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Saharanpur district (Hindi: ज़िला सहारन्पूर, Urdu: ضلع سهارنپور ) is the northernmost of the districts of Uttar Pradesh state, India. Bordering the states of Haryana and Uttarakhand, and close to the foothills of Shivalik range, it lies in the northern part of the Doab region. It is primarily an agricultural area.

The district headquarters are Saharanpur city and it belongs to Saharanpur Division. Other principal towns are Behat, Deoband, Gangoh and Rampur.

Contents

Historical

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Ancient period

Ancient Indian (Bharata) cities.)

The entire Saharanpur district is a part the Yamuna-Ganges Doab region. Its physical features have been most conducive to human habitation. Archaeological surveys have provided evidence of the existence of many settlements over the ages. Excavations have been carried out in different parts of the district, such as Ambakheri, Bargaon, Hulas and Naseerpur and in Bahadrabad of Haridwar district. On the basis of artifacts discovered during these excavations, human habitation can be traced as far back as 2000 B.C. Traces of the Indus Valley civilization, and even of earlier cultures, have been found. Archaeologically, Ambakheri, Bargaon, Naseerpur and Hulas were centres of Harappan civilisation. It has witnessed the arrival of Aryans from the present Punjab and the mighty war of Mahabharata in the region of present Muzaffarnagar district; when both were a part of the Kuru (East) Mahajanapada territory and Usinara and Panchala Mahajanapadas were their eastern neighbours. Though the history of the region can be traced to some extent from the days of the Indo-Aryans, a more exact history, the system of administration of the local kings, and the lifestyle of the people will become known only with further exploration.

Medieval period

Most of the empire building invasions, across the vast swathe of Gangetic plains of India, passed through it. During the reign of Shamsu'd-Din Iltutmish (1211-36), the third and greatest ruler of the Slave Dynasty, the region of present Saharanpur became a part of his Delhi Sultanate.

Muhammad bin Tughluq, the Sultan of Delhi (1325-51), undertook a campaign in the northern Doab to crush the rebellion of Shivalik kings in 1340. According to local traditions and as also stated in reliable British records (like the Imperial Gazette of India 1901), he learned of the presence of a Sufi saint on the banks of the Paondhoi river. After visiting the sage, he ordered that henceforth the region would be known as 'Shah-Harunpur', named after the Sufi Saint, Shah Harun Chishti. It evolved into present Saharanpur. Akbar the Great was the first Mogul ruler to make the region 'Saharanpur-Sarkar', which was a part of the Delhi province; and it provided the impetus to establish the present city of Saharanpur. Sah Ranveer Singh, a Jain nobleman in the Court of Akbar is considered as the founder of the walled city of Saharanpur, which had four gates - Sarai Gate, Mali Gate, Buriya Gate and Lakhi Gate. Nakhasa Bazar, Shah Behlol, Rani Bazar and Lakhi Gate were inhabited localities in this walled city of Saharanpur.

British period

The last of the invaders were the British, who marched into it from the east and Saharanpur passed into the expanding territories of British East India Company in 1803. It became a very large district under the British, reaching its maximum size when the then Greater Nepal's Dehradun region was added to it after the British-Gurkha War in 1816. The present independent districts of Muzaffarnagar, Haridwar and Dehradun formed a part of Saharanpur district then.

The region of Behat had many Riyasats i.e. minor princely/feudal landlord families, like the family of Riyasat Ghana Khandi which was more prominent - this family claims to be descendents of Padhaan Zamindars of 1745 A.D.

Economy

The district is part of a fertile belt. A well developed irrigation system of Gangetic-canals and tube-wells supports a thriving agricultural economy of multiple crops and bumper yields. In addition to farming of major food grain crops like wheat, rice etc, cash crops like sugar cane and potatoes etc are cultivated on a wide scale. Fruit orchards and horticulture are also important for local and export markets. Even though Dehradun is more famous for basmati rice, a lot of it is grown in the Saharanpur area.

The district has several agro-based industries: paper, tobacco, wood-work etc. A multinational cigarette manufacturing company, the Indian Tobacco Company (ITC Limited), is located in Saharanpur.

Cultural and educational aspects

Culturally, Saharanpur district is similar to the rest of western Uttar Pradesh. There is a sizeable Muslim population, with a good reputation in terms of inter-religious communal harmony. The old quarters of cities and towns are predominantly Muslim, whose theological seminaries in Deoband and Saharanpur cities are internationally reputed. It is home to the Paper and Pulp Technology Institute which is affiliated to the Indian Institute of Technology, Roorkee (formerly Roorkee University) and Central Pulp and Paper Research Institute (Ministry of pulp and paper industry).

After losing the university-town of Roorkee to Uttarakhand state in 2000, the district has no fulfledged, comprehensive university with its own campus. However, several colleges in the district, affiliated to the Meerut University, conduct university level courses in a number of important science and arts subjects.

A project is under way now (as on 2009), to establish a medical college in Saharanpur: The Master Kanshi Ram Allopathic Government College.

External links


Coordinates: 29°54′N 77°41′E / 29.9°N 77.683°E / 29.9; 77.683


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