Of the history of the district nothing is known with any degree of certainty till several hundred years after the Muhammadan invasion. It may be conjectured that it formed part of the Pandava Raj of Hastinapur. Greco-Bactrian coins arc occasionally found in the district, and it was possibly overrun by the Kushans in the first or second century A.D. The Chinese pilgrims do not appear to have passed through it, but in the middle of the seventh century it was probably included in the principalities of Thaeswar and Srughna, both tributaries of Kanauj, the chief towns of which were visited by Hiuen Tsiang. Later traditions place petty Rajas at Khuda, Khudi and Baghra in the eastern tracts, who were subordinate to Prithviraj, the Chauhan of Dehli. The earliest colonists are said to have been Rajputs, Tagas and Brahmans, the latter chiefly of the Gaur subdivision. These were followed, according to tradition, by the Jats, who displaced the Tagas to a great extent in the western and southern part of the district.
The first great event connected with the district of which we have any distinct record in the Persian histories is Timur's invasion, which took place in January 1399 A.D. After the sack of Meerut the conqueror marched northwards through the Meerut district by either Firozpur in pargana Hastinapur of the Meerut district or Firozpur in pargana Bhukarheri of this district, towards Tughlakpur in pargana Pur Chhupar, and when he had got within five kos of his encamping-ground he heard that the Hindus had assembled at the fords of the Ganges. Timur then sent on a force of 5,000 horse to disperse the enemy and marched with the remainder of his force to Tughlakpur. Whilst there, information was received of a force of Hindus coming down the river in forty-eight boats with the intention of fighting. The account of the naval contest that ensued may be given in Timur's own words: I mounted my horse, and, taking with me one thousand troops who were at hand, westruck our heels into the flanks of our horses and hastened to the side of the river. As soon as my braves saw the boats, some of them rode their horses into the river and swam to the vessels; then, seizing fast hold of the sides, they defeated all the efforts of the Hindus to shake them off. They forced their way into some of the boats, put the infidels to the sword, and throw their bodies into the river; thus sending them through water to the fires of hell. Some of my men dismounted, and, proceeding to the ford, assailed the enemy with arrows. The occupants of the boats returned the arrows, but the vessels were at length wrested from their possession and were brought with their contents to my presence. The enemy had lashed ten of their boats together with chains and strong ropes, and these vessels maintained the fight. My men plied them with arrows till they slew many of them; they then swam off and, boarding the boats, put every living soul to the sword, sending them through water to the fires of hell. " After this affair of the boats Timur returned to Tugh-laqpur, and thence crossed the Ganges higher up into the Bijnor district. Babar, too, in his fifth expedition passed down the Duab through this district but for many years we have no specific mention of it or its people. The doctor Mukarrabkhan, the Barha Saiyida and the Sikhs are those alone whose history need detain us in a short historical sketch like the present one.
During the reign of Akbar and his successors this district became a favourite resort of the nobles of the court, many of who obtained jagirs here. Sheikh Hasan or Hassu, a son of Sheikh Bina (or Bhaniya) of Panipat, rose to great eminence under Jahangir and received the title of Mukarrab Khan. Both father and son were by profession surgeons, and in 1597 A.D. they succeeded in curing a bad wound, which the Emperor Akbar had received from a buck at a deer fight. Hassu was physician to Prince Salim, who, on his accession to the throne, made him Governor of Gujarat. In 1618 he was removed to Bihar, to make way for Prince Shahjahan, and in 1621 we find him Governor of Agra. On the accession of Shahjahan, Mukarrab Khan was pensioned and received Kairana, his native town, and the surrounding parganas in jagir. His son Rizkullah was a doctor under Shahjahan and a commander of 800. Aurangzeb made him a Khan. He died in 1668 A.D. The poet Sadullah, known by his takhallus or pseudonym of Masiha-i-khniranawi, who wrote an epic poem on the loves of Sita and Rama, was the adopted son of Mukarrab Khun. A follower of Mukarrab Khan founded Shamli, but the entire jagir was resumed by Bahadur Shah.
THE BARHA SAIYIDS
The history of the Barha Saiyids is so intimately connected with this district that a brief notice of their families and the influence that they once exercised is necessary to complete the local history of this portion of the Duab. Towards the latter half of the fourteenth century the Saiyids generally seem to have attained to considerable power, and may possibly have induced the Panjabi Saiyids to move to their assistance. However this may be, at the beginning of the fifteenth century we find the throne of Dehli occupied by a Saiyid dynasty and the numerous offspring of Ali und Fatima crowding to the court for places and pensions, and they were not disappointed in their quest, for these Saiyid emperors were munificent patrons of their co-religionists. In 1414 A.D, the Sultan. Khizr Khan conferred the fief of Saharanpur on Saiyid Salim, the chief of the Saiyids, and though, as hereafter shown, the Saiyid settlements in Muzaffarnagar can be traced back to the middle of the fourteenth century, we may safely assume that their progress and extension were influenced, in no small degree, by the existence of a Saiyid dynasty at Dehli and of a Saiyid governor in the Saharaupur shikk. The Saiyids of the Barha themselves do not give a chronologically accurate account of their origin and history. According to their family chronicles, they are descended from one Saiyid Abul Farah of Wasit near Baghdad, who, owing to the troubles caused by Hulagu invasion of
Baghdad, emigrated to India with his twelve sons in the time of Nassiruddin Mahmud, son of Altamash, who reigned from 1246-1265 A.D. Abul Farah is said to have remained in India until the time of Sikandir Lodi (1488—1517 A.D.), when, hearing of the death of Hulagu, he returned to Persia, leaving, by the emperor's command, four of his sons, who eventually became the heads of the four great branches of the Saiyid family in this district. The dates alone show the chronological incorrectness of this account. The four brothers settled in the Punjab in villages now in the Patiala territory.
THE FOUR FAMILIES
The first, Saiyid Daud, settled in Tihanpur and his branch of the family take their name from the parent village. Saiyid Abul Fazal settled in Chhatbanur, and his descendant are generally known as Chhatrauri Saiyids, The third, Saiyid Abul Fazail, occupied Kundli, whence his branch of the family obtained the name of Lundliwals. Lastly, Saiyid Najam-u-din Husain settled in Jagner ; his descendants are known as Jagneri or Jhajari Saiyids. The family tradition makes the Saiyids continue in the service of Sahahab-ud-din Ghori, but this is chronologically impossible ; the oldest inscription relating to their family is that at the tomb of Ibn Salar Chhatrauri, the Salar Auliya, at Sambnlhera. It bears the date 777 H. cr 1375 A.D., arid he is said to have been eighth in descent from Abul Farah. The parent villages of these families are now entirely insignificant place's, with the exception of Chhatbanur, a large town with several thousands Saiyid inhabitants.
THE NAME BARAH
Shortly after the settlement in the Panjab, the family Divided into two branches, one of which settled at Bilgram in the Hardoi district, whence a colony went to Marahra in Etah, and other took up their abode in the Duab. Both of these families claim to be connected with the Saiyids of Khairabad and Fatehpur Haswa, but as early as the reign of Akbar their claimed to be true Saiyids was not generally admitted. The Emperor Jahangir says of them that "The personal courage the Saiyids of Barha, but nothing else, was the best proof that "They were Saiyids," The derivation of the word Barha is very uncertain, it has been suggested that it is derived from the word Bahir, "Outside" because the Saiyids preferred to live outside the city of Dehli. This seems as far-fetched as the derivation from 'Abrar,' "the pure Saiyids." Other derivations are all connected with the number twelve. According to one view they are so called from the fact of their all being Shias and followers of the twelve Imams. A very probable derivation is that they originally settled in twelve villages, on the analogy of the Barah Basti of Pathans in Bulandshahr, just as to find in other cases Chaurasis and Chaubisis. This at any rate is the view taken by the authors of the Tabakat-i-Akbari and the Tuzuk-i-Jahangiri.
THEIR EARLY HISTORY
According to the tradition the four clans came to the district about the same time. The Kundliwals are said to have settled at Majhera; the Chatrauria in or near Sambalhera; the Jagneris in Bidauli, and the Tihanpuri branch in Dhansri aand Kumhcra. " With the exception of Palri," writes Mr. Cadell, " the earliest Saiyid settlements were made in the sandy tract of the old Sambalhera pargana or in its immediate neighborhood, and it was not until later that the Saiyids obtained a footing in the richer portions of the district. Even tradition allows that the earlier acquisitions were made through the goodwill of Hindu owners whom the Saiyids placed, in various ways, under obligations. This tends to show that the fertile portions of the district were then fully occupied, and that the Saiyids came into the district anxious for a settlement within an easy distance of the capital, but not yet holding such high offices at court as would enable them to obtain possession of fertile townships already settled. This view is confirmed by the face that a family of Gardezi Saiyids, who are allowed to have come to the district before the Barha Saiyida, settled on the edge of the same wilderness of sand, but nearer the better laud and close to old Jat and Rajput communities. It is possible that, in addition to the fact of the reigning family being Saiyids, the existence of a colony of their co-religionists in this district first caused the- Panjabi Saiyids to turn their attention to this portion of the Duab, and this can only have taken place after they had resided long enough in their original settlement, to feel the pressure of increased numbers and consider themselves able to established new homes amid an alien and probably hostile population.
AKBAR & THE SAIYIDS Throughout. the reign of Akbar and his immediate successors the Barha Saiyids took part in almost every important campaign, their usual place was in the forefront of the army, and they distinguished themselves by their courage and bravery. In the twenty-first year of Akbar's reign the Saiyids were engaged against the Hindu rebels of Ajmer. In the 41st year Sniyid Jalal fought in the Dcccan. In the war with Khusru, one Saif Khan, the son of Saiyid Mahmud, did excellent service, having received no less than seventeen wounds, and Saiyid Jamal-ud-din was mortally wounded. The Kundliwals came first to notice, and nxst to them the Tihanpuri, who, under the brothers Saiyid Abdullah Khan and Saiyid Husain Ali Khan, raised the family name to its highest glory. Their acquisitions in this district were not, however, of a permanent nature, and so complete was their downfall that not a tithe of their ancient possessions now remains to their descendants. The Chhatrauri rose to prominence during the struggle between Muhammad Shah and the Tihanpuria, for they sided with the Emperor, and in return for their service Nasrat Yar Khan, Shahamat Khan, Rukn-ud-daula and many others received substantial rewards. The further history of the family will be better told by sketching the progress of each branch to the present day. It may, however, be noted here that the Saiiyids have private marks of recognition which they say, writes Elliot, 'have been very successful in excluding impostors from the tribe. Particular families have denominations, such as dog, ass, sweeper, etc., which are derived from the menial offices, which, it is said, some Saiyids of this family Performed for the Emperor Humayun when reduced to extremities during, his flight from Sher Shah.
The great Tihanpuri family have the most conspicuous claim to fame of all the Barha Saiyids. Saiyid Khan Mir, the eigth in descent from Saiyid Daud, the founder of this branch, left Tihanpur and seltled at Dhasri in pargana Jauli of this district,. He had four sons, the eldest of whom was Umar Shahid, who settled in Jansath ; the second was Saiyid Chaman, who settled at Chitaura; the third was Saiyid Hasan, who took tip his abode in Bihari, the fourth was Saiyid Ahmad, who made his home in Kawal in pargana Jansath. We will attempt to give a brief account of these four families of the Ti hanpuri. When Unmr came to Jansath he found the village inhabited by Jats and Brahmans. His descendants acquired proprietary rights there, and during the ascendancy of the family in the reign of Farrukh Siyar, they so extended their possessions that they were detached from Jauli and formed into a separate tappa known as Jansaath from the principal towns. The genealogical tree of this family from Saiyid Umar to the present day will be found in the appendix. The names given in italics are those of persons who were alive in 1902.
THE TIHANPURI CHIEF
From this family came the celebrated Nawab Abdullah Khan, so well known in Ajmer under the name of Saiyid Miyan. Towards the close of the reign of Aurangjeb the Tihanpuri branch attained to considerable influence and were entrusted with important commands. Hasan Ali and Husain ALi the grandsons of Abdullah Khan, were in the employment of Aajim-ush-Shan, son of Muiz-ud-din, who was afterwards known as the Emperor Bahadur Shah, and for their gallant behavior at the battle of Agra in 1707, which gave the thron to the father of their patron, the former received the government of Allahabad and the latter that of Patna.
THE GREAT BROTHERS
In 170D A.D. we find Saiyid Ahmad, Saiyid Khan, Saiyid Husain Khan and Saiyid Ghairat Khan, all from Barha, fighting boldly for the Emperor against the Hindu princes on the Narbada who had taken the opportunity to revolt. The Saiyids, true to the reputation of their family, fought in the van of the army and perished to a man with all their followers. During the next few years the Barha Saiyid distinguished themselves in the Punjab, along the Indus and in Gujarat, until the time came when by their aid the Jansath family became masters of Hindustan. The year 1712 found the Saiyid governors distrustful of the power of their enemies at the Delhi court, and they at length resolved to raise Prince Farrukh Siyar to the throne. In this design they were successful, and, as his ministers enjoyed the highest dignities that the Emperor could confer, they did not, however, attain their object without much hard fighting, and in the battles of Sarai Alam Chand (Allahabad) and Agra, which then took place, many of their relatives and clansmen lost their lives. Najum-ud-din Ali Khan, Nur-ud-din Ali Xhan, and, Saif-ud-din Ali Khan greatly distinguished- themselves,, anf Nur-ud-din lost his life at Allahabad. Saiyid Hasan Ali Khan, hence forward known as Saiyid Abdullah, was appointed vazir of the empire with the title of Qutb-ul-mulk, and Saiyid Husain Ali became commander-in-chief with the title of Amir-ul-mamalik. Their subsequent career belongs rather to general history and has no special reference to this district. Saiyid Husain Ali Khan was assassinated in 1721 A.D., and his brother, Saiyid Abdullah, was poisoned three-years afterwards, Many of the Saiyids of note fell, with Saiyid Husain Ali in 1721, and still more perished-in the unfortunate battle of Husain-pur when Saiyid Abdullah was taken prisoner. Still some survived, and amongst those mentioned as holding high commands at this time may be recorded the names of Saiyid Asadullah, Saiyid Jan-nisar Khan,. Saiyid Ikhlas Khan, Saiyid Asad Ali Khan the lame, Saiyid Dilawar Khan, and Saiyid Firoz. Ali than. The estates of both brothers were conferred on one Muhammad Amin Khan, who lost no time in enforcing his authority in this district. At the same time Kamar-ud-din Khan succeeded to the dignities formerly held by the Saiyids, and ever remained the bitter, active and unscrupulous enemy of their race.
FALL OF THE TIHANPURI
On the death of Saiyid Abdullah in 1724 A.D., Saiyid Najm-ud-din Ali Khan, his youngest surviving brother, obtained for some time honorable employment under Sarbaland Khan, Governor of Gujarat, and subsequently shared in the unmerited misfortunes which befell his patron.At the same time other members of the family continued to serve with distinction in various parts of the empire. Kamar-ud-din became alarmed at their reputation, and seeing that " the snake was scotched and not killed," resolved to take such measures, on the first opportunity that presented itself, that the very name of Barha Saiyid should be completely obliterated from the records of the state. In this resolve he seems to have been actuated as much by religious feelings as by hereditary hatred; he was a Sunni, whilst the great mass of the Saiyids were Shiahs- The vazir, for a long time, confined himself to denying them all employments near the Emperor's person until at last, in 1737, finding his efforts-not so successful as he had supposed, he carried his long cherished plan into execution. Saiyid Saif-ud-din Ali Khan, ever since the death of Saiyid Abdullah, had resided in retirement, on the family estates at Jansath, and the vazir determined to provoke him to some apparently overt act of rebellion so as to give some colour to the action that he intended to take. For this purpose one Marhamat Khan was despatched to the Saharanpur district with orders to resume the jagir of Saiyid Saif-ud-din and those of every other member of the family of the late Saiyid leaders and their dependents. Marhamat Khan was a man of coarse and brutal manners and undertook the office of jackal with alacrity. In carrying out his orders with an organized "crowbar brigade" he acted with such unnecessary violence and cruelty that the Saiyids rose enmass
and put him and his followers to death. Kamar-ud-din delighted at the intelligence, and thinking it a good excuse for destroying his enemies, root and branch, assembled a large force of Turanis, a body of Afghana under Ali Muhammad, Rohilla, besides contingents from the Governors of Katehr., Shahjahanpar, and Shahabad, and a large body of Chhatrauri Saiyids, all of whom he .placed under the command of his own brother, Aajim-ullah Khan, a name then, as in 1857, associated with deeds of cruel murder and rapine.
SACK OF JANSATH
The vazir's force marched on Jansath, the headquarters of the Tihanpuri Saiyids, and defeated Saiyid Saif-ud-din at Bhainsi on the Khatauli road. The town was then surrounded and taken by assault, and for three whole days nought but rapine accompanied with murder and rape prevailed. The Rohilla leader distinguished himself in the battle by killing Saiyid Gan-ud-din with his own hand, and received substantial favours in reward besides permission to use the great drum with his forces. The resumption orders were now carried out with the greatest vigour, and many of the Saiyids emigrated to Lucknow, Bareilly, Aonla and Nagina. A branch of the Jansath Saiyids is said to exist in Piyniah in Bengal, and the descendants of the celebrated Pir, Saiyid Abdullah Kirmani of Birbhum, and claim relationship with the Saiyids of this district. For some time the Chhatrauris reaped the reward of their desertion, but with the building of the fort of Shukartar, near their principal town of Morna, troubles came upon them also. The Pathans, too, in every way sought to undermine the influence of the remnant of the Saiyid aristocracy, and with the aid of the Gujar chiefs of Buhsuma, on the south and Landhaura on the north effectually prevented any coalition of the Saiyids amongst themselves. These chiefs, and even the Jat and Rajput communities, made common cause against the old state grantees, Pur Chappar on the north and Bhukarheri on the east fell into the hands of the Landhaura chief, whilst Bhumi, Khatanli and Jansath were occupied by the lord of Bahsuma, and where the Gujars did not claim any supremacy, the village communities themselves declared their independence or became vassals of the Pathan chiefs. To the southwest a Rajput leader received a cluster of villages from Zabita Khan, and many of these had formerly belonged to the Saiyids.
Next to the family of Saiyid Umar comes that of Saiyid Chaman. His village of Chitaura now lies on the left bank of the Ganges canal in pargana Jansath. To his family belonged Saiyid Jalal, who took possession of Kharwa Jalalpur in the Sardhana pargana of Meerut, during the reign of Shahjahan, and is there said to have acquired proprietary rights in an estate of twenty-four villages. The village of Chitaura was enlarged by Muhammad Salah Khan, but the 'family declined from the day when Saiyid Shams, the son of Saiyid Jalal, left the Imperial service. Saiyid Shams had two sons, Asghar Ali and Asad Ali, the, Former of whom died without issue, and the descendants of the latter reside in Chittaura and Jabalpur. They are now in very reduced circumstances: and the Chitaura families were obliged in 1843 to sell the bricks of the mined houses in their villages for Rs. 10,000 to Colonel Cautley to build the works on the Ganges Canal. At the present day they only hold the village of Chitaura in this district. The genealogical tree is given in the appendix.
Saiyid Hasan, the third son of Dhvan Saiyid Khan Mir. Who settled in Bihari, a village in the south-east of pargana Muzaffarnagar, had six sons, as will be seen from the genealogical tree given later. The descendants of Saiyid Qutb, the- eldest son, still reside in Bilaspur and Muzaffarnagar, and the remains of extensive masonry buildings around their preset: residence show that this family also attained to wealth and distinction in the Imperial service. The Saiyids of Rathen are descendants of this branch, but the greater number are now either small proprietors, cultivators, or in service. The descendants of Saiyid Yusuf, the third son of Saiyid Hasan, are found in Bihari and Wahalna. The descendants of Saiyid Sultan, the second son, are very numerous; many of them are in service and many are petty proprietors, cultivators and holders of grams of land free of revenue. This subdivision of the family still own Sandhauli, opposite Wahalna on the Khatauli road in pargana Muzaffarnagar.
To the descendants of Saiyid Nasir-ud-din, the sixth son of Saiyid Hasan, belongs the celebrated Saiyid Khanjahan-i-Shah- jabani who attained to such power under the Emperor Shahjahan. He received in jagir, from his master, forty villages in parganas Khatauli and Sarwat, and free of revenue in perpetuity ten thousand bighas of land with the title of Abul Muzaffar Khan. Sarwat was nominally the chief town of his new possessions, but was at that time almost deserted. Saiyid Khanjabin commenced a new town on lands taken from Surju and Khera, which was completed by his son, who named it Muzaffarnapr in honour of his father. Saiyid Abul Mansur's name is still preserved in the name of the village of Mansurpur, and the descendants of Sherzaman Khan alias Muzaffar Khan, jus brother,
arc still to be found in the Abupura mohalla of Muiat-
Saiyid Khanjtvhan died in 1055 EL (1645 A.D.). Most of the revenue-free lands still remain in the possession of his descendants. At Mr. Thornton’s settlement in 1841 the Muzaffarnagar pargana contained sixty-four villages, most of which belonged to Saiyids. The Saiyids lost in this pargana alone between 1S4I and 1861 upward of 13,373 acres. As a rule, they have been extremely improvident, and were obliged to borrow money from the usurers at a high rate of interest; the time of reckoning came upon them unexpectedly, and unable to pay, their estates were sold by auction in satisfaction of decrees of the civil court. Altogether the descendants of Saiyid Hasan have not fared well. The chief Mansurpur branch, involved even before 1841, has gone steadily to ruin. The Ghalibpur and Kailawadha Saiyids have, also, succumbed more or less to the money-lenders. Those of Khanjahanpur, however, have preserved five villages, and those of Sarai retain half their ancestral property. Their pedigree will also be found in the appendix.
Saiyid Ahmad, the fourth son of Saiyid Khan Mir, settled in Kawal, where his descendants still reside and continue to hold a position of some importance. During the reign of Aurangzeb, Tatar Khan and Diwan Yar Muhammad Khan, members of this family, distinguished themselves in the Imperial service. The genealogical tree, shown separately later, gives the relationship of the surviving members of the family.
We next come to the Chhatrauri family of Saiyids, the descendants of Abul Fazl. They changed their name from Chhat- bauauri to Chhatrauri and took up their residence near Sambalhera. One of thorn, called Saiyid Hasan Fakhr-ud-din, lived in the reign of Akbar and must have had some influence at court, for he was able to procure for his friend, the Raja of Sambalhera, the confirmation of that dignity in the male line to the Raja’s son, Ram Chand. Ram Ohand succeeded his father, and on his death without children the Saiyid procured the succession for Ram Chand’s widow. She was so pleased with his conduct that she made over as a gift to Saiyid Hasan the whole of her property, and on receiving the sanction of the Imperial court the Saiyid took possessions of Sambalhera and the adjoining estates. Another branch of the same family is settled at Tissa. Saiyid Husain had four sons : (1) Saiyid Sher Ali, who died without issue; (2) Saiyid Ahmad, killed in the war with Ratan Sea of Chitor, and one of whose descendants settled in Kailawadha, and another, Roshan Ali Khan, served under Muhammad Shah; (3) Saiyid Taj-ud- din, whose son, Saiyid Umar, founded Kakrauli and colonized Rauli Nagla and Bera, where many of his descendants reside to the present day and are of some importance ; and (4) Saiyid Salar Auliya. The last left Sambalhera for Kaithora where, in a manner somewhat similar to that adopted by his grandfather, he obtained possession of the village as the adopted son of the owner, a widow. Saiyid Salar had two sons : (a) Saiyid Haidar Khan, whose descendant, Saiyid Kasim Sbahamat Khan, settled in Miranpur and founded the Haidar Ivhani family; and (6) Saiyid Muhammad Khan, whose descendants remained at Kaithora and form the Muhammad Khani family. Members of the Haidar Khani family are still found in the villages of Miranpur, Gadla and Bhupa, and some of them are in the service of Government in positions of trust. Of those that remained at Kaithora, Saiyid Nusrat Yar Khan and Rukn-ud-daula attained to high rank during the reign of Muhammad Shah as governors of Gujarat, Agra and Patna. They held twenty-eight villages in jagir in Ahmadabad, which remained in possession of the family until 1850. These grants were made in returns for their services against their brethren of the Tihanpuri branch which resulted in almost the annihilation of the latter. The descendants of Saiyid Shahamat Khan are the only Barha Saiyids that still retain the title of Nawab. The Chhatrauris of Morna in Bhukar- heri received grants of land to the west of the K£li in Cliarthiiwal which they still retain, whilst their original homo in Morna has fallen from a flourishing town to a petty agricultural village. The mosque of Bibi Jhabbu, wife of Nawab Hasan Khan, who was a Bakhshi during the reign of Muhammad Shah, is one of the last of the substantial Saiyid buildings in Morna. The inscription on it shows that it was erected in 1725 A.D. at a cost of Rs. 9,000.* Besides the tomb of I bn Salar already mentioned another exists at Sambalhera, built by the architect Daswandi in 1G31-32 A.D. by order of Saiyid Makhan, son of Baha-ud-din. The same architect’s name appears on a tomb in Ghalibpur. The genealogical tree shows the relationship of the different members of the family. It is possible that the Saiyid Raju, who fell at the siege of Ahmadnagar in 1594, is the grandson of Saiyid Taj-ud-din mentioned above.*
The Jagneri Saiyids, the descendants of Najm-ud-din Husain, the third son of Abul Fara, first settled at Bidanli in the north- west of this district.
Some generations later, a descendant of his, one Saiyid Fakhr- ud-din, emigrated to Palri in pargana Jauli and settled there.
He purchased proprietary rights in Palri, Chandauri, Chandaura, Tulsipur and Kheri, which for a long time remained in his family. During the drought which occurred at the last settlement the Jagneris were obliged to dispose of all their property in Jansath except a tenth share in the village of Palri. Most of the Jansath Jagneris now earn subsistence as cultivators, labourers, or servants and many have emigrated to the Panipat and Dehli districts. The late head of the Bidauli family, Muhammad Husain, held the office of Nazim in Oudh before the annexation and his nephew, Mahdi Hasan, was a chakladar. The latter saved the lives of some fugitives daring the mutiny, and received a pension and an order to leave Oudh and reside in Bidanli. •There he devoted himself to the improvement of his estate, which is not an extensive or fertile one, but with care and supervision can yield an income sufficient to support the moderate requirements of the dignity of the Barha Saiyids of the present day.
From the family tree we see that Mahdi Hasan of Bidauli was the 13th in descent from Najm-ud-din, the founder of his house, and allowing thirty years for each generation, this would bring us to the close of the 14th century for the emigration from Jagner. Though several members of this branch 1 obtained honourable employment under Akbar and his immediate J successors, they never reached the distinction for which the members of the other families are so remarkable.
Lastly we have the Kundliwals, the descendants of Abdul extend for some two miles along the road between Majliera and Miranpur, testify to its former greatness.
Balipura, which lies between the two villages, was formerly a muhalla of Majbera. Amongst the descendants of Saiyid Abul Fazail mention is- made in the Ain-i Akburi of the brave old soldier Saiyid Mahmud as the first of the Barha Saiyids who took service under the Timurides. He was with Sikandar Sur in Mankot, but seeing that the cause of the Afghans was hopeless, he left them and went over to Akbar. In the first year of Akbar’s reign he fought in the campaign against the forces of Muhammad Shah led by the celebrated Hemu.
In the second year (1557 A.D.) he was engaged in the Ajmer campaign, and in the following year took part in the capture of fort Jitasaran* and an expedition against the turbulent Bhadauriyas of Hatkanth in the Agra district. Iii 1561 he obtained a jagir near Delhi and towards the end of 1574 took part in the expedition with the Amroha Saiyids against Raja Madhukar of Orchha. He died in 1574 and was buried at Majbera, where his tomb exists to the present day and still possesses the original Arabic inscription of Saiyid Mahmud was “a man of rustic habits and great personal courage and generosity. Akbar’s court admired his valour and chuckled at his boorishness and unadorned language; but he stood in high favour with the Emperor. Once on his return from the war with Madhukar of Orchha he gave in the state hall a verbal account of his expedition, in which his *1’ occurred oftener than was deemed proper by the assembled Amirs. You have gained the victory,’ interrupted Asaf Khan, in order to give him a gentle hint, * because His Majesty’s good fortune (ikbal-i-padshahi) accompanied you.’ Mistaking the word ‘ikbal’ for the name of a courtier, ' Why do you tell an untruth1? Replied Mahmud; ‘Ikbal-i- Padishahi’ did not accompany me. I was there and my brothers; we licked them with our sabres.’ The emperor smiled, and bestowed upon him praise and more substantial favours. Once Mahmud was asked how many generations backwards the Saiyids of Barba traced their descent. Accidentally a fire was burning on the ground near the spot where Mahmud stood. Jumping into it, he exclaimed, “If I am a Saiyid the fire will not hurt, me; if I am no Saiyid I shall get burnt.” Se stood for nearly an hour in the fire, and only left it at the earnest request of the bystanders. His velvet-slippers showed, indeed, no trace of being singed!”
Saiyid Alhu fell at Chunar, where his tomb is. Saiyid Ahmad rose to the rank of a commander of 2,000 under Akbar. He was governor of Patan in Gujarat for some time and died in 982 H. (1574 A.D.). His tomb is held sacred, and he and his four brothers are known as the “panch shahid.” The sons of one or more of these and grandsons of Saiyid, Alhu were -Saiyid Yusuf and Saiyid Wali Muhammad Khan; from the latter came Kamal-ud-din Khan alias Jamal-ud-din Khan, and Said Khan, also called Jamal-ud-din Khan, The first Jamal-ud-din Khan perished at the siege of Chi tor. Saiyid Ismail arid Saiyid Ishak were sons of a second wife, known by the fact that Majhera was divided between the two families, and in this way Ismail and Ishak got one-quarter share each, while the other brothers got only one-sixth each. Pattis Ismail and Ishak are in this way larger than Pattis Munawar and Alhu. Patti Makhan became a place of some importance and has been entered as a separate village in the revenue records. The tomb of Saiyid Mahmud Khan is in Alakhanpur, and the marble tombs of Saiyid Makhan and his son, Saiyid Saif Khan who predeceased him, are also in the same village. Walipura, now known -as Balipura ia Patti Alhu, was named after Wali Muhammad. Saiyid Kasim and Saiyid Hashim served with Saiyid Ahmad in Gujarat and so distinguished themselves by their bravery that they were rewarded by a grant of a jagir in Ajmer. They were frequently employed in the van of the army. Saiyid Hashim settled atHashimpur in pargana Bhuma; he was killed at the battle of Sarkich near Ahmadabad, and Saiyid Kasim was. Wounded at the same place - Kasim, on his recovery, was appointed thanadar of Patan, and enjoyed similar hiirh (vwnmanrls Asghar Saif Khan is said by some to be the son of Saiyid Mahmud; but local authority makes him the brother of Mahmud, and the same who is mentioned by Jahangir in his memoirs as having distinguished himself in the war with Khusru.* Saiyid Alam settled in Kheri Sarai, and his grandson, Hizabr Khan, founded Tisang. Saiyid Salim settled at Mahmudpur in the Meerut district, but his family is now decayed. Saiyid Shujaat Khan appears to have been the son of Saiyid Jahangir, who was son of Saiyid Mahmud. Saiyid Jahangir attained to high command in Dehli and received a grant of land “az gang ba Tisang.’’ He also obtained'a grant of lands in Bijnor and founded Jahanabad, where Shujaat Khan built a famous mosque. His family held the estates until the mutiny, when their possessions were confiscated for rebellion. The existing members are dependent upon their relatives of Tisang. Saiyid Bayazid, who served daring Akbar’s reign in Gajarat, is mentioned by Mr. Blochmann as probably belonging to this family. In Shahjahan’a reign he was made a commander of 2,000, and had previously received the title of Mustafa Khan. Saiyid Chhajju, who died in 967 H. (1559 A D.) And was buried at Majhera, is also said to have been a brother of Mahmud, but his name does not appear in the local list. Besides these, several Saiyids are mentionsd amongst the grandees of the Mughal court whose families cannot now be traced out, such as Saiyid Lad, who served in Gujarat and the Deccan, and others.
The Kundliwals are at present distributed amongst the villages of Majhera, Hashimpur, Tisang, Balipura and Tandera. They are for the most part very illiterate, and many of them-earn their livelihood by manual labour. Some,, however, have obtained high appointments under Government, Thus Saiyid Imdad Husain rose to be a Tahsildar and was rewarded with the gift of Jaula in proprietary right on account of services rendered during k the mutiny. The Balipur family is also in prosperous circumstances. Besides these, there are Kundliwals at Maiman in the Meerut district, and across the Ganges in Chandpur and Jahanabad in Bijnor. As a clan they have become almost extinct since of the Mahrattas migrated to Oudh. -There is another tomb of this family at Majhera containing the remains of Miran Saiyid Husain, who died in 1592.*
The decay of the Saiyids has already been referred to in connection with the account of the downfall of the Tihanpuri branch. Mention was there made of several persons who obtained shares in a dismembered Saiyid estate. Besides these the ancestor of the Nawab of Karnal received three parganas in jagir, including Muzaffarnagar and the estates formerly held by the descendants of Saiyid
Khanjahan, and no matter who lost or won, the Saiyids seem to have always been on the losing side. What limited rights they preserved were held by them as the -vassals of whatever power might, for the time being, be strongest, whether Imperial, Afghan, Mahratha, or eventually the British. There was little change amongst the village communities, who all through retained their oi l position intact, and in those cases, too, where the Saiyid settlements had approached the status of a village brotherhood their possession was acknowledged. The famine of 1783 A.D. was severely felt in this district, and for the next twenty years, in common with the other districts of the Upper Duab, Muzaffarnagar became the prey of marauding.bodies of Sikhs and Rohillas. This state of things continued for the first two years of British rule when troops could ill be spared even for the protection of the district and the security of the revenue. Mr. Guthrie, the Collector, was often obliged to take refuge in the small mud fort of Fazlgarh “with no other force than a few najibs,” and it was not until the beginning of 1805 that Colonel Burn was able to clear the district of marauders.
Leaving the Saiyid history at the conquest, I must briefly review the Sikh raids into the district, as they exercised no inconsiderably influence on its fortunes. The first great invasion took place under the ferocious Bandu in 1710 A.D., when Jalal- ud-din of Jalalabad was faujdar of the Sah&ranpur circle. The Sikh hordes, after plundering and burning the towns of Bhat, Sahdranpur, Ambahta and Nanauta in the Sahdrannur district attempt to oppose the marauders. The latter had in the Gujars important allies, who gladly embrace! The opportunity now afforded them to resist and throw off the yoke imposed by their Musalmdn rulers. Community of hatred and in some sense of religion made them ready to aid the Sikhs to supplant the existing power, but, perhaps, in rendering this assistance they were as much guided by their hereditary and instinctive love of plunder and a desire to save their own villages as by any other motive. They have always been found on the side of disorder, and until they become weaned from the roving, semi-nomad life that they have been accustomed to lead for generations, they will always rise to the surface when the reins of administration have been slackened and they think that plunder and murder can be indulged in with impunity.
The death of Bandu and the dispersion of his followers freed the district for over half a century from the incursions of the Sikhs, but after the battle of Panipat they again commenced their plundering expeditions. In 1763 A.D. an immense force crossed the Jumna, and after sacking Sahar&npur, attacked and plundered the Saiyid town of Miranpur in pargana Bhukarheri. In the following year the same town suffered severely at the hands of the “Budhadal,” the name by which the newly-organised forces of the Sikhs wa3 known. From the Siwaliks on the north almost to Meerut on the south, and even across the Ganges to Bijnor on the east, the entire country fell a prey to the army of the Sikh theocracy and its Gujar allies, and village after village was plundered and burned, the inhabitant were slaughtered, the crops were destroyed, and the cattle were carried off. Although the Rohillas under Hafiz Rahmat Khan attempted some reprisals, their efforts were fruitless, and Najib-ud-daula, the natural guardian of the district, was absent at Dehli, so that the Sikhs, satiated with plunder, were able to retire leisurely to their own country. For three years there was some appearance of rest, but in May, 1767 A.D., the Sikhs again came, increased in numbers, improved in organization, and more confident from could scarcely have held out. The Sikhs retreated northwards and were pursued, and in a battle fought between Kairana and Shamli in this district the Imperial troops were victorious; but hardly had the latter reached Dehli when the Sikhs were again over the border. Nanauta was again burned, and all the way down to Kandhla nothing was seen but smoking heaps of ashes where prosperous villages once stood. Najib Khan, now relieved from the presence of his enemies at Dehli, took the field and succeeded in clearing the district of marauders, and eventually drove them back by Nanauta and Islamnagar to the ghats on the Jumna.
But this was his last success; for henceforth, writes* Mr. William, “as regularly as the crops were cut, the border chieftains crossed over and levied blackmail from almost every village in the most systematic manner. Their requisitions were termed ‘raki,’ and sometimes euphemistically ‘kambli’ or ‘blanket-money.’ Each of them had a certain well-known beat or circle so well recognised and so clearly defined that it is not unusual for the peasantry, at the present day, to speak of some places being, for instance, in Jodh Singh’s patti, others in Diwan Singh’s or Himmat Singh’s, and so on. The collections, of course, varied with the ability of the people to pay, averaging from Rs. 2 to Rs. 5 a head. Two or three horsemen generally sufficed to collect them, for 'two or three thousand more were never very far off. In case of delay about paying up, a handful of troopers, each well mounted and armed with a spear, sword and a good matchlock, speedily appeared to accelerate the liquidation of the debt. The Sikh’s endurance and rapidity of movement were quite commensurate with his rapacity, enabling him to baffle, if not delay, superior numbers. With the exception of beef he had, it is true, no objection to a generous diet of fish, flesh or fowl, and he thoroughly enjoyed his liquor ; but, at a pinch, he could march some twenty or thirty miles a day on no better fare than a little parched gram washed down with pure cold water. A tent he despired; baggaged in the ordinary sense of the word, he had none, looking to others luxuries. Besides his weapons, his whole kit consisted of horse-gear, a few of the very simplest cooking utensils and two blankets, one for himself and one for his faithful steed. These last important items of the Sikh warrior’s equipment clearly point to the origin of the term ‘kambli,’ for the tax levied on each villager or townsman was, on an average, equal to about the price of a blanket. In spite of the simplicity of his habits, he took a pardonable pride in the adornments of his person and the proper maintenance of his accoutrements. Like the ancient Spartan, he never failed to carefully comb out and adjust his long hair and beard before the battle, and his white vest contrasting with his scarlet trappings made a fair show as he rode along gallantly to the fight. Although his tactics mainly resolved themselves into a prolonged series of skirmishes conducted after the Parthian fashion, yet in the strife of men contending hand-to-hand he was terrible, though helpless against good artillery. The ‘dal,’ fortunately, possessed very few guns and hardly understood the use of them. This deficiency saved the country from complete subjection—a contingency which seemed imminent a few years later.”
The people were helpless, and, left to themselves, began the construction of those mud forts which are so characteristic of the state of insecurity of, indeed, nearly the whole Dub during the latter half of the last century. In 1774 and 1775 formidable invasions again occurred, and in the latter year, Zabita Khan was obliged to purchase the safety of his fortress of Ghausgarh by paying a fine of Rs. 50,000. Departing thence, the Sikhs ravaged the Saiyid country and plundered Miranpur and Kai- thaura, where the Saiyids, Shahamat Khan and Fateh-ulla Khan, made some Blight resistance. The Sikhs then passed through Sh&mli, Kdirana, K&ndhla and Meerut, and then again turned westwards. Dispirited by the success of his enemies at court, and despairing of being able to take the field against the Sikh invaders unaided, Zabita Khan turnEd his attention towards forming an alliance with them against their common enemy, the court faction at Dehli. Uniting their forces, the Sikh and attacked the imperialists, who
were routed with great slaughter in March 1776 A.D. Kasim Ali Khan, the brother of Miijad-ud- daula, diwan of the ompire, fell in this battle, and the disorganization of the Dehli army was completed: Meerut, Hapur, Sikandara and Khurja were taken, and even Koil, Atrauli and Kasganj were visited by the invaders. Franklin says that Zabita Khan was so pleased with his new allies that he renounced Islam and became a follower of Nanak, under the name “ Dharam Singh,’’ and Mr. Williams attributes to this circumstance the proverb still current in the district:—
“Ek guru ke do chela adha Sikh adha Ruhea.”
Najaf Khan was summoned from the Jat country, and after a bloody battle was fought between Amirnagar and Ghausgarh, succeeded in driving the Sikhs and Rohillas across the Jumna, after a time, he induced Zabita Khan to come to an understanding with the Emperor, and caused him to be restored to all his previous dignities. But in doing so both parties forgot to consult the Sikhs, who henceforth regarded their former ally as a renegade, and made his possessions again the scene of the same rapine and destruction that had marked their earner irruptions. From 1778 to 1781 every year saw the plundering, hordes across the Jumna, and in August of the latter year Meerut was again besieged. Fortunately Mirza Muhammad Shafi was able to oppose them here with a considerable force, and having succeeded in defeating the whole Sikh army with great slaughter, and in driving them out of the Dudb, carried the war into their own country.*
During the terrible famine year of the chalisa, in 1783 A.D., the Sikhs under Baghel Singh, Krora Sioghia, occupied the Upper Dudb as far as the Ganges, and oven swept round by Hardwar through the Dehra Dun. These incursions alarmed even the English in Calcutta, and in 1784 Major Brown was sent on a deputation to Shah Alam by the Supreme Council. His mission is thus described by Franklin—“The real cause of Major Brown’s arrival was in consequence of orders he had received from his Government, not to decline any overture that might be made for affording military aid to the royal cause. The Sikhs had for several years back, by their predatory incursions into the Dudb and Rohilkhand, excited alarm in the Government of Asaf-ud- daula, and Mr. Hastings, the British Governor, with his usual discernment, deemed the exertions of the court at Dehli might, at the present juncture of affairs, prove a beneficial counterpoise to the rising power of the Sikhs.” The flight of Mirza Jawan Bakht to Lucknow prevented any overtures being made, and the Sikhs were again left to themselves. In the following year Jassa Singh Ramgarhia and other chiefs, including Rai Singh Bhangi, and his nephew Sher Singh, Jodh Singh of Chachrauli and Sahib Singh of Ladwa, marched straight through the DuSb, sacking Miranpur on their way, and finally crossing the Ganges, plundered Rohilkhand as far as Cbandausi in the Moradabad district. Cunningham* -writes :—“At this period Zabita Khan was almost confined to the walls of his fort of Ghaus- garb, and the hill Raja of Garhwal, whose ancestor had received Dara as a refugee in defiance of Aurangzeb, had been rendered tributary, equally with all his brother Rajputs, in the lower hills westward to the Chinab. The Sikhs were predominant from the frontiers of Oudh to the Indus, and the traveller Forster amusingly describes the alarm caused to a little chief and his people by the appearance of two Sikh horsemen under the walls of their fort, and the assiduous services and • respectful attention which the like number of troopers met with from the local authorities of Garhwal and from the assembled wayfarers at a place of public reception.” In 1788 A.B., the year of his deposition and death, Ghulam Kadir defeated a force of Sikhs who, after sacking Ambahta, were marching southwards through Muzaffarnagar.
After the capture of Meerut and the execution of Ghulam Kadir in 1788, the Mahrattas marched northwards through the Dudb and annexed the northern districts, of which Ghani Bahadur of Banda became the first Governor. Temporizing with the Sikhs, ho allowed many of their leaders to hold portions of t-.--.is and the Sharanpur district partly as farmers and partly in lieu of the uncertain dues that they were accustomed to levy. Thus, in 1790 A.D., Rai Singh of Jagadri and Sher Singh of Barhiya took possession of portions of the muqarrari of the Gajar Raji of Landhaura,
comprisingp arganas Manglaur, Jaurasi and Ja- walapur in the Saharanpur district, but were obliged to give them up in the following year by the new governor, Bhairon Pant Tantiya. Both still held, for some time, portions of the Sultanpur pargana whilst Rai Singh occupied Nakur. In this district Gurdat Singh of Ladwa obtained parganas Jhinjhana, Krtndhlaand Sh6mli and held them with Karnal for twelve years. Bhanga Singh also acquired Bidauli and Kairana, and all agreed to protect the Dub from the attacks of the other Sikh chiefs. But, relieved of their great enemies, the Sikh confederation fell to pieces, and chief began to attack chief and aggrandize himself at the expense of his co-religionists. Nakur itself, though held by Rai Singh, was attacked by Diwan Singh and plundered. The former appealed to the Mahrattas, who had already begun to levy tribute from Patiala and other states in Sarhind, when the death of Sindbia himself put an end to any aggressive attempts on the part of his followers.
On the death of Madhoji Sindhia in 1794 A.D., the Sikhs across the Jumna, already jealous of their brethren who received grants in the Duab, were ready for further raids. Daulat Rao Sindhia with eight battalions of disciplined troops was at Poona, De Boigne was at Aligarh, the Begam Somru was at Sardhana, and Appa Khandi Rao with George Thomas was in Mewat. Profiting by the disorders of the time, the Sikhs again invaded the Duab in 1795 A.D., and succeeded iu driving the Mahrattk garrison from SahSranpur. The fugitives took shelter'in the fort of Jaldlabad and would not have escaped their enemies had not George Thomas appeared with a portion of his Mewat force and relieved them. Thomas was then appointed‘warden of the marches ’ by Lakhwa Dada, who had succeeded to the Mahratta command in Saharanpur, and was given charge of 2,000 infantry, 200 cavalry and sixteen pieces of artillery raised for the protection of the Jumna frontier, and was assigned the parganas of Sikh jagirdars were found to be intriguing with their brethren in the Panjab, The Sikh commandant of Shdmli, then in Garda; Singh’s jagir, Was detected in a treasonable correspondence ; his fort was attacked by Thomas, was taken, and the entire garrison fell by the sword, Thomas then hastened northwards to assist Bapu Sindhia, was engaged in investing the Turkoman fort of Lakhnauti, then held by Bahrmand Ali Khan, and here, also, he and his forces distinguished themselves and contributed, in no small measure, to the ultimate success of the Mahratta troops. Crossing the Jumna, Thomas defeated the Sikh confederates in four successive actions near Karnal, but finding Perron, who had succeeded De Boigne, inimical to his success, Thomas left the Duab for Mewat, still, however, continuing his operations against the Sikh3. He repaired the walls of Hansi, cast guns, erected manufactories for small-arms and powder, and enrolled large numbers of horse and foot, with which he levied contributions on the neighbouring Sikh States. We next hear of the Sikhs as allies of sambhunath, the Bania agent of Imam Bakhsh, Governor of Sahfiranpur.
They joined him in his revolt against Perron and were present at the battle of Khatauli, early in 1800, in which Sambhunath’s six battalions were defeated by three of Perron’s battalions with the loss of six guns. Abqut the sane time Thomas attacked Jhind, belonging to Bhagh Singh of the Phulkia confederacy. The town was relieved by the old chief,* Baghel Singh Krora Singhia, and the sister of the Patiala Raja, but they failed to injure Thomas in his retreat to Hansi. Early in 1800 Thomas took Fatefoabad and reduced the Bhattis of Hariana to submission, while the Pathans of Maler .Kotla and the converted Musalmdns of Raikot, also, acknowledged him as master. In all quarters he spread his influence and compelled sab- mission to his authority and made those whose own will had, hitherto, been their sole law obey his slightest command. The Sikhs were not more successful in the Duab, they and their employer Sambhunath were again defeated in August 1800, with the loss of all their baggage and twenty-four pieces of cannon. Following up his success Perron resumed all the Sikh jagirs with the exception of Jhinjhana, which was still held by Gurdat Singh, and yielded revenue of Rs. 36,554, and other lands held by Bhag Singh and valued at Rs. 57,968. K&ndhla was transferred fromaa the Ladwa chief to Colonel Hessing,* and Shrtmli, with a revenue of Rs. 38,000, was added to Chhaprauli as the jagir of Shah Nizam-ud-din, the comptroller of the Imperial household and a firm friend of the Mahrattas. Id was, however, resumed by Perron in the rains of 1801, and included with Bidauli and Kairgna in his personal jagir.
The history of the Sikhs in the Duab during 1801-1802 is so intimately connected with Thomas that I must again refer to his history. In 1801 Thomas raised his force to ten battalions of disciplined infantry with sixty pieces of cannon and secured to himself a country yielding three lakhs of revenue a year. With this considerable force he made a bold attempt to besiege Lahore and repeatedly beat the Sikhs who attempted to oppose his progress, and was beyond the Satlaj river, within four marches of Lahore, where he intended to plant his colours and make it the capital of his future empire, when he heard that the vigilant Perron was preparing to attack him. Jhomas made a rapid retreat to Hansi, fighting the Sikh horse that hovered round him and marching thirty or forty miles a day. “His swift retrograde movement,’’ writes Smith, who was then in the Mahratta service, “astonished Perron, who had hoped to seize Thomas’ defenceless country, before he could return to defend it; and who had determined to annihilate Thomas’ force or to employ it to forward his own view. With this determination Perron collected ten battalions and two thousand horses and marched from Dehli in August 1801 to negotiate with or to fight Thomas. Perron had previously strengthened his party by alliances with some Sikh chiefs, the political foes of Thomas, who had agreed to assist Perron with money and with cavalry (five lakhs of rupees and ten thousand horses) to exterminate their dangerous neighbour, George Thomas. In August 1801 the two rival parties approached each other near Bahadurgarh, ten kos to the west of Dehli. Thomas also had formed alliances with the Begam Somru, with the Rajas of Jaipur and Al war, and with Lafontaine, who commanded six battalions of Filoze’s party in the service of Sindhia. Suci are the singularity and treachery of eastern politics, that two of Sindhia’s brigades, Somru’s ind Filoze's, had agreed to assist George Thomas against Daulat Rao’s commander-in-chief Perron.
“I was employed to bring Thomas to terms and to an interview with his rival. Perron offered him sixty thousand rupees a month for his party, the rank of colonel, and the fort of Hansi, if Thomas would take service with Sindhia and serve under Penon’s order. Thomas, to gain time, agreed to Perron’s terras and with some difficulty I brought them to an interview; but they soon became mutually distrustful, and separated to commence hostilities. Perron wished to follow the political axiom ‘ divide at impera’; who required Thomas to divide his force by sending four battalions to the assistance of Sindhia; and Thomas was ambitious, his alliances were strong, and Daulat Rao’s detachments had just been cut off by the
victorious Holkar at Ujjain, and Sindhia bad made a precipitate retreat to Burbanpnr. The time was propitious to the views of Thomas. - Perron had only ten battalions: eight of his battalions had been ordered to march to the assistance of Sindhia, whose affairs wore a gloomy prospect. Thomas wished to gain time until he could raise six battalions more—the recruits were on the way to join him, the arms were ready, and he desired further to strengthen his alliances. The victorious Holkar had repeatedly written to him to begin 'hostilities, and he would assist him with money and cavalry: in short, the chances were much in favour of Thomas; but be was a proof that in politics, as well as games, fortune mocks calculation and probability of success. Perron and Thomas were both too cunning to deceive each other long; matters could no longer remain dubious, and a rupture succeeded their hypocritical negotiations.
“Thomas retreated to Hansi, and Perron, unwisely, set off for Koil with impolitic precipitation, leaving the war against his enemy to be carried on by Bourquien, who commanded De Boigne’s third brigade and was a major. Had Thomas acted with his usual prudence, boldness and activity, the forces under Bourquien must have been destroyed; the allies of Thomas would have then thrown off the mask and openly taken his part, and before Perron could have collected another efficient force, Thomas would have been master of Dehli, the king’s person, and probably would have extinguished Perron’s power and authority; and Sindhia would have quietly transferred that power to Thoms, for he would had been equally indifferent who governed Hindustan, Perron or Thomas, as he must, from his impotency to resist, have bowed to the will and power of every aspiring mind, who commanded large bodies of regular infantry. Hostilities commenced after the retreat of George Thomas and his army and the flight of Perron from his army. I was ordered with three battalions to lay siege to Georgegarh, a small fort forty kos to the eastward of Hansi. Thonlas and his forces were encampel under the fort of Hansi, and Bourquien was ordered with seven battalions and five thousand horses to lie between me and Hansi to cover the siege of Georgegarh, which must have fallen in a week; but with singular ignorance Bourquien encamped at Jin, ten kos farther from me than Thomas’ army. The consequence was obvious, for three days after I laid siege to Georgegarh, I wa3 attacked by Thomas with eight battalions, compelled to raise the siege and retreat to Jhajhar, four kos to the east of Georgegarh. Favoured by the obscurity of night I was not completely cut off, and made good my retreat, with the loss of one gun and one-third of my force killed and wounded. How I escaped total destruction I do not yet know, and why Thomas did not follow my retreat I cannot say ; for if ho had continued the pursuit I must have lost all my guns, and my party would have been completely destroyed ; but Thomas spared me and remained at Georgegarh after raising the siege. I believe he was apprehensive of following me for fear he should be too far from Hansi, and that Bourquien, in the meantime, would cut off his retreat to his fort; but alarm in his troops I believe more strongly to have been the cause of his strange conduct-, The next day, the 28th September, my brother, captain E.F. Smith, arrived to my assistance with 2000 horse, after performing an astonishment rapid movement of 80 miles in 10 hours; but brotherly affection gave impulse to his course, and his example hurried on most of the cavalry. This circumstance prevented Thomas from renewing the attack on me, as he intended, on the 28th September. On the 29th September 1801 Major Bourquien, with the third brigade, reached Georgegarh, after a surprising march o 40 kos in 36 hours. The brigade arrived about mid-day, but the troops were harassed, fatigued, and famished. With destructive imbecility, Bourquien ordered the troops, consisting of seven battalions, to storm Thomas’ in trenched camp at 4 o'clock in the afternoon. He did not lead the attack himself, but prudently remained with the cavalry 2,000 yards in the rear of George Thomas’ line. The seven battalions of De Boigne, with calm intrepidity, advanced with their [guns through heavy sand, exposed to a dreadful and well- directed fire of 54 pieces of cannon, and attacked Thomas’ 10 battalions in their intrenchments; but they were repulsed with the severe loss of above 1,000 and 100 men killed and wounded, which was nearly one-third of their number. Their allow progress through the heavy sand which lay in front of Thomas’ lines, owing to their guns, which the” would not leave in their rear, occasioned not only their defeat, but their dreadful carnage. Thomas’ loss was not so great, as the guns of De Boigne’s battalions were mostly dismounted by their recoil on the sand when fired, which snapped their axle trees.
“Among the killed was a very amiable and gallant young officer, Captain E. F. Smith, who commanded the left wing of De Boigne’s battalions. Had Thomas taken advantage of Bourquien’s ignorance and folly and sallied out on the defeated troops of Perron, he would have overturned his power; but Thomas was in this critical moment confused and confounded, though he had shown feats of valour during the action. Moreover, he had only two European officers to assist his exertions and direct a line of ten battalions, one of whom, the gallant Hopkins, lost his leg, and his native officers had been bribed over to Perron’s interest. Fresh forces arriving, and Thomas unable or unwilling to retreat to his fort, were surrounded at Georgegarh: Colonel Pedron arrived superseded Bourquien, and blockaded Thomas and his diminished troops. They sustained the blockade for seven weeks, and at last were conquered by famine. The troops came over to Pedron or dispersed, and Thomas escaped with great difficulty with his European Officers, Captain Hearsey and Lieutenant Birch, who adhered to his fallen fortune with commendable inflexibility, to Hansi, and left his enemy in possession of 64 pieces of cannon, his camp and baggage. Pedron returned to Koil and Bourquien followed Thomas to Hansi, stormed the town and laid siege to the fort. The fort of Hansi has been celebrated in oriental history: it was one of the strongest in India, and above 40,000 Musalmans lie buried on the circumjacent plain, of the various armies of the faithful who attempted to wrest it from the Hindus. Ala-ud-din Ghori took it six hundred years ago after an eighteen months’ siege and the loss of 20,000 men; but it had been dismantled and lay long neglected, and Thomas had not had sufficient leisure to renew its strength. Moreover, Bourquien had subdued the garrison with gold, which in India is more irresistible than in Europe. In this critical situation I came forward once more to assist Thomas to mitigate the severity of his misfortunes and dissipate the dangers with which he was environed. I advised him to an honourable surrender before the garrison delivered him over to his enemy, with eternal disgrace to themselves and ignominy to him. He followed my counsel, surrendered the fort on the 1st January 1802, and with his family and private property was conveyed to the Company's frontiers under my protection. His misfortunes had broken his daring mind and impaired his robust constitution j- and the luxuries of Indian tables hurried him to his grave in the end of 1802.” Perron and the Sikhs thus, fortunately, got rid of' an inveterate foe, and the British lost in Thomas an ally who would have been of much assistance to them in their subsequent wars with the Mahrattas.
In November 1801 the treaty of Lucknow was concluded, which gave to the British the Lower and Central Dudb, Gorakhpur, and a great portion of Rohilkhand. This was followed .by the treaty of Bassein, which Sindhia considered so injurious to his interests that he, at once, threw air his influence. Into the The British marched upon Dehli, and defeating a Sikh contingent under Louis Bourquien expelled the Mahrattas, and eventually Muzaffarnagar came into their possession with the remainder of the conquered provinces. A few days after the capture of Dehli Colonel Burn occupied Saharanpur. He had, however, hardly reached it when the Sikhs were again on the border. Lieutenant Birch with a party of najibs pushed on to watch the fords while reinforcements were asked for from Dehli.
Colonel James Skinner with a strong detachment of some 800 irregular horse crossed the Jumna lower down and completely surprised the enemy (February 1804), routing them with great loss. Posts were then established along the Jumna, and a battalion of the Begam’s from Sardhana occupied Cbilkana. But the Sikh sardars tendered their submission and all was peace for a time. In September, Colonel Ochterlony recalled the troops at Saharanpur to aid in the defence of Dehli, and then threatened by Holkar's adopted son, Hamath. The entire Durtb rose in their rear, and in October 1804, Sher Singh of Burhiya and Rai Singh led the last great Sikh expedition across the Jumna by Rajgbat opposite Sultanpur (13th October). The Sikh chiefs were not inclined to give up their claims to raki and kambli from the Duab without a struggle, and, notwithstanding their submission in March, were prepared to take advantage of the,; opportunity afforded by the advance of Holkar’s forces in October to vindicate their alleged rights. They marched down - by Damjhera, where a skirmish is said to have taken place, and thence by Chilkana, where the Saiyids offered some feeble resistance. In Sultanpar the house of an old servant of the Sikhs alone escaped destruction, and as they approached Sahfiranpur, the Collector (Mr. Gothrie) was obliged to shut himself up in the old fort known as the Kila Ahmadabadi with his records and treasure.
Colonel Burn, on hearing of the advance of the Sikhs, set out Colonel from Dehli, on the 25th October, with the 2nd battalion, 14th N.I, a battalion of irregulars under Captain Harriott and six guns Holkar with a largo force of horse had escaped from Dehli with the determination of cutting off the small force destined for the relief of Mr. Guthrie. The subsequent fight is thus described from official records by Mr. Williams :*—■“ After a vain attempt to cut his way through the enemy, whose swarms were hourly increasing, Colonel Burn found himself constrained, on the morning of the 30th, to occupy a small mud fort under the very walls of Shamli, a hostile town, which closed its gates against him. The villagers all know the spot well. It was afterwards distinguished by one of
the most gallant fights, and one of the most cold-blooded massacres that ever happened during the mutiny. His situation was, to all appearance, desperate. The detachment amounted to barely 1,500 men, the force beleaguering it to fully 20,000, without counting a reinforcement of Sikhs, and the townspeople showed the same spirit that characterised their conduct in later days, not only intercepting supplies and harbouring the enemy within their walls, but themselves taking an active part in the assault. Their matchlockmen, sheltered by the ramparts, kept up such a deadly fire upon our sepoys in the fort beneath that they actually did greater execution than Holkar’s regulars, putting upwards of one hundred men hors de combat before Colonel Burn was relieved by General Lake on the 3rd November. In the interval, the garrison fought -with devoted bravery amid cruel privations. The same cannot be said of the Mahratha host, who vanished at the sight of the dust rising along the Dehli road in advance of the British column. The episode curiously illustrates the force of hereditary predisposition. Ghasi Ram, the leading jat zamindars of the place, was chiefly instrumental in stopping Colonel Burn’s supplies and otherwise annoying his forces. His son, Mohar Singh, following in the paternal footsteps, was consequently hanged on account of similar achievements during the year 1857. The British commander permitted his troops to burn the town as a punitive measure. This, we are told, had a most wholesome effect in other quarters. For instance, at.Thana Bhawan, some twelve miles north, ordinarily a hot-bed of disloyalty, Holkar, whose first impulse seems to have been to effect a junction with the Sikhs in saharanpur, met with such an unfriendly reception that he changed his mind and doubled back again in a south-easterly direction. Meerut was equally inhospitable, so he continued his flight southward. ”
Colonel Burn heard at Shamli that one of the Begam’s regiments had rescued Mr. Guthrie, who joined the array at the Khatauli and accompanied the force to Meerut. As soon as Colonel Burn heard of the fall of Dig, ha advanced northwards (18th November) against the Sikhs, who had now penetrated as far as Shamli and Qhafurgarh in pargana Soron. His force consisted of the 2nd battalion, 14th N. I., the 1st battalion of the 21st N. I., under Captain Atkins, one battalion of regular infantry, 2,000 Bahraich horse under Captain Murray, and a few guns. In two days they reached Jaulain pargana Budh£na, and thence proceeded to Thana Bhawan, driving out Gurdat Singh of Ladwa, who joined the remainder of the Sikhs at Charaon, on the banks of the Hindan, seven miles west of Deoband. Here the enemy -chose a strong position, and supported by the Gujars and Rangar RdjputB awaited the advance of the British force. On the 24th November the Sikhs were attacked and defeated with considerable loss, but owing to the cowardice displayed by the irregular horse the fortunes of the day were for a long time doubtful. Sher Singh lost a leg by a cannon-shot, and his old uncle, Rai Singh, led him off the field to die at Burhiya. In spite of their punishment the Sikhs again invaded the district and occupied Thana Bhawan, Rampur, and the neighbourhood of Deoband. Colonel Burn advanoed by Thana Bhawan arid attempted to surprise the Sikhs who occupied Tholu near Bhalu in pargana Gangoh of the Saharanpur district on the night of the 19th December 1804, but was unsuccessful; for hearing of the approach of the British the Sikhs fled by Chilkana, across the Jumna. Colonel Bum would have followed them up; but orders were received forbidding him to cross the river. Colonel Burn returned to Saharanpur, and early in the following January drove out small parties of Sikhs who had advanced as far as Muzaffar- nagar on a purelv plundering expedition.
During January the troops were employed in the suppressing a disturbance which arose in Kandhala. Mr. Williams write “The Jats and Gujars had risen at the instigation of Jaswant Rao Holkar and massacred several of the Qanungoi Banias, a family abominable to them, because it enjoyed the twofold advantage of holding what were then considered lucrative appointments under Government and of also possessing other facilities for amassing money, which the procedure of the civil courts has since enabled them to accumulate with still greater ease. The Siddiqi Sheikhs, the impoverished descendants of Sheikh Imam Haj of Samana, share the credit of having contrived the conspiracy with the Raizadah Banias, speculators less prosperous than the Qanungois. One Azim, a Musalmdn Gujar, supposed at first to have been the ringleader of the insurgents, gavejiis name to the emeute, which is styled the’ Azimgirdi. ’ Subsequent inquiries shifted the chief blame from his shoulders to those of Langir Goshain, Mahant of Garh Goshain, a fort north of Rampur Kheri near Kandhla, before which Colonel Burn appeared on the 22nd of January, and, after storming it, hung the Mahant on the spot. Two of his Jat associates, Raj Karan of Lisarh and Dhan Singh of Harmasipur, fondly imagined that they would get off scot-free by presenting themselves in Mr. Guthrie’s kutchery with an air of injured innocence. Their cunning availed them not, for they were instantly seized and likewise executed, under a military sentence, close to the scene of their exploits.”
During the early part of February the troops were occupied in assisting in the collection of the land-revenue and in patrolling the Jumna until towards the middle of the month, when news came of the irruption of Amir Khan. Colonel Burn was then at Tanda, in pargana Chhaprauli of the Meerut district, and Begam Somru had two battalions and eight guns close by at Khutana, which she at once reinforced with the bulk of her army. Colonel Burn retired by Thana Bhawan to Sahdranpur, and there received orders to watch the fords of the Ganges and prevent the Pindaris from crossing. At this time he took advantage of the proffered services of Bhag Singh of Jhind and Bhai Lai Singh of Kaithal, and leaving Saharanpur under their care marched by Jabarhera, Pur and Tissa to Miranpur, where he was joined by Mr. Guthrie. A small body of the enemy crossed near Shukartar, but soon retired, and colonel burn proceeded southwards to Garhmukhtesar while the Collector remained at Miranpur. Towards the end of February Mr. Guthrie proceeded to Fazlgarh, about seven kos from Meerut, and made it big headquarters. He applied to Colonel Bum for a treasury guard, adding—“I request that it may bo understood that I do not apply for a personal guard," though his recent experience at Saharanpur would have fully supported such an application. The fact is that, at this time, a jealousy sprang up between the military and civil authorities, which showed itself in the former refusing personal guard to the Collector, while the latter rendered no assistance in obtaining supplies. The cause of this jealousy appears to have been chiefly due to the Collector siding with and expressing the greatest confidence in the loyalty of the Begam Somru, whilst Colonel Burn declared that he had good reason to know that she was then intriguing with the Sikhs and Hahrathas.
On the 9th March, Gurdat Singh and others again threatened Klindhla, and, on the following day, the native officer at Kairdna reported that a body of 4,000 Sikh horses had crossed the Jumna and were plundering in their accustomed manner. It was also said that the Sikhs had received two lakhs of rupees from Holkar to assist Amir Khan. Colonel Burn was beginning a series of reprisals, but was obliged to co-operate with the Rohilkhand forces in the pursuit of the Pindaris. On the 12th March Mr. Guthrie wrote that he hoped to hold out in Fazlgarh with a small local force, some 20 Moradabad provincials and eighty matchlockmen. He had only eight rounds of ammunition per man, but “ the enemy," he writes,'' have no guns, and can only take it by escalade, to attempt which they possess neither courage nor materials." Still, on the 13th March, the Pindaris attacked Hapur close by, and were it not for the determined resistance offered by the Tahsilddr, Ibrahim Ali, would have captured the place and have affected a junction with the Sikhs. On the 16th, the Sikhs to the number of 2, 000 were in the neighbourhood of Shamli, and Gurdat Singh sent word that he would join the invaders on the 17th. One consequence of this was that Gurdat Singh’s jagir of Jhinjhana was attached. Raja Ramdayal Singh and the Marhal chief, Mumbani Khan, were directed to protect the Hardwar fair from the Sikhs, but could send few man, and in consequences, many merchants were plundered. On the 17th, true to his word, Gurdat Singh joined the raiders and attacked Thana Bhawan, but the Sikhs were repulsed by the Qazi and lost 35 men, killed and wounded in the affair. Colonel Burn was about to proceed after them when a dispatch was received from Dehli offering an amnesty to all the Sikh chiefs with the exception of Gurdat Singh (27th March). But the Sikhs did not stay their hands, and, on the 7th April, got as far as Miranpur, and on the following day news was received of their having plundered a number of villages near Khatauli and of straggling parties ,being seen near Fazlgarh and Meerut. Wherever they went they burned the harvest on the ground, plundered the villages and levied contributions. But, in the meantime, Colonel Burn was making preparation for carrying the war into the enemy’s country, and on the 5th April the British forces crossed the Jumna and sat down before Gurdat Singh’s fortified town of Karnal. Rai Singh, Mahtab Singh and others had left the Dudb, while the remaining allies of Gurdat remained about seven kos from Fazlgarh, collecting the harvest and threatening Mr. Guthrie, who said that be could hold the fort for seven days, but had ammunition for no longer time. At this time, intelligence was received- of the departure from the Sikh camp of Shahid Khan, the nominal Suba- dar of Saharanpur on the part of Holkar, and of a raid by a force from Bnrhiya, the residence of Sher Singh, who was mortally wounded at Charaon. These Burhiya Sikhs occupied Ghazi- uddinnagar, near Sahdranpur, which they claimed on an alleged “istimrari” grunt which was subsequently disallowed. The fall of Karnal effectually put an end to all Sikh invasions, and though rumours of the approach of a force from Patiala and of Ranjit Singh from Lahore were rife in October, no invasion took place. As a precautionary measure, •however, two battalions and eight guns were sent from Sardhana by the Begam to Thana Bhawan, and one battalion with four guns to Meerut, while Colonel Burn occupied Sonpat. The Marhal jagira in Muzaffarnagar and Bhanga Singh’s jagir in Bidauli were subsequently exchanged had been so long away that they were unable to prove their title to their ancestral land. The country was certainly at peace and the people were again able to leave the walled towns and attend to the cultivation of the small villages and their outlying hamlets, and henceforth no one had to fear open violence. But a danger awaited the Saiyids, both the returned emigrants and the surviving residents, which, in the words of Mr. Cadell, “ was more insidious and more fatal to them than the old one, and when they fell victims to their own extravagance and our revenue procedure, to the civil courts, and the ever watchful money-lender, they had almost reason to regret the days when they were vassels of the Gujar chiefs or of Mahratta soldiers, and when tho lands that remained to them were every nowand then being desolated by the march of armies or by Sikh and Rohilla raids.” Though the Gujar chiefs still retained, for some years, their vast estates under the name of muqarrirs, the Saiyids were almost universally acknowledged as proprietors in the tract in which, before the fall of the empire, they had completely established themselves. In some cases the claims of the village communities were strong enough to demand serious consideration, yet, as a rule, the Saiyids were restored and the grounds of the few exceptions can be clearly traced. The Rdjput muqarraridar retained a few villages to the south-west; the debatable ground of the Bhukarheri village was left with a Jat brotherhood, and here and there the Saiyid rights had succumbed to the Mabrattas or the Gujars.
A letter preserved in the Board’s Records, May 24th, 1805, gives a very interesting account’ of the state of the district generally at that time. It was written by Mr. Guthrie on the occasion of his handing over the office of Magistrate of the Southern Division of Saharanpur to the newly-appointed Magistrate resident at Meerut, to which reference has already been made in the preceding chapter:—“At the time of the settlement the tahsildars were made responsible for the police on the term of the regulations for the ceded provinces, the settlement being made individually with the zamindars, and on the same principle of the regulations, police daroghas were appointed in the principal towns of their programs. The two farmers, raja Ramdayal Singh and Raja Nain Singh, and the muqarraridars were equally made responsible for the police in their several parganas. I did not think it expedient to appoint police officers to the principal towns in those parganas, as I knew it would occasion dissatisfaction to them, and I did not consider it absolutely necessary, You will observe, however, that police officers were appointed to the several ghats on the Ganges—a measure which I conceived to be highly essential. A Mufti, Maulvi Muhammad Zahid, was appointed to superintend the trials of prisoners committed. I beg to mention to you the conduct of Fateh Ali Khan, a gentleman of rank and family at Meerut. During the short time Holkar was at Meerut he took charge with his private followers of one of the gateways, and the kanungos of the pargana did the same at another gateway. The circumstance was reported to His Excellency the Commander-in-Chief: their conduct was certainly highly meritorious. As the parganas of Muzaffarnagar, Charthdwal and Soron will probably form a part of your division, and under a doubt whether the parganas of Baghra and Banat Shamli may not also be included in it, I beg to state the circumstances of those parganas. The three former are held as jaedad by Muhamdi Khan, Mansur Khari, and Ghairat Ali Khan, for which they are bound to keep up 200 horses. These horsemen are of course under the control of the ruling power, and, as such, I employed them at the hard war fair in 1804, and at one time had a party stationed at Meerut. These parganas were never directly confirmed to them. The two other parganas, with several others that were last year under Mr. Guthrie, are held as jeadad by Nijabat Ali Khan; he has regularly been in attendence on the Commandor-in-Chief, and the parganas were confirmed to him by His Excellency. I had never occasion to exercise authority in those parganas, and though there could be little question of the right, I should have some doubt as to the mode of exercising authority there; without reference and orders, I shall, not have done it excepting through the above persona holding the pargana in jaedadr It may be proper you should be informed that some suspicions attached about January, 1804, in the mind of His the information of a man of the name of Zamin Ali, who had been the vakil of Ramdayai, to Monsieur Perron some time before, but between whom there latterly has existed great enmity, for the gratification of .which we know the natives will often go very great lengths. By every various mode I adopted, I could discover nothing that
led to any suspicion in my mind. Some letters to Holkar, intercepted or said to be intercepted, were delivered by Zamin Ali; but though I addressed Colonel Blair at Agra, where Zamin Ali then was, I was unable to obtain any account of so important a point, as how they were intercepted. Ramdayai behaved very well, at the first opening of the war, in delivering up original sanads from Monsieur Perron for a part of the Moradabad district. He particularly, and Nain Singh also in some degree, are of most uncivilized habits and manners, and their minds are little calculated to comprehend the arrangements of general justice on which our system of government is founded. I endeavoured in every possible manner to impress upon them the conviction that their future prosperity depended entirely on their duly conforming themselves to the orders and rules of our Government. They were in the habit of considering themselves as tributary princes, rather than subjects —an idea they cannot easily abandon, but which presents many disadvantages as such. Ramdayai was allowed a mint under the Mahratha government, and I had some difficulty in prevailing on him to relinquish it. I have no reason to believe that these Rajas have deviated from their allegiance in the present year, and I should suppose all doubts of their fidelity to have been greatly dissipated from the mind of the Commander-in-Chief, as their tenures were confirmed to them by His Excellency when the army was at Meerut in pursuit of Holkar.”
“Rai Ramdhan Singh, of Puth Sayana, is a character of nearly the same stamp; his son, however, who manages the business, is not deficient in education. Zulfakar Ali Khan of Jansath is a highly respectable Saiyid. At the period of the power of the Saiyids at the court of Dehii, the vicinity of Jin- fallen families of former rank and splendour. In the course of time their jagirs and lands have been attached; there are still, however, some few Saiyids who have tolerable means to support themselves with decency. You will be surprised to find one who is still proprietor of a jagir in the vicinity of Bombay. This place is famed for producing horsemen of spirit and vigour, and the very lowest of them take a high pride in their acknowledged hereditary bravery. Bisharat Ali, one of the risaldars at Meerut, with the greater part of the horsemen, is from that quarter. Of the lower orders in the parganas you will find a large proportion of them addicted to most daring robberies and thefts, which they execute in the most adroit manner. You will find them, however, industrious in cultivation, pursuing a system of irrigation unequalled in any part of the country I have been in, and in parts a very flourishing and fertile country. Among the disadvantages are to be reckoned the numerous petty forts that exist: there is hardly a village but what is fortified, and you will often see five or six in view at the same time? My idea of these petty forts has always been that every opportunity of misconduct should be taken to destroy them, but that they should be considered inviolable during good behaviour.” This letter does not give a very pleasing account of the district. Harassed by the Sikhs, every village community was obliged to construct for themselves places of refuge. into which they might retire on the appearance of “ the white horsemen," and hence the number of petty forts ■ which the Collector complains of. But he does so with justice, for no sooner were the landholders relieved from Sikh invasions than they turned their forts into asylums for professional highwaymen with whom they shared the spoil, and notwithstanding the halo that encircles the Rajput name, it must be confessed that many a family amongst them has risen to wealth and influence as receivers of stolen property and harbourers of thieves, the early part of the present century the Jat Rajas of Mursan and Hatbras, the Parihar of Sandaus, the Chauhan of Chakrnagar, The Bhadauria of Kamait, and the Jadon of Awa Misa were notorious for the countenance shown by them to the thags and dakaits.
The general fiscal history of the districts during the earlier settlements has been given on a previous page, and my intention here is only to show how the revenue administration has affected the class that once formed the characteristic element of the population, and incidentally with them the Jats, Gujars and others. Mr. A. Cadell, in one of his manuscript reports, notes that though the lapse by the death of the grantees of the great estates held on a fixed revenue had the effect of restoring the old Saiyid families, they no longer held by virtue of inheritance only, but in very many cases retained their lands without any defined or tangible ground for their position as proprietors. Most of the muqarraris were granted to individuals and not to communities, and in deciding upon the pretensions of the respective claimants to the proprietary right there was, oil the one hand, a single individual or family, and on the other a large and turbulent body of Saiyids who, with much show of reason, asserted a right to a share in the whole estate. In fact, until quite recent years, the process of weeding out rightful owners has been going steadily on and many of the largest Saiyid estates have not been acquired by inheritance or even by purchase, but are examples of the survival of the fittest or of the least scrupulous of the largo communities. In many cases the ousted owners have been avenged and the spoiler and the spoiled are alike at the mercy of the money-lender, while if others the old quarrel still goes on, and even the most well-meaning and considerate landlords have inherited with their property an amount of inveterate hatred which is always unpleasant, is frequently inconvenient, and is on some occasions dangerous.” It is difficult to state with accuracy what rights the old communities enjoyed under their Saiyid masters, but in old papers both before and after the British rule the names of muqaddams or headmen were entered with those of the proprietors, and in times of difficulty the persons recorded in these papers were those who were looked to for the fiscal management of the village. At the settlement in 1841 numbers of villages were settled with the cultivating communities, who were “vested with the entire management of their villages; they arranged for the cultivation of the land had complete control over the village site, ponds and waste lands, built houses, sank wells and planted groves, and the landlord. Whether saiyid or purchaser, received nothing beyond the amount (eighteen per cent, on the assessment) fixed as landlord’s profits.”
At the settlement in 1863, however, a new policy was adopted. “Not only were the landlords restored to their old position, but it was gravely recorded in the village administration papers which were not attested by the tenants that the very communities who, during the period of settlement, had exercised complete control over the estate, were not in future to exercise even the minor privileges of planting trees and sinking wells in accordance with the acknowledged custom long antecedent to the settlement of 1841. This provision and the judgment of the High Court of these Provinces imposing the penalty of dispossession on the digging of wells by cultivators proved fatal to many tenants, and although in some cases landlords were afraid to execute the decrees which they obtained, not a few tenants were ousted and a wrong was done which it has been found difficult to remedy.” On the lapse of Raja Ramdayal’s muqarrari, in 1813, the Gujars could show no valid claim to most of the villages belonging to it in the district. Many of them belonging to the Saiyids, but they had been long out of possession, and nearly all the villages of the muqarrari were settled with the cultivating communities, and the Saiyids got only a few poor estates. “But far more fortunate were the Banias who had purchased in some cases the rights of Saiyids or could show deeds of sale executed by the muqaddams. From the civil courts the Banias gob all they wanted; in the revenue courts is seems to have been assumed that rights on the part of the communities were incompatible with the Saiyid claims.” In one village where the remains of buildings erected by the Saiyids showed the permanency of their occupation they were declared to have no fights, but where even the shadow of a right came by transfer into the hands of the Bania diwan of the late Gujar Raja it was upheld.
“Mr. Cavendish appears to have, throughout, taken the part of the communities, to have held that the representative of a community, but the mahajans seems to have held their own, and while in some cases in the search for cultivating landlords even the chamars holding land in the midst of a weak jat community were invested with proprietary rights, and in another Jat who could point to a descent of only two and three generations from the men who had' settled round the Saiyid fort were proprietors, in others the faintest Saiyid claim became unimpeachable when it passed into the hands of a Bania, and the strongest cultivating right melted away when he resisted it. The old communities upon who were conferred proprietary rights have certainly shown themselves right worthy of the favour that was shown them; they have held together under no ordinary difficulties, and in a dry unwatered tract have paid to Government assessments which would have been severe even under more favourable circumstances. But strong communities cannot always be improvised, and the new, untried communities have proved unequal to the responsibilities which were imposed upon them and have, in a great measure, given way. It would probably have been more in accordance with justice and would have secured more general prosperity if the rights of both parties, the former Saiyid owners and the village communities, had been recognised. The Saiyids would then have become taluqdars, whilst the old village communities would have remained in possession of all that they had previously enjoyed."
The result of all these measures was that in the north of the eastern parganas Taga, Gujar, Jat and Rajput communities were invested with proprietary rights, whilst, in exceptional cases, Saiyids were declared proprietors, and the money-lenders who had purchased, in some cases, the rights of Saiyids, and in others those of the representatives of cultivating communities, received, in either case,' the fullest consideration. The representatives of the old Gujar Rajas were allowed to retain only those estates to which no adverse claim of any strength was made. To the south, Saiyids were confirmed in full possession of the proprietary right in those estates which their ancestors had acquired. To the southwest, Rajputs were confirmed in the acquisitions made by them during the eighteenth contury, and towards the south-east, a few Jat communities of long standing were admitted to engage for the
Sahdranpur. This account is chiefly taken from Mr. R. M. Edwards’ official narrative, dated .November the 16th, 1868. When the outbreak at Meerut, on the 10th of May, took place Mr. Berford, the Magistrate of Muzaffarnagar, was at Saharanpur, and at once returned to his district. He was then met with the most exaggerated reports of a general rising throughout! the Duab, and, disturbed and bewildered, hastily issued orders that all the public offices should be closed, The natural effect of this unwise measure was a general impression that the British rule was suspended throughout the district and rumours of the rapid approach of mutineer troops gained ground, and, in the absence of all letters, public and private, from Meerut, appear to have been generally believed. Mr. Berford’s acts strengthened this belief and the courts were never again opened until the disturbances had ceased. Mr. Berford had heard that the prisoners in the jail intended to rise and murder the Europeans, and spent the night of his arrival in the station in hiding amongst the people of Sarvvat. As nothing remarkable took place during the night, he returned to the station and consulted with Mr. C. Grant, who had been recalled from camp. The rescue of their deliberations was an order to all the official community to abandon their bungalows and assemble at the tehsil. The result showed that there was no necessity for this course of action, for although two bungalows were burned during the night, the Magistrate’s guards were able to beat off a body of plunderers from Mr. Berford's house, to which the party returned next morning. During the day the tahsil was again occupied, but the guards of the 20th N. I., profiting by the absence of the Europeans, plundered the treasure (Rs. 85,000) and were permitted to retire unmolested, though they could have been punished without difficulty. To add to the confusion, the subahdar of the escort sent an abusive message to the Tahsildar, Saiyid Imdad Husain, accusing him of eating pork and other forbidden food and, fearful of the consequences, it was resolved to separate. Mr. Berford disappeared during the discussion and took refuge in
the house of some Saiyids at Abupura, whence orders were issue(J^or the release of with impunity, commit any excesses, that nobody interfered with them, and that the few men who had been captured while raiding in the city were now as free as themselves. Assisted by Mr. Berford’s own servants, the rabble, at once, commenced to finish the plunder of the tahsils treasure and the bungalows, and then proceeding to the jail, they destroyed the barracks and removed even the door-shutters and the iron rails. All the public offices were burned down on the 14th of May, and Mr. Grant is decidedly of opinion that the destruction of the records was brought about by the Saiyids, and that those individuals had spread false tales of approaching mutineers and dacoits to induce the district officials to take shelter with them and so get them out of the way while the work of destruction went on. That much of this plundering and burning could have been prevented is shown by the fact that on the 15th May, Ahmad Husain, the kotwal, with the assistance of the mounted orderlies under Daud Khan, was by himself able to defeat and disperse a large body of marauders who had assembled to plunder the bazars. Fifteen to twenty prisoners were brought in, but appear to have been dismissed without any punishment. From this time to the 21st June neither attack nor dacoity was committed or attempted on the town, though reports of intended attack were frequent. .The current work of the district was left to Mr. C. Grant, who established small guard-posts on the principal lines of communication, enrolled horse and foot, and despatched letters of encouragement to the principal landholders.
It was unfortunate that Mr. Grant’s sense of discipline prevented him from openly resisting the feeble counsels of his senior officer, who soon gave fresh signs of weakness, for when a squadron of the 3rd Light Cavalry signalized their arrival from Meerut by shooting a wretched shopkeeper, Mr. Berford accepted the verbal explanation of the principal offender without any inquiry as to its truth. With the exception of an abortive attempt on the part of Mr. Berford to escape to Meerut, nothing of importance occurred until the 29th, when the station was reinforced by a detachment of eighty troopers of the 4th Irregular Cavalry under Lieutenant Clarke, who was subsequently relieved by Lieutenant Smith. The police did nothing to assist in keeping order, “They appear to have come to an understanding with the people that neither should interfere with the other. That if the villagers permitted the police to remain quietly at their stations and draw their pay, the villagers might commit what crimes they pleased without any attempt at prevention on their part. The natural result was that violent crimes of all kinds were daily, almost hourly, committed throughout the district, not secretly nor by night, but openly and at noonday. It is needless naming the chief crimes; it is sufficient to remark that here, as in other parts of the country, the Banias and Mahajans were in the majority of cases the victims, and fearfully have many of them been made to suffer for their previous rapacity and avarice.” Parai and Bijupura were visited and punished, and matters were improving until the 21st June, when the 4th Irregulars rose and murdered their officer, Lieutenant Smith.
This outbreak is thus described by Mr. R. M. Edwards: — “About 3 p.m., on the 21st June, a camel-rider arrived from Shamli; he did not come in by the direct road, but passed round by the public offices, and entered the lines of the 4th, and no doubt brought some letter or message to the men from their comrades stationed at Shamli. Ho left again in a short time, and soon after his departure a trooper went into Mr. Berford’s bungalow, apparently to call Lieutenant Smith, as that officer accompanied him into the lines. Mr. Dalby, head clerk, who was in a tent outside the bungalow, saw the arrival and departure of the camel-rider, the trooper go to the bungalow and Lieutenant Smith return with him, and, at the time, noticed that Lieutenant Smith, who was in the habit of visiting the lines every evening, was going to his men at an unusually early hour. Shortly after the report of a musket was heard, some natives called out that a dog had been shot. This was, however, almost immediately negatives by one of the Magistrate’s chaprasis, Bishan Singh, who rushed into the bungalow, saying that the Adjutant had been shot by his men. The party then in the bunglow, consisting of Messrs. Berford and Grants, Mr. Dalby and Mr. Butterfield, with their families, at once left it and went to the outcomes in the rear of the house, where the jail-guard were stationed. The risaldars of the cavalry came to Mr. Grant and told him that he had put the man who wounded the Adjutant into confinement, and asked that officer to go to the bungalow and see Lieutenant Smith, who had been brought in then by some dooly-bearers and was being attended to by the native doctor. Mr. Grant was accompanying the risaldar, when Mr. Butterfield went forward and prevented him doing so, saying the men meant treachery. The sepoys of the jail-guard now said that the whole party should at once repair to the tahsil, which they did by a short and unfrequented road, accompanied by the guard, as the cavalry were evidently preparing to mount, and were beginning to surround the bungalow. Mr. and Mrs. Butterfield, when half way, returned to the bungalow to procure some necessaries forgotten by them in the hurry of departure, These they managed to secure, and had proceeded some distance towards the tahsil when Mr. Butterfield was shot by one of the troopers; his wife begged them to kill her also, but though they threatened her she was left) uninjured. Mr. Butterfield’s body was slashed with nine cuts and one hand was out off on account of the ring upon it. The party reached the tahsil onlv just in time, as several troopers galloped down the main road, with the evident intention of cutting them off, but) returned on seeing them enter the gate.
“Lieutenant Smith, whose first wound was not mortal, was put into a dooly and was being taken to the tahsil, when he was followed by some of the cavalry, dragged out and murdered. The body was much disfigured by sword cuts and one of the hands was cut off for the sake of the ring. The bodies of Lieutenant Smith and Mr. Butterfield were removed that night by Mr. Dalby’s younger brother, and Mr. Kelly, brother of Mrs. Butterfield, to their bungalow. They lay there unburied for two days and two nights, and were eventually interred by these two men close to the house. The bodies were subsequently removed to consecrated ground. About 8 o’clock the same evening the whole of the 4th came to the tahsil and asked the sentry what regiment he belonged to and called out to all true Muhammadans to come over and join them, and demanded that the kafirs should be given up. They at first insisted that the tahsil should be openend in order that they might rob the treasury and murder the Christians.
Imdad Husain, tahsildar, behaved extremely well, Mr. Grant informs me, and distinctly refused to listen to the troopers, though taunted, threatened and abused by-them. Daud Khan, sub-officer of the mounted orderlies, went out to the mutineers and asked them what they wanted. They replied, the lives of the Christians. He answered that though the Europeans had certainly come to the tahsil they were not there, and if they were he would not give them up. They then demanded the treasure. He said he had nothing to do with the money and no power over it, and re-entered the tahsil, when it was setttled to give up the amount in the chest, about Ks. 6,000. On receiving it, the; troopers left in a body, going round by Abupura with the intention, apparently, of discovering whether the Earopeans had again sought refuge there and then passed on to Shamli, where they were joined by their comrades. Nobody attempted to stop or interfere with them. Before their departure they burned Mr. Berford’s bungalow and carried off Messrs. Grant’s and Berford’s horses. The staging bungalow and Mr. O’Farrell's bungalow were burned tne same night.” This outbreak was clearly preconcerted between the cavalry at Muzaffarnagar and those at Shamli, and had the Europeans been weak enough to trust themselves to the troopers they would have all shared the fate of Lieutenant Smith and Mr. Butterfield. Imdad Husain’s gallant conduct has been attributed to an intelligent foresight, but no such cause can be assigned for Daud Khan’s staunchness. He was an illiterate, ignorant man, and had actually himself served with the mutineers: stranger still, all the mounted orderlies followed his example. Another man whoso name deserves honourable mention was Ghaus Muhammad Khan, the officer of the jail- guard. The conduct of all these men shows what might have been done had there been a few resolute European officers at the head of affairs, and renders this lamentable episode all the more disgraceful to the person concerned. On the morning of the 22nd June bodies of villagers attempted to attack the town, but were driven off by a party of district horse and the jail guard. On the 26th, Lieutenant Clarke arrived with a party of the 3rd Cavalry, and on the 1st of july Mr. R.M. Edwards marched from Saharnpur with a body of Gurkhas and took charge of the administration of the district. He reported that on his arrival he found the district much disorganized, all work seemed to have been long suspended, and even Government) servants, with whom had been found large sums of money plundered from the treasury, were not only unpunished, but had been, permitted to remain in Government employ. The collecting establishment was in existence, but not the least attempt was made to collect the land-revenue. The police were also nominally at work, but did nothing but clamor for their pay, and there - was no money wherewith to settle their claims.” Mr. Edwards’ first efforts were principally directed to the restoration of confidence in the civil station, the re-establishment of the jail, the keeping open of the communication on the principal lines of road, the security of the postal service, and the collection of the land-revenue. In the town of Muzaffarnagar, the shops were all closed and the people were accustomed to fly and hide themselves on hearing of the approach of marauders. Gradually, by the show of a little firmness and common sense, confidence was restored. In the district, the sub-collectors of the revenue reported that there was no use in attempting its realization until the fate of Dehli was known. Here, also, when the collecting establishment knew that they must work or resign great improvement was effected, and in a short time the revenue began to be collected with vigour. Demonstrations were made in the Shamli tahsil and amongst the villages of the Ganges parganas; and by the end of August Rs. 2, 70,535 were remitted to Meerut after paying all the district expenses, and this, too, “without the sacrifice of a single life and without maltreating in any way a single soul.”
A further detachment of Gurkhas arrived towards the end of August, and about this time disturbances recommenced throughout the district. The presence of the troops was called for at Shamli, where differences had occurred between the tahsildar and Mohar Singh, the principal Jat landholder; and from this town Mr. Grant led an expedition (September 2nd) against Parasauli in the Kandhla pargana, the residence of Kahirati Khan, Pindari, a noted rebel. The attack was repulsed and the party was obeliged to return to shamli. This movement had an unfortunate eSoct on the state of affairs. Jihairati Khan was at once joined by the people of Jaula, Baraut and Bijraul, and drovo ouii the police from the fort of Budhana, where he established his headquarters. Reinforcements were sent to Shamli and the Magistrate himself hurried to the spot. Whilst there, news arrived of a rising amongst the Sheikhzadahs of Thana Bhawan, and hourly tiding3 of fresh disturbances all round were received. On the 12th September the revenue peons were expelled from Jhinjhana and Kdndhla. "Disaffection generally prevailed from the line of the Hindan going westwards, including portions of parganas Budhdna Shikarpur, Baghra, and Charthd- wal, with the entire pargana of Thana Bhawan and the Jdt villages of Shdmli, whilst the Kdndhla pargana as far as the Jumna Canal and part of Jhinjhana was also disturbed.” An attack on the Jdts of Kandhla was determined upon, and on the 14th Jaula was taken after a sharp resistance, and the same night the troops encamped within the fort of Budhdna.
During their absence Shamli was attacked by the Thana Bhawan insurgents headed by the Qazi Mahbub Ali and his nephew Inayat Ali Khan, and was captured. The rebels murdered 113 men in cold blood, and the ferocity of the Musalmans was shown by tha slaughtering of all who took refuge in the mosque and temple adjacent to the tahsil. '• They were to a man cut to pieces, even little children were slaughtered, and the inner walls of both edifices were crimsoned with blood.” The troops at once proceeded to Thana Bhawan and attacked the town, but were “repulsed with the loss of 17 killed and 21 wounded, and were obliged to retire upon Muzaffarnagar, which was again threatened by marauders. On the arrival of reinforcements from Meerut, an expedition was again led against Thana Bhawan which was evacuated by the enemy, and the gates and walls were razed to the ground. Muhammad Ali Khan of Jalalabad was made tahsildar of Thana Bhawan, Shdmli was reoccupied, [and the forces proceeded to the Ganges parganas to operate against the troops of the rebel Rohilla Nawab of Najibabad With the exception of a smart skirmish at Miranpur, the operations of the troops in this district until the end of the disturbances were unmarked by any great action and may be described in Mr. Edward’s own words We were continually kept) on the move, marching and countermarching up and down the river, by the rapid movements of the masses of rebels on the opposite bank. Their numbers were so greatly superior to ours that we were obliged to be constantly on the watch, as the Ganges had become so low that fords were very numerous, and the river line was so extensive that our forces had to be divided into very small detachments. Our police-stations and outlying posts were several times attacked and destroyed, but the rebels so rapidly redressed the river that we never could catch them, though every exertion was made to do so. These attacks became so frequent that all the police posts had to be removed out of the khadir to the high land. The jungle in the khadir was burned by order of Colonel Brind, who had been appointed to command in the district. This deprived the enemy of the power of approaching our posts in any numbers without being perceived. Not a week passed that I did not obtain intelligence of the intention of the enemy to cross and make a night attack, and large numbers of them would frequently assemble on the river bank, but either their courage failed them or these wore mere demonstrations got up with the view of harassing and annoying us.”
The history of the district since the mutiny has .been very uneventful. The chief occurrences worthy of record are the two histories, settlements of the land-revenue, an account of which will be found in the preceding chapter. References have also been made to the famines and years of scarcity that have occurred since 1857, to the great development of irrigation and its consequent effects.