Located in the ODA, a fertile alluvial plain of North India, between a Delhi the Ganga and Yamuna rivers, Aligarh is one of the most populous towns in Uttar Pradesh. Its geographical location has helped the city gravitate towards development and subsequent urbanisation. A town with an extensive historical background, the famous 500-year-old Grand Trunk road runs through it. its origin dates back to 1500 BC with existing archaeological evidence of Buddhist settlements.
The end of the 12th century saw Aligarh under the reign of the Muslim rulers and this period has left its mark, on the city in the form of masjids, and a considerable Muslim population. This medieval period had Aligarh functioning as an important administrative, industrial and agricultural market town. The British rule over the town commenced in the middle of the 19th century. Thus, the city has 3 fairly clear zones-the ancient area dominated by a Hindu population, the medieval area monopolized by the Muslims and the modern area consisting of a mix of Hindu and Muslim culture.
Inspite of modern developments in the town, it retains its link with the past and this has contributed to its haphazard growth with some areas influenced by rapid development and other parts of the town still struggling with bare necessities. With the town growing in different periods under different rulers, the 3 dominant areas of the city also grew independently of one another. As the report of the Aligarh Environment Study conducted by environmental scientists of the Aligarh Muslim University states, "Communalisation of Indian politics and the spate of communal riots have strengthened the segregation on communal lines in the city."
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