HISTORY OF THE NAME OF THE DISTRICT
The name of the district is derived from its headquarters Sirsa. It is said to
be one of the oldest places of North India and its ancient name was Sairishaka,
which finds mention in Mahabharata, Panini's Ashatadhayayi and Divyavadan. In
Mahabharata, Sairishaka is described as being taken by Nakula in his conquest of
the western quarter. It must have been a flourishing city in the 5th century
B.C. as it has been mentioned by Panini.
There are a number of legends about the origin of the name of the town. As
mentioned earlier, its ancient name was Sairishaka and from that it seems to
have been corrupted to Sirsa. According to local tradition, an unknown king
named Saras founded the town in 7th century A.D. and built a fort. The material
remains of an ancient fort can still be seen in the South-East of the present
town. It is about 5 kilometers in circuit. According to another tradition, the
name has its origin from the sacred river Sarasvati which one flowed near it.
During medieval period, the town was known as Sarsuti. It has been mentioned as
Sarsuti by a number of medieval historians. The derivation of name Sirsa, is
also attributed to the abundance of siris trees[Albizia lebbock (Benth)] in the
neighborhood of Sirsa which seems quite plausible for it finds some
corroboration also in Panini and his commentator. In ancient period, Sirsa was
also known as Sirsapattan.
History of the District as an Administrative Unit
Sirsa seems to be in the administrative division of Hisar Feroza during Firuz
Shah's reign. In the time of Akbar, Sirsa was one of the dasturs of Hisar Feroza
Sarkar and much of its area lying in the present Sirsa district was covered by
Mahals of Fatehabad, Bhattu, Bhangiwal (Darba), Sirsa, Bhatner (or Hanumangarh,
Rajasthan) and Paniyana (Rajasthan). With the decline of the Mughal Empire, the
track comprising Sirsa district came under the control of Marathas. The whole of
Delhi Territory of which the tract formed part was ceded by the Marathas to the
British in 1810. Sirsa was part of the outlying district of Delhi territory
under the charge of an Assistant to the Resident. In 1819, the Delhi territory
was divided into three districts - the Central which included Delhi, The
Southern including Rewari, and the North-Western including Panipat, Hansi,
Hisar, Sirsa and Rohta. In 1820, the latter was again sub-divided into Northern
and Western and Sirsa alongwith Hansi, Hisar and Bhiwani formed Western district
(Haryana district and later known Hisar district).
In 1837, Sirsa and Rania parganas were taken out of Haryana district and
alongwith Guda and Malaut parganas were formed into a separate district called
Bhattiana. The pargana of Darba from Hisar district and the small pargana of
Rori confiscated from erstwhile princely state of Nabha were transferred to
Bhattiana in 1838 and 1847 respectively. In 1844, Wattu pargana running upto
Satluj was added in the Bhattiana district. The whole of the Delhi territory
alongwith district of Bhattiana and Hisar was transferred to Punjab in 1858 and
the dustrict of Bhattiana was renamed as Sirsa.
In 1861, 42 villages of Tibi tract of Rania pargana were transferred to the then
state of Bikaner.
The Sirsa district which comprised three tahsils of Sirsa, Dabwali and Fazilka
was abolished in 1884 and Sirsa tahsil (consisting of 199 Villages) and 126
villages of Dabwali tahsil formed one tahsil and the same was merged in the
Hisar district and the rest of the portion was transferred to the Firozpur
district (Punjab). There was no change till the Independence of the country
except that a village was transferred from Sirsa tahsil to the then state of
Bikaner in 1906.
The entire area of the district was included in the new state of Haryana on
November 1, 1966. In 1968, Sirsa tahsil was bifurcated into Sirsa and Dabwali
tahsils. In 1974, three villages of Dabwali tahsil were transferred to Sirsa
tahsil. On September 1, 1975, Sirsa and Dabwali tahsils were constituted into a
separate Sirsa district with headquarters at Sirsa.