1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Hazara (India)

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[ 116 ]

HAZARA a district of British India, in the Peshawar division of the North-West Frontier Province, with an area of 3391 sq. m. It is bounded on the N. by the Black Mountain, the Swat country, Kohistan and Chilas; on the E. by the native state of Kashmir; on the S. by Rawalpindi district; and on the W. by the river Indus. On the creation of the North-West Frontier Province in 1901 the district was reconstituted,the Tahsil of Attock being transferred to Rawalpindi. The district forms a wedge of territory extending far into the heart of the outer Himalayas, and consisting of a long narrow valley, shut in on both sides by lofty mountains, whose peaks rise to a height of 17,000 ft. above sea level. Towards the centre of the district the vale of Kagan is bounded by mountain chains, which sweep southward still maintaining a general parallel direction, and send off spurs on every side which divide the country into numerous minor dales. The district is well watered by the tributaries of the Indus, the Kunhar, which flows through the Kagan Valley into the Jhelum, and many rivulets. Throughout the scenery is picturesque. To the north rise the distant peaks of the snow-clad ranges; midway, the central mountains stand clothed to their rounded summits with pines and other forest trees, while grass and brushwood spread a green cloak over the nearer hills, and cultivation covers every available slope. The chief frontier tribes on the border are the cis-Indus Swatis, Hassanzais, Akazais, Chagarzais, Pariari Syads, Madda Khels, Amazais and Umarzais. Within the district Pathans are not numerous.

The name Hazara possibly belonged originally to a Turki family which entered India with Timur in the 14th century, and subsequently settled in this remote region. During the prosperous period of the Mogul dynasty the population included a number of mixed tribes, which each began to assert its independence, so that the utmost anarchy prevailed until Hazara attracted the attention of the rising Sikh monarchy. Ranjit Singh first obtained a footing here in 1818, and, after eight years of constant aggression, became master of the whole country. During the minority of the young maharaja Dhuleep Singh, the Sikh kingdom fell into a state of complete disorganization; the people seized the opportunity for recovering their independence; [ 117 ] and rose in 1845 in rebellion. They stormed the Sikh forts, laid siege to Haripur, and drove the governor across the borders. After the first Sikh War it was proposed to transfer Hazara with Kashmir to Gulab Singh, but it remained under the Lahore government in charge of James Abbott, who pacified it in less than a year and held it single-handed throughout the troubles of the second Sikh War. It was also undisturbed during the Mutiny. The population in 1901 was 560, 288, showing an increase of 8.52% in the decade. The headquarters are at Abbotabad; pop. (1901) 7764. Through the Kagan valley and over the Babusar pass at its head lies the most direct route from the Punjab to Chilas and Gilgit.