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Saharanpur District Uttar Pradesh

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History of Saharanpur, Uttar Pradesh

Ancient period

The entire Saharanpur district is a part the Yamuna-Ganges Doab region. Its physical features have been most conducive to human habitation. Archaeological surveys have provided evidence of the existence of many settlements over the ages. Excavations have been carried out in different parts of the district, such as Ambakheri, Bargaon, Hulas and Naseerpur and in Bahadrabad of Haridwar district. On the basis of artifacts discovered during these excavations, human habitation can be traced as far back as 2000 B.C. Traces of the Indus Valley civilization, and even of earlier cultures, have been found. Archaeologically, Ambakheri, Bargaon, Naseerpur and Hulas were centres of Harappan civilisation. It has witnessed the arrival of Aryans from the present Punjab and the mighty war of Mahabharata in the region of present Muzaffarnagar district; when both were a part of the Kuru (East) Mahajanapada territory and Usinara and Panchala Mahajanapadas were their eastern neighbours. Though the history of the region can be traced to some extent from the days of the Indo-Aryans, a more exact history, the system of administration of the local kings, and the lifestyle of the people will become known only with further exploration.

Medieval period
After the early destabilising Central Asian Turkic invasions (1018–1033 AD) through the lands of present Saharanpur region – which has been a part of the westerly 'highway', since ancient times, to attack Delhi and the eastern lands beyond – this region was invaded and ruled by many, most notably the Bhoja Paramara, Lakshmikarna Kalachuri, Chandra Dev Gahadvala, and the Chauhans, who ruled until the establishment of Delhi Sultanate (1192–1526 AD).
During the reign of Shamsu'd-Din Iltutmish (1211–36), this region became a part of the Delhi Sultanate. At that time, most of the area was covered with forests and marshlands, through which the Paondhoi, Dhamola, and Ganda Nala rivers flowed. The climate was humid and malaria outbreaks were common. 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, when according to local tradition 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-Haroonpur', after the Sufi Saint Shah Haroon Chishti.[1] The simple well-preserved tomb of this saint is situated in the oldest quarter of Saharanpur city, between Mali Gate/Bazar Dinanath and Halwai Hatta. By the end of 14th century, the power of the Sultanate had declined and it was attacked by Emperor Timur (1336–1405) of Central Asia. Timur had marched through Saharanpur region in 1399 to sack Delhi and people of the region fought his army unsuccessfully. A weakened Sultanate was conquered later by the Central Asian Mogul king Babur (1483–1531).

Mughal period
During the Mughal period, Emperor Akbar (1542–1605) made Saharanpur a sarkar (administrative unit) under the Province of Delhi. He bestowed the Jagir of Saharanpur to Raja Shah Ran Veer Singh, who laid the foundation of the present city at the site of an army cantonment. The nearest settlements at that time were Shekhpura and Malhipur. Saharanpur was 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 the names of the neighbourhoods. The ruins of Shah Ran Veer Singh's old fort can still be seen in the Chaudharian locality of Saharanpur, not far from the better known 'Bada-Imam-bada'. He also built a large Jain temple in Muhallah/Toli Chaundhariyan, it is now known as the 'Digamber-Jain Punchayati Mandir'.

The Sayyeds and Rohillas
Mughal emperors Akbar and later Shah Jehan (1592–1666) had bestowed on Sayyed families the Pargana of Sarwat. In 1633 one of them founded a city and named it as well as the region around it as Muzaffarnagar, in honour of his father, Sayyed Muzaffar Ali Khan. The Sayyeds ruled there until the 1739 invasion by Nadir Shah. After his departure, anarchy prevailed in the entire Doab and this region was ruled or ravaged in succession by Rajputs, Tyagis, Brahmins, and Jats. Taking advantage of the anarchy, the Rohillas took control of the entire trans-Gangetic region.

Najeeb-ud-Daula, Nawab of Saharanpur (1748–1770 AD)
Ahmad Shah Durrani, the Afghan ruler who arrived after Nadir Shah, conferred the territory of Saharanpur as Jagir on Rohilla chief Najaf Khan, who assumed the title of Nawab Najeeb-ud-Daula and, in 1754, started living in Saharanpur. He made Gaunsgarh his capital and tried to strengthen his position against Maratha Empire attacks by entering into a friendship with the Gurjar chieftain Manohar Singh. In 1759 AD, Najeeb-ud-Daula issued a Deed of Agreement handing over 550 villages to Manohar Singh, who became the Raja of Landaura. Thus the Rohillas and the Gurjars now controlled Saharanpur.

Maratha rule (1757–1803 AD)
In 1757, the Maratha army invaded Saharanpur region, which resulted in Najeeb-ud-Daula losing control of Saharanpur to Maratha rulers Raghunath Rao and Malharao Holkar. The conflict between Rohillas and Marathas came to an end on 18 December 1788 with the arrest of Ghulam Qadir, the grandson of Najeeb-ud-Daula, who was defeated by the Maratha general Mahadaji Scindia. The most significant contribution of Nawab Ghulam Qadir to Saharanpur city is the Nawab Ganj area and the Ahmedabadi fortress therein, which still stands. The death of Ghulam Qadir put an end to the Rohilla administration in Saharanpur and it became the northernmost district of the Maratha Empire. Ghani Bahadur Banda was appointed its first Maratha governor. During the Maratha Regime, the Bhuteshwar Temple and Bagheshwar Temple were built in Saharanpur city. In 1803, following the Second Anglo-Maratha War, when the British East India Company defeated the Maratha Empire, Saharanpur came under British suzerainty.

Sikh period
Baba Banda Singh Bahadur led the Sikh rebellion after the cruel execution of the two younger sons of Guru Gobind Singh. After punishing Wazir Khan, the Nawab of Sirhind and destroying the city, the Sikh army grew in numbers and liberated Eastern Punjab and Haryana from the rule of Mughal Nawabs. The Sikhs took Haryana and then ran over Jalalabad and Saharanpur. Banda Singh was much helped by the Gujjars of the pargana of Saharanpur who had lost patience with the atrocities of Jalal-ud-Din, the governor of Jalalabad. According to Khushwant Singh, "His arrival was a signal for Gujjar herdsmen to rise against the Nawab and Zamindars who had oppressed them for many decades. They declared themselves Nanak Parast (followers of Nanak) and joined their fellow peasants from the Punjab. The local faujdar Ali Hamid Khan and all those who could get away, fled to Delhi. Of those that remained, many men of noble and respectable families received the Sikhs with bullets and arrows but soon fell fighting bravely. Saharanpur was ruthlessly plundered." After Saharanpur fell the neighbouring towns of Behat and Ambheta, the Pirzadas of Behat who were notorious for their anti-Hindu policies, were slashed to a man. Just as the Monsoons broke, Nanauta was captured by the Sikhs with the massive support of the Gujjars. The Shaikhzadas of the place put up a gallant defence, but before the superior forces of Banda, they could not achieve much and ultimately submitted to him. The town of Nanauta was razed to the ground and since then it has been called Phūṭā Shahar or 'Ruined Town'. After destroying the Mughal aristocracy, Baba Banda Singh Bahadur distributed the land to the people of the land - Jats and Gujjars. After these distressing events were reported to the Mughal Court, orders were issued to Khan-i Dauran Bahadur, the Governor of Awadh, Muhammad Amln Khan Chin Bahadur, Nawab of Muradabad, Khan-i Khanan Bahadur, the Governor of the district of Allahabad, and Saiyid Abdullah Khan Baraha, that they should proceed to the capital Delhi and, in consultation with Nizamu'l Mulk Asafu'ddaula, set out to punish the Sikhs. A large punitive army was gathered to push back the Sikhs but by that time Banda Singh Bahadur had vanished into the Punjab Hills.

British colonial period (1803–1947 AD)
When India rebelled in 1857 against the foreign Company's occupation, now referred to as the First War of Indian Independence, the Saharanpur and the present-day Muzaffarnagar Districts were part of that uprising. The centre of freedom fighters' operations was Shamli, a small town in the Muzaffarnagar region which was liberated for some time. After the uprising failed, British retribution was severe. Death and destruction was particularly directed against the Muslims of the region, whom the British considered as the main instigators of the rebellion; Muslim society was devastated beyond recognition. When social reconstruction started, the cultural and political history of Muslims began to revolve around Deoband and Aligarh. Maulana Muhammad 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 global 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. Muslim scholars in the city of Saharanpur were active supporters of this ideology and went on to establish the Mazahirul Uloom Saharanpur theological seminary six months later, along identical lines.
In 1845 choudhary Rao Wazir-ud-din khan the descendant of (Raja Ram singh who came from rajasthan to saharanpur and converted into Islam subsequently he started living at shaikpura qudeem) was the great zaminder of shaikhpura qudeem (saharanpur). Choudhary Rao Wazir-ud-din khan became the member and voter of mughal darbar at red fort new delhi. He was the richest person of district saharanpur with 27 thousand bega land or lord of 57 village's like shaikhpura, landohra, tapri, piragpur, yousfpur, badshapur, harhati, nazirpura, santgarh, lakhnor, subri, pathri etc., of district Saharanpur. British governor's had good relation with Rao Wazir-ud-din and the title of royal family or Badsha-e-waqt (the king of his time) was given to him. He died in 1895 at Sheikpura Qudeem (Saharanpur). He had two son's Choudhary Rao Mashooq Ali khan and Choudhary Rao Ghafoor Muhammad ali khan. Rao Ghafoor Muhammad ali khan had only seven children out of seven his elder son Rao Maqsood Ali khan was highly educated from Aligarh Muslim university and spiritual person. Many books of English and Persian were written or copied by him. He was the one and only one royal man of saharanpur. He was the lord of a large property in saharanpur region or in dheradun and Choudhary Rao Maqsood Ali khan was awarded by the Viceroy of India Lord Irwin at deheradun . Brother's of him migrated to Pakistan and England. He died in 1973 at sheikpura qudeem and left behind his four sons Rao Ghulam muhi-ud-din khan, Rao Zamier haider khan, Rao yaqoob khan and Rao Ghulam hafiz.

United Provinces, 1909
The British administration, which had taken over as a Colony the Indian holdings of the East India Company in the aftermath of the1857 rebellion, created Muzaffarnagar district in 1901, which was carved out of Saharanpur district, and both became part of the Meerut Division of the United Provinces of Agra and Oudh.

Post-independence period (1947 AD – 21st century)
After India achieved independence from the British in August 1947, a sizeable number of people migrating from West Punjab made this city their home, adding to its cultural diversity. This group has made its mark in business and other professions. The region is gradually absorbing them in its midst. The Exhibition Grounds of Saharanpur city, which was used as a refugee camp to accommodate them, has grown into a thriving modern township and an outpost of Punjabi culture.
Until the end of the British rule, the power and social prestige of the descendants of the past ruling classes was formidable, especially in the rural interiors; often called the upper castes, they lorded over the lower caste people. After independence, the conversion of the country to democracy has enabled these under-privileged and ex-untouchable Dalit classes to move forward gradually in all fields in India. Late Master Kanshi Ram, the founder of pro-Dalit Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), started his political career in Saharanpur. His protégé Kumari Mayavati, a Dalit from Saharanpur, has ruled over Uttar Pradesh as a BSP Chief Minister four times and, after completing a full term in office, lost to Samajwadi Party in February 2012 assembly elections. The Jains and Aggarwals are influential business communities; the latter have "Agarwal Sabha" and elect their presidents annually.
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 9 November 2000. With this territorial reorganisation, Saharanpur lost many important places of religious and cultural heritage, including the city of Roorkee, disappointing the Saharanpur people. Political debate is still simmering on whether parts of Saharanpur, including the city itself, can be merged with Uttarakhand. Another political view is that a new state of Harit Pradesh should be carved out of the present Western Uttar Pradesh region.


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