Meerut is situated between the holy rivers Ganga and Yamuna Meerut is a busy trade centre of western Uttar Pradesh. Thanks to its geographical importance, the fertile Ganga-Yamuna doab had been an important centre of human activities since the very early times of Vedic Civilisation.
Meerut probably derives its name from the word “Maya Rashtra”, meaning the country of Maya, who was the architect of the asuras (the demons) as per the Hindu mythology. His daughter Mandodari was the wife of Ravana, the antagonist of the first epic, Ramayana. In Mahabharata, the Kauravas had their capital in Hastinapur, which is situated in present day Meerut District.
From the medieval period onwards, the proximity of this city to Indraprastha (present day Delhi) helped it play an important role in the affairs of India. However, Meerut attracted the attention of the historians for the first time when the brave people of this city offered fierce resistance to the invading forces of Qutub-ud-din Aibak (11th century AD) and Timur (14th century AD). Since then, it remained under the suzerainty of those who ruled over Delhi.
With the capture of power by the British, Meerut became a major military centre. The aggrieved Indian soldiers of the British Army began their fight against the imperial powers in this soil on 10th May, 1857. They captured the control of the city in one day and marched to Red Fort in Delhi, which was considered to be the symbol of control over the whole of India. On their way, they were joined by the common people who shouted patriotic war cries. By the next morning, Red Fort had fallen into the hand of the freedom fighters.
The spark that began in Meerut soon spread all over India and acquired the form of a nationalistic struggle for independence. It took one year for the British to put down the freedom struggle. Nevertheless, the First War of Indian Independence that began in Meerut continued to inspire the patriots all over the country. It paved the way for the organised national movement in later 19th century. The grateful country celebrated the 150th anniversary the First War of Independence in a suitable manner in 2007.
Meerut is called the “sports city of India” because of the thriving sports goods industry here. Sugar and electronics goods are other flourishing industries. Meerut and nearby Modinagar form an educational hub adjacent to the national capital.