The district Okara derived its name from a tree known as “OKAAN” which was standing on the embankment of a water-tank, being maintained by a person known as “RANA”. Prior to colonization, that was the only place for rest and drinking water in an otherwise, barren tract.
District Okara came into being on 1.7.1982 on detachment from Division of District Sahiwal, formerly known as Montgomery. It included the areas of Okara and Depalpur, which were previously two Tehsils of District Sahiwal.
The history of this area is that it been an abade of certain wild pastoral tribes which appear to have occupied this land from the time immemorial, maintaining independence from the successive rulers of northern India, and even noted for their lawless turbulence and criminal bent. Their history goes back, probably as far as the time of Alexander. Cattle lifting and abduction of women have always been a main crime and a way of life for the old inhabitants. During and after the British Rule when the main irrigation systems were established, new settlements on large scale took place. The settlers included Rajpots (Raos) and Arains. These two communities are now playing an important social and political role in the society in addition to the Syed of Shergarh and Hujra, who contributed towards the propagation of Islam in the area.
Bifurcation of the Sahiwal district was, as envisioned by the far-sighted administrators, like Mr. F.B Wace and Mr. F.C Bourne, a matter of time; and the 1933 Edition of the Montgomery District Gazetteer said so. Growth of population, and its attendant problems was the basic cause. The paramount consideration was, taking the administration to the door-steps of the people beset by development pressure and escalating needs. After much consideration of several alternatives, Okara an erst-while sub-divisional headquarters of Sahiwal district emerges as the headquarters of the new district of Okara on the 1st of July, 1982. It consists of three tehsils: Okara Renala Khurd and Depalpur.
District Okara has the following districts within it:
Tehsil Renala Khurd
Tehsil Okara is one of the third tehsils of district Okara. It spreads over an area of 1,241 square kilometres with a population of 862,364 (as per DCR 1998). Okara Tehsil is about 127 kilometres to the south-west of Lahore, on the National Highway, and on the main Lahore-Karachi Railway Line. Okara is bounded by district Faisalabad and Sheikhupura on the north-west where river Ravi forms the natural boundary. On the north-east lies the district of Kasur. On the south is the district of Bahawalnagar and south-west is Pakpattan district and the boundary of Sahiwal district on the west. On the south runs the river Satluj with some area of Tehsil Depalpur across the river alongwith Indo-Pak border. Okara was raised to the level of Municipal Committee in 1937. After the implementation of Punjab Local Government Ordinance 2001, it was given the status of TMA.
Depalpur, Haveli, Sher-garh, Satghrah and Gogera are historical places of this district. In 1524, Moghal Emperor Babar, having conquered Lahore marched on Depalpur and took it by storm. The area attached to Depalpur was given under the control of Sultan Alla-ud-Din Lodhi who had been an unsuccessful competitor for the throne of Delhi. Babar had to fall back owing to defection of Daulat Khan who drove Alla-ud-Din out of country. In 1526, Babar defeated Ibrahim Lodhi at the battle of Panipat and this area came into Babar's domain. On his death Humayun gave it to his brother Mirza Kamran who held it till the successful revolt of Sher Shah Suri in 1540.
Tehsil Renala Khurd (Shergarh)
Sher Shah built a fort at Shergarh to defend this area. On the return of Hamayun this area again fell under the Moghal rule. After the end of Moghal regime, Sikh and English rulers dominated this area.
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