BANDA, a town and district of British India, in the Allahabad division of the United Provinces. The town is near the right bank of the river Ken, 95 m. S. W. of Allahabad. The population in 1901 was 22,565. The town possesses 65 mosques and 168 Hindu temples. It was formerly, but is no longer, a military cantonment.
The district is the most barren and backward portion of the province. It contains an area of 3061 sq. m. In some parts it rises into irregular uplands and elevated plains, interspersed with detached rocks of granite; in others it sinks into marshy lowlands, which frequently remain under water during the rainy season. The sloping country on the bank of the Jumna is full of ravines. To the S.E. the Vindhya chain of hills takes its origin in a low range not exceeding 50o ft. in height, and forming a natural boundary of the district in that direction. The principal river of the district is the Jumna, which flows from north-west to south-east, along the N.E. boundary of the district, for 125 m. In 1901 the population was 631,058, showing a decrease of 11% in the decade, due to the effects of famine. The black soil of the district yields crops of which the principal are millet, other food-grains, pulse, rice, cotton and oil-seeds. Banda cotton enjoys a high repute in the market. A branch railway from Manikpur to Jhansi traverses the length of the district, which is also crossed by the East Indian main line to Jubbulpore.
Banda, which forms one of the districts included under the general name of Bundelkhand, has formed an arena of contention for the successive races who have struggled for the sovereignty of India. Kalinjar town, then the capital, was unsuccessfully besieged by Mahmud of Ghazni in A.D. 1023; in 1196 it was taken by Kutab-ud-din, the general of Muhammad Ghori; in 1 545 by Shere Shah, who, however, fell mortally wounded in the assault. About the year 1735 the raja of Kalinjar's territory, including the present district of Banda, was bequeathed to Baji Rao, the Mahratta peshwa; and from the Mahrattas it passed by the treaties of 1802-1803 to the Company. At the time of the Mutiny the district, which was poverty-stricken and over-taxed, joined the rebels. The town of Banda was recovered by General Whitlock on the 20th of April 1858. The fiscal system was remodelled, and the district has since enjoyed a greater degree of prosperity only interrupted by famine.
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