Saharanpur district attained the status as Saharanpur division in 1997 of Uttar Pardesh. As regards its physical features, the north and the northeast of the district is surrounded by Shivalik hills and separates it from the Dehradun district in the recently created state of Uttranchal. The river Yamuna forms its boundary in the west which separates it from Karnal and Yamunanagar districts of Haryana. In the East lies the district of Haridwar which was the part of district Saharanpur before 1989 and in the south lies the district Muzafarnagar. At the time of the British Rule District Muzafarnagar was also a part of district Saharanpur.
The district is in a rectangular shape and it lies between 29 degrees 34 minutes 45 seconds and 30 degrees 21 minutes 30 seconds north lattitude and 77 degrees 9 minutes and 78 degrees 14 minutes 45 seconds east longitude. Its total area is 3860 square Kilometers. According to 2001 census the population of Saharanpur 2896860. Saharanpur is primarily an agricultural district.
The physical features of the district have proved that Saharanpur region was fit for human habitation. The archaeological survey has proved that the evidence of different cultures is available in this area. The excavations were carried out in different parts of the district, i.e Ambakheri, Bargaon, Hulas, Bhadarabad and Naseerpur etc. A number of things have been found during these excavations, on the basis of which, it is established that in Saharanpur district, the earliest habitants were found as early as 2000 B.C. Traces of Indus Valley civilization and even earlier are available and now it can be definitely established that this region is connected with Indus valley civilization. Ambakheri, Bargaon, Naseerpur and Hulas were the centres of Harappa culture because many things similar to Harappan civilization were found in these areas.
From the days of the Aryans, The history of this region is traceable in a logical manner but it is difficult at present to trace out history and administration of the local kings without further exploration and excavations. The history of the area goes back to ages. With the passage of time it’s name changed rapidly. During the region of Iltutmish Saharanpur became a part of the Slave Dynasty. Muhammad Tughlag reached northern doab to crush the rebellion of Shiwalik Kings in 1340. There he came to know about the presence of a Sufi saint on the banks of ‘Paondhoi’ river. He went to see him there and ordered that henceforth the place should be known as ‘Shah-Harunpur’ by the name of Saint Shah Harun Chisti.
Akbar was the first Mughal ruler who established civil administration in Saharanpur and made it ‘Saharanpur-Sarkar’ under Delhi province and appointed a Governor. The Jagir of saharanpur was honoured to Raja Sah Ranveer Singh who founded the city of Saharanpur. At that time Saharanpur was a small village and served as army cantt area. The nearest settlements at that time were Shekhpura and Malhipur. Most of the part of Saharanpur was covered by forests and ‘Paondhoi’ ‘Dhamola’ and ‘Ganda Nala’ (Kregi Nala) were Swampy/Marshy. The climate was humid hence it was prone to malaria.
Saharanpur passed to the British in 1803. The founders of Darul Uloom Deoband, Actively participated in the rebellion, Organized the masses outside Delhi and, for a while, were successful is ousting the British authority from the area of their operation. The centre of their activities was Shamli, a small town in the present District of Muzaffarnagar.
After 1857, The cultural and political history of muslims revolved around Aligarh and Deoband. Kasim Nanautavi represented Deoband. Deoband represented opposition to British, Favoured Indian Nationalism, Hindu Muslim unity and united India. Deoband supported the revolutionary ideas of Shah Waliullah that were responsible for social and political awakening. Maulana Nanautavi and Maulana Rashid Ahamad Gangohi established a school in Deoband in 1867. It became popular by the name of Darul Uloom.
They wanted to achieve religious and social consciousness by peaceful methods. Deoband Madarsa was making efforts for the Muslims awakening and was promoting nationalism. Thus the district became centre of activity of Deoband School Ulama. The school played an important role in the revolutionary activities organised to turn out the British from India. The spirit showed in the Mutiny of 1857 continued unabated. The famous revolutionary Maulana Mahmudul Hasan was the first student of the Madarsa.