HISSAR, INDIA, a town and district of India, in the Delhi division of the Punjab. The town is situated on the Rajputana railway and the Western Jumna canal, 102 m. W.N.W. of Delhi. Pop. (1901) 17,647. It was founded in 1356 by the emperor Feroz Shah, who constructed the canal to supply it with water; but this fell into decay during the 18th century, owing to the constant inroads of marauders. Hissar was almost completely depopulated during the famine of 1783, but was afterwards occupied by the famous Irish adventurer George Thomas, who built a fort and collected inhabitants. It is now chiefly known for its cattle and horse fairs, and has a cotton factory.
The DISTRICT comprises an area of 5217 sq. m. It forms the western border district of the great Bikanir desert, and consists for the most part of sandy plains dotted with shrub and brushwood, and broken by undulations towards the south, which rise into hills of rock like islands out of a sea of sand. The Ghaggar is its only river, whose supply is uncertain, depending much on the fall of rain in the lower Himalayas; its overflow in times of heavy rain is caught by jhils, which dry up in the hot season. The Western Jumna canal crosses the district from east to west, irrigating many villages. The soil is in places hard and clayey, and difficult to till; but when sufficiently irrigated it is highly productive. Old mosques and other buildings exist in parts of the district. Hissar produces a breed of large milk-white oxen, which are in great request for the carriages of natives. The district has always been subject to famine. The first calamity of this kind of which there is authentic record was in 1783; and Hissar has suffered severely in more recent famines. Its population in 1901 was 781,717, showing practically no increase in the decade, whereas in the previous decade there had been an increase of 15%. The climate is very dry, hot westerly winds blowing from the middle of March till July. Cotton weaving, ginning and pressing are carried on. The district is served by the Rajputana-Malwa, the Southern Punjab and the JodhpurBikanir railways. The chief trading centres are Bhiwani, Hansi, Hissar and Sirsa.
Before the Mahommedan conquest, the semi-desert tract of which Hissar district now forms part was the retreat of Chauhan Rajputs. Towards the end of the 18th century the Bhattis of Bhattiana gained ascendancy after bloody struggles. To complete the ruin brought on by these conflicts, nature lent her aid in the great famine of 1783. Hissar passed nominally to the British in 1803, but they could not enforce order till 1810. Early in the mutiny of 1857 Hissar was wholly lost for a time to British rule, and all Europeans were either murdered or compelled to fly. The Bhattis rose under their hereditary chiefs, and the majority of the Mahommedan population followed their example. Before Delhi had been recovered, the rebels were utterly routed.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)