The Gazetteers contain information of great strategic importance. Their great importance is clear from the fact that the Prime Minister of India in his speech in the Lok Sabha (April 28, 1965) quoted from different Gazetteers to corraborate the fact that the Rann of Kutch formed a part of India. So the Gazetteers, whether it is District Gazetteers, or State Gazetteers or Indian Gazetteers, are indeed of a national asset .
It offers considerable scope for research. As aptly pointed out by the International Documentation Centre, Sweden, “The Indian Gazetteers are as incomparable collection of research material and a necessary source of information for all studies concerning the History and Culture of India.’’ The Documentation Centre of some foreign countries have spent a large sum of money on microfilming the entire series-old and new-of Gazetteers is thus recognised even in foreign countries.
A Gazetteer literally means a geographical index or a geographical dictionary. It’s scope is however much wider. It presents, a limited range and in a readable manner, a comprehensive view of a country and its people. It describes the physical features of a region, relates its history and discusses the social, political and economic life of the people inhabiting it. It thus serves as a guide to the administrator, a reference book for the general public and a source of information for the specialist. The Gazetteers, specially the District Gazetteers, are a repositary of authentic information. The need for the preparation of a chronicle in which complete information about a district would be incorporated received the attention of the Government as far back as 1803, when the Board of Directors of the East India Company asked its officers to supply information on the basis of which it could prepare a history of its possessions in India. In 1872 actual preparation of what was then called the “Imperial Gazetteer of India” was undertaken by the Government of India. The compilation of a Gazetteer for each district was taken and the publication was spread over a period of ten years commencing from 1874.An alphabetical Gazetteer in two volumes for the whole province of Avadh (Oudh) which came to be known as the ‘Gazetteer of the provinces of Oudh’ was also issued. The revision of these Gazetteers was undertaken in 1901, when a separate volume for each district was prepared and the alphabetical arrangement being given up. Supplementary Volumes of these District Gazetteers were published in 1915, 1926 and 1934. The need for revising the Gazetteers was widely felt after the achievement of Independence and Uttar Pradesh entered the field in 1957. The Government has undertaken the re-writing rather than the mere revision of the Gazetteers because the earlier ones were brought out over 50 years ago and the period since then has seen a number of significant changes the circumstances of life as well as social and other values having changed considerably. The presentation of the account is new in terms of a synthesis of the larger context of life as it obtains today.
Under this scheme the District Gazetteers Department was established in the State of Uttar Pradesh in the year 1957. In the beginning the District Gazetteers Department was a centrally managed scheme under which the gazetteers of 54 districts and 8 supplementary volumes was written in English. The list of which is given in the following table.
Besides the above the State Gazetteer of Uttar Pradesh has also been written in 5 volumes.
After 1980-81 this whole scheme of the Gazetteers was transferred to the State Government and since then District Gazetteers of Uttar Pradesh are all being written in Hindi.
A decision has been taken to first write the newly constituted district and then the other districts, the total number of districts in the State at present number 75.
The district Gazetteers Gaziabad, Meerut, Lalitpur, Kanpur Dehat and Ferozabad have already been revised and published, the district Gazetteers of Jhansi has been sent to the press for printing after the approval of the Advisory Board.
Information for the newly constituted districts of Sone Bhadra, Maharajganj, Mau, Siddharth Nagar, Kaushambi, Mahoba, Kushinagar, Anbedkarnagar, Jyotiba Phule Nagar, Gautambudh Nagar, Mahamaya Nagar, Chandauli, Shravasti, Aurraiya and Sant Kabir Nagar is being. Writing of Shravasti Zilla Gazetteer is in progress.