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Imperial Gazetteer of India, v. 6, p. 419.


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HISTOR Y


419


Nothing is known of the ancient history of the l)istrict; but popular
tradition connects the mounds, which are found in many places, with
the Bhars. The Muhammadan conquest was effected
earlier and more thoroughly than in most parts of sory
Oudh. Saiyid Salar, the hero of many popular ballads, is said to
have fixed his head-quarters for a time at Satrikh, and several Musal-
man families assign the settlement of their ancestors to this period.
Other settlements were made in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries,
the Bhars being gradually crushed. It is noticeable that traditions
of the occupation of large tracts by clans of Rajputs are less frequent
here than in other parts of Oudh; and their conquests do not appear
to have been made till the fifteenth century, when the country was the
battle-ground between the kingdoms of Jaunpur and Delhi. Under
Akbar the present District was divided between the sarkdrs of Luck-
now and Oudh in the Subah of Oudh, and MIanikpur which belonged
to Allahabad. Its later history is chieflv a chronicle of the varying
fortunes of the great families. In 1751 the Raikwars, who had entered
Bara Banki during the reign of Akbar. rose against the rule of the
Nawab of Oudh, but were crushed after a fierce battle. For many
years they remained out of possession of their former estates; but in
the first half of the nineteenth century the lax government of the Oudh
kings enabled them to recover a larger domain thai had been theirs
in 1751. The District, indeed, bore an evil reputation for turbulence
and disorder. In jungles and ravines along the Gumti and Kalyani
lay the strongholds of many banditti whose crimes are recorded in
Sir W. Sleeman's Diarr.
In I856 the District, with the rest of Oudh, came under British rule.
During the Mutiny of I857-8 the whole of the Bara Banki talukddrs
joined the mutineers, but offered no serious resistance after the capture
of Lucknow. At the battle of Nawabganj (June, I858) the Raikwar
zamunddrs of Sitapur and Bahraich fought and fell with all the historic
heroism of Rajputs. The Begam of Oudh, driven from Lucknow, had
fled for refuge to their fort at Baundi, and these chivalrous chiefs were
devoted to her cause. 'I have seen,' wrote the British general, 'many
battles in India and many brave fellows fighting with a determination
to conquer or die; but I never witnessed anything more magnificent
than the conduct of these zaminddrs.' Order was re-established in
July, i858. In 1869-70 the District originally formed was increased by
the addition of parts of Bahraich, Lucknow, Sultanpur, and Rae Bareli.
The ancient sites of the District still await exploration. Numerous
deposits of coins and a copperplate grant of Gobind Chand of Kanauj,
dated in r5r, have been discovered. There are many tombs, mosques,
and buildings dating from the Muhammadan period, but none of
importance to the archaeologist.


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