ETAWAH, a town and district of India, in the Agra division of the United Provinces. The town is situated on the left bank of the Jumna, and has a station on the East Indian railway, 206 m. from Allahabad. Pop. (1901) 42,570. Deep fissures intersect the various quarters of the town, over which broad roads connect the higher portions by bridges and embankments. The Jama Masjid (Great Mosque) is the chief architectural ornament of Etawah. It was originally a Hindu temple, and was adapted to its present use by the Mahommedan conquerors. Several fine Hindu temples also stand about the mound on which are the ruins of the ancient fort. Etawah is now only the civil headquarters of the district, the military cantonment having been abandoned in 1861. Considerable trade is carried on by rail and river. The manufactures include cotton cloth, skin-bottles, combs and horn-ware and sweetmeats.

The District of Etawah has an area of 1691 sq. m. It forms a purely artificial administrative division, stretching across the level plain of the Doab, and beyond the valley of the Jumna, to the gorges of the Chambal, and the last rocky outliers of the Vindhyan range. The district exhibits a striking variety of surface and scenery. The greater portion lies within the Doab or level alluvial plain between the Ganges and the Jumna. This part falls naturally into two sections, divided by the deep and fissured valley of the river Sengar. The tract to the north-east of that stream is rich and fertile, being watered by the Cawnpore and Etawah branches of the Ganges canal, and other important works. The south-western region has the same natural advantages, but possesses no great irrigation system, and is consequently less fruitful than the opposite slopes. Near the banks of the Jumna, the plain descends into the river valley by a series of wild ravines and terraces, inhabited only by a scattered race of hereditary herdsmen. Beyond the Jumna again a strip of British territory extends along the tangled gorges of the Chambal and the Kuari Nadi, far into the borders of the Gwalior state. This outlying tract embraces a series of rocky glens and mountain torrents, crowned by the ruins of native strongholds, and interspersed with narrow ledges of cultivable alluvium. The climate, once hot and sultry, has now become comparatively moist and equable under the influence of irrigation and the planting of trees.

Etawah was marked out by its physical features as a secure retreat for the turbulent tribes of the Upper Doab, and it was not till the 12th century that any of the existing castes settled on the soil. After the Mussulman conquests of Delhi and the surrounding country, the Hindus of Etawah appear to have held their own for many generations against the Mahommedan power; but in the 16th century Baber conquered the district, with the rest of the Doab, and it remained in the hands of the Moguls until the decay of their empire. After passing through the usual vicissitudes of Mahratta and Jat conquests during the long anarchy which preceded the British rule, Etawah was annexed by the wazir of Oudh in 1773. The wazir ceded it to the East India Company in 1801, but it still remained so largely in the hands of lawless native chiefs that some difficulty was experienced in reducing it to orderly government. During the mutiny of 1857 serious disturbances occurred in Etawah, and the district was occupied by the rebels from June to December; order was not completely restored till the end of 1858. In 1901 the population was 806,798, showing an increase of 11% in the decade. The district is partly watered by branches of the Ganges canal, and is traversed throughout by the main line of the East Indian railway from Cawnpore to Agra. Cotton, oilseeds and other agricultural produce are exported, and some indigo is made, but manufacturing industry is slight.

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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