Aligarh is a city of the state of Uttar Pradesh, India. It is
located about 90 minutes to the south east of New Delhi, has a population of
half a million and is the administrative headquarters of Aligarh district.
It was during his wolf hunting expeditions that Jahangir had
described Aligarh, as a place covered by forests, grooves and thickets. And
it was only with this information that one gets an idea of how Aligarh
looked centuries ago. This is because nothing much is known about the
history before the 12th century as the history is completely shrouded in
The earlier name of Aligarh was Kol, by which it was referred
to till the 18th century. It was only after the occupation by the British in
September 1803 that the present Aligarh was formed in 1804.
Kol covered both the city and the entire district, with
geographical limits changing from time to time. Not much is known about the
origin of the name Kol. Some say it referred to a tribe or caste, the name
of a place or perhaps the name of a sage or demon. It was during the reign
of Ibrahim Lodi that the son of Umar, Muhammad was the governor of Kol. He
had then built a fort at Kol and named the city after his own name as
Muhammadgarh in 1524- 1525.
However Sabit Khan, the governor during the reign of Farrukh
Siyar and Muhammad Shah had rebuilt the fort to name it after his name as
Sabitgarh. It was with the Jats occupation of Kol in 1775 that the city was
renamed Ramgarh. And finally, the Shia commander Najaf Khan who had captured
Kol to give it its present name, Aligarh.
It was Sir Syed Ahmed Khan who had led the Aligarh Movement
to educate Muslims of the Indian subcontinent after the defeat of Indian
rebellion of 1857. And this was when he had founded the Muhammadan Anglo
Oriental College following the patterns of Oxford and Cambridge universities
after making a trip to England. This College is now the famous Aligarh