Rohilkhand is a region in the northwestern part of the Uttar Pradesh state of India, centered around Bareilly and Moradabad divisions. Part of the upper Ganges Plain, the region is named after the Rohilla Pashtun (also known as Afghan or Pathan) tribes. The region was called Madhyadesh in the Sanskrit epics Mahabharata and Ramayana.
|Historical region of North India|
|State established:||1690 CE|
|Language||Hindi, Urdu, English|
|Dynasties||Panchalas (Mahabharata era)|
|Historical capitals||Bareilly, Budaun, Rampur|
|Separated sube||Amroha, Bahjoi, Bareilly, Bijnore, Budaun, Kakrala, Khutar, Moradabad, Pilibhit, Rampur, Shahjahanpur|
The Rohilla leader Daud Khan was awarded the Katehar (later called Rohilkhand) region in the then northern India by Mughal emperor Aurangzeb Alamgir (ruled 1658–1707) to suppress the Rajput uprisings, which had afflicted this region. Originally, some 20,000 soldiers from various Pashtun tribes (Yusafzai, Ghori, Osmani, Ghilzai, Barech, Marwat, Durrani, Tareen, Kakar, Naghar, Afridi and Khattak) were hired by Mughals to provide soldiers to the Mughal armies. Their performance was appreciated by Mughal emperor Aurangzeb Alamgir, and an additional force of 25,000 Pashtuns were recruited from modern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Afghanistan and were given respected positions in Mughal Army. Nearly all of Pashtuns settled in the Katehar region and also brought their families from modern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Afghanistan. During Nadir Shah's invasion of northern India in 1739, the new wave of Pashtuns settled increasing their population to over 100,0000. Due to the large settlement of Rohilla Afghans, the Katehar region gained fame as Rohilkhand. Bareilly was made the capital of the Rohilkhand state and it became Pashtun majority city with Gali Nawaban as the main royal street. Other important cities were Moradabad, Rampur, Shahjahanpur, Badaun, and others. After the Third Battle of Panipat fought in 1761 between the Ahmad Shah Durrani and Maratha Empire thousands of Pashtun and Baloch soldiers settled in the northern India. These diverse ethnic, cultural and linguistic groups merged over the centuries to the form the Urdu speaking Muslims of South Asia.
The first invasion by the Marathas was the result of the charming personae of three queens of Rohillkhand, namely Begum-eh-khaas Pragya, Paulmi -eh-Shiba and Sadhna-eh-Hayat, the wives of Chirag. The Marathas were requested by Safdarjung, the Nawab of Oudh, in 1752, to help him defeat Pashtun Rohilla. The Maratha forces and Awadh forces besieged the Rohillas, who had sought refuge in Kumaon but had to retreat when Ahmad Shah Abdali invaded India.
In 1772, Marathas, led by Mahadji Sindhia, defeated Rohilla chieftain Zabita Khan, whose possessions lay west of Rohilkhand. They subsequently destroyed Rohilla tribal chief Najib-ul-Daula's grave, scattering his bones. During 1772-73, Mahadji destroyed Pashtun Rohillas in and captured Najibabad. After plundering Rohillakhand Maratha proceeded towards Oudh. Foreseeing the same fate as Rohilla, Nawab made frantic calls to British troops in Bengal.
The British company knew that Nawab of Oudh posed no danger for the British company, whereas the Maratha will try to invade Bengal and Bihar after overrunning Oudh. The British dispatched 20,000 British troops on the order of the Viceroy of British India. They wanted to free Rohillakhand from Maratha and give it to Nawab. The Maratha and British armies came face to face in Ram Ghat, but the sudden demise of then Peshwa and the civil war in Poona to choose the next Peshwa forced the Maratha to retreat. Rohilla decided not to pay, absent a war between the two states. The British made Oudh a buffer state in order to protect it from the Maratha, and from there on, British troops protected Oudh. The subsidy of one British brigade to provide protection to Nawab and Oudh from Maratha was decided to be Rs 2,10,000.
Rohilkhand was under the rule of Rohillas with their capital in City of Bareilly until the Rohilla War of 1774–75. The Rohillas were defeated and driven from Bareilly by the Nawab of Oudh with the assistance of BEIC troops. The state of Rampur was then established under the Nawab of Oudh. In 1803, British annexed Rohilkhand in Upper Doab.
|Name||Reign Began||Reign Ended|
|Ali Mohammed Khan||1719||15 September 1748|
|Faizullah Khan||15 September 1748||24 July 1793|
|Hafiz Rahmat Khan – Regent||15 September 1748||23 April 1774|
|Muhammad Ali Khan Bahadur||24 July 1793||11 August 1793|
|Ghulam Muhammad Khan Bahadur||11 August 1793||24 October 1794|
|Ahmad Ali Khan Bahadur||24 October 1794||5 July 1840|
|Nasrullah Khan – Regent||24 October 1794||1811|
|Muhammad Said Khan Bahadur||5 July 1840||1 April 1855|
|Yusef Ali Khan Bahadur||1 April 1855||21 April 1865|
|Kalb Ali Khan Bahadur||21 April 1865||23 March 1887|
|Muhammad Mushtaq Ali Khan Bahadur||23 March 1887||25 February 1889|
|Hamid Ali Khan Bahadur||25 February 1889||20 June 1930|
|Muhammad Said Khan Bahadur||5 July 1840||1 April 1855|
|Regent||25 February 1889||4 April 1894|
|Raza Ali Khan Bahadur||20 June 1930||6 March 1966|
|Murtaza Ali Khan Bahadur – Nawabat abolished in 1971||6 March 1966||8 February 1982|
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