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Bareilly district
Location of Bareilly district in Uttar Pradesh
Location of Bareilly district in Uttar Pradesh
StateUttar Pradesh
 • Lok Sabha constituenciesBareilly, Aonla (partly)
 • Total4,120 km2 (1,590 sq mi)
 • Total4,448,359[1]
 • Literacy85%
Time zoneUTC+05:30 (IST)

The Bareilly district pronunciation  belongs to the state Uttar Pradesh in northern India. Its capital is Bareilly city and it is divided in six administrative division or tehsils: Aonla, Baheri, Bareilly city, Faridpur, Mirganj, and Nawabganj. The Bareilly district is a part of the Bareilly Division and occupies an area of 4120 km2 with a population of 4,448,359 people (previously it was 3,618,589) according to the census of 2011.[1]

The modern City of Bareilly was founded by Mukrand Rai in 1657. Later it became the capital of the Rohilkhand region before getting handed over to Nawab Vazir of Awadh and then to the East India Company, becoming an integral part of India.


Ancient period

Historically, the region was the capital of the ancient kingdom of Panchala. The Panchalas occupied the country to the east of the Kurus, between the upper Himalayas and the river Ganges. The country was divided into Uttara-Panchala and Dakshina-Panchala. The northern Panchala had its capital at Ahichatra (also known as Adhichhatra and Chhatravati, near present-day Aonla) tehsil of Bareilly district, while southern Panchala had it capital at Kampilya or Kampil in Farrukhabad district. The famous city of Kannauj or Kanyakubja was situated in the kingdom of Panchala. According to the epic Mahābhārata, Bareilly region (Panchala, in present - day Uttar Pradesh and nearby regions) is said to be the birthplace of Draupadi, who was also referred to as 'Panchali'.

The position of the Panchala kingdom in Iron Age Vedic India.
The position of the Panchala kingdom in Iron Age Vedic India.

The last two Panchala clans, the Somakas and the Srinjayas are mentioned in the Mahabharata and the Puranas. King Drupada, whose daughter Draupadi was married to the Pandavas belonged to the Somaka clan.[2] However, the Mahabharata and the Puranas consider the ruling clan of the northern Panchala as an offshoot of the Bharata clan. Divodasa, Sudas, Srinjaya, Somaka and Drupada (also called Yajnasena) were the most notable rulers of this clan.[3]

During 176 – 166 BC, Panchala coins were minted at Bareilly and the surrounding areas. It was the Kushan and Gupta kings who established mints here. The city's continued status as a mint town since the beginning of the Christian era was helped by the fact that Bareilly was never a disturbed area (except at the time of the Indian Independence Struggle).[citation needed]

Found at Ganga Ghati in abundance were the Adi Vigraha and Shree Vigraha coins of the Pratihara Kings that were minted here between the 4th to the 9th centuries. Dating to this period are also the silver coins – similar to those of Firoz Second – known as Indo-Sasanian.[4]

Medieval period

After the fall of the Kingdom of Panchala, the city was under the rule of local rulers. In the twelfth century, it was ruled by different clans of Rajputs referred to by the general name of Katehriyas Rajputs.[5]

According to British historian Matthew Atmore Sherring the district of Bareilly was formerly a dense jungle inhabited by a race of Ahirs and was called Tappa Ahiran.[6][7] In the beginning of the thirteenth century, when the Delhi Sultanate was firmly established, Katehr was divided into the provinces of Sambhal and Budaun. But the thickly forested country infested with wild animals provided just the right kind of shelter for rebels. And indeed, Katehr was famous for rebellions against imperial authority. During the Sultanate rule, there were frequent rebellions in Katehr. All were ruthlessly crushed. Sultan Balban (1266–1287) ordered vast tracts of jungle to be cleared so as to make the area unsafe for the insurgents.

The slightest weakening of the central authority provoked acts of defiance from the Katehriya Rajputs. Thus the Mughals initiated the policy of allotting lands for Afghan settlements in Katiher.[8] Afghan settlements continued to be encouraged throughout the reign of Aurangzeb (1658–1707) and even after his death. These Afghans, known as the Rohilla Afghans, caused the area to be known as Rohilkhand.[9]

The city of Bareilly was founded in 1537 by Basdeo, a Katehriya Rajput. The city is mentioned in the histories for the first time by Budayuni, who he writes that Husain Quli Khan was appointed the governor of Bareilly and Sambhal in 1568. The divisions and revenue of the district fixed by Todar Mal were recorded by Abul Fazl in 1596. In 1658, Bareilly was made the headquarters of the province of Budaun.[10] The foundation of the 'modern' City of Bareilly was laid by Mukrand Rai in 1657.

The tract of land forming the subah or province of Rohilkhand was formerly called Katehr/Katiher.[11]

The Mughal policy of encouraging Afghan settlements for keeping the Katehriyas in check worked only as long as the central government was strong. After Aurangzeb's death, the Afghans, having themselves become local potentates, began to seize and occupy neighbouring villages.

Regions of Uttar Pradesh including Rohilkhand(with Bareilly as its capital)
Regions of Uttar Pradesh including Rohilkhand(with Bareilly as its capital)

In 1623 two Afghan brothers of the Barech tribe, Shah Alam and Husain Khan, settled in the region, bringing with them many other Pashtun settlers. The Rohilla Daud Khan was awarded the Katehr region in the then northern India by Mughal emperor Aurangzeb Alamgir (ruled 1658–1707) to suppress Rajput uprisings, which had afflicted this region. Originally, some 20,000 soldiers from various Pashtun Tribes (Yusafzais, Ghoris, Lodis, Ghilzai, Barech, Marwat, Durrani, Tanoli, Tarin, Kakar, Khattak, Afridi and Baqarzai) were hired by Mughals to provide soldiers to the Mughal armies and this was appreciated by Aurangzeb Alamgir, an additional force of 25,000 men was given respected positions in Mughal army. However most of them settled in the Katehar region during Nadir Shah's invasion of northern India in 1739 increasing their population up to 100,0000. Due to the large settlement of Rohilla Afghans, the Katehar region gained fame as Rohilkhand.

Meanwhile, Ali Muhammad Khan (1737–1749), grandson of Shah Alam, captured the city of Bareilly and made it his capital, later uniting the Rohillas to form the state of 'Rohilkhand', between 1707 and 1720, making Bareilly his capital. He rapidly rose to power and got confirmed in possession of the lands he had seized. The Emperor made him a Nawab in 1737, and he was recognised as the governor of Rohilkhand in 1740. According to 1901 census of India, the total Pathan population in Bareilly District was 40,779, out of a total population of 1,090,117.[12] Their principal clans were the Yusafzais, Ghoris, Lodis, Ghilzai, Barech, Marwat, Durrani, Tanoli, Tarin, Kakar, Khattak, Afridi and Baqarzai. Other important cities were Rampur, Shahjahanpur, Badaun, and others.[13]

Hafiz Rahmat Khan, standing right to Ahmad Shah Durrani, who is shown on a brown horse.(during The 'Third battle of Panipat') 14 January 1761
Hafiz Rahmat Khan, standing right to Ahmad Shah Durrani, who is shown on a brown horse.(during The 'Third battle of Panipat') 14 January 1761

Ali Muhammad was succeeded by Hafiz Rahmat Khan Barech (1749–1774), whom he appointed as the regent of Rohilkhand on his deathbed.[14][better source needed] Hafiz Rahmat Khan Barech extended the power of Rohilkhand from Almora in the North to Etawah in the South-West. Under Rahmat Ali Khan, Rohillas' power continued to rise, though the area was torn by strife amongst the rival chieftains and continuous struggles with the neighbouring powers, particularly the Nawab Vazirs of Awadh,[15] the Bangash Nawabs[16] and the Marathas.[17]

The term Rohilla is derived from the Pashtu Roh, meaning mountain, and literally means a mountain air, and was used by the Baluch and Jats of the Derajat region to refer to the Pashtun mountains tribes of Loralai, Zhob and Waziristan regions. The Rohillas and are men of a taller stature and a fairer complexion than the general inhabitants of the district. The Muslims in the area are chiefly the descendants of Yousafzai Afghans tribe of Pashtuns, called the Rohilla Pathans of the Mandanh sub-section, (but other Pashtuns also became part of the community), who settled in the country about the year 1720.[18] Rohilla's Sardar like Daud Khan, Ali Muhammad Khan, and the legendary Hafiz Rahmat Khan Barech were from the renowned Afghan tribe the Barech, who were originally from the Kandahar Province of Afghanistan. In Uttar Pradesh, it was used for all Pashtuns, except for the Shia Bangashes who settled in the Rohilkhand region, or men serving under Rohilla chiefs. Rohillas were distinguished by their separate language and culture. They spoke Pashto among each other but gradually lost their language over time and now converse in Urdu.

Bishop Heber described them as follows – "The country is burdened with a crowd of lazy, profligate, self-called sawars (cavaliers), who, though many of them are not worth a rupee, conceive it derogatory to their gentility and Pathan blood to apply themselves to any honest industry, and obtain for the most part a precarious livelihood by sponging on the industrious tradesmen and farmers, on whom they levy a sort of blackmail, or as hangers-on to the wealthy and noble families yet remaining in the province. These men have no visible means of maintenance, and no visible occupation except that of lounging up and down with their swords and shields, like the ancient Highlanders, whom in many respects they much resemble."[18]

Rohilkhand (under Hafiz Rahmat Khan Barech) was on the winning side at the Third Battle of Panipat of 1761 and successfully blocked the expansion of the Maratha Empire into north India. In 1772 Rohilkhand was invaded by the Marathas; however the Nawabs of Awadh came to the aid of the Rohillas in repulsing the invasion. After the war Nawab Shuja-ud-Daula demanded payment for their help from the Rohilla chief, Hafiz Rahmat Khan Barech. When the demand was refused the Nawab joined with the British under Governor Warren Hastings and his Commander-in-Chief, Alexander Champion, to invade Rohilkhand. The combined forces of Shuja-ud Daulah, the Nawab of Awadh and the company's forces led by Colonel Champion defeated Hafiz Rahmat Ali Khan in 1774. Hafiz Rahmat Khan Barech was killed in the ensuing battle at Miranpur Katra in 1774. His death finally closing the chapter of Rohilla rule.

Rohilkhand was handed over to the Nawab Vazir of Awadh. From 1774 to 1800, the province was ruled by the Nawabs of Awadh. By 1801, the subsidies due under the various treaties for support of a British force had fallen into hopeless arrears. To defray the debt, Nawab Saadat Ali Khan surrendered Rohilkhand to the East India Company by the treaty of 10 November 1801. [19]

During this period too, Bareilly retained its status as a mint. Emperor Akbar and his descendants minted gold and silver coins at mints in Bareilly. The Afghan conqueror Ahmed Shah Durani too minted gold and silver coins at the Bareilly mint.

During the time of Shah Alam II, Bareilly was the headquarters of Rohilla Sardar Hafiz Rehmat Khan and many more coins were issued. After that, the city was in possession of Awadh Nawab Asaf-ud-Daulah. The coins that he issued had Bareilly, Bareilly Aasfabad, and Bareilly kite and fish as identification marks. After that, the minting of coins passed on to the East India Company.[20]

The Rohillas, after fifty years' precarious independence, were subjugated in 1774 by the confederacy of British troops with the Nawab of Oudh's army, which formed a charge against Warren Hastings. Their territory was in that year annexed to Oudh. In 1801 the Nawab of Oudh ceded it to the Company in commutation of the subsidy money.[18]

Modern period

After the Rohillas, the change of the power structure did little to soothe the troubled strife torn area; rather the change had the effect to aggravate a precarious state of affairs. There was a general spirit of discontent throughout the district. In 1812, an inordinate enhancement in the revenue demand[21] and then in 1814 the imposition of a new house tax caused a lot of resentment against the British. "Business stood still, shops were shut and multitudes assembled near the courthouse to petition for the abolition of the tax." The Magistrate, Dembleton, already an unpopular man made things worse by ordering the assessment to be made by a Kotwal. In the skirmish that took place between the rebel masses and the sepoys under Captain Cunningham, three or four hundred people died. In 1818, Glyn was posted as Acting Judge, and the Magistrate of Bareilly, and the Joint Magistrate of Bulundshahr.

In a research ordered by Glyn asking Ghulam Yahya to write an account about 'craftsmen, the names of tools of manufacture and production and their dress and manners', eleven trades found out to be most popular means of livelihood in and around Bareilly in the 1820s were glass manufacture, manufacture of glass bangles, manufacture of lac bangles, crimping, gram parching, wire drawing, charpoy weaving, manufacture of gold and silver thread, keeping a grocer's shop, making jewellery and selling kab¹bs.[10]

A 1912 map of 'Northern India The Revolt of 1857–59' showing the centres of rebellion including the principal ones: Meerut, Delhi, Bareilly, (Kanpur), Lucknow, Jhansi, and Gwalior
A 1912 map of 'Northern India The Revolt of 1857–59' showing the centres of rebellion including the principal ones: Meerut, Delhi, Bareilly, (Kanpur), Lucknow, Jhansi, and Gwalior

Bareilly (Rohilkhand) was a major centre during the Indian Rebellion of 1857 (also known as India's First War of Independence).

It began as a mutiny of native soldiers (sepoys) employed by the British East India Company's army, against perceived race based injustices and inequities, on 10 May 1857, in the town of Meerut, and soon erupted into other mutinies and civilian rebellions which were mainly centred on north central India along the several major river valleys draining the south face of the Himalayas [See red annotated locations on Map at right] but with local episodes extending both northwest to Peshawar on the north-west frontier with Afghanistan and southeast beyond Delhi.

There was a widespread popular revolt in many areas such as Awadh, Bundelkhand and Rohilkhand. The rebellion was therefore more than just a military rebellion, and it spanned more than one region. The communal hatred led to ugly communal riots in many parts of U.P. The green flag was hoisted and Muslims in Bareilly, Bijnor, Moradabad and other places the Muslims shouted for the revival of Muslim kingdom.[22]

The main conflict occurred largely in the upper Gangetic plain and central India, with the major hostilities confined to present-day Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, northern Madhya Pradesh, and the Delhi region.[23] The rebellion posed a considerable threat to British East Indian Company power in that region,[24] and it was contained only with the fall of Gwalior on 20 June 1858.[23] Some[who?] regard the rebellion as the first of several movements over ninety years to achieve independence, which was finally achieved in 1947.

During the Mutiny of 1857 the Rohillas took a very active part against the English, but since then they had been disarmed.[18] During the First War of Indian Independence in 1857, Khan Bhadur Khan issued silver coins from Bareilly as an independent ruler. These coins are a novelty as far as the numismatist is concerned.[25]

The population in 1901 was 1,090,117. Bareilly, also, was the headquarters of a brigade in the 7th division of the eastern army corps in British period.[18]


Bareilly is located at 28°10′N, 78°23′E, and lies in northern India. It borders Pilibhit and Shahjahanpur on East and Rampur on west, Udham Singh Nagar (Uttarakhand) in North and Badaun in South. It is a level terrain, watered by many streams, the general slope being towards the south. The soil is fertile and highly cultivated, groves of noble trees abound, and the villages have a neat, prosperous look. A tract of forest jungle called the tarai stretches along the extreme north of the district and teems with large game such as tigers, bears, deer and wild pigs. The river Sarda or Gogra forms the eastern boundary of the district and is the principal stream. Next in importance is the Ramganga, which receives as its tributaries most of the hill torrents of the Kumaon mountains. The Deoha is another great drainage artery and receives many minor streams. The Gomati or Gumti also passes through the district.[18]


Historical population
YearPop.±% p.a.

According to the 2011 census Bareilly district has a population of 4,448,359,[27] roughly equal to the nation of Croatia[28] or the US state of Louisiana.[29] This gives it a ranking of 39th in India (out of a total of 640).[27] The district has a population density of 1,084 inhabitants per square kilometre (2,810/sq mi) .[27] Its population growth rate over the decade 2001–2011 was 23.4%.[27] Bareilly has a sex ratio of 883 females for every 1000 males,[27] and a literacy rate of 60.52%.[27]

According to the 2005 census report of the Government of India, the total population of Bareilly City Region (Bareilly Municipal Corporation and Bareilly Cantt.) is 875,165 having distribution as 53% males and 47% females nearly. The area under the city region is 123.46 km2. The density of the population is among the highest in the country, almost 5000 per km2.

At the time of the 2011 Census of India, 90.76% of the population in the district spoke Hindi, 8.48% Urdu and 0.47% Punjabi as their first language.[30]

The main Hindu castes includes: Kurmis (Gangwars, Patels), brahmins, Thakurs, Mauryas,Yadavas(Ahirs), Baniyas, Jatavs, Balmikis, Kayasthas and Punjabis and Jat sikhs.

Among the Muslims the Rohilla Pathans and Shaikhs are the main communities.

Bareilly is a category "A" district i.e. having socio-economic and basic amenities parameters below the national average.[31]


Religion in Bareilly district[32]
Religion Percent

Hindus form 63.6% of population.[32] The Bareilly-based Madrasas mobilized Islamic scholars across the country, to issue a joint Fatwa against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.[33] There is a Roman Catholic Diocese of Bareilly.

Administrative divisions

List of Tehsils in Bareilly district.

The Bareilly district has six Tehsils for administrative purposes listed.

Aonla, Baheri, Bareilly (Sadar), Faridpur, Meerganj and Nawabganj.[34]


Rohilkhand University in Bareilly was established in 1975. In August 1997, it was renamed as Mahatma Jyotiba Phule Rohilkhand University. Presently, 80 colleges are affiliated to it.[35]

See also


  1. ^ a b[bare URL PDF]
  2. ^ Pargiter, F.E. (1972). Ancient Indian Historical Tradition, Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, p.117
  3. ^ Raychaudhuri, H.C. (1972) Political History of Ancient India, Calcutta: University of Calcutta, pp.65–8.
  4. ^ "When Bareilly was in currency". The Times of India.
  5. ^ When the Ain-i-Akbari was compiled (c 1595-6), Katiher was largely held by Rajputs of different clans such as Bachal, Gaur, Chauhan and Rathor. See Iqbal Husain, op. cit., p. 6.
  6. ^ Sherring, Matthew Atmore (1872). Hindu Tribes and Castes. Thacker, Spink & Company. p. 237. Ahirs.
  7. ^ Hindu Tribes and Castes, Volume 1 page 334
  8. ^ Iqbal Husain, op. cit., p. 97.
  9. ^ Bahadur Khan Ruhela and Diler Khan Ruhela were important nobles at the court of the Mughal Emperor Shahjahan. As a reward for defeating the Katehriyas a perpetual grant of 14 villages was conferred upon Bahadur Khan who asked his brother Diler Khan to lay the foundations of a new city. Shahjahanpur was established in 1647. It became a strong Afghan township where 9,000 Afghans settled, migrating from Roh, the mountainous area south of Khaibar. The tract of land forming the subah or province of Rohilkhand was formerly called Katehr/Katiher. For more details, see Iqbal Husain, The Rise and Decline of the Ruhela Chieftaincies in 18th Century India, Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1994, chapter 1. "Katiher by and large consisted of the two sark¹rs Badaun and Sambhal. Najmul Ghani says that Katiher consisted of the modern districts of Bareilly, Muradabad and Badaun," p. 4, fn. 25.
  10. ^ a b "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 8 June 2011. Retrieved 1 November 2010.((cite web)): CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  11. ^ For more details, see Iqbal Husain, The Rise and Decline of the Ruhela Chieftaincies in 18th Century India, Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1994, chapter 1. "Katiher by and large consisted of the two sark¹rs Badaun and Sambhal. Najmul Ghani says that Katiher consisted of the modern districts of Bareilly, Muradabad and Badaun," p. 4, fn. 25.
  12. ^ Imperial Gazetteer of India by W M Hunter
  13. ^ An Eighteenth Century History of North India: An Account of the Rise And Fall of the Rohilla Chiefs in Janbhasha By Rustam Ali Bijnori by Iqtidar Husain Siddiqui Manohar Publications
  14. ^ Genealogy of Rampur princely state, [1]
  15. ^ The Nawab Vazirs of Awadh who clashed with the Rohillas were: Saadat Khan Burhan-ul Mulk (1720–39), Safdar Jung (1739–56), Shuja-ud Daulah (1756–75). The combined forces of Shuja-ud Daulah and the British defeated Hafiz Rahmat Khan in 1774.
  16. ^ Farrukhabad was the seat of the Bangash Nawabs. Muhammad Khan Bangash was the founder of the settlement. The jagir was conferred upon him by Farrukhsiyar (1713–19)in 1713 as reward for services rendered by him in the war of succession.
  17. ^ Nawab Safdar Jung of Awadh enlisted the help of the Marathas against the Bangash Nawabs. The Bangash Nawabs sought help from the Rohillasl. The latter were defeated in 1750. The Marathas again invaded Rohilla territory this time attacking Bijnor in 1759.
  18. ^ a b c d e f Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Bareilly" . Encyclopædia Britannica. Vol. 3 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 397.
  19. ^ Hafiz British Library.
  20. ^ "When Bareilly was in currency". The Times of India.
  21. ^ See Conybeare, op. cit. p. 677.
  22. ^ R. C. Majumdar: Sepoy Mutiny and Revolt of 1857 (page 2303-31)
  23. ^ a b Bandyopadhyay 2004, pp. 169–172 Bose & Jalal 2003, pp. 88–103 Quote: "The 1857 rebellion was by and large confined to northern Indian Gangetic Plain and central India.", Brown 1994, pp. 85–87, and Metcalf & Metcalf 2006, pp. 100–106
  24. ^ Bayly 1987, p. 170 Quote: "What distinguished the events of 1857 was their scale and the fact that for a short time they posed a military threat to British dominance in the Ganges Plain."
  25. ^ "When Bareilly was in currency". The Times of India.
  26. ^ Decadal Variation In Population Since 1901
  27. ^ a b c d e f "District Census 2011". 2011. Retrieved 30 September 2011.
  28. ^ US Directorate of Intelligence. "Country Comparison:Population". Retrieved 1 October 2011. Croatia 4,483,804 July 2011 est.
  29. ^ "2010 Resident Population Data". U. S. Census Bureau. Archived from the original on 19 October 2013. Retrieved 30 September 2011. Louisiana 4,533,372
  30. ^ 2011 Census of India, Population By Mother Tongue
  32. ^ a b Bareilly Religion Census 2011
  33. ^ "Madrasas run a fatwa campaign against IS in Bareilly - The Hindu".
  34. ^ "Tehsils in Bareilly district". Retrieved 28 February 2018.
  35. ^ "About the University". M.G.P. Rohilkhand University website. Archived from the original on 30 April 2009.


Coordinates: 28°25′N 79°23′E / 28.417°N 79.383°E / 28.417; 79.383