History

The historical reasons necessitating the formation of individual cantonments are different for different cantonments depending upon the prevailing political and military realities of the times.

For example Secundrabad cantonment was established to assist the Nizam of Hyderabad, militarily against his local adversaries, whereas Lucknow Cantonment was established to maintain pressure on the Nawab of Oudh and to finally capture that state. Similarly the need for cooler climate for the British troops and strategic importance of Doab dictated the setting up of hill cantonments and cantonments in modern day Uttar Pradesh respectively.

However, irrespective of the local factors, the paramount consideration in setting up all these cantonments was the need for military camps in various strategic locations of India to establish, maintain and consolidate the rule of a foreign power.

Spread of diseases like, diarrhea, malaria, and venereal diseases among the troops necessitated the cantoning (insulation) of these military camps from the local population.

The records of 19 th century British India reveal that health and hygiene of the troops was one of the major areas of concern which the rulers of the day had to contend with. This consideration coupled with the desire of an alien ruling elite to distance itself from the native population led to the development of an insulated type of character in all these cantonments which has continued till date.

While most of the cantonments came to be established in early part of 19 th century, but the characteristic civil and military administration took around seventy five years to come into the shape which is still in existence in the sixty two cantonments of the country.

Adhocism guided the early administration of all these cantonments and a large plethora of rules and regulations evolved to suit the requirements of the local administrators. Commanding officer was the incharge of both civil and military administration. To assist the commanding officer in his civil duties, a group of civil officials like sanitary officer, executive engineer, and civil surgeon were also there. He also consulted the magistrate of the district on important issues of civil and criminal administration.

This system of informal consultations was later codified into a permanent structure called cantonment committee by the act XXII of 1864. This act was the first attempt by the Britishers to put an end to the adhocism of the cantonment administration prevalent till then. It legalized the cantonment administration and gave sanctity to the institutions like cantonment committee and cantonment magistrates (present day CEO) with retrospective effect. The cantonment committees were entrusted with the powers to regulate and administer the municipal functions.

However, there have been few noticeable changes like from purely official bodies the Cantonment Boards have now become democratic in nature with the inclusion of elected members in them. But more importantly the Boards are now playing the role of main development agencies of the cantonments along with erstwhile role of regulator and municipal administrator.

These committees were the original precursors of the modern day Cantonment Boards existing today in all the 62 cantonments. With the departure of British in 1947 a great deal of change was brought about by the succeeding nationalist regime in both civil and military spheres but elements of continuity are still visible in the Cantonment Boards. Cantonment Boards have been instrumental in maintaining the distinctive character of the cantonments as it evolved during the 150 years rule of the British. This distinctiveness of the cantonments is largely the result of cantonment Act of 1924 by which cantonment Boards are governed today and which heavily draws from the rules and regulations evolved during the 19 th century.

Cantonment Board Kanpur is one of the 00 such bodies functioning within the framework of the Cantonment act and discharging the duties mentioned therein in respect of land management, primary health, primary education, water supply, sanitation, drainage and related aspects of municipal administration.

It is an autonomous body which is authorized to raise its own income through tax and non-tax modes both and also to prepare its own budget and incur expenditure on various heads of public welfare within the limits sanctioned by General officer Commanding-in-chief, central command, Lucknow.

History of Kanpur

In the 19th century, Cawnpore was an important British garrison with barracks for 7,000 soldiers. During the Indian Rebellion of 1857, 900 British men, women and children were besieged in the fortifications for 22 days by rebels under Nana Sahib Peshwa. They surrendered on the agreement that they would get safe passage to the nearby Satti Chaura Ghat whereupon they would board barges and be allowed to go by river to Allahabad

Though controversy surrounds what exactly happened at the Satti Chaura Ghat, and who fired the first shot, it is known that, soon afterwards, the departing British were shot at by the rebel sepoys and were either killed or captured. Some of the British officers later claimed that the rebels had, on purpose, placed the boats as high in the mud as possible, to cause delay. They also claimed that Nana Sahib’s camp had previously arranged for the rebels to fire upon and kill all the English. Although the East India Company later accused Nana Sahib of betrayal and murder of innocent people, no evidence has ever been found to prove that Nana Sahib had pre-planned or ordered the massacre. Some historians believe that the Satti Chaura Ghat massacre was the result of confusion, and not of any plan implemented by Nana Sahib and his associates. Lieutenant Mowbray Thomson, one of the four male survivors of the massacre, believed that the rank-and-file sepoys who spoke to him did not know of the killing to come

Many were killed and the remaining 200 British women and children were brought back to shore and sent to a building called the Bibighar (the ladies’ home). After some time, the commanders of the rebels decided to kill their hostages. The rebel soldiers refused to carry out orders and butchers from the nearby town were brought in to kill the hostages three days before the British entered the city on 18 July. The dismembered bodies were thrown into a deep well nearby. The British under General Neill retook the city and committed a series of retaliations against the rebel Sepoys and those civilians caught in the area, including women, children and old men. The Cawnpore Massacre, as well as similar events elsewhere, were seen by the British as justification for unrestrained vengeance.”Remember Cawnpore” became a war cry for British for the rest of the rebellion.