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the best of which are the nak satarwati, which has a beautiful shape
and a sweet juicy flesh, and the nak gulabi, which has a pretty red skin
and is a very pleasant fruit. The Kashmiris, though they think it
essential to peel an apple, never peel pears. They also hold that it is
dangerous to eat pears in the winter. Cold in the head and the eyes
is the result of such indulgence. The early pear is known as the gosh
bug and is very refreshing, and the later fruit is called tang. None of
these will keep for long, and late pears are required. From the State
nurseries a splendid French pear has been sent out all over the valley,
but unless these are most carefully packed and quickly transported they
cannot reach India. The wild pear is found all over the valley, and
it often resembles the perry pear of Herefordshire.

The quinces, sour and sweet, are famous, and in the gardens of the
Dal Lake splendid specimens of this fruit are to be seen. The tree
is grown for its seed, which is exported to the Punjab. Pomegranates
are common, but are not of any especial merit.

In old days Kashmir was celebrated for its grapes ; but now, if a few
vineyards at the mouth of the Sind valley be excluded, it is difficult
to obtain a good dessert grape in the country. Everywhere one sees
giant vines climbing up poplars and other trees, but they are often wild,
and their fruit is poor and tasteless. The people say that they cut
down their good vines in order to avoid the exactions of officials. The
grapes, white and red, from the State vineyard at Raipur in the Sind
valley are delicious, and efforts are being made to reproduce the Raipur
vines in other parts of the valley. With the decline of the eating grape
there has been an attempt to introduce the wine grape, and at present
there are 389 acres of vineyards on the shore of the Dal Lake. The
vines were introduced from Bordeaux in Maharaja Ranblr Singh's time,
and no expense was spared to make the scheme a success. Perhaps
the vines of Burgundy would have been more suitable. Costly dis-
tillery plant was imported and set up at Gupkar on the Dal Lake, and
wines of the Medoc and Barsac varieties, as well as brandy, have been
manufactured year by year. The only market at present is Srlnagar, as
the long road carriage and the duties levied at the frontier make it
difficult to deliver wine in India at a moderate price. In 1 900-1 the
gross receipts were Rs. 33,000, and the net profit had averaged about
Rs. 11,000 during the preceding four years.

1 2


Hops were also introduced by Maharaja Ranblr Singh, and the hop
garden at Dubgam below Sopur yields a handsome return to the State.
In 1900-1 the total produce was 25,000 lb. The crop is sold at from
12 annas to a rupee per pound, and fetched Rs. 21,000, while the
expenses were only Rs. 5,600.

The walnut-tree is indigenous to the country, and is known by the
vernacular name vont dun ('hard walnut'), as under ordinary circum-
stances one is unable to break the shell. The fruit is useless, but the
bark used to be a large export to the Punjab. The fruit of the culti-
vated tree is an important aid to the villagers, though they seem to
be somewhat indifferent to its reproduction. The tree is found all
over the valley, from an elevation of about 5,500 feet to 7,500 feet.
It is propagated from seed ; and although grafting is not uncommon,
the general idea seems to be that the three varieties — the kagliazi, the
burza/, and the wantu — reproduce themselves from seed. Hitherto
walnuts have been grown for oil and not for eating, and the wantu,
in spite of its thick hard shell, is the largest fruiter and gives the most
oil. The burzal stands half-way between the kaghazi and the wantu,
and is like the ordinary walnut of England. Some of the trees reach
an enormous size, and the finest specimens are to be found as one
ascends the mountain valleys. In former times the State accepted
walnut oil in payment of revenue, and it was more profitable to the
villager to give oil as revenue than to sell the nuts to Punjabi traders.
Now no oil is taken as revenue, and the export of walnuts is rapidly
increasing. The Kashmiris do not care for the nut as a food, as it is
heating, but it always forms part of the New Year's presents among
Hindus and Musalmans. Not long ago the walnuts were exposed to
a very serious danger. In Paris there was a demand for the huge warts
which grow on the walnut stem, the wood of which is used by cabinet-
makers for veneer work, and a Frenchman obtained from the State the
right to saw off these warts. Countless trees were destroyed, for life
went with the wart. Another danger to which walnuts, like other fruit
trees, are liable is the occurrence of the hit kushu, an icy mist which
settles over the valley in severe winters, and freezes out the life of
the trees.

Large almond orchards are scattered over the valley, and many of
the hill-sides might easily be planted with this hardy and profitable
tree. It is a somewhat uncertain crop, but very little attention is paid
to its cultivation, and as a rule the almond orchards are unfenced.
There are two kinds, the sweet and the bitter; the former is worth
double the latter in the market. Ruined almond gardens in all parts
of the valley attest the fact that State enterprise cannot succeed in

There are several varieties of the singhara (Trapa bispinosa), but all


seem to have white flowers floating on the surface of the water on
stems supported by air vessels. When the fruit ripens, the nuts sink
to the bottom of the lake. The singhara is found on the Dal Lake
and in other localities, but its home is the Wular Lake. Of the chief
varieties the best is called bast/ioti, in honour of the rice of that name.
This is a small nut with a thin skin, and gives one-third of kernel for
two-thirds of shell. The dogru is a larger nut with a thicker shell ; and
the kangar has a very thick shell with long projecting horns, and gives
the least kernel of all. Attempts have been made to propagate the
basmati, but it is found that after one year the inferior varieties assert

The cattle of Kashmir are small but hardy, rather bigger than Brit-
tany cattle. They have humps, and their prevailing colour is black or
grey. Very little attention is paid to selection in breeding, but a strain
of Punjab blood has entered the valley, and the dairymen favour cows
of this type. The improvement of the local breeds has been recently
considered by a committee. As summer approaches, all cattle, save
the requisite plough-bullocks and the cows in milk, are driven off to the
mountain pastures, returning in the autumn to the villages. Great pains
are taken to store fodder for the winter, and there are many excellent
grasses and fodder trees. The Gujars, who live on the fringe of the
forests, keep a large number of buffaloes and produce a considerable
quantity of ghl.

Sheep are largely kept. They supply warmth, clothing, and manure,
and are of great importance to the villagers. As the days grow warmer,
the sheep move up to the grand pastures above the forests, and return
in the autumn. The sheep are made over to professional shepherds
when they go to the mountains. In the winter they are penned
beneath the dwelling-rooms of the villagers, and much of the Kash-
miri's comfort in the cold months depends on the heat given out by
the sheep. The wool is excellent, but it varies in quality. Roughly
speaking, the finest wool is found in the north of the valley where the
grasses are good. For winter fodder the Kashmiri depends on willow
leaves and the sweet dried leaves of the flag {Iris). Salt is always
given to the sheep.

Goats are not numerous in the valley, but every year enormous
flocks are brought up to the mountains. They do much injury to
the forests.

The ponies are small, but wiry and of great endurance. Every
village has its brood mares, but no care is taken in the selection of
sires. There is a great future for rational breeding, and also for mule-

Poultry is abundant. The best breed of fowls is found in the Lolab
valley. Geese and ducks are common, and there is a large export of


the latter to the Punjab. Turkeys have not yet succeeded in

Honey is produced in the higher villages of the valley. One house
will often contain many hives, and in a good year a hive will give 8
seers of comb. The hive consists of two large concave clay plates let
into the wall of the house, and in the outer plate there is a small hole
through which the bees enter. The honey is clear and excellent.

It is believed that the silk industry of Kashmir is of very ancient
date, and that the valley furnished part of the Bactrian silk which
found its way to Damascus. In 1869 Maharaja Ranbir Singh, who
was an enthusiast in new industries, organized sericulture on a very
large and expensive scale. But the industry was unpopular, as it was
conducted on purely official lines in which coercion played a great
part. There was no real skilled supervision ; disease attacked the
silkworms, and the enterprise languished. But in spite of mistakes
and failure, it was proved that Kashmir could produce a silk of high
quality. In the Kothar valley to the south the industry lingered on,
and the Settlement officer, Mr. (now Sir) Walter Lawrence, fostered
it, but avoided any large outlay. Excellent silk was produced in 1894,
and was placed on the English market with satisfactory results. Later,
in 1897, an expert was employed, and the State started sericulture
on approved European principles with Italian reeling machinery. All
attempts to raise local seed were abandoned, and seed was imported
annually on a large scale. The results have been surprising. The
industry is no longer confined to Kothar, but has spread all over the
valley, and its further progress depends on the maintenance and
extension of mulberry-trees.

Ten filatures have been built, containing 1,800 basins for reeling
cocoons, fitted with Italian machinery and giving employment to over
5,000 people in Srlnagar. The quality of the silk steadily improves,
and it now commands a price very slightly below Italian silk. In
1897 only 406 ounces of eggs were imported, while in 1906 the import
was 27,500 ounces. The number of zamindars taking seed has risen
in the same period from 150 to 14,000, and the weight of cocoons
reared from 375 to 21,400 maunds, while the payments to the rearers
increased from Rs. 4,300 to Rs. 3,28,500, all the eggs and mulberry
leaf being given free of cost. The total production in 1905-6 was
109,072 lb. of raw silk, and 43,349 lb. of silk waste. The profits
since 1897, when the industry was started on a scientific basis, have
been 15-4 lakhs, of which 4-6 lakhs was made in 1905-6. The total
capital outlay has been Rs. 7,25,000, while the working expenses are
about 7 lakhs a year.

The forests of the State are extensive and valuable, and their
conservation is of great importance in the interests of the country


drained and irrigated by the rivers passing through them. Including
the Bhadarwah jdglr, which contains the finest quality of timber,
the area is reported as 2,637 square miles of all .,

kinds, comprising deodar, firs, pines, and broad-
leaved species. This may be divided into the drainage areas of the
Jhelum (1,718 square miles), Chenab (806), and Ravi (113). The
deodar, which is the most valuable species, extends between 5,000 and
9,000 feet above sea-level, and is at its best between 6,000 and 9,000
feet. The blue pine appears at about 6,000 feet, and extends to nearly
10,000 feet, the finest specimens being found mixed with deodar.
A zone between 8,000 to 11,000 feet is occupied by silver fir, which
occurs pure in dense forests at the lower elevation and is mixed at
greater heights, first with maple and then with birch. Tree vegetation
above 11,000 feet consists of dwarf rhododendron and juniper.

The total area under deodar is about 543 square miles. In the
Kashmir Valley it is found principally, indeed almost entirely, in the
north-west — that is, the district known as Kamraj — and the largest
areas are in the Utr Machipur tahsll. In Udhampur district, which
includes the Kishtwar and Padar tahslls, there are 198 square miles of
deodar-bearing tracts situated on the Chenab and its affluents. These
forests are of a very good class, containing many fine trees of 12 to 18
feet girth, and the reproduction is mostly good. In the Muzaffarabad
district, which contains the valley of the Kishanganga river and that
of the Jhelum from Kohala nearly up to Baramula, there are estimated
to be 158 square miles of deodar forest. Ramnagar, formerly the jdglr
of the late Sir Raja Ram Singh, K.C.B., contains a very small propor-
tion of deodar forest, and it has been generally overworked. Finally,
the Jasrota district, situated on the right bank of the Ravi river,
contains a small area of deodar in the Basoli tahsll. These forests also
were formerly held in jdglr and were practically denuded of all mature
trees, so that no fellings can take place for many years to come.

Pines and firs occupy about r,ioo square miles, and chll (Pinus
longifolia) 473 square miles. The last is found in lower altitudes
below the blue pine and deodar, existing in practically pure forests in
Muzaffarabad, Bhimbar, Ramnagar, Udhampur, Jammu, and Jasrota.
The Kashmir Valley, having a lowest elevation of 5,200 feet above
sea-level, contains no chll. The Bhimbar Forest division (and district)
has the greatest area under chll (220 square miles), situated principally
in the Kotli and Naoshera tahslls. Some of these forests are of very
fine quality, and will in time give a large number of mature trees for
sale, but at present they are not being worked. Next to this comes
the Ramnagar division, which includes part of the Jammu district ; but
these forests are badly stocked and have been overfelled, and will take
many years before they can be of much value as a commercial asset.


The Chenab division, which also comprises part of the Jammu district,
has some forest of poor quality. In Udhampur most of the forest is
too far from a market to be profitable. When good cart-roads or light
railways have been made, it may be possible to utilize the Bhimbar
and Jammu chil forests for the distillation of turpentine, but at pre-
sent the cost of carriage is prohibitive.

Next come the fir forests. Owing to their altitude, it would natu-
rally cost more to extract their timber ; and the selling price of fir
being very low, these forests are unworkable except in the Kashmir
Valley, where the timber is used as firewood mainly for the silk factory
at Srinagar. Perhaps in the future, when artificial preservation of the
timber in the form of sleepers, &c, by creosoting, has been resorted
to, these forests will prove of great value.

Lastly, there are the forests of broad-leaved species, and these are
at present only of value in the Kashmir Valley for the supply of fire-
wood to the city of Srinagar. Bamboos are found mainly in the
Jasrota district on the Ravi river, where there are about 3,200 acres
of mixed forest which contain the so-called male kind (Dendroca/ami/s
sfric/us). They are saleable at a good price, but are at present subject
to much injury from the Gujar tribes, who hack them for fodder for
their cattle. The grass areas are mostly blanks inside deodar and
other forests, which are used as grazing-grounds by the villagers.

In the Kashmir Valley the forests supply timber and firewood for
local use and also logs for export. 1 )uring the past few years deodar
sleepers have been exported down the Jhelum river, the sleepers paying
very well, though the quality is not so good as in other districts. Little
deodar is used in Srinagar in comparison with blue pine, which, being
both very durable and cheaper than deodar, is the favourite building
material. From Udhampur both logs and sleepers of deodar are
exported down the Chenab to Wazlrabad. The trees being of better
quality, higher prices are obtained for the produce than for that of
Kashmir. From Muzaffarabad timber in the log and sawn into
sleepers is exported down the Jhelum. The sleepers are entirely
of deodar, but logs of both blue and long-leaved pine are also sent
down in small quantities. These three districts, Kamraj, Udhampur,
and Muzaffarabad, give the greater part of the forest revenue, which
in 1904-5 amounted to 9-8 lakhs, while the expenditure was 3 lakhs.

Up to the present, owing to the weakness of the forest establishment,
little has been done in the matter of artificial reproduction of deodar,
nor is it necessary. Owing to the protective measures already taken, the
three important species — deodar, blue pine, and the long-leaved pine —
are rapidly filling up blanks in the forests. The reproduction of deodar
by natural means, whether in Kashmir, Udhampur, or any other district,
is remarkable, nor is the blue pine at all backward, while in the


Kotli and Naoshera tahsils of Bhimbar district the restocking of
blanks inside and outside the forests is all that can be desired. Since
the last great seed year of 1897 myriads of self-sown chil have appeared
and are now fine healthy plants, ranging from 6 to 9 inches in height,
so that unless destructive fires occur there is little or nothing to be
done in the matter of restocking denuded areas or blanks. So far
fire protection has been unnecessary and hardly anything has been
expended on it, and the only parts protected are the Kotli tahsil
forests. The greatest need at present is protection from the damage
done by graziers.

■ About three-quarters of the State forests have been demarcated ; but
before really scientific forestry can be introduced, it will be necessary
that a regular survey should be made and a settlement of the forests
effected, and the great task of drawing up working-plans for future
guidance must be undertaken.

Before 1 89 1 there was no proper management of the forests, and
much damage was done by allowing traders to cut in the forests on
payment of royalty without any supervision, while villagers also did
immense injury to the forests in various ways, the State gaining little
or no revenue. In 1891 the first attempts were made to put matters
on a proper basis, with the result that, while most forms of forest injury
except grazing have ceased, the profits have increased largely. Thus
the net revenue in 1904-5 was 6 lakhs, while before 1891 it hardly
exceeded 2 lakhs. The Forest department is under the control of
a European Conservator, assisted by a staff of subordinates.

Some authorities have held that there is not much hope of mineral

wealth in the State ; and among the reasons given is the fact that, as

a rule, where valuable minerals exist, the natives of
, , c , • r, M T - 1 - • Mines and

the country know of their existence. 1 he Kashmiris. minerals

however, have excellent reasons for reticence on the

subject of minerals ; and the find of valuable sapphires in Padar in

1882, and the more recent discovery of coal at Ladda and Anji in the

Udhampur district of Jammu territory, give hopes for the future.

Vast fields have been found, in two sections of which it is estimated

that there are 1 1 million tons of workable coal. The coal is extremely

friable, dirty, and dusty. Some of it cokes strongly if subjected to

great heat. It is held by competent authorities that the washed and

briquetted coal of these fields will have a value equal to, if not greater

than, Bengal coal. Exploration for minerals has not yet been

attempted on sound or business-like lines. Excellent iron has been

obtained at Sof in the south of Kashmir ; good limestone is available

in large quantities ; gypsum is abundant ; and a recent discovery of

gold has been made at Gulmarg, the chief summer resort of European

visitors to Kashmir.


The industries connected with sericulture, oil-pressing, and the

manufacture of wine and brandy have already been mentioned, but

the State is still more celebrated for its arts. The

manufactures most mi P ortant OI " these is described in the article
on Srinagar, but other places also possess consider-
able reputation for various classes. Wood-carving is practised at many
places, and that turned out at Bijbihara is especially noted. The work
is artistic, but suffers from the fact that the Kashmiri is a bad carpenter.
Lacquered wood-work is produced at Kulgam. Woollen cloth (pattii)
is woven all over the State, the best work being produced in the north,
while the finished product of the south is especially famous. Blankets
are made in many places, and .sometimes fetch Rs. 25 a piece. The
blacksmiths are very skilful, and some have been able to make surgical
instruments and repair gun-locks. The city of Srinagar is noted for
its silver, copper, wood-carving, and lacquer. The shawl and paper
industries are almost extinct, but many of the shawl-workers have
become expert weavers of carpets or have taken to embroidering felts.
Good embroidery is also turned out at Islamabad. An industry started
very recently, in connexion with the development of sericulture, is the
weaving of silk cloth. In 1906 about 100 looms of improved pattern
were imported and set up.

Up to quite recent times Kashmir was almost a self-supporting

country, and the chief imports — piece-goods, metals, salt, sugar, tea, and

tobacco — were of modest dimensions. Before the

.\ e opening of the cart-road from Rawalpindi to Bara-

mula in 1890, the trade was carried by Kashmiris

who went down every winter to work in the Punjab, and brought

back domestic requisites, or by the professional muleteers, or by

Punjabi bullock-drivers. There were three trade routes. The most

direct crossed the Banihal pass and ran to Jammu, the railway terminus ;

the most popular route followed the old imperial road over the Pir

Panjal, reaching the railway at Gujrat ; and the third was known as the

Jhelum valley road, which is now the cart-road and the main line of

communication with the Punjab.

In 1892-3 the total imports from India were valued at 48-7 lakhs.
In 1902-3 the imports reached 118 lakhs, but the trade of that and
later years was greatly impaired by the prevalence of plague in the
Punjab. In 1904-5 the total value was 115 lakhs. The table on the
next page shows the value of the more important imports in the years
chosen for comparison.

There can be little doubt that Kashmir has increased enormously
in prosperity of late years. The land revenue settlement has turned
the agricultural classes from serfs into well-to-do peasants, and their
wealth is reflected in their increased purchases. The increase in the



import of salt is especially satisfactory, as in 1892 it was shown that the
annual average of consumption in Kashmir was exactly half of that
prevailing in the Punjab.







Piece-goods : —

European ....



35,9 2 ,556

Indian .....

2 1,572



Metals : —

Brass and copper




Iron .....





4> 8 3>293



Sugar : —

Refined .....




Unrefined ....




Tea : —

Indian .....




Foreign .....




Tobacco .....

J, 01, 253



Petroleum .....




In 1892-3 the total exports were valued at 53-3 lakhs. In 1902-3
the value reached 99-6 lakhs, and in 1904-5, 192 lakhs.

The following table shows the value of the more important exports
in the years selected : —







Drugs, not intoxicating



5,78,4 2 5

Dves . .....




Fruits ......


4,5 8 »7 02






Skins ......








Linseed .....





Manufactured piece-goods

5,9 M39



Shawls .....

2»i9, 2 75



The value of fruits exported is increasing steadily, and would expand
further with more rapid communications. Ghl also is a very important

Online LibraryGreat Britain. India OfficeImperial gazetteer of India .. (Volume 15) → online text (page 16 of 50)