1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Bahraich

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BAHRAICH or Bharaich, a town and district of British India, situated in the Fyzabad division of the United Provinces. The town is on the river Sarju. Since the opening of the railway the place has begun to flourish. It contains the most popular place of pilgrimage in Oudh, the tomb of Masaud, a champion of Islam, slain in battle by the confederate Rajputs in 1033, which is resorted to by Mahommedans and Hindus alike. There is also a Mussulman monastery, and the ruined palace of a nawab of Oudh. The American Methodists have a mission here. Pop. (1901) 27,304.

The district of Bahraich contains an area of 2647 sq. m. It consists of three tracts: (1) in the centre, an elevated triangular plateau, projecting from the base of the Himalayas for about 50 m. in a south-easterly direction—average breadth, 13 m., area, 670 sq. m.; (2) the great plain of the Gogra, on the west, about 40 ft. below the level of the plateau; and (3) on the east, another lesser area of depression, comprising the basin of the Rapti. The tarai, or the forest and marshy tracts along the southern slopes of the Himalayas, gradually merge within the district into drier land, the beds of the streams become deeper and more marked, the marshes disappear, and the country assumes the ordinary appearance of the plain of the Ganges. The Gogra skirts the district for 114 m.; and the Rapti, with its branch the Bhalka, drains the high grounds. In 1901 the population was 1,051,347, showing an increase of 5% in the decade. A considerable trade is conducted with Nepal, chiefly in timber. A line of railway has been opened through the district to Nepalganj on the frontier. As there are no canals in the district, irrigation is obtained solely from wells, tanks and rivers. The district is purely agricultural in character, and is one of large estates, 78% being held by taluqdars, of whom the four chief are the raja of Kapurthala, the maharaja of Balrampur, the raja of Nanpara and the raja of Payagpur.

Little is known of the history of the district before the Mahommedan invasion in A.D. 1033. Masaud was defeated and slain by the nobles of Bahraich in 1033, and the Mahommedans did not establish their authority over the country till the middle of the 13th century. About 1450 the Raikwars, or Rajput adventurers, made themselves masters of the western portion of the district, which they retain to this day. In 1816 by the treaty of Segauli the Nepal tarai was ceded to the British, but was given back in 1860. During the Mutiny the district was the scene of considerable fighting, and after its close a large portion was distributed in jagirs to loyal chiefs, thus originating the taluqdari estates of the present day.