In 1207, Raja Kanh Deo of the Kanhpuria clan established the village of Kanhpur, which later came to be known as Kanpur. It is suspected to be linked with the King Hindusi of the reality of the origin of the city or relating to the brave Karna of Mahabharata period. It is confirmed that in the last phase of the reign of Awadh, this city is situated in old Kanpur, Patkapura, Kuraswam, Juhi, and Seemamau villages.
With the adjacent state, the rule of this town remained in the hands of the rulers of Kannauj and Kalpi and later the rulers of the Muslim rulers.
Kanpur before 1857
From 1773 to 1801, Nawab Alamas Ali of Awadh had a proper government here. After the Treaty of 1773, the city came under the rule of the British, resulting in an English camp here in 1778 AD.
Being located on the banks of the Ganges, there was a facility of traffic and industry. Therefore, the British gave birth to the industry and the development of the city started.
First of all, East India Company began the business of Neel here. After the construction of the Grand Trunk Road in 1832, the town was connected to Allahabad.
During the Indian Rebellion of 1857
In the 19th century, Cawnpore was an important British army with barracks for 7,000 soldiers. During the Indian Rebellion of 1857, 900 British men, women, and children were besieged in the fortifications for 22 days by rebels under Nana Sahib Peshwa. They surrendered on the agreement that they would get a safe way to the nearby Satti Chaura Ghat where they would board ships and be allowed to go by the river to Allahabad.
The dispute surrounds what exactly happened at the Satti Chaura Ghat, and who fired the first shot. Soon afterward, the departing British were shot at by the rebel sepoys and were either shot or arrested.
Some of the British officers declared that the rebels had placed the boats as high in the mud as possible with the purpose to cause delay. They also claimed that Nana Sahib’s camp had before arranged for the rebels to fire upon and kill all the English.
The East India Company later blamed Nana Sahib for the betrayal and murder of innocent people. But no evidence has ever been found to prove that Nana Sahib had pre-planned or planned the massacre. Some historians consider that the Satti Chaura Ghat massacre was the result of confusion, and not of any plan executed by Nana Sahib and his associates.
Lieutenant Mowbray Thomson, one of the four male survivors of the massacre, believed that the rank-and-file sepoys who spoke to him did not know of the killing to come.
The remaining 200 British women and children were taken back to shore and sent to a building called the Bibighar (the ladies home). After some time, the commanders of the rebels decided to kill their hostages.
The rebel soldiers declined to carry out orders and butchers from the nearby town were brought in to kill the hostages three days before the British entered the city on 18 July.
The maimed bodies were thrown into a deep well nearby. The British under General Neill retook the city and performed a series of retaliation against the rebel Sepoys and those civilians caught in the area, including women, children, and old men.
The Cawnpore Massacre, as well as similar events elsewhere, were seen by the British as support for free revenge. “Remember Cawnpore” became a war cry for the British for the rest of the rebellion.
Kanpur after 1857
The development of Kanpur was even more phenomenal after 1857. In 1860, Government Harness and Saddlery Factory were started for supplying leather material for the army, followed by Cooper Allen & Co. in 1880. In 1862, the first cotton textile mill Elgin Mills were started and Muir Mills in 1882.
Apart from performing a spherical role in the development of the country as a whole, Kanpur has also been instrumental in making an unforgettable contribution to the Indian freedom struggle. A favorite center of activities of stalwarts like Nanarao Peshwa, Tantiya Tope, Sardar Bhagat Singh, and Chander Shekhar Azad among others, Kanpur is also the birthplace of Shyamlal Gupta `Parshad’, composer of the famous patriotic ditty `Vijayee Vishwa Tiranga Pyara’.
The spread and popularization of Hindi also owe much to this city, with great Hindu literature like Acharya Mahavir Parasad Dwivedi, Ganesh Shanker Vidyarthi, Pratap Narain Mishra, Acharya Gaya Prasad Shukla `Sanehi’ and Balkrishna Sharma `Navin’ having hailed from here.
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