A HISTORICAL OUTLINE
The physical features of the district have proved that Saharanpur region was fit for human habitation. The archaeological survey has proved that the evidence of different cultures is available in this area. The excavations were carried out in different parts of the district, i.e Ambakheri, Bargaon, Hulas, Bhadarabad and Naseerpur etc. A number of things have been found during these excavations, on the basis of which, it is established that in Saharanpur district, the earliest habitants were found as early as 2000 B.C. Traces of Indus Valley civilization and even earlier are available and now it can be definitely established that this region is connected with Indus valley civilization. Ambakheri, Bargaon, Naseerpur and Hulas were the centres of Harappa culture because many things similar to Harappan civilization were found in these areas.
From the days of the Aryans, The history of this region is traceable in a logical manner but it is difficult at present to trace out history and administration of the local kings without further exploration and excavations. The history of the area goes back to ages. With the passage of time it’s name changed rapidly. During the region of Iltutmish Saharanpur became a part of the Slave Dynasty. Muhammad Tughlag reached northern doab to crush the rebellion of Shiwalik Kings in 1340. There he came to know about the presence of a Sufi saint on the banks of ‘Paondhoi’ river. He went to see him there and ordered that henceforth the place should be known as ‘Shah-Harunpur’ by the name of Saint Shah Harun Chisti.
Akbar was the first Mughal ruler who established civil administration in Saharanpur and made it ‘Saharanpur-Sarkar’ under Delhi province and appointed a Governor. The Jagir of saharanpur was honoured to Raja Sah Ranveer Singh who founded the city of Saharanpur. At that time Saharanpur was a small village and served as army cantt area. The nearest settlements at that time were Shekhpura and Malhipur. Most of the part of Saharanpur was covered by forests and ‘Paondhoi’ ‘Dhamola’ and ‘Ganda Nala’ (Kregi Nala) were Swampy/Marshy. The climate was humid hence it was prone to malaria.
The city which Sah Ranveer Singh founded was surrounded by ‘Nakhasa’, ‘Rani Bajar’, ‘Shah Bahlol’ and ‘Lakhi Gate’ along the ‘Paondhoi’ River. Saharanpur was a walled city and had four gates:
- Sarai Gate
- Mali Gate
- Buria Gate
- Lakhi Gate
The map becomes clear as soon as we survey and enter Chaudarian mohalla (locality). The ruins of the fort of Sah Ranveer Singh can still be seen in Chaudharian locality.
Saharanpur passed to the British in 1803. The founders of Darul Uloom Deoband, Actively participated in the rebellion, Organized the masses outside Delhi and, for a while, were successful is ousting the British authority from the area of their operation. The centre of their activities was Shamli, a small town in the present District of Muzaffarnagar.
After 1857, The cultural and political history of muslims revolved around Aligarh and Deoband. Kasim Nanautavi represented Deoband. Deoband represented opposition to British, Favoured Indian Nationalism, Hindu Muslim unity and united India. Deoband supported the revolutionary ideas of Shah Waliullah that were responsible for social and political awakening. Maulana Nanautavi and Maulana Rashid Ahamad Gangohi established a school in Deoband in 1867. It became popular by the name of Darul Uloom.
They wanted to achieve religious and social consciousness by peaceful methods. Deoband Madarsa was making efforts for the Muslims awakening and was promoting nationalism. Thus the district became centre of activity of Deoband School Ulama. The school played an important role in the revolutionary activities organised to turn out the British from India. The spirit showed in the Mutiny of 1857 continued unabated. The famous revolutionary Maulana Mahmudul Hasan was the first student of the Madarsa.
Saharanpur forms the most northerly position of the Doab land which stretches between the holy rivers of the Ganges and the Yamuna, The Shivalik hills rise above it on the northern frontier. The portion of Doab in which Saharanpur is situated was probably one of the first region of upper India occupied by the Aryans colonisers as they spread eastward from the Punjab.
Saharanpur district attained the status as Saharanpur division in 1997 of Uttar Pardesh. As regards its physical features the north and the north east of the district is surrounded by Shivalik hills and separates it from the Dehradun district in the recently created state of Uttranchal. The river Yamuna forms its boundary in the west which separates it from Karnal and Yamunanagar districts of Haryana. In the East lies the district of Haridwar which was the part of district Saharanpur before 1989 and in the south lies the district Muzafarnagar. At the time of the British Rule District Muzafarnagar was also a part of district Saharanpur. The district is in a rectangular shape and it lies between 29 degrees 34 minutes 45 seconds and 30 degrees 21 minutes 30 seconds north lattitude and 77 degrees 9 minutes and 78 degrees 14 minutes 45 seconds east longitude. Its total area is 3860 square Kilometers. According to 2001 census the population of Saharanpur is 2896860.
The district presents many varieties of features and differs in general appearance than any other portion of the Doab and Gangetic plain as a whole. It is true that most of the area belongs to the upland Bangar which strethches in a continuous line up to Allahabad i.e. Junction of the two great rivers and on the either side is the broad and low lying valley full of swamps and back waters with wide open grass plains and Tamarisk jungle but in the north, There are the steep hills of Shivalik chain which appear in a far more marked form in Saharanpur than any other district of Uttar Pardesh while below the hills are to be seen in a modified form the prevailing characteristics of the Bhabar and Tarai region.
The main characteristics of the district can be divided into four parts.
- Shivalik Hill Tract
- The Bhabar Land
- Bangar Land
- Khadar Land (Yamuna, Hindon)
Yamuna is the important river of the district. Apart from this Solani, Hindon, Ratmau, Nagdev have also played an important role in the physical reconstruction of the district. All the rivers of the district submerge either in Yamuna or in the Ganges.
Saharanpur has a tropical climate because of the proximity of the Himalayan region across this Northern district. It is sub humid region especially the upper Ganga plain areas. Saharanpur records an average temperature around 23.3 degree during the course of the year. June is the hottest recorded month while January is the coldest one. Humidity is more in the western area as compared to the eastern region of Saharanpur. Saharanpur is moderately humid with June being the hottest month and January the coldest. Summers enter in the month of March. Winters commence in the month of October and stay on till February
The region is very poor in mineral resources. Limestone stone boulders are the only main minerals. Limestone is found in the Shivalik hills. Stone, hard enough to be used for building purposes is scarce and is found in Shivaliks while stone for road metal is found in the beds of Solani, Hindon and Sukhrao streams. Excellent lime is also procured from the boulders covering the beds of the hilly torrents. The saline efflorescence which is known by the name of Rah is found in the low lying tracts and in the canal irrigated areas.
The physical features and the climatic conditions of this district have played an important role in shaping the history of Saharanpur district and making it an important part from the rest of the country.
Saharanpur is primarily and agricultural district. Roughly 70% of the land is under agricultural use still the region is of little importance from the point of view of pastures. Agriculture plays an important role in the economy of the district. One significant feature is that even though the agricultural land for food crops has reduced in recent years the food production has increased considerably. The significance of commercial crops have increased manifold as a consequence of sugarcane production. The important food crops of the region are Wheat, Rice, Maize, Jawar, Bajara, sugarcane; oilseeds, cotton and jute are the main commercial crops.
Many agro based industries have been developing across the Saharanpur district off late. One can also find number of cottage industries here. saharanpur does not have enough mineral resources unlike other districts in Uttar Pradesh. However it has industrially backed itself with number of sugar and paper industries, cigarette industry and not to forget the ever famous wood carving industry. Wood work of Saharanpur district is world famous and is exported in many Western countries including USA, UK, Singapore, Sweden, and Kuwait.
The development of transport system depends on the physical features and economic utility of the region. Transport system in the Bhabar region has not developed much due to Monuntaineous Rivers and uneven topography. In the Bangar region the roads and railway lines are developed due to favorable conditions like fertile land, high density of population and topography.
From the view point of industries and trade the region has great importance. The region produces agro-based and industrial goods which are sent to the various parts of the country. The trade flourishes and can be divided into three categories:
- Food – Grains, Vegetables and Fruits. Milk and milk products.
- Agro Based Industries – The most important industries are Sugar, Gur, (Cotton) Textile and Cigarettes.
- Industrial Goods- Paper, Sugarcane, Hosiery Material & Wood Carving.
Besides exporting goods from here the region also imports Coal, Iron–ore, Cement, Salt, Petroleum Products, Fertilizers, Oil-Seeds and Leather from Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, Delhi and Bihar.