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Saturday, August 2, 2008

Kallil Bhagawathi - A Jain Retreat

By Shri P.N. Sampath Kumar from Kochi.

He is currently working with the Cochin Shipyard.After reading your post on Buddhism and Jainism in Kerala, we thought of utilising our Sunday to visit the Kallil Bhagawathi temple near Perumbavoor. We were there on the the 20th July 2008.
Kallil Bhagavathi temple is a cave temple on a hill top at a place called Methara. Though dedicated to Bhagavathi (which they claim to be swayambhoo), on the back wall a Buddha like structure in the sitting posture (about four feet high). is carved. It looks like some Tirthankar or Mahavir himself. It is not very difficult to make out that even with the dim light within the sreekovil. The Bagavathi in front of Mahavir due to its small size gives vision of the carved mahavir figure on the back side. The bhagavathi has been ornamented with metallic (brass) face and major poojas are performed only to her.
The Shrine

The Mahavir carving has also been garlanded but the main pooja is for the Devi. Within the sreekovil, on the right and left hand side of Devi, two more statues of about 1.5 feet high are also seen. Outside the sreekovil, on the left hand side of the diety, one dwarapalaka type of statue which looks very old (details like eyes, ears, nose etc are erased due to passage of time) is also seen which is also kept garlanded by the devotees.
Modern Steps leading to the ShrineThere is a mandapam (made of sand stone) about four feet square where devotees can stand and offer prayers without any high peetham (as generally seen in other temples).

I Chatted with the priest for some time. Surprisingly, there was no hesitation on his part to accept the theory of Jain temple taken over by Hindus. Further he threw some more light into the theory as below:

“This used to be jain centre (temple?) main carving on the wall is of Parshwanath” and the devi is said to be Padmavathi (a jain goddess).
When Hindus took over, we considered (sankalpam) Parshwanath as Bramha, Padmavathi as Bhagavathi and other two deities on the left and right of the devi as Ganapathi and Siva” There are a few idols kept outside which is believed to be sarpakavu or nagarajas / naga yakshis.
Interestingly, there is no sign of demolition of any structures / idols. Only some additions like pavements, Mandapam and sopanam steps and designs on both sides of sopanam seem to made so as to suit to the hindu style. That means due to some reason, the jains might have abandoned the place centuries ago and would have been occupied by the Hindus only recently. That may be why the priest is able to explain the story correctly.

There is a siva (kallil sivan – on the planes, not cave) temple nereby who is said to be the husband of Kallil Bhagavathi. By the time we finished bhagavathi, siva temple was closed. There is ample scope for survey in and around the area. The place is calm and beautiful. About half a km walk from the road towards the temple.

The approach

Buddhism and Jainism in Kerala

The Vedic people worshipped the panchatatvas (five elements) and offerings to the Fire Lord (Homa) was considered very sacred. The concept of a God with a form was something which came up later. The idols of Gods carved out of stone or wood were initially sheltered under a tree. Trees were also considered sacred as we could find them on the reverse of many of the ancient coins. The idea of providing a roof to the Lord began, with a flat roofed square structure for him to remain protected. Then there was an addition of a small Mandapa (porch) for the devotees to stand as a shelter from the Sun and the Rain. Such structures datable to around 3rd/4th Century AD are available at Tigawa near Jabalpur and Sanchi. Archaeologically they are the earliest available examples of Hindu temple architecture in India. Thereafter there started a developmental stage during which the temples grew in size and ornamentation came to its zenith during 10th and 12th centuries AD.

Many of the Hindu temples in Kerala are circular in shape. This has always been pricking me.The circular shape of Kerala temples definitely suggests some indigenous initiative or other external influence.

The great Chandra Gupta Mourya and the Jain Saint Bhadrabahu are supposed to have visited Karnataka during the 3rd Century BC. Jain missionaries are also said to have visited Tamilnadu. The great Ilango Adigal, the author of the Silpaddikaram, is believed to have been a Jain patron. It is well known that Kerala was under the suzerainty of Cheras. It was, therefore, easier for the Jains to seek immigration into Kerala.

Sravanabelagola in the state of Karnataka is one of the greatest centres of Jainism (Digambara) in South India even today. There are evidences of Jain influence penetrating to the South into Kerala. Kasargod which borders Karnataka could be cited as an example. At the nearby Manjeswaram there is a Chaturmukh (Sarvatobhadra) Jain temple. The idol (Pratima Sarvatobhadrika) has  four faces, that  of Adinath, Shantinath, Chandranath and Mahavira looking at the four directions. Another Jain structure is in Wayanad which was used by Hindus and later taken over by Tipu Sultan for housing his armory. This is known as Sultan Battery.

Coming still further down, at Irinjalakuda, the Koodalmanikyam temple is also believed to have been a Jain temple dedicated to their Saint Bharateswara. Presently it is a Hindu shrine with Bharata the brother of Lord Rama, in a standing posture inside. Strangely, there are no idols of any other gods in the periphery. Generally we come across lord Ganesha (Vinayaka) in every temple. Perhaps this is the only temple in the country dedicated to Bharata. Incidentally, we find temples of all the four brothers of the Ramayana epic around Thrissur.
Sultan Battery. The Wayanad area is still home to more than 200 Jain families. Another granite structure is at Jainimedu, Palakkad. It is 20' wide and 32' long housing Tirthankaras.

Within an hour's drive towards the South, at Methala, 13 km's from Perumbavoor, we come across the Kallil Bhagawathi temple. It is a cave temple with carvings of Parswanath, Mahavira and Padmavathi reckoned to be of the 9th Century AD!. Jain monks seem to have come to this place finding an atmosphere of peace and tranquility conducive to meditation.

Kallil Bhagawathi - Up the Hill

Here is a video of Kallil Bhagawathi Temple

Buddhists too would not have been left behind since Emperor Asoka (304-232 BC) wished his Dhammam to spread far and wide. It is well known that his own daughter Sanghamitra and son Mahamahinda led a mission to Sri Lanka. In his rock Edict No.13, he mentions Cholas and Pandyas as having been won with Dhamma (they became followers of the faith). Kerala (Chera) was not included. There is a mention of Keralaputra which he has described in his 2nd major rock Edict as falling on the frontiers of his empire. In this Edict he informs having provided for medical facilities to humans as also animals (really great!).
A large number of Buddha idols have been discovered in the coastal districts of Alapuzha and Kollam. A large statue of Buddha is also reported from Lakshadweep (Kavaratti). There still exists a Buddhist temple known as Karumadi Kuttan near Ambalapuzha (Video Link). It is also believed that Kuramba Bhagawathy temple at Kodungallur was a Buddhist shrine or Vihara. There are also claims that the Vadakunnathan Shiva temple at Thrissur too was a Buddhist enclave. Interestingly, parents of Adi Shankaracharya are said to have made offerings at this temple for getting a child. Thus there seems to be some inconsistency.

Shri Rajaram Menon from Kaviyoor in southern Kerala has informed that :
"There is a cave temple in the village dedicated to Shiva, but is believed to have been built by Budhist or Jain monks. The main temple, a km away from the cave temple - again dedicatd to Shiva- is about 1000 years old. The cave is said to be older than this. The rock is called Thri-kakudi-para. (Thri=Thiru, kakudi=kal kudi, kal=stone/rock, kudi=home or settlement, para=rock). There must have been a settlement around the caves too; there is a piece of land still known as kakudi, a few blocks away from the rock. The area behind N.S.S. School in the village is still known as 'pallippuram', obvious reference to Budhist centre of learning/vihara. No excavation has been done here. Atop a nearby hill (mathimala), a tall stone-resembling shiv linga-was found and is now kept before the main temple. This could probably be an incomplete work of Budhist monks.

From the Palliyan Copper Plate of Ay King Varaguna (885-925 AD) we learn that Buddhism continued to enjoy royal patronage even in the 10th century AD. However the Ay Kings were Hindus. There is a Copper Plate assignable to the 9th century AD which tells about the construction of a Shiva temple at Tripparappu near Kulasekharam by an Ay King Karunanandakan (Sreevallabhan). This copper plate was inscribed by one Avilandrakan. This dynasty was ruling the southern part of Kerala.
Kaviyoor, incidentally, is one of the 64 brahmin settlements linked to Parasurama.

The rock temple is in a state of disrepair, though taken over by the state government. Not much is known about the village's past.

There is another place nearby - Mallappally - which is also believed to have been a Budhist centre. This village is also about 12 km east of Vazhappally, another ancient Budhist settlement."

Historical events in the sub continent lend support to assume that Jains and Buddhists had a presence in Kerala even prior to the Christian Era. While Jains entered Kerala from the North, Buddhists, on the other hand, seem to have gained entry from the South. Their decline which started somewhere in the 8th Century AD is mainly attributed to influx of Brahmins from the North, advent of Shankaracharya and the revival of the Vedic Culture. Both the faiths were completely assimilated and merged with Hinduism. People were back into the Hindu fold. Their Viharas and temples were taken over and Hindu shrines built, some for Bhagawathy and some for Lord Shiva. The Buddhist shrines must have been circular in shape for their Chaityas and the Hindu temples replacing them too followed suit. This is the obvious impact the Buddhist designs had on the temple architecture of Kerala. Most of the Jain temples were of the North Indian pattern excepting for the roof. They had their cave dwellings for their monks, which also were used to place Hindu deities.
Buddha idols have been discovered in the coastal districts of Alapuzha and Kollam. A large statue of Buddha is also reported from Lakshadweep (Kavaratti). There still exists a Buddhist temple known as Karumadi Kuttan near Ambalapuzha (Video Link). It is also believed that Kuramba Bhagawathy temple at Kodungallur was a Buddhist shrine or Vihara. There are also claims that the Vadakunnathan Shiva temple at Thrissur too was a Buddhist enclave. Interestingly, parents of Adi Shankaracharya are said to have made offerings at this temple for getting a child. Thus there seems to be some inconsistency.

Once, while I was at home in Kerala, the
Bharani festival at Kodungallur was going on. I sought permission from my Dad to visit that place. He told me that I can not withstand the happenings in the temple premises. That basically the devotees come from different lower classes. They take out processions singing dirty/erotic songs making obscene gestures and throwing dirty things at the temple premises. They use filthy language and apart from that thousands of Cocks/Chicken are brutally killed by way of an offering to the deity. The entire corridor will be smeared with blood and so on. He also explained about the 'Kavu Tindal' at length. When I questioned, him why such a tradion, he told me, these celebrations are in memory of the times when the place was inhabited by Bhikshus (could have been either Buddhists or Jains) and they were driven out.

During my efforts to enrich myself, I came across a well researched article by M.J. Gentes in the Asian Folklore Studies Vol 51, titled "Scandalizing the Goddess at Kodungallur". I am reproducing a portion which has appealed to my psyche.

"A historical and sect-based theory that attempts to explain the rite of polluting of the temple holds that originally Sri Kuramba Kavu was the shrine of a Jain goddess or a Buddhist vihara for nuns (see Obeyesekere 1984, 518-20). The Chera emperors whose capital was at Vanji, probably near or at Kodungallur, protected and supported Jain and Buddhist communities. The Buddhists flourished in Kerala during the fourth to the eighth centuries C.E.( Obeyesekere 1984, 517). At the end of this period, with the migrations of groups of Brahmin settlers into Kerala, the relegious climate began to change. The caste system as defined by the southern Indian Brahminism was gradually extended over the diverse residents, altering the social,
ritual, and political positions of the different segments of the population. By the twelfth century Buddhism had virtually disappeared and the cult of the goddess Kali was in the ascendent. This growth led to the re-consecration of Jain and Buddhist sanctuaries as Bhagavati temples (Induchudan 1969, 200-201). In order to get the nuns to leave their residence at Kodungallur, low- caste devotees of Bhagawati were persuaded to throw animals and filth into the sanctuary (Induchudan 1969, 39). It was then rededicated to Bhadrakali and lost its institutional association with the Jains or Buddhists and with the Jain goddess Kannaki of the fourth century epic Shilappadikaram (The affair of the anklet). The worship of Kannaki was absorbed into the Kali cult, and the polluting of the temple during Bharani commemorates the original confrontation and transfer of liturgical control."

It would be pertinent to add here that "Cheraman Perumal" was a dynastic title enjoyed by all the rulers of the family as we could understand from various inscriptions of Cheras. The last of the Perumal was Rama Kulasekhara (1089-1122 AD). His Kollam inscription of 13th year tells us that he offered 'Prayaschittam' for having offended the Aryan of the place. This shows the brahmins had a upper hand in his kingdom.

From what has been observed above, it would be evident that Buddhism and Jainism ceased to exist in Kerala only after/around 12th Century AD.

Appearance of "OM" on Coins

In July 1996, while going through the morning new papers, I stumbled upon a news item appearing in the Times of India. The caption said “Historians stumped by “Om” Coin”. The report said that six coins were found near the Siddheshwar lake in the Khopat area of Thane (Maharashtra) and one coin had “OM” engraved on it. The report further stated that occurance of “OM” symbol (as is known today in North India) was evolved during the 2nd Century BC as confirmed by the officials of the Institute of Oriental Studies, Thane. Famous historian V.V. Mirashi is quoted to have assumed its occurance somewhere in the 9th or 10th Century AD.
I looked at the coin photographs appearing alongside the news. There was a coin with a lion standing to the right, with the tail rolled up. At the end of the tail the so called “OM” was clearly visible but the area was darker indicating that the symbol was placed deeper than the coin surface. Clearly a device was overstruck. Faintly I remembered to have had some affinity with the coin. Later in the evening I went through the Journals of the Numismatic Society of India and traced the same to the Sada Dynasty (JNSI Vol XLVIII pp14-23 : Sada Coins from Vaddamanu). Similar overstruck Sada coins with a “Triratna device were already reported. In this case the Triratna was punched over the tail of the lion. The end of the tail became a part of the symbol to resemble “OM”. Out of the six coins discovered, only three of them were shown in the photograph. One small coin had the legend “Rajasa Kurasa” (Kuru dynasty of Kolhapur area) and the other one was of “Pulamavi” of the Satavahana lineage. All the coins are datable to 2nd Century AD. How come that a site is yielding coins of different dynasties of the same period. It is, however, not clear as to how were the coins discovered. Thane was definitely a crucial centre with maritime trade. We can not rule out the possibility of a modern day collector’s coins being lost and found. The coins appear to be clean without traces of any deposits. While examining my old floppies, I came across scanned photograph of the disputed coin and thought of penning down for wider appreciation of such numismatic problems.
Incidentally, the “OM”, according to the Hindu mythology, is a cosmic sound and is there from the beginning of the Cosmos. Not only in Hinduism, “OM” is the ultimate, even in Jainism, Buddhism and among the Sikhs. The question is, how was it represented symbolically. Today we find it represented by characters of a script, expressed by a combination of letters producing an “OM” like sound. But it is not necessary that the SOUND be bound with the same characters for ever. “OM” in the various Indian scripts as known today was not the same in the past. This I could understand from the symbols appearing at the beginning of Copper plate grants/inscriptions. Usually they begin with “OM Siddham/Swasti……….” Here we find “OM” appearing differently.

Reminiscences of Cranganore (Kodungallur)

The richness in archaeology as we find in the North, particularly the ancient period, is absent in the South. All important monuments we see today are from 10th Century onwards except at Mahabalipuram and Kancheepuram where there are some standing structures datable to 6th Century AD.

When it comes to Kerala the conditions are pitiable. Hardly we come across antiquities which could be placed before the 8th Century AD. Kodungallur (also known as Cranganore) is said to be the ancient port of Muziris. It is a place where all foreigners came. Jews settled there and later many of them shifted to Kochi. Apparently it was a great trading centre with hundreds of Jews and Arabs doing roaring business at the market place. It appears to me that Arabs were mainly engaged in maritime trade with India. Arab vessels remained at the port for months together unloading goods brought and then loading whatever they wanted. In the process a small settlement of people (in a colony) got created to look after their warehouses and the trading operations with the interior parts of India.

Now comes the question as to which faith they belonged. Definitely not Islam as it did not exist at that point of time. Here perhaps we can bring in Vavar or Arab who could have approached the Maharaja with a request to provide them a place where they could worship. Yes that was needed by them. The king was benevolent and the presence of Arabs was also beneficial to the State’s interests. The Raja ordered one less used Arathali temple to be handed over to the Arabs for the purpose. That way the earliest place of their worship became the oldest Mosque in our country said to have been built in 629 AD. It is known as Cheraman Perumal Mosque.

Old Cheraman Perumal Mosque
Whatever I have stated above is attributable to my own thought process. The story goes back to the second half of 1950’s. I was visiting my native place during school vacations. After lunch (it used to be a little early) I was sitting in an easy chair in the front varandah reading Indian Express.In the magazine section (Sunday) there was an article which said about the oldest Mosque where Muslims pray facing East. It also told about a very large oil lamp hanging inside. I discussed with my dad, he being a great story teller. He prompted me to visit Kodungallur and briefed me appropriately. It was at a distance of 30 kms.

Next day I took a bus to Kodungallur carrying an umbrella as the weather was cloudy. In those days I used to wear Full length pants and I was the only one in that area in that gear. My Malayalam was terribly bad but still I tried to manage. After getting down at Kodungallur I started making inquiries. I was suggested to take the Kotapuram road. The name fascinated me. Since buses were not that frequent I decided to cover the distance by foot. I reached the spot where an old house like structure stood adjoining a grave yard. Inside, it was carpeted and there was a pedestal for the Mullah to stand. Still inside, there was a room not larger than 12′ x 12′. A very large brass lamp was really hanging by a solid black beam. The chain also looked horrible. Then I was a boy of 16 and therefore it is difficult for me to estimate its circumference. I tried to talk to a bearded man, who seemed to be the care taker, in Urdu, but I could not get any confirmation with regard to the direction the Namazis faced. The mosque was facing East.

After seeing the Mosque, I thought of going to ‘Kotapuram’ as it seemed to invite me. I continued walking and found myself at a Boat Jetty. There was the Back Waters but far away, there was also an island. It was Paravur. The spot which I believed to be Kotapuram was also known as Krisnamkotta. The ruins of the Dutch Fort. I enjoyed the boat ride and returned to Kodungallur and had a fill at a wayside Restaurant. Perhaps I had the best Dosa and Chutney in my life.
People at the Restaurant were curious to know about me. I spoke in my broken Malayalam. Guessing my interests, they suggested me to go to Azhikode and catch a boat for Vypin. I thought of doing it some other day. I visited the local Bhagawathi temple and then caught a bus to my home.

Next week I again went to Kodungallur and then to Azhikode where I got a boat for Vypin Island. On the shore I made enquiries about the fort there. I was advised to take a bus. I boarded the bus and midway the conductor asked me to get down, There I saw a hexagonal tall tower. This one was the earliest European building existing on the Indian soil. I entered through a small Iron door and went up. One can watch the movement of ships in the sea. Then I reached the other end of the island catching a bus. From there people asked me to board a boat to Mattancherry. After roaming around, I took a Matcha or a round boat which took me to Ernakulam (Shanmukham Road).
Photo: Divya Diya

Agent Bushby Saheb - Coins of Rewa State

This is an English version of my Hindi article posted earlier.
Also published by Encyclopedia of Indian Coins

The Bushby Coin (Click To Enlarge)
During the course of my active service, I happened to be at Jabalpur in 1990 and there was one Mr. Soni, Dy. Manager working with me. He belonged to a goldsmith family and they had their own jewellery shop in the Sarafa area of the city. When he learnt about my numismatic leanings, he offered to help me. He told me that people from many walks of life, come to their shop to dispose off silver and gold coins, when they needed liquidity. He started bringing few coins every day for my approval. In turn, I used to identify one or two pieces, depending on their antiquity, and paid for them according to the then prevailing market rate. Ancient gold coins were also made available but I simply turned a blind eye as it was beyond my means to possess them.
In between I learnt that at Rewa, not a very distant place, a trader popularly known as Mathurawale, is disposing off his scrap consisting of old coins stored in jute bags, at Rs.100/- per kg. He, however, does not allow people to be selective. He will take out coins from the bag and put them on the scale and the matter ends there. I got interested and thought of trying it out. Within a few days I had a kilogram of those coins brought to me by a friend of mine, who was posted at Rewa.
I bought a small packet of Caustic Soda wafers and made out a solution in a mug of water. The coins were dipped and kept in the solution overnight. Next day they were cleaned. Most of the coins turned out to be of medieval period from various parts of the country. It was for the first time that I was having a feel of such heavier coins. They had inscriptions in Arabic/Persian. Some coins which were in cast copper, belonged to the Mouryan period. There were coins of the erstwhile princely state of Rewa as well.

One coin which had a lion standing to the left on the obverse, proved difficult to understand. The reverse had some thing inscribed but was proving unintelligible. I could not make any sense out of it. Reference to some publications and comparing with all conceivable scripts proved an exercise in futility. Finally I went to one Shri R.R. Bhargava, a very senior collector, for help. We were known to each other for over an year. He held the coin in his palm and instantly threw it aside declaring that it is “Bushby”. I lifted the coin and tried to make out, but in vain. Once again I requested him to read the legend. While attempting to do so, there appeared a stunning expression in his eyes and said hey! this is a ‘mirror image’. He then requested me to allow him to retain the coin. After learning that it is a ‘mirror image’, I could not have but leave his place, with the coin in my pocket.

Copper Coins of Raja Jaisingh Deo of Rewa from 1809 to 1835

Copper Coin of Viswanath Singh the next ruler from 1835-1854
During the British period, we had provinces directly administered by them and about 40% of the area was covered by Princely States who were enabled to administer their states themselves under a special treaty. There used to be a Political Agent, a representative of the Crown, stationed nearby, to keep a close watch over the activities of the Princely States and safeguard the British interests. Some such States were permitted to have their own coinage and stamps. It was quite usual for the Princely States to issue commemorative coins honouring queen Victoria. Some states issued coins inscribed “Dosti Londhon” to indicate their loyalty towards the Crown.
During the reign of Raja Raghuraj Singh (1854-1880) at Rewa, he went a step ahead, and to woo the then Political Agent “Bushby”, issued coins in his honour. This was considered ridiculous and frowned upon at London. But the coin collectors of England took a fancy and became crazy to grab them. It is for the first time that the coin honouring Agent Bushby, with a mirror image, is being published here. One can attempt to read the legend “Agent Bushby Saheb” from right to left, in three rows. We are also publishing three coins of Raja Jaisigh Deo (1809-1835) and one of Viswanath Singh (1835-1854).

एजेंट बुशबी साहेब - रीवा राज्य के सिक्के

सारथी से साभार

बुशबी का सिक्का
बात १९९० की है. उन दिनो मै जबलपुर मे पदस्थ था. मेरे दफ़्तर मे एक कनिष्ट अधिकारी श्री सोनीजी थे. उनकी सोने चाँदी की दूकान हुआ करती थी.मेरे सिक्कों के संग्रह के बारे में जान कर उन्हों ने कहा कि बहुत सारे सिक्के उनके यहाँ बिकने के लिए आते हैं. मैने उनको परखा और अपनी क्षमतानुसार चाँदी की ही कीमत पर खरीदता रहा. सोने के भी पुराने सिक्के दिखाए गये पर मैने हाथ खड़े कर दिए.फिर खबर मिली कि रीवा में कोई मथुरावाले सेठ हैं. उनके यहाँ पुराने सिक्के बोरों में भरी पड़ी है. १०० रुपये किलो की दर से बेचते हैं. छाँटने नही देते. मैने भी सोची कि क्यो ना एक बार आजमाया जावे.

कुछ ही दिनों में १ किलो भर सिक्के एक मित्र के मध्यम से प्राप्त हुए. मैने उन्हे कास्टिक सोडा के घोल में डुबो कर रखा. फिर उनकी सफाई की. अधिकतर सिक्के मध्ययुगीन सुल्तानों के थे वो भी अलग अलग क्षेत्रों के. कुछ मौर्य शुंग के ढलवा तांबे के सिक्के. रीवा रियासत के भी कई थे. एक सिक्के ने मुझे उलझा दिया. विभिन्न लिपियों की जानकारी रहते हुए भी मैं सिक्के पर अंकित नाम पढ़ने में असफल रहा. एक बुजुर्ग संग्रह करता श्री आर.आर. भार्गवजी के शरण में गया. देखते ही उन्हों ने सिक्के को एक ओर पटक दिया और कहा “बुशबी तो है”. मैं भौंचक्का रहा गया. मैने सिक्के को उठाया और दोबारा कोशिश की. बुशबी कहीं नहीं दिख रहा था. मैने दोबारा उनसे कहा, चलिए पढ़ कर बताइए. अब चौकने की बारी उनकी थी. उन्होने कहा अरे यह तो मिरर इमेज है. मुझे दे दो. बात समझ में आने के बाद मैं कैसे मानता.

अँग्रेज़ों के जमाने में भारत में एक तो अँग्रेज़ों के द्वारा प्रशाशित प्रांत हुआ करते थे और लगभग ४०% भाग उन देसी रियासतों के थे जिन्हों ने अँग्रेज़ों से संधि कर रखी थी. इन देसी रियासतों में प्रशासन राजा का ही हुआ करता था. परंतु उनपर अंकुश बनाए रखने के लिए अंग्रेज सरकार अपना एक पोलिटिकल एजेंट नियुक्त कर देती थी. कुछ रियासतों को अपनी खुद की मुद्रा और डाक टिकट जारी करने की छूट थी. रीवा भी एक ऐसी ही रियासत थी जिसने अपने सिक्के जारी किए थे. अँग्रेज़ों से दोस्ती निभाने के लिए या फिर अपनी स्वामी भक्ति प्रदर्शित करने हेतु विभिन्न रियासतों के द्वारा विशेष सिक्के जारी करने की परंपरा रही है. ऐसे सिक्कों को हम commemorative coins कहते हैं. रानी विक्टोरिया, या दोस्ती लंडन के नाम से ये सिक्के जारी हुए थे.

राजा रघुराज सिंग के शासनकाल में रीवा रियासत एक अकेला राज्य था जिसने पोलिटिकल एजेंट को खुश करने के लिए तत्कालीन एजेंट बुशबी के नाम पर सिक्के जारी किए. इसकी इंग्लेंड में आलोचना भी हुई. परंतु इंग्लेंड के संग्रह कर्ताओं को इस सिक्के ने क्रेज़ी कर दिया और वे अपने संग्रह में इसे शामिल करने के लिए लालायित थे.

रीवा रियासत द्वारा जारी किए गये कुछ सिक्कों की छाया प्रति नीचे दी गयी है. परंतु प्रथम बार हम एजेंट बुशबी का वो सिक्का प्रकाशित कर रहे है जिसमे बुशबी का नाम उल्टा अंकित है. वस्तुतः सिक्के की डाई ग़लत बन गयी थी. उल्टे अक्षरों में दाएँ से बाएँ agent bushby sahep पढ़ सकते हैं. प्रथम तीन सिक्के राजा जैसिंह देव (१८०९-१८३५), एक महाराजा विस्वनाथ सिंह (१८३५-१८५४) और सबसे उपर महाराजा रघुराज सिंह (१८५४-१८८०) के हैं.