Bara Basti which literally means twelve settlements is a historic name for twelve villages that are now located in the present districts of Bulandshahr, Ghaziabad & Amroha. The history goes back to the reign of the Mughal Emperor, Jahangir when a son of a Daudzai Afghan chieftain, Shiekh Ruknud-din founded a village on the banks of Ganga, with name Basi Bangar. As a valiant warrior, Ruknud-din was inducted by the great Mughals & later his fortunes rise to the rank of Mansabdar & title of Sher Khan was also awarded for his bravery in battle against Amr Singh, Rana of Udaipur. In the same battle, he also lost his arm with a stroke of a sword. The emperor Jahangir also conferred him the jagir of Peshawar and the thePargana of Gujarat sarkar to him. After his death, the emperor bestowed some portion of his jagir and rank to his brother and children. His son Shaikh Kamaluddin Daudzai also served as Mansabdar under the emperor Jahangir but later on, Shaikh Kamaluddin Daudzai and khan Jahan Lodhi revolted against the Mughal emperor Shahjahan at Peshawar.

Gate of Khanpur Fort, Pic Source: Author
Qile Wali Masjid, Khanpur, Pic Source: Author

 Later, his younger brother, Shaikh Allu Afghan was also inducted into the Mughal aristocracy & awarded many grants. A village with the name “Khanpur” was established by Shaikh Allu Afghan. During his lifetime, he builds a big fort, mosque & other structures in this village. This is how; the Khanpur became the headquarters of Bara Basti, the settlements of Daudzai Afghans. While fighting against the rebellious Raja Jagat Singh of Taragarh, Himachal Pradesh, Shiekh Allu Afghan lost his life & his mortal remains were brought back to Khanpur, & he was buried here during the reign of Emperor Shahjahan. The other villages of Bara Basti were Bugrasi, Jalalpur, Chandiyana, Gesupur, Barwala, Amarpur, Sherpur, Bahadurgarh, Hasanpur, Mohammadpur, Giroura. This was the short historical background of the Bara Basti & Khanpur’s estate that flourished under the Mughals.

Resting place of Sheikh Allu Afghan, Pic Source: Author

Role in First war of Independence

By the time of 1857, a historical event took place that engaged the Khanpur estate against British forces. Actually, Nawab Mustafa Khan (pen name -Shefta) of Jahangirabad, a contemporary of Mirza Ghalib who held close ties with Emperor Bahadur Shah Zafar, was expelled from Jahangirabad fort by Thakur Bheem Singh of Guraoli, Bulandshahar. The Nawab then went to the Khanpur family asking for help. Haji Munir Khan, the sole son of S/o Azam Khan alias Azim khan went on an elephant with many irregular cavalry troops mostly recruited from the Pathans of Barabasti. Thakur Bheem Singh was defeated and Haji Munir Khan brought him behind his elephant to Khanpur fort with a promise to never trouble the Nawab again.

Azam Khan alias Azim Khan actively participated in the battle of the uprising under the overall command of Nawab Walidad khan of Malagarh & was deputed as his deputy at Khurja. He was arrested while crossing the Ganga to move into Rohilkhand and subsequently hanged by order of the British military commission. Then his only son, Haji Munir Khan alias Munir Khan was the main commander of the revolutionary of the Bulandshahar district. In the famous second battle, Gulothi which was fought on 29 July 1857 Britishers want to take control over the whole Bulandshahar district. To stop their advancement Nawab of Malagarh deputed his main commander Haji Munir khan & Ismail khan at Gulothi who established a picket just before Gulothi on the canal to stop the colonial force to enter the Bulandshahar district. There was a surprise attack on them in which many revolutionaries were martyred but these two managed to escape. Both Haji Munir Khan & Ismail khan got severe sword cuts on their face. Due to this news of the attack, there was panic in the fort of Malagarh. With further advancement of British forces, the nawab took the flight to Khanpur fort & sought shelter. Later on, Haji Munir khan crossed the Ganga with Walidad Khan & joined Khan Bahadur Khan’s forces, and fought at Kachla ghat. Here, he was deputed as superintendent of the ghat and fought against the Britisher exchange shots. Later Naib kotwal of his government and fought until his last breath.
Abdul Latif khan the nephew of Azim khan. He fought in a different manner and never came to the battlefield. He gave shelter to revolutionaries of Bulandshahar including Nawul Gurjar, Raheem Ali khan & Pathan of Bara Basti village when they were actively engaged in fighting the British. Refused to give land revenue to the company Bahadur & also wrote a letter to the king with a promise of bringing elephants & horses to the court.
He was caught tried by the British military commission and send to the penal colony of Andaman island or Kala Pani.

This is how these three members of the Khanpur estate family fought against the British empire during the war of 1857.
Azim Khan alias Azam khan, his only son, Haji Munir Khan, & Abdul Latif khan, nephew, of Azim Khan.

Ruined remnants of Haveli at Basi Bangar, most of it was blown by company forces in 1857, Pic Souce: Author

Post Mutiny Circumstances

As punishment for rising against British forces, the Khanpur estate was confiscated by the British Empire & was given to given to Sardar Bahadur Syed Meer khan the nephew of Jan Fishan khan, a close ally of the British who helped them in the Anglo-Afghan War & awarded a Jagirs in Meerut as Sardhana estate. Jan Fishan Khan also helped the empire during the war of 1857.  Some portion was auctioned afterward which was purchased by the loyal Zamindars of the district. Then after the confiscation,  the Khanpur family was expelled overnight. They immigrated again to the village Basi Bangar,  the village which was first established by their patriarch Shaikh Rukhnu din khan Afghan on the shores of the Ganga river. The grandson of Haji Munir khan Janab Saeed ur Rehman also joined & participated in the freedom struggle of the Allama Mashriqi movement of Indian freedom struggle & was imprisoned in the Bulandshahar jail for a year or more. Later his son Saud ur Rehman joined the Indian army and served in the signal regiment & participated in the 1965 war & 1971 wars.  

A description of Azim Khan & his family from a Museum on India’s first war of Independence at Meerut
Description of Bulandshahr events during the first war of Independence, Source: Author

Musa Munir khan is a keen sportsperson ( National Player) at shotgun shooting & doing individual research work on the glorious past of his ancestors & their role during the first war of independence 1857.


Enjoy this blog? Please spread the word :)