Rohilkhand

About Rohilkhand

Rohilkhand (Urdu: روہیل کھنڈ‎, Hindi: रोहिलखंड) is a region of northwestern Uttar Pradesh state of India, named after the Rohilla Afghan tribes. The region was known as Madhyadesh in the Hindu epic Mahabharata.

Rohilkhand lies on the upper Ganges alluvial plain and has an area of about 25,000 km²/10,000 square miles (in and around the City of Bareilly). It is bounded by the Ganges River on the south and the west by Uttarakhand and Nepal on the north, and by the Awadh region to the east. It includes cities of Bareilly, Moradabad, Rampur, Bijnore, Pilibhit, Shahjahanpur, Budaun.

Cities:-

History

The area was made famous by the previous settlement of Rohillas, who were Afghan highlanders of the Yusufzai and other tribes who were awarded the Katehr region in northern India by the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb Alamgir to suppress Rajput uprisings. Later it gained fame as Rohilkhand due to large settlements of Rohilla Pathans in the City of Bareilly and Rampur. Roh means mountains and in Pashto and Rohilla means mountaineer. Today, the Afghan proper refer to themselves as Ban-i-Afghan or Ban-i-Isrial to differentiate themselves from the Indian Pathan. Rohilkhand was invaded by the Marathas after Panipat war.

The first invasion of Maratha on Rohillakhand took place on 1751–1752, The Marathas were requested by Safdarjung, the Nawab of Oudh, in 1752, to help him defeat Afghani Rohilla. The Maratha forces and Awadh forces besieged Rohillas, who had sought refuge in Kumaon but had to retreat when Ahmad Shah Abdali invaded India .

In 1772, Marathas, led by Mahadji Sindhia defeated Zabita Khan, whose possessions lay west to Rohilkhand and they also destroyed Najib-ul-Daula‘s grave, scattering the bones all around. After plundering Rohillakhand Maratha proceed towards Oudh. Sensing the same fate as Rohilla, Nawab made frantic calls to British troops in Bengal. British company knew that Nawab of Oudh didn’t possess any danger for British company, whereas Maratha will try to invade Bengal and Bihar after overrunning Oudh. British company dispatched 20,000 British troops on the order of then Viceroy of British India. British wanted to free Rohillakhand from Maratha and give it to Nawab. The two armies came face to face in Ram Ghat, but the sudden demise of then Peshwa and the civil war in Poona to choose the next Peshwa forced Maratha to retreat. Rohilla decided not to pay because there was no war between the two states. Further, British made Oudh a buffer state in order to protect it from Maratha, and from there on, British troops start protecting Oudh. The subsidy of one British brigade to provide protection to Nawab and Oudh from Maratha was decided to be Rs 2,10,000.

In 1737, the country around Farrukhabad was in the hands of an Afghan jagirdar, Kaiam Khan Bangash. The province, known now as Rohilkhand and then as Kuttahir, was in the occupation of a band of Afghan mercenary soldiers known as Rohels or Rohillas, from “Roh”, the Pushtu or Afghan word for mountain. About 1673, two brothers, Shah Alam and Hussein Khan, left their native hills and obtained some petty office under the Mughals. Shah Alam’s grandson, Ali Mahomed, a man of resource and courage and quite devoid of scruple, was eventually appointed governor of Sirhind. Taking advantage of the invasion of Ahmad Shah Abdali, he added in 1748 to the lands already acquired by him those formerly owned by officers absent on field service. In this way, he acquired the whole of Kuttahir and changed its name to Rohilkhand.

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