Dudhoria Family, Azimganj আজিমগঞ্জ দুধোরিয়া পরিবার

Raja Chaban, ruler of Ajmer (an extensive territory in Rajputana) between the years 135 BC and 110 BC, was the first of the princely line from which the Dudhorias trace their descent, and there was a direct succession of Princes until the time of Raja Dudhor Rao (AD 165), who renounced the ancestral orthodox Vedic (or Shaiva) faith in favour of Jainism, and it was from this time that the name "Dudhoria" was given to the descendants of Raja who became converts to the new creed. Dudhoria means literally "The family belonging to Raja Dudhor". The Dudhorias, after their conversion to Jainism, engaged in various business occupations, migrating from place to place, until about the year 1774 AD when Harjimal Dudhoria and his two sons, Sabai Singh Dudhoria and Maujiram Dudhoria moved from Rajaldesar, Bikanir in Rajputana to Azimganj, Murshidabad. Here Harjimal Dudhoria and his two sons commenced trading in countrymade cloth. They were so industrious that within a short time they prospered in their trade.

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Budh Singh & Bissen Chand Dudhoria

The real begining of prosperity for the family began with Babu Harek Chand Dudhoria, who became a leading merchant, and, further, opened a money-lending business in Calcutta, Sirajganj, Azimganj, Jangipur, and Mymensingh. Harak Chand died in 1862 AD, leaving two sons Babu Budh Singh Dudhoria and Babu Bissen Chand Dudhoria, who succeeded their late father in the flourishing concern which he had established. The sons, who were quite young at the time, succeeded to their father's wealth and flourishing business, and, as they grew up, joined their combined talent and energy to make a further move towards prosperity. Babu Budh Singh was patient, amiable, and industrious, while Babu Bissen Chand displayed wonderful business capacities from his boyhood. The two brothers lived harmoniously, and extended their moneylending business to several districts, and opened banks at Calcutta, Surajganj, Mymensingh, Jangipur, and Azimganj. They gained the confidence of their customers, and extended their operations by gradually investing money in landed property, and ultimately became big Zamindars, owning lands in the districts of Murshidabad, Mymensingh, Birbhum, Burdwan, Nadia, Faridpur, Purnea, Dinajpur, and Rajshahi.

Rai Budh Singh Bahadur has been twice married. Indra Chand was his eldest son by his first wife. Indra Chand was married to a daughter of Rai Sitab Chand, Bahadur of Azimganj, and he died in 1899. Rai Budh Singh Bahadur has two sons by his second wife, Ajit Singh and Kuwar Singh, the first of whom had been married to a daughter of Babu Narpat Singh, Zamindar of Harwat.

Acts of Charity

The brothers helped the poor members of their community, fed thousands of the needy and hungry in times of famine by opening Annachatras (a free feeding house), clothed the poor, contributed to charitable and other funds. The ladies of their family constructed, Dharmasalas and temples in several parts of India, for the use of their co-religionists, and did various other works of public good.

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Titles & Offices held

Their good name and fame spread far and wide, so that when Sir Ashley Eden [1] (13 November 1831 – 8 July 1887), the then Lieutenant-Governor of Bengal, visited Jangipur, he was pleased to honour the brothers by paying them a visit. The Bengal Government was so pleased with their liberality and public services that it conferred on both of them the title of "Rai Bahadur", as a personal distinction on January 2nd, 1888 AD. They were also appointed Honorary Magistrates of the Lalbagh Bench in Murshidabad. Rai Budh Singh obtained a Certificate of Honour on June the 20th, 1897 AD, on the occasion of the Diamond Jubilee of her late Majesty Queen-Empress Victoria, "in recognition of his liberality and public spirit."

Budh Singh and Bissen Chand Dudhoria's banking and money-lending business having attained vast proportions, the brothers decided to separate in 1877 AD, and from that time carried on business under separate names. About 1889 AD an incident occurred which led to very serious trouble, not only for the Dudhoria family but also for the Jain community to which they belonged. It appears that Rai Budh Singh Dudhoria had a son, Babu Indra Chand, who, during the time that he was receiving an English education in India, succumbed to an overpowering desire to visit England and the continent of Europe, and accordingly he undertook the journey without the knowledge or consent of his father or uncle. The Jains, like the Hindus, are an orthodox community, and not only discountenance sea voyages, but also excommunicate those who undertake them. Indra Chand's journey to Europe therefore created an unprecedented furore in this community, which resulted in splitting it up into two powerful factions, and creating much bad blood between them. The matter was subsequently taken to the High Court of Calcutta, and some time elapsed before anything approaching peace was noticeable. The controversy was as sad as it was serious, and the cause of it, Babu Indra Chand died in 1899 AD, leaving two sons Jaggat Singh and Ranjit Singh, who were minors.

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Bijoy Singh Dudhoria

Rai Bissen Chand died after a short illness in 1894 AD, leaving his only son and heir, Babu Bijoy Singh Dudhoria a promising youth of about fourteen years of age. The management of the estates and business inherited by the minor was taken in hand by his uncle, Rai Budh Singh Bahadur, who also gave a sound and liberal education to his ward under the tuition of Babu Abinas Chandra Das, M.A., B.L. When Bijoy Singh attained his majority in 22nd of December, 1900 AD, he took over the direct control of his estates, and of the banking and other business to which he had succeeded, and even at this early period of life he manifested strong common sense and keen shrewdness in commercial matters. Raja Bijoy Singh Dudhoria was married in February 1894, when fourteen years of age, to the youngest daughter of Rai Dhanpat Singh Bahadur of Baluchar, and he has an only daughter, who was married to Babu Srichand Nahata, also of Baluchar. Bijoy Singh Dudhoria died in 1933.

Titles & Offices held

Raja Bijoy Singh Dudhoria was nominated by the Government as a Commissioner of the Azimganj Municipality, in 1903 AD. At all-India Jain conference held at Baroda in December 1904 AD, Rai Budh Singh Dudhoria was appointed President and his nephew, Bijoy Singh Dudhoria as vice-president. In 1906 Bijoy Singh succeeded as Chairman of Azimganj Municipality, after a keen contest in defeating a rival candidate who had held the office for nine successive years. In January 1907 he was appointed as honorary magistrate of the independent Bench at Lalbagh, and in June 1907, on the birthday celebration of King Edward VII, the title of "Raja" was conferred upon him by Lord Minto, the then Viceroy of India, in recognition of his public services, his liberality, and his high personal character. The Sanad and "Khillut" of the new position were formally handed to the Raja at a Durbar held at Belvedere in Calcutta on November 14, 1908, by the Hon. Sir Andrew Fraser, K.C.S.I., then Lieutenant-Governor of Bengal. In January 1909 Raja Bijoy Singh was re-elected chairman of the Azimganj Municipality, and in August of the same year he was the recipient of the highest praise and warmest thanks tendered on behalf of the Government by the Hon. Sir Norman Baker, K.C.S.I., when opening a new school building at Jiaganj, constructed by the Raja at a cost of about Rs. 20,000. Bijoy Singh Dudhoria acted as member of the District Board of Murshidabad. He was a member of the Executive Committees of the Imperial League, the King Edward Memorial Fund, and he was vice-president of the British Indian Association of Calcutta in 1915.

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Acts of Charity

Raja Bijoy Singh Dudhoria contributed Rs. 100,000 to Lady Minto's fete [2] in aid of the Nursing Association; He gave about Rs. 20,000 for the construction of the Jiaganj Edward VII Coronation Institution; a sum of Rs. 4,000 was contributed to the Krishnagar College; Rs. 10,000 were given to the Imperial War Relief Fund; during a partial famine in 1906-1907 he expended a very large sum in providing rice for needy poor people.

The members of the Dudhoria family are known to be pious Jains, and have founded Dharmasalas on Mount Abu, on the Parasnath Hill in Hazaribagh, at Azimganj, and in Bombay. They have also constructed a temple at Giridhi, and one at Jangipur, and a dharmasala at Poua Pun near Behar, also a charitable dispensary and hospital at Jangipur. They have maintained for a long time a school for Bengali giris at Azimganj, and Jain Patshalas for the boys of their co-religionists at Azimganj, Palitana, and Dhoraji.


References :
  • [1] Sir Ashley Eden : In 1856 he was promoted from assistant to magistrate and collector of Rajshahí to the post of magistrate at Murshidabad. During the Indian Mutiny he checked sympathy with the revolt in Murshidabad. In 1860 he was appointed secretary to the government of Bengal and an ex-officio member of the Bengal legislative council. Back
  • [2] Lord Minto's wife Mary Caroline Grey, popularly known as Lady Minto was very much involved in the organization of the Indian Nursing Association and had organized a Fete which was to provide the organization with endowments. The Fete was held between January 20th, 1907 and February 7th 1907 at Calcutta. Back
  • Bengal and Assam, Behar and Orissa Their history, people, commerce and industrial resources - By Somerset Playne (1917)

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