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export. Perhaps one of the most remarkable increases is that in linseed,
which possessed very little value before the opening of the cart-road.
The trade in shawls was practically dead before 1892-3. An important
new staple not included in the list must be noticed. Raw silk produced
in the Kashmir Valley has been exported in rapidly increasing quantities
and values, and there are indications that it will become one of the most
important products of the country. The value increased from Rs. 7,000
in 1897-8 to 13-6 lakhs in 1902-3 and nearly 21 lakhs in 1904-5.


Another item of some importance is the trade which passes through
Kashmir between India, Chinese Turkistan, and Tibet via Leh. In
1904-5 the total value of this trade was 61-2 lakhs. It is subject to
considerable fluctuations, owing to great physical difficulties, the keen
rivalry of Russia, and the passive obstruction of Tibet. During the
ten years ending 1901 the average value was 44-3 lakhs, the maximum
being 62-2 lakhs in 1895-6, and the minimum 30*1 lakhs in 1891-2.
The imports from Central Asia into Ladakh amounted to 17-8 lakhs.
Of this, about 14 lakhs came from Chinese Turkistan and the balance
from Tibet. Goods to the value of 11-3 lakhs found their way to the
Punjab via Kashmir, others going via Kulu. The chief articles were
raw silk (5-9 lakhs), Russian gold coins (4-3 lakhs), raw wool (3 lakhs),
and charas (2-2 lakhs). The exports from Ladakh to Central Asia
amounted to 11-4 lakhs. Of this, goods to the value of 10 lakhs went
to Chinese Turkistan and the remainder to Tibet. The more impor-
tant articles of export were : European cotton piece-goods (3-4 lakhs) ;
coral (1-2 lakhs) ; silk goods, European (i-8 lakhs), Indian (Rs. 54,000)-
The value of trade passing from India to Ladakh was 14-3 lakhs.

The nature of the country renders communications difficult. In the
valley proper the Jhelum forms a great waterway, but other rivers are
not navigable. Throughout the greater part of the
State the roads are chiefly fair-weather tracks and
are not used for wheeled traffic. A cart-road has, however, been con-
structed from Srinagar, through Baramula and down the Jhelum valley,
to Abbottabad in the North- West Frontier Province and to Murree in
the Punjab, while another cart-road is being constructed from Srinagar
to Udhampur. The principal roads within the State lead from Srinagar
to Islamabad and Jammu over the Banihal pass (9,200 feet) ; to
Shupiyan, Bhimbar, and Gujrat in the Punjab over the Plr Panjal
(11,400) ; to Gandarbal and Ladakh over the Zoji La (11,300) : and to
Gilgit over the Rajdiangan (11,700), and Burzil (13,500), or Kamri
(13,100). Much has been done in recent years to improve these
routes and a number of smaller roads, such as that from Srinagar to
Gulmarg, which is practicable for tongas. A road cess amounting to
2 \ per cent, on the revenue has been imposed, in place of the forced
labour which used to be exacted. The Jhelum is crossed by several
wooden bridges on the cantilever principle at Srinagar, and over the
hill torrents swing frail suspension bridges consisting of cables made of
plaited twigs or buffalo-hide. The latter sometimes reach a span of
300 feet, and are renewed every three years, if they have not been
carried away meanwhile by floods.

The only railway at present is a short length of 16 miles, constructed
at the cost of the State, which is included in a branch of the North-
western State Railway from Wazirabad through Sialkot. It cost



9-6 lakhs, and has usually earned a net profit of i to z\ per cent., in
addition to the rebate allowed from traffic exchanged with the North-
western Railway. A line has been surveyed along the Jhelum valley
route, and it is proposed to work this by electricity derived from the

The State is included for postal purposes in the circle administered
by the Postmaster-General of the Punjab and North-West Frontier
Province. Formerly Kashmir had its own postal service and used its
own postage stamps, but as far back as 1876 there were British post
offices in Srlnagar and Leh. The State stamps were used only for local
purposes, and letters and other postal articles passing between the State
post offices and British India were charged with both Kashmir and
Indian postage. In 1894 the State posts were entirely amalgamated
with the Indian postal system. The following statistics show the
advance in postal business since 1 880-1 : —

Number of post offices
Number of letter boxes
Number of miles of postal communica-

Total number of postal articles de-
livered : —

Letters ....

Postcards ....

Packets ....


Parcels ....

Value of stamps sold to the public Rs
Value of money orders issued . Rs










!>74 2



4>9 J 4





9 6 ,35 6 *
i93,4 I 4t





1 .639,430


77.4° 2


* Including unregistered newspapers. t Registered as newspapers in the Post Office.

I The figures are included in those of the Punjab.


The accounts of early famines are vague, but it is known that famines
occurred. While Sher Singh was governor (183 1-3) severe distress was
felt and many people fled, but the next governor,
Mian Singh, did much to restore prosperity by im-
porting grain. It is said that the population was reduced to a quarter in
that famine. In 1877-9 a worse disaster was experienced and the loss
of life was enormous. Famines in Kashmir are not caused by drought,
as in India, because the rice crop is generally protected by irrigation.
The greatest distress is due to the fall of rain or snow while the rice
and maize are ready for harvest. The famine of 1832 was caused by
early snow, and was aggravated by the floods which followed. In 1877
rain fell almost continuously for three months, and the old system of
collecting revenue in kind prevented cultivators from gathering their
crops when opportunity served. Food-grains were not to be had ; and


when imports were made at the expense of the State, the corrupt
officials were the chief persons to profit. It is improbable that such
distress can be experienced again, owing to the construction of a cart-
road, and the change in the method of collecting revenue.

The State is in direct relationship with the Government of India, who
is represented by an officer of the Political department, styled the
Resident. His head-quarters are at Snnagar. At Gilgit a Political
Agent exercises some degree of supervision over the Wazlr Wazarat, and
is directly responsible to the Government of India for the administration
of the outlying petty States. A British officer is stationed at Leh to
assist in the supervision of Central Asian trade.

On his accession to the gaddi in 1885, the present Maharaja was

entrusted with the administration of the State, aided by two ministers ;

but in 1887, at his own request, he was relieved from

Administration. . " , . . ? , . ,

all part in the administration, which was then placed,

subject to the control of the Resident, in the hands of a Council
consisting of His Highness's brother and two selected officials from the
British service. In 1891 the Maharaja assumed the presidentship of
the Council, while his brother, Raja Sir Amar Singh, K.C.S.I., became
vice-president. The Council was abolished in 1905, and its powers
were conferred on the chief himself. Under the new arrangements the
Maharaja administers the State. There are three ministers, in charge of
the revenue, judicial, and home departments ; but business requiring the
orders of the Maharaja is laid before him by the chief minister, Raja'
Sir Amar Singh. For some time past the departments of finance,
revenue settlement, forests, and public works have been in charge of
British officers, whose services have been temporarily placed at the
disposal of the Darbar.

The four chief executive officers are : the governor or Hakim-i-Ala of
Jammu, the governor of Kashmir (each aided by a general assistant),
the WazTr Wazarat of Gilgit, and the Wazlr Wazarat of Ladakh.

In Jammu there are five districts, each in charge of a Wazlr Wazarat,
an official whose average salary is Rs. 250 a month. Under the Wazlr
Wazarat are tahsildars and sometimes subdivisional officers. All these
officers exercise revenue, civil, and criminal jurisdiction, with regular
stages of appeal. In revenue cases the appeal lies to the governor, and
from him to the revenue minister. In civil and criminal judicial cases
the appeal lies to the Chief Judge of Jammu. From him there is an
appeal to the judicial minister, who is virtually the final court, and it is
only on rare occasions that an appeal is made from him to the Maharaja.
All death sentences passed by the Chief Judge require the confirmation
of the Maharaja. In 1900-1 there were eighty-one courts of all grades,
of which eight exercised criminal jurisdiction only. Although there is
a centralized form of government, as in British India, the real power


rests with the tahsilddr, and distance and the absence of easy communi-
cations are practical checks on the use or abuse of appeals.

Before 1892, when the law of limitation was introduced into Jammu,
litigation was not very heavy and the people frequently settled their
differences out of court. The improvement in the
courts, and the effects of this alteration in the law, ^justice" *"
are shown by the fact that the number of suits for
money or movable property increased from an average of 3,735 during
the ten years ending 1890 to 10,766 in the next decade, and was
12,160 in 1900-1. The system of registration for deeds resembles that
in British India. In 1 900-1 the number of documents registered was

Crime is not serious in the Jammu province ; but there has been an
increase in cases of theft, hurt, and mischief, due to the greater activity
of the police force, which is being gradually assimilated to the rules and
procedure prevailing in British India. In the whole State 17,320
persons were brought to trial in 1900-1, of whom 2,169, or r 3 P er cent.,
were convicted.

In Kashmir the tahslh in the valley are superintended by the
governor himself, while those of the Muzaffarabad district are in charge
of a Wazlr Wazarat subject to the governor and the Chief Judge, whose
offices are in Srlnagar.

The finances of the State are immediately controlled by an accountant-
general, who for some years has been lent by the British Government.
The revenue and expenditure for 1895-6, 1900-1, and
1905-6 are shown in Tables IV and V at the end
of this article (pp. 146 and 147). In the last year the total revenue
was 93 lakhs, the chief items being land revenue (38-9 lakhs), forests
(13 lakhs), customs and octroi (9-2 lakhs), and scientific and minor
departments (2-2 lakhs). The expenditure of one crore included public
works (30-8 lakhs), military (13-8 lakhs), privy purse and courts (10-9
lakhs), scientific and minor departments (2-1 lakhs), and land revenue
(6-i lakhs). The State is very prosperous, and has more than 46 lakhs
invested in securities of the Government of India.

The British rupee is now the only rupee used in the State. Pre-
viously three coins were current : namely, the kham rupee, value
8 annas, bearing the letters J. H. S. (these letters have given rise to many
stories, but they were really a mint-mark to indicate Jammu, Hari
Singh); the chilki rupee, value 10 British annas; the Nanak s/ia/ii
rupee, value 12-16 British annas.

The kharwar or ass-load, which has for centuries past been the
standard of weight, is equivalent to 1 7 7 § lb. The word is usually
abbreviated to khar. Land measures are calculated not by length and
breadth, but by the amount of seed required by certain areas of rice


cultivation. It has been found by measurements that the kharwar of
land — that is, the rice area which is supposed to require a kharwar's
weight of rice-seed — exactly corresponds to 4 British acres. For length,
the following measure is used : —

1 giro, — 2 1 inches.
1 6 giras = 1 gaz.
20 giras = 1 gaz, in measuring pashmuta cloth.

There is no sealed yard measure in Srinagar, but from frequent experi-
ment it was found that the gaz of 16 giras is about half an inch longer
than the British yard.

The land revenue system has been described as ' ryotwCxri in ruins.' It
is probable that the methods of administration introduced under Akbar

led to a fictitious joint responsibility, but this was
Land revenue. .. , ™ . r A , , .

never fully accepted. 1 he land was regarded as the

absolute property of the State, and the cultivators were merely tenants
holding from year to year, with no rights in the waste land. Within the
village, however, the cultivators recognized the acquisition of what may
be called a right of occupancy acquired by long prescription {minis).
At the settlement which commenced in 1887 this custom was accepted
by the State, and permanent hereditary rights were conferred on persons
who agreed to pay the assessment fixed on the land entered in their
names. The right is not alienable by sale or mortgage, and the holder
is called an asaml. Besides the ordinary village occupants there were
grantees, but these have gradually been converted into asamls.

Under the local Sultans the State share of produce was reckoned at
one-half, and this was increased to three-quarters by the Mughals. In
the absence of any survey or record of rights, the revenue administration
was harsh and corrupt. Land agents called kardars were appointed
who parcelled out the land annually, the area of land allotted to each
family being regulated by the number of individuals it contained. The
State took three-fourths of rice, maize, millets, and buckwheat, and nine-
sixteenths of oilseeds, pulses, and cotton. In i860 the share was
reduced to one-half, and villages were made over to contractors called
chak/adars, who robbed the cultivators and the State. An attempt was
made in 1873 to introduce a ryotwari settlement for three years, but
the interests of the chakladars and corrupt officials were too strong to
allow such an innovation. Abul Fazl, in the Ain-i-Akl>arl, notes that
revenue was chiefly paid in kind in Kashmir, and it was not till 1880
that a so-called cash assessment was introduced. This was made by
taking the average collections for the previous three years in each vil-
lage, and adding a considerable proportion, never less than 30 per
cent. ; but as a matter of fact, it was left to an official to decide how
much revenue should be taken in cash, and how much in kind. There
was no pretence of inspecting villages, or of distributing the demand


fixed for a whole village over separate holdings, and the dislocation
caused by the famine of 1877-9 added to the evils of such summary
procedure. Two years later a system of auctioning villages was intro-
duced, which led to even greater abuses, while the commutation rates
for grain were altered, so as to injure the cultivators.

In 1887 a regular settlement was commenced in the valley by
a British officer, lent by Government. It was preceded by a complete
survey, and the revenue was fixed for ten years. Villages were classified
according to their position, and standard out-turns of produce were cal-
culated. In estimating the produce, allowance was made for walnut-
trees, fruit trees, apricots, and honey. The assessment was also checked
by considering the collections in previous years and reports made by
former contractors. Its moderation and even distribution are attested
by the return of the cultivators who had fled during the disastrous
famine. When the settlement was completed in 1893, it had cost 3-4
lakhs and had raised the revenue by 1-9 lakhs annually. A revision
was commenced in 1898 and completed in 1905, the methods employed
being similar to those followed at the first regular settlement. This has
further raised the revenue in the valley from 13-4 to 17 lakhs, or by 27
per cent. The incidence of revenue varies from about 10 annas to
Rs. 12 per acre, and represents an all-round rate of about 30 per cent,
of the gross produce. Regular settlements have also been completed in
other parts of the State, such as Gilgit, Jammu, and Baltistan. The
total receipts from land revenue in 1905-6 amounted to 38-9 lakhs.

The Excise department of the State is chiefly concerned with the

manufacture and sale of liquor, including wine and brandy, at the

Gupkar distillery. In 1900 the administration was

examined by an officer lent by the British Govern- Mi f !i^f,! 0US
J J . revenue.

ment, and as a consequence private distilleries in
the province of Jammu were entirely closed. The total receipts in
1900-1 were only Rs. 50,000, but by 1905-6 they had risen to
Rs. 1,37,000.

In 1905-6 the total revenue from stamps was 2-22 lakhs, of which
i-6 lakhs represented receipts from judicial stamps.

A considerable revenue is derived from customs and octroi levied
on the trade which passes into the State. The receipts amounted to
9-2 lakhs in 1905-6.

Cesses are levied, amounting to i2-| per cent, on the land revenue,
for the following objects : payments to lambardars (village headmen),
5 per cent. ; pahvaris and zailddrs,

Online LibraryGreat Britain. India OfficeImperial gazetteer of India .. (Volume 15) → online text (page 17 of 50)