History of UnnaoPositioned betwixt the two towns of Lucknow and Kanpur, Unnao bears a glorious tradition of sword & pen, being home to a galaxy of eminent revolutionaries and poets besides writers.
The war of Independence in 1857-58 was superseded by shift of power in favor of British Crown from the erstwhile East India Company. Upon restoration of order, there was reinstating of civil administration within the district, known as district Unnao and having HQ at Unnao. Until 1869 the district’s size was small, when it acquired its existing form and Unnao town was made a Municipality in that year.
The current Unnao district constituted a portion of ancient Kosala region and later incorporated into Awadh Subah. It seems that the tract bore civilization since primitive ages and interesting finds have been unearthed from various places of the district which vouch for their antiquity.
The renowned Chinese pilgrim Hiuen Tsang, who resided at Kannauj during 636 AD, went nearly 26 kilometers to reach Navadevakula, located on eastern shore of Ganga. The city holds a splendid Deva Temple along with different Buddhist monasteries as well as Stupas. It lies approximately 3 kms on Bangarmau’s north-west within Safipur Tehsil, recognized as Nawal by many scholars and assumed to form part of a major ancient city which was cursed by a Muslim saint during thirteenth century, even presently known as Lauta Shahr or upturned city. The sant’s dargah, whose expletive was believed to betide the city, comprises amongst the earliest Muslim monument, not only of Bangarmau, but probably in the whole district.
Origin of Unnao
The district takes its name from the headquarter city, Unnao. Nearly 1200 years before, the town’s area was wooded with heavy forests. These forests were removed perhaps in third quarter of twelfth century by Chauhan Rajput, Godo Singh and a town named Sawai Godo was established by him which soon came to be ruled by the kings of Kannauj, who nominated Khande Singh its Governor. Unwant Singh, the Governor’s lieutenant killed Khande Singh and constructed a fort at the place, naming it as Unnao in conformity to his name.
Famous Personalities of Unnao
Rao Ram Bux Singh
A renowned freedom fighter hailing from Biaswara in Unnao Babu Ram Bux Singh was Daundia Khera’s talukdar who fought with the British for the country’s independence. However, his army was eventually defeated leading to his capture at Varanasi followed by hanging at Daundia Khera in December 1858.
Chandrika Bux Singh
Chandrika Bux Singh was the son of Ajit Singh; Bethar State’s Ruler and ascended the throne following his father’s premature demise. He strongly opposed the British in First Independence struggle of 1857 which he continued even later. He together with his family were imprisoned for killing British General Murray along with his wife. The British planned his cruel murder and sentenced him and his associates to ‘Kalapani' by the judgment of December 28, 1859. The next day, auction of all of his property was ordered along with implementation of aforesaid punishment. The British killed him on December 30, 1859 en route to Kalapani.
Maulana Hasrat Mohani
Hasrat Mohani was a revolutionary and poet who plunged into the independence struggle after graduating in 1903, taking inspiration from Ram Bux Singh. He started authoring Urdu-a-Muallah, a newspaper during 1913 and carried on his resistance through his writings. Consequently, he was jailed from 1914 till 1918, where he persisted with his writing activities.
He was designated State Assembly’s representative in 1946 and he passed away in May 1951.
Chandra Shekhar Azad
One of the foremost freedom fighters, Chandrashekhar Azad came from village Badarqa, which still accommodates his parental home. He had pledged not to let the British troops capture him alive. On 27 February 1931, the British forces encircled him in Alfred Park in Allahabad. On realizing that escape was impossible, Azad shot himself with his pistol to keep his vow.
Vishambhar Dayal Tripathi
Vishambhar Tripathi’s birthplace was Bangarmau in Unnao and he was an eminent personality in all facets of life. Besides being a profound scholar, he was Gold Medalist at BHU. The hardships endured by him for the nation’s cause is by no means less than that of any other prominent leader or revolutionary. He was an intimate ally of Netaji Subash Bose.
He was jailed on several occasions during the independence struggle like Namak Satyagrah, Pipri Kand. Savinay Awagya Movement in 1933 and Cripps Mission in 1942-1945. Vishambhar Dayal Tripathi was also chairman of various committees such as that visiting Andaman Nicobar for assessing its development prospects and Committee on Zamindari Abolition. He also established D.S.N. College in Unnao along with many different educational institutions within the district.
Vishambhar Tripathi became representative of Legislative Assembly in 1946 and remained MP from 1952 until he died in 1959.
The district has also produced many litterateurs of repute of the likes of Maharishi Valmiki and Gaya Prasad Shukla, SK Tripathi ‘Nirala’ and Pratap Misra, N D Bajpayee & Sumitra Sinha, Ramai Kaka, Dr. Ram V Sharma plus Jagdambika Misra, besides Bhagwati Charan Misra & Shiv Mangal Singh Suman.