1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Aligarh

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ALIGARH, a city and district of British India in the Meerut division of the United Provinces. The city, also known as Koil, was a station on the East Indian railway, 876 m. from Calcutta. Sir Sayad Ahmad Khan, K.C.S.I., who died in 1898, founded in 1864 the Aligarh Institute and Scientific Society for the translation into the vernacular of western literature; and afterwards the Mahommedan Anglo-Oriental college, under English professors, with an English school attached. The college meets with strong support from the enlightened portion of the Mussulman community, whose aim is to raise it to the status of a university, with the power of conferring degrees. The population (1901) 70,434, showed an increase of 14% in the decade. There are several flour-mills, cotton-presses and a dairy farm. Aligarh Fort, situated on the Grand Trunk road, consists of a regular polygon, surrounded by a very broad and deep ditch. It became a fortress of great importance under Sindhia in 1759, and was the depot where he drilled and organized his battalions in the European fashion with the aid of De Boigne. It was captured from the Mahrattas under the leadership of Perron, another French officer, by Lord Lake’s army, in September 1803, since which time it has been much strengthened and improved. In the rebellion of 1857 the troops stationed at Aligarh mutinied, but abstained from murdering their officers, who, with the other residents and ladies and children, succeeded in reaching Hathras.

The district of Aligarh has an area of 1957 sq. m. It is nearly a level plain, but with a slight elevation in the centre, between the two great rivers the Ganges and Jumna. The only other important river is the Kali Nadi, which traverses the entire length of the district from north-east to south-west. The district is traversed by several railways and also by the Ganges canal, which is navigable. The chief trading centre is Hathras. In 1901 the population was 1,200,822, showing an increase of 15% in the decade, due to the extension of irrigation. There are several factories for ginning and pressing cotton.