District Mandi Bahauddin : History and Present
Writen by Nazar Muhammad Cheema
Addition and Revision by S.T. Shah
Historical, Cultural, Agricultural and Education Background
District Mandi Bahauddin takes its name from the town headquarters. In 1506 A. D. a Gondal Jat Chief Bahauddin established a settlement namely Pindi Bahauddin, after his migration from Pindi Shah Jahanian to this area.
During British era in Sub-Continent
In the British rule in 1916 Pindi bahauddin Railway station was setup. It was a time when the British were Establishing and introducing modern and essential public use Equipments in their best Interest. Above mentioned Railway System was introduced and laid down to defend their Empire from the North. So it was called North Western Railway (NWR). After the first world war the British gave and introduced new settlements in Sub-continent. This Region called “Gondal Bar” some of its land lying Barren was reconstructed and a great Irrigation plan was surveyed and dug out by manual work. Main route of the canal Lower Jhelum was dug. Water was released in 1902 in its main route.
Chak Bandi was made by Sir Malcum Heley and approximately 51 Chaks were settled and notified. In these 51 Chaks , the land was awarded to the people who worked for British Empire. The town grew up in early 20th century near the ancient village [Chak No. 51], where Sikh, Hindu and Muslim businessmen and land owners came to settle. The twon was named Mandi Bahauddin after establishment of grain market in the area. Chak 51 became the center of this newly established town. The map of this Chak was made by John Alam. A famous grain market was setup in this Chak. After this the Chak No. 51 was called Mandi-Bahauddin. In 1920 this name was notified. In 1924 Pindi-Bahauddin Railway station was notified the above mentioned name. In 1937 when Mandi-Bahauddin was town, it was given the status of a town committee. In 1941 it was given the status of a Muncipal Committee. In the Master plan of reconstructing this town, in 1923 all the streets and roads were laid straight and wide. In 1946 nine gates and the wall surrounding this town was completed due to reites.
After the partition when the Sikhs and the Hindus have migrated to India, bulk of muslim population migrated and settled here. In 1960 this city was given the status of Sub-Division. In 1963, the Rasul Barrage and Rasul-Qadirabad link canal project under Indus Basin irrigation project started. The Project was managed by WAPDA, and a large colony for government employees and foreign contractors was constructed a few kilometers from Mandi Bahauddin. This projected was completed in 1968 by Engineer Riazur Rahman Shariff as the Project Director. This project brought lime light to Mandi Bahauddin and helped the city grow commercially. In 1993 by its own name Mian Manzoor Ahmed Vato Chief minister Punjab announced and notified this city as a District. H.Q.
The district forms central portion of the Chaj Doab lying between Jhelum and Chenab rivers.
Jatts consisting of sub-castes Gondal, Warraich, Tarar, Ranjha and Sahi dominate Mandi Bahauddin, consisting of three tehsils Mandi Bahauddin, Phalia and Malikwal.
However, Gujjars and Mohajirs are also prominent in local politics. Agriculture is the major profession in the district. Formerly a tehsil of Gujrat district, Mandi Bahauddin district consists of two national and five provincial assembly seats
The total area of Mandi Bahauddin is 2,673 sq kilometres. The total number of male voters in Mandi Bahauddin is 370,528 and female voters 278,521. The annual population growth rate of the district is 1.87 per cent and the urban ratio is 15.2 per cent. Around 99.1 per cent of the total population of Mandi Bahauddin are Muslims, 0.6 per cent Christians and 0.2 per cent Ahmadis.
The main languages of the district are: Punjabi 97 per cent; Urdu 2.5 per cent; Pushto 0.5 per cent; Seraiki 0.5 per cen. Main occupations of the district include agriculture workers 40.7 per cent; elementary occupations 40 per cent; service workers 6.5 per cent, crafts and related trade 4.2 per cent; professionals 3.1 per cent and machine operators 2.4 per cent.
More than 150 lakh populated city has its own great importance. In the Western side of Mandi-Bahauddin at the place of Khiwa , the famous and historical war “Battle of the Hydaspes River” between Raja Porus and Alexander The great , a Greece Invader have been fought.
A painting by Charles Le Brun depicting Alexander and Porus during the Battle of the Hydaspes
Alexander’s crossing of the Hydaspes river, courtesy of The Department of History, United States Military Academy
The Battle of Hydaspes River was a battle fought by Alexander the Great in 326 BC against the Indian king Porus on the Hydaspes River (now the Jhelum) in Punjab. The kingdom of king Porus was situated in that part of ancient India which has become modern day Pakistan. The battle was the last major war fought by Alexander.
At the first day of this war, Harry Roy the son of Raja Porus was killed at 11 o-clock. At the same day, the horse (Bucephalus) of Alexander, The great, was dead. After the death of his son, Raja Porus (initially stationed at Nazampur) came with Elephants and fought against Alexander the great. This war was on the Southern Bank of the River Jhelum. As a result of this battle, Alexander founded two cities, Nicaea (Victory) at the site of modern day Jalapur and Bucephala at the site (possibly) of Bhera in Pakistan.Bucephalus was the name of the horse that Alexander rode on, having died either during battle or right afterwards of weariness and old age.Wazir Abad Cuttlery industry has its own pride to sharpen and prepare the swords of this great Invader.
At a few distance from here, second Sikh war in 1849 in the reigeon of Lord Guff, the British and the Khalsa Sikh Army fought at the place of Chillianwala.
A grave yard at Rakh Minar near Chillianwala has its own Ancient Mamorandom where many British Army soldiers and officers have been buried and lie there.
Tehsil headquarters towns of Phalia and Malikwal are at the distance of 22.5 and 28.5 kilometers from Mandi Bahauddin, respectively. The shape of the district is like a parallelogram. It is bounded on the north by river Jhelum (which separates it from Jehlam district); on the west by Sargodha district; on the south by river Chenab (which separates it from the Gujranwala and Hafizabad districts); and on the east by Gujrat district. Total area of the district is 2,673 square kilometers. The district comprises of three tehsils, namely, Mandi Bahauddin, Phalia and Malikwal.
Mandi Bahaud Din: Out of the way city by shirazi
Originally Mandi Bahauddin was a village called as Chak number 51. It started expanding after the completion of Rasul Hydroelectric Power Station on Upper Jhelum Canal in 1901. Today, Mandi Bahauddin is an over crowded market town famous for its agricultural markets (Grain Market, Vegetable Market and Livestock Market) and local industry of making colourful bed legs.
The name Mandi Bahauddin originates from two sources: Mandi (market) was prefixed because it was a flourishing grain market and Bahauddin was borrowed from nearby old village Pindi Bahauddin, which has now become part of the town. After the partition, thousands of refugees from India rehabilitated on the evacuee property of Sikh and Hindu landlords. Lately, after the construction of Rasul Barrage, people from the belt along southern edge of Salt Range up to Pind Dadan Khan and other areas across the River Jhelum came settling in the town. Due to migrations and increase in business activities, the town has expanded in all directions. The result is that more than half of the population is living outside municipal limits without any civic amenities. More unplanned localities and kachi abadies are coming up everyday. The tendency to move from rural areas to urban centres is on the increase.
People from adjoining villages come to exchange their agricultural products like grain, chickens and Ghee with matchboxes and other commodity items and see the â€˜bright lightsâ€™ in this dusty town. Donkey carts to heavy vehicles are plying indiscriminately on any road they feel like. The town roads have bumps, wobbles and unauthorized speed breakers (sleeping policemen). The right of way has been shrunk due to encroachments and fast growing traffic. Most cross-junctions like Hospital Chowk, Gurha Chowk, Sut Sire Chowk, College Chowk and two railway crossings are always busy and there are no traffic signals.
The sugar mills constructed â€˜farm to millâ€™ road that can be used as a bypass for the traffic not concerned with the city. But it is not being utilized because there are no arrangements to divert the heavy traffic on to the 20 feet wide metallic road. Mixture of slow and fast moving traffic, lack of footpaths, parking facilities, presence of bus and wagon terminals and many tonga stands has aggravated the situation in this agricultural market town. It is located away from Grand Trunk road but well linked with Pind Dadan Khan, Jhelum, Kharian, Lalamusa, Gujrat, Gujranwala and Sargodha with railways and good road network.
The small town having gridiron pattern (all roads and streets meeting at right angle) has developed haphazardly into an overcrowded city. Rehries and temporary shops have intruded all the main bazaars. The rehriwallas have a strong union. They thwart any effort by municipal authorities or district administration to remove the encroachments. The result is that what to talk of vehicles even the pedestrians cannot pass through the bazaars. Dual carriage way was introduced from Sadar Darwaza – gateway built in 1930 – to municipal committee office but the encroachers have also occupied this bifurcation.
The right of way on roads going out of the town has also been reduced due to unchecked encroachments and linear development along the roads. Number of shopping centres has come up in the residential areas. Beside sugar mills, local shaped industrial concerns are spread in and brick kilns around the town. Bed legs and colourful furniture are famous products of the town. Commercial and industrial activities in the residential areas have put a great pressure on the demand of already deficient houses.
Grain Market is located in the centre of the town. Goodsâ€™ Forwarding Agencies and lack of amenities have made miserable the lives of merchants and customers of the Market. Large number of goodsâ€™ trucks is always standing in the 4.3 acres of market area, which adversely affect the business. The surrounding area of townâ€™s landmark and highest building, majestic Jamia Mosque built by the corner of Grain Market is also noisy and bustling with commercial activities of â€˜Loharâ€™ bazaar.
Even worst is the condition of Vegetable Market. There was time when much of what is today Sabzi Mandi was tranquil and pollution free market consisting of few shops. People could go to the market and buy some of the freshest fruit, vegetables and some of the choicest of spices, nuts, meat and chicken. But now it is very difficult to move in and out of this largest perishableâ€™s market in the area because there is no regular sweeping or lifting of garbage and all the free space has been occupied by vendors who buy any one item in the morning and sit on ground to sell inside and around Sabzi Mandi.
Well chalking is another problem of the town. Political, religious, commercial slogans and different advertisements can be seen all over the town. Political slogans respecting one candidate who contested last elections, every time from a different platform can still be found written on the walls of the town.
Besides going to nearby Rasul Barrage for eating fish Kabab, there are no recreational or cultural facilities and no healthy activities Mandi Bahauddin that was made district headquarters in 1993. This has far eaching effects on the youth of the town. They are seen playing cards on roadsides or snooker in corners of every street. Large numbers of video shops have come up and are doing good business. Video shops rent TV, VCR and as much as five films at a time even in the period when multi channel satellite has become a household item. There are two old cinema houses with 803 seating capacity. Degree colleges (one for boys and one for girls) are doing good jobs but given the resources of the municipal educational institutions, they are not enough for the youth of the area.
A Lalamusa-Sargodha-Khanewal railway is a profitable rout. At present only one Peshawar-Karachi train – Chenab Express – runs on this route. It could be useful to introduce at least one more Peshawar-Karachi express train for passengers, agricultural products produced in the area and a few of the minerals from Salt Range. This track is linked with Khewara Salt mines as well. Moreover, this track is strategically important in case of any threat to Peshawar-Lahore-Karachi main railway track. In that case, Lalamusa-Sargodha-Khanewal rail route could take all the rail traffic.
The â€œMandi Bahauddin Development Plan 1986-2012â€³ has not even come on the tables of people responsible for is execution. But a possible nice start for the town may be to declare at least two bazaars (Sadar Bazaar and Committee Bazaar) totally pedestrian, vehicular traffic and animal transport contained out. Any body listening please!