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and the out-turn is due to the heavy manuring given to the field by
buffaloes and cattle. But with this exception maize receives no
manure, and the system of harvesting renders it unnecessary. A large
part of the stalk is left on the fields, and in the winter the stalks rot


with the snow and rain into the soil. Ordinarily two to three plough-
ings are given, and a final ploughing covers over the seeds. A month
after sowing, when the maize is about a foot high, women weed the
fields with a small hand hoe and loosen the soil about the roots. As
a rule, maize is grown on 'dry' land, and it is rare to find it irrigated.
For a really good crop of maize fortnightly rains are required, but
in the swamp-lands the natural moisture of the soil produces fair crops
even if the rains are delayed.

Kangni or shot {Setaria italicd) is an extremely useful plant ; and
when it is apparent from the look of the mountains that snow water
will be scarce, a large area of rice land is at once sown with it. The
land, if a good crop is hoped for, must be carefully ploughed about
four times, and the seed is sown in April and May about the same
time as rice. Some weeding is done, but as a rule the crop is left
until it ripens in September. China or ping {Panicum miliaceum)
is very like rice in appearance, but is grown on 'dry' land. The field
is ploughed three times, and after sowing cattle are turned on to the
land to tread the soil down. The seed is sown in June, and the crop
is harvested in September. It is occasionally weeded ; but like kangni,
with which it is always associated as a cheap food-stuff, china does not
receive much attention.

The most beautiful of all the crops is the ganhar, or amaranth, with
its gold, coral, and crimson stalks and flowers. It is frequently sown
in rows among the cotton-fields or on the borders of maize plots, and
the sulphur blooms of the cotton and the coral of the ganhar form
a delightful combination of colour. Ganhar is sown in May after two
or three ploughings. No manure or irrigation is given, and with timely
rains a large out-turn is harvested in September. The minute grain
is first parched, then ground and eaten with milk or water. It is con-
sidered a heating food by the people, and Hindus eat it on their fast-
days. The stalks are used by washermen, who extract an alkaline
substance from the burnt ashes.

Trumba, or buckwheat {Fagopyrum esculentutn), is a most useful
plant, as it can be sown late in almost any soil, and when the cultivator
sees no hope of water coming to his rice-fields he will at once sow
the sweet trumba. There are two varieties. The sweet trumba, which
has white, pinkish flowers, is often grown as a substitute for rice when
water is not forthcoming ; it can be sown up to the middle of July,
and with good rains it gives a fair crop. The bitter trumba, which
has yellow flowers, is not a mere makeshift, but in the higher villages
often forms the only food-grain of the people. The unhusked grain
is black in colour, and is either ground in mills and made into bread
or is eaten as porridge. The sweet trumba is said to be a good food
for horses and for poultry.


Pulses are not considered of much importance by the people, and
Punjabis do not regard the Kashmir dal in a favourable light. Gram
is unknown, and the best pulse is mting (Phaseolus Mitngo). The land
is ploughed three times and the seed is sown in May. No irriga-
tion is given, and mung is often sown in rice lands which require
a rest. The roots run deep and air the soil. The other pulses are
?nah {Phaseolus radiafus) and mothi (P. aconitifolius).

The oilseeds of Kashmir are of some importance, and now that
Kashmir is linked with the outer world they are assuming a greater
value as a trade staple. The Kashmiris do not use ghl (clarified
butter) in their food, but they require vegetable oils ; and at present
they use these for lighting as well as for cooking, owing to the expense
of mineral oil.

The chief oilseed is rape, of which there are three varieties. The
first is tilgoglu, which is sown in September and October on ' dry ' lands,
and especially on the soft reclaimed swamp land. As a rule there
is no weeding, except where the wild hemp is very vigorous. Timely
rains from February to May are required, and the crop is harvested
in May and June. The second variety is known as taruz or sarshaf,
and is sown in the spring. It ripens at the same time as the tilgoglu,
but gives a smaller amount of oil from its seed. Three maunds of
seed per acre would be an average yield for tilgoglu. The other
varieties of rape give less. The third kind is known as satidiji, and
is sown in the standing rice when the last watering is being given. It
yields a small crop, but as no labour is expended the cultivator counts
even the small crop as gain.

Linseed is cultivated all over the valley, but the best fields are on
the lower slopes of the mountains. The land is ploughed twice, and
a third ploughing is given when the seed is sown in April. The crop
is harvested towards the end of July. Timely rains are required in
May or the plant withers. The crop is said to exhaust the land. An
average yield would be i^ to 2 maunds of linseed per acre, but with
proper cultivation the produce could be increased. No manure is
given and the fields are not weeded, and as a rule the linseed crop has
a very dirty and slovenly appearance. As one ascends the slopes of
the mountains the plant has a longer stem, and some time ago a fitful
attempt was made to grow flax for fibre. Like other excellent schemes
for introducing new staples and industries into Kashmir, the experiment
failed as there was no one to supervise or encourage the cultivators.

Til (Sesamum indicum), which is a very common crop, is sown in
April. The land is ploughed four times, and a fifth ploughing is given
at sowing. No manure is applied, but til requires a rich soil and
gentle and timely rains. The crop is weeded with the hand hoe,
and is more carefully looked after than any of the other oilseed plants.


The plant is very delicate and is injured by cold winds. The crop
ripens shortly after rice, and blankets are spread under the plants at
harvest-time to catch the seeds, which fall out of the pods with the
slightest movement. In Kashmir the oil, which is sweet, is valued as
an ointment. An average yield would be about 1^ maunds of seed
per acre.

This will be a convenient place to give a brief description of oil
production. Formerly oil was taken by the State in payment of
revenue ; but this practice has now ceased, and the cultivator either
sells his oilseeds to Punjabi traders or expresses oil for his own
consumption or for sale. There are Telis or professional oil-pressers
all over the valley ; and they charge for their services a small amount
of oil and keep the whole of the oil-cake, which they sell to the villagers
for cattle-food. The press is made of plane-wood, and is worked by
a single bullock, blindfolded, the driver sitting perched up at a great
height on the beam which crushes the seed and is carried backwards.
The press is fed with seed by a man who stands below. The Kash-
miris say that rapeseed gives the best oil for lighting purposes, and
linseed for eating; but as a matter of fact one never gets a pure oil
from the press, as the various seeds are mixed by the oil-presser, and
kernels of the walnut and apricot are added. The natives give as
a reason for mixing the various seeds, that a much larger amount of
oil is obtained by crushing together various sizes and kinds of seed
than could be obtained from crushing each separately. The walnut
is an important oil-producer, but this and the apricot are not con-
sidered to give good oils for lighting. Walnut oil is said to clog, and
does not give half the burning power of other oil.

Cotton is grown all over Kashmir up to a certain elevation ; and, as
a rule, where the white rices cease to be cultivated owing to the cold-
ness of the air, there too the cotton plant disappears. It is cultivated
on the karewas, and also in low-lying land which is irrigable but
requires a rest from rice. The soil should be ploughed frequently,
and never less than three ploughings are given, after which the clods
are well pulverized by mallets. The seed is soaked in water and mixed
with ashes before sowing, but the plant receives no manure. Sowing
takes place at the end of April and in May, and the fields are often
watered at sowing time.

Wheat and barley are the two spring crops of the valley, and of these
the barley crop is the more important, if area alone be considered.
The barley commonly grown in the valley is not of a good quality, and
no pains are taken in its cultivation. One ploughing is given, and when
the seed is sown from October to December the land is again ploughed.
The fields are neither weeded nor manured, and probably have not their
match in the world for bad and slovenly cultivation. It is sometimes


difficult to distinguish the barley in the mass of chirman weed {Ranun-
culus sp.). The grain is not esteemed as a food, but is very often mixed
by millers with wheat. In the higher villages, at an elevation of 7,000
feet, there is a peculiar kind of barley known as grim, or Tibetan barley,
which is an important food-staple among the mountain people. The
villagers always speak of it as 'bastard wheat.' The grain has not the
chaff scales adhering to it, but is naked like wheat. The people say
that, if this is grown at a lower altitude, it reverts to the type of ordi-
nary barley. It is sown in May and June, and ripens in August and

Wheat receives better treatment than barley, but two ploughings,
with a third at seed-time, are considered sufficient. The land is neither
manured nor weeded, and as a rule no irrigation is given. Seed is
sown in September and October, and the crop ripens in June. The
common variety is a red wheat with a small hard grain, and Punjabis
consider the flour to be very inferior. Just as the grain of barley, and
to a certain extent the grain of wheat, are looked down upon as a food
by the rice-eating Kashmiri, so too the valuable straw of these cereals
is neglected as a cattle-food, and it is common to see large ricks of
wheat-straw left to rot on the land. On the other hand, rice-straw,
which is not used for fodder until all else fails in Northern India, is the
most popular fodder in Kashmir. It may be that the high elevation
renders the rice-straw less flinty and more succulent here than in

The saffron (Crocus sativus) of Kashmir is famous for its bouquet,
and is in great request as a condiment and as a pigment for the sect-
marks of Hindus. Various substitutes, such as turmeric, are now used
for the latter purpose by Kashmiri Pandits ; but if a man can afford it
he will use the bright saffron colour, mixed with red lead and pounded
with a piece of deodar-wood. The cultivation is peculiar, and the
legend about its introduction shows at any rate that it is an ancient

At present cultivation is extending as fast as the local method of
seed-production will allow. But that this method is slow may be
inferred from the fact that, at measurement of a total area of 4,527
acres of saffron land, only 132 acres were actually cultivated with the
crocus. In former days ' the saffron cultivation was a large source of
revenue to the State ; but in the famine the people in their distress ate
up the bulbs, and although seed has been imported from Kishtwar, and
every year land is set apart for the production of seed, the process of
reproduction is slow. For seed purposes a particular aspect and sloping
ground is required, and it takes three years before the bulbs can be

1 'There ate 10,000 or 20,000 bigkas of land covered with saffron, which afford
a prospect that would enchant those who are most difficult to please.' — Ain-i-Akbari.


planted out in the small square plots where the saffron is to be grown.
These plots must remain fallow for eight years, and no manure can be
applied to them and no assistance given in the way of water. When
once the bulb has been placed in the square it will live for fourteen
years without any help from the cultivator, new bulbs being produced
and the old ones rotting away. The time for planting out is in July
and August; and all that the cultivator has to do is to break up the
surface gently a few times, and to ensure the proper drainage of the
plot by digging a neat trench on all four sides. The flowers appear
about the middle of October ; and the purple blooms and the delicious
though somewhat overpowering scent of the saffron turn the dry, unin-
viting plateau above Pampur into a rare and wonderful garden. Saffron
is at present limited to the karewas in the neighbourhood of Pampur,
but there is no peculiar property in the soil there which does not exist
in other karezvas, though it is of exceptionally good quality.

In former days men came from all parts to cultivate saffron on the
Pampur karewas ; but now, with the exception of a few people from
Srlnagar, the industry is in the hands of local cultivators. At harvest-
time the whole flower is picked and put into bags and then taken to
the farmer, who takes one bag for himself and gives the other bag
to the cultivator. The bags are never opened, and it has been found
by experience that the cultivator never attempts to foist a bad bag on
the farmer. When the flowers have been collected the real work of
extracting saffron commences. The flowers are dried in the sun, and
the three long stigmas are picked out by hand. The stigma has an
orange-red tip, and this tip forms the shahi zafarirn, the first quality
saffron. The long white base of the stigma also makes saffron, but it
is of inferior quality to the tips. The article thus collected in a dry
condition is known to the trade as mongla, and sells for one rupee per
tola. When the mongla saffron has been extracted, the sun-dried
flowers are beaten lightly with sticks and winnowed. Then the whole
mass is thrown into water, when the petals swim and the essential parts
of the flower sink. The parts which have sunk (niwal) are collected,
and those which have risen to the top are dried and again beaten with
sticks and then plunged into water. The process is repeated three
times, and each time the niwal becomes poorer. One form of adul-
teration is to mix niwal of the third with niwal of the first process.
The saffron obtained in this way is lighter in colour and of fainter
scent than the mongla, and is known to the trade as lacha, and sells at
12 annas per tola. The saffron when made is exported by post.

Next to the saffron cultivation in interest come the floating gardens
of the Dal Lake, which resemble the ' chinampas ' of Old Mexico.
The whole cultivation and vegetation of the lake is full of interest and
of great importance to the people. The radii or floating gardens are


made of long strips of the lake reed, with a breadth of about six feet.
These strips can be towed from place to place, and are moored at the
four corners by poles driven into the lake bed. When the radh is
sufficiently strong to bear the weight of a man, heaps of weed and mud
are extracted from the lake by poles, formed into cones, and placed at
intervals on the radh. The cones are known &sftokar, and each cone
accommodates two seedlings of melons or tomatoes, or four seedlings
of water-melons or cucumber. Everything that plant life requires is
present. A rich soil and ample moisture, with the summer sun, help
to produce vegetables in surprising abundance and of excellent quality.
Not inferior to the floating gardens in fertility are the demb lands, which
are formed along the sides and sometimes in the middle of the lake
when the water is shallow. The cultivator selects his site, and plants
willows and sometimes poplars along its four sides. Inside these he
casts boatloads of weed and mud until his land is above the flood-level,
and year by year he adds a new dressing of the rich lake weed and mud.
Around the demb plot run little water-channels from the lake, so that
moisture is always present ; and on the demb a great variety of crops
are raised. Rapeseed, maize, tobacco, melons and other Cucurbitaceae,
potatoes, onions, radishes, turnips, egg-plants, white beans, peaches,
apricots, and quinces flourish on this rich soil ; and if it were not for
the constant liability to forced labour, and for the curious system under
which revenue is collected daily from the half-amphibious dwellers on
the Dal Lake, the cultivators of the demb lands might be the most
prosperous people in Asia. The system is of importance, as it is not
confined to the Dal Lake ; all over Kashmir the people who live by the
great swamps have begun to construct these curious oblong patches.

Tobacco is cultivated in many parts, but is chiefly grown in and
around Srinagar and the smaller towns. The ordinary cultivator does
not grow the plant, and it is almost entirely in the hands of the
gardener class which exists in the city and the towns. The plant
yielding the most esteemed tobacco grows in one part of Srinagar, and
is known as breivari {Nicotiana Tabacum). It has pinkish flowers, and
its product, which is of a bright yellow colour, is extremely mild and less
pungent than the chilasi variety, introduced from the Punjab. The
chilasi is N. rustica, a plant with pale yellow flowers. Tobacco is sown
in April, and is picked about the end of August. It requires very rich
soil, and is irrigated by the pot and lever system. Formerly the State
took tobacco as revenue and allowed a high commutation rate for the
crop ; but of late years tobacco has not been accepted in payment of
revenue, and it is thought that the cultivation is not increasing. The
local use of tobacco passed out of fashion at the great famine, and the
narcotic is now chiefly taken in the form of snuff, which is imported
from Peshawar.


In the same rich land, black with poudrette, which the gardener
class of the city and towns cultivate so carefully and well, the opium
poppy is raised, and its dried capsules are used in medicine. Ajwain
and kala zlra (Canon s/>.) are two garden spring crops, cultivated
for local use as condiments for improving the condition of horses
and cattle. They are largely exported to India, Ladakh, and Afghan-
istan. Vegetables are of great importance, and every villager has his
small garden plot, where he raises a wealth of food with very small
effort. In the neighbourhood of Srinagar some care is taken in the
selection of seed, and the villager often buys his seed from the city ;
but in the remote corners of the valley very little attention is paid to
this class of cultivation, and the vegetables are poor, fibrous, and small.

The national vegetable is the knol-kohl. It is a hardy plant, and in
years of favourable rains large crops are raised without much labour.
The green variety is the commonest ; in the summer the leaves are
eaten as spinach, while the root is kept for the winter. Next in impor-
tance is the turnip, which is largely cultivated. The root is cut into
slices and dried for the winter. Vegetable marrows abound, and they
too are dried in the sun and festooned on ropes for winter use. They
are grown in raised cones of earth, through which the air passes easily
to the roots. Tomatoes are a popular vegetable, but the plant is
allowed to lie on the ground, and the fruit is small and ugly. It is
cut into rings and dried in the sun for winter use. Chillies are chiefly
grown by the regular gardening cultivators, and very large crops are
raised in the neighbourhood of the city and the towns. Cucumbers of
a large size are grown in abundance on the Dal Lake, but they are not
common elsewhere. The egg-plant is well-known in the valley ; and
last, but not least, the potato is gradually extending. On the hill
slopes of the Trahal itaka, in Naubug, and in one or two other places,
excellent potatoes are raised ; and now that the old fear that anything
good would either be seized or would lead to an enhancement of
revenue is passing away, they will be a common crop throughout the
valley. The soil of the valley is well drained, friable, and loamy, and
every condition requisite to successful potato cultivation is present.
Nature is so bountiful that the Kashmiri cares little for vegetables in
the spring or the summer, and his one idea is to grow something that
will last him through the winter.

Various herbs are eaten as vegetables in the spring and summer :
thistles, nettles, the wild chicory, the dandelion — in fact, every plant
which is not poisonous goes into the cooking-pot, and even the stalk
of the walnut catkin is not despised. In the hills a dainty dish of the
wild asparagus can be easily obtained, and wild rhubarb cooked in
honey has its charms.

Kashmir is a country of fruits ; and perhaps no country has greater

VOL. xv. 1


facilities for horticulture, as the indigenous apple, pear, vine, mulberry,
walnut, hazel, cherry, peach, apricot, raspberry, gooseberry, currant, and
strawberry can be obtained without difficulty in most parts of the valley.
The fruits are a great help to the people as a food, and they come in
a pleasant and changing succession. When the first days of summer
arrive, the mulberry-trees are surrounded by villagers with their out-
spread blankets, and by cattle, ponies, and dogs, who all munch the
sweet black or white fruit. There are grafted varieties, the best of
which is shahtut, purple and juicy, and much esteemed as a preserve.
With an eye to the winter the provident cultivator stores away the mul-
berries which he cannot eat, and they retain their sweetness long. The
apricot ripens next, and they too are quickly eaten or stored away for
the winter ; but the Kashmiri looks on the apricot as intended to give
oil rather than fruit. This fruit is also used by the silversmith for clean-
ing his metal, and by dyers as an astringent. The cherry is usually of
the black morella variety, sour in taste, yet appreciated by the people ;
but in places the delicious whiteheart (an introduction from Europe via
Arabia, Persia, and Afghanistan) is cultivated. Its Kashmiri name,
gilas, is a corruption of Cerasus. People say that it is indigenous, and
it is found in places where one might almost imagine it was self-grown.
The wild plums are excellent, and the cultivated plums are often very
fine. The peach that has extended its area from cultivation is small
but refreshing, and a wild raspberry is as good and as delicate in flavour
as the cultivated raspberry of England. The gooseberry is small and
flavourless, but the wild strawberry and black currant are excellent.

The most popular apple is the anbru or amri, which has a large
round red and white sweet fruit, ripening in October and keeping its
condition for a long time. This is exported in large quantities, and it
finds favour with the natives of India for its sweetness and handsome
appearance. To an English taste it would seem woolly and flavourless.
The mohi amri is like the amri, but is more acid and redder. It is
largely exported. The klwddu sari apple is said to have been intro-
duced from Kabul. It is long in shape, and is juicy and rather acid,
ripening early and not keeping. But the best apple, so far as flavour
goes, is the little trel, which abounds in the neighbourhood of Sopur.
There are three common kinds : the nabadi trel, which is yellow ; the
jambasi trel, which turns red ; and the si/ trel, which is rather larger
than the nabadi and jambasi, and of a deep red colour. When ripe
these little apples have the most delicious taste, half sour, half sweet,
and when they rot they are exactly like the medlar in flavour. From
this variety, when picked at the right time, excellent cider has been
made. A superior variety of the trel is the khatotii trel, which is larger
but possesses all the flavour of tha smaller kind. There are many other
kinds, but the Kashmiri would give the palm to the dud amri, which


is the sweetest and finest of the amri. Many of the wild apples, such
as the tet shah- and malmu, are very refreshing, and it is a curious fact
that the greater part of the orchards consist entirely of wild trees.
About the beginning of September the people pick the wild apples
and the irel apples, and having cut them in half dry them in the sun.

The pear is as yet of secondary importance, and does not form
a large article of export. But several very good pears are cultivated,

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