Rampur district is one of the districts of Uttar Pradesh state of India, and Rampur town is the district headquarters. Rampur district is a part of Moradabad division. The district occupies an area of 2,367 km². This district has a population of 1,922,450 (2001 Census). Rampur is known for its ‘Rampuri knives’.
As per medieval history Rampur was the part of Delhi and was divided between Badaun and Sambhal districts. Being situated on upperside of Rohilkhand, it was known by the name Kather and was ruled by Katheria Rajputs. The Katheria Rajputs fought for about 400 years with the rulers of Delhi and later with Mughals. They fought with Naseeruddin Mahmood in 1253, Gaisuddin Balwan in 1256, Jalaluddin Firoz in 1290, Firoj Shah in 1379 & Sikander Lodhi in 1494. In the beginning of Mughal period the capital of Rohilkhand was changed from Badaun to Bareilly and hence the importance of Rampur increased.
The Rohilla War of 1774–5 began when the Rohillas reneged on a debt they owed the Nawab of Oudh for military assistance against the Marathas in 1772. The Rohillas were defeated and driven from their former capital of Bareilly by the Nawab of Oudh with the assistance of the East India Company’s troops. The Rohilla State of Rampur was established by Nawab Faizullah Khan on 7 October 1774 in the presence of British Commander Colonel Champion, and remained a pliant state under British protection thereafter.
Nawab Faizullah Khan laid the first stone of the new fort at Rampur and thus Rampur city was founded in 1775. Originally it was a group of four villages named Kather, the name of Raja Ram Singh. The first Nawab proposed to rename the city ‘Faizabad’. But many other places were known by the name Faizabad so its name was changed to Mustafabad alias Rampur. Nawwab Faizullah Khan ruled for 20 years. He was a great patron of scholarship, and began the collection of Arabic, Persian, Turkish and Urdu manuscripts which now make up the bulk of the Rampur Raza Library. After his death his son Muhammad Ali Khan took over, but he was killed by the Rohilla leaders after 24 days, and Ghulam Muhammad Khan, the brother of the deceased, was proclaimed Nawab. The East India Company took exception to this, and after a reign of just 3 months and 22 days Ghulam Muhammad Khan was defeated by its forces. The Governor-General made Ahmad Ali Khan, son of the late Muhammad Ali Khan, the new Nawab. He ruled for 44 years. He did not have any sons, so Muhammad Sa’id Khan, son of Ghulam Muhammad Khan, took over as the new Nawab. He raised a regular Army, established Courts and carried out many works to improve the economic conditions of farmers. His son Muhammad Yusuf Ali Khan took over after his death. His son Kalb Ali Khan became the new Nawab in 1865.
Nawab Kalb Ali Khan was literate in Arabic and Persian. Under his rule, the state did much work to uplift standards of education. He was also a Member of Council during the Viceroyalty of Lord John Lawrence. He built the Jama Masjid in Rampur at a cost of Rs. 300,000. He was also knighted in Agra by the Prince of Wales. He ruled for 22 years and 7 months. After his death his son Mushtaq Ali Khan took over. He appointed W. C. Wright as the Chief Engineer of the state and built many new buildings and canals. Nawab Hamid Ali became the new ruler in 1889 at the age of 14. Many new schools were opened during his reign, and lots of donations were provided to nearby colleges. He donated Rs. 50,000 to Lucknow Medical College. In 1905 he built the magnificent Darbar Hall within the Fort which now houses the great collection of Oriental manuscripts held by the Rampur Raza Library. His son Raza Ali Khan became the last ruling Nawab in 1930. On 1 July 1949 the State of Rampur was merged into the Republic of India. Rampur today presents a slightly decayed appearance: the palaces of the Nawabs are crumbling, as are the gates and walls of the fort. However, the Library remains a flourishing institution of immense value to scholars from all over the world.
The Nawabs of Rampur sided with the British during India’s First War of Independence in 1857,and this enabled them to continue to play a role in the social, political and cultural life of Northern India in general and the Muslims of the United Provinces in particular. They gave refuge to some of the literary figures from the Court of Bahadur Shah Zafar.
Important descendants of the Nawabs include Murad Mian the first child of Murtaza Ali Khan Bahadur of Rampur. Begum Noor Bano, the widow of the former Nawab, Zulfiquar Ali Khan of Rampur. Begum Noor Bano has become a politician and won the election from Rampur parliamentary constituency in 1999. She lost the elections in 2004,2009 from Rampur and 2014 from Moradabad consecutively. Murtaza Ali Khan and Zulfiquar Ali Khan (aka Mikki Mia), who continued to use the title of Nawab as a token even after independence and abolition of royalty but never ruled Rampur, are now dead. Murtaza Ali contested an election from Rampur opposite his mother Rafat Jamani Begum in 1972 and won. Although the two brothers were always political rivals they never faced each other in elections. Subsequently, the family was also involved in smuggling scandals involving some smuggling from Pakistan, where one of the sons of Murtaza Ali is married. Raza Inter College, Hamid Inter College and Murtaza Inter College are three higher secondary schools named after three nawabs.
The present Nawab of Rampur, Muhammad Kazim Ali Khan Bahadur (born 16 October 1960), is an Indian politician and the present titular Nawab of Rampur. The eldest son of Zulfikar Ali Khan Bahadur, he succeeded his father as titular Nawab upon the latter’s death in 1992. He was educated at Chandigarh University where he took a Bachelor of Arts degree and at Columbia University where he took an Master of Arts degree in architecture and urban design in 1988. He served as a member on the Raza Library Board in Rampur from 1993 to 2002. From 1996 to 2004, Muhammad Kazim Ali served as a M.L.A in the Swar Tanda Uttar Pradesh state assembly; in 2003 he was briefly the state minister for minority welfare and hajj affairs. Since 2003, he has been the Chairman of the Uttar Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation.
Rampur, located between longitude 79°05′ E and latitude 28°48′ N, is in Moradabad Division of Uttar Pradesh, India. It is surrounded by district Udham Singh Nagar in north, Bareilly in east, and Moradabad in west and Badaun in south. Spread in area of 2,367 km2, Rampur is 192-meter above sea level in north and 166.4-meter in south.It is home to farms that cover long stretches of land. During rainy season just after a long period of rain the mountain ranges of Nainital can be seen in the north direction.
Places of interest
The foundation of Jama Masjid in Rampur was laid by Nawab Faizullah Khan.It was built at the cost of 300,000 at that time and it was further completed by Nawab Kalb Ali Khan.The area around the Jama Masjid became a center of attraction and a big market was developed around it, known today as the Shadab Market. A big jewellery market also lines the masjid known as Sarrafa. The shops were rented out to businessmen to meet the mosque’s requirements. Hindus and Muslims both own these shops and customers belong to both communities. This shows communal harmony that exists in this area.
Nawab Faizullah Khan, who ruled Rampur from 1774 to 1794, established the library from his personal collection of ancient manuscripts and miniature specimens of Islamic calligraphy in the last decades of the 18th century. It is one of the biggest libraries of Asia. As all the succeeding Nawabs were great patrons of scholars, poets, painters, calligraphers and musicians, the library grew by leaps and bounds. Notable additions were made to the collection during the rule of Nawab Ahmad Ali Khan (1794–1840).
It contains very rare and valuable collection of manuscripts, historical documents, specimens of Islamic calligraphy, miniature paintings, astronomical instruments and rare illustrated works in Arabic and Persian. The Raza Library also contains printed works in Sanskrit, Hindi, Urdu, Pashto (having the original manuscript of the first translation of the Qur’an in addition to other important books/documents), Tamil and Turkish, and approximately 30,000 printed books (including periodicals) in various other languages.
State of the art planetarium is being established at Rampur. This will be India’s first planetarium based on Digital Laser technology. The planetarium building is almost complete and equipments are being installed. The information will be directly fed by NASA.
Gandhi Samadhi is a memorial to Mahatma Gandhi. It signifies the struggles that Mahatma Gandhi took over for the independence of India from British Rule.
Kothi Khas Bagh
Kothi Khas Bagh is a palace located at Rampur, about 30 km east of Moradabad in Uttar Pradesh. It was the erstwhile residence of the Nawabs of Rampur. Set in a 300-acre compound, this huge 200-room European style palace is a unique blend of Islamic architecture and British architecture. It also features personal apartments and offices, music rooms and personal cinema hall of Nawabs. The huge halls, adorned with Burma teak and Belgium glass chandeliers, present a fine specimen of the architecture of a bygone era. There is an Italian marble staircase towards the main bedrooms. The statue of Kalb Ali Khan, the second Nawab of Rampur, is an eye-catching one. Kothi Khas Bagh is now in a dilapidated state due to the age and neglect.
Ambedkar Park is a memorial to Bhimrao Ambedkar. It is a beautiful park with a railway line along its boundary.