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    Balwant Singh of Benares

    Rafa'at wa Awal-i-Martabat Raja Sri Balwant Singh Sahib Bahadur also known as Balwant Singh (1711–1770), was the Maharaja of Benares State in northern India.

    Balwant Singh succeeded his father, Mansa Ram ji, as Raja of Kaswar and Nazim of Benares in 1738. During the 18th century the Mughal Empire was weakening, and the British were expanding from their base in Bengal.

    Mansa Ram's territory included most of present-day BhadohiChandauliJaunpurMirzapurSonbhadra, and Varanasi districts, including the city of Varanasi. Leading a much more martial life, he built a fort and established a capital at Gangapur, but later moved to Ramnagar, across the Ganges River from Benares. Balwant Singh expelled Fazl Ali from present-day Ghazipur and Ballia districts, and added the area to his domains.[1] In 1751, he expelled the representative of the Nawab of Awadh in an attempt to carve out a principality at Benares, but had to flee after a fierce fight when the Nawab invaded his domain in March 1752; a settlement was made between the two and he was restored to his titles by the Nawab. Emperor Alamgir II granted him a jagir in Bihar two years later. The first of his house to fight with the East India Company, he joined Shah Alam and Shuja ud-Daula in their 1763 invasion of Bengal. Following the Battle of Buxar in 1764, Emperor Shah Alam transferred Balwant Singh's zamindari to the Company, but the Company refused it along with the Treaty of Benares signed by the Emperor the same year. Instead, the zamindari reverted once again to the Nawab of Awadh in 1765, five years before Balwant Singh's death in 1770.

    Balwant Singh had built Ramnagar Fort.

    Balwant Singh was succeeded by his son Chait Singh.

    Preceded by
    Mansa Ram
    Rulers of Benares State
    1738 – 1770
    Succeeded by
    Raja Chait Singh

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