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North India, UP, Meerut

Mustafa Castle, Ashoka Pillar

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Last updated - Monday, 24-May-2004 22:18:12 EDT

The URL here is Another URL is in case of inaccessibility. Yahoo vs. Google : Here is a test try these two terms in both Yahoo as well as Google. They are "meerut" and "coronation durbar" . You will find "" in the first page in Yahoo for both the terms. They are completely missing from Google. Strange because Google used to give a similar ranking. Is there such a drastic change in Google's ranking algorithms that a site completely disappears from the listing? I have not used Google for months now.

Some recent local news

Meerut Latitude : 29.0 deg N, Longitude : 77.5 deg E.

Read previous ones:
Apr 10 to Apr 11,Dec to May 10,May to Dec 09,January to May 09, July 08 to January 09, November 07 - July 08, April- October 2007, Jan to Apr 07,
Oct06 to Jan 07, May 06 to Sep06, Mar to May 06, Nov to Mar 06, Sep to Nov 05, May to Sep 05, Feb to May05,
November to Feb05, Aug-Nov04, May,Jun,Jul,Aug, Feb-May04, Nov - Jan04, Oct03,Sep03, Aug03, Jul03, Jun03, May03, April03, Feb03, January03

Season's Greetings

Cantonment Board Meerut strikes again

Many residents have received letters increasing their house tax by not just a few per cent but by more than 300% . No grounds given only a time period for objections. The increase in tax is entirely arbitrary and certainly never improves facilities. The drains are choked even the main one called 'Abu Nala' which prevents the smaller drains from flowing. Roads broken. Electricity erratic. Municipal services barely tolerable. By the way the tax is based on rental value . Rental value of purchased property? Used by the owner? That is why we are called Incredible India. And what is a the rental value of at least one place? Over 31 lakhs of Rupees!! Increased to over 100 lakhs. Nobody has ever received anything in return for these exorbitant Taxes. Forget the fact that nobody in Meerut can pay that kind of rent. In the late 90s the tax was of the order of a few thousand Rupees now it is in lakhs ( 1 lakh=100,000).

Greetings for the festive season

Want to see where Santa is right now ? Click here.

May 10th

Is called Shahid Divas now. The Gaddar started in 1857 on the 10th of May 1857. The transcript of a telegram sent from Delhi to Ambala is on the right.

Things to note about the 'Sepoy' Mutiny. Indian Soldiers were called Sepoys. Every Sepoy came from a farming background and knew the indignation which was widespread in the rural areas regarding the East India Company 'Taxes'. These were collected with European efficiency and were accompanied with penalties which Indian Rajas and Maharajas never implemented. Land could be and was confiscated for non payment. A small booklet was published in 2007,(it was available on the Mutiny train ) and gave a short list of some of the bigger conflicts between the rural population and the East India Company Army. They happened from the 1760s to late in the 19th century. Yes much after the Mutiny.

The walk to Sardhana

Takes place in the first week of May every year, not sure if it is always 7th May. It is a a penance activity. Meaning a certain amount of suffering is to be expected. A good assumption since things are heating up around this time of the year. However today(7th) it will be different the weather is actually pleasant since it rained in the evening. You may know that Sardhana has a Church built by Begum Samroo in the early 19th century. The distance from the Catholic Church here is a little less than 20 km. They start after 10 pm.

Some Pictures

You can see a Cellphone tower in the picture. I am not sure what is the state of the Electricity here. Did not see a water tank. So assume there is not tapped water in the area. In many ways things maybe worse than the early 19th century as the population is much more!

The usual route from Meerut is via Kanker Khera, avoid this as 80% of the road does not exist. Has been like this for months. Go via Daurala longer but much better road.

Could be the largest block of carved marble in India. Made in Italy. Reached when there were no trains and trucks.

A recent event

Somehow forgot to post this. Really of interest only to Cantonment residents. On the 20th of September 2010, a news item appeared in the Danik Jagran stating that the oldest school in the Cantt. - St. John's - was going to be put up for auction on October 4th. Along with this some other schools were mentioned as not having paid up varying amounts running into lakhs. At least one school City vocational deep in the Cantonment was left out. Included in the amount St. John's was expected to pay was something called a Water Tax and the school does not even have a water connection. The other amount was a colossal House tax. The taxes are supposed to help in maintaining the cantonment. Take a look at the Abu ka nala near Bombay Bazar and the bridge over it. The bridge has been an eyesore for decades. Not a sign of maintenence. No St. John's was not auctioned. The point to note is that the Principal never even got a notice. The school is walking distance from the Cantt. Board Office. There are a lot of Govt. officials on the Board whose main responsibility is the Cantonment.

A note about Cantonments - they were all established by the East India Company while it was still in power before 1857. Buying and selling property became impossible only after 1977. This was the work of the short lived 'Competent Authority'. Cantonments always contained Bazars, private property, hotels,Cinema halls . They contained the Military establishments they were not owned by the Military. The decay started from that time only. Administration does not mean ownership. The stone slabs declaring that the Land is Defence land came up after 1977.

The latest is this they are cutting of water supply to the Bungalow area. We don't need a Tsunami for disasters.

Pictures of Meerut in 1943

Click here

Could be of interest to residents of other Cantonments. There are such few pictures of the Raj just before Independence.

Remains of a project which lasted a 100 years

The tower in Saini village which was constructed during the Great Trigonometrical Survey. The Survey started in the early 19th century, lasted a 100 years. Mount Everest was discovered during this in 1851.Curious about the Survey ? You could search for a document called Full Text of Account of the Operations of the Great Trigonometrical Survey of India Volume XVII.htm.This mentions that about 3700 were built in the entire country. About 3000 remained when the text was written. The Survey started at Cape Comorin.

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Note : A scroll mouse can be a big help with these pages. On some pages midi files may play they will not delay you much but the sound may surprise you. You can turn the volume lower using the Speaker icon in the Systray.

MEERUT is an ancient town , but little literature about it is available  . Any information mythical, factual, or in the form of hand me down stories preferably specifically related to your ancestors are welcome. Contact address is at the bottom of page. When I began this website in Jan. 2001. I did not expect to go beyond a few pages. Now when I receive suggestions from visitors it seems all the important places are missing. Modipuram, Pallavpuram, Shastri Nagar, Saket, Hapur Road..... Meerut is no tourist destination. What little there is can be seen at this official site.

It is not generally known that Meerut was included in the 16 major towns of Ashokan times . An Ashokan pillar was erected here which means that this was a major buddhist center . Contrary to popular belief this pillar was shifted to Delhi not by the British but by  Firoz Shah around 1300 AD For the uninitiated the Ashokan Period  (a short historical note) itself dates at around 256 BC. About 75 years after Alexander's ( Sikander in Hindi ) invasion of the Punjab.
Don't know what Ashoka wrote about ? Then checkout the translation of all his Edicts by clicking here .

Currently these pages are partial to the immediate colonial past.  See a 1904 map of the district ( click here) .And of the town (click here )

The Clock Tower Zeromile point

That is Ghantaghar in the picture on the left. Easily the most magnificent structure in Meerut. Built by the British in 1911, perhaps to commemorate the shifting of the capital from Calcutta to Delhi. The window on the left looks out from a little room on the first floor where the old man the keeper of the big clock lived and ran a little shop for clock repair. He died in the early 1990s. Sure enough the big Clock stopped.. short.. when the old man died, nobody rewound it.

This milestone is about 400 meters north of Begum Bridge. This area is now known as the Zeromile point after the Cantonment Board very graciously looked up its records and put back the names which had become invisible on this, well, signpost. The distances are in miles.

A few figures about Meerut. The latest census puts it in the above 1 million category. It has about the same population as Indore, Faridabad, Thane. It is the 24th largest town in India (populationwise), and the 4th largest town in UP after Kanpur and Lucknow, and Agra. Kanpur is larger than Lucknow with a population of 2.5 million.
News ..News there is now an Official site for Meerut click here This gives a lot of figures, including treasury collections. Quite enlightening but could have been better, as the receipts and expenditures are not broken up into different heads. The most important tax ( Central Excise ) collected from the public via purchase of goods escapes ( as always ) these figures. All the expenditures exceed collections ( because of the glaring omission), making it appear that Meerut lives on Government largesse and not the other way round. And don't forget that 95% of the expenditure is on Govt. Salaries.

A Grand Gate of perhaps the most impressive old building in Meerut

This is the entrance to the Mustafa Castle shown below. Belongs to the family of Nawab Ismail. One of the sons was a signatories of the Indian constitution. There is a huge photograph of all the signatories of the constitution in the main room. It is not a public place .
This is what Dr. Tariq Kuraishy ( now in the US for the last 30 years ) has to say about Mustafa Castle....
I am one of Nawab Ismail Khan's grandsons. I've been in the U.S. for almost thirty years, but have been back to Meerut a few times. What you refer to as the Grand Home is actually called Mustafa Castle. Built by Nawab Ismail's father, Nawab Ishaq Khan, and named for his father, Nawab Mustafa Khan Shefta. Shefta was a contemporary of Ghalib's and a prominent poet in his own right. My memories of living there in the 50's and 60's are wonderful ones. Of witnessing the end of a golden and opulent era. When the Nawabs and Rajas lost their estates, titles and lands, the mansions could not be kept up. It is almost sad to visit this once wonderful castle, in it's present state of disrepair. Somebody told me about your site, and it brought back a few memories.
Dr. Kuraishy's e-mail is :
I have included a reply from an uncle of Dr. Kuraishy in Pakistan. You have to click the link in the text adjoining the next picture.

Perhaps the Grandest old building in Meerut. It is called Mustafa Castle. 'Palace' may not be off the mark . Still occupied by the descendants of the original owners. The Drawing room is retained in its original layout as a tradition . Among many antique items is an old floor standing candlestand , which can hold 7-8 candles . It is still used because of a very unreliable electric supply. It has been visited by Mahatama Gandhi,Sardar Vallabhai Patel, Nehru, Jinnah.
West End Road
Click here to read further details about Mustafa Castle sent by Mr. Iftikar A Khan in Karachi.

No text about Meerut can be complete without a reference to the Mutiny of 1857. Click here for some notes. Use the Browser back button to come back here.

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  1. The CDA building also called Belvedere started life as a club as evident from a tablet inside which refers to a file stuffed room as a dance hall.
  2. The Hotel Crystal - the best here with AC rooms and a good restaurant.
  3. The Masonic Lodge - maybe a sight familiar to many who pass through Meerut and not take the bye pass.
  4. Ganga Plaza . Named after the daughter of Dr. Brijraj Singh son of Dr. Bhopal Singh. The nursing home and huge bungalow was replaced by this complex. You can dabble in shares with Reliable Investment and Demat services. Has an underground air conditioned shopping complex. Rarely air conditioned because of unreliable electricity. Dominos opened here with great fanfare but could barely last one year. There is no great rush for westernized stuff. You have to be careful about being too slick here. The promininent spikes seem to come from The Statue of Liberty's Halo. There are many other shopping complexes here but none with the air of Ganga Plaza.

  5. MrTalk - Has a Cybercafe, phone, fax and Xerox facilities. Just one of the places where the young gather. The other alternatives ( in the cantonment.) are Abu lane itself , New book Centre , Citi Bakers. Numerous Pool table places came up but were not a great success perhaps because too many came up. Wonder when someone will take the risk of setting up a Bowling alley + Cyber cafe + Fast food place.
  6. Some houses A well maintained old design at Eastern Kutchery Road, and a modern one in Defence Colony. The people are doing quite well thank you. The mess is evident only when you direct your attention to areas of Government responsibility - Electricity, Drainage, Garbage disposal ( the few garbage bins are seen only near Govt. Employee residences - Civil Lines , Army areas etc. ), Roads, the Courts, and Govt. Offices. Do come in June/July and stay in a place without a locally made generator, experience the stinking drains, broken roads and rejoice in the few moments the Electricity is on. It will dawn on you that it is not Bharat that is 'Mahan' but it's people. Silently and reverentially, even unknowingly (via excise) they pay an enormous amount for those who do this to them.
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