History of Banda

The region which is presently known as Banda district can boast of a rich historical tradition going back to the remote antiquity. The stone sculptures and other remains found here of the Paleolithic and Neolithic periods prove that human civilization began here in those earliest times in much the same way as in the rest of the country.

Adivasis, or primitive people use to inhabit the region in prehistoric times. The earliest known Aryan people associated with this region were the ceedis mentioned in Rigveda. The region is believed to have a rich historical background. The earliest known traditional ruler of this region was Yayatri whose eldest son Yadu had inherited this region, later it was named Chedi-Desha by his off springs. There is a hill known as Kalinjar which is believed to be a sacred one and is found mentioned in the Vedas as one of the tapasya-sthanas or spots adapted to practices of austere devotions.  Bamdeo, the great sage from whom this district derives its name Bamda (later Banda) lived in this region. It is also believed that Lord Rama has spent 12 of the 14 years of his exile at Chitrakoot, which was part of Banda until few years ago. The famous Kalinjar-hill (Kalanjaradri) is said to have derived its name from Lord Shiva himself who is the main deity of Kalinjar called Nilakantha even today. This place is clearly mentioned in the Hindu holy books viz. the Ramayana, the Mahabharata and also in Puranas.

This region seems to have been annexed to the Nanda empire of Magadha around the fourth century B.C., later it formed the territory under Mauryan Empire till Ashoka’s death sometime in 236 B.C. Pushyamitra Sung captured this region which remained under Sungas for nearly 100 years followed by the Kanvas for a short while. Kushanas also ruled over this tract of land. Nagas ruled over this tract sometimes during third and fourth centuries followed by Guptas during middle of the fourth century AD. This region was later named Jejakbhukti (or Jajhoti). Only for a short while this region passed on under Huns and then under panduvamsi-King Udayan. As the famous king Harsha-Vardhana (606-647 AD) established his supremacy over north India, the region was a part of this dominion. A very well-known Chinese traveler HiuenTsang (641-642 AD) mentions this region as Chih-Chi-to and its capital at Khajuraho. After the rule of Harsha-Vardhan, Kalchuris and Pratiharas over this tract, a long kingship of the famous Chandelas was followed. During the second important Chandela king extended his territory to cover entire Bundelkhand and surroundings and was honoured the first Chandela Kalanjaridhipati.

In first half of 11th century Mahmud of Gazni is reported to have marched several time to Klinjar but was resisted and forced to go back. Sometime during 1182 AD, Chauhan king Prihviraja of Delhi and Ajmer is said to have defeated famous Chandela-king Parmardideo, although he could not retain this tract for his own reasons and Paramardideo recovered his position soon after. In 1202 AD Kutub-ud-din Aibak ( general of Muhammed Ghuri) seem to have captured the fort, through Chandelas recovered their territory and ruled over it through 13th Century AD.
Lodi-sultans also occupied Kalinjar for a short while but again reverted back to the possession of the Hindu King. The Mughal prince Humayun Miza attempted to regain it but death of his father Babur in 1530 AD forced him to abandon this move. After Fifteen years Sher Shah Suri besieged the fort of Kalinjar (1545 AD) but was killed during operations just before its capture. Finaly his son Jalal Khan was ascended to Royal throne at Kalinjar fort under the assumed title of Islam Shah. The Chandela-king and his seventy soldiers were executed soon after and thus ended long Chandela-rule over Kalinjar.

Afterwards Baghela-king Ram Chandra purchased the fort of Kalinjar but was later captured by Akbar’s leautinent, Majnun Khan Quaksal and the Kalinjar fort become an integral part of the Mughal dominion. During later part of his life Raja Birbal seems to have held Kalinjar as his Jagir. During Mughal rule most of the area under Banda district fell under Kalinjar-Sirkar. There were ten mahals, out of which Kalinjar-Sirkar possessed six viz. Augasi, Sihond, Simauni, Shadipur, Rasin and Kalinjar form part of the present district of Banda.

The history of this region does not find any mention After Akbar’s death i.e. the region again became independent under local rulers. During Jahangir’s time Bundelas consolidated their position and the stronghold of this region shifted to Orchha.
Under the valiant leadership of Champat Raj the Bundelas occupied the southern portion of Hamirpur including Mahoba. Ratan Shah, son of Raja Champat raj also fought against  the Imperial forces. His other son, Chhatrasal took up the Bundela-cause, uniting under his banner all the less powerful Bundela chiefs and posed a threat to an already declining Mughal power. Chhatrasal made his capital at Panna (1691 AD) and conquered almost entire tract south of Yamuna carving out the region, which is known as Bundelkhand today.

Muhammad Khan Bangash as Governor of Allahabad on imperial order tried to recapture Bundelkhand but had to abandon this move for some important reasons. He made another attempt in 1728 AD but he had to withdraw and forced to drive away because of Maratha-Bundela nexus against him. Bangash was so much disgraced that he was ousted from Governer’s position. Peshwa Baji Rao, the Maratha chief regarded Chhatrasal as his father who in turn, in his last days, divided his dominion in three parts giving one part to Peshwa Baji Rao as his third son, Maratha presence in Bundelkhand later owes to this event. The second son of Chhatrasal, jagatraj got the forts and dominion around Banda which was made capital and the fort of Bhuragarh on the western bank of Ken river seem to have been built sometime during 1746 AD.

In 1762 Awadh Nawab tried to conquer BundelKhand but the united forces of Bundelas almost wiped off whole of the Nawab’s army near Tindwari area. The commanders Karamat Khan and raja Himmat Bahadur had to jump into Yamuna to find their escape. Gradually the great Bundela-power stood almost crippled by late 18th century as the successor Bundela chiefs, had in fights, resulting the same .

In 1791 AD Bundela-king of Banda under care of Noni Arjun Singh fought the invaders Bahadur, known to be related to Peshwa Baji Rao and his Muslim wife Mastani and his friend Himmat Bahadur Gosain. After Noni Arjun Singh lost his life Banda came under Ali Bahadur who declared himself as Nawab of Banda. Later while trying to capture Kalinjar fort in 1802 AD,Ali Bahadur lost his life. It was during the nawabi of Shamsher Bahadur, son of deceased Ali Bahadur that Banda wad made the Chief town of his residence. Bundelas were never satisfied with this situation and they resisted Nawab of Banda till end of the Banda nawabi. The treaty of Bassein in 1803 brought Banda legally under British rule although Nawabs of Banda resisted their entry throughout. Himmat  Bahadur, the one time friend of Nawabs betrayed them and sided Britishers and Nawab Shamsher Bahadur was defeated and had to accept sovereignty of British rule in 1804 AD.

In 1812 AD Kalinjr came under British occupation; the quiledar of Kalinjar was gifted with separate Jagirs for his family and the negotiator and in March 1819 Banda town was made headquarter of the newly created southern Bundelkhand district. Nawab Ali Bahadur II actively participated in the freedom-stuggle against British during 1857 uprising. Then the inhabitants of Banda district inspired by the incoming freedom fighters from eastern districts and took arms indulging in large numbers in the move against British rule. On 14th June British officers left Banda and Nawab declared himself to be independent. Nawab of Banda not only organized his own governance in Banda but also assisted the revolutionary efforts elsewhere in Bundelkhand. He was able to convince the revolutionaries not to indulge in killings of British personnel’s. But the independence lasted only for a year when British troops under Gen Whitlock marched Banda after defeating Nawab’s army at Goera Mughli village. 800 freedom fighters were killed and Fort Bhuragarh was destroyed. Nawab Ali Bahadur II was asked to leave Banda for indoreand was given pension of Rs.36,000.00 per annum.

There was a very strong repression of people during later years upto the beginning of the twentieth century when there is reference of large number of youths’ involvement in anti-partition agitation of 1905 highlighting the awareness against the foreign rule. Swadeshi movement started and oaths to boycott foreign articles and to deal in swadeshi goods only were taken by the people. Dayanand Vedic Anathalaya inaugurated by Lala lajpat rai in the year 1908 at Banda.

Non-cooperation movement of 1920, spread in the district like fire. The people were exhorted to leave Govt. services, boycott the courts, and children were advised not go to government schools. A nationalist school was set up in 1920 and Satyagrahi started being published which stirred masses towards revolution. In November 1929, Mahatma Gandhi visited Banda. In 1930 civil disobedience movement was started in Banda along with the rest of the country. The salt Satyagraha was initiated here followed by the civil disobedience movement in which people from all walks of life participated very actively. This led to widespread awakening and a large number of people including women joined the movement. Over 100 persons were arrested for breaking the law and order during this time. Well-known revolutionary Chandra Shekhar Azad also visited Banda during same time that was assisted by people for his activities through finance, arms and ammunition. Anti recruitment in the army also campaigned during 2nd World –war and thousands participated in the Satyagraha against war-fund. The district authorities convicted at least 59 persons.

On August 8, 1942 Quit India movement was launched with extremist activities, which resulted in at least 84 persons having been for their conduct. The resistance continued till the eve of independence in 1947. On August 15, 1947 independence was welcome and rejoiced. The tradedy and wounds of partition during the same time bringing in its wake many displaced persons from Pakistan however was also felt with great uneasiness. Mahatma Gandhi’s assassination on 30th January 1948 was a very painful event which people of all walk of the mourned. The declaration of sovereign Indian Republic along with adoption of its constitution on 26 Th January 1950 was celebrated here with enthusiasm happiness. Again during declaration of emergency in 1977 similar resistance was witnessed by conscious people all over the district who were convicted and jailed for almost 19 months.

In 1998, A new District , Chitrakoot was constituted with two tehsils viz. Karwi and Mau. District Banda remained with Five tehsils namely Baberu, Banda, Atarra,Pailani and Naraini. A new Commissonary Chitrakootdham with headquarter at Banda comprising four districts Banda, Hamirpur, Mahoba and Chitrakoot was also constituted.