1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Hoshiarpur

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HOSHIARPUR, a town of British India, in the Jullundur division of the Punjab. Pop. (1901), 17,549. It was founded, according to tradition, about the early part of the 14th century. In 1809 it was occupied by Ranjit Singh. The maharaja and his successors maintained a considerable cantonment 1 m. S.E. of the town, and the British government kept it up for several years after the annexation of the Punjab in 1849. There are manufactures of cotton goods, inlaid woodwork, lacquered ware, shoes and copper vessels.

The District of Hoshiarpur comprises an area of 2244 sq. m.; pop. (1901) 989,782, showing a decrease of 2% in the decade, compared with an increase of 12% during the previous decade. It falls into two nearly equal portions of hill and plain country. Its eastern face consists of the westward slope of the Solar Singhi Hills; parallel with that ridge, a line of lower heights belonging to the Siwalik range traverses the district from south to north, while between the two chains stretches a valley of uneven width, known as the Jaswan Dun. Its upper portion is crossed by the Sohan torrent, while the Sutlej sweeps into its lower end through a break in the hills, and flows in a southerly direction till it turns the flank of the central range, and debouches westwards upon the plains. This western plain consists of alluvial formation, with a general westerly slope owing to the deposit of silt from the mountain torrents in the sub-montane tract. The Beas has a fringe of lowland, open to moderate but not excessive inundations, and considered very fertile. A considerable area is covered by government woodlands, under the care of the forest department. Rice is largely grown, in the marshy flats along the banks of the Beas. Several religious fairs are held, at Anandpur, Mukerian and Chintpurni, all of which attract an enormous concourse of people. The district, owing to its proximity to the hills, possesses a comparatively cool and humid climate. Cotton fabrics are manufactured, and sugar, rice and other grains, tobacco and indigo are among the exports.

The country around Hoshiarpur formed part of the old Hindu kingdom of Katoch In Jullundur. The state was eventually broken up, and the present district was divided between the rajas of Ditarpur and Jaswan. They retained undisturbed possession of their territories until 1759, when the rising Sikh chieftains commenced a series of encroachments upon the hill tracts. In 1815 the aggressive maharaja, Ranjit Singh, forced the ruler of Jaswan to resign his territories in exchange for an estate on feudal tenure; three years later the raja of Ditarpur met with similar treatment. By the close of the year 1818 the whole country from the Sutlej to the Beas had come under the government of Lahore, and after the first Sikh war in 1846 passed to the British government. The deposed rajas of Ditarpur and Jaswan received cash pensions from the new rulers, but expressed bitter disappointment at not being restored to their former sovereign position. Accordingly the outbreak of the second Sikh war, in 1848 found the disaffected chieftains ready for rebellion. They organized a revolt, but the two rajas and the other ringleaders were captured, and their estates confiscated.