Friday, July 18

History of Haryana

The state of Haryana has played a very important role in the history of India since ancient times. In the times of British India, Haryana was administered as a part of the Punjab province and played a vital role in the politics of the region.

Vedic period

Many settlements dating back to the Indus Valley Civilization have been found along river Saraswati bed, at Naurangabad and Mittathal in Bhiwani District, Kunal, in Fatehabad District, Agroha and Rakhigarhi in Hisar District, Rukhi in Rohtak District and Banawali in Sirsa District. The ancient Vedic civilization also flourished on the banks of the Saraswati, and the hymns of Rigveda were composed here.

In some ancient Hindu texts, the boundaries of Kurukshetra correspond roughly to the state of Haryana. Thus according to the Taittiriya Aranyaka 5.1.1., the Kurukshetra region is south of Turghna (Srughna/Sugh in Sirhind, Punjab), north of Khandava (Delhi and Mewat region), east of Maru (desert) and west of Parin.

Mahabharata, the great epic of India mentions Haryana as Bahudhhanyaka, 'land of plentiful grains' and Bahudhana, 'land of immense riches'. Several places mentioned in Mahabharata correspond to modern day cities in Haryana: Prithudaka (Pehowa), Tilprastha (Tilput), Panprastha (Panipat) and Sonprastha (Sonipat).Gurgaon refers to the village of the Guru Dronacharya . The great battle between the Kauravas and the Pandavas took place near the city of Kurukshetra. Krishna preached the Bhagvad Gita to the reluctant Arjuna there. .For eighteen days following that, armies from all over India battled in the plains of Kurukshetra to decide who sits on the throne of Hastinapur. Maharaja Agrasen is said to have established a flourishing city of merchants at Agroha near modern Hisar. Legend has it that anyone wishing to settle in the city was given a brick and a rupee by each of the city's lakh residents. Thus, they would have enough bricks to build a house and enough money to start a business of their own.

Medieval period

After ousting the Huns, king Harshavardhana established his capital at Thanesar near Kurukshetra in the 7th century AD. After his death, the kingdom of his clansmen, the Pratiharas continued to rule over a vast region for quite a while from Harsha's adopted capital of Kannauj. The region remained strategically important for the rulers of North India even though Thanesar was no more as central as Kannauj. Prithviraj Chauhan established forts at Tarori and Hansi in the 12th century. Muhammad Ghori conquered this area in the Second Battle of Tarain. Following his death, the Delhi Sultanate was established that ruled much of India for several centuries. The earliest reference to 'Hariana' occurs in a Sanskrit inscription dated 1328 AD kept in Delhi Museum, which refers to this region as The heaven on earth, indicating that it was fertile and relatively peaceful at that time. Firoz Shah Tughlaq established a fort at Hisar in 1354 to further fortify the region, and also constructed canals or rajwahas as they were referred to in the Indo-Persian historical texts.

The three famous battles of Panipat took place near the modern town of Panipat. The first battle took place in 1526, where Babur, the ruler of Kabul defeated Ibrahim Lodi of the Delhi Sultanate, through the use of field artillery. This battle marked the beginning of the Mughal empire in India. In the second battle of Panipat (November 5, 1556), Akbar's general Bairam Khan defeated Hemu, and paved the way for Akbar's reign. The Third Battle of Panipat was fought in 1761 between the Afghan warlord Ahmad Shah Abdali and the Marathas under Sadashivrao Bhau of Pune. Ahmad Shah won decisively, on January 13, 1761.

British Raj

During the British Raj, most of Haryana formed part of the Punjab province. Some parts were ruled by the princely states of Loharu, Nabha, Jind and Patiala. During the Indian rebellion of 1857, several leaders from this region, including Rao Tula Ram, participated actively. Later, during the Indian Freedom fight people from Haryana took part actively and fought a lot of battles with them. A lot of battles were fought by not only the Kings of territories but by the farmers also. British army was defeated at a lot of places. Some most important fights were from Sonipat , Rohtak , Sirsa and Hissar. In Sirsa the famous battle of Chormar was fought. Later, leaders like Sir Chhotu Ram played an important role in the politics of the Punjab province. Rao Tula Ram was one of the most important leaders of the 1857 revolt.

Formation of Haryana

On 1 November 1966, Haryana was carved out on the basis of that the parts of Punjab which were to be Haryana's "Hindi-speaking areas". Same example was followed in the creation of Himachal Pradesh as well. Haryana state was formed on the recommendation of the Sardar Hukam Singh Parliamentary Committee. The formation of this committee was announced in the Parliament on 23 September 1965. On 23 April, 1966, acting on the recommendation of the Hukam Singh Committee, the Indian government set up the Shah Commission under the chairmanship of Justice J. C. Shah, to divide and set up the boundaries of Panjab and Haryana. The commission gave its report on 31 May, 1966. According to this report the then districts of Hissar, Mahendragarh, Gurgaon, Rohtak, and Karnal were to be a part of the new state of Haryana. Further the Tehsils of Jind (district Sangrur), Narwana (district Sangrur), Naraingarh, Ambala and Jagadhari were also included. The commission recommended that Tehsil Kharar (including Chandigarh) should also be a part of Haryana. The city of Chandigarh, also a Punjabi speaking area of district Rupnagar was made a union territory to serve as the capital of both these states. Chandigarh was due to transfer to the state of Punjab in 1986 according to the Rajiv-Longowal Accord, but the transfer has been delayed pending an agreement on which parts of the Hindi speaking areas of Abohar and Fazilka, currently part of Firozpur District of Punjab, are to be transferred to Haryana in exchange.