ROHTAK, a town and district of British India, in the Delhi division of the Punjab. The town, which is of great antiquity, became the headquarters of a British district in 1824. Viewed from the sandhills to the south, Rohtak, with its white mosque in the centre, a fort standing out boldly to the east, is striking and picturesque. It has a station on the Southern Punjab railway, 44 m. N.W. of Delhi. Pop. (1901) 20,323. It is an important trade centre, with factories for ginning and pressing cotton, and a speciality in muslin turbans.
The district of Rohtak has an area of 1797 sq. m. It is situated in the midst of the level tableland between the Jumna and the Sutlej, forming one unbroken plain of hard clay copiously interspersed with light yellow sand, and covered in its wild state by a jungle of scrubby brushwood. The only natural reservoir for its drainage is the Najafgarh jhil, a marshy lake lying within the boundaries of Delhi. The Sahibi, a small stream from the Ajmere hills, traverses a corner of the district, and the northern portions are watered by the Rohtak and Butana branches of the Western Jumna canal; but the greater portion of the central plain, comprising about two-thirds of the district area, is entirely dependent upon the uncertain rainfall. The climate, though severe in point of heat, is generally healthy; the rainfall averages annually about 20 in.
The population in 1901 was 630,672, showing an increase of 6.8% in the decade. The principal crops are millets, wheat, barley, pulses, cotton and sugar-cane. The district is traversed by the line of the Southern Punjab railway from Delhi to Jind, and also touched by the Rewari-Ferozepore branch of the Rajputana railway. It is peculiarly exposed to drought, suffering in the famine of 1896-97, and yet more severely in 1899-1900, when the highest number of persons relieved was 33,632 in March 1900.
Rohtak was formerly included within the region known as Hariana. The district, with the other possessions of Sindhia west of the Jumna, passed to the British in 1803. Until 1832 Rohtak was under the administration of a political agent, resident at Delhi, but in that year it was brought under the general regulations and annexed to the North-Western Provinces. The outbreak of the Mutiny in 1857 led to its abandonment, when the mutineers attacked and plundered Rohtak, destroying every record of administration. It was not until after the fall of Delhi that the authority of the British government was permanently restored. Rohtak was then transferred to the Punjab.
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