The Bareilly district About this sound pronunciation (help·info) (Hindi: बरेली, Urdu: بریلی) belongs to the state Uttar Pradesh in northern India. Its capital is Bareilly city and it is divided in six administrative division or tehsils: Aonla, Baheri, Bareilly city, Faridpur, Mirganj, and Nawabganj. The Bareilly district is a part of the Bareilly Division and occupies an area of 4120 km² with a population of 3,618,589 people (according to the census of 2001). In the Sanskrit epic poem, Mahābhārata, the Bareilly region (Panchala) is described as the birthplace of Draupadi, also referred to as Pachali (which means one from the kingdom of Panchāla) or Krishnaa (kṛṣṇā). After Yudhishthira becomes the king at the end of the Mahābhārata, she becomes his queen. In the 12th century, the kingdom was ruled by several clans of Kshatriya Rajputs. After the Islamic invasion, the region became part of the Delhi Sultanate before getting absorbed by the emerging Mughal Empire. The modern City of Bareilly was founded by Mukrand Rai in 1657. Later it became the capital of the Rohilkhand region before getting handed over to Nawab Vazir of Awadh and then to the East India Company, becoming an integral part of India.
Historically, the region was the capital of the ancient kingdom of Panchala. The Panchalas occupied the country to the east of the Kurus, between the upper Himalayas and the river Ganges. The country was divided into Uttara-Panchala and Dakshina-Panchala. The northern Panchala had its capital at Ahichatra (also known as Adhichhatra and Chhatravati, near present-day Aonla) tehsil of Bareilly district, while southern Panchala had it capital at Kampilya or Kampil in Farrukhabad district. The famous city of Kannauj or Kanyakubja was situated in the kingdom of Panchala.
The last two Panchala clans, the Somakas and the Srinjayas are mentioned in the Mahabharata and the Puranas. King Drupada, whose daughter Draupadi was married to the Pandavas belonged to the Somaka clan. However, the Mahabharata and the Puranas consider the ruling clan of the northern Panchala as an offshoot of the Bharata clan. Divodasa, Sudas, Srinjaya, Somaka and Drupada (also called Yajnasena) were the most notable rulers of this clan.
During 176 – 166 BC, Panchal coins were minted at Bareilly and the surrounding areas. It was the Kushan and Gupta kings who established mints here. The city’s continued status as a mint town since the beginning of the Christian era was helped by the fact that Bareilly was never a disturbed area (except at the time of the Indian Independence Struggle).
Found at Ganga Ghati in abundance were the Adi Vigraha and Shree Vigraha coins of the Pratihara Kings that were minted here between the 4th to the 9th centuries. Dating to this period are also the silver coins — similar to those of Firoz Second — known as Indo-Sasanian.
After the fall of the Kingdom of Panchala, the City was under the rule of local rulers. In the twelfth century, it was ruled by different clans of Rajputs referred to by the general name of Katehriyas (Kshatriya) Rajputs.
According to British historian Matthew Atmore Sherring the district of Bareilly was formerly a dense jungle inhabited by a race of Ahirs and was called Tappa Ahiran. In the beginning of the thirteenth century, when the Delhi Sultanate was firmly established, Katehr was divided into the provinces of Sambhal and Budaun. But the thickly forested country infested with wild animals provided just the right kind of shelter for rebels. And indeed, Katehr was famous for rebellions against imperial authority. During the Sultanate rule, there were frequent rebellions in Katehr. All were ruthlessly crushed. Sultan Balban (1266–1287) ordered vast tracts of jungle to be cleared so as to make the area unsafe for the insurgents.
The slightest weakening of the central authority provoked acts of defiance from the Katehriya Rajputs. Thus the Mughals initiated the policy of allotting lands for Afghan settlements in Katiher. Afghan settlements continued to be encouraged throughout the reign of Aurangzeb (1658–1707) and even after his death. These Afghans, known as the Rohilla Afghans, caused the area to be known as Rohilkhand.
The city of Bareilly was founded in 1537 by Basdeo, a Katehriya Rajput. The city is mentioned in the histories for the first time by Budayuni, who he writes that Husain Quli Khan was appointed the governor of Bareilly and Sambhal in 1568. The divisions and revenue of the district fixed by Todar Mal were recorded by Abul Fazl in 1596. In 1658, Bareilly was made the headquarters of the province of Budaun.The foundation of the ‘modern’ City of Bareilly was laid by Mukrand Rai in 1657.
The tract of land forming the subah or province of Rohilkhand was formerly called Katehr/Katiher.
The Mughal policy of encouraging Afghan settlements for keeping the Katehriyas in check worked only as long as the central government was strong. After Aurangzeb’s death, the Afghans, having themselves become local potentates, began to seize and occupy neighbouring villages.
In 1623 two Afghan brothers of the Barech tribe, Shah Alam and Husain Khan, settled in the region, bringing with them many other Pashtun settlers. The Rohilla Daud Khan was awarded the Katehr region in the then northern India by Mughal emperor Aurangzeb Alamgir (ruled 1658–1707) to suppress Rajput uprisings, which had afflicted this region. Originally, some 20,000 soldiers from various Pashtun Tribes (Yusafzais, Ghoris, Lodis, Ghilzai, Barech, Marwat, Durrani, Tanoli, Tarin, Kakar, Khattak, Afridi and Baqarzai) were hired by Mughals to provide soldiers to the Mughal armies and this was appreciated by Aurangzeb Alamgir, an additional force of 25,000 men was given respected positions in Mughal army. However most of them settled in the Katehar region during Nadir Shah’s invasion of northern India in 1739 increasing their population up to 100,0000. Due to the large settlement of Rohilla Afghans, the Katehar region gained fame as Rohilkhand.
Meanwhile, Ali Muhammad Khan (1737–1749), grandson of Shah Alam, captured the city of Bareilly and made it his capital, later uniting the Rohillas to form the state of ‘Rohilkhand’, between 1707 and 1720, making Bareilly his capital. He rapidly rose to power and got confirmed in possession of the lands he had seized. The Emperor made him a Nawab in 1737, and he was recognised as the governor of Rohilkhand in 1740. According to 1901 census of India, the total Pathan population in Bareilly District was 40,779, out of a total population of 1,090,117. Their principal clans were the Yusafzais, Ghoris, Lodis, Ghilzai, Barech, Marwat, Durrani, Tanoli, Tarin, Kakar, Khattak, Afridi and Baqarzai. Other important cities were Rampur, Shahjahanpur, Badaun, and others.
Ali Muhammad was succeeded by Hafiz Rahmat Khan Barech (1749–1774), whom he appointed as the regent of Rohilkhand on his deathbed. Hafiz Rahmat Khan Barech extended the power of Rohilkhand from Almora in the North to Etawah in the South-West. Under Rahmat Ali Khan, Rohillas’ power continued to rise, though the area was torn by strife amongst the rival chieftains and continuous struggles with the neighbouring powers, particularly the Nawab Vazirs of Awadh, the Bangash Nawabs and the Marathas.
The term Rohilla is derived from the Pashtu Roh, meaning mountain, and literally means a mountain air, and was used by the Baluch and Jats of the Derajat region to refer to the Pashtun mountains tribes of Loralai, Zhob and Waziristan regions. The Rohillas and are men of a taller stature and a fairer complexion than the general inhabitants of the district. The Muslims in the area are chiefly the descendants of Yousafzai Afghans tribe of Pashtuns, called the Rohilla Pathans of the Mandanh sub-section, (but other Pashtuns also became part of the community), who settled in the country about the year 1720. Rohilla’s Sardar like Daud Khan, Ali Muhammad Khan, and the legendary Hafiz Rahmat Khan Barech were from the renowned Afghan tribe the Barech, who were originally from the Kandahar Province of Afghanistan. In Uttar Pradesh, it was used for all Pashtuns, except for the Shia Bangashes who settled in the Rohilkhand region, or men serving under Rohilla chiefs. Rohillas were distinguished by their separate language and culture. They spoke Pashto among each other but gradually lost their language over time and now converse in Urdu.
Bishop Heber described them as follows – “The country is burdened with a crowd of lazy, profligate, self-called sawars (cavaliers), who, though many of them are not worth a rupee, conceive it derogatory to their gentility and Pathan blood to apply themselves to any honest industry, and obtain for the most part a precarious livelihood by sponging on the industrious tradesmen and farmers, on whom they levy a sort of blackmail, or as hangers-on to the wealthy and noble families yet remaining in the province. These men have no visible means of maintenance, and no visible occupation except that of lounging up and down with their swords and shields, like the ancient Highlanders, whom in many respects they much resemble.”
Rohilkhand (under Hafiz Rahmat Khan Barech) was on the winning side at the Third Battle of Panipat of 1761 and successfully blocked the expansion of the Maratha Empire into north India. In 1772 Rohilkhand was invaded by the Marathas; however the Nawabs of Awadh came to the aid of the Rohillas in repulsing the invasion. After the war Nawab Shuja-ud-Daula demanded payment for their help from the Rohilla chief, Hafiz Rahmat Khan Barech. When the demand was refused the Nawab joined with the British under Governor Warren Hastings and his Commander-in-Chief, Alexander Champion, to invade Rohilkhand. The combined forces of Shuja-ud Daulah, the Nawab of Awadh and the Company’s forces led by Colonel Champion defeated Hafiz Rahmat Ali Khan in 1774. Hafiz Rahmat Khan Barech was killed in the ensuing battle at Miranpur Katra in 1774. His death finally closing the chapter of Rohilla rule.
Rohilkhand was handed over to the Nawab Vazir of Awadh. From 1774 to 1800, the province was ruled by the Nawabs of Awadh. By 1801, the subsidies due under the various treaties for support of a British force had fallen into hopeless arrears. To defray the debt, Nawab Saadat Ali Khan surrendered Rohilkhand to the East India Company by the treaty of 10 November 1801.
During this period too, Bareilly retained its status as a mint. Emperor Akbar and his descendants minted gold and silver coins at mints in Bareilly. The Afghan conqueror Ahmed Shah Durani too minted gold and silver coins at the Bareilly mint.
During the time of Shah Alam II, Bareilly was the headquarters of Rohilla Sardar Hafiz Rehmat Khan and many more coins were issued. After that, the city was in possession of Awadh Nawab Asaf-ud-Daulah. The coins that he issued had Bareilly, Bareilly Aasfabad, and Bareilly kite and fish as identification marks. After that, the minting of coins passed on to the East India Company.
The Rohillas, after fifty years’ precarious independence, were subjugated in 1774 by the confederacy of British troops with the Nawab of Oudh’s army, which formed a charge against Warren Hastings. Their territory was in that year annexed to Oudh. In 1801 the Nawab of Oudh ceded it to the Company in commutation of the subsidy money.
After the Rohillas, the change of the power structure did little to soothe the troubled strife torn area; rather the change had the effect to aggravate a precarious state of affairs. There was a general spirit of discontent throughout the district. In 1812, an inordinate enhancement in the revenue demand and then in 1814 the imposition of a new house tax caused a lot of resentment against the British. “Business stood still, shops were shut and multitudes assembled near the courthouse to petition for the abolition of the tax.” The Magistrate, Dembleton, already an unpopular man made things worse by ordering the assessment to be made by a Kotwal. In the skirmish that took place between the rebel masses and the sepoys under Captain Cunningham, three or four hundred people died. In 1818, Glyn was posted as Acting Judge, and the Magistrate of Bareilly, and the Joint Magistrate of Bulundshahr.
In a research ordered by Glyn asking Ghulam Yahya to write an account about ‘craftsmen, the names of tools of manufacture and production and their dress and manners’, eleven trades found out to be most popular means of livelihood in and around Bareilly in the 1820s were glass manufacture, manufacture of glass bangles, manufacture of lac bangles, crimping, gram parching, wire drawing, charpoy weaving, manufacture of gold and silver thread, keeping a grocer’s shop, making jewellery and selling kab¹bs.
Bareilly (Rohilkhand) was a major centre during the Indian Rebellion of 1857 (also known as India’s First War of Independence).
It began as a mutiny of native soldiers (sepoys) employed by the British East India Company’s army, against perceived race based injustices and inequities, on 10 May 1857, in the town of Meerut, and soon erupted into other mutinies and civilian rebellions which were mainly centred on north central India along the several major river valleys draining the south face of the Himalayas [See red annotated locations on Map at right] but with local episodes extending both northwest to Peshawar on the north-west frontier with Afghanistan and southeast beyond Delhi.
There was a widespread popular revolt in many areas such as Awadh, Bundelkhand and Rohilkhand. The rebellion was therefore more than just a military rebellion, and it spanned more than one region. The communal hatred led to ugly communal riots in many parts of U.P. The green flag was hoisted and Muslims in Bareilly, Bijnor, Moradabad and other places the Muslims shouted for the revival of Muslim kingdom.
The main conflict occurred largely in the upper Gangetic plain and central India, with the major hostilities confined to present-day Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, northern Madhya Pradesh, and the Delhi region.The rebellion posed a considerable threat to British East Indian Company power in that region, and it was contained only with the fall of Gwalior on 20 June 1858.Some[who?] regard the rebellion as the first of several movements over ninety years to achieve independence, which was finally achieved in 1947.
During the Mutiny of 1857 the Rohillas took a very active part against the English, but since then they had been disarmed. During the First War of Indian Independence in 1857, Khan Bhadur Khan issued silver coins from Bareilly as an independent ruler. These coins are a novelty as far as the numismatist is concerned.
The population in 1901 was 1,090,117. Bareilly, also, was the headquarters of a brigade in the 7th division of the eastern army corps in British period.
Before the independence, Muslims constituted nearly half the population of Bareilly city. After the independence of India and Pakistan in 1947, nearly half of the Muslim population of the city migrated and settled in Pakistan, mainly in Karachi. Some Hindu and Sikh that migrated from Pakistan settled down in Bareilly.
Religious points of interest
Bareilly is home to a number of Hindu temples. Bareilly is also known as ‘Nathnagari’ by the locals. A Nath (Shiva) temple is located at each of the city’s four corners: Oldest shiv temple : Tapeshwer nath
All the above Temples are true state of art with mesmerizing beauty.
Places of Islamic interest