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Imperial Gazetteer of India, v. 16, p. 200.


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200 L UDHIINA DISTRICT
situated entirely in the alluvium. It includes the extreme north-west
corner of the Upper Gangetic plain, but to the south-west it approxi
mates to the desert region. Trees are few, unless where planted ; but
the reru (Acacia leucophloea) is frequent, locally,-and the k1har (Acacia
arabica), which is perhaps not aboriginal, is plentiful. The ber (Zizy-
phusjujuba) is common in gardens and near homesteads.
Wolves are not uncommon. NSlgai, antelope, and `ravine deer'.
(Indian gazelle) are found throughout the southern part of the District,
and hog in the rank grass near the Sutlej and Budha nullah.
The heat in May and June is intense, but no worse than in most
parts of the Punjab plains. During the monsoon the air is damp and
the climate relaxing, except in the Jangal with its dry climate and pure
water; and this tract is free from the outbreaks of autumnal fever,
which sometimes occur after heavy rains in September. The Bet is
peculiarly liable to these epidemics, and enlarged spleen and anaemia
due to malarial poisoning are there common. '
The rainfall is normal for the Punjab plains, ranging from 29 inches
per annum at Samrala to 22 at Jagraon.
The early history of the District is obscure. SUNET, near Ludhiana,
MACHHIWARA, and Tihara are all places of some antiquity, dating from
History. the pre-Muhammadan period. The last, which lies
in the north-west corner of the District, is identified
by tradition with the Vairata of the Mahabharata, and was a place
of some importance ; but the ancient site has long been washed away
by the Sutlej. The town of LUDHIANA dates only from the Lodi
period, and the principality of RAIKOT originated in a grant of the
Saiyid kings of Delhi. Under Akbar the tract formed a part of the
sarhdr of 'Sirhind, but the later Mughals leased the western part of
the present District to the Rais of Raikot. Early in ..the eighteenth
century they became semi-independent; and though the imperial forces
successfully withstood Ahmad Shah near Khanna in r.747, his subse-
quent invasions so weakened the Mughal power that the Rais were
suffered to take possession of Ludhiana town in 176o. 'Meanwhile the
Sikhs had become a political power, especially on the south and south
west borders of the District; and after their capture of Sirhind the
Samrala tahsil fell into the hands of Sikh leaders, wade, the Rais
retained most of the Ludhiana and Jagraon tahsils. In 17:98 the Rai,
a minor, was attacked by the Sikhs under Bedi Sahib Singh of Una,
who invested Ludhiana, but raised the siege when the Rai called in
George Thomas. Finally, in r8o6, Ranjit Singh crossed the Sudej on
his first expedition against the Cis-Sutlej chiefs, and stripped the Rais
of their possessions, leaving a couple of villages for. the: maintenance
of two widows,.who were the only remaining representatives of the
,ruling. family. .:
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