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The district of Barabanki also known as the ‘Entrance to Poorvanchal’, has the privilege of being the penance ground to numerous saints and ascetics. There are several ancient sayings to the naming of this district. The most popular among them is that, due to the reincarnation of ‘Bhagwan BAARAH’ on this poise land, this place came to be known as ‘BAANHANYA’ which in course of time got corrupted to Barabanki. The headquarters of the district was at Dariyabad until 1858 AD, which was later shifted to Nawabganj in 1859 AD the other popular name of Barabanki.
As the saying goes, in ancient times this district was part of the kingdom ruled by Suryavanshi kings, whose capital was Ayodhya. King Dashrath and his famous son, Lord Ram were of this dynasty. Guru Vashisht was their Kulguru, and he preached and taught the young royal princes of the dynasty at Satrikh, initially known as Saptrishi.
This district was under the rule of the Chandravanshi kings for a very long period. During the Mahabharat era, it was part of the ‘Gaurav Rajya’ and this part of land was known by the name Kurukshetra. Pandav along with their mother Kunti had spent some time on the banks of river Ghaghra during their exile.
Parijaat’ world’s unique tree, Kunteshwar Mahadev temple, and its extremely ancient Shivling, Kunteshwar (Kintur) on the poise banks of Ghaghra, Bazaar Dharam Mandi (Dhamedi), and the famous Lodheshwar Mahadeva’s Shivling etc. are proof enough that this region had an important place even five thousand years ago during the Mahabharat period.
As per the historical documentation available, in 1030 AD this region was attacked by Sayyed Salar Masood, brother of Mahmood of Ghazni. In the same century Qutubuddin Gaha of Madina annexed the Hindu princely states, thereby establishing the Muslim dominance then on. During the reign of the great Mughal emperor Akbar this district was dividedly under the sirkars of Awadh and Manikpur.
Many kings and princes opposed the expansion of British rule into this district by waging wars against them. During the British Raj, several kings fought for their independence and laid down their lives doing so, the great revolutionaries ! Raja Balbhadra Singh Chehlari along with about 1000 revolutionaries sacrificed their lives for independence from the British rule.The last battle of the First War of Indian Independence was fought in December 1858 AD here in this district.
During the middle of the nineteenth century the revolutionaries put up their last front at ‘Bhitauli ‘ which proved unsuccessful in comarison to the strong British forces. Leaving behind the Bhitauli front the independence fanatics along with Begum Hazrat Mahal, Nana Saheb entered into the territory of Nepal to continue their freedom struggle from there.
In 1921 AD Gandhiji started the Non-cooperation Movement, thereby igniting the flame of independence once again. Here too, the district leading from the front, opposed the arrival of Prince of Wales to India. As a result, protests were organised and large number of freedom fighter courted arrests at the Government High School,Nawabganj, Shri Rafi Ahmad Kidwai was also arrested. During 1922 AD Khilafat Movement, 1930 AD Salt Movement, and in 1942 AD the Quit India Movement, the people of this district actively participated in these movements thereby giving sleepless nights to the British Raj. As a result, the District Congress Office was sealed. But, the local leaders continued their protests remaining underground. The Haidergarh Post office was looted on 24th August 1942 as a mark of protest by the revolutionaries. Similar incidents took place at the GPO Barabanki and Satrikh.
The people of this district enthusiastically respond to the call of Satyagraha and large numbers courted arrest. At last, on August 15,1947, the country achieved its long-awaited independence. Every home in Barabanki along with the rest of the country celebrated the occasion with great enthusiasm.
DISTRICT AS AN ADMINISTRATIVE ENTITY:
District Barabanki was known as Dariyabad with its headquarters at Dariyabad town established by an officer in the army of Mohammed Shah Shariqi by the name Dariab Khan. It remained the district headquarter till 1858 AD. The district headquarter was shifted to Nawabganj in 1859 AD now known as Barabanki. This was done during the expansion of the district by the British, when Kursi from district Lucknow and Haidergarh from district Rae Bareli were added to the, then Dariyabad district.