Founded by Mukrand Rai in 1657 & nourished by Afghan warriors Bareilly is a true Afghan city which in true sense was developed by the Rohilla warriors of the Mughal Army consisting of Yousufzai, Barech, Khatakzai. Since my childhood days I have always get fascinated by the stories & the history of these tribes which have contributed in their own respect. Growing as stepping stones walking in the by lanes of my grandmother’s house I always been a witness to the changing archaeology of this city once used to be thriving Rohilla stronghold where there are forts & estates of honoured warriors concreting the bricks of Afghan second home out of Durand wondering why they had made this place to be their second to none native place, so, the answer lies in the geographic location of this city which is been properly residing at the equidistance junction at the cross roads of Agra, Delhi, Lucknow, Nepal & the mountains of Himalaya which gives both the feel of home & the political connectivity with different empires & kingdoms of those times. As I walked through life, I have witnessed the encroachment on the famous real estates of the Rohilla Empire which though was destroyed by the British after the 1857 revolt. Era of Hafiz Rehmat Khan (15 September 1748 – 23 April 1774). The Rohilla Fort (famously called as Qila localy) once a luxury resting place is now wears the worn & torn of the aftermath standing now as the gates with its remaining facades colour in the red brick over looking at the heart of India’s longest market where one can find shops dated back to late 19th & early 20th centuries making jewellery since the Afghan’s time. Afghans has not only developed this city but also contributed to its vibrant & tribal ideological culture mixed of all religions synonymously turning into the city of peace. There are lots of festivities & celebration where hardly people find in any other Indian city though now a day’s getting increasingly popular.
Legacy: One can see the archaeological sites though not protected still fighting for their survival can be reached easily by road. Archaeological sites one can still see in this century are: Jama Masjid – Pilibhit (Rohilkhand Division), Gates & Facades of ruined Rohilla fort – Bareilly, Ramnagar Fort – Aonla, Bareilly, Tomb of Hafiz Rehmat Khan – Badaun (Rohilkhand Division) Tombs built by other Rohilla leaders in Fatehganj , Bareilly, Raza Library – Rampur (Rohilkhand Division), Rampur Fort & Railway station – Rampur (Rohilkhand Division), Bibi Ji ji Masjid – Bareilly, various ruins & damaged estates across Rohilkhand Division, colony of Zakheera where one can still find the old estates of Rohillas & other districts which were earlier was the part of Rohilla Empire (Meerut, Muzaffar Nagar, Bijnor, Shahjahanpur, Kumaon & Garhwal Regions of Uttarakhand state), Durgah of Hafiz Rehmat Khan centre of famous Islamic school of thought “Bareilvi”. One can meet & find pure Afghan people in the city living there for generations now though most of them have now become a mixed Indian due to the inter racial marriages but the feel of Afghan can still be feel & smell in the City with the presence of numerous Afghan tribes with the walls of the beautiful vibrant by lanes of this historic geography spreading the fragrance of its glorious past & telling stories of the martyred empire which once ruled the basin of Ramganga now a dried & filthy drain.