Budaun District , 1908

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Note: National, provincial and district boundaries have changed considerably since 1908. Typically, old states, ‘divisions’ and districts have been broken into smaller units, and many tahsils upgraded to districts. Some units have since been renamed. Therefore, this article is being posted mainly for its historical value.


Budaun District

Physical aspects

{Baddyun). — South-western District of the Bareilly Division, United Provinces, lying between 27° 40' and 28° 29' N. and 78° 16' and 79° 31 E., with an area of 1,987 square miles. It is bounded on the north by Moradabad ; on the north-east by the State of Rampur and Bareilly District ; on the south-east by Shahjahanpur ; and on the south-west by the Ganges, which divides it from the Districts of Bulandshahr, AlTgarh, Etah, and Farrukhabad. The greater part consists of a Physical level plain crossed by numerous rivers, and much of it requires little irrigation when the rainfall is normal, A high ridge of sand, rarely more than 4 or 5 miles broad, running through the VOL. IX. D District from north-west to south-east, once formed the old high bank of the Changes, Between this and the present course of the river is a low tract of country, traversed by a chain of swamps or Jhzls, and by the river Mahawa. The fertile plain north-east of the sandy ridge is watered by the Sot or Yar-i-Wafadar, a river which enters the Bisaull tahsil from Moradabad and flows diagonally across the District, piercing the sandy tract. Although the Mahawa flows in a deep channel, it is liable to sudden floods, which do much damage, and it receives spill- water from the Ganges. The Sot is fringed by ravines and seldom inundates its banks. In the north-east the Ramganga forms the boundary for about 36 miles, and is joined by the Aril.

The District consists entirely of Gangetic alluvium, varj'ing from pure sand to stiff clay. Katikar or calcareous limestone is found in places. Budaun is well wooded, and the whole of the rich upland tract is studded with beautiful mango groves. In the north of the Ganges khadar there is thick dhdk jungle {Butea frotidosa) : and the north-east corner still contains part of the celebrated d/idk jungle which formerly sheltered the Katehriya Rajputs in their frequent contests with the Musalman rulers of Delhi. On the sandy ridge vegetation is scanty, and thatching grass and kdfis {Saccharmn spontaneum) spring up where cultivation is neglected.

A tiger was killed in 1893 near the Ganges, but this is an extremely rare event. Antelope, wild hog, and nilgai are common, and wolves cause more damage to human life than in any other District of the United Provinces. Black partridge, quail, water-fowl, and sand-grouse abound, and florican are occasionally met with.

The climate of Budaun resembles that of other Districts in Rohil- khand, being somewhat cooler and moister than in the adjacent portions of the Doab, owing to the neighbourhood of the hills. The average monthly temperature varies from 53° to 60° in January to 88° and 93° in May and June.

The annual rainfall over the whole District averages 34 inches, varying from more than 36 in the east to 31 in the west. Fluctuations in the amount are large; in 1883 only 17 inches fell, and in 1874 as much as 56 inches.


Budaun owes its name, according to tradition, to one Buddh, an Ahar prince, who founded the city at the beginning of the tenth century. When the forces of Islam were beginning to spread eastwards into India, it was held, as recorded in an inscription found at Budaun, by the Rathor, Lakhana Pala, eleventh in descent from Chandra, the founder of the dynasty \ The half-legendary hero, Saiyid Salar, is said to have stayed for a time in Budaun ; but authentic history commences with the victory of Kutb-ud-

' Epigrapiia Iiidica, vol. i, p. 63. din Aibak in 1 196, who slew the Raja and sacked the city. Sham.s-ud-din Altamsh obtained the government of the new dependency, which he exchanged in 12 10 for the throne of Delhi. Under his successors, Budaun ranked as a place of great importance; and in 1236 it gave a second emperor to Delhi in the person of Rukn-ud-din, whose hand- some mosque, the Jama Masjid Shamsi, still adorns the city of which he had been governor. During the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries the annals of Budaun are confined to the usual local insurrections and bloody repressions which form the staple of Indian history before the advent of the Mughals. In 141 5 Mahabat Khan, the governor, rose in rebellion, and the emperor, Khizr Khan, marched against him in vain.

After a rule of eleven years' duration, the rebellious vassal was com- pelled in 142610 surrender to Mubarak Shah, Khizr Khan's successor. Alam Shah, the last of the Saiyids, retired to the city in 1450; and during his stay his Wazir joined with Bahlol Lodi in depriving him of all his dominions, except Budaun, which he was permitted to retain until his death in 1479. ^i^ son-in-law, Husain Shah of Jaunpur, then took possession of the District ; but Bahlol Lodi soon compelled the intruder to restore it to the Delhi empire. After the establishment of the Mughal power, Humayun appointed governors of Sambhal and Budaun ; but they disagreed, and the Sambhal governor, having taken Budaun by siege, put his rival to death. Under the administrative organization of Akbar, Budaun was formed in 1556 into a sarkdr of ihtSfil^ah of Delhi, which was granted as a fief to Kasim All Khan. In Shah Jahan's time the seat of government was removed to Bareilly. The rise of the Rohilla power, which centred in the latter town, accelerated the decline of Budaun. In 17 19, during the reign of Muhammad Shah, Muham- mad Khan Bangash annexed the south-eastern portion of the District, including the city, to Farrukhabad, while the Rohillas, under Ali Muhammad, subsequently seized upon the remainder. In 1 754, however, the Rohillas recovered ihe parganas which, had been united to Farrukh- abad. Budaun fell, with the rest of Rohilkhand, into the power of the Nawab of Oudh in 1774, and was ceded to the British with other territory in 1801. Shortly afterwards a revolt took place, which was speedily repressed, and the Mutiny of 1857 alone disturbs the peaceful course of civil administration.

News of the outbreak at Meerut reached Budaun on May 15. A fortnight later the treasury guard mutinied, plundered the treasury, and broke open the jail. The civil officers then found themselves com- pelled to leave for Fatehgarh. On June 2 the Bareilly mutineers marched in, and on the 17th Abdur Rahim Khan assumed the govern- ment. As usual, disturbances broke out between the Hindus and the Musalman leaders ; and in July and August the Muhammadans fought two regular battles with the Rajputs, whom they completely defeated.

At the end of August .several European fugitives crossed the Ganges into the District, and were protected at Dataganj by the landholders. After the fall of Walldad Khan's fort at Malagarh in Bulandshahr, that rebel chieftain passed into Budaun in October, but found it advisable to proceed to Fatehgarh. On November 5 the Musalmans defeated the Ahars at Gunnaur, and took possession of that tahs'il, hitherto held by the police. Towards the close of January, 1858, the rebels, under Niyaz Muhammad, marched against Fatehgarh, but were met by Sir Hope Grant's force at Shamsabad and dispersed. Niyaz Muhammad then returned to Budaun. On April 27 General Penny's force defeated the rebels at Kakrala, though the general himself was killed in the action ; while Major Gordon fell upon them in the north, near Bisauli. Their leaders fled to Bareilly, and managers were at once appointed to the various parganas on behalf of the British Government. By May 12 Budaun came once more into our hands, though Tantia Topi, with his fugitive army, afterwards crossed this portion of Rohilkhand into Oudh on the 27th. Brigadier Coke's column entered the District on June 3, and Colonel ^^'ilkinson's column from Bareilly on the 8th. Order was then permanently restored.

The principal archaeological remains are at Budaun Town, where a series of tombs, mosques, and other religious buildings remain to mark the former importance of the place.


The District contains 11 towns and 1,087 villages. Owing to un- favourable seasons the population fell considerably between 1872 and numbers at the last four enumerations were as follows: (1872) 934,670,

(18S1) 906,541, (1891) 925,982, and (1901) 1,025,753. There are five Gunnaur, Bisauli, Sah.\svvan, Budaun, and Dataganj the head-quarters of each being at a place of the same name. The principal towns are the municipalities of Budaun, Sahaswan, Ujhani, and the ' notified area ' of BilsI. The following table gives the chief statistics of population in 1901 : —


Hindus form S3 per cent, of the total and Musalmans 16 per cent. There are 6,116 Christians, chiefly natives. Between 1891 and 1901 the District was prosperous owing to favourable agricultural conditions, and the increase in population was remarkably large. Almost the whole population speak Western Hindi, the principal dialect being Braj.

Ahars are the most numerous Hindu caste, numbering 144,000, or about 16 per cent, of the total. They are a hardy, independent caste, allied to the Ahirs, living by agriculture, and are only found in Rohil- khand and a few adjoining Districts. The other important Hindu castes are Chamars (leather-dressers and cultivators), 134,000; Muraos (cultivators), 86,000; Rajputs, 62,000; Brahman?, 61,000; and Kahars (servants and cultivators), 47,000. The chief Muhammadan tribes are Pathans, 29,000 ; Shaikhs, 23,000 ; and Julahas (weavers), 20,000. Agriculture supports more than 67 per cent, of the total population, personal service 5 per cent., general labour 5 per cent., and cotton- w'eaving 3 per cent. Rajputs, Shaikhs, and Ahars are the principal holders of land ; Muraos and the few Jats in the District are the best cultivators.


The American Methodist Mission opened work in Budaun in 1859} and has recently been very successful in making converts. Of the 6,080 native Christians in the District in 1901, 5,972 were Methodists.

The fertile plain which includes most of the District is called Katehr, and is well cultivated. With good rains it does not need irrigation, but if necessary temporary wells can be dug at small .

cost, ^^'heat and Jowdr are here the principal crops, and sugar-cane and rice are grown to some extent. South-west of this lies the sandy ridge of bhnr, which is rendered infertile by excessive rain, and in which wells cannot be made. After cultivation in favourable seasons for two or three years a fallow of five to ten years is required. The bhur chiefly produces barley and bajra. The Ganges khddar is generally liable to inundations and to injury from wild animals. Wheat is grown where possible, and fine crops of barley and peas are obtained in good years. Rice is grown largely in the north-east near the Ramganga, and in the south-east near the Sot.

The ordinary tenures of the United Provinces are found, 2,948 viahdis being held zatninddri, 1,355 patt'iddri., and 69 l>/iat'ydchdrd. Large estates are few in number. The main agricultural statistics for 1903-4 are shown in the table on the next page, in square miles.

Trade and communication

The chief food-crops are wheat and bdjra, which covered 583 and 373 square miles respectivel}', or 37 and 24 per cent, of the net area cropped. Barley, y(^7f'<7r, maize, gram, and rice each cover from 9 to 6 per cent. The area under cotton is decreasing, but still amounts to about 26 square miles ; sugar-cane covers 23, and poppy 59 square miles. Indigo cultivation is almost extinct.


The great feature of the agriculture of the District i.s the increase in the area double cropped, which rose in thirty years from 2 per cent, of the total to 21 per cent. In the khadijr vs\^\zq is growing in popu- larity, as it rises above floods before the other autumn crops, and sugar-cane is also being more largely planted. The area under wheat and barley is increasing. Advances under the Land Improvement and Agriculturists' Loans Acts are rarely taken except in unfavourable seasons. Out of 1-3 lakhs advanced from 1890 to 1904, nearly Rs. 72,000 was lent in the famine years 1896-7.

Stud bulls were at one time stationed in the District; but none is kept now, and the ordinary breed of cattle is inferior. Horse-breeding is popular, and six stallions are maintained by Government. Sheep and goats are of the ordinary poor type, and the best animals are imported from Rajputana.

^Vells are the chief source of irrigation, and in 1903-4 supplied T94 square miles, while tanks or jhlls supplied 64 and rivers 27. Masonry wells are used for this purpose only in the north of the District, where the spring-level is low. Elsewhere temporary wells are made, lasting for a single harvest. A system of private canals, irrigating about 1,000 acres of rice, has been made in the south-east of the District, where the Sot cuts through the bhur and enters the kliadai- ; and another rough system exists on the Aril. The Mahawa is not used for irrigation, but the Sot supplies a small area in dry years.

Kankar or nodular limestone is the chief mineral product. Lime is occasionally made from this, but more commonly from a kind of calcareous marl.

The chief manufacturing industry is that of sugar-refining. Indigo was formerly made largely, but very little is prepared communlcTtfons.Cotton-weaving, carpentry, brasswork, and pottery are of the ordinary type ; a little papier mache work is turned out at Budaun town.

Owing to the poorness of communications, the District has been left behind in the general growth of trade. Bii.sl, once the .second largest mart for grain in this part of Rohilkhand, is now of small account ; and Sahaswan, another centre in the days before railways changed the direction of commerce, has no trade at all. Agricultural produce, chiefly grain and sugar, is exported with difificulty. The imports include cloth, salt, and metals. A large fair is held annually at Kakora,. which is attended by 150,000 people.

The branch of the Oudh and Rohilkhand Railway from Bareilly and Allgarh cuts through two portions of the north of the District. A narrow-gauge line from Bareilly through Budaun, opened in 1906, crosses the Ganges and joins the Cawnpore-Achhnera Railway at Soron in Etah District.

A good deal has been done in recent years to improve the roads in the District, which contains 120 miles of metalled and 445 miles of unmetalled roads. The former are maintained by the Public Works department, but the cost of all but t^2> i^iil^s is met from Local funds. There are avenues of trees on 126 miles. The chief roads are that leading from Bareilly to Hathras and Muttra, which passes through Budaun town, and a road from Budaun to Aonla railway station. Feeder roads to other stations have been made, but communications in the south and east of the District are still backward.


A native historian records a famine in 1761, during which large numbers of people died and many emigrated. In 1803-4, soon after the commencement of British rule, the harvest failed and many farmers absconded. In the great famine of 1837-8 Budaun suffered the extreme of misery: thousands died of starvation, grain rose to unattainable prices, and the police found themselves powerless to preserve order. The scarcity of 1 860-1 was less serious ; but relief works were opened and remissions made, and similar measures were required in 1868-9. In 1877 a deficiency in the rainfall caused some distress, but timely rain in October gave relief. The famine of 1896-7 did not affect Budaun appreciably.


The Collector is usually assisted by a member of the Indian Civil Service (when available), and by four Deputy-Collectors ... recruited in India. A talmlddr is stationed at the liead-quarters of each tahsl/, and an officer of the Opium department at Budaun town.

There are four regular Munsifs, and the District is included in the Civil Judgeship of Shahjahanpur and in the Sessions Judgeship of Moradabad. Sessions cases are tried by the Additional Judge of the latter District. Budaun holds a bad reputation for violent crimes and for dacoity. Female infanticide was formerly strongly suspected, and entailed the maintenance of a special police; but in 1904 only 1,141 names remained on the register of persons proclaimed under the Act.

The area now forming Budaun was, at the cession in 1801, included in Moradabad. Various changes were made, and in 1823 a District oi Sahaswan was formed, which also comprised parts of the present Districts of Etah and AlTgarh. By 1845 the District had assumed its present shape. The early settlements were for short periods, and were based on the previous demand or on a system of competition. Rights in land were very lightly prized and were freely transferred. Operations under the improved system, laid down by Regulation VII of 1822, commenced with estates which were being directly managed by the Collector owing to the resignation of proprietors or the failure to find purchasers at sales. The first regular settlement under Regulation IX of 1833 was made between 1834 and 1838. It was preceded by a survey, and rights were completely recorded. The land was valued as the basis of the assessment and a demand of 9 lakhs was fixed. The next revision took place between 1864 and 1870, on the usual lines. Soils were classified and the rent paid for each class of land carefully ascertained. A rate, usually in excess of this, was assumed as the basis of assessment, and applied village by village, with modifications where necessary. The revenue was raised from 9-3 to 10-3 lakhs, and the new assessment was subsequently found to have been very light.

The latest revision was carried out between 1893 and 1898. In this the assessment was made on the recorded rentals, which were found to be, on the whole, reliable. Land was again classified into circles according to the quality of its soil, and rates for each class were ascertained by analysis of the rents actually paid for different kinds of holdings. These rates were used in checking and correcting the recorded rent-rolls. In assessing, the revenue was fixed at less than half the accepted ' assets ' in cases where there was reason to believe that these could not be collected over a series of years. The new revenue is 13-2 lakhs, representing 46-3 per cent, of the 'assets.' The incidence is a little more than R. i an acre, varying from 1 1 annas to about Rs. 1-6.

Receipts from land revenue and from all sources have been, thousands of rupees : —


There are three municipalities— Budaun, Sahaswan, and UjhanI — ■ besides one 'notified area,' BilsT, and seven towns administered under Act XX of 1856. Outside of these, local affairs are managed by the District board, which had an income and expenditure of 1-2 lakhs in 1903-4. Roads and buildings cost Rs. 55,000 in that year.

Budaun contains 18 police stations ; and the District Superintendent of police commands a force of 3 inspectors, 97 subordinate officers, and 360 constables, besides 98 municipal and town police, and 2,045 rural and road police. The District jail contained a daily average of 317 prisoners in 1903.

Budaun is the most backward District in the United Provinces as regards the literacy of its population, of whom only i-6 (2-8 males and 0-2 females) could read and write in 1901. The number of public institutions rose from 160 with 4,686 pupils in 1 880-1, to 171 with 7,002 pupils in 1900-1. In 1903-4 there were 168 public schools with 7,909 pupils, of whom 802 were girls, and also 211 private schools with 2,199 pupils. Two of the public schools were managed by Government, and 165 by the District and municipal boards. The total expenditure on education was Rs. 43,000, of which Rs. 35,000 was provided by Local funds and Rs. 8,000 from fees.

There are 10 hospitals and dispensaries, with accommodation for 113 in-patients. In 1903 the number of cases treated was 108,000, of whom 1,500 were in-patients, and 3,500 operations were performed. The expenditure was Rs. 19,000, chiefly met from Docal funds.

About 34,000 persons were successfully vaccinated in 1903-4, repre- senting a proportion of 33 per t,ooo of population. Vaccination is compulsory only in the municipalities.

[^Disfrict Gazetteer (1879, under revision) ; J. S, Meston, Settlement Report (1901).]

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