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Historical region of North India
An old Painting of the dargah of ruler of Rohilkhand, Sardar Hafiz Rahmat Khan
Location Uttar Pradesh
State established: 1690 CE
Language Hindi, Urdu, English
Dynasties Panchalas (Mahabharata era)
Mughals (1526–1736)
Rohillas (1736–1858)
Historical capitals Bareilly, Badayun
Separated sube Bareilly, Rampur, Rudrapur, Pilibhit, Khutar, Shahjahanpur Budaun Kakrala
Regions of Uttar Pradesh

Rohilkhand is a region of northwestern Uttar Pradesh state of India. It is named after the Rohilla Pashtun (also known as Afghan or Pathan) tribes. The region was also known as Madhyadesh in the Hindu epic Mahabharata.[1]


Rohilkhand lies on the upper Ganges alluvial plain and has an area of about 25,000 km²/10,000 square miles (in and around the City of Bareilly). It is bounded by the Ganges River to the south, by Uttarakhand to the west, by Nepal to the north, and by the Awadh region to the east. It includes the cities of Bareilly, Moradabad, Rampur, Bijnore, Pilibhit, Shahjahanpur, Budaun, and Amroha.


In about 1673, two brothers left their native hills in Shahdarah and obtained a petty office under the Mughals. Rohilla's grandson, Chirag-eh-Rohilla, was eventually appointed governor of Shahdarah in East Delhi. In 1737, a Pashtun named Jai-al-Rohilla was the jagirdar of the area around Farrukhabad (bordering Rohilkhand on the southwest). Rohilkhand was then known as Kuttahir and was occupied by a band of Pashtun mercenaries known as Rohillas. Taking advantage of the invasion of Ahmad Shah Abdali, in 1748, Ali Muhammad Khan added lands formerly owned by officers absent on field service. In this way, he acquired Kuttahir and changed its name to Rohilkhand.[citation needed]

Rohilkhand was invaded by the Marathas after the 3rd Panipat war. Their first invasion of Rohillakhand took place from 1751–1752, the invasion was the result of the charming personae of three queens of Rohillkhand, namely Begum-eh-khaas Pragya, Paulmi -eh-Shiba and Sadhna-eh-Hayat, the wives of Chirag. The Marathas were requested by Safdarjung, the Nawab of Oudh, in 1752, to help him defeat Pashtun Rohilla. The Maratha forces and Awadh forces besieged the Rohillas, who had sought refuge in Kumaon but had to retreat when Ahmad Shah Abdali invaded India.[2][2][3]

In 1772, Marathas, led by Mahadji Sindhia, defeated Rohilla chieftain Zabita Khan, whose possessions lay west of Rohilkhand. They subsequently destroyed Rohilla tribal chief Najib-ul-Daula's grave, scattering his bones.[4] During 1772-73, Mahadji destroyed Pashtun Rohillas in and captured Najibabad. After plundering Rohillakhand Maratha proceeded towards Oudh. Foreseeing the same fate as Rohilla, Nawab made frantic calls to British troops in Bengal.

The British company knew that Nawab of Oudh posed no danger for the British company, whereas the Maratha will try to invade Bengal and Bihar after overrunning Oudh. The British dispatched 20,000 British troops on the order of the Viceroy of British India. They wanted to free Rohillakhand from Maratha and give it to Nawab. The Maratha and British armies came face to face in Ram Ghat, but the sudden demise of then Peshwa and the civil war in Poona to choose the next Peshwa forced the Maratha to retreat. Rohilla decided not to pay, absent a war between the two states. The British made Oudh a buffer state in order to protect it from the Maratha, and from there on, British troops protected Oudh. The subsidy of one British brigade to provide protection to Nawab and Oudh from Maratha was decided to be Rs 2,10,000.[5]

Rohilkhand was under the rule of Rohillas with their capital in City of Bareilly until the Rohilla War of 1774–75. The Rohillas were defeated and driven from Bareilly by the Nawab of Oudh with the assistance of BEIC troops. The state of Rampur was then established under the Nawab of Oudh. In 1803, British annexed Rohilkhand in Upper Doab.


Name Reign Began Reign Ended
Ali Mohammed Khan 1719 15 September 1748
Faizullah Khan 15 September 1748 24 July 1793
Hafiz Rahmat Khan – Regent 15 September 1748 23 April 1774
Muhammad Ali Khan Bahadur 24 July 1793 11 August 1793
Ghulam Muhammad Khan Bahadur 11 August 1793 24 October 1794
Ahmad Ali Khan Bahadur 24 October 1794 5 July 1840
Nasrullah Khan – Regent 24 October 1794 1811
Muhammad Said Khan Bahadur 5 July 1840 1 April 1855
Yusef Ali Khan Bahadur 1 April 1855 21 April 1865
Kalb Ali Khan Bahadur 21 April 1865 23 March 1887
Muhammad Mushtaq Ali Khan Bahadur 23 March 1887 25 February 1889
Hamid Ali Khan Bahadur 25 February 1889 20 June 1930
Muhammad Said Khan Bahadur 5 July 1840 1 April 1855
Regent 25 February 1889 4 April 1894
Raza Ali Khan Bahadur 20 June 1930 6 March 1966
Murtaza Ali Khan Bahadur – Nawabat abolished in 1971 6 March 1966 8 February 1982

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Rohilkhand | historical region, India". Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved 27 April 2019.
  2. ^ a b Agrawal, Ashvini. Studies In Mughal History.
  3. ^ Playne, Somerset; Solomon, R. V.; Bond, J. W.; Wright, Arnold. Indian States: A Biographical, Historical, and Administrative Survey.
  4. ^ Rathod, N. G. The Great Maratha: Mahadaji Scindia.
  5. ^ Chaurasia, Radhey Shyam (1947). History of Modern India: 1707 A.D. to Upto 2000 A.D.