The valiant Maharana Verisalji II, the 33rd Gohil Rajput ruler of Rajpipla

Born at Nandod (New Rajpipla) in 1808, young Verisalji was educated privately. He succeeded to the gadi as Maharana Verisalji II, still a minor aged just 13, the 33rd Gohil Rajput ruler of the principality of Rajpipla. In October 1821 he entered into an engagement with the British, binding himself and his successors to act in conformity with the advice of the British government. He was installed as ruler on 15th November 1821 at the Fort, Junaraj (Old Rajpipla) up in the Western Satpuras across the River Karjan, a tributary of the Narmada. The Gaekwar gave up his claim to certain territories of Rajpipla, and by 1825 a final settlement was reached. It was decided that a sum of Rs.7,30,000 (₤ 73,000) would be payable to the Gaekwar, and disbursed by 1833-34. Verisalji II inherited a troubled legacy. His rule began in the backdrop of the great flood in the Narmada in September 1821. Further, during the last few years of the 18th century and the early decades of the 19th century, the power of the rulers of Rajpipla had declined considerably. At this time some of the Bhils had been a source of great trouble. In 1793, they had revolted under Umed Vasava, Chief of Sagbara. Again in 1821, a general uprising of the Bhils took place under the Chieftain of Sagbara, Rai Sinh of Rahooba, and Baiji Damia of Tilakwada. This was contained in 1823. Soon there was an uprising in Khandesh, which was quelled. Rajpipla State under Maharana Verisalji II then revolted against the British during the Mutiny of 1857. It is said that Tantia Tope was co-ordinating the revolt in the entire area comprising Rajpipla, Godhra and Dahod. Rajpipla was out of control of the British for many months before the Mutiny was quelled. In 1858, power passed from the East India Company to the British Crown. The Bhils of Sagbara rebelled yet again in 1859, and were finally suppressed in 1860. The authority of the State restored, Verisalji II abdicated in favour of his son Gambhirsinhji on 17th November 1860. Apparently, the abdication of Maharana Verisalji II came about as a result of pressure from the British for the revolt during the Mutiny. A heavier price was paid by the Dewan of Rajpipla who was executed by the British. Maharana Verisalji II died at Nandod in 1868, a valiant ruler who battled through troubled times, always doing his utmost to assert the authority of his principality in the face of heavy odds.

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