The Patwardhan family of Sangli enjoys a common ancestry with the ruling families of Miraj, Jamkhandi and Kunrundvad. Sangli separated from Miraj in 1801, following a family quarrel between Chintamanrao Pandurangrao Patwardhan, and his paternal uncle, Gangadharrao Govindrao. The former had succeeded his childless elder brother as the sixth chief of Miraj in 1782. Beign a minor at the time, his uncle served as his guardian and regent of the family estates. Chintamanrao, a born soldier, commanded the Miraj cavalry in the Maratha armies that served with the British against the Nizam, Tipu Sultan and Dhondia Waugh. When he returned to Miraj in 1800, after his many campaigns, and having reached his majority, he found his uncle unwilling to yield control to him. The "wicked" uncle had "assumed" that his gallant nephew had perished in a skirmish. Disgusted with this state of affairs, the young nephew seized the family idol and left the palace in a huff. In 1801 he established himself at a new capital at Sangli and set about taking control over as much of his patrimony as he was able to.

Gangadharrao Govindrao managed, through guile and bribary, to secure recognition of his rights over Miraj from the Peshwa in 1808. The Patwardhan domains were effectively separated, though none of the parties actually recognised this at the time. Continuing quarrels and disagreements threatened to cause revolts or fighting, until the British Resident at the Peshwa's court decided to settle matters by effecting an agreement in 1812. This Treaty of Pandharpur was formally recognised by the British authorities in 1817, and further augmented by separate treaties with the HEIC in 1819.

Chintamanrao reigned for fifty years, during which he maintained very close relations with the British. His participation in the southern campaigns included a close association with the Duke of Wellington, with whom he maintained a life-long friendship. He served in several other campaigns, even offering to lead contingents to Persia and Afghanistan to fight the company's enemies. However, his interests ranged more widely than mere soldering. He encouraged industry and agriculture, took a interest in religious affairs, and promoted inter-communal and inter-faith understanding, more than a century before it became the norm. He died in 1851, aged seventy five, full of honours and respect.

Dhundirajrao succeeded his father not merely as ruler, but also in continuing the good work begun by his father. However, he took a keener interest in education, building schools, colleges and vocational institutions. This interest extended to the fields of female education and the so-called backward classes, for whom he built special schools. He even promoted education amongst his Muslim subjects, a community who until then were suspicious of modern innovations. Thanks to his efforts in promoting various agricultural enterprises, Sangli is today the centre of the world turmeric trade, has the largest sugar refinery in Asia, and is the most important centre for grape production in India. Alas, despite seven marriages, he only sired two daughters. The succession was left to a distant relative, chosen by the British authorities and adopted by his senior widow.

Vinayakrao Chintamanrao, who succeeded as Chintamanrao Dhundirajrao on adoption, was no less distinguished than his two predecessors. He also reigned for a long period of sixty-four years. During this time he vastly improved the material, educational, spiritual and political development of his people. He promoted industrial and agricultural development on an unprecedented scale, making his little state something of a powerhouse in the area. Educational facilities were expanded in many areas with the establishment of arts, science, engineering and medical collages. Access to capital improved with the foundation of a state bank, which helped poor farmers and fledgling industrialists to raise funds. Representative institutions at local and state level encouraged the growth of democracy. He took an active part in supporting the war effort, in the activities of the Chamber of Princes, the Indian Round Table Conferences in London, and on the committee established to create a federal structure for India. A friend of the British and Gandhi alike, he enthusiastically supported independence and acceded to the Dominion India in 1947, then merged his state with Bombay. After the merger he continued to serve his former subjects in whatever way he could, donating land for the building of schools and collages, a zoo, parks and gardens, and religious institutions.

Raja Vijaysinhrao succeeded his grandfather in 1965, and has continued the family's philanthropic enterprise ever since. Although he qualified as an engineer, he has spent much of his time in scholarly and artistic endeavour, writing books and music, and promoting inter-faith and inter-communal dialogue and understanding. He has three daughters, all of whom carved out successful careers in the Bollywood film endustry.


The ruling prince: Meherban Shrimant Raja (personal name) (father's name) Patwardhan, Raja of Sangli, with the style of His Highness.
The consort of the ruling prince: Shrimant Akhand Soubhagyawati Rani (personal name) Patwardhan, Rani of Sangli, with the style of Her Highness.
The mother of the ruling prince: Shrimant Akhand Soubhagyawati Rajmatoshri (personal name) Patwardhan, Rajmata of Sangli, with the style of Her Highness.
The Heir Apparent: Shrimant Uvraj (personal name) (father's name) Patwardhan.
The consort of the Heir Apparent: Shrimant Akhand Soubhagyavati Uvrani (personal name) Raje Patwardhan.
The daughters of the ruling prince: Shrimant Rajkumari (personal name) Raje Patwardhan.

Male primogeniture, with the right of adoption by the recognised head of the family on the failure of natural male heirs.

None known.

Administraton Report of the Sangli State. 1935/1936-1941/1942. IOR/V/10. Oriental and India Office Collection, British Library, St Pancras, London.
Annual Administraton Report of the Sangli State. 1873/1874-1884/1885, 1889/1890-1897/1898, 1909/1910-1934/1935. IOR/V/10. Oriental and India Office Collection, British Library, St Pancras, London.
Bowring Manuscript. Eur. Mss. G38, Volume II. Oriental and India Office Collection, British Library, St Pancras, London.
Parashuram Mahadev Limaye. Sangli State, 1910-1948, or, Monograph on the rule of Captain His Highness Raja Shrimant Sir Chintamanrao Dhundirao alias Appasaheb Patwardhan, Raja of Sangli. 1955.
Rao Bahadur D.B. Parasnis. The Sangli State. Lakshmi Printing Works, Byculla, Bombay, 1917.

Father Lawrence Ober, SJ.
Copyrightę Christopher Buyers
Copyrightę Christopher Buyers
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CopyrightęChristopher Buyers, February 2007 - February 2009