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'Lost Textile Village "Mahua Dabar" back on Map

Mahua Dabar, a long buried small town in Basti district of Awadh in modern Uttar Pradesh, India. This town was destroyed and its refugee Bengali weavers were massacred by the British Raj during the Indian Rebellion of 1857. 
An archaeology seminar that drew delegates from across the country and abroad was told that Mahua Dabar — a village in modern-day Basti, Uttar Pradesh, where weavers from Bengal had migrated early in the 19th century — was indeed a textile hub before the British razed it to the ground. [1]

The British had chopped off their forefathers’ thumbs in Bengal a generation ago, so the weavers of Mahua Dabar in Awadh cut off a few British heads during the turmoil of 1857. Erased from the face of the earth by the British Raj’s revenge, this lost town has been found again thanks to one man’s effort. All that Abdul Latif Ansari, 65, had to go by was a tattered, hand-drawn, two-century-old map and family lore about how his forefathers had suffered twice in British hands. It was enough to keep bringing the Mumbai businessman to Basti, eastern Uttar Pradesh, for 14 years to search out his ancestral home, lost in the mists of time for a century and a half. 

In March–April during the Indian Rebellion of 1857, the inhabitants of Mahua Dabar intercepted a boat carrying six British soldiers. These soldiers were surrounded and killed by the descendents of amputated weavers of Mahua Dabar who had been persecuted by the British. On June 20, 1857 the British 12th Irregular Horse Cavalry surrounded the town, slaughtered all the inhabitants and set the houses on fire. The town was razed to the ground and only farming was allowed. The tilling of the land destroyed all ruins of the destroyed town. Mahua Dabar, a town of 5,000 persons, completely disappeared from history and geography. [2] The forgotten hero of this event was #Jafar_Ali.

First, Mahua Dabar was burnt to ashes. But some of the residents had left behind all they had, buried in the ground whatever money, ornaments and tools they had, and fled. They thought they would come back and settle down once things had cooled down [3]. The chopping of thumbs of the weavers were associated with this region as well to destroy the local weaving industry. The British ordered that the burnt and collapsed walls of the houses should be levelled and the land should be used for farming, so that the place might yield revenue which should be deposited regularly in the British treasury. In this way, the place, where weaving, dyeing and printing of cloth was done, which had single-storeyed and double storied houses, markets, schools, mosques with tall minarets, was brought under the plough and no trace of the township remained and the name #MahuaDabar disappeared also from the maps.

The excavation done in early 2014, followed a nod from the Archaeological Survey of India after a panel of historians set up by the state government came out with a report in 2007 that said the village had once existed. In the paper, Excavations at Mahua Dabar, Kumar said: “Evidences from three trenches excavated there included charred soil, burnt items of private homes, discovery of a well … and two outlets from the well…. These outlets were for getting fresh water from the well for dying and printing fabrics.” [1,2] The weavers of Mahua Dabar had settled there after fleeing Bengal to escape a British crackdown at a time British textile industry was reaping the fruits of the industrial revolution and the head start given by its inventors. He said the layer of soil recovered from the outlet indicate it was in use for discharging the wastewater after dying and printing fabrics. “The finding of the debris and the evidence of wastewater collection from the well show that water from the well was not used for drinking purposes.”

The second-generation #weavers (who flew from Bengal), had learnt their skills from their forefathers, helped the village Mahua Dabar grow into a textile hub, that was before the 1857 massacre. The village was part of the district map of 1831, but since 1861, it has found no mention in government maps. After the villagers fled, Mahua Dabar ceased to be a revenue village. All that existed was a small river, manorama, a mosque and some mounds. “A wall 30-35ft high, a stretch of land along that wall with traces of burnt articles and traces of burnt soil have been found from the excavation site.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kHMWSjv21X8 

The search for the wiped-out village was launched by a descendant of one of the weaver families. Mohammad Latif Ansari’s family had fled Mahua Dabar to first Lucknow and then to Mumbai. Ansari, 62, started his search after getting hold of some family documents. He then contacted some of the other descendants of the weaver families scattered all over the country. In 1993, he urged the state government to set up a committee of historians. In its 2007 report, the committee recommended that the area be excavated. “The excavations have unearthed a chapter of history that links directly to contemporary history,” a senior BHU archaeologist said. 
======================================================
Notes and References:
[1] http://www.telegraphindia.com/1101231/jsp/nation/story_13374094.jsp 
[2] http://www.telegraphindia.com/1081208/jsp/atleisure/story_10221665.jsp 
[3] Charles ball, Ibid, P. 399-401; Col. G.B. Malleson, Ibid, P. 401; John W.kaye and Col. G.B. Malleson, Ibid. P. 269
[4] http://hi.bharatdiscovery.org/india/महुआ_डाबर
[5] http://mahuadabar.org.p.in.hostingprod.com/discovery_of_mahua_dabar
[6] http://www.openthemagazine.com/emag/2010-08-07
[7] http://mahuadabar.org.p.in.hostingprod.com/in_the_press'

Lost Textile Village “Mahua Dabar” back on Map

Mahua Dabar, a long buried small town in Basti district of Awadh in modern Uttar Pradesh, India. This town was destroyed and its refugee Bengali weavers were massacred by the British Raj during the Indian Rebellion of 1857.
An archaeology seminar that drew delegates from across the country and abroad was told that Mahua Dabar — a village in modern-day Basti, Uttar Pradesh, where weavers from Bengal had migrated early in the 19th century — was indeed a textile hub before the British razed it to the ground. [1]

The British had chopped off their forefathers’ thumbs in Bengal a generation ago, so the weavers of Mahua Dabar in Awadh cut off a few British heads during the turmoil of 1857. Erased from the face of the earth by the British Raj’s revenge, this lost town has been found again thanks to one man’s effort. All that Abdul Latif Ansari, 65, had to go by was a tattered, hand-drawn, two-century-old map and family lore about how his forefathers had suffered twice in British hands. It was enough to keep bringing the Mumbai businessman to Basti, eastern Uttar Pradesh, for 14 years to search out his ancestral home, lost in the mists of time for a century and a half.

In March–April during the Indian Rebellion of 1857, the inhabitants of Mahua Dabar intercepted a boat carrying six British soldiers. These soldiers were surrounded and killed by the descendents of amputated weavers of Mahua Dabar who had been persecuted by the British. On June 20, 1857 the British 12th Irregular Horse Cavalry surrounded the town, slaughtered all the inhabitants and set the houses on fire. The town was razed to the ground and only farming was allowed. The tilling of the land destroyed all ruins of the destroyed town. Mahua Dabar, a town of 5,000 persons, completely disappeared from history and geography. [2] The forgotten hero of this event was ‪#‎Jafar_Ali‬.

First, Mahua Dabar was burnt to ashes. But some of the residents had left behind all they had, buried in the ground whatever money, ornaments and tools they had, and fled. They thought they would come back and settle down once things had cooled down [3]. The chopping of thumbs of the weavers were associated with this region as well to destroy the local weaving industry. The British ordered that the burnt and collapsed walls of the houses should be levelled and the land should be used for farming, so that the place might yield revenue which should be deposited regularly in the British treasury. In this way, the place, where weaving, dyeing and printing of cloth was done, which had single-storeyed and double storied houses, markets, schools, mosques with tall minarets, was brought under the plough and no trace of the township remained and the name ‪#‎MahuaDabar‬ disappeared also from the maps.

The excavation done in early 2014, followed a nod from the Archaeological Survey of India after a panel of historians set up by the state government came out with a report in 2007 that said the village had once existed. In the paper, Excavations at Mahua Dabar, Kumar said: “Evidences from three trenches excavated there included charred soil, burnt items of private homes, discovery of a well … and two outlets from the well…. These outlets were for getting fresh water from the well for dying and printing fabrics.” [1,2] The weavers of Mahua Dabar had settled there after fleeing Bengal to escape a British crackdown at a time British textile industry was reaping the fruits of the industrial revolution and the head start given by its inventors. He said the layer of soil recovered from the outlet indicate it was in use for discharging the wastewater after dying and printing fabrics. “The finding of the debris and the evidence of wastewater collection from the well show that water from the well was not used for drinking purposes.”

The second-generation ‪#‎weavers‬ (who flew from Bengal), had learnt their skills from their forefathers, helped the village Mahua Dabar grow into a textile hub, that was before the 1857 massacre. The village was part of the district map of 1831, but since 1861, it has found no mention in government maps. After the villagers fled, Mahua Dabar ceased to be a revenue village. All that existed was a small river, manorama, a mosque and some mounds. “A wall 30-35ft high, a stretch of land along that wall with traces of burnt articles and traces of burnt soil have been found from the excavation site.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kHMWSjv21X8

The search for the wiped-out village was launched by a descendant of one of the weaver families. Mohammad Latif Ansari’s family had fled Mahua Dabar to first Lucknow and then to Mumbai. Ansari, 62, started his search after getting hold of some family documents. He then contacted some of the other descendants of the weaver families scattered all over the country. In 1993, he urged the state government to set up a committee of historians. In its 2007 report, the committee recommended that the area be excavated. “The excavations have unearthed a chapter of history that links directly to contemporary history,” a senior BHU archaeologist said.
======================================================
Notes and References:
[1] http://www.telegraphindia.com/…/j…/nation/story_13374094.jsp
[2] http://www.telegraphindia.com/…/atleisure/story_10221665.jsp
[3] Charles ball, Ibid, P. 399-401; Col. G.B. Malleson, Ibid, P. 401; John W.kaye and Col. G.B. Malleson, Ibid. P. 269
[4] http://hi.bharatdiscovery.org/india/महुआ_डाबर
[5] http://mahuadabar.org.p.in.hostingprod.com/discovery_of_mah…
[6] http://www.openthemagazine.com/emag/2010-08-07
[7] http://mahuadabar.org.p.in.hostingprod.com/in_the_press

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This entry was posted on March 9, 2015 by in HINDUISM SCIENCE and tagged , .

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