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Jhelum Cantonment

Jhelum Cantt or Jhelum Cantonment is cantonment area in Jhelum adjacent to city area. It is one of the important cantonment(Army Base) of Pakistan, which was built during the British rule in 1849 which has grown up into a strong Garrison, with an Infantry Division commanded by a Major General. Jhelum, or Jehlam (Hydaspes of the Greeks), a river of northern India. It is the most westerly of the "five rivers" of the Punjab. It rises in the north-east of the Kashmir state, flows through the city of Srinagar and the Wular lake, issues through the Pir Panjal range by the narrow pass of Baramula, and enters British territory in the Jhelum district. Thence it flows through the plains of the Punjab, forming the boundary between the Jech Doab and the Sind Sagar Doab, and finally joins the Chenab at Timmu after a course of 450 miles. The Jhelum colony, in the Shahpur district of the Punjab, formed on the example of the Chenab colony in 1901, is designed to contain a total irrigable area of 1,130,000 acres. The Jhelum canal is a smaller work than the Chenab canal, but its silt is noted for its fertilizing qualities. Both projects have brought great prosperity to the cultivators. Jhelum, or Jehlam, a town and district of British India, in the Rawalpindi division of the Punjab. The town is situated on the right bank of the river Jhelum, here crossed by a bridge of the North-Western railway, ???. N.of Lahore. Pop. (1901), 14,951. It is a modern town with river and railway trade (principally in timber from Kashmir), boat-building and cantonments for a cavalry and four infantry regiments.

One-hundred-and-three miles from Lahore, is on the northern or right bank of the river Jhelum. The native town was small, but the importance of Jhelum increased greatly since 1868, when it was reoccupied as a military cantonment. It since became the headquarters of a section of the railway. Jhelum had fine wide bazaars, and, it is said, might be made one of the prettiest as well as the healthiest of the towns in the Punjab plains. There is plenty of good water, and the river supplies fish in abundance. The present town, of quite modern origin, is on the right bank of the Jhelum; the old town was on the opposite side, and parts of it still exist. In A.D. 1532 a few houses were built by fishermen on the right bank of the river, and this spot was chosen for the new town at the annexation of the Punjab. The Civil lines lie to the north-east of the town, about a mile distant, and here are the Civil courts and other public offices.

The District Of Jhelum stretched from the river Jhelum almost to the Indus. Area, 2813 sq. m. Pop. (1901), 501,424, showing a decrease of 2 % in the decade. Salt was quarried at the Mayo mine in the Salt Range. There are two coal-mines, the only ones worked in the province, from which the North-Western railway obtains part of its supply of coal. The chief centre of the salt trade is Find Dadan Khan (pop. 13,770). The district is crossed by the main line of the North-Western railway, and also traversed along the south by a branch line. The river Jhelum is navigable throughout the district, which forms the south-eastern portion of a rugged Himalayan spur, extending between the Indus and Jhelum to the borders of the Sind Sagar Doab. Its scenery is very picturesque, although not of so wild a character as the mountain region of Rawalpindi to the north, and was lighted up in places by smiling patches of cultivated valley. The backbone of the district was formed by the Salt Range, a treble line of parallel hills running in three long forks from east to west throughout its whole breadth. The range rises in bold precipices, broken by gorges, clothed with brushwood and traversed by streams which are at first pure, but soon become impregnated with the saline matter over which they pass. Between the line of hills lies a picturesque table-land, in which the beautiful little lake of Kallar Kahar nestles amongst the minor ridges. North of the Salt Range, the country extends upwards in an elevated plateau, diversified by countless ravines and fissures, until it loses itself in tangled masses of Rawalpindi mountains. In this rugged tract cultivation is rare and difficult, the soil being choked with saline matter. At the foot of the Salt Range, however, a small strip of level soil lies along the banks of the Jhelum, and is thickly dotted with prosperous villages. The drainage of the district is determined by a low central watershed running north and south at right angles to the Salt Range. The waters of the western portion find their way into the Sohan, and finally into the Indus; those of the opposite slope collect themselves into small torrents, and empty themselves into the Jhelum.

The history of the district dates back to the semi-mythical period of the Mahbhrata. Hindu tradition represents the Salt Range as the refuge of the five Pandava brethren during the period of their exile, and every salient point in its scenery is connected with some legend of the national heroes. Modern research has fixed the site of the conflict between Alexander and Porus as within Jhelum district, although the exact point at which Alexander effected the passage of the Jhelum (or Hydaspes) is disputed. In its vicinity the Macedonian conqueror built his fleet, which ultimately sailed down the Indus.

After this event, there is little information with regard to the condition of the district until the Mahommedan conquest brought back literature and history to Upper India. The Janjuahs and Jats, who held the Salt Range and its northern plateau respectively, appear to have been the earliest inhabitants. The Ghakkars seem to represent an early wave of conquest from the east, and they still inhabit the whole eastern slope of the district; while the Awans, who clustered in the western plain, are apparently later invaders from the opposite quarter. The Ghakkars were the dominant race at the period of the first Mahommedan incursions, and long continued to retain their independence. During the flourishing period of the Mogul dynasty, the Ghakkar chieftains were prosperous and loyal vassals of the house of Baber; but after the collapse of the Delhi Empire Jhelum fell, like its neighbours, under the sway of the Sikhs. In 1765 Gujar Singh defeated the last independent Ghakkar prince, and reduced the wild mountaineers to subjection. His son succeeded to his dominions, until 1810, when he fell before the irresistible power of Ranjit Singh.

In 1849 the district passed, with the rest of the Sikh territories, into the hands of the British. Under Sikh rule the place was quite unimportant, being mainly occupied by a settlement of boatmen, and at the time of annexation contained about 500 houses. It was then chosen as the site of a cantonment, and as the headquarters of the civil administration. For some years it was the seat of the Commissioner of the Division, but in 1859 his head-quarters were transferred to Rawalpindi. Under British rule Jhelum steadily advanced in prosperity; and it was the entrepot for most of the trade of the District, though, since the completion of the Sind-Sagar branch of the North-Western Railway, the salt trade no longer passed through it. It was an important timber depot, the timber from the Kashmir forests which is floated down the river being collected here. A good deal of boat-building was carried on. The cantonment, which is 3 miles from the civil station, contains the church and post office. The normal strength of the garrison was one Native cavalry and four Native infantry regiments. The municipality was founded in 1867. During the ten years ending 1902-3 the receipts averaged Rs. 32,100, and the expenditure Rs. 31,900. Receipts and expenditure from cantonment funds in the same period averaged Rs. 5,900 and Rs. 6,100, respectively. The income of the municipality in 1903-4 was Rs. 34,200, chiefly from octroi : and the expenditure was Rs. 41,000. The town possessed two Anglo-vernacular schools, a municipal high school, and a middle school maintained by the American Presbyterian Mission. Besides the civil hospital, the mission also maintained a hospital.

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