1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Jalaun
JALAUN, a town and district of British India, in the Allahabad division of the United Provinces. Pop. of town (1901), 8573. Formerly it was the residence of a Mahratta governor, but never the headquarters of the district, which are at Orai.
The District of Jalaun has an area of 1477 sq. m. It lies entirely within the level plain of Bundelkhand, north of the hill country, and is almost surrounded by the Jumna and its tributaries the Betwa and Pahuj. The central region thus enclosed is a dead level of cultivated land, almost destitute of trees, and sparsely dotted with villages. The southern portion presents almost one unbroken sheet of cultivation. The boundary rivers form the only interesting feature in Jalaun. The river Non flows through the centre of the district, which it drains by innumerable small ravines instead of watering. Jalaun has suffered much from the noxious kans grass, owing to the spread of which many villages have been abandoned and their lands thrown out of cultivation. Pop. (1901), 399,726, showing an increase of 1%. The two largest towns are Kunch (15,888), and Kalpi (10,139). The district is traversed by the line of the Indian Midland railway from Jhansi to Cawnpore. A small part of it is watered by the Betwa canal. Grain, oil-seeds, cotton and ghi are exported.
In early times Jalaun seems to have been the home of two Rajput clans, the Chandels in the east and the Kachwahas in the west. The town of Kalpi on the Jumna was conquered for the princes of Ghor as early as 1196. Early in the 14th century the Bundelas occupied the greater part of Jalaun, and even succeeded in holding the fortified post of Kalpi. That important possession was soon recovered by the Mussulmans, and passed under the sway of the Mogul emperors. Akbar’s governors at Kalpi maintained a nominal authority over the surrounding district; and the Bundela chiefs were in a state of chronic revolt, which culminated in the war of independence under Chhatar Sal. On the outbreak of his rebellion in 1671 he occupied a large province to the south of the Jumna. Setting out from this basis, and assisted by the Mahrattas, he reduced the whole of Bundelkhand. On his death he bequeathed one-third of his dominions to his Mahratta allies, who before long succeeded in annexing the whole of Bundelkhand. Under Mahratta rule the country was a prey to constant anarchy and intestine strife. To this period must be traced the origin of the poverty and desolation which are still conspicuous throughout the district. In 1806 Kalpi was made over to the British, and in 1840, on the death of Nana Gobind Ras, his possessions lapsed to them also. Various interchanges of territory took place, and in 1856 the present boundaries were substantially settled. Jalaun had a bad reputation during the Mutiny. When the news of the rising at Cawnpore reached Kalpi, the men of the 53rd native infantry deserted their officers, and in June the Jhansi mutineers reached the district, and began their murder of Europeans. The inhabitants everywhere revelled in the licence of plunder and murder which the Mutiny had spread through all Bundelkhand, and it was not till September 1858 that the rebels were finally defeated.