The city of Meerut, second largest city in the National Capital Region of India, is an important district in the State of Uttar Pradesh, India. The city is said to have settlements dating back to the Indus Valley Civilization. Archeological Excavations in the city have concluded Harappan settlement and also remains of Hastinapur (period of Mahabharata). It was a centre of Buddhism in the period of Mauryan Emperor Ashoka. There is a mythology from Ramayana which states that, Shrawan Kumar, who is said to have passed the city with his parents on his shoulders. It was while crossing the city he accidently got shot by King Dasharatha, father of Lord Rama, who mistook Shrawan to be a deer. After Shrawan’s death, his parents too died because of the pain of separation.
The city is said to have been invaded by Mohammad Ghori in 1192 followed by invasion of Timur in 1398. Timur faced tough resistance by the Rajputs at the Fort of Loni. It is said that he killed all those taken as prisoners since his invasion to India. Thereafter, he attacked Delhi and then moved to Meerut, which at that time was being ruled by Afghan leader, Ilias. The city of Meerut was captured in two days.
Thereafter, the city witnessed the rule of Mughal Empire. After the death of Aurangzeb, the city was invaded by Marathas in the 18th Century. The city was then briefly ruled by an English Soldier, Walter Reinhardt. However, some part of the city remained under Maratha rule, which they later gave up to the British in 1803 and Meerut was made the headquarters in 1818.
The city is remembered for the role it played during the mutiny of 1857. The first sign of struggle started at Meerut Cantonment, which at that time was the second largest garrison of East India Company.
The news of Mangal Pandey revolting against the British spread like fire and reached Meerut. The Indians and European sepoys were separated as a precaution. The company commander, Colonel Carmichael Smith, paraded 90 Indian sepoys of the Bengal Cavalry, which comprised of soldiers mostly from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. He then again ordered them to fire the greased cartridges. 85 of them refused. They all were stripped of their uniform, imprisoned and locked up in chains.
The news of this humiliation spread fast and the sepoys of the 3rd cavalry, who belonged to the upper-caste, rebelled. The gates of the prison were opened on May 10, 1857 by Dhan Singh Gurjar and the rebels along with the imprisoned soldiers escaped, declared the revolt, and killed British officials to take the city in their control. Thereafter, these soldiers marched towards Delhi shouting slogans – ‘Dili Chalo’ (Let’s march to Delhi).The date, May 10, 1857, is still celebrated as Holiday in Meerut.
Meerut witnessed a controversial conspiracy case in March 1929 and also a ‘Don’t Move’ policy during playing of British National Anthem in Meerut cinemas in 1940. The city also suffered a communal (Hindi-Sikh) riots in 1984 and (Hindu-Muslim) riots in 1987.
There are a lot of mythological and historical monuments in Meerut, namely: Vidura Ka Tila, Draupadi ki Rasoi, Shahpir Meerut, Suraj Kund Temple, Church Basilica, Bhole Ki Jhaal, Shahid Smarak, Bale Miyan ki Dargah, etc.