Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Shahjahanpur under Afghans

The Lodis
The conquest of Jaunpur by Bahlol Lodi led to the institution of more vigorous policy with regards to the yet unsubdued parts of Hindustan, and to the rapid extension of Musalman domination ; but this proved far from acceptable to the independent Rajputs , who rose in open revolt , necessitating an expedition on the part of Sikander Lodi in person in 1492. The weak rule of Ibrahim Lodi and the troubles caused by the invasion of Babur reduced every thing to confusion.

The Suris
Humayun was too engrossed in securing his own position during the first ten troublous years of his reign to pay any attention to the remote tracts; but a marked change ensued with accession of  Sher Shah Suri who was undoubtedly a more effectual ruler of his dominions than any of his Muslim predecessors.When he first came into power one Nasir Khan was in charge Sumbhal , but as this man proved incapable of quelling the Katehrias single-handed, he was made subordinate to Isa Khan Kalkapuri, who was given, as well as the town of Tilhar, now for the first time mentioned, the parganas of Kant and Gola in jagir. In Nasir Khan he had lieutenant of great ferocity and their united endeavors brought the zamindars into subjugation , while at the same time much of the forest was cleared and cultivation extended rapidly. Sher Shah's successor , Islam Shah , was enabled to call the Katehrias to his standard in his campaign against Khawas Khan, but the relapse into confusion caused by the incapacity of Ibrahim Suri and the attempts of other claimants to the throne caused the Rajputs once again to rebel in 1555, when they were crushed by Akbar's general Ali Quli Khan, Khan Zaman.

                                                           Location of Shahjahanpur in Uttar Pradesh

The Daudzais
Diler Khan and Bahadur Khan, the sons of a Daudzai trader named Darya Khan , a soldier of fortune in the service of  Jahangir, had risen to high position in the army of Shahjahan and were jagirdars of Kalpi and Kanauj. Bahadur Khan was originally called Sarabdal Khan and received the title of Umdat-ul-mulk, and he and his brother received many marks of imperial favour, although their father had taken a prominent part in the rebellion of Khan Jahan Lodhi. In 1647 Bachhils and Gaurs plundered a treasure convoy at Kant , and Diler Khan Daudzai sought permission to chastise the offenders. This was granted , and accordingly he attacked the Rajputs and defeated them at Chinaur inflicting on them a loss , it is said, of 13,000, while 1100 Musalmans are believed to have fallen in the fight. In recognition of his success the Emperor bestowed 14 villages on Diler Khan and ordered him to build a fort. A site was chosen at a place called Noner khera , near the junction of Garra and Khanaut , where tradition states that an old Gujar stronghold existed in former days. Diler Khan also founded the mohallas of Dilerganj and Bahadurganj , and the city was populated by a large body of Afghans sent hither by Bahadur Khan , at that time serving beyond the Indus. The stories goes that these Afghans belonged to 52 tribes and that each had its own mohallah ; many quarters of the city being to this day called after Afghan clans. The history of the town and of Darya Khan's family is told in anonymous work called Shahjahanpurnama or the Anhar-ul-bahr written in 1839, and also in Akhbar-i-Muhabat of Nawab Muhabat Khan. Diler Khan afterwards founded Shahabad in Hardoi , where his descendnets still reside, while Bahadur Khan Daudzai had twenty sons , from whom sprang many of the leading Pathan families of the city and district. The eldest of his sons was Ghairat Khan Daudzai, the father of Zain-ud-din Khan , who was killed in 1712 at the battle fought near Agra by Farrukhsiyar against Jahandar Shah. The son of Zain-ud-din Khan was Bahadur Khan, who lost his life in 1725. The family continue to reside in Shahjahanpur , and retained the title of Nawab till 1857 mutiny.

The Rohillas
The Afghans of Shahjahanpur remained nominally subject to the governors of Bareilly , but in 1679 the Jangharas and Katehrias rose in revolt , with the result that when Aurangzeb died the whole of  Rohilkhand was in a state of anarchy. In 1720, Muhammad Khan Bangash, the Nawab of Farrukhabad, was given Jalalabad (Tehsil of Shahjahanpur), which he made over to his chela, Shamsher Khan. along with Badaun and Sahaswan. His growing power brought to his side the Afghans of Shahjahanpur , many of whom enlisted in his service. About the same time Ali Muhammad Khan , the Rohilla leader , was gradually extending his possessions and by 1740 he was officially recognized as the governor of all Rohilkhand. His death occurred in the beginning of 1749 , and in the same year Qaim Khan of Farrukhabad , at the instigation of Nawab wazir of Oudh, who had long cast covetous eyes on the province , invaded Rohilkhand but was defeated and slain by the Rohillas at Dauri Rasulpur near Budaun. In this manner the Rohillas, led by Hafiz Rahmat Khan as regent , gained possession of the entire district, expelling the Bangash from Jalalabad. The history of the Rohillas is rather concerned with the accounts of other districts of Rohilkhand than with that of Shahjahanpur , for although the latter passed into the hands of Hafiz Rehmat Khan on the partition of the country in 1754 , the tract was hardly under the immediate control of the Rohilla leader. The towns of Shahjahanpur and Tilhar were still left in the hands of the old Afghan families , while elsewhere the Gaur Raja of Pawayan and the Hindu zamindars were left in almost independent possession of their estates. On the other hand Rohillas left their mark very clearly on the internal arrangement of the district. The old parganas were abolished or greatly reduced in size , while many new subdivisions were added. Thus Gola disappeared altogether , and of its ten components tappas Islamabad, Jiwan, or Murtazabad, Aurangabad and part of Haveli went to form the pargana of Payawan , which comprised the Raja's territory. Another portion of Haveli and tappa Pilkhana became pargana Baragaon : Nigohi Godarna and rest of Haveli were incorporated in Nigohi. Mati and part of Majhra became pargana Khutar , and rest of Majhra with Chakidpuri was assigned to Puranpur. The Mihrabad pargana was taken out of Shamsabad , and Kant remained almost unchanged , save for the formation of Tilhar and detachment of a small corner included in Khera Bajhera. The small pargana of Katra had already come into existence during the reign of Aurangzeb , when Kamalzai Khan , the son of Murtaza Khan, built Katra  on the ruins of the old town Miranpur.

Fall of Rohillas
The weak point of Rohilla state was the exposed nature of its south-eastern frontier. The Afghan authority extended along the banks of Ganges as far the limits of the Farrukhabad principality, but the southern and eastern border of Kant were undefined , save where the Garra for a few miles constitued the dividing line between Rohilkhand and the dominions of the Nawab Wazir of Oudh. The fact , coupled with the absence of any strong Rohilla garrison , was in itself sufficient to bring the two powers into conflict, and matters were further complicated by the attitude of Shahjahanpur Afghans, who seemed to have resented the assumption of authority by their fellow tribesmen of Bareilly, Aonla and Baduan, and in consequence extended their sympathies rather towards Oudh than to Hafiz Rehmat Khan and his confederates. All the efforts of Safdar Jang and Shuja-ud-daula , however, proved of no avail in the matter of extending their boundaries westwards , and since Hafiz Rehmat Khan found himself unable to control the possessors of Shahjahanpur and considered it more politic to humour than to coerce the Bachhils , Katehrias and Gaurs , the eastern half of this district remained debateable ground, wherein the local zamindars were practically independent . The Afghans themselves were under no control; the administration of justice , the collection of revenue and the intercourse of commerce were at a stand still; the roads were infested with armed robbers , and the boundaries were constantly liable to raids on the parts of Marathas.

                                                Shuja-ud-daula, Nawab of Oudh

The Rohilla War
At length matters reached a climax when in 1773 Shuja-ud-daula enlisted the support of Warren Hastings in his resolve to compel the Rohillas to pay the debts they had incurred and to relieve himself from the constant menace of Maratha invasion through the undefended country of Rohilkhand. It was consequently arranged that the Oudh forces should be assisted by a brigade of the Company's troops under Colonel.A.Champion, and the allied army entered Rohilkhand from Shahabad on 17th of April 1774, without much opposition. In the mean time Rohilla leader had taken up a strong position near Katra, with his rear and one flank resting on the Bahgul. His available force comprised 28,000 men with 60 guns and a great number of rockets ; he was accompanied by Faizullah Khan of Rampur, but owing to the innumerable dissensions among the chieftains , the sons of Fateh Khan Khansaman and Dunde Khan , as well as many other Rohillas of note, had withdrawn themselves from his support. At Shahjahanpur Champion endeavored to draw Hafiz Rehmat Khan from his position by a feint , giving out his intention of proceeding towards either Pilibhit or Badaun. This had the desired effect , for on the 22nd of April the Rohillas began their forward march , and early on the morning of the next day they were thrown into confusion by the sudden appearance of allies marching along the Bareilly road. Hafiz Rehmat Khan at once formed his line of battle. The action was a mere cannonade, in which advantage lay with superior guns , ammunition and discpline. The Afghan cavalry vainly attempted to effect a diversion on the flanks, and when Hafiz Rehmat Khan fell struck by a cannon ball on the breast, the entire line broke and fled. Some 2,000 were left dead or wounded on the field , while champion loss was 132 and that of the Nawab Wazir 254.
                                               Warren Hastings

Shahjahanpur - A Gazetteer., 1910, p.135-140