Extensive History of Khachrod fiefdom Appa Gangadhar under sindhiya rule through their coinage

Started by sarwar khan, January 22, 2023, 06:20:26 PM

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sarwar khan

Khachrod is the headquarters of an administrative division in the Ujjain district of Madhya Pradesh. Khachrod city in Malwa where in 1820, there had been 10,000 houses and a well supplied bazaar. It was also the capital of a pargana belonging to Daulat Rao Sindhia.The area around Ujjain was one of the first tracts of Malwa to come under the control of the Sindhia in the mid 18th century and remained a part of Gwalior state until the state's accession to India in 1948. In fact Ujjain was the original seat of the Sindhias ; Gwalior became the main seat only after 1802. Ujjain had been a mint town under the Mughals and from the establishment of Sindhia's authority, production of silver and copper coins at Ujjain became an even more regular feature . If this was the case, what prompted minting activity at Khachrod , a seemingly insignificant town located very close to Ujjain. The coin in all probability, was struck in the early 19th century more specifically in the period 1815-1830 AD. During these years the area of north western Malwa , north eastern Gujarat and south eastern Rajasthan saw a spurt in production of the infamous cash crop opium.

It is a well - known fact that the Maratha polities such as the Peshwas , Sindhias and Holkars appointed revenue - farmers known as ' kamavisdars ' to govern territories under their control. As the tenures that were given for administrators were often long , it resulted in the settlement of the kamavisdar in the region under his control . In turbulent political times when central authority waned - as had been the case in the first two decades of the 19th century  these officers became practically independent .

During the first quarter of the nineteenth century the pargana was administered by Appa Gangadhar who used his position as kamavishdar to establish control over supplies of the drug. His family had held the Ijaradari or farm of this area since it came under Maratha control in the mid-eighteenth century. John Malcolm refers to Appa Gangadhar's father and grandfather as having been associated with revenue collection in Mandsaur. Gangadhar's brother held the ijara for neighbouring Khachrod, also an important opium-producing tract.Appa Gangadhar combined the roles of revenue farmer, sahukar and diplomat. In the 1820 his business establishment was regularly supplying opium to the Daman market. He had a contingent of armed retainers to escort consignments of this high-value commodity from Malwa to the west coast.

Gangadhar was a person with immense political influence. In the late 1820 the Sindhia entrusted to him the negotiations with the British on opium regulations. Gangadhar had initially led the Company's officials to hope that the Sindhia would accept a scheme for supply of the drug to the Company at a very low fixed price, which would have amounted to surrendering the opium enterprise of the state to the Company. Gangadhar eventually ensured that this did not happen. Whereas other states had reluctantly agreed to be part of the Company's monopolising scheme, the Sindia refused to do so. In 1830 the Company abandoned the scheme, and allowed, from 1831 onwards, the passage of Malwa opium through Bombay on the payment of a re-export duty.

Details about the coin :-

Jagirdar :- Appa Gangadhar (AD 1794 -1830 )
Minted at Khachrod
Denomination :- Paisa

Obv :- Julus Maimanat manus Zarb Khachrod with Sword symbol.
Rev :- Shah Alam baadshah ghazi sikka mubarak.
Rarity :- Very Rare
INO Mughal emperor Shah Alam II

Reference :-

I. JONS 197, Jamgaon, Harda And Khachrod three new Mints under the Sindhia's of Gwalior by Shailendra Bhandare Sir .

II. Archival sources relating to Indian opium merchants of the nineteenth century by Amar Farooqui

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Interesting story. If I understand you correctly, Appa Gangadhar could mint coins in Khachrod because a) Moghul authority was diminishing b) the EIC hadn't focussed on controlling the opium trade yet c) he enjoyed the protection of the Sindhias and d) the opium growers needed copper coins to pay their workers.

At the same time, we have local smiths minting lightweight copper khaccha pice, a direct competitor. The question arises whether your coin has a reasonable weight in relation to official pice.

Assuming this is the case, the economics of this coin are unclear. Why would Gangadhar not have allowed smiths to mint lightweight coins in return for a contribution to his personal wealth or even minted lightweight coins himself if the risk was very small? Was he perhaps sensitive to the prestige of controlling a mint?

An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.