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Page history last edited by Michael 3 years, 1 month ago

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1931 map

Information as of 1908:


     Head-quarters of the Division, District, and tahsil of Rawalpindi, within the Punjab province, situated in 33° 36' N. and 73° 7' E., on the North-Western Railway and the Grand Trunk Road, on the north bank of the Leh river, a muddy, sluggish stream, flowing between precipitous banks, and separating the town from the cantonment. Distance by rail 1,443 miles from Calcutta, 1,479 from Bombay, and 908 from Karachi.

     The population in 1901, including military cantonments, was 87,688, including 40,807 Muhammadans, 33,227 Hindus, 6,302 Sikhs, 6,278 Christians, and 1,008 Jains.

     The present town is of quite modern origin; but Sir Alexander Cunningham identified certain ruins on the site of the cantonment with the ancient city of Gajipur or Gajnipur, the capital of the Bhatti tribe in the ages preceding the Christian era. Graeco-Bactrian coins, together with ancient bricks, occur over an area of 2 square miles. Known within historical times as Fatehpur Baori, Rawalpindi fell into decay during one of the Mongol invasions in the fourteenth century. Jhanda Khan, a Gakhar chief, restored the town and gave it its present name. Sardar Milka Singh, a Sikh adventurer, occupied it in 1765, and invited traders from the neighbouring commercial centres of Jhelum and Shahpur to settle in his territory. Early in the nineteenth century Rawalpindi became for a time the refuge of Shah Shuja, the exiled king of Kabul, and of his brother Shah Zaman. The present native infantry lines mark the site of a battle fought by the Gakhars under their famous chief Sultan Mukarrab Khan in the middle of the eighteenth century. It was at Rawalpindi that, on March 14, 1849, the Sikh army under Chattar Singh and Sher Singh finally laid down their arms after the battle of Gujrat. On the introduction of British rule, Rawalpindi became the site of a cantonment, and shortly afterwards the head-quarters of a Division; while its connexion with the main railway system by the extension of the North-Western Railway to Peshawar immensely developed both its size and commercial importance. The municipality was created in 1867.

     The military cantonment, with a population in 1901 of 40,611, is the most important in India. It contains one battery of horse and one of field artillery, one mountain battery, one company of garrison artillery, and one ammunition column of field artillery; one regiment of British and one of Native cavalry; two of British and two of Native infantry; and two companies of sappers and miners, with a balloon section. It is the winter head-quarters of the Northern Command, and of the Rawalpindi military division. An arsenal was established here in 1883.

     The chief educational institutions are the Government normal school, the Gordon Arts college maintained by the American United Presbyterian Mission, and five Anglo-vernacular high schools. The cantonment also contains an English and several Anglo-vernacular middle schools, and an English convent school for girls.
     The town has a civil hospital, with two branch dispensaries. 

     The principal factories are the North-Western Railway locomotive and carriage works, where the number of employes in 1904 was 1,455 ; and the arsenal, which in the same year gave employment to 569 persons. Besides these, the Rawalpindi gas-works had 170 employees; a branch of the Murree Brewery, 200; a tent factory, 252; an iron foundry, 123; and four smaller factories an aggregate of 150 employees. Rawalpindi has a large carrying trade with Kashmir.

     The horse fair held by the District board in April is one of the largest in the Punjab. There are branches of the Alliance Bank of Simla and of the Commercial Bank of India in the cantonment.

      It's 39 miles from Murree, the "summer capital" of the North-West Frontier.


In the Late Thirties:


     Rawalpindi is the detraining point for trips to Murree, and the Kashmire. The Frontier Mail, an express train between Bombay and Peshawar, stops in the city.

Comments (1)

Michael said

at 1:29 pm on Nov 10, 2013

More information on late Thirties Rawalpindi to come.

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