Ambala district formed in 1847

AMBALA: Ambala district came into being as a distinct administrative body nearly a decade before the first war of Independence.

The contours of Ambala district have changed dramatically over the last couple of decades and the size of the present district is a pale shadow of what it was more than 150 years back.

According to the district gazetteer, Ambala district was constituted in 1847 from territories which had lapsed to the Government or been confiscated for “misbehaviour” during the period of 1809-1846. However, according to another reference, Ambala district came into being in 1849.

“The remainder of the district, as then constituted covering five tehsils, included the large areas held in jagir by the representatives of hitherto independent chiefs, whose sovereign powers had been finally been resumed in 1846-47. Tehsil Pipli was at that time a portion of the district of Thanesar, a district like Ambala formed from lapsed and forfeited territory, and was not added to Ambala till Thanesar district was broken up in 1862,” the gazetteer states.

The district of Thanesar included the estates of Thanesar, which lapsed in 1832 and the remainder in 1850, Kaithal, which lapsed in 1843 and Ladwa confiscated in 1846. “Upto 1849, these estates had been administered by the political agent of Ambala and his assistants. In that year, being incorporated with Punjab, they were formed into one district under a Deputy Commissioner subordinate to the Commissioner of the Cis-Sutlej Division.”

In 1862, the district was abolished as a separate charge and its territory distributed between the districts of Ambala and Karnal. “The parganahs of Shahabad, Ladwa and a part of Thanesar fell to Ambala and the remainder, including Kaithal went to Karnal. In 1866 the Pehowa parganah was transferred from Karnal to Ambala but in 1876, 14 villages and in 1889, 89 villages were again transferred from Pipli to Kaithal tehsil of Karnal,” the gazetteer states.

The gazetteer points out that the most important lapses of jagir estates between the regular settlement and 1887 were due to failure of heirs in Sialba estate in 1886 and Manimajra in 1875. The lapse in the former case covered 63 villages with a revenue of Rs 29,000 and in the latter, 69 villages with a revenue of Rs 39,100.

Pipli tehsil was transferred to Karnal district in 1897 and Kalka-cum-Kurari, Kasauli and Sanawar had been added to Ambala from Shimla district.

Incidentally, the first edition of the Ambala district gazetteer, published in 1885, was prepared mainly from a draft gazetteer compiled between 1870 and 1874 by Mr F. Cunningham, Barrister-at-Law, which again was largely based upon the settlement reports of the district by Messrs Wynyard and Melvill, written about 1855.

A revised settlement of the district was begun in 1882 and 1883 and finished in 1889. The assessment and final reports of the settlement officers, Messrs Kensington and Douie, supplied the chief material from which a revised edition of the gazetteer was prepared in 1892-93.