Saharanpur division

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Saharanpur division

Saharanpur division (Hindi: सहारनपुर प्रभाग) (Urdu: سهارنپور‎) is an administrative geographical unit of Uttar Pradesh state of India. The city of Saharanpur is the administrative headquarters of the division.

Administrative jurisdiction[edit]

This division has three districts under its jurisdiction: Saharanpur, Muzaffarnagar and Shamli.

Historical[edit]

Prehistoric Period[edit]

Saharanpur division of Uttar Pradesh – a fertile Doab region surrounded by the Shivalik Hills to the north and north-east, the Yamuna river as its boundary in the west and the Ganges river in the east – has physical features most conducive to human habitation. Archaeological surveys and Excavations, carried out in different parts of the division, have provided evidence of the existence of many settlements over the ages. On the basis of artefacts discovered during these excavations, human habitation can be traced as far back as 2000 BC.[1]

Ancient Indus Valley Remains[edit]

In the Ganges-basin region of Bahadrabad close to Kankhal, a well-known city in antiquity, which was formerly a part of Saharanpur district but is now in the breakaway Haridwar district, there have been found brown colored earthen pots which have a copper tint that is assumed to belong to the Indus Valley Civilization. Mridbhands (drums for special occasions) and axes similar to those of the Harappan culture have also been found in Ambakheri, Badgaon, Nasirpur and Hulas.[2] Since remains of the Indus Valley Civilization were discovered at Ropar, it was conjectured that this civilization was probably widespread in Northern India. Now, that remains have been unearthed at different locations in and beyond the Saharanpur region, it is almost certain that the Indus Valley Civilization extended from the Indus to the Ganges.

In the region of Muzaffarnagar district, earliest settlement discovered is in Mandi village of Sadarpur tehsil and belongs to the Harappan civilization; it appears that this Janapada was a part of Harappa civilisation, for the pots and pans and other objects, which are of the type of that era, are still seen occasionally in use here and in neighbouring villages.

The Vedic Period[edit]

Having migrated from the present day Punjab – the 'Land of the Seven Rivers' (Sapta Sindhu) – and crossing the River Yamuna, the Aryans founded a colony in the region where Saharanpur city now stands. They had to fight and suppress the original inhabitants of this region, but there were inter-tribal battles among the Aryans too. Chief among the indigenous tribes were the Dravids, Kinner, Dasa and Dasyus. Due to these prolonged wars, several eminent leaders emerged, and there were formed larger groups and categories. However, historical details about the system of administration then followed by the local non-Aryan kings, and the lifestyle of their people - who were subdued by the Aryans - will only be discovered after much more investigation.

After the arrival of the Aryans, their written documents enable us to chronicle the historical development of the region better. The majority of Aryans were Brahmans, which is why the region between the rivers Ganges and Yamuna came to be known as the Brahmarshi Land of the Sapta Brahma Sarovar (the Seven Sacred Tanks), where the Brahmarshis dwelt. An account of the conflict between the Aryans and the sons of the soil of this region is found in the Rigveda[3] The war between Shambar, the king of the Dasa and Divodāsa, the king of the Aryans continued for forty years. Shambar was killed as a result of an Aryan alliance with Indra. The Kingdom of Shambar was incorporated into the region of Divodās. Sudās, the son of Divodās, captured the Paurav kingdom of Hastinapur and Samvarana, the king thereof escaped towards the Sapta Sindhu (Punjab). Thus the Aryavatra, including Saharanpur region was under his monarchy. After sometime, Samvarana won back his kingdom from King Sudās. The region from the Saraswati to the Ganges came to be known as Kaurava Pradesh, after the name of his son Kuru. The Kuru, which included Saharanpur region, became a part of the greater Kuru Kingdom, of which Hastinapur was the capital. After Kuru, his son Shantana became the king of Kuru Jangala Pradesh.[4] He was followed by Vichitravirya and Pandu, and then Dhritarashtra ascended the throne. During their reign, war broke out between the Kauravas and Pandavas, which is famous as the war mentioned in the Mahābhārata. Usinara and Panchala Mahajanapadas were their eastern neighbours.

According to a local tradition, the legendary Mahabharata war between the Kauravas and the Pandavas was fought in the fields of present Muzaffarnagar district, in the village of 'Pachenda', and their army camps were located respectively at the sites now famous as 'Kaurawali' and 'Pandavli'. Being close to Hasthinapur and Kurukshetra, it should have been important during Mahabharata period. Some old and renowned towns of the Saharanpur division, such as Deoband, Nakur and Sarsava can also be traced back to the Mahābhārata age. In this area, the Pandavas passed their period of Sylvan exile, escaping the wrath of Duryodhana; and it is well known that one of the Pandavas, Nakul, lived in the town of Nakur.

Ancient Indian (Bharata) cities.

After the Mahābhārata War, Emperor Yudhisthira became the ruler of Kuru Jangala Pradesh. After Lord Krishna's ascension to his Holy Abode, Yudhisthira lost heart. Having entrusted Parikshit, the son of Abhimanyu, with the crown and scepter, he ascended the Himalayas, passing through Dev-Van (present Deoband), Kankhal and Mayapur, near (Haridwar). After his successor, Parikshit, the reins of the Kuru Kingdom were held by his son, Janamejaya.

Thereafter, the Kuru throne was occupied in succession by Shantanu, Ashvamedhaja, Asim Krishna and his son Nemichakra (Nichaksha). During his reign, Hastinapur, the capital city, was submerged by Gangetic floods and the ruler of the Kaurava clan migrated to Kaushambhi, a town in the Vatsa Kingdom, and settled there; at the same time, the Vagas captured Kuru Pradesh. This took place in the 9th or 10th century BC. Saharanpur continued to be ruled by the Kuru Kingdom, but the Mahajanapadas - or the ‘Great Kingdoms' established in the 6th century BC. - could not maintain their position for long.

During the age of Gautama Buddha, the Kosala Kingdom was expanded from the Himalayas to Kashi and it remained under King Prasenajit. Buddha made a journey to Hastinapur at this time. After some time, the region again came under the control of the Kuru Kingdom, and was divided into the Yaudheya, Usinara and Srugna Janpadas.

The Nanda Dynasty[edit]

No reliable evidence exists concerning the fate of the Saharanpur region until the regime of Mahapadma Nanda; during the reign of Mahapadma Nanda his kingdom, which originally consisted of only Magadha, stretched from Northern Bihar to the river Yamuna. But, larger part of the Saharanpur region remained still independent, as part of the Srughna Janapada, and not under the rule of Magadha. The Shakumbhri Devi temple of the Saharanpur district was an important pilgrimage spot of the Srugna Janapada. Brihadhatta (Behat), nearby, was also an important town, being located at a distance of one yojana from the temple on the highway that led to the north of the Kuru Kingdom.

The Mauryan Empire[edit]

Having borne the brunt of defeat for the first time from Nanda emperor, Chandragupta and his advisor, Chanakya, managed to reach the Shakumbhri area, Kaushambi, Kampilya, Shukra Kshetra, Govinashan, Shivalik and Mayapuri. Establishing themselves here, Chanakya arrived at Himavat Kuta and entered into a treaty with the Himalayan king Parvataka to organize an army to defeat Nanda. Consequently, they defeated Nanda; Srughna Janapada was assimilated into the Mauryan Empire and Saharanpur became a part of the Maurya Empire. This is confirmed too by an Ashokan inscription. Saharanpur remained under this regime till the administrative tenure of Brihadrata (c. 187–180 BCE), the last ruler of the Mauryan Empire. An Ashokan Pillar was excavated from Topari, near Saharanpur (Khiderabād); this pillar was taken to Delhi by Sultan Firoz Shah Tughluq, and it is still in Feroze Shah Kotla. Haridwar (Mayapur) and Behat were well-known cities at that time. Behat was next to Mayapur in importance, because it was an important Buddhist center. In 1834, Captain Cautley, while leading the digging of the Yamuna Canal, discovered in Behat a statue of Buddha and some coins of the Indo-Scythian period, about 17 feet below the present terrestrial level.[5]

The route taken by the Greek traveller Megasthenes to India passed through Saharanpur region. He had reached Patlipurvia, traveling through Gandhara, Taxila and - crossing the rivers Indus, Hydaspes (Jhelum), Sutlej, Ravi and Yamuna - had passed through Hastinapur.

The Shunga Dynasty[edit]

The Shunga Dynasty reigned after the Mauryan era. According to the Puranas and other sources, they reigned for 112 years. If we take Buddhist writings as evidence, which describe the mass slaughter of Buddhists by the Brahmin ruler Pushyamitra, then Saharanpur must have been under the Shunga regime, at least during his reign. For a while, Saharanpur itself was destroyed as a result of the Greek invasions of India, which took place during the reign of Pusyamitra Sunga in 155 BC. Menander I Soter (Milinda in the Indian sources) invaded this region but was defeated at Kalosindhu, near Gwalior, by Vasumitra. Historians are not agreed as to how far the empire of Menander extended. Given that, (on the basis of numismatic evidence), Panchal Pradesh continued to exist after the defeat of Menander, it is probable that Saharanpur formed part of the Kingdom of Menander.

The Yaudeha Gana Tribal Confederation (1st Century BC – 4th Century AD)[edit]

The power of the Shunga Empire - having suffered from intermittent invasions of India - waned, but at the same time the death knell of the Greek regime had also been sounded in the region of Saharanpur, as Yaudheyan coins of 1st century BC, found at Behat in the Saharanpur District, attest; Rapson[6] and Vincent Smith also are of the same opinion. During this period, several smaller Republics, like Yaudheya Gana Tribal Confederation, were established in India. The Yaudheya regime ended in Saharanpur, when Kanishka invaded, to claim his right over the region, from Panchala and Kaushala. The coins of Huvishka have been found in plenty in Saharanpur. The might of the Kushana Dynasty having declined, the Yaudheyas regained their right to rule this region.

The Kuninda Dynasty (About 1st century BC–4th century AD)[edit]

The Kuninda Janapada is mentioned at the same time as the Yaudheyas. From the seal and coins of Kunind, that have been unearthed in the Saharanpur region, we can suppose that the Kunind Janapada extended throughout the northern region between the Vyasa Valley Sarda River and the Ganges. A major portion of Saharanpur was included in this Janapada.

The Gupta Period[edit]

In Shakumbhri and the nearby Sivalik Hills as well as in several other locations in the Saharanpur District, statues of the Gupta period and silver coins have been discovered. These reveal that, in the first decade of the 5th century, the Republics had ceased to exist and Chandragupta II had invaded and annexed this region. By the time of Skandagupta, this entire region had come under the Gupta administration. At the same time, the town of Mangalor was established by King Mangal Sen, and in it he built a fortress. King Mangal Sen was a regent (Samant) of the Gupta Kings. The area now known as the Saharanpur, though divided into Kunind and the Yaudheya Ganas until the regime of Samudragupta, was still under the Gupta Empire. In the inscription of the Gupta emperor Samudragupta, on the Pillars of Ashoka found in Allahabad (then known as Prayaga), the Yaudheyas are mentioned among those people who paid various taxes to the Gupta Emperor, followed all his commandments and bowed in reverence before him.

The Hephthalite Period (440 – 515?)[edit]

After the reign of Skandagupta, the power of the Imperial Guptas began to wane, and the Hephthalites or White Huns[7] invaded and spread in the Gangetic Plains. About 475, the Hephthalite leader Toramana became the Emperor of the Hephthalite Empire, capturing Punjab, Mathura, Western Uttar Pradesh and some areas of central India. In 510-11, he suffered a defeat at the hands of Brahamgupt., but the Saharanpur region was still under the Jurisdiction of the Hephthalites. In 515, Toramana's son Mihirakula emerged as his successor. Many coins and inscriptions from his reign have been found in Gwalior, from which we can ascertain that his kingdom extended from Punjab to Central India. Mihirakula was defeated by the Gupta emperor Narasimhagupta Baladitya and Yasodharman, the ruler of Malwa, also defeated him to expand his territory up to Sialkot. Thus, the Hephthalite Empire came to an end in Western Uttar Pradesh and Punjab and Saharanpur came under Yasodharman of Malwa, for a period of time.

The Maukhari Kingdom[edit]

After Yasodharman, from 554 to the rise of Harshavardhana (606), the Saharanpur region and a part of Northern Doab were under the Maukhari kings of Kannauj. At the same time the Srughna Janapada was established again in Saharanpur.

The Reign of Harshavardhana (606 – 647)[edit]

Parallel to the Maukharis of Kannauj, a new power emerged in Sthaneshwar (Thanesar), the Vardhan Dynasty, when Prabhakar Vardhana was given the royal title of Param Bhattarak. Buhler says that the Kingdom of Prabhakar Vardhana was limited up to Sthaneshwar only. In the opinion of the Chinese traveller Xuanzang, with which Cunningham also agrees, the Kingdom of Prabhakar Vardhan included the states of Southern Punjab and Eastern Rajputana. This Kingdom was expanded up to 1200 miles.

The present analysis makes it obvious that, at the time of Harshavardhana’s coronation, the territories of the state of Sthaneshwar mingled with the Hephthalite Region in the North West, the Hills in the North, and the Maukhari states of Kannauj in the East.[citation needed] The River Yamuna formed the frontier of their states. After the association(?) of Grahavarman Maukhari, Harsha became the ruler of Sthaneshwer (now Thanesar) and Kannauj. Thus the whole of Northern India came under his jurisdiction.

Xuanzang also mentions Sul-lu-Kina (Srugna) in Harsha's Kingdom, whose capital is deemed to be the present Sungaon. He found it in a dilapidated condition and makes no mention of its king. According to Xuanzang, there were five Buddhist monasteries in Srugna, which claimed more than a thousand Buddhist followers. Most of them were followers of the Hinayana sect and the followers of other Buddhist sects were very few in member. There were a hundred temples, and a large number of non-Buddhists also resided there. Xuanzang travelled to Kannauj by way of the then renowned towns of Behat and Mayapur.

In 647, after the death of Harsha, the anarchy and disorder that prevailed in Uttarapatha is known from an account provided by Ma Duanlin, a Chinese historian of the 13th century. According to him, after the demise of Harsha, his minister Arjuna became the lord of the state.[8] According to accounts furnished by minstrels, in 712, Pundaki and Saharanpur were inhabited by Rajputs of the Pundir clan.

Reign of Yashovarman[edit]

Virtually no information exists about the history of the Saharanpur area from the time of Arjuna to the advent of Yashovarman. In the third decade of the 8th century, there is a graphic account of the Digvijay (conquests) by Yashovaram in the Prakrit poetry of Vakpati, a renowned poet. Thus, it is known that once again, Saharanpur came under Yashovarman, the ruler of Kannauj.

About 740, the ruler of Kashmir, Lalitaditya Muktapida, started his march of victory, invaded Kannauj via the Saharanpur region, and defeated Yasovarman. Many Lalitaditya coins have been found in the Banda district. This proves the invasion of Lalitaditya, and makes it known that, after the defeat, Saharanpur came under the administration of Lalitaditya.

The Ayuddha Dynasty (760 – 794)[edit]

About 760, when Kannauj came under the command of the Ayuddha Dynasty, three rulers held power: Vajrayuddha, Indrayuddha and Chakrayuddha. Their Kingdom was expanded as far as the Yamuna, and therefore included Saharanpur. During the days of the Ayuddha dynasty, Sthaneshwar, Matsya and Panchala Desh, are described in the Bṛhat Saṃhitā as forming a part of the Madhyadesha or Middle Kingdom; Saharanpur was also ruled by the Ayuddha Dynasty, but this did not continue for long.

The Gurjara Dynasty (836 – 1018)[edit]

Ninth-century coins of the Gurjar Pratihar King Mihira Bhoja I (Adivaraha) have been found in abundance in Saharanpur, which indicates that Saharanpur was ruled by him. An inscription, dated 'Harsha Samvat 276' (i.e. 276 of the Harsha Era = 882 AD), discovered in Paheva, East Punjab (Present-day Haryana), indicates that the Gurjara Pratihar Kingdom included the provinces up to Haryana in the north-west. Around 10th century, due to significant presence of Gurjara population, some parts of Saharanpur came to be known as Gujjar-garh or Gujarat, the abode of Gujjars.[9]

The Palas of Bengal[edit]

At the end of the 10th century and the beginning of 11th century, those parts of Haryana which were under the sovereignty of the Pratihar dynasty since Bhoja, had slipped out of their rulers' hold, and were ruled by the Kings Devpala and later Rajapala; thus the whole of Doab was also in the vast Bengali Pala Empire.

Medieval period[edit]

The Turkic Invasions (1018–1033)[edit]

Even during the Gurjara Pratihara period, invasions by Central Asian Turkic armies had begun and passed through the land of Saharanpur; Muslim historians have made frequent mention of this region. It appears that the ancient highway from Punjab to Delhi used to lead through Saharanpur, Deoband, and Meerut; hence, whenever any foreigner invaded Delhi from the west, and consolidated his power there, the Northern Doab fell automatically under his sway. In 1018, when Sultan Mahmud of Ghazna passed through Doab, leading his army as far as Kannauj, he marched through Saharanpur, but the region still remained under the rule of the Gurjara Pratihar rulers of Kannauj. In his travelogue, Al-Biruni (970-1039) makes a mention of Shaharsharah, which he mentions was situated between Thaneshwar (Thanesar) and Kannauj. Cunningham considers it to be the present Sarsava. Sarsava is mentioned again during the invasion of Sultan Mahmud of Ghazna, when he crossed the Yamuna and alighted at Saharwa; it was here that Mahmud defeated Chandrani, the ruler of Sarsava (1019), who had become an independent ruler in the time of Trilochan Rai, the ruler of Kannauj. Cunningham also calls this town Sarsava.

After the conquests of Mahmud of Ghazna, there was a continuance of Central Asian Turkic invasions over these central parts of India. According to the accounts in Tārīkh-e-Sebüktigin, Ahmad Niyaltigin (the Ghaznavi Governor of Punjab) planned his attack on Banaras in 1033 and, having crossed the Ganges at Saharanpur and following the eastern bank track, he found himself suddenly in Banaras. At that time, Banaras was under the rule of King Ganga Deva. While returning to Lahore, Niyaltighin sacked the cities of Antarvedi.

King Bhoja (1010–1055)[edit]

After the return of Niyaltaghin, a weakened Northern Gangetic valley was invaded by Bhoja Paramara. It is not certain when this took place, but it is known from Bhoja's Udaipur eulogy that his army had reached the Himalayan basin in the North of Kannauj. His Kingdom included North, North Eastern, entire Uttar Pradesh, leading through Gwalior and a part of Bihar. Hence, in 1055 Saharanpur was under the control of Bhoja.

The Kalachuri dynasty (1055–1089)[edit]

In order to set up a defence of his conquered territory, Bhoja had to wage intermittent battles with Lakshmikarna Kalachuri, the son of Ganga Deva. Hence, when the Kashi region slipped out of the hands of Lakshmi Karan, he marched away to rule Saharanpur and the Kannauj’s Kangra region, situated in the basin of Keer (Himachal Pradesh). Thereafter, having slipped from the hands of his son Yamkarna, the region of Saharanpur and neighbourhood went into the control of Chandra Dev, the Gahadvala ruler.

Gahadvala rulers (1089–1154)[edit]

It is known from the Basai inscription of Govindachandra Gahadvala, that he had brought under his control Kashi, Kaushik (Kannauj), North Koshala, Indraprastha (Delhi) and all the neighbouring areas.

The Chauhan dynasty (1154–1192)[edit]

When exactly the Saharanpur region slipped out of the hands of the Gahadvala Dynasty into those of the Chauhan Dynasty, is not known for certain; this region must, however, have been under the rule of the Chauhans, for it is written in the inscription of the Virghraj IV, Bisaldev, (1150–1192) on the Delhi Shivalik Pillar inscription (dated 1164): "Defeated Tambar, the Tomer Raj, he was a regent (Samant) of Govindachandra Gahadvala." After Gahadvala’s defeat, eastern Panjab and some parts of what is now Western Uttar Pradesh were conquered by Chauhans. During the second Battle of Tarain (1192) of Prithviraj Chauhan, the territory of the Chauhan Kingdom were expanded from the Himalayas up to Vindhya region.

Delhi Sultanate (1192–1526)[edit]

From 1192 to 1526 Saharanpur was under Turkic rulers of Delhi Sultanate. During the reign of Shamsu'd-Din Iltutmish (1211–36), the third ruler of the Slave Dynasty, the region of present-day Saharanpur became a part of his Delhi Sultanate. At that time, most of this area was covered with forests and marshlands, through which rivers - like the Saharanpur city’s ‘Paondhoi', 'Dhamola' and 'Ganda Nala’ (Kregi Nala) rivers - flowed. The climate was humid, and hence prone to producing malaria. Muhammad bin Tughluq, the Sultan of Delhi (1325–1351), undertook a campaign in the northern Doab to crush the rebellion of Shivalik kings in 1340. According to local tradition, not yet corroborated by contemporary literature, he learned of the presence of a Sufi saint on the banks of the Paondhoi river. After visiting the sage, he ordered that henceforth this region would be known as 'Shah-Harunpur', after the Sufi Saint, Shah Harun Chishti.[10] The simple but well-preserved tomb of this saint is situated in the oldest quarter of Saharanpur city, between Mali Gate/Bazar Dinanath and Halwai Hatta. When the Sultanate weakened, it was attacked by emperor Timur from Central Asia; his army marched to sack Delhi through this region in 1399, when its people fought it unsuccessfully.

Mughal Period[edit]

A weakened Sultanate was later conquered by the Mughal king Babar, a Timurid descendant of Timur and Genghis Khan from Fergana Valley(modern day Uzbekistan). He swept across the Khyber Pass and established the Mughal Empire, covering modern day Afghanistan, Pakistan, India and Bangladesh. During the Mughal period, Akbar the Great made Saharanpur a sarkar (administrative unit) administered by the Province of Delhi. He bestowed the jagir of Saharanpur upon Rana Saha Ran Veer Singh (Jain) – a Jain nobleman in his court – who according to one tradition is said to have laid the foundation of the present city of Saharanpur. The nearest settlements at that time were Shekhpura and Malhipur and present Saharanpur city site was an army cantonment. Raja Ran Veer Singh had built a walled city, with four gates: the Sarai Gate, the Mali Gate, the Buria Gate and the Lakhi Gate; Nakhasa Bazar, Shah Behlol, Rani Bazar and Lakhi Gate were inhabited localities in this walled city of Saharanpur. The ruins of Ranveer Singh’s fort can still be seen in the Chaudharian locality of Saharanpur. He also built a large Digamber-Jain temple in Muhullah Chaundhariyan.[11]

The Sayyeds of Barha (1712–1739)[edit]

In Akbar's time, most of the Muzaaffarnagar district region, called Sarwat then, also belonged to Sarkar-Saharanpur territory. Akbar bestowed the jagir of pargana Sarwat on Sayyed Mahmud Khan Kundliwal; it remained with his descendants up to 17th century.[12] After killing Peer Khan Lodhi – styled as Khan Jahan lodhi – Shahjahan bestowed the title of deceased Peer Khan Lodhi and the Pargana of Sarwat on Sayyed Muzaffar Ali Khan, whose son Munawar Lashkar Ali establed a town in 1633, named it Muzaffarnagar in honour of his father, and Sarwat also became Muzaffarnagar. The history of the Muzaffarnagar district remained closely associated with these Sayyed rulers. It was the birthplace of the Sayed Brothers, Qutubul Mulk Hasan Ali Khan aka Abdullah Khan and Amiral Umara Husain Ali Khan, famous as king makers in Mogul history. The city of Muzaffarnagar, and other parts of the district, have many edifices which give the region architecturally a Mogul feel.

In 1707 on the demise of Aurangzeb, the decline of Mughul Empire began, after which there followed a conflict between Najeeb-ul-Daula’s Vizier Safdarjang, and Ghazi-al-din, the army-Chief. Safdarjang sent an army under the command of Indra Giri Goswami, but even before reaching Saharanpur, that ill fated army was defeated by Ghazi-u-din, aided by the Rohilla Chieftains Najaf Khan, and thus in 1738 the Vizier Qamaruddin, accompanied by Ali Muhammad, the Rohilla Chieftain, invaded Jansath – the seat of Syed rulers – and having defeated the Sayyeds, occupied it and the Jagir of the Barha Sayyeds slipped away from the hands of the Sayyeds. In 1739 Delhi was invaded by Nadir Shah. After his departure, anarchy prevailed in the entire Doab. The Moghul emperor Muhammad Shah died in 1748 and after the fall of Mugal empire, Saharanpur and Muzaffarnagar region was ruled or ravaged in succession by Rajputs, Tyagis, Brahmins and Jats, taking advantage of which, the Rohillas took control of the entire trans-Ganges region and the Gujjars of Landhaura became the masters of the area up to Haridwar. This region was also plundered repeatedly by the Sikhs for about a century (1707–1808).

Najib-ul-Daula, the Rohilla Nawab of Saharanpur (1748–1770)[edit]

After 1754, the Rohilla Nawab, Najeeb-ul-Daula started living in Saharanpur and made Gaunsgarh his capital. In order to strengthen his position, he entered into a friendship with the Gujjar Chieftain Manohar Singh. In 1759, Najib-ul-Deaula issued a deed of Agreement handing over 550 villages to Raja Manohar Singh of Landhora. Thus the Rohillas and the Gujjars now controlled Saharanpur en masse.

The Maratha rule (1789–1803)[edit]

In 1757, Maratha army’s invasion of Saharanpur region resulted in loss of control of Najib-ul-Daula on his Jagir of Saharanpur for a short while; Raghunath Rao and Malharao Holkar occupied it then, but the Nawab regained control when Raghunath Rao left Saharanpur for Punjab campaign. The conflict between Najib and the Marathas went on and came to an end only on 18 December 1788 with the arrest of Ghulam Qadir, the grandson of Najib-ul-Daula, who was defeated by Mahadaji Scindia. The death of Ghulam Qadir put an end to the Rohilla administration in Saharanpur and Saharanpur became the northernmost district of the Maratha Kingdom. Ghani Bahadur Banda was appointed the first Maratha governor of the district. During the Maratha regime, the Bala Sundari Temple near Devi Kund at Deoband and the temples at Gangaghat in Haridwar, are supposed to have been built by them and also the renovation carried out on the famous Shakumbhri Devi temple.

The British Colonial Period (1803–1947)[edit]

The last of the invaders were the British, who marched into this region from the east and, in 1803, the expanding British East India Company occupied the region of Saharanpur, which also included the present Muzaffarnagar district.

When North India rebelled in 1857 against the British Company’s occupation, now referred to as the First War of Indian Independence, the Saharanpur /Muzaffarnagar region was part of this uprising. The centre of freedom fighters’ operations was Shamli, a small town in the present Muzaffarnagar District, which was liberated for some time. Those scholars who went on to found the world famous Islamic seminary, called Darul Uloom Deoband, participated actively in the uprising. They organised the masses outside Delhi and, for a while, were successful in ousting the British from the area of their operations. The centre of their activities was also Shamli. After the uprising failed, British retribution was severe here - large-scale massacre of freedom fighters in Shamli and of their Sayyid-Pathan supporters in Thanabhavan and around - crippling the region completely. However, covert spirit of self-rule survived and in 1899 an office of the Indian National Congress was opened in Muzaffarnagar city, to continue freedom struggle through peaceful means. Muzaffarnagar's prominent freedom fighters of this period are: Pt. Sunder Lal, Lala Hardayal, Shri Shanti Narayan and Nawabzada Liaquat Ali Khan, who became the first prime minister of Pakistan, after partition of British India in 1947.

Excessive British retribution – death and destruction – was particularly directed against the Muslims of this region, whom the British considered as the main instigators of the rebellion; it devastated the Muslim society beyond recognition. When their social reconstruction started, the cultural and political history of Muslims began to revolve around Deoband and Aligarh during this period, and Maulana Qasim Nanotvi and Maulana Rashid Ahmad Gangohi, both proponents of the reformer Shah Waliullah's ideology for social and political rejuvenation, established a school in Deoband in 1867. It found popularity and recognition as the Darul Uloom. Its founders' mission was twofold:

  • to raise and spread a team of scholars able to awaken the religious and social consciousness of Muslims through peaceful methods and to make efforts, through them, to educate Muslims in their faith and culture; and
  • to bring about a feeling of nationalism and national unity by promoting the concept of Hindu-Muslim unity and a united India.

The school also played an important role in revolutionary activities aimed at turning out the British from India. The famous revolutionary Maulana Mahmudul Hasan was the first student of the Madrassa and later its senior professor. His student, companion and successor, Maulana Husain Ahmed Madani, was also a famous religious scholar and statesman, highly respected by the Indian National Congress. Muslim scholars in the city of Saharanpur were also active supporters of this ideology and soon went on to establish their own theological seminary in 1866-67, along identical lines; it is named as Mazahirul-Uloom. Today, Saharanpur is well known for its spirit of inter-religious harmony.

United Provinces, 1909

In 1901, the British raj created Muzaffarnagar district, which was carved out of Saharanpur district, and both became part of the Meerut Division of the United Provinces of Agra and Oudh.[13] However, Muzaffarnagar's boundaries and jurisdiction had changed frequently and its separate existence may be said to start from 1826.

Post-independence period (1947 – 21st Century)[edit]

After India became independent in August 1947, a sizeable number of people migrating from West Punjab made Saharanpur region their home, adding to its cultural diversity. This enterprising and hard working group has made its mark not only in business but also in other professions. The region has gradually absorbed them in its midst.

On 28 December 1988, Saharanpur district lost the region of Haridwar, which was made into a new district, within the Saharanpur division. Subsequently, Haridwar district was taken out of Saharanpur division and merged with what is now Uttarakhand, a new state that was carved out of Uttar Pradesh on 9th Nov 2000. With this reorganization, Saharanpur lost many places of religious and cultural heritage and also the great educational city of Roorkee. This division again underwent territorial reorganisation in 2011 - the state government carved out a new district, named Shamli,[14] by taking Shamli and Kairana Tehsils from Muzaffarnagar district; Shamli city is the headquarters of the new district.

Neighbouring attractions[edit]

Southern areas of Saharanpur division are close to New Delhi, the capital of India. Hindu's holy city of pilgrimage Haridwar is very near. Uttarakhand's famous animal sanctuary in Shivalik hills, the Rajaji National Park, is also near.


See also[edit]

  • Shakumbhri Devi, a temple area north of Saharanpur
  • Uttar Pradesh, the state in which Saharanpur lies
  • North India, the region in which Saharanpur lies
  • India, the country in which Saharanpur lies
  • Mera Saharanpur - www.merasaharanpur.com, the new generation of saharanpur

References[edit]

  1. ^ The website of the Archaeological Survey of India is http://asi.nic.in/
  2. ^ http://o3.indiatimes.com/saharanpur.  Missing or empty |title= (help)[dead link]
  3. ^ ; this was the Dasyarajnya War, or War of Ten Kings.
  4. ^ For reference to both Kuru Jangala Pradesh, and to Hastinapura, see Śrîmad Bhâgavatam (Canto I, Ch. 4, V.6), where the translator thinks that Hastinapura may be the modern Delhi.
  5. ^ History The Imperial Gazetteer of India, v. 21, p. 371.
  6. ^ Rapson, E.J. - Cambridge History of India, Vol. 1. Ancient India.
  7. ^ The Hephthalites or White Huns were known to the Indians as Hunas.
  8. ^ According to a Tibetan work called The White Annalsby Gendun Chopel. Deb-Ther-Dkar-Po, The White Annals, Tibetan Freedom Press, Darjeeling, 1964
  9. ^ India. Office of the Registrar General (1961). Census of India, Volume 20, Part 6, Issue 27. p. 7. 
  10. ^ History The Imperial Gazetteer of India, v. 21, p. 369. 1909.
  11. ^ Madhu Jain, O. C. Handa, and Omacanda Ha??a, Wood Handicraft: A Study of Its Origin and Development in Saharanpur, Indus Publishing (2000), pp. 22-24. ISBN 81-7387-103-5
  12. ^ Muzaffarnagar Town The Imperial Gazetteer of India, 1909, v. 18, p. 93.
  13. ^ Muzaffarnagar District The Imperial Gazetteer of India, 1909, v. 18, p. 83.
  14. ^ http://www.igovernment.in/site/three-new-districts-uttar-pradesh

External links[edit]


Coordinates: 29°58′12″N 77°32′24″E / 29.9700°N 77.5400°E / 29.9700; 77.5400