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KANPUR An industrial city in Uttar Pradesh, Kanpur (population 2.5 million in 2001) is located on the banks of the Ganges about 250 miles (400 kilometers) to the southeast of Delhi. Its old name, Kanhpur, is derived from one of the names of Krishna (Kanha). It was located in the heartland of the Mughal empire. In the eighteenth century, it was included in the territory under the control of the nawābs of Oudh. In 1803 the nawāb of Oudh had to cede the southern part of his realm to the British, and Kanpur was at the center of this ceded territory. Unlike in Bengal, where the British introduced a permanent settlement of the land revenue, they subjected this newly acquired area to a stiffer revenue settlement. Many peasants lost their land as the British collectors auctioned it off for the slightest default in revenue payments. The peasants were forced to turn to cash crops, and the soil of this formerly fertile area was degraded within a few decades. For these reasons, many of the peasants of this area joined the "Mutiny" of 1857. Kanpur became a major center of resistance against the British in 1857 and was the scene of a massacre of British men, women, and children. Nana Saheb, the last Maratha peshwa of Pune, was banished to the old Bitur palace outside Kanpur, and seemed to be as innocuous a pensioner as the powerless Great Mughal in Delhi, but he joined the mutinous soldiers and took over the city, directing the massacre.

In 1872 Kanpur had only 123,000 inhabitants, but in subsequent decades it emerged as a major center of India's new cotton textile industry, started by British entrepreneurs, unlike the earlier mills in Bombay (Mumbai) and Ahmedabad, which were mostly owned by Indians. When the large Indian textile mills declined, the government of India tried to stimulate industrial growth in Kanpur by establishing one of the five great Indian Institutes of Technology (ITTs) in that city. The land was granted by the government of Uttar Pradesh, and the buildings were completed in 1963. An Indo-American program was launched in 1962, under which nine leading institutions in the United States helped provide equipment and training for ITT staff and students. At present, the Kanpur ITT has about 1,400 undergraduate and 850 postgraduate students and a faculty of 300, and Kanpur has become a center of India's technological revolution.

Dietmar Rothermund


Mukherjee, Rudrangshu. Spectre of Violence: The 1857 Kanpur Massacres. New Delhi: Penguin, 1998.

Yalland, Zoe. Traders and Nabobs: The British in Cawnpore, 1765–1857. Wilton, U.K.: Russell, 1987.

——-. Boxwallahs: The British in Cawnpore, 1857–1901. Norwich, U.K.: Russell, 1994.

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Kanpur (Cawnpore) City on the River Ganges, Uttar Pradesh, n India. Kanpur was ceded to the British in 1801, and became a frontier post. During the Indian Mutiny, the entire British garrison in Kanpur was massacred. The city is now a major industrial and commercial centre. Industries: chemicals, leather goods, textiles. Pop. (2001) 2,532,138.

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Kanpur a city in Uttar Pradesh, northern India, on the River Ganges, also known as Cawnpore. It was the site of a massacre of British soldiers and European families in July 1857, during the Indian Mutiny.