Introduction to Natnagar

Maharajkumar Ratan Sinh was born in the palace of Laduna to queen of Raja Raj Sinh Rajkunwar Chawdiji – on Monday, April 11, 1808 (Vaishak Vadi 1, Vikram Sanvat 1865). His childhood was spent entirely in the palaces of Laduna. Not much is known about childhood of Ratan Sinh, but it is well-known that a lot of his time was spent in physical exercise and hunting apart from education. Through regular workout, Ratan Sinh’s physique had become powerful and well-balanced. There are lot of tales in circulation about his physical strength.

Under suitable guidance of Raja Raj Sinh, Ratan Sinh studied languages including Urdu, Persian, Hindi, Brij, Sanskrit and Dingal. By inspiration of his father and teacher Guru Shrupdas, Ratan Sinh started writing poetries in Hindi, Brij, Dingal, Persian and Urdu, under the pen name of `Natnagar’.

In Vikram Sanvat 1913, `Natnagar Vinod’ was created. In this epic poem of his, Ratan Sinh has described both aspects of `Shringar’ - `Sanyog’ and `Viyog’ beautifully. The composition is also grammatically beautiful and language-wise lucid. `Natnagar Vinod’ is mostly a tribute to Brij language, but yet in some places shades of regional dialects of Malwa could be seen. Along with this epic poem, Ratan Sinh had also penned `Deewan-e-Usshaq’ in Urdu, an unpublished copy of which is still available in the Natnagar Shodh Samsthan.

Along with love for literature, Ratan Sinh was also fond of painting and music. He was also fond of horse riding. He had written `Ashwa Vichar’ on special attributes and qualities of horses.

Maharajkumar Ratan Sinh was considerably impressed by Dadupanthi saint Shrupdas and considered the latter as his teacher. Shrupdas was a great Sanskrit scholar. The correspondence between Ratan Sinh and Shrupdas could be seen in Natnagar Vinod. The correspondence was in poetic form. The collection of this correspondence is also available at Shree Natnagar Shodh Samsthan, Sitamau. Ratan Sinh was quite famous in the world of poets because of his love for poetry and writing. Poets like Suryamall, Chandidaan, Hariram, Gurubhai Shivram and Shyamrao were part of his literary group. Apart from writing poetry, Ratan Sinh was also an avid collector of volumes of poetries. He got a number of poetry volumes copied and collected them. The administration of Sitamau was also his responsibility. To resolve the `tanka’ (tax) related issues of Sitamau State, Ratan Sinh toured Gwalior in 1860. He met Maharaja of Gwalior Jayajirao through British official A.G.G. Shakespeare and managed to get a discount of Rs 5000 in the `tanka’ by impressing the Maharaja with his speaking style. While returning from Gwalior, Ratan Sinh took a holy bath in the Ganges and also visited Brijbhumi.

Maharajkumar Ratan Sinh died in unfortunate circumstances after falling from a horse at the age of 55 years at midnight of Tuesday, Magh Vadi 3 Vikram Samvat 1920 (January 26, 1864).

Establishment of Shri Natnagar Shodh-Samsthan, Sitamau

Maharajkumar Ratan Sinh was the son of Maharaja Raj Sinhji (1802-1867) the ruler of Sitamau State. He was a poet and shayar and his pen name was “Natnagar”. He had a good knowledge of Brij, Dingal and Urdu languages. He had authored “Natnagar Vinod” in Brij and “Diwan-i-Ushhaq” in urdu. Dr Raghubir Sinh established an institute on his pen name. Shri Natnagar Shodh Samsthan, Sitamau was established by Dr. Raghubir Sinh on Aug. 14, 1974 as an autonomous Research Institute to further the advancement of knowledge and learning by promoting historical researches and studies, and providing the historians and researchers essential records, manuscripts, printed books, and other necessary primary and secondary source materials, etc. for the same.

It was registered under the Madhya Pradesh Society Registirkaran Adhikaran, 1973 (No. 44 of 1973), at No. 4081 on Jan. 16, 1975.

Since then it has been growing rapidly and is now a well developed Research Institute with an experienced eminent historian as its Director and a regular staff of trained researchers carrying on specifically planned programmes of historical researches including editing of important historical work and other primary source materials.

Shri Raghubir Library, Sitamau (formerly the personal library of Dr. Raghubir Sinh) is the noteworthy main component unit of the Samsthan. This library has been well known for more than last sixty years as a self contained institution for researches in Indo-Muslim and Maratha history and has been highly spoken of by many eminent historians, including Acharya Jadunath Sarkar. Some well known historians of the present day and many other research scholars supplicating for their Ph. D. and D.Litt. thesis from various Indian Universities from far and wide have been coming down to Sitamau for the last forty years and more.

Constant efforts are even now being made to further enrich Shri Raghubir Library by collecting latest publications relating to the particular fields of its specialisation, and other work which were wanting previously. Moreover, xerox prints, micro-films or like copies of additional primary sources of the relevant period are being obtained, and important historical manuscript collections in private possession, like the Kaviraja Collections at Jodhpur, are also being duly acquired by the Samsthan for the said Library.

The Madhya Pradesh State Goverment has duly recognised Shri Natnagar Shodh Samsthan, Sitamau as a ‘Special Institution’ and is giving it grant-in-aid with effect from the financial year 1975-76. The State Goverment is duly represented on the Managing Board of the Samsthan.

Raghubir Library

“If ever a Central Institute of History is set up in free India, the Raghubir Collection will be its indispensable nucleus.” - Sir Jadunath Sarkar.

Since the conception of Shri Raghubir Library in 1936 A.D., by Dr. Raghubir Sinh, historian and litterateur, it developed following the guidelines of Sir Jadunath Sarkar.Natnagar Shodh Samsthan is one of the national Institutions of India and it has an excellent Library with a rare Collection of 6000 manuscripts in different languages such as Persion, Urdu, Hindi, Sanskrit, English and Marathi and the range of Subjects is very wide and includes History, Poetry, Medicine, Science, Philosophy, Politics, Religion and Astrology.

The library of the Samsthan have more than 40 thousand published books most of the books are rare in Hindi, Marathi, English, Persian, Urdu and Sanskrit, are preserved. Various leading Research Journals and magazines published in India and abroad are also available here. Most of them were collected by Dr. Raghubir Sinh. The Library specialization in Medieval Indian history, Anglo-Maratha history and Provincial History for Rajasthan, Gujarat and Malwa.


In Shri Raghubir Library, Persian Mss. and documents are available as a major source of history of Sindh, Delhi Sultanate, the Sultanates of Malwa and Gujrat, Mughals and Later Mughals. In the library hundreds of mss., thousands of documents and their micro-film and photo-copies are available, which are useful for the history of 14th century to 18th century. All these mss.and documents amounting to 1,00,000 openings are collected from British Museum, London, India Office Library, London, Royal Asiatic Society, London, Bodelian Library, Oxford, the Bibliothica Nationale, Paris, and other important collection of Europe. At the same time 40,000 photoprints and micro-films of persian documents of the Maratha period preserved at the Peshwa Daftar, Pune, (Alienation office) and others preserved in the Kale Parasnis Collection, Poona are available in Shri Raghubir Library.


Shri Raghubir Library has preserved many Persian mss. relating to Sultanate period of Indian History, among which is the unique work “Munshat-i-Mahru” by Ain-ul-Mulk Mahru, which throws light on 14th century administration and social life.


Almost all mss. relating to the history of Malwa and Gujrat are available here. “Students willing to resuscitate the lost chapters of history will be obliged to visit the Raghubir Library for its wealth of rare manuscript on Malwa and contemporary history of Gujrat.” (Prof. Nirod Bhushan Roy, Essays presented to Sir Jadunath Sarkar, p. 281). In these special mss. “Tarikh-i-Gujrat”, Maasir-i-Mahmud Shahi, Tarikh-i-Nasiri, Tarikh-Muzaffar Shahi and Tarikh-i-Salatin-i-Gujrat are available in microfilm, photo-print or mss. forms.


According to Sir Jadunath Sarkar “The Raghubir Library has specialised in the history of the Delhi Padishah and the local dynasties of Malwa, Gujrat and the Rajputana to the points of exhaustion.” Numerous microfilm and mss. relating to Mughal Emperors - Humayun, Akbar, Jahangir and Shah Jahan are available here.

Important mss. like Lataif-ul-Akhbar and Padishah-Nama , by Muhammad Waris about Shah Jahan and others relating to the Mughal Emperor Aurangzib like Adab-i-Alamgiri. by Sadiq Muttalibi, Ahkam-i-Alamgiri, by Inayetullah: Fatuhat-i-Alamgiri, by Ishardas Nagar, Tarikh-i-Dilkasha, by Bhimsen and Haft Anjuman, by Udairaj along with hundreds of letters and sanads are preserved here. Other noteworthy Persian mss. are “Faiyyazul-Qawanin”, Tarikh-i-Muhammadi”, by Mirza Muhammad (2 vols.), “Tarikh-i-Hind” by Rustam Ali “Mirat-i-Aftabnuma”, by Shah Nawaz Khan, “Tazkirat-us-Salatin-i-Chagtai”, by Kamwar, Mirat-ul-Waridat, by Warid, “Tarikh-i-Nadiri” by Mirza Muhammad Mahdi Khan Astrabadi, “Tazkira-i-Waqaya”, by Anand Ram Mukhlis, “Tarikh-i-Muzaffari” by Muhammad Ali Khan Ansari and “Muntakhab-i-Akhbar” (2 Vols.).

Apart from Persian Mss. relating to the reigns of Aurangzib and his descendants, Shri Raghubir Library is unique in its collection of Akhabarat-i-Durbar-i-Mualla of the reigns of Aurangzib, Azam Shah, Bahadur Shah, Jahandar Shah and Farrukhsiyar. These State news-letters are collected from the collections of Royal Asiatic Society, London and the Jaipur State Archives, Jaipur.


The Samsthan has hundreds of mss., micro-film or photo-state copies, copper plates, coins throwing valuable light on the history of Malwa and Rajasthan from 14th century to 19th century important among the these mss. are Muhnot Nainsi ri Khyat, Jaipur Rajya ri Khyat, Udaibhan Champawat-ri-Khyat, Dayaldas-ri-Khyat, Dungarpur-ri-Khyat, Shahpura ri Khyat, Jalor-Pargana-ri-Vigat, Khande Rai Raso, Khyat of the Chandravat of Rampura and Patnama, Jaipur Records, Sitamau Rajya ki Khyaten, Chittor-Udaipur-ro-Patnama, etc.


The Samsthan has unique collection of Persian mss. micro-film and photo-copies of Akhabarats relating to Anglo-Maratha period (1761-1818) of Indian History.

Apart from Persian and Rajasthani sources thousands of original Marathi documents are preserved here in various collection like the Gulgule Daftar, the Hingne Daftar, the Mandloi Daftar, the Dhar Daftar, the Mandu Daftar, the Athale Daftar, Bhalerao Collection, and the Collection received from the Dewas Junior. These documents give important information about almost every aspects of Maratha History since the beginning of Maratha inroads in north India till the establishment of British supremacy.

Shri Keshavdas Abhilekhagar (Archives)

The archive was established in Oct. 1976, when the Samsthan acquired the State Archives of the erstwhile Sitamau State.

Except few Persian Sanads and few documents of Maratha domination original collection of documents begin from mid nineteenth century till June 30, 1948 A.D. when the Sitamau State merged into the successor, state of Madhya Bharat. Thus the archives of the Sitamau State are available by the Samsthan in its entirety. They give a complete picture of the traditional, Political and administrative system of the state in its competeness. Impartial, eye-witness reports of the Sitamau Vakil in Indore throw valuable lights on turbulent times of Indian Mutiny in Indore in Particular and Malwa in general (1857-58). The archive has 700 bastas containing thousands of original documents, three thousand Bahis and Two Thousend Five hundred old Registers.

The files of “English Office” of erstwhile Sitamau State contain thousands of important letters, and their replies (original or office copies). They are useful for the last 55 years of the history of the former Sitamau State. Kharitas, secret letters, tanka receipts and other such documents received by the Sitamau ruler are specially important source-material not only for the history of the Sitamau State but also for the political administrative, social and economic history of the Mandsaur region.

The archive has a rare collection of Gazeetes of Goverment of India, yearly administrative reports and Gazettes of various Indian States, Census Reports, for the last ten years, parliamentary reports, Gazetteers of Indian States and old magazines published after 1920 A.D. Thus the archives have 1350 printed books and 300Gazeets of various Indian States.

Administrative reports of Holkar State from (1894-1945 A.D.), Police Administrative report (1905-1941 A.D.), Budget Administration (1910-1918 A.D.) Land revenue Records (1924-1934) etc., contemporary published reports are preserved at the archives, which helps to resuscitate the history of the central, district and village administration of the former Holkar State.

In the same way, Gwalior State Durbar policy Vols. 1924-25 A.D., Administrative Report (1923-46 A.D.), complete files of Jayaji Pratap, a weekly from Gwalior (1939-43 A.D.) etc., are helpful source-materials relating to the administrative, economic and social history of the erstwhile Gwalior State are available here.

The Samsthan is painstakingly collecting original or true copies of documents, relating to 17th and aucceeding centuries, so that the archives would be important research centre for the entire region.

Sh. Raj Sinh Sangrahalaya (Museum)

The original scheme provided for the establishment of Shri Raj Sinh Sangrahalaya as a unit of the Samsthan. Dr. Raghubir Sinh donated Shri Raj Niwas Garh Palace of Laduna to the Samsthan. A Shodh Sangrahalaya will be organised in Shri Raj Niwas Garh Palace, Laduna. There in will be collected pieces of regional archaeological finds as well as pictures of former rulers of the Sitamau State and paintings and works of art. Thus it is planned to preserve and further enrich the collection of ancient coins, copper plates and other rare exhibits. Samsthan has acquired a prestagious stone inscription for Raj Sinh Sangrahalaya, which is known as Risthal Stone inscription.

The inscribed stone was discovered in the 17th September, 1983, by people while digging the foundation of a house of Gobarji Gayari in the village of Risthal situated at 240 73’N, 750 20’E about 9 km. north of Sitamau, headquarters of the Sitamau Tahsil of the Mandsaur District. The big inscribed stone was soon brought to the Shri Natnagar Shodh Samsthan, Sitamau by Dr. M.S. Ranawat for preservation and exhibition.

Risthal stone inscription is one of most importan finds of 1983 about ancient Indian History. This inscription is date 512 A.D. and inform us about Prakashdharman’s victory over Torman the Hun. To commemmorate his victory, he also built a temple and dharmshala at Dashpur (Mandsaur).