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town of Ahar. Whatever credence may be placed in these myths, we
know from the evidence of inscriptions that the District was inhabited
by Gaur Brahmans, and ruled over by the Gupta dynasty, in the 3rd
century of our era. Few glimpses of historic light have been cast upon
the annals of this region before the advent of the Muhammadans, with
whose approach authentic history begins for the whole of Northern
India. In 1018, when Mahmiid of Ghazni arrived at Baran (as the
town of Bulandshahr is still officially called to the present day),
he found it in possession of a native prince named Hardatta. The
presence of so doughty an apostle as Mahmud naturally affected the
Hindu ruler; and accordingly the Raja himself, and ten thousand
followers, came forth, says the Musalman historian, 'and proclaimed
their anxiety for conversion and their rejection of idols.' This timely
repentance saved their lives and property for the time ; but Mahmud's
raid was the occasion for a great immigration towards the Doab of many
fresh tribes, who still hold a place in the District. In n 93, Kutab-ud-
din appeared before Baran, which was for some time strenuously
defended by the Dor Rdja, Chandra Sen ; but through the treachery of
his kinsman Jaipal, the town was at last captured by the Musalman
force. The traitorous Hindu accepted the faith of Islam and the
chaudhri-shiv of Baran, where his descendants still reside, and own some
small landed property. The 14th century is marked as the epoch
when many of the present tribes inhabiting Bulandshahr first gained a
footing in the region. Numerous Rajput adventurers poured into the
defenceless country, and expelled the unhappy Meos from their lands
and villages. This was also the period of the early Mughal invasions ;
so that the condition of the Doab was one of extreme wretchedness,
caused by the combined ravages of pestilence, war, and famine, with
the usual concomitant of internal anarchy. The firm establishment ot
the Mughal dynasty gave a long respite of tranquillity and compara-
tively settled government to these harassed Provinces. They shared in
the administrative reconstruction of Akbar, and their annals are devoid
of incident during the flourishing reigns of his great successors. Here,
as in so many other Districts, the proselytizing zeal of Aurangzeb has
left permanent effects in the large number of Musalman converts ; but

Bulandshahr was too near the court to afford much opportunity for
those rebellions and royal conquests which make up the staple elements

of Mughal history. During the disastrous decline of the Imperial


power, which dates from the accession of Bahadur Shah in 1707, the
country round Earan was a prey to the same misfortunes which overtook
all the more fertile Provinces of the Empire. The Giijars and Jats
always to be found in the foreground upon every occasion of disturb-
ance, exhibited their usual turbulent spirit ; and many of their chieftains
carved out principalities from the villages of their neighbours. But as
Baran was at this time a dependency of Koil, it has no proper history
of its own during the 18th century, apart from that of Aligarh
District. Under the Maratha rule it continued to be administered
from Koil ; and when that town, with the adjoining fort of Aligarh,
was captured by the British forces in 1803, Bulandshahr and the sur-
rounding country were incorporated into the newly-formed District. In
1817, they were transferred from Aligarh to Meerut; and in 1823, the
present District was organized by the union of the northern pargands of
Aligarh with the southern ones of Meerut. From that date till 1857,
the peaceful course of history in Bulandshahr is only marked by the
opening of the Ganges Canal.

The Mutiny of 1857 was ushered in at Bulandshahr by the
revolt of the 9 th Native Infantry, which took place on the 21st of
May, shortly after the outbreak at Aligarh. The officers were com-
pelled to fly to Meerut, and Bulandshahr was plundered by a band of
rebellious Giijars. Its recovery was a matter of great importance, as it
lies on the main road from Agra and Aligarh to Meerut. Accordingly,
a small body of volunteers was despatched from Meerut for the purpose
of retaking the town, which they were enabled to do by the aid of the
Dehra Gurkhas. Shortly afterwards, however, the Gurkhas marched
oft to join General Wilson's column, and the Giijars once more rose
in rebellion. Walidad Khan of Malagarh put himself at the head of
the movement, which proved strong enough to drive the small European
garrison out of the District. From the beginning of July till the end
of September, Walidad held Bulandshahr without opposition, and com-
manded the whole line of communications with Agra. Meantime,
internal feuds went on as briskly as in other revolted Provinces, the
old proprietors often ousting by force the possessors of their former
estates. But on the 25th of September, Colonel Greathed's flying
column set out from Ghazia^d for Bulandshahr, whence Walidad was
On t TY^? ei W ment > and forced to fly across the Ganges.
On the 4 th of October, the District was regularly occupied by Colonel

reoT,n ar ', a ,T ^ WaS mpidly reSt0red ' The P° lice were a t once
rtfrlT A? G mCaSUreS ° f repreSsi0n were adopted against the
refractory Gujars, many of whom still continued under arms. It was

ZnaZl ^!f nSt ^ rebds in Etah ea ^ in l8 5*, but the

eTol / f f n ,t hahr kSelf WaS n0t ^ in disturbed - Throughout

the progress of the Mutiny, the Jats almost all took the side of Govern-


merit, while the Giijars and Musalman Rajputs proved our most
irreconcilable enemies.

Population.— Tut earliest attempt to enumerate the inhabitants of
Bulandshahr, made in 1847, returned a total population of 699,093
souls, or 376 to the square mile. In 1853, the District was included in
the first regular Census ; when it was then found, in spite of a con-
siderable transfer of villages to Delhi and Aligarh, that the population
amounted to 778,342 souls, or 427 to the square mile. At the Census
of 1865, the numbers had risen to 800,431 souls. In 1872, the returns
showed a further advance to the total of 936,667, being an increase of
,36 236 persons in the short space of seven years. During the next
nine years, however, the population showed a decrease, the Census of
1881 returning the numbers at 924,822, or 11,845 ] ess than in 1872.
This decrease is attributable to a very severe fever epidemic in 1879,
which is said to have more than decimated the population. The Census
of 1881 was taken over an area of 1914-9 square miles, the returns
givim* the number of males at 491,958, and the females at 432,864 ;
total, 924,822, residing in 1510 villages and 96,446 houses. Proportion
of males in total population, 5 2'i per cent. The preponderance of
males is due, in part, to the former prevalence of female infanticide ;
but this practice, which all the vigilance of Government was long unable
to suppress, is now disappearing under the stringent regulations put in
force under the Act of 1870. With regard to religious distinctions,
Hindus numbered 748,256, or 80-9 per cent.; Musalmans, 175,458, or
,o-i per cent.; Jains, 967 I Sikhs, 24; Parsfs, 2; and Chr.stians, 115.
Amongst Hindus, the Brahmans muster very strongly, the enumeration
disclosing as many as 93,265 persons belonging to the sacred class.
They hold between them a large number of entire villages besides
being part-proprietors of many others. A portion of one Brahman
clan in this District has embraced Islam, though still maintaining its
relationship with the Hindu branch. The second great class, that ot
the Rajputs, is also numerous, being returned at 77,132 souls, iney
are the most important landowning element in Bulandshahr, holding
altogether 464 entire villages, together with shares in several more.
Badgdjars are their wealthiest clan, owning nearly one-seventh of he
total area. A large branch of them are Musalmans, who, till quite
lately, have kept up many Hindu customs in their marriage ceremonies
and other social observances. To the present day they will no
slaughter cattle, and retain the Hindu prefix of Thakur or Kunwar as
a title of respect. The Bhals, another Rajput clan, are also divided
into a Hindu and a Musalman branch. It is noticeable m each catt
that the Muhammadan families are wealthier and more powerful th,n
their kinsmen of the ancient faith. The Ban.yas or trading classy
number 41,921 persons, and hold 36 villages, nearly all of which have


been acquired under British rule. But the great mass of the population
in Bulandshahr, as in all parts of the North-Western Provinces, belongs
to the classes enumerated in the Census returns as ' other Hindu
castes,' aggregating 535,938 souls. Amongst them, the most numerous
are the Chamars (151,541 persons), after whom come the Jats (53,380),
Giijars (50,710), Lodhas (50,150), and Bhangis (30,531). The Musal-
mans, who form an important element in the proprietary body, are
classified according to sect into Sunnis, 168,305, and Shias, 7153.
Among the Muhammadans are included 20,075, originally belonging to
Hindu castes, of whom upwards of three-fourths, or 15,902, are Rajputs
by race. Of the Christian population of 115, 18 are natives, and the
remainder Europeans or Eurasians. One large estate of 63 villages is
in the hands of a Eurasian family. The total agricultural population in
1 88 1 was returned at 515,648. The District contains 12 towns with a
population exceeding 5000— namely, Khurja, 27,190; Bulandshahr

Or BARAN, 17,863; SlKANDARABAD, 16,479; SHIKARPUR, 10,708;

6 53 2 ; Jewar, 6219; Galaothi, 5404; Aurangabad, 5210; and
Dankaur, 5T22. These figures show an urban population of 127,496
persons, leaving 797,326 for the rural population. The 15 10 villages
and towns in Bulandshahr are thus classified in the Census Report,
according to population 1—335 contain less than two hundred inhabit-
ants; 599 from two to five hundred; 397 from five hundred to a
thousand; 127 from one to two thousand; 29 from two to three
thousand; n from three to five thousand; 7 from five to ten thousand;
2 from ten to fifteen thousand; 2 from fifteen to twenty thousand;
and i upwards of twenty thousand inhabitants. The language in use
in the country districts is Hindi, the Musalmans of the towns speak
Urdu, and the town Hindus use a dialect compounded of both. As
regards the occupations of the people, the Census Report classified the
male population into the following six main divisions:— (1) Professional
class, including Government officials and the learned professions, 8847 \

(2) domestic servants, hotel and lodging-house keepers, etc., 1793;

(3) commercial class, including merchants, traders, carriers, etc., 7969;

(4) agricultural and pastoral class, including gardeners, 183,496;

(5) manufacturing, artisan, and other industrial classes, 77,209;

(6) indefinite and non-productive (comprising 38,304 labourers, 29
men of rank and property without occupation, and 174,401 unspecified,
including male children), 212,734.

Agrkulture.-Vmmg the last thirty-five years, the cultivated area of
Bulandshahr has increased by nearly 100,000 acres, and the margin of
cultivable soil is still being rapidly reclaimed. In 1882, the land under
tillage amounted to 857,445 acres, almost equally divided between
spring and rain crops. Wheat, barley, and gram are the staple products


of the rabi harvest; and common millets and pulses of the kharif.

Indigo is also widely cultivated, forming one of the main common
crops; and cotton, safflower, and tobacco are grown in all parts i
District. In 1882, the acreage under the principal crops was returned
as follows i—Jodr and bdjrd, 210,837 acres; wheat and barley, 287,803
acres; cotton, 69,685 acres; Indian corn, 64,526 acres; pulses, 51.:
acres/ The advantages of irrigation are thoroughly appreciated in
Bulandshahr, more than one-fourth of the cultivated area being
artificially supplied with water. In 1882, as much as 308,110
acres were thus treated, and since that period the amount of
irrigated land has increased. Canals alone afforded water to
148*141 acres; but even this is far from showing the whole
benefit derived from these undertakings, as they have been
instrumental in promoting the growth of valuable export products,
such as cotton, indigo, and oil-seeds, rather than cheap food-stuffs.
Canal irrigation is both cheaper and better than the old method
of watering from wells, and by its comparative certainty is eliminating
the element of chance from the agriculture of the District. Manuring
is little practised, as the expense is beyond the limited means of the
cultivators. A model farm was established near Baran for five years
for purposes of experiment. Its results were in favour of the belief
that under existing circumstances the native methods, developed and
improved, are the best for the country and the people. Ihe condition
of the peasantry has been greatly ameliorated of late years and they
are now as comfortably off as in any portion of the Doab. Few culti-
vators are in debt to the village bankers, nor are those functionaries
acquiring landed property so rapidly as in other Districts. About one-
half of the cultivated area is held by tenants-at-will, the remainder being
divided between proprietary and hereditary cultivators. Bulandshahr is
one of the few Districts in the North-Western Provinces which possesses
a territorial aristocracy, residing upon their ancestral estates, and
exercising over the people a larger influence, for good or for evil, than
any absentee could hope to acquire. Thirteen of them have been
invested with magisterial powers within the limits of their respective
pargands. Rents are payable both in kind and in money, the heredi-
tary cultivators having in either case a prescriptive right to lower rates
than the general body of tenants. Best irrigated lands bring in ^,1,4-
per acre; best unirrigated, 14s.: outlying lands-irrigated 8s. to 10s. 6d.
per acre; unirrigated, 31 6d. to 51 The best agriculturists are he
Lodhas, Jats, and Jhajhars, and next to them the lagas and Ah.r>.
The worst cultivators are the Gdjars and Mewatis but the former are
steadily improving. The rise in price of agricultural produce : has
induced cultivators to extend the size of their ho dings and ******
for land has consequently become very great. The ordinary piescr.pt, e


rate for lands paying rent in kind is one-third; and the rate for ordinary
cultivators, one-half of the produce. This is usually paid in gram, an
allowance being made for all other products grown on the land beside
the principal crop. Under another system of division, the standing crop
is appraised, and the landlord takes his share in kind, or its equivalent
in money,— either one-half, two-fifths, or one third, etc. Wages and
prices have nearly doubled since 1850. Agricultural labourers are
usually paid in grain to the value of about 3d. a day, rising at
harvest time to as much as 6d. ; women obtain two-thirds and boys
one-half of a man's wages. Skilled labourers obtain from 12s. to
£1, 1 os. a month, the wages of stonecutters occasionally rising as high
as £2. Prices of food-grains ruled as follows in 1882 : Gram, 5s. 2d.
per cwt. ; bdjrd, 5s. per cwt. ; jodr, 4 s. 8d. per cwt. ; wheat, 5s. 6d".
per cwt.

Natural Calamities.— Bulandshahr suffered in former times from
famines due to continued drought; but there is reason to hope that the
spread of irrigation has removed this cause of apprehension for the
future. The people still remember with horror the scarcitv of 1837,
which has indelibly imprinted its miseries on the popular mind.'
Another great famine, also due to drought, occurred in i860, when
the Bulandshahr branch canal was constructed as a relief work, giving
occupation to 2500 able-bodied persons ; and in addition gratuitous
assistance was afforded to 11,396 weak or aged applicants. The
District was affected even more severely than its neighbours by the
rainless season of 1868-69 \ but, owing doubtless to the great increase
of irrigation since i860, it showed no signs of famine. There were
large reserves of grain in store, and exportation went on briskly towards
the centres of distress. Prices of course rose greatly above the average
war being quoted at 12 sers the rupee, or 9 s. 4 d. per cwt. ; but no relief
works were needed, and no demand for employment existed. As
a rule, when grain rises as high as 8 sers the rupee, or 14s. per cwt ,
measures of relief should be adopted. However, as canal irrigation is
still advancing, such a necessity will probably never again arise. The
communications also are excellent, and amply suffice for all purposes
of importation, if the local crops should ever prove insufficient for the
wants of the inhabitants.

Commerce and Trade, etc.— The chief exports from Bulandshahr are
safflower and indigo, but large quantities of cereals are also despatched
eastward and westward. The District not only supplies its own needs
in the consumption of cotton, but has a surplus of about 36,000 cwts.
available for exportation. Anupshahr is a large depot for wood and
bamboos. The manufactures are unimportant, consisting chiefly of fine
muslins at Sikandarabad, printed cloths at Jahangirabad, and carpets
at Jewar. Saltpetre is produced in. the crude state at 95 factories,


scattered through the country villages. Common salt was formerly-
made in large quantities, but its manufacture is now prohibited by law.
The country trade is carried on at the local markets, of which the most
largely frequented is at Dibhai. There the exports of country cloth in
1882, as registered at the railway station, averaged 700 maunds a month.
The only religious fair of any importance is that held at Anupshahr,
which attracts about 50,000 people from the neighbouring Districts.
On the same day, the full moon of the month of Kartik, nearly an
equal number assemble at Rdjghat, but all come and return by train,
and do not stay more than one day. The annual horse show and
District fair, held at the head-quarters station in the last week of
February, is said to be the most prosperous assembly of its kind in the
North- Western Provinces, and is visited by people from all parts of
India. Prizes are given to the value of about £400. Tne main mie
of the East Indian Railway passes through the whole length of Buland-
shahr, with stations at Dadri, Sikandarabad, Chola, and Khurja.
The Oudh and Rohilkhand Railway also traverses the south-eastern
corner of the District, crossing the Ganges at Rajghat, where it has a
station, and another at Dibhai. The roads are in excellent order ; and
the Ganges, the Jumna, and the canals are all employed as highways
for commercial purposes, so that there is no lack of land or water

Administration. — No statistics as to the public accounts of this
District in the early period of British rule can now be recovered, as the
records were destroyed during the Mutiny. In 1860-61, the revenue
amounted to ,£222,300, of which £109,866, or nearly one-half, was
contributed by the land-tax. In the same year, the expenditure on all
items was £102,162, or less than half the revenue. In 1870-71, the
receipts had risen to ,£250,447, of which £124,121, or almost exactly
one-half, was the product of the land-tax. In 1881, the land
revenue remained practically the same. This increase of revenue is
largely due to the benefits derived from canal irrigation. Meanwhile,
the expenditure had fallen to £100,163, or two-fifths of the receipts.
The District is ordinarily administered by a Magistrate-Collector and
two Assistants, a Deputy Collector, four tahsilddrs, and two munsifs.
In 1880-81, there were 29 magisterial and 9 civil courts. The regular
and municipal police numbered 879 men of all grades in 1880, main-
tained at a cost of £8848, of which £6522 were contributed from
imperial and £2326 from local funds. There was thus 1 regular
policeman to every 2-20 square miles and to every 1052 inhabitants.
This force was supplemented by 1974 chaukiddrs or village watchmen,
whose pay, defrayed by the landlords or villagers, amounts to an
estimated sum of £7 1 53 annually. The total machinery, therefore, for
the protection of person and property consisted of 2853 men, giving


one man to every 323 inhabitants and to every -67 of a square mile.
The District contains one jail, the average number of prisoners in which
was 964 in 1850, 127 in i860, 137 in 1870, and 224 in 1880. In i860,
the persons admitted numbered 1321; in 1870, 735 ; and in 1880, 1716.
The total number of persons convicted for all offences, except sanitary
cases, great or small, in 1880, was 724, being 1 criminal to every 1121
inhabitants. Education has made rapid advances of late years. In
1845, there were only 187 indigenous schools in Bulandshahr, with a
total of 1813 pupils. In i860, the number of schools had risen to 388,
while the roll of pupils amounted to 5882, and the sum expended on
education to ^2334. In 1871, though the number of schools had
decreased to 301, the children under instruction reached the total of
6955, and the sum expended had risen to ^3177. In 1880-81, the
number of schools under Government inspection, and maintained or
supported by the Sate, was 130, with a total of 3938 pupils on the
rolls on the 31st March 1882. There were also in the same year 305
elementary indigenous schools, at present (1883) receiving no Govern-
ment grant-in-aid and uninspected, attended by 3185 pupils, making
a total of 435 schools and 7123 pupils. The District is sub-divided
into 4 tahsils and 13 pargands, with an aggregate, in 1882, of 2644
estates. The average land revenue paid by each estate amounted in
that year to ^46, 18s. id. There are 4 municipalities in the District
—namely, Khurja, Bulandshahr, Aniipshahr, and Sikandarabad. In
1880-81, their total income amounted to ^5599, and their expenditure
to £5346.

Medical Aspects.— The climate of Bulandshahr is very variable, being
cold in winter and hot in summer, dry during the sultry spring winds,
and extremely moist during the autumn rains. No thermometrical
observations have been made in the District. The average rainfall was
2,2'S inches in 1867-68, 13-9 in 1868-69 (the year of scarcity), 21-5 in
1869-70, 32-0 in 1870-71, and 25-18 in 1880, the average rainfall for a
period of 30 years being 26-12 inches. Malarious fever is the chief
endemic disease of Bulandshahr, being especially prevalent during the
rainy reason. Small-pox and cholera occasionally appear in an epidemic
form. The total number of deaths from all causes reported in 1880
was 26,201, or 28-33 per thousand of the population; and of these,
25,150 deaths were assigned to fever, and 524 to bowel complaints.
Charitable dispensaries are established in the towns of Baran, Khurja,
Sikandarabad, and Aniipshahr, with a resident Assistant Surgeon at
each of the three first, and at which a total of 34,047 persons received
medical treatment in 1881. The natives thoroughly appreciate the
advantages of skilful treatment and European medicines. During
1870-71 the cattle of the District suffered severely from an outbreak of
foot-and-mouth disease, accompanied by rinderpest. [For further in-


formation regarding Bulandshahr, see the Gazetteer of the North- Weston
Provinces, vol. iii. pp. 1 to 194. Also the Census Report of 188 1, and
the Annual Administration Reports of the North- Western Provinces from
1880 to 1883.]

Bulandshahr (or Baran). — Town and administrative head-quarters
of Bulandshahr District, North-Western Provinces, and a station on
the main line of the East Indian Railway. Lat. 28 24' 11" n., long.
77° 54' 15" e. Population (1881) 17,863, namely, Hindus, 10,148;
Muhammadans, 7600 ; Jains, 56 ; Christians, 57 ; and ' others,' 2. Area
of town site, 610 acres. Municipal income (1880-81), .£1363 ; average
incidence of municipal taxation, is. 6^d. per head of population. Lies
on the west side of the Kali Nadi, and consists of an upper and a lower
town, the former and more ancient portion occupying the summit of a
high and precipitous hill of artificial formation on the river bank, while the
latter or modern town stretches over the low-lying ground to the west.
Elevation above sea-level, 741 feet. Baran is a place of great antiquity,
coins of Alexander the Great and the Indo-Bactrian kings of Upper

Online LibraryWilliam Wilson HunterThe imperial gazetteer of India (Volume 3) → online text (page 17 of 56)