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                                                                           ANCIENT PERIOD

The early history of the region now within the district of Etawah is quite interesting. It once formed part of the ancient country of Panchala which is said to have extended from the foot of the Himalayas in the north to the river Chambal in south, although it is doubtful if it extended south of Yamuna, the portion being included in Ajad Janpad. That the region was inhabited in primitive times is testified by the finding of pre-historical bronze weapons scattered all over the Ganga- Yamuna doab. This region must have been civilised long ago, probably during Bronze Age or even sometime before. A spear head in British Museum which was presented in 1837, is supposed to come from Etawah. It is a simple barbed lancelate with bronze blade, about thirteen inches in length without any extra hooks or barbs. The weapon is known as Norham harpoon.

The earliest known Aryan people who settled in this region were the Panchalas who were close allies of Kurus, usually mentioned as Kuru-Panchalas. Panchala is the later name of the people called Krivi in the Rigveda. Connected with the Kurus were the Krivis who possibly lived on the Sindhu (Indus) and the Askini (Chenab) in the early Rigvedic age and. later moved to the east across the Yamuna to a region which came to be known as Panchala. The Satapatha Brahmana asserts that Krivi was the older name of the panchalas. The insignificance of the Krivis in the later literature as compared with the importance of the Panchalas is probably due to the fact that the later Kuru-Panchala alliance included not only the Bharatas and other tribes but Krivis also. During the Vedic period, Panchalas are seldom mentioned alone their name being usually coupled with that of Kurus. The Kuru Panchalas are often expressly referred to as a united nation. At one time, they are said to have one king like Kraivya and Sona Satrasaha, who performed the horse-sacrifices on the bank of the river Yamuna and thus claimed imperial power. The two together were regarded as per-eminent among the peoples living in Madhya desha. They figured in the texts as the best representatives of Vedic culture, models of good form, speakers of the best Sanskrit, performers of sacrifices with perfection, having the best of kings and running the best academies one of which was at Parichakra,. usually identified with modern Chakar Nagar of the district. Parichakra is also mentioned in the Satapatha Brahmana as the name of a Panchala town where king Kraivya Panchala performed horse sacrifice

The traditional history of the region from the earliest time till the end of Mahabharata is gleaned mainly from the Puranas, though the Mahabharata and Ramayana occasionally give dynastic lists and deal with traditional accounts. The traditional history of this region starts with the king Ajamida who was the fifth successor in the line of the famous king Bharata. He had three sons. Riksha. Nila and Brihadvasu. Riksha, the eldest, succeeded his father at Hastinapur, while Nila and Brihadvasu founded what later came to be known as the North Panchala and South Panchala dynasties. The latter comprised the region south of Ganga including this district and had its capital at Kampilya. The Panchalas, thus, were a branch of the Bharatas, who belonged to the line of Puru of the lunar race. The country came to be known as Panchala from the "five" sons of Bhrimayashva (sixth in descent from Ajamida) who were jocosly nicknamed "capable" (pancha-alam) and the region may have come to be known as Panchala because it represented the kingdom for the maintenance of which five capable persons were enough7. After the death of Bhrimayashva, the kingdom was divided eariong these five sons of his, each receiving a principality.

Brahmadatta seems to have been an important king among the South Panchalas. Brahmadatta's great grandson Janmejaya Dur-buddhi, was a tyrant and was killed by URrayadha of the Dvimi-dhas and the dynasty went in the hands of Dvimidhas. Prishata the exiled North Panchala claimant, sputrht refuge in Kampilya, the capital of South Panchala when his kingdom was annexed ry Ugrayudha, Later on the celebrated Paurava. prince, Bhishma. killed Ugrayudha and resorted Prishata to his ancestal kingdom. Drupada succeeded his father Prishata. Drona. a fellow student, whom Drupada had once insulted, defeated the later with the aid of young Pandu and Kuru princes who were his desciples. Drona kept North Panchala for himself and gave South Panchala to Drupada. Parichakra or Ekchakra was one of the main cities of South Panchala and thus this region came under the rule of Drupada.

This region rose into great prominence during the period of Mahabharata. Many local traditions are attached to the modern Chakar Nagar of the district which most probably seems to be Ekchakra mentioned in the Mahabharata. This is the place of great antiquity and enormous kheras or mounds have been found here. Popular tradition says that the city in the time of Pandavas was so large that one gate was at Sartal and the other gate at Bharoh, though these places are 10 miles apart. This story derives some support from the fact that bricks are found at a depth of five or six feet in the surrounding villages. It was Ekchakra where Pandavas along with their mother Kunti spent their secret abode of one year during the period of their exile. According to Mahabharata, whilst Bhima and his brother Pandavas were in hiding from the Kauravas in exile, they came to the city of Ekchakra and dwelt in the house of a Brahmana. Close by stood the village Bakri, where lived the powerful Asura called Vaka, whose daily food, was a human-being, the victim being supplied alternatively by Bakri and Chakarpur. While Pandavas stayed in his house, it came to the Brabmana's turn to supply a victim for the demon Bakasura. The Brahmana declared that he could hot give his son the wife that her husband must not be sacrificed, and she must go herself. Bhima then said that he had eaten their salt, and would go himself to the Asura. He faught with the demon at Bakri and killed him. An old well has been found here near a Khera which is locally said to be the well in which Bhima threw Bakasura after-killing him.

King Drupada of South Panchala which comprised most of this district also played an important part in the great Mahabharata War. He had a daughter named Daupadi who was married to Pandavas in a swayamvara and therefore, South Panchalas were the staunch supporters of the Pandavas in the Mahabharata war. In the War Druoada's priest was sent to the Kauravas on behalf of-the Pandavas for negotiations. During the war Dhrishtadyumna, the son of king Drupada, was appointed the Comrnander-in-Chief of the Pandava. Drupada was killed by Drona on the 15th day of war and finally the same evening Dhrishtadyumna took revenge by killing Drona in the battle-field. Kauravas appointed Ashvatthama as the last commander who with the help of the other two survivors from among the Kaurava heroes, Kripa and Krita-varman, stealthily entered into, the Pandava camp at night and slaughtered Dhrishtadyumna who was sleeping.

After the great Mahabharata war the history of this region sinks into oblivion for a long period except for a brief mention during the time of Lord Buddha in the sixth century B.C. Nothing is heard in the post-Mahabharata period about South Panchala or even of Panchala, the common, name Panchala being used for the entire .region of which Kampilya, winch had till then been the capital of South Panchala, now became one of the prominent centres of Brahmanical learning and culture The Panchala was the third in the lift (preserved in the Puranas) of the ten ruling dynasties which flourished at the end of Mahabharata war and continued till the time of Nandas but except the number of their kings which .is said to be twenty-seven or twenty-five who ruled one after the other during this .period, no details are forthcoming.

Panchala figures as the tenth in the list of the sixteen premier states (Sodasamahajanapada) of the time of Lord Budha and Mahavira and is said to have extended from the foot of Himalayas to the river Chambal which includes this district -also. Originally a monarchical clan, the Panchalas formed a 'samgha' or a republican corporation in the sixth and fifth centuries B.C. Alavi or Alabhiya is mentioned as one of the important places of the Budhist period. It is identified with modern Airwa, 27 miles north-east of the present district. According to the commentary of the Suttanihata and the Samyukta Nikaya, a cannibal demon, also called Atawi was living here in the days of Buddha who used to kill and eat a human being every day. Buddha tried to convert Atavi by gentle means, but. failing in this, he proceeded to bring the demon to submission by fear. Having succeeded in this, Buddha, then, imparted saving truth of Buddhism and the demon was converted and became a devoted Buddhist. Mahavir.i is said to have passed his seventh rainy season in this region. Another time he travelled here from Vayaggama Goshala is also said to have visited Alabhiya. Ajad, also, was an important place in the fifth and fourth centuries B. C. The name figures in Ashtadhyayi of Panini. The name is associated with the aja or goats. It is recognized as trans-Yomima portion of Etawah and Jalaun districts and adjacent areas of Malwa, the region between Chambal and Yamuna, being still famous for its goats which are exported in truckloads to Calcutta and eastern districts from the bi-weakly market of Babarpur located at the end of ravinous tract. Panini is placed sometimes in 500 B C. Manu Smriti has also referred Panchala as situated in Brahmarshidesha from where soldiers were recruited.

About the middle of the fourth century B. C. this territory was annexed to the Nanda empire of Magadha, probably in the reign of Mahapadmananda, After the Nandas the district came under the dominion of Mauryas.

With the downfall of the Mauryas, Panchalas of this period probably ruling over this region started as feudatories of the Mauryas and gradually gained power as the fortunes of the latter declined perhaps themselves helping in expediting that decline but were subsequently weakened by feuds with their own allies and might have been therefore brought under subjugation by the newly risen imperial power of 1he Sungas. Pushyamitra Sunga overthrew Mauryan power and established Sunga dynasty which lasted about one hundred years from 187 B.C. to 75 B.C. After Sungas, the Kanva dynasty wielded power from 75-30 B. C. The subordination of this region, however, seems to have lasted only for a short time because the Sunga power soon declined due to the centrifugal forces which possibly received a philip from the incursions of the Greeks (Demetrius and his lieutenant Menander).

It has been suggested on the basis of Yuga-Purana, a section of Gargi Samhita. that the viciously valiant Greeks overran Panchala along with Kurus and Malwas and that there was a complete breakdown of administration. Fortunately, the people fought the invading army so ferociously, that they thought it fit to retrace their steps and they were unable to reap the fruits of their military success. Mahabhasya of Pataniali also refers to the same Greek invasion.

The history of this region, from the end of the Kanva rule to the rise of the Guptas, three hundred years later, is very obscure. Reference may be made in this connection to a large number of coins found at places like Mathura and Panchala countries, which are supposed to be associated with Mitra rulers. Thus, the Mitra rulers of Panchala were not a local dynasty of Panchala, but probably held sway over extensive region in Northern India covering this district also About the beginning of the second century A. D when the Kushana power under Kanishka expanded eastward, the Mitra rulers of Panchala seem to have been subjugated by it and were probably allowed to live as feudatories. Kanishka's rule, extended over the Madhyadesha, Uttarapatha and Aparanta divisions of ancient India which probably covers this district also.

Numismatic evidence discloses the names of many tribal republics and members of the monarchial ruling families, which nourished in different parts of the central and western regions of Northern India and immediately preceding and following the commencement of Christian era. According to Puranas, Naga kings nourished, apparently after the decline of the Kushanas at Mathura. Evidence shows that these Naga kings nourished in the western parts of U. P. including the present district of Etawah. particularly in the third and fourth centuries A. D. Achyu (or Achyuta) and Nagasena are the last known independent Panchala kings who flourished about the middle of the fourth century A. D. According to the Allahabad stone-pillar inscription, Samudragupta led his campaign into Aryavarta and began by uprooting the neighbouring kingdoms of Achyuta and Nagasena.

During the fourth century A. D., Guptas once again established imperial unity in India. The present region of Etawah also shared the fruits of Golden Age and contributed much towards peace and prosperity of Central India. Chakarnagar, Airwa and the fort of Kudarkot (ancient Govidhumat) are the important Gupta sites in this district. The Chinese traveller Fa-hien who visited a city named 'A-lo, i.e., Alavi, which has been identified with modern Airwa and spent his retreat at the Dragon shrine. Fa-hien described it as "a city near a large forest" (atavi): There are the remains of Buddhist and Jain temples evidently of very ancient date in a large number Kings like Samudragupta, Chandragupta, Kumararrupta. Skandagupta and Buddhagupta ruled over this region peacefully. But the death of Buddhagupta was followed by a period of troubles. We find the evidence of internal dissensions caused by disputed succession, leading to the partition of the empire, and to make matters worse, there was renewed invasion of the Hunas with far greater success than before. History records the continuance of the rule of later Guptas till long afterwards, but Huna onrush appears to have brought the Gupta dynasty to its fall. Hunas, under the leadership of Tormana advanced into the heart of India and established their settlements in central India and thus the district came into the clutches of foreign Hunas. Tormana was succeeded by Mihirakula and he continued his father's policy of cruelities and it was king Yashodharman who rose to deliver the land from an intolerable foreign realm and inflicted a crushing defeat on the tyrannical Huna chief, Mihirakula.

Thus, amid these political convulsions the later Guptas tried to revive their lost glories in this region but they failed as the process of disintegration had gone too far and fresh complications had arisen owing to the growth of new powers. Among them the Maukharis were the most powerful and were destined to play an important part in the later history of India. Maukharis, although ruling at firstras feudal.chiefs in Bihar and U. P., gradually rose to power in the region covered by this district and founded an independent kingdom at Kannauj perhaps about the middle of the 6th century A. D.3 From this period till the advent of Muslims this district was almost governed by the imperial dynasties of Kannauj. Harivarman appears to have been the founder of Maukhari house of Kannauj, as he is the first to be named in the known records of this dynasty. He was succeeded by his son Aditya-varaman and grandson Ishvaravarman respectively. These three kings were undoubtedly feudateries of the Gupta empire and flourished in this region during the first half of the sixth century A. D. Ishvaravarman was succeeded by his son, Ishanavarman whose mother was a Gupta princess. Gupta kings-Kumaragupta and Damodargupta gave a severe blow to the rise of Maukharis and both of them defeated Ishanavarman. Ishanavarman was succeeded by his son, Sarvavarman. He thoroughly avenged his father's defeat by his successful engagements with the Guptas. Unfortunately, we do not know anything about Sarvavarman's successor owing to a cuiious break in the records. Probably, Avantivarman succeeded Sarvavarman to the throne. Avantivarman was .succeeded by his eldest son Grahavarman. He was married to princess Rajyashri of Thaneshwar. According to Harshacharitra of Bana, Devagupta of Malwa advanced against Kannauj with the support and co-operation of Sasanka King of Gauda. iust at the opportune moment when Prabhakarvardhan, the king of Thaneshwar, had died and defeated and killed Grahavarman. Thus, Kannauj was seized and occupied; and Rajyashri was thrown into a duneon. Hearing of this calamity, Rajyavardhana, King of Thaneshwar, procceedcd to save Kannauj but was killed by the king of Gauda. Instantly, on hearing the tragic news of his brother's assassination, Harsha advanced towards Kannauj. He rescued his sister from Vindhya forest and in the absence of any other Maukhari claimant, Kannauj passed into the hands of Harsha The amalgamation of these two powerful kingdoms helped Harsha greatly in extending the sphere of his influence power this region covered by the present district. With the coronation of Harsha as a king (in 606 A.D.) the district came under Thaneswar dynasty. Hiuen Tsang. in his works has also dwelt upon the prosperity of this region. Harsha extended his empire far and wide by his conquests. Hiuen Tsang visited this region and according to him, Kannauj was situated about a distance of 200 'li' north-west from Sankisa. Taking Hiuen Tsang's estimate of 667 miles as approximately correct the probable limits of the province of Kannauj must have included all the country between Khairabad and Tanda, on the Ghaghra, and Etawah and Allahabad on the Yamuna, which would give a circuit of about 600 -miles Thus, during the reign of Harsha, this region became more prominent and prosperous. Hiuen Tsang has mentioned in his work a place "Kuang-ye" which denotes the wild unoccupied land beyond the boundaries of a city or town which is Alavi as mentioned in Buddhist works and is identified with Airwa of the district.

For more than half a century after the death of Harsha the history of this region, as that of the rest of northern India, spells anarchy and confusion. In the second quarter of the eighth century the district seems to have been included in the dominions of king Yashovarman (725-52 A.D.1 of Kannauj. He is credited with great expeditions and conquests. He defeated the king of Magadh but suffered a reverse at the hands of Lalitaditya of Kashmir.

Except for certain shadowy figures no substantial historical figure is associated with the region after the fall of Yashovarman till about the eighth century A. D. We find mention of three Ayudha kings in the works of Rajashekhara, the dramatist, who flourished in this region. The first king of this dynasty was Vajrayudha, who ascended the throne sometime about 770 A. D. It is significant to note that Rajashekhara uses the name Panchala of which the district forms a part for the country of which Kannaui was the capital Vajrayudha, is said to have been defeated by Jayapida Vinayaditya of Kashmir. He was succeeded by Indrayudha. It was probably during his reign that Dhruva Rashtrakuta invaded the territories of the Doab including this region. Indrayudha was afterwards defeated and dethroned by Dharmapala of Bengal, who raised his protege Chakrayudha to the throne of Kannauj. This political arrangement was approved by nearly all the principal states then existing. But the Rashtrakutas could not tolerate the Bengal king's assumption of the supererne status in this region and accordingly a trial of strength between the two powers became inevitable. According to Sanjan Plates of Amoghavarsha I, Dharmapala and Chakrayudh surrendered themselves to Govind III, the son and successor of Dhruva. This created confusion in this region. Nagabhatta II of Pratihara dynasty took advantage of the situation, and defeated Chakrayudha. After this, Nagabhatta boldly annexed this region and initiated a new line of ruler's there.

During the whole of the ninth and tenth centuries, this region was governed by Gurjara Pratihara rulers. The conquest of Kannauj by Nagabhatta II at once gave to the Pratiharas the supreme power in this regions. Nagabhatta was succeeded by Ramabhadra sometimes about 833 A. D. He seems to have ruled for a short time. After a very short reign lasting for about three years, Ramabhadra was succeeded by his son Mihira-Bhoja (836-885 A.D.). He seems to have started his career with a debit balance of reverses and defeats suffered by his father Rambhadra which had considerably lowered the prestige of the Pratihara family His empire extended over a large area from the foot of Himalayas up to the river Narmada and,must have included the present district of Etawah. The country was then prosperous and safe from robbers and rich in natural resources. Bhoja was succeeded by his son Mahendrapala (c. 885-910 A. D.) Mahendrapala was a liberal patron of letters and the richest literary ornament of his court was Rajashekhara.

The Guriara Pratihara history of this region after Mahendrapala is a record of disputed succession, internal trouble and beginning of the decline. At first, Bhoja II came to the throne with the help.of Kokkaladeva, the old Chedi ruler and Rashtrakuta king Krishna II. He was soon displaced by his half-brother, Mahipala, who got the support of Harshadeva Chandella. Though there were some disturbances caused by Rashtrakutas, Mahipal soon got over his initial troubles and resumed his father's scheme of conquests. His reign over this region brought stability for a short period. Mahipala was succeeded by his son Vinayakapala and grandson Mahendrapala II respectively who ruled for a short time The rule of Devapala who ascended the throne shortly before 948 A. D. was marked by the rise of Chandellas This was the signal of the decline and disruption of the empire, which continued during the time of Vijayapala until it became divided into several powers.

When Rajyapala came to the throne, the political situation had become complicated by the agressions of the Muslims of Ghazni. Along with other contemporary Hindu rulers, Rajyapala took his share to stem the tide of their advance into the interior of the country. According to Utbi and Ibn-ul-Athir when Mahmud approached Kanyakubja for the first time, Rajyapala fled from the city across Ganga to Barni leaving it unprotected before the plundering army of the Ghazni Sultan. This submission of the Pratihara monarch enraged the Chandella chief. Ganda and his forces under the command of crow-prince Vidyadharadeva killed Rajyapala and placed his son Trilochanapal on the throne when Mahmud received notice of the event he marched towards Kannauj in the autumn of H. 410 or 1019 A. D. and utterly routed Trilochanapala in the engagement. He took all the seven forts of Kannauj. From Kannauj Mahmud went to Munj (identified with present Munj in Etawah), known as the fort of Brahmanas. the inhabitants of which were independent. They offered strong opposition and when they found they could not withstand the Musalmans, and that their blood would be shed, they took to flight, throwing themselves down upon the apertures and the lofty and broad battlements, but most of them were killed in this attempt. After this, Mahmud Ghazni advanced against the fort of Asi, the ruler of which was Chandal Bhar, the chieftain and general of Hindus. He was always engaged in building up a career of conquests and at one time he was at war with Rai of Kannauj. When Chandal Bhar heard of the advance of the Sultan, he lost his heart from fright. He was completely routed by Mahmud Ghazni and his five forts were completely demolished. After Ghazni. some local chiefs were ruling in this region. Four coins of Kumarapala Deva have been found hers which show that he was ruling over this region sometimes between 1019-49 A. D.

After the dismemberment of the Pratihara empire, .here were, repeated incursions in this region. When the "earth" was thus badly disturbed by political upheavals and destructive raids, a bold adventurer of the Gahadavala sept named Chandradeva, arose into this region and by his "noble prowess" put an end to "all distress of the people". The rule of Gahadavala dynasty over the district is incontestably proved by the discovery at Kudarkot of a copper plate grant dated in the reign of Chandradeva. Chandradova founded the Gahadavala dynasty at Kanyakubja after defeating a chief named Gopala. His jurisdiction extended almost over the whole of the present Uttar Pradesh including this district. Chandradeva was succeeded by Madanpala. However, he ruled for a very short period. Madanapala was succeeded by hit son Govindachandra. Two copper plate grants of Govindachandra, dated respectively Samvat 1161, or A. D. 1104, and Samvat 1174 or 1117 A. D. have been found in village Bisahi, two miles north-east of tahsil Bidhuna of the district Another copper plate grant of this king dated Samvat 1166 or A. D. 1109 has been found at Rahan in the district. Govindachandra seems to have wielded substantial power in the state while he was only a "juvaraja" or crown prince. He defeated the invading bands of Muslims sometimes before 1109 A. D., for the Rahan plate records that he "again and again by the play of his matchless fighting" compelled the Hammira (i e. Amir) to "lay aside his enmity". The Rahan plate further described Govindachandra as "terrific" in cleaving the frontal gloves of arrays of irresistible mighty large elephants from Gauda", which shows that Govindachandra must have made some encroachments in Magadha. In short, Govindachandra made himself a considerable power and under him the glories of this region revised. Govindachandra was succeeded by his son Vijayachandra sometimes in 1155 A. D. Like his father, Vijayachandra also successfully faced Muslim agressions. By the very beginning of the reign of Vijayachandra an unmistakable symptom of decline of the Gahadavala power manifested itself in the loss of Delhi. The full significance of this loss was realised when, about a generation later, the Muslims attacked Delhi region and occupied it, rendering the Gahadavala frontier practically defenceless. Vijayachandra was succeeded by his son Jaichandra in 1170 A. D. He may be described as the last great king of the Gahadavala dynasty, whose power and extensive jurisdiction struck even Muslim historians. During the reign of Jaichandra, the Chauhans. who starting from their territories in Ajmer had annexed Delhi and were at this time bidding for supremacy in the North under the vigorous rule of Prathviraja III. Towards the .south there were the Chandellas whose power at this time was at its height. Apart from this, there were repeated Muslim invasions in North-western India which had already threatened the unity of India The most important event of his region was the celebration of the Swayamvara of his daughter Sanyogita, who was however, carried away by force, in the midst of the ceremonies by Prithviraja. Perhaps, this was the cause which sowed the seed of enemity between these two northern monarrmes. Though there is no reliable evidence of conflict between these two kings, its quite probable that they were positively hostile to each other, lack of sympathy between these two kings is show by their mutual non-cooperation on the eve of the final conquest of India by the Muslims, led by Mohammad Gohori.


With the defeat of Jaichandra of Kannauj in the battle of Chandawer in 1193 A.D. at the hands of Shahab-ud-din Ghori, the disrict passed under the influence of Muslim power, which, by end of the century held in different degrees of subjection the whole of Northern India except Malwa and some continguous districts. The victorious army pressed on to Asni, the treasure house of Jaichandra, which has been identified by Atkinson and Wolseley Haig with the village Asi in Etawah tahsil, which was plundered and garrisioned by the Muslim army However, the local history of the district during the early years of the thirteenth century is more or less the account of settlement and emergence of certain Rajput clans. The Sengars occupied the bulk of Bidhuna and Auraiya from the Meos. The Gaurs occupied parts of Phaphund and Bidhuna near the Kanpur boundary both falling in turn to Chandelas of Mahoba. The Parihars established themselves in their, the wild region of the Pachnada. While the Bhadaurias and Dhakras seized the rugged country between the Yamuna and the Chambal, the Chauhans occupied the western portion of the district, with extensive tractn now in Mainpuri.

There is however, little doubt that during the early years of the 13th century these hardy tribals owed but very nominal allegiance to successive occupants of the Delhi throne. They appear to have defended their independence resolutely and with considerable success against the expanding power of the Muslim armies Even the orderly administration of Firuz Shah Tughluq was time and again disturbed by the serious risings of the local zamindars. In 1377-78 Firuz had to march against Rai Sumer the most prominent chieftain of the district, to obtain his obedience and to root out the growing seeds of discontent. Sumer Rai was defeated, captured and taken to Delhi where he was put to utter humiliation. The recurrence of troubles in this region increased day by day until after Firuz's death in 1388 hardly a year seems to have passed, when some expedition had not to be sent against the insurgents of Etawah. The troubles began early in the reign of Nasir-ud-din Muhammad Shah, who ascended the throne in 1390. The sultan after havinp consolidated his position by defeating Abu Bakr Shah and other recalcitrant Firuz Shahi slaves, sent Islam Khan towards Etawah in 1391 where he was met by Rai Nar Singh. But the latter appears to have professed his allegiance to the sultan for we hear that he was graciously received and returned to his kingdom with a robe of honour.

In 1392 all the professions of allegiance melted away, Rai Nar Singh, Bir Bahan, Sarvadharan and others were again up in arms against the Delhi authority. There is some doubt as to the identity of Sarvadharan, as one historian has called him "Sarvadhan Rathor" while Yahiya-bin-Ahmad as '^Rai Sabir5" but all indication point to the fact that he is the same person as the Sumer Sah of tradition who founded the Chauhan house of Partabner. This confederation of strong rebels so much alarmed the sultan that he sent Islam Khan with an army against Rai Nar Singh and himself marched towards Etawah against his allies. Rai Nar Singh was defeated, his forces were put to flight, and ultimately compelled to sue for peace and mercy. He came to wait upon Islam Khan, was captured and carried to Delhi and there kept in prison. Meanwhile Sarvadhan attacked Balaram a place in district Etah. closely followed by the sultan.s army. The fear of the sultans armv prompted the rebels to shut themselves up in Etawah. On the succeeding night, however, the rebels abandoned the fort of Etawah which fell into the hands of the sultan and was destroyed . No sooner had the sultan returned back to Delhi after the devastating spell, than another rebellion broke out and the rebels reoccupied Etawah. This time Sarvadharan and Bir Bahan were aided by Jit Singh Rathor and Abhai Chand, the chief of Chandwar. The sultan sent Malik Muqarrab-ul-Mulk to put down the rebellion, who displayed a conciliatory attitude, and by promises and engagements induced the chiefs to submit. The latter paid a visit to the Malik, who carried them to Kannaui, and there had them treacherously murdered, except Sarvadharan who made good his escape and re-entered Etawah. In 1394 Sultan Muhammad Shah died and was succeeded by his second son, Humayun Khan, under the title Sultan Ala-ud-din Sikander Shah, who reigned for only over a month, and was succeeded, in turn, by his younger brother Sultan Mahmud Shah. There appears to have been much confusion in the middle and lower doab during this period as Khwaja Jahan was entrusted with the task of bringing the region between Kannauj and Bihar under his authority, under the title of Malik-us-Sharq. He began his task by leading a punitive expedition against the recalcitrant and audacious chiefs of Etawah and Kannauj. Some sort of order appears to have been introduced, as we hear Khwaia-i-Jahan's army obtaining the submission of every disaffected chief during his march to its headquarters at Jaunpur. This order proved but a short one, as soon afterwards, Timur's invasion once again plunged this region into utter chaos, which became worst confounded after his exit After a short skirmish with the forces of Nasir-ud-din Nusrat Shah in the middle of January, 1399 and his death at this juncture left the entire country of upper doab and the environs of Delhi in possession of Iqbal Khan, Mubarak Khan, an adopted son of Khwaja-i-Jahan. took over the administration of the entire region between Kannauj and Bihar which the latter had been granted during the reign of Muhammad Shah, while the rest of the provinces remained in the hands of various amirs and miliks which they held before the recent convulsions.

We now embark upon that period of history which marked, for a considerable period, a continuous struggle between the kings of Jaunpur and successive rulers of Delhi for the ultimate supremacy of Northern India. Etawah, beins situated on the border line of their ill-defined "spheres of influence" remained for the most part a battle ground of the two contending armies. In 1400-1401 Mallu Iqbal Khan marched towards this region and was opposed by Rai Sumer Singh or Sabir of Etawah and other zamindars of the vicinity on the banks of the Ab-i-Siyah (Kali Nadil near Patiali. The oppc sing army of the Rai was defeated and chased down to the confines of Etawah where they took shelter. A large number of them were killed and taken prisoner, while Iqbal Khan continued his march and reached Kannauj where Mubarak Shah Qaranful came up with an armv to oppose him. The two armies remained encamped on either side of the Ganga for two months and ultimately retired. To the following year Sultan Mahmud, who had been hiding in Dhar after Tamur's invasion came out and was received with honour by Iqbal Khan and restored to his imperial throne. In the meanwhile Mubarak Shah of Jaunpur had been succeeded by his brother Ibrahim assuming the title of Sultan Ibrahim. In December, 1402, Iqbal Khan marched against Gwalior which had been treacherously wrested from the imperial officers during the Mongol invasion by Nar Singh, the same robel chief who had given much trouble to the Muslim armies in the preceding years. But neither on this occasion nor in the following years did he succeed in taking the fort, though he defeated Nar Smgh's son, Biram Deo at Dholpur, and ravaged the surrounding country. In 140-1 Iqbal Khan marched against Etawah, where not only the chiefs of Etawah headed by Rai Sarwar but also Rai Virama Deva of Gwalior and Rai Jalbahar had formed a coalition and had shut themselves up in a fortress. "The siege was carried on against them for four months, but at last they gave tribute and four elephants on account of Gwalior. and so made peace." Khizr Khan, who ultimately occupied the throne in 1414, A.D. again sent expedition to Etawah In the same year a large army under Malik-us-Sharq, Tai-ul-Mulk was sent towards Etawah, who having subdued the local chiefs, proceeded towards Katehr where he compelled Mahabat Khan to may tribute. From that place he took the course of the black river and inflicted heavy penalty on the chiefs of Etawah. During the same expedition Jalesar was wrested and put under the charge of Muslim garrison. But even these punitive expeditions appear to have failed in bringing about the final submission of the prominent rebel, Rai Sumer or Sarwar of Etawah for we hear of two more expeditions one in 1418 and another two years later under Same commander Taj-ul-mulk. before the Sultan Khizr Khan himself marched with a huge army to strike the death-knell of the local resistance in 1421. On both the occasions Taj-ul-mulk overran Etawah, hemmed in Rai Sumer forced him to sue for peace and pardon and extracted heavy tribute. However, when Khizr Khan led an exnedition to Etawah in A.D. 1421. Rai Sumer. had already died and his son made his submission and consented to pay tribute to the sultan of Delhi It appears from an account given by a contemporary historian that after the last peace Rai Sumer's son joined the new sultan, Mubarak Shah and followed in his suite while the sultan was on his march against the country of the Rathor in 1423. A.D. He did not, however, long remain in the emperor's service, for alarmed by the sultan's incursion into the country of the Ratbors and the quartering of a force among them, he betook himself to his ravine fortress, hotly followed by the imperial army .The sultan himself reached Etawah with successive marches and laid siege to the fortress where the Rai's son had shut himself up. Being worn out by a much prolonged siege, the inmates of the fortress submitted and agreed to pay tribute and all arrears of revenue.

Nothing is. however, heard of Etawah for the next four years till 1427 when Mukhtass Khan, brother of Ibrahim Sharqi advanced against it with a large army. A strong reconnoitering force was immediately despatched from Delhi under Malik-ul-Sharq Mahmu. Hasan to ward off the threatened attack on Etawah. Fear, however, be took, the invader, who retreated and joined his brother. Having failed to obtain a decisive victory over the Jaunpuri troops Mahmud Hasan retired to the sultan's camp, while Ibrahim Sharqi advanced along the Kali Nadi to Burhanabad in the district of Etawah.

The indecisive battle between the two armies was fought beyond the-confines of this district and does not concern it, but the disturbance which ensued appears to have given an opportunity to the local chieftains to disown the authority of Delhi. The increasing insubordination of those chieftains invited the attention of the sultan in 14-32 who sent Malik Kamal-ul-Mulk and other amirs to coerce them to obedence.

The last few years of Muhammad Shah's reign (1434-1445) witnessed the rapid decline of this kingdom. In 1437 Ibrahim Sharqi availed himself of the weakening trend of the authority of Delhi and captured several parganas, while the Rai of Gwalior and other Rais, including no doubt those of Etawah, withheld the payment of annual revenue The sultan, however, made no attempt to arrest the rapidly declining trend of his empire, instead he allowed petty chieftains to become mini-sultans of their respective fiefs. Qutb Khan, son of one Hasan Khan Afgan then held Etawah together with Rapri. (in Mainpuri) and Chandawar, Alau-ddin Alam Shah, the last Saiyid sultan of Delhi, despite serious efforts, failed to check the rising power of Buhlul Lodi, who in 1451, captured Delhi and inaugurated the rule of the Lodi dynasty. At the very outset of his reign. Buhlul had to face serious .troubles, which tended to undermine the authority of the new sultan Qutb Khan contemplated resistence at Rapri, and the fort was accordingly besieged by the sultan, and forced to surrender. However the sultan confirmed him in his old tief. From that place he went to Etawah. and the ruler of that place also declared his allegiance. While the sultan was still encamped at Etawah, he was once more attacked by the king of Jaunpur at the head of a large force. No actual fight appears to have taken place for soon afterwards a hollow trupe was patched up between the rival kings, through the meditation of Qutb Khan Lodi, Buhluls' cousin and one Rai Pratap, to the effect that the whole of the territory which had belonged to Mubarnk Shah, the Saiyid kins of Delhi, should be left in the hands of Buhlul. and that the territory which had belonged to sultan Ibra-him Sharqi should remain in possession of Mahmud. The division of the territory on this occasion can not be precisely known, but Etawah seems to have fallen in the share of the Jaunpur chief. But peace did not last long and shortly afterwards another indecive engagement occurred in 1456 near Etawah in which Qutb Khan Lodi was captured by the forces of Mahmud and sent to Jaunpur for confinement. Mahmud died (1457 A.D.) and was succeeded by Muhammad Shah, with whom Buhlul renewed the existing agreement of territorial division. The truce, again did not remain long unbroken for urged on by the entreaties of Shams Khatun. Qutb Khan's sister, to effect the release of her brother, Buhlul took, the field against Muhammad Shah and advanced as far Rapri. Rai Pratap now shifted his loyalty towards Jaunpur chief, and the desultory conflict which now ensued resulted in the capture of Jalal Khan, Muhammad Shah's brother, who was kept by Buhlul as a hostage for the safety of Qutb Khan. In the meanwhile a court intrigue at Jaunpur headed by Bibi Rai, mother of Muhammad Shah spelt the doom of the latter, and Husain Shah was raised to the throne. 1458 A peace was immediately patched up between Buhlul and the new Jaunpur king by which they bound themselves to remain satisfied with their existing possession for a period of four years and to refrain from any act of aggression. The peace was accompanied by restitution of prisoners. Qutb Khan Lodi was made over to Buhlul and Jalal Khan to Sultan Husain. while Rai Pratap was reconciled to Buhlul. However, even this short-term truce proved no more lasting than all the previous ones. Troubles soon broke out again between the two irreconcilable foes resulting in the desertion of some of the prominent chiefs of the Lodi Monarch including Rai Pratap to the rising eastern kins. Sultan Buhlul lost heart in the face of a strong opposition of a determined confederacy, retired to Delhi and thence to Punjab to suppress rebellion and discontent of the local people. Husain Shah now got a welcome opportunity to mount an offensive against him. Buhlul, however, returned post haste and after seven days of continued fighting below the walls of Delhi another truce was agreed by which the two kings bound themselves to remain content with their respective boundaries for three years. Unusually this peace remained undisturbed for the whole stipulated period of three years. During all this period Etawah appears to have remained a part of the Jaunpur kingdom for after the war which ensued at the end of the three years in 1466, Sultan Husain of Jaunpur retired to Etawah, having entered into a sort of uneasy peace with Sultan Buhlul. Not long after Husain Shah's mother Bibi Raji breathed her last at Etawah. Buhlul considered it a good opportunity to placate his powerful enemy and sent Qutb Khan Lodi and others to convey his condolence to Sultan Husain. They found the atmosphere at Etawah fully, surcharged with hostilities towards Delhi, and the Sharqi king unaccommodating. Even they could manage their return with great difficulty. Sultan Buhlul was now convinced of Husain's inveterate hatred for himself and started making all-round preparation for an inevitable, and probably final war with the latter. The things were precipitated by the death of Alauddin Alim Shah, the last sovereign of the Saiyid dynasty, at Badaun in 1478. Sultan Husain went there to offer his condolences, but eventually captured the fortress from the sons of the deceased. In the next sweep he captured Sambhal and attacked Delhi in the following year. Buhlul hastened from Sirhind, but finding himself weak in number and strength resorted to an artifice and obliged Husain to agree to a truce Sultan Husain relying on the truce left his baggage behind and marched away. No sooner had the Jaunpur king turned towards east than Buhlul followed him and took him by surprise plundering a large booty and capturing forty Jaunpuri noblemen including Vazir Shamauddin and the orderly retreat of the Jaunpur sultan became a disorderly fight. The retreat continued till at Rapri Husain turned back and gave battle, but being reduced to utter extremity, Husain Shah preferred a truce rather than continue a hopeless fight. The truce stimulated almost the same terms as had been set in all the old ones. Husain Shah, however, could not reconcile himself to the humiliating defeat which he had suffered in the last engagement, and still unmindful of his inherent weakness advanced against Buhlul. The attempt ended in a fiasco at Sonhar in Etah, Buhlul making capital of the situation by capturing a large booty. In the first flush of his victory Buhlul advanced towards Etawah. wrested it from Ibrahim Khan, brother of Husain Shah, and settled it upon Ibrahim Khan, son of Mubarak Khan Nuhani. Buhlul pushed on to Kalpi where Husan Shah was encamping. The two forces encamped on either side of the

Yamuna preventing either side from meeting the other. Short skirmishes continued for several months till Buhlul was conducted across a ford by Rai Trilok Chand, ruler of Bagesar. Husain Shah was taken by suprise and being unable to resist hed to Rewa The whole of Etawah thus finally came under the authority of Lodi king of Delhi, along with all adjoining tracts.

Having overrun almost the entire Jaunpur kingdom. Buhlul placed it in charge of his son Barbak Shah and obtained submission of the chiefs of Gwalior and Dholpur. From Gwalior he marched for the last time against Etawah, which he took from one Shakti Singh. It appears that Shakti Singh had taken possession of the place without the sultan's permission who had earlier settled it on Ibrahim Khan, son of Mubarak Khan Nunani. Unfortunately Buhlul could not enjoy the repose of unchallenged sovereignty for long and died on his way back to Delhi at a place about 15 miles from Saket in Etah district'in 1439.

Buhlul was succeeded by his son Sikandar Lodi (1489-1517 A. D.) who was immediately beset with problems of obtaining allegiance from his own kins, the insubordination and discontent of whom might have shaken off his own position as the undisputed sovereign of Delhi. Azam Humayun, grandson of the late sultan at Kalpi, Barbak Shah at Jaunpur and Alam Khan, the younger brother of the new sultan at Rapri posed the most serious threat. The sultan first marched against Alam Khan who having failed to stand the siege fled to Isa Khan at Patiali leaving Rapri on to Khan-i-Khana Lohani. the sultan marched to Etawah where he stayed for seven months sending feelers to Alam Khan to come over to his side. At last the sultan succeeded in weaning away hjis brother from Isa Khan's side by giving him the governorship of Etawah. Ibrahim succeeded Sikandar in 1517 and had to face a still greater opposition from his discontented nobles particularly from his brother Jalal Khan, and lost much of his power and influence while fighting with the latter a desperate war. In the course of this long drawn conflict he. at times, shifted to Bbogaon from Etawah when the situation so obliged him. His authoritarian and autocratic rule alienated him from almost all the local governors, and by the end of his reign of 1526 all of them were in open rebellion.

When Babur conquered India in 1526, he found Qutb Khan in possession of Etawah, behaving much like an independent authority. He immediately sent an army to take lower doab, and which ultimately captured Rapri, but before it could obtain the obedience of Etawah and Dholpur, Babur was forced to recall the invading army to meet the intimidating armies of the Rana of Udaipur on the west and the Afghans on the east1. But after the defeat of Rana Sanga in 1526 Babur was at liberty to complete the subjugation of the doab. On his way to Kannauj in 1526 he passed through the eastern portion of the district, and struck such a terror that Rapri and Chandawar immediately proclaimed allegiance, while Qutb Khan surrendered Etawah. The district remained in possession of the Mughals for another fourteen years till 1540 when Humayun was defeated and thrown out of India, by Sher Shah Sur. Before the final overthrow of Humayun, Etawah was held by one Qasim Husain Sultan Uzbek who in concert with Yadgar Nasir Mirza and Iskandar Mirza fought a successful war near Kalpi against an army headed by Sher Shah Sur's son, whom they defeated and killed.

But their success was short-lived, for in the following year Humayun was himself worsted at Kannauj and forced to abandon Hindostan. The district with the rest of the doab fell into the hands of Sher Shah, in whose possession or in that of his successors it remained till the battle of Panipat in the year 1556.

Sher Shah appears to have found the local people no less disobedient and refractory than his predecessors had, but he took a drastic measure to set them right. He posted a strong force of 12,000 horsemen at Agra to overawe the zamindars and cultivators of the neighbouring tracts whenever they exhibited any contumacy. The district was made readily accessible by constructing , roads joining it with strategic points; one of these roads ran from the Punjab, to Sunargaon in Bengal and was probably the same road that was-maintained in Akbar's time, running past Etawah to Kalpi.

Sher Shah brought at work his remarkable wisdom in shaping of administrative .and judicial reforms, along with benevolent activities including the construction of serais and the planting of trees along each route. However, historical' records do not warrant us to hold that this tract shared all those reforms in their minutest detail.

In the territorial division of Akbar, the district was divided between no less than four sirkars in the province of Agra. The western portion under the name of Etawah, formed a dastur in the sirkar of Agra. It comprised seven tappas, namely, the Khas Haveli, Sataura, Indawa, Bakipur, Delhi, Jakhan and Karhal paying altogether 107.59.365 dams in revenue. Of these the Haveli, Jakhan and Sataura, together with portions of Indawa and Bakipur, came later on to be included in the tahsil of Etawah; while the rest, of Irsdawa and Bakinur fell within southern Bharthana, formerly a district pargana under the name of Lakhana. The cultivated area of the mahal is given in the Ain-i-Akbari as 2,84,106

bighas, its chief inhabitants were Chauhans, Bhadaurias and Brah-manas, and it contributed 15,000 infantry and 2,000 horsemen to the imperial army. The north of Bharthana and Bidhuna, and north-eastern portions of the present Etawah tahsil, belonged to the mahal of Sakatpur in the sirkar of Kannauj; it had an area of 22,561 bighas and paid a revenue of 6,23,441 dams, while it sent the relatively large contingent of 4,000 foot and 300 horse to the army. Similar in size and revenue to Sakatpur was the mahal of Sahar, with an area of 25,195 bighas and a revenue demand of 8,46,553 dams. It, however, was only called upon to supply 500 foot soldiers and 30 cavalry. Sahar probably comprised the bulk of the old pargana of Bidhuna, and to the south of it lay the mahal of Phaphund, whose local limits probably corresponded roughly with those of the pargana which was broken up only in 1894. Phaphund then appears to have been chiefly inhabited by Sengar Rajputs, and the amount of revenue paid in proportion to its size reflects that it must have been a highly cultivated and populated tract of land. Its cultivated area is recorded as 1,11,546 bighas paying a revenue of 54,32.391 dams, providing a military contingent of 2,000 infantry and 300 cavalry. Somewhat to the west and south of Phaphund lay the small mahal of Patti Nakhat with an area of 49,262 bighas, a revenue of 5,66.997 dams and furnished a force of 500 foot and 50 horse. The chief town of Patti Nakhat was Qasba Babarpur near Sarai-Ajit Mal, in the west of Auraiya tahsil, and the rest of that tahsil lying north of Yamuna was split up between the mahals of Suganpur (it lay between Patti Nakhat and Deokali) and Deokali in the sirkar of Kalpi. The latter had an area of 1,09,652 bighas and paid 14,66,985 dams revenue, its chief occupants being Brahmanas. who were called upon to provide 2,000 infantry and 200 cavalry. But the area of Suganpur is not given in the Ain-i-Akbari though it was large enough to pay 15,07,877 dams revenue and to contribute, 1,000 foot and 60 horse. The only part of the district that did not fall within any of these subdivisions was the trans-Chambal tract subsequently known as Sandaus. This belonged to mahal Parihar in sirkar of Erachh

In the fourth year of Akbar's reign, Bahadur Khan a younger brother of Ali Quli Khan, was granted the jagir of Etawah at the instance of Maham Anka.the foster mother of the emperor Nothing more is however, heard of the district till about the end of Akbar's reign when his son and heir apparent, prince Salim rebelled and reached Etawah at the head of a strong force of 30,000 horse on his contemplated march to Agra.

During the reigns of Jahangir, Shahjahan, and Aurangzeb no mention is made of Etawah by the Muslim historians. We may presume that the inhabitants were thoroughly loyal to the liberal policies of Emperor Akbar and his successors. Nothing appears to have occurred in this district to disturb its peace till this liberal policy was abandoned by Aurangzeb giving rise to incessant troubles in the district after his death.


In 1714, during the reign of Farrukh Siyar (1713—1719), Muhammad Khan Bangash, an Afghan of the Kanghazai Karlai clan from eastern Afghanistan, founded the Bangash estate in Farrukhabad. Muhammad Khan Bangash soon extended his authority over cis-Yamuna portions of Etawah region and towards the later years of his life he himself took up the charge of Etawah as its governor. On his death on December 17, 1743, Muhammad Khan Bangash was succeeded by his eldest son, Qaim Khan Bangash who continued to hold Etawah till 1749 while the trans-Yamuna portion was held by the Marathas by the treaty bf Doraha Sarai. In July of that year Safdar Jang, the Nawab of Avadh and the vizir of the empire issued in the emperor's name an order directing Qaim Khan to lead an expedition to Rohil-khand against the Rohillas. Accordingly Qaim Khan marched to Rohilkhand and in a disastrous battle fought there he was killed on November 22, 1749. Safdar Jang now proceeded to seize the Bangash territory on behalf of emperor Ahmad Shah. To accomplish the success, the nawab directed Nawal Rai, his deputy in Avadh to join him at Farrukhabad.

Nawal Rai was a Kayastha and belonged to the hereditary qanungo family of village Parasana of pargana Etawah. Safdar Jang had appointed him probably a clerk, but as he possessed uncommon' business capacity, military talents, honesty and winning manners, he had risen gradually from post to post till he was appointed Bakshi (manager-cum-commander) of the Avadh army. He rendered valuable services to his master in recognition of which Safdar Jang elevated him to the post of deputy governor of his subah of Avadh. Reaching Farrukhabad in January 1750. Nawal Rai joined Safdar Jang who seized the Bangash territory arid placed it under the charge of the former awarding him the title of Raja and afterwards ennobling him as Maharaja Bahadur. Soon, however, the oppressions of Nawal Rai's subordinates proceeded beyond all bounds and the Afghans of this region began to unite for measures of resistance. In Julv 1750. they chose Qaim Khan's brother Ahmad Khan Bangash as their new- leader. Rallying round him in open support the Afghans broke into open revolt and killed Nawal Rai in August 1750 in the battle of Kudaganj, about 25 km south-east of Farrukhabad. In order to avenge the defeat and death of Nawal- Rai, Safdar Jang summoned to his aid the Marathas under Malhar Rao Holkar and Jayappa Sindhia, and Suraj Mal, the Jat ruler of Bharatpur. On April 28, 1751, their combined army defeated at Fatehgarh, Ahmad Khan Bangash ana his ally Sad Ullah Khan of Rohilkhand, who fled with heavy loss. As a reward for their services in this campaign the Marathas received the bulk of Etawah district which was placed under a Maratha commander.

When in 1757, emperor Shah Alam sent an expedition against Shuja-ud-daula (Safdar Jang's successor in Avadh) at the instance of Ahmad Shah Abdali,, Ahriiad Khan Bangash lost no opportunity to regain his lost position. He and his son, Mahmud Khan Bangash joined the imperial army headed by . Shah.Alam's sons Hidayat Bakhsh and Mirza Baba. On April 5, 1757, Hidayat Bakhsh accompanied by Mahmud Khan Bangash marched to Etawah in order to establish the imperial authority there. On the near approach of the emperor's son, the Maratha commandant, troops and civil servants fled away from Etawah without making .evan a demonstration of resistance, and the whole cis-Yamuna portion quickly reverted to its former masters. But hardly did this accession of territory prove useful to the prince : Ahmad Shah Abdali's troops looted the defenceless .. inhabitants and Hidayat Baklish could establish -no -civil administration there. On hearing of the news of Etawah's occupation by the imperial forces : Shuja-ud-daula despatched an army towards Farrukhabad to oppose the advance of the. Delhi army. This shook Ahmad Khan Bangash who, apprehensive of the fate of his capital, hastened towards Farrukhabad and sought aid from Hidayat Bakhsh who, leaving Etawah, reached Farrukhabad on May 6. On his departure, Maratha vanguard, re-occupied Etawah at the end of May. 1757.

With the defeat of the Marathas at Panipat in 1761, the. whole of northern India lay prostrate before Ahmad Shah Abdali, the Afgl'fin conqueror who consigned Etswah to Inayat Khan (son of Hafiz Rahmat Khan) his, Rohilla ally. Etawah was then in the possession of the. Marathas. and accordingly in 1762. a Rohilla.. force was despatched under Mullah Mohsin Khan to wrest the assigned tract from the Marrathas. This force was opposed near the town of Etawah by the Marathas under Kishan Rao and Bain Rao. who were defeated and compelled to seek . safety in, .flight across the Yamuna. Mullah Mohsin Khan now laid seige to the fort of Etawah which was soon surrendered by its Maratha commander, and the district fell into the hands of the Rohillas. The Rohilla occupation, however, was merely nominal as .the. local zamindars refused to pay revenue to Inayat Khan. Re-inforce-ments were soon brought to his aid, including some artillery, under Sheikh Kuber and Mullah Baz Khan who succeeded in - bringing, the zamindars to-submission. But the Bhadauria Rajputs of Kamait (about 5 km.-south of Etawah) still refused to acknowledge the authority of the Rohillas. Their belligerent activities were soon reported to Hafiz Rahmat Khan who himself came to Etawah and compelled the refractory zamindars to submit, and pay tribute annually. In order to "keep 'them under constant vigil Hafiz Rahmat Khan established Rohilla garrisons at convenient places in the district .and-then departed to Bareilly.

In 1766, the Marathas -under Malhar. Rao Holkar once; again crossed the Yamuna and attacked Phaphund (now a town in tahsil Auraiya), where a Rohilla force under Muhammad-Hasan Khan (son of Mullah Mohsin Khan), was posted. On receiving this news Hafiz Rahmat Khan advanced from Bareilly to oppose the -Marathas. He was joined near ." Phaphund by Sheikh Kuber, the Rohilla faujdar of Etawah, and prepared to . give battle ; but Malhar Rao Holker avoiding conflict retired across the Yamuna.

In 1770, Najib-ud-daula (the Amir-ul-Urnara of the empire) and the Marathas unitedly led an . .expedition to Rohilkhand to oust Hafiz Rahmat Khan. While on the way, Najib-ud-daula died on October, 31, 1770 leaving his son Zabita Khan to operate with the Marathas. Zabita Khan, however,, was by no means disposed to fight against his brother Afghans (the Rohillas). The Marathas knowing this, kept him practically a prisoner in their camp from whi-re Zabita Khan somehow sent appeal to Hnfiz Rahmat Khan to obtain his release. Hafiz Rahmat Khan accordingly opened ntgotiations with the Marathas for the release of Zabita Khan ; hut the Marathas demanded as their price the surrender of Etawah. Hafiz Rahmat Khan did not agree to this demand, and while negotiations were proceeding for buying off the Marathas, Zabita Khan managed to escape. Several desultory engagements now took- place between the Marathas and the Rohilla forces. Inayat Khan was summoned by his iather in order that" he might be consulted regarding the surrendering of Etawah which Inayat Khan refused. Ultimately, disgusted with his father's arrangements, he returned to Bareilly, and his father on his own responsibility sent orders to Sheikh Kuber, the faujdar of Etawah. to surrender the fort to the Marathas. The Marathas now marched to Etawah, but, as the orders had not reached him, Sheikh Kuber gave them battle. Several desperate assaults were made on the fort of Etawah which were all repulsed, but finally it was handed over to the Marathas in accordance with Hafiz Rahmat Khan's orders, and the Rohillas quitted Etawah on December 12, 1770. leaving it once more in the hands of the Marathas.'

In November 1772, the Marathas advanced upon Rohilkhand and Hafiz Rahmat Khan solicited the help of Shuja-ud-daula, the nawab of Avadh, against the Marathas and in accordance with a treaty entered into between the two on. June 13, 1772. Shuja-ud-daula agreed to drive them out of Rohilkhand in return of forty lakhs of rupees. The Marathas having retired from Rohilkhand the Rohillas came back. Although Rohilkhand was saved from the depredations of the Marathas, Etawah still remained under their occupation. Shuja-ud-daula, therefore, entered into negotiations on behalf of the Rohillas, with the Marathas who, however, ultimately-leaving behind their heavy guns near Etawah probably under a small contingent, retired for the Deccan on May 5, 1773.

Early in October 1773, Shuja-ud-daula conceived the idea of conpuering Etawah so that the Maratha influence might not be re-established there. He also entered into a friendly pact with Muzaffar Jang (Ahmad Khan Bangash's son) and secured his cooperation in the impending Etawah campaign.

Marching in a south-westerly direction from Kannauj, Shuja-ud-daula reduced a few Maratha fortresses on his way to Etawah which he besieged on December 12, 1773. The Maratha commandant, Hari Pandit with his garrison four to five thousand, shut himself up in the fort and arranging five or six guns that he possessed, opened fire on the besiegers. Hari Pandit fought against the odds for four days, and fiadmg his position untenable with no prospect of re-inforcements fror my quarter sued for terms on December 14 and surrendered the fort, on the 15th. The Maratha garrison was allowed to retire with their property, leaving the district into the hands of Shuja-ud-daula who celebrated the victory on December 16, which happened to be the Id after the fast of Ramadan. On December 18 he viated the town of Etawah and after appointing Anup Giri Gosain as faujdar of the district marched towards Agra.

Shuja-ud-daula now repeatedly, wrote to Hafiz Rahmat Khan to pay the amount due (which was agreed to by the terms of the treaty of June 13, 1772), But Hafiz Rahmat Khan refused to make any payment inter alia on the ground "that Shuja-ud-daula had forfeited his claim of forty lakhs on him after his conquest of Etawah and the neighbouring districts which had once belonged to him" {Hafiz Rahmat Khan). When his demand was not met, Shuja-ud-daula invaded Rohilkhand with the help of the British and badly routed Hafiz Rahmat Khan in a fierce battle on April 23, 1774.

Shuja-ud-daula now annexed Etawah to his dominions. In the beginning his officers resided in the impregnable fort of Etawah. Shuja-ud-daula destroyed it in consequence of the representations of the Etawah townspeople that, so long as the, officers occupied such an impregnable residence, they would never do anything for the betterment of the people but to oppress them.

From 1774 to 1801 the district remained under the government of Avadh. For many years the administration of the district was in the hands of Mian Almas Ali Khan who was by birth a Hindu but embraced Islam. He was according to Colonel Sleeman (the British Resident at Avadh court), "the greatest and best man" Avadh ever produced. He amassed great wealth, but having no descendants, he spent his money for the benefit of the people of the district. He built a serai at Babarpur. He held his court occasionally at Kudarkot (in tahsil Bidhuna) where he built the fort which is now in ruins. He appointed his relative. Raja Bhagmal or Baramal the am.il of Phaphund where the latter built a fort and in 1796 laid the foundation of a mosque.

On November 10, 1801, Saadat Ali Khan, the then nawab of Avadh, entered into a treaty with the British whereby the district together with the rest of lower doab was surrendered to the British. The cession did not altogether pass off without difficulty, as the district was full of refractory talukdars from whom revenue was only extracted with great difficulty.

In March 1804, Yashwant Rao Holkar, demanded Etawah from the British on the ground that it was formerly held by the Marathas. As his demand was not conceded, he made occasional raids on Etawah but was defeated by the British.

In 1837-38, the district was visited by a severe famine. The Banias doubled the prices of foodgrains, and the jails rapidly filled with starving peasants who knew that the commission of small offence would at all events procure for them a sufficient meal. Such was the emergency that Lord Auckland (the governor general) himself visited the famine-stricken areas. In his despatch of February 13, 1838, he mentioned Etawah as one of the districts most affected, and where the largest expenditure was required in order to palliate the evil and prevent the total depopulation of the country by starvation and emigration. A number of relief measures were undertaken by the government for amelioration of the people.

The news of the outbreak of struggle -against the British at Meerut reached Etawah on May 12, 1857. The Indian sepoys at that time stationed at Etawha consisted of a detachment of the 8th Irregulars, and a wing of the 9th Infantry. As a precautionary measure, the British authorities at once employed them with the police in patrolling the roads.

On May 16, when one of the patrolling parties was on the Agra road, it met seven armed men. The kotwal of the patrolling party challenged them, and as their replies were unsatisfactory he arrested seven of them. These resisted disarmament desperately, but four of them were killed on the spot and two were captured, the remaining one succeeding in effecting his escape. This band of Indian-sepoys consisted of Pathan troopers who had been engaged at Meerut but joined the struggle. The offieial report was that the district was known lor the loyalty of its inhabitants, but in' few districts the struggle of the people assumed such a proportion. In another incident of the struggle against the British when Jaswantnagar (in tahsil Etawah) was besieged by the Indian sepoys from Meerut, and A.O. Hume, the magistrate and collector, who later founded the Indian National Congress, had to beat a hasty retreat in relieving it on May 19, the towns people showed unequivocal signs of sympathy with the freedom fighters. On reaching Etawah, the collector soon sent reinforcements under Ikram Husain who surrounded Jaswantnagar and made a violent, night assault on the sepoys who escaped carrying off with them a comrade who had been wounded in addition to one who had been -killed. On May 22. news reached Etawah of the outbreak of struggle at Aligarh and Mainpuri and of the approach of a large body of Indian sepoys by way of Shikohabad. The collector at once decided to remove the troops stationed at Etawah to a position where they were not likely to be attacked until re-inforcements arrived, and where in the event of an attack, the troops could defend themselves with advantage. Accordingly the same day (May 22) the troops with their officers and ladies marched towards the Yamuna with a view to occupying a position at Barhpura,. (in tehsils Etawah). No signs had hitherto appeared of disaffection among these troops ; but just as they reached the ghat on the Yamuna, suddenly the majority of them rose against the British and turned back to Etawah. Those who remained loyal to the British reached Barhpura safely the lame day accompanied by their officers and ladies. The sepoys who returned to Etawah attacked the treasury. and carried off a large amount of treasure on the backs of camels arid the local police at once disappeared, while the collector and an another British officer who had remained behind to guard, the civil station, were forced to fly, and they joined the party at Barhpura. Immediately the rising became general mixed bodies of sepoys,, city rabble, Mewatis. Julahas and Rajputs commenced plundering the sepoys lines, carried off arms and ammunition and burnt two bungalows besides the sessions court house, and the post office. They also broke the district jail and released the prisoners.

At Barhpura, the fugitive British solicited help from the Bhadauria Rajputs but without success. On May 24, they being joined by 'fresh re-inforcernents from Gwalior. proceeded towards Etawah and re-occupied it the next day. In order to restore the British authority, martial law was proclaimed on May 27. In-spite of this the zamindars of village Samthar (in tahsil Bharthana) kept up the struggle and refused to surrender until their fort was stormed and burnt and the garrison put to the sword by t.he British. The result of this incident was .that very soon the whole country around was up in arms. As a precautionary measure, the European ladies, and children were sent to Agra escorted by a mixed detachment of the Gwalior regiment and the local levies raised by Kunwar Zohar Singh. of Partabner (in tahsil Etaw;ih) Their departure was again followed by general rising and the British authority was threatened by the freedom fighters at Bela, Phaphund and Auraiya. Hume now despatched 200 grenadiers towards Auraiya and directed the tahsildar of Bela to collect supplies and to enlist fresh troops .with the hope .of. establishing the "British authority. But suddenly his hopes were dashed to the ground when news came on June 16, that the Gwalior regiment also rose against the British. The troops enlisted at Etawah refused in the presence of the collector to obey their commanding officer. The collector and another British officer were also informed that the troops had intended to murder their officers8. There was then no force left in the district upon which the Europeans could rely. Therefore on the morning of June 17, all Europeans quitted the district for Agra. As soon as they left, the grenadiers plundered the treasury and also a few shops in the city and moved across the river.

From Agra,. Kunwar Zohar Singh of Partabner was despatched to Etawah with instructions to protect the city and to comn micate regularly with the collector.

On June 24, 1857, anti-British sepoys from Jhansi crossed the Yamuna at Shergarh ghat and on the following day took possession of Auraiya. The tahsildar of Auraiya, Ram Baksh who resisted them was captured and carried away. He was ill-treated but was soon released. Marching by way of Lakhna they reached Etawah where joined by the Mewatis, they burnt some of the bungalows and advanced upon Mainpuri. On their departure the collector was thinking of returning to Etawah when his plans were disconcerted by the arrival of the Nimach brigade at Agra. During July, Phaphund, Auraiya, Lakhna and Bela were attacked and plundered by the sepoys and these places were beyond the control of the British.

.Early in August 1857, the zamindars of the district began to quarrel among themselves regarding their respective jurisdictions. Hume drew up a detailed scheme assigning portions of the district with certain monthly stipends to each of the zamindars and tahsil-dars. Under this arrangement Phaphund and Bela were entrusted to the tahsildar Debi Prashad, assisted by Chhatar Singh of Sahar and Laik Singh of Harchandpur ; Bharthana remained under the control of the tahsildar IshWari Prashad, and Rao Jaswant _Rao_ of Dalipnagar. Etawah tahsil was handed over to Kunwar Zohar Singh, Shyam Bihari Lal of the police being placed in-charge of the city in subordination to the former. Auraiya was managed by the tahsildar, Ram Baksh till he died because of the effects of ill-treatment. The tracts of Chakranagar and Barhpura were entrusted to the charge of Raja Khushal Singh and Rao Jawahir Singh, the former of whom subsequently participated in the struggle against the British.

Being dissatisfied with the arrangement, Rana Mahendra Singh of Sakrauli and Narayan Singh of Chakranagar defied the authority of Kunwar Zohar Singh and his officers. The Raja of Ruru ousted the government officials, occupied several villages and himself collected revenue. Rup Singh, the uncle of the minor raja of Bhareh, did the same in Auraiya. The pro-British zamindars had expected to receive aid from a British force which advanced to Mainpuri in October, 1857. But when it passed on without visiting Etawah and it was learnt that the British were with difficulty holding Lucknow and Kanpur, the people of Etawah began openly to make preparations for struggle and began to assemble in every direction. About this time, the Gwalior contingent of the anti-British sepoys threatened Auraiya, while Rup Singh of Bhareh invited them at Shergarh where he built a bridge of boats,-,for them. But Rao Jaswant Rao and Ishwari Prashad, somehow, managed to destroy, r the bridge of boats. Both of them together with their men were surrounded by Rup Singh and other noted freedom fighters namely Niranjan Singh of Chakernagar, Ram Prashad and Pitam Singh but in the action Ram Prashad lost his life on November 1, 1857. On December 3, the nazim of the nawab of Farrukhabad, the Raja of Ruru and Rana Mahendra Singh of Sakrauli marched into Etawah and inflicted a crushing defeat on Kunwar Zohar Singh. who had espoused the British cause. Throughout the district the British supporters were defied. The tahsildar of Bela took refuge in the fort of Chhatar Singh at Sahar and the officials of Phaphund were forced to take refuge in Laik Singh 's fort at Harchandpur. Rup Singh occupied Auraiya. But Rao Jaswant Rao and Ishwari Prashad (the British supporters) however managed to hold Bharthana.

On December 25, 1857, a British, column arrived in the district. Kunwar Zohar Singh now surrounded and blew up the Etawah tahsil building from where Taj Kh'an, was resisting the British advance. On January 6, 1858, the British re-occupied Etawah, but the struggle was hardly crushed. Rup Singh could not be ousted from Auraiya even after a fierce encounter on February 7, 1858, at Sarai Anant Ram in which one hunHred and . fifty of his men were killed. His troops guarded the Shergarh ghat and maintained communication with the fighting sepoys from Kalm. While he maintained his power at Auraiya, the Chambal-Yamuna tract passed under the control of Chakar Nagar raja Khushal Singh and his son, Niranjan.

In March, 1858, a deadly struggle ensued for the recovery of Ajeetmal which was 24 km. from Auraiya and 40 km. from Etawah. The people of the neighbouring villages formed the bulk of the army and defended the place from the attacks of the British. Drastic measures were adopted by the British.. Many of the villages were burnt down, but in every case, the British troops were fiercely attacked by isolated parties of Etawah sepoys. On llth April, the fighters for freedom drew round Ajeetmal from all directions and completely encircled it in . a concerted move in which Niranjan, Ganga Singh, Pitam, Bankat and Rup Singh participated, but they were put to rout ; Niranjan with his matchlockmen falling back to Gohani on the bank of Yamuna where he strongly entrenched himself by building a number of posts.

Struggle for the possession of Ajeetmal . continued intermittently. It was renewed in May under the leadership of Lalpuri Goshain Nana's purohit and Rup Singh and Niranjan. They it is said increased in 'strength rapidly. The British officer sent to ' recoimoiter the position found a strongly posted force of some 600 cavalry, and 1,200 regular infantry. Niranjan in an auxiliary movement crossed the . Yamuna and tailing up his quarters at Nandgaon. plundered Phaphund; The district was fast passing away under the domination of the Indian chiefs who held the Lakhna . pargana and controlled all the ghats on the Yamuna. Various skirmishes took place but the fall of Kalpi on May 23, 1858, somewhat damped the revolutionary spirit but not that of Rup Singh; Niranjan and his followers. Pitam. Bankat and Ganga Singh who led numerous furtive expeditions in the months, of. July and August and surprised various British outposts on many occasions till the Yamuna-Chambal doab was re-occupied by the British -in September-October, 1858. The struggle continued. The arrival of Firuz Shah (a royal prince of.Delhi) .on .December 7, 1858, stirred up discontentment. His large force which included 1,400 cavalry attacked the British army at Harchandpur on December 8, and in the action fought there, in spite of the magnificent charges made by the English commander, the- position' of the British army on the whole became weak, and the commander himself was killed. After a sharp engagement which lasted three and a half hours' Firuz Shah was obliged to retreat to central India and Malwa w,here he joined Tantia Tope.

Soon after the struggle, the collector, on his own responsibility, suspended the collection of -the revenue, deeming it to be safer in the hands of a thousand landholders than in a treasury guarded by sepoys.

In 1885, when. Dasahra and Muharram coincided, communal, disturbance broke out between the Hindus and the Muslims. In 1885, the'Indian National Cogress was established in Bombay by A. O. Hume. In Etawah it had, however, not assumed the shape of a political organisation. But some of the prominent moderate leaders of the district such as Zorawar Singh Nigam, Baleshwar Prasad and Surya Narain held public meetings under a pandal and passed resolutions which merely contained certain complaints for submission to government and some were in the form of. prayer.

In 1907, rumours were afloat in Etawah that Zorawar Singh Nigam, had organised a conspiracy to throw out the British. A special team of police officers headed by the inspector general of police and two deputy .inspectors general hastened to Etawah. But on enquiry it was found baseless. and a person named Khali who was responsible for the rumour was arrested and sentenced.

In 1914-15, the district came into prominence as a centre of-revbltrtibnary activity when Gendalal Dixit, a teacher at Auraiya, formed the Shivajf Samiti with the object of liberating

the country. At his persuation, Brahmachari. a dacoit leader also joined the revolutionary movement and with, his help, he organised the other dacoits- operating.in the Chambal and the Yamuna ravines. They decided to plunder the house of a money lender, but a spy informed the police. The spy mixed poison in the food being prepared for the party and Brahmachari ate it. He. at once understood that there(was foul play and promptly shot the spy who tried to escape 'under the pretext of getting water. The police alerted by the shots closed in on them and a -gun battle followed. Thirty-five men of the Brahmachari group were killed. Brahmachari, Gendalal Dixit and a few others were arrested and locked up in the Gwalior fort.

Gendalal Dixit had also organised a group of young men called "Matri-Vedi". They unsuccessfully attempted to free Gendalal Dixit from the Gwalior fort and were arrested. Their trial took place at Mainpuri and which became known as the, Mainpuri Conspiracy case.

The first session of ,the Congress attended by Mahatma Gandhi, who had recently returned from South Africa was. held at Lucknow in. 1916, The. national movement had , so far been confined to the urban intelligentsia but his appearance on the Indian political .scene, gave a new direction and , meaning ito the freedom struggle which was now carried to the masses. In Etawah a large number of persons enrolled themselves as volunteers. In 1920, the Congress declared that its objective was the attainment of Swainjyq, by the people of India by all legitimate-and peaceful means.

Towards this end, Mahatma Gandhi launched his famous Non co-operation Movement all over the country in August of that .year,- In Etawah. the responce of the. people to this .movement was enthusiastic and wide spread. In 1920-21, the district Congress committee was formed with Maulana Eahmat Ullah as its: president.. He .was..soon arrested by the authorities.

Mahatma. Gandhi suspended the Non co-operation Movement in 1922, after Chauri Chaura incident which involved loss of a few, lives. But, the .movement. roused the consciousness of the people against alien rule and gave them a new confidence and courage to fight it. The Congress, contested and won a seat-allotted ta,the district in the council election.

In 1925, Jyoti Shankar Dixit of village Lalpura and Mukandi Lal of Etawah city were arrested in connection with the Kakori Conspiracy case but were later released. The later had also taken part in the Mainpuri Conspiracy case and had remained in jail upto 1939.

In 1928, when the Simon Commission visited India it was subjected to boycott all over the country and in this connection Jawaharlal Nehru visited Etawah. In Etawah black flag demonstrations and protest meetings and hartals against the Commission were organised all over the district. On November 23, 1929 Gandhiji visited the district and addressed a large public meeting at Auraiya.

In 1930, the Civil Disobedience movement was started in Etawah, as in other parts of the country. The first phase of the movement was violation of the Salt Act. Numerous arrests were made. The police made lathi charge on the students of the Government Intermediate College, Etawah, who hoisted the Congress flag on the college building, and when thousands of persons assembled to protest against this act of oppression the police arrested about 1.500 persons. Inspite of this the people of the district kept up their non-violent struggle. British goods were boycotted and foreign cloth burnt publicly. In this connection about 1,000 arrest were made2. A large number of peasants also joined the Congress.

All the political prisoners were released as a result of the Gandhi-Irwin Pact in 1931. On May 10, 19.31, a large gathering was organised at village Nagla Dhakau (in tahsil Bharthana) to march in a procession to welcome the released leaders. On hearing this the police rushed to the venue and opened fire on the processionists killing three persons. The district participated in the elections for the Legislative Assembly in 1936 and the two seats allotted to the district were won by the Congress.

The Quit India Movement of 1942 received wide support from people in the district. Hartals were observed, protest meetings were held and processions taken out. There was also wholesale defiance of the prohibitory orders under section 144 Cr. P. C. and the Congress flag 'was hoisted on all Congress offices and on numerous private buildings. There were mass arrests, imposition of collective fines, and lathi charges. On August 12, 1942 the police opened fire at Auraiya killing at least six persons. This movement clearly showed that there was universal discontent against British rule and was an indication that the British could not hold on to India for any length of time. Bv 1945. when the Second World War ended, British public opinion had veered round to granting complete independence to India. The British Parliament by passing the Indian Independence Act, 1947, decided to quit India for good. On August, 15, 1947, the country was liberated from alien rule and declared independent. The district of Etawah has had its due share in the fight and rejoicings of freedom. Etawah celebrated the event with befitting glee and rejoicing in every home. National flag was hoisted on the collec-torate building. It flew on almost all the private and government buildings.

The nation always venerated those who had participated in the stfuggle. Till January 1974, 548 persons of/ the district who had taken part in India's freedom struggle or their dependants were awarded tamra patras, i.e., copper plates containing a record of the services rendered by them or their forebears. This is a number which any district can boast of, without exaggerating its role.

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