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Chronology of Ambala

It is often claimed that the district of Ambala is one of the historically significant districts of the state of Haryana. Ambala was discovered during the British rule by C Rodgers and A C Cunningham and soon after by B B Lal and others. Based on a number of archaeological and literary proofs, the history of the district of Ambala can possibly be outlined. The earliest literary mention of Ambala includes Ambala in ‘Taittiriya Aranayaka’ meaning Turghna as the neighboring area towards Northern side of Kurukshetra.

It is also believed that the district was found during the 14th century by Amba Rajput. Another story is that the name is taken from ‘Amba Wala’ or the mango groves that used to exist in the region’s immediate vicinity. Yet another description suggests that the name Ambala is taken after the temple of Godess Bhawani Amba that is still there in the district.

Chronology of Ambala

Medieval History of Ambala

  • Ambala district was a part of the empire of Kutab-Bin-Aibak under the Muslims. It was also invaded by Timur. Bahlol Lodhi, the then governor of Punjab, took the region under his control  till it was invaded by Babur in the year 1526.

  • It is cited that the palaces of Ambala used to be a part of Delhi Suba.

  • After the death of Aurangzeb, various forces as well as the political situation grew in antagonism to the Empire. One of the followers of Guru Gobind Singh Ji, Banda Bahadur, initiated a brutal attack on Ambala.

  • Nevertheless, he lost to Mughals in 1710 at Sadhaura. After him, a Mughal official named Khidmat governed the territory of Ambala till the year 1739.

  • After the invasion by Nadir Shah, there prevailed a dark period, that was followed by the splitting up of Ambala in small principalities.

  • From 1757, Ambala was held by Abdali. In 1763, the fidgety Sikhs took over the possession of Ambala after assassinating Abdali. In a nutshell, the reign was full of political turmoil and activities during the Medieval Period.

Modern History of Ambala

  • The arrival of British rule witnessed the increase of the power of Sikhs in Ambala and consequently, the devastation by Britishers in 1805.

  • In order to enlarge their control beyond River Yamuna, the Chiefs of Ambala were taken under their sway by the British. All states in the region were controlled by the British very effectively as they had a political organization in Ambala.

  • By the year 1846, a number of headships went in a lapse state as they did not have male successors and it led to the collapse of organizational machinery.

  • In 1847, the British took over some of the area around the region of Ambala.

The 1857 Revolt in Ambala

  • Ambala had a major role in the rebellion of the revolt of 1857. At that time, Ambala was an important military depot.

  • On 10th May, 1857, an Indian regiment rose in open revolt at Ambala. However, the British managed to suppress the revolt. Apart from the sepoys, the revolt also badly affected the civil people.

Rise of National Awakening in Ambala

After the uprising, the people of Haryana stayed in suffering for a long time. However, soon after various changes brushed off the country, the citizens of Ambala became politically enlightened and awakened. A lot of organizations took this charge of reformation. Some of the organizations that delivered their services to the district of Ambala are:
  • Arya Samaj, Ambala Cantt - Hindus’ Socio Religious Reforms
  • Anjuman-Islamiya, Ambala City - India’s socio - political awakening
  • Anjuman - Islamiya, Ambala Cantt - Bettering the lot of Muslims
  • Singh Sabha, Ambala Cantt - Bringing reforms in Sikh religion
  • Central National Mohamedans Association, Ambala City - Bettering the lot of Muslims
  • Sanatan Dharm Sabha, Ambala Cantt - Revival of Hindus
  • Arya Samaj, Ambala City - Hindus Socio-religious reforms

In this period, local people also made efforts in national re-organization. Ambala’s Lala Murli Dhar was amongst the many establishers of Indian National Congress (INC). Soon after, INC became present in different regions of Ambala.

Civil Disobedience Movement in Ambala

Just like all of the country, Ambala also witnessed a lot of turmoil during the Civil Disobedience Movement. A huge parade carried out a rally in the streets of Ambala. The merchants in Ambala swore not to sell any foreign goods and a resolution was passes to wear only Khadi clothing. Even the women volunteers came forward and prepared salt in the Anaj Mandi of Ambala.

Quit India Movement in Ambala

  • The quit India movement was launched in the year 1842. The citizens of Ambala gave a strong fight to the Britishers and also fought overseas under the leadership of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose.

  • The eve of Independence on 15th August, 1947 was celebrated in the district with the people migrating from both sides.

This review of the historical and pre independence events suggests that the district of Ambala remained an important part of the mainstream of the history of India.

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