatherings.

The first Darbar (सच्चे दरबार) is the God, therefore, people are flooded in all the shrines, temples, religious places to pray God with the list of their demands. But later, whosoever held the seat of power or command over the lands/area were called Darbars. British had used the term, calling Delhi Darbar during the visit of the British King to Delhi in 1903.

Darbar needs not to be a Rajput only. He may be Muslim, Patel, Desai, etc, too; whosoever had right over the land/area of the villages were Darbars. They were the owners of the Agro Estates. The farmers were their labourers, were giving 50% of the farm produces to the king/darbar. Darbars were the native kings. Villagers used to serve them as Vethia in rotation basis. When the patta (land rights) were issued to the village farmers by the king/british, the farmers were called “Patel”. The person who was IB of the village was called a Police Patel.

Dasada Muslim Darbar had 24 villages under his command. As the owner of the land of these villages, they had a right to collect 50% of the produces. Any new man-family came to stay in any of their villages, they needed their permission. People of the villages in command were going their place to resolve their disputes. The villages were further divided as property amongst the brothers.

Many of such Darbars were under the Gaekwad rule. But Dasada was not part of it, therefore, it was called ‘Dasada daftarbar’ (out of records). When the law of land reforms, giving right of land to the tillers of the soil was implemented, they tried to save lands by giving away to the Temple trusts, Masjid trusts or kept in the name of their confidants. When the princely states were merged in India, some of them were given privy purse but is was in few hundred rupees. Mrs. Gandhi abolished that too in 1971 with 26th amendment to the Constitution of India.

With the growth of democracy on the principle of equality, the days of Darbars have gone. They don’t have wealth to showcase their prides. Some of them still hold the old buildings with a Darbar hall (with old carpet) and ancestral chair to carry the memories of their great past. Post independence, some of them tried to participate in democratic election process and some of them became successful. Few succeeded in getting power chairs of bureaucracy. Few became entrepreneurs. But many in search of livelihood or jobs moved to the cities and towns and have to opt for the jobs of driver, peon, security guards, worker, etc. Some have joined Police or Army. And some poor are working as maids and servants.

They are no more Darbars. They have been replaced by the present administration of British design. Now the Collectors are the Darbars of the Districts. 😂 Lol.

4 July 2018


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