History of Uttar Pradesh

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United Provinces in 1909

Uttar Pradesh[edit]

The area now known colloquially and officially as UP has undergone several different definitions, nomenclatures and territorial demarcations since the early 19th century, i.e. after the British East India Company had established its supremacy in the Gangetic plains. In 1833 the then Bengal Presidency of the Company was divided into two parts, one of which became Presidency of Agra; in 1836 the Agra area was named North-Western Provinces and placed under a Lieutenant Governor by the Company. In 1877, the two provinces of Agra and Oudh (Oudh was occupied by the Company, in 1858), were placed under one Colonial administrator of the British Crown; he was called Lieutenant Governor of the North-Western Provinces and Chief Commissioner of Oudh. In 1902 the name was changed to United Provinces of Agra and Oudh with Lieutenant Governor of the United Provinces of Agra and Oudh as administrator; in 1921 Lieutenant Governorship was elevated to Governorship and the name of the province was changed to United Provinces of British India. In 1935, the name was shortened to United Provinces. On independence from the British colonial rule in 1947, the princely states of Rampur, Banares and Tehri-Garwal were merged into the United Provinces. In 1950, the name of United Provinces was changed to Uttar Pradesh. In 1999 a separate Himalayan state, Uttaranchal, now known as Uttarakhand, was carved out of Uttar Pradesh.

Prehistoric Period[edit]

Paleolithic period[edit]

Acheulean sites have been found in Chhatarpalia, Mahugarh and Parisdhia in the Belan valley (of Belan River, a tributary of the Ganges system on the southern margin of the Ganges plains), the famous Singrauli basin in southernmost part of the Mirzapur district, the extremely rich sites of Lalitpur and two sites at Nihi and Gopipur on the banks of small rivulets in Banda district in southern Uttar Pradesh.[1][2][3][4]

Mesolithic period[edit]

Mesolithic/Microlithic hunter-gatherers were responsible for the initial settlement of Sarai Nahar Rai (near Pratapgarh), Uttar Pradesh, in 10,550–9550 BC. Two structures, 12 burials, and 12 hearths yielded fauna from broad-spectrum economy.[5] Excavations at Mahagara (near Meja) (24°ree;54'30"N82°ree;2'E), in Uttar Pradesh, in the Belan and Son Valleys, uncovered villages with circular, mud-coated bamboo structures where hunting-gathering was combined with the use of domesticated cattle and a few sheep or goats and plants, including rice. This initial stage of food production on the Gangetic Plain, the "Vindhyan Neolithic," may have begun as early as 6000 BC; however, most dates range between c. 4000 and 1500 BC with comparable groups persisting into historic times. Likewise, in the Indus River Valley similar groups had established settlements by 7000 BC, initiating a sequence which extends into the Iron Age.[6][7][8]

Neolithic period[edit]

One of the earliest Neolithic sites in India is Lahuradewa, in the Middle Ganges region, C14 dated around 7th millennium BC.[9] Recently another site near the confluence of Ganges and Yamuna rivers called Jhusi yielded a C14 dating of 7100 BC for its Neolithic levels.[10]

Neolithic site and tradition in South Asia of Lahuradewa from ca. 6200 BC in the Ganges valley of the Indian subcontinent. Earlier-dated finds (ca. 8000 BC) of charcoal in some Lahuradewa sites provide indications of slash and burn cultivation techniques present in the area (National Seminar on the Archaeology of Ganga Plain, December 2004, Lucknow, India). Tewari et al. states, "...first settlers at Lahuradewa were growing rice during circa 7th millennium BC... The appearance of copper arrowhead and fishing hook, dish-on-stand, barley, wheat and pulses, abundant number of steate and other beads, spouted and pedestal vessels, a few painted potsherds, improvement in ceramic industries, etc., provide a new evidence to apprehend what was happening in the cultural advancement in this part of the country, 3rd millennium BC onwards. The granary extended over a considerable area shows surplus agricultural production around 2000 BC. The ancient site of Lahuradewa continued to be inhabited during the NBPW and subsequent periods up to the early centuries AD."[11]

Ochre Coloured Pottery culture[edit]

Archaeological cultures associated with Indo-Iranian migrations (after EIEC). The Andronovo, BMAC and Yaz cultures have often been associated with Indo-Iranian migrations. The GGC, Cemetery H, Copper Hoard and PGW cultures are candidates for cultures associated with Indo-Aryan movements.

The Ochre Coloured Pottery culture (OCP), is a 3rd millennium BC Bronze Age culture of the Ganges-Yamuna plain. It is a contemporary to, and a successor of the Indus Valley Civilization. The OCP marks the last stage of the North Indian Bronze Age and is succeeded by the Iron Age black-and-red ware and painted-gray ware cultures. Early specimens of the characteristic ceramics found near Jodhpura, Jaipur, Rajasthan date to the 3rd millennium, (Jodhpura is not to be confused with the Jodhpur), and the culture reaches the Gangetic plain in the early 2nd millennium.

H. C. Bharadwaj in his work Aspects of Ancient Indian Technology, Motilal Banarsidass, New Delhi 1979 had established that copper hoards, being found in the same layers as Ochre Coloured Pottery by B. B. Lal, belonged to 1100–800 BC, but K.N. Dikshit in: Essays in Indian Protohistory, 1979 suggested a date from 2650 to 1180 BC based on thermoluminescent method.

There are even a claim of earlier dates by M. D. N. Sahi: "...settlements of the OCP-Copper Hoards culture, datable between 3700–3000 BC, as discussed by the present author elsewhere, are found existing in the districts of Allahabad (Sringaverapura and Mirapatti) and Varanasi (Kamauli)." (Sahi's paper "Neolithic Syndrome of the Ganga Valley" at National Seminar on the Archaeology of the Ganga Valley, December 2004).

Copper Hoard Culture[edit]

The Copper Hoard Culture flourished around 2000 BC around Western and Central Uttar Pradesh. Recent discovery of copper hoard in district Auraiya of Uttar Pradesh. The site of the discovery is located to the south of village Udaipurwa near the Rind river which is a small tributary of river Yamuna. Area of site is 1.5 to 2-acre (8,100 m2) and is under cultivation.[12]

Since 1822, when a copper hoard was discovered in Bithoor around a 100 more copper hoards have been found in different places mainly in western UP, Haryana and Rajasthan. Red ware potsherds have also been found on the surface of most of these find-spots. Some of them such as Bahadarabad in district Saharanpur, Busauli in Badaun, Rajpur Parsu in Bijnore, Baharia in Shahjahanpur and Saipai in Etawah have been subjected to archaeological soundings.[13]

Painted Grey Ware culture[edit]

The Painted Grey Ware culture (PGW) is an Iron Age culture of Gangetic plain, lasting from roughly 1100 BC to 350 BC. It is contemporary to, and a successor of the Black and red ware culture. It probably corresponds to the late Vedic civilization. It is succeeded by Northern Black Polished Ware from ca. 500 BC.

B. B. Lal associated Hastinapura, Mathura, Ahichatra, Kampilya, Barnawa, Kurukshetra and other sites with the PGW culture, the (post-) Mahabharata period and the Aryans in the 1950s. Furthermore, he pointed out that the Mahabharata mentions a flood and a layer of flooding debris was found in Hastinapura. However, B. B. Lal considered his theories to be provisional and based upon a limited body of evidence, and he later reconsidered his statements on the nature of this culture.[14]

Early historic period[edit]

Vedic Period (1500–500 BC)[edit]

Main article: Vedic Period
Map of early Iron Age Vedic India after Witzel (1989). Realms or tribes are labelled black, Foreign tribes mentioned in early Vedic texts purple, Vedic shakhas in green. Rivers are labelled blue. The Thar desert is marked orange.

The Gangetic plains had remained out of bounds to the Vedic tribes because of thick forest cover. However, after 1000 BCE, the use of iron axes and ploughs became widespread and the jungles could be cleared with ease. This enabled the Vedic Aryans to extend their kingdoms along the Gangetic plains and ushered the later Vedic age.[15] Yadavas expanded towards the south and settled in Mathura.[16] Kingdom of Panchala formed in the Rohilkhand and the central Doab regions of modern day Uttar Pradesh. Panchala was divided by the Ganges into Uttara (upper) Panchala, which was ruled from Ahichchhatra (modern day Ramnagar), and Dakshina (south) Panchala which included the cities of Kampilya and Kanyakubja (Kanauj). Arthashastra records a change in the political system of the kingdom from monarchy to an oligarchy.[17] The kingdom of Kosala existed east of the Doab and south of it was the kingdom of Kashi (around modern day Benares).[18] The long standing feud between Kashi and Kosala ended with absorption of Kashi into Kosala.[19] Kosala finds mention in the Indian epic Ramayana, as the kingdom of the Ikshvaku king Rama.[20]

Nanda (424–321 BC)[edit]

Main article: Nanda Empire
Nanda Empire at its greatest extent under Dhana Nanda circa 323 BC.

The Nanda dynasty ruled Magadha during the 5th and 4th centuries BC. It is said to have been established by an illegitimate son of the king Mahanandin of the previous Shishunaga dynasty. Mahapadma Nanda died at the age of 88 and, therefore, he ruled the bulk of the period of this dynasty, which lasted 100 years. At its greatest extent, the Nanda Empire extended from Bihar to Bengal in the west.[21] The Nanda Empire was later conquered by Chandragupta Maurya, who founded the Maurya Empire.

The first Nanda, the Mahapadma Nanda has been described as the destroyer of all the Kshatriyas. He defeated the Ikshvaku dynasty, Panchalas, Kasis, Haihayas, Kalingas, Asmakas, Kurus, Maithilas, Surasenas, Vitihotras, etc. He expanded his territory till south of Deccan. The last of the Nandas was Dhana Nanda (called Xandrames or Aggrammes in ancient Greek and Latin sources). Plutarch tells that Chandragupta Maurya had stated that he was able to overthrow Dhana Nanda as he was hated and despised by his subjects on account of the wickedness of his disposition:

"Sandrocottus, when he was a stripling, saw Alexander himself, and we are told that he often said in later times that Alexander narrowly missed making himself master of the country, since its king was hated and despised on account of his baseness and low birth."[22]

Maurya (322–185 BC)[edit]

Main article: Maurya Empire

The Maurya Empire (322–185 BC), ruled by the Mauryan dynasty, was a geographically extensive and powerful political and military empire in ancient India.

Originating from the kingdom of Magadha in the Indo-Gangetic plains (modern Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Bengal) in the eastern side of the sub-continent, the empire had its capital city at Pataliputra (near modern Patna). The Empire was founded in 322 BC by Chandragupta Maurya, who had overthrown the Nanda Empire and began rapidly expanding his power westwards across central and western India taking opportunistic advantage of the disruptions of local powers in the wake of the withdrawal westward by Alexander the Great's Macedonian and Persian armies. By 316 BC the empire had fully occupied Northwestern India, defeating and conquering the satraps left by Alexander.

At its greatest extent, the Empire stretched to the north along the natural boundaries of the Himalayas, and to the east stretching into what is now Assam. To the west, it reached beyond modern Pakistan and most of what is now Afghanistan. The Empire was expanded into India's central and southern regions by Emperor Bindusara, but it excluded a small portion of unexplored tribal and forested regions near Kalinga.

The Mauryan Empire was perhaps the largest empire to rule the Indian subcontinent until the arrival of the British. Its decline began fifty years after Ashoka's rule ended, and it dissolved in 185 BC with the foundation of the Sunga Dynasty in Magadha.

Middle kingdoms[edit]

Sunga (185–73 BC)[edit]

Main article: Sunga Empire

The Sunga Empire (or Shunga Empire) is a Magadha dynasty that controlled North-central and Eastern India as well as parts of the northwest (now Pakistan) from around 185 to 73 BC. It was established after the fall of the Indian Mauryan empire. The capital of the Sungas was Pataliputra. Later kings such as Bhagabhadra also held court at Vidisa, modern Besnagar in Eastern Malwa.[23] The Sunga Empire is noted for its numerous wars with both foreign and indigenous powers. Although very much isn't known, the Mathura school of art and the works of Patanjali colored North India during this empire.

Indo-Scythians (80 BC–20 AD)[edit]

Main article: Indo-Scythians
Territories (full line) and expansion (dotted line) of the Indo-Scythians Kingdom at its greatest extent.

The Indo-Scythians, who migrated from southern Siberia, into Bactria, Sogdiana, Arachosia, Gandhara, Kashmir, Punjab, and into parts of Western and Central India, Gujarat and Rajasthan, from the middle of the 1st century AD to the 4th century CE, conquered the area of Mathura over Indian kings around 60 BC. The Mathura lion capital, an Indo-Scythian sandstone capital in crude style, from Mathura in Central India, and dated to the 1st century AD, describes in kharoshthi the gift of a stupa with a relic of the Buddha, by princess Aiyasi Kamuia, the chief queen of the Indo-Scythian ruler of Mathura, Rajuvula.[24] The capital also mentions the genealogy of several Indo-Scythian satraps of Mathura. The power of the Saka rulers started to decline in the 2nd century CE after the Scythians were defeated by the south Indian Emperor Gautamiputra Satakarni of the Satavahana dynasty in the 2nd century CE.[25] Indo-Scythian rule in India ended with the last Western Satrap Rudrasimha III in 395 AD who was defeated by the Gupta Emperor Chandragupta II.

The Mathura lion capital is an important Indo-Scythian monument dedicated to the Buddhist religion (British Museum).

The inscriptions at Mathura contain references to Kharaosta Kamuio and Aiyasi Kamuia. Yuvaraja Kharostes (Kshatrapa) was the son of Arta as is attested by his own coins.[26] Arta, who therefore, was also a Kamuio i.e. Kamboja, is stated to be brother of king Moga or Maues.[27] Princess Aiyasi Kamuia, also known as Kambojika[28] (i.e. coming from Kamboja lineage), was the chief queen of Shaka Mahakshatrapa Rajuvula. Interestingly, the Kamboja presence in Mathura is also recognised from some verses of epic Mahabharata which are believed to have been composed around this period.[29] This suggests that Sakas and Kambojas may have jointly ruled over Mathura/Uttar Pradesh. It is revealing that Mahabharata verses only attest the Kambojas and Yavanas as the invaders in Mathura, but do not make any reference to the Sakas.[30][31] Probably, the epic has reckoned the Sakas of Mathura among the Kambojas (J. L. Kamboj) or else has addressed them as Yavanas, unless the Mahabharata verses refer to the previous period of invasion occupation by the Yavanas around 150 BC. "It seems from some inscriptions that the Kambojas were a royal clan of the Sakas better known under the Greek name of Scyths."[32]

The Indo-Scythian satraps of Mathura are sometimes called the "Northern Satraps", in opposition to the "Western Satraps" ruling in Gujarat and Malwa. After Rajuvula, several successors are known to have ruled as vassals to the Kushans, such as the "Great Satrap" Kharapallana and the "Satrap" Vanaspara, who are known from an inscription discovered in Sarnath, and dated to the 3rd year of Kanishka (circa 130 AD), in which they were paying allegiance to the Kushans.[33]

Kushan Empire (2nd century CE)[edit]

Main article: Kushan Empire

The Kushan Empire (c. 1st–3rd centuries) was a state that at its cultural zenith, circa 105–250 AD, extended from what is now Tajikistan to Afghanistan, Pakistan and down into the Ganges river valley in northern India. The empire was created by the Kushan tribe of the Yuezhi confederation, an Indo-European people[34] from the eastern Tarim Basin, China, possibly related to the Tocharians. They had diplomatic contacts with Rome, Persia and China, and for several centuries were at the center of exchange between the East and the West. These remnants of the Kushan empire were ultimately wiped out in the 5th century by the invasions of the White Huns, and later the expansion of Islam.

Gupta Empire (320–550)[edit]

Main article: Gupta Empire

The Gupta Empire was ruled by members of the Gupta dynasty from around 320 to 550 AD and covered most of Northern India, the region presently in the nation of Pakistan and what is now western India and Bangladesh. The time of the Gupta Empire is referred to as Golden Age of India in science, mathematics, astronomy, religion and Indian philosophy. The peace and prosperity created under leadership of Guptas enabled the pursuit of scientific and artistic endeavors. The decimal numeral system, including the concept of zero, was invented in India during the reign of the Guptas. Historians place the Gupta dynasty alongside with the Han Dynasty, Tang Dynasty and Roman Empire as a model of a classical civilization.

The origins of the Guptas are shrouded in obscurity. The Chinese traveller I-tsing provides the first evidence of the Gupta kingdom in Magadha. He came to India in 672 AD and heard of 'Maharaja Sri-Gupta' who built a temple for Chinese pilgrims near Mrigasikhavana. I-tsing gives the date for this event merely as '500 years before'. This does not match with other sources and hence we can assume that I-tsing's computation was a mere guess. Very recently few scholars have linked Guptas with rulers mentioned in Bhagwatam, however, these things are largely disputed and idea seems politically motivated and to promote sell of books written and promoted by some entities.[35]

The most likely date for the reign of Sri-Gupta is c. 240–280 AD. His successor Ghatotkacha ruled probably from c. 280–319 AD. In contrast to his successor, he is also referred to in inscriptions as 'Maharaja'. The most accepted theory about the origins of the Guptas is that the Guptas originated from Bengal. The mention of "Varendra Mrigashihavan Stupa" on a mound in Nepal is a strong evidence that the Guptas originated from Bengal. Maharaja Sri-Gupta probably ruled a portion of Northern/Southern Bengal. Later Chandragupta I established his dominion over Magadha through marital policy with the Licchavis. However the origins of the Guptas is still hotly debated. At the beginning of the 4th century the Guptas established and ruled a few small Hindu kingdoms in Magadha and around modern-day Uttar Pradesh.

Vardhan Dynasty (550–647)[edit]

Main article: Harsha
Harsha's empire at its greatest extent.

After the downfall of the Gupta Empire in the middle of the sixth century AD, North India was split into several independent kingdoms. The Huns had established their supremacy over the Punjab and parts of central India. The northern and western regions of India passed into the hands of a dozen or more feudatory states.

Harsha or Harshavardhana (590–647) ruled Northern India for over forty years. He was the son of Prabhakar Vardhan and younger brother of Rajyavardhan, a king of Thanesar. At the height of his power his kingdom spanned the Punjab, Bengal, Orissa and the entire Indo-Gangetic plain north of the Narmada River. After the downfall of the Gupta Empire in the middle of the sixth century AD, North India reverted to small republics and small monarchical states. Harsha united the small republics from Punjab to Central India, and they, at an assembly, crowned Harsha king in April 606 AD when he was merely 16 years old.[36]

Harsha died in the year 647 AD. He ruled over India for 41 years. After Harsha's death, apparently without any heirs, his empire died with him. The kingdom disintegrated rapidly into small states. The succeeding period is very obscure and badly documented, but it marks the culmination of a process that had begun with the invasion of the Huns in the last years of the Gupta Empire.

Gurjara Pratihara (650–1036)[edit]

Main article: Gurjara Pratihara
  Extent of Pratihara Empire, 780 AD

The Gurjara Pratihara Empire (also known as Gurjar Parihars[37]) was an Indian dynasty that ruled a large kingdom in northern India from the 6th to the 11th centuries. They are called Gurjara-Pratiharas in one late inscription. At its peak of prosperity and power (c. 836–910), it rivaled the Gupta Empire in the extent of its territory.[38]

Buddha and Bodhisattvas, 11th century, Pala Empire

Pala Empire (750–1174)[edit]

Main article: Pala Empire

Pala Empire was a Buddhist dynasty that ruled from the north-eastern region of the Indian subcontinent. The name Pala (Modern Bengali: পাল pal) means protector and was used as an ending to the names of all Pala monarchs. The Palas were followers of the Mahayana and Tantric schools of Buddhism. Gopala was the first ruler from the dynasty. He came to power in 750 in Gaur by a democratic election. This event is recognized as one of the first democratic elections in South Asia since the time of the Mahā Janapadas. He reigned from 750–770 and consolidated his position by extending his control over all of Bengal. The Buddhist dynasty lasted for four centuries (750–1120 AD) and ushered in a period of stability and prosperity in Bengal. They created many temples and works of art as well as supported the Universities of Nalanda and Vikramashila. Somapura Mahavihara built by Dharmapala in Paharpur, Bangladesh is the greatest Buddhist Vihara in the Indian Subcontinent.

Islamic Sultanates (1200–1526)[edit]

Main article: Delhi Sultanate
Delhi Sultanate at its greatest extent.

The Delhi Sultanate (or Sultanat-e-Hind or Sultanat-e-Dilli) refers to the many Muslim dynasties that ruled in India from 1206 to 1526. Several Turkic and Pashtun dynasties ruled from Delhi: the Mamluk dynasty (1206–90), the Khilji dynasty (1290–1320), the Tughlaq dynasty (1320–1413), the Sayyid dynasty (1414–51), and the Lodi dynasty (1451–1526). In 1526 the Delhi Sultanate was absorbed by the emerging Mughal Empire.

During the last quarter of the twelfth century, Muhammad Ghori invaded the Indo-Gangetic plain, conquering in succession Ghazni, Multan, Sindh, Lahore, and Delhi. Qutb-ud-din Aibak, one of his generals, proclaimed himself Sultan of Delhi and established the first dynasty of the Delhi Sultanate, the Mamluk dynasty (mamluk means "slave born to free parents") after Muhammad Ghori's death in 1206. By the early 13th century, northern India from the Khyber Pass to Bengal was under control of the Sultanate, although the northwest was contested with the Mongols. Iltutmish (1210–35), and Balban (1266–87) were among the dynasty's most well-known rulers. Faced with revolts by conquered territories and rival families, the Mamluk dynasty came to an end in 1290.

The Khilji or Khalji dynasty, who had established themselves as rulers of Bengal in the time of Muhammad Ghori, took control of the empire in a coup which eliminated the last of the Mamluks.

In the first half of the 14th century, the Sultanate introduced a monetary economy in the provinces (sarkars) and districts (parganas) that had been established and founded a network of market centers through which the traditional village economies were both exploited and stimulated and drawn into the wider culture. State revenues remained based on successful agriculture, which induced Sultan Muhammad bin Tughluq (1325–51) to have village wells dug, offer seed to the peasants and to encourage cash crops like sugar cane.[39]

The Sultans of Delhi enjoyed cordial, if superficial, relations with other Muslim rulers in the Near East but owed them no allegiance. The Sultans based their laws on the Qur'an and the sharia and permitted non-Muslim subjects to practice their religion if they paid jizya or head tax. The Sultans ruled from urban centers—while military camps and trading posts provided the nuclei for towns that sprang up in the countryside. Perhaps the greatest contribution of the Sultanate was its temporary success in insulating the subcontinent from the potential devastation of the Mongol invasion from Central Asia in the thirteenth century.

The Sultanate ushered in a period of Indian cultural renaissance. The resulting "Indo-Muslim" fusion left lasting monuments in architecture, music, literature, and religion. The Sultanate suffered from the sacking of Delhi in 1398 by Timur (Tamerlane), and soon other independent Sultanates were established in Awadh, Bengal, Jaunpur, Gujarat and Malwa. The Delhi Sultanate revived briefly under the Lodis before it was conquered by the Mughal emperor Babur in 1526.

Early modern period[edit]

Mughal Empire (1526–1857)[edit]

Main article: Mughal Empire
Approximate extent of the Mughal Empire in the 17th century.

The Mughal Empire was an important imperial power in the Indian subcontinent from the early 16th to the mid-19th centuries. At the height of its power, around 1700, it controlled most of the subcontinent and parts of what is now Afghanistan. Its population at that time has been estimated as between 100 and 150 million, over a territory of over 3 million square km.[40] Following 1720 it declined rapidly. Its decline has been variously explained as caused by wars of succession, agrarian crises fuelling local revolts, the growth of religious intolerance and British colonialism. The last Emperor, Bahadur Shah II, whose rule was restricted to the city of Delhi, was imprisoned and exiled by the British after the Indian Rebellion of 1857.

Later, in the Mughal era, Uttar Pradesh became the heartland of the vast empire of Hindustan, which is used to this day as an alternate name for India.[41] Mughal emperors Babur and Humayun ruled from Delhi.[42][43] In 1540 an Afghan, Sher Shah Suri, took over the reins of Uttar Pradesh after defeating the Mughal king Humanyun.[44] Sher Shah and his son Islam Shah ruled Uttar Pradesh from their capital at Gwalior.[45] After the death of Islam Shah Suri, his prime minister Hemu became the de facto ruler of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, and the western parts of Bengal. He was bestowed the title of Vikramaditya at his coronation or Rajyabhishake at Purana Quila in Delhi and was titled as Samrat Hem Chandra Vikramaditya. Hemu died in the Second Battle of Panipat, and Uttar Pradesh came under Emperor Akbar's rule.[46] Akbar ruled from Agra and Fatehpur Sikri. At its zenith, the Mughal Empire, which covered almost the entire Indian subcontinent (including present day Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh), was ruled from Delhi, Agra, and Allahabad during different periods.[47]

Akbar adopted two distinct but effective approaches in administering a large territory and incorporating various ethnic groups into the service of his realm. In 1580 he obtained local revenue statistics for the previous decade in order to understand details of productivity and price fluctuation of different crops. Aided by Todar Mal, a Hindu scholar, Akbar issued a revenue schedule that optimized the revenue needs of the state with the ability of the peasantry to pay. Revenue demands, fixed according to local conventions of cultivation and quality of soil, ranged from one-third to one-half of the crop and were paid in cash. Akbar relied heavily on land-holding zamindars to act as revenue-collectors. They used their considerable local knowledge and influence to collect revenue and to transfer it to the treasury, keeping a portion in return for services rendered. Within his administrative system, the warrior aristocracy (mansabdars) held ranks (mansabs) expressed in numbers of troops, and indicating pay, armed contingents, and obligations. The warrior aristocracy was generally paid from revenues of non-hereditary and transferable jagirs (revenue villages).

Aurangzeb had imposed Sharia law within his kingdom with harsh enforcement of strict edicts. This led to increased militancy by many constituencies including the Marathas, the Sikhs and the Rajputs. Thus, rebellion was rife at the time of Aurangzeb's death and Bahadur Shah inherited a very unstable polity. A more moderate man than his father, Bahadur Shah sought to improve relations with the militant constituencies of the rapidly crumbling kingdom. However, he could do little to mitigate the damage already done by his father. Indeed, Bahadur Shah's shortcomings – his lack of military skills and leadership qualities – added to the problems of the empire. After his short reign of less than five years, the Mughal Empire entered a long decline, attributable both to his ineptness and to his father's geographical overextension and religious bigotry. Historians of his time had recorded him to be a learned man and that he possessed a mild temper and was dignified.

Its worth mentioning that the Mughals attacked Assam "AHOM KINGDOM" 18 ( Eighteen times) from 1615 to 1692 but was not able to defeat the Ahoms, they remain free from the mighty Mughal. Ahom kingdom fell in 1824 to British..when they entered western Assam. [48]

Colonial era[edit]

Nawabs of Awadh (1719–1858)[edit]

Main article: Nawab of Awadh

The ruling family of Oudh established themselves as independent hereditary rulers during the collapse of Mughal power during the early eighteenth century. They had risen to considerable power and wealth during the century before and secure appointment to the Governorship of the Mughal province as well as the Imperial office of Regent plenipotentiary.

The former Mughal province was encouraged to establish its independence from Delhi by formally assuming the title of King in 1819. However, this independence was largely symbolic, since the British authorities exercised influence in most important matters of state. Ministers were usually appointed with the approval of the resident, and the army was very largely officered by Europeans. The Kings devoted much of their time trying to project the outward signs of their sovereignty and regality, rather than establishing their power. As a consequence, a great flowering of art, literature, music, and architecture, occurred under their rule. Lucknow became the virtual centre of artistic excellence in Northern India.

Wakil-i-Mutlaq, Burhan ul-Mulk, Itimad ud-Daula, Nawab Sa'adat Khan Bahadur, Shaukat Jang (died 1739), better known as Saadat Khan or Burhan-ul-mulk, was the founder of the Awadh dynasty.

Safdarjung was an able administrator. He was not only effective in keeping control of Awadh, but also managed to render valuable assistance to the weakened Muhammad Shah. He was soon given governorship of Kashmir as well, and became a central figure at the Delhi court. During the later years of Muhammad Shah, he gained complete control of administration in the Mughal Empire. When Ahmad Shah Bahadur ascended the throne at Delhi, Safdarjung became his Wazir ul-Mamalik-i-Hindustan or Chief Minister of India. However, court politics eventually overtook him and he was dismissed in 1753. He then propped up a eunuch, Akbar Shah, as the claimant to the Delhi throne. Later that year, he reconciled with Ahmad Shah Bahadur and was given back Awadh. He returned to Awadh in November, 1753, but died while travelling from Lucknow to Sultanpur in 1754.

Shuja-ud-Daula (19 January 1732, birth at the Mansion of Dara Shikoh, Delhi – 1775) was Nawab of Awadh (Oudh). He is also known under the titles H.H. Wazir ul-Mamalik-i-Hindustan, Shuja ud-Daula, Nawab Mirza Jalal ud-din Haidar Khan Bahadur, Nawab Wazir of Oudh. He is best known for his roles in the third battle of Panipat and the battle of Buxar.

Shuja, as the ruler around 1761 of the granery-region that lies between the rivers Ganges and Yamuna (also called Jamuna) – blessed with very fertile land producing good crops – had the capacity to supply food materials to a large army.

Asaf-Ud-Dowlah was the nawab wazir of Oudh from 1775 to 1797, and the son of Shuja-ud-Dowlah, his mother and grandmother being the begums of Oudh, whose spoliation formed one of the chief counts in the charges against Warren Hastings. In 1755 he moved the capital of Awadh from Faizabad to Lucknow and built various monuments in and around Lucknow.

Yamin-ud-daula-Nawab Saadat Ali Khan was allegedly the son of Asaf-Ud-Dowlah. Saadat-Ali-Khan was crowned on 21 January 1798 at Bibiyapur Palace in Lucknow, by Sir John Shore. He gave half of Awadh to the British in 1801.

Nasiruddin Haider

Nasir ud din Haidar was the nawab wazir of Oudh from 1827 to 1837, and the son of Ghaziuddin Haider.[49] He was interested in Astronomy and his wives. He made additions of Darshan Vilas to Claude Martin's house – Farhat Buksh in 1832.[49]

After the death of Nasir-ud-din Haider her mother Badshah Begum declared Munna Jan (Faridoon Bakht) S/o of Nasiruddin as King. Company was not ready for this. There was first battle between Awadh and British forces. Badshah Begum and Munna Jan were arrested and Muhammad Ali Shah brother of Ghaziuddin Haider and uncle of Nasiruddin was declared King after getting a written assurance that he will accept any new treaty put up by Governor General. Administrative, financial and defence powers were reduced very much. In his reign new canals were constructed, wells and ponds were dug, Musafir Khana (Inn) were constructed. Imambara Hussainabad, pond Hussainabad, Jama Masjid and other buildings were constructed. He died on 7 May 1842 AD.

After the death of Muhammad Ali Shah, his son Amjad Ali Shah was put on the throne. By this time British Govt. Have become so power full in Awadh that it was searching a way to grab it. He was of helping nature, very polite and well mannered. He constructed Iron Bridge on Gomti river, metal road from Lucknow to Kanpur for the benefit of his people. He died on 13 February 1847 at the age of 48 years.

Wajid Ali Shah (official name: M. Hazrat Khalid, 'Abul Mansur Nasir ud-din, Padshah-i-'Adil, Kaiser-i-Zaman, Arangha Sultan-i-'Alam, Muhammad Wajid 'Ali Shah Bahadur) (1822–1887) was the tenth and last nawab of the princely kingdom of Awadh (Oudh) in present day Uttar Pradesh in India. He ascended the throne of Awadh in 1847 and ruled for nine years. His kingdom, long protected by the British under treaty, was eventually annexed peacefully on 7 February 1856 – days before the ninth anniversary of his coronation. The Nawab was exiled to Garden Reach in Metiabruz, then a suburb of Kolkata, where he lived out the rest of his life off a generous pension. He was a poet, playwright, dancer and great patron of the arts. He is widely credited with the revival of Kathak as a major form of classical Indian dance.

Wajid Ali Shah succeeded to the throne of Awadh when its glory days were already past it. The British had annexed much of the kingdom under the treaty of 1801, and had impoverished Awadh by imposing a hugely expensive, British-run army and repeated demands for loans. The independence of Awadh in name was tolerated by the British only because they still needed a buffer state between their presence in the East and South, and the remnants of the Mughal Empire to the North.

Wajid Ali Shah was most unfortunate to have ascended the throne of Awadh at a time when the British East India Company was determined to grab the coveted throne of prosperous Awadh (Oudh), which was "the garden, granary, and queen-province of India." In different circumstances perhaps, be might have succeeded as a ruler because he had many qualities that make a good administrator. He was generous, kind and compassionate towards his subjects, besides being one of the most magnanimous and passionate patrons of the Fine Arts.

Begum Hazrat Mahal wife of Wjid Ali Shah led the Indian Independence movement against British Government in 1857. She put her son Mirza Birjis Qadra on the throne of Awadh on 12 Ziqada 1273 AH at the age of 12 years. They had to leave Lucknow due to British conspiracy. They went to Kathmandu (Nepal) where he got married with Nawab Mahtab Ara, the grand daughter of the last Mughal King Bahadur Shah Zafar. Begum Hazrat Mahal died on April' 1879. Brijis Qadra came to Calcutta in 1893 where he was murdered with poison in food on 14 August 1893. After 1857 war, when British Govt. Came in power in whole India, Awadh has also lost its geographical status. It was given the name of United States of Agra and Awadh. It was renamed as United Provinces in 1902 (Now Uttar Pradesh).

Revolt of 1857[edit]

States during the rebellion

The Indian Rebellion of 1857 began as a mutiny of sepoys of British East India Company's army on 10 May 1857, in the town of Meerut, and soon erupted into other mutinies and civilian rebellions largely in the upper Gangetic plain and central India, with the major hostilities confined to the region of present-day Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, northern Madhya Pradesh or Saugor and Nerbudda Territories, Delhi, and Gurgaon. Although, the rebellion spread beyond the armed forces, it did not result in a complete popular uprising as its leaders had hoped. The Indian side was not completely unified. While Bahadur Shah Zafar was restored to the imperial throne there was a faction that wanted the Maratha rulers to be enthroned as well, and the Awadhis wanted to retain the powers that their Nawab used to have.

The Indian Rebellion of 1857 was a period of armed uprising against expansion of the British East India Company control in India between early 1857 and mid-1858. The period and events are also often referred to as (in alphabetical order) the First War of Indian Independence, Indian Mutiny, or Sepoy Mutiny. These uprisings were mainly concentrated in north central India, with some outbreaks elsewhere. The first signs of brewing discontent, involving incidents of arson in cantonment areas, began to appear in January 1857.

Start of the rebellion from Meerut[edit]

Several months of increasing tension and inflammatory incidents preceded the actual rebellion. Fires, possibly the result of arson, broke out near Calcutta on 24 January 1857. On 26 February 1857 the 19th Bengal Native Infantry (BNI) regiment came to know about new cartridges and refused to use them. Their Colonel confronted them angrily with artillery and cavalry on the parade ground, but then accepted their demand to withdraw the artillery, and cancel the next morning's parade.[50]

3rd Light Cavalry at Meerut

On 9 May, 85 troopers of the 3rd Bengal Light Cavalry at Meerut refused to use their cartridges. They were imprisoned, sentenced to ten years of hard labour, and stripped of their uniforms in public. Malleson records that the troops were constantly berated by their imprisoned comrades while processing on a long and humiliating march to the jail. It was this insult by their own comrades which provoked the rebellion. The sepoys knew it was very likely that they would also be asked to use the new cartridges and they too would have to refuse in order to save their caste, religion and social status. Since their comrades had acted only in deference to their religious beliefs the punishment meted out by the British colonial rulers was perceived as unjust by many.

Support and opposition[edit]

The war was mainly centred in northern and central areas of India. Delhi, Lucknow, Cawnpore, Jhansi, Bareilly, Arrah and Jagdishpur were the main centres of conflict. The Bhojpurias of Arrah and Jagdishpur supported the Marathas. The Marathas, Rohillas and the Awadhis supported Bahadur Shah Zafar and were against the British.

There were calls for jihad[51] by Muslim leaders like Maulana Fazl-e-Haq Khairabadi including the millenarian Ahmedullah Shah, taken up by the Muslims, particularly Muslim artisans, which caused the British to think that the Muslims were the main force behind this event. In Awadh, Sunni Muslims did not want to see a return to Shiite rule, so they often refused to join what they perceived to be a Shia rebellion. However, some Muslims like the Aga Khan supported the British. The British rewarded him by formally recognizing his title.

The Revolt[edit]

Cawnpore (Kanpur)[edit]
Main article: Siege of Cawnpore
A memorial erected (circa 1860) by the British after the Mutiny was crushed at the Bibi Ghar Well. After India's independence the statue was moved to the Memorial Church, Cawnpore. Albumen silver print by Samuel Bourne, 1860.

In June, sepoys under General Wheeler in Cawnpore, (now known as Kanpur) rebelled and besieged the European entrenchment. Wheeler was not only a veteran and respected soldier, but also married to a high-caste Indian lady. He had relied on his own prestige, and his cordial relations with the Nana Sahib to thwart the rebellion, and took comparatively few measures to prepare fortifications and lay in supplies and ammunition.

The British endured three weeks of the Siege of Cawnpore with little water or food, suffering continuous casualties to men, women and children. On 25 June Nana Sahib offered fairly generous surrender terms, and Wheeler had little choice but to accept. The Nana Sahib agreed to let them have safe passage to Allahabad but on 27 June when the British left their fortified barrack buildings to board the promised riverboats, firing broke out. Who fired first has remained a matter of debate.

The Indians claim that the British had already boarded the boats and Tatya Tope raised his right hand to signal their departure. That very moment someone from the crowd blew a loud bugle which created disorder and in the ongoing bewilderment, the boatmen jumped off the boats. British soldiers and officers still had their arms and ammunition and they fired shots at these boatmen. The rebels lost all patience and started shooting indiscriminately. Nana Sahib, who was momentarily staying in Savada Kothi (Bungalow) nearby, got the message and immediately came to stop it. The remaining men were, however, killed to ensure no further unrest.

The British claim that during the march to the boats, loyal sepoys were removed by the mutineers and lynched along with any British officer or soldier that attempted to help them, although these attacks were ignored in an attempt to reach the boats safely. After firing began the boats' pilots fled, setting fire to the boats, and the rebellious sepoys opened fire on the British soldiers and civilians. One boat with over a dozen wounded men initially escaped, but later grounded, was caught by mutineers and pushed back down the river towards the carnage at Cawnpore. The female occupants were removed and taken away as hostages and the men, including the wounded and elderly, were hastily put against a wall and shot. Only four men eventually escaped alive from Cawnpore on one of the boats: two privates (both of whom died later during the Rebellion), a Lieutenant, and Captain Mowbray Thomson, who wrote a firsthand account of his experiences entitled The Story of Cawnpore (London) 1859.

The surviving women and children from the massacre by the river were led to the Bibi-Ghar (the House of the Ladies) in Cawnpore. On 15 July, with British forces approaching Cawnpore and some believing that they would not advance if there were no hostages to save, their murders were ordered. Another motive for these killings was to ensure that no information was leaked to the British after the fall of Cawnpore. After the sepoys refused to carry out this order, four butchers from the local market went into the Bibi-Ghar where they proceeded to kill the hostages with cleavers and hatchets. The dead and the dying were then thrown down nearby a well.

The killing of the women and children proved to be a mistake. The British public was aghast and the pro-Indian proponents lost all their support. Cawnpore became a war cry for the British and their allies for the rest of the conflict. The Nana Sahib disappeared near the end of the Rebellion.

The misinterpretation that British retaliation was ghastly only after the events of Cawnpore and the Bibi Ghar is deliberate in some accounts. Other British accounts[52][53][54] state that indiscriminate punitive measures were taken in early June, two weeks before the murders at the Bibi-Ghar, specifically by Lieutenant Colonel James George Smith Neill of the Madras Fusiliers (a European unit), commanding at Allahabad while moving towards Cawnpore. At the nearby town of Fatehpur, it was alleged that a mob had murdered the local British population. On this pretext, Neill explicitly ordered all villages beside the Grand Trunk Road to be burned, and their inhabitants to be hanged. Neill's methods were "ruthless and horrible"[55] and may well have induced previously undecided sepoys and communities to revolt.

Neill was killed in action at Lucknow on 26 September and was never called to account for his punitive measures, though contemporary British sources lionised Neill and his "gallant blue caps".[56] By contrast with the actions of soldiers under Neill, the behaviour of most rebel soldiers was creditable. "Our creed does not permit us to kill a bound prisoner", one of the matchlockmen explained, "though we can slay our enemy in battle."[53][57]

When the British retook Cawnpore later, the soldiers took their sepoy prisoners to the Bibi-Ghar and forced them to lick the bloodstains from the walls and floor. They then hanged or "blew from the cannon" the majority of the sepoy prisoners. Although some claimed the sepoys took no actual part in the killings themselves, they did not act to stop it and this was acknowledged by Captain Thompson after the British departed Cawnpore for a second time.

Main article: Siege of Lucknow
Secundra Bagh after the slaughter of 2,000 Rebels by the 93rd Highlanders and 4th Punjab Regiment. Albumen silver print by Felice Beato, 1858.

Rebellion erupted in the state of Awadh (also known as Oudh, in modern-day Uttar Pradesh), which had been annexed barely a year before, very soon after the events in Meerut. The British Commissioner resident at Lucknow, Sir Henry Lawrence, had enough time to fortify his position inside the Residency compound. The British forces numbered some 1700 men, including loyal sepoys. The rebels' initial assaults were unsuccessful, and so they began a barrage of artillery and musket fire into the compound. Lawrence was one of the first casualties. The rebels tried to breach the walls with explosives and bypass them via underground tunnels that led to underground close combat. After 90 days of siege, numbers of British were reduced to 300 loyal sepoys, 350 British soldiers and 550 non-combatants.

On 25 September a relief column under the command of Sir Henry Havelock and accompanied by Sir James Outram (who in theory was his superior) fought its way from Cawnpore to Lucknow in a brief campaign in which the numerically small column defeated rebel forces in a series of increasingly large battles. This became known as 'The First Relief of Lucknow', as this force was not strong enough to break the siege or extricate themselves, and so was forced to join the garrison. In October another, larger, army under the new Commander-in-Chief, Sir Colin Campbell, was finally able to relieve the garrison and on 18 November, they evacuated the defended enclave within the city, the women and children leaving first. They then conducted an orderly withdrawal to Cawnpore, where they defeated an attempt by Tatya Tope to recapture the city in the Second Battle of Cawnpore.

Early in 1858, Campbell once again advanced on Lucknow with a large army, this time seeking to suppress the rebellion in Awadh. He was aided by a large Nepalese contingent advancing from the north under Jang Bahadur, who had remained allied to Britain throughout the rebellion in India. Campbell's advance was slow and methodical, and drove the large but disorganised rebel army from Lucknow with few casualties to his own troops. This nevertheless allowed large numbers of the rebels to disperse into Awadh, and Campbell was forced to spend the summer and autumn dealing with scattered pockets of resistance while losing men to heat, disease and guerilla actions.


Jhansi was a Maratha-ruled princely state in Bundelkhand. When Raja Gangadhar of Jhansi died without a male heir in 1853, it was annexed to the British Raj by the Governor-General of India (Lord Dalhousie) under the Doctrine of Lapse. His widow, Rani Lakshmibai, protested that she had not been allowed to adopt a successor, as was customary in India.

When war broke out, Jhansi quickly became a centre of the rebellion. A small group of British officials and their families took refuge in Jhansi's fort, and the Rani negotiated their evacuation. However, when they left the fort, they were massacred by rebels of the Bengal Native Infantry. Although the treachery might have occurred without the Rani's consent, the British suspected her of complicity, despite her protestations of innocence, and her efforts to ensure public safety in the city of Jhansi.

By the end of June 1857, the British had entirely lost control of much of Bundelkhand and eastern Rajasthan. The Bengal Army units in the area, having rebelled, marched to take part in the battles for Delhi and Cawnpore. The many princely states which made up this area began warring amongst themselves. In September and October 1857, the Rani led the successful defence of Jhansi against the invading armies of the neighbouring rajas of Datia and Orchha.

In March 1858, the Central India Field Force, led by Sir Hugh Rose, advanced on and laid siege to Jhansi. The British captured the city, but the Rani fled in disguise. There was then a massacre of large numbers of the inhabitants and widespread looting.

After being driven from Jhansi and Kalpi, on 1 June 1858 Rani Lakshmi Bai having joined three other rebel leaders entered the fortress city of Gwalior (it had already been occupied by a rebel force after the battle at Morar from which Maharaja Scindia had barely escaped); the Scindia rulers, were British allies, but had lost the state army to the rebels. This might have reinvigorated the rebellion if Gwalior had been properly defended and held but the Central India Field Force very quickly advanced against the city. The Rani died on 17 June,[58] the second day of the Battle of Gwalior probably killed by a carbine shot from the 8th Hussars, according to the account of three independent Indian representatives. The British recaptured Gwalior within the next three days. In descriptions of the scene of her last battle, she was compared to Joan Of Arc by some commentators.[59]

Other areas[edit]
Main article: Battle of Agra

The Rohillas centred in Bareilly were also very active in the war and this area was amongst the last to be recaptured by the British, after Campbell had finally quelled resistance in Awadh.

Tulsipur State – One of the largest Talugdar of Oudh, Raja Chauhan Drig Narayan Singh resisted paying tax to the British in 1855 AD. British force from Delhi was sent to capture the King. He was imprisoned, "nazarband" and kept in Lukhnow Fort called "The Residence". This palace was built by Nawab Asif-ud-Daula in the year 1775 AD. At the time of Mutiny in August 1857, the political prisoners in the fort were King Wajid Ali Shah's brother Mustafa Ali Khan, Mughal Princes Mirza Mohammad Shikoh and Mohammad Humayun Khan, Nawab Rukn-ud-Daula and the "Raja of Tulsipur" Chauhan Drig Narayan Singh. His consort, Rani of Tulsipur Ishwar Kumari Devi was Joint Leader of the War of Independence during 1857–1858 AD. The Rani was considered a heroine during the freedom fight. While Rajah Drig Narayan Singh was a prisoner in Lucknow fort, Rani of Tulsipur was siding actively with the freedom forces in Bahraich to free her husband and her country from the British. Her contributions to the cause of freedom were remarkable. She had collected a large force to assist the freedom forces and strengthen her own position. Raja Riasat Ali Khan of Utraula had also joined the freedom forces at Gorakhpur under Mohammad Hasan who once was the nazim of Gonda-Bahraich.


British soldiers looting Qaisar Bagh, Lucknow, after its recapture (steel engraving, late 1850s)

From the end of 1857, the British had begun to gain ground again. Lucknow was retaken in March 1858. On 8 July 1858, a peace treaty was signed and the war ended. The last rebels were defeated in Gwalior on 20 June 1858. By 1859, rebel leaders Bakht Khan and Nana Sahib had either been slain or had fled. As well as hanging mutineers, the British had some "blown from cannon"; an old Mughal (also "Mogul" in English) punishment adopted many years before in India. A method of execution midway between firing squad and hanging but more demonstrative; sentenced rebels were set before the mouth of cannons and blown to pieces.[60] It was a crude and brutal war, with both sides resorting to what would now be described as war crimes. In the end, however, in terms of sheer numbers, the casualties were significantly higher on the Indian side.

The Rani of Tulsipur, Ishwar Kumari Devi, the Raja of Gonda, Devi Baksh and Bala Rao never surrendered. Bala-Rao later died in the malaria-infested jungles of Nepal. British crushed the 1857 Mutiny uprising with the help of Maharaja Jung Bahadur Rana of Nepal. The freedom fighters' principalities were confiscated in 10 April 1859 AD when they refused amnesty. State of Tulsipur was bestowed to the Raja of Balrampur who sided with the British throughout the revolt. Raja of Gonda Devi Baksh Singh, Raja of Peshwa Nana Saheb and Rani of Awadh Begam Hazrat Mahal escaped to Nepal territories. The last Rajah of Tulsipur, Chauhan Drig Narayan Singh, a political prisoner of the British East India Company, died as a Martyr during the First War of Independence in 1859. The bloodstained, enraged Rani of Tulsipur, who refused to give up without a fight, escaped capture by the British only to die in 1865 AD of exposure or disease in the wilds of southern Nepal, a fate she may have preferred to slavery.

The war of 1857 was a major turning point in the history of modern India. The British abolished the British East India Company and replaced it with direct rule under the British crown. A Viceroy was appointed to represent the Crown. In proclaiming the new direct-rule policy to "the Princes, Chiefs, and Peoples of India," Queen Victoria promised equal treatment under British law, but Indian mistrust of British rule had become a legacy of the 1857 rebellion.

The British embarked on a program in India of reform and political restructuring, trying to integrate Indian higher castes and rulers into the government. They stopped land grabs, decreed religious tolerance and admitted Indians into the civil service, albeit mainly as subordinates. They also increased the number of British soldiers in relation to native ones and allowed only British soldiers to handle artillery. Bahadur Shah was exiled to Rangoon, Burma where he died in 1862, finally bringing the Mughal dynasty to an end. In 1877, Queen Victoria took the title of Empress of India.


Starting from Bengal in the later half of the 18th century, a series of battles for North Indian lands finally gave the British East India Company accession over this state's territories. Following the British victory in Second Anglo-Maratha War, Daulat Rao Sindhia of the Maratha Empire, signed the Treaty of Surji-Anjangaon with the British and ceded to the British, the Ganges-Jumna Doab, Delhi, parts of Bundelkhand, Broach, etc. Ajmer and Jaipur kingdoms were also included in this northern territory, which was christened the "North-Western Provinces" (of Agra). Although, later UP grew into the fifth largest state of India, NWPA was one of the smallest states of the British Indian empire. Its capital shifted twice between Agra and Allahabad.

Due to dissatisfaction with British rule, a serious rebellion erupted in various parts of North India; Meerut cantonment's sepoy, Mangal Pandey, is widely credited as its starting point. It came to be known as the Indian Rebellion of 1857. After the revolt failed the British attempted to divide the most rebellious regions by reorganising the administrative boundaries of the region, splitting the Delhi region from ‘NWFP of Agra’ and merging it with Punjab, while the Ajmer- Marwar region was merged with Rajputana and Oudh was incorporated into the state. The new state was called the 'North Western Provinces of Agra and Oudh', which in 1902 was renamed as the United Provinces of Agra and Oudh. It was commonly referred to as the United Provinces or its acronym UP.

In 1920, the capital of the province was shifted from Allahabad to Lucknow. The high court continued to be at Allahabad, but a bench was established at Lucknow. Allahabad continues to be an important administrative base of today's Uttar Pradesh and has several administrative headquarters.

Uttar Pradesh continued to be central to Indian politics and was especially important in modern Indian history as a hotbed of both the Indian Independence Movement and the Pakistan Movement. Nationally known figures such as Jawaharlal Nehru were among the leaders of the movement in UP. The All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS) was formed at the Lucknow session of the Indian National Congress on 11 April 1936 with the legendary nationalist Swami Sahajanand Saraswati elected as its first President,[61] in order to address the long standing grievances of the peasantry and mobilise them against the zamindari landlords' attacks on their occupancy rights, thus sparking the Farmers' movements in India.[62][63]

During the Quit India Movement of 1942, Ballia district overthrew the colonial authority and installed an independent administration under Chittu Pandey. Ballia became known then as Baghi Ballia (Rebel Ballia) for this significant contribution in India's freedom movement.


After independence, the state was renamed Uttar Pradesh ("northern province") by its first chief minister, Govind Ballabh Pant. Pant was well acquainted with and close to Jawaharlal Nehru (the first Prime Minister of free India) and was also popular in the Congress Party. He established such a good reputation in Lucknow that Nehru called him to Delhi, the capital and seat of Central Government of the country, to make him Home Minister of India in 27 December 1954. He was succeeded by Dr. Sampoornanand, a classicist Sanskrit scholar. Following a political crisis in Uttar Pradesh, initiated by Kamlapati Tripathi and C.B.Gupta, Sampurnanand was asked to resign as CM in 1960 and sent to Rajasthan as the Governor of Rajasthan, paving the way for Gupta and Tripathi to become Chief Ministers.

Sucheta Kripalani served as India's first woman chief minister from October 1963 until March 1967, when a two-month-long strike by state employees caused her to step down. After her, Chandra Bhanu Gupta assumed the office of Chief Minister with Laxmi Raman Acharya as Finance Minister, but the government lasted for only two years due to the confusion and chaos which ended only with the defection of Charan Singh from the Congress with a small set of legislators. He set up a party called the Jana Congress, which formed the first non-Congress government in U.P. and ruled for over a year.

Hemvati Nandan Bahuguna was chief minister for Congress Party government for part of the 1970s. He was dismissed by the Central Government headed by Indira Gandhi, along with several other non-Congress chief ministers, shortly after the imposition of the widely unpopular Emergency, when Narain Dutt Tewari – later chief minister of Uttarakhand – became chief minister. The Congress Party lost heavily in 1977 elections, following the lifting of the Emergency, but romped back to power in 1980, when Mrs. Gandhi handpicked the man who would later become her son's principal opposition, V.P. Singh, to become Chief Minister.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Recent Advances in Indo-Pacific Prehistory By Virendra N. Misra, Peter Bellwood, Indo-Pacific Prehistory Association:#69
  2. ^ Bygone Communities Faced Ire of the River by VK Joshi
  3. ^ The Rise of Civilization in India and Pakistan By Bridget Allchin, Frank Raymond Allchin
  4. ^ Studies in Indian Archaeology By Hasmukhlal Dhirajlal Sankalia, Shantaram Bhalchandra Deo, Madhukar Keshav Dhavalikar
  5. ^ Chapter 14 – South Asia: From Early Villages to Buddhism
  6. ^ God-apes and Fossil Men By Kenneth A. R. Kennedy
  7. ^ The Rise of Civilization in India and Pakistan By Bridget Allchin, Frank Raymond Allchin
  8. ^ Prehistoric human colonization of India by V N MISRA
  9. ^ Fuller, Dorian 2006. "Agricultural Origins and Frontiers in South Asia: A Working Synthesis" in Journal of World Prehistory 20, p.42 "Ganges Neolithic"
  10. ^ Tewari, Rakesh et al. 2006. "Second Preliminary Report of the excavations at Lahuradewa, District Sant Kabir Nagar, UP 2002–2003–2004 & 2005–06" in Pragdhara No. 16 p.28
  11. ^ The origins of Iron-working in India
  12. ^ Times of India
  13. ^ Singh, Rajesh Kumar (September 20, 2007). "4,000-year-old site found in UP". Hindustan Times. 
  14. ^ (Kenneth Kennedy 1995)
  15. ^ Kulke & Rothermund 1998, pp. 39–40.
  16. ^ Basham 2008, p. 41.
  17. ^ Singh 2008, p. 264.
  18. ^ Basham 2008, p. 39.
  19. ^ Singh 2008, p. 262.
  20. ^ Guruge 1981, p. 51.
  21. ^ Radha Kumud Mookerji, Chandragupta Maurya and His Times, 4th ed. (Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, 1988 [1966]), 31, 28–33.
  22. ^ Plut. "Alex." 62–3.
  23. ^ Donald Stadtner (1975). "A Śuṅga Capital from Vidiśā". Artibus Asiae 37 (1/2): 101–104. doi:10.2307/3250214. JSTOR 3250214. 
  24. ^ Corpus Inscriptionum Indicarum, Vol II, Part I, p 36 & xxxvi; Khroshthi Inscriptions, No 15, A3.
  25. ^ World history from early times to A D 2000 by B .V. Rao: p.97
  26. ^ Kshatrapasa pra Kharaostasa Artasa putrasa. See: Political History of Ancient India, 1996, p 398, H. C. Raychaudhury, B. N. Mukerjee; Ancient Kamboja, People and the Country, 1981, p 307, J. L. Kamboj; Ancient India, 1956, p 220–221, R. K. Mukerjee; Kambojas Through the Ages, 2005, p 168, S Kirpal Singh.
  27. ^ Ancient India, pp 220–221, R. K. Mukerjee; Kambojas Through the Ages, 2005, pp 168–169, S Kirpal Singh; Ancient Kamboja, People and the Country, 1981, pp 306–09, J. L. Kamboj; Corpus Inscriptionum Indicarum, Vol II, Part 1, p 36, D S Konow
  28. ^ Corpus Inscriptionum Indicarum, Vol II, Part I, p xxxvi; see also p 36, Sten Konow; Indological Studies: Prof. D.C. Sircar Commemoration Volume, 1987, p 106, Sachindra Kumar Maity, Upendra Thakur, Dineschandra Sircar – Social Science; Kunst aus Indien: Von der Industalkultur im 3. Jahrtausend V. Chr. Bis zum 19. Jahrhundert n ...1960, p 9, Künstlerhaus Wien, Museum für Völkerkunde (Vienna, Austria); The Śakas in India, 1981, p 97, Satya Shrava; Indian Culture, 1934, p 193, Indian Research Institute; Five Phases of Indian Art, 1991, p 17, K. D. Bajpai – Art, Indic; Female Images in the Museums of Uttar Pradesh and Their Social Background, 1978, p 162,Padma Upadhyaya – Women in art; Prācīna Kamboja, jana aura janapada =: Ancient Kamboja, people and country, 1981, Jiyālāla Kāmboja, Satyavrat Śāstrī – Kamboja (Pakistan); Journal of Bihar and Orissa Research Society, Vol XVI, 1930, Part III, IV, p 229, K. P. Jayswal; Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland – 1834, p 141, Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland; Comprehensive History of India, 1957, Vol II, p 270, K. A. Nilakanta Sastri;Journal of Indian History, 1921, p 21, University of Kerala, University of Allahabad, Department of History; Ancient Kamboja in Iran and Islam, 1971, Editor C. E. Bosworth, Edinburgh, 1971, p 66, H. W. Bailey; Ancient India, 1956, pp 220–21, R. K. Mukerjee; Geographical and Economic Studies in the Mahābhārata: Upāyana Parva, 1945, p 35, Moti Chandra; Ṛtam, p 46, by Akhila Bharatiya Sanskrit Parishad, Lucknow;Literary History of Ancient India in Relation to Its Racial and Linguistic Affiliations, 1953, pp 165, 149, 46, 37 Chandra Chakraberty.
  29. ^ India and the World, p 154, Buddha Parkash.
  30. ^
    tatha Yavana Kamboja Mathuram.abhitash cha ye.|
    ete ashava.yuddha.kushaladasinatyasi charminah.|| 5 ||
    (Mahabharata 12/105/5, Kumbhakonam Ed).
  31. ^ Jayaswal writes:"Mathura was under outlandish people like the Yavanas and Kambojas... who had a special mode of fighting" (Manu and Yajnavalkya, K. P. Jayswal); See also: Indian Historical Quarterly, XXVI-2, p 124. Shashi Asthana comments: "Epic Mahabharata refers to the siege of Mathura by the Yavanas and Kambojas (see: History and Archaeology of India's Contacts with Other Countries, from Earliest Times to 300 BC, 1976, p 153, Shashi Asthana). Buddha Prakash observes: "Along with the Sakas, the Kambojas had also entered Indian mainland and spread into whole of North India, especially in Panjab and Uttar Pradesh. Mahabharata contains references to Yavanas and Kambojas having conquered Mathura (12/105/5)....There is also a reference to the Kambojas in the Mathura Lion Capital inscriptions of Saka Satrap (Kshatrapa) Rajuvula found in Mathura " (See: India and the World, p 154, Buddha Parkash); cf: Ancient India, 1956, p 220, R. K. Mukerjee
  32. ^ Ref: La vieille route de l'Inde de Bactres à Taxila, p 271, A Foucher; See entry Kamboja in online "Heritage du Sanskrit Dictionnaire, sanskrit-francais", 2008, p 101, Gerard Huet, which defines Kamboja as: clan royal [kṣatriya] Kamboja des Śakās. See Link: [1]; See also Serge Thion: On Some Cambodian Words, Thai-Yunnan Project Newsletter (NEWSLETTER is edited by Scott Bamber and published in the Department of Anthropology, Research School of Pacific Studies; printed at Central Printery; the masthead is by Susan Wigham of Graphic Design (all of The Australian National University); Cf: Indian Culture, 1934, p 193, Indian Research Institute – India; cf: Notes on Indo-Scythian chronology, Journal of Indian History, xii, 21; Corpus Inscrioptionum Indicarum, Vol II, Part I, pp xxxvi, 36, Dr. S. Konow; Cf: History of Indian Administration, p 94, B. N. Puri.
  33. ^ Source: "A Catalogue of the Indian Coins in the British Museum. Andhras etc..." Rapson, p ciii
  34. ^ Kushan Empire (ca. 2nd century BC–3rd century AD) | Thematic Essay | Timeline of Art History | The Metropolitan Museum of Art
  35. ^ .Two more attempts of Jones to destroy the Divinity of Sanskrit language and to mutilate Bhartiya history
  36. ^ RN Kundra & SS Bawa, History of Ancient and Meddieval India
  37. ^ Panchānana Rāya (1939). A historical review of Hindu India: 300 B. C. to 1200 A. D.. I. M. H. Press. p. 125. 
  38. ^ "Gurjara-Pratihara dynasty definition of Gurjara-Pratihara dynasty in the Free Online Encyclopedia". Encyclopedia2.thefreedictionary.com. Retrieved 2010-08-02. 
  39. ^ Braudel 1984, pp 96f, 512ff
  40. ^ John F Richards, The Mughal Empire, Vol I.5 of the New Cambridge History of India, Cambridge University Press, 1996
  41. ^ John Stewart Bowman (2000). Columbia Chronologies of Asian History and Culture. Columbia University Press. p. 273. ISBN 978-0-231-11004-4. Retrieved 2 August 2012. 
  42. ^ Annemarie Schimmel (5 February 2004). The Empire of the Great Mughals: History, Art and Culture. Reaktion Books. ISBN 978-1-86189-185-3. Retrieved 1 October 2012. 
  43. ^ Babur (Emperor of Hindustan); Dilip Hiro (1 March 2006). Babur Nama: Journal of Emperor Babur. Penguin Books India. ISBN 978-0-14-400149-1. Retrieved 1 October 2012. 
  44. ^ Carlos Ramirez-Faria (1 January 2007). Concise Encyclopeida Of World History. Atlantic Publishers & Dist. p. 171. ISBN 978-81-269-0775-5. Retrieved 2 August 2012. 
  45. ^ Stronge, Susan (16 October 2012). Mughal Hindustan is renowned for its opulence. London: The Arts of the Sikh Kingdoms (V&A 1999). p. 255. Retrieved 23 July 2012. 
  46. ^ Ashvini Agrawal (1 January 1983). Studies In Mughal History. Motilal Banarsidass Publ. pp. 30–46. ISBN 978-81-208-2326-6. Retrieved 27 July 2012. 
  47. ^ Fergus Nicoll, Shah Jahan: The Rise and Fall of the Mughal Emperor (2009)
  48. ^ Ahom–Mughal conflicts
  49. ^ a b Lucknow Information centre. Retrieved 18 September 2007. Archived August 8, 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  50. ^ Memorandum from Lieutenant-Colonel W. St. L. Mitchell (CO of the 19th BNI) to Major A. H. Ross about his troop's refusal to accept the Enfield cartridges, 27 February 1857, Archives of Project South Asia, South Dakota State University and Missouri Southern State University
  51. ^ Indian mutiny was 'war of religion' – BBC
  52. ^ J.W. Sherer, Daily Life during the Indian Mutiny, 1858, p. 56
  53. ^ a b Andrew Ward, Our bones are scattered – The Cawnpore massacres and the Indian Mutiny of 1857, John Murray, 1996
  54. ^ Ramson, Martin & Ramson, Edward, The Indian Empire, 1858
  55. ^ Michael Edwardes, Battles of the Indian Mutiny, Pan, 1963 ISBN 0-330-02524-4
  56. ^ Units of the Army of the Madras Presidency wore blue rather than black shakoes or forage caps
  57. ^ Our bones are scattered – The Cawnpore massacres and the Indian Mutiny of 1757 1996
  58. ^ According to some sources a day later; the available evidence for the events of that battle is conflicting and to some extent biased; cf. Allen Copsey. "Brigadier M W Smith Jun 25th 1858 to Gen. Hugh Rose". Copsey-family.org. Retrieved 2012-07-07. 
  59. ^ White, Michael (Michael Alfred Edwin), 1866, Lachmi Bai Rani of Jhansi, the Jeanne d'Arc of India New York: J. F. Taylor & Company, 1901
  60. ^ Sahib: The British Soldier in India 1750–1914 Richard Holmes HarperCollins 2005
  61. ^ Bandyopādhyāya, Śekhara (2004). From Plassey to Partition: A History of Modern India. Orient Longman. p. 407. ISBN 978-81-250-2596-2. 
  62. ^ Bandyopādhyāya, Śekhara (2004). From Plassey to Partition: A History of Modern India. Orient Longman. p. 406. ISBN 978-81-250-2596-2. 
  63. ^ Akshayakumar Ramanlal Desai Peasant Struggles in India, Oxford University Press, 1979. p. 349.


For Palelithic & Neolithic period:

For Copper Hoard culture:

  • Sharma, Deo Prakash, 2002. Newly Discovered Copper Hoard, Weapons of South Asia (C. 2800–1500 BC), Delhi, Bharatiya Kala Prakashan,182 p.
  • Yule, P. 1985. Metalwork of the Bronze Age in India. C.H. Beck, Munich ISBN 3-406-30440-0
  • Yule, P./Hauptmann, A./Hughes, M. 1989 [1992]. The Copper Hoards of the Indian Subcontinent: Preliminaries for an Interpretation, Jahrbuch des Römisch-Germanischen Zentralmuseums Mainz 36, 193–275, ISSN 0076-2741
  • Gupta, S.P. (ed.). 1995. The lost Sarasvati and the Indus Civilization. Kusumanjali Prakashan, Jodhpur.

For Painted Grey Ware culture:

  • Bryant, Edwin (2001). The Quest for the Origins of Vedic Culture. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-513777-9. 
  • Chakrabarti, D.K. 1968. The Aryan hypothesis in Indian archaeology. Indian Studies Past and Present 4, 333–358.
  • Jim Shaffer. 1984. The Indo-Aryan Invasions: Cultural Myth and Archaeological Reality. In: J.R. Lukak. The People of South Asia. New York: Plenum. 1984.
  • Kennedy, Kenneth 1995. "Have Aryans been identified in the prehistoric skeletal record from South Asia?", in George Erdosy, ed.: The Indo-Aryans of Ancient South Asia, pp. 49–54.

For Cemetery H culture:

For Vedic Period:

For Indo-Schynthians

  • Harmatta, János, ed., 1994. History of civilizations of Central Asia, Volume II. The development of sedentary and nomadic civilizations: 700 BC to AD 250. Paris, UNESCO Publishing.
  • Hill, John E. 2004. The Western Regions according to the Hou Hanshu. Draft annotated English translation.
    "The Han Histories". Depts.washington.edu. Retrieved 2010-08-02. 
  • Hill, John E. 2004. The Peoples of the West from the Weilue 魏略 by Yu Huan 魚豢: A Third Century Chinese Account Composed between 239 and 265 AD. Draft annotated English translation.
    "Weilue: The Peoples of the West". Depts.washington.edu. 2004-05-23. Retrieved 2010-08-02. 
  • Liu, Xinru 2001 "Migration and Settlement of the Yuezhi-Kushan: Interaction and Interdependence of Nomadic and Sedentary Societies." Journal of World History, Volume 12, No. 2, Fall 2001. University of Hawaii Press, pp. 261–292.
    "Project MUSE – Journal of World History". Muse.jhu.edu. Retrieved 2010-08-02. .
  • Watson, Burton. Trans. 1961. Records of the Grand Historian of China: Translated from the Shih chi of Ssu-ma Ch'ien. Chapter 123: The Account of Ta-yüan, p. 265. Columbia University Press. ISBN 0-231-08167-7

For Kushans:

  • Avari, Burjor (2007). India: The Ancient Past. London: Routledge. ISBN 978-0-415-35616-9. 
  • Bopearachchi, Osmund (2003). De l'Indus à l'Oxus, Archéologie de l'Asie Centrale (in French). Lattes: Association imago-musée de Lattes. ISBN 2-9516679-2-2. 
  • Faccenna, Domenico (1980). Butkara I (Swāt, Pakistan) 1956–1962, Volume III 1 (in English). Rome: IsMEO (Istituto Italiano Per Il Medio Ed Estremo Oriente).
  • Falk, Harry. 1995–1996. Silk Road Art and Archaeology IV.
  • Falk, Harry. 2001. "The yuga of Sphujiddhvaja and the era of the Kuṣāṇas." Silk Road Art and Archaeology VII, pp. 121–136.
  • Falk, Harry. 2004. "The Kaniṣka era in Gupta records." Harry Falk. Silk Road Art and Archaeology X, pp. 167–176.
  • Goyal, S. R. "Ancient Indian Inscriptions" Kusumanjali Book World, Jodhpur (India), 2005.
  • Hill, John E. 2004. The Western Regions according to the Hou Hanshu. Draft annotated English translation.
    "The Han Histories". Depts.washington.edu. Retrieved 2010-08-02. 
  • Hill, John E. 2004. The Peoples of the West from the Weilue 魏略 by Yu Huan 魚豢: A Third Century Chinese Account Composed between 239 and 265 AD. Draft annotated English translation.
    "Weilue: The Peoples of the West". Depts.washington.edu. 2004-05-23. Retrieved 2010-08-02. 
  • Keay, John (2000). India: A History. New York: Grove Press. ISBN 0-8021-3797-0. 
  • Lebedynsky, Iaroslav (2006). Les Saces. Paris: Editions Errance. ISBN 2-87772-337-2. 
  • Rosenfield, John M. (1993). The Dynastic Art of the Kushans. New Delhi: Munshiram Manoharlal. ISBN 81-215-0579-8. 
  • Sivaramamurti, C. (1976). Śatarudrīya: Vibhūti of Śiva's Iconography. Delhi: Abhinav Publications. 

Further reading[edit]