Hissar. 1. A division, district, and town of the Punjab, in British India. The division includes the three districts of Hissar, Rohtak, and Sirsa, having an area of 8,355 square miles. It lies between Sirhind and Rajpootana, and, fringing the Bikaner deserts, is liable to droughts and famines. The district of Hissar, forming the central portion of the division, extends over 3,539 square miles. It exports large quantities of oil-seeds, grain, copper and brass ware, hides, saltpetre, and some cotton. The climate is very dry, and the soil, when irrigated, highly productive. The white cattle are famous throughout India. The Ghaggar is the only river, and the water-supply is derived chiefly from the West Jumna Canal. Hindus of the Bhatti tribe make up three-fourths of the population. Bhawani is the commercial centre, and is three times as large as Hissar, the seat of administration, or Hansi, the only other municipality.
2. A state in Central Asia, lying north of the river Oxus, and opposite to Balkh, in Afghanistan, between the desert to the west and the provinces of Karategin and Darwaz to the east. It is nominally, since 1870, under the government of the Khan of Bokhara, but the Russians explored its almost unknown recesses in 1875, and have since acquired an influence. One of the three roads, all difficult, by which it can be reached from Bokhara is through the renowned defile of Kohluga, said to have been once closed by a gate of iron. The Surkhab, Kafirnihan, Sarkhan, and Shirabad-Daria, tributaries of the Oxus, traverse the country, which, though extremely mountainous, is fertile in the valleys. Derbend, Shirabad, Baisun, and Hissar, the strategical capital, are the chief towns; and Kulab, in a district of its own, lies beyond the Sarkhan, which is spanned by the ancient stone bridge of Pul-i-sanghin. The inhabitants are mainly Uzbeks or Tajiks, under seven semi-dependent begs. Hissar, meaning "fort," is the name of many other Asiatic towns.