Gonda district

Gonda district

Gonda District is one of the districts of Uttar Pradesh, India, and Gonda town is the district headquarters. It is also headquarters of the Devipatan Division.
The district lies between 26º 47' and 27º- 20' north latitude and 81º 30' and 82º 46' east longitude
The territory covered by the present district of Gonda formed part of the ancient kingdom of Kosala. After the death of Rama he celebrated sovereign of the Solar line, who ruled Kosala. The kingdom was divided into two portion the northern and southern Ghaghara forming the boundary between the two .

The main occupation of the people in the district is farming. Agricultural produce include wheat, paddy (rice), different pulses, oilseeds and sugar cane. Through the district pass the holy rivers Saryu and Ghaghra. There are many religious places in the district, and the district headquarter town itself is very close (60 km) to the holy city Ayodhya, the birthplace of Lord Rama.


Ancient Period

The territory covered by the present district of Gonda formed part of the ancient kingdom of Kosala. After the death of Rama he celebrated sovereign of the Solar line, who ruled Kosala the kingdom was divided into two portion the northern and southern the Ghaghara forming the boundary between the two .

The districtwas the part of Awadh province in reign of Mughals. At came in jurisdiction of Behraich Sarkar when Akbar divided Awadh and make two separate administrative centre Bahraich and Gorakhpur in Northern part of Ghaghra. The District was controlled by the ruler of Awadh till the annexation in February 1856 Awadh was annexed by the British government and Gonda was separated from Bahraich. In British rule a commissionary was constituted for the administration of this area. Its head quarter was in Gonda & military command was in Sakraura Colonelganj. At the time of independence there were three Tehsil Gonda Sadar, Tarabganj and Uttraulla in the district. On 1st July 1953 the Tehsil Uttraulla was bifurcated in two Tehsil namely Balrampur and Uttraulla . three new Tehsil were constituted in 1987 as Tulsipur, Mankapur and Colonelganj. Later on in 1997 district bifurcated in two part and Balrampur district was created including three Tehsil of north part , Gonda remains four Tehsil Gonda, Colonelganj, Tarabganj and Mankapur .

On the border district of Gonda and Shravasti lies a vast area of ruins known at the present day as Sahet Mahet or Set Mahet represents the ancient site of Shravasti which covered the region comprising of both the districts. The ancient history of both these districts therefore, is the history of Shravasti and region around it. It was the capital of Uttar Kosala. About 16 km. from Balrampur,83km. north of Ayodhya and 1,152km.from Rajgir. The town was founded by Sravasta. A king of Solar race Sahet. The first member of the twin name. Is applied to the site of the walled city of Shravasti.

The Vayu Purana and Uttra khand of the Ramayana speak of the two Kosala., and mention Shravasti as capital of north Kosala and Kusavati as that of the south Kosala. The two Kosalas are said to have been once under the suzerainty of one and the same king . The epic hero Rama, who had installed his son Kusa in south Kosala with its capital Kusavati at the foot of the Vindhyas and his son Lava in north Kosala with Shravasti as its capital.

Shravasti is the Savatthi or Savatthipura of the Buddhists and Chandrapura or chandrikapuri of the Jainas. Savatthi is the pali and ardhamagadhi form of the Sanskrit name Sravasti.


The first Muslim in invasion of the region north of Ghaghra took place in second quarter of 11th century under Sayed Salar Masud, son of salar sahu, the general of mahmud of Ghazni. The rulers of Gonda and adjoining parts were much perturbed to find a foreigner in their country but soon they formed a confederacy, and decided to offer united resistance to Masud. In the meantime, Suhil Deo of Sahet Mahet, who was known for his valour. Joined them at this critical hour, which proved fruitful .He is said to have forewarned Masud, that if he wished to save his life, he had better leave that country and go elsewhere, as the land belonged to there ancestors, and they were determined to drive him from it. Masud, thereupon sent a brief and simple reply the country is God's and the property of him on whom. He bestows it. Who gave it to your father's and ancestors. The council of war decided Masud to remain on the defensive, but the Hindus drove of his cattle and forced an attack. Many trucks suffered death from fireworks & the insidious spikes. The loss was great on both sidesand on third of Muslim army perished. During the month of June 1033 continuous fighting went on. Two-thirds of what remained of the Muslims were slain and among them Saifud-din the Kotwal of the Army. In spite of many vicissitudes Masud did not loss courage and while making a bid to mount his horse to repel the attack, his body-guard was attacked by Shil Deo and his men. An arrow pierced the main artery in Masud's arm resulting in his death and the remnant of his body-guard was cut to pieces by Suhel Deo on June 14 ,1033.Thus ended this singular invasion and Islam was in abeyance in Avadh until the conquest of Shihab-ud-din Ghuri in 1193.

It seems probable that Sultan Iltutmish effected the subjugatitin of lands as far as Avadh & Bahraich & the districts north of Ghaghra including Gonda. From this time onwards Gonda & Bahraich seem to have always been held singly owing to its isolated position due to river Ghaghra. Sultam Iltutmish appointed his eldest son Malik Nasir-ud-din Mahmud, as governor of Avadh in 1226.According to Minhaj-uj-Siraj, the author of Tabaqat-i-Nasiri, this prince overthrew and reduced to submission the Bhars under whose sword more than one hundred and twenty thousand Muslims had perished. These Bhars who resisted the prince were presumably none else than the local people of districts of Gonda & Bahraich.

The Districts is historically and geographically linked with Bahraich from time immemorial. In the second half of the 13th century Gonda was included in the government of Bahraich by the early Muslim rulers and hence has no Independent history of its own. The government of Bahraich was separate from that of its Avadh for Imam-ud-din Rihan, the disgraced vazir of Sultan Nasir-ud-din Mahmood was relegated to his fief of Bahraich in 1254,while at the same time Avadh was held by Qutlaugh Khan. Imam-ud-din Rihan was succeeded in his fief by Malik Taj-ud-din Sanjar about 1255.

There is no specific reference about the district till the reign of the Tughlaqs probably on account of its inclusion in the government of Bahraich. Nevertheless the district of Gonda provided a free passage to Sultans of Delhi who usually marched through these districts on way to the eastern parts of their empire. The road from Bahraich to Ayodhya lay through Gonda and Khurasa and was frequently traversed by the Sultans and their Army. Gonda & Khurasa did not find mention in historical records till the reign of Ghiyas-ud-din Tughuq, who is said, to have received the submission of the local chieftains on his march to the eastern parts(1323).In 1353.Feroz Shah Tughluq took the same route and it is said that the raja of Khurasa accompanied him to Lakhnauti. In 1394,the district appears to have come under the sway of Khwaja Jahan Malik Sarwar, the founder of the Sharqi dynasty of Jaunpur, who held the change of eastern parts including Bahraich and most probably Gonda. The Sharqis held sway over Bahraich and presumably Gonda till 1478 when Bahlul Lodi appointed Kala Pahar Firmly at Bahraich.

In order to assert his authority Kala Pahar led attacks on the adjoining districts probably Gonda & succeeded in obtaining permanent hold over the country during the reign of Sikandar Lodi too, he probably held the charge of Bahraich till 1486,the year when the deserted his sovereign and became an ally of Babank Shah of Jaunpur.

From earliest days of Muslim domination down to the advent of Akbar, the history of the district is primarily the history of local clans, while some of them migrated into this district during this period .During the early phase of his period the whole of Gonda was ruled by law caste aborigines-Doms, Tharus,Bhars, Pasis and the like. Tradition States that the Jain dynasty of Sahet-Mahet gave place to the Doms of Domangarh on the bank of Rapti in Gorakhpur, and that of this race came Ugrasen a notable Raja who built Domariadih once a town situated on the road from Gonda to Faizabad. The Ugrasen brought misfortune for himself by demanding in marriage the daughter of Brahmana. This insult was avenged by a valiant Kayastha named Rai Jagat Singh, who came from Sultanpur with a large force and overthrew the Dom. The year of this incident is traditionally given as 1376.

This story is old as a prelude to the early Rajput domination of the south of the District. The first clans of whom mention is made are the Bandhalgoties, Kalhans and Bais. Of the later nothing is known and they are presumed to be of indigenous origin. The Bandhalgotis settled in pargana Nawabganj and thence spread in north into Mahadeva and Mankapur where they established an independent principality, which flourished for many generations. The pargana was given in reward to one Nawal Shah of Amethi in district Sultanpur who had accompanied Rai Jagat Singh and had distinguished himself in the capture of Ramanpur. Another story relates that the same Rai Jagat singh gave Mahadeva to one Sahaj Singh of Gujrat the founder of the Kalhans plan in this district. He is said to have joined the rebellion of Baha-ud-din of Malwa against Mohammad-bin-Tuglaq and on its suppression fled for refuge to his friend Ain-ud-din of Karra.

The descendants of Sahaj Singh established a powerful kingdom with headquarter at Khurasa which extended over the whole of the south of the district. Under their protection various other Rajput colonies sprang up, such as the Bisens of Qila Rampur in Digsir and Gauraha Bisen of Mahadeva both of whom claim connection with the famous Bisen house of Majhauli Deoria. Gunwarich was apparently absorbed by the great Raikwar house of Boundi and Ramnagar, while in the north the Janwar's of Ikauna where beginning to make their influence felt in the lands south of the Rapti. And her house was that of Sarwaria Brahamans, who appear to have settled in the southern paragans from very remote times. The Kalhans appear to have mentioned their hegemony between Ghaghra & Kuana for several centuries, the family pedigrees differing in showing seven and thirteen generation between Sahaj Singh & the last Raja of Khurasa.

The last Kalhans ruler of Khurasa was Achal Narain Singh. He is said to have been a great warrior and came to Avadh with the army of Dariao Khan, the founder of Daryabad in Bara Banki. He enlarged his property greatly and spread his victorious arms beyond he Ghaghra. His end was due to his unbridled authority and oppression, which culminated in the adduction of a Brahmana girl, the daughter of one Ratan pande. The latter pleaded in vain for reparation, and died after sitting at the door of the raja's place for twenty-one days. It is said that with his dying breath he cursed the raja and his threat of vengeance was fulfilled by the Utter destruction of the raja his place and the town of Khurasa in and inundation of the river saryu. A more prosaic version of the strove attributes the downfall of the raja to his arrears of revenue due to Mubariz Khan Adili in 1554, for which Ratan Pandey had stood security.

With the fall of kalhans came general redistribution of territory. Bhring Sah, the son Achal Narayan Singh. fled eastward and founded the estate of Babhanipur and Rasulpur Ghaus of Basti; Maharaj his other son went to Dehras in Gunwarich and there laid the foundation of the great property held by the kalhans of the chhedwara. The Bandhalgotis strengthened their position in Mankapur and refused to acknowledge a suzerain. The Fuaraha Bisens in Mahadeva became practically independen;and other bisens in Digsir rose from their low estate to a position which soon overshadowed that of the other clans. As a result the wide tract of country held by Achal Narayan Singh passed almost at once into the hands of Digsir Bisens. Later Pratap Singh, of Gauhani, who was chaudhari of pargana Khurasa near Gonda and his brother Sarabjit Singh chief officer of the raja's army took advantage of the opportunity offered and became the rulers of the estate. it was at this period that the town of Gonda came into existence and foundation was laid of the Bisen's raj that is so closely connected with the history of the district till the advent of the British rule

The district formed an integral part of Akbar;s empire (1556-1605) and was divided between the sirkars of Avadh, Bahraich and Gorakhpur in the subah of Avadh .The Bahraich sirkar contained eleven mahals but most of these lay undoubtedly within the limits of the present district of that name .It seems probable that Hisampur extended into Gonda and included most of pargana Paharapur and part of Gunwarich. The eastern boundary of mahal Bahrah also probably extended into Balrampur. But one mahal going by the name of kharonsa which is almost certainly a corruption of khurasa. undoubtedly lay within the gonda district and apparently comprised all the land between the Tehri and Kuwano rivers stretching as far as the Utraula boundary. The Single Mahal of Ganwarich of Gawarchak as it is written in the Ain-i-Akbari for some reason and other belonged to the sirkar of Avadh. Possibly because this Mahal was the grazing ground for the Subahdar's cattle from which the name is said to have been derived. This Mahal included the present Gunwarich & most of Digsir possibly too Paharapur. All these Mahals fetched substantial revenue of the district.

Man singh, the reputed founder of Gonda and successor of Achal Narayan Singh, the kalhan raja mentioned before, is presumed as the contemporary of Jahangir (1605-1627).The story goes that in 1618 he presented to the emperor a fine elephant at Ajmer and in reward obtained the title of raja. This imperial favour is attributed to the prosperity of Bisen's who flourished unhindered in their estate for considerably a long period .Man Singh was followed by a number of successors whose reigns were for the most part uneventful and were chiefly distinguished by a peaceful extension of cultivation by the various colonies of the clan .In 1965,Raja Ram Singh, a Bisen in the same line came to the throne and his reign marked a period of prosperity for the clan. He promptly carried a war with Janwars and destroyed their fort at Bhatpuri around 1665 and succeeded in ejecting them from that trace. He then turned his attention to the west and drove out the Raikwars from the lowlands, annexing 74 villages which were formed into a new pargana of Paharapur. Raja Ram Singh died in 1693 and was succeeded by his elder son .Raja Dutt Singh who rose to be the most powerful of the chief tains north of the Ghaghara. His first expedition is said to have been against the Pathans of Bahraich in revenue for an outrage of a Brahmana women. He then turned his arms south wards and with the help of the Pathans of Utraula he conquered and annexed Paraspur and Ata and thus the boundary of the Bisen was fixed to the south of the town of Paraspur. The extent of his dominions was the whole of the Paraspur Gonda. Digsir Mahadeva and part of Gunwarich.

It was not long after however, that the Bisen were threatened in an unlooked for direction Saadat Khan's policy in Avadh seems to have been to cherish the peasantry, and to keep in check the encroachments of the larger landholders; and he was probably the first to make the power of the Central Government felt through out the province. With the intention of reducing to submission the most powerful of the local chieftains Saadat Khan appointed Alawal Khan an Afghan of Bahraich, as in charge of the country beyond the Ghaghara Alawal Khan on his first visit to gonda insulted the raja, who was of small stature by lifting him off his feet while embracing him. Datt Singh reciprocated by presenting in place of his brother; one Bhairon Raj a gigantic Gauraha Bisen, of Mahadewa, who returned the compliment in the same manner. After this incident the raja of Gonda refused to pay revenue, and Alawal Khan was sent with a big force to Gonda .Crossing the river Ghaghara at Paska he was joined by the Kalhans, with whose aid he stormed the Paska fort and then defeated a Brahman contingent at Malauna. Advancing towards Gonda he compelled Datt Singh to temporize, because most of his troops were absent at Devi Patan but after a short delay the raja collected his forces and a fierce encounter took place at Sarbhangpur in pargana paharapur Alawal khan was killed by Bhairon Rai and the Nawab's forces fled Bhairon Rai was rewarded with the zamindari of Mahadewa and Dutt Singh regained his position, though not for long shortly after wards Gonda was besieged by a second army but the siege was eventually raised on the arrival of a large force of Bisen of Ramapur in the north of the pargana . The Raja then came to terms with the government and agreed to pay revenue, but his territories were made in to a separate jurisdiction, independent of the nazim of Baharaich. This arrangement did not curtail Datt Singh's power but rather his power increased. He managed to place his brother Bhawani Singh in possession of the Janwar the estate of Bhinga which henceforth was held by the Bisens . He also seized the Bandhalgoti rai of Mankapur and gave it to his younger son . Azmat Singh who was still arinfant So great was his influence that all the chieftains north of Ghaghara, except of course Nanpara acknowledged him as suzerain and brought their forces into the field at his command Between the Ghaghara and the Kuwana the Bisen raja had no rival, and power remained in the hands of his descendants till the advent of British rule.

Datt singh was succeeded by his elder son raja Udit Singh who like his father retained the engagement of the whole of his estate as a separate revenue division under the Lucknow government. He was more given to religion than to war and made several expeditions to Mathura and other place of pilgrimage. He is remembered as the builder of the temples on artificial island and lake between the town of Gonda and the station. Raja Udit Singh had two sons, Mangal Singh and Pahlwan Singh of whom the former married a Kalhans of ParasPur.Peace was then made between the two clans and the land which had been taken from the Kalhans by Datt Singh was restored. Dutt singh was succeeded by Mangal Singh. The reign of Mangal Singh was very short. He had been invited to arbitrate between the two sons of the raja of Bansi and while absent in Basti was murdered by Zalim Singh, a Surajbansi of Amarha, a partisan of one of the claimants. His son Sheo Prasad Singh, who succeeded him, at once marched into Amorha and laid the pargana waste and annexed the same to his own dominions. He was a peaceful and prudent prince and retained the whole of his ancestral possessions. He was succeeded by his son Raja Jai Singh, who refused to pay the customary tribute and incurred the wrath of the authorities as he interfered in the work of an English officer who had been sent to assist the nazim in the collection of the revenue and who had established salt and indigo works at Gauhani (in Digsir).

Raja Jai Singh resented violation of his territories as a personal insult and took up arms against Avadh government. The result was a short and decisive battle on the banks of the river Terhi.,in which Jai Singh was defeated. He fled to the hills, where he died while his wives could be saved with difficulty by their Pande bodyguard. Rani Phul Kunwar though for some time managed to exercise her authority over the domain, later on she adopted Guman Singh, grandson of Pahlwan Singh. However, his uncle Hindupat Singh objected and compelled the Rani to fly and while crossing the Bisuhi, she was murdered by him, who also endeavored though unsuccessfully to secure the person of Guman Singh. After a short time the latter was induced to leave his hiding place at Ayodhya and went to Gonda, where his life was preserved through the vigilance of Pandes. Mardan Ram & Bakhtawar Ram the sons of Bhawan Dutt, the banker, who had come to Gonda from Ikauna during the reign of Sheo Prasad. Eventually, after several attempts had been made on the life of Guman Singh, the Pandes attacked Hindupat Singh and murdered him and his whole family. Though Guman Singh became raja yet on account of his youth and the disturbences that attended his accession, the revenue officials stepped in and Nirmal Das brother of famous minister Tikait Rai, who was then at Bahraich, marched with a large force to Gonda and took the estate under his direct management .He seized Guman Singh and sent him in custody to lucknow. There he remained in confinement till he invited the interest of the celebrated Mahant Jagjiwan Das of Kotwa in Barabanki, who was the founder of the Sattnami sect who was a person of great influence. It was his intercession, which secured the release of the raja. He subsequently gave him in marriage his daughter, Bhagwant Kunwar, a lady of great ability. Bhagwant Kunwar survived the whole of her husband's family. Guman Singh returned to Gonda and was allowed for his subsistence 32 villages and a cash assignment in the revenue. He lived on good terms with the officials and from time to time added the engagement of other villages to those which he held in Nankar. When he died in 1836,he left a large estate and considerable wealth but with no son. A short interregnum ensued, and the Pandes favoured the cause of Sanumam Singh, son of Madho Singh of Mahnon. However eventually the widow of Saif-ud-daula, who was then nazim, placed on the throne Debi Baksh Singh, son of Daljeet Singh, the younger brother of the late raja. This prudent and active prince built a strong fort at Jigna in the east of the Pargana, from where he managed his estate. He increased his property rapidly, disallowing any interference between him and the cultivators of his land. By marrying a daughter of the raja of Bhadawar, he formed an alliance with one of the highest Rajput families in northern India.

As has been mentioned earlier Gonda was brought under the direct management of the Muhamnandan rulers when Guman Singh has become the raja of Gonda. The old fiscal arrangements of Akbar's time had been maintained till the days of Asaf-ud-daula, who instituted the division into nizamat & chklas. The parganas of Gonda. Paharapur Digsir & Mahadeva formed the Bisen estate, while Gunwarich was a part of the Bahraich nizamat, while the remainder of the district a part of Gorakhpur.

In 1773 the Gonda estate was made over to the Bahu Begam in jagir and till 1799 it was managed by her eunuch. Darab Ali Khan but it was not till 1793 that he could collect revenue.as prior to that date it was paid as a lump sum by the raja .In the beginning of the nineteenth century Nirmal Das. an able administrator who had held Bahraich previously, managed the Begam's jagir. From 1806 to 1816 the estate was in the hands of five different persons.the last being Marden Ram. one of the Pande brothers who removed Hindupat Singh. Of the Gonda nazims the most famous was Mehndi Ali Khan. who held charge from 1808 to 1810, and the Kayasth Rai. Amar Singh from 1812 to 1817. In 1816 the Gonda estate was incorporated in the nizamat and Mehndi Ali Khan returned in 1818. The district flourished under his rule. Two yearslater he lost the contract through the jealousy of his rivals and Gonda was held by 14 nazims in 20 years. The most noteworthy of these were raja Darshan Singh in 1837 and again in 1842 and 1843,Raghubar Dayal Singh in 1846 & the succeeding year. Inchha Singh 1848, and Maharaja Man Singh of the same family in 1851.Muhammad Hasan held the district for two years and afterwards assumed the position of nazim in Gorakhpur. The last to office in Gonda-Bahraich was Rai Sadhan Lal. From 1853 to the date of annexation.

As to the system of administrations during the entire Avadh rule the history of the district resolves itself into a series of independent accounts, connected with the great taluqdari houses. Though the other local chieftains were rapidly growing in power and importance the interest still centered round Gonda and its rajas. The less powerful taluqdars of Mankapur and Babhnipair were, on the other hand. seldom allowed to collect rent in their villages, they paid the revenue in a lump sum to the nazim. Only the leading hereditary chieftains enjoyed supremacy within the territorial limits of their estate. and as long as they retained that position the formation of the mushroom taluqas so common elsewhere by revenue farmers was impossible within the spheres of their influence. When the Gonda estate were broken up and held directly by official collectors, such a process became natural. It was more due to the reason that the nazims found it convenient and of unnecessary to let out large number of villages to wealthy individuals. The dispossessed rajas attempted to form taluqas for themselves in this way. the Bisens thus acquired the magnificent estate of Bishambarpur. Elsewhere as in Gunwarich the hereditary chieftains retained both their ancestral estates and also added them by contracting for village of their neighbours. In this way the Kalhans of the Chhedwara acquired by the favour of the nazims, most of the lands formerly held by the Saiyids of Jarwal in Bahraich. But the only great Taluqas formed in this fashion were those of the Pandes of Gonda, who were not only wealthy but also very powerful in the district.

The nazims under Avadh government had played an important role. They were so powerful that their individual character and disposition especially in the case of those who held office for several years left a strong impression on the history of the district. Hadi Ali Khan better known by his title Nawab Saif-ud-daula who ruled the district for over 12 years, was a good example of a muhammadan governor could be under favourable circumstances . He kept good relations with the great chieftains and while treating them leniently maintained law and order and also secured a certain measure of justice. He also maintained sufficient force to make his orders respected. Three years after the death of Hadi Ali Khan, his widow Wajih-un-nissa attempted to carry on the nizamat, but though she showed great bravery, leading the troops herself in battles, the chief could not be kept in obedience by a women and on her defeat at the hands of the raja of Bhinga, she resigned. Darshan Singh though not unjust to cultivators had no mercy on the aristocratic classes which stood between the government and realization of the rent. By dispossessings the Taluqdars all over the district he raised the revenue to an unprecedented height. Raja Devi Bakhsh Singh of Gonda had to fly to avoid being captured and completed to sign one of the so called deeds of sale of his estate. Rai Sadhan Lal, the last nazim held the district for 3 and half years immediately preceding annexation. He was a servant of raja Krishna Dutt Ram Pande and acted virtually according to his wishes.

With the annexation of the province of Avadh by the East India company in February 1856 Gonda became a separate district in the Gonda-Bahraich Commissionership. Annexation passed off quietly, although the Gonda raja exhibited strong disapproval of the measure and was with difficulty persuaded to leave his fort at Gonda and meet the district officer. His fears proved quite unfounded for he was allowed to engage for practically the whole of his estate at a revenue of Rs 80,000. The military headquarters of the commissioner were a Sikraura or Colonelganj, but the civil station was at Gonda. With a view to establish order the deputy commissioner was engaged throughout 1856 in establishing tahsil and police stations with the settlement of land revenue and the multifarious work required for the purpose. As a matter of fact the administration that was established in Avadh after its annexation was a more potent source of active disaffection then the annexation itself. The wave indignation was spreading all over the country and the annexation of Avadh was undoubtedly the most impotent auxiliary cause of the outbreak of the freedom struggle of 1857.The immediate reaction of the British policy was seen in the district when colonel Boileau, the deputy commissioner was attacked and killed by one Fadal Ali. Though Fazal Ali had escaped at the time but was surprised and slain a few days after. Though this incident in the district, the district did not constitute a part of the first struggle for freedom, yet the resentment behind this was undoubtedly one of the causes of feverish excitement. The immediate reaction was seen in the district through this incident which may be said to have served as a prelude to the freedom struggle of 1857.

Soon after the arrival the new deputy commissioner all-pervading causes had set in motion the forces of great revolt. At that time the troops in the district comprised the third Oudh Irregulars at Gonda, the first or Daly's irregular Horse, the second Oudh irregulars and irregular Light House Battery at Sikraura. The news of the disturbances at Meerut and Delhi had alarmed the authorities in the districts. As the news came in from station after station ever with fresh tiding of the revolt, there seemed to be little hope that the Bahraich division would be exempt from the disturbances which were afflicting the whole province. The cavalry were known to be disaffected at the beginning of June and the other troops were considered of very doubtful fidelity. The Britishers were more anxious about the safety of their families. So as a first measure of precaution, the families were sent under a guard of cavalry, principally Sikhs on 9th June to the strongholds of certain friendly chiefs situated on the borders of Nepal.

In the meantime a false alarm, accidental or designed precipitated the rising of the troops at Sikraura. The news was brought in the night, that the infantry were arming. The officers, since the departure of their families, had been sleeping at the commissioner's house. They abruptly awoke and wentforth into the darkness to the artillery quarters and turned the guns upon the infantry lines. The artillery corps obeyed orders and seemed to be faithful which did not necessite the trial of the strength of their loyalty to the utmost; for the infantry made no demonstrations. The officers retired to their beds while on the other hand a different story gained credence in the infantry lines. The troops suspected a design to massacre them as they slept; and from that time the undenominated fear was upon them ; that had so often been the precursor of revolt . In the troops at Sikaura there were unmistakable sings of revolt. The chief commissioner of Avadh, had given permission to the chief civil and military officers that in the event a revolt breaks out or appears to be inevitable they were at liberty to take suitable measures for their own safety. Wing field, The commissioner of Bahraich rode to Gonda with all speed on pretence of going for his wented evening ride. where he found that the regiment posted there had not revolted till then. The next morning the officers, who had been closely guarded by the troops, escaped and rode off towards Balrampur. A few officers, who'd remained with the battery were also persuaded by their men to fly and the small party reached Lucknow in safety. The troops plundered the treasury and station of sikraura and then marched off to join the regiment at Gonda.

Till then the administrative functioning at Gonda was normal, and the troops there were professing usual allegiance, yet there was no reason to believe that they had not been in correspondence with their counter-parts at Sikraura and Faizabad. But when the commissioner brought in the discouraging news of the outbreaks at both the places, it had become evident that the troops, though they still professed their fidelity would join their comrades on the first appearance of any section from either place. On the news of the outbreak of the freedom struggle at Faizabad and of the disaffection of the Bahraich detachment, the commissioner and the deputy commissioner with two officers of the 2nd irregulars, set off for Balrampur on 10th of June. In the meantime a letter was received from Sikraura addressed to the men of the 3rd Regiment at Gonda urging them to seize both the treasury and their officers. Therefore, the other officers too decided to escape the next morning and they also left the station for Balrampur. This party of nineteen persons and some children was accorded a hospitable welcome at Balrampur by Raja Drigbijai Singh. Wingfield thought it imprudent to stay with the Raja since it was undoubtedly a source of danger both to him and the English people. Hence on evening of the 12th they set out under and escort of the raja and 500 of his men towards Gorakhpur, reaching Bansi on the 14th of June, and after staying there for some days with the friendly raja of that place, arrived at Gorkhpur on the 26th.After the escape of the officers the troops plundered and destroyed the civil station and then marched for Lucknow.

This outbreak in this district was followed by a war of the landholders who were discontended because of the summary Settlement of the land revenue. The district lapsed into a state of anarchy & the taluqdars from the first devoted their attention to strengthening their own position. Raja Debi Bakhsh Singh of Gonda took a leading part in the straggle for freedom. He soon followed Raja Krishan Datt Ram who had preceded him and joined Begam's forces at Lucknow with a thousand men. Shortly affterwords he was reinforced by four hundred of the Gauraha Bisens under the several heads of the clan. Har Ratan Singh of Majhgawan, however remained with the English officers throughout escorting them from Balrampur to Gorakhpur Raja Drigbijai Singh of Balrampur had steadily refused to join the freemdom forces or to recognize their rule and had throughout maintained his allegiance to the alien rulers. Though orders from the Avadh rule were passed to confiscate his property, their implementation was not done since no one was found strong enough to carry them out. The Tulsipur raja was a prisoner at Lucknow and the rani was siding actively with the freedom forces. Her contributions to the cause of freedom were remarkable . She had collected a large force to assist the freedom forces and strengthen her own position . Raja Riasat Ali Khan of Utraula had also joined the freedom forces at Gorakhpur under Mohammad Hasan. Once nazim of Gonda-Bahraich.

Raja Debi Bakhsh Singh while leaving for Lucknow, had left behind him his nearest kinsman. Pirthipal Singh of Mahnon, in charge of the south of the district. The independence of the various chieftains was providing a cause of worry to the Begam, and she was feeling that a strong hand was necessary to represent the central government. Consequently the Begam sent back Raja Debi bakhsh Singh from Lucknow with plenary powers over the whole country held by his ancestor, the famous Datt Singh. He fixed his camp at Lamati a fort on the Chamdai on the borders of Mankapur & Mahadewa. At this place it is said he was joined by levies amounting to twenty thousand men. Here he remained in camp till the first news came of the advance of the British troops.

On January 5.1858 the second Gurkha force together with brigadier Macgregor, re-captured Gorakhpur. which was earlier seized by Muhammad Hasan and the freedom forces had to retire westwards towards Gonda. The Gurkhas thereafter marched to Lucknow, while the British forces under Rowcroft remained behind with a naval brigade and two Nepalese regiments to guard Gorakhpur. On the 4th of March. Rowcroft with the troops under him approached this district & took up a position near the entrenchment's of the rebels at Belwa . These forces comprised some 14000 men under Mahdi Husain, the raja of Gonda & Charda and others. The next morning the British forces were attacked but after losing some 500 men and eight guns in a stubborn fight the rebels had to retire to their Belwa entrenchments. Thereafter Rowcroft fought two engagements on the 17th and 25th of April, but could inflict only some loss to the freedome forces. Since the reinforcements sent for by Rowcroft had not arrived by that time he had to retire to Captainganj in Basti. These and other engagements, however, caused great shrinkage in the followers of the Gonda raja, and eventually he was left with some 1,500 men around him in his camp.

By October, 1858 Lord Clyde was in a position to commence the final campaign against the freedom forces in Avadh and a strong British force had entered the Gonda district. Towards the end of November. Hope Crant had reached Faizabad, where the garrison consisted of 4,300 men under colonel Taylor, C.B. The freedom forces were holding Nawabganj and their guns covered passage of the river at long range. On the 27th the main body of the British forces, however, crossed the river and attacked the freedom forces and captured one gun. Though the progress of the English troops was slow due to sandy nature of the soil, yet hope pressed on and captured four more guns of the rebels before retiring to his camp near Nawabganj. On December 3, 1858 he marched to Bangaon and thence Machhli Gaon where he found the rebel force in number with 3 guns. He attacked them and captured two guns while driving them in jungles to the north. He thereafter proceeded and captured the abandoned fort or Bankasia of Raja Gonda who had escaped to Bhinga across the Rapti, leaving behind him five guns and a quantity of stores. On December 9,Hope grant reached Gonda and a week later proceeded to Balrampur where he was met by Raja Drigbijai Singh. by this time the campaign had, however, gone according to Civde's plans to liquidat the freedom fighters from Avadh altogether. Raja Debi Bakhsh Singh of Gonda and other prominent leaders of Avadh had to leave their home districts and confine them selves to a narrow region on the border of Nepal. The aim of English was to push the rebel forces and their leaders north into the inhospitable land of Jang Bahadur.

The district was still not peaceful as it was full of the freedom forces from Gonda raj. In April 1859 there were some 4,000 of them near Bankasia and 1,800 more had broken south towards the Ghaghra. The freedom forces consisting of the Kanpur regiments under Gajadhar Singh, had made a dash on Sikraura, but they were repelled. Then they retired to Bangaon where they were surrounded the fort being captured and Gajadher Singh and his 150 men killed, while the rest were dispersed. The British forces under Hope Grant then reached Balrampur on the 7th of May, where letters were received from Bala Rao and the Nana, who were encamped at Serwa Pass. Bala Rao had professed submission, but the Nana refused to consider any such proposal Marching on the 10th to Biskohar, the forces entered the pass on the 21st. After an engagement the freedom fighters escaped across the hills. The freedom struggle against the foreign rulers in the district thus came to an end.

The Rani of Tulsipur and the raja of Gonda never surrendered. The later diad in the malaria-infested of jungles of Nepal. Their estate were confiscated and bestowed on the raja of Balrampur and Man Singh who sided with the British power throughout the revolt. The Burapara property of Ashraf Baksh Singh was also confiscated on account of his persistent revolutionary activities for the cause of freedom. It was given to another anti-national, Har Ratan Singh of Manjhgawan. The other taluqdar restored to their ancestral estates and allowed to engage all the villages they had held prior to annexation. Gradually civil administration was restored throughout the district. A small military force was maintained at Gonda for a few years, but the cantonments were ultimately abandoned in 1864.The district then finally settled down to normal life and the subsequent history of the district had been uneventfull till the NON_COOPERATION movement of 1920, which once again sent a wave of national ferment that shook the prevailing calm for which the administration had laboured hard.

The various groups which combined to trigger off the 1857 out-burst had only been able to initiate the idea of ultimate objective of overthrowing the authority of the foreigners. Thereafter, among many factors the establishment of the Indian National Congress in 1855,to promote the cause of India's freedom, was an important one.

The people of the district received impetus by the visit of Lala Lajpat Rai in 1908.In his address he emphatically upheld his views on united action and social service. He also sympathised with the deplorable condition of the peasantry of the district. He suggested measures for their uplift. The local dignitaries, specially pleaders of the district gave whole hearted co-operation. They were also inspired to take up the managerial work of the Congress organization in the district. The Congress organization was then limited mostly to the pleaders class, besides some enthusiastic menand its main function was to attend the Congress sessions held at various places in the country.

The Non-cooperation movement launched by Mahatama Gandhi was approved in the special session of the Congress held in Calcutta on September 4,1920 and it was later ratified by the regular session at Nagpur in December 1920.

The stage for national activities was already set in the district. Like elsewhere in Avadh the peasantry in this district was the greatest sufferer on account of the agrarian distress. The crushing of peasants and their ever growing burden of rent, illegal exactions ejectments from land and poor dwellings, physical torture and alround fleecing by Zamidar's agents, money-lendeds and police were common scenes. This process of the progressive exploitation of the peasantry had been going on for a long time.

The rural and urban populace of the district shared its due in the various activities of the Non-cooperation movement. The boycott of legal profession was heralded by the self-sacrifice of Motilal Nehru and C.R.Das both of whom were leaders at the bar and enjoyed princely income. They had given up their practice and their example was followed by a large number of lawyers in the district. This boycott in the district as elsewhere in the province was more spectacular than effective. It was talked of enthusiastically in the beginning but gradually dwindled as time passed. The lawyers of the district who were so far commanding the. Congress organization, were seen gradually reluctant with active participation in the Congress activities. On March 30 and 31 1922 a tehsil political conference was held at Sewai Raniganj in the district. The participation of Jawaharlal Nehru in this conference had infused fresh life in the political atmosphere. There-after a number of meeting were organised at various places in the district to mobilize public opinion. One of such meetings was held on June 25,1922 at Gonda and it was attended by some 1,500 persons. It was addressed by Motilal Nehru who urged the audience to wear khaddar to make the constructive aspect of the Non-cooperation movement a success. Despite various repressive measure of the local authorities to demoralize the workers and curb the movement it was carried on the zeal.

Non-cooperation was in fact, a mass movement. Even in remote bazaar's the common folk talked of the Congress and Swaraj. There was a new yearning for freedom. The fear that had demoralised the people had disappeared and they became ready for a fresh move with determination. Meetings and conferences added greatly to their political education. By February 1922 it was however, absorved at the summit level of the congress that the movement in side of its apparent and widespread enthusiasm was grinding to a halt as almost all leading persons had been arrested, and the masses had so far received little training to carry on by themselves. These factor combined with the Chauri Chaura incident resulted in a sudden suspension of the movement. The activities, however in some form or the other continued in the district. A district political conference was organised in the district in 1924. Mrs. Sarojini Naidu toured the district from June 2 to 4 in 1926 and urged people to foster unity weave khadi and work for Swaraj. The normalcy which had marked the district after suspension of the Non-cooperation movement in 1922, was disturbed when Rajendra Nath Lahiri the revolutionary leader, of Kakori case fame, was hanged to death in Gonda prison on December 17 1927. Due to adequate arrangements and alertness on the part of local authorities the mounting discontent of the people simmered and no untoward incident took place.

After the non-cooperation movement the district of Gonda remained sensitive throughout in catching vibrations of political activities pervading throughout the country. the fatal inertia that had practically put an end, after calling off the non-cooperation movement to all nationalist activities, was removed by an action of the British government, namely the appointment of Simon Commission in 1928. On February 3,1928 the day of the arrival of the Commission in Bombay, complete hartal ( strike ) was observed in all important towns in India, and huge demonstration by way of processions waving black flags and carrying banners "Go back Simon". The assault on Lala Lajpat Rai, and his subsequent death, increased the vigour of the demonstrations against the Simon Commission throughout the country and specially in the place which it subsequently visited. The district besides its protest, against the Commission, had sent its representatives to Lucknow, as the Commission was due to reach there, and the local Conge ess Committee had made extensive preparations for its boycott. volunteers in adequate numbers from Gonda district participated in the demonstrations.

On October 9, 1929 mahatma Gandhi visited the district along with Jawaharlal Nehru. It mankapur railway station about 1,000 persons headed by Raja Raghuraj Singh and his sons were present to receive him. Later in the day about 2,000 persons gathered at the raja's house to see Gandhiji and hear him. Gandhiji expressed a desire to see a charkha ( spinning wheel ) installed in every house. He also pleaded for following the Congress creed with unity and communal harmony for achieving Independence for the country. At the end of his speech he was presented with purses from the raja the residents of Raniganj Bazar and many others. The sums presented were estimated at about Rs.3,000 or more.

In another meeting at Gonda on the following day a purse of Rs.1,668 was also presented.

The non-cooperation movement which was abruptly suspended by Gandhiji in 1922 was revived in the Congress session of 1929. On April 6, 1930 Gandhiji broke the salt laws at Dandi beach and three or four days later directive was given to all Congress organisations to do likewise and launch Civil Disobedience in their own areas. In view of these directives, then secretary district Congress Committee, Gonda imprisoned during salt movement in the same year was made in charge of the movement in the district. He was later on imprisoned during the movement.

On April 11, 1930 salt was manufactured in the city of Gonda. The demonstration was repeated on May 13 and 15. processions were taken out at a number of places in the district. Two meetings were held at Gonda on May 6 and 9, 1930, in protest of Gandhiji's arrest. Prominent local leaders addressed these meetings and urged the audience to unite and activise the salt movement. Several notable leaders of the district who participated in these meetings were prosecuted and sentenced to imprisonment and also with fine. On June 2, 1930 salt was again made in the city by two enthusiastic local leaders who had been released that very day. They were promptly re-arrested. They were followed by another leader the next day and he too was arrested. On June 2 and 3 salt was manufactured in village Khajuri by a number of boys and this process continued for a long time. Again a number of flag processions were taken out atvarious places of the district in the month of June, encouraging the boycott of foreign cloth.

The bretch of the Salt Act soon became just one activity, and civil resistance spread also to other fields of activity . At that time India was being governed forcibly under autocratic rule with Ordinances and suppression of every kind of civil liberty. With the increase in the severity of the laws, the opportunities for breaking them also grew, and civil resistance took the from of doing the very thing that the laws were supposed to prohibit. Each official ordinance was countered by a resolution of the Congress working committee giving directions as to how to meet it. These directions were carried out with surprising uniformity.

Peasants in this district were the greatest sufferers on account of the agrarian distress. In the second half of the year 1931 there appeared to be a silent conspiracy in which the government or its district officials were hands in gloves with the big zamindars, to crush the tenants and to break up the Congress organisation in the rural areas.

Soon after the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939 the Congress ministry resigned as it had decided not to cooperate with the government in the war effort. The people started a widespread campaign particularly against contributions towards war fund Mahatma Gandhi launched the movement of individual satyagraha on October 17 1940 by selecting one individual at a time to go out in the street shouting anti-war slogans, and get arrested.

In Gonda district too, as elsewhere in the country, this campaign was started with vigour. Earlier on January 31.1940 Subhash Chandra Bose had visited Gonda and had exhorted the audience to make use of the opportunity and make a final bid to obtain freedom.

On August 28.1940 a flag slautation ceremony was performed by the Congress volunteers at Mankapur for which they were administered a warning by the district authorities. With such activities Individual Satyagrah ended in the district by the end of 1941.

The quit India resolution passed by the all India Congress Committee in its session at Bombay on August 8,1942, had marked the turnning point in India's struggle for freedom. The resolution provided for a complete and immediate withdrawal of the British from India. In case of the government not conceding the demand Gandhiji was to launch his movement which he characterised as " non-violent rebellion" the main purpose of which was to evoke in the people the measure of sacrifice sufficient to compel attention. Early next morning (August 9.1942) Gandhiji and the members of the working committee were taken into custody. Wholesale arrests of Congressmen had simuktaneously begun in every part of the country.

In this district the movement started on the usual non-violent lines in the shape of hartals (strikes) and processions but before it could gain momentum, the local leaders were arrested. The arrest of the learders and stern repressive measures adopted by the authorities were among others, the reasons which soon turned the demonstrators violent. The government had to face a popular revolt which though unarmed , was most violent in character. Though the movement had taken a very serious turn in eastern districts of Uttar Pardesh including Basti ; close vicinity of this district, no serious repercussions occurred in Gonda. However the movement launched in 1942 lost its vigour even before the end of the year, and no trace of it remained after 1944.


Location, Boundaries,Area & Population

Location & Boundaries

The district lies between 26º 47' and 27º- 20' north latitude and 81º 30' and 82º 46' east longitude It is head quarter of Devi Patan division which was constituted by praline of Faizabad division District Balrampur makes its boundaries in north. To its west it is bounded by district Bahraich and some part of Srawasti on the east by the district Basti. In the south it is separated from district's Bara Banki and Faizabad by the river Ghaghara. In shape it is very irregular and seems as Cup widest in North narrowest in south. It has got physical boundaries on two sides Kuon river in the North and as Ghaghara river in the South. Its length from Jarwal road in the West to Katra (Shivadayal Ganj) is 106 km and width from kuaon in the north to Paska in the south is 77 km.


Before the division of district in 1997 it cover's on area of 7331 km2 on 25 May 1997 a new district Balrampur was constituted by separation of its 40% northern parts . Remaining area of the district Gonda is now 4448sq. k.m. Owing to the fluvial action of Ghaghara frequent changes take place in the area of the district .


The first census of the district was done in 1881. Population was counted 1,270,926 at that time. Population density was 442 person per sq. mile .In 1891 it was 1,459,229. A slow decrease was recorded in first census of 20th century when population was found 1403529 herein 1901. In 1911 it increases 0-64 percent and become 1,412,519. This trend is going on till now. In 1921 the population of the district was recorded 1,473,389 and in 1931 it was 1576003. According to report of census 1941 population came 1,719,644. After independence first census was occurred in 1951. The population was 1,877,484 at that time which increases up to 2,073,237 in 1961. According to 1971 census there was 2,302,929 person in district. In 1981 it was 28-35 lakh which increases up to 35-73 lakh in 1991. After division of district in 1997 calculated population of the district is 23-21 lakh. This figure is derived from the census report of 1991. The male population is 12-37 lakh and female 10-84 lakh. The increasing rate which was 0-64 in first decade of the 20th century was recorded 4-31% in 1911-1921 and 6-96% in 1921 to 1931. It became 9-11% in 1931 to 1941. Population growth rate was 9-18 between 1941 to 1951 which increases up to 10-41% in 1951 to 1961 decade. In 1961 to 1971 the population growth rate was 11.04%. A huge increase was recorded in 71 to 81 when it rises up to 20-96 percent. It was 25-98% between 1981 to 1991 decade.

There are two main divisions of soil distribution in district :

1- Uparhar

2- Tarhar


Rivers have got Immense significance in the development of civilization as a whole. They have played an important role in the development of so called backward district Gonda. The drainage of Gonda comprises Ghayhra, Saryu,Terhi, Manwar, Bisuhi, & kuwaon rivers.

KUWANA- Tenus Nala rises in Bahraich district and after a course of about 13 km. It is known as Kuwana river. After flowing about 4 km. Further as Kuwana river it enters Gonda district. It thence flows along the northern border of the pargana as far as the boundary of the Utraula tahsil, and then separates Sadullahanagar from pargana Utraula, forming the dividing line between Burhapara and the Basti district. The river is fed by two small streams- Jadha Nala & Pindariya Nala- flowing down from the uparhar, in the north of the Gonda, besides Singha in Sadullahnagar. And an insignificant watercourse which has no distinctive name flowing through the central portion of Utraula. The Kuwana is a sluggish stream & rarely changes its course.

BISUHI- South of the Kuwana is the Bisuhi a small stream of a similar character. It rises near village Ghuchwapur in Gonda tahsil. It flow for some distance nearly due east, & then, after having traversed the whole of the north of Gonda. Takes a southerly course and enters the Utraula tahsil, where it separates Sadullahnagar from Mankapur & Burhapara from Babhanipair. It leaves the district after a course of about 112 km. Just before its junction with the Kuwana. It seldom causes any damage by inundation.

MANWAR- Further south is the Manwar, an insignificant stream, which rises in the centre of pargana Gonda, then flows through the middle of pargana Mankapur & after skirting the Tikri forest, enters the Basti district. The Manwar is a small river with an irregular channel, & the land in its neighborhood is often clothed with jungle, while at places there arewide stretches of poor soil covered with grass.

CHANDAI- Chandai rises near village Ekman which is about 9 km. North-West of bidyanagar & joins Manwar where it leaves the district. After separating the Mankapur & mahadeva parganas winds round the western & souhern edge of the Tikri forest. The Chandai is a very sluggish steam, and the in its neighborhood is generally swampy.

TERHI - Below the southern edge of the uparhar flows the Terhi, a stream which rises in Bahraich & is fed by the water of the great Baghel Tal near Pura Gosain. It enters the district on the extreme west of pargana Gonda, then separates that pargana from Paharpur and Gunwarich, and further east from the boundary between the Mahadeva & digsir parganas. Leaving these, it flows through the southernpars of Nawabganj & joins the Ghaghara a few km. Above Ayodhya. The Terhi as its name implies, has a very winding & irregular course. Although in former days it appears to have changed its channel repeatedly, the result of this being found in the legend of the destruction of Khurasa, it now flows in a well defined bed though in places it is fringed by swampy ground. Elsewhere, and especially in pargana Digsir. Its banks are sandy & the land in its neighbourhood is of very inferior quality. During the rains the river swells to a considerable size, but at other times of the year it only carries a small volume of water. The Terhi is fed by a number of small streams, the chief of which are the Chandehi Nala, which joins it near Bhikaripur Kalan & the Bagluha which flows through the centre of Digsir and the west of Nawabganj.

SARYU – Between the Terhi and the Ghghara there are several small streams, especially in the Gunwarich pargana, flowing into the latter river. The chief of these is the Saryu, which rises in the Bahraich district and joins the main stream near Paska. Others are the Kundwa and Beli, which unite near Begumganj & flow into theGhaghara near Dalennagar. All these streams are insignificant drainage channels and are of little use or importance. When the tarhar experiences heavy rains, they not only increase in volume & do much damage by inundation, but are also often apt to change their course.

GHAGHARA- The Ghaghara is the name given to the united waters of the Kauriala, Saryu, and Chauka & other rivers which drain the submontane tract to the west of the district. It enters the district in the extreme west of pargana Gunwarich and then flows along the southern borders, leaving the district at Lakarmandi opposite Ayodhya, the distance between its entry and exit being about 88 km. Within its wide bed it rolls from from one side to the other changing its channel almost every year between the shifting sandy banks. The land along the river on either side is always liable to be cut away during the rains and for this reason the area of the district is label to annual verialims.

Soil The colour of loamy soil is light yellow. It is found around Khorahsa, DumariyaDeeh, Gonda etc. India thok Mankapur etc. Clay soils can hold water in it, so it is suitable fer those crops, which require more water , especially paddy. It becomes hard when dries it is found around ColonelGanj, India thok and Mankapur.

External links

* [http://gonda.nic.in/ Official Web Site Of the District Gonda]

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