The district derives its name from its headquarter’s town Rohtak which is said to be a correction of Rohtashgarh,a name still applied to the ruined sites(also called khokhrakot) of two older sites, one lying immediately north of the present town and other about 5 Kms.towards the east. Traditionally, it is named after Raja Rohtash in whose days city is said to have been built. It is also claimed that the town derives its name from the Roherra (Tacoma undulate) tree called Rohitaka in Sanskrit. It is said that before the town came into existance,it was the site of a forest of Rohitaka trees and hence ita name became Rohtak.Another version connects Rohtak with Rohitaka, which is mentioned in Mahabharta in connection with campaign of Nakula, the Pandva warrior.
History of the District as an Administrative Unit
The areas of Rohtak district under went many changes, extending over hundreds of years before the administrative unit emerged in its present from. Under the Mughal Emperor Akbar, when his Minister Todar Mal divided North India into administrative circles, the areas of Rohtak(as a part of Suba of Delhi) fell within the Sarkars of Delhi and Hisar firuqa. Lying close to the imperial city of Delhi, the tract which now comprises the Rohtak district,was often granted in military Jagir by the Sultan and Mughal emperors to the Nobles of the court. For this reason Rajput, Brahman, Afgan,& Baluch chiefs have at different times enjoyed its revenues. On the death of Bahadur-Shah-I(1707-12),the successor of Aurangzeb, the Mugal empire began to decline rapidly. The areas of Rohtak frequently experienced a change of masters. The claims of Imperials were contested sometimes by the Rajputs,Jats & Sikhs and often by the Marathas. George Thomas, the protage of a Maratha leader, Appa Kandirao, established his authority at Hansi and extended it to Meham and Rohtak for a number of years, until Sindhia and various other regional forces combined to derive him away. Sindhia was, however, not destined to hold for long his conquests to the west of the Yamuna. By the treaty of Surjit Arjungaon, signed on Dec. 30,1803, the Rohtak area alongwith the other possessions of Sindhia situtated to the west of Yamuna passed to the British and came under the administration of the North-west provinces.
The British had no intention at that time to hold large territories beyound the Yamuna. Accordingly, a number of Chiefs and leaders who had done good military service against the Marathas or had atleast remained neuthural, were settled in this tract to form a barrier of independent outposts between the British border and the Cis-Sutlej Sikh estates as well as the trans-sutlej rising kingdom of Ranjit Singh. Accordingly, the Jhajjar territory was given to Nawab Nijabat Ali Khan and the Baluch possessions at B.Garh to his brother, Nawab Ismail Khan. Gohana & Kharkhoda-Mandothi tehsils were given to Raja Bagh Singh of Jind & Bhai Lal Singh of Kaithal as life jagirs. The villages Lohari, Patudha and Kheri Sultan in the south east corner of Jhajjar tehsil were given as a seprate Jagir to Mohmad Khan son & Nawab Nijabat Ali Khan. The estates of Hassngarh, Kirhauli, Pyladgarh(Pehladpur) and Khurampur in Sampla area were also granted to him for life. Rohtak,Beri and Meham tehsils of the present distt. were given to the Nawab of Dujana who resigned the major portion of the gift in A.D.1809 because it was beyond his power to manage it.
The formation of present Rohtak district began when the gift was abandoned by the Dujana Chief. The Gohana and Kharkhoda-Mandothi estates lapsed to the British Govt. after of the death of Bhai Lal Singh in A.D.1818 and Bhagh Singh in 1820. When the Hissar district was created in the latter year, the Beri and Meham-Bhiwani tehsils were included in Hisar and the other portions of the present northern tehsils in Panipat. In 1824 the Rohtak distt. was formed as a separate unit consisting of Gohana, Kharkhoda-Mandothi, Rohtak, Beri and Meham -Bhiwani tehsils. The Bahadurgarh territory formed its estern and Jhajjar its southern boundary. Until A.D.1832, the whole area, including Rohtak, was under the resident of Delhi, but when in that year it was brought under the same regulations as the rest of North indian, the resident became commissioner. The Distt. Was abolised in A.D. 1841 Gohana going to Panipat and rest of tehsil to Delhi but in the very next year it was created again. Two Distt. of Rohtak and Jhajjar togather with rest of Delhi and Hisar divisions were deatched from North-western provinces after 1857 and passed to the Punjab by the Govt. of India on 13th April ,1858. The Rohtak distt. remained a part of the Hisar division until 1884.
After its transfer to the Punjab , the Rohtak Distt. Experienced several changes before assuming its present form. Bahadurgarh estate was added to the Sampla tehsil, five detached village to the east, going to Delhi. Jhajjar including some areas of Narnaul, Kanaudh and Dahari was at first created as a new distt. but was abolished shorthly afterwards in 1860, when large parts of it were assigned to the phulkian chief as a rewards for their loyal services. While the Jhajjar tehsil itself was added to Rohtak several Badali villages were transferred either to Delhi or Gurgoan and two deatched Jhajjar estates were given to the Raja of Jind. In the following year , The Meham tehsil was abolished and after making necessary territirial adjustments in favour of Hisar and Delhi, the rest of the area was added to Rohtak tehsil. All these changer were completeded by 1st July, 1861.
On the abolition of Hisar Division in 1884, the Rohtak Distt. Was transferred to Delhi division. It consisted of four tehsils-Rohtak, Gohana, Jhajjar & Sampla, But in April, 1910, Sampla tehsil was abolised for reasons of administrative economy and its area was divided between the Rohtak and Jhajjar tehsils which had reminded attached to the Delhi distt. since the year 1861 and was added to the Rohtak distt. in sept,1912,on the seperation of Delhi Territory from the Punjab. The distt. Was then attached to Ambala division .In 1948,Dujana state was merged in Jhajjar tehsil and a new sub-tehsil of Nahar was created.
Thus, Rohtak distt. was given a shae with four Tehsils i.e. Rohtak, Sonipat, Jhajjar & Gohana with Nahar & Meham as sub-tehsil of Jhajjar and Gohana tehsils respectively. Tehsil of B.Garh was created in 1973 from Jhajjar tehsil. In 1973 Meham sub-tehsil was upgraded as tehsil .Sonipat tehsil was created by bifurcating Rohtak distt, and Gohana and Sonipat tehsils were alloted to Sonipat district. One more tehsil ,Kosli was created out of Jhajjar tehsil and Nahar sub-tehsil was abolised and the bifurcated Rohtak distt., compresed of five tehsils, namely Rohtak, B.garh ,Jhajjar, Meham and kosli and one sub-tehsil M.hail was also created. In Nov.,1989 reorganisation of distt. took place and Gohana tehsil was again attached with Rohtak distt. Of Rewari. Three sub-tehsils of Badli ,M.hail and Beri were created again in July ,92,Gohana tehsil was again transferred to Sonipat distt. and Badli sub-tehsil was abolised later on.
In July ,97,Jhajjar district was created after bifurcating Rohtak district into Rohtak and Jhajjar districts and the present Rohtak District consists of Rohtak and Meham Tehsils, while Jhajjar & B.garh tehsils are in Jhajjar Distt. The present setup of Rohtak district is as under: