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Rohilkhand, 1908

This article has been extracted from



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.

The name is often applied to the present BAREILLY DIVISION of the United Provinces , but it also denotes a definite historical tract nearly corresponding with that Division phis the RAM- PUR STATE and the tarai of Nairn Tal District. It is derived from a Pashtu adjective rohelah or rohelai, formed from rohu ( c moun- tain'). Rohilkhand as thus defined contains an area of 12,800 square miles, forming a large triangle bounded on the north by the Himalayas, on the south-west by the Ganges, and on the east by the Province of Oudh. In the north lies a strip of the Tarai below the hills, with large stretches of forest land, the haunt of tigers and wild elephants, and only small patches of cultivation belonging to the Tharus and Boksas, jungle tribes, apparently of Mongolian origin, who seem fever-proof.

Passing south the land becomes drier, and the moisture drains into the numerous small streams rising in the Tarai and joining the Ramganga or the Ganges, which ultimately receive most of the drainage In the northern portions of Bijnor and Bareilly Districts, canals drawn from the Tarai streams inigate a small area. The climate is healthy near the Tarai, and has a smaller range of temperature than the tract south of the Ganges. The rainfall is heavy near the hills, but gradually decreases southwards. The usual crops of the plains are grown throughout the tract, but sugar-cane and rice are of special importance. Wheat, gram, cotton, and the two millets (jowar and bajrd) are also largely produced.

In early times pait of the tract was included in Northern PANCHALA. During the Muhammadan period the eastern half was long known as Katehr. The origin and meaning of this term is disputed. It is certainly connected with the name of the Katehriya Rajputs, who were the predominant clan in it ; but their name is sometimes said to be derived from that of the tract, which is identified with the name of a kind of soil called kather or katehr, while traditions in Budaun District derive it from Kathiawar, which is said to be the original home of the clan Elsewhere the tribal traditions point to the coming of the Katehnyas into this tract, from Benares or Tirhut, in the twelfth and fourteenth centuries.

The portion they first occupied seems to have been the country between the Ramganga and the Ganges, but they afterwards spread east of the former river, When the power of Islam was extending westwards, Rathor princes ruled at Budaun , but the town was taken by Kutb-ud-din Aibak in 1196, and afterwards held continuously by the Muhammadans. The province was, however, always turbulent, and two risings are described in the middle of the thirteenth century In 1379 or 1380 Khargu, a Hindu chief of Katehr, murdered Saiyid Muhammad, the governor, at a feast ; and Firoz III Tughlak, foiled in his attempt to seize Khargu, who fled to Kumaun, appointed an Afghan governoi at Sambhal with orders 'to invade the country of Katehr every year, to commit eveiy kind of ravage and devastation, and not to allow it to be inhabited until the murderer was given up. 7 Thirty-five years later, when the Saiyid dynasty was being founded, another Hindu, Har Singh Deo, rebelled, and though several times defeated gave trouble for two or three years. Mahabat Khan, the governor, successfully revolted in 1419 or 1420 from the rule of Delhi ; and the king, Khizr Khan, failed to take Budaun, which remained independent for four years, till after the accession of Mubarak Shah, who showed greater force and received Mahabat Khan's submission.

In 1448 Alam Shah Saiyid left Delhi and made Budaun his capital, careless of the fact that he was thus losing the throne of Delhi, which was seized by Bahlol Lodl. Until his death thirty years later, Alam Shah remained at Budaun, content with this small province. During the long struggle between the Jaunpur and the Delhi kings, the former held parts of Katehr for a time In the first half of the sixteenth century few events in this tract have been recorded; but the last revolt of the Katehnyas is said to have taken place in 1555-6. In the reign of Akbar the sarkdr of Budaun formed part of the Subah of Delhi. The importance of Budaun decreased, and Bareilly became the capital undei Shah Jahan, while Aurangzeb included the district of Sambhal (Western Rohilkhand) in the territory ruled over by the governor of Katehr. At this time Afghans had been making many settlements in Northern India , but they were generally soldiers of fortune, rather than politicians or men of influence. Under Shah Jahan they were discouraged ; but they were found useful in the Deccan campaigns of Aurangzeb, and early m the eighteenth century the Bangash Pathan, Muhammad Khan, obtained grants in FARRUKH- ABAD, while All Muhammad Khan, whose origin is obscure, began to seize land north of the Ganges. The former held the southern part of the present Districts of Budaun and Shahjahanpur ; but the princi- pality he carved out for himself lay chiefly south of the Ganges. All Muhammad gave valuable help to the governors of Moradabad and Bareilly against the Raja of Kumaun, and also assisted the emperor in his intrigues against the Saiyids of Barha, for which he was rewarded with the title of Nawab When Nadir Shah invaded India, All Muhammad gamed many recruits among the refugees from Delhi, and took advantage of the weakness of the central government to annex all the territory he could seize. The governors of Moradabad and Bareilly were sent against him, but both were slam, and in 1740 he was recognized as governor of Rohilkhand. His next exploits were against Kumaun , but by this time Safdar Jang, Nawab of Oudh, had begun to look on him as a dangerous rival, and persuaded the emperor that the Rohiilas should be driven out. In 1745 All Muhammad was defeated and imprisoned at Delhi, but afterwards he was appointed to a command in the Punjab. On the invasion by Ahmad Shah Durrani in 1748, he was able to return to Rohilkhand, and by judiciously sup- porting the claims of Safdar Jang to be recognized as Wazir, obtained a fresh grant of the province On the death of All Muhammad, Rahmat Khan, who had been one of his principal lieutenants, was appointed regent for his sons. Safdar Jang renewed his attempts to take Rohilkhand, and persuaded Kaim Khan, son of Muhammad Khan Bangash, of Farrukhabad, to invade it. The attack was un- successful, and Kami Khan lost his life Safdar Jang at once annexed the Farrukhabad territories. But Kaim Khan's brother, Ahmad Khan, regained them, and attempted to win the active sympathy of the Rohiilas, which was at first refused and then given too late ; for Safdar Jang called in the Marathas, with whose help he defeated the Rohilla and Bangash forces, and Rahmat Khan was driven to the foot of the Himalayas. In 1752 he yielded and gave bonds for 50 lakhs, which were made over to the Marathas in payment of their services. When Ahmad Shah Durrani invaded India a second time, he brought back All Muhammad's sons, Abdullah and Faiz-ullah, who had been in Kandahar since the previous invasion; but Rahmat Khan skilfully arranged a partition of Rohilkhand, so that the brothers fought among themselves, and eventually Rahmat Khan and his friends became masteib of most of the province. About this time (1754) another Pathan, named Najib Khan, was rising in power.

At first he acquired territory in the Doab, but in 1755 he founded Najlbabad in Bijnoi, and thus held the northern part of Rohilkhand independently of the other Rohillas. After the third Durrani invasion in 1757, he became BakhshI or paymaster of the royal troops, and the following year an attempt was made, through the jealousy of other nobles, to crush him by calling in the Marathas. Rahmat Khan and Shuja-ud-daula, the new Nawab of Oudh, were alarmed for their own safety, and hastened to help him, and the Marathas were driven out of Rohilkhand. When Ahmad Shah Durrani invaded India a fourth time, the Rohillas joined him and took part in the battle of Pampat (1761), and Rahmat Khan was rewarded by a grant of Etawah, which had, however, to be con- quered from the Marathas. In 1764 and again in 1765 the Rohillas gave some assistance to Shuja-ud-daula in his vam contests with the English at Patna and at Jajmau; but they did not suffer for this at first. In fact the next five years were prosperous, and Rahmat Khan was able to undeitake one of the most necessary reforms of a ruler in this part of India the abolition of internal duties on merchandise. In 1770 the end began. Etawah and the other territory m the Central Doab were annexed by the Marathas. Najib Khan and Dunde Khan, who had been Rahmat Khan's right hand, both died. In 1771 the Marathas attacked Zabita Khan, son of Najib Khan, and drove him from his fort at Shukartar on the Ganges, and the next year harried Rohilkhand. In June, 1772, a treaty was arranged between the Rohillas and Shuja-ud-daula, in which the latter promised help against the Marathas, while the former undertook to pay 40 lakhs of rupees for this assistance. The treaty was signed in the presence of a British general The danger to Oudh, and also to the British, from the Marathas was now clear. Zabita Khan openly joined them in July, 1772, and at the end of the year they extorted a grant of the provinces of Kora and Allahabad from Shah Alam. In 1773 the y demanded from Rahmat Khan the payment of the 50 lakhs promised twenty years befofe, and again entered Rohilkhand British tioops were now sent up, as it had become known that Rahmat Khan was intriguing with the Marathas, who openly aimed at Oudh. These intrigues continued even when the allied British and Oudh troops had arrived in Rohil- khand, and the Nawab of Oudh then made overtures for British help in adding the province to his teriitones Finally, Rahmat Khan agreed to carry out the treaty obligations which he had formerly con- tracted with Oudh, and the Marathas were driven across the Ganges at Ramghat This danger being removed, Rahmat Khan failed to pay the subsidy due fiom him to the Nawab of Oudh. Latei in the same year, Warren Hastings came to Benares to discuss affairs with the Nawab, who strongly pressed for British help to ciush the Rohillas. While the Council at Calcutta hesitated, the Nawab made secret alliances with Zabita Khan and Muzaffar Jang of Farrukhabad, and persuaded the emperor to approve by promising to share any territory annexed.

He then cleared the Marathas out of the Doab, and in 17 74 obtained British troops to assist him against the Rohillas. The latter were met between Miranpur Katra in Shahjahanpur and Fatehganj East (in Bareilly District) in April, 1774, and were defeated after a gallant resistance, Rahmat Khan being among the slain. This expedition formed the subject of one of the chaiges against Warren Hastings, which was directed to show that his object was merely to obtain money from the Nawab Wazlr in return foi help m acquiring new territory. Contemporary documents prove clearly the necessity for improving the western boundary of Oudh as a defence against the Marathas, and the danger arising from this countiy being held by men whose treachery had been manifested again and again. Faiz-ullah Khan, the last remaining chief of the Rohillas, received what now forms the RAMPUR STATE, and Zabita Khan lost his possessions east of the Ganges. In 1794 an insurrection broke out at Rampur, after the death of Faiz-ullah Khan. British troops were sent to quell it, and gained a victory at Fatehganj West Seven years later, in 1801, Rohil- khand formed part of the Ceded Provinces made over to the British by the Nawab of Oudh.

The total population of Rohilkhand is nearly 6-2 millions. The density approaches 500 persons per square mile, and in Bareilly Dis- trict exceeds 600. More than i| millions are Muhammadans, forming 28 per cent, of the total a proportion double that found in the Provinces as a whole. Among Hindu castes may be mentioned the Jats, who are not found east of Rohilkhand in considerable numbers ; the Ahars, who are akin to the Ahlrs of other parts ; and the Khagis and Kisans, excellent cultivators resembling the Lodhas of the Doab. The Bishnol sect has a larger number of adherents than elsewhere.

[Elliot, History of India, passim , Strachey, Hastings and the Rohilla War (1892) ]

Impotence, lack of sexual desire (2016)

The Times of India Jan 11 2016

Mrigank Tiwari


Study Says Hormonal Imbalance, Depression Among Reasons According to a report prepared by adolescentfriendly health centres (AFHCs) set up by the Uttar Pradesh government in most districts, all is not well with the sexual health of adolescent boys in the Rohilkhand region.

In shocking details that have come to light, 22% of them are on the verge of becoming impotent, while another 19% do not nurse any sexual desire. According to experts, hormonal imbalance, adulterated food, depression and watching too much porn in formative years are said to be the rea sons behind this.

Following the revelations, the minimum age for counselling of boys has been reduced to 10 years. Earlier, boys between 14 and 17 years and girls between 12 and 17 years could approach AFHCs in their area, said an official of AFHC who added that the centre is flooded with complaints from teenagers reporting symptoms indicative of developing impotency in future.

Dr Subodh Sharma, additional director (health), Bareilly region, told TOI, “Growing myths and misconceptions among teenagers about their sexual lives are largely to blame for this. Experts at the AFHC centres are able to wean many youngsters away from these influences and put them on the right track.“

Mohd Nadeem Khan, counsellor incharge at Bareilly AFHC, said, “In Bareilly division alone, around 1 lakh boys between 14 and 17 years have visited the centre which was set up three years ago. Of these, the condition of 4,000 is quite alarming. Apart from them, around 22% of the boys showed symptoms, which if not treated in time, may lead to impotency in future.“

Khan said the report has been sent to the state government, which in turn would forward it to the Centre. He also added that in the wake of these revelations, the minimum age for counselling of boys has been reduced.

According to Khan, the boys were facing problems the due to varied reasons, including hormonal imbalance, adulterated food, physical disability, watching porn for a prolonged period, addiction and depression.

Well-off, yet poor on health, education/ 2017

The Times of India, Feb 13 2017

From bamboo flute capital Pilibhit and the brass capital Moradabad to an erstwhile capital of the medieval Delhi Sultanate, Badaun and UP's only national park, the Dudhwa in Lakhimpur Kheri, this region has the state's highest concentration of minorities at 36%. In five districts Muslim population is over 40%. This includes Rampur with over 50% Muslim residents.

There is a Sikh diaspora as well numbering some 50,000 in the terai districts, who settled in the swamps and started farming after DDT eradicated malaria in the 1960s.

Kheri also has the only enclave of Tharu tribals in the Dudhwa forest ranges.

Although farming is the major occupation, Saharanpur with its paper, tobacco and woodwork factories, Kheri with its sugar mills and Bareilly with its agro-based units provide an industrial spine to the area.

The land is criss-crossed by numerous rivers that feed the Ganga flowing through some of this belt's districts. With ample water resources, and a strong canal system, almost all the cultivated land is irrigated. As a result, power consumption is 230 kwh, lower than the State average of 300 kwh. Wheat, rice, sugarcane and vegetables are grown extensively , as are mangoes.

Within the region, there is notable differences among the districts -some are richer, others poorer. Once famous for its `Rampuri kinves', Rampur district's per capita income is almost 50% less than that of Bareilly , the front runner.

Moradabad's export dependent brass industry is now in doldrums due to a listless global market and has dragged it down nearly to the level of Lakhimpur Kheri a largely agricultural district with only sugarcane and sugar manufacture as its main source of income.

Incidentally Kheri is the largest assembly constituency in UP. Saharanpur, another industrial city is much more prosperous and second only to Bareilly. The area once had a relatively advanced edu cational system because of the colleges in Bareil ly and to an extent Rampur, famous for its Raza Library. But over the years, districts like Shahjahanpur, Pilibhit, Kheri, Budaun have got left behind. The region as a whole has just 6 colleges per lakh population, compared to the neighbouring west UP region that has 16.

Health of the people in the region is starkly threatened as shown by some key indicators. Kheri, Shahja hanpur, Bareilly, Saharanpur and Budaun districts have infant mortality rates of about 80 deaths per 1000 live births, compared to the state average of 68, and under-5 mortality rates of over 100 compared to UP's 90. Budaun and Shaahanpur figure in the country's top 20 districts in terms of average number of children born. This along with the low women's literacy rates shows the patriarchal stranglehold.

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