About Basti (U.P.)

 

     ORIGIN OF NAME OF DISTRICT

    The tract comprising the present district was remote and much of it was covered with forest. But gradually the area became inhabitant, or want of recorded and authentic history it cannot, with any degree of certainty, be said how the district came to known by its present name on account of the original habitation (Basti) having being selected by the Kalhan Raja as a seat of his Raj, an event which probably occurred in the sixteenth century. With the passage of time, the place prospered and in 1801 it became the Tehsil headquarter and was chosen as the district headquarter of the newly established district in 1865. Since then it has steadily grow both in population and in general importance.

ANCIENT HISTORY

        In ancient times the country around Basti was known as Kosala.The Shatpath Brahman speaks of Kosala as one of the countries of the Vadic Aryans and the grammarian Panini mentions it in one of his Sutras. It was the in RAM CHANDRA the eldest son of Dashratha, that the glory of the Kosala royal density reach its culmination. He is credited with the establishment of an ideally lawful state, the proverbial RAM RAJYA . In Kosala itself Rama's elder son Kush ascended the thrown of Ayodhya and the younger son Love became the ruler of the northern part of the kingdom with it capital Shrawasti. In the 93rd generation from Ikshvaku and 30th from Rama  was Brihadbala, the las famous king of the Ikshvaku density who was killed in Great Mahabharta battle.

      With the decline of the Guptas in sixth century A.D., Basti also began gradually to become desolate. At this time a new dynasty, that of the Maukharies, with its capital as Kannauje, assumed an important position on the political map of northern India and perhaps this kingdom in included present district also. also.

      In the beginning of the 9th century A.D., the Gurjara Pratihara king, Nagbhatta II, overthrew the Ayodhyas who was then ruling at Kannauj, and made this city the capital of his growing empire which rose to its greatest height in the reign of the famous Mihirbhoj(836-885 A.D.). From the time of Mahipal the power of Kannauj become to decline and Avadh was divided into small chieftainships, but all of them had ultimately to yield to newly growing power of Gahadwals of Kannauj. Jaychandra(1170-1194 A.D.), the last important ruler of the dynasty was killed in the battle of Chandawar(near Etawah) fighting against the invading army of Shahabuddin Mohd. Gauri. Soon after his death Kannauj occupied by the Turks.

       According to legends, for centuries Basti was a wilderness and that greater part of Avad was occupied by the Bhars. No definite evidence is available about the Bhars origin and early history. The evidence of an extensive Bhar kingdom in the district can be gleaned only from the ruins of ancient brick buildings popularly ascribed to the Bhars and found extant in a number of villages of this district.

MEDIEVAL HISTORY

       In the beginning of the 13th century, Nasir-ud-din Mahmud, the elder son of Iltutmish, became the governor of Avad in 1225 and is said to have completely crushed all resistance on the part of the Bhars. In 1323, Gayasuddin Tuglaq march through Behriech and Gonda on his way to Bengal but he seems to have avoided the perils of the forest of district Basti and gone by river from Ayodhya. In 1479 Basti and adjoining district appear to have remained under control of the successor of Khawaja Jahan who was ruler of kingdom of Jaunpur. Bahlol Lodi handed over the charge of the government of  this reign on his nephew Kala Pahar Formula with headquarters at Behraich and which fairly included the district of Basti and adjoining parts.

       About this time, Mahatma Kabir, the well known poet and philosopher lived at Maghar in this district.

       It is said that before the advent of the leading Rajput clans, there were the local Hindus and Hindu Rajas in the districts and they are said to have supplanted the aboriginal tribes like Bhars, Tharus, Domes and Domekatars, whom general tradition declares to have been the early rulers, atleast after the fall of ancient kingdoms and this appearance of the Buddhist faith. These Hindus included the Bhumihars, Sarvariya Brahmans and Visen. This was the state of the Hindu society in the district before the arrival of the Rajputs from the west. In the middle of the 13th century the Srinetra was the newcomer to have first established in this reign. Their chief, Chandrasen, expel the Domkatar from the eastern Basti. The Kalhans Rajput of Gonda province established  themselves in Pargana Basti. South of the Kalhans country lay Nagar, Ruled by a Gautam Raja. There was also an ailed clan in Mahuli known as Mahsuiyas are Rajputs of Mahso.

       Other Rajput clan of special mention was that of Chauhan.It is said that three chief Mukund fled from Chittaur who ruled on undivided part(now it is in district Siddharthnagar) of district Basti. By the last quarter of the 14th century Amorha a part of district Basti were ruled by Kayasth dynasty.

       During the reign of Akbar and his successor the district formed a part of the Sarkar Gorakhpur. In the earlier days of his reign the district served as the asylum for the rebel Afgan leaders like Ali Quli Khan, Khan Zaman, the governor of Jaunpur. During the Moghal period in 1680 Aurangzeb sent one Qazi Khalil-ur-Rahman as the chakledar ( holder of the tract ) of Gorakhpur probably to get the regular payment of revenue from the local chiefs. Kalil-ur-Rahman marched from Ayodhya to force the chieftains of the districts adjoining Gorakhpur to make payment of revenue. As a result of this move, the rajas of Amorha and Nagar, who had recently acquired power, promptly tendered their submission and confrontation was thus averted. The governor then proceeded to Maghar which he again garrisoned, compelling the raja of Bansi to retire to this fortress on the bank of Rapti. The town of Khalilabad, now headquarters of newly created district Sant Kabir Nagar, was named after Khalil-ur-Rahman, who tomb was erected at Maghar. A road leading from Ayodhya to Gorakhpur was constructed. In February 1690, Himmat Khan ( son of Khan Jahan Bahadur Zafar jang Kokaltash, subahdar of Allahabad ) was appointed subahdar of Avadh and faujdar (military commander ) of Gorakhpur who held the charge of Basti and adjoining districts for a long time.

MODERN HISTORY

         A great and far reaching change came over the sense when Saadat Khan was appointed governor of the subah of Avadh including the faujdari (commaandarship) of Gorakhpur on 9th September, 1772. At that time Bansi and Rasulpur were held by the Sarnet raja; Binayakpur by the Chauhan chieftain of Butwal; Basti by the Kalhan ruler; Amorha by the Kayastha raja; Nagar by the Gautams; Mahuli by the elder line of Suryavamsis; while Maghar alone was under the direct control of the nawab's deputy, who was strengthened by the Muslim garrison.

        In November 1801 Saadat Ali Khan, successor of Nawab Shujauddaula surrendered Gorakhpur, which then was inclusive of the present district Basti and other territory to the East India Company. Routledge had become as a first Collector of Gorakhpur.Some steps had been taken by Collector to inforce some order in the matter of collection of land revenue yet in order to assist the process a force was raised in March, 1802 by Caption Malcolm Mcleod. To cure the local chieftains of their obstinate attitude all their Fords, save those of Basti and Amorha Raja, were raise to ground.

         The part played by the Basti in the freedom struggle of 1857 is generally not ascribable exclusively; as the district was still forming but an outlying portion of Gorakhpur, possessing no civil station of its own. After capture of Gorakhpur by the English on January 5 1858, the freedom fighter had moved west ward an form double entrenchment at amorha in the south western part of the district, to obstruct the march of Rowcroft from Gorakhpur. The army opposed to Rowcroft was composed of about 15000 men entrenched at Belwa this large army of the nationalists comprised troops led by Mehndi Hasan the Nazim of Sultanpur, the Rajas of Gonda, Nanpara, Atrauli and the Raja of Chaurda in the Behriech district and many other talukdars including Guljar Ali, the rebel Sayyed of Amorha. In this action at Amorha which was one of the most memorable events of the freedom struggle, the freedom fighters were able to encircle the British force oppose to them.        

        In this struggle the loss freedom forces was estimated between 4 and 5 hundred killed and many others wounded. The position of the freedom forces at Amorha was reinforced by Mohammad Hasan of Gorakhpur who had join them later, with four thousand men. Rowcroft, hearing the arrival of Mohd. Hasan at Amorha, sent a detachment, under Major Cox. These were the events which had marked the conclusion of the freedom movement, so for the Basti was concerned.

             With the restoration of order and the discomfiture of the freedom fighters came the day of reckoning, and a heavy account had to be settled. Mohd. Hasan escaped the hard of the victors in consideration of his assistance once given to Colonel Lennox. The Bobu of Bakhira was hanged and the Raja of the Nagar avoided a similar fate by staving himself to death in prison with the bayonet of the prison guard. The Rani of Amorha lost her property for her complicity in the war independence which was given to Rani of Basti. The agent of Basti Rani was given land assessed at Rs. 1000=00. Similarly several others who had supported the British in some way or other betraying the freedom fighters, were awarded grants of land. The supporters of the freedom movement having been suppressed and the leaders annihilated, the alien rulers settled down to organised the civil administration. The peace of the district was secured by the maintenance of a garrison at Gorakhpur and also by the recognised police force. The one event of prime interest was the formation of the present district on the sixth of May, 1865.

       The Non-Co-operation Movement begin to appear in the district towards the close of 1920. In the preparation for this movement Mahatma Gandhi along with Jawahar Lal Nehru had visited the district on October 8, 1919. He had addressed a large gathering at Hathiyagarh Rehar near old town of  district Basti. Fortunately for India's struggle for freedom, the fatal inertia that had practically put an end, after calling off the Non-co-operative movement, to all its outwards activities, was removed by an action of the British government, namely the appointment of Siman Commission in 1928. The people of this district received a fresh impetus with the next visit of Mahatma Gandhi along with Jawahar Lal Nehru on October 8, 1929.

       The Quit India resolution pass by All India Congress Committee in its session at Bombay on August 8, 1942, marked the turning point in India's struggle for freedom. In Basti the movement had taken a serious turn. It was due to several causes, particularly the poverty of the people and nearness of the area to the B.H.U. at Varansi, from where batches of students arrive with the message of Do or Die. The students of Walterganj staged demonstration and organised meeting on august 15, 1942. A few days later the Railway station at Gaur was attacked causing damage to government property.

     In 1946 the Congress was again returned and it formed the Government. Then the came the long cherished dream of Independence true on the midnight of August 14-15, 1947. On the ave of Independence, thousands from the town and surrounding country side assembled at district headquarter Basti to hail freedom. National flag was hoisted at the Collectorate and other government and semi government buildings,private buildings too, throughout the district were bedecked with flag.

Geographical Introduction

      LOCATION & BOUNDARIES:- The district lies between the parallels of 26 23' and 27 30' North and Latitude and  82 17' and 83 20' East longitude. Its maximum length from north to south is about 75 km. and breadth from east to west about 70km. The district lies between newly created district Sant Kabir Nagar on the east and Gonda on the west On the south, the Ghaghra river separates it from the Faizabad and newly created district   named Ambedkar Nagar. While on the North  it is bounded by district Sidharth Nagar.

      AREA:-According to the 1991 census  the district covered an area of   7,309 sq. km. and with regard to size it occupies 7th place in the state. Owing to the changing  course of the Ghaghra, the area of the district is subjected to frequent alterations.

     POPULATION:-According to the census 1991, the district had a population of 27,50,764 persons of which 14,37,727 were males and 13,13,037 females. Of these 75,299 persons, resided in urban areas and 29,08,791 in the rural areas.

     Total literacy of this district is 8,21,206 of which 6,04,029 are males and 2,17,77 are females. Whereas the literacy rate of this district is 21 percent only. Total population of SC is about 5,79,812 of which 5,55,610 are residing in rural area and 24,202 are residing in urban area

TOPOGRAPHY

     The district,in spite of its apparent uniformity of aspect, it divided topographically into several distinct tract namely, the low valley of the Ghaghra in the south, extending from that river to its tributary, the Kuwana; the central upland ,between the latter river and the rapti; and the low and ill-drained paddy belt between the Rapti and the Nepal boundary.

      RIVER SYSTEM AND WATER RESOURCES

    The district has two main river systems namely, the Ghaghra and Rapti, both of which ultimately form a part of the great Gangetic system. The other streams of the district are the Kuwana,its tributaries are, the Rawai, The Manwar and the Katnehia, and the Ami is a tributary of Rapti. 

    The Ghaghra


  
River Ghaghra is formed by the combined waters of Kauriyala,Girwa, Chauka and other streams, which have their origin in the mountains of Kumaun and Nepal. The Ghaghra forms  the southern boundary of the district, from its entry opposite the sacred town of Ayodhya,where for a short distance it is usually known as the Saryu,as far as Belghat on the border of Gorakhpur. The river flows continually shifting cannel within a broad sandy bed. During the rains it carries as immense volume of water, but in dry weather it shrinks to small dimensions.

    The river has a constant tendency to change its course during the floods, and in this manner large tracts of land from time to time are transferred either to the northern or southern banks, rendering the total area of the district subject to incessant variation. These changes have occasionally been accompanied by the formation of large islands and deep stream rule prevails, the constant shifting of the jurisdiction of such lands from one district to another results in considerable inconvenience.

     Tributaries of the Ghaghra:- The Ghaghra receives directly hardly any of the drainage of the district, as exception the immediate neighborhood of  its bands, all the surplus water is intercepted by its affiance. Occasionally the river overflows its banks and submerges the adjoining lowlands, with the result the water is actually transferred from the river to the Manwar or Kuwana. The latter, in its lower reaches near Bhanpur, is joined with the Ghaghra by cross channel and from that point onwards it acts as an arm of the Ghaghra. 

      The Kuwana

    The Kuwana also known as Kuano, rises in the low ground in the east of Bahraich district and thence flows through the centre of Gonda. It first touches the district in the stream west of Rasulpur. It then separates the Basti east pargana from Basti West, Nagar West, Nagar East and after passing through Mahuli West and Mahuli East leaves the district in the south-Easter corner, at short distance from its junction with the Ghaghra in Gorakhpur.

GEOLOGY

      The district is underlain by Quaternary alluvium comprising and of various grades, gravel, kankar and clay. The Alluvium can be classified into two groups, the Older alluvium and the Newer alluvium.

Older alluvium:- It is of middle Pleistocene age and generally occupies high ground which is not affected by floods during the rainy season.

 The Newer alluvium:- It covers the lower height and is mainly conferred to the flood plains along the river channels and belongs to the upper Pleistocene to the recent age.

Kankar:- Substantial deposits of kankar are available in the tahsil of Harriya only.

Reh:- Reh is also reported from some localities of the district.

CLIMATE

The climate of the district is more equable than the adjoining districts to the south.The year may be divided into four seasons. The winter season, from mid-November to February is followed by the summer season lasting till about the middle of June. The period from mid-June to the end of September constitutes the south-west mansoon season. October to mid-November is the post mansson or transition period.

Rainfall         :- The average annual rainfall in the district is 1166 mm.

Temperature :- During the winter seasons the mean minimum temperature is about 9 degree Celsius and mean maximum 23 degree Celsius while during the summer seasons the minimum is about 25 degree Celsius and mean maximum is about 44 degree Celsius.

Humidity       :- In the south-west mansoon and the post mansoon seasons the relative humidity is high, being above 70 percent. Thereafter the humidity decreases and in the summer air is very dry.

cloudiness     :-During the mansoon season, and for brief spells of a day or two in association with passing disturbances in winter, heavily clouded or overcast skies prevail. In the rest of the year the skies are mostly clear or lightly clouded.

Winds           :- Winds are in general very light with a slight increase in force the late summer and mansoon seasons. The  average annual wind blow in the district is ranging from 2 to 7.1 km/hrs.

                                      

Flora & Fauna

FLORA

In the former days a large part of the district was covered with forest of sal and other trees, but since then most of it has been cleared and brought under the plough . Though the district is no longer rich in timber, it can still be described as well-wooded, owing to the numerous clumps of mango (Mangitera indica), mahua (Madhuca longifolia), sal (Sorea robusta), and bamboo (Bambusa arundinacea).

Plantations of fast growing species such as bamboo, Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus teritrornis), mango and shisham (Dalbergia sissoo) have been raised in the district.

FAUNA

WILD ANIMALS

The wild animals which are found in this district include the nilgai (Boselaphus tragocamelus), antelok (Anelok cervicapra), pig (Sus scrofa), wolf (Canis lupus), jackal (Conis aureus), fox (Vulpes bengalensis), hare (Lepus ruficandatus), monkey (Macaca mulatta), wild cat (felis bengalensis) and the porcupine (Hystric leucura) .

BIRDS

The game - birds of the district include the usual varieties found through out the plains. Among them mention may be made of the peafowl(pavo cristatus), the black partridge (frencolinus francolinus) and the gray partridge(francalinus pondicervanus). Basti is famous for the number and variety of water fowls which visit it during the winter season. The goose (Anser anser), comon teal (Anas crecca), red-cristed pochard duck(netta rufina), white-eyed pochard (aythya rufa) and widgeon (mareca penelope) visit the district only in winter and inhabit the fringes of rivers lakes and swamps.

REPTILES

Snakes are common in the district especially in the rural areas, the chief being the Cobra (Naja Naja), karait (Bungarus caeruleus), and rat-snake (ptyas mucosus). Indian crocodile or naka (Crocodilus pulustris), and the ghariyal (gavialis gangeticus) are also found in the river Ghaghra.

FISH

Fish of almost all the varieties that occur elsewhere in the state are found in the rivers, lakes and ponds of the district, the common species being rohu (lebeo rohita), bhakur (Catla catla), nain (Cirrhina mrigala), parhin (Wallagonia attu), krunch (lebeo calbasu), tengan (Mystus seenghla) and etc.

TRIBUTARIES OF THE KUWANA

It has several tributaries, the important ones being Rawai,Manwar and Katnehia.sees in the :

The rawai

The Rawai joins the Kuwana on the right bank and is a small stream which rises in the north of Amorha and thence flows  between steep and sandy banks frequently infected with reh, through the western half of paragana Basti for a short distance and ultimately joins the Kawana.

The Manwar

The Manwar  Manorama, rises in Gonda and flows in an easterly direction along the edge of Sikri forest to the district boundary. For a short distance it separates the latter district from Gonda and is then joined by the Chamnai, a small and sluggish stream. after the junction the Manwar bents to the south-east and flows through the centre of pargana Amorha, on the eastern boundary of which it receives a small tributary called Ramrekha on its right bank. It then passes through the two paraganas of Nagar East and Nagar West and joins the Kawana in Lalganj in Mahuli West.

The Kathnaya

The only tributary of any importance that is received by the Kuwana on its left bank is the Katnehia, which rises in the swamps to the north of Basti East and flows in the south easterly direction along the borders of the Nagar East, where it units with the Garehia, a similar stream which has its origin in the south of Rasulpur. Their combined water continues in a south easterly direction along the borders of Nagar East and Mahuli West parganas, then turning south to join the Kuwana at Mukhlishpur in Mahuli East.

The Ami
The Ami is the chief tributary of the Rapti. The Ami is a stream which commences at a short distance from Rapti in Rasulpur and issues from a large tract of paddy land.