Dera Ghazi Khan - Encyclopedia

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DERA GHAZI KHAN, a town and district of British India, in the Punjab. In 1901 the town had a population of 21,700. There are several handsome mosques in the native quarter. It commands the direct approaches to the Baluch highlands by Sakki Sarwar and Fort Monro. For many years past both the town and cantonment have been threatened by the erosion of the river Indus. The town was founded at the close of the 15th century and named after Ghazi Khan, son of Haji Khan, a Baluch chieftain, who after holding the country for the Langah sultans of Multan had made himself independent. Together with the two other deras (settlements), Dera Ismail Khan and Dera Fateh Khan, it gave its name to the territorial area locally and historically known as Derajat, which after many vicissitudes came into the possession of the British after the Sikh War, in 1849, and was divided into the two districts of Dera Ghazi Khan and Dera Ismail Khan.

The District Of Dera Ghazi Khan contains an area of 53 06 sq. m. The district is a long narrow strip of country, 198 m. in length, sloping gradually from the hills which form its western boundary to the river Indus on the east. Below the hills the country is high and arid, generally level, but sometimes rolling in sandy undulations, and much intersected by hill torrents, 201 in number. With the exceptions of two, these streams dry up after the rains, and their influence is only felt for a few miles below the hills. The eastern portion of the district is at a level sufficiently low to benefit by the floods of the Indus. A barren tract intervenes between these zones, and is beyond the reach of the hill streams on the one hand and of the Indus on the other. Although liable to great extremes of temperature, and to a very scanty rainfall, the district is not unhealthy. The population in 1901 was 471,149, the great majority being Baluch Mahommedans. The principal exports are wheat and indigo. The only manufactures are for domestic use. There is no railway in the district, and only 29 m. of metalled road. The Indus, which is nowhere bridged within the district, is navigable by native boats. The geographical boundary between the Pathan and Baluch races in the hills nearly corresponds with the northern limit of the district. The frontier tribes on the Dera Ghazi Khan border include the Kasranis, Bozdars, Khosas, Lagharis, Khetvans, Gurchanis, Mazaris, Mariris and Bugtis. The chief of these are described under their separate names.

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