Mathura A Gazetteer-5

ब्रज डिस्कवरी, एक मुक्त ज्ञानकोष से
यहां जाएं: भ्रमण, खोज
  • History

Directory of Places - A . B . C . D . E . F . G . H . J . K . M . N . O . P . R . S . T . U . W

edited and compiled by, D.L. DRAKE-BROCKMAN [1911]



No fact of historical importance can be extracted from the legends relating to Krishna at Muttra, and the vague dates assigned to the great war in which he is said to have taken part have no basis in authentic history. Muttra is mentioned in ancient literature under the name Madhura, "the Sweet or Lovely One," but the precise relationship between this name and Muttra is not clear. Muttra is not enumerated among the eight great cities of Jambudvipa or Buddhist India in the Book of the Great Dicease; nor is it mentioned in the Mahabharata. It is stated in the Ramayana that Rama's brother Satrughna killed the demon Lavana on the banks of the Yamuna at Madhupura and made this place his capital[1] but the statement occurs only in the last book (Uttara-Kanda) which is believed by the best authorities to be a later addition. These omissions are sufficient to show that Muttra is not one of the oldest cities of India; and this fact is supported by the statement of the grammarian Patanjali (circ. 160-140 B.C.)[2] that Patali-putra existed before Muttra. Patali-putra is believed to have been founded shortly before the death of the Buddha who foretold its future greatness, but it did not become the capital of Magadha until many years after.


The death of the Buddha is now generally held to have taken place in 487 B.C.[3] We have it on the authority of Hiuen Tsang who visited India between 629 and 645 A.D. that the Buddha, when he lived in the world, often travelled in the kingdom of Muttra, and that monuments had been erected in every place where he expounded the law. It may be presumed, therefore, that the place first rose into prominence during the lifetime of the Buddha or during the latter half of the fifth century B.C.; but whether Muttra was a famous city before it became a great Buddhist centre, there are at present no means of determining. From 500 B.C. till the end of the seventh century A.D. Muttra remained a Buddhist stronghold, though from other indications given by Hiuen Tsang it appears that Buddhism was gradually declining when he paid his visit to the place; and from the account written two hundred years before by the Chinese pilgrim, Fa-Hian, the decline would appear to have taken place in the interval between his own visit and that of Hiuen Tsang. One of the most famous buildings of Muttra in early days appears to have been a monastery, situated a little to the east of the old town, in the centre of which was a stupa enclosing some nail-parings of the Tathagata. This monastery is said to have been built by the venerable monk Upagupta. To this monk is ascribed the conversion of Asoka Maurya to Buddhism, and he was probably a native of Muttra.[4]


Muttra was thus a famous city in the Maurya empire, but the period which commences with the death of Asoka in or about 231 B.C. is one of the most obscure in all the history of northern India. The Maurya kingdom appears to have come to an end about 184 B.C., with the usurpation of the throne of Magadha by Pushyamitra, the commander-in-chief of Brihadratha Maurya, the last of the Mauryas. This chieftain founded what is known as the Sunga dynasty, but it is unlikely that either Pushyamitra or the later Mauryas exercised any jurisdiction in the Punjab. In order to understand the history of Muttra, it is necessary to trace the course of events which resulted in the loss of this pro vince to the Indian dynasties. The spacious Asiatic dominion consolidated by the genius of Seleukos Nikator passed in the year 262 or 261 B.C. into the hands of his grandson Antiochos, surnamed Theos. To wards the close of the latter's reign the empire suffered two grievous losses by the revolt of the Bactrians under the leadership of Diodotos, and of the Parthians under that of Arsakes. With the latter, however, we are not concerned. The crown won by Diodotos passed about 245 B.C. to his son Diodotos II, and the latter was followed about 230 B.C. by Euthydemos, a native of Magnesia, who seems to have gained the crown by successful rebellion. This chieftain became involved in a long struggle with Antiochos the Great; but the result was that the independence of Bactria was recognised and a daughter of Antiochos was given in marriage to Demetrios, the son of Euthydemos. Demetrios, like his father, conquered about 190 B.C. a considerable portion of northern India apparently including Kabul, the Punjab and Sind. About 175 B.C. one Eukratides rebelled and made himself master of Bactria and its subordinate possessions; but his murder in 156 B.C. by his own son shattered to fragments the kingdom which he had won, and a period of confusion ensued during which a succession of obscure princes bearing Greek titles rose to power. The names alone of these are known. Only one name stands out conspicuously-that of Menander. He seems to have belonged to the family of Eukratides and to have had his capital at Kabul, whence he issued in or about 155 B.C. to make a bold invasion of India. This expedition was made during the latter years of Pushyamitra, the founder of the Sunga dynasty. Menander annexed the Indus delta, the peninsula of Surashtra or Kathiawar, and some other territories on the west coast, occupied Muttra on the Jumna, and even threatened Pataliputra. Two years later, however, he was obliged to retire and devote his energies to the warding off of dangers which menaced him at home. Menander was celebrated as a just ruler, and when he died he was honoured with magnificent obsequies. He is supposed to have been a convert to Buddhism and has been immortal ized under the name of Milinda in a celebrated dialogue entitled the Milinda-panha or "Questions of Milinda," which is one of the most notable books in Buddhist literature.[5] Muttra is men tioned in this work as one of the famous places of India.


The history of the next three centuries is comparatively clear. No district in the provinces has benefited so much as Muttra from the patient labour of the archaeologist, who has gradually evolved the history of northern India from the chaos of architectural remains, inscriptions and coins that have come to light, many in Muttra itself, during the last fifty years. Many points are, it is true, far from clear; but from the time of Menander until that of the Kushan dynasty, it appears that Muttra was ruled by Indo-Greek potentates who are usually known as Satraps. They were probably Sakas and their occupation of the country was one of the results of the great movements of peoples in the Central Asian steppes. A horde of nomads, named the Yueh-chi, were driven out of north western China about 170 B.C. and compelled to migrate westwards by the route to the north of the deserts. Some years later, about 160 B.C., they encountered another horde, the Sakas or Se, who occupied the territories to the north of the Jaxartes River. The Sakas, accompanied by cognate tribes, were forced to move in a southerly direction, and in course of time, entered India from the north. The flood of barbarian invasion spread also to the west and burst upon the Parthian kingdom and Bactria between 140 and 120 B.C. After overpowering two Parthian kings, Phraates II and Artabanus I, and extinguishing the Hellenistic monarchy of Bactria ruled by Heliokles, the Saka torrent surged into the valley of the Helmund River and filled the region now known as Seistan;[6] while other branches penetrated into India and depo­sited settlements at Taxila in the Punjab and Muttra on the Jumna. Yet another section of the horde at a later date pushed on southwards and occupied the peninsula of Surashtra or Kathia war. Little is known regarding the Satraps of Muttra except their names. The best known of them is Sodasa, who became Satrap about 110 B.C. He was the son of the Satrap Rajuvala, who succeeded the Satraps Hagana and Hagamasha; and the latter are said to have displaced Hindu Rajas, of whom the names, Gomitra and Ramadatta, and coins survive. There is an inscription of the Satrap Sodasa at Muttra; and numerous undated memoranda on the well-known lion capital which was found in the place connect the Satraps Rajuvala and Sodasa with the Taxilan Satraps Liaka and Patika. These Satraps appear to have been subordinate to the Parthian monarchy.[7]


It is now necessary to return and trace in brief outline the fortunes of the Yueh-chi who dispossessed the Sakas of their an cestral lands and subsequently also replaced them in northern India. For some fifteen or twenty years this tribe remained undisturbed in its usurped territory near the Jaxartes river; but about 140 B.C. the Yueh-chi were in turn forced to move into the Oxus valley by another tribe, the Hiung-nu. In this region they appear to have settled down and to have lost their nomad habits; for about 70 B.C. they are found as a territorial nation divided into five principalities.


For the next century nothing is known about Yueh-chi history; but more than one hundred years after the division of the nation into five territorial prin cipalities, the chief of the Kushan section of the horde, Kadphises 1 succeeded in imposing his authority on his colleagues and in establishing himself as sole monarch of the Yueh-chi nation. This event may be dated approximately 45 A.D.; and it was Kadphises I who made himself master of Ki-pin, supposed to be Kashmir, as well as of the Kabul territory, consolidated his power over Bactria and also attacked the Parthians.


The Yueh-chi advance necessarily involved the suppression of the Indo-Greek and Indo-Parthian chiefs of principalities lying to the west of the Indus, but the final extinction of the Indo-Parthian power in the Punjab and the Indus valley was reserved for Kadphises 11 the successor of Kadphises I, who ascended the throne about 85 A.D. About 90 A.D. this ambitious monarch engaged in a war with China, in which he was signally defeated; but this reverse did not crush his aspirations and some five years later he undertook the easier task of attacking India. Success in this direction compensated for failure against the power of China, and the Yueh-chi dominion was gradually extended all over north-western India, with the exception of southern Sind, probably as far east as Benares. The conquered Indian pro vinces appear to have been administered by military viceroys, to whom the large issues of coins, known to numismatists as those of the Nameless King, are attributed. These coins are extremely common all over northern India from the Kabul valley to Benares and Ghazipur on the Ganges.


Kadphises II was succeeded about 120 A.D. by Kanishka, who alone among the Kushan kings has left a name cherished by tradition and famous far beyond the limits of India. The monuments and inscriptions of his time, as well as tradition, prove that his sway, like that of his predecessor, extended all over north-western India. His coins are associated with those of Kadphises II from Kabul to Ghazipur, and their vast number and variety, indicate a reign of considerable length. Tradition affirms that he carried his arms far into the interior and attacked the king residing at the ancient imperial city of Pataliputra. Kanishka's capital was Purushapura, the modern Peshawar, which then guarded, as it now does, the main road from the Afghan hills to the Indian plains. In his earlier days he is alleged to have had no faith either in right or wrong; but in his later years he became a convert to Buddhism. Many stories have clustered round his conversion and subsequent zeal for Buddhism; but they bear so close a resemblance to the Asoka legends that it is difficult to decide how far they are traditions of actual fact and how far merely echoes of another tradition. The most authen tic evidence on the subject of his changes of faith is afforded by the long and varied series of his coins. The finest, and presum ably the earliest, pieces bear legends, Greek both in script and Language, with effigies of the sun and moon personified under their Greek names, Helios and Selene. On the later issues the Greek script is retained, but the language is a form of old Per sian, while the deities depicted are a strange medley of the gods worshipped by Greeks, Persians and Indians. The rare coins exhibiting images of Buddha Sakyamuni with his name in Greek letters, are usually considered to be among the latest of the reign. "The appearance of the Buddha among a crowd of heterogenous deities would have appeared strange, in fact would have been inconceivable, to Asoka, while it seemed quite natural to Kanishka. The newer Buddhism of his day, desig nated as the Mahayana or Great Vehicle, was largely of foreign origin and developed as the result of the complex interaction of Indian, Zoroastrian, Christian, Gnostic and Hellenic elements…….. In this newer Buddhism the sage Gautama became in practice, if not in theory, a god, with his ears open to the prayers of the faithful and served by a hierarchy of Bodhisattvas and other beings acting as mediators between him and sinful men." -The reign of Kanishka appears to have lasted some twenty-five or thirty years and may be assumed to have terminated about 150 A.D.


He was immediately followed by Huvishka, or Hushka, who was probably his son and appears to have retained undimin ished the great empire to which he succeeded. His dominions certainly included Gaya and Muttra. He was a liberal patron of Buddhist ecclesiastical institutions, and at the last-named city a splendid Buddhist monastery bore his name and no doubt owed its existence to his munificence.[8] But all memory of the political events of his long reign have now perished. His coinage is little inferior in interest or artistic merit to that of Kanishka and, like the contemporary sculpture, testifies to the continuance of Hellenistic influence.


His successor was Vasuska or Jaska, but he is generally known as Vasudeva. The latter, a thoroughly Indian name, is a proof of the rapidity with which the foreign invaders had succumbed to the influence of their environment. Testimony to the same fact is borne by his coins, almost all of which exhibit on the reverse the figure of the Indian god Siva, attended by his bull Nandi and accom panied by the noose, trident and other insignia of Hindu iconography. The inscriptions of this prince were mostly found at Muttra and range in date from the year 74 to the year 98 of the era used in the Kushan age. They thus indicate a reign of not less than 25 years; but the Kushan power appears to have been decadent during the latter part of it. Coins bearing the name of Vasudeva continued to be struck after he had passed away, and ultimately present the royal figure clad in the garb of Persia and manifestly imitated from the effigy of Sapor (Shahpur) I, the Sassanian monarch who ruled Persia from 238 to 269 A.D. But how or when the Kushan power actually came to an end is wrapt in complete obscurity, the period from A.D. 200 to 350 being one of the darkest in all Indian history. Coins indicate that the Kushans held their own in the Punjab and Kabul for a long time; elsewhere probably numerous Rajas asserted their independence and formed a number of petty shortlived states, the period being one of extreme confusion associated with foreign invasions from the north-west.[9]


Incidental mention has been made in the preceding para graph of Kushan monuments at Muttra, but, in view of the importance of these remains in connection with the history of the period, it is necessary to indicate the conclusions that can be drawn from them regarding the district. The archaeological evidence shows that under the Kushans Muttra was a flourishing city. The donors of the votive inscriptions on Buddhist and Jain images belong mostly to the merchant class, and from this it appears that the city was a great commercial centre. The first book of the famous collection of Indian fables called the Panchatantra opens with the story of a merchant who starts with his bullock-cart, loaded with merchandise, from Mahilropya in the Deccan and joins a caravan to Muttra. He loses one of his bullocks by an accident on the banks of the Jumna. The Panchatantra was translated into Pehlevi by order of Khusrau Anushirvan (A.D. 531-519), and was probably written in the early centuries of our era. The dated inscriptions referable to the regins of Kanishka, Huvishka and Vasudeva number in all 71, of which no less than 56 come from Muttra, 43 being Jain inscriptions from the Kankali Tila.. All the inscriptions are records of pious gifts or dedications by private persons, and not one is official. But 26 contain the name of one or other of the kings, seven belonging to the reign of Kanishka, twelve to that of Huvishka and seven more to that of Vasudeva. Most of these inscriptions are written in the Brahmi character of the period. Besides the archaeological remains dating from the Kushan period, many others have been discovered relating to other periods, and the explorations carried on during half a century in the city have revealed the existence of a school of sculpture which flourished under the rule of the Kushan kings and for many years after. Colossal Buddhist statues manufac tured at Muttra were carried to the sacred sites of Benares and Sravasti and apparently even to far off Gaya.[10] During the Gupta period the school still retained a prominent place, though it was then far less productive than under the Indo-Scythians. The Muttra museum contains a fine life-size Buddha image with a votive inscription of the fifth century, and Major Cunningham discovered a fragmentary inscription of the reign of Chandra Gupta II. Vikramaditya which is also preserved in the local collection; while the colossal Nirvana statue of Kasia, in the Gorakhpur district, of the fifth century appears to be the work of a Muttra sculptor. One of the most noticeable features of the Muttra school is the classical or Hellenistic influence displayed by several of its productions. This influence was derived from Gandhara, Kanishka's capital, the celebrated sculptures of which give vivid expression in classical form to the modified Buddhism which appears to have been the state religion in the later years of Kanishka's reign and in the reigns of his successors. The best examples of this influence are the Silenus statue discovered by Colonel Stacy in 1836, the "Bacchanalian group" unearthed by Mr. Growse at Pali Khera, and "Herakles strangling the Nemean lion", which is now at Calcutta. On the other hand the Muttra school was essentially Indian in character and a direct continuation of the old-Indian school exemplified at Bharhut and Sanchi. This is evident from a study of the well-known Buddhist railings with their ornamental gateways or toranas, many specimens of which have been discovered at Muttra and are evidently derived from old-Indian examples. They exhibit a peculiar feature in that the railing pillars are usually decorated with female figures probably meant to be yakshis or sylvan nymphs. The origin of these pillar figures can, however, also be traced back to the inscribed devatas on the gateways of Bharhut. In the sixth century the Muttra school of sculpture ceased to exist. This fact is probably due to the Hun invasion which then ravished the Gupta empire and, as recent excavations have shown, were particularly disastrous to the splendid Buddhist establishments of northern India.[11]


It is not until the fourth century that light again begins to dawn. A local Raja at or near Pataliputra raised himself about 320 A.D. to the position of a lord paramount, and extended his sway over Bihar, Tirhut and Oudh. Six years later or in 326 A.D. this chieftain, who bore the classic name of Chandra Gupta, was succeeded by his son Samudra Gupta who thoroughly subjugated the Rajas of the Gangetic plain and subsequently extended his conquests to the far south of India. The dominion, however, under the direct government of Samudra Gupta does not appear to have extended beyond the Jumna, the Punjab, eastern Rajputana and Malwa being in the possession of tribes or clans living under their own rulers who were autonomous but enjoyed the protection of the Gupta monarch. It is uncertain whether Muttra, which must have been on the border line between the sphere of direct government and the " sphere of influence," had its own ruler at this period or not; but in the reign of Chandra Gupta II all these semi-independent chieftains were swept away, and before his death in 415 A.D. the Gupta power was undisputed over northern India from the Bay of Bengal to Kathiawar and the Indus. It was during this period that the Chinese pilgrim Fa-Hian made his journey to India. Commencing his travels in Thibet, he passed successfully through Kashmir, Kabul, Kandahar and the Punjab, and so arrived in Central India, the madhya-des of Hindu geographers. Here the first kingdom that he entered was Muttra. All the people from the highest to the lowest were staunch Buddhists, and maintained that they had been so ever since the time of Sakyamuni. The pilgrim rested in the capital of this kingdom on the banks of the Jumna for a whole month; and in it and its vicinity, he assures us, there were 20 monasteries, containing in all some 3,000 monks. There were, moreover, six stupas, of which the most famous was the one erected in honour of the great apostle Sari-putra. The golden age of the Guptas comprised a period of a century and a quarter, from 330 to 455 A.D., and was covered by three reigns of exceptional length. The death of Kumara Gupta in 455 A.D. marked the beginning of the decline and fall of the empire. When Skanda Gupta came to the throne he encountered a sea of troubles. The savage Huns poured down from the steppes of Central Asia through the passes of the north-west and carried devastation over the plains of India. The invasion was beaten back at the time, but it was renewed in 465 A.D., when a fresh swarm of nomads poured across the frontier and occupied Gandhara. A little later, about 470 A.D., the Huns advanced into the interior and again attacked Skanda Gupta in the heart of his dominions and overthrew the Gupta empire. The leader in this invasion was a chieftain named Toramana, who is known to have been established as ruler of Malwa in Central India prior to 500 A.D. He assumed the style and titles of an Indian “sovereign of maharajas" and Bhanu Gupta and all the local princes must have been his tributaries. But the rule of the Huns did not last long. Toramana died about 510 A.D. and his Indian dominions passed to his son, Mihiragula. All tradi­tions agree in representing Mihiragula as a blood-thirsty tyrant; and the cruelties practised by him became so unbearable that the native princes formed a confederacy against him. About the year 528 A.D. they accomplished the delivery of their country by inflicting a decisive defeat on Mihiragula. The latter was taken prisoner, but his life was spared by Baladitya, the king of Magadha and leader of the Indian confederacy, who sent him to his capital at Sakala with all honour. Meanwhile his younger brother had usurped the throne and Mihiragula was forced to find refuge with the ruler of Kashmir, whose kindness he returned by rebelling and ejecting him from his kingdom. Having succeeded in this enterprise he attacked the neighbouring kingdom of Gaudhara, " The king was treacherously surprised and slain, the royal family was exterminated, and multitudes of people were slaughtered on the banks of the Indus. The savage invader, who worshipped as his patron deity Siva, the god of destruction, exhibited ferocious hostility against the peaceful Buddhist cult and remorsely overthrew the stupas and monasteries, which he plundered of their treasures." He died the same year or about 540 A.D. From the overthrow of the Hun empire no paramount power seems to have existed in norther India, which split up into a number of jarring states, until Harsha Vardhana, the king of Thanesar, consolidated his rule about 620 A.D. over the whole country. After his death in 648 A.D. all order seems again to have disappeared. From the most recent researches of archæologists it appears that an extensive empire in northern India, which included Muttra, came under the rule of the Gurjara-Pratihar Rajas of Bhinmal and Kanauj, between 725 and 1030 A.D.,[12] and 247-289 but no historical facts connected with Muttra itself come to light until the Musalman invasion.


It is necessary at this point to pause in the chronicle of events relating to the successive rulers of the country, and to attempt an outline of the revolution that was slowly taking place in the religious history of Muttra. The prevalence of Buddhism in the city is amply attested not only by the testimony of Fa-Hian but by the numerous ancient Buddhist remains that have been unearthed in it. The Jain cult, which was closely related to the Buddhist, does not appear to have gained very wide popularity in northern India, but it was certainly practised with great devotion in certain localities. Of these Muttra was one; but it must be remembered that the Kankali Tila at Muttra, the site of a Jain stupa which is called in one inscription " the Vodva-stupa built by the gods," is the only mound which has been completely explored, so that the number of Jain sculptures obtained from Muttra is disproportionately large. But the orthodox Hindu worship, conducted under the guidance of Brahmans and associated with sacrificial rites abhorrent to Jain and Buddhist sentiment, had never become extinct and had at all times retained a large share of popular favour. Thus in Muttra itself there is evidence that side by side with Buddhism and Jainism there existed the cult of the Nagas or serpent gods. Several Naga images with their characteristic snakehoods have been found in the district. The most remarkable specimen is that which was discovered at the village of Chhargaon, now in the Muttra museum, and which in an inscription, dated in the reign of Huvishka, is distinctly described as “the lord Naga”. It is not a little curious that these ancient Naga figures are now-a-days worshipped as Dau-ji -a familiar name for Krishna's elder brother Balaram or Baladeva. Moreover, modern effigies of this deity are exact copies of such Naga figures, and the snakehood is accounted for as referring to his being an incarnation of Seshnaga. But it has not been ascertained how far the modern cult of Balaram has been derived from or influenced by the ancient Naga worship. The origin of the worship of Krishna which must have arisen about the time of the Guptas is involved in similar obscurity. In some respects Buddhism, in its Mahayana form, was better fitted than the Brahmanical system to attract the reverence of casteless foreign chieftains; but the facts do not indicate any clearly marked general preference for the Buddhist creed on the part of the foreigners. Kanishka, it is true, liberally patronized the ecclesiastics of the Buddhist church; but Vasudeva reverted to the devotion for Siva, and the later Saka Satraps of Surashtra seem to have inclined much more to the Brahmanical than to the Buddhist cult. Moreover the develop ment of the Mahayana school of Buddhism was in itself a testi mony to the reviving power of Brahmanical Hinduism; it had much in common with the older Hinduism and the relation is so close that even an expert often feels a difficulty in deciding to which system a particular image should be assigned. Brahmanical Hinduism was the religion of the Pundits, whose sacred language was Sanskrit. As the influence of the Pundits upon prince and peasant waxed greater in matters of religion and social observance, the use of their special vehicle of expression became more widely diffused. The restoration of the Brahmanical religion and the associated revival of the Sanskrit language first became noticeable in the second century. In the time of the Guptas it had certainly gained the ascendancy; for these princes, although apparently perfectly tolerant both of Buddhism and Jainism, were themselves beyond all question zealous Hindus, guided by Brahman advisers and skilled in Sanskrit, the language of the Pundits. Without the specification of further details, the matter may be summed up in the remark that coins, inscriptions and monuments agree in furnishing evidence of the recrudescence during the Gupta period of Brahmanical Hinduism at the expense of Buddhism.[13] We have already seen that the latter creed was flourishing when Fa-Hian visited Muttra about 400 A.D. At the beginning of the sixth century came the Hun invasion and the destruction of Gandhara which gave Buddhism at that place its death-blow; and two hundred years later, in the time of Hiuen Tsang, the number of resident monks at Muttra had been reduced to 2,000 and five temples had been erected to Brahmanical deities. Both facts indicate a considerable decline in the prevalence of the creed. By the time Mahmud of Ghazni made his expedition to Muttra, the Brahmanical religion had been completely re-established; and this may be assumed to be the interval during which the Krishna cultus, which was subsequently developed by the Vaishnavite reformers, took root.


The next mention of Muttra, and the first authentic contem porary record that we find in Indian literature, is connected with the ninth invasion of Mahmud of Ghazni in 1017 A.D. The original source of information respecting Mahmud's campaigns is the Tarikh-i-Yamini of Al'Utbi, who was himself secretary to the Sultan though he did not accompany him in his expedi tions. Mahmud first captured the fort of Baran, the modern Bulandshahr, and, "after some delay, marched against the fort of Kulchand, who was one of the leaders of the accursed Satans, who assumed superiority over other rulers and was in flated with pride, and who employed his whole life in infidelity and was confident in the strength of his dominions……… He possessed much power, great wealth, many brave soldiers, large elephants and strong forts, which were secure from attack and capture. When he saw that the Sultan advanced against him in the endeavour to engage in a holy war, he drew up his army and elephants within a deep forest, ready for action. The Sultan sent his advance guard to attack Kulchand, which, penetrating through the forest……..enabled the Sultan to discover the road to the fort ……..The infidels, when they found all their attempts fail, deserted the fort, thinking that beyond it they would be in security; but many of them were slain, taken, or drowned in the attempt………Nearly fifty thousand men were killed and drowned, and became the prey of beasts and crocodiles. Kulchand, taking his dagger, slew his wife and then drove it into his own body." "The Sultan then departed from the environs of the city, in which was a temple of the Hindus. The name of this place was Maharutu-l-Hind. He saw there a building of exquisite structure which the inhabitants said had been built, not by men, but by Genii…….The wall of he city was constructed of hard stone, and two gates opened upon the river flowing under the city, which were erected on strong and lofty foundations, to protect them against the floods of the river and rains. On both sides of the city there were a thousand houses, to which idol temples were attached, all strengthened from top to bottom by rivets of iron, and all made of masonry work; and opposite to them were other buildings, supported on broad wooden pillars, to give them strength. In the middle of the city there was a temple larger and firmer than the rest, which can neither be described nor painted…. The Sultan gave orders that all the temples should be burnt with naphtha and fire and levelled with the ground." [14] Now in this account neither Muttra nor Mahaban are mentioned by name. The Tarikh-i-Alfi calls Kulchand's fort by the name of Mand; and Mr: Growse suggests that possibly the words "deep forest" may be intended as a literal translation of the name "Mahaban." The identification of Kulchaud's fort with Mahaban and that of Maharutu-l-Hind with Muttra depends on the authority of Ferishta [15] and the later Musalman historians. The identification, however, need not be discredited, as it is probable that it is based on authentic traditions. These historians take for granted that Muttra was an exclusively Brahmanical city. It is probable that this was really the case, and that the remarkable wealth and gorgeous temples which the Sultan found in the city were the result of the religious revival and the modern Krishna cult. The original authorities, however, leave the point open and speak only in general terms of idolaters, a name equally applicable to Buddhists.


From 1017 A.D. until the time of Akbar the history of the district is almost a total blank. As regards this period Mr. Growse says; " The natural dislike of the ruling power to be brought into close personal connection with such a centre of superstition divested the town of all political importance; while the Hindu pilgrims,who still continued to frequent its impoverished shrines, were not invited to present, as the priests were not anxious to receive, any lavish donation which would only excite the jealousy of the rival faith. Thus, while there are abundant remains of the earlier Buddhist period, there is not a single building, nor fragment of a building, which can be assigned to any year in the long interval between the invasion of Mahmud in 1017 A.D. and the raign of Akbar in the latter half of the sixteenth century." Probably the city was unable to recover from the destruction inflicted on it by Mahmud; while the country round about appears to have become a jungle. It has been suggested that the district fell into the hands of the Mewatis, a robber tribe whose headquarters were in the district of Gurgaon and the contiguous portions of Rajputana. The references to the city or district in the Muhammadan historians are few and far between. The author of the Tarikh-i-Daudi says that Sikandar Lodi, who reigned from 1488 to 1516 A.D. and was one of the most able and energetic of all the occupants of the Dehli throne,"was so zealous a Musalman that he utterly destroyed many places of worship of the infidels, and left not a' single vestige remaining of them. He entirely ruined the shrines of Muttra, that mine of heathenism, and turned their principal temples into sarais and colleges. Their stone images were given to the butchers to serve them as meat-weights, and all the Hindus in Muttra were strictly prohibited from shaving their heads and beards and performing their ablutions. He thus put an end to all the idolatrous rites of the infidels there; and no Hindu, if he wished to have his head or beard shaved, could get a barber to do it." In confirmation of this statement it may be observed that when the Musalman governor, Abd-un-Nabi, in 1661, built his great mosque as a first step towards the construc tion of the new city, of which he is virtually the founder, the ground which he selected for the purpose and which was unquestionably an old temple site had to be purchased from the butchers. At the time of Ibrahim's defeat by Babar in 1526, we read that " Marghub, slave, was in Mahaban," presumbly as governor. [16] During the reign of Sher Shah (1540-45 A.D.) a road was made from Agra to Dehli with Sarais at every stage. Sheikh Nur-ul-Haqq, the author of the Zubdat-ut-tawarikh, who wrote in 1596 A.D., says that this road was the same as that existing in his day; and incidentally mention is made of the jungles that surrounded and the robbers that infested the road. Before this road was built, we read, people had to travel through the Doab between those two places. [17] These Muttra jungles were in existence until much later and were the favourite hunting-grounds of the emperors. Abul Fazl tells as one of Akbar's miracles that he mastered there with his eye an infuriated tiger about to spring on a favourite servant. Jahangir records how the empress, the famous Nur Jahan, killed a tiger here with one ball fired from an elephant unsteady through fear; and as late as 1634, Shahjahan killed four tigers in the Mahaban jungles on the opposite side of the river. In the year 1554-55, during the confused fights between the various aspirants to the throne, after the murder of Firoz Shah Sur, an important action took place in the district. Ibrahim Khan Sur, a cousin of Sher Shah, who had married a sister of the Sultan Muhammad Shah Abdali assumed the insignia of royalty under the title of Ibrahim Shah. Thereupon Ahmad Khan, a nephew of Sher Shah, who was married to another sister of Abdali, and was one of the territorial rulers of the Punjab also assumed the insignia of royalty under the title of Sultan Sikandar and led his forces against Ibrahim. The rival armies met at Farah and, after some ineffectual overtures had been made for peace by Sikandar, a battle was fought. Victory declared for Sikandar who became master of Agra and Dehli. Ibrahim fled to Sambhal. [18] Not many years after this the whole of Hindustan came into the power of the Mughals.


During the tolerant reign of Akbar the places sacred to Hinduism began again to flourish, and it was at this time that the chief temples at Brindaban and Gobardhan were built. Indeed in 1570 the fame of the Brindaban Gosains had spread so far abroad that the emperor himself was induced to pay them a visit. Here he was taken blindfolded into the sacred enclosure of the Nidhban, the actual Brinda grove to which the town owes its name, and so marvellous a vision was revealed to him that he was fain to acknowledge the place as holy ground. The attendant Rajas expressed a wish to erect a series of buildings more worthy of the local divinity and, having obtained the cordial support of the sovereign, built the four celebrated temples of Gobind Deva, Gopi-nath, Jugal Kishor and Madan Mohan in honour of the event. In the territorial distribution carried out by Akbar, the district of Muttra fell within the subah of Agra, but was divided between three sarkars. The portions of the district which fell within the sarkar of Agra were comprised in the mahals of Muttra, Ol, Mangotla, Mahaban, Maholi and Jalesar. The first of these had an area of 37,347 bighas and paid a revenue of 1,155,807 dams. The mahal of Ol, which extended over portions of what is now Bharatpur territory, was nearly five times the size of Muttra; it had an area of 153,377 bighas and paid a revenue of 5,509,477 dams, and, whereas Muttra contributed no troops, Ol contributed 1,000 cavalry and 1,000 infantry to the imperial army. The mahal of Mangotla took its name from the large village of Magorra which still exists to the north of Ol and near Sonkh; its area was 74,974 bighas and its revenue 1,148,075 dams, the military contingent consisting of 400 foot-soldiers and 20 horsemen. Maholi is the Madhupuri of Sanskrit literature and is now an insignificant village only four miles from Muttra city; but the pargana to which it gave its name in Akbar's day had an area of 66,690 bighas and paid a revenue of 1,501,246 dams, its contribution to the army being 500 foot and 80 horse. Mahaban is still a pargana of the district and in 1556 comprised an area of 290,703 bighas assessed to a revenue of 6,784,780 dams; while it furnished a force of 2,000 infantry and 200 horse. It probably included a portion of the present tahsil of Sadabad, the rest of which fell within the pargana of Jalesar. This pargana, the bulk of which is now in the Etah district, covered 904,733 bighas, paid a revenue of 6,835,400 dams, and supplied 5,000 infantry and 400 horsemen. The northern portion of the cis-Jumna tract belonged to the sarkar of Sahar, which took its name from the place which up till 1857 was the headquarters of the present Chhata tahsil. Three other parganas appear to have included parts of this district, namely Sahar, Kamah and Hodal. Of these Sahar was the largest, having a cultivated area of 385,895 bighas and paying a revenue of 2,489,816 dams. Its military contingent too was large and consisted of 7,000 foot and 200 horse. The old pargana of Kosi, now the northern part of tahsil Chhata, belonged to the mahal of Hodal, which took its name from the village situated in Gurgaon a short distance beyond the Muttra border. This mahal had an area of 78,500 bighas and paid a revenue of 462,710 dams, the military detachment furnished by it consisting only of 10 horsemen and 200 foot-soldiers. Some western villages probably fell within the mahal of Kamah, which derived its name from a well-known town in Bharatpur territory and had an area of 90,500 bighas assessed to 505,724 dams. Of the present tahsil of Mat, part probably belonged to Mahaban pargana, while the rest belonged to the pargana of Nohjhil or Noh, as it is called in the Ain-i-Akbari, in the sarkar of Kol. The cultivated area of this mahal was 139,299 bighas in extent; it paid a revenue of 1,311,955 dams, and contributed 3,000 foot and 100 horse to the army. As many of these parganas must obviously have included land lying beyond the present boundaries of the district, it would serve no useful purpose to attempt to compare the revenue paid in the days of Akbar with that paid now. Moreover the figures in the Ain-i-Akbari are often doubtful, and the value of money is widely different. The only other fact connected with Muttra during the time of Akbar is that a mint for copper coinage was established in the place.


Nothing is known of Muttra during the reign of Jahangir; but it was during his reign that Bir Singh Dee, Raja of Orchha, built a large temple at Muttra at a cost of 33 lakhs, [19] so it may be presumed that this emperor continued his father's policy of toleration. One other fact connected with the district is recorded by the emperor himself in his memoirs. On March 10th, 1623, prince Khurram, afterwards the emperor Shahjahan, who had rebelled against his father, advanced towards Muttra and encamped in the pargana of Shahpur in the north of the district. On Jahangir's arrival at Dehli he deviated from his direct course and made off towards Ajmer, leaving two of his leaders, Sundar Rai and Darab, to oppose the emperor. Asaf Khan was sent with an army against them and a battle was fought near Biluchpur, in which the rebels were defeated.[20] The first governor of Muttra in the reign of Shahjahan was Mirza Isa Tarkhan, who gave his name to the suburb of Isapur (now more commonly called Hansganj) on the opposite side of the river. He was succeeded in 1636 by Murshed Quli Khan, who was raised to the rank of "a commander of 2,000 horse," and was given express instructions to root out all idolatry and rebellion. We do not read, however, of much iconoclasm in the time of Shahjahan, the unenviable reputation of carrying persecution to extreme lengths being left to his successor, Aurangzeb. The rebellion here referred to appears to indicate a rebellion of the Jats who, at this time, were beginning to cause trouble is this portion of the empire; and only one year after his appointment Murshed Quli Khan was killed during an attack on one of their strongholds. The next governor of Muttra of whom we hear was Allah Verdi Khan, who held office between 1639 and 1642. He was followed in the latter year by Azam Khan Mir Muhammad Bakir, also known as Iradat Khan, but the latter was removed in 1645 because he did not act with sufficient vigour against the Hindu malcontents. Iradat Khan is described in the Maasir-ul-Umara as a man of most estimable character, but very harsh in his mode of collecting the state revenue. He is commemorated by the Azamabad sarai, which he founded, and by the two villages of Azampur and Bakirpur. The next governor was Makramat Khan and he was succeeded by Jafar, the son of Allah Verdi Khan in 1658, with whose governorship the reign of Shahjahan closed. His immediate successor was Qasim Khan, who was murdered before he joined his appointment, and in 1660 the famous Abd-un-Nabi became governor.


Muttra is casually connected with two important events in this emperor's life. Here was born in 1639, his eldest son, Muhammad Sultan, who expiated the sin of primogeniture by ending his days in a dungeon; while in 1658 Aurangzeb was again at Muttra and here establised his pretensions to the crown by compassing the death of his brother, Murad. This took place a few days after the momentous battle of Samogarh, in which the combined forces of the two brothers had routed the army of the rightful heir, Dara. The conquerors on their way to Dehli encamped together near Bad, a few miles south of Muttra, being apparently on the most cordial and affectionate terms; and Aurangzeb, protesting that for himself he desired only some sequestered retreat where he might pass his time in prayer and meditation, persistently addressed Murad by the royal title as the successor of Shahjahan. The evening was spent at the banquet; and when the wine cup had begun to circulate freely the pious Aurangzeb, feigning religious scruples, begged permission to retire. Murad became soon overpowered by the stupor of intoxication, and was only restored to consciousness by a con temptuous kick from the foot of the brother who had just declared himself his faithful vassal.[21] That same night Murad, heavily fettered, was sent a prisoner to Dehli and thrown into the fortress of Salimgarh. He was subsequently removed to Gwalior and there murdered.

To Abd-un-Nabi Muttra owes the famous mosque, the most conspicuous feature in the city, and practically the founda tion of the town as we now see it. He is first mentioned by the Muhammadan historians as fighting on the side of Dara Shikoh at the battle of Samogarh in 1658. About a week after he joined Aurangzeb, and was immediately appointed faujdar or military governor of Etawah. This office he retained only till the following year when he was transferred first to Sirhind and thence, after a few months, to Muttra. Here he remained from August 1660 until May 1668. According to the author of the Maasir-i-Alamgiri "he was an excellent and pious man, and as courageous in war as successful in administration." In his last year of office he met his death in a local rebellion, which afforded his imperial master a pretext for the crusade against Hinduism which cost Muttra some of its finest shrines. A Jat free booter, named Kokala, had raided the Sadabad pargana and plundered it. He and his band of insurgents mustered at the village of Sihora[22] in tahsil Mahaban, whither Abd-un-Nabi advanced to meet them. "He was at first victorious and succeeded in killing the ringleaders; but in the middle of the fight he was struck by a bullet and died the death of a martyr." He was succeeded in office by Saff-Shikan Khan; but as he was unable to suppress the revolt, which began to assume formidable dimensions, he was removed at the end of 1669 by Aurangzeb who sent Hasan Ali Khan, the son of Allah Verdi Khan, to replace him. The emperor himself advanced with a strong force from Agra. The ringleader of the distur bances, Kokala, ultimately fell into the hands of the new governor's deputy, Sheikh Razi-ud-din, and was sent to Agra and there executed, while his daughter was married to Shah Quli, a favourite slave, and his son was made a Muhammadan. Shortly before this took place, in December during the feast of Ramazan, Aurangzeb began his work of destruction. The temple specially marked out for ruin was the famous shrine of Kesava Deva built by Bir Singh Deo of Orchha in the reign of Jahangir. The author of the Maasir-i-Alamgiri says of the event;-" Glory be to God, who has given us the faith of Islam, that, in this reign of the destroyer of false gods, an undertaking so difficult of accomplishment has been brought to a successful termination. This vigorous support given to the true faith was a severe blow to the arrogance of the Rajas, and like idols they turned their faces awe-struck to the wall. The richly-jewelled idols taken from the pagan temples were transferred to Agra, and there placed beneath the steps leading to the Nawab Begam Sahib's mosque, in order that they might ever be pressed under foot by the true believers."[23] Some more iconoclasm was carried out at Brindaban; and the work of bigotry was completed by changing the official name of Muttra to Islamabad and that of Brindaban to Muminabad-names, however, the use of which did not survive the courtly historians of the fanatic emperor's reign.


After Aurangzeb's death in 1707 A.D. the imposing fabric of the Mughal empire began to totter to its fall. The Marathas began to press from the south; and even in the neighbour-hood of the imperial capitals, Agra and Dehli, chieftains arose who carved out for themselves semi-independent states. The Bangash Nawabs of Farrukhabad held in their possession most of the lower Doab and the Rohillas occupied the tract that now bears their name. The tribe which rose to power and ultimately overran the Agra and Muttra districts was that of the Jats. As we have already seen, these people had on more than one occasion given trouble in the district by their lawless acts, during the reign of Aurangzeb. But it was not till after his death that they were welded into the homogenous power which under the leadership of the chief who founded the royal house of Bharatpur was able to measure swords with the imperial armies. The Jat power originated with a robber chief, by name Churaman. He was the seventh son of Brij, a zamindar of Sinsini, a village in pargana Dig of the Bharatpur state, who had enriched himself by marauding expeditions and enforced his authority on a number of villages in the vicinity before he was expelled by the Musalmans under Mirza Jahan. The village of Thun fell to the lot of a brother, Bhagwant Singh, from whom it descended to Raja Ram. The latter was killed in some plun dering excursion and his son, Fateh Singh, proving unpopular with the clan, was expelled in favour of Churaman. Taking advantage of the sanguinary wars among the successors of Aurangzeb, Churaman added to his estates by capturing Dig, Kumbher and other places, while he and his brother Jats beset the roads to Dehli, Ajmer, Gwalior and Agra. As soon as Far rukhsiyar was firmly established on the throne he attempted to win the Jats over by conciliation. Churaman was invested with the title of "Bahadur Khan" and was granted the five parganas of Nagar, Kathumar, Nandbai, Au and Helak; while another Jat chieftain who had set himself up at Bharatpur and joined Churaman in his marauding expeditions, received a jagir consist ing of the parganas Rupbas, Bharatpur, Malah, Barah and Ikran. They did not, however, remain quiet long; and in 1718 it was found necessary to commission Jai Singh of Amber to reduce them. Jai Singh invested the forts of Thun and Sinsini, but after some months of inglorious toil was compelled to retreat. In 1720 Churaman supported the cause of the Saiyid Wazirs at Dehli against the emperor Muhammad Shah and succeeded in resisting all the attempts made by Saadat Khan, who became governor of Agra, to subdue him. The next governor of Agra was Rai Nilkant Nagar, who was murdered by a Jat, and his place was taken by Raja Jai Singh who at once advanced to Bharatpur and attacked the Jats. On this occasion Jai Singh obtained the help of Badan Singh, a cousin of Churaman, who had been imprisoned either by Churaman or his son, Mukand Singh. Thun was invested a second time and, after a six months' siege, captured and destroyed. Badan Singh was formally proclaimed Raja of the Jats at Dig in 1722, under the title of Thakur. Thakur Badan Singh is comme morated in the Muttra district by a handsome mansion which he built at Sahar. This town appears to have been his favourite place of residence in the later years of his life. He married into a family which resided at Kamar not far from Kosi; and from the edifices which still remain at that place it appears that the family was one of wealth and importance. The reign of Thakur Badan Singh lasted some 33 years, from 1722 to 1755 A.D., but for many years before his death he himself retired altogether from public life. To one of his youngest sons, Pratap Singh, he assigned the district surrounding the fort of Wayar, where he built a Palace; but the rest of his dominions were administered by his eldest son, Suraj Mal, under whom the Jat power reached its zenith.


In 1725 the Marathas arrived as far north as Gwalior, and Muhammad Khan Bangash was sent to oppose them. He suc ceeded in keeping them at bay for several years, but in 1734 roving bands of Maratha horsemen appeared before Agra and in 1737 a severe battle took place between the imperial forces under Saadat Khan and Safdar Jang and the Marathas at Itimadpur in the Agra district.[24] The enemy, however, were only driven back and made their way round by Dig to Dehli, where they were again defeated. In order to keep the Marathas in check, Nizam ul-Mulk was appointed in 1738 governor of Agra and Malwa, but he was constantly engaged in the Deccan and his place at Agra was taken by a deputy. During his absence the Jats made the most of their opportunities. In 1733, Suraj Mal made an attack on the small mud fort of Bharatpur, killed its possessor Khema, or Khem Karan, destroyed the fort and began the constriction of the large masonry fort that now exists.[25] In 1738 the same chieftain annexed Farah and seized some villages round Achnera and, during the confusion occasioned by Nadir Shah's invasion in 1739, he added further to his possessions. In 1745 he gave help to Nawab Fateh Ali of Koil in Aligarh and defeated Asad Khan, an Afghan noble who had been sent against him by the emperor, Muhammad Shah, and in 1748 he successfully contested Salabat Khan's right to certain districts which fell within his possessions and were assigned by the emperor to Salabat Khan. The battle on this occasion was fought at Naugaon not far from Kamah in Bharatpur territory. Subsequently he assisted the Nawab Wazir Safdar Jang against the Bangash Afghans at the battle of Ram Chhatauni and in the expedition to Farrukhabad, when the Bangash power was finally crushed. He next extended his power by capturing the fort of Ghasera in Gurgaon and took part in the series of battles outside Dehli between the forces of Safdar Jang and Ghazi-ud-din Khan, who nominally at least represented the came of the emperor. It was on this occasion that Suraj Mal sacked Dehli and carried off much plunder. In 1753 he succeeded in gaining a pardon from the emperor for Safdar Jang, who departed to his viceroyalty in Oudh and took no further part in the tangled history of this portion of the empire.

Relieved of the presence of Safdar Jang, Ghazi-ud-din Khan, the grandson of Nizam-ul-Mulk, resolved to wreck vengeance on the Jats. He invaded the dominions of Suraj Mal and laid siege to Bharatpur, calling in at the same time the aid of Mulhar Rao Holkar. Meanwhile the emperor Ahmad Shah, becoming disgusted with the arrogant and overbearing temper of Ghazi-ud-din, entered on a course of intrigue against that minister. Ghazi-ud-din suspecting a secret understanding between the emperor and the Marathas, abandoned the siege of Bharatpur and returned hastily to Dehli, where he deposed Ahmad Shah and raised Alamgir II to the throne in his stead. For the next three years the Jats were left in peace. In 1757 Ahmad Shah Durrani invaded India and occupied Dehli. Ghazi-ud-din was admitted to pardon and the Abdali king marched from Dehli with the intention of coercing Suraj Mal. The first fort to be overthrown was that of Ballabgarh, which was reduced in three days. Muttra was next sacked and an advance was made to Agra, where Jahan Khan was deputed to reduce all the forts belonging to the Jet chieftain. Suraj Mal was, however, saved further molestation by a pesti lence which broke out in the invader's army and compelled his hasty retreat to Dehli before he could accomplish his object. During the next year the Marathas overran the whole country between Agra and Dehli, but Suraj Mal pursued a cautious policy and shut himself up in his fort at Dig. In 1759, during the second invasion of the Durrani monarch, consequent on the murder of Alamgir II, the infamous Ghazi-ud-din sought and found shelter with Suraj Mal. Here by his persuasions a powerful confederacy was formed to oppose the progress of the Muhammadans; but was scattered for ever in the great battle of Panipat, in January 1761. Suraj Mal, however, owing to some disagreement with the Maratha leader, had withdrawn his forces before the battle took place and escaped the destruction which fell upon the Marathas. After the defeat the Maratha governor of Dehli fled to Agra with the treasure, but was stopped on the way by Suraj Mal and robbed of all he possessed. In the confusion caused by the flight of the Marathas, Suraj Mal seized the opportunity to capture the important fortress of Agra, and raised the Jat power to the highest pitch it ever attained. Meanwhile Shah Alam was recognised as the rightful heir to the throne of Dehli by the Durrani monarch and set up his court at Allahabad; while, at Dehli, his son Mirza Jewan Bakht was placed in nominal charge of the government under the control of the Rohilla, Najib-ud-doula. With this administrator Suraj Mal, emboldened by past success, next essayed to try his strength. In 1763 he put forth a claim to the faujdari or military governorship of Farrukhnagar; and when the envoy, sent from Dehli to confer with him on the subject, demurred to the trans fer, he dismissed him most unceremoniously and at once advanced with an army to Shahdara on the Hindan, only six miles from the capital. Here while amusing himself in the chase, accompanied only by his personal retinue, he was surprised by a flying squadron of the enemy and put to death. His army coming leisurely up behind under the command of his son, Jawahir Singh, was confronted by the Mughal forces bearing the head of Suraj Mal on a horse lance as their standard. The shock overpowered the Jats, who were put to flight.


The Jats made considerable changes in the arrangement of parganas instituted by Akbar. The Akbari pargana of Sahar was dissolved into four parts. One continued to bear the name of Sahar, two others were called Shergarh and Kosi, and a fourth, afterwards reunited with the last-named pargana, was named Shahpur. The pargana of Mangotla was divided into Sonkh and Sonsa, and Farah was a separate creation. Possibly Mursan, Sahpau and Mat also owe their origin to the Jats. Of the actual methods of administration we have no record; but it probably differed in no respect from that of other Hindu states. Large tracts were assigned in jagir to various Jet chieftains on condition of military service and were held by them in more or less indepen dent control.


The supremacy of the Jats was not long lived. Suraj mal was succeeded by Jawahir Singh; and his short reign was only remarkable for the sack of Dehli and a quarrel with Jaipur. The latter ended in a desperate conflict in 1765, in which almost very chieftain of note was killed. Jawahir Singh was murdered in 1768 at Agra, where he had taken up his residence in the palace. His brother Ratn Singh succeeded, but his reign was of very short duration; and he was followed by Nawal Singh, nominally as guardian of his infant nephew, Kesri Singh, but really as Raja. The Marathas had meanwhile recovered from their defeat at Panipat; they invaded Jaipur and besieged Bharatpur in 1771. After five days' continuous fighting the Marathas were bought of by the payment of a considerable sum of money and retired towards Muttra. They were attacked on the way, at Gobardhan, by a body of Jats under Dan Sah. This attack was attributed to the treachery of Nawal Singh, and hostilities recommenced. Newel Singh fled to Dig and, after six hours' defence, ceded to the Marathas all his territory lying to the east of the Jumna in payment of a fine of 70 lakhs. In 1772 the Wazir of the empire, Najaf Khan, undertook to reconquer the country on condition that he should retain half as his personal feof. Nawal Singh advanced to oppose Najaf Khan with a large force, which included on this occasion some artillery commanded by the famous adventurer, Walter Reinhardt, who is usually known as Sumru and had taken service with Suraj Mal. A battle was fought beyond the Jumna between Koil and Jalesar in which the Jats were defeated. Najaf Khan then proceeded to Agra and invested the fort there which was held by Dan Sahai, a brother-in-law of Nawal Singh. The fort was surrendered by its commander after a short investment and was finally lost with the surrounding country to the jats. It had been held by the Jats for just 13 years. Najaf Khan next proceeded towards Rohilkhand to assist Shuja-ud-doula in suppressing the Rohillas, and Nawal Singh, taking advantage of his absence, made a demonstration in the direction of Dehli. The Wazir hastily returned to the capital to oppose him, and found the Jats encamped near Hodal. Dislodged from this position, they fell back upon Kotban near Kosi, a fortified village, where skirmishes ensued for about a fortnight, and then finally with-drew towards Dig; but at Barsana, they were overtaken by the Wazir and a pitched battle ensued.

The ranks of the imperialists were first broken by the impetuous attack of the Jat infantry, headed by Sumru, and the Jats, feeling assured of victory, were following in reckless disorder, when the enemy rallied from their sudden panic, turned upon their pursuers, who were too scattered to offer any solid resistance, and effectually routed them. They contrived, however, to secure a retreat to Dig, while the town of Barsana, which was then a very wealthy place, was given over to plunder. Dig itself was reduced in March 1774, the Jat garrison escaping to Kumbher, and the spoil which fell into the hands of the victors is said to have been worth six lakhs of rupees. The whole of the Jat territory was now reduced to sub jection; and it was only at the intercession of the Rani Kishori, the widow of Suraj Mal, that Ranjit Singh was allowed by Najaf Khan to retain the fort of Bharatpur with an extent of territory yielding an annual income of nine lakhs. Nawal Singh is said to have died during the siege of Dig.


From the year of the expulsion of the Jats until 1782 the district remained nominally subject to the Dehli emperor, but really formed a part of the quasi-independent feof of Najaf Khan. That great minister died in 1782 and was succeeded in his estates by his adopted son, Afrasyab Khan; but the latter was at first obliged to relinquish his new dignity in favour of Mirza Shafi, the nephew of Najaf Khan. Mirza Shafi was himself opposed by a powerful faction headed by Muhammad Beg Hamadani, who had been appointed governor of Agra in 1779; and the two kinsmen found it necessary to come to terms with Muhammad Beg. At a conference at Agra it was resolved that Shafi should remain at Dehli as Wazir, while the others shared the Doab between them; but the truce was a hollow one, and not long afterwards Mirza Shafi was assassinated at Agra, leaving Afrasyab Khan alone to contest the supremacy. Afrasyab Khan now became nominally Wazir, but he was too weak either to avenge the death of his kinsman or to carry out his own wishes. He at first had the ascendancy over Muhammad Beg because he had control over the emperor's person, but foreseeing no pro bability of reducing his rival with the means at his disposal he contemplated an alliance with some neighbouring state and cast his eyes successively towards the Nawab Wazir, the English and the Marathas. While he was hesitating in his choice the em peror's son, prince Jewan Bakht, made his escape from Dehli, fled to Lucknow, where Warren Hastings was at the time, and threw himself on the protection of the Nawab Wazir and the English. The prince's flight alarmed Afrasyab Khan, and he voluntarily offered to make any arrangement for the emperor which the governor-general and the Nawab might suggest, provided that they would support him with a sufficient force to suppress the rebellion of Muhammad Beg. These overtures were rejected and Afrasyab Khan then had recourse to Madhoji Sindhia.

Sindhia had become the most powerful of the Maratha chiefs. He had reduced to subordination some of the Rajput chiefs in Malwa, obtained possession of the famous fortress of Gwalior, and strengthened his position vastly by the entertainment of a body of troops drilled and armed in the European fashion, under the command of the famous Benoit de Boigne. As soon as he received Afrasyab Khan's invitation he set out for Agra, towards which the imperial court was also advancing. A meeting took place on October 22nd, 1784, but almost immediately afterwards Afrasyab Khan was assassinated by the brother of Mirza Shafi. This event vested Sindhia with complete authority at Dehli and secured to him the executive control of the empire. The emperor conferred on him the com mand of his army and gave up to his management the provinces of Dehli and Agra; for all of which Sindhia agreed to pay the sum of Rs. 65,000 monthly. The fortress of Agra was surren dered to Sindhia on March 27th, when the emperor's second son, Akbar, was appointed nominal governor. The real governor was Rajaji Patel.

Having thus secured the position which he had coveted for many years, Sindhia engaged in a course of conduct which was impolitic in the extreme. Being pecuniarily embarrassed, he proceeded to raise money by sequestrating the jagirs of the Muhammadan nobles and levying tribute from the Rajputs. Muhammad Beg, who had acknowledged Sindhia's authority at first, deserted his cause while he was operating against the Rajputs at Jaipur. His nephew Ismail Beg, who succeeded him, won over to his side the whole of the emperor's army which till then had remained with Sindhia, and was joined by Ghulam Qadir, son of Zabita Khan Rohilla, another chieftain who considered his property in danger of sequestration. In the face of these reverses and defections Sindhia was compelled to leave Dehli for Gwalior; and in 1787 Ghulam Qadir and Ismail Beg advanced on Agra and besieged the fort. The fort was obstinately defended by Lakhwa Dada, Sindhia's general, assisted by the Jats of Bharatpur. At length Sindhia advanced to its relief, and a fierce battle was fought at Fatehpur Sikri in which the allied Maratha and Jat forces were defeated, It was not till two months later, or on June 18th, 1787, when reinforce ments had come from the Deccan, under Rana Khan, and a force had been detached to make a diversion in the jagir of Ghulam Qadir, that Sindhia was able to break down the opposition and relieve Agra. The army of Ismail Beg was dispersed and flocked to Dehli. Thither in hopes of again collecting them their commander immediately repaired. He was followed by Ghulam Qadir. The emperor refused to see either of them. Then Ghulam Kadir obtained ingress by bribing one of the guards and indulged in that train of brutal excesses, ending with the blinding of the aged emperor, which have rendered his name infamous to all posterity. It was not until the beginning of the year 1789 that Sindhia arrived at Dehli, re-estab lished his influence, and put an end to the indignities of the unfortunate descendant of Timur. Muttra was one of the favourite residences of Madhoji Sindhia. He had spent some time there on his first advance to Dehli in 1784; and when he retreated to Gwalior, he left the Gosain Himmat Bahadur, the leader of a body of irregular troops in his service, in charge of the city and a considerable tract of country round. During the subsequent fighting round Agra, Himmat Bahadur con trived to establish a secret understanding with Ismail Beg and Ghulam Qadir and to remain unmolested in possession of the tract.[26] Sindhia again took up his residence at Muttra after the occupation of Dehli, and it was here that Ghulam Qadir was brought a prisoner to him to undergo punishment for his atrocious crimes. He was first sent round the bazar bound on an ass with his head towards its tail; and then he was piecemeal mutilated, his tongue being first torn out, and then his eyes and subsequently his nose, ears and hands cut off. In this horrible condition he was despatched to Dehli; but to anticipate his death from exhaustion he was hanged on a tree by the road-side. There is nothing else to record regarding Muttra during the rule of the Marathas, which lasted up till 1803. The Jats under Ranjit Singh had thrown in their lot with Sindhia in 1785. The latter restored them their eleven parganas which yielded a revenue of ten lakhs. Included in this territory was the pargana of Dig, which had been held by the emperor since its capture by Najaf Khan. The Jats remained thenceforward faithfully attached to Sindhia's cause till 1803.

On the last day of 1802 was signed the celebrated treaty of Bassein between the British and the Peshwa, and on April 20th, 1803, Poona was occupied by General Wellesley. Previous to this treaty the Maratha chieftains, Sindlhia and Holkar, had been fighting for the possession of the titular head of the Maratha confederacy; but on the conclusion of the treaty they put aside their common differences and united forces against the British. The prime mover in the confederacy was Daulat Rao Sindhia who had long viewed with alarm the rapidly increasing power of the company, and since the cession of large stretches of territory by the Nawab of Oudh considered that his supremacy was threatened in Agra, Muttra and Dehli. These suspicions were constantly fanned by the French officers, headed by Perron. Sindhia first took the field in southern India with his ally, the Bhonsla of Nagpur. Thereupon Lord Lake in August 1803 started from Cawnpore with the grand Army of the Doab amounting to 10,500 men. On September 4th, Aligarh was stormed and Lord Lake continued his advance to Dehli. On the 14th of the same month took place the celebrated action which is usually called the battle of Dehli, and the same day Dehli was occupied. Here Colonel David Ochterlony was left with a small force, as resident at the court of the aged and blind emperor, Shah Alam, and on September 24th the march was resumed towards Agra. It was in the course of this march, on October 2nd, 1803, that Muttra was first occupied by the British. Of the subsequent siege and capture of Agra and the glorious victory of Laswari, it is not necessary here to give more than a passing mention. Suffice it to say that, as a result of Lord Lake's campaign, Daulat Rao Sindhia was forced to sign, on December 30th, 1803, the treaty of Surji Anjangaon, whereby the Muttra district and other territory were surrendered to the company. The ceded territory in this district consisted of parganas Nohjhil and Sonsa, having an estimated revenue of Rs. 1,15,000 and Rs. 20,000 respectively, and forming a part of General Perron's jagir; parganas Mat, Sadabad, Sahpau and Mahaban, bringing in a revenue of Rs. 4,05,012, which belonged to General de Boigne's jagir; pargana Muttra and the customs collected in Nohjhil, yielding together Rs. 55,000, which were under Ambaji Inglia; and the zamindari of Ranjit Singh. Part of the latter, consisting of the villages of Husainganj and Panigaon with a revenue of Rs. 6,000, were in the Doab, while the remainder, estimated to yield Rs. 13, 23,370, lay west of the Jumna. Ranjit Singh, the Raja of Bharatpur, threw in his lot with the British directly after the capture of Dehli; and on September 29th, 1803, a treaty of friendship by which his inde pendence was recognised was concluded with him. On October 4th, Ranjit Singh himself joined Lord Lake with a force of 5,000 horse and rendered valuable assistance both at the capture of Agra and at the battle of Laswari. The original grant made to Ranjit Singh in 1784 by Sindhia had been subsequently augmented by an additional grant of country yielding four lakhs in revenue. In 1803, so pleased was General Lake with the assistance rendered by Ranjit Singh that he made him an additional grant of the parganas or districts of Kishangarh, Kathumar, Rewari, Gokul and Sahar.


During the campaign against Sindhia, Jaswant Rao Holkar had held aloof. He had been swayed throughout by two con flicting motives-a desire to overwhelm the British which impelled him to an alliance with Sindhia and the Bhonsla, and a fear of assisting Sindhia to become the chief power in India. Finally his jealousy and distrust of Sindhia proved stronger than his hatred of the British and he stood inactive while Wellesley and Lake crushed the confederacy of Sindhia and the Bhonsla. The end of the campaigns which concluded with the victories of Laswari and Assaye, however, saw the British armies widely separated and both much diminished in strength, and Holkar judged that the time had at last come for him to take the field. His first move was northwards to his capital, Indore, where he threatened the dominions of the Raja of Jaipur, now a tributary of the British. Foiled in this movement by the protection afforded to Jaipur by Lord Lake who was at Biana, he turned southwards and plundered Mahesar, a rich city on the Nerbudda. Meanwhile he continued to pursue negotiations with the British and on February 16th, 1804, sent his vakils or agents to Lord Lake's camp to propound his demands. These were that he should be permitted to levy the chauth as of old; that twelve districts in the Doab and the district of Kunch in Bundelkhand, which he claimed as ancient possessions of his family, should be restored to him; that the district of Hariana should be ceded to him; and that the country then in his power should be guaranteed. The terms were obviously extravagant and inadmissible, and in April 1804, war having become inevitable, orders were issued to the British commanders to attack Holkar, wherever he might be found. Operations commenced with the advance of Colonel Monson to Jaipur, when Holkar retired southwards and Lord Lake returned to Agra. Matters at once now took a turn for the worse. A British detachment was cut off and severely defeated at Kunch and Colonel Monson, after capturing the fortress of Hinglasgarh in Indore, was compelled to beat a disastrous retreat to Agra. Holkar, at the head of 60,000 horse, 15,000 infantry and 192 guns, advanced triumphantly to Muttra on September 15th, and Colonel Browne, the commandant, who was at the head of a considerable garrison, retired hurriedly on Agra. The town of Muttra with much baggage and a store of grain fell into the hands of Holkar, the Jat Raja of Bharatpur began to waver in his fidelity to the British, and great alarm filled the minds of the inhabitants of the Doab. The arrival of Lord Lake at Agra, however, soon restored confidence. On October 1st he marched from Sikandra and reached Muttra three days later, almost unopposed. On the first day's march no enemy was seen, but after this the Maratha horse hung about the columns on the march. This induced Lake to halt at Muttra in order to collect supplies and in the hope of bringing on a general action. On October 4th a convoy of 100 camels, bringing grain to the army from Agra, was captured with its escort of convalescent sepoys. This happened at the village of Aring only nine miles from Muttra. On October the 7th and 10th Lake made two attempts to bring Holkar's horse to action at this place; but little impression was made on the enemy, who scattered in all directions when attacked. Meanwhile Holkar advanced with overwhelming force to Dehli and besieged Colonel Ochterlony, and on October 12th Lord Lake, having obtained fresh supplies, left Muttra to relieve the hard-pressed garrison. The march was practically unopposed and Dehli was reached on October 18th, the Maratha infantry and guns retreating a few days before in the direction of Dig. Holkar himself with the cavalry set off northwards to try and overwhelm a British detachment under Colonel Burn at Shamli, sixty-four miles north-east from Dehli. Lake at once set out in pursuit of Holkar with a small force and despatched Major-General Fraser to deal with the Maratha infantry and artillery at Dig. With General Lake's march and victory and the other operations conducted by the Marathas round Farrukhabad in the Doab, we have here no concern; but General Fraser with the 76th Regiment and six battalions of native infantry, accom panied by some twenty 6-pounder guns, left the Mughal capital on November 5th. On reaching Gobardhan, some eight miles from Dig, on November 10th, General Fraser was joined by the 1st Bengal European Regiment. The Maratha army, consisting of 24 battalions, a considerable number of horse, and 160 guns, more than half of which were 16 or 18-pounders, was encamped between the fortress of Dig and the village of Qasba Au. This vil lage, which was fortified, guarded the Maratha right. Their left rested on Dig, the garrison of which made no effort to con ceal the alliance of the Raja with Holkar. Two days were spent in reconnoitring the Maratha position, and on November 13th the enemy were defeated with great slaughter after a hardwon fight. This brilliant victory, however, was purchased at the price of the life of the officer in command; for General Fraser was brought into Muttra fatally wounded, and survived only a few days. He was buried in the cantonment cemetery, where a monument is erected to his memory with the following inscription; "Sacred to the memory of Major-General Henry Fraser, of His Majesty's 11th Regiment of Foot, who commanded the British Army at the battle of Dig on the 13th of November, 1804, and by his judgment and valour achieved an important and glorious victory. He died in consequence of a wound he received when leading on the troops, and was interred here on the 25th of November, 1804, in the 40th year of his age. The army lament his loss with the deepest sorrow; his country regards his heroic conduct with grateful admiration; history will record his fame and perpetuate the glory of his illustrious deeds."

Meanwhile General Lake ,after a most persevering pursuit, came up with Holkar's cavalry at Farrukhabad on november 17th,and falling on them by surprise, put three thousand of them to the sword. Holkar himself fled on the first approach of the British in the direction of Dig to rejoin his shattered infantry, and thither Lord Lake followed him on December 1st by way of Muttra. Reinforced on December 10th by a force from Agra, Lake proceeded to besiege the fort at Dig, which after 12 days of battering was carried by assault on December 25th, the garrison escaping to Bharatpur. Two courses now lay open to Lord Lake. He could either leave the Raja of Bharatpur to be dealt with subsequently and devote his energies to the pursuit of Holkar, who had fled southwards, or he might decide to attack Bharatpur and so, by its capture and that of the remaining strongholds in that state, which were of no strength, deprive Holkar of his last remaining footing in Hindustan, Lake decided on the second course. His cavalry were for the time in no condition to undertake another rapid pursuit of Holkar and Colonel Skinner had been despatched to Aligarh to raise more irregulars. On January 2nd, 1805, he encamped two miles south-west of Bharatpur, and, the point of attack having bean chosen, began the memorable siege on the following day. It would be foreign to the history of the Muttra district to detail all the operations of this siege. Suffice it to say that four separate assaults were made with desperate bravery on the fortress on January 9th, January 21st, February 20th and Febru ary 21st, and were in each case beaten off. After the failure of the fourth assault a halt was called in the operations, but no pressure was removed from the fortress. On the night of February 22nd the ordnance was withdrawn from the batteries, and on the 24th the army changed ground to a spot six and a half miles north-east of the town, covering the roads to Agra, Muttra and Dig. Detach ments were sent away for supplies, and the troops remaining in camp were set to work on the construction of great numbers of fascines and gabiones. Fresh guns, with ammunition, were brought up from Fatehgarh and Aligarh, and those rendered unserviceable by constant firing were repaired. The Raja of Bharatpur saw with alarm the determined attitude of Lake. On March 23rd Major-General Smith joined Lake, after his pursuit and defeat of Amir Khan, and on March 29th Holkar's headquarters about eight miles west of Bharatpur were beaten up, Holkar himself narrowly escaping capture. On April 2nd a similar attack was made by night resulting in severe loss to the enemy, and on April 8th the army again changed its camp, marching to nearly the same position on the south-east of Bharatpur that it had occupied during the late siege. This movement brought the Raja's desire to make terms to a head; and only two days later he concluded peace with Lake. The Raja paid twenty lakhs of rupees, renounced his alliance with the enemies of the British Government and all his claims to the advantages secured by the treaty in 1803. As a result he lost all the parganas ceded to him by Lord Lake in that year, including Sonkh, Sousa and Sahar in this district. Only the pargana of Gobardhan was left in the possession of Lachhman Singh, the Raja's son. The fort ress of Dig was kept in British hands until the Government should be satisfied of Ranjit Singh's loyalty.


The British force before Bharatpur broke up on April 21st. Meanwhile Sindhia, whose enmity to Holkar had at first kept him quiet, began to show signs of open hostility. Lord Lake accordingly after leaving Bharatpur advanced towards Gwalior. But as soon as he reached Dholpur, many of Sindhia's chiefs deserted him and he was forced to sue for peace. Holkar, no longer having a base of operations at Bharatpur against the company's territory, retired westwards; and there being no prospect of further immediate hostilities, the British army was dispersed. All the troops, however, were cantoned to the west of the Jumna, so as to be ready for prompt concentration in a case of necessity. The British infantry under Colonel Monson was stationed at Fatehpur Sikri; the artillery and native cavalry and infantry were divided between Agra and; Muttra; while the three Light Dragoon regiments, with their galloper guns, were housed at Sikandra. War, however, soon broke out again. After vainly endeavour ing to persuade the Raja of Jaipur to join him, Holkar marched northward in September, hoping to obtain the support of the Sikhs. Lord Lake immediately pursued him, marching from Muttra towards Dehli on October 10th, 1805. On October 28th he was joined on the march by the garrison of Dig, that fortress having been returned to the Raja of Bharatpur in consideration of a large money payment. Dehli was reached on November 7th and on December 7th the army came in touch with Holkar on the banks of the river Beas, not far from Amritsar. Holkar now found he could fly no further, and on January 6th, 1806, the long-drawn-out struggle was brought to an end by the con clusion of a treaty, which stripped him of most of his possessions. By virtue of this treaty he renounced all claim to territory north of the Chambal and in Bundelkhand.

With 1805 began a period of undisturbed peace and rapid prosperity for the city of Muttra. The city remained always a military station; but it was not until 1824 that the district was first formed, the civil headquarters being located at Sadabad. In 1832 Muttra became also the civil headquarters of the district, which assumed, with some unimportant exceptions, its present dimen sions then for the first time. Raja Ranjit Singh died in 1805, only eight months after the siege of Bharatpur, leaving four sons, Randhir, Baladeva, Harideva and Lachhman. He was succeeded by the eldest, Randhir, who died in 1823, leaving the throne to his brother, Baladeva. The reigns of these chieftains were unevent ful and they are commemorated in Muttra by the two handsome chattris on the margin of the Manasi Ganga at Gobardhan. Baladeva only reigned 18 months, leaving a son, Balwant Singh, then six years of age. He was recognised as Raja by the British Government, but his cousin Durjan Sal, son of Lachhman Singh, who had also advanced claims to the succession on Randhir's death, rose up against him and had him thrown into prison. Sir David Ochterlony, the resident at Dehli, promptly moved out in force in support of the rightful heir, but his march was stopped by a peremptory order from Lord Amherst, who considered that the recognition of the heir apparent during the lifetime of his father did not impose on the Government any obligation to maintain him in opposition to the presumed wishes of the chiefs and people. Durjan Sal, however, while professing to leave the decision of his claims to the British Government, made prepara­tions to maintain them by force. He was secretly assisted by the rulers of the neighbouring Rajput and Maratha states, and at last, when the excitement threatened a protracted war, the Governor-General reluctantly yielded to the representations of Sir Charles Metcalfe and consented to the deposition of the usurper. A large force was collected, consisting of 20,000 infantry and 100 guns, under the command of Lord Combermere, who took charge of the troops at Muttra on December 6th, 1825.

Five days later the army advanced to Bharatpur, and, negotiations for surrender having failed, the second siege of Bharatpur began. After operations extending over nearly six weeks, the fortress was stormed on January 18th, 1826. Durjan Sal was taken prisoner and sent to Allahabad; and on February 5th, 1826, in public durbar, Balwant Singh was established on the throne under the regency of his mother, Amrit Kunwar,[27] and the superintendence of a political agent. On February 20th the army left Bharatpur and the district saw no more military operations for over 30 years. Under Regulation V of 1826, the pargans of Gobardhan was resumed and annexed to the British district of Agra.[28].


The .earliest indications of impending trouble in the district, came to light at the end of January 1857. Mr. Mark Thornhill was collector of Muttra, and one day after his return from a tour in his district he found on his table four cakes of coarse flour, about the size and thickness of a biscuit, with a report that a man had come to a village and given a cake to the watchman with injunctions to bake four like it and to distribute them to the watchmen of adjacent villages. These cakes were the famous chapatis which were distributed over Upper India at the time of the Mutiny and they were signals to those in the secret to hold themselves ready for some explosion. The matter, however, after causing some wonder ceased to be talked about; and so quiet did things appear that a little later Mr. Thornhill proceeded to Agra on leave. On March 12th a telegram reached Agra of the Mutiny at Meerut and Mr. Thornhill returned to Muttra, where on March 14th he received intelligence from the magistrate of Gurgaon that the mutineers were approaching the district. This intelligence was confirmed the same evening by various European gentlemen on the customs and railway establishments in the north of the district. The ladies and non-combatants were accordingly sent off immediately to Agra, and left at day break on May 15th. At midnight, May 16th, the assistant magistrate of the Gurgaon district, galloped in to Mr. Thornhill, informing him that the mutineers had entered Gurgaon, that the country had risen to join them, and that the whole rebel forces were marching on Agra. The magistrate of Gurgaon and his clerk came in a little later and, succeeding them at short intervals, came all the English and Christians residing along the road to Dehli. On the same day Mr. Thornhill was surprised by the arrival of the Bharatpur army, some 3,000 strong, under Captain Nixon. The latter was the chief assistant to the political agent at Bharatpur and had, on receiving news of the outbreak at Dehli, proposed and received permission to employ the Bharatpur troops against the rebels. He had been authorised to march on Dehli via Muttra. But by some mistake this order had not been communicated to Mr. Thornhill. As the information received led him to believe that the mutineers were approaching Muttra, Captain Nixon at first resolved to remain in Muttra and prepare for the reception of the rebels there. Some barricades were thrown up and other measures were adopted to enable the inhabitants to co-operate with the soldiers. There were at this time six and a quarter lakhs of treasure in the Muttra treasury under a guard of a company of the 67th Native Infantry. Doubtful of the fidelity of the guard, Mr. Thornhill had asked for permission to send this money into Agra and had collected carts ready to transport it there. On May 17th he was informed by the Seths that the sepoy guard were bent on carrying off this treasure and had only been prevented from doing so the day before by the arrival of the troops under Captain Nixon. Mr. Thornhill thereupon wrote again to Agra for the required permission, but received later a despatch from Agra informing him that the Lieutenant-Governor did not share his apprehensions regarding the sepoy guard and that the treasure shduld be kept at Muttra. On May 19th information arrived from Dehli to the effect that the rebel army had halted there, resolved to fortify the capital; and Captain Nixon accordingly moved out to march to Dehli, leaving a detachment behind at Muttra to protect the city. Mr. Clifford remained in charge of the station; but he soon after fell ill and his place was taken by Mr. Dashwood, who was accompanied by Mr. Elliot Colvin, son of the Lieutenant-Governor. Mr. Thornhill accompanied Captain Nixon to Kosi, where they halted. They found that the whole country side was much disturbed by the news of the insurrection and proclamation of the king of Dehli. A detachment of 300 Bharatpur infantry and two guns were left with Mr. Thornhill under the command of Sirdar Raghunath Singh. Meanwhile disturbances became everywhere rife in the district. Kunwar Dildar Ali Khan, a large zamindar in Mat, was murdered by his tenants; Umrao Bahadur, a relative of his, was besieged in his house and with difficulty escaped, and several murders and other outrages were committed. On May 29th Mr. Thornhill determined to return to Muttra and got as far as Chhata, when he was met by Messrs. Dashwood, Colvin, Joyce, the head clerk, and Lieutenant Gilbon, who informed him of the mutiny of the treasury guard. After Mr. Thornhill's departure from Muttra, a detachment consisting of men from the 44th and 67th Regiments of Native Infantry had been sent from Agra to relieve the treasure guard at Muttra and to escort the treasure into Agra. The treasure was packed and laden on carts and Lieutenant Burlton of the 67th gave the order to march. As soon as the word was given the subahdar asked where they were going to escort the treasure. "To Agra, of course," replied Lieutenant Burlton, and a cry at once arose "No; to Dehli, to Dehli." Lieutenant Burlton exclaimed "You traitors", whereupon a sepoy standing close beside him shot him through the chest. This was followed by a rush of sepoys into the office and the opening of an indiscriminate musketry fire on all the Europeans. These, unharmed and unprepared, jumped through the windows and ran for their lives to the river-side, whence they proceeded to the city, procured horses from the kotwal and fled to Mr. Thornhill at Chhata. The sepoys then set fire to the offices, burnt two bungalows, released the prisoners in the jail, and marched off with the treasure to Dehli, destroying all Government buildings they came across on the road. For some reason unknown, a lakh and a quarter in copper coinage, together with several thousands of rupees worth of cash and jewels, were left behind; and as soon as this became known the whole city headed by the Bharatpur detachment flocked down to plunder it. From plundering they proceeded to fighting, and the greatest confusion prevailed. Lieutenant Burlton's body was stripped and thrown into a ditch, where it was subse quently found by Mr. Thornhill who buried it. The next afternoon all the villagers for miles round poured into the station and pillaged it. The city, however, was secured by the Seths, Radha Krishn and Gobind Das, who raised a body of men at their own expense and, throughout the whole period of the disturbances, rendered most loyal help to the authorities in maintaining order.

Hardly had the fugitives from Muttra finished their story to Mr. Thornhill than intelligence was brought that the rebel treasure guard was advancing along the Dehli road. Captain Nixon, with Mr. G. F. Harvey and other Europeans, was then encamped at Hodal; and thither Mr. Thornhill and his party went to join him. At Kosi they tried to take Raghunath Singh and his men along with them; but the latter blankly refused either to go or to give up the guns entrusted to their charge. As soon as the party joined the camp at Hodal, Captain Nixon made preparations for intercepting the mutineers who were approaching. But the whole Bharatpur force now mutinied and, Captain Nixon's appeals to their honour failing to win them over, all the Europeans were forced to seek safety in flight. Captain Nixon and the others decided to proceed to the army before Dehli, but Mr. Thornhill and his head clerk, Mr. Joyce, with their escort, 23 in number, turned their faces towards Muttra. Arrived before the city, they found it in too disturbed a condition to be safe and accordingly pursued their way to Agra, which they reached on June 1st.

Mr. Thornhill did not long remain at Agra. With the consent of the Lieutenant-Governor he collected a few volunteers, whom, however, he soon after sent back, and returned with Mr. Joyce to Muttra. He took up his abode in the house of the Seths and set about reorganising the government of the city. The Seths were loyal to the core, but the general attitude of the people was decidedly hostile. In the district absolute anarchy prevailed, the police and revenue establishments of the Government having been ejected, decree-holders and auction purchasers turned out or murdered, and Banias everywherelooted. Mr. Thornhill succeeded in winning over the Bharatpur contingent and inflicting chastisement on some of the more notorious rebels in the neighbourhood of the city; and for a short time quiet reigned in Muttra. On June 12th, martial law was proclaimed in the district and on June 14th the Kotah contingent, under Captain Dennys, arrived from Agra and enabled Mr. Thornhill to take more active measures. The town of Rays in particular had been the scene of great disorder and had been completely plundered by one Debi Singh, who set himself up as Raja. Captain Dennys moved out in this direction with Mr. Thornhill, Debi Singh was caught and hung, some other marauders were punished, and the country was tranquillized. It was entrusted, pending the restoration of British rule, to the bigger zamindars. The contingent returned to Muttra on June 29th the Kotah detachment was recalled to Agra on account of the approach of the rebels from Nimach. The Gwalior contingent at Aligarh mutinied on July 2nd, and Mr. Thornhill, in spite of the remonstrances of Captain Alexander, who was with him, resolved to return to Muttra and warn Mr. Dashwood. The situation was very critical; even the Seths counselled flight; and after a brief consultation the whole party resolved to retire to Agra. The rest of the party went by boat down the Jumna, but Mr. Thornhill, accompanied by Mr. Joyce, preferred to keep to the road and reached Agra in safety, disguised in native dress, after many exciting adventures, through the middle of the rebel army. The whole road was lined with escaped prisoners and the glare of the conflagration at Agra, which had been set on fire, was visible a few miles out of Muttra. The rest of the party, after being fired on by the villagers along the river bank and being compelled to abandon their boat also reached Agra safely a few days later.

On July 6th the Nimach and Morar mutineers after the action at Shahganj outside Agra reached Muttra and were wel comed by the inhabitants with open arms. The Seths had fled, leaving their affairs to the management of their agent, Mangi Lai, who levied a contribution, according to their means, on all inhabitants and prevented the city from being plundered. In this he was ably assisted by Mir Imdad Ali Khan, the tahsildar of Kosi, who had been specially appointed deputy collector. After staying two days, the rebels pursued their way to Dehli. The north and west of the district had all along remained disturbed and rebellious owing to the lawlessness of the Gujars; and considerable confusion prevailed in Mat and Nohjhil. Sadabad and Mahaban had been tranquillized by Mr. Thornhill, but as soon as the news of the burning of Agra spread, all the country round Sadabad rose and plundered the tahsil and thana. This rising was headed by one Deo Karan. The revenue, however, continued to be paid because the system of governing through the zamindars had been introduced. On September 26th the rebels, in their retreat from Dehli, again passed through Muttra. Their stay on this occasion lasted for a week, and great oppression was practised on the inhabitants, both here and in Brindaban. They were only diverted from general pillage by the influence of one of their own leaders, a subahdar from Nimach by name Hira Singh, who prevailed upon them to spare the holy city. For a few days there was a show of regular government; some of the chief officers of the collector's court such as Rahmat Ullah, the sadr qanungo, Manohar Lal, sarishtadar, and Wazir Ali, one of the muharrirs, were taken by force and compelled to issue the orders of the new administrators; while Maulvi Karamat Ali was proclaimed in the Jama Masjid as the viceroy of the Dehli emperor. But it appears that he also was an involuntary tool in their hands, for he was subsequently put on his trial and acquit ted. It is said that, during their stay in the city, the rebels found their most obliging friends among the Chaubes. After threatening Brindaban with their cannon and levying a contribution on the inhabitants, the rebels moved away to Hathras aid Bareilly.


Mir Imdad Ali and the Seths now returned from Bharatpur where they had taken refuge. On October 5th Mr. Thornhill who was at Agra returned with some troops to Sadabad, where be caught Deo Karan and hanged him; but he was almost immediately afterwards ordered back by the Lieutenant-Governor, and remained at Agra till its relief by Greathed on October 10th. It was not, however, until Greathed had been reinforced by Cotton, who took over the command of the troops at Agra, that the offensive was resumed. Colonel Cotton's column then advanced along the Dehli road, accompanied by Mr. Thornhill, and reached Muttra on November 1st. The advance was continued as far as Kosi, where Mir Imdad Ali and Natthu Lal, tahsildar of Sahar, restored order among the Gujars, who had all along been the most active promoters of disaffection. While engaged in their suppression Mir Imdad Ali received a gunshot wound in the chest, from which he subsequently recovered. At Chhata some rebel zamindars had taken possession of the fortified sarai, and one of its bastions had to be blown up before an entry could be effected. At the same time the town was set on fire and partially destroyed, and twenty-two of the leading men were shot. Colonel Cotton's column was soon after recalled; but Mr. Thornhill was left at Muttra and under his able management general tranquility was restored everywhere in the district except round Nohjhil, which was not finally pacified until General Seaton's column had cleared Aligarh and the Doab of the wandering bands of rebels that infested those parts. It was not till July 1858 that matters had sufficiently settled down for the public treasury to be removed from the Seth's house to the police lines in the civil station.


Few districts in the United Provinces were less affected by the great rebellion than Muttra, and this is the more remarkable on that the city lies on the high road between the two old Mughal capitals which were centres of disaffection and headquarters of large bodies of mutineers. This result was in no small measure due to the conspicuous loyalty displayed by the native officers of the Government and the people generally. First and foremost came the great family of the Seths, the head of which, Seth Lakhmi Chand, received the confiscated estates of Umrao Bahadur, Mazhar Ali Khan and Rahm Ali Khan, yielding an annual revenue of Rs. 16,125, rent-free for life and at half the sanctioned revenue for the life of his successors. Their munib or confiden tial agent, Mangi Lal, obtained a commendatory letter of thanks from the Government. On Raja Gobind Singh of Hathras, the son of Raja Tikam Singh, were conferred the ten villages which the Gujars had forfeited by their open rebellion. Mir Imdad Ali, whose services had been conspicuous throughout the period of the disturbances and who owing to his position as tahsildar of Kosi was in a post of peculiar difficulty and danger, received a khilat of Rs. 1,500 together with the proprietary right in a village assessed at Rs. 1,200 with the remission of half the revenue for his life; and on his retirement from Government employ a special addition of Rs. 50 a month to his ordinary pension was granted to him. Various other rewards were bestowed on the Govern ment officials, tahsildars, thanadars and others, who had distin guished themselves by remaining at their posts and carrying on the administration in spite of the rebellion; while khilats of Rs. 50, as well as the remission of one year's revenue, were granted to a large number of Jat and Rajput zamindars in parganas Kosi and Aring, who had lent valuable help to the authorities in suppressing the Gujar rebels. Last but not least came Dilawar Khan jamadar who with four other Sowars conducted Mr. Thornhill and Mr. Joyce safely through the rebel army when they escaped to Agra in July 1857. He was an old and deserving soldier of 45 years' service; his pay was increased by Rs. 20 per month, a reward of Rs. 250 was given him, and his pension was doubled on retirement.


The subsequent history of Muttra is uneventful. It was not again troubled by military operations. In the period since the Mutiny steady progress has been made in prosperity, due to the introduction of canal irrigation, the improvement in com munications and the development of railways. It has only been disturbed by the famines and similar calamities, of which some account has been given in the preceding pages.


  1. Ramayana,VII,pp.67-68
  2. Vincent Smith, Early history of India, p.205
  3. Ibid,p.42
  4. Vincent Smith, Early history of India, p.178
  5. Vincent Smith, Early history of India, p.212.The occupation of Muttra by Menander depends on the authority of the Garga Samhita, written about B.C.50(p.205)
  6. That is Sakastene
  7. The evidence for the facts recounted in this paragraph are largely numismatic. Mr.Vincent Smith’s account has been followed and the references are Early History of India, pp.206-217; and J.R.A.S.,1903, Art.1.,passim.
  8. Cunningham,Arch.Rep.1.,p.238
  9. The above account follows closely that of Mr.Vincent Smith, Early History of India ,chapter X to which reference should be made for fuller details. One of the obscurest points connected with Kushan history is chronology. For this reference should be made to J.R.A.S.,1903 , art.1
  10. Vogel., Ep.Ind.vol.VIII,p.166; and Bloch, ibid., p.179
  11. This paragraph is based on notes kindly contributed by Mr. j.Ph. Vogel and A.S.R. 1906-07
  12. J.R.A.S., 1909, pp 53-77
  13. Vincent Smith, Early History of India,pp. 232 and 233
  14. E.H.I., vol.ll, pp.-43-45
  15. Brigg’s Ferishta, vol, l p.59
  16. E.H.I.,IV.,p.263
  17. E.H.I.,VI.,p.188
  18. E.H.I.,V.,pp.243-244
  19. E.H.I.,VII.,p.184
  20. E.H.I.,VI.,p.386
  21. The story is told at length by Bernier, Travels, Constable’s edition, page 55 foll.,and in Storia di Mogor,Irvine’s translation, vol. l , pp.299-306. The latter lay the scene at Koila-ghat, near Aurangabad.
  22. There is some doubt about the name.Irvine in The Later Mughals calls the place Sorah
  23. E.H.I.,VlI.,p.184
  24. E.H.I.,Vlll.,p.53
  25. It was not completed till 1756
  26. Duff's"Marathas",vol lll,p.23
  27. She was a native of Dhadhu in Sadabad,where there is a garden and a chattri erected by her.
  28. It is said in the Regulation that Gobardhan was resumed because Lachhman Singh is died. Durjan Sal was son of Lachhman Singh, and it is uncertain whether the grant had been continued to him
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