Early History of Uttarakhand
The region was previously settled by Kols. Kols are aboriginal people with Dravidian physical structure, and were later joined by the Indo-Aryan Khas that arrived from the North West by the Vedic period. At the present time, Uttrakhand served as the haunt for Sadhus and Rishis. Legends have it that Sage Ved Vyas scripted the Mahabharata as the Pandavas are believed to have camped in the region.
The first inhabitants of Tehri Garhwal District (a kingdom in the region of Uttarakhand) and Kumaon were the Kuninda in the 2nd century B.C. During the medieval period, the region was dominated in the west by the Garhwal Kingdom and in the east by the Kumaon Kingdom. They had close resemblance with the Indo-Greek civilization. They were central Himalayan tribal people who practiced an early form of Shaivism. They traded in Salt with Tibet. It is evident from the Ashokan Edicts at Khalsi in Western Gharwal that Buddhism made some inroads in this region. But Gharwal and Kumaon remained Brahmanical. In the fourth century, the Kuninda's had to surrender to the Guptas. Between the 7th and 14th centuries the Shaivite Katyuri dominated lands of varying extent from the Katyur Baijinath valley in Kamaon. From the 13th -14th century, Eastern Kumaon prospered under the Chandras. During this period learning and new forms of painting were developed.
In 1791 the expanding Gurkha Empire (people from Nepal) overran Almora District, which was the seat of the Kumaon Kingdom. In 1803, the Garhwal Kingdom also fell under the clutches of the Gurkhas and became a part of Nepal. Later on, in the 19th century, expansion of the Gurkha Empire was brought to an end by British annexation of these regions. The Garhwal Kingdom was re-established from Tehri (Tehri is a city and a municipal board in Tehri Garhwal District in the Indian state of Uttaranchal, which has been renamed now as Uttarakhand) and eastern British. Garhwal and Kumaon had to yield to the British as part of the Treaty of Sugauli.
Other people of the Burman-Tibeto group also known as Kirates. They had settled in the northern highlands as well as in pockets throughout the region, and were also believed to be the ancestor to the modern day Raji, Buhsha, Bhotiya and Tharu peoples.
Modern History of Uttarakhand
The present state of Uttaranchal was earlier a part of the United Province of Agra and Awadh. In January 1950, the United Province was renamed, as Uttar Pradesh and Uttaranchal remained a part of Uttar Pradesh. It emerged as an individual state on 9 November 2000. It became the 27th state of India.
After the Independence, the princely state of Tehri was merged into Uttar Pradesh where Uttarakhand composed of the Garhwal and Kumaon Divisions. The kingdoms of Garhwal and Kumaon were traditional rivals with different linguistic and cultural influences. As a result of nearness of different ethnic groups and their inseparable geographical nature, between language and traditions, there existed a strong bond between these two regions. These bonds created the foundation for a new political identity of Uttarkhand. In 1994, the demand for a separate statehood achieved unanimous acceptance among the local people as well as political parties at the national level. Until 1998, Uttarakhand was the name most commonly by the different political groups. The BJP came to power in March 1998 and on November 2000, and the new state was created.
(Last Updated on : 29-04-2013)
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